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The ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 Revealed!

The ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 Revealed!

ASUS just revealed the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 smartphone, which boasts a 5.7″ full-screen display with a 18:9 aspect ratio and a dual-lens camera system. Here is everything you need to know about the new ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 smartphone!

 

The ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 (ZB570TL)

Also known as the ASUS Pegasus 4S in China, the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 has a model number of ZB570TL or ASUS X018D. It has a 18:9 ultra-wide screen display, and a 81.5% screen-to-body ratio. This allows ASUS to fit a 5.7″ display into a 5.2″ form factor.

It is powered by an mid-range MediaTek MT6750T SoC, and comes with 4GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage. It also has a dedicated slot for a microSD card (up to 256GB), and two nanoSIM slots. All of that is powered by a 4,130 mAh battery with reverse charging capability.

Like the ZenFone 4 Max Pro, the ZenFone Max Plus has a dual-lens camera at the back. But this time, ASUS chose to use a 16 MP + 8 MP combo. The main camera has a 16 MP sensor with f/2.0 lens, while the wide-angle camera has an 8 MP sensor with 120° lens.

Instead of a 16 MP camera in the ZenFone 4 Max Pro, ASUS went with an 8 MP front camera with f/2.2 lens in the ZenFone Max Plus.

 

The ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 Specifications

SpecificationsASUS ZenFone 4 Max Plus M1
ModelZB570TL
Display5.7" Full HD+ display with 2.5D curved edge
- 720 x 1440 pixels
Operating SystemZenUI 4.1 (Android 7.0)
System PlatformMediaTek MT6750T
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.5 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.0 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T860 MP2 (650 MHz)
Memory4 GB LPDDR3 memory (833 MHz)
Storage32 GB GB internal storage
microSD card option (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/2.0 lens
Rear CameraDual Lens Camera System
- 16 MP sensor with f/2.0 6P lens
- 8 MP sensor with 120° lens
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat6
WiFi : 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
USB : microUSB 2.0
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby capability
Dual Nano SIM cards
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-mounted
GPSYes, with AGPS and Beidou
Battery4,130 mAh lithium-ion battery
- with Reverse Charging feature
Dimensions72.7 mm wide
152.6 mm tall
8.8 mm thick
Weight160 g

 

Price & Availability

Locally, the ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 was just approved by SIRIM, but ASUS confirmed that it will be ready for purchase / delivery starting 20 December 2017. In the meantime, you can pre-order the ZenFone Max Plus M1 at a very, very special price.

The ASUS ZenFone Max Plus M1 will have a recommended retail price of RM 899 / ~US$ 219. But during the pre-order period, ASUS will offer a limited quantity with a discount or Lazada coupon worth RM 200 / ~US$ 49!

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Offline Pre-Order Offer

Duration : 14-19 December 2017
Collection : 20 December 2017
Offer : Get a RM 200 rebate when you trade in a mobile phone (working or non-working). A deposit of RM 100 will have to be placed.

Lazada Pre-Order Offer

Duration : 14-19 December 2017
Collection : 22 December 2017
Offer : Get a RM 200 Lazada discount voucher when you purchase the ZenFone Max Plus M1 using this pre-order purchase link. trade in a mobile phone (working or non-working). Each account can only purchase a maximum of two (2) units.

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The Wiko Harry Smartphone Arrives In Malaysia!

Coming in fresh from France, the Wiko Harry smartphone has just arrived in Malaysia! This is a well-powered smartphone with accessible functions, immersive multimedia experience and user-friendly features encased in a classy brushed metal design.

 

The Wiko Harry Smartphone

Being the first 4G smartphone in the Y-range gives it a fast Internet connectivity, 5” HD screen for spectacular colour with its 420 nits brightness. Powered by IPS technology, Harry allows easy viewing in broad daylight and in any preferred angle and smooth mobile entertainment.

In addition, the 13MP rear camera and 5MP front facing camera will keep users entertained with its many photo-taking features such as professional and panoramic mode. With its display flash that works suitably well in low light, the Harry stores photos in its 16GB ROM or optional micro-SD 128GB memory so you will never need to store your photo elsewhere.

The Wiko Harry will also come with Android Nougat which boosts users multi-tasking capability further with its multi-window view and will allow users to take control of the smartphone with easy-to-use interface which gives the option to monitor power consumption through its Battery and App usage optimization alongside the Doze option. Assembled with a metal back cover, the dual-sim Harry will come in Black Anthracite and Premium Gold colour.

 

Wiko Harry Price & Availability

The Wiko Harry smartphone is now available in the Black Anthracite and Premium Gold colours for just RM 599 / ~US$ 139. You can get them directly from Lazada Malaysia :

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom – iPhone 7 Plus Killer At Half The Price!

Ever since they were announced at Computex 2016, ASUS has churned out a number of ZenFone 3 models, like the ZenFone 3 Ultra phablet and the eponymous ZenFone 3 smartphone. But what mobile photographers have been waiting for was ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL).

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is the photography-focused ZenFone 3 model designed to take on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) head-to-head, and beat it in every aspect. Yet it costs only half as much! Don’t believe us? Read on and find out for yourself!

 

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom vs. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus

We are serious about the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) taking on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). Check out this comparison of their specifications and see how they compare with each other!

SpecificationsASUS ZenFone 3 ZoomApple iPhone 7 Plus (32 GB)
Display5.5" Full HD AMOLED display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels
- 500 nits brightness
5.5" Full HD IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels
- 625 nits brightness
ProtectionPremium aluminium-alloy frame
2.5D contoured Corning Gorilla Glass 5
IP67-rated dust and water-resistance
Dual-ion exchange strengthened glass
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowApple iOS 10
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 625Apple A10 Fusion
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (2.0 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.4 GHz)
2 x Apple Hurricane cores (2.34 GHz)
2 x Apple Zephyr cores (2.34 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 506PowerVR 7XT GT7600 Plus
Memory4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (933 MHz)3 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 2 TB, shared with SIM2)
32 GB internal flash storage
No microSD card slot
Front Camera13 MP PixelMaster camera
- Sony IMX214 sensor
- f/2.0, 5-element Largan lens
7 MP camera with f/2.2 lens
Main Camera12 MP PixelMaster 3.0 camera
- Sony IMX362 sensor (1.4 µm pixels)
- f/1.7, 6-element lens
- Dual Pixel PDAF technology
- 4-axis, 4 stops Optical Image Stabilization for steady photos
- 3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization for shake-free videos
12 MP camera
- Sony Exmor RS sensor
- f/1.8, 6-element lens
- Optical image stabilisation
Zoom Camera12 MP sensor (unknown model) with f/2.6 lens
- 2.3X fixed optical zoom
- 12X maximum zoom (digital + optical)
12 MP sensor with f/2.8 lens
- 2X fixed optical zoom
- 10X maximum zoom (digital + optical)
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat4
WiFi : 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth : 4.2
4G : LTE Cat12
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth : 4.2
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby with Hybrid SIM tray
- nano SIM slot 1 (3G / 4G)
- nano SIM slot 2 (3G / 4G) / micro SD
Single nano SIM only
NFC CapabilityNoYes
GPSGPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BDSGPS, AGPS, GLONASS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, built into Home button
Audio192 kHz / 24-bit Hi-Res Audio support
5 magnet speaker with NXP Smart Amp
Dual microphone with noise cancellation
VoLTE support
DTS Headphone:X virtual surround sound technology
No Hi-Res Audio support
Stereo speakers
FM RadioYesNo
Battery5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
Supports reverse charging
2,900 mAh lithium-ion battery
No reverse charging support
Dimensions77 mm wide x 154.3 mm tall x 7.99 mm thick77.9 mm wide x 158.2 mm tall x 7.3 mm thick
Weight170 grams188 grams
Colour OptionsNavy Black, Glacier Silver, Rose GoldRose Gold, Gold, Silver, Black, Jet Black
PriceUS$ 329US$ 769

We will go into more detail later, but first, let’s unbox the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom!

 

Unboxing The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is a premium smartphone, so it comes to no surprise that ASUS gave it the full treatment. It even comes with a soft case and a pair of ZenEar earphones!

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Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • One ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) smartphone
  • One ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom soft case
  • One set of ASUS ZenFone 3 User Guide, Warranty leaflet and IMEI stickers
  • One 10 W ASUS charger with a 3-pin adaptor
  • One USB Type C cable
  • One pair of ASUS ZenEar earphones with four spare earbuds
  • One SIM card tray ejector pin

Next Page > The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom Key Features

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL)

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom has a 5.5″ display like the iPhone 7 Plus, but it is slightly smaller and lighter. Instead of the usual IPS display though, the ZenFone 3 Zoom uses an AMOLED display that is protected by the latest Gorilla Glass 5 cover with a 2.5D edge, and a full metal unibody chassis.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC as the ZenFone 3 smartphone. It comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 64 GB of internal flash memory. All that is powered by a large 5,000 mAh battery.

The button placements are the same as that of other ZenFone 3 models – the Power and Volume control buttons are on the right side, with the hybrid SIM slot on the left side, and the fingerprint sensor on the back.

Like many thin devices, the audio port on the ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is located at the bottom, next to the bidirectional Type C USB port. But note that it is still using USB 2.0 standard, not the latest USB 3.1 standard.

 

Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) has dual SIM, dual standby capability. It has a hybrid SIM tray for two nano SIM cards. The second SIM card tray (SIM2) doubles as a microSD card slot (up to 256 GB). Both SIM1 and SIM2 support 3G and 4G connectivity, but only one SIM card can connect to the 3G / 4G network – the other can only connect to a 2G network.

The ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) has an all-aspect fingerprint sensor located at the back, just under the main cameras. Our tests showed that it requires just 10 finger presses to register a fingerprint, and is very fast and accurate in recognising the registered fingerprint.

 

The ZenFone 3 Zoom Cameras

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) boasts a 13 MP front camera, built around the Sony IMX214 sensor and a 5-element Largan lens with f/2.0 aperture. It does not have a dedicated LED flash but uses screen flash instead, like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada).

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Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) has a dual camera system, with a main camera and a zoom camera. This is different from the dual-lens camera of the Huawei Mate 9 or the Honor 8 smartphones, which combines images from two cameras with the same focal length.

Its main camera boasts the Sony IMX362 sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels, and Dual Pixel PDAF technology. It is coupled to a 6-element lens with f/1.7 aperture, and boasts 4-axis, 4-stops optical image stabilisation as well as 3-axis electronic image stabilisation capabilities.

The zoom camera has a 12 MP sensor of unknown model, paired with a 59 mm f/2.6 lens. This gives us a 2.3X optical zoom over the main camera. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) has a similar zoom camera, with a shorter 2X zoom and an f/2.8 lens.

Next Page > The Initial Setup, Ergonomics, Available Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The ZenFone 3 Zoom

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is a 5.5″ smartphone that is 7.7 cm wide, so it is a two-handed device. But because it’s reasonably thick at just under 8 mm, it offers better grip than its thinner rivals. The large display with its full HD resolution is just perfect for watching movies. We also applaud ASUS for using an AMOLED display – it is generally more vivid and power-efficient.

We especially like the satin finish of the anodised aluminium chassis. It is smooth and comfortable to touch, and is resistant to fingerprint smears. Adding on the provided soft case greatly increases grip, but the Power button may be harder to activate.

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Available Memory & Storage

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 2.2 GB (55%) is free to use. That is more memory than some smartphones ship with! You will never run out of memory with the ZenFone 3 Zoom!

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) also has 64 GB of internal flash memory. Of that, just under 52 GB is available to use. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) uses the excellent Sony IMX362 sensor for its main camera, which boasts very advanced optical and electronic image stabilisation and a fast f/1.7 lens. The full 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 3928 × 2944 and a file size of between 4 to 8 MB.

Here are 16 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

As the picture show, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) can really produce amazing pictures. The automatic HDR capability worked great too, adding dynamic range whenever the light permits. The final result – very vivid colours, even in low light. For that, we have to thank the Sony IMX362 sensor with its large 1.4 µm pixels, and the fast f/1.7 lens.

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Next Page > Camera Performance – Video Recording

 

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s photographic capability extends beyond just photos. It is capable of recording videos at resolutions of up to 2160p (4K) at 30 fps. It also boasts advanced optical and electronic image stabilisation as well as support for Hi Res Audio. Let’s check out how well it does…

 

Test #1 : Blues Band (1080p)

The image stabilisation seems to do a very good job, but notice the occasional jerks. We have no idea why it happens, but it seems to only afflict the 1080p video recordings. It did produce very good audio though, and had good control of the bright background.

 

Test #2 : Blues Band (4K)

Electronic image stabilisation appears to be turned off, so there is more wobbling at 4K, but there’s no sign of the sudden jerks in our 1080p example above. The resolution at 4K is amazing!

 

Test #3 : Rainbow Waterfall

This is another test of the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s image stabilisation capabilities. Oddly enough – there is no sign of the sudden jerks. This probably means that the jerks we saw in the first video is likely to be software-related. Probably errors in electronic image stabilisation.

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Test #4 : Logging Camp

A 4-wheel drive ride is a great way to test the advanced image stabilisation capabilities of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom. As you can see, it did a pretty good job on this rugged logging trail. It may not appear so, but we were seated at the back shaking non-stop. 😀

 

Test #5 : Jungle Ride

Here is another video on the same 4×4 Hilux truck ride through the Pahang jungle. Nice job on the image stabilisation, ASUS!

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
6655 6405 4954 3884
Web Browsing 7595 8045 5143 3688
Video Playback 4545 3469 4515 3789
Writing 7264 7316 4948 4141
Photo Editing 7824 8246 5243 3933

Both the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) and the original ZenFone 3 smartphone use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, so it’s no surprise they perform about the same. They both did much better than the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), and the OPPO F1s in this test.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is so popular because it has a large 5,000 mAh battery. The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) with a large 5,000 mAh battery as well, even though it’s much smaller in size. But more importantly, it has a much longer battery life of 17.25 hours –  33% longer than the Galaxy A9 Pro!

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Battery Recharging Performance

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) comes with a 10 W charger, instead of more powerful 15-18 W chargers common in other flagship devices. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 5,000 mAh battery.

It took the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) about 160 minutes (2 hours 40 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. This is 20% longer than what the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (with a similar 5,000 mAh battery) took with its 15 W charger. Overall, it has a battery life : recharging ratio of 6.5 : 1, which is good but not exceptional.

Next Page > Gaming & Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 13844 13956 13540 7666
Graphics 13372 13484 13548 7511
Physics 15797 15903 13510 8265
Graphics Test 1 80.3 fps 80.5 fps 81.1 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 45.6 fps 46.1 fps 46.2 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 50.1 fps 50.5 fps 42.9 fps 26.2 fps

Like the ZenFone 3, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, matching the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), and coming in twice as fast as the OPPO F1s.

 

Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 63218 62761 56431 41486
3D SCORE 12966 18816 15458 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 7878 10861 10511 3188
– 3D (Garden) 5088 7952 4947 1679
UX SCORE 24089 26794 18496 17640
– UX Data Secure 5713 5077 5295 4885
– UX Data Process 2991 4198 2612 2542
– UX Strategy Games 4193 7503 3671 2829
– UX Image Process 7893 6879 3373 3885
– UX I/O Performance 3299 3137 3545 3499
CPU SCORE 20683 23689 16459 14336
– CPU Mathematics 4264 6950 3132 3142
– CPU Common Use 6673 6311 5199 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 9746 10428 8128 6389
RAM 5480 6797 6018 4643

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, beating the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) by 12%, and the OPPO F1s by 52%.

 

Our Verdict & Award

While ASUS may not make a point about it, it is obvious that they are targeting the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) squarely at the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). They even eschewed the innovative zoom camera in the original ASUS ZenFone Zoom for the same dual camera system used in the iPhone 7 Plus. However, they were not aiming to copy, as much as beat, the iPhone 7 Plus on as many aspects as possible.

The iPhone 7 Plus has a 7 MP front camera with f/2.2 lens? ASUS gives the ZenFone 3 Zoom a 13 MP front camera with f/2.0 lens!

The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12 MP Sony Exmor RS main camera with f/1.8 lens? ASUS tops that with the latest 12 MP Sony IMX362 sensor with Dual Pixel PDAF technology and a f/1.7 lens!

The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12 MP zoom camera with 2X optical zoom and f/2.8 lens? The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom gives you a 12 MP zoom camera with 2.3X optical zoom and f/2.6 lens!

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This isn’t just about beating the iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) on specifications. The ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 camera on the ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is amazing. It produces some of the best pictures and videos we have ever seen. Its 4K video recording and audio recording quality was especially good.

ASUS didn’t just stop at the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s photographic capability. To make sure the photos and videos look great on the device itself, they opted for an AMOLED display, instead of a regular IPS display. They even packed in a large 5,000 mAh battery, in a form factor that is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) with its puny 2,900 mAh battery.

But arguably, what’s most impressive about the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is the fact that it delivers its superior capabilities at half the price of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada)! We don’t know how ASUS managed to do that, but we think their efforts deserves no less than our Editor’s Choice Award! Congratulations, ASUS!

 

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The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (SM-C900F) Phablet Review

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro was the sleeper hit of 2016. It was a large 6″ phablet that saw limited release and lacked a stylus, but proved to be highly popular. Samsung now attempts to replicate that success with the new Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (SM-C900F) phablet. Let’s see how well they did!

 

The Galaxy C9 Pro vs. Galaxy A9 Pro Comparison

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) appears to be a direct evolution of the Galaxy A9 Pro phablet. Here is a specification comparison of those two phablets.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy C9 ProSamsung Galaxy A9 Pro
ModelSM-C900FSM-A910F
Display6.0" Super AMOLED
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (369 ppi)
6.0" Super AMOLED
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (367 ppi)
ProtectionGorilla Glass with 2.5D edgeGorilla Glass 4
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0.1 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 652 (MSM8976)Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 (MSM8976)
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A72 cores (1.95 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.4 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A72 cores (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.4 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 510 (621 MHz)Qualcomm Adreno 510 (621 MHz)
Memory6 GB LPDDR3 (933 MHz)4 GB LPDDR3 (933 MHz)
Storage64 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (up to 256 GB)
32 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera16 MP Samsung S5K4H5YC sensor with f/1.9 lens8 MP Samsung S5K4H5YC sensor with f/1.9 lens
Main Camera16 MP Samsung S5K3L2 sensor with f/1.9 lens, dual LED flash and PDAF capability16 MP Samsung S5K3L2 sensor with f/1.9 lens and single LED flash
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat6
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth : 4.2
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz)
Bluetooth : 4.2
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual StandbyDual SIM, Dual Standby
GPS SupportGPS, GLONASS, BeidouGPS, GLONASS, Beidou
Fingerprint SensorYes, integrated with Home buttonYes, integrated with Home button
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, Geomagnetic, Light, GyroAccelerometer, Proximity, Geomagnetic, Light, Gyro
Battery4,000 mAh lithium ion battery (non-removable)
- Supports fast charging
5,000 mAh lithium ion battery (non-removable)
- Supports fast charging
USB PortUSB Type C (USB 2.0)micro USB 2.0
Dimensions80.7 mm wide
162.9 mm tall
6.9 mm thick
80.9 mm wide
161.7 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
Weight188 g210 g

 

Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) comes in the usual white cardboard box that Samsung uses for their mid-range devices. The only difference is the size – it’s quite a bit larger. Let’s take a look inside!

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Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • One Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) phablet
  • One set of Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro documents
  • One 15 W Samsung adaptive fast charger
  • One USB Type C cable
  • One micro USB to USB Type C adaptor
  • One pair of Samsung earphones
  • One SIM card tray ejector pin

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro, Card Trays & Fingerprint Sensor, Front & Rear Cameras

 

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The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro Phablet

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) is a 6″ phablet with Samsung’s signature Super AMOLED display. It is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass (unspecified version) with a 2.5D edge, and a full metal unibody chassis.

The Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) runs on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC as the Galaxy A9 Pro. But the Cortex-A72 CPU cluster has a small clock speed boost from 1.8 GHz to 1.95 GHz. Samsung also gave the Galaxy C9 Pro 50% more memory and twice the internal storage.

The Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) maintains the standard Samsung button placement of the Power button on the right, and the Volume buttons on the left. The separate SIM and microSD card trays are located on the right side, just under the Power button.

Like many thin devices,  the audio port on the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) is located at the bottom, next to the bidirectional Type C USB port. The package includes a micro USB to USB Type C adaptor, so you can reuse your old cables and OTG drives. But note that it is still using USB 2.0 standard, not the latest USB 3.1 standard.

 

Card Trays & Fingerprint Sensor

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) has dual SIM, dual standby capability. It has a dedicated tray for two nano SIM cards, and a separate tray for the microSD card (up to 256 GB). Both card trays are located on the right side, just under the Power button.

The Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) has an all-aspect fingerprint sensor that is integrated into the Home button. Our tests showed that it requires about 20 finger presses to register a fingerprint. However, it is very fast and accurate in recognising the registered fingerprint.

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Front & Rear Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) boasts a 8 MP front camera that uses Samsung’s own S5K4H5YC BSI sensor. It is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30 fps. Thanks to its f/1.9 lens, it will have great low-light capability equivalent to that of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon) smartphone. It will come in handy since the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

The main camera uses the same 16 MP Samsung S5K3L2 sensor from the Galaxy A9 Pro, paired this time with a dual-tone LED flash. It boasts the same fast f/1.9 lens, which allows for better low-light performance. We will take a look at sample pictures and videos later in the review.

Next Page > The Initial Setup, Ergonomics, Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The Galaxy C9 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) is a large 6″ phablet that is just over 8 cm wide, so this is definitely a two-handed device. The Super AMOLED display is excellent as always, and the large screen with its full HD resolution is just perfect for watching movies.

The anodised aluminium chassis is smooth to the touch, with a nice satin finish that imparts a nice shine and yet is resistant to fingerprint smears. It actually feels easier to grip than the Galaxy A9 Pro, probably because it’s thinner and lighter.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) comes with a whopping 6 GB of LPDDR3 memory, of which 3.8 GB (63.3%) is available for use. That is more memory than many smartphones actually ship with! Needless to say – you will never run out of memory with the Galaxy C9 Pro.

The Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) also has 64 GB of internal flash storage. Of that, 51.9 GB is available to use, which is just awesome. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) uses the same excellent Samsung ISOCELL camera as the Galaxy A9 Pro, just upgraded with a dual-tone LED flash. The full 16 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4608 x 3456 and a file size of between 4.5 to 5.5 MB.

Here are 6 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

As the pictures show, the Galaxy C9 Pro’s main camera performs best in natural light. It occasionally has white balance problems (see the Dala horse sample) under artificial lighting. The camera isn’t the sharpest we have seen, but the noise level is low, even in low light conditions. With suitable distance, you can even get a pretty nice bokeh (see the flower sample).

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Despite sporting a 16 MP sensor, the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) is only capable of recording videos of up to 1080p in resolution. This is likely Samsung’s way of differentiating the Galaxy C9 Pro from their more premium models like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. Let’s take a look at some sample videos.

 

Test #1 : Piano Recital

The first thing you will notice is how jerky the video appears. It is readily apparent that the Galaxy C9 Pro’s camera lacks both optical image stabilisation (OIS) and electronic image stabilisation (EIS). Noise cancellation was also sub-par. However, it showed pretty good control of the highlights in the background.

 

Test #2 : Food Trucks

We did this short take of some food trucks to test out the image stabilisation capability. Obviously, the Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) didn’t do well in this test, because it lacks OIS or even EIS capability.

 

Test #3 : Night Dancing

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) performed well in this test of its low-light capability. Its wide f/1.9 lens had no problem handling the low-light situation. It continued to exhibit good control of the highlights – the much brighter background was not completely washed out, as we have seen in many other smartphones.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
5180 6313 4954 3884
Web Browsing 4539 6257 5143 3688
Video Playback 3989 4287 4515 3789
Writing 5689 7166 4948 4141
Photo Editing 6991 8262 5243 3933

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, coming in just ahead of the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy C9 Pro’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

One of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s main attraction was its large 5,000 mAh battery. To make the Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) thinner though, Samsung reduced the battery capacity to 4,000 mAh. However, we are glad to note that it only reduced the battery life by 11.5% to 11.5 hours.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 15 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 4,000 mAh battery.

It took the Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) just 74.5 minutes (1 hour 14.5 minutes) to recharge its battery from 19% to 100%. That is 80% faster recharging than the Galaxy A9 Pro, and a battery life : recharging ratio of about 9.4 : 1 – a truly amazing performance.

Next Page > Gaming & Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Galaxy C9 Pro’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 17587 17719 13540 7666
Graphics 22940 21124 13548 7511
Physics 9680 11328 13510 8265
Graphics Test 1 127.4 fps 115.2 fps 81.1 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 81.9 fps 76.3 fps 46.2 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 30.7 fps 36.0 fps 42.9 fps 26.2 fps

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, matching the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra in performance, and beating even the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017).

 

Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 84892 76096 56431 41486
3D SCORE 20812 18816 15458 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 12069 10861 10511 3188
– 3D (Garden) 8743 7952 4947 1679
UX SCORE 33130 26794 18496 17640
– UX Data Secure 6684 5077 5295 4885
– UX Data Process 4290 4198 2612 2542
– UX Strategy Games 8163 7503 3671 2829
– UX Image Process 9626 6879 3373 3885
– UX I/O Performance 4367 3137 3545 3499
CPU SCORE 23253 23689 16459 14336
– CPU Mathematics 8083 6950 3132 3142
– CPU Common Use 6787 6311 5199 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 8383 10428 8128 6389
RAM 7697 6797 6018 4643

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, beating the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra by 11.6%, and the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) by a full 50%!

 

Our Verdict & Award

If you liked the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro, you will love the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada). It is literally an improved Galaxy A9 Pro, with a faster processor and a lot more RAM and storage. Samsung also upgraded the front camera with a 16 MP sensor, and gave the main 16 MP camera a dual-tone LED flash.

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) also features a thinner, curvier design that fits better in the hand. The only downside – it has a 20% smaller battery, with a 11.5% shorter battery life. The good news – it takes just under 1 hour 15 minutes to fully recharge the Galaxy C9 Pro!

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro’s cameras lack stabilisation, so if you are taking videos, it’s best to use a tripod or a gimbal. But both front and back cameras have great resolution and low-light capability, thanks to their wide f/1.9 lenses.

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If you wish to use two SIM cards and a microSD card simultaneously, you will be glad to know that the Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) has dedicated trays for two nano SIM cards and a microSD card.

Arguably, the main attractions are its large beautiful Super AMOLED display, coupled with its performance and large memory and storage capacities. They make the Galaxy C9 Pro a truly excellent entertainment / gaming device. Whether you like to watch movies or play 3D games, the Galaxy C9 Pro is well-suited to the task.

The Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro (Amazon | Lazada) is a great option for those who want a large phablet, and do not need a stylus. We like it so much, we think it deserves no less than our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Samsung!

 

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The Huawei Mate 9 (Editor’s Choice Award) Review

Huawei is the world’s third largest smartphone brand in the world, accounting for 9.5% of smartphone sales in Q4 2016. Spearheading their assault on Samsung’s position as the top Android smartphone brand in the world is their Leica c0-branded Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) smartphone.

In this review, we will check out the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) in great detail, including its Leica branded dual-lens camera. Find out why we awarded it our coveted Editor’s Choice Award!

 

The Huawei Mate 9 Specifications Comparison

In case you are wondering how much of a difference the Huawei Mate 9 brings to the table, here is a detailed comparison of its specifications to its predecessor, the Huawei Mate 8 (Amazon | Lazada). We also added the bespoke Huawei Mate 9 Porsche (Amazon).

SpecificationsHuawei Mate 9 Porsche DesignHuawei Mate 9Huawei Mate 8
Operating SystemAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Display5.5" AMOLED display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 ppi, 73.2% screen to body ratio)
5.96" IPS-NEO LCD display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi)
6.0" IPS-NEO LCD display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi, 78% screen to body ratio)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 4
System PlatformHiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 950
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A73 (2.4 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A73 (2.4 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A72 (2.3 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-G71 MP8 (900 MHz)ARM Mali-G71 MP8 (900 MHz)ARM Mali-T880 MP4
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (NXT-L29)
3 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (NXT-L09, NXT-L19)
Storage256 GB internal flash storage
NO microSD card slot
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (supports up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage (NXT-L29)
32 GB internal flash storage (NXT-L09, NXT-L19)
microSD slot (supports up to 256 GB, shared with SIM2)
Front Selfie Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens8 MP sensor with f/2.4 lens
Main CameraDual-lens camera with f/2.2 Leica lens
- 20 MP monochrome + 12 MP RGB sensors
- 2X hybrid zoom, OIS support
- PDAF and laser autofocus
- dual-tone LED flash
Dual-lens camera with f/2.2 Leica lens
- 20 MP monochrome + 12 MP RGB sensors
- 2X hybrid zoom, OIS support
- PDAF and laser autofocus
- dual-tone LED flash
16 MP sensor with f/2.0 lens
- PDAF autofocus, OIS
- dual-tone LED flash
ConnectivityWiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : USB 3.0 Type C port
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : USB 2.0 Type C port
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : microUSB port
SIM SupportSingle nano SIM
Dual nano SIM, Dual Standby
Single nano SIM (MHA-L09)
Dual nano SIM, Dual Standby (MHA-L29)
Single nano SIM (NXT-L09)
Dual nano SIM, Dual Standby (NXT-L29)
GPSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS
NFCYesYesYes
Fingerprint SensorYesYesYes
Battery4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery (non-removable)4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery (non-removable)4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery (non-removable)
Dimensions75 mm wide
152 mm tall
7.5 mm thick
78.9 mm wide
156.9 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
80.6 mm wide
157.1 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
Weight169 g190 g185 g
Available ColoursBlack GraphiteBlack Graphite, Space Grey, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic WhiteSpace Grey, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown

 

Unboxing The Huawei Mate 9

As a premium smartphone, the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) comes in a premium black box. Let’s take a look at what’s inside!

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Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • One Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) smartphone
  • One Huawei Mate 9 protective case
  • One Huawei Mate 9 quick start guide
  • One 22.5 W Huawei SuperCharge power adaptor
  • One USB Type C cable
  • One micro USB to USB Type C adaptor
  • One pair of Huawei earphones
  • One SIM card tray ejector pin

The inclusion of the Huawei Mate 9 protective case in the package is most welcomed, even though it only protects the back and the four corners of the Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada). At least it offers some protection out of the box, until you get a better case.

Next Page > The Huawei Mate 9 Key Features

 

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The Huawei Mate 9 Smartphone

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) is a 6″ phablet (officially 5.98″) with an IPS-NEO display. There was some confusion about its display and protection. Let us be clear – the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche (Amazon) has an AMOLED display, while the “regular” Huawei Mate 9 uses an IPS-NEO display. They are both protected by Gorilla Glass 3, not Gorilla Glass 5.

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) runs on the octa-core Kirin 960, with 4 GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM and 64 GB of internal flash storage. It is powered by a large 4,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery. All that is packed into a metal unibody chassis less than 8 mm thick.

The Huawei Mate 9 has a two-slot SIM tray on the left side. Depending on region, this may support a single nano SIM and a microSD card, or a hybrid SIM tray in which a second nano SIM can be used in lieu of the microSD card.

Like many premium smartphones, the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) uses the new bidirectional Type C USB port. To support users with existing micro USB cables and OTG drives, Huawei threw in a micro USB to USB Type C adaptor.

Somehow, Huawei managed to squeeze in the 3.5 mm audio port at the top. This will please people who enjoy using their smartphones as music players, but may prevent the use of external microphones.

 

Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The MHA-L29 version of the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability. However, only the SIM1 supports 4G calls and data, while SIM2 can only support 3G calls. The SIM card tray is located along the left edge, and supports two nano SIM cards.

The second SIM card tray is a hybrid SIM tray, which allows you to install a microSD card instead. In other words, it supports either a second nano SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. In the MHA-L09 version, the tray only supports one nano SIM card with the second slot dedicated to the microSD card.

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) uses a fingerprint sensor that is located at the back, just under the main camera. This is an all-aspect fingerprint sensor that unlocks the smartphone with just a touch. Huawei promises that it is 20% faster than the Huawei Mate 8’s fingerprint sensor.

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The Huawei Mate 9 Cameras

The Huawei Mate 9’s killer feature is its second-generation Leica-branded dual-lens camera. The camera uses a 12 MP RGB sensor to capture colour, and a 20 MP monochrome sensor to pick up the finer details. Their output are then combined to produce the final image.

The dual-lens camera features f/2.2 Leica Summarit-H lenses with optical image stabilisation. The camera’s ability to reduce handshake in low light condition is further enhanced by the pixel binning ability of the dual lenses.

Its front camera though is more run-of-the-mill. It has an 8 MP front camera with autofocus capability. The wider than average f/1.9 aperture though allows for better low light selfies. That is important because the Huawei Mate 9 does not come with a front LED flash, or even support screen flash.

Next Page > Setting It Up, Ergonomics, Available Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The Huawei Mate 9

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) is a large 6″ phablet that is almost 8 cm wide, so it is definitely a two-handed device. While it does not boast a QHD AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche (Amazon),  its Full HD IPS-NEO display still looks great. No complaints here.

The anodised aluminium chassis is smooth to the touch, with a nice satin finish that imparts a nice shine and yet is resistant to fingerprint smears. If you feel that it lacks grip, slap on the provided clear case – it will give you more grip while protecting the back against scratches.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 2.3 GB (57.5%) is available for use. That’s plenty of free memory to run multiple apps at the same time.

As befits a premium smartphone, the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) has 64 GB of internal flash storage. Of that, 59.29 GB is available to use, which is just awesome. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) has an impressive dual-lens camera that Huawei co-designed with Leica. It boasts two separate RGB and monochrome sensors, both with Leica Summarit-H lenses. The full 20 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 5120 x 3840 and a file size of between 4.5 to 6.5 MB.

Here are 8 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

As these samples show, the amount of detail captured by the Leica dual-lens camera was quite astounding. Even the darker areas showed an amazing amount of detail. Even the night shot of Disneyland showed a surprising amount of detail, and very low noise. Simply amazing.

If there is a word of caution though, we have to point out that the Leica Summarit-H lens has an aperture of f/2.2. This is not as fast as the lenses on other premium smartphones, so low light conditions may result in blurry photos. The optical image stabilisation helps some, but the pixel binning capability only works if you take photos at 12 MP or less.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) is capable of recording 1080p and 4K videos. They are also encoded using the H.265 standard, which allows for much smaller file sizes. It also supports optical image stabilisation, although it does not seem to support electronic image stabilisation. To test out these capabilities, we took some sample videos.

 

Test #1 : Piano Recital

In this piano recital, the image resolution is so high you can see the sweat glisten off Mr. Yang I-Deun’s forehead. We also liked how clear the recorded sound was. The distinct lack of background noise was very impressive. The Huawei Mate 9’s control of the bright highlights was also pretty good.

 

Test #2 : Food Trucks

We did this short take of some food trucks to test out the image stabilisation capability. It did a pretty decent job of removing most of the shaking, but the jerking as I walked was rather pronounced. Some electronic image stabilisation capability would have been useful in reducing that.

 

Test #3 : Night Dancing

I think the first thing you will note is how clear the audio recording is. There is some colour noise from the low light areas like the floor, but the amount of detail you can pick out is still amazing. There is also very good control of the highlights in the background.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Huawei Mate 9’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Huawei Mate 9 ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 8
Work Performance Score
(Average)
7593 6313 6105 6350
Web Browsing 8717 6257 5782 8073
Video Playback 4987 4287 3321 4396
Writing 7883 7166 7463 6231
Photo Editing 9702 8262 9694 7352

The Kirin 960 is a surprisingly speedy processor. It beat the ZenFone 3 Ultra‘s Snapdragon 652, and even the Snapdragon 820 in the HTC 10!

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Huawei Mate 9’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Amazingly, the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) lasted 13 hours! That’s 40% longer than the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, which has the same battery capacity; and a full 1.5 hours longer than the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra with a larger 4,600 mAh battery. This is truly fantastic performance!

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) comes with a SuperCharge adaptor with a power output of 22.5 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the large 4,000 mAh battery.

It took the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) an astoundingly bad 401.5 minutes (6 hours 41.5 minutes) to recharge its battery from 19% to 100%. This is a battery life : recharging ratio of about 2 : 1 – a truly abysmal performance.

The SuperCharge capability does not seem to be working in our review sample, because the chart shows a linear increase in battery capacity over time. We would have expected a large boost in battery life that would taper off as the battery reached its maximum capacity.

Next Page > Gaming & Overall Performance, Verdict, Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Huawei Mate 9’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Huawei Mate 9 ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 8
Gaming Score 27853 17719 23171 18659
Graphics 36605 21124 27512 19993
Physics 15164 11328 14925 15127
Graphics Test 1 202.5 fps 115.2 fps 136.6 fps 122.5 fps
Graphics Test 2 131.1 fps 76.3 fps 106.4 fps 67.4 fps
Physics Test 48.1 fps 36.0 fps 47.4 fps 48.0 fps

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) did very well in this test, coming in 20% faster than the HTC 10, and 57% faster than the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra. It should have no problem handling any 3D game you throw at it.

 

Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

Huawei Mate 9 ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 8
TOTAL SCORE 123167 76096 113813 90737
3D SCORE 40114 18816 50700 17706
– 3D (Marooned) 23313 10861 34778 9829
– 3D (Garden) 16801 7952 15922 7877
UX SCORE 39975 26794 30890 34550
– UX Data Secure 7943 5077 6319 7338
– UX Data Process 6985 4198 3379 5513
– UX Strategy Games 11860 7503 5433 9745
– UX Image Process 5580 6879 9521 5017
– UX I/O Performance 7607 3137 6238 6937
CPU SCORE 31992 23689 21915 32255
– CPU Mathematics 9680 6950 8494 10483
– CPU Common Use 11139 6311 5931 8543
– CPU Multi-Core 11173 10428 7490 13229
RAM 11086 6797 10308 6226

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, edging out the Snapdragon 820-powered HTC 10. It did particularly well in the CPU tests, and less so in the 3D tests. However, it was still overall a very powerful smartphone.

 

Our Verdict

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) was everything we expected of it, and then some. Its headline feature – the Leica-branded dual-lens camera – was more than just marketing fluff. It actually delivered really impressive photos and videos, even in poor light conditions. That’s quite impressive since it uses relatively slow f/2.2 lens.

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The Kirin 960 SoC that powered it did not disappoint either. It delivered great CPU and graphics performance in every test we put it through. It also comes with plenty of memory and storage space. You will never need to worry about the Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) not being able to handle any app or game.

The Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada) also had a very impressive 13 hours of battery life in our test. The only downside though was its abysmal battery recharging performance. You will need at least 6 hours to fully recharge its battery. That, fortunately, seems to be its only major flaw.

Overall, we are most impressed with the Huawei Mate 9 (Amazon | Lazada). In fact, we like it so much, we think it deserves no less than our Editor’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Huawei!

 

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The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (helio X20) Phablet Review

Xiaomi broke ground when they launched their first smartphone. They were hardly the first to come up with an Android smartphone, and they won’t be the last company to try and break into that competitive market. But in just 4 years, they became the 4th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.

How did they achieve this? By making high-end Mi smartphones that are highly affordable. Their mid-range Redmi series are even more affordable. Today, we are going to take a close look at their latest phablet – the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBestAmazon | Lazada). To be specific – this is the helio X20 version of the Redmi Note 4.

Originally posted @ 2017-02-14

Updated @ 2017-03-26 : Updated various parts of the review, including the specifications of the helio X20 and Snapdragon 625 models.

 

The helio X20 Model

This is the Chinese model, powered by the 10-core helio X20, instead of the 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625. It also comes with the unique combination of 3 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage.

The Qualcomm models come with 2 GB  or 3 GB models with 32 GB of storage, and a rare, high-end 4 GB model with 64 GB of storage. Here is a comparison of both models for your perusal :

SpecificationsXiaomi Redmi Note 4 (10-Core Version)Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (8-Core Version)
Display5.5" IPS display (1080 x 1920)
- ~401 ppi pixel density, ~72.7% screen-to-body ratio
- 72% NTSC colour gamut
5.5" IPS display (1080 x 1920)
- ~401 ppi pixel density, ~72.7% screen-to-body ratio
- 72% NTSC colour gamut
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
System PlatformMediaTek helio X20 (MT6797M)Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (MSM8953)
Processor2 x ARM Cortex-A72 cores (2.1 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.85 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.4 GHz)
8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (2.0 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T880 MP4Qualcomm Adreno 506
Memory3 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM2 GB / 3 GB / 4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Storage64 GB eMMC 5.1 internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 128 GB), shared with SIM2
32 GB / 64 GB eMMC 5.0 internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 128 GB), shared with SIM2
Front Camera5 MP sensor, f/2.0 lens
- supports 1080p video recording
5 MP sensor, f/2.0 lens
- supports 1080p video recording
Rear Camera13 MP BSI sensor, f/2.0 lens, dual-tone LED flash
- supports PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus) technology
- supports 1080p video recording
13 MP BSI sensor, f/2.0 lens, dual-tone LED flash
- supports PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus) technology
- supports 1080p video recording
Connectivity4G LTE : B3, B5, B40 bands
3G : B1, B2, B5, B8 bands
2G : B2, B3, B5, B8 bands
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct, WiFi Display
Bluetooth : 4.1, HID
4G LTE : B3, B5, B40 bands
3G : B1, B2, B5, B8 bands
2G : B2, B3, B5, B8 bands
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n, WiFi Direct, WiFi Display
Bluetooth : 4.1, HID
SARSAR 1g limit: 1.6W/kg
SAR Value: 0.375W/Kg (Max 15mm distance)
SAR 1g limit: 1.6W/kg
SAR Value: 0.375W/Kg (Max 15mm distance)
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby
- primary SIM : 4G calls and data
- secondary SIM : 3G calls only
Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- primary SIM : 4G calls and data
- secondary SIM : 3G calls only
SIM Card OptionsHybrid SIM tray
- nano SIM + micro SIM, or
- micro SIM + micro SD card
Hybrid SIM tray
- nano SIM + micro SIM, or
- micro SIM + micro SD card
SensorsElectronic compass, accelerometer, proximity sensor, infra-red sensor, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, Hall sensorElectronic compass, accelerometer, proximity sensor, infra-red sensor, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, Hall sensor
GPS CapabilitiesGPS + AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDouGPS + AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
Battery4,100 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery (non-removable)4,100 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery (non-removable)
Dimensions76 mm wide x 151 mm tall x 8.45 mm thick76 mm wide x 151 mm tall x 8.45 mm thick
Weight165 g165 g

 

Unboxing The Redmi Note 4

Now that you know the difference between this Redmi Note 4 model, and the “regular” Redmi Note 4 models out there, let’s unbox it and see what we find inside!

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Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • One Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) phablet
  • One set of three documents – user guide, warranty, safety guide
  • One micro USB cable
  • One 10 W travel charger
  • One SIM tray extractor pin

If this seems minimalistic, this is how Xiaomi keeps their prices so competitive.

Next Page > The Redmi Note 4 (helio X20), Hybrid SIM, Fingerprint Sensor, Cameras

 

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The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (helio X20 Model)

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) is a small 5.5″ phablet with an IPS display that has a full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920. That gives it a high pixel density of 401 ppi, the same as that of the ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL). It also boasts a 72% NTSC colour gamut.

The Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) has a sleek aluminium chassis with two antenna bands running across the back at the top and bottom. The matte anodised finish is not only hard-wearing but virtually impervious to fingerprint smears. The aluminium chassis also gives the Redmi Note 4 a nice heft. At 165 g, it has a premium feel to it.

The Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) has a SIM tray on its left side, with the Power and Volume buttons on the right. It maintains the 3.5 mm earphone port at the top, next to an infra-red emitter. Yes, you can use the Redmi Note 4 as a remote control!

Sadly, Xiaomi stuck to the old micro USB 2.0 port, instead of the new bi-directional USB-C port. It’s a minor point though.

 

Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability. However, only the SIM1 supports 4G calls and data, while SIM2 can only support 3G calls. The SIM card tray is located along the left edge, and supports two nano SIM cards.

The second SIM card tray is a hybrid SIM tray, which allows you to install a microSD card instead. In other words, it supports either a second nano SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time.

The Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) uses a fingerprint sensor that is located at the back, just under the main camera. This is an all-aspect fingerprint sensor that unlocks the smartphone with just a touch.

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The Redmi Note 4 Cameras

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) has a 5 MP front camera with f/2.0 lens. The lens is fast, but the sensor is a little inadequate in this day and age.

However, the main camera has a 13 MP BSI sensor that supports phase detection auto-focus (PDAF), and is supported by f/2.0 lens and a dual-tone LED flash. It supports 1080p video recording with electronic image stabilisation (EIS). Later in the review, we will show you samples of the photos and videos we took.

Next Page > Setting Up The Redmi Note 4, The Ergonomics, Available Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The Redmi Note 4

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which should be familiar to many Android users. It is very easy to setup. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) isn’t a big phablet, so it fits well in our hands. That said, it is still a two-handed device – you need both hands to fully make use of it. The display is nice and sharp – no complaints there.

The anodised aluminium back is smooth to the touch, but watch out because it has less grip than other smartphones. You don’t want it falling because there is no Gorilla Glass protection! But the good news is – the surface is totally impervious to fingerprint smears.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) comes memory options of 2 GB, 3 GB and 4 GB. This model came with 3 GB of memory, of which half is available for use. That’s a decent amount of free memory to run several apps at the same time. 4 GB of RAM is nice to have, but not necessary is most cases.

What is really awesome to have in this Redmi Note 4 model is the 64 GB of internal flash storage. Of that, 55.6 GB is available to use, which is just awesome. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 128 GB).

Next Page > The Redmi Note 4 Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) has a very respectable 13 MP main camera. Resolution aside, it has a bright and fast f/2.0 lens, which should help in low-light conditions. The full 13 MP resolution is attained with the 16:9 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4208 x 2368 and a file size of between 1.6 to 2.8 MB.

Here are 12 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) is capable of recording 1080p videos, with electronic image stabilisation enabled. It does not have any optical image stabilisation built-in. To test its video recording capabilities, we recorded a public piano performance, and a street market. Check them out!

In the piano scene, the image quality is very good. There is also very good control of the highlights, with minimal blowouts. You can see that in the Padini store, and the bright entrance in the background. However, the audio recording is clear but sadly rendered horribly useless by a complete lack of noise reduction.

The street market shows how Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) suffers from a lack of image stabilisation. You can get pretty nauseous after a while! So if you are recording videos, try not to do it while you are walking. There is only so much electronic image stabilisation can do.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Battery Recharging Performance

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Redmi Note 4’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
5311 6405 5357 3884
Web Browsing 6038 8045 5643 3688
Video Playback 3873 3469 4487 3789
Writing 5862 7316 5944 4141
Photo Editing 5803 8246 5469 3933

It is important that the key advantage of the deca-core MediaTek helio X20 is not performance, but power efficiency. As the results show, it is about 17% slower than the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 that powers the ASUS ZenFone 3, and roughly equivalent to the octa-core Kirin 650 in the honor 5C.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Redmi Note 4’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) has a large 4,100 mAh battery, but surprisingly, it only lasted just over 9 hours in this test. This is 2.5 hours less than the ASUS ZenFone 3, which only has a 3,000 mAh battery!

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 comes with a 10 W fast charger. Take a look at how fast it recharges the large 4,100 mAh battery.

It took the Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada133.5 minutes (2 hours 13.5 minutes) to recharge its battery from 8% to 100%. This is a battery life : recharging ratio of about 4.5 : 1 – a decidedly lacklustre performance.

The recharging profile shows that the fastest charging up to the 85% charge level, before it tapered off to a slower recharging speed.

Next Page > Overall Performance, Gaming Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 85504 62761 53417 41486
3D SCORE 15453 18816 9842 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 9003 10861 5795 3188
– 3D (Garden) 6450 7952 4047 1679
UX SCORE 37378 26794 19297 17640
– UX Data Secure 6761 5077 5577 4885
– UX Data Process 4601 4198 2706 2542
– UX Strategy Games 8668 7503 4109 2829
– UX Image Process 13199 6879 3144 3885
– UX I/O Performance 4149 3137 3761 3499
CPU SCORE 25988 23689 19254 14336
– CPU Mathematics 8896 6950 4198 3142
– CPU Common Use 6835 6311 5947 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 10257 10428 9109 6389
RAM 6685 6797 5024 4643

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) is very fast in 2D graphics, but has rather average performance in the 3D tests. In this benchmark, its CPU performance actually beat that of the ASUS ZenFone 3, which is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 used in the “regular” Redmi Note 4 models.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Redmi Note 4’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 14608 13956 11560 7666
Graphics 16285 13484 11067 7511
Physics 10737 15903 13698 8265
Graphics Test 1 94.5 fps 80.5 fps 63.4 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 56.6 fps 46.1 fps 38.8 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 34.1 fps 50.5 fps 43.5 fps 26.2 fps

The ARM Mali-T880 MP4 GPU powering the Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) was just a tad faster than the average-performing Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU in the ASUS ZenFone 3. It will handle most 3D games quite well, but don’t expect it to handle the more strenuous 3D game titles.

 

Our Verdict

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) was everything we expected of it. It offers a ton of remarkable features in a well-built package at a very affordable price point. That has always been Xiaomi’s core strength, and they did not stray far with the Redmi Note 4.

The Redmi Note 4 boasts a 10-core processor with a decent GPU, a large amount of RAM and a very generous amount of internal flash storage. All packed in a sleek anodised aluminium chassis. Even its 13 MP main camera performed better than expected for its price point.

Sure, it is not the best device for 3D gaming, but it was never meant to be one. The Redmi Note series was designed to be a range of affordable phablets, not 3D gaming devices. And Xiaomi sure delivered on their promise with the Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada).

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If there is something we feel we must point out, it is its rather lacklustre battery life. Xiaomi may boast about the large 4,100 mAh battery, but it lasted far less than smartphones with smaller batteries. It also takes longer than expected to recharge the battery.

Again, please note that this is the 10-core helio X20 model, not the 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 model.

Due to its tremendous value for money, we think the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 (GearBest | Amazon | Lazada) deserves no less than our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Xiaomi!

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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The OPPO R9s Specifications & Hands-On Preview

OPPO just launched the OPPO R9s at an amazing price of RM 1,798 / ~US$ 399. The OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) emphasises the main camera, which now boasts a 16 MP Sony IMX398 sensor with a f/1.7 lens. This makes the OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) one of the most affordable smartphones with a top-of-the-line main camera.

In this article, we will share with you the full specifications, and our hands-on preview, of the OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) smartphone. Check it out!

 

The OPPO R9s Hands-On Preview

We had a few minutes to try out the OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) after its star-studded launch event. Check out our hands-on preview of the OPPO R9s!

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The OPPO R9s Specifications

Here are the OPPO R9s specifications. We will update them with more details, as soon as we get them from OPPO.

SpecificationsOPPO R9s
Display5.5" Full HD IPS display
- 1080 x 1920
Display ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 (Marshmallow) with ColorOS 3.0
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 625
Processor8 x ARM Cortex A53 cores (2.0 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 506 GPU
System Memory4 GB LPDDR3 memory
Storage64 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (up to 128 GB)
Front Camera16 MP sensor, with f/2.0 lens
- Screen Flash technology
Rear Camera16 MP Sony IMX398 sensor, with f/1.7 lens
- dual PDAF technology
Dual SIM SupportDual SIM, Dual Standby, with two nano SIM card slots
Fingerprint SensorYes, 0.2 second recognition
Battery3010 mAh lithium-ion polymer (Li-Po) battery (non-removable)
- supports VOOC flash charging
Dimensions74.3 mm wide x 153 mm tall x 6.58 mm thick
Weight147 g
Available ColoursGold / Rose Gold
Launch PriceRM 1,798 / ~US$ 399

 

The OPPO R9s Price & Availability

The local pricing for the OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) is an astounding RM 1,798 (~US$ 399) here in Malaysia. This is about RM 300 / ~US$ 69 cheaper than other countries!

The OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) can be pre-ordered from now until 13 January 2017 from OPPO Malaysia’s website, Lazada Malaysia, 11Street and the 1,200 OPPO sales points across Malaysia. It will also be available through Maxis and Celcom.

Delivery and first retail sales of the OPPO R9s (LazadaAmazon) will begin on 14 January 2017. It will be available first in Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur and VivaCity Megamall, Sarawak.

 

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The Flash Plus 2 Review – Feature Packed At A Great Price

Alcatel OneTouch recently rebranded their Flash smartphone division as a separate brand – Flash. Building upon their success with the Flash 2 smartphone, they introduced the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada). For our coverage of the launch, take a look at our article – Flash Plus 2 Smartphone Revealed!

The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) promises to offer even more value for money with a renewed focus on delivering mobigraphy – the ultimate mobile photographic experience. Let’s take a look!

 

Flash Plus 2 Smartphone Specifications

SpecificationsFlash Plus 2
(2 GB Variant)
Flash Plus 2
(3 GB Variant)
Display5.5" IPS display (1080 x 1920 pixels, 401 ppi)
1000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 160° viewing angle
MiraVision 2.0 image technology
ProtectionAsahi Dragon Trail Glass
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
SoC PlatformMediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755)
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T860 MP2 GPU (550 MHz)
Memory2 GB LPDDR33 GB LPDDR3
Storage16 GB eMMC internal flash storage (10.4 GB free)
microSD slot (supports up to 128 GB)
32 GB eMMC internal flash storage (25.4 GB free)
microSD slot (supports up to 128 GB)
Front Camera5 MP sensor with 1.12 μm pixel size
f/2.2 wide-angle lens (84.4°)
LED flash with CRI of 80
Rear Camera13 MP OmniVision OV13853 sensor
Phase-detection auto-focus (PDAF) technology
5P wide-angle f/2.0 lens (76.5°) with blue optical glass filter
Dual-tone LED flash
1080p video recording at 60 fps
ConnectivityTDD: B38/B40/B41; FDD: B1/B3/B5/B7
LTE CA4 R9 Cat.4 (150 Mbps / 50 Mbps)
UMTS 850/900/1900/2100
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
BT4.1/GPS/AGPS/Micro USB 2.0
Dual SIM CapabilityDual SIM Dual Standby
SensorsLight sensor, proximity sensor, G-Sensor, Accelerometer, E-Compass, Hall sensor, Gyro sensor
Fingerprint SensorYes, integrated with Home button
Audio CapabilityAKM4375 Chipset + NXP9890 Audio Amplifier
Stereo FM radio
Dual-microphone noise cancellation
Battery3,000 mAh lithium ion battery
Talk time: 16hrs(2G) / 15hrs(3G)
Standby time: 528hrs(2G) / 405hrs(4G)
Music Playback (headset default vol)(54h) / (speaker default vol)(12h)
Video Streaming WIFI (4h)
WIFI browsing (6h)
Video -H.264 (1080P) HW mode Video H.264 (1080P) (6h)
Fast Charging Capability9V / 1.67A fast-charging technology
Powered by the TI BQ25896 fast-charging chip
Size76.4 mm wide x 152.6 mm tall x 8.2 mm thick
Weight157 g
Available ColoursVenus Gold / Luna Silver
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Unboxing The Flash Plus 2

The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) comes in a classy matte black box. The heart-shaped accent above the Flash Plus 2 logo has a fingerprint imprint, just in case you are not aware that the Flash Plus 2 has a fingerprint sensor. 🙂

With all the contents unpacked, you will find the following items:

  • One Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) smartphone
  • One 15 W Travel USB charger
  • One set of Quick Start Guide, Warranty Certificate, Safety and Warranty Information booklets
  • One “Welcome to Flash Community” card
  • One micro-USB cable

Surprisingly, the Flash Plus 2 does not come with earphones, a case or a screen protector. They were notable accessories in the Flash 2 smartphone package.

Next Page > Design & Build, Inside The Flash Plus 2, Setting It Up

 

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Design & Build

With a 5.5″ display, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) is a phablet, hence the “Plus” in its name. Beneath the display, there is a home button flanked by a pair of backlit capacitive keys. The home button does double duty as a fingerprint sensor, which allows the Flash Plus 2 to be unlocked in a fraction of a second.

While fingerprint sensors aren’t new, the Flash Plus 2 is the first to include one in this price segment. The choice of combining it with the home button may not be to everyone’s taste though. It requires the Flash Plus 2 to be woken up from standby (by pressing on the home button or power button) before being unlocked.

The Power button and Volume control buttons are located on the right side of the Flash Plus 2, near the top. That is not a very ideal location for the power button, although most users will just use the Home button to wake up the Flash Plus 2.

On the bottom, you will find the micro USB 2.0 port near the left edge, with the microphone port near the right edge. You will find a second microphone port at the top of the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada), together with the headphone port. The two microphone ports helps with the noise cancellation, allowing for clearer audio to be recorded.

The biggest change from the previous Flash 2 smartphone is immediately apparent from the back. The Flash Plus 2 is the first model to feature a metal case. Now, it does not have a metal frame, or even a unibody design. Instead, it features a swappable metal back cover in the choice of two colours – Luna Silver and Venus Gold.

Even though it still uses a plastic frame, the metal back cover stiffens the Flash Plus 2, and gives it a more premium feel. The brushed aluminium finish also gives it a classier look. The top half of its back is dominated by its 13 MP camera, accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. The bottom half features a speaker vent with a slight bump to maximise audio output when placed on flat surfaces.

While phablets are usually less ergonomic for those with smaller hands, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) fits our hands quite well. This is probably due to the rounded edges on its back. They allow for a more comfortable grip, although the brushed finish feels a little slippery. On the other hand, the finish is virtually impervious to fingerprint smudges!

 

Inside The Flash Plus 2

Now, we will show you how to carefully remove the metal back cover to gain access to the two SIM slots and the microSD card slot.

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Setting Up The Flash Plus 2

When you power up the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) for the first time, it will take about 36 seconds to boot up. If you set it up as a fresh device, it will take you no more than 5 minutes to complete the initial setup. Check it out!

Next Page > The Flash Plus 2 Cameras, Display & Performance, Our Verdict

 

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The Flash Plus 2 Cameras

Like its predecessor, the Flash 2 smartphone, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) is focused on photography. Flash even coined a term for the ultimate mobile photography experience – mobigraphy. To achieve that, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) has a 5 MP front camera that not only uses larger 1.12 μm pixels, it is supported by a dedicated LED flash. The front camera also has a 84.4° wide-angle lens with f/2.2 aperture.

The 13 MP main camera at the back features PDAF (phase-detection autofocus) technology, which allows for faster focusing. It has a bright f/2.0 lens with a wide angle of 76.5° and a blue optical glass filter. It is supported by a dual-tone LED flash, for more realistic skin tones.

The main camera is not only capable of recording full HD (1080p) videos, it can even do so at 60 fps. So the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) is not only great for taking photos, it’s great for taking videos. But with limited storage, it’s best to add a microSD card if you intend to take many videos.

 

Display

The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) comes with a 5.5″ Full HD OGS (one glass solution) display with a pixel density of ~401 ppi. Coupled with MiraVision 2.0 technology, we find it very pleasing to our eyes in use. The screen looks crisp, with colours that aren’t overly vivid, while remaining properly saturated.

The screen brightness was pretty satisfactory, although the adaptive brightness feature does seem a little slow in responding to changes in ambient light levels. The viewing angles are mostly acceptable with minimal colour shift when viewing from an indirect angle.

The Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920 is perfect at this price point. It offers much greater resolution than competing devices with 720p displays, and you can really tell the difference. On the other hand, it saps less power than QHD displays (1440 x 2560) without a noticeable difference in sharpness.

The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) uses Asahi Dragon Trail Glass to protect its display. This is similar to Gorilla Glass, offering a little extra ruggedness as well as high scratch resistance. Despite not fitting the Flash Plus 2 with a screen protector, we had not encountered any scratches within our period of use.

 

Performance

Under the hood, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) is powered by the MediaTek Helio P10 SoC. Also known as the MediaTek MT6755, it has an octa-core processor that consists of a set of 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.8 GHz, and a set of 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores running at 1 GHz. It also has a dual-core ARM Mali-T860 MP2 GPU to handle 2D and 3G graphics.

The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) comes in two variants. The basic model has 2 GB of LPDDR3 memory and 16 GB of internal flash storage. A higher-end model comes with 3 GB of LPDDR3 memory and 32 GB of internal flash storage. The model we tested came was the 2 GB model with 16 GB of storage.

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As expected, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) generally ran very smoothly, and switched between apps instantly. However, we did notice some slight lag after 2-3 days of continuous use. It could be due to the lack of polish in the UI, or an overly aggressive memory saving algorithm.

So, how does the processing package compare to other smartphones? Here are some results from common benchmarks :

AnTuTu Benchmark : 41,896
GeekBench 3 : 781 (Single Core), 3014 (Multi-Core)
Basemark OS II : 879 (Overall Score), 506 (Graphics Score)

This is decent performance, albeit nothing to shout about. Overall, this is no speed demon, but it’s fast enough to get the job done.

 

Our Verdict

The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) is big jump in quality and capability from the Flash 2 smartphone. If you were impressed by the performance and value offered by the Flash 2 smartphone, you will undoubtedly be impressed by the Flash Plus 2. It is better than its predecessor in every way, and yet remains affordably priced.

Now, the Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) is not designed to take on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon | Lazada) or the HTC 10 (Amazon | Lazada). It is targeted at those who want an affordable phablet with decent performance and photographic capabilities. In that perspective, the Flash Plus 2 has certainly achieved its goal.

At its price point, you will be hard-pressed to find a smartphone with similar performance and photographic capabilities, a fast fingerprint sensor and build quality. The Flash Plus 2 (Amazon | Lazada) challenges the perception that you can’t have a decent smartphone with good photographic capabilities at an affordable price point. We can’t wait to see what Flash will come up with next!

 

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The Exclusive Huawei Mate 9 Preview + Launch Dates

On 3 November 2016, Huawei revealed not just the Huawei Mate 9, but also the bespoke Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design. Before their official launch, we were given exclusive access to the Huawei Mate 9, albeit only for a few short hours. We are now allowed to reveal to you the photos and details in our exclusive Huawei Mate 9 preview.

 

The Huawei Mate 9 Preview

The Huawei Mate 9 has a 5.9″ IPS display with a full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920. It is powered by the new Kirin 960 octa-core SoC, with 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM. The Kirin 960 offers four 2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 cores and four 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 cores, together with the powerful Mali-G71 MP8 GPU.

In the photography department, it boasts a second-generation dual-lens Leica-designed camera. This camera now pairs a 20 MP monochrome sensor with a 12 MP colour sensor. They both feature f/2.2 Leica lenses, and support optical image stabilisation (OIS).

How good is the new Leica-designed dual-lens camera? Take a look at this monochrome sample (full-size 20 MP @ 6 MB here). The new Huawei Mate 9 also comes with a 4,000 mAh lithium-polymer battery that supports Super Charge. Super Charge allows for very fast charging, thanks to its 22.5 W charger.

The Huawei Mate 9 will come with 64 GB of internal flash storage, and a microSD card slot that supports up to 256 GB of additional storage. It’s priced at €699 for Europe.

Sadly, that’s all we could take out of the exclusive Huawei Mate 9 preview session. We hope to get more hands-on time with the Mate 9 when it hits the stores (see the launch dates below).

 

Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design

For those who want something more exclusive, Huawei offers the bespoke Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design variant.

Available only in Black Graphite, the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design features a 5.5″ curved AMOLED display with a higher resolution of 1440 x 2560. It also comes with a whopping 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 256 GB of internal flash storage. However, it does not come with a microSD slot.

The other features of the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design remain the same with the “standard” Mate 9. It comes with the same processor and dual-lens Leica-designed camera. It will, however, retail for twice the “standard” Mate 9’s price at €1395 in Europe.

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The Huawei Mate 9 Availability New!

Huawei will launch the Mate 9 in these 12 countries first – China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand and the UAE.

Here in Malaysia, our sources say that the Huawei Mate 9 launch will take place either on the 18th (Friday) or the 24th (Thursday) of November.

 

The Huawei Mate 9 Models vs. Mate 8 Comparison

If you’re wondering how do the two Huawei Mate 9 models compare against the Huawei Mate 8, we prepared this comparison for your convenience.

SpecificationsHuawei Mate 9 Porsche DesignHuawei Mate 9Huawei Mate 8
Operating SystemAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Display5.5" AMOLED display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 ppi, 73.2% screen to body ratio)
5.96" IPS-NEO LCD display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi)
6.0" IPS-NEO LCD display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (368 ppi, 78% screen to body ratio)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 3Corning Gorilla Glass 4
System PlatformHiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 950
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A73 (2.4 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A73 (2.4 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A72 (2.3 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-G71 MP8 (900 MHz)ARM Mali-G71 MP8 (900 MHz)ARM Mali-T880 MP4
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (NXT-L29)
3 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (NXT-L09, NXT-L19)
Storage256 GB internal flash storage
NO microSD card slot
64 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (supports up to 256 GB)
64 GB internal flash storage (NXT-L29)
32 GB internal flash storage (NXT-L09, NXT-L19)
microSD slot (supports up to 256 GB, shared with SIM2)
Front Selfie Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens8 MP sensor with f/2.4 lens
Main CameraDual-lens camera with f/2.2 Leica lens
- 20 MP monochrome + 12 MP RGB sensors
- 2X hybrid zoom, OIS support
- PDAF and laser autofocus
- dual-tone LED flash
Dual-lens camera with f/2.2 Leica lens
- 20 MP monochrome + 12 MP RGB sensors
- 2X hybrid zoom, OIS support
- PDAF and laser autofocus
- dual-tone LED flash
16 MP sensor with f/2.0 lens
- PDAF autofocus, OIS
- dual-tone LED flash
ConnectivityWiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : USB 3.0 Type C port
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : USB 2.0 Type C port
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : microUSB port
SIM SupportSingle nano SIM
Dual nano SIM, Dual Standby
Single nano SIM (MHA-L09)
Dual nano SIM, Dual Standby (MHA-L29)
Single nano SIM (NXT-L09)
Dual nano SIM, Dual Standby (NXT-L29)
GPSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDSYes, with A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS
NFCYesYesYes
Fingerprint SensorYesYesYes
Battery4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery (non-removable)4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery (non-removable)4,000 mAh lithium polymer battery (non-removable)
Dimensions75 mm wide
152 mm tall
7.5 mm thick
78.9 mm wide
156.9 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
80.6 mm wide
157.1 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
Weight169 g190 g185 g
Available ColoursBlack GraphiteBlack Graphite, Space Grey, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic WhiteSpace Grey, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown

 

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Nokia 216 Dual SIM Feature Phones Announced

20 September 2016Microsoft today introduced the Nokia 216 Dual SIM, a new feature phone that keeps you entertained with apps and games, and are great for capturing and sharing selfies and photos day or night. The Nokia 216 Dual SIM will be available in Malaysia on 21 October, with a RRP (Recommended Retail Pricing) of RM169 / ~US$42.

The Nokia 216 Dual SIM

Featuring two cameras with LED flash, the internet-enabled Nokia 216 Dual SIM is a great feature phone for capturing and sharing special moments.

For entertainment and music, the Nokia 216 Dual SIM comes with an FM Radio, MP3 and video player, and Bluetooth audio support for headsets. The phone can store up to 2,000 contacts, and have a memory card support of up to 32GB. The rear camera LED flash doubles as a built-in torchlight to light up situations where you need it most.

Available in black, grey, and blue, Nokia 216 Dual SIM has a beautifully crafted polycarbonate shell that is built to last, and outstanding battery life that keeps you connected for longer.

“Microsoft’s feature phones are a range of trusted mobile devices that empower people with mobility and the ability to connect, discover and achieve more. They are long lasting, functional, and beautifully designed – and give you more for less”, said Vijay Thangavelu, Country Sales Lead, Microsoft Mobile Device Sales. “The Nokia 216 Dual SIM is our newest addition to the Microsoft feature phone family that offer the affordable connectivity features people need, combined with the entertainment features they want.”

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Nokia 216 Dual SIM Specifications

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) Phablet Review

The ASUS ZenFone 2 family of smartphones and phablets was notable for its use of Intel Atom processors, as well as their ambidextrous design. While the Intel Atom processors were powerful, they guzzled power and had trouble gaining traction in the smartphone market.

Hence, it comes as no surprise when ASUS revealed in Computex 2016 that the new ZenFone 3 series would be powered by Qualcomm processors instead. That decision probably contributed to Intel’s decision to quit the smartphone market for good.

You may have already seen our sneak peek of the new ASUS ZenFone 3 models at Computex 2016. Today, we are going to take a look at the big daddy of the ZenFone 3 series – the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) phablet!

 

ASUS ZenFone 3 Specifications Comparison

Here is how the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra compares against the other two ZenFone 3 models :

SpecificationsZenFone 3 Deluxe (ZS570KL)‏ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL)ZenFone 3 ‏(ZE552KL)‏
Display5.7" Super AMOLED
(1920 x 1080 pixels, 386 ppi)
79% screen-to-body ratio
3,000,000 : 1
contrast ratio
ASUS TruVivid technology
Bluelight Filter
6.8" IPS display
full-screen lamination
(1920 x 1080 pixels, 324 ppi)
79% screen-to-body ratio
178˚wide-viewing angle
ASUS TruVivid technology
Bluelight Filter
5.5" Super IPS+ display
(1920 x 1080 pixels, 401 ppi)
500 nits brightness
77.3% screen-to-body ratio
2.1mm slim bezel
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4Corning Gorilla Glass 42.5D contoured Corning Gorilla Glass
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
ASUS ZenUI 3.0
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
ASUS ZenUI 3.0
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
ASUS ZenUI 3.0
SoC PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 820
(MSM8996)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 652
(MSM8976)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
(MSM8953)
ProcessorQuad-core Kyro (2.15 GHz)4 x ARM Cortex-A72 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.4 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (2.0 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.4 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 530 (624 MHz)Qualcomm Adreno 510Qualcomm Adreno 506
MemoryUp to 6 GBUp to 4 GB LPDDR3Up to 4 GB LPDDR3
StorageUp to 128 GB (UFS 2.0) internal flash storage
microSD slot (Supports up to 2 TB)
Up to 128 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (Supports up to 2 TB)
Up to 64 GB internal flash storage
microSD slot (Supports up to 2 TB)
Front Camera8 MP, f/2.0 aperture
85˚ wide-viewing angle, Auto Focus
8 MP, f/2.0 aperture
85˚ wide-viewing angle, Auto Focus
8 MP, f/2.0 aperture, Fixed Focus
Rear Camera23 MP Sony IMX318 sensor
0.03 second TriTech auto-focus
6P Largan f/2.0 aperture lens
4 Stop OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
3-Axis EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization)
Dual-LED real tone flash
Sapphire lens protection
23 MP Sony IMX318 sensor
0.03 second TriTech auto-focus
6P Largan f/2.0 aperture lens
32 second long exposure
4 Stop OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
3-Axis EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization)
Dual-LED real tone flash
16 MP Sony IMX298 sensor
0.03 second TriTech auto-focus
6P Largan f/2.0 aperture lens
32 second long exposure
4 Stop OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
3-Axis EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization)
Dual-LED real tone flash
Sapphire lens protection
ConnectivityFDD Band 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 12 / 17 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 26 / 28 / 29 / 30
LTE Cat. 13 (600 Mbps / 150 Mbps)
UMTS:
Band: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
USB 3.0 Type-C, BT4.2 + A2DP + EDR
GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDSS
FDD Band 1 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 18 / 19 / 20 / 26 / 28
LTE Cat. 6 (300 Mbps / 50 Mbps)
UMTS: B1/B2/B5/B6/B8/B19
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
USB 2.0 Type-C, BT4.2 + A2DP + EDR
GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDSS
FDD Band 1 / 2 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 8 / 20
LTE Cat. 6 (300 Mbps / 50 Mbps)
UMTS: B1/B2/B5/B8
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11ac/USB 2.0 Type-C
BT4.2/GPS/A-GPS/GLONASS/BDSS
Dual SIM capabilityDual SIM Dual StandbyDual SIM Dual StandbyDual SIM Dual Standby
SensorsAccelerator / E-Compass / Gyroscope / Proximity sensor / Hall sensor / Ambient light sensor / RGB sensor / IR sensorAccelerator / E-Compass / Gyroscope / Proximity sensor / Hall sensor / Ambient light sensor / RGB sensor / IR sensorAccelerator / E-Compass / Gyroscope / Proximity sensor / Hall sensor / Ambient light sensor / RGB sensor / IR sensor
Fingerprint SensorYes, rear mounted below camera bumpYes, integrated with Home buttonYes, rear mounted below camera bump
Audio Capability5 magnet speaker
ASUS SonicMaster 3.0
Dual 5 magnet speakers
ASUS SonicMaster 3.0
FM Radio
5 magnet speaker
ASUS SonicMaster 3.0
Battery3000 mAh4600 mAh
Talk time: 34 hrs (3G)
Wi-Fi browsing (14.5 hrs)
Video Playback (12.5 hrs)
3000 mAh
Fast Charging18 W (9V, 2A) Adapter
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology
BoostMaster Fast Charging : 60% battery capacity in 39 minutes
18 W (9V, 2A) Adapter
Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 technology
BoostMaster Fast Charging : 60% battery capacity in 45 minutes
10 W (5V, 2A) Adapter
Size156.4 mm tall x 77.4 mm wide x 4.2 ~ 7.5 mm thick186.4 mm tall x 93.9 mm wide x 6.8 mm thick152.59 mm tall x 77.38 mm wide x 7.69 mm thick
Weight170 g233 g155 g
Available ColoursMetal finish:
Glacier Silver
Titanium Gray
Shimmer Gold
Metal finish:
Glacier Silver
Titanium Gray
Metallic Pink
Glass finish:
Sapphire Black
Moonlight White
Shimmer Gold
Aqua Blue

 

Unboxing The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra comes in a very premium black cardboard box, with a drawer for the accessories! Check it out!

Inside the box, you will find the following items :

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  • One ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) phablet
  • One set of ASUS ZenEar earphones
  • One set of ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra Quick Start Guide and warranty card
  • One 18W ASUS quick charger (supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0)
  • One Type C USB cable
  • One SIM tray ejector pin
  • Two serial number and IMEI stickers

ASUS is marketing the ZenFone 3 Ultra as a premium phablet, and they sure made sure it came with premium accessories. Very nice!

Next Page > Hands On The ZenFone 3 Ultra, Hybrid SIM, Fingerprint Sensor, Cameras

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZU680KL) Phablet

With a 6.8″ display, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra is a large phablet. It is just a little smaller than the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 tablet, albeit thinner at 6.8 mm. The large screen is just perfect for watching movies, because it has a screen resolution of 1080 x 1920. Flip it horizontally for the ultimate full HD movie player on-the-go.

Thanks to its metal chassis carved out of aerospace-grade aluminium alloy, it has a very premium feel. It has a significant heft at 233 g / 8.2 oz though, so calls are best made with a Bluetooth earpiece.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra places the Power button on the right, but retains the centrally-aligned Volume buttons at the back from its predecessor, the ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE601KL). We would still consider it an ambidextrous device.

Incidentally, it boasts two powerful 5-magnet speakers. However, they are both located at the bottom, so you can’t really enjoy stereo sound when you watch movies on the ZenFone 3 Ultra horizontally.

 

Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability. The two nano SIM card trays are located along the right edge, just above the Power button. The second SIM card tray is a hybrid SIM tray though. It supports either a second nano SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time.

The ZenFone 3 Ultra boasts a fast fingerprint sensor, integrated into the Home button. ASUS did not quote a specific detection time, but we can confirm that it is a fast fingerprint sensor. It takes 18 finger presses to train the fingerprint sensor though.

 

Cameras

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra sports a decent 8 MP front camera for selfies. While not as good as the 16 MP front camera of the OPPO F1s “Selfie Expert” smartphone, it has a higher resolution than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and is capable of recording 1080p videos. The only downside? It doesn’t even support screen flash.

The killer feature of the ZenFone 3 Ultra is its new PixelMaster 3.0 camera at the back. It features a 23 MP Sony IMX318 sensor, which boasts new features like fast hybrid autofocus and 3-axis electronic image stabilization.

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ASUS paired it with f/2.0 Largan lens with 4-axis, 4-stop optical image stabilization, and a second-generation laser auto-focus sensor.

What all that means is you can capture very high resolution photos and videos in poorly-lit conditions. Any blurring that occurs due to hand shakes and wobbles will be greatly reduced or eliminated.

Focusing is also much faster, thanks to the new laser sensor that accurately detects the range of objects in low light at up to 1.5 m away.

In addition to 1080p videos, the PixelMaster 3.0 camera can also shoot 4K videos. To top it off, it encodes the 4K videos using HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) to keep the file size small while maintaining a high level of image quality.

Next Page > Setting Up The ZenFone 3 Ultra, It’s Alive!, Available Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The ZenFone 3 Ultra

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, which should be familiar to many Android users. It is very easy to setup. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5 minutes to finish the setup process.

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It’s Alive!

When you power it up for the first time, you will revel in how sharp the 6.8″ IPS display looks. This is partly because the screen is laminated with the Gorilla Glass 4 cover. This not only makes the display thinner, it also increases contrast and reduces internal reflections.

Holding the ZenFone 3 Ultra in one hand is possible, but the weight means you will end up hooking your little finger around the bottom to prevent it from slipping. There is a One Hand Operation mode you can enable, but the ZenFone 3 Ultra is best used with two hands.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra comes with either 3 GB or 4 GB of LPDDR3 memory. Our review sample came with 4 GB of memory. Only 3.5 GB is usable, of which 1.5 GB is used by the Android operating system and background apps. This leaves only 2.1 GB of free memory to use.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra also comes with generous storage capacities of 32 GB, 64 GB and 128 GB of flash memory. Our review sample came with 64 GB of flash memory. Out of the box, just under 52 GB is available for use. That should be plenty enough for most users, but is expandable via a microSD card (up to 2 TB).

Next Page > PixelMaster 3.0 Camera Performance – Photos & Video Recording

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The resolution of the new PixelMaster 3.0 camera is amazing. The full 22.5 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 5488 x 4096 and a file size of 4-7 MB.

The noise level is remarkably low for such a high resolution sensor. The edges can get fuzzy at the edges, but only noticeable when you fully blow up each picture. The biggest issue is probably the camera’s tendency to blow out the highlights. You can see that in the clouds that lack definition, and light reflecting off the fruits and rubber balls.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra is capable of recording 1080p and 4K videos, with both 4-axis optical and 3-axis electronic image stabilization enabled. To test its video recording capabilities, we recorded a piano performance and a koi pond in both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Check them out!

As the videos show, the optical and electronic stabilization worked very well, greatly reducing the amount of hand shake. Remember, this is a rather heavy and large phablet, so the user will tend to shake more.

The amount of detail captured, especially in the 4K videos, is amazing. However, you can also see how the highlights are blown out. This is especially noticeable in the bright background behind the pianist, and the surface of the koi pond.

Until ASUS fixes this propensity to blow out the highlights, you will lose the details in the bright areas of any image.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life, Battery Recharging Performance

 

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Work Performance – PC Mark

We tested the ZenFone 3 Ultra‘s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Work Performance Score
(Average)
6313 6105 5357 4892
Web Browsing 6257 5782 5643 6908
Video Playback 4287 3321 4487 3218
Writing 7166 7463 5944 4629
Photo Editing 8262 9694 5469 5563

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor powering the ZenFone 3 Ultra did very well in this test, beating even the Snapdragon 820 processor used by the HTC 10, and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge‘s Exynos 8890 processor.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the ZenFone 3 Ultra‘s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Thanks to its 4,600 mAh battery, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra lasted almost 11.5 hours in this test. This is twice the battery life of the HTC 10 smartphone! Of course, the ZenFone 3 Ultra has 50% more battery capacity, but it also has a much larger display that uses more power.

It was not the best battery life we have seen in a phablet though. The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro still has the most exceptional battery life at 13 hours, albeit with a slightly larger 5,000 mAh battery and a longer recharge time.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra comes with an 18W fast charger that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0. What this means is you can recharge 60% of its battery in just 45 minutes.

It actually took the ZenFone 3 Ultra just under 114 minutes (1 hour 55 minutes) to recharge its battery from 16% to 100%. That’s a battery life : recharging ratio of 6:1 – very impressive!

As the chart shows, the fastest charging happens up to about the 80% point. It took only 60 minutes to recharge from 16% to 80%.

Next Page > Overall & 3D Performance, Our Verdict

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
TOTAL SCORE 76096 113813 53417 131246
3D SCORE 18816 50700 9842 40824
– 3D (Marooned) 10864 34778 5795 23336
– 3D (Garden) 7952 15922 4047 17488
UX SCORE 26794 30890 19297 42765
– UX Data Secure 5077 6319 5577 8169
– UX Data Process 4198 3379 2706 5966
– UX Strategy Games 7503 5433 4109 10745
– UX Image Process 6879 9521 3144 13878
– UX I/O Performance 3137 6238 3761 4007
CPU SCORE 23689 21915 19254 37882
– CPU Mathematics 6950 8494 4198 11831
– CPU Common Use 6311 5931 5947 10875
– CPU Multi-Core 10428 7490 9109 15176
RAM 6797 10308 5024 9775

The ZenFone 3 Ultra was fast in 2D graphics and CPU performance, but it did rather poorly in the 3D tests. It was far slower than top-of-the-line smartphones like the HTC 10 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, but it was also twice as fast as the Kirin 650-powered honor 5C.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the ZenFone 3 Ultra’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
Gaming Score 17719 23171 11560 28650
Graphics 21124 27512 11067 33685
Physics 11328 14925 13698 18810
Graphics Test 1 115.2 fps 136.6 fps 63.4 fps 162.9 fps
Graphics Test 2 76.3 fps 106.4 fps 38.8 fps 133.1 fps
Physics Test 36.0 fps 47.4 fps 43.5 fps 59.7 fps

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra did better in this test, coming in just 24% slower than the HTC 10, and 38% slower than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.

 

Our Verdict

Make no mistake – the ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra is a large, weighty phablet. You will either love it, or hate it.

If you want a large phablet to replace the cumbersome tablet + smartphone combo you have been using so far, you will love the large, beautiful 6.8″ display, and appreciate how solid and premium it feels. No cheap plastic for ASUS’ premium phablet. It even comes with the best earphones ASUS makes.

But if you want something svelte and light, the ZenFone 3 Ultra is definitely not for you. You will never fit it into a pocket, or actually use it with a single hand. That’s why ASUS made the ZenFone 3 and ZenFone 3 Deluxe models. The ZenFone 3 Ultra is meant for those who want a large phablet, period.

As far as performance goes, you are unlikely to be disappointed. It may not do well in 3D games, but it’s speedy enough in everything else. And it is absolutely fantastic as an entertainment device. Videos look great on the 6.8″ display, and the audio output is remarkably clear and loud.

It also has a long battery life, and recharges quickly – something you will appreciate if you are always on-the-go and have little access to a power point. Heck, it even supports reverse charging, allowing you to play the hero to your friends when they forget to bring their power banks.

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The PixelMaster 3.0 camera is really quite something. With 22.5 MP of resolution with a fast lens and advanced optical and electronic image stabilization, it can really deliver great photos and videos. The blown-out highlights are a disappointment though. ASUS should really work on correcting it.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra is, no doubt, the best phablet ASUS has ever made. A premium phablet, made out of metal and glass. It represents a massive upgrade in features and build quality over its predecessor, the ZenFone 2 Laser (ZE601KL). ASUS is definitely trying to move up the value chain.

However, such premium features come with a premium price. ASUS actually priced it at a premium over its nearest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro. You will have to decide if that the better PixelMaster 3.0 camera, larger storage capacity and screen size are worth the price premium.

 

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The Kirin 650-Powered honor 5C Smartphone Reviewed

When the honor 5X (Amazon) was announced in CES 2016, it was one of the most anticipated smartphones to hit the market in 2016. After all, it offers a 5.5″ full HD display with a metal allow body, a second-generation rim-free fingerprint reader, and a Qualcomm octa-core processor for less than US$220.

However, it was just a matter of time before honor introduced a variant powered by the new Kirin processors processors (more accurately known as SoCs) from HiSilicon, a sister company under Huawei. Check out the differences between the two models :

Specificationshonor 5Xhonor 5C
Operating SystemAndroid 5.1.1 with EMUI 3.1Android 6.0 with EMUI 4.1
Processor PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 616 (MSM8939 v2)HiSilicon Kirin 650
Processor4 x ARM Cortex A53 (1.5 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex A53 (1.2 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (2.0 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.7 GHz)
GPUQualcomm Adreno 405ARM Mali-T830 GPU
Display5.5" IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 resolution
- 403 ppi pixel density
- 72.5% screen-to-body ratio
5.2" IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 resolution
- 424 ppi pixel density
- 68.7% screen-to-body ratio
Memory2 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM2 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Storage16 GB flash memory
microSD card slot (up to 128 GB)
16 GB flash memory
microSD card slot (up to 128 GB)
Main Camera13 MP sensor
f/2.0 lens with single LED flash
13 MP BSI sensor with 5-element f/2.0 lens and single LED flash
Selfie Camera5 MP sensor
22 mm wide-angle f/2.4 lens
8 MP BSI sensor with 4-element f/2.0 lens
Dual SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby capability
- One MicroSIM slot + One nanoSIM slot
Dual SIM, dual standby capable
- Second SIM shared with microSD card
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz) WiFI
Bluetooth 4.1 (Class 1)
micro USB 2.0
802.11 b/g/n (2.4 GHz) WiFI
Bluetooth 4.1
micro USB 2.0
GPSGPS / AGPS / GLONASSGPS / AGPS / GLONASS
Fingerprint SensorSecond-generation, rim-free touch sensorSecond-generation, rim-free touch sensor
Battery3,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery (non-removable)3,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery (non-removable)
ChassisDiamond-polished aluminium alloy bodyAircraft-grade aluminum-alloy with brushed metal-effect finish
Dimensions76.3 mm wide
151.3 mm tall
8.15 mm thick
73.76 mm wide
147.1 mm tall
8.3 mm thick
Weight158 g (including battery)156 g (including battery)
Available ColoursSunset Gold / Dark Grey / Daybreak SilverSunset Gold / Dark Grey / Daybreak Silver

The honor 5C (Amazon) comes in 3 colour options, with the Grey and Silver options priced at ~$200 (RM 799), while the Gold model retails at ~$213 (RM 840). However, all three models have the same features and performance.

Now, let’s take a look at the new Kirin 650-powered honor 5C smartphone!

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Unboxing The honor 5C

The honor 5C (Amazon) comes in a hard aqua-coloured cardboard box, with a security seal on each side. In this video, you will witness our unboxing process and check out each component inside the honor 5C box. Take a look!

Inside, you will find the following items :

  • One honor 5C smartphone (Amazon)
  • One honor 5C travel charger
  • One micro USB cable
  • One honor 5C Quick Start Guide
  • One Huawei Warranty Card
  • One SIM card slot extractor
  • One strip of 6 IMEI number stickers

Next Page > The honor 5C Smartphone, Buttons & Slot

 

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The honor 5C Smartphone

The honor 5C (Amazon) has a large 5.2″ IPS display that covers almost its entire front – with a 68.7% screen-to-body ratio. To achieve that, honor eschewed the use of physical buttons, in favour of virtual on-screen buttons.

The back metal chassis comes protected with a plastic film that doubles as an information sheet, with labels and tips. This plastic film has cut-outs for the fingerprint sensor and camera, so you can use the honor 5C without removing it, especially if you intend to fit a case over it.

The honor 5C (Amazon) uses a second-generation rim-free fingerprint sensor. As you will later see in the Initial Setup video, it registers your fingerprint in fewer steps. It is also much faster and more accurate than the previous generation sensor at reading your fingerprint. Once you have used it, it will become second nature to turn on and instantly log into the honor 5C by simply touching the fingerprint sensor.


Although higher-end smartphones are trying to go ridiculously thin, the honor 5C (Amazon) is reasonably thick at 8.3 mm. The slight increase in thickness not only allowed the inclusion of a large 3,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, as well as an earphone port at the top.

Although not explicitly mentioned, the honor 5C has stereo speakers. The second speaker emits through the left row of ports in the picture above. The right row of ports is for the microphone. The honor 5C still uses a micro USB 2.0 port, instead of the newer reversible USB-C port.

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Buttons & Hybrid SIM

The honor 5C (Amazon) only has two physical buttons, because it uses virtual on-screen Android buttons instead of physical buttons. They are both on the right side – a volume switch and a Power button.

The honor 5C is Dual SIM, Dual Standby capable. However, you cannot use two SIM cards together with a micro SD card. Instead, it comes with a hybrid SIM slot on the left side. The tray inside fits two nano SIM cards, or one nano SIM card and a micro SD card.

Next Page > The Initial Setup, Memory & Storage, OTG Support, The Cameras

 

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The Initial Setup

This video will show you the initial setup process when you power up the honor 5C (Amazon) for the first time. If you do not need to restore a backup, the whole setup process should take about 2.5 minutes. Note how fast it takes to register a fingerprint.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The honor 5C (Amazon) comes with 2 GB of memory of the LPDDR3 type. The Android 6.0 OS and honor pre-loaded apps takes up about 1.1 GB of memory. This leaves you with only 692 MB of free RAM to use. It would be helpful if honor can cut down on the pre-loaded apps.

The honor 5C (Amazon) also comes with 16 GB of internal flash storage. This is expandable via a microSD card (up to 128 GB). Fresh out of the box, the honor 5C has 10.4 GB of available space (excluding the system files), of which 9.78 GB is free to use.

 

OTG Support

Please be aware that the honor 5C (Amazon) does NOT support USB OTG (On-The-Go) drives. If you plug any USB OTG flash drive into its micro USB 2.0 port, it will not be detected.

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Cameras

The main camera has a 13 MP sensor with a 5-element f/2.0 lens, supported by a single LED flash. The photos have a maximum resolution of 4160 x 3120 in the 4:3 format. If you prefer a wider format, the honor 5C will do that by cropping the image to 4160 x 2336 (16:9). It is capable of recording video in full HD quality (1080p) with electronic stabilisation.

The honor 5C’s front camera is a significant improvement over the honor 5X, boasting an 8 MP BSI sensor with a 4-element f/2.0 wide-angle lens. It will deliver a maximum photo resolution of 3264 x 2448 in the 4:3 format. Again, a wider 16:9 format will crop that to 3264 x 1840. It will record videos in 720p quality.

For a smartphone in this price category, the honor 5C (Amazon) comes with a pretty good set of cameras. We will examine its photographic and video recording performance later in the next page.

Next Page > honor 5C Camera & Video Recording Performance

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The honor 5C’s main camera has a 13 MP sensor with a fast f/2.0 lens, which allows it to take pretty decent photos in relatively low-light conditions. The photos have a maximum resolution of 4160 x 3120 in the 4:3 format.

honor did not reveal what sensor was used in the honor 5C (Amazon) smartphone, but the pictures we took look like they came from the same Samsung ISOCELL S5K3M2 sensor used in honor 5X.

The Samsung ISOCELL S5K3M2 is a relatively noisy sensor. If you blow up the picture on a desktop, you can see consistent noise (speckling and artifacts). However, they are only of real concern if you are going to make large prints of these photos.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The honor 5C (Amazon) can record full HD (1080p) videos with electronic stabilisation. This is an improvement over the honor 5X, whose main camera does not support electronic stabilisation. Here is a sample video we recorded of a piano performance by Mr. Yang I-Deun.


And this is a sample video taken at an ice skating rink.


The honor 5C (Amazon) did a better job of controlling the exposure of the subjects than the honor 5X. However, we noted some focus issues – it can sometimes lose and readjust focus, causing the subject to be temporarily blurred. Still, it was a decent performance for a smartphone at this price point.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Performance

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the honor 5C’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

honor 5C ASUS ZenFone Zoom Samsung Galaxy S6
Work Performance Score
(Average)
5357 5829 5078
Web Browsing 5643 5751 6788
Video Playback 4487 4536 3091
Writing 5944 5270 5918
Photo Editing 5469 8400 5357

The honor 5C (Amazon) may be powered by the mid-range Kirin 650, but these PCMark results show that the Kirin 650 is no performance slouch. In these work-related tests, the honor 5C actually keeps up with top smartphones like the ASUS ZenFone Zoom and the Samsung Galaxy S6.

 

Battery Performance – PCMark

We then tested the honor 5C’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The honor 5C (Amazon) lasted just over 11.5 hours on the PCMark stress test. That was a really amazing result, as this is a stress test that simulates the worst possible workload using work apps. In our real world experience, we had no problem using it for 16-18 hours with light loads, although its battery life dropped to about 8.5 hours while playing games.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The honor 5C (Amazon) has a large 3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery, but it does not have Fast Charging capability. In fact, it only comes with a 5 W travel charger. Even so, it was able to recharge its battery pretty quickly.

Our tests showed that the honor 5C (Amazon) will recharge from 19% to 100% in just 180 minutes (3 hours). This is very good performance, especially since it only uses a 5 W charger.

Note that it only took the honor 5C just over 2 hours to recharge its battery to 90%, and that the battery temperature did not go beyond 35°C.

Next Page > Overall & Gaming Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance – AnTuTu Benchmark

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

honor 5C ASUS ZenFone Zoom Samsung Galaxy S6
TOTAL SCORE 53417 65914 75222
3D SCORE 9842 16839 20579
– 3D (Marooned) 5795 9863 12475
– 3D (Garden) 4047 6976 8104
UX SCORE 19297 21371 24065
– UX Data Secure 5577 5896 5507
– UX Data Process 2706 4353 4392
– UX Strategy Games 4109 4118 6948
– UX Image Process 3144 2926 3413
– UX I/O Performance 3761 4078 3805
CPU SCORE 19254 23110 25402
– CPU Mathematics 4198 5196 7823
– CPU Common Use 5947 8699 7585
– CPU Multi-Core 9109 9215 9994
RAM 5024 4594 5176

The honor 5C (Amazon) did well in AnTuTu, coming in only 19% and 29% slower than the ASUS ZenFone Zoom and the Samsung Galaxy S6 respectively. This is surprising performance, since the Kirin 650 is only a mid-range chip.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the honor 5C’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

honor 5C ASUS ZenFone Zoom Samsung Galaxy S6
Gaming Score 11560 21372 21166
Graphics 11067 21748 23298
Physics 13698 20152 16031
Graphics Test 1 63.4 fps 112.6 fps 120.6 fps
Graphics Test 2 38.8 fps 81.5 fps 87.3 fps
Physics Test 43.5 fps 64.0 fps 50.9 fps

The honor 5C (Amazon) is pretty fast in 3D, but only half as fast as the ASUS ZenFone Zoom and Samsung Galaxy S6. The Kirin 650 may boast the ARM Mali-T830, but it still cannot beat the ZenFone Zoom’s PowerVR G6430 graphics processor, or the Galaxy S6’s ARM Mali-T760 graphics processor.

 

Our Verdict

When we reviewed the honor 5X, we were very impressed by its value proposition. It offered a solid set of features in a smartphone that costs less than US$220. The honor 5C (Amazon) follows the same philosophy but takes it one step further.

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Thanks to the use of the Kirin 650 chip, the honor 5C offers even better performance at a lower price point. The other key features of the honor 5X were maintained or even enhanced :

Full HD display? Check!
Aluminium alloy body? Check!
Dual SIM, dual standby capability? Check!
13 MP main camera with 1080p video recording? Check!
Fast fingerprint sensor? Check!

The honor 5C (Amazon) has one disadvantage though – it only comes with a hybrid SIM slot. That means you can choose to use a second nano SIM card, or a micro SD card; but not both at the same time. This may be a deal breaker for those who need to use two SIM cards since the honor 5C only has 10.4 GB of free storage capacity to use, and does not support USB OTG drives.

On the other hand, the honor 5C (Amazon) comes with a much better 8 MP front camera, with either a Sony or Hynix sensor. The front camera also has brighter f/2.0 lens, allowing for much better selfie shots in dim conditions. In addition, both front and rear cameras now support electronic stabilisation.

The honor 5C (Amazon) comes with the same 3,000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery as the honor 5X, but it now lasts 11.5 hours of non-stop benchmarking on PCMark. In real world usage, it should have no issues lasting 16-18 hours of non-stop use.

honor continues to impress us with their ability to focus on creating no-nonsense Android smartphones with practical features. The honor 5C is not flashy, but it’s sleek and packed with the only features you will really need. If you were impressed with the honor 5X, you will be even more impressed with the honor 5C (Amazon).

In fact, we like it so much, we are awarding it our Reviewer’s Choice Award! Congratulations, honor!

 

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HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM Smartphone Announced

Kuala Lumpur, 5 July 2016HTC today announced the HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM; combining vibrant, high-contrast colour and good looks with powerful specs, in a phone that truly stands out from the crowd. Striking colour combinations and a HD display encase a speedy octa-core processor, and HTC’s award-winning BoomSound audio profile to deliver a complete package that isas stylish asitis entertaining.

“Individuality has always been inour minds when creating a world class phone. This was indeed expressed with the dual tone color design of the HTC Desire 830 Dual Sim. We like to call this Stylish Individuality”, said Mr. Faisal Siddiqui, President, HTC South Asia. “Combining stylish features, the new phone is also able to capture life’s memories, deliver pulse-pounding music, watch vivid HD videos, anddo all of the things expectedof a modern smartphone. The HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM delivers both – balancing beauty with brains and unique and fashionable looks with incredible performance underneath.”

 

Style Leader

Breaking the mould, the HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM goes dual colour in style with vibrant, high-contrast colour combinations and a full, 5.5-inch glass front that blends seamlessly into the side frame for a cleaner look. Available in three colors, Cobalt White, Sunset Blue and Black Gold, the phone boasts two finishes, a soft matte that gives off a beautiful soft-touch feel and a glossy finish that gives it a sparkling and elegant look. At the same time, it is lighter and more slender than other phones in its class – weight at just 156 grams; it features specs that deliver astounding performance.

Not only the exterior of the HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM that is stylish and unique; with HTC Themes you can customise everything from wallpapers, icons, fonts and ringtones to suit your personality or mood. There are hundreds of professional looking themes from HTC Themes which you can choose, plus you can create your own themes based on your favourite photos.

With HTC Themes, your phone’s style goes more than just skin deep. Capture unshakably clear images The HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM features an advanced 13MP camera with Optical Image Stabilization technology, which detects hand movements within 0.125 milliseconds, and compensates by adjusting the lens in real time. The ƒ2.0 front camera with its wider lens lets you capture more scenery, or friends, in your selfies.

The Ultrapixel front camera takes Voice Selfies and features Live Makeup, allowing you tolook sensational almost anywhere. Next-Level Sound QualityPress play while you’re wearing your favourite earphones and you’ll hear how the HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM’s BoomSound audio profile enhances every sound, taking your music, films and games to the next level with clear vocals, deep bass and fine audio detail. The multimedia experience is enhanced even further with a 5.5-inch HD display that lets you see more detail, more drama and more action.

 

HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM Availabiliy & Pricing

All-Day Power and PerformanceA great phone is only as good as the processor, memory, and battery that keep it running smoothly. The HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM packs a 64-bit, octa-core 1.5GHz processor with 3GB of RAM. 32GB of built-in storage that can be augmented with MicroSD expansion to a whopping 2TB, while the whole package is powered with fast 5V/1.5A charging to get you up, running, and outof the door inno time.

The HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM willbe available in three exquisite colour combinations, Cobalt White, Sunset Blue and Black Gold. HTC Desire 830 Dual SIM is retailing at RM1,099 / ~US$275 in all key retailers and HTC stores from July onwards.

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HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM Announced

Kuala Lumpur, 14 June 2016HTC today announced the HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM, combining vibrant, high-contrast colour and good looks with powerful specs, in a phone that truly stands out from the crowd. Striking colour combinations and a HD display encase a speedy octa-core processor, super-fast front and back cameras, and HTC’s award-winning BoomSound audio profile to deliver a complete package that is as stylish as it is entertaining.

“People want more in a phone than just a black or white slab of plastic and glass – they want stylish individuality,” said Mr. Faisal Siddiqui, President, HTC South Asia. “At the same time, they want to be able to capture life’s memories, listen to pulse-pounding music, watch vivid HD videos, and do all of the things expected of a modern smartphone. The HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM balances both beauty and functionality, where unique and fashionable looks mixes with incredible performance underneath.”

 

Style Leader

Breaking the mould, the HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM goes dual colour in style with vibrant, high-contrast colour combinations and a full, 5-inch glass front that blends seamlessly into the side frame for a cleaner look. Available in two colors, Cobalt White and Sunset Blue, the phone boasts two finishes, a soft matte that gives off a beautiful soft-touch feel and a glossy finish that gives it a sparkling and elegant look. At the same time, it’s also lighter and more slender than other phones in its class – just 142g and 70.9mm thin – even while featuring specs that deliver astounding performance.

It’s not only the exterior of the HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM that is stylish and unique: With HTC Themes you can customise everything from wallpapers, icons, fonts and ringtones to suit your personality or mood. There are hundreds of professional looking themes from which to choose, plus you can create your own themes based on your favourite photos. With HTC Themes, your phone’s style is more than just skin deep.

 

Epic Photos Front and Back

When it comes to capturing those magic moments, the HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM has you covered front and back. The 13 megapixel main camera captures high-resolution photos and detailed 1080p video at up to 30 frames per second, and even takes great pictures in low light with its f/2.0 aperture and BSI sensor.

Plus, you’ll never miss that special photo opportunity with the main camera’s 0.4-second shutter speed. Meanwhile, the 5 megapixel front camera takes Voice Selfies and features Live Makeup, allowing you to look sensational almost anywhere.

 

Next-Level Sound Quality

Press play while you’re wearing your favourite earphones and you’ll hear how the HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM’s BoomSound audio profile enhances every sound, taking your music, films and games to the next level with clear vocals, deep bass and fine audio detail. The multimedia experience is enhanced even further with a 5-inch HD display that lets you see more detail, more drama and more action.

 

All-Day Power and Performance

A great phone is only as good as the processor, memory, and battery that keeps it running smoothly. The HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM packs a 64-bit, octa-core 1.3GHz processor with 3 GB of RAM. 32 GB of built-in storage that can be augmented with MicroSD expansion to a whopping 2 TB, while the whole package is powered with fast 5V/1.5A charging to get you up, running, and out of the door in no time.

 

HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM Pricing & Availability

The HTC Desire 628 Dual SIM will be available two exquisite colour combinations, Cobalt White and Sunset Blue for RM 799 (~US$ 199) at key retailers from today onwards.

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2016 Samsung Galaxy J Series Hands-On Preview

On the 15th of June, 2016, Samsung officially launched the 2016 Galaxy J Series of affordable smartphones – the Galaxy J7, the Galaxy J5 and the Galaxy J1. All three models boast two key features  – an Ultra Data Saving (UDS) Mode, and dual SIM, dual standby capability.

After the launch event, we had some hands-on time with all three models. Hope you enjoy our 2016 Galaxy J Series hands-on preview videos!

 

2016 Samsung Galaxy J7 Hands-On Preview

 

2016 Samsung Galaxy J5 Hands-On Preview

 

2016 Samsung Galaxy J1 Hands-On Preview

Now, let’s take a look at their specifications, prices and availability.

Next Page > Optimised For Data, Dual SIM Capability, Specification Comparison, Price & Availability

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The 2016 Galaxy J Series Is Optimised For Data

Arguably the key feature of the 2016 Galaxy J series is their Ultra Data Saving (UDS) Mode. The new UDS mode is designed to reduce data usage by up to 50%. It achieves this by compressing data that is uploaded and downloaded, while restricting data usage by background applications.

According to Samsung, the UDS Mode reduced data usage by up to 62% on Instagram and 46% on YouTube! This was based on their test results using Opera Max that was carried out from April 1-25. Of course, the actual results will vary according to your usage patterns.

As a bonus, the UDS Mode also frees up RAM, and increases battery life. In fact, Samsung says that the UDS Mode will double the 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphones’ standby time!

This is perfect for the next-generation data-only 4G LTE networks like the new Yes 4G LTE network.

 

Dual SIM, Dual Standby Capability

All 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphones come with dual SIM, dual standby capability. This gives you the flexibility of using two different networks in a single device. This is particularly convenient for frequent travelers who can now use their local SIM and international SIM cards simultaneously.

 

2016 Galaxy J Series Smartphone Comparison

In this table, we will compare the specifications of the 2016 Samsung Galaxy J7, J5 and J1 smartphones.

SpecificationsGalaxy J7 (2016)Galaxy J5 (2016)Galaxy J1 (2016)
Display5.5" Super AMOLED
1280 x 720 pixels
267 ppi
5.2" Super AMOLED
1280 x 720 pixels
282 ppi
4.5" Super AMOLED
800 x 480 pixels
245 ppi
Operating SystemAndroid Marshmallow 6.0.1Android Marshmallow 6.0.1Android Lollipop 5.1.1
SoC PlatformQualcomm MSM8952
(Snapdragon 617)

or

Exynos 7870
Qualcomm MSM8916
(Snapdragon 410)
Exynos 3475
ProcessorQuad-core 1.6 GHz
Cortex-A53 &
Quad-core 1.0 GHz
Cortex-A53

or

Octa-core 1.6 GHz
Cortex-A53
Quad-core 1.2 GHz
Cortex-A53
Quad-core 1.3 GHz
Cortex-A7
Graphics ProcessorAdreno 405

or

Mali-T830MP2
Adreno 306Mali-T720
Memory (RAM)2GB2GB1GB
Storage16 GB
(User Available 10.8 GB)
MicroSD slot
(Up to 128 GB)
16 GB
(User Available 10.9 GB)
MicroSD slot
(Up to 128 GB)
8 GB
(User Available 4.1 GB)
MicroSD slot
(Up to 128 GB)
Front Camera5 MP (f/1.9)
LED flash
5 MP (f/1.9)
LED flash
2 MP (f/2.2)
Rear Camera13 MP (f/1.9) Autofocus
1080p @ 30fps
Single LED Flash
13 MP (f/1.9) Autofocus
1080p @ 30fps
Single LED Flash
5 MP (f/2.2) Autofocus
720p @ 30fps
Single LED Flash
Connectivity4G FDD LTE:
B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B20/B28
4G TDD LTE:
B38/B40/B41
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
USB 2.0, BT4.1 + A2DP
GPS/GLONASS/Beidou
VoLTE, NFC
4G FDD LTE:
B1/B3/B5/B7/B8/B28
4G TDD LTE:
B38/B40/B41
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
USB 2.0, BT4.1 + A2DP
GPS/GLONASS
VoLTE, NFC
4G FDD LTE:
B1/B3/B5/B7/B8
4G TDD LTE:
B38/B40
UMTS:
850/900/1900/2100
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz
USB 2.0, BT4.1 + A2DP
GPS/GLONASS
VoLTE
Dual SIM capabilityDual Micro-SIMDual Micro-SIMDual Micro-SIM
SensorsAccelerometer
Hall Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Accelerometer
Hall Sensor
Proximity Sensor
Accelerometer
Proximity Sensor
Battery3300 mAh
(Removable)
3100 mAh
(Removable)
2050 mAh
(Removable)
Size
(Height x Width x Thickness)
151.7 x 76.0 x 7.8145.8 x 72.3 x 8.1132.6 x 69.3 x 8.9
Weight169 g158 g131 g
Available ColoursBlack, White, GoldBlack, White, GoldBlack, White, Gold
PriceRM 1049RM 849RM 449
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Price & Availability

The 2016 Samsung Galaxy J7, J5 and J1 smartphones are available beginning today, June 16, 2016 at all Samsung Experience Stores and authorised dealers, at the following recommended retail prices :

  • 2016 Galaxy J7 : RM 1,049 / ~US$ 262
  • 2016 Galaxy J5 : RM 849 / ~US$ 212
  • 2016 Galaxy J1 : RM 449 / ~US$ 112

All three models will be available in 3 colour options – BlackWhite and Gold.

 

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Samsung Reveals 2016 Galaxy J Series Smartphones

On the 15th of June, 2016, Samsung officially launched the 2016 Galaxy J Series of affordable smartphones. The launch event was held at the magnificent KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC), in partnership with Yes which officially announced their 4G LTE network as well.

There is a reason for this particular partnership between Samsung Malaysia and Yes. The new Yes 4G LTE network is a pure data network with VoLTE (Voice over LTE) capability. The new Samsung Galaxy J7, J5 and J1 smartphones have been optimised for the next-generation data-centric mobile network that Yes just announced.

 

Samsung Launches The 2016 Galaxy J Series

The launch event kicked off with Mr. Lee Jui Siang (Vice President of IT and Mobile, Samsung Malaysia Electronics) giving a quick overview of the 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphones and why they have been optimised for the new-generation data network.

Then Mr. Go Benn Lee (Product Manager, Mobile & IT Business Unit, Samsung Malaysia Electronics) presented the key features of the 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphones. Check it out!

This ended with an impressive dance performance to PSY’s DADDY. Enjoy!

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Then it was time for some hands-on time with the new Galaxy J7, J5 and J1 smartphones. We also got to meet up with new and old friends. Here’s my wefie with Jacob Yeoh, Deputy CEO of YTL Communications, Livan Bai of Priority Communications and Soo Yi of Samsung Malaysia. What an awesome night!

Okay, fun time over. Let’s check out the key compelling features of the 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphone, as well as their specifications, prices and availability.

Next Page > Optimised For Data, Dual SIM Capability, Specification Comparison, Price & Availability

 

Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!

The 2016 Galaxy J Series Is Optimised For Data

Arguably the key feature of the 2016 Galaxy J series is their Ultra Data Saving (UDS) Mode. The new UDS mode is designed to reduce data usage by up to 50%. It achieves this by compressing data that is uploaded and downloaded, while restricting data usage by background applications.

According to Samsung, the UDS Mode reduced data usage by up to 62% on Instagram and 46% on YouTube! This was based on their test results using Opera Max that was carried out from April 1-25. Of course, the actual results will vary according to your usage patterns.

As a bonus, the UDS Mode also frees up RAM, and increases battery life. In fact, Samsung says that the UDS Mode will double the 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphones’ standby time!

This is perfect for the next-generation data-only 4G LTE networks like the new Yes 4G LTE network.

 

Dual SIM, Dual Standby Capability

All 2016 Galaxy J Series smartphones come with dual SIM, dual standby capability. This gives you the flexibility of using two different networks in a single device. This is particularly convenient for frequent travelers who can now use their local SIM and international SIM cards simultaneously.

 

2016 Galaxy J Series Smartphone Comparison

In this table, we will compare the specifications of the 2016 Samsung Galaxy J7, J5 and J1 smartphones.

SpecificationsGalaxy J7 (2016)Galaxy J5 (2016)Galaxy J1 (2016)
Display5.5" Super AMOLED
1280 x 720 pixels
267 ppi
5.2" Super AMOLED
1280 x 720 pixels
282 ppi
4.5" Super AMOLED
800 x 480 pixels
245 ppi
Operating SystemAndroid Marshmallow 6.0.1Android Marshmallow 6.0.1Android Lollipop 5.1.1
SoC PlatformQualcomm MSM8952
(Snapdragon 617)

or

Exynos 7870
Qualcomm MSM8916
(Snapdragon 410)
Exynos 3475
ProcessorQuad-core 1.6 GHz
Cortex-A53 &
Quad-core 1.0 GHz
Cortex-A53

or

Octa-core 1.6 GHz
Cortex-A53
Quad-core 1.2 GHz
Cortex-A53
Quad-core 1.3 GHz
Cortex-A7
Graphics ProcessorAdreno 405

or

Mali-T830MP2
Adreno 306Mali-T720
Memory (RAM)2GB2GB1GB
Storage