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The Huawei Mate 9 Smartphone Review

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 Wiko U Feel Prime Smartphone Review

Wiko is a French smartphone company based in Marseille, that is focused on producing highly-affordable smartphones with a French flair. In this review, we will take an in-depth look at the Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) smartphone. The name’s a mouthful, but you will see why it is the “prime” model in the Wiko U Feel range.

 

The Wiko U Feel Prime Specifications

First, let’s start with the Wiko U Feel Prime’s specifications :

SpecificationsWiko U Feel Prime
Display5.0" Full HD IPS display with 2.5D edge
- 1080 x 1920 pixels, 441 ppi pixel density
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937)
Processor8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.4 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 505
Memory4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (800 MHz)
Storage32 GB internal flash storage (eMMC 5.1)
microSD card (up to 64 GB), shared with SIM2
Front Camera8 MP sensor with single LED flash
Main Camera13 MP PDAF sensor with f/2.2 lens and dual LED flash
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby
Hybrid nano SIM tray (SIM2 / microSD)
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat4 (150 Mbps / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth : version 4.1, LE
USB : micro USB 2.0
SAR ValueHead : 0.989 W/kg
Body : 0.803 W/kg
Fingerprint SensorYes, integrated with Home button
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Magnetic sensor, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor
FM RadioYes
GPSYes, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou
Battery3000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery (non-removable)
Standby TimeUp to 450 hours
Talk TimeUp to 28 hours (2G) / 21 hours (3G)
Dimensions69.9 mm wide x 142.5 mm tall x 8.7 mm thick
Weight150 g
Colour OptionsSilver, Anthracite, Gold
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Unboxing The Wiko U Feel Prime

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) comes in a flat cardboard box. Let’s take a look inside and see what we find!

Surprisingly, Wiko is quite generous with the U Feel Prime’s package. Inside, you will find a ton of stuff :

  • One Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) smartphone
  • One Wiko U Feel Prime clear TPU case
  • One Wiko U Feel Prime screen protector
  • One 7.75 W Wiko USB charger
  • One USB to micro USB 2.0 cable
  • One pair of Wiko earphones with four spare ear buds
  • One set of three SIM card adaptors
  • One SIM tray ejector pin and keychain holder
  • One set of Wiko U Feel Prime user guide and warranty card

Next Page > The Wiko U Feel Prime Key Features, Ergonomics, Hybrid SIM & Cameras

 

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The Wiko U Feel Prime Smartphone

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) is a curvaceous smartphone with a 5″ IPS display that has a resolution of 1080 x 1920.  It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core SoC and the Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU. It has 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal flash storage.

 

The U Feel Prime Ergonomics

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) has an all-metal chassis that curves around the back, offering great support to the hand. Even the glass cover has a 2.5D curved edge, which makes the U Feel Prime completely devoid of hard, sharp edges.

The matte finish feels nice to the skin, and is virtually fingerprint smear-resistant. Not that it matters once you slap on the provided TPU case.

Even though it fits our hand very comfortably, the Wiko U Feel Prime is still best used with two hands. You can use it with one hand, but it will require a fair bit of stretching and some juggling.

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Hybrid SIM

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) supports up to two nano SIM cards, and it has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability. However, it only comes with a hybrid SIM tray. The second SIM card (SIM2) shares the same slot as the microSD card.

You can either choose to use two nano SIM cards, or one nano SIM card and one microSD card. But not all three cards at the same time. Fortunately, the U Feel Prime (Lazada) comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory, which may obviate the need to install a microSD card for extra storage.

 

The U Feel Prime Cameras

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) comes with serious photography chops. Its front camera has a surprisingly high resolution 8 MP camera. It even has a dedicated LED flash for selfies in low light!

The main camera at the back has a 13 MP PDAF sensor with a dual LED flash. What’s interesting is the placement of the second microphone next to the camera. This may allow for better audio when you record videos.

Next Page > Initial Setup, Available Memory & Storage, Camera Performance

 

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Setting Up The Wiko U Feel Prime

The Wiko U Feel Prime (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.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR3 memory, of which 3.6 GB is available for use. The Android 6.0 operating system and pre-loaded apps use 1.2 GB, leaving 2.4 GB (60%) free for you to use.

The U Feel Prime (Lazada) comes with 32 GB of internal flash storage, of which just over 22 GB is free to use. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 64 GB).

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Camera Performance

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) has a 13 MP main camera, with a f/2.2 lens. The full 13 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4160 × 3120, and a file size of 2-4 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 you can see, the the camera has good resolution. It can produce good images but you must be very, very careful about the lighting. Too little light – the images come out blurry. Too much light, the highlights get blown out to kingdom come.

Next Page > The Performance Of The Wiko U Feel Prime

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

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

Wiko U Feel Prime ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
5449 6405 4954 3884
Web Browsing 5151 8045 5143 3688
Video Playback 5033 3469 4515 3789
Writing 5351 7316 4948 4141
Photo Editing 6355 8246 5243 3933

The Snapdragon 430-powered U Feel Prime (Lazada) did well in this test, coming in between the ASUS ZenFone 3 and the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017).

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the U Feel Prime’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Wiko U Feel Prime ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 9590 13956 13540 7666
Graphics 9764 13484 13548 7511
Physics 9025 15903 13510 8265
Graphics Test 1 55.2 fps 80.5 fps 81.1 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 34.5 fps 46.1 fps 46.2 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 28.7 fps 50.5 fps 42.9 fps 26.2 fps

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) is not meant to be a gaming smartphone though. It was faster than the OPPO F1s, but it was nowhere as fast as the ASUS ZenFone 3 or the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017).

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Overall Performance

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

Wiko U Feel Prime ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 44446 62761 56431 41486
3D SCORE 9443 18816 15458 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 5794 10861 10511 3188
– 3D (Garden) 3649 7952 4947 1679
UX SCORE 15803 26794 18496 17640
– UX Data Secure 4070 5077 5295 4885
– UX Data Process 2129 4198 2612 2542
– UX Strategy Games 2860 7503 3671 2829
– UX Image Process 4065 6879 3373 3885
– UX I/O Performance 2679 3137 3545 3499
CPU SCORE 14438 23689 16459 14336
– CPU Mathematics 2938 6950 3132 3142
– CPU Common Use 4727 6311 5199 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 6773 10428 8128 6389
RAM 4762 6797 6018 4643

Again, the Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) did not do well in the 2D and 3D graphics tests. It matched the OPPO F1s in CPU and memory performance.

Next Page > Our Verdict On The Wiko U Feel Prime Smartphone

 

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Our Verdict

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) is kind of a hidden gem. It is not a smartphone that you will hear people clamouring to buy. Wiko is, after all, a relatively unknown brand in these parts. But Wiko sure surprised us with what they were able to pack into the U Feel Prime.

Packed inside its 5″ metal chassis, is an octa-core Snapdragon processor, 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, with a 3,000 mAh battery. It also has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability, albeit with a Hybrid SIM tray. But that’s not all.

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The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) boasts an 8 MP front camera with an LED flash, and a 13 MP main camera with dual LED flash. The only problem with the main camera – it doesn’t perform well in poorly-lit or overly bright conditions.

The Wiko U Feel Prime (Lazada) has a physical Home button, with a fingerprint sensor integrated into it. But curiously, the U Feel Prime uses virtual buttons too, so you end up with two Home buttons. This curiosity aside, the U Feel Prime smartphone comes across as a rather polished design.

You may not have heard of the Wiko brand, but if you want a smartphone that offers great value for money, good performance, the U Feel Prime (Lazada) is worth considering. Especially if you want a complete package that includes the case, screen protector and earphones.

 

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The Evolution Of The Samsung Galaxy S8 Smartphone

Samsung has done it again – creating a smartphone with features that make people go oooh and ahhh. Two of them actually. But they didn’t start from scratch. The new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones had their genesis in their two highly-acclaimed predecessors – the Galaxy S7 edge and the Galaxy S6 edge. Let’s take a look at the evolution of the Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone!

 

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

The Samsung Galaxy S6 edge is famous for being the first smartphone to feature a display that curved at the two edges. But it also marked Samsung’s first foray into an all metal-and-glass design with a non-removable battery. It had an aluminium unibody chassis with Gorilla Glass 4 protection on both front and back aspects.

You may not recall it, but it was also the first Samsung smartphone to support wireless charging and Samsung Pay. Needless to say, the Galaxy S6 edge was very sexy, and impressed us greatly. The only things we didn’t like about it – the lack of a microSD slot, and the bottom location of the 3.5 mm audio port.

 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

The popularity of the Galaxy S6 edge ensured that Samsung would retain the curved edge display for the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.  They also retained the magnificent Quad HD Super AMOLED display. Why fix something that’s not broken?

Samsung fixed the biggest gripe users had with the Galaxy S6 edge, restoring the microSD slot in the form of a Hybrid SIM tray. They also renewed their emphasis on the main camera by using a new 12 MP Dual Pixel camera with f/1.7 lens. It was arguably the best smartphone camera of 2016.

But what the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge is probably best known for is its IP68 design. It is the first non-ruggerdised smartphone to be IP68 dust- and water-resistant all the time. That means you can immerse it in water without prior preparation, and it does not look like a brick!

What we didn’t really fancy – the limited internal storage (it had just 32 GB of storage initially), and the 5 MP front camera, which was so 2015.

 

The Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung built upon their highly-successful Galaxy S7 edge to create the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. It maintained the same curved screen and IP68 protection, albeit with a higher resolution WQHD+ display and Gorilla Glass 5 protection.

The removal of the edge moniker suggests that Samsung has decided to only use the trademark curved AMOLED displays in their Galaxy S family going forward. Samsung also removed the Home button completely, creating an incredible Infinity Display.

Samsung maintained the same highly-acclaimed 12 MP Dual Pixel camera from the Galaxy S7 edge, but gave the front camera a new 8 MP sensor with autofocus capability. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ also boast the iris scanner that was first introduced with the Galaxy Note7.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones have a dedicated button that activates the new Bixby artificial intelligence assistant. They can also be connected to the Samsung DeX dock, which provides you with a desktop-like computing experience.

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The Evolution Of The Samsung Galaxy S8

To better illustrate the evolution of the Samsung Galaxy S8, we prepared this detailed specification comparison of the new Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones, with their predecessors.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy S8+Samsung Galaxy S8Samsung Galaxy S7 edgeSamsung Galaxy S6 edge
Display6.2" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.8" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (570 ppi)
5.5" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 ppi)
5.1" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (front & back panels)
Operating System (At Launch)Android 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 5.0 Lollipop
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 8895
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8895
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
Samsung Exynos 7420
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM3 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
32 GB / 64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB internal flash storage
No microSD slot
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash16 MP Sony / Samsung sensor (1.1 µm) with f/1.9 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
None, single SIM only
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 8 (450 / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.2 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 6 (300 / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.1 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, IR Remote, GPS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear MountedYes, Rear MountedYes, Home ButtonYes, Home Button
Iris ScannerYesYesNoNo
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRM
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68IP68IP68None
Battery3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,600 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (Qi and PMA)
2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired only)
- wireless charging (Qi and PMA)
Dimensions159.5 mm tall
73.4 mm wide
8.1 mm thick
148.9 mm tall
68.1 mm wide
8.0 mm thick
150.9 mm tall
72.6 mm wide
7.7 mm thick
142.1 mm tall
70.1 mm wide
7.0 mm thick
Weight173 g152 g157 g132 g
Colour OptionsMidnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple GoldMidnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple GoldBlack Onyx, Silver Titanium, Gold PlatinumWhite Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald

 

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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!

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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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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!