Tag Archives: Phablet

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Kicks Off With Song Ji-hyo!

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Kicks Off With Song Ji-hyo!

Korean superstar Song Ji-hyo is here for a special occasion – the official launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 in Malaysia! Join us for the full coverage of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 launch event with Song Ji-hyo!

 

 

Introducing The Samsung Galaxy Note8!

In these two videos, Lim Kian Meng (Head of IT and Mobile Business, Samsung Malaysia) and Julian Thean (Head of Product Marketing, Samsung Malaysia) introduce the new Samsung Galaxy Note8 phablet and its key features.

Enjoy & Do More With The Infinity Display

The Galaxy Note8 has the biggest screen ever on a Note device, yet its narrow body makes it comfortable to hold in one hand. The 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity Display lets you see more and scroll less.

The new App Pair feature lets you create a custom pair of apps on the Edge Panel and simultaneously launch two apps with ease. You can now watch a video while messaging your friends or dial into a conference call with the number and agenda in front of you.

A New Way To Communicate With The S-Pen

With the Galaxy Note8, the enhanced S Pen unlocks entirely new ways to write, draw, and interact with the phone and communicate with friends.

It has a finer tip, improved pressure sensitivity, and features that enable users to express themselves in ways that no other stylus or smartphone ever has.

You can also share animated texts or drawings across platforms that support animated GIFs.

For overseas travels or when you come across a website in a foreign language, the improved S Pen Translate feature lets you hover over text to quickly translate not only individual words, but entire sentences in up to 71 languages, and instantly convert units and foreign currencies.

Take Better Pictures With Best-in-Class Camera

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is the first smartphone with two 12 MP rear cameras with Dual Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) on both the wide-angle and telephoto lenses. It also has an industry-leading 8 MP Smart Auto Focus front-facing camera for sharp selfies and video chats.

For more advanced photo-taking, the Galaxy Note8’s Live Focus feature lets you control the depth of field by allowing you to adjust the bokeh effect in preview mode and after you take the photo. In Dual Capture mode, both rear cameras take two pictures simultaneously and allow you to save both images; one close-up shot from the telephoto lens and one wide-angle shot that shows the entire background.

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Song Ji-hyo Loves Her Samsung Galaxy Note8

Song Ji-hyo was one of the Korean celebrities to get an advanced unit of the Samsung Galaxy Note8, and she tells us what she loves most about her Galaxy Note8 phablet.

She even demonstrated how to use her favourite feature in the Galaxy Note8 – Live Message!

 

Samsung Galaxy Note8 Price & Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 is available in Malaysia starting 21 September 2017, with a recommended retail price of RM 3,999 / ~US$ 949 (inclusive of 6% GST). It is available in three colour options – Midnight Black, Orchid Gray and Maple Gold.

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Wise Pad W7 Windows 10 4G LTE Phablet Review Rev. 3.0

There are many phablets in the market, but most of them are based on the Android operating system. So when a Windows 10 phablet hit the market recently, everyone took note. The Windows 10 phablet in question is the new Wise Pad W7. You will find it marketed as the Microsoft Wise Pad W7.

People immediately asked us to review it, and as if they were reading our minds, they sent us one! So today, we present to you, our review of the Wise Pad W7 Windows 10 phablet!

Updated @ 2017-06-23 : Updated the links in the review. Added more information on the included software. Reworked the Verdict.

Updated @ 2016-09-04 : Added new information on its manufacturer. Made various improvements and corrections to the review.

Originally posted @ 2016-08-18

 

Wise Pad W7 Specifications

SpecificationsWise Pad W7
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 10 Mobile
Display7" IPS display (540 x 960 pixels)
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 212 (MSM8909 v2)
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A7 cores (1.3 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 304 (400 MHz)
Memory2 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Storage16 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 64 GB)
Front Camera1.9 MP sensor (720p video recording)
Rear Camera5.0 MP sensor (720p video recording) with single LED flash and f/2.4 lens
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat4 (150 Mbps / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 810.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth : 4.1 LE
USB : Micro USB 2.0
GPSYes, A-GPS
FM RadioYes, but lacks antenna (earphones)
Battery3,200 mAh lithium-ion battery (11,840 mWh)
Dimensions13 cm wide x 21 cm tall x 5 mm thick

 

Phablet, Not Tablet

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There was some confusion about whether the Wise Pad W7 is a phablet or a tablet. Partly because the advertisement calls it a “tab“. Let us clarify this once and for all.

The Wise Pad W7 is a phablet, not a tablet. There are tablets of the same size, like the ASUS ZenPad 7.0, but tablets do not have telecommunication capabilities. They cannot make calls like smartphones or phablets can.

The Wise Pad W7, on the other hand, is a 4G LTE phablet. You can make calls on it, like any other smartphone or phablet. It’s called a phablet because it is a smartphone that’s the size of a small tablet.

 

Designed & Made By Microsoft?

What attracted people the most was the claim that the Wise Pad W7 was designed, made and sold by Microsoft. Perhaps it had to do with the product descriptions in the advertisement :

Microsoft has truly outdone themselves with this creation, introducing innovative features and designs that are sure to impress.

Microsoft has engineered a unique design that showcases the tab’s 7-inch display screen in the slimmest form.

We reached out to Microsoft for clarification. They informed us that the Wise Pad W7 is not an official Microsoft product, but an OEM product running on Windows 10. Of course, Wise Pad may have cooperated with Microsoft, or received their assistance, in developing this phablet.

Our further investigations revealed that the Wise Pad W7 is actually made by Meizu, and marketed in Malaysia by Blue Kor (also known as Meizu Malaysia).

This makes no difference to our review process though. However, we will refer to it as the Wise Pad W7, instead of the Microsoft Wise Pad W7.

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Unboxing The Wise Pad W7 Phablet

The Wise Pad W7 comes in a nice, shrink-wrapped box with the Microsoft logo prominently printed on the upper left corner. Let’s take a look inside!

The Wise Pad W7 is a low-cost phablet, so you only get the bare essentials :

  • One Wise Pad W7 phablet with a screen protector
  • One Wise Pad W7 user manual
  • One 10 W charger with one micro USB cable

Unfortunately, the Wise Pad W7 does not come with any earphones, even though it has a built-in FM radio. The FM radio requires a pair of earphones to be attached, to serve as its antenna.

Next Page > Wise Pad W7 Overview, Setup, Windows 10 Mobile & Apps

 

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Overview Of The Wise Pad W7

Now that it’s out of the box, let’s take a quick tour of the Wise Pad W7 phablet!

The 7″ IPS display is bright and vivid, but has a low resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. It lacks an oleophobic coating, so it smears very easily. However, it should not matter too much since you will likely install the provided screen protector.

The Wise Pad W7 comes with a 2 MP front camera that is okay for video chats, but takes noisy, low-resolution selfies. You will most likely rely exclusively on the 5 MP main camera at the back, which is supported by an LED flash.

The only physical buttons are located along the right side – a Power button and two Volume buttons. The micro USB 2.0 port is located at the top, together with the earphone port, and a compartment for the microSD and micro SIM cards.

 

Setting Up The Wise Pad W7

Let’s show you how the Wise Pad W7‘s initial setup process is like.

Unfortunately, the Windows 10 Mobile setup process is rather protracted. Android Marshmallow devices take no more than 5 minutes to boot and setup. The Wise Pad W7, on the other hand, took a whooping 82 seconds to start-up for the first time. Then after selecting the country of choice, it had to reboot, taking up an additional 53 seconds.

That’s not the worst of it though. After we set-up the Wise Pad W7, Windows 10 Mobile took an additional 2.5 minutes to decompress and install its apps. Generally, it will take you about 10-15 minutes to setup the Wise Pad W7.

 

Windows 10 Mobile

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Another point of confusion for many potential users is the fact that they marketed it as a Windows 10 tablet. It gave the impression that the Wise Pad W7 is a smaller and far more affordable version of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

The Wise Pad W7 actually runs on Windows 10 Mobile. This is the mobile version of Windows 10, that is designed to look and feel like Windows 10. However, unlike devices running on actual Windows 10, it is not capable of running Windows desktop applications.

Think of the Wise Pad W7 as a larger version of the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones. It will run Windows Mobile or Windows Phone applications, and comes bundled with Office for Windows 10, and Microsoft Edge.

 

Built-In Microsoft Apps

What’s advantageous is the fact that the Wise Pad W7 comes with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, OneDrive, the Microsoft Edge browser and even Skype pre-installed. That takes care of the productivity requirements for most users.

You can literally start using it to do your work right out of the box. And the tight integration between those Microsoft apps allow you to sync your files and switch between your desktop and the Wise Pad W7 very easily.

Next Page > Wise Pad W7 Camera Performance – Photo & Video

 

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Camera Performance – Photo

The Wise Pad W7 has a 5 MP main camera, with f/2.4 lens and an LED flash. It takes photos with a resolution of 2592 x 1456, with file sizes ranging from 650 KB to 1 MB. Here are some photo samples from the 5MP main camera.

The photos taken appear washed out, unless HDR is enabled. But because the lens is relatively slow, using HDR may result in blurry pictures. The highlights are also easily blown-out when HDR is enabled.

Generally, the pictures are okay for viewing on the Wise Pad W7 itself, or posting on social media. However, the camera’s limitations are very apparent when viewed on a high-resolution computer display.

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Camera Performance – Video

The Wise Pad W7‘s 5 MP camera sensor is capable of recording 1080p videos. However, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor powering the Wise Pad W7 is only powerful enough to handle 720p video recording. So you are limited to recording 720p videos. Here is a sample of the 720p video recording by the main camera.

Immediately, we can tell that the camera lacks optical image stabilisation. It supports electronic image stabilisation, but it does not help much in stabilising the image. You can see that the handshake is quite noticeable, even though we recorded this sample using two hands.

What is most distracting though is the camera’s inability to maintain focus. You can see the camera losing focus and seeking very often. The audio quality was also terrible, sounding really muffled and monotonous.

Next Page > Memory & Storage Capacity, Display Problems, Performance, Verdict

 

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Memory & Storage Capacity

The Wise Pad W7 comes with 2 GB of memory, and 16 GB of internal flash storage. Unfortunately, we cannot find out how much free memory is available for your apps to use. But we can tell you that out of the 16 GB of internal flash storage, you will have at least 10.75 GB of free storage space.

You can top up the storage capacity with a microSD card (up to 64 GB), which should be plenty enough for most users. The Wise Pad W7 also supports OTG drives, so you can easily transfer data.

 

Problems With The Display

The automatic brightness feature in the Wise Pad W7 does not seem to be working at all. Even though its light sensor is working (we checked), the Wise Pad W7 maintains the same brightness level whether it’s in the shade or in direct sunlight. Hence, the display was completely useless in bright sunlight. The workaround? Disable the automatic brightness feature and set the brightness manually.

The other issue we noticed was its improperly calibrated digitiser (touch panel). It appears to register our touches a few millimetres lower than expected. Unfortunately, there is no option to recalibrate the digitiser, so if you face this issue, you will need to learn to touch a few millimetres higher on the display.

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Performance

We tested the Wise Pad W7‘s performance using the AnTuTu benchmark, comparing it against the honor 5C and ASUS ZenFone Zoom smartphones.

Wise Pad W7 honor 5C ASUS ZenFone Zoom
TOTAL SCORE 31570 53417 65914
3D SCORE 1629 9842 16839
– 3D (Marooned) 1306 5795 9863
– 3D (Garden) 323 4047 6976
UX SCORE 14151 19297 21371
– UX Data Secure 9262 5577 5896
– UX Data Process 1202 2706 4353
– UX Strategy Games 2328 4109 4118
– UX Image Process 196 3144 2926
– UX I/O Performance 1163 3761 4078
CPU SCORE 11833 19254 23110
– CPU Mathematics 4385 4198 5196
– CPU Common Use 2763 5947 8699
– CPU Multi-Core 4685 9109 9215
RAM 3957 5024 4594

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 is slow, period. It may have four cores, but they are the slower ARM Cortex-A7 cores. It was particularly poor at graphics, due to its slow Adreno 510 graphics processor.

 

Verdict

The Wise Pad W7 is an interesting phablet. Mainly because it runs on Windows 10 Mobile. This can be a boon or a bane, depending on what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a ton of games and apps, then you are going to be disappointed with the limited choices in the Windows Store. But if you are only interested in using Microsoft applications like Word or Excel, then you will love the tight integration of those Microsoft apps into Windows 10 Mobile.

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The Wise Pad W7 was definitely not designed or manufactured by Microsoft though. The design and build quality is far from what you would expect from Microsoft. It is certainly very cheap, but it is a mixed bag of hits and misses. You will have to compromise with its limitations.

The Wise Pad W7 has a decent polycarbonate chassis with a matte metallic finish, but the display and the camera lens cover lack oleophobic coatings and are very easily smeared. The 7″ display has a lot more screen space than a smartphone, but it is limited by its low resolution of 540 x 960.

What really concerned us the most was the non-functioning auto-brightness feature and improperly-calibrated digitiser. We have no idea how it could have passed quality control checks at the factory. It also has a relatively small 3,200 mAh battery for its size. The much smaller ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom, for example, boasts a 5,000 mAh battery!

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor is just fast enough for work applications, but do not expect to play 3D games on the Wise Pad W7. The good news is that it sips power, so the Wise Pad W7 putters on longer than we would expect for its small battery.

 

Pros & Cons

To summarise, here are the pros and cons of the Wise Pad W7 phablet :

Pros Cons
  • Comes with Microsoft Office apps pre-installed and integrated
  • Decent polycarbonate chassis
  • Relatively decent battery life
  • Comes with a free screen protector
  • Very low cost Windows 10 option
  • No oleophobic coating on display and camera cover
  • Relatively low resolution display
  • Auto-brightness does not work
  • Improperly calibrated digitiser
  • Relatively slow processor
  • Relatively poor front and rear cameras
  • Relatively small 3,200 mAh battery

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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Greenery and Dazzling Blue Huawei P10 to arrive on May 5!

25 APRIL 2017 – Save the date! Come May 5th this year, Malaysians will be able to own Huawei’s latest flagship in the long-awaited Greenery and Dazzling Blue. The Huawei P10, co-engineered with Leica, is equipped with cutting edge technological innovations and now the latest on-trend colours, the P10 redefines what it means to be a flagship smartphone.

A photography studio in your pocket, that is just what the Huawei P10 (Amazon | Lazada) brings to the table. Featuring a Leica front camera, which complements the Leica dual rear cameras, the P10 is equipped with the most advanced photography technology to create modern artistic portrait masterpieces in Leica’s signature style. With features like studio-like re-lighting and 3D facial detection technology, the P10 brings the ability to produce beautiful photography in any environment to the masses.

 

The Greenery and Dazzling Blue Huawei P10

Huawei also sets a new standard in design by incorporating special colours into its latest flagship smartphone. By collaborating with Pantone Color Institute, the world’s pre-eminent thought leader on colour, Huawei presents the P10 in an all exclusive Greenery and Dazzling Blue.

Crowned as the official Pantone Colour of the Year 2017, Greenery delivers a clean and stylish sandblast finish, while the gorgeous Dazzling Blue Huawei P10 breathes character into the device through its Hyper Diamond-Cut finishing to produce a stunning glow effect. A smartphone that gives you world-class innovative technology along with exquisite aesthetics, the Huawei P10 (Amazon | Lazada) is truly a tool for everyone to express themselves in a unique way.

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“2017 is an exciting year for Huawei, and we have kicked off by launching one of the most technologically advanced smartphones to start year off with a bang. Since sales of the Huawei P10 started, we have received numerous request to bring in the P10 in the two unique Pantone colours, Greenery and Dazzling Blue, thus our decision to give our consumers what they want,” said Matthew Ng, Deputy Country Director of Huawei Malaysia. “The P10 is truly a complete device inside and out. From its powerful Kirin 960 processor, EMUI 5.1 interface and Leica cameras to its ultra slim, minimalistic and now expressive colours; the P10 is more than just a smartphone, it is a symbol of polished precision that is designed to be powerful and enjoyable at the same time.”

The Greenery and Dazzling Blue Huawei P10 (Amazon | Lazada) will be available in all Huawei Experience Stores and Display Zones nationwide starting May 5th this year, and will retail for RM2,499 / ~US$549.

 

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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 Meizu Pro 6 Plus Smartphone Revealed!

Meizu just revealed their top-of-the-line smartphone – the Meizu Pro 6 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). Our first impression when we first saw it was how similar it was to the Samsung Galaxy S7 (Amazon | Lazada). Check out their presentation and our hands-on preview, and see for yourself just how similar it is to the Samsung flagship smartphone!

 

The Meizu Pro 6 Plus Key Features

In this video, the Meizu Director for Asia Pacific Region, Mr. Gary Xu, revealed the key features of the Meizu Pro 6 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). He also touched on the Meizu M5 Note (Amazon | Lazada), which they also launched at the same time.

After the launch event, we had some time to try out the Meizu Pro 6 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). Here is our hands-on preview!

Here is a summary of the Pro 6 Plus’ key features :

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Full Metal Unibody – Touted as “Stronger Than Ever”, its metal unibody has a micro-arc design that takes 30 steps and 150 hours of precise craftsmanship.

High Performance – The Meizu Pro 6 Plus boasts the same Samsung Exynos 8890 SoC that powers the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon | Lazada). It also comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 64 GB of storage!

Large Beautiful Display – The Meizu Pro 6 Plus boasts the same beautiful Super AMOLED display used by the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon | Lazada). It’s just bigger at 5.7″!

Sony IMX386 Camera – Meizu equipped the Pro 6 Plus with the 12 MP Sony IMX386 sensor, which supports PDAF. It is paired with a f/2.0 lens that supports 4-axis image stabilisation, and a 10-LED circular flash.

USB 3.1 Type C – The Pro 6 Plus not only uses the latest bidirectional USB Type C port, it supports the USB 3.1 standard, allowing for much faster transfers.

24 W Fast Charging – The Pro 6 Plus has a 3,400 mAh battery with 24 W fast charging capability. A 30 minute charge is enough to recharge it to 60%!

The Meizu Pro 6 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) is available right now in three colour options – Gray, Silver and Gold. It is priced at RM 1,999 / ~US$ 439.

 

The Meizu Pro 6 Plus Specifications

SpecificationsMeizu Pro 6 Plus
Display5.7" Super AMOLED display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (518 ppi)
ProtectionAircraft-grade aluminium alloy unibody, with 2.5D glass
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow with Flyme 5
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 8890
Processor4 x Samsung Mongoose cores (2.0 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.5 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T880 MP10
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage64 GB internal flash storage
Front Camera5 MP sensor with f/2.0 lens
Main Camera12 MP Sony IMX386 sensor with f/2.0 lens
- 4-axis OIS, PDAF, laser AF, 10-LED ring flash
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat8
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz)
Bluetooth : v4.2
USB : USB 3.1 Type C
SIM CapabilityDual nano SIM, Dual standby
GPSGPS / AGPS / GLONASS
Fingerprint SensorYes, built into Home button
Other SensorsHeart rate, gravity, ambient light, IR proximity, gyroscope
AudioESS ES9018K2M decoder + ADI AD45275
Battery3,400 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- supports 24 W fast charging

 

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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 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 (SM-A720F) Review

We covered the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 quite extensively after its launch, with a look at its new IP68 capability and the 7 upgrades since the 2016 model. But there is nothing like a full review, and that’s what we are proud to share with you today – our comprehensive review of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 (SM-A720F) smartphone!

 

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 Specifications

Here are the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 specifications, compared against the 2016 model.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy A7 (2017)Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4Corning Gorilla Glass 4
Dust- And Water-ResistanceIP68-rated
- water submersion up to 1.5 m for up to 30 minutes
Not water-resistant
Display5.7" Super AMOLED (1080 x 1920 pixels)
- Always On Display
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
5.5" Super AMOLED (1080 x 1920 pixels)
- Corning Gorilla Glass 4
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 7880 OctaSamsung Exynos 7580 Octa
Processor8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.9 GHz)8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.6 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T830MP2ARM Mali-T720MP2
Memory3 GB RAM LPDDR3 (1066 MHz)3 GB RAM LPDDR3 (933 MHz)
Storage32 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 256 GB)
16 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 128 GB)
Front Camera16 MP fixed focus camera with f/1.9 lens5 MP fixed focus camera with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera16 MP PDAF sensor with f/1.9 lens13 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat.6
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
4G : LTE Cat.6
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
Fingerprint SensorYesYes
USB PortUSB Type Cmicro USB 2.0
Battery3,600 mAh lithium-ion (non-removable)
- supports Fast Charging
3,300 mAh lithium-ion (non-removable)
Wireless Charging SupportNoNo
Samsung Pay SupportYesYes
Dimensions77.6 mm (wide) x 156.8 mm (tall) x 7.9 mm (thick)74.1 mm (wide) x 151.5 mm (tall) x 7.3 mm (thick)
Weight186 g172 g
Launch PriceRM 1,899 / ~US$ 419RM 1,899 / ~US$ 499
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Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy A7

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes in the ubiquitous white Samsung cardboard box. Not as fancy as the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge‘s classy black box, but hey, it’s a completely different segment. Watch us unbox the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 in this video, and look at what we found inside!

Inside, you will find the following items :

  • One 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 smartphone
  • One Samsung 15 W adaptive fast charging travel charger
  • One USB 2.0 to Type C USB cable
  • One pair of Samsung earphones
  • One SIM card tray extractor
  • One set of  Quick Start Guides and Warranty Cards and a Region Lock Guide

Next Page > The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 Quick Tour & Key Features

 

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The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 Quick Tour

Before we go into the details of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, let’s take a quick 2-minute tour of its key features.

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 has a large 5.7″ display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It also uses a Super AMOLED panel, which gives very rich and vivid colours and true black. Perfect for watching full HD videos.

It is also notable as being the first Samsung Galaxy A series smartphone to boast IP68 dust- and water-resistance. That means it is rated to withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes.

On the left side of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, you will find two Volume buttons and the SIM1 tray. On the right side are a Power button and curiously, the speaker ports.

The microSD card and SIM2 card tray is located at the top of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, together with a microphone port. It supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity. The second microphone port is located at the bottom, together with the bidirectional Type C USB port and the 3.5 mm earphone port.

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Dual SIM, Dual Standby

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 has dual SIM, dual standby capability, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon). However, it has two dedicated nano SIM trays, instead of a hybrid SIM tray.

The SIM1 tray is located on the left side, while SIM2 shares the same tray as the microSD card. This is not a hybrid SIM tray so both a microSD card and a second nano SIM card can be used at the same time.

 

Fast Fingerprint Sensor

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes with a fingerprint sensor integrated into the Home button. Our tests showed that it requires about 21 finger presses to register a fingerprint.

However, it is very fast in recognising the fingerprint after it’s registered, and it has 360 degree fingerprint recognition.

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

 

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Initial Setup

When you power up the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 for the first time, it will take only about 24 seconds to boot up. If you set it up as a fresh device, it should take no more than 5 minutes to complete the initial setup. Check out our quick 3-minute video on the initial setup process.

 

Ergonomics

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is a large smartphone. It is actually larger and a bit thicker than the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), so it is best for those with larger hands. Nevertheless, this is a two-handed device.

Both the front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass 4, with a 2.5D edge cut for the front and a 3D curve for the back. The back glass cover naturally lacks the oleophobic coating of the front, which is great for grip, but makes it an absolute magnet for fingerprint smears.

As usual, the Super AMOLED display is a delight for the eyes. It may not be a QHD display like those on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), or the HTC 10 (Amazon).

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Available Memory & Storage

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes with 3 GB of LPDDR3 memory, of which half is available for use. This is about par with other smartphones with 3 GB of memory (e.g. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, OPPO F1s), and enough free memory to run several apps at the same time.

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 also comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory. Once you deduct 8.9 GB for the Android 6.0 operating system and apps, you have 23.1 GB of free space to use. This is pretty decent, allowing you to store about 4,000 photos, or record 180 minutes of 1080p video.

Don’t worry about running out of storage space with the Galaxy A7 though. It has a dedicated microSD slot that supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity.

 

Front & Rear Cameras

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 boasts a 16 MP front camera that uses Samsung’s own S5K3P8SX BSI sensor. It is capable of recording 1080p videos at 30 fps. Thanks to its f/1.9 lens, it has great low-light capability equivalent to that of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (Amazon) and Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon) smartphones. 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 S5K3P8SX sensor, paired with a single LED flash. It also boasts the same fast f/1.9 lens, which allows for better low-light performance. Let’s take a look at some sample pictures and videos in the next page!

Next Page > Camera & Video Recording Performance

 

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Camera Performance

The 16 MP Samsung S5K3P8SX BSI sensor has great resolution, which is obvious in the close-up shots of the rubber balls, cauliflower and flowers. However, it has a tendency to blow out the highlights (the bright reflections on the glass elevator) and white balance issues in certain scenes (the Dala horse).

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Video Recording Performance

Despite sporting a 16 MP sensor, the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s rear camera is limited to recording 1080p videos, even though it is capable of recording 4K videos. This is Samsung’s way of differentiating the Galaxy A7 from their premium models like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon).

Also disappointing is the lack of optical or electronic image stabilisation. While this is another product differentiation decision, I wished they would at least enable electronic image stabilisation.

To test the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s video recording capabilities, we recorded both a lion dance, and a street dance at night. Check them out!

First off, you can tell that there is a complete lack of image stabilisation. The videos were rather jerky, even though they were taken with two hands. Using a gimbal like the Osmo Mobile is highly recommended.

The bright background was completely overblown. But as long as it does not affect the main subjects, it actually acts as a kind of bokeh effect. The audio fidelity was also pretty good.

We were more impressed with the night scene. The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 did well in the Gangnam Style street dance, even though it was pretty dim. The subjects were reasonably well-exposed, and the noise level was surprisingly low. The bright areas were overblown, as expected, but because they were in the background, it helped to keep focus on the subjects.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Performance

 

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Work Performance : PCMark

We tested the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
4954 6405 5357 3884
Web Browsing 5143 8045 5643 3688
Video Playback 4515 3469 4487 3789
Writing 4948 7316 5944 4141
Photo Editing 5243 8246 5469 3933

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is not the fastest smartphone in this comparison, particularly in the Web Browsing and Writing tests. However, it came up tops in the Video Playback test. Overall, it was a decent, if unspectacular performer, in this benchmark.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 lasted an astounding 12 hours on the PCMark stress test on its 3,600 mAh battery. The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (Amazon) is the only Samsung smartphone to comes close to its battery life, and that’s because it has a 5,000 mAh battery.

In our real world experience, we had no problem using it for a full day with light loads.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s remarkable battery life is thanks to its 3,600 mAh battery, which is about 9% larger than the 2016 model. But does it take much longer to recharge? Let’s find out!

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 supports quick charging, and even comes with a 15 W fast adaptive charger. Our tests showed that the Galaxy A7 will recharge from 18% to 100% in just 100 minutes (1 hours and 40 minutes). This is very good performance, with an incredible battery life : recharging ratio of 7.2 : 1.

Next Page > Overall & Gaming Performance, Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance – AnTuTu Benchmark

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

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 56431 62761 53417 41486
3D SCORE 15458 18816 9842 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 10511 10861 5795 3188
– 3D (Garden) 4947 7952 4047 1679
UX SCORE 18496 26794 19297 17640
– UX Data Secure 5295 5077 5577 4885
– UX Data Process 2612 4198 2706 2542
– UX Strategy Games 3671 7503 4109 2829
– UX Image Process 3373 6879 3144 3885
– UX I/O Performance 3545 3137 3761 3499
CPU SCORE 16459 23689 19254 14336
– CPU Mathematics 3132 6950 4198 3142
– CPU Common Use 5199 6311 5947 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 8128 10428 9109 6389
RAM 6018 6797 5024 4643

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 did not do so well in the CPU tests, coming in between the honor 5C (Amazon) and the OPPO F1s (Amazon). However, it did well in the 3D tests, coming in close to the performance of the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon).

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7‘s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) ASUS ZenFone 3 honor 5C OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 13540 13956 11560 7666
Graphics 13548 13484 11067 7511
Physics 13510 15903 13698 8265
Graphics Test 1 81.1 fps 80.5 fps 63.4 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 46.2 fps 46.1 fps 38.8 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 42.9 fps 50.5 fps 43.5 fps 26.2 fps

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 did well in this 3D gaming test, virtually matching the performance of the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon). It was only slightly slower in the Physics test.

 

Our Verdict & Award

The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is a big upgrade from the 2016 model, offering IP68 dust- and water-resistance, a 20% faster processor, twice as much storage and a new 16 MP front camera. It also boasts the new bidirectional Type C USB port and a bigger fast charging battery.

The dual 16 MP cameras of the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 is a unique development. It appears to be Samsung’s first salvo at OPPO and their focus on high-resolution front cameras. In fact, its dual 16 MP cameras appear to be a direct competitor against the OPPO R9s, which was launched at the same time.

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Samsung is also positioning the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 as the affordable version of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon). It packs many of the Galaxy S7 edge‘s key features with some tradeoffs. For example, it has higher-resolution 16 MP cameras but they can only record videos at 1080p, instead of 4K. They also lack both optical and electronic image stabilisation.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) still boasts the better cameras, a higher resolution QHD display and a wireless charging capability. The 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7, on the other hand, has better battery life, a larger display and separate SIM and microSD slots.

So which Samsung smartphone should you get? Samsung would love for you to buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon). But if you can’t afford it, that’s where the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7 comes in.

Despite our misgivings about the lack of image stabilisation of its cameras, and the 1080p restriction on video recordings, we are impressed with major upgrades Samsung packed into the 2017 Samsung Galaxy A7. We think it deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, Samsung!

Go Back To > First Page | ReviewsHome

 

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Huawei P10 Plus, P10 & P10 Lite Price, Specifications & Briefing

Fresh off their 2017 MWC revelations, Huawei knows we are all eager to know more about the new Huawei P10 Plus, P10 and P10 Lite smartphones. So they flew Justin Zhang, Huawei’s Senior Director of Smartphone Product Line Marketing, all the way from Shanghai to give us a product briefing on the new Huawei P10 PlusP10 and P10 Lite smartphones

Let’s check out the presentation, specifications, prices and availability! Stay tuned for our hands-on previews of the three Huawei P10 models.

 

The Huawei P10 Plus, P10 & P10 Lite Product Briefing

Justin Zhang, Huawei’s Senior Director of Smartphone Product Line Marketing in Shanghai, briefed us on the Huawei P10 family’s key features.

Here are some key points :

  • The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus boast the latest Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and the first under-glass fingerprint sensor.
  • The Huawei P10 family will feature the unique Hyper Diamond-Cut finish with micro pyramid facets.
  • The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus will have an improved dual lens camera, with a 12 MP RGB sensor and a higher-resolution 20 MP monochrome sensor.
  • The Huawei P10 Plus will have a brighter Leica Summilux-H f/1.8 lens, with optical image stabilisation (OIS) capability.[adrotate banner=”4″]
  • The Huawei P10 retains the original Summarit-H f/2.2 lens.
  • The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus will have a Leica front camera with f /1.9 lens.
  • The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are powered by the Kirin 960, while the Huawei P10 Lite is powered by the Kirin 655 SoC.
  • The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus come with the Huawei SuperCharge capability, for low-voltage, low temperature fast charging.
  • The Huawei P10 and P10 Plus boast four LTE antennas (4×4 MIMO) and two WiFi antennas (2×2 MIMO) for better connectivity.

 

The Huawei P10 Plus, P10 & P10 Lite Specifications

SpecificationsHuawei P10 PlusHuawei P10Huawei P10 Lite
Display5.5" WQHD IPS display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels, 534 ppi
5.1" Full HD IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels, 432 ppi
5.2" Full HD IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels, 423 ppi
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5Corning Gorilla Glass 5Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Operating SystemAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.0 Nougat
PlatformHiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 960HiSilicon Kirin 658
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A73 (2.36 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A73 (2.36 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.8 GHz)
1 x ARM Cortex-A53 (2.36 GHz)
3 x ARM Cortex-A53 (2.12 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.7 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-G71 MP8 (1037 MHz)ARM Mali-G71 MP8 (1037 MHz)ARM Mali-T830 MP2 (900 MHz)
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 (1800 MHz)4 GB LPDDR4 (1800 MHz)4 GB LPDDR3 (933 MHz)
Storage128 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 256 GB, shared with SIM 2)
64 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 256 GB, shared with SIM 2)
32 GB internal flash memory
microSD slot (up to 128 GB, shared with SIM 2)
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby
- hybrid SIM2 slot, shared with microSD card
Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- hybrid SIM2 slot, shared with microSD card
Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- hybrid SIM2 slot, shared with microSD card
Selfie Camera8 MP sensor, with f/1.9 Leica lens8 MP sensor, with f/1.9 Leica lens8 MP sensor
Main CameraDual lens camera with f/1.8 Leica Summilux lens
- 12 MP RGB sensor + 20 MP monochrome sensor
- supports OIS, comes with dual LED flash
Dual lens camera with f/2.2 Leica Summarit lens
- 12 MP RGB sensor + 20 MP monochrome sensor
- comes with dual LED flash
12 MP camera with f/2.2 lens and LED flash
Fingerprint SensorYes, built into Home buttonYes, built into Home buttonYes, built into the back
ConnectivityNetwork : 2G / 3G / LTE
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, LE
USB : USB 2.0 Type C
Network : 2G / 3G / LTE
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, LE
USB : USB 2.0 Type C
Network : 2G / 3G / LTE
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, LE
USB : micro USB 2.0
Battery3,750 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)3,200 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
Dimensions74.2 mm wide
153.5 mm tall
6.98 mm thick
69.3 mm wide
145.3 mm tall
6.98 mm thick
72.0 mm wide
146.5 mm tall
7.20 mm thick
Weight165 g145 g142 g
Available ColoursGreenery, Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Graphite Black, Rose Gold, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver, Prestige GoldGreenery, Dazzling Blue, Dazzling Gold, Graphite Black, Rose Gold, White Ceramic, Mystic Silver, Prestige GoldGraphite Black, Rose Gold, White Ceramic, Sapphire Blue
Launch PriceRM 3,099 / ~US$ 679RM 2,499 / ~US$ 549RM 1,299 / ~US$ 289

 

Price & Availability

Malaysians can start pre-ordering the Huawei P10 Plus, P10 and P10 Lite smartphones starting 23 March 2017 at the Huawei Experience Store, Lazada and Vmall. Delivery and actual sales will begin on 31 March 2017 for the Huawei P10 and P10 Lite, while the Huawei P10 Plus will be available from 15 April 2017 onwards.

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The Huawei P10 Plus and P10 models will be available in two colour options – Prestige Gold and Graphite Black. The Huawei P10 Lite will be offered in the Sapphire Blue colour. The other colour options for all three models will only be introduced somewhere between the middle of May and June, 2017.

Huawei will also bring in the Huawei Nova Lite in April 2017.

 

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The OPPO R9s Plus Phablet Launch Coverage

On 1 March 2017, OPPO Malaysia finally launched the OPPO R9s Plus phablet in Malaysia. Their brand ambassadors and local celebrities, Min Chen and Ayda Jebat, also came to show off the R9s Plus phablet.

The OPPO R9s Plus features the 16MP Sony IMX398 camera with a f/1.7 aperture and Dual PDAF capability. This time though, the camera supports Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) with an anti-shake area that is larger than the ordinary OIS by 40%.

Users can also look forward to the newly launched Qualcomm Snapdragon 653 processor and 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage, coupled with an increased battery capacity of 4000 mAh. Let’s check it out!

 

The OPPO R9s Plus Presentation

 

In this video, OPPO Product Manager, Ken Ng, explains the key features of the new OPPO R9s Plus smartphone.

 

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), IMX 398 sensor and Dual PDAF technology

The OPPO R9s Plus brings forward the technology that made its debut in the OPPO R9s, in addition to a myriad of other advancements. The powerful 16MP rear camera comes equipped with an impressive SONY IMX398 sensor – a customized 1/2.8inch sensor that SONY and OPPO developed together.

Also making a comeback in the R9s Plus is the extra-wide f/1.7 super large aperture that captures 40% more light than previous generations. A new addition is the OIS feature of the R9s Plus. Designed to be a notch above ordinary OIS, the anti-shake area is larger by 40%. This means the R9s Plus is able to handle more jitter, in addition to more exposure time, promising users extremely clear and captivating night scenes.

Like its predecessor, the R9s Plus’ camera uses Dual PDAF technology, a next-generation upgrade from standard PDAF solutions. The first generation of PDAF has only “a half” pixel for focusing, but the Dual PDAF increases by 100% the area of the sensor’s pixel array equipped with the special photo diodes necessary for phase-detection autofocus, allowing lightning-fast focusing — even in low light — and producing crystal-clear images.

 

Powerful performance for the ultimate photography experience

The R9s Plus is powered by a 1.95GHz octa-core Snapdragon 653 processor and comes with 6GB of RAM. It comes packed with 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 128GB, allowing users to store an abundant number of meaningful moments captured with the R9s Plus’ impressive rear camera. The R9s Plus also sees an upgrade in terms of battery. It is now backed with a 4,000mAh battery, enabling users to capture clear and crisp photos with no worries!

 

Bigger is Better

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Another noteworthy upgrade is that the R9s Plus features a 6-inch Full HD panel, as opposed to the R9s’ 5.5inch. It runs on OPPO’s Color OS 3.0, based on Android 6.0.1.. Now, photography lovers can go through their masterpieces comfortably with the sizable screen. Not only that, daily activities that get you through the day such as gaming and watching dramas are definitely more enjoyable with the R9s Plus’1920 x 1080pixel display.

 

The OPPO R9s Plus Price & Availability

The OPPO R9s Plus is priced at RM 2,498 (including 6% GST) / ~US$ 549, and comes with OPPO CARE which covers accidental damage for 12 months. It is now available at all OPPO online and concept stores, telco and e-commerce partner sites.

 

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Lenovo Yoga Book & Phab 2 Smartphones Launched

7 December 2016: Lenovo just launched the Yoga Book and their latest series of Phab 2 devices which include the world’s first phablet that supports Google’s Tango technology.

The Yoga Book features the first-in-its-class Halo keyboard, which appears when a user needs to type, and disappears with the touch of a button, allowing the user to use the Real Pen, a dual-use stylus to sketch or take notes. The Phab 2 Pro is an incredible phablet which detects and maps its surroundings, making it possible for cutting-edge AR experiences, whether you’re measuring indoor spaces or raising a digital pet right in your bedroom.

 

 

The Lenovo Yoga Book

The Yoga Book re-examines how a tablet should look and act, with never-before-seen features such as an instant Halo Keyboard and a dual-use stylus that can write on both paper and the tablet.

Its thin and light design, 15-hour battery life, and 360-degree watchband hinge gives on-the-go tablet users the freedom to write and draw anywhere, matching the mobility of a smartphone without having to carry a laptop or a detachable. The availability of Wi-Fi (for Windows) or LTE (for Android versions) will ensure connectivity at all times, whether for work or play.

The Halo Keyboard weaves software and hardware into one interface. With the touch of a button, the keyboard appears and disappears allowing the user to switch from typing to sketching with ease. Users can also experience haptic feedback as they are typing and select the option of predictive typing for an improved typing experience that surpasses conventional tablets and matches that of physical keyboards.

Drawing inspiration from the elegance and simplicity of notebooks, the Yoga Book’s Real Pen accessory, which comes bundled with the product, allows users to write and draw with pen and paper while instantly digitising their notes and sketches.

 

The Lenovo Phab 2 Series

Phab 2 Pro

The Phab 2 Pro is the world’s first phablet powered by Google’s Tango technology – a set of sensors and software that detects and maps its surroundings to enable cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) experiences.

With Tango, the Phab 2 Pro is able to detect physical motion and space. The combined technology of Tango in the device allows for motion tracking, depth perception, and area learning. As a result, it has the power to change how users can interact with their surroundings. The Phab 2 Pro allow users to download various Tango apps to measure their furniture, envision an added sofa in their living room, or watch dinosaurs roam the streets again.

Besides its unique Tango feature, the Phab 2 Pro is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, 4G LTE connectivity, and cutting-edge time-stamping and camera and sensor processing capabilities.

The Phab 2 Pro features Dolby Audio Capture 5.1 with Dolby Atmos playback capabilities to help capture life’s moments on video with great quality audio. With Dolby Audio Capture 5.1, you can use crystal-clear 5.1-channel surround sound to record and share the full panorama of your life, adding amazing richness, clarity and depth to your special moments. Making this possible are three microphones, spatial capture with noise reduction, along with a 16MP camera that supports crisp video recording.

 

Phab 2 Plus

The Phab 2 Plus comes with dual 13MP rear cameras that have instant focus, fast F2.0 lenses and the same professional-grade Fujitsu Milbeaut image signal processor that powers the Leica camera.

Casual photographers can capture amazing pictures with crisp low-light shots, high contrast while retaining lifelike colours, high detail in the shadow areas and a captivating background blur. Meanwhile, the camera software incorporates a manual mode as well as other special effects.

 

Phab 2

The Phab 2 is an affordable AR smartphone with many of the attractive features found in higher-end models. The Phab 2’s AR mode, for instance, allows you to create more unique photos and videos by superimposing effects such as virtual backgrounds or cartoons onto your pictures – perfect for sharing on social media.

Other highlights include a huge 6.4-inch HD display, complete with a fast-focusing 13MP camera and 32GB on-board storage expandable via a microSD slot.

 

Pricing & Availability

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The Yoga Book in Windows or Android, which is bundled with the Yoga Book sleeve, Real Pen and Book Pad, will be available from end December onwards at all Lenovo Exclusive Stores. The Yoga Book will be priced from RM 2,599, inclusive of GST (~US$649) for either the Windows or Android version.

The Phab 2 series, bundled with a protective clear case, will be available at selected Lenovo Exclusive Stores and Lenovo Multi Brand Stores from mid-December onwards.

The Phab 2 Pro will be priced from RM1,899, inclusive of GST / ~US$ 475.

The Phab 2 Plus will be priced from RM1,299, inclusive of GST / ~US$ 325.

The Phab 2 will be priced from RM899, inclusive of GST / ~US$ 225.

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) Smartphone 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 ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) smartphone!

 

ASUS ZenFone 3 Specifications Comparison

Here is how the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) 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 (ZE552KL)

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) comes in a classy slate-coloured cardboard box. Wanna see what’s inside? We reveal it all in this video!

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Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • One ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) smartphone
  • One pair of ASUS earphones, with four spare earbuds
  • One set of ASUS ZenFone 3 User Guide and warranty card
  • One 10W ASUS quick charger
  • One Type C USB cable
  • One SIM tray ejector pin
  • One set of three serial number and IMEI stickers

ASUS is marketing the ZenFone 3 as the more affordable mainstream variant, and the bundled accessories reflect that.

Next Page > Key Features Of The ZenFone 3, Setting Up The ZenFone 3

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) Smartphone

With a 5.5″ display, the ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) is the smallest model in the family. However, because all three ZenFone 3 models have the same Full HD resolution of 1080 x 1920, the its display boasts the highest pixel density of 401 ppi. The much larger ZenFone 3 Ultra (ZE680KL), for example, has a pixel density of only 324 ppi.

The ZenFone 3 (Amazon) has a very premium feel, thanks to its use of 2.5D contoured Corning Gorilla Glass that seamlessly fits the metal frame carved out of aerospace-grade aluminium alloy. It has a nice heft at 155 g / 5.5 oz – not too light, and not too heavy.

Unlike the ZenFone 3 Ultra, the ZenFone 3 (Amazon) uses a more conventional design – the Volume buttons are placed on the right side, with the Power button. The SIM card tray is placed on the left side. So this is no longer the ambidextrous design that ASUS ZenFones are known for.

The ZenFone 3 also features an improved 5-magnet speaker with Hi-Res Audio support. Not only does it deliver higher fidelity audio, it is now 20% louder with 42% less distortion.

 

Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) has Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability, with both SIMs supporting 4G. 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.

Unlike the ZenFone 3 Ultra, the ZenFone 3 (Amazon) 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 in just 0.2 seconds. It can also be programmed to activate specific apps (like the camera) with different fingers.

 

PixelMaster 3.0 Cameras

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) sports a decent 8 MP front camera with f/2.0 lens 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 support screen flash.

The killer feature of the ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is the much improved PixelMaster 3.0 camera at the back. It features a 16 MP Sony IMX298 sensor with 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.

Finally, the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) does not have any noticeable limit on how long you can record videos, or how large their file sizes are. We have recorded videos of over 120 minutes in length, and over 11 GB in size. Most smartphones have a 4 GB limit, even if they do not have a time limit.

 

Setting Up The ZenFone 3

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) 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.

If there’s one thing we dislike, it’s the additional apps that the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) automatically downloads, even if you skip the “free apps” offer at the end of the setup process. Our sample downloaded Need For Speed : No Limit, SimCity, Lazada, Beauty Plus, iReader and Google Slides.

Next Page > Ergonomics, Available Memory & Storage, PixelMaster 3.0 Camera Performance

 

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Ergonomics

When you power it up for the first time, you will be struck by how beautiful its display is. This may not be a QHD display like those on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) or the HTC 10 (Amazon), but you won’t be able to tell the difference. The Super IPS+ display also offers a boost in brightness (up to 500 nits), which is especially useful outdoors in bright sunlight.

The smaller form factor means it is an easier fit for most hands. The ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is also much lighter than its big brother, the ZenFone 3 Ultra – so holding it in one hand is not a problem at all. That said, the Gorilla Glass back makes it just as slippery to grip as the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon).

 

Available Memory & Storage

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) comes with either 3 GB or 4 GB of LPDDR3 memory. Our review sample came with 4 GB of memory. Only 3.5 GB was usable, of which 1.1 GB was used by the Android operating system and background apps. This left 2.4 GB of free memory for us to use. That’s more than enough memory to run multiple memory-guzzling apps simultaneously.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) also comes with a generous amount of internal storage – 64 GB. Out of the box, just under 52 GB was available for use. That should be plenty enough for most users, but is expandable via a microSD card (up to 2 TB). It also comes with 100 GB of free Google Drive storage for 2 years.

 

Camera Performance – Photos

The resolution of the new PixelMaster 3.0 camera is very good. The full 16 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4656 x 3492 and a file size of 3.5-5 MB.

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

The Sony Exmor-RS IMX298 is a really good sensor. The colours are vivid but not unnaturally so. However, the highlights are blown out. This was not so much of a problem with the IMX318 sensor used in the ZenFone 3 Ultra.

Next Page > PixelMaster 3.0 Camera 1080p & 4K Video Recording Performance

 

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is capable of recording 1080p and 4K videos, with both 4-axis optical and 3-axis electronic image stabilisation enabled. To test its video recording capabilities, we recorded a street market and a koi pond in daylight, and a night dance as well. They were all recorded in both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Check them out!

The videos show how helpful the advanced optical and electronic image stabilisation is in the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon). While it may not be quite as smooth as an actual gimbal like the DJI Osmo Mobile, it is a great improvement on what we saw with the previous-generation ASUS smartphones, like the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser.

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 of the Piano and Night Dance videos.

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

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

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

ASUS ZenFone 3 ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 8
Work Performance Score
(Average)
6405 6313 6105 6350
Web Browsing 8045 6257 5782 8073
Video Playback 3469 4287 3321 4396
Writing 7316 7166 7463 6231
Photo Editing 8246 8262 9694 7352

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor powering the ZenFone 3 (Amazon) did very well in this test, besting the ZenFone 3 Ultra (Snapdragon 652), the HTC 10 (Snapdragon 820) and the honor 8 (Kirin 950).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

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

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) only comes with a 3,000 mAh battery, but it lasted almost 12 hours in this test! This is 22 minutes longer than the battery life of its big brother, the ZenFone 3 Ultra, which boasts a 53% larger 4,600 mAh battery. This is excellent battery life.

 

Battery Recharging Performance

The ASUS ZenFone 3 comes with a 10 W fast charger. Take a look at how fast it recharges the 3,000 mAh battery.

It took us 99 minutes (1 hour 39 minutes) to recharge the ZenFone 3 (Amazon) from 19% to 100%. That’s a battery life : recharging ratio of 7:1 – very impressive!

As the charger does not support any fancy fast charging technologies like Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, the charging profile is a relatively flat curve. It showed slightly faster charging up to the 70% charge level, before tapering off a little.

Next Page > Overall & 3D Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

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

ASUS ZenFone 3 ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 8
TOTAL SCORE 62761 76096 113813 90737
3D SCORE 13022 18816 50700 17706
– 3D (Marooned) 7906 10861 34778 9829
– 3D (Garden) 5116 7952 15922 7877
UX SCORE 23789 26794 30890 34550
– UX Data Secure 5847 5077 6319 7338
– UX Data Process 3109 4198 3379 5513
– UX Strategy Games 4254 7503 5433 9745
– UX Image Process 7443 6879 9521 5017
– UX I/O Performance 3136 3137 6238 6937
CPU SCORE 20342 23689 21915 32255
– CPU Mathematics 4226 6950 8494 10483
– CPU Common Use 6593 6311 5931 8543
– CPU Multi-Core 9523 10428 7490 13229
RAM 5608 6797 10308 6226

The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is not going to win any gaming awards. It was fast in 2D graphics and CPU processing, but performed poorly in the 3D tests. It was far slower than top-of-the-line smartphones like the HTC 10, and even some mid-range smartphones like the Kirin 950-powered honor 8.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

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

ASUS ZenFone 3 ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra HTC 10 honor 8
Gaming Score 13956 17719 23171 18659
Graphics 13484 21124 27512 19993
Physics 15903 11328 14925 15127
Graphics Test 1 80.5 fps 115.2 fps 136.6 fps 122.5 fps
Graphics Test 2 46.1 fps 76.3 fps 106.4 fps 67.4 fps
Physics Test 50.5 fps 36.0 fps 47.4 fps 48.0 fps

The Qualcomm Adreno 506 GPU in the ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is no 3D powerhouse and it shows. It was half as fast as the HTC 10 (Adreno 530), 36% slower than the ZenFone 3 Ultra (Adreno 510), and 33% slower than the honor 8 (ARM Mali-T880).

 

Our Verdict

The ZenFone 3 smartphone family represents a concerted effort by ASUS to break into the premium smartphone market. The ASUS ZenFone 3 (ZE552KL) model itself represents the tip of the spear. After all, it is the most affordable variant in the family.

Now, we must point out that this is not the best smartphone for 3D gaming. The ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is very fast at 2D games, and work applications, but it falters in 3D gaming performance. But if you do not intend to play 3D games on it, this is a very good smartphone for everything else.

It has a really good front and back cameras. Yes, the highlights are overblown (can ASUS fix this in a firmware update please?), but the optical and electronic image stabilisation has been greatly improved. The resulting pictures and videos are quite amazing. They are sharp, and the colours vivid.

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The ZenFone 3 (Amazon) also supports 4K video recording, in addition to 1080p recording. And some of you might like to know that it can record videos of indefinite length and file size. No more 30 minute limit. No more 4 GB limit. Just awesome for recording events like your child’s football game or a friend’s wedding!

You will also love the long battery life and the short recharge time – something you will appreciate if you are always on-the-go and have little access to a power point. The same goes for its large memory and storage capacity. With 4 GB of memory, and 64 GB of flash storage, you will find it hard to run out of both.

And last but not, the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) is a work of art. It exudes luxury with the 2.5D curved glass on both sides melding into the solid metal frame. That is a luxury that comes with a price premium – one that many will feel well worth it.

We are so impressed with the ASUS ZenFone 3 (Amazon) that we feel it deserves no less than our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Congratulations, ASUS!

 

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The LEAGOO T1 Plus Launch & Hands-On Preview

On 8 November 2016, LEAGOO officially launched the LEAGOO T1 Plus. The T1 Plus is a 5.5″ phablet with a focus on selfies. Its killer feature? A 13 MP front selfie camera with a Sony IMX219 sensor and an LED flash.

Check out the LEAGOO T1 Plus presentation and specifications. We will also share with you our own hands-on preview.

 

The LEAGOO T1 Plus

In this video, LEAGOO Product Manager, Eric Wong, reveals the key features and specifications of the T1 Plus.

The LEAGOO T1 Plus runs on Android 6.0, and is powered by the MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor. It comes with 3 GB of LPDDR3 memory and 16 GB of internal flash memory. [adrotate banner=”4″]

It boasts the 13 MP Sony IMX219 sensor for both the front and rear cameras, both of which have f/2.2 lens. The front camera has a single LED flash, while the rear camera has a dual-tone LED flash.

The 5.5″ display has a relatively low HD resolution of 720 x 1280, but it is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4 with a 2.5D curved edge. It has a unibody chassis carved out of an aviation-grade magnesium-aluminium alloy, allowing it to achieve a slim 7.5 mm profile.

The LEAGOO T1 Plus also comes with a fast fingerprint sensor, and a relatively small 2,660 mAh lithium-ion battery. It will retail for RM 699 / ~US$ 175 in 3 different colour options – Champagne Gold, Rose Gold or Titanium Grey.

 

Specifications

Here are the rest of its specifications :

SpecificationsLEAGOO T1 Plus
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 with LEAGOO OS 2.0 UI
Display5.5" HD display (720 x 1280)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4
System PlatformMediaTek MT6737
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.3 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorARM Mali-T720 MP2
Memory3 GB LPDDR3 (640 MHz)
Storage16 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 128 GB), shared with SIM2
Front Camera13 MP Sony IMX219 sensor with f/2.2 lens and single LED flash
Main Camera13 MP Sony IMX219 sensor with f/2.2 lens and dual-tone LED flash
Dual SIM, Dual StandbyYes, two micro SIM cards
SIM2 shared with microSD card
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat4
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1, microUSB 2.0
GPSYes, with GLONASS and BEIDOU
Fingerprint SensorYes, unlocks in 0.19 seconds
360 degree recognition
Battery2,660 mAh battery (non-removable)
Available ColoursChampagne Gold, Rose Gold, Titanium Grey
Launch PriceRM 699 / ~US$ 175

 

Our Hands-On Preview

After the launch, we had a few minutes to try out the LEAGOO T1 Plus. Here is our hands-on preview video. Enjoy!

 

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Wise Pad W7 Phablet Giveaway Contest Results

We have an awesome giveaway for you guys this time. We are going to give away a 4G LTE phablet that runs on Windows 10! We present to you – the Wise Pad W7 phablet giveaway contest!

The Wise Pad W7 is a 7″ phablet that powered by a quad-core Qualcomm processor, and runs on Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile. For more details, please read our full review of the Wise Pad W7.

Don’t forget to check out our Total War : Warhammer Giveaway Contest too!

 

The Wise Pad W7 Phablet Giveaway Contest Mechanics

To win the Wise Pad W7, all you have to do is look for this contest icon that we have inserted into 5 articles we posted recently.

Once you find one, all you have to do is :

  1. Click on the Wise Pad W7 contest icon, and it will open a contest registration form
  2. Key in your name and email address
  3. Click the Send button

That’s it! That’s all you have to do! Simple, isn’t it?

You only need to submit one entry to be in the running to win the Wise Pad W7. But you can greatly increase your chances by locating more of the same contest icon to submit more entries. Each contest icon will have their own contest registration form.

Bonus : You can also increase your chances by sharing any of our Facebook posts. Each share gives you a bonus entry. However, you must key in your Facebook account in the contest registration form, so we can credit you for the shares.

 

Where Do I Find The 5 Contest Icons? Updated!

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To make it easy for you to find the 5 contest icons, here are some clues… and their answers!

  1. What Windows 10 phablet are we giving away in this contest? Answer : The Wise Pad W7 phablet.
  2. A truck with Samsung smartphones apparently exploded in Florida. Answer : No, It Didn’t.
  3. Thanks to less competition, we have better mainstream hard disk drives today. Answer : Mainstream Drives Keep Getting Better.
  4. This GeForce GTX 1070 card was designed and sold directly by NVIDIA. Answer : The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition.
  5. Apple iPhones are expensive, but not for the reasons most people believe are true. Answer : Why Apple iPhones Are So Expensive?

So simple, right? 😀

 

Winner Selection

The Wise Pad W7 phablet giveaway contest ends at midnight, October 31, 2016 (GMT+8). We will randomly select the winner from the collated results, and announce the results by November 15th.

If you are a winner, you must receive an email requesting your mailing address and contact number. You must reply within 7 days, or we will select another winner.

The Wise Pad W7 phablet giveaway contest is open internationally, but Tech ARP will only pay for basic mail delivery, and will not be responsible for any taxes that may be levied. Winners may opt to pay for expedited or courier delivery services at their own expense.

 

Contest Results!

We are very excited to announce the Wise Pad W7 Phablet Giveaway Contest results! This time, a total of 110 contestants participated. Thank you for making it such a success!

We have not only selected the winner of the Wise Pad W7, we have also pre-selected a backup winner, in case the first winner does not get back to us on time. Let’s see who won!

The winner must PM or email us with your details within 7 days of this announcement, or the prize will go to the backup winner, and so on.

  1. Full Name
  2. Mobile / Telephone Number
  3. Full Address

If you did not win this time, don’t worry – we have another contest coming right up!

 

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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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The Galaxy Note7 Replacement Program Explained Rev. 5.2

It’s official. Samsung has officially announced a global replacement of all Samsung Galaxy Note7 phablets. Check out their press release on the issue :

Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the new Galaxy Note7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue.

To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.

For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks.

We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.

With Apple set to announce the iPhone 7 just 5 days later, the timing of the Galaxy Note7 recall was tragic. However, it is very heartening to see Samsung take this problem so seriously.

Problems like this will happen to any product. What matters is how the brand addresses the issue, and how quickly they do it. In this case, we think Samsung did the right thing by ceasing the sale of the Galaxy Note7 and now recalling those already sold.

Originally posted @ 2016-09-02

Updated @ 2016-09-04 : Added a new section on when the replacement Note7 phablets are expected. Also added a new tip.

Updated @ 2016-09-11 : Updated the article with new information on the replacement dates and contact numbers, as well as what you can do while waiting for your replacement Note7. Also added a new section on how to identify the new Note7 devices.

Updated @ 2016-09-21 : Added new information on identifying a new Galaxy Note7 using the label, and the green battery icon. Renamed the article to more accurately reflect the changes.

Updated @ 2016-10-10 : Added new information on the suspension of production, and Samsung’s official statement.

Updated @ 2016-10-11 : Added new information on the suspension of the replacement program.

Updated @ 2016-10-12 : Added new information on the cancellation of the Galaxy Note7 and the Note7 replacement program.

 

Cancellation Of Note7 Production, Sale & Replacement Updated!

After reports of several replacement Note7 phablets caught fire, Samsung has permanently cancelled the production, sale and replacement of the Galaxy Note7 phablet.

Samsung have asked carriers and retailers to cancel the sale of the Galaxy Note7, as well as the existing replacement program. Some carriers, like AT&T and T-Mobile, had earlier announced the suspension of sale and replacement of the Galaxy Note7.

Current users are urged to turn off their original and replacement Galaxy Note7 phablets, and contact the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in their respective countries, for further details :

United States – 1-800-SAMSUNG (if purchased from Samsung.com)
United Kingdom – 0330 726 1000
Australia – 1300 362 603
Malaysia – 1800-88-7799

 

When Will The Replacement Note7 Arrive?

Update : The Note7 replacement program has been cancelled!

Samsung has already announced that the Galaxy Note7 replacement program will begin on September 19-21 for some countries. Customers in those countries should contact the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in their respective countries :

United States – 1-800-SAMSUNG (if purchased from Samsung.com)
United Kingdom – 0330 726 1000
Australia – 1300 362 603

Here in Malaysia, Samsung Malaysia just announced that the Galaxy Note7 replacement program will begin on the 29th of September. To enroll in the Galaxy Note7 recall programme, please contact the Samsung Malaysia Careline at 1800-88-7799 for further assistance.

Pre-ordered Galaxy Note7 phablets that have not been delivered will be replaced with new Galaxy Note7 phablets using batteries from a different supplier. This would also mean that if you have been waiting for your pre-ordered Galaxy Note7 to arrive, you will need to wait an additional 2 weeks.

 

Identification Of New Note7 Phablets

The new Samsung Galaxy Note7 phablets will come with clear identifiers on the box – a small black square on the white barcode label along with a white sticker with a blue letter ‘S’.

You can also verify the IMEI number on an online database that will be established soon, or through the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in your country. The IMEI number of the replacement Galaxy Note7 phablets will be different from those affected by the battery recall.

Finally, Samsung added a green battery icon to help you verify that your new Galaxy Note7 has the new battery. The new green battery icon will be visible on :

  • the status bar,
  • the Always On Display screen, and
  • the Power Off prompt screen (accessed by pressing the Power button for a long time)

 

While Waiting For Your Note7 Replacement?

Right now, all you can do is hang in there until your replacement Galaxy Note7 arrives. Samsung naturally advises you to turn off the Galaxy Note7 while waiting for the replacement.

In some countries, you will be given a courtesy device to use while waiting for your replacement Galaxy Note7. Call the Samsung Careline / Customer Service contact number in your country to find out if that’s possible.

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If you have to continue using the Galaxy Note7 though, you don’t need to be unduly worried. Samsung estimates that the faulty battery affects “less than 0.1%” of the Galaxy Note7 already in the market. Here are some safe steps you can take until you receive your replacement Galaxy Note7 :

  • Use only the original charger and Type C USB cable provided with your Galaxy Note7.
  • If possible, use a computer USB port to recharge the Galaxy Note7. The lower power output should reduce the risk of the battery exploding or catching fire.
  • Do NOT use the Galaxy Note7 while it is recharging. Place it away from flammable items.
  • If possible, place the Galaxy Note7 on a fire-resistant or fire-proof surface, before recharging it.

 

Galaxy Note7 Replacement In Malaysia

Samsung Malaysia is amazingly speedy at following up on the worldwide announcement on the Galaxy Note7 replacement program. They have already issued the official replacement notice, even though not a single Galaxy Note7 sold in Malaysia has been reported to be affected by this issue.

Samsung Malaysia just announced that their Galaxy Note7 replacement program will begin on the 29th of September. To enroll in the Galaxy Note7 replacement programme, please contact the Samsung Malaysia Careline at 1800-88-7799 for further assistance.

Samsung Malaysia expects to resume sale of the improved Galaxy Note7 models in October 2016.

 

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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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Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (SM-A910F) Phablet Review

Recently, Samsung sent us their new Galaxy A9 Pro phablet. While testing it, we wrote two short articles on the big features of the smartphone, and why it is the ultimate travel buddy. But nothing beats a full review. Today, we are proud to share the fruits of our labour – our comprehensive review of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro phablet!

 

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro Specifications

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy A9 Pro
ModelSM-A910F
Display6" Super AMOLED display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels (~367 ppi pixel density)
Display ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 652 (MSM8976)
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A72 (1.8 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 (1.4 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 510
Memory4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
Storage32 GB internal flash storage
microSD card slot (up to 256 GB)
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
- supports 1080p video recording
Rear Camera16 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens and single LED flash
- supports optical image stabilisation (OIS)
ConnectivityNetwork : 4G LTE / HSPA / GSM
WiFi : 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth : v4.2, A2DP, EDR, LE
USB : microUSB 2.0
SIM Card SupportTwo nano SIM card slots with Dual SIM, Dual Standby capability
GPS CapabilityGPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
NFC CapableYes
FM Radio CapabilityYes
SensorsAccelerometer, gyroscope, proximity (Hall) sensor, compass
Fingerprint SensorYes
Battery5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- supports fast charging
SAR (EU)0.62 W/kg (head) / 1.32 W/kg (body)
Dimensions80.9 mm wide x 161.7 mm tall x 7.9 mm thick
Weight210 g
Available ColoursWhite / Black / Gold

 

Unboxing The Galaxy A9 Pro

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro comes in a white cardboard box. Not as fancy as the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge‘s classy black box, but hey, it’s a completely different segment. Watch us unbox the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro in this video, and look at what we found inside!

Inside, you will find the following items :

  • One Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro phablet
  • One Samsung 15 W adaptive fast charging travel charger
  • One USB 2.0 to micro-USB cable
  • One pair of Samsung earphones
  • One SIM card slot extractor
  • One set of  Quick Start Guide and Warranty Card

Next Page > Key Features, Fingerprint Sensor, Cameras

 

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Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro Key Features

Before we go into the details of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s key features, let’s take a quick tour of those features.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro has a large 6″ display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It also uses a Super AMOLED panel, which gives very rich and vivid colours and true black. Perfect for watching full HD videos.

On the left side, you will find two Volume buttons, while on the right side, are a Power button and the tray for two nano SIM cards. The buttons look really small, but they are the same size as the buttons on the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. They only look small because the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is such a large device.

The microSD card slot is located at the top of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro. It supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity. The earphone port is located at the bottom, together with the micro-USB port and the speaker port.

 

Fingerprint Sensor

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro comes with a fingerprint sensor integrated into the Home button. Our tests showed that it requires 16 finger presses to register a fingerprint. However, it is very fast in recognising the fingerprint after it’s registered, and it has 360 degree fingerprint recognition.

 

Front & Rear Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro 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 16 MP Samsung S5K3L2 sensor, paired with a single LED flash. It also boasts 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 > Initial Setup, Memory & Storage, Battery

 

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Initial Setup

When you power up the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro for the first time, it will take only about 25 seconds to boot up. If you set it up as a fresh device, it should take no more than 5 minutes to complete the initial setup. Check out our video on the initial setup process.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory. This is big advantage since most smartphones in this price segment come with 2 GB or 3 GB of memory. There is a fair bit of bloat, so you have about 1.9 GB of free memory to use. Compare that to the ASUS ZenFone Zoom (Amazon), which also has 4 GB of RAM but 2.2 GB of free memory to use. That’s a difference of 300 MB.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro also comes with 32 GB of internal flash memory. Once you deduct 8.5 GB for the Android 6.0 operating system and apps, you have 23.5 GB of free space to use. This is pretty decent, allowing you to store about 4,000 photos, or record 180 minutes of 1080p video.

Don’t worry about running out of storage space with the Galaxy A9 Pro though. It has a dedicated microSD slot that supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity.

 

Big Battery

One of the biggest features (literally) of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is its massive 5,000 mAh battery. That’s the capacity of a power bank packed into a 7.9 mm slim form factor! You should have no problem chasing after Pokemons for a whole day, but to be sure, we will stress-test its battery later in this review.

The Galaxy A9 Pro‘s battery also supports fast charging. Samsung claims it will recharge from 0% to 100% in just 160 minutes (2 hours 40 minutes). We will put that to the test later in the review.

Next Page > Camera & Video Recording Performance

 

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Camera Performance

Although they use different sensors, the camera performance of the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is quite similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (Amazon) smartphone. The difference is only noticeable if you blow up the pictures and compare them side-by-side. The Galaxy A9 Pro pictures have more noise and less edge resolution.

Pixel peeping aside, the Galaxy A9 Pro‘s main camera is definitely one of the better cameras in this segment. The colour is accurate and vivid, even in poor lighting.

 

Video Recording Performance

Despite sporting a 16 MP sensor, the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s rear camera is not capable of recording 4K UHD videos. It can only record 1080p videos. Perhaps this is Samsung’s way of differentiating the Galaxy A9 Pro from Samsung’s more premium models like the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.

The Galaxy A9 Pro‘s camera supports optical image stabilisation, so handshake is minimised. However, it does not support electronic image stabilisation. Probably another product differentiation decision.

To test the Galaxy A9 Pro‘s video recording capabilities, we recorded both a cheerleading contest, and a piano performance by Yang I-Deun. Check them out!

The image quality was good, with good exposure and colours for the subject. Bright areas of the background, especially in the piano performance, were overexposed, but what mattered was the subject was correctly exposed.

The optical image stabilisation really helped to reduce handshake, which can be a problem since the Galaxy A9 Pro is large and quite heavy. Too bad it does not support electronic image stabilisation. That would have helped stabilise the image even more.

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Performance

 

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Work Performance : PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S6
Work Performance Score
(Average)
5785 5357 5078
Web Browsing 5132 5643 6788
Video Playback 4138 4487 3091
Writing 6286 5944 5918
Photo Editing 8388 5469 5357

Impressive! The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro beat the Samsung Galaxy S6 (Amazon) in all aspects but Web Browsing. Its Photo Editing performance was particularly impressive. The Kirin 650-powered honor 5C (Amazon) did better in both Web Browsing and Video Playback, but like the Galaxy S6 was similarly poor in Photo Editing.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro lasted an astounding 13 hours on the PCMark stress test. That is a really remarkable result, as this stress test simulates the worst possible workload using work apps. In our real world experience, we had no problem using it for a full day with light loads, although its battery life dropped to about 10 hours while playing games.

 

Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s remarkable battery life is thanks to its 5,000 mAh battery, which is about 50% larger than the battery capacity in most smartphones. But does it take much longer to recharge? Let’s find out!

Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro supports quick charging, and even comes with a 15W fast adaptive charger. Our tests showed that the Galaxy A9 Pro will recharge from 18% to 100% in just 134 minutes (2 hours and 15 minutes). This is very good performance, and backs Samsung’s claim that the Galaxy A9 Pro only needs 160 minutes to recharge from 0% to 100%.

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.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S6
TOTAL SCORE 68184 53417 75222
3D SCORE 18360 53417 20579
– 3D (Marooned) 10739 5795 12475
– 3D (Garden) 7621 4047 8104
UX SCORE 23464 19297 24065
– UX Data Secure 5356 5577 5507
– UX Data Process 3235 2706 4392
– UX Strategy Games 5601 4109 6948
– UX Image Process 6240 3144 3413
– UX I/O Performance 3022 3761 3805
CPU SCORE 19872 19254 25402
– CPU Mathematics 5953 4198 7823
– CPU Common Use 4830 5947 7585
– CPU Multi-Core 9089 9109 9994
RAM 6488 5024 5176

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro did well in this test, coming in just 9% slower than the Samsung Galaxy S6 (Amazon). It did particularly well in the RAM test, where it was 25% faster than the Galaxy S6, and  29% faster than the honor 5C (Amazon).

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro‘s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro honor 5C Samsung Galaxy S6
Gaming Score 16989 11560 21166
Graphics 21800 11067 23298
Physics 9585 13698 16031
Graphics Test 1 120.7 fps 63.4 fps 120.6 fps
Graphics Test 2 78.0 fps 38.8 fps 87.3 fps
Physics Test 30.4 fps 43.5 fps 50.9 fps

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro did well in this test too, delivering close to 94% of the graphics performance of the Samsung Galaxy S6 (Amazon), and almost twice the graphics performance of the honor 5C (Amazon). It only lost out in the Physics test.

 

Our Verdict & Award

Everyone’s focus is on the new Samsung Galaxy Note7. Granted, that is a superior phablet. But not everyone can afford a Galaxy Note7, or even need all of its capabilities.

For everyone else, the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is a hidden gem that offers a ton of features and high performance at a far more affordable price tag. Let’s summarise its key features :

Performance : The Galaxy A9 Pro has a fast 8-core processor, with a fast GPU for 3D games
Display : The Galaxy A9 Pro has a large 6″ Super AMOLED display with full HD resolution. Perfect for games and watching movies.
Cameras : The Galaxy A9 Pro has a very good 16 MP main camera, with OIS capability. The 8 MP front camera is no slouch either.
Memory & Storage : The Galaxy A9 Pro comes with 4 GB of fast LPDDR4 memory, and 32 GB of internal flash storage.
Connectivity : The Galaxy A9 Pro has dual SIM, dual standby capability, with a dedicated second nano SIM slot.
Expansion : The Galaxy A9 Pro has a dedicated microSD slot that supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in capacity.
Battery : The Galaxy A9 Pro has a massive 5,000 mAh battery with a long battery life of 13 hours in our test.

The only major gripe with have with the Galaxy A9 Pro is its weight. It weighs a hefty 210 grams. That’s almost 7.5 ounces, if you are American. Make sure you buy a case for it, because all that mass will likely to shatter its glass covers if you drop it on a hard surface.

We also bemoan Samsung’s continued insistence on using the old micro-USB port. It’s 2016, guys. Time to upgrade to the bidirectional USB Type C connector!

These two gripes aside, we think that the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is a diamond in the rough, overshadowed by the brilliance of the Galaxy Note7. It is an excellent phablet that is worthy of consideration, if you do not need Galaxy Note7 features like IP68 water resistance and the iris scanner. We certainly think it deserves our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

 

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Fun & Games On The Samsung Galaxy Note7

19 August 2016 – Smartphones have given us the ability to easily transition between work and play, and the Galaxy Note7 is no exception. Equipped with HDR streaming capabilities, which make video content look more vivid and lifelike, best-in-class gaming with new titles supported by Vulkan API, and advanced camera technology, the newest Galaxy Note smartphone provides a rich entertainment experience that’s as mobile as we are. Furthermore, an enhanced Gear VR headset, which now supports expanded compatibility, offers an even more immersive virtual experience.

 

Truer Colors, A Clearer Picture

To provide a better viewing experience, the film industry has continually improved video resolution—from HD to Full HD to Ultra HD. Most recently, the UHD Alliance, a consortium of production studios, content networks, tech companies and TV manufacturers—including Samsung—shifted their focus to High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Equipped with Super AMOLED Display, HDR video streaming technology enables a cinema-like experience including brighter colors and a deeper black, to ensure users get the full experience that the filmmaker intended.

Now Galaxy Note7 users can stream HDR video in HDR10 format, a standard that denotes a color depth based on a 10-bit signal. Therefore, they can experience the same HDR color and quality on their mobile device as they can on a television.

Samsung was able to bring this extraordinary technology to the Galaxy Note7 by utilizing Mobile Digital Natural Image Engine (mDNIe) technology and the Super AMOLED display.

The powerful mDNIe chipset, which was designed by Samsung, is the most advanced image processing engine to date, and ensures that dark and bright colors appear the way they do in real life. It also makes use of the Galaxy Note7’s 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display—which exhibits the largest range of colors and brightness among smartphone displays—to vividly and clearly express the colors intended by the content developer.

The chipset also allows the smartphone to seamlessly process streamed HDR content without straining the battery, meaning users can stay immersed in their favorite TV shows and movies for even longer.

 

All Fun and Games

In February, Samsung set a new industry standard with the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, which were the first smartphones to support Vulkan, an API that brings more robust and responsive performance and power efficiency to gaming.

Samsung once again incorporated Vulkan into the Galaxy Note7, giving gamers the ability to play high-performance, graphic-intensive games for even longer, and also giving developers an unprecedented tool to create unique gaming experiences.

With the Galaxy Game Pack, available through Google Play, users can access top game titles, an easy redemption process and new user benefits.

 

Virtual Reality Gets Real

Since the launch of the first Gear VR in 2014, Samsung has continued to innovate in the VR space by offering a robust VR ecosystem with the Gear 360 as well as an enhanced Gear VR headset.

Brought to life by the Samsung Galaxy smartphone, Gear VR provides engaging content, putting users in the center of the action for a more immersive experience. By pairing the Galaxy Note7 with the new Gear VR powered by Oculus, the latest version now supports USB Type-C and micro-USB port connections, giving even more users access to the world of VR.

Furthermore, with improved lenses and ergonomics, the updated headset lets users more comfortably view 360-degree videos and create Gear 360 content. These memories can then be shared with friends via platforms including YouTube 360 and Facebook, and can be relived through the ultra-immersive Gear VR. Together with the Galaxy Note7, the new Gear VR is a gateway to new experiences and great adventures.

 

Picture-Perfect

The Galaxy Note7 is equipped with the advanced camera that debuted on the Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, allowing users to capture important memories in true-to-life colors. Dual-pixel technology, a wide aperture and fast autofocus work together to capture sharp images, even in low-light conditions, so that users never miss a shareable moment.

While the camera of the Galaxy Note7 boasts the same great specs, it has been updated to provide a more streamlined, intuitive user experience.

With improved lenses and ergonomics, as well as expanded compatibility with more Samsung smartphones and USB devices, the new and improved Gear VR headset challenges the very concept of virtual reality, redefining the limits of what it’s capable of.

Brought to life by the Samsung Galaxy smartphone, Gear VR provides the ultimate in engaging content, putting users in the center of the action for a more immersive experience. Together with the Galaxy Note7, the device is a gateway to new experiences and great adventures.

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A Refined Design

The most evident change of the Gear VR is its new body color, Blue Black. Not only does this new hue enhance the device’s aesthetic, but it also helps to prevent light reflection to provide a more cinematic experience than the previous model. In addition, the device now also features a home key that instantly directs users to Oculus Home, the official landing page of Gear VR.

 

Expanded Compatibility, Enhanced Connectivity

With two different device holders—USB Type-C and Micro USB—included as inbox items, the new Gear VR is compatible with more Samsung smartphones, including the Galaxy Note7, S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6, S6 edge and S6 edge+.

Furthermore, an external USB port (USB Hub 2.0) has been added to enable connectivity with third-party USB devices, as well as charging during use. With the ability to connect to a wider array of external sensors, motion controllers, 4D experience tools and OTG USB memory, Gear VR offers an experience that is more interactive than ever before.

 

Optical Lenses That Can See More

The new Gear VR headset is also equipped with larger lenses. With an increased diameter of 42 millimeters, the lenses improve the field of view to 101 degrees to offer a more natural feel.

And, with Samsung’s crystal clear Super AMOLED displays, users can enjoy low persistence images, along with a high 60 frames-per-second frame rate for less motion blur and juddering. As a result, virtual reality content viewed on the Gear VR is now even more realistic.

 

Seamless Navigation of More Contents

To enable users to make full use of the new Gear VR, Samsung offers a vaster selection of high quality VR content with intuitive content navigation.

With the Gear VR web browser, users can browse more than 300 VR apps including over a hundred games, along with a variety of videos, educational apps and immersive experiences. The Samsung Picks section offers a list of 15 recommended apps for those looking to try something new.

The browser is easy to use, and the immersive graphic user interface creates a seamless environment so users can enjoy their favorite 2D and 3D contents.

Forward looking and backward compatible, the new Gear VR is capable of breaking down the barriers of what today’s virtual reality technology can do, and what tomorrow’s can offer.

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Samsung Galaxy Note7 Design Features

15 August 2016 – One of the most defining characteristics of the Galaxy Note series is the analog relationship it establishes with its users. Furthermore, its signature S Pen enables them to make a physical connection with the device—an attribute that sets it apart from other smartphones.

When designing the Galaxy Note7, Samsung designers spent a great amount of time outside the studio to examine how users interacted with and used their mobile devices on a daily basis.

Rather than using the traditional visually-led approach, they focused on the experience of interacting with the phone’s physical qualities. These efforts allowed them to create the Galaxy Note7, combining innovation and technology with a more user-focused approach.

As a result, the Galaxy Note7 is perfectly symmetrical, merging form and function to provide the comfort, convenience and grip that enable users to do more and get more out of their smartphone. Likewise, Samsung has refined the device’s UX to provide a seamless interaction between the user and the device.

 

Galaxy Note7 Design Features

New Curves, Carefully Refined Details

The Galaxy Note7 is the first in the Galaxy Note series to boast a dual-edge display—an addition that stays true to Samsung’s design heritage. To incorporate this elegant aesthetic, Samsung had to find a way to maintain a flat screen surface for writing, while also ensuring enough space for storing the S Pen.

For those reasons, the subtle curves like those on the Galaxy S smartphones wouldn’t suffice. Therefore, Samsung carried out the most advanced 3D thermoforming process ever attempted on a phone to create extremely steep curves with a tighter radius at the very outer edges of the glass so not a single millimeter of writing space would be wasted.

Samsung applied the same radius to the device’s edges on both the front and back of the Galaxy Note7, a different approach than the one used on the Galaxy Note5, which also featured a curved design. This resulted in a device that is perfectly symmetrical—from top to bottom, side to side, and front to back.

To complete the balance, the glass and metal parts of the phone were fused together to allow for a more seamless and even surface. In fact, there are no edges or unnecessary surface protrusions between the different materials. The camera protrusion was also greatly minimized, making the device even easier on the eyes and smoother to the touch. These changes provide a more natural feel in the hand.

 

An Enhanced Look and Feel

The dimensions of the Galaxy Note7 are also different than those of the previous model. It is now more compact in size with a narrow body, but boasts the same large 5.7-inch screen with a bezel less than half the size of the Galaxy Note5.

Despite the addition of the Galaxy Note7’s iris camera and IR LED sensor, the device’s slim upper bezel is maintained thanks to the new technology.

In addition, the Galaxy Note7’s touch sensor is directly printed on the display panel. The device is also lighter than its predecessor, in spite of its larger battery.

These factors, along with the smartphone’s new dual-edge display and symmetrical design, make for a much better grip. Never before has a Galaxy Note been so easy to hold and operate in one hand.

Samsung, for the first time, decided to create a separate colour for the phone’s metallic frame. The resulting colour combination is both stunning and calming in the three colour variants available—Black Onyx, Gold Platinum and Silver Titanium. As a bonus, interactive wallpapers that complement each colour have been added.

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Strong and Sturdy

Despite its beautiful aesthetic, thanks to its Aluminum 7000 Series metal, the Galaxy Note7 is 1.3 times stronger and 1.2 times more scratch resistant than the metal used on the Galaxy S7.

Also integrated into the design is Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which has an extremely high resistance to scratches and damages. This new glass is designed to provide further protection against breakage from everyday drops. So much so that in rigorous lab tests, it survived drops onto rough, unforgiving surfaces up to four times better than competitive glass designs.

As the first Note model to be IP68 certified, the entire phone (including the S Pen) is water and dust resistant. As a result, the Galaxy Note7 is now further protected from spills, and can be used in wet environments—even underwater.*

 

Pure and Simple

Samsung made subtle yet impactful enhancements to the user interface of the Galaxy Note7 to create a more natural, frictionless user experience.

First, the colours, shapes and overall design of the graphical user interface were simplified for a more orderly aesthetic, while the focus was shifted to function, information and content. To enhance consistency, Samsung made the icons uniformly rounded, while simultaneously softening their colours.

The most noticeable changes to the UX, however, are in the Settings and Quick Panel menus, which consist of much simpler graphical interfaces. Here, the menu trees and categories have been simplified* so that tasks can be completed in less steps, with fewer taps.

Finally, the number of Task edge features has increased. Now, users can do even more, such as record an exercise in S Health, create a drawing or view unread emails from the edge of their device.

Thanks to its refined design and outstanding durability, the comfort and convenience of the Galaxy Note7 are unsurpassed. Furthermore, its streamlined and intuitive UX provides the seamless experience that users have come to expect. Pushing the boundaries of design, the Galaxy Note7 features true craftsmanship and industry-leading innovation.

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The Complete Samsung Galaxy Note7 Pre-Order Details

Kuala Lumpur, 5 August 2016 – Just a few days after its big reveal at the Galaxy Unpacked 2016 event in New York City, London and Rio de Janeiro, the revolutionary Samsung Galaxy Note7 phablet has seen nods of approval from thousands of fans and tech enthusiasts around the world.

In Malaysia, fans are at the edge of their seats waiting for the arrival of Samsung’s most anticipated flagship from the Galaxy Note series. To celebrate this positive reception, Samsung Malaysia Electronics is opening pre-orders for their latest Galaxy Note as early as this coming Monday, 8th August 2016 at 10:00am!

Fans eager to get their hands on this coveted Galaxy Note7 will be pleased to note that Samsung is introducing exclusive Galaxy Note7 pre-order deals for the first 4,000 units, where Malaysians can expect savings and rewards worth up to RM957.

Apart from a free 10,200 mAh Battery Pack and a Wireless Charging Stand, these 4,000 earlybirds will receive an exclusive 10% discount for the Galaxy Note7 which retails at RM3,199 / ~US$ 799.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note7 Pre-Order Steps

Step 1: Access the online Galaxy Note7 pre-order site at www.samsung.com/my/note7preorder and read the terms and conditions of the Galaxy Note7 pre-order before proceeding with your pre-order.

Step 2: Select colour option and preferred collection point out of 74 Samsung participating stores.

Step 3: Make deposit payment of RM300 via Paypal and look out for Note7 pre-order confirmation email in inbox.

Step 4: Make your way to your pre-selected choice of outlet between 18th-21st August and pay balance
payment to collect your unit.

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ASUS Zenvolution 2016 – ZenFone 3, ZenBook 3, Transformer 3 Revealed

The ASUS Zenvolution 2016 launch event kicked off yesterday at the prestigious Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Malaysians have eagerly awaited the launch of the ASUS ZenFone 3 smartphones since they were announced at Computex 2016. Well, here they are!

ASUS also took the opportunity to launch two new ZenFone 3 models, as well as the ZenBook 3 notebook and two Transformer 3 tablets. Let’s check them out!

 

ASUS ZenFone 3 Revealed

ASUS APAC General Manager, Rex Lee, kicked off the ASUS Zenvolution 2016 revelations with the new ASUS ZenFone 3 smartphone.

 

ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe & ZenFone 3 Ultra Revealed

Next, ASUS Corporate Vice President, Eric Chen, revealed the details of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe and ZenFone 3 Ultra smartphones.

 

ASUS ZenFone 3 Max & ZenFone 3 Laser Revealed

These are the two models that were not revealed at Computex 2016. The honour of revealing them was given to TH Cheng, the ASUS Senior Mobile Product Manager.

 

ASUS ZenBook 3, Transformer 3 Pro & Transformer 3 Revealed

Finally, ASUS Malaysia’s System Group Country Manager, Jimmy Lin, revealed the new ASUS ZenBook 3 ultraslim notebook, as well as the new Transformer 3 Pro and Transformer 3 tablets.

 

Price & Availability

The ASUS ZenFone 3 smartphone is available on launch day, with the ZenFone 3 Ultra available for pre-order with delivery next week. However, all smartphone, notebook and tablet models revealed at the ASUS Zenvolution 2016 event will be available in the month of August 2016.

Here are their recommended retail prices : [adrotate banner=”4″]
  • ASUS ZenBook 3 (Royal Blue / Rose Gold / Quartz Grey) : RM 7,999 / ~US$ 1,999
  • ASUS Transformer 3 Pro : RM 6,999 / ~US$1,749
  • ASUS Transformer 3 : RM 3,199 / ~US$ 799
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 Deluxe : RM 2,599 / ~US$ 649
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra : RM 2,599 / ~US$ 649
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 Max : RM 799 / ~US$ 199
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser : RM 999 / ~US$ 249
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 (5.5″) : RM 1,699 / ~US$ 424
  • ASUS ZenFone 3 (5.2″) : RM 1,499 / ~US$ 374

 

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