OnePlus 6 Review – A Phone That Satisfies (almost) All

Long story short: If I were looking to change my phone, this would be it.

The Good

OnePlus 6 sports a dual rear camera system. The main rear camera is 16 MP with Sony IMX 519 sensor. The secondary rear camera is 20 MP with Sony IMX 376K sensor

Smooth Operator

OnePlus 6 packs the powerful Snapdragon 845 (same as Samsung Galaxy Note 9) which makes everything oh-so smooth. Graphic intensive games did not pose any problems to the phone at all. For the gamers out there, you may be pleased to know that the phone has a gaming mode which gives you the option to block incoming notifications and to lock the screen brightness.

Not Huawei P20 Pro, but no complaints

Since everyone is focusing on cameras these days, let’s talk about cameras. OnePlus 6 sports a dual rear camera system. The main rear camera is 16 MP with Sony IMX 519 sensor. The secondary rear camera is 20 MP with Sony IMX 376K sensor. Both cameras have an aperture of f/1.7. The main camera has OIS and EIS.

Digital Zoom by OnePlus. It is hard to spot the monitor lizard.
Night Shot by OnePlus 6

 

Food Photo

Overall OnePlus 6 produces photos that are pleasing, if not exceptional. Night shots are decent but can be a bit grainy. Don’t bother with the digital zoom though.

No more eye strain

OnePlus 6 features a beautiful 6.28-inch AMOLED display which offers rich colours and a great contrast. If you prefer a more realistic colour representation, OnePlus 6 offers the possibility to change the display profile to sRGB or DCI-P3 palette. A new feature on the OnePlus 6 is the Reading Mode, which turns the display into a monochromatic one (so that it looks somewhat like a Kindle display) so that prolonged reading is easy on the eyes. I find myself loving this feature so much that I read tons of Wikipedia articles in the Reading Mode. I totally dig using Kindle’s Android app in the Reading Mode. I am now quite convinced that me that I can keep my actual Kindle in my drawer. Heck, I even switched to Reading Mode while watching some movies on the phone just for the fun of it. That said, if you launch the camera app or photo gallery, the software is smart enough to know that Reading Mode isn’t useful, and colour will fill the display. After you hit the home button or switch to another app, the screen will turn back to greyscale.

Headphone jack

Since my favourite Sennheiser headphones are not wireless, I need the headphone jack. So yay!

Usable right out of the box

You know how you cannot really use the phone properly during the first few days because you leave the plastic protector on the phone in case it gets scratched. The problem is only resolved when you finally get your screen protector and case to protect your purchase right? With the OnePlus 6, the screen protector is adhered already at the factory (flawless dust-free application) and a nice case comes in the box, so you can use your phone straightaway without fear.

The Not-so-good

Not enough juice for some

The OnePlus 6 comes with a 3,300 mAh battery which in my humble opinion, is not quite enough. For general use, it will easily last a day, but when I play Pokemon Go I find that I cannot play to my heart’s content. The phone does charge very quickly with OnePlus’s Dash Charge (around 60% in 30 mins) though so there’s an upside.

Not waterproof (at least officially)

It is noteworthy that OnePlus 6 does not have any IP rating for waterproof resistance. I conducted some informal and unscientific tests on my own and can confirm that OnePlus 6 will remain safe in the rain or by the swimming pool (BY, not IN). Some people have conducted more professional investigations (read: tear-down) and concluded that the OnePlus 6 has at least enough protection to give the device an IP67 rating. However, if you are tempted to submerge your phone in the water, keep in mind you are doing so at your own risk.

No room for expansion

OnePlus 6 does not have SD card support so you are restricted to the 64 GB or 128 GB that you buy. My concern isn’t about whether there is enough storage or not. I like to have everything on my SD card so that when I change phones I can transfer all my stuff via SD card quickly.

And no, I don’t want to backup my stuff to Google. They already know more about me than they need to.

Sometimes, I don’t know where I am

I find that the GPS signal is weaker on the OnePlus 6 than on my old OnePlus 3T. When playing Pokemon Go indoors, I find that the GPS signal is lost very often. That said, when outdoors without obstruction, the GPS gets a lock on the location very quickly and is accurate.

The “I can’t be bothered”

Notch

There is a notch on the OnePlus 6. It is possible to change the display such that you don’t see the notch. Some people love the notch, some people hate it. I don’t really care about it or care for it. I don’t find it distracting, yet I don’t find much benefit for it either.

Wireless charging

Personally, I don’t understand why people complain about the lack of wireless charging. I can use the phone while it’s charging with the USB cable, but I cannot use the phone when it is placed on the wireless charging pad. Wireless charging is slower anyway.

Until all my furniture have wireless charging pads built into them, I simply couldn’t care less. I rather have a lower price on the phone.

Speaker

As mentioned earlier, I use my headphones so I hardly find myself using the loud speaker on the OnePlus 6. But this point is probably worth a mention anyway. OnePlus 6 has a single, down-firing loudspeaker. The sound quality isn’t very impressive. Maybe it has got something to do with the case, but there’s some sort of a buzzing sound like something is shaking. I will happily stick to my headphones.

 

In conclusion, OnePlus 6 is a good phone that generally can satisfy most users. It is not the cheapest phone out there, but compared to other phones offering similar specs, you will be hard pressed to find another phone that offers better value than the OnePlus 6.

 

Article Contributed by Poisonvine.com

 

July – The Month For Budget Phones – ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1), Huawei nova 3i, Honor Play

July in Singapore is filled with exciting launches of budget phones. Last week, ASUS and Huawei launched their ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) and Huawei nova 3i. This week, another new contender in Singapore – Honor launches Honor Play. All these products are selling competitively at the price range of $300 – $450. This post, I am doing a quick comparison of the specs of these phones and hopefully, gives some ideas in your next purchase.

 

Camera

Samsung and iPhone started the idea of Face Unlock but it is not longer a technology barrier for other smartphone markers. All 3 phones offer the face unlock features. I am not a fan for this feature but I am impressed with the technology and how front-facing camera have evolved for the past 1 years.

 

The ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) and Honor Play comes with 8MP and 16MP front-facing camera respectively whereas the Huawei nova 3i is equipped with dual 24MP and 2MP front-facing camera. Judging from the specs alone, the Huawei nova 3i seems to edge above the other 2 phones. In fact, the resolution of the front-facing camera of the nova 3i is higher than its rear camera which is packed with dual 16MP and 2MP lens. The nova 3i’s front-facing camera is also armed with the popular Huawei’s AI photography technology.

 

Model is doing a selfie with Huawei nova 3i

The Honor Play has the same dual camera specs as the Huawei nova 3i. As a separated brand owned by Huawei, the rear camera of the phone comes with Huawei’s AI photography technology. If you are a fan of Huawei’s mobile phones, I am sure this feature is something that you are seeking for.

 

In terms of rear camera specs, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) has dual 13MP + 5MP camera lens. The secondary 5MP camera enhanced the bokeh effects of the photo. The rear camera supports 4K recording.

Processor and Memory

Kirin 970 processor made it to the world stage when Huawei introduced their

Honor Play showcased at Raduga Center

flagship Huawei Mate 10 last year. This time, the same Kirin 970 processor in Huawei Mate 10 is used to power the Honor Play. This budget phone is essentially a premium smartphone and it has a 4GB of RAM and 64 GB of ROM that could be expanded with external microSD capacity upto 256GB.

 

On the other hand, the nova 3i from the parent company is equipped with the newer Kirin 710 processor. The new processor is designed to give a better performance specifically for the mid-range phones. The nova 3i has a 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of ROM that could be expanded with external microSD capacity upto 256GB.

 

Unlike Huawei, ASUS uses older Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor, one that is commonly found in mid-range smartphones, in their Zenfone Max Pro (M1). For the past 1 year, the 636 processor has proven to be reliable in terms of performance and power consumption. The Zenfone Max Pro (M1) has a 3GB RAM and 32GB of Rom but could be expanded with external microSD capacity upto 2TB.

 

Port – USB Type C, Micro USB , Audio Jack

Fortunately, budget and midrange phones do not always copy everything that a premium phone has. ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1), Huawei nova 3i and Honor Play keep the 3.5mm audio jack. You could still enjoy your music on these devices with your current headphones.

 

Among the 3 phones, the Honor Play is the only one with the USB Type C port where as the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) and the Huawei nova 3i come with the conventional micro-USB ports. Nonetheless, all 3 phones have fast charge features.

 

ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) showcased in Singapore

Battery Capacity

Battery capacity for Huawei nova 3i and Honor Play are 3,340 mAh and 3,750mAh respectively whereas the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) is packed with 5,000mAh. Judging from the pure hardware perspective, it is impressive to put such a big battery into a phone.

 

Verdict

Let’s just be practical – If you need a phone that works and nothing else, the ASUS Zenfone Max Pro (M1) seems to be a better option. The phone has bigger battery which technically speaking, could last longer eliminating the need of bringing a power bank. With external microSD storage upto 2TB, you could store all your documents and images in your phone.  Unlike the Huawei nova 3i and Honor Play, the microSD card slot is dedicated one which means that there is no need to compromise one sim card slot for external storage. You could still use the dual sim cards simultaneously. If you are one of those who is holding 2 numbers – one for personal and one for work, this is a good feature to have.

 

From 25th July to 30 July, ASUS is having a special launch promotion for Zenfone Max Pro (M1). Price will drop from SGD 348 to SGD 258. Perfect for budget-constraint freelancers who use their personal device for both work and leisure.

 

If you are looking for fun – Honor Play is the first gaming phone that is designed for young mobile users who do not have deep pocket to burn. The Kirin 970 processor has already proven its capability in Huawei Mate 10 but this time, consumers do not need to pay a premium price to get superior performance. The famous Huawei’s GPU Turbo is of course included in the phone.

 

The phone is selling at recommended retail price of SGD 429 at Qoo10 and Honor Singapore is accepting pre-order starting from today. The shipment is expected to be out from 7 Aug onwards.

 

Social Media and Lifestyle–  If you are one of those who like to share good pictures on your SNS, then the nova 3i is the clear winner. The nova 3i has 4 cameras in total! Powered by AI, the nova 3i can recognise over 200 scenarios across eight categories including Blue Sky, Plant and Beach. The AI function can optimise photos by scene to create a true-to-life effect.

With AI machine learning, the HUAWEI nova 3i also supports 3D Qmoji, which is a social media-friendly feature that digitally transposes the face of a user onto a digital avatar.

The nova 3i is selling at SGD 398 and will be making its public debut on 28 July 2018 at Waterway Point Shopping Mall, East Wing Atrium, Basement 2. From 11am to 9pm, customers will receive a Casio G-SHOCK Analog-Digital Watch (worth $199) with every purchase of the nova 3i, while stocks last.

Review of ASUS Zenfone 5 (2018) – A Good Budget Phone?

In the budget phone space, the idea of a “good” product varies as it really depends on customer’s perception of “good”.  Today, I am going to review ASUS Zenfone 5. I am going to share with you on my idea of a “good” budget phone. I have broken it down into the following which I think it may help you in deciding whether you should buy the ASUS Zenfone 5.

ASUS Zenfone 5

Simplicity

This is perhaps my most important criterion on budget phone. As a budget phone user, I don’t need sophisticated features. I just need a phone that works while at the same time, saves my credit card bills. The Android user interface (UI) should not be that different from the Android phones that I have used before. To put it simply, the UI of the budget phone should look just like a stock Android.

 

Back to our topic on ASUS Zenfone 5, the phone deserves a thumbs-up. The ZenUI 5 of Zenfone 5 is almost identical to stock android. I have no problem familiarising the interface. I can locate the contact and phone app easily. Setting up is extremely easy as you could easily by-pass the FaceID and fingerprint setup. (Yes, I really don’t think these are important features for a budget phone).

 

I am not a photo-person but as we are communicating more on social networks these days, camera plays an important part of your entire smartphone experience.  We all love to shoot beautiful photos. The AI camera of Zenfone 5 detects and automatically adjust the image setting to make stunting-looking photos.

 

I have put up some of my photos shot by Zenfone 5 in Europe. I don’t think the image quality is perfect but there are good enough for me to share on my social networks.

Sample Shot by ASUS Zenfone 5
Sample Shot by ASUS Zenfone 5
Sample Shot by ASUS Zenfone 5

 

What needs to be there should be there

The Zenfone 5 is equipped with 3.5mm audio jack

Ironically, phone makers are trying to remove some standard features as part of their new product offerings I don’t think that’s the right way (at least for budget phones). Fortunately, the Zenfone 5 is equipped with USB Type C and 3.5mm audio jack (3.5mm audio jack is not a standard feature for some phones).

 

A battery that could last you for a whole day. The ASUS Zenfone 5 is packed with 3,300 mAh which is not too bad considering some flagship phones in 2018 may offer even less than that.

 

Price

Value vs Money – the game of the budget phone maker. The ASUS Zenfone 5 is selling at SGD 488 which is not exactly attractive (at least to me). At that price range, I could be looking other alternatives from Xiaomi.

 

Verdict

I must say ASUS has come a long way. The ZenUI has improved a lot since they launched their first phone. It is very easy to navigate within the phone. The camera is up-to-mark and it serves my social media needs

 

Front camera and the notch of Zenfone 5

In general, almost everything about this phone seems to hit the right spot. Its price at SGD 488 is kind of turn-off. Although the Zenfone 5 has packed with features that you could find in the premium phones like the face unlock, that is not necessary for most users. As a budget phone user myself, I will rather have this feature removed in exchange for a lower price.

 

Despite it is a good product, my advice is to wait for a better discount which I believe it should be happening soon as ASUS is releasing newer models.

Dell Launches Wallet-Friendly G3 and G7 Series Gaming Laptops

Moving from “Inspiron Gaming” to the “Dell G Series”,Dell Singapore introduces two new gaming laptops Dell G3 15 and Dell G7 15 in Singapore; all featuring gaming-forward design and snappy performance at affordable prices. These gaming laptops are equipped with powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10-Series GPUs, 8th Gen Intel® Core processors, thermal management solutions, intelligent content prioritisation software and anti-glare IPS panels.

Dell G7 Series Laptop

Dell G3 15 (3579)

  • In a 15-inch form factor, the Dell G3 15 laptop is powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX discrete GPUs from 1050 to 1060 with Max-Q design technology, up to 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 CPUs, dual fans and dual drives with SSD options
  • The laptop’s 2×2 WiFi antenna design provides great wireless performance, while the SmartByte software prioritises gaming and video content keeping them smooth, even during large file downloads
  • Encased in a refined performance inspired design and a silky matte exterior finish, the laptop boasts a slim 22.7mm profile encouraging gaming-on-the-go
  • The G3 15 is Dell’s thinnest gaming laptop to date
  • Dell G3 15 will offer three colour options (Licorice Black, Recon Blue, Alpine White) subject to availability

Dell G7 15 (7588)

Dell G7 series Laptop
  • For those seeking a step-up in performance from the G3 systems, the Dell G7 15 comes in a sleek 25mm thin 15-inch chassis, with powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPUs with Max-Q design technology
  • The system features 6GB GDDR5 dedicated memory, up to 6-core performance with 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors (with up to Core i9), dual fans, and dual drives with SSD options
  • The G7 15 offers optional 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i9 CPU and UHD display (3840×2160) configurations
  • Killer Gigabit Ethernet networking optimisation (or optional Killer Wireless 2×2 LAN) or SmartByte software responsively prioritise content downloads for smooth, uninterrupted gaming and streaming
  • Designed to push heat and noise away from the player, Dell equipped a front air intake and rear exhaust vent keep players cool, and enable longer gameplay
  • Immersing players deeper into the game, the Dell G7 15 will also offer an optional IPS UHD 4k panel to summon a premium on-screen experience
  • The Dell G7 15 is available in either Licorice Black or Alpine White subject to availability.

“We recognise the diversity of the gaming ecosystem and the evolving needs of the modern gamer,” said Jarebb Chua, Consumer Country Manager, Malaysia & Singapore,Dell. “Customer experience is at the heart of our design philosophy and the new affordable G Series is reflective of our commitment to enable gamers of all levels to game at their best. We always strive for continuous innovation to deliver the best gaming solutions without sacrificing mobility, ease of use and reliability.”

 

Pricing & Availability

The Dell G Series laptops are now available through Dell and its authorised partners:

Product Price (SGD)
Dell G3 15 Gaming Laptop  From $1,199
Dell G7 15 Gaming Laptop From $1,699

Review of Sudio Nivå – A Serious Contender In The True Wireless Earbuds Market

Remember my last article on Sudio Tre? We highlighted 2 potential improvements for Sudio Tre– Makes a truly wireless earphones and adds voice notification. This time, you have them all  in the Sudio Nivå

Sudio Nivå and Case Battery

Truly wireless

You can’t find a single wire on the product. Besides that, the Nivå is also much smaller, more portable and stylist than the Sudio Tre. Despite its small size, the performance of the Niva is not compromised. Slightly smaller than the size of the thumb, the Sudio Niva is able to last 3.5 hours on a full-charge and it could be extended to 17 hours with the case battery which is included in the purchase.

 

Both left and right earphones could be seemed as an individual unit that has its own power button. Once you turn on both sides, you receive the voice notification that both sides are connected. I have tried turning on only the right side and the earpiece still works fine. It could be a good hands-free device while driving.

 

Sound Quality and Isolation

Sudio has been working to improve the sound experience for the customers. Personally, I like the sound produced by Nivå. The bass is rich and strong but does not overpower the treble. The well-balance between the bass and treble gives a very pleasant listening experience especially under quiet indoor environment.

 

 

The Sudio Nivå is designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. The sweat-proof Nivå is shipped with 3 different size earbuds to ensure a suitable fit to user’s ears. Despite the product is not equipped with noise cancelling feature, the earbud does do a decent job in isolating the surrounding sound.

 

 

It is more than “sweat proof”!   

Sudio claims that this product is sweat-proof. I was running out of idea on how to run a test on this. One day, I have “coincidentally” misplaced my Nivå in the small pocket of my running short and threw them into a washing machine! I manage to get them out before the completion of the washing cycle. It was soaked in the water for at least 20 minute and I did whatever I can to save them – to blow dry them under the fan throughout the night. Luckily, the product survives. I think this unintended experiment speaks a lot about the hardware of the earphones. However, my advice to all my readers out there – Please don’t try this on your earphones.

 

Competitive Price

The Sudio Nivå retails at SGD 165. Comparing to products with the similar specfication, the price is actually very competitive. On top of that, Sudio is giving a more attractive discount to TND readers. Those who use TND promocode “NEODIMENSION15” on Sudio’s Singapore online store will get 15% discount. On top of that, you get free shipping and one year warranty from Sudio.

 

Verdict

This is the best Sudio product I’ve ever used. I like it because the sound profile is very general and it just delivers across different music genre. It is a lifestyle product that meets the general needs of the market. Comparing to other products at the similar price range, Sudio Niva is definitely value-for-money once you have applied TND’s 15% discount code.

 

Launch of Singapore’s First CPR-Training App

The DARE (Dispatcher-Assisted first REsponder) Programme aims to help bystanders gain the knowledge and confidence to save a heart, save a life. The pragramme, started since 2014, was specially designed to to be easy to learn and remember for people of all ages by the Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care  which was set up by the Ministry of Health

This year, DARE will be launching a CPR-training app. The app aims to make CPR and AED training more accessible to everybody and help reduce the fear barriers that can prevent people from helping strangers.

The launch will happen during the DARE Festival of Hands which will be held on the 26 May 2018, Saturday 10am -8pm @Toa Payoh HDB Hub. This festival is open to public as well.

 

 

Put on your tinkering caps at Tinkercademy’s first Open House

The Open House promises to be a fun-filled day for the whole family as you try your hand at console games that you can programme yourself with Tinkercademy.

 

Tap your feet to the beat as you play Washing Machine Revolution, an arcade rhythm game.

 

Feeling a little competitive? Take control of a tank and face off against your friend on the battlefield.

 

And if you ever had dreams of being the master of the universe, you don’t need an Infinity Gauntlet. With the proper coding, you can be the Supreme Leader of your own Minecraft world!

 

For a preview on the above, check out the Tinkercademy Open Hous. Check the video below

 

Atlas SV Introduces State-of-the-Art Loewe OLED TVs

SINGAPORE – May 8, 2018 – Atlas Sound & Vision,  officially introduces the Loewe range of OLED TVs. Dubbed “the most beautiful OLED TV in the world”, Loewe’s TVs have won more than 200 international design awards and are characterised by their precise and elegant design, high quality as well as ease of use.

 

Established in 1923, Loewe‘s products are handmade in Germany, combined with cutting-edge technology in design and quality. Each OLED TV setup is customizable based on the customer’s preferences, and comes with Bluetooth connectivity to allow music lovers to listen via the TV speakers as they stream music from their devices.

 

 

“Rising affluence amongst consumers, coupled with the rise in demand for 4K resolution content, has led to an increasing demand for premium audio and visual products. Around 70 percent of Southeast Asian consumers see themselves to be financially better off than they were seven years ago[1] and the global OLED market is expected to reach around USD41 billion come 2023[2]. We are excited to bring Loewe’s state-of-the-art viewing experiences to savvy consumers and screen buffs in Singapore. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Loewe in Singapore and the region,” said Michael Tien, Chief Executive Officer for Atlas Sound & Vision.

 

Loewe bild 7

Powered by Loewe OLED Technology

Loewe’s family of OLED TV uses organic light-emitting diode technology which creates perfect blacks, life-like visuals, a wide viewing angle, as well as having ultra-thin displays. Each OLED TV screen is thinner than an average smartphone. The display for Loewe’s bild 3 and 5 series come at 4.9mm while the bild 7 series comes at 7mm.

 

Every single pixel in a TV produces its own light. When the TV is switched off, absolute blackness within a response time of less than a microsecond is achieved. In contrast to liquid-crystal display (LCD) screens, OLED does not require back-lighting. Hence, eliminating the problem of clouding effect (light spots/grey haze), which appears when viewing scenes filmed in dark environments.

 

It incorporates three HDR standards, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision to consistently deliver the best possible picture quality and ensure that your Loewe OLED TV is future-proof.

 

Uncompromising Sound and Brilliant Image Quality

Built with powerful, built-in front speakers, Loewe OLED TVs allow consumers to experience acoustic quality of concert halls at their own living room. Home owners can also create their personal configuration by adding a klang soundbar or other Atlas curated sound solutions to their home entertainment system. Loewe bild 7.77 also comes with an integrated soundbar, providing a rich 120 watts of audio output.

 

Loewe OLED TVs produce brilliant high dynamic range (HDR) images which are of higher contrast and a much wider range of colours for pictures that are extremely brilliant and natural.

 

Sleek Elegance for any Modern Home

Recognized for their sophisticated design and clean lines, Loewe TVs provides its customers with endless possibilities to create their perfect TV.

 

The Loewe bild 3.55 is designed to be an eye-catcher for even the most basic living spaces and the extravagant; while the Loewe bild 5, designed by Bodo Sperlein, integrates one of the most traditional and soulful design materials: oak wood. Loewe bild 7 oozes confidence, is elegant and assured.

 

The three series of Loewe OLED TVs are now available at Atlas @ Millenia Walk:

  • The centerpiece: Loewe bild 3.55 oled, which comes with a table stand, is priced at S$4,999
  • The masterpiece: Loewe bild 5 oled range, is priced from S$6,399
  • The statement piece: Loewe bild 7 oled range, which comes with a wall mount, is priced from S$10,999

Collaboration between Singtel and Razor To Build The Largest E-payments Network in South East Asia

Everything started with a tweet by a Singapore Leader. In Aug 2017,  Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong  tweeted about the need of single e-payment system and Razor CEO Tan Ming-Liang tweeted back that he could roll up a system island-wide in 18 months.

Since then, Razor has been betting on cryptocurrency as a strategy to compete in the gaming market; rarely mentions about Singapore  or South East Asia (SEA) market. 9 months have passed and  finally, they are entering a MoU with Singtel, largest telco in Singapore to collaborate in high grown areas of e-payment, esports, gaming-related digital media and telecommunication services across Southeast Asia.

As Asia’s leading communications group and the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers respectively, the Singtel Group and Razer will leverage each other’s strengths and capabilities to engage the region’s consumers and audiences. The Singtel Group, which includes whollyowned subsidiary Optus and regional associates Airtel, AIS, Globe and Telkomsel, has a combined reach of over 680 million mobile customers across the region.

 

Mr Arthur Lang, CEO of Singtel’s International Group, said, “As a Group devoted to connectivity, we are making a big push to create an ecosystem of digital services for our customers. Digital services from mobile payments to entertainment have become a big part of their lives, especially the millennials. Our collaboration with Razer, which shares our vision on e-payments and esports, will help advance our goal to empower customers to spend seamlessly across borders and experience the thrill of esports. We look forward to working with gaming partners and supporting community initiatives to grow esports in the region.”

 

“We are incredibly excited about the many opportunities Razer and Singtel can tap together to benefit millions of gamers and consumers in Southeast Asia,” said Mr Min-Liang Tan, cofounder and CEO of Razer. “This is our opportunity to lead and accelerate the growth of esports and e-payments in a unified push across the region.”

Creating the largest e-payments network in Southeast Asia: The e-payments scene in the region is currently fragmented across multiple platforms. Subject to regulatory approvals, the Singtel Group and Razer plan to enable the interoperability of their respective e-payments systems to create a seamlessly integrated regional network.

Both companies have recently taken bold steps in this direction.

 

In March, the Singtel Group announced plans to connect the mobile wallets of Singtel and its associates through an interoperable platform, which will link over 50 million registered wallet users with more than 1 million merchant points across Asia. This interoperable platform can also connect with other third-party payment apps offered by telco and non-telco companies, providing ready access to the Group’s customer and merchant bases.

 

Last month, Razer announced its intention to acquire MOL Global, which operates one of the largest e-payment networks in South-East Asia. The latter’s online payment gateway is used by major companies such as Lazada, Grab and UNIQLO, and offers more than 1 million offline payment points across the region. MOL Global handled over US$1.1 billion of digital payments in 2017.

 

The interoperability of both networks will create one of the largest connected e-payment networks in Southeast Asia. Mobile wallet users of Singtel and its regional associates will be able to seamlessly access Razer’s e-payment merchant network of over a million payment points, the zGold virtual credit system, and Razer’s full suite of gamer-related digital services, which has more than 40 million registered users.

 

At the same time, Razer will deepen its penetration in Southeast Asian countries by adding Singtel Group’s more than a million merchant points across Asia to its network, as well as gain access to the Group’s more than 680 million mobile customers.

Asian Insurance Company – FWD Jumps into Blockchain Technology

FWD is one of the pioneers in the insurance industry to sell insurance products directly to the consumers without agents. Today, FWD made a joint announcement with Singapore-based Insurtech startup – PolicyPal to bring to market a suite of insurance products backed by blockchain technology.

FWD will also offer products on PolicyPal Network, an innovative blockchain solution that helps customers to buy and manage insurance easily through a one-stop digital insurance platform.

Ms Val Ji-hsuan Yap, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyPal Network (left), with Mr Abhishek Bhatia, Group Chief Officer of FWD on the MOU signing (right)

“We are glad to partner with PolicyPal to explore how blockchain technology can bring about a quantum change to the insurance industry; and provide customers with a greater level of transparency. We believe that by leveraging blockchain technologies, we will be able to cater to a growing group of customers who demand accessibility, affordability and increased trust in the insurance process.” said Mr Abhishek Bhatia, FWD’s Group Chief Officer – New Business Models.

PolicyPal raised USD 20 through Initial Coin Offering in March this year. The blockchain project with FWD is the major milestone achieved by the startup.  An area that PolicyPal is exploring is a peer-to-peer mutual aid insurance model built on blockchain technology. By applying risk assessment models on real-time data on a decentralized platform, customers can enjoy more affordable insurance premiums and higher aid limits. This solution also offers a cashback incentive on premiums for community members that do not make claims at the end of the insurance period, reducing liability for insurers and fraudulent claims.

“We look forward to capitalising on FWD’s regional reach to bring our products to countries in Asia. Our aim is to bridge the gap between consumers and insurance providers, and provide unbanked masses in the region with essential insurance coverage.” said Ms Val Ji-hsuan Yap, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyPal Network.