Don’t Wait for The OnePlus 5G, OnePlus 6T is The Phone

We all know that 5G is coming soon and I am sure every OnePlus fan is as excited as I am. OnePlus has already announced their next phone that is 5G-Ready and all the OnePlus fans can’t wait to own the phone. Wait a second, are we saying that 5G is going to happen soon? Personally, I don’t see the full roll-out of 5G infrastructure happening in 2019 (at the very least, not in Singapore). Even it does roll out this year, I foresee the price of the 5G service is going to be expensive. The switching cost from 4G to a better-latency and faster 5G may not be worthwhile. Then, what’s the point of waiting for OnePlus 5G?

Back of OnePlus 6T

Those who have read our article on the OnePlus 6 knows we have very good impression of the phone. OnePlus 6 has almost all the ticks in our checklists but not quite there yet. Now, the OnePlus 6T is even better than its predecessors.

Better Battery Life

OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T are run on the latest Android Pie version. (Note: The OnePlus 6 does not ship with the latest Android ver. 9 installed but OnePlus has been known for keeping up with the OS update much faster than other brands. The phone got updated shortly after the OnePlus 6T was launched). User interface and graphic performance are similar on both phones given that they are running on the same OS version and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor.

The notable improvement is the battery life. OnePlus 6T is shipped with 3700 mAh battery capacity giving 10% more battery life than OnePlus 6. After a month of heavy usage, I have observed that the phone could last slightly more than a day. I have never once used a power bank to charge the OnePlus 6T while I am on the move.

Better OTG/USB Type C Experience

Given that the OnePlus 6T has no 3.5mm audio port, the OTG will automatically activated once a Type C device is inserted. This is another improvement from the OnePlus 6 where you need to manually activate the OTG each time you inserted.

OnePlus has removed the 3.5mm audio port.

When you insert the Type C port for the first time, the OnePlus 6T will automatically activated the “Earphone mode”, a popular feature among OnePlus fans. In this mode, you could activate a “Speak Caller ID” feature when connected with the headphones. This feature will read out to you the incoming call number and if the incoming call happens to be in your phonebook, it will read out the contact name.

Other customization such as “Auto Play” to resume music playback and “Smart Answer for Bluetooth” to connect to Bluetooth audio to answer incoming call are also found in the “Earphone mode”.

In-display Fingerprint Sensor

OnePlus 6T has shifted the finger print sensor from the back to the front and replace it with a in-screen one. To some of you out there, the technology may seem redundant but if you think deeper, this could give us a quick glimpse on how we could better secure the phone in future. Imagine the technology gets better in years to come, the fingerprint sensor may not be at fixed location and it could be anywhere on the screen or at the back of the phone. Instead of single fingerprint, the phone could be equipped with multiple fingerprints or a palm-print sensor just like the Judge Dredd’s “Lawgiver”. How cool is that?!

Currently, OnePlus 6T is one of the few Android phones in the market equipped with this feature. I can see that more phones maker will follow suit to add this technology as part of their product offerings. Sidetrack – It is rumored that Apple will not add in-display fingerprint sensors in their phones. So, that is something OnePlus 6T owners could brag about to their iPhone friends.  

Top Price vs Value

You have read many reviews about the many similarities of OnePlus 6T against OnePlus 6. From the hardware perspectives, I agree (at least most of them). Both the OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T use the same chip and camera sensors. But I am not agreeing to the fact that you should buy the cheaper OnePlus 6 over the OnePlus 6T.

Don’t get me wrong. Both OnePlus 6 and 6T offer top specifications in the market and they are selling at very reasonable price. A quick check across the key e commerce sites in Singapore – OnePlus 6 (8GB Ram/128GB ROM) is selling at SGD 699 and the OnePlus 6T (8GB RAM/128GB ROM) is SGD738. Note that the OnePlus 6T is selling at only about 5% more expensive than the OnePlus 6 in the Singapore market.

First, the battery life of OnePlus 6T is more than 10% of OnePlus 6’s. That itself justified the 5% premium over the OnePlus 6.

Second, the display of OnePlus 6T is made up of Gorilla Glass 6, an upgrade from the OnePlus 6’s Gorilla Glass 5. In terms of scratch resistance, both Glass 5 and Glass 6 are equivalent. The main difference is that Glass 6 is designed to withstand multiply drops from greater heights. In other words, the OnePlus 6T is supposedly tougher than OnePlus 6. That’s a plus point for clumsy phone users (like me).

Third, there are several software enhancements that may or may not relevant to phone users. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning if you are considering buying the OnePlus 6 or the OnePlus 6T. For instance, OnePlus claims that they use new algorithm in the 6T to better optimize photo setting even though it is using the same camera sensors as the OnePlus 6’s.  

Conclusion

If you are one of those who are still holding to your old OnePlus 5T or older, you should consider upgrading to the OnePlus 6T. No doubt the OnePlus 6 is cheaper and gives similar performance. The small price premium justified the added features against the OnePlus 6 based on the latest price comparison.  

A Continued Love Affair With BlackBerry KEY2

Author: Poisonvine.com

Everyone who knows me knows that I am a hardcore BlackBerry fan. Therefore, please expect this review to be biased in the favour of BlackBerry. If there’s something you don’t agree with, let’s just agree to disagree.

 

Despite the prevalence of full touch screen phones, and admittedly there are many very good options out there, there are still a bunch of us who are willing to sacrifice a 16:9 4K stereo sound movie experience on a giant phone for features which makes a phone more usable as, well, a phone.

 

For me, my phone is primarily a communications device – Telegram, WhatsApp and email. I am totally happy to use my tablet to watch movies and play games (I just got a Mi Pad 4 recently which is really good value-for-money and I have no complaints with it so far). As such, the typing experience on my phone is really important to me. I like to be able to type and walk at the same time and still be able to keep my eyes on the road. I like to be able to type confidently without having to check my phone for spelling errors (or worse, stupid autocorrects which can be potentially more embarrassing than some innocent spelling errors. If you have no clue on how serious or hilarious autocorrect mistakes can be, you can see them here).

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory but it is 80% there

This is where a keyboard comes in.

 

BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is not the best by far in my memory. That accolade still goes to the good old BlackBerry Bold 9900 (back then, they manufacture their own phone. Now TCL is the manufacturer of all BlackBerry phones) but I think KEY2 is 80% there. The KEY2 certainly made a few improvements over the KeyOne. The keys are angled in such a way that it matches how the thumb would “hit” the keyboard. What I didn’t like so much was that in order to keep a slim profile for the phone, the right “shift” and “alt” key had to go, which at times is a bother if I need to type numbers. For example, to input “7”, I have to hold down the “alt” key and press the “z” key at the same time which is really difficult. Luckily it is possible to lock the “alt” (or the “shift” key for that matter) by double-pressing the “alt” key, but I definitely still prefer to have the alt and shift key on both sides. It is possible to customise the currency key so that it works as “shift” key, but now I chose to use it as “ctrl” key so that I can use it to do my cut and paste easily.

 

Another feature I like about BlackBerry KEY2’s keyboard is that it is possible to create a multi-language keyboard which gives predictive words for up to 3 compatible languages (read: similar writing systems). This could be useful if you regularly communicate using different languages (or better yet, a mix of them). Instead of having to change the input language all the time, you can now simply type away. That said, switching languages on the keyboard (say, English to Chinese) is super easy. Just hold “alt” and press “enter” to toggle between the available languages.

One of my favourite features on legacy BlackBerry devices was the global search feature. Instead of having to go into the contacts app to start looking for someone, I can simply type the person’s name and the phone will show me search results related to the person, including contact details, email conversations with the person, or social media stuff.

 

This feature is still available on the KEY2, but the setting is difficult to find. To enable the global search, tap the centre button (BlackBerry launcher), and click the “Settings” button on the top right hand corner, then “Typing action”, then select “Start a search”.

I have found this feature to be useful, unfortunately it is slow. I really hope that this will be improved going forward.

 

An important thing to note is that when this feature is switched on, in order to use the apps shortcut, you have to hold the bottom right key (the one with nine dots) in order to activate the shortcuts. Some may also notice that the options for creating “short press” shortcut is gone, which effectively reduces the available keys for creating shortcuts by half (long press vs short press). However, there is a workaround. If you create the “short press” shortcuts first, then switch to “Start a search”, the “short press” shortcuts will still work. So currently, I use a short press “T” for Telegram and a long press “T” for Twitter and still have the global search enabled.

 

The battery life on the phone is quite impressive. The battery easily last over a day with normal usage on the phone. That is despite the phone’s battery being only 3500 mAh. I am not sure, but I think it is because the processor Snapdragon 660 is a very power efficient processor.

 

But this brings me to my next point, while I will buy the phone, the price point vs the hardware specs makes it hard for me to recommend this phone to others. For Snapdragon 660, 6 GB RAM and 64 GB memory, BlackBerry KEY2 has a recommended retail price of SGD 899. It is currently possible to buy the Oneplus 6T at SGD 898 which has Snapdragon 845, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB memory. ( If you want to know how good the OnePlus phone is, read my review here)

 

I loved BlackBerry legacy devices, but the user experience on the android versions of BlackBerry hasn’t been quite as smooth so far. I still miss being able to swipe up and right from anywhere, any app to access the BlackBerry hub. That said, the KEY2 has proven to me that there is a future for BlackBerry in android, but admittedly it’s not for everybody.

 

Now I just gotta find the best discount I can get for this phone…

 

p.s. If you are keen to know more about my love for BlackBerry, read my older article on BlackBerry Passport here)

Singtel Brings Razer Phone 2 To Singapore

Singapore, 30 October 2018 – Singtel today announced that it is the exclusive carrier partner of the Razer Phone 2 in Singapore. Singtel customers will be among the first in Asia to enjoy the gaming lifestyle brand’s new flagship phone when it is released on 3 November. Prices for the Razer Phone 2 start from S$98.

 

Ms Gan Siok Hoon, Vice President for Mobile Marketing and Sales at Singtel, said, “We are delighted to bring the new Razer Phone 2 exclusively to our customers. We observed that many of our Razer Phone customers use two times more data than the average customer, so we are offering them free six months of DATA X 4. Now, they will have the huge data allowance and super-fast connectivity critical for mobile gaming. We will continue to expand our suite of e-gaming products and services to provide the ultimate gaming experience at home and on the go.”

 

At Singtel’s exclusive Razer Phone 2 launch event this Saturday, customers will get a first look at the Razer Phone 2 and also get to experience it on Singtel’s superior network by taking part in Arena of Valor (AOV) and Contra mobile gaming competitions. The first 100 customers who purchase the phone will receive a limited edition #TEAMRAZER Gaming Pack.

 

SG Smartphone Tech Updates – Highly-Secured Google Pixel 3, 4-camera Samsung Galaxy A9 & Blockchain-powered XPhone

Singaporean love gadgets. In this small island-state with no more than 6 million people, we have one mega electronic fair in every 2 months approximately. It is also not surprising to know that we have one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world. On average, one Singaporean is carrying 1.5 smartphones; no wonder many international brands choose to launch their smartphones in this tiny red dot.

 

There were so many smartphones launches recently in Singapore last week and the consumers have been spoiled for choices. If you have yet to find time to read out all the press releases, this article serves as a summary to make sure you are in the know.

 

Google Pixel 3/Pixel 3 XL

The Google Pixel 3 is probably the most high-profile launches recently. The Pixel UI has won praises in the market and a handful of tech reviewers has commented that the UI used in the Google Pixel line of phones are better than the “stock” android.

 

Besides improvements in the hardware from the earlier pixel phones, the biggest highlight of the Google Pixel 3 is the use of a new security chip called the Titan M. This is the same chip that Google used in their data centre which means that Google is bringing enterprise-level security technology to smartphones.

 

Google has also ditched 3.5mm port joining the likes of Apple to push for adopting new cable standard for our audio devices. For those who are still using the conventional headphones with the standard 3.5mm audio jack, the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL are shipped with USB-C 3.5mm audio jack adaptor. You could still use your old expensive headphones with Google Pixel 3.

 

iPhone users, listen up! Before you feel like converting, you may wish to look on the CNET video below for comparison.

Samsung Galaxy A9

The rise of budget phones in recent years has prompted Samsung to launch mid-range Galaxy A series. Consumers has certainly benefited from the intense competition among the smartphone brands. At a lower price-point, the Galaxy A9 is offering specifications that are very comparable to those so-called “flagship phones” are offering.

 

The Galaxy A9 has caught attention from the media of being the first smartphone in the world that has not 2, not 3 but 4 rear cameras! Every camera sensor has its own purpose – ability for better optical zoom (2x to be exact), able to take wider images, better depth of field and better image qualities under low-light conditions.

The rationale of having 4 camera sensors is to give flexibility to the users who could toggle across different camera sensors to suit the users’ requirement – for instance long shots or wide shots.

 

Blockchain-powered XPhone

Pundi X, a Singapore-based blockchain start-up, has announced their very own smartphone called XPhone that runs on their own Function X OS based off Android OS 9.0. Essentially, it is still an Android phone powered by their own Function X blockchain; that means the data transmitted via your phone i.e. apps, pictures, video, messages, calls or any types of file are being stored or distributed through a network of decentralized nodes.

 

Traditionally, phone users go through the centralized mobile carrier to make a call via a number that is unique to every phone user. With Pundi X’s proprietary FXTP, users could by-pass the conventional internet protocol (http) completely to transmit data to another device. To put it simply, X Phone could potentially work independently at places without mobile signal. You should look at their product demo here.

The idea of X Phone is revolutionary. However, Pundi X comments the viability of its blockchain infrastructure depends largely on the spread of nodes (in this case, number of XPhone users).

Singapore Company goGame Collaborates With The Walt Disney Company; Developed Mobile Game Disney Epic Quest

 

At GameStart Asia 2018, goGame and The Walt Disney Company (Stock Quote: NYSE.DIS) Southeast Asia revealed a first look at the gameplay of Disney Epic Quest, an original mobile title that brings Disney and Pixar characters into one action-packed digital experience for all ages. Developed and published by the Singapore-headquartered goGame, Disney Epic Quest is the first Disney mobile game to debut in Southeast Asia. The free-to-play game will be available on both Android and iOS devices and will launch across the region in 2019.

David Ng, Founder and CEO, goGame

David Ng, founder and CEO of goGame, said “As a mobile game company with a strong Asian presence, it’s a great honour to work on a Disney game that’s developed by, hosted in and published for our fastgrowing Southeast Asia region. And as fans of Disney and Pixar, we’re proud to be able to bring the magic of their characters from the movie screens to mobile screens and ultimately, to the heart of our players.”

 

Dan Dossa, VP & GM, Consumer Products Commercialisation The Walt Disney Company South Asia

“At the heart of everything we do at Disney is great storytelling, and we draw upon the most beloved stories and characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars to create high-quality interactive game experiences for fans of all ages,” said Dan Dossa, Vice President & General Manager, Consumer Products Commercialization, The Walt Disney Company South Asia. “Our collaboration with goGame underpins our commitment to our Southeast Asian fans to deliver games unique to local tastes and preferences”.

 

Disney Epic Quest is an action role-playing mobile game that brings together Disney and Pixar characters in a digital universe. Players will assemble a squad of three Disney and Pixar characters who embark on a journey to save their digital realm from a menacing virus that has infected the land.

 

The game will launch in 2019 in Southeast Asia, and will be available in English, Bahasa Indonesia, Simplified Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese.

 

Starting today, fans from around the world can pre-register their interest on the official website at www.playdisneyepicquest.com to be notified when Disney Epic Quest is available in their region. Those who are eager to try the demo for themselves may also visit the Disney booth at GameStart Asia 2018, Suntec Convention Centre from 13–14 October 2018.

OPPO Singapore Launches R17 Series

Teardrop Front Camera of OPPO R17 Series

OPPO Singapore announced the launch of two new R series products – OPPO R17 and R17 Pro in Singapore. Singapore is the first market globally to launch the R17 series following the Shanghai launch earlier this year.

 

The R17 series adopts Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 for the first time, with a 91.5% screen-to-body ratio and Hidden Fingerprint Unlock for the R17 Pro. The Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6 is able to withstand a drop from a one-meter height to a rough surface for an average 15 times, doubled that of the Gorilla Glass 5 performance.

Although OPPO R17 Pro Sports 12MP f/1.5-f/2.4) +20MP (f/2.6) + TOF 3D Camera, no finger print sensor at the back of the phone

The R17 Pro also carries SuperVOOC flash charging technology, allowing users to enjoy the safest and most efficient charging technology in the industry. The R17 Pro also support NFC wireless payment, making the transition to mobile payments easy and convenient.

 

The R17 is equipped with a 6GB DDR4 RAM, with octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 mobile platform. It can perform multiple tasks seamlessly such as HD video playing or online mobile games. With 128GB storage space, users have ample space to store all their files.

 

The TOF Camera of OPPO R17 Pro is capable of capturing face image in 3D

The R17 comes with a 25MP front camera and a Sony IMX576 sensor with f/2.0 aperture equipped with real-time HDR support. The R17 series is able to provide up to 8 million different beautification schemes to intelligently match different users across the globe. Additionally, the customised beauty mode can now identify up to four people in the frame and enables users to adjust the facial features and preview the effects in real time. The rear cameras of the R17 series can intelligently recognise 23 photography modes and as many as 864 scenario combinations to ensure every shot taken is the best shot possible.

 

 

The R17 Pro is equipped with a variable smart aperture of f1.5/f2.4 which can automatically adjust to the lighting conditions making images sharper and clearer in both bright and low light situations. The R17 Pro has OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), which can stabilise images and guarantee a longer exposure time to brighten night-time photography, especially with a 7P lens module. The combination of these two features further heightens precision in night-time photography.

 

Furthermore, with regards to sensors, the R17 Pro uses a Sony IMX362 as its main camera, which has 12 MP with dual-pixel for quick and accurate focusing, and 1.4micron pixels size and 1/2.55 sensor size, for brighter night shots and lower noise level. Overall, the whole hardware system of the OPPO R17 Pro is designed for night photography.

 

The R17 Pro also features TOF 3D camera, upgrading the camera from 2D to 3D and featuring users’ functions like 3D photos, somatosensory games, AR ruler and more.

The OPPO R17 6GB+128GB will be available in Singapore on 6th October at $699.

The R17 Pro 8GB+128GB with SuperVOOC is priced at $999. Pre-order will begin on 3rd November 2018 and it will be available from 10th November 2018.

Singtel launches iPhone Xs and Apple Watch Series 4

Singapore, 21 September 2018 – Singtel this morning launched the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and Apple Watch Series 4 at its Singtel Comcentre Shop.

A long queue of Singtel customers formed around the Singtel flagship store hours before the shop opened. First in line was Mr K. A. Ng, 37, who had queued since 5.30am to get his hands on the new iPhone before heading off to work.

 

 

“Singtel has provided top notch service to me over the years and the booking process for the iPhone this time round has been really smooth,” said Mr Ng, who has been a Singtel customer for more than 20 years. “I’m excited to be the first to purchase the new iPhone Xs Max and I love its gorgeous new Gold colour and advanced camera capabilities.”

 

Singtel is offering customers who buy the iPhones an exclusive Apple bundle that includes a new DataX4 add-on, MobileSwop Unlimited service and Apple Music, at a promotional price of S$26.90 per month, a 32 percent discount from the usual price of S$39.78. Customers who subscribe to this bundle will also enjoy S$100 off their new iPhone.

 

Singtel is the only provider in Singapore that enables cellular connectivity on the new Apple Watch. Customers can activate their cellular connectivity with a free 6-month subscription of Singtel’s NumberShare service (usual price S$6.90/mth).

 


Although Singtel is offering cellular services to the new Apple Watch 4, nothing has been confirmed with Apple to roll up cellular services through the new iPhone Xs’ embedded eSim. Singtel spokesperson’s reply, “We are getting more information from Apple to review the offering of digital eSim on iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone Xr.”

 

 

 

Realme, OPPO’s sub brand, Looks To Enter Southeast Asia Market.

OPPO has joined the fight against Huawei to capture the youth market. Similar to Huawei’s Honor, Realme is a separated brand under OPPO that targeted at global youth to deliver advance technology features at affordable price range.

 

Established in May 2018, Realme aims to bring performance and design that the young generation need from a smartphone. They launched their first smartphone Realme 1 in India during the first half of the year. Sales has surpassed business expectation. The Realme1 was sold out two minutes after it was made available, making it onto the Amazon ‘Best Seller’ list. 400,000 units of the Realme1 were also sold just two months after the launch.

 

The company never stop to continue the good momentum. Realme’s latest series, the Realme2, set a new record during its launch in India when a total of 200,000 units were sold in under 5 minutes. “With very few options available in the market to meet the ever-changing customer demand, Realme is focusing on bridging the gap by providing products with the latest innovations along with strong performance and stylish designs. As Realme is targeting the global market, we aspire to inject fresh momentum into the global smartphone industry,” said Sky Li, Founder and Global CEO of Realme.

 

Speaking at the launch of the Realme2, Madhav Sheth, Chief Executive Officer, Realme India said, “Being a young smartphone brand in the most diverse and thriving market in the world, we have witnessed unprecedented demand for our smartphones since launching Realme1. In just 30 days, we gained 4% of the online market share, and were ranked 4th in the fastest growing online smartphone market. As a youth-centric brand, we will always thrive to offer customers with the best at optimum prices.”

 

The Realme2 is expected to exceed the Realme1’s achievement. The company has never given a clear time length on when the phones are coming to Southeast Asia but promises that consumers will soon be able to get their hands on the smartphones and enjoy a lot more at surprising prices. Afterall, consumers in this part of the world will have one more choices when comes to budget smartphone.

 

 

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.