Posts Tagged ‘phablets’

Review: SuperCharged Huawei Mate 9 Android flagship phablet

Friday, December 30th, 2016

The Mate 9 is Huawei’s flagship phablet boasting the fabulous camera from P9 that was co-developed with Leica and now improved, a fast Kirin 960 processor and Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.0 user interface. Price in Singapore: S$898.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

My take: The Huawei Mate 9 is another winner from Huawei. The Android 7 flagship phablet works swiftly as a smartphone and has a fabulous camera that churns out wonderfully toned black and white snapshots. Fantastic for monochrome shooters that want Leica-like photos without any post-editing.

The 5.9-inch smartphone has dual SIM slots capable of supporting 4G and 3G networks.

The Huawei Mate 9 ships with 4GB RAM and 64GB memory, and you can use the secondary SIM card slot to add up to 256GB from a microSD card.

Have been trying out the Huawei Mate 9 since its launch & availability in Singapore last month. Was curious to see whether the camera performance of the Mate 9 had improved over the P9, which had impressed me when I tried it (see the P9 photos here).

With the demise of Samsung’s Galaxy Note7, the Huawei Mate 9 is a strong candidate to take up the mettle left by the Korean flagship phablet.

The phone sports a Type-C USB socket – an adaptor to convert into a regular mini-USB is included in the box – and has a 4000mAh battery that can be SuperCharged for a day’s usage within 20 minutes.

I brought along the Mate 9 when I went on vacation in Taiwan to put it through the grind of daily usage, and to take some photos with its fabulous camera (see the Mate 9 photos here).

The highlights

  • Android 7 Nougat.
  • EMUI 5.0 user interface.
  • Latest Kirin 960 CPU for faster performance.
  • SuperCharge technology (full day’s charge in 20min).
  • 2nd gen Leica dual-lens camera with 12MP RGB sensor, and now with 20MP monochrome sensor and Hybrid Zoom, enabling 2x digital zoom.

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tech4xmas Review: Xiaomi Mi Max entry-level Android phablet

Friday, November 18th, 2016

There’s been much excitement surrounding the launch of the entry-level Xiaomi Mi Max phablet some six months ago. Oliver Ong Chor Yew bought one online to review it below.

Editor’s note

Xiaomi’s reputation for selling well-spec’ed phones at super low prices manifests itself in the Mi Max, offering huge value to the consumer.

I tried out the phablet too and found it was indeed slightly unwieldy to use one-handed.

But its huge and bright screen is great for reading ebooks, watching videos and surfing the Web.

And the battery life is the longest I’ve encountered – only the ASUS Zenfone Max is comparable.

You won’t get the same quality and feature set of the Samsung’s unfortunate flagship Galaxy Note7 – but at only a fraction of the price, Xiaomi’s Mi Max presents itself as an extremely value-for-money alternative to grab part of the market share vacated by the Note7.

Hence, I’ve included the Xiaomi Mi Max in the tech4xmas gift list.

Read Oliver Ong Chor Yew’s review below.

The Xiaomi Mi Max fresh out of the box (left), and the home screen (right).

The Xiaomi Mi Max fresh out of the box (left), and the home screen (right).

My Mi Max is a 6.44inch large-screen phablet with android 6.0 and MIUI 8.0 interface.

Overall verdict

With the $259 price tag and the huge screen size, the Mi Max is a good budget phone for every use.

The camera image quality is quite good.

Fingerprint sensor is extremely responsive and the device build quality makes this phone worth buying.

It is powered by a 4850mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery which is a standard for mid-range to high end phone nowadays.

The Mi Max has a Qualcomm snapdragon 650 chipset with Hexa-core processor (4 x 1.4GHz Cortex-A53 & 2 x 1.8GHz Cortex-A72) and 3GB RAM.

This model I am reviewing is the 32GB variant which costed me S$259 on Qoo10 at the time of this review was written.

There is a 64GB variant with Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 Octa-Core processor.

First impressions

The device is quite huge and it is quite difficult to use with one hand.

The build quality is quite sturdy and it feels like I am holding a premium device.

Sample shot of the cloudy blue sky, taken using the Xiaomi Mi Max.

Sample shot of the cloudy blue sky, taken using the Xiaomi Mi Max.

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New arrival: LG V20 flagship phablet with Android 7 Nougat

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

LG has launched the V20 in Singapore, boasting strong multimedia performance for audiophiles and photographers. Available in Singapore (S$998) from 5 November.

The LG V20 uses lightweight aluminum, together with a new silicon-based material - AL6013 metal - which is found in aircraft, sailboats and mountain bikes.

The LG V20 uses lightweight aluminum, together with a new silicon-based material – AL6013 metal – which is found in aircraft, sailboats and mountain bikes.

The new LG V20 sports Hi-Fi Quad DAC, Steady Record 2.0, front and rear wide angle cameras.

LG also boasts that It is the world’s first smartphone to come preloaded with Android 7.0 Nougat OS, featuring the new Google In Apps phone search function.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

The LG V20 has a 5.7-inch main IPS Quantum Display and emphasises on multimedia performances. It was launched in Singapore at Bar on 5 in the Orchard Mandarin Hotel.

The LG V series is a premium flagship smartphone line designed to provide users with the best video and audio experience.

Key specifications of the LG V20 below.

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New arrival: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Android smartphone (S$1,168)

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be available in Singapore from 20 August at S$1,168. Pre-orders / registration of interest (with M1, Singtel, StarHub) begin today with delivery on 19 August. Free Note 7 Lens Kit (S$198) for pre orders.

The newest flagship phablet from Samsung has a 5.7-inch Quad HD Dual Edge SUPER AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 (518ppi). The Galaxy Note 7 ships with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

The newest flagship phablet from Samsung has a 5.7-inch Quad HD Dual Edge SUPER AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 (518ppi). The Galaxy Note 7 ships with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.

The Galaxy Note series skips a number and goes directly from Note 5 to Note 7.

The latest flagship model is now in line with the Galaxy S7 to reduce confusion among consumers.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is available in Black Onyx, Gold Platinum, or Silver Titanium.

More importantly, Samsung is probably hoping that some of the success of the S7 will rub off on the Note 7 and continue turning around the fortunes of the Korean phone maker.

So the most “eye-catching” – forgive the pun – new feature must be the iris-scanner, another security to ensure only the right eyes get to eyeball the contents of the Note 7.

I tried it during the launch and it’s mighty fast and responsive, removing my initial reservation that it might be slow and wonky.

The S Pen also gets enhanced, software wise.

New functionalities include Screen Off Memo, Smart Select function, Air Command and Samsung Notes, as well as the ability to create and share GIF animations.

A photo posted by John Tan (@tech4tea) on

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 comes with Dual SIM support, where one of the two nano-SIM slots can be used to accept a microSD memory card (up to 256GB) instead. This will extend the 64GB internal memory that comes with the phone.

Also, the Galaxy Note 7 and its S Pen are now both IP68-certified water and dust resistant, so you can now use them underwater – if you want/need to.

More details and technical specifications in the press release below.

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New arrivals: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 & S6 edge+ Android phablets

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Samsung has unveiled globally their latest flagship phablets. Both have 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED displays and 4GB RAM. Prices and availability in Singapore below.

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 4G+ (left) and S6 edge+ 4G+ comes with 5.7 inch QHD displays and 4GB RAM.

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 4G+ (left) and S6 edge+ 4G+ comes with 5.7 inch QHD displays and 4GB RAM.

So the Samsung’s flagship devices basically comprise the following:

Models Display Curved edges S Pen
S6 5.1″ No No
S6 edge 5.1″ Yes No
Note 5 5.7″ No Yes
S6 edge+ 5.7″ Yes No

So the “basic flagship” is the Galaxy S6, with the other models being variants offering curved edges, bigger displays and stylus.

The Note 5 offers, as its main differentiator the S Pen stylus, but is essentially on the same hardware/software platform as the S6 series of smartphones.

Price & Availability in Singapore

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New arrivals: Huawei P8 flagship smartphone and wearables

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Huawei launched its Android flagship smartphone – the P8 – during CommunicAsia2015 and showcased three wearable products – the Huawei TalkBand B2, TalkBand N1 and the Huawei Watch. Prices below.

The Huawei P8 measures 144.9 x 72.1 x 6.4mm and weighs 144g.

The Huawei P8 measures 144.9 x 72.1 x 6.4mm and weighs 144g.

Richard Yu, CEO of the Huawei Consumer Business Group introduced the Huawei P8 smartphone for the Southern Pacific Region at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

For Huawei, the Southern Pacific Region comprises Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore.

The P8 was first launched globally in London in April this year and is part of the company’s transition from a B2B entity to a consumer centric brand.

The three wearable products – the Huawei TalkBand B2, TalkBand N1 and the Huawei Watch (currently under development) – were all launched at the Mobile World Congress 2015 in March 2015.

Huawei P8

The Huawei P8 has a 5.2-inch FHD screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels (424ppi, 16 million colours) and capable of playing 1080p video.

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New arrivals: Nexus 6 phablet from Motorola & Google

Friday, February 27th, 2015

The new 32GB Android Nexus 6 will be in Singapore from tomorrow (28 February) at S$998.

The 32GB Nexus 6 is available in Midnight Blue and Cloud White, and will retail for S$998 exclusively through open channel (retail stores).

The 32GB Nexus 6 is available in Midnight Blue and Cloud White, and will retail for S$998 exclusively through open channel (retail stores).

The phablet-sized 6-inch Nexus 6 is the first to run Android 5.0 Lollipop.

“Every one of our Moto phones is built on a foundation of pure Android – it’s easier to use, delivers amazing performance and lets you choose how you want to use your phone,” – Motorola Mobility.

The new Material Design interface responds to touch and voice in more intuitive ways, while its 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor with quad-core CPU makes it easy to switch between apps.

The phablet has 3GB RAM and is water resistant.

Nexus 6 measures 83 x 159.3 mm and weighs 184g.

It has a 5.96-inch AMOLED display with 1440p Full HD, 16:9 aspect ratio, 493 ppi, Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

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Review: ASUS Fonepad 8 (FE380CG) Android phablet

Monday, February 16th, 2015

The ASUS Fonepad 8 is one of the largest and most affordable phablet on the market. At only S$299, it provides you with all the features and functionality that you need out of a tablet/phone combo.

ASUS designed the Fonepad series with affordability in mind. The Fonepad 6 and Fonepad 7 were released in 2013, while the Fonepad 8 were launched in late 2014.

ASUS designed the Fonepad series with affordability in mind. The Fonepad 6 and Fonepad 7 were released in 2013, while the Fonepad 8 were launched in late 2014.

The dual-SIM gives you much needed flexibility especially when you’re travelling and wants to slot in a cheap local SIM, but still wants to remain contactable on your regular number.

Two features which impressed me was the dual-SIM capability and long battery life of the ASUS Fonepad 8 phablet.

It is easy to slot in/out the two micro-SIM cards as both slots are in a special compartment on the left side of the phablet, along with the microSD card slot, that allows you to expand the 8 or 16GB internal storage of the Fonepad 8 by up to another 64GB.

Top right corner of the Fonepad 8.

Top right corner of the Fonepad 8.

The phone supports 3G for both SIM cards but not 4G/LTE.

I found usage of dual SIM straightforward like in other dual-SIM Android phones.

The internal, non-removable 4,000mAh battery provided long hours of usage without worry of running dry.

Even with intense usage and video viewing, the Fonepad 8 easily lasted an entire day and then some.

On my more typical day, there was usually at least 20-30 percent battery left at the end of the day.

Fonepad 8 is available in four colors—black, white, red and gold. White and gold models include white bezels, while the black and red models feature a black fascia. Out of the box, the pre-loaded ZenUI color scheme matches the device’s back cover color, which is plastic and features a non-slip diamond-pattern coating.

Fonepad 8 is available in four colours—black, white, red and gold. White and gold models include white bezels, while the black and red models feature a black fascia. Out of the box, the pre-loaded ZenUI color scheme matches the device’s back cover color, which is plastic and features a non-slip diamond-pattern coating.

ASUS rates the battery life to 14.2 hours of Wi-Fi Web browsing, 12 hours of HD video playback, and 21 hours of 3G talk time.

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New arrivals: Lumia 535 Dual SIM @ only S$199 from 5 Dec in Singapore

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Microsoft Devices offers the 5-inch Windows Phone 8.1 phablet at an affordable S$199. The budget phablet comes with a 5-megapixel front camera and dual SIM.

The Lumia 535 Dual SIM will be available in a range of colours including orange, white, cyan and black. Bright green and dark grey are not available for Singapore.

The Lumia 535 Dual SIM will be available in a range of colours including orange, white, cyan and black. Bright green and dark grey are not available for Singapore.

First announced on 10 November in the US, the Lumia 535 will debut in Singapore on 5 December, at an affordable price of S$199.

The Lumia 535 offers five free integrated Microsoft experiences:

  1. Make memorable Skype video calls and seamlessly switch between voice and video with built-in Skype integration. Fit more memorable backgrounds or add more friends into Skype video calls and selfies with the 5 MP wide angle front facing camera.
  2. With Microsoft Office Mobile, you can now access, edit and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and OneNote notebooks wherever you are, with the pre-installed Microsoft Office suite.
  3. Save and sync photos, videos and Office documents securely with 15GB of free OneDrive cloud storage.
  4. Connect with work and personal e-mail while on the go, with built-in Microsoft Outlook.
  5. Add a whole new dimension to your console entertainment with Xbox One SmartGlass, the perfect companion app if you want the best of your Xbox One from both in your living room and on the go. Connect and control your Xbox One and stay connected with the games and gamers you like.

Lumia 535 sports a 5-inch qHD (960 x 540 pixels, 16:9) IPS made of Gorilla Glass 3 with capacitative touchscreen at resolution of 220ppi.

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New arrivals: HTC Desire EYE phablet and RE camera

Monday, November 24th, 2014

HTC hopes to reinvent mobile photography and imaging with the HTC Desire EYE “double exposure” smartphone, the RE fun camera, EYE Experience imaging software, and enhanced Zoe video editor.

The HTC Desire EYE will be available in Singapore from 27 November at SITEX 2014 at S$728 S$628, through StarHub and M1.

Errattum:

HTC has updated that the price of the HTC Desire EYE in Singapore during SITEX 2014 to S$728 from the S$628 in the original press release.

HTC Desire EYE (left, in White and Coral Red duotone) phablet and HTC RE (in green) camera.

HTC Desire EYE (left, in White and Coral Red duotone) phablet and HTC RE (in green) camera.

HTC has announced two new innovative gadgets which I had the chance to preview last week – the RE fun camera and Desire EYE Android phablet – both of which are water proof.

HTC RE camera

The RE camera will be available from late December onwards. HTC has yet to announce its price tag in Singapore.

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