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  • Redmi Note 7 Pro - Latest Snapdragon Beast to be Released

    The latest and meanest Redmi model yet from Xiaomi is due for a release in a couple of weeks.
    Following the announcement in China and India, the Redmi Note 7 is expected to be released on 18th and 13th March respectively.

    What sets it apart from the usual Redmi (Pro) series is the close-to flagship hardware used:

    - Snapdragon 675 Octa-Core Kryo 260 11nm
    - Adreno 612
    - 48MP rear camera with LED Flash, f/1.79 aperture, Sony IMX586 sensor, 6P lens, PDAF, EIS, 5MP secondary camera
    - 6.3-inch Full HD+ 2.5D curved glass dot notch display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
    - up to 6GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB storage
    - Android 9.0 (Pie) with MIUI 10
    - 4000mAh battery

    It is also among the first in Redmi series to sport the latest USB Type-C connector.
    With the new Snapdragon 675 built on 11nm process, it will be expected to see performance gains on top of increased power efficiency on battery life.

    Featuring the latest 48MP f/1.79 Sony IMX586 camera, it certainly is intriguing to note how well detailed night photography would be like.

    Source: 1 | 2

    Samsung eUFS 3.0 Storage in Production - The New Speedy Gonzales

    Samsung announced mass production of the latest and first 512GB eUFS 3.0 NAND storage for smartphones, probably in line with their upcoming flagship models packed with large storage.

    With this new large and speedy smartphone storage, we can also expect to see leading makers adopt these into their line-ups as well.
    Touting 2,100MB/s sequential read speed and 68,000 IOPS on write, these new state-of-the-art chips based on Samsung's 5th-generation V-NAND  technology are expected to perform more than 5 times faster than budget phones using eMMC 5.1 storage like the MI A2 .
    There are also plans to bring in 1.0 TB version in the later part of this year.

    Xiaomi Mi A2 Review - Life after Pie

    Xiaomi Mi A2 Review - Life after Pie
    Xiaomi has been making waves of tremendous success in recent years, more notably from selling low-cost android smartphones. Granted that they weren't exceptionally speedy nor sturdy in the beginning, today we see a very matured production and more consistent quality/performance even when it comes to their budget range.
    Since the release of Mi A2 in July 2018, there has been on average monthly software updates, and Xiaomi has brought Android 9.0 Pie to the A2 since December. What's it like to use the second Android One phone in its latest iteration?
    The Mi A2 came in a premium looking package, as it seems to be the new norm across the range. All essentials were neatly packed with the pleasant addition of a clear soft case. Nice touch there Xiaomi. For the careful yet enthusiastic users, good to know that you are good to go with the factory screen "protector", buffered by the clear case behind.

    As the Mi A2 does not belong in the highest tier segment, the manufacturer went with Snapdragon 660AIE instead. While not the best performing chipset from Qualcomm, it does qualify well as a mid-tier SoC, more than capable of great real-world performance especially when married to Google's very own flavour of Android.

    Build Quality

    Lightweight phones has never been my preference; and the Mi A2 ticked that box for sure. Build feels premium and the hardware is clad in a metal unibody, which gives a chunky feel on the hand. Glad Xiaomi did not cheap out on raw material. Design, however, does resemble that of iPhone. Power, Volume buttons feels firm and assuring to the touch; and the rear mounted fingerprint sensor rarely, if ever, fails recognition.
    Overall the phone build feels very sturdy and emits the assurance that it won't be breaking any time soon.
    Coming in at 5.99" the A2's screen is definitely not small by any standards. Yet it also isn't overly huge, given its narrow bezels, with a screen-to-body ratio of ~77.3%. The LTPS touchscreen LCD is also protected by 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 5, which feels good to the touch. Touchscreen is mostly  responsive, and did not require any calibration out of the box.
    The camera notch has been quite a subjective preference, and I'm glad to say that there isn't one on the A2. Never mind that minor difference in height; I prefer the screen estate to be shaped regular. 

    FHD+ resolution is certainly much appreciated, although it has more or less become the norm even in budget models. Images and videos look crisp and sharp. Clarity is more than adequate on the Tianma display panel. What is perhaps lacking is brightness; legibility on max brightness can still be a hit or miss on full outdoor sunlight. 
    Although the A2 has 2 sets of speaker grilles, only one houses the mono speaker, which is to be expected in most of their line-ups. The solo speaker does a pretty good job on sounds, and does not noticeably break on its loudest. Although it is extremely common to to expect the lack of bass on phones, Mi A2 does its best with a feeble inclusion during audio playback.
    For audio enthusiast on the go, it will be disappointing to see exclusion of the native 3.5mm audio jack. The only consolation is an included type-c to 3.5mm jack, but still disappoints when in need of powerbank juice. 
    Music playback over bluetooth is seamless and fuss-free.
    Software / Daily Use / Performance
    Mi A2 usage is a breeze under the Android One program. Menu's are well structured, UI is simple and intuitive to use. Setup was hassle free due to cloud backup and restore. All previously downloaded apps, settings etc. had been restored in less than an hour, less a couple of re-initializations and its ready to use.

    Day to day use is speedy and fluid; given the more than adequate 6GB memory, all apps open and close with ease. Camera launches immediately and video playback starts with ease. Scrolling is smooth and rarely stutters, if ever.
    Updates arrive monthly on average, bringing various stability and security improvements.
    However, there seems to be some random issues with touch latency ever since update to Pie 9.0; typing fast may cause some letters to get skipped / not registered. Also the touch area of the on-screen "back" button has expanded since 9.0, and it can be sometimes annoying to have the palm touch on accident. Perhaps future updates may fix this minor niggle.
    Camera Day
    The highlight of Mi A2 seems to be the cameras. Utilizing IMX376 / IMX486 all-round is quite impressive given its accompanying price tag.
    Day shots are mostly on-point; mostly easy to capture using the phase detection auto focus. Dynamic range and colours are rather wide, and picture clarity grade is high.

    Indoor shots and close-up food pictures are equally visually pleasing, courtesy of Sony's dual shooters:

    Camera Night
    Night shots usually determine whether the phone holds up in the camera department. Thankfully the Mi A2 did not disappoint in this price segment. Dual f/1.75 lens used here shows their advantage in night scenes. Exposure is adequate and noise is bearable for the most part. However for the avid photographers, the lack of OIS often leaves the end result noisy and blurred, especially when taken hand-held. Auto-focus isn't always on point and need correction on many occasions, but captures fairly decent handheld stills, even more so when HHT is enabled. For the photo-savvy, manual mode reveals a couple of settings fit for use on tripod - Aperture, ISO, Shutter speed etc.

    Battery Life
    Xiaomi / Google has done an impressive job in battery life for the A2. Given the mediocre 3000mAh battery pack, most avid users would go "meh" when fiddling with store demo sets. The trust in Android One has not gone wasted; upon upgrade to 9.0 the most featured "adaptive battery" managed to boost the phone to a full day of web surfing. Below results are based on Dual Sim, heavy 4G usage on mostly web surfing habits.

    With rugged use of Dual 4G/3G and varying brightness in/outdoors, pulling close to 6 hours SoT is rather admirable for the A2, considering battery size and that it isn't using the 10nm Snapdragon 710, nor does it come with AMOLED.
    The Mi A2 is yet another feature packed quality product from Xiaomi. Although equipped with modest CPU and battery, the A2 performs exceptionally well in the mid-range category with its fluid performance and good battery life. Camera performance is equally good which is a welcomed advantage. Finally, with Android One's promise of delivering OS upgrades for at least 2 years, the A2 will see itself remain competitive in the Android market for quite a while.
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