The Redmi Note 6 Pro comes 9 months after the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The device comes with an improved dual-camera setup at the rear which can even give more premium and expensive flagship smartphones a run for their money.
Xiaomi is also ensuring that this time around, the Redmi Note 6 Pro is available easily. It is holding the first sale of the device just a day after officially unveiling it.
If you are planning on buying a Redmi Note 6 Pro, check out our FAQ below which answers some of the most common questions surrounding the device.
Q) What are the full specifications of the Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) The full specs of the Redmi Note 6 Pro are as follows:
Chipset: Octa-core Snapdragon 636 chipset clocked at 1.8GHz
GPU: Adreno 509
Storage: 32/64GB, Hybrid microSD card slot
Primary: 12MP Dual Pixel Autofocus, f/1.9 aperture, 1.4um, Dual-LED flash, Full HD video recording
Secondary: 5MP, 1.12um pixels, f/2.2 Used for capturing depth information for adding bokeh effects
Connectivity: LTE, (Hybrid) Dual-SIM, GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, microUSB
Battery: 4000mAh non-removable
Others: MIUI 10 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
Q) What are the differences between Redmi Note 5 Pro and Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) The Redmi Note 6 Pro is all about its improved dual-camera setup at the rear. The new primary 12MP sensor features large 1.4um pixels and a wide f/1.9 aperture which makes it significantly better than the 12MP f/2.2 sensor found on the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The difference would be most evident in low-light scenarios as the Redmi Note 6 Pro would be able to capture more light. The addition of a depth sensor at the front on the device and other improvements allow the Redmi Note 6 Pro to offer Lighting effects for Portrait mode photos as well.
Q) Is there any performance difference between the Redmi Note 6 Pro and Redmi Note 5 Pro?
A) No. With both devices coming with a Snapdragon 636 chipset, they offer the same level of performance.
Q) Is the Redmi Note 6 Pro water-resistant?
A) No, but the handset is splash resistant.
Q) Is the battery of the handset removable?
A) No, since the Redmi Note 6 Pro features a unibody aluminum build, the battery and back cover is not removable.
Q) What kind of SIM card slot does the phone have? Can I use two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time?
A) The Redmi Note 6 Pro features a hybrid SIM card slot. This means that you can either 1 SIM card and microSD card or 2 SIM cards at any given time. The primary SIM slot accepts microSIM cards, while the secondary slot accepts nanoSIM cards.
Q) Is there an IR blaster on the Redmi Note 6 Pro that can be used to control TVs and other devices?
A) Yes, the Redmi Note 6 Pro features an IR blaster. Coupled with Mi Remote, one can use the IR blaster on the device to control TV, ACs, and other electronic items.
Q) Do you get face unlock on Redmi Note 6 Pro?
Q) Can one record calls on Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) Yes, one can record calls on the Redmi Note 6 Pro.
Q) Does the Redmi Note 6 Pro feature FM radio?
A) Yes, the Redmi Note 6 Pro features FM radio.
Q) Is the display on the Redmi Note 6 Pro protected by Gorilla Glass?
A) Yes, the 6.26-inch display on the Redmi Note 6 Pro is protected by a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 3.
Q) Can you lock apps using the fingerprint scanner on the Redmi Note 6?
A) Yes, you can.
Q) Where is the fingerprint scanner on the Redmi Note 6 Pro located? Is it touch-based?
A) The fingerprint scanner on the Redmi Note 6 Pro is located at the rear, and yes, it is touch based.
Q) How many fingerprints can one register on the Redmi Note 6 Pro?
Q) Can you record slow-motion videos on the Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) Yes, it can but only at 720p @ 120fps. It can also record videos in Full HD resolution at 30fps.
Q) Can one make native video calls on Redmi Note 6 Pro without using a third-party app?
A) Yes, you can directly make video calls on the Redmi Note 6 Pro without using an app like Google Duo or Skype.
Q) Which version of Android does the handset run on?
A) Android 8.1 Oreo.
Q) Which version of MIUI does the Redmi Note 6 Pro run on?
A) The Redmi Note 6 Pro runs on MIUI 10 out of the box.
Q) Does the Redmi Note 6 Pro support LTE and VoLTe networks? Will a Reliance Jio SIM work on the phone?
A) Yes, it does support LTE and VoLTE out of the box. The Note 6 Pro also has dual-VoLTE support which means one can use two Jio or any two VoLTE networks on the device at the same time.
Q) What about VoLTE support on AirTel’s network?
A) Yes, the Redmi Note 6 Pro support Airtel’s VoLTE network. Xiaomi will also add support for Vodafone’s VoLTE network on the handset with a future software update.
Q) Is Quick charging 3.0 supported on the Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) No and yes. The Redmi Note 6 Pro has support for Quick Charge 3.0 but it comes bundled with a regular 5v/2A charger. To fast charge the device, one will have to buy a Quick Charge 3.0 charger separately.
Q) How much free storage space does one get on the Redmi Note 6 Pro out of the box?
A) Almost 23GB out of the box, while the 64GB has 53.22GB of free space
Q) Can you uninstall or disable pre-installed apps on the handset?
A) Yes, you can uninstall or disable some pre-installed apps on the Redmi Note 6 Pro, but not all.
Q) What colors are the Redmi Note 6 Pro going to be available in?
A) The handset will be available in Black, Blue, Rose Gold, and Red colors. The Red color will go on sale at a later date.
Q) What contents do you get inside the retail box of the Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) You get the phone, a 2A charger, a USB cable, SIM ejector tool, and some regulatory papers. Xiaomi is also bundling a free plastic case with the Redmi Note 6 Pro just like its other recent devices.
Q) Does the handset support USB OTG?
A) Yes, the Redmi Note 6 Pro supports USB On-The-Go. This allows you to directly connect pen drives, external hard disks and more using an adapter to the device.
Q) When does the Redmi Note 6 Pro go on sale and where?
A) The Redmi Note 6 Pro goes on sale in India from November 23rd. The handset will be available for purchase through Mi.com and Flipkart.
Q) How much do the different variants of the Redmi Note 6 Pro cost?
A) The prices of the different variants of the Redmi Note 6 Pro are as follows:
Redmi Note 6 Pro Price:
4GB RAM + 32GB storage – Rs 13,999
4GB RAM + 64GB storage – Rs 15,999
Q) Will Xiaomi continue to sell the Redmi Note 5 Pro alongside the Redmi Note 6 Pro?
A) Only for a few weeks. Once the stocks are exhausted, Xiaomi will only sell the Redmi Note 6 Pro in stores.
Display tech has come a long way for smartphones, but what makes a good TV doesn’t work so well on mobile handsets.
This year, we partnered with our friends at Spectracal to kick the proverbial tires on the displays of all the Android phones we tested, to see just how good they could get. For the most part, phones tend to sacrifice color accuracy for screen brightness. However, while many phones are happy to make their screen as blue as tolerably possible (looking at you, LG G7 ThinQ) for brightness, there are a handful of phones with extremely good displays. Let’s explore!
What makes a good smartphone screen?
What’s “best” generally requires a certain philosophy. That may not make a lot of sense to you now, but it will in a minute.
When you ask someone what the best TV is, you generally assume you’ll be using it in a somewhat darker room, and all your content is going to be in 24, 30, or 60fps. What makes the best TV is very straightforward: you want the most accurate screen you can find — in color, grayscale, and so on.
Smartphones go with you wherever you go. They need to work as well in bright sunlight as a dark room, so your mobile needs are very different than someone making a home theater setup.
Color temperature (K)
Closer to 6500 is better
Smartphone screens need to be accurate, of course, but they also need to be bright. This poses a lot of issues for smartphones, and satisfying both demands has frustrated many manufacturers.
Peak brightness (cd/m^2)
Higher is Better
Display makers have a tough choice to make: do you boost blue values to make the overall brightness higher, or suck it up and stick with color accuracy?
When we look at color accuracy, it’s generally accepted that anything under 1 (DeltaE2000) is pretty much where nobody can tell the difference between a perfect image and an imperfect one, however for smartphones we find that the expanded gamuts mean our eyes are a little more forgiving than that. While TV calibrators look for values as close to this as possible, it’s just not something smartphones really try to do — for a number of reasons. Mostly because nobody cares how accurate the screen is if you can’t see it.
Color accuracy is outstanding in Samsung’s Cinema mode, even in the DCI-P3 gamut.
This is why our criteria for a good screen is a lot more unforgiving than what you’d find elsewhere. A good smartphone screen should meet these criteria:
It should be brighter than 500cd/cm2, so you can see it outdoors without any help from shadows.
Its display color error should be under 5 (DeltaE2000).
Its greyscale values should be reasonably accurate (how the phone transitions from black to white).
Its refresh rate needs to be able to handle common content.
It should target a color temperature under 8000K, but above 6500K
To be clear, a lot of phones meet these criteria, but not all measurements are as important as others. This is why we needed an internal scoring algorithm. Even after feeding all this data through, every phone charted above did exceptionally well, and the differences between ranks aren’t as substantial as awarding one phone “best” would imply. About 20 out of the 30 phones tested failed one of the main criteria — it’s why that 2018 Average bar is so high in that color error chart.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 boasts the top display of 2018
If you’ve ever noticed your screen looks more orange or blue than it should, what you’re seeing is what’s called a “color temperature” that’s not where it should be. If a color temperature is above 6500K, the screen will look more blue. If it’s lower than 6500K, it will look more orange.
This has all sorts of consequences for picture quality, but most manufacturers are banking on the fact that most people will only notice the increased screen brightness. For an extreme example, the LG G7 does this by wildly tuning the default screen color to a bluish tint. By doing this, it can achieve screen brightness no other phone can touch — at the expense of color accuracy.
The LG G7 ThinQ’s boosted blue levels increase color error but also peak brightness.
For the record, the LG G7 ThinQ isn’t a bad phone. It gambles on the needs of general consumers outweighing the needs of hardcore movie enthusiasts, and I think it was the right call for that phone. However, the display is nowhere near where it needs to be to make this list.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 and its bigger brother the S9 Plus both have surprisingly dim screens, so if you need a little extra juice, any of the phones in the charts below will offer you a little more screen brightness with the least possible tradeoffs in picture quality among the twenty-nine Android phones and one iPhone we put through the wringer.
It may not be obvious right away, but a wonky color temperature is something you can’t unsee.
That’s just a small taste of the testing we went through, but you should start seeing more comparisons in the near future — our database is jam-packed with every measurement you can probably think of. We also tested gamma, greyscale performance, brightness, and a few other oddities that came up along the way. If you’re wondering why we don’t compare pixel densities, it’s because all of the phones listed meet or exceed the quality someone with 20/20 vision would notice during normal use.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 has the best screen for most
After we collected the data from thirty phones, and fed all of our results through our custom scoring algorithms, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 just barely edged out the OnePlus 6T, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. These phones showed their mettle by offering the most accurate colors, as well as the least gamma errors.
However I have to say, many won’t notice a difference between each display. If I could award them all, I would.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 only beat out the OnePlus 6T, and its little brothers the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus because of its much brighter screen. Even against the whole field, the Note 9 only edges the other phones out for the top spot by a couple hundredths of a point out of 100 possible points.
If you find yourself in the desert, the southern U.S., or more tropical locales, you may want to go with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro instead. It has just that extra little burst of brightness with only a minor tradeoff in picture quality when the sun is directly overhead. For everyone who spends time in offices, subways, buses, and other situations where you don’t need to melt your retinas, springing for the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is probably your best bet.
Display competition has become incredibly fierce, but Samsung still leads the way.
It tops the charts along with its smaller brethren the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus in gamma error and color error, also nailing color temperature closer than all other phones outside of the Samsung Galaxy S9. While it’s got picture quality on lock, what sets it apart is the peak brightness. It trounces its brethren, offering a picture 20 percent brighter, and only 30cd/m2 behind the brightest display in our top eight. If you want a phone display that does everything well, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the best in the biz. We also tested the iPhone XS Max for giggles, but as it’s the only phone here that uses the much narrower sRGB gamut, we didn’t want people thinking its low error scores meant it’s better than the Android phones’ DCI-P3 screens.
However, this year more than any other there are so many good displays you’ll be happy with any of the ones we listed here. Among the contestant phones, all of the following were within a few points of each other, and you probably won’t notice much of a difference between them:
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S9
Xiaomi Mi 8
Vivo V11 Pro
Razer Phone 2
OnePlus 6T (though it’s quite dim)
Google Pixel 3 XL (though it’s quite dim)
These are the leaders of the pack — unless you’re gamer.
The Razer Phone 2 has the best screen for gamers
While more and more gaming smartphones have come out, Razer’s 120Hz screen is something special. It’s not as technically accurate as the Samsung Galaxy S9, but it’s close enough. It also offers something no other phone does: a higher than 90Hz framerate (sorry, Asus). Even if that’s something not many people really need, the vast majority of phones don’t even attempt to pass 60Hz. By experimenting with this kind of power in a display, Razer is making strides others should definitely attempt to follow if mobile gaming, gamecasting, and high-framerate content picks up. In short, its screen is a bit more future-proof than the rest. Even if you don’t need it now, it’s nice to have just in case you ever want it in the future.
The IGZO IPS LCD panel isn’t going to make anyone forget an OLED’s superior quality in dimmer lighting situations, but you’ll appreciate the ability to turn up the max brightness a little further than every other model listed here — except the LG G7 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. In a weird way, this phone is better suited for more lighting situations than the more accurate phones out there. However, the Razer Phone 2 isn’t getting our attention because it’s the winner of some Byzantine competition of hardware performance — it’s because the phone is swinging for the fences in a way nobody else is.
While the Asus ROG phone technically does better with picture quality, the refresh rate isn’t where it needs to be to future-proof for changes in content. That’s where Razer holds the edge. If the differences in picture quality aren’t as noticeable as something like the framerate, that makes this comparison a rather easy one.
A final note on testing
Obviously, if our winner’s margin of victory is as razor thin as the Samsung Galaxy Note 9’s is, chances are pretty good that you might like another display better simply because it’s attached to a phone that’s not $1,000. Our scoring is designed to meet the needs of most people, not all people (that would be impossible).
If you add money to the equation, you absolutely have standing to say a display like the OnePlus 6T’s is more appropriate for you. That’s fine! There’s plenty of data to back up the argument that another display would suit you better. Be on the lookout for comparison articles in the future to help you pick between similar phones using the data we’ve collected.
While we aren’t ready to publish our internal scores, I invite everyone to read up on how we arrive at them anyways. We go to great lengths to squish outlier data points and get a much better picture of the story, as well as properly contextualize results that might not matter all that much to your average Joe or Jane. We don’t want test results people can’t experience for themselves to skew things one way or the other, so we avoid making recommendations without being as exact as possible.
After debuting its first Android Go phone in August, Samsung is back with its second such model.
The Samsung Galaxy J4 Core boasts a 6-inch 1480×720 display — up from the 5-inch 960×540 screen on the Galaxy J2 Core — as well as an 8MP rear camera and 5MP front-facing camera. There’s 16GB of storage built into the Galaxy J4 Core, but if that’s not enough, Samsung has included a microSD card slot so that you can add more storage.
Powering the J4 Core is a 1.4GHz quad-core processor paired with 1GB of RAM and a 3300mAh battery. On the software side, Samsung has preloaded the Galaxy J4 Core with Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition). Android Go devices come with fewer preinstalled apps and smaller app sizes, giving you access to more storage. Google’s suite of Go apps are more lightweight and are meant to work smoothly on devices with entry-level specs.
The Samsung Galaxy J4 Core looks like a nice option for folks who are interested in Android Go, but want something with slightly improved specs compare to the Galaxy J2 Core. Compared to the J2 Core, the J4 Core has a larger and higher-res screen that could be better for watching content on the go, and it also comes with double the built-in storage and a beefier battery. There’s no word yet on when the Galaxy J4 Core will launch or how much it’ll cost when it does, but because it’s an Android Go device, it should be too hard on buyers’ wallets.
Since Nokia’s reboot after the company licensed its mobile branding out to HMD Global, we’ve seen a number of great smartphones hit the market. From the likes of the flagship Nokia 8 Sirocco, to a rather unique re-imagination of the Nokia 3310, the company is slowly becoming a household name again. HMD Global has been hard at work capturing the attention of all kinds of consumers, enthusiasts, and “regular” users alike. The Nokia 7.1 is a part of the Android One program and sits right in the middle of the pack.
What can’t go unnoticed is the HMD Global’s commitment to the Android One program, as the Nokia 7.1 is far from being their first entry. In fact, the majority of the company’s smartphones are a part of it. Being part of the Android One program not only means that you’ll have a close-to-stock Android experience, but you should (in theory, anyway) have faster updates. To HMD Global’s merit, they have achieved this with an impressive amount of their devices already receiving the Android Pie update and more to come as well.
Having said that, the Nokia 7.1 runs Android Oreo out of the box, though an update to Android Pie is promised to be launched soon. As such, our review unit is actually running Android Oreo. I found a number of mild software-related performance issues (or what I believe to be, anyway) that may not be present once the Android Pie update drops. The Nokia 7.1 is a unique phone in that the devices it compares to are not readily available in the US. Within Europe and Asia, the Nokia 7.1 is easily outclassed by offerings from the likes of Xiaomi, but in the US it’s a different story entirely.
3GB/4GB of RAM with 32GB/64GB of storage; microSD card slot
Gloss Midnight Blue and Gloss Steel
3,060mAh with QuickCharge
5.84-inch Pure Display Full HD+ (2246×1080) IPS LCD with 19:9 aspect ratio and HDR10 support
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC
USB Type-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack
12 MP 2PD/AF/f1.8/1.28um
5 MP, BW/FF/f2.4/1.12um
8 MP FF/f2.0
Pricing and availability
BestBuy, Amazon, B&H starting at $349 for the base model.
Presentation of the Nokia 7.1
While an often-overlooked part of the process of picking up a smartphone, the presentation is very important for the first impression of a device. The Nokia 7.1 comes in a surprisingly small, flat box with very little to show other than the phone. You get a (pretty large) charging brick, a USB-C cable, a SIM eject tool, and a set of Nokia-branded earphones. It’s simple and it’s elegant, with the box following a design language similar to the Nokia of old. This isn’t just another Android smartphone, this is a Nokia smartphone.
Nokia 7.1 Design & Hardware
The Nokia 7.1 features a design reminiscent of the majority of 2018 flagships released today. A notch and a flat glass back complete with a metal trim on the edges trying to convince you that this isn’t just any mid-range device. While many dread the notch, it has quickly become a sign of someone having a new phone. When you see a notch on someone’s smartphone, you know that they bought it within the last year. It’s, in a sense, a sign of luxury. Love it or hate it, for the foreseeable future the notch appears to be here to stay.
As for the glass back, that again is often a point of contention. While it allows for wireless charging, many argue that there is no point of its existence if you don’t actually have wireless charging. A plastic or aluminum back can’t smash when you drop it, but glass certainly can. The Nokia 7.1 does not support wireless charging, and the glass back is simply for looks. Glass can also be more slippery than other materials, again adding to its fragility.
However, I personally find the Nokia 7.1’s design classy, if a bit simplistic. There’s nothing special about it, but it’s a solid design that’s (mostly, more on that later) nice to look at. Coming in at 5.84-inches, it’s a rather small device given its screen-to-body ratio. With the 19:9 aspect ratio it’s a tall device, and the notch is pretty wide. Even still, I have absolutely no problems using this device with one hand. People looking for a smartphone to operate one-handed may well find that this particular handset fits the bill nicely.
The chamfered edges with the metal trim and flat glass back are, in my opinion, appealing to look at. I don’t share the dislike for glass backs that others do – I find that they give a premium feel to any smartphone, especially when done correctly. The glass back features the Nokia logo, the Android One logo, and some regulatory information in small print at the bottom.
There are a few things that I don’t like, however, and the chin is one of those things. The existence of the notch is so that manufacturers can provide the largest screen-to-body ratio possible – so why is the chin so big? It houses the Nokia logo which is also present on the back, making its inclusion rather redundant. I don’t mind devices having a traditional top and bottom bezel, but it feels like the Nokia 7.1 tried to both have a bezel and not have one, mismatching the top and bottom and failing at basic symmetry.
And then there are the side buttons, which have already begun to annoy me. It feels really awkward to take a screenshot as the volume rocker is directly above the power button. It takes some getting used to, though it’s nowhere near the end of the world.
Finally, the headphone jack has a weird placement at the top of the phone on the right. It feels unnatural to use, though that could be because every phone I’ve had in the last few years has had it on the bottom. It’s taking a bit of getting used to, and I dislike having my cable droop down over my screen.
The fingerprint sensor is in a perfectly natural position on the back, sitting exactly where my index finger naturally gravitates towards. The vibration motor is also decent as well, with no complaints from me. You can hear it, yes, but you can feel it as well, which is the most important thing about it. Haptic feedback is excellent. Build quality is something that the Nokia 7.1 clearly has over competitors in this price range, and it’ll be hard to find a device that beats it. There is no IP rating here, but that’s hard to come by on mid-range smartphones anyway.
Nokia 7.1 Display
The display of the Nokia 7.1 is one that greatly impressed me. The Nokia 7.1 sports a 5.84-inch 2246×1080 IPS LCD display with a 19:9 aspect ratio and HDR10 support. Not only does that make this display a cut above many in this price range, but HDR10 support is unheard of even in flagships released only last year. Content that isn’t natively HDR10 can be upscaled as well, and with the likes of Netflix releasing more HDR10 supported content you’ll get to make use of that display very soon. It’s worth pointing out that HDR10 upscaling isn’t enabled by default, but you can enable it under the Display settings on your device.
Colour reproduction on the Nokia 7.1 is very good, and colors are saturated. I don’t know what color space it operates in, but I doubt its complete accuracy. Even still, I’m not one to actually care about the accuracy of my display. I prefer my content to look nicer rather than accurate, which is why I personally have no issue with a saturated display. The display itself is sharp and gets bright enough for outdoor usage, so that’s certainly not an issue either. I can’t measure the nits output, but it does the job for sure.
Viewing angles are fine, with a little bit of a brightness drop off when tilted away from the user. That’s to be expected with most LCD displays and isn’t really cause for alarm. The colors do shift slightly as well while tilting it away, but again that’s really not an issue either.
Android One on the Nokia 7.1
When I found out I was going to be reviewing the Nokia 7.1, I was most excited about giving Android One a go. It’s close to stock Android and embodies (more or less) Google’s vision of what Android should be. To me, the software of an Android One phone is exactly what I would image a mid-range or budget Google Pixel smartphone to run. I was impressed by Android One, and I was even more impressed by the little features that Nokia throws in as well. It’s basically AOSP, which in a sense is what makes the Nokia 7.1 so unique. In a world where every device manufacturer needs to make their mark in the software department, it’s a breath of fresh air to have an unbloated software experience. There are no preloaded applications aside from Google’s own. Such simplistic software also allows for quick software updates, and in the process of writing this article, I have already received the November 2018 security patch – merely two days after Google released their security bulletin.
I very much consider myself an Android purist, so close-to-AOSP skins like OxygenOS are definitely my favorite way to use my phone. Android One is that in a nutshell, and it’s wonderful to use. There’s no bloat, no myriad of settings to trawl through, and everything just works. Having said that, I had a dive through the settings and found a number of cool features. My favorite is one that I originally discovered on the Honor 9 Lite, and I was very disappointed to learn that not every device with a back-facing fingerprint sensor has it. On the Nokia 7.1, you can pull down the notification shade simply by swiping your finger down the fingerprint sensor. Swiping back up closes it again. It’s not just a useful feature, but it’s a cool little thing to play with idly as well.
There is a lack of usability features though, primarily I found that there is no way to clear all of the notifications from the status bar. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s something worthy of note. The “Enhanced HDR 10” can also be enabled under the Display settings, though I don’t know why it’s switched off by default given that it is one of the selling points of this particular handset. The software also handles the notch well, with videos not being cut off or anything of that sort.
Another benefit of being a part of the Android One program is that given that the software is lightweight, it should, in theory, have less of an impact on performance. Sadly, I have found that for some reason it feels like the Nokia 7.1 actually performs worse than other Snapdragon 636 devices such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. I’m not sure how much of this I can chalk up to being the included RAM – my unit has 3GB – given that the Xiaomi device I’ve used had 4GB. Even still, I figured that MIUI would require more RAM than the likes of the Android One software.
But there is one major caveat to this particular device’s software, and that’s HMD Global’s aversion to bootloader unlocking. After complete community outcry, the Nokia 8finally received an official bootloader unlock a few months back. That was the only device the company actually unlocked, and there are no signs of any more getting unlocked any time soon. If stock Android isn’t your thing or you want to modify your phone in any way requiring root, you simply can’t.
Performance of the Nokia 7.1
I touched on this in the last section, but the specifications of the Nokia 7.1 leaves the performance I’ve been faced with to appear a tad worrisome. It’s not bad, but it’s nowhere near as good as other devices I’ve used with the same Qualcomm chipset. Sadly, I no longer have access to a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 for direct comparisons, but in my day-to-day usage, I found that the Xiaomi ran a lot better for the likes of Snapchat and Facebook Messenger. I’ve found that the performance of Snapchat, in particular, is extremely poor, with the app taking a long time to process any input whatsoever. I can’t tell how much of that is on the side of Snapchat and how much of it is on HMD Global, however. It could well be down to the poor amount of RAM fielded by the Nokia.
The camera application’s performance on the Nokia 7.1 is about average. There’s a little bit of shutter-lag most of the time, and launching the app can take a second or two. It’s certainly not a bad experience though, and the photos it produces are rather spectacular. I’m willing to put up with its performance thanks to the excellent photo quality, which we’ll get to later.
There are system-wide lag spikes, but nothing major at all. I had the LinkedIn application crash when I switched to Google Chrome and back, but that (again) may be down to the amount of memory in my unit. Because it’s the 3GB of RAM variant, I can’t tell you how things will be if you pick up the 4GB of RAM variant for slightly more. 3GB of RAM is the bare minimum these days, with even the Pixel 3 having only 4GB of RAM. Obviously, the Nokia 7.1 isn’t quite a flagship like a Pixel, but it still could definitely benefit from more memory.
The Nokia 7.1 runs pretty warmly most of the time as well. With my usual mix of browsing Reddit, messaging through Facebook Messenger and switching over to Google Chrome my phone was easily hitting 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit). It runs extremely hot (for a phone) most of the time.
Nokia 7.1 Speed Test
Our app opening test confirms the huge amount of heat generated by the Nokia 7.1. With only 30 iterations of opening the Play Store, YouTube, and Gmail, we found that the phone went from 35 degrees to 40. The glass back of the phone doesn’t do much for heat dissipation either.
Having said that, apps do launch rather quickly and there isn’t a huge amount of thermal throttling. I found that even when the phone is hot, usage remains pretty much unchanged. The only problem I have found is that it can become quite uncomfortable in the hand when it’s warm, but that’s to be expected. It makes a great hand warmer during the winter, though.
Scrolling performance is also much in line with what we’re seeing here, in that it’s basically average. There are no crazy results here, and it’s about in-line with any mid-range device that you’d expect to see – which is a good thing. Before looking at the graph below, we do need to know how to interpret the data. We took these graphs by using the GPU profiling data dumped to adb, which we then graphed. You can understand how to view these graphs by the following image. The green line in the graphs below represents 60 FPS.
This phone is not a flagship yet performs just fine for basically any basic use case. You’re not going to be flying in between different applications, multi-tasking to your heart’s content or anything, but it’s not a bad phone either. It can play games, you can consume social media, and you can make calls or texts. It’s a pretty perfect mid-range phone in that it can do everything you would expect it to, and it has a number of extras on top that make it betterthan other phones in the same bracket.
Gaming and GPU performance
I chose PUBG to demonstrate the Nokia 7.1’s game performance as I felt that it is probably one of the most intensive games on Android currently available. Not only did the Nokia 7.1 handle it perfectly, but it didn’t even heat up that much! It hit 45 degrees Celsius after 15 minutes of playing, which is perfectly reasonable, especially when, given the nature of the testing, the device was plugged in and charging at the time. Holding an FPS of 26 consistently means that gaming is a breeze on this particular handset, as there’s not a whole lot more you can ask from a game that’s locked to 30 FPS. Admittedly, the game did reduce itself to the lowest graphics settings available, but that is because of the Adreno 509. It’s definitely no world beater, that’s for sure, but it’s a pretty good performance for a mid-range handset.
We would like to give special thanks to the team at GameBench for the assistance they provided us. Their tool makes it possible for any person, whether it be a regular user, journalist, or engineer, to test a mobile game’s performance on an Android device. They have an Android app you can install to start benchmarking your games as well.
As for other games, you’ll have no issues running popular favorites such as Need for Speed, Minecraft, or Pokemon Go. All of them work fine, and the only thing you really have to worry about when it comes to the Nokia 7.1 is its battery life. The battery life is remarkably poor when gaming, but we’ll touch on its overall battery performance later on.
While a benchmark isn’t the best indicator of a device’s overall performance, it is a quantifiable figure that we can use to compare it to other smartphones. As such, I tested the Nokia 7.1’s storage speed along with giving it a computational benchmark in Geekbench 4 Pro and, finally, an Antutu benchmark as well. The results are impressive (if a little misleading), and you can check them out below.
The best results here come from the storage speed tests, which shows that HMD Global has not cheapened out on-device storage – even if it is eMMC. eMMC storage suffers when doing, well, basically anything generally. For example, downloading music or installing applications from the Google Play Store will slow your device to a crawl. It’s not as if this is an issue unique to the Nokia 7.1 or anything, but it’s worth noting. Most devices in this price range (including the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 that we mentioned earlier) will have eMMC storage, so it’s not as if this is something that HMD Global is doing worse than other manufacturers. Also something incredibly frustrating – because of the eMMC storage, trying to take a screenshot of something means that you’ll have to wait a few seconds for it to save.
The benchmark results are good though when pitted against other devices. My OnePlus 3 actually scores a little bit over 100,000 in the Antutu benchmark and only the single core performance of the OnePlus 3 beats out the Nokia 7.1 on Geekbench. That puts a mid-range device released this year comfortably over a flagship from nearly three years ago, but there is a caveat. Storage speed is almost as important as raw computational power, and if your storage is slow, then the whole device will suffer. The Nokia 7.1 is capable of more things computationally than the OnePlus 3 but is hampered by its low amount of RAM that causes the system to have to repeatedly request resources from the slow onboard storage.
That’s how benchmark results can be misleading, as they don’t take into account other features of a smartphone. The benchmark results do match up with what I’ve seen though, in that when things are running, they are generally running well. We saw this in the game benchmarks above. The Nokia 7.1 is, overall, a pleasant experience when it comes to performance. If you are in Europe, there are a number of smartphones that are within an affordable range that will offer much, much better performance than the Nokia 7.1. If you are in the US, where this phone will be sold in stores off-contract, then there are very few, easily affordable devices that will even come close in performance.
Nokia 7.1 Battery Life
The battery life is where the Nokia 7.1 really falls down, and that’s thanks to its rather small 3,060 mAh battery. It struggles to get me through the day, hitting from anywhere from 2 to 3 hours of screen-on-time. That’s with my daily usage of Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and web browsing. In contrast, my OnePlus 6 gets between 4 and 5 hours of screen-on-time. Its quick charging standard means that you can top it off if you need to with relative ease throughout the day, but it’s not quite a dash charge contender. I found that I can get it to around 50% within half an hour, with it taking closer to an hour and a half to fill up entirely. It’s certainly better than regular charging, but it’s definitely not the fastest around either.
A typical day of usage with the Nokia 7.1
I understand that screen-on-time isn’t the end all be all of battery usage, which is why I have also included my extended battery statistics like application usage. It should hopefully paint a picture of the kind of user that I am. If you find yourself using the same apps as me, then you’re likely going to have a similar experience. I would deem myself a power user, meaning I do put my phone through quite a lot. It might be that the battery life on this particular device is fine for you, in which case there’s nothing wrong with it. You won’t be gaming on it though, that’s for sure.
As for standby time, it’s just fine. It’s not good, but it’s not bad either. That also describes my whole experience with battery life on this device. There’s nothing special at all about it, but at the same time, it’s not detrimental to the phone either. If you find yourself in a position where getting to a charger during your day is difficult and you use your phone pretty frequently, then this phone isn’t for you. In college, I have no trouble charging my device in lecture halls, so it wasn’t as big of an issue to me. I also have a 20,000 mAh powerbank which I throw into my bag, so if I’m in desperate need of a top-up then I can use that as well.
The Nokia 7.1 is just average when it comes to battery life, nothing more and nothing less.
Nokia 7.1 Camera & Video
The Nokia 7.1’s camera is what surprised me about this device the most. Despite featuring cheaper devices, Android One smartphones have somewhat of a history when it comes to surprisingly good camera quality. The Nokia 7.1 is no different, and the 12MP f/1.8 aperture shooter powered by ZEISS wowed me to no end. The device itself is rather average with a couple of high points, and the majority of those high points lie in its camera. HMD Global clearly put a lot of work into the device here, and I’m very impressed. From the beautiful photos its capable of taking to the well-crafted camera application, this device is yet another camera winner in the Android One category. Take a look at some of the photos I’ve taken in the gallery below.
The Nokia 7.1, as you can see, has excellent photo quality in daylight. The colors are well-defined with photos having an appropriate level of sharpness. The light parts of the photo are a little bit overblown, and one could argue that the photos are a little bit too saturated. Even still, this is nowhere near a flagship level phone and as such it behaves more than appropriately. The camera quality is rather excellent. Things begin to fall off when it gets to low light, however, which you can check out in the gallery below.
As you can see, low light absolutely tells a different story. The photos aren’t bad, but they’re of noticeably worse quality than their brighter counterparts. That’s okay, however, as obviously, a $349 smartphone is not going to perform in low light scenarios on the same level as, say, the Huawei P20 Pro. Even still, it’s just worth noting that while this device has a great camera, you’re going to have difficulties in some scenarios taking great photos.
As I’ve mentioned, the camera application itself is stellar with a huge amount of features to offer. You get the Nokia Pro mode which was forever popular on the Nokia Lumia series, along with a few other cool features as well. Live Bokeh mode, for example, lets you tune the blur effect to your liking before taking the photo. There’s also a square photo option for Instagram photos, and finally, there’s also Google Lens support so that you can leverage Google’s machine learning to identify objects around you. It’s all very cool. You can take a look at a few screenshots of the bundled camera application below.
Video 1 – Quick EIS test
I included the above video as I felt that the Nokia 7.1’s EIS was especially apparent on the horizontal axis, as the device stabilizes the video relatively well thanks to its gyro-based EIS algorithm. The audio quality is pretty good too, definitely serviceable for the job.
Video 2 – Outdoors
The microphone handles wind well, and you can hear the announcement made over the speakers in this train station.
The video quality is apt for both indoor and outdoor usage, and the audio quality from the microphone is perfectly acceptable.
This is the part where I always worry about a smartphone, as I feel that connectivity is not paid attention to in most reviews. Am I going to have a consistent connection on my commute every day? Will I have Wi-Fi access throughout my whole house? These are the things I worry about when it comes to my smartphone’s connectivity, and thankfully the Nokia 7.1 passed this test without a hitch. I was able to get a data connection instantly after inserting my SIM card, being met with 3 bars of 4G LTE in my home in rural Ireland. Definitely not bad whatsoever, and a connection of sorts remained consistent on my journey to and from university. It wasn’t always LTE (or even HSDPA+) but it was there, which is more than I can say for some devices.
Wi-Fi coverage through my home is also fine, and there are no issues with me losing signal at the opposite end of my house (I live in a bungalow). I never felt that the phone lied about its signal status either, which is also a major plus. Overall, this device is a winner when it comes to signal strength. No issues from me whatsoever. I even gave Google Pay a go, and it worked fine and didn’t require me to tap again or anything. I’ve had that happen even on the flagship OnePlus 6, so I was somewhat worried that it may perform poorly.
In a world where the headphone jack is dying out, I’m quickly learning to be thankful for the mere existence of the headphone jack here rather than the good quality it provides. The Nokia 7.1’s headphone jack works, and it works fine. There are no weird crackling issues when you turn your headphone cable, it gets plenty loud and overall, it’s just a pretty good experience. The single bottom-firing speaker is rather poor, but there’s not much else you can really expect from a $349 smartphone. It does the job, and that’s about as much as you can ask from it. It plays sound and does it moderately loud, but don’t expect a great amount of clarity from it.
The Nokia 7.1 – Worth your money?
To preface this section, I would like to say that the majority of the positive feedback I am about to give applies mainly to US readers. The Nokia 7.1’s price tag is a lot harder to justify outside of the US, given the abundance of options from the likes of Xiaomi and even Honor. The Nokia 7.1 costs €299 starting in Europe, and a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 with the same chipset, more RAM, and a bigger screen costs around €100 less. It’s just not a contest.
However, in the US, things are a little different. Xiaomi devices aren’t as easy to import, and their band support in the US is rather poor as well. You can pick up a OnePlus 6T for cheap from T-Mobile with their trade-in deal, or even a flagship of last year for around the same price second-hand, but that’s about it. If you want a brand new smartphone with a decent camera, good chipset, and a lasting build quality for a relatively low price in the region, then look no further than the Nokia 7.1. It has it all, from software support to power, there are a lot of reasons to love the Nokia 7.1. It’s overpriced in a lot of ways, there is absolutely no denying that, but in a market known for its contracts and its high off-contract prices, the Nokia 7.1 is not a bad choice whatsoever.
The first foldable phone is a reality – the FlexPai. Well, it’s actually a tablet as unfolded it boasts a 7.8” screen (4:3 aspect ratio). Folded, that drops to a more manageable 4”. And get this, this device is the first to use the 7nm Snapdragon 8150!
Back to the screen, it’s an AMOLED that folds down the middle. The software (dubbed Water OS) switches to using only half of the screen, displaying a wallpaper on the other half.
You get to choose which half you use, though, one has slightly more screen, the other is next to the dual camera, which can be used for selfies and video calls in this configuration. It’s a 16+20MP camera, by the way, the second camera module has a telephoto lens.
The FlexPai measures 7.6mm thick. However, it doesn’t fold flat so it’s thicker than than 15.2mm when folded (certainly near the “hinge”). The hinge is rated to being folded 200,000 times.
The device is powered by a 7nm Qualcomm chipset and only the Snapdragon 8150 fits that description. The base configuration has 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, but other options include 8/256 and 8/512GB. A proprietary Ro-Charge fast charging tech is supported – it goes from 0% to 80% in an hour.
The price starts at CNY 9,000 – $1,300/€1,135 – which doesn’t seem so high considering that some Android flagships cost that much without a next-gen chipset or a foldable design.
Xiaomi has a brand new flagship smartphone heading to market with today’s unveiling of the Mi Mix 3.
The handset is another powerful addition in the Android roster. This is another slider device, too, which means there isn’t a notch. But unlike other devices with this design, the Mi Mix 3 doesn’t use a motor. Instead, you’ll just slide the cameras up and down, facilitated by the magnetic slider. It harkens back to the days of old slider phones.
As far as specs go, the Mi Mix 3 boasts a 6.4-inch 1080p OLED display which Xiaomi says features a 93.4 percent screen-to-body ratio. There are four cameras in total: a pair of 12MP cameras on the back (one wide-angle and the other a telephoto shooter), and 24MP and a 2MP front-facing cameras.
The Mi Mix 3 has a few variants to choose from, with up to 10GB of RAM. There is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor under the hood, and the Mi Mix 3 supports fast wireless charging. What’s more, Xiaomi is even including a wireless charger in the box with the phone.
Xiaomi is also planning to launch a 5G version of the Mi Mix 3 in the early stages of 2019.
The Mi Mix 3 launches in China on November 1. Price starts at 3,299 yuan (about $475), which gets you 6GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage. If you want that model with 10GB of RAM, that comes in the “Forbidden City Palace Museum” edition, which retails for 4,999 yuan (about $720) and features 256GB of built-in storage.
Huawei has grown from a local Chinese phone maker known elsewhere for not more than making cellular network equipment to smartphone stardom in a matter of just a few years. And while the company was denied access to the US market, based on suspicions of ties with the Chinese Government, it is taking over the rest of the world with aggressively priced phones with great design.
These days, however, Huawei is no longer interested in selling just affordable devices: its latest Huawei Mate 20 Pro is an all-out premium phone packed with the latest technology including a futuristic in-screen finger scanner, a 3D face recognition system, an ambitious triple-camera, and a fast-charging battery, all encased in a beautiful body. And all of that does not come cheap: it’s right there at about the same price as the iPhone XS series, and it’s more expensive than previous Android price champions like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
So… is Huawei ready for prime time with its new Mate 20 Pro? And should you buy one for yourself? Let’s dive in the review to find out.
What’s in the box:
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
40-watt Huawei SuperCharge wall charger
USB-C to standard USB cable
USB-C to 3.5mm audio dongle
All the right curves in all the right places
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a surprisingly thin and narrow body for a phone with a 6.4-inch screen. Both the screen and the back are curved at the edges, much like a Samsung Galaxy phone, and there is very little bezel around the side and the bottoms, which has allowed Huawei to make the Mate 20 Pro much narrower than, say, the iPhone XS Max or the Galaxy Note 9. Indeed, the Mate 20 Pro fits very nicely in the palm and is easier to operate with just one hand than the aforementioned two bigger phones. Still, the tall body is not small by any conventional means, and just like with other big phones, you won’t feel very comfortable walking with the Mate 20 Pro in the front pocket of your jeans.
Huawei offers a few different colors for this new Mate: we have the signature Twilight color gradient which looks stunning, but you also have a new “Midnight Blue Hyper Optical” finish that is glass, but treated in a special way so it is better at resisting fingerprint smudges and is not as slippery in the hand. You also have a black version, a Pink Gold one and an Emerald Green model.
All physical buttons on the Mate 20 Pro are located on the right side: you have a power key and volume buttons above it. The buttons are made of metal, just like the side of the phone, and have a good amount of travel and click.
Up at the top, you can find an infrared (IR) blaster, so you can use your Mate as a remote control for a TV, A/C unit, or whatever else you have in your home that uses infrared controls. This works best with the Smart Remote application that comes pre-installed on the phone.
There is no 3.5mm headphone jack on board here (Huawei does provide a USB-C to 3.5mm audio dongle in the box) and instead you are encouraged to use wireless buds or USB-C headphones.
The Mate 20 Pro also features dual speakers, but with a surprising, clever implementation: the secondary speaker is actually embedded in the USB-C port, so audio comes at you from the earpiece and the USB-C port. This means that when your phone is plugged in for a charge, audio will sound a bit muffled, in case you wondered.
One more thing: this phone is also IP68 water protected, which translates into an ability to survive drops in water of up to 6 feet deep for as long as 30 minutes.
In-screen Fingerprint Scanner
The Mate 20 Pro is one of the first phones out there to feature a brand new type of a fingerprint scanner: one embedded in the screen. This new in-screen fingerprint scanner is an optical one, rather than the ultrasonic one that Qualcomm is developing. And you can see how the screen of the phone lights up for a second when you tap your finger against it, so that the phone can get a proper, bright scan of the finger.
How does it work? Mostly well, but… it is not quite perfect. We have gotten used to traditional fingerprint scanners that are lightning quick, where you just tap your finger on the fingerprint area and the phone unlocks instantly. In the case of the Mate 20 Pro there are two things that get in the way: the first one is the fact that there is no physical boundary that would give a tactile indication of where the fingerprint scanner lies, so you need to look down at your phone to nail the exact position where your finger needs to be every time; the second thing is the actual force required to get a proper finger scan, as you need to press a lot firmer and longer than the gentle tap required from a traditional fingerprint reader. If you don’t press as hard, the phone will not unlock and you would need to try again. At the end of the day, you do get used to it, and sure, the accuracy is good enough, but even after hundreds of attempts, the in-screen fingerprint scanner still did not feel as fast and as effortless as a traditional one.
Thankfully, there is one more way to securely unlock the Mate 20 Pro and it’s called 3D depth-sensing face recognition.
This system is basically a copy of Face ID, which Apple introduced last year on the iPhone X, and it uses a similar array of components: a dot projector, a flood illuminator, an infrared camera and the rest.
How does it work? Quite great, actually! We are happy to report that 3D face recognition on the Mate 20 Pro works at least as fast as Face ID on the iPhone X/XS and can accurately recognize your face as it changes from your puffy-eyed self in the early mornings to your 5 o’clock evening stubble self and to those times when you grow a beard; it’s able to recognize your face during the day and at pitch black conditions at night, with or without a hat, with glasses and so on. We set it up once and never had a problem with it. We also tried fooling it with a photograph and faces of other people, and it wasn’t fooled.
So… all is perfect, right? There is one tiny detail that we have to mention: the almost non-existant raise to wake functionality. While technically raise to wake is present on the Mate 20 Pro, it requires a very swift and well defined hand movement, which we almost never do in real life. This means that for all its worth, raise to wake does not work properly on the Mate 20 Pro and you need to first press the power key before the phone starts recognizing your face. This might sound like just one step, but it’s one step that you do tens, if not hundreds of times every day, and it adds unnecessary complication. Having a raise to wake feature would make using 3D face recognition truly a fluid and intuitive experience, and we hope Huawei listens and brings this to the phone in a future update.
Still, after using the Mate 20 Pro for more than a week now, we are convinced that face recognition is a more effortless security system than the in-screen fingerprint scanner and we have stopped using the in-screen fingerprint scanner completely. Of course, it’s nice having this choice, and it will be up to everyone to find what works best for them, but Huawei has really implemented face recognition in a nearly flawless manner.
Excellent AMOLED screen.
Being a premium phone, it’s no surprise that the Mate 20 Pro sports a beautiful AMOLED screen with lively, rich colors. It’s a 6.4-inch display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, the same as on Apple’s iPhones, but with a higher, Quad HD+ resolution of 1440 x 3120 pixels
The screen is slightly curved at the sides and has very thin bezel, which makes for an immersive experience and a screen-to-body ratio of nearly 88%, one of the highest in the industry.
And yes, there is a notch here as well, justified by the complex front camera system required for 3D face recognition. You can hide it via an option in settings (and when you do, system icons at the top still appear in the “ears”, but against a black background).
The screen also gets very bright during the day, and you have the Eye Comfort option for use at night. There is even a Natural Tone mode that adjusts the white balance to the surrounding conditions so you get more natural, warmer white colors at night when you are at home. The Always-on Screen mode is not enabled by default, but it is here and you can turn it on from Settings > Display.
EMUI 9.0 is cleaner and better, but the gesture navigation needs more polish
The Mate 20 Pro ships with its own interface, Emotion UI, also known as EMUI, in its most refined, 9.0 version on top of the latest Android 9 Pie.
EMUI is in many ways a copy of iOS: there is no app drawer, it uses the same swipe-down home for a quick search shortcut, it even uses copycat icons for apps like Phone, Health, Settings, Calendar, Weather, and others. And yes, that is just shameful, but if you are willing to overlook this, EMUI actually works fairly smoothly.Compared to earlier versions of the interface, there is now way less clutter, and controls for apps are conveniently located on the bottom of the screen, rather than the top, for easier reach.
The Mate 20 Pro is also an Android phone, which comes with the options to customize it fully to your liking (great!), but it also means that you don’t know when future updates will arrive and if they will arrive (not so great!).
There are a few particularities that we have also noted when using EMUI on the Mate 20 Pro: first, there is no way to quickly swipe down to reveal your notifications shortcut. You have to reach all the way to the top, which is definitely not very convenient on such a tall phone. Instead, a swipe down in EMUI brings up an iOS-like search menu. This is an interesting thing to have and makes searching for apps on an interface without an app drawer much easier. If we had to nit-pick, we’d say that we wish the keyboard for this search appeared with less of a delay, but that’s really a minor thing.
The Mate 20 Pro also comes with a brand new gesture navigation. You can either use the old, three-button Android navigation or use gestures and enjoy the full screen, without any buttons taking up space on it. The gestures are the following: swipe up from the bottom to go home, swipe up and hold to see multitasking cards, and swipe sideways from the edge of the screen to go back. This is basically the iOS way of doing gestures, so does it work as well?
It’s not quite perfectly polished, and here are a few examples why: first, bringing up the multitasking cards from home requires a very long gesture and is too hard to pull off. Second, the back gesture requires that you go from the very edge of the screen, and when you are in a hurry, you don’t always get it right. Often you have to repeat it again and again. Third, when you swipe up to go home, apps close with a very jittery animation. And lastly, we wish you did not have to wait for each animation to finish before you could move on to the next swipe or gesture that you are about to do. Those little things pile up, and while overall gesture navigation on the Mate 20 Pro definitely does work, it also definitely does not feel as polished as one would expect on a premium phone.
One thing that we appreciate on the Mate 20 Pro is the dark mode in the interface that you enable by going into Settings > Battery > and here you toggle the “Darken interface colors” option on. This will turn the background in the settings menu and notification shade to black, a color that’s easier on the eyes at night and that contributes to battery savings on phones with OLED screens.
Processor, Performance and Memory
Android’s fastest chip
The Mate 20 Pro is powered by Huawei’s newest in-house Kirin 980 chip. The Kirin 980 is a powerful chip that beats the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in benchmarks and the first in an Android phone built on a 7nm manufacturing technology. Huawei says that it has spent years and big money on developing this chip, and it’s impressive how the company has outpaced Qualcomm in the 7nm race and has managed to be the first one to introduce a 7nm Android device.
The Kirin 980 works alongside 6GB of RAM and features the Mali G76 GPU, which is good news for gamers. Huawei, however, is most proud of its new dual neural-engine processor that helps with AI and machine learning, enabling features like the 1,500 different scenes that the Mate 20 Pro camera can recognize and a few cool new tricks in video.
Keep in mind, though, that by default the phone runs in a power-optimized manner, and you would need to enable the Performance mode (go to Settings > Battery > toggle Performance Mode on) in order to use the full power of the chip.
When you look at benchmark results, the Kirin 980 ranks better than the Snapdragon 845, but it is no match for Apple’s A12 chip, the world’s first 7nm chip.
You also have a generous 128GB of on-board storage here with support for a brand new type of memory card that Huawei calls nanoSD. This is done to optimize space as a nanoSD card is about the same size as a nanoSIM card. Here is how it works: you have a new SIM tray that has two slots, but rather than the two slots being one next to the other and take up a lot of space, the slot are one on top of the other. This also means that you can use the Mate 20 Pro as a dual SIM phone or use one nanoSD + one nanoSIM
Internet and Connectivity
Hybrid dual SIM slot and 4G LTE connectivity
The Mate 20 Pro comes packed with 4G LTE bands that ensure that it will work properly on most networks across the globe. Yet still, let us remind you that the phone is not officially sold in the United States, and if you are planning to import it, it would be best to check with your carrier to see whether it would be compatible.
Again, let us reiterate that you can use the Mate as either a dual SIM phone, or use the secondary slot for the new nanoSD card standard, the choice is yours.
In terms of other connectivity options, you also have dual-channel Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC support.
A triple camera with great versatility
The Mate 20 Pro comes with three cameras on its back: we have a main, 40-megapixel f/1.8 shooter, a secondary, 20-megapixel ultra-wide angle, 16mm lens, and a third, 8-megapixel telephoto camera with 3X zoom and optical image stabilization for an equivalent of 80mm focal reach. You also have a pre-set 5X zoom option (135mm), which is an improved digital zoom that uses information from both the main sensor and the telephoto camera.
There are few phones that can go as wide without a third-party lens adapter and none other that can zoom so far away with such a clarity as the Mate 20 Pro, so it’s definitely a very alluring camera phone with unmatched versatility.
So… how do images actually turn out?
Pretty good, in fact. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro captures photos with a wide range of colors and at different focal lengths, but is just a step below the two current leaders in smartphone cameras, the iPhone XS series and the Google Pixel 3 series.
Why? The biggest reason currently lies in the color reproduction. Colors are just a tiny bit too dull and not as lively and dynamic as on the iPhones and Pixels. When you look closer, you would also notice there is a lesser amount of detail and noticeable oversharpening happening on photos from the Mate 20 Pro main camera. Let us clarify: we think that images from the Mate 20 Pro still look excellent and are comparable to something out of the Galaxy Note 9, for example. AThey are definitely a cut above most other phones, but a step short of the very, very best in the industry.
At night, the Mate 20 Pro does a trick that other phones don’t: it sharpens photos by asking you to hold the camera still for much longer than a regular snap. This means snapping photos at night is much slower, but in exchange you get a brighter photo with more detail. Oftentimes, this results in great shots that have a better exposure at night than on rival phones, so good job on this, Huawei!
There are two areas, however, where the Mate 20 Pro truly excels: one is for zoomed-in shots with the telephoto camera and the second is the cool, ultra-wide angle perspective that you cannot get on most other phones.
When comparing images shot using the 3x and 5x zoom modes on the Mate 20 Pro to photos from its rivals, it’s clear that the Mate produces a very clean, noise-free photo that looks great and very rich in terms of detail. Even at 5x, the amount of detail you get in a shot is simply incredible for a smartphone camera.
On the video side, you have 4K30 video support, but no 60fps video recording mode.
We found video recording quality to be a bit of a letdown, however. Again, we should clarify that we’re comparing with the very best phones at the top prices, the same tier where Huawei positions its Mate 20 Pro. So, the phone uses electronic means to stabilize the footage, but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired as there is a lot of jitter from the slightest movement and some very weird wobbly artifacts at the edges of the frame when recording video. Using the telephoto lens for video is also not a great idea. Footage is well stabilized at 3x zoom, but the phone often fades in and out of focus. Detail and colors are mostly alright, though.
Huawei introduces a few new video recording modes powered by artificial intelligence. The first one is called AI color and it turns the whole scene black and white, with only the person remaining in color. It’s a very cool effect, and we’re impressed with the accuracy of the Mate 20 Pro and how it’s able to detect a moving person in real time. The other effect is called background blur and it has a person in sharp focus, while the background is left blurred out.
There is also a new cinematic mode with a 21:9 aspect ratio and superb video stabilization, but unfortunately, quality here is limited to 1080p. Still, we enjoyed this mode tremendously, as the videos in it turn out really moody and different.
Sound quality via the loudspeakers on the Mate 20 Pro is loud and clear. As we’ve already mentioned, one speaker (the weaker one) is in the earpiece and you have a secondary speaker that fires through the USB-C port. This is a clever implementation on Huawei’s part and we like how you have a rich, full sound with a nice amount of oomph to it.
Once again, let us remind you that the Mate 20 Pro does not have a headphone jack. It does come with a dongle, so you can still use wired headphones with it, or just go with USB-C buds or wireless cans.
When it comes to call quality, we had no problems with the Mate 20 Pro. Calls came through crisp, with clarity in the earpiece and a nice amount of volume, so you can hear callers even on a busy street, and the same is true for the other end of the line.
Solid battery performer with an impressively fast charging at no extra cost
The Mate 20 Pro sports a massive, 4,200mAh battery inside, bigger than even the battery on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
So how about the actual battery life?
In our real-world testing, the Mate lasted a full day with ease, and for most users this would extend to a day and a half, but if you were hoping for a full two days off the charger, we’re not yet there.
Unfortunately, we could not run our proprietary test on the Mate 20 Pro. The reason for this lies in the brightness controls on this phone. Just like many other Huawei and Honor devices, even when you set the brightness to a manual level, it would continue changing, and for our test it is absolutely mandatory that screen brightness remains at the same level.
Turning over to probably the biggest innovation in the Mate 20 Pro, let’s talk fast charging. This new Mate comes with a super powerful 40-watt Huawei SuperCharge wall charger in the box that charges the phone fully in just about an hour and a few minutes.
These are unprecedented charging speeds, and we’re really impressed how quickly the battery on this phone tops up.
The Mate 20 Pro also supports wireless charging with the Qi standard, so you can just leave it on a charger at a desk and not have to worry about cables.
Last but not least, you can use the Mate 20 Pro as a wireless charger to top up other phones that support wireless charging. You need to enable this first: go into Settings > Battery and scroll to the bottom to toggle ‘Wireless reverse charging’ on. It all works just as you’d expect and while it is a bit of a gimmick, it’s a cool one nonetheless.
Price and Alternatives
Huawei has made a phone that goes all out in terms of features, but it sadly does so in terms of price too. The official price for the Mate 20 Pro is set at around 1,050 euro, which is just slightly shy of the iPhone XS price, and the Mate 20 Pro is much more expensive than the Galaxy Note 9, which already costs 800 euro.
Once again, the Mate 20 Pro will not be officially sold in the United States, so there is no US dollar price (the global price translates to some $1200 dollars, in case you were curious).
Your alternatives? Get the Note 9 if you want a cheaper phone with an excellent screen, camera and performance. Get the Pixel 3 if you want the best camera on Android. And consider an iPhone XS if you are after the world’s fastest-performing chip and top cameras. And if you want to save a buck, it would be a wise idea to wait for the OnePlus 6T that is coming soon at about half the price and similar performance.
Summing it all up, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a fast Android phone with a beautiful design and a gorgeous screen. It has a solid battery life, super fast charging and one of the most versatile cameras around. And it has a ton of storage on board. Add to that not one, but two innovative secure unlock systems: the optical in-screen fingerprint scanner (which mostly works, but is a bit fiddly), and the fast and reliable 3D face recognition system (which works like a breeze).
There is so much to like about the Mate 20 Pro and it would have been an easy recommendation, if not for the high price. The slightly jittery gesture navigation, the good, but not quite best-in-class camera experience and the unclear software update future make this phone feel a bit overpriced. But if money is not an issue, the Mate 20 Pro is right there with the very best Android phones, and you definitely will not regret using it.
This is the next version of its Android powered flip phone, which is expected to feature a pair of 4.2-inch AMOLED displays (one internal, and one external), a dual camera setup in back (one camera could sport a variable f/1.5-2.4 aperture, and the second might carry a telephoto lens with 2X zoom capabilities), and the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform under the hood. Of course, there is no QWERTY keyboard as T9 is used instead, and a 3000mAh battery keeps the lights on.
When TENAA certified Sammy’s W2019, the agency’s website shared the usual four photos it takes of every phone that it gives a thumbs up to. Now, Slashleaks has posted a short video of the phone along with some still images of the device (some of which came from the video itself). You can check out the photos by clicking on the slideshow below. The video can be found at the top of this article.
The W2019 is expected to be released only in China. This series has always been rather expensive, and the W2019 is no exception. There is speculation that the phone will cost the equivalent of $2,500 when it is launched later this year.
Samsung has been pushing out a very expensive, high-end Android flip phone every year. Last year’s model, the W2018, was the first smartphone to feature a camera with an aperture as wide as f/1.5. The newest phone in this line, the W2019, has now been certified in China by regulatory agencies MIIT and TENAA. As much as you feel inside that you must own this phone, we do need to point out that this line has only been available in China. And those entering text will have to use the old T9 system to type.
The TENAA certification doesn’t mention any specs, but does show images of the phone from all angles. Considering that last year’s W2018 was powered by the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform and carried 6GB of RAM, it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform under the hood of the W2019, along with 8GB of RAM. Bluetooth 4.2 is said to be onboard the new model. The pictures from TENAA appear to show a dual-camera setup on back of the handset. The buzz around the water cooler suggests that Android 8.1 Oreo will be pre-installed.
The W2019, like its predecessors, will have both an internal and external screen. Last year’s model had a pair of 4.2-inch displays, each with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 (FHD).
Samsung has unveiled its new Galaxy A9 smartphone featuring the world’s first rear quad camera.
The Galaxy A9 is tailored for those who know what they want, and go after it. Whether it’s capturing a dare-devil selfie or that perfect panorama, the Galaxy A9 is the ultimate companion for capturing and sharing everyday adventures, no matter where life takes you.
“As a global leader in smartphone innovation, we understand the demand for meaningful innovation in a fast-paced world driven by visual communication,” said DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “Building on our legacy in smartphone camera development we’re introducing next-generation technology across our entire Galaxy portfolio to give more consumers the opportunity to experience cutting-edge innovation. We’re excited to deliver on this promise and debut world leading smartphone camera technology with the Galaxy A9.”
Rear Quad Camera
The Galaxy A9‘s rear lenses include a main 24MP F1.7 lens, a telephoto 2X optical 10MP F2.4 lens, an ultra wide 120 degree 8MP F2.4 lens, and a 5MP F2.2 depth lens.
● Get close without compromise with 2x Optical Zoom for incredible and detailed close-up shots even from far away.
● Capture the world in its fullest and without limit, with the Ultra Wide Lens, and shoot like a pro with the Scene Optimizer. Thanks to AI Scene Recognition, your camera is now smarter, and able to identify the subject and adjust settings accordingly for the best photo, in an instant.
● Express your creativity with the Depth Lens, giving you the freedom to manually manage the photos’ depth of field and focus on the subject for stunning, professional looking images.
● Capture clear and bright images in both bright and low light conditions with Galaxy A9’s 24MP Main Lens, for gorgeous photos at any time of the day.
The Galaxy A9 features a 3,800mAh battery, 128GB of storage, and up to 512GB of expandable memory. It has a 6.3-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080×2220 and a Octa Core (2.2GHz Quad + 1.8GHz Quad) processor. You can purchase the device with 6GB or 8GB of RAM.
The Galaxy A9 comes in three colors: Caviar Black, Lemonade Blue and Bubblegum Pink. It will be released in select markets from November.
The Galaxy A9 (2018) is the world’s first smartphone with a quad camera. Samsung is obviously going to tout this. It has become the only come to launch such a device. The new Galaxy A9 was unveiled at an event in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. With the launch out of the way, Samsung can now get down to the business of selling this device.
It has released the first Galaxy A9 TV commercial. As expected, the quad camera is the star of the show. The entire commercial is dedicated to the camera’s capabilities with no mention of any of the handset’s other abilities.
You’ll buy it for the camera after all
The device itself isn’t all that different from other mid-range Samsung handsets. It’s similar in more ways than one to the Galaxy A8 Star. The only thing that sets it apart is the quad camera system. The Galaxy A9 (2018) arrives not long after the new Galaxy A7, Samsung’s first smartphone with a triple camera.
The quad camera system is what this TV commercial focuses on. It starts off by highlighting the 8-megapixel Ultra-Wide lens that has a 120-degree FOV. The 10-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom gets its moment to shine as well. The 5-megapixel Depth lens allows for Live Focus photos, adding bokeh (blur) effect to images. The primary 24-megapixel lens is a solid shooter in its own right. Check out our samples from all four of the Galaxy A9’s cameras.
We mentioned in our Galaxy A9 hands-on that the quad camera system on this device works as advertised. There are some handy software features as well to enhance the imaging experience. Other than that, it’s a run of the mill mid-ranger from Samsung.
Samsung‘s Galaxy A9 SM-A920F specifications and features: this is a 6.3″(167.64mm) device with a FHD + 108 x 2220 screen resolution. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 soc with a Quad-Core 2.2GHz & Quad-Core 1.8 GHz configuration. Memory is 6GB, with the device offering 128GB internal storage and up to 512GB of external memory. The Galaxy A9 features Accelerometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor and Hall Sensor. Notable features include Samsung Pay (NFC). The device measures 162.5 x 77 x 7.8mm and weighs 183g.
Nokia just announced the latest entry in its long-running series of Android One devices, the Nokia 7.1. This one is a slightly more decked-out mid-ranger than we are used to, boasting a set of hardware and software features that are not normally associated with devices in the same range.
One of these is definitely the HDR10-compliant 5.84-inch display, which is employing both Gorilla Glass 3 and, yes, a notch. While it’s certainly an LCD endeavor, Nokia says the display can potentially really bright and be perfectly legible even under the exceptional brightness of broad daylight. Additionally, the display of the Nokia 7.1 is said to be automatically calibrating its overall tone in compliance with the environmental lighting conditions. Finally, as a form of cherry on top of all things, the device offers real-time SDR to HDR conversion of all user content.
Design-wise, Nokia isn’t feeling very adventurous – the Nokia 7.1 relies on glass and metal in its build, with a rear-positioned fingerprint sensor. The device will be available in two colors: Gloss Midnight Blue and Gloss Steel.
Hardware-wise, a relatively energy-efficient Snapdragon 636 will be powering the phone, alongside 3 or 4GB of RAM, as well as 32 or 64GB of e-MMC 5.1 storage. MicroSD card support is also a go, and so is a nifty USB Type C port. There’s a 3.5mm audio jack and a 3060mAh battery on deck as well, and thankfully, Nokia has employed fast-charging that can juice in 50% battery in around 30 minutes or so. Oh, and did we mention you can have the device in either single- and dual-SIM variations.
At the rear, the Nokia 7.1 is equipped with two cameras, a main 12MP, f/1.8 one and another 5MP monochrome one that would be used for depth information. This allows for real-time “Live Bokeh” mode to be enjoyed by the user. At the front Nokia 7.1 features another couple of 8MP cameras that let you apply playful filters and masks to your face in real time. Bothies, Nokia‘s weirdly-named pictures combining data from both front and rear cameras, are also a go.
Software-wise, Nokia is once again relying on stock Android. This has been a running theme for multiple Nokia devices so far, meaning you shouldn’t experience any software bloat at all. More importantly, you will get an experience similar to Google’s own Pixels – guaranteed two years of software updates to newer Android versions and three years of security patches is what you’ll get with the Nokia 7.1.
In the United States, the Nokia 7.1 comes in Gloss Midnight Blue and Gloss Steel and will start at $349. It will be available for pre-sale online at Amazon, Best Buy and B&H starting October 5, 2018 and will begin shipping on October 28, 2018. In-store purchasing and demonstration displays will also be available in select Best Buy stores starting November 4, 2018.