Here are the best rugged phones you can buy right now

Here are the best rugged phones you can buy right now

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Owning a smartphone is almost a requirement for most folks these days. Unfortunately for those that work in more intense environments like construction, most ordinary smartphones aren’t exactly built for the job. Their phone needs to work in the pouring rain, or places with lots of dust and or other threats. That’s where a good rugged phone comes in.

Best Android phones

Best waterproof phones

Best CAT smartphones

Today’s rugged phones come equipped with military specs for surviving more extreme water, dust, and drop situations. A few such rugged phones on the market right now fulfill those requirements. Many may not have the most current version of Android or the highest specs, but they have been mostly designed for business and enterprise customers, rather than targeting the average consumer.

Caterpillar Cat S61

Caterpillar, best known for its huge construction vehicles and machines, also sells a series of rugged phones. The Caterpillar Cat S61 is the most recent release, a successor to the earlier S60. Like the S60, the S61 has a feature not found on any smartphone, rugged or not. The phone sports an FLIR thermal imaging camera, designed to show heat normally invisible to the naked eye.

Editor’s Pick

Best CAT smartphones: Ruggedness takes a whole new shape

Most smartphones nowadays feature beautiful metal and glass constructions and are pushing the boundaries of the screen-to-body ratio. As great looking as these devices are, all that glass makes them a little more vulnerable than …

Building inspectors can use the camera on the Cat S61 to find any heat being lost around windows and doors. The camera can also discover if an appliance like a washing machine or oven is overheating. It can also find if any moisture is building up in a house where it is not supposed to be. Think of the Predator’s heat vision, but real.

The FLIR camera on the Cat S61 has some improvements compared to the version on the S60. It offers greater image contrast and a larger temperature range, which goes from -21 to 400 degrees Celsius. It can also take HD images from its regular 16MP rear camera to enhance the thermal images. The S61 can also livestream the thermal images it captures.

The Cat S61 also has a 5.2-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a 4,500mAh battery. It comes with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box and a promise to update it to Android 9 Pie at some point.

When it comes to rugged phone specifications, the Cat S61 can work in up to 3 meters of water for up to 60 minutes if its Lockdown Switch is turned on. It can also survive a fall from up to 1.8 meters (about 6 feet) and is reportedly impervious to dust, thanks to its strengthened die cast frame. Be aware it only works on GSM-based cellular networks such as the ones provided by T-Mobile and AT&T.

Amazon currently sells the Cat S61 for the very high price of $999.99, but its high degree of ruggedness, plus its thermal camera, make it unlike any smartphone on the market.

Specs

5.2-inch IPS LCD display with 1,920 x 1,080 resolution

2.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor

Adreno 508 GPU

4GB RAM

64GB built-in storage, further expandable via microSD up to 256GB

16MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera

4,500mAh battery

Android 8.1 Oreo (planned upgrade to Android 9.0 Pie)

150 x 76 x 13mm

Get it at Amazon

Caterpillar Cat S41

The Cat S41 phone is extremely rugged. It can drop from as high as 1.8 meters onto a concrete floor and still operate. It can go down as far as 2 meters in water, and work for up to one full hour at that depth. The phone itself has a 5-inch Full HD “Super Bright” display with Gorilla Glass 5 protecting it, and it even works with wet or gloved fingers.

Inside, it has a MediaTek Helio P20 processor, along with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 13MP rear camera and an 8 MP front facing camera. Finally, it has a huge 5,000mAh battery that’s so big, it can even be used to power up other devices with its Battery Share feature. Amazon in the U.S. is currently selling the UK/EU model of the Cat S41 for $507.

Specs

5-inch Super Bright Full HD display

MediaTek Helio P20 processor

3GB RAM

32GB storage

13MP rear camera

8MP front camera

Android 7.0 Nougat

Battery: 5,000mAh

Size: 152 x 75 x 12.85mm, 216g

Read More

CAT S41 review: Truly a niche device

Get it at Amazon

Caterpillar Cat S31

The cheaper of the two most recent Caterpillar rugged phones is the S31, and it can take a beating. Like the S41, the S31 is supposedly usable even if it falls from 1.8 meters down to concrete. Its water resistance is a bit less impressive than that of its big brother, but it’s still impressive; the S31 can operate in up to 1.2 meters of water for up to 35 minutes. The 4.7-inch phone’s screen can also be handled by a person with wet or gloved hands.

Inside it is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. It also has an 8MP rear camera, a 2MP front camera and a large 4,000mAh battery. You can get it on Amazon for $289.98.

Specs

4.7-inch IPS 720p display

Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor

2GB RAM

16GB storage

8MP rear camera

2MP front camera

Android 7.0 Nougat

4,000mAh battery

Size: 146 x 74.42 x12.6mm, 200g

Get it on Amazon

Kyocera DualForce Pro 2

Well-known rugged phone brand Kyocera just recently launched its latest model, the DualForce Pro 2. It’s an exclusive in the U.S. via Verizon Wireless, with an average sized 5-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. It also has a dual rear camera setup with a 13MP main sensor and a 5MP ultra-wide sensor, along with an 8MP front-facing camera and a 3240mAh battery.

As with the other phones in this article, the Kyocera has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance and is up to MIL-STD-810G specs for surviving drops. Finally, the phone’s screen is protected with a Sapphire Shield Display, which should prevent scratches. You can get it at Verizon for $444 without a contract, or for $18.50 a month for 24 months.

Specs

5-inch Full HD display with 1,080 x 1,920 resolution

Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 processor

4GB RAM

64GB storage

13MP and 5MP rear cameras

5MP front camera

Android 8.1 Oreo

3240mAh battery

150.2 x 73.4 x 13.5 mm, 243g

Get it at Verizon

Land Rover Explore

Land Rover is mostly known as a car company, but it also sells a rugged smartphone to go along with the lifestyle of its customers. The Land Rover Explore even resembles one of its cars, from its grill-like front design to its back, which looks a bit like a car mat.

The Land Rover Explore has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. With a screen protector, the phone can survive drops from up to six feet, and can even work submerged for up to 30 minutes underwater, including in salt water. The display can also work even if your fingers are wet or are inside gloves.

The hardware specs for the phone include a 5-inch Full HD display, a 2.6GHz deca-core Helio X27 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage. There’s also a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a large 4,000mAh battery the company says should last up to two days. The phone also has special apps, such as an Outdoor Dashboard that offers quick access to current weather information, and the phone even has an SOS flashlight in case you need it.

Each Land Rover Explore phone is sold with an “Adventure Pack” that connects to the back of the device with a series of magnets, similar to a Moto Mod. The pack adds an additional 3,600mAh battery, which should nearly double the phone’s battery life. It also comes with an 22mm ceramic patch GPS antenna, which offers a better GPS experience than most smartphones. Land Rover is also selling additional packs for the Explore, including a Battery Pack which throws in an even bigger 4,370mAh battery, and a Bike Pack that lets you mount the phone on a bike.

At the moment, the Land Rover Explore is sold mainly in Europe, for the price of 649 euros (~$739), or 599 pounds (~$765) in the U.K. You can purchase it in the US, via Amazon, but only from third-party sellers.

Specs

5-inch Full HD display

Deca-core Helio X27 processor

4GB RAM

64GB storage

16MP rear camera

8MP front camera

Android 7.0 Nougat (Android 8.0 Oreo update coming soon)

4,000mAh battery, with additional 3,600mAh Adventure Pack battery

Get it on Amazon

Nomu S50 Pro

The Nomu S50 Pro definitely qualifies as a rugged smartphone. It has an IP68 rating, which means it can survive being submerged in up to three meters of water for an hour. It also is MIL-STD-810G certified which means it will keep working after a drop from 1.8 meters high.

The phone is also much cheaper than most rugged phones, at just $229.99. For that price, you also get a 5.72-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 720 x 1,440 resolution, a MediaTek MTK6763 CPU, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a huge 5,000mAh battery. You can buy it directly from the company below.

Specs

5.72-inch display, 720 x 1,440 resolution

Android 8.1 Oreo

MediaTek MTK6763 processor

4GB of RAM

64GB of storage,

16MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera

5,000mAh battery

Buy at Nomu

Unihertz Atom

Unihertz

If you want a rugged phone that’s also really, really small, take a look at the Unihertz Atom, currently available to purchase via Kickstarter. A follow up to the company’s earlier Jelly phone, the Atom is designed to be thicker and more rugged.

It only has a 2.45 inch display, but the Atom has an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. That means not only will this phone fit nearly anywhere, it can handle a lot of abuse. You could even wear it comfortably on your arm as you run. In fact, Unihertz is selling optional running, biking, and body clips for the Atom so it can sit securely on your body or bike.

The phone uses an unnamed octa-core 2Ghz processor, and the Atom still crams in 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage. It also has a 16MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a 2,000mAh battery. It even has a USB Type-C port, a headphone jack, and a fingerprint scanner, along with a programmable key on the side that can be set to quickly launch an app, take a quick picture and more. You can now purchase the Atom at Unihertz’s website for $259.99

Specs

2.45-inch display, 432 x 240

Android 8.1 Oreo

Octa-core 2Ghz processor

4GB of RAM

64GB of storage,

16MP rear camera, 8MP front-facing camera

2,000mAh battery

96 x 45 x 18mm, 106g

Get it at Unihertz

Doogee S70

Doogee

In the recent trend of launching smartphones targeting hardcore gamers, the China-based Doogee has thrown its hat in the ring with the Doogee S70. This is indeed a rugged phone, with an IP68 water and dust resistance rating and a MIL-STD-810G certification. What makes it a gaming phone is that it has an optional add-on controller that connects to the back of the device. It has a trigger button, D-pad and analog stick, and generally should make it easier to play games, especially racing and first person shooter titles.

It also has a 6-inch full HD+ screen, a MediaTek Helio P23 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage. It has two rear cameras (12MP and 5MP), a 16MP front-facing camera and a truly massive 5,500mAh battery. You can get it now for $299.99.

Specs

5.99-inch display, 2,160 x 1,080 resolution

Android 8.1 Oreo

MediaTek Helio P23

6GB of RAM

64GB of storage,

12MP and 5MP rear cameras, 16 MP front-facing camera

5,500mAh battery

Get it at CooliCool

Samsung Galaxy S8 Active

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is the more rugged version of the company’s older flagship phone, the Galaxy S8. The phone, which has a metal frame and bumper, meets with MIL-STD-810G military specifications, which means that the S8 Active is supposed to be shatter-resistant, as well as dust and water resistant. In the latter case, the phone can still work even when it is submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

Because of its rugged frame, the Galaxy S8 Active does not have the nearly bezel-free “Infinity Display” of the standard Galaxy S8, but it still has a 5.8 inch Super AMOLED screen with Gorilla Glass 5, with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440. It comes in meteor gray or titanium gold.

Inside, the S8 Active has a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, a 12MP rear camera ,and an 8MP front-facing camera. The biggest hardware difference is the battery. The S8 Active has a 4,000mAh battery, compared to the 3,000mAh battery of the standard Galaxy S8.

The Galaxy S8 Active works on GSM networks and is currently on sale unlocked at Amazon, which has priced it at $389.99. Samsung has not announced plans to release a rugged version of its most recent flagship phone, the Galaxy S9.

Specs

5.8-inch Super AMOLED screen, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution

Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor

4GB RAM

64GB storage

12MP rear storage

8MP front camera

4,000mAh battery

Android 7.0 Nougat

5.98 x 2.95 x 0.39 inches, 7.34 ounces

Get it at Amazon

While the audience for rugged phones is relatively small, we’re slowly seeing more offerings. It’s likely that more rugged phone features will creep into standard phones in the future as well.

Read Next:Cat S61 hands-on: See like the Predator

Here are the best rugged phones you can buy right now syndicated from barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-12-12 20:39:38

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Star Citizen will be free to play from November 23rd to November 30th + Star Citizen 3.3.5 screenshots

Star Citizen will be free to play from November 23rd to November 30th + Star Citizen 3.3.5 screenshots

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Cloud Imperium Games has announced that it will make the Star Citizen Alpha free to download and play for any player to celebrate the launch of Star Citizen’s first habitable planet, Hurston. Revealed at CitizenCon 2018, on October 10, Hurston is a massive planet encompassing thousands of kilometers of playable space, with more than five distinct biomes including cityscapes, savannahs, frigid tundra’s, mountains and coastal seascapes.

Lorville, the planet’s major city hub, will also be available to all players. In Lorville, players can expect to find a densely populated, living city, including the “New Deal” ship shop, the game’s in-game location for the buying of in-game ships with in-game currency.

To celebrate the launch of the game’s first planet, Cloud Imperium Games will launch a “Free Fly” event encompassing its stable of more than 80 flyable vehicles, from more than ten different manufacturers. This makes it free for anyone to create an account at www.RobertSpacesIndustries.com to download and play Star Citizen.

Within the game, each manufacturer will make its entire flyable inventory free for a 24 hour “Test Flight,” after which it will then be replaced by the inventory from another manufacturer. During the promotion, it will be free for anyone to join the Star Citizen Persistent Universe and play across not only Hurston and Lorville, but Star Citizen’s more than 30 varying mission types, 8 traversable moons, several “rest stops” and more. Players who accumulate in-game currency can use it to purchase additional ships, flyable until each server re-start.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.3.5 is currently available on PTU servers and our reader Sean has shared with us some screenshots that you can find below.

Star Citizen Alpha 3.3.5 includes numerous features launched in Alpha 3.3 including:

Object Container Streaming, a processing tool that controls how much of the game’s massive universe must be loaded by player’s CPU. Object Container Streaming is an important behind-the-scenes technical milestone that enables the rapid creation of future content and locations, including the Planet Hurston and its main city, Lorville. Object Container Streaming has led to massive performance gains, which can be seen on the newly launched Star Citizen Telemetry page.

‘Face and Voice over IP’ allows players to connect their webcams and control their in-game character’s facial expressions with their own, creating a new level of immersion never before seen in video games.

FPS AI Enemies and Missions to populate the universe with NPC enemies to hunt or be hunted by.

‘Scramble Race’ Missions for players to compete across Star Citizen’s massive planetary bodies.

Anyone who plays Star Citizen between November 23 and November 30 will enjoy access to the following Free Fly Schedule:

Nov 23 – Anvil Aerospace

Arrow: Agile fighter that packs a huge punch. A speedy glass cannon.

Gladiator: A ruggedly built two-person dive bomber.

Hornet F7C: Tough and dependable, the F7C is a multipurpose medium fighter.

Hornet F7C Wildfire: Special Edition of the F7C Hornet with custom livery and loadout geared for Arena Commander.

Hornet F7C-R – Tracker: Sacrificing a turret for an advanced radar dome, the Hornet Tracker seeks what is hidden.

Hornet F7C-S – Ghost: Stealthy, quiet, silent – the Ghost haunts an area by keeping a low profile.

Hornet F7C-M – Super Hornet: A two-seater multi-purpose medium fighter with a heavier loadout.

Hurricane: A heavy fighter with excessive loadout, including a turret that punches through shields and defenses.

Terrapin: Heavily armored ship with a sophisticated scanner, ideal for recon and exploration.

Valkyrie: A heavily armed multirole gunship and dropship.

Nov 24 – Roberts Space Industries

Aurora ES: A descendent of the X-7, this is the perfect choice for new ship owners. Versatile and intuitive.

Aurora LN: For the combat focused, the Aurora LN comes with bigger shields and larger weapons that pack a punch.

Aurora LX: The Aurora Deluxe, adding luxury and comfort for long stretches in the deep black.

Aurora MR: A balance of function and performance, the Aurora MR comes with cargo capacity and guns to ensure freight gets there safely.

Constellation Andromeda: A multicrew freighter with modular design, the RSI Andromeda is one of the most iconic ships in the verse.

Constellation Aquila: Exploring the stars and distant horizons, the redesigned cockpit offers max visibility with a rover and sensor suite to explore it all.

Constellation Phoenix: A chariot of the Gods, this converted luxury, high performance Constellation freighter is ideal for VIP transport.

Ursa Rover: Rugged, Durable and tough, this is the rover you need to explore a multitude of environments.

Nov 25 – Origin Jumpworks

300i: Travel in style with this high-performance sleek touring ship.

315p: Traverse the ‘verse with this high-performance exploration focused ship.

325a: Origin’s sleek signature fighter, the 325 makes a great companion for finding your mark in style and sophistication.

350r: Origin’s sleek signature racer, the 350 makes a great companion for leaving your peers in the dust.

600i Explorer: The luxury yacht of Star Citizen, designed to explore in comfort and style with a vehicle bay.

85X: A luxury and sporty short-range runabout for pilot and passenger.

M50: Origin’s premier racer, small, fast and highly agile.

Nov 26 – Aegis Dynamics

Avenger Stalker: A modified version of the Avenger, catering to bounty hunters with prison cells.

Avenger Titan: A former police ship with a cargo hold for light freight and courier abilities.

Avenger Titan Renegade: Special Edition of the Avenger Titan with custom livery and loadout geared for Arena Commander.

Avenger Warlock: A variant of the Avenger, armed with EMP generator to disable enemies.

Eclipse: A sleek stealth bomber, armed with heavy torpedoes.

Gladius: An aged but agile light fighter with mid-range armament.

Gladius Valiant: Special Edition of the Gladius with custom livery and loadout geared for Arena Commander.

Hammerhead: A multi-crew corvette bristling with manned turrets designed to counter fighters.

Reclaimer: A heavy deep space salvage vessel to reclaim wrecks and derelicts.

Retaliator Bomber: A long-range anti capital ship bomber, covered in turrets and capable of launching size 9 torpedoes.

Sabre: Favoring agility over durability, this ship is light, sleek and deadly.

Sabre Comet: Special Edition of the Sabre with custom livery and loadout geared for Arena Commander.

Vanguard Hoplite: Long-range Squad Dropship with a turret gunner.

Vanguard Warden: Long-range Heavy Fighter with a turret gunner.

Nov 27 – Drake Interplanetary

Buccaneer: A light fighter that sacrifices durability and an ejection seat for raw fire power.

Caterpillar: A heavy multicrew commercial freighter. Lightly armed, with superior cargo capacity.

Caterpillar Pirate: A heavy multicrew commercial freighter. Lightly armed, with superior cargo capacity and custom pirate livery.

Cutlass Black: Black is Back. Drakes multicrew Cutlass is highly versatile, with combat and cargo prowess.

Dragonfly Black: A two-seater grav-lev bike. Easily traverses rough terrain, or closes the distance in space.

Dragonfly Yellowjacket: A two-seater grav-lev bike. Easily traverses rough terrain or closes the distance in space with custom yellow livery.

Herald: No secret is safe, Drake’s Herald captures and stores information before leaving at blistering speed.

Nov 28 – Alien Manufacturers

Khartu-al: Enigmatic, exotic and agile. The fragile Khartu-al excels at lateral thrust and maneuverability.

Nox: Sleek and fast, this gravity bike slices across rough terrain. Perfect for scouting and racing.

Nox Kue: Sleek and fast, this gravity bike slices across rough terrain. Perfect for scouting and racing with a bespoke Silver paintjob.

Vanduul Glaive: This Alien medium fighter replica drives fear with it’s ramming blades.

Vanduul Blade: Armed and Dangerous. This alien fighter slices through the air with it’s agility and shreds its foes.

Nov 29 – Musashi Industrial and Starflight Concern

Freelancer: A multicrew cargo freighter, with turret and ordnance to deter those after it’s haul.

Prospector: A miner’s best friend, with a powerful mining laser and saddle bags to turn mineral to profit.

Razor: Cutting ahead of the competition, this sleek racer will give the others a run for pole position.

Razor EX: Stealth special edition of the Razor outfitted with signature-reducing materials and stealth components.

Razor LX: Special edition of the Razor features an overclocked engine, reduced maneuverability and armaments in exchange of straight-line speed.

Reliant Kore: A fusion of Xi’an and Human technology, this light freighter allows you to haul cargo with a friend.

Starfarer: Keep fleets on the move with this heavy refueler.

Starfarer Gemini: Keep fleets on the move with this heavy refueler, the Gemini version sacrifices capacity for armor and a missile launcher.

Nov 30 – Kruger/Argo/Tumbril/Consolidated Outland

Argo MPUV 1C: A small and unarmed utility runabout that transports cargo.

Argo MPUV 1P: A small unarmed utility runabout tuned to transport personnel.

Cyclone: Stir up a storm with this robust two-seater buggy that can carry a little something in the back.

Cyclone AA: This two-seater buggy with EMP functionality is armed with an anti-air missile launcher to deter threats from above.

Cyclone RN: Unveils the fog of war, the recon variant of the Cyclone is mounted with a powerful scanner array.

Cyclone TR: Support ground infantry with this combat variant, equipped with a mounted turret to provide cover fire for ground operations.

Mustang Alpha: Consolidated Outland’s premier ship for those wanting to push the limits a little more when starting out.

Mustang Beta: Home is where the heart is, the Beta offers comfortable living quarters for beginners roaming the frontier.

Mustang Delta: The Mustang Delta is armed with heavier weapons and rocket pods.

Mustang Gamma: Racing the competition? The additional engine loaded into the back will provide competitive the edge you need.

P-52 Merlin: Small, agile and comes with a sting. This snub fighter is fragile, but difficult to hit.

Star Citizen will be free to play from November 23rd to November 30th + Star Citizen 3.3.5 screenshots published first on touchgen.tumblr.com/

Posted by TerryBlount on 2018-11-16 09:23:14

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: A powerful, feature-packed, exciting phone

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: A powerful, feature-packed, exciting phone

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Let’s get it out of the way. You’ll probably want to buy the Mate 20 Pro. It’s sexy, it’s powerful, it’s one of the best phones you can get right now. The real question is if you should pay no less than 1,050 euros (~$1,205) for the privilege of owning it. Or should you “settle” for one of the many great alternatives and save some money in the process?

It’s not an easy question — we’ll spend this in-depth Huawei Mate 20 Pro review trying to answer it. Buckle up!

About our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review

I wrote this review after spending around ten days with a Mate 20 Pro review unit supplied by Huawei. The phone (model LYA-L29) was the Twilight dual-SIM version, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It ran EMUI 9.0 out of the box, with the October 2018 security patch and build number C432E10R1P16. I used it mostly on my home Wi-Fi network, as well as Orange Romania’s 4G+ network.

Technically, the software on the review unit was non-final, but Huawei said it’s indicative of the final release software. According to the company, features like 3D Live Object Modeling and AI Color, will roll out to the phone over the next weeks. We will update this Mate 20 Pro review when these features become available.

My colleague David Imel spent a similar amount of time with another Mate 20 Pro review unit. You can watch his video review at the top of this post.

What’s in the box

The Mate 20 Pro comes in a simple black box with a charger, a pair of white USB Type-C earbuds, a USB Type-C-to-3.5mm audio adapter, and a basic silicone case.

Editor’s Pick

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS quick look

We’re still working on our review of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but today we had the opportunity to try out the €1,695 Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS.

Internally, there’s not much different with the …

The charger can go up to 40W and it’s very fast (more about that later). The transparent case will do fine for the first few days, but it gets very grimy so you’ll probably want to pick up something nicer. The wired earbuds look a lot like Apple’s. They are very light and they don’t insulate noise from outside, but they sound surprisingly good, with nice bass and clear highs. Definitely give them a try before you throw them in a drawer.

Design and build quality

Huawei is one of the elite few phone makers competitors tend to copy. The company has been putting out great designs for years, even while its software has struggled to keep up. That doesn’t mean Huawei shies away from copying others when it suits it. The Mate 20 Pro embodies both approaches: the front takes cues from Apple and Samsung, and the back is uniquely Huawei.

The Mate 20 Pro’s front looks like every other flagship that launched this past few months. There’s a big notch up top — not as big as the Pixel 3 XL’s thankfully — with rounded corners and thin bezels on the sides and bottom. The edges of the screen curve down into a thin aluminum frame, much like the Galaxy S9 Plus.

The Mate 20 Pro’s triple-camera boldly positions Huawei as a design leader

The symmetrical tapered edges of the phone are also very Samsung-like. The thin power button and volume rocker are on the right-hand side. They’re nice and responsive, but placed a little too close together, and can result in accidental screenshots. On all color options, the power button is a lovely orange-reddish hue. It’s a nice accent that gives the phone more personality.

The back of the Mate 20 Pro is dominated by the square camera module. Huawei calls it “Simply Iconic” and boasts about the resemblance it bears to the headlights of certain luxury cars, particularly Porsche.

Editor’s Pick

Download the Huawei Porsche Design Mate 20 RS wallpapers here

We’ve already taken a good look at the Huawei Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Mate 20 X. While these are already really high-end phones, Huawei and Porsche Design wanted to take it a step …

I personally love it. It’s fresh and it instantly sets the phone apart from anything else out there. Others will hate it — I heard the term “kitchen stove” from a couple fellow reviewers. Regardless how you feel about it, the Mate 20’s triple camera is a big, bold statement meant to show Huawei is a design leader, not a follower. It remains to be seen if others will embrace this design, as triple cameras go mainstream.

Color options

The Mate 20 Pro is available in five versions: Pink Gold, Midnight Blue, Emerald Green, Twilight, and Black. My favorite is Emerald Green, which is a gorgeous bluish-green hue. Emerald Green and Midnight Blue both have a textured pattern on the back, but you won’t really notice it unless you scratch the surface with your fingernail, which gives off a satisfying rattling noise. The texture helps stave off fingerprints, which are a pain on the non-textured color versions. Regardless, it’s still glass, so you’ll want a good case on it. Twilight and Pink Gold feature Huawei’s distinctive shifting paint jobs. I am not a fan personally, but if you enjoy attention, these are the versions to get. Finally, Black is just black.

Mate 20 Pro in Midnight Blue and Emerald Green

The Mate 20 Pro is a relatively hefty phone. It weighs 189 grams and I found myself having to shift it around after holding it in one hand for more than a few minutes. The good news is it’s narrow enough to use with one hand without constantly worrying about dropping it. It also feels very nice in the hand, thanks to the thin rounded sides.

Display

The OLED screen on the Mate 20 Pro is expansive, beautiful, and bright. I had no problems using it at roughly 40 percent brightness indoors.

The tall 1,440 x 3,120 format is a mixed blessing. You can use the 6.39-inch phone with one hand, but at the same time it can be hard to balance it in the palm of your hand — especially if you prefer the classic navigation bar instead of navigation gestures.

The Mate 20 Pro’s OLED screen is expansive, beautiful, and bright.

If you really care about high pixel densities, make sure you go into settings and change the resolution to QHD+. Otherwise, the phone uses the default Smart setting, which changes the resolution dynamically in order to save power. In my experience, I didn’t see any real difference between QHD+ and Full HD+, so the latter is a good compromise between power consumption and image quality.

By default, the Mate 20 Pro uses the Vivid color setting, which amps up the colors. You can switch to Normal, for a more true-to-life experience, and also customize the color temperature, from cool to warm and everything in between. There’s also a setting to automatically adjust colors based on ambient light, offering a “paper-like experience,” but I really didn’t see a difference.

Deep in the display settings you’ll find a way to “hide” the notch, basically turning the area around the notch black at all times. It’s great if you find the notch an eye-sore, but it won’t do anything about the cramped status bar, which is the biggest offense I take when it comes to notches. At least Huawei put the notch to good use. The black strip houses the front-facing camera, the earpiece (which doubles as a secondary speaker), and the emitters and sensors for the 3D face unlock system.

Core specs

Just like smartphone design, smartphone specs have been converging — especially at the high end of the market. However, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro stands out for a couple of reasons.

Read: Huawei Mate 20 and 20 Pro specs: There’s a clear winner

The Mate 20 Pro runs on a Kirin 980 processor, designed by Huawei’s own HiSilicon division. That alone makes the Mate 20 Pro stand out from virtually all other 2018 Android flagships, which use Snapdragon 845 chips from Qualcomm.

Huawei’s control over the processor allowed it to focus heavily on AI. The Kirin 980 has two neural processing units (NPUs) designed for real-time photo manipulation, live translation, and other AI-reliant tasks. AI is used in multiple areas of the Mate 20 Pro, but most users will only interact with the AI imaging features. We’ll talk more about them in the camera section of our Mate 20 Pro review.

Editor’s Pick

Fact check: Huawei flaunts Kirin 980 gains over Snapdragon 845, but are they meaningful?

Richard Yu’s keynote announcement of Huawei’s new Kirin 980 smartphone SoC was an unusually aggressive affair. The company has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 firmly in its sights, with comparisons and benchmarks abound that showcase the Kirin …

The Kirin 980 is an octa-core chip built on the state-of-the-art 7-nanometer manufacturing process, which packs transistors closer together, resulting in better performance and smaller power consumption compared to older processes.

The Mate 20 Pro is available with 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage, depending on the market. The phone comes with a new type of expandable storage called Nano Memory, instead of the popular microSD. We don’t know many details about this new type of memory card, other than it supports capacities of 256GB and write speeds of up to 90MB/second.

The problem is Nano Memory has no obvious benefits for consumers (unless it turns out it’s much cheaper than microSD) and one obvious disadvantage: you can only buy it from Huawei. While the company’s CEO told Android Authority Huawei wants to make Nano Memory an industry standard, no other company has pledged to support it so far.

Because the card is exactly the same size as a nano-SIM card, Huawei was able to use a tiny, double-sided hybrid tray for SIM and memory, saving internal space in the process.

Nano Memory is a Huawei exclusive for now

Side note: Huawei placed a microphone right by the Mate 20 Pro’s SIM tray. Make sure you don’t poke your microphone with the SIM tool, like this hapless reviewer did.

Performance

The Mate 20 Pro runs just as smoothly as you would expect from a current high-end phone. I haven’t encountered any lag episodes worth mentioning, though David noticed a few snags on his unit, especially when switching apps. Performance during gaming and general use was blazing fast.

Blazing gaming performance and snappy general use.

Let’s talk about benchmarks for a minute. Huawei was recently caught gaming benchmark results by setting its phones to “Performance Mode” when running popular benchmarking apps. This peak performance wasn’t actually accessible in real life applications, as Huawei programmed its devices to throttle themselves in order to save power. After the news broke, the company pledged to drop this misleading practice and to make the Performance Mode accessible to all apps as part of EMUI 9.

The Mate 20 Pro lets you enable Performance Mode from the battery settings and it has a noticeable effect, but only in benchmarks.

Running AnTuTu with Performance Mode on and off results in a massive difference. Without it, the Mate 20 Pro barely manages to rank among AnTuTu’s top ten fastest phones, scoring between 240,000 and 280,000 points. With Performance Mode enabled, my Mate 20 Pro review unit hit over 304,000 points, ranking first and beating dedicated gaming phones like the Asus ROG or Xiaomi Black Shark.

Left: Performance Mode off. Right: Performance Mode on.

In non-benchmarking use, I haven’t seen any real improvements in the speed or smoothness of the Mate 20 Pro with Performance Mode on. Considering this mode has a noticeable impact on battery life, most users will want to keep it off.

Other hardware features

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the first major, mainstream phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor. We’ve previously seen the feature on Vivo phones, and OnePlus is getting ready to release the OnePlus 6T with an in-display fingerprint reader at the end of the month.

Huawei’s implementation works very well, and it’s definitely a step up over the Vivo X21, which I reviewed back in May. The phone unlocks very fast, though it’s still not as fast as some conventional fingerprint readers. The only times I had issues with the reader was when touching it with the sides of my thumb — in these cases, I had to press harder for the fingerprint to register.

You probably won’t need to use the fingerprint reader much if you enable the face recognition function on the Mate 20 Pro. The phone projects an array of infrared dots on your face, forming a 3D map that is compared to the reference data collected during setup — similar to the iPhone X’s feature.

The feature is usually fast and accurate, though a little inconsistent. Sometimes, the phone unlocks almost instantly, others times it takes one or two seconds. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s a little jarring when you have to wait.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei Mate 20 Pro face unlock fooled by two blokes with beards and short hair

A recent report suggests face unlock on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro may not be as secure as initially thought. According to Android Pit, the feature consistently mistakes one of its staff members for another on …

Biometric authentication works with the App Lock and PrivateSpace features, as well. App Lock lets you lock access to specific apps until the phone detects your face or fingerprint — great for keeping kids out of sensitive apps. PrivateSpace lets you set up a completely separate workspace that opens when you use a specific fingerprint. You could use this function to hide stuff from prying eyes or simply to keep your work and personal apps separate.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro features IP68 dust and water resistance. The phone has an IR blaster at the top, and the preloaded remote control app is pretty good. Finally, the dual-SIM tray lets you use two cellular services, but only one of the SIMs can be used for data or voice calls at a time.

Battery and (very) fast charging

Without doubt, the battery is the highlight of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. If you care about battery life primarily, this phone is worth the premium for its huge battery and fast charging alone.

The Mate 20 Pro features a 4,200mAh battery — about five percent more than the Galaxy Note 9, 22 percent more than the Pixel 3 XL, 27 percent more than the LG V40 ThinQ, and 32 percent more than the iPhone XS Max. Battery life depends on other factors besides the capacity of the battery, but it’s hard to argue with these numbers.

The Mate 20 Pro is worth the premium for its record-setting battery and extremely fast charging alone.

I routinely got more than 7.5 hours of screen-on time out of the Mate 20 Pro, with medium usage, auto-brightness on, Performance Mode off, and the dark UI theme. With heavier usage, including gaming, running benchmarks, and more YouTube streaming, I got between six and seven hours of screen-on time. Light and medium users will probably only need to charge every two or two and a half days. Even if you’re a heavy user, this phone should easily last you a full day and then some.

The Mate 20 Pro charges incredibly fast with the 40W charger included in the box. Huawei says its goes from zero to 70 percent in 30 minutes. In my testing, it was even faster, hitting 73 percent in 30 minutes. The phone charges five percent every two minutes and doesn’t get exceedingly hot in the process.

We’ve seen fast-charging phones before, but the Mate 20 Pro also has the largest battery out of any mainstream device. That it charges so fast with the bundled charger — no need to spend extra on a separate one — is especially impressive.

As an aside, according to Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu, the company could have put an even bigger 4,500mAh battery on the Mate 20 Pro, but opted for the 4,200mAh unit in order to make the 40W charging possible.

The Mate 20 Pro is the first phone on the market to support 15W wireless charging. I wasn’t able to test this, but Huawei claims it’s significantly faster than the iPhone XS Max and other competitors.

The icing on the cake is the reverse wireless charging. You can use the Mate 20 Pro to wirelessly charge any Qi-enabled device. Just turn the feature on in the settings, place the device you want to charge on the back of the Mate 20 Pro, and off it goes.

However, reverse wireless charging is pretty slow. With a Galaxy S9 Plus, it took a few minutes for each percent of battery life. It’s a little finicky, too. You need to align the two devices closely, and charging stops if you move them too much around. You won’t be able to just throw the two phones in a pocket and forget about them.

You’ll need to enable reverse wireless charging from battery settings every time you use it, as it auto-disables to save power if you don’t use it for a while. Also, you won’t be able to use it when battery life is below 20 percent.

It may be tempting to dismiss reverse wireless charging as just a cool party trick, but we all know how stressful an empty battery can be. In those situations, every little bit of juice helps.

Sound

There is no 3.5mm audio jack on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It’s one of the very few legitimately important features missing from the device. The bundled USB Type-C earbuds are pretty decent, and you can also use your favorite headphones with the bundled adapter.

The Mate 20 Pro has two speakers cleverly hidden in the USB Type-C port and the earpiece. The one in the Type-C port is the main one, and gets a bit louder. Surprisingly, it only gets muffled a little when you plug in the Type-C cable to charge the phone.

The phone gets decently loud, though not as loud as the Galaxy S9 Plus. Sound is a little tinier than the Samsung flagship as well.

Don’t miss: The best headphones with USB Type-C

Camera

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera has plenty of great features and a few strong points, but also some weaknesses.

The Mate 20 Pro features three cameras on the back: a primary 40MP one with f/1.8 aperture; a telephoto 8MP with f/2.4 aperture and OIS; and a 20MP ultra-wide with f/2.2 aperture. On the front, there’s a single 24MP camera.

It’s a highly versatile camera system that lets you shoot everything from macro details to long-distance, zoomed-in scenery. It can be great in skilled hands, but can also turn out some mediocre shots if you just shoot in auto.

It’s an impressively versatile camera that lets you shoot everything from macro details to sweeping scenery

David got some great shots out of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. He noted he usually needed to lower the exposure manually, as the phone tends to overexpose in order to extract more details out of shadows.

I, on the other hand, just point and shoot in auto mode. I occasionally struggled to get good pics in low light.

The Mate 20 Pro is not terrible in low light auto mode, but I was expecting better. My Pixel 2, with its single camera, does a better job. It’s possible that Huawei’s auto algorithms are not as good as its hardware, and image quality could improve with future updates. If that happens, we’ll revisit this Huawei Mate 20 Pro review.

Inconsistent image quality aside, the Mate 20 Pro is a powerful camera phone. I love how you can switch between the different lenses with a simple swipe.

The wide-angle camera is great when you need to get more stuff in one shot, be it more people, an entire room, or a sweeping landscape.

It’s also great for taking close-ups: In wide-angle mode, the Mate 20 Pro can focus on objects that are just a couple of centimeters away from the lens. That’s a unique feature on smartphones, as far as I know. If you enjoy macro photography, you’ll love this phone.

Macro shot of moss on a tree

The telephoto lens’ 3X optical zoom is great for framing nice portraits or for closing in on distant details. You can zoom up to 10X in total, and it’s way better than what most phones can do.

Left: 1X. Right: 10X.

Portrait mode is pretty great and you can couple it with the 3X optical zoom for a more powerful effect. Using aperture mode, you can play with the depth of field after you take the shot and you can also apply filters — e.g. make the background black-and-white, but keep the subject in color.

Night mode is meant for very dark conditions — you need to hold the phone as still as possible for four seconds, while the camera captures multiple frames at different ISO values and combines them into one image. It could help you get a picture in otherwise unshootable conditions.

Stage Lighting shot on Mate 20 Pro

The selfie camera is pretty good, though pics sometimes turn out too soft. You can play with some silly tools to spruce up your selfies, including an Apple-style stage lighting option.

There are many other camera features and options, like monochrome, live video filters, AR lens, light painting, time-lapse, and even an underwater mode. The camera app itself is well designed and easy to use.

You can also choose to enable Huawei’s Master AI mode from the camera settings. It attempts to recognize and apply the best settings for each scene (e.g. cat, historic building, greenery, clouds). I didn’t see a huge difference with or without it, but your mileage may vary.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro camera is feature-packed, powerful, and versatile. If you take the time to learn it inside out and tweak your settings for each scene, it will reward you with some great results. Let’s just hope Huawei works on the auto algorithm for low light.

Full resolution camera samples are available in this Google Drive folder.

Software

The first Huawei device I ever used, the Ascend Mate 7, had pretty bad software. It was busy, unpolished, and a little ugly. Four generations later, the software on the Mate 20 Pro is much improved. There are still some small issues and Huawei still needlessly copies Apple in some areas, but overall I really enjoy using the Mate 20 Pro.

The phone runs EMUI 9.0, based on Android Pie. Kudos to Huawei for offering Pie out of the box.

You can choose between the conventional three-key navigation bar, a gesture-based interface, or a navigation dock. I liked the gesture-based interface the most: swipe up from the bottom to go to the home screen, swipe up and hold to go to recent apps, swipe from either edge to go back. It’s intuitive and easier to use on a tall phone than the navigation bar, though it tends to interfere with apps where you swipe from the sides to open menus, like Sync for Reddit or Slack.

You can choose between using an app drawer or just dumping everything on the homescreen. The app drawer itself looks great. The quick settings menu is pretty and functional. The settings section is generally intuitive — reorganized for EMUI 9 — though some settings are hidden in unexpected places.

You have lots of customization options, including my personal favorite, a system-wide dark mode that looks great on the OLED screen and also helps save battery.

Dark mode looks fantastic and helps save battery.

I recently started using Digital Wellbeing on my Pixel 2 to cut down on my phone usage, and I was happy to see similar functionality on the Mate 20 Pro. It’s called Digital Balance, and it actually has a few extra features, like granular usage statistics and a limit on your daily total screen time. Fun fact, I unlocked the Mate 20 Pro over 600 times in the making of this review, or every 16 minutes on average.

I noticed a number of small bugs and usability issues. Even with media volume set to zero, there’s a tiny “click” sound when loading autoplaying content in apps like Twitter or Chrome. You can’t swipe back from the app drawer. On the home screen, you can’t tap the names of apps to open them, but weirdly you can in the app drawer. The 3D emoji — an Apple feature Huawei basically cloned — are janky and sometimes fail to record your facial expressions. I also spotted a couple typos in the UI, though nothing egregious. We’ll revisit these issues once Huawei rolls out the promised update in a few days.

My Mate 20 Pro review unit came preloaded with a few Huawei utilities, as well as two third-party apps — eBay and Booking.com. In other words, bloatware isn’t too bad, though that tends to vary from market to market.

All in all, EMUI 9 is not flawless, but it’s clearly an improvement over previous versions. I still think the Pixel line has a better, more intuitive, and easier to use UI. That I’m even comparing them should be taken as high praise for Huawei.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review conclusion: Is it worth the money?

The Mate 20 Pro is a powerful, feature-packed, exciting phone. It looks gorgeous, it feels great in the hand, and it runs solid software. It charges wickedly fast and can chug along for days on a single charge. Its biggest issue is the inconsistent low-light image quality, but even that is offset by the sheer versatility of its cameras.

I personally love the Mate 20 Pro and I think you will love it too. But… I didn’t have to pay for the phone I reviewed. Would I spend 1,050 euros on a Mate 20 Pro? I don’t think I would, only because I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on any phone.

Lots of people don’t mind paying a premium for true quality. If you only change your phone every two or three years, it makes sense to get something nice. If you’re like that, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is probably the best phone you can get today.

Perhaps the most desireable phone on the market right now.

Other phones may beat the Mate 20 Pro in specific areas. The Pixel 3 XL can take better pictures with less effort. The V40 has better sound. The Note 9 is just as powerful and comes with the S Pen, a headphone jack and a non-proprietary memory slot. These are all great phones for power users, just like Huawei’s flagship. But then the Mate 20 Pro has a 40MP main sensor, good wide angle and telephoto lenses, reverse wireless charging, 40W rapid charging, 3D face unlock, an in-screen fingerprint scanner, and crazy battery life. Where other phones lean on one great special feature to justify their price tags, the Mate 20 Pro has a bunch of them.

Bottom line, you won’t find a more desirable phone on the market right now.

A note on U.S. availability

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro may be a great phone, but it’s not good enough for the U.S. government. Suspicions over Huawei’s alleged ties with the Chinese government have caused an almost complete ban on the company’s smartphones in the U.S.

Huawei confirmed it would not be selling the Mate 20 Pro in the States, forcing would-be customers to look into importing a unit from other countries. That’s definitely an option, but prices of imported phones tend to be higher than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, potentially making the Mate 20 Pro even more expensive.

If you decide to import one or pick one up directly from an overseas store, make sure to check the supported bands (you can in see them in the specs table below) against the bands used by your carrier in the area you live.

Which variant should you choose?

Editor’s Pick

Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro vs the competition

We’re right in the middle of a wave of major smartphone releases and the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are next on the bill. They join the new Google Pixel 3 and 3 …

If it’s an option, we suggest getting the dual-SIM model, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, in either Emerald Green or Midnight Blue (fewer fingerprints). While some markets will get the model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage as an option, the 6GB/128GB variant should be good enough for most users. You might be tempted to choose the slightly cheaper Mate 20 instead – while they look similar, the Mate 20 has a poorer screen, a less impressive camera, slower charging, and comes with a lower water resistance rating.

Full specs

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Display

6.39-inch curved OLED
3,120 x 1,440 resolution
538 ppi
19.5:9 aspect ratio
DCI-P3

Processor

Huawei Kirin 980
Octa-core CPU (2 @ 2.6GHz, 2 @ 1.92GHz, 4 @ 1.8GHz)
Dual NPU

GPU

Mali-G76 720MHz

RAM

6GB/8GB

Storage

128GB/256GB
NM (nano memory) card slot

Battery

4,200mAh
40W Huawei Supercharge
Can be used as a wireless charger for other Qi-enabled devices
15W wireless charging

Cameras

Rear:
Main: 40MP sensor, f/1.8 aperture
Second: 8MP 3x telephoto sensor, OIS, f/2.4 aperture
Third: 20MP ultra-wide sensor, f/2.2 aperture, 16mm focal length equivalent
Front: 24MP RGB sensor

Network

LYA-L29:
Primary SIM card:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40
4G LTE FDD: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B7 / B8 / B9 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28 / B32
3G WCDMA: B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 (Japan) / B8 / B19 (Japan);
3G TD-SCDMA: B34 / B39
2G GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)
Secondary SIM card:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40
4G LTE FDD: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B7 / B8 / B9 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28
3G WCDMA: B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B8 / B19
2G GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)

LYA-L09:
4G LTE TDD: B34 / B38 / B39 / B40
4G LTE FDD: B1 / B2 / B3 / B4 / B5 / B6 / B7 / B8 / B9 / B12 / B17 / B18 / B19 / B20 / B26 / B28 / B32
3G WCDMA: B1 / B2 / B4 / B5 / B6 (Japan) / B8 / B19 (Japan);
3G TD-SCDMA: B34 / B39
2G GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8 (850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz)

Connectivity

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (wave2), 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
Bluetooth 5.0, BLE, SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC and HWA Audio
Type-C, USB 3.1 GEN1
Type-C earjack
PC Data Synchronisation
IR blaster
GPS (L1 + L5 dual band) / AGPS / Glonass / BeiDou / Galileo (E1 + E5a dual band) / QZSS (L1 + L5 dual band)
NFC

Biometric security

In-display fingerprint sensor
Dot projector, TOF proximity sensor, flood illuminator, and an IR camera for face-unlock

Headphone jack

No

Dimensions

157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm
189g

IP rating

IP68

Software version

Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9.0

Colors

Pink Gold, Midnight Blue, Emerald Green, Twilight, Black

Huawei Mate 20 series: Quick overview

Something manufacturers do to sell more phones is launch “families” of phones with similar names and looks, but very different specs (and manufacturing costs). Huawei launched five Mate 20 phones, ranging from mid-range to super-premium, clearly hoping the prestige of the flagships would rub off on the cheaper models. Here’s a breakdown, for clarity:

Mate 20 Lite – Mid-range, cheaper processor, 2017 design. 399 euros (~$455)

Mate 20 – Great core specs, but lots of features missing compared to the Pro variant. 799 euros (~$925)

Mate 20X – Huge screen, geared towards gamers and power-users. 899 euros (~$1,045)

Mate 20 Pro – The top mainstream model, full of bells and whistles. 1,049 euros (~$1,215)

Mate 20 RS Porsche Design – Limited-edition luxury version of Mate 20 Pro, with leather back and extra storage. 1,695 euros (~$1,965)

That concludes our Huawei Mate 20 Pro review. Let us know what you think about the phone and our impressions.

Read next: Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro: Where to buy, when, and for how much

Huawei Mate 20 Pro review: A powerful, feature-packed, exciting phone syndicated from barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-10-27 14:21:14

Tagged: , Uncategorized

Nokia 7.1 vs the competition

Nokia 7.1 vs the competition

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HMD Global’s Nokia 7.1 has just arrived to tempt us with another compelling affordable smartphone option. It’s been a pretty great year for more affordable markets, so the Nokia 7.1 has some real competition. Does it stand out?

Performance and camera optics are the name of the game here, so let’s stack this new phone up against some of this year’s finest affordable smartphones — the Pocophone F1, Honor Play, Moto Z3 Play, and the Asus Zenfone 5Z.

Kings of performance

Historically, performance has required compromise for lower-cost handsets, but 2018 is proving this needn’t be the case any longer. The Pocophone F1 is the most affordable smartphone ever to pack in a flagship-tier Snapdragon 845 processor, which powers the $1000 big players. The Honor Play also boasts the flagship-tier Kirin 970 from Huawei’s premium smartphone range, which offers very similar performance.

Top to bottom, left to right: Nokia 7.1 – Pocophone F1 – Moto Z3 Play – Honor Play – Asus Zenfone 5Z

The Nokia 7.1’s Snapdragon 636 doesn’t reach quite that level, but it’s not far behind with a big.LITTLE CPU cluster with powerful Cortex-A73 cores to handle more demanding workloads. The older small octa-core CPU inside the Zenfone 5Z is definitely the slowest of the bunch.

Nokia 7.1

Pocophone F1

Honor Play

Moto Z3 Play

Asus Zenfone 5Z

Display

5.84-inch
2280 x 1080 resolution (FHD+)
19:9 aspect ratio

6.18-inch IPS LCD
1080 x 2246 resolution (Full HD+)
18:9 aspect ratio

6.3-inch IPS LCD
2340 x 1080 resolution (FHD+)
19.5:9 aspect ratio

6-inch AMOLED
2,160 x 1,080 resolution (FHD+)
18:9 screen ratio

6.2-inch IPS LCD
2,246 x 1080 resolution (FHD+)
19:9 aspect ratio

CPU

Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
(4x 1.8GHz A73 + 4x 1.6GHz A53)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
(4x 2.8GHz A75 + 4x 1.7GHz A55)

HiSilicon Kirin 970
(4 x 2.4GHz A73 + 4 x 1.8GHz A53)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
(4x 1.8GHz A73 + 4x 1.6GHz A53)

Qualcommm Snapdragon 630
(4x 2.2GHz A53 + 4x 1.8GHz A53)

GPU

Adreno 509

Adreno 630

Mali-G72 MP12

Adreno 509

Adreno 508

RAM

3GB or 4GB LPPDDR4x

6GB or 8GB LPDDR4X

4GB/6GB LPDDR4X

4GB or 6GB

6GB or 8GB

Memory

32GB or 64GB

64GB/128GB/256GB

64GB

64GB or 128GB

64GB/128GB/256GB

MicroSD

Yes, up to 400GB

Yes

Yes, up to 256GB

Yes, up to 2TB

Yes, up to 2TB

Size

149.7 x 71.18 x 7.99mm
160g

155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8mm
180g

157.91 × 74.27 × 7.84mm
176g

156.5 x 70.5 x 6.75mm
156g

153 x 75.7 x 7.9mm
155g

There’s a more noticeable performance difference in gaming applications. The flagship-class Adreno 630 and Mali-G72 Mp12 in the Pocophone F1 and Honor Play are notably faster than the Adreno 509 inside the Nokia 7.1. That said, you’ll still be able to enjoy the latest games, just with lower graphics settings and a clunkier frame rate.

The Nokia 7.1 is also slightly behind some of its more powerful competitors

The Nokia 7.1 is also slightly behind some of its more powerful competitors in the RAM department. Three or 4GB certainly won’t slow you down when flicking through apps, but hiccups may arise when swapping in and out of more demanding scenarios like games. The 6 and 8GB configurations offered by the Zenfone 5Z and Pocophone F1 are more typically what we’d associate with cutting-edge smartphones. Ideally, a 4GB minimum would see the Nokia 7.1 sit more comfortably against its competitors.

Nokia is similarly behind in storage capacity. A 32GB offering is small these days, and most consumers will probably want the 64GB option. Nokia’s maximum capacity is the minimum configuration offered by these rivals, while the Pocophone F1 and Zenfone 5Z supply up to 256GB should you need it. All these models include a microSD card allowing for further expansion.

Overall, the Nokia 7.1 offers comparable performance to other phones around this price point, but it’s clearly cut a few corners in the memory department. Hopefully, the cameras and added extras make up the difference.

Cameras and extras

Nokia has deepened its partnership with Zeiss for this phone, yet the camera specifications appear very similar to other mid-tier smartphones. A reasonable resolution primary camera, paired up with a low-resolution depth sensor is par for the course these days.

Nokia isn’t just using the secondary camera for depth sensing and software bokeh, though that’s an option. The secondary camera is a monochrome sensor, used to improve light sensitivity and detail, like in Huawei’s cameras. Powerful software combined with Zeiss lenses could make this a winning combination, but we’ll wait for some hands-on pictures.

The only other really interesting shooting option at this price point is the Asus Zenfone 5Z. The rear camera configuration offers a wide angle secondary sensor with a 120-degree field of view.

Nokia 7.1

Pocophone F1

Honor Play

Moto Z3 Play

Asus Zenfone 5Z

Camera

Rear:
12MP 2PD/AF/F1.8/1.28um
Secondary: 5MP BW/FF/F2.4/1.12um

Front:
8MP FF/F2.0/FOV 84°
ZEISS Optics

Rear:
Main: 12MP f/1.9, 1.4um pixels
Secondary: 5MP

Front:
20MP f/2.0, 1.8 micron

Rear:
Primary: 16MP with LED flash, f/2.2 aperture, PDAF
Secondary: 2MP secondary camera with f/2.4 aperture
and EIS

Front:
16MP, f/2.0 aperture

Rear:
Main: 12MP with 1.4 micron pixels, f/1.7 aperture
Secondary: 5MP

Front:
8MP sensor with 1.12-micron pixels, f/2.0 aperture

Rear:
12MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture

Secondary: 120° wide-angle camera with 6p lens

Front:
8 MP AF sensor, f/2.0 aperture with 84° field of view

IP Rating

No

No

No

No

No

Audio

3.5mm headphone jack

3.5mm headphone jack

3.5mm headphone jack

USB Type-C

3.5mm headphone jack

Connectivity

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
FM Radio

WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
FM Radio

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
FM Radio

Charging

18W Fast Charge
USB Type-C

Quick Charge 3.0
USB Type-C

SuperCharge
USB Type-C

15W Fast Charge
USB Type-C

18W Fast Charge
USB Type-C

Battery

3,060mAh

4,000mAh

3,750mAh

3,000mAh

3,300mAh

Software

Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.1
MIUI 9.6

Android 8.1 Oreo
EMUI 8.2

Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.1 Oreo
ZenUI 5.0

Mid-range smartphones have, for the most part, kept the 3.5mm headphone jack for music lovers. The notable exception in today’s comparison is the Moto Z3 Play. A single bottom firing speaker is also a common setup here, as is the inclusion of an FM Radio, in all but the Nokia 7.1 and Honor Play.

There’s no IP rating for water and dust resistance on any of these models. On the plus side, the Nokia 7.1, Moto Z3 Play, and Asus Zenfone 5Z all feature NFC for mobile payments.

Nokia has deepened its partnership with Zeiss for this phone, yet the camera specifications appear very similar to other mid-tier smartphones.

Fast charging speeds are also in place across all of these models. Although, I can’t imagine anyone will run the large batteries in the Pocophone F1 and Honor Play down in a single day. The Nokia 7.1 and Moto Z3 Play batteries are on the smaller side, though 3,000mAh should be enough for a single day of heavy use, given the power-efficient nature of their processors.

Does the Nokia 7.1 do enough?

Stock Android fans now have another choice on the market in the Nokia 7.1. Its hardware doesn’t appear exceptional, but that’s partly because this year has already seen so many affordable high-performance smartphones hit the market. The Nokia 7.1 looks like a solid performer, it’s just not topping the table. Of course, that’s only a small part of the smartphone experience.

Stock Android fans now have another choice on the market in the Nokia 7.1.

The Nokia 7.1’s appeal hinges on its design and camera experience. It could well excel in those areas, but these elements are a little harder to contextualize without a full review, so stay tuned.

Do you think the Nokia 7.1 will do enough to stand out in the $350 price bracket?

More Nokia 7.1 coverage

Nokia 7.1 is here with Android One, a Snapdragon 636, and a $350 price tag

Nokia 7.1 hands-on: Join David as he takes a closer look at the Nokia 7.1

Nokia 7.1 specs: Another great mid-range Android One smartphone

Nokia 7.1: Where to buy, when, and for how much

Nokia 7.1 vs the competition syndicated from barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-10-04 22:31:24

Tagged: , Uncategorized

Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL vs the competition

Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL vs the competition

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After far too many leaks, Google’s new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are finally official. There’s plenty of powerful hardware on offer here, finished off with Google’s signature style. There are also lofty photography expectations to live up to, given the spate of recent camera-focused smartphone launches.

Don’t miss: Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL hands-on

Let’s stack the new Pixel handsets up against the latest releases from LG and Samsung: the V40 ThinQ and the Galaxy Note 9. We’ll also throw in Google’s biggest photography rival — the Huawei P20 Pro — for good measure.

Flagship performance (as expected)

Let’s get the performance angle out of the way first — it’s a neck and neck race here. With powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processors almost universally powering this year’s top-tier handsets, we’re only looking at marginal software based-differences that shouldn’t have a meaningful impact on day to day performance. Samsung’s Exynos 9810 and Huawei’s Kirin 970 also sit comfortably in the same ballpark but don’t quite keep up with the same level of graphics and gaming performance.

See also: The full list of Google Pixel 3 specs

Where the Pixel 3 and 3 XL fall behind is with memory. 4GB of RAM isn’t going to ruin the experience, but the choice feels like a cost-cutting measure when other manufacturers offer 6 and even 8GB as standard. Google is also a little off base when it comes to storage capacity too. 64GB is too small for a flagship smartphone, especially one that ships sans a microSD card slot. LG commits the same sin. 128GB should be the minimum with options for more. Google may be relying on customers using Drive storage, but that’s no help if you venture offline.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Galaxy Note 9

LG V40 ThinQ

Huawei P20 Pro

Display

Pixel 3 XL: 6.3-inch P-OLED
2,960 x 1,440 resolution
18.5:9 aspect ratio

Pixel 3: 5.5-inch P-OLED
2,280 x 1,080 resolution
19:9 aspect ratio

6.4-inch AMOLED panel
2,960 x 1,440 resolution
18.5:9 aspect ratio

6.4-inch P-OLED FullVision
3,120 x 1,440 resolution (Quad HD+)
18:9 aspect ratio

6.1-inch AMOLED panel
2,240 x 1,080 resolution
18.7:9 aspect ratio

CPU

10nm, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

Global: 10nm, octa-core Samsung Exynos 9810

U.S.: 10nm, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

10nm, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

HiSilicon Kirin 970
Octa-core up to 2.4GHz

GPU

Adreno 630

Global: Mali-G72 MP20
US: Adreno 630

Adreno 630

Mali-G72 MP12

RAM

4GB LPDDR4X

6/8GB LPDDR4X

6GB LPDDR4X

6GB LPDDR4X

Memory

64/128GB

128/512GB

64/128GB

128GB

MicroSD

No

Yes, up to 512GB

Yes, up to 2TB

No

Battery

Pixel 3 XL: 3,430mAh
Pixel 3: 2,915mAh

Non-removable

4,000mAh
Non-removable

3,300mAh
Non-removable

4,000mAh
Non-removable

Dimensions
and weight

Pixel 3 XL: 76.7 x 158.0 x 7.9mm, 184g
Pixel 3: 68.2 x 145.6 x 7.9mm, 148g

161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm
201g

158.7 x 75.6 x 7.6mm
168.9g

155.0 x 73.9 x 7.8mm
180g

Hopping back up to the top of our spec table, the Pixel 3 XL offers a crisp display, thanks to its QHD+ panel. The smaller Pixel 3 makes do with an FHD+ solution that’s a good fit for its smaller size and still matches the larger Huawei P20 Pro. Although given that most companies are now defaulting to a 1080p resolution in software to extend battery life, QHD+ panels feel a little overkill.

Google has opted for LG Display’s P-OLED technology for both of the models this time. Our hands-on time suggests that things are much improved over last year’s questionable panel inside the Pixel 2 XL, so display quality should be good across all of these models. Though, the Samsung AMOLED panel inside the Galaxy Note 9 sets the bar to beat.

Power users crave a big battery to get them through the day and again we see that the Pixel 3 range isn’t quite at the head of the pack. 3,430mAh inside the Pixel 3 XL is on the smaller side here when compared to the 4,000mAh cells inside the Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei P20 Pro. There’s only so much that Google can cram into the smaller Pixel 3, and 2,912mAh seems reasonable for the handset’s size. Both phones should last a full day, but perhaps not always comfortably.

Making the extras count

If there’s a major trend in smartphones that’s appeared this year (besides “AI“) it’s multi-camera photography. The Huawei P20 Pro kickstarted the triple camera idea, which LG followed up with the V40 ThinQ. Samsung too appears sold on the wide-angle and telephoto combination. The result has been to give consumers greater shooting flexibility than ever before.

Google Pixel 3: All the new camera features explained

Google Pixel 3 cameras: Here’s what they can do

In that sense, the Pixel 3’s single rear shooter feels very plain, even though it will undoubtedly take very good pictures thanks to the company’s machine learning hardware and software. Google has hopped on the wide-angle and depth-sensing train with the front cameras, but serious photography fans will have probably preferred those options on the back.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL

Galaxy Note 9

LG V40 ThinQ

Huawei P20 Pro

Camera

Rear: 12.2MP f/1.8 1.4µm sensor, with OIS and EIS

Front: 8MP f/2.2 97° wide-angle sensor fixed focus + 8MP f/1.8 depth sensor with PDAF

Rear:
12MP Wide Angle dual aperture sensor with f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures, & OIS + 12MP 2x Telephoto with f/2.4 aperture & OIS

Front:
8MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture

Rear:
Main camera: 12MP sensor, ƒ/1.5 aperture, 78° field-of-view, 1.4µm pixel size, OIS,
Super wide: 16MP sensor, ƒ/1.9 aperture, 107° field-of-view
2x telephoto: 12MP sensor with 45° field of view

Front:
Standard: 8MP sensor, ƒ/1.9 aperture, 1.12µm pixel size, 80° field-of-view
Wide: 5MP sensor, ƒ/2.2 aperture, 1µm pixel size, 90° field-of-view

Rear:
40MP RGB f/1.8 + 20MP monochrome f/1.6 + 8MP telephoto f/2.4 with OIS
dual-LED flash, PDAF+CAF+Laser+Depth auto focus, 3X optical zoom, 5X Hybrid Zoom

Front:
24MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture

IP Rating

IP68

IP68

IP68
MIL-STD 810G

IP67

Audio

Dual front-facing speakers
No 3.5mm headphone jack
aptX & LDAC Bluetooth

Bottom-firing speaker
3.5mm audio jack
aptX & LDAC Bluetooth

Boombox Speaker
DTS:X 3D Surround Sound
Hi-Fi Quad DAC
3.5mm headphone jack
aptX HD & LDAC Bluetooth

Bottom-firing speaker
No 3.5mm audio jack
aptx HD, HWA, & LDAC Bluetooth

Charging

Wireless charging
18W USB Power Delivery 2.0
USB Type-C

Adaptive Charging (Quick Charge 2.0, 18W)
USB Type-C

Wireless charging
Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 (ships with QC 3.0 charger)
USB Type-C

SuperCharge (25W)
USB Type-C

Connectivity

Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC

Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC

Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth v5.0
NFC

Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Bluetooth v4,2
NFC

Software

Android 9.0 Pie

Android 8.1 Oreo
Samsung Experience

Android 8.1 Oreo
LG UX 6.0+

Android 8.1 Oreo
EMUI 8.1

The lack of a headphone jack will still be cause for concern for music lovers, but Google salvages something back with dual front-facing speakers. Wireless charging also helps to keep the handset feeling like good value when compared to the Galaxy Note 9 and LG V40. An IP68 water and dust rating is present on every phone but the Huawei P20 Pro, which is only IP67 rated. These are the type of features we’ve come to expect from expensive models, and the Pixel 3 range delivers.

Of course, stock Android fans will flock to the Pixel 3 series to get their hands on Android 9.0 Pie. It’s a shame that neither Samsung nor LG was able to ship their most recent phones with the latest version of Android running out of the box.

The Google Pixel 3 series ticks most of the major flagship boxes, but outside of a stock Android experience, it’s tough for the handsets to stand out against the competition.

Photographers looking for flexibility will probably prefer any of the rivals covered here. Music and media lovers with a big library will likely want a phone with a microSD card slot or more memory, and probably a 3.5mm headphone jack too. We haven’t even mentioned the design, which although far more subjective, probably isn’t winning any prizes for either looks or build materials.

Do you think Google has done enough with the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL to topple this year’s competition? I’m not so sure, but be sure to tell me your thoughts in the comments.

Related coverage:

Google Pixel 3 price, availability, and release date

Google Home Hub: Google’s in-house smart display announced

Google Pixel Slate announced: Revamped Chrome OS and more

Google Pixel 3 includes Pixel USB-C earbuds and a dongle

Third-gen Chromecast announced with minor changes

Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL vs the competition syndicated from barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-10-09 22:10:22

Tagged: , Uncategorized

Super Sunday: Unlocked 128GB Huawei Mate 10 Pro from just $499.99

Super Sunday: Unlocked 128GB Huawei Mate 10 Pro from just $499.99

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What do you look for in a smartphone? If it’s great battery life, camera, performance, or design, then the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the phone for you.

We labeled the Mate 10 Pro as the best Android smartphone of 2017 in our review, and we don’t throw terms like that around lightly.

The specifications of this awesome device speak for themselves: 12MP and 20MP dual rear cameras, 128GB storage, and 6GB RAM to name but a few. Another game-changer is that the huge 4,000mAh battery can charge to around 85 to 90 percent in an hour.

The Mate 10 Pro boasts a stunning design. A glass back, combined with a rear fingerprint sensor and near bezel-less front, make for a thing of beauty.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro quick specs:

Display: 6.0-inch Huawei FullView OLED, 2160 x 1080 resolution, 18:9 aspect ratio

Processor: Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-core CPU

Memory: 128GB storage, 6GB RAM

Rear cameras: 20MP monochrome and 12MP RGB sensors with f/1.6 in both lenses

Front camera: 8MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture

Battery: 4,000mAh with Huawei SuperCharge

IP rating: IP67 dust and water resistant

Software: Android 8.0 Oreo (Android 9.0 Pie update coming soon)

These smartphones are unlocked, and you can check your carrier compatibility on the deal site.

The blue Huawei Mate 10 Pro is available for $544.98, while the mocha model is only $499.99, with more stock due in the next few days. That represents a $300 savings on the $800 release price less than a year ago.

Stock will be very limited, so don’t miss out. Hit the button below to find the offer.

Get my Huawei Mate 10 Pro Now

The AA Picks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

Super Sunday: Unlocked 128GB Huawei Mate 10 Pro from just $499.99 syndicated from barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-09-30 14:27:34

Tagged: , Uncategorized

Super Sunday: Unlocked 128GB Huawei Mate 10 Pro from just $499.99

Super Sunday: Unlocked 128GB Huawei Mate 10 Pro from just $499.99

via WordPress ift.tt/2NQPFbE

What do you look for in a smartphone? If it’s great battery life, camera, performance, or design, then the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the phone for you.

We labeled the Mate 10 Pro as the best Android smartphone of 2017 in our review, and we don’t throw terms like that around lightly.

The specifications of this awesome device speak for themselves: 12MP and 20MP dual rear cameras, 128GB storage, and 6GB RAM to name but a few. Another game-changer is that the huge 4,000mAh battery can charge to around 85 to 90 percent in an hour.

The Mate 10 Pro boasts a stunning design. A glass back, combined with a rear fingerprint sensor and near bezel-less front, make for a thing of beauty.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro quick specs:

Display: 6.0-inch Huawei FullView OLED, 2160 x 1080 resolution, 18:9 aspect ratio

Processor: Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-core CPU

Memory: 128GB storage, 6GB RAM

Rear cameras: 20MP monochrome and 12MP RGB sensors with f/1.6 in both lenses

Front camera: 8MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture

Battery: 4,000mAh with Huawei SuperCharge

IP rating: IP67 dust and water resistant

Software: Android 8.0 Oreo (Android 9.0 Pie update coming soon)

These smartphones are unlocked, and you can check your carrier compatibility on the deal site.

The blue Huawei Mate 10 Pro is available for $544.98, while the mocha model is only $499.99, with more stock due in the next few days. That represents a $300 savings on the $800 release price less than a year ago.

Stock will be very limited, so don’t miss out. Hit the button below to find the offer.

Get my Huawei Mate 10 Pro Now

The AA Picks team writes about things we think you’ll like, and we may see a share of revenue from any purchases made through affiliate links. To see all our hottest deals, head over to the AAPICKS HUB.

Looking for a new phone or plan? Start here with the Android Authority Plan Tool:

This smart tool lets you filter plans by phone, price, data tiers, and regional availability. Stop overpaying for cell service you hate and a phone that you’re tired of. Use our Compare Phones & Plans tool to fully customize your mobile experience and painlessly transition from one carrier to another!

Super Sunday: Unlocked 128GB Huawei Mate 10 Pro from just $499.99 syndicated from barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-09-30 14:24:39

Tagged: , Uncategorized

Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2018: 8 great affordable phones

Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2018: 8 great affordable phones

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All the best cheap and affordable phones 2018 reviewed and rated

A number of great affordable smartphones ventured onto the market last year, with many more scheduled to arrive before 2018 comes to a close. The tech market is constantly changing, so now is arguably as good a time as any to score an upgrade.

You don’t need to spend upwards of £800 to find a great phone these days. The Samsung Galaxy S9, Huawei P20 Pro and iPhone X are a fantastic devices, but there are still seriously great choices even if you don’t want to spend that much.

The majority of the phones in this list are below £300, however if there’s a particular device that costs a little more but we think it deserves a spot due to fantastic value-for-money then we will include it.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

How we select the best budget smartphones

But before we dive into our top picks for the best budget smartphones, we thought it would be best to explain how we came to selecting them. It all comes down to practice. We used each of the smartphones as our main handset for a week, moving all of our data across.

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best Overall budget phone

Motorola Moto G6

Motorola’s Moto G range of phones have become synonymous with punching above their weight, and that very much continues with the latest G6. It’s a well-made smartphone that feels and performs better than its price would lead you to believe.

£219.99

View deal

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Dedicating all of our time to the device means we can see how it fares in the real world. We’re able to get an accurate reading of how long they last on a single charge, how much strain you can put on the processor before it starts to break a sweat and how good the camera is on a whim.

Related: Best Android phones

So now you know how we select the best budget smartphones, let’s take a look at our highlights.

Moto G6

Pros:

Fantastic software experience

Lovely screen

Well built for the price

Cons:

Some performance frustrations, especially with the camera

The best budget phone you can buy right now is the Moto G6. We’ve loved entries in the G series before, and the G6 could be one of the best yet. It has a lovely 1080p screen, fantastic software experience and it feels really good thanks to the glass body and ergonomic curves.

The Snapdragon 450 processor and 3GB of RAM churns through most tasks with ease. There’s 32GB storage as standard, and you can also add a microSD card to expand this further.

Our only real disappointment is with the camera. The actual photos from the 12-megapixel shooter are good, but the slow camera app makes for a frustrating experience.

Buy Now: Moto G6 from Amazon for £219 / $309

Moto G6 Play

Pros:

Fantastic software experience

Good looks

Well built for the price

Cons:

Slow camera

The cheapest entry in Moto’s 2018 G-series is far from flashy, but if it’s value for money you’re after then you can’t go wrong. Where the Moto G6 Play beats its pricier sibling is when it comes to battery life. The endurance here is fantastic and if battery life and value are your biggest wants then you won’t go wrong.

Buy now: Moto G6 Play from Amazon for £169.99 / $229

Honor 10

Pros:

Sleek design

Powerful hardware

Good value

Cons:

EMUI Android skin is bloated

Some performance bugs

£400 is the upper limit of the affordable phone market, but when it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat the Honor 10.

The phone follows the same strategy as past Honor phones. It aims to offer users the best parts of Huawei’s current flagship, the P20, with a few minor hardware compromises. The end result is a beautiful, feature-packed Android device with features and hardware traditionally seen on significantly more expensive handsets.

Highlights include a stellar 5.84-inch 2280p x 1080p FHD+ screen that’s best in class at this price, a powerhouse Kirin 970 CPU that blitzes through 3D gaming, and an above-average dual-sensor rear camera.

The 24-megapixel and 16-megapixel, f/1.8 dual-camera doesn’t have Leica branding, but it’s one of the best you’ll find for the money. The added AI mode, which auto-optimises the camera settings for “500+ scenarios in 22 categories” in real-time, also makes it an ideal option for those who aren’t particularly clued up on camera tech.

The only slight downside is the Honor 10’s EMUI Android skin, which adds a few minor software bugs and bloatware applications.

In a sense, the 10 is just the tip of the iceberg, with regards to affordability without compromising on the more powerful aspects of a smartphone. The upcoming Honor Play might make a good alternative when it launches at the end of August, whilst Xiaomi sub-brand Pocophone has just introduced its debut device, the Pocophone F1, which packs in a liquid-cooled Snapdragon 845 for around £300/$350 (pricing outside of India is still unconfirmed).

Honor Play

Pros:

Great performance

Strong battery life

Attractive screen

Cons:

Not water-resistant

GPU boost only works with a few games

Slippery body

Smart Shock feature doesn’t work

There isn’t really anything else on the market that can compete with the Honor Play in terms of performance for the price. The Kirin 970 is a seriously powerful processor and having it on a phone for less than £300 is a real win.

It’s great in other areas too: the screen is big and bright, battery life impressive and there should be an Android 9 Pie update coming soon.

It’s a shame that the Smart Shock vibration feature isn’t here at launch and the metal build can be a little tough to hold when gaming, but really there’s a lot to like here.

Moto G6 Plus

Pros:

So much tech for your cash

Good performance

Jazzed-up design

Cons:

Not water-resistant

The Moto G6 Plus is well-equipped in almost all areas. The 12MP rear-facing camera is reliable, though nothing to write home about, while the Snapdragon 630 CPU and 4GB of RAM – depending on the storage variant you opt for – is a smooth mid-range combination that ensures minimal slowdown.

Our main qualm with the Moto G6 Plus is that, unlike older models, it isn’t water-resistant. Still, this is a fantastic device with a great screen at a price that can’t really be beaten.

Xiaomi Mi A1

Pros:

Stock Android

Dual cameras

Fast fingerprint scanner

Good performance

Cons:

No water- or dust-resistance

Missing NFC

Lack of OIS on the camera

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi’s latest budget handset, featuring a 5.5-inch IPS screen, a Snapdragon 625 CPU and 4GB of RAM, in addition to a 12MP dual-camera and 64GB of expandable (once again, via microSD) internal storage. Like the Moto G5, however, it isn’t water-resistant.

Its sub-£200 price tag should make that news much easier to stomach, though, as should word that the Xiaomi Mi A1 is on the list to receive the much-anticipated Android 8.0 Oreo software update in the not-too-distant future – something to bear in mind if you’re after the latest flavour of Android.

Buy Now: Xiaomi Mi A1 for £189.16 from Toby Deals UK

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The post Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2018: 8 great affordable phones appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

Best Cheap Phones and Budget Smartphones 2018: 8 great affordable phones published first on netspytracker.blogspot.com/

Posted by PatCornell on 2018-09-03 12:49:41

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$300 showdown: Honor Play vs Poco F1 vs the competition

$300 showdown: Honor Play vs Poco F1 vs the competition

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In traditional Honor fashion, the new Honor Play is another compelling budget choice. Somehow, it offers flagship tier hardware starting at 19,999 rupees (~$285).

It turns out plenty of great smartphones offer substantial bang for your buck these days, even at around $300, so we pulled out a few — the new Xiaomi Pocophone F1 and Oppo F9 Pro — for this comparison, as well as the Nokia 6.1 Plus, and the Moto G6 Plus.

Related Articles

Pocophone F1 review: Can’t argue with Snapdragon 845 for $300

Flagship performance without the price tag

There isn’t much to say about these phones’ displays. All of our comparison models boast very similar FHD+ resolution LCD panels with elongated aspect ratios. Instead, let’s dive into the processing package, as this has traditionally been a weak spot for low-cost phones.

The Honor Play boasts Huawei’s Kirin 970 SoC, which you’ll find in flagship products like the Huawei P20 Pro. The Xiaomi Pocophone’s newer Snapdragon 845 is a tad faster, but not by much, and you’ll have to pay a bit more for it. The specifications compare very favorably with phones like the OnePlus 6, although that model is a bit more expensive (over $500). It’s amazing this tier of processor is now readily available in the $300 – $400 price bracket.

Honor Play

Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Oppo F9 Pro

Moto G6 Plus

Nokia 6.1 Plus

Display

6.3-inch IPS LCD
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
19.5:9 aspect ratio

6.18-inch IPS LCD
2,246 x 1,080 resolution
18:9 aspect ratio

6.3-inch IPS LCD
2,340 x 1080 resolution
19.5:9 aspect ratio

5.9-inch IPS LCD
2,160 x 1,080 resolution
18:9 aspect ratio

5.8-inch IPS LCD
2280×1080 resolution
19:9 apsect ratio

CPU

HiSilicon Kirin 970
Octa-core Cortex-A73 + A53 up to 2.4GHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Octa-core Kryo 280 up to 2.8 GHz

MediaTek Helio P60
Octa-core Cortex-A73 + A53 up to 2.0GHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon 630
Octa-core Cortex-A53 up to 2.2GHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Octa-core Kryo 260 up to 1.8GHz

GPU

Mali-G72 MP12

Adreno 630

Mali-G72 MP3

Adreno 508

Adreno 509

RAM

4/6GB

6/8GB

4/6GB

4/6GB

4GB

Memory

64GB

64/128/256GB

64GB

64/128GB

64GB

MicroSD

Yes, up to 256GB

Yes, up to 256GB

Yes, up to 256GB

Yes, up to 256GB

Yes, up to 256GB

Battery

3,750mAh
Non-removable

4,000mAh
Non-removable

3,500mAh
Non-removable

3,200mAh
Non-removable

3060mAh
Non-removable

Flagship tier performance is now readily available in the $300 price bracket.

These two models offer flagship class performance at a fraction of the price. They handily surpass the capabilities of mid-tier chips like the Snapdragon 630 and MediaTek Helio P60, especially in the graphics department. The phone’s 4 or 6GB RAM configurations are a little behind the Pocophone, but neck and neck with other products in this tier. Again, this doesn’t produce a big difference in performance.

The Honor Play has more storage options than standard, with 64GB inside and microSD card support. The Moto G6 Plus and Xiaomi Pocophone offer larger storage options, should you need it for a large media collection.

When it comes to battery capacity, the Honor Play is right near the top of the pack, with a big 3,750mAh cell. Xiaomi’s latest just barely edges it out with a 4,000mAh battery. The Oppo F9 Pro is also very decent at 3,500mAh. While the Moto G6 Plus and Nokia 6.1 Plus have much smaller batteries, their low-power processors probably close this perceived gap somewhat.

Cameras and extras

While the Honor Play and Pocophone’s performance may compete with flagship models, their cameras sadly don’t. You can take good pictures at this price point, but expect pretty hit or miss results with all of these phones. You won’t find extras like optical image stabilization or telephoto zoom here, although the Honor Play boasts some so-so “AI” camera capabilities.

All these phones feature dual camera setups with a low-resolution secondary depth sensor. This enables the popular bokeh effect, which can be adjusted post-capture. Primary resolutions are either 12 or 16MP, both of which preserve enough detail for posting online and printing.

The Moto G6 Plus offers the lowest resolution selfie camera at just 8 megapixels. Interestingly, the Pocophone F1’s selfie snapper boasts pixel binning capabilities, for better low light shots at the expense of resolution. Perhaps this technology would have been better served on the rear camera.

Honor Play

Xiaomi Pocophone F1

Oppo F9 Pro

Moto G6 Plus

Nokia 6.1 Plus

Camera

Rear: 16MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture, PDAF, EIS
+ 2MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture

Front: 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture

Rear: 12MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture and PDAF
+ 5MP depth sensor with f/2.0 aperture

Front: 20MP sensor f/2.0 aperture and pixel binning

Rear: 16MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture with PDAF
+ 2MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture

Front: 25MP sensor f/2.0 aperture

Rear: 12MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture
+ 5MP depth sensor with f/2.2 aperture

Front: 8MP sensor f/2.2 aperture

Rear: 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture with PDAF
+ 5MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture

Front: 16MP sensor f/2.0 aperture

IP Rating

No

No

No

No

No

Audio

Bottom-firing speaker
3.5mm audio jack

Bottom-firing speaker
3.5mm audio jack
aptX HD

Bottom-firing speaker
3.5mm audio jack

Bottom-firing speaker
3.5mm audio jack

Bottom-firing speaker
3.5mm audio jack

Charging

Huawei SuperCharge
USB Type-C

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
USB Type-C

VOOC Flash Charge
micro USB

Turbo Charge 15W
USB Type-C

Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
USB Type-C

Software

Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.1 Oreo

Android 8.0 Oreo

Android 8.1 Oreo

Other Features

GPU Turbo, BT 4.2, AI Camera

FM Radio, BT 5.0

FM Radio, BT 4.2

FM Radio, BT 5.0

BT 5.0

At $300 – $400 there aren’t too many extras. Build quality is a notable step down from affordable flagship options like the OnePlus 6 and Honor View 10. The Oppo F9 is arguably the best looking of the bunch, with a colorful back and waterdrop notch. The Moto G6’s slick finish is also rather nice.

You won’t find any IP ratings for dust or water resistance in this price bracket either.

Editor’s Pick

Best budget phones you can buy (August 2018)

There are a lot of great phones out there, but the reality is many of them cost well over $500. So what if you want a good phone but don’t want to spend a lot …

Fast charging options are in place across the board, with Huawei and Oppo leading in speed. Almost all the phones come with a USB Type-C port — only the Oppo F9 sticks with microUSB. It’s nice to know your old cables will work with the F9, but it feels like a backward step none the less.

The 3.5mm headphone jack remains in place across all these models. They all also have a relatively new version of Android pre-installed. Android 8.1 Oreo is a common build across these products.

Wrap Up

It’s great to see how competitive the $300 price point has become. There are so many great options, tt feels almost impossible to go wrong — though the Pocophone F1 and Honor Play are the clear options if you’re looking for top-tier performance.

Other features are surprisingly similar across the board, so adding high-powered SoCs doesn’t appear to require any additional major sacrifices. That said, you might find slightly better camera options, software features, and build quality elsewhere.

What do you think about the Honor Play vs. the competition? Are we entering a golden age for cost-effective smartphones?

$300 showdown: Honor Play vs Poco F1 vs the competition syndicated from flossiecrooks.wordpress.com

Posted by WilliamLingo on 2018-08-26 02:56:36

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Optoma UHD51A Ultra HD DLP Projector Review

Optoma UHD51A Ultra HD DLP Projector Review

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If you’re looking to add an Ultra HD projector to your home theater or media room, the Optoma UHD51A checks all the boxes for hi-res entertainment.

In addition to 3840×2160 pixels from a .47-inch DLP chip, it has HDR10, 3D, and 2400 lumens output. You can connect to one of the two HDMI 2.0 inputs or play the latest content through USB or Wi-Fi with its built-in media player. No sound system? No problem. The UHD51A boasts two five-watt speakers in its compact chassis. In addition to a convenient remote, it can be controlled with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Highlights

Optoma UHD51A Ultra HD DLP Projector

2400 ANSI lumens

3840×2160 pixels with HDR10

3D support

Vertical lens shift

Two built-in speakers

Controllable with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant

Integrated Wi-Fi and USB compatible media player

Introduction

Optoma has been in the projector game since 2002, always offering the latest display technologies. Recently, I’ve reviewed several Ultra HD DLP models based on a .47-inch chip from Texas Instruments that brings 3840×2160 resolution and HDR to a very attractive price point. At this point in time, there are two types available: one has an RGBW color wheel and high output, while the other utilizes an RGBRGB part for better color accuracy and a little less brightness. The Optoma UHD51A is in the latter category. Similar to the BenQ HT2550 and ViewSonic PX727-4K, it offers 2400 lumens and sets itself apart with voice control courtesy of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. It also offers HDR10 and 3D support. A compact and lightweight chassis, along built-in stereo speakers, enables easy portability. In addition to the latest HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 content protection, you can play media over Wi-Fi with a USB dongle, or from a thumb drive. It’s an impressive package for less than $1700. Let’s take a look.

OPTOMA PROJECTOR SPECIFICATIONS

Light engine:

.47” DLP w/4x pixel shift

Color wheel:

RGBRGB

Native resolution:

3840×2160, 16:9 aspect ratio

Throw ratio:

1.21-1.59

Image size:

34.1-302.4”

Vertical lens shift:

100-115% (above lens axis)

Lamp:

UHP

Light output (mfr):

2400 ANSI lumens

Fan noise:

28dB Bright, 25dB Eco

Video connections:

2 x HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2, 1 x VGA

Audio connections:

1 x 3.5mm in, 1 x 3.5mm out, 1 x optical out

Additional connections:

RS-232, 3 x USB, 12v trigger

Speaker:

2 x 5w

Lamp service life:

4000-15000 hours

Dimensions:

15.4” x 5.1” x 11.1” (WxHxD)

Weight:

11.75lbs

Warranty:

Two years, 90-days lamp

Price:

$1699

Company:

Optoma

SECRETS Tags:

optoma, uhd51a, ultra hd projector, projector, dlp projector, hdr, ultra hd, Projector Review 2018

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Design

The UHD51A uses the same design as other Ultra HD projectors in this price category. A single .47” DMD is used with an RGBRGB color wheel. The native resolution is 1920×1080, but it employs an optical shift to produce 3840×2160 individually-addressable pixels. This approach differs from JVC’s and Epson’s displays which use a refraction module in the light path to shift each pixel twice. The DLP version uses its rapidly oscillating mirror array to accomplish the task without additional hardware. Not only does this result in higher light output, the single-chip design provides better image clarity. Viewers will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this projector and a native 4K design, except for the price of course. Native 4K will cost you at least $5000 or more.

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The chassis is black and finished in a combination of glossy and textured surfaces. A thin metal strip runs around the beltline and forms a ring around the lens, which is offset to the right. Ventilation is generous and covers both sides and the front. Heat will not be a problem here and luckily; the internal fan is very quiet. Even in the lamp’s bright mode, you can barely hear it. Optoma rates the noise level at 28db, or 25dB in the Eco mode. There is a little light leakage around the lens cavity and from the side vents. It did not impact image quality in my completely-dark theater.

The UHD51A is the only projector in this category to offer vertical lens shift, accomplished with a small mechanical dial on top. The adjustment range goes from 100 to 115% above the lens axis. That means when unshifted, the bottom of the image falls at the lens’ centerline. You also get a 1.3x zoom to size the picture. That and the focus are controlled by lens barrel adjusters. Movements are reasonably precise though I found the shift dial had a little play in it. To level the picture, the three feet on the bottom are threaded. And you’ll need to tweak them because there is no keystone correction included. This isn’t an issue for me because I never use this resolution-reducing feature. But it might be a problem for some who cannot mount the projector perpendicular to the screen.

On top are the aforementioned lens controls along with buttons for menu navigation, power, and a home key for the integrated media player. Status lights monitor power, lamp, and temperature values. Also here is a large IR receiver which, along with a second sensor on the front, make for a very responsive remote.

That unit is not your typical handset, looking more like something that would come with a streaming box or Apple TV. It isn’t backlit, but it has so few buttons, you’ll quickly memorize their functions. In addition to power, there are menu controls and a home key to open the main interface. That’s where you can change inputs or select one of the streaming sources, Wi-Fi or USB. You also get volume control and a picture mode selector. The buttons click nicely, and the small wand is finished in a grippy plastic that feels soft in the hand.

The back panel features two HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2 content protection. You also get a VGA port which can connect to older computers, laptops, or be used with a breakout cable for three-wire component sources like VCRs and DVD players. Control is possible through an RS-232 port and there is a 12v trigger output for things like motorized screens. The USB ports can provide power and accept Ultra HD video files from thumb drives or external hard disks. Audio support is provided by 3.5mm in and out jacks along with an optical digital output. You can also use the built-in stereo speakers. There are two, driven by five-watt op-amps.

Pressing the remote’s home key brings up an interface that looks a bit like the smart screens seen on many flat panels. You can stream content over Wi-Fi, which requires an additional dongle. Or you can load content from a USB-connected device. This is also where you select traditional video inputs. The UHD51A also supports 3D content, though you’ll have to disable the Ultra HD feature to see it. That’s accomplished by turning on 3D in the menu. No glasses are included but you can use aftermarket ones like those from Xpand, available online for around $40.

Setup

I installed the UHD51A on a small table in front of my seating. This is a common configuration for portable projectors. They’re designed to be set up on a coffee table to throw the image on a wall or roll-up screen. Squaring up the picture is easy with the lens shift and zoom adjusters. Focus is firm and precise, and I had a razor-sharp picture on my Stewart StudioTek 130 within minutes. Sources were connected to the HDMI 1 input with a Monoprice Redmere cable. For the viewing tests, my OPPO UDP-203 demands a more robust cable so I used a 30-foot Bluejeans part with 22AWG wire. It’s not much more flexible than the average garden hose but it will support 18Gpbs over a long run.

The menu flies out from the left side of the screen and cannot be moved. It’s placed well for most test patterns though I found it blocked my view of a grayscale ramp I use for setting brightness. It’s arranged into five submenus starting with Image Settings.

There are six picture modes for SDR plus HDR and 3D modes. When an HDR signal is present, there are four additional presets found in the Dynamic Range sub-menu. You can also unlock ISF Day and Night modes with a remote code. After the usual brightness and contrast sliders, there are seven gamma presets, a color management system, and two-point grayscale adjustments. Everything works well and with precision except the RGB Bias controls which are too coarse to be useful. Each click results in a significant change. Fortunately, I only had to change the gains to achieve excellent grayscale tracking. You also get an option called color space which selects RGB or YUV input. RGB can be left to Auto or set for PC (0-255 levels) signals. Auto corresponds to the correct video range of 16-235 and is the way to use the UHD51A’s full dynamic range.

The lamp settings are found under Brightness mode and include Eco and Bright options. I looked for a dynamic option and found a separate control called Dynamic Black. This usually indicates a low-end gamma adjustment that is better left off. In this case however, it more than doubles contrast without clipping detail. In my observation, it appears to vary bulb output. While it improves the image for both SDR and HDR content, it is not the equal of a mechanical auto-iris. This is something that no projector in this category has and I miss it. Hopefully, the next generation of 4K DLPs will bring it back.

Setting up Alexa integration begins by creating an account with Optoma’s Device Cloud service. Once you generate a device code, you can register your UHD51A. After you’ve created skills for it (Alexa users will know what that means), control of power, input, and volume is enabled via voice commands.

To calibrate the UHD51A, I selected Reference as the best starting point, set gamma to 2.4, and made a few changes in the CMS and gain controls. Settings are specific to signal type, so you’ll want to set your source for a single output format to avoid performing multiple calibrations. With setup complete, it’s time for the fun part of the review.

In Use

In my recent reviews of Ultra HD projectors, I’ve played movies that I own in both 1080p and Ultra HD formats. This allows for a meaningful comparison and easily answers the question I get most often, “Does 4K really make a difference?”

Comparing the two versions of Star Wars, The Last Jedi, it was immediately apparent that the UHD51A’s principal strength is Ultra HD/HDR material. The 1080p version just didn’t have the same impact, and the difference lies mainly in contrast. Even though projectors can’t display HDR the same way flat panels do, the modified tone-mapping makes a huge difference. Even the opening menus look far better. The final battle scene takes place on a planet covered in red salt. I didn’t see any significant difference in color, but the sharper detail and deeper blacks were obvious.

My initial comparisons with Dynamic Black made it clear that it should be left on all the time. It improves contrast and doesn’t clip highlight or shadow detail. I started with gamma set to 2.4 but found different films looked better on different gamma settings. Some worked well at 2.4 while others preferred 2.2. HDR content looked best with the option set to Film. You’ll also want to leave the HDR picture mode on Standard. The other options make the picture too dark or too light.

Jumanji, Welcome to the Jungle is rife with deep shades of green and lots of nicely-textured earth tones. Ultra HD really brings the tactility of the jungle to the fore and sets the characters solidly in the foreground. This presentation really makes one ask, “why do we need 3D?” It’s hard to imagine better clarity or depth. The Rock’s skin tones, along with every drop of sweat and particle of dirt, pop right out to where you can almost feel them (eww).

To check out a few dark scenes, I turned to Thor Ragnarok. Early in the film Thor and Dr. Strange have a meeting in a dusty museum that is barely lit from a few small windows. The 1080p version never dropped below a medium gray. The Ultra HD disc managed deeper blacks and better detail though it was never a true black. The UHD51A, like its competition, would really benefit from a mechanical iris. Turning on Dynamic Black helps contrast quite a bit, but it won’t replace a good auto-iris.

Since 3D displays are becoming fewer and farther between, I took this opportunity to watch Avatar. I didn’t measure more than average output during my 3D luminance tests, but the presentation of real-world content was far better than expected. Color looked rich and saturated, especially in the blue shades that dominate this film. The 3D effect was incredible thanks to superb motion processing and no visible crosstalk. DLPs are my favorite way to watch 3D and the UHD51A is one of the best examples I’ve seen lately.

On The Bench

To test the UHD51A’s color accuracy, I measured from the lens with an X-Rite i1 Pro Spectrophotometer fitted with a diffuser attachment. Luminance readings were taken with a Spectracal C6 tri-stimulus colorimeter facing a 92” diagonal Stewart Filmscreen Luminesse with Studiotek 130 material, gain 1.3, at a 10-foot distance. Patterns were generated by an Accupel DVG-5000 and controlled with CalMAN, version 5.8.

SDR Grayscale & Gamma Tracking

The UHD51A comes from the factory set to its Cinema picture mode. It’s reasonably close to D65 with a gamma just below 2.2 and accurate Rec.709 color. But the Reference mode is slightly better in all respects. That’s where I started my tests.

Grayscale errors run slightly green from 50% on up but this is barely visible. Gamma is also a tad light but again, it isn’t a concern. I would classify the UHD51A as not needing calibration. There is room for improvement though. The gamma presets and RGB controls are there and one shouldn’t leave any performance un-utilized.

Calibration removes all visible grayscale errors. Though there is a green spike at 10%, I could not see it in the test pattern. Changing the gamma preset to 2.4 gives the image a bit more depth and improves perceived contrast. Color looks better saturated as well. I recommend leaving Brilliant Color on setting 1. If you want to experiment with this option, calibration should happen afterwards. Every change of the setting throws grayscale off, requiring a readjustment.

SDR Color Gamut & Luminance

In Reference mode, color measures quite close to target for both saturation and luminance. Red is a little under-saturated and there are hue errors in cyan and magenta. But these issues are not a factor in real-world content. With an average error of just 2.9487dE, you won’t see any problems. This is excellent performance.

After tweaking grayscale, changing the gamma preset, and making some changes in the CMS, the average error is slightly reduced. Secondary colors are now closer to their hue targets and red is a bit more saturated than before. Luminance levels are more balanced though they are all a tiny bit light. This is another inconsequential issue. I have no complaints about the UHD51A’s color accuracy. It is excellent, especially at this price point.

HDR Tests

The UHD51A offers four HDR picture modes. They differ mainly in EOTF tracking. I measured them all and found Standard, the default, to be closest to the mark. All of them take the clipping transition too smoothly but this isn’t a grievous error. The main issue is between 40 and 70% brightness where there is a lack of red. Neutral tones look a bit cool here.

Adjusting the gain controls improves things a bit but the mid-tones are still too cool. The EOTF is unchanged. Actual content looks pretty good but other projectors I’ve measured are a little more accurate in this test.

The UHD51A, like its similarly-priced competition, is limited to the Rec.709 color gamut. To give the impression of more-saturated hues in HDR mode, it pushes the inner targets well past where they should be for accurate reproduction. The primaries are as much as 35% beyond their prescribed points. Is this a problem? Not necessarily. All HDR displays exhibit the same behavior to varying degrees. In my experience, only a handful of reference-level computer monitors have done well in this test. In the brightest content, you might see some detail clipping but for the most part, it’s not a big deal. Still, I’d prefer to see one of the HDR picture modes render a gamut that’s accurate at all points.

The DCI-P3 color test produces similar results. Mid-tones, where most content lies, are oversaturated. This gives the image plenty of pop and makes it easy to see the difference between SDR and HDR color. I suspect most users will enjoy the presentation and it’s a good compromise to live with until we have true DCI-P3 and Rec.2020 displays available in the consumer realm.

Video Processing

The UHD51A’s video processing is better at scaling than de-interlacing. 1080i content shows failures in the 2:2 and 3:2 test. If you plan to watch DVDs, it’s best to let your player handle that chore. I recommend setting it for 1080p output. Chroma resolution is excellent regardless of signal format. Even the 4:2:2 test showed no visible roll-off. To see above white and below black information, the Color Space options must be set to RGB 0-255. Otherwise, below 16 and above 235 will be clipped. This isn’t a problem and I’d rather utilize the entire dynamic range of the projector anyway by setting that option to Auto, which corresponds to RGB 16-235.

Light Output & Contrast

All luminance values are expressed here in nits, also known as candelas per square meter (cd/m2). For those needing a frame of reference, 1fL equals 3.43 nits, or 1 nit equals .29fL.

The UHD51A provides plenty of output for small to medium theaters or multi-use media rooms. After calibration in the lamp’s Eco mode, the peak white level is 88 nits with .1871 nits black and a contrast ratio of 470.1:1. Increasing the lamp power to Bright results in 132 nits peak, .2807 nits black, and 471.1:1 contrast.

Turning on Dynamic Black increases contrast by more than double. I measured 147 nits peak with .1441 nits black and a contrast ratio of 1021.4:1.

In HDR mode with the lamp on Bright mode and Dynamic Black on, I measured 224 nits peak, .1308 nits black, and 1711.7:1 contrast.

For maximum output, select the Bright picture mode. Here, you’ll get 336 nits peak, .2823 nits black, and 1190.6:1 contrast. The color temp is quite green and both shadow and highlight detail is clipped. This mode is best used in brightly-lit rooms.

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In 3D mode, the UHD51A offers a respectable 22 nits white, .096 nits black, and 224.2:1 contrast. Crosstalk measures an extremely low .03%.

Conclusions

THE OPTOMA UHD51A ULTRA HD DLP PROJECTOR offers superb picture quality, Ultra HD, HDR, and 3D for just $1699. Its Alexa and Google integration set it apart from similarly-priced projectors.

Likes

Clear, bright picture

Excellent contrast in HDR mode

Quick and automatic switching between signal formats

Excellent 3D presentation

Would Like To See

Backlit remote

A mechanical auto-iris for better contrast

I continue to enjoy the parade of Ultra HD projectors coming through my theater. It’s truly a wonderful time for video enthusiasts when we have our pick of excellent products from multiple manufacturers at prices thought unattainable just a few short years ago. The Optoma UHD51A delivers excellent performance and a razor-sharp picture for just $1699. While it costs a few bucks more than the competition, it adds Alexa and Google integration, a built-in media player, 3D, and lens shift to the feature list.

My complaints are minor ones. Its video performance boasts similar accuracy to others in the class and most users will be able to enjoy the UHD51A without incurring the cost or effort of calibration. Of course, those who take the extra step will be rewarded with a slightly better picture. Like the competition, Optoma has dispensed with a mechanical auto-iris in favor of bulb output throttling. While this approach improves contrast, I would rather have the iris. Perhaps a future generation of displays will add it back in.

I’ll finish up by stating just how compelling these Ultra HD DLP projectors are. When you play an Ultra HD Blu-ray at full 3840×2160 resolution with HDR, the experience is on another level from 1080p. Does 4K make a difference? It sure does. While it is still best seen on a flat panel TV, the UHD51A brings much of that feeling into the theater and onto the big screen. If you’re considering an upgrade, or building a new space for family movie night, Optoma makes a great choice. Highly Recommended.

The post Optoma UHD51A Ultra HD DLP Projector Review appeared first on HomeTheaterHifi.com.

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Posted by edithrusch on 2018-08-27 19:47:15

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