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

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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

Tagged: , Uncategorized

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

Linkbacks

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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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$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 barbarawalston.wordpress.com/

Posted by JohnEllrod on 2018-08-26 02:40:40

Tagged: , Uncategorized

OTR Links 07/15/2018

OTR Links 07/15/2018

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The Best of Ontario-Educators Daily

The best of ontario-educators daily is out! t.co/4HlFeS0ic6 Stories via @Jackie_Waller @JRossHolt @hjbroadEDU #onted #cpchat

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 15, 2018
The best of ontario-educators daily is out! t.co/4HlFeS0ic6 Stories via @trev_martin @EurekaTeacher @MsScotchmer #cpchat

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 15, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Humans are weird – Album on Imgur

Humans are weird – Album on Imgur t.co/uQApFMP7Tn

Found with t.co/7D97BqSyAs

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Confidence in follower counts

Confidence in follower counts t.co/n9ipYmFmrF

Found with t.co/7D97BqSyAs

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

What is the Difference Between the macOS and Linux Kernels | It’s FOSS

What is the Difference Between the macOS and Linux Kernels | It’s FOSS t.co/l73QfFJgBn

Found with t.co/7D97BqSyAs

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Two Factor Auth List

Two Factor Auth List t.co/bLcxPacqz0

Found with t.co/7D97BqSyAs

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

The Best of Ontario-Educators 5 Daily

The latest The Doug Peterson Daily! t.co/S1knhNh9rs Thanks to @mrsrjblair @Gorette71 @LDA_Durham #edchat #leadup

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Twitter

Thank you, sir. I’ve included it in my “Whatever happened to …” post for tomorrow morning. Nice personal reflection on your part. t.co/1TpBJ0VwU8

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

The Best of Ontario-Educators Daily

The best of ontario-educators daily is out! t.co/5t2AX6XKI6 Stories via @cyndiejacobs @Stephen_Hurley @komox37 #onted #hw

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018
The best of ontario-educators daily is out! t.co/5t2AX6XKI6 Stories via @NoelineL #hw

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

The Best of Ontario-Educators 4 Daily

The latest The Best of Ontario-Educators 4 Daily! t.co/KIqJDzvULo Thanks to @mrmartinEDU @mmegwalker @BonnieSears20 #onted #books

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018
The latest The Best of Ontario-Educators 4 Daily! t.co/KIqJDzvULo Thanks to @VirtualGiff @LC2_TDSB @WaltonRo #books

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

The Best of Ontario-Educators 2 daily

The best of ontario-educators2 daily is out! is out! t.co/QNgfxSZm0e Stories via @brmf_rm @bmplanche @bcaunter1 #mathchat #iwd

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018
The best of ontario-educators2 daily is out! is out! t.co/QNgfxSZm0e Stories via @specedforever @st23erne @ParkerTeacher13 #iwd

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

The Best of Ontario-Educators 3 Daily

The latest Best of Ontario-Educators3 Daily! t.co/1Xczw9Smi6 Thanks to @MsHlymbicky @BarryatBrock @Mr_H_Teacher #k12 #mathchat

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018
The latest Best of Ontario-Educators3 Daily! t.co/1Xczw9Smi6 Thanks to @23Library @gr8wheels @Rylone3 #mathchat

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

The Doug Peterson Community News

The latest The Doug Peterson Community News! t.co/dhCf5Sg4cW Thanks to @dlaughey @mortystv @TheLocalSwitzer #edtech #icymi

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018
The latest The Doug Peterson Community News! t.co/dhCf5Sg4cW #icymi

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Timeline

Timeline t.co/yQdiEpUKL7

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

SAMR ain’t *That* Simple – Jake Miller

SAMR ain’t *That* Simple – Jake Miller t.co/VVXgHUazGe

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Unboxing Apple’s insanely high-end new MacBook Pro – Video – CNET

Unboxing Apple’s insanely high-end new MacBook Pro t.co/pGtbhf0LM0 via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Microsoft unveils free version of Teams productivity tool, upping the ante against rival Slack – GeekWire

Microsoft unveils free version of Teams productivity tool, upping the ante against rival Slack t.co/hRJ2EQCDuF via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Microsoft Rolls Out Patches for “Lazy FP State Restore” Bug Affecting Intel CPUs

Microsoft Rolls Out Patches for “Lazy FP State Restore” Bug Affecting Intel CPUs t.co/95IxvWQW8q via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Microsoft Updates Windows Notepad After Years of Neglect | Fortune

Microsoft Is Finally Updating the Windows Notepad App t.co/i7VzVUiLzV via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Publishing Tips for Indie Authors: How to Get Your Book Into Libraries

Publishing Tips for Indie Authors: How to Get Your Book Into Libraries t.co/GfQpMgWH2Y via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Official Twitter app for Android adds a new bottom navigation bar

Official Twitter app for Android adds a new bottom navigation bar t.co/xHFV2KSIqL via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Microsoft virtualizes the Whiteboard for remote teams with new app | The Download Blog – CNET Download.com

Microsoft virtualizes the Whiteboard for remote teams with new app t.co/V5G3Ic0pLo via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Canada’s Hudson’s Bay store drops Ivanka Trump fashion line | US news | The Guardian

Canada’s Hudson’s Bay store drops Ivanka Trump fashion line t.co/uzU5fRXORG via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Nvidia and MIT’s AI can clean up your noisy photos

Nvidia and MIT’s AI can clean up your noisy photos t.co/GLtX2PPvS4 via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Mathematical Ways to Spend Your Summer : nrich.maths.org

Mathematical Ways to Spend Your Summer t.co/jAQFbR17MN via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

PressProgress

‘Going Backward’: Ontario’s Catholic Teachers Warn Doug Ford’s Sex-Ed Repeal Will Harm Students t.co/UjO9o9GJKZ via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

3 roads to digital literacy. All leading to student success.

3 roads to digital literacy.

All leading to student success. t.co/21U0aKs9CJ via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Who should decide how teachers teach? | Tes News

Who should decide how teachers teach? t.co/pkthdVO3kE via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Ford repealing sex-ed curriculum to please social conservatives: Horwath | CTV News

Ford repealing sex-ed curriculum to please social conservatives: Horwath t.co/OCExKwA8EX via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

6 Big Questions for Superintendents from Scott McLeod – My Learning Journey

6 Big Questions for Superintendents from Scott McLeod t.co/VNi0dAfEvO via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Chrome Is About to Hog Your RAM Even More

Chrome Is About to Hog Your RAM Even More t.co/JqwRqY9z7y via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

James on Flipboard

Microsoft calls on Congress to regulate facial recognition t.co/EW7yLZKB1i via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Pretty much no one quit GitHub over the Microsoft acquisition: Here’s why – TechRepublic

Pretty much no one quit GitHub over the Microsoft acquisition: Here’s why t.co/OhRilpWgoU via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

How to Speed Up Your Chromebook

How to Speed Up Your Chromebook t.co/dbwZ70Pv8Y via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

This App Could Be the Cure for Your Jet Lag | Inc.com

This App Could Be the Cure for Your Jet Lag t.co/okgSgW1ow4 via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

29 Life Hacks That Could Save Your Life One Day – Gardenisti

29 Life Hacks That Could Save Your Life One Day t.co/CarlDpgqE8 via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

What makes a Chromebook so secure? | Android Central

What makes a Chromebook so secure? t.co/HB136rycXb via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

yourstory.com

Why the classrooms must go digital and how t.co/6HYu9gFUV4 via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Microsoft Surface Go vs. Surface Pro: What’s the Difference?

Microsoft Surface Go vs. Surface Pro: What’s the Difference? t.co/S6HxoSjoyF via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Everything You Need To Set Up Raspberry Pi Home Automation

Everything You Need To Set Up Raspberry Pi Home Automation t.co/Gx2IC2eXdZ via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Apple’s redesigned MacBook Pro keyboard uses new method for repelling dust, reports iFixit – The Verge

Apple’s redesigned MacBook Pro keyboard uses new method for repelling dust, reports iFixit t.co/ero0ByJxkK via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Trump Walks in Front of Queen Elizabeth, Causing Social Media Frenzy – The New York Times

Trump Walks in Front of Queen Elizabeth, Causing Social Media Frenzy t.co/a6eIqQui9R via @flipboard

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

@voicEd #twioe Playlist – Weeks 36-40 – doug — off the record

@voicEd #twioe Playlist – Weeks 36-40 t.co/fPo1A8moqB

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

OTR Links 07/14/2018 – doug — off the record

OTR Links 07/14/2018 t.co/ZTwZeirkhe

— Doug Peterson (@dougpete) July 14, 2018

tags: IFTTT Twitter

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

OTR Links 07/15/2018 published first on ift.tt/2gZRS4X

Posted by Evnoweb on 2018-07-15 08:44:18

Tagged: , Uncategorized

Samsung Galaxy S9: Full Specification And Review, Price

Samsung Galaxy S9: Full Specification And Review, Price

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Full Specification, Review, Price – Quickly Watch Review Video Below

*Display

The Samsung Galaxy S9 features a 5.8 inches display and Super AMOLED Capacitive toucscreen with 16M colors screen which makes the phone quite comfortable when held; it has 1440 x 2960 pixels, ~ 568 PPI and up to 84.2 % screen to body ratio. And the display supports multitouch.

*Camera and Features

It sports a rear camera type of 12.0MP with Geo-tagging, phase detection,, autofocus, OIS, LED flash, simultaneous 4k video and 9 MP image recording, smile detection, Auto HDR and panaroma. It sports 8 MP selfie camera.

*Hardware and Memory

The Samsung Galaxy S9 operates on Android 8.0 operating system. It has a octa-core CPU. It comes with 64 GB internal memory and a RAM of 4 GB for maximum multitasking.

*Battery and power
The phone features a Li-Ion battery pattern of 3000 mAh and it is non-removable.

*Dimension (mm) – 147.6 x 68.7 x 8.4 mm
*colours – Black
* Body Protection – IP68 certified dust and water proof of over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
*Body Material – Glass and aluminium frame

*Display Type – Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
* Display Size (inches) – 5.8
*Display Resolution – 1440 x 2960 pixel
*Display Colours – 16 M
*Display Protection – Corning Gorilla Glass 5
* Pixel Density – 568
*Screen to Body Ratio – 84.2 %

*Rear Camera – 12 MP
*Rear Camera Features – Geo-tagging, phase detection,, autofocus, OIS, LED flash, simultaneous 4k video and 9 MP image recording, smile detection, Auto HDR and panaroma
*Video Resolution – 2160p@30fps
*Front Camera – 8 MP
*Front Camera Features – Autofocus, Dual video call, Auto HDR

*Operating System – Andriod 8.0
*Chipset – Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
*CPU – Octa core

*RAM – 4 GB
*Internal Memory – 64 GB
*Card Slot – Yes, upto 256 GB

*Technology – GSM/ HPSA/ LTE
*WLAN – Yes
*Bluetooth – Yes
*GPS – Yes
*Radio -Yes
*USB – Yes
* Earphone Jack (3.5mm) – Yes
*SIM – Single Nano SIM or Hybrid Nano Dual SIM

*Fingerprint – Yes (rear mounted)
*Accelerometer Yes
*Gyro Yes
*Proximity Yes
*Compass Yes
*Iris Scanner Yes
*Barometer Yes

*BATTERY – Non-removable 3000 mAh Li-on battery

The post Samsung Galaxy S9: Full Specification And Review, Price appeared first on RealGeeks.com.ng.

Posted by Realgeeks on 2018-08-01 17:00:56

Tagged: , Uncategorized , Android , Phone , Reviews , specification , Samsung

Is the Pitato why we can’t have nice things?

Is the Pitato why we can’t have nice things?

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[Note: I originally wrote the bulk of this article as an unpublished memo about 18 months ago. I have updated it to include new information. The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect the views of my clients.]

The big news this past week was that Coinbase acquired Earn.com (née 21.co, née 21e6 LLC). According to Recode, the offer “was slightly more than $100 million” but also lower than Earn.com’s most recent valuation (in 2015) which was $310 million.

From the current coverage, it is unclear what the revenue for any of the products or services for Earn.com was. Instead most stories have focused on one specific aspect: the current Earn.com CEO, Balaji Srinivasan, will join Coinbase as the CTO.

There have been a lot of questions around why Coinbase would purchase a company that seemed to have poor product-market fit with unknown KPIs. This post will look into several areas for answers.

Taking a step back

Following the official acquisition announcement from Coinbase, Srinivasan published a self-congratulatory Medium post that basically paints him as the savior of 21.co: that it was the previous management that were bad and he came in and turned it all around.1

His revisionism arguably whitewashed what happened, so let’s dive into a little bit of the company’s history.

In May 2013, 21inc (formerly 21e6 LLC) was co-founded by five men including Balaji Srinivasan. According to a story from Nathaniel Popper:

The company was also structured as an limited liability company, rather than the C Corp typical of startups, so that people could invest with their own money.

Why is that important to some investors?

According to Popper:

The 21e6 investment was attractive in part because venture capital firms generally felt that they couldn’t buy Bitcoins directly. 21e6, on the other hand, offered to pay its investors back with Bitcoin dividends, allowing the firm to get Bitcoins without buying them outright.

What does this mean?

Venture funds often have clauses restricting their partners from investing in asset classes that may be seen as a conflict of interest or something that could reduce the firm’s reputation (e.g., cannabis startups). In this case, cryptocurrencies may be seen as a direct speculative bet on a commodity or foreign exchange which could be prohibited by an investment funds by-laws.2

Altogether the 21e6 team, over three separate rounds, raised approximately $116 – 125 million – which at the time was more money than any other cryptocurrency-related company.3 The sum total varied depending on news source but Srinivasan frequently made it a point to casually insert comments such as: we are the “most funded” or “best funded” company in Bitcoin into interviews and talks during 2015-2016.

In the beginning

In its early days 21e6 focused exclusively on designing custom ASIC chips for Bitcoin mining and then integrating and deploying Bitcoin mining hardware for private, non-retail usage. This included installing hundreds of hashing systems in data centers which for several reasons eventually became uncompetitive against those based in China and the Republic of Georgia.45

Based on publicly available information and allegedly leaked slides we know that:6

It closed its Series A for $5 million in May 2013.

Investors included: Peter Thiel, David Sacks, Max Levchin, Marc Andreessen, Ben Horowitz, Naval Ravikant, Winklevoss Capital, Mark Pincus

Estimated $3.8 million revenue in 2013

In June 2013, then-CEO Matthew Pauker filed a Form D, Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, which stated that 55 investors had already invested in its offering.7 While that may sound unusual for an early stage company to have so many investors, recall what Popper pointed out above, that individual investors could invest directly into 21e6 because of its LLC status.

It closed its Series B for approximately $65 million in December 2013.

Andreessen Horowitz (the VC fund) invested $25 million as the lead investor; and $10 million came from existing investors (such as $100,000 from Pantera)

$30 million also came in the form of “venture debt”

Estimated $41 million in revenue in 2014

19 employees in November 2014

The funds from its first two rounds were used in part to design and deploy “Gandalf” (its 2nd generation ASIC chip) and “Yoda” (its 3rd generation ASIC chip) in the aforementioned data centers.

How much capital is required to build a state-of-the-art ASIC chip? Depending on how much is done in-house or out-sourced as well as the fabrication facilities, it can be upwards of $15 – $20 million.8

First major pivot

The company rebranded from 21e6 to 21.co and announced its Series C on March 10, 2015, with $56 million led by RRE Ventures.

That morning, The Wall Street Journal led with the story:

Secretive Bitcoin Startup 21 Reveals Record Funds, Hints at Mass Consumer Play

This marked the beginning of its pivot from purely building mining hardware and instead marketing itself as supposedly moving into the Internet of Things (IoT) and API marketplace. Around this time you frequently saw 21.co and its supporters publicly talk about machine-to-machine (M2M) payments as being a killer app.9 One of the 21.co engineers was even interviewed on a (now deleted) podcast where he spoke about how drone owners would pay tolls denominated in bitcoin to cut across airspace over yards in your neighborhood. You know, the usual word salad and shower thoughts on social media.

When I first drafted this memo 18 months ago, based on LinkedIn profiles, 21.co had about 25 full-time employees; as of now their page says 22 employees but most of them are just people adding 21.co in their profiles without formally being affiliated with it. Most of the current employees unsurprisingly have shifted to Earn.com’s official LinkedIn profile. Its tally is 63 people but again, some of these profiles are from people who are likely unaffiliated with the organization.

Other known investors through 2016:10

Data Collective

Khosla Ventures

Yuan Capital

Drew Houston

Dara Khosrowshahi

Avant Global

Karl Mehta

Capricorn Management / Jeff Skoll Group

Qualcomm Ventures

World Innovation Labs

Other board members/observers:

Alan Chang (Jeff Skoll’s family office via Capricorn Management) in Series B

Richard Tapalaga (Qualcomm Ventures) in Series C

Gen Isayama (World Innovation Labs) in Series C

According to Nathaniel Popper, as of March 2015 when it announced the closing of its Series C round, “the company has paid back all of its investors.” It did so partially via payouts in bitcoin.

In his self-canonization this week, Srinivasan wrote that:

And with this deal, the total value of cash, cryptocurrency, and equity returned to our shareholders is now in excess of the capital invested in the company.

How much of the cryptocurrency above is from the not-yet-released Earnable Token? Get the whitepaper while you still can.

Since March 2015, there has also been noticeable churn at the top:11

Matthew Pauker, co-founder, was replaced as CEO in spring 2015 by Balaji Srinivasan

Albert Esser was the COO from December 2013 through August 2015

Replaced by John Granata from March 2016 to the present

Nigel Drego co-founder, was chief architect from May 2013 through March 2016

Replaced by Jian Li as CTO from March 2016 through 2017

Lily Liu became CFO during summer 2015 to the present

Because of the economic incentives that tilt in favor of mining countries like China, 21.co stopped its operations in the Bitcoin mining sector and those subject-matter experts seem to have left the ranks.

Second major pivot. Or part of the first?

What has it built since the pivot after Series C?

The 21 Bitcoin Computer was their first consumer-facing product that was announced on September 21, 2015 and released with great fanfare as an exclusive to Amazon Launchpad on November 16, 2015 at a price of $400. It also picked up the “toaster” nickname from the Financial Times.12

Several enthusiasts explored the component prices via a piece-by-piece breakdown and found that it likely cost around $247 to build each 21 Computer.13 It was subsequently nicknamed the “Pitato” because the main component at its heart was basically a Raspberry Pi, a popular DIY kit that sells for less than $200.

The only other notable piece of tech was a custom built ASIC chip that could be used for mining. However, ever before it had shipped, the mining chip was already uncompetitive and obsolete. Even if you had free electricity you likely would not generate enough bitcoin in order to recoup the full cost of buying the 21 Computer, especially since the few satoshi you generated would be stuck as dust.14

What were the maths behind this?

In September 2015, after it was announced, Vitalik Buterin crunched the numbers and worked out that:

So you’re paying $399 upfront and getting $0.105 per day or $38.3 per year, and this is before taking into account network difficulty increases, the upcoming block halving (yay, your profit goes down to $0.03 per day!) and, of course, the near-100% likelihood that you won’t be able to keep that device on absolutely all of the time. I seriously hope they have multiple mining chips inside of their device and forgot to mention it; otherwise you can outcompete this offering pretty easily by just preloading a raspberry pi with $200 of your favorite cryptotokens.

Why the relatively large markup for a device? Part of it is that Amazon Launchpad gets a 25% cut.

But like just about all things Bitcoin, sales numbers were so bad that they were never disclosed and it was eventually discontinued. Prior to its discontinuation, 21.co representatives approached multiple well-known Bitcoin developers to help resell the devices. In short, these developers were offered to buy 21.co devices at wholesale prices and expected to resell them at the retail price. It is unclear how many (if any) developers did so.

For real, the second major pivot

On April 1, 2016, 21.co launched an app “marketplace” and initially seeded it with 50 apps that were built in-house. At the time, the only way to externally measure usage or traction is to manually observe the amount of ratings (stars) an app had each day. Interestingly, in early July 2016 the amount of apps stood at 95 whereas six weeks later it fell to 76 and basically fluctuated for the remainder of the year.

In May 2016, Srinivasan took the stage at Consensus and announced his vision of a “machine payable web” and introduced several ideas but notably did not mention the Bitsplit which was rumored to have been in the works for over a year.15

Throughout the remainder of the year, 21.co sponsored and hosted meetups and had an active Slack room, and most of the ideas that were used or borrowed as API and app ideas, languished due to… a lack of users. If you are new to my site, one reoccurring observation is that in general: cryptocurrency owners typically are not actual users, but that’s a whole different discussion.

The 21.co Marketplace now redirects to the Earn.com homepage.

Pivot three

On October 27, 2017, 21.co emailed its users that it was ending server-side support for three things: the Bitcoin Computer, 21 command line interface (CLI), and marketplace. 16

Three days later, 21.co announced that it was rebranding as Earn.com and pivoting away from its second vision as a VC-backed quasi protocryptojacking play towards taking on Amazon Mechanical Turk, but with Bitcoin. It also announced a non-ICO ICO called Earnable Token, which as you can tell from its name: was earnable from doing the same kind of tasks as you could before like: filling out surveys or answering bots who email you.

Earn.com also migrated the unique profile pages it first introduced with 21.co, which is basically a static page that users can claim and use a bit like LinkedIn, but with more Bitcoin-related spam.17

Source: Twitter

Unregistered securities?

This last part is of particular interest in today’s regulatory climate because Earn.com, which hosts these user-controlled accounts, has accidentally assisted and enabled the promotion of alleged unregistered securities (ICOs) as a business line. Recall that Google, Facebook, Snap, Twitter, Mailchimp, and other tech companies have reduced or removed the ability for ICOs and cryptocurrency promoters to solicit retail investors, Earn.com has done the opposite and been a refuge. At what point is this an unsuitable risk profile for a “bank” like Coinbase?18

What does that mean?

In its January 2018 update, Earn.com announced that:

This week we were thrilled to announced the launch of Earn.com Airdrops — a new way for blockchain entrepreneurs to give 100,000+ Earn.com users a free trial of any new coin or token. Airdrops allows token projects to instantly bootstrap your new blockchain project with 100,000+ cryptocurrency early adopters.

We announced our first Airdrop partner, CanYa — a decentralized marketplace for services — as well as the next three upcoming Airdrops: Bloom, Bee Token, and Vezt. Sign up for an account on Earn.com, verify your account, and download the Earn.com mobile apps on iOS or Android apps to become eligible.

I am not a lawyer but in the past – like the dotcom era – companies (including startups) have attempted to give away equity in some very creative ways… and depending on the circumstances, it can be a no-no.19 That’s not to say that the tokens above are securities or that any airdrop is a violation of securities laws. But highlighting this type of feature has inadvertently led to Earn.com becoming a magnet for ICO issuance and promotion.

Where’s the beef?

What was the long term deliverable for roughly $125 million in nearly 5 years?

Throughout 2016 – including at Consensus in NYC – Srinivasan explained that they will announce a “surprise” in the coming months, maybe all of the aforementioned products and chips were the alpha phase of a much larger operation? Maybe they were, but we probably won’t find out.

Either way, it is worth keeping in mind that between 2013-2016, cryptocurrency-specific startups collectively received a little more than $1 billion in external funding, with nearly 15% of that funneled into just one startup. One who has had to pivot multiple times to find the right product-market fit and tech-market fit. Keep in mind too that other companies such as Bitfury and Bitmain were able to make superior chips and do so initially without major venture backing.20

If the most funded, best connected startup continually struggled to see consumer traction, what are the prospects for less funded and less connected cryptocurrency startups? This is worth revisiting in another long-read, especially in seeing what the $125 million was actually spent on (salaries? chips? toasters?).

How involved was he?

Source: Twitter

One of the investors in 21.co responded to Nathaniel Popper above claiming that Srinivasan wasn’t actively involved in the first two years.

Does it matter? Sure, when you are claiming successes and denying failures that should or shouldn’t be attributed to you.

Below is a quick series of interrelated anecdotes.

In December 2014, Srinivasan and I both attended and presented at what would become the second of three round table events organized by R3 (a family office then called R3 CEV). This was prior to the formal creation of the DLG consortium.21 Unfortunately I do not have his presentation, but the layout and design were nearly identical to the leaked slides that have circulated for years — just with different content. For instance, the design of his slides at a public talk in the spring of 2015 is pretty close to the other two decks.

In January 2015, I was unexpectedly shown a long set of slides for a company called 21e6, most of which look similar to what has been leaked in the past and linked to above.22

Later that same month – due to a variety of circumstances – I met up with Srinivasan in Palo Alto and he quickly paged through the leaked presentation and stated it was an older deck from October / November 2014.

While there is a little more to our subsequent interactions, I think the key part here and the only reason I brought up this personal anecdote is the fact that Srinivasan was able to dismiss the deck of having any relevance on the current fundraising 21e6 was doing (remember, this was less than two months before the round was publicly announced).23

So while he may not have been “day to day” as he disclaims in his post, he clearly was involved in the fundraising process if not more (deck creation?). He said as much in a post published in March 2015.

So what to make of all of this news?

An exit is an exit, right?

What ultimately appears to have happened is that Andreessen Horowitz took one of its floundering portfolio companies and merged it with another portfolio company… and declared it a great success.2425

Source: Twitter

There also appear to be a few parallels with Juicero.26 For those unfamiliar, Juicero is a now-defunct Silicon Valley-based startup that built and sold a custom $400 machine that would squeeze juice packets. It raised $120 million and unceremoniously shut down last year after reporters showed that the hands from mere humans were capable of squeezing the same juice packets.

In much the same way, during the second pivot of 21.co, no one really bothered to buy the “Pitato” because users could easily do the math: that it was far more effective to either buy bitcoins outright or buy and use more capable mining hardware.

Why hasn’t anyone written about this before?

Most of the knowledge above is public, or at least, pretty well known if you have spent much time in Bitcoinland. Other reasons involve some tinfoil hat theories around retaliation.27

Funnily enough, back in March 2015 I had a long email exchange with Michael Casey and Paul Vigna over at The Wall Street Journal regarding 21.co and other several other topics.

This culminated in the quote:

Tim Swanson, a consistently skeptical digital-currency consultant who makes a habit of challenging bitcoiners’ unbridled optimism, is unequivocal. 21′s plan is “a dumb idea,” he says, adding that “the investors deserve to get what’s coming to them.”

And while a few of those investors probably did, it is Coinbase share holders that likely got it on the chin this week.28 If you’re looking for more memorable gems, be sure to read this older WSJ article. It is chocked-full of hubris, kind of like Juicero.29

In closing, raise your hand if you’d like to get paid every time you respond to an email and moreso to a cold email? I know I would.

So maybe with all of the kinks, toasters, pivot denialism, and chest thumping there is still a future for a pay-to-respond model to thrive. Maybe Coinbase can turn the ICO sanctuary of Earn.com into a legitimate mainstream product that is integrated with various webmail providers and social media platforms. Or maybe this ends up like ChangeTip, whose platform was basically used to spam coin dust on Twitter… to ultimately shutting down after an acquihire from Airbnb.

Either way, there was a bit more to this story than what was let on in Srinivasan’s original Medium post on Monday.

Endnotes

Would that be a Bitcoin-powered bus that the management team was thrown under?

Over the past several years, multiple venture funds have had their by-laws amended or re-written to allow them to purchase cryptocurrencies and directly invest into ICOs.

In March 2015, 21inc announced that it had raised a total of $116 million, however according to Nathaniel Popper’s account of their history, they had raised about $125 million. For one reason or another, historically many cryptocurrency companies do not typically reveal their active user numbers or revenue figures. Instead they prefer talking about how much outside funding they have raised. And 21.co was not an exception to this.

There are several reasons why this was the case. With the right guanxi: a combination of electricity, land, and taxes could be cheaper in certain parts of China versus the US. In addition, 21e6 and other US-firms were consistently unable to manufacture mining machines and operate farms at a similar scale as their peers. Part of this was logistics as well: large portions of the supply chain were based overseas (primarily in Guangdong and Taiwan). I have written about this in multiple different posts over the past several years, such as this piece.

One of the interesting things that Srinivasan’s article confirms was a rumor I first heard two years ago from one of their mining competitors: that 21e6 had signed leases with data centers whose energy rates were so abysmal that you might as well just bought coins instead as it would basically be impossible to recoup those costs. Another unconfirmed rumor was around immersion cooling: that between 2014-2015 21e6 had experimented and burnt through a large quantity of chip inventory in a radical attempt to reduce the cooling needs and costs of mining chips.

Some of this information comes from: reddit, CoinDesk, Financial Times, and Jorge Stolfi. Googling around too.

Form D – note that the domains 21e6.com and .net and .org all registered around March/April 2013.

Why Are Computer Chips So Expensive? from Forbes. In addition to non-recoverable engineering, there are also component costs and testing thereof: PCB, SMT, power supply, fans, integration. Testing and trouble-shooting cannot be ignored. For instance, Hashfast was an example of a company who built a relatively fast chip but had problems with managing the power source and consequently went bankrupt.

Srinivasan did talk about micropayments as early as March 2014.

Sources: CrunchBase / AngelList

In May 2015 it was reported that Cisco may invest or may have invested in 21inc. Padma Warrior, former Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco, was rumored to be a key individual involved in that deal. Note: as of August 2016, a site redesign on 21.co removed investors and corporate information from the homepage.

This is mainly because an earlier 21e6 pitch stated that the company would integrate mining chips in always-on consumer electronics and appliances.

Breakdown of Hardware Costs for New 21 Inc Bitcoin Computer by Sam Patterson

One reviewer commented: “I’d say one more thing worth adding is that it’s worth critiquing not just the feasibility of the Pitato but also the ethics. Because Pitatoes are inherently less efficient than regular mining farms due to economies of scale, the only way that they could be competitive relative to just buying bitcoin is if they were using free electricity; that is, basically all profitable usage of Pitatoes would be people using other people’s electricity in workplaces, universities, Starbucks, hotels, homes if the landlord pays for it, etc. I predict that if it actually became popular, then we’d see all the places that provide free electricity today become much more cautious about it, which could greatly reduce convenience for everyone but bitcoin miners.”

In one of its incarnations, Bitsplit was basically a euphemism for socializing CPU labor and privatizing some of the gains… now commonly called cryptojacking.

Note: in between the second and third pivot, during January 2017, Srinivasan deleted his tweets and interviewed for the top job at the FDA in Washington DC.

One reviewer commented that: “My personal view is that the current Earn.com concept is fundamentally legitimate and probably will see some usage (I can totally imagine consultants charging $50 for replying to emails, as that’s a very low-transaction-cost way to get one-time advice from people), but it deserves to exist as one of the 173 configurable settings in an email provider or social media service, not an independent multi-hundred-million dollar company. Perhaps the Coinbase acquisition actually will be utility-improving, in that gives the Earn.com team an ability to try to be useful by making gadgets for an existing company that has a userbase and services, rather than trying to build their own ecosystem which never made any sense (though it’s still a pretty disappointing end relative to Balaji’s original hype and aspirations).”

Is Coinbase a bank? From the outside they seem to be a bit like a non-licensed deposit taking institution.

The line of reasoning is as follows: some startups attempted to randomly give away shares to strangers via various gimmicks but ultimately had to either take it back and/or were sued. If certain ICOs are deemed securities, you might not be able to just give them away to anonymous people. Reminder: I am not a lawyer, talk to a securities lawyer.

One competitor noted that: “21e6’s decision to go the Intel fabrication route was a non-starter.

Someone should remind me to talk about the dinner conversation that evening as well.

Coincidentally a few days prior to receiving those slides, I spoke with a NYC-based investor who was asking about the pros and cons of embedded ASICs for mining cryptocurrencies. Specifically: should the fund invest in a startup designing embedded ASICs for bitcoin mining. I provided my view point (the answer was no, still is a no). During this same time frame there was a big meme being pushed by many Bitcoin boosters: that mining would somehow become re-decentralized via some unknown magic bullet. Some of these promoters believed that 21.co would be the one to do it, without much evidence that the company could (or that anyone could). Note: there have been multiple other attempts at building and shipping embedded ASIC mining chips including from Midea and Bitfury. None have been successful by any measure.

Remind me to mention the coincidence at Chipotle.

One reviewer asked: “Is this self-dealing?”

Another reviewer said: “This is acquisition theater, everyone is just trying to save face because this wasn’t a great idea, had wasteful execution, and the hype and hoopla reflects poorly on all involved. The players fundamentally misunderstood the tech, the economics and use cases. I get that a VCs job is to make unsubstantiated bets on tech entrepreneurs they like. But here, an outright $116m investment in Bitcoin would have yielded X billions. And the “we returned all capital” probably because of BTC dividends and its price hike than cash returns.”

See Section 4 of a popular post last year.

What are the repercussions for publicly asking critical questions regarding bold claims such as those from a fireside chat with both Srinivasan and Andreessen? Being blocked on ol’ Twitter.

Since we are going into the anecdote highway: in March 2015, at the Stanford Blockchain Workshop event, I approached Adam Ludwin after his panel discussion. On the panel he had mentioned that there could be a “redecentralization” of mining through an upcoming “Silicon Valley moment.” I assume he was talking about 21e6’s plan for mining chips being integrated into always-on devices because he was affiliated with one of its investors. When I told him I had seen a 21e6 deck and that it was making some very wild, likely incorrect assumptions, he basically said: we will see about that. Well, we have seen that once again: the difficulty rating rises with prices thereby diluting existing hash generating devices making them obsolete.

Some of the comments from the 21.co spokesperson are enjoyable. These hashing devices still wouldn’t be profitable at the current prices today because the difficulty rating has increased in proportion to the price yet all of the hashing units inside phone chargers and toasters had a fixed unit of labor. It’s a no-win situation for device owners as they would still have to pay for both the depreciating capital good (the device) as well as the electricity.

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Is the Pitato why we can’t have nice things? syndicated from smartoptionio.wordpress.com/

Posted by ShawnOrcutt on 2018-04-18 20:00:52

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