Nokia 8 Review: An interesting flagship with room for improvement

After presenting the Nokia 3 , Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 and the Nokia 3310 , HMD Global presents the Nokia 8. With a high-end configuration, a pure Android version and cooperation with Zeiss for the camera, the Finnish manufacturer intends to outshine Samsung, LG and more. But is this really the case? Find out in our in-depth review of Nokia’s first flagship.

Good

  • Very good battery
  • General performance
  • Double video/livestream
  • Stock Android

Bad

  • Camera
  • Classic design
  • LED notification

Lowest price: Nokia 8

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Nokia 8 release date and price

What HMD Global has accomplished during these 8 months is impressive. It has brought the Nokia 3310 to the market, as well as three Android smartphones since July. The Nokia 8 is the Finnish manufacturers first high-end smartphone, aiming to rub shoulders with the market leaders: Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6 or OnePlus 5.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 1 Available colors: copper, grey, and blue ! / © AndroidPIT

Available since September 8, 2017, the Nokia 8 is available in copper, grey and blue with a single slot for the nano SIM card. Price wise, the Nokia 8 to be around 600 dollars. They will be available with either a single or Dual SIM

Nokia 8

Nokia 8 design and build quality

The Nokia 8 looks pretty cool, but it does not have the charm of the Galaxy S8 or LG G6. If you place the Nokia in between these two phones, it just doesn’t compare. However, upon handling the phone you can clearly see the workmanship invested in this phone.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9020 The Nokia 8 offers a classic design. / © AndroidPIT

The case is aluminum, and it handles well with slightly rounded corners. The Gorilla Glass 5 layer also has rounded corners, and the space between that and the screen is barely noticable. Sebastien Ulrich, General Manager of HMD Global, assured me that although it is made of 6000 series aluminum, it’s not easy to bend, unlike the iPhone 6 which showed signs of weakness shortly after the launch. Apple has opted for aluminum 7000 series for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 because it has zinc, guaranteeing more strength. According to HMD, the engineering of the unibody requires 22 hours of work.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9027      We liked the finish of the Nokia 8  / © AndroidPIT

On the front of the phone, you’ll find a fingerprint reader that also acts as the home button. Either side are two buttons for navigation (return and multitasking). I must admit I was a little disappointed about the accuracy of those two buttons, and also about the lack of LED notification. If you’re used to this feature, it may take some time to get used to.

On the back of the Nokia 8 is the logo, and above is the camera, which is a product of their cooperation with Zeiss, which became official on July, 6th 2017. The director of HMD Global assured me that the camera and the software algorithms were a result of both of their efforts.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9048 It does not offer LED notification / © AndroidPIT

Overall the finish of the Nokia 8 is quite impressive, however, both the matte and the polished version tend to become dirty with fingerprints. But this a common problem amongst most smartphones. In terms of design, the Nokia 8 doesn’t make me shout “I must buy it!” but the handling of it is great thanks to its compact size. Another element that may be missed by some is the IP54 certification that protects the device from water splashes, or the IP67 or IP68 that would allow it to be completely submerged in water, like with the Galaxy S8 or the LG G6.

Nokia 8 display

For its first high-end smartphone, HMD opted for a 5.3-inch IPS display and uses a QHD resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. We do not have an 18:9 format or curved edges. The maximum brightness of the screen is 700 nits. To compare, the screen (IPS) LG G6 reaches “only” 600 nits, the screen (AMOLED) Galaxy S8 reaches 1000 nits.

This screen has an Always On feature. Like LG’s smartphone, part of the screen switches on when a notification is received, with visible information. If you do not need this feature, you can simply disable it in the options.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9023 The screen is a great feature on this smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

The screen has a very good contrast, balanced colors and excellent brightness, even in sunny outdoor conditions. The QHD definition is also great, and you can make use of virtual reality if you have a compatible headset.

Nokia 8 software

As we’ve seen in other models, Nokia smartphones use Stock Android. The one we tested uses Android 7.1.1, with the most recent security patch. We noticed that although there were only Google applications on the phone, 15 GB of the 64 GB memory was already used. If you are a regular user of Stock Android, you’ll really appreciate the Nokia 8 experience.  

From the main screen, if you scan your finger to the right, and Google maps appears. The process is perfectly fluid and applications open quickly. The smartphone also functions well when multitasking, and does not show any signs of overheating even under heavy use.

Android Oreo will arrive quickly on the Nokia 8

However, during my test I observed some bugs, that I was surprise by considering this is meant to be a flagship. I have seen some unexpected application closures (Facebook and camera) that I would probably attribute to the fact that this is a pre-production model. The last update received in mid-September appears to have partially addressed these issues.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9039 The Nokia 8 will quickly receive updates / © AndroidPIT

If you buy the Nokia 8 or another device from HMD, you will have security updates for at least 2 years, and these can be deployed quickly thanks to Stock Android. Sebastian Ulrich mentioned in autumn 2017 that Android Oreo would arrive quickly on these devices. A beta is already available, which supports this statement.

Nokia 8 performance

To be considered a high-end smartphone, all of the features you’d expect should be there. With its Snapdragon 835, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory (UFS 2.1), we have a smartphone on par with the Galaxy S8, for example. If 64 GB is not enough, you can increase the size up to 256 GB with a microSD card.

AndroidPIT Nokia 8 Colours 2 The interior is as important as the exterior / © AndroidPIT

I felt as though the Nokia 8 was reliable, and I enjoyed using it from day-to-day. The smartphone perfectly supports all uses (including games like Need for Speed No Limits) for everyday (chat, internet use). It’s also worth mentioning that the Nokia 8 is not compatible with Daydream.

In our table below, you can see how the Nokia 8 contends with the smartphones we have tested so far. Not surprisingly, due to its configuration, it is one of the best.

Nokia 8 benchmark comparison

  Nokia 8 Samsung Galaxy S8 + HTC U11 Xperia XZ Premium
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.1 3496 3.132 3599 3.245
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.0 4580 3336 4.129 3697
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 40584 28742 40034 40286
Geekbench Single Core 1930 2014 1905 1898
Geekbench Multi Core 6540 6479 6454 6294
PCMark Work Performance 6902 5094 6787 6338
PCMark Storage 4823 4772 4989
Google Octane 2.0 11086 10,440 11928 11.086

Nokia 8 audio

The Nokie 8 features a single speaker. The stereo sound of the Nokia 6 is unfortunately not up to scratch. Fortunately, the Nokia 8 is an improvement, however, it’s not impressive and there is some distortion at high volumes.

As for the audio output, those who care about good sound and have high-end headphones, will be happy with this. Regarding normal calling, the Nokia 8 scores pretty well, and the network coverage is good (even in the subway).

Nokia 8 camera

Like Huawei / Honor, we find a dual camera consisting of a RGB sensor and a monochrome sensor. Both offer a maximum definition of 13 megapixels. At the front, above the screen, HMD Global also offers a 13 MP RGB sensor. For the occasion, Nokia has renewed its partnership with Zeiss, the German manufacturer of high-end photo lenses

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9032 Despite the Zeiss partnership, the camera still disappoints / © AndroidPIT

Nevertheless, the reality is far from the promises of the brand and the quality of the shots is quite disappointing for a smartphone that wants to compete with the best in the market. Even in excellent light conditions, the photos lack sharpness, precision and contrast. Fortunately, the transcript color is correct and saves some of the disaster but the overall result is still a little bland and far from the level of its competitors.

As a video enthusiast, I appreciate the quality when changing from one camera to another: thanks to the use of the same sensor at the front and back, we can enjoy the same level of quality during video recording. Apparently, HMD Global speaks to influencers and offers them a new feature to tell their stories on video.

DSC01134 The camera application may be too simple for some / © ANDROIDPIT

What is Bothie? This is an image feature where you can take a photo or video with the front or back camera simultaneously: a useful feature for Facebook live or Youtube. This would allow you to conduct interviews with the Nokia 8. 

DSC01135 The “Bothie” video feature in use / © ANDROIDPIT

A good video must have a good sound quality. Thus, the manufacturer uses OZO audio camera technology, which gives this 360 camera not only an excellent photo quality but also 3D sound. In practical terms, this means that the 3 microphones of the Nokia 8 can be configured to be turned into a directional microphone. In the application, we find 3 configurations: Surround where all the microphones are used, then front and back in which it is possible to configure the microphones. In practice, it works well and the videos produced by the Nokia 8 are of better quality than the photos.

Nokia 8 battery

The Nokia 8 battery has a capacity of 3090 mAh. The Nokia 8 is among the best for battery life. Even with heavy use of the phone, sending regular messages via WhatsApp, emails, calling and playing videos and games, you can expect the battery to last a long time. 

If you use your phone less than I do,you will even exceed the day and a half of battery life. In our PCMark benchmark test, the Nokia 8 has lasted for almost 11 hours, more than the Galaxy S8 or the HTC U11.

AndroidPIT nokia 8 9051 The battery life scored well in our review / © AndroidPIT

Quick Charge 3.0 allows for fairly fast charging, around 50% in around 30 minutes, but it is unfortunately not possible to recharge the wireless device because of the aluminum case.

Nokia 8 technical specifications

Dimensions: 151.5 x 73.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 160 g
Battery size: 3090 mAh
Screen size: 5.3 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2560 x 1440 pixels (554 ppi)
Front camera: 13 megapixels
Rear camera: 13 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1.1 – Nougat
User interface: Stock Android
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.45 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

Final verdict

Overall, I enjoyed using the Nokia 8 and it is an interesting first flagship for the return of the Finnish brand. Admittedly, the design does not have the wow factor, compared to the Samsung Galaxy S8 with its infinity screen, however, I can see the appeal of this phone and know that many people would be satisfied with it. My favorite element has to be the Bothie video feature, as well as the battery life and the quick updates.

However, the Nokia 8 is a smartphone leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to the lack of IP68 certification, its biggest drawbacks are the quality of the camera which is not clearly at the level of its competitors, and small software bugs that interrupt the overall experience. Updates may solve this problem easily, however its more challenging to improve the quality of the photos. It’s price is not necessarily the most attractive, either, especially when you consider the alternatives on the market.

Where to buy Nokia 8

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Nokia 8

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Beats Studio3 Wireless review: Will these headphones blow out?

What’s better than a pair of headphones with active noise reduction? Especially for those of us who commute between home and work by public transport, or who have to travel a lot on a daily basis, appreciate modern headphones with active noise suppression. With the recently unveiled Studio3 Wireless, Beats wants to capture the loyalty of this user base. You can find out whether the long development time has borne fruit in our test of the Beats Studio3 Wireless.

Good

  • Very good active noise suppression
  • Very long battery life
  • Well-built
  • Foldable

Bad

  • No sound via cable without rechargeable battery
  • Earpads not replaceable
  • Lacks full functionality with Android

Release date and price

Whether you like Beats headphones or not, you’ll often see the little “b” logo on many headphones as you walk down the street. So Apple’s subsidiary must be doing something right. Interestingly, however, there is a target group where the headphones have not been so well received so far, and these are the users who rely on active noise reduction to suppress the environmental noise electronically. In this market of high-priced models, Bose’s QuietComfort 35, Sony’s MDR 1000X and Sennheiser’s PXC 550 dominate, and if you compare the Beats Studio3 Wireless with these three competitors, the manufacturer’s recommended retail price of $ 349.95 is on a par with the competition.

Design and build quality

One of the reasons why Beats aren’t so common in this environment is the fact that Beats has held on to Studio2 Wireless for almost four years. But now the successor, the Studio3 Wireless with Pure ANC, will also find an open ear for this target group. 

Optically, however, not much has changed in the proven design language that Beats uses. Except for the company logos on the outside of the earcups and two clasps on the headband, our test device is matt black. As is typical for Beats, the Studio3 wireless headphones are available in five other colors.

AndroidPIT Beats Studio3 7330 It’s a pity that the earpads are not replaceable. / © AndroidPIT

Since, as the name suggests, these are over-ear headphones that can also be connected wirelessly to smartphones via Bluetooth, the necessary operating elements and other connections must also be attached to the headphones. Beats has cleverly incorporated these into the design, so that they are not visible at first glance. The logo on the left earpiece serves as a play/pause button and can also be used to answer or end phone calls. To change the volume, press the areas above and below the logo. A small LED bar shows the current charge status. Beats uses a Micro-USB charger and an audio cable connector.

Special features

Beats uses the power button to turn on and off active noise reduction. Press this switch twice in quick succession and Pure ANC is turned on or off. 

As a special feature, the Beats Studio3 Wireless has Pure ANC on board in addition to the W1 chip for Apple iPhone users from version 7 onward. By this term, Beats means not only active noise suppression via counterfrequencies, but also dynamic audio calibration in real time. For this purpose, the ear cups are fitted with inward-facing microphones to adjust the function for individual fit and headphone fit. HTC also uses a similar principle in its UltraSonic headphones for the U11, U11 Plus and U11 Life. 

Apple’s W1 chip makes it easy to connect to an iPhone 7 or later. Headphones equipped with this Bluetooth compatible chip are immediately recognized by the appropriate iPhones and can be connected immediately with a confirmation. If you use several iOS or macOS devices with an iCloud account, the identification is transferred to the remaining devices via iCloud by one-time pairing. Once set up on one device, the Studio3 Wireless from Beats can be used with an iCloud account immediately on several devices. Practical, but not for Android users. The only thing that remains is to use the classic pairing method. You don’t need to search for NFC in Beats headphones.

Audio

As always, a test of headphones must be preceded by the fact that the sound impression is a very subjective, situational and music-related impression. The human ear is subject to the weather conditions and with increasing age, frequencies are perceived differently than in youth. For me personally, a balanced sound over the frequency bands is important. Bass should support, but not be superimposed over midrange and treble. For my taste in music – rock, pop and R&B – the Studio 3 of Beats is for the most part well suited. Compared to the earlier Beats models such as the studio of the first generation, Dr. Dre’s company has greatly reduced the dominance of the bass.

AndroidPIT Beats Studio3 7394 Disappear into music, thanks to Pure ANC. / © AndroidPIT

But for a certain well-known rapper, a neutral sound setting is not quite suitable. So you can sense that the Beats Studio3 Wireless sometimes miss the sound range across all genres of music, and that the mid-range pitches are overlaid by the bass. But again, the bass is not as quite as dominant as it used to be. If you compare only Beats headphones like Solo3 with Studio3, the Studio3 is probably the best Beats headphones ever in terms of sound. But in comparison to the competition, the Bose QuietComfort 35, the Sony MDR 1000X and the Sennheiser PXC 550, all three of which I have been able to test or use as primary headphones, the Beats Studio3 Wireless are close to these three, but can’t beat them. My colleagues Pierre Stepien and Luca Zaninello also say after a few days with the Beats Studio3 Wireless that they are really good, but that the emphasis on bass is still noticeable.

Battery

When it comes to battery power Beats leaves a very good impression with the Studio3, which Pierre and Luca also confirmed to me. Both of them used the Studio3 for several days in a row in the office and on the road, and didn’t have to recharge the battery once. During my test with varying volumes and activated Pure ANC, the Beats connected via Bluetooth with the Sony Xperia XZ Premium lasted a total of 18 hours. Coupled with an iPhone 8 Plus, they lasted a little longer, just under 20 hours, thanks to the W1 chip.

AndroidPIT Beats Studio3 7317 The folding mechanism shrinks the Beats Studio3 Wireless into a compact form. / © AndroidPIT

As good as the battery life is, the need for a Beats Studio3 wireless is completely dead when the battery is at zero percent. Studio3 will then remain silent even when connected to the audio source with the supplied audio cable. In this case, a power source must be quickly connected via MicroUSB. Beats promises that thanks to Fast Fuel rapid charging, the battery can be used again within 10 minutes for 3 hours. Helpful, but more sensible and offered by all other modern Bluetooth headphones, would be pure analog operation without battery.

Final verdict

Beats took a long time to complete Studio3 Wireless. For fans of the brand and for iPhone users, whose iOS-device has the W1 chip, the Studio3 Wireless are very well suited. The Pure ANC suppresses ambient noise very well and protects the user very effectively from the environment in conjunction with the closed headphone layout. The battery life enables us to enjoy a long distance flight to Australia in peace and quiet. It’s more likely that the smartphone switches itself off before the Beats Studio3 Wireless runs out of juice.

Unfortunately, the hard optimization on Apple products also limits the target group of beats. The in-line remote control integrated in the cable only works with Apple products and is useless on products without the Apple logo. And there’s the uselessness when the Beats Studio3 Wireless runs out of steam. One could have stayed consistent and omitted the jack plug completely, just as many smartphone manufacturers have already banned on the smartphone side.

In the end, you should trust your ears the most when it comes to headphones. Go to a store where you can connect your own smartphone to the Studio3 Wireless and try it out. Then you can judge according to your subjective impression, whether these headphones meet your needs.

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Google Pixel Buds review: Higher expectations, greater disappointment

I have now been using the first pair of headphones from Google for over a month now. According to Google, these Assistant-equipped headphones can help you speak other languages. Sounds good right? We’ll discuss whether they kept their promises. Spoiler: from the title, you can already imagine how it ended…

Good

  • Quick connection to Google smartphones
  • Integrated Google Assistant
  • Stylish carrying case with 24h of integrated battery
  • Ability to listen to notifications

Bad

  • Non-functional and cumbersome real-time translation
  • Sound quality under tone
  • Uncomfortable to wear for long periods
  • Touch too sensitive
  • Difficult to use in noisy environments

Release date and price

In the US, the Google Pixel Buds are available for $ 159. I personally found the price tag quite high, due to the lack of build quality and audio, as well as the limited features.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 7972  The Pixel Buds in black / © AndroidPIT

There are three colors available: Just Black, Clearly White and Kinda Blue. We received the black ones to test.

Design and build quality

The Pixel Buds case looks really impressive. On the outside the case has a fabric finish similar to the Google Home and Daydream View, and to the touch it’s much softer. The closure is magnetic and hides the precious earphones in a kind of black rubberized plastic.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 7999 At first glance, the case is similar to the Google Home Mini / © AndroidPIT

You should be careful to roll and position your Pixel buds up to allow the case to close, to prevent any wear or damage to the ear buds and to charge them. In fact, Google even places a sticker inside the case to show you how to do it.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 8017 Thanks for the instructions, Google! / © AndroidPIT

The headphones have a nice circular design. What I didn’t like was the plastic material which felt cheap and as though they could be easily damaged. The cable however, is a good quality braided cable, which goes through the headphones to form a ring that must be adjusted to your ears to prevent them from falling,

At first, I thought this was a good idea, but then after a few hours using it I found it annoying, due to having no locking mechanism which causes the ring to shrink which can be uncomfortable. This is part of the reason for storing the headphones in a particular way to prevent the reduction in size.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 7965 The outer piece of the headphones / © AndroidPIT

The Pixel Buds have an open design (the in style of AirPods, without rubber) and require that you adjust settings on the right earphone, as a result these headphones were uncomfortable and took a lot of time to get used to. Pushing the headset too much into the ear canal is not a pleasant sensation, and unfortunately pressing the physical commands can cause this. The touch surface is very sensitive, and you’ll often find yourself having to stop the music to adjust the settings to how you need them. As well as this, the headphones do not disable touch when not in use, and there are no other ways to switch the headphones off until they are back in the case.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 7996 They are recharged via a USB type-C port / © AndroidPIT

Special features

There are no apps for the management of Pixel Buds. The headphone settings are only accessible from Google Assistant, which I think is a good thing. In the settings we can see if the headphones are connected to the smartphone, the battery level and a little more information that you would not be able to see otherwise.

With a forward or backward swipe on the right earpiece, you can control the volume. Holding your finger down, you will be in direct contact with Assistant, which is very quick. There is no lag between the touch of the headset and the beginning of the voice assistants listening. Touch the headset, talk, and release once the command is complete. Its that easy!

With a double tap, Assistant will let you know if you have any notifications from your phone, and this in my opinion is the best thing on the Pixel Buds. Once you’ve tried this feature, you’ll wonder why other headphones are not able to do it. I didn’t put the headphones back in the box for almost a week because of this.

Pixel buds screenshot3 Screenshot taken during setup / © AndroidPIT

Unfortunately there is no way to switch between audio tracks if you do not ask Google Assistant. This problem is that not everyone feels comfortable repeating “next track, next track, next track” in front of strangers.

Translation in real time

The most interesting function of the Pixel Buds is unfortunately, is its most disappointing: the translation in real time.

Here’s how it should work: first ask google for a translation with your smartphone in your hand and this will be translated to your chosen language and read aloud from the smartphone. I was expecting this to be the case with the Pixel Buds.

Pixel buds screenshot1 Pairing with Google Pixel is easy / © AndroidPIT

The problem is that they use the Google Translate application already installed on your Pixel (the feature is only available on Google Pixel smartphones). I feel that the Pixel Buds pose a further barrier to an already embarrassing conversation between two people.

The same result can be achieved with your smartphone alone, without needing the additional equipment, and seen as the headphones can only be used with Pixel smartphones, the feature is pretty much useless to everyone else.

The results of the translations of course depend on how well the smartphone understands the sentences, most of the time it can be quite inaccurate.

google translate 3 Translate function has been available on Google for a long time, without the need for headphones / © AndroidPIT 

It is better than nothing though. But we’re still far from being able to communicate in different languages just by wearing headphones. As impressive as this feature sounded, they are not practical in real life.

Audio

Any low-cost pair of headphones will bring you the same audio quality. Google headsets do not isolate from external sounds and do not have a noise cancelling technology. Pixel Buds use the most classic AAC on Bluetooth 4.2.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 8009 If you’re looking for high quality headphones, look elsewhere / © AndroidPIT

The microphones are excellent and incorporate the now famous “OK Google” hotword. Even the commands given to the headphones are received with no problems, provided it’s not to noisy where you are. I had difficulty using the voice commands in crowded places.

Battery

The Pixel Buds battery is 120 mAh. Google claims that you can get 5 hours out of the battery life but in reality, you will only be able to get 4 hours out of them. Fortunately. The case has an additional 620 mAh which should guarantee you a little over 20 hours of total use.

The charging is via a USB Type-C cable and the headphones can only be charged inside. With 10 minutes of charging, you could use the headphones for an extra hour.

AndroidPIT google pixel buds 7987 The headphones charge once the case is closed / © AndroidPIT

Final verdict

These headphones are worthy competitors to the Apple AirPods, with advanced translation features and expectations were very high. It seems that Google did not have a clear idea of which audience these headphones were for, and as a result there was a mixture of poor quality and disappointment.

They are not intended for listening to music, as there are not controls for switching between tracks, and they do not have the audio quality that you’d expect. They are not intended for joggers or physical activity as the cable absorbs sweat and do not sit securely on the ear.

Who are these headphones for then? It’s difficult to say. The only suitable use that came to my mind is sitting in the office, in relative silence with your smartphone at hand around people who don’t mind you talking to Google Assistant constantly. If you don’t mind spending this amount of money for a pair of headphones that are useless outside of your home or office, then you might be happy with the Pixel Buds.

 

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Mobvoi Ticwatch S and E review: What more could you want from a smartwatch?

Mobvoi recently presented a new pair of watches, this time equipped with the most common Android Wear, and with a competitive price. Is it worth getting one? We’ve tested them out, so here is our review of the most talked about smartwatch right now!

Good

  • Competitive price
  • Excellent Display
  • GPS (Ticwatch S)
  • Nice design
  • Android Wear 2.0 with all functions
  • Decent battery life
  • Speaker for calls

Bad

  • Bulky on small wrists
  • Low quality materials (ticwatch E)
  • Straps not interchangeable (ticwatch S)
  • Hardware button badly positioned

Release date and price

Both watches are available to purchase on the official Mobvoi website at a price of $ 199.99 and $ 159.99 for the ticwatch S and ticwatch E. A 20% discount code is also available if you buy it here.

Ticwatch S (S stands for Sport) is available in Knight (black) Aurora (Yellow) and Glacier (white). All three versions have a black ring with numbers printed in the yellow color, same as the Aurora verson.

Ticwatch E (E stands for Express) is available in the same colours but with different names: Shadow, Ice and Lemon. On Ticwatch E you don’t have the numbered ring, but on the other hand you can change the strap, which is not possible on the sports model, as it has GPS antennas inside the rubber bands.

For this review, we received the Tickwatch S in ‘Aurora’ and Ticwatch E in Ice colour.

Design and build quality

Ticwatch Express has a classic and simple design. In the Ice colour I received, the 44 mm case (and 13.5 mm thick) is made entirely of transparent glossy plastic that surrounds a second layer of white plastic. Visually, it looks great, but you can immediately feel that the material may not be very resistant and is somewhat reminiscent of some of the cheaper Smartwatch models from the early ’90s.

The bracelet itself seemed fragile, but at the end of the testing there was no damage or signs of wear, so I could be wrong. The strap is made of rubber with an almost velvety finish, which makes it easy to fasten and does not move or feel uncomfortable once on the wrist.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8154 Simple and classic design of the Mobvoi Smartwatch / © AndroidPIT

The Ticwatch Sport differs in terms of the overall size, which is up to 45 mm. At the same time, it is slightly thinner at 13 mm, however, both watches are quite bulky. Around the display there is a fixed numbered ring nut, which I thought looked great.

Both the case and strap are highlighted in yellow with a matt finish in the Aurora version. After only a week, there was already a difference in colour between the plastic case and the rubber strap that began to darken. So overtime, you can expect to see the wear and tear.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8136 Scratches and dirt can be seen on this color / © AndroidPIT

All in all, the design and construction of the two smartwatches is not so bad and given the reduced cost I certainly didn’t expect more valuable materials. I want to emphasize the fact that I’m absolutely not disappointed by the quality of smartwatches, just don’t expect the quality level of a Gear Sport or Gear S3.

One unusual feature on both Ticwatches, is that the button is located on the wrong side of the watch, I don’t think this a terrible thing, but it might be irritating for some as you will have to place your wrist in a slightly uncomfortable position, covering the display with your hand. I would say the Ticwatch E is the best in this instance, as the button is more accessible and handles better overall.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8139 The button located on the left / © AndroidPIT

The Ticwatch S weighs 45.5g and the Ticwatch E stops at 41.5g; both are protected from splash water with IP67 certification.

Display

The display of the two smartwatches is 1.4 inches with a resolution of 400×400 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 287 ppi. Not bad for cheap smartwatches. Not only that, the technology used is OLED, which guarantees absolute blacks and almost zero consumption of the Always-on display that will not affect the battery much if used. The viewing angles are also excellent; you don’t have to rotate your wrist completely towards you to view the screen

Both watches feature a scratch-resistant protective glass. I used the smartwatches during many day-to-day things (maintenance of PCs, moving furniture, washing dishes) and despite some small knocks on the glass, both came out unscathed.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8127 The displays are bright / © AndroidPIT

The visibility in the sun is very good especially when compared to some LCD displays of the competition. In the dark, brightness is not disturbing. The only complaint I have about the display is that neither of the two watches has an automatic brightness sensor (unlike the Moto 360).

During the test the touch screen has always reacted very well to the controls even with the screen slightly wet, which was a pleasant surprise.

Software

Android Wear is certainly not a novelty and Google is not introducing many new features to the platform after its advancement to version 2.0. Despite Google’s lack of functionality updates, the Ticwatches feature Android 7.1.1 with October’s security patches and will apparently be updated in Oreo.

Since i’ve had then, I already received two different OTA updates on both watches, which shows the company’s interest in supporting the product (other more famous companies seemed to have abandoned their products).

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8083 Both use Android Wear 2.0 and will be upgraded to Oreo / © AndroidPIT

Mobvoi’s only software additions are for step counter, heartbeat detector and charts for monitoring activities during a day. These functions can be deactivated if you use Google Fit like me. The addition of the company’s specific dials specifically designed for the two watch models, which perfectly match the colours of the bracelets and case.

Performance

Ticwatch Express and Sport share the same internal hardware. The only difference is that the S version has GPS. Both have a dual-core Mediatek MT2601 dual-core CPU with a frequency of 1.2GHz. Normally I’m not satisfied with the operation of the SoC Mediatek, but this time I changed my mind: the chip responded well and provided smooth performance consistently.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8144 The heart rate monitor (only on the Express version) / © AndroidPIT

The RAM is 512MB and the internal memory is 4GB for apps and music to listen with Bluetooth headphones. In more expensive models the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, proximity sensor and optical heart rate reader for hardware equipment functions at the same level. Of course, heart rate monitor readings are generally not accurate and therefore you should take those readings with a pinch of salt. Another feature includes a vibration motor for. There is also a vibration motor for notifications.

To connect to the smartphone, the two watches use Bluetooth 4.1 BLE and can connect to the internet for receiving notifications and updates also via WIFI antenna 802.11 b/g/n.

Audio

Both watches are equipped with microphones and speakers. You’ll not only be able to give commands to Google Assistant but you’ll also be able to answer and make calls directly from your wrist.

The microphones work well, they are fast to respond and Google Assistant works just like any other platform. Speakers have enough volume to make a call in low noise situations such as driving, but the sound quality is not high. I would not recommend using it in a crowded place as you won’t be able to hear the conversation, and of course people could eavesdrop on your conversation!

Another great feature, is that you can download music with Google Play Music for listening via bluetooth heaphones. This could be useful if you go running while leaving your smartphone in the car or at home.

Battery

Mobvoi’s two smartwatches are powered by a 300mAh battery that has proven to be more than enough in everyday use.

Don’t be afraid to use Google Assistant or respond to notifications via voice commands, the battery will definitely support you for a full day. In most cases even two days can be easily reached with normal use. Using the GPS of the Ticwatch S, the hours of use drop significantly but you will probably be able to reach your destination before the battery runs out!

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8143 The charging cable / © AndroidPIT

Charging is done by a magnetic connector. Unfortunately, if you break this cable, you cannot purchase spare parts. In addition, the magnets that connect it are not that strong and therefore disconnect if badly positioned. During the testing I wanted to charge one of the smartwatches overnight and woke up to find a low battery.

Final verdict

Mobvoi has certainly proved to have learned from its past experiences with his Ticwatch and Ticwatch 2. After experimenting with various software, the company decided to rely on the most popular Android Wear and embrace an ecosystem already appreciated by developers.

Even without the discount code, Ticwatch S and Ticwatch E are the champions of quality/price ratio and as the first smartwatch are more than recommended. Don’t expect elegant and luxurious devices, but they are more than suitable for young people and sportsmen. In their price range, they are the best buy.

AndroidPIT ticwatch e ticwatch s smartwatch android wear wearables 8159 You wont be disappointed with either of these Smartwatches / © AndroidPIT

If you are looking for your first smartwatch, a device to be used for day-to-day activities, sports, or just an accessory to accompany your smartphone, then I would really recommend Ticwatch Express and Ticwatch Sport.

We only hope that the company, like many other startups of the past, does not stop the software support.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Nest Cam Outdoor review: who's outside your door?

Nest is one of the first companies that comes to mind when talking about smart homes or home automation. Its catalog contains a range of devices including its popular smart thermostats and also a wide range of home security devices. In this article, I take an in-depth look at the Nest Cam smart home security camera. I have had the pleasure of trying out the Nest Cam Outdoor, so read on to see what I thought of it. 

I want to know what the hype is around NVIDIA Shield TV games.

What do you think?

17306 participants

Good

  • Easy to set up and configure
  • Has a microphone
  • Wide angle lens

Bad

  • Unreliable notification system
  • Video and audio quality suffering a bit
  • Monthly subscription required

release date and price

You can find the Nest outdoor camera in different stores including the Nest store itself, Amazon or Best Buy, the latter being the one that offers it at the best price.

What is the Nest Cam Outdoor?

Nest Cam Outdoor is an intelligent surveillance camera designed for outdoor use. Hence it offers decent protection against external conditions, whether this be water, sun or dust. In addition, it offers a field of view of 130 degrees, the possibility of recording in 1080p and has a microphone and speaker on board. 

design and build quality

AndroidPIT Nest outdoor security cam 3973 The Nest Cam Outdoor has an 130 degree wide angle camera. / © AndroidPIT

The device is white and has a fairly simple design with a round shape. The camera is located on the front surrounded by a black band that conceals the microphone at the bottom and the notification light at the top. In the body of the camera is where you’ll find the speaker. 

AndroidPIT Nest outdoor security cam 3898 The Nest Cam Outdoor adjusts to any location and position thanks to a strong magnet.  / © AndroidPIT

It’s designed to withstand extreme outdoor conditions – it can hold up against temperatures between -4 and 104°F, but it is recommended to avoid contact with direct sunlight because this may influence the quality of the image. Likewise, both the camera body and the cabling are resistant to rain and dust. 

Aside from the camera itself, in the box there are a number of accessories you can use to install the camera. Among these is a small but powerful magnet that facilitates the placement and orientation of the camera, since once it’s stuck to the magnet, you can rotate the camera easily until we get the correct angle.  

How to configure the Nest Cam Outdoor

This is a piece of cake. The truth is that it didn’t take just 3 minutes for me to set it up. The instructions provided in the box are perfectly clear, but I will give you a brief summary here so that you know in advance what you’re up against. 

AndroidPIT Nest outdoor security cam 3962 To pair the Nest Cam with your phone, you just have to scan the QR code on the camera. / © AndroidPIT

The Nest Cam Outdoor needs to be constantly connected to a power source, so it’s important that you have a power outlet on the outside of your house, and ideally one that’s relatively close to where you want to put the camera. Nest does provide a fairly long cable (approximately 7 meters) which is helpful as you don’t have to worry too much about how far the plug is from your preferred camera location. Of course, you can also use a plug inside your house, but then you’ll have to consider how to best get the cable inside. 

Here is a step by step guide:

  1. Connect the camera to the power source. You should see a blue notification light come on.
  2. Install the Nest app on your phone or tablet. Obviously, you’ll need to register a Nest account or log in if you already have one. 
  3. From the app, scan the QR code that’s on the camera. 
  4. Once the camera has been paired, plug it in and install it. 

In the box, you’ll find all the screws and accessories necessary to adjustment the camera on the wall. In addition, Nest also provides some tips for ideally placing the camera. For example, it’s not recommended to place it in constant direct sunlight. 

special features

In addition to seeing everything that happens around your front door or wherever you might have placed the camera, you can also speak and listen through the app on your smartphone or tablet.

As I mentioned in the design section, the camera is equipped with an LED notification light that changes color between blue and green depending on the situation. For example, blinking green indicates someone is looking at the camera and blinking blue indicates that someone is talking through the speaker. 

Last but not least, it also offers night vision with decent enough quality and the ability to program when you want the camera to turn itself on and off. 

nest cam outdoor 3 You can select which days and hours you want the camera to be on as well as the video quality. / © ANDROIDPIT

software

For the camera to work, you’ll need a strong Internet connection. Specifically, a Wi-Fi broadband connection with an upload speed of at least 2 Mbps. It’s also worth mentioning that you need a smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth 4.0. Nest products can connect with Amazon Alexa and Google Home now, too.

AndroidPIT Nest outdoor security cam 3925 You can see what the Nest Cam Outdoor sees directly from your smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

The operation and features are quite intuitive. You merely need to install the Nest app on your compatible smartphone or tablet and take it from there. When you open the app, you can see what’s happening in real-time or access the historic timeline where you’ll be shown small clips from each time the camera has detected movement. If you access your account from a web browser, these small detections of movement or people will be represented with small dots. In addition, every time the camera detects something, you can get a push or email notification, depending on how you’ve configured it.

Nest Install on Google Play

From the app, you can adjust the image quality. I left it on automatic, and in all honesty, the quality of the videos left a lot to be desired. Hopefully this was due to the Internet connection. 

nest cam outdoor 2 In the Nest Cam Outdoor Settings, there are several options including notification type. / © ANDROIDPIT nest cam outdoor 1 You can receive notifications each time the Nest Cam Outdoor detects something worth notifying you about. / © ANDROIDPIT

Security

To use Nest products, you need a subscription to Nest Aware. You can subscribe free of charge for the first month, but then you will have to pay $ 10 a month or $ 100 a year for the first camera, something that may turn away some potential customers. The system for recording videos is through the cloud, that is, Nest is continuously uploading your videos to the cloud, hence why there is no MicroSD card slot. With Nest Aware, you can save these videos for 10 to 30 days, depending on how you configure it. After that time frame, the videos will be erased.

I personally think this is a benefit, it’s really useful that everything goes straight to the cloud and from there, I can choose if I want to save a video clip or not. Having said that, I remain a bit skeptical about it, since the quality isn’t great if your internet connection is poor. Video is, however, secured using 128-bit encryption when being uploaded to the cloud.

audio

The Nest Cam Outdoor allows you to communicate with the person on the other side of the camera. Works like a walkie-talkie, so only one person can speak at a time, and the two cannot interrupt each other. 

In the app, if you select the option to see what’s happening live, you’ll see a microphone icon at the bottom. The moment you click on it, the camera will emit a small beep to alert the person on the other side. Having tested it, I just have two remarks: the first is that there was a small delay of about a second, and the second is that it’s hilarious to see the reaction of people when they unexpectedly hear a voice pop up right beside them. 

Final verdict

In general, the Nest Cam Outdoor fulfills what it promises. For the price, you get a decent quality device that will help you feel a little more secure in your own home and allows you to control what happens around your home. In addition, it has some neat bonus functions like night vision, the possibility to communicate with the person outside your house (or to play a practical joke, should you wish to do this) and a wide angle lens camera. I also think it’s worth highlighting how it really was very easy to set up and install. 

Now, there are also non-intelligent cameras available on the market that come with night vision and which cost less than 30 bucks, or you can even find smart outdoor cameras with almost the same options as Nest Cam Outdoor for less than $ 50, for example, the NexGadget IP Camera. So what is the big difference between that and the Nest Cam? Well, the Nest Cam records everything and stores it directly to the cloud, avoiding the use of microSD cards, and it also allows you to communicate through the microphone. I sincerely believe that I would be willing to pay $ 140 more to get these extra features, but the monthly subscription fee is what makes me think twice.

NexGadget IP Camera HD WiFi Security Camera

Having said that, I haven’t had the opportunity to test the NexGadget camera yet so I cannot give my personal view on this, but having read the opinions of customers in reviews, it seems that the main complaints of users are the same two negative aspects I mentioned before: video/audio quality (though this may be due to the Internet connection) and the notification system. In my experience, some notifications never made it to the phone and for a better notification service, you’ll need to subscribe to Nest Aware.

What do you think? Do you use any intelligent outdoor surveillance system?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

OnePlus 3T review: the flagship killer

The OnePlus 3 is one of the best smartphones of 2016, but OnePlus has already decided to raise the bar even higher. They wanted to offer users the best possible experience, so they’re now offering even better hardware with the new OnePlus 3T. Check out our review of OnePlus’ latest and greatest to find out if it really beats its predecessor. Update: OnePlus has confirmed stock is running out in certain markets. Check out the Release Date and Price section below for details.

Highlight recent changes

I would like to try playing games with a TV box.

What do you think?

22706 participants

Good

  • Good camera
  • Fluid, customizable interface
  • Quick “Dash Charge” system
  • High performance

Bad

  • No design update since the OnePlus 3
  • No microSD slot
  • Only Full-HD (1920×1080) Screen Resolution
  • No Android Nougat yet

Lowest price: OnePlus 3T

Best price

OnePlus 3T release date and price

OnePlus just posted a “last call” on its official forum instructing readers to buy the OnePlus 3T “before stock runs out”. Owners of the device can rest assured that the 3T, and the somewhat older OnePlus 3, will continue to get software updates and support. If you want to buy a OnePlus 3T, you’d be well advised to act fast, as the manufacturer confirmed to PhoneArena that the device will be out of stock in Europe and the UK starting June 1. At least for now, the OnePlus 3T is still available in the US for $ 439 and Canada for CA$ 599. There’s no word yet on how much stock is left for the North American market.

The OnePlus 3T had its launch event on November 15. It’s available in two colors and in two different variants – 64 GB or 128 GB. The 64 and 128 GB models are sold in the US for $ 439 and $ 479, respectively. The Gunmetal version was previously the only color available, but as of January 6 at 7 PM PST / 10 PM EST, Soft Gold can be purchased globally as well.

The global pricing for the 64 GB/128 GB versions is £399/£439 for the UK, $ 599/$ 640 CAD in Canada, ₹29,999/₹34,999 for India, and in Australia where it’s not officially available, the equivalent price is $ 580/$ 630 AUD.

Lowest price: OnePlus 3T

Best price

It is more expensive than the OnePlus 3 was, which is a shame since there is nothing particularly creative about the 3T. With the OnePlus 3 now off the shelves, the brand probably has good expectations for the smartphone anyway. A phablet of this quality at this price point isn’t exactly common.

AndroidPIT oneplus 3t 1334 On the left is the OnePlus 3T in Gunmetal, and on the right, its predecessor, the OnePlus 3. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus 3T design and build quality

My colleague Omar raved about the design of the OnePlus 3 during his test of the device. I find myself in the same situation with the OnePlus 3T today, with one key difference: the OnePlus 3 was the rightful heir to the OnePlus 2, while the OnePlus 3T is just a little brother to the OnePlus 3.

If you liked the design of the OnePlus 3, you’ll like the OnePlus 3T. The design is basically the same. OnePlus kept the aluminum unibody, the elegant curved edges, the fingerprint scanner on the front, the sound setting Hotkeys…all the things which made us fall in love with the OnePlus 3. It’s not particularly helpful to review all of these features, so I will just share the ones which really make the phone’s strengths stand out.

androidpit oneplus 3t screen2 The fingerprint scanner is located under the screen. / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus knows how to make use of space on their phones. Unlike Google, which puts an empty space under the screen of its Pixel phones, OnePlus takes advantage of the space to house its fingerprint reader. Above, we find the speaker and sensors. On the right side, we find the button to turn the display off and on, and trays for two nano SIM cards.

AndroidPIT oneplus 3t 1380 Apart from the new Gunmetal color, the 3T looks the same as a OnePlus 3. / © AndroidPIT

If there’s one thing I find handy on an iPhone, it’s the ability to switch from ringtone to silent mode with the easily distinguishable side buttons. OnePlus gave the 3T a similar setup, giving the ability to switch to silent mode without having to turn on the screen.

Another advantage is the USB (2.0) Type-C port found on the bottom of the device, between the speaker and the mini-jack (yes, there is a mini-jack!). Having the mini-jack port on the bottom of the device isn’t necessarily bad; it just means you have to put your phone in your pocket upside down when you listen to music, so it’s right-side-up and ready to use when you take it out that way.

AndroidPIT oneplus 3t 1369 Unfortunately, the camera protrudes a little bit from the back of the phone. / © AndroidPIT

With regard to handling, it is a treat. Of course, you must love screens which are a little bit big, and in certain circumstances it is necessary to use two hands. This device is subjectively large, with the following dimensions: 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm. That being said, it’s certainly not too big, as you don’t have to worry about it having difficulty sliding into your pocket.

If you want a phone with a premium look and feel, you will be well-served by the OnePlus 3T. The surface and build quality of the 3T is consistent with other metal body phones like the Google Pixel, giving it a truly chic appearance. Of the two colors, Soft Gold and Gunmetal, I really like the Gunmetal which recalls the lighter gray shade of the original OnePlus 3.

OnePlus 3T display

Once again, OnePlus opted for a 5.5-inch display. This is something that was successful on its predecessor, the OnePlus 3. The screen is an Optic AMOLED, which according to OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, is tweaked specifically for the handset, making contrast and color temperature truer to life and viewing better when outdoors. The OnePlus 3T comes with a Full-HD screen and this choice has advantages and disadvantages. One the one hand, the energy consumption is not too high, particularly with the AMOLED screen. But the downside is that the definition is not ideal for VR.

androidpit oneplus 3t screen1 You can adjust the display settings yourself. / © AndroidPIT

The screen is 5.5 inches, making it one of the smaller phablets. Like that of the OnePlus 3, the pixel density is 401 ppi. The screen is Full-HD (1920×1080), which at the advent of VR, is unfortunate. Some newer phones have Quad-HD (2560×1440) resolution instead. Nevertheless, the screen is quite good, the colors are vivid, and I have no problems with it. You can adjust the display settings yourself by calibrating the screen, setting the color temperature differently or by using the sRGB mode. It is pleasant to use this mode, since it makes it less tiring for the eyes, but the yellow hue may get on your nerves.

Unfortunately, I lack the special equipment to test the screen brightness objectively, but it seems to be pretty good. White on the screen sometimes tends toward yellow or blue hues depending on the angle you hold the device. I couldn’t test it in strong sunlight, since the sun isn’t strong in Berlin this time of year. The 3T’s night mode adapts the colors of the screen so your eyes don’t get tired when reading in low light conditions. This is one of the more interesting features of the device for me.

By default, the Gorilla Glass 4 screen comes with a 2.5D screen protector. The protector comes pre-installed since Gorilla Glass 4 is more easily scratched than Gorilla Glass 3.

OnePlus 3T software

Here is where I was really disappointed. On the 3T we find OxygenOS 3.5.1, which is based on…Android 6.0.1! Android Nougat was officially released months ago, and new phones are already being sold running the new version of the OS, but OnePlus opted for the tried and true Marshmallow version anyway. That being said, they already announced that the 3 and 3T would be able to update to Nougat in December.

androidpit oneplus 3t review themes No Nougat, just good old Marshmallow. Do you prefer the light or dark theme? / © AndroidPIT

In short, the user interface is a lot like stock Android and it isn’t built upon the latest version of Android, which is a shame. That said, like with the OnePlus 3, the picture isn’t totally black. Some of the the interface elements have changed, like the quick bar settings which look more like Nougat, and the more intuitive options, in addition to a weather app and voice recorder which also appeared.

On one hand, devotees of pure Android will find it agreeable, despite some tiny differences like smaller icons here and there. On the other hand, there is no bloatware. The software provides some useful functions, like accessibility help for the visually impaired (TalkBack, different font sizes, zoom gestures) and the App Locker function which locks certain apps with a code through the “Never Settle” banner on the top left of the home screen.

androidpit oneplus 3t review neversettle The menu provides quick access to contacts, apps, and widgets. / © AndroidPIT

This mode allows you to quickly access your recent contacts, apps, and a status panel which gives you an idea of your remaining battery life, memory usage, and other widgets. Personally, I don’t find this very useful, since I prefer to use Google Now to get weather and news updates, but I’m sure some will like it.

If you want to customize your menus, you have two options: light or dark. Plus, you can set a secondary color, like an all black menu with green text that will really stand out. More black on an AMOLED is always good for battery life. It’s not necessarily useful, but some will like having the color options.

OnePlus 3T performance

Before we get too far, let’s talk about the technical specs of this device. The processor is a 2.35 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821. According to Qualcomm, it’s 10 percent more powerful than its predecessor, the 820 with its 2.2 GHz. To complement this, we find the improved Adreno 530 graphics chip, which also boasts at least a 5 percent performance boost and low battery consumption. Along with all of this, we find 6 GB of RAM, plus 64 GB or 128 GB of storage, the latter of which is only available in the Gunmetal color.

oneplus 3t benchmark scores This device does great on benchmark tests. / © AndroidPIT

On the 3T, we find UFS 2.0 (universal flash storage), which should allow for relatively quick loading of apps. In practice, I’ve found this to be true. For everyday use, the performance is good: the RAM and processor can handle multitasking and deliver a good experience consistently. I haven’t encountered any crashes, slow downs, or bugs. Everything seems to be fluid. The phone seems to get warm after heavy use, but nothing abnormal. The fingerprint reader can unlock the device and take you to the home screen in 0.2 seconds.

You can use both nano SIM trays on the device, but OnePlus unfortunately didn’t give us a MicroSD card slot.

A feature which will please many is the dual SIM. You can use both nano SIM trays on the device, but OnePlus unfortunately didn’t give us a MicroSD card slot. The North American model sports WCDMA: Bands 1/2/4/5/8, FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/4/5/7/8/12/17/30, and CDMA EVDO: BC0. The OnePlus 3 has a relatively low SAR.

As far as benchmarks go, the smartphone scores well, even against the OnePlus 3 which sets the bar. You can find the results of the test in the table below. The battery life test was carried out with the screen at maximum brightness, a topic which we will return to in the section on the battery. 

Benchmarks – OnePlus 3T

  3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1 3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0

3D Mark Sling Shot ES 2.0

Geekbench 4 – single core Geekbench 4 – multicore PC Mark Work Performance 2.0 PC Mark Storage PC Mark Battery Google Octane 2.0
OnePlus 3T 2358 2983 30610 1884 4394 5759 4688 4h 54m 6566
OnePlus 3 2291 2862 27038 1715 3972 5355 3646 4h 52m 8115

If you’re a VR aficionado, I have bad news. I am very pessimistic about this phone’s VR potential due to the low resolution of the screen.

The OnePlus 3T has slightly elevated SAR levels from the OnePlus 3, with the highest reported levels being 0.995W/kg (head) and  0.645W/kg (body).

OnePlus 3T audio

Here again, we find a single speaker located on the bottom of the phone, on the left side of the USB port, With regard to sound quality, the mono speaker isn’t as good as a stereo speaker you could buy in a store, but the quality is satisfactory for what it is. The max volume is pretty high, but at high volumes, quality is degraded and sounds metallic.

AndroidPIT oneplus 3t 1377 The mono speaker for listening to music. / © AndroidPIT

Unfortunately, the phone doesn’t come with headphones. Most manufacturers offer headphones, even if they’re not the best quality ones. As you can imagine, the audio experience is better with headphones.

During calls, I haven’t experienced any problems. I could hear and be heard clearly with no concerns about audio quality.

OnePlus 3T camera

On the back of the OnePlus 3T, we find the same configuration as that of the OnePlus 3: a Sony IMX 298 16 MP (back) lens with an f/2.0 aperture, and a pixel size of 1.12 microns. That said, the potential is different. Our expert photographer, Robert, has examined the issue and found some differences between the old model and the new one.

The most notable difference is the edge-to-edge sharpness of the OnePlus 3T. Lens quality is often prioritized for maximum sharpness in the center of the image area, since most people will ideally photograph their subjects in that space. The areas around the edge can often be softer due to manufacturing or other implementation issues in a lens. However, the OnePlus 3T is sharper edge-to-edge compared to it’s predecessor. This will be most apparent in good shooting conditions, like on a bright sunny day, which is when shutter speeds are fast enough to not diminish image quality with blur.

The camera on the 3T is perhaps not the best on the market, but it does the job quickly with phase detection auto-focus (0.2 seconds) and generally provides good results. Its photos are good quality, even when conditions aren’t very bright. Details show up well and there are no saturation issues. That said, if you zoom in a lot, you will see a sort of border or outline between black and white shapes (like branches and the sky).

IMG 20161116 134926 The green leaves show up very well. / © AndroidPIT

On the front, we have another 16 MP camera, but it is not the same as the back one: it is a Samsung 3P8SP. The aperture is f/2.0. The quality is good, more than good enough for selfies. The front camera can also take videos in 1080p at 30 fps, 1080p at 60 fps, 720p, and 4K. You can see the difference in quality between the OnePlus 3 and the 3T: the colors are better and the details are crisper.

The image stabilization is equally good, both optically and electronically. The camera app is the same as the OnePlus 3, both in terms of the interface and its options. Save Location, Shutter Sound, and Save RAW Image are the only possible settings, but rest assured that you will find the manual mode, panorama mode, and the video options, including slow motion and accelerated. The slow motion videos can be shot in 720p. And you can also save your photos in .RAW format.

androidpit oneplus 3t review photo The regular and manual camera mode interfaces are both simple. / © AndroidPIT

Hint: you can launch the camera app with a double-tap on the camera button, just like the OnePlus 3. It is a shame that there weren’t any revolutionary changes to the rear camera, given that the competition doesn’t hesitate to up their game with a f/1.7 aperture. For example, Samsung increases their potential during low light conditions and improved the Bokeh effect.

OnePlus 3T battery

The OnePlus 3 has a batter capacity of 3000 mAh, but it decided to go a step beyond with the OnePlus 3T by offering 3,400 mAh. A larger battery in the same size device, without making design concessions, is very interesting.

In general, the battery life is good, but I must admit that I didn’t use it too heavily: just instant messaging, news, a bit of video, some music…In short, a user like me will have the phone lasting a day and a half easily. I made time to test it in the shoes of a demanding user, and spent time on it watching videos and playing games, and the phone doesn’t disappoint. Overall, it is longer lasting than its predecessor.

The Dash Charge system (5 volts 4 amps) allows for quick charging of the phone. The technology provides a stronger current while maintaining a low voltage, which can transfer energy and files quickly. Specifically, I charged the battery from 9 percent to 100 percent in about 75 minutes.

OnePlus has indicated that the system provides a whole day’s worth of battery life in just 30 minutes of charging time. In practice, I went from 5 percent to 57 percent in half an hour, with WiFi and mobile data turned on. A heavy user would likely not last a whole day with just 57 percent, realistically.

I went from 5 percent to 57 percent in half an hour.

We hear that fast charging is extraordinary because it avoids heating up the device, and the user may therefore continue to use their phone while charging without any danger. This is maybe true, but we can’t assume everything will be cool. The charger itself will heat up as well, and after a while, the phone starts to heat up too. Admittedly the situation is under control, at least according to OnePlus, but a hot charger would panic anyone.

With the PCMark 2.0 benchmark, the phone got a 4h 54m score with maximum brightness and the WiFi turned on. In comparison, the OnePlus 3 got 4h 52m with the same conditions (WiFi on, max brightness, and no SIM card).

OnePlus 3T technical specifications

Dimensions: 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
Weight: 158 g
Battery size: 3400 mAh
Screen size: 5.5 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi)
Front camera: 16 megapixels
Rear camera: 16 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 6.0.1 – Marshmallow
User interface: Oxygen OS
RAM: 6 GB
Internal storage: 128 GB
64 GB
Removable storage: Not available
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Number of cores: 4
Max. clock speed: 2.35 GHz
Connectivity: LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2

Final verdict

The OnePlus 3T is the flagship killer. The OnePlus 3’s crown is being taken by the 3T. What was best about the OnePlus 3 is now made even better by the 3T: an upgraded Snapdragon 821 processor, a larger battery, an improved front camera and various software adjustments. In short, the OnePlus 3T does a great impression of a OnePlus 3 version 2.0.

That said, if you’ve already got a OnePlus 3, don’t bother to upgrade. The lack of Android Nougat is a mistake on the part of OnePlus, in my opinion. True, the update will be available in December, but a phone with these specs running last year’s version of Android just isn’t right. The lack of a microSD card slot is also regrettable, but that’s not a surprise, since the OnePlus 3 didn’t have it either.

In the end, the OnePlus 3 is no longer available and this will motivate people to buy the OnePlus 3T, which is more expensive but also more interesting than the OnePlus3. However, I wonder if it would have been easier to simply wait for the OnePlus 4. Could it be that the young Chinese manufacturer will hold us off with the OnePlus 3T, as a signal that it may be a long while before we get the OnePlus 4? Stay tuned.

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Polaroid Insta-Share Printer Moto Mod review: Polaroid reborn

We don’t know if we should be talking about Lenovo or Motorola because the line between the parent company and its subsidiary is a bit blurred, but, nevertheless, the popular brand has announced a Moto Mod dedicated to photo printing: the Insta-Share Printer.

Polaroid makes a comeback with a version 2.0

Our younger readers perhaps have never seen a Polaroid. These devices allowed you to print a photo immediately after taking it, but developments in the photography world and the arrival of camera phones (and the digital age, generally) caused the Polaroid to fall into disuse. However, now, it is making a comeback in a different form: a Moto Mod.

AndroidPIT polaroid insta share printer review 6061 This is it. © AndroidPIT

In theory, the basic concept remains the same since you take a photo (this time with a smartphone) and use the printer to print it. Of course, it’s quite different in practice as the Mod is much smaller, quieter and smarter. Another huge advantage: you don’t have to print all the photos you take. You can choose to print only the photos that you think are worthy of printing. Therefore, photos won’t be needlessly thrown in the trash and trees will be saved. Note that there’s a link available in the app to order more paper.

Of course, Motorola hopes that nostalgia will serve it well in its sales, because the device is aimed at a very specific type of customer.

AndroidPIT polaroid insta share printer review 6072 The device snaps on and off very easily. © AndroidPIT

A simple configuration

Like all the Moto Mods, this Printer attaches to the back of your Moto smartphone in a specific area. It snaps on and off very easily and, no matter how much you move around, it won’t unclip itself. To take it off, you have to lift up the notch, which is reassuring since that shows you can use it outside without worrying about it falling off.

The camera at the top of the smartphone is still visible through a hole in the Mod which was included for this purpose. Underneath, the Mod expands the size of the device because of the paper reserve and the printing system which allows the photo to exit through the slot. You can, of course, open it to insert more paper when your reserve is empty, but you must be careful that you print in a 2 x 3-inch format. By default, the printer uses ZINK Zero-Ink, a technology that already appeared on a previous Polaroid device: the Instant Snap Touch. For your information, it costs $ 10 for a pack of 20 photos (50 cents per photo) or $ 15 for a pack of 30 photos.

The initial configuration is extremely simple. Once the Mod is attached, a message appears on the screen to inform you that both devices are connected and, the first time, it will ask you to install the device’s official app. There are no necessary tweaks to be made in order to use this device, it is already set up and ready to be used.

AndroidPIT polaroid insta share printer review 6080 With the Mod, the device expands in thickness. © AndroidPIT

What can you do with this printer and how do you use it?

You must use the dedicated app in order to use this Moto Mod. The app is called Insta-Share Printer and, as you can imagine, it allows you to do many things. Let’s start with the most obvious function: Taking a photo followed by printing it. On the app’s home screen, you’ll see a “Take photo” button, press it and take your photo, then select it on the following screen. A new screen will open: It will allow you to edit the photo by changing the filters and playing with the saturation, contrast, brightness and many others. You can also change the borders, add text and other elements (a sheriff’s hat, perhaps).

When you’re ready, all you have to do is press “Print” at the top right-hand side of the screen. The photo will immediately start printing and you’ll quickly have your printed photo in your hands. In short, a Polaroid with a personalized image.

AndroidPIT polaroid insta share printer review 6100 A simple app interface. © AndroidPIT

However, you can do even more with it. Perhaps you want to use a photo that you’ve already taken and not just one that you have to take there and then. Don’t worry, this is also possible. On one hand, the app allows you to access a gallery in which you can find all the photos taken with the app, including those that haven’t been printed already. Yes, they are automatically stored. What’s even more interesting is that you can directly access your photo gallery, specifically the one from your smartphone. You’ll find all your photos and you’ll be able to select the ones that you want.

Other image sources are also possible to access. The button at the bottom right-hand side of the screen allows you to connect to Google to access Google Photos. The button to its left is Instagram, and as you’ve already guessed, it allows you to connect to your account. To the left of this button, you’ll, of course, find the Facebook icon which also allows you to connect to your social media to access photos. The mode on the left-hand side is the default mode, meaning the mode that allows you to access images stored on your smartphone.

What about battery life?

The Moto Mod Insta-Share Printer has its own battery and its own Type-C USB port. Unfortunately, the port is situated at the back, so it is inaccessible when it is connected to the smartphone. You have to remove the Moto Mod and charge it separately. Unlike other Moto Mods, it isn’t possible to directly connect the phone and the printer, so it’s a shame that its battery is so limited. You can take around twenty photos before the Insta-Share Printer runs out of steam.

And what about the print quality?

Obviously, it depends on the camera on the smartphone that you use. In the case of the Moto Z2 Play, the smartphone used for the test, we were a little disappointed because the camera is the smartphone’s weak point.

In addition to this, you can see annoying vertical lines (of ink) on the paper, as you can see in the photo below. The colors are quite dark and are reminiscent of the 90s. Is this intended? Perhaps the aim is to awaken nostalgia from the last millennium but, by today’s standards, much more is expected.

AndroidPIT polaroid insta share printer review 6083 From digital to printed in seconds. © AndroidPIT

Does the price outweigh the benefits?

In the US, you can buy the device for $ 199. It’s a significant sum of money, so you have to ask yourself whether the investment is worth it. If you only want to try it out, it’s possible that you’ll just print 5 or 6 photos and forget about it when the novelty wears off. True photography fanatics who fuss over every detail might be disappointed by the quality of the printed photos. They’re okay for beginners but professionals will notice the flaws.

Personally, I think the price is too high for what the device offers, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Are you interested in this device? Do you think you’ll buy it?

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Samsung Gear Sport review: Smaller, better, more sporty

As always, Samsung took advantage of IFA to make some announcements, especially in terms of wearables this time. In addition to the new Gear IconX headphones and the Gear Fit2 Pro fitness tracker, the South Korean manufacturer also announced a new Gear S series watch, still running Tizen, called Gear Sport. But what does Gear Sport offer? Find out in our full review below!

Good

  • Dimensions suitable for everyone
  • Water resistance up to 5 ATMs
  • Two sizes of strap included in the package
  • Swivel bezel for navigation
  • Swimming programs

Bad

  • Speaker for calls missing
  • S-Voice voice assistant
  • Few third-party apps

Samsung Gear Sport release date and price

The Samsung Gear Sport is already available for purchase with a list price of $ 299. Two colors are available: black and blue. Samsung also offers 23 different 20mm straps made of plastic, leather or a combination of both materials. Other 20mm bracelets will work, too.

In the package (in addition to the charger and watch) you can find two straps of different sizes.

Samsung Gear Sport design and build quality

With this new Gear generation, Samsung shows that it’s not abandoning smartwatches as a category. On the contrary, the manufacturer estimates that the market for wearables will double by 2021. That is why, unlike the Gear S3, the new Gear Sport seems to address both a male and a female audience. Its design has been slightly revised to look good on even the smallest of wrists. As a result, the screen shrank from 1.3 inches to 1.2 inches. The dimensions (42.9 x 44.6 x 11.6 mm and 49 x 46 x 12.9 mm) were reduced and the weight dropped (59 g to 50 g). The smartwatch appears more discreet while still retaining a certain elegance.

On the surface, the new Gear Sport differs a little from the previous generation. The Gear Sport shares more similarities with the Gear S2 than the Gear S3. The metal body and the accents remain very serious looking, with different aluminum textures, brushed or polished, on different parts of the watch.

samsung gear sport app drawer The Gear Sport isn’t as cumbersome as the Gear S3, so it’s a better fit for people with smaller wrists. / © AndroidPIT

Of course, the excellent rotating dial to help with navigating the menus remains. Too bad the ring nut (at least in my sample) seems somewhat loosely fitted, although during use it performs satisfactorily, when touched it tends to move and vibrate slightly. This is a pity because the overall quality of the watch is affected. The smartwatch still offers two slightly textured physical buttons, to make them easy to find, on the right edge.

On the back of the smartwatch, the Gear Sport still has a heart rate monitor. In combination with the activity measured by motion sensors, it makes it possible to measure calories burned. However, this is an estimate and not accurate data.

samsung gear sport sensor You can easily switch the 20 mm bracelet on the Gear Sport. /  © AndroidPIT

Finally, you can’t ignore the watch band, as it’s a big part of the design of any watch. By default, the Gear Sport offers either a blue or a black plastic bracelet (two sizes are included), which are rather nice on the wrist. The rubbery material is comfortable and never irritating. Rest assured though, if you don’t like it, any 20 mm watch band will do.

The watch adapts both to situations of intense physical activity and is discreet enough to please the fashion-conscious fitness fan..

Samsung Gear Sport display

The Gear Sport features a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The definition does not change this time, with 360 x 360 pixels (302 ppi). The display is certainly one of the best in this category. Tizen fully takes advantage of the AMOLED screen, with a UI that makes the icons pop on a black background.

The brightness is excellent and there’s not much of an issue with glare or reflections. The ambient light sensor can help adjust the brightness of the screen, depending on the lighting conditions. The brightness can be adjusted manually to 10 levels despite the presence of an ambient brightness sensor which only serves to lower the level in dark situations. The implementation is a bit confused because there is no real automatic brightness.

samsung gear sport The Gear Sport screen looks good. / © AndroidPIT

Thanks to the great contrast between dark backgrounds and light lettering, the readability is great in every situation. With AMOLED technology, you can also use the always visible dial without too much impact on the total battery life. 

Samsung Gear Sport special features

Compared to its predecessor, one of the most important changes to this smartwatch is the addition of water resistance up to 5 ATM. Specifically, the Gear Sport is water resistant up to a depth of 50 m, and it can be taken in the shower or swimming. Diving, however, won’t work out.

Another cool feature is that the Gear Sport can act as a remote control for presentations or for a Samsung virtual reality headset. The smartwatch is then only compatible with Samsung Pay via NFC (no magnetic stripe readers). You won’t find Bixby here (for now), but the older Samsung voice assistant, S-Voice is present to help you with voice commands. Honestly, I don’t know if I am happy or not. If Samsung can’t offer their own latest voice assistant, compatibility with Google Assistant would have been appreciated.

It is possible to place a screen dedicated to workouts next to the dial. From here you can start walking, cycling, cycling and swimming and continuous on-screen monitoring of the heart rate will be activated and GPS will be used to track your route, thus increasing battery consumption.

Physical activities are also detected automatically but the results are more an estimate, sometimes it happened that after a game of foosball, my Gear Sport reported I had just participated in a bike race. The watch will also monitor how much time we spend on the chair in the office, advising us on quick exercises to do from time to time.

gear software Samsung Gear and Samsung Health are necessary to synchronize the watch. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Gear Sport software

Like the Gear Fit2 Pro, the new Gear Sport features the latest version of the Tizen operating system, 3.0. The interface has been slightly revised, especially the apps menu. However, the use and navigation of the menus has not changed. You still use the touchscreen, the dial and the two buttons. One is used to go backward, and the other to access the menu and return to the home screen. Tizen is sometimes considered better than Android Wear to use, and this new version only confirms my good impression of it. It’s simple, easy to use and the watch allows you to easily customize the on-screen dials. Compared to the competition from Google, the only shortcomings are a lack of Google Assistant, and the relative paucity of third party apps. 

Samsung has focused on fitness for this sporty smartwatch. This is, according to the manufacturer, the main reason for purchasing smartwatches. You can track your calorie consumption throughout the day, your heart rate, the number of steps you take and more. A variety of training programs are available with the new Samsung Health app. If you have a connected TV, it is even possible to broadcast your workouts. Be aware that Bixby compatibility will follow in a later update.

samsung health fitness Samsung Health offers a number of training programs you can follow. / © AndroidPIT samsung health dashboard You can share your activities and exercise with the community. / © AndroidPIT

This Gear Sport is compatible with Galaxy smartphones running Android 4.3 and higher, Android smartphones running Android 4.4 and higher and the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, and the iPhone 5 running at least iOS 9.0.

Samsung Gear Sport performance

Compared to last year’s model, the Gear Sport offers relatively similar technical specs, with a dual-core 1 GHz processor, 768 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. The watch has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC and GPS.

The strength of the wearable Samsung wearables has always been the incredible speed and fluidity compared to the competition from Android Wear. During the review period, the watch has always been fast and responsive while maintaining acceptable power consumption.

Samsung Gear Sport audio

Gear Sport integrates a microphone for voice controls but does not integrate a loudspeaker. It is therefore not possible to use the smartwatch for phone calls.  To answer a call from your wrist, you will have to remove the phone from your pocket.

As with Gear Fit2 Pro, you can also connect your Spotify Premium account to download music to your watch and listen to it without a smartphone on your Bluetooth headset. 

Samsung Gear Sport battery

The Samsung Gear Sport features a small 300 mAh battery. The Gear S3 battery was slightly larger (380 mAh) but the screen is 0.1 inch smaller, so there’s less area to keep powered. Gear Sport offers an energy saving mode that allows you to extend the battery life by deactivating all functions except step counters and clock.

I’ve usually got 2 full days of battery life with the dial always on but without using GPS. If you turn off the dial when it is not in use, you can complete the third day without a loader (provided that you do not use GPS very much) You should not have any problems arriving at night using your smartwatch for prolonged physical activity.

gear battery Battery life is excellent when compared to common smartwatches. / © AndroidPIT

Like its predecessors, Gear Sport can be wirelessly recharged on its base which includes a small magnet to facilitate positioning. There are no visible contacts, charging takes place by induction.

Samsung Gear Sport technical specifications

Dimensions: 42.9 x 44.6 x 11.6 mm
Weight: 50 g
Battery size: 300 mAh
Screen size: 1.2 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 360 x 360 pixels (302 ppi)
RAM: 768 MB
Internal storage: 4 GB
Number of cores: 2
Max. clock speed: 1 GHz
Connectivity: NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

Final verdict

With Gear Sport, the Korean company confirms what it has demonstrated in recent years with its Tizen platform. The devices that use the proprietary platform are fast, fluid, reliable and have all the main functions to satisfy most users, both sports and non-sporting. Although smartwatch is designed for people who do a lot of physical activity, it is also a great companion for lazy people like myself.

The price is not the most affordable, but for a smart smartwatch that looks elegant and adapts to any situation from the gym to an elegant dinner, it’s money well invested. The main functions are all there and there has not been a single day when the watch has given me problems of any kind.

Coming from a long relationship with Android Wear for me it was an enlightening experience as I realized that the most open operating system is not always the best one. Samsung has made Tizen the real star of this device.

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Honor 7X review: A little more bang for your buck

Honor has repeatedly introduced interesting features on its mid-range smartphones, features which we would normally expect on more expensive devices. The Honor 7X, which features the 18:9 display already used by Huawei and very slim bezels, looks to be no exception. We’ve spent some time with the Honor 7X and here’s what we think.

Good

  • Well made
  • Dual camera
  • Display 18:9
  • Battery

Bad

  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Too much bloatware
  • No USB Type C

Lowest price: Honor 7X

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Honor 7X release date and price

As of December 5th, the Chinese company’s new smartphones have completed their journey to the west, and the Honor 7X, being the more ‘junior’ device aimed at a younger audience on a budget, offers a pretty good deal for its features.

As of the time of writing Honor is throwing in some extra goodies with the devices to celebrate the release. Pricing for the US is $ 199.99 from Honor’s official store in black and blue and Honor is currently feeling generous enough to throw in an Honor 7X PC Case free with the purchase.

In the UK, the Honor 7X costs £269 and currently comes with an Honor Band 3 fitness tracker.

Honor 7X design and build quality

The Honor 7X’s design resembles that of other Honor smartphones, similar to Huawei and Chinese devices made by other brands. The technology has been integrated into a 7.6mm metal unibody housing a double camera slightly protruding on the body, a fingerprint reader and two bands for the antennas.

Only a few years ago it was rare to find a mid-range smartphone with an aluminum body, but it is now beginning to become almost boring. This shows how the market and user demands are changing.

The Honor 7X front is 83% occupied by the display. A small but annoying detail: Honor has not integrated a USB type C port, you will have to use microUSB, with all the flaws that entails. The Honor 7X weighs 165 grams and is 7.6mm thick. The device is available in black and blue.

AndroidPIT honor 7x back L’Honor 7X punta su un design non originale ma funzionale. / © AndroidPIT

Honor 7X display

The 18:9 screen offers a resolution of 2160×1080 pixels, a standard for this format. Customers now expect FullHD display in the mid-range. But Honor does offer specifications that more than match the competition.

The pixel density for the 5.93 inch screen is 407 ppi. The representation offered by the IPS panel is pleasant, especially if you prefer more natural colors. Brightness and viewing angles are good even if not at the height of expensive smartphones (including Huawei smartphones). The screen protector glass gets dirty easily.

AndroidPIT honor 7x front A large 18:9 display for the Honor 7X. / © AndroidPIT

Honor 7X special features

Honor has focused on making a durable body for its 7X. Thanks to integrated ‘airbags’, the four corners of your smartphone should withstand damage caused by a fall. However, in order to understand whether this is the case in everyday life, we need to test it for longer. For now we can confirm that it has not suffered any damage during the test period, but we have also treated it with due care.

Honor 7X software

The Honor 7X runs Android 7.0 Nougat. Although this is a common practice among Android manufacturers, Oreo is expected to arrive and has been out for a few months now. Nougat is more than a year old. The EMUI interface is available in version 5.1 and is visually pleasing (though your personal taste will be a factor), and also versatile and customizable.

By default, the app drawer, i. e. the section that collects all apps, is deactivated. All icons then appear on the home screen. If you prefer to sort them in the drawer app, you can do so by activating the dedicated item in the settings menu.

While Honor and Huawei’s most expensive smartphones are now almost free of bloatware, history changes with cheaper models. You’ll find almost 10 third-party apps pre-installed, including 5 games. The user also receives a number of unsolicited tips on apps that may be of interest to him/her, but you can also disable this feature.

screens honor 7x The Honor 7X arrives with Android 7.0 Nougat and EMUI 5.1. / © AndroidPIT

You are able to use the full screen format when displaying apps developed for 16:9 format by tapping a button at the bottom of the screen. In the system settings, you can specify which apps to launch in full format by default.

Honor 7X performance

The Honor 7X contains a Hisilicon Kirin 659 processor. The octa-core chip runs up to 2.3GHz and has access to 4GB of RAM. Sufficient to ensure smooth performance in everyday use: Honor 7X has not shown stuttering or other weaknesses.

It is a mid-range device, despite the presence of 4GB of RAM. In the benchmark tests it reported average results. Let’s say that hardcore gamers will find better alternatives to the Honor 7X on the market. With 64GB of internal memory, your smartphone offers enough space for photos, apps, music and movies. But if you need some extra space, you can insert a memory card or alternatively take advantage of two SIM cards at the same time.

Honor 7X benchmark results

  Honor 7X Huawei Mate 10 Lite
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme 399  402 
3DMark Sling Shot 619  622 
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 12174  12325 
Geekbench 4 (Single / Multi Core) 872 / 2849  910 / 3150 
PCMark Work 2.0 4323  4675 
PCMark Storage 7802  7001 

Honor 7X audio

Audiophiles would do well to look elsewhere because the Honor 7X’s driver is not able to meet the needs of very serious music fans. The small speaker at the bottom of the smartphone is not promising. At least Honor is still fond of the beloved headphone mini-jack.

Honor 7X camera

The dual camera on the Honor 7X body is unmistakable and features two 16+2MP sensors. The two sensors allow the bokeh effect to be used. Don’t expect to shoot 4K videos. The front camera offers 8MP shots.

The dual camera’s 2MP sensor is not used to improve image detail but to record the depth information you need, for example, to rework on a photo’s focus, bokeh or portrait mode. You can see how Huawei has a software advantage over other manufacturers. Artificial blurring rarely fails and works well overall. A trained eye can immediately recognize the difference between an artificial or real blurred effect.

IMG 20171127 115718 The portrait mode does a good job. / © AndroidPIT

The quality of the photos is more than impressive considering the band of the device. The photos show beautiful colors and rich details, the subject usually takes center stage. When the brightness is low, you will notice imperfections in shots.

IMG 20171123 152014 When brightness is good, shots are good. / © AndroidPIT

The front camera does not offer portrait mode with a bokeh effect, but it can smoothe wrinkles and embellishes faces with small tricks that can be deactivated.

AndroidPIT honor 7x camera The dual camera is becoming a standard feature. / © AndroidPIT

Honor 7X battery

With 3340 mAh, the Honor 7X’s powerful battery provides a day away from a power outlet. During the test, our smartphone was able to stay alive for up to two days without being recharged. The Honor 7X’s standby power consumption is pleasantly low and helps to ensure good battery life.

Fast charging or induction wireless charging technology is not available. Pity.

Honor 7X technical specifications

Dimensions: 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 165 g
Battery size: 3340 mAh
Screen size: 5.93 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2160 x 1080 pixels (407 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 16 megapixels
Flashlight: LED
Android version: 7.0 – Nougat
User interface: Huawei EMUI
RAM: 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 659
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.36 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.1

Final verdict

The Honor 7X has done well in our tests. The design is appealing but functional, the large display does justice in the eyes of users and the whole package is impressive. For a smartphone in this price range, the camera is especially good with two sensors, which allows you to do more than with just a single sensor.

The Honor 7X offers more on the display, memory and camera side than other mid-range smartphones. On the other hand, however, it really needs an up-to-date Android version and less bloatware. Nonetheless, thanks to its reasonable price, the Honor 7X will undoubtedly be appreciated by many users.

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Fitbit Ionic review: The sporty smartwatch

Fitbit, undisputed star of fitness trackers, has decided to step out of its comfort zone. For the first time, the US manufacturer wants to compete with the Apple Watch and Android Wear smartwatches. The Fitbit Ionic is the first smartwatch from the company able to take advantage of apps developed by third parties. After several weeks of testing, here are my impressions.

Good

  • Battery life
  • Built-in GPS
  • Fitbit app
  • Heart rate monitoring

Bad

  • Price
  • OS can be a bit slow
  • Replying to notifications not possible
  • Limited swimming features

Release date and price

Made official at IFA 2017, the Fitbit Ionic is available for $ 299. Fitbit’s connected smartwatch comes in three colors: Blue Gray/Silver Gray, Slate Blue/Burnt Orange and Charcoal/Smoke Gray.

Fitbit Ionic

Design and build quality

As far as I can tell, the Fitbit Ionic is not the best looking smartwatch on the market. The Ionic follows the tradition of the Blaze with its square dial. In everyday life, it goes rather unnoticed, so it should be fine for a wide range of people. However, those concerned with fashion will opt for another model, since the Ionic is missing a bit of sex appeal due to its rather thick borders around the dial. The watch is comfortable to wear and is easily forgotten despite its weight of 46 grams. 

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3508 The Ionic retains the square style of the Blaze. © AndroidPIT

On the technical side, the Ionic’s casing is made of Series 6000 aluminum, an alloy of magnesium and silicon identical to the iPhone 6, which showed signs of weakness soon after its launch. Apple has opted for aluminum 7000 series for its iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 because it contains zinc, which guarantees more strength. I remain, for example, quite pessimistic about the Fitbit Ionic resistance to scratching. Regarding the build quality and finish, however, everything looks and feels right.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3533 On the back, you’ll find the optical heart rate sensor. © AndroidPIT

The strap supplied in the box is made of silicone. For sports, it’s very practical. Its fastening system (a buckle and an attachment button) is invaluable to avoid any risk of loss. It is sometimes a little difficult to wrap around the wrist, the loop being so tight that the piece of elastomer on the bracelet has difficulty fastening. Fortunately, silicone seems to be able to withstand the test of time (and perspiration). Of course, the strap is proprietary so you’ll have to go through the Fitbit store to get new ones (including leather). The changing the strap is, fortunately, very easy.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3506 The bracelet will not come loose during your activities. © AndroidPIT

In the middle, of course, is the 1.4-inch screen of the Fitbit Ionic. There are three buttons on the sides (two on the right edge, one on the left edge). The one on the left is a back button, while the buttons on the right are for navigation. The top button displays the stats of your day, and the second is dedicated to kicking off exercise sessions. On the back, there is an optical heart rate sensor. I will return to the topic of its effectiveness later. The watch is waterproof, so swimming with it is definitely possible.

Display

The Fitbit Ionic features a 1.42-inch LCD touch screen, with a resolution of 348 x 250 pixels and a pixel density of 302 pixels per inch. Just like the Gear Fit2 Pro we tested recently, the watch is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 for extra durability.

Compared to Samsung’s smart fitness band, the display of the Ionic does not offer as much contrast, but the watch’s display is still very good. The Fitbit Ionic features bright colors and high brightness (1000 nits like the Apple Watch 2). The readability is very good, and the Fitbit Ionic is a perfect companion for any type of sporting activity. I was pleasantly surprised by its usability underwater, especially in terms of readability.

As for responsiveness, it’s not bad. However, the screen is sometimes a bit slow to respond and you have to make an effort to move your wrist enough to wake the screen. This is annoying from time to time when you are doing an activity and want to know information quickly.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3487 The screen is one of the best aspects of the device. © AndroidPIT

Special features

Fitness features

In addition to its smartwatch capabilities, the Fitbit Ionic is of course a perfect tool for tracking your sports activities. All the fitness features we know and love from other Fitbit products can be found here:

  • Pedometer: The Ionic translates motion sensor data to count your steps. Active days will result in a large number of steps, and inactive days, a small number. As always with Fitbit, the result is rather optimistic.
  • Sleep monitoring: The watch automatically detects the hours between when the user falls asleep and wakes up. The app also tells you about your sleep cycles: in-between, light, deep. Personally, I appreciated this information since it allows me to predict fatigue. You just have to get used to sleeping while wearing this watch all the time, which could be painful or uncomfortable for some people.
  • Nutritional monitoring: It’s possible to manually monitor your diet in the app. However, you must always enter the information about your meals yourself, which requires a certain commitment.
  • Caloric expenditure
  • Activity tracking: running, cycling, swimming, treadmill, bodybuilding, etc.

Although I still had some initial apprehension during my underwater sessions, the Fitbit Ionic has been able to withstand swimming. Sometimes the results can be distorted when counting distance for laps in the pool.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3492 Fitbit covers a broad spectrum of activities. © AndroidPIT

Fitbit Coach

If Fitbit presents its smartwatch as a fitness coaching watch. Through videos shown on the watch, you’ll be guided through workouts. For the moment, only three videos are available. More free videos should arrive later. The idea seems good, but sometimes it’s difficult to follow the video on your wrist and move at the same time. Maybe a speaker would have helped here.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3502  By default, three free coaching videos are offered. © AndroidPIT

Fitbit also offers other custom exercises in the Fitbit Coach app. This is actually a new version of the Fitstar app, from a company bought by Fitbit. Custom exercises will be suggested to you, but there’s a $ 39 annual subscription fee. These custom workouts will show you exactly what to do. Each exercise, you can leave comments to better adjust your workouts. The goal here is to help you improve and encourage you to try different types of exercises.

androidpit fitbit coach Fitbit Coach is your personalized coach, but you will have to get out your wallet to really enjoy it.  © AndroidPIT

Software

The Fitbit Ionic runs on the manufacturer’s own OS, Fitbit OS. Despite the marketing promises of the brand, I admit to being disappointed with the possibilities offered by the watch. If the purchase of Pebble for $ 40 million foreshadowed good things, its integration still leaves something to be desired. For the first time in its history, Fitbit offers a development kit (SDK) for third party developers to create their own apps for the watch. For the moment, though, the Fitbit App Gallery catalog is relatively empty. Apart from a few partner apps that are very strong (Strava, Starbucks and Pandora to name a few), there’s not many other satisfying options. Fans of Spotify will, for example, have to transfer their songs to the 2.5 GB internal memory of the watch. It doesn’t need to be so complicated.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3487 The interface is simple and intuitive, but it can be slow sometimes. © AndroidPIT

Unable to respond to notifications

Fitbit OS allows you to receive notifications on your Ionic (calls, messages, social networking). The problem is that you don’t have the opportunity to respond, which creates a great sense of frustration. It is only possible to clear the notifications, one by one or all at once. Why, Fitbit? The watch doesn’t have a microphone or suggest replies.

Fitbit app

As always, the Fitbit app is one of the best features. It’s always so intuitive and fun to use. The app displays the essential information on the home page as blocks which you can rearrange as you wish. You can easily find all activities completed and you can challenge your friends. It is compatible with a large number of third-party services (Alexa, IFTT, MyFitness Pal and more).

There’s nothing to say about the synchronization between the smartwatch and the app. It’s quick and painless. The only problem I encountered was during the initial configuration, since it took more than two hours to download and install the mandatory update to use the device.

androidpit fitbit app The Fitbit app is one of the great strengths of the Ionic. © AndroidPIT

Performance

As far as tech specs go, the Fitbit Ionic has 2.5 GB of internal storage, which can be used to store your music for example. There’s an NFC chip for payments, a GPS, an optical heart rate sensor, a gyroscope, a barometer and an accelerometer to measure all of your physical activities.

In general, the performance is good and the resource management seems to be under control. However, as explained above, I’ve experienced some delays, though I’m not sure whether it’s because of the processor or the system itself. 

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3499 Thanks to the GPS, you can check the weather. © AndroidPIT

GPS and heart rate monitoring

The GPS performed well and the distances proved to be accurate and consistent with what my smartphone recorded. Regarding the optical heart rate sensor, I found the results slightly higher than reality, even though Fitbit explained that its new algorithms made the measurement more accurate. While the results are more stable, the recordings still seems a little high. If your wrists are heavily involved in your sporting activities, the heart rate results are basically useless. Of course, as for other fitness trackers, we must remain cautious about the information received since these are always estimates. Once again, I encourage you to read the article written by my colleague Stefan on the topic:

Battery

If you’re looking for a long lasting smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic will delight you, as battery life is one of the areas in which the watch excels. As promised by the manufacturer, the Ionic is able to hold out for nearly 4 days before showing severe signs of fatigue and requiring recharging. Rest assured, there is no need to disable the cardio sensor or limit the brightness to achieve such a result. It’s a different story if you use the GPS a lot, as the range is greatly reduced. But there is nothing surprising about that.

It is difficult to competing smartwatches that are doing better in this area. The only negative point is the method of charging itself. As always, Fitbit offers a proprietary cable, so you’ll want to take care not to lose it as it’s a pain to replace. Fitbit offers only the charging cable and not the charger in its box. Given the price of the watch, we were entitled to at least that.

AndroidPIT fitbit ionic 3555 The charging system is convenient (similar to Apple’s Magsafe) but it’s still a proprietary format. © AndroidPIT

Final verdict

Was Fitbit’s bet on the coaching watch successful? Not really, in my opinion. As a smartwatch, it’s a little too limited. The system isn’t very mature (it’s not possible to reply to notifications!), and it lacks apps. The design is a bit too simple to really win me over.

Nevertheless, the Fitbit Ionic isn’t a bad product. The watch is an ideal companion for sport tracking and it benefits from the brand’s experience in this field. As ever, the Fitbit app is a great strength. You can use the device for many activities (running, swimming, bodybuilding) and its battery life is fantastic. But in the end, the price seems a bit too high for an activity tracker, and it’s not advanced enough for a smartwatch when you compare it to the competition (Samsung Gear S3, Apple Watch and others).

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