Why did Apple put the notch on the screen? Why complicate the design and reduce available space on screens which are limited in size? Many hours are lost on the discussion around that notch, but one thing is certain – other smartphone companies like to copy Apple. They may be afraid to have their ideas and think that if they follow the winner they will also become winners?
In this review we look at the Elephone A4, a Chinese smart phone that took the idea of a screen with a notch and placed it in a pretty cheap package. For around $100 we get a smartphone with a MediaTek quad-core chipset, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of user memory, the latest Android 8.1, a notched screen and even a face unlock.
How good has the Elephone managed to integrate these functions? Well, let’s start with the build quality of this smartphone.
Build quality and buttons
This smartphone already has a little less standard design. At the front and the back there is glass and the smartphone is bordered with what looks like real chrome. What separates it from most is its back, which has two visual elements. One part on the back has very fine lines on it while the rest is plain color. Such a small visual change is already quite different from the uniform design of a standard smartphone nowadays.
Chromed edges are made pretty well because they do not feel like cheap plastic, rather like real metal. The volume buttons have no middle indentation but are quite comfortable to press whilst being tactile, just like the power button that is textured and rounded so that you will not accidentally confuse it with the volume buttons.
Below these three buttons is a fingerprint reader, which I personally think is one of the worst spots for that sensor since the smartphone is most often held on the edges which lead to various random touches, especially when pulling the phone from the pocket. In the end, it probably depends on how you hold your smartphone and this position may suit you perfectly.
Although the glass front and back may look attractive, be sure that it’ll be covered in fingerprints very quickly. Fortunately, this problem can be solved by swiftly wiping it on your pants or t-shirt. I won’t even mention the problems that can arise with glass backs and falling.
I would also like to mention that the MicroUSB connector at the bottom is embedded very deeply and that all standard MicroUSB cables will fall out and have a poor connection. All in all, if you do not mind the glass and the position of the fingerprint reader, I would say that for the price this smartphone feels very nice in hand.
Although Elephone has put a very fresh version of the Android system on this smartphone, I cannot say that it has done it much good. They themselves have made their own life difficult since they put the notch at the top of the screen even though Android natively does not support such special screen shapes. Youtube videos cannot stretch up to the physical edge of the screen but are cut off under the notch.
Texts and icons on the sides of the notch are poorly positioned and occasionally sometimes the notch cuts them off. The games do not go over the notch and it does seem to look rather weird. Still, I cannot say that the effect is bad because in some cases it really looks like the phone has two small screens above the main panel
Additionally, the operating system that the Elephone put on this smartphone does not have a lot of bloatware and is quite close to native Android apart from a couple of plugins from Elephone like their application launcher and their cloud service. The only problem with this system is lack of optimization and polish.
Microstutters in the system are common and the entire user interface runs at rather unstable speeds. The task switcher can slow down the interface to probably under 20 fps, which is very bad. Just opening and changing the applications is not slow, but the animations are. Another thing I should mention is the fingerprint reader.
Although I’ve added my finger several times, there are always problems with unlocking and very often I needed to type in my PIN after my smartphone banned using fingerprints because of failed attempts. When it is working, the fingerprint reader can unlock the phone very quickly. The problem is that it rarely works.
It may be my fingers’ fault since I had similar problems with other cheap Chinese smartphones… Maybe they just use bad sensors.
With a fairly small 3000mAh battery, you should not expect much of this smartphone. Unfortunately, expectations I had are met. I did a quick drain test by playing Subway Surf for 15 minutes at maximum brightness.
In these 15 minutes, the battery level went down by 8%, which is a considerable amount of power gone. I also have to say that the chipset of this smartphone has gotten quite hot I played that game, even to the unpleasant levels. Obviously, the unoptimized chipset is credited for quite a bit of that consumption. 8% in 15 minutes means that the game could be played for just over three hours.
Of course, it’s a cheap smartphone and as I said, we should not expect a lot. With the normal use of social networks and surfing – this smartphone should endure all day.
Benchmark and real- life performance
First, it’s time to do the synthetic tests. After crashing the first few times, Antutu’s test gave us a fairly low 38849 points. At geekbench, the renderscript test gives us 1114 points, the single core test gives us 583 points and the multi-core test gives us 1614 points.
These synthetic tests have already told us a lot but I downloaded the averagely demanding 3D game “Does Not Commute” and at the highest settings it was very sluggish and uncomfortable to play. The game just gets comfortable when I drop the graphics to the lowest setting. I also tried the Subway Surf which, although it had an average FPS of about 30, was pretty much playing without major stutters. These are all pretty undemanding games so I would not believe you could run anything much more demanding like PUBG or Asphalt 8.
Otherwise, the use and browsing of the web sites is pretty quick, along with opening up and using multiple applications. Although pure speed may be there, the UI again has a lot of microstutters and lacks plenty of fluidity. You may not be able to see it on the video, but when you use it, it’s very noticeable.
Cameras and video
I need to be honest; I was expecting a lot less for a camera on such a smartphone. In the end, what I got is a pretty normal camera that in no sense is great, but has no giant weak spots.
The details in the night get a bit lost and the picture is slightly blurred due to the denoise algorithm used by this smartphone, but you still see what you need to see. During the day the colors are fairly correct and everything seems fine, the picture also sharp, even though the lens covers quite an angle.
When shooting, we have FullHD recording with electronic stabilization. Rolling shutter is noticeable but not too much and electronic stabilization stabilizes, but also not too much. Unfortunately, as with most Chinese smartphones with electronic stabilization, the picture is always too distorted and stretches completely unnaturally. Fortunately, with this smartphone at the end we get a seemingly more stable picture than with some others…
Simply, when I look at camera quality and the price at which I got all this, I would say I did not expect much more. The camera application is a bit odd and rudimentary but when you get the hold of it, it will not cause you problems.
Speakers and audio out
As with performance testing, first come the synthetic tests. The results shown in the video are measured with the headphones connected to the mobile phone and should reflect the reality fairly well. In a listening test you can hear the lack of low frequencies a bit. It should not cause problems but music will certainly not sound as beautiful as it would with a better system.
Sometimes distortion is heard at medium and high frequencies, but not often and only at the highest volumes. Fortunately, the headphone connector is tough and great, meaning good and quality contact! The loudspeaker is fairly average, but has no deep frequencies. It’s quite loud without unpleasant distortions.
For such a price, I would say that this is good enough since the very good mobile speakers are still quite a luxury thing.
Inside, there’s a classic IPS panel with one extra, the black notch on top. Although the notch itself doesn’t affect the quality of the image on this screen, a lot of the problems are created due to the imperfection of the user interface optimization by Elephone. The screen itself has a nice contrast and fairly bright colors which make this smartphone very nice on the front.
Its resolution, on the other hand, is quite non-standard. The resolution of 720×1512 results in a 19:9 aspect ratio, which means even more vertical space than now trendy 18:9 ratio. True, this makes the smartphone quite interesting to use but can lead to complications in applications that are made only for 16:9 and 18:9 phones.
Another interesting addition is that all four edges of the screen are rounded. Although it probably loses about twenty pixels, the effect seems quite attractive in itself. Some probably prefer classic, sharp edges but it depends on taste, I can only say that the rounded edges of this smartphone did not create a problem for me.
When it comes to lighting, maximum and minimum brightness are quite unattractive and do not go far beyond average. The lowest illumination is not dark and the highest illumination is not too bright. The text is readable under the sunlight and at night you should not look at it for too long.
With this smartphone, Elephone has tried to bring luxury aesthetics into a non-luxurious price ranking. You pay $100 and you get a nice smartphone, a chrome edge, a big 5.85″ notch screen, a lot of RAM, and quite the camera.
Unfortunately, at such prices the things you get in one department are lost in the other. The system isn’t making a good use of the notch, the fingerprint reader is clunky to use, the user interface feels pretty rough because of the unstable FPS and the performance itself puts it in the lower mid-range.
For those who love the notch on the screen and do not want to spend a lot, this could be a good choice. If the notch is not very important to you, then you should opt in for some other smartphone with more balanced specifications.
OnePlus Announces Partnership With Epic Games To Provide The First-Ever 90FPS Fortnite Smartphone Experience
OnePlus, a global mobile technology company, today announces a partnership with Epic Games, designed to create an unprecedented Fortnite mobile user experience for its device owners. With the rollout currently underway, the OnePlus 8 Series is now the first line of smartphones able to run Fortnite on the Unreal Engine at 90FPS, which is the fastest frame rate ever available for Fortnite on a smartphone.
“OnePlus and Epic Games have created one of the best Fortnite experiences ever on a smartphone. The OnePlus 8 Series delivers a smooth, high framerate Fortnite gameplay experience – that even current generation console game systems can’t match,” said Pete Lau, Founder & CEO, OnePlus. “OnePlus creates the best devices for mobile gaming through our industry leading display, speedy performance, and overall user experience designed with power-users in mind.”
The partnership, rooted in technological innovation, was driven by both Epic Games and OnePlus’ desire to take Fortnite to a higher level on Android. The entire endeavor to bring 90FPS to Fortnite on the OnePlus 8 took months of development. To kick off the launch in India, OnePlus users (OnePlus 6 and newer) are now able to download Fortnite via “One-touch” easy installation of the Epic Games App exclusively through the “Game Space” application. As the leading premium smartphone company in India, OnePlus is bringing Fortnite to its fervent fanbase for easy gameplay across the board.
“Easy installation with ‘One Touch’ really simplifies the process of installing software, and removes friction usually found on other Android devices,” said Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games. “This is a big step forward, and alongside the performance improvements the teams have made regarding FPS, Fortnite on a OnePlus device is going to be an awesome experience.”
OnePlus users with the OnePlus 7, OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro can play Fortnite at a maximum of 60 FPS, the previous highest performance for the mobile game. OnePlus is committed to bringing the best mobile gaming experiences to its users and is continuously taking steps to bring major firsts to the category.
REDMI 10X SERIES DEBUTS IN MAINLAND CHINA
Today, global technology leader Xiaomi officially announced the Redmi 10X for Mainland China – the first phone in the new Redmi X series. Standing at the forefront of the industry, Redmi 10X is the first smartphone to ship with the MediaTek Dimensity 820 SoC while also supporting dual 5G standby, achieving top-of-the-line performance with an AnTuTu score of over 410,000. The series also offers a Samsung AMOLED display and 30x digital zoom camera.
Leading performance with MediaTek Dimensity 820
Powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 820 processor, Redmi 10X series is currently the highest performing mid-to-high-end smartphone on the market. Thanks to its flagship-level four-core architecture (4X ARM Cortex-A76 cores and 4X ARM Cortex A55 cores), MediaTek 820 provides a blazing clock speed of up to 2.6Hz, enabling Redmi 10X to achieve an AnTuTu score of over 410,000, ranking first in its price range.
To ensure stable and uninterrupted performance during prolonged gaming sessions, Redmi 10X series is kept cool with a liquid cooling system that surrounds a suspended heat pipe, and multi-layered graphite to disperse the heat.
Non-stop connectivity with world’s first dual 5G standby
Redmi 10X series adopts an integrated 5G solution which supports dual-mode SA+NSA to cover mainstream Mainland China 5G frequency bands. When connected to two 5G networks simultaneously, the device can intelligently switch between the two networks to ensure optimal 5G connectivity at all times.
To continually provide peak performance with the best power consumption rate, Redmi 10X also leverages the MediaTek 5G UltraSave energy management function and smart switching technology to intelligently select optimal and sustained signal quality at lowest power.
Redmi 10X series also has targeted optimization capabilities for different usage scenarios such as elevators, basements, and high-speed transport. It is able to monitor network signals throughout popular transit routes to constantly optimize network parameters and pathways, greatly reducing the rate at which calls drop or data connectivity is lost, ensuring a stable and fast 5G connection across all locations.
Celebrate creativity with unparalleled camera capability
Users can get creative with light photography thanks to Redmi 10X series’ outstanding camera capabilities that can capture intricate and experimental scenarios such as crowds, night scenery, running water, light painting, and starry skies. With this dynamic camera, users don’t need to fiddle with complex parameter setups in order to take playful images of light.
Redmi 10X series also boasts the industry’s first handheld low-light timelapse camera. Thanks to the low-light registration algorithm, interest point screening and 10ms nightscape alignment, users can take stunning night time photos and videos without the need of a tripod, providing a much simpler way of upgrading photography skills and video quality.
Redmi 10X series is fitted with a 48MP ultra-high resolution main camera. Redmi 10X Pro sports a 30x digital zoom with optical image stabilization (OIS), which significantly increases the stability while taking pictures.
Flagship-level features that revamps your mobile experience
Redmi 10X series sports a 6.57’’ Samsung AMOLED display that boasts 2400×1080 resolution for bright and clear image. The display supports HDR10+ and adjusts brightness and contrast in real time based on the content being played, ensuring optimal image details. With DC dimming, it minimizes stroboscopic effects in low lighting and ensures a comfortable viewing experience in the dark.
Redmi 10X series features an in-screen fingerprint sensor and customizable Always-on Display. The new Dark Mode 2.0 allows non-compatible third party apps to obtain dark mode coverage in all scenarios which ensures comfortable viewing at night, and saves 50% more power compared to LCD Dark Mode.
Redmi 10X series puts an end to the hassle of daily charging. Equipped with a 4,520mAh (typ) large capacity battery, it offers the hardware required for long lasting battery life. Redmi 10X Pro also supports 33W PD fast charge to quickly regain a sufficiently charged battery level.
Designed with a full 3D curved screen glass body, Redmi 10X series comes in four colors: Twilight Purple, Deep Ocean Blue, Starlight White, Lunar Gold. The Lunar Gold variant adopts the AG craft commonly seen in flagship phones, which is designed with a matte finish that exudes quality and is resistant to finger smudges. Both sides of the device are built with the highly durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5, giving it smash and drop-proof qualities. Redmi 10X series sports IP53-level for dust and splash protection, offering resistance to light rain and other unexpected mishaps of daily life.
Other notable features include: Xiaomi’s latest MIUI 12 software1,multifunctional NFC for swift payments and door access, linear motor for haptic feedback, 1217 ultra-linear speaker for loud playback, IR blaster for quick remote control, and an in-screen fingerprint sensor for quick unlock experience – a powerful configuration rarely seen in other products in a similar price range.
Redmi 10X series comes in two editions, Redmi 10X and Redmi 10X Pro. The core hardware configuration of the two devices maintains a high degree of quality and consistency.
Redmi 10X comes in four variants: 6+64GB, 6+128GB, 8+128GB, and 8+256GB, priced at RMB 1,599, RMB 1,799, RMB 2,099, and RMB 2,399 respectively.
Redmi 10X Pro comes in two variations: 8+128GB and 8+256G, priced at RMB 2,299 and RMB 2,599 respectively. The two devices are currently available for purchase through all official Xiaomi channels.
Xiaomi also revealed the Redmi 10X 4G edition. Sporting a MediaTek Helio G85 processor, Redmi 10X 4G has a 6.53’’ full screen display with a tiny in-display camera and a 48MP rear quad camera, a large 5,020mAh (typ) battery and an ultra-large 128GB storage capacity. It comes in three colors: Skyline Blue, Forest Green and Frost White. Priced at RMB 999 for 4+128GB, it is currently available for purchase through all official Xiaomi Mainland China sales channels.
HONOR Launches HONOR X10, the First 5G Smartphone in its X-series
HONOR announced the new HONOR X10, the first 5G smartphone in the X-series for the Chinese mainland market. The HONOR X10 features the 5G 7nm Kirin 820 SoC that supports nine 5G frequency brands, and a triple camera setup that is equipped with a RYYB sensor. The smartphone has a 92% screen-to-body ratio and will come with a 90Hz refresh rate display and a 180Hz touch sampling rate for a superior viewing experience. Packed full of HONOR’s newest technology, the HONOR X10 is well-positioned for the 5G era and promises to deliver next-generation performance in gaming and photography for its users. At the launch event, George Zhao, President of HONOR also announced that the total global shipment of the HONOR X-Series had exceeded 80 million units and received countless accolades.
Available online and from major HONOR retailers from 26 May in mainland China, the HONOR X10 will be available in Sapphire Blue, Midnight Black, Titanium Silver and Fiery Orange. Prices start at RMB1899 for the 6GB + 64GB version, RMB2199 for the 6GB + 128GB version and RMB2399 for the 8GB + 128GB version.
All-round upgrade: Enhanced 5G experience with the 5G 7nm Kirin 820 chipset
As the first 5G smartphone in the X-series, the HONOR X10 has set a high bar for a flagship 5G experience. Its 5G 7nm Kirin 820 chipset can support both non-standalone and standalone modes and support nine 5G frequency bands that will provide an extensive range of coverage, allowing the HONOR X10 to enjoy more stable and reliable 5G connectivity. Equipped with a smart antenna, the HONOR X10 is able to receive send and receive signals effectively even when the user moves between areas of differing 5G coverage.
Prior to the launch of the HONOR X10, HONOR also announced the opening of the HONOR 5G Laboratory. According to a representative of the HONOR 5G Laboratory, the company invested over RMB300 million into research and development of the HONOR X10, spent over 500,000 man-hours testing the smartphone’s 5G capabilities and made 250,000 test calls on the smartphone. To mark the 60th anniversary of the historic ascent of Mount Everest, HONOR collaborated with the Chinese National Mountaineering Team to make the HONOR X10 the designated smartphone for the team. On 11 May, the national mountaineers scaled Mount Everest with the HONOR X10 and tested its 5G capabilities at more than 6500 meters above sea level. The result was astounding: the HONOR X10 recorded a maximum download speed of 1617Mbps, proving that it is a high-performing smartphone even in harsh environments.
Designed for gaming enthusiasts: 90Hz refresh rate display
The 5G 7nm Kirin 820 chipset, a successor to the Kirin 810 chipset, features an innovative octa-core design with one high-performance A76 big core, three balanced A76 middle cores, and four energy-efficient A55 small cores. With this configuration, the chipset can operate up to a speed of 2.36GHz. Built on the Huawei’s Da Vinci NPU architecture, the 5G 7nm Kirin 820 chipset achieves superior performance and ultra-low power consumption, allowing it to perform 5G and AI tasks seamlessly and effectively.
In order to improve the gaming performance of the HONOR X10, the hardware of the smartphone underwent several optimizations. Firstly, the GPU of the HONOR X10 is a Mali-G57 with six cores and has a Smart Cache feature that implements flexible switching of bandwidth resources to reduce power consumption. In addition, compared with the last generation, the HONOR X10 has an additional six antennas. Finally, the HONOR X10 features the Kirin Gaming+ 2.0 with brand new AI frequency modulation scheduling technology that achieves a sweet balance between gaming performance and power consumption. It is also equipped with the latest GPU-Turbo to provide more high-performance support for most popular games.
The HONOR X10’s 90Hz refresh rate for its display is a win for gamers looking to experience buttery-smooth gameplay. Compared to most smartphone displays that have a 60Hz refresh rate, the HONOR X10 will feature noticeably smoother scrolling and users will experience lesser eye fatigue. Furthermore, the HONOR X10 boasts a 180Hz touch sampling rate, significantly reducing touch lag and speeds up the overall experience. Finally, the HONOR X10 is equipped with a 4,300mAh battery that supports 10V 2.25A fast charge, allowing all-day uninterrupted usage.
RYYB sensor enables superior night photography on the HONOR X10
The HONOR X10 features a 40MP triple camera setup and an industry-leading image sensor that is equipped with an exclusive RYYB filter that increases the light intake by up to 40%. With the enhancement of light sensitivity brought by RYYB, the HONOR X10 is able to support an impressive ISO of up to 153,600. The 5G 7nm Kirin 820 chipset has ISP 5.0 that supports BM3D for professional-level noise reduction while the improved AIS Super Night mode will enable the HONOR X10 to synthesize multi-frame images and support exposure up to 30 seconds. Together, these upgrades will allow the HONOR X10 to capture ultra-clear night shots with heightened brightness and better color preservation even in dimly lit environments.
The HONOR X10 camera also allows users to capture crisp pictures even when there is fast movement. Through a series of optimization processes and AI, the HONOR X10 is able to synthesize different layers to form a perfect picture. The HONOR X10 also supports 4K Ultra-HD video shooting capabilities. In terms of its front-facing camera, the HONOR X10 has a 16MP Selfie camera. Working together with enhanced AI capabilities, selfies will not look over-processed and are more natural.
Immersive audio and visual experience
The HONOR X10 has a screen resolution of 2400 x 1800 and a screen-to-body ratio of 92%, providing users with an unobstructed viewing experience. The TÜV Rheinland-Certified blue light filter in the HONOR X10 effectively reduces the harmful blue light emitted by the screen, minimizing eye fatigue for smartphone users. The custom-built components and HONOR’s self-developed algorithm optimize the screen’s visibility under bright sunlight, presenting every detail with optimal clarity and sharpness.
In the audio department, the HONOR X10 is equipped with an HONOR-developed amplifier that enhances the audio quality. Coupled with the Virtual 9.1 Surround Sound feature, users can indulge in an immersive audio experience that mirrors a cinema environment.
The ever-changing hues on the glassback of the HONOR X10 are due to its 21-layer glass technology. To appeal to the global youth, the HONOR X10 comes in Sapphire Blue, Midnight Black, Titanium Silver and Fiery Orange.
Magic UI 3.1 brings technology and aesthetic enhancements to HONOR X10
The HONOR X10 will be pre-installed with the Android-based Magic UI 3.1 that delivers an aesthetically arresting UX design coupled with improvements in software. With this latest upgrade, users can expect a slew of user-friendly smart features such as seamless cross-device connection, multi-screen collaboration and smart travel. Users can also enjoy next-level upgrades in smart office, photography, performance and security.
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