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Meizu M6 Note [REVIEW]

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Ah, Meizu – big name in the field of Chinese smartphone technology. Known for their big specifications and their own Android distribution called FlyMe OS which this phone uses. Now we’re checking out their M6 Note model which cost us $300. Dual camera, 4Ah battery, 4GB of RAM and a SD625 chipset with an eight-core 2.0GHz processor. $300 is maybe too much? We won’t know until we take a look.

Build quality and buttons

The design of this phone reminds me of OnePlus 3T, with the rounded home button, front camera positioning and the antenna lines on the back. For its size, the M6 Note feels pretty heavy in the hand, it’s glass is very slightly curved which is a nice touch and I like how they put the flash inside the antenna line on the back. It fits nicely in hand and the buttons on the side are fairly extruded and easily located. Pressing them feels good, but it could be better. Their click is loud and tactile, but they seem a bit too hard to press. It’s also kind of unfortunate that the power button isn’t textured. Beyond the home button, the volume and power buttons are the only one. This phone doesn’t have any capacitive buttons. In the case of this phone, they’re replaced with a navigation bar despite this phone having a physical home button. Very weird combination, if you ask me. It looks like they tried the iPhone approach to navigation.

Android system

Meizu put their FlyMe OS on this phone, which differs quite a lot from the stock Android design and has some elements which greatly remind me of Apple’s iOS. Also, it still has Android 7.1.2 Nougat even though Oreo is in the game for quite a while now. FlyMe is a pretty well designed and sleek skin, even though it’s maybe overdesigned in some aspects. Big problem here is the navigation. Because of the lack of back and task switch buttons; navigation can get pretty confusing since it’s done by using fingerprint gestures. Of course, Meizu solved that problem by putting a navigation bar on the bottom. It’s true that it solves a problem, but then we have two home buttons. I feel like such redundancy because of lazy design is completely unnecessary. When it comes to bloatware, FlyMe is somewhere in the center. They put in their own app store alongside Google Play and also their own memory cleaner application. Most of the other applications are also theirs, but I don’t count that as bloatware since they’re elementary system applications like a calculator or a gallery. Android purists stay away – but those who don’t feel the need to have the stock Google experience, feel free to dig in. FlyMe shouldn’t cause any problems to you.

Battery

M6 Note comes with a nice 4Ah under its hood. Paired with a battery efficient Snapdragon 625 chipset, we should keep our expectations quite high. Like I expected, the battery life is great. With a full battery in the morning and average use without too much video gaming – the battery can last up to two days without many issues. Of course, if you’re a more active smartphone user, chances are that you’ll be going to bed with the battery at 30-40%. In the half hour that I played Asphalt 8, the battery depleted 11%, which means you probably got a bit less than 10 hours of gameplay on a full charge. Since this is a phone and not Nintendo’s new handheld breakthrough – 10 hours is more than enough to cover that long line in the dentist’s office.

Benchmark and real-life performance

First, let’s do the benchmarks. On geekbench, this phone has gotten 844 for single core and 4139 for multi core. For a RenderScript compute test it got 3119 points. With an Antutu benchmark, it scored 75338 points. With regular usage the phone is very snappy. There may be a bit too many animations for some but they somehow managed to make them all smooth no matter what’s running in the background. Multitasking is also working perfectly! Still, Android has 4GB of RAM at its disposal which is more than enough for a regular user. It’s all fast and smooth until we get to the videogames. I took a graphically intensive game “Asphalt 8” for a test, and I can say it was kind of playable at highest settings. Playable, but not much more – the FPS was somewhere around 20 and it didn’t change a lot when I put the graphics on medium. If you’re planning to buy this phone for modern mobile games, it may be smarter to consider some other options. For everything else, though, the performance is great and poses no problem!

Photography and video

The camera on this phone is quite a hit and miss case. Some photos look great while others look bland and unsaturated. Of course, since we got two cameras at our disposal, let’s check out what can we do with them. In the case of M6 Note, we can use the second camera only for the depth of field effect because of its lower resolution. I personally feel like adding a second camera for gimmicky effects is a bit wasteful, and this example doesn’t help. The effect on its own is a bit too accentuated, and it cuts corners kind of imprecisely. In most cases it’ll work fine unless it encounters a sharp edge which it’ll blur like it’s a part of the background. The camera also has a manual “pro” mode which could be better. You can only change the white balance to a few rough presets which is a big no-no since that impacts the photo greatly. Thankfully, you can change the shutter speed to some pretty extreme values which is a big plus because it allows shooting in bad light conditions. Beyond the white balance issue, this manual mode isn’t too limited – just like it should be. The camera also has a 120FPS mode which films in some weird, interpolated 720p format. 4K video recording also snuck in there, and it’s pretty good, just like its FullHD recording. It’s 4K isn’t the sharpest that I’ve seen, but I don’t see any signs of interpolation.

The speaker and audio output

M6 Note has a single speaker on the lower right corner next to the charger. Its speaker, although not winning any competitions, does its job great! It has some extra sibilance, but it’s all within tolerance on phone speakers. There’s not much bass, but the bass that’s there makes the phone’s case vibrate. The mids are nicely accentuated, and even though the highs are the loudest here – the whole sound signature is nice. There’s no distortion on the highest volume, but the volume isn’t too high anyways. The audio out is great on paper if we ignore the weird spikes in distortion. I also measured the frequency response… And stereo crosstalk. The sound is okay with a pair of big headphones, albeit not too loud. There are no problems with ear buds, though. Last, but maybe the most important thing – the headphone jack. There’s not much to be said there, the connector is tight and your cable won’t fall out. Bravo Meizu!

Screen

M6 Note uses a classic IPS LCD panel with the resolution of 1080×1920 which is FullHD in portrait mode. The brightness goes to some pretty low levels which are great for night usage, but there’s a bit of a problem on the flip side of that story. The screen of this phone isn’t too bright on maximum brightness. It can be used in sunlight, but it can get quite tough. Beyond that, the screen doesn’t really have any problems. The colors are like we’d expect them to be on an IPS LCD panel – normal and not too accentuated.

Conclusion

Meizu M6 Note is a phone which doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It’s a jack of all trades but master of none. It has a good bang for the buck, Flyme system isn’t bad and has a few interesting features, hardware is pretty decent, the phone is built nicely and it all seems okay. I just believe that for the price of $300 there are more enticing options.

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New Flagship Mi 10 Ultra Was Released Today

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Photo: Xiaomi

Today Xiaomi has launched the new flagship model in Mi 10 line – Mi 10 Ultra. The new model was unveiled at the special online event. The launch of a new product coincided with a special day for the company – the 10 years anniversary of Xiaomi.

Photo: Xiaomi

The display looks totally borderless and fascinating – the 6.67-inch OLED display and 120Hz refresh rate.

The work capabilities are provided with an 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor. The model has a liquid cooling system containing the graphite layer which helps to effectively manage the smartphone`s temperature during work.

What about the camera? The model comes with four rear cameras (48 MP main sensor, 20MP ultra-wide-angle camera, 12MP portrait camera and a telephoto lens with 120x superzoom).

The video makers will appreciate the 8K video recording feature.

Talking about selfie – there is a 20 MP camera for perfect shots, videos, and video calls.

The new model has got a 4500mAh powerful battery. The full charge can be done in 23 minutes thanks to the 120W fast charging.

Also the model can be charged wirelessly in 40 minutes (50W wireless charging is supported).

Also, the model has got the other traditional and useful features – fingerprint sensor (in the display), NFC, stereo speakers. The smartphone will come with MIUI 12 on board.

Photo: Xiaomi

The model will come with three RAM options – 8, 12, and 16 GB and 128, 256, and 512 internal memory options.

Mi 10 Ultra has three colors – black, silver, and transparent.

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How the Galaxy Note20’s S Pen Delivers a More Powerful and Productive Notetaking Experience

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Photo: Samsung

The Note series is and always has been about maximizing productivity – an idea that’s best embodied by the smartphones’ signature accessory: the S Pen.

When designing the series’ newest additions, to empower users to be as productive as possible, the team behind the Galaxy Note20 and Note20 Ultra made enhancing the S Pen and the Samsung Notes app top priorities. The result of their extensive efforts is a smoother and more intuitive note-taking experience – one that’s more accurate and responsive, makes navigating your device a breeze, and makes capturing, editing and sharing your ideas effortlessly easy.

Click on the video below to learn more about the S Pen’s newest tools and tricks.

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OPPO Reno4 Series: AI-enhanced Smart Sensor, a new era in smartphone technology

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Photo: OPPO

Population density and population mobility is increasing daily all around the world and more people are becoming tech savvy with each passing day. Internet and information technology have gradually and consistently penetrated into our lifestyles. Staying always connected through the internet has made privacy protection one of the trickiest problems for smartphone users. On the other hand, for smartphone brands, the ability to continuously update technologies and create products with excellent user experience are also growing challenges.

Reno4 is equipped with a new AI-enhanced smart sensor, which is an attempt made by OPPO for building products in the AI-smart era. This smart sensor can identify the owner of the mobile phone and intelligently decide whether to show the detailed content in a notification, while enabling touchless operation of the mobile phone. With the new AI-enhanced smart sensor, Reno4 realizes the integrated functions of N-in-one such as AI assistant, privacy security and touchless gesture operation. It supports the original intention of the OPPO brand and its Research & Development team to make mobile phones smarter and maximize the experience and the technology.

Smart sensors, an answer to users’ demand of better privacy protection

For some time in the recent years, OPPO has been cultivating the Southeast Asian market, since it first entered the Indonesian market in 2012. According to a survey by Euromonitor International, comparing the market share of OPPO in 2019 and 2014, Thailand increased to 4.8 times, Indonesia 4.7 times and Vietnam 2.9 times. With further expansion of market share, OPPO realized that mobile phone users in the Southeast Asian market are also increasingly demanding privacy protection. Simultaneously, the population density in this market is increasing and people are living a more connected lifestyle. Mobile phones, as the most important social interaction tools, are becoming more and more vulnerable to threats against information privacy for the owners. For instance, your friends may accidently catch a glimpse of critical or private content on your phone.

After performing a market research, OPPO realized that the functions which the smart sensor provides could help bridge the gaps in market demand, especially for privacy protection. In the past, there were two solutions in the industry. The first was the use of radar, which can effectively reduce the power consumption of mobile phones; yet this also means that the footprint of the sensor is increased and the screen ratio is reduced accordingly. Also, the radar itself has limited recognition capabilities, thus the scenarios to be implemented are restricted. The second was to use an ordinary camera for real-time shooting to recognize motions and faces, being able to achieve smart control, but in this case the power consumption brought by the function is huge. Both solutions have their own limitations, OPPO had to find another way.

● Smart Spying Prevention
Based on that, OPPO decided to apply the AI-enhanced smart sensor to the field of smart spying prevention, which is constructed by utilizing a low power consumption sensor in combination with an intelligent recognition algorithm. The sensor could not only be used in privacy protection, but also could extend the scenarios in Smart AirControl, Smart Rotation, and Smart Always On. Many high-end smart home devices have equipped smart spying prevention technology as an auxiliary function. For instance, high-end home security monitoring equipment leverages DVS technology to capture only the outlines of people in its range – helping protect the privacy in living spaces. Similar with that, when your Reno4 receives a message, AI-enhanced smart sensor on the phone could identify whether only the mobile phone’s owner is watching the screen. If not so, the content of the notification would be hidden to protect the user’s privacy.

To be specific, the setting of the entire recognition logic makes the spying prevention more humane and comprehensive, which is a great companion to its advanced hardware. The sensor will first probe how many faces are in the scale.
• If only 1 face is detected, the main camera will be turned on to identify whether the face is of the owner him/herself; if it is, then it displays the entire message.
• If the sensor detected that there is more than one person (or no person) facing the display, then the notification will still be shown but the content will not be shown.

A smart sensor that can do much more – innovation improving user experience

The AI-enhanced smart sensor technology also introduced advanced AI capability to Reno4, which enables some futuristic features such as touch-free control and smart rotations. In recent years, gesture recognition has become another popular way of human-computer interaction and has been widely used in many fields, especially in the automotive field in smart cars. With the continued trend of marginal innovation in smartphone industry, gesture control may become an inevitable function of smartphones. OPPO joins this race with the AI-enhanced smart sensor. OPPO believes that such innovative and optimal functional user experiences are inspirational to the mobile phone AI assistant race.

• Smart AirControl
Reno4 is the first OPPO phone to bring full-screen gestures to their line-up. The Smart AirControl allows you to interact with Reno4 without touching the display and could perform tasks such as scroll up and down the pages on some popular apps like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. More conveniently, in a short period of time, the owner does not need to do a “starting up” gesture every time he or she scrolls the screen. It is also worth mentioning that this feature allows you to answer the call without touching your phone, which brings great convenience to those who work with plastic gloves most of the time.

Photo: OPPO

• Smart Rotation
For most of us, especially the ones who prefer operating their phone while lying in bed, it is inconvenient when the content on the phone automatically flips to vertical when the Auto Rotate function is on. Based on this user insight, OPPO also introduces Smart Rotation to Reno4 with AI-enhanced smart sensor. When the phone and your face is rotated simultaneously, the AI-enhanced Smart Sensor and pose-recognition algorithm intelligently detect the orientation of your face and the phone to help determine whether to rotate the screen. There are some of the rotation scenes you often encounter:

When the phone is rotated from vertical to horizontal:
• If the face stays still – for example if you are watching a video and rotate your Reno4 – the screen will rotate.
• If the face rotated with the phone (such as lay in bed), the screen will not be rotated Surely this function could offer users a more immersive experience in various lifestyle scenarios in a smart manner.

• Smart Always On Display
Making full use of the characteristics of this AI-enhanced Smart Sensor, OPPO also applies functions to enrich user experience, such as “Smart Always On Display”. This feature can identify whether a user is continuously watching the mobile phone, so that the screen will not turn off. This feature makes Reno4 more intelligent and provides better using experience.

In addition, on software level, a special brightening algorithm will make the sensor work better in low light. Even when the level of luminance is lower than 1 lux, Reno4’s AI-enhanced Smart Sensor can function well.

Photo: OPPO

The future of technology – convergent products

The development of mobile phones can be roughly divided into the feature phone era and the smartphone era. In recent years, it has entered the evolutionary stage of artificial intelligence era. What sets two eras apart is the ability to solve problems using new and improved solutions. AI is a very broad concept, and R&D for AI in smartphones means to identify and develop new solutions that provide human beings with more convenience in terms of communication.

Digital experiences enabled by AI assistance, especially virtual assistance, is considered to be one of the major recent technological advancement and most promising consumer trend. The form we are most familiar with is virtual assistant, such as Microsoft’s Xiaoice or Cortana. The AI-enhanced smart sensor and its Smart AirControl and privacy protection functions have brought new possibilities to smartphone AI assistant. More recently, the future in smartphone features – AI assistants – may become more invisible and subtle. Finding a balance between easy operation and false touch, Smart AirControl is relatively easy to operate, avoiding false touch, it is an attempt and exploration in the field of human-device interaction. Even you could be like Iron Man and have your very own “Jarvis” or “Friday”. A futuristic AIOT form could be foreseen, to replace operating the devices with your phone or remote control.

To further enhance user experience, OPPO put large amount of effort in the high-end hardware and software. Strategically, with rapid development of emerging technology, OPPO has stepped into the Era of Convergence, in which OPPO is not placed only as a mobile device company. It will also deep dive into the whole technology world to create convergent products for all.

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