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Vchok M9 Rugged phone Review

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This is my first review for rugged smartphone, the Vchok M9 is certified with an IP68 rating,which means that is completely protected from harmful dust (6) and it has also protection from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (8). Below you can see meaning for every code. But before you go to the next chapter I just want to say that this is the first rugged phone with 4G LTE network support.

Vchok M9 Rugged phoneSolid protection

IP Code Protection Object size
0 No protection N/A
1 Protection from contact with any large surface of the body like the back of a hand, but it has no protection against deliberate contact with a body part, like a finger Less than 50mm
2 Protection from fingers and other similar objects Less than 12.5mm
3 Protection from thick wires, tools, or other similar objects Less than 2.5mm
4 Protection from screws, wiresor and other similar objects Less than 1mm
5 Partial protection from harmful dust N/A
6 Protection from harmful dust N/A

Moisture protection

IP Code Protection Test duration Usage
0 No protection N/A N/A
1 Protection against vertically dripping water 10 mins Light rain
2 Protection against vertically dripping water when device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees 10 mins Light rain
3 Protection against direct sprays of water when device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees 5 mins Rain and spraying
4 Protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions. 5 mins Rain, spraying and splashing
5 Protection from low pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing and direct contact with most kitchen/bathroom faucets
6 Protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing, direct contact with kitchen/bathroom faucets, outdoor use in rough sea conditions
7 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.2ft) for up to 30 mins 30 mins Rain, splashing and accidental submersion
8 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth) Varies Rain, splashing and accidental submersion

Unboxing

This strong smartphone comes in yellow box with many additional accessory, so except the device you will also get USB cable, headphones, 4700 mAh battery, charger, battery cover removal tool and external antenna for walkie-talkie function. The USB cable has micro USB connector but it is little longer than usual because of the rugged casing.

20160101_111728

20160101_113324Design and build

As any other rugged smartphone, Vchok M9 is protected from every side with strong casing. The case is made from a combination of rubber and plastic. All buttons are made from rubber while all ports are protected with lids. Buttons below the screen have backlight and the phone compared with other is bigger.

But this not all because it has few buttons more than usual, so it has SOS, restart and button for flashlight. So with one push you can turn on or turn off the flashlight, which is certainly convenient. Overall I am very satisfied with build quality and practicality. Also if you to insert yours SIM cards and memory card you will need to use battery cover removal tool to open the back cover.

Vchok M9 in cement

It is also thrown into hot water

Display

The Vchok M9 has 4.5 inch screen with qHD resolution, for the screen size qHD resolution is great choice. Really you don’t need to have higher resolution, because it looks really good and sharpness is enough high. The construction is made like that the screen is inside in protective casing, so in that way is protected from any unwanted damage.

Performance and benchmark testing

From what I can see mostly rugged phones has weaker built-in hardware because obviously this is not their primary objective, but in this situation the Vchok M9 has much better hardware. So it has quad core CPU Mediatek MT6735 with speed 1 GHz and GPU is Mali-720P. It has also 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of memory where the user has 12.28GB available. If storage space is not enough for you then you can upgrade it with microSD card up to 32 GB.

vchok cpu-zI tried personally many different things like playing games, watching movies, other every day stuff and I can freely say that everything worked as it should to work. Although this smartphone is designed to be used in places that other smartphones should not be taken of course. Also I have tested the phone with several benchmark test apps and Vchok M9 scored 26336 points in Antutu benchmark. Below you can see benchmark results.

Benchmarks test results

benchmarkSoftware

Talking about software and operating system the Vchok M9 comes with Android 5.1 system. From what I can see it is almost clean OS. It just have several new apps like for walkie-talkie. During use I did not find any problems and it runs really smooth.

android rugged phoneConnectivity and GPS

For the start I can say that this rugged phone is dual-sim device. It has many connectivity functions like support for 3G network, support for 4G LTE network, GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, SOS and walkie-talkie. So you can see it has many different connectivity functions and all are working as they should to work. GPS is working with precision of 3 m without network and Wi-Fi help. Talking about 3G and 4G LTE network it supports this frequencies, 3G: WCDMA 850/1900/2100MHz, 4G: FDD-LTE 700/800/850/1700/1900/2100/2600MHz. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooth has good range for connectivity. For me definitely new function is walkie-talkie and the Vchok M9 comes with pre installed app called walkie-talkie.

vchok m9 gpsWalkie-talkie

I am not expert at this field but from what I can see it has enough possible settings. It supports frequencies from 400.000 Mhz to 480.000 Mhz. So you can normally use it in Europe, for example you can use 446.00625 Mhz frequency. For better and stronger signal it is advisable to use external antenna. You can also communicate through headphones. Overall it is really cool function, but it can be also useful.

walkie talkieCamera Quality

The camera on Vchok M9 was not the primary objective, but the photo quality is still good. The rear camera has 13 megapixel sensor with strong flashlight. Photos are almost natural and for example the sharpness is medium. So below can see photo samples made by this phone.

Photo Samples

Battery life

According to the Vchok company this rugged phone, comes with high-capacity battery which has 4700mAh. It does not support fast charging, but it support power bank function. So you can charge other devices. In my test with heavy use it can last two days, so it is pretty good result.

Conclusion

Overall I am very satisfied with the Vchok M9 because it has IP68 certificate rating, high build quality, medium strong hardware, support for 4G LTE network, walkie-talkie and high-capacity battery with 4700mAh. The price is now around $300 and if you are looking for rugged smartphone you should definitely consider this one.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Cosima

    Jan 17, 2016 at 20:01

    I’m relatively new to using smartphone and I recently bought the Vchok M9 LTE as my mountaineering-traveling-GPS-walkie talkie-altimeter-camera-alarm clock-compass-skype with family-read ebooks-check climbing routes-do it all device. Overall impression is very positive (with exception of the battery standby time). It certainly is rugged and for the most part everything functions as it should.
    Some issues I found is that ‘phone idle’ or phone standby consumes about 50 % of the battery. I’m not a heavy user, but I would assume downloading some stuff should use more battery than the phone going to sleep. I had once upon a time another smartphone and that lasted in standby for more than a week easily. I googled around and standby battery drain is a known issue with Android 5.1 OS. So probably that’s what’s going on. Considering how heavy and big the battery is it shouldn’t drain that fast, especially if you’re sitting on mountain with very limited energy supply for few weeks at a time, and every ounce of weight counts.

    Other observations are: videos are sharper than photos, or maybe I haven’t figured out the auto-focus yet.
    The FM radio works only if the ear plugs are plugged in (and then you can put it on speaker). I keep ‘cheek-dialing’ with my face when I make calls. But I guess I can make it a habti of holding the phone a bit farther away.

    • johnny

      Jan 18, 2016 at 16:10

      Hi Cosima 🙂

      thank you for you info. please tell me did you try walkie talkie ?

      • Winnie&Co

        Apr 11, 2016 at 15:46

        Hi,

        I have this phone too and I’m using the walkie talkie app every day in my work and I can say it’s a really good one.
        Do you have any issue with this app?

        Best regards

  2. Cosima

    Jan 18, 2016 at 21:01

    No, I did not have an opportunity

  3. Pingback: Vchok M9 LTE Rugged smartphone Review – IP68 – Waterpoof Shockproof – 2GB RAM – 4G

  4. Juan Carlos

    Mar 13, 2016 at 13:39

    hello, any news on the battery drain issue while in stand-by? can we install latest 6.0 version instead on this phone without breaking any functionality?

    • johnny

      Mar 14, 2016 at 16:46

      hey, where did you find latest 6.0 version? tnx

  5. Nicolas

    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:34

    Hi mates, great review! Does eanyone know a web page or how to contact the brand or builder of the phone? thanks

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Reviews

Review: ZMI Reason ONE

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ZMI Reason ONE — a new smart alarm clock by Xiaomi Ecosystem partner — ZMI. This is the first smart alarm clock by the Chinese brand. The company’s assortment includes power banks, chargers and other gadgets for smartphones.

The design and functionality of the alarm clock are similar to the Xiaomi AI smart alarm clock. One of the main differences is the voice assistant. The alarm clock by Xiaomi supports Xiao AI suitable for Chinese customers. ZMi Reason ONE supports Alexa, which greatly simplifies the use of the device in Europe, USA, and other English-speaking countries.

DESIGN

The model has a compact rectangular shape (12×6×2 cm). It is made of matte black ABS-plastic.

The front panel is occupied by black monochrome screen. Despite the compact dimensions of the alarm clock, the screen is large enough. Therefore, the numbers and letters on the display are clearly visible even from a distance.

On the top, there is a touch button, which is responsible for voice control activation and microphone status.

On the rear panel, there is a speaker, a Micro-USB port (for charging) as well as a button for resetting to factory settings.

FUNCTIONS

The display shows the time, date, alarm status, timer, and WiFi connection. When the voice assistant is activated, the display shows two circles, which look like “eyes”.

ZMi Reason Clock supports the Alexa voice assistant. You can ask the weather, find out the news, time, ask to turn on the music or set an alarm/timer, add smth to a shopping list and even find out the currency exchange rate.

The ringtone of the alarm clock is also easy to change. There are about 30 melodies to choose from the menu.

The alarm clock can also be a portable speaker. The model supports popular music streaming services like Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRadio, and others.

If you have devices that support Alexa, then you can control them using ZMI Reason One. In order to do this, you need to install a special application and synchronize the devices with each other.

The price for such a smart alarm clock is ridiculously low — only $ 20. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

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Phones

Sharp Aquos C10 [REVIEW]

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The Sharp C10 review has finally arrived! Sharp is a Japanese brand that mostly covers its market in Japan, but has recently started to turn its marketing to other areas of the world. So yes, Japan is not only popular for Hentai and awesome cars industry but they also get involved in the smartphone industry. Sharp is probably best known for their TVs or kitchen appliances to some, but they are fairly old players in the smartphone game, making phones like the Aquos Crystal back in 2014. Let’s jump back to the C10 and look at all the interesting bits this smartphone hides.

Build quality

Because of it’s non standard aspect ratio, this phone brings some quite interesting looks with it. It’s a bit shorter and wider than what we’re used to, with a droplet styled notch on the top and glossy plastic back. The USB-C jack lies on the bottom between the speaker and microphone grilles, but unfortunately there is no 3.5mm audio jack on the top which is a huge disappointment. Finally, the very clicky three buttons are positioned on the right side and are pretty easy to reach due to the phone’s size.

The phone itself is fairly light in hand, but it still feels relatively sturdy and rigid. It is claimed to have gorilla Glass protection for the screen, but it’s unknown which version of it exactly. Also, Sharp have decided to put the fingerprint reader on the front, so you get a small recession under the screen where the fingerprint sensor resides. The phone itself is not too thick either, so it’s a real pleasure to handle all in all.

Android OS

The OS on this thing is actually pretty light with little to no bloat! It’s Android 8.0 Oreo with a few tweaks to the settings application, task switcher, and the system UI to handle the notch and to distinguish it from other Android phones. Notch handling is done on a per-app basis which means that most applications probably won’t support it. I’ve found that only the stock gallery seems to make use of it, while Youtube cuts off the whole top. You can also disable most of the Google applications if you don’t use them, that’ll get you some extra RAM space if you need it. The situation here is fine although they should work on the visual integrity a bit in the future updates.

Performance

This phone gets 89296 points on Antutu which is not that great for a mid range device. Compared to the Mi A2 which gets 134348 points, performance of the C10 seems pretty bad, but it’s not all that bleak. In Geekbench it gets 883 for the single core test, 4239 for the multi core test and 3702 for the renderscript test. Synthetic benchmarks obviously don’t tell the full story as this device multitasks fairly fast and handles Chrome just fine for day to day web browsing. PUBG Mobile locks the graphics settings to low and even then it stutters here and there, so obviously don’t pick this phone if you’re looking for raw gaming performance. Even then, playing on it’s relatively small screen won’t be too comfortable of an experience. Regarding screens…

Screen

In a mid range phone like this, a screen usually won’t be too interesting of a subject. C10’s screen has some very rounded corners on the top including the notch, while the bottom just has regular, hard corners. You do get a relatively nice FHD+ IPS panel with a resolution of 1080×2040. Colors pop pretty nicely at higher brightness settings, and speaking of brightness this phone handles it pretty well. Lowest brightness doesn’t go too low, but highest brightness is thankfully high enough for outside use.

Cameras

I have to say, this phone has quite an interesting thing going on with the camera. Unfortunately, the second camera is only used for depth detection in portrait mode so I think it’s a bit of an useless addition, but the camera application itself is pretty feature packed. I’m happy to say that it also has a full featured manual mode with only the RAW option missing. The photos it takes on auto mode are lifelike, vibrant and just very pleasant in general. Given it’s wide aperture, it’s also pretty competitive at night, but only with still shots. Portrait mode gets you some pretty strong depth blur, but it’s inaccurate as well so use it in moderation.

Switching over to video, the mild disappointment starts. No stabilization options at all, nor any slow motion modes available. Thankfully it does have 4K, but I don’t think most people will find it very useful. Some EIS would go a long way here. All in all, it’s a pretty competent camera in the price range with some nice software features like the picture-in-picture mode, but the second camera is a bit of a waste, and the addition of EIS would be extremely beneficial.

Audio Capabilities

Testing the audio output on this phone yielded some fairly average results. Doing the tests with the headphones connected, we can see that the frequency response loses it’s linearity and some distortion shows up on the low end. The stereo crosstalk also jumps up by almost 40dB with the headphones connected. These tests are done with a 55ohm set of on-ear headphones so results may vary with different loads. The audio output thankfully does get comfortably loud so it does seem to have enough power.

Similar situation for the speaker which gets relatively loud, but it carries some distortion along with it. Nothing tragic but you’ll hear when you’re pushing it. The plastic case doesn’t resonate with the speaker that much so it doesn’t help the tinny feel of the sound. For such a budget phone, I really didn’t expect anything extraordinary from the loudspeaker so I wouldn’t call it a disappointment by any means.

Battery

Running the Lab501 gaming test on maximum brightness for 15 minutes drained the battery by 5%. Playing PUBG mobile under the same testing conditions for the same amount of time drained the battery by 10%. So with a full battery, you could game on this phone for about 10 hours.

That’s surprisingly good given the relatively small 2700mAh battery inside C10. It’s standby times are even better since the phone shows little drain during the night and could probably last over a week if used sporadically. Suffice to say, I’m pleasantly surprised!

Additional features

When it comes to additional features, this phone doesn’t pack any surprises. Unfortunately, Sharp has even omitted an FM radio receiver software even though the hardware supports it. There’s no FM radio application to be found anywhere! The fingerprint reader usually unlocks on the second try, but the results can vary and it’s pretty fast when it works.

GPS also hasn’t been proven too spectacular as it took a while to get my location acquired, but it works all right once it locks on the satellites. Finally, there’s full OTG functionality here so you can plug in flash drives and all kinds of other peripherals into your phone. No problem!

Closure

The Sharp C10 is an interesting budget phone with a pretty stern and business-like design. Even though the performance might not be the selling point here, you trade it in for a very respectable camera which I’d say is the highlight of this phone. Unfortunately some bad decisions were made, for example the removal of the 3.5mm jack and the lackluster notch handling, but all in all it could be way worse. In the end, all that matters is preference – what do you want out of your phone and what are you willing to sacrifice.

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Reviews

Xiaomi Mi 9 Review

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Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone, Mi 9, has some awesome characteristics like design, powerful processor, and a great camera. Wanna know more about it? Stick around. I’ll tell you all about it.

First Impressions

If we ignore aluminum frame for a moment, It can be said it is made entirely out of glass: the front panel is made of Gorilla Glass 6, and the back panel is Gorilla Glass 5. This model has a shiny blue gradient color, and there are two more color options: black and violet. There’s also a Transparent Edition that pushes price tag way beyond $500.

The glass gives the phone absolutely stunning look, but it also makes it prone to scratches and fingerprints. I recommend using silicon case that comes in the box, or some other type of protection you can buy online.

Mi 9 is Xiaomi’s first phone with a dedicated AI button. Just press it and Google Assistant will instantly pop-up, giving you the most relevant information based on your online behavior. You can reassign it as I did. I’m using it to open the rear camera.

Screen

Mi 9 has a real jewel on the front: a 6,39 inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen. The best screen on any Xiaomi device so far has great readability under the sun and it’s significantly better than LCD panels used on previous Xiaomi flagships. Above the screen is a 20-megapixel camera in a tiny waterdrop notch, and above that is a speaker. There’s even more on top of that: sensors and a LED notification light, hidden from your eyes.

Great things are coming in waves with Mi 9 because under the screen is a fingerprint sensor, lightly illuminated so you can always know where to press to unlock the phone. Let’s not forget Always-on colour display or Ambient Light, Xiaomi’s name for this very usable feature.

Hardware, benchmark

Xiaomi Mi 9 is the first smartphone with Snapdragon 855, the most powerful chipset in the world. It runs like a grinder trough games and apps so if you’re looking for a gaming phone, Mi 9 is something to seriously consider.

The phone in my hands has 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Other flagships have at least double storage capacity, but this was a way to keep the device affordable to a much wider market segment. Xiaomi rightly estimated that 64 GB is enough for most users. After all, there is also a 128 GB version available.

At the bottom is a single loudspeaker with enough firepower to flawlessly reproduce music or gaming sounds. It is not a stereo speaker, though.

Camera

Camera quality has become an essential feature for many customers, and Xiaomi Mi 9 has really a great one to offer. Wait, not one but three! The main camera has 48 megapixels, second is 12-megapixel telephoto snapper and the last one is a 16-megapixel ultrawide sensor. Image quality is great with plenty of details.

If you’re looking for a smartphone that will give you a perfect photo in a way to simply get it out of your pocket and make a snap, Mi 9 is an obvious choice.

Software

Xiaomi Mi 9 runs the latest MIUI 10 on top of Android 9. It follows the same logic just like any other MIUI system before, with some nice new features like moving trough system with gestures. I’m using Xiaomi phones for years and this is the most polished and user-friendly MIUI by now. The system-wide dark mode is a nice feature, and there’s also a Second Space. That’s a part of a memory protected by password, where you can put all the apps and other content you don’t want others to see.

Battery

The Battery on Mi 9 has 3.300 mAh, which is slightly smaller than last year’s Mi 8. Although it is not as big as batteries on other flagship devices or even Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note series, it is capable of reaching the end of a day on a single charge. Things get interesting when it comes to the way the Mi 9 charges.

It supports wireless charging, something Mi 8 didn’t have. Xiaomi just recently hopped in a wireless charging train, but it did it with style: Xiaomi Mi 9 has the fastest wireless charging among all the smartphones, capable of reaching full capacity in just an hour.

BUY IT ON GEEKBUYING!

BUY IT ON GEARBEST!

Verdict

Xiaomi knows how to hit a bullseye: it offered a handset with an insanely powerful processor coupled with enough of RAM to easily broke every app in pieces. Camera quality is astonishing, just as the design of the device. There’s also a big shiny screen for awesome gaming and multimedia experience. With price as low as $322,99, Xiaomi Mi 9 is not only an impressive flagship smartphone but also the best-buy option for anyone who’s looking for performance and top image quality. Stay tuned for more videos and don’t forget to subscribe!

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