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Sony SRS-WS1 Wearable Speaker Review: Personal Audio without Headphones

Most audio output devices fall into one of two categories: headphones for personal listening, and loudspeakers for group listening. But Sony’s new device falls somewhere between the two – a speaker you can wear. The SRS-WS1 is designed for those times that you want the sound quality and volume of a loudspeakers, but don’t want to wake the whole house.

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Rather than pressing up against your ears or sitting inside of them, the SRS-WS1 sits around your neck and rests on your shoulders, using a unique acoustic design to channel audio to your ears. Additionally, it enhances the sound by producing vibrations you can feel. This design produces big sounds, while still allowing you to hear ambient sounds, which makes them great for people who might still need to be aware of their surroundings while enjoying high quality audio.

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Setting up the SRS-WS1 is easy. Simply place the wireless transmitter and charging base on your table near your television or other audio source, then plug in the included optical or 3.5mm analog cable to its audio output. Just be sure to set your audio output to PCM if you’re using the digital connection. The wearable speaker operates wirelessly from up to about 25 feet away, letting you enjoy movies, TV, and video games from your couch. It runs for up to 7 hours on a charge, and can be juiced back up by docking the speaker on the charging base. It’s not a huge deal, but I would have liked to see the charging base and wireless transmitter combined into a single device instead of two.

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What’s particularly impressive is just how rich and impactful the sound is with the wearable speakers sitting over your shoulders. There’s plenty of volume, and a nice, immersive soundstage, with crisp and clear dialogue, and surprising dynamic range. The vibration effect is pretty cool too, adding some thump to the low end. It’s not the bass boom you might be used to, it’s more of a haptic rumble sensation. Depending on your preferences, Sony lets you choose from three different intensity levels for the vibration feedback.

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One thing I really enjoyed about wearing the SRS-WS1 was how much more comfortable they are than wearing headphones. I could see wearing these for hours without the fatigue that headphones can cause. It’s also really nice to be able to get up from the couch and walk to the kitchen and still hear your audio just as clearly and without volume changes. Keep in mind, unlike some headphones, others can hear what you’re listening too when they’re nearby. You won’t hear the sound in an adjacent room or across the house, but you can definitely hear it if you’re sitting next to someone wearing the speakers, and from several feet away.

While they’re primarily designed for listening to TV audio, they can be connected directly to other devices the included 3.5mm audio adapter cable. That said, I really wish they had included Bluetooth functionality, as I’d love to listen to music from my iPhone with these too.

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In today’s sea of gadget homogeneity, it’s refreshing to see Sony step out of the box and create something that’s really unique and innovative here. It’s kind of niche in its use cases, but if you want great sound quality without disturbing the whole house, and would like something more comfortable than headphones, the SRS-WS1 is definitely worth considering. They’re available now, direct from Sony for $299.99.

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Best smartphones under 300 dollars in 2020 – MBReviews

Not that long ago, with a budget under 300 dollars you could only afford a borderline-decent smartphone, with a low performance, a weak camera and overall, there was a mile between it and the more expensive, high-end flagship phones.
But, about three years ago, we have noticed a shift of interest from the smartphone manufacturers, which started focusing a lot more on the low-mid-range phones, than they would before. So, now, we have high-performing smartphones at surprisingly low prices, capable of playing the latest games, having a decent camera and a decent display (there are even a few of them that almost invalidate the ownership of a high-end flagship phone).

In 2020, this statement is truer than ever, since it still is extremely easy to find a great smartphone under 300 dollars that will compete with the flagships from the last year. So, we tried to find the most balanced, high performing smartphones, with a great camera, a large display and we compiled them into this comprehensive list.

IMPORTANT (09.08.2019): Since some Huawei smartphones are recommended in this article, it it important to address the ban from Google services. At the moment of writing, this ban will not affect any Huawei smartphones that are already released, so these devices will still have access to the Google services, but considering that Huawei will start focusing a lot more towards its own OS, new patches may not arrive as often (or not at all). The Google service licensing will not be granted to any new Huawei smartphone released after the ban was put in place.

UPDATE 03.12.2020: I have added the Samsung Galaxy A50 to the best phones under 300 dollars list.

1. Samsung Galaxy A50

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For a long time, Samsung just didn’t care about the entry-level segment, nor for the mid-rangers for that matter and, although it has released its yearly J and A series, there was nothing remarkable about them, so these devices were easily outshone by the likes of Huawei or Motorola (the famous G series). Samsung’s priorities seems to have changed over the past year and, it was perhaps some peer pressure from Google or the desire to add more people to its ecosystem, but we now have a decent Samsung Galaxy A50 which can actually compete with the established players (in this price range, of course).
For a bit, the A50 had the misfortune to go against the Pixel 3a, but after cutting away from the price tag, Samsung has pushed it in a completely new market segment where it has very few competitors that can stand in its way.

Design and Display
Over the past few generations, the design of the A series wasn’t that great, but it wasn’t that bad either, constantly trying to look premium, but severely paling in comparison to its S series, but the new Samsung A50 has made some improvements to its look by adopting an almost bezel-less front with a small teardrop from the front-facing camera. It’s still far from the elegant S10, but the front is covered by Gorilla Glass 3 (why not 5?) and the rear panel is plastic. Well, it’s polycarbonate and Samsung calls it glastic because it looks like glass – I have to admit that it does have a very cool effect with the lights reflecting in various angles, but you will notice the difference when you put it next to real glass panels (such as the case of the Honor 8 or the newer Realme XT which went for a similar effect).

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It’s worth mentioning that both the front and (especially) the back are fingerprint magnets, so a case should alleviate this problem. The Samsung Galaxy A50 measures 6.24 x 2.94 x 0.30 inches, so you’re not going to be able to use it with a single hand – it’s still comfortable to hold, but a bit slippery. The frame is made of metal and embedded within it, there’s a USB Type-C charging port (on the bottom) which sits next to a 3.5mm headphone jack (hopefully, it will remain on future generations as well). The phone is not waterproof and if you search for the fingerprint sensor, you won’t find one on the rear panel, nor on any side button and instead, Samsung has added an under-display optical fingerprint reader which is less secure than the ultrasonic one from the S10, but still reliable and fast enough, especially considering that this is a feature on an affordable smartphone.

On the front, the A50 has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display which covers roughly 84.9% of the front area and it has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio (it has proven to be a great choice for media consumption). Furthermore, the display has a resolution of 1440 x 2340 pixels, 16 million colors and a pixel density of 403ppi. The Super AMOLED displays have always been among the best on the market due to the deep blacks and the bright whites, and the Samsung A50 offers a great viewing experience: the colors are vibrant, the text is sharp, the contrast is high and, if you decide to go on the beach and want to watch a video, the display features a peak brightness of about 630 nits.

Performance and Software
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Inside the case, the Samsung A50 is equipped with an octa-core Exynos 9610 chipset (quad-core 2.3GHz Cortex-A73 and quad-core 1.7GHz Cortex-A53), a Mali-G72 MP3 GPU and the base model comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage (there are also variants with 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage, as well as 6GB of RAM and 64/128 GB of internal storage memory) – you can also add up to 512 GB using a microSD card. The Exynos 9610 is a proper mid-range SoC and I know that people in the US aren’t accustomed with Samsung’s in-house built chip, but to get an idea of how powerful it is, well, it can be compared to the Snapdragon 670. This means that it can offer a performance comparable to the Pixel 3a, so expect a stutter free multitasking experience and gaming should also not require many compromises (some high-end graphics-heavy games may not run just as good as on an S10, which is to be expected).

The interface of the Samsung Galaxy A50 is built on top of the Android 9.0 (Pie), with the One UI skin and I do expect it can be upgraded to the latest Android version some time during this year. The UI looks very polished (as expected from Samsung) and there is a dark mode available, but there are also some preinstalled third-party apps that can’t be uninstalled, only disabled, so Samsung is still fond of some bloatware (a very big minus especially when trying to go against the Pixel 3a with its stock Android version).

Camera and Battery Life
On the rear panel, the Samsung Galaxy A50 is equipped with a triple camera system: a primary 25-megapixel camera with an f/1.7 aperture, 26mm lens and PDAF (it can film 1080p videos at 30fps), followed by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor (f/2.2) and a 5-megapixel depth sensor (f/2.2).

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There are other manufacturers that have pushed a quad camera system, but only two sensors were actually useful, the other ones being there just to hype up the device and Samsung is kind of guilty of the same approach, since the depth sensor isn’t doing that much to improve the photo and in some cases, it can add a bit of blur. I know that the Pixel 3a is not in the same price range anymore and I also know that the A50 was supposed to be Samsung’s response, but it’s nowhere near the Pixel quality in terms of photography. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic mid-range performer and you will be able to shoot some great photos in good light, but if you zoom in, you will see that the details are blurry and there is also a bit of overexposing. Furthermore, since there is no OIS, you need a very steady hand in low-light conditions and you do need to know that the camera doesn’t do that well in dark scenarios.

On the front, there’s another 25-megapixel camera, with an aperture of f/2.0, a 25mm lens and it can film 1080p videos at 30fps. The front-facing camera is decent and more than enough for the occasional selfies mostly during the day (it will do decently fine during the night).
Samsung has equipped the A50 with a non-removable 4000 mAh battery (which is starting to become the standard at this point) and, while running a video continuously (1080p over WiFi), I was able to get about 8 hours and the battery is able to deliver about a day and a half before needing recharging (with medium use). Furthermore, the Galaxy A50 uses the 15W fast charging tech, which means that you can charge the battery from 0 to 100% in about two hours (using the provided charger).

2. Realme XT

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With Huawei out of the way, Xiaomi was sure to conquer the affordable smartphone market not only in Asia, but in USA and Europe as well, but Realme doesn’t intend to make it easy for the Chinese manufacturer and it has quickly released the XT, priding itself with a huge camera sensor (64MP), up to 8GB of RAM and some other elements that you’ll usually find on the flagship devices.

Design and Display
I’m not entirely sure if the phones at this price tag can be considered mid-range or ‘high-end entry-level’ devices, but one thing is for sure: the design has to at least resemble the premium handsets. And the Realme XT doesn’t shy away from trying some of the new trends, such as the (almost) bezel-less front with the teardrop for the front-facing camera, a quad-camera system and the back panel does have that grating effect that we got used to with the Honor 8, where the light doesn’t simply reflect just like in a mirror, instead it refracts and diffuses in an unusual fashion. I was expecting the use of plastic, but was surprised to see that both the front and the rear are covered by Gorilla Glass 5, so it not only looks premium, but it actually feels more expensive than it is.

OK, there is some plastic – the frame is not metallic – and I didn’t really like the huge camera bump which makes it impossible for the phone to sit properly on your desk. The case has soft rounded corners and will sit comfortably in your hand, but it’s also very slippery (due to the glass panels, so a protective case is mandatory to ensure the phone’s survival) and bear in mind that both the front and the back are a magnet for fingerprints. Perhaps it’s now superfluous to say it, but, on the front of the device, you won’t find any capacitive buttons and you only get on-screen keys for navigating the interface. If you were searching for the fingerprint sensor, you’re not going to find it on the rear panel or hidden on some side button, instead, Realme has implemented an under-display optical fingerprint sensor which has proven to be very fast (there is also Face Unlock available).

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It’s worth mentioning that the Realme XT does have a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, as well as a USB Type-C port and yes, you do get to expand the memory using a mciroSD card. It would have been the perfect mid-ranger if it also had an IR-blaster and if it was waterproof, but there are still more than enough features for the asked price.
Between the almost nonexistent bezels, rests the 6.4-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, with 16 million colors, a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 403ppi. I don’t mind a Full-HD resolution even for this size, but I’m not going to complain about a higher res display of the Realme XT since it can make a difference with photos and captured videos – with some games, it will also offer a better experience, but movies rarely go beyond 1080p. Just like on the Realme X, you do get a very vibrant display, with popping colors and it’s true that there is some increased contrast, but I doubt anyone is going to complain about it. If you decide to use the phone outside when it’s very bright, know that the peak brightness is somewhere at about 500 nits, which is above average, so it will definitely handle a sunny day without problems.

Performance and Software
Under the hood, the Realme XT sports an octa-core Qualcomm SDM712 Snapdragon 712 chipset (a dual-core 2.3GHz Kryo 360 Gold processor and a six-core 1.7 GHz Kryo 360 Silver), an Adreno 616 GPU and three RAM/storage combos: 4GB / 6GB / 8GB of RAM and 64GB / 128GB of internal storage. Also, the Realme XT comes with a microSD card slot, which supports an additional 256 GB.
The Snapdragon 712 chipset offers just a small performance upgrade over the 710 and this means that it’s going to be fast for most applications (the UI skin is heavy, so it’s not going to be as snappy as a Pixel 2 XL, but it’s acceptable nonetheless) and the Adreno 616 GPU did really well while playing some games: Mobile PUBG ran without stutters and so did Fortnite, but some other resource-heavy game may require a downgrade in terms of resolution.

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The multitasking was smooth (I could open a large number of apps and I experienced no problems) and most importantly, the phone did not get hot very easily (something that most flagships are guilty of), but it will overheat after more than a couple of hours of heavy playing, which is normal.
The Realme XT features the Color OS which is built on top of the Android Pie 9.0 and it’s upgradable to Android 10. The skin is a bit heavy and there is a significant amount of bloatware that you can remove, but it’s tedious to have to constantly do it (the bloatware is real) – Huawei did the same thing in its early days, but soon learned that the people refer a close-to-stock experience more.
That being said, you do get the Hot Apps folder which can’t be uninstalled (it contains a list of recommended apps) and some other third-party apps that are worth mentioning are the Aqua Mail and Opera.

Camera and Battery Life
On the rear side, the Realme XT is equipped with a main 64-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture and PDAF followed by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor (f/2.3), a 2-megapixel macro sensor (f/2.4) and a 2-megapixel depth sensor (f/2.4). The 64-megapixel camera is what caught everyone’s attention, but, while it’s great having such a large sensor to capture more light, not everything is perfect: by default, the camera outputs 16-megapixel shots which are definitely great, with a healthy amount of detail, some saturation boost and you can also use Chroma Boost to give your photos a wider dynamic range. But, the problem is that the full res photos (64MP) don’t offer any improvement over the standard 16MP and, instead, I saw more noise.

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In low light, you can get some awesome shots only if you have a steady hand, but there is no optical image stabilization. Furthermore, the 8-megapixel wide angle is doing a good job adding more to the picture, but the macro sensor is outputting blurry images and the depth sensor is also not that great. The front-facing 16-megapixel wide camera (f/2.0) works very well with selfies or for conference calls. It’s also worth noting that the rear camera system can shoot videos up to 2160p at 30 fps (or 1080p at 60 fps) and EIS is available for up to 1080p, while the front-facing camera shoots videos at up to 1080p at 30 fps.
Inside the case, the Realme XL has a non-removable 4000 mAh battery and while looping a video continuously, the battery died after about 15 hours, but you can easily get a day and a half of medium use (light gaming, watching YouTube, checking FaceBook). Additionally, the phone also comes with the 20W VOOC 3.0 fast battery charging feature which will charge your battery from 0 to to 100% in about an hour and a half.

3. Huawei Honor 8X

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The Honor 8X is one of the newest smartphones from Huawei (one of the many that the manufacturer has released in 2018), carrying the name of the fairly successful Honor 8, but while the latter aimed towards the mid-to-higher-end smartphone market (and taking a swing at the more established flagship phones), the Honor 8X seems to be less ambitious and aims only towards the mid-rangers, such as the Motorola Moto G6 Plus.

It’s worth noting that Huawei is not new to the smartphone world, being a well known name in China and that gave it enough confidence to try its luck in the US and the European market – and it seems that it may have struck gold because of the continuously increased popularity with every iteration of released devices, while avoiding (so far) the same fate as the ZTE which got into a political conflict with the US.

Design and Display
Huawei is one of the first manufacturers to push metal and glass to the mid-range class smartphones and the Honor 8X has also adhered to the same approach, so it has a metal and glass case and, while holding the phone in hand, it did give the same high-quality vibe that some more pricier metallic handsets could.

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While the front doesn’t differ that much from the high-end handsets (it has a small notch and the screen occupies the whole front side), the glass back panel is quite unique, featuring similar reflective properties to the Honor 8, but instead of a uniform colour, the manufacturer decided to divide the rear surface into two parts: a darker side which would contain the fingerprint sensor and a lighter side for the two cameras, which are positioned vertically, each with its own cut-out. When compared to the Honor 6X, the 8X feels a lot more sturdy and I’m pretty sure it would survive a serious bend test.

From the visual point of view, the phone looks nice, the slightly curved corners do give a higher comfort level when holding the device in hand and there are slightly protruded camera lenses which could reduce the risk of accidentally dropping the phone (although, considering the huge size of the phone, I doubt it would have that much of an impact).

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At its 6.31 x 3.02 x 0.31 inches, the phone is large, comfortably entering the phablet realm, so there is no chance you can operate it with only one hand. Furthermore, on the front, there is a 2.5D glass panel (similar to the Honor 8) and there are no capacitive buttons (there are three virtual keys for navigating through the interface – fortunately, Honor decided to get rid of the annoying front logo).

The recessed circular fingerprint scanner from the rear side is surprisingly quick and responsive, but be aware that it scratches and if enough damage has been done, it may stop functioning all together – additionally, Huawei has also added an unlikely feature for the price range of the phone: facial recognition.
The most important aspect of any phone is, of course, the screen and the Honor 8x is equipped with a 6.5 inches LTPS IPS LCD display, with 16 millions colours, a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 397ppi. Additionally, it seems that Huwaei has decided to follow its competitors and used the Corning Gorilla Glass screen protection, which has proven to be a significant scratch repellent (for additional protection, you should use a screen protector).

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Since we are dealing with a 6.5-inch display, I was not really sure that the resolution would suffice, but, while not as sharp as a Quad-HD display or with the deep blacks of an AMOLED panel, it did perform really well when watching videos and images: the text was crisp, the colours were reasonably accurate, although a bit oversaturated, especially when choosing the Vivid mode (you can also adjust between a cooler or warmer colour temperature). The maximum brightness level (470 nits) is more than enough to comfortably view the display under direct sunlight.

Performance and Software
Inside the case, Huawei has equipped the Honor 8X with an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset (a quad-core 2.2GHz Cortex A73 processor and a quad-core 1.7GHz Cortex A53 processor), which is better than the Snapdragon 630 of the Moto G6 Plus; there’s also a Mali-G51 MP4 GPU (the place where Honor cut some corners), 4 or 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage memory. Additionally, the Honor 8X has a dedicated microSD card slot which allows you to add up to 400 GB more storage memory to the handset.

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The HiSilicon Kirin 655 is pretty much the equivalent of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 chipset, so we can expect the phone to behave as a mid-range device. And this is pretty much the case, because the Honor 6X handles multitasking very well (I haven’t noticed any slow-down or lag), but, resource-heavy 3D games will not be handled properly (the reason is, obviously, the GPU which underperforms), but with the large portion of games and apps, you will have absolutely no issue. The phone will get warm if you play games for an extensive amount of time, but I have not yet experienced any noticeable overheating problems.
Note: One feature which fortunately has been added to the Honor series, is the NFC function.

The Honor 8X runs the Emotion UI 8.2 interface which is built on top of Android v8.1 Oreo OS and it is planned to receive the latest upgrade to Android v9.0 Pie. Similarly to other Chinese manufacturers, Huawei decided to get rid of the app drawer in favour of the more iOS-ish look, where all apps are laid bare on the screen, making the display seem overcrowded. I’m not sure Android users will appreciate this approach, since it’s way far from the stock-looking Android, but to accommodate them, EmUI allows the addition of an app drawer (and there’s also a notch toggle).

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Besides the fair amount of bloatware, there are some interesting features worth mentioning, such as pick the phone to automatically answer a call or flip the phone upside-down to mute any incoming calls.

Camera and Battery Life
On the rear side, the Honor 8X sports a dual camera, a main one with a 20-megapixel sensor and secondary one with a 2-megapixel sensor specifically created to provide a better amount of depth (dual-tone LED flash, HDR and f/1.8 aperture). The main camera manages to capture very good photos during the day, with accurate colours and with a decent amount of detail (although it still feels like it’s lacking in this department).

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The secondary camera’s purpose is to allow the bokeh effect, where you can either blur the background or the foreground, but, the camera did prove to be hit-and-miss (this type of cameras are a bit more tricky, especially on the low-to-mid-range smartphone market and they don’t always work as intended – even high end smartphones, such as LG G5 learned this the hard way).
Indoors and in low-light, it becomes clear that we are dealing with a mid-range phone because the photos were a lot grainier and there was a larger amount of noise (the OIS is only software-based, so it’s less reliable). On the front, the phone has an 16-megapixel camera which can film 1080p videos (30fps) and it is perfect for selfies and video conferences.

The Honor 8X is also equipped with a non-removable 3750 mAh battery which will get you through a day and half of medium use (especially because of the intelligent power saving technology) and if you’re more of a conservative user, the battery could deliver more than two days. Since it doesn’t have any quick charging features, the Honor 8X will go from 0 to 100% in about 2-2.5 hours.

4. Motorola Moto G7

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Over the last couple of years, we saw an increased focus towards the budget-friendly smartphone market and the flagships were and are in big trouble (Samsung has felt it probably the most), especially considering that the 1K price tag was most often unjustified. For a long time, the Motorola name was associated with good quality at a good cost and Lenovo is trying to keep up with the expectation, this year with the new G7 line, which includes the base G7 model, the G7 power (battery-focused), the G7 Play (with a focus on the lower-end segment) and the Motorola Moto G7 Plus (the best equipped variant).

Considering that Huawei’s fate in the US is uncertain (at the time of writing), a lot of people are looking now towards the Motorola and the G7 intends to offer significant improvements over the last gen and to be suitable for 2019’s exigences. The case has been redesigned, adopting the bezel-less approach with the teardrop notch, the aspect ratio has been increased from the 18:9 ratio of the G6 Plus to 19:9, there’s also a significant upgrade over the G6 and G6 Plus in terms of performance, but there’s no change in the battery department and the camera hasn’t been significantly upgraded.

Design and Display
The Motorola Moto G6 Plus happily sported premium materials (glass on the front and rear sides along wit a metal frame), but, while the G7 remains an attractive device, it went with a polycarbonate frame (which does look like metal) and it has kept the front and back Gorilla Glass panels. This makes the phone both elegant and very slippery, so you may want to use a case or even better, a skin.

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Furthermore, the corners remain softly curved (which, along with the thin bezels, manage to take away from the rectangular look – even the screen migrated from the sharp corners of its predecessor) and the slightly curved rear panel allows the phone to sit nicely in the palm of your hand – as a bonus, the device is now smaller, but it is heavier (it measures 6.18 x 2.96 x 0.31 inches and weighs 6.07 ounces).
The first thing that you’re going to notice is the teardrop notch which contains the front-facing camera and, this may be a deal-breaker for some, while a mild inconvenience for others (although the extra space can be used for various info icons) and you’ll also notice that the fingerprint sensor on the front is now missing (which was kind of a signature design element for Motorola, but, just like on the Apple iPhones, it was removed for the sake of more screen real estate).

The fingerprint sensor has been moved to the rear panel, below the relatively large circular glass bump which contains the cameras and the flash. This area is fragile, so, if you’re not using a case, it is prone to scratching and breaking (if it falls). From the top, you can access the SIM and the microSD tray, the volume controller and the Power switch can still be found on the right side and on the bottom, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack (don’t you ever let got of it, Motorola!) along with reversible Type-C port.
Furthermore, the smartphone lacks any IP rating, but the manufacturer claims that the device is water repellent thanks to its P2i nano-coating (it will do fine with some accidental spills of water, but don’t take it with you in the shower).

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On front of the Moto G7 rests a 6.2 inches LTPS IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 1080 x 2270 pixels, 16 million colors, a pixel density of 405 ppi (so, it’s an overall upgrade over the G6 Plus – except for the pixel density, but it’s nothing noticeable); the display also has excellent viewing angles and, just like some new mid-to-high end smartphones, it decided to switch to the 19:9 ratio (which is fantastic for both watching movies and playing games). The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass 3 (even if older, it is still decently reliable).
Sure enough, the display is not as vibrant as the OLED screens from some of the flagship handsets, but it’s still a very good display, featuring decently accurate colors (they are a bit saturated, though), a decent contrast (approx 950:1), it’s also quite crisp and, considering it’s size, it doesn’t suffer from pixelation. The brightness is not extraordinary, but decent, being capable to go up to 480 cd/m2, so the display will be viewable on the beach under direct sunlight.

Performance and Software
The Motorola Moto G7 is equipped with an octa-core Qualcomm SDM632 Snapdragon 632 (quad-core Kryo 250 Gold clocked at 1.8 GHz and quad-core Kryo 250 Silver clocked at 1.8 GHz) which is newer than the Snapdragon 630 of the G6 Plus (and a lot better than the Snapdragon 450 of the Moto G6); the GPU has stayed the same as on the G6 (Adreno 506), so it’s going to remain under the 508 of the G6 Plus – the G7 Plus is also stuck on the Adreno 508. Additionally, the smartphone comes with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of flash memory (you can increase the storage up to 1 TB through the microSD card slot).

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The phone does manage to deliver a good day-to-day performance, so, opening multiple apps is handled well and in most cases, it will do just fine running mobile games, but, if you run resource-heavy games or applications, the G7 will sometimes drop frames, but it delivers a smoother experience than last year’s Moto G6. Similarly to other mid-range handsets, the G7 got a bit warm after some longer gaming sessions.
Software-wise, the Motorola Moto G7 features a relatively clean, near stock version of the Android 9.0 Pie (the latest version available at the time of writing) with very few apps from Motorola and it doesn’t suffer from bloatware (if we follow the way Lenovo operates, it’s safe to assume that the smartphone will be upgraded to the Android Q version). Some of the pre-installed Motorola apps include the Moto Voice that works in the same manner as the Google Assistant (which is also available), but it is less responsive and there’s the Moto Display that, if you’re familiar with the Always-On Display, it works in a similar way, allowing you to view and responding to new notifications (and other updates). There’s also the Moto Actions which allows you to associate specific one-handed gestures to some app functions and tools.

Camera and Battery Life
It’s now been two generations since Lenovo decided to follow the new multi-camera trend (the first to be equipped with a dual-camera system was the Moto G5S Plus) and the Motorola Moto G7 also comes with two rear cameras. That being said, on the circular rear panel, there’s a 12-megapixel main camera with an f/1.8 aperture, 1.25µm and dual-LED dual-tone flash, as well as a secondary 5-megapixel camera with an f/2.2 aperture, LED flash and a depth sensor (not much has changed from last year). As expected, the secondary camera has the role to adjust the background blur level, while the 12-megapixel camera is the one that captures the photo.

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The image quality is good in ideal conditions, so the photos have a decent exposure and a good amount of detail (although some noise can still be seen) – it’s pretty much identical to what the G6 had to offer, until you use the HDR mode which does significantly improve the quality of the image. But, things get a bit tricky in low light, where the noise level increases and the lack of OIS shows the camera’s weaknesses; at the same time, let’s not forget that we’re dealing with a budget smartphone, so the camera does a great job considering the price point of the device.On the front, the Moto G6 Plus has an 8-megapixel camera with LED flash and an aperture of f/2.2, so it will do a decent job with selfies or conference calls.

The Motorola Moto G6 Plus had a 3000mAh battery and the Moto G7 and the G7 Plus are stuck on the same amount, also sporting a non-removable Li-Ion 3200 mAh battery that can get you through a day if on low to medium use; on medium to extensive use, it managed to score around 9 hours. Additionally, the Moto G7 also comes with the Turbo Power Charging feature, which means that the battery gets from zero to 100 % in about an hour and a half.

5. Huawei Honor 7X

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The Huawei Honor 7X is the successor of last year’s relatively successful mid-ranger, the 6X, which, along with the Honor 8 challenged the mid-to-high range smartphone market and took everyone by surprise with the implementation of powerful hardware suitable for both heavy multitasking and gaming, as well as above-average cameras, all that covered by an attractive design. But the most attractive aspect of both these devices was, of course, the affordable price.

The Honor 7X continues this legacy and this time, it borrows even more elements from the expensive flagship devices, managing to further negate the need to spend a lot of money for a great smartphone experience. That being said, the Honor 7X has a bigger and better display, more powerful internal hardware and a lot more capable cameras so let’s have a closer look at what can this smartphone deliver.

Design and Display
The design of the Honor 7X does not follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, this time it features a slightly larger case and a bigger display, but it kept the aluminum body, which is now a lot more refined and feels better in hand (the metal unibody curves along the edges to meet the display).

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It seems that Honor took notice of the fragile case of the 6X and it’s clear that the 7X is now built in such a way that it will definitely survive a bend test (something that its predecessor could not). Even if it now measures 6.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches, the phone is not uncomfortable to hold (it has a very good grip) and considering that it weighs 5.82 oz, it felt very balanced (as expected, you won’t really be able to operate it with only one hand).

On the rear side, you’ll notice that Honor has now positioned the cameras horizontally towards the left side (while before, these were aligned vertically), it has kept the fingerprint sensor in the same position (the sensor still remains one of the fastest I saw on a smartphone – take notes, LG!) and, besides the small logo towards the bottom side and the necessary antenna lines, nothing else really breaks the design continuity. On the left edge, the smartphone features a SIM tray which allows the addition of a microSD card and, on the right edge of the Honor 7X, you can find the volume controller and the power button, while on the bottom side, there’s a 3.5mm headphones socket and a micro-USB (it’s a shame that Honor still hasn’t gone to the new type-C standard).

The main selling point of the Honor 7X is obviously the front side, where you’ll immediately notice the almost bezel-less IPS LCD touchscreen display which got a significant upgrade from the 5.5 inches of the 6X to 5.93 inches (the screen-to-body ratio is now close to 77%), it has gained a bit in terms of resolution because of the larger display (1080 x 2160 pixels), while also upping the aspect ratio from the usual 16:9 to 18:9. This will definitely make the movie watching experience and the mobile gaming a lot more immersive, but it will also allow more information to be displayed on the screen.

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It’s a great thing that the manufacturers have managed to increase the screen size, while not making the smartphone bigger than necessary and since this design approach has been ported so fast to the low-to-mid-range smartphones market (the LG G6 and the Galaxy S8 being the first to do it), it becomes clear that the Honor 7X and the LG Q6 (which also has a larger screen and really narrow bezels) are only the first tease of what we can expect in 2018.

That being said, the quality of the display is decent, managing to deliver reasonably vibrant colours (the black levels are good, although not on par with an AMOLED), good viewing angles and the 450-nit brightness should be more than enough for outdoor visibility (also, the 1080p display is still fine for this size and has a less heavier impact on the battery life, a lot less than a 1440p display would).
Note: Underneath the display there are no capacitive buttons, there’s only the Honor logo occupying the place (it’s less intrusive than on the Honor 6X, but still annoying).

Performance and Software
Inside the case, the manufacturer has equipped the Honor 7X with the proprietary octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 659 chipset (uses a quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at 2.36 GHz, as well as a quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU clocked at 1.7 GHz) which can be considered slightly better than the Snapdragon 625. It also is equipped with a Mali-T830 MP2 GPU, 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM (the US version seems to be limited to the 3 GB RAM) and 32 or 64 GB of storage memory, which can be enhanced by up to 256 GB using an additional microSD card.

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The overall performance of the Honor 7X is a bit better than last year (with the 6X), the multitasking being even smoother (the RAM helps a lot) and it was able to run most of the newer games, 2D, as well as 3D titles, without problems (although if lots of apps are opened in the background, you’ll experience occasional freezes). One thing that I have noticed, though, is that the phone tends to run a bit hot after a while when playing resource-heavy games, something that will have an impact on the battery life.
Note: Similarly to the Honor 6X, the 7X still doesn’t have NFC implemented.

The Honor 7X features the Emotion UI (EMUI) 5.1 which is built on top of Android 7.0 Nougat OS and this is a bit disappointing, since the Android Oreo 8.0 is out for about four months now (we may see an update soon?). Anyway, the interface is quite similar to the 6X UI, having that Android and iOS mashup feeling, so the app drawer is still gone (can be added back through the settings) and there are different layouts to choose from (there’s also a one-hand mode for people that want to operate the phone while having one hand occupied).

Overall, there isn’t that much bloatware, but it can’t really be considered stock by any means, as there are some apps pre-installed, such as the HiCare, HiGame, Mirror, Backup, Weather, Themes and more (and there’s also the expected Google Assistant).

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Camera and Battery Life
On the rear side, the Honor 7X has kept the dual-camera setup, this time featuring a 16-megapixel main shooter (1.25 µm pixel size, 1/2.9″ image sensor, can film 1080p videos at 30fps) and a secondary 2-megapixel camera which helps the main one to gain more depth data (it is not monochrome). By default, the camera won’t really be that impressive, but, by adjusting some settings (such as turning on the HDR or modifying the resolution), you’ll be able to get some surprisingly good shots in good light (there’s still some post-processing done to achieve the bokeh effect).

Indoors and in dimly lit scenes, the lack of OIS will have a heavier impact, as you’ll need a steady hand to capture some decent pictures (overall, the shots will be grainier and with a noticeable amount of noise). The front 8-megapixel camera can also capture 1080p videos and the shots are decent, with low noise levels, so it’s more than capable for selfies.

The Honor 7X also comes with a non-removable Li-Ion 3340 mAh battery which should be able to deliver a full day of light to moderate use and, if you want to watch some movies (while on a plane trip), you’ll be able to do so for about 6 hours, while keeping the brightness to about 70 %. The phone does not come with any Quick Charging features, but the provided charger can refill the battery from 0 to 100% in about two and a half hours.

6. Sony Xperia XA2

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The appearance of the Pocophone and overall, the impact that the likes of the OnePlus and now, Huawei is making on the global smartphone market is huge because people can get an equivalent performance to the high-end smartphones at a significantly lower price. So, while Samsung, Apple, LG or other similar manufacturer may have to rethink things, Sony is in serious trouble because it always had problems coming with a competitive price tag and a harder time competing in the low to medium range market. Sure, the reason is a combination between a higher quality build, significant camera technology improvements and brand name, but, as expected, a lower priced phone with a higher performance is always the winning combo, even if it comes with some shortcomings (such as less frequent software updates and a less solid build quality).

This meant that Sony had to also cater to a broader audience which expects inexpensive handsets with as many high-end features as possible and that brings us to the Sony Xperia XA2, a successor to last year’s XA1, sharing the same signature design (still unique when compared to the mountain of similar looking smartphones that have been released the last couple of years), but coming as an overall improvement in almost every aspect, including the display, the internal hardware and camera performance. That being said, let’s see if this smartphone is a relevant choice today and if it can dethrone our number one pick for best camera on a mid-range smartphone which, at the moment, is still held by the older LG G5.

Design and Display
While the premium Xperia phones feature a glass and metal chassis, in order to keep the cost a bit lower, the Sony Xperia XA2 went with a plastic rear side, but it has kept aluminum for its rounded sides, where the user grips the phone, so it does have a premium feel and it sits comfortable in the hand despite the rectangular shape (not much has changed on this chapter from the XA1). Even so, the rear panel doesn’t feel like plastic and it can easily be mistaken for metal (the phone feels surprisingly sturdy).

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It’s interesting to see that Sony continues to stubbornly keep the same design formula with minor adjustments for every new Xperia iteration and surely, this can be seen as an advantage for its brand identity (and it’s true that the XA2 does feel more elegant than its competitors), but it can also be perceived as a lack of design innovation for long-time users that may crave for something different while looking for their next Xperia phone.

Just like its predecessors, the XA2 has the circular metallic power button positioned on the right edge along with the volume controller and the camera key (yes, there’s a dedicated camera button for a quicker way to capture photos) and also, the microUSB port is now exposed (while on some earlier Xperia models, it was covered by a protective flap). One element that I did not expect to be missing from the previous Xperia XA1 was the fingerprint sensor, especially since this feature is now becoming more popular among the cheapest handsets available on the market, but thankfully, Sony came to its senses and it has added a rear-positioned circular fingerprint sensor which has proven to be very fast and accurate (once again, take note, LG). You may have seen that the LG Q6 has implemented the new facial recognition system (that the flagships from Samsung and Apple are priding themselves with), but I’m not entirely sure if people may prefer it over the efficiency of the fingerprint sensor (I surely don’t).

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The more expensive Xperia models come with an IP rating, so they were usually water and dust resistant, but the XA series lacks any of these two capabilities and it’s a shame since Sony smartphones were among the first to adopt the water-resistant feature (which is now pretty common) and it can be considered one of the signature elements of the Xperia line. Overall, the design of the Xperia XA2 still remains quite unique in the smartphone world (where everybody copies everyone), but, since it has a more rectangular shape, it may not be on everyone’s taste and may still not feel as comfortable in hand as the other, more rounded phones.

The front side is mostly occupied by the 5.2-inch IPS LCD display, which has 16 million colours, a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and a pixel density of 424ppi. This is a huge increase over the XA1 which was still stuck on a 720p panel with 294 ppi – sure, other manufacturers were more daring and also went for a wider 18:9 aspect ratio, but even if it’s stuck to the 16:9, I think it’s still a significant step forward for Sony. Furthermore, from the info I could gather, the screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, so it has a very good protection against scratches, but nothing more.

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The XA2’s display is really good and if you’re using the Vivid mode, then it is well above average, easily competing with some AMOLED display, having a good colour reproduction, solid contrast levels (approx 1300:1), a good amount of details, as well as clear and crisp text thanks to the increased ppi and, outside, in case of bright sunny days, it won’t be very difficult to watch the screen’s content since it features a peak brightness of 507 cd/m2, which is more than enough. I know that Sony fancies the idea of going past the 1440p resolution on a small screen, but, I genuinely don’t think people would appreciate the effort and would definitely not like a higher price tag for this sole reason.

Performance and Software
Inside the case, the Sony decided to leave behind the Mediatek Helium chip and, instead equipped the Xperia XA2 with an octa-core Qualcomm SDM630 Snapdragon 630 SoC (2.2 GHz Cortex-A53), an Adreno 508 GPU (a step up from the Mali-T880MP2 of the XA1), 3GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage memory. The XA2 also comes with a microSD card slot (the second SIM slot), so you can add up to 256GB of additional storage.
The Snapdragon 630 paired with the 3 GB of RAM should be able to handle multitasking with ease (and it does, apps load fast and the interface feels responsive), while the Adreno 508 GPU definitely helps a lot with some modern games that require some more resources for a smooth performance.

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I did notice some occasional lags and stutters which I’m willing to bet come from a poor software optimization than the internal hardware, but overall, I am quite pleased by the performance improvements made by Sony.
In terms of software, the Sony Xperia XA2 comes with the Android 8.0 (Oreo) and it is worth mentioning that the previous generation, the XA1 is upgradeable to the v8.0 Oreo straight away (this is one of the advantages of the Xperia series). Of course, you won’t get a pure Android experience with either versions since Sony still keeps its custom interface and, while it comes with some preinstalled apps (bloatware), most can be uninstalled or disabled.

Camera and Battery Life
Similarly to the XA1, the Sony Xperia XA2 sports a 23-megapixel rear camera with an aperture of f/2.0, LED flash, autofocus, 1.12 µm pixel size and 1/2.3″ sensor size. The 23-megapixel sensor is definitely one of the most attractive features of this phone which helps a lot with the amount of detail that it can capture and this is shown into the quality of photos.
Outdoors, in good lighting, the camera can capture sharp, detailed photos and with a good colour balance.

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It can actually be considered one of the best camera in this price point and it could compete with what the flagships smartphones of last year could offer, well, minus the Pixel 2 XL. Furthermore, the time waiting between shots has been significantly reduced, but the app needs some time until it allows you to press the capture button. That being said, indoors, the shots were also surprisingly decent and clear, with a very good amount of detail. There is a reasonable balance between shadows and light sources (although the camera did sometimes overexpose some brighter white zones), the LED flash does a good job in total darkness, but Sony did not add the much needed optical image stabilization feature which would substantially reduce the amount of noise (it is available on the Ultra model).
On the front, there’s an 8-megapixel camera, with an aperture of f/2.4, which allows you to capture some good selfies and it’s reliable for video calls.

Inside the case, the Sony Xperia XA1 is equipped with a non-removable 3300mAh battery, which is a huge improvement over the last gen’s 2300mAh battery, so it will be able to deliver a solid performance. This way, you can get a full day of moderate use, but, if you want to play a game or watch some YouTube videos, you will end up searching for your charger before bedtime. Thankfully, this time Sony decided to add the Quick Charge 3.0 technology (it’s worth mentioning that the phone comes with a type-C port), but the charger is not included into the package.

7. Asus Zenfone 5Q

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The Asus Zenfone 5Q is the newest member of the Zenfone family and it seems that this year, Asus wanted to dominate the mid-range smartphone market in multiple ways: focusing on delivering the best performance using the 5Z, focusing on allowing its users to take great photos with the 5Q and somewhere in the middle, there’s the ZenFone 5.
It’s clear that every year, the manufacturers have a harder time gathering the user’s attention since both the flagships and the mid-range smartphones are powerful enough for most people and perhaps the last differentiating factor is the camera quality.

Dual rear cameras are now a common thing, but Asus went to a different level and equipped the Zenfone 5Q with a quad-camera setup, so both the rear and the front side now feature both a normal and a wide-angle camera.
OK, the cameras are an interesting addition, but did Asus skimp on everything else? It doesn’t seem like it did since the Zenfone 5Q also comes with 18:9 display, a Snapdragon 630 SoC, a 3300 mAh battery and a very attractive price tag, so let’s have a closer look at this device and see how does it stand in the oversaturated smartphone market.

Design and Display
The Asus Zenfone 5Q (also known as the Zenfone 5 Lite) has adopted a slightly different look than its more powerful siblings, sporting a larger case (it measures 6.3 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches as opposed to the 6.0 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches of the Zenfone 5 and 5Z) and, while the the 5Q has a larger top and bottom bezel, it has kept the same look, featuring soft curved edges that make the phone comfortable to hold and it has opted for 2.5D glass on both front and rear side (with an aluminium frame).

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The back panel looks really nice, but it is a fingerprint magnet and, since it is very clear, you can use it as a mirror. Furthermore, similarly to its predecessors, the smartphone remains very slippery, so if you don’t want your phone to have a very short life, I suggest to get a protective case from the beginning.
There are further differences between the 5Q and the Zenfone 5 and 5Z: all three devices have the Volume and the Power keys on the right side, while the 5Q added the 3.5mm headphones jack on the top (the 5 and 5Z have it on the bottom) and the rear camera is positioned on the top-middle part on the 5Q, while the dual rear camera on both the 5 and 5Z are positioned vertically on the left side in a very similar manner to the iPhone X. The similarities with Apple’s device don’t end here because on the front, the Zenfone 5 and 5Z feature an almost identical notch on the top front side.

The Asus Zenfone 5Q lacks the display notch, so it does look better in this regard. What’s interesting is that despite its larger size, the screen-to-body ratio is slightly smaller, so we’re getting a 6-inch IPS LCD display (instead of the 6.2 inches of the 5 and 5Z), with 16 million colours, a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels, 402 ppi pixel density and 18:9 ratio (so far, I was unable to find out if Asus uses Gorilla Glass for protection against scratches).

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Overall, the display is reasonably clear and with a decent colour representation and will be enough for the large majority of people (as expected the colours don’t really pop-out as on AMOLEDs – they’re a bit on the cooler side). Furthermore, the display can go up to approx 480 nits, so it isn’t as bright as its competitors (who can go to as high as 600 nits), so if you want to use it on the beach during the summer, you may have a harder time seeing the displayed content if the sunlight shines directly on the screen.

Performance and Software
The Asus Zenfone 3 features a Qualcomm SDM630 Snapdragon 630 (octa-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A53), backed by an Adreno 508 GPU, 4GB of RAM (there are variants that have 3GB of RAM), 64 GB of internal storage (there are also 32GB variants available) and you can add up to 512GB via microSD.

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In terms of performance, the Zenfone 5Q can easily handle most applications and games: it can run some heavier games, it delivers a smooth Internet surfing experience and it can open multiple apps without breaking a sweat. Obviously, the Zenfone 5 and 5Z will handle things a lot better, but, regardless, the ZC600KL remains a capable smartphone that will satisfy even the more demanding users.
Software-wise, the Zenfone 3 comes with the Asus ZenUI 5.0, which is built on the Android 7.1 Nougat platform (it is a bit strange that Asus did not go directly to Oreo considering that the smartphone was released in 2018 – but it does seem to have the upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo planned for release in the near future).
The UI looks better with each iteration and it definitely feels cleaner, but it still has some amount of bloatware. It seems that Asus just doesn’t want to understand that users despise pre-installed apps and that a cleaner, stock-like software is the preferred option (Samsung learned this lesson eventually).

Camera and Battery Life
The Asus Zenfone 5Q is a rather unique device as it sports a dual-camera setup on the rear side and a dual-camera setup on the front. The 16-megapixel (f/2.2 aperture and the PDAF technology) primary + the 8-megapixel wide-angle (120-degree) secondary rear cameras (which work independently) will allow you to capture some great photos with a lot of detail and with decently accurate colours (although I have noticed a bit of oversaturation) when shooting during daylight or in bright environments.

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Indoors and in low-light, the camera remained more than decent and, while I have noticed a bit of noise, it still preformed way above its competitors from the same price range.
On the front, there’s the 20-megapixel primary camera (f/2.0 aperture, 1/2.8″) and the same 8-megapixel wide-angle secondary camera as on the rear side (covers 120 degrees) which don’t differ that much from the rear cameras, so they’re pretty great for taking selfies (and the wide-angle camera allows you to fit more people in the shot).
Asus Zenfone 3 is equipped with a 3300 mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery which seems to be the best fit considering the size of the display. That being said, you can get a full day under normal to heavy use and can handle up to 10 hours of video playback (70% screen brightness).
Unfortunately, the smartphone does not come with a USB-C port, instead it decided to keep the older standard, the micro-USB port and, considering the fact that it lacks support for fast charging, the battery will take up to two hours to go from zero to 100 percent.

8. LG Q6

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LG has had a couple of rough years, first because the modular experiment LG G5 was not welcomed by the audience, even if it had flagship-level specs and secondly, because the G6, while it was and still is a great smartphone, it came at the wrong moment and was overshadowed by Samsung’s Galaxy S8, which had the advantage of exclusivity for the better Snapdragon 835 chipset.

Even so, compared to the G5, the LG G6 was such as fundamentally different device (a more refined exterior, a lot more screen estate, better battery life, while pretty much keeping the same camera as last year’s flagship and most, important, no more modularity) that it managed to once again change the people’s perception towards the Korean manufacturer, which gave it more confidence into releasing a mid-range variant of the flagship smartphone called LG Q6.

Design and Display
While a bit smaller, the Q6 keeps the same design and look as the G6, featuring an almost bezel-less case, with soft rounded corners, which makes it very comfortable to hold and a glass front with a plastic rear side kept together by an aluminium frame (7000 series). Unfortunately, LG had to cut from the premium materials to keep the cost as low as possible and went for a plastic back panel which is covered by a glossy finish (so it does try to mimic glass) and, as expected it will retain fingerprints or smudges and it will scratch easily, but, if you drop the phone, it will offer a better overall shock protection.

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The Honor 8 has kept a high place as one of the most elegant mid-range smartphones on the market, but since the LG Q6 has adhered to the new small-to-no bezels fashion, it does manage to raise the bar for all affordable smartphones on the market from the design point of view.

On the left of the device, you can find the volume controller and the nano-SIM & microSD card slot, while on the right, there’s the Power/Lock key. On the bottom of the smartphone, you can find the 3.5mm headset jack and the USB charging port (LG decided to steer clear of the USB type-C), while on the rear side, there’s a single mono speaker. You may have noticed that LG ‘forgot’ to add a fingerprint sensor, something which even some smartphones at a lower price point have implemented and the reason for that (except the financial one, as I suspect) is that it decided to simply go with the new facial recognition system.

The phone manages to recognize a face really fast and immediately unlocks the phone (the whole process is almost as fast as the fingerprint sensor) and you can add more than one person to be able to unlock your device, but, by default, you can use a photo of yourself to bypass the security system.

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To fix this, you can use the advanced face recognition feature which will make the process a lot slower and it will not work too well in low light (call me old fashioned, but I do prefer the reliability of a fingerprint sensor any day). Similarly to the G6, the Q6 does not feature an IR blaster, but it does come equipped with NFC.
In between the slim bezels, there’s a 5.5-inch IPS LCD touchscreen display, with 16 million colours, 18:9 aspect ratio (an increase from the common 16:9), a resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels and a pixel density of 442ppi (the screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3).

While it definitely looks impressive, the display is another element that had to undergo some downgrades and while it won’t be as sharp as the 1440p display of the G6 (which has a 564 ppi pixel density), the resolution is definitely enough for the smaller 5.5-inch display (cut back from the 5.7 inches of the G6). Besides the fact that the display is very vibrant and crisp, with a decent colour reproduction, the aspect ratio is one of the most interesting parts of the smartphones, since it will make gaming and watching movies a more immersive experience.

Performance and Software
Inside the case, LG has equipped the Q6 with a 64-bit Qualcomm MSM8940 Snapdragon 435 chipset (octa-core Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.4GHz), an Adreno 505 GPU, 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage memory (on top of that, you can add up to 256 GB using a microSD card). As you would expect, the Snapdragon 435 is not a powerful chip (it’s actually quite modest even for a mid-ranger), but it will do a decent job with most apps, especially because of those 3GB of RAM which will handle multitasking with ease and in everyday use you won’t notice any slow-downs or lag (that is, until you put it next to a flagship smartphone).

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Furthermore, if you like to play resource-heavy games, then this phone may not be the best fit, but with most other games, it will deliver a decent performance.
At first glance, the design and overall look of the Q6 is definitely better than the G5, but, since the Q6 is a bit underwhelming (more than a bit actually), if you can ignore the problematic quirks of the G5, you would get a far better performance with the latter (the LG G5 handles everything you throw at it without breaking a sweat and, at this moment, it’s very similarly priced to the Q6).

The Q6 uses the v7.1.1 Nougat of Android (which includes pretty much all the fixes and patches released by Android so far for this version), but it will be updated to the latest Android 8.0 Oreo as soon as LG finishes creating its own variant of the OS. To be honest LG hasn’t really made that many changes to the stock version of Android during the years and I expect that the v8.0 to also have some minor design tweaks and nothing more (no bloatware from LG). The only weird thing that I noticed on the LG’s UI based Nougat version is that it lacks an app drawer by default (although, you can enable it afterwards).

Camera and Battery Life

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The camera has been one of the best things about the last two generations of LG flagships and it seems that the manufacturer wanted to keep this advantage over its competitors even in the case of the mid-ranger LG Q6. So, the smartphone comes equipped with a 13-megapixel rear camera, with an f/2.2 aperture, LED flash and autofocus, but there is no OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and this will have an impact on how the camera will behave.

In good light, the Q6 manages to capture very good photos, with a decent level of details and an accurate colour reproduction (the contrast is also quite decent). Indoors and in low light, the LG Q6 also does a good job, having a low level of noise and blur, but, since it lacks OIS, you need a steady hand especially in dimmer environments. On the front, the smartphone features a 5-megapixel wide-angle camera (100 degree), with an f/2.2 aperture and a 1.12 µm pixel size. The front camera is not really fantastic, although it is fairly decent with capturing selfies and the wide-angle will allow more people into the shot.

LG has decided to implement a non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery inside the Q6, which is down from the 3300 of the G6, but higher than the 2800 of the LG G5. The battery will deliver up to 10 hours of continuous video playback and it will easily last for a full day until it will need recharging (it does not feature any fast charging technology, but it will take under two hours to fully charge the battery).

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AIRPODS Benefits and uses | Escape from the outside world with earpods.






Airpods are great to use when listening to music or when watching TV or a movie. You may also use them to study, if you have those audio lessons on tape, or when you want to read a book but do not have the time, you can just listen to the audio books.

If you want to escape from the outside world, eliminate the noise around you and just lose yourself in your music, what better way is there to do it than by using Airpods?

These wireless Bluetooth inpods that deliver better sound, improved performance and battery life is highly compatible.

Yelobuy have got best true wireless earbuds and best-sounding true wireless inpods. Remember that to get optimal performance, the best wireless inpods tend to need to feel comfortable with a good design and fit right, with a tight seal. If you can’t get a snug fit with in-ear headphones, you’ll be sadly disappointed and think you got ripped off, that is why we suggest buying from Yelobuy with a decent return policy. 

The importance of Airpods

Wireless:
This is convenient because it frees you up from wires and lets you move around
freely while listening to your music.

In-ear-monitor:
These are tiny inbuds which conveniently fits into your ear canal. This type of headphone is more expensive and has a more sophisticated design. It can be used for professional and surveillance purposes.

Airpods:
These are small earphones with two small, rounded earpieces that fits the inner part of your ear.

Noise-canceling:
The attachment system of sound-proof headphones contain a
suspension system in the headband. This characteristic prevents outside noise
from interfering with the sound produced by your audio or video device.

Earpad:
This type of headphones have soft, flat pads which serve as earpieces.

Finally, we make sure that you do not compromise the sound quality, and hence yelobuy focuses on reliable listening device that will produce the best sound possible.

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ESA Solar Orbiter measurements reach ground control

This is providing a confirmation to ground control – in Darmstadt, Germany – that the magnetometer on board is in good health following a successful deployment of the spacecraft’s instrument boom.

The Sun-exploring spacecraft was launched 10 February.

What’s the purpose of the mission? The Solar Orbiter is going to perform close-up observations of the Sun and its corona, measure the solar wind close to the Sun, and provide high-resolution images of its uncharted polar regions.

The data should help scientists to understand how the Sun controls the giant bubble of plasma that surrounds the whole Solar System and influences the planets within it.

Boom

The Sun-exploring spacecraft was launched 10 February. It carries ten scientific instruments, four of which measure properties of the environment around the spacecraft, especially electromagnetic characteristics of the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing from the Sun. Three of these ‘in situ’ instruments have sensors located on the 4.4 m-long boom, says ESA.

“We measure magnetic fields thousands of times smaller than those we are familiar with on Earth,” says Tim Horbury of Imperial College London, Principal Investigator for the Magnetometer instrument. “Even currents in electrical wires make magnetic fields far larger than what we need to measure. That’s why our sensors are on a boom, to keep them away from all the electrical activity inside the spacecraft.”

“The data we received shows how the magnetic field decreases from the vicinity of the spacecraft to where the instruments are actually deployed. This is an independent confirmation that the boom actually deployed and that the instruments will, indeed, provide accurate scientific measurements in the future.”

Note that these are the early days. The next step is for the instruments to be calibrated before the real science begins…

Magnetic

Back in September 2019 we covered the Solar Orbiter undergoing magnetic field simulations – see Gadget in Extremis: ESA Orbiter undergoes magnetic field simulations

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6 Best 3D Printing Pens For Kids And Professionals


The world is fast moving with all the wondrous technological development that has filled our day to day life. From reeds and quills to the outstandingly luxurious fountain pens, to the modern age ballpoint pens, people have thrived to make writing easier and more convenient. However, a pen can only be wielded over a 2-dimensional landscape, it is impossible to draw in the air. But like a magic wand, a 3D pen allows you to do just that. It is a fun toy for children to bring in an idea about how structures work. On the other hand, it is an exceptional tool for professionals to create an astonishing world of art. The market is riddled with so many options for buying a 3D printing pen that it is likely to get confused. So, here is a list of 6 best 3D pens that 2019 has created.

Here Is A Table For Quick Reference!

Name

Dikale 07A 3D Printing Pen

MYNT3D Professional 3D Pen

Name

Dikale 07A 3D Printing Pen

3Doodler Create+ 3D Printing Pen for Teens, Adults & Creators! - Onyx Black (2020 Model) - with Free Refill Filaments + Stencil Book + Getting Started Guide

MYNT3D Professional Printing 3D Pen with OLED Display

Name

MYNT3D Professional 3D Pen

Merlion 3D Pen with Filament for Kids,Toys for Kids 3D Pen with 1.75mm PLA Filament Pack of 12, Each Color 10 Feet, 3D Printing Pen with OLED Screen is for Kids,Artist, Adults Upgraded

If you have time on your hands then go ahead and read the complete article.

Best 3D Printing Pens

1. Dikale 05A 3D Drawing Pen

Dikale 05A 3D Pen

Price: Price not available
View on Amazon

 

The Dikale 05A has a similar structure as that of any other pen having a cartridge and a fine nozzle for exuding “ink”. It makes use of PLA or ABS plastic filaments that are loaded on to the pen. On switching on, the plastic melts and is pushed out slowly through the fine nozzle at the tip, to the convenience of the user.

Starting from kids above the age of 5 years to budding or established professionals this pen can function as a toy or a tool for artistry. It is most innovatively designed, having an auto sleep function. This function particularly comes up as a savior when the pen is not being used for a long time, saving both electricity and damage to the product due to over-heating.

Key Specs:

  • The body of this exclusive pen features a grand LCD screen that displays the current speed and temperature settings.
  • The pen can extrude 1.75mm diameter filaments for building any possible structure.
  • It has a simple and easy to use function keys for loading, unloading, temperature and speed settings and so on.
  • The pen is equipped with one-press extrusion, unlike older versions where one needed to keep on pressing the button to carry out extrusion.
  • The package comes with a highly detailed instruction manual in an easy to read format thus making it simple and understandable.

Pros:

  • The pen is crafted to function in 3 different temperature settings between 170°C and 210°C allowing for easy use of both PLA and ABS filaments. These temperature settings also ensure that there is no clogging in the nozzle area.
  • Both PLA and ABS are high environment-friendly plastics that do not cause any smoke, foul odor and are very fit to be used by children.
  • The craftsmen are proud of their efficient creation and provide a 30-day refund policy along with a 12-month replacement warranty.
  • The pack comes along with 12 PLA colors to be used with the pen comprising a total of 120 feet of filament.

Cons:

  • The nozzle gets superheated when using and can be hazardous to children or other articles if it comes in contact with them.
  • It does not come with a functional battery and needs to be kept plugged in throughout the duration of use.
  • Auto sleep function is disadvantageous for prolonged use, as the artist needs to wait for the pen to heat every time it is left idle.

2. Dikale 07A 3D Printing Pen

3D Drawing Pens - Dikale 07A

Price: $45.99
View on Amazon

 

The Dikale 07A is a lovely 3D pen. It is loaded with extraordinary new features that were absent in previous Dikale products. At just $49.99, this 3D pen is a lovely toy to pass time for kids as well as a grand tool to create astonishing designs for adults. The pen features a ceramic nozzle which is specifically crafted to bear high temperature without damage. Since the nozzle can bear high temperatures it is also very easy to clean it and nearly impossible to clog which makes it secure its spot in this list of best 3D pens.

Key Specs:

  • Packed with 120 feet of usable colored filaments.
  • The LCD screen can display feed speed, feed temperature and so on.
  • One time push button to start extrusion instead of long pressing is comfortable to the fingers and is suitable for long time use.
  • 3 temperature modes between 190°C and 220°C that is suitable for both PLA and ABS plastic material.
  • The 3D Pen has a 30 days full refund policy by Dikale.
  • The manufacturer marks this pen as genuine by backing up the product with a 12-month replacement warranty.
  • Loaded with Intelligent Temperature Control that offers much better protection against scalding.

Pros:

  • The pen makes use of PLA and ABS materials that are derived from organic sources and are not toxic or irritating. These plastic materials also do not produce any foul smell when being melted, thus making it suitable for use by kids.
  • The interior surface of the pen is super smooth thus disallowing any PLA or ABS material to get stuck to it when in the heated state.
  • Two finger protectors are given along with the pen that is super beneficial in protecting the fingers from the extremely heated nozzle.

Cons:

  • No battery feature is included in the pen’s design. It can only be used by plugging it to a power source by means of a cord which becomes hectic during long term use.
  • The hot nozzle is a drawback as it can cause severe burns if it comes in contact with skin or other articles alike.

3. 3Doodler 3D Pen For Kids3Doodler 3D Pen For Kids

Price: $79.99
View on Amazon

 

In the modern era, doodling is not only restricted to the 2-dimensional planes of a white paper. With the all-new 3Doodler 3D pen, now one can doodle upon nothing but thin air. The 3Doodler is wonderfully made and is one of the best 3D printing pens that serves as a brilliant pass time from kids to professionals. It is a simple device that is plugged into a power source, and one can doodle away to the heart’s content.

By the suitable use of a number of plastic consumables, this pen carries out its simple function. Crafted into a sleek, blue body, this pen is easy to hold and handle even for kids. The pen is packed with 15 different colored cartridges that can be used from the moment the pen arrives at your fingertips.

Key Specs:                                                                              

  • Up to 3mm filaments can be used with this 3D Pen.
  • The pen comes with a stencils activity book to help in your progress to be a 3D painter.
  • 3 different materials and over 70 different colored filaments bring about a world of endless possibilities.
  • The pen is very light in weight and weighs only 1.32 pounds.
  • It is loaded with much better speed control.

Pros:

  • Decoration items, toys, kitchen fixes, grand artworks, name it and it can be created by the 3Doodler.
  • PLA, ABS as well as Flexy Plastic can be utilized as a cartridge to use in this pen.
  • PLA and ABS are environment-friendly consumables that can be melted without toxic, sour smelling odor.

Cons:

  • The tip is metallic and gets extremely heated up, causes severe scalding or burning if it comes in contact with skin or another surface.
  • The pen will not work without a wired connection and always needs to be kept connected while in use.

4. MYNT3D Professional 3D PenMynt3D Professional 3D Pen

Price: $50.00
View on Amazon

 

MYNT3D Pen is a grand utility tool to give life to a grand idea. It is the best 3D printing pen when it comes to ease of use. It is crafted with an ergonomic, sleek body that is easy to hold. The buttons are easily reachable without the least bit of problem, allowing this pen to be maneuvered in any way imaginable. It makes use of any kind of plastic filament as its “ink” provided the temperature is set right. Setting up this pen to create a work of wonder is extremely simple- attach the filament, plug in and heat the pen up, and extrude the design in your mind.

Cutting edge technology was used in developing this pen. It can be used to create toys, daily hack products, specimens of humongous structures and whatever the mind can think of. The pen consumes 5 volts of DC to function and can give a power output of up to 10 watts. It is a super utility product that can function as a toy for kids also. The user manual accompanying this pen is very easy to understand and work upon.

Key Specs:

  • Can be powered using a USB which charges the battery- thus this pen can be used on the go.
  • The pen is very light in weight being just a meager 13.1 pounds.
  • The pen can accommodate and extrude any kind of filament that is available in the market.
  • Wood fibers, bronze or other material infused filaments are supported by this pen.
  • The pen works at a temperature range between 130 and 240°C.
  • The temperature between these levels can be increased at an increment of 1°.
  • Fill larger areas faster, and detailed areas slower with the in-built speed control facility in this pen.
  • The OLED display features all the temperature and speed settings thus allowing for easy monitoring.

Pros:

  • Can be used in place of a 3D printer which is much more expensive than a 3D pen to design anything out of thin air.
  • The nozzle, unlike other 3D pens, is replaceable giving this pen a very long life.
  • This pen is so good and safe to use that it is certified by the FCC, CE, and RoHS.
  • It comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

Cons:

  • The pen does not come with a stand and hence the hot nozzle is likely to damage articles or body parts.
  • One push extrusion is suitable for longer use, or use over a large area, but is a hindrance during detailing.

5. Merlion 3D PenMerlion 3D Printing Pen

Price: $42.98
View on Amazon

 

Give your child the freedom to create with the exciting Merlion 3D pen. Coming up as an exceptional 3D pen, this device allows for the growth of a child’s spatial thinking capabilities. It can also serve a budding artist or even professionals to create appealing masterpieces.

The Merlion 3D Pen is simple and powerful to use. It makes use of filaments that once loaded are extruded out of a heated nozzle. The pen is designed to perfection, having an ergonomic body, allowing long term use without the hands getting tired. One push extrusion feature is ingrained in this pen- this allows the extrusion process to start with just one push and the user need not hold the button for long periods.

The pen also features function keys at reasonable points which are easy to access, even swiftly. An instruction manual is provided with the 3D pen. This manual lists all the details as to the functioning of this pen and once gone through properly, one will become an expert. The instructions are provided in a simple, easy to decipher the language, which is even suitable for kids.

Key Specs:

  • The pen works between ranges of 130 to 240°C between which the temperature can be increased at 1°.
  • The body features an OLED display that shows the running temperature and speed and allows for the best craftsmanship.
  • The package includes a removal tool that takes care of unused filaments.
  • Stencils that can be used for 3D drawing are inclusive in the package that can be suitably used to create frames and basic designs.
  • The pen has a slide to adjust speed feature that allows for easy, fast and efficient adjustment of speed settings in the pen.

Pros:

  • Both PLA and ABS filaments are derived from plant materials. This makes these consumables eco-friendly. They do not cause irritation or emanate toxic fumes when being melted.
  • The pen is a genuine product and to mark its genuineness, Merlion backs this product with a one-year limited warranty that takes care of defects and damages.
  • It comes with a pack of filaments in 12 different shades, each 10 feet long and having a diameter of 1.75mm.

Cons:

  • The 3D pen is useless without a power source as there are no provisions to run it on battery.
  • The heated up nozzle can be harmful or dangerous for kids using this pen.

6. DigiHero 3D Drawing Penbest 3d pens - Digihero

Price: Price not available
View on Amazon

 

A 3D pen is an exclusive new addition to the list of wonderful stationary items and the DigiHero 3D pen makes sure to mark a spot. This pen is compatible with PLA and ABS type plastic materials and helps create wonderful toys, structures, arts and so on. With a 0.6mm nozzle, this pen can hold 1.75mm filaments that are extruded out of the hot nozzle.

This pen works with a minimum intake of 5 volts of electric current and features 3 different speed modes. Slow speed is suitable for detailing of structures whereas a fast-paced extrusion is superb to build the basic structure. Its thin body fits into the hand easily and detailed instruction manual makes it excruciatingly easy to use.

Key Specs:

  • Drains power from a power source by means of either an adapter or a simple USB cable.
  • The 3D print pen comes with a 3D error remover making it a compact and handy pack.
  • Its manual has easy to read and understand instructions that even a kid can decipher.
  • The pen comes with a holder to place the pen in between use, such that the hot nozzle does not touch and damage any other surface.

Pros:

  • Features separate modes for PLA and ABS plastics as the two works differently.
  • Both ABS and PLA plastics are eco-friendly as they are derived from plant sources. They are non-irritating and not toxic at all. The plastics are also odorless and are therefore very good to use.
  • The extrusion begins on the simple press of a button. Long press is not required unlike other pens and this is comfortable to the users.
  • Enters into sleep mode after 3 minutes of inactivity making this safe for use by children.

Cons:

  • This pen is not waterproof and is likely to damage if it comes in contact with water.
  • It is incompatible with plastic from any other manufacturer and may malfunction or get damaged if used.

3D Pen Buying Guide

A 3D printer is one of the most fascinating inventions of the 21st century. However, due to the exceptionally high cost, it is not easily accessible to people. However, a 3D pen is a miniature version of it, kind of like a handheld small printer for 3D drawing or printing. It is a fantastic toy for kids to pass time, and an exceptional tool for professionals to give wings to their imaginations.

With the suitable use of a heating capsule, plastic-like filaments, and extrusion mechanism, a 3D printer is able to draw structures in thin air. The world is riddled with a humongous amount of options when one is looking to buy a 3D pen. To choose the best, most suitable out of them is like looking for a needle in a huge haystack. Selecting the best 3D pen may seem like an enormous task, but all one needs is a little magnet.

Quick Tips

The key to buying a good 3D printing pen is to decide first-hand what its intended purpose is. It can serve as a gift or maybe a personal tool to pursue a hobby, or maybe a daily needs article to create works of art. There’s a huge difference between a toy and a professional tool, and the latter needs to be of premium quality for longer, more fruitful use.

Another key factor in buying a good 3D pen is to first decide upon the price one is willing to pay. Once the intended use is decided, it is sufficiently easy to put in a price bracket. 3D pens are available at as low as $30 to premium ones being priced as high as $200 or even higher.

1. Compatibility

Different 3D Pens are ingrained with different temperature settings. The compatibility of a 3D pen depends upon the range of temperature it features. PLA filaments can melt at temperatures between 170 and 190°C whereas ABS filaments require a higher temperature, up to 210°C.

There are other plastic materials available in the market which melts at even lower temperatures. Some 3D pens like the MYNT3D and the Merlion 3D pens feature a temperature range of 130 to 240°C which is very suitable to melt and use any type of filament available in the market.

2. Accessibility And Usage

It may so occur that the user needs to use the 3D pen for a very long duration of time. Long press push button for extrusion, highly heated nozzle, inaccessible function buttons while in use, a huge structure of 3D pen, are all such factors which need to be avoided. These factors will tend to make the hand and fingers sore from using over a long time, and they aren’t one bit comfortable.

While choosing a 3D pen, a buyer should bear in mind to buy a sleek model that has highly accessible function buttons, even during use. Newer models of the 3D pen are given a one-time push button- on pressing it extrusion starts, on pressing again, extrusion stops. Such a button is very handy as it allows a better grip over the pen as well as better maneuvering.

3. Warranty

A 3D Pen is a technological product and is likely to malfunction with even the least bit of hardware problem. It is recommended to always buy a 3D Pen that has good backing of a warranty. A lot of 3D pens around the world like the Dikale 05A and 07A, Merlion 3D pen and so on are backed by a 30-day full refund policy along with a 12 months warranty period. Irrespective of the quality, price and brand name of a 3D pen, one should always go for the product giving the better warranty option.

4. The Time Constraint

Throughout the mechanism of working of a 3D Pen, time plays a very important role. From plugging it on to switching it off, the 3D pen’s use runs through several cycles the first one being heating up the pen. The faster the pen heats up, the better, as it saves unnecessary preparation time.

Once the filament is inserted into a heated up pen, the second cycle starts which comprises of the time it requires to release the extrusion. In most 3D pens, the speed of extrusion can be maintained and they are preset with a fixed number of speeds in which the extrusion takes place.

The third and most important constraint of time is the time the extrusion requires cooling down and solidifying. Unless the extruded material cools and solidifies, oftentimes it becomes impossible to carry the work forward. This is achieved either by complete dissipation of heat after extrusion. This can also be achieved by having a nozzle at a slightly lesser temperature than the core of the 3D pen. The latter method greatly influences and enhances the cooling time for extruded material. Pens featuring such a property are a better choice over pens that have the nozzle at the same temperature as the body.

Other Recommended Gadgets For You.

Wrapping Up

A 3D pen is the most interesting tool and enables time passing like anything. There are lots of options to buy a 3D pen around the world and these 6 are the best 3d pens, gathered from various nooks and corners around the world. All these pens are very appropriate and are high-end products. The 3Doodler has been around for a while now and is a people’s favorite. A very similar observation can also be made about the MYNT3D Pen.

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5 products that will make working from home more comfortable – The Gadgeteer

ARTICLE – To combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many companies are asking their employees to leave the office and work from home. This might sound great in theory, because who wouldn’t want to work 8 hours a day in their pajamas while eating Cheerios? But in reality, not everyone’s home or apartment is set up as a work environment. Here are 5 items that you need to make working from home a little more comfortable.

1. Standing desk

You might not have a standing desk at your day job’s office, but adding one to your home office will definitely make those 8 hours more comfortable than hunching over your laptop on your couch.

Standing desks obviously get you up and out of your chair, which can help prevent back issues, and can even help you focus on the task at hand. We’ve reviewed several standing desks over the years and I personally like the ones that are designed to easily go from standing to sitting without special tools or much effort. As an example, the iMovr ZipLift standing desk is pictured above. Check out some of our other standing desk reviews.

If you don’t have an existing desk, table, or counter to use as a desk, you can buy a freestanding desk like the Edge Desk System kneeling desk. This desk can fold away when you’re not using it, which makes it perfect for small spaces.

If you want to really go over and beyond, you can add some exercise to your desk by checking into a portable treadmill like the Versadesk Ultra-Thin Office Treadmill or the Flexispot desk that has a built-in exercise bike that even tracks your “distance” and can be used as a standing desk.

2. External monitor


I have dual Dell monitors flanking my 15 inch Dell laptop at the desk where I work at Cummins. Trying to replicate similar setups at home might not be feasible due to space constraints, but you can add a smaller external monitor to your laptop like the Lepow 15.6-inch USB-C portable display shown above. These types of monitors don’t require an AC adapter which takes up another outlet in your office, because they only need to plugin to a USB-C port on your laptop.

3. Power strips

Speaking of power, adding another computer, extra monitors, etc to your home means you’ll need more power outlets, so consider getting an updated power strip that includes surge protection like the Eve Energy Strip power strip shown above. This particular power strip is also compatible with Apple HomeKit which means it can be controlled via Siri voice commands.

4. Amazon Echo or another smart speaker


I like to listen to music as I work and I typically use earbuds so I won’t have to listen to my coworkers while I’m trying to focus on fixing someone’s Matlab issue (yay for IT!), but at home, I’d rather just play music in the background and keep my ears free of buds. One way to do that is streaming music to a Bluetooth speaker from my phone, but I’m lazy and prefer to just tell my speaker what to play. My favorite smart speaker/voice assistant is Alexa and Amazon Echo Dot speakers. I love being able to say “Alexa play Old Dominion” and the tunes start flowing like magic. I also like being able to use multiple Echo speakers as an intercom to ask Jeanne to bring me a snack from the kitchen when I’m working downstairs. She’ll probably just tell me to get it myself, but sometimes I get lucky! 😉

5. Office chair


Just as a nice desk is important, you will also want a comfortable chair to make those long hours in from of the computer less painful for your lower back and your posterior region. 🙂 Pictured above is the Vanspace chair and you can read more of our office chair reviews for other ideas.


Support The Gadgeteer:
The Gadgeteer’s main sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links in articles like this one. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions about our experiences with each product.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Under Armour Edition launched

Samsung is launching a new version of their Galaxy Watch Active2 in the UK, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Under Armour Edition.

The new Galaxy Watch Active2 Under Armour Edition is available in two sizes 44mm and 40mm and it comes with either a 1.4 inch or 1.2 inch display with a 360 x 360 pixel resolution.

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Under Armour Inc., have today announced the exclusive Under Armour Edition of the Galaxy Watch Active2 will be released in the UK. The Galaxy Watch Active2 – Under Armour Edition is a new type of smartwatch, designed for dedicated runners, who want to take their fitness to the next level. As an expansion of the partnership with Under Armour, Samsung will provide a connected running experience, unlocking performance advantages that help runners optimise their form through features only available on the Galaxy Watch Active2 – Under Armour Edition.
 
With unique features such as cadence based real-time form coaching and premium access to the world’s largest fitness community through MapMyRun,[1] the Galaxy ecosystem experience on the smartwatch offers faster fitness insights, more intuitive coaching, and more comprehensive workouts accessible directly from the wrist.

You can find out more information about the new Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 Under Armour Edition over at Samsung at the link below.

Source Samsung

Filed Under: Gadgets News, Top News

Latest Geeky Gadgets Deals

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What Phone Should I Buy Now

Mention Australia, that’s really a very good place to dive. And we will naturally think of Kangaroos too. Mention People in Australia, everyone can’t live without a mobile phone, people in New South Wales may like using Oneplus, people in Queensland may like using Samsung Galaxy, etc. Plan to buy a new phone but not sure which one you should buy? Just check out the best cheap smartphones on the Chinavasion store. Keep reading the following guide contents may help you to do a good choice.

We’ll select several representative products(best value) for introduction from the following showing items:

Ulefone Armor X3 IP68 Rugged Smartphone blackUlefone Armor X3 IP68 Rugged Smartphone black

$98.03 

Ulefone S7 1+8GB 5.0 inch GreenUlefone S7 1+8GB 5.0 inch Green

$56.92 

Samsung Galaxy A60 Android Smartphone 6+64GSamsung Galaxy A60 Android Smartphone 6+64G

$252.93 

OnePlus 7 12+256GB Smartphone Rock grayOnePlus 7 12+256GB Smartphone Rock gray

$698.02 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Gold_4+64GXiaomi Redmi Note 7 Gold_4+64G

$188.28 

Guides for “What Phone Should I buy now”:

A good camera smartphone you should buy under 300

Galaxy Series is got focus in Australia’s people, Galaxy A60 config with 32MP HD rear camera and 16.0MP HD front camera, that means you will get a very clear photo by selfie. Even clear when roomed it. The 6GB RAM offers a very smooth and stable running even though you open multi APPs at the same time. 64GB(the system will occupy part of the storage space) can store thousands of pictures. Sometimes, you can get started with near field communication by using NFC.

You can use Galaxy A60 to take some beautiful night picture, to record the awesome night view of South Australia and Tasmania, and natural view of Victoria and New South Wales. 3500mAh battery can keep the device opening more than 4 hours if you just use it to take photos.

Best gaming smartphone for gamers who have enough budget

It’s not cheap among all the smartphones, but still cheaper than Apple iPhone. Oneplus 7 with 12GB RAM and 256GB ROM just like a super mini-computer, portable and more lighter than a normal computer or notebook. Be able to play any games which support Android os happily, with a very strong Snapdragon 855 CPU and Adreno 640 GPU, low heat and stable. The 6.41-inch screen offers you enough viewing space. Imagine that you are sitting on the chair of some place of Western Australia playing a big game happily, what a cozy time it is! It also the best camera phone with the high price, 48MP rear camera and 16MP front camera.

More young people who under 45 in Australia may be interested in this smartphone, if you are a crazy game lover, and you have enough budget, you should buy it. But, you’ll still cost less on Chinavasion, free shipping to Australia.

The toughest water-resistant smartphone you should buy under 100

This phone is very suitable for those Australia people who in a special industry, with triple power: waterproof, dustproof and shockproof. Most durable but low cost. It’s not just for calling, you can use it to take photos, watching movies, listen to music, web surfing, etc. If you going to climbing, camping, diving, or carry out any outdoor activities, Ulefone Armor X3 is the best smartphone you should buy.

Imagine you take a normal smartphone and climbing on a mountain of Northern Territory, and drop off it into the stone, it was broken and doesn’t work while you pick it up, when you need to have a call, you can just find a broken phone…, really disappointed, aren’t you?

A fashion good camera phone under 200 lady should buy

This Redmi Note 7 comes with a very fashion design, gradient purple transmitted lady’s honorable. With a 48MP rear camera and 13MP front camera, you will get the best experience either you take photos by using a rear camera or front camera. Many ladies and girls like selfie, Redmi Note 7 won’t disappoint you. It’s one of the best budget smartphone for Australian girls. Look, a lady taking a photo in a street of Australian Capital Territory by using the Redmi phone.

It config with 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM, girls can play some small games, the 4000mAh battery capacity can keep the phone running several hours, a quick recharge 4.0 technology will charge a phone very fast.

Before you pay a bill, you should read the detail information of the product.

Best smartphone under 60 for elder people

5 inch display screen, not big, easy to use relative to seven inches phone. Easy to put in a pocket with lighter weight. 8MP dual rear camera and 5MP front camera can meet the needs of the elderly. 8GB ROM storage will store more than 500 songs, bring you more entertainment. What we should remind you is that it’s a 3G mobile, you couldn’t connect the 3G network if the location you stay not support 3G WCDMA. But if you have wifi to connect, the Ulefone S7 support wifi connect. Also, you can use it for GPS navigation. To find the best phone for elderly, Ulefone S7 might be the best gift you should buy. Cost under 60 dollars.

 

 

 

How to buy the best cheap Chinese products in the right place? To be a member of Chinavasion at it’s official website: www.chinavasion.com.

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Noise ColorFit PRO 2 – Gonoise

The best part about choosing trekking as an activity is it’s truly for everyone. No matter your age or previous trekking experience, there’s always a path waiting for you.

However, trekking requires special gear. From clothes to backpacks, you have to be prepared for the walk.

As Terri Guillemets once said, “You need special shoes for hiking- and a bit of a special soul as well.”

We at Noise, like to add to it: “You need special shoes for hiking, a bit of a special soul and the perfect fitness tracker as well!”

Needing the perfect equipment for your soul adventure includes having a Bluetooth smartwatch to track all your adventures, making it one of the best stories to tell around the bonfire when all the friends reunite.

Our suggestion would be the Noise ColorFit PRO 2.

There’s nothing this fitness tracker smartwatch can’t do; from solving the mystery of the calories you burned and tracking your workouts, to calming you down when you land in a bit of a pickle, the Noise ColorFit PRO 2 does it all.

9 Sport Modes

The Noise ColorFit PRO 2 is a Bluetooth smartwatch that helps you track 9 different sports! No matter if you’re just into hiking or a full-fledged cyclist, the Noise ColorFit PRO 2 is the perfect investment!

And not just the sports tracking but the Noise ColorFit PRO 2 helps you track your overall health too while you’re on the hills, climbing the rocky roads with your backpack.

The Bluetooth smartwatch offers comprehensive activity and health tracking with the 24/7 heart rate monitor, sleep monitor plus step tracking and calories burned count.

Moreover, the fitness tracker also offers a sedentary alarm to give you the little push and motivation to get up and get going!

‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’

A lot of factors need to be considered when one decides to go on a trekking adventure. You need to monitor your health weeks in advance to make sure you’re physically fit for days of climbing a mountain with a heavy backpack by your side. As much as one needs to be physically fit, prepping yourself mentally is of huge importance too.

Feeling exhausted, and wanting to return midway on a trek is a feeling every hiker has been through at some point. That usually happens as a result of lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes and the increasing stress in your body.

The Noise ColorFit PRO 2 Bluetooth smartwatch helps you get over this too as it offers a ‘breathe mode’.

The breathe mode in the fitness tracker helps you control your breathing patterns which ultimately lowers your heart rate, thus decreasing your anxiety and stress level.

No wonder we call it a PRO!

Style + Proficiency & Comfort = Pure Bliss

The above equation seems near perfection, doesn’t it? Well, it is precisely what the Noise ColorFit PRO 2 offers.

Talking about style, gone are the days when Bluetooth smartwatches had to be the usual boring black. The Noise ColorFit PRO 2 comes in three magnificent colour variants: the classic black, the funky teal green and the uber-stylish grey which goes with all your outfits.

Next up is proficiency and comfort, the Noise ColorFit PRO 2 gives you a luxurious experience while you use it.

Everything you want to perform with the watch can be easily controlled through the NoiseFit SPORT app. Every function, all your workout goals combined in one place, so that you can track ‘em and crush ‘em!

Moreover, the fitness tracker Noise ColorFit PRO 2 also helps one track the menstrual cycle too!

When we put in everything in one smartwatch, we definitely couldn’t leave out the fact that it’s waterproof too! Go for a quick swim beneath the starry sky of your resort’s open pool or jump in the river, we got you covered!

While this watch performs all this for you, we had to train it to never tire and never retire! So the Noise ColorFit PRO 2 holds a battery life of more than A WEEK!

Now say yes to long, impromptu trips and treks!

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Apple could announce new MacBook models with scissor-switch keyboards soon – TechCrunch

According to a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could unveil new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models with scissor-switch keyboards. MacRumors first noticed the report; TechCrunch obtained the research note as well.

Apple updated the big MacBook Pro in November. The company slightly increased the size of the display from 15” to 16” without any meaningful changes in overall size. Apple also abandoned the controversial butterfly keyboards. The 16-inch MacBook Pro now relies on the more traditional scissor-switch keyboard.

But Kuo thinks Apple will ship updated MacBook models with a scissor-switch keyboard at some point during the second quarter of 2020. So you can expect a MacBook Air and small MacBook Pro update in the near future. Apple could use this opportunity to increase the size of the display of the 13-inch MacBook Pro model as well.

In addition to those minor but important updates, rumor has it that Apple is already planning bigger changes for the MacBook lineup. The first laptop with an Apple-designed ARM processor could ship in the last quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021.

This change will have wide implications for developers as they’ll need to recompile their apps to run on ARM processors. Apple will likely lay out a roadmap so that third-party developers have enough time before releasing an ARM-based laptop.

There also could be a brand new laptop design in Q2 or Q3 of 2021. But Kuo is a bit vague on this front. Apple plans could still change.