Huawei’s Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9.0 rolling out globally (Update: India, too!)

huawei mate 20 pro

Update, January 11, 2019 (1:54PM EST): Honor announced that the EMUI 9.0 update is rolling out to the Honor 10, Honor View 10, and Honor Play in India. Don’t fret if you live in India and don’t get the update right away — the rollout will likely happen over the next few days and even weeks, so be patient.


Original article, December 19, 2018 (6:35PM EST): Huawei recently announced that its EMUI 9.0 Android overlay is rolling out to supported devices around the world.

In the next few days, EMUI 9.0 will roll out to the following devices:

The EMUI 9.0 update weighs around 4GB, so make sure you’re on a decent Wi-Fi connection. Those on the EMUI 9.0 beta can expect a smaller 770MB update to the stable release.

Keep in mind that the list of supported devices may grow over time. Devices like the Honor 8X, Huawei Mate 20 Lite, Honor 8C, and similarly-new Huawei and Honor devices might also get EMUI 9.0 down the road.

Based on Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9.0 uses AI to increase the system response speed by 25.8 percent. Huawei also claims that EMUI 9.0 shortens app startup by 102ms and increases overall system fluency by 12.9 percent compared to EMUI 8.1.

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EMUI 9.0 also features GPU Turbo 2.0, the next iteration of Huawei’s game optimization software. Huawei claims that GPU Turbo 2.0 lowers touch delays by 36 percent and decreases hot spots temperature by up to 3.6 degrees Celsius compared to EMUI 8.1.

You’ll also find Huawei’s versions of certain Google features in EMUI 9.0. For example, Digital Balance and HiVision take clear inspiration from Digital Wellbeing and Google Lens, respectively.

Finally, EMUI 9.0 includes a gesture-based system and a more streamlined experience that cuts the number of menus down from 940 to 843.

If you have a Huawei or Honor device that runs EMUI 9.0, let us know your experiences in the comments below!

LG has vague timeline for global rollout of Pie for the LG G7 ThinQ

According to a post on the South Korean version of the LG website, Android 9 Pie will land on the South Korean variant of the LG G7 ThinQ in the first quarter of 2019.

Usually, LG updates its devices in its home country first and then rolls out the update to other countries some months later. Using this history as a rubric, it’s a safe bet that Pie will land on your LG G7 ThinQ at some point in the first half of 2019.

Or hey, maybe not. Maybe it will be sooner or later than that.

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Unlike other manufacturers who have given at least somewhat concrete timelines for the rollout of Pie to their Android devices, LG’s report on the matter is very vague. However, the company did roll out a beta of Android 9 Pie to its South Korean G7 Thinq handsets in November, so maybe the stable rollout will happen sooner than we expect.

Earlier in 2018, LG promised it was building a new division with the sole purpose of pushing faster Android updates to its phones. However, we haven’t heard much at all about this new update center since then. Judging from the fact that Android 9 Pie has been stable since August of 2018, it doesn’t appear that the update center is up and running quite yet.

If you have an LG G7 ThinQ, you will get Android 9 Pie at some point. We’ll just have to wait on LG to announce exactly when that will be.

NEXT: Some LG G7 ThinQ owners are reporting bootloops, but a fix is coming

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 review: What’s old is new again

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is the clear successor to last year’s Mi Mix 2 and Mi Mix 2S, now redesigned to compete head-to-head with the Honor Magic 2. It offers very similar specifications and features, and it also utilizes the same unique slider design as the Magic 2. Only time will tell if the slider form factor of yesteryear is truly making a comeback, but the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is one of two smartphones in recent months to reintroduce this design. This is our full review of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3.

Design

The combination of ceramic and aluminum provides for excellent build quality and at 218g the phone feels very substantial.

The overall design of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is nothing short of what you would expect from Xiaomi. The Mi Mix 3 utilizes Xiaomi’s signature ceramic backing and a 7-series aluminum frame along the perimeter. The combination of ceramic and aluminum provides excellent build quality and at 218g the phone feels very substantial. Some may not like the weight, as it is one of the heaviest phones on the market, but I personally didn’t mind the heft. The phone makes good use of rounded corners, curved sides, and tapered edges for better comfort and a stylish appearance.

The ceramic backing is reflective and glossy, making it tough to keep fingerprint-free. It’s definitely a beautiful device if you can manage to keep your paws from greasing up its backside.

The slider mechanism satisfyingly clicks into place when open or shut and even has a spring back effect that’s reminiscent of slider phones of old.

The slider mechanism is fully manual and works just like the Honor Magic 2. Sliding the screen down opens up the phone, revealing the front-facing cameras. Xiaomi also included sound effects to make sliding the phone open and closed a little bit more fun. The slider mechanism satisfyingly clicks into place when open or shut and even has a spring back effect that’s reminiscent of slider phones of old. The slider feels sturdy overall and Xiaomi rates it at 300,000 cycles, but the front half has a slight wiggle. It’s probably not something to worry about, but I didn’t notice a wiggle with the Honor Magic 2’s slider.

Display

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 continues the trend set by previous Mi Mix devices with a full-screen experience and minimal bezels. The slider makes shrinking the bezels easier, since the front-facing cameras are hidden inside of the phone. This means Xiaomi didn’t have to use a notch or put the front-facing camera on the bottom of the phone as in previous iterations.

A 6.39-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display fills the front of the phone with an impressive 93.4 percent screen-to-body ratio. Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is used to protect the screen from scratches. The display is vibrant, colorful, and exhibits the excellent contrast we’ve come to expect from AMOLED displays. At 600 nits of brightness, the screen is easily visible in direct sunlight.

The nearly bezel-less display is a joy to use on a daily basis. Content like movies and YouTube videos look fantastic. It almost feels like you’re just holding a display in your hands. It may not be as high resolution as some of the competing flagships on the market, but you most likely won’t notice. It’s a quality panel and that’s all that matters.

Performance

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 comes with the usual internals that we’ve seen in flagship Android smartphones all year. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor runs the show with either 6, 8, or 10GB of RAM. I used the 6GB variant with 128GB of storage.

As expected, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 performs swimmingly. Whether you’re casually swiping through the interface, launching apps, playing games, browsing the web, or multitasking, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is smooth and responsive. The abundance of RAM allows the Mi Mix 3 to keep tons of apps open without ever slowing down. High-end games run with consistent frame rates and the phone never got alarmingly hot or warm during gaming sessions.






The Mi Mix 3 is fast to charge with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ and wireless charging is available as an added convenience.

Battery life performance on the Mi Mix 3 is merely average. With a 3,200mAh battery that’s smaller than many competing smartphones, this wasn’t too surprising. Screen-on time averaged around four hours, which is good for a full day’s worth of use, but only if you’re using the phone casually. More intense use such as gaming and extended camera usage will drain the battery quickly. Thankfully, the Mi Mix 3 is fast to charge with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4+ and wireless charging is available as an added convenience.




Hardware

Aside from wireless charging, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 doesn’t offer too many extra bells and whistles. There’s no IP certification against water and dust due to the phone’s slider design and you won’t find a headphone jack either. There’s also no microSD card slot for expandable storage, but the 128 and 256GB storage options should be more than enough for most people.

Face unlock can be used as an alternate method of security but this feature won’t be enabled until a future OTA update and will only come to select markets.

The most notable piece of hardware is a dedicated AI button on the left side of the phone. This is similar to the Bixby button on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, but it’s much more useful since it ties to Google Assistant.

Unlike the Honor Magic 2, the Mi Mix 3 has a physical fingerprint sensor on the rear panel, not an in-screen sensor. The sensor is fast and accurate. Considering in-screen fingerprint sensors aren’t quite as reliable in their current state, Xiaomi’s decision to go with a physical sensor was a smart one. Face unlock will work as an alternate method of security, but not until a future OTA update and only in select markets.

Camera

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 comes with a total of four cameras. The rear is equipped with two 12MP sensors. The primary camera features a f/1.8 aperture lens, dual-pixel autofocus, and optical image stabilization. The secondary sensor is a telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture and provides 2X optical zoom.

The main front-facing camera comes in at a whopping 24MP and is paired with a 2MP sensor. Only the 24MP sensor takes photos while the 2MP sensor is designed to assist with portrait mode, studio lighting effects, and AI scene detection. Portrait mode, studio lighting, and AI scene detection are also available on the rear cameras.

Portrait mode on the Mi Mix 3 works very well with clean cutouts of subjects and a convincing background blur. Very rarely did the Mi Mix 3 struggle with separating the foreground from the background. The bokeh can also be adjusted after the fact to increase or decrease separation between the subject and background. The studio lighting effects are fun if you want to make your selfies look a little more interesting but it doesn’t always do a perfect job cropping you from the original background, as you can see with my right ear in the images below.



Many smartphone cameras now include AI scene detection and they all work more or less the same. The Mi Mix 3 can detect scenes like food, plants, text, landscapes, and more. If the phone detects a scene you’ll see a visual indicator within the camera’s viewfinder and the camera will adjust the image accordingly in an attempt to provide a better-looking image.

I noticed that the AI scene recognition mostly just ups the saturation, contrast, and the overall brightness of the image. If you don’t dig the extra color and contrast, you can disable the AI. I personally didn’t mind the results it gave me as they’re not as heavy-handed as those found on some other phones.



The camera’s excellent dynamic range kept highlights from overexposing which provided more detail in these areas.

Whether or not you decide to use the AI, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is an excellent smartphone camera for photography. Images are crisp and full of detail and color reproduction is very pleasant with good white balance. The phone handled all sorts of situations extremely well, and night time shots were impressive. Details are very crisp and sharp, and noise is minimal. Many smartphone cameras tend to struggle with highlights in low light photography but such is not the case with the Mi Mix 3. The camera’s excellent dynamic range kept highlights from overexposing which provided more detail in these areas.

We’ve included a full gallery of samples below for easy viewing but you can see the full-res images by clicking here.

Gallery

Software

The Mi Mix 3 ships with the latest Android 9 Pie and version 10 of Xiaomi’s popular MIUI software. Although I prefer my Android software as stock as possible, MIUI is pleasant to use and easy on the eyes. The UI is very minimalist and doesn’t overwhelm you with bright colors, opting for a more pastel color palette. The UI is highly customizable with a big library of wallpapers and MIUI offers a great selection of themes for changing the UI’s aesthetics.

MIUI comes with many other useful features such as a one-handed mode, gesture-controlled shortcuts, and dual app support. The software also leverages the slider mechanism as a shortcut for taking a selfie or automatically launching into a specific application when sliding the phone open. Although MIUI has a lot of features and software tricks, none of them feel intrusive and many are quite useful. The experience is also free of third-party bloatware, which keeps the software clean. There is a lot of Mi branded software preinstalled, but that’s par for the course.






Specifications

  Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
Display 6.39-inch AMOLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
19.5:9 screen ratio
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Octa-core, up to 2.8Ghz
GPU Adreno 630
RAM 6GB/8GB/10GB
LPDDR4x
Storage 128GB/256GB
UFS 2.1
Cameras Rear cameras
Main: 12MP with 1.4 micron pixels, 4-axis OIS, f/1.8 aperture (IMX363)
Secondary: 12MP 2x telephoto with 1.0 micron pixels, f/2.4 aperture (S5K3M3+)
Video: 4K at 60/30fps, 1080p at 960/240/120/60/30fps, 720p at 960/240/120/30fps

Front cameras
Main: 24MP with 1.8 micron “super pixels”, f/2.2 aperture (IMX576)
Secondary: 2MP sensor for depth effects (OV02A10)

Audio USB Type-C
No headphone jack
Battery 3,200mAh battery
Quick Charge 4+
10 watt wireless charging
IP rating N/A
Sensors Rear fingerprint
Hall
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Proximity
Ambient Light
Electronic Compass
Barometer
Network GSM: B2, B3, B5, B8 CDMA 1X, EVDO: BC0, BC6, BC10
WCDMA: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B8, B9, B10
TDD-LTE: B34, B38, B39, B40, B41(2496-2690)
FDD-LTE: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B13, B17, B18, B19,B20, B25, B26, B28, B29, B30, B66
Connectivity Wi-Fi: 2×2 MIMO, MU-MIMO, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5G
Bluetooth 5.0
AptX/AptX-HD support
NFC
Dual frequency GPS (GPS L1+L5, Galileo E1+E5a, QZSS L1+L5, GLONASS L1, Beidou B1)
SIM Dual nano-SIM
Dual 4G standby
Software MIUI 10
Android 9.0 Pie
Dimensions and weight 157.9 x 74.7 x 8.5mm
218g
Colors Jade Green
Onyx Black
Sapphire Blue

Pricing & Final Thoughts

Pricing for the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is as follows: 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage for 3,299 yuan (~$475); 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage for 3,599 yuan (~$520); 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage for 3,999 yuan (~$575); and a 10GB RAM and 256GB of storage special edition for 4,999 yuan (~$720).

Aside from China, the Mi Mix 3 has also been confirmed for a U.K. release. Its wider availability will make this sliding phone much easier to obtain than the China-exclusive Honor Magic 2. That alone will make it a much more appealing option for those who want a phone in this form factor.

The Mi Mix 3 doesn’t disappoint as a flagship smartphone. It offers fantastic specs with great performance, great design, a near bezel-less screen, and a fantastic camera that takes excellent photos in all conditions. It lacks battery capacity and isn’t water resistant, but that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make if you want to experience a new take on an old design.

Nokia 5.1 Plus is latest device to get hot slice of Android Pie

The Nokia 5.1 Plus, also known as the Nokia X5. HMD Global/Nokia

HMD Global brought Android Pie to the Nokia 8 last week, but the firm isn’t finished just yet. The Nokia brand licensee has just announced that the update is now heading to the Nokia 5.1 Plus too.

Juho Sarvikas, HMD Global’s chief product officer, confirmed the news on Twitter. Exact details weren’t disclosed, but we’re expecting a phased roll-out over the next few days. Don’t panic if you’re not seeing the update on your device just yet.

Screenshots of the change-log show that the Nokia 5.1 Plus update weighs in at over 1.2GB, and is said to include new system navigation functionality, Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, and “predictive application actions.” The latter sounds like a fancy name for Android Pie’s App Actions feature. Otherwise, you can also expect the December 2018 security patches to be included in this update.

We’re happy to see Adaptive Battery apparently included in the roll-out, especially after this feature didn’t make it into the Nokia 8’s Android Pie update. HMD is reportedly bringing the feature to the 2017 flagship in a later update.

We’re glad to see the Finnish company upgrading its cheaper phones, but Twitter users have voiced their displeasure at the lack of Pie for the Nokia 8 Sirocco. Sarvikas previously said the Sirocco’s update would be “next in line” after the Nokia 8, so we can certainly see why owners of the pseudo-flagship would be upset.

NEXT: New Nokia smartphone hits FCC — Is it another low-end champ?

Let’s hope that Samsung sticks to its Android 9 Pie update roadmap

samsung galaxy s9 one ui review android pie logo easter egg

Samsung celebrated Christmas a little early in the form of its stable Android 9 Pie update with One UI for Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus owners. In addition to the rollout, SamMobile reported that Samsung updated its Members app with its Android 9 Pie update roadmap.

According to the roadmap, the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus will receive Android 9 Pie in January 2019. Even though the update is rolling out to the phones starting today, the carrier variants might not see the update for another month.

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Next in line is the Galaxy Note 9, which looks to receive its Android 9 Pie update in February 2019. We’re not sure why the newer Galaxy Note 9 will get the update after the older Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, but there it is. Keep in mind that the Galaxy Note 9 might also get Android 9 Pie ahead of schedule.

Following Samsung’s 2018 flagships are the company’s 2017 flagships: the Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, and Note 8. All three phones will receive Android 9 Pie, along with One UI, in March 2019.

SamMobile

Things then get a bit crazy. The Android 9 Pie rollout is expected to go from April 2019 with Samsung’s Galaxy A7, A8, A8 Plus, and A9 (2018) through October 2019 with the Galaxy Tab A 10.5. A slew of devices will also get the update between April and October, such as the Galaxy Tab S4, Galaxy A8 Star, and much more.

You can see the full list of devices that will get Android 9 Pie in the above screenshot. You’ll also see that the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are not on the list — both devices received two major Android updates, usually the quota for flagship Android smartphones.

NEXT: Hands-on with Samsung One UI and Android Pie on the Galaxy S9