Best of Android 2018: the best audio

We’ve subjected the best Android devices of 2018 to a slew of testing and can confidently inform you of what the best sounding phone is, as well as list other standout products with excellent audio. While we’ve only highlighted one phone, a handful of options produce perceptually perfect audio when it comes to noise and dynamic range. Aside from the models that are virtually indistinguishable from each other, we’ll also address a few other phones that perform well but not perfectly.

What makes something the best sounding phone?

Best sounding phone: Red Hydrogen One headphone jack

As more and more flagships drop the headphone jack, its presence has become a sought-after feature for audio junkies and is required to be crowned the best sounding phone.

As writers from our sister site SoundGuys will tell you, audio is both a subjective and objective experience. While the subjective, experiential part is valid, we’re here to highlight some of the more scientific bits to get you on your way.

When looking for a phone that produces excellent sound quality, there are a few things to keep an eye out for:

  • Noise levels should be under -96.6dB for CD-quality music.
  • Dynamic range should similarly be at or over 96.6dB.
  • Frequency response shouldn’t ever deviate from 0dB in either direction, but you won’t hear it if it’s less than 0.5dB.
  • Smartphone speakers suck.
  • Headphone jacks are the only way to ensure high-quality audio.

Only three phones tested exhibited audible errors

If you were to take a look at our huge, color-coded results spreadsheet, you’d notice right away how most smartphones in 2018 exhibit no audible flaws. When it comes to figuring out which smartphone is better than others for audio quality, only two things separate them: features (like a headphone jack), and Bluetooth.

We don’t like shaming phones around here, but these are the offending models:

  1. RED Hydrogen One
  2. Huawei P20
  3. Huawei P20 Pro

SoundGuys noted some irregularities with the Huawei phones when it came to AAC, but also noted every Android phone has errors with that finicky codec. The phones listed here can handle SBC, LDAC, aptX, and aptX HD on-spec. Additionally, the errors exhibited by those phones are unlikely to be heard by over 70 percent of the population, so be sure to temper outrage on that front.

However, the RED Hydrogen phone has frequency response errors of over 7dB, meaning you’ll absolutely hear it affect your music. It’s the lone “bad” phone for audio here.

The tests tell a very rosy story

We were surprised to find that noise wasn’t really a factor in differentiating phones, as most phones did a great job with it, however, there were a few shortcomings in other areas that thinned the herd considerably.

Dynamic Range

Higher is better

While it’s important for smartphone audio to minimize noise, high dynamic range is just as crucial. Although we’re accustomed to seeing the acronym “HDR” in photography, auditory dynamic range is the ratio of the quietest sound to the loudest sound a device can produce.

Dynamic Range

Higher is better

Speaker loudness might mostly serve to annoy the crap out of everyone around you, but sometimes you need a little boom in your mobile to catch a call or watch a YouTube video with a group. This purely tested how loud a given smartphone’s speaker can get and didn’t take into account distortion. We see quite a bit of difference between our top contenders, with the Nokia 7.1 and LG V40 ThinQ leading the pack.

Speaker Loudness

Higher is better

A fourth metric brings us back to the fundamentals of audio: frequency response. Although consumer headphones and earbuds tend to alter sound with a brand’s specific “house signature,” if you’re looking for accuracy, you want a device’s frequency response to be as neutral as possible. Though much hay is made over the high-end DAC assemblies of the LG V40 and Samsung phones, the truth is most handsets can decode and output a decent enough signal for even picky listeners. Only five phones crossed our +/- 0.5dB barrier, three of which are listed above. 

This is particularly pertinent, as it applies to the best sounding phone. By producing a neutral frequency response, a smartphone minimizes harmonic distortion at the source. Any issues with the DAC’s ability to reproduce an accurate, high-fidelity response may be amplified down the line when you plug your headphones in.

An accurate, neutral-leaning frequency response is imperative for any phone to be considered as the best sounding phone.

Most phones deviate less than 0.5dB in either direction, and score nearly perfect in this regard. Any of the phones listed today are essentially indistinguishable from one another performance-wise, making each smartphone an excellent choice when considering audio quality. While we can easily get lost nitpicking smartphone audio performance, the fact of the matter is smartphones handle audio exceptionally well. Generally speaking, you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between the top 10 smartphones for audio.

However, that brings us to a funny artifact of our scoring: only phones with a headphone jack could top our list. Dongles are a death sentence for our awards.

The current state of smartphone audio

Best sounding phone: The LG V40 ThinQ and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 standing next to each other on a shelf.

Smartphone audio has come a long way, and we’re confident that any of the notable phones mentioned today will be satisfactory.

Listen to the SoundGuys podcast: The state of smartphone audio

Yes, 10 phones is a lot of models to be indistinguishable — it serves as a testament to how far smartphone audio quality has come. Now, what makes each phone a top contender is its ability to exceed the limits of human hearing.

Human hearing ranges from 20Hz-20kHz — hence why you see that range brandished all over headphone packaging — but this range assumes a young age and unsullied ear mechanics. Most of our hearing abilities degrade naturally by the time we hit our early- to- mid-twenties, which you can put to the test here. If you find that you can’t hear a few of those files, try applying a filter in your phone’s settings (found in Samsung, LG phones). You might be surprised at the improvements you can get.

What’s more, if you’re streaming over Bluetooth, even the highest quality codec can’t keep step with wired listening. In fact, LDAC 330kbps showed itself less reliable than SBC, the lowest-common-denominator of codecs. So, the assumed codec pecking order been skewed up until now. AAC diminishes audio quality a bit when streamed over an Android device, and aptX is what listeners should be sticking to. Even then, however, wired remains king of quality.  

The LG V40 ThinQ has the best sound quality of any handset in 2018

After subjecting each of the 30 contenders to a battery of tests and analyzing the data through our in-house scoring algorithms, the LG V40 ThinQ narrowly reigned victor over the Asus ROG Phone and Samsung Galaxy phones. These phones actually beat out the V40 in some cases, but because many of those measurements lie outside the realm of human perception, they didn’t give those phones an edge with our scoring methods. The LG V40 ThinQ’s headphone jack, Quad DAC, and internal amplifier is a winning combination that’s yet to be bested.

Best sounding phone: LG V40 ThinQ camera

The LG V40’s 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC in tandem with the retention of the headphone jack makes it the best sounding smartphone of 2018.

It’s that internal amplifier that makes the LG V40 ThinQ a special phone. Where LG’s V-series has had it for a long time now, no other phones offer a 2V output, which means you can use power-hungry high-end headphones without breaking a sweat. Though it’s probably not the most practical idea to listen to a pair of planar magnetic headphones on the town, the fact is the LG V40 ThinQ is the only phone that’s going to let you do that. The Quad-DAC certainly sounds flashy, but the power behind the headphone jack is what makes the LG V40 ThinQthe best phone for audio. 

Editor’s Pick

Although it’s important to acknowledge the winner’s weaknesses, we tip our headphones to the LG V40. It — along with the Asus ROG Phone, Vivo NEX, and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 — outperforms its smartphone brethren in dynamic range. Additionally, the V40 frequency response deviates just 0.07dB, outperforming all other potential picks.

Although the V40 can’t outperform its competition in every metric, the top-notch power output makes it the best sounding smartphone of the year.

This year, there’s a wide selection of excellent phones out there for listeners who prioritize audio quality. All of the listed candidates are within a few meager points of one another and remain perceptually indistinguishable — unless you have a set of high-impedance headphones that require a lot of juice.

  1. LG V40 ThinQ
  2. Asus ROG Phone
  3. Nokia 7.1
  4. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
  5. LG G7 ThinQ
  6. Samsung Galaxy S9
  7. Vivo X21
  8. Vivo Nex
  9. Xiaomi Pocophone
  10. Samsung Galaxy Note 9

One more thing about testing

Best sounding phone: focusrite scarlett 2i2 connected to a smartphone.

We use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to conduct our smartphone audio tests.

Any of the nine alternatives are very close to the LG V40. We understand if you want a more financially viable choice, or a battery that’s not going to quit after a few hours. In that case, the Xiaomi Pocophone, and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus remains standout performers. Though they’re technically not the best sounding phones, they’re sure to satisfy any enthusiast’s ears. We’ll have future comparisons coming down the line to help inform you on future smartphone-related decisions.

Although we’re not yet publishing our internal scoring, we implore our readers to learn about how we conducted our testing, and the philosophy behind it. We want to ensure our data tells a story and informs our audience of relevant information. What’s more, we want our data to be accessible to a wide array of readers, be it the computer engineer or the average consumer.

Come back throughout the week for more Best of Android 2018 coverage as we have plenty more to share with you.

Next: Best of Android 2018: The best displays

UK Deals of the Week: Google Pixel 3 and Honor early Black Friday sales

Google Pixel 3 deals

Welcome to your weekly round-up of the best U.K. deals of the week for Android phones, network plans, accessories, smart home tech, and a little of whatever else is on offer in the world of mobile!

US Deals

This week’s deals include early Black Friday offers on a whole load of Google products, an iPhone X for less than 700 pounds, a killer offer on a Xiaomi Redmi 6A and Mi Band 3 bundle, and much more.

""Amazon Prime Day 2018: Deals, dates, and everything else you should know

Below are the most enticing deals we’ve seen this week hand-picked with a little help from the folks over at HotUKDeals – the U.K.’s biggest deal-sharing community.

Motorola One deal

Phones

Google Pixel 3 (SIM Free, 64GB) – £699 (was £739) @ Google Store

Google Pixel 3 XL (SIM Free, 64GB) – £829 (was £869) @ Google Store

Motorola One (SIM Free, 64GB) – £199 (was £269) @ Amazon

iPhone X (SIM free, 64GB) – £679 (was £999) on 12 months buy now pay later w/code N77PP @ Very

Honor 10, Honor 9 Lite, Honor Play Black Friday deals @ Amazon

Xiaomi Redmi 6A (SIM Free, 16GB) and Xiaomi Mi Band 3 – £109 (was £126.98) @ Three

Nokia 8 (SIM Free, 64GB) – £219 (was £259) @ John Lewis

Moto G6 Play (SIM Free, 32GB) – £129 (was £149) @ John Lewis

Xiaomi Mi Band 3 deal

Accessories

Xiaomi Mi Band 3 – £19.99 (was £26.99) @ Amazon

SanDisk 128GB Ultra A1 Micro SD Card – £19.99 (was £34.99) @ Base

Anker Premium Nylon USB-C to USB-A 2.0 Cable (2 Pack) – £5.59 Prime / £6.58 non Prime (was £8.99) @ Amazon (Anker Direct)

Google Pixelbook deals

Tech

Google Pixelbook (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) – £699 (was £999) @ John Lewis

Google Home – £79 (was £129) @ John Lewis

Google Home Mini – £29 (was £49) @ John Lewis

Google Chromecast (3rd Gen) – £20 (was £30) @ Argos

More UK content:

Have you seen any amazing deals this week? Be sure to share your finds in the comments.

Samsung Good Lock gets nav bar customization and dozens of new icons

  • Samsung has rolled out a new Google Lock 2018 module called NavStar.
  • The module allows users to customize their navigation bar with new icons and colors.
  • It’s compatible with Samsung devices running Android 8.1 Oreo and up.

Samsung has rolled out NavStar, a new customization module for Good Lock 2018. Samsung delivered the module in a recent update (brought to our attention via XDA Developers), allowing users to make some funky changes to their navigation bar.

Editor’s Pick

NavStar’s main attraction will be the new icons, seeing as they include images like paw prints, ice cream, a piece of cheese, and a cat in a basket. Samsung allows you to replace the existing navigation icons with these adorable icons, as well as add two extra buttons to the nav bar (with additional functions, like opening the camera or web browser).

Samsung Good Lock NavStar module. XDA Developers

Further, NavStar will let users change the bar’s layout, including its color and where the buttons sit.

This all may sound frivolous — particularly the cat in the basket icon — but it’s these kinds of features that can make devices seem that much more personal. Samsung revived Good Lock earlier in 2018 in order to offer Samsung users unprecedented UI customization options (Read more about it here). The South Korean OEM’s developments here are somewhat unique in the Android world — most third-party OEMs don’t offer such customization options — so they’re welcome even if they are of small consequence.

Samsung Good Lock NavStar module. XDA Developers

Now to talk about caveats: Good Lock 2018 is still only compatible with Android 8.1 Oreo and upwards, which means you can’t get this on the Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus for now. It’s also only available in the U.S., U.K., Korea, Singapore, Australia, and Canada.

However, Samsung is rolling out the Pie beta for the S9 and S9 Plus, which means some folks might get access to it soon.

If you happen to be rocking a Samsung device with 8.1 Oreo — such as the Galaxy Note 9 — and live in one of the aforementioned regions, look out for NavStar in the latest version of the Good Lock 2018 Launcher in the Galaxy Apps store.

Call Screen starts slowly rolling out the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL

  • Google has started rolling out Assistant’s Call Screen feature to the Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL.
  • Call Screen allows Assistant to answer calls on the user’s behalf and record a message for them.
  • It’s available in the U.S. only right now.

It looks like Google has started rolling out Call Screen to the Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Android Police was tipped-off about the update yesterday before several others in the comments chimed-in to say they’d received it too.

The feature, which launched with the Pixel 3, allows Google Assistant to answer calls on the user’s behalf. Here, Assistant will ask the caller to explain the reason for the call, and that the message will be recorded and passed on. Pixel owners can customize Assistant’s responses, as well as listen in to the call live and answer if they wish to.

This can be particularly useful for dealing with nuisance phone calls; read more about it here.

Editor’s Pick

Google has previously said Call Screening would come to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL in November, but it didn’t offer a more precise date. The rollout seems to be underway now, but given the sparse confirmations, it could take another few days (or perhaps weeks) to arrive to all users. It’s a U.S.-only feature for now.

Look out for the functionality on your Pixel 2 soon and let us know in the comments if it’s already with you. For everything else you need to know about how the gen-two Pixel stacks up against the latest model, head to our Google Pixel 2 vs Google Pixel 3 comparison.

Samsung kicks off One UI (Android Pie) update for beta users

Samsung has opened the beta program for One UI, based on Android 9 Pie.

Currently available in South Korea and potentially other countries, the beta program lets regular users test drive the new software, which will replace Samsung’s skin on the Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus and a slew of other devices.

Some users in South Korea are reportedly already using the new One UI, which Samsung first teased during its Developer Conference last week.

As reported by SamMobile, users in Germany and the U.S. are expected to be able to join the beta soon, though an exact timeframe isn’t available yet.

Read: Check out One UI: A newer, rounder take on the Samsung Experience

If you have a Galaxy S9 or Galaxy S9 Plus and want to test out One UI, you can join the program from the Samsung Members app, which should have been pre-installed on your device out of the box. After you open the app and accept the terms, check out the Notices section in the left-side hamburger menu. If the beta program is available to you, you should see a notification allowing you to join. After you sign up, you’ll be able to check for the system update from your phone’s settings section.

Via SamMobile

 

In past years, Samsung opened up a limited number of slots for its Android update beta program. In other words, don’t hesitate too much once you get the availability notice.

One UI brings sweeping changes to the software that was once known as TouchWiz. These include a system-wide dark theme, a design paradigm that caters to modern, tall form factor devices, and a refreshed visual language that favor rounded corners. The settings have also been simplified, and Samsung apps will adopt a bottom navigation bar to facilitate one-handed use.

The first incarnation of One UI is based on Android 9 Pie and includes many of the under-the-hood features in this major release. Samsung confirmed to Android Authority that the new software will be made available to the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, and Note 8, in addition to this year’s crop of Samsung flagships.

Keep an eye on your Samsung Members app and let us know if you got the update.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro headed to India November 22

Facebook

  • Xiaomi has sent out press invites for its Redmi Note 6 Pro launch in New Delhi.
  • The phone will launch on November 22 ahead of its first sale the following day.
  • The price is still to be revealed.

Xiaomi has sent out invites for its Redmi Note 6 Pro launch in India. Xiaomi will introduce the smartphone on Thursday, November 22 in New Delhi, following its announcement in Thailand last September.

Editor’s Pick

The Redmi Note 6 Pro packs a 6.26-inch, 19:9, Full-HD+ display, Snapdragon 636 chip, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. There’s a 12MP + 5MP camera setup on the rear and a 20MP + 2MP camera up front (the first time Xiaomi has used four cameras on a smartphone), which come with AI-based features, including AI face unlock.

The handset also houses a 4,000mAh battery and a display notch.

An invite for the Xiaomi Mi Note 6 Pro launch in India.

When it first launched, we speculated that Xiaomi may introduce a second Note 6 Pro variant with more RAM and storage like it did with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. This is still a possibility for the Indian market, but Xiaomi hasn’t discussed the matter.

We’ve already written our Redmi Note 6 Pro review and enjoyed its impressive display and battery life, but felt it lacked a unique-selling-point. Still, if you’re interested, Xiaomi will hold its first Redmi Note 6 Pro sale on November 23 (Black Friday), though the price is yet to be confirmed.

The Note 6 Pro went on sale in Thailand for 6,990 Thai baht, so you could be looking at spending ~15,260 Indian rupees.

Samsung unveils Exynos 9820 with 8nm process and 8K video recording

A render of the Samsung Galaxy Exynos 9820. Samsung

  • Samsung has unveiled its new, flagship SoC, the Exynos 9820, tipped to arrive with the upcoming Galaxy S10.
  • The chip features a tri-cluster setup with two custom cores, two Cortex-A75 cores, and four Cortex-A55 cores.
  • It’s set to deliver marked improvements in performance and efficiency over Samsung’s current top-tier Exynos chip.

Samsung has unveiled its new flagship system-on-chip, the Exynos 9820 (also called the Exynos 9 Series 9820). Samsung announced the new chip in a press release earlier today and it’s expected to power some variants in the upcoming Galaxy S10 smartphone series.

The CPU features two custom cores (high power), two Cortex-A75 cores (medium power), and four Cortex-A55 cores (low power). This octa-core design in a tri-cluster setup is a first for Samsung — its last chips have used four high-performance and four power-efficient cores (Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 also uses this format ) — but the new formation is rising in popularity.

Editor’s Pick

Huawei’s Kirin 980 uses it, MediaTek’s Helio X30 uses it, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is tipped to use it; MediaTek has likened it to giving a car another gear. What this setup will do for Samsung’s Exynos 9820 SoC is help it deliver 15 percent better multi-core performance compared to Samsung’s current gen Exynos 9810.

Samsung says the chip’s single core performance will see even greater improvements upon the Exynos 9810, up 20 percent, with up to 40 percent greater power efficiency.

What this ultimately means for the next Samsung flagship (the Galaxy S10 series) is faster performance and a lighter toll on battery life. However, Samsung’s custom core design isn’t compatible with Arm’s DynamIQ technology employed by Samsung’s competitor’s. This means we’ll certainly see some multi-threaded performance differences between the Exynos 9820 and Huawei and Qualcomm chips, though we can’t say precisely what these will be.

8nm process, 4G LTE, AI, and UFS

Unlike its competitors, Apple’s A12 Bionic and Huawei’s Kirin’s 980, Samsung’s chip is not based on 7-nanometer architecture, but 8-nanometer. Samsung has started production on 7nm chips but they may not be quite ready or Samsung might be reserving them for specific models. The 7nm process could, theoretically, offer superior efficiency to 8nm, but the extent of the discrepancy may be marginal.A render of the Samsung Galaxy Exynos 9820. Samsung

The Exynos 9820 also won’t have any kind of native 5G support (similar to the Kirin 980 and Snapdragon 855). It’s still early doors for the 5G network and most users won’t feel its benefits next year even with a 5G-enabled smartphone. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind: if you buy a premium Samsung phone with this chip and hold onto it for two to three years, you still won’t get 5G connectivity, no matter how much the infrastructure has developed. Note that Samsung is said to be working on a 5G-enabled Galaxy S10, but this would require a different chipset, or an external 5G modem.

What the Exynos 9820 will feature is a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to support AI tasks. Samsung says this NPU will lead to seven times faster than performance on AI tasks compared to the Exynos 9810. A seven-fold increase would be a mammoth generational leap but be aware that AI-related tasks — like enhancing a photograph or performing certain Bixby functions — may not necessarily feel like they’ve been given such a speed injection.

Additionally, the Exynos 9820 also supports both UFS 2.1 and UFS 3.0, the latter of which is twice as fast as the former (the Kirin 980 maxes out at UFS 2.1).

8K video recording and five camera support

As well as performance improvements, the Exynos 9820 includes two interesting functional improvements: 8K resolution video recording at 30FPS and five camera support.

8K recording is still rare but will become increasingly common in smartphone cameras in the coming years. It may be overkill for the Exynos 9820, though — 8K playback devices (like a TV, computer monitor, or smartphone) may still be niche throughout the time you’re likely to use an Exynos 9820 device (between 2019 to 2022 or so), and it may be expensive to include compatible sensors.

Editor’s Pick

The five camera setup is likely to have an immediate effect, though, seeing as one (or more) of the Galaxy S10s may include this (three rear cameras and two front-facing cameras). Samsung has already experimented with a five-camera setup on the Galaxy A9 (2018) with four rear cameras and one up front, though this made use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 chip rather than a homegrown Samsung variant.

On that note, many of us may not even encounter a Samsung smartphone with its Exynos 9820 chip, seeing as Samsung tends to favor Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips for its flagship releases in the U.S. market. However, it may not be any great loss as the Snapdragon 855 will no doubt be comparable.

Samsung says it expects the Exynos 9 Series 9820 to enter mass production by the end of this year.

Here’s an early look at everything Huawei will discount for Black Friday

The Huawei logo.

Huawei has revealed its plans for Black Friday and there are some good deals on a variety of the company’s devices, but not so much in terms of its smartphones. Just one lower-end phone will be discounted, as Huawei focuses on its wider range including deals on its laptops and tablets.

The offers will be available at a number of outlets including Amazon, Walmart, and B&H. All the Huawei Black Friday offers will begin on November 18 and run until Cyber Monday on November 26. Let’s take a look at what’s up for grabs.

Huawei Mate SE

The only phone Huawei will discount is the Mate SE and you will be able to pick this up for $219, $30 off the list price of $249. Now, this doesn’t necessarily result in a $30 discount on the current price — you can pick one up now for $244 on Amazon — but it’s s a nice little saving on an already affordable phone. Click the button below to check the phone at Amazon.

Huawei MateBook X Pro

Huawei will also reduce the price of the Intel Core i7 version of the MateBook X Pro laptop by $150. This means you’ll be able to buy the device for $1,349.99. Hit the link to see the laptop on Amazon. Our colleagues at DGiT.com had good things to say about the MateBook X Pro in a review, with one negative the cost. That’s now less of a problem, and the Amazon reviews are pretty good, unless you use a webcam regularly.

Huawei MediaPad M5

Huawei MediaPad M5 and M5 Pro review-30

Additionally, the 8.4-inch, 10.8-inch, and 10.8-inch Pro versions of the MediaPad M5 tablet will be reduced by $40. While the larger versions will be more expensive, you’ll be able to pick up the cheapest version for only $279 in the sale. Not bad for a tablet we called a “perfect companion for both work and play.” That’s a decent deal on one of the few Android tablets from a name brand.

Huawei Watch 2

Finally, the Huawei Watch 2 Sport and Huawei Watch 2 Classic will be available with $90 and $100 off respectively. Depending on your choice of strap or band, the price drops to somewhere between $133 and $179.99. While these watches are no longer the latest smartwatches from Huawei, the discounts are quite a sizeable percentage of the overall price. They are also still the latest Huawei smartwatches you can actually buy in the U.S. 

Next up: Black Friday 2018: Best tech deals and promos you should know about

Xiaomi apologies for UK ‘Flash Sale’ in which only ten phones were made available

The Xiaomi logo at MWC 2018.

  • Xiaomi held an online flash sale in the U.K during which it sold phones for only one pound (~$1.29).
  • However, only ten devices were made available for that price.
  • The company later apologized on Twitter for any misunderstanding caused by the sale.

Xiaomi has apologized for any misunderstanding caused by a series of ‘Flash Sales’ it held on its U.K. launch day. The web sale saw Xiaomi reduce the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite and Xiaomi Mi A2 price to just one pound (~$1.29). However, only a total of ten phones were made available throughout the four flash sales, causing some backlash among fans.

The BBC reported that since the sale, a number of complaints were made on the Xiaomi Facebook page and, more seriously, to the UK’s advertising standards watchdog.

The exact number of devices that would be available was not mentioned on the offer’s sales page — although, it could be found in the terms and conditions. Here Xiaomi explained that three devices would be available in each of the first two sales, and two would be available in each of the second two sales. However, the BBC said the company only added these figures to the terms and conditions on the day before the sale.

Xiaomi flash sale Xiaomi

There was also controversy surrounding how Xiaomi selected the sale’s ‘winners.’ A Twitter user discovered that Xiaomi’s website showed the handsets as being sold out immediately following the sale, raising a question as to whether they had sold any units at all.

Xiaomi U.K. sales manager Wilkin Lee subsequently weighed in, writing on Twitter: “Of the thousands who clicked ‘buy’ simultaneously, the tie-breaker is done by selecting the winners randomly. Winners will access inventory to add to cart and proceed, which is why there was no call to check stock limit on the page.”

However, this was yet another poorly explained aspect of the sale, as Xiaomi’s terms on conditions page said winners are selected on a “first come, first serve” basis, not by lottery.

Xiaomi’s response

In a statement on Twitter, Xiaomi apologized saying that it did not realize people in the U.K. would associate the term ‘Flash Sale’ with a type of sale where “more than 10 devices were available.”

Reactions to the apology on Twitter were mixed. While some criticized the company for being too vague in regards to the terms of the deal, others suggested that the company’s phones are more important than its PR.

Editor’s Pick

The phones that were available for one pound were the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite and the Xiaomi Mi A2. The Mi 8 Lite currently costs 249 pounds (~$320), while the Mi A2 is 259 pounds (~$333.59) on the Xiaomi U.K. website. In total, twelve different smartphone models are currently available on the company’s site in the U.K.

Xiaomi often employs flash sales to drum up interest for its devices and they often sell out in seconds. However, the company usually claims to have more than just ten devices available for sale.

Next up: Pocophone F1 review: Awesome speed, amazing price

Google dev hints Android Q previews could come to more users, sooner

  • A Google developer has hinted that early Android Q builds may reach more users next year thanks to prospective Generic System Image (GSI) developments.
  • The moves could allow any Project Treble-supported device, not just select handsets, to run previews ahead of the software’s full launch.
  • The developer said there may be a way to test Android Q without physically flashing the GSI in future, too.

A Google engineer has hinted that Android Q previews may be available on more devices than ever before ahead of its full-scale release in 2019. The engineer, Hung-ying Tyan of Google’s Project Treble team, made the comments during Android developer summit last week (via XDA Developers).

Hung-ying was holding a talk on Generic System Images (GSIs). A GSI is a pure version of Android based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) code used to test compatibility on Android smartphones. In order to benefit from quick updates via Project Treble, for example, a hardware manufacturer must be able to boot a GSI and ensure it works correctly on their device.

Editor’s Pick

This is a key part of Project Treble, but it seems Google wants to diversify GSI use cases. Hung-ying said the team is “exploring ways to make future GSI available earlier than the release of next Android version. So you will be able to try out next Android version earlier over GSI.” This, according to Hung-ying, would be mutually beneficial, seeing as more users would get access to the software the team could receive earlier feedback.

What’s more, Hung-ying said that there might be a way to test out GSI, without flashing it, in the future — something which can be a tricky process.

What this would mean for Android fans is that more people could gain access to the early version of Android Q (the upcoming version of Android), sooner. With the Android P Developer Preview, Google allowed Pixel users (and later some other Android device owners) to test the software from March last year ahead of its full release in August. The implication of GSI becoming available earlier is that any Project Treble-equipped phone would be able to install the next Developer Previews — opening them up to many more users.

This is just a possibility for now, but Hung-ying said we should stay tuned for more information in the future. It seems like it could happen.