Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 will slide into the United Kingdom

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 - slider mechanism

  • The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 will reportedly land in the United Kingdom early next year.
  • The standout feature of the Mi Mix 3 is its sliding display, which enables a notch-less, all-screen experience.
  • There’s no word on what the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 will cost.

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is one of 2018’s most exciting devices. Its sliding display mechanism (which uses magnets!) gives it a novelty edge as well as a practical solution to the problem of the notch — the front-facing camera and various sensors are hidden behind the slider.

Now, it looks like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is going to land in the United Kingdom early next year, according to Gizmodo.

We don’t know an exact date for the launch of the device, and we don’t know a price, either. However, the Mi Mix 3 sells for competitive prices in its native China. Here’s how that breaks down:

  • 3,299 yuan (~$479) for the 6GB+128GB model
  • 3,599 yuan (~$523) for the 8GB+128GB model
  • 3,999 yuan (~$581) for the 8GB+256GB model
Editor’s Pick

Judging from these numbers, it’s probably safe to assume the Mi Mix 3 will sell in the price range of 430 pounds — 530 pounds, give or take. Hopefully, Xiaomi doesn’t pull a Vivo and try to charge a much higher price for the same device in the U.K. as it does in China and India.

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 comes with a 6.39-inch AMOLED screen (2,340 x 1,080, 19.5:9 screen ratio), Snapdragon 845 processor, 3,200mAh battery, rear fingerprint scanner, dual cameras on the front and back, and Android 9 Pie out of the box.

Although the rollout of Xiaomi products in the United Kingdom didn’t go as smoothly as the company would have liked, U.K. residents are still lucky to have the ability to buy Xiaomi products at all. Here in the U.S., we’re still stuck ordering from third-party online companies.

NEXT: Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Nintendo Switch

Best fitness trackers (December 2018)

Fitness trackers have come an extremely long way over the years. No longer are they glorified pedometers; they’re much more than that. Most standard fitness trackers nowadays can track your steps taken, distance traveled, how many calories you’ve burned for the day, and even your sleeping patterns. They’re handy little devices if you want a better look at how active you are throughout the day, and there are plenty to choose from.

Related: Best Fitbit fitness trackers | Best Garmin watches

We understand it can be a little daunting trying to choose which fitness tracker best suits your needs, so we’ve compiled a list of the best fitness trackers on the market. We’ve divided our list up into separate categories to help you narrow down your options. As always, if you feel like we missed something on our best fitness trackers list, be sure to tell us in the comment section below.

Without any further delay, here are the best fitness trackers you can buy right now.

Best fitness trackers update:December

This month we removed the Fitbit Charge 2 and Withings Steel HR to make room for the Fitbit Charge 3.

The best fitness tracker overall

Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit’s Charge 3 is the best fitness tracker you can buy for most people. Its classy, versatile design means it’ll look good in the office and at the gym. It’s also water resistant this time around, and has one of the more accurate wrist-based heart rate sensors we’ve tried on a wearable.

Elsewhere, the Fitbit Charge 3 offers a great software experience, plenty of smartwatch features, and a battery that can last almost a week on a single charge. Unless you’re a runner, you probably don’t need GPS. For those folks, the Charge 3 is a great option. If you need a GPS, move on to our #2 pick.

Read more: The best Fitbit alternativesThe most common Fitbit problems and how to fix them

Garmin vivosport

garmin vivo sport

The Garmin vivosport is the best fitness tracker with GPS.

Editor’s Pick

It also packs in a heart rate monitor, which is pretty incredible considering its slim and lightweight design. It’s also waterproof up to 50 meters, will last up to seven days on a single charge, and comes with a Chroma touchscreen display that’s miles better than the display on the vivosmart 3. The display is a little small for my liking, however.

The vivosport is available now for around $149.99. That’s an absolute steal for the best fitness tracker with GPS.

Also read: Best GPS running watches

Garmin vivosmart 4

garmin vivosmart 4 review screen

Garmin’s vivosmart 4 might not have a built-in GPS, but it has almost everything else you could want in a basic fitness tracker.

Don’t miss: Garmin vivosmart 4 review

It’s thin and lightweight, has a much better screen than its predecessor, and it’s proven itself to be a reliable fitness tracker at its core. It also comes with advanced sleep metrics that are right up there with Fitbit’s, as well as a pulse ox sensor for keeping tabs on blood-oxygen saturation levels.

The big downside here is the lack of GPS and GPS phone tethering option, so this is purely a health and activity tracker, not so much for high-intensity workouts. If that doesn’t turn you away, the vivosmart 4 is a great option.

Best multisport fitness tracker: Garmin vivoactive 3 Music

Garmin vivoactive 3 Music

The standard Garmin vivoactive 3 is one of our favorite multisport fitness watches. Naturally, the vivoactive 3 Music made its way to our list right when it was announced.

Everything you loved about the vivoactive 3 is here, along with support for music storage of up to 500 songs. You can load up your favorite songs, or download playlists from iHeartRadio. Deezer support will be added in the future, too.

Don’t miss: Garmin vivoactive 3 review | Hands-on with the Garmin vivoactive 3 Music

Aside from a slightly redesigned bezel on the new watch (and music support, of course), the vivoactive 3 and Music version are basically the same. That means you get a fantastic running watch with a built-in GPS, heart rate monitor, 5ATM water resistance rating, Garmin Pay support, and seven-day battery life. You can check out our full vivoactive 3 review right here to learn more.

Also read: Fitbit vs Garmin: Which ecosystem is right for you?

Best fitness smartwatch

Fitbit Versa

Fitbit Versa

If you were underwhelmed by Fitbit’s first smartwatch offering, the Versa might be just the thing for you.

The Fitbit Versa is much better looking and more compact than the Ionic, and it doesn’t cost as much money. Now, that lower price tag will get you fewer features (no GPS, for instance), but that’s the whole point of this smartwatch — the Versa is a smartwatch for everyone.

Don’t miss: Fitbit Versa review | Fitbit Versa vs Ionic

With the recent addition of quick replies, you can now reply to just about every app notification you receive on your wrist. The Versa also recently received Fitbit’s female health tracking suite, making this a much more powerful health tracker for women.

The Versa also brings Fitbit OS 2.0, 24/7 heart rate tracking, on-screen workouts with Fitbit Coach, over 15 exercise modes, Connected GPS, and swim tracking thanks to its 5ATM rating. There’s also room to store your music, and if you spring for the Special Edition model you’ll have access to Fitbit Pay.

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit Ionic

The Fitbit Ionic is a great fitness tracker/smartwatch hybrid if you need something a little more powerful than the Versa. It’s an incredible fitness and sleep tracker, comes with a built-in GPS, allows you to pay for things from your wrist, and it’s water resistant.

More: Fitbit Ionic review | Fitbit Flyer review

Just like the Fitbit Versa, the Ionic now has support for quick replies for notifications and female health tracking features.

The Ionic is one heck of a fitness smartwatch. It’s available now on Amazon and Fitbit.com for $269.95, and comes in three different color options.

Best budget fitness tracker

Xiaomi Mi Band 3

If you need a basic fitness tracker and you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, buy the Xiaomi Mi Band 3. At only $25, it’s hard not to recommend this device.

Not only has the design been improved from the Mi Band 2, it’s also received a few nice upgrades under the hood. The heart rate monitor is fairly accurate for a budget device, and it can still track all the basics — steps taken, calories burned, and sleep.

More: Xiaomi Mi Band 3 review

To get down to this price point, Xiaomi had to make some compromises. It doesn’t support many activity profiles, and the software is a little wonky at times. If that doesn’t bother you, the Xiaomi Mi Band is probably the best bang-for-your-buck activity tracker on the market.

Garmin vivofit 4

Garmin vivofit 4

Garmin’s vivofit 3 was one of our favorite inexpensive fitness trackers of 2017. Is the vivofit 4 a worthy successor? That depends.

Related: Garmin vivofit 4 review | Best fitness trackers for kids

In many ways, the vivofit 4 is an improvement over its predecessor. It’s more comfortable, has a new color display, and plenty of useful extras. But the lack of heart rate monitor connectivity is unfortunate, and we hope it returns with the next model.

Throughout our two weeks of testing, the vivofit 4 was so close to delivering accurate results but ultimately fell short more often than we’d like. To its credit, it does offer users a general idea of their performance levels, which is why most people will buy the vivofit 4. It’s an inexpensive fitness tracker that you basically never have to take off, and it keeps track of the basics. If you need a device you basically never have to take off, the vivofit 4 is for you. If you own a vivofit 3, it might not be worth it to upgrade.

So there you have it, the best fitness trackers on the market right now! How did you like our list? Did we leave anything out? If so, let us know in the comments!

Samsung sees biggest smartphone sales decline since Gartner started tracking it

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

  • Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo all saw growth in smartphone sales in Q3 2018, according to Gartner.
  • The tracking firm says that global sales would’ve declined by 5.2 percent without Huawei and Xiaomi.
  • Samsung saw its biggest sales decline since Gartner started tracking global smartphone sales.

Huawei and Xiaomi were almost solely responsible for smartphone sales growing in Q3 2018, according to Gartner’s latest figures.

Gartner research director Anshul Gupta claimed that global smartphone sales would’ve been down 5.2 percent if Huawei and Xiaomi’s results were removed from the list.

The tracking firm found that Huawei firmly held on to its number two spot, hitting 13.4 percent market-share or just over 52.2 million units sold to consumers. This compared to Q3 2017’s figure of 9.5 percent market-share, or 36.5 million units sold.

Gartner's Q3 2018 smartphone sales figures. Gartner

Meanwhile, Xiaomi saw a more modest jump from seven percent market-share (26.85 million units sold) in Q3 2017 to 8.5 percent (33.2 million units) in Q3 2018. Fifth-placed Oppo was the only other brand in the top five to see its market-share increase, from 7.7 percent (29.4 million units sold) to 7.9 percent (30.56 million units).

Samsung took first place once again, but it suffered its biggest decline since Gartner started tracking global smartphone sales. The company went from 22.3 percent market-share (85.6 million units sold) in Q3 2017 to 18.9 percent (73.36 million units) in Q3 2018.

Editor’s Pick

The pressure will be on Samsung to turn things around in 2019, as Huawei and Xiaomi eat away at its market-share. The South Korean firm is facing pressure from Huawei in particular, as the Chinese brand previously stated its intentions to grab the number one spot by Q4 2019.

Samsung has also acknowledged what it calls a “crisis” at its mobile division, but pointed to the Galaxy S10 and foldable phones as opportunities for a comeback. Nevertheless, Gartner research director Roberta Cozza reckons that the first wave of foldable phones will be expensive and have usability trade-offs.

Do you think Samsung can claw back market-share from Huawei? Give us your answer in the comments below!

NEXT: Asus ROG Phone review — The perfect mobile weapon for your ROG arsenal

Xiaomi’s UK Mi Store is like a crazier Apple Store where you can actually afford stuff

Xiaomi logo Mi Store UK

Xiaomi’s recent U.K. launch was something of a mixed bag, but between the arrival of mega-affordable flagship phones, electric scooters you can’t ride in public, and a ‘Flash Sale’ that went terribly wrong, there was one intriguing announcement that went a little under the radar.

Editor’s Pick

Unlike other Android OEMs — including other Chinese imports in the U.K. like Huawei, Honor, and OnePlus — Xiaomi didn’t just go through the usual motions of signing deals with carriers and opening a regional e-store.

Instead, the Beijing firm announced plans to open a brick-and-mortar Mi Store in the U.K on November 18.

Less than a week after a successful opening day where hundreds of Mi fans rocked up to grab themselves a bargain, Xiaomi brought me along to see the Mi Store in all its sparkly new glory and browse the company’s first wave of products for the U.K. — here’s what I saw.

Xiaomi Mi 8

Apples and oranges

Xiaomi’s new store is located in London’s Westfield shopping center in Shepard’s Bush — a gargantuan palace of shops and restaurants that stretches out over 1.6 million square feet and houses U.K. high street mainstays like Marks & Spencers, Boots, and Next, as well as luxury brands like De Beers, Mulberry, and Versace.

The Mi Store, which proudly stands out among the rest thanks to Xiaomi’s bright orange logo, sits on level one of the main interior, just a few shops down and across from another enormous store occupied by a certain tech industry giant from Cupertino, California.

Funnily enough, after strolling into the Mi Store and taking a quick glance at the layout and color palette, you can’t help but think of Apple either.

Xiaomi wireless earphones

The light beige tones punctuated by lit-up landscape advertisements with simple product renders adoring the walls. The adjacent wooden tables with multiple demo products to play with at your leisure. The checkout counter at the rear sandwiched between two wall racks of accessories. It all reeks of Apple Store.

As if product design similarities weren’t enough (just check out those AirPods-esque earphones pictured above), it seems Xiaomi can’t help but mimic the iPhone maker in its stores too… bar a few significant caveats.

Pocophone F1

Bargain hunting

Xiaomi has built a solid reputation for delivering phones with insanely high price-performance ratios, culminating in the uber cheap, Snapdragon 845-powered Pocophone F1, which just so happens to dominate the entire front table of London’s Mi Store.

Editor’s Pick

This ethos extends far beyond the company’s phones, however — a fact that becomes immediately clear when you look at the sheer scope and diversity of products on sale, particularly those without any touchscreens.

You could as easily walk out of the Mi Store with a new phone as you could a new bit of smart tech to play with like a sonic toothbrush, a self-dimming desk lamp, a 60 pound Android TV box, or a torch (that’s also a portable charger), or even a set of bathroom towels, precision screwdrivers, a pair of UV protected glasses, or an umbrella. That’s without even mentioning those eye-catching electric scooters that greet you as you first enter the door.

Perusing any aisle that isn’t covered in smartphones is like being dragged on a dizzying journey through the scattershot minds of Xiaomi’s product team. Think of a mini Ikea (or almost any other scandinavian-style design) and you’re about there.

Confusing or not, it’s a nice change of pace from the rigid phones-computers-watches-accessories tech store blueprint popularized by Apple, and it’s quite easy to find something you probably don’t need but find yourself incredibly tempted to buy — a feeling that’s even harder to deny when you see the price tags.

Most reading this article here on Android Authority will be acutely aware of the corners Xiaomi has necessarily (and understandably) had to cut to offer iPhone-lookalikes at less than half the price.

Almost every single one of Xiaomi’s products is carries a price tag that belies its stylish design and solid build quality.

However, for anyone walking in cold, unaware of those caveats, the allure of a phone that looks, mostly feels, and undoubtedly performs like an elite, 800+ pound flagship may be hard to deny. In fact, almost every single one of Xiaomi’s smorgasbord of products is accompanied by a price tag that belies its stylish design and generally solid build quality.

Accessories like USB-C cables and dongles are less than half the price of their identical equivalents at other major electronics stores. Likewise, if you don’t care about sound quality and just want the cheapest way to listen to podcasts on the go, you can grab a mega-cheap pair of earbuds for only five pounds.

Related: Best earbuds you can buy

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro

Mixing it up

The downside of Xiaomi’s bit-of-everything approach to its Mi Stores is that the phones almost get lost among the many fun distractions. What chance does another rectangular slab with a display on it have against a swanky smart kettle that can keep water fully boiled for up to 12 hours?

It’s a shame, because as well as the Pocophone F1 and the Mi 8 series — which includes the newly released Mi 8 Pro — Xiaomi has an impressive selection of Android handsets on display.

Be it the Redmi Note 6 Pro, the Android One-powered Mi A2 Lite, or the aforementioned Pocophone F1, these are phones Xiaomi neglected to mention on its U.K. launch livestream, but thankfully get their time to shine face-to-face with the public.

The Mi Mix 3, Black Shark gaming phone, and Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook laptops should all arrive in 2019.

There are some notable absentees, however. The most obvious is the Mi Mix 3 bezel-less slider phone, which Xiaomi hasn’t confirmed for a U.K. release, but seems likely to make its way over early next year.

There’s also the Black Shark gaming phone and Xiaomi’s Mi Notebook Air and Mi Notebook Pro laptops. The former I was told will launch sometime in 2019, while the Mi Notebook family (which I can’t wait to get my hands on) will apparently start making its way to the U.K. in Q1/Q2 2019.

Xiaomi Mi Store headphones

Despite these omissions and the store’s unashamed Apple knock-off aesthetic, I came away fairly impressed by Xiaomi’s new store.

It’ll certainly surprise those who only see Xiaomi as a smartphone maker, which is an image the company seems far more keen on retaining for its online business than it does in the physical retail space.

I initially had my doubts about this approach, but the store staff say on a good day they can shift up to 20 of those hilariously impractical electric scooters. As for the best seller overall, that goes to the automatic folding umbrellas.

I have to say, after giving one a feel… those are some damn fine umbrellas.

Xiaomi simultaneously opened 500 Mi Stores in India, claims Guinness record

The back of the Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro.

  • Xiaomi simultaneously opened 500 Mi Stores in India last month.
  • The achievement earned Xiaomi a Guinness World Record for most stores opened simultaneously.
  • The manufacturer says it’s aiming for 5000 stores in India by the end of 2019.

Xiaomi may have started as a largely online-focused brand, but the company knows offline stores are necessary for growth in some markets. The firm has opened numerous stores in India over the past year or two, though it may have outdone itself in recent weeks.

The Chinese brand announced that it simultaneously opened over 500 Mi Stores in 14 states across the country on October 29. This figure is pretty mind-blowing, as even Apple has 198 stores in the U.S. by our last count. So it’s not surprising to hear that Xiaomi earned itself a Guinness World Record for the most stores launched simultaneously.

According to Xiaomi India managing director Manu Kumar Jain, the manufacturer is targeting 5000 stores by the end of 2019, creating 15,000 jobs in the process.

Editor’s Pick

Offline expansion has become a key battleground for manufacturers in India, especially in rural areas where connectivity might not be guaranteed. Aside from facilitating sales, these stores also allow people who aren’t familiar with a brand to go hands-on with its products.

In addition to Xiaomi, we’ve seen OnePlus launch plenty of offline stores in India over the past year or two. And with Realme reportedly investigating physical stores, it seems like India will have no shortage of offline mobile retailers.

Are there any other brands you’d like to see launch an offline store in your country? Give us your answer in the comments!

NEXT: Acer Chromebook Spin 13 review — The best Chromebook, but at what cost?

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

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro headed to India November 22


  • 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.

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

Xiaomi said to be rolling out MIUI 10 to another 20 models from today

MIUI 10. MIUI.com

  • Xiaomi is reportedly rolling out MIUI 10 to another 20 smartphones from today.
  • The update list includes many older devices, including the Xiaomi Mi 4 from 2014.
  • It looks like the update may only be available in China for the time being, however.

Xiaomi is reportedly rolling out MIUI 10 to more than 20 additional smartphones from today, bringing its total up to 39. The update had been deployed to the Chinese brand’s most recent handsets on September 10, but Mydrivers and GizMochina report older models are now receiving the update too.

The new software is apparently rolling out over-the-air, but the updates are also available for install via the dedicated MIUI.com download section (you’ll need to be comfortable flashing ROMs if you want to do it manually, though). Note that the global (English language) download portal appears to be behind — many of the devices are still on MIUI 9.0 there — so you might have to wait a bit longer to see the update outside of China.

Editor’s Pick

The list includes many 2016 handsets as well as the Xiaomi Mi 4 from August 2014; it’s great to see Xiaomi still supporting this with updates more than four years later (even if MIUI 10 isn’t itself based on the latest version of Android, Android 9.0 Pie).

Here’s the full list of the second batch of MIUI 10 devices via the MIUI 10 stable forum page.

Xiaomi Mi Series

  • Mi 4
  • Mi 4C
  • Mi 4S
  • Mi 5s
  • Mi 5s Plus
  • Mi Max
  • Mi Max Prime
  • Mi Max 2

Xiaomi Redmi series

  • Redmi 4
  • Redmi 4 Prime
  • Redmi 4A
  • Redmi 4X
  • Redmi 5A
  • Redmi 5 Plus
  • Redmi Pro

Xiaomi Redmi Note series

  • Redmi Note 3
  • Redmi Note 4
  • Redmi Note 4X
  • Redmi Note 4X MediaTek variant
  • Redmi Note 4X Qualcomm variant
  • Redmi Note 5A
  • Redmi Note 5A Prime

Xiaomi’s MIUI 10 skin introduces improvements like portrait mode (for single camera devices), a revamped recents menu, nature-inspired notifications, and more. Look out for it hitting your Xiaomi smartphone soon.

Q3 2018 smartphone shipments are in: how much longer before Huawei claims top spot?

huawei p20 pro vs samsung galaxy s9 quick look aa (10 of 10)

  • The latest smartphone shipment numbers from Counterpoint show big year-on-year gains in market share for Huawei and Xiaomi.
  • Despite a drop in shipments, Samsung is still number one by a fairly large margin.
  • HMD Global, owners of the Nokia brand, had the largest year-on-year percentage increase.

Huawei and Xiaomi were the big winners in Q3 2018, according to smartphone shipment figures from Counterpoint Research. While the numbers say Samsung is still the number one OEM in terms of market share, a 13 percent year-on-year decrease in shipments combined with a 33 percent increase from Huawei saw the Chinese company close the gap.

Smartphone-Shipment-Q3-2018 Counterpoint

Samsung’s total share of global shipments is now 19 percent, while Huawei has 13 percent, according to Counterpoint. The company says Xiaomi, the fourth OEM on the list, saw shipments increase by 25 percent, giving it a nine percent share of total shipments.

Apple is third on the list with 12 percent. While Apple saw only very slight growth year-on-year, Counterpoint says iPhone revenues grew 29 percent due to the iPhone lineup’s average selling price of $793.

 Smartphone-Shipment-Q3 Percentage-2018Counterpoint

The company that saw the biggest year-on-year growth by percentage was HMD — the makers of Nokia phones. It saw sales grow a massive 71 percent when compared to Q3 2017, says Counterpoint. The list suggests HMD is now the ninth biggest smartphone maker globally, continuing an incredible rise that started when HMD released its first Nokia branded Android device in 2017.

Editor’s Pick

Overall, the top ten smartphone OEMs make up 78 percent of total smartphone shipments, according to the figures. This leaves all the other OEMs — Counterpoint says there are 600 of them — fighting for only 22 percent of the market. Brands not in the top ten include those with high-profile phones such as Google, OnePlus, and Razer.

According to Counterpoint, overall global smartphone shipments fell three percent annually — the third quarter in a row that shipments have fallen. There has been much debate about why this may be — including on this site — but the tracking firm puts it down to improvements in smartphone build quality and a lack of meaningful innovation.

Next up: The most important Android smartphones since the Google Nexus 5