Pocophone F1 international giveaway!

It’s time for the Sunday giveaway! Like every week, we’re giving away another a brand new Android phone to one lucky Android Authority reader.

A big congratulations to the winner of last week’s Honor View 20 giveaway, Ali B. from Netherlands.

This week we’re giving away a brand new Pocophone F1, brought to you by the Android Authority app!

If you’re looking for the best way to stay up to date with AndroidAuthority.com, look no further than the AA app for Android. Available for free in the Google Play Store, the official AA app is the fastest way to get all the latest news, rumors, tips and tricks, and device reviews on your mobile device.

It’s fast, looks good, and gives you breaking Android news at your fingertips — what more could you want?

Nowadays, you can spend upwards of $1,000 on a smartphone. Or you can pay about a third of that and get the Pocophone F1.

We’re not going to tell you this is the best phone on the market — it’s not. But for just $300, it offers many of the same specs that you’d normally only get with the highest-end phones. The Pocophone F1 comes with a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6 or 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a big 4,000mAh battery.

Right now you shouldn’t care about the price, because we’re giving one away! For free! To learn more about the Pocophone F1, head to our related coverage below:

Enter the giveaway here

Pocophone F1 international giveaway!

Don’t miss: Jaybird Tarah giveaway

Winners gallery

Terms & conditions

  • This is an international giveaway (except when we can not ship to your country).
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only one entry per person; please do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by Android Authority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

More: Android Authority international giveaway FAQs

Xiaomi’s budget brand might be working on a Snapdragon 855 smartphone

Redmi might finally be ready to shed its budget status and enter the flagship market space with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855-powered smartphone. The only problem is that Xiaomi will soon have a branding problem on its hands.

The announcement came from Redmi general manager and Xiaomi Group vice-president Lu Weibing, who posted a picture on microblogging site Weibo of his Redmi team. According to GSMArena‘s translation of the post, the team is discussing the future of the Redmi brand and two upcoming smartphones.

Weibo

One of those phones is the upcoming Redmi Note 7 Pro, which might be a slightly beefier version of the normal Redmi Note 7. The second smartphone is the Snapdragon 855 flagship, though Weibing didn’t say much else about the device.

From Redmi’s point of view, having a Snapdragon 855 flagship makes sense. It seems like the sub-brand wants to shed its budget label and be taken more seriously in the flagship segment of the market. Redmi could succeed, given the name recognition and goodwill that it garnered over the years.

Editor’s Pick

That said, this could also lead to some brand confusion. When Xiaomi turned its Redmi range of smartphones into its sub-brand, Xiaomi said Redmi would stick to mid-range smartphones. Xiaomi’s Poco brand, meanwhile, would focus on high-end smartphones at mid-range prices.

With today’s announcement, Redmi could follow the “affordable flagship” footsteps of its fellow Poco sub-brand and its Pocophone F1. Even though that’ll make budget-conscious consumers happy, it makes us wonder what’ll separate Redmi from Poco.

Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how Redmi defines itself in 2019.

Deal: Honor 8X, Xiaomi Mi 8, and more on sale at GearBest

Just in case the OnePlus 6T’s flash sale wasn’t enough, GearBest is also offering a slew of other smartphones with various discounts.

Some of the smartphones with discounts include the Honor 8X, Honor Play, Xiaomi Mi 8, and Xiaomi Pocophone F1. Even the Nokia 8110 feature phone gets a discount, albeit a small one.

Editor’s Pick

Keep in mind that most of these smartphones are offered as part of a flash sale. That means there are limited quantities of those phones before the prices go back up to normal. Also keep in mind that some of these smartphones have additional discounts with various promo codes. Make sure to check the list below to see what those promo codes are.

With that said, here are the smartphones that GearBest currently offers at various discounts:

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Best phones with 8GB of RAM — what are your current options?

It wasn’t that long ago that 8GB of RAM was considered a pretty sizeable capacity, even for a computer. Now, phones with 8GB of RAM are a thing – in fact, phones are even starting to offer 10GB of RAM! While that’s arguably an overkill, more RAM is never a bad thing, especially if you plan to keep your handset for several years. More RAM doesn’t necessarily mean you’re totally future proof, but it certainly helps.

If you’re in the market for a phone with 8GB of RAM, you’ll be happy to hear there are already quite a few of them to choose from — check out the five best ones below.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9

phones with 8GB of RAM

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 was announced in August and is currently one of the best smartphones you can get your hands on. We here at Android Authority named it the smartphone of the year. It comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, although a version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is also available.

The flagship sports a 6.4-inch display with QHD+ resolution and is powered by the Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chipset, depending on the region. There’s a dual-camera setup on the back with two 12MP sensors featuring dual aperture and scene recognition. It’s IP68 rated for protection against water and dust, has an 8MP selfie snapper, and packs a massive 4,000mAh battery.

Read next: Best Samsung phones you can buy right now

The handset also comes with the S Pen, which is a signature feature of the Note series. It now supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) that lets you remotely control the camera with the button on the stylus. Samsung’s flagship is quite expensive, with the version sporting 8GB of RAM retailing for $1,250.

Specs

  • 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with 2,960 x 1,440 resolution, 516ppi
  • Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chipset — depending on the region
  • 6/8GB of RAM
  • 128/512GB of storage, microSD expansion up to 512GB
  • Dual 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 161.9 x 76.4 x 8.8mm, 201g

Read more


OnePlus 6T

OnePLus 6t large display

The OnePlus 6T features 8GB of RAM paired with either 128 or 256GB of storage. However, a cheaper variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is also available.

Editor’s Pick

The device sports a 6.41-inch Full HD+ display with a notch and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset and has a dual-camera setup at the back with 16 and 20MP sensors. Other specs and features include a 3,700mAh battery, a 16MP front-facing camera, and Android 9.0 Pie with the popular OxygenOS skin on top.

What makes the OnePlus 6T so popular is its price. The 128GB variant can be yours for $580, while the 256GB model retails for $630. This is a great deal, but keep in mind that the device is missing a few flagship features like an IP rating and wireless charging, to name a few. There’s also no headphone jack on board.

Specs

  • 6.41-inch AMOLED display with 2,340 x 1,080 resolution, 402ppi
  • Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 6/8GB of RAM
  • 128/256GB of storage, non-expandable
  • 16 and 20MP rear cameras, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,700mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm, 185g

Read more


Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Huawei Mate 20 Pro in-display fingerprint sensor

The Mate 20 Pro is the best phone in Huawei’s lineup, as well as one of the best phones you can get. It comes with high-end specs, a gorgeous design, and a few extra bells and whistles you won’t find on any of its competitors.

The Mate 20 Pro sports a curved display, a triple-camera setup, and a massive 4,200mAh battery.

The flagship sports a large 6.39-inch screen with curved edges, similar to the ones found on the Galaxy S9 series. It has an in-display fingerprint scanner, a triple-camera setup on the back, and 3D facial recognition. There even a feature called reverse wireless charging on board that allows the phone to double as a wireless charger — learn more here.

The Mate 20 Pro is the class leader when it comes to battery life thanks to its a massive 4,200mAh cell. It’s also IP68 rated for protection against water and dust and supports expandable storage via Huawei’s new Nano Memory standard. The 6GB RAM version of the handset launched with a price tag of 900 pounds in the U.K and 1,000 euros (~$1,145) in the rest of Europe, but you can get it from around 850 euros at the moment — depending on where you buy it. The variant with 8GB of RAM is exclusive to certain markets and is a bit harder to track down — but you can get the international model on Amazon for around $1,200.

Specs

  • 6.39-inch AMOLED display with 3,120 x 1,440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Kirin 980 chipset
  • 6/8GB of RAM
  • 128/256GB of storage, expandable up to 256GB via NM (nano memory)
  • 40, 8, 20MP rear cameras, 24MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,200mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • 157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6mm, 189g

Read more


Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

The front of Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro has top-of-the-line specs including the Snapdragon 845 chipset and 8GB of RAM. It also sports a dual-camera setup on the back, a 6.21-inch Full HD+ display, and 128GB of storage. 

Editor’s Pick

The phone has an in-display fingerprint scanner, allowing you to unlock it by placing your finger on a specific part of the screen. But in his review, our very own Oliver Cragg said it only worked maybe 40 percent of the time.

Xiaomi’s flagship has an eye-catching design thanks to its transparent back, which allows you to see the internals of the device — kind of. Other specs include a 3,000mAh battery, dual-SIM support, and Android Oreo with the company’s MIUI skin on top.

The Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro was announced in September and is available in a number of European markets. In the U.K., you can currently get it for 480 pounds (~$605), which isn’t a bad deal. 

Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro -- one of the best phones with 8GB of RAM

Specs

  • 6.21-inch Super AMOLED display with 2,248 x 1,080 resolution, 402ppi
  • Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB of storage, non-expandable
  • Dual 12MP rear cameras, 20MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 154.9 x 74.8 x 7.6mm, 177g

Read more


Asus ROG Phone

Asus ROG Phone display

This is a gaming phone. In addition to high-end specs, which include the Snapdragon 845 chipset and 8GB of RAM, it sports an attention-grabbing design with a customizable RGB logo at the back.

You can get the Asus ROG Phone with a range of accessories.

The phone comes with a range of accessories that improve the gaming experience. These include a TwinView handheld dock with a secondary display and 6,000mAh battery, a third-party GameVice controller with WiGig functionality so you can play on an external display, and more. The flagship even sports a performance mode called X Mode, which raises the minimum clock speed and restricts tasks to the four fastest cores.

Other specs and features of the handset include a 6.0-inch display, a massive 4,000mAh battery, and dual front-facing speakers. The entry-level version with 128GB of space can be yours for $900, while the 512GB variant will set you back $1,100.

The back of the Asus ROG Phone.

Specs

  • 6.0-inch AMOLED display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution, 402ppi
  • Snapdragon 845 chipset
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 128/512GB of storage, non-expandable
  • 12 and 8MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo
  • 158.8 x 76.2 x 8.3 mm, 200g

Read more


There you have it, folks. These are our picks for the five best phones with 8GB of RAM, although there are quite a few others out there to choose from. These include the Oppo Find X, Asus Zenfone 5z, and the Huawei P20 Pro. Then there’s also the Pocophone F1, but the version with 8GB of RAM is exclusive to certain markets and kind of hard to get. Let’s not forget about the Honor View 20 that recently made its debut in China, with the global announcement scheduled for January 22. Which ones would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.

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.

Xiaomi Black Shark review: A blast for your buck

Gaming smartphones had a breakthrough in 2018, with multiple renowned companies in the field launching their super-powered handsets. These include the Asus ROG Phone, Razer Phone 2, and today’s review subject, the Xiaomi Black Shark.

Check out the Asus ROG Phone vs. Razer Phone 2 vs. Xiaomi Black Shark to see how the three phones differ. Today we’re focusing on the Xiaomi Black Shark.

This is the most affordable gaming handset of the three, starting at 2,999 yuan (~$434). Xiaomi’s tendency is to bust through industry doors with no regards of the competition, offering top-notch specs, great design, and plenty of features, while undercutting prices by far. Let’s see how well the Xiaomi Black Shark follows this trend.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Design & build quality

back of xiaomi black shark with retail box

Like any gaming product worth its salt, the Xiaomi Black Shark design is bold and shameless. You will know it the minute you lay eyes on it. The device is black with green metal accents, and glass parts along the back. Housed in the rear you can also find the dual cameras (12MP and 20MP), LED flash, Black Shark branding, and a light-up logo surrounded by a textured design.

Around the edges there is another green metal outline, as well as the power and volume buttons along the right, the Shark Space toggle in the left (more on this in the software section), a USB Type-C port towards the lower edge, and the bottom speaker grills.






The front of the device takes a more traditional black slab approach, though. It has a notification light, a 20MP front-facing camera, and a fingerprint reader in the bottom bezel. The reader also works as a home button, and though you can’t see them, two capacitive buttons to its left and right work as the back and overview buttons, accordingly.

The Xiaomi Black Shark will turn heads and satisfy that gamer need to own flashy tech.

Edgar Cervantes

This device will turn heads and satisfy that gamer need to own flashy tech. The logo in the back lights up with notifications, which I find pretty darn awesome. Though it is made mostly of plastic and glass, it is the best-built device of the big three gaming handsets.

The Black Shark’s sturdy grippy surface and back recessions will give you a secure grip while gaming. I wish Xiaomi had followed the norm with thinner bezels along the front, but this is a gaming handset. You don’t necessarily expect it to be small or thin. Instead, the Xiaomi Black Shark is solid, unique, and comfortable to hold (at least as much as a rectangular smartphone can be).


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Display

The Xiaomi Black Shark sports a 5.99-inch IPS LCD panel with a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution and an 18:9 screen ratio. IPS LCD displays are known for great color accuracy, but the same can’t be said about the Xiaomi Black Shark’s screen. It is very saturated and the blacks are super deep, making the experience seem more like an AMOLED one.

xiaomi black shark display

You should look elsewhere if you prioritize accuracy.

Edgar Cervantes

In our testing we found even the “Natural Mode” calibration’s color temperature goes up to 8778k, while the ideal one is 6500k. Average color error is also sky high at 7.1 Delta E 2000. This would make it the screen with the second highest average color error we have tested. You should look elsewhere if you prioritize accuracy.

The screen gets pretty bright at almost 560 nits, though. While colors are not that accurate, the image looks good for gaming, with exaggerated colors and deep blacks. The display pops, which further immerses you into the game.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Performance & hardware

Gaming products are all about performance. The Xiaomi Black Shark certainly doesn’t disappoint on paper. Its specs include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of RAM (6GB if you go for the 64GB storage version), and an Adreno 630 GPU.

The Xiaomi Black Shark is fast, smooth, and will present very few hiccups. The same can be said about any high-end device, though.

Edgar Cervantes

This is a powerful device. It is fast, smooth, and had very few hiccups. The same can be said about many high-end devices, though. The Xiaomi Black Shark has other elements to entice gamers.

For starters, an “Extreme Mode” can be turned on while gaming to bring the processor to higher speeds and take better advantage of the phone’s resources. In addition, you can easily clean the RAM to liberate memory. There is a difference when turning it on, but it is minimal. Loading times shorten by like a second or two. Smoothness seems basically equal, at least to the naked eye.

Needless to say Xiaomi’s liquid cooling didn’t seem to work wonders.

Edgar Cervantes

Gaming can make a device really hot, which in turn affects performance. The Xiaomi Black Shark uses a unique liquid cooling system the company claims will reduce temperature by 8 degrees Celsius when compared to traditional all-copper.

This cooling system might get you all hyped up because liquid cooling is the fanciest method for PCs, but it doesn’t quite work the same in this smartphone. The small amount of liquid will start evaporating as its chamber gets hotter, travel to cooler areas, and turn into liquid again.

xiaomi black shark cooling system

This allows for better cooling at first, but eventually the chamber will get too hot for the system to work. I managed to cross that point often and the phone got uncomfortably hot. Needless to say it didn’t seem to work wonders.

Those looking for accessories can also enjoy the included gamepad, but it only attaches to one side and has a joystick, as well as two shoulder buttons. It is a nice addition, but I don’t like that it is single-sided. Those looking for something better now have another option.

xiaomi black shark gamepad

The company recently announced the Xiaomi Gamepad 2.0, which has extensions to both sides of the phone. The Gamepad 2.0 features a joystick and D-pad on the left side and a touchpad and ABXY buttons on the right side. Both sides feature a trigger button and a triangle-shaped button near the bottom.

All of the buttons are mappable too, giving you a little more flexibility in various games.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Specs

Display 5.99-inch IPS-LCD
2160×1080 resolution
403 PPI
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
GPU Adreno 630
RAM 6GB / 8GB
Storage 64GB / 128GB
MicroSD No
Camera Rear: Dual 12MP / 20MP cameras

Front: 20MP camera

Battery 4000 mAh
Fingerprint scanner Yes
Headphone jack No
Software Android 8.1.0 Oreo
Dimensions 161.6 x 75.4 x 9.3mm
Weight 190 grams
Colors Black, gray, and royal blue


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Camera

xiaomi black shark camera

All photos shown in this review are compressed and reduced. Pixel peepers can always check out this Google Drive folder to see the full, uncompressed photos. 

For some, a camera can make or break a phone. Many deem it the most important factor in a smartphone. The Xiaomi Black Shark is not for the mobile photographers among you. That is not to say it can’t take some great photos, though. It is a high-end 2018 phone, after all.

Let me tell you right off the bat the Xiaomi Black Shark is not for the mobile photographers among you.

Edgar Cervantes

Daylight




In daylight we get pretty good detail, exposure, and contrast, but the camera fails in some ways. That lame watermark is on by default, so if you are not careful you might end up with some unwanted publicity in your otherwise beautiful shots. I always leave stock settings alone for testing purposes, so I didn’t turn it off — make sure you do!

The dynamic range is also lackluster. Highlights are fine, but a tremendous amount of light is lost in the shadows. Look under the bushes, and you will see a deep darkness. The clock also looks way too under-exposed, even though I set the exposure and focus point to it.

HDR


HDR brings out the shadows more, but the results are still underwhelming compared to HDR in the best smartphone cameras. At least there is a way to improve dynamic range, though!

Color


Colors are bright and vibrant as long as they catch the right light. The Coronado sign looked much more saturated in real life, but the environment was a bit darker, as the sun began to set on the other side of the building. Turn to a well-lit store with crocheted dolls and things look much more lively. We do still wish contrast was on the higher side, though.

Lowlight


The shots are well exposed, but we can’t say the Xiaomi Black Shark is great at taking photos in the dark. In both images you can easily tell the shots have been over-softened too much, which results in loss of detail. Not to mention the phone struggles to get white balance right, especially in the first picture.

Portrait mode


Portrait mode shots suffer from the same shortcomings as other shots, but I was impressed at how well the camera outlines us to create the bokeh effect. This is something most smartphone cameras miss.

We were both outlined as close to perfect as these phones get, and I happen to like how gradual the bokeh is. This means closer objects look clearer than the farther ones. You can better appreciate this in the second image, where the cannon starts to blur out slowly, as well as the grass.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Software

Fans of the pure Google experience will love this phone. The UI looks just like that of a Pixel smartphone. Xiaomi didn’t even add its own apps. All its customization options are in the Settings app. The phone’s software really is as clean as it gets.



There are gaming options to be had, though. When in a game you can slide down on the fingerprint reader (in landscape mode) and the Game Dock will slide down from the top, overlaying the game interface. From here you can change gamepad settings, turn Wi-Fi on or off, activate the NoIncall mode, turn NightMode on, and disable the keypad. Hit the more button to turn off notifications, toggle ExtremeMode, clean the RAM, hang up a call, or access more settings.

xiaomi black shark game mode

In addition to the dock, Xiaomi created Shark Space. This mode can be turned on using the physical toggle on the left side of the phone. When activated, the phone will automatically clean the RAM and disable all notifications, calls, and messages, effectively killing all distractions. In addition, the phone will display a clean UI with a list of your games, gamepad settings, gaming stats, and more.

xiaomi black shark shark space

I believe the Xiaomi Black Shark is too simple to be a true gamer’s machine

Edgar Cervantes

Aside from these discrete additions, Xiaomi did a great job keeping this phone as clean as possible. It is a joy to use, but I would also argue a gaming phone needs more gaming features. The Asus ROG Phone, for example, lets you manage device temperature, CPU and RAM usage, light color modifications, cooling modes, presets, and more.

I believe the Xiaomi Black Shark is too simple to be a true gaming machine. Gamers tend to demand more customization and control over their machines.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Sound quality

The Xiaomi Black Shark sounds good, but it won’t be winning any audio awards. It sounds loud enough to be immersive.

I have to complain about how the phone offers dual speakers but one of them is not front-facing. This is mostly a problem because it’s easy to cover when playing in landscape mode, an orientation nearly every game uses. This results in random muffled sound.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Battery life

xiaomi black shark speakers and charging port

The Xiaomi Black Shark actually did quite well against our battery tests. When playing video continuously at 200 nits, the device was able to last for 735 minutes (12 hours and 15 minutes) before dying. When continuously loading websites, it went for 820 minutes (13 hours and 40 minutes), which is significantly higher than the average 675 (11 hours and 15 minutes).

It starts to die faster when playing, but I never played enough to really see it go from 100 percent to zer0 percent. I’d say it should average at about four to five hours of straight gaming.


Xiaomi Black Shark review: Price and conclusion

Two versions of the Xiaomi Black Shark are available. It starts at just 2,999 yuan (about $434) for the version with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. You can upgrade to the iteration with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage for 3,499 yuan (about $508).

back of xiaomi black shark on retail box

Gamers looking for the most bang for their buck need look nowhere else. Hell, even non-gamers will probably find this phone an amazing deal considering the specs. However, there is one huge caveat — Xiaomi devices aren’t exactly easy to come by for most of us.

Sure, it isn’t exactly the best gaming phone out there, but…

Edgar Cervantes

For starters, it is not available in the U.S. Only select markets can get Xiaomi devices directly. The rest of us need to import them. The value Xiaomi offers makes it hard for supply to keep up, too. If you can get your hands on one, the performance and capabilities make the Xiaomi Black Shark a steal.

It has the specs to handle all the games you need, and Extreme Mode offers that boost many of you will enjoy. Sure, it isn’t exactly the best gaming phone out there, but it is plenty capable and carries a significantly lower price tag than its direct competitors.

This is also a pretty cool device to use as a daily driver for the times you don’t want to game — if there are any.

Some Xiaomi Mi A1 users wake up to the gift of Pie (others get just coal)

Tis the season to be jolly, Xiaomi Mi A1 users. Well, for some of you.

Xiaomi is now pushing out the Android 9 Pie update to the Mi A1. The 2017 Android One phone was long overdue to get the new software, what with Android One’s promise of speedy updates.

In early December, one user reported getting the Android 9 Pie beta to their Mi A1. Days later, an apparently stable update landed on more devices from around the world. Unfortunately, the OTA created severe problems with LTE connectivity for some users, and Xiaomi did a terrible job of explaining what’s going on.

On December 20, Xiaomi announced (via Gadgets 360) that a new Android 9 build is rolling out to users. The new firmware is called PKQ1.180917.001 (V10.0.2.0.PDHMIFK) and is apparently a full release, rather than a beta.

The main new features in the release are support for FM radio, adaptive battery and brightness, and recommended apps based on user actions.

Now for the bad news: while many users on Reddit report receiving the update with no issues, others complained about missing LTE bands. Furthermore, according to several redditors, Xiaomi appears to have halted the rollout again. We’re reached out to confirm what’s going on.

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