Xiaomi is a Chinese brand that actually makes a lot of different products. From smartphones to home appliances, you can expect to buy a lot of stuff from them.
One of the things that I really love about the company is that they provide much-cheaper products than their competitors, such as their fitness tracker, for example.
Today, I am going to talk about the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 Fitness Tracker and what we know about the product so far.
What is It?
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is the fifth version of the company’s popular fitness trackers. In fact, I am still using the Mi Band 3 which was released in 2018 and it has been pretty solid even after two years of rough use.
Its predecessor, the Mi Band 4, is actually pretty good as well. The display was colored and everything is much larger now thanks to the bigger display.
This time around, the company just makes that even better with the 5th version.
The company’s 5th fitness tracker was announced back on June 11 of this year and is going to be released locally in China on June 18. For the rest of the world, we will have to wait sometime in July for the products to come to our shores.
As for the pricing, that will depend on your locality as taxes and tariffs might influence the price. However, if we are to base it on its local pricing in China, you can buy the base version for just $25.
If you want the NFC version that also comes with the company’s virtual assistant, that will cost you anywhere around $30-$35.
Keep in mind that those prices are based on the company’s local pricing, so it is indeed subject to change when it comes to foreign shores. That being said, at least you now have an idea of how much it will (likely) cost once it hits your store shelves.
The Fitness Tracker
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 borrows some aesthetics from its predecessor in that it still has that signature oblong-shaped interface. However, the company now opted for more vibrant colors to most likely appeal to its younger audience.
The tracker measures 47.2 x 18.5 x 12.4mm and weighs 11.9 grams for the base model. The NFC model might be a bit heavier, but not so much that you can actually feel the difference.
I love the fact that the company has opted to provide different colored straps this time around. Aside from the usual black, you will also find dual-color straps that will definitely appeal to the youngsters.
The 1.1-inch AMOLED display provides a bigger screen real estate (which is an upgrade to its predecessor’s 0.95-inch screen).
It is capable of reaching 450 nits of brightness which means that the on-screen elements are more legible even when you are outside.
According to the company, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 comes with a 125 mAh battery that has a theoretical battery life of 14 days. Now, how you use the fitness tracker will have a bearing on how long it will last, but if we judge it from its predecessor, I’d say that that is a bit accurate.
Unlike the previous versions of the Mi Band product, the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 doesn’t come with a charging cradle. Instead, it now uses a magnetic dock that you can easily plug your tracker into and it should charge immediately after. This is a welcome change since you do not have to take the tracker off of its strap to charge it.
The company said that it will take roughly 2 hours to fully charge the device from 0% so it is still quite good.
- Display: 1.1-inch AMOLED 2.5D Color touchscreen, 126 x 294 resolution
- Sensors: Heart Rate Sensor, SpO2 Sensor, NFC, Barometer, Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor
- Storage: 16MB
- RAM: 512KB
- Chipset: Undisclosed, purportedly faster than Mi Band 4
- Battery: 125 mAh
- Water-Resistance Rating: 5 ATM
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
- Sports Tracking: Treadmill, Outdoor Running, Walking, Freestyle, Elliptical, Pool Swimming, Yoga, Sleep, Blood Oxygen, Women’s Health, PAI Health Suite, Indoor Cycling, Rowing Machine
- Alerts and Controls: Message, Calls, App Notifications, Music Controls, Alarms, Remote Camera Control, Find My Device
- Charging Method: Magnetic Cradle
- Available Colors: Black, Orange, Purple, Yellow, Green, Pink, Gray, Blue, Possible Limited Edition Designs
As with every new version, you can expect that the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is much better than its predecessor in every conceivable way.
Aside from a larger display, its chipset is purportedly faster as well (though it is still undisclosed at this time).
I love the different charger that comes with the device as it is much easier for you to top the device off when it needs some power.
There are also a lot of additional sports tracking features as well, including rowing machine, yoga, indoor cycling, and more.
Keep in mind that aside from the base version, you also have an NFC version that also comes with support for Alexa (if you are going to buy the global version).
Xiaomi’s newest fitness tracker comes with some new and exciting features. First, it’s got a better sleep tracker that can even tell you how long you’ve been in REM sleep (and how you can improve your sleep overall).
Aside from that, you get to choose a lot of different activity trackers so that you can tailor your fitness program the way you like it.
Its step tracker is going to be on point and it can also give you PAI or Personal Activity Intelligence scores if you want it to.
People that utilize their devices for cashless payments would love the NFC version, so if you have the money to spend, I suggest that you get that one instead of the base model.
While the fitness tracker has certainly improved in a lot of ways, it still doesn’t come with GPS unlike the Apple Watch Series 5. Though, to be fair, the latter is a smartwatch while the Mi Band 5 is just a fitness tracker.
The Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is going to be an exciting upgrade to the company’s fitness tracker portfolio. Not only is it improved across the board, but you also get to have a new charger that basically changes the way you top the device off when it needs some power.
Aside from that, you can get the NFC version that allows you to use your Google Pay or other cashless payment methods for ease and convenience.
Although it still doesn’t come with GPS, Xiaomi has a pretty good track record of supporting as many devices as possible. So long as you have an Android smartphone, you should be good.
At the time of writing, the pricing of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5 is still not established for the foreign market, but expect to pay as much as $40 for the NFC version (or more depending on certain economic factors).
WatchOS 7- New Features and Everything You Need to Know
Apple’s smartwatch operating system is now on its 7th iteration and although it doesn’t have grandiose features, there are some notable ones nonetheless.
Today, I am going to go over the new features and everything you need to know about WatchOS 7.
The new Apple smartwatch operating system will debut with the release of the Apple Watch 6 but it will also be available on a handful of older generation Apple watches as well.
Anyway, there aren’t a lot of big features included in the new update, but there are some notable ones. Here are just some of them:
1.Watch Faces and Complications
There isn’t a lot of flexibility when it comes to watch faces on Apple smartwatches and that is because the company didn’t make it open source, which means that other developers cannot chime in with their own designs.
But despite the fact that support is limited only to the company, Apple is going to be releasing some new watch faces soon that will not only make your watch look very interesting but it will also add new features and information that will surely be useful to you.
Aside from new watch faces, app developers can also make use of watch complications via a new API. That means that you can use your Apple smartwatch to find out more information about current events, weather, sports, and many others.
For example, if you are going to run a weather app, the said application can provide information about the weather condition, as well as the wind speed, temperature, etc.
2.Sleep Tracking and Wind Down Mode
Apple watches have become one of the most reliable sleep tracking devices for quite some time now and it has only been improved in the new update.
WatchOS 7 provides you with a more robust ‘Sleep’ app that can help you track your sleeping habits and provide you with some tips on how to help improve the quality of your sleep.
You will be able to set your own sleeping time, though you are encouraged to sleep at night (which can be a problem for people who are working in graveyard shifts).
To complement the Sleep app, there is also a Wind Down mode that basically mutes all incoming notifications until the time you’re supposed to wake up. This also means that the watch will not accidentally turn its lighting on whenever you flick your wrist or make watch gestures.
With the use of the watch’s different sensors, the application can record some important metrics that can help you improve your overall sleeping patterns. This is great for people that are not getting the right amount and quality of sleep.
One of the best ways to kill the Covid-19 virus is to do frequent handwashing. But, it is not just a mere gesture of wetting your hands with water and putting a little bit of soap and be done with it because there are some set rules that you have to follow to make it even more effective.
As a general rule, you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. I think by now, you know the basic principles of handwashing, albeit you have to do it 20 seconds at a time.
To help you instill good handwashing habits, the WatchOS 7 can use an Apple Watch’s motion sensors, built-in AI, and microphone to ensure that you are doing it correctly.
If it senses that you are done before the 20-second mark, it will remind you to continue washing your hands.
In addition, the watch will also remind you to wash your hands again once you come home from work or from somewhere else.
It is always a good idea to strengthen your immune system and one way to do that would be to increase your daily physical activities.
The new update brings with it a new fitness app that includes four additional activities that you can track using your Apple Watch.
If you are a fan of dancing, the new fitness app can help you track a lot of popular dance routines, including Hip-hop, Latin, Bollywood, and so much more.
Aside from dance tracking, you also have options for functional strength training and core training. It is said that resistance training not only helps build muscle but it can also be good for your general health as well.
Lastly, you can also track your cooldown regimen as well. This includes some stretching and things that you can do to maximize your time after working out.
According to the WHO, people should not exceed listening to music at 80 decibels for more than 40 hours a week. Otherwise, your hearing will be compromised.
To help protect your ears, the new WatchOS 7 can send you timely notifications to remind you to stop listening to loud music once you’ve reached the 40-hour mark (this could be in a span of one week).
I think that most people are not going to go beyond that limit anyway, but it is still a nice feature if you forget to rest your ears.
If you are using wireless headphones, you will hear a chime that will notify you when you are close to the said limit.
As part of physical distancing measures, people are encouraged to ride a bike to work instead of taking public transport (this is assuming that you do not have your own car).
If you are riding a bike to work, the new feature can help plot a course that will help make your travel more seamless.
For instance, if there is a huge stairway in your path, your Apple smartwatch can plot a different course for you to take for a smoother ride.
Of course, it should go without saying that this feature is only available for LTE versions of the Apple Watch as this thing will require continuous internet connectivity to work.
7.Translation and an Improved Siri
Siri, Apple’s own AI assistant, has been vastly improved. This time, you are able to send voice-to-text commands right on your Apple Smartwatch and you can use that feature to help you translate some foreign words to your chosen language.
For instance, if you want to know the Japanese term for ‘hello’, you can say that to Siri and she will not only translate that for you but she will also say it out loud so that you will know how it is said correctly.
This is a nifty feature, especially if you are talking to some foreign clients and you want a quick way to know the meaning of certain words that you are not familiar with.
How to Get the Update?
The new WatchOS 7 is now available only for select Apple smartwatches. This means that your unit should be at least Apple Watch 3, Apple Watch 4, Apple Watch Series 5, and the new Apple Watch SE. Apple Watch 6, as mentioned earlier, already comes with the new operating system so you do not have to worry about anything.
There are three ways to get the update. The first one would be to open up the Watch application on your iPhone. Next, tap ‘General’ and you will find the option to install a ‘Software Update’.
Alternatively, you can also do the update process directly on your Apple smartwatch as well. To do this, head on over to Settings->General->Software Update.
Apple is employing a staggered rollout which means that you might not get notified even though the update is already available for download. The above steps can be done in order to force the watch to get the new update.
If you are patient, you can go with the third approach and just wait for the notification that will prompt you to download the new update.
There are a few things that you have to remember before initiating the update. First, you need to be connected to your WiFi router as the update will not push through if you are using an LTE connection.
Second, your Apple Watch must at least have 50% of battery before downloading and installing the update to ensure that the device won’t turn off during the entire process.
Third, do not touch the watch while it is updating. Let the entire thing install first before you can use the watch again. It is vital that the entire process is not interrupted, otherwise, you could experience a lot of issues.
The WatchOS 7 is an iterative update, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some exciting and important features.
I am really happy about the Watch faces and complications because it just provides you with a much better user experience, especially since app developers can now introduce more watch-specific features to the masses.
The sleep tracking, handwashing, hearing, and fitness applications help you improve your overall health, especially since we are still under the effects of a global pandemic.
I also find maps and Siri’s translation services to be quite useful as well, so there are still a lot of things to be happy about with the new update.
Xbox Series X- When Will It Be Released and What Does It Bring to the Table?
After months of hype and speculations, the Microsoft Xbox Series X has finally been unveiled to the public and we now know a lot more information about the upcoming game console than ever before.
In this article, I will go over the key points that you need to know about Microsoft’s console, such as release dates, pricing, new features and technologies, and so much more.
Release Date and Pricing
The Xbox Series X will be released on November 10 and pre-orders will start as early as September 22. The price of the said game console will be $499 which is in-line with Sony’s Playstation 5 disc edition.
Unlike Sony where the company has decided to employ a staggered release date for its PS5 consoles, the Microsoft Xbox Series X will be released on the same date worldwide. Of course, there is the challenge of availability considering that we are still suffering from a global pandemic, which is why pre-ordering the console (assuming that you want to get one) makes a whole lot of sense.
Unlike previous Xbox consoles, the Series X will actually have a more tower-like design with some air vents that can be visibly seen on top of the device.
The Series X will also feature a 4K Blu-ray player, so you could say that it is indeed quite similar to what Sony has to offer.
As of the time of writing this article, the console will only be available in black, though with the release of prior Xbox consoles, a white-colored Xbox is not too far off.
The more vertical design of the upcoming gaming machine might prove to be challenging for some people, especially when it comes to desk space. You will need to have adequate space to rest the console on the surface.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen Custom Zen 2, 8-cores/16-threads (via SMT) @3.8GHz (boost) and 3.6GHz (base)
- GPU: AMD Custom RDNA 2 GPU with 52 Compute Units, 12 TFLOPS, and @ 1.825GHz
- Process (nodes): 7nm Enhanced
- Memory: 16GB GDDR6, 320-bit Bus, 10GB @ 560GB/s and GB @ 336GB/s memory bandwidth
- Internal Storage: 1GB Custom NVMe SSD, 4.8 GB/s (read) and 2.4 GB/s (write) (both are theoretical values)
- Storage Expansion: 1TB
- External Storage Support: USB 3.2 External HDD
- Optical Drive: 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
- Performance Target: 4K @ 60 FPS, up to 120FPS (Theoretical)
I am really very excited about the new-gen consoles because they are packed with serious hardware that allows you to play games at 4K resolution without any issues.
Just like the PS5, the Xbox Series X is also powered by a custom AMD Ryzen CPU (using Zen 2 architecture) and a custom AMD GPU (using the new RDNA2 architecture). This performance package should allow you to play games at 4K@ 60 frames per second ‘comfortably’ (at least according to Microsoft Xbox president, Phil Spencer) and it could even give you the right amount of processing power to achieve more than 60 frames per second (up to 120 frames per second, theoretically).
The CPU, according to Digital Foundry, has a base clock of 3.6GHz and it boosts up to 3.8GHz. The good thing is that the boosting algorithms will only kick in when the console needs more horsepower which can be a good thing both from a performance and thermals standpoint.
It is also worth noting that the new Xbox will support ray tracing. Thus, you can enable such a feature in the games that support it and you will not have to worry about any performance penalties at all since the hardware is more than capable.
This new and upcoming game console will also be using a custom 1TB NVMe SSD which is 100+ GB more than what the PS5 has to offer.
While Spencer didn’t mention anything specific, the SSD that comes in the Xbox Series X should be faster than any consumer SSD that you can find on the market up to this point.
This would mean that if you are going to use its expansion slot to add more storage, you will have to buy an SSD directly from Microsoft if you want to get the best performance possible out of a storage drive.
If you are okay with using an external hard drive, it can support one that is using a USB 3.2 Gen 1 cable.
The optical drive is a 4K Blu-Ray player and each game disc can hold as much as 100GB of storage (though it is more likely that each disc can contain an amount lower than that).
The Microsoft Xbox Series X has a lot of nice features up its sleeve. For one, it has the new Velocity architecture that makes good use of the console’s NVMe SSD, thus virtually eliminating load times.
In line with the said technology, you will also get to enjoy the ‘Quick Resume’ feature where you can pick up right where you left off almost instantly thanks to the use of a new DirectStorage API and Sampler Feedback Streaming (SFS) technologies.
The Xbox Series X will also have VRR or Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode or ALLM to provide you with a smooth gaming experience. The former will eliminate screen tearing and improve overall frame rates and the latter will ensure that it will use your chosen display’s lowest latency mode for maximum performance.
Because the Playstation 5 can support 8K resolution, Phil Spencer also said that the Microsoft Xbox Series X can also handle that as well, though it remains to be seen if the gaming experience will be somewhat enjoyable, given how taxing the said resolution can be.
Unlike the DualSense controller that comes with the PS5, not much is known about the Series X’s controller. Spencer did say that it will have a slimmer form factor and its D-Pad is vastly improved (to mimic the Xbox Elite controller which is a 3rd-party peripheral).
The rumble motors are reported to make a comeback, though I do not know if it will be a better implementation than the haptics that are embedded in the DualSense controller.
It seems that lowering the latency is one of the top priorities of the company as Spencer said that it will have a Dynamic Latency Input feature that will significantly reduce the input lag of the said controller. Of course, this will be tested in our review once the unit is available.
It is a bit of a disappointment that Halo Infinite, which used to be a launch title, is delayed until 2021. There are still plenty of different games, however, and here are just some of the most notable ones:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- As Dusk Falls
- Battlefield 6
- Borderlands 3
- Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War
- Chivalry 2
- Control: Ultimate Edition
- Cyberpunk 2077
- Dirt 5
- Dragon Age 4
- Dying Light 2
- Far Cry 6
- FIFA 21
- Gears 5
- Hood: Outlaws and Legends
- Hogwarts Legacy
- Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
- New Genesis: Phantasy Star Online 2
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- Rainbow Six Quarantine
- Resident Evil Village
- Scarlet Nexus
- State of Decay 3
- Watch Dogs: Legion
Backward Compatibility and Xbox Game Pass
A lot of people were disappointed by the fact that the Playstation 5 only supports PS4 games and is not backward compatible with the older generation Playstation consoles. The Microsoft Xbox Series X is different.
You see, it not only supports all of the games from its predecessor’s content portfolio, but it will also support most of the games of the older generation platforms as well. This means that even the original Xbox games are playable on the new game console which is a really good thing.
You would want to register for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate so that you can unlock all of the games. It is worth noting that by getting the game pass, you also have the privilege of using the company’s xCloud feature that allows you to play Xbox games while you are on the go. Think of this as an improved version of Google Stadia.
I am really impressed with what the Microsoft Xbox Series X has to offer. Aside from its very powerful hardware, its new features and technologies will certainly improve your gaming experience manifold.
By getting the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, you get to enjoy your favorite Xbox games while on the go, while also unlocking all of the possible older-generation games that are playable on the new platform.
It remains to be seen if the new controller is better, but I am eager to find out if the new low latency feature can truly decrease input lag by a lot.
Remember that you can already pre-order your own unit today and the console will be officially released on November 10 in all regions. It costs $499.
TikTok and WeChat Bans- What We Know So Far
It seems that President Trump’s ban on Chinese tech giants are in full swing after one of the most powerful men in the world issued bans on popular Chinese-owned apps: TikTok and WeChat.
TikTok is a popular platform that allows people to record and upload user-generated content, which is essentially a means of uploading viral content over the internet.
WeChat is a chat platform that also includes a payment portal and a news corner. It is a more robust application that could potentially be a problem when it comes to your data and privacy in general, at least, that’s what Trump thinks.
In a previous post, President Trump has given ByteDance, the company that created TikTok, about 45 days for them to reach an agreement with Microsoft. If a deal doesn’t push through, the application will no longer be allowed to operate in the U.S. Apparently, there is a new deal that was made and the stakeholder is a different company now.
Oracle has won the bidding war so instead of Microsoft making a deal with the Chinese-based company, it is now Oracle that will take the helm. The company was supposed to oversee the deal but apparently, it couldn’t reach an accord with ByteDance, which prompted Trump to remind the Chinese company that it only had until November 12 to operate.
In what appears to be an insult to ByteDance, Trump also added that its popular application will no longer be available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store starting Sunday, September 20.
On a similar note, WeChat also suffers the same fate as the president of the United States have also issued an order for the US-owned mobile operating system giants to remove the said application in their respective app stores.
At the time of writing, both Apple and Google haven’t issued any statements but they did mention in the past that they are going to abide by the laws of the country.
President Trump, on Friday, has issued an ultimatum where the popular Chinese export will no longer be able to operate within U.S. soil if it cannot reach a deal with Oracle.
ByteDance representatives, as well as the Chinese government, were adamant against the decision stating that ByteDance was not given a chance of due process. The Chinese government is mulling over the possibility of doing the same with US-owned companies, so we could see some ramifications of this particular threat made by Trump.
Apparently, the ban on both WeChat and TikTok spawned over fears that the Chinese-owned apps are getting private data from its consumers.
There is some truth to this in the sense that TikTok wants to gain access to a lot of permissions that have no integral bearing on the app’s features, which is kind of fishy when you really think about it.
But, in a statement that was released by ByteDance, the only information that was extracted from users is data that the users are willing to share and nothing else. This is also stipulated in the terms and conditions and if users agreed to this, then the app developer has the right to the data.
ByteDance is probably happy by the fact that it has received quite a number of downloads on Saturday, the supposed last day that American citizens can download the application.
True enough, in a statement that was released by the said company, it had received an 800% surge in users over the weekend- something that was unprecedented in recent times.
Just a reminder, you can still use TikTok on your mobile device until November 12 (or longer, depending on whether or not Oracle and ByteDance will reach an agreement).
An update on the deal: Trump’s administration wants Walmart to join the agreement, which would mean that both Oracle and Walmart will be major stakeholders of ByteDance.
It is also worth noting that both of the US-based companies will only own about 20% of the entire share of the company. That means that ByteDance will still own the vast majority of TikTok and other future applications that are going to be developed.
The move is just to ensure that the Chinese-based company will not overstep its boundaries, especially when it comes to national security.
What About WeChat?
It still remains to be seen whether or not WeChat will be permanently banned in the U.S. or not, but American users will no longer be able to use the said application until further notice.
Judge Laurel Beeler, one of the judges that handled the case, said that the ban has created a lot of serious questions about the First Amendment rights of some Chinese-Americans.
Apparently, WeChat is the only chat application that is allowed to operate within Chinese soil, so banning this application in the U.S. would mean that some Chinese people who are not fluent in English, will have a hard time communicating with their relatives in China.
I think it is precisely because of this reason why Trump and his administration wants to ban WeChat. It apparently has the means of communicating some sensitive data from American citizens that could potentially be used and be weaponized by the Chinese government. Although these claims could potentially be true, there is no tangible evidence to suggest that this is indeed the case.
While TikTok could still be used by Americans until Walmart and Oracle are able to reach a deal, the same cannot be said for WeChat.
The good thing is that there tons of other messaging apps that American citizens can use, but this will certainly not bode well for the Chinese-American community.
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