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8 Best Flagship Phones in 2020- Only the Best That Money Can Buy

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Do you want only the best flagship phones in 2020? Then you’ve come to the right article! While the smartphone ecosystem has certainly improved quite a lot in recent years and mid-range phones are considered as ‘bang for the buck’, nothing can beat the performance of a flagship device.

If you value photography, amazing specs, or a phone that you can rely on, read our article to find out the best smartphones on the market in the first half of 2020. So, without further ado, let’s get on with the list!

Best Flagship Phones

1.iPhone 11

Price: Starts at $699

iPhone 11

Sure, the Android mobile operating system is quite customizable- so customizable, in fact, that even smartphone manufacturers themselves put their own spin on their device’s OS. 

But, not a lot of people want that level of customization. Some of them just want a device that works really well as is and that is why the iPhone 11 is what I would consider the best phone for most people.

This phone just works really well right out of the box. It has a pretty simple user interface and every application that you need is presented to you right on the home screen.

The iPhone 11 makes use of the company’s A13 Bionic chip that rivals even the best chipsets that Android devices can have.

Its screen resolution is only 1792 x 828 so it is not really Full HD. However, because of the retina display that the company puts on their mobile devices, you can rest assured that content consumption will not be a major issue here as the screen provides you with vivid and crisp graphical details.

I also love the fact that the device only weighs 194 grams so it is definitely one of the lightest flagship phones on the market today. Although its screen size is only 6.1 inches, it just makes the device easier to wield with one hand.

The iPhone 11 makes use of iOS 13 but you can install the beta version of iOS 14 if you want, provided that you know how to do it.

People really praise iPhones for their amazing cameras and this is no different. While its camera array is not as powerful as its ‘Pro’ counterpart, in most cases, it is more than adequate.

You get two lenses at the back (one 12-megapixel ultra-wide and one 12-megapixel wide-angle) and a 12-megapixel selfie camera at the front.

Even though the device doesn’t come with a 3.5mm jack anymore, you can use your Bluetooth Headphones if you have one.

You might be wondering why I didn’t put the iPhone 11 Pro on this article and that is because its price-to-performance is not justifiable.

Sure, it feels more of a ‘premium’ device because of its price, but the iPhone 11 is still a flagship product from Apple.

With amazing cameras, blazing-fast performance, impressive audio, and great battery life, it is so easy to recommend the iPhone 11 for people that want a simple flagship device that they can rely on.

2.Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Price: $789

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Ever since its release, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus has received major price cuts and is definitely one of the best phones that you can get today.

There is a lot to love about this device and one of its standout features is its set of cameras. Its hallmark shooter is the 64-megapixel telephoto lens that is coupled with an ultra-wide and wide-angle lens; both of which are 12-megapixels. At the front, you get a 10-megapixel selfie camera that produces high-quality selfies on the fly.

Samsung is one of those companies that are lauded for their amazing displays and it truly shows on the S20 Plus. The device is fitted with a 6.7-inch OLED panel that has a resolution of 3200 xs 1440. It is one of the best screens put on a smartphone on the market and content consumption using this device is simply an amazing experience.

Its performance package is also top of the line as well. Depending on your region, you get flagship chipsets from both Qualcomm and Samsung’s own Exynos line. Both of them provide the best performance out there that is only beaten by the iPhone’s A13 Bionic chip (but not by much; performance is comparable).

I also love the fact that the phone comes with a high screen refresh rate at 120Hz. However, if you want to enable the feature, you will have to tone down the resolution to 1080p first before you can use it. It is a fair compromise in my opinion.

It is worth noting that putting the device on its 120hz screen refresh rate setting can significantly reduce the battery and that is why the company also included a hefty 4,500 mAh Li-ion battery as well.

Seriously, if you are thinking of getting an Android device, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus should be on your shortlist without a doubt.

3.OnePlus 8 Pro

Price: $899

OnePlus 8 Pro

Samsung is not the only company that has its flagship device’s price cut. OnePlus is also at the forefront as well. Once a company that was praised for creating ‘flagship killer’ devices, OnePlus is now putting their chips on the table to produce actual ‘cream of the crop’ phones on the market.

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best product offering from the company in the first half of the year. You can expect a much better version of this device in Q3 or Q4 2020 (or early next year, depending on the production schedule).

Anyway, just like the Samsung phone above, the 8 Pro also comes with a 120hz screen refresh rate display. Its 6.78-inch OLED screen has a resolution of 3168 x 1440 so it is a good device to be watching your favorite shows on.

For its performance, you are getting the latest chipset from Qualcomm: The Snapdragon 865. Aside from that, the company also put its amazing Oxygen OS which is a reskin of Android 10 that is praised for its simplicity and ease of use.

Naturally, enabling the higher screen refresh rate eats through the battery like it’s nothing, but you can rest assured that it will be topped up quite easily thanks to the included 55-watt warp charger. The charger can easily provide 50% of juice from 0% in just 20 minutes!

While photography isn’t its strongest suit, the camera performance of the OnePlus 8 Pro has significantly improved thanks to the latest updates from the company.

You get a 48-megapixel wide and 48-megapixel ultra-wide lenses that are also coupled with a telephoto lens, as well as a color filter. Its 16-megapixel camera is also good too.

If there is one thing that I will nitpick about the device, that would be its curved display. It is somewhat pronounced that accidental taps could happen, so just bear that in mind.

4.Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Price: $549

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Last year’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus is still one of the best flagship smartphones on the market today. In fact, I would even encourage you to get one as its price has been cut down significantly to just $549, which is definitely a steal in my opinion.

One of the things that people really love about the said device is its included stylus. The S-Pen is certainly responsive and you can tweak its features to your liking.

It comes with the previous generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset or the Exynos 9825 chipset if you buy this from any country other than the U.S.

The phone is shipped with Android 9 with the company’s own skin laid over the interface, but you can have it updated to Android 10 if that is what you prefer.

Its huge 6.8-inch AMOLED display just makes content consumption with this device a totally remarkable experience.

You will also love the fact that the phone has a time of flight sensor which basically just means that the camera system is much better overall.

If you want a phone that you can use as a productivity and media device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is one that you should consider getting, even if its specs are a bit dated.

5.Google Pixel 4 XL

Price: Starts at $799

Google Pixel 4 XL

I really love the fact that flagship phones that were released in the last quarter of 2019 have received a massive price cut- the Google Pixel 4 phone included.

Google’s flagship phone is lauded for its amazing camera performance. Its camera hardware might not be as flashy as the other brands, but it pretty much makes up for it using the company’s software.

You get a flagship chipset in the form of the Snapdragon 855, it has a 6.3-inch display with a resolution of 3040 x 1440. I would also like to say that Google has finally joined the high screen refresh rate bandwagon as the panel is able to reach the 90hz refresh rate. Keep in mind that you will have to lower the resolution to enable this feature.

People that want the latest and greatest from the Android ecosystem would want to consider getting a pixel phone as it is the first one to get the latest beta updates from the company. In fact, it is one of the first phones to ever have a glimpse of what Android 11 has to offer.

Although its camera and performance packages are amazing, it falls short in some areas, particularly the battery.

If you enable the 90hz display, the battery life of the device gets diminished considerably. Aside from that, its base configuration only comes with 64GB of internal storage which, in this day and age, is not any more adequate.

The reason why I still recommend this device is that it is a pretty respectable flagship phone. You get early access to Android Beta OSes, you get amazing camera performance, and you now have a vibrant 90hz display as well.

6.Oppo Find X2 Pro

Price: $1,100

Oppo Find X2 Pro

Oppo is a Chinese company that has built a name for itself. Once overshadowed by Huawei, the company has since surpassed it and has now taken Huawei’s market share, at least, in the smartphone space.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro is definitely a flagship product- both in its specs and its price. Despite its huge asking price of $1,100, it is warranted simply because it comes with amazing specs.

It comes with the Snapdragon 865 flagship chipset, 6.75-inch AMOLED display (1440p resolution, 120Hz screen refresh rate), 512GB UFS 3.0 storage, and a whopping 12GB of RAM.

Its camera array is also promising as well. The phone is equipped with Sony’s IMX689 sensor which is a 48-megapixel shooter that is capable of producing vibrant shots even in low-light conditions. It also comes with a 14-megapixel periscope telephoto lens and a 48-megapixel ultra-wide sensor as well.

Its selfie camera also has a whopping 32-megapixel sensor, so whether you are trying to take some selfies or joining a video conference, the shooter is definitely more than adequate.

This flagship device also comes with a 4,260 mAh battery that can last more than a single day with moderate to heavy use. Even though the device is not capable of wireless charging, the included 65-watt SuperVOOC 2.0 charger should give it enough juice in a matter of minutes.

Flagship phones typically mean that they are the most expensive ones that you can find on the market. While some devices are expensive, they are just priced too high just for the sake of it.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro, however, has a flagship price with an amazing performance package to go along with it.

7.Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G

Price: $1,080

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G

You might have heard of Xiaomi before and that is because the company has churned out a lot of amazing phones in recent years.

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G is the latest flagship offering from the company and it definitely warrants its high asking price.

For $1,080, you get a 6.67-inch device that has an OLED display (resolution 2340 x 1080, 90hz screen refresh rate), Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8GB of RAM, quad-camera setup on the back and a 20-megapixel shooter at the front. It weighs just 7.34 ounces so it is one of the lighter flagship phones on the market.

Its 108-megapixel camera is one of its headline features. It is then coupled with an unusual array of lenses. Aside from the 20-megapixel ultra-wide shooter, it also comes with two telephoto lenses. That’s right, two telephoto sensors.

The company has stated that the first telephoto lens is responsible for depth-of-field shots while the other one is responsible for the phone’s lossless zoom.

All of the phone’s cameras work really well, though I would say that you have to tinker with the settings to remove the beautify filter that is turned on by default.

Anyway, the device has a 4,500 mAh battery and it has a 50-watt charger included in the package. Unlike the Oppo phone above, the Mi 10 Pro 5G is capable of 30-watt wireless charging.

It has an impressive battery life even if you enable its 90hz screen refresh rate.

So, where does this device fall short? For its asking price, it would have been nice if the screen resolution is bumped to 1440p, though I would understand the company’s rationale for leaving it at 1080p so that you can enable the 90hz refresh rate with ease.

Its RAM and storage should also be higher than its default configuration. At 8GB and 256GB, respectively, $1,000 for a device such as this may deter people from buying it.

Still, this is definitely one of the best 5G capable flagship phones of 2020.

8.Huawei P40 Pro Plus

Price: $1,500

Huawei P40 Pro Plus

Huawei phones can be found in the U.S. before but ever since the trade war between two of the world’s largest countries began, Huawei devices have been somewhat hard to find in the United States.

You see, Huawei is a Chinese brand and because there had been issues with security in some of its devices, President Trump has ordered it to be blacklisted in the U.S.

That being said, I would still recommend the Huawei P40 Pro Plus for others simply because it is just too hard to ignore.

Now, every flagship phone has a trick up its sleeve and this one certainly has that as well. Its standout feature is its lossless zoom. It has the best zoom cameras on the market that even rivals other flagship devices out there.

As for its specs, the Huawei P40 Pro Plus comes with a 6.58-inch OLED curved display with a resolution of 2640 x 1200. It is HDR10 compliant which means that you are assured of more vibrant colors than its competitors. It is also capable of a 90hz screen refresh rate as well.

It is fitted with the Kirin 990 processor which is built in-house and has comparable performance with the Snapdragon 865.

The phone’s mighty camera setup is also its flagship feature. You get a 50-megapixel ‘Ultra Vision’ shooter that allows you to snap high-quality photos instantly.

It also comes with a 40-megapixel ultra-wide lens, an 8-megapixel telephoto, and an 8-megapixel zoom lens at the back. The zoom capability of this phone is just unparalleled and it is a shame that this device is not (naturally) available in the United States, though you can have it shipped which will incur additional fees.

The device uses Android 10 with the company’s own EMUI overlay which has a clean look compared to others.

It is fitted with a 4,200 mAh battery bundled with a 40-watt fast charger right out of the box. It also supports Qi wireless charging as well.

Although the device has flagship specs, people who are thinking of getting this one should remember that the phone doesn’t have a Google Play Store (nor will it support it).

You can get your fill of apps by using the company’s own ‘App Gallery’ which has a good selection of Android applications you can use, though it definitely doesn’t Rival what Google has in its app portfolio.

If you are comfortable with that, then the Huawei P40 Pro Plus is one of the best phones out there today.

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WatchOS 7- New Features and Everything You Need to Know

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WatchOS 7

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.

What’s New?

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.

3.Handwashing

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.

4.Fitness

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.

WatchOS 7 Review

5.Hearing

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.

6.Maps

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?

WatchOS 7 Review 2020

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.

WatchOS 7 Update

Conclusion

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.

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TikTok and WeChat Bans- What We Know So Far

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Tiktok and WeChat Ban

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.

The Ban

Tiktok Ban

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.

Some Hope

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?

WeChat Ban

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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Xiaomi Poco X3 Review- An Appealing Budget Smartphone with a 120Hz Display

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Xiaomi Poco X3 Review

Because schools and offices are employing study and work from home schemes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, getting a smartphone is quite appealing in this day and age. That is because such portable devices are handy and you can conduct video conferences, as well as communicate with other people from across the world.

That being said, if you have only a limited budget, then I highly recommend that you look at the Xiaomi Poco X3. I am going to be reviewing it today, so sit tight and read through the rest of this content piece.

Design

Before I begin, I just want to say that there are two versions of this phone. You might find that there is one that is called ‘Poco X3 NFC’ and the other version doesn’t have the ‘NFC’ in its moniker. This implies that one doesn’t come with the said technology, so if you are going to buy this device, make sure that you are getting the right version.

That being said, we used to think that budget smartphones do not look classy, but you have to change that mindset because phone manufacturers like Xiaomi make incredible-looking phones for a cheaper price.

The Poco X3 might have a polycarbonate body but it certainly doesn’t look or feel cheap. In fact, once you get a hold of the device, you will instantly find that it can take a beating while still having that elegant look.

At the back, you will find the ‘Poco’ branding situated a little bit near the charging port while at the top, you will find its quad-camera array. Do keep in mind that there is a noticeable camera bump, so using this flat on a desk will mean that the phone will move on every press of the display.

Since this is a budget smartphone, you will find a two sim-card tray, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. You will also find a fingerprint sensor which is added to the power button itself. In my testing, it is somewhat accurate, albeit it is not as fast as flagship devices.

You also get dual speakers that are placed at the top and the bottom of the device and I have to say that they are pretty loud. Its support for aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC codecs make it also an enticing choice if you are going to use Bluetooth speakers.

Lastly, the Poco X3 has an IP53 rating which means that it can handle dust and a couple of splashes. Just do not submerge this device or go out there in the pouring rain.

Display

Xiaomi Poco X3 Review 2020

What’s interesting about the Poco X3 is that it has a 120Hz display. Here, you will get a 6.67-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 and an aspect ratio of 20:9. You will also love the fact that it can support HDR10 as well, though keep in mind that this is still using an IPS panel, so its contrast is not as good as those phones with OLED displays.

Still, I find the colors to be quite punchy and vibrant, and the brightness caps at 450 nits which is quite impressive for an affordable smartphone.

Xiaomi has done a good job of making sure that the phone’s fast display won’t eat through the battery like butter by enabling a variable refresh rate. This means that if the situation doesn’t call for a fast display, the screens’ refresh rate will dial back down a little bit to save on battery. Of course, you can set it to full 120Hz all of the time, though you have to be carrying its charger with you at all times.

All in all, I am quite impressed by the Poco X3’s display. Even if it is just an IPS screen, it looks really nice and its peak brightness ensures that you can use the phone even in direct sunlight.

Camera

Normally, I do not take too much time on a budget smartphone’s camera array simply because most companies overlook this aspect anyway and would just put in some cameras and be done with it. But, the Poco X3 is different.

You see, aside from the fact that this device has four cameras at the back, they are quite respectable in terms of performance.

You get a 64-megapixel wide-angle main shooter that produces vibrant shots and perfect dynamic range. Its 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera is okay, though its performance is not on par with other ultra-wide sensors in mid-range phones.

The last two cameras are macro and depth lenses which perform admirably well, especially if you decide to use the device’s specific camera features.

You can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second but when you go for this resolution, you will not have any image stabilization at all and it would be fitting if you use a gimbal for stabilization.

If you are recording videos at HD or Full HD, then you will find that the cameras do a pretty good job in terms of performance and quality.

The 20-megapixel selfie camera is no slouch either. It can take high-quality photos of yourself or a group and its quality shines when you are using video-conferencing apps.

All in all, I am happy with the Poco X3’s cameras. The only thing that I do not like about them is that they create a bit of a bulge which is noticeable if you put the device on a desk.

Specs and Performance

Xiaomi Poco X3

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G
  • GPU: Adreno 618
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB, expandable via MicroSD
  • Display: 6.67-inch IPS LCD, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 120Hz Refresh Rate, 240Hz Touch Sampling Rate, HDR10, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Camera: 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 main sensor (f/1.89), 13-megapixel ultra-wide (f/2.2, 119-degrees field of view), 2-megapixel macro (f/2.4), 2-megapixel depth (f/2.4); 20-megapixel (f/2.2) selfie camera
  • SIM: Dual Sim or 1 SIM + microSD card
  • Connectivity: WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB-C, 3.5mm port
  • Battery: 5,160 mAh, 33-Watt Charger
  • Dimensions: 165.3 x 76.8 x 9.4mm
  • Weight: 215 grams
  • Colors: Shadow Gray, Cobalt Blue

The Poco X3’s performance is on par with the Google Pixel 4a and other phones that come with the Snapdragon 732G chipset.

For those of you who do not know, the Snapdragon 732G chipset is on the lower end of mid-range chipsets. It is not bad by any means but it certainly doesn’t come close to the 765G (which is found in phones such as the OnePlus Nord). 

You can still expect relatively good performance across the board, but you will find that the phone struggles to handle graphically demanding games. For the most part, you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

Software

The Xiaomi Poco X3 is packed with the company’s MIUI 12 operating system which is just a skin of Android 10 with Xiaomi’s spin on the said OS. It is pretty polished, though it will take some time for you to understand its features.

Now, when you are getting a budget product, you can expect some corners to be cut somewhere, right? While that is not evident in the design, it is definitely evident when it comes to the software.

You see, for Xiaomi to get some profits when selling affordable phones, they have to do something to make that a reality and in the Poco X3, it is by way of in-OS ads.

The ads aren’t there in plain sight, but it will be shown to you whenever you install something from the Google Play Store, as well as in some areas of the phone’s settings.

They are not intrusive by any means, but some people might find it annoying that you will see ads on a phone that you’ve paid for.

To be honest, this isn’t a huge deal considering that you are getting a pretty good smartphone at an affordable price. But if you are not okay with this (especially since there are some concerns about privacy), then you might want to find something else.

Battery

Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC

This device is a survivor as it can last a comfortable two days before needing a charge. The Poco X3 comes with a hefty 5,160 mAh battery with a 33-watt charger in the box.

Even if you play all day or watch content online to your heart’s content, this device can handle them without any issue.

I have to really tax this device for the battery to run out in a single day, which means that if you only use this thing moderately, you could be seeing a 2-3-day battery life.

Charging the Poco X3 is also not a problem at all. Its included 33-watt charger ensures that the device gets its battery from 0-100 in just under 2 hours.

Sadly, there is no support for wireless charging, but that is to be expected given that this is a budget device.

Verdict

If you are looking for a great budget phone, the Xiaomi Poco X3 is definitely one of them. It has a fast 120Hz display, good brightness levels, great battery life, and overall good build quality.

You might have an issue with the ads that are found in some parts of the operating system, but to me, they are not obtrusive at all.

If you are interested in getting the Xiaomi Poco X3, you can get the NFC version for just $250 for the 6GB/128GB version.

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8 Best Flagship Phones in 2020- Only the Best That Money Can Buy

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Do you want only the best flagship phones in 2020? Then you’ve come to the right article! While the smartphone ecosystem has certainly improved quite a lot in recent years and mid-range phones are considered as ‘bang for the buck’, nothing can beat the performance of a flagship device.

If you value photography, amazing specs, or a phone that you can rely on, read our article to find out the best smartphones on the market in the first half of 2020. So, without further ado, let’s get on with the list!

Best Flagship Phones

1.iPhone 11

Price: Starts at $699

iPhone 11

Sure, the Android mobile operating system is quite customizable- so customizable, in fact, that even smartphone manufacturers themselves put their own spin on their device’s OS. 

But, not a lot of people want that level of customization. Some of them just want a device that works really well as is and that is why the iPhone 11 is what I would consider the best phone for most people.

This phone just works really well right out of the box. It has a pretty simple user interface and every application that you need is presented to you right on the home screen.

The iPhone 11 makes use of the company’s A13 Bionic chip that rivals even the best chipsets that Android devices can have.

Its screen resolution is only 1792 x 828 so it is not really Full HD. However, because of the retina display that the company puts on their mobile devices, you can rest assured that content consumption will not be a major issue here as the screen provides you with vivid and crisp graphical details.

I also love the fact that the device only weighs 194 grams so it is definitely one of the lightest flagship phones on the market today. Although its screen size is only 6.1 inches, it just makes the device easier to wield with one hand.

The iPhone 11 makes use of iOS 13 but you can install the beta version of iOS 14 if you want, provided that you know how to do it.

People really praise iPhones for their amazing cameras and this is no different. While its camera array is not as powerful as its ‘Pro’ counterpart, in most cases, it is more than adequate.

You get two lenses at the back (one 12-megapixel ultra-wide and one 12-megapixel wide-angle) and a 12-megapixel selfie camera at the front.

Even though the device doesn’t come with a 3.5mm jack anymore, you can use your Bluetooth Headphones if you have one.

You might be wondering why I didn’t put the iPhone 11 Pro on this article and that is because its price-to-performance is not justifiable.

Sure, it feels more of a ‘premium’ device because of its price, but the iPhone 11 is still a flagship product from Apple.

With amazing cameras, blazing-fast performance, impressive audio, and great battery life, it is so easy to recommend the iPhone 11 for people that want a simple flagship device that they can rely on.

2.Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Price: $789

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus

Ever since its release, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus has received major price cuts and is definitely one of the best phones that you can get today.

There is a lot to love about this device and one of its standout features is its set of cameras. Its hallmark shooter is the 64-megapixel telephoto lens that is coupled with an ultra-wide and wide-angle lens; both of which are 12-megapixels. At the front, you get a 10-megapixel selfie camera that produces high-quality selfies on the fly.

Samsung is one of those companies that are lauded for their amazing displays and it truly shows on the S20 Plus. The device is fitted with a 6.7-inch OLED panel that has a resolution of 3200 xs 1440. It is one of the best screens put on a smartphone on the market and content consumption using this device is simply an amazing experience.

Its performance package is also top of the line as well. Depending on your region, you get flagship chipsets from both Qualcomm and Samsung’s own Exynos line. Both of them provide the best performance out there that is only beaten by the iPhone’s A13 Bionic chip (but not by much; performance is comparable).

I also love the fact that the phone comes with a high screen refresh rate at 120Hz. However, if you want to enable the feature, you will have to tone down the resolution to 1080p first before you can use it. It is a fair compromise in my opinion.

It is worth noting that putting the device on its 120hz screen refresh rate setting can significantly reduce the battery and that is why the company also included a hefty 4,500 mAh Li-ion battery as well.

Seriously, if you are thinking of getting an Android device, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus should be on your shortlist without a doubt.

3.OnePlus 8 Pro

Price: $899

OnePlus 8 Pro

Samsung is not the only company that has its flagship device’s price cut. OnePlus is also at the forefront as well. Once a company that was praised for creating ‘flagship killer’ devices, OnePlus is now putting their chips on the table to produce actual ‘cream of the crop’ phones on the market.

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best product offering from the company in the first half of the year. You can expect a much better version of this device in Q3 or Q4 2020 (or early next year, depending on the production schedule).

Anyway, just like the Samsung phone above, the 8 Pro also comes with a 120hz screen refresh rate display. Its 6.78-inch OLED screen has a resolution of 3168 x 1440 so it is a good device to be watching your favorite shows on.

For its performance, you are getting the latest chipset from Qualcomm: The Snapdragon 865. Aside from that, the company also put its amazing Oxygen OS which is a reskin of Android 10 that is praised for its simplicity and ease of use.

Naturally, enabling the higher screen refresh rate eats through the battery like it’s nothing, but you can rest assured that it will be topped up quite easily thanks to the included 55-watt warp charger. The charger can easily provide 50% of juice from 0% in just 20 minutes!

While photography isn’t its strongest suit, the camera performance of the OnePlus 8 Pro has significantly improved thanks to the latest updates from the company.

You get a 48-megapixel wide and 48-megapixel ultra-wide lenses that are also coupled with a telephoto lens, as well as a color filter. Its 16-megapixel camera is also good too.

If there is one thing that I will nitpick about the device, that would be its curved display. It is somewhat pronounced that accidental taps could happen, so just bear that in mind.

4.Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Price: $549

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Last year’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus is still one of the best flagship smartphones on the market today. In fact, I would even encourage you to get one as its price has been cut down significantly to just $549, which is definitely a steal in my opinion.

One of the things that people really love about the said device is its included stylus. The S-Pen is certainly responsive and you can tweak its features to your liking.

It comes with the previous generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset or the Exynos 9825 chipset if you buy this from any country other than the U.S.

The phone is shipped with Android 9 with the company’s own skin laid over the interface, but you can have it updated to Android 10 if that is what you prefer.

Its huge 6.8-inch AMOLED display just makes content consumption with this device a totally remarkable experience.

You will also love the fact that the phone has a time of flight sensor which basically just means that the camera system is much better overall.

If you want a phone that you can use as a productivity and media device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus is one that you should consider getting, even if its specs are a bit dated.

5.Google Pixel 4 XL

Price: Starts at $799

Google Pixel 4 XL

I really love the fact that flagship phones that were released in the last quarter of 2019 have received a massive price cut- the Google Pixel 4 phone included.

Google’s flagship phone is lauded for its amazing camera performance. Its camera hardware might not be as flashy as the other brands, but it pretty much makes up for it using the company’s software.

You get a flagship chipset in the form of the Snapdragon 855, it has a 6.3-inch display with a resolution of 3040 x 1440. I would also like to say that Google has finally joined the high screen refresh rate bandwagon as the panel is able to reach the 90hz refresh rate. Keep in mind that you will have to lower the resolution to enable this feature.

People that want the latest and greatest from the Android ecosystem would want to consider getting a pixel phone as it is the first one to get the latest beta updates from the company. In fact, it is one of the first phones to ever have a glimpse of what Android 11 has to offer.

Although its camera and performance packages are amazing, it falls short in some areas, particularly the battery.

If you enable the 90hz display, the battery life of the device gets diminished considerably. Aside from that, its base configuration only comes with 64GB of internal storage which, in this day and age, is not any more adequate.

The reason why I still recommend this device is that it is a pretty respectable flagship phone. You get early access to Android Beta OSes, you get amazing camera performance, and you now have a vibrant 90hz display as well.

6.Oppo Find X2 Pro

Price: $1,100

Oppo Find X2 Pro

Oppo is a Chinese company that has built a name for itself. Once overshadowed by Huawei, the company has since surpassed it and has now taken Huawei’s market share, at least, in the smartphone space.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro is definitely a flagship product- both in its specs and its price. Despite its huge asking price of $1,100, it is warranted simply because it comes with amazing specs.

It comes with the Snapdragon 865 flagship chipset, 6.75-inch AMOLED display (1440p resolution, 120Hz screen refresh rate), 512GB UFS 3.0 storage, and a whopping 12GB of RAM.

Its camera array is also promising as well. The phone is equipped with Sony’s IMX689 sensor which is a 48-megapixel shooter that is capable of producing vibrant shots even in low-light conditions. It also comes with a 14-megapixel periscope telephoto lens and a 48-megapixel ultra-wide sensor as well.

Its selfie camera also has a whopping 32-megapixel sensor, so whether you are trying to take some selfies or joining a video conference, the shooter is definitely more than adequate.

This flagship device also comes with a 4,260 mAh battery that can last more than a single day with moderate to heavy use. Even though the device is not capable of wireless charging, the included 65-watt SuperVOOC 2.0 charger should give it enough juice in a matter of minutes.

Flagship phones typically mean that they are the most expensive ones that you can find on the market. While some devices are expensive, they are just priced too high just for the sake of it.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro, however, has a flagship price with an amazing performance package to go along with it.

7.Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G

Price: $1,080

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G

You might have heard of Xiaomi before and that is because the company has churned out a lot of amazing phones in recent years.

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G is the latest flagship offering from the company and it definitely warrants its high asking price.

For $1,080, you get a 6.67-inch device that has an OLED display (resolution 2340 x 1080, 90hz screen refresh rate), Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8GB of RAM, quad-camera setup on the back and a 20-megapixel shooter at the front. It weighs just 7.34 ounces so it is one of the lighter flagship phones on the market.

Its 108-megapixel camera is one of its headline features. It is then coupled with an unusual array of lenses. Aside from the 20-megapixel ultra-wide shooter, it also comes with two telephoto lenses. That’s right, two telephoto sensors.

The company has stated that the first telephoto lens is responsible for depth-of-field shots while the other one is responsible for the phone’s lossless zoom.

All of the phone’s cameras work really well, though I would say that you have to tinker with the settings to remove the beautify filter that is turned on by default.

Anyway, the device has a 4,500 mAh battery and it has a 50-watt charger included in the package. Unlike the Oppo phone above, the Mi 10 Pro 5G is capable of 30-watt wireless charging.

It has an impressive battery life even if you enable its 90hz screen refresh rate.

So, where does this device fall short? For its asking price, it would have been nice if the screen resolution is bumped to 1440p, though I would understand the company’s rationale for leaving it at 1080p so that you can enable the 90hz refresh rate with ease.

Its RAM and storage should also be higher than its default configuration. At 8GB and 256GB, respectively, $1,000 for a device such as this may deter people from buying it.

Still, this is definitely one of the best 5G capable flagship phones of 2020.

8.Huawei P40 Pro Plus

Price: $1,500

Huawei P40 Pro Plus

Huawei phones can be found in the U.S. before but ever since the trade war between two of the world’s largest countries began, Huawei devices have been somewhat hard to find in the United States.

You see, Huawei is a Chinese brand and because there had been issues with security in some of its devices, President Trump has ordered it to be blacklisted in the U.S.

That being said, I would still recommend the Huawei P40 Pro Plus for others simply because it is just too hard to ignore.

Now, every flagship phone has a trick up its sleeve and this one certainly has that as well. Its standout feature is its lossless zoom. It has the best zoom cameras on the market that even rivals other flagship devices out there.

As for its specs, the Huawei P40 Pro Plus comes with a 6.58-inch OLED curved display with a resolution of 2640 x 1200. It is HDR10 compliant which means that you are assured of more vibrant colors than its competitors. It is also capable of a 90hz screen refresh rate as well.

It is fitted with the Kirin 990 processor which is built in-house and has comparable performance with the Snapdragon 865.

The phone’s mighty camera setup is also its flagship feature. You get a 50-megapixel ‘Ultra Vision’ shooter that allows you to snap high-quality photos instantly.

It also comes with a 40-megapixel ultra-wide lens, an 8-megapixel telephoto, and an 8-megapixel zoom lens at the back. The zoom capability of this phone is just unparalleled and it is a shame that this device is not (naturally) available in the United States, though you can have it shipped which will incur additional fees.

The device uses Android 10 with the company’s own EMUI overlay which has a clean look compared to others.

It is fitted with a 4,200 mAh battery bundled with a 40-watt fast charger right out of the box. It also supports Qi wireless charging as well.

Although the device has flagship specs, people who are thinking of getting this one should remember that the phone doesn’t have a Google Play Store (nor will it support it).

You can get your fill of apps by using the company’s own ‘App Gallery’ which has a good selection of Android applications you can use, though it definitely doesn’t Rival what Google has in its app portfolio.

If you are comfortable with that, then the Huawei P40 Pro Plus is one of the best phones out there today.

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WatchOS 7- New Features and Everything You Need to Know

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WatchOS 7

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.

What’s New?

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.

3.Handwashing

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.

4.Fitness

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.

WatchOS 7 Review

5.Hearing

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.

6.Maps

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?

WatchOS 7 Review 2020

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.

WatchOS 7 Update

Conclusion

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.

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TikTok and WeChat Bans- What We Know So Far

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Tiktok and WeChat Ban

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.

The Ban

Tiktok Ban

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.

Some Hope

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?

WeChat Ban

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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Xiaomi Poco X3 Review- An Appealing Budget Smartphone with a 120Hz Display

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Xiaomi Poco X3 Review

Because schools and offices are employing study and work from home schemes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, getting a smartphone is quite appealing in this day and age. That is because such portable devices are handy and you can conduct video conferences, as well as communicate with other people from across the world.

That being said, if you have only a limited budget, then I highly recommend that you look at the Xiaomi Poco X3. I am going to be reviewing it today, so sit tight and read through the rest of this content piece.

Design

Before I begin, I just want to say that there are two versions of this phone. You might find that there is one that is called ‘Poco X3 NFC’ and the other version doesn’t have the ‘NFC’ in its moniker. This implies that one doesn’t come with the said technology, so if you are going to buy this device, make sure that you are getting the right version.

That being said, we used to think that budget smartphones do not look classy, but you have to change that mindset because phone manufacturers like Xiaomi make incredible-looking phones for a cheaper price.

The Poco X3 might have a polycarbonate body but it certainly doesn’t look or feel cheap. In fact, once you get a hold of the device, you will instantly find that it can take a beating while still having that elegant look.

At the back, you will find the ‘Poco’ branding situated a little bit near the charging port while at the top, you will find its quad-camera array. Do keep in mind that there is a noticeable camera bump, so using this flat on a desk will mean that the phone will move on every press of the display.

Since this is a budget smartphone, you will find a two sim-card tray, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack. You will also find a fingerprint sensor which is added to the power button itself. In my testing, it is somewhat accurate, albeit it is not as fast as flagship devices.

You also get dual speakers that are placed at the top and the bottom of the device and I have to say that they are pretty loud. Its support for aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC codecs make it also an enticing choice if you are going to use Bluetooth speakers.

Lastly, the Poco X3 has an IP53 rating which means that it can handle dust and a couple of splashes. Just do not submerge this device or go out there in the pouring rain.

Display

Xiaomi Poco X3 Review 2020

What’s interesting about the Poco X3 is that it has a 120Hz display. Here, you will get a 6.67-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 and an aspect ratio of 20:9. You will also love the fact that it can support HDR10 as well, though keep in mind that this is still using an IPS panel, so its contrast is not as good as those phones with OLED displays.

Still, I find the colors to be quite punchy and vibrant, and the brightness caps at 450 nits which is quite impressive for an affordable smartphone.

Xiaomi has done a good job of making sure that the phone’s fast display won’t eat through the battery like butter by enabling a variable refresh rate. This means that if the situation doesn’t call for a fast display, the screens’ refresh rate will dial back down a little bit to save on battery. Of course, you can set it to full 120Hz all of the time, though you have to be carrying its charger with you at all times.

All in all, I am quite impressed by the Poco X3’s display. Even if it is just an IPS screen, it looks really nice and its peak brightness ensures that you can use the phone even in direct sunlight.

Camera

Normally, I do not take too much time on a budget smartphone’s camera array simply because most companies overlook this aspect anyway and would just put in some cameras and be done with it. But, the Poco X3 is different.

You see, aside from the fact that this device has four cameras at the back, they are quite respectable in terms of performance.

You get a 64-megapixel wide-angle main shooter that produces vibrant shots and perfect dynamic range. Its 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera is okay, though its performance is not on par with other ultra-wide sensors in mid-range phones.

The last two cameras are macro and depth lenses which perform admirably well, especially if you decide to use the device’s specific camera features.

You can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second but when you go for this resolution, you will not have any image stabilization at all and it would be fitting if you use a gimbal for stabilization.

If you are recording videos at HD or Full HD, then you will find that the cameras do a pretty good job in terms of performance and quality.

The 20-megapixel selfie camera is no slouch either. It can take high-quality photos of yourself or a group and its quality shines when you are using video-conferencing apps.

All in all, I am happy with the Poco X3’s cameras. The only thing that I do not like about them is that they create a bit of a bulge which is noticeable if you put the device on a desk.

Specs and Performance

Xiaomi Poco X3

  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G
  • GPU: Adreno 618
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB, expandable via MicroSD
  • Display: 6.67-inch IPS LCD, 2400 x 1080 resolution, 120Hz Refresh Rate, 240Hz Touch Sampling Rate, HDR10, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Camera: 64-megapixel Sony IMX682 main sensor (f/1.89), 13-megapixel ultra-wide (f/2.2, 119-degrees field of view), 2-megapixel macro (f/2.4), 2-megapixel depth (f/2.4); 20-megapixel (f/2.2) selfie camera
  • SIM: Dual Sim or 1 SIM + microSD card
  • Connectivity: WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB-C, 3.5mm port
  • Battery: 5,160 mAh, 33-Watt Charger
  • Dimensions: 165.3 x 76.8 x 9.4mm
  • Weight: 215 grams
  • Colors: Shadow Gray, Cobalt Blue

The Poco X3’s performance is on par with the Google Pixel 4a and other phones that come with the Snapdragon 732G chipset.

For those of you who do not know, the Snapdragon 732G chipset is on the lower end of mid-range chipsets. It is not bad by any means but it certainly doesn’t come close to the 765G (which is found in phones such as the OnePlus Nord). 

You can still expect relatively good performance across the board, but you will find that the phone struggles to handle graphically demanding games. For the most part, you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

Software

The Xiaomi Poco X3 is packed with the company’s MIUI 12 operating system which is just a skin of Android 10 with Xiaomi’s spin on the said OS. It is pretty polished, though it will take some time for you to understand its features.

Now, when you are getting a budget product, you can expect some corners to be cut somewhere, right? While that is not evident in the design, it is definitely evident when it comes to the software.

You see, for Xiaomi to get some profits when selling affordable phones, they have to do something to make that a reality and in the Poco X3, it is by way of in-OS ads.

The ads aren’t there in plain sight, but it will be shown to you whenever you install something from the Google Play Store, as well as in some areas of the phone’s settings.

They are not intrusive by any means, but some people might find it annoying that you will see ads on a phone that you’ve paid for.

To be honest, this isn’t a huge deal considering that you are getting a pretty good smartphone at an affordable price. But if you are not okay with this (especially since there are some concerns about privacy), then you might want to find something else.

Battery

Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC

This device is a survivor as it can last a comfortable two days before needing a charge. The Poco X3 comes with a hefty 5,160 mAh battery with a 33-watt charger in the box.

Even if you play all day or watch content online to your heart’s content, this device can handle them without any issue.

I have to really tax this device for the battery to run out in a single day, which means that if you only use this thing moderately, you could be seeing a 2-3-day battery life.

Charging the Poco X3 is also not a problem at all. Its included 33-watt charger ensures that the device gets its battery from 0-100 in just under 2 hours.

Sadly, there is no support for wireless charging, but that is to be expected given that this is a budget device.

Verdict

If you are looking for a great budget phone, the Xiaomi Poco X3 is definitely one of them. It has a fast 120Hz display, good brightness levels, great battery life, and overall good build quality.

You might have an issue with the ads that are found in some parts of the operating system, but to me, they are not obtrusive at all.

If you are interested in getting the Xiaomi Poco X3, you can get the NFC version for just $250 for the 6GB/128GB version.

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