A lot of people think that when they buy a ‘budget-friendly’ device that they’d instantly assume it is not worth your money. Actually, there are certain devices that are amazing despite their relatively affordable price.
Motorola has churned out some compelling smartphones in the past years and they’ve released a new one that targets budget-conscious consumers.
Today, I am going to review the Moto G8 Power.
Before anything else, I just want to point out that when you are shopping for this phone, you might see a model that has this name and another one with the Moto G Power. Just to be clear, they are the same. The Moto G Power is just the name of the device when you buy it in America.
With that out of the way, let’s start with the phone’s design. There are some that might not be a fan of the looks simply because Motorola has veered away from its traditional design language in favor of a more common one.
Even if the design is different from Motorola phones in the past, it is still a welcome change. You see, the bezels on this device are significantly smaller than the rest, which means that you have more screen real estate to enjoy your media content, for example.
On the top left of the screen, you will find the selfie camera. The company opted for a hole-punch display. Although it is prominent, the 6.4-inch slab is still plenty for media consumption anyway.
While most smartphones have ditched the headphone jack, you will be glad to know that this device still has one situated at the top.
At the bottom, you will find the phone’s speakers, as well as a USB-C data and charging port. On the back, you will find four different cameras and a fingerprint scanner with the company’s logo on it at the center.
For a sub-$300 phone, you get a 6.4-inch LCD, Full HD resolution display. It is a standard affair and since it is not an OLED panel, do not expect too much from it.
The screen real estate is pretty massive so you can watch your favorite shows on the go on a much bigger display. However, the colors are subpar at best as it is not vibrant like the other phones.
To be fair, for its price, it is not something that you can complain about simply because other phones that have better screens would require you to pay more than $150 from its asking price.
Its sRGB saturation is a respectable 97%, but when you compare it to the likes of Samsung’s phones, the difference is night and day.
It seems that most (if not all) companies are going for multiple camera setups of at least 3 or more lenses. The Moto G8 Power indeed has a multitude of cameras.
The main lens is a 16-megapixel shooter with an aperture of f/1.7. It also comes with an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 118-degree field of view 2-megapixel macro lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with an aperture of f/2.2.
What can I say about the camera quality? Well, do not expect anything out of the ordinary. When you take a photo as is (meaning, without zoom), the cameras are okay. There is no picture smoothing or any after-effects on the resulting image.
However, once you start using its zoom functionality, you will see that there is noticeable noise on the image. What’s more, you cannot do low-light photography on this device because the photo is just not good at all.
The cameras on the back do have image stabilization but the said feature can only be available on a video that is recorded at 1080p/30fps.
How about its 16-megapixel, f/2.2 aperture selfie camera? I’d say you’ll be happy that it is there for video conferencing purposes, but there is nothing significant to highlight here. Its colors are okay, though not really something that you can brag about.
Specs and Performance
- Chipset– Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
- GPU– Adreno 610
- RAM– 4GB
- Storage– 64GB with expandable storage
- Camera– 16-megapixel wide-angle lens, 8-megapixel telephoto, 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, 2-megapixel macro; 16-megapixel selfie camera
- Display– 6.4-inch IPS LCD screen, 2300x 1080 resolution, 399 ppi
- Battery– 5,000 mAh, 18-watt fast charger
To put it bluntly, the Moto G8 Power’s performance is middling at best. It uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665 which is a bit dated in 2020. Although it definitely provides you with midrange performance, the company could have opted for Qualcomm’s 700 series chipsets instead.
Do not get me wrong, you can throw anything at it and it will perform well. However, you cannot expect to play the most demanding Android games without sacrificing a couple of graphical settings here and there.
There is a redeeming quality about the phone’s performance though and it is not its graphical prowess, but rather, its audio quality.
When using the speakers, it produces an overall balanced sound. Even if you listen to music at high volumes, the resulting sound is still quite good. That is even more so if you use your favorite headphones using its 3.5mm jack at the top of the device.
Sure, the performance of the Moto G8 Power is middling, but it makes up for it in other areas. The battery on this device is great, especially for a mid-range device.
It comes with a 5,000 mAh battery with an 18-watt charger included in the box. In my testing, you can go up to 2 days on a single charge.
If there is one complaint in this department, it would be that the charger is not fast enough. You will have to charge it for close to three hours if you want to top it off from 0%.
Despite its middling performance and subpar camera quality, there is still much to love about the Moto G8 Power. It has a pretty huge screen to let you enjoy your favorite media content, the battery is definitely the best out there for a mid-range device, and its audio is surely better than the rest.
At $250, the Moto G8 Power is an incredible phone for the budget-conscious in 2020.
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.
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.
Xiaomi Poco X3 Review- An Appealing Budget Smartphone with a 120Hz Display
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
WatchOS 7- New Features and Everything You Need to Know
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