Everything is going mobile now- from work to play, you can always expect programs that used to only work on desktops to now also work on mobile devices as well.
Gaming phones, as the pundits would say, are borne out of the necessity for smartphones that can be used for hours on end, especially since gaming, in general, can be quite taxing to the device.
While there aren’t a lot of gaming phones out there, one phone that you might find great is the Nubia Red Magic 5G. Is it any good? Let’s find out!
While there are some phones that look pretty much generic or your ‘everyday’ phone, the Nubia Red Magic 5G is different; it definitely screams ‘gamer phone’ because of its aesthetic.
The front of the phone is a pretty standard affair. You’ve got a simple-looking display but once you flip the device, you will see that it is indeed made for gamers.
You get a combination of red and blue color schemes with the ‘Redmagic’ moniker in the middle of the phone. If you do not like this, there is also a black and red version as well.
To the right of the name are the three cameras and on the left is the brand logo. And oh, did I mention that the Redmagic name is RGB?
It is a bit on the chunkier side at 218 grams but despite its bigger form factor, it is surprisingly not that heavy when you hold the phone.
The right side of the device is quite busy because aside from the standard volume and power buttons, you also get to have two shoulder buttons as well.
People who have used game controllers before (like from the Playstation and Xbox consoles) should be familiar with them, but for the people who do not know, shoulder buttons are just extra buttons that you can quickly toggle to perform a certain task. More on this later.
Another striking design feature of the Red Magic 5G is its air vents which are situated on the left side of the phone.
Because this device makes use of a physical fan (yes, there is a small fan inside), as well as liquid active cooling, the hot air needs an exhaust to get out and that is why it has special vents. It looks weird but it doesn’t really hamper your ability to grip the device.
As for the audio solution, the phone has a front-firing speaker on the earpiece and another down-firing one at the bottom.
Players will love the fact that this gaming phone comes with a headphone jack at the top so you can plug in your favorite headsets for even an even more immersive experience.
Aside from the loud gamer aesthetic, another thing why the Nubia Red Magic 5G is called a gaming phone is its display.
It comes with a 6.65-inch 2340×1080 AMOLED screen but where it shines is its super-fast 144Hz screen refresh rate.
When you look at reviews of this online on streaming platforms, it won’t do you justice simply because Youtube, for example, caps its frame rate at 60 fps. You have to actually use the device to see the difference (literally).
Now, what happens when your phone has a high refresh rate? Well, everything will look smoother and that is something that you want when you are playing a game.
While other gaming phones such as the Razer Phone 2 and Black Shark 2 have high refresh rate displays, this one has 144hz and that is quite impressive.
You might argue that the 24hz additional refresh rate is negligible to the naked eye and in some cases, I agree. This is especially true if you haven’t been accustomed to high-refresh-rate gaming before.
However, as an experienced gamer myself, I can really tell the difference, albeit that I wouldn’t really cry over it if the phone comes with a 120hz display like the rest of the bunch.
The AMOLED screen provides you with amazing color accuracy and the display is punchy and vibrant. Just do not expect Samsung-level performance when it comes to it.
Its 1080p Full HD resolution might also deter you from buying this device since its pixel density is not up to par with other devices, but for most people, it will definitely suffice.
People who want to have a competitive camera setup in a phone might not like the Red Magic 5G.
Even though the phone comes with Sony’s 64-megapixel IMX686 sensor, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, the images are okay at best.
While they do produce photos that have nearly true-to-life colors, the shots that you can make in dim environments aren’t that good at all.
The camera uses AI technology to ensure that your photos will automatically focus on the subject without too much tinkering.
Despite the fact that there are a lot of options you can toggle on the camera app itself, it is not as robust compared to what Huawei phones have (and also not as simple as other competitors).
The front camera is an 8-megapixel shooter and it is definitely not something special. It is just there as it is customary for modern smartphones to have one.
You could say that despite its 3-camera setup at the back, the feature is definitely not its strongest suit.
Since this phone is intended for gaming, it should come with a hefty battery and the company delivered on that end.
The Red Magic 5G comes with a hefty 4,500mAh battery and while this is not the same as the Asus ROG phone 2 that has a bigger 5000mAh battery, Nubia did some magic to make it last longer than what the spec sheet says.
If you use the phone strictly for gaming, you should be able to get 5-6 hours of gameplay depending on how taxing the game is on the said device. You can even extend it by dialing the phone’s refresh rate to 60Hz (which is the standard option).
While the company did mention that the phone can support a 55-watt charger, it is not included in the box and you will have to spend more money if you want to get one.
What is included in the box, however, is a measly 18-watt charger that can charge the device fully at around 90 minutes or so.
It is also worth noting that the phone doesn’t support wireless charging, so people that have a wireless charging cradle will not be able to use it with this product.
The specs of this device are pretty good, especially if you want to play the most demanding games.
Even when you play graphically-intensive 3D games such as Call of Duty, PUBG, Fortnite, and Asphalt 9 and crank all of their graphical settings to 11, the Red Magic 5G still performs admirably well.
The 144hz display has a variable refresh rate which means that in some areas of the game, the refresh rate will dial back down to 90hz if they aren’t needed. Of course, you can set it to stick to 60hz, but why would you do that?
I mentioned earlier that the device comes with shoulder buttons on the right side of the phone. That is because most smartphones are usually placed on landscape orientation if people want to play.
The shoulder buttons actually do not do anything by default. They can only be configured while using the phone’s ‘Game Space’ functionality. They are quite responsive and you could say that they are positioned perfectly well for those snappy moves.
As a gaming phone, it should come with a competent cooling solution to prevent the device from heating up. That is why the Red Magic 5G is equipped with a liquid-cooling solution and some air vents on the left side of the phone to keep things cool.
The audio solution is okay. The speakers are quite loud, but I would still recommend using a gaming headset or an audiophile solution for an even better gaming experience.
This is a unique feature of the phone. The Game Space is basically just an app that you can fire up and will act as a hub for all of your games. When you launch games from there, they will automatically be boosted, meaning, all of the phone’s resources will be focused on that one game and nothing more.
The Game Space also allows you to tweak the fans so that the phone will never heat up that badly. By default, it is set at the intelligent adjustment option that will ramp the fans up depending on the temperature of the device, though you can also set it to rapid cooling which sets the fans RPM to the max when needed.
Its interface is okay but I am not a real fan. It does allow you to tweak some gamer-centric features, but other than that, it is just another app.
The phone comes with the company’s RedMagic OS 3.0 which is essentially just a vanilla version of Android 10. It is what you can call a ‘pure stock’ ROM simply because there are not a lot of pre-installed apps on the device.
While the Nubia Red Magic 5G boasts amazing gaming capabilities, it definitely lacks in the software department. Even though some options are considered a standard affair in some devices, it just saddens me that that simple detail is not included in this one.
Take for instance the battery percentage indicator. By default, you cannot see the battery percentage and you will have to dig through various settings to know how much juice your device has left.
Aside from that, the notifications panel- something that is usually populated by different notifications across various apps- does not display anything. Really, this is disappointing.
On top of that, you cannot use any other app launcher on the market. Part of what makes the Android experience so much better than the iOS is its customizability, so for the people that want to tinker with their device’s interface, this might disappoint them.
Even though the company said that they are going to release some updates that will fix these current issues in the future, they are definitely not quick to release one.
- Display- 6.65-inch AMOLED, Full HD (2340×1080), 144Hz Refresh Rate, Corning Gorilla Glass Protected
- Chipset- Snapdragon 865 Octa-core processor
- GPU- Adreno 650
- RAM- 8GB or 12GB
- Cameras- 64-megapixel main shooter, 2-megapixel macro, 8-megapixel wide-angle (120-degree); 8-megapixel front camera
- Storage- 128GB or 256GB UFS 3.0
- Battery- 4500mAh capable of 55-watt rapid charging. 18-watt charger included
- Sensors- Gyroscope, Fingerprint, Electronic Compass, G-Sensor, Ambient Light, Sensor Hub
- Connectivity- WiFi AC, GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, 5G-compatible, Dual Sim
- Software- Android 10, Redmagic OS 3.0
- Dimensions- 168.56 x 78 x 9.75mm, 218 grams
- Available Colors- Pulse, Eclipse Black
The Nubia Red Magic 5G is a gaming phone first and foremost. It has an impressive 144hz display, fully configurable shoulder buttons, an active cooling solution, and software that can boost the device’s gaming performance.
Although it comes with respectable specs, it definitely falls short on some aspects. The camera is okay, the battery is great (albeit, doesn’t come with a 55-watt charger out of the box), the software is buggy, and a lot of things can be improved.
For $659, the Red Magic 5G is a truly competitive gaming phone but if you want to use the device for purposes other than gaming, this might not be the best choice for you.
- Super-fast 144Hz AMOLED Display
- Long-lasting battery life
- Fully configurable shoulder buttons
- Active cooling prevents the phone from overheating
- Software is buggy
- Camera is mediocre compared to other phones of its class
- Lack of customization
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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