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Bring the Party with You with the 10 Best Bluetooth Speakers in 2020

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Best Bluetooth Speakers 2020

All smartphones out there have speakers with some respectable audio quality, but even with their built-in sound, it would still be best if you rely on an external audio solution.

That being said, while earphones and headphones are great from a portability standpoint, nothing beats the quality of sound that Bluetooth speakers produce.

If you are looking for one, read further to find out the best Bluetooth speakers in 2020.

Best Bluetooth Speakers

1.Sonos Move

Sonos Move

Price: $399

This is what I would consider the best Bluetooth speaker for your home. The Sonos Move is a pretty hefty speaker at 3 kilos and while it is not the best when it comes to portability, it pretty much makes up for it with its sound output.

The quality is just superb- the bass is boomy, the highs are pronounced, and the mids are not drowned out at all.

It integrates well with other Sonos products so if you want to link them together to make a great home audio network, you can do that as well.

People who are looking for a smart speaker would also be glad to know that the Sonos Move can also be used for such a purpose as well. It should integrate with both Alexa and Google Assistant without a hitch.

If you just want a Bluetooth speaker solution without the use of WiFi, the Sonos Move is also perfect for such and will provide you with a sound unlike any other.

2.UE Boom 3

UE Boom 3

Price: $140

This ‘United Ears’ product is the best when it comes to overall usability. Its small form factor allows you to easily bring the speaker with you no matter where you go.

You can choose a color that suits your personality as there are plenty of options to choose from.

Although not as boomier than other speakers out there, what I love about the UE Boom 3 is its more balanced sound. That is pretty hard to do considering that this is a small form factor audio solution, but I am surprised by the audio quality overall.

Its Bluetooth range can reach up to 100 meters which is great and the unit can also last up to 15 hours if you have fully charged it.

This is the perfect solution for people that are on the go that want a really good sounding speaker.

3.Marshall Stanmore

Marshall Stanmore

Price: $199

If you’ve played an electric guitar before, you are probably aware of the brand. Marshall has been at the forefront of quality amplifiers back then (and even to this day) and its impeccable craftsmanship is again showcased in the Stanmore.

The Marshall Stanmore dons that familiar design that a lot of people love. Its classic look makes people think instantly that this is a quality product and true enough, it delivers on that promise.

While these speakers are amazing, there is a bit of an emphasis on the mids. For the uninitiated, that just means that vocal clarity is more pronounced than other speakers of this class.

Even though it is not as portable as others, this model pretty much makes up for it in terms of overall sound quality.

You may want to tweak the sound to your liking but I am happy with how everything is set up right off the bat.

4.JBL Flip 5

JBL Flip 5

Price: $150

JBL is another great company when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. The JBL Flip 5 is perfect for people that want an external sound solution that they can bring with them on the pool. And when I say ‘on the pool’, I mean you can safely swim with the unit.

Although this model is devoid of any smart features, the Flip 5 is one of the best Bluetooth audio solutions out there. Its small form factor might make you think that it doesn’t produce a boomy sound, but you are mistaken. It actually delivers on that front.

Even if you crank the volume up to 11, the speakers won’t produce any distorted sound at all.

Thanks to its IP67 rating, you can easily bring your Flip 5 speaker to the pool without worrying too much about it.

Its price might also entice you to buy as well. While it’s originally sold for $150, you can snag one up at a much-discounted price.

5.Sony XB41

Sony XB41

Price: $195

Another great Bluetooth speaker that you can bring to the pool, the Sony XB41 is still a portable audio solution, although it is a bit heavier than others.

The XB41 produces amazing sound quality, though its mids are not as pronounced as the others that you can find on the market.

One interesting feature of the XB41 is that it actually has a lighting system that you can toggle by using its companion app.

You can also tinker with the audio settings or you can choose any of the EQ presets from within the application itself as well.

The entire speaker is protected by a mesh fabric material and that is why it got its IP67 rating. Even though you can dip it in the pool, I still wouldn’t recommend that you submerge it for a pretty long time.

Its battery life is superb and this model can get really loud- perfect for people that want a booming party solution.

6.JBL Link 20

JBL Link 20

Price: $150

As we transition to the new age of smart homes, getting a smart speaker has become more viable than ever before.

A smart speaker, for those of you who do not know, is basically an audio solution that can integrate with existing smart technologies such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The beauty of such audio solutions is that you can ask it to play a certain song and it will immediately find that song on the internet and play it for you. Of course, to have such  functionality, the speaker itself must be connected to the internet via your home WiFi.

The JBL Link 20 is one of the best portable smart speakers on the market. It has a sensitive microphone that is able to pick up your voice commands without a hitch.

For instance, if you want to use Google Assistant, all you have to do is say, ‘Hey Google’, and it would instantly allow you to speak whatever is on your mind.

This particular product is able to last up to 10 hours on a full charge and it is also dust and waterproof as well.

7.Bose Home Portable Speaker

Bose Home Portable Speaker

Price: $350

The Bose Home Portable Speaker is a great alternative to the Sonos Move speaker mentioned above.

It still has that large form factor but I am surprised by how lightweight it was in comparison with other similar models. In fact, it only weighs 2.4 kilograms which makes it more portable than others.

The design of this particular model has that signature Bose flair so everywhere you bring this speaker with you, you can flaunt it with pride.

It has a more balanced sound stage than the Sonos Move and while its bass is not as pronounced, it is still respectable nonetheless.

I would recommend this speaker for people that want a more balanced sound than a boomier setup.

8.Anker Soundcore Flare

Anker Soundcore Flare

Price: $70

There are some people that might not have the money to buy an external portable audio solution and if you are part of that group, then the Anker Soundcore Flare might appeal to you.

It is one of the best Bluetooth speakers that have a sub-$100 price tag and it truly delivers on that promise.

While its bass is not boomy than others, it pretty much makes up for it with its overall balanced sound quality. It is powered by two full-range drivers and a passive radiator to produce audio.

The Anker Soundcore Flare is also IP67 rated which means that it is dustproof and waterproof to a considerable degree.

Its companion app allows you to tweak its EQ and its presets are actually pretty good so novices can easily switch between profiles to find what they love.

I do want to point out that you do not want to put it at max volume because the sound that it outputs is a bit distorted. But, other than that, this product is a solid choice.

9.UE Wonderboom 2

UE Wonderboom 2

Price: $70

If you want waterproof/dustproof Bluetooth speakers that have a small form factor but still produces amazing sound, the UE Wonderboom 2 is an amazing option.

This speaker has been lauded for its amazing waterproof and dustproof rating and its 0.93lb weight makes it ideal as a travel companion.

There is so much to love about this product. First is its amazing battery life. Playing some sounds on it at 70% volume would give you a bit more than 13 hours of audio playback which is insane.

The Bluetooth range is also great. In fact, you can be 100 meters away from it and it would still produce sound from your phone.

While its bass response leaves much to be desired, I can still wholeheartedly recommend the UE Wonderboom 2 because it is simply amazing value for money.

10.LG Xboom Go PK5

LG Xboom Go PK5

Price: $100

The LG Xboom Go PK5 is the ideal audio solution for parties and outdoor events. Its large form factor will immediately tell you that this speaker packs a punch.

Its gargantuan form factor also tells you that this particular model can last up to 18 hours of audio playback which is definitely on top when it comes to battery life.

It is waterproof and dustproof thanks to its IP67 rating so you shouldn’t worry about the occasional splashes if you are to have a pool party, for example.

Despite its capabilities, the PK5 actually delivers a more balanced sound stage. Of course, if you want more bass, you can download its companion app and tweak its EQ settings from there.

If there is one thing that this product lacks, it would be its lack of smart functionality. Still, the LG Xboom Go PK5 is an amazing Bluetooth speaker, especially for party addicts.

What to Look for in a Bluetooth Speaker

When you are searching for an external audio solution, it is important that you know what you should look for. Below are just some important considerations before you make a purchase:

1.Sound Quality

Considered as the most important thing when looking for an audio device, the speaker’s sound quality should definitely be on the top of your list.

While your preference for sound is subjective, this can help you decide if you want a speaker that outputs a more balanced sound or one that has a punchier bass.

2.Bluetooth Codecs

While most (if not all) smartphones can connect to an external speaker via Bluetooth, it is important to know what codecs it has.

For instance, if you want amazing sound quality, you should be looking for one that has aptX or newer technologies.

3.Portability

Do you want a Bluetooth speaker that you can bring with you anywhere or do you want one that you can just use at home?

Form factor and portability are two important things because the sound that a speaker outputs will also be affected (so is the price).

4.Battery Life

One of the things that people like about Bluetooth speakers is the ability to have a portable audio solution that is better than Bluetooth headphones, for example.

Ideally, you want to go with an external audio device that can last at least 10 hours or so, though that will entirely depend on convenience and preference.

5.IP Rating

Do you want a portable sound solution that you can bring with you when you want to have a pool party? The IP rating is not as important as the above-mentioned considerations, but having one is definitely welcome nonetheless.

6.Smart Features

There are new Bluetooth speakers out there that also act as smart speakers. If you want a smart home audio solution, getting one would make sense, though keep in mind that smart speakers are more expensive than a traditional Bluetooth speaker.

7.Multi-Pair

There are some Bluetooth speakers that allow you to pair up with external audio solutions made by the same company.

If you happen to have two JBL speakers, for example, you can link them up to produce better sound. However, if you want to buy a newer speaker, it is important to read on the product’s FAQs to find if it is compatible with the one that you have first before buying.

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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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Bring the Party with You with the 10 Best Bluetooth Speakers in 2020

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Best Bluetooth Speakers 2020

All smartphones out there have speakers with some respectable audio quality, but even with their built-in sound, it would still be best if you rely on an external audio solution.

That being said, while earphones and headphones are great from a portability standpoint, nothing beats the quality of sound that Bluetooth speakers produce.

If you are looking for one, read further to find out the best Bluetooth speakers in 2020.

Best Bluetooth Speakers

1.Sonos Move

Sonos Move

Price: $399

This is what I would consider the best Bluetooth speaker for your home. The Sonos Move is a pretty hefty speaker at 3 kilos and while it is not the best when it comes to portability, it pretty much makes up for it with its sound output.

The quality is just superb- the bass is boomy, the highs are pronounced, and the mids are not drowned out at all.

It integrates well with other Sonos products so if you want to link them together to make a great home audio network, you can do that as well.

People who are looking for a smart speaker would also be glad to know that the Sonos Move can also be used for such a purpose as well. It should integrate with both Alexa and Google Assistant without a hitch.

If you just want a Bluetooth speaker solution without the use of WiFi, the Sonos Move is also perfect for such and will provide you with a sound unlike any other.

2.UE Boom 3

UE Boom 3

Price: $140

This ‘United Ears’ product is the best when it comes to overall usability. Its small form factor allows you to easily bring the speaker with you no matter where you go.

You can choose a color that suits your personality as there are plenty of options to choose from.

Although not as boomier than other speakers out there, what I love about the UE Boom 3 is its more balanced sound. That is pretty hard to do considering that this is a small form factor audio solution, but I am surprised by the audio quality overall.

Its Bluetooth range can reach up to 100 meters which is great and the unit can also last up to 15 hours if you have fully charged it.

This is the perfect solution for people that are on the go that want a really good sounding speaker.

3.Marshall Stanmore

Marshall Stanmore

Price: $199

If you’ve played an electric guitar before, you are probably aware of the brand. Marshall has been at the forefront of quality amplifiers back then (and even to this day) and its impeccable craftsmanship is again showcased in the Stanmore.

The Marshall Stanmore dons that familiar design that a lot of people love. Its classic look makes people think instantly that this is a quality product and true enough, it delivers on that promise.

While these speakers are amazing, there is a bit of an emphasis on the mids. For the uninitiated, that just means that vocal clarity is more pronounced than other speakers of this class.

Even though it is not as portable as others, this model pretty much makes up for it in terms of overall sound quality.

You may want to tweak the sound to your liking but I am happy with how everything is set up right off the bat.

4.JBL Flip 5

JBL Flip 5

Price: $150

JBL is another great company when it comes to Bluetooth speakers. The JBL Flip 5 is perfect for people that want an external sound solution that they can bring with them on the pool. And when I say ‘on the pool’, I mean you can safely swim with the unit.

Although this model is devoid of any smart features, the Flip 5 is one of the best Bluetooth audio solutions out there. Its small form factor might make you think that it doesn’t produce a boomy sound, but you are mistaken. It actually delivers on that front.

Even if you crank the volume up to 11, the speakers won’t produce any distorted sound at all.

Thanks to its IP67 rating, you can easily bring your Flip 5 speaker to the pool without worrying too much about it.

Its price might also entice you to buy as well. While it’s originally sold for $150, you can snag one up at a much-discounted price.

5.Sony XB41

Sony XB41

Price: $195

Another great Bluetooth speaker that you can bring to the pool, the Sony XB41 is still a portable audio solution, although it is a bit heavier than others.

The XB41 produces amazing sound quality, though its mids are not as pronounced as the others that you can find on the market.

One interesting feature of the XB41 is that it actually has a lighting system that you can toggle by using its companion app.

You can also tinker with the audio settings or you can choose any of the EQ presets from within the application itself as well.

The entire speaker is protected by a mesh fabric material and that is why it got its IP67 rating. Even though you can dip it in the pool, I still wouldn’t recommend that you submerge it for a pretty long time.

Its battery life is superb and this model can get really loud- perfect for people that want a booming party solution.

6.JBL Link 20

JBL Link 20

Price: $150

As we transition to the new age of smart homes, getting a smart speaker has become more viable than ever before.

A smart speaker, for those of you who do not know, is basically an audio solution that can integrate with existing smart technologies such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

The beauty of such audio solutions is that you can ask it to play a certain song and it will immediately find that song on the internet and play it for you. Of course, to have such  functionality, the speaker itself must be connected to the internet via your home WiFi.

The JBL Link 20 is one of the best portable smart speakers on the market. It has a sensitive microphone that is able to pick up your voice commands without a hitch.

For instance, if you want to use Google Assistant, all you have to do is say, ‘Hey Google’, and it would instantly allow you to speak whatever is on your mind.

This particular product is able to last up to 10 hours on a full charge and it is also dust and waterproof as well.

7.Bose Home Portable Speaker

Bose Home Portable Speaker

Price: $350

The Bose Home Portable Speaker is a great alternative to the Sonos Move speaker mentioned above.

It still has that large form factor but I am surprised by how lightweight it was in comparison with other similar models. In fact, it only weighs 2.4 kilograms which makes it more portable than others.

The design of this particular model has that signature Bose flair so everywhere you bring this speaker with you, you can flaunt it with pride.

It has a more balanced sound stage than the Sonos Move and while its bass is not as pronounced, it is still respectable nonetheless.

I would recommend this speaker for people that want a more balanced sound than a boomier setup.

8.Anker Soundcore Flare

Anker Soundcore Flare

Price: $70

There are some people that might not have the money to buy an external portable audio solution and if you are part of that group, then the Anker Soundcore Flare might appeal to you.

It is one of the best Bluetooth speakers that have a sub-$100 price tag and it truly delivers on that promise.

While its bass is not boomy than others, it pretty much makes up for it with its overall balanced sound quality. It is powered by two full-range drivers and a passive radiator to produce audio.

The Anker Soundcore Flare is also IP67 rated which means that it is dustproof and waterproof to a considerable degree.

Its companion app allows you to tweak its EQ and its presets are actually pretty good so novices can easily switch between profiles to find what they love.

I do want to point out that you do not want to put it at max volume because the sound that it outputs is a bit distorted. But, other than that, this product is a solid choice.

9.UE Wonderboom 2

UE Wonderboom 2

Price: $70

If you want waterproof/dustproof Bluetooth speakers that have a small form factor but still produces amazing sound, the UE Wonderboom 2 is an amazing option.

This speaker has been lauded for its amazing waterproof and dustproof rating and its 0.93lb weight makes it ideal as a travel companion.

There is so much to love about this product. First is its amazing battery life. Playing some sounds on it at 70% volume would give you a bit more than 13 hours of audio playback which is insane.

The Bluetooth range is also great. In fact, you can be 100 meters away from it and it would still produce sound from your phone.

While its bass response leaves much to be desired, I can still wholeheartedly recommend the UE Wonderboom 2 because it is simply amazing value for money.

10.LG Xboom Go PK5

LG Xboom Go PK5

Price: $100

The LG Xboom Go PK5 is the ideal audio solution for parties and outdoor events. Its large form factor will immediately tell you that this speaker packs a punch.

Its gargantuan form factor also tells you that this particular model can last up to 18 hours of audio playback which is definitely on top when it comes to battery life.

It is waterproof and dustproof thanks to its IP67 rating so you shouldn’t worry about the occasional splashes if you are to have a pool party, for example.

Despite its capabilities, the PK5 actually delivers a more balanced sound stage. Of course, if you want more bass, you can download its companion app and tweak its EQ settings from there.

If there is one thing that this product lacks, it would be its lack of smart functionality. Still, the LG Xboom Go PK5 is an amazing Bluetooth speaker, especially for party addicts.

What to Look for in a Bluetooth Speaker

When you are searching for an external audio solution, it is important that you know what you should look for. Below are just some important considerations before you make a purchase:

1.Sound Quality

Considered as the most important thing when looking for an audio device, the speaker’s sound quality should definitely be on the top of your list.

While your preference for sound is subjective, this can help you decide if you want a speaker that outputs a more balanced sound or one that has a punchier bass.

2.Bluetooth Codecs

While most (if not all) smartphones can connect to an external speaker via Bluetooth, it is important to know what codecs it has.

For instance, if you want amazing sound quality, you should be looking for one that has aptX or newer technologies.

3.Portability

Do you want a Bluetooth speaker that you can bring with you anywhere or do you want one that you can just use at home?

Form factor and portability are two important things because the sound that a speaker outputs will also be affected (so is the price).

4.Battery Life

One of the things that people like about Bluetooth speakers is the ability to have a portable audio solution that is better than Bluetooth headphones, for example.

Ideally, you want to go with an external audio device that can last at least 10 hours or so, though that will entirely depend on convenience and preference.

5.IP Rating

Do you want a portable sound solution that you can bring with you when you want to have a pool party? The IP rating is not as important as the above-mentioned considerations, but having one is definitely welcome nonetheless.

6.Smart Features

There are new Bluetooth speakers out there that also act as smart speakers. If you want a smart home audio solution, getting one would make sense, though keep in mind that smart speakers are more expensive than a traditional Bluetooth speaker.

7.Multi-Pair

There are some Bluetooth speakers that allow you to pair up with external audio solutions made by the same company.

If you happen to have two JBL speakers, for example, you can link them up to produce better sound. However, if you want to buy a newer speaker, it is important to read on the product’s FAQs to find if it is compatible with the one that you have first before buying.

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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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