News

Xiaomi Mi 5s and 5s Plus set to challenge iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

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Another Xiaomi launch, another pair of Apple clones. This isn’t to say the Chinese brand’s newest flagships aren’t any good; in fact, the Xiaomi Mi 5s and 5s Plus are up there with the very best, and they don’t cost a fortune.

Despite having a little “s” attached to their names, the pair of smartphones are significant upgrades over the original Mi 5 launched last February. Back then, we compared Xiaomi’s flagship at that time to the Samsung Galaxy S7. Now, the similarities are closer to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Even the promotional image below screams copycat.

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Compare the Xiaomi Mi 5s promotional image above with the iPhone 7’s below

The signs are all there: a completely metal unibody construction for both the 5.15-inch Mi 5s and 5.7-inch Mi 5s Plus, the usual iPhone-like MIUI Android interface, and some features taken straight out of Apple’s playbook. Let’s look into them now.

The highest-end Mi 5s, which is the 4GB RAM with 128GB internal storage configuration, has a pressure-sensitive display, similar to what Apple applied on its last two iPhone generations. It’s definitely a bonus if you want expanded interactivity with your apps’ options, but if it goes down the same path as the iPhones, then third-party support might be limited for a while. Huawei did it first on Android with its Mate S handset last year, yet there has barely been any backing from software developers since then.

What’s unique to the Mi 5s — and this isn’t even available on the larger Mi 5s Plus — is the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner powered by Qualcomm’s Sense ID. It may sound needless with regular sensors already being blazing fast, but this type is a lot more secure thanks to its added accuracy, plus it can work through wet hands and may be placed under the handset’s glass panel. We had a chance to try it ourselves and we must say, it really is the best fingerprint-scanning technology out there, and we’re glad Xiaomi finally managed to incorporate it.

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The specs are expected of a newly launched flagship: We have Qualcomm’s best processor in the Snapdragon 821, a 12-megapixel shooter at the back with a 4-megapixel one up front, and an acceptable 3200mAh battery capacity.

The 4GB memory with 128GB storage model we mentioned earlier will retail at RMB 2299 (almost $345), and the 3GB memory with 64GB storage version will go for RMB 1999 (slightly above $299). Colors offered are silver, gray, gold, and rose gold, with availability beginning on September 29 in China.

Surprisingly, the Mi 5s Plus doesn’t just lack the high-tech fingerprint scanner of its smaller sibling (although, there’s a regular one at the back), it also doesn’t offer a pressure-sensitive display. Instead, the 5.7-inch phablet opts for a 13-megapixel dual-camera setup, very similar to Huawei’s implementation on the P9; one image sensor captures in monochrome, while the other in full color. Image detail will be a lot sharper thanks to the combined effort of two lenses, which is far better than Xiaomi’s previous attempt.

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Other advantages of the Mi 5s Plus are the larger 3800mAh battery, bigger display (it maxes out at 1920 x 1080 pixels like the more compact Mi 5s, though), and the choice of having 6GB of RAM. The processor is the same as the chip found in the Mi 5s, and both phones have Quick Charge 3.0-enabled USB Type-C ports. As you can tell, the Plus variant may not be as innovative as the Mi 5s, but it definitely has more multimedia muscle in its circuits.

Its cheapest configuration, which has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, costs as much as the top-end Mi 5s at RMB 2299 ($345). The model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage isn’t much of a jump in price, and seems like a more worthwhile purchase; you can buy one for only RMB 2599 ($390). Colors options and availability are the same as that of the Mi 5s.

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[irp posts=”12207″ name=”One month with Xiaomi’s Yuemi mechanical keyboard”]

Source: Xiaomi

India

Netflix announces nine new originals from India

2019 is going to be even more entertaining!

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India is among the most content-hungry markets in the world right now. Thanks to an extensive network of 4G connections and cheap data tariffs, a massive boom is underway and every Internet-centric company wants to be a part of this revolution. While telcos are busy luring more subscribers, content-focused companies have massively increased their investment in this region.

One of these is Netflix, one of the top streaming services in the world. It is expanding its India slate of original content by announcing eight new original films and a new original series. These will include many A-list Bollywood and Hollywood talent on camera as well as off-camera. After the success of Sacred Games this year, the service is even more confident about its investment.

The eight films include Chopsticks, Bulbul (produced by Anushka Sharma’s production house Clean Slate Films), Upstarts, Cobalt Blue (based on a popular Marathi novel), 15th August (a Marathi film produced by Madhuri Dixit), Music Teacher, Hotel Mumbai (starring BAFTA-winning actor Dev Patel), and Firebrand (another Marathi film produced by Priyanka Chopra).

The original series is called Typewriter and it’s about a haunted house and a haunted book that attract a young group of ghost hunters. Netflix has already released four original movies and two original series this year from India while one series is scheduled to release in December.

While Netflix is ramping up its presence in the country, local studios and production networks have been trying to evolve as well. Voot (Viacom18), SonyLiv (Sony Pictures), and Hotstar (Star India and 21st Century Fox) are just a few of these services that already enjoy good public recognition.

Even Amazon is trying to make it big here and has been aggressively pushing its Prime service that has Prime Video and Prime Music bundled along.

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Sony Xperia XZ1, XZ1 Compact, and XZ Premium now have Android Pie

Hoping this will put Pie on the charts

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Sony Xperia XZ Premium | GadgetMatch

Sony might not be doing well in phone sales, but they keep loyal customers happy by giving the latest software update possible. True to their promise, Android 9 Pie is now available to more Xperia phones.

After the Xperia XZ2 lineup, Sony is now updating the older Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact phones. Also, the Xperia XZ Premium joins the group. The rollout is quite later than expected, but Sony still managed to push Android Pie earlier than other major phone manufacturers.

The over-the-air update brings all the goodness Android Pie has to offer (except for new navigation gestures), plus a few touches from Sony including cool features such as 960fps super slow-mo recording in Full HD and HDR video modes. Not only that, the update also bumps the security patch to October 2018.

As with any other rollout, it’s done by batches. Some users already confirmed the update on their phones, while others will have to wait a few days or weeks.

SEE ALSO: Sony announces which Xperia phones are getting Android 9 Pie

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Xiaomi has officially hiked prices for some of its products

A very non-Xiaomi thing to do

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Xiaomi has been immensely successful in establishing a market of its own. The brand is known for selling quality products at affordable prices. This year, it has launched a plethora of Redmi-branded phones along with the expansion of its Mi Home offerings. In fact, competing brands often launch new products to specifically take on Xiaomi’s devices.

But Xiaomi has announced price hike for five of its products: Redmi 6A, Redmi 6, Mi LED TV 4C Pro, Mi LED TV 4A Pro, and the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i. When these products were launched, the company had said the prices were “introductory” and could change in the future depending on market fluctuations.

Since the last few months, the Indian Rupee has consistently weakened against the American Dollar which has in turn significantly increased operating costs for the company. The company says the local currency has depreciated nearly 15 percent since the beginning of the year and hence price adjustments are a need of the hour.

Even though the transactions are between India and China, the equipment and parts are globally offset in American Dollar. Xiaomi isn’t the only one affected, though; OPPO’s sub-brand Realme has also announced similar price hikes on its products.

The Redmi 6A has received an INR 600 price hike, so the 16GB option will now be available for INR 6,599 (US$ 91) while the 32GB option will retail for INR 7,499 (US$ 103). The Redmi 6 32GB variant will now cost INR 8,499 (US$ 117).

The Mi LED TV 4C Pro 32-inch will now cost INR 15,999 (US$ 220), up from its initial price of INR 14,999. The Mi LED TV 4A Pro 49-inch has received an INR 2,000 hike, making the new selling price INR 31,999 (US$ 441).

Lastly, the 10,000mAh Mi Power Bank 2i Black is now available for INR 899 (US$ 12.5), up from INR 799. The new prices are already applicable and official rates have been communicated to offline sellers, as well.

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