Lifestyle

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 Review: More than just a fidget spinner phone?

Yes and no

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Let’s get right into it and say good bye to awkward selfies! The biggest and most welcomed change that the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has over its predecessors is the magnetic slider that reveals the now properly positioned selfie camera at the top of the phone. Hallelujah!

Having used the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 in the past, I can attest to how much of a hassle it was trying to shoot an IG story from the horrible upward-facing angle.


No notch and all screen!

Xiaomi’s new approach to maintaining the near-borderless look and eradicating the poor selfie camera placement is the magnetic slider that some might call a gimmick, but it’s so much fun to play with! I will admit that the novelty does go away, but it is by far my favorite execution of a near-borderless display. All that screen is awesome!

At the end of last year, I picked the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 as “the phone I’d rather be using” because I thought that the fidget spinner-like qualities of the phone would be such a blast. And it was in the beginning. I don’t even know how many times I would play with the slider just because it was fun. I realize now that I used the slider more as a fidget spinner than a way to reveal the cameras to take a selfie.

It did become a neat party favor asking friends to guess how to take selfies with the phone. Out of five friends, only one was able to correctly guess how to operate the magnetic slider without me teaching them how to do it. But once the novelty wore off, I found myself going days without ever sliding out the camera.

Our review unit is the 6GB RAM model powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset, and personally when it comes to performance, no news is good news. Nothing to report on lag or stutters from the roughly three weeks I spent with the phone. So speed was not an issue.

One little software hiccup

When you buy a phone, especially a flagship phone, you expect everything to just work. Unfortunately, that was not the case in my experience, as my messaging app of choice, Telegram, was not notifying me when messages would come in. Even after double-checking that all the right notification settings were turned on, I wasn’t receiving any notifications from the app.

After a quick Google search, I found that I wasn’t the only one experiencing this error. Needless to say this was annoying, but it simply meant having to use another messaging app. Hopefully this can be fixed with a software update.

Hello, Netflix!

It is worth noting that in the past, Netflix wasn’t available on the Play Store when I used the Mi Mix 2. I’m happy to report that it’s there now, so no worries if you’re looking to take advantage of the near-borderless display with some binge watching. And if there’s anything this phone is good for, it’s watching videos. This was by far my favorite thing about the phone. It really felt like I was holding all screen and it was awesome!

Battery life was a bit of a disappointment having come from the Huawei Mate 20 and its massive 4000mAh and two-day battery life. With the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3’s 3200mAh battery, I’d start my day at roughly 9am and find myself reaching for a charger by around 8pm. Mind you, that ain’t too shabby if you think about it, but for comparison, I was spoiled by my experience with the Mate 20.

Let’s take these cameras for a spin!

When it comes to taking photos, it’s easy to focus on the selfie cameras, but the dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear do a good job, too. Here are some samples:

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But of course, we can’t leave out samples of the selfie cameras, and while I may not take a lot of selfies, I can not stress how happy I was to have the cameras in the proper position. No more having to flip the phone upside down to take a photo and IG Stories work the way they should:

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Is this your GadgetMatch?

While I love the implementation of the magnetic slider, this phone is so much more than just a fidget spinner. This phone is great for media consumption above anything else in my book. But everything else that comes with all that screen is nothing to complain about. The flagship specs in this relatively affordable price tag is nice to see in a day wherein phones are priced by as much as US$ 1,000.

Automotive

Ford Ranger Raptor: A gentle beast

Power that comes with comfort

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When I began learning how to drive, I practiced with a bulky, under-powered pickup truck. Needless to say, it wasn’t a joyride. However, the added difficulty made driving smaller and simpler cars a breeze down the road, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

If I were to replicate that experience today, it would be near impossible. Not only are pickup trucks more advanced and comfortable than ever, they are also comparable to premium sedans and SUVs. Case in point: Ford’s newest Ranger Raptor is a gentle beast.


My unit came in Arctic White; other options are red, black, gray, and blue

There’s nothing subtle about the Raptor. Its towering build and robust front have an imposing presence no matter where it’s taken. Ford claims it’s the first factory-ready, high-speed off-road performance truck. In other words, you can go straight from the dealership to the mountains if you’re itching for action.

For comparison, the Raptor is 150mm wider and 50mm taller than the regular Ranger. This leads to a ground clearance of 283mm and a water wading capacity of 850mm. Combined with the 33-inch all-terrain tires and 2.5-inch Fox racing shocks, you don’t have to do much customization to make this machine battle-ready.

The massive FORD logo is part of the Raptor’s DNA

While all these make for a powerful ride, what’s even more impressive is how the Raptor babies its driver and passengers. Never have I felt this comfy in a truck before. Prior to this, I drove an Everest which I’d confidently consider on par with the Raptor’s ease of use — that says a lot.

In addition, Ford’s SYNC system is in place for music playback from any phone, navigation, and simple voice commands. If you need more functionality, you may connect your smartphone through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Every other feature is reachable through the vast number of buttons on the steering wheel.

The 8-inch touchscreen is at the center of all your controls

The red mark at the top of the steering wheels acts as a guide when you’re busy driving

With 213PS from the 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine, accompanied by 500Nm of torque and a 10-speed automatic transmission, Ford isn’t kidding when they call this a “super truck.”

I had several days to put this machine to the test, and keeping it on safe asphalt wouldn’t do it justice, so my team took it to off-road trails fit for, well, a Raptor.

BFGoodrich’s all-terrain tires are equipped on every unit

We crossed rivers, handled 35-degree inclines and declines, and sped up whenever we could. Unsurprisingly, nothing fazed the Raptor. It always felt like it had more power to deliver, asking me to challenge it even more. It was certainly tempting, especially since the truck made me feel so safe throughout the drive.

On top of the standard 2WD and 4WD modes, the Raptor offers six presets that can be activated depending on your needs. There’s normal mode, sport mode for improved steering response and acceleration, Baja mode for high-speed off-road driving, grass/gravel/snow mode for slippery terrains, mud/sand mode for better handling, and rock mode for increased control over unpredictable rocks.

Engaging any of the performance modes takes only a few button presses

At the same time, the Raptor is such a smooth ride on city streets. I logged in hundreds of kilometers on it, and there wasn’t a single stretch that I wished I was inside another car. Sure, parking wasn’t a breeze in this thing — although it does come with a handy rear camera assist — but its imposing height and bright LED headlamps kept the Raptor visible from any distance.

If I were to nitpick, my only gripes would be the finicky Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones and lack of compartments around the cockpit. These, however, are common issues with most vehicles I’ve had the pleasure of driving.

More than anything, the Raptor is simply a stunner. I had never felt this confident going from point A to point B, and looking good while doing so. Every stop along the way deserved its own photo shoot.

My team can definitely attest to that.

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Lifestyle

Lify is the smart tea brewer you need in your life

Road to wellness starts here

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While at first glance, Lify looks like a Nespresso machine for tea, it’s so much more than that. This Hong Kong-based startup hopes to make a dent in the wellness space, offering products that leverage generations of Chinese know-how on the health effects of herbal tea.

From an app that recommends blends based on your current state of mind and body, to a curated selection of quality teas, to sustainable well-designed products — Lify might be the next big thing in wellness.



Global Sources Consumer Electronics is the world’s largest electronics sourcing show bridging suppliers and resellers. For more information visit GlobalSources.com.

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Hands-On

Huawei P30 hands-on: All the cool features applied in real life

How zoomed in is zoomed in?

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After all the “oohs” and “ahhs,” and as the dust settles from Huawei’s flagship launch, the question is: What’s so great about the Huawei P30? And no, I don’t want to hear any specs.

To answer this question, I road tested the Huawei P30 to see just what it can do and how I can use those features in real life.


In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

SEE ALSO: Selfie and posing tips from Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

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