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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:

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:

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.

Accessories

Sony’s WF-H800 h.ear in TWS headphones offer rich sound

Available in five colors

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Already a leader in noise-cancelling headphones, Sony is offering something a little different in the true wireless headpones department — the Sony WF-H800 h.ear in headphones.

One of the first easily noticeable things is how the WF-H800 is available in five colors: red, orange, green, blue, and black.

Noticeably missing is the active noise-cancellation feature. However, it makes up for it with other Sony staple-features, primarily the 360 reality audio. The effect of which can only be truly felt once you experience it for yourself.

It also has a 6mm dynamic driver to deliver a wide range of audio frequencies as well as a feature Sony calls DSEE HX or Digital Sound Enhancement Engine. This tech restores the high-range sound that’s lost in compression. It reproduces digital music files with rich, natural sound.

It’s also lightweight and designed to fit your ears perfectly. The WF-H800 promises up to eight hours of music playback plus another eight hours with the carrying case giving you a total of 16 hours. Additionally, 10 minutes of charge time will give you up to 70 minutes of listening time.

Just like other Sony headphones, these are compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

Price and availability

The Sony WF-H800 will be available at selected Sony Stores, Sony Centers, Sony authorized dealers and the official Sony store on Lazada from March 202. It will retail for SG$ 299.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM3 review: Masterclass in noise cancellation

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Samsung Galaxy Buds+ levels up battery, sound quality

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With the the headphone port nowhere to be found on the Galaxy S20 series comes a pair of improved true wireless earbuds — the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.

It’s a step up from last year’s Galaxy Buds. While last year’s version promised 6 hours of listening time, the Galaxy Buds+ takes it up to 11 hours on a single charge. You also get another 11 hours with the charging case.

In terms of sound quality, these are still tuned by AKG. It employs 2-way dynamic speakers and 3 mics to deliver better sound and voice quality

Inside the box you’ll also find a variety of wing and ear tips so you get the fit and comfort that’s made just for you.

It doesn’t have the noise-cancelling chip that you’ll find on the true wireless earbuds offered by Sony, Apple, and Huawei. Its approach to noise-cancelling has to do more with its physical design and rather than a tiny chip.

Speaking of its design, it retains the form factor of the original Galaxy Buds — which is great since it doesn’t look anything like the AirPods which many other manufacturers have taken a cue from. Speaking of Apple, if you’re not a fan of the AirPods’ design, you’ll be happy to know that the Galaxy Buds+, along with its companion app, will be compatible with iOS devices.

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ will be available in Cosmic Black, White, Red, and Cloud Blue, starting February 14, 2020 on Samsung.com, followed by major mobile carriers and retailers on March 6, 2020 and will retail for US$ 149.

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Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ price and availability in the Philippines

A minor improvement

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True wireless (TWS) earbuds are popping up one after the other. Samsung’s latest — the Galaxy Buds+ — is also making its way to the Philippines.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ improves upon the battery life of its predecessor promising up to 11 hours of listening time in a single charge. You also get another 11 hours thanks  to the charging case.

Its approach to noise cancellation has to do more with its 2-dynamic speaker and physical design which means this may not be in direct competition with the likes of the AirPods Pro, Huawei Freebuds 3, and Sony WF-1000XM3.

It maintains the same design as its predecessor — a welcome look in the sea of TWS earbuds that all look like AirPods. If you use an iPhone but are not fans of the AirPods’ design, you’ll be happy to know that the Galaxy Buds+ will also be compatible with iOS devices.

Price and availabilty

The Galaxy Buds+ will be available starting March 6, 2020. It will retail for PhP 6,990.

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