The Xiaomi Mi A-series phones have been pretty successful in the Indian market particularly for the fact that it offers a stock Android experience thanks to its Android One certification. The Mi branding further fueled its sales along with the promise of regular updates and an attractive price. It’s no surprise then that Xiaomi is planning on a successor to the Mi A2 and the Mi A2 Lite (which launched in India in another name) that could be called the Mi A3 and the Mi A3 Lite. It’s expected to launch sometime in the second half of 2019 and some new rumours state that the phones could be powered by the Snapdragon 700 series.
The Mi A2 last year was the first phone under Rs 20,000 to come with the Snapdragon 660 and it won’t be surprising if the Mi A3 is powered by a 7-series chipset. The information comes courtesy XDA Developers’ chief editor Mishaal Rahman’s tweet where he suggested that the phones could be powered by Snapdragon 7-series SoC. In the tweet, he mentions source code available to him revealed Xiaomi is presently developing three smartphones with codenames — “Bamboo_sprout”, “Cosmos_sprout” and “Pyxis”, all three of which will be powered by Snapdragon 700-series chipsets.
The information seems credible considering the earlier Mi A-series devices also carried “sprout” in their codenames. It still leaves the “Pyxis” device unexplained though. Earlier information from XDA claimed that “Pyxis” could very well be the Mi A3 for the Chinese market where it could be launched as the Mi 7X.
Having said that, not much else is known about the Mi A3 series as of now and the fact that the upcoming Android One devices are powered by Snapdragon 700-series SoCs is the only thing known so far.
It looks like most of the information leaked about the Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphone were true. But in case you were hiding beneath a rock up till now, here is a quick recap. Google has announced (more like confirmed), two new smartphones – the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL. The Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch FHD+ gOLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Pixel 3a XL, on the other hand, has a 6-inch gOLED display with an FHD+ resolution. Both displays are protected by DragonTrail glass. What is “gOLED” and why didn’t the smartphone maker go with Gorilla Glass is something we have asked the company and will update this story as soon as we have the answers. The Pixel 3a has a 3000mAh battery whereas the Pixel 3a XL has a 3700mAh battery. The rest of the specs of both smartphones are the same. They both sport a Polycarbonate unibody design, 4GB RAM, Snapdragon 670 SoC, 12.2MP Dual-Pixel rear camera with a Sony IMX363 sensor, the same found on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, 8MP front camera and stereo speakers. The smartphones will be available in Just Black and Clearly White.
Based on the specs alone, the two ‘budget’ Pixel phones should ideally have been priced similar to a mid-range phone. However, the Pixel 3a is priced at Rs 39,999 whereas the Pixel 3a XL is priced at Rs 44,999. This pits it against high-end devices like the OnePlus 6T, Honor View 20, Samsung Galaxy S10e and others. Evidently, most of the smartphones in this price range are rocking a flagship processor. As a result, there should be a marked difference in performance between the Snapdragon 670-powered Pixel 3a devices and the other high-end rivals it aims to topple. Quite expectedly, the Snapdragon 670 cannot beat the flagship processors most phones in that price-range are rocking. But just how much of a difference does it make? We pit the Pixel 3a XL against some of the popular phones in this price range and see how well it performs. We compared the smartphones in synthetic benchmarks to give you a look at the pure numbers game along with some scientific gaming performance (we wear lab coats and gaming gear when gaming because we take our jobs seriously) and lastly, comment on some real-world performance.
For this performance comparison, we compared the Pixel 3a XL against —
Samsung Galaxy S10e with Exynos 9820 (8nm) coupled with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
OnePlus 6T McLaren powered by Snapdragon 845 paired with 10GB RAM and 256GB storage.
Honor View 20 powered by Kirin 980 (7nm) paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
This will give us an idea of how the Snapdragon 670 with its multicore AI engine, Kryo 360 CPU and enhanced gaming performs when compared to the Snapdragon 845, the Exynos 9820 and the HiSilicon Kirin 980.
So, let’s begin by giving you the bad news. The AnTuTu benchmark didn’t run on the Pixel 3a XL unit we received and even though we tried to sideload the app, pray to the tech gods and even use the Force, we couldn’t make the benchmark run. We’ll update this story once AnTuTu runs on the device. Let’s kick things off with the Geekbench single core and multi-core performance.
As you can see from the graph above, in the single core and multicore performance the Pixel 3a XL lags behind the competition by quite a long margin, indicating the CPU performance isn’t as fast as the flagship processors the Pixel 3a XL aims to compete against. All the other three devices, especially the Galaxy S10e, whizz past this smartphone. Even though the performance of the Honor View 20 and the OnePlus 6T are close to each other, it is the S10e which has taken the lead here.
This benchmark is indicative of how the smartphone will perform if you want to make photo collages and slideshows. Even though this process may seem to happen in a heartbeat on any of these devices, delving deep into the processing capabilities of the hardware shows us once again that the S10e takes the lead. In Photo effects, the Honor View 20 does win by almost one second (remember, in this benchmark, the lower the score, the better) but in all the other tests in this benchmark, the S10e is the hare. It must be noted that the Pixel 3a XL is the tortoise here lagging behind by about 4 seconds in some cases, which is hardly surprising.
PCMark Work 2.0
This is one benchmark where the Pixel 3a XL doesn’t lag behind by a lot. It is fairly close to the View 20 and the S10e, indicating that despite having a slower CPU, the Pixel 3a XL is quite capable of handling workloads like post-processing videos, reading texts and the likes. The winner here is the OnePlus 6T with the View 20 and the S10e neck to neck with each other.
Moving over to the graphics processing and gaming, the GPU accompanying the SD 670 is the Adreno 615. Speaking of the competition, the View 20 has the Mali-G76 MP10, the OnePlus 6T has the Adreno 630 and the S10e has the Mali-G76 MP12. Adreno GPUs have generally proven to have the upper hand at least on synthetic benchmarks. However, phones like the Honor View 20 also rely on software-based enhancements like GPU Turbo 2.0 that improves the performance of certain games to an extent.
3D Mark Slingshot
In the 3D mark Slingshot test, the OnePlus 6T blazes past the competition by quite a margin. That’s partly because of the software optimisations OnePlus has put in place. It has also proved to be the best smartphone for gaming in our lab tests. As for the others, there’s on average 1000 points difference between them.
PUBG and Asphalt test
Let’s move over to some real-world gaming test. We used Gamebench to not only judge the average FPS during gaming. Surprisingly, the Pixel 3a XL has a rock solid 30fps in Asphalt 9 something that even the S10e lacked. The Honor View 20 also gave 30FPS on Asphalt 9, but out of the three, the Pixel 3A XL actually was the most stable at 92 per cent. The winner, as a result, is the Pixel 3a XL giving players stable gaming experience.
On PUBG, the Pixel 3a XL maintained 30fps and was on high settings by default. The same was the case with the View 20. The OnePlus won here again with 40FPS and 99 per cent stability, closely followed by the S10e.
Below we will share some other benchmarks that we ran on the smartphones but it suffices to say that the SD 670 isn’t a flagship powerhouse. With the OnePlus 7 Pro launching in a week, it will be interesting to see how the Pixel 3a performs in that segment. Even though the Pixel 3a XL didn’t blow our socks off when it comes to benchmarks, its real-world performance was good with the little time we have spent with the smartphone. The stock Android UI is comfortably smooth, apps load relatively fast and multitasking isn’t a hassle. There was the occasional moment where an app froze for a second and sometimes the keyboard took a hair longer than I’d like to pop up but those are niggles in an otherwise fluid experience.
It is safe to say that if a powerhouse of a smartphone is what you are looking for, then this device isn’t for you. However, the Pixel 3a XL has one trump card up its sleeve that could change the game in its favour. It has the same camera on board like the one we saw on the Pixel 3 and the Pixel 3 XL. We loved the camera on that smartphone and if its performance is the same on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL as the Pixel 3, then we may just have a game-changing imaging smartphone on our hands. To check out our camera comparison of the Pixel 3a XL, click here.
You can also, stay tuned for our review to know our in-depth analysis of the phone.
Just a day after Realme X China launch got confirmed, the company has made shared two teasers regarding the phone. The first one comes from company’s official Weibo account on which a poster has been shared confirming an AMOLED display with high screen-to-body-ratio on the Realme X. The second teaser is an image shared by a company executive showing the notchless design of the phone.
Let’s talk more in detail. The first poster shows a futuristic establishment in which a billboard is seen having “AMOLED” text on it. This confirms that the phone will come with an AMOLED panel. It also reveals that the smartphone will have a screen-to-body ratio of 91.2 percent. Since the phone doesn’t have a notch and it’s already known that the phone have pop-up selfie camera, the company has claimed that the mechanism can elevate 200,000 times during its lifetime.
In the second teaser, the company’s CMO Xu Qi Chase has shared a live image of the smartphone showing off the notchless display. The image shows the phone having slim bezels on three sides, and a thicker chin. The notchless screen also re-confirms the presence of a pop-up selfie camera on the Realme X, making it the company’s first smartphone to come with this design.
Realme X is touted to be launched running on the Snapdragon 855 platform, and may launch in 6GB RAM + 64GB storage, 6GB RAM + 128GB storage and 8GB RAM + 128GB storage variants. It could come equipped with a 6.5-inch display OLED display with a Full HD+ resolution, and it might be protected by Gorilla Glass 5. Rumours have suggested that the phone will feature a sixth-gen optical in-display fingerprint sensor. The smartphone is rumoured to come equipped with a 48MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the back and a 16MP sensor on the front.
A new school term is expected to begin shortly. If you’re a schoolgoer or college student who is in the market for a new laptop, you’re just in time for Paytm Mall’s summer sale. Here’s our list of what we think are the best deals on laptops for students this time around. We’ve listed them in decreasing order of discount rate. Go ahead and take a look:
Lenovo IdeaPad 130
The Lenovo IdeaPad 130 on sale on Paytm Mall comes with an Intel 6th Gen Core i3 CPU with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The screen is a 15.6-inch unit with an HD resolution. There’s no Windows 10 OS bundled with the laptop but it comes with an optical disc drive for easy OS installation. During the sale, the Lenovo IdeaPad 130 is selling on Paytm Mall for Rs 25,490.
Dell Inspiron 3000
The Dell Inspiron line of mid-range and budget laptops has been around for a long time now. You can’t go wrong with one. The variant on sale on Paytm Mall has an Intel 7th Gen Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. The 15.6-inch display comes with a Full HD resolution. Windows 10 Home and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2016 come pre-installed on the laptop. During the sale, the Dell Inspiron 3000 is selling on Paytm Mall for Rs 29,522.
Here’s a fine option for you gamers out there. The Asus F570 comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 quad-core processor with 8GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive. Powering the graphics is an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 4GB of vRAM. The display measures 15.6 inches diagonally and has a Full HD resolution. Windows 10 comes pre-installed on this budget gaming laptop. To know more about it, read our review of it here. During the sale, the Asus F570 is selling on Paytm Mall for Rs 52,390.
Asus VivoBook X507
The VivoBook X507 is for those of you seeking something thin, light, and stylish. The variant on sale on Paytm Mall comes is powered by an Intel 8th Gen Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. The display measures 15.6 inches diagonally and has a Full HD resolution. In addition, there’s an NVIDIA GeForce MX 130 graphics card onboard with 2GB of vRAM. Windows 10 comes pre-installed on this laptop. During the sale, the Asus VivoBook X507 is selling on Paytm Mall for Rs 47,490.
Acer Aspire 3
If you’re looking for a proper budget laptop, here’s a fine pick. The Acer Aspire 3 listed on Paytm Mall during the sale comes with an AMD E2 quad-core processor with 4GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The RAM can be upgraded up to 12GB in the future. The display is a 15.6-inch unit with an HD resolution. Windows 10 comes bundled with the Aspire 3, so you won’t have to worry about buying the OS separately. During the sale, the Acer Aspire 3 is selling on Paytm Mall for Rs 20,990.
Microsoft’s Build 2019 conference is in full swing and the company made a slew of announcements on the first day of its event. One of the major reveals was its new Edge browser that’s based on the Chromium open source project. The company announced some new features that will be made available in the upcoming version of Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 and also confirmed that it will soon be made available on previous versions of Windows and on iOS, Android and on macOS. Edge Chromium browser will receive some new features like a completely revamped Collections feature, new privacy tools and an Internet Explorer mode.
Starting with the new Collections feature, it will enable users to collate images, text and other media from around the web. The feature is said to preserve the logical structure of the copied content so that it is easy to export them to Word or Excel. It enables drag and drop functionality for copying elements like images and text off from a web page and also creates reference links for the original websites where one found them. As for the new privacy tools, the new browser will feature three preset levels for implementing data privacy with different rules. It consists of Unrestricted, Balanced and Strict modes.
Microsoft also announced an Internet Explorer mode for the Edge Chromium browser. While aimed at enterprises, the new mode will enable complete IE11 compatibility to Edge for internal sites. The new mode is said to enable “rendering legacy IE-only content in high fidelity inside of Microsoft Edge” and one need not open a separate browser. As mentioned above, the new browser will also be made available on macOS and Mac users would soon get access to Canary and Dev builds of the browser, similar to Windows.
Ahead of Google I/O, where the company is most likely to officially announce Android Q, Google has rolled out the May security patches for Android and Pixel devices. In the Pixel bulletin, the company posts that there are no functional updates for the Pixel phones this month. The Android bulletin says that the latest patch has resolved a total of 10 issues across Framework, Media Framework and System components.
The vulnerabilities range from high to critical, with the most severe relating to the media framework and a remote attacker possibly executing arbitrary code through a crafted file. According to Google, there were “no reports of active customer exploitation or abuse of these newly reported issues.” Apart from Pixel devices, Essential Phones have also got the update with improvements to Bluetooth and shutdown responsiveness.
May system updates are here with improvements to bluetooth and shutdown responsiveness some of you experienced. Check your phone for the update! pic.twitter.com/t12OA99zmo
— Essential (@essential) May 6, 2019
Last month, Google released its Android Security and Privacy 2018 Year In Review report, which claimed that the overall health of Android ecosystem improved as compared to last year. The company’s report claimed that in the fourth quarter of 2018, 84 percent more devices received a security update as compared to the devices in the same quarter last year.
Google also said that the devices that had apps installed from outside of Google Play were affected by PHAs eight times more often. Compared to the previous year, even those devices saw a 15 percent reduction in malware.
Redmi is working on a Snapdragon 855 powered flagship phone, which it recently confirmed is not named the Redmi X. While the company’s GM, Lu Weibing, said that the upcoming handset would be named something “better,” there is no confirmation of what it could be called. However, a new leaked image of the phone’s protective display sticker has surfaced online, which suggests that the phone might be named the Redmi K20 Pro. All smartphones feature some sort of protective sticker and some of them sport the phone’s name and its key specifications. The image if the Redmi K20 Pro’s sticker also reveals some phone’s specs.
As per the leaked image, the Redmi K20 should come equipped with a 6.39-inch AMOLED display. In line with the previous rumours, the handset is said to run on the Snapdragon 855 SoC and come equipped with a 4000 mAh battery that supports 27W fast charging. Additionally, the phone could feature a triple-rear camera setup with a 48MP sensor. An earlier report suggests that the upcoming Redmi flagship would sport a 48MP + 13MP + 8MP sensor configuration for the main camera setup. On the front, the phone is rumoured to feature a 32MP sensor. Do note that the leak comes from an unofficial source and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Weibing recently confirmed that the upcoming Redmi flagship will come equipped with a super wide-angle lens. It will also enable NFC capabilities and retain the 3.5mm audio jack. The Snapdragon 855 powered Redmi smartphone is expected to go up against the Realme X handset, which will also run on the same flagship chipset. Realme has confirmed that the Realme X will be unveiled on May 15 in China and a Lite or Youth Edition of the phone is rumoured to launch as well.
Last year, Xiaomi Black Shark 2 was launched in China, and now it seems that the phone will make its way to India as well. The device has appeared in the database of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) suggesting that the phone will be launched in the country soon. The BIS certifications does not mention anything about the specs, so it is yet to be seen which variant(s) will be launched in India.
Xiaomi Black Shark 2 specifications:
The Black Shark 2 features a 6.39-inch AMOLED display with an in-display fingerprint sensor and 1080 x 2340 pixel resolution. The display comes with a pressure-sensitive system that enables gamers to map the buttons located on the flanking corners of the screen. Under the hood, the smartphone features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform. The phone was launched in Cina in “frozen silver” and “shadow black” colours, and comes in two RAM and storage options: 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, 12GB RAM and 256GB storage model, and an 8GB RAM and 256GB storage (available only in the frozen silver colour).
The imaging responsibilities are on a dual camera system on the back and a single shooter on the front. The rear camera has a 48MP Quad Bayer sensor with 0.8µm pixels and an f/1.75 aperture. The secondary camera has a 2x telephoto lens and a 12MP sensor with 1.0µm pixels. The selfie shooter has a 20MP sensor with f/2.0 and 0.9µm pixels. The phone draws power from a 4,000 mAh battery, which comes with a 27W fast charging support. The Black Shark 2 comes with a cooling tech that Xiaomi claims is the world’s first “direct touch multilayer liquid cooling system” that keeps the temperature of the CPU 14-degrees cooler during intense gaming sessions.
The Black Shark 2 competes against other gaming devices such as the Razr Phone 2 and Asus ROG phone, and it is the third phone in the line-up after the Xiaomi Black Shark and Black Shark Helo that were launched last year. In March, a report claimed that Black Shark has set up headquarters in Bengaluru. It was said that the company’s VP David Li will look after India operations while Chirag Nagendra, who was formerly with OnePlus in the communications team joined as Black Shark’s Marketing head.
You, me and everyone in India is in bed with creepy, skin-eating dust mites. Not only do we willfully let these tiny bugs eat away at 20g – 66g of dead skin we produce each month, they also latch onto our clothes, shoes and other body parts to travel around the places we visit. A new study conducted by Dyson, in association with the FICCI Research and Analysis Centre (FRAC), has revealed alarming results about the allergens present in house dust found in India.
Now, you might be wondering why we at Digit are talking about a dust study. Simply put, Dyson conducted the said dust study in India to understand the best possible ways of optimising their V-series vacuum cleaners to better suit Indian household needs. Dyson and FRAC were able to collect 12,491 grams of dust from 100 urban homes across Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. The samples were collected from mattresses, sofas, carpets, cars and such in order to analyse the composition of dust found in Indian homes.
What the study discovered was that cockroach allergens, including their saliva, faeces and shredding body parts, are commonly found in Indian households, alongside dust mites, and pet dander. All these form a deadly mix of allergens, leading to increasing respiratory problems in Indians. The study notes that while homes might appear clean, the hidden dust particles do not exit the home environment through traditional sweeping and mopping methods used in India.
“When you’re sweeping the floors in the morning, a lot of small particles get airborne. These particles stay there for half an hour to an hour. And then after some time, they settle down once again. Because of the size of these particles, smaller than the diameter of your hair, they can easily be inhaled and go up to your lungs, or even reach your blood streams,” Shantanu Khandelwal, CEO at FICCI Research and Analysis Centre said during a presentation of the Dyson-FRAC India Dust study in Singapore, Dyson’s manufacturing base for vacuum cleaner motors.
To show us the contents of household dust found in Indian homes, Dyson had flown in petri dishes of dust samples all the way from India to Singapore. The technology company wants to highlight the need for Indians to adopt industrial cleaning solutions such as vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, two of the company’s leading product portfolios. For the 6-week-long study itself, Dyson’s V8 Absolute+ vacuum cleaners were made incharge of sample collection.
Dust samples collected from Indian homes for Dyson-FICCI FRAC India Dust Study
Kevin Grant, Head of Floorcare at Dyson claims that the company’s vacuum cleaners are “engineered to capture 99.97% of microscopic dust as small as 0.3 micron, effectively removing allergens and capturing them in the bin. In India, some Dyson cord-free vacuum cleaners have been certified asthma & allergy friendly by the Allergy Standards Limited (ASL).”
Challenging traditional cleaning practices in India, Dyson projects its V-series stick vacuum cleaners as must-needed gadgets for Indian homes. However, the company acknowledges that these vacuum cleaners are not a replacement for house help, rather a helpful addition to make cleaning easier and more effective. Also, Dyson does not defend the premium pricing of its products and has no plans of deviating from that costing strategy. Think Apple.
The company currently sells the Dyson V7, the Dyson V8, and the Dyson Cyclone V10 in India. It will also be bringing its next-gen V11 Torque Drive vacuum cleaner (already available in US for $700) to India in the near future. The USP of Dyson’s vacuum cleaners is the digital motor employed by all of them. The motor has been made more efficient with each new iteration, increasing suction, but maintaining a spin of up to 125,000rpm. This, Dyson claims, helps permanently remove common allergens such as dust mites from mattresses and cockroach residue.
House dust mites exist in millions on a single piece of furniture, such as your bed. Director of the Asthma Chest & Allergy Centre in Delhi, Dr Vikram Jaggi, who was also part of Dyson’s presentation, notes that if you purchase a 10kg mattress, by the time you are ready to dispose of it after about 10 years, it weighs 11-12kg because of the dust that settles deep within. According to him, dust allergens are contributing to the tremendous increase in allergies amongst Indians, growing at a rate of 50% on a yearly basis.
“There was an interesting study that came out of the Mayo Clinic some years back: In moderate degree of allergic rhinitis, moderate degree of heart disease, and moderate degree of diabetes, the impact on life was found to be the same,” Dr Jaggi explained, highlighting the fact that most Indians take allergies very lightly and dismiss the constant sniffles and coughs as something antibiotics can cure.
Mind you, the doctor did not feel that vacuum cleaners can solve the problem 100%, but said that they are a step in the right direction to avoid staying around allergens, especially those that we sleep on for a good 8-10 hours daily, A.K.A, our mattresses.
Disclaimer: The journalist is travelling to Singapore for a Dyson product launch. Travel and living expenses of the journalist are being borne by Dyson.
Twitter has announced that its users can now retweet with GIFs, images and videos. The feature was asked by users for quite some time now and the micro-blogging platform announced that the new update would be available for users on Android, iOS and the mobile site. The company’s developers say that implementing the new feature was a design challenge since it was initially difficult to distinguish between the original tweet and retweet. @TwitterDesign says it was challenging for people to understand all the content in a retweet that featured media because of the layout where two tweets were stacked on top of each other.
“To improve comprehension, we focused on creating hierarchy, prioritizing the author’s voice, and providing more context around the Tweet being Retweeted,” Twitter says. Then the company ran a usability test where it introduced a condensed inner tweet to help users discern the components of the retweet and apparently, participants reacted well to the new change. In addition to the new design change, there would be some more updates, which are touted to make “Retweets with media more interactive and easier to read.” The company might be hinting towards the addition of ‘author’, ‘mentioned’ and ‘following’ labels on replies, which it is currently testing.
Today we are introducing an update you’ve been waiting for — drum roll please — Retweet with GIF, photos, and video! Read on to get the behind-the-scenes process of why and how we designed this feature. https://t.co/UMMPkhoaFL
— Twitter Design (@TwitterDesign) May 6, 2019
The new changes come soon after Twitter announced a new ‘Lights Out’ option, which adds a darker colour scheme on its app. While there was an option to switch to dark mode, it was a bit greyish in colour rather than being true black. Those who want to use the new colour scheme can do so from the Display and Sound tab under the Settings and Privacy Menu. There is an option to turn on dark mode and once done, two new options called Dim and Lights Out will appear as sub menus.