SGiNO 6 Review

One of the most important and costliest aspect of modern smartphone is its cameras. In the past 4 years, smartphone cameras have gotten so good that even some budget phones can take great photos in the dark, Redmi Note 5 for example.

But with cameras becoming so crucial, only a handful of manufacturers are producing non-camera phones. If you are working somewhere where cameras are prohibited, should you remove your phone’s camera or get a non-camera phone?

In this article, we will be taking a look at iNO’s latest non-camera smartphone, the SGiNO 6, available for preorder right now on iNO’s website for S$358. Is it any good? Let’s find out. Thanks to iNO for providing me with the device to review.


Summary – Not for the Masses

SGiNO 6 isn’t a very good device, so are most other non-camera phones out there. Get it only if you need one.

Pros:

  • Great looking glass back design
  • Doesn’t have a camera (great for Red Zones)
  • Supports wireless charging

Cons:

  • Not very value-for-money
  • Severe overheating issues
  • Poor gaming performance
  • Many small issues with internal design
  • Outdated UI

Others:

  • Decent battery life, slow charging
  • Close to stock Android

Design – Not Too Bad

Not the best glass back design I have seen. But on a phone where design doesn’t matter, having it is a bonus.

If you are getting a non-camera phone for work, you probably already have a fanciful smartphone you use outside of work, so the design of the non-camera phone shouldn’t really matter. That said, iNO went for a glass back design anyways.

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Compared to modern smartphones, the SGiNO 6 is thick and heavy, but the extra weight makes it feel well built. The design is very basic and it certainly isn’t the nicest looking or feeling glass smartphone, but it could have been much worse.

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About as thick as 5 twenty cent coins

A headphone jack is located at the top and on the bottom we have two speaker grills, though only the right one houses the speaker. On the right, we have the power button indicated by a shiny red marking, as well as the volume buttons.

On the right is the SIM tray. On my pre-production unit, the SIM tray ejector mechanism is located too deep inside, so SIM ejector tools cannot be used, but iNO says that it might be changed in the actual units that are going on sale. We shall see.

On the front, we have a 5.2″ 16:9 FHD display, with a speaker grill on the top and a fingerprint scanner on the bottom. For a device coming out in 2018, the top and bottom chins are very wide, but it is something I can definitely live with.

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As expected from a non-camera phone, there is not a single camera to be found on the SGiNO 6, though iNO kept the flashlight on the rear so you can still look for your stuff in the dark.

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Overall, the SGiNO 6’s design isn’t bad, but also isn’t very impressive for a 2018 smartphone. Considering that it is built for a niche market where looks doesn’t really matter in the first place, I can’t really complain about the design of the SGiNO 6.


Performance – Not for the Gamers

Sketchy benchmarks. Severe overheating. Poor real-life performance. Not for gamers.

Powered by a MediaTek 6750T, keep your expectations low if you want to game on the SGiNO 6. I was unable to get Geekbench 4 running and AnTuTu produced very sketchy results. Off to a bad start. Will the SGiNO 6 do any better in actual usage?

Even under light usage, the SGiNO 6 heats up quite a bit near its volume buttons. It gets worst when you play games on it, which is a little concerning. But you wouldn’t be gaming on the SGiNO 6 very often. It isn’t very good at it to be honest.

The SGiNO lags at the most unexpected times. Brawl Stars runs decently during gameplay as long as you have a stable connection to the internet, but struggles to load the animation of unlocking a new character. Huh? What is happening?

Something similar can be seen when you play Alto’s Odyssey. The game runs at a playable frame rate until your character hits a rock, then the phone will lag and you will see him falling in slow motion. Really strange indeed.

Heavier games like ROS can still run, but is very choppy. With some skill, it is playable, but the experience isn’t enjoyable. The overheating also gets to a point that I would consider uncomfortable. This device is just not for heavy gaming.

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Camera – There is None!

The absence of camera on the SGiNO 6 is the only reason you should pay so much for it.

If it isn’t very clear already, the SGiNO 6 does not have a camera and it is selling it as one of its key feature. But can we actually call not having cameras a feature? It seems kind of silly to pay more to not have one of the costliest parts of a phone.

But if you are the intended audience for the device, you probably do not have a choice. There isn’t a lot of alternatives out there due to low demand for non-camera phones, so if your work strictly requires one, this is one of your only options.

From my understanding, it is not that iNO is purposefully overpricing their phones, but that there is just not enough customers for them to produce them at a scale that would lower the cost. If only there was more demand for non-camera phones…

As you can see, we are stuck in a loop here. Without enough people buying them, there isn’t a way we can drive down the cost non-camera phones. But when the phone is priced so much higher than its camera counterparts, few are willing to pay for it.


Software – Outdated Design, Unrefined Experience

Close to stock Android, but design of certain apps are ancient and some features do not work very well.

SGiNO 6 may be running Android Oreo out of the box, but there are some aspects of the software that just feels so dated. The music app has this pre-Lollipop design and that compass app feels prehistoric. Also, some of those app icons are just bad…

There are many aspects of the software that are not very well implemented. For example, the “device usage” list in the settings app will only show battery consumed by certain apps, which is actually a problem for my battery tests below.

When connected to a WiFi network, the mobile data icon appears the same regardless if it is on or off, which can lead to a disaster: If you unknowingly left it on while downloading a huge file and WiFi disconnects, be prepared to burst your data limit.

The rest is pretty much what you would expect from stock Android. Features that you love about Android are all here: split screen, app drawer, minimal bloatware, etc… There is even a Pedometer app to keep track of your daily step count.


Battery & Charging – Not Up to Expectations

Battery is huge, but actual battery life isn’t very impressive. Also, due to size of the battery, charging takes really long.

Powering the SGiNO 6 is a 4040mAh battery, which is still pretty big by today’s standards. But perhaps due to the inefficient processor that results in overheating, it doesn’t really perform up to par with other phones of similar battery capacity.

With light usage, which includes surfing the web, browsing social media and playing light games like Brawl Stars and Soul Knight, I was able to drain the battery to 18% by 11PM, with a screen-on time of only 3h 19min after over 15.5h of usage.

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Under heavier usage where I try to drain its battery as quickly as possible, the phone had 10% battery remaining after playing 2h 5min of ROS and watching 30min of YouTube. With a total screen-on time of 3h 12min, its battery life is just so so.

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Using the included charger rated at 5V 2.0A, the SGiNO took 4h to charge from 5% to 55%. Even considering its battery size, the charging speed of the SGiNO 6 is pretty slow. For a full charge, expect to wait for 8h or even more.

The device can also be charged wirelessly, but considering that even wired charging takes a long time, you will probably want to only use this to charge the phone overnight.

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Others – More Problems!

Fingerprint scanner is accurate but always get disabled in the pocket. Headphone jack is poorly designed, connection loose for most headphones I tested.

Fingerprint scanner on the SGiNO may not be the fastest, but it is accurate when clean. However, it keeps “reading fingerprints” in my pocket, so when I take the device out, it would often be disabled and I have to type in the password instead.

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On my pre-production device, the headphone jack is very loose (for most headphones I tested) and the device often fails to detect my 1MORE 1M301 whenever I plug it in. This might be fixed on by the time you receive the SGiNO 6 though.

Also, Tmall and Taobao apps on the Play Store are not compatible with the SGiNO 6. It doesn’t matter for most people, but for someone like me who shops on these apps frequently, this is a deal breaker. Hope iNO will get this fixed soon.


Conclusion – Should You Get One?

Get it or remove your old phone’s camera? Depends on the condition of your old phone.

In almost all aspects, the SGiNO 6 is just average or below average compared to regular camera smartphones, which makes it unappealing for the masses. But so are most non-camera smartphones available today, so I can’t really fault iNO for that.

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So should you get a camera phone like the SGiNO 6 or remove the camera on your old phone? It depends on what device you are planning to use: Is it still performing well? Is the battery life worsening? Is the phone physically damaged?

If your soon-to-be non-camera smartphone is a mid-range or flagship device that is not too old, remove its camera. But if it is a >3 year old budget phone though, the SGiNO 6 will probably provide better experience, so you might want to consider it.

Are Premium Mid-Range Smartphones Still Worth It?

Very often, I see people commenting that premium mid-range smartphones, like the OPPO R15, are overpriced. Is that true or is there more to it? Is there any reason to pay more for it, versus getting a budget smartphone like the Redmi Note 5?

To find out, I will be comparing the OPPO R15 to Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 5, both of which I had reviewed recently. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a review unit for each device at the same time, so why not use this opportunity to compare them?


Design – Pay More for Better Craftsmanship

The first difference you would notice when placing both devices side by side would be their design. Both are pretty good looking devices in their own ways, but one is clearly superior, in terms of material choice, attention to details and craftsmanship.

Of course, the device I am talking about is the OPPO R15. On its rear is glass and if you get the Nebula Purple or Rouge Red models, shining light on it will cause it to appear as a different shade of purple and red respectively. It looks amazing.

Holding the glass and display together is a metal frame, which is almost as reflective as the glass. While I wish there was some kind of sharp curve in the middle to make the R15 feel thinner, I cannot deny that it looks and feels really high quality.

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Redmi Note 5 may have a metal body, but it isn’t anything too impressive. I have seen nicer looking metal smartphones that feel more exquisite in hand, OPPO R11s for example. Compared to the R11s, the Redmi Note 5’s design feels primitive.

Moving to the front, we can see another key difference in design. Redmi Note 5 has pretty small bezels compared to its predecessors, but the OPPO R15’s notch-style display allows it to reduce its bezels even further and fit in more screen.

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While the dimensions of the two devices are very similar, OPPO R15 is able to fit a slightly larger display. Not only do you get more space to work with, the higher screen-to-body ratio gives the R15 a more futuristic and premium look.


Display – OLED vs IPS LCD

Speaking of display, the R15 uses a 6.28″ 19:9 AMOLED panel, while the Redmi Note 5 is equipped with a 5.99″ IPS LCD panel. Both are very good displays, though the usual AMOLED vs IPS LCD argument still stands. (e.g. AMOLED over-saturated)

However, if I were to choose between one of them, I would pick OPPO R15’s AMOLED display. Being AMOLED allows it to have an always-on display, only lighting up part of the display to show the clock whenever the phone is in standby.

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That may not sound like much, but once you use it, you can’t live without it. Many of us have the bad habit of picking up our phone to check the time every few minutes. With always-on display, you do not have to do so anymore to check time.


Performance – OPPO R15 is Better, But Redmi Note 5 Offers Greater Bang-for-the-Buck

Both devices are powered by a Snapdragon 6xx series processor, 660 on the OPPO R15 and 636 on the Redmi Note 5. In Benchmarks, both do very well, but the R15 has a bit of a lead.

In actual usage, both handle most tasks well, but graphic intensive games run smoother on the R15. If you are truly into gaming though, neither is probably what you are looking for as both of them can’t match the performance of a flagship device.

If you are on a tight budget, the Redmi Note 5 is not a bad option. But if you are an avid smartphone gamer and are willing to spend S$749 on an OPPO R15, why not get a similarly priced flagship killer instead, like the OnePlus 6?


Rear Cameras – Closing the Gap

In the past, one of the reasons why one would pay more for premium mid-range devices is for better cameras, but that may not be the case anymore. The affordable Redmi Note 5 packs a pair of cameras on its rear that takes marvelous photos, even at night.

Below are a few images shot for comparison. In most cases, both devices do an equally excellent job, with the differences mainly in the color reproduction. Even at night, both still perform very well. A year ago, the difference would have been huge.

OPPO R15

Redmi Note 5

Both devices have a secondary camera on the rear for depth perception, allowing you to capture photos with bokeh effect. Additionally, OPPO R15 automatically zooms in whenever you are in portrait mode, allowing you to get “closer” to your subject.

Both are not perfect at detecting the edges of objects, but are not too bad for smartphone cameras. However, the R15 does have issues focusing on near objects in portrait mode, persistently focusing on the background instead. Annoying.

Below are two videos recorded at the same time, one taken with the OPPO R15 and the other with the Redmi Note 5. OPPO R15’s video has quite a bit of over-sharpening and dynamic range is bad. For video recording, I would pick the Redmi Note 5.

There seems to be some form of electronic image stabilization on the R15, but it doesn’t do a very good job so the video is still shaky and the jello effect that it causes is very nauseating. Meanwhile, the EIS on the R15 works pretty well.

Overall, I would say that both rear camera setups are good in their own ways and I wouldn’t say one is clearly better than the other. If you use your smartphone mainly for photography, then I would say the Redmi Note 5 is a better deal for you.


Front Camera – All About That Dynamic Range

One area that most front facing camera on today’s smartphones struggle is dynamic range. Very often, you will get selfies that are overexposed even in environments with great lighting, resulting in bright photos with very dull colors.

Redmi Note 5’s selfie camera is no different, so you will definitely have to edit the photo before posting it onto Instagram. But that doesn’t seem to be an issue on the OPPO R15 and it can take selfies with pleasant looking colors with it.


Software – Both are Among the Best

Both Xiaomi and OPPO uses a custom Android skin on their phones, MIUI and ColorOS respectively. MIUI has a really long history and with a huge user base, it is one of the most featured packed and refined Android skins out there.

 

ColorOS is no slouch either, with a UI that is easy to use, yet is still plenty capable. On the surface, it has less features than MIUI. But once you use it, you will know that there are actually a lot of handy small features that are hidden in the settings app.

However, I do have to point out that MIUI has quite a bit of advertisement in it, from ad banner in the music app to the browser’s “recommendations”. Xiaomi doesn’t profit much from selling phones, so I guess this is a way they are making up for it.

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Meanwhile, ColorOS on the OPPO R15 doesn’t have such a thing. We do get “hot apps” recommendations and even an OPPO app store on the new OPPO Find X though. Hopefully OPPO will continue to keep the R15’s software ad free.

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OPPO Find X


Accessories – What Else is Inside the Box?

A free clear case is included with both devices, but only the R15 come with a screen protector pre-applied. As usual, you also get the charging cable (Micro USB) and wall adapter in the box.

Also included in the R15’s box is a pair of in-ear headphones, something Xiaomi left out to reduce the cost. If you already have a good pair of earphones, which most people probably do, the absence of one on the Redmi Note 5 doesn’t matter.

But what does matter is the lack of fast charging on the Redmi Note 5’s included wall adapter. Redmi Note 5 supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, but you will have to purchase a wall adapter that supports that separately.

Meanwhile, the charger that comes with the R15 supports OPPO’s VOOC fast charging. VOOC has been around for years, but it is still one of the best fast charging solutions today. To use it, you will need both the included wall adapter and cable.

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After Sale Services – When Something Fails

The warranty that Xiaomi provides for their phones is pretty standard: repair of defects is free 1 year for the phone and 6 months for battery and accessories. Meanwhile, OPPO offers 2 years warranty for the device, and 1 year for battery and accessories.

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Xiaomi’s service center at The Central is one of the most dreaded place for me for two reasons: the store is hidden at an obscure corner of the mall and the people there can be rude from my experience. I avoid going there whenever possible.

Meanwhile, OPPO has 2 service centers in Singapore: one in their Suntec City store and the other in their Jurong Point store. I have never sent an OPPO device for repair, but I go to the Suntec City store frequently and the people there are really friendly.

You might be thinking that all of these doesn’t matter because you are always careful with your phone. But accidents do happen sometimes and when it does happen to you, just hope that your smartphone is made by OPPO and not Xiaomi.


Conclusion – Are Premium Mid-Rangers Overpriced?

Whether premium mid-rangers like the OPPO R15 are overpriced will depend on what  you value in a smartphone. If performance or camera is what you are after, then yes, you can definitely find something that does those better for the same price or less.

But if you care about the looks and feel of your device a lot, or if you want the flagship experience but do not need the top-of-the-line performance, I will say that it is worth paying more for a premium mid-range smartphone.

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OPPO Find X Hands On

The most exciting smartphone (yet) of 2018 is now in Singapore! By now, you probably have heard of OPPO’s latest flagship device, the Find X, and it’s retracting cameras that automatically pops up when you need them.

OPPO Singapore invited me to attend their launch event and I was able to spend some time with the Find X. In this article, I will share my first impressions and try to answer the questions you may have about the all new OPPO Find X.

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Design

OPPO shocked the world back on 1st June when they teased that the Find series is coming back after a 4 year hiatus, hinting that the new device is “futuristic”. And indeed, the OPPO Find X is nothing like what have seen before. It’s design is fabulous!

The moment I saw the OPPO Find X at the event, I was shocked. OPPO’s official images for the Find X looks amazing, but the device looks even better in real life. OPPO Find X comes in 2 eye-catching colors: Bordeaux Red and Glacier Blue.

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Like the OPPO R15 I reviewed earlier, lighting will affect how the color of the glass back appear. But unlike R15, the rear of OPPO Find X appear deep black in the middle, quickly transitioning to red or blue at the edges. This gives it a really bold look.

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OPPO said that this was done through a 3D multifaceted color process. No idea what that means, but it is really cool. Unlike the OPPO R15, the glass back of Find X is curved on the sides, making the phone feel a lot thinner in the hand.

The curves doesn’t stop there: the crescent arc from OPPO R11s is back. It prevents your hand from blocking the bottom firing speaker when you hold it horizontally. This may be a small thing, but it shows that OPPO cares a lot about their designs.

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Its SIM tray is also located at the bottom, inside the arc. OPPO has finally made the switch to USB Type-C on the Find X, but the 3.5mm headphone jack is gone, probably because OPPO has nowhere to put it. Why not place it on top? Good question.

This brings us to the second key feature of OPPO’s Find X. You may have noticed that the rear cameras are missing. They are actually hidden beneath the glass, together with the front camera setup, both which we will go into more details later.

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Whenever you need the cameras, the sliding structure will pop up quickly, and then automatically retract when you are done. Cool right? OPPO says that it can be used for over 300k times, so there is no need to worry about the mechanism failing.

With the cameras hidden, OPPO was able to achieve 93.8% screen-to-body ratio on the Find X without needing a notch. The AMOLED display is curved at the sides like Samsung’s infinity display, again helping to make the Find X feel thin.

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Overall, the OPPO Find X feels very slim in the hand and looks stunning under all lighting. It is the most elegant smartphone I have seen thus far and just the design alone can convince me to pick the Find X over any of this year’s flagship devices.


Front Camera

Using similar technology as the iPhone X, Find X’s camera is able to register your face in 3D. This is used for a couple of things, from really accurate face authentication to 3D beautify and even Omoji, OPPO’s take on Apple’s Animoji.

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Many of today’s smartphones feature facial authentication for unlocking your phone, but their reliability can be questionable. Meanwhile, being able to read your face in 3D means OPPO’s Find X is able to recognize your face a lot better.

In the camera app, you can register a 3D image of your face and adjust the level of beautification for the 3D render of your face. Whenever you take a selfie and the front camera recognizes your face, it will apply the same level of beautification.

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Lastly, we have Omojis, which is basically like Animoji where the cartoon animal or character mimics your facial expressions.

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The 25MP selfie camera does a great job, with nice colors, though there is still room for improvement in terms of dynamic range. Below are selfies taken with the Find X’s front camera. Huge thanks to Michael Josh from GadgetMatch for the wefie!


Rear Camera

On the other side of the sliding structure sits a pair of cameras (16MP + 20MP) with OIS. It can intelligently identify the type of scene for the photo you are taking, food for example, and use that to make your photo look good.

From the time I had with the Find X, I was able to take a couple of shots with it around the event location. It seems to do a pretty good job, producing pleasing colors.

Here is a little surprise: all the photos of the OPPO Find X above, except for the one with the bottom view (taken with Redmi 5), are taken with another OPPO Find X.


Others

Powered by the Snapdragon 845 with 8GB RAM no matter which variant you get, you can expect the OPPO Find X to be a beast when it comes to raw performance.

Super VOOC makes it’s debut on the OPPO Find X, but is only available on the 256GB model. It charges the Find X from zero to full in just 35min. Meanwhile, the 128GB variant still uses regular VOOC and charges fully from 0% in 100min.

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ColorOS 5.1 comes with a couple of new features, but something I am not happy about are the new “ads”, though they are not as blatant as on MIUI. There is now a OPPO app store, as well as a “hot” apps recommendations on the home screen.


Pricing & Availability

OPPO Find X is available in 2 variants in Singapore. The 128GB variant will go on preorder starting 1st August for S$1198, available in both colors. Meanwhile, the 256GB variant with Super VOOC will go on sale at a later date for S$1399.


Conclusion

We waited 4 long years for the successor of the Find 7 and now that it is here, I will say the wait was worthwhile. With one of the most user friendly software and incredible hardware, the OPPO Find X may just be the best phone of 2018.

Mi Dual Driver Earphones Review

Xiaomi sells all kinds of products, from phones and power banks to mattresses and even furniture. Many of them are known for their modern design and incredible value-for-money, making Xiaomi the go-to brand for anything affordable and good.

Today, we will be taking a look at one of the latest products that Xiaomi brought into Singapore recently: the Mi Dual Driver Earphones. Retailing for S$29.90, it is relatively affordable, but is it any good? Without further ado, let’s get to the review.

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Summary – Disappointing by Xiaomi’s Standards

Very average audio, poor build quality.

Pros:

  • Right-angled 3.5mm audio jack
  • Produces loud audio
  • Great microphone

Cons:

  • Poor build quality, feels cheap
  • Volume and play/pause button difficult to press
  • Too much emphasis on trebles, weak mids
  • Loses a lot of details

Design – Is This Really Xiaomi?

Exterior made entirely out of glossy and metal-looking plastic, edges are sharp and buttons are not nice to click.

The design of Mi Dual Driver Earphones is very different from what we are used to getting from Xiaomi, but not in a good way. In fact, its design and build quality is so disappointing in so many ways I cannot believe that Xiaomi made this.

Unlike most Xiaomi headphones we have seen, the body and volume controls of this is made entirely out of glossy plastic. Even the shiny metal-looking part feels a lot like metal-like plastic that you usually see on cheap low quality products.

If even the under S$15 Mi In-Ear Headphones Basic has a metal body, why is the Mi Dual Driver Earphones still using plastic? The last time I saw glossy plastic on a pair of Xiaomi headphones was on the original Mi In Ear Headphones Basics from years ago.

From the design, we can see Xiaomi cutting corners to reduce manufacturing cost. Edges, specifically at the metal-looking portion and ends of the volume control, are sharp. Also, buttons are thin and not very clicky, making them difficult to press.

I do like the fact that it has a right-angled 3.5mm connector, which reduces the likelihood of it getting damaged under pressure. But otherwise, the design and build quality of these earphones is not what one would expect from Xiaomi.

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The earphones are pretty light and feels kind of hollow. This allows the Mi Dual Driver Earphones to sit pretty comfortably in the ears for long periods, but tugging it out from your ears is very easy and it also makes the earphones feel kind of cheap.


Sound Quality – Not Horrible, Not Impressive Either

Audio is loud, but lots of details is lost. A bit too much emphasis on trebles, underwhelming mids.

Design and build quality wasn’t too good, so most of the money must have went to making it sound better right? About that… If you are coming from a pair of similarly priced Xiaomi headphones, you wouldn’t be impressed by these.

Audio produced by the Mi Dual Driver Earphones sounded horrendous when I first used it, but it got a lot better after a while. They are pretty loud but loses a lot of details, compared to the 1M301 single driver in-ear headphones that I reviewed recently.

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There is a tad bit emphasis on trebles, while mids and bass are a little recessed. Mids can feel a little underwhelming at times and compared to the 1M301, bass isn’t as deep and satisfying.

Overall, I would say the sound quality of these earphones is very average and doesn’t live up to my expectations of a Xiaomi product. At around the same price, Xiaomi has better sounding alternatives that are also much better built.


Microphone – Loud & Clear

Loud with a bit of echo effect, great for calls.

Audio recorded with the Mi Dual Driver Earphone’s microphone is loud and clear, though it does have a bit of an echo effect. This makes it awesome for phone calls and video chats, but not so much if you want to vlog or record yourself singing.


Conclusion – Not Recommended

Xiaomi sells great audio products but this is not one of them. Get something else.

Xiaomi, or more accurately 1MORE and TiinLab, makes great headphones that not only sound amazing but also look and feel premium. Unfortunately, Mi Dual Driver Earphones is not one of them and thus I will not be recommending it to anyone.

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Don’t get me wrong. Compared to the competition, it is a decent pair of earphones. But why get it when Xiaomi has so many more options for you to choose from, most of which are better in almost every way? Makes no sense to get these.

Is Your Facebook Account Compromised?

What is worst than getting locked out of your Facebook account after it got hacked? When the hacker uses your account to share an embarrassing post, tag all your Facebook friends, then deletes the post after an hour without you knowing anything.

That just happened to a friend of mine. Scary? Absolutely. All he can do at this point in time is prevent the hacker from getting access to his account and carry out damage control. But the damage that has already been done is irreversible.

So what can you do when this happens to your or one of your friends? How can you prevent such things from happening to you? After contacting SingCert and searching various websites for the answer, here is what I have gathered.


The Incident

Before I begin though, I am sure you are interested in what happened to my friend’s Facebook account. At 2:30PM on a Sunday, I received a notification from Facebook, informing me that my friend had tagged me in a comment on a link he shared.

Tapping on the notification, I discovered that it was a link to an obscene post, as you can see below. The worst part of it is that all of his friends were tagged in the comments. To protect everyone’s identity, I have censored all the names in the image.

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I knew that my friend would never do such a thing, and the emoji between each name tagged was very suspicious. Hence, I messaged him about the post and he had no clue that it happened. When he checked his activity log, there was nothing.

What happened? The hacker deleted the post, leaving no trace that it was done. But it was too late. Everyone tagged in the post had already received a notification and those that clicked on the notification before it was deleted saw what he shared.


What to Do When This Happens to Your Friend?

1) Do not click on the link

Even if you are interested in the content of the link, do not click on it or you might become the next victim. The link is likely to be malicious, a trap set by the hacker in an attempt to gain access to your Facebook account. DO NOT CLICK!

2) Inform the victim immediately

In my example above, my friend had no idea that his account was compromised and used to share the disgusting post. If he hadn’t logged in after being alerted about it, the post might still be up there and more of his friends would have seen it.

Let the victim know about it as soon as possible, so that he/she can take down the post and carry out damage control before it spreads further. Also, this would prevent more people from clicking on the sketchy link and falling victim to it.


What to Do When This Happens to You?

After the incident, I contacted Singapore Police Force and SingCert on how my friend could resolve the incident. Both told me to contact Facebook, but if you have tried, you will know doing so isn’t as easy and straightforward as it sounds.

Facebook does have a page where you can report compromised account, linked here. But other than recovering your account, it ain’t very useful and may not be sufficient to prevent it from happening again. So what else can you do?

Thankfully, SingCert also gave me a couple of pointers on how to report and prevent such attacks in the future. Combining tips I found online, here is a list of things you should do when someone compromises your account and does horrible stuff:

1) Send an email to SingCert with the screenshot/link

If possible, ask your friend to send you a screenshot of “your” post or the link shared by “you”, before you take any other action. Then, send the link or screenshot to SingCert’s email and they will try to prevent such things from happening to others.

2) Change your password and enable 2FA

Now that the hacker has access to your account, they probably have your password so you will want to change that. Choose a reliable password that isn’t too similar from your old one.

Next, enable 2 factor authentication by going to Settings > Security & Login > Use 2 factor authentication > Edit on your Facebook Account. Once enabled, you will have to enter a 6 digit code on top of your password whenever you login on a new device.

The extra step when login in on a new device is not very convenient, but your account will be a lot more secured and you will be notified whenever someone tries to login to your account.

3) Reset devices that are possibly infected

Think about why someone could have gotten access to your account. Did you leave your device unattended? Did you download anything sketchy? Did you click on any suspicious links?

In my friend’s case, I suspect that something nasty was inside his computer or phone all along, silently collecting his passwords, personal data and activities. Knowing his habit of downloading stuff from suspicious sites, I am not surprised.

From my understanding, no Facebook apps has permission to leave a comment as the user. Hence, in order to tag his friends in the comments, the intruder must have access to his account.

Next, the emojis used in separate the names tagged leads me to believe that it is done by a bot. Which human has so much time to waste on switching between so many emojis?

4) Announce that your account was compromised

When such a thing happens, there isn’t a way to undo it, so the best thing that you can do is damage control. Delete the post if it hasn’t been done so by the hacker already and announce to your friends on Facebook that your account got compromised.


Conclusion – Stay Safe Online!

Before the attack, I thought that getting locked out of your account or getting your data stolen was bad and I am sure that I am not the only one who thought so. But after this incident, we now know that it can get a lot worst.

None of us wants to have to deal with such attacks and the only way to truly do so is avoid clicking on any unreliable links and do not download anything from sketchy sites.

 

1MORE 1M301 Single Driver In-Ear Headphones Review

1MORE, who you may also know as the company behind Xiaomi’s headphones, is well known for producing headphones that both look and sound good at an affordable price.

Today, we will be taking a look at their 1M301 single driver in-ear headphones, which normally retails for S$59, but you can often find one under S$40 at electronics exhibitions.


Summary – Very Well Rounded!

The 1MORE 1M301 may not be the best in all areas when you compare it to similarly priced in-ear headphones, but there isn’t really anything bad about it.

Pros:

  • Luxurious unboxing experience
  • Cloth carrying pouch included
  • Elegant metal body design
  • Lower half of cable is Kevlar braided
  • Produces sound with good amount of details and deep bass
  • Great microphone
  • Volume buttons work on iOS & Android

Cons:

  • So so noise isolation?
  • Lack of cons

Unboxing – A Surreal Experience

1MORE doesn’t disappoint us with the 1M301’s packaging.

Like most of 1MORE’s other headphones, unboxing the 1M301 is like unboxing a pair of luxury headphones. Sliding off the outer cover reveals a box with 1MORE’s logo.

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Taking off the lid, you will find the headphones in the iconic 1MORE/Xiaomi box wrapped in plastic, as well as a compartment containing the accessories. Inside, you will find a black cloth carrying pouch of pretty good quality, as well as a metal shirt clip.

 

Moving on to the box containing the headphones. The layout is similar to what we have seen in the past: On the top layer, we have the headphones, with cable coiled around the cushion. Below, you will find 3 additional pairs of ear tips of various sizes.

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This kind exquisite unboxing experience on budget headphones is unique to 1MORE and it is the thing I look forward to most when getting 1MORE products. It may not affect the quality of the headphones, but leaves a really good first impression.


Design & Build Quality – Easily One of the Best

1M301’s sleek metal body, as well as the Kevlar braided lower half of the cable, makes it one of the most “premium” looking headphones under S$100.

From a distance, you will easily recognize that this is a pair of 1MORE in-ear headphones. The design of the metal body is very similar to those on some of 1MORE’s costlier in-ear headphones, including their ever so popular E1001 triple driver.

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The lower half of the cable, before the Y intersection, is Kevlar braided so it doesn’t tangle easily and even when it does, you can undo it with ease. The outer casing of the Y intersection and 3.5mm connector are made of metal. Looks beautiful!

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The housing for the volume controls is made of plastic, but the buttons are metal so it doesn’t ruin the looks of the 1M301. These are no ordinary volume and play/pause buttons and we will be taking a closer look at them in a short while.

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Overall, the 1M301’s design is a lot more elegant and premium-looking than what you would find from similarly priced in-ear headphones by other major headphone manufacturers.


Sound – Unsurprisingly Amazing

1MORE is well known for producing headphones with sound quality comparable to much costlier headphones from competitors. The 1M301 is no exception.

As the 1M301 is priced similarly to the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro and Pro HD, both of which I have reviewed (both performed very well against similarly priced products from other manufacturers), I will be comparing them to the 1M301 in this review.

The level of details of the 1M301 is somewhere in between the Pro and Pro HD. Using my favorite track to test on Spotify (当爱来敲门 by 张碧晨), the 1M301 is missing a bit in trebles compared to the Pro HD, but still excellent level of details for its price.

In terms of sound signature, the 1M301 is closer to the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro, with slight emphasis on the bass, but mids and trebles are still very clear and vibrant in the foreground.

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Which to choose between the 3? Each are amazing in their own ways, so you will have to test them to decide. For me, the Pro HD would be my first choice due to its clarity, followed closely by the 1M301 as I generally do not listen to music with too much bass.

The 1M301 stayed in my ears pretty well, even with quite a bit of movement. I did not experience any discomfort wearing it, so thumbs up for ergonomics. Noise isolation is just average and at moderate volume you can still hear the background.

Compared to 1MORE’s more affordable Piston Fit, the 1M301 produces mids that are cleaner, richer and more filling, resulting in a much more immersive experience. Bass is also much deeper, so the >2x price difference is more than justified.


Microphone – Not Too Shabby

1M301’s microphone may not be the best at eliminating background noise, but it is loud and clear.

In my 1MORE Piston Fit review, I was really shocked at how good the microphone quality was, especially when you consider its super low price tag. Is the 1M301’s microphone as good, or even better? The audio below is recorded with the 1M301.

Below is a recording with the Piston Fit for comparison. 1M301’s audio is louder, but the audio recorded with the Piston Fit gets rid of background noise better. The microphone on both are very clear though, which is pretty rare on budget headphones.

To make this more fun, here are short recordings of me trying to sing 九张机 by 叶炫清. In this case, the difference in quality of recorded audio actually narrowed, and I would say that the microphones on both headphones are equally good.

Recorded with 1M301

Recorded with Piston Fit

(Pardon the horrible singing. I have never learnt to sing and I rarely sing, so please 谅解. Now you know why I dislike KTV.)


Volume Buttons – Works on Both iOS & Android

Unlike other volume buttons, the 1M301’s is capable of controlling volume on both Android and iOS.

Volume buttons on headphones usually only work for either iOS or Android, a pain-in-the-ass if you use devices running both OS.

We have seen many different solutions for this, from having a physical switch to swap device type, like on the SenYeek earphones that I reviewed earlier, to having a built-in volume level setting, like what many Bluetooth headphones are using.

These solutions do work, but they all come with some kind of compromises. For example, if your headphone uses a built-in volume setting and your phone is muted, you will have to take out your phone to unmute it before you can listen to music.

1MORE’s solution is different. Through some mysterious magicking, they were able to make the volume buttons work seamlessly on both iOS and Android devices, and it can adjust your phone’s volume level directly on both OS. Sweet!


Conclusion – Excels in Almost Every Way

High recommend getting one!

While the 1MORE 1M301 may not be the best in all aspect, it does better than most of the competition in most aspects, if not all. There isn’t really anything bad about it, so you will not regret paying S$59 or less for the 1M301 in-ear headphones.

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A Visit to Mi Store @ VivoCity

The grand opening of Xiaomi’s new Mi Store at VivoCity took place this morning, but I was not able to be there due to NDP rehearsal. How can I miss the chance to visit the largest Mi Store yet on its big day? Thus, I headed there right after rehearsal ended.

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In case you couldn’t make it there too, here is a quick look at the new Mi Store at VivoCity. The store is located in a new section of VivoCity, which is accessible via an escalator near McDonald’s.

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Go up, turn left and you will see it. Inside, the VivoCity Mi Store isn’t too different from other Mi Stores and Mi Home we have seen. As always, the first few rows of long wooden tables are occupied by demo sets of Xiaomi’s latest phones.

You may have noticed the Mi Mix 2S poster at the back. That isn’t here yet, but will be coming very soon.

Moving to the middle row, you will find other Xiaomi products on display, including the Mi Action Camera 4K and Dash Cam. The most exciting product has to be the Mi Robot Vacuum and you can watch it in action as it follows the red lines on the table.

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As mentioned earlier, this is the largest Mi Store in Singapore yet and that is very apparent when you walk to the very last row, which consist of two shelves and an empty table with chairs. So much space in this new Mi Store!

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Like the Mi Store at Bedok Mall, some of the products here are export set, like the induction rice cooker below. These are not covered under warranty by Mi Singapore, so do check with the friendly staffs at the Mi Store about warranty.

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Moving on to the new stuff. If you have visited Mi Home Suntec recently, you may have noticed a wooden train toy set on display. This wooden toy set is now on sale at Mi Store Vivo City for S$99. A little costly, but the quality is very good from what I can see.

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Here is another new toy you can get at Mi Store Vivo City: the Mi Fidget Cube. Build it and play with it!

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Next, we have the 10000mAh Mi Power Bank 2S, which usually cost S$28.80, but you can get it at S$19.90 from today till 1st July. It is slightly taller than the 10000mAh Mi Power Bank, but it has a second USB port, so you can charge 2 devices at once. Sweet!

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Lastly, hidden among all the Mi earphones are these Earpods lookalike. They blend in so well with the other earphones many people I know did not notice they were there. These are Xiaomi’s new dual driver earphones, priced at S$29.90.

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VivoCity Mi Store is having promotions for some products, including phones at S$99 (25 sets only), until tomorrow. Looking for a robot vacuum to clean your house or a dash cam for your new car? Here is your chance to save some money!

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I bought one of the new products mentioned above and will be reviewing it here soon. Can you guess which Mi product it is? (Hint: The bag is not big enough for the wooden toy, so that is definitely not it. There is nothing to write about the fidget cube, so…)

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Congrats to Era International Network (EIN) on the grand opening of the VivoCity Mi Store!