Xiaomi’s $300 Pocophone Vs. Samsung’s $1,250 Galaxy Note 9: It’s Closer Than You’d Think

The Pocophone, left, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.Ben Sin

Three years ago, Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing pulled his company out of the high-end smartphone battleground, saying that there were “too many Chinese vendors,” some of whom were “playing irrationally.” He was referring to the price war that saw — and continues to see — Chinese brands push smartphone prices lower and lower, slimming profit margins to near zero, all in order to gain market share.

That price war is still going strong three years on. In fact, it may be more irrational than ever.

I recently reviewed Samsung’s much-hyped Galaxy Note 9, and though I really liked the phone (so much that I purchased one for personal use), I had a hard time giving it the same glowing recommendation and gushy praise that American reviewers have thrown Samsung’s way. The reason was because in the same month that the Note 9 hit the market, Xiaomi announced a budget device under its new sub-brand Poco with most of the same internals, at almost a quarter of the price. That Snapdragon 845 processor; large 4,000 mAh battery; and liquid cooling interior for (slightly) improved thermals that highlight the Note 9 are all found in Poco’s debut release, the F1 (or more commonly known, Pocophone).

So naturally, the first thing I did when I received my trial review unit of the Pocophone was pit it against my new top-tier variant, $1,250 Note 9. I knew the $300 Pocophone would perform standard smartphone tasks just as well as the Note 9 because they have the same processor, what I didn’t expect was for it to be faster (especially considering that my Note 9 has 8GB of RAM to the Pocophone’s 6GB). As a matter of fact, the Pocophone significantly outperforms the Note 9 in download and upload speeds. It can even sort of keep up in photography, provided it’s during the day.

The first test I did was a basic speed test, loading a series of apps such as Facebook, Instagram, camera, and loading webpages to sites I’ve never visited before. The Pocophone finished a split second ahead of the Note 9 just about every time. I then tested connection speeds by running both a benchmark via the Speedtest app and doing a real-world test in which I downloaded a game with a large file size (PUBG Mobile). In both tests, the Pocophone beat the Note 9 — the Pocophone finished downloading and installing PUBG a full minute before the Note 9. Check the screenshots and video below to see what I mean.

The Note 9 (left) suffered losses to the Pocophone in both upload and download speed via the app Speedtest.Ben Sin

I also ran both phones on the benchmark apps PC Mark and Geekbench, and the Pocophone won both as well.

The Pocophone on the left with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.Ben Sin

I understand that benchmark numbers are not the end-all, be-all to determine which phone is more powerful, but when you consider that one phone costs four times as much, it’s a bit jarring.

The biggest surprise, however, has been the camera tests. I expected the Note 9 to completely outclass the Pocophone here, but that is only the case in really low light situations and video recording. During the day, shots are close enough that you’d have to pixel-peep to see the difference.

A sample of some plants.Ben Sin

Zoomed in 200%.Ben Sin

I prefer Pocophone’s bokeh mode, too.Ben Sin

Another bokeh.Ben Sin

At night or in low light situations, you can see the Note 9’s camera superiority.

The Note 9 clearly wins this really low light shot, captured in my living room with most lights off.Ben sin

Notice the Note 9’s shot is brighter, more detailed, with less noise.Ben Sin

And of course, the Note 9 has OIS and EIS, so videos come out much smoother. But for $300, the Pocophone’s photos are really, really good.

The Pocophone has a 12-megapixel main lens, with a 5-megapixel depth sensor.Ben Sin

And in terms of battery life, it was absolutely no surprise to me that 4,000 mAh went further on the Pocophone than the Note 9, considering Xiaomi’s history of strong battery optimization and the Note 9’s more power hungry display.

Now of course, I’m not saying the Pocophone is a better smartphone than the Galaxy Note 9. The Note 9 has a much more premium build quality, a higher resolution and brighter display, and additional features such as water-proofing and wireless charging. Plus, there’s that stylus, for the 3% of the consumers out there who actually need one. For anyone who’s into gadgets and has disposable income, they’d still rather buy the Galaxy Note 9.

But for a $300 phone to flat out beat a $1,250 phone in both real world and benchmark speed and connection tests, as well as produce photos that are around 90% as good during the day and 70% as good at night? I keep thinking back to the value proposition. Someone like me will opt for the most powerful phone every time, regardless of price; but for the average person? For example, my mother who only uses a phone to check Facebook and send WhatsApp messages? How can she possibly justify buying anything but a Chinese handset?

With the Note 9, Samsung has crafted a darn good phone, one that is the culmination of a three-year design cycle that evolved and refined itself through plenty of trial and error. Samsung should price the Note 9 in the top tier, iPhone pricing bracket. But the irrational strategy — and China speed — of Chinese brands have thrown the whole Android business pricing model out of wack.

Originally published here.

Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed — The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

US Supreme Court in Washington DC in bright sunlight

Everything has changed and nothing has changed. The Supreme Court’s decision yesterday is a central assault upon marriage as the conjugal union of a man and a woman and in a five to four decision the nation’s highest court has now imposed its mandate redefining marriage on all fifty states.

As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.”

The majority’s argument, expressed by Justice Kennedy, is that the right of same-sex couples to marry is based in individual autonomy as related to sexuality, in marriage as a fundamental right, in marriage as a privileged context for raising children, and in upholding marriage as central to civilization. But at every one of these points, the majority had to reinvent marriage in order to make its case. The Court has not merely ordered that same-sex couples be allowed to marry – it has fundamentally redefined marriage itself.

The inventive legal argument set forth by the majority is clearly traceable in Justice Kennedy’s previous decisions including Lawrence (2003) and Windsor (2013), and he cites his own decisions as legal precedent. As the Chief Justice makes clear, Justice Kennedy and his fellow justices in the majority wanted to legalize same-sex marriage and they invented a constitutional theory to achieve their purpose. It was indeed an act of will disguised as a legal judgment.

Justice Kennedy declared that “the right to marry

8 Things I Wish I’d Known As A Newlywed

 

We walked the aisle, said “I do,” and stuffed cake in each others faces when I was 24.

I wasn’t 25 before I realized that I had absolutely no idea how to be married.

I brought a lifetime of bad ideas and bloated expectations to this enigmatic relationship, and the deeper we got into marriage, the more ridiculous some of my most basic assumptions about it proved to be.

After slamming doors and screaming matches became regular hobbies of ours, I knew I needed to put some of these basic expectations to the test.

My personal exploration hasn’t ended—and ideally, never will. But here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way that could save newlyweds at least a few hard days.

1. Happily Ever After is a Perk—Not the Point.

Our modern obsession with being happy often makes it far easier for us to love happiness more than we ever love another human.

Our modern obsession with being happy often makes it far easier for us to love happiness more than we ever love another human. And though being happy is a very real by-product of a healthy relationship, the value we put on personal fulfillment is so inflated, it’s causing us to miss one of the more beautiful purposes of marriage.

In Hebrew, the word used for marriage actually means “Fire.” And not-so-coincidentally, fire is also the element used throughout ancient Hebrew culture to represent personal reformation. In this light, marriage, and its necessary—but often unhappy—friction, is seen less as a doorway to happily ever after and more as a tool in God’s hands to help us become increasingly beautiful—increasingly our best and brightest selves.

8 Women Christian Men Should Never Marry

Man and woman marriage

Have you prayerfully considered these characteristics when choosing a potential marriage partner? (iStock)

1. The unbeliever. In last week’s column, I reminded women that the Bible is absolutely clear on this point: Christians should not marry unbelievers. Second Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (NASB). Apart from your decision to follow Christ, marriage is the single most important decision you will ever make. Don’t blow it by ignoring the obvious. You need a wife who loves Jesus more than she loves you. Put spiritual maturity at the top of your list of qualities you want in a wife.

10 Men Christian Women Should Never Marry

Men and women

Don’t be impatient when choosing a helpmate. God has the right one for you. (iStock)

Several single women would very much like to find the right guy. Some say the pickings are slim at their church while others have thrown up their hands in despair, wondering if there are any decent Christian guys left anywhere. They’ve begun to wonder if they should lower their standards in order to find a mate.

Don’t settle for less than God’s best.  You are much better off single than with the wrong guy!

Speaking of “wrong guys,” here are the top 10 men you should avoid when looking for a husband:

1. The unbeliever. Please write 2 Corinthians 6:14 on a Post-it note and tack it on your computer at work. It says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (NASB). This is not an outdated religious rule. It is the Word of God for you today.

Don’t allow a man’s charm, looks or financial success (or his willingness to go to church with you) push you to compromise what you know is right. “Missionary dating” is never a wise strategy. If the guy is not a born-again Christian, scratch him off your list. He’s not right for you. I’ve yet to meet a Christian woman who didn’t regret marrying an unbeliever.

WATCH: What Facebook ‘Likes’ really reveal about you

Watch this if you ‘Like’ pages on Facebook. Facebook ‘Likes’ say more about you than you might think.

5 Mistakes You Make That Succesful People Don’t

No matter what you want to succeed at in life—your career, a hobby, your personal life—there are a few universal truths that can be applied to the pursuit of success, and a few mistakes that can be considered universal barriers to achieving it.

As I’ve watched and studied successful people in my life, I’ve noticed five mistakes that they seem to be able to avoid at any cost.

Do you fall into the trap of any of these mistakes? If so, you may be putting roadblocks on your own path to success

keys to success

telligent.com

Mistake 1. Avoid responsibility

The price of greatness is responsibility.” –Winston Churchill

One of the first things you will notice that successful people don’t have is a blaming or victim mentality. When things go wrong, what is your first response? Successful people won’t say, “I couldn’t succeed because of X, Y, and Z” or “It’s actually this person’s fault.” They’re much more likely to own a mistake rather than blame others for their failure or misfortune. I believe the key here is that by owning a mistake, we are more likely to learn from it and much less likely to repeat it.

Here’s How People Define Financial Success Around The World

In a recent survey of affluent people in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Mastercard found that people’s definitions of success varied widely depending on where they were from.

The survey looked at affluent people in the region, who are, on average, age 37, have one young child, and have investible assets of at least $200,000. The affluent population is growing quickly in the region, which is expected to be home to 70% of the world’s affluent by 2017.

Mastercard found that overall, in addition to finding satisfaction in buying and owning luxury goods, affluent people in the region view “wealth as the catalyst to experience the world.”

Can You Actually Know God’s Purpose for Your Life?

 

Do you spend much time wondering (or worrying) about what career or purpose is right for your life? I’ve lost sleep over the same topic, constantly returning to this question:

Am I wasting my life in this (job, relationship, church, etc.)?

 

Google Made The Tiniest Change To Its Corporate Logo — See If You Can Even Spot It

If you’re an obsessive designer, you might have seen a subtle tweak to Google’s logo made over the weekend. If you’re like the rest of the planet, you missed it. Reddit was the first to spot the change.

Before we reveal what’s new, we’ll give you a chance to try to spot the difference. Here is the old logo:

 

google old 2

Google

 

Some People Don’t Get Bitten By Mosquitoes — Why That’s True Will Surprise You

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means the time for barbecues and nights outside has begun. But, unfortunately, it’s also the time that mosquitoes see as open season to dine on humans.

mosquito

CDC

If you can’t spend a summer night outside without slapping your ankles — and you still end up with dozens of mosquito bites — then it might be true that the flying pests really do love you.

And those lucky people who say they don’t get bitten? They exist too.

The 11 Cities With The Most Opportunity Right Now

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has a comprehensive new ranking of 30 cities in the world that offer the widest opportunities for businesses and the people who live there.

PwC’s sixth edition of its “Cities of Opportunity” report examined intellectual capital and innovation; technology readiness; how accessible a city is to the rest of the world; transportation and infrastructure; health, safety, and security; sustainability and the natural environment; demographics and livability; economic clout; ease of doing business; and cost.

We took a closer look at the top 11 cities on the list, what got them there, and where they have room to improve.

11. Berlin

berlin skyline

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

25 Things That Make You Happier – based on Science

Humans have remarkable control over their own happiness.In her book, “The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want,” psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky says a person’s happiness is 50% due to genetics, 10% due to circumstances, and the remaining 40% is “within our power to change.”But it takes work.That’s why we’ve compiled 25 different ways to boost your mood. Happiness is different for each person, but hopefully at least one of these methods will help you find your inner sunshine.

Are you using NSA-proof encryption?

encryptionComputer programmers believe they know how to build cryptographic systems that are impossible for anyone, even the U.S. government, to crack. So why can the NSA read your e-mail?

Last week, leaks revealed that the Web sites most people use every day are sharing users’ private information with the government. Companies participating in the National Security Agency’s program, code-named PRISM, include Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. During the 1990s, a “cypherpunk” movement predicted that ubiquitous, user-friendly cryptographic software would make it impossible for governments to spy on ordinary users’ private communications.

Hacked Coackroach Controlled With Kinect

 

BROWN COC

North Carolina State University researchers have taken roach control to a whole new level. The team created an interface that sends a cockroach scurrying in any pre-determined direction, and they’re using an Xbox Kinect to keep it on track.

The roach gets moving through some clever biological trickery. Researchers wire sensors to the roach’s external sensory organs, which causes the bug to move forward. Small charges injected into the roach’s neural tissue trick the roach into thinking its antennae are hitting a barrier, which causes it to turn. Researchers use a computer to plot the roach’s course, and then send it on its way.

The NC State researchers created the robo-roach last year, but the Kinect is a new addition. By setting up the gaming device and pointing it toward the roach, the researchers can track the movements of the roach, and the system automatically tweak its path if necessary.

The team is eventually hoping to use the wired roaches to enter dangerous situations like collapsed buildings, areas where human crews (and hefty rescue robots) can’t reach.

Cool, although it’s probably not quite as fast as this cardboard roachbot.

Originally published here.