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.

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.

Hacked Coackroach Controlled With Kinect



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.

Monkey controlling robot arm with its brain

This is what believing will get anyone who tries and never gives up. What an amazing gift God has given each one of us!

Mark 9: 14-29:

14When they came back to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them.15Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him.16And He asked them, “What are you discussing with them?”17And one of the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, possessed with a spirit which makes him mute;18and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth and stiffens out. I told Your disciples to cast it out, and they could not do it.19And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!”20They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth.21And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.22“It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”23And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”24Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”25When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.”26After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!”27But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.28When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?”29And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”

1.8 gigapixel ARGUS-IS. World’s highest resolution video surveillance

ARGUS-IS is the world’s highest resolution camera with a whopping 1.8 billion pixels. The system streams live to the ground and stores up to 1 million terabytes of footage a day; an equivalent of 5000 hours of High Definition Video.

739kb of data stored on artificially created DNA – somebody say freaky!


Scientists in Britain have announced a breakthrough in the quest to turn DNA into a revolutionary form of data storage that could fit the world’s entire three billion terabytes of stored data into the palm of your hand.

They said a speck of man-made DNA could hold mountains of data that could be freeze-dried, shipped and stored, potentially for thousands of years. The contents are “read” by sequencing the DNA – as is routinely done today, in genetic fingerprinting and so on – and turning it back into computer code.

“We already know that DNA is a robust way to store information because we can extract it from bones of woolly mammoths, which date back tens of thousands of years, and make sense of it,” said Nick Goldman of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, a co-author of the study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

The study reported that the institute’s team had stored all 154 Shakespeare sonnets, a photo, a PDF of a scientific paper, and a 26-second sound clip from US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jnr’s “I Have a Dream” speech in a barely visible bit of DNA in a test tube.

Britain’s top 20 worst streets for broadband

Britain's slowest street for broadband offers a connection that would take 25 hours to download a film (Image: Fotolia)

Britain’s worst street for broadband is Cromarty Road in Stamford, Lincolnshire – with a 0.132mbps speed so slow it would take 25 hours to download a film.

The results of a nationwide survey pinpointed the road as the worst in the UK – with a connection 500 times slower than the fastest, Willowfield in Telford.

The results come from 2,261,336 speed tests conducted by uSwitch.com’s speedchecker.

The survey has highlighted entire counties that are blackspots for broadband speed.

Time-Lapse of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Journey Through Los Angeles

October 18, 2012, Michael Zhang

If you’ve been following the news over the past week, you probably know that the Space Shuttle Endeavour spent October 11-14 rolling through the streets of Los Angeles, going from the Los Angeles International Airport to its new home at the California Science Center. News crews and large camera-wielding crowds were constantly by the shuttle’s side, documenting its progress.

For those of you who weren’t lucky enough to personally witness the neat sight of the giant shuttle moving through the city, check out the beautifully-made time-lapse video above that shows the four-day journey in under three minutes.

Soldering is Easy – comic | Raspberry Pi


We’re in Reykjavík this week, and met up on our arrival with some of the guys from HakkavéIin (The Hack Machine), who spent the evening demonstrating just how great Icelanders are. Board games in an independent cinema foyer, very large langoustines, microbrew and debates about the command line: what could be better?

I spent a lot of the evening talking to the most excellent Andie Nordgren. Andie is a technical producer at CCP games, and she’s also one of the team behind a very handy instructional comic about soldering. Click the image to download a pdf of the whole seven pages. It’s a great visual reference and a cool thing to put on the wall; you can also use it as an educational tool, encouraging kids to colour in resistors…and to do some soldering. Thanks Andie!

via Soldering is Easy – comic | Raspberry Pi.

TXTR Unveils 5 Inches eReader – Beagle

October 11, 2012, Mark Collins

(GSM Insider) – German manufacturer TXTR unveils the eReader which is the world cheapest eReader and world smallest eReader – Beagle. The price of TXTR Beagle is only at as low as €10. Trust me. Only 10 EUROS.

TXTR Beagle comes with a 5 inches display with 800 x 600 E-Ink Resolution. The thickness not more than 5mm and the weight is 128g. There are no microUSB port or HDMI port. So is it no need to charge? Yes. No charging required of TXTR Beagle. It powered by three AAA size battery. The three AAA size battery able to provide standby time up to 365 days.

TXTR Beagle has 4GB of ROM storage. With the price of only 10 EUROS, it has no 3G connectivity. So it has no relationship with any other carriers in Germany. It still remains unknown on the launch date of TXTR Beagle. TXTR set to release this eReader in America, Asia and Europe. Lets welcome another cheap gadget to the market.

Felix Baumgartner’s Skydive from Space


Felix Baumgartner Space Jump GIF
Felix Baumgartner successfully jumped from 127,900 feet Sunday — breaking the record for the highest altitude skydive in the process.But what would an epic jump be without an epic GIF? Thus, we bring you Baumgartner’s jump, in GIF form.

via Felix Baumgartner’s GIF from Space.

Suitcase That Follows You Around

October 8, 2012 by Anita Li

For those who tire of dragging a heavy piece of luggage through the airport, a new hands-free suitcase will do all the work for you.

via Hop is a Suitcase That Follows You Around Hands-Free.

Chinese hack attack on White House computer

Washington confirms Chinese hack attack on White House computer

By , Published October 01, 2012, FoxNews.com

White House sources partly confirmed an alarming report that U.S. government computers — reportedly including systems used by the military for nuclear commands — were breached by Chinese hackers.

“This was a spear phishing attack against an unclassified network,” a White House official told FoxNews.com. “These types of attacks are not infrequent and we have mitigation measures in place.”

A law enforcement official who works with members of the White House Military Office confirmed the Chinese attack to FoxNews.com on Monday, but it remains unclear what information, if any, was taken or left behind.

“This [White House Communications Agency] guy opened an email he wasn’t supposed to open,” the source said.

That email contained a spear phishing attack from a computer server in China, the law enforcement source told FoxNews.com. The attack was first reported by the conservative blog Free Beacon. Spear phishing involves the use of messages disguised to appear as valid; in fact, they contain targeted, malicious attempts to access sensitive or confidential information.

By opening the email, which likely contained a link to a malicious site or some form of attachment, the agency member allowed the Chinese hacker to access a system, explained Anup Ghosh, founder and CEO of security company Invincea.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/10/01/washington-confirms-chinese-hack-attack-on-white-house-computer/#ixzz2858Kqfi0