The Best flagship phones you can buy in Bangladesh

Choosing a phone is one of the most important purchasing decisions. It is also a very expensive decision if you are buying an expensive top-of-the-line flagship phone. The smartphone market feels saturated and it may feel overwhelming to choose from so many. You need to deliberate which phone offers the best combination of the features suited to your needs or lifestyle. For most of us in Bangladesh, value for money is one of the most important factors. so, this list prioritizes that consideration. No iPhone here. Sorry (not sorry).

About the list

Only one phone per company has been included. In-depth specifications have not been included for all phones, check out our reviews on some of the phones and you know, Google.

1.    Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Best Flagship phones you can buy

The Note 9 is a good follow up and a significant upgrade over the Note 8. It retains the premium build quality of the Note series, as a more productivity oriented model than the average smartphone. The design and the features on this are aimed at people who value portability and productivity.
The phone has an octa core Exynos 9810 processor along with 6GB of ram. It has excellent battery life with fast charging capability.

The glass back and the Corning Gorilla Glass covering the glass makes this phone good to look and firm in build. The Galaxy Note 9 adopts a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 pixels. It has good brightness levels and sunlight legibility. The device panel has a wide selection of color. These colors show up on the vivid display, making it a worthy contender as the best display on a smartphone today.

It has a dual rear camera setup with 12mp sensors; both cameras have Optical image stabilization and one camera is a telephoto with 2x optical zoom capability. In simple English, this means that you can capture detailed photos with excellent color saturation and minimal noise. The 8mp front camera has live autofocus. The general consensus in Bangladesh is that more megapixels mean that it is a better camera. However, that is not the case and quite evident when comparing this phone to other ones.

2.    Huawei Mate 20 Pro

The Best Flagship phones you can buy

The Mate 20 Pro might very well be the surprise contender for phone of the year. The phone is packed with the best hardware that you can get right now.

The phone looks and feels great. This is due to the gradient color scheme that Huawei has adopted for their premium models. The Mate 20 Pro features 6.3-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 3120 x 1440 pixels. It has a high pixel dense screen of 538 ppi which supports seamless HDR10.

The Kirin Hisilicon 980 octa core processor and 6GB of RAM ensures high performance and low battery consumption. It runs on Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9.0 skin. The device supports wireless charging and can be doubled up as a charging plate for other wireless charging capable smartphones. It has a long battery life of 4200mAh.

There are three Leica cameras in the rear, a 40mp primary wide angle lens, a 20mp super wide angle sensor and an 8mp telephoto sensor along with a dual tone LED flash. The camera app has a great selection of features and can support 4k videos at 60 fps. The single 20mp front camera can capture HDR photos.

3.    LG V40 ThinQ

The Best Flagship phones you can buy

First off, this has been hailed as the audiophile’s phone, a title the V Series has become known for. The Quad DAC makes its audio output equivalent to that of hi-res dedicated DAP (digital audio player) and an accurate playback even at very high volumes. You’re getting serious high definition audio output almost exclusive to audio players on a smartphone.

The V40 ThinQ is the first phone to feature five cameras on it, with three sensors in the back and two out front. The telephoto lens in the back is the most interesting out of the cameras in this list; it is 12mp with 2x optical zoom and a 47 degree field of view, making it particularly handy for portrait mode. One of the coolest new features is Triple Shot. When Triple Shot is enabled you can snap a picture using all three of the rear cameras, one after the other. Once the photos have been captured, the phone can process them into a six-second video with music added automatically. Record 4K videos at 60fps with the device. I personally think this is the best camera on a phone this year as opposed to the mostly disappointing Google Pixel 3XL.

 The CPU is powerful with 6 GB RAM and a display with 537ppi. The phone only falls short in the software and battery life departments. Otherwise, this is personally the phone of the year for me.

4.    OnePlus 6T

The Best Flagship phones you can buy

The OnePlus 6 may have made a bigger splash on the market; OnePlus 6T is more than an incremental update. Most new models tend to be, but not this one. The reason the phone is on this list include the teardrop shaped notch on the 6.41 inch Optic-AMOLED display. This is a pleasant change to large unsightly one on the OnePlus 6. Another welcome change is the on screen fingerprint scanner replaces the OnePlus 6’s one on the back.

True to the company’s reputation of being able to hold its own against the market leaders’ premiere options, the OnePlus 6T provides above average performance at processor performance, audio, gaming etc. However, the OnePlus 6T does not excel at any one particular feature. The Snapdragon 845 processor is decent with an Adreno 630 GPU. The minimalistic Oxygen OS on top of the Android 9 Pie can make an interface feel bloated. There are three cameras, 16+20MP dual on the back and a 16MP front selfie camera. A brilliant value for money.

5.    Pocophone/ POCO F1

The Best Flagship phones you can buy

This phone arguably redefines what a flagship phone means. The Pocophone is the first product of Xiaomi’s Poco sub-brand. This phone has a Snapdragon 845 processor with up to 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage. The best part? It is available at the starting price of 24,000 taka locally. That too, at a time when processors of that quality are priced at over 30,000 taka.

The fast smartphone is equipped with a massive battery life. As it resonates with the rational consumers’ demand of more features at lower prices, this phone will hopefully set the tone for the future of the smartphone market. There have been complaints about minor software issues and average camera performance along with Xiaomi’s behavior as a company after the popularity it has enjoyed at release. We didn’t expect such features at such prices, but now we have it. So go get it.

Would your list of top 5 flagship phones look different? Let us know!

Dragon Ball Super: Broly- Everything we’ve ever wanted

We asked for it every time STAR Cineplex had brought a new movie in. But to be quite honest, we didn’t think we’d live to see the day when we’ll watch an anime in Bangladeshi theatres. When we sat down to watch it for the first time, it felt like a dream come true!

And as for the movie itself, all we can say is that he is back, for good this time. Somehow, he is better than ever before. Dragon Ball Super: Broly blows all expectations out of proportion.

Dragon Ball and Broly

Fans of the Dragon Ball series have long adored it for a multitude of reasons. For most, the series defined their childhoods. That is a very subjective statement. What is objectively great about Dragon Ball is its massive and varied gallery of supporting characters, especially the villains. Arguably the most intriguing of who is Broly, the legendary Super Saiyan.

Fans obsess over Broly- the mysterious and savage warrior of seemingly no principle aside from pure mayhem. For many, he is the favorite character in the series. Established from the first Dragon Ball Z movie of his, Broly is one the last surviving members of Goku and Vegeta’s race, an untamable and monstrous individual of pure power. He is the only Dragon Ball villain to be featured in more than one movie. However, the thing about him is, he is a movie villain only and thus not part of the greater Dragon Ball canon. Toriyama and Co. decided to change that, and the result is marvelous.

Read more: https://hifipublic.com/en/2018/09/17/why-everyone-should-watch-anime/

New and improved: Not even his final form

Dragon Ball Super: Broly brings the titular character into the main universe continuation of the series and thus gives him a brand new origin to suit. It is still as close to the original as it needs to be though. Fans tend to get somewhat touchy about rehashes and revisions of their favorite characters. This movie pulls off the reboot as well as can be.

A large part of what made Broly into such a favorite in the previous continuity was the mystique surrounding him and his violence. There was some explanation to it, but it did not feel satisfactory to me and Broly felt like a really cool but incomplete character. This one does a much better job of portraying Broly as an actual person and his driving forces. Not to worry though, he is still as cool and as buff as ever. He is still out to get everyone unfortunate enough to anger him (mostly Goku). Just now, he has a reason to.

One would expect the movie to follow the character into being a complete revamp, but thankfully it is not so. It does not just ignore the previous incarnation of Broly, the movie is self-aware in the sense that it often throws shade to the past incarnation of Broly and his tale. We found that very rewarding as a long time follower.

About the movie itself

First, we need to talk about the animation quality. Super started with objectively bad animation quality. We have come a long way from there. It was evident in the anime and more so in this movie. Dragon Ball: Super is one of the most gorgeous looking animated movies we have ever seen. The animation is not just beautiful but crisp and consistent. You can notice the amount of effort that went into producing this. Toriyama himself mostly made the character designs, so you can bet on its quality. The signature fighting scenes of Dragon Ball have arguably never been better. Scene transitions are seamless. At no point do you not want to be looking at the screen.

The story is surprisingly rich by Dragon Ball standards.

At least in the movies, Dragon Ball has been mostly about cool fight scenes, of which this has no shortage. However, the importance of story has been paid attention to, evident from the fleshed out origins and motivations at work behind each character. Previously fans have complained about the lack of consistency in the storytelling of Toriyama. In this movie, the story is wonderfully structured and perfectly addresses previous storylines that follow up to the movie.  The redemption arc every Dragon Ball villain seems to have is a bother for many fans. Nevertheless, do not worry. Frieza is still as evil as ever.

Verdict

Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a wonderful film experience for newcomers and longtime fans alike. 9/10 from us easily.

It is a beautiful, emotional and action-packed ride that made the old and cynical partisan in us smile and hope for the future of the story introduced in this film. So, hurry up and go watch it.

Book your tickets from here.

Not just a clone: the Imagine Radio Story

It has been more than a full decade since Spotify revolutionized the music streaming industry, through their responsive app and it’s intuitive and intelligent A.I. Ever since, there have been no shortages of attempted replication of their success. Most of these have failed for one reason or another. We’ve had a couple of that right here in Bangladesh with Grameenphone and Robi attempting to launch their own music streaming apps. It’s safe to say they didn’t exactly catch the imagination of the intended audience as much as they had hoped.  So, the first impression of the average person of Imagine Radio is probably”Oh, another Spotify copycat.” But is it actually?

How Imagine Radio works

Firstly, the average Bangladeshi listener isn’t really familiar with the concept of Royalty fees or purchasing songs. Therefore the artists don’t receive the returns they deserve on the effort put into each song. In addition, it’s difficult for new bands to arrange record deals. Imagine Radio aims to give the artists a platform to distribute their songs directly to the audience. They boast a large selection, more than 10 million tracks of both local and international music, and plan to expand on the collection in the near future. Local artists will be paid a royalty fee for their songs on the app, which will be somewhat popularity oriented. The more popular a song is on the app, the larger the amount of royalty paid.

It will have unique features for musicians like per stream royalty, dedicated dashboards, audience analytics and marketing services. All of these services will be free. For the customers, Imagine radio will have custom made playlists targeted at specific moods, time periods and even the weather. It will also have a live aspect to it, as a selection of music will be played throughout the day on the app, sort of like a radio show. Many prominent musicians and bands like Nemesis, Feedback, Bappa Mozumder and Elita Karim have endorsed the app. And the general audience waits with bated breath for the app to reach the high potential it promises.

Does the model work in Bangladesh?

The point might be made that Mobile operators of our country tried a similar thing with GP Music and Robi/Airtel Yonder. And those weren’t the biggest hits. So is there really a demand for such an app in Bangladesh? If so, how can Imagine Radio hope to fill that demand where many others couldn’t?

There is certainly a demand for such a service in Bangladesh, as Spotify isn’t available here unless you own a premium account you made in another country. Music lovers clamor for an all-in-one music service like Spotify, and it is difficult to access it here. I spoke to an executive in Imagine Radio’s creative team, and he was of the belief that Grameenphone and Robi targeted too average a market to target their product at. They tried to generalize the market, which made for fewer opportunities for personal profiling. Imagine Radio targets a niche, urban social market. They mainly target the behavioral segment of the urban youth. In addition, they aim to have highly customizable profiles for each individual. No two people will have the exact same experience with the app, as it is oriented to make your experience as suited for you as possible. It is also to be mentioned that GP Music and Yonder tried to make the music platform very contained and partitioned. You needed a Grameenphone SIM to have access to GP Music and its contents, the same for Robi. The people at Imagine Radio hold the belief that music should be free. They want to spread music universally, without constraints. These things set them apart from their predecessors.

How is Imagine Radio any different?

It becomes important to separate your product from the one yours is often compared with. The fact remains that some people in Bangladesh still do use Spotify, with some form of workaround in play. Imagine Radio attempts to differentiate itself from Spotify in two key ways. Spotify doesn’t really evaluate Bangladesh as a potential market, hence it not being available here. Imagine Radio wants to make Bangladesh its primary target, with the added goals of distributing local music over the world and bringing international music here. In addition, opposed to Spotify’s AI generated playlist creation, the people at Imagine Radio believe something as subjective and emotional as music needs a human touch. As such, most of their available playlists are custom made by music enthusiasts and experts, adding a more personal touch to the product they offer. This also adds opportunites for targeting very specific and nuanced needs.

For example, they have a custom-made playlist for when one is stuck in traffic, as we tend to do that quite a lot. This is not to say that Imagine Radio execs do not acknowledge the need for an AI and a functional algorithm. In fact, they plan to implement an AI which will have twice as many information points as Spotify’s 6-8 to target specific moods, times, weather and other nuances. This also adds layers of content curation to their live aspect. The bottom line is Imagine Radio offers an intensely personal experience through their app, where you can listen to music curated to fit your every mood; be it uplifting music on the weekends or sad on a Sunday morning.

The ultimate goal

As stated by a representative, Imagine Radio is intended to be a cause driven project with two specific goals in mind in order to help Bangladeshi music. They want to spread Bangla music universally, and they want to create a platform for music and for musicians. It’s safe to assume a person from a foreign country won’t exactly go looking for Bangla music, so Imagine Radio brings the music to them. As mentioned before, they have adopted a very fair and rewarding royalty model for local artists. This serves to encourage the production of good music in Bangladesh greatly, as it is a convenient way to distribute music legally. Artists may choose to release new singles or albums through Imagine Radio as well. For International music, they use a third party distributor to stream quality music legally.

Imagine Radio adopts a Freemium model, according to the International standard unit. The free version has all the features of the app, while a premium version is set to be released over the next three quarters which will be free of ads and will contain other premium features. As of right now, their primary source of income is ad revenue.

Sounds promising!

In addition to the many music features and personalized experiences, Imagine Radio has a formidable line-up of podcasts and specials lined up; 14-15 of them in fact. They have held a Freddie Mercury special, hosting the late great Queen front’s best performances, his inspirations and parts of his story. They have a similar program called Legacy of Rock coming soon. It will be a 90-minute program with a host, with 10 minutes of the host explaining the story and background of the track to be played and music to fill the rest of the time slot. They look to adopt a “song and the story behind it” formula for some of these specials, which sounds very interesting to me. In conclusion, Imagine Radio holds an inconceivable amount of promise. And we look forward to it reaching the great heights it strives for.

Google Pixel 3 Lite: Why bringing back the headphone jack is a good idea

There have been rumors of a possible budget variant of Google’s flagship Pixel smart-phone; it was only recently that we got a glimpse at what it might look like. It has been referred to as the “Pixel 3 Lite”, and it combines the design of the Pixels with a smaller 5.5-inch display and a mid-range Snapdragon 670 processor. Although the usual complaints about the antiquated design and large bezels persist in this phone, one of the issues that a significant portion of consumers have been clamouring for a long time might have finally been addressed. By far the most interesting aspect of this phone is Google’s apparent decision to include a headphone jack for the first time since their very first Pixel phone.

Phones and headphone jacks have complimented each other for the longest time. For most of us, our first feature phones had a 3.5 mm jack, and it was perhaps the most interesting aspect of the phone to each of us at the time—cue countless hours of ripping MP3 files and loading them onto tiny memory cards. With smartphones, the need of a headphone jack was even greater—smartphones aimed at being the convenience guarantor and having a 3.5 mm jack on your smartphone was the convenient way to listen to music or recordings. And while the industry has transformed from feature phones to flip phones to finally smartphones, the headphone jack has largely remained constant. In an industry as focused on innovation as the smartphone industry change is the only constant. Thus we had to part ways with our headphone jacks, while Bluetooth and USB-C ports look to be the future. However, is that a good thing?

Firstly, the reason the headphone jack stuck around for so long is that it worked. It was a solved problem; there wasn’t much reason to move forward. Yes, we always strive for quicker and more convenient ways to solve a problem; provided the problem is still solved with the amount of quality retained. And the bottom line is, Bluetooth just doesn’t do that. Bluetooth audio quality is nowhere near the quality offered by most cabled equipment, yet. They simply can’t play high bit-rate files, or at least at the same quality wired equipment can. However, it is convenience vs. quality here, with different people obviously valuing different things. Audiophiles will always value cabled equipment, while consumers who value the convenience and portability of Bluetooth will opt for it. But the thing is, it isn’t too much to ask for both options on a device, especially when the manufacturing cost is so small.

It isn’t fair to say Bluetooth is bad for listening to music. High-end Bluetooth equipment can dish out music that is only perceptively worse than wired equipment. But to achieve that quality with Bluetooth, one has to spend a lot more than one had to for a wired option of similar quality. There is essentially no way to listen to a raw, loss-less sound on Bluetooth earphones; they just aren’t capable of it yet. All sounds need to be encoded to the Bluetooth headset, then decoded back to play. This is essentially the same tech as it was in 2004 when the first stereo Bluetooth headset came out. So Bluetooth still has a long way to go to match the 3.5 mm jack in performance.

Bluetooth headphones, ironically, offer less diversity than wired headphones. Active noise cancelling, bass-heavy, treble-heavy, you name it. There are headphones offered specifically to gamers, joggers, for Skype calls, etc. There’s a ton of flexibility when it comes to wired headphones, mainly because they’ve been around for longer and have had the time to address each specific need in the market. Bluetooth simply doesn’t offer that kind of flexibility yet. Bluetooth is mostly aimed at an active lifestyle, being more portable. They tend to have minimal builds, make complete seals with ear cups for better noise cancellation, and mostly just need you to adapt to it rather than it adapting to you. That doesn’t work for a lot of people and as it has been said before, there is simply no reason not to have both wired and Bluetooth options.

The weight then falls onto the USB-C type ports and dongles to make the argument for no headphone jacks. And I’m just going to say this flat out—dongles are bad. A lot of DACs and amps simply don’t work with the USB-C tech, and using one port to both charge your phone and listen to music causes an unnecessary amount of wear and tear. It is also a sloppy thing to use, as it’s easy to lose and just adds a new point of failure, being an external accessory.

On the point of convenience, Bluetooth doesn’t necessarily become the convenience provider most distributors make it out to be. Having a Bluetooth device means having another device to charge. At the same time when smartphone companies are trying to offer quicker ways to charge your phone to maximize time utilization—like fast chargers and larger batteries—doesn’t having another device to charge actually feel less convenient (if not completely defeating the purpose)? Bluetooth might indeed be the future, as it can only be improved upon. The problem is it hasn’t been fixed yet. There was never anything added to the experience of owning a device without a headphone jack, options were only taken away from it. For this reason, the headphone jack coming back in a market leader’s next big device is a welcome change. I personally feel like this is a good decision by Google, and eagerly await the return of the 3.5 mm jack in all its glory.