The cost of being a female consumer: ‘Pink Tax’

The term pink tax may sound harmless to many. But it is the root of all the discrimination existing in the system that is alone a barrier to the progress we think our society has made towards establishing equality. But what exactly is a pink tax? A generic definition would say:

“The pink tax is a phenomenon often attributed as a form of gender-based price discrimination, with the name stemming from the observation that many of the affected products are pink” – Wikipedia

For people who have little or no idea about this weird tax that weirdly connects to gender discrimination, it can be a little too much to take in.

Pink tax is basically an unfair price hike for products that are used by women.

We all know how the wage gap is still a thing worldwide and how women are perceived as the ‘less efficient’ gender. And then capitalism says hi as it always does in crisis and suggests an illogical pricing strategy for corporations to wipe off their bank accounts with products that have the same utility as men’s.

The actual scenario

There has been a lot of research on the pink tax that found that overall, women were paying more than men 42% of the time. How much more? About $1,351 more a year in extra costs. This may sound a bit weird but we have all been paying this pink tax to sanitary napkins as well. Even some years ago, sanitary napkins were considered as ‘luxury items’ and a handsome amount of tax was imposed on it. Later, word went out and the tax was said to be removed from it but companies still sell it with higher prices with no logic behind it.

Why are we paying more?

It is found from multiple research that products for women are priced higher even though it serves a very neutral purpose. From makeup to hygiene to clothes and even toys, anything pink or feminine is pricey. Companies are known to have a phrase for justifying their price on a product that goes like ‘Shrink it and pink it’ – which implies the product can have a higher price if it is pink and small. Research and development, following trends, meeting trends, advertising products on television and in magazines are not cheap. Companies are willing to spend more money advertising to women than they are toward men, contributing to the price discrepancies.

The average expenditure of a girl will always be higher than that of a man not because girls are always high maintenance, but they are charged more than they should have and there’s not much they can do about it.

Old Navy got busted for charging more for women’s plus-sized clothing but not for men’s. The plus-sized women’s jeans were $12-15 more than the standard sized ones. But there was no such difference between the prices of men’s plus and regular sized jeans.

Pink tax in Bangladesh

Till date sanitary napkin is considered a luxury cosmetic item in many parts of Bangladesh. Majority of the sanitary napkin prices range from BDT 70-145/pack. It is difficult for a girl to spend this amount of money for sanitary napkins each month especially where the average income of the family is below BDT 10,000/month. Apart from sanitary napkins, from shampoos to cosmetics to clothes, men’s shopping isn’t as expensive as women’s shopping. Even female oriented services e.g beauty parlors, salons are taxed differently than male oriented services. Recently, there have been some active discussions about this tax issue and people have demanded to demolish the ‘luxury item’ tag on sanitary napkins for start. When will it be implemented, or will it ever be? We don’t ‘pink’ so.

The real cost of Pink Tax

In general, even though women pay 13% more than men, but paying more for sanitary napkins and daily hygiene products doesn’t seem fair to many, because obviously it isn’t. For a country like Bangladesh, girls will have to resort to sanitary napkins for better hygiene and convenience but if the price remains as it is with the purpose being taxed, they may or may not consider their right to get basic hygiene as ‘luxury’. So, even if our country will be progressing nevertheless, a major portion of the contributors to our national GDP won’t be able to enjoy empowerment at a basic level.

So what could be done?

We can raise awareness among shoppers. The advice we could give women is to think outside of the aisle. In so many instances, there are equivalent products being sold for significantly less in the boys’ or men’s section. The onus should be on manufacturers to price goods fairly—but consumers should know that they have a choice: The red scooter is just as good as the pink. And if consumers find a case of gender pricing disparity, it is always possible to start a dialogue with the retailer.

The curious case of BRAC University and its Pohela Boishakh

If you don’t stay under a rock, you should have come across all the memes making fun of BRAC University for celebrating Pahela Boishakh a week earlier. There were loads of trolls and some were actually funny. Most were also kind of hackneyed.

But why though?

First of all, we were told that it was not anything enforced. The students actually played a significant role in the decision as well. Mid-April is the time BRAC University holds its semester final exams. The exam season means no class, and thus the university remains closed.

“Well, we kind of wanted it to celebrate early. We always have our exams in Mid April, and thus it becomes difficult for everyone to attend. Moreover, as the university remains closed, things don’t become much festive.”

Sartaj Islam Shovon, a student of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, commented

“This was not much of a problem. The heat and everything were there. The program was good. The main thing is, we liked it. We mostly couldn’t enjoy in previous years due to exam pressure. This also becomes somewhat of a refreshment before the exams.”


Said Sabreen Alim, an energetic junior doing her BBA

Well, okay. If you put it like that..

All work and no play

Some students are a bit disappointed at the authority for always holding their exams at that time. But most students agree that their university has a specific academic calendar, and rigorous following of that prevents them from all kinds of session jams.

This very “legitimate” reason that was there for the early celebration of Pahela Baishakh is quite unknown to many. Hence, the flood of memes in our newsfeeds has tickled us to laugh, and also causing embarrassment to the people of BRACU at the same time.

Hey! look on the bright side

But, the people of BRAC University should not be disheartened in any way. They have a lot of positives to take from this.

1. Uninterrupted GoT binge

The most anticipated Episode of Game of Thrones will be released on 14th April. They can watch it staying at home, as they are already done with celebrating. BRACU people! Grab your popcorns, stay at your home, and watch your most awaited episode.

2. For the sake of memes!

This had provided some quality memes in our newsfeeds. Think of all the people you made laugh, BRACU people! In these tough times, having a good laugh is rare.

3. Cheap Hilsha! Yes!

Hilsha fish is quite costly in the Pahela Baishakh week. You have saved quite a significant chunk of money for yourselves eating Hilsha a week early. Think of all the productive things you can do with the saved money!

4. Festival hopping

Finally, this gives a chance to the BRACU students to explore the Pahela Baishakh program of other Universities! A golden opportunity to explore and getting out of your shell!

Planning a Date? Here are 10 things you could try

As bustling it is, Dhaka can be a dark and dreary place when you are trying to date someone. Planning a date here is almost impossible because of the lack of interesting activities. After all, just how long can you spend eating at various restaurants and listening to sub-par music? You have to start getting to know the person you are with at some point. And that doesn’t happen at restaurants.

Also read: 5 signs that says that your first date is going south

Lucky for you, we have come up with a list of activities that you can try out with your loved one. Hence, the next time you are planning a date, give these places a go.

Go play

You do not need your own “playroom” (yes, that was a 50 shades reference) to have fun. There are a number of places in Dhaka where you can try out games like bowling, shooting, pool or laser tag. These places are great to see your date in a competitive light. Check out The Ultimate Fun Factory, for example. Look up places that are easy on your schedule and wallet. After that you just need to go and have fun.

Clay station

The art of pottery has been around for thousands of years, and it will never go out of style. So if you want to spend some quality time with your beloved, try taking a package at Clay Station. They have a range of packages where you can make your own pottery, or you can simply pick one and colour it. This will be a new experience for both you and your date, and you will have a lasting souvenir.

Plan a study date!

Not everyone is into books. But everyone needs to study every once in a while. So if you have an upcoming exam, or you need you catch up on some work, do it together. Find a nice, quiet library where you can spend time together as well as being productive.

Take a class

Be it baking, dancing or yoga- taking a class together is a great way to bring out the best in both of you. By choosing to learn something together you get to see completely new sides of the person you are with. And that can be a very pleasant surprise. So do a little research and see what piques your interest.

Go to an open mic

There are a number of cafes in Dhaka that arrange open mic nights regularly. Go check these events out. Every once in a while, lose yourself in a cup of coffee and interesting performances. These are surely going to entertain you.

Go see Puran Dhaka

Puran Dhaka is a place shrouded in history, mystery and culture. It has beautiful places you can explore, delicious food you can taste, and enigmatic alleys that will give you a feeling of adventure. So take a day off and just roam around Puran Dhaka. You will love it.

Go to festivals

Dhaka has a number of festivals going on throughout the year. Make a list of festivals you want to attend- from Sakrain to lit fest to folk fest. Then just enjoy your time.

Gulshan avenue window shopping

Just roam around Gulshan Avenue and check out the extravagant shopping places. You don’t have to buy anything, just look around and have fun.

Art galleries

Art galleries in Dhaka hold exhibitions throughout the year. Spend some time in this exhibitions and indulge yourself in the mystery of art.

Volunteering

This is a particularly decent way to get to know the person you are dating. Do they care about the society? Are they willing to give back to the community? Do they have basic empathy for humans and animals alike? Knowing the answers to these questions are especially important if you are thinking of a commitment. Ask around for volunteering opportunities, and see what clicks.

A word of advice- dating will always be hard. Put as much effort as you can to spice it up. This will make the challenges of dealing with another human being much more bearable.

Good luck, and have fun! 

6 places in Dhaka that remind us of our glorious past

Dhaka might be the second worst city in the world to live in, but it once had a glorious history. This four hundred-year-old city once boasted beautiful Nawab palaces, lush gardens, Mughal mosques, ancient temples and more. Dhaka, during the Mughal and British eras, was a prime example of urban settlement of the respective periods. Communities and diasporas like the Armenians, English, Portuguese and of course the native Bengalis, all settled here and made their own share of contributions to the growth of a great city.

The modern 21st century Dhaka has lost much of its old charm. But there are still places and landmarks in Dhaka that will take one back to the old glory days. Many of these places are now in near ruin due to mismanagement and a lack of interest in preserving their appearance. But if you’re looking for something off the usual path, these are the places to head to if you want a reminder of what Dhaka used to be and, perhaps, still can be.

Here are six such places for the history aficionados who want to reminisce about the golden days of Dhaka.

Bahadur Shah Park

Bahadur Park dhaka travel bangladesh heritage

Bahadur Shah Park, formerly known as Victoria Park, is located in Old Dhaka near the Sadarghat area. In the late nineteenth century, the park used to be the city centre of Dhaka with several important colonial establishments built around it. It was the main node of the road network of urban Dhaka back then. This is the site where the British performed public execution of the soldiers who took part in the failed Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.

It was also the site from where the accession of Queen Victoria as the Empress of India was announced amidst much fanfare in 1858. Hence the name Victoria Park. It remained Victoria Park until 1947, after which it was renamed Bahadur Shah Park as part of the decolonizing that followed the Partition.

The park houses a memorial built by Nawab Khwaja, dedicated to the soldiers executed in 1857. It also has Dhaka’s only obelisk, erected in memory of the Nawab’s late son.

Bara Katra

Bara Katra old dhaka bangladesh travel heritage

Bara Katra is one of the oldest surviving Mughal palatial buildings in Dhaka. Built between 1644 and 1646 CE, it was built to be the official residence of Prince Shah Shuja, son of Emperor Shah Jahan. The prince later endowed it to his diwan.

Bara Katra boasted a magnificent Mughal architectural style and used to be one of the finest Mughal buildings during the time of its construction. In the 19th century, James Atkinson described it as a “stupendous pile of grand and beautiful architecture”.

Located near the Chawkbazar area of Old Dhaka and close to the Buriganga river banks, much of its grandeur is now lost due to the negligence of the authorities tasked with its preservation.

Armenian Church

Armenian Church Dhaka Bangladesh Travel Heritage

This magnificent church in Armanitola of Old Dhaka is a significant architectural monument. It bears testimony to the existence of the Armenian diaspora in the Bengal region in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Following the invasion of Armenia by the Persians in the 17th century, a significant number of Armenians were sent to Bengal for establishing an Armenian community overseas in the interests of self-preservation. The Armenians played a major role in the political and economic scene of Bengal back in the time. They were mostly traders and businessmen dealing in jute and leather, operating out of the Armenian district, which now bears the name of Armanitola.

In 1781, they built a church adjacent to an Armenian burial ground. After several years, a massive clock-tower was erected in the church. The bells of the clock tower could be heard from four miles away and people used to synchronize their watches according to it. It was destroyed in an earthquake in 1897.

In 1996, Mother Teresa stayed in the church compound during her visit to Dhaka. The Bangladesh Archeological Board recently recognized it as a heritage site, and personal efforts by an Argentinian of Armenian descent is looking to preserve the history of the Armenian diaspora in Bangladesh.

The Dhaka Gate

Dhaka gate travel heritage

Dhaka Gate, also known as the Mir Jumla gate, is located at what is now the Dhaka University Campus. It can be seen on the two sides of the road that leads to TSC from Doyel Chattor. The Dhaka Gate was originally built by Mir Jumla II during the reign of Aurangzeb, as a gateway to enter Dhaka from the North East side.

The Dhaka Gate marked the official entry to the capital city. Adjacent to it was the Bagh e Badshahi, the royal garden of the Mughals that added to the beautification of Dhaka. The site of the garden is now known as Suhrawardi Uddyan.

The Dhaka Gate was later damaged in an earthquake. Magistrate Charles Dawson re-erected it in 1825 in a mixture of Mughal-European architectural style.

Today, the Dhaka Gate lies in neglect but still bears the signs of its glory days.

Rose Garden Palace

Rose Garden Palace Dhaka Bangladesh Travel Heritage

The Rose Garden Palace is an elegant 19th-century mansion in K.M. Das Lane of Tikatuly, Old Dhaka. Zaminder Hrikesh Das built it as a Jolshaghor in the late 19th Century. Statues and fountains adorn the large garden in front of the main building. The main balcony of the building served as a viewing platform for the performances that were held in the garden.

At that time Jolshas, or lavish parties with music and dancers, were an important aspect of the social life of rich Hindu merchants and landlords. In 1936, Hrikesh Das declared bankruptcy due to his extravagant lifestyle and sold it to a wealthy Muslim businessman.

It was at this palace that the Awami League, the political party closely associated with the Bengali independence movement in 1971, was born when East Bengali liberal and social democrats converged here to form an alternative political force against the Muslim League in Pakistan.

Ruplal House

Ruplal House Dhaka Travel Bangladesh

The Ruplal House in Farashganj of Old Dhaka is a mansion built in the late 19th century by Armenian landlord Aratun. The Ruplal brothers bought it in 1835 and hired Martin and Co. of Calcutta for the renovation work. Ruplal House and Ahsan Manzil, which is nearby, used to be the architectural jewels of Dhaka back in the day. The area served as the residence for the rich merchant class and top-level British officers. Ruplal House hosted a significant portion of the cultural activity of the time. Gurus of Indian classical music like Ustad Alauddin Khan, Ustad Wali Ullah Khan and Lakshmi Devi regularly hosted shows here. Ruplal House was also politically important at times.

The Ruplal House was expensive to build on site. The structure features an Indo-Greek architectural style, massive blocs, porticos, tinted glasses, ballrooms and banquet halls. There used to be a clock tower at the top, which was damaged by an earthquake. The fall of Ruplal House began after the Ruplal family left during the Partition in 1947. Now the Ruplal House is jointly owned by several private and commercial owners and is in a state of disrepair.

Rubana Huq: breaking glass ceilings

Rubana Huq, the managing director of Mohammadi group, is the new president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). She is the first female in the history of Bangladesh to attain this position. Her panel secured a sliding victory at the biennial election.

Landslide victory

Among the 35 available posts for directors, Rubana Huq’s panel, Sammilata Forum, filled all the spots.

1492 out of 1956 voters had cast their votes in this election. Voters were from both Dhaka and Chittagong. The position is a two-year long tenure, resulting in relatively high turnout.

Her agenda

Huq addressed some of the major issues that the garments industry of Bangladesh faces in her victory speech. She stated “all the time people continue saying that Bangladesh is the country of cheap labor. Cheap is not good, but competition is good. We need to change this narrative of Bangladesh.”

Moreover, she understands that several small factories face the threat of being shut down. She emphasized on the need to stand beside them during such times. She plans on tackling such problems in her tenure. The voters resonated with her powerful vision for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh’s garments sector is often under scrutiny by the Western media, especially around issues about low wage and abuse. However, Huq adds perspective and highlights inaccuracies in these negative campaigns. She aims to fix these issues and improve the image where the reality is better than it is being portrayed. She hopes to encourage better practices in pricing, introduce more innovation and policies for sustainability.

Huq, an exemplary person

Apart from being a celebrated entrepreneur, she is also a prolific writer, a poet and a philanthropist. In 2013 and 2014, she was in BBC’s list of 100 outstanding women. Her accolades include wining the SAARC literary award in 2006. She has also launched a literary magazine called Monsoon letters along other Bangladeshi writers.

Rubana Huq has actively worked towards empowering women– advocating for women’s economic independence, voicing challenges regarding female garment workers rights. She hopes to bring her perspective and provide solutions to improve women’s conditions. Over 5000 women work in factories managed by Rubana Huq; and believes that these women are slowly changing their own narrative through their work. Always humble, she acknowledges that there is still a long way to go. Most of these women are still not truly emancipated in their own lives, but the work continues.

Striding forward in a male-dominated industry

More often than not, women have lived in the shadows of men. We can see glimmers of hope in moments like these. Bangladesh’s cultural norm and practices continue to limit the capabilities of our women-especially when it comes to advancing to positions of authority. Rubana Huq has often spoken at length about the challenges in being a woman and paving her way in this industry. Often, she has felt alone and powerless in her journey, but we are very fortunate that she managed to cross the hurdles that she encountered.

Women like her are gradually changing the narrative for working women in Bangladesh.

each and every woman in Bangladesh is fighting in some way or the other to move forward. As more women are in positions of power, attitudes both at home and the workplace will shift.

She is truly an inspiration for all of us. Here’s to more women being in positions of power and striving to improve women’s lives collectively. We look forward to a day where a woman attaining a leadership position in Bangladesh won’t be the reason behind headlines everywhere, but rather it would be the norm.

Transgender women in Bangladesh can now run for the parliament!

For the first time in the political history of Bangladesh, transgenders who identify as women will be able to run for elections. This is a step towards advancing their place in the society and providing much needed recognition from the government.

What place do they hold in the parliament?

The transgender community can now compete for the 50 seats reserved for women in upcoming elections in the National Parliament. According to various news sources, the ruling party is willing to allow at least one MP from the transgender community.

Eight members of the transgender community were confirmed on the Awami League party ballot, which is still the first and only political party in the nation to allow this. This decision brings a touch of hope and celebrates diversity.

Why was this recognition necessary?

Bangladesh as a state itself might reject the regulations of radical Islam, but it has a long way to go to accept the LGBTQ community.

“We are citizens of Bangladesh but we have no representation in the parliament. There is no one from our community who can understand and raise our concerns. That is why we are running for the seats.”

Said Falguni, one of the aspirants, in an interview with Dhaka Tribune

In Bangladesh, there are controversies and laws against same sex marriage and consensual relationship between LGBTQ+ members. However, if the transgender community can represent themselves these would be a step in improving their conditions and moving towards more just laws and equitable policies. There is a general lack of awareness and stigma. Transgender rights, correct identification and acknowledgement of sexuality and gender is a huge issue. LGBTQ folks face an intensely hostile environment in their homes and society, often, compromising their safety.

Out of 160 million people, an estimated ten thousand to half a million belong to the transgender community. The engagement of transgender citizens competing for a seat under the National Parliament might bring in much needed changes.

In our own homes, it’s time we address the word “hijra” as a gender not a word to demean a community who have equal rights and freedom as any other gender of this society.

Live From Dhaka: A man’s journey through the bleak underbelly of Dhaka

As a young adult who’s been born and brought up in Dhaka, much of our generation view the city in rose-tinted glasses online or in media. In the age of social media, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t familiar with aesthetic photos of Dhaka from numerous Instagram posts or through popular song lyrics. #JadhurShohor. But the stark reality is that living in this city is much grimmer than it might seem. The dog eat dog nature of Dhaka has been beautifully portrayed in the recently released film “Live from Dhaka.

Nothing but the truth

Written and Directed by Abdullah Mohammad Saad, “Live from Dhaka”, chronicles the days of Sazzad, the protagonist played by Mostafa Monwar, and his miserable state of life in the city of Dhaka. Sazzad being unemployed and partially handicapped is seen as a guy down on his luck after losing most of his money when the Dhaka Stock Exchange crashes.  In addition to his own physical and economic woes, he is being hounded by loan sharks and has to deal with his younger brother who’s plagued by addiction. Although receiving some support and solace within his girlfriend Rehana, played by Tasnova Tamanna, Sazzad decides to cut all his losses and permanently move to Russia.

A grim depiction of Dhaka

But as events transpire, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to escape the gritty reality of Dhaka. The harsh bleakness of his situations was beautifully portrayed in black and white throughout the movie before some very beautiful backdrops of Dhaka.

The film also didn’t shy away from showing the darker underbelly of Dhaka.

By the end of the film, you really start feeling for the protagonist but also reminded of how he is isn’t that different from everyone else.

The verdict

The acclaimed independent film has been gaining much hype among Bangladeshi film enthusiast back since 2016. It had premiered in a number of International Film festivals around the world and winning Best Actor and Best Director awards at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) in 2016. The Film was finally released in Dhaka, Bangladesh in Bashundhara City Star Cineplex, on March 29. With stunning visuals, gripping story and comfortable runtime of 1hr and 31mins, you should definitely catch this tale about our beloved Dhaka.

Get your tickets from here

A Bangladeshi’s story of romanticizing the rain

People have been romanticizing the rain since the beginning of time. There are poems and stories written that revolve around the beauty of this season. There are paintings of the scenic beauty of rainy days in Dhaka, and as time goes by, we seem to come up with more reasons to romanticize rainy days.

Most importantly, because the weather in Bangladesh rarely changes, the rain is something people look forward to. And even if it disrupts us going to class/work on time or floods the roads of Dhaka, the rain is an absolute delight, right? Because the rainy season is always glorified so much, I tried looking for a few things we can always get out of a rainy day.

The only time everything looks aesthetic

The best part about rain is that every place in Dhaka looks picture-worthy. Hell, the sky’s the main attraction so does it really matter what else there is in the background? No matter where you live, and where you are, the dull sky and lightning make every single place in Dhaka aesthetic. Even if your home is next to a local slum, the rain will have some way of making it look good. And why would you NOT make a video of this blessing of a season?

Finally becoming a photographer

Whether you have a flip phone or a DSLR, today is the day you finally become a photographer. Even if it’s of the trees and signboards breaking down and blocking the street, you need to take a picture. There’s beauty in destruction too, after all. Taking a breath-taking picture on a rainy day will definitely be the stepping stone of your photography career. But since it’s important you make it look professional, get yourself some photography gadgets. Save up to buy the best DSLR in the market, with lenses and a tripod. Or better yet, buy an iPhone! We all know every iPhone user is a pro photographer by heart.

Getting in touch with Bangla literature

This is the time of the year a lot of people get in touch with Bangla literature. At least, that’s what I got from the pictures. During rainy days, people read almost as much Bangla literature as they do during the month of February. And jokes apart, this is probably the most beautiful thing the rain brings to Bangladesh. You’ll find many people reading Bangla poetry and novels, even if it is for that one day. And even they don’t, they’ll definitely take it out of the bookshelf just to take a picture, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Whatever the reason is, don’t stop yourself from reading a few lines of Bangla poetry just because some writer said it’s mainstream in a humorous piece about the rain.  

Unleashing the writer in you

Now, you’ve taken a lot of pictures of the rain, the sky, and everything else around you. But you definitely need something deep to caption it. Since you took advantage of this day to turn yourself into a professional photographer, why not become a writer too? Today, you can write whatever you want (as long as it’s so deep people don’t understand a word of it and avoid reading) and use it to enhance the aesthetic vibe of your photography. However, if you don’t think you’re capable of writing yourself something amazing, there are always lyrics from Oniket Prantor or Shei je Boshe Ache that can save the day!

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!

Pathao CEO Elius and Artist Morshed Mishu make it to Forbes Asia 30 under 30

In a city riddled with road accidents, fire hazards and sudden Nor’westers, Tuesday morning begins with some joyous news. Our very own Pathao’s CEO Hussain M Elius and artist Morshed Mishu from Morshed Mishu’s Illustration, have made it to Forbes Asia 30 under 30.

Hussain M Elius, 29, founded Pathao along with Shifat Adnan, which is now one of the leading ride sharing and logistics platforms in Bangladesh. Forbes listed him in two categories, Consumer Technology and Big Money Startups.

Read more: Pathao and the quest for customer reassurance

Forbes listed 25-year-old Morshed in the category of media, marketing and advertising. This Bangladeshi illustrator is most famous for his “Global Happiness Challenge” series which took the internet by storm at the beginning of 2018. Currently, he is the assistant editor at Unmad magazine.

We, at HiFi, wish these two bright minds of our generation all the best for their future endeavours. Keep making us proud!