World’s first Blockchain phone is here. And you can buy it in Bangladesh

The time when Blockchain becomes a thing is upon us. Other than being used in cryptocurrencies, there will now be general use of this technology. Sirin Labs, A Swiss-based company has developed a Blockchain smartphone. They call it the Finney! Sirin Labs will launch Finney in Bangladesh. 

BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) has cleared the import, which will begin from August 27. Index Group will be the one to import this.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is mainly a bunch of blocks that contain records. For example; name, address, time, transactions, and the list goes on. Now several blocks like these are open to the public and are decentralized. And these blocks will update themselves with new information; and will link up to one another via cryptography. So, despite being out in public this technology is very secure.

Now, the Bangladesh government has planned to send graduates to learn and train for blockchain technology to Japan and India.

Features of the phone

The phone will be priced at $999. After being approved in August, it is said to be available in the market from October 2019. The Finney will run on Android OS 8.1x and Sirin OS 3.01. It will also have Cold storage crypto wallet, major cryptocurrency support, crypto wallet application, Token conversion system, and an Embedded D-apps store. Internal memory on this is 128gb which is expandable up to 2tb. The phone comes with a second screen on top of it and it has a water resistance of IP15.

Samsung Galaxy M10: The phone designed to win Bangladesh back

When getting a phone, the price is the most important aspect to almost everyone residing in and around Bangladesh. This is evident from the sales of local brand Symphony, and more recently that of Xiaomi. They simply offer more for less, and for us, that’s usually more enticing than brand value. And thus, the Galaxy M10. Samsung’s response to losing a foothold in the Indian subcontinent’s market. I’ve used the phone for about a week, and this review will be based on my somewhat extended experience with it.

The look and feel

Designed to win back the market lost to Xiaomi, the M10 had to offer more for less. And it does.

The phone has a 6.22-inch Infinity V display with a waterdrop notch, offering almost 82% screen-to-body ratio.

It’s also a very slim and wieldy device, having 7.7 mm in thickness and just 163 gm in weight (check out the full specs). Personally, I have an issue with glossy finishes or glass bodies because of the smudge your fingers are prone to leave. But the finish on this phone works really well and doesn’t smudge much. The overall design is very lush, especially when you take the price into consideration.

The performance

It’s got a headphone jack, so you know it’s already 40% better than other phones. The M10 has an Exynos & Octa 7870 CPU and 2/3 GB of RAM. That’s not substantial in terms of Samsung. But take into consideration the price of the phone, and you will see that the power it packs is something you expect from local brands or Xiaomi. Not out of worldwide market leaders like Samsung. The phone performs smoothly and seamlessly. Someone at the office tried playing PUBG on it after I refused. I played Injustice 2 instead. Both games ran very well. It has got very decent battery life. The phone has a loud and clear speaker, if you’re into using phones like that. Basically, the phone runs everything just as well as it should. There isn’t anything to complain about.

The Camera

The camera is sort of a mixed bag.  It doesn’t have autofocus options. It does however have HDR and continuous shooting modes. The 13MP back camera allows for smooth, sharp and natural looking images to be captured in a few different modes like Pro, beauty and live focus. The selfie camera is average. It doesn’t have optical image stabilization, which doesn’t play into taking photos as much as it does with capturing videos. The captures tend to stutter a bit, but retain the right amount of exposure and lighting you would expect on a Samsung phone. Again, good value for the money.

Distinguishing Features

Does the headphone jack count?

The M10 has a very responsive face scanner unlock in place of a fingerprint sensor. Then again, a fingerprint sensor wouldn’t be feasible at this price point. The most impressive feature is the Widevine L1 support on this phone. This feature allows HD streaming from Netflix and other services. This is a feature unique to a phone at this price and wasn’t even on the Pocophone F1 at release.

In conclusion, the Galaxy M10 is a great get for the price.

It offers fine specifications with the added value of the Samsung brand. If you’re trying to get a phone on the budget, consider the M10. You probably won’t be disappointed.

Camera overkill—Samsung Galaxy A9 review

Let’s mention the elephant in the room before we start. The Samsung Galaxy A9 has 5 cameras in total. It’s still the only phone in the world with 4 cameras on the back. That raises the question: can you have too many cameras on a phone? We all want to know whether having so many cameras is simply a marketing gimmick or not.

Specs:

The A9 has a dual nano sim slot. It comes with Snapdragon 660, which is eons better than the chipsets that Samsung has traditionally used for mid-range cellphones. The Adreno 512 GPU is also better than the GPUs most mid-range Samsung phones are equipped with. Samsung still uses Android 8.0 Oreo, which has been outdated for a while now. As a result, the phone does not have gesture controls. This is somewhat a deal-breaker for a phone that costs almost 50 thousand Taka. I’m still using my Lenovo Z5 from last year, and it has gesture controls. A saving grace, thankfully, comes in the great memory capabilities of the phone. The internal storage capacity is 128 GB. The RAM, depending on the model you get, is either 6 or 8 GB. It even has a dedicated micro-SD slot capable of up to 512 GB extra storage. That doesn’t make up for the fact that the A9 still uses outdated three button controls instead of gestures.

Screen:

Can a phone have too many cameras? Samsung A9 review 4

One of the biggest selling points for most Samsung phones is the display. Most come with AMOLED displays, and the Samsung Galaxy A9 is no exception. The 6.3 inch display looks gorgeous, even with rather pronounced bezels on all sides. Thankfully, the phone does not have a notch, which is definitely just a marketing gimmick.

Camera(s):

Now for the main event. The A9 has 5 cameras in total. 4 of them are situated on the back. The solitary selfie camera is 24 megapixels and has excellent focus and even HDR. It’s certainly one of the better cameras in recent times.

The back is a whole different ballgame. With 4 cameras, the phone is the only quad-back camera phone in the world right now. The cameras are of 24, 10, 8 and 5 megapixels respectively. Each camera comes with a different function, such as the 5 megapixel one having a depth sensor, the 10 megapixel one having 2x optical zoom and so on. This works very well, as all the cameras combine to create truly good looking shots. In portrait mode, the rear cameras take photos that are way ahead of the Gaussian Blur filled shots that Chinese rivals take. Take a look and judge for yourself at your nearest Samsung dealer.

Verdict:

The Samsung Galaxy A9 is a cool looking phone, and is something a casual photographer would love to have.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that you can find phones with better specs at a lower price. You can find phones with gesture controls, at the very least. Samsung needs to step up their game, as Chinese companies such as Huawei and Xiaomi are starting to become a real threat to their business. We are going to give it a 7 out of 10 due to its great camera performance, but it could have scored much lower due to a lack of gesture controls and pricing.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 is available through Samsung stores for a price of TK 49,900/-.

Product review – Oppo F7 smartphone

There was a time when Oppo used to make amazing flagships with innovative designs. Through their impressive work with cameras in their phones, Oppo rose through its competition in China and has expanded globally ever since. They marketed what they did best – class-leading cameras. Back in 2014, the Oppo Find 7 and it’s successor, the Oppo N1. Times have changed however, and so their leadership in the market has waned. They’re still one of the biggest smartphone makers in the world, particularly in Asia. Their focus has shifted from offering top-tier performance and functionality to focused marketing on excellent performance both for the front and rear cameras. But since then, Oppo been struggling in putting out a device that satisfies the average Joe-shim looking for a phone. The Oppo F7 is somewhat of a departure from their philosophy, and it’s for the better.

Sure, the phone isn’t the best example of bang-for-buck, but the F7 isn’t quite a terrible phone compared to the products Oppo has put out in the past few years. Its current competitor in the market is the Vivo V9, and it does almost everything better while costing a bit less than the V9.

The Performance

The Oppo is no slouch in this department. It uses Mediatek’s latest P60 SoC, which performs on par with the Snapdragon 660 and 636. The user interface is snappy and responsive, but Oppo’s ColorOS based on Android 8.1 Oreo tries hard to deliver an iPhone experience with no app drawers. If one feels bothered about this, Nova Launcher or Google Launcher is ready to be installed from the Google Play Store, offering a more familiar experience on the F7. With 4 GB of ram, the phone easily gets day-to-day tasks done, even handling intensive tasks. But if you feel gimped with 4 gigs of ram, there is a 6GB option available as well. Gaming performance is great but not the best when compared to something such as a Xiaomi Mi6 or Mi Note 3 within the range, because the Mali GPU in the phone doesn’t do much good against the Adreno from Snapdragon chipsets.

Design and display

The F7 isn’t the most premium phone on earth, but it’s a phone that feels well built, which is fine as it is a mid-ranger. The weight is perfect, as it isn’t too heavy nor does it feel as flimsy as a plastic phone. One terrible decision Oppo decided to take was to choose plastic with a glossy rear to illuminate its back. It’s a solution to imitate flagship devices with glass backs, but ultimately the phone becomes a fingerprint magnet. Dread from it, run from it, smudges always follow.

The phone still uses the Micro USB port which you always get wrong on the first try while trying to plug in your phone in the dark. The snappy, functional fingerprint scanner is around the back. Take a look at the bottom and, behold, a 2018 smartphone with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The 19:9 display with 1080p is a great experience, as it feels amazing for media consumption and gaming. If you want even more screen real estate, then feel free to hide the software navigation buttons and use gestures for navigation; a desperate attempt by Oppo trying to imitate iPhones again. Old habits die hard.

Software and functionality

ColorOS is quite a bit bulky when compared to stock android. It takes a while to get used to and there aren’t really any difference under the hood when you change the theme from the theme store. Oppo’s way of dealing with convenience doesn’t make sense however. They use a keyboard called “Oppo Secure Keyboard” layered on top of the Gboard and claims to protect keystrokes from being tracked. Let me rephrase that sentence, they use a terribly heavy feature (that nobody asked for in the first place) in place of a function that can easily be used from a lighter alternative. And that sentence describes the software side of the phone entirely.

However, the Helios P60 helps in the software department. Face Unlock is a gimmicky feature to some android users, but it works quite fast. A dedicated AI chip in the SoC helps with delays previously faced from fingerprint scanning and face unlock; along with real time HDR in taking photos.

Endurance

With a respectable 3400mAh battery, the Oppo offers a full day of heavy and moderate usage, with little charge left at the end of the day. The efficient chip-set helps in this regard, putting it a class above competitors from Huawei (P20 Lite) and Vivo (Vivo V9). What the F7 lacks however, is fast charging tech. It takes around two hours to top up the battery from 5%.

Camera

As usual, the camera is the only thing the Oppo excels in. Boasting a 25 megapixel camera with f/2.5 aperture in the front and a 16 megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture in the back, the device takes great pictures. Oppo’s main point of marketing is the AI Beauty feature. In most cases, the beautification is probably for the better but the beautification doesn’t go away entirely when you turn the mode off. The bokeh feature has been around for a while, and it finally feels that mobile phone manufacturers pulled it off, thanks to AI being at work. There are some AR features that were fun, but the available ones were pretty conventional and uninspiring.

The rear camera is brilliant as well. In an era of dual camera focusing on taking cool macro shots with blurred backgrounds, the Oppo takes a different route. Surely enough, the phone doesn’t offer amazing shots like Samsung Galaxy S9 or iPhone X, but the colors seem natural in well lit conditions. The sensor tends to overexpose a bit under low light conditions however. For macro shots, the camera feels brilliant, detecting edges and objects properly.

The best part about the camera app is the Expert mode. In this, you can adjust shutter speed, ISO, exposure etc. Disappointingly, the phone doesn’t offer 4K recording, a commonplace feature in this price range.

Conclusion and brief comparisons

The F7 isn’t a terrible phone by any means, but there are better options in the price range. Its mainstream competitors however, aren’t doing much good.

The Vivo V9 with a smaller battery and inferior camera is probably the worst in this price range, but the V9’s edge is in offering a lighter user interface experience and fast charge tech. Buying the V9 with 30,000BDT and getting a Snapdragon 626 is a disappointment to say the least.

Huawei recently entered this segment with the Huawei P20 Lite. Sure, the phone looks stunning and arguably prettier than the F7, but the Kirin 659 is dated. The GPU is worse as well. Storage system on the Oppo is UFS 2.1 whereas the P20 lite uses eMMc for storage. However, the build quality is a bit better, and dual cameras are better in some aspects. The P20 Lite also has fast charging tech with a USB C port.

The F7 is a good phone, but do pick it up when the price is a bit more tolerable. It nails almost everything down, and should be a pretty capable driver for any average user.