Best smartphones you can get under BDT 25,000

It is not always possible to buy expensive high-end smartphones. Especially, for those living in a budget. Here are a small recommendation of budget smartphones, all under Tk. 25,000. These smartphones pack a hefty amount of features that will satisfy your phone needs.

Samsung Galaxy A50

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The Samsung Galaxy A50 was released in March of 2019. The smartphone comes with 6.4 inches of Super AMOLED glass notched touchscreen. It has a pixel density of 403 ppi and a 4000 mAh battery. It comes packed with fast charging to keep it going through the day. It’s also rocking an Exynos 9610 chipset that houses eight cores; either 4 or 6 gigabytes worth of ram and either 64 or 128 gigs of internal storage. In case that was not enough, it also offers expandable microSD storage up to a whopping one terabyte.

On the camera side, it boasts triple cameras on the back and one selfie camera.

The triple cameras on the back consist of 25 megapixels, 8 megapixels ultra-wide unit. The last one has 5 megapixels with a depth sensor. These also allow for video recordings at up to 1080p resolution and thirty frames per second and HDR functionality. The selfie camera is 25 megapixels. This allows for video recording at 1080p resolution and thirty frames per second and HDR functionality.

Besides these, A50 has a headphone jack, USB-C, Bluetooth 5.0, a fingerprint sensor under the screen, NFC, accelerometer, 4G, dual sim capabilities and other great small features. The screen to body ratio is an incredible 84.90%. Running everything under the hood is Android Pie (9.0) which is the latest version of Android. All this comes in only at a weight of 169 grams.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy M10, the phone designed to win Bangladesh back

Samsung Galaxy M20

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The first thing to mention for this smartphone is the teardrop notch on the screen. The screen itself is a 6.3 inches capacitive touchscreen. Packing a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 409 ppi. The battery is 5000 mAh with fast charging.

Samsung Galaxy M20 comes with the Exynos 7904 chip and two variants for storage options. One option is to get 4 gigabytes of ram and 64 gigabytes of internal storage. Another option is to get 3 gigabytes of ram and 3 gigabytes of internal storage. Both allow expandable storage in the form of MicroSD slot up to one terabyte.

The M20 boasts dual cameras on the back and one selfie camera. The selfie camera is 8 megapixels and HDR-enabled which also records videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. These also have HDR functionality and record videos at 1080p and 30 fps.

One of the dual cameras is 13 megapixels and the other is a 5-megapixel ultra-wide.

All the usual necessities also make appearances as expected. From USB Type-C to a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.0 and 4g capabilities, dual sim and of course, a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Running everything is Android Oreo (8.0) which is upgradable to Android Pie (9.0). The whole smartphone weighs a respectable 186 grams.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy M40, midrange beast

Honor 10 Lite

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The Honor 10 Lite comes in a total of five different variants. There is a 6 gigs ram version that can either have 64 gigs of internal storage or 128 gigs of internal storage. There are 64 gigs of internal storage option that either has 3 or 4 gigs of ram. Finally, there is a 32 gigs internal storage option with 3 gigabytes of ram. No matter which version you choose, you will also be getting expandable storage via micro SD card up to 1 terabyte. Although, the SD card will take up one sim slot.

Best smartphones you can get under BDT 20,000

The smartphone sports a 6.21 inches LCD capacitive notched display at a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a 3400 mAh battery. On the back, it’s a dual-camera setup. One of the cameras is 13 megapixels and the other is 2 megapixels. They can record videos at 1080p resolution at 60 fps. The selfie camera is 24 megapixels which also records videos at 1080p at 30 fps. Both the front and back cameras have HDR functionality.

This device is geared towards taking selfies.

Under the hood, on the hardware side, running everything is the Hisilicon Kirin 710 octa-core CPU. On the software side, it comes with the latest Android operating system, Android Pie (9.0), with EMUI 9.1 on top of it. The Honor Lite 10 also comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, fast charging capability, and other miscellaneous features. It does not have a USB Type-C port though. Altogether, the device weighs only 162 grams.

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Redmi 7 Review: Best budget phone right now?

The decision to get a phone now is like a scale with specifications and price at each end. The scale varies with each price point, and the best options find a place right around the middle. On a budget of 12-14 thousand taka, the Redmi 7 might be the phone to go for right now.

First Impression

While the Redmi Note and Note Pro stand out the most among the Redmi series, the Redmi 7 is a good deal for a lower budget as well. While it is cheaper, it doesn’t feel like a cheap phone in your hands. The phone has a glossy plastic finish on its body that makes it appear fancy. The body itself comes with rounded edges, making the phone more wieldy. It has a very distinguishable feature in the P2i nano hydrophobic coating, which keeps water on the phone running. Although this effect is visible on the display and the back, some water does stick to the corners. And of course, we like that the phone has a 3.5 mm audio jack. We just, like that.

While the issues with glossy finishes such as smudge and scratches persist with this phone, all you need to get rid of those is a good casing. Xiaomi’s reputation for implementing high-end offerings at a budget is retained in the form of a Gorilla Glass 5 display, very unusual for a phone of this price.  It has a fingerprint scanner conveniently placed at the back along with a water drop notched 6.26 inch LCD display. The screen does have a rather large bezel, but it is utilized in the form of an LED notification light.

Performance

The basic features like fingerprint sensor and scrolling are very responsive. As they should be as the phone is powered by a snapdragon 632 processor. We recommend getting the 3/32 GB variant, as those specifications complement the processor better. And it is quite the leap in marginal utility compared to the price hike. The phone also has a large 4000 mAh battery.

The camera has a 13mp primary sensor with a 2mp additional depth sensor. For the price, it is a good camera as the pictures appear smooth, but not quite that natural. Fair warning, the color tone is a bit colder than usual, and the pictures aren’t quite rich in sharpness. But the color saturation on this camera is very natural compared to other budget options. Nighttime images and pictures with visible light sources are average to good. Selfies can be taken via an 8mp front facing camera, which actually produces decent pictures. The phone surprisingly supports full HD 60fps video capturing, with limited stabilization.  What we’re saying is it’s just better than the price point would suggest.

The Verdict

Although it is likely to remain in the Note series’ shadow, the Redmi 7 makes for a good option for people opting for a lower budget.

So if you’re unwilling to cross that 15k threshold, this might just be the phone you can settle for.

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.

Do you really need a flagship smartphone?

Smartphones are very much a necessary part of the modern citizen’s life now. There’s just no way around it. Almost every service nowadays, from education to transport to even food, is based around the usage of smartphones. This has facilitated the opportunity for companies to capitalize on the growing demand for smartphones, and offer their “unique” packages to the market. Thus, flagship phones; luxurious, expensive, peerless and with a price to match the hype. But are they really necessary?

Do you really need a phone more expensive than an actual high-end camera to take photos? Is a screen bigger than your hand can hold making all that difference in your life? Are you in dire need of a bezel-less screen, animated emojis and other novel (read pointless) features?

A very personal opinion on the negative will be explored in the following paragraphs.

Market saturation and basic features

It would be relevant to mention now that the smartphone market had reached a plateau quite a while ago and continues to fall even today. This is attributed to many reasons, primary of which is oversaturation in the market. There are too many companies making smartphones now. And that is actually a good thing for consumers. Since the competition is so high, the producers are compelled to add more features to phones at any given price range to maintain their market share. This means more features for less money.

One can now get features on a mid-range phone we could only dream of just a few years ago.

The performance of basic features like the camera or CPU isn’t anything to sneer at. You don’t want to throw your phone at the wall anymore because the Facebook app is taking too long to load on a no-name CPU. You don’t need to point a torch at something to take a picture because the phone’s camera resolution and lens are worse than a built-in laptop webcam. That’s not to say there isn’t any noticeable difference in performance, quality of pictures taken and other basic attributes when it comes to flagships.

Do you really need a flagship phone?

But as mentioned before, it doesn’t add much value compared to the price hike. People in need can get a great camera and lens for 40 thousand and 8 thousand takas respectively. They don’t need to get a 60-thousand-taka camera phone. The mid-range options are perfectly viable for the rational consumer, especially in our country. This effect is evident, as local producers Symphony, famous for their low-mid budget phones are the market leaders in Bangladesh.

The durability myth

Do you really need a flagship phone? 4

A common argument flagship defenders make is that these phones are built to last longer. That is almost entirely false. Samsung phones are well known for their performance fluctuations beyond 1.5-2 years of use; they tend to get slower and consume more power. Apple is infamous for its lack of customer care. This is magnified after the launch of their new yearly device, as the previous generation becomes effectively obsolete. Moreover, to add to their aesthetic value, flagship phones tend to have glass bodies as opposed to plastic or metal. This means they tend to get damaged worse, and servicing costs for them is significantly higher. Of course, you can carry some of them into the shower, waterproof/resistant and all. But why would you carry a phone into the shower?

That’s a rhetorical question. Please don’t answer that.

Price vs Innovation: Where actually is progress being made?

Compare an iPhone X to an iPhone 7. You’ll see that they have almost the same specifications. Of course, the newer iPhone X is faster, wielding a 6 core CPU against the 7’s four cores. It has a 1gb RAM advantage, fewer bezels and a bigger screen, and it has face identification and wireless charging capability. It’s twice as good in the price department though, sporting a whopping $1000-dollar price tag against the iPhone 7’s mere $550 dollar one. Does that deal sound especially enticing? What justifies the 90% price hike?

Do you really need a flagship phone? 1
Does “innovative” features take the focus away from primary functions a phone should serve?

And that’s just one company. Try taking any company’s current flagship and compare it to the previous edition. There will be some difference, a performance increase, a slightly enhanced image processing system, better stabilization. The common point of these “innovative” new features is they are all marginal. And while performance development is minimal, the price hike is anything but. Try going back just two years in time and telling someone that a consumer smartphone is going to set them back 1000 dollars. What seemed borderline impossible so little time ago is reality today, and I am not talking about facial recognition. That is a very diminutive and honestly pretentious feature that was around a long time before it was implemented into a smartphone. Companies take these minute and showy features, put them on a device and charge you a kidney. Sounds like a good deal for half a year of showing off.

Software: Something that actually matters

It has been more apparent than ever this year. You can run the same things on a budget phone as you can on a flagship option. So much so that the development on premium options of 2018 seemed almost exclusively cosmetic. There were still companies that implemented useful features to make their product a more bang-for-you-buck option. But what actually matter on a phone, the operating system and software platform were almost the same. You will encounter some problems running newer Android and iOS versions that come with flagships on budget phones, but to me at least they seem minimal; while the price difference is almost a deal breaker for many.

So, unless you’re a very busy person who needs to be productive most of the day, or part of a very niche class of consumer, the marginal enhancement offered in flagships isn’t something you require. The budget options offer everything a normal consumer might need. Thus, a completely personal opinion (with the added benefit of having a platform to share it on), don’t buy a flagship phone unless you absolutely need to.

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.

Huawei: Enemy of the US?

Huawei has had a hell of a year. From toppling the smartphone giants Apple’s iPhone in terms of sales to the several US government-related controversies, it’s certainly not been a dull period for the Chinese tech giants. It should come as no surprise that much of Huawei’s history is marred in many such controversies. However, you may be surprised how many of the controversies throughout the years remained unchanged. Here, we look at a few controversies the company has gone through in just this calendar year. The list will be listing these controversies from the oldest of the year to the newest. In fact, the last entry on this post only happened yesterday!

January – Defending US Government Communications Act

A French newspaper linked Huawei to the hack of the African Union Headquarters in Ethiopia. The Chinese government, of course, denied the acquisitions. Right after this, the US government would propose the Defending US Government Communications Act, call for FCC to investigate the company, and even got AT&T to pull out of an agreement with Huawei. Verizon, on the other hand, would stop carrying Huawei products in the future. This was only the start, and Huawei would have a rough year ahead of them.

February – Intelligence heads think Huawei is spyware

Huawei: Enemy of the US?

On February 14, 2018, heads of six U.S. intelligence agencies testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence against the use of Chinese telecom products by U.S. citizens. Like those of Huawei and ZTE. Christopher A. Wray, director of the FBI, stated that they were “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks”. Huawei responded to the allegations, arguing that its products “[pose] no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor, sharing as we do common global supply chains and production capabilities,” and that it was “aware of a range of U.S. government activities seemingly aimed at inhibiting Huawei’s business in the U.S. market”

March – Best Buy stops selling Huawei

Best buy, one of the largest retailers of consumer technology in the US, stops selling Huawei products. Huawei takes another hit to their bottom line, and the pseudo war against the Americans start taking its toll.

April – US Government forbids self from using Huawei tech

On April 17, 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) held a preliminary, 5-0 vote. It was on rules forbidding the use of government subsidies to purchase telecom equipment from companies deemed to be a risk to national security. A draft of the policy specifically even named Huawei and ZTE as examples. This would further restrict Huawei, as anyone who wants to work intimately with a massive employer like the US would have to make certain to not have Huawei phones.

May – The Pentagon bans Huawei phones from retail stores on military bases

In an unsurprising move, the Pentagon went ahead and banned Huawei from all military base retail shops. Huawei in a statement basically didn’t even address it. Instead, they said, “We remain committed to openness and transparency in everything we do and want to be clear that no government has ever asked us to compromise the security or integrity of any of our networks or devices.”

June – Revelations of Facebook and Huawei’s secret data-sharing pact

This was during that time of the year when everyone on Facebook started to get worried about how Zuckerberg may be misappropriating our data. Naturally, if it’s controversial, Huawei would have to be mentioned somewhere. This was simply one such case. A series of reports this week revealed that, for the past 10 years, Facebook’s broad sharing of data extended not only to app developers but to phone companies as well. Of course, one of the phone makers on top of that list would be Huawei.

July – Huawei overtakes Apple

In possibly the only positive news for Huawei during the whole year, they managed to outsell iPhones for the second quarter of this year. Huawei shipped over 54 million handsets in the second quarter compared to the 41.3 million iPhones that Apple sold. This would make them the second biggest phone sellers of the globe.

August – Huawei caught faking camera shots in ads

The shot in question

And we’re back to Huawei being completely morally bankrupt. To play the devils advocate, they never explicitly stated that it wasn’t a DSLR shot. They just heavily implied it with the wrist position.

Taking of the shot

September – Huawei caught cheating benchmark test for P20

Huawei gets caught with their pants down, as the list gets sillier. Again. Shocking. Literally just weeks removed from the last fiasco, in September, AnandTech discovered that Huawei’s P20 had been programmed to maximize performance specifically when running 3DMark, a popular benchmarking app. Huawei admitted to this in a statement to Android Authority.

October – The only non-controversial month

Huawei announced a few new phones like the 5G foldable they are working on. They announced the new Mate 20. They asked Trump to change his device to Huawei as reports of iPhone tapping became known. All in all, a real month of R&R for the execs of Huawei.

November – Americans discourage allies from using Huawei devices:

R&R would end soon, however. In November, the US would ask many of it’s allies to stop using the tech giants products. Allegedly. Sources claim that US government officials have met with counterparts in Germany, Japan, and Italy, and are reportedly considering offering financial incentives to countries who opt not to use equipment from the Chinese manufacturer.

December – Canadian authorities arrest The CFO:

Huwaei: Enemy of the US?
Huwaei’s global CFO Wanzhou Meng

However, the latest chapter of the story was told only yesterday. Huawei Vice-chairperson and CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities. She faces extradition to the United States on charges of violating sanctions against Iran. 

As anyone can see, at this point the company has become an absolute magnet for controversy. They’ve clashed so hard with the US government this year you might mistake them to be Iran or something. Huawei is backing off of US markets. Barring random marketing campaigns they do to generate buzz, the company’s future there seems uncertain. Yet, with a dominating share in Chinese markets, they remain safe globally.

Check out our first impression on the Huawei Nova 3i here.

Samsung wins best brand award

Samsung Mobile has been recognized as Bangladesh’s No. 1 Handset Brand by Bangladesh Brand Forum. The South Korean electronics giant was also announced 3rd best brand in refrigerator category. Top officials of Samsung Bangladesh received the awards on behalf of Samsung Mobile and Samsung Consumer electronics during the award ceremony on December 8, 2018, at Le Méridien Dhaka.

The objective of the Best Brand Award is to exhibit and celebrate the success of the brands, achieved through excellence in meeting the needs of the Bangladeshi consumers. Bangladesh Brand Forum partnered with Nielsen Bangladesh to identify the top brands of Bangladesh, with the aim to acknowledge the brands that have established themselves to a meaningful height in terms of business value and contribution to consumer life.

On this occasion, Md. Muyeedur Rahman, Head of Mobile, Samsung Mobile Bangladesh said, “We are extremely proud to have received this award. It is an indicator of our customers support towards our products and services. As we continue to thrive as a brand, Samsung remains dedicated to creating innovative possibilities and experiences for our consumers through our products and services. Our heartfelt gratitude and thanks to all our customers, partners and stakeholders without whom this was not possible.”

This Bangladesh Brand Forum is a platform for recognizing the success of the business community of Bangladesh and portraying their achievements in brand building. The program was launched to find the most loved brands of Bangladesh based on the nationwide survey conducted by Nielsen Bangladesh and giving away a prominent publication consisting of winning brand stories to all the attendees as the Bangladesh Brand Forum tradition.

Samsung launches stylish and budget-friendly Galaxy J4+ & J6+ in Bangladesh

Samsung Mobile has launched new additions to its best-selling Galaxy J Series smartphones, the Galaxy J4+ and J6+ combining fresh design and exciting features for young customers.

Stylish Design

Both of the newly launched devices build on the legacy of Samsung’s elegant design philosophy. The phones have a premium glass back finish—a first for the J Series. For J4+, young smartphone users can choose from golden, black and blue colors. Apart from blue and black color, Galaxy J6+ will be available in red for the first time in Samsung Galaxy smartphone line-up.

“Galaxy J series is our best-selling smartphone series in the Bangladesh market, and it is popular among the youths. This time we have revamped the series with stylish devices like the J4+ and J6+, which come with many firsts of the series including fresh design and a variety of colors to the millennials who want more within a budget,” said Md. Muyeedur Rahman, Head of Mobile, Samsung Bangladesh.

Features

The Galaxy J4+ sports a 13MP back camera and 5MP front camera. This should cover user camera needs to capture detailed photos. For the Galaxy J6+, the dual rear camera setup is 13MP/5MP. This allows users to capture images in all lighting conditions. Additionally, there is an 8MP front camera with variable selfie flash for great selfies.

Moreover, the Galaxy J6+ comes with Side Fingerprint sensor, another first for any Galaxy device. This allows a fast and user-friendly way to unlock the phone securely.

Samsung Galaxy J4+ and J6+ are available for purchase at all authorized outlets of Samsung Mobile and its partners across the country at a price of BDT 15,990 and BDT 18,990 respectively.

EA and 2K aren’t keen on complying with Belgium’s law against Lootbox

It felt like yesterday when the huge revelation came upon the video game industry and its publishers: lootbox microtransactions has gone way too far. The controversy stirred by Battlefront II, Need For Speed Payback and NBA 2K18 has riled everyone up. They’ve been riled up for a year now.

Chris Lee, a Hawaii representative, noticed such commotion. He has expressed his opinions about predatory practices from EA. He has also spoken against other games from multiple publishers and platforms including Android and iOS. Belgium followed this example. Thus they’ve made it clear since April this year that video game lootboxes are to be strictly regarded as illegal gambling.

The defiant ones

Much to their hubris, EA and 2K seem defiant against Belgium’s new law, with 2K suggesting people in Belgium contact their representatives for a repeal somehow.

EA, on the other hand, considers themselves clean since they’ve stated they have done nothing wrong to elicit their game’s lootbox system being illegal. They are now currently under investigation for criminal charges by the Belgium government.

Plausible deniability or not, Netherlands have also followed suit and are thus setting a bigger example for other countries to follow. Blizzard and Valve have fully complied with both Belgium and Netherlands.

Need a second opinion?

Today’s gaming industry has reached a far greater market than movies and television combined. However, we’re still not sure if this was the best outcome. Especially since most of the finances of big companies come from treating games as services.

Lootbox gambling has been on the rise since 2017, starting all from Counter-Strike Go, Overwatch to now Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. It wasn’t over a year ago since CS Go Lotto controversy made the FTC in the US file major complains before Valve reached a settlement. Though in irony, Valve actually had the knowledge of the gambling fiasco before it reached public eyes.

Even though games are expensive to make nowadays, The Witcher 3 was one of the bestselling RPGs with the developers being opposed to monetary services. Games like Titanfall 2 were also praised for their DLC system. Players in-game weren’t purchasing any convoluted means to have in-game advantages that could seem invasive.

So the bottom line is…

It’s bad enough that mobile games are far egregious with these practices making it unbearable for enjoying quality content from app stores, let alone games. AAA titles the likes of Shadow of War which is a single-player game also had a microtransaction system of its own. Contrary to where multi-player ones are rife with such an integration.

A Reddit user by the name Kensgold revealed that he has spent 10,000 USD on in-app purchases including CS: GO. Before that, there have been multiple instances where children used their parent’s credit cards to purchase digital goods where they’ve had to later asked the publisher for refunds as it wasn’t to their consent. Including most of the games from EA.

So what should it take to make these two juggernauts of publishers to give in among others, as they’ve bitten more than they should chew? Should we keep living under the umbrella of this silver lining?

Oppo F9: stylish but underpowered

The new Oppo F9 has taken the market by storm. With its one-of-a-kind notch, it certainly looks very unique. It also has very powerful cameras on its front and back. However, a notch and a couple of cameras alone don’t make a good phone great.

Display and appearance

The new Oppo F9 is a very sleek and stylish phone. The F9 is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on both sides and has a big 6.3-inch IPS LCD screen with minimum screen bezel and a very small water drop notch. The F9 has all the standard sensors you would come to expect, including a fingerprint one on the back.

The Oppo comes in three different colours, and they all look very fashionable. The gradient colour scheme is very unique and really helps the phone stand out amongst its peers. All in all, it’s a phone that wouldn’t be out of place in the hands of a supermodel, as Deepika Padukone has shown already.

Camera

Oppo is the self-proclaimed selfie expert. So it should come as no surprise how powerful its cameras are. The front camera is a whopping 25 megapixels and our testing at launch proved its power. The back cameras are also quite powerful, at 16 and 2 megapixels respectively. Oppo has targeted the selfie-taker with their tagline, so this is only expected.

Pouting is easier with the Oppo F9’s AI assisted mammoth front camera, which has a whopping 25 megapixels.

The Oppo F9 also features AI integration with the cameras. The cameras can automatically pick up what kind of photo you are trying to take and adapts to it. The image quality of the camera can be easily compared with the best in the market right now.

Battery

Another Oppo F9 marketing gimmick has been the fast charging capability of the phone. The Oppo F9 has VOOC technology, which makes charging very quick. In fact, the phone’s tagline claims that the phone can muster 2 hours’ worth of talk time with only 5 minutes of charging.

The Oppo F9 has a 3500 mAh battery, which makes this an impressive claim. It’s safe to say the claim is mostly true – we got 4% of charge in less than a minute.

Chipset and power

So far, the phone has looked quite good. This section is where that changes. With so many premium features packed into a phone that costs a fourth of the average iPhone, some concessions had to be made. The phone packs a very mediocre Mediatek MT6771 Helio P60 chipset.

It does have an octa-core CPU, but it is paired with a Mali-G72 MP3 GPU. This makes the phone considerably less powerful than a flagship should be. The phone comes in 4 and 6 GB RAM variants. Both have 64 GB of internal storage. It has a dedicated slot for memory expansions of up to 256 GB. The Oppo F9 has 4G dual sim capability also.

Verdict

The Oppo F9 has quite a few things going for it. It has really quick charging, and the only phone in the same price range that has similar quick charging is the Lenovo Z5. The display is beautiful with possibly the nicest looking notch we’ve seen yet. The cameras are world class and can go toe to toe with every flagship in the market. The price, at 28,990 and 31,990 BDT for the 4 and 6 GB variants, is pretty low for a flagship quality phone.

Yet, there are some huge shortcomings for the Oppo F9. The power of the phone leaves much to be desired as they seem to be the only ones using Mali GPU’s in this day and age. For casual users and selfie addicts, this is a good phone and comes recommended. However, the mobile gaming community and others who want a lot of power in their phones would find the Oppo F9 to be lacklustre at best.