Gadget news
Oppo Pad Neo launches in Malaysia, an affordable 11.35″ tablet with optional LTE
5:45 pm | January 16, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

A few months ago OnePlus launched the affordable OnePlus Pad Go in India. Then a month later Oppo released the Pad Air2 in China and it was basically the same hardware under new branding. Now it gets another name – Oppo Pad Neo - as it has quietly launched in Malaysia where it should be available for sale immediately, it is also listed on the company’s Taiwanese site. There are two versions of the Pad Neo – Wi-Fi and LTE. The former is configured with 6/128GB, the latter comes in an 8/128GB configuration. They are priced MYR 1,200, the latter is MYR 1,400. For what it’s worth, the OnePlus...

Xiaomi to have Redmi Note 13 Pro in LTE and 5G configurations
8:50 am | November 22, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: , | Comments: Off

The Redmi Note 13 series was recently introduced in China, and the lineup is slowly but surely crawling towards an international launch. There is a Redmi Note 13 Pro with 5G capability, thanks to its Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 chipset, and now Xiaomi is preparing another phone with the same name but limited to LTE networks. Redmi Note 13 Pro Both devices were certified with the NBTC, Thailand's telecommunications regulator. The certification clearly says “Redmi Note 13 Pro” and “Redmi Note 13 Pro 5G”, allowing Xiaomi to expand its sales even further, regardless of...

Apple Watch Series 9 review: tapping into a new era of gestures
2:47 pm | September 22, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Health & Fitness Smartwatches | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Apple Watch Series 9: One-minute review

After several fairly iterative updates, the Apple Watch Series 9 finally brings a genuinely exciting, use-everyday new feature to the flagship Apple Watch in the form of Double Tap. The gesture is sure to make waves when it’s made available later this year, and I found it a delight to use in my brief time with the watch. 

A brighter screen and on-device Siri, ensuring that health queries are processed securely, are welcome changes, too. The Watch 9 may well prove to be the best Apple Watch for most people in the weeks to come.

The watch’s eco-friendly aspirations are admirable, and the move to Ultra Wideband radio technology is something that will pay dividends as subsequent iPhones make use of the tech. The Watch 9 offers a preview of Apple’s ambitions for the next few years, with a carbon-neutral approach to manufacturing (well, driven by marketing) and a growing list of devices linked by Ultra Wideband.

However, innovation can only go so far: the new Apple Watch shares the exact same 18-hour battery life, sizes, operating system, and design as its predecessors, and so – as we tend to say every year – the update is only iterative in many ways. As ever, it’s the iOS watch to get if you're looking for a new wearable, but if you already have the Apple Watch Series 8 or Series 7 you can probably be excused.

Apple Watch Series 9: Specifications

Apple Watch Series 9: Price and availability

Apple Watch Series 9 review

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)
  • Starts from $399 / £399 / AU$649 with aluminum case
  • Two sizes: 41mm and 45mm, with LTE options
  • Tougher stainless steel case also available

The Apple Watch Series 9 was announced at Apple's September 12 event and is available now, with prices starting from $399 / £399 / AU$649. That’s the price for the cheapest 41mm model with an aluminum case (with color options of Midnight (black), Starlight (a sort of silver/gold hybrid), Silver, Product Red or the new Pink offering) and GPS connectivity only, without cellular LTE connectivity. 

If you get this version you won't be able to connect to the internet without Wi-Fi or your phone handy, although you can still use GPS functions while you work out. For those who want a larger model, LTE connectivity, or a stainless steel case (which comes in a choice of attractive gold, silver and graphite finishes), you’ll pay an additional premium as usual. 

For example, a 45mm aluminum watch in Pink, with GPS only, costs  $429 / £429 / AU$699, while the GPS and Cellular LTE option costs $529 / £529 / AU$859. If you were to go with the stainless steel option, the price would increase again. This is nothing new in Apple Watch world, but it's worth noting if you’re thinking of picking one up for the first time. 

If you want an even more premium option, there's also the Apple Watch Ultra 2. This brings a raft of outdoor-focused features, a more rugged design and a better screen - but for a higher price still. You can read more about that in our hands-on Apple Watch Ultra 2 review.

Apple Watch Series 9: Design

Apple Watch Series 9 review

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)
  • Lots of recycled materials
  • Identical architecture to predecessors
  • New bands and pink aluminum case option

As you might expect from a flagship Apple Watch at this point, Apple isn’t reinventing the wheel. It got things right early on, and come hell or high water it's stuck to its guns (with the possible exception of the ‘radical’ Apple Watch Ultra design). Same two sizes, same rotating digital crown, same side button, the mic and speaker introduced several generations back are still present and correct… to look at its chassis, it’s virtually the same watch. Series 8 users hoping for a change are better off looking elsewhere.

Fortunately, the new watch is still incredibly simple to set up and use straight away. Using a combination of the digital crown, side button and touchscreen, our early navigation of the new watchOS 10 operating system was smooth and intuitive. Bringing up Settings with the side button feels like a logical move, and I love the new widget stack, which makes it far easier to jump to the one you want.

More than any other feature, the widgets have transformed the Apple Watch experience for me, but this isn’t unique to the Series 9 – any Apple Watch from the Series 5 or above will receive the watchOS 10 update.

What has changed is the composition of materials used in the Series 9. Apple is keen to emphasize the fact that each new Apple Watch produced is now ‘carbon-neutral’, in part thanks to a combination of recycled materials used both inside and outside the watch, such as the cobalt in its batteries and aluminum used in its casings.

Apple is also attempting to offset electricity used during charging and reduce shipping emissions – even the packaging is 25% smaller, so that more units can fit into shipping crates. 

Apple Watch Series 9 review

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)

We’ve covered Apple’s big carbon-neutrality claims extensively elsewhere, so we won’t go into much more detail in this review, but this eco-friendly ethos has also led to some cool redesigned bands. The standard sport loop is now made from 82% recycled yarn, while select versions of the swim-proof silicone-fluoroelastomer band are textured as a result of the recycling process, making each band unique. That’s pretty neat. 

A new Pink color, as mentioned, is sure to be snapped up by everyone that saw Barbie this summer, but the Midnight, Silver, Starlight, and Product Red colors all make a welcome return from last year. The premium stainless steel options can also be bought with a metal band matching the watch’s casing. 

Apple Watch Series 9: Features

Apple Watch Series 9 review

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)
  • Double Tap is an obvious standout
  • New Ultra Wideband use cases are great
  • On-watch Siri secures health data

Let’s get into the details. I tried the Double Tap feature, which garnered much of the attention during the announcement event, although it won't actually land on the Apple Watch 9 until October. Double Tap uses the accelerometer and gyroscope to detect intention: you have to raise your watch as if looking at the time before performing the two-pinch gesture with your watch hand, as this prevents it from being triggered accidentally. It can be used to perform any main action on any complication you happen to have open on your watch face, from starting and stopping a timer to snoozing an alarm, to answering a call

I really liked using it, and I firmly believe this is just the start. My nightmares of having to pinch the air over and over again like a crab while trying to get the thing to work were completely unfounded: I was able to stop a timer, answer a call and access other complications very easily, first time. 

Other notable new features include the use-cases for the new second-generation Ultra Wideband radio technology. The Find Devices app has changed: as long as you’re connecting to another device with a second-gen Ultra Wideband chip in it (so just an iPhone 15 model for now then), you’ll be able to see exactly how many feet away that device is on your Watch, along with a directional icon. You can then play Marco Polo until you get within a foot of it, at which point the Series 9 will issue a green tick to indicate that you’ve found it. 

I was very impressed by the demo, but at the moment it’s limited to just the Series 9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and iPhone 15 models. As future devices come along with this technology installed, it’s going to become far more widely used (and rightly so, the feature’s great), even if relatively few of us are going to be lucky enough to snap up two new Apple gadgets this year.

On-device Siri is available for the first time, which means it doesn’t have to connect to the cloud in order to process your questions. This is a fairly niche change for most, but a big leap forward for those concerned about privacy is that you can now use Siri to access your health data.

Apple is very keen to emphasize that any data about your health either remains on your device or is encrypted before being shared. Having Siri available to read you your Move ring status or menstrual-cycle tracking data might sound like a minor thing, but it's a long-term win: we’re slowly realizing that, collectively, we’re far too cavalier with our health information these days. 

Apple Watch Series 9: Early verdict

Apple Watch Series 9 review

(Image credit: Future / Matt Evans)

It’s tough to nail down any other notable changes: most of the really transformative stuff, other than what’s been discussed above, is available on most other Apple Watches via an upgrade to watchOS 10. The Double Tap and improved Find My features won’t be available to the public until later in the year, while the 2,000-nit always-on Retina Display screen looks bright and lovely and can allegedly be read easier in full sunlight, but it’s a gloomy day in London and we’ve had only a few hours or so to test it to its fullest extent.

Nevertheless, for once when discussing an Apple flagship model, it seems like there’s at least one genuinely useful, game-changing new feature here that will be used every day. There was very little learning curve involved in getting the Double Tap feature to work from our end. 

The shift towards more environmentally friendly materials is a welcome one, and the option of a brighter screen is always nice, but I’m again frustrated by the lack of any improvement in battery life. Further testing will be needed to see if that beautiful bright screen drains the battery beyond an all-day charge, or whether the improved processing power of the S9 can mitigate it.

However, I feel confident in saying the Apple Watch Series 9 will prove to be a strong contender for the ‘best iOS watch for most people’ crown in the months to come. We'll bring you our final verdict in our in-depth full Apple Watch 9 review soon.

Huawei Watch Ultimate review: the Apple Watch Ultra has nothing to worry about
5:47 pm | May 18, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Huawei Watch Ultimate: One minute review

This is TechRadar’s Huawei Watch Ultimate review. We’ve gone hands-on with the Apple Watch Ultra rival to test its mettle as a day-to-day smartwatch, a workout device, a health companion, and a tool for outdoor pursuits such as diving and hiking. The end result is a watch that’s designed to go toe-to-toe with the best smartwatches from Apple and the best Garmin watches

In many ways it succeeds: the physical build quality is nothing short of spectacular, and the watch looks great – with the right watch face. The Expedition mode, designed for outdoor pursuits such as hiking, trail running and orienteering, is a brilliant piece of UX design, and Huawei Health is a great-looking and very functional companion app. 

However, the typical and all-too-familiar Huawei frustrations prevent this from beating the top outdoor watches at their own game. There’s no Google Maps or GPX files: instead, the Huawei Watch Ultimate works on Huawei’s own Petal Maps service. There’s also no LTE option, which is frustrating for a watch at this price point, as it means you need to remain coupled to your phone for internet access. Some of the better watch faces cost money from Huawei’s online store. And, without a Huawei phone, there’s no contactless payment option, as it won’t support Google Wallet, Apple Pay or other competing digital wallet services. 

I understand Huawei’s instinct to keep things locked down end-to-end in the same way that Apple, Google and Samsung do, but as Huawei devices aren’t as ubiquitous as those of the other brands, it makes recommending the watch more difficult. While the watch will record your running routes using GPS, the omission of on-wrist directions and the inability to stream music without cellular data or a phone nearby are pretty damning. At least it looks nice, it’s tough as nails, and the Expedition mode is ace.  

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Price and availability

  • £699 (Expedition Black)
  • £799 (Voyage Blue)
  • Unavailable in US, not confirmed for AU

Huawei Watch Ultimate currently starts at £699 (around $870 / AU$1,300) for the Expedition Black version of the watch, which has the standard zirconium liquid metal watch face and casing but a plain black silicone strap. It clearly competes directly with the Apple Watch Ultra at this price, and occupies a similar niche and matches the watch in build quality.

The next level up in price, the Voyage Blue, is designed to look more like a traditional diving watch, something along the line of the Omega Seamaster series. Its segmented deep-blue bezel is complimented by a lighter-coloured case and matching aviation-grade titanium strap, and it costs £799.

Unfortunately, availability is a big part of where this watch falls down: it’s unavailable in the US due to the US government’s ongoing dispute with Huawei. Not having the latest phones with Huawei’s own operating system, EMUI, means that even if you get your hands on the watch, some of its features can’t be used. 

Although Huawei technology is currently available in Australia, the Watch Ultimate isn’t yet on sale. It is available in the UK and Europe, and select Asian markets. Is is available in Europe for €749 euros in Expedition Black, and €849 in Voyage Blue.

  • Value score: 4/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Design

Huawei Watch Ultimate

(Image credit: Huawei)
  • Top-notch build quality
  • Big and heavy
  • Unimpressive UX

The Huawei Watch Ultimate takes its cues from other premium outdoors watches such as the Garmin Enduro 2 and its principle rival, the Apple Watch Ultra – they’re all big watches with large faces and super-tough cases. The Huawei Watch Ultimate’s case looks great: it’s made of a super-tough, super-hard zirconium ‘liquid metal’ alloy that’s said to be harder than titanium, and finished in a darker grey for the Expedition Black model and shiny silver for the Voyage Blue, which comes with a matching titanium strap. 

The Voyage Blue model especially is a thing of beauty, looking for all the world like a smart version of a premium dive watch like a Seamaster. The Expedition Black is a bit more sporty, with its black silicone strap and more demure case, but both still look like fantastic watches – providing you choose the right face. Many of the default options really spoil the look of the watch, and, frankly, make it look cheap: I went through five or six of the ‘free’ watch faces on the AppGallery store before settling on one I actually liked. 

Elsewhere the watch is comfortable on the wrist (we tested the Expedition Black model) but it is big and heavy, weighing in at 76 grams – that’s useful when surviving bangs and scrapes, but less so if you’re wearing it to bed, as you might accidentally clobber yourself or your partner with it. By the time my testing period was over and I swapped to my smaller Casio F-91W digital watch, I felt like I’d been weight training. If you’re in the market for a daily wearer, this is a big, heavy, and occasionally inconvenient option. 

On the software side, the Huawei Health app is a very good, comprehensively designed companion app, with well-presented data and bags of granular graphs to sink your teeth into, a real treat for health info nerds. I was less impressed with the UX on the Huawei Watch Ultimate: it’s essentially the same layout as on the Huawei GT 4, and if you pinch and zoom, the app layout zooms out into a basic rectangle, with no effort to conform the layout to the screen. It’s a small thing, but very telling, and despite the watch’s beautiful construction, Huawei’s operating system isn’t quite as ergonomic to use as something like watchOS 9. 

The similarities with the Huawei Watch GT 4 continue in the physical design, with the exception of the Ultimate mode button on the left-hand side. Pushing this button takes you to Expedition Mode or Dive Mode – I used Expedition Mode most often – with the other buttons acting as controls to select options for individual apps. However, it would be nice if Huawei made the Ultimate Mode button fully programmable, in the same way the Apple Watch Ultra’s action button is.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Features

Huawei Watch Ultimate on-wrist

(Image credit: Future)
  • Lots of workout modes
  • New Expedition and Dive Modes
  • Some features locked away for non-Huawei users
  • Lack of LTE is frustrating

Fortunately, the Huawei Watch Ultimate excels at workout tracking, with loads of modes, just like the Huawei Watch GT series before it. Runs are easily and comprehensively tracked –they’re divided into outdoor and indoor runs, with outdoor run tracking rivaling that of Garmin and Polar watches when it comes to the level of granular data you can pull from a run. From Recovery time and aerobic/anaerobic stress to VO2 Max, GPS and Pace Segment information, it’s all here. There’s no heat map of running power laid over your route, as there is on Garmins, which I’ve always found useful, but combined with Expedition Mode this watch is going to be a great trail-running companion. 

Speaking of which, Expedition Mode is great. I cover it in more detail in a separate article, but essentially it’s one of two new modes that allow you to see and measure specific vital statistics, use the watch’s torch functionality, set GPS waypoints, and tell you how far away you are from each waypoint. By chaining waypoints together, you can stay orientated, and not have to glance at a GPX map every few minutes. 

The Watch also has a heavily-advertised Dive Mode, which we’ve been unable to test yet. Splitting between recreational and free dives in both seawater and fresh water, Huawei says it can operate in and show you accurate depths at up to 100 meters; it can also interface with your air tank to show you readouts on-wrist, and carries a compass for reorienting yourself. I’ve asked a professional diving instructor about the Apple Watch Ultra’s dive credentials, and I’d be fascinated to have the Ultra and the Huawei Watch Ultimate tested alongside each other. 

The Watch is stacked with apps and features, from stress readouts and breathing exercises to maps, texting, voice call functionality with the in-built speaker, and Huawei’s AI assistant, which is only available on EMUI phones. Additional third-party apps like Spotify will need to be downloaded via the Huawei AppGallery, which could again be a problem depending on the phone you’re using. Maps uses Huawei’s Petal Maps rather than Google Maps, which is available as a browser download if you can’t get on AppGallery, but it works fine and offers on-wrist directions. Just make sure that you enable permissions on your phone, as without the right permissions okayed, the app will close on-phone and the on-wrist directions will stop. 

The most frustrating missing feature here is the lack of LTE or real offline GPS options. If I want streamed music, maps or even the ability to call someone from my watch when I go for a run, I have to take my phone with me. The lack of on-wrist maps or directions independent of my phone is especially egregious for a self-professed outdoors watch – yes, you can set GPS waypoints with Expedition Mode, but you can’t call up a decent map or contact someone if, for example, you twist an ankle. Such omissions are fine for a mid-range watch, but at this price point it’s a real kicker. 

  • Features score: 3.5/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Performance

Huawei Watch Ultimate Expedition Mode

(Image credit: Matt Evans)
  • Excellent battery life
  • Expedition Mode is awesome
  • Obnoxious notifications

The Huawei Watch Ultimate’s battery life meets expectations fully. Over two weeks of moderate use, the battery lasted around 11 days – slightly less than the claimed full two weeks – in smartwatch mode, with regular GPS functionality draining the battery. I tested the watch’s GPS against a Garmin Forerunner 265 and the GPS on my Oppo phone during one particular run, and I’m satisfied with the Huawei’s dual-band GPS accuracy, accounting for the time it took to activate and deactivate all three devices before and after running. 

The watch’s stand-out feature was the Expedition Mode, which performed better than expected on-wrist. The waypoint finder syncs with the compass to create easy-to-follow directional prompts, and a press of the button switches the readouts to a dim-orange night mode in order to save your eyesight. As long as you remember to drop waypoints to follow regularly enough, your adventures will be unmarred by your getting lost, and the Expedition Mode even has SPO2, barometer and heart rate widgets easily accessible to check your performance at altitude, along with a light for signaling. 

One of my biggest gripes with the watch in day-to-day use is the notifications you get during a run, with reminders on how far and fast you’ve run, speeds, and more. On other apps I’ve used, such as Garmin’s or Polar’s, the notifications automatically sync with the headphones you’re wearing. Not so with Huawei – the default, inexplicably, is blasting the bizarrely-accented AI voice at full volume from the watch’s impressively loud speaker. A jog around the park or a workout in the gym can get very embarrassing, very quickly for the uninitiated. 

While you can lower the volume, and disable the notifications in the settings, getting the reminders through to the headphones is a frustrating, counterintuitive process. You have to pair the headphones with the watch rather than the phone, which isn’t how it’s done with other services, which means that unless I was playing my own music from my watch, I either didn’t get Spotify, didn’t get the helpful mid-run voice prompts, or had to suffer through the infamous Huawei voice yelling “Workout started!”, “Workout paused!”, “Time: five minutes, fifteen seconds per kilometer!” out to the world. 

Otherwise, I was happy: things performed as expected from a premium watch, with all the accuracy and power such a device promises. It’s just a shame that the outstanding build quality and excellent innovations are let down by some frustrating, quintessentially Huawei flaws. 

  • Performance score: 4/5

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Should I buy?

Huawei Watch Ultimate Expedition Mode

(Image credit: Matt Evans)

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Buy it if...

Huawei Watch Ultimate: Don't buy it if...

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First reviewed: April 2023

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Author: admin | Category: Mobile phones news | Tags: | Comments: Off

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