The Lenovo ThinkPad T16 is the newest addition to the company’s ThinkPad T series, offering a beautiful display, an enjoyable overall feel, and a sleek design. The T16 features a 16-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, allowing the content on the screen to feel much larger due to having more space vertically than those with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Overall, we were quite pleased with the general performance of this laptop and enjoyed using it as our daily driver over several weeks.
Unboxing and First Impressions
Right out of the box, the ThinkPad T16 felt slightly bulky, but not necessarily in a bad way. This laptop could be carried around and worked on heavily without concern of being too frail for a day of tasks. Upon signing in and setting preferences, we noticed the keyboard was responsive and enjoyable to type on.
Design and Build Quality
Starting with the screen, the 16:10 aspect ratio was unusual, but proved a winner. Having that minimal change from the standard 16:9 aspect ratio immediately makes you feel like you're using a different type of machine due to the extended vertical visibility.
OS: Windows 11 Pro
Processor: Up to Core i7
Memory: Up to 48GB (16GB soldered + 32GB SO-DIMM) DDR4-3200
Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce MX550 2GB GDDR6
Display: 16-inch, 16:10, (1920x1200)
Storage: Up to 2TB M.2 2280 SSD (one drive)
- Thunderbolt 4/ USB4 40Gbps (x2)
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 (x2)
- HDMI, up to 4K/60Hz
- Ethernet (RJ-45)
- Headphone/microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
Dimensions: 361.9 x 255.5 x 20.5mm (14.25 x 10.06 x 0.81in)
Weight: 1.769kg (3.9 lbs)
Furthermore, we noticed that the materials chosen for the ThinkPad T16 were not just smooth plastic, but offered some more rigidity. Whether you select Storm Grey or Thunder Black for the laptop's color, both are made with durable materials, but what's interesting is that the materials slightly change from color to color. The Storm Grey color has an aluminum top and a bottom cover made of Polyphenylene sulfide, whereas Thunder Black adds Carbon Fiber and Glass-fiber to make up the bottom cover. Lenovo told us that the ThinkPad T16 is tested according to 12 military-grade certifications and uses more than 20 procedures to gain its badging (MIL-STD 810G). In short, this laptop is durable, and designed for work in the real world, not just on a couch or office space.
The ThinkPad T16 Gen 1 utilizes a security protocol called ThinkShield, which uses software and hardware to create a secure working environment. For the latter, a built-in camera shutter and a fingerprint scanner provide security protections, and for software, the Thinkpad T16 includes Windows Hello for facial recognition and Self-Healing BIOS.
Another feature worth mentioning about the laptop’s design is its full-size keyboard and numpad. Most laptops we see default to not including the numpad. However, thanks to the large 16" screen included here, Lenovo had the width to add it in - therefore, if you are working with data, spreadsheets, or anything involving many numbers, you can fly through the entry with the standard numpad.
While using the ThinkPad T16, it was a pretty good size overall. 16-inch laptops would only sometimes be our choice when looking for a portable and light laptop, though this one stands out. It holds a fine line between large-screen real estate and easy-to-transport, and if we were to be commuting daily and using this laptop on that journey, we might lean towards wanting a smaller size. But, for those who take transit to an office or workspace as the primary location for work, or if you work from home, this laptop is a great choice size-wise. The larger screen gives easy visibility for even smaller content, while the weight and overall footprint are an easy compromise.
As briefly mentioned, the keyboard is full-size with a numpad to the right. After using this laptop, we found the keyboard comfortable to type on, even for extended work sessions. The keys are responsive and satisfying to press while not feeling too shallow like some laptops can.
The trackpad is a good size, easy to use, and responsive. Sadly, only the bottom portion of the trackpad is clickable, though three buttons above the trackpad are also entirely usable to interact with.
Whether we were working on spreadsheets, writing this review, responding to emails, editing photos, or in virtual meetings, this laptop never skipped a beat. Our daily workflow does not require ridiculously high-powered applications, so we threw benchmark tests at the T16 to see how it would handle more demanding tasks. We scored just above 7,500 for the standard multi-core test - lower than higher-end laptops for video editing, engineering, or other high-powered programs. However, this fares pretty well as a business laptop and performs excellently for everyday business needs.
Last but not least, the battery on this laptop is, without a doubt, worth mentioning, easily lasting through a day’s work without worrying about the battery. Our day in the life we chose to test this on included emails, review writing, two virtual meetings, and some light photo editing - and by the end of the day, we still had around 30% battery remaining and did not feel like we had to throttle the laptop to make it last that long. Knowing that a battery can last an entire workday without a problem is a considerable asset, primarily if you work away from a desk or workstation.
Lenovo’s newest addition release to its T lineup is one that we are certainly impressed with. The Lenovo Thinkpad T16 is a phenomenal laptop for productivity, traveling, and general business use, and an all-day battery. The performance is more than adequate for a business professional and will only begin to fall short for intensive creative tasks or complex modeling programs. The price is a little high, but a solid all-around device that is well worth considering if you are in the market.
One thing you can say about the big and bold Oppo Find X6 Pro is that it makes an impression. Anyone who caught a glimpse of the 6.82-inch phone's back couldn't help but comment on the gigantic, circular camera array. As I see it, you can't talk about the phone without addressing this distinct piece of the phone's hardware.
The reality at this moment is that it's hard to write about much else on the Android 13 handset, which currently looks like it's only set to sell in China. Oppo graciously shipped me the Chinese version, which is packed with Mandarin text and is not currently capable of accepting English apps – including the Google Play Store. As a result, while I could experience the beefy hardware and lovely large screen, take countless photos (and some video), and play around with the pre-installed Chinese version of TikTok, I couldn't test much else. There's no way to benchmark the phone and run my favorite apps, not right now, anyway.
Here's what I can tell you. This is a big, thick phone with three (count 'em three!) 50MP sensors on the back, which includes a wide, ultra-wide, and periscope telephoto (3x optical). They all get an image-processing assist from the leading-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile chipset and Oppo's MariSilicon X imaging NPU, as well as some tuning, courtesy of the company's ongoing partnership with Hasselblad.
I was generally pleased with the phone's image capture capabilities, though it does push things a bit far with 120x (digital) super zoom that essentially turns photos into impressionistic paintings.
The other highlight here is the battery life and ultra-fast charging capabilities. This is one of the few smartphones still shipping with a dedicated charging adapter (it oddly still features a USB-A port), and, in this instance, it's a 100W powerhouse that – in my experience – can charge the phone from 0% to 100% in 30 minutes.
In China, the the phone starts at CNY¥5,999 (approximately $870 / £710 / AU$1,305 when converted directly) and tops out at CNY¥6,999 (approximately $1,020 / £830 / AU$1,520) across three memory and storage configurations and reports of devices shipping from March 24.
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Price and availability
From CNY¥5,999 (approximately $870 / £710 / AU$1,305)
Unconfirmed for the US, UK or Australia
Oppo is bringing its Oppo Find X6 Pro (and the Find X6) to China – announcing the phones on March 21 and promising an on-sale date of March 24. No details are currently available for the rest of the world. Both Find X6 and Find X6 Pro will be available in a variety of materials and colorways.
The handset is offered in the brown and faux leather I tested, as well as green and black finishes.
The base model comes equipped with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage for CNY¥5,999 (approximately $870 / £710 / AU$1,305), there's a 16GB RAM and 256GB storage option (converting to approximately $945 / £770 / AU$1,415) and a top-tier 16GB and 512GB model (black and green, only), which by directly translating prices comes in at $1,020 / £830 / AU$1,520.
For context, the Oppo Find X5 Pro started with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage for ¥6,299 (which converts to $915 / £750 / AU$1,370), while the actual starting price in the UK and Australia came in notably higher at £1,049 / AU$1,799.
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Specs
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Design
That's one big camera array
Sturdy look and feel
Is that screen curve a little too retro?
The Oppo Find X6 Pro is a mood and one you will probably either love or hate. Leaving aside the supple faux leather (Oppo calls it "Vegan Leather") back, which adds a warmth otherwise missing from most smartphones, the Oppo Find X6 Pro's camera array, which is designed to look like a professional camera lens, is so startlingly big that it can almost be used as a finger rest (a genuine boon, ergonomically speaking). The circle, which houses the phone's three 50MP cameras, flash, microphone, a sensor and prominently features the camera-maker (and Oppo tech partner) Hasselblad's brand name, takes most of the top third of the phone's back.
After a week of playing with the X6 Pro, I'm a little less overwhelmed by the giant camera circle as I initially was but I still don't like it. Most of the Oppo Find X6 Pro's body measures 9.5mm (it's only 9.1mm thick, if you opt for one of the glass finishes). However, the camera array pushes that girth to roughly 14mm(!). Because of that sizeable bump, it's impossible to place the phone "flat" on any surface. It will always sit at a noticeable angle, unless, of course, you flip it over on its mostly-flat screen.
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If you can ignore the camera bump, there's actually a lot to like about this robust flagship. The body is an expertly crafted mix of brushed aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 (on the front) and at 164.8mm x 76.2mm x 9.5mm, the Oppo Find X6 Pro is actually slightly smaller and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra despite offering a marginally larger screen.
The handset feels good, especially because of that fake leather. The front and back tapers make the aluminum edge thinner, which also makes the phone a little more comfortable to hold. On other hand, the curved or 'waterfall' display feels a bit retro, like a Samsung Galaxy design from 2014. I think Oppo could've split the difference here and made the back curved and the screen completely flat, however.
This is otherwise a clean and solid-looking design. There are no grilles, just aggressive drill-throughs for the USB-C charging port, speaker, microphone, and SIM slot, on the bottom edge and, on top, a speaker, microphone, and what I believe is an IR controller for use with third-party consumer electronic devices like your AC unit or TV. The volume controls are on the left and sleep/wake button is on the right side.
The phone is IP68-rated, which means it can handle dust, a splash, and even a dunk in the toilet (not that I recommend testing it though). It's a shame that the phone's closest sibling in the US – the OnePlus 11 – never received and IP certification as some of its predecessors did (in order to range with T-Mobile).
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Display
6.82-inch 19.9:8 1Hz to 120Hz AMOLED with LTPO3
Enough nits to beat back the sun
LTPO means you get faster refresh without all the battery suck
While I'm not in love with the design, I can credit Oppo for not skimping where it matters. The screen, for instance, is all the latest imaging technology stuffed into a larger, edge-to-edge display. There is only a small circular cutout for the 32MP selfie camera. By using an LTPO3 (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) AMOLED display, the panel can save power, with a variable refresh rate range from 1Hz to 120Hz.
The screen defaults to a power-saving Full HD+ resolution of 2376 x 1080 but can run at 3168 x 1440 (Quad HD+); both look good. Under the screen is an effective optical fingerprint reader.
While I couldn't test any of my favorite apps on the Oppo Find X6 Pro, I did enjoy a lot of Chinese-language videos and trailers on their version of YouTube and the original Chinese TikTok. The display is also an excellent viewport for the powerful camera array.
It's clearly ready to handle all of your most demanding content, with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+. Without any US-based apps, though, I found it a little hard to press the handset on some of these capabilities.
With 800nits of base brightness but up to 2,500peak nits, the display was more than able to hold up in direct sunlight – beating out the iPhone 14 Pro's impressive brightness ceiling.
If I have one criticism of the display, it's the curved edges. I just think it looks too much like an old Samsung. Next time, Oppo should go for a perfectly flat screen; like the more affordable Oppo Reno 8 series.
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Software
Android 13 with Oppo's ColorOS 13.1 running on top
Intuitive, despite running a Chinese version of the OS
Even though much of my test unit interface was in Chinese, I could still see the utility of the ColorOS platform. There are customizable widgets, places to collect and organize apps, quick access to health metrics like "Steps walked" and numerous recognizable apps like Videos (sort of YouTube), a web browser, a photo gallery, games, and social media. I can access quick functions (some of which were in English) by swiping to the right on the Home Screen or use a single tap to optimize the system.
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Cameras
Three 50MP cameras, all with OIS
Big Sony sensors
32MP selfie camera
Once you get a good look at all the cameras on the Oppo Find X6 Pro, you start to understand why Oppo felt it was necessary to house them in such an ostentatious bump. These are some of the best mobile sensors paired with some very good lenses. Plus, the resulting image-capturing capabilities are almost uniformly excellent.
Here's what we have:
50MP Sony IMX989 f/1.8, 23mm main camera
50MP Sony IMX890 f/2.2, 15mm ultrawide camera
50MP Sony IMX890 f/2.6 3x optical zoom, 65mm periscope telephoto camera
32MP Sony IMX709 f/2.4 front-facing camera
I was generally impressed with all four cameras. The colors and clarity of virtually all the shots is above average in the flagship space, with tremendous color verity and impressive clarity.
I took portrait mode photos with both the selfie and rear main camera and was pleased with the bokeh effect, which I could edit after I took the photo.
The periscope camera's 3x optical zoom is useful and on par with, for instance, Apple's iPhone 14 Pro. There's also an effective 6x hybrid zoom, that combines digital and optical for what looks like fully-optical zoom. Oppo chose to include a digital zoom that goes up to 120x, but I wouldn't recommend using it. Unlike Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra's Space Zoom, which uses some controversial wizardry to create stunning images of, for instance, the moon, Oppo's super zoom turns images into impressionistic paintings. They're fun to look at but otherwise useless.
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As you would expect, the 50MP ultrawide can create some stunning images, especially when you use it in a skyscraper-filled city.
With the Hasselblad-branded Pro mode (under "More" in the camera app) you gain control of ISO (basically sensor light sensitivity), shutter speed, focus, and white balance. Not many will dig into these settings, but if you like more artistic control over your shots and the ability to separate focus and light metering, these are useful and powerful controls.
The Oppo Find X6 can also shoot up to 4K video at 60FPS (in Dolby Vision, if you choose) for some extra-crisp video.
At night, I put the phone on a tripod, selected Night shooting and then the "tripod mode" in the camera app. The phone did a nice job with astrophotography, though I think it may have over-compensated a bit on auto-adjusting the contrast.
More than once, the phone's on-screen controls stopped responding to my touch, as if the phone was otherwise occupied, I could, however, put the phone to sleep and instantly regain control.
Oppo Find X6 Pro camera samples
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Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Performance
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC
MariSilicon imaging NPU
UFS 4.0 storage and fast LPDDR5X RAM
I couldn't install Geekbench to run proper benchmarking tests, but anecdotally, this is a responsive phone, which shouldn't be a surprise considering it top-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.
It should also perform a variety of tasks more efficiently, thanks to its use of the latest flash storage standard, UFS 4.0.
This, by the way, is a 5G phone, though I could not test connection speeds on a US cellular network. Perhaps more interesting, this is one of only a handful of phones that already supports Wi-Fi 7.
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Battery
Ships with a 100W fast charger
Great battery life
A 5,000 mAh battery means the Oppo Find X6 Pro is ready to work all day and more. In my anecdotal tests, I had no trouble using the phone all day long to take photos and videos and watch a lot of Chinese TikTok videos. In fact, a single charge lasted two days. But that's not the most exciting thing about this phone's battery performance.
Oppo still includes a power adapter with the Find X6 Pro, and not just any adapter. It's a fast 100W charger that, in my tests, recharged the phone from 0% in 30 minutes. It was blazingly fast and basically sets a new benchmark, at least with most other phones in the US, across the pond and beyond 100W is far from the ceiling, with the Realme GT 3 recently launching with unmatched 240W speeds.
The phone also supports 50W wireless charging (with a promised 100% in 50 minutes) and even 10W reverse charging. I used it to charge up a pair of Apple AirPods Pro.
Oppo Find X6 Pro: Early Verdict
If you can get past the oddball design that screams, "Look at my cameras!" this is a powerful handset that, because it's coming from Oppo, could undercut a lot of the flagship competition on price.
It doesn't skimp on processor, display, memory, or storage. The cameras are all above average (even with the super zoom overreach). The battery is big and long-lasting, and fast wired charging is the best I've seen yet.
I don't know if the Oppo Find X6 Pro will ever go on sale outside of China, but if it does, you should give it a look.
Hands-on Oppo Find X6 Pro review: Also consider
If you like the combination of powerful components, a big screen, and excellent camera chops, any of these phones that are available in the US, UK, and Australia right now should fit the bill.
A tougher build, faster memory and storage, a more efficient battery, a custom-tuned chipset and a new 200MP main camera hidden behind a familiar design; the S23 Ultra is a more substantial upgrade than you might first realize. Provided you're not dissuaded by the steep asking price, in every other regard you'll be getting one of the best phones in the world.
While there was never any question that Samsung would be offering up a new Ultra for 2023, there was nothing inherently wrong with its predecessor, and aside from running on the previous year's internals and a lower resolution primary camera, you're getting a very similar experience from a device with a year's worth of price reductions under its belt worth considering.
If you're after a large-screened flagship phone with class-leading performance and a capable camera setup that isn't the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Apple will accept a similar amount of money for their latest top dog.
How I tested the Oppo Find X6 Pro
Test period = One week
Testing included = Photography, some content consumption. Indoor and outdoor use.
Since Oppo sent me a Chinese version of the Oppo Find X6 Pro (an update with access to US-based Google Play and associated apps is expected on March 24), I was significantly limited in how I could use and test the phone. I couldn't benchmark it or load any of the apps I use to test its core capabilities. So I focused primarily on the design, screen, cameras, and charging capabilities.
As for who I am, I've been writing about technology for 31 years and testing smartphones for almost 20.
Seldom are mid-range phones as memorable as their flagship counterparts, but Samsung's Galaxy A series – and its A5X devices in particular – are often notable entrants into the mid-range market each year; unquestionably serving as some of the best Samsung phones money can buy.
They've seen a lot of success in past generations, with both the Galaxy A50 and Galaxy A51 being among the best-selling phones in the world, in their respective launch years; making the arrival of this newest entry for 2023 – the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G – all the more significant.
A few days shy of a year on from the introduction of the Galaxy A53, Samsung showcased both the Galaxy A34 5G and Galaxy A54 5G alongside one another, hoping to rejuvenate the company's presence in the mid-range phone market by once again offering trickle-down premium features and long battery life in a stylish package that costs around half as much as the flagships they take inspiration from. As the numbering suggests, it's the A54 that's the fuller-featured off these two latest A-series entrants; with a more premium build, more competent cameras and more power at its disposal.
Compared to its predecessor, the A54 has a marginally smaller 6.4-inch Full HD+ Super AMOLED display, which now peaks at 1,000nits (that's 200 more than the A53). You'll find Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back, and the IP67-certified design embraces the floating camera aesthetics first introduced on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and subsequently adopted by the company's current flagship Galaxy S23 series, from the start of the year.
Just a few weeks prior to the A54's debut, Samsung announced a successor to the silicon that powered 2022's Galaxy A53 – the Exynos 1380. This just so happens to be the chip that keeps the A54 ticking over, paired with 8GB of RAM in most markets (although there is also a 6GB RAM variant in some regions), alongside either 128GB or 256GB of storage, bolstered by increasingly-novel microSD expandability, up to 1TB.
Samsung's also proud to shout about the phone's 5,000mAh battery (that's larger than both the S23's and S23 Plus' batteries), which the company promises delivers up to two-day longevity, twinned with support for 25W fast-charging – just like the standard Samsung Galaxy S23.
While most numbers go up between generations, when looking at the A54's camera compared to its predecessor, the digits actually drop, but in this instance that could be a good thing. Rather than a 64MP lead snapper, the A54's camera array is fronted by a new 50MP sensor with larger pixels, improved autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization), paired with a 12MP ultrawide, a 5MP dedicated macro camera and a 32MP front-facing punch-hole camera.
On the software side of things, Samsung has pulled the impressive commitment it's made with its flagship-class Galaxy S and Z phones down to the A54 too, meaning this mid-ranger – which arrives on One UI 5.1 atop Android 13 – enjoys the same four years of OS updates and five years of security updates; granting the A54 a far longer lifespan than the majority of its equivalent rivals, from a software standpoint.
The Galaxy A54 was announced on March 15, with a progressive rollout across European markets, starting with France. Pre-orders in the UK kicked off on the same day, with an on-sale date of April 25, while in the US pre-orders start March 30, with and on-sale date of April 6. In Australia, the A54 is available from March 31.
US and Australian customers will find the starting price of the A54 unchanged from its predecessor, at $449.99 and AU$699 respectively, however, in UK customers can expect a £50 price hike compared to the A53; taking the starting price from £399 to £449 for an 8GB RAM / 128GB Galaxy A54.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Price and availability
Pre-orders kicked off from launch day (March 15) in markets across Europe, with an on-sale date in the UK of April 25 and a pre-order bonus of a free pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 earphones.
While a pre-order date still isn't confirmed for Australia, the A54 goes on sale on March 31, with the option of a free Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (40mm) available to claim on purchases made between March 31 and April 13. Samsung Australia is also offering a bonus year of Samsung Care Plus Lite on purchases made before June 30.
In the US, pre-orders run from March 30, with an on-sale date of April 6 and a trade-in offer of up to $250 on select devices, as well as a discount on a pair of Galaxy Buds Live, for $49.99.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Specs
There are a number of obvious tweaks and refinements that Samsung has exacted on the A54 between generations, including a fractionally smaller and brighter screen, a new camera system that – among other things – drops its predecessor's depth sensor, plus there's a choice of punchier, more eye-catching colorways.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Design
Gorilla Glass 5 front and back
Smaller but heavier than Galaxy A53
The Galaxy S22 Ultra enjoyed a design language all its own last year, while the contour-cut camera aesthetics originally introduced on the Galaxy S21 series persisted across most of the company's other 2022 smartphones. However, this year – as with the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus – the Galaxy A54 now shares in the more contemporary floating camera design first seen on last year's Ultra.
While the A53's raised camera module was pretty tasteful (I preferred it to the full contour-cut look of the S22 and S22 Plus), the revised look of the A54 is even cleaner; even if it is at the expense of some individuality compared to market rivals. To counter this, this year's model comes in a range of more punchy colors; namely Awesome Lime and Awesome Violet, while Awesome Graphite and Awesome White are a little more modest.
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After seeing the A54 side by side with its launch sibling, the A34, I was a little envious of the latter's more exciting pearlescent finish, which adds rainbow hues across the back of the phone when held against the light; it's markedly more eye-catching compared to the flat colors behind the Gorilla Glass 5 on the A54 line, which only catch fingerprints and smudges under the same conditions.
With its smaller display, the A54 is fractionally thicker than its predecessor but perhaps more noticeable is the difference in weight. By gaining 13 grams between generations, the A54 finds itself over the 200-gram threshold (at 202 grams) where a handset's weight starts to feel noticeable in the hand, especially for its screen size. Even so, it's comfortable to hold and construction feels solid (even if the plastic frame looks to be on the chunky side, proportionally), bolstered by IP67-certified dust and water resistance, for added peace of mind.
On the surface, the A54 features a similar display to its predecessor, however, Samsung has made small but meaningful upgrades that deliver a better overall viewing experience.
Moving from a 20:9 to a 19.5:9 aspect ratio means the A54 has a Full HD+ display that's 0.1-inches smaller than its predecessor, at 6.4-inches. Usually, a smaller screen at the same resolution would suggest a sharper image between generations, but as it's the aspect ratio that's brought about this size difference, image sharpness remains consistent.
What Samsung calls an 'Infinity-O display' is actually just in reference to the punch-hole front-facing camera at the top-center of the screen, while a relative thick bezel (which gets wider along its bottom edge) sits between the phone's frame and the pixels of the display. The Super AMOLED panel at play delivers great contrast and vibrant colors, this year folding in the company's Vision Booster tech, for more accurate viewing against a range of different ambient lighting conditions.
Speaking of lighting, the A54 also boasts a 200-nit bump to peak brightness, which now tops out at 1,000-nits, meaning the outdoor display visibility should be even better compared to the A53 and its predecessors by quite a stretch.
There's the ability to lock the phone at 60Hz to conserve power or enable adaptive mode, so the phone can scale up to 120Hz or down, as needed (it also has a 240Hz touch response rate).
Blue light filtration – branded on the A54 as Eye Comfort Shield in the phone's Quick Settings – has also been almost halved (12.5% down to 6.5%, according to independent certification from SGS) compared to the A53's screen, for less disruptive viewing in low light or late at night. Meanwhile, a wealth of controls let you tweak color profiles (the phone is set to 'Vivid' out the box), as well as color temperature and you even have the option of tweaking independent RGB sliders.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Software
Runs Android 13 on top of One UI 5.1 out the box
4 years OS updates + 5 years security updates
For existing Samsung Galaxy users, the One UI 5.1 experience atop Android 13 should feel immediately familiar; squircle icons, Samsung apps sitting in parallel with Google apps – such as the Galaxy Store and Play Store – along with a few handy extras, like the ever-present Edge Panels, which can be swiped out to offer access to favourite apps and contacts, and even pairs of apps for instant split-screen multitasking, easily.
The A54 does give you the option of which additional Samsung apps you want to install during setup, so that apps like the Samsung Browser and Samsung Calculator aren't compulsory inclusions, but there are unquestionably a few additional pre-loaded third-party offerings that could be considered bloatware which need to be removed manually once setup is complete.
Coming from a Pixel or Motorola, or even iOS, there's a definite learning curve that centers around getting to know One UI's specific visual language, but once you've mastered that, the experience is enjoyable to use, full-featured and, as such, pretty powerful.
One small but welcome enhancement on the A54 is an improved haptic feedback system, which more closely mirrors the premium haptic experience you'd find on flagships like the Galaxy S23, OnePlus 11 and Xiaomi 13 Pro; serving up precise vibrations for everything from unlocking the phone to zooming in when using the camera.
The biggest win for the A54's software experience has to be its support, with Samsung matching the commitment it's made with its flagship phones by promising users four years of OS updates and five years of security updates, expanding the phone's lifespan far beyond many rivals around the same price point.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Cameras
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50MP f/1.8 main camera w/ OIS
12MP ultrawide + 5MP macro camera
32MP f/2.2 front-facing camera
One fewer camera sensors than Galaxy A53
The camera has always been a big focus for Samsung's Galaxy A5X devices and the new lead 50MP f/1.8 sensor on the A54 looks like a nice step-up compared to the 64MP sensor leading its predecessor's camera system.
Despite a slight drop in resolution, the move to a larger 1/1.56-inch (up from 1/1.7-inch) sensor, with larger 1µm pixels (up from 0.8µm) and improved range of motion from the OIS (optical image stabilization) system (1.5-degrees of motion up from 0.95), should all result in greatly improved image capture, particularly in low light.
Samsung's ongoing commitment to tight integration with social apps like Snapchat persists on the A54, letting you get better quality results when grabbing shots with Snap filters and the like, through the camera's dedicated 'Fun' shooting mode.
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The Fun photo mode integrates Snapchat filters into the native camera app.
Interestingly, the move to a main sensor with all-focus pixels might be the reason behind the loss of the fourth depth sensor, found on the back of last year's Galaxy A53, while a 12MP ultrawide and a 5MP dedicated macro sensor persist, along with a 32MP front-facer.
Samsung promises greatly improved VDIS (video digital image stabilization) when shooting with the A54 and capable editing tools like Photo Remaster and Object Removal after capture.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Performance and audio
New 5nm Exynos 1380 SoC
Up to 8GB RAM w/ RAM Plus up to 8GB
Up to 256GB storage + microSD up to 1TB
Just weeks before the Galaxy A54's debut, Samsung Semiconductor pulled the wraps off the Exynos 1380 – a mobile SoC (system on chip) operating as the successor to the Exynos 1280, which happened to power 2022's Galaxy A53.
It was actually the 1380's announcement that served as one of the last big indicators that the Galaxy A54 was about to launch and, sure enough, the phone arrived packing this new silicon. Built on a similar 5nm process to the 1280 but with the promise of improved power and efficiency, better graphical performance (great for gaming) and a denser NPU (neural processing unit), equipped to better handle AI-based tasks like image processing more efficiently.
In most markets – including the UK – the A54 comes paired with 8GB RAM (LPDDR4X), however, there's a 6GB RAM model in some regions too. Regardless, the A54 enjoys One UI's RAM Plus feature, which let's you use a portion of the phone's storage as additional memory to allow more apps to remain open simultaneously and to speed up app load times as desired.
Speaking of storage, the A54 comes with either 128GB or 256GB of space, paired with what's become something of a novelty – even in the mid-range market – microSD expandability up to 1TB.
Connectivity includes 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.3 (up from Bluetooth 5.1 on the Galaxy A53) and an eSIM (meaning dual-SIM functionality is possible). The phone's earpiece and down-firing speaker work in tandem to create a stereo pair when you don't want to use headphones too.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy A54 review: Battery life
25W wired fast charging
No power adapter in-box
Just as with the company's flagship phones, Samsung chose to omit the power adapter from the box of the Galaxy A53 and that practice continues with the A54, which comes boxed with a USB-C cable, SIM tool and paperwork, but no charger.
If you do want to power the A54 back up, however, it's rated to match the Galaxy S23's 25W fast charging speeds, which Samsung promises means a full charge in 82 minutes or less.
Perhaps the most notable claim, though, is that the hardware at play paired with a generous 5,000mAh battery, mean the Galaxy A54 is designed to last up to two days on a single charge in general use – a claim I'm keen to put to the test and will do soon, so don't forget to check back.
The wait felt long but Xiaomi is finally bringing its latest flagship line – the Xiaomi 13 series – to international markets. The best phones on the global stage, like the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, have a new contender to worry about; one that doesn't mess around, based on my initial time with the Xiaomi 13 Pro.
Although it's intended as a direct successor to Xiaomi 12 Pro, one of the 13 Pro's biggest selling points (that new Leica-branded camera system) is actually a direct continuation of the technology first seen in the China-exclusive Xiaomi 12S Ultra that we encountered later into 2022, in August.
Our first taste of the company's newly-minted relationship with the optical wizards at Leica, mated with Sony's sizeable 1-inch IMX989 sensor and Xiaomi's own image processing, proved to be a recipe for success; impressing reviewer Basil Kronfli, who described the 12S Ultra as "the best camera phone I've used."
With such lofty praise, the 12S Ultra's absence from the international market felt like a crying shame, making the Xiaomi 13 Pro's fresh international release all the more significant.
That killer camera setup, features a trio of 50MP rear sensors, including a 3.2x telephoto with a floating lens arrangement. The Xiaomi 13 Pro also comes with a ceramic-backed body, plus Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile chipset, with faster and more efficient memory and storage than its predecessor.
For charging, we get the same impressive 120W wired, 50W wireless and 10W reverse wireless charging as before, but this time paired to a larger, 4,820mAh battery. Nice.
Although the verdict is still out on whether this is one of the best Android phones of the year, it certainly has the makings of a great flagship device, one that I can't wait to sink my teeth into for a full review, so don't forget to check back soon for a final verdict.
In the meantime, read on for my hands-on experiences with the Xiaomi 13 Pro, and if you're curious about its smaller-but-still-potent launch sibling, we also have a hands-on Xiaomi 13 review for you to enjoy too.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Price and availability
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Both the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro were first unveiled for the Chinese market back on December 11 2022, however, fans globally have had to wait until the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, where on February 26, the phones released globally, accompanied by the addition of the Xiaomi 13 Lite.
Although a global release, with Xiaomi's absence from the US and Australian markets, you likely won't see the phones available unless purchased through gray market channels in each region.
Prospects in the UK are (ironically) sunnier for the Xiaomi 13 Pro's availability, with Xiaomi itself, along with 'official retail channels' and local retailers, like Currys and Argos, stocking the phone from March 14.
In the UK, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is priced at £1,099 (approximately $1,310 / AU$1,950), undercutting the aforementioned iPhone 14 Pro Max and S23 Ultra by £100 and £150, respectively, but falling short of the recently-released OnePlus 11, which packs the same chipset and relies on the expertise of Hasselblad for its camera credentials instead of Leica.
For context, the standard Xiaomi 13 costs £849 (approximately $1,015 / AU$1,510) and the Xiaomi 13 Lite comes in at £449 (approximately $535 / AU$800), in the UK.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Specs
In China, you'll find the Xiaomi 13 Pro with more memory (8GB or 12GB), storage (128GB / 256GB / 512GB) and finish (blue or ceramic white, black or green) variations than the rest of the world, while most international markets serve the phone up with 12GB of RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of storage, along with ceramic white or black finishes. UK buyers only have a single 12GB RAM, 256GB storage option in ceramic black to choose from, but I'm not complaining.
Why Xiaomi pairs down the variety of 13 Pros customers can opt for overseas – especially in the UK – is unclear, but at a guess it's that the company can't guarantee sales in the same way it can in its homeland.
Like the Galaxy S23 series, the Xiaomi 13 Pro also benefits from the latest in memory and storage technology; with faster and more power efficient LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage (up from LPDDR5 and UFS 3.1 on the Xiaomi 12 Pro).
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Design
Elegant ceramic finish
Sizeable camera bump
Unlike previous generations, the Xiaomi 13 series isn't quite as consistent across models, aesthetically speaking.
The 13 and 13 Pro both sport a pillowed back (hewn from Gorilla Glass in the case of the 13 and ceramic in the case of the Pro), as well as a prominent squircle Leica-branded camera bump. And what a bump it is; the Pro's, in particular, has to make room for that huge 1-inch sensor and two OIS systems, meaning it rises high off the phone's back.
In truth, it's unapologetic, which I admire, and while it perhaps doesn't look quite as elegant as the Xiaomi 12 series' camera modules, it's an undeniable statement; representing the phone's power and photographic prowess.
The 13 and 13 Pro also stand apart from one another with the latter's use of a rounded aluminum frame (not unlike the OnePlus 11), to the standard model's decidedly iPhone 14-like flat polished edging. Oddly enough, the Xiaomi 13 Lite most closely emulates Xiaomi 12 series design language out of the three new phones.
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The ceramic black back (pictured) of the 13 Pro is cool to the touch, while its rounded form makes this fairly large phone sit comfortably in the hand; although that polished finish is no-less susceptible to fingerprints and smudges than glass (even the included flexible transparent case holds onto them too).
At 229 grams, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a heavy device too – even for its size. Sure, it's not as weighty as the S23 Ultra (234 grams) or the latest Pro Max iPhone (240 grams) but it's in the same ballpark, for sure. It's rounded form is IP68 dust and water resistant too, which is appreciated.
Although more colorways would be welcome, the fact that it's only available in black in the UK isn't all that bad, as it best complements that large camera bump and serves up the most tasteful appearance overall (fingerprints permitting), in my opinion.
Dynamic 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate. 240Hz touch sampling rate
Gorilla Glass Victus front
Brightness was one of the big wins for the Xiaomi 12 Pro's display, especially during video playback, and that's what's seen the biggest upgrade. The Xiaomi 13 Pro's screen now tops out at a beaming 1,900nits, up from 1,500 previously.
To the eye, while brightness is undeniably impressive, I was also surprised by the screen's exceptional viewing angles, which appear to show minimal brightness drop-off or color distortion, even at extreme angles.
Beyond these key traits, the 13 Pro serves up a viewing experience similar to its predecessor, set behind a layer of protective Gorilla Glass Victus.
The 6.73-inch 20:9 E6 AMOLED 'AdaptiveSync Pro' display boasts a dynamic 1Hz to 120Hz refresh rate, with a 240Hz touch sampling rate that's ideal for gaming. The WQHD+ resolution at this size also ensures that it's sharper than most rivals' screens, with a pixel density of 522ppi.
Xiaomi's MIUI software also serves up plenty of control over the viewing experience, which itself is flexible enough to support various display standards; from Dolby Vision to HDR10+. What's more, it comes with SGS Eye Care certification, which means the 13 Pro's screen is equipped to ensure less eye fatigue than some competitors' displays (likely possible through included technologies like its 1920PWM dimming and adaptive reading mode).
There's also a perfectly responsive optical in-display fingerprint sensor, however, the face unlock enabled by the punch-hole in the top-center of the screen is even more eager to unlock the phone at some impressive angles and distances.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Software
Runs Android 13 on top of Xiaomi MIUI 14 out the box
3 years of OS updates, 5 years security updates
Duplicate apps aim to add value
Xiaomi's MIUI has long pulled away from the established Android user experience you'll find on phones like Google's own Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, with a layout and behavior that, on the surface, is more reminiscent of Apple's iOS.
Swiping down from the top right reveals the quick settings menu, while pulling from the top left corner brings in your notifications. There's no apps drawer by default, and Xiaomi also favors three-button navigation as standard. However, both of these interface choices can be reverted, to reinstate the drawer and favor gestures instead, by altering settings.
In fact, MIUI 14 running atop Android 13, as it comes on the Xiaomi 13 Pro, is heaped in customization; with a theme store that can change everything from the wallpaper to apps icons, plus the ability to swap out UI animations and more.
There are also a fair number of third- and first-party apps that stand alongside the expected gamut of Google apps, including Chrome, Google Photos, Google Maps and the like. The third-party entries, for the most part, feel like spam (I don't need Booking.com at my beck and call), but can thankfully be uninstalled.
As for the first-party apps, while there are a fair number of duplicate offerings to Google's pre-installed suite of service, Xiaomi does try to offer a little added value. Xiaomi's web browser, for example, has a number a nice additional features not found on Chrome, like a built-in video downloader.
There are also characterful elements that add a little zest to what is otherwise and conventional user experience, like the way storage used is represented by a virtual liquid that sloshes around on-screen and reacts to how you move and rotate the phone in your hand.
Xiaomi's also continuing its respectable commitment to software support for its flagship devices, and both the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro arrive with up to three years of subsequent OS release updates and five years of security updates. That's on-par with Google Pixel and a year less than Samsung and OnePlus, in terms of OS support, but still, pretty good.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Cameras
First Leica-branded triple rear camera setup for Xiaomi, globally
50MP f/1.9 main camera w/ OIS, Sony IMX989 1-inch sensor and Leica Vario-Summicron ASPH 23mm lens
50MP f/2.0 'floating' telephoto camera w/ OIS and 3.2x optical zoom
50MP f/2.2 ultrawide camera w/ 115° FoV
If you're willing to embrace the Xiaomi 13 Pro's not-insignificant camera bump, you'll be gaining what looks to be a formidable trio of 50MP sensors, tuned in partnership with the camera masters at Leica.
While the Xiaomi 12S Ultra was the first phone to leverage Xiaomi's Leica partnership after the camera company's previous collaboration with Huawei came to an end, the Xiaomi 13 series is the first of the company's devices to launch internationally packing Leica-supported camera tech.
Beyond the branding on the back and the elaborately-named 'Vario-Summicron ASPH' lens setup, Leica's involvement also carries across to the software side of things too. You have the choice of shooting in 'Leica Vibrant' or 'Leica Authentic', with Vibrant pushing contrast and color saturation, while Authentic intended to yield more true-to-life imagery; something I'll be putting to the test come the full review.
What Xiaomi's calling the 'master-lens system' makes picking the right lens for the the intended result easier and more akin to rifling through a bag of physical lenses, while the 'Xiaomi Image Engine' is in place to deliver less shutter lag than previous entries and faster autofocus on subjects, even if they're in motion.
There's also the option to shoot in Pro mode, which allows for 10-bit RAW DNG capture, with color profiles on hand, created by Adobe.
50MP across the board ensures a greater level of consistency when shooting the same scenario using all three of the phone's rear lenses, however, that huge one-inch Sony sensor's ability to combine four pixels into one larger 3.2μm binned-pixel should make for some excellent low light shooting, supported by an OIS (optical image stabilization) system called 'HyperOIS' and an 8P lens configuration for greater clarity and reduced reflectivity.
The 50MP telephoto sensor, with its 3.2x optical zoom, also sounds impressive, thanks to its floating lens construction – which should prove particularly helpful when capturing portrait shots.
There's also 8K video capture at 24fps on the table, along with Dolby Vision-compliant 4K video capture at 30fps, with promised enhancement for recording at night.
It's also worth mentioning that there's a 32MP front-facing punch-hole camera, set into the top of the display, that supports HDR and portrait shooting too.
If it isn't already obvious, the cameras are a huge part of what defines the Xiaomi 13 Pro experience and there's a lot to dig into, for which I'll be serving up camera samples and a complete evaluation come the full review.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Performance and audio
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
Connectivity includes the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard
Powerful stereo speakers
Both the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro run Qualcomm's latest and greatest mobile SoC – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. While not the tuned variant exclusive to Samsung's Galaxy S23 series, even in its standard form, it's already proven its potential as one of the best pieces of silicon on the market; offering notable gains in performance, graphics and gaming, and AI computing.
As mentioned earlier, the global 13 Pro can be had with 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 4.0 storage, both of which boast greater read and write speeds, as well as improved power efficiency, compared to the RAM and storage in last year's Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Connectivity includes 5G, with dual SIM support, NFC and support for the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard and speeds.
On the audio side of things, Xiaomi launched the Xiaomi 13 Pro alongside the Buds 4 Pro true wireless buds, which can connect over the phone's Bluetooth 5.3 connection, while integrated stereo speakers boast Dolby Atmos support. In practice, there's a definite bias towards the down-firing speaker, but volume and overall clarity seem strong, based on my initial impressions.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review: Battery life
Larger 4,820mAh battery than predecessor
120W wired fast charging (charger in box)
50W wireless and 10W reverse wireless charging support
A lot of the Xiaomi 13 Pro's size and weight presumably comes from the new, high-capacity, higher-density 4,820mAh battery it has to find room for.
Like its predecessor, Xiaomi has seen fit to grace the 13 Pro with an impressive set of numbers when it comes to charging: 120W 'HyperCharge' fast wired charging, plus rapid 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging (compatibility permitting) that's collectively faster than pretty much any other phone that supports all three technologies.
Xiaomi quotes a rapid recharge time of only 19 minutes to 100% over wired charging, and the Surge charging chip onboard keeps watch over the recharge process to make sure things stay cool, stable and safe, and battery health over time remains as good as it can be.
By comparison, the standard Xiaomi 13's 67W fast wired charging promises to reach 100% in 38 minutes, which is still very respectable and both entries in the series stand head and shoulders above both Apple's and Samsung's newest flagships, in terms of quote recharge time. As for real-world performance, you won't have to wait long to find out from us whether Xiaomi is true to its word.
The Xiaomi 13 arrives as the successor to the company’s 2022 flagship, the Xiaomi 12, and stays true to its predecessor’s philosophy: premium performance in a compact package.
Beyond a marginal size increase, the phone’s display is largely unchanged, but Xiaomi’s knack for brightness and vivid colors is delivered in a much sleeker, almost iPhone-like design, that looks smarter than many of the best Android phone designs so far in 2023.
The Xiaomi 13’s impressive speeds are made possible by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset – similar to the processor you’ll find powering Samsung’s newly released Samsung Galaxy S23 line – and the device is offered in two memory variations: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, paired with 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage.
The phone’s 4500mAh battery remains unchanged from the Xiaomi 12, and the latter’s 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging capabilities are carried over, too.
On paper, the biggest difference between the Xiaomi 13 and its predecessor is the former’s Leica-branded camera array. Comprising a 50Mp f/1.8 main shooter with OIS, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom, and a 12Mp f/2.2 ultrawide sensor, the Xiaomi 13’s sensor setup looks to have made the phone a much more versatile beast for photographers – though Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica doesn’t seem to have resulted in too many brand-specific benefits, as far as we can tell.
Naturally, we’ll have to spend more time testing all elements of the Xiaomi 13 to deliver our final verdict on this premium flagship, but our first impressions suggest it could be a real contender for Android fans with a soft spot for Apple’s design philosophy.
For those looking to spend a little more money, our hands-on Xiaomi 13 Pro review may shed some light on whether the jump up to Xiaomi’s even-more premium handset is worth it.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Price and availability
The Xiaomi 13 was first announced alongside the Xiaomi 13 Pro in China on December 11, but both devices launched globally on February 26 at MWC Barcelona.
The Xiaomi 13 series is unlikely to officially launch in the US or Australia, as neither is a key international market for the brand, however, the phone will arrive in the UK on March 14, available directly from Xiaomi and via 'official retail channels' including local retailers, such as Currys and Argos.
Despite multiple memory configurations being made available internationally, in the UK the Xiaomi 13 will only be available in black and come with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, priced at £849 (approximately $1,015 / AU$1,510). That's £100 more than its predecessor's starting price but the base Xiaomi 12 sported only 128GB of storage. You're actually paying the same as last year's 256GB Xiaomi 12, and both storage and RAM are faster and more power efficient on this year's model.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Specs
As mentioned above, the Xiaomi 13 comes in two memory variations – 8GB or 12GB of RAM with 256GB of storage.
It’s worth flagging that, in China, the phone is available in three storage variations – 128GB, 256GB and 512GB – with 8GB RAM offered on the 128GB model and 12GB RAM on the 512GB model. The 256GB model is offered overseas with a choice between 8GB and 12GB of RAM.
Suffice to say, it's frustrating to see Xiaomi limiting the storage options on the Xiaomi 13 outside of China, and it means the otherwise impressive phone is far less flexible than, say, the Samsung Galaxy S23 on the global market.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Design
iPhone 14-like straight-sided design is a great size
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection
Nice color options
Xiaomi has opted for a decidedly iPhone 14-like design with the Xiaomi 13, which is by no means a criticism (if you’re an iPhone fan, that is).
Coming in at 71.5 x 152.8 x 8 mm and weighing 185g, the phone sports a glossy, straight-edged aluminum body that’s more conservative than boundary-pushing, but it feels great in the hand and its size – for me, at least – hits a rare sweet spot between being comfortable to navigate and large enough to look impressive. For reference, the Xiaomi 13 sits halfway between the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus (and therefore the S22 and S22 Plus) in terms of size, almost to the millimeter.
Internationally, the Xiaomi 13 is available in three standard colors: Black, White and Flora Green. In China, the company has also produced a gray and a light blue version, as well as limited edition iterations in more eye-catching red, green, yellow and blue designs. Every variant comes with a glass back, save for the vegan leather-equipped light blue model which, for obvious reasons, weighs a little more than the rest (you’re looking at 189g rather than 185g).
My Flora Green model looks great, with the visible divisions between the rear camera sensors (more on these later) a particularly nice touch, in my opinion.
The phone’s glass back may seem a little glossy to some, but the upside there is that the Xiaomi 13 doesn’t feel like a device that’ll smash into a million pieces if you drop it. It is an absolute fingerprint magnet, mind you.
As we’ve come to expect from handsets in this price range, the Xiaomi 13 also boasts an IP68 rating for dust and water protection. I haven’t had a chance to properly test out either resistance just yet, but we’ll be updating this review in due course.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Display
6.36-inch E6 OLED display is suitably bright
Gorilla Glass 5 front
Larger, brighter display compared to predecessor
The Xiaomi 13’s 6.36-inch OLED display is a touch bigger than its predecessor’s, though the phone’s 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and support for a range of HDR standards are in keeping with the Xiaomi 12.
Like the 12, you’re also getting a flat screen with a punch-hole camera at the top, and the bezels are similarly (and thankfully) small.
In my brief time with the Xiaomi 13 so far, I’ve found the phone to be exceptionally bright and responsive, with its 120Hz refresh rate making motion (from gaming or scrolling through social media) a smooth experience.
A peak brightness of 1,900nits means the Xiaomi 13’s display is sufficiently visible whether you’re indoors or in direct sunlight, too (though, being in London, I haven’t spent too much time using the phone in environments that aren’t covered by gray skies). This also marks a significant bump over its predecessor’s display, which topped out at 1,100nits.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Cameras
Smart-looking Leica-branded triple rear camera setup
3.2x 10MP f/2.0 telephoto lens w/ OIS
The Xiaomi 13 boasts a Leica-branded triple rear camera setup that comprises a 50MP f/1.8 main shooter with OIS, a 10MP f/2.0 telephoto camera with 3.2x optical zoom and OIS, and a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide sensor.
The latter camera represents the biggest difference between the Xiaomi 13 and its predecessor, which limped along with an underwhelming 5MP ‘telemacro’ sensor. Xiaomi’s partnership with Leica has also brought with it an ALD lens coating that supposedly improves their quality, and the overall appearance of the phone’s camera setup is much smarter than that of the Xiaomi 12.
The phone can shoot video in up to 8K quality at 24fps, and it also sticks with its predecessor’s 32MP selfie camera (though adds a wider f/2.0 aperture).
We’ll be putting the Xiaomi 13’s various cameras through their paces for our full review, but my first impressions are pretty good. Early pictures taken on the main camera appear vibrant and detailed, if a little dark on occasion (owing to the high contrast), while the ultrawide lens offers impressive depth of field.
Incidentally, Leica offers two shooting modes on the Xiaomi 13: Vibrant and Authentic. The former makes colors look brighter and more saturated, while the latter is meant to replicate the original Leica look by encouraging bolder contrast and a greater dynamic range. I haven’t had a chance to compare both modes just yet, but we’ll be updating this review soon.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Performance and audio
Super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
The Xiaomi 13 packs the best mobile SoC Qualcomm has to offer in 2023: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. There’s no bespoke version of the chipset here (which you’ll find in Samsung’s Galaxy S23 line), but from a practical point of view, the Xiaomi 13 still boasts the fastest silicon around (the Xiaomi 13 Pro uses the same processor, too).
Beyond the chipset, the phone comes in two memory variants, internationally: 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, accompanied by 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage.
As mentioned in the display section of this hands-on, the Xiaomi 13 has felt suitably speedy in my limited time spent with the device, so far. Neither gaming nor general browsing has caused the phone to noticeably heat up, though I’ll be trying out some more demanding tasks for our full review. Naturally, we’ll be running benchmark tests, too.
The Xiaomi 13 is a 5G phone, so you’ll be able to connect to the faster mobile network if it’s offered where you live, but as with all phones, your speeds will depend more on your network and area than the phone you’re using. Wi-Fi 7 is also an impressively new networking technology that, if you can connect to a supported network, will support up to 3.6Gbps.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the Xiaomi 13’s audio credentials so far. The phone’s dual speakers are Dolby Atmos-tuned, and though they don’t provide a true spatial audio experience, they do offer an exceptionally loud sound with decent bass.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Software
Runs Android 13 on top of Xiaomi MIUI 14
3 years OS updates + 5 years security updates
The Xiaomi 13 runs Android 13 with Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 interface, which will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used a Xiaomi phone.
Personally, I find Xiaomi's default preference for three-button navigation at the bottom of the screen annoying, so I immediately switched my Xiaomi 13 over to gesture-based navigation (which, yes, made the experience of using the device decidedly more iPhone-like).
MIUI does have its perks over the stock Android experience. Floating apps and the range of vibrant wallpapers are great, and the left/right separation of top-screen menus (one for notifications, one for quick settings) keeps clutter to a minimum on the Xiaomi 13.
There are only a handful of pre-loaded apps – some of them annoying (Booking.com), some of them useful (YouTube) – but downloading your favorites from the Google Play store is as quick and easy as you’d expect, and the third-party bloatware is removable
I haven’t yet spent enough time with the phone to encounter any bugs, though our experience with the Xiaomi 12 (which seemed to close apps whenever it felt like it) suggests there may well be a few to come.
Hands-on Xiaomi 13 review: Battery life
4500mAh battery is the same as predecessor
67W wired fast charging (charger in box)
The Xiaomi 13 has a 4500mAh battery that supports 67W wired charging, 50W wireless charging and 10W reverse wireless charging. That’s the same battery tech as you’ll find in its predecessor, the Xiaomi 12 and seems plenty fast enough for most users.
Naturally, we haven’t been able to test the phone’s battery life just yet, but Xiaomi says its latest flagship can reach full charge within just 38 minutes. If true, that’s quicker than the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 – arguably this phone’s closest competitors.
Here is the Tecno Megabook T1 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: Intel Core i7-1195G7 Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EU RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM Display: 15.6 Inch IPS FHD 350nits, sRGB 100% Storage: M.2 2280 1TB NVMe SSD Ports: 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10Mbit), 1x USB 3.2 Type-C (for charging), 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x universal audio jack, MicroSD card reader Connectivity: Dual-Band WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 Battery: 70Wh/11.4V Size: 132.9 x 156.1 x 71.8 mm (W x D x H) Weight: 1.48kg OS installed: Licensed Windows 11 Home. Accessories: 65W charger, Type-C cable, user manual Colours: Moonshine Silver / Rome Mint / Galaxy Silver / Monet Violet / Space Grey / Champagne Gold / Denim Blue
While they occasionally surprise us, many laptop brands make much the same thing that they did a decade ago, but with fresher stickers attached.
What’s inside these machines is dictated by AMD or Intel, and selling specifically to the corporate market becomes a pricing exercise largely.
Tecno isn’t one of these familiar brands, and therefore it isn’t playing by those agreed-on-a-golf-course rules. Therefore, it doesn’t fit the typical specifications and pricing that Dell, Lenovo, Acer and other brands often deliver.
Available with either a Core-i5 or Core-i7 Intel 11th Gen processor, the T1 is based on relatively recent hardware that was first made available in Q2 of 2021.
Our review machine came with the excellent Core i7-1195G7 CPU, 16GB of DDR4 RAM and 512GB of NVMe storage. Those that go with the Intel Core i5-1155G7 version will find that it typically comes with 8GB of RAM but the same SSD capacity.
The pleasing inner surface and outer lid are both essentially plastic but with a thin metal skin that is nice to touch and relatively easy to clean. However, this isn’t a laptop for someone not prepared to take care of it, and it badly needs a cushioned case.
The success or failure of these types of designs is often down to the display, and Techno provided a good 15.6-inches 1920 x 1080 panel rated with a high brightness of 350 nits that gives good colour representation. Not being a touch screen allows for skinny borders along the sides and a wider top border that includes a 2MP webcam.
At 36cm wide, there is also sufficient space for a full-sized keyboard with a numeric pad along with an ample touchpad. This makes the transition from a desktop system less challenging, and the performance of this system with its Iris Xe graphics is comparable with many 10th Gen desktop processors, if not better in some respects.
Often a weakness in thin Ultrabook designs, the T1 also has a good and varied selection of ports on the left and ride sides. These include plenty of USB in both forms, HDMI out, an audio jack and a MicroSD card slot.
The only minor complaint is that the USB-C port used for charging is exclusively for that purpose and won’t take an external drive or phone of that connector type.
And, to top out what is a generally good specification, Techno gave the T1 a 70Wh battery, allowing it to make it through a working day without demanding mains power for lunch. Techno quotes 17.5 hours, but depending on what you are doing, your mileage may vary.
The issue with this machine isn’t quality or design, its availability. At the time of writing, the T1 can only be bought in the Philippines, and it seems only the Core i5 variant for around $550.
Tecno Megabook T1: Price and availability
How much does it cost? From $550
When is it out? It is available now, in the Philippines
This machine was launched in September 2022 initially in the Philippines, which at this time appears to be the only place it can be sourced. The makers, Tecno, intend to bring it to the EU soon. But the exact dates when that will happen are currently unclear.
We also don’t have a price for the Core-i7 version reviewed here, although we’d expect that it would be roughly $700-850 based on the $550 price of the Core-i5 version with 8GB of RAM.
The value-for-money aspect of the T1 is strong, or it would be if you could more easily buy it.
Value: 3 / 5
Tecno Megabook T1: Design
Thin and elegant
Great keyboard size
NVMe can be upgraded
Since Apple created the MacBook Pro, every laptop maker has fallen over themselves to make an Ultrabook design thinner than all those that came before.
The trick, and one that Tecno engineers mastered quickly, is to make it thin yet strong enough to be useable and not excessively heavy.
Where it immediately scored high from this reviewer was in the user experience when opening the machine to use for the first time. The keyboard is very large, with easy-to-differentiate keys, and the power button, doubling as a fingerprint reader, is located in the corner where it is easy to reach.
The touchpad is large and easy to navigate and uses the flexible front edge method to emulate mouse buttons. Users that have had a previous laptop shouldn’t have any issues getting to grips with the T1, as almost everything is where you would expect.
The 1080p screen is big and bright while avoiding viewing angle issues. It’s connected via a hinge that almost translates through 180 degrees, allowing the T1 to be made entirely flat. Not sure if that is something useful, but it can do it.
Where some makers seem to think that every port added is some sort of design failure on their part, Tecno gave the T1 a good suite of ports that are located on the sides.
These include USB-A, USB-C and HDMI, along with a 3.5mm audio jack and a MicroSD card slot reader. There is no Ethernet, but fitting one in a machine this thin would be problematic, if not impossible.
Charging is via USB-C, and a 65W charger is provided in the box for this purpose.
Having reviewed many Lenovo and Toshiba laptops recently, it was shocking to discover that the underside of the T1 didn’t have any sticker to dissuade us from going inside.
The undertray is a lovely design with an extensive grill that is located over where the warmer parts of a running system are, and removing it requires the removal of nine Torx T6 screws and the spudgering of some edge clips.
Once inside, this is a very compact design where almost all the space is occupied with something useful, with the 70Wh battery dominating the rest of the system.
While it appears that the RAM is soldered, making it effectively impossible to upgrade, the M.2 NVMe drive is a standard 2280 variety and easy to remove and replace.
Design: 4 / 5
Tecno Megabook T1: Features
Odd USB choice
The 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1195G7 is an effective processor and the top of its Tiger Lake U3 series that also includes the 1185G7 and 1165G7 options.
Its four cores can throttle between 1.3GHz and 2.0GHz, and a single core can be boosted to 5GHz until thermal throttling becomes necessary.
Maximum power consumption is 28W, but it can use as little as 12W.
Depending on what tasks you have, the four cores and eight threads aren’t likely to be overmatched by typical Office software tasks. The Iris Xe GPU is a significant improvement over the Graphics HD GPU that Intel plied for so many years.
Overall, unless you intend to game, run CAD applications or 3D modelling and animation, this platform is more than adequate, providing a smooth and responsive user experience.
One curious aspect is the ports on the T1 is that the USB-C ports aren’t all interchangeable. What we mean here is that the one port allocated for charging is exclusive to that task and does no other. Why do this?
To confuse matters further, plugging the PSU into the data-capable USB-C port alongside the charging one also powers the laptop. Therefore, the USB-C system is designed for data and charging, other than the one port designated as charging only.
That’s very helpful because it allows this laptop to use a USB docking station and be externally connected to services while being charged.
From a security viewpoint, the only biometric option is the fingerprint reader, as the webcam isn’t Windows Hello capable. We need to mention that the privacy mechanism for this camera is a software-only option, leaving those with privacy concerns to deploy the electrical tape.
At this price, the cost savings on the camera were to be expected.
It’s easy to look at these numbers and then at systems that use later and more expensive silicon, like the Intel Core i7-1260P, and think the performance here isn’t that special.
But, given that this CPU only has four cores and eight threads, holding its own in many tests, especially against the AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 6650U platform.
Single-core tests on CineBench 23 and GeekBench are strong, and the PCMark 10 numbers are only 10% below the most expensive Intel Core i7-1260P (12 core, 16 thread) machines.
The limitations of this design appear in the GeekBench OpenCL results, where this system is only about 60% the performance of the Intel Core i7-1260P and less than 30% of a laptop using the AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 6850H (8 core, 16 thread, Radeon GPU).
But these are all much more expensive machines that easily cost double or triple the asking price of the T1, so those aren’t apples-for-apples comparisons.
The T1 does well with the platform it uses, but one weakness is the chosen NVMe SSD, the Intel 670p, a distinctly lacklustre offering. This is a QLC NAND NVMe design with a PCIe 3.0 interface rated at 3,500MBps reads and 2,700MBps writes.
In this machine, the best we got was just over 3,000Mb/s reading, and 1,600Mb/s writes.
The inability to hit higher write speeds, even for short periods, impacted the PCMark 10 test score and the Windows Experience Index.
Although the 670p isn’t terrible by SSD standards, a faster drive might benefit the user, and it's one of the few things that can be relatively easily upgraded.
Battery life was a revelation, although it didn’t hit the 17.5 hours quoted by Tecno. Using the PCMark 10 Office battery test, we achieved 11 hours and 23 minutes on a full charge, which is beyond respectable. By setting the CPU to maximum battery life, it might well be possible to get closer to the quoted longevity.
Performance: 4 / 5
This ultrabook isn’t built like a MacBook, have a 12-core processor and a discrete GPU, but it's far from being underpowered. There is a nice balance between the parts and the build quality, and the price is modest for this user experience.
The problem is availability. Because unless the T1 comes to the USA and EU in quantity, it is just another sidenote in the laptop releases of this era.
Although Oppo has held a small presence in the foldable space for years, the newly-launched Oppo Find N2 Flip is the company's first true global foldable, arriving in markets beyond China, including the UK and Europe.
Not only has the N2 Flip got its sights set on new regions, as Oppo's first clamshell foldable, it's hoping to appeal to a different crowd than the company's previous foldable offerings.
While the Oppo Find N and Oppo Find N2 are primarily built for productivity – with vertical hinges and squared main displays – the proposition of a clamshell folding phone is a little different. A clamshell prioritizes compactness and style.
That's the narrative for the Find N2 Flip, just as it was with Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip 4 in 2022 and, in truth, it looks as though the N2 Flip has been specifically engineered to outdo the Z Flip 4.
The design centers around a 6.8-inch 120Hz 21:9 folding AMOLED display, in a body that's 7.45mm thin and weighs 191 grams (that's a little bigger, thicker and heavier than a Z Flip 4).
Oppo has paid special attention to the Flexion Hinge running across the N2 Flip's midriff. It offers one of the least noticeable creases in a folding display to date – both to the eye and under-finger – while allowing the phone to fold closed without a gap (unlike Samsung's best foldables). The N2 Flip also has a wonderfully satisfying feel when being opened and closed, likely thanks to the cam mechanism in the hinge's construction.
The external cover display, meanwhile, dwarves even the Motorola Razr 2022's outer Quick View display, with a 3.26-inch 17:9 AMOLED panel that naturally sits in a portrait orientation, next to the phone's main 50MP and secondary 8MP ultrawide cameras.
As you'd expect, it can be used as a viewfinder when snapping stills, videos and portrait shots with the phone's most powerful camera. It can access quick settings and check notifications, view the weather or your calendar. The display also allows for instant access to timers and even a virtual pet, Tamagotchi-style.
Oppo has augmented the ColorOS 13 user experience on the N2 Flip with what it calls 'FlexForm Mode.' When the phone is folded between 45- and 110-degrees, you can leverage the cameras for everything from time lapse recording to video calls, without the need for a tripod.
It's a shame that, outside of its home market, the Find N2 is only available in a single memory and storage configuration: 8GB RAM / 256GB. In China, the phone can also be had with 12GB RAM and the same storage or a whopping 16GB RAM and 512GB of storage.
There's also a colorway called Flowing Gold that isn't part of the device's international release. Instead, most consumers will have the option of either Astral Black or Moonlit Purple – creating a decidedly similar look to the Galaxy Z Flip 4's iconic purple finish.
Oppo launched the phone internationally on February 15, going on sale in various markets, including the UK on March 2, for £849. Stay tuned for a full review soon, where we decide whether the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 has its work cut out.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Price and availability
Priced at £849 / €1,199.99
Unconfirmed for the US and Australia
Pre-orders from February 15, on sale March 2
Oppo launched the Find N2 Flip internationally on February 15, taking pre-orders the same day. In the UK, the phone is priced at £849 (approximately $1,020 / AU$1,480) and goes on sale on March 2. European pricing clocks in significantly higher, at €1,199.99.
UK pre-order availability from Currys doesn't commence until later, on February 19 and Argos on February 21.
For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 – with a base configuration of 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage – cost $999.99 / £999 / AU$1,499, at launch. This renders Oppo's new clamshell a comparative steal, as it not only undercuts the Flip 4's base price by £150 but if you compare pricing between equivalent 256GB models, the Find N2 Flip actually comes in at £210 cheaper (the 256GB Z Flip 4 cost $1,059.99 / £1,059 / AU$1,649, at launch).
One area where the Find N2 Flip can't compete against the Flip 4 is the US. Oppo's new phone has no expected presence in one of Samsung's biggest international markets.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Specs
With the new year, we're seeing devices (like the Samsung Galaxy S23 series and Xiaomi 13 series), with faster and more power efficient LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage. Since the Find N2 Flip originally launched in China in late 2022, concurrent with the Z Flip 4, the Find N2 Flip sports slightly older LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Design
First clamshell foldable from Oppo
Satisfying and sturdy hinge mechanism
Gapless folding design
You can't evaluate a foldable without talking about the hinge mechanism that underpins its construction and Oppo's done a great job with the Find N2 Flip. The phone's latest-generation 'Flexion Hinge' features a system of cams to serve up an incredibly satisfying movement when you fold the phone open and shut, and the whole construction feels impressively solid.
Oppo had the hinge independently tested and, as such, it's verified by TÜV Rhineland to withstand some 400,000 cycles (opening once and closing once equates to one cycle). This translates to 100 cycles per day for over ten years – that's twice the stress-test figure that Samsung quotes for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4.
The N2 Flip comes with formal IP-certified water resistance of IPX4. Compared to the Galaxy Z Flip 4's IP68, the N2 Flip can withstand a spray of water, while Samsung's best phones can all withstand full submersion up to a meter.
Oppo insists that the phone's 'gapless folding design' keeps particles out and the mechanism safe, which I'll only be able to verify for myself after living with it a little longer.
There's some nice detail work throughout the Find N2 Flip's design, with two colorways launching internationally: textured Astral Black and glossy Moonlit Purple (pictured). Flowing Gold remains a China-exclusive colorway and any additional colors in the future seem unlikely, as I was told by Oppo EU's Head of Product Management, Arne Herkelmann, at the phone's international launch event in London.
There's a wave-style pattern etched into the outer face of the hinge when the phone is folded shut that catches the light and adds extra interest, showcasing a level of polish and attention to detail that most devices lack.
At 191 grams and 7.45mm thin, the N2 Flip is a little bigger, heavier and thicker than its most obvious rival, but for that additional heft you get a larger display and battery compared to Samsung's current clamshell.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Display
6.8-inch 21:9 1Hz to 120Hz AMOLED main display
3.26-inch 17:9 30Hz to 60Hz AMOLED cover display
Largest cover display of any clamshell foldable
Perhaps one of the most striking things about the Find N2 Flip compared to its clamshell folding rivals is its crease, or rather... lack of one.
Part of the phone's Flexion Hinge is an equally flamboyant-sounding element called the Reticular Matrix Plate. When the phone is closed, the plate slides out of the way to allow the display itself to bunch up inside in a waterdrop shape – similar to the Motorola Razr 2022's folding design.
When the N2 Flip is opened back up, the plate slides back and locks into place, creating what is empirically the smallest display crease in any clamshell foldable, for now.
Oppo says the crease is half the depth of the the N2 Flip's "main competitor" and I can attest to how impressively unobtrusive it looks and feels. It's a clear indictor of progress when it comes to the technology and engineering needed to create a phone with a folding display, and suggests we'll soon have foldables with no visual or tactile interruption.
As for the viewing experience, the 6.8-inch 20:9 Full HD+ panel's use of LTPO E6 AMOLED tech ensures sharp and vibrant visuals, with minimal brightness drop-off or color distortion when viewed off-axis, as well as support for a variable refresh rate from 1Hz to 120Hz, for greater power efficiency than a fixed-efresh panel.
The display manages a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. It's great for enjoying media (helped by minimal bezels) and offers one of the nicest user experiences of any clamshell foldable displays currently out there.
That TÜV Rhineland certification doesn't just cover the hinge for 400,000 folding cycles but the display itself too, with multi-layered construction that features an anti-reflective film Oppo claims is five times less reflective than competing foldable displays. I'll be testing this during the phone's full review.
Then, of course, there's the cover display: bigger than any other clamshell foldable and brimming with features. It can handle tasks that are obvious – like acting as a viewfinder when snapping selfies with the phone's primary camera – to obscure.
There's the option of one of five interactive pet clocks the serve up a Tamagotchi-like experience, for an added layer of character and fun.
While the out-of-box feature set is a solid start, third-party additions would make for a welcome upgrade. At present, Spotify media controls can be accessed from the cover display, and the promise of Google Assistant interaction while the phone is closed is reportedly in the works too, but there's potential for so much more, if Oppo were to open up an SDK for developers.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Software
ColorOS 13 atop Android 13 at launch
An almost overwhelming amount of functionality
Four years OS updates + five years security updates
The Find N2 Flip arrives on the latest Android 13, dressed in Oppo's own ColorOS 13 user experience.
Not unlike Samsung's One UI, it's a departure from stock Android in a few key areas and includes some first-party Oppo apps that dupe some of Google's native apps (like a web browser and app store). Additions like quick access to split-screen multitasking via a three-finger swipe gesture, a universally-accessible Smart Sidebar and floating window functionality all serve the display's tall aspect ratio well and bolster the phone's productivity chops.
At the same time, there's almost too much functionality. Many users will likely never venture to uncover what the O1 Ultra Vision Engine is, learn the difference between Oppo Share and Nearby Share, or discover the freedom of Zen Mode (it locks the phone down for a set period of time to give a break from your device).
The Find N2 Flip does represent one notable positive shift in Oppo's wider mobile strategy, by matching Samsung and out-doing its commitment to updates. The N2 Flip benefits from four years of OS updates and five years of security updates, just like the new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. The hope is that this promise starts making its way to other Oppo devices going forward too, and not just its high-end handsets.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Camera
50MP primary + 8MP ultrawide
32MP selfie camera
FlexForm Mode camera features
You'll find a trio of cameras across the Find N2 Flip's body, a 50MP primary and 8MP secondary ultrawide on the back, alongside a 32MP punch-hole front-facer, set into the top of the phone's main display.
The Sony IMX890 sensor that leads the N2 Flip's camera system is the same sensor you'll find in OnePlus' latest flagship, the OnePlus 11, although here it's supported by Oppo's dedicated MariSilicon X imaging NPU for image processing. There doesn't appear to be any optical image stabilization on offer.
Image processing may be handled by the MariSilicon X chip, but tuning of the color science through Oppo's ongoing partnership with famed camera brand Hasselblad, defines the overall look of the results out of the Find N2 Flip's camera.
There's also the unique benefits of that clamshell form factor to consider – with regards to photography. That large cover display makes it quick and easy to snap selfies, portrait shots or shoot video using the phone's primary sensors and without having to open the phone up. Conversely, you can be snapping normally but give your subject an idea of the final image you're capturing, with the cover screen preview feature.
As part of that all-important hinge's ability to hold its position between 45- and 110-degrees, the phone's FlexForm Mode is most obviously beneficial when snapping pictures, letting you shift the camera UI to either half of the partially folded display as needed, while angling the camera through that defined range of motion allows for easier hands-free capture too.
There's also a mode called Camcorder Capture, that acts an awful lot like the Galaxy Z Flip 4's FlexCam mode, where you hold the phone sideways while it's folded to 90-degrees to emulate the feel and hands position of a 90s camcorder when capturing video.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Performance
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 Plus chipset
Single memory / storage configuration on international model
Continuing the partnership that the company struck up with MediaTek for the Oppo Reno 8 series, the N2 Flip instead runs on a Dimensity 9000 Plus SoC, unlike the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 that we toyed with in our hands-on Oppo Find N2 review, .
Although MediaTek's high-end silicon isn't established as Qualcomm's, the 9000 Plus has already proven its worth inside our best gaming phone of the moment – the Asus ROG Phone 6D Ultimate. As such, there's plenty of power on hand for everything from multitasking to gaming.
Colors aside, there's only one configuration to worry about internationally, with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage on hand, which most users should find more than adequate. In China, the phone can be had with up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Oppo's Peter Lee – head of the Find product line – told me that this is born out of higher demands that Chinese consumers expect from their devices.
One area where Oppo has tried to tailor the experience to the unique qualities of a foldable like the Find N2 Flip is with connectivity. As well as a strong foundation thanks to Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6, the N2 Flip also supports eSIM with simultaneous dual 5G SIM support, while a 360 antenna array means NFC should work with the phone held in any orientation, ideal for contactless payments on public transport and the like.
Hands-on Oppo Find N2 Flip review: Battery
Supports 44W SuperVOOC charging
Largest battery and fastest charging in a clamshell foldable
One of the big wins that the Oppo Find N2 Flip lordes over its clamshell compatriots is with its battery and charging credentials. While the Motorola Razr 2022, Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Huawei P50 Pocket possess 3,500mAh, 3,700mAh and 4,000mAh capacity batteries respectively, the Oppo barges in with a bombastic 4,300mAh cell that should boast superior longevity.
It's a similar story with charging speeds too, with the Samsung, Motorola and Huawei supporting 25W, 30W and 40W wired charging, respectively. The Find N2 Flip, meanwhile, tops the list at 44W (although you'll find a 67W SuperVOOC charger in-box). This reportedly equates to 50% charge in 23 minutes and 100% in under an hour.
While Oppo's claims still need to be put to the test, the company states that the phone can deliver over 11 hours of movie playback and that its self-developed high density cells offer up 10% more power from the same capacity battery in an equivalent device.
For those watching the market for rugged phones closely, there is a crunch about to happen where the specifications of cheap phones seem destined to collide with those from the premium end ranges.
At this ground zero point are makers like Blackview, aiming to sell rugged designs for a minimum of $250, but also trying to take market share from those in the $300-350 bracket.
A case in point is the Blackview BV9200, a phone that, based purely on specifications, should cost more than the asking price.
However, to achieve this attractive price point, some compromises have been made, and it’s the purchasers’ choice if those are significant enough to warrant not buying one.
The boxes unreservedly ticker in the BV9200 are that it has a good Helio G96 processor, providing plenty of power, alongside a reasonable GPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.1-based storage.
The scale of this device allows for a large 6.58-inch IPS LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and a natural resolution of 1080 x 2408 pixels, sufficient for unscaled 1080p playback.
This is also the first Blackview phone to have dual smart-PA BOX speakers designed by Harman AudioEFX for an enhanced auditor experience.
The first signs of cost saving appear in the cameras, as the best sensor is a Samsung ISOCELL JN1 50MP, and this is supported by an 8MP Macro lens with a 120-degree field of view and a 0.3MP sensor for depth of field control.
The cameras are far from useless, but this phone isn’t packing the 108MP sensors we’ve seen from Doogee and Ulefone.
Another limitation is the battery capacity, as 5000 mAh is on the low side for a rugged design. But conversely, this has the positive impact that at 310g this is one of the lightest waterproof designs we’ve seen so far.
More of an issue potentially is the installed OS, which is Android 12 but with the Doke-OS 3.1 interface sat over the vanilla Android core.
This version of Android seems stable, but Doke-OS preloads all manner of games and other junk that most users won’t want or care about. It is possible to remove this junk, but it’s disappointing that it was pre-installed in the first place. By not using the vanilla interface options, new Android releases are likely likely to be delayed by its integration, and Blackview doesn’t have the best history of passing all of these on to users.
The final point about this phone is that it is 4G, not 5G, and how important that is will be dependent on the region you live in and the mobile service you use.
Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct from AliExpress
Coming in black, green and orange, the BV9200 is best sourced from AliExpress, as it doesn’t seem to be generally available through Amazon or other big online retailers.
The pricing is relatively consistent based on exchange rates, with the three colours all costing around $250. AliExpress does offer two bundle options; phone with “Airbuds 6” and “Smartwatch R1”. These add about $25 if you want either of those extras.
The downside of AliExpress is that the phone will only ship within 30 days and could take another 30 to reach you. Hopefully, Blackview will make this design more readily available through Amazon and other faster channels.
Value score: 4/5
Blackview BV9200 design
Offset camera cluster
A charging monster
We’ve seen a new class of rugged phones emerge in the past year that delivers a robust package but in a distinctly thinner aspect.
While not as light as the svelte 290g Ulefone Armor 17 Pro, the 310g BV9200 is still much lighter than the majority of rugged designs and 150g less than Blackview’s own BV7100.
The reduced weight and thinner form make this an easier phone to handle and secure in a pocket, although, with a 6-58-inch screen, it is still a substantial device.
It’s a nice tactile experience, the sides and buttons are mostly metal, and the visible bolt heads on these are neatly recessed.
The layout used is a cookie-cutter form with the volume rocker and power/fingerprint reader on the right and the SIM tray and custom button on the left. As with most rugged phones that use it, this layout is biased towards right-handed users and not those who are left-handed.
The camera cluster is oddly set to the top left when viewed from behind, placing the main 50MP sensor centre approximately 24mm from the centreline of the phone body.
This position might need some adjustment for those taking pictures, but due to a gentle curve of the underside, the sensor cluster projection doesn’t stop the phone from lying flat.
That it can lay flat is essential, as it supports wireless charging using the Qi standard, but not the usual 15W, but the higher 33W level.
For those wanting to charge even faster, the USB-C port is the weapon of choice, as this allows 66W mode using the PSU that Blackview includes with its phone.
This port is covered with a rubber plug that needs to be removed every time it is charged this way, and therefore the wireless charging option might be preferable.
We’d also like to comment that the rubber plug on the BV9200 is small, and the space it offers for USB charging cables is narrow. When we first took this phone from its box, we tried to attach it to a typical USB-C cable, and it wouldn’t fit. The assumption is that the connector approach is this narrow to avoid water or dust getting in, but being forced to find the narrower USB-C cable that came with it isn’t ideal.
To summarise the design of the BV9200, there isn’t any remarkable about it, but equally, no horrible mistakes. It might have been a little better, but it could also have been much worse.
Design score: 4/5
Blackview BV9200 features
High spec platform
No audio jack
The Blackview BV9200 that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:
CPU: MediaTek Helio G96 Cores: Octa-core, Dual-core 2.05 GHz Cortex-A76, Hexa-core 2 GHz Cortex-A55 GPU: Mali-G57 MC2 RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X Storage: 256GB +MicroSD Screen: 6.58-inch IPS LCD 120Hz Resolution: 1080 x 2408 SIM: Dual Nano SIM (+microSDXC) Weight: 310g Dimensions: 174 x 82 x 13.6 mm Rugged Spec: IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H Rear cameras: 50MP + 8MP + 0.3 MP Front camera: 16MP Networking: WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.2 Mobile Network: 2G/3G/4G OS: Android 12 (Doke-OS 3.1) Battery: 5000 mAh Colour Options: Black, Green, Orange
Chinese phone makers love MediaTek SoCs for commercial reasons, and Blackview uses them exclusively in its latest designs.
What is slightly odd is where many phone makers are going with the Helio G99 or even the Dimensity 900, but the BV9200 has the scaled-back Helio G96. This silicon has seen some use in the Doogee S99, POCO M4 Pro and Xiaomi Redmi Note 11S, to mention just a few.
Like the Helio G99, this is an eight-core design that has two Cortex-A76 performance cores alongside six Cortex-A55 efficiency cores and the same Mali-G57 MC2 GPU.
The only major computing platform difference is that the performance G99 can clock its Cortex-A76 parts up to 2.2GHz, whereas the G96 is capped at 2.05 GHz. The Cortex-A55 cores run at 2 GHZ on both chips.
While not the very fastest SoC that MediaTek makes, the G96 is powerful enough for most purposes.
Another strong point in the specification is the screen. This IPS panel offers strong colours, a good resolution and up to a 120Hz refresh along with 90Hz and 60Hz, and it is well protected from accidental damage with a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Where the BV9200 is less impressive is in the networking, cameras and battery specifications.
For example, the wireless networking on this phone is only WiFi 5, although it is Bluetooth 5.2, thankfully.
The camera selection is curious, as we’ve not seen another phone with this exact combination. While the primary 50MP camera and optics look decent, typically, we see them alongside 16MB supporting sensors. But here, the wide-angle option is just 8MP, and the depth of field sensor is 0.3MP, making it remarkably low res.
As we’ll cover in more detail below, these curious choices don’t impact the quality of the results, but they do seem to fly in the face of what other phone makers are doing.
A rugged phone only having 5000 mAh of battery capacity does seem on the low side, especially for those wanting to take this device on a long hike away from mains power.
That said, it is possible to carry charging packs or solar collectors to extend its operation, and when you do encounter power, the BV9200 can charge up remarkably quickly.
One final feature note is that this phone has no 3.5mm audio jack, and Blackview didn’t include an adapter to use the USB for headphones. These are cheaply bought, but it is worth noting that an adapter will be required.
Despite a somewhat odd combination of sensors, the camera on the BV9200 performs admirably. The main sensor might be 50MP, but the maximum image size that is captured is 13MP in a 4:3 ratio, making the files significantly smaller. Having more sensor pixels than those on the output results is some crisp and colour-accurate results.
Our only complaint is that getting the best images requires good lighting, as the focus is poor in less-than-ideal lighting conditions. This issue is especially true of the night vision mode, something we’d avoid using.
But for daylight photography, it is possible to get some excellent captures that are generally free of optical aberrations and colour shifts. For those wanting the best results, we recommend Beauty mode and the HDR options since these make the best use of the ArcSoft True-Chroma software working behind the scenes to extract the best image fidelity.
The ultra-macro mode gets to within about 10mm of the subject, and the beauty mode has a depth control with ten levels of impact.
Probably one of the best features of the camera is that it will shoot video at a resolution above 1080p. It can record 2K or, more accurately, 1440p, aka 2560 x 1440 video.
The only downside of that functionality and video capture is that no controls are provided for frame rate. It’s 30fps at all resolutions, with no other choices.
The phone camera application does have H264 or HEVC encoding, balancing the options for the greatest compatibility with the most efficient encoding. And, image stabilisation is always available irrespective of capture resolution.
Overall, the camera on the BV9200 is better than anticipated, and unless you need night vision or some other special sensor modes, it does a reasonable job.
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Camera score: 3/5
Blackview BV9200 performance
Power and efficiency
This is how the Blackview BV9200 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
Overall, the performance of this phone is excellent, and the 120MHz mode of the display makes the interface seem even smoother than normal.
If we compare the G96 used in the BV9200 with a G99-powered phone, the difference is about 10% lower across most benchmarks, but in some tests, it is much, much closer.
The PCMark 3.0 test, as an example, scores 8727 on the BV9200 and 9176 on the Ulefone Armor 17 Pro, a difference of just 5%.
To get significantly better performance than this requires the Dimensity 900 powered phone, and those cost more than double the asking price of the BV9200.
The graphics performance of this SoC will work for most mobile games, even if it’s only about 60% of the power that the Mali-G68 MC4 used in the Dimensity 900 SoC can output.
Understanding the wide range of capabilities, game creators tend to create predefined quality settings for specific SoCs and screen resolutions, and the BV9200 has enough visual performance that this shouldn’t be an issue.
The only issues you might encounter are those related to the lack of Widevine L1 encryption, a standard that many of the branded streaming services use to deliver their content to TVs and mobile devices.
Blackview only offers an L3 security level on the BV9200, reducing the streamed quality of most services to 480p (640 x 480), irrespective of the screen size.
But in some services, such as watching some, but not all, streamed movies through Google TV, possibly due to a mistake when the OS was compiled, movies appear with a large black border around them, and no icon appears to rescale them to the full display.
The lack of Widevine L1 and inconsistent scaling issues make the BV9200 unsuitable for watching TV shows and movies on this phone, despite the screen being suitable for this purpose.
Performance score: 5/5
Blackview BV9200 battery
66W Fast charging
33W Qi charging
The SoC in the BV9200 is highly efficient and can make the most of the battery capacity, even if it is only 5,000 mAh. For a typical smartphone, that would be plenty of battery, but for a rugged design, it's on the light side of what is often provided.
That said, you should be able to get more than six hours of movie streaming on a single charge, and on standby, it should last 500 hours on standby and 37.5 hours calling.
But where the BV9200 has the advantage is when it charges. Because it has two charging options, and both of them get the phone ready to travel quickly.
For conventional USB-C charging, when empty, it can utilise the 66W charger Blackview include with the phone. That enables it to grab 20% of the power capacity in 5 minutes and be fully recharged in around 53 minutes.
Conversely, the 33W wireless charging option takes approximately twice as long, but it is still much faster than most wireless charging phones, as they usually only support 15W mode.
To be concise, the battery on this phone could be bigger, but making it this size makes the phone light and also enables it to charge quickly.
Battery score: 4/5
Like the Ulefone 17 Pro, the Blackview 9200 provides an excellent alternative to the brick-like rugged phones that are heavy and somewhat impractical.
The SoC is a good choice, with plenty of RAM and storage. The camera seems somewhat quirky but delivers good results, and given the hardware in this phone, it is competitively priced.
What is less wonderful is the Doke-OS version of Android and all the apps you never asked for, and that it is 4G in a world that is increasingly 5G.
For those wanting to go into the wilderness and not take an iPhone, the Blackview BV9200 is an affordable choice. With the exception of the battery capacity, it is built for that job.
When you’ve recently reviewed the 16 Pro and then are sent the 17 Pro, it’s not an unreasonable conclusion that the new phone will build on the previous design.
But, the Ulefone Power Armor 17 Pro takes very little, if anything, from its predecessor.
Where that was a super-cheap and heavy, rugged phone with a massive speaker on its back, the 17 Pro is double the cost, significantly lighter and generally has a much better specification.
Where the 16 Pro uses the lacklustre MediaTek Helio G25 SoC, the 17 Pro sports the very pinnacle of the Helio series, the G99. A chip that, in comparison to other SoCs, the G99 is a very powerful ARM processor and offers excellent performance.
The underlying platform allows this phone can handle most tasks with ease while also offering great battery life. Additionally, it supports a wide range of features, such as dual-SIM support, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6. In terms of gaming performance, the Helio G99 is enough power for most games, although it may struggle with more intense titles.
The strengths of this design over other rugged options are that at just 290g it is much lighter than most, and the case isn’t oddly shaped and thickened. That makes it a more practical phone to carry, even if you don’t use the optional protective case and its belt clip.
It also has an impressive 108MP rear camera, along with an 8MP PDFA wide-angle sensor and an 8MP night vision camera, Though even with that massive rear sensor, it still can’t capture 4K resolution video, only 2K.
There are two significant weaknesses in the 17 Pro, and the first of those is a battery capacity of just 5380 mAh, an amount that you would find in any typical mid-priced phone.
The battery can be fast charged, and the phone supports wireless charging, but this isn’t a phone that you would want to take on a long hike away from civilisation.
The second major weakness is that it doesn’t support 5G, making this a 4G phone with LTE support at best. Phones costing this much are starting to come with 5G, but this one doesn’t.
Overall, a phone that is more practical than most rugged designs and an interesting divergence from the previous 16 Pro.
This isn’t an expensive device and has plenty of useful features for the asking price..
Ulefone Power Armor 17 Pro price and availability
How much does it cost? $340 / £290
When is it out? It is available now
Where can you get it? You can get it in most regions direct from AliExpress or on Amazon.com
Typically, on Amazon or other mainstream online retailers, the 17 Pro costs around $340, but for those willing to wait for AliExpress to deliver, it can be purchased for $60 less.
That still makes it almost twice the cost of the 16 Pro, but the power and performance in this design justifies the additional cost.
Alongside just the phone, the 17 Pro can be bought with an additional protective case, a wireless charging base, a portable Bluetooth speaker, or various combinations of those items. With them all included by AliExpress, it costs about the same as just the phone from Amazon.
Even with the increase over the 16 Pro, this is still one of the cheapest phones built around the MediaTek Helio G99 SoC and more sophisticated than the typical rugged designs.
Value score: 4/5
Ulefone Power Armor 17 Pro design
Rugged phones tend to fall into two subcategories; chunky or slim. And, the 17 Pro is distinctly in the ‘slim’ category, only 12.5mm thick.
It would be even thinner if the camera cluster on the rear didn’t project outwards.
At just 290 g, this is one of the lightest phones from Ulefone we’ve seen, and unless specifically primed, most people picking up this device would assume it was a regular Chinese smartphone.
That said, there are a few rugged hints, in that the back has a faux carbon fibre finish, and the sides and all the buttons are metal.
The button layout is the de facto standard comprising of the audio rocker and power button (doubling as thumbprint reader) on the right and the custom button and SIM tray on the left.
On the bottom edge is the USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm audio headphone jack, and neither of these is protected by a rubber plug.
Despite the lack of a plug, the phone is rated for IP68 (maximum depth of 1.5 metres up to 30 minutes) under IEC, and it even has underwater camera modes.
Also, in the bottom left corner is a lanyard hole for those wanting to secure the Pro 17 to a strap or belt.
As with most modern phones, the standout feature is the display. It’s a 20:9, 1080 x 2408 FHD+ screen, offering 6.58‑inches of touch panel that even those with big fingers should be able to operate. It’s bright and colourful and has a decent resolution for viewing captured images and video. The refresh rate is 120Hz, enough to avoid screen tearing when rapidly scrolling images.
In the centre of the back are the cameras, in a generally good position for those that often accidentally put their fingers on the edge of their photos. This is a triple-sensor cluster with the top sensor offering an amazing 108MP resolution. The two other sensors are one for wide-angle work (8MP) and a night vision camera (also 8MP).
To provide flash illumination, three conventional LEDs and two IR LEDs are also part of the rear camera cluster.
The 16MP selfie camera on the front is centrally mounted in a cutout at the top of the display. Normally the loss of a part of the panel to this feature would annoy us, but the screen here has extra pixels to avoid this being a factor in presenting video or images.
Overall, the Pro 17 is a good example of a new generation of ruggedized designs where its ability to withstand the environment and a few hard knocks hasn’t compromised it as a phone in any substantial way.
Design score: 4/5
Ulefone Power Armor 17 Pro hardware
Low spec platform
Decent battery size
The UleFone Power Armor 17 Pro that was sent to us for review came with the following hardware:
CPU: MediaTek Helio G99 GPU: Mali-G57 MC2 RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X Storage: 256GB eMMC 5.1 Screen: 6.58-inch IPS LCD Resolution: 2408 x 1080 SIM: Dual Nano SIM (+microSDXC up to 128GB) Weight: 405g Dimensions: 172.7 x 80.4 x 12.5 mm Rugged Spec: IP68, IP69K and MIL-STD-810H Rear cameras: 108 MP, f/1.9, (wide), 1/1.52”, 0.7µm, PDAF 8 MP, f/2.2, 119˚, (ultrawide), 1/4”, 1.12µm 8 MP, (night vision), 2 infrared night vision lights Front camera: 16 MP, f/2.2, (wide), 1.0µm Networking: Wi-Fi 5 dual band, Bluetooth 5.2 OS: Android 12 Battery: 5380 mAh
The Mediatek Helio G99 is a mid-range mobile system on a chip (SoC) released in 2021. It is based on the 12nm fabrication process and is the successor to the Helio G90T. The Helio G99 is an 8-core CPU with 4 ARM Cortex A-76 and 4 ARM Cortex A-55 cores. This package includes a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU for graphics and support for up to 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and UFS 2.1 storage.
In this design, 8GB of memory is combined with 256GB of main storage, providing enough space for most use profiles. But this is also one of the new designs where some of the main storage can be reallocated to RAM, boosting the amount available by up to 5GB. But, the maker warns that not all Android software is compatible with this Virtual Memory Expansion feature.
While this chip doesn’t compete with some of the latest Snapdragon designs, it’s an excellent all-around performer and allows the 17 Pro to deliver impressive benchmark scores.
An SoC of this performance level is critical when you have a camera capable of 108MP images in the system for the post-processing of that data.
One contradiction of this design is that the screen has a resolution of 2408 x 1080, providing more space than a 1080p video requires to be fully represented without scaling.
However, the Pro 17 doesn’t support the Widevine L1 video decryption standard, resulting in streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ reducing the best resolution available to just 480p. It is possible to get 1080p playback on YouTube and with capture videos, but not over most streaming services.
This limitation appears to be the norm among Chinese phones, and it may be to do with the additional cost of getting L1, over the L3 decryption many come with.
While still image capture can be made at crazy resolutions, even with a 108MP sensor, the Pro 17 can only offer 2K recording at 30fps, with no 4K options.
While there may be good reasons for avoiding 4K, why they didn’t include faster frame rate versions of 1080p, 720p and 480p is a mystery. They’re all locked at 30fps.
For western buyers, the lack of 5G comms might be an issue, depending on the locale, but it does offer a pervasive selection of 4G LTE frequencies (FDD and TDD) alongside support for 3G and 2G legacy services.
One curiosity is that this design supports simultaneous dual SIM support, allowing both connections to be active. However, the support of two 4G connections to a single device depends on the local telecom operator and if they allow this on their service.
When you see the Samsung HM2 108MP sensor on this phone, one is immediately drawn to conclude that this might be a good phone for pictures, and it is.
However, the 108MP mode that captures whopping 12000 x 8992 resolution images isn’t the one that most people will use. Because none of the ‘Pro Mode’ features exists at this level of detail, and with the exception of 4X digital zoom, there are no options.
The standard resolution for pictures is only 12MP, or 4000 x 2992, or about 12% of the sensor area.
Admittedly not as impressive as 108MP, but the lower quality setting gives full control over ISO, aperture and speed, resulting in much better quality results.
It’s also worth considering that the typical size of a 108MP image is between 20MB and 25MB, whereas a 12MP is usually below 10MB. It takes longer to take 108MP images, you have less control, and they take up excessive space.
Usually, we might complain that RAW isn’t supported, but 108MP RAW images would be exceptionally large and probably not practical on this platform.
It’s tempting to think that the 108MP is just a hook to get customers who want the best pictures, but it’s more complicated than that due to the results of using a 108MP sensor to take 12MP images.
These pictures are predictably good, display relatively few artefacts and chromatic aberrations, and are well colour balanced even with everything set to auto.
It would have been nice to have a 24MP or 56MP mode which had all the controls of 12MP, but it is possible to get some excellent results out of the Pro 17, just not by using 108MP.
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Camera score: 4/5
Ulefone Power Armor 17 Pro performance
GPU isn’t the very quickest
This is how the Ulefone Armor 17 Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
These results are right up with the very best we’ve had from rugged phones, bettered only by those powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC or Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G.
And, even those devices only make a handful of score points more, and not across all benchmarks.
To underline this, the Passmark score of 9359 is one the highest we’ve tested from a rugged phone, and only Dimensity 900-powered devices did better.
The only weakness we noticed is that the Mali-G57 MC2 isn’t as quick as the Mali-G68 MP4 that the Dimensity 900 SoC uses, delivering 1359 on the Wild Life test on this phone, but more than 2000 on the Doogee V30 and Ulefone Power Armor 18T.
That makes the G99 a little less suitable for gaming, but not by an amount most players would immediately notice.
What is more likely to be noticeable is the amount of battery capacity.
Performance score: 4/5
Ulefone Power Armor 17 Pro battery
Small capacity for rugged design
66W super fast charging
Qi charging and MagSafe
The elephant in this powerhouse is the battery, or more specifically, the 5380 mAh battery Ulefone blessed the 17 Pro with.
By rugged phone standards, that’s not huge, and while it is bigger than the 4,323mAh that Apple gives the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we typically see phones with 10,000 or more mAh in this sector.
The available capacity has a quoted standby of 294 hours and a talk-time of 29 hours, but realistically most phones don’t run out of power on standby or while being used as a phone.
With a smaller battery, Ulefone did make some effort to enable the phone to charge quickly, and with a suitable charger like the one included with the phone, it can handle a 66W fast charge. Due to the flattened back, this design can also wireless charge up to 15W using Qi charging pad (not included). It will also wireless reverse charge to another phone with Qi.
Its final trick is that it can also magnetically wireless charge in much the same way as a recent iPhone, allowing it to be used with a magnetic wallet. Included in the box is a soft magnetic wallet that doubles as a phone stand, conveniently.
While the 17 Pro might not have the battery capacity of the 16 Pro or 18T, it does have a few other neat charging features that go some way to balance this equation. The smaller battery positively impacts the phone's overall weight, importantly.
Battery score: 3/5
There are many things to like about the 17 Pro that address some of the issues with the 16 Pro and also offer a hint at where Ulefone is likely to go with future rugged designs.
Instead of emulating spare parts from a transformer, the Pro 17 offers a large but not excessively sized phone that is robust and protected from the environment without resorting to shipping container aesthetics.
The MediaTek Helio G99 SoC gives plenty of processing performance, and the 108MP camera sensor delivers excellent photo capture. The only real caveat is the limited battery capacity, making it less than ideal for long adventure holidays away from mains power.
It might cost nearly double the cost of the 16 Pro, but the 17 Pro is a lot more phone for the cash and probably better value on the investment.