Thursday, 19 July 2018

How important is low-light photo quality to you?

Google Pixel 2 XL

Over the years the one feature that I've determined to be the most important for me is the camera. When it comes to software and apps, I just expect those to work a certain way. Which, more often than not, that's exactly what happens. But while camera technology in smartphones has improved a great deal over the years, the performance and results can still be a bit hit-or-miss. We're almost at the point where every smartphone camera will be great.


Right now there are still some important differences between cameras out there. We have resources like DxOMark to help us out when the comparisons look too close to call at face value, but ultimately it can really come down to personal preference when it comes to the high-end smartphones out there. Samsung and Apple, for instance, are doing some amazing work with cameras in their devices, but there is still a difference in the photos when it's all said and done. If you approve of Apple's approach, you'll likely pick up an iPhone. But if you prefer Samsung's, well, a new Galaxy S smartphone is probably in your future.

And obviously these aren't the only two companies putting a lot of attention on the camera. Sony has for years, and LG has tried to make its own flagship smartphones standout with its camera implementations. The manufacturers want a camera that stands out, beats out the competition. Luckily for them, a lot of consumers are looking for the same thing.

One of the major contentious areas is low-light photography. This is one of the major bullet points we hear get talked about from the likes of Samsung and Apple, too. This particular category of camera reviews is one of my favorites, at least recently, because I love low-light photography and I like seeing what these cameras can pump out.

But for me, personally, low-light photography doesn't actually matter much when I'm picking out a new smartphone. I honestly can't remember the last time I took a photo where there wasn't an overabundance of light, either naturally or artificially. I just don't take a lot of photos in low-light situations, apparently.

And yet, it's one of the sections in a review I seek out because I want to see the photos. Some of the results that the Google Pixel 2 XL was able to produce back at launch were pretty spectacular.

We're going to be hearing about low-light photography later this year, too. Samsung will more than likely bring it up with the launch of the Galaxy Note 9. Apple will probably talk about it with the launch of new iPhones. And it seems like a safe bet that Google will definitely take some time to hype up the camera's performance in low-light situations. Especially if they really are sticking with a single camera design on the back.

That being said, I'm curious how important this particular feature is to you. How often do you take photos in low-light situations, and when you're looking for a new smartphone is low-light camera performance a major consideration for you? Let me know!

from - Latest videos, reviews, articles, news and posts

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 official with 6.9-inch screen, 5500mAh battery

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 official blue

Xiaomi's first two Mi Max phones took the "Max" in their names seriously, boasting large 6.44-inch screens. Now the Mi Max 3 is official, and it takes things a step further.

The Xiaomi Mi Max 3 features a 6.9-inch 2160x1060 display. Despite that huge screen, Xiaomi claims that you can hold the Mi Max 3 with one hand because it fits that 6.9-inch screen into a body that's the size of a phone with a 6.3-inch screen.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 official black

Also included with the Mi Max 3 is a dual rear camera setup with 12MP and 5MP sensors. These cameras offer 1.4μm large pixels, f/1.9 aperture, and dual pixel autofocus. And around on the front of the phone is an 8MP camera that includes support for AI Face Unlock.

Packed inside the Mi Max 3's body is an octa-core Snapdragon 636 processor and a huge 5500mAh battery. Thankfully, there's Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support included, too, which will let you charge that huge battery up to 71 percent in just one hour. Other notable features of the Mi Mix 3 include USB-C and 3.5mm ports and a rear fingerprint reader.

Xiaomi will launch the Mi Max 3 in China in black, blue, and gold color options. Pricing will start at 1699 yuan ($251 USD) for a Mi Max 3 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in storage. There will also be a Mi Max 3 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage available for 1999 yuan ($295 USD).

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 official gold

We've been seeing the average screen size of phones steadily increase in recent years — remember when a 4.5-inch screen seemed huge? — and now 5.5-inch and 6-inch screens are commonplace. Still, the Xiaomi Mi Max 3's 6.9-inch screen seems pretty big. That large display is going to turn some people off, but there are others that find a phone with a nearly 7-inch screen appealing (this writer included), and it's great to see Xiaomi catering to that market.

What do you think of the Xiaomi Mi Max 3? Would you buy one if it were offered in your country?

from - Latest videos, reviews, articles, news and posts

Amazon Echo Show

Brother HL-L5100DN

The rather drab Brother HL-L5100DN may look uninspiring, but this simple cube can hold a lot of paper and a lot of toner and print at speeds that make some other laser printers look like leisurely inkjet machines.

Designed for the small, but busy office, this relatively compact mono printer can perch on a desk, although you’ll probably prefer to tuck it out of sight. It is large enough, however, to hold 300 sheets of A4 paper in its two in-trays and 150 sheets in the out tray. There’s no inbuilt Wi-Fi with this model, but if you plug into your office router via an Ethernet cable (not included), it will serve a moderate-sized work group well and you can also connect via smartphone using the Brother iPrint&Scan app.

Keeping things simple also keeps the cost down and the price tag of around £182 (about US$170, AU$228) looks very reasonable.

box contents

The box includes Windows drivers on a CD-ROM and a single toner cartridge that should give you around 3,000 mono pages. When this runs out, you could upgrade to the high yield option, which promises an impressive and much more economical 8,000 pages. 



The grey plastic cube design couldn’t be any more utilitarian, but at least the Brother HL-L5100DN is relatively compact and could be accommodated by a small office. The main paper tray holds 250 pages, while the folding front tray can hold another 50 sheets, or envelopes and smaller paper sizes. The printed pages simply land in the open tray on the top.

toner cartridge

The toner cartridge is removed by opening the front section and pulling it out from the guts of the machine. This is quite an undertaking, so be sure to follow the printed pictorial user guide. All of the plastic parts feel fairly robust when you do this and the whole unit is reassuringly heavy. Aside from the wobbly front multi-purpose tray, there are few moving parts to break off. 

LCD display

The LCD panel is a basic one-line affair, which is both small and quite reflective making it difficult to read at a glance. At least the buttons beside it are fairly logical and self-explanatory. The paper level indicator is difficult to read too, being just a very small grey window in the drawer of the main paper tray.  

Printer with test pages


Being a mono, print-only device, the feature list is a short one. Crucially, the Brother HL-L5100DN can print on both sides of the page and in addition to the main paper tray, it has a muti-purpose tray that can feed in envelopes and smaller paper sizes. Ten envelopes can be pre-loaded here and this is where headed letter paper goes too. 

Wi-Fi is not included with this model, for that you should look at the otherwise identical HL-L5200DW. Instead you will need to connect via Ethernet cable to access this printer wirelessly. There’s no front USB port, but there’s a square USB interface at the rear.

Using Windows software, you can use the HL-L5100DN to print posters consisting of up to 25 sheets of A4, or print A5-sized booklets automatically, or print subtle watermarks onto you paper. And using the useful companion app on an Android or iOS device, you can wirelessly print from cloud services like Dropbox and Evernote. 

Setup and operation 

Setting up the Brother HL-L5100DN means opening up the front section and lifting the toner cartridge and drum from the guts of the machine in order to remove the disposable plastic packing. You’ll need to follow the printed step-by-step user manual for this bit. With no Wi-Fi to setup, the rest of the installation is easy. You just need to plug in the Ethernet cable to hook the printer up to your office network. 

rear of printer

The small and reflective mono display doesn’t make everyday operation of the Brother HL-L5100DN any easier, but at least the buttons beside it are intuitive enough. Filling the main paper drawer and the multi-purpose tray is straightforward and you can command the printer from the companion app and also monitor the toner level remotely too.  

test page


The Brother HL-L5100DN lives up to expectations by churning out black and white pages at remarkable speed. For single pages the rate is quoted at 40ppm and we found its duplex page rate to be faster than all of its rivals. Switch to quiet mode and the speed is reduced a little and the running noise drops noticeably.  

Text documents appear consistently crisp and legible, even in very small font sizes. Like many laser printers, it has a light touch that never allows the toner to splash, or vary in perceived weight, giving you a very professional-looking finish. Its handling of images and photos is not so slick and you tend to see banding where the greyscale is not wide enough to distinguish subtle colour shading, but it’s no worse than most laser printers at this price point.  

Final verdict

Despite its small footprint, the Brother HL-L5100DN has the toner and paper capacity to serve a busy small office and a modest-sized workgroup. You can load 250 sheets of paper in the main tray and stuff ten envelopes in the multi-purpose tray at the same time and if you choose to upgrade to the high yield toner cartridge, you wont need to change it again for around 8,000 pages. Even the bundled cartridge should manage a respectable 3,000 pages. You can expand the paper capacity to 1,3000 by buying additional drawers too.

Print quality is pleasingly sharp, thanks to a relatively high resolution of 1,200dpi, but the chief benefit of the Brother HL-L5100DN is the speed at which it turns out crisp dual-printed pages of text.  

In this drab livery, the Brother HL-L5100DN is not much to look at and while it has the potential to print 8,000 pages, it only comes with enough toner for 3,000, which makes more expensive to run than the Kyocera Ecosys P5026cdw and while text looks good, photos lack contrast and appear banded. The small display, the lack of a Wi-Fi and a front USB port all count against it too. 

If you’re looking for a compact print-only mono device, but you need to print a lot of pages and quickly, the Brother HL-L5100DN could fit very well. It certainly doesn’t take up much room, while handling a lot of paper and toner, which means it will work away tirelessly without interference and could service a workgroup of several people. If you upgrade to high yield toner, its running cost is competitive. 

from TechRadar: Technology reviews

Moto G5S Plus

The Moto G5S Plus was the quick-fire successor to the Moto G5 Plus, arriving less than six months after the G5.

It's not overly clear why Lenovo (the firm that now owns the Moto handset business) opted for such a quick replacement, but it's not uncommon in today's mobile market - just look at OnePlus and Sony.

That said, the G5S Plus is no longer the top-dog in Motorola's budget G series line-up, with the recent arrival of the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus offering the latest specs for a still-low price.

Update: The arrival of the Moto G6 and 6S Plus has resulted in a price drop for the G5S Plus, making it an even more enticing purchase.

The Moto G5S Plus is still a top buy though, and it's now even cheaper making it an enticing budget buy with a slick design, large screen and rear dual cameras.

It's another solid hit for the series, with potentially-fixable camera lag the only major black mark on what is otherwise a great value, high-quality phone.

Moto G5S Plus price and availability

  • Current price: £229.99 ($229.99, around AU$310)
  • Launch price: £259 ($279.99, around AU$350)
  • Release date: August 2017

The Moto G5S Plus price at launch was £259 ($279.99, around AU$350), but since its arrival in the middle of 2017 the price has dropped to around £230/$230 SIM free.

Mid-range specs at an affordable price

  • High-quality metal build
  • A 5.5-inch screen

The Moto G series has become a smartphone institution to rival Samsung's S series. We've been recommending these phones to buyers on a budget since the first Moto G appeared in 2013.

These phones used to be made by Motorola, now Lenovo. And while a few design priorities have changed in the handover, the core philosophy remains: these are handsets made for people who don't want to spend an obscene amount on a phone.

The Plus models, including the Moto G5S Plus, are for people out for a little more; a larger screen, perhaps more memory and a bit more power.

Not much time has passed since its predecessor the G5 Plus arrived, making us wonder, what's different?

At first glance, you'd assume the biggest change is the new dual rear camera setup. But it’s not. Two other elements are more important.

Lenovo has significantly improved the build of the Moto G5S Plus, using a full metal jacket rather than a plastic one with a thin sheet of aluminum on the back. This is a top-grade build, not a penny-saving kludge.

The screen is also larger, a 5.5-inch display rather than the 5.2-incher of the G5 Plus. This is a return to the roots of the Plus line, making it seem a phone geared at enthusiasts.

In some ways, it's a much truer sequel to the Moto G4 Plus than the Moto G5 Plus ever was. It also has NFC, missing from the Moto G5.

This is a very nice phone.

There's not a great deal of progress in terms of camera quality, processor power or display technology. 

However, they arguably are not needed, as the Moto G5S Plus already gets close to the experience of using a £500/$600/AU$700-plus phone for half the price.


  • Significantly improved all-metal shell
  • Front fingerprint scanner

Last time around, Lenovo tried to trick us a bit with the Moto G5 and G5 Plus. They were metal phones, but only just. A significant part of the frame was plastic, particularly on the smaller Moto G5.

Lenovo has fixed this in the Moto G5S Plus. Every part of the shell apart from the antenna lines on the back and the glass covering the display and camera is aluminum. There’s no sneaky plastic anywhere.

The build is a full league above that of the previous phones and this is comfortably the best-looking Moto G phone to date, much as we have a serious soft spot for the original all-black Moto G. It feels great too.

We switched to using the Moto G5S Plus from the HTC U11. That phone is three times the price but the transition didn’t seem a huge drop down in terms of pure feel.

There are some neat extras too. The Moto G5S Plus has a reasonably fast fingerprint scanner in the bezel below the screen, and a microSD slot in the SIM tray to let you add to the 32GB of storage.

Its scanner can also be used to replace the on-screen soft keys. A left swipe is 'back', a right one brings up recent apps. This is just an option, you can turn it off.

Like its predecessors, the Moto G5S Plus has a micro USB socket rather than a USB-C one, a move that seems a little out of date and will be positively archaic by the time the phone slips off shelves.

However, USB-C alone doesn’t necessarily provide faster charging or data transfer, only compliance with a higher USB spec does. The two are different.

The Moto G5S Plus has its own fast charging anyway. There's no full IP67/68 waterproofing, which lets a phone withstand being dunked in water, but it does have a water repelling nano coating to stop splashes shorting out the battery or killing the headphone jack.

As with other parts of the phone, you don’t get everything, but you get enough.


  • Large and sharp 5.5-inch 1080p screen
  • Customizable color profile

Like the last few generations of Moto G, the Moto G5S Plus has a 1080p screen rather than an ultra-high resolution one. However, in person it’s sharp despite the large 5.5-inch size.

Color is very good too, although the IPS LCD panel isn't able to deliver the sort of super-saturated tones you'll see in an OLED phone. It’s no great loss if you prefer accurate color, and there are two modes to let you tweak the tone.

The Moto G5S Plus's default Vibrant mode is the standard poppy look of a higher-quality phone screen, while 'standard' brings the tone closer to sRGB, the traditional palette for monitors. To our eyes it still appears very well-saturated, not the slightly low-energy look you get with a very strict sRGB mode.

Even viewing angles are great, with relatively little loss of brightness at an angle.

Unlike a lot of pricier phones, there's no major curvature to the screen, although the last millimeter or two does have a softened '2.5D' style edge. A fully curved look wouldn't really fit with the design anyway, which leaves the real curves to the aluminum.

Interface and reliability

  • Android Nougat software
  • Good performance bar the odd crash

Like other Moto phones, the Moto G5S Plus uses a virtually untouched version of Android rather than a custom interface. It currently runs Android 7.1, though an upgrade to Android 8 Oreo is planned - we're still waiting for the Oreo software to arrive.

However, it uses the software style seen in Pixel phones rather than the long-standing default Android UI. The big difference, other than a slightly different look, is that you flick up on the screen to bring up the apps menu rather than just tapping an icon in the dock.

A row of your five most-used apps also stick at the top of the apps menu for convenience.

Lenovo’s Moto G5S Plus customizations are low-key. Moto Display flashes up notifications intermittently while the phone is in standby and there are added gestures.

As well as being able to use the fingerprint scanner to replace the soft keys, with swipes acting as ‘back’ and ‘recent apps’, you can karate chop the phone twice to turn the torch on or quickly twist the G5S Plus twice to quick-capture a photo.

There are also gestures for rejecting calls and silencing the phone. All of these can be turned on/off separately if you find yourself accidentally firing them off, although we’ve grown quite fond of the torch gesture. Anyone else keep losing things under the sofa?

The Moto G5S Plus feels fast, with only a slight loss of the immediacy with which apps load compared to a phone 2-3 times the price.

We did experience a few app crashes, of the Facebook and camera apps in particular. However, if this is the phone’s fault such bugs are likely to be ironed out fairly quickly.

Similarly, bringing the phone out of standby using the fingerprint scanner is slower than most, although it reacts quickly while the screen is on.

Android 8 Oreo is set to come to the Moto G5S Plus at some point in the future, but Lenovo has yet to reveal an exact date so you shouldn't expect to get the up to date software particularly quickly if you buy this phone.

Movies, music and gaming

  • Large screen is perfect for media
  • Solid speaker
  • No extra media software

The Moto G5S Plus’s screen makes it one of the best budget candidates for gamers and mobile media fans. Lenovo has not added any apps for this, though, leaving Google’s apps suite to the task.

However, when you first boot-up the phone you’re given the option to install from a selection of popular apps, including favorites like Netflix.

Google’s Music and Movies apps are perfectly fine if you don’t know where to start. They let you play your own content as well as streaming from Google’s own library.

Movies come in the form of outright purchases or rentals, but the music side is a little closer to Spotify, letting you stream 40 million tracks for a $9.99/£9.99/AU$11.99 a month subscription. You can buy albums too.

For the old-schoolers out there, the Moto G5S Plus also has an FM radio. We can’t imagine many people will use it at this point, though.

Given this is a relatively low-cost phone, we’re very happy with the sound quality of the bottom-loaded mono speaker. It’s loud and has the extra shot of lower-frequency power needed in a tiny speaker to avoid sounding reedy and harsh.

We’re also relieved that Lenovo has kept the 3.5mm headphone jack, whose days in phones are numbered. According to some, anyway.

Gaming performance is great for a lower-cost phone, with only minor occasional frame rate hitches in high-end games like Asphalt 8. If you’re a gamer on a budget, the Moto G5S Plus should be near the top of your list.

True obsessives may also want to consider the Honor 9, another high-quality phone, although at £380 (around $485/AU$640) it’s not really in the same category.

Performance and benchmarks

  • Mid-grade performance
  • Snapdragon 625 with 3GB of RAM

Like its predecessor, the Moto G5S Plus has a Snapdragon 625 CPU. This is a mid-range chipset, and one of the best options for a lower-price 1080p phone.

It has eight Cortex-A53 cores, and is paired with 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM rather than the faster LPDDR4/LPDDR4X kind. This is typical for a more affordable phone.

In Geekbench 4 the Moto G5S Plus scores 4,312 points. This is, confusingly, much better than the 3,824 points the Moto G5 Plus scored, despite having the same core hardware. However, it’s within the normal bounds for phones with the Snapdragon 625 chip.

A Snapdragon 625 chipset is nothing to get too excited about at this point, but it’s the right pairing for this phone. And doesn’t struggle with games as some MediaTek chipsets at this level do.

Battery life

  • 3,000mAh battery charges fast
  • Easily lasts over a day

The Moto G5S Plus has a 3,000mAh battery, one you don’t have any access to. This is a head-scratching spec when the smaller Moto G5S has the same capacity cell.

However, in real use we’re perfectly happy with the phone’s stamina. One day, for example, we streamed a couple of hours of podcasts, took it out for a day in London shooting some photos and still ended up with almost 40% charge by bed time.

A 90-minute video played at maximum brightness takes 16% off the battery level. That’s more than the 12% of the Moto G5 Plus, but that’s no great surprise when this phone has a larger screen.

The Moto G5S Plus also has fast charging, using Lenovo’s TurboPower technology. It ramps-up the voltage to up to 12V, to get you six hours’ use in 15 minutes.

As ever, the fastest charging happens when replenishing the first 60% of the battery, but it’s quick after that too. You’ll see the percentage creep up by just over a point each minute until the very end.


  • Good mid-tone dynamic range enhancement
  • Passable night photos
  • Disappointing shutter lag

The Moto G5S Plus is the first of the Moto G phones to have two cameras on the back. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 7 Plus have a second camera to let you zoom in with less quality loss than normal digital zoom. However, this dual 13MP array is more conventional.

You can simply take depth of field photos with the Moto G5S Plus. This is where the background is blurred for an arty effect, emulating the look of a wide-aperture DSLR lens.

It’s not as good as the Huawei or Apple versions of this idea, though. It can’t deal with complicated subjects well and there’s often ‘outlining’ of even simple ones. However, it’s still worth using and can produce some good results. Some of our best photos were taken using it.

The one problem with the Lenovo Moto G5S Plus camera is that it suffers from significant shutter lag. We used the phone alongside the Moto G4, and it is much faster to shoot than this new phone. We’re talking around a 0.5 second lag per photo, even after focus has been achieved.

That’s bad. However, it’s so uncharacteristic for the series we’re almost convinced Lenovo will fix it with a software update.

This aside, the Moto G5S Plus has a very satisfying camera for a lower-mid-range phone. You’ll get more detail out of the Sony Xperia XA1 though and you need to be careful about the exposure level to get a good shot.

However, dynamic range enhancement is excellent among its peers and color is great. You can even shoot directly into the sun and get a usable pic with the Auto HDR mode.

Contrast isn’t as good as a true high-end phone camera and night photo quality is just okay. Low-light shots are softer here than a good phone with optical image stabilization, so you lose detail, and there’s a little noise. Images are still usable, though.

There’s also a pro mode that lets you alter the main settings yourself, although as usual for a Moto even the basic mode lets you change the exposure. And you’ll need to at times to get the best picture. Metering isn’t quite as smart as the best top-price phones.

The Moto G5S Plus does let you shoot 4K video, though, at 30fps. Move down to 1080p and you can shoot at 60fps.

Around the front there’s an 8MP selfie camera with an LED flash. Image quality is fine, although detail does degrade fairly quickly with indoors lighting. This is where the flash steps in.

A white LED flash blasting at your face is never going to be that flattering, but it does actually work unlike some front flashes that barely seem to have an effect at all. For the serial Instagram selfie-botherers there are also face-enhancing modes to let you smooth-out your skin.

Camera samples gallery


The Moto G5S Plus is, in a specs sense at least, not a major step up from the Moto G5 Plus. Its dual camera setup isn’t worth getting that excited about and the processing power is similar.

However, in person the shift is greater. Build quality has been dramatically improved and the larger screen offers something missing from the last wave of Motos. And we’re glad to see the 5.5-inch screen option return as it’s much better for gamers and video streamers.

Coming up with a new phone this quickly is likely to confuse some buyers, but we'd recommend this over the Moto G5 Plus.

Who's this for?

If you want a high-quality phone from a well-known brand but don’t want to spend too much, the Lenovo Moto G5S Plus is for you.

It’s much larger, and slightly better-spec’d, than the Sony Xperia XA1 and has a much more straight-forward approach than the Honor rivals like the Honor 6X.

Should you buy it?

At almost the same price as the Moto G5 Plus there’s no reason to buy the older phone unless you can’t handle the G5S Plus’s larger screen. It’s a top option among budget handsets in general too.

The competition

The Moto G5S Plus is one of the best big screen budget phones around, but the following four handsets are also worth considering.

Moto G5 Plus

This phone's direct predecessor is the Moto G5 Plus, without the "S". The two are less similar than they sound, as the new version is significantly larger, with a 5.5-inch screen instead of a 5.2-inch one.

The G5S Plus also gains dual cameras and a much-improved all-metal shell. In theory, the older phone should have better low-light performance thanks to its large 12MP sensor, but in practice they’re roughly on-par.

Sony Xperia XA1

If you're buying to a budget rather than to find a large-screen phone, the much smaller Sony Xperia XA1 is worth a look. It is much more pocket-friendly than the Moto, and has a much higher resolution 23MP camera that can take some seriously detail-packed photos.

However, the Moto G5S Plus has a higher-end build, a sharper screen and is better value all-round.

Honor 9

If you want to level-up to the next league of phones, the Honor 9 is your best aggressively-priced bet. Yes, it's a lot more expensive than the Moto, but also offers a true high-end chipset and a slightly smarter camera.

Oh, and it's also one of the shiniest phones you can get thanks to its dynamic multi-layered glass back. The question is: do you want a high-end phone at a mid-range price or are you happy with one that gets you something close-ish to the high-end experience for much less?

Moto G5S

Lenovo has updated the Moto G5 as well as the Moto G5 Plus. The result? The Moto G5S. Confusing, isn’t it?

This is simply the smaller brother to the Moto G5S Plus, with a 5.2-inch screen, slightly lower-spec chipset and a higher-res but lower-quality camera sensor. 

The price is slightly lower for that exact reason, but it's not much of a difference so you may be better off spending a bit more and getting the Moto G5S Plus.

First reviewed: September 2017

from TechRadar: Technology reviews

T-Mobile named fastest U.S. carrier by new cell network reports

U.S. carrier logos

We regularly see reports come out that give us an update on how the networks of the four major U.S. carriers are doing, and today two such reports came out.

First up, Speedtest app maker Ookla has published a report on the state of the U.S. mobile networks in the first half of 2018. It says that T-Mobile was the fastest carrier in the U.S. during this period, posting a Speed Score of 27.86. Verizon came in a close second with 26.02, while AT&T was third with 22.17 and Sprint was fourth with 20.38. The Speed Score measures both download and upload speeds, attributing 90 percent of the score to the download and 10 percent to the upload.

Ookla U.S. networks Speed Score

T-Mobile also came out ahead in the National HD Speed Ratio metric, which measures what percent of a carrier's tested download data rates would support HD video (5Mbps or higher). T-Mo had an HD Speed Ratio of 86.6 percent, Verizon was close behind at 85.8 percent, followed by AT&T at 77.4 percent and Sprint at 75.2 percent.

Ookla U.S. networks Urban vs Rural

When Ookla focused on the top 100 metropolitan areas, Verizon actually finished ahead of T-Mobile in both Speed Score and HD Speed Ratio. The differences were slight, though: Verizon posted a Speed Score of 28.50 in the top 100 metros while T-Mobile put up 28.46, and Verizon's HD Speed Ratio was 87.1 while T-Mo's was 86.5.

The other report that came out today is from OpenSignal. T-Mobile performed similarly well in its testing, winning five of the seven categories and drawing a sixth. T-Mobile won the 4G Download Speed, 3G Download Speed, and Overall Download Speed categories as well as the 4G Upload Speed and 3G Latency categories. T-Mo and Verizon tied in the 4G Availability category, though, with customers of both carriers able to find an LTE signal 93.7 percent of the time.

Open Signal U.S. network awards

OpenSignal also broke down the best-performing carriers in various major metro areas across the U.S. The list is largely dominated by T-Mobile and Verizon, though AT&T won or tied in the 4G Latency category in many markets.

You can find the full Ookla and OpenSignal reports at the links below.

from - Latest videos, reviews, articles, news and posts

Huawei P20 Pro review

Huawei is no longer here to simply make up the numbers. No, the Huawei P20 Pro goes toe-to-toe with the very best in the smartphone world.

It's got a price tag to match, but it's still cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and iPhone X - they're more powerful brands, but the P20 Pro holds it own. 

The P20 Pro performs so well that it's given a pretty high spot in our best smartphone ranking. This in-depth review isn't based on just a week's use either - we've been using this phone for a month and are still seriously impressed.

For the Huawei P20 Pro’s price you could only get a 64GB iPhone 8 Plus, not an iPhone X, although there are some quirks to the Huawei design and software to get used to in return. 

However, the remarkable work done on the camera makes this the most versatile phone photo-shooter out there, regardless of price, whether you're a happy snapper or an amateur enthusiast photographer.

Watch the P20 Pro in action below as we review the phone's design and screen

Huawei P20 Pro price and availability

  • Launch price: £799 (around $1,110, AU$1,450)
  • Release date: April 2018

The Huawei P20 Pro price at launch was £799 (around $1,050, AU$1,400), and a few months on from launch that's still pretty much the case.

We have seen the Huawei P20 Pro price drop to around £749 in the UK, so it can pay to shop around, but it's still very much at a premium price point.

The P20 Pro didn't arrive in the US immediately, and it's still not officially available with a local variant. You can still pick up the international variant of the handset though for just over $800 on the likes of Amazon, but you'll need to check whether it's compatible with your carrier.

Key features

  • 40MP rear camera with 3x optical zoom
  • Kirin 970 CPU with AI smarts
  • Big 4,000mAh battery

If you’re interested in the Huawei P20 Pro, there’s a good chance it’s because of the camera array. There are three cameras on the back, one 40MP main sensor, a 20MP black and white one and a 3x zoom 8MP camera.

You can shoot at 3x without digital zoom, and even get good results at 5x. The real star here is low light performance, though. Standard night shooting just about matches the best, but a dedicated night mode lets you take low light shots with dynamic range to rival an APS-C DSLR.

The Huawei P20 Pro also has a very high-resolution 24MP front camera for detailed selfies and reliable face unlocking.

Other parts of the phone are a little more conventional. We get the Kirin 970 CPU used in the Huawei Mate 10, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

Like other recent higher-end Huawei phones, the P20 Pro makes quite an impact with its highly reflective glass finish. And it has a much larger battery than most, 4,000mAh, without any obvious added bulk to the shell.

Huawei has clearly tried very hard with this phone. The result is a mobile more interesting than the Samsung Galaxy S9 or S9 Plus, particularly if you’ll make full use of the camera’s high-end features.


  • Eye-catching glass and metal design
  • Manageable size for a 6.1-inch phone
  • No headphone jack

‘Shiny’ is the word that sums up the Huawei P20 Pro's design best. Yes, it’s big. Yes, it has a notch. But sheer reflective spangliness makes this phone stand out.

It’s two big plates of rounded-off Gorilla Glass with a filling of metal finishing off its sides. This metal is aluminium, but it has a polished rather than anodized finish, and looks more like steel. Unlike the stainless steel iPhone X though, a month into using the P20 Pro, the frame is scratch free, boding well for the phone's durability.

For the most part you’ll probably see the black and blue versions of the Huawei P20 Pro sold in the UK, but there's also the more eye-catching gradient version. Purple at the top turns smoothly to a greenish-turquoise at the bottom, the sort of finish you see more often on a supercar than a phone.

This will be a bit of an audience-divider. If you find it a bit much, the other finishes are lower key. All are highly reflective, though. The Huawei P20 Pro is also a little prone to fingerprint smudges and the slightly raised camera housing picks up dust fairly quickly.

The Huawei P20 Pro has a larger battery than its peers, but you can’t tell from its feel. This phone is actually slimmer and lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus at just 7.8mm thick.

However, the Samsung does a slightly better job of appearing to be 'all screen' front-on, because the Huawei's screen does not curve around at the sides. Only the glass does, and just the last millimeter or so at that.

The Huawei P20 Pro - along with the standard Huawei P20 - is also the first Huawei phone with a notch, the display cut-out made famous by the iPhone X. Apple’s excuse for the notch is it is required for all the tech used for the phone’s face unlock feature: a normal camera, an IR camera, a dot projector, proximity sensor and more.

Huawei doesn’t have quite as good an excuse, as there’s just a high-res camera and speaker on the Huawei P20 Pro’s front. However, the notch is smaller. Notches may end up being a Crocs-grade "what were we thinking" move in hindsight, but they seem to be in fashion right now.

You’ll most likely forget it’s there after a couple of days, particularly as when watching standard 16:9 video there are black bars where the notch sits anyway.

Huawei has also followed another trend, as the Huawei P20 Pro does not have a headphone jack. You get a USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor in the box, or you can use wireless headphones. We would, obviously, prefer a real jack.

The phone is water resistant to IP67, meaning it can handle submersion in one meter of fresh water for 30 minutes. But don’t start dunking it for fun.

There’s a fingerprint scanner below the Huawei P20 Pro’s display and, like those of every recent higher-end Huawei, it’s extremely fast. It takes you to the home screen in a heartbeat.

Its face unlock is exceptionally fast too. Rather than using clever IR techniques like the iPhone X, the Huawei P20 Pro simply reads the high-resolution feed from its front camera to recognize your face.

It works, in our experience, every time. And even holds up well in lower light. This does suggest it is built for speed rather than security, though.

You don’t even need to press the power button to make Face Unlock work. While there’s no proximity sensor to tell when your face is in front of the screen, the Huawei P20 Pro’s gyroscope senses when the phone has been picked up, or taken out of your pocket. It then immediately starts scanning for your face.

As Huawei’s phones still don’t have the innate desirability of a Samsung or Apple, raw outer hardware was never going to be the top selling point of the Huawei P20 Pro. However, Huawei has done well here. The phone feels and looks expensive, and about as slim and light as we could hope for given its screen size.


  • 6.1-inch AMOLED display
  • 1080 x 2244 resolution
  • Customisable screen character

Like most other high-end Huawei phones, the P20 Pro does not have the highest display resolution in its class. This is a 1080 x 2244 AMOLED screen.

The numbers sound unusual, but this is really just a Full HD screen stretched out to an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. That’s right, it’s even 'wider' (or longer) than most other 18:9 screen phones.

Pixel density of 408ppi isn’t even close to the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’s 529ppi. The only time you’re likely to notice though is when using a phone-based VR headset. And if that fad isn’t dead, it is at least dormant.

Okay, if you look close you can see slight evidence of the PenTile fizz that affects Samsung OLEDs that don’t have insane pixel density. This is caused by Samsung OLED’s pixels sharing sub-pixels, reducing perceived resolution a bit.

The Huawei P20 Pro’s display quality is excellent though. Blacks are perfect, there’s minimal blue cast when the phone is tilted, which affects some less advanced OLED displays.

You also have a choice of color profiles. Standard color looks a little more saturated than old industry standard sRGB, but offers a fairly natural, relaxed look. Vivid color deepens tones a little, with a slight subtlety trade-off.

Like other Huawei phones, you can also tune the color temperature to your liking, although the default setting is pleasant.

The Huawei P20 Pro also has a few more unusual tweaks. Its display can change the color temperature on the fly to suit ambient light conditions and the top part of the screen can be blacked out to completely hide the notch. This looks particularly neat as this little area can still be used for notification icons when blacked out.

Also worth noting, the P20 Pro ships with a pre-fitted screen protector, giving it the best chance of avoiding scratches possible. That said, this plastic film does attract fingerprints pretty readily, so you may want to swap it for a tempered glass screen protector down the line.

Battery life

  • Fast 1 hour 24 minute charging
  • 1.5-2 day battery
  • Matches Mate 10 Pro for stamina

The Huawei P20 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery. This is a solid 500mAh larger than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’s.

Its stamina is excellent. You can abuse this phone with hours of audio streaming and good chunks of YouTube streaming and it’ll still last a full day. We’ve found it quite easy to finish the day with 40% charge.

Watch our camera review above for to find out exactly what makes the P20 Pro a 4.5/5 device.

The Huawei P20 Pro also performs extremely well in our standard video playback test, where we play a 90-minute video at maximum brightness. It only loses 9% in this test, which is exceptional.

That’s the same result as the Mate 10 Pro, which is no great surprise as they have similar basic hardware and the same battery capacity.

We did have a suspicion the Huawei P20 Pro has an undefeatable automatic brightness algorithm going on in the background, though. The phone’s screen is clear in bright conditions but didn’t look searing indoors even with the backlight set to max.

To test further we re-ran the test with a 100W LED bulb shining just over the screen to try and kick the display up a gear.

Sure enough, the test took 13% off the Huawei P20 Pro's battery that time. However, battery life is great whatever way you try to skew things.

It charges fast too. The supplied fast charger takes 1 hour 24 minutes to get the Huawei P20 Pro from completely flat to 100%. It takes 45 minutes to get from 0% to 80%.

There’s one missing part. The Huawei P20 Pro does not support wireless charging. 

Many of you won’t care, particularly when even the latest standards don’t get close to the speeds of the plugged-in charger. However, the Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X both offer this feature.


  • Great 3x optical zoom
  • Excellent low light Night mode
  • Clever, if aggressive, AI scene modes

The Huawei P20 Pro has three cameras arranged across its back. Here’s where things get really interesting.

Our main camera has an ultra-high resolution 40MP sensor. It is backed up by a 20MP black and white sensor that helps with processing, including decreasing image noise and improving dynamic range.

The third camera has a 3x 'zoom' lens and an 8MP sensor, letting you zoom into a scene without using digital zoom.

It is a fantastic, ultra-flexible setup, and one that raises many questions. Can you really shoot 40MP photos? How much more detail do they have? And has low light performance been sacrificed for resolution?

Thankfully, most of these have satisfying answers.

As standard the Huawei P20 Pro shoots 10MP photos. You can shoot 40MP ones if you like, and even 76.2MB DNG RAW files when using the Pro mode.

Huawei’s JPEG handling is so good that when you zoom to 100% in a 10MP photo it actually appears far sharper than a corresponding 40MP one. However, look deeper, to the point where the 10MP photo devolves to blocky pixels and you’ll see far more detail in the 40MP files.

At pixel level these images aren’t ultra-sharp, but there’s real additional image data here.

However, you’re actually better off going with the way Huawei intends you to use the P20 Pro's camera, shooting 10MP shots and using the zoom. Despite having lower resolution, the 3x zoom camera can take some great pics and renders more detail than a crop of the RAW or 40MP JPEG files can provide.

You can also shoot at 5x zoom, which Huawei calls Hybrid Zoom. This uses far more intense processing than the 3x zoom and doesn’t uncover more true detail. But it does make far-away text clearer and uses smart upscaling to make the photos look right rather than blurred like a simple digital zoom.

Huawei loves smart camera processing, and this has also resulted in something called AIS. This is Huawei’s software version of optical image stabilization (OIS), using smarts to get rid of the need for mechanical stabilization.

What this means is the camera never seems to slow its exposure beyond 1/16 of a second, using processing and the black and white secondary sensor to improve image quality. Judging by our hand-wobbling tests, though, the 3x zoom camera does have OIS, because a zoom lens effectively amplifies any shakiness in your hand.

The Huawei P20 Pro uses relatively high ISO sensitivity at night, but the resulting images are still comparable with the best, including the iPhone X. Huawei’s processing and AIS really seems to work, although the Galaxy S series greater (although decreasing) reliance on OIS can still result in better photos in low light.

This all changes when you use the Huawei P20 Pro’s Night mode, though. It’s nestled fairly deep in the camera app but is one of the phone’s most impressive features.

It merges a barrage of images over 3-6 seconds. Previous Huawei phones had a similar mode, but this one is designed to be used handheld, which is an amazing feat of AI image processing. And it works.

Using night mode, you can get ultra-dark shots with dynamic range and detail far in excess of any LG, Sony, Apple or HTC phone. To really test it, we put it up against an APS-C sensor FujiFilm X-T10 on a tripod. It needed an exposure of around 15 seconds to shoot at ISO 200.

The dynamic range results of the Huawei P20 Pro shot and the FujiFilm X-T10’s are comparable, which is nuts. Of course, the FujiFilm image has radically more detail, making the Huawei image look extremely soft as soon as you zoom in a little, but it is a remarkable achievement nevertheless.

It can handle the kind of scenes that make other phones curl up and cry.

The Huawei P20 Pro's camera is an interesting jigsaw puzzle of technology. But are its actual, normal images any good?

For the most part they are great. Its 10MP images are sharp and detailed, low on noise. The phone handles exposure and dynamic range optimization very well, although at times it can be a little too obsessed with retaining every square inch of highlight, making some parts of a photo look a little dull.

Thanks to the large main sensor and relatively wide f/1.8 Leica lens, natural bokeh (background blur) is lovely and very pronounced. While there’s a great virtual wide aperture mode, you don’t need to use it to isolate near subjects.

The one part we don’t always like is the workings of the AI scene selection. The Huawei P20 Pro constantly analyses the camera feed, to see what you’re taking a photo of. It’ll recognize food images and nature shots with great speed and accuracy.

However, what it does to these pics isn’t always welcome. It turbo charges color too often, resulting in near-toxic levels of color saturation in some shots. When this is the photographic equivalent of face smoothing it’d be nice to have some control over its level.

You can switch it off entirely, though, which might be an idea if you end up with fields that look as though they’ve been laced with neon.

The camera app is not as tasteful or well-designed as Samsung’s or Apple’s either. Its big rounded font seems inspired by the interfaces of Nikon cameras, but they make the app seem less polished, less 'professional'.

Camera samples


The Huawei P20 Pro can shoot video up to 4K resolution, but for handheld footage you may want to stick to 1080p. At 4K res there’s no image stabilisation, which makes footage look juddery and amateurish.

At 1080p, though, the software stabilisation is extremely effective. You can run along the road with the Huawei P20 Pro in your hands and the footage will still look pretty smooth.

You lose the stabilisation when the frame rate is upped to 60fps at 1080p, so you do need to think about whether you need stability or another strand of image quality.

There’s slo-mo shooting too, up to 960fps (32x speed). However, at 960fps and 240fps you can only shoot at 720p, the same cap as the Galaxy S9’s 960fps mode. These videos don’t look super-detailed so won’t come across well on a large screen.


The Huawei P20 Pro’s front camera has specs worth bragging about too. It uses a very high-resolution 24MP sensor.

This resolution isn’t all that obvious in the shots it takes, though. The Pixel 2 still takes clearer selfies with cleaner looking fine detail.

However, like the rear camera it holds up well in low light, making us wonder if there’s some automatic pixel-binning going on. This is where sensor pixels are combined to increase low light performance at the expense of detail.

Interface and reliability

  • Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.1
  • Customisable via themes
  • Great day-to-day performance

The Huawei P20 Pro runs Android 8.1 with the Huawei EMUI 8.1 interface on top. If you’ve used a higher-end Huawei phone in the last year or so, you’ll know what to expect.

When first turned on, the Huawei P20 Pro does not have an apps menu. It uses an iOS-like arrangement where all your apps end up on the home screens, for you to organise into folders.

Some like this, many don’t. However, you can bring back the more conventional vertical-scrolling apps menu following a trip to the Settings menu. This is how we use the Huawei P20 Pro, with the apps menu in place.

Find out more about the P20 Pro's UI and multimedia chops in the video above

A slim alphabet nav bar to the far right of the screen lets you quick-flick through an epic app collection. And there’s a row of frequently, or recently, used apps right at the top of this app screen.

The odd Huawei quirk remains. A lock screen that cycles through a library of stock style images is in place as standard and the settings menu is different to that of standard Android.

This phone also supports themes. A Themes app offers scores of the things made by Huawei fans, and the Huawei P20 Pro has 12 pre-installed ones made by Huawei.

The quality and tastefulness of these themes, even Huawei’s ones, varies hugely. But it does let you alter the phone’s look much more than a Pixel 2.

EMUI’s performance in the Huawei P20 Pro is excellent. It feels extremely fast and responsive, and app load times are much shorter than those of a mid-range phone.

There are quite a few pre-installed apps, though. These aren’t the slightly offensive third-party bundle-ins you see in some phones, just basic utilities Huawei thinks will prove useful.

There’s a weather app, a torch, a translator, a phone manager, a file manager and Mirror, which lets you zoom into the selfie camera’s view. You could use it to check your makeup or see how terrible your eye bags look on the way to work.

The Huawei P20 Pro also has a Smart Controller app that uses the IR transmitter on the phone’s top edge. This mimics the signals sent by old school home entertainment remotes, letting it function as a universal remote.

Unlike a Logitech Harmony remote, you can’t programme in macros that fire off a chain of commands with a single press. But it is a neat extra that may go unnoticed. The other big names stopped using IR blasters years ago.

Movies, music and gaming

  • Good speaker with dual drivers
  • Doesn’t support Netflix HD streaming
  • Screen is great for games and movies

You might imagine the Huawei P20 Pro’s notch would be an annoyance for games, but it isn’t. When the phone recognises a game or app that won’t play well with the notch, it automatically blacks out the notch area, removing it from play.

It’s not as simple as doing this for all third-party apps, though. Spotify keeps the notch in place, but Candy Crush Saga and Asphalt 8 do not. This is pretty clever, although we have seen some reports of it causing interface issues with the odd app.

As you’d hope, high-end games run very well on the phone, with no obvious performance dips in the titles we tried. The Huawei P20 Pro may not have the most powerful GPU in the phone world, but it has a lot of pep for one with a display only a little more pixel-packed than 1080p.

The Huawei P20 Pro has its own video and music apps. These are basic players that let you watch, or listen to, content on your phone.

Unfortunately, the phone does not currently support Full HD streaming through Netflix, though. It’s limited to 540p. While this still looks good, could pass for 720p, and will save your data allowance a further beating, this is likely to disappoint many.

The Huawei P20 Pro does have good speakers, though. A driver on the bottom edge of the phone delivers the bulk of the sound, and a front earpiece speaker is used to play additional higher-frequency sound to stop it sounding lopsided when held in front of your face.

This is a meaty-sounding speaker array with good bass for a phone and unusually solid separation of the parts of a mix. It’s not at the level of the Razer Phone, but does make podcasts and YouTube videos enjoyable.

At maximum volume the treble becomes a little brittle and harsh with certain content, though, showing how hard Huawei pushes the phone’s micro drivers.

Performance and benchmarks

  • Less power than other flagships
  • Uses the same chipset as the Mate 10 Pro

The Huawei P20 Pro does not have a brand new chipset. It uses the same Kirin 970 CPU as the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, released in late 2017.

This chipset has eight cores. Four are Cortex-A73s, designed for high-performance tasks, the other four are Cortex-A53s, for everyday use.

This puts it behind the Snapdragon 845 used in some variants of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which has semi-custom ‘Kryo’ cores based on the Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 designs. These newer rival cores are more efficient, offering greater power at the same clock speed.

The Huawei P20 Pro also has a lesser graphics chipset than the Galaxy S9 Plus. It’s a 12-core Mali G72 here, where the Exynos and Snapdragon versions of the Samsung use either an 18-core Mali G72 or the excellent Adreno 630.

But does that play out in benchmarks?

In Geekbench 4 the Huawei P20 Pro scores 6,775 points (1,918 per core). This is a lot lower than the roughly 9,000 points of the Galaxy S9 (Snapdragon 845) or the 10,000-ish points of the iPhone X.

However, we also need to consider screen resolution in this. The Huawei P20 Pro doesn’t have as many pixels to render as either of those phones, reducing CPU and GPU strain in many situations.

Another interesting point for the real tech nerds is that the P20 Pro does not appear to use dual-channel RAM. Its copy speeds are those of 'conventional' DDR4.

Its internal storage is pretty quick, though. Read speeds of 501MB/s match some lower-mid-range SSDs and write speeds of 190MB/s aren’t bad either.


The P20 Pro is something of a coup from Huawei. After banging on about AI for six months, this phone’s camera proves it’s not all marketing talk. It results in the best handheld ultra low light photos you can get from a phone.

Samsung offers a sharper screen, better brand cred and more power. However, we actually appreciate the Huawei P20 Pro’s slightly better battery life and improved camera flexibility more most of the time.

It's a top-end phone with a price to match, yet has everything needed in a world-class handset, including a very capable camera, plenty of power, great battery life and an impressive build.

To find out how the Huawei P20 Pro fared one month into use, watch the our verdict above.

Who's this for?

This phone is for those who want new and exciting tech but can’t quite stomach the price of the iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

It’s not cheap, far from it, but is still more affordable than those phones. The Huawei P20 Pro is also more interesting than Samsung’s latest, which is a big win for Huawei.

Should you buy it?

If you want the best handheld low light image quality you can get in a phone matched with near-unbeatable battery life in a phone of this size, the Huawei P20 Pro is absolutely worth a buy. 

You just need to be willing to trade away some brand prestige and a little software gloss here and there.

There are lots of other high-end options, including the following three phones:

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The S9 family was not a high point for Samsung. These phones are fantastic, no doubt about that, but seem a little too similar to those of the year before.

The Galaxy S9 Plus is slightly more expensive than the P20 Pro, has a more powerful chipset and a sharper screen. It can also take better low light photos if you don’t use the P20 Pro’s dedicated night mode. 

Switch that on and the Huawei wins by quite a margin, though. The Huawei also has somewhat better battery life.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review

iPhone X

At around £200/$200 more than the Huawei P20 Pro, the iPhone X is significantly pricier. What else do you expect from Apple?

The iPhone software feels more polished and the phone’s chipset is a lot more powerful. However, its camera has less powerful optical zoom and its night images aren’t even close to those of the P20 Pro’s night mode.

Read our full iPhone X review

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

The Mate 10 Pro arrived a few months earlier and has the same chipset, similar battery life and similar software. If you’re not fussed about the P20 Pro’s new camera tricks this phone gets you a comparable day-to-day experience for less money.

However, by using a more conventional camera array you also miss out on the most fun and interesting parts of the P20 Pro.

Read our full Huawei Mate 10 Pro review

First reviewed: April 2018

from TechRadar: Technology reviews
Back to top ↑
Connect with Us

    Popular Posts

    Powered by Blogger.

    Google+ Followers



What they says

© 2013 techmobile. WP Mythemeshop Converted by Bloggertheme9
Blogger templates. Proudly Powered by Blogger.