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PaulOBrien

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Everything posted by PaulOBrien

  1. Good news Honor 8 owners! Honor are giving some of you the chance to help us test out EMUI 5 and Android N on your Honor 8. Sounds great yeah? Just remember this is going to be pre-release software, things may be broken, you may end up struggling to use your phone, but if that's all good they want you to help them find & squash the bugs. So what do you need to do to get the new stuff on your phone? It's easy - you install an app, enroll on the project and then towards the end of the month we will be pushing out the OTA to those that have had their applications approved. So what do you need? An Honor 8 (FRD-L09), which cannot be bootloader unlocked, it cannot have a custom recovery or be rooted to receive the OTA To be based in the UK. To have an active SIM card in your phone. To be on build number C432B131 You can get the APK for the BETA app & the guidelines for how to install and enroll here. Once downloaded, install it on your phone and when you run the app you will be prompted to either log into an existing Huawei ID account (the one you use to download EMUI themes will do) or to create a new one, once done you can accept the terms To enroll on the BETA test you will need to be on build number B131. An OTA to update UK Honor 8 from B120>B131 will be rolling out today, once you are on B131 you can enroll on the BETA test. Numbers are limited, when we hit the limit of enrolled users that is it. This is a project to help find bugs and issues before the general rollout of future updates for the Honor 8. It is not a general public rollout. We will be hosting discussions here in the forums to discuss bugs etc and to post details about future updates for the BETA. If you have problems either installing the APK, signing into Huawei ID or enrolling on the BETA please visit this topic for further assistance.
  2. Introduction I have only had a Pixel for a few days now, so I’m not ready to do a full review, but I can give you my first impressions. I’m also taking questions on Twitter, so feel free to hit me up. I have the Pixel XL, the 5.5” model which is also joined by the 5” ‘regular’ Pixel. As well as the smaller screen, the junior model also has a FHD rather than QHD screen and a 2770mAh battery rather than the 3450mAh cell in the XL. Those tweaks aside, the specs are the same - you get a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB or 128GB storage, a rear mounted fingerprint reader, metal chassis with a glass panel, a choice of silver or black (I have a Silver XL) and, of course, Android 7.1, currently a Pixel exclusive and with exclusive Pixel features too. Although not a Nexus in name, let’s be honest and say that the Pixel is the next in a long line of Google devices that started with the original G1, a HTC built device (just like the Pixels). It’s fair to say that despite some very fondly remembered devices (the Nexus One being a particular highlight, again a HTC device), Nexus phones have often disappointed. Despite Google making big noises about photography, the cameras have generally been pretty poor (let down by a weak camera app too). Battery life has been underwhelming and there have been other issues too… but in generally they have been good value, or even cheap. The Pixels are not, starting at £599 for a 32GB Pixel and rising to an eye watering £819 for a 128GB Pixel XL. So, premium pricing for sure, but do you get what you pay for? No compromises Good news folks. These phones are the real deal. A record breaking score of 89 on DxoMark is completely synthetic, but in my testing so far, the Pixel camera is exceptional. I'll post samples pictures in the review of course, but the phone seems to easily hold its own against the Galaxy S7, which is a really great camera phone. That's impressive. The camera app is finally upgraded too, part of an Android OS release that feels tightly integrated, well featured, clean and modern. I like the Nougat refinements to an already well matured Marshmallow OS and the little changes in 7.1 add some visual refinement. So far, battery life is on par with what you’d expect given the capacity - no weird battery drains in use and excellent screen off performance (thanks Doze). The phone feels exceptionally smooth to use, with no noticeable glitching or lag (save for what is surely an early bug related to scrolling in some apps). Build quality is exceptional and although I think the black would be my preference over the silver (particularly as it's better suited to VR use than the white-fronted model), it’s a good looking phone. It’s unfortunate the blue isn’t in the UK though. The lack of Pixel cues is a bit disappointing (i.e. no light bar to match the Pixel C I'm writing on right now) but it is interesting to see only a simple ‘G’ so far as branding goes. Really, I think the only feature you could argue is missing is wireless charging, which still seems to elude metal bodied phones. Since Google’s dalliance with the technology in the Nexus 5, 6 and 7, it seems to have disappeared from the spec sheet, which is a shame I think. About that price The biggest problem for the Pixel phones is pricing. Sure, they are great phones, but is a £719 Pixel XL 32GB worth the outlay? Obviously that’s very personal, but there are a number of similarly specced phones that are hundreds of pounds cheaper. With the alternatives you won’t get Google’s own interpretation of the Android OS, fast updates and everything else that Nexus / Pixel stands for of course. You pays your money and you takes your choice I suppose. Right now, I maybe for the first time have a Google phone in my pocket where I don’t feel like another manufacturer’s Android offering will service me better in a key way and that really is the headline for so far. If you've pre-ordered a Pixel, I don't think you are going to be disappointed. Stay tuned for my full review. View full item
  3. Introduction I have only had a Pixel for a few days now, so I’m not ready to do a full review, but I can give you my first impressions. I’m also taking questions on Twitter, so feel free to hit me up. I have the Pixel XL, the 5.5” model which is also joined by the 5” ‘regular’ Pixel. As well as the smaller screen, the junior model also has a FHD rather than QHD screen and a 2770mAh battery rather than the 3450mAh cell in the XL. Those tweaks aside, the specs are the same - you get a Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB or 128GB storage, a rear mounted fingerprint reader, metal chassis with a glass panel, a choice of silver or black (I have a Silver XL) and, of course, Android 7.1, currently a Pixel exclusive and with exclusive Pixel features too. Although not a Nexus in name, let’s be honest and say that the Pixel is the next in a long line of Google devices that started with the original G1, a HTC built device (just like the Pixels). It’s fair to say that despite some very fondly remembered devices (the Nexus One being a particular highlight, again a HTC device), Nexus phones have often disappointed. Despite Google making big noises about photography, the cameras have generally been pretty poor (let down by a weak camera app too). Battery life has been underwhelming and there have been other issues too… but in generally they have been good value, or even cheap. The Pixels are not, starting at £599 for a 32GB Pixel and rising to an eye watering £819 for a 128GB Pixel XL. So, premium pricing for sure, but do you get what you pay for? No compromises Good news folks. These phones are the real deal. A record breaking score of 89 on DxoMark is completely synthetic, but in my testing so far, the Pixel camera is exceptional. I'll post samples pictures in the review of course, but the phone seems to easily hold its own against the Galaxy S7, which is a really great camera phone. That's impressive. The camera app is finally upgraded too, part of an Android OS release that feels tightly integrated, well featured, clean and modern. I like the Nougat refinements to an already well matured Marshmallow OS and the little changes in 7.1 add some visual refinement. So far, battery life is on par with what you’d expect given the capacity - no weird battery drains in use and excellent screen off performance (thanks Doze). The phone feels exceptionally smooth to use, with no noticeable glitching or lag (save for what is surely an early bug related to scrolling in some apps). Build quality is exceptional and although I think the black would be my preference over the silver (particularly as it's better suited to VR use than the white-fronted model), it’s a good looking phone. It’s unfortunate the blue isn’t in the UK though. The lack of Pixel cues is a bit disappointing (i.e. no light bar to match the Pixel C I'm writing on right now) but it is interesting to see only a simple ‘G’ so far as branding goes. Really, I think the only feature you could argue is missing is wireless charging, which still seems to elude metal bodied phones. Since Google’s dalliance with the technology in the Nexus 5, 6 and 7, it seems to have disappeared from the spec sheet, which is a shame I think. About that price The biggest problem for the Pixel phones is pricing. Sure, they are great phones, but is a £719 Pixel XL 32GB worth the outlay? Obviously that’s very personal, but there are a number of similarly specced phones that are hundreds of pounds cheaper. With the alternatives you won’t get Google’s own interpretation of the Android OS, fast updates and everything else that Nexus / Pixel stands for of course. You pays your money and you takes your choice I suppose. Right now, I maybe for the first time have a Google phone in my pocket where I don’t feel like another manufacturer’s Android offering will service me better in a key way and that really is the headline for so far. If you've pre-ordered a Pixel, I don't think you are going to be disappointed. Stay tuned for my full review.
  4. 'Dan the Man', Halfbrick's new platformer / beat em up / shoot em up, is now available on Amazon Underground as well as the Play Store, bringing with it the benefit of completely free in app purchases. It's a great game! I've long been a Halfbrick fan, from Fruit Ninja, through JetPack Joyride and of course Age Of Zombies. I love the retro 8-bit style of the graphics, the great sound effects and music and the way they are just great for a quick 'pick up and play'. Dan the Man looks like it could be their best game yet! The pitch... What are you waiting for? Go download and play! Oh, and there's even a YouTube animation series too! View full item
  5. 'Dan the Man', Halfbrick's new platformer / beat em up / shoot em up, is now available on Amazon Underground as well as the Play Store, bringing with it the benefit of completely free in app purchases. It's a great game! I've long been a Halfbrick fan, from Fruit Ninja, through JetPack Joyride and of course Age Of Zombies. I love the retro 8-bit style of the graphics, the great sound effects and music and the way they are just great for a quick 'pick up and play'. Dan the Man looks like it could be their best game yet! The pitch... What are you waiting for? Go download and play! Oh, and there's even a YouTube animation series too!
  6. Hi, I am working through them, you will receive an email confirmation when this is done. P
  7. Here's a deal! Right now you can get unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text messages and 4GB of 4G data for £9 a month, with a 12 month contract on Three's 'Essential' Plan. You can also pocket a £25 Amazon voucher when you sign up, which makes it effectively £6.92 a month. That's crazy cheap! Available by using this link to the Three website, it should be noted that the deal doesn't include feel at home use abroad, nor tethering. But as mentioned above, it does include 4G access. Frankly, for the price, it's unbelievable. This deal won't last for long, so sign up while you can! View full item
  8. Here's a deal! Right now you can get unlimited voice minutes, unlimited text messages and 4GB of 4G data for £9 a month, with a 12 month contract on Three's 'Essential' Plan. You can also pocket a £25 Amazon voucher when you sign up, which makes it effectively £6.92 a month. That's crazy cheap! Available by using this link to the Three website, it should be noted that the deal doesn't include feel at home use abroad, nor tethering. But as mentioned above, it does include 4G access. Frankly, for the price, it's unbelievable. This deal won't last for long, so sign up while you can!
  9. It's a little known fact that Huawei / Honor devices with Kirin processors support Quick Charge. Not Qualcomm Quick Charge you understand, but a Kirin specific variant. This means a specific charger is required, something that has always been incredibly hard to find. Happily, they are now available to purchase via eBay. Spotted by our very own Simon, the chargers will set you back £9.99 from this Ebay auction, which includes postage. You can also pay an extra £2 and get an official Huawei USB A to Type C cable. This is the first time the UK 3 Pin version has been widely available, with stock having been limited to EU or US configurations before now. When using the adaptor on a supported device (note, only Kirin devices, the Snapdragon powered 5X isn't supported), your phone will be pulling 9V / 2A and will gain a considerable turn of charging speed. You'll also see 'Fast Charging' on the screen so you know everything is working. If you pick one up, let us know how you find it! Now... if only there was a Kirin Quick Charge battery bank... View full item
  10. It's a little known fact that Huawei / Honor devices with Kirin processors support Quick Charge. Not Qualcomm Quick Charge you understand, but a Kirin specific variant. This means a specific charger is required, something that has always been incredibly hard to find. Happily, they are now available to purchase via eBay. Spotted by our very own Simon, the chargers will set you back £9.99 from this Ebay auction, which includes postage. You can also pay an extra £2 and get an official Huawei USB A to Type C cable. This is the first time the UK 3 Pin version has been widely available, with stock having been limited to EU or US configurations before now. When using the adaptor on a supported device (note, only Kirin devices, the Snapdragon powered 5X isn't supported), your phone will be pulling 9V / 2A and will gain a considerable turn of charging speed. You'll also see 'Fast Charging' on the screen so you know everything is working. If you pick one up, let us know how you find it! Now... if only there was a Kirin Quick Charge battery bank...
  11. A quick update on a few bits. I've been liaising with Invision following the breach as, while it's obviously a bit late for me to be able to do anything, I can hopefully help prevent the same thing happening at another property running the same platform. Re: bcrypt and Md5, the unfortunate upshot is that the system is indeed converting on login, so older user passwords remain in salted MD5 hashes. I can understand this from the perspective of both performance, changing the hash format is slow, and the fact that there is no store of the password itself, you would only be able to bcrypt the hash (but think that would work?). I've asked Invision to provide their users with a script to manually make this happen. In addition, there are a couple of other things that would be a good idea. The most obvious is 2 factor auth for admin accounts, but the function used to dump and steal the data in the admin panel also really doesn't need to be there. There should be a way to remove it completely. Again, I've fed this back and I think Invision have a duty to their paying customers to provide these changes. Thanks again for your understanding and be assured I am doing my absolute best to deal with the situation as effectively as possible. P
  12. Noted, I am verifying the best way to do this! P
  13. An additional point to note is that I've asked Invision for 2 factor on admin accounts previously, I'll be reiterating the need for this. P
  14. Thanks Kushan, that's useful information, I'm continuing to liase with Invision for the full details (and I'm going to check out the code also). They have confirmed that, of course, they don't store passwords themselves at all and just the hashes, as you'd expect, I'm just awaiting confirmation on the upgrade process etc. Should the conversion to bcrypt only be happening at login, I will certainly suggest that for the benefit of their other clients if nothing else, they should offer an option to manually convert! P
  15. I've been in contact with Invision who referred to Blowfish, and I also noted they mentioned it in this post - https://invisionpower.com/news/8747-40-login-handlers/ - as a replacement for the 'insecure' MD5. I have asked them to clarify. P
  16. Statement: http://www.modaco.com/news/android/modaco-data-breach-full-statement-r1664/ P
  17. Earlier today a number of users contacted us to inform us that data breach tracking site, haveibeenpwned.com, is notifying users of a data breach of the MoDaCo database. After initial investigations, we have determined that this report is correct - a dump of the MoDaCo database has been extracted by an unauthorised entity. First of all - we are of course very disappointed that this has happened, the security of your data is very important to us - I appreciate we've let you down in this regard but hope we can allay some concerns and do our best to rebuild your confidence starting now. MoDaCo runs on a market leading CMS, is regularly updated and runs on a server which too receives regular updates and security scans. We chose the CMS we use because it receives frequent security fixes and most importantly, stores passwords in a very secure Blowfish based form. In that regard, we think that passwords are well protected against unauthorised use, however a small amount of additional data (such as username and email address) are also included in the dump. We have determined that the breach is likely to have occurred by way of a compromised Administrator account. We have taken action to prevent this vector being accessible in this way in the future, for us it is a lesson learned, albeit in a very difficult way to stomach. We are also liaising with the CMS provider to determine additional ways to mitigate similar attacks going forward. Finally, should any users wish their data to be removed from MoDaCo, of course we will arrange for that to be completed. Should this be the case, please complete the 'Contact Us' form using the link at the bottom of every MoDaCo page. This will raise a support ticket to be actioned by the admin team. Once again, I offer my sincere apologies and ask for your understanding in this matter. Cheers, Paul Note: This message is also being sent immediately by email to all users. View full item
  18. Earlier today a number of users contacted us to inform us that data breach tracking site, haveibeenpwned.com, is notifying users of a data breach of the MoDaCo database. After initial investigations, we have determined that this report is correct - a dump of the MoDaCo database has been extracted by an unauthorised entity. First of all - we are of course very disappointed that this has happened, the security of your data is very important to us - I appreciate we've let you down in this regard but hope we can allay some concerns and do our best to rebuild your confidence starting now. MoDaCo runs on a market leading CMS, is regularly updated and runs on a server which too receives regular updates and security scans. We chose the CMS we use because it receives frequent security fixes and most importantly, stores passwords in a very secure Blowfish based form. In that regard, we think that passwords are well protected against unauthorised use, however a small amount of additional data (such as username and email address) are also included in the dump. We have determined that the breach is likely to have occurred by way of a compromised Administrator account. We have taken action to prevent this vector being accessible in this way in the future, for us it is a lesson learned, albeit in a very difficult way to stomach. We are also liaising with the CMS provider to determine additional ways to mitigate similar attacks going forward. Finally, should any users wish their data to be removed from MoDaCo, of course we will arrange for that to be completed. Should this be the case, please complete the 'Contact Us' form using the link at the bottom of every MoDaCo page. This will raise a support ticket to be actioned by the admin team. Once again, I offer my sincere apologies and ask for your understanding in this matter. Cheers, Paul Note: This message is also being sent immediately by email to all users.
  19. I would also like to add that obviously, for anyone who wants to remove their data from the site, we will of course facilitate this, details will also be in the statement later. The security of your data is of utmost importance to us - I appreciate we've let you down in this regard but hope we can allay some concerns and do our best to rebuild your confidence starting with our statement. P
  20. Good afternoon all. I am preparing an official statement on this and will be posting it later today after we have completed some investigations. I would like to assure everyone that passwords are held in a strongly encrypted form however. P
  21. Introduction If you're looking to buy a phone for under £150, or even under £200, you're entering something of a minefield. While there are established players in the space such as Lenovo / Motorola with the Moto G and entry level devices from a number of other manufacturers, there are also a huge number of devices from lesser known names in the UK as well as China including, of course, Xiaomi. When buying at the high end, it's easy to be put off importing a device due to the potential risk with warranty hassle etc., but when the outlay is a lot less, the temptation to try something a little bit different increases. The Redmi range from Xiaomi represents their entry level products. When we originally checked out the Redmi 3 we loved the size, build, finish, epic battery and - to a degree - MIUI, but also missed high end features such as larger RAM and storage and a fingerprint reader. With this in mind, we were particularly interested when Xiaomi announced the 'Pro' variant, which takes everything that is good from the original and bumps the RAM to 3GB, storage to 32GB and adds a fingerprint reader on the back. Best of all? The price is barely affected. At first glance then this looks like a winning recipe, but does that prove to be the case in practice? Gearbest kindly send us a device so that we could find out. Hardware First things first, let's be clear and say that you will absolutely struggle to top the Redmi 3 Pro's specs at the sub £120 pricepoint. Specs include... MIUI 8 with Global stable and developer ROM support Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 CPU (1.5GHz / 1.3GHz) Adreno 405 GPU 4G FDD-LTE on 1800/2100/2600MHz bands Dual SIM support (hybrid slot with microSD expansion) 3GB RAM 32GB ROM 5 Megapixel front camera, f/2.0 13 Megapixel rear camera with PDAF, f/2.0 Dual band Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.1 IR transmitter Light sensor, G-sensor, Proximity sensor, E-compass, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS Notification LED Fingerprint reader 4100mAh battery 13.93 x 6.96 x 0.85 cm 144g microUSB charging Pretty impressive eh? If you were to nit-pick, the main omissions would probably be Gorilla Glass screen protection, 800MHz 4G (used by Vodafone / O2 and fill-in by Three), NFC and perhaps USB C. At this level though, these are very competitive specs with some added treats too (I'm particularly pleased to see dual band Wi-Fi). Like the original Redmi 3, the Pro has a metal back, although this time there's no 'gold diamond' patterened version available. Construction is extremely solid. I tested the white / silver version, which would probably be my preference. The device, as is traditional on Xiaomis, has recent / home / back keys on the front in the Samsung-alike order which isn't my preference, but for regular users it is fine. Software The Redmi 3 Pro runs MIUI 8, the latest version of Xiaomis OS. A number of software builds can be flashed to the device without unlocking the bootloader - China Stable / Developer and Global Stable / Developer. You'll want to use the Global version, which comes with Play Store preinstalled. In my experience there's no reason not to use the developer version, it's is perfectly stable and comes with the added excitement of weekly updates! Worth noting is that at this time, the Redmi 3 version of MIUI 8 is still based on Lollipop. The reality is that MIUI is skinned to such a degree that the underlying OS is almost irrelevant, but it is worth bearing in mind. So what of MIUI 8 itself? It's flatter, better looking and slicker than all the versions that have gone before, but if you are a stock Android fan, this is not the droid you are looking for. Much like EMUI on Honor or Huawei devices, the OS actually adds a whole host of useful functions not found in base Android, albeit at the expensive of that 'AOSP feel' and with the caveat that the sheer number of additions and changes can sometimes feel overwhelming. Personally, I'd love to see Xiaomi (and others) offer 'stock Android' software versions, but once you get used to a manufacturer skin, they are generally good enough nowadays that you won't feel short changed. In use If you're coming to the Redmi Pro 3 from a bigger device (and let's be honest, there's a decent chance of that), then the phone feels surprisingly *right* in the hand. Build quality is exceptional, all the buttons fall to hand naturally and the fingerprint reader is in a perfect spot - on the back is my favourite place for it. With one of Xiaomi's now trademark high density batteries on board (4100mAh this time round), the device feels reassuringly weighty and, well, dense. It's hard to describe, but the weight alone almost makes the phone feel more expensive than it is! You'd hope that a big battery would equal epic battery life although that isn't always the case. Here... it is. One of the MIUI advantages is comprehensive battery management and the Redmi 3 Pro outlast pretty much everything we've ever used. Whether you are using 1 SIM card or 2 seems to make minimal difference too - if you need a phone that lasts and lasts (and isn't too big), you'll be very satisfied. As the device boots for the first time you get your first look at the 1280x720, 294 PPI 5" screen. Of course, it's an IPS LCD, with excellent viewing angles. The screen goes both extremely bright and incredibly dim - it's a very good panel. If you're concerned by the fact it's 720, don't be - at this price it's absolutely fine and brings some benefits. The Snapdragon 616 in the phone is somewhat maligned amongst reviewers, but in truth at this resolution it is very snappy - certainly comparing well with the Snapdragon 4xx series of MediaTek CPUs found in most of the device's competitors. Connectivity in the phone is comprehensive, with the exception of the aforementioned missing 800MHz 4G and NFC. The Dual Band Wi-Fi is fast, the IR blaster is a nice addition and I'm pleased to see a FM radio included. The microUSB connector on the bottom of the device supports USB OTG, should the 32GB storage and microSD expansion not cut it! The camera is typically a weak point on cheaper devices. The 13 Megapixel camera on the Redmi 3 Pro uses hybrid autofocus with phase detection for lightning quick focus times together with a single LED flash. Like many Chinese phones, the camera app itself is positively crammed with features, although we're disappointed once again to see no auto HDR mode. It's very cliche to say 'the phone's camera is great in good light but weaker in low light', but it holds true here. Manually activated, HDR is better than we've seen on many devices. The front facing 5 Megapixel camera is fine but not exceptional, again offering lots of modes such as beauty shots and live filters. For social media selfies? Absolutely fine. 1080P video recording is available and quality is surprisingly good! The device's single speaker is loud and clear - quality is as good as you can reasonably expect from a single bottom firing unit. Importing pros and cons Looking to import a device from China for the first time? Check out our handy guide on how to make the process as smooth as possible. Conclusion The Redmi 3 Pro does exactly what it needs to - it's a sensible refinement of the original with a minimal price increase. The phone originally felt like an entry level product, it's not absolutely knocking on the mid tier. Can you live with MIUI 8? Are NFC and Band 3 LTE unimportant to you? Do you want epic battery life and a solid performer everywhere else? Then the Redmi 3 Pro may well be the phone for you. Where to buy The Redmi 3 Pro is available to buy from Gearbest. View full item
  22. Introduction If you're looking to buy a phone for under £150, or even under £200, you're entering something of a minefield. While there are established players in the space such as Lenovo / Motorola with the Moto G and entry level devices from a number of other manufacturers, there are also a huge number of devices from lesser known names in the UK as well as China including, of course, Xiaomi. When buying at the high end, it's easy to be put off importing a device due to the potential risk with warranty hassle etc., but when the outlay is a lot less, the temptation to try something a little bit different increases. The Redmi range from Xiaomi represents their entry level products. When we originally checked out the Redmi 3 we loved the size, build, finish, epic battery and - to a degree - MIUI, but also missed high end features such as larger RAM and storage and a fingerprint reader. With this in mind, we were particularly interested when Xiaomi announced the 'Pro' variant, which takes everything that is good from the original and bumps the RAM to 3GB, storage to 32GB and adds a fingerprint reader on the back. Best of all? The price is barely affected. At first glance then this looks like a winning recipe, but does that prove to be the case in practice? Gearbest kindly send us a device so that we could find out. Hardware First things first, let's be clear and say that you will absolutely struggle to top the Redmi 3 Pro's specs at the sub £120 pricepoint. Specs include... MIUI 8 with Global stable and developer ROM support Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 CPU (1.5GHz / 1.3GHz) Adreno 405 GPU 4G FDD-LTE on 1800/2100/2600MHz bands Dual SIM support (hybrid slot with microSD expansion) 3GB RAM 32GB ROM 5 Megapixel front camera, f/2.0 13 Megapixel rear camera with PDAF, f/2.0 Dual band Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.1 IR transmitter Light sensor, G-sensor, Proximity sensor, E-compass, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS Notification LED Fingerprint reader 4100mAh battery 13.93 x 6.96 x 0.85 cm 144g microUSB charging Pretty impressive eh? If you were to nit-pick, the main omissions would probably be Gorilla Glass screen protection, 800MHz 4G (used by Vodafone / O2 and fill-in by Three), NFC and perhaps USB C. At this level though, these are very competitive specs with some added treats too (I'm particularly pleased to see dual band Wi-Fi). Like the original Redmi 3, the Pro has a metal back, although this time there's no 'gold diamond' patterened version available. Construction is extremely solid. I tested the white / silver version, which would probably be my preference. The device, as is traditional on Xiaomis, has recent / home / back keys on the front in the Samsung-alike order which isn't my preference, but for regular users it is fine. Software The Redmi 3 Pro runs MIUI 8, the latest version of Xiaomis OS. A number of software builds can be flashed to the device without unlocking the bootloader - China Stable / Developer and Global Stable / Developer. You'll want to use the Global version, which comes with Play Store preinstalled. In my experience there's no reason not to use the developer version, it's is perfectly stable and comes with the added excitement of weekly updates! Worth noting is that at this time, the Redmi 3 version of MIUI 8 is still based on Lollipop. The reality is that MIUI is skinned to such a degree that the underlying OS is almost irrelevant, but it is worth bearing in mind. So what of MIUI 8 itself? It's flatter, better looking and slicker than all the versions that have gone before, but if you are a stock Android fan, this is not the droid you are looking for. Much like EMUI on Honor or Huawei devices, the OS actually adds a whole host of useful functions not found in base Android, albeit at the expensive of that 'AOSP feel' and with the caveat that the sheer number of additions and changes can sometimes feel overwhelming. Personally, I'd love to see Xiaomi (and others) offer 'stock Android' software versions, but once you get used to a manufacturer skin, they are generally good enough nowadays that you won't feel short changed. In use If you're coming to the Redmi Pro 3 from a bigger device (and let's be honest, there's a decent chance of that), then the phone feels surprisingly *right* in the hand. Build quality is exceptional, all the buttons fall to hand naturally and the fingerprint reader is in a perfect spot - on the back is my favourite place for it. With one of Xiaomi's now trademark high density batteries on board (4100mAh this time round), the device feels reassuringly weighty and, well, dense. It's hard to describe, but the weight alone almost makes the phone feel more expensive than it is! You'd hope that a big battery would equal epic battery life although that isn't always the case. Here... it is. One of the MIUI advantages is comprehensive battery management and the Redmi 3 Pro outlasts pretty much everything we've ever used. Whether you are using 1 SIM card or 2 seems to make minimal difference too - if you need a phone that lasts and lasts (and isn't too big), you'll be very satisfied. As the device boots for the first time you get your first look at the 1280x720, 294 PPI 5" screen. Of course, it's an IPS LCD, with excellent viewing angles. The screen goes both extremely bright and incredibly dim - it's a very good panel. If you're concerned by the fact it's 720P, don't be - at this price it's absolutely fine and brings some benefits. The Snapdragon 616 in the phone is somewhat maligned amongst reviewers, but in truth at this resolution it is very snappy - certainly comparing well with the Snapdragon 4xx series or MediaTek CPUs found in most of the device's competitors. Connectivity in the phone is comprehensive, with the exception of the aforementioned missing 800MHz 4G and NFC. The Dual Band Wi-Fi is fast, the IR blaster is a nice addition and I'm pleased to see a FM radio included. The microUSB connector on the bottom of the device supports USB OTG, should the 32GB storage and microSD expansion not cut it! The camera is typically a weak point on cheaper devices. The 13 Megapixel camera on the Redmi 3 Pro uses hybrid autofocus with phase detection for lightning quick focus times together with a single LED flash. Like many Chinese phones, the camera app itself is positively crammed with features, although we're disappointed once again to see no auto HDR mode. It's very cliche to say 'the phone's camera is great in good light but weaker in low light', but it holds true here. Manually activated, HDR is better than we've seen on many devices. The front facing 5 Megapixel camera is fine but not exceptional, again offering lots of modes such as beauty shots and live filters. For social media selfies? Absolutely fine. 1080P video recording is available and quality is surprisingly good! The device's single speaker is loud and clear - quality is as good as you can reasonably expect from a single bottom firing unit. Importing pros and cons Looking to import a device from China for the first time? Check out our handy guide on how to make the process as smooth as possible. Conclusion The Redmi 3 Pro does exactly what it needs to - it's a sensible refinement of the original with a minimal price increase. The phone originally felt like an entry level product, it's now absolutely knocking on the mid tier. Can you live with MIUI 8? Are NFC and Band 3 LTE unimportant to you? Do you want epic battery life and a solid performer everywhere else? Then the Redmi 3 Pro may well be the phone for you. Where to buy The Redmi 3 Pro is available to buy from Gearbest.
  23. I'm starting this post as a reference for current software versions and links where appropriate for Honor devices from 4X onwards. All devices are Marshmallow currently. Build numbers (dload or TWRP links to follow): 4X: B506 5C: B102 5X: B340 6: B860 6 Plus: B571 7: B371 8: B101 If you spot any newer updates than are listed here, reply to this topic! P
  24. When the Honor 5C launched recently, we liaised with Honor UK to ensure that enthusiasts resources would be available immediately on announcement and today, I am pleased to confirm we have done the same with the Honor 8 (FRD-L09). Immediately in the Honor forum, you can access the stock shipping ROM, a fully working TWRP build including decryption (which will be officially supported very soon), the stock ROM template for TWRP, stock Android and EMUI style MoDaCo custom ROMS and guides on how to bootloader and SIM unlock your Honor 8 (we have worked with dc-unlocker to ensure the Honor 8 is fully supported and also virtually unbrickable). A full, tested kernel source repository will be online very soon complete with kernel build instructions. Once again this demonstrates Honor's commitment to enthusiasts, which is great news for all of us. We'll be keeping the resources up to date as the device comes to market and receives updates, but in the meantime, head on over to our Honor 8 forum and have a look around! View full item
  25. Honor have today announced their new flagship device for the UK, the £369.99 Honor 8. Previously announced for the US and China, the UK gets the 4GB / 32GB model, complete with a hybrid slot which means you can either add a microSD card or a second SIM card. The device has a lot in common with the acclaimed Huawei P9, retaining the same dual 12 Megapixel cameras, one of which is colour and the other is monochrome. Due to the lack of Leica co-branding, the device makes do with the 'regular' Huawei range camera app and eschews the native monochrome mode (although it seems likely this can be added back, indeed the Leica app can be flashed and works fine on the Honor 8, albeit still without the monochrome option). An 8 Megapixel camera is on the front of the device. At the heart of the Honor 8 ticks the Kirin 950 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, slightly slower than the 2.5GHz in the P9 but in reality, indistinguishable to the user. With the ample 4GB RAM on board, it's no surprise that this thing is fast. We've been using it for a few weeks now and it's ultra smooth. The device has a metal frame but features glass on both the front and the back. The look and feel of the device is frankly stunning, particularly in the 'Sapphire Blue' colour ('Pearl White' and 'Midnight Black' are also avaiable). As is common on Huawei devices, the fingerprint reader is on the back (and responds as quickly as 0.4 seconds), but this time it also doubles up as a physically clickable button, replacing the smart key on the side of the device's predecessor, the Honor 7. Thanks to the glass, there are no unsightly antenna bands to ruin the look of the device and reception (both cellular and from the dual band wifi) is excellent. NFC support is included this time round which means working Android Pay, a must for a high end device in 2016. Despite the proliferation of 5.5" and bigger devices now, 5.2" is probably the real sweet spot, which is where the Honor 8 sits. The LTPS panel has a 1920x1080 FHD resolution, but unless you are big into VR applications you won't be left wanting, it's a great display, protected with 2.5D glass all round. USB Type C is now well and truly upon us and the 8 is the first UK Honor device to feature the new connector, complete with support for HiSilicon 9V 2A fast charging, although this is not cross compatible with Qualcomm QuickCharge. A 3.5mm connector is still included for headphones of course. A 3000mAh battery looks set to provide the excellent battery life we've come to expect from Honor devices. On the software front, the Honor 8 runs Android Marshmallow with Honor's love-it or hate-it Emotion UI (EMUI). The good news is that with every device release, the skin is slimmed down and that too is the case on the 8. In addition, with so many Google apps being available on the Play Store now, it's much less of an issue than it used to be. MoDaCo will be providing today shipping ROM images for the device, full TWRP support, EMUI and Stock Style custom ROMs as well as guides on making the device appear stock Android and details on how to bootloader and SIM unlock the device if required. As with previous devices, the Honor 8 is very accessible to the keen modder. The Honor 8 will be available from August 24 on Honor’s vMall for £369.99, including an anniversary package worth £69.99 (while stocks last, contents to be confirmed). On Amazon in Europe, the Honor 8 will be bundled with an Amazon Fire TV Stick free of charge (while stocks last), however we understand this won't extend to the UK. Selected online retailers like Clove, Ebuyer and Expansys will also stock the Honor 8 Sim-free along with it being available on contract exclusively at 3 in the next coming weeks. View full item
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