Lowyat.NET https://www.lowyat.net Technology News Malaysia Sat, 10 Apr 2021 14:36:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://www.lowyat.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-ico-32x32.png Lowyat.NET https://www.lowyat.net 32 32 106951340 iPad mini 6 Dummy Unit Shows That It Will Be Keeping Its Archaic Design https://www.lowyat.net/2021/237193/ipad-mini-6-dummy-unit-design/ Sat, 10 Apr 2021 10:52:13 +0000 https://www.lowyat.net/?p=237193 While rumours of the iPad mini 6 have been floating around, they’ve not been consistent about the tablet’s design. Some point to it having the same design it has always had, while others claim that it too will get the iPad Pro makeover. More evidence for the former have since appeared, in the form of […]

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iPad dummies

While rumours of the iPad mini 6 have been floating around, they’ve not been consistent about the tablet’s design. Some point to it having the same design it has always had, while others claim that it too will get the iPad Pro makeover. More evidence for the former have since appeared, in the form of dummy units.

Blogger and leaker Sonny Dickson shared on Twitter what looks to be dummy units of the upcoming iPad Pros and mini. And for better or worse, all three tablets look like there will be no change in their design. Not that bad a deal for the pricier tablets, but definitely a downer for the smaller sibling.

If the dummy units are representative of the actual products, then the iPad mini 6 sticks out like a sore thumb among other iPads. The vast majority of them have already adopted the design of the Pro, including the iPad Air 4. Only the base iPad and the mini are still stuck with the forehead and chin.

The dummies also casts more doubt on the possibility of the iPad mini 6 coming with two punch hole cutouts. The same applies for the possibility of a Pro model for the mini line.

(Source: Sonny Dickson / Twitter via MacRumors)

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Dell Launches Four New Gaming Monitors; Arriving In June 2021 https://www.lowyat.net/2021/237184/dell-launches-four-new-gaming-monitors-arriving-in-june-2021/ Sat, 10 Apr 2021 10:24:10 +0000 https://www.lowyat.net/?p=237184 Aside from its Ryzen-powered Alienware m15 R5 and G15 gaming laptops, Dell also announced that it is launching a total of four new gaming monitors for the masses. The lineup includes one standard 24.5-inch display, while the other three feature curved panels varying from 27-inch, 32-inch, and 34-inches. Starting with the 24.5-inch gaming display, this […]

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Aside from its Ryzen-powered Alienware m15 R5 and G15 gaming laptops, Dell also announced that it is launching a total of four new gaming monitors for the masses. The lineup includes one standard 24.5-inch display, while the other three feature curved panels varying from 27-inch, 32-inch, and 34-inches.

Starting with the 24.5-inch gaming display, this monitor has a maximum resolution of Full HD, while also touting an ultra-high refresh rate of 240Hz and a response rate of 1ms (grey-to-grey). Not only that, but it also uses an IPS panel and is also NVIDIA G-SYNC compatible. Oh, and it also has thin bezels.

Moving on, both the Dell 27-inch and 32-inch curved gaming monitors ships out with the same maximum 1440p resolution, as well as the same 165Hz and 2ms response time and support for AMD’s FreeSync Premium and Premium Pro anti-tearing technology. Sitting on the pedestal is the 34-inch ultrawide WQHD display. Along with a 144Hz refresh rate, this display also comes with support for VESA DisplayHDR 400 and 90% DCI-P3 colour accuracy.

At the time of writing, Dell did not provide local pricing but has said that all four display should be available to the public starting from June this year.

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The First Apple Store In Malaysia May Open Next Year, Negotiations Still Going On https://www.lowyat.net/2021/237177/first-apple-store-malaysia-exchange-trx-nego/ Sat, 10 Apr 2021 06:21:25 +0000 https://www.lowyat.net/?p=237177 Apple so far has opened five retail stores throughout Southeast Asia with three of them located in Singapore while another two are in Bangkok, Thailand. For years, there have been rumours that the company may open an Apple Store in Kuala Lumpur too and based on a recent report, it could finally happen next year. […]

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Apple Orchard Road Singapore

Apple so far has opened five retail stores throughout Southeast Asia with three of them located in Singapore while another two are in Bangkok, Thailand. For years, there have been rumours that the company may open an Apple Store in Kuala Lumpur too and based on a recent report, it could finally happen next year.

According to sources speaking to Vasantha Ganesan, the Associate Editor of The Edge, Lendlease who is the co-developer of The Exchange TRX at Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur is currently in the advanced stage of negotiations with Apple. The Australian-based global construction and real estate company have apparently been trying to convince Apple to set up its first-ever Malaysian retail store at the upcoming retail and lifestyle area for the past two years.

Apple Orchard Road Singapore
Apple Store in Orchard Road, Singapore back in 2017.

The report further stated that representatives from Apple may have been in Kuala Lumpur last month to discuss the matter. At the time this article is published, the report has yet to appear on The Edge’s website and is only available in the print as well as the digital edition of The Edge Malaysia for the week of 12 to 18 April 2021.

To be opened in phases until 2025, the Exchange TRX is said to feature more than 500 retailers covering lifestyle, entertainment, and dining. On its rooftop, there will also be a 10-acre park which apparently will become the first major park in Kuala Lumpur for more than 20 years.

While it is understandable that local Apple fans out there would likely be excited by this report, it is quite clear that nothing has been set in stone at the moment as far as the first Apple Store in Malaysia is concerned.

Nevertheless, we are now reaching out to Apple and Lendlease for further comments regarding this, so stay tuned.

[UPDATE – 10:20 PM] Apple has declined to comment on this story.

(Source: The Edge. Additional image: The Exchange TRX / Facebook. )

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OPPO Find X3 Pro Review: The Only Smartphone With A Microscope Camera https://www.lowyat.net/2021/237050/oppo-find-x3-pro-review-the-only-smartphone-with-a-microscope-camera/ Sat, 10 Apr 2021 02:00:11 +0000 https://www.lowyat.net/?p=237050 OPPO has recently released its latest flagship, the Find X3 Pro, in Malaysia. Being the brand’s most advanced smartphone offering for 2021, expectations are indeed high – especially in regards to its design, performance, and unique features. While last year’s Find X2 was top-tier in terms of hardware, it unfortunately lacked anything out of the […]

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OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

OPPO has recently released its latest flagship, the Find X3 Pro, in Malaysia. Being the brand’s most advanced smartphone offering for 2021, expectations are indeed high – especially in regards to its design, performance, and unique features.

While last year’s Find X2 was top-tier in terms of hardware, it unfortunately lacked anything out of the ordinary that would set it apart from its competitors. In contrast, the original Find X featured a slide-out camera system for both of its front and rear camera setups – a trendy feature to have at that time, which also contributed to the phone’s sleek design.

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

Seemingly learning from that mistake, OPPO has introduced several new innovations and a neat gimmick to this year’s model. These include a fresh new design, unique camera feature, and the obligatory upgrades in hardware.

Priced at RM4,299 and with so many flagship competitors now already available in both global and local markets, does the OPPO Find X3 Pro have what it takes to stand above the rest? Let’s find out. 

Specifications

The Find X3 Pro comes with a curved 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 3216 x 1440px, HDR10+ support, an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz, and an under-display fingerprint scanner. If that sounds all too familiar, that’s because it is actually somewhat similar to last year’s model.

Hardware-wise, you can certainly check all of the required boxes to confirm whether the smartphone qualifies as a flagship device. Onboard is a Snapdragon 888 chipset, paired with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage. Powering the device is a 4,5000mAh battery with 65W wired and 30W wireless fast charging capabilities.

Design

OPPO Find X3 Pro ReviewViewed from the front, the OPPO Find X3 Pro is without a doubt a premium phone, mostly thanks to the curved display – something considered as a staple for most Android flagship handsets in the market. Situated on top of the screen is the phone’s barely noticeable earpiece, which also acts as one half of its dual stereo speaker system. Continuing from that, the second speaker is located on the right of the middle USB-C port at the bottom of the phone, while on its left is the SIM tray slot.

In typical OPPO design fashion, the lock button is located on the right hand side of the Find X3 Pro and the volume rockers are situated on the opposite side. Those often go adventuring with their smartphones will be glad to know that the new flagship features an IP68 rating in terms of dust and water proofing. 

The backplate of the phone is where things get interesting. As I’ve pointed out prior to this, smartphone designs are in great need of a serious makeover due to the overly repeated use of glass covered rectangular or square camera arrays in almost every release, regardless of phone brand. Thankfully, various makers, including OPPO, have realised this and are beginning to introduce new design approaches to hopefully set their products apart from one another.

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

For the OPPO Find X3, its rear camera array now sports a bump that almost seamlessly blends with the rest of its backplate via a surrounding slope. This gives the phone a sports car-like sleek and smooth design, further enhancing its premium feel. The camera arrangement is now different as well, featuring a left-pointing triangle formation for all of its prominent cameras, which – funnily enough – mirrors the one found on Apple’s iPhone series.

In an interesting move, OPPO offers the flagship in two colour options with different finishings. The Black variant comes with a glossy finish, while the Blue option is instead presented with a metallic matte finish – the latter being my favourite of the two. Regardless of which you choose in the end, the Find X3 Pro can feel a bit slippery when held in one hand. Therefore, I highly recommend using the provided silicone cover (which matches their respective colours) for an added grip.

Surprisingly, unlike its other 2021 competitors, the Find X3 Pro is currently the lightest flagship smartphone among the lot – at least, in my experience. According to OPPO, the phone weighs in at only 193 grams.

User Experience

Featuring a high refresh rate and screen resolution, I find that the overall visual experience of the Find X3 Pro’s 6.7-inch display quite satisfying when viewing photos, videos and gaming. Images are sharp and vibrant, scrolling and swiping transitions appear smooth, and typing on screen actually feels very responsive.

Running in the back is OPPO’s Android 11-based ColorOS 11.2 interface, which is pretty straightforward when it comes to user navigation. The inclusion of new animations for unlocking, charging and so on is a nice touch, and the reduced number of preinstalled bloatware is also much welcomed. In an effort to help users with colour vision deficiency, the brand has introduced a new Color Vision Enhancement feature that calibrates the display’s colours to provide them with “the most comfortable display effects.” 

The phone’s dual stereo speaker system actually produces decent audio output. It’s definitely not home theater levels of excellence, but enough to allow you to enjoy watching your favourite TV shows or movies and even gaming. The few downsides of this is that the audio will peak at unbearable levels when set to high levels of volume, and handling the phone in a landscape orientation will throw off the left and right output balance due to how each speaker is positioned.

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

Performance-wise, thanks to the onboard Snapdragon 888 chipset, you can safely expect the OPPO Find X3 Pro to deliver top-notch delivery in terms of multi-tasking, app switching, and especially for gaming. On the highest setting for Mihoyo’s Genshin Impact, the phone is capable of averaging at 60 fps in most cases and would eventually dip down to 50-ish frames in busy locations such as the town square area of Mondstadt. Although, do keep in mind that it does heat up significantly during intense gaming sessions.

For your reference, below are the benchmark scores for the Find X3 Pro on 3DMark and Antutu 3DBench.

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

The Find X3 Pro comes with a 4,500mAh battery, which is a tad smaller than the 5,000mAh capacity featured on some of its rivals. Fortunately, it’s definitely not a slouch when it comes to usage. In my testing, the phone is capable of lasting for more than a day on single charge, and even longer if gaming and media is thrown out of the mix. For my usual daily drive which includes a fair amount of gaming and various media consumption, the OPPO flagship averages at 40% at the end of each day before I retire for the night.

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

When required, you can utilise the included 65W USB-C charger to top-up its battery in almost no time. OPPO claims that the Find X3 Pro is able to charge up about 40% of its battery capacity in just 10 minutes, which isn’t far off from the truth after testing it out. But as with every smartphone with fast charging capability, its advisable to only charge your phone when necessary in order to reduce the risk of battery depreciation.

There’s also the option to activate regular or super power saving modes to further extend battery life. When activating either option, the system will deactivate certain functions and visual elements, as well as reducing the phone’s overall performance to achieve this.

Camera

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

Housed within the Find X3 Pro’s rear bump is a quad-camera setup which consists of dual 50MP sensors for its main and ultra-wide shooters, a 13MP telephoto, and a 3MP microscope camera. The latter being a unique feature and is, so far, only exclusive to the new OPPO flagship.

Featuring a larger sensor and pixel size of 1.0µm, the phone’s main camera is a big leap over its predecessor’s 48MP. Photos taken with the shooter appear more detailed, vivid and sharp – even those shot in low-light environments, although the usual noise-removing “smoothing” effect is still quite apparent in some instances. 

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

Speaking of low-light photography, images shot in near darkness actually retain a good amount of detail even without relying on the phone’s Night Mode. Having the feature activated, on the other hand, would only improve quality in terms of brightness but that’s pretty much it. And, as expected, the phone’s autofocusing ability would continuously struggle when trying to capture a particular subject in such conditions.

Featuring the same 50MP sensor, the Find X3 Pro’s ultra-wide shooter produces equally spectacular results as its main camera. To further complement it, OPPO introduced an improved algorithm which reduces (but not entirely eliminates) warping effects that are usually noticed in photos shot on ultra-wide. It’s one of those extras that isn’t entirely crucial, but its availability is appreciated nonetheless.

Ultra-wide angle.
Main camera (1x).
2x zoom (optical).
5x zoom (hybrid).

The phone’s telephoto camera is actually pretty good to an extent, but it is nothing to write home about. This is mainly because it is only capable of optically zooming in at only 2x and going into 5x will activate hybrid zooming. Anything more than that (which maxes out at 20x) is done digitally, resulting in photos that look like oil paintings – caused by the camera software’s noise reduction feature.

Finally, we have the star of the show: the microscope camera. It is currently the only shooter on a mobile phone that is able to magnify up to 60x, enabling it to capture the tiniest (no pun intended) of details that are not visible to the human eye.

Is this feature practical? Well, the answer to that is a resounding “no”, but its inclusion does open up to new photography possibilities and it is pretty fun to play around with. However, as with most gimmicky features, the novelty does wear off after a while.

For videos, the Find X3 Pro can only record up to 4K footage at a maximum of 60fps. Which is  quite surprising, as its competitors are already capable of capturing 8K videos. That being said, its absence on the OPPO flagship isn’t entirely a dealbreaker for the general consumer, especially the fact that not many actually own TVs or displays that are capable of displaying 8K resolution or greater.

Sample Photos

Low-light test shot (Default)
Low-light test shot (Night Mode)

Competition

Now that we’ve entered the month of April in the year 2021, the number of flagship smartphones competing against the OPPO Find X3 Pro have increased – especially those that also feature the Snapdragon 888 chipset. In the interest in fairness, I will only mention the flagships that are currently available or are confirmed to be released in Malaysia. That being said, gaming smartphones are considered in a category of their own, therefore I won’t be including models such as the ASUS ROG Phone 3.

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra hands on

If you recall from our previous coverage of the Mi 11 Ultra, Xiaomi’s high-end flagship features some similar specifications as the Find X3 Pro in terms of SoC, memory configurations and IP rating – hence why I picked this model over the standard variant for this segment. Differences include the phone’s larger screen size at 6.81-inches, 40MP selfies camera, larger 5,000mAh battery capacity, and faster 67W charging speed for both wired and wireless approaches.

Meanwhile on its back is a 50MP Samsung GN2 which features an even larger pixel size at 1.4µm. Accompanying it are dual 48MP sensors for its ultra-wide and telephoto cameras. Also not forgetting the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra’s unique feature: a secondary 1.1-inch AMOLED display on its back.

Surprisingly, the latest Xiaomi flagship shares the same price as the Find X3 Pro, which is at RM4,299. However, the phone will only arrive in Malaysia on 23 April.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The only non-Snapdragon 888 device in the list, but still a popular competitor flagship smartphone nonetheless. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with a curved 6.8-inch display with 120Hz refresh rate, and a resolution of 1440 x 3200 px. Under its hood is an Exynos 2100 chipset, paired with up to 16GB RAM and a maximum configuration of 512GB for its internal storage. Powering the phone is 5,000mAh battery, but with a slower charging speed of just 25W via USB-C and 15W via wireless.

Situated on its stylish rear camera array is a quad camera setup consisting of a 108MP main shooter with a pixel size of 0.8µm, a 10MP periscope with 10x optical zoom, 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor. Housed in a punch-hole cutout in its main display is a 40MP selfie camera.

In terms of price, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in with a very hefty tag at RM5,299 for the 12GB + 256GB configuration. Meanwhile, the beefier 16GB + 512GB version is priced at RM5,899.

Conclusion

OPPO Find X3 Pro Review

All in all, the OPPO Find X3 Pro isn’t the purest thoroughbred of the bunch. But its solid performance in the display and internal hardware department, as well as its refreshing design deservingly earned it a spot among the top 2021 flagship offerings thus far.

Its unique selling point, the microscope camera,  is nothing more than just a gimmick at the end of the day. However, it does make room for some fun and interesting photo opportunities which are not offered by any other smartphone of its class.

Indeed, the premium price tag makes the Find X3 Pro a tough smartphone to recommend. But if you’re looking for a straightforward handset with a sleek design, incredibly light weight, exceptional hardware performance and a fun imaging setup; then do consider this new OPPO flagship.

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Study Claims Bitcoin Mining May Trash China’s Climate Change Goals https://www.lowyat.net/2021/237115/study-claims-bitcoin-mining-may-trash-chinas-climate-change-goals/ Fri, 09 Apr 2021 13:08:20 +0000 https://www.lowyat.net/?p=237115 The immense scale of bitcoin mining in China may cause the country to miss its carbon emissions reduction goals, warned a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications. The study pointed out that, as of April last year, over 75% of the world’s bitcoin mining took place in China, which happens to boast […]

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The immense scale of bitcoin mining in China may cause the country to miss its carbon emissions reduction goals, warned a recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications. The study pointed out that, as of April last year, over 75% of the world’s bitcoin mining took place in China, which happens to boast cheaper electricity rates and convenient access to manufacturers of the necessary hardware.

Absent government intervention, the study estimated that the annual energy consumption of the bitcoin blockchain in China would peak in 2024 at 296.59 Twh (terawatt hour) – more than the total energy consumption of Italy or Saudi Arabia.

That staggering demand for electricity would accordingly generate 130.50 million metric tons of carbon emission per year. That emission output would then account for approximately 5.41% of the emissions from all electricity generation in China.

China Flag

According to CNBC, Beijing is aiming to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Needless to say, the chances of that happening is bleak if this study is to believed.

This is far from the first time that bitcoin mining’s adverse impact on the environment has been highlighted. Cambridge University and the International Energy Agency, reports that cryptomining is expected to generate nearly 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.

This puts on the spotlight on bitcoin enthusiasts like Elon Musk who’s also a champion of environmental causes.

(Source: Nature Communications, CNBC.)

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