vivo Malaysia Launches X5Pro with Phase-Detection AutoFocus

vivo Grand Launch Malaysia 2015
vivo Grand Launch Malaysia 2015
vivo Grand Launch Malaysia 2015

vivo, China’s leading smartphone brand, marked its official entry to the Malaysian market by launching vivo X5Pro at the vivo Grand Launch Malaysia 2015.

With the motto “Dare to push the limit and continue to bring new surprises”, vivo did many industry “firsts”.

vivo first smartphone–vivo X1– was launched in 2012. vivo X3 and vivo X5Max broke the world’s thinnest smartphone record. vivo Xplay 3S is the world’s first 2K screen smartphone in 2013. In 2014, vivo released Xshot smartphone with F1.6 large aperture and optical image stabilization (OIS). vivo X5Pro is the company’s latest smartphone in 2015.

Mr. Alex Feng, Vice President of vivo Global, addressed that vivo has full confidence in the Malaysian market. Since its inception, the brand is committed to pursuit of fun, vibrancy, and appealing to the youth.

vivo started their international strategy in 2014 and has been registered in over 100 countries, including Thailand, India, Myanmar and Indonesia.vivo smartphones started selling in Malaysia since 2014. With the official entry to the Malaysia market, vivo will localize their innovation and position their brand to appeal more towards the fashionable Malaysian youths.

vivo has over 2,000 point of sales, 10 servicce centers and narly 1,000 employees in Malaysia.
vivo has over 2,000 point of sales, 10 servicce centers and narly 1,000 employees in Malaysia.

vivo smartphones started selling in Malaysia since 2014. With the official entry to the Malaysia market, vivo will localize their innovation and position their brand to appeal more towards the fashionable Malaysian youths.

vivo has over 2,000 point of sales, 10 service centers and nearly 1,000 employees in Malaysia. In 2015, vivo Malaysia will continue to increase brand investment. “We are expecting 3000 point of sales and 20 service centers in 2015”, said Mr. Lewis Zhang, CEO of vivo Malaysia.

vivo X5Pro

vivo X5Pro smartphone
vivo X5Pro smartphone

vivo X5Pro — the “Touch By Beauty” smartphone —  is released at vivo Grand Launch Malaysia. The phone features curves that resemble a drop of water has double-sided 2.5D glass and metallic frame design in 6.44mm thin body.

vivo X5Pro PDAF technology
vivo X5Pro PDAF technology

X5Pro 13-megapixel rear camera comes with PDAF (Phase-Detection AutoFocus) technology that simulates human eyes’ positioning principle for faster focusing. The camera’s Smart Beauty Mode can identify multiple facials’ gender and skin quality and touch up accordingly.

New Funtouch OS 2.1 (based on Android 5.0 Lollipop) uses less power and less memory usage. Smart Wake 2.0 allows you to create custom gestures to launch phone apps with a single touch, even from a locked screen.

X5Pro continues to offer Hi-Fi audio experience with its custom AKM AK4375 audio chip.

vivo X5Pro in Malaysia does not have the eye-scanner feature as I mentioned previously. When asked by LiewCF during the press conference, vivo answered that the eye-scanner feature does not work perfectly. It has been removed to ensure good user experience. vivo promised to improve the eye-scanning feature.

vivo X5Pro specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa-core 1.5GHz
  • Storage: 2GB RAM + 16GB storage (support up to 128GB microSD card using SIM2 slot)
  • Operating system: Funtouch OS 2.1 (Android 5.0 Lollipop)
  • Camera: 13MP F2.0 front camere, 8MP F2.4 back camera
  • Display: 5.2-inch FullHD (1920×1080 pixels) Super AMOLED
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM, 2G/3G/4G, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS, OTG, microUSB
  • Sensors: accelerometer, light sensor, proximity sensor
  • Dimension: 147.9 x 73.45 x 6.44mm
  • Battery: 2450mAh li-po battery

vivo X5Pro price in Malaysia is RM1,599.

LINK: vivo Malaysia

MEIZU MX4 Review: Mid-range Android Smartphone with Best Benchmark Score (2014)

MEIZU MX4 review
MEIZU MX4 review
MEIZU MX4 review

MEIZU (魅族) is a new China smartphone brand in Malaysia. If you do not know yet, MEIZU is one of the top smartphone manufacturers in China, a competitor to the famous Xiaomi. MEIZU MX4 was announced on September 2014 and now available in Malaysia. The mid-range price smartphone has been awarded as No.1 Android Smartphone in year 2014 by Antutu! 

Surprise? Read on for my MEIZU MX4 review below.

Design

At first glance, I sense a familiar design. The golden colour MEIZU MX4 I loaned looks like an iPhone 6 gold. It has a golden color metal frame covered with golden colour curved plastic back cover.

On the front is while bezel with a capacitive circular backlight Home button at the bottom. The Home button flash when touched and glowing if you have unread notification.

The phone has minimized design with volume rocker at the left side; power button and headphones jack at the top. Mono speaker and microUSB port at the bottom. The speaker grills also looks like iPhone 6’s. The bulge back camera has a silver ring and dual tone LED flash at bottom.

Taking off the plastic back cover is easy with a back cover notch. Then, you will see the non-removable battery and microSIM card slot. No, MEIZU MX4 does not have microSD memory card slot.

MEIZU MX4’s build quality impresses me. I am bias toward metal body smartphone. With the rounded corners and curved back, it has no sharp edge. It is comfortable to grip but I am a bit worry about slippery hands.

Buggy FlyMe OS beta

Unlike other Android devices, setup MEIZU MX4 for the first time does not ask your Google account. Instead, it asks you to create a MEIZU’s FlyMe account. You may add your Google account in the setting, nevertheless.

MEIZU MX4 FlyMe OS
MEIZU MX4 FlyMe OS

MEIZU MX4 runs own developed FlyME OS on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. I like the simple and flat design but its user interface design is a bit different from the other Android skins.

FlyMe OS does not use app drawer. All your installed apps are sorted on home screen pages in 4×4 grid. I like it to show the estimated download time and speed in notification center. But I do not like the clock on top left screen.

The FlyME OS version on my loaned unit is version 4.1.7l beta. Beta software means that it is incomplete and bugs are expected.

At first, I was puzzled when I don’t find “recent apps” and “back” buttons beside the home button — the 3 important buttons for Android devices.

Then, I realize that FlyME OS adds a menu bar (SmartBar) at the bottom of app screen for back button and app options. Most of the time, the bar only has one back icon at the left. It is rather waste of display’s space to separate two buttons (back and home) into two rows.

MEIZU MX4 settings
MEIZU MX4 settings

If you dig into the phone settings, you will find the “Intelligently hide Smartbar” option, which hide the menu bar and give back  display space. After turn on the option, you can swipe up Home button for “back” command (return to the previous page).

So, how to find recent apps on MEIZU MX4? You swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to show 4 recent app icons then swipe to left to show another 4 app icons, up to maximum 8 recent apps.

MEIZU MX4 apps: Security, app store, theme store
MEIZU MX4 apps: Security, app store, theme store

FlyMe OS has a Personalization app for its theme store. You can download free or paid themes to customize your phone interface. Security app does more than protecting your phone. It is all-in-one app to free up phone space, scan for virus, manage app permission and data quota.

MEIZU MX4 apps crash
MEIZU MX4 apps crash

Generally, the FlyMe OS runs smoothly on MEIZU MX4, except that I met some default app crashes. Example: Camera app crash after taking HDR picture; Gallery app crash when try to play back a video. Plus, some apps are Chinese content only, e.g. AppCenter and Personalization.

Display and Speaker

MEIZU MX4 uses a 5.36-inch display with 1920 x 1152 pixels (~418 ppi pixel density). It is wider than Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080). A wider display is better for web surfing and text reading.

The IPS LCD touchscreen display is bright and clear, colours are correct, viewing angle is good, responsive to finger touches. No complain here.

MEIZU MX4 bottom
MEIZU MX4 bottom

However, the mono speaker is disappointed. It is loud but the sound is muddy, not crisp and burst at high volume. I would plug in a pair of headphones to avoid the poor speaker output.

Performance & Battery life

Antutu Benchmarks MEIZU MX4
Antutu Benchmarks MEIZU MX4

MEIZU MX4 is powered by 2.2 GHz MediaTek MT6595 Octa-core CPU and 2GB RAM. MEIZU MX4 did very well in my benchmark tests. It beats every 2014 smartphones in almost all tests.

Keep in mind, MEIZU MX4 only cost less than half of HTC and Samsung’s flagship phones.

The phone ranked No.1 in Antutu Benchmarks! It scores amazing 48,669 score in my test. In Geekbench tests, it scores 3,820 (multi-core) and 1,180 (single-core) – both scores are higher than Samsung GALAXY S5 (2,836 multi-core, 938 single-core).

Geekbench Benchmarks MEIZU MX4
Geekbench Benchmarks MEIZU MX4

However, MEIZU MX4 scores lower in Vellamo Metal (single-core) and 3DMark tests.

Vellamo Benchmarks MEIZU MX4
Vellamo Benchmarks MEIZU MX4
3DMarks Unlimited MEIZU MX4 score
3DMarks Unlimited MEIZU MX4 score

 

In my testing period, MEIZU MX4 is working flawlessly. I wish it can cut the user interface animations, though.

The phone uses non-removable 3100 mAh battery. It easily last for your whole day usage. In my test, playing 1 hour YouTube video drops 12% battery juice (94% to 82%). Meaning, battery life will last over 8 hours for non-stop YouTube videos.

Camera

MEIZU MX4 camera
MEIZU MX4 camera

MEIZU MX4 has a 20MP F/2.2 rear camera with dual tone LED flash, but only 2MP F/2.0 front camera. The rear camera can take 4K video; front camera can take 1080p Full HD video.

MEIZU claims that the rear camera focus speed is 0.3s. I can tell you that it has fast focus speed – tap an object on screen and it get focus instantly.

MEIZU MX4 camera app screenshots
MEIZU MX4 camera app screenshots

The Camera app has 9 modes, including the QR code scan mode and Slowmotion mode. You can swipe screen left/right or tap on the small mode icon at the top to switch camera mode. You can choose from 13 real-time colour filters to your photos and videos.

I am unable to take a HDR photo using MEIZU MX4. Regardless the camera settings, the Camera app crash immediately when snapping HDR photo.

MEIZU MX4 sample photo showing noise pixels
MEIZU MX4 sample photo showing noise pixels

Also, I notice some photos contain strange white/black noise pixels, which are unacceptable. It seems like software error for over photo optimization.

Check out some sample MEIZU MX4 sample photos below: (click to enlarge 100%)

Price and Availability

MEIZU MX4 is now available in Malaysia for RM1,099 (16GB) and RM1,299 (32GB) with 3 colours: white silver, grey, gold. You can buy MEIZU MX4 from Lazada Malaysia.

Bottom line

MEIZU MX4 has unbelievable processor’s performance, bright display and good build. You may want to buy 32GB model because it does not have memory card slot.

Best benchmark score is not everything. Poor speaker, 2MP front camera and annoying software bugs are deal breaker for me.

[box type=”info”]I would like to thank Lazada Malaysia for the opportunity to review MEIZU MX4. This is a free product review with honest write-up. Interesting to submit your products for review? Drop me a message.[/box]

Everything You Need to Know About Xiaomi Malaysia

Xiaomi Malaysia banner
Xiaomi Malaysia banner
Xiaomi Malaysia banner

At last, Xiaomi is here in Malaysia! Xiaomi Malaysia had their official launch event on 19 May 2014 (a day before its 1st sales in Malaysia). LiewCF is one of the invited media. As much as I am exciting about the new smartphone brand in Malaysia, I see many Malaysians do not know the China company yet.

Here are some information to help you understand Xiaomi Malaysia background, their products, and list of Xiaomi Malaysia service centers.

Who is Xiaomi?

Xiaomi Inc. is founded on April 6, 2010 in Beijing, China. Xiaomi is a “Mobile Internet” company, they say. They are not only selling electronics but combine hardware, software and services for ultimate user experience – “Triathlon” business model.

Xiaomi Founders
Xiaomi Founders

 

Xiaomi Inc. has 8 founders: Lei Jun, Lin Bin, Li Wanqiang, Zhou Guangping, Huang Jiangji, Hong Feng, Wang Chuan, Liu De. Some of them were working in Google, Microsoft, Motorola.

Hugo Barra, who previously was Vice President of Android Product Management at Google, left Google and join Xiaomi in August 2013 as vice president of Xiaomi Global.

Currently, the company has over 4,000 employees worldwide and valuated at over 10 billion USD. Xiaomi is definitely not another China “shanzai” company!

Xiaomi logo

Mi heart
Mi heart

 

Xiaomi means “millet” in Chinese. The “MI” in Xiaomi logo is short for “Mobile Internet”. There are other meanings, such as “Mission Impossible”. If you turn the logo upside down, the logo will become a Chinese character “心” (“Heart”), means they do products heartily. The character is one point less, which also means Xiaomi want their customers worry less.

[box type=info]Do you know that? Xiami purchased MI.COM domain name for USD$3.6 million in April 2014? It is the most expensive domain name in China. MI.COM replaces XIAOMI.COM as the official website domain of Xiaomi.[/box]

Xiaomi Products

Xiaomi only sell two products in Malaysia at the launch time – Mi 3 Android smartphone (RM 889) and Mi Power Bank (RM 36).

On 20th May 2014, Xiaomi Malaysia sold out all 4000 units Mi 3 and 5000 units Mi Power Bank in 17 minutes at first launch. 6000 Mi3 and 5000 Mi Power Bank sold out on 28 May 2014 in 15 minutes.

Redmi 1S to be available in Malaysia in June 2014. The price should be around RM450 (China price is RMB799).

Xiaomi Malaysia told us that they are working “very very hard” to bring more Xiaomi products in Malaysia. Other Xiaomi products you would be interested are:

  • Redmi Note (RMB799) – 5.5-inch Android phablet
  • Mi Pad (RMB1499) – 7.9-inch Android tablet with Retina display and NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor
  • Mi TV 2 (RMB3999) – 49-inch 4K Smart TV plus soundbar and wireless subwoofer
  • Mi Box Pro (RMB399) – world’s first TV set top box supports 4K resolution.
  • Mi Wi-Fi (RMB699) – 802.11ac wireless router with 1TB hard drive.
  • Mi Wi-Fi mini (RMB129) – small 802.11ac wireless router that look like Apple Magic Trackpad.
  • Mi in-ear earphones (RMB99) – high quality in-ear earphones

Besides electronics, other Xiaomi software and services includes:

  • MIUI ROM – highly customizable Android operating system
  • MiTalk – messaging application
  • Mi Cloud – online cloud storage

How to buy Xiaomi products in Malaysia?

Xiaomi sell their products online, and online only. They do not have a retail shop. They do not have wholesaler, distributors, etc. They do not take offline orders, even their own Mi Home only sell accessories.

You would not see phone shop selling Xiaomi phones. If there is any, then it is not officially authorized unit. Most probably sell at higher price. Do not buy.

[box type=”note”]Xiaomi only sell products on their official website — Mi.com[/box]

So, how to buy Xiaomi in Malaysia?

It is easy if you already familiar with online shopping. Xiaomi Malaysia uses PayPal to process customer payments. You do not need to sign up a PayPal account to pay. You can pay with your credit/debit card through PayPal.

Assume the Xiaomi sale starts, here are the steps to buy:

  1. If you haven’t done so, register a free Mi Account at https://account.xiaomi.com/pass/register
  2. Login www.mi.com/my with your Mi Account
  3. Add the item(s) you want to purchase.
  4. Checkout and pay with PayPal money or Credit/Debit card.

FedEx and UPS are Xiaomi Malaysia’s delivery partners. One of the delivery companies will ship your orders to your doorstep in 6-8 working days.

Why take so many days to ship? Because Xiaomi Malaysia have not a warehouse in Malaysia, yet. Your orders are shipped all the way from China or Singapore. Malaysia warehouse is in planning, by the way.

Do I have to fight for Xiaomi Malaysia sales every time? Depends on their stock number, sooner or later, you can buy Xiaomi products anytime. For example, Mi 3 in Singapore can order anytime, but Redmi and Mi Power Bank are limited stocks. In China, Xiaomi has stock for all Mi phones and China customers can buy immediately.

Mi Fans

Xiaomi’s slogan is “Just for fans” (为发烧而生) as their hardcore fans are leading the company’s every step. xiaomi hardcore fans are called “Mi Fans” (米粉, “rice noodle”). They are a strong community supporting Xiami and the company takes them seriously. Example: You could suggest a wanted feature in MIUI, and you may see it in next MIUI release. In fact, many Xiaomi staff are Mi fans before joining the company.

Xiaomi marketing strategy does not spend money on traditional advertisements. The company invest in social media marketing, instead.

Currently, Xiaomi Malaysia uses Facebook Page to communicate with Malaysia Mi fans. I heard they will have a Twitter account soon.

Xiaomi Malaysia Office

Xiaomi Office
Xiaomi Office

As far as we found out at Xiaomi Malaysia media launch event, they do not have a physical office in Malaysia just yet. As far as I know, Xiaomi Singapore team is in charge of Malaysia market as well.

Xiaomi Malaysia service centers

You can contact Xiaomi Malaysia service center daily 9am–6pm at:

  • 1–800–281–182 (free call)
  • 015–4840–7777
  • Online Chat

Or, email to service.my@xiaomi.com anytime.

Xiaomi Malaysia service centers map
Xiaomi Malaysia service centers map

 

Xiaomi Malaysia has appointed SEMS Service Sdn Bhd to have 4 service centers to collect and repair your Xiaomi products.

The first four Xiaomi Malaysia service centers are in Petaling Jaya, Ipoh, Penang, and Kota Bharu. More services centers are expected.

Xiaomi Malaysia service centers
Xiaomi Malaysia service centers

 

Mi Home, the Xiaomi owned operated service center, will be coming into Malaysia in 2015. You can have products hands-on experience and product services at Mi Home. However, it does not sell products, except accessories.

Xiaomi has their first warehouse in Singapore to shorten products shipping time in Singapore. They probably will have warehouse in Malaysia for better shipping time, too.

Ask Xiaomi Malaysia

Did I missed any info? What do you want to know about Xiaomi Malaysia? Add your questions in the comment below.

Spotify in China

Spotify in China

Spotify in China is here! No special setup needed. Tested by LiewCF in Nanning, China on Windows.

Spotify on-demand music service (online radio) is now available in Asia. To be more specified, Spotify is in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

I am in Nanning, China when the news break. Though China is not included in the supported countries, I install the Spotify desktop app nevertheless and…

Spotify in China
Spotify in China

Tada! Spotify works in China, too!

It is a pleasant surprise. I thought it won’t work in other part of China. Hong Kong is part of China but it is a “special administrative region“. Hong Kong only services should not work outside Hong Kong, right?

I am sharing this piece of information for the benefit of people in China (or everyone visits China). This has not been thoroughly tested. I may make a mistake.

If you are in China, please help to verify that Spotify is working or not?

(I wrote this in Nanning hotel with Spotify playing beautiful classical music.)

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Google China New Home in HongKong, No Censorship

Google finally decided to redirect Google China’s traffic to Google Hong Kong. All traffic to Google.CN will be redirect to Google.com.HK, a new home of Google China.

Google China now Google HongKong

Google Hong Kong homepage has been updated to welcome visitors redirected from Google.CN with the sentence “Welcome you to the new home of Google Search in China” (欢迎您来到谷歌搜索在中国的新家).

In the blog post, “A new approach to China: an update“, David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer wrote that:

So earlier today (3/22/2010) we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk.

Also, Google created a new page “Mainland China service availability” to display the status of Google services within China: Blocked, Partially Blocked or No issue. Based on the page, Youtube, Google Sites, and Blogger are fully blocked in China. (yes, we knew it!)

According to Alexa top sites, Google.cn is the 3rd top site in China. The 1st is Baidu.com and 2nd is QQ.com.

Read also: the unofficial Google Chinese logo by me!