Hands-on Review: HTC ONE E9+ in Malaysia

HTC One E9+
HTC One E9+
HTC One E9+

HTC One E9+ has been launched in Malaysia on 30 July 2015, priced under RM2K and available in shining gold colour. Check out my hands-on first impression and phone specifications.

If you cannot afford HTC One M flagship series (HTC One M9+ in 2015), then the HTC One E series is the affordable choice with similar specifications.

E9+ has similar flagship design as HTC One M9+. The golden metal frame gives it a luxury feel. The non-removable back cover is not metal nor glass, but a plastic with a smooth touch.

HTC One E9+ 20MP camera
HTC One E9+ 20MP camera

The 20 mega pixel rear camera bulge with golden ring is standing out from the smooth surface at the very top of the phone.

At the front, you get the 5.5-inch 2K WQHD (1440×2560 pixel) display, dual front-facing speakers with HTC Boom Sound, and HTC UltraPixel front camera.

Both rear 20MP camera and UltraPixel front camera are using the same camera sensor as HTC One M9+.

The volume rocker and the power button is at the right side. Don’t need to stretch your finger to reach the power button.

Dual SIM & microSD card slots are under a long cap at the left side of the phone.

HTC One E9+ dual SIM and microSD card slots
HTC One E9+ dual SIM and microSD card slots

HTC E9+ is 4G Dual SIM Dual Active, you can use both nano SIM cards at the same time. Also, you do not need to sacrifice an SIM slot to install microSD memory card. This is good!

Inside the beautiful design, the HTC One E9+ is packed with latest MediaTek’s flagship processor — Helio X10 64-bit 2GHz octa core processor, 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, supports microSD memory card up to 2TB (if you have one). It runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with HTC Sense 7.

HTC One E9+ gold sepia and classic rose gold
HTC One E9+ gold sepia and classic rose gold

HTC One E9+ price in Malaysia is RM1,899. Available in Gold Sepia and Classic Rose Gold colour.

“Our newest HTC One E series builds on the momentum of the flagship phones with sophistication and style,” said Faisal Siddiqui, President, HTC South Asia and India. “The HTC One E9+ continues to buuilld on HTC’s innovation and design, with very good features that is sure to delight our customers.”

For more information, please visit http://www.htc.com/sea

HTC One E9+ photo gallery

Thought

Overall, I am impressed by HTC One E9+ design and build. It is sleek and elegant with a luxury feel (GOLD!). It has smooth performance during my hands-on period. I will need to do a detail phone review to reveal its real life daily performance.

I think RM1900 for a like-flagship smartphone is expensive. We have many choices under RM1500 in the market now… What do you think?

This is #HTC E9+ in #LiewCF hand. Nice build, though not metal. RM1,899 in Malaysia.

A photo posted by Liew Cheon-Fong (@liewcf) on

AweSoMe! Acer Liquid Jade Z and Liquid Z Series Smartphones Starts from RM299 in Malaysia

Acer Liquid Smartphones and Acer Aspire E series
Acer Liquid Smartphones and Acer Aspire E series
Models together with Johnson Seet, Head of Mobile Notebook & Smart Handheld, Acer Sales and Services with Jeffrey Lai, Product Manager, Mobile Notebook & Smart Handheld at the launch of the Acer Liquid Smartphones and Acer Aspire E series.

Acer Malaysia launches new Liquid Jade Z smartphone with 64-bit processor, 13MP F1.8 camera and 4G Dual SIM, as well as new members of Z-series smartphones: Liquid Z520 and Liquid Z220. Read on for their specs and official prices in Malaysia.

Liquid Jade Z specs

Acer Liquid Jade Z
Acer Liquid Jade Z

Acer Liquid Jade Z is 5-inch HD display Android smartphone featuring F1.8 big aperture cameras for both 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera. It is powered by Mediatek 64-bit quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage (support microSD card up to 32GB).

With only 7.9mm slim and 110 grams weight, Liquid Jade Z is one of the slimmest 4G LTE dual SIM smartphone in the market. The retail price of Acer Liquid Jade Z is RM799 (inclusive 6% GST) in Malaysia.

Liquid Z520 price

Acer Liquid Z520
Acer Liquid Z520

Acer Liquid Z520 is another 5-inch Android smartphone in Z-series. With only RM499, you get a smartphone with quad-core processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage, 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. Liquid Z520 supports 3G Dual SIM and DTS Studio Sound.

Liquid Z520 price in Malaysia is RM499, available in black and white colours.

Acer Liquid Z220

Acer Liquid Z220
Acer Liquid Z220

If you are looking for cheap smartphone from branded company, check out the Acer Liquid Z220. It is only RM299!

Liquid Z220 is a 4-inch Android 5.0 Lollipop smartphone powered by Qualcomm dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB RAM and 8GB storage, supports 3G Dual SIM. 5MP rear camera with flash and 89-degree wide angle view, and 2MP front camera for selfie.

6 Unique Features of Acer smartphones

Acer smartphones comes with some useful features to enhance your user experience:

  1. Acer Quick Mode — 3 different modes for children (Basic), senior citizens (Easy), and personal use (Standard). You can set password lock and limit app usage in Basic mode. Easy mode features easy and clear user interface.
  2.  Acer Float Apps — launch floating apps on top of your current apps. 9 floating apps are Buttons, Text, Stopwatch, Browser, Camera, Maps, Notes, Calculator, Calendar.
  3. Acer Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) — Acer free cloud solution enable you to sync your music, video, files between computer with phone/tablet.
  4. Acer Reading Mode — adjust screen colour to reduce Blue Light rays to protect your eyes.
  5. Acer EXTEND — link your Acer smartphone to computer and share content in between, drag & drop files, copy & paste links.
  6. Voice Camera — simply say a word to switch camera mode and take pictures. Say “Cheese” to take a picture. Say “Selfie” to switch to front camera and take selfie photo with 3 seconds countdown. Other voice commands also available, “HDR”, “Bright Magic”, “Panorama”, etc.

LiewCF’s Thought

With many smartphones in the market, Acer Liquid Jade Z stand out from the crowd with its slim and lightweight body with F1.8 big aperture for both front & rear cameras and support 4G Dual SIM, yet still keep its price under RM800. AweSoMe!

Also, I am surprised by the Acer Liquid Z220 price. For only RM299, you get a smartphone with latest Android 5.0, 1GB, 8GB storage, 5MP rear camera and 2MP front camera, plus 3G Dual SIM!

I could not find other branded smartphone under RM300 with the similar specs. Last week, my friend bought a RM380 smartphone with similar specs, but only 0.3MP front camera! Wish Liquid Z220 was launched earlier!

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]

Acer Iconia Tab 7 (A1-713) is Your Budget 3G Android Phablet in Malaysia

Acer Iconia Tab 7 (A1-713)
Acer Iconia Tab 7 (A1-713)
Acer Iconia Tab 7 (A1-713)

ACER Iconia Tab 7 has officially arrived in Malaysia. It is a 7-inch tablet with 3G connectivity and phone functionality — Phablet.

ACER Iconia Tab 7 price in Malaysia is RM499. With the affordable price, it comes with basic hardware.

Iconia Tab 7 uses a 7-inch display with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. It is only 8.9mm thin and weighing at only 305g.

The phablet is powered by Mediatek’s quad-core 1.3Ghz processor with 1GB RAM and 16GB storage, supports microSD memory card up to 32GB. It has 2MP rear camera and 0.3MP front camera.

ACER Iconia Tab 7 runs Android 4.2.2, upgradable to Android 4.4 KitKat. It has a SIM slot (not Dual SIM) for 3G connectivity and supports phone functionality. You can use the 7-inch device as your mobile phone.

The battery life last for 6 hours. You could buy ACER Iconia Tab 7 (RM499) in Malaysia from StoreKini.com online store and TESCO with free gifts, such as casing, screen protector, power bank, mobile credit.

Photo gallery and Video

LiewCF’s Buying guide

If you have limited budget and looking for a phablet (phone + tablet), ACER Iconia Tab 7 should be in your list.

It will run most apps without problem but you probably can forget about taking sharp photos with its 2MP camera. The 6 hours battery life is another concern, too.

Alternatively, ASUS FonePad 7 (FE170CG) (8GB version) dropped price to RM429 in August 2014. It has less phone storage space but supports dual-SIM and longer battery life.

Redmi 1S vs Redmi Note: Which Xiaomi Budget Smartphone is Better?

RedMi1S vs RedMi Note
RedMi1S vs RedMi Note
RedMi1S vs RedMi Note

After several Mi 3 sales sold out in minutes, Xiaomi Malaysia to launch two cheaper smartphone models in July 2014 – Redmi 1S and Redmi Note.

  • Redmi 1S is 4.7-inch Android smartphone, price is RM419. Sale starts on 8 July 2014.
  • Redmi Note is 5.5-inch Android 4.2 smartphone, price is RM509. Sale starts on 22 July 2014.

Since the price difference is only RM90, which Xiaomi phone is better? In this article, you will learn the Redmi 1S and Redmi Note specs differences and my recommendation.

Specs: Redmi 1S VS. Redmi Note

Let’s have a glance of Redmi 1S and Redmi Note specs in the table below:

Compare Redmi 1S vs Redmi Note specs
Compare Redmi 1S vs Redmi Note specs

Redmi Note win over Redmi 1S in hardware specs. It has more RAM (2GB), bigger 5.5 inch display (same resolution). The cameras are much higher resolution than Redmi 1S – 13MP main camera and 5MP front camera. It also has bigger battery capacity (3200mAh).

With all the advantages, Redmi Note is still slimmer (9.45 mm) than Redmi 1S. Despite the 5.5-inch body, Redmi Note is only 41 gram heavier than Redmi 1S.

CPU: Qualcomm VS. Mediatek

The other main difference between Redmi 1S and Redmi Note is the processor (CPU). Redmi Note is powered by MediaTek MT6592 Octa-core 1.7GHz, whereas Redmi 1S is powered by Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon 400 Quad-core 1.6GHz.

Based on my past experiences, I have a bias toward Qualcomm mobile processors. Smartphones using Qualcomm processors are generally more stable and better performance.

On the other hand, I (and many tech media friends) do not like Mediatek processor. Mediatek mobile processors are often found in budget smartphones. Somehow, the performance is less ideal (regardless core number and clock speed) and apps tend to have compatibility problems.

Did I tell you that I am bias?

Benchmark results

Benchmark test is the easiest way to show the performance but it does not necessary show the real user experience. And, different benchmark tools would show very different results.

Below is a Facebook photo showing the huge benchmark score different between Redmi 1S (2445 score) and Redmi Note (1464 score).

Post by Warren Lee.

However, to be fair, the Antutu benchmark scores I found online shows that Redmi Note (scored around 28,000+) has better scores than Redmi 1S (scored around 21,000+).

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Antutu benchmark result
Xiaomi Redmi 1S Antutu benchmark result (source)
Xiaomi Redmi Note Antutu benchmark result
Xiaomi Redmi Note Antutu benchmark result (source)

(I have yet receive either phone for product review.)

Xiaomi Malaysia wants to sell Redmi Note

If you have following Xiaomi Malaysia, you have notice that the company heavily promotes Redmi Note. They ran Redmi Note contest. Xiaomi Malaysia website only shows Redmi Note information but no sight of Redmi 1S, despite that Redmi 1S sale date is week earlier than Redmi Note.

Conclusion

As you can see now, the winner is clearly the Redmi Note. Specs wise, you get more RAM, bigger display, better cameras, and longer battery life for only extra RM90.

Redmi 1S 4.7″ display size is good for you who like one-hand-operate smartphone. However, the 1.6M front camera is not good enough for selfie.

Over to you: Are you Redmi 1S or Redmi Note?