The Oppo F1s Raisa Edition Is Here, And It’s More Than What It Seems.

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In some ways, being a gadget reviewer is not a hard job. We review gadgets objectively, based on the features, specification and performance. If the device performs well according to its spec and price, it earns our praise and recommendations, and when a device under-deliver what it promises to be, we feel the need to lift our forks and casts the first stones.

That’s why when Oppo launched their F1s Raisa Black (or was it Black Raisa?) Edition, I cringed. Not only was it basically a pitch-black version of their popular F1s, which let’s face it, doesn’t have that salivate-inducing sexy spec nor brand for us enthusiasts, it also bears the signature of a newcomer artist who in my not-so-humble opinion, haven’t really deserve to have her signature etched in limited edition gadgets. It’s too easy to scoff at this venture.

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From Raisa With Love
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Inside, it’s the familiar F1s with Oppo’s custom operating system which surprisingly is very user friendly.

But then I heard the presentation from the lovely Miss Alinna Wenxin and also see Raisa’s live performance, which made me realized three surprising (at least for me) insights:

  1. The Oppo F1s is proven to be a great mid-range device. Couple of points that supports that statement: First, it has a satisfaction rate of 98.7% – according to SWA Magazine – and second, Oppo is the second highest selling manufacturer in Indonesia, right below Samsung. This is not an easy feat, knowing the number of smartphone players available in Indonesia. Great hardware holds no guarantee. Just ask OnePlus.

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    98.7% satisfaction rate. I’m pessimistic anyone will receive this excellent rate even from their spouses.
  2. Oppo knows their stuff. By positioning the F1s as the ‘Ultimate Selfie Expert’, it has successfully position itself as the king of selfie phones. Again, as a gadget enthusiast who subjectively prefer to shoot anything other than my unphotogenic face, this is something to belittle about. However, as it turns out, i’m a minority. More and more people adopts the habit of taking selfies, and realize just how Oppo can improve their lives by providing a great 16 megapixel front camera with great beautification enhancements software. Oppo sees that and strike a home run with the F1s. Its market share is a concrete evidence of their successful creation.

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    If one has a penchant for selfies, can he/she be called as a selfiesh person?
  3. Raisa & Oppo is a great match, since they’re both a very hard-working brand. Having heard Raisa singing, I knew that she’s talented. But as I see her performing in front of me, and taking her precious time to engage with her loyal fans, it came to my realization that polishing those talent and convert it to stardom requires an undeniable hard effort, which most people (including me) tend to overlook. Talent or inherent trait will get you noticed, but dedication and hard work will get you places and sustain you there. Raisa shares the same story with Oppo. They’re a newcomer in a heavily saturated market who’s able to fight their way to the top, using hard work and dedication.

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    Raisa’s squad of loyal fanbase.

It’s very easy to judge a product or anyone based on the surface, but take some time to understand them and read between the lines. You’ll find a deeper lesson that goes beyond spec sheets or album covers. Congrats for the launch, Oppo & Raisa. Stay exemplary!

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Thank you Oppo for inviting me, and providing me an awesome tumbler which I’m currently having my coffee with.

The OnePlus X is finally here! – First Impression

Among the sea of Android handset manufacturers, for me personally, there are 3 manufacturers that stand out most at the moment:

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Xiaomi – for producing great phones with exemplary build quality at an incredible pace that has one of the best android skin out there and great price.
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Samsung – for knowing that their past plasticky designs are crap and having the balls to really turn things around with their Galaxy A & S series, which makes them truly going toe-to-toe with Apple (finally!), and then there’s the OnePlus.
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I won’t fault you if you haven’t heard about this peculiar Chinese brand, it’s because of 1) they’re new, and 2) they are not available broadly due to the unique way they market & distribute the product (read: ridiculous).
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But they have created devices that has flagship specifications with half the price of a Galaxy S6, which gained them great reputation from their users and blows the online reviews out of the water.
It suits their motto – Never settle – where it supposedly reflects their desire to always push the boundaries of what a flagship phone should be. (it’s a great motto, but you might not want to implement it to your love life)
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Now, they’re officially entering the market through official sales channel locally with OnePlus X, their lower range device compared to their flagship, the OnePlus 2 . It has the older Snapdragon 801 processor (which is definitely no slouch), 3 gigs of RAM, and 16 gigs of internal memory with expendable storage capability.
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photo courtesy of Gizmodo
What’s so special about this device? Well, for starters, it uses glass & metal constructions – the premium materials that most flagship phones uses – but here’s where it truly shines: the price. It costs US$250, or around 2,8 – 3,3 million, depends on where you’re getting them.
Right now it’s sold through BliBli, but you can always find some agan-agan reseller in KasKus peddling them as well. For the price, it’s hard to find other phones that can compete with the specifications while wrapped in such exceptional choice of material.
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That clean & solid packaging that looks like Apple’s.
Let’s start with the packaging. In short, it’s Apple-esque in terms of the material & craftsmanship that they used. Thick & smooth carton laminated in doff finishing, that gives you that slow drop when you’re opening the device.
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It opens with that slow-drop dramatic that most people are familiar with Apple packaging.
Opening it, you’re presented with the device neatly on top of the first box layer. Lift it out, and you’ll see the cool tangle-free OnePlus USB cable that makes other USB cables look thoughtless in comparison.
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Providing unique cables compared to the other manufacturers. Showing that you sweat about the small stuff.
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The charger is fast charging one with thick plastic. Nice.
There’s also your regular stuff, SIM tool (that you can replace with paperclip), papers & warranty, but no headphones included. This is basically to reduce the cost, and since i already have several headphones, i won’t be losing sleep over this.
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What’s in the box
What surprises me are the inclusion of screen protector (installed) and a silicon case. Something that no other brand haven’t done before. I guess the reason why they do this is because of the phone’s design itself. Just look at it.
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Black silky slab of glass & metal
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The rear side is also glass.
Silky smooth black glass sandwich the solid metal frame, with ridged texture on the sides and button. It’s truly a beauty to behold. Some people are comparing this with the iPhone 4 which in my opinion, remains Apple’s phone with the best choice of material by far. The cold & silky feeling and the heft does a good job of assuring you that this is a premium device. A jewel perhaps.
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The detailed ridges texture of the frame with the metal textured buttons. Class.
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Memory card & Nano SIM card slot.
The size (5 inch) also makes it the perfect size for me. Some people take comfort in smaller screens or bigger ones, but my sweet spot is 4.7-5.1 inch, and this phone suits it nicely. This phone supports either dual SIM card (for that other person you want to hush about? – hey, I won’t judge) or Micro SD card on its tray. I do prefer separate slots, but this will do just fine since I only use one phone number.
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Can’t wait to put this device to its pace.
I’ll be using this phone as my main device for the upcoming days, to see where it performs in processor performance, battery life, camera, sound quality, and overall durability – since my phones are usually drenched in sweat whenever I took them for running, and just the overall day-to-day perks of using them.
Feel free to shoot any questions and i’ll try my best to answer them. Cheers!

The Redmi 2 Prime is here!

There’s something joyful about having your online shopping merchandise delivered and opening them. Especially when it’s the latest gadget that you can’t wait to play around with. In my case, it happens to be the Xiaomi Redmi Prime 2 that will have a flash sale exclusive in Lazada, this Monday. I’m lucky enough to have the device before being sold tomorrow, and this is a quick unboxing of it.

The usual recycled paper box of Xiaomi phones.
The usual recycled paper box of Xiaomi phones.
I think this box is better than the Mi4i’s, since it’s smaller and has no excess space.
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The usual papers, which i don’t think anyone will read.
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What’s in the box: Phone, battery, charger & USB cable. No earphones included.
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It looks just like the Redmi 2 Nothing’s change, but it’s the internal that matters. 2GB of RAM & 16 gigs of internal storage.
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I love this dark grey case. Better than your usual Xiaomi white, although the texture feels a bit slippery.
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2,200 mAh battery. Nothing’s change from the previous model.
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That’s it! Will be using this as my daily driver and see how it goes.

Xiaomi Mi4i Review

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AADX, atau Ada Apa Dengan Xiaomi? Itu yang gue pikirkan setelah melihat beberapa teman penyuka gadget yang tidak berhenti membicarakan mengenai brand tersebut. Komunitas yang menjadi advokat brand tersebut juga kuat, dan sangat aktif sekali, apalagi setelah produknya yang bernama Mi4i diluncurkan di Jakarta. Produk dengan premis “Affordable Flagship”, yang menurut gue secara pesimis, ngga akan ada bedanya dengan handset Android lainnya.

Gue beberapa kali menggunakan handset Android, dan ujung-ujungnya selalu kembali ke iPhone karena satu hal, konsistensi performa. Pakai Nexus 4 dan 5, yang notabene selalu memberikan konsistensi paling baik dari sisi software, tapi mengecewakan dalam battery life dan kualitas kamera. Pakai LG G3 yang camera nya sangat bagus untuk ukuran handphone, tapi kecewa dengan konsistensi performa nya karena seringkali melambat, memanas, dan ujung-ujungnya baterai lumayan boros.

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Dengan memakai Samsung, kamu akan bahagia karena berlari-lari di taman dan memiliki hidup yang berwarna-warni cerah.

Samsung… Gimana ya? Menurut gue pembeli Samsung itu secara spesifik berasal dari kalangan ‘orang yang masih percaya iklan’. I’m not saying that it’s bad, but you can definitely get better stuff if you only ask your techy friends instead of believing in social media buzzers who seem to glorify them (twice each year during the Galaxy S & Note series periodic launch). Yah, pernah pakai Galaxy S3 dan A5 punya kantor. S3 belum dipakai setahun dan performa nya melambat walau sudah factory reset, dan A5 sebenarnya cukup oke sih, tapi terlalu mahal untuk spesifikasi mid-range nya. So, ya begitu. Gue belum pernah menemukan handset Android yang memuaskan, yang bisa membuat gue bisa meninggalkan iPhone di rumah, dan sehari-hari memakai handset itu aja.

Tertarik dengan omongan teman-teman bahwa Xiaomi Mi4i ini memuaskan, gue bertanya-tanya, dan setelah satu dan lain hal, akhirnya menggunakan handset tersebut selama beberapa minggu ini. Secara singkat, gue sekarang tahu kenapa teman-teman gue merekomendasikan handset ini, dan brand nya memiliki komunitas yang sangat kuat juga. Handset ini simply memuaskan. Ini alasannya:

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Boleh lah ini battery life nya.

1. Battery kuat
Dan ada alasannya kenapa begitu. Satu, secara spesifikasi, ukurannya besar. Lebih dari 3,000 mAH, tapi lucunya, LG G3 yang dulu gue pakai juga memiliki baterai dengan ukuran sekitar itu, dan jarang sekali menembus 12 jam standby dengan penggunaan sedang (Waze sekitar 30 – 40 menit, sekitar 100an push email, chat, social media, browsing, puzzle games, dan sekitar 2.5-3.5 jam layar aktif). Perbedaannya terletak di prioritas designer handphone nya. Xiaomi itu mendahulukan user experience dibandingkan spesifikasi, terlihat dari Layar LG G3 yang 5.5 inch Quad HD, atau sekitar 538 ppi (pixel per inch) sedangkan Mi4i “cuma” Full HD, dengan 441 ppi. Apakah terlihat bedanya? Ngga. Tapi memang spesifikasi LG lebih sexy buat dipampangkan di brosur, walau efeknya lebih memberatkan prosesor dan membuat baterai boros.

Ibaratnya kalau mobil, LG membuat mesin 6 silinder yang lebih besar, tapi menghasilkan akselerasi yang sama dengan mesin Xiaomi yang cuma 4 silinder. It’s pointless. Dengan si Mi4i, Sehari-hari, paling jelek itu gue mendapatkan sekitar 12 jam. Rata-rata sekitar 15 jam, seringkali lebih. Copot charger jam 5.30 pagi, dan baru masuk charger lagi sekitar jam 11 malam. Sangat cukup buat gue.

2. Performa
Performanya konsisten. Masalah gue dengan LG G3 dulu adalah ketidak konsistenan performa. Kadang mulus, tapi seringkali mendadak melambat, bahkan disaat gue cuma ingin scrolling Home screen atau buka app. Mungkin cuma sekitar 0,5-1 detik sih lag nya, tapi dikali beberapa puluh kali melakukannya setiap hari, berasa lah. OS nya Mi4i yang bernama MiUI ini secara mengejutkannya cukup responsif dan konsisten. Tidak seperti kebanyakan Android dengan skin ala produsen lain yang biasanya memberatkan kinerja, OS ini dirasa sangat optimal buat handphone ini. Bukan cuma asal membedakan tampilan dan fitur, tapi memang dirancang untuk melengkapi hardware yang mid-range. Emang sih, RAM yang ukurannya 2GB itu kadang berasa ngga cukup, karena biasanya cuma tersisa sekitar 800-400MB untuk user (sisanya dimakan oleh OS tersebut). Lalu, namanya juga Android ya, masih perlu di reboot paling tidak seminggu sekali untuk mempertahankan mulusnya performa. Dimaklumi lah ini.

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3. Camera
Memang camera handset ini ngga bisa dibandingkan dengan iPhone 5S atau LG G3 yang pernah gue pakai. Noise nya cukup banyak dalam kondisi remang-remang, lalu tidak menangkap detail sebaik handset2 tersebut. Tapi begitu ingat bahwa handset ini harganya 2,8 juta Rupiah, kekurangan itu sangat dimaafkan. Bahkan, agak sulit mencari camera handphone sebaik ini dalam rentan harga tersebut. Camera nya responsive, cukup cepat dinyalakan dari standby sampai mengambil gambar, sangat mudah digunakan & memiliki fitur-fitur unik, misalnya cara menyetel exposure value yang intuitif seperti ini.
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Beberapa fungsi dasar camera Mi4i
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Beragam mode foto Mi4i
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Mode selfie dengan sensor umur built-in. Dengan kacamata, gue dibaca sebagai 50 tahun, tanpa kacamata, lebih muda 20 tahun.

Camera itu sangat penting buat gue, dan menjadi salah satu alasan kenapa gue urung menggunakan Nexus. Camera dengan kualitas gambar konsisten itu alasan gue kenapa sejauh ini selalu memilih menggunakan iPhone untuk mengambil gambar, dan tidak memakai handset Android lainnya. Dengan si Mi4i ini, gue semakin sering menggunakannya untuk mengambil gambar, terlebih karena kamera 13 Megapixel nya ini lebih cropping friendly dibandingkan 8 Megapixel nya iPhone 5S gue. Untuk sample foto Mi4i, silahkan scroll ke paling bawah.

Sharp & vibrant. Something that you don’t see in a phone at this price range.
4. Layar dan desain
Menurut gue, 4.7-5 inch adalah ukuran layar terbaik, dimana real-estate visual cukup, tapi tidak mengorbankan handling jika menggunakan satu tangan. It’s the sweet spot. Layar 5 inch nya Mi4i yang digabung dengan body yang tipis membuatnya gampang digunakan, bahkan dengan satu tangan. Selain itu, layarnya tajam dan warnanya sangat bagus.
Apabila Samsung memiliki hobi yang aneh untuk membuat saturasi warna terlalu kuat, Xiaomi ini lebih condong ke Apple untuk racikan warna layar. Netral, visual angle nya luas dan menggunakan teknologi IPS dibandingkan LED. Foto dan gambar terlihat natural dan ekstra tajam. Memang kekurangannya adalah ketika di tempat gelap, there’s only so much brightness you can decrease. Kalah dibandingkan layar AMOLED nya Samsung yang bisa extra redup dan tidak menyilaukan. If you’re a fan of reading in the dark before going to bed (or you’re Batman), you might be losing sleep because of this.
Tampilan dasar home screen MiUI. Tidak punya app drawer seperti Android pada umumnya. I like this better. Who access their app drawer anyway?
Walau tampilannya iOS banget, tapi widgets bisa dong. Best of both world.
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Multi tasking screen nya kelihatan familiar ya…
5. Detail OS
Walau terlihat Xiaomi ini ‘terinspirasi’ sekali dari Apple, banyak sentuhan-sentuhan kecil yang dilakukan Xiaomi yang membuatnya berasa lebih intuitif atau menyenangkan dibandingkan versi Android lainnya. Contoh paling kecil, aksi swiping untuk melihat notifikasi tidak usah dilakukan pada layar bagian paling atas, tapi bisa dari mana saja.
Lalu, mode satu tangan yang sangat intuitif dan gampang dilakukan, bahkan sampai cara switching dari camera belakang ke depan (tinggal swipe atas/bawah saat camera menyala) atau posisi angka timer di selfie-mode camera yang posisinya dekat dengan lensa, agar mata lebih fokus melihat kearah lensa tersebut. Banyak sekali detail-detail kecil yang membuat OS ini unik, intuitif dan menyenangkan digunakan, baik itu animasi nya, maupun designnya. Untuk segala fitur MiUI, dapat dilihat disini.
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I don’t mind using this as my daily driver. In fact, i want it to be.
Kesimpulannya, gue jatuh hati dengan handset ini. Memang ini masih terlalu cepat untuk mengatakan apakah Mi4i ini akan bertahan lama atau memberikan performa yang konsisten dengan berjalannya waktu, but, i’m more than willing to find out. Handset ini menyenangkan untuk digunakan. Ia membuat gue nyaman untuk memindahkan nomor utama ke sini, dan (kadang) meninggalkan iPhone di rumah. Handset ini actually ngga membuat gue was-was dengan performa baterai nya, atau memberikan gambar yang lumayan bagus dengan cepat tiap kali gue nyalakan kameranya. In fact, this is what i’m looking for in a handset. Perasaan tenang bahwa handset ini akan bekerja tanpa drama. It just works.
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Those faux chrome & plasticky buttons
Tapi, seperti ungkapan ‘tiada gading yang tak retak’ (atau kalau disesuaikan dengan era masa kini, ‘tiada Kelapa Gading yang tak banjir’) kekurangan itu pasti ada. Pertama, ukuran memory internal yang cuma 16 GB. Emang sih ini bisa disiasati dengan selalu selektif memilih file apa yang akan kita simpan, but i’m echoing realistic women here that size, in fact, does matter. Kedua, feel dari power & volume button. As you can tell as how i’m nitpicking here, sebenarnya ini bukan sesuatu yang penting, tapi akan lebih baik apabila rasanya lebih ‘click’ dan less plasticky. Apalagi ya? Mungkin tekstur body nya. Memang dia menggunakan coating yang membuatnya anti kotor. Segala noda gampang sekali dihapus, tapi kadang membuatnya berasa licin. Oke, gue mulai kehabisan materi untuk dikomplain. Selain itu pun, segala keluhan diatas lagi-lagi dimaafkan mengingat harganya yang dibawah 3 juta.
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It’s hard to find a better phone all around at 2.5-3 million price point. I highly recommend this phone for that kind of budget.
Ada masanya harga dibawah 3 juta itu merupakan pertanda sial bahwa handset yang bisa dibawa pulang adalah merek ngga jelas, atau Samsung low-end dengan spesifikasi yang hanya terdengar wow ketika band bernama Base Jam masih terkenal. Dengan senangnya gue memberi tahu bahwa masa-masa gelap itu telah berlalu (begitu pula dengan Base Jam). Budget terbatas sekarang bisa mendapatkan handset dengan kualitas sebaik Mi4i ini.
P.S: If your budget is lower than that, and i mean below 2 million Rupiah, you shouldn’t worry as well. Xiaomi baru aja meluncurkan Redmi 2 Prime yang harganya sekitar 1,8 jutaan, dan apabila optimalisasi OS dan hardware nya sebagus si Mi4i ini, harusnya performa nya akan sangat memuaskan untuk harganya. I will be reviewing it once i got my hands on it and spend a good time with it. (Big love to the guys at Xiaomi for allowing me to do some reviews on their gadgets)
Beberapa sample foto yang diambil dengan Mi4i:
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Pagi hari cerah, indoor, sudah dibumbui dengan preset VSCOCAM.
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Maghrib, outdoor, sekitar jam setengah 7 malam.
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Indoor, malam, dengan cahaya lampu neon.
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Malam, indoor dan remang-remang ala bar.
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Kondisi malam. Mengkompensasi noise dengan kontras cahaya yang tinggi.
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Indoor, kondisi terang sekitar jam makan siang.

Unexpected Gadget: The Xiaomi Mi4i

So, last Wednesday I was curious & asked around about the Xiaomi Mi4i’s performance, which turns out was rolling into an unexpected direction. Long story short, the guys from Xiaomi contacted me and they are giving me a brand new Mi4i to test! And here it is on its first unboxing attempt, which reveals a very spartan packaging, but a very clean-designed one nonetheless.

The guys from Xiaomi Indonesia
Me & the good guys from Xiaomi Indonesia, meeting up at Filosofi Kopi, Blok M.
First time opening the Xiaomi Mi4i
It’s brown, recycled, and… that’s it.

In the next couple of days/weeks/months I will be reviewing this mid-range device on its consistency of performance. Out of the box, it performs brilliantly. But as my previous experience with Android devices, it’s the long term performance that most of the time suffers. Experienced it on a Galaxy S3, HTC One V and LG G3. (surprisingly I didn’t encounter it on the Nexus 4 & 5, but the battery life was horrifying)

I’ll be updating on the day-to-day performance for the camera, speed, memory management, battery life, and in general just how does it feel to live with the device. I’m not a benchmark geek (or in some cultures, Jemaah Antutudiyah), so what matters is the overall consistency for my day to day. I usually use it mostly for emails – 80 to 120 emails per day, chat, camera, social media, music, YouTube video playing & keeping up with my daily newsfeed. In the mean time, do shoot the comments if you have anything to ask about this device.

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The Mi4i is a great 5 inch phone. It’s very comfortable and has a great handling for a big screen.
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The polycarbonate backside feels like the old HTC One X. It’s solid and doesn’t feel cheap despite its 2,8 million rupiah price tag.
The unboxing of the Mi4i
Aaand that’s it. Phone, USB charger & cable and more recycled cardboard.

The real android experience: The original is always the best

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So, I’ve been lucky enough to play with Google’s official handset, the Nexus 4 for these couple of days. This is a short opinion on what I think about the peculiar handset.

For starter, the Nexus 4 is a real Google Android handset. It means that the operating system is officially made by Google, not customized by Samsung (like the ones in Galaxy) or any other handset manufacturer. The result is actually quite contrast. This handset’s fluidity is on equal term with my iPhone 4S, even starting and switching apps faster than it. And believe me, that’s the highest compliment I can give for an Android phone. I’ve used Samsung’s so called flagship, the Galaxy S3, and I wasn’t quite satisfied with it. The operating system is heavy, bloated, and it looks like it was designed by an 8 year old using Microsoft Paint. A stark contrast compared to the untouched one in the Nexus 4 with its Holo theme, a design theme where it looks like it was taken from Tron, but simplified so a mere human like me could easily understand.

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The hardware is also very different. While the Samsung believe in plastic (like most Korean boy/girl band), the Nexus uses soft touch plastic sandwiched with Gorilla Glass on the front and the back, giving it that “expensive” feel, even though it costs less than the Samsung. (I think around 5 million for a brand new one).

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Comparing it with the iOS on the app side, the Android still lacks that cohesive feel iOS has. Each app isn’t designed uniformly up to Google’s standard. Some app perform fabulously, like the LinkedIn apps that has more fluidity and sleekness compared to its iOS counterpart, but most of the apps are still better on the iOS version. Some example is the Nike+ app that can be connected with Path seamlessly on my iPhone. The Android app still doesn’t have this feature. It does offer sharing function to Facebook or Twitter, but no Path integration.

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Some comparison on the Nike+ app

How does it feel to live with it? Well, on the battery life side, it’s on par with the 4S. On days where I don’t use it much, it’s quite frugal. Passing by the 12 hours mark with ease. On active days with push mails, snapping cameras frequently and plenty of Internet browsing, it gave up on the 10th hour. The camera on the Nexus 4 is just okay. It’s not horrible as BlackBerry’s, but not as good as iPhone’s or Galaxy S3’s, especially in low light condition. Surprisingly, the audio quality on this device is excellent. Using a Klipsch S4 earphone and the iPhone 4S as the benchmark, I could safely say that the clarity is on equal term, although it still haven’t been able to match the iPhone’s volume level.

Would I use this device as my daily driver? Hell yeah. But would I exchange my iPhone for it? Well, if I was comparing it with a Samsung Galaxy, then the answer is no, in a heartbeat. But since the Nexus 4 is that good (on equal terms with iPhone’s quality. Finally!), I would probably ask whether I could just use both of them as my daily driver, since deciding between the both of them is harder than deciding between coffee or tea on a relaxing afternoon, and I think I will just do that.