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Hushed gives you a second private phone line for just $25


Hushed Private Phone Line Features

It’s annoying how often you have to provide your personal number these days. Whether you’re signing up for an online service or making an impulsive purchase, a phone number is often required.

Sadly, giving your main number makes you easy prey for scammers and telemarketers looking to bombard you with illicit phone calls and texts. Fortunately, that can be easily avoided. You can protect your privacy by spending just $25 on a Hushed Private Phone Line.

The Hushed app is like having a second phone but without the hassle or cost. You get all the same perks of having a spare phone with a new number. They include Wi-Fi calling, customizable voicemails, and call-forwarding.

Get all the same perks of having a spare phone.

You can buy and sell items on Craigslist, apply for dating apps, or exchange phone numbers with strangers without worrying about your privacy

The plan is a lifetime subscription to Hushed, which includes a combination of 6,000 texts or 1,000 minutes in credit per year. The license and credit automatically renew at the end of each year, at no extra cost to you. You can even choose from hundreds of area codes across the U.S. and Canada.

For the next few days, the $150 Hushed plan has an 82% price drop. That means you can sign up for just $25.

If you like the sound of the deal, hit the button below to get started.

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Galaxy Note 10+ vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max: Which should you buy?


The best of Android

Galaxy Note 10+


Over the garden wall

iPhone 11 Pro Max


The Galaxy Note 10+ has a long-lasting battery, three powerful cameras, and of course, the mighty S Pen. It’s easily one of the best Android phones around, and beats out the iPhone with tweakable software, expandable storage, and lightning-fast charging.

$1100 at Amazon

Pros

  • 256GB of expandable storage
  • Three powerful cameras
  • Multipurpose S Pen tool
  • Incredible edge-to-edge display
  • Great battery life and fast charging

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Low-light camera quality is weak

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple’s biggest, most powerful phone yet, with three great cameras and the promise of all-day battery life. You’ll need to pay extra for worthwhile storage, but multi-cam recording and conveniences like Airdrop make it a great option.

$1099 at Apple

Pros

  • Works well with other Apple products
  • Three powerful cameras
  • Dual SIM-capable with eSIM
  • Seamless transitioning between lenses
  • Improved Face ID

Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • Starts at just 64GB

The Galaxy Note 10+ and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are the two top-end phones from each respective platform. Software aside, there’s a surprising amount of similarities between the two phones, from triple cameras to large, nearly bezel-less displays and high quality designs made up of metal and glass. So which one is a better fit for most people?

The battle of Android vs. iOS continues

By now you’ve likely made up your mind on whether your prefer Android or iOS (you can guess which we prefer!), but it’s hard to debate that both Samsung and Apple are making incredible phones in 2019 — even if they’re for different people. The recently released Galaxy Note 10+ is already one of the very best Android phones money can buy, with powerful hardware and three great cameras.

There’s more to it than the software each phone uses, but it’s certainly an important factor.

That’s not especially new for Samsung; the Note 10+ is largely similar to the Galaxy S10+ before it, which featured nearly identical specs and the same set of wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto lenses. The Galaxy Note 10+ does feature a new futuristic design, however, with a nearly edge-to-edge display that wraps around the curved glass, obscured only by a small hole-punch cutout at the top.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max takes a lot of design inspiration from its predecessor, as well. The front is visually indistinguishable from that of the iPhone XS Max before it, though the rear design has been refreshed with a new frosted glass look and a significantly larger camera bump that houses the first triple-camera array on an iPhone. Just as with the Galaxy Note 10+, the iPhone 11 Pro Max features wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto cameras.

Storage is a weak point for the iPhone.

The short of is this: both phones are incredibly well-made, each with its own unique design and similar triple camera arrangements. You’ll get dual speakers on either phone, and neither features a 3.5mm headphone jack — the biggest hardware difference is the charging/data port. While the Note 10+ features the same USB-C port you’ll find on most gadgets made in the last few years, the iPhone 11 Pro Max sticks with Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector.

One major win for the Galaxy Note 10+ is its microSD slot for easily expanding the built-in 256GB of storage — with the iPhone, you’re stuck with the storage you pay for, starting at a measly 64GB. That’s a quarter of the storage for the same price, though the iPhone at the very least features dual SIM compatibility through use of its eSIM, which can be a big plus for frequent travelers and business users.

Without touching too much on software (which, again, you’ve undoubtedly already come to your own conclusions on), iOS is still a great fit for those who already have other Apple devices. Convenient features like Airdrop and iMessage play as big a role as ever in drawing users into the Apple ecosystem, though there are of course similar services on Android. The Galaxy Note 10+ runs Samsung’s One UI over Android 9 Pie, which features a built-in video editor, plenty of customizability, and powerful camera controls.

Speaking of cameras, while both phones offer the same choices of lenses, you’ll get very different experiences with each. The Galaxy Note 10+ has plenty of useful tools that benefit both photo and video; along with manual camera controls, you get ultra-stabilized video, focused audio zooming, and even live focus video that adds depth behind your subject. You can also use the S Pen as a remote shutter for capturing photos and videos without touching the screen.

As far as cameras go, you’re choosing between manual controls and multi-cam recording.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max doesn’t offer nearly as many controls; you can’t adjust things like shutter speed, focus, or aperture manually through the built-in camera software. But Apple is making use of its powerful new A13 Bionic chip to prime each of its lenses in the background while you shoot, allowing you to switch lenses while filming without any noticeable change in color or exposure. Through the popular third-party app Filmic Pro, you can even film with all three rear lenses at once (and even the front camera!), saving each feed as a separate file to edit to your liking later.

Both phones promise all-day battery life, and while we haven’t yet had the chance to put the iPhone 11 Pro Max to the test, the Galaxy Note 10+ certainly lives up to its claims. A huge victory for the Note comes in the form of its charging, supporting up to 45W with a wired connection. Even its 15W wireless charging nearly matches the 18W wired charging of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

At the end of the day, there’s no right or wrong choice here. Both phones are incredibly powerful, and each represents the very best of its respective manufacturer and platform. If you want the best interoperability with other Apple devices, or you want the ability to film with all of your phone’s cameras at once, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best phone you can buy. If, on the other hand, you like to customize your phone’s software to your heart’s content, or you value the hardware amenities like expandable storage and the S Pen, the Galaxy Note 10+ will take you further for your money.

The best of Android


Galaxy Note 10+

One of the best Android experiences around.

The Galaxy Note 10+ has a long-lasting battery, three powerful cameras, and of course, the mighty S Pen. It’s easily one of the best Android phones around, and beats out the iPhone with tweakable software, expandable storage, and lightning-fast charging.

Over the garden wall


iPhone 11 Pro Max

Spare no expense.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple’s biggest, most powerful phone yet, with three great cameras and the promise of all-day battery life. You’ll need to pay extra for worthwhile storage, but multi-cam recording and conveniences like Airdrop make it a great option.

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Hands-on with the OxygenOS Open Beta


android 10 oneplus 7 pro

Android 10 is here! Well, it is if you happen to have a Google Pixel or an Essential Phone. The rest of us have to wait a little longer, but if you happen to be a OnePlus 7 or OnePlus 7 Pro owner you can get a taste of what’s to come with the Android 10 OxygenOS open beta.

I’ve been running the first open beta on a OnePlus 7 Pro for a few days now and there are a bunch of fairly significant changes along with some more subtle tweaks, most of which are expected to carry over to the stable release of OxygenOS based on Android 10 in the near future.

Before we get going with my hands-on impressions, it should be noted that the open beta is a fairly buggy affair. It may be tempting to “upgrade,” but be warned that there are inevitable instability issues. The problems I encountered — UI elements freezing, auto brightness inconsistency, stuttering transitions — are by no means exhaustive. You can give the beta a spin yourself via the button below, but if you do encounter any issues be sure to report them to OnePlus here.

With that out of the way, let’s see what’s in store for Android 10 on the OnePlus 7 Pro!

Hello new gestures, goodbye “pill”

I’ve been flitting between the OnePlus 7 series and a Pixel 3 XL for months now and during that time I’ve been using Google’s awkward two-button “pill” navigation on both for consistency’s sake. The OxygenOS Android 10 beta has thrown all that out of the window because the pill is gone, perhaps for good.

You still have three choices in total, with the old school three-button bar and OxygenOS’ upward swipe gestures still available as options. The third option now mimics Google’s new, distinctly iOS-esque gestures introduced with “stock” Android 10, with horizontal swipes introduced to go back on top of short vertical swipes for recents and a longer upward swipe for the app drawer.

Whether you like them or not gestures aren’t going anywhere and this is inarguably the best implementation so far. OnePlus has actually gone a step further by addressing the hamburger menu dilemma.

Unlike Google’s clumsy hold-and-peek band aid, if you swipe from the top left edge of the screen on a OnePlus phone running Android 10 you’ll still summon the hamburger menu instead of going back. As shown in the GIF above, it works perfectly, and Google should absolutely take note.

I actually miss the pill.

With all that said, and it might be Stockholm Syndrome talking at this point, I actually miss the pill. Is it objectively worse? Maybe. Would I have liked the option to stick with it? Absolutely.

Another minor tweak to navigation is the ability to hide the gesture guide line at the bottom of the UI. While this is mostly a visual change that gives you a tiny bit of extra screen real estate for general use, it also means you have to “throw” recent apps (a diagonal swipe from the middle) to cycle through them rather than swiping left and right on the bar.

Telephoto and wide-angle video, wide-angle Nightscape, and more

The camera has always been one of OnePlus’ weaker areas, but the Chinese brand has, to its credit, always improved overall quality and added new camera features post launch. This trend continued in the months following the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro’s release and it’s due to get yet another boost with Android 10.

Related: We went behind the scenes with the OnePlus camera team. Here’s what we learned.

The headline additions are the ability to capture video using the wide-angle and telephoto cameras, as well as Nightscape support for the wide-angle lens.

As you can’t flip between the three cameras on the fly, the telephoto zoom feels a little redundant, but wide-angle video is great for capturing landscapes. In fact, video capture in general is vastly improved thanks to the 1080p-locked Super Stable mode that can be toggled on via a new icon in the top right of the Camera app.

Wide-angle Nightscape is also a neat option to have in theory, but you gain a ton of noise switching from the primary to wide sensor and the overall image quality you are left with is really quite poor if your hand moves even half an inch. You can also now take zoomed portrait shots using the telephoto lens and that fares much better.

On the selfie side, Focus Tracking now follows moving subject’s faces around and keeps them in focus. This apparently also works on cats and dogs, but I couldn’t get my obstinate feline into shot long enough to test it.

One feature that’s been widely reported on but isn’t here in the open beta is a Super Macro mode, though that could still arrive with the stable release or as a future update to the OnePlus Camera app. There is, however, a newly added option to hide any photos in a “Hidden Collection” album in the Gallery app which should be great for those, well, private photos. Moving on.

Zen Mode gets even more chill

OnePlus’ surprisingly popular Zen Mode has gotten even better in the Android 10 beta with the much-requested addition of timer options. Instead of the default 20 minute break, you can now silence your notifications and apps for 30, 40, or 60 minutes as well.

If you’re not into Zen Mode’s extreme approach to digital health, you’ll be happy to hear that the full Digital Wellbeing app that was missing on Android Pie-based OxygenOS has now finally arrived too. This is the latest version, so it also includes parental controls like screen time and app limits via Google’s Family Link suite.

Game on with Game Space

OnePlus doesn’t technically make gaming phones, but its phones just so happen to be among the best handsets you can buy for playing games thanks to all of that top-end hardware.

With the Android 10 beta, OxygenOS has also come to play with the new Game Space app. The app is essentially a mini launcher where you can access all of your games, much like the game launchers we’ve seen from Asus and Samsung.

As well as the smart, clean design, Game Space is also the new home for Gaming mode and Fnatic mode, which had previously been haphazardly stuffed into the nondescript Utilities sub menu in Settings. These are all smart and stylish changes that — combined with upgraded screen recording that now supports QHD and 60fps — make the OnePlus 7 Pro an even better phone for gaming on the go.

Improved Ambient Display

android 10 oneplus 7 pro ambient display

Let’s get the disappointment out of the way first: There’s still no always-on display.

As a sort-of solution to what’s still an utterly baffling omission, OnePlus has improved the Ambient Display. Following the Android 10 update, the Ambient Display shows weather reports and calendar events that adapt depending on the time of day and your location.

Ambient Display has been upgraded, but it’s baffling there’s still no Always-on option.

There’s also apparently a new feature which, much like the Now Playing feature on Pixel phones, shows you the song and artist name for any music playing with just a tap on the Ambient Display. I say apparently because I couldn’t ever get this to work.

The priority and grouping changes to the notification bar in stock Android 10 also make it over in the OxygenOS open beta in full.

Dark mode and Customization

android 10 oneplus 7 pro version number

OnePlus was always far from the worst offender when it comes to OEMs transforming the Settings menu into a cluttered mess (looking at you, Huawei), but things get even tidier with Android 10 thanks to the new Customization menu.

Related: Does “true black” dark mode save more battery than dark gray? Yes, but also no

Instead of throwing all of OxygenOS’ customizable elements into different categories, this new sub menu bundles together almost all of the optional cosmetic UI changes. This includes accent colors, UI icon shapes, app icon packs, fonts, and all lock screen customization like wallpapers, in-display fingerprint animations, and the color of the Horizon Light for notification flashes along the curved edge.

It’s also where you’ll find OxygenOS’ take on a proper, AMOLED-friendly, system-wide dark mode. The option appears under Customization > Tone alongside the regular Light theme and a Colorful mode which mixes light and dark elements with colorful icons. Alternatively, you can select the “Nuanced dark” preset theme which also changes other UI elements like the Ambient Display clock and fingerprint animation.

Unfortunately, OnePlus’ dark mode mixes jarring gray tones into the deep blacks, most notably in the quick settings panel. This won’t be a deal breaker for many, but dark mode purists will no doubt hope this changes for the stable release. It’s also worth noting that there isn’t a dark mode shortcut in quick settings as there is in stock Android 10.

Other features and UI tweaks

android 10 oneplus 7 pro bugdroid

We’ve covered most of the core changes in the OxygenOS open beta, but on top of other base Android 10 changes, such as the new privacy options, there are plenty of minor tweaks that are exclusive to OnePlus’ skin.

Many of these are aesthetic changes that are as small as the freshly disembodied Bugdroid icon now appearing on the boot screen and the relocation of the battery indicator to the left side of quick settings.

OxygenOS packs in a raft of major and minor changes that improve on ‘stock’ Android 10.

Others, like the revised volume panel with multiple sliders in one small panel, are useful but easy to miss. There’s also Intelligent Control which automatically adjusts background power for apps based on their characteristics and your own usage.

Raise to Switch is actually one of my favorite new features. With Raise to Switch any calls you make or answer will automatically switch over from any Bluetooth headsets or headphones you might have accidentally left on when you lift the phone to your ear.

Many of these additions and changes are relatively minor, but are still smart and welcome improvements over regular Android 10.


That’s it for our hands-on with Android 10 on OnePlus 7 Pro. Which is your favorite new feature? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments.

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Best Portable Monitors for PlayStation 4 in 2019


Best
Portable Monitors for PlayStation 4
Android Central
2019

Playing your PlayStation 4 on the go can be a tricky and cumbersome experience, but it doesn’t have to be thanks to the advent of portable monitors. While it won’t be portable in a handheld sense, you can make it far more comfortable to not only pack up and travel with your PS4 but also play it anywhere you can find a power outlet. We’ve highlighted these monitors based on some factors including portability, ease of use, and resolution.



Staff pick

This is a Goldilocks of portable screens with an 11.6-inch IPS panel, a resolution that supports up to 1080p, and a 14ms response time. It’s not too big, not too small, and the response time is just right. With a display and response time like that, it won’t be “Game Over” due to delayed input.

$229 at Amazon


This Kenowa portable monitor is 15.6 inches and has a resolution of 1920×1080. It has a dual HDMI input, headphone port, and built-in speaker. You can power this device through the USB port or directly connecting the power cable to the wall. It even comes with it’s own leather carrying case!

$175 at Amazon


Here we have a 13-inch monitor with a resolution of 2560×1440 that even supports 4K boosted games on your PlayStation Pro! It comes with a stand you can prop up on any surface for the easiest comfort. It’s powered by the USB port or provided power cable and has its own built-in speakers.

$190 at Amazon


Want a bigger screen without breaking your back to carry it? This 15.6-inch, 1920×1080, Full HD, IPS monitor weighs in at under 2 pounds — 1.76 to be precise. And with a screen cover-stand that comes with it, you have one and a half fewer things to worry about when packing.

$170 at Amazon


In many respects, the GeChic 1102H is quite similar to the 1101P with its 11.6-inch 1080p display, though its claim to fame is an onboard 6,900 mAh battery rated for up to 4.5 hours. This means you only need one power outlet to enjoy your games on the go.

$295 at Amazon


Elecrow’s 13.3-inch 1920x1080p monitor has a built-in kickstand and two HDMI ports. It doesn’t have its own power supply, but it does have a USB port that an average 20,000 mAh battery capacity power-bank can fuel for just over five hours. Or you can use the AC adapter.

$146 at Amazon

Make your trip safer and easier!

Any portable monitor with an HDMI port will work for your PS4, but the options we highlighted today are advantageous in all the right areas. They’re sizable and sharp in resolution because no one wants to feel like they’re playing on a viewfinder. They all use IPS panels, so you’ll get bright, accurate colors at a range of different viewing angles. These panels are also 60Hz, so they can show all your PS4 games at 60 frames per second. Last but not least, relatively fast response times means you won’t be lagging behind the competition when playing online. If we had to choose just one, our pick is the GeChic 1101P for overall value and gaming-centric positives.

You can’t truly play the PlayStation 4 remotely because the console needs to be plugged directly into the wall, but these accessories still make traveling a breeze. Whether you need the second screen because the family TV is being used, you want to kick back in bed, or you have a trip your planning, any of these carry cases will help keep your tech safe and sound.

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Vivo Z1x review: Attractive design and good-enough specs


The pace of smartphone innovation is such that we’re seeing apparent successors to newly launched devices within a matter of weeks, rather than months. The Vivo Z1 Pro launched in July and we praised it for having a laser focus on good design, photography chops, and long battery life. The Vivo Z1x builds on the strengths of its predecessor and ups the ante on almost all fronts.

About this review: I wrote this Vivo Z1x review after using the phone for a week. Vivo India supplied the review unit, which was running Android Pie with Funtouch OS. The software version at the time of testing was PD121F_EX_A_1.5.5 and the phone had the July security patch installed. 

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Vivo Z1x Pro review: The big picture

The Vivo Z1x takes aim at devices like the Realme X, the Redmi Note 7 Pro, and a myriad of mid-range competitors from Samsung and others. It carries over the core experience of the Vivo Z1 Pro and punches up the appeal by making improvements to the camera, display, and general feature set. Is that enough to make a good phone great?

We find out in the Android Authority review of the Vivo Z1x.

What’s in the box

  • Vivo Z1x
  • Charger
  • USB Cable
  • Warranty info
  • Quick start guide
  • Case
  • Earphones
  • SIM eject tool

The Vivo Z1x ships with just about everything you could possibly need. This includes a clear case, earphones, and a pre-installed screen guard. You also get the staples like a SIM eject tool as well as warranty and quick start guides.

Design

  • Waterdrop notch
  • Polycarbonate build
  • 159.5 x 75.2 x 8.1mm
  • 190g

The Vivo Z1x takes a step back from the punch-hole design of the Vivo Z1 Pro. While it is a cool feature to have, the tiny waterdrop notch on the Z1x is just as inoffensive. Instead of the industry-standard Gorilla Glass protection, the Z1x ships with Schott Xensation 3D glass that Vivo claims to have equivalent, if not better, standards of protection. Unsurprisingly, there’s no IP certification. The entire construction is polycarbonate with glass only at the front of the phone. 

Vivo Z1x front of the phone showing display

I like the changes Vivo made to the construction of the Z1x. The phone doesn’t bulge out as much, and offers very good grip in the hand. The tactile feedback from the buttons is top-notch and the phone feels very well put together. The volume rocker and power button, both, are easy to reach. Meanwhile, the dedicated Google Assistant button on the left falls right under your thumb.

The biggest quality improvement, however, has to be the shift to a USB-C port. It is a small change, but there’s no legit reason why any 2019 mid-range phone should ship with a Micro-USB port. There continues to be a headphone jack, as well as a single loudspeaker on the bottom edge.

Vivo Z1x showing in display fingerprint sensor

Vivo made another change, as the Z1x sports an in-display fingerprint sensor. I found this to be just as fast as any other premium mid-range offering. That said, the position of the touch point was just a bit too low keeping in mind the size of the phone.

Vivo Z1x profile shot showing gradient and camera

Vivo, like most other smartphone manufacturers, has been toying with gradients for a while now. The jewel-like blue on the Z1 Pro was an absolute stunner. This time around, the company opted for a just-as-pretty Phantom Purple. The back of the phone shimmers from a deep blue to a gorgeous shade of purple. It looks absolutely smashing. I’m personally not too big on gradients, but this is one phone I wouldn’t mind flaunting when out and about.

Display

  • 6.38-inches
  • Super AMOLED
  • Schott Xensation 3D Glass
  • 2,340 x 1,080
  • 19.5:9
  • 404 ppi

The display on the Vivo Z1x is a marked improvement over the one we saw on the Z1 Pro. Much of this comes down to the change in display type. Vivo’s switch to a Super AMOLED panel means saturation levels are on-point. (This was our biggest complaint with Vivo’s other mid-range phone.)

The phone is generally bright enough, but a bit of legroom would’ve been great to have.

Peak brightness levels on the display fall just short of 400 nits which is good, but definitely not great. I had no issues with viewing the display outdoors, but having a bit more legroom to punch up the brightness would’ve been very handy.

Vivo Z1x in hand showing app drawer

Color tuning out of the box is less than ideal and skews towards cooler blue tones. Switching to the natural tuning setting corrects this to a large degree. There is no noticeable color shift except at extreme angles, and the display on the Vivo Z1x is able to keep up with phones like the Realme 5 Pro and Galaxy M30, both of which sport AMOLED panels.

Performance

  • Snapdragon 712
  • 2 x 2.3GHz Kryo 360 Gold
  • 6 x 1.7GHz Kryo 360 Silver
  • Adreno 616
  • 4/6GB RAM
  • 64/128GB ROM
  • MicroSD expansion

The Snapdragon 700 series of chipsets have fast become the darling of mid-range smartphone manufacturers. The 712 debuted in India with the Vivo Z1 Pro and the Z1x also relies on the chipset. To give you a recap, the Snapdragon 712 provides a modest bump in CPU performance over the Snapdragon 710 via higher clock speeds. There is no difference in graphics performance.

Performance is right in line with other competing mid-rangers.

Mid-range hardware generally delivers excellent results these days, and the Z1x is no different. The software and hardware work in tandem to deliver a software experience that is smooth without noticeable frame drops. If you’re not a heavy gamer, there is enough grunt under the hood here to run anything you throw at it. The phone didn’t break a sweat when jumping between apps and easily held up.

PUBG remains one of the most popular games on the platform and the Vivo Z1x maintained a solid frame rate. I didn’t notice any serious pop-ins or lags. If you plan to do a bit of gaming on your phone, the Vivo Z1x will present no issues at all.

Benchmark scores are within spitting distance of competing Snapdragon 712 equipped phones. The phone managed 185123 points in the AnTuTu benchmark, which is almost 3000 points more than what the Realme 5 Pro managed. Similarly, in the GPU-focused 3DMark benchmark, the score was pretty much what most other Snapdragon 712-equipped devices have managed in our tests. Finally, the Vivo Z1x managed 2967 points in our Basemark test. 

Battery

  • 4,500mAh
  • 22.5W fast charging

Battery life was reasonably good but fell short of best in class, despite the large 4,500mAh battery. In our testing, the phone managed over 16 hours of video playback, but fell short of the 18/19 hours achieved by Xiaomi’s hardware with smaller batteries. The same was true of our web browsing test, where the phone managed to push through 15 hours of battery life. This was pretty good, but again, not quite as good as what some competing phones with smaller batteries are able to achieve.

Software

The Vivo Z1x, like other Vivo phones, includes Funtouch OS with Android Pie onboard. I’m not a fan of Vivo’s skin because of how far it is from the standard interface paradigm of Android.

There’s no app drawer here, but what really caught me off guard was how the notification drawer has been split up with the quick access toggles placed in a swipe up drawer at the bottom of the phone. This took a while to get used and is a bit too cluttered. Similarly, the phone is plagued by way too many pre-installed apps. This includes both third-party applications as well as redundant first-party applications. Not all of these can be removed.

The ability to set the volume key as a shortcut and the one-handed mode are handy to have.

Vivo added in a few functions that power users might find handy. I particularly liked the ability to set the volume down button as a shortcut key for any application, flashlight, or the camera. Similarly, the one-handed mode works well in those instances when you need to type out a message with a single hand.

Camera

  • Rear camera:
    • 48MP IMX582 wide-angle, f/1.8
    • 8MP ultra-wide
    • 5MP depth sensor
  • Front camera:
  • 4K/30fps video
  • No EIS

As is the case with most mid-rangers, the Vivo Z1x sports the 48MP IMX582 sensor that pixel-bins down to 12MP. It looks like Vivo worked on tweaking the camera tuning, but it falls just short of nailing it — especially in less-than-great light. 

Ultra-wide angleStandard Ultra-wide angle

Standard

Images generally look good enough, but close examination reveals an emphasis on boosting saturation. The dynamic range is not particularly impressive either, with the shadowy areas missing detail. Wide-angle shots displayed slightly boosted exposure levels. They were not bad looking images at all, but could do with slight tweaks. 

Vivo Z1x close up

As mentioned earlier, the saturation has been boosted, but images still look visually appealing. The phone does a good job keeping noise levels in check without creating digital artifacts. 

Vivo Z1x indoor flower vase camera sample

Indoor and low-light conditions pose a problem for the phone and the noise levels definitely ramp up. I expected the phone to perform better, given the boosted sensitivity from pixel binning. 

Video recording tops off at 4K at 30fps thanks to the IMX582 sensor. Video footage looks a bit too over-sharpened for my liking, with some visible compression artifacts. These become more evident as the ambient light drops and noise levels go up. Daylight footage is about par for mid-range smartphones, with punchy colors. It isn’t quite the best video capturing experience, but most users should find it good enough. 

You can head on to the link to take a look at full resolution image samples

Audio

  • Headphone jack
  • Single downward-firing speaker

The Vivo Z1x sports a headphone jack and delivers clean, neutral-sounding audio. Wired headphones sound pretty good and there’s no hiss or aberrant noise that we’ve noticed on some mid-rangers. 

The speaker keeps pace with the competition and we measured peak loudness levels of over 83 decibels. This isn’t as loud as Xiaomi’s phones, but keeps up with Realme devices. Regardless, it is loud enough for alarms and even for listening to Youtube videos while out and about. Not that we recommend doing that!

Specifications

  Vivo Z1x
Display 6.38-inch Super AMOLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
19.5:9
~404 ppi
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 712
2×2.3GHz Kryo 360 Gold
6×1.7GHz Kryo 360 Silver
GPU Adreno 616
RAM 6GB
Storage 64/128GB
Expandable with microSD card up to 256GB
Cameras Front camera:
32MP, f/2.0

Rear camera:
48MP, f/1.8 aperture
8MP, f/2.2 16mm ultrawide
5MP depth sensor
4K@30fps video recording,
Dual-LED flash

Battery 4,500mAh
22.5W fast charging
USB-C
Headphone port Yes
Software Android 9.0 Pie with Funtouch OS
Dimensions and weight 159.5 x 75.2 x 8.1mm
190g
Price 16,990 rupees (6GB + 64GB)
18,990 rupees (6GB + 128GB)

Value for the money

  • Vivo Z1x: 6GB RAM, 64GB storage — 16,999 (~$237)
  • Vivo Z1x: 6GB RAM, 128GB storage – Rs. 18,999 (~$265)

Vivo’s done a great job with the Z1x. By making improvements in all the right places, it has elevated the Z1 Pro’s experience to a level that can handily hold its own against other mid-rangers. I like the display, the performance is competitive, the camera is much improved, and the design looks splendid. 

Priced at Rs. 16,999 and 18,999 for the 64GB and 128GB variants, the Vivo Z1x is in the same pricing ballpark as the competition. The phone goes up against devices like the Realme X and Redmi Note 7 Pro. Both competing phones deliver great performance and imaging, but the Z1x’s design pulls ahead just a bit. However, Vivo’s software experience is a definite step down that takes away from the user experience. Low light imaging too, leaves a lot to be desired.  

Vivo Z1x review: The verdict

Vivo Z1x with focus on vivo logo

If design is a big consideration for you, the Vivo Z1x is an excellent mid-range option. It doesn’t necessarily break new ground, but for fans of Vivo’s take on Android and the gorgeous purple finish, the Z1x is a very good phone without any major drawbacks. What are your thoughts on the Vivo Z1x? Does it bring enough to the table to stand up against the excellent mid-range options available? Let us know in the comments. 



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