When there are no bright ideas, you can only rely on beautiful numbers. On the benefits of benchmarks on the example of Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, problems Android Pay, upcoming announcements Meizu and HTC and new processors
When you can't really show why a new smartphone is better than an old one, you have to appeal to numbers. You don’t look that there is no difference in the screens, it is better to look at these characteristics, they convincingly prove that the new screen is a cut above! Do not pay attention that we have not been able to achieve smooth scrolling of long lists for all these years, you understand that this cannot be considered an objective assessment of the speed of work. Only numbers can be objective, but they show that the speed of processors has tripled over the past couple of years!
However, even a buyer far from technology is not stupid enough to religiously believe all the information from advertising brochures. He understands perfectly well that when a company is satisfied with comparing its products (be it a smartphone, washing powder or even a baby diaper) with some 'ordinary' analogue, their product always wins with a devastating score.
Few people believe in all these home-made tests and 'expert' conclusions, gradually even the most avid shopaholics develop immunity to such advertising. And even if anyone does believe, then so what? When one company measures performance in parrots, another in boas, and a third in elephants, it's simply impossible to compare products. All as one the fastest, most modern and most innovative. What to buy is a mystery. And the modern consumer does not like riddles and prefers to go where they are not asked to him.
At some stage, both users and manufacturers needed an arbitrator who would measure the speed of all devices himself and clearly show who and how cool. Or at least just some unified rating scale, which could be equal. It was then that the high point of synthetic tests, or benchmarks, came without which no review can do now.
In general, benchmarks are a peculiar thing. On the one hand, they are designed to give some kind of objective assessment of the speed of the device. As a matter of fact, otherwise it is generally not clear how to compare different smartphones with each other, because the performance in one particular game, or even more so the smoothness of the interface – the criteria are completely unreliable. Much more depends on the optimization of the game for a specific hardware or on the proprietary shell than on the processor itself, and it is thankless to determine the smoothness of the animation by eye. On the other hand, synthetic tests do not always reflect the real state of affairs. Especially when you consider that such results are winding up in no time, which at one time we were clearly shown by the same Samsung. It is important to remember that the results of such tests are far from the ultimate truth, and in some cases, such 'parrots' will harm the buyer even more than benefit.
Much has been written about the flagship Sony Xperia Z5 Premium in the last issue of the digest, and the news was mostly bleak. This week the trend has not changed – there is a lot of news about the flagship, but again, very ambiguous.
It's worth starting all with the same ill-fated 4K display. Before us is a classic case from the example above, when, having shown the buyer some numbers with some of their own calculations, the company declares that their solution is the best. And so much so that there are actually no analogues. The problem is that the world has changed in recent years. Maybe earlier an enthusiast who got his hands on a unique smartphone would really immediately run to share his impressions with others, scattering advertising slogans read out in the booklet. And now the first thing he does is run a benchmark to see with his own eyes the promised 'breakthrough'. And at the same time compares the performance of the device with competitors. And if he does not like the results and the test clearly shows that there is no breakthrough here, then no beautiful phrases will help.
The GFXBench benchmark confirms what has been discussed before – in most situations the 4K display runs in FullHD mode. As you can see, the screen resolution in it was defined as 1080 x 1920, and not as 2160 x 3840.
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Representatives of the company immediately rushed to declare that this was all for the good of the buyers – they say that such a resolution makes sense only in the gallery and while watching a video, but in other cases it is only an extra battery drain and an unnecessary load on the processor.
In my opinion, this can be said about a 4K screen as such, but no one pulled the company by the tongue and did not force such a display to be put there. To advertise it as the most correct, necessary and high-quality solution – even more so.
On the other hand, Sony really has nowhere to go – judging by the results of the 3D test, the smartphone lacks stars from the sky even in FullHD mode. Its rate was 18.7 frames per second, while the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact and Sony Xperia Z5 produced 37.8 FPS and 18.8 FPS, respectively.
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A little later, the company officially announced that it was not worth using this smartphone under water. And that IP68 protection (full water resistance, prolonged immersion to a depth of more than 1m) is there, of course, but it is intended for something completely different.
And before that, the Japanese did not differ in such a free interpretation of standards and with might and main advertised the Xperia series with the help of such pictures:
Someone thinks that the company suddenly decided to play it safe, once again reminding divers that it is not worth doing deep diving with a smartphone. Others believe that they have found some kind of mass defect, for example, that due to the high temperature of the processor, the glue on the smartphone will dry out over time. How things really are is unknown.
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Unfortunately, these days dry numbers of characteristics are increasingly out of touch with reality. I really want many manufacturers to report on the next achievement, but they prefer not to think about the fact that this 'achievement' is not really necessary and is not clear to anyone. Bigger is better, period.
The company Apple also joined the game, from which everyone was just waiting not for dry statistics, but for a simple human explanation why their devices are the best this time. And it's not just about the large-sized iPad Pro, about which more than enough has already been said. The same can be traced in other products, as if someone, without looking, poked a finger at the list of characteristics and ordered: 'This, this and this, increase, and leave the rest alone.' It turns out senseless and absurd, but nobody cares about it.
For example, what video quality will a user choose when he decides to shoot a video on a mobile phone? Most likely, the maximum, and it is unlikely that he will think for a long time.
Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have learned how to shoot 4K video, and it is probably supposed to be very cool and awesome. Even at 30 frames per second. Only 1 minute of this video takes 375 MB, while the younger model iPhone got only 16 GB of memory. Of these, a substantial part is also initially occupied by the system and the minimum necessary set of programs.
A simple calculation shows that a half-hour video in this quality will take up all the available memory of a smartphone, and if you keep music, photos on your smartphone or play different games, then the count may well go for minutes.
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Previously, it was announcements Apple that served as an impetus for many other manufacturers of mobile equipment. Now there is nothing of the kind and, apparently, will not be. Meanwhile, before the end of the year we will have several more major announcements, and it is very interesting whether the companies have come up with something of their own, or until recently they hoped to borrow a popular idea from a new one iPhone.
In the leaks, again, some performance figures, and even then not officially confirmed. Whether there will be a bright and distinctive product behind them, or it will be another copy of its own device a year ago, is not yet clear.
A week later, on September 23rd, the presentation of the company Meizu will take place. Judging by the invitation cards and the leaked photos of the box, we will be shown a smartphone called Meizu PRO 5. Interestingly, the name of the smartphone does not contain the letters MX – it looks like the PRO will become a separate series of devices with its own positioning.
It is also known that the company's management is not very happy with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810. The use of this processor in the company is considered a big mistake, which their competitors are now simply afraid to admit. So, it is assumed that one version of the smartphone will be based on the Exynos 7420 (the same processor is used in SGS6), and the other will receive a ten-core MediaTek MT6797.
The same picture with the screen resolution – at this stage the company does not see the point in 2K resolution, so most likely the 5.5-inch display will have FullHD resolution. RAM will be at least 3 GB, built-in – from 32 GB, camera module – 21 MP. But let me remind you once again that these are only rumors.
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Together with the new smartphone, the company will present a new version of the proprietary shell. In any case, a teaser posted on the Internet hints at this.
It is also very interesting which smartphones it will decide to update. Will the company stop only at flagship devices or will it decide not to forget about the middle segment?
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Just a few days later, on September 29 this year, it will introduce a new smartphone and HTC. And maybe not even one – it's not for nothing that the invitation flaunts the inscription 'The World Best Meets The Best' (Meeting of the Best with the Best).
Not much is known about HTC One A9 (Aero) either. It is assumed that it will go on sale in November this year and with the latest version of the operating system Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The characteristics are as follows:
- Processor: MediaTek Helio X20 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
- Display: 5-inch, AMOLED, resolution Full HD
- Camera: 13 MP, backlit sensor, optical image stabilization system
- Front camera: 4 MP (UltraPixel)
- Memory: 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal, slot for microSD memory card
- Other: metal body about 7 mm thick, fingerprint scanner, 6 body colors
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As for the Helio X20, judging by the screenshots of the benchmarks leaked to the network, it does not have enough 'parrots'. He immediately left the Snapdragon 810 far behind, and won the Exynos 7420 without any problems, albeit with a less devastating score.
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Meanwhile, Qualcomm is working hard to develop fast charging. The new line of processors (including the Snapdragon 820) should receive support for Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging technology, which will allow the smartphone to charge 80% in just 35 minutes.
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Separately, it is noted that charging works great with any power source and will select the most suitable charging mode itself. Wherever you charge your smartphone, you can be sure it will charge quickly.
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I would like to believe that everything will really work as stated. And that at the same time no unpleasant surprises await us. Unfortunately, in practice, under each victory announcement and loud slogan, there must be a number of footnotes written in small print. And this is true not only in relation to hardware, but also to software.
Take the Android Pay system, which Google was so eager to launch. I don’t know, maybe they believe that wireless payments really have a great future, or maybe it’s just a matter of principle, a 'symmetric answer' to Apple Pay. I am far from financial and banking topics, but at first glance, the situation there is like with a smart watch – there is a niche, there are almost more people who want to sell something than there are buyers.
In general, I do not know how many people have tried Android Pay in business, but that users have already encountered the first problems, it is a fact. As it turned out, Android Pay fundamentally does not work with third-party lock screens. Google is said to have done this deliberately to avoid the risk of billing information being stolen by such a program.
Android has always been famous for its rich customization options and freedom of choice. If you didn't like how a particular function was implemented by Google or the manufacturer of the proprietary shell, you could always install a version from third-party developers. Someone used it, some did not, but in any case it was one of the distinguishing features of this OS. Looking at Android, even Apple had to go against their old principles, adding to iOS the ability to install an additional keyboard and some kind of widgets.
Now it turns out that the possibilities are mutually exclusive, because Google has no desire to bring its new ideas to mind. You can just as well be banned from buying hats to anyone who bought themselves blue jeans. And those who wear lace-up shoes are not allowed to use umbrellas. It seems like freedom of choice is preserved, but it is only strange.
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At the end of this issue, I would like to tell you about a funny idea of the German designer Philip Schmit. The other day he presented a concept of a very interesting digital camera, the main feature of which is not megapixels, not a modern OS, and not a processor power.
As planned by the designer, the camera will check the uniqueness of each shot. First, it will determine the location, then it will search the Internet and 'run' through social networks. If a local landmark has already been filmed from this angle by all and sundry and has already filled up half of it Instagram with such pictures, it simply won't let you take such a photo. You will not only have to take pictures of everything, showing others the meaning of the phrase 'Japanese tourist syndrome', but try to make a beautiful and unique shot.
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In my opinion, the idea is great. Of course, if such a mode can be safely turned off, I want to take a photo with my family even if the composition is by no means unique. But, frankly, I'm not sure if this is technically feasible in a camera or smartphone. By themselves, such algorithms have been around for a long time, Google even somehow demonstrated a video that was collected automatically from photos found on the network. But it is unlikely that they used a smartphone for these purposes, that's the point. And it obviously didn't take a couple of seconds.
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In my opinion, such a thing can be as good as Siri. Just as much (unnecessary) and as much fun. And it is quite possible that one day something like this will actually appear in smartphones. It would be much more interesting than another 'selfie smartphone' or 'innovative' way to launch the camera.
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