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Meizu M3 Max review: A good shot at midrange value that doesn’t quite excel

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Meizu M3 Max

The Meizu M3 Max is one of the few handsets on the market currently that offers a 6-inch display, and with that it brings some advantages, and few things that aren’t so great.

I’ve been putting one through its paces to see if it lives up to its promise of a solid spec list at a mid-range £280 RRP. You can buy one directly from Meizu’s online store for around £220 at the moment, though.

However, it’s entered an increasingly fiercely-contested market with the likes of OnePlus and Wileyfox putting up particularly good competition in the value space, so it needs to be better than ‘average’ to impress.

The European version won’t give you all these notifications from Chinese services, but the review model did.

Meizu M3 Max
7 RATED
0 User rating (0 votes)
Pros
  • High-capacity 4,100 mAh battery gives better than average usage time
  • Large, bright screen
  • 3GB RAM, 64GB storage
  • Slim bezels and thin design keep the large phone feeling as small as possible
  • Fingerprint sensor works quickly
Cons
  • Camera isn't anything better than average
  • Big 1080p screen drains that large battery
  • Flyme OS doesn't deliver anything particularly original
Summary

The Meizu M3 Max doesn't quite offer up compelling balance of performance and value that its spec list would suggest.

It's by no means a bad phone - it doesn't lag, the large screen is good for watching movies and the camera can take a good shot, provided you give it bright conditions. However, it's too expensive to be considered 'cheap' and doesn't outperform rivals. The software isn't the best either.

There are much worse phones out there, but you might want to consider some of the alternatives, particularly if you're buying for gaming.

Design7.5
Hardware7
Software5
Camera6.5
Display7.5
Battery life8.5
Price7
Comparison
A Design
B Hardware
C Software
D Camera
E Display
F Battery life
G Price
7.4 RATED
0 0 votes
7.5
7.5
7.5
7
7
7
8
ABCDEFG
7 RATED
0 0 votes
7.5
7
5
6.5
7.5
8.5
7
ABCDEFG
5.9 RATED
0 0 votes
6.5
4.5
7
5.5
6.5
5
6
ABCDEFG
  • Meizu M3 Max

  • Meizu M3 Max

I’m a tech journalist and editor with lots of opinions. 10second.tech is a place for me to put those. All views expressed are personal, and not those of any titles for which I write in other capacities. As well as running this site, I also write for WIRED, Engadget, Trusted Reviews, and a number of other leading technology titles. I also run SexTechGuide.com.

You’re welcome to contact me via [email protected] if you have news or anything else to pass along, on twitter at @10sectech or @TheNextWoods

Tech startup founders that need media advice or PRs and brands that need content strategy advice should visit benwoodsish.com.

Gadgets & Toys

Aiptek i70 Pico projector review: A surprising device I didn’t know I wanted

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The Aiptek i70 is a tiny projector that connects to your Android or iPhone with consummate ease. It’s not going to replace your TV set anytime soon, and nor is it really supposed to, but it did get me considering a future without a TV, and obviously, they’re useful in a business setting too.

Admittedly, projectors aren’t something that pop up on my radar all too frequently, but this one piqued my interest for a few reasons.

Aiptek i70 review: Hardware and Design

The i70’s key appeal to me is its size. It’s a tiny flat rectangle of a device that you could easily pop in your pocket, should you wish to take it out and about with you – and that’s really the point of a projector this small, whether that’s for work (presentations, collaborating with colleagues, etc.) or leisure. Where it struggles is exactly where you think it might, and where all projectors live or die: how bright the projection is/how dark the room needs to be for it to be used effectively. On paper, that’s 70 lumens for the i70.

Taking the unit’s diminutive size into consideration, it does surprisingly well – you certainly don’t need a pitch black room to use it in, but you’re also not going to get a very good experience if trying to use it for a large projection in daylight. The smaller the image you’re projecting, the brighter it appears – there’s no keystone adjustment options for the offset, meaning you’ll end up balancing it on something if you need to angle it upwards, rather than flat. It’s the same for zoom – meaning there is none, and you just need to place it as near or far away as you need for your desired projection size.

For the maximum image size of 80-inches, you’ll want it about two metres away from your screen/surface.

What this might amount to so far is a fairly negative-seeming review, but that’s really not the case. Projectors, Pico or not, aren’t for everyone (at least right now) and how useful they are to you will depend on your use case.

Sure, if I had hoped that the Aiptek i70 would replace my TV, thereby freeing up the space taken up by the huge black box, then I’d be disappointed, but that was never the intention. And remember, it measures just 8.5 x 8.5 x 1.7 cm and weighs 136g, which is about 30 grams lighter than the average baseball.

 

Aiptek i70 review: My experience

What I have used it for, however, has been to stream TV and movies onto my bedroom wall and ceiling; to show some large-scale, low-resolution photos to family in my lounge, and occasionally to project an episode of a TV show onto the wall while I cook dinner. And in these tasks, it’s been excellent. Mostly.

I did have one problem: the first time I used the unit, the integrated speaker (which is, in almost all situations, not what you want to be listening to content through) worked just fine. It never worked again after that though. This wasn’t really a problem for me specifically, as my house is scattered with Bluetooth speakers, which is what I was using the rest of the time. Assuming it may be faulty, had this been a regular unit, I’d have returned it for an exchange (this is a review unit that has since been returned to the company).

You can use it off its internal battery for around an hour, though the stated life is 80 minutes, otherwise you’ll be using it while plugged in via microUSB.

It’s real appeal, however, is the convenience offered by the overall package – it connected to both iOS and Android devices simply in my testing (though if you have an old model that doesn’t support iOS 10, you should return it for a newer model that does), and offered up an HDMI port for those times when I needed to plug it in.

For £250, it’s not a no-brainer purchase, and it’s not a perfect one either. While the image quality is actually pretty decent if you give it the dim conditions it craves, it’s not really bright enough to satisfy if used as your only entertainment device, but it’s a great, portable, and flexible option for anyone that does find the need for one now and again.

Aiptek i70
7.6 RATED
0 User rating (0 votes)
£250Price
Android & iOSOS
Summary
A surprising little DLP Pico projector that doesn't break the bank, but also doesn't get a perfect scorecard. Its diminutive size alone is a compelling reason to consider it though.
Design8
Functionality7.5
User Experience8.5
Resolution7
Brightness7
Black levels7.5
Value8
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This article may contain affiliate links that allow us to earn a small amount of money (at no extra cost to you) if you decide to purchase any services or devices. Our review and ratings are never influenced by the incentives available. If you have any questions, get in touch

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Gadgets & Toys

Google Home review (UK): Great, but not essential

With Google Home now available in the UK at around £150, it was time to spend some time living with one. But is the smart assistant worth your cash?

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When Google Home was first announced, I was keen to try it out, but knew it’d be a US-only deal at launch. With Home now available in the UK at around £150, however, it was time to spend some time living with one. But is Google’s smart assistant for the home worth spending your hard earned cash on? Read on to find out.

Google Home, a quick intro

Google Home is a little like Siri for your house or apartment. You can ask it questions or issue commands and it’ll do its best to carry out your never-ending demands. A digital minion for your most tedious of tasks – particularly if you find switching on your heating or Spotify an modern day chore. I wouldn’t say I’m quite there yet, but the convenience of just shouting out ‘OK, Google, play x’ becomes second-nature pretty quickly. It’ll also connect to other Google-family products, like the Nest thermostat (but not the Protect smoke alarm), so you can switch your heating on or off with a simple command.

What won’t it do? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot, but more on that below.

Rather than just living inside your phone – although the AI part of the equation, Google Assistant, is available on Android devices too – Google’s launched a physical object to rival the Amazon Echo. And it did a good job of it, it’s far more fitting to easily blend into a home setting than the more functional looking Echo. That also brings another big benefit too – surprisingly good quality audio from the speaker. I wasn’t really expecting anything too impressive from the music playback side of things but I was pleasantly impressed.

There are a couple of ‘games’ built in – a quiz-style round that you can play with multiple people, and another that amounts to an audible Magic 8 Ball. You’ll maybe play the quiz once or twice for novelty with friends, but in reality it’s a little slow-moving to be of much enduring fun.

Google Home also has some recipe-focused updates incoming too, but not in time for this write-up, that should make it a smarter assistant in the kitchen.

Galaxy S8+ Google Home

Google Home next to a Galaxy S8+

Google Home, you big silly

With some really convenient features at your fingertips, I shouldn’t have a lot of problem with Google Home, but my issue is that if you buy one now, you’re buying it for its future features.

Want to set a timer? Simple. Want to know what your schedule for the day looks like? No problem. Want to find out how long it’ll take to get somewhere? Easy! Want to combine those two things? Err, not so much. At least not yet. It can’t even add calendar appointments.

And that’s the crux of the current problem for Google Home, it simply can’t do enough right now. I can see a point where I’ll want one in multiple rooms, perhaps, but unless you’re buying one for the ability to stream Spotify, there’s not a lot of point in doing that today.

As an added confusion for loyal Google users, if you have an Android handset that has Google Assistant, its abilities are different from those of the Google Assistant in Home. This. Makes. No. Sense. And serves to leave you confused as to what you can and can’t do.

I want a Google Home, really I do, but I’m not too bothered at having one right now – this review unit is being returned, and I won’t be rushing to replace it. Once more third-party devices and services are supported – just like when Android first launched, in a way – it’ll become as essential to your routine as your phone.

Google Home
7.5 RATED
0 User rating (0 votes)
Pros
  • Fun, as it's still a novelty right now
  • Convenience of voice control for Spotify and Nest
  • Pretty accurate voice recognition, mostly
Cons
  • It can't do a lot right now
  • UK updates lag behind those in the US, like for multi-account support.
Summary
If the cost of Google Home makes no difference to your life and you're already invested in Google's ecosystem, then you may as well go ahead and buy a Google Home now.

It's not essential, but it does a couple of things quite well. In the future, it'll be a whole lot more integral to your life.

Design8.5
Fun8
Price7
Features6.5

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How to restore the old @ Twitter replies on Windows and Mac

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Twitter always come under a lot of pressure from users for changes to its UI. This week, the humble @ reply was changed to streamline conversations and encourage more replies.

The changes, however, aren’t welcomed by many Twitter users:

And it’s not just working out what’s a reply and what’s not, it’s also damaging to brands.

https://twitter.com/lauraolin/status/847612421359325184

How to get back the old Twitter UI

Thankfully, changing back to the old way of viewing tweets isn’t difficult, you just need to download Tweeten for Mac or Windows. If you’d rather not install the desktop software, you can use the Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser plugins instead.

To enable the old style @ replies, or put back the ‘favorite’ rather than ‘like’ button, you need to right-click anywhere within the app. On the Windows version tested, navigating to the ‘Settings’ in the lower-left corner of the app doesn’t bring up the correct options, which is a little confusing. However, right clicking and hitting Settings will bring up the correct panel.

You can see the difference between the new and old style replies shown within Tweeten below.

The candid update note delivered to existing Tweeten users was also appreciated.

 – Tweeten [ Windows | Mac | Chrome | Edge]

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