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Video: HUAWEI nova 9 – Will This Be the New Camera King?

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The Huawei nova 9 offers a flagship-grade 6.57-inch, 120Hz OLED panel and 10-bit colour depth, potent Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, a capable 50MP main camera, a 32MP selfie camera with 4k support, and runs EMUI 12 on Android 11. Check out our review of the nova 9 and the pre-order details below:

Pre-order the new Huawei nova 9 for AED 1,799 and get gifts worth AED 980, which includes the Huawei FreeBuds 3 worth AED 529; Petal One VIP subscription that includes Huawei Video, Huawei Mobile Cloud, and Huawei Music; and 1 Year Premium subscription to STARZPLAY. And if you order the black colour variant of the nova 9, you get additional free gifts worth AED 499.

Pre-Order here: https://consumer.huawei.com/ae-en/offer/huawei-nova-9/

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HUAWEI nova 9 AED 1799
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The Huawei nova 9 offers a flagship-grade 6.57-inch, 120Hz OLED panel and 10-bit colour depth, potent Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, a capable 50MP main camera, a 32MP selfie camera with 4k support, and runs EMUI 12 on Android 11.

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Gadgets

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 Review: A Budget-Friendly Contender with a Twist

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In a market saturated with high-priced flagships, the CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a breath of fresh air. Priced at a staggeringly affordable AED 749 onwards, it aims to deliver a compelling user experience without breaking the bank.

Design
One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

However, “conventional” doesn’t equate to boring here. The phone comes in various vibrant, almost playful colours, reminiscent of the early days of mobile phones. This playful aesthetic extends to the unique selling point of the CMF Phone 1: swappable back covers.

The CMF Phone 1 allows users to easily unscrew the stock black back and replace it with other colours such as orange, blue, and light green. This injects a degree of personalisation often missing in today’s homogenised phone market. Build quality feels solid despite the plastic construction, and the phone boasts an IP52 rating for basic dust and water resistance. CMF by Nothing also offers a bunch of other accessories that sweeten the deal. There’s a card case that can take in three credit cards, a kickstand, and a lanyard.

Display and Performance
The CMF Phone 1 sports a large, 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. This translates to a vibrant viewing experience, with excellent contrast levels and sharp visuals for everyday use. Watching videos and scrolling through social media feels fluid and enjoyable.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 chipset. While it won’t win any performance benchmarks, it offers sufficient processing power for most daily tasks such as browsing, social media, and light gaming. Multitasking feels smooth, and the phone rarely stumbles during regular use.

Software
The CMF Phone 1 runs Nothing OS 2.6, a near-stock Android experience with a minimalist aesthetic. This translates to a bloatware-free interface that prioritises user experience. The software feels clean and responsive, with subtle animations and a focus on functionality.

Notably, the playful design elements found in the Nothing Phone (2a)’s software, such as the Glyph interface, are absent here. This might disappoint some users who enjoyed the unique character of the Nothing brand. However, the focus on a clean and efficient experience remains a positive aspect.

Camera
The camera system of the CMF Phone 1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The main attraction is a 50MP Sony sensor backed by a depth sensor for portrait shots. In well-lit conditions, the camera captures decent photos with good detail and colour reproduction. Even in low light, the performance is pretty good with the night mode turned on.

The 16MP front-facing camera is adequate for video calls and casual selfies but won’t impress photography enthusiasts. Overall, the camera system is functional but falls short of what some users might expect, even at this price point.

Battery Life and Connectivity
The CMF Phone 1 packs a sizeable 5000mAh battery, which translates to excellent battery life. You can easily get through a full day of moderate use on a single charge and we were able to stretch it to two days on some occasions. The phone supports 33W wired charging, which helps top the battery up quickly when needed.

However, wireless charging is noticeably absent. In terms of connectivity, the phone offers standard options such as dual SIM support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Notably, it also boasts 5G capabilities, making it future-proof for next-generation networks.

The Verdict
The CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a compelling option for budget-conscious users who prioritise a clean software experience, vibrant display, and long battery life. The swappable back covers and the accessories add a unique touch of personalisation, while the overall design is refreshingly colourful and playful.

Ultimately, the CMF Phone 1 succeeds in its core mission: delivering a good user experience at an unbeatable price point. If you’re looking for a powerful flagship killer, look elsewhere. But if you prioritise everyday usability, clean software, and a touch of design flair without breaking the bank, the CMF Phone 1 is a strong contender.

Price: AED 749 onwards

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 AED 749 onwards
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

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Gadgets

HONOR 200 Pro Review: Portrait Master

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HONOR 200 Pro boasts high-end specs such as the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset and a gorgeous display, but keeps the price tag around AED 2299, placing it firmly in the upper midrange. This review dives into the HONOR 200 Pro’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you decide if it’s the right phone for you.

Design
The HONOR 200 Pro doesn’t break new ground in design. It follows the current trend of a large, glass-backed phone with a centred punch-hole selfie camera. The phone, however, feels premium and sturdy in hand. The back panel is glossy glass, while a sturdy aluminium frame holds everything together.

The power button and volume rocker are placed on the right side, with an in-display fingerprint sensor for secure unlocking. The phone lacks a headphone jack, which is becoming increasingly common these days. Overall, the design is functional and attractive.

Display
The HONOR 200 Pro shines with its 6.78-inch AMOLED display that offers a sharp FHD+ resolution (2700-by-1224 pixels). It also delivers vibrant colours and deep blacks. Whether you’re watching videos, browsing the web, or gaming, the visuals are stunning.

The display boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, making scrolling and animations feel buttery smooth. While some high-end phones are now offering 144Hz or even higher refresh rates, 120Hz is still a significant improvement over the standard 60Hz and provides a great balance between smoothness and battery life.

Performance
The HONOR 200 Pro packs a punch with the latest Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset, paired with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. This combination delivers excellent performance for everyday tasks, multitasking, and even demanding games. During my testing, apps launched quickly, games ran flawlessly, and there was no noticeable lag.

One point of contention is the lack of LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) technology in the display. This tech allows the refresh rate to dynamically adjust based on content, potentially saving battery life.

Software
The HONOR 200 Pro runs on Android 14 with Honor’s own MagicOS on top. MagicOS offers a clean and user-friendly interface with some additional features such as a built-in theme store and app optimisation tools. However, some users might find the pre-installed bloatware a bit intrusive.

The good news is that most of these apps can be uninstalled. Another advantage of HONOR devices is the inclusion of Google Mobile Services (GMS), which means you have access to the Google Play Store and other essential Google apps like Gmail, Maps, and YouTube.

Cameras
The HONOR 200 Pro’s camera system is where things get interesting. It features a triple-lens rear setup with a 50MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor. The main sensor takes excellent photos in good lighting conditions. The autofocus is fast and accurate, and the level of detail captured is impressive.

Where the HONOR 200 Pro truly shines is in portrait mode. The phone uses its AI capabilities to create stunning bokeh effects, blurring the background while keeping your subject sharp. This is especially effective for portraits of people and even pets. Low-light performance is also quite good. Another camera mode introduced in the HONOR 200 Pro is the “Aperture” mode.

This mode allows you to control the amount of background blur in your photos, creating a professional-looking bokeh effect that separates your subject from the background. The phone’s software analyses the scene and uses depth information to create a distinction between your subject and the background. You can then adjust the aperture value within the camera app to control the intensity of the blur.

The HONOR 200 Pro also comes equipped with an 8MP ultrawide sensor. Compared with some competitors in the upper midrange segment that offer 12MP or even higher resolution ultrawide sensors, the 8MP sensor on the HONOR 200 Pro falls a bit short.

Despite the lower resolution, the ultrawide sensor does offer a 120-degree field of view, allowing you to capture expansive landscapes, cityscapes, and group photos where fitting everyone in the frame might be challenging with the main sensor.

The sensor also boasts autofocus, which is a feature not always available on ultrawide cameras in smartphones. This allows you to capture close-up shots with the ultrawide lens, offering some creative flexibility.

Up front, the HONOR 200 Pro also features a 16MP selfie camera that sits within a punch-hole cutout on the display. While it doesn’t boast the highest megapixel count on the market, it offers a good balance between resolution and functionality for most users. In good lighting conditions, the camera produces selfies with good colour accuracy and sharpness.

Battery Life
The HONOR 200 Pro boasts a sizeable 5,200mAh battery, which is becoming the standard for high-end phones. In our testing, the phone delivered a full day of battery life with moderate usage, which included browsing the web, checking social media, streaming music, and watching some videos. However, power users who game extensively or use GPS navigation frequently might find themselves needing to top up the battery before the end of the day.

The saving grace here is the incredibly fast 100W wired SuperCharge. In our tests, the phone went from 0% to 50% in just 15 minutes, and a full charge took around 30 minutes. This is fantastic for those who are always on the go and can’t afford to wait hours for their phone to charge. The phone also supports 66W wireless charging, which is impressive and allows for quick wireless top-ups when needed, though you’ll need to purchase a compatible wireless charger separately.

Verdict
The HONOR 200 Pro is a compelling option in the upper midrange smartphone market. It offers a beautiful display, excellent performance for most tasks, a versatile camera system with exceptional portrait capabilities, and incredibly fast charging.

However, it’s not without its shortcomings. The design feels somewhat generic, the lack of LTPO technology might be a concern for some users, and low-light camera performance could be better.

Ultimately, the HONOR 200 Pro is a solid phone with a lot to offer, especially for users who prioritise portrait photography and fast charging.

Price: AED 2299 onwards

Photography and sample images by Ryan Chris

HONOR 200 Pro AED 2299
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

HONOR 200 Pro boasts high-end specs such as the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset and a gorgeous display, but keeps the price tag around AED 2299, placing it firmly in the upper midrange.

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Earbuds

HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i Review: Impressive ANC Earbuds Without Breaking the Bank

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In today’s crowded world of wireless earbuds, features often come at a premium price. But what if you could silence the outside world and crank up your favourite tunes without breaking the bank? Enter the HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i, a pair of earbuds promising top-tier noise cancellation on a budget.

Design and Comfort
The HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i sport a familiar in-ear design with a short stem. They come in three colours: white, black, and purple – the one reviewed here is the purple variant. The earbuds themselves are lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods. The included silicone ear tips come in three sizes, allowing for a customised fit that creates a good seal for passive noise isolation. The charging case is small and pocketable, with a glossy plastic finish that feels surprisingly sturdy.

An LED indicator on the case displays the battery level for the earbuds and the case itself. The controls are touch-sensitive, and located on the flat stem of each earbud. A single tap plays or pauses music, a double tap skips tracks, a triple tap activates the voice assistant, and swiping up or down adjusts the volume. The touch controls are highly responsive.

Sound Quality
Despite their budget price tag, the HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i deliver surprisingly good sound quality. The 11mm dynamic drivers with a quad-magnet design produce clear, detailed audio. These are also Hi-Res certified, producing as low as 14 Hz punchy bass. Having said that, the bass is present but not overpowering, allowing mids and highs to shine through. The soundstage isn’t the widest, but it’s sufficient for most genres of music.

HUAWEI also offers the AI Life app, which allows for some customisation with a five-band equaliser. This offers control over the listening experience. The FreeBuds 6i support SBC, AAC, and the higher-fidelity LDAC codecs. LDAC offers near-lossless audio transmission, but it requires a compatible device. If you have a HUAWEI phone that supports LDAC, you’ll get the best possible sound quality from these earbuds.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
The star of the show for the HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i is undoubtedly the ANC technology. HUAWEI boasts its Intelligent Dynamic ANC 3.0, which uses an algorithm to adjust noise cancellation based on your environment. This allows the earbuds to effectively block out low-frequency noises such as aeroplane rumble and traffic noise.

The ANC is particularly impressive for the price range. Call quality is also decent, with the earbuds doing a good job of filtering out ambient noise for clear conversations. It does so by using the deep neural network (DNN) algorithm to distinguish voices from noise and cancel out noise during calls.

Battery Life
The HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i boast a battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge. The charging case provides an additional 27 hours, bringing the total listening time to 35 hours. These numbers are competitive with other earbuds in this price range. The case supports fast charging, providing 4 hours of playback time with a 10-minute charge.

App and Features
The HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i connect to your device via Bluetooth 5.1. The connection is stable with minimal latency issues. The earbuds also support wear detection, automatically pausing playback when you remove one earbud and resuming when you put it back in.

As mentioned earlier, the HUAWEI AI Life app allows for some customisation, including ANC mode selection (Cozy, Awareness, and Dynamic), touch control settings, and equaliser adjustments. The app is user-friendly and provides all the necessary controls for your earbuds.

Verdict
The HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i are a compelling option for those seeking a balance between affordability and good features. They offer surprisingly good sound quality, impressive ANC performance for the price, and a comfortable design. The battery life is pretty good, and the included app provides some helpful customization options. The HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i are thus, a strong contender in the budget ANC earbud market.

Price: AED 349

Photography by Ryan Chris

HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i AED 349
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The HUAWEI FreeBuds 6i sport a familiar in-ear design with a short stem. They come in three colours: white, black, and purple – the one reviewed here is the purple variant.

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