Saturday, November 10, 2018

Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro Review

The update to Xiaomi’s top-selling Redmi Note 5 is finally out, and on paper there doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference from the previous model. But with so many new phones coming out from the competition, is it enough of an upgrade to warrant your hard-earned cash? So once again let’s see if I made the right decision in getting this phone.

The Good

-         Price
-         Snappy user interface
-         Expandable Storage
-         Screen Quality
-         Camera performance
-         Battery life

The Bad

-         Micro USB Charging
-         Same processor and RAM as the previous model
-         Still on MIUI 9
-         Notch display hides some notification icons


  • 6.26” notch, FHD+, 19:9
  • Qualcomm SD636, 14nm Octa-core
  • 3/32 and 4/64 GB RAM/STORAGE
  • Nano SIM slot + Nano SIM/MicroSD slot (Hybrid)
  • Global SKU: LTE B1/3/4/5/7/8/20/38/40 WCDMA B1/B2/B4/B5/B8 GSM B2/B3/B5/B8
  • Rear camera: 12MP (1.4μm 2PD) +5MP; Front camera: 20+2MP, selfie flash LED
  • Micro-USB USB2.0
  • Fingerprint (rear-mounted)
  • Battery Capacity: 4000mAh
  • Price Php 12,990 (4GB/64GB)


When I reviewed the Redmi Note 5 a few months ago, I was so happy with its performance that I decided to ditch my Samsung S8 and use it as my main phone. So much so that I convinced my wife who has been a longtime iPhone user, to try switching to Android. Since her iPhone 6 was starting to show its age and the outrageously high prices of the new iPhone XS, I asked her to give the Redmi Note 6 Pro a try instead. At first, I thought of getting the new Honor 8X but since MIUI has so many similarities with IOS, I thought that the transition would be better on a Xiaomi device. Of course, part of my motivation was also so that I’d be able to review a new gadget.

Comparing it to the Note 5, there doesn’t seem to be much of an upgrade apart from the taller notch display and upgraded selfie cameras. The device has a slightly slimmer screen so it provides a better one-handed operation (but just slightly). While almost all phone manufacturers now use a notched display, I prefer having more space for notification. For example, you can’t see the battery percentage on the notification screen on this device.

The Notch! No battery percentage!

On the camera, you now get AI scene recognition, and I noticed the slightly better camera quality particularly in low light. Also, there are more manual camera control options than on the Note 5.

Redmi Note 5 portrait mode

Redmi Note 6 Pro portrait mode

Redmi Note 6 Pro

Redmi Note 5

Redmi Note 5

Redmi Note 6 Pro

Almost everything else works similar to the Note 5. You still get the same snappy performance, same outstanding battery life, but for some reason, it still comes with MIUI 9 while my Note 5 is already on version 10. Hopefully,  Xiaomi will push an update soon. I wish Xiaomi put a Snapdragon 660 processor and USB C charging as that would have made it a no-brainer bang-for-your-buck device. Thankfully, the battery lasts the whole day, so you really just need to deal with micro USB at night.

Should you upgrade to the Redmi Note 6? If you’re coming from the Note 5, then the answer is No. But if you’re coming from another device or an older Xiaomi phone, then yes, you should. There is still enough of an update that the Redmi Note 6 can still be considered one of the best in this price range.

Friday, October 5, 2018

InnovWeight Smart Scale Review

In the world of weighing scales, there are “regular” scales, and there are “smart” scales.  After doing some research, I narrowed down my choices to the Xiaiomi Smart Body scale and the InnovWeight Smart Scale. And as much as I wanted to get the Xiaomi, it was out of stock. My decision was made easier when Lazada had a one-day sale for the InnovWeight which I got for just Php880 (US$17). So now let’s see what added benefits (if any) are in store, in using another smart device.


Measures 8 key health parameters: body weight, body fat, BMI, muscle mass, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate, body water, and bone mass .

Wirelessly transmits data to smartphone's (via Bluetooth) InnovWeight app in just seconds.

Simply step on the scale to turn it on and start the measurements.

The app can store data up to 10users.

Data can be viewed in graph or list mode.

Maximum load capacity of 150 kg (330 lb).

Compatible with the latest iOS and Android smartphones.

Powered by 3 X AAA batteries.


The real question is, what benefits does a smart scale have over a regular scale? It all boils down to the App. Since any scale can give you your weight, a smart scale can give you a lot of data relating to your weight. By passing an electrical signal through your body, the scale can get your weight, body fat, BMI, mass, and more. Of course, all that information is useless unless you have a way to interpret it. Through the InnovWeight app, you can see what that data means and also gives some suggestions on how to improve your health. For example, if your Visceral Fat is high, it suggests that you should be wary of fatty liver. It also suggests a healthier lifestyle by not staying up late and taking daily walks. Having all that information presented to you is quite an eye opener especially if you’re planning to lose weight or even just for someone wanting to have a healthier lifestyle.

The decision to get this scale was very easy. With over 400 five-star ratings on Lazada, it is a very effective and affordable way to maintain a healthy life.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Stirling Robot Vacuum Cleaner Review

The Good:


Works as advertised

Useful remote

The Bad:

Difficult to get

No Warranty

No App or Wifi control


Php 2,500 in HMR or OLX


Do you hate vacuuming? Are you as lazy as me? Then maybe a robot vacuum might be just what you need? Stirling may not a household name. This is the first time I encountered the brand. Stirling is an Australian brand which sells washing machines, microwaves, and others home appliances. Their robot vacuum cleaners are overstock items imported from Australia and sold locally through warehouse dealers like HMR. I was able to get mine through an importer from OLX. Usually, the starting price for a decent robot vacuum is about Php 7-10 thousand so when I saw the price of Php2,500 I just had to give it a try.

In the box you get the vacuum, extra brush, charging base, remote and a sensor for places you want the vacuum to avoid. Setup is straightforward. However, I urge you to read the manual as the remote control setup requires you to pair it with the vacuum using a unique code.  This is very important because using the remote makes this vacuum more efficient. 

I’ve been using this vacuum for over a month, and I must say that I’m very impressed. Using it is very easy, it has sensors and AI built-in so it will find the best way to clean. While does like to take its time cleaning,  I discovered that auto mode works best at the same time using the remote to point it in the right direction. It does tend to get stuck under low objects like chairs if the height is just tall enough that the sensors think that there is no obstacle. Also, it works best on hardwood floors. One nice feature is that will return to its charging base automatically once its battery gets low or you can also use the remote. 

It’s difficult to find faults in a product that does so much but costs a fraction of the price of other robot vacuums. There is no APP or WIFI to control this device, and you can’t integrate it with Alexa or Google Home, but it does what it’s supposed to, which is to clean automatically.  It may not have the all the bells and whistles of a Roomba, but if you want a cheap and straightforward robot vacuum, it ’s hard to find something better than this.

Xiaomi SL2 USB Electric Shaver Review

The Good:

Very portable
USB C charging
Easy to clean
Good performance
Wet or Dry use

The Bad:

Difficult to find
No charger in the package, just a USB C cable


Between Php 1,200 to 1,700 (US$23-32)
Shopee or Lazada

If you’re wondering why I chose the Xiaomi instead of going with mainstream shaver brands like Philips or Braun, I’ve been impressed with Xiaomi products so I thought I’d give their shaver a try. I need a small portable shaver for travel. I considered the Philips PQ206/190 and the Braun M90. But they were both more expensive and didn’t offer some of the features of the Xiaomi.

In the box, you get the shaver, USB C cable, cloth pouch and instruction manual. Everything is in Chinese but using it is very straightforward.


After using this Xiaomi shaver for a week, I can finally compare it to the Braun Series 3 I reviewed a few weeks ago. First, the Xiaomi is approximately 1/4 the price of the Braun plus it is also smaller but less powerful. It is also a rotary style shaver vs. the foil design on the Braun. To be honest, I was quite surprised by the results. You can see the before and after photos below.

There is not much difference in the actual shaving results, perhaps just a slightly better shave using the Braun. The one advantage of the Braun is that it’s more powerful, so it takes less time to shave. I have to say that for the price, the Xiaomi wins with its versatility. Meaning you can use it as a daily and a travel shaver. I was so impressed that I ordered another one for my son.