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$95 Blackview A80 PRO: Poor man’s Realme 7

I got this phone 4 months ago, and used it as my main device. Before that I had a Umidigi F1, which my girlfriend dropped and cracked the screen.

I have looked at a few phones under $100 because I am cheap, and also because I don’t need a phone for anything other than calling, browsing social media and occasional light games when I’m on the toilet.

After a few options, I have decided on a Blackview A80 Pro, which had a sizable battery, numerous LTE bands and a quad-cam on the back. Because the whole thing only costs $95, I was suspicious, but there the smartphone has surprised me.

BLACKVIEW A80 PRO smartphone review

CPU Helio P25

Battery capacity 4680mAh

RAM 4 GB

Onboard memory 64 GB

Display: 6.49″ 720*1560 pixels, 19:9

Rear cameras 13MP (Sony 258)+2MP+0.3MP+0.3MP

Front Camera 8MP

As of now you can buy this smartphone for $94.99, and it will include the smartphone, the charger + USB-C cable, silicone case and a screen protector.

But the main question is: is it fast? Can it handle functionality other than calling and texting?

Blackview A80 PRO's processor: how does Helio 25 perform?

The processor is relatively good. I have not experienced any significant lag, other than on non-mobile optimized websites. The worst offender was the local fish store, which did not only take an eternity to load, but the icons were really slow to move. To be fair, it took a while to load on my other phone as well, though navigating the site didn’t feel as laggy. 

I tried my regular Block Game and Candy Crush games, and the animations were smooth and the colors looked pleasant. I’ve downloaded a more hardware-demanding game called CarXHighwayRacing, played it for a bit, and did not have any issues with lag. This was also when I realized that the phone has a gyro sensor, which was odd as I couldn’t get it to work with the stargazing app.

HELIO P25 ANTUTU SCORE

Antutu score for this smartphone is 101346

The octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 crunched the tasks I threw at it with grace and elegance.

RAM, Speed and Extra Features

The RAM is 4 GB. I didn’t run into any problems using multiple apps at once, but I do keep the habit of closing the app after I’m done using it. There is a RAM cleaning feature, which can be used by clicking the x button on the bottom. It tells you how much memory is cleaned, which I thought was pretty cool.

What was also cool is the speed of the data connection, which is shown on the top left. I don’t know if it combines the upload and download speeds, which is a bit confusing if you are uploading and waiting for something to load at the same time, but this is more of an exception as most people don’t normally do both.

The battery is 4680 mAh, which for me works for at least two days at medium use. The charging is done through the USB type-C port, which is the expected norm.

Quad-camera: good or bad?

The display is 6.5” with a daterdrop camera in the middle. I don’t watch videos on it very often, but when I do, I don’t find that the camera gets in the way. But of course, some people might react differently to it.

The quad-camera to me was one of the most interesting things about this smartphone. On one hand, it could be terrible, given that it was a cheap phone, on the other hand the theoretical bar was pretty high, as there are four lenses on the back, which is twice the amount of lenses that I had on my previous phone.

The sharpness of the images turned out surprisingly adequate. In daylight and in the cloudy weather the images turned out vivid and sharp. The selfie camera did well. The video from the selfie camera was not flickery, the colors were okay, and you could really see the pores on my elderly skin, which was a bit unflattering to observe.

The camera has the beauty mode built-in.

For the low-light camera shots, I found that it was harder for it to focus in the short range, so in some cases I had to resort to using the manual focus in the professional mode.

Videos can be recorded in 1080p, again the autofocus was a bit slow and doesn't always find the perfect sharpness. But the exposure quickly adapts to the situation. There is electronic stabilization, and you can see here that it works okay.

The first time I used the camera, I noticed that there was a sneaky logo placed in the bottom left, which tells me that this is the modified version of Android. I didn’t notice any bloatware or any other unexpected apps, but it was worth noting anyway.

What really pissed me off about the video, is that there was no obvious setting to change the video file recorded from 3GP to MP4. I only noticed that when I tried uploading the test recordings into the editing software for this video. It plays fine on my PC, Google Drive plays them without hesitation, but I’d rather not have to use a converter or a 3rd party app for the videos to get them in a 21-st century format.

The resolution is 720 x 1560, which doesn’t let you watch 1080p videos, and YouTube operates in 720p only, but really for the size of a smartphone display, the difference between watching a 1080 vs a 720 video is not really noticeable.

Pro's and con's

Pro's:

  • The processor is actually fast (I admit: I was skeptical at first)
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably priced and efficient
  • Has a waterproof layer
  • Battery life is amazing
  • Display is really big and colours are great

Con's:

  • Camera takes a while to focus in low light
  • Default format for video capturing is 3GP (just…why?), with no option to change it

Conclusion

To say the least, I am pretty happy with this phone. Are there a few things that I was not happy with? Sure. The camera could definitely be better.

Will I continue using it? Absolutely. I have no reason or desire to upgrade, because for now it is a solid fit for what I need it to do.

Though I did reach out to Umidigi to see if they can hook me up with their A7 Pro that a lot of people seem to be interested in.

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Were the 11.11 prices real? AliExpress Unboxing: Vol. 12

It’s been awhile since the last unboxing haul. I have ordered a lot of things for the 11.11 sale, and most of them have already arrived because I spent a few extra dollars for the E-Packet shipping. This is going to be a cast edition, because I have a little injury on my right thumb. We will see the sale prices, and will compare it to the current price to see if the sale price was real.

The products are listed below the video. We apologize for the sound in the video – we will no longer use songs with lyrics. We added subtitles to the video to help understand it better, or you can read the full post with the descriptions below.

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COOL PANDAS SUNGLASSES

Price: $13 | 11.11 Price: $9.81

Since a lot of westerners got tattoos with random Chinese words, the manufacturers decided to keep the tradition going and name their brands with random English words, so the first sunglasses we have are from the brand called Cool Pandas.

They came with the carrying case, inside we have a piece of cleaning cloth, another carrying case, a keychain (as a gift), a piece of paper to check if they are polarized, and the sunglasses. The frame is solid and relatively strong, the movement of the joints is smooth, and they passed the polarization test.

I didn’t like how they look on me though, so I will be looking at reselling them locally.

“ELTON JOHN” SUNGLASSES

Price: $4.71 | Same 11.11 Price

The second pair of sunglasses I found searching for Elton John sunglasses, because we recently watched the Rocketman movie and I liked his sunglasses choice.

These also came with the cloth and a soft pouch, and with a paper for the test, as I went with the polarized version. These ones pass the test as well. I really liked this model, and decided to keep these for the summer. The frame is really solid, and I was very happy with the price I paid for them.

SOAP DISPENSER

Price: $8.22 | $7.75 11.11 Price

I went pack to using liquid soap for washing hands, so I decided to buy an automatic soap dispenser, though I admit that this was more of an impulse buy. The dispenser uses 4 AAA batteries to run.

The container opens on the top, and takes about 300 ml of soap. It takes a few seconds to activate, and dispenses a generous amount of soap equal to roughly 2 sqiurts of soap from a regular manual dispenser.

The important part is to turn it on while holding it above your head (the switch is on he bottom), while holding it by the side to avoid activating it and getting an eyeful of soap – or fill it up after it's turned on.

The device is not life-changing, but it’s not bad for convenience.

HONEY BAR SOAP

Price: $2.67 | Same 11.11 Price

For showering I ordered honey soap, because I really like the way it smells. I won’t spend too much talking about it though because the product itself isn’t too exciting.

DECORATIVE LETTER LIGHTS

Price: $3.88 | 11.11 Price 2.45

The next item are decorative letters that I got for the bedroom. Despite what you might think, the letters are actually just the first initials of my and my girlfriend’s names, and I hope it won’t result with me getting on some watchlist.

The 11.11 price was also good in this case. Each letter needs 2 AAA batteries to work, and there is a switch on the back. So far I only turned them on once to test them. The plastic quality is not outstanding, which is kind of expected for the price. But they are quite big, and I like how they look.

BEARD KIT

Price: $9.70 | 11.11 Price: 11.25

Here we have a beard kit, with which I dun goofed because the 11.11 sale that I paid like a chump was actually higher than the regular price, but it’s fine because it costs twice as much on Amazon for the same set. Still though, it made me feel a bit foolish.

It comes with the beard oil with a soft fir smell, a beard balm, a wooden comb, and a brush. I’ve been using it for about a week now, and my beard is looking much more tame.

TREE WITH COPPER LIGHTS

Price: $14.25 | 11.11 Price: $14.70

The next item is my favourite from this haul. The 11.11 price was $14.70, and right now it costs a bit less, being sold at $14.25. But on top of the total order cost I got an additional coupon, which brought the total price down by another 10%.

The stand has an option to run from 3 AA batteries or from a wall plug, which would be great to have on all the lights that I bought so far. To save space it was flattened out before shipping, and I spent a couple minutes putting it into the shape that I liked. It produces a soft white light, and I think it looks really pretty.

This was the first part of the 11.11 haul, I still have a couple items on the way, and I will make a new unboxing video once they all arrive. 

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Unboxing – Vol. 11: Selfie light, $3 watch and FISH FLOPS

A new batch of the useless things from AliExpress has arrived, and today we will open them, test them, and see what they are like. 

All items from this haul have been ordered about 3 weeks ago. Almost all of these items, except for the last one, have been included in the last best-selling items from AliExpress for $5 or less post. All of them have been shipped with regular non-trackable shipping, and I was quite surprised that they have arrived relatively fast (compared to the 6-8 weeks like it was in the past).

The video for those who have the time to enjoy the full process, the condensed text version with the product links is below.

SELFIE LIGHT

The first item is a clip-on selfie light, which I guess is meant for clipping onto your smartphone and be used as a supplementary light source for taking brighter pictures of your face with a frontal camera, but really it can be used with your rear camera, and to clip onto various things to make your surroundings brighter.

The light works off 2 AA batteries, and it has three lighting modes. I have to say this device makes a significant difference in terms of providing light. Like, it’s really bright for such a small thing. I am not sure if it’s legal, but I decided to use it with the rear camera as well to illuminate these two handsome fellows – below is what it looks like in a fully dark room with the light turned on at the maximum setting.

$3 WATCH

A $3 watch which at this point has over 18,000 orders that I suspect is quite popular with dropshippers.

People often ask me, do the cheap watches feel cheap? Well, yes, this one does, it costs $3. But I have to say that it looks very decent. I know the price is relative, but I’m sure that others who aren’t that familiar with AliExpress would be surprised to hear how cheap it is.

MAGNETIC CHARGER CABLE

The next item is a newer version of a magnetic charger cable. What makes it so special, you might ask. We get a few additional corks and features. First of all, the cable has a protective covering from a material. It’s some sort of thick bendy resin plastic. It has a light on the end which makes it easier to find it when it’s dark in the room. And third, the tip is smaller than the ones that we have seen in the old unboxing videos which means I can use it with my phone case.

The magnets are pretty strong and if the tip is up to an inch away from the cable it will come flying to it which is quite a romantic spectacle. The connection seems to be strong enough to support the weight of the phone, but I wouldn’t trust it to hold the phone above the dark abyss.

CABLE TRAVEL CASE

Here we have a travel bag for all your wire needs, although I don’t see why it can’t be used as a regular stationary bag for all the extra wires that usually just blissfully wrap themselves around each other like some adventurous folks from certain craigslist meetups.

There is a separate pocket for SD cards, in which I was only able to fit two of them. The bag can hold 18 short individual cables, or less if the cables are longer. The bag has been described as waterproof, but I would instead describe it as mildly water and splash-resistant.

FISH SLIPPERS AKA FISH FLOPS

The next item is an absolute jewel, this is something that I have been patiently waiting for and now it finally is here. If you watched my previous videos from a month ago you probably already know what I’m talking about. There are the fish slippers, or as I think we all should call them, fish flops. There were a few color options, of which I opted for the green ones.

These fish flops are not the most comfortable pieces of footwear that I have owned, as I generally don’t find the Vietnamese-style thong slippers all that comfortable, but I have bought them for the shock factor and the lulz, and that they do quite well.

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Unboxing – Vol. 10: Pineapple light, “hologram” + more!

Over the last week I received a bunch of new products, some of which I ordered a month or so ago, so on Monday I opened these product to record an unboxing video that you see below. You can either watch the video, or read the product descriptions (which is what is being said in the video). 

The items from this haul have arrived to me a lot faster than I’m used to. With the Canada Post strike that was happening at the end of last year that created a big backlog, and with the Chinese New Year that was in February during which nothing was being shipped I expected the wait to be over 2 months, but everything has arrived in less than 3 weeks!

CORGI FLOWER POT

The first item has been shipped in a cardboard box, inside of which was a styrofoam container. This is a ceramic corgi flower pot that I was going to be using as a background prop in unboxing videos. The pot ended up a bit larger than I expected, unlike the reaction I get from the the girls that I date. As per the advice from a subscriber I decided to give succulents another chance, but ended up putting my new cactus into it. I like the way it looks, and I also find corgis extremely adorable so this was a pretty good purchase in my eyes.

HOLOGRAPHIC SMARTPHONE PROJECTOR

This is a hologram projector for your smartphone. It is something that you can possibly craft yourself, but since suffer from a common ‘hands-out-your-butt’ syndrome I decided that it would be better to just buy one, especially since it is so cheap. The way it works is that you play a video or open a picture where the same image is placed in four corners of the display, and the projector reflects them into a single image. There is a ton of videos on YouTube that you can use it with, or if you are really determined, you can make these videos yourself.

‘RESURRECTION' PLANT

This is a pretty interesting thing. It is kind of odd that something like this has been shipped inside a plastic without any additional protection, but it has arrived to me unharmed.

I have heard about resurrection plants before. The small gray plant curls its branches inward in the dry season, forming a ball (like in the first picture) that opens only when you water it, even if the roots are disrupted. I have placed it in the pot and sprayed it with a bit of water, and one day after it started showing the signs of life (second picture). After the roots settle it is supposed to produce a flower. I will post periodical updates about it on my Instagram.

BLUETOOTH AUX RECEIVER

The is a simple yet a very elegant solution for the people who have older vehicles or sound systems that do not have Bluetooth. This is an AUX Bluetooth receiver. What I didn’t realize is that this receiver does not draw power through the audio input, so it needs to be charged. It works for about 4 hours on a single charge, and you can use it while charging. The receiver functions as intended, and I have not experienced any choppy intermittent sound.

PINEAPPLE NIGHT LIGHT

Here we have a pineapple light that had free e-packet shipping in this listing, which made it here in 12 days, which by the recent standards is pretty remarkable. I could not find a good screenshot from the video, so I used a stock image from the listing. Watch the video if you want to see what it's like in real-life, but this image should give you a pretty good idea.

The light works off of 3 AA batteries, and it does not come with any wires. I don’t know if I like that or not because I will have to replace them every once in a while, but it also means that I can place it anywhere I want to. The light that it produces is soft and non-intrusive. The surface of the lamp is smooth like warm organic peanut butter, but the base on the inside and on the bottom looks pretty cheap, which is not unexpected for the price. It is a nice background light, which you will also see in the background of the future unboxing videos.

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