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The top 8 Chinese phones

It’s time to stop dismissing Chinese phones as knockoffs. We’ve all seen the endless parade of iPhone clones, yes, but over the past couple of years manufacturers from China have stepped up their game in a big way, turning out devices that are innovative, attractive, and straight-up desirable in their own right. If you don’t think there’s any reason to pay attention to Chinese phones, it’s because you haven’t been paying attention.

The problem is, most of the best ones aren’t available in the US, meaning you’d have to deal with third-party importers and a lack of official support if you did want to buy one.

Some of these phones aren’t available with Google services, meaning you’ll need workarounds to access the Play store even though the software is based on Android. And while the US government is yet to show its receipts for claims that companies like Huawei could be a national security threat, the notion is unlikely to encourage many people to decipher their import options.

If you’re in the US, then, we can’t exactly recommend buying any of these phones. But it’s worth knowing what’s out there, even if only to inform yourself about just how those new premium LG or Samsung Android devices hold up by comparison.

And hey, if you do feel like checking out something different, you can probably get it to work if you really try.

  • 6.6-inch 1080p OLED display, no notch
  • 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel primary cameras
  • Pop-up 8-megapixel selfie camera
  • In-display fingerprint sensor
  • Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 256GB storage, 8GB RAM
  • Headphone jack

Vivo just announced the Nex series, the commercial realization of the super-cool Apex concept phone we saw at Mobile World Congress this year. While the Nex S flagship doesn’t have Apex’s “half-screen” fingerprint sensor, it does carry over the most eye-catching feature: a pop-up selfie camera that eliminates the need for a notch.

That means the Nex S has a huge, uninterrupted 6.6-inch screen with the slightest of bezels at the bottom. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor — albeit one that’s only thumbprint-sized — and a kaleidoscopic glass back panel.

It’s a futuristic-feeling device, for sure, and the tradeoffs seem fairly sensible.

Stay tuned for more coverage to find out if that’s the case.

  • 6.4-inch 1080p OLED display, no notch
  • 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel primary cameras
  • Elevating 25-megapixel selfie camera
  • 3D face scanning
  • Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM

Oppo’s newest flagship is similar to the Nex S in that it attempts to solve The Notch Problem by attaching cameras to motors. The Find X‘s approach, however, is far more complex and ambitious: the entire top section of the phone’s rear panel rises above the screen to reveal a selfie camera and a 3D face-scanning array.

With no fingerprint authentication in the screen or anywhere else, this means you’ll see this rising mechanism activate every time you unlock the phone. It’s certainly a sight to behold, but the stakes are much higher — the Nex S’ motorized camera only comes into play for selfies and video calls, whereas the Find X’s is essential for basic operation.

Phones tend to be solid-state devices for a reason: the fewer moving parts, the fewer ways there are for something to break.

Still, the Find X makes a heck of a statement. There’s surely no more ostentatious way to display your notch opposition. And Oppo says it’ll actually bring the Find X to the US one way or another, though there aren’t any details on the release just yet.

If it happens, it’ll cost you — the Find X will cost EUR999 in Europe, or about £1,160.

  • 6-inch 1080p LCD, no notch
  • 12-megapixel dual cameras
  • 5-megapixel selfie camera below screen
  • Snapdragon 845 processor
  • 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor

Xiaomi’s highest-end phone is the latest iteration of the line that kicked off the whole bezel-shaving trend we’ve been living through for the past year. The Mi Mix 2 was a more refined and usable version of the original, and this year’s 2S is the best Mi Mix yet: it adds wireless charging, a dual-camera system, and Qualcomm’s fastest processor, the Snapdragon 845.

It also doesn’t have a notch at the top of the display, but that’s not necessarily a good thing — the tradeoff is that the selfie camera has been relegated to the “chin” bezel below the screen, meaning you have to hold the phone upside down to use it for video calls and so on. Whether this is a deal-breaker to you will depend on your usage patterns, or whether you’re willing to gamble on either of Oppo and Vivo’s more creative solutions.

  • 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display with notch
  • Hisilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM
  • Triple camera system with 40-megapixel primary sensor, 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, and 8-megapixel 3x telephoto lens
  • 24-megapixel selfie camera
  • Front-mounted fingerprint sensor

The P20 Pro is one of the best phones of 2018, period.

With a unique shimmering design, a class-leading triple-camera system, and excellent battery life, there’s not much to criticize beyond the fact that its manufacturer has borne the brunt of the US government’s anti-China invective.

That said, I still find Huawei’s EMUI software to be inelegant at best and deleteriously in thrall to iOS at worst. Most of these phones have software that’s taken heavy inspiration from iOS, but while Oppo and Xiaomi’s skins are mostly coherent in their own right, EMUI is all over the place. Huawei is to be commended for going its own way in hardware design and even devising its own processor to great results; hopefully it’ll eventually do the same with its software.

  • 5.5-inch 1080p OLED display
  • 12-megapixel and 20-megapixel primary cameras
  • 20-megapixel selfie camera
  • Snapdragon 660 processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Headphone jack

Meizu was one of the first Chinese phone companies to make a name for itself among Western gadget followers, but its market share has dwindled significantly since the rise of giants like Oppo and Xiaomi.

That’s a shame, because the new Meizu 15 is actually one of my favorite phone designs of the year.

The 15 doesn’t even attempt to fit in with the trends of 2018. It’s just a big 5.5-inch 16:9 1080p panel and very little else — imagine an iPhone 8 Plus with mid-range specs, without the giant top and bottom bezels, and you’re halfway there. But that doesn’t capture the way the phone’s screen goes right up to the left and right borders, with subtly curved glass spilling over the edges.

Nor how Meizu managed to fit a small but functional fingerprint reader below the screen, even matching it with a proper haptics system to simulate a home button press.

It might not look like much in photos, and it doesn’t look like much when you turn it around, either. But I’ve found the Meizu 15 to be more fun to hold and use than maybe any other phone this year, and that’s something.

  • 6.3-inch 1080p OLED display
  • In-display fingerprint sensor
  • Snapdragon 660 processor
  • 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM
  • 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel dual cameras, 12-megapixel selfie camera
  • Headphone jack
  • Micro USB charging

The Vivo X21 isn’t as flashy as the NEX S, but it’s a groundbreaking phone in one regard: it’s the first mainstream flagship from anyone to feature an in-display fingerprint sensor, the longtime white whale of the phone industry. More impressively, it works really well.

It might be a little slower than a regular fingerprint scanner if you break out your stopwatch, sure, but usually not to the point where you’d notice.

Anyone who’s fiddled with the small sensor on the back of the otherwise-similar OnePlus 6 would find it hard to go back after using the Vivo X21.

The X21 is otherwise unremarkable, but you’ll pay a lot less for it than the Nex S, and it’ll be available in vastly higher quantities in various markets — as you may have gathered from the associated marketing at the ongoing soccer World Cup.

  • 6.3-inch 1080p OLED display
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Snapdragon 660 processor
  • 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM
  • 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel dual cameras
  • 20-megapixel selfie camera
  • Headphone jack
  • Micro USB charging

Oppo’s R15 Pro is like a cross between the Vivo X21 and the OnePlus 6 — it loses the X21’s in-display fingerprint sensor but gains the 6’s better main camera and proprietary fast charging system. And out of the three, I think it has the most attractive design, particularly in its gorgeously gradiated Ruby Red colorway.

Like the X21, however, it uses the less powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor rather than the OnePlus 6’s 845. You’ll also have to make do with a Micro USB port, though it does use Oppo’s VOOC fast-charging technology, which OnePlus uses for its Dash system.

  • 6.2-inch 1080p OLED with notch
  • 12-megapixel dual cameras with telephoto
  • 20-megapixel selfie camera
  • 6GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage
  • Transparent “Explorer Edition” with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor

Xiaomi’s other flagship is somewhat more conventional.

The Mi 8, unsurprisingly, is the company’s first phone with a display notch, and as such it doesn’t really stand out in terms of design beyond the slightly dubious transparent “Explorer Edition.”

The main Xiaomi Mi line has never really been about pushing the limits of industrial design, though. It’s been about offering really solid devices at impressive prices, and the Mi 8 continues that tradition. It has high-end specs, including a Snapdragon 845 processor, and starts at around £420, meaning it’s significantly cheaper than even the OnePlus 6.

A smaller Snapdragon 770-powered version called the Mi 8 SE, meanwhile, starts from £280 and could be the real bargain in the lineup.

Xiaomi continues to offer solid, legitimately modern devices at prices that are hard for anyone else to match.

Rebuilding Germany’s centuries-old vocational program

Within buildings 10 and 30 of the Siemens complex on the outskirts of Munich, the next generation of German workers are toiling over a range of test projects. The assignments are carefully chosen to impart the skills needed to continue the German miracle in automated manufacturing. In one room, a group of young men train to be automotive mechatronic engineers.

They’ve just spent the past week feverishly programming a diminutive working model of an automated production line–complete with sensors, conveyor belts, and tools that work without human input. They’re able to discuss their work in surprisingly good English, but what sets them apart from their peers in the US is that none of them attend a university. Most started at Siemens fresh out of secondary school at age 16.

Instead of paying tuition and fees–a mechanical engineering program with a mechatronics concentration at a school like North Carolina State University costs some £25,000 to £44,000 a year–trainees receive a small salary while they learn. The Siemens training is part of a vocational program in Germany that is heralded globally for speeding roughly 500,000 young people a year into the workforce. Last year, the country hit a record high 1.279 trillion euros (£1.51 trillion) in exports.

It did this, despite high labor costs, by being the most automated country in Europe, with 309 industrial robots per 10,000 workers. Vocational training is at the heart of this success, and politicians in the US, from both the left and the right, have pointed to it as a system worth emulating. Such advocates cite the so-called skills gap in many advanced countries: the inability of companies to find people with relevant technical expertise.

To close that gap and tackle youth unemployment, Donald Trump last year pledged around £200 million to expand apprenticeship training in the US. Barack Obama started a similar program in 2015. But some experts warn that Germany’s system will struggle to adapt as the economy grows more dependent on AI and robotics.

While AI may provide a long-overdue boost to productivity growth, some say vocational programs could shackle much of the workforce to skills that will soon be outdated. “Germany has shown that they can prepare people for a range of jobs today and over the next decade,” says Eric Hanushek, an economist at Stanford University. “What they haven’t shown is that they are preparing people who are as adaptable when the economy changes.”

Skills for today

The origin of the German apprenticeship, or Ausbildung, program dates back centuries, to when trades were governed by powerful guilds. Some German carpenters still participate in the tradition of going auf der Walz as part of their training–setting out for three years and one day in traditional dress to work as journeymen before returning home to become master carpenters.

Some experts warn that the system will struggle to adapt to AI and robotics.

Today, young Germans get put on a career track, headed toward either university or vocational training, when they are approximately 10 years old; those on the vocational track begin work and training at 16. For around three years apprentices are paid while being trained by an employer like Siemens.

Apprentices spend time in a classroom or workshop, where making mistakes won’t hurt the company’s production. Such programs are not cheap, costing businesses around 18,000 euros per year for the average pupil. “The business case for us, when you look at the math,” says Friedrich Beisser, a Siemens consultant for international training, “is that most trainees are productive while they learn, and ready to work right away.”

“Nearly all of them are later hired by the companies where they have made their training,” says his boss, Thomas Leubner, head of learning and education at Siemens. Apprenticeships provide a steady influx of trained workers with just the right skills.

And they are loyal, too. In Asia, where churn is typically high, the turnover rate among Siemens employees who’ve apprenticed there is only 3 percent a year, Beisser estimates. The company’s turnover rate in Asia for employees who didn’t train as apprentices is over three times that.

There are other signs that apprenticeship has its advantages. According to a study by Hanushek, recent university graduates in Germany were 12.9 percent less likely to be employed than their vocationally trained peers. But unemployment goes up and lifetime earnings fall when workers get into their mid-40s.

At that age, the outdated skills of someone with vocational training can make it harder to stay in the labor force. University graduates–who learned more generalized knowledge, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and organization, the skills that experts predict will grow increasingly valuable in an AI-driven economy–adapt better.

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Signs in economic data from the past few decades support this idea, according to two US-based economists, Dirk Krueger and Krishna Kumar. In the 1960s and 1970s, when per capita GDP growth rose faster in Germany than in the US, technological changes were relatively gradual.

In the heyday of the information age, from the 1980s to the 1990s, when American companies adopted new technologies more quickly than their German counterparts, the numbers for the two countries flipped. During a period of slow change, “training people to do one job, because they can expect to do that job for the rest of their life, is a useful thing,” says Krueger, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania. “But in an economy that’s more rapidly changing technologically, training workers to solve problems as opposed to fixating on one job might be the better alternative.” Perhaps Americans were able to choose the most efficient technology to implement, while a German factory might have been limited to choosing the ones its more narrowly trained workforce had the skills to use. “I think the German vocational system is probably not particularly well placed to deal with the changes to come,” says Ludger Woessmann, an economist at the University of Munich.

For a decade, he says, young Germans have increasingly been choosing university rather than vocational programs. To remain relevant, vocational training will need to change. “For any type of training, particularly for AI and robotics, people cannot build on very job-specific skills for the rest of their lives,” he says. “That’s a fundamental, core problem of any vocational system.”

Midcareer time bomb

But don’t write off the German system just yet. Over the centuries, it “has survived and been adapted to massive changes in technology,” says Kathleen Thelen, an MIT political scientist who wrote a history of it.

To confront the challenges of an AI-driven century, the program has added a newly blended approach, for the lucky few who qualify.

Thelen describes it as an elite dual-studies track that confers both a bachelor’s or master’s degree and a traditional apprenticeship credential.

These young people are benefiting from the best of both traditions.

Aurel, one of the young men working in the mechatronics lab at Siemens, told me that after finishing his apprenticeship-only program he’d like to go to university or possibly work at a renewable-energy startup. Downstairs, in the machine shop, a 22-year-old woman named Lena was intently focused on milling what would become the barrel of a small cannon (a personal project intended to spur creativity). She’s earning a university degree while getting paid to work toward an apprenticeship. “I’m doing it for the money,” she told me, “and also because I know I’ll have a job after I finish.” Another young man, Patrick, started as a university student but discovered he could take an extra year to include an apprenticeship with his studies and get paid while he learned.

He now trains other apprentices. The young people in the program are benefiting from the best of both traditions. They also have the advantage of landing placements with a company like Siemens, which can afford to update its training programs frequently; by the end of this year, Beisser says, it intends to introduce a new curriculum that will include AI.

But for those locked into more traditional apprenticeships, the future may be less bright. “The German system doesn’t do very well when it comes to continuing vocational training–that is, retraining at the adult level,” says Thelen. That’s possibly because such training is expensive, and nobody has figured out how to successfully get both companies and adult workers to take part.

What’s more, government spending on adult education has gone down in Germany over the past 10 years.

“The traditional view, which is roughly correct, is you learn something at 16, and then you hope that your job basically doesn’t change for the next 40 years, and you retire at age 60,” says Krueger.

But as the retirement age creeps above 70 and AI upends a growing number of industries, all bets are off. “And in that world,” says Krueger, “the vocational system will have to adapt quite drastically.”

Temperature Hygrometer, GLISTENY Indoor Digital Hygrometer, Outdoor Humidity Thermometer Monitor, Smart Touchscreen Light Built-in Clock and Timer Digital Temperature Hygrometer – Price Special

Color:White ♔ GLISTENY Thermometer Humidity Gauge

Function: 4.3”large LCD display with low battery indicator Press LIGHT Button, the backlight of screen will flash for 5 seconds. Ways of Pacement: Hanging on the wall; Standing on the desk with the back bracket; Absorbed on the refrigerator with the back magnet.

♔ Specification Size:4.7*3.5*1 inches Weight:4.6 ozPackage Included: 1* Lighting Thermometer Hygrometer, 1* Manual Power : 2XAAA (Not included)

 ♔ DRY, COMFORT or WET Reference Value : COMFORT: 50% < Humidity < 70%, 68℉< Temperature < 78.8℉DRY: Humidity < 50%WET: Humidity > 70%Temperature Detection Range:14℉~158℉Humidity Detection Range: 10%~98%

Pay Attention1.If the digital numbers are fuzzy, it means low battery and the battery need to be replaced.2.If the battery is reset, the time, date and alarm need to be reset and the maximum/minimum temperature and humidity are also cleared.3.Please don’t drop or thump our products.

100% High Quality Service : If any problem, please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a full refund or a free replacement to guarantee the quality, and excellent customer service is easy to reach , so you can rest assured to get your indoor thermometer.

  • 【Reliability and Accuracy】: Hygrometer can be sensitive to the indoor environment, providing up-to-date and accurate readings, ranging from 14℉ to 158℉, measuring humidity from 10% to 98%.
  • 【Easy to Read and Manipulate】: The design of touch screen and larger number to make your reading more convenient and comfortable in the background of blue light. Easy operation of English instructions is not complicated.
  • 【Family Health Helper】: You only need to pay attention to the screen smiling face to get the environment humidity, which helps to adjust the humidifier and dehumidifier settings and provide you with better quality and healthier living environment.
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