Vodafone Goes 5G 

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No doubt you are aware that the latest step forward within the world of communication expansion is that of 5G. This latest technology is slowly spreading its net(work) over the communication world with the promise of better things to come as users adjust their equipment to take advantage of this latest Holy Grail of mobile orientated features to keep users happy.

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Although the spread of 5G might seem initially slow with regards to its availability rather than performance. you do need to consider the geographical spread that this technology needs to cover and the upgrading of the equipment needed to support the technology with the range of equipment being developed by various competitive companies and the tactics being used to promote their take on the product and its technology.  I have recently been offered the opportunity to check out the Vodafone approach to 5G as I was enrolled in a scheme that involved combining access to 5G with one of the specific smartphones  designated as being suitable for use with 5G. 

In my case I was supplied with a Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G handset to make use of Vodafone's current 5G network located in the seven UK cities of Birmingham. Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool, London and Manchester.  Being a London resident, it was not necessary for me to upsticks and travel to one of the other locations as I tried out the Vodafone 5G network using the Xiaomi handset.  On those occasions I wandered away from the direct influence of Vodafone 5G, the Xiaomi handset was able to cope by automatically switching between whatever technology was currently available of that precise location and moment in time.

Once some initial set-up issues were cleared up, this really just involved the downloading of the appropriate driver for 5G compatibility, I was able to check out the Xiaomi handset on the Vodafone network.  One immediate advantage of using this combination was a definite increase in the speed of operation.  There is a faster mobile speed in the transfer of data.  Admittedly this state of affairs was not as constant as the speed would depend on the current situation with whatever technology was being used when 5G was nit available.  The reduction in speed could cause some frustration when you happen to wander into an area not currently cover by 5G technology.  However as 5G spreads its influence, these slow-down incidents should become rarer as you enjoy the more superior services offered by 5G.

While the Vodafone 5G network services is currently limited to the geographical areas mentioned earlier, you also need to use an appropriate handset such as the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 handset.  My sample of this onyx black handset followed the normal candy bar shape with a thin bezel encasing the 6.39-inch full screen display.  This handset came with a downloadable driver enabling 5G compatibility to form part of the handset's feature set. 

A fairly standard arrangement of a volume rocket and power on/off button sit on the right side of the handset.  A pop-out tray, using the supplied pinprick tool, for inserting the required SIM card, is to be found on the left side of the handset,  Located on the base of the handset is a Type C USB port for recharging the unit's internal, non-removable battery.  This port, along with a supplied audio adaptive cable, can be used for attaching a headset unit. The Xiaomi handset features the standard arrangement of a front mounted Selfie camera with a dual lens camera positioned on the rear of the unit.

The Xiaomi smartphone is built around an Octa-core Max 2,84 GHz processor with 6GB of RAM.  Up to 128GB of storage is provided for the Android 9 operating system, video, music and photos plus various apps selected by the user.  Taking advantage of the low latency provided by 5G, this mobile device should provide a full day of heavy use.

I did encounter one annoying feature with this handset.  Usually one of the first actions I take when testing a smartphone is to adjust the length of time that occurs before the screen goes into shut down mode to save on power.  However this facility was not available with this Xiaomi handset.  Instead I had to put up with the screen going into shut down mode following 20 seconds of inactivity.  I could find no way to adjust this setting.  A double tap, or pick up, was required to awaken the screen.  While hardly a major issue, I found this to be a particular annoying feature.  Other than this feature I was happy with the combination of Vodafone 5G and the Xiaomi handset.

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