Ben Sin

Ben Sin

Ben is an independent tech writer covering the latest gadgets - as well as review the occasional film - for the South China Morning Post. Prior to this, he was a five-year staff with the company, first as a culture writer and then later a sub-editor. He's also held staff writing positions with the Village Voice and Sports Illustrated in New York, and has been published in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Latest from Ben Sin

2020’s best VPNs for consumers and people that work in China, from Surfshark to free VPN 360

Whether your goal is internet privacy or just to get different Netflix content, we break down five popular VPNs and look at their pros, cons, security and transparency, including those that function in China.

16 Jul 2020 - 6:50PM

Whether your goal is internet privacy or just to get different Netflix content, we break down five popular VPNs and look at their pros, cons, security and transparency, including those that function in China.

2020’s best VPNs for consumers and people that work in China, from Surfshark to free VPN 360
Review | Sony Xperia 1 II review: the phone that feels like a camera, and its incredible burst shots

The Sony Xperia 1 II has a unique take on photography, with a shutter button on the side, Sony’s best-in-class autofocus system, burst shooting mode, and camera app where everything’s adjustable like on a DSLR camera.

9 Jul 2020 - 10:28AM

The Sony Xperia 1 II has a unique take on photography, with a shutter button on the side, Sony’s best-in-class autofocus system, burst shooting mode, and camera app where everything’s adjustable like on a DSLR camera.

Sony Xperia 1 II review: the phone that feels like a camera, and its incredible burst shots
Review | Vivo X50 Pro review: new gimbal camera system captures more fluid videos, but it’s still a work in progress

The biggest selling point of the Vivo X50 Pro is its main camera, which sits on a miniaturised gimbal, or stabiliser, and captures perfectly fluid videos. However, its benefits are only noticeable in extreme conditions.

25 Jun 2020 - 10:15AM

The biggest selling point of the Vivo X50 Pro is its main camera, which sits on a miniaturised gimbal, or stabiliser, and captures perfectly fluid videos. However, its benefits are only noticeable in extreme conditions.

Vivo X50 Pro review: new gimbal camera system captures more fluid videos, but it’s still a work in progress
New on Apple Watch: a hand washing tracker, sleep detector, and audio volume ear protection feature

The latest Apple Watch features include a hand washing detector that tells you if you stop too soon. Also included: a sleep detector and a ‘hearing’ mode that protects your ears from audio that is too loud.

25 Jun 2020 - 9:02PM

The latest Apple Watch features include a hand washing detector that tells you if you stop too soon. Also included: a sleep detector and a ‘hearing’ mode that protects your ears from audio that is too loud.

New on Apple Watch: a hand washing tracker, sleep detector, and audio volume ear protection feature
Apple iOS 14: new iPhone home screen shows more widgets and fewer apps, there’s a redesigned Siri and much more

Apple’s iOS 14, coming to iPhones this autumn, is a major upgrade – it introduces an App Library and floating video on the home screen, and Siri gets a redesign.

23 Jun 2020 - 12:16PM

Apple’s iOS 14, coming to iPhones this autumn, is a major upgrade – it introduces an App Library and floating video on the home screen, and Siri gets a redesign.

Apple iOS 14: new iPhone home screen shows more widgets and fewer apps, there’s a redesigned Siri and much more
Review | Huawei P40 Pro Plus review: 10x optical zoom camera is truly innovative, but at US$1,600 this phone is a luxury

The top-of-the-range Huawei phone has a world-leading 10x lossless optical zoom lens and the best performing camera system overall, but at US$1,600 it will be out of most consumers’ price range.

12 Jun 2020 - 12:56PM

The top-of-the-range Huawei phone has a world-leading 10x lossless optical zoom lens and the best performing camera system overall, but at US$1,600 it will be out of most consumers’ price range.

Huawei P40 Pro Plus review: 10x optical zoom camera is truly innovative, but at US$1,600 this phone is a luxury
Octopus integration, Hong Kong transit in iPhone update – pay with your card on Apple Watch and get directions in Cantonese

Hong Kong iPhone users rejoice – a new software update brings two major features: Octopus card integration for Apple Wallet, and real-time MTR and bus schedules for Apple Maps.

2 Jun 2020 - 10:43AM

Hong Kong iPhone users rejoice – a new software update brings two major features: Octopus card integration for Apple Wallet, and real-time MTR and bus schedules for Apple Maps.

Octopus integration, Hong Kong transit in iPhone update – pay with your card on Apple Watch and get directions in Cantonese
Review | Zhiyun Smooth X review: the world’s smallest powered smartphone gimbal is perfect for the selfie obsessed

The Zhiyun Smooth X, the smallest powered smartphone gimbal on the market, is ideal for shooting selfie videos. It easily tracks a moving object, and can be started with a gesture.

1 Jun 2020 - 9:15PM

The Zhiyun Smooth X, the smallest powered smartphone gimbal on the market, is ideal for shooting selfie videos. It easily tracks a moving object, and can be started with a gesture.

Zhiyun Smooth X review: the world’s smallest powered smartphone gimbal is perfect for the selfie obsessed
Honor 30 Pro Plus review: premium-phone specs at a mid-tier price make it great value, even if it lacks core Google services

The newest phones from the Huawei sub-brand look like high-end flagship handsets, but cost much less. With a main camera second to none, the Honor 30 Pro Plus’ only downside is the absence of some Google features.

30 May 2020 - 1:00PM

The newest phones from the Huawei sub-brand look like high-end flagship handsets, but cost much less. With a main camera second to none, the Honor 30 Pro Plus’ only downside is the absence of some Google features.

Honor 30 Pro Plus review: premium-phone specs at a mid-tier price make it great value, even if it lacks core Google services
What is 5G, why is US President Donald Trump obsessed with it – and did it cause the coronavirus?

5G is one of the key tensions in the US/China trade war; it is said to be 100 times faster than 4G, and one conspiracy theory about it is that it causes the coronavirus

25 May 2020 - 10:00AM

5G is one of the key tensions in the US/China trade war; it is said to be 100 times faster than 4G, and one conspiracy theory about it is that it causes the coronavirus

What is 5G, why is US President Donald Trump obsessed with it – and did it cause the coronavirus?
Meizu 17 Pro review: great design and battery life but photos lag behind its rivals

Despite its attractive design, impressively small selfie camera and great battery life, the Meizu 17 Pro’s camera shortcomings leave it lagging behind other smartphones from Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung.

20 May 2020 - 2:15PM

Despite its attractive design, impressively small selfie camera and great battery life, the Meizu 17 Pro’s camera shortcomings leave it lagging behind other smartphones from Huawei, Xiaomi and Samsung.

Meizu 17 Pro review: great design and battery life but photos lag behind its rivals
Review | OnePlus 8 Pro review: best camera app, still the best software – this is the most powerful and polished OnePlus phone yet

The flagship handset from OnePlus is the Chinese brand’s most well-rounded device yet, and its first with wireless charging and IP68 water resistance.

12 May 2020 - 8:00PM

The flagship handset from OnePlus is the Chinese brand’s most well-rounded device yet, and its first with wireless charging and IP68 water resistance.

OnePlus 8 Pro review: best camera app, still the best software – this is the most powerful and polished OnePlus phone yet
Apple unveils coding contest for students to kick off virtual Worldwide Developer Conference week

Scholars Programme coding winners used to be flown to California to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. This year’s event will be virtual, and online contest replaces the programme.

10 May 2020 - 8:00PM

Scholars Programme coding winners used to be flown to California to attend Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference. This year’s event will be virtual, and online contest replaces the programme.

Apple unveils coding contest for students to kick off virtual Worldwide Developer Conference week
Review | Fitbit Charge 4: powerful fitness tracker let down by its poor screen – in black and white – and connectivity issues

The Charge 4 is one of the slimmest, lightest fitness trackers around and does what it sets out to do, with the bonus of a new GPS sensor. But there are software issues to be addressed, and it has a disappointing screen.

3 May 2020 - 6:20PM

The Charge 4 is one of the slimmest, lightest fitness trackers around and does what it sets out to do, with the bonus of a new GPS sensor. But there are software issues to be addressed, and it has a disappointing screen.

Fitbit Charge 4: powerful fitness tracker let down by its poor screen – in black and white – and connectivity issues
Review | Selfie video camera a dream for vloggers – all-in-one IdolCam fits in the palm of your hand or on a selfie stick

The IdolCam is an action camera stabilised with a built-in gimbal. It is light enough to use with a selfie stick and vloggers will appreciate the stabilisation and audio quality. All it lacks is a companion app.

30 Apr 2020 - 3:04PM

The IdolCam is an action camera stabilised with a built-in gimbal. It is light enough to use with a selfie stick and vloggers will appreciate the stabilisation and audio quality. All it lacks is a companion app.

Selfie video camera a dream for vloggers – all-in-one IdolCam fits in the palm of your hand or on a selfie stick
Review | Full review iPhone SE 2020: daytime photos and video superb for budget price, wireless charging a plus, battery life only average

Daytime photos taken on Apple’s budget iPhone SE 2020 are almost identical to those taken with the iPhone 11; videos are unmatched at its price. Wireless charging and stereo speakers are a plus.

24 Apr 2020 - 12:33PM

Daytime photos taken on Apple’s budget iPhone SE 2020 are almost identical to those taken with the iPhone 11; videos are unmatched at its price. Wireless charging and stereo speakers are a plus.

Full review iPhone SE 2020: daytime photos and video superb for budget price, wireless charging a plus, battery life only average
Lenovo Legion 7 gaming laptop: first impressions – super fast graphics, new cooling system and enhanced keyboard

The latest gaming machine from Lenovo, the Legion 7 ticks all the boxes for serious gamers: adaptable graphics processors, an ultra fast refresh rate, a specially adapted keyboard and a brand new cooling system.

20 Apr 2020 - 5:57PM

The latest gaming machine from Lenovo, the Legion 7 ticks all the boxes for serious gamers: adaptable graphics processors, an ultra fast refresh rate, a specially adapted keyboard and a brand new cooling system.

Lenovo Legion 7 gaming laptop: first impressions – super fast graphics, new cooling system and enhanced keyboard
Apple’s new iPhone SE goes back to basics: it’s smaller, cheaper and the home button has returned

The iPhone SE is Apple’s cheapest in years, starting at US$399. It has an older design and a single-lens main camera, but it packs a punch and the sorely missed home button is back.

16 Apr 2020 - 12:51PM

The iPhone SE is Apple’s cheapest in years, starting at US$399. It has an older design and a single-lens main camera, but it packs a punch and the sorely missed home button is back.

Apple’s new iPhone SE goes back to basics: it’s smaller, cheaper and the home button has returned
Review | Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro review: premium phone is the pick of new releases, with none of the shortcomings of Samsung S20 Ultra, Huawei P40 Pro and Oppo Find X2 Pro

The Mi 10 Pro is Xiaomi’s first real attempt at competing with the best Samsung and Huawei smartphones available. It matches its rivals’ top features, and has none of their downsides. It has a premium price too.

11 Apr 2020 - 12:57PM

The Mi 10 Pro is Xiaomi’s first real attempt at competing with the best Samsung and Huawei smartphones available. It matches its rivals’ top features, and has none of their downsides. It has a premium price too.

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro review: premium phone is the pick of new releases, with none of the shortcomings of Samsung S20 Ultra, Huawei P40 Pro and Oppo Find X2 Pro
Review | LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen review: it looks outdated, but it delivers on media creation, multitasking and battery life

The latest phone from LG may not look the best, with an outdated design and low refresh rate, but it delivers on performance. Its intelligent software allows users to multitask and it’s cheaper than many phones.

8 Apr 2020 - 5:57PM

The latest phone from LG may not look the best, with an outdated design and low refresh rate, but it delivers on performance. Its intelligent software allows users to multitask and it’s cheaper than many phones.

LG V60 ThinQ 5G Dual Screen review: it looks outdated, but it delivers on media creation, multitasking and battery life
iPad Pro 2020 review: ahead of any Android or Windows competitor – its new software could change how you use a tablet forever

The Apple iPad Pro 2020 has the same basic hardware as the 2018 model, apart from a new camera system. The software has been drastically updated, with mouse and trackpad support and an on-screen cursor.

3 Apr 2020 - 9:39PM

The Apple iPad Pro 2020 has the same basic hardware as the 2018 model, apart from a new camera system. The software has been drastically updated, with mouse and trackpad support and an on-screen cursor.

iPad Pro 2020 review: ahead of any Android or Windows competitor – its new software could change how you use a tablet forever
What Google ban? How to get Huawei phones working with US apps and services like Google Maps and Instagram

The US government ban on Huawei working with American companies is not as dire as it sounds. Here are easy ways to get Google’s search and maps, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and so on onto new Huawei phones.

1 Apr 2020 - 2:34PM

The US government ban on Huawei working with American companies is not as dire as it sounds. Here are easy ways to get Google’s search and maps, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and so on onto new Huawei phones.

What Google ban? How to get Huawei phones working with US apps and services like Google Maps and Instagram
Huawei P40 Pro first look: 40W wireless charging and the best lowlight camera

Huawei’s P40 Pro phone, one of three in its new flagship range, has a world-beating lowlight camera, an infrared face scanner and 40W wireless charging. With all four edges of the display rounded, the phone feels nice in the hand.

26 Mar 2020 - 9:58PM

Huawei’s P40 Pro phone, one of three in its new flagship range, has a world-beating lowlight camera, an infrared face scanner and 40W wireless charging. With all four edges of the display rounded, the phone feels nice in the hand.

Huawei P40 Pro first look: 40W wireless charging and the best lowlight camera
Review | Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra full review: 108-megapixel camera and a stunning screen to compete with Chinese brands

The new flagship Samsung phone has the biggest image sensor yet seen on a handset, but its camera has focusing issues and its 100X zoom capability is a marketing gimmick; its less curvy design and high price tag may put some off.

12 Mar 2020 - 7:19PM

The new flagship Samsung phone has the biggest image sensor yet seen on a handset, but its camera has focusing issues and its 100X zoom capability is a marketing gimmick; its less curvy design and high price tag may put some off.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra full review: 108-megapixel camera and a stunning screen to compete with Chinese brands
Review | Oppo Find X2 Pro review: a match for Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, with ultra-high-resolution display and world-beating camera

Oppo’s latest flagship handset has a curved-edge Quad HD screen with 120hz refresh rate, double what most offer. The camera is no longer hidden, and its wide-angle lens sets a new benchmark for smartphones.

6 Mar 2020 - 7:33PM

Oppo’s latest flagship handset has a curved-edge Quad HD screen with 120hz refresh rate, double what most offer. The camera is no longer hidden, and its wide-angle lens sets a new benchmark for smartphones.

Oppo Find X2 Pro review: a match for Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, with ultra-high-resolution display and world-beating camera
Realme X50 Pro full review: industry-best fast charging and hardware to rival Galaxy S20 for half the price

The Realme X50 Pro’s 4,200 mAh battery can go from 20 per cent to 70 per cent in just 10 minutes, while its hardware rivals that of the recently released Samsung Galaxy S20, despite being half the price.

27 Feb 2020 - 6:21PM

The Realme X50 Pro’s 4,200 mAh battery can go from 20 per cent to 70 per cent in just 10 minutes, while its hardware rivals that of the recently released Samsung Galaxy S20, despite being half the price.

Realme X50 Pro full review: industry-best fast charging and hardware to rival Galaxy S20 for half the price
Review | The Translators film review: French whodunit thriller a gripping experience despite unlikely subject matter

The job of translating gets unexpected exciting in French thriller The Translators, where a group of people locked in a mansion fight about who has leaked the first few pages of a highly anticipated book.

25 Feb 2020 - 10:51AM

The job of translating gets unexpected exciting in French thriller The Translators, where a group of people locked in a mansion fight about who has leaked the first few pages of a highly anticipated book.

The Translators film review: French whodunit thriller a gripping experience despite unlikely subject matter
Review | Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: a very compact phone when folded, but the 1.1 inch screen is just too small

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, a refined version of the Fold, is more compact and fits nicely into your pocket. However, it has a tiny screen when it is folded, and the cameras and processor are dated.

24 Feb 2020 - 1:15AM

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, a refined version of the Fold, is more compact and fits nicely into your pocket. However, it has a tiny screen when it is folded, and the cameras and processor are dated.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: a very compact phone when folded, but the 1.1 inch screen is just too small
Nubia, Realme, Vivo: new Chinese phones we would’ve seen at MWC – what the plans are now

What do smaller Chinese phone brands have planned after the Mobile World Congress was cancelled? From Nubia’s Red Magic 5G to Realme’s X50 5G, here are the phones we expect to see soon, and how they might be launched.

19 Feb 2020 - 3:05PM

What do smaller Chinese phone brands have planned after the Mobile World Congress was cancelled? From Nubia’s Red Magic 5G to Realme’s X50 5G, here are the phones we expect to see soon, and how they might be launched.

Nubia, Realme, Vivo: new Chinese phones we would’ve seen at MWC – what the plans are now
Review | Huawei Mate X review: folding phone is the most futuristic out there, despite last-gen components

Huawei’s Mate X is the best-looking folding phone on the market. Opening it inspires looks of wonder on the streets. It uses last-generation components, but the finely tuned software makes up for any lag.

8 Feb 2020 - 9:00PM

Huawei’s Mate X is the best-looking folding phone on the market. Opening it inspires looks of wonder on the streets. It uses last-generation components, but the finely tuned software makes up for any lag.

Huawei Mate X review: folding phone is the most futuristic out there, despite last-gen components