Samsung launched a Fan Edition (FE) smartphone in the Galaxy S20 lineup late last year. Hence, it was being speculated that the company would launch a Galaxy S21 FE. However, there was no information about the device’s presence up until now. The Galaxy S21 FE renders have leaked online. These give us a first look at the next Fan Edition model from the house of Samsung.
The latest development comes from Steve H. McFly / OnLeaks who took to Voice to post the renders of the upcoming smartphone. Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy S21 FE seems to follow the design language of the Galaxy S21 lineup with its camera module extending to the frame of the phone. However, instead of glass, Samsung is said to opt for a glastic rear panel, which is essentially plastic. It is tipped to have a metal frame and measure 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm. Notably, the smartphone seems to be larger than the vanilla Galaxy S21 – 4mm taller.
The front of the Galaxy S21 FE houses a selfie camera in a punch-hole cutout, which Samsung calls an “Infinity-O” display. It is likely to be an AMOLED panel. The display is flat on the edges like the Galaxy S21 and S21+. It is touted to feature a 6.4-inch display, which is bigger than that of the Galaxy S21 (6.2-inch). As for the rear, the FE device is rumored to sport a triple camera setup. However, it is likely to have downgraded lenses since it will also be cheaper.
With the Galaxy S20 FE, Samsung offered flagship features but corners were cut in the design, which isn’t much to worry about if the smartphone is solid. The company seems to be on track to repeat the success mantra with the Galaxy S21 FE by offering flagship features at a lower price tag. It might launch around USD 700.
OnePlus pulled a surprise (sort of) last month when it added a third phone to the OnePlus 9 series – christened the OnePlus 9R. The phone is essentially a reborn OnePlus 8T, but with the new Snapdragon 870 SoC, which in itself is a reincarnated Snapdragon 865. Phew… too many revivals in the tech industry these days. The OnePlus 9R is oddly limited to the Indian market, where the device has been priced roughly at $550, playing in the budget segment battlefield OnePlus is known to be a champion of. While the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have entered the bonafide flagship territory, the OnePlus 9R will be an option for buyers who are torn between Samsung and Apple’s vanilla flagships that don’t necessarily cost a bomb.
Specifically, the OnePlus will be on the list of potential buyers who are eyeing the iPhone 12 Mini or the vanilla iPhone 12. Let’s get straight into our OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12 series comparison and find out which one would be the right pick for you:
Pocketnow Advisory: In case you’re torn between the OnePlus 9 and iPhone 12, or the OnePlus 9 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro models, we’ve done separate comparisons for them as well on Pocketnow to help you make the right decision. Additionally, we’ve compiled useful lists of the best cases to protect your shiny new OnePlus flagships, both the OnePlus 9 and its Pro sibling. And in case you’re not sure where to buy them, we’ve created a detailed OnePlus 9 series deals list for that as well. Oh, and read carefully, as you might save some dollars with ongoing discounts!
OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12: Build and aesthetics
Both the OnePlus 9R and iPhone 12 go with a glass-and-metal sandwich design. However, the biggest difference between the two phones is ingress protection. The iPhone 12 Mini and its Mini sibling come with an IP68-certified build and are rated to survive immersion in up to 6 meters of water for 30 minutes. If IP-rating is something that is at the top of your priority list, then the Apple offerings are where you should put your money.
READ MORE: OnePlus is evolving, but it’s in a tricky place right now
OnePlus relies on Corning Gorilla Glass for protecting that smooth 120Hz display, while the Apple devices rely on Ceramic Shield that is touted to be 4x stronger at brushing off accidental drops. OnePlus 9R has a curvier profile and is a tad heavier than the Apple phones, especially when compared to the compact iPhone 12 Mini. But if you like flat sides that invoke some classic iPhone 4 vibes (and a huge notch), the iPhone 12 duo should suit your tastes well.
Now, let’s talk color options. The iPhone 12 pair is up for grabs in a choice of five colors – black, white, red, green, and blue. The OnePlus 9R, on the other hand, will be available in only two colors – Lake Blue and Carbon Black.
Now, this is one area where the OnePlus 9R leaves the iPhone 12 pair far behind, thanks to one trait in particular – a 120Hz panel. It comes armed with a 6.55-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) display that offers a pixel density of 402 PPI and a circular hole-punch cutout in the top-left corner. However, it’s the 120Hz refresh rate that truly sets it apart, offering a smooth visual experience for all kinds of tasks, ranging from doom-scrolling your Twitter feed to playing Fortnite.
The iPhone 12 Mini offers a 5.4-inch (2340 x 1080 pixels, 476PPI pixel density) Super Retina XDR OLED display, while the standard iPhone 12 goes with a 6.1-inch (2532 x 1170 pixels, 460 PPI) display with a peak brightness of 1200 nits. The screen quality is top-notch, but the 60Hz refresh rate is somewhat of a limiting factor. Actually, it is disappointing, especially when phones that cost almost a third offer a 90Hz panel.
The OnePlus 9R draws power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, which is essentially the Snapdragon 865 revived under a different marketing name. But that doesn’t mean it is slow, as the latter was Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor for the year 2020, and can handle anything you throw at it without a hitch. The phone is available in two configurations – 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB.
Coming to the iPhone 12 Pro duo, you’ll find the blazing-fast A14 Bionic chip ticking at its heart. Apple, as usual, has not revealed the amount of RAM, but you get to choose between three storage configurations – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.
Apple iPhone 12
2400 x 1080 pixel resolution
120Hz refresh rate
402 PPI pixel density
Aspect Ratio: 20:9
6.1‑inch OLED display
2532 x 1170-pixel resolution
60Hz refresh rate
1200 nits peak brightness
12MP primary (f/1.6, OIS)
12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4, 120°)
2x optical zoom out
Digital zoom up to 3xFront:
4K at 30/60 FPS
FHD at 30/60 FPS
Slo-mo HD at 480 FPS
Slo-mo FHD at 240 FPS
4K at 24/25/30/60 FPS
HD at 25/30/60 FPS
Slo-mo 1080p at 120/240 FPS
65W wired fast charging
No wireless charging
20W wired fast charging
15W MagSafe wireless
Now, let’s talk battery longevity. OnePlus has armed its latest ‘budget flagship’ with a 4,500 mAh battery. Again, Apple has not revealed its battery capacity but says that the iPhone 12 and its Mini sibling can last up to 17 hours and 15 hours of video playback on a single charge respectively. However, real-life tests have proven that the iPhone 12 Mini struggles to go past a day of usage.
Additionally, it is charging speeds where the OnePlus 9R leaves the iPhone 12 duo far behind. The OnePlus 9R offers support for 65W fast charging, which is claimed to fill the tank from 0-100% in just 39 minutes. However, it misses out on support for wireless charging. The iPhone 12 pair maxes out at 20W wired fast charging (up to 50% juice with 30 minutes of charging), while the MagSafe system delivers 15W of wireless charging wattage.
Before we get into the megapixel count comparisons, I’ll spell it out clearly early on – OnePlus 9R takes the cake when it comes to versatility, while the iPhone 12 handily wins in terms of features and capabilities. The quad rear camera setup of the OnePlus 9R includes a 48MP main sensor, a 16MP wide-angle snapper, a 5MP macro shooter, and a 2MP depth-sensing camera. There is a 16MP camera on the front for selfies and video calls.
On the iPhone 12 and its Mini version, you get a 12MP wide and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera. Selfies are taken care of by a 12MP front snapper. However, the iPhone 12 pair brings support for Dolby Vision HDR video capture at 30FPS with the front as well as the rear camera. Apple has extended the Deep Fusion and Smart HDR3 tech to all three cameras, while the front snapper also gets support for Night Mode. You can find more about the iPhone 12’s camera performance in the video below:
Pricing and availability
The iPhone 12 Mini starts at $699, while the base 64GB model of the iPhone 12 will set you back by $799. As for the OnePlus 9R, it is priced at Rs.39,999 (roughly $550, as per current conversion rates), but the tricky part is that the device likely won’t make it outside the Indian market.
While the news led to an outpouring of emotions and countless expert takes on social media, there is some silver lining too. LG’s existing portfolio of phones – especially the premium devices – just got a lot cheaper. Specifically, I am talking about the wild LG Wing with a swiveling dual-screen design and the sleek LG Velvet, both of which have received some sweet discounts merely days after LG’s not-so-shocking announcement.
LG Velvet for around $400, or even lower? Go, get it!
Starting with the LG Velvet, Amazon currently has an unlocked unit going for as low as $379. And if you can settle for a renewed unit, it will cost you an even smaller sum of $275. The phone originally made its way to the US market priced at around $600, while the variant that supports mmWave 5G – which Verizon sells as LG Velvet 5G UW – hit the shelves priced at $700. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has discounted the phone to $400.
For that price, the LG Velvet is a fairly good phone. It has a premium glass-and-metal build with an appealing design, a capable processor (MediaTek Dimensity 1000C / Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G), a trio of cameras at the back, a sufficiently pixel-dense OLED display, and a 4,300mAh battery with wireless charging support. And with LG promising updates for at least another two years, the LG Velvet seems like a very compelling phone at its reduced price. Want to get into the nitty-gritty? Watch Pockentow’s LG Velvet review above.
Now, this one’s a cool collector’s item, even if you’re not much intrigued about the value proposition here. I mean, just look at the phone. LG was the only brand courageous enough to do such an experiment last year. And even though the phone didn’t prove to be a smash hit, it at least brought something fresh to the table. Also, that second screen isn’t merely a gimmick. Don’t just take my words for it. Watch Pocketnow’s review video above in which Joshua Vergara explains all the pros and cons in detail.
So, the LG Wing made its debut in the US market priced at $999. However, T-Mobile is currently selling it for $599.99. Alternatively, you can go for an installment plan that will set you back by $25 per month for the next two years. For that price, you get a phone that will get at least the next two major Android upgrades, fairly capable hardware, and a ton of bragging rights for you.
Well, LG is saying goodbye to the phone market, and will offer software support for some of its premium phones. However, after-sales support might not be as solid down the road as it was last week. Yes, there will be third-party services that can fix your phone if it meets an accident, but that would ultimately depend on the availability of replacement parts, especially for these two premium phones – the LG Velvet and Wing. If you think that gamble is worth taking, go ahead.
You can currently grab a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro starting at $949 after a $50 discount when you grab the WiFi-only variant with 128GB of storage space. You can go for more storage space and get better deals, as the 256GB variant is getting a $69 discount, which means you can get yours for just under $,1030, or get the LTE variant with the same storage for $1,349 with $100 savings.
The smaller 11-inch iPad Pro is also on sale, and you can get one starting at $750 with $49 savings. This will get you a new WiFi-only version in Siler with 128GB of storage space. The 512GB Space Gray version, is also getting a $49 discount, meaning you can get one for $850.
Now, we head over to Verizon, where you can grab a pair, wait no, two sets of Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for $325 shipped. These wireless earbuds usually sell for $200 a pair, but if you get two sets, you will be getting $75 savings, which means you would only have to pay $162.50 per pair.
And since we’re talking accessories, you must check out the Timex Metropolitan R AMOLED smartwatch in Black with a brown leather and silicone strap. It is currently getting a $35.90 discount, so you can get yours for as low as $143.10. You can also keep your Google Pixel 4a Basically Black case for $23 with $17 savings. It is made with recycled polycarbonate and recycled polyester, and it will protect your phone from regular daily use.
And you can get a new smartphone for as low as $60 if you’re not looking for anything fancy. The TracFone Samsung Galaxy A10e 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone (Locked) is currently getting a $20 discount, meaning you can grab one for $60. Or get the Motorola Moto G Power 4G with $50 savings, making it available for $100. Check out the complete listing here
The phone has started receiving the Android 11 update for those on Verizon’s network. In case you’re wondering what ‘UW’represents in the name LG Velvet 5G UW, it stands for Ultra Wideband. The phone supports Verizon’s mmWave 5G bands, which the company markets as Ultra Wideband 5G, while the sub-6GHz network goes by the name Nationwide 5G.
Coming back to the Android 11 update for LG Velvet 5G UW, it carries the build number G900VM20a and started rolling out yesterday. Aside from the usual set of Android 11 UI changes, it also brings the March security update to the table. In case you haven’t received the update notification, you can check for it manually by following this path: Settings > About Phone > Software updates > Check for Update.
LG Velvet just got a lot cheaper to buy
In the meanwhile, if you’ve been eyeing the LG Velvet but were dissuaded by its asking price, there is some good news. T-Mobile is currently selling the phone for just $400 on its website right now, which is quite a hefty price cut on the original market value of around $600. Do keep in mind that the T-Mobile version is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 1000C SoC and doesn’t support mmWave. The Verizon-locked version costs $700 and comes armed with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G SoC.
And if you want the phone for even cheaper, Amazon currently has the unlocked variant of LG Velvet 5G listed for just $379 at the time of writing this. If you trust LG on its promise of software updates for at least another 2-3 years, the LG Velvet 5G is a terrific deal for $379. If you want to know more about how the phone performs, watch Pocketnow’s review video above.
View LG Velvet 5G on Amazon
Android 11 update changelog for LG Velvet 5G
Notifications – Conversation bubbles: Notify you of a new message via a floating bubble. In Settings > Notifications > Conversation notifications, you can see the full list of conversations to set up for bubble notifications. Wireless Emergency Alert – Applications and Menu update: In Settings > Network & Internet > Wireless Emergency Alerts – menu has been updated with Google WEA. Tap & pay – Tap & pay: From Default apps, moves under Settings > Connected devices > NFC. Tap & pay is now shown when NFC is on, and disappears when it is off. Mobile Hotspot – Menu update: In Settings > Network & internet > Tethering & Mobile Hotspot > Mobile Hotspot OS 10: Supports the “Manage connections” and “802.11 mode” menu OS 11: Removes the “Manage connections” and “802.11 mode” menu Camera – Tutorial slider: The order of the tutorial in the slider windows has been changed to Camera modes and front/rear cameras. Also the background color has changed to black. Quick Video: Press and hold the shutter button to record a short video. Drag and hold the button for burst mode. Switch camera button: The button shape has changed in Photo, Video and Time-lapse mode. Settings – Quick settings: Three icons (Focus mode, Bedtime mode and Nearby Share) have been added to the main notification panel from the edit list (hidden). Focus Mode: You can pause distracting apps and hide their notifications on your schedule. Bedtime Mode: Avoid interruptions such as calls and notification while you sleep. Nearby Share: Turn on for sharing with nearby devices. Icons: Mobile data icon moved to the first page and Hi-Fi Quad DAC icon moved to the second page. Volume panel: The volume panel display has moved from the top of the screen to the left.
So far, multiple reliable sources have predicted that Apple will finally go with a high-refresh-rate screen for its upcoming ‘Pro’ iPhones. Yeah, Apple is a couple of years late to the ‘High Hz’ party, but it is definitely assuring to see that an iPhone that vaporizes over a thousand dollars from your wallet at least has a high-refresh-rate screen. But a 120Hz screen also chugs a lot of battery juice. However, Apple has reportedly cracked the battery efficiency code, as the iPhone 13 Pro models are said to consume 15-20% less juice despite packing a 120Hz LTPO panel.
As per a report by DigiTimes(via Macrumors), Apple is going to arm the iPhone 13 Pro and its pricier iPhone 13 Pro Max sibling with a 120Hz LTPO display. Samsung and LG Display are said to be the key suppliers and are currently in the process of converting their low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) production lines into low-temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) units – a process that will come to completion by June.
“Samsung Display and LG Display, now offering LTPS OLED displays for iPhones, are proceeding with capacity conversion to LTPO ones at their Apple-dedicated 6G OLED lines, with the conversion likely to be completed in the first half of 2021, the sources said, adding that production capacity will drop due to the added oxide step when LTPS is converted to LTPO.”
Now, it goes without saying that a 120Hz display would be more taxing on the battery compared to a regular 60Hz screen. Apple has reportedly figured out a way to solve the battery consumption problem and has actually managed to boost the battery efficiency of the iPhone 13 Pro models by a healthy 15-20 percent. However, it is unclear how much of that efficiency boost has to do with the A15 chip powering the iPhone 13 series.
Going with an LTPO panel also opens the doors for an adaptive refresh rate implementation, which allows the screen refresh rate to vary according to on-screen content to save battery. Take for example the Galaxy S21 Ultra, whose AMOLED panel can change the refresh rate value between 5Hz for tasks like reading and 120Hz to reduce power consumption.
Earlier today, we reported that Google has shelved the Pixel 5a. As per a rumor, the company axed its plans to launch the next Pixel a-series phone due to the ongoing global chip crisis. However, Google has come forward and stated that the Pixel 5a is in the works and it will launch. However, the company mentioned that it will launch in just two markets.
“Pixel 5a 5G is not canceled. It will be available later this year in the U.S. and Japan and announced in line with when last year’s a-series phone was introduced.” — A Google spokesperson
As per the above statement, it is confirmed that Google is indeed working on the Pixel 5a, but it looks like the phone will not go on sale worldwide. The company has said that its upcoming Pixel a-series phone will be limited to the US and Japan. Hence, confirming the limited availability of the device. Further, Google adds that it will launch the Pixel 5a in the same time frame as the Pixel 4a, which was launched in August.
Overall, it seems like Google is affected by the chip supply shortage. Hence, the device is not making its way to markets other than the US or Japan.
According to past rumors, the Pixel 5a will feature a 6.2-inch OLED display with an FHD+ resolution. However, it is unclear if it will have support for a high refresh rate or stick to the traditional 60Hz panel. As per leaked renders, it will come equipped with a punch-hole cutout at the upper left corner. It is likely to sport a dual rear camera setup with a 12MP primary camera sitting alongside a 16MP ultrawide snapper. Moreover, the Google Pixel 5a is said to retain the 3.5mm headphone jack and come with stereo speakers.
The tech world is going through a crisis in terms of supply. There is shortage of supply, and the demand is high. This has led to delays in several products and cancelation of many of them. The worldwide chip shortage has put the automobile as well as consumer electronics industry under severe stress. The latest product to be affected by the supply issues is the Google Pixel 5a.
Tipster Jon Prosser took to Twitter to post about the latest update regarding the potential Google Pixel 5a. As per the tipster, the device has been canceled due to worldwide chip shortage. Hence, the development of Pixel 5a isn’t moving forward. Moreover, he goes on to say that Google will continue selling the Pxel 4A and 4A 5G throughout the year.
That said, the Pixel 5a is not the first device to be affected or have gotten canceled altogether due to the supply issues. Samsung is reportedly skipping its Galaxy Note21 due to the same reason. The South Korean tech giant has already confirmed that it has no plans of launching a Galaxy Note series smartphone this year. It was reported that this could be because of the “serious imbalance” in the supply and demand for semiconductors.
On the other hand, the another manufacturer to be hit by supply shortage is Apple. While the iPhone haven’t yet been affected, the the production of some MacBooks and iPads has been delayed. Apple is now pushing back a part of its component orders for both products from the first half of this year to the second half.
Lenovo launched its 2nd-gen gaming phone in the form of Legion Phone Duel 2. The smartphone comes with a twin-turbo fan active cooling system alongside featuring a vapor chamber with liquid cooling for passive cooling. As if that doesn’t make it enough of a “gaming phone,” it packs two batteries, two USB-C ports, a pop-up camera, and up to 18 gigs of RAM. As a result, the smartphone also features an unusual design that is thicker in the middle. It might seem like a weird play at first, but the practicality is being questioned now – courtesy of YouTuber JerryRigEverything.
The YouTuber took the Legion Phone Duel 2 to his testing lab. The phone went through the channel’s signature rigorous testing of durability. It starts with the screen glass scratching at level 6 on the Mohs hardness scale, with deeper grooves at level 7, which is nothing to worry about. Further, the screen survives an open flame for about 33 seconds until pixels start to get damaged, and then never fully recover.
After that, the phone simply breaks into two halves like a biscuit when bent. It broke more easily than the ROG Phone 5. It could be because of the antenna lines on the sides that are weak spots. They are symmetrically placed on either side of the middle bump. Hence, making it easier for the YouTuber to break it. By the end of the video, the phone is reduced to three parts. However, the front glass is still intact. You can watch the video below:
Gaming phones might pack a lot of prowess but their build quality and choices are questionable. Before this, the ROG Phone 5 faced a similar treatment and broke into two halves. However, the Legion Phone Duel 2 broke more readily than the ROG counterpart. The bend test suggests that you shouldn’t sit on your new gaming phones or keep them in your back pocket.
The official news today begin with deals, starting with Amazon. Gotta hand it to them for some crazy discounts most of the time. They currently have the OnePlus 8 for 210 dollars off, leaving it at 490 bucks. The Galaxy S20 FE is also available for 100 dollars off, leaving it at 600 dollars shipped. The regular Galaxy Note 20 which is uhh… not the greatest is also 200 dollars off, leaving it at 799. They also have the Google Pixel 4 for 320 dollars off its original price tag, leaving that at 479 bucks. Moving on to the Samsung store, if you’re looking for other good deals, the company still has the Galaxy S21 for 99 bucks, the S21+ for 300 and the S21 Ultra for 500 bucks as part of their Spring Deals but, you need to have an eligible device to trade-in. Finally, if you’re looking for an iPhone 11 Pro, Woot has the unlocked variant starting at 879 bucks which is a pretty solid discount, but it’s still a 4G Phone. We have more deals on other OnePlus phones, TCL phones and more in the links below.
Let’s stick to official news but moving on to Lenovo as the company just released the successor to their Legion Gaming Phone. This one brings a 6.92-inch AMOLED Display by Samsung running at 144Hz and it features a crazy 720Hz touch sampling rate. As expected, it is powered by the Snapdragon 888 5G, with up to 18 Gigs of RAM, up to 512 Gigs of storage and a 5500 mAh battery that supports 90W fast charging. When it comes to the cameras, it brings a dual camera module with a 64MP main sensor and a 16MP ultra wide. Probably the most interesting feature on this phone is that the Pro variant comes with a built in “twin-turbo fan active” cooling system that it borrows from gaming laptops. Both fans promise to last at up to 6 years and the phone also brings a vapor chamber for passive cooling. The Legion Phone Duel 2 is available in Ultimate Black and Titanium White and it starts at around 565 with the topped out model setting you back 916 dollars. It’s currently available in Europe and Asia but, stay tuned as it might reach the US still, though about that cooling system.. Seems that Zack already broke it.. Oh well..
Let’s move the spotlight on to Apple but this time, we’ll be talking iPads. Earlier this morning we got some new images from Sonny Dickson, showing off some dummy versions of the upcoming 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pros along with the iPad mini 6. Of course, these dummies are usually based on the CAD schematics used for case makers before the official release but, these are pretty good. Both of the Pros show off the typical squared design with the dual camera at the back and slim bezels at the front. As for the iPad mini, this one sadly isn’t getting a redesign yet as it still brings the home button and the big bezels but, this is reportedly a larger display at around 8.5 to 9-inches. Probably the biggest update to these iPads is the mini-LED displays we’ll finally be getting for the Pros. We’ll see what other official changes Apple announces, that is if they ever decide to announce these, cause we’re still waiting for that.
Now let’s talk Samsung smartphones and Camera partnerships. This is something I never thought we’d need to see, but oh well. If you heard the podcast we did a couple of weeks ago with Josh, we discussed a ton on how that OnePlus and Hasselblad partnership… isn’t really working out so far unlike other partnerships like Huawei and Leica. Well, according to a tipster named Yogesh, Samsung could be the next company to partner with a camera maker. With a report from Tom’s Guide claiming that tipsters like IceUniverse have confirmed that Samsung and Olympus will be partnering. According to the report, Olympus approached Samsung to offer their branding as well as expertise in the key areas of photography and videography. Of course, we don’t really know what that means until we get the phones. I know Josh loves his Olympus, but I’m not sure Samsung needs help in their image or video quality. Speaking of which, we could reportedly see this partnership on a special edition of the Z Fold, or with the Galaxy S22 Ultra which is still around 8 months away. Of course this is just a report at the moment but, with all the partnerships that have been going on lately
And finally, for the hottest news today, let’s talk about Google and Events.. And yeah sadly still no Pixel 6 hands on, but just give it some time. Anyways, yesterday the company announced that Google I/O is back and it will be happening online once again. The event will be happening from May 18th through May 20 and they disclosed that it is free for everyone so you can pretty much register now. If you’re wondering what we could expect, Google will most likely talk about Android 12 aside from, their workshops, developer keynotes, and live Q&As that they do. However, some leaks claim that we could be getting the Google Pixel 5a at this event which was leaked back in February, pretty much rocking the 4a 5Gs design. Some even newer leaks claim that we could also be getting some “Pixel Buds A” which are a more affordable variants of the Pixel Buds, hence the A. We also have a new image of the Pixel Watch from Jon Prosser where we can see a part of the Watch’s display along with a Digital Crown. He didn’t provide much information but, he claims he will have images and videos on his show, hopefully with a date. We’re still a little over a month away so we should be getting more information soon, let’s just hope we get some hardware.
What’s the first name that comes to your mind when talking about ridiculous smartphone camera specs? Samsung, likely for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, or HUAWEI’s P40 Pro+ with its impressive zoom camera. And just last month, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra further upped the ante with its imaging hardware that includes a 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide-angle snapper, and a 48MP periscope-style telephoto camera. Now, China’s ZTE plans to one-up the competition with its upcoming Axon 30 Ultra flagship. And by one-up, I mean really outclassing the competition.
As per official teasers, the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra has three 64MP cameras at the back, sitting alongside an 8MP periscope zoom camera. Yes, you read that right. The primary snapper uses a 64MP sensor, there is a 64MP ultra-wide-angle camera, and a third 64MP camera for portrait photography. Rounding off the impressive camera hardware is an 8MP folded lens/periscope-style telephoto camera that is said to deliver an impressive 5x optical zoom range.
ZTE’s teasers make a big deal about the video stabilization capabilities of its upcoming camera. Officially confirmed to launch on April 15 in China, the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra will likely be limited to its home market. As for the rest of the specs, it is rumored to arrive with an AMOLED panel that offers 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate for a smooth and ultra-responsive experience.
The Axon 30 Ultra will reportedly come equipped with Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 888 SoC ticking alongside 12 gigs of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage. However, more storage configurations might be on the table as well. A 4,500mAh battery is rumored to keep the lights on, and it will reportedly support 55W or 65W fast charging.
Rumors also point towards a 44MP front camera, but there is no word if it is going to be a regular one housed inside a hole-punch cutout, or it will be an under-display camera. ZTE has already announced plans for its second-gen under-display camera technology, so it is quite likely to make an appearance on the Axon 30 Ultra.
We have some excellent discounts on beautiful and powerful devices over at Amazon.com. First, we find the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 getting a $200 discount, which leaves it up for grabs for just $800 in Mystic Bronze. You can also go for the larger Galaxy Note 20 Ultra since it’s also getting the same $200 discount, meaning you can grab one for $1,100. Both devices are factory unlocked, and they feature 128GB of storage space, plus S Pen support. And remember that we won’t get a Galaxy Note refresh this year, which means that you will have the latest Note for quite a while.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ is also on sale. You can get one for just $530 with 256GB of storage space in Aura Glow, unlocked for GSM networks. This means you save $569 off its regular price, but remember that this phone has been renewed, and it launched back in 2019. The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is also on sale, and you can get one for $600 with $100 savings in any of its six color options.
You can also get a new OnePlus 8 in Glacial Green with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage space, a 6.55-inch Fluid Display with 90 Hz refresh rates, and a 48MP main camera sensor for $489.37 with $209.63 savings. You can also grab this phone from OnePlus.com, but you will only get $200 savings.
The Google Pixel 4 is also on sale, and you can get one starting at $479 with $320 savings if you want the Just Black color variant with 64GB of storage space. The Clearly white model sells for $498 with the same storage. And if you want the larger Google Pixel 4 XL, you can get the Clearly White variant for $640 with $259 savings. The Just Black version is more affordable since it sells for $580 after a $319.05 discount. And if you want extra storage, you can get 128GB. However, you will have to settle for the smaller options if you want to save some money. The 128GB variant of the black Pixel 4 can be yours for $550, while the white variant will set you back $730 with $169 savings.
It is no secret that HTC is now a shadow of the brand that it once was. From being the maker of some terrific Android phones such as the HTC One M8 to not launching a flagship at all in a whole year or two, the company has definitely lost its mojo. Struggling to turn a profit, speculations have circulated for a while now that the Taiwanese company might call it quits anytime, but HTC has kept launching mid-range phones sporadically in a handful of markets over the last few quarters. LG’s exit from the market again sparked the HTC debate, but the brand is not backing down for at least another year.
As per a report from DigiTimes that cites industry sources, HTC plans to launch new 5G smartphones in the second quarter of 2021. In addition to phones, the company also has new AR/VR hardware – likely under the Vive branding – scheduled for debut at some point between April and June.
“In addition to focusing on the domestic market in Taiwan, the company has also been keen on promoting its smartphones in Europe and the Middle East in cooperation with local telecom operators, said the sources. HTC is also expanding the portfolios of commercial AR/VR solutions, including integrated hardware-software ones, catering to the needs for remote communications, work and study activities, with new devices and solutions to be ready in the second quarter, said the sources.”
A little about the finances
Talking about the company’s financial performance, it reported revenue of NT$5.81 billion, with a gross profit of NT$1.56 billion for the 2020 fiscal year. For the month of March this year, the company announced revenue of NT$0.455 bn, with the total unaudited consolidated revenue for Q1 2021 standing at NT$1.175 bn. However, the mobile business continues to bleed money and keeps losing market share – whatever tiny fraction remains of it. HTC shut down its key retail channels in China back in 2019, and later in February 2020, shut down its official community forum for the market.
What has HTC done lately in the phone market?
Coming back to smartphones, the most recent phone launched by the company was the HTC Wildfire E3 that made its debut last month, and disappointingly, still ran Android 10. Earlier in January, it launched the 5G-ready HTC Desire 21 Pro that offered some decent specs such as a 90Hz display, four rear cameras, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 SoC at its heart. While hopes of a return to the glory days are bleak as Chinese smartphone makers continue to grow at a rapid pace, HTC can at least try to avoid the same fate as LG by returning back to its roots and making phones that stand out.
While the future remains uncertain, check out Pocketnow’s review of the HTC One M8 – one the greatest phone the company ever made – for the sake of nostalgia and try not to feel sad about how far the company has fallen from its heydays:
We start today’s deals with some rather interesting savings going live at Woot.com. You can currently get your hands on the Apple iPhone 11 starting at $530, and prices go all the way up to $620, depending on the storage option you go for. The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $620, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max can be yours for as low as $700. Now, these devices are fully unlocked, and they come in refurbished condition. There’s a ten-unit limit for each customer, so you may want to hurry since this deal will end tonight at midnight or until sold out.
Now, you can also score great savings on several Apple Watch models, as Woot is selling the Apple Watch for as low as $130, depending on the model and variant you choose from. Our top pick is the Apple Watch Series 5, which starts at $250 and goes up to $270. You should take a look at the wide selection of refurbished Apple products, where you will also find the iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone SE, and more devices selling for very compelling prices. You can also get a new OUHENG Leather and Rubber Hybrid Watch Band compatible with any Apple Watch Series starting at $10.07 with $15.92 savings.
We have also found the HP Pavilion x360 14 Convertible 22-in-1 laptop with a 14-inch FHD touchscreen display, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB of storage space selling for $650 after a $110 discount. You can also score a Razer Huntsman Mini 60% gaming keyboard for $100 with $20 savings. And since we already mentioned gaming peripherals, you can also check out the VANKYO Gaming Headset that’s currently selling $27 when you apply the on-page coupon, but if you want to share your tunes, you should also consider getting a new Sony SRS-XB12 Mini Bluetooth Speaker that’s currently selling for $38 with $20 savings.
Gaming smartphones are generally more powerful than needed. You know, who needs 18GB of RAM on an Android smartphone? However, several phone makers have jumped on the bandwagon and delivered some of the most powerful smartphones in history. ASUS has its ROG lineup, while Nubia delivers Red Magic devices, and Black Shark has its own gaming phones. Now, Lenovo has launched the successor to its first-gen Legion gaming phone.
The Lenovo Legion Phone Duel 2 comes with a refreshed design, a bigger battery capacity, and more. It features a 6.92-inch Samsung E4 AMOLED display with a 20.5:9 aspect ratio, a 2460 x 1080 resolution with support for a 144Hz refresh rate. That’s not all; the device features a touch sampling rate of 720Hz, which is more than double the ROG Phone 5. It is said to offer a 3.8ms response time. Further, it is an 8-bit HDR display with a Pixelworks i6 chipset. The screen lies under the protection of Gorilla Glass 5.
Like all other flagship and gaming smartphones, the Legion Phone Duel 2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC. It comes with 8GB of RAM on the base model and 18 gigs on the top-end variant. The UFS 3.1 storage starts at 128 gigs and goes up to 512GB.
You get front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos and a game mode that enhances the in-game sound experience. Plus, there are four microphones with noise reduction and a dual smart amplifier. The smartphone packs a 5,500mAh battery with support for a maximum of 90W fast charging via two USB-C ports. However, it comes with a 65W fast charger.
Coming to the optics, the Legion Phone Duel 2 packs a 64MP OmniVision primary camera that is accompanied by a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens. However, you miss out on telephoto and macro sensors. A 44MP pop-up selfie shooter is housed on the right edge of the device to maintain the landscape-first view of the device. The phone can record in 8K at 24 fps and 4K at 60fps.
The Legion Phone Duel 2 also borrows a feature from gaming laptops. It comes with a twin-turbo fan active cooling system. One of them is an intake fan with 29 blades and a 12,500 RPM, while the other is an output fan that takes out the hot air. Lenovo says that the fans have a noise level of 24.7dB and a life of up to 50,000 hours, which is almost 6 years. Moreover, it includes a vapor chamber with liquid cooling for passive cooling. You also get four ultrasonic shoulder keys, dual force touch sensors, and dual capacitance keys.
The smartphone is available in Ultimate Black and Titanium White and comes in multiple configurations –
8GB RAM + 128GB = ¥3699 (~$565)
12GB RAM + 128GB = ¥4099 (~$625)
12GB RAM + 256GB = €799/¥4399 (~$672)
16GB RAM + 512GB = €999/¥5299 (~$809)
18GB RAM + 512GB = ¥5999 (~$916)
The availability of Legion Phone Duel 2 in the US is yet “to be determined.” It will be available for purchase in Europe and the Asia Pacific in May.