Realme’s next cheap phone could have ridiculously fast charging

Realme’s product showcase at MWC 2022 was headlined by the arrival of the Realme GT 2 series, but another announcement caught our attention for the potential implications it could have on the future of mobile technology as a whole. 

At the Barcelona-based trade show, Realme revealed that its upcoming GT Neo 3 handset – a direct successor to the GT Neo 2 – will be the first device to benefit from the brand’s new UltraDart Charging Architecture (UDCA). 

We’ve seen fast charging in smartphones for some time, but Realme claims that the GT Neo 3 will be capable of reaching 50% battery capacity in just five minutes using the company’s new 150W charging technology. If accurate, that speed would make the GT Neo 3 the world's fastest charging smartphone - that's particularly surprising given that this will likely be a pretty cheap phone

But Realme’s new charging architecture won’t just help boost charging speeds. According to the Chinese company, it’ll improve safety and battery life, too. 

By introducing the world’s first 100W-200W charging devices – an almighty jump in power over the charge technology used in all prior Realme handsets (which have typically utilized between 18W and 65W charging) – phones like the GT Neo 3 will benefit from better temperature management and battery protection.

That means – on paper, at least – users will be able to play games or watch videos on their mobile devices for longer periods of time, without fear of overheating the battery. Realme says its new UDCA architecture applies lithium batteries to “retain 80% battery capacity at 1000+ Complete Charge Cycles” – which basically means they’re wrapped in a nice layer of cotton wool to protect them from harm (don’t quote us on that, though). 

Realme will debut its new charging tech with the GT Neo 3, though we don’t have a release date for the device just yet. Moving forward, then, it's safe to expect the company’s future devices – both cheap and premium – to boast some of the fastest charging speeds around. 

Also at MWC, both OnePlus and Oppo announced their 150W charging solutions, though no smartphones were attached.

Making moves at MWC

As we alluded to at the top of this article, burgeoning mobile brand Realme also seized the opportunity of MWC 2022 to introduce fans to its first major foray into the flagship market. 

The GT 2 series, and in particular the Realme GT 2 Pro, is intended to rival high-end competitor offerings like the Oppo Find X5, OnePlus 10 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 while maintaining the relative affordability for which Realme has become known in recent years.

In our brief time spent with the device ahead of its MWC unveiling, the GT 2 Pro surprised us by boasting impressive visuals, seamless performance and quirky camera features – albeit alongside a few practical hiccups – that suggest this traditionally mid-range mobile brand has the chops to challenge the very top of the market with future handsets. 

Perhaps, too, Realme's next flagship will benefit from the super-fast charging speeds set to arrive with the GT Neo 3? If so, the likes of Samsung and Apple could have real competition on their hands.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.  
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ZTE’s new cheap V40 phones are confusing and impressive at the same time

ZTE has used MWC 2022 to launch its latest wares on the cheap smartphone market, bringing out four new models in the Blade V40 range.

The angle is clear for each of these smartphones: focusing on size and battery power, rather than a combination of key features that will improve your way of life, this once again feels like a brute force approach to sales.

The ZTE Blade series of smartphones are often super-affordable Android phones that launch in the US, designed for people who don't need flashy features and want to get a device without breaking the bank.

While we don't know the Blade V40 range release date or prices, the limited specs we have received suggest ZTE is playing that familiar tune.

If there's a unifying feature between the new phones, it's that they all have giant displays and giant batteries - so they'll be a dream for people who like to stream media all day, though they might irritate people with shallow pockets.

Four new mobiles

We don't know everything about these new phones, as the information provided to the press was full of gaps, which is why we call these devices 'confusing'. But we know the key selling points of each device.

The first is the ZTE Blade V40 5G - this is the 'flagship' model from the brand, but all the materials so far are about how speedy and high-strength the 5G signal is going to be, combining 4G, 5G and Wi-Fi to deliver blinding speeds.

This isn't massively new technology, but it will (likely) come at a cheaper price than most other 5G phones.

ZTE Blade V40 series specs
PhoneScreenRear camerasFront-facing cameraRAM / ROMBattery and chargingChipsetFingerprint scannerConnectivity
ZTE Blade V406.67-inch FHD+48MP main plus two more8MPTBCTBC4G
ZTE Blade V40 5GTBCTBCTBCTBCTBC7nm octa-core5G
ZTE Blade V40 Pro6.67-inch5,100mAh, 65W4G
ZTE Blade V40 Vita6.75inch HD+6,000mAh, 22.5W4G

We assume that a lot of the specs will be similar to the non-5G ZTE Blade V40, which lands with a large 6.67-inch screen at FHD+ resolution. The cameras on the back sound OK - a 48MP main sensor is fine in terms of spec, but with no information on what processing and optimization is going on to improve the image quality, you could end up with many darker, high-res pictures that underwhelm compared to the 12MP images other, more expensive phones can take.

In fact, ZTE says that 'high-quality photography can be realized... without any picture processing' which is a little worrying.

That's joined by a 4cm macro camera - ZTE is clearly flying the 'cheap phone' flag high, because that's a spec we see on many low-cost phones as a way to flesh out specs list. We're dubious that it adds much to the mobile.

However, as you can probably tell, details are rather thin on the ground right now - something that's prevalent in the descriptions of the other two phones.

The ZTE Blade V40 Pro is the real flagship, with a 6.67-inch OLED screen, with a clear focus on adding higher-quality images thanks to the wide color reproduction on offer. 

There's also a large 5,100mAh battery with 65W charging, so in theory you'll be able to juice it up in mere minutes and not worry all day long.

And finally, we've got the ZTE Blade V40 Vita, which is arguably the most interesting of the quartet. Seemingly aimed at the younger market, this is a phone with a huge 6.74-inch display, a 6,000mAh battery and a thin bezel - but a dig at the (limited) specs show a phone that skimps in other places.

Fast charging is capped at 22.5W, which is far slower than the V40 Pro and many other flagship phones (but decent if this is one of the cheaper phones on the market).

The HD+ resolution is far from market-leading, as is the waterdrop display, which sees a notch at the top that's just a small semi-circle - it's design that's just 'fine'.

The ZTE V40 series release date has been set for April this year, and will be landing 'worldwide' - although we've yet to have the exact locations confirmed.

ZTE no longer troubles the rankings of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world right now, but it's clear that it sees great opportunity in this budget range - big batteries and screens are the order of the day.

Will the addition of 5G make the difference? It's clear that in lower-cost markets, the tablet-esque displays, faster charging and easier connectivity is attractive - let's see if the Blade range can make a difference in 2022.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.
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TikTok takes on YouTube with 10-minute videos – but will people watch?

TikTok has enabled the ability to create videos that can last for up to 10 minutes, an increase from three and five minutes for different creators.

Over the last 18 months, the company has been testing different length videos that creators could publish, with a limit of five minutes that's been in place since 2019.

However, some creators wanted TikTok to extend the length, to better compete with YouTube and Instagram Reels. Now that it's here, though, one wonders if TikTok users want 10-minute videos to scroll through in their 'For You' feed.

Analysis: 10-minute videos may be a niche appeal

TikTok is a social platform where you scroll vertically to watch videos. While you can watch videos from users you follow, or another called 'For You' where TikTok's algorithm curates new videos from creators you don't follow, the app's appeal is to watch short videos to pass the time.

10-minute videos may be a stretch. We're getting perilously close to the range of a web movie or TV show. The 2003 series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a good example here, where episodes could range between three and twelve minutes. To be fair, we rather enjoyed that series. With the new 10-minute-range, TikTok could start bringing more episodic series to the platform

In the near term, though, TikTok's new competitor is clearly YouTube, a platform that's already attracting some TikTok creators anxious for more time on the digital stage.

See more

Longer videos on TikTok may help some creators in the topics they create, such as making pancakes, throwbacks to old TV shows, or a documentary on certain topics.

But 10-minute videos will require users to sit down and focus on what they're watching, instead of mindlessly scrolling through. On the other hand, these longer videos are entirely optional. It's possible that you won't see 10-minute TikToks in your feed. You might also choose to help the algorithm filter them out for you by not pausing to watch any of them. After all, who has an hour to spare for TikTok?

As for Tiktok, these extended videos are a sign that it wants some of its creators to cover topics that can only be explained in relatively long-form videos. Their success in that effort will depend on how users will respond to the change.

And as TikTok comes for YouTube, YouTube is coming for TikTok, too. YouTube has its own take on TikTok called Shorts, where creators can release shorter content, but it's a feature still in its early stages.

While TikTok takes on the video giant, it's also tackling its own monetary issues, making sure creators feel compensated so they don't jump to the potentially more lucrative YouTube.

The monetization efforts compared to YouTube are reportedly very small, which has meant that creators such as hankschannel are moving away from TikTok for more income on Google's video platform.

Essentially, TikTok's faced with a multi-pronged effort to excite and keep active creators: longer videos for more creative freedom and new monetization efforts to match the creators' extra effort with better revenue streams.

It's only then that the company has a chance to go head to head with YouTube, but it also depends on whether more creators and users will jump ship to TikTok and its new 10-minute video opportunity.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t play nice with hot TikTok filters – and that stinks

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is not ready to be my TikTok creation platform.

That’s right, I TikTok. Don’t look at me like that. There are lots of middle-aged people lip-synching, dancing, showing off hacks, and demonstrating oddball skills on the wildly popular social media platform.

My channel is not filled with dances or songs. It’s mostly a hodgepodge of conversations with myself, visual tricks, tech stuff, and a lot of me experiencing the latest trending filter. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of filters, which rely on augmented reality to transform my face into animals, movie characters, optical illusions. They’re harmless fun.

While I can find filters that do work, some of the newest, coolest and maybe most sophisticated ones do not work on Samsung’s premier smartphone.

TikTok fail screens

TikTok filter fail screens on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

This came as something of a surprise to me. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is an excellent and powerful Android 12 phone. It has a great collection of powerful cameras, including two 10MP telephotos, 108MP wide and 12MP ultrawide on the back, and a 40MP camera on the front.

It’s that last camera that I rely on for TikTok work. It’s more than capable of shooting standard TikTok videos. However, every time I try to use a new, trending filter like Raindrop control (which lets you freeze raindrops by using hand motions), or SYMMETRY (which lets you see what you’d look like if both sides of your face were exactly the same – for me the answer was Voldemort), the app informs me, “This effect doesn’t work with this device.”

Even simple filters like the “Your Decade,” which guesses your birth decade theoretically based on how you look (though I think it may be random), don’t work.

Listen, I like to spend a portion of each evening losing myself in the TikTok stream. It’s mind-numbing, entertaining, and kind of relaxing. When I see a fun filter, I like to try it out. I don’t always post the often-embarrassing results, and my draft folder is filled with unpublished efforts.

There’s real joy in consuming TikTok video on the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s high-definition 6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz-capable display, which only intensifies the frustration when I can’t test drive a new filter.

But why?

From a technical perspective, this, at least on the surface, makes little sense. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 40MP front-facing camera is capable of some light AR work. There’s literally an AR Zone in the Camera app that lets me doodle in AR on my face, turn my whole head into an AR emoji, and do other AR-based tricks.

There are, when it comes to the front camera, limitations. In the AR Doodle, it will only support face doodles. Plus, even though the phone can plop a dinosaur head emoji on my body that can follow my head's movement and some facial expressions, it’s not that precise.

AR options in Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

AR options in Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: Future)

If I were to compare what’s possible with Apple’s TrueDepth Module on the front of its iPhone 13 line with what the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s single front-facing camera is capable of, I’d call the Samsung effort a 1.0 version.

Ever since Apple introduced that depth-sensing module, its front-facing camera’s AR capabilities have grown substantially. When the iPhone 13 Pro paints my face with Mardi Gras makeup, the effect is realistic and disturbing. As I’m sure you know the camera is fully capable of supporting all of TikTok’s latest filters and effects.

Need some answers

I’ve contacted Samsung for more details on why the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t support all these filters and will update this post with the company’s response. Perhaps they’ll tell me it’s just a matter of a software update, but I doubt it. That lone camera can only do so much with software to understand the real-world depth and create a realistic marriage between artificial reality and my face.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s rear camera array includes a laser to assist with autofocus. It does that by reading the depth information of a subject and their environment. I’d have to assume that if Samsung had drilled one additional hole in the screen next to the 40MP front camera for a laser, it might also have brought that depth info to the front of the phone, and then better support all those TikTok filters.

So, while you’re passing harsh judgment on my TikTok activities, maybe spare some for a brand-new, innovative phone that somehow forgets to fully support the world’s most popular social media platform.

As for me, I guess I’ll stick to my iPhone 13 Pro in my unending quest to become TikTok famous.

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An upcoming OnePlus phone will get wildly fast charging, and it’s coming soon

In the past few years, fast-charging in phones has got better and better, and at MWC 2022 we've heard about the newest, fastest powering speeds in smartphones.

At Oppo's press conference, the brand confirmed that it had worked on a 150W charging solution with OnePlus (the two brands merged in 2021), which would debut in an upcoming OnePlus phone in 'Q2', meaning April, May or June.

Apparently this fast charging will power a 4,500mAh battery from empty to 50% in just five minutes, and will maintain the battery to at least 80% of its full capacity even after 1,600 charges. There's also tech that ensures the phone doesn't get too hot when powering at this speed.

What is this mystery phone?

We haven't been told which smartphone this tech will debut in, but we know it's not the OnePlus 10, after the company confirmed that such a phone won't be happening.

It's possible, then, that this 150W fast charging will come in the OnePlus Nord 3, or another mid-range device.

While it might seem surprising that OnePlus would bring a top-end feature to a non-flagship phone, Realme also showed off its 150W powering at MWC, and confirmed it'd come to the Realme GT Neo 2's successor, though a launch window wasn't confirmed.

Fast charging is a big area of competition for mid-range phones, with some going as fast as 120W already, like the Xiaomi 11T Pro.

Realme is owned by the same parent company as Oppo and OnePlus, and we often see similar tech come from all three (the Realme GT 2 Pro has a microscope camera that's very similar to the Oppo Find X3 Pro's, for example) and so these 150W charging solutions could be pretty similar.

It's also possible that OnePlus could launch a new series of devices, which will get the 150W charging - the company has promised a busy 2022, which would be hard if the OnePlus 10 Pro is its only top-end phone.

We'll have to wait and see, but the launch window of the 150W charging phone isn't far away, so we won't have to wait that long.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements
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How I solved Wordle #254 – spoilers for today’s puzzle

Welcome back to my weekday Wordle Solution Diary, where I take you step-by-step through my own Wordle puzzle efforts. Today, we're tackling Wordle #254.

For those unfamiliar with Wordle, The New York Times’ (recently-purchased) daily word game asks you to guess a five-letter word in six tries.  Simple right?

If you just want to skip to the Wordle answer for today, (and yes, we have a page to do just that), you can depart right now. But what would be the fun in that? 

You want to preserve your streak and, I believe, learn how to get better at Wordle, which means making smart choices and understanding the tactics that can take you from a "Winning in 5" to a "Solved in three" kind of Wordle player.

The guide below includes how I make my guesses and images of my work. When I make a mistake, you'll see it. Maybe it'll help you avoid some of your own.

Let's Wordle together.

Spoiler Alert: If you do not want to know today’s Wordle answer, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY.

Starting early

Showered and dressed, I feel ready to beat Wordle at its own game. I play today's Wordle on my desktop to ease the screen captures I'll use to help guide you. 

Wordle Guesses

The Wordle start screen (Image credit: Future)

The first word

Your biggest leap will always be that first word. I can choose any five-letter word but, generally, dismiss anything with double letters, as per our guide on how to win at Wordle

There are two goals: Get as many correct letters in the right spots as possible and miraculously guess the word on the first try. Thus far, I've never accomplished the latter.

I chose "PLACE" because of its attractive mix of vowels and consonants. Look at all those vowels. How can I miss with this word?

First word

(Image credit: Future)

Mixed results

I've seen worse first results (see #251). The "E" at the end (right letter and right place) is a nice anchor to start with. I'm not surprised to see the "C" in there; so many five-letter words include a "C."

One thing I do not do at any stage in my process is Google words that include "C" and/or "E." It just feels like cheating. Come on, we can do this the old-fashioned way.

First word result

(Image credit: Future)

The second guess

As happy as I am that I now have two-out-of-five letters, this is not enough raw material to construct a word. As a result, I'm going with my tried-and-true strategy of a second word that uses a completely new collection of letters. You know what I want: To solve this Wordle in three.

(Yes, I know those of you that love Wordle's Hard Mode will look down upon me. But the stats show that I'm in the majority of people playing the game, so I'm OK with it.)

Obviously, "Rough" is not the word, but I'm hoping a few of those letters are winners.  As I prepare to hit enter, it occurs to me I'm doing all this before my first cup of coffee. That may be a mistake.

Second word guess

(Image credit: Future)

Double the fun

Look at me, picking up two new letters. Four-fifths of the way there to all the letters I need and a Wordle solution. My next guess is crucial. I can't rush things. I really want to solve this in three.

Second word result

(Image credit: Future)

Three's the charm?

With four letters, I plan to spend a few minutes trying different letter combinations in my head and on the Wordle board before committing (hitting "Enter"). I need strategy, inspiration, and luck.

Two vowels and two consonants make me think this isn't one of those oddball words or one where people might accuse The New York Times of making the game harder.

One hurdle: Only one letter is in the right place but I think old friends "C" and "H" might be paired together at the start of the Wordle answer.

I have the tiniest epiphany. An open vowel, like "O," has to go after "CH." If that's the case, there's really only one choice for what can go between "CHO" and the "E" that we know does belong at the end.

Still wishing I was holding a cup of coffee in my hand, I hit enter.

Third word

(Image credit: Future)

Wait, what?

Third word result

(Image credit: Future)

Not gonna lie, I am shocked. I really thought "CHOSE" was the answer. It's a great five-letter word, and S is one of the most popular letters. I'm honestly bummed that I missed out on solving Wordle in three. 

In a situation like this, where four of the correct letters are also in their correct places, the task becomes relatively simple: go through the remaining letters in your head, slotting each one into the open spot.

The only obvious answer is what just happened to me a moment ago. 

Fourth word

(Image credit: Future)


I can't really blame myself for first choosing "CHOSE" over "CHOKE." I'm generally positive, totally non-violent, and I'm not into sports. The word simply never occurred to me. 

I also consider myself lucky - CHORE is a word using the more popular R in the space there, and that could have seen me do this in five attempts, despite a strong strategy.

In the end, this is a pretty good result and Wordle credits me with a "Splendid" for my efforts. How did you do?

Fourth word result

(Image credit: Future)
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Honor’s new Android phone is tempting me away from the Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is probably the best phone I've used this year - that's partly because of its top-tier specs and features, but mainly because we're only two months in, and not a lot has happened yet. Well, that was until MWC 2022 came along.

Mobile World Congress, to give it its full name, is a huge smartphone tech conference where we see loads of product launches, and Honor's newest series of Android phones have just been shown off there. As the headline suggests, one of these is seriously impressive.

This is the Honor Magic 4 Pro, and it's a top-tier flagship that'll give Samsung's Ultra phone a run for its money in some regards. We don't have a price or release date for this device in our regions, but we've got Euros.

The Honor Magic 4 starts at €899 (roughly $1,000, £750, AU$1,400) for 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, while for those same specs, the Magic 4 Pro goes for a whopping €1,099 (around  $1,230, £920, AU$1,700). That's a lot of cash.

Check out the specs of this Pro-level phone, as well as its non-Pro sibling, below.

Honor Magic 4 specs
PhoneHonor Magic 4Honor Magic 4 Pro
Screen6.81-inch 1224 x 2664 120Hz6.81-inch 1312 x 2848 120Hz
Rear cameras50MP main, 50MP ultra-wide, 8MP periscope50MP main, 50MP ultra-wide, 64MP periscope
Front-facing camerasUnspecifiedUnspecified main, 3D depth
RAM / ROM8,12GB / 128,256,512GB8,12GB / 256,512GB
Battery and charging4,800mAh, 66W4,600mAh, 100W, 100W wireless
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 1Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Fingerprint scannerIn-displayIn-display

Stealing the S22 Ultra's thunder

I think the Honor Magic 4 Pro spec that stands out to me the most is the charging - I love fast-charging mobiles, and 100W means I'll barely have to plug the thing in to get a full charge.

I found the S22 Ultra super-slow to charge, which is one of the key reasons I'm more excited for the new Honor phone.

The triple-lens rear cameras seem impressive too, especially if that's the 50MP Sony IMX766 being used, because that's great at low-light photography. I live in London, there's never good light with all the clouds.

Perhaps my least-favorite aspect is the huge display, because my hands can't always comfortably clasp phones that are above about 6.7 inches across, but sometimes curved-edge devices are a little easier to grip, so we'll see. Oh, and two front cameras always steal too much of the screen real estate for my liking, but they might take great selfies as a result.

Honor is currently on a big comeback after its Huawei years (Honor used to be a sub-brand of Huawei), and phones like the Honor Magic 4 show why we need to pay it more attention. Stay tuned for hands-on reviews of these phones as soon as possible.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.  
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Xiaomi’s two new mobiles could include our future favorite cheap phone

Annual tech event MWC 2022 is currently going on, and it's become a hotbed for impressive cheap smartphone launches, with five new TCL mobiles, three new Nokia devices and now two Xiaomi phones.

These are the Poco X4 Pro 5G and the Poco M4 Pro, coming from Xiaomi's sub-brand Pocophone. They're two impressively-spec'd phones, and since they're Poco devices we'd expect them to launch with pretty low prices.

We'll start with prices: the X4 Pro 5G starts at €299 (about $460, £250, AU$460) while the M4 Pro starts at €219, (around $250, £180, AU$340). There are also higher-spec versions for more, but those are the starting prices.

New Poco phones are here

New Poco mobile specs
PhoneScreenRear camerasFront-facing cameraRAM / ROMBattery and chargingChipsetFingerprint scannerConnectivity
Poco X4 Pro 5G6.67-inch FHD+ 120Hz108MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth16MP6,8GB / 128,256GB (expandable up to 1TB)5,000mAh, 67WSnapdragon 695Side-mounted5G
Poco M4 Pro6.43-inch FHD+ 90Hz64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro16MP6,8GB / 128,256GB (expandable up to 1TB)5,000mAh, 33WHelio G96Side-mounted4G

We're really impressed by the look of the Poco X4 Pro 5G - its screen, camera and battery specs all sound incredible for a low-cost phone. 

Its chipset could be its weak point though - we haven't tested this on enough phones to really be able to tell if it's good or not, but we've previously been disappointed by Snapdragon 600-series processors.

The Poco M4 Pro sounds like more of a standard Chinese budget phone, with a few weak areas, but still specs that stand out compared to lots of rivals (33W charging, for example, is good for a low-cost phone). 

And since the M4 Pro goes for less, it could be a really tempting option for people on a budget.

Once these devices go on sale globally, we'll bring you all the important information on them, including our hands-on impressions.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.
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UK mobile operators offer free calls to Ukraine, waive roaming charges

Several major UK mobile operators are waiving charges for calls made to and from Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of the country.

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone have all confirmed that calls made from the UK to Ukraine will be free of charge, while anyone roaming in the country will not be subject to any additional fees for making calls or texts or accessing mobile data.

“Effective immediately, Vodafone UK is crediting all calls to Ukraine and waiving any roaming charges for Vodafone UK customers currently in Ukraine,” tweeted Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam. “We stand in solidarity with all Ukrainian people at this worrying time.”

Mobile operators Ukraine 

“We are deeply troubled by the events taking place in Ukraine and know that some of our customers or their loved ones and friends may be directly affected,” confirmed Virgin Media O2 Lutz Schueler. “As the situation continues to unfold, we recognise that connectivity will play a crucial role and we want to provide support to those who need it.

“To help any of our customers in Ukraine and ensure customers in the UK that need to contact someone in the country can do so, we have removed charges for data use in Ukraine and will also credit charges for calls and texts to and from Ukraine and the UK.”

BT Consumer CEO chief executive Marc Allera also confirmed that a similar arrangement would apply to customers on BT, EE and Plusnet, while Three has also confirmed it will not apply any additional fees.

Some of the operators have specified the arrangement lasts for a certain period but that this will be under constant review.

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Sony Xperia 1 IV leaked renders point to a disappointingly familiar Android phone

We’ve just had the biggest Sony Xperia 1 IV leak yet, as high-quality renders of the upcoming flagship Android phone have now been leaked, showing off the possible design of the phone from all sides.

But looking at these renders (which come from leaker @OnLeaks on behalf of Giznext) you might think you’re looking at the Sony Xperia 1 III, as based on this, the two phones look near identical.

The Sony Xperia 1 IV as shown here has a long narrow design (likely with a 21:9 aspect ratio), a flat screen, a selfie camera housed in the slim top bezel, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, just like the current model, and it also has a camera block that appears more or less identical to the one on the Sony Xperia 1 III.

Image 1 of 2

Unofficial renders showing the Sony Xperia 1 IV from the front and back

(Image credit: @OnLeaks / Giznext)
Image 2 of 2

Unofficial renders showing the Sony Xperia 1 IV from the front and back

(Image credit: @OnLeaks / Giznext)

That’s not the end of the similarities either. The top edge houses a 3.5mm headphone port, the right edge has a dedicated shutter button, the screen is apparently 6.5 inches again, and you supposedly get dual front-firing speakers.

So what is different? There’s apparently no dedicated Google Assistant button this year, which is no great loss, and the dimensions seem to differ slightly, with the Sony Xperia 1 IV said to be 164.7 x 70.8 x 8.3mm (rising to 9.5mm at the camera bump). The Xperia 1 III meanwhile is 165 x 71 x 8.2mm, so we’re talking a truly negligible difference.

The biggest visual difference might simply be the colors that the Sony Xperia 1 IV is available in, as these renders show a green shade that wasn’t available for the Sony Xperia 1 III. All that said, this is our first and so far only look at the possible design, so until more sources chime in we’d take this with a pinch of salt.

Opinion: more needs to change

Sony’s smartphone market share isn’t exactly huge, and if the company plays it safe and delivers near-identical phones year after year, it’s only likely to shrink, so it’s disappointing to see so little seemingly changing here.

Assuming these renders are right, we hope at least that more changes under the surface. So far it sounds like there might be more hidden changes, with a leak suggesting that the Sony Xperia 1 IV might have a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, up to 16GB of RAM, a 5,000mAh battery, and 45W charging, along with upgrades to the main and telephoto cameras – perhaps including a 50MP sensor.

Those would all be improvements on the Sony Xperia 1 III, but mostly in small and unsurprising ways. The only really promising leaks are those surrounding the camera, as they’re vague enough that Sony could have big plans there.

The camera was one of the highlights of the Xperia 1 III, so making an even better one could help the Xperia 1 IV stand out, but it remains to be seen whether the upgrades will be enough.

Via PhoneArena

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Realme officially unveils its GT 2 series at MWC – and the Pro model looks amazing

Burgeoning mobile-maker Realme has officially lifted the international lid on its GT 2 series of premium smartphones – and the Pro model, in particular, looks like it could give the Samsung Galaxy S22 a run for its money. 

The still-young Chinese company first announced the new handsets at a launch event back in January, but waited until this year’s MWC (Mobile World Congress) trade show to properly unveil both the Realme GT 2 and Realme GT 2 Pro on the global stage.

Billed as Realme’s first major foray into the premium flagship market, its GT 2 smartphone series is intended to rival competitors like the Oppo Find X4 and OnePlus 10 Pro, while still maintaining the relative affordability that has established Realme as a major mid-market mobile player in recent years. 

The standard GT 2, which will be available in versions up to 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage, will begin shipping to the UK and Europe on March 15, with pre-sale prices starting at €449.99 (around £399 / $530 / AU$740) before rising to €549.99. The Pro variant will arrive slightly earlier on March 8 for a pre-sale starting price of €649.99 (equating to around £599.99 / $800 / AU$1100) before rising to €749.

The latter will also be available with 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage for €749.99 (around £630 / $840 / AU$1160) before rising to €849 following the same pre-sale period, which runs between March 8 and March 15.

In any case, Realme’s GT 2 series undercuts the price of rival flagship ranges like the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13 by some margin (the former starts at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 and the latter at $699 / £679 / AU$1,199), living up to the brand’s reputation as an affordable alternative to mainstream mobile brands.

The back of a Realme GT 2 Pro, held in someone's hand

(Image credit: Realme)

Those lower prices don’t come at the expense of premium features, mind. The standard GT 2 ships with a 6.62-inch 1080 x 2400 AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 888 chipset, a triple-lens rear camera headlined by a 50MP sensor and a 5,000mAh battery with 65W charging. That’s a stellar crop of premium features akin to other high-end flagships on the market right now. 

The Realme GT 2 Pro, though, goes several steps further. In addition to a slightly larger 6.7-inch 1440 x 3216 AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, users will get a top-end Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset – the fastest offered by Qualcomm today – and a triple-lens camera boasting a 50MP main sensor, 50MP ultra-wide sensor and an impressive microscope camera capable of magnifying objects by up to 40x. Check out our first impressions of the device to see just how good these camera features are in practice.

Incidentally, the GT 2 series also highlights Realme’s eco-friendly ambitions. Not only are these phones supposedly the first-ever to be manufactured using a paper-like bio-polymer material, but for every GT 2 series smartphone sold from the company’s official website, Realme will plant a tree. For every tree planted, Realme says, it will take less than 24 months to offset the amount of CO2 produced by manufacturing the device in the first place.

Those might seem like empty marketing promises, but at least Realme customers can rest a little easier in the knowledge that their purchase will be a sustainable one – on paper, at least. 

Stay tuned to TechRadar for our full reviews of both the Realme GT 2 and Realme GT 2 Pro in the coming weeks, and check out our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest mobile news emerging from the show right now. 

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.  
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Xiaomi Pocophone MWC launch live blog: follow along as Xiaomi’s new mobiles arrive

We're currently in the midst of annual smartphone tech event Mobile World Congress (shortened to MWC 2022 because we're not writing that whole name out all the time) and it's bringing us loads of new launches all the time - you can follow the big beats with our MWC 2022 live blog which is running all week.

Perhaps one of the biggest exhibitors is Xiaomi, which is launching two new Pocophone devices - the Poco X4 Pro 5G and Poco M4 Pro. Yeah, it's not exactly a big secret what's showing up.

These are two new phones that'll likely be budget mobiles - don't get the latter confused with the Poco M4 Pro 5G though, as it's a completely different device.

Pocophones are often impressively-specced affordable mobiles that sit alongside another line of Xiaomi phone, the Redmi devices, which is why the company has such a hold on the mid-range and budget phone market.

The event kicks off on February 28 very soon - you'll see a countdown in our live blog - and you can see a YouTube placeholder here.

This live blog will take you through all the important events in the Xiaomi Pocophone launch as they happen, so stay tuned for that.

Welcome to our Xiaomi Poco live blog - there are about two and a half hours until the event kicks off, so we've got a little time to run through what we expect to see.

We've got to say, Pocophone's naming convention is a little confusing.

We've already seen a Poco M4 Pro 5G - notice the added '5G' over the name of the handset we're seeing today - and we wouldn't be totally surprised if a Poco X4 Pro came at some point too (note the lack of '5G').

Lots of the time when brands use '5G' in the name of a mobile, it doesn't denote that it's a separate device to a 4G version, as lots of companies just shove it in the name of any 5G device as a selling point. 

That's not the case for Xiaomi though, and it uses the suffix 5G to differentiate totally different devices. 

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These new Nokia mobiles remind us what ‘cheap phone’ really means

With the cheap phone market dominated by big Chinese names like Redmi, Realme and Pocophone, it can be easy to forget about the stalwart mobile manufacturers – but HMD Global has just given us a reason to pay it some heed.

HMD Global, which makes Nokia phones, debuted three new super-budget mobiles as part of annual tech conference MWC 2022.

These new mobiles are the Nokia C2 2nd Edition (the original came in 2020), Nokia C21, and Nokia C21 Plus – they're all part of the company's C line, which is its lowest-end collection, compared to the slightly-higher-end G and verging-on-mid-range X families.

As we said, these are super affordable handsets. The first and last phones are launching in the UK, and we have their prices as £75 (roughly $100, AU$140) and £100 (around $130, AU$190) respectively.

Here are their specs, so you can see how they compare:

TCL 30 series specs
PhoneScreenRear camerasFront-facing cameraRAM / ROMBatteryChipsetFingerprint scannerConnectivity
Nokia C2 2nd Edition5.7-inch HD 60Hz5MP main2MP1,2GB / 32GB (expandable up to 256GB)2,400mAhUnspecifiedNone4G
Nokia C216.5-inch HD+ 60Hz8MP main5MP2,3GB / 32, 64GB (expandable up to 256GB) 3,000mAhUnspecifiedRear
Nokia C21 Plus6.5-inch HD+ 60Hz13MP main, 2MP depth5MP2,3,4GB / 32,64GB (expandable up to 256GB)4,000mAh, 5,050mAhUnspecifiedRear-mounted4G

If you're confused about the C21 Plus' battery situation, it seems that you can opt between two sizes, just like how many mobiles offer you a choice in RAM and storage.

In an age where every budget phone maker is trying to put out a super-flashy, specs-heavy monster, it's slightly refreshing to see genuine true budget phones. Seriously, how many phones do you see nowadays with just 1GB RAM, or with a single rear camera?

Obviously, these devices aren't going to run like your iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device, but they're designed for people who don't need a best-in-class smartphone. They're cheap and cheery, perhaps for seniors or technophobes who can't totally put off the tech-ification of the world.

Alongside the new smartphones, HMD Global unveiled a few headphones and earbuds, and they're all affordable devices just like their mobile counterparts.

The Nokia phones are coming to the UK starting in April, but we don't know if they'll be arriving elsewhere, so we'll have to wait and see.

These aren't the only cheap phones we've seen at MWC, either. TCL unveiled its own selection with impressive rear cameras and big batteries, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. We're expecting more to launch all the time, so stay tuned in the coming days for more.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.
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The iPhone SE 3 could get a significant price drop according to one analyst

The iPhone SE 2020 is currently the cheapest iPhone you can buy brand new from Apple – its retail price currently starts at $399 / £389 / AU$679 – but one source now believes that the price of the iPhone SE 3 due this year will be even lower than that.

Loop Capital Markets analyst John Donovan (via Investor's Business Daily) has apparently got hold of information suggesting the next iPhone SE could start at just $300, three-quarters of the price of the current model. If that reduction is maintained internationally, the equivalents are around £290 and AU$510.

At this stage, we only have one source on this – albeit a rather well placed and knowledgeable source – so don't take the $300 figure as anywhere near confirmed yet. However, it suggests Apple might be feeling the pressure from low-cost Android phones.

The price is right

As you can see from a quick glance at our list of the best budget phones, there are plenty of decent Android handsets around for less than $399. It might be the buyers of these phones that Apple is hoping to target with a cheaper iPhone SE.

There shouldn't be too many changes to the handset in its 2022 incarnation, based on what we've heard so far. A faster processor (possibly the Apple A15 Bionic) is pretty much guaranteed, as is the addition of next-gen 5G connectivity.

However, the rear camera unit might not see much of an improvement, and the external design of the smartphone is expected to be more or less the same. As for when we might see the iPhone SE 3, several sources are predicting an Apple launch event in March.

Analysis: price is a key factor for smartphone buyers

A finished smartphone is the sum of many different decisions made by the manufacturer along its development journey: how it should be designed, what the internal components will be, which features are needed. Ultimately though, what's most important is the price.

Even the most powerful smartphone on the planet won't attract much interest if it's priced beyond what anyone can afford – and with the global pandemic and economic uncertainty we're all still living through, keeping an eye on budgets becomes even more important.

With that in mind, it's perhaps no surprise that Apple would position the iPhone SE 3 for 2022 at the lowest possible price point. If the design is remaining largely the same, that should keep production costs down, as Apple will already have all the manufacturing processes in place.

Other rumors have also suggested the next iPhone SE might come in at a slightly lower price, though with variations in currency to consider it's always difficult to predict – and we won't know for sure until the device gets its grand unveiling.

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TCL shows off five new cheap phones with huge batteries and impressive cameras

One of the first brands to show off new smartphones at annual smartphone conference MWC 2022 is TCL, which has debuted not one, not two, but five new cheap phones from its numbered series.

This is the TCL 30 series, and it's not even the entirety of it, because we saw the first two members in January and it's likely that even more are on the way soon. These phones are all pretty similar, but most have distinctive features that make them stand out from one another. 

This isn't the only tech that TCL showed off at MWC, either - in fact, it's been showering us with gadgets, like a selection of tablets, audio devices and smart glasses. However, most of these, like the Nxtwear Air smart glasses or Nxtpaper E-Ink tablet, we've actually seen shown off at tech shows before.

But you're here for the smartphones, so let's jump into them now.

What are these TCL phones like?

These are five very, very similar smartphones, and each was clearly built off the same template with just a few tweaks here and there. You can see the full specs below.

TCL 30 series specs
PhoneScreenRear camerasFront-facing cameraRAM / ROMBattery and chargingChipsetFingerprint scannerConnectivity
TCL 306.7-inch FHD+ 60Hz50MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP depth8MP4GB / 64GB (expandable up to 1TB)5,010mAh, 18WMediaTek Helio G37Side-mounted4G
TCL 30 Plus6.7-inch FHD+ 60Hz50MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP depth13MP4GB / 128GB (expandable up to 1TB)5,010mAh, 18WMediaTek Helio G37Side-mounted4G
TCL 30 5G6.7-inch FHD+ 60Hz50MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP depth13MP4GB / 64GB (expandable up to 1TB)5,010mAh, 18WMediaTek Dimensity 700Side-mounted5G
TCL 30 E6.52-inch HD+ 60Hz50MP main, 2MP depth5MP3GB / 64GB (expandable up to 512GBB)5,000mAh, ?WMediaTek Helio G25Rear-mounted4G
TCL 30 SE6.52-inch HD+ 60Hz50MP main, 2MP macro, 2MP depth8MP4GB / 128GB (expandable up to 512GB)5,010mAh, 15WMediaTek Helio G25Rear-mounted4G

The phones don't look hugely different either, as the picture at the top of this article will no doubt suggest.

Things to highlight about these phones include the fact that they all have pretty giant batteries, and all use 50MP main cameras with a pretty wide sensor size - this will likely make them great for low-light photography.

One thing to note is that we don't have regional prices for now, so we don't know how much each will cost or, more importantly, how they stack up against each other. 

Saying that, it seems that the TCL 30 E is the lowest-end model, and either the 30 Plus or 30 5G will end up as the priciest one.

You probably won't have to make the hard decision of choosing just one of these to buy, though; we'd expect that only a choice few of this line will come out in each region, depending on the market. TCL sells its phones in most regions around the world, including the US, Australia and Europe, so there's a good chance you'll be able to get your hands on at least one.

  • MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting on the show all week. Follow our MWC 2022 live blog for the very latest news as it happens and visit our dedicated MWC 2022 hub for a round-up of the biggest announcements.
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