Apple makes Safari more private on the iPhone with iOS 17’s powerful new feature

Apple is striking another blow in the name of privacy by adding Link Tracking Protection to select iOS 17 apps, which will make it easier for users to keep their data private while browsing the web on their iPhone.

Link tracking identifiers are a collection of numbers and letters typically appended towards the end of a link as a way for websites to keep track of users as they move around the web. It’s most often used for ad tracking, as well as a substitute for third-party cookies. When Apple’s iOS 17 rolls out, Link Tracking Protection will prevent advertisers from bypassing privacy features simply because they are typically targeted toward cookies. It'll be enabled on Mail, Messages, and Safari's Private Browsing mode.

It is worth noting that you can still remove link-tracking identifiers by yourself by selecting and deleting the offending characters. However, with the identifiers often being quite long, many users simply wouldn’t bother, and Apple is just streamlining the otherwise tedious process.

“Privacy is designed into every new Apple product and feature from the beginning,” Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, said in a press release announcing the feature. “We are focused on keeping our users in the driver’s seat when it comes to their data by continuing to provide industry-leading privacy features and the best data security in the world.

“This approach is evident in a number of features on our platforms, like the major updates to Safari Private Browsing, as well as the expansion of Lockdown Mode.”

A more private iOS

Compared to rival operating system Android, iOS has always been the more privacy and security-focused option, and iOS 17 furthers that. Apple put a stop to AirDrop flashing with Communication Safety, preemptively halted explicit contact posters, and beefed up Safari’s Private Browsing with an additional level of authentication. These are all subtle yet meaningful improvements – something that could be said for the iOS 17 update as a whole.

Apple is currently testing iOS 17 for developers, with a public preview slated for July. A full release of iOS 17 is expected to start rolling out to the best iPhones around September, to coincide with the launch of the iPhone 15.

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OnePlus likely to unveil Samsung and Google foldable rival in August

OnePlus is working on its first foldable phone and the latest reports claim that the device will be launching in August. The launch event is said to be taking place in New York. 

Talk of a ‘OnePlus Fold’ August launch came as early as May, with tipster Max Jambor sharing as such. This latest report, however, comes from Yogesh Brar via Pricebaba. According to Brar, OnePlus will also try for a global rollout, aiming for key markets including the US and India. Both Jambor and Brar are fairly reliable tipsters, lending credence to their reports. It is still not clear if this first OnePlus foldable will be called the ‘OnePlus Fold’ or something else. 

Confirming the upcoming foldable earlier in the year, OnePlus’ CEO Pete Lau said: “Our first foldable phone will have the signature OnePlus fast and smooth experience. It must be a flagship phone that doesn’t settle because of its folding form, in terms of industrial design, mechanical technology, and other aspects. We want to launch a device that aims to be at the pinnacle experience of today’s foldable market.” 

A tipping point for foldables?

Far from being a Samsung-only pursuit at this point, the best foldables could soon be sourced from the likes of OnePlus or Google as more and more companies enter the fray. The form factor is still relatively novel and interesting, with a lot of potential for accessories and unique use cases.

At the same time, foldables have yet to take off. Price is often cited as a point of failure, but the best-selling smartphones remained expensive, classic slab smartphones, including the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Galaxy S23 Ultra. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that the Galaxy Z Flip 4 did find a foothold among the top premium devices shared by Canalys, albeit a small one. Perhaps people, as a whole, just aren’t that into foldables? As I said above, with more and more companies turning their hands to foldables, the answer may become clearer sooner rather than later.

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iOS 17 will finally cover up AirDrop flashers

Apple will now automatically block nudes sent over AirDrop in iOS 17, the company shared. The feature comes as a package aimed at enhancing communication safety, even as Apple makes it easier to share photos, contact details, and more among iPhone owners.

The company lists the new change under privacy in a press release it issued following WWDC 2023, noting that it was an expansion of the communication safety features it had previously billed as aimed at protecting children. Now, people who try to send explicit images either over AirDrop or by the new Contact Posters and FaceTime messages will find their images blurred by default. Based on how it currently works in the Messages app, users will be able to block the offending contact or message someone they trust for support.

According to the research cited by the UK government, 76% of girls aged 12-18 have been sent unsolicited nude images from men and boys in a practice dubbed ‘cyber-flashing’. The government notes that this is done most often by AirDrop, due to the feature’s ease of use.

“It is unacceptable that women and girls traveling on public transport, or just going about their day-to-day lives, are being subjected to this despicable practice,” UK Justice Minister Victoria Atkins said in a 2022 press release, explicitly criminalizing the practice.

Apple also introduced a new “Check In” feature for Messages, during the iOS 17 segment of its opening-day keynote at WWDC 2023. It’s a feature that streamlines the process behind the common practice of sending a “let me know when you get home” text. iPhone users will be able to quickly check in with their friends and family, automatically notifying the recipient when the sender’s home address is reached. As with the AirDrop feature, it addresses another issue that has been linked to women’s safety, in particular.

Subtle, useful changes

Though Apple’s iOS 17 can’t be accused of being ostentatious, the more subtle, everyday features are the ones that you’ll likely get the most mileage out of. Looking at the features highlighted in this story, for example, whenever I leave a social event or a family gathering, I’m often urged to text my friends and family, and notify them when I get home, so I can directly recognize the feature’s value. I, thankfully, have never been flashed via AirDrop, but I can imagine how distressing it would be, so again, appreciate Apple’s considered approach to adding this feature.

With the company making it easier to share content with other Apple devices in iOS 17, it is great that they’re also proactively addressing these issues, which sits in stark contrast to how it initially handled concerns over misuse of AirTags. Now, Apple has teamed up with Google to address stalking as well, showing a company that’s taking its social responsibilities more seriously than ever before.

iOS 17 will be made available this September to all of the best iPhones. The new privacy features can also be found on macOS Sonoma and iPadOS 17 as well.

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Samsung promises a fix for blurry photos from Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus cameras

Samsung has acknowledged an issue concerning out-of-focus elements in shots captured by some Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus devices, after ongoing complaints by affected users. The company says it will issue a fix later in the year.

Though the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus have been praised for their broadly excellent cameras, one flaw has presented itself over time in the case of some units. Users affected by this issue have noted that there is a strangely “banana-shaped blur” present when capturing images, particularly when shooting subjects up close. The S23 Ultra has not been affected by this issue, likely because it uses a different, 200MP primary sensor, while the S23 and S23 Plus share the same 50MP primary camera.

A Polish Samsung Community post confirmed that Samsung was aware of the issue, offering an explanation and noting that an update would be arriving in the future. Here’s the machine-translated Samsung Community post:

“While testing the camera capabilities of the S23 or S23+, you may have noticed that the area around the subject looks a bit blurred when taking a close-up shot. This is because the rear wide-angle camera on the S23 and S23+ has a bright aperture, which helps when taking photos in the dark. However, this also means that more noticeable selective focus can make the background of your photos look a bit blurry.”

The Samsung post suggests that affected users might simply want to try stepping back so that the camera can properly focus with the added distance or turn the phone vertically. In any case, the promised update should arrive shortly to deliver improvements in this regard, though it may be able to fix it entirely; we’ll have to wait and see.

A physics problem?

Though smartphone cameras improve massively year over year, no camera is without its flaws. Some of them are immediately obvious – the large and somewhat unsightly protrusions on the rears of the best smartphones, for one. Others, such as the ‘blurry banana’ problem, are more subtle and only emerge after extended use. Samsung is not the only one to suffer from focus issues, some iPhone 14 Pro Max owners and Pixel 6 owners have reported similar experiences, historically.

At the same time, Samsung in particular has made great strides in its camera technology, enough to earn multiple spots on our best camera phones list. As Samsung would suggest, sometimes you can simply step back to get a better picture, although that might not be enough of a solution for everyone affected.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 global launch likely to be held in South Korea

Samsung’s second Galaxy Unpacked showcase this year, at which the company is expected to unveil the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 (among other devices) will take place in Seoul, South Korea, a company executive has hinted. In the past, Samsung has held its Unpacked events in New York and San Francisco.

The report comes from the South Korean publication, Yonhap News, citing senior Samsung executive Lee Young-hee, at a recent press event. In response to a reporter who asked “Why are you holding Unpacked in Seoul?” Lee responded (translated from Korean), "Because Korea is meaningful and important."

It isn’t confirmed that Seoul will be the launch location for the new foldables, however, as the company was later said to avoid more direct queries at the same event. However, it now appears likely that Samsung will indeed hold the launch of its new foldables in South Korea, likely in Seoul or Busan, as per Yonhap. If so, this would be the first time Samsung has held such an event in its home market.

Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked is currently believed to be happening in the final week of July.

Launching into a different market

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5, wherever and whenever they launch, will find stiffer competition than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 faced last year. In the US in particular, Google and Motorola have entered the fray with the Google Pixel Fold, Motorola Razr 2023, and Motorola Razr 2023 Plus; excellent foldables (on paper) that chip away at the Galaxy Z Fold and Flip lines' total domination of the foldable space.

At least, that’s what Google and Motorola would love to believe. Samsung’s proven track record of making some of the best foldable phones, and overall strong brand reputation in the mobile space, could see it extend its hegemony for another year.

Other than its foldables, which are set to dominate the conversation around Unpacked, Samsung is also thought to be introducing follow-ups to some of the best Android tablets in the shape of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9, Tab S9 Plus, and Tab S9 Ultra. It’s also expected to deliver new candidates for our best Wear OS watches list, with the expected reveal of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Galaxy Watch 6 Classic. 

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Google’s new June feature update has something for everyone

Google today announced a slew of features rolling out to various Android-powered devices today as part of its June 2023 Android feature drop. These include updates to Android on phones and tablets, as well as Wear OS. 

The company announced the update by way of a blog post on June 1, and most if not all of these features are immediately available, mostly via Play Store updates to the relevant apps.

Google Play Books for one will see an update to help children learn how to read via a feature dubbed “reading practice.” It will be available on “thousands” of children's books and focuses on helping children learn unfamiliar words auditorily, complete with real-time feedback.

Another update will deliver three new home screen widgets, bringing support for a Google TV, a Google News, and a Google Finance widget.

Google’s fan-favourite Emoji Kitchen feature also sees an update with this release, adding in support for new aquatic emoji combinations. Texting your friends a really ugly Dolpshark or a Sharkmato has never been so easy.

Finally, Wear OS is getting a few new features to make some of the best Wear OS watches even better. These features include a new Spotify tile, transit support in Washington, D.C. and the San Francisco Bay Area, and a new Google Keep for Wear OS tile.

We say finally, but Google is also highlighting a Google One dark web scanning feature. It’s now available for most Google accounts in the US, and while Google does say it is coming to people in more than 20 countries, the timeframe given is "in the coming months."

Later this year, Google is also bringing Android 14 to smartphones. This will focus on little generative AI support for the wallpaper and messaging apps, as well as improved lock screen customization, among other under-the-hood changes.

A smart strategy that keeps bearing fruit

Even as Google moves away from the all-important big annual Android update, these smaller updates will prove more useful for the majority of Android users. While Google can roll out Android operating system updates to its Pixel phones as soon as they are ready, the same can't be said for other Android phones.

If you buy one of the best cheap phones, you're all but guaranteeing that you'll get slow updates, if they do arrive. By supplying updates through the Play Store instead, Google ensures that the widest number of people can get access to them.

As one writer on Computerworld points out, the content of these updates is essentially what one would expect from an iOS update, to begin with. To quote the famous non-Google Bard, “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” In other words,  the end result means that people using one of the best Android phones get more or less the same update speed experience as those using an iPhone.

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Motorola Razr 40 Ultra may miss out on this useful Galaxy Flip 4 feature

Motorola is expected to debut the Motorola Razr 40 and Razr 40 Ultra in the first week of June, and a new leak reveals something that could be lacking compared to the market-leading Galaxy Z Flip 4. According to the report, the Razr 40 Ultra may lack IP68 water and dust resistance, offering more modest IP52 splash resistance instead.

The report comes from tipster Snoopy Tech, citing a leaked official Motorola spec sheet. According to the sheet, the Motorola Razr 40 Ultra will be IP52 rated. An IP52 rating means that the device is protected from limited dust ingress and splash damage but can’t be submerged – typically found on some of the best cheap phones. In short, the new Razr’s water resistance falls short of what is now its predecessor’s rival. This gels with a retail listing which went up prematurely in May, listing the Razr 40 Ultra as not being waterproof.

Motorola is expected to launch its new Razrs at a June 1 event, but the company’s partners have already spoiled the reveal, with early retail listings and even billboards in some parts of Europe.

Missing or irrelevant?

An IP68 rating is standard on the vast majority of the best smartphones, whether from Apple, Samsung, and even Motorola’s own Edge 40 Pro sports this level of certification. This qualifies as substantial protection against dust and means the phone can be considered water resistant (testing in up to a meter of fresh water for up to 30 minutes). However, when it comes to foldables, it’s not yet the norm. Foldables have a lot more moving parts than conventional smartphones, so water and dust proofing is naturally harder. Our breakdown on ‘what is an IP rating’ should offer more insight.

For those looking for a robust Motorola experience, the obvious solution would be to buy the Motorola Edge 40 or Edge 40 Pro, both of which are rated IP68, as already mentioned. For those who want foldables specifically, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 remains the standard bearer for the clamshell form factor at this time. While there’s no denying water resistance is a useful feature, it’s hard to argue it can be a significant sales factor. Unless Motorola is targeting its new Razrs specifically at swimmers, we suspect that these foldables will stand and fall on more prominent metrics, like pricing.

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The iPhone and Galaxy S23 Ultra prove money is no object for smartphone buyers

A new report from Canalys has revealed the best-selling premium smartphones this quarter, and they unsurprisingly hail from the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 families. What is a little surprising is which phones rule the roost.

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Canalys’ report has a few more interesting things to note. While smartphone sales have declined on the whole, more people are buying premium phones – defined as phones costing $500 and above. Other top-selling smartphones featured in the report include the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the Xiaomi 13, and the Huawei Mate 50 – the last one even more so than the others on the list because of its extreme handicap.

We like them big, we like them pricey

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra over iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

While there’s a tendency to think that small smartphones are an untapped market and selling smartphones for less is more attractive to buyers, the research consistently shows otherwise. More expensive smartphones – which are also more often than not bigger – tend to sell better.

It’s a stark reality for many of the best Android phones, which position themselves as cheaper-iPhone rivals, often a feature or set of features that are better than iPhone in this area or that, while being priced lower; a simple price drop isn’t enough though. For many people in the US, UK, and Europe who buy phones on monthly plans, there’s no downside to getting the best smartphone you can buy. A phone which is priced the same as a pizza or a beer per month would, in my opinion, simply devalue itself when placed against the best of Apple and Samsung.

Apple is expected to follow this train of thought to the logical extreme by introducing a more expensive iPhone to a market that has proven eager to buy the most expensive iPhone it sells with the iPhone 15 Ultra. The company’s Pro Max phones are already expensive, but the iPhone 15 Ultra will potentially be upping the ante yet again – taking inspiration from the Apple Watch Ultra – it’s expected to be the biggest and most expensive iPhone yet. And if the iPhone 14 Pro Max is anything to go by, it also has the potential to be yet another best-seller for Apple.

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iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max could be the biggest iPhones yet

The Apple iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max could be the biggest iPhones ever following their first major screen size increase in years. That's according to well-regarded tipster Ross Young, who claims the 16 Pro will have a 6.3-inch screen and the Pro Max a 6.9-inch display.

Young, an analyst at Display Supply Chain Consultants known for accurate predictions, claims the next generation of pro iPhones will be 6.2x inches and 6.8x inches, but will hit the 6.3 and 6.9 mark once rounded up to two significant figures (via Macrumors). 

For reference, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max have 6.1in and 6.7in screens respectively. 

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Young also says that Apple may change the aspect ratio of the iPhones, though he doesn't give specific numbers on this front. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, for reference.

If true, this would mark the first iPhone size increase since the iPhone 12 series. Apple has yet to release the iPhone 15 series, but it is expected to arrive in September this year and to have the same dimensions as the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro - though the Pro Max model may get a name change to iPhone 15 Ultra.

Another nail in the iPhone Mini coffin

If Apple does increase the size of its Pro iPhones, it would be another blow to those users who prefer a smaller handset. 

Apple seemingly killed the iPhone mini range after the iPhone mini 13, deciding instead to launch the far larger iPhone 14 Plus. The iPhone SE range, another option for the small-handed, may not be around for much longer either; a recent rumor suggested the iPhone SE 4 may never be released

In one sense, Apple could be seen as responding to demand on this front: sales of the iPhone 14 Plus were apparently 59% up over sales of the iPhone 13 mini. However, that same report also found that the Pro models were by far the biggest sellers, between them gathering 64% of all iPhone 14 sales, compared to 11% for the Plus model.

The upshot of all this is that Apple may have concluded that while users seem to prefer a big phone over a small one, they also prefer a Pro model over a standard version. The solution? Make the Pros bigger. After all, if bigger phones are better, then perhaps better phones should always be bigger.

What's more, if the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max do get bigger, it could also help Apple to offer further differentiation between the regular iPhones, assuming they don't also get a size increase. 

We won't know for sure whether any of this comes to pass until next year, of course, but in the meantime check out our iPhone 15 Ultra hub for all the latest news on that rumored handset. 

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The next Galaxy Z foldable might actually look like a Z

Samsung is apparently working on a new style of foldable phone – and it could be that it releases a future Z-series entry that, when viewed from a certain angle, actually resembles the letter Z.

A patent shared on Twitter shows a foldable phone with three hinged sections that enable the device to be folded in a zigzag shape, as if it were a shower screen.

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While even the best foldable phones have yet to set the world on fire, it's still early days for these devices, and it makes sense that Samsung would continue to innovate with potential new designs.

 Practicality? What’s that?

Samsung's patents, like those of any brand, are often explorations of new concepts, and not every idea sees the light of day. And while a triple-fold phone like the one pictured in the patent might look cool, we have some questions about how it would work in practice.

What would be the point of such a device? Perhaps it could be a paucity of imagination on my behalf, but this seems like it’ll be more cool than useful for most. We can imagine that artists and architects could see value in a device like that, but those haven't been enough to make the Z Fold sell iPhone numbers. 

And let’s not forget, Samsung's foldables still are susceptible to physics. The first Fold was prone to shattering, and the more moving parts a device has, the more points of failure are introduced.

These are things that Samsung would want to address before bringing a new folding phone design to the market. However, just because a device does make it to store shelves, doesn’t necessarily mean that every problem has been solved – as the aforementioned original Galaxy Fold demonstrated. Still, as a patent, all it needs to be is novel, and that’s certainly true in this case.

Samsung has floated other interesting foldable ideas we’ve written about in the past. These have included an entry with rotating camera module and a wild slideable, along with rollable and dual fold concepts. When it comes to bringing devices to market, though, Samsung has stuck to its clamshell and book-style foldables for the time being, so it may be a while before we see the South Korean company produce something like the Motorolas’ rollable phone concept.

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A for affordable? The latest Pixel 7a price leak is more bad news

We’ve already heard that the Google Pixel 7a could be more expensive than its predecessor in the US, and now it looks like a price hike is also on the cards for the UK. Who said the ‘a’ series handsets were supposed to be Google’s more affordable Pixels?

A new rumor, via reliable Pixel-leaker Roland Quandt on Twitter, claims the Pixel 7a will cost £449, which would be a significant step up from the Pixel 6a, which cost £399 at launch (it still costs that at the Google store, although you can find it for less elsewhere).

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Google has typically pitched its Pixel A-Series phones as affordable offerings; however, while the Pixel 7a will be more affordable than the £599 Pixel 7 (if this rumor is accurate), that price would still be stretching the definition of ‘affordable’.

In the US, the Pixel 7a is rumoured to see a similar price hike, from the $399 of the Pixel 6a to $449, just shy of the $499 of the Pixel 7.

The Google Pixel 7a’s specs have been leaked extensively, and supposedly include a new metal and glass body, as opposed to polycarbonate of the 6a and the others before it, a 64MP main camera – which would be the biggest sensor we've seen in a Pixel phone so far – 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage, 20W ‘fast’ wired charging (alongside wireless charging), and four colour options.

 The end of affordable? 

The Pixel A-Series has long stood for affordability, but that may be coming to an end along with the line itself. Google could be considering either turning the A-Series biennial or (as some have speculated) be ending the line entirely.

As the mainline Pixel becomes geared to being a value version of the Pro Pixel rather than simply a smaller model, and a new super-expensive Pixel Fold peeks over the horizon for those fans, it makes a lot of sense that Google would work on consolidation.

It’s also worth noting that – assuming these leaks are accurate – while the Pixel 7a wouldn’t be the priciest Pixel, it would be the priciest cheap Pixel we’ve ever seen. The Pixel 3a XL was £429, for example, but it was a larger and more capable model of the £399 Pixel 3a, while the Pixel 4a 5G was an expensive £499, but it was rumoured to originally be a Pixel 5 XL (which never materialized), not to mention the fact it shares more in common with the Pixel 5 than it did with the £329 Pixel 4a.

Google may have a good reason for raising the price floor. Inexpensive devices – deservedly or not – are often perceived as ‘cheap’. Google has been trying to position its Pixel line as an iPhone competitor for years, and it’s easier to do so if your phones aren’t seen as bargain-bin models.

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The Motorola Edge 40 launches as a fast-charging Pixel 7 rival

Motorola today announced the Motorola Edge 40, the latest entry into its flagship Motorola Edge line and the base model of its current Motorola Edge 40 series. This comes after the launches of the Motorola Edge 40 Pro in April and the Motorola Edge 2023 Plus on May 2.

Unlike the Motorola Edge 40 Pro which had first debuted in China as the Motorola X40, the Edge 40 is an entirely new phone. It’s powered by a MediaTek 8020 chipset – a step down from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but still an extremely capable chip. There’s 8GB of RAM to keep it moving, and 256GB of storage to keep all your files, your movies, your apps, and your games. Once you’ve downloaded all your content, it has a medium-sized 6.55-inch Full HD display with a 144Hz refresh rate to view everything on.

When it comes to the camera, Motorola has included a dual-sensor setup here, unlike the Edge 40 Pro (which has three on the back). It sports a 50-megapixel main sensor and a 13MP ultra-wide camera. Round the front, there’s a 32MP punch-hole camera, which sounds impressive on the surface until you remember that the Pro boasts a whopping 60MP sensor. Powering all that is a 4,400mAh battery and super-fast 68W wired charging (plus 15W wireless charging).

The Motorola Edge 40 will be made available as of May 4 to retailers including Amazon, Curry's, and John Lewis, as well as carriers such as Three, and Vodafone in the UK. It’s also expected to be sold online through Motorola and (possibly) Lenovo stores. The phone will set you back £529.99 (around $666 and AU$997) and come in Nebula Green, Lunar Blue, and Eclipse Black colorways – the latter of which is a vegan leather variant, as opposed to the standard metal and glass sandwich.

 Putting the Pixel 7 in second place? 

Press images of the Motorola Edge 40

(Image credit: Motorola)

In our Motorola Edge 40 Pro review, we found the phone to be a capable Pixel 7 Pro rival. The Motorola Edge 40 naturally would slot in as a Pixel 7 rival, then. Most of the best Android phones feature software experiences that are very different from what Google offers on its own Pixel phones. Since Samsung, Xiaomi, and Oppo sell the lion’s share of Android phones globally, that variety is no bad thing for most people. At the same time, if you prefer Google’s take on Android Motorola’s phones off similarly clean, Pixel-like software.

It’s not a one-to-one comparison, there are areas where we intuitively feel Motorola does better in hardware and software than Google. While testing the Edge 40 Pro out, we noted that there are a few more customization options on Motorola’s version of Android than a Pixel’s. As for hardware, the display is bigger and a little nicer, which if you read a lot ebooks or watch Netflix and Prime Video often, is something you’d likely appreciate. The camera has more pixels to play with and, of course, there’s more storage in the base model of the Edge 40 than the Pixel. The battery and charging are almost certainly better. The Pixel 7, of course, will win when it comes to camera output and OS updates, but it's great to see that Motorola's phones are able to contend with what are regarded as the definitive Android phones.

We’ll have the Motorola Edge 40 reviewed so, so expect to see more of our thoughts there and assume it’ll at least find a spot among our rundown of the best Motorola phones, if not some of our other buying guides.

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Motorola Razr 40 Ultra specs leak reveals Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 and more

The Motorola Razr 40 Ultra is just around the corner, with a launch expected in June, and the latest specs leak suggests that Motorola plans to use the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 in its upcoming foldable.

The rumor comes via XDA Developers and is presumably based on leaked info, although their source isn’t cited. Motorola is expected to launch two Razr-branded foldables at its next launch, but the leak only focuses on the larger 'Ultra' model.

According to this report, the Razr 40 Ultra will have a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC, up to 12GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of storage. The main display is said to be a 6.7-inch 2640 x 1080 HDR AMOLED 120Hz affair, while the cover display is reportedly a square 1056 x 1066 panel (3.3-inches, based on other rumors).

The phone is also said to have a 12MP main camera, accompanied by a 12MP ultra-wide and a 32MP front-facing camera. In terms of colors, the report claims that the Razr 40 Ultra will come in blue, black, and Barberry shades, with Barberry presumably being the red and black variant that has been making the rounds in images; if this info is accurate.

Motorola is rumored to be holding a launch event for its foldables in early June. The company recently released the Motorola Edge 40 Pro and Motorola Edge Plus 2023, across the UK and Europe, and in the US, respectively.

 A respectably specced clamshell

While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – which Motorola uses in its current top-end phones – is a more powerful processor than the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, there are likely good reasons why Motorola wouldn’t use it in the Razr 40 Ultra.

For starters, most people aren't using clamshell foldables for demanding tasks such as gaming or video editing.  Unlike regular smartphones – which are always ‘open’, or book-style foldables, which have two large canvases for work and/or play – a clamshell is either in use, or it isn’t. If it's open, it's open. If it's closed, you're probably not doing much. In fact, one of the fun things about using a clamshell is snapping it shut to end a call. It therefore makes sense not to use powerful components that most users aren’t going to need.

Should the Razr 40 Ultra indeed arrive rocking these specs, it looks like Motorola will have succeeded in creating a foldable that delivers in the looks department without compromising on performance – and it could be enough to see the phone join the ranks of our best folding phones.

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Sony billboard accidentally leaks Xperia 1 V’s ‘next-gen’ camera and official design

Accidental product leaks by brands are usually minor slip-ups that are only spotted by chance, such as a premature store listing that’s quickly taken down. But Sony has leaked its upcoming flagship Xperia 1 V phone in style – by posting a massive billboard featuring the device on the side of a building.

The billboard (see above) was spotted in Hong Kong before being taken down, but not before photos appeared on Reddit  and Twitter, and they show a handset that’s pretty much identical to what we’ve seen in leaks.

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Based on the images, Sony Xperia I V – which is set to be officially revealed on May 11 – will look a lot similar to the Xperia 1 IV. The flat sides remain, surrounding a slender, slim body, characteristic of previous entries in the series. You’ll also spot a camera lens layout that remains uniquely Sony. The new phone’s camera array appears a little bigger than the previous generation, with Sony’s ad proclaiming that the phone will have a “next-gen” camera system.

 A tale of two promos

If I had a nickel for every Android phone launching on May 11 with an official render making the rounds on the first day of May, I would have two nickels, as the saying goes. The Xperia 1 V joins the Google Pixel 7a being teased by an official source only days ahead of launch, even if one was unintentional.

Though we’ve seen fewer leaks around the Xperia 1 V than we have for the 7a, we still have a clear idea of what to expect from both phones. The Xperia 1 IV is rumored to be coming with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 6.5-inch flat display, and a 5,000mAh capacity battery. The Pixel 7a, meanwhile, is expected to have a Tensor G2 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 6.1-inch display, and a 4,400mAh battery.

Though these are very different smartphones in many respects, both the Xperia and Pixel lines place a premium on the camera experience (though you could argue all the best Android phones do).

The Pixel series has typically outperformed the Sony Xperias in reviews and comparison tests, with our Xperia 1 IV review noting that the phone is for those who would rather edit their photos themselves than those who want a usable image straight out of the box.

Might this be the year that Sony makes up ground in the photography department? We’ll have a better idea soon, but for a phone that’s rumored to cost upwards of $1,000 / £1,000 / AU$1,800, we’d hope so.

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Leaked Google Pixel 7a render shows a stunning orange color

The rumored Google Pixel 7a has leaked once again, and this time in a striking orange colorway.

This recent leak comes from Evan Blass – popularly known by his handle of EvLeaks – courtesy of his private Twitter account. It's a simple render showing the rear of the rumored Pixel 7a in orange. This color, from what we see in the render, extends to even the metal railings on the side.  

The Google Pixel 7a is rumored to be making its debut on May 10 at Google IO 2023, and it's also expected to come in black, white, and blue shades.

Going by leaked specs, the same Tensor G2 chipset as the Google Pixel 7 and Google Pixel 7 Pro backed by 8GB of RAM is said to be making its way here. Improved fast charging, and a 64MP sensor – the first for any Pixel – are also expected to be in the Pixel 7a.  

A render of what appears to be the Pixel 7a in orange offset against a white background.

This render purports to show the rumored Pixel 7a in orange. (Image credit: Evan Blass / Twitter )

An oh-so-abbreviated history of color

While this is an eye-catching shade, it's also one that you might not be able to get everywhere, and it almost certainly won’t be sold with 256GB of storage. Google has a tendency to limit Pixels with larger storage sizes to more pedestrian colors, based on our experience in the past.

The Pixel 4a’s Barely Blue, and the 4a 5G’s Clearly White stand out as Pixel colorways that were limited in availability. This orange shade would also be the fourth rumored color for the Pixel 7a, and it's rare for Google to offer that many shades on a phone, so at least one of them is likely to be available in limited configurations or regions.

As for the orange color itself, Google has flirted with orange quite a few times. The Pixel 6 was sold in a Kinda Coral shade and the Pixel 4 had an Oh So Orange colorway. There are also rumors of the Pixel Tablet coming in orange, creating some synergy.

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