Samsung confirms it’ll sell newer refurbished phones – that’s great news

If you've been interested in buying a Samsung phone but want to save some money, then you've probably looked into buying a refurbished mobile – buying renewed tech has become a hugely popular way to save money on gadgets.

Samsung's refurbishment program, called Re-Newed, doesn't actually sell the company's newest gadgets though. In the UK, the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Note 20 series are the only ones sold, whereas in the US the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Note 10 join. But if you want the newest Galaxy S22, or other devices like the Galaxy A53 or tablets, you're plum out of luck.

However that'll change very soon. In a statement to TechRadar, Samsung confirmed that it plans to expand its Re-Newed range to include newer smartphones in the future, so we could see future models like the Galaxy S23, or perhaps current ones, available for a lower cost.

Refurbished: what's the deal?

Refurbished, or renewed, phones are second-hand devices with one big difference. Instead of being simply re-sold, these devices are tested by engineers to make sure they're up to snuff, and parts are often replaced or fixed to make sure the device feels as good as new.

This kind of phone has been sold for years, but with the global cost of living crisis in recent years, refurbished tech has become massively popular. That's because these gadgets generally cost a fair bit less than their new siblings, despite working just as well. 

Third-party refurbished stores have popped up to sell this kind of gadget, but many brands also sell their own renewed tech, like Apple. Samsung has dabbled with doing it too, but as we've already discussed, it hasn't stayed up-to-date with its newest devices being offered.

Good news from Samsung

Thanks to various global factors, money is tight for many people around the world, which is why refurbished gadgets are especially tempting.

As the biggest phone company in the world, many people look to Samsung phones as their first port of call for a new device, but with the company not offering its newer handsets via Re-Newed, people would have to look to third-party refurb brands to pick up newer devices on the cheap.

However, Samsung renewing its own phones could be better than letting third-party companies do it. Since Samsung has easy access to its own components, the process could be cheaper and easier, which would save money for the buyer. Plus, the engineers doing the refurbishing would be trained by the company itself, meaning the renewed phones would potentially be up to a much higher standard (and buyers will have better peace of mind).

Samsung lets you trade in older phones for money off of newer ones, meaning it likely has a large stock of second-hand phones that it could easily refurbish, so there will hopefully be a big supply for buyers. 

And, like Apple, Samsung has plenty of physical stores around the world – so instead of ordering your refurbished phone and having it delivered to your home, you can pick it up at the in-person store, and check it over before you take it home.

So Samsung expanding its Re-Newed line to newer phones is great news, and it'll hopefully encourage many more fans of the company to pick up second-hand gadgets. Now let's hope the brand also starts doing the same for its A-series phones and tablets.

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

We're starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones' costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn't include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn't make much sense.

Analysis: same price, new world

Google's choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You're buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there's another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it's a very different amount of money.

Some people just won't be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn't the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don't understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We'll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

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A rare Google Pixel 7 leak reminds us why this phone hasn’t been leaked much

The upcoming Google Pixel 7 isn't leaking anywhere near as frequently as its oft-teased Pro sibling, but it's starting to become very clear why.

A rare leak for the smaller sibling has come out, from regular phones leaker Yogesh Brar, and if you hadn't had your morning coffee, you'd be forgiven for confusing Brar's provided information with the specs list for the Google Pixel 6.

The Pixel 7 will apparently have a FHD+ OLED 90Hz screen, 50MP and 12MP rear cameras, 8GB of RAM, either 128GB or 256GB of storage and 30W charging. These are all specs that the device has in common with its predecessor.

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There are a few differences, but it's not clear whether these are actual things that could be different in the upcoming phone, or just minor discrepancies. For example, Brar points to the phone having a 6.3-inch screen (0.1 inches smaller than last year) and a 4,700mAh battery (86mAh larger than last year), however, these tiny differences could be rounding errors as much as actual changes.

There is one genuine upgrade listed here, but it's something we already knew about: the Google Pixel 7 will get the Google Tensor G2 chipset, which is the second-gen version of the original Tensor which debuted in the Pixel 6. Google already confirmed that the Tensor's successor would show up in the Pixel 7, so no news here.

Analysis: why there aren't many leaks

With a specs list that's so familiar, it's hard to get excited for the Google Pixel 7. There are no eye-catching changes, or even a curious downgrade that might point towards a focus shift.

Sure, there will likely be some software changes to focus on when the Pixel 7 family launches, including hopefully new camera modes in the spirit of Magic Eraser, and integration with all Android 13's new features.

But even so, the Pixel 7 likely won't feel very different to use compared to the Pixel 6, and the biggest indicator of that is the huge lack of leaks around the upcoming phone (other than this new one, obviously).

Leakers are tech fans, and generally, when we see few leaks around an upcoming product (especially a high-profile one), it means that the leakers aren't excited - maybe there aren't going to be many changes over the previous generation, for example.

This is commonly an intriguing way to gauge how big a reinvention each generation of Samsung Galaxy mobile in particular is over the previous one - earlier, and more frequent, leaks suggest Samsung is brewing something big. But the same principle applies to all brands.

A relative lack of Google Pixel 7 leaks hints toward this phone being quite a dull one, with nothing new from last year. That's a shame, because at best it means that the device might not make its way onto our list of the best smartphones, and at worst it means that Google hasn't learned from its Pixel 6 reinvention, where a flashy new phone got people to care about the Pixel line after a duff few years.

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New iPhone 14 update fixes a big issue that users have complained about

When the iPhone 14 series launched, lots of users immediately began complaining about a big issue: when you opened the camera using third-party apps, the picture would often shake and return blurry visuals, and sometimes even make grinding noises (leaving many to speculate that the phone's OIS was the culprit).

These issues didn't just occur on third-party apps designed solely for photography, though: Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and other such services became hard to use as a result.

However, it sounds like Apple has a fix on the way. A new version of iOS 16 has been spotted rolling out to phones, as listed in Apple's security updates log, which is referred to as iOS 16.0.2.

This update, which began rolling out on September 22, fixes the camera issue on iPhone 14 models, and also fixes a few other bugs like an issue with copy and pasting text between apps. 

So if you've been facing the third-party camera app problem, then simply updating to a newer form of iOS will help with that. To do so go into the Settings app, and in the General list select Software Update. If you're eligible for the update, it'll appear here.

Well, that's in theory, but we'll need to hear from early iPhone 14 adopters that the issue has gone away, before we believe it for good.

This update is good timing, as the iPhone 14 Plus hasn't even been released yet, so people who buy that large-body lower-cost phone will never even end up facing this camera-shake concern.

The Apple-fan corners of the internet were working themselves into a frenzy about this issue and we totally understand – if we couldn't use the 'Gram we'd be annoyed too. But hopefully, now that an update is rolling out, these handsets will be more deserving of their place on our list of the best smartphones.

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Android phone updates could get much easier – iOS should learn a thing or two

Android phones have always had a more laissez-faire approach to new version updates than iOS devices – while iPhones bug you with annoying notifications and reminders to update, Android phones rarely even let you know that a new update is available.

However, it sounds like Google is introducing an Android feature to make updating your device a lot easier, or more accurately, making an existing feature compulsory across all Android phones. Mishaal Rahman – a big name in the phone software game – has written a blog post on Esper saying that in Android 13, the Seamless Updates feature will become mandatory.

Seamless Updates is a feature that lets new Android version updates download in the background; so your phone doesn't need to be out of action for ages as it downloads (well, except for a brief moment while it restarts).

The feature was introduced several years ago, but only for certain Android phones (like Google's own Pixels), and lots of Android phone makers have decided to avoid using the feature. However, that's set to change soon.

According to Rahman, Android 13 mandates Seamless Updates, so any phone maker that creates its own fork of the software (like Samsung's One UI or OnePlus' OxygenOS) will need to offer convenient background updates. This would, in theory, mean that every new Android phone will come with the feature.

The convenience that this would bring should encourage more people to update their Android phones – the fact that the device is taken out of action while the update downloads likely puts off lots of handset users from getting the newest version of the operating system, meaning they miss out on all the new features and security patches such updates bring.

Analysis: iOS could learn a thing or two

So it sounds like Android updates are about to get a lot more convenient, and if this Android 13 feature comes to pass, getting future updates could require very little input on your part.

Apple could really learn something from this and apply a similar approach to iOS; because upgrading to newer versions can be quite annoying.

The company's devices like to nag you to update, often promising that they'll do so automatically overnight when your device is plugged into power, but then not delivering. And iOS updates can take a staggeringly long time too.

Apple needs to follow Google's suit in making updates easier – sure, its nagging ensures that people do get the new iOS version quickly, but there's got to be a less annoying way of ensuring the best iPhones are kept up to date.

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Xiaomi 12T imminent, according to tipster; should the pricier iPhone 14 be worried?

If the iPhone 14's eye-watering $799 / £849 / AU$1,339 starting price puts you off, you might want to pay attention to the Xiaomi 12T, an anticipated mid-range phone which is expected to debut very soon.

This would be a lower-cost spin-off of the Xiaomi 12, as well as a successor to the Xiaomi 11T, and a few leakers seem to think that it could launch imminently, alongside a Pro version (as Xiaomi's T phones generally do), as well as a budget tablet and some headphones.

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Leaks so far suggest that the phone could have a high-res 200MP rear camera (similarly to the recently launched Motorola Edge 30 Ultra), though, beyond that, we're expecting a similar device to the previous models, albeit with some upgrades and tweaks here and there. That's fine though, because Xiaomi T phones are generally dependable and hardy mobiles with really intuitive side-mounted fingerprint scanners, big, good-looking screens, and useful camera features.

The best part will likely be the price, as these phones fall straight into the middle of the mid-range market. The Xiaomi 11T Pro cost exactly the same as the Google Pixel 6, despite having better specs in many departments, and the non-Pro version cost even less.

Anaylsis: more for your money

Given how expensive the new iPhones are – especially in the UK, where a price hike means that you're paying dramatically more for the mobiles there than you are in the US – mid-range phones like this could be great for people who want a capable handset without paying flagship prices.

We're hoping that the Xiaomi 12T, as well as a Pro sibling, do launch in the next week or so, as that will give them more time to compete with Apple's four new iPhones. As mid-range devices, Xiaomi's next potential releases are likely not destined for our list of the best cheap phones, or the best smartphones overall, but they could still be great alternatives for some people.

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Google Pixel 7 Pro colors confirmed in weird potato chip tweet

One of the few big phones left to launch in 2022 is the Google Pixel 7, along with its Pro sibling, and a series of bizarre potato chip posts has revealed the shades that the models will come in.

Google Japan has posted on Twitter and its own website showing the four different colorways, linking each to some potato chip flavors that it has (presumably) invented.

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There's Hazel Onion for the off-green version, Salty Lemon for the lime green one, Obsidian Pepper for the black handset and, our favorite, Snow Cheese for the white one.

It's worth pointing out that, in Google's images, the standard Pixel 7 is shown in black and lime green, while the Pro comes in off-green and white. It's not clear if this is for illustrative purposes, or whether some shades will be locked to certain phones.

These aren't the actual names for the color options of the Pixel 7 range, it's worth noting; Google has actually used foods to advertize its mobiles before, shipping some Pixel 4 devices in fun cereal-box-style packages and again, pairing Pixel 6 devices to crisps once more. So it's just a weird marketing game, though one that does reveal to us the phones' colors in all their glory.

From our research, we can't see Hazel Onion, Obsidian Pepper or Salty Lemon being actual flavors of... well, anything, but apparently Snow Cheese in Korean cuisine a powdery substance made of cheese, garlic and onion used to top certain dishes. Since the teasers were posted exclusively on Google's Japanese social media channels, we're presuming that this is a coincidence.

We've actually seen lots of these colors before, as Google has actually already shown off the Pixel 7 phones earlier in the year, but these new images mean something else.

Analysis: the teases begin

Google builds up to its phone launches in a certain way, that's quite rare in the mobile phone industry.

Instead of remaining silent on the devices, then unveiling all the information in one fell swoop, Google tends to tease its phones in the build-up to their launch. That happened with the Pixel 6 series a lot, which built up hype a fair amount.

It's likely that Google is going to emulate that strategy in 2022, as we're not expecting the Pixel 7 phones to launch until October. 

Other than the initial unveiling at Google IO in May, this is the first tease we've seen for the Pixel 7, but it's possibly the first of many. If Google does use its 2021 strategy again, we could be about to hear a lot more about the new devices.

Hopefully, we'll learn about their photography talents too, so we can work out ahead of time if these will find their way onto our list of the best camera phones.

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iPhone 15: what we know so far

Time stops for no one, and so we're already looking towards the iPhone 15, despite the fact that the iPhone 14 has only just been unveiled.

The iPhone 15 will likely be along in late 2023, unless Apple pulls a wildcard by using the '14S' name or something similar. That seems unlikely though, as we've already been hearing leaks and rumors using the iPhone 15 name.

Yes, that's right – pre-release information about the upcoming iPhone is already out there, this far in advance. That's not a total surprise, as Apple leaks sometimes take place years in advance of the product launch.

To give you a (very early) idea as to how the upcoming phone – as well as its family of siblings – will look, we've compiled all the news, rumors and predictions here. Expect this article to see many updates between late 2022 and September 2023.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple's 2023 generation of smartphones
  • When is it out? Likely September 2023
  • How much will it cost? Possible price increase over iPhone 14

iPhone 15 release date

We haven't heard any iPhone 15 release date or launch date rumors yet, but that's to be expected – they rarely occur more than a month before the launch event itself.

For the iPhone 14, that event fell on September 7, with three of the four phones going on sale over a week later, on September 16 (and the iPhone 14 Plus on October 7). Apple generally picks the first or second week of September for its launches, and usually opts for a Tuesday, though occasionally goes for a Wednesday event.

In 2023, that means September the 5 or 12 are quite likely (both are Tuesdays), though the 6 and 13 are possibilities too.

The iPhone 14 lineup on a table in situ in an undisclosed Apple Store

The entire iPhone 14 family (Image credit: Apple)

iPhone 15 price

With regards to the price, again we haven't heard any leaks or rumors, but the iPhone 14 range presented a slight price increase over the iPhone 13 equivalents. This could be repeated in 2023 for the iPhone 15.

For context, while there are four members of the iPhone 14 family, here are the prices for the cheapest, and most expensive, options:

  • iPhone 14 128GB: $799 / £849 / AU$1,399
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max 1TB: $1,599 / £1,749 / AU$2,769 

So that's the full scope of the current range's pricing, though obviously there are many devices and storage choices between those points.

iPhone 15 news, rumors and leaks

We've heard quite a few iPhone 15 rumors, though these have come out across a very broad span of time, so it's not quite clear which are still accurate and which are old news.

Some of these seem obvious – one report says that Apple is working on the 3nm A17 Bionic chip for the iPhone 15. Given that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max use the A16 Bionic, and that 17 is one higher than 16, we could have guessed this anyway.

However, the iPhone 14 used the older A15 Bionic chip, also seen in the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, and another report suggests that this new trend – of the non-Pro phones using the older chipsets – may well continue.

An anticipated change could happen in 2023, with the iPhone 15. The EU has told Apple that it has to add USB-C charging ports to iPhones from 2024, but lots of fans believe that Apple will adopt the charging standard earlier, in 2023, instead.

Saying that, some fans are hoping that Apple doesn't ditch its own Lightning port any time soon, even suggest that the company could unveil a totally portless iPhone first.

Images of the iPhone 14 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island. (Image credit: TechRadar)

A big iPhone 14 Pro feature is that 'Dynamic Island', a fancy marketing name for the 'punch-hole' front-facing camera that Apple is using, and a leak suggests that the non-Pro iPhone 15 models could get this too.

Contradicting that, though, is the belief from some that the iPhone 15 series could use under-display cameras, that sit below the phone screen to ensure no display space is taken up. However, at TechRadar, we're not too sure about this one.

For the last few generations of iPhone, Apple has split the line into the 'standard' and 'Pro' ranges, with the latter bringing more features over the former; within each range, the only major difference is the screen size. But with the iPhone 15, the Pro models could be even more fractured, as it sounds like the 'Pro Max' is moving on.

A big leaker suggests that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will actually be called the iPhone 15 Ultra – following on from Apple's adoption of this suffix elsewhere – and will bring extra features over the iPhone 15 Pro.

A key example listed is in the camera department, as while the iPhone 15 Pro is expected to retain the telephoto zoom lens of the 14 Pro, the iPhone 15 Ultra is rumored to get a periscope lens for even further zooming, likely around 5x. We've actually heard this quite a few times now, from various sources, making it sound very likely.

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Make sure not to damage your iPhone 14 – it could cost much more to repair

We'd recommend going to great lengths to ensure that your iPhone 14 lasts as long as possible - slap on a case, abide by good battery health practices, and use a screen protector too.

Why is this? Well, it's because official prices for part repairs for the iPhone 14 family have been unveiled, and there's a big price hike over the iPhone 13 equivalents. These are official Apple prices, as spotted by 9to5Mac, though you could get cheaper repairs from third-party stores.

For the iPhone 14, it'll cost you $99 to get a battery repair from Apple - that's quite a jump over the $69 cost that you'll be paying for the same repair on the iPhone 13. The jump is even more pronounced in the UK, where last year's £69 price has been replaced by a startling £105 cost.

Sure, the UK's economy isn't doing great right now, but that's one massive price hike for the same service as you were getting last year.

That's right - the battery packs in the iPhone 14 series are basically the same size as they were in the iPhone 13 range, with slight increases or decreases for certain models, but no major shifts.

So it's not like the iPhone 14 is much more demanding to repair in any particular way, as far as well can tell at least - and that conclusion seems especially likely when you consider that the standard iPhone 14 is almost identical specs- and design-wise to its predecessor.

What's with this price hike then? Well, we'd say it's down to economics - you may have noticed that it's quite a tumultuous planet right now, and the cost of things like component production and logistics have likely gotten quite high. Apple needs to offset these costs by bumping up the prices of its devices - you may have noticed that the iPhone 14 series itself has quite a price hike over the iPhone 13 models.

Hopefully, this repair price increase is only temporary, and we might see the iPhone 15 go back to that $69 / £69 cost like before. But for now, as we said, you'd better look after your iPhone, because it's already a far cry from a contender for our list of cheap phones.

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iPhone 14 battery capacity shows Apple making a gamble on its specs

Apple hasn't historically had a terrific track record with device battery life, as its gadgets like the iPhone, iPad and especially Apple Watch need charging a lot more frequently than some of the competition. 

However the company has made efforts to change that in recent years (the iPhone 13 Pro Max battery life offered the best score of any iPhone to date and duked it out with the best phones on offer), and with the iPhone 14 family, it's made a risky gamble.

While Apple doesn't reveal the battery capacity of its devices, instead relying on estimates which often prove head-scratchingly inaccurate, the milliampere-hour figure (which we often use as a source of comparison for phone reviews) generally gets out quickly.

That's happened with the iPhone 14 series, as Apple has listed the capacities with a hazardous materials company called Chemtrec, as spotted by 9to5Mac. Thanks to this, we know the capacity of each member of the family.

Let's start with the base iPhone 14 - this has a 3,279mAh power pack, which is a slight upgrade over the 3,227mAh of the iPhone 13, though one that's so minute that it probably won't lead to a noticeable difference in battery life.

The iPhone 14 Plus has a 4,325mAh battery, and while the lack of an iPhone 13 Plus means we can't compare this with a previous-year model, it's noticeably only 2mAh off the size of the 14 Pro Max, which has the same display size.

Now onto the iPhone 14 Pro, which has a 3,200mAh battery. The iPhone 13 Pro had a 3,095mAh power pack, so this is an upgrade and should convert to a more noticeable difference. 

Finally, the iPhone 14 Pro Max gets a 4,323mAh component, a touch smaller than the 4,352mAh unit from last year. This 29mAh decrease is so small that it's really not worth talking about as an impactful change.

Analysis: Apple betting on itself

So what's that gamble we're talking about?

Well, Apple has increased its battery life estimates for the new iPhones, despite the fact that the capacities themselves have seen a negligible change (and a downgrade, in the case of the Pro Max).

This shows that it's relying on two key factors to lead to a better battery life, beyond the actual capacity: the software and the chipset.

Optimizations in the software - in this case, iOS 16 - and the chipset - Apple's A15 Bionic for the standard and Plus models, and A16 Bionic for the Pro and Pro Max - can eke out extra juice for phones.

By increasing the battery estimates for its new phones, Apple is sending the message that it's confident in the chipset and software to carry the torch where battery increases aren't.

But will the gamble pay off? Well this is Apple, and by controlling its own silicon and software, it's betting that it can gain more than it loses by reducing the battery capacity. 

In the case of the iPhone 14 Pro, it's almost certain that it'll last longer than its predecessor as it's got over 100mAh more (3.4%) in there. The iPhone 14 Plus should be fine too, with lower-power components paired with one of the largest battery capacities - although not using the latest chipset.

The iPhone 14 should offer matching battery life, based on software improvements, but again with the older chip we shouldn't expect an increase.

It's the iPhone 14 Pro Max where the biggest question mark resides: that reduction in battery size, however small, puts more pressure on the phone's software capability to eke things out as well as the improved A16 chipset.

But as the battery life degrades over time, will that make a bigger difference to performance? We'll hopefully have reviews of the phones in the near future to find out whether they're lasting even longer than before - that'll be a great indicator of whether Apple was right to sacrifice battery size for more features.

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Sony Xperia 5 IV: everything you need to know

The Sony Xperia 5 IV is a small-form version of the Xperia 1 IV from earlier in 2022, bringing lots of the new features of that premium Android phone but in a smaller size for smaller hands.

That's the role of Sony's Xperia 5 family after all, and the Xperia 5 III was the smaller sibling to the Xperia 1 III. The Xperia 5 IV was announced at annual tech show IFA 2022, surprising people who thought that this phone might not appear at all after it didn't show up alongside its bigger sibling.

People who don't like the Sony Xperia 1 IV's big size, or want a more affordable alternative, might find this a tempting mobile, though the handset does miss out on its sibling's biggest feature – its continuous optical zoom module.

We haven't tested this new device yet, but before we do, here's everything you need to know about this new smartphone.

Sony Xperia 5 IV release date and price

Sony didn't actually announce a release date for the Xperia 5 IV, but if it's going to follow the company's usual conventions we expect that it'll launch in Europe soon, and in the US after that. Sony generally doesn't release its phones in Australia.

A euro price was provided, which is €1,049, but we didn't hear about the cost anywhere else. It'll likely cost less than its $1,599 / £1,299 Xperia 1 counterpart, at least. For context, the Xperia 5 III started at $949 / £899, but it sounds like the IV will get a price hike.

A Sony Xperia 5 IV shown from the front and back

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony Xperia 5 IV design and display

The Sony Xperia 5 IV has the same size screen as its predecessor – that means the display is 6.1 inches diagonally, with a 21:9 aspect ratio, FHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate.

The main upgrade, and something we also saw the Xperia 1 IV enjoy, is that the display is now 50% brighter than it was on the Mark 3. That makes the screen easier to see in direct light, especially sunlight.

In terms of design, equally little has changed, but that should be good for people with smaller hands, as the Xperia 5 line consists of relatively compact phones.

There are three colors for the phone: black, white and green, and it's a glass phone with a metal frame. There's an IP65/68 rating, so it's particularly protected from moisture and small particles.

There's a physical fingerprint scanner on the right edge of the phone, a USB-C port for powering up, and also a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio, which will likely please audiophiles. Oh, and there's a physical shutter button, which you can use for photography.

Several Sony Xperia 5 IVs viewed from the side

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony Xperia 5 IV cameras and battery life

The Sony Xperia 5 IV gets the same 12MP f/1.7 main and 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide cameras as its predecessor and bigger sibling, and it also enjoys the same 12MP selfie camera that the 1 IV got, marking an upgrade over the 8MP one on the 5 III.

One odd downgrade, though, is the telephoto camera. The Xperia 5 IV doesn't get the continuous 85-125mm one from the 1 IV, nor even the variable 70-105mm one of the 1 III and 5 III. Instead, it only has a 60mm lens, paired with a 12MP sensor.

All four of the Xperia 5 IV's cameras can record 4K 120fps footage, a useful spec for people who like their video, and they get lots of the perks that Sony's Alpha cameras do, like eye autofocus tracking.

A Sony Xperia 5 IV from the back, in someone's hand

(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has given the Xperia 5 IV a surprisingly big battery, at 5,000mAh, and we expect impressive battery life as a result. For context, that's the same size as the Xperia 1 IV has, despite that mobile using a bigger display.

Both phones also have the same charging speed, at 30W, which isn't particularly fast.

Sony Xperia 5 IV performance and specs

The brains of the operation here is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. This is a powerful chipset that many top-end Android phones, including the Xperia 1 IV, have, and it provides loads of processing power for tasks like gaming.

I's prone to heating up under heavy use though, so don't expect to be playing Call of Duty Mobile all day without issues.

That chip is paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage – there's only one configuration going on sale. If you think that you might want more storage, there's a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 1TB, so you'll probably be sorted with that.

A Sony Xperia 5 IV specs sheet

(Image credit: Sony)

This is a 5G phone, so you'll be able to use it on next-gen networks if you have the right contract and live in a supported area. The software is near-stock Android 12, but Sony brings lots of its own apps to the party to improve the experience.

New here is Music Pro, which lets you record audio and cleans it up for you. There's Photography Pro, the default photo app, as well as Cinema Pro and Video Pro, both for capturing video, and a function that lets you stream video from mobile games.

Also present is Sony's Bravia Core, a streaming service for its movies that commonly comes on its TVs, and you get a few credits to redeem on its newest movies (like Morbius) when you sign in.

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Sony Xperia 5 IV is finally here, but this camera phone is missing a big feature

When the Sony Xperia 1 IV launched, we were impressed by its continuous optical zoom camera that let you zoom anywhere between 3.5x and 5.2x, making it great for long-range photography. The Xperia 5 IV has now launched, but the 1's pint-size sibling is missing that top feature.

Unveiled as part of IFA 2022, an annual tech show that takes place in Germany, the Sony Xperia 5 IV comes just a few months after its sibling. As is Sony's way, this is a similar phone to the 1, but in a smaller package.

That means it has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, a trio of 12MP cameras on the back and another 12MP one up front, 30W charging, and all the useful Sony apps that the Xperia 1 IV enjoyed a few months ago.

Like previous Xperia 5 mobiles, the Mark 4 is smaller with a display clocking in at 6.1 inches, and it's not a 4K display, while the battery's also smaller to fit with the shrunken frame.

If you follow Sony phones, you'll know that this is par for the course - the Xperia 5 is always a smaller version of its Xperia 1 counterpart, and the upgrades that the Xperia 1 IV received over the Xperia 1 III, like a brighter display, the ability to record 4K 120Hz video on all four cameras, and the new Music Pro app, are all present here...

...except for one. And you already know what it is, because you read the introduction.

The Sony Xperia 5 IV has a 60mm telephoto zoom lens, which will get you just over 2x closer to a subject. That's notably not the 85mm-125mm continuous zoom of the Xperia 1 IV, or even the 70mm-105mm adaptive telephoto of both Mark 3 phones that can jump to either of those two points.

It does make sense that the feature isn't in the phone - it's likely it takes up a lot of space, and that wouldn't have fit with this small-form mobile - but it's still a shame.

So while there are some software improvements that will upgrade the Sony Xperia 5 IV's camera over the Mark 3 in certain ways, it's not as good for zooming as its predecessor or its big sibling.

Analysis: so... what's the point?

Without the continuous optical zoom camera, the Sony Xperia 5 IV brings startlingly few upgrades over its predecessor.

The screen is a touch brighter, the chipset is a touch more powerful, and there are a few new Sony apps. But these are very minor upgrades in the grand scheme of things.

Bear in mind that the Sony Xperia 5 III has seen a year of price cuts and discounts (well, in some regions - it actually only launched at the beginning of 2022 in places like the US). It's now cheaper to buy, and given that the new version doesn't bring many more upgrades, it's arguably a more tempting buy.

That's a jam the Sony Xperia 1 IV would have been in too, if not for the continuous optical zoom, so while it makes sense that the feature is absent, it's also a shame - and it makes it unlikely that the Sony Xperia 5 IV will make its way onto our list of the best camera phones.

IFA 2022 is Europe's biggest tech show, and TechRadar is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and announcements, plus our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on show.

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Samsung’s new cheap phone shows that high-res cameras are here for the long haul

For a good few years, almost every new cheap phone had a 48MP main camera, with mobile manufacturers hoping that a high-res snapper would convince prospective buyers that this was a good camera phone (high megapixel counts don't equal good quality, but brands likely hoped you wouldn't know that).

However in 2022 that's changed, as we've seen loads of budget handsets tout 50MP snappers instead, and a new Samsung phone shows that the trend is here to stay.

This is the Samsung Galaxy A04, which has just been announced on the company's website, though no pricing or sales information has been provided yet. Judging by the Galaxy A03 from last year, this will likely be the company's cheapest phone in most regions, as the A03 cost just $160 / £140 (it didn't officially go on sale in Australia).

In most areas, the phone's specs scream 'cheap mobile' - it has a 6.5-inch HD screen, no fingerprint scanner and an unnamed, but likely weak, chipset. The battery is big at 5,000mAh, a spec we see on most affordable phones, but no charging speed was detailed.

The memory is surprisingly decent, as while there are versions with 32GB or 64GB of storage, you can also get a 128GB model. Likewise, RAM goes up to 8GB, with options at 4GB and 6GB too.

But onto the cameras, the main focus of this article - there's a 5MP snapper on the front, while on the back there's a 50MP camera, joined by a 2MP depth sensor.

Analysis: why 50

We've seen plenty of budget mobiles in 2022 tout 50MP cameras, especially ones from OnePlus, Realme and Motorola, with brands opting to use this over 48MP in most phones.

It's worth pointing out that different phones use different 50MP cameras - both Samsung and Sony make smartphone sensors of this resolution that we've seen used loads.

One of these is Sony's IMX766 sensor, which we saw loads at the beginning of the year in phones like the Realme 9 Pro Plus, but since then high-end phones like the OnePlus 10T have adopted it too. This sensor is impressive because it's rather large, making it great for picking up colors, especially in low-light settings - yet its use in budget mobiles suggests that the component is pretty affordable.

We're glad that phone brands are adopting 50MP over 48MP - while the actual pixel increase is limited, from a purely experiential point of view, we've found that these cameras perform better than the older 2MP-fewer ones.

That's particularly the case for night photography, which has long been a weak point for mobile phones (not that actual cameras fare well either).

These 50MP cameras are bridging the void between budget phones and the best mobiles out there, making mobile photography just that little bit more accessible. And while we can't say that the Samsung Galaxy A04 will compete with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, or join our list of the best camera phones, it seems very likely that it'll outgun the Galaxy A03, and that's good enough.

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Huawei has found a spiteful way to steal the iPhone 14’s ‘best camera phone’ crown

While the iPhone 14 might be the biggest new phone coming out very soon, it might not be the best; we've just heard that the Huawei Mate 50 is set to debut literally the day before Apple's newest.

This comes from Huawei itself, which has confirmed the news via Chinese social media platform Weibo – this alone suggests that the launch is China-only, but we could see global availability provided in the next few months.

This phone is... late, to say the least. We used to see Huawei's P-series phones at the beginning of each year and the Mate at the end, but after the 40-series in 2020, the Huawei P50 only went on sale in January 2022, and the Mate 50 was rumored to be canceled.

We don't now exactly what will show up, beyond the Mate 50, as while we'll likely see a standard and Pro device, some leaks think budget and super-premium versions could come along too.

Analysis: a contender for best camera phone

Huawei's phones are known for being great camera phones, with the company often debuting innovative new features to give them the edge over rivals like Samsung, Google and, most relevantly to this article, Apple.

In particular, we'll likely see the Mate 50 phones come with much a better main camera than the iPhone 14, as Huawei has previously used RYYB sensors which, to cut lots of tech jargon short, are better at capturing more light and color than the RGB that most phones have.

Plus, we'll likely see better zoom photography too – no iPhone has had optical zoom over 3x, while the Mate 40 Pro had 5x, and other phones from the brand have hit 10x.

Admittedly, we're speculating about two unreleased phones, so we can't say for sure whether the Huawei Mate 50 or iPhone 14 will be better for photography (or in general). We'll test both when we can, but hopefully, both will find their way onto our list of the best phones.

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Motorola has wasted no time in launching its Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 rival

Less than a day after the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 launch, Motorola has joined the clamshell foldable phone party by launching its equivalent: the Moto Razr 2022.

By 'clamshell' we mean a full-body phone that can be folded in half to be easily pocketable, something previous Z Flip and Razrs have done, but these two new entries to the popular folding phone form factor are even more similar than before.

The Razr 2022 just launched at a China-only event, alongside two premium Android phones from the company – the folding mobile was the main attraction, of course. We're hoping the Razr 2022 will launch in other regions before too long, as it seems likely that Motorola would roll its biggest phone of the year out to other countries, but we don't know for sure.

Like the Samsung, the Moto has a powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, and a similar 6.7-inch screen with a punch-hole camera cut-out (though in the Razr this screen has a higher refresh rate at 144Hz).

The refresh rate isn't the only way in which the Motorola Razr is better: it has a bigger outer screen (for when the device is closed) at 2.7 inches, a higher-res main camera at 50MP (joined by a 13MP ultra-wide snapper), a higher-res selfie camera at 32MP, and – in our humble opinion at least – a more attractive design.

The phone has the same software as the Flip, with Android 12, though it has Motorola's own MyUI laid over the top instead of Samsung's One UI (though it's possible that if it does debut outside China, it could come with stock Android).

Chinese pricing for the Moto Razr 2022 was provided, and it seemingly undercuts the Flip's $999.99 / £999 / AU$1,499 asking price – however conversions from Chinese prices can often be very rough, with phones seeming cheaper there than they are elsewhere, so take that with a big grain of salt for now.

Analysis: Moto taking foldables seriously

Motorola's previous Razr foldables have felt, for lack of a better word, 'rusty'.

They've had flimsier builds than their Flip counterparts, making the process of folding and unfolding them a rather nerve-wracking one.

Plus, their specs have typically been relatively weak compared to the high price you're paying for these phones – the Razr 2020 had a mid-range chipset, for example, as well as a really chunky chin.

It seems like everything is changing now, though, with the Razr 2020. It has a premium chipset, a more refined design, improved rear cameras and a nice big outer screen. Finally, Moto has made a polished foldable.

How the device fares against the Flip, though, will come down to one key point: the price. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 isn't cheap by any means, but it's cheaper than previous Razrs have been, and than the Z Fold 4 is.

If Motorola wants any chance of competing with Samsung, it needs to give the Razr a really competitive price tag – by that we mean, the same as or less than the Flip. Otherwise, our list of the best foldable phones likely won't see an upset this year.

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