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ASUS ZenFone 4 launches with Pro, Selfie, and Max models

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ASUS hasn’t shied away from teasing its next-generation ZenFone 4 lineup for the past few weeks, but all that build-up ends now. The ZenFone 4 series is finally here, bringing with it several variants for all sorts of markets.

We’re currently looking at a total of six officially named ZenFone 4 models: the midrange ZenFone 4, a high-end ZenFone 4 Pro, two selfie-centric phones in the ZenFone 4 Selfie and Selfie Pro, the ZenFone 4 Max that was quietly launched in Russia last month, and an additional ZenFone 4 Max Pro.


Those don’t include the minor variations some of these models possess. Already confused? Let’s break them down:

ASUS ZenFone 4

Despite being the torch bearer of the new lineup, the ZenFone 4 is in fact a midrange smartphone. That’s because it makes use of one of Qualcomm’s new efficiency-first processors — either the Snapdragon 660 or 630. So yes, there are two versions under its name, but the one equipped with the Snapdragon 660 will be slightly faster.

The rest of the specifications are what you’d expect from a phone of this caliber: a 5.5-inch Full HD LCD, up to 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage, and 3300mAh battery. What makes this special compared to the ZenFone 3 is its dual-camera system, wherein in the secondary 8-megapixel sensor delivers wider-angled shots compared to the primary’s 12-megapixel shooter. There’s another, single 8-megapixel camera on the front.

Pricing starts at US$ 399.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Pro

As the top-of-the-line model, the ZenFone 4 Pro has something the others don’t: Qualcomm’s best processor to date, the Snapdragon 835. That’s a big deal, because that puts this phone in line with the likes of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, HTC U11, and OnePlus 5 — that’s seriously good company to be associated with.

Another special feature is the 16-megapixel secondary camera at the back that’s capable of 2X optical zoom. Combined with the optically stabilized 12-megapixel shooter and 8-megapixel selfie cam, we’ve got all bases covered. Sealing the deal are the 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED, 6GB of memory, 128GB of storage, and 3600mAh battery.

As expected, it’s the costliest of the bunch. We’re looking at a price tag of US$ 599.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie

ASUS has finally brought its Selfie series back after total absence from the ZenFone 3 line. Like the aforementioned models, the 5.5-inch ZenFone 4 Selfie has a pair of side-by-side cameras — except this time, they’re in front.

The main selfie shooter offers a large 20-megapixel resolution, while the secondary lens provides wide 120-degree photos to fit more people into a shot. There’s a front-facing LED flash, as well, and its 16-megapixel rear camera is on its own, but should be enough for daily grinds. A lower-end Snapdragon 430 chip powers the phone, along with 4GB of memory, 64GB of storage, and a 3000mAh battery.

You can purchase one for US$ 279.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

If the ZenFone 4 Selfie isn’t enough to satisfy your vanity, you may opt for the more capable 5.5-inch Selfie Pro. It has a faster Snapdragon 625 processor and DuoPixel front-facing camera technology that combines two 12-megapixel images into a higher-resolution 24-megapixel photo. Wide-angled selfies with the second camera are also possible, and beside it is another LED flash.

Other than that, the Selfie Pro is similar to its non-Pro counterpart. You get the same 16-megapixel rear camera, 4GB of memory, 64GB storage, and 3000mAh battery. In addition, there’ll be a bright red color option available, while the ZenFone 4 Selfie will settle for more basic pink and teal choices.

It’ll retail for US$ 379.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Max and Max Pro

Finally, we have the most budget-friendly of the set, the ZenFone 4 Max. Like its super-popular predecessor, the ZenFone 3 Max, the newer model prioritizes battery life with a 5000mAh capacity. Different this time, however, is the inclusion of a dual-camera setup at the back, which is rare at this price point.

One rear camera is 13 megapixels, while the other handles 120-degree wide-angle shots. The front-facing camera is less special with a single 8-megapixel shooter, but interestingly, there’s a LED flash beside it, as well. Keeping the electronics going is a Snapdragon 430 chipset with 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage under a 5.5-inch HD 720p LCD.

Take note that there’s also a ZenFone 4 Max Pro with a slightly higher-resolution 16-megapixel rear camera. Aside from that, it’s nearly identical to the regular ZenFone 4 Max.

Pricing and availability for all handsets will be added as soon as we get them.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone AR review

[irp posts=”15440" name=”ASUS ZenFone AR review”]

Laptops

Apple updates MacBook Pro lineup with tweaked keyboard and 8-core chip

The fastest Mac notebook ever

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | GadgetMatch

Apple‘s popular line of pro notebooks is getting more powerful with Intel’s new 8th- and 9th-gen Core chips. Other laptop manufacturers already announced their latest models featuring the new processors and Apple doesn’t want to get left behind.

For the first time ever, consumers can get a MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor which is two times faster than an older quad-core MacBook Pro and has 40 percent better performance than the previous 6-core MacBook Pro.


The MacBook Pro refresh for mid-2019 greatly benefits the 15-inch model with Touch Bar. The base model now has a 6-core i7 processor and its high-end sibling has an 8-core i9 processor. If you wish, it can be configured to an even more powerful 8-core i9 chip which can turbo boost up to 5.0GHz. This is what Apple calls “the fastest Mac notebook ever.”

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | Image credit: Apple

The 13-inch Touch Bar models also get a processor refresh with the base model now equipped with a faster 8th-gen quad-core i5. It can be upgraded to a quad-core i7 with a turbo boost of up to 4.7GHz.

Apart from the new processors, the rest of the MacBook Pro specs remain unchanged. However, the Cupertino company opted to use a new material for its keyboard which should reduce issues. It’s the same third-generation butterfly keyboard design from previous models, though.

The refreshed MacBook Pro 15-inch models start at US$ 2,399 in the US or SG$ 3,499 in Singapore, while the smaller 13-inch models start at US$ 1,799 or SG$ 2,599.

SEE ALSO: Apple might increase the iPhone’s price by 14 percent

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Samsung is getting a Game of Thrones-themed phone

The Galaxy Fold is getting more premium

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Image source: Caviar

Today, a foldable smartphone is one of the most exclusive things you can own. Despite the recent wave of launch announcements, the foldable smartphone is still a rare sight. Notably, Samsung delayed its own Galaxy Fold after new flaws popped up before launch. No one knows when (or if) the foldable smartphone will take off. As it is, the revolutionary form factor is only a premium purchase.

Despite the hitches, Samsung is making the Galaxy Fold even more premium. Russian luxury smartphone maker Caviar is taking the foldable smartphone on a trip to Westeros. Much like the golden Galaxy Note 9, Caviar’s Galaxy Fold draws inspiration from the recently concluded Game of Thrones HBO series and the unreleased Winds of Winter book.


Because of the foldability, the customized phone is shaped like a book. The front panel is stylized “into a cover of the long-awaited book.” Both the front and rear panels flaunt an exquisite bas-relief featuring the series’ dragons and Westeros’ house crests. As always, the phone’s extravagant details shine with a layer of pure gold. Likewise, the Galaxy Fold locks with a gold clasp when folded. Outside of the gold bas-relief, the rear panel also features a detailed map of Westeros.

Image source: Caviar

Specs-wise, the Caviar-led design touts the same hardware as Samsung’s main driver. The Galaxy Fold comes with a Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal storage. It also features a quad rear camera setup and a dual front-facing camera combo. It comes with a 4380mAh battery.

Currently, Samsung has not announced a new launch date. Previously, Samsung announced an April launch date. As such, Caviar cannot announce a definite launch yet. However, the luxury brand has promised a simultaneous launch date with Samsung.

Caviar’s Galaxy Fold Game of Thrones Edition sells for a bank-breaking US$ 8,200. Additionally, Caviar is selling “cheaper” carbon and leather variants — selling at US$ 5,870 and US$ 6,180, respectively. At the very least, Caviar is offering free worldwide shipping for all purchases. Hopefully, it also comes with a free “Rains of Castamere” ringtone.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a luxury treatment with 1kg pure gold plate

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Gaming

Playdate is a handheld gaming system with a crank

Yes, an actual crank

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If you’re bored of the current gaming console landscape or are simply waiting for the next-gen PlayStation to come out, there’s this new handheld system that might keep you a little busy.

From a company named Panic, which is known for developing the popular game Firewatch, comes the Playdate. It may seem like a simple gaming system at first, but look to its right and you’ll see its defining feature: a crank.


The developer says that some titles will use this analog controller exclusively, while some won’t at all (which, to me, sorta defeats the purpose of placing that game on this console). Everything will be played on its monochrome screen with no backlighting.

You can see it in action here:

The spin here is that the Playdate will come with a subscription of 12 games — delivered to you once a week for 12 weeks. It’s part of the initial cost of US$ 149, but there’s no word yet if there’ll be subscriptions after that and how much they’ll cost.

Each game will be a surprise, which may or not be a good thing. Spending this much on an unproven console — and possibly more for succeeding subscriptions — could end up becoming a costly risk.

Orders will be accepted later this year, while actual shipping will happen in early 2020. For now, you can sign up through the official website to receive updates on its progress.

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