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Acer’s Liquid Jade Primo is a flagship Windows 10 phone that doubles somewhat as a pocket PC

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Contrary to what you may have seen on the news, Microsoft isn’t the only company with an interest in seeing Windows 10 Mobile take off.

Amid sluggish growth — which according to industry analyst IDC, won’t get much better in the foreseeable future — and a dismal 2015 that saw its mobile operating system’s market share dip to 2.2 percent (compared to Android’s 81 percent), Microsoft has found a hardware partner in Acer, which produced the phone you’re looking at now.

This is Acer’s Liquid Jade Primo, a flagship Windows 10 Mobile handset that flaunts more curves than anything Microsoft or any other Windows phone maker has built in the past. But that’s not to say we haven’t seen anything like it; we’ve seen this design plenty of times on Acer smartphones running Android.

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And that’s good to hear, as the Primo is smooth to the touch and more comfortable to hold and operate than its size would suggest. In keeping with Acer’s Liquid designation, soft melted wax is a good way to describe how it feels in the hand.

If there’s one major criticism we’d level at the Primo it’s that the casing is made of lightweight plastic. We get that aluminum unibody enclosures aren’t for everyone, but considering the sticker price, we can’t help but think that premium build materials could have been incorporated in the final design.

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Like Microsoft’s Lumia 950 phones, the Primo has a 5.5-inch OLED display with a layer of curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass on top for added scratch resistance. The screen maxes out at 1080p, which is a shame considering phones in its class typically have Quad HD panels. The 21-megapixel camera around the back impresses in terms of megapixel count, though we’ll have to wait to see how it performs in various situations before passing judgement.

Powering the Primo is a Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM. Its 32GB internal storage is expandable using a microSD card, though at the expense of a second SIM card slot. In our brief testing, we found it responsive and snappy, without any of the jitters you may find in premium, Android-based smartphones.

What really sets this Acer apart from majority of phones on the market is Continuum, Windows 10 Mobile’s killer feature that allows smartphones to function somewhat like desktop PCs when plugged into a dock that connects to a TV or monitor.

And while Continuum only works with apps under Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (legacy apps might never see a release on the Windows Store, though help is at hand), those who rely heavily on Microsoft’s core productivity software will surely find it valuable.

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The Acer Liquid Jade Primo will retail for P28,990 ($630) in the Philippines when it hits select stores later this week. For the price, you get a dock, mouse, and keyboard to complete the pocket PC experience.

Laptops

Acer announces new Chromebook Spin 11 for a cheaper price

Fully compatible with a Wacom pen

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It’s a case of déjà vu. A year after the first one, Acer has announced the Chromebook Spin 11 for a second time. This time, it has better parts, a cheaper price, and more consumer-friendly availability.

Previously, the Spin 11 was launched exclusively for the education sector, offering the needed durability and flexibility for a student. The new Spin 11, however, packs more punch for a lower price. The announcements comes only a few weeks removed from Acer’s other announcements at CES 2018.

The new Chromebook Spin 11 (CP311-1H/CP311-1HN) comes in three flavors of processors — Intel Pentium quad-core N4200, quad-core Celeron N3450, or dual-core Celeron N3350. It’s a bit more than the previous model which came only with the N3350.

Acer also offers variability with storage and memory. It is available in either 4GB or 8GB LPDDR4 for RAM. Meanwhile, it offers 32GB or 64GB variants for internal storage.

It also comes with a 11.6-inch IPS display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. Like the previous model, the notebook is fitted with a 360-degree hinge that allows for laptop, tablet, display, and tent modes.

The Spin 11 pushes the emerging trend for USB Type-C charging. While it does reduce variability, it will boast of an uptime that lasts “all day.”

Besides charging, it sports two USB-C 3.1 ports, two USB-A 3.0 ports, and a microSD reader for connectivity. Likewise, Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 round the laptop out for wireless connectivity.

However, the new notebook’s biggest upgrade is its compatibility with a Wacom EMR stylus, which comes packaged with the CP311-1HN model. It doesn’t require a battery and is resistant to trauma. Before the Spin 11, only a handful of hybrid notebooks came with a stylus.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 11 will start shipping out in March. It’ll come with a price tag of US$ 349.

SEE ALSO: Acer’s new Swift 7 is thinner than ever

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Drones

DJI launches new Mavic Air drone

It’s the size of a smartphone!

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DJI is at it again with its consumer quadcopters.

The Chinese company has launched the new Mavic Air and it fits right between the Mavic Pro and the smaller Spark. Think of the Spark’s size but with the folding arms of its predecessor.

DJI says the Mavic Air is lighter by 41 percent compared to its previous model but receives the entire gesture system of the Spark — something that attracts consumers. This means you can make it snap a photo, make it move to a different spot, and call it back to land by simple hand actions.

Using your hand to manipulate the drone has a range limit of almost 6 meters (19 feet). Connect a smartphone and it bumps up the range to 80 meters, but using a dedicated remote will increase that to 4km.

Just like the Mavic Pro, the Mavic Air has a 4K video resolution, 12-megapixel image sensor, and three-axis gimbal. It also has HDR, and low-light shooting to help you achieve better photos in general. DJI also threw in a new software algorithm that lets users stitch together 32-megapixel shots for panoramas and photo spheres.

DJI added 8GB of internal storage to the Mavic Air. There’s also a USB-C port which is a bump up from the Pro’s micro-USB, although battery life saw a downgrade as the new Air has a maximum flight time of 21 minutes. In real-life usage, that means around 16 minutes.

Don’t let it dishearten you, since position tracking, obstacle avoidance, and the ventilation system have all been improved according to DJI.

Finally, and unlike the Pro, it comes in different colors. The new Mavic Air will be available in white, black, or red. Pricing will start at US$ 799 which is a little more expensive than the Spark but more affordable than the Mavic Pro. Pre-orders start immediately and shipping will commence next week.

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An upcoming Nokia phone is rumored to have a penta-camera setup

When two are not enough

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In the photo: Nokia 8

Remember the PureView camera phones from Nokia? They lead the race of megapixels in a smartphone and the best possible image quality back in the day. In 2018, we might see the rebirth of PureView-like phones from Nokia, but it won’t be about megapixels anymore.

According to a leak from China’s Baidu social network, a concept phone is rumored to be in the works which will have five lenses positioned in a circle and paired with an LED flash. It’s not named PureView, but it’ll be called Nokia 10.

The diagram shown above is supposedly the layout of the back of the phone. The LED flash is at the center of the six circles which should be the camera lenses, but what’s the additional circle for? We don’t know yet but since this is just a rumor, we shouldn’t really expect too much. The lone circle outside of the group is the fingerprint reader.

The rumored phone will be powered by the new Snapdragon 845 processor which can support up to seven camera sensors and up to 32 megapixels for pictures and 4K for videos. Other than that, there’s not much info available for now.

We might see the phone later this year, probably during IFA 2018 in Berlin, but there’s really no solid info on the upcoming Nokia phone yet.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 8’s camera performance underwhelms at DxOMark

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