While the world awaits the arrival of the ZenFone 3, in Vietnam, two new ASUS budget phones were made official as the company continues its 2016 makeover of popular smartphone spin-offs.
And just like their higher-end cousins, the 2016 Laser and Max feature polished metal unibody designs that look identical and feel better in the hand—not to mention they’re thinner and lighter than their predecessors’. It’s obvious they share the same DNA, but there are different selling points for each phone: a more capable camera for the Laser; a long-lasting battery for the Max.
The designs don’t match the premium aesthetic of the other ZenFone 3 models—we’re not entirely convinced the cases are entirely made of metal—but that can be forgiven.
Android 6.0 Marshmallow is the platform of choice for these latest ZenFones, and this time around, the software nuances that layer the interface are prettier and less intrusive and don’t seem to impact responsiveness too much. Of course, they come with (mostly) upgraded internals as well, which is expected of smartphone successors.
The one thing you won’t find on most budget phones, however, is a fingerprint scanner present on the back of both devices. It’s fast and reliable, though it bears noting the Laser unlocks faster. Neither is as good as the one on the ZenFone 3 or ZenFone 3 Deluxe. For what it’s worth, the scanner on the Laser is oblong in shape; the Max’s has a squarish design with rounded edges.
Of the two, the ZenFone 3 Laser takes photography more seriously, with a camera bump to show for it. The device sports a 13-megpixel rear camera that takes better photos than the 13-megapixel shooter on the Max, and works well enough to allow for some background blur. There’s also an improved laser autofocus system around the back (which the Max doesn’t have) for quick, crisp shooting.
A 5.5-inch, full-resolution display with curved corners dominates the front of the device, while an octa-core Qualcomm 430 chip backed by 4GB of RAM powers the entire assembly.
The ZenFone 3 Max, meanwhile, is better equipped to handle the rigors of daily use, with its moderately sized 5.2-inch display and 4,100mAh battery and ability to charge other phones or devices.
But although the high-capacity cell is something all road warriors will appreciate, we can’t help but question ASUS’ choice to include a smaller battery than that of the original Max. We suppose a compromise had to be made to come up with a sleeker phone, but time will tell if consumers embrace the decision. Nevertheless, the 3GB of RAM inside the new Max should be plenty for multitasking.
Anyway, you get the idea. Different phones for different types of users—ASUS followed the same formula last year to great success. The company shipped 20.5 million ZenFones in 2015; this year, it has set a grander goal: 25 million units sold globally.
The ZenFone 3 Laser and ZenFone 3 Max are priced at 5,990,000 (around $270) and 4,490,000 ($200) Vietnamese dong, respectively. They’ll soon be available in Vietnam, and a wider rollout is expected in the future. The Philippines might see them hit stores in August at the earliest; India and the rest of the world might have to wait until the third quarter of 2016.
[irp posts=”7939" name=”ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.5-inch review”]
Samsung announces new generation of wearables
These include a tracker, watch, and wireless buds
Aside from the numerous Samsung flagships announced at Unpacked in San Francisco, there were also a number of wearables announced: The Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Fit e, and the Galaxy Buds.
The Galaxy Watch Active is the sporty version of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch although without the iconic spinning bezel. It’s equipped with stress, fitness, and sleep tracking, GPS, NFC, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities. Of course, it also has Bixby built in. The watches will also have wireless charging capabilities which will work well with the power-share capable S10’s. It runs on an Exynos 9110 processor and a 230mAh battery. They’ll come in 4 pretty colors: rose gold, sea green, black, and silver. Available in the market on March 8 in the US for US$ 200.
The Galaxy Fit and Fit e are slim fitness wearables that will automatically track your activities. Equipped with a heart rate monitor and a .95-inch AMOLED display, this water-resistant baby is perfect for those who want something less obtrusive. They’ll be available in the second quarter of 2019.
Last but not least: The Samsung Buds. Powered by AKG, you’re ensured a great listening experience. It boasts 6 hours of battery life for streaming and 5 hours on calls, with an additional 7 hours with its charging case. That same case gives 1.7 hours of power on a 15-minute charge. Of course, it also has wireless charging. These Buds are available starting March 8 and they’ll retail for US$129. It comes in three colors: black, white, and a fun yellow.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is official!
Take a look at the future!
After months of endless rumors, Samsung has finally unveiled its first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold. Revealed at today’s Unpacked event, the foldable phone promises the next generation of smartphone technology.
Though missing a few specs, the Galaxy Fold touts performance, flexibility, and bravado in one package.
First of all, the phone sports a foldable 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display. Revealed months ago, the display can freely transform between an expansive 7.3-inch tablet mode and a smaller 4.6-inch phone mode. Unfolded, the phone is a QXGA+ resolution powerhouse. Folded, the phone carries a workable HD+ display.
Though obscured, the Galaxy Fold introduces a new folding hinge mechanism built with multiple interlocking gears.
Under the hood, the Galaxy Fold boasts a Qualcomm 7nm octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM, 512GB of internal storage. Outside, the phone carries a triple rear camera setup — 16-megapixel ultrawide camera + 12-megapixel wide-angle camera + a telephoto lens. In front, it has a 16-megapixel selfie shooter when folded.
For power, the Galaxy Fold comes with two batteries for both folded and unfolded modes. In total, the battery rounds out to a sizable 4380mAh.
Currently, Samsung is planning four colors for the initial release. It will come in LTE and 5G variants. The Galaxy Fold will launch on April 26 for USD 1,980.
Besides the revolutionary smartphone, Samsung has also launched the current-gen Galaxy S10 series and several new wearables.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series brings high-end specs and Infinity-O together
Making the tenth anniversary truly special
Can you believe we’re already on our tenth Galaxy S smartphone? Year by year, each model brought something new to the table, offering greater refinement and the latest tech from Samsung’s labs.
For 2019, we’re looking at the Galaxy S10 lineup, consisting of three models: the base Galaxy S10, a more affordable Galaxy S10e, and the all-out Galaxy S10+ with its overwhelming specs.
They all share the same high-end Exynos 9820 chipset (or the Snapdragon 855 for certain markets) and gorgeous Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display, with minor differences here and there to deliver varying price points.
The standard Galaxy S10 maintains a tall yet pocketable 6.1-inch 19:9 screen that’s notch-free and largely bezel-less thanks to the punch-hole front camera located on the upper-right. It shoots high-resolution 4K videos without taking away too much space from the top-bar icons.
On the back, you’ll find three cameras with versatile focal lengths: 16-megapixel ultra-wide, 12-megapixel dual-aperture, and 12-megapixel with 2x optical zoom. They offer automatic recognition for up to 30 scenes so you have fewer settings to tinker with while shooting.
What you’ll really want, however, are the new features Samsung is integrating. One is an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that’s faster and more accurate than the optical implementation of every other under-display setup in the market.
Another is Wireless PowerShare, which allows you to wirelessly charge accessories on the phone’s back panel. Samsung specifically has the Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds in mind for this, so you don’t have to bring an extra charger when you already have your Galaxy S10 on hand.
Exact configurations depend on where you reside, but we can confirm that the Galaxy S10 has a standard 8GB of memory, 128GB of storage, and a 3400mAh battery.
The Galaxy S10+, on the other hand, does a little more by increasing the screen size to 6.4 inches, boosting the battery to 4100mAh, and offering a mind-blowing 12GB memory option with 1TB of built-in storage — wow!
It looks a little different too with an additional depth sensor beside the selfie camera, turning the Infinity-O into an oval. The extra space taken up seems to be worth it though, thanks to the artistic Live Focus effects it produces.
As for the Galaxy S10e, it’s able to lower the price with a smaller 5.8-inch display (still with the Infinity-O aesthetic), less generous 3100mAh battery, and removal of the 2x optical zoom camera on the rear and ultrasonic fingerprint scanner in front (in favor of a side-mounted unit on the power button). Its base memory is 6GB for now.
Four colors will be sold initially — Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, and Ceramic Black (exclusive to the 1TB S10+) — but only the Galaxy S10+ will own all four at launch.
Pre-ordering begins on February 22 and ends on March 3. As usual, pricing varies per region. We’ll update this space as we learn more.
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