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First look: ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser, ZenFone 3 Max

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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.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser and ZenFone 3 Max join the ZenFone 3, ZenFone 3 Ultra, and ZenFone 3 Deluxe announced in its native Taiwan last May 2016.

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.

zenfone-3-laser-camera

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.

Zenfones old and new. From left to right Zenfone 3 Max, Zenfone Max, Zenfone 3 Laser, Zenfone 2 Laser

ASUS ZenFones old and new. From left to right: ZenFone 3 Max, ZenFone Max, ZenFone 3 Laser, ZenFone 2 Laser

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”]

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OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition: Price and availability in the Philippines

The most expensive OnePlus phone, yet

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Shortly after its international debut, the most expensive OnePlus phone is (surprisingly) already on its way to the Philippines.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is now available for pre-order online through Argomall. It’s priced at PhP 39,990, which is slightly higher than its US$ 699 retail price in the US.

Compared to the regular OnePlus 6T, the McLaren Edition comes with 10GB of memory, 256GB of storage, and the latest Warp Charge technology that can fill up half of the phone’s battery in just 20 minutes.

Also, the special edition phone features a carbon fiber pattern, orange accents, and the McLaren logo on the back.

There’s no exact shipping date for the phone, but it’s already listed on Argomall’s website.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition introduces Warp Charge, 10GB RAM

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Philippine telcos are now required to unlock phones after lock-in period

Finally, a pro-consumer measure

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The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telcos for the mandatory unlocking of phones and devices after the subscriber’s lock-in period.

The policy is based on the Memorandum Order 004, Series of 2018 issued by DICT on December 14.

According to the memo, subscribers who have completed their contract and have no outstanding obligations can demand telcos to unlock their phones or devices. The process must also be done conveniently and should be shouldered by the service providers.

The NTC is now tasked to draft the Memorandum Circular for the memo’s appropriate rules and regulations and conduct consultations and hearings with affected parties.

There’s no exact date of implementation, but with order already announced to the public, Filipinos will soon have freedom for their network-locked phones given that they have already fulfilled their contract.

Source: DICT

SEE ALSO: Mislatel confirmed as Philippines’ new telco

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Huawei Nova 4 press renders leak before official announcement

It’s the era of holed phones

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Samsung already announced their new midrange phone that has a hole in the screen. This is the newest display trend after the notch, and Huawei is next in line to present their own. The launch of the Nova 4 is scheduled for next week, but official-looking renders have already leaked online.

The renders further confirm some of the early reports about the Nova 4. The most obvious one is the position of the hole in the display for the front camera, which is expected to be a 25-megapixel sensor. This approach is supposedly less intrusive than having a notch. The Nova 4 will also have a triple-camera setup on the rear that’s strikingly similar to the P20 Pro’s; however, the sensors will not be same.

Rumors suggest that Huawei will have two Nova 4 variants. Both will have the Kirin 970 processor (same on the Nova 3), 8GB of memory, and 128GB of storage. They will also feature the same 16-megapixel monochrome and 2-megapixel depth sensors.

The difference between the two variants is in the main camera. The more expensive one will have a 48-megapixel Sony sensor, while the cheaper variant is stuck with a 20-megapixel sensor. Aside from that, the two variants will be practically identical.

Huawei will announce the Nova 4 on December 17 in China. Based on the leaked renders, it’ll come in a basic black color with red, blue, and white-pink gradient options.

Source: DroidShout

SEE ALSO: Huawei P30 will have a notch and curved display

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