Smartphones

ASUS ZenFone 3 unboxing

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As many of you know, we’re only a few short weeks away from seeing ASUS’ signature smartphone series hit the streets in many parts of the world.

As of this month, it’s reportedly already available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Next up are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines in August. A ZenFone 3 launch event is expected to take place in India sometime in September. Shipments could be headed to Europe, Japan, and the United States later in the year.

The standard ASUS ZenFone 3 comes in two variants: one, a 5.2-inch model with 3GB of RAM and a 2,650mAh battery; the other, a 5.5-incher with 4GB of RAM and a 3,000mAh battery.  Each variant is identifiable by a unique model number. But regardless of specifications, the outward appearance has been completely redesigned from the ground up — in lieu of a removable plastic back, there’s curved-edge glass on the front and back and a metal frame that holds the assembly in place.

The ZenFone 3 is far less cumbersome and prettier now, arguably more attractive than the bigger and higher-specced and more expensive ZenFone 3 Ultra and Deluxe models. Its design is proof that ASUS, like Xiaomi and OnePlus and so many other Chinese startups, is also capable of building a premium-feeling phone for less.

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More importantly, the ZenFone 3 is a more capable phone than before, housing a new octa-core processor from Qualcomm, as opposed to an Intel chip, which has historically been synonymous with poor heat dissipation and inefficient battery use. We quickly noticed the difference and thanked the heavens ASUS went with a different chip maker this year.

Our immediate takeway from the ASUS ZenFone 3 event was that the Taiwanese manufacturer is well aware of the huge expectations from the public that saw a deluge of quality but affordable smartphones over the past year and a half, hence the guns-blazing approach in 2016. After playing around with the ZenFone 3, we’re convinced ASUS has surpassed its previous feats.

But ASUS doesn’t operate in a vacuum; and more so than ever, the market is seeing brands of all sizes making headlines in the affordable phone segment.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 starts at $249. Check out our unboxing video to see a retail unit in action.

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[irp posts=”3880″ name=”ASUS ZenFone 3 review”]

India

Nokia 5.1 Plus launches with dual rear cameras and a notch

A near perfect budget offering

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Following in the footsteps of Xiaomi and Huawei, HMD Global also aims to fill up every price segment with an offering. The company has enjoyed very good brand recognition in India and with its straightforward Android One lineup, picking a Nokia-branded phone is easier than ever.

Last month, HMD Global launched the Nokia 6.1 Plus to take on the Xiaomi Mi A2. Now, the Nokia 5.1 Plus intends to take on the Redmi 6 series along with ASUS’ ZenFone Max Pro, neither of which are a part of the Android One program.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus is priced at INR 10,999 (US$ 151) and will be exclusively available via Flipkart and Nokia’s online store. Pre-orders for Gloss Black and Gloss Midnight Blue start from October 1. Airtel customers can receive INR 1,800 instant cashback and 240GB data over 12 months on plans of INR 199, INR 249, and INR 448.

The phone has a very simple yet solid build along with a glass backing. The front sports a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. The notch houses the front camera along with an earpiece and the usual sensor array.

HMD Global has marketed the phone to be a performance-centric offering that can easily zip through every game and app. The phone is powered by a MediaTek P60 SoC along with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The fingerprint scanner is located below the vertical dual camera setup on the back.

The rear dual camera setup consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The front has an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and the camera app brings in support for AI-assisted portrait and HDR modes.

Powering the phone is a modest 3000mAh battery that charges via the USB-C port. Being part of the Android One initiative, HMD Global has promised that it will be among the first phones to receive the Android Pie update.

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Smartphones

iPhone XS and XS Max Unboxing

We take a closer look at the elegant Gold variant

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These are the new top-of-the-line iPhones for 2018 and today, we take a look at what’s inside the retail package of the Gold variant. This is our iPhone XS and XS Max unboxing.

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India

Motorola One Power launches with a huge battery

The Mi A2 has some serious competition now

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After launching the Moto G6 series in India, Motorola has now announced the availability of the One Power in the country. Unlike the G6 series, the company isn’t launching the phone months after the global unveiling and is banking on the phone to be a hot sell.

The company has also reiterated that they have long-term goals in the country and are now making the new One Power completely in India, under the Make in India initiative. Motorola has more than 700 Moto Hubs in the country and is expanding their offline reach to more than 30,000 counters or retailers.

The Motorola One Power is priced at INR 15,999 (US$ 220) and will be exclusively available via Flipkart. It will be on sale starting October 5, going up against the Nokia 6.1 Plus and Xiaomi Mi A2.

The phone has a 6.2-inch LCD Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. It supports a microSD card for expanding storage and features a fingerprint scanner on the back.

The back has a dual-camera setup — a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor that are capable of shooting pictures with a bokeh effect. The front has a 12-megapixel sensor that is housed in the notch along with the earpiece and sensor array.

Motorola has closely partnered with Google via the Android One program, hence all its phone will be receiving monthly security updates for the next three years. This will also be among the first devices to receive the Android Pie update and the company is confident it will be pushing it out by the end of October.

The battery is another unique selling point, the One Power has a huge 4850mAh battery that supports Motorola’s TurboPower charging technology. The company says it can deliver six hours of moderate usage on just 15 minutes of charging.

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