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”]

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OnePlus 6T now comes in a beautiful gradient color

The color we’ve always wanted

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Finally, OnePlus releases a phone color I can get behind!

OnePlus phones have always been known for their performance and great value, but I’ve always found their color choices to be lacking. Black, graphite, red, or white works for a lot of different folks but for those, like me, who want a flashier and prettier option, we are left wanting.

Not anymore.

OnePlus has just announced that we’re getting the OnePlus 6T in a dreamy new shade called Thunder Purple. This particular device has a beautiful black to purple gradient and a shiny curve on its back that moves with the light. So pretty!

Just look at that subtle, stunning color pop

The same color, announced in China last week, will be available in the US and Europe starting today on the OnePlus website. It rocks 8GB of memory with 128GB of storage and retails for US$ 579.

Image credit: Joshua Vergara

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News

An iPhone X allegedly exploded after installing iOS 12.1

In Washington, USA

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Goodbyes are always difficult. Some can go graceful; some, however, lash out in weird directions. As the 2018 iPhones go on their successful world tour, the iPhone X tries to get one more stab at the spotlight. However, the headline is far from positive. One might even call it fiery.

Reported in Washington, an iPhone X supposedly exploded in a user’s home. Rahel Mohamad, the user, posted about the incident on Twitter. According to Mohamed, the iPhone was in the process of installing the iOS 12.1 update.

In an interview with Gadgets 360, Mohamed was using and charging the phone normally. Amid installing the recent update, he plugged the phone into Apple’s original charger and cable. (Of note, Redditors have countered that Mohamed used an iPad charger, instead of an iPhone one.) Shortly after, the phone started heating up, spewing out gray smoke. After the update’s completion, it caught fire and exploded.

Since then, Apple has responded to Mohamed’s original tweet. “That’s definitely not expected behavior,” @AppleSupport replied. According to Mohamed, Apple has invited him to mail the destroyed model for an official investigation. The company has not issued an official statement regarding the explosion yet.

Curiously, this isn’t the first Apple explosion this year. Back in January, a Chinese customer bit into an iPhone’s battery, causing it to explode in his face. In August, an iPad exploded inside an Apple store in Amsterdam, injuring several employees.

To Apple’s luck, none of the three incidents has incited enough controversy to turn into another Samsung Galaxy Note 7 disaster. At the moment, Apple’s explosions are isolated incidents. We can only hope that the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR don’t suffer the same fate.

SEE ALSO: Apple patents a holed iPhone design

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Features

Pixel’s Night Sight now available — here are samples

It delivers when it matters

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Night Sight, which is an additional mode that improves low-light performance in the Pixel camera app, is now available for download from the Google Play Store for all three generations of Pixel.

It was teased during the launch of the Pixel 3, and I even got a chance to test it early thanks to third-party developers, but it’s only now we’re seeing the final product.

Not much has changed since my first experiment, but I do feel that the UI around it has been refined. It’s a free update, so why complain? In fact, it’s an awesome addition to an already-great camera app.

What’s cool is that it works wonders for the worst lighting conditions, and even applies to the front camera if you really must take a selfie in the dark. Just keep your handheld shot a little steadier — no need for a tripod here.

I was fortunate enough to take the final Night Sight build with me on a trip this week, and I must say it’s impressive when needed most.

Here are some samples with and without Night Sight:

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And there we have it. Night Sight isn’t always required, but makes a world of difference when it counts. It can pretty much see in darkness.

For lots of instances, though, Auto mode was sufficient. But that isn’t to say Night Sight isn’t revolutionary; it simply means the Pixel camera’s HDR rendering is still in a class of its own and doesn’t always need assistance.

The rollout of the update may take a few days to complete. Be patient, as it’s definitely worth the wait.

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