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ASUS ZenFone 5 scores 90 on DxOMark

Not bad for the company’s first entry

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While waiting for OnePlus to reveal the DxOMark score of its newest flagship phone (spoiler: It hasn’t been disclosed yet), we instead got the numbers of another recently launched phone: the ASUS ZenFone 5.

The ZenFone 5 is the company’s latest shot at dominating the midrange market; and it’s been a great attempt so far. This handset offers a great set of specs, a screen that is on par with the competition, and the return of ASUS’ now-signature dual-camera setup owning an additional ultra-wide-angle lens.

So, how good are these cameras? Imaging authority DxOMark awarded them an overall score of 90. While that may not seem as amazing as the 95+ numbers we’ve been seeing more of lately, there’s some weight behind the ZenFone 5’s rating.

If you look at the complete mobile ranking of DxOMark, the ZenFone 5 is one of the few midrange smartphones that hit the 90 mark. It’s also one of the most affordable phones in this group, making it a great camera phone for the price.

Looking a little closer, the ZenFone 5 has a score of 93 in the photo department and a respectable 86 in video. DxOMark praises the cameras’ dynamic range and accurate white balance, but says that the images suffer from noise and loss of detail in certain situations.

Our own review of the ZenFone 5 gave credit to its cameras’ ability to scan environments using artificial intelligence. Photos during our tests had good color balance and a sweet level of clarity. The biggest downside we experienced was the slow autofocusing in dimly lit spots.

It’s interesting to note that this is ASUS’ first showing on DxOMark, and a great one at that. If the Taiwanese company can maintain this pace for its upcoming flagships, they’ll be serious camera-centric contenders in this market segment.

News

Xiaomi partners up with Alita: Battle Angel for a transparent Mi 9

This used to be the ‘Pro’ variant

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Image credit: Xiaomi

The launch of the Mi 9 from Xiaomi is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we’ll just wait for the official announcement. We’ve heard rumors about a Mi 9 model with a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro from last year. Well, the rumors are true and it’s more special than before.

An official teaser for the special edition Mi 9 appeared online today and it brings the blockbuster film Alita: Battle Angel to the picture. Xiaomi partnered up with the film to present the Mi 9: Battle Angel.

Check out the action-packed promotional video below:

The teaser shows the main features of the transparent Mi 9: triple rear cameras, a Snapdragon processor (which is already confirmed), and wireless charging.

Since the Mi 9: Battle Angel will have a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro’s, it also has a window to its awesome-looking circuit board, but it’s likely not the actual thing. What’s more interesting is the visible wireless charging coil right in the middle of the battery.

The phone will be launched alongside the other Mi 9 variants on February 20. Essentially, the Mi 9: Battle Angel model will be a marketing ploy in China since the movie will hit the theaters in the region two days after the launch.

Price-wise, the phone is rumored to cost CNY 5,999 or roughly US$ 885.

SEE ALSO: What could the new unicorn Xiaomi Mi 9 be called?

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Gaming

TNC Predator, Afreeca Freecs Fatal win Predator League APAC 2019

For Dota 2 and PUBG, respectively

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After three long days of battle in Bangkok, Thailand from February 15 to 17, two champions have emerged from the two featured games of the Predator League in Asia Pacific 2019.

For Dota 2, it’s TNC Predator from the Philippines; and for PUBG, the champ is none other than Afreeca Freecs Fatal from South Korea.

Their winnings come from a prize pool worth US$ 250,000. Each champion receives US$ 75,000 for their efforts, while the runners-up split the remaining pot.

The grand event concluded after over 3,500 competing teams from 16 countries were eventually reduced to only 26 groups in Bangkok for the finals.

This was the Predator League’s second event in the APAC region. In 2018, it was held in Indonesia. Next year’s event will take place in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Fujifilm X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera

Cheaper version of the X-T3

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Image credit: Fujifilm

After Canon‘s announcement of the new EOS RP, it’s now Fujifilm‘s turn to present their latest offering: the X-T30. Fuji’s new mirrorless interchangeable camera is the successor to 2017’s X-T20.

The X-T30 is positioned to be a cheaper variant of the flagship X-T3 camera, but they actually share many common features and specs. It’s got a compact and lightweight body at just 383g which looks similar to the premium model, but with some minor changes at the back. It’s got a focus joystick instead of a d-pad, but retains the touchscreen.

Speaking of, it’s a 2-way tilting LCD panel with 1.04 million dots. The EVF, on the other hand, is a 2.36-million-dot OLED color viewfinder with a near 100 percent coverage area.

Image credit: Fujifilm

Inside the camera is a 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 12800, which is expandable up to 51200, and backed by an X-Processor 4. With this, the X-T30 can shoot 30fps at 1.25x crop and 20fps without a crop using the electronic shutter. If you wish to use the mechanical shutter, the speed will be reduced to 8fps.

It has a hybrid AF system with 100 percent phase-detect AF, face detection, and eye tracking. Autofocus is also improved even in low-light. Focusing can be selected either through the touchscreen or joystick.

When it comes to video, the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps and up to 120fps when downscaled to 1080p. It’s capable of 10-bit recording and 4:2:2 DCI 4K video through the HDMI port. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes are also available.

The Fujifilm X-T30 will be available in March starting at US$ 899 for the body only. It’ll go up to US$ 999 when bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, or US$ 1,299 when bundled with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

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