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Less than a year after the launch of the ZenFone 4 series, we already have a successor to ASUS’ popular ZenFone lineup.

As the base model ZenFone 5 starts rolling out across the globe, we take a closer look at what you can expect out of the box. This unboxing, however, is a little bit out of the ordinary as ASUS sent us a special box.

Hands-On

Honor 10 Unboxing and Hands-on

Huawei P20 with a cheaper price tag

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Huawei’s sub-brand is making a name for itself with the launch of its flagship phone to the world, the Honor 10.

The phone sports the same features as the pricier Huawei P20: Kirin 970 with neural processing chip enabled, the latest EMUI 8.1 software based on Android 8.1 Oreo, a fingerprint sensor in front, and dual cameras. Two of the biggest differences are the lack of Leica branding and inclusion of a headphone jack — all in a cheaper price tag.

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Features

Vivo unwraps X21 World Cup Edition

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It’s less than a month until the 2018 World Cup in Russia and FIFA’s official smartphone sponsor is pulling out all the stops before kickoff. After announcing the much-awaited launch of the retail model of the Vivo APEX concept phone, Vivo is treating fans to what the company dubs the Extraordinaire Edition of the X21. And as expected, it has World Cup extravaganza written all over it.

Based on the box alone you can already tell that this edition of the X21 is not just any other smartphone from Vivo. Unlike the less appealing white boxes we’ve encountered recently, this one is adorned with the 2018 World Cup pattern and an embossed silhouette of the X21 with the World Cup and Vivo logos front and center. There’s also a hint of the in-display fingerprint sensor, a feature pioneered by Vivo that hasn’t rolled out to any other smartphone but the X21.

The special edition X21 comes in two variants — painted with Russia’s colors, either blue or red. The World Cup pattern is a little bit more pronounced in these glass backs and it’s making me sing “Waka Waka” in my head. Wrong song, I know. ūüėā

Does it not make you go zamina mina √©h √©h? As far as specs go, it’s the same X21 that launched earlier this year: 6.28-inch AMOLED display, Snapdragon 660, 3,200 mAh battery, 6GB of memory, and 128GB of internal storage, a pair of 12MP and 5MP main shooters, and a 12MP camera up front for selfies.

Flipping the phone around, you get a Russia 2018 wallpaper and a custom Dusha typeface throughout the entire interface. Notice that the phone has a smaller chin bezel thanks to the futuristic under-display fingerprint sensor.

What’s a special edition smartphone without a custom icon pack? I love how the settings icon in this theme looks like a football! It’s subtle design choices like this that makes special edition phones more premium; it’s well thought out and is not just a gimmick.

Speaking of design choices, boy am I ready to see these squads on the pitch!¬†Vivo is also offering custom shells and I’m definitely copping that Argentina case (the blue one) to match my kit. The designs are based on popular teams’ colors, clockwise from bottom left: Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, and what looks like Egypt but is supposed to be Germany — we’ll save the discussion for why it should have had a gold trim instead of white for another time.

The most important question that needs an answer is, did Vivo just predict the Top 4? We’ll find out soon enough. There are also custom themes based on the four teams so it matches your case and your team spirit. They will be available for download on the Vivo theme store.

The best part: Unlike Samsung’s Olympic edition phones, both variants of the X21 will not be exclusive to athletes and officials only. The X21¬†Extraordinaire Edition will retail for CNY 3,698 (US$ 579), and the blue variant will be on sale starting May 26, and red on June 1.

SEE ALSO: Vivo to launch all-display phone on June 12

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Computers

The new Snapdragon 710 promises flagship specs for midrange phones

Prepare for midrange animojis!

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While everyone is hunting for the latest Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm’s midrange line is slowly catching up from behind. The newly announced Snapdragon 710 promises flagship features for the midrange phones that will eventually carry the chip.

Built on a 10nm chip, the Snapdragon 710 features timely upgrades for midrange AI, cameras, and display tech. According to Qualcomm VP for Product Management Kedar Kondap, the new processor offers ‚Äútechnologies and features previously only available in [their] premium-tier mobile platforms.‚ÄĚ

In terms of AI, the chip ups the ante with a multi-core AI engine. Compared to previous models in the series, the Snapdragon 710 promises twice the performance for AI features. The upgrades will inevitably help with voice commands, gesture controls, and contextual photography.

Speaking of photography, the Snapdragon 710 includes the Qualcomm Spectra 250 image signal processor, which enhances camera tech. This hopes to improve the camera’s stabilization, low light capabilities, and noise reduction. This includes the popular AR emojis rapidly growing across the industry.

Also, for the first time, the Snapdragon midrange series will support 4K HDR viewing. The feature brings the best out of the midrange sector’s limited screen capabilities. Hopefully, this also brings substantial upgrades to the types of screens available for the sector.

Additionally, the new Snapdragon model can maximize both connectivity and battery life. With a new Snapdragon X15 LTE modem, the chip can support up to 800Mbps of 4G download speed. Similarly, the chip’s optimized architecture can reduce power consumption by up to 20 percent. If that’s not enough, it also supports the new Quick Charge 4+, which drastically reduces charging time.

Starting now, Qualcomm has opened the Snapdragon 710 for phone makers worldwide. We can expect compatible phones by the second half of the year.

SEE ALSO: Explainer: Differences between Snapdragon processors

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