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We finally have the retail unit of the ASUS ZenFone 5Z, and this is our unboxing.

First launched four months ago at Mobile World Congress, ASUS’ new flagship smartphone will be rolling out this month to several markets around the world. It’s one of the cheapest Snapdragon 845 smartphones in the market, but is it any good? Or should you just buy the more affordable ZenFone 5?

News

Samsung starts rolling out Android Pie beta to Galaxy S9 units worldwide

Full update to come within the coming months

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Baking pie takes a little patience. Of course, patience varies from person to person. However, everyone can agree that it shouldn’t take months. Despite launching months ago, Android Pie is still the rarest operating system in the market.

Throughout Android’s evolution, Google has never been a stranger to this disparaging trend. Seemingly, every succeeding version gets rarer and rarer. However, the system’s developers have, at least, acknowledged the abysmal distribution rates. Developers and phone makers alike are slowly adopting the new version across the industry.

For one, Samsung is finally rolling out some much-needed updates to this year’s Galaxy S9 series. On launch, the series was stuck in Android Oreo. However, with Pie’s launch months later, every Galaxy S9 user’s immediate question was: When are we getting Android Pie?

Probably, it won’t be that far off anymore. The company has started releasing an Android Pie beta to users in South Korea and the United States.

Image source: SamMobile

Based on the update’s changelog, the beta will come with Samsung’s new One UI. The new user interface is Samsung’s next evolution in software design. Among other features, it comes with improved gesture controls and convenience features. Additionally, Samsung’s keyboard will come with Samsung’s take on the new Unicode 11 emojis.

Though in beta phase, Samsung’s latest rollout is a huge step in Android Pie distribution. It signals Samsung’s increasing readiness in releasing Android Pie to a larger chunk of its user base. The move likely indicates a full release within the next few months.

Currently, the update is available only in South Korea and the USA. However, it will likely trickle down to other territories in the coming weeks leading up to the year-end holiday.

SEE ALSO: Samsung unveils Exynos 9820 chipset based on 8nm LPP FinFET

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Sharp Aquos R2 Compact is the first phone to have two notches

We finally got two notches

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Image credit: Sharp

When the infamous notch was introduced to the world of phones, it received mixed reactions from consumers. Apple‘s wide notch houses a complicated camera system, while Essential‘s minimal approach was embraced by other manufacturers like Vivo and OPPO. As if one is not enough, Sharp is giving us two notches.

This is the Aquos R2 Compact from Sharp. It’s a fairly pocketable smartphone with a Full HD+ 5.2-inch display that crams in two notches: one on the top and another at the bottom. Unlike the Pixel 3 XL’s bug, the two notches serve a purpose. The one on the top is for the 8-megapixel front camera and the other one gives way for the fingerprint reader.

If you dislike having a notch, then this will definitely turn you off. Although, the Aquos R2 Compact is actually a solid flagship-specced phone. First, its display is an IGZO LCD panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and supports Dolby Vision for HDR viewing. Then, the phone is powered by a Snapdragon 845 processor with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. Not bad, right?

Image credit: Sharp

Moving over to the back, the phone sports a 22.6-megapixel camera with an f/1.9 aperture. And since the phone is relatively small, Sharp is only able to put in a 2500mAh battery. In return, it’s got fast charging support via the USB-C connector.

The phone runs Android 9 Pie out of the box with Sharp’s own custom theme, but they promise to deliver major software updates within two years of the phone’s release.

Image credit: Sharp

Speaking of release, it’ll come sometime in January next year with no price as of writing. The phone will be available in three shades: green, white, and black.

To fully appreciate Sharp’s new phone, here’s a video showcasing the Aquos R2 Compact:

SEE ALSO: ZTE’s new concept phone has two notches

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Features

Make the most of AI on the Vivo V11

Make AI work for you!

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The Vivo V11 looks good, but it has a lot more going for it. Beneath its flashy exterior is a phone with AI capabilities. The AI should be turned on by default, but in case it’s not, here’s how to do it!

First, fire up the camera and click settings on the upper right.

Scroll up and click on AI scene detection. You’ll know it’s active when the text turns yellow.

The Vivo V11 can detect 17 different scenes and apply the best photo effects based on the scene.

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On the same settings panel, you’ll find AI portrait framing. This essentially teaches you how to take portraits like a pro. For even more accuracy, you can opt to turn on framing lines.

There’s also smart face beauty. Flip to the front camera and slide to AI Face Beauty mode.

The front camera will use AI to analyze your face and apply the perfect beauty effects.

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AI also works in games. Launch an app to see the Game Assistant. It automatically optimizes the CPU and RAM for gaming.

This gives you options to auto reject calls and block floating previews and notifications so you can focus on playing!

Vivo has made significant strides on AI and it’s great that they are bringing this technology to the midrange segment. Thanks to this effort, more people will be able to experience what it’s like to have an AI assistant that works seamlessly with everything you do with your phone.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Vivo.

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