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ASUS ZenFone 7 series with improved Flip Camera now official

All flagship specs

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While everyone seems to be stepping away from moving camera modules, ASUS is doubling down on them. The company introduced the Flip Camera on the ZenFone 6 and it improves the feature on the ASUS ZenFone 7 series.

Yes, series. There are two ZenFones this year — the ZenFone 7 Pro and the ZenFone 7. We’ll show you the difference between the two later on but here’s a rundown of what you can expect from the new ZenFone flagship.

Flip Camera in service of an All display screen 

This was the trend not too long ago. Phone makers were putting pop-up cameras on their phones to deliver an all-screen experience. But it had to go in 2020 in favor of other components and to pull down production cost.

ASUS, though, zigs while everyone else zags. The triple lens on the Flip Camera is headlined by a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 3X telephoto zoom lens.

The Flip Camera is much improved. There’s a new motor module for better weight endurance. The moving part itself is made with what ASUS is calling Liquid Metal. It’s a material that’s light but tough. And they also have an angle sensor so the Flip knows what it’s pointing to at all times.

That screen is also one of the best in the business on paper. It’s a 6.67-inch Samsung AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s a 20:9 ratio and goes up to 700nits for outdoor brightness. It also supports HDR 10+.

Top-of-the-line specs

Like its sister phone the ROG Phone 3, the ASUS ZenFone 7 series is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus and 865 SoCs. That means the phones also support 5G. And while this isn’t a gaming phone per se, it can surely hold its own when playing popular titles like PUBG, Mobile Legends, and Call of Duty. 

Complimenting the processor are the 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage. Rounding up the specs talk is a 5000mAh battery with support for 30W fast charging.

A clean Android experience

While it has a Zen UI 7 skin on top, it comes pretty close to the vanilla Android 10 experience that many users prefer. The changes that ZenFone made are focused on performance optimizations like new sound control, better battery management, and new display features.

On the hardware side the power-button is multi-functional and they’re calling it the All-in-one smart key. It’s a power button, capacitive fingerprint reader, and Smart Key.

A single press behaves as usual but you can customize what it does when you press twice or when you press and hold. This can be anything from triggering a voice assistant to switching certain features on/off like bluetooth, flashlight, and many more.

ASUS also brought over Game Genie from the ROG Phone 3 to help manage your notifications and your hardware while you game.

The differences between the Pro and non pro variants

Unlike most other phone series, there’s not a lot that’s setting the ASUS 7 Pro apart from the ASUS 7. This means, no matter which one you opt for, you will get a flagship experience.

The ZenFone 7 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 865 Plus SoC while the ZenFone 7 is powered by the Snapdragon 865 SoC. They have the same camera setup except the main and telephoto lenses of the non pro variant don’t have OIS or optical image stabilization.

Lastly, the two phones have different RAM and ROM configurations:

  • ZenFone 7 Pro — 8GB + 256GB
  • Zenfone 7 — 6GB/8GB +128GB

Pricing and availability 

The ASUS Zenfone 7 series will come in two colors: Aurora Black and Pastel White. It’s currently only available in Taiwan but will be released globally at a later date. Pricing are as follows:

  • ZenFone 7 Pro : NT$ 27990 (US$ 954) 
  • ZenFone 7 : Starts at NT$  21999 (US$ 954)

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Canalys: vivo rises to 4th in global smartphone shipments

First time since the company was established

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vivo

Market analyst firm Canalys reports that vivo ranked fourth in global smartphone shipments for the first time in history since the company was established in 2009.

With a market share of 10 percent, the Chinese smartphone brand placed fourth behind Samsung, Apple, and Xiaomi in the third quarter of 2021.

Previous quarterly numbers from Canalys indicated that vivo remained among the top five in global smartphone shipments in the past four quarters.The company also topped China’s smartphone market in the second quarter of 2021, according to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, maintaining strong growth momentum.

Championing a “local mindset” and putting value to its understanding of local culture and management, vivo continues to expand to more markets worldwide and accelerate its globalization.

As of now, vivo has branched out its sales network across more than 50 countries and regions, and is loved by more than 400 million users worldwide.

In the Philippines alone, vivo took over as the top smartphone vendor with a 21 percent market share during the second quarter of 2020, an impressive rise of 18 percentage points from the previous year, also per a Canalys report.

It has maintained a strong presence in the country with the introduction of top-of-the-line yet affordable smartphones. As of the second quarter of 2021, vivo holds an 18.2 percent market share.

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OPPO is developing its own chipsets

Following Google’s footsteps

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Are the golden days of Snapdragon ending? A few smartphone makers have dedicated considerable resources to creating their own in-house chips. Doing so will considerably reduce their reliance on the current dominators of the semiconductor industry like Qualcomm and MediaTek. Much like its contemporaries, OPPO is reportedly developing its own flagship processors.

First reported by Nikkei, OPPO is planning to release its first chipsets sometime in 2023 or 2024. The chips will come with the brand’s flagship devices. They will rely on TSMC’s advanced 3nm process.

Naturally, the report doesn’t indicate which smartphones will eventually come with the chipsets. However, a promised flagship does indicate good things to come.

The report coincidentally follows the recent Google Pixel 6 launch. Much like what OPPO is promising, the Pixel 6 sports Google’s first in-house chipset called the Tensor. Apple’s M1 chipset lineup is also an attempt to reduce the brand’s reliance on other component makers.

When Google announced the Tensor, Qualcomm publicly stated that the efforts towards in-house chipsets won’t hamper its dominance in the industry. The company has other clients after all. Then again, with more companies following Google, the top chipset maker might finally feel the crunch. OPPO is still one of the world’s top smartphone brands, especially after the rapid descent of Huawei.

SEE ALSO: OPPO set to launch its first tablet next year

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The Pixel Pass is official, will bundle the Pixel 6 with Google services

As cheap as $45 per month

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A bit before Google officially launched the Pixel 6 series, a leak revealed an upcoming subscription package called the Pixel Pass. The then-unannounced package bundles the new Pixel 6 with a host of Google products. Since the Pixel 6 series is now official, the Pixel Pass is now official, too. Here’s what the subscription plan will offer.

Announced with the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel Pass offers either a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro and Google’s other paid services like 200GB of Google One storage, Google Play Pass, YouTube Premium, and YouTube Music Premium, and Preferred Care coverage.

The regular Pixel 6 will sell for US$ 45 per month, and the Pixel 6 Pro will sell for US$ 55 per month. Google Fi subscribers can also save an additional US$ 5 from the price tag. Subscribers will pay for their chosen phones over two years. Regardless of which phone, the Pixel 6 will be unlocked. If you do the math, the package can actually save you money, compared to paying for the phone directly.

Additionally, the Pixel Pass will offer users the opportunity to upgrade to another Pixel phone after the initial two-year period. However, if subscribers cancel anytime during the subscription, they have to pay for the phone’s remaining non-discounted value.

The new subscription package introduces a new way to get a Pixel phone, similar to how Apple created the iPhone Upgrade Program. Unfortunately for those outside the country, the package is currently exclusive to the United States for now.

SEE ALSO: Here are new Pixel 6 features you should definitely try

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