Smartphones

Asus Zenfone Selfie Unboxing

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Take a good photo whether you’re using the front-facing or the rear-camera with the Asus Zenfone Selfie.

We take this new Zenfone right out of the box and show you a little bit of what its 13 megapixel front-facing camera can do.

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OxygenOS 11 will come with major design changes

Eerily similar to OneUI

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OnePlus fans have always sworn by OxygenOS for its stock-like Android experience. However, that may soon change with the release of OxygenOS 11, the latest iteration based on the upcoming Android 11.

OnePlus dropped these changes on the latest developer preview of OxygenOS last August 11.  While these may change before the final release, some of them are already causing a stir among many fans and Android users.

Inspired by OneUI

The biggest takeaway from OxygenOS 11 is its likeness to OneUI. Clearly, OnePlus took some design inspiration from Samsung’s skin. The big headers and large empty spaces are straight out of OneUI’s playbook. Almost all system apps — settings, contacts, messages, and weather app — from OxygenOS 11 have been redesigned with this design principle. Even the drop-down notification shade and Shelf gets the redesign treatment.

Photo by dsmonteiro from OnePlus

To OnePlus’ credit though, this new version of OxygenOS is much more coherent on adhering to its own design language. OnePlus’ brand redesign culminated with a brand-new font, and it is debuting as OnePlus Sans here.

Always-on display makes a debut

Another big thing debuting on OxygenOS 11 is always-on display (AOD). Technically, OnePlus’ phones had an always-on display in the form of ambient display. However, the implementation in the new version of OxygenOS is much closer to how other phone manufacturers implement AOD. The company even threw some slick new AOD styles, including the unique “Insights” style.

Zen Mode, Gallery, dark mode, and RAM optimizations

Some of the apps get new additions and optimizations for OxygenOS 11. Zen Mode gains a new sharing feature that enables users to share their sessions with other users. The gallery app, on one hand, has a revamped explore tab that automatically creates stories based on taken shots.

Users can now set dark mode to toggle automatically too. There are tweaks to the dark mode and more system apps now support it too.

Furthermore, OxygenOS 11 brings RAM optimization that should address aggressive app killing in the background. This is a small but welcome change considering that OnePlus ranks among the worst offender for aggressive RAM optimization.

Developer preview out now

Users who are willing to try out OxygenOS 11 may do so by downloading it directly from OnePlus’ website. As of now, it is only available for technically-inclined users of the OnePlus 8 series. A public beta is not long in the tooth now, considering that stable Android 11 is almost here.

All-in-all, OxygenOS 11 is set to be a major design change that will surely polarize long-time OnePlus fans and users. Perhaps, this change will be another in the long line of controversial decisions that OnePlus did in an effort to catch up with major phone manufacturers.

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Huawei files patent for fullscreen fingerprint scanner

The future is fullscreen fingerprint

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The tech industry hopes to take under-display fingerprint scanners to the next level with impressive innovations.

Huawei recently filed a patent for an under-display fingerprint scanner that covers the entire screen. The filing shows multiple sensors will allow you to unlock your phone by pressing anywhere on the display.

Last last year, Qualcomm showed off its 3D Sonic Max tech featuring a larger area for the sensor but it’s nothing like what Huawei is developing.

Users can assign sensors to lock or unlock certain points on a screen. For example, setting a lock on the Image Gallery will require a fingerprint to access it. This should help keep personal information and data more secure.

To save on battery life, users will get the option to turn off sensors they don’t intend on using.

There’s currently no word on when the technology will roll out to devices in the future.

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Microsoft’s Surface Duo is official with a dual screen setup

Designed for maximum productivity

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Microsoft teased the launch of a dual-screen smartphone in October last year. It was also coupled with another device called the Surface Neo, a dual-screen PC. While the latter has been delayed indefinitely, Microsoft has finally unveiled the Surface Duo today.

To make things clear, the Surface Duo is essentially a smartphone and runs on Android. Yes, Microsoft is directly making an Android phone under the Surface brand. It isn’t very surprising since the giant has embraced cross-platform support unlike any other and intends to monetize via hardware as well as Office software suite.

The phone has already leaked quite some times and they’ve been on-point. The device runs on a Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage.

However, the prime selling point of the phone is its display. The dual-screen setup consists of a 5.6-inch screen each, with an aspect ratio of 4:3. Together, it’s an 8.1-inch setup with a total aspect ratio of 3:2. And yes, the screen is AMOLED.

Continuing the Surface lineup, Microsoft says it’s the thinnest Surface yet. It has a 3577 mAh battery and supports 18W fast charging. It ships with a host of pre-installed Microsoft apps like Office, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, OneNote, and more.

The phone is priced at US$ 1,399 for the 128GB option and sales start from September 10 via AT&T, Best Buy, or the Microsoft Store in the US. Global availability hasn’t been announced yet.

It’s worth noting that the phone isn’t supposed to be a flagship killer and is targeted towards a niche audience that’s looking to leverage maximum productivity on the go. However, considering the dual-screen setup, the Galaxy Fold2 can be an excellent competitor, albeit a little too expensive.

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