Smartphones

How to exchange your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in the Philippines

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You’ve probably heard about it a million times. You’ve heard from the news, from your family and peers, and from Samsung. And you’ve heard right: A battery defect has caused a few Galaxy Note 7 phones to explode during and after charging

Samsung has since launched an internal investigation and found a “battery-cell issue” in batteries made in South Korea. More notably, the consumer electronics giant issued a sweeping recall of over 2 million Note 7 units worldwide on September 2nd, a week after the first incident was reported in South Korea. Sales have stopped, and a mandatory update that prevents affected phones from fully charging the battery has been rolled out.

Samsung on September 8 announced a replacement program where users in the Philippines could exchange their Galaxy Note 7 handsets for new ones that are considered safe. The company had previously told customers they should expect the safe Note 7 units from October 1st. The finer details of the announcement can be found here.

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Contents of the box of a new Galaxy Note 7 that is deemed safe

But seeing that we’re just a day removed from the start of Samsung’s exchange program, we thought it would be best to summarize what we know about it and what we’ve been told during our recent meeting with Samsung executives.

  1. First things first: The exchange program encompasses all Galaxy Note 7 devices sold through authorized retailers, including Lazada Philippines, and through carriers Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.
  2. Samsung is prepared to replace all 6,000-plus phones sold in the Philippines prior to the recall in one go. Even if everyone who had bought the phone somehow manages to show up on October 1.
  3. Users can also exchange the Note 7 for an S7 edge (Samsung will refund the price difference) or get their money back in full.
  4. Customers must bring the following: the retail box with all the included accessories; one ID; and a proof of purchase.
  5. Samsung recommends bringing the Note 7 to the store where the customer bought it. But if a unit was purchased in another part of the country — say, Davao — one can have it exchanged in a service location in Manila or another city. Proof of purchase will be required, of course.
  6. All those who return their handset from tomorrow will get a screen protector and a P1,000 gift certificate to use on any Samsung purchase.
  7. The new Note 7 units can be identified by a green battery icon on the status bar, and on the always-on and power-off screens; a black dot on the box; and their IMEIs or serial numbers. You can run a phone’s serial number against this database to find out if it is safe.

Samsung’s exchange program is currently ongoing in some parts of the world, and majority of customers seem to prefer getting a replacement Note 7 over the alternatives. Samsung earlier said around one million customers worldwide had exchanged their devices. Over 60 percent of old Note 7s have been returned in the U.S. and South Korea, 57 percent in Europe.

Samsung expects all recalled Note 7 phones in the Philippines will be returned by the end of the year. Galaxy Note 7 sales in the country will resume on — you guessed it — October 1st.

India

Nokia 6.1 Plus is here to spice up the midrange segment

The first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch

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2018 is undoubtedly the year of midrange phones. While we’ve seen some amazing innovation coming in this year like the in-display fingerprint scanner and moving camera module, they have been limited to the top-tier for now.

The actual innovation has been happening in the midrange segment where we’ve seen companies launch new phones every few months, and for the first time, there have been no compromises. Right from the design to the processor, everything is becoming near perfect. Thanks to initiatives like the Android One program, we are also assured that these phones will last you at least two years.

Joining the bandwagon, we now have HMD Global’s Nokia 6.1 Plus. The phone was launched a few months back in China and is also called the Nokia X6. For the global markets, HMD Global already has a streamlined product lineup that includes the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 5.1.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 15,999 (US$ 230). It will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart and Nokia Online Store starting August 30.

It has a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display and is the first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. Storage is expandable via a microSD card and it supports a hybrid SIM setup.

On the rear, the Nokia 6.1 Plus houses a 16- and 5-megapixel dual-camera arrangement that supports AI-powered portrait mode and automatic scene recognition. The front has a 16-megapixel snapper that is Face Unlock-compatible. The back of the phone also has a fingerprint scanner for authentication and 3060mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Continuing HMD Global’s strategy, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also a part of the Android One program and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, without any bloatware.

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India

OPPO India launches the F9 Pro with a unique notch

Redefining the trend

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OPPO has been increasing its focus on the Indian market in the last few quarters and has already brought its flagship Find X to the country. In a bid to establish itself as a long-term player, the brand has also started a new sub-brand called Realme to capture the budget segment.

The company today announced the launch of the OPPO F9 Pro in India; the device will be succeeding the F7 that was launched in March. To avoid any confusion, OPPO has also launched this phone in other markets like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam where it’s called the F9.

The design on this phone is further refined and has glass backing that creates a color gradient along with different patterns that vary according to the configuration. The notch on this phone is a lot smaller than what we’re currently seeing in the industry and is similar to a tiny “water-drop.”

This is also the first time OPPO’s F-series phone will have a rear dual-camera setup. The phone has a 16- and 2-megapixel setup that has AI-backed features like beautification and portrait mode. The front camera is a massive 25-megapixel shooter that has advanced AI-powered face enhancement and auto scene recognition features.

It’s controlled by a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Another highlight of the phone is its battery, rated at 3500mAh, which supports VOOC Flash Charge that can get you two hours of usage with just five minutes of charging.

The phone runs on ColorOS 5.2 that is OPPO’s skin based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and is available in Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, and Starry Purple. It’s priced at INR 23,990 (US$ 345) and will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart.

A cheaper non-Pro F9 is available as well for INR 19,990 (US$ 285). It comes with less memory at 4GB and a lower-resolution 16-megapixel front camera.

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India

Huawei’s Nova 3 to go on open sale starting August 23

More than 50 million units have been shipped globally

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Just last month, Huawei launched the Nova 3 and 3i in India, and since then the duo has been up for purchase via flash sales in India. The company says the two phones have garnered incredible response globally and more than 50 million units have been shipped as of now.

Huawei has announced that the Nova 3i’s next flash sale will be held on August 21. On the other hand, the more powerful Nova 3 will be available via open sales (not flash) starting August 23, 1 PM. Both phones are exclusively sold on Amazon.in, and Prime members can order the Nova 3 from 12 noon itself.

The Nova 3 is priced at INR 34,999 (US$ 500) and competes against the mighty OnePlus 6. The phone has an edge over the OnePlus counterpart thanks to the beautiful glass backing that has nice color gradients. It features Huawei’s latest processor along with added AI capabilities and a GPU Turbo mode for a more refined gaming experience.

The phone comes with a host of offers including zero fee EMI and screen protection insurance. American Express cardholders are eligible for an instant cashback of INR 3,000, while telecom operator Jio is bundling along 100GB of data worth INR 3,300 along with the phone.

The Nova 3i is a midrange phone that features the same premium glass backing along with a slightly weaker processor. Though, it also houses a host of AI-powered features along with the popular GPU Turbo mode.  The phone is priced at INR 20,990 and competes against the Honor Play, Nokia 7 Plus, and the Mi A2.

The Nova 3i too has many offers bundled along, including an instant five percent discount when purchased via HDFC credit and debit cards. Zero-fee EMI options up to nine months are also available.

The two phones are cheaper siblings of the P20 Pro and feature the same high-end design language along with a suite of smart features thanks to EMUI.

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