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Fitbit Versa is the company’s latest attempt at smartwatches for just $199

It looks like an Apple Watch

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Fitbit‘s first smartwatch, the Ionic, is not doing well for the company but that doesn’t mean they’re giving up already. How do you create a smartwatch that attracts potential buyers? Make it look friendlier and price it cheaper.

The Fitbit Versa is designed to have “mass appeal” according to the early report before the official announcement today. It doesn’t have Ionic’s hard-edged design but rather a rounded square shape that Fitbit calls “Squircle.”

Fitbit Versa

It also has an entry-level price of just US$ 199 which would be ideal for first-time smartwatch buyers that are not into extra features like LTE connectivity. Since it’s cheaper than the Ionic, Fitbit has to cut corners like putting in a smaller battery (four days of battery life instead of five) and not including GPS.

But, most of the features of the Ionic are on the Versa: It still has a touchscreen, heart rate monitor, SpO2 sensor for sleep apnea, runs on Fitbit OS, and can be worn even while swimming. Fitbit Coach is also on board for guided exercise routines with an optional premium subscription for US$ 40 per year. The watch also has internal storage for songs and can stream from Pandora or Deezer.

Fitbit Versa (left) and Fitbit Ionic (right)

The Fitbit Versa has different strap designs available to make it more appealing as an everyday accessory. The price of the wearable also makes it more affordable than Apple and Samsung’s offerings. Pre-orders are already open through the company’s official website.

Alongside the announcement, the company also introduced Fitbit Ace, a fitness tracker for kids. It’s basically an adapted version of the Alta with a smaller band to fit tinier wrists and toned-down features (it doesn’t count calories). Like the Alta, the Ace is showerproof and has a battery life of up to five days.

Fitbit Ace

The Ace is made to encourage kids to build physical habits, according to Fitbit. Parents can track their kid’s activity levels and hours slept through the Fitbit app. The Ace also rewards users with badges.

It’s priced at US$ 100 with two color options: purple and blue.

News

Vivo outs the new NEX phone with two displays, 3D camera, and 10GB RAM

There’s no need for a pop-up camera anymore

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Vivo took the brave step earlier this year when they announced a smartphone that utilized a pop-up mechanism to house its front camera, instead of an unsightly notch. This time around, they have a different approach. Similar to ZTE’s Nubia X, Vivo placed a second display on the phone’s back.

The NEX Dual Display Edition joins the Nubia X in spearheading two-face smartphones to the market. The main display measures 6.39 inches and it virtually occupies the whole front of the phone. On the back is the secondary 5.49-inch display which is always ready for use. Both displays use Super AMOLED panels and have Full HD resolutions.

All operations are handled by a Snapdragon 845 processor. Vivo didn’t hold back by putting in 10GB of memory paired with 128GB of internal storage.

Since the phone has an all-screen facade, it doesn’t have a front-facing camera. All of the picture-taking duties are handled by the rear shooters of the NEX. There’s a main 12-megapixel f/1.79 camera that’s accompanied by a special 2-megapixel f/1.8 night video camera and a Time of Flight (TOF) sensor.

Of course, it has all the AI tricks and features you’d expect in a flagship phone including 4K video recording, AR stickers, and portrait mode. The TOF sensor makes it even more fun to capture in the 3D space.

The phone runs Funtouch OS 4.5 that’s based on the latest Android 9 Pie and consumes power from the 3500mAh battery. You can quickly fill up the phone’s battery with a USB-C fast charger.

As for its security features, it’s equipped with an in-display fingerprint reader (just like other Vivo phones), but you can also take advantage of the TOF sensor for a secured 3D face unlock.

Expect the NEX Dual Display Edition to become available in various markets across Asia including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and of course, China.

It’ll retail for CNY 4,998 (US$ 725) beginning December 29. Preorders start today in Mainland China.

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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is bigger, faster, and still runs pure Android

ZenFone without the ZenUI

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Just before the year ends, ASUS introduced an update to its ZenFone Max Pro lineup. Dubbed the M2, the newest ZenFone inherited the same pure Android software of its predecessor while the rest of the phone has been upgraded.

ASUS’ new ZenFone Max Pro M2 is slightly bigger than the M1 with its 6.3-inch display and it has Gorilla Glass 6 protection. It also has a slightly taller aspect ratio at 19:9 and a higher screen-to-body ratio. Although, it now has a notch like its more premium ZenFone cousins.

Surprisingly, the new ZenFone is equipped with a tried and tested Snapdragon 660 processor which puts it in the league of the Nokia 7 Plus and Vivo V11. It even has up to 6GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. On paper, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 is more powerful than the ZenFone 5.

Camera-wise, it’s got a main 12-megapixel f/1.8 shooter coupled with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. An upgraded 13-megapixel sensor takes care of the selfies along. The phone features all the beautification effects and AI enhancements.

The huge 5000mAh battery found in its predecessor is present as well. The phone still charges via micro-USB and has no support for fast charging.

Even though this is an ASUS phone, it doesn’t have ZenUI because it runs an unskinned version of Android. It’s bare with no bloatware, but it’s not part of the Android One program. Software updates will come from ASUS, so it may take some time to have the latest version available. It has only Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is priced at PhP 14,995 in the Philippines or roughly US$ 285. It’ll be available in stores starting December 15. There will be also a 4GB memory variant that’s exclusively available on Shopee and Lazada for PhP 12,995.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 review

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Lifestyle

Samsung is collaborating with a Supreme rip-off

Announced in China

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Historically, tech companies have not usually paired with lifestyle brands. Being lifestyle objects in their own right, smartphones have collaborated with other brands only for incredibly premium promotions. That said, they can surprise us sometimes.

In Samsung’s case, the surprise comes in two packages. Recently, Samsung China announced a startling partnership with lifestyle brand Supreme. In lifestyle circles, the red-boxed brand is a haven for hypebeasts.

Samsung’s new collaboration is not with that brand. Instead, the Korean tech company has partnered with a known Supreme knock-off. Strangely, both the original Supreme and Samsung know this fact.

Naturally, Supreme’s popularity has spawned dozens, if not hundreds, of knock-off brands. Supreme Italia, Samsung’s partner, is one of those brands. Earlier this year, Supreme Italia was embroiled in a legal battle with the original Supreme based in New York City. In a rare outcome, the fake brand triumphed over the original. On inception, Supreme Italia trademarked its properties in its homeland, Italy. The move perpetually protected the fake company under Italian law.

During Samsung China’s launch event for the Galaxy A8s, Supreme Italia announced the collaboration. Apparently, the fake brand is expanding its operations in China, enlisting Samsung as an official partner. The original Supreme does not have rights to sell its products in China.

Funny enough, all three parties — the original Supreme, Supreme Italia, and Samsung — know about the knock-off.

“Supreme is not working with Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing, or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show. These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization,” the original company said in a statement to Hypebeast.

Likewise, Samsung China confirmed the issue. In a deleted Weibo post, Samsung China digital marketing manager Leo Lau said: “We are collaborating with Supreme Italia, not Supreme NYC.”

Ironically (or appropriately), Samsung has been in similar patent issues before. Months ago, the company lost a patent infringement battle with its rival, Apple.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s new prototype has a very weird notch

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