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Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL stick to proven single-camera setup

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Last year, Google did something every smartphone manufacturer should do, and that’s to create two sizes for a flagship phone without compromising the smaller unit’s specs — save for the screen size and battery capacity, of course. That’s why it’s a shame that Google didn’t follow their own lead and do the same for the newly launched Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

Let’s begin with the smaller Pixel 2. It’s 5 inches in screen size and brings back those thick bezels, except there’s a pair of stereo speakers making better use of the unsightly black space this time. The back is aluminum once again with a layer of glass on the upper area for greater wireless connectivity.

Unfortunately, there’s no audio port. Instead, you have to rely on the USB-C port for all your wired connections and Bluetooth 5.0 for everything else.

Specifications are what you’d expect from a flagship at this point in the year: a 1080p OLED, water and dust resistance, and most importantly, a pair of excellent cameras on the front and back, the latter of which finally has both optical and electronic image stabilization for sharper images.

Despite the lack of a dual-camera setup, they’re so good they achieved the highest DxOMark camera score ever on a smartphone — 98, which is considerably higher than the 94 scores of the iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8. All that power doesn’t go to waste, either; Google has greater focus on augmented reality through live stickers and pulling off a portrait mode without needing a secondary depth-sensing camera.

Since this is produced by HTC, the U11’s squeeze feature is part of the package. Grip the Pixel 2 a little tighter, and you can activate an app or function of your choice, such as taking an instant selfie or getting Google Assistant to listen to you.

Colors for the Pixel 2 are Just Black, Clearly White, and… ehem… Kinda Blue. That Really Blue Pixel from last year was apparently too much for our eyes.

 

The Pixel 2 XL is what the Pixel 2 should’ve also looked like — thinner bezels and an overall sleeker look. Six inches in display size, the aspect ratio of the P-OLED 1440p display follows the increasingly popular 18:9 format, similar to what the LG V30 and Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2 employ.

Other than that, the features and specs are mostly identical between both models. At the same time, Google didn’t really divulge much about the components in the first place, having said at the very beginning of the presentation that the focus would be less on numbers this time.

Early reports from other media outlets claim the pair have the Snapdragon 835 as a processor, 4GB of memory, 64GB of base storage, and a 12.2-megapixel rear camera. Available color options are simply black or white.

You can purchase the Pixel 2 for US$ 649 and the Pixel 2 XL for US$ 849 in Australia, Canada, Germany, India, UK, and the US. Pre-orders are accepted beginning today; shipping begins on October 19.

SEE ALSO: 24 hours in Beijing with the HTC U11

[irp posts=”21239″ name=”24 hours in Beijing with the HTC U11″]

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Samsung starts making smartwatches in India

Includes an entire range of 18 smartwatches

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Samsung has launched the Galaxy Watch Active 2 4G Aluminium edition in India. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 has been available in the country for quite some time, but there’s something special about the Aluminium edition.

It’s the first Samsung smartwatch to be built in India. The brand said it has started manufacturing its entire range of 18 smartwatches in India as part of the Make for India program. The company has been making phones in India for years, but wearables were usually imported.

Samsung has a huge production facility in Noida, India. Smartphones are also built for export and the plant can be expanded further depending on demand. Amid the call to avoid foreign goods, Indians are actively looking for options that are made or designed in India.

Coming to the watch, it’s priced at INR 28,490 (US$ 378) and shall be available in Cloud Silver, Aqua Black, and Pink Gold color options.

It sports a 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass DX+ for protection. The smartwatch is IP68 certified and rated to work at a maximum pressure of up to 5ATM. It runs on Tizen OS with 1.5GB RAM and 4GB internal storage.

Once connected to a phone, it can also access the smartphone camera, videos, and use Wireless PowerShare to transfer data quickly.

It has e-SIM connectivity that enables calls, messages, and notifications on-the-go. Lastly, it’s equipped with a heart-rate sensor, ECG sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, and ambient light sensor.

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LG Velvet UI will roll-out to 6 older phones

Never ditch your existing customers

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LG has announced it’ll be rolling out the new Velvet UI to six older phones.

It further added that the decision was made after considering comments via support channels. The move will further strengthen the brand’s decision to pivot and act as a confidence-building measure for its existing flagship users.

The six phones that shall be getting the new UI are:

  • LG V50 ThinQ
  • LG V50S ThinQ
  • LG V40 ThinQ
  • LG V35 ThinQ
  • LG G8 ThinQ
  • LG G7 ThinQ

LG changed its strategy for the mobile division this year and decided to proceed with a lifestyle-centric lineup. Starting with the Velvet, it revamped the software as well. This marked the company’s move away from traditional V and G-series, creating a new niche of its own.

The company says it’ll constantly monitor user feedback on the Velvet UI to ensure maximum appeal. A few years ago, LG used to go head-on against Samsung’s flagship offerings. Even though the brand made excellent phones, it just couldn’t match Samsung’s hype and always had to settle for the second position.

With declining sales and no operational profitability, the new strategy makes sense. Sony has also changed its outlook and is focusing on doing what it does best — make the best camera phones. Similarly, LG can find itself a sweet-spot in the lifestyle-oriented market.

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The best OnePlus Nord meme will get a free phone

Are you up for the challenge?

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To make the launch of OnePlus Nord even more interesting, the company is leaning into Internet culture. OnePlus’ Carl Pei tweeted that the best OnePlus Nord meme will get a free OnePlus Nord at launch.

Memes are an integral part of the internet culture today and have a fanbase of its own. Using a picture to describe the situation, while adding humor and content, is indeed a very creative task. And, right from Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk to OnePlus’s Carl Pei, all are huge fans of the meme game.

Do you already have a OnePlus Nord meme in backpocket? Time to tweet it out!

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus will be launching a new phone this month and we know it’ll be called Nord. But, all other details about it remain a secret. The phone will mark OnePlus entry in the midrange segment. It has been in the rumor mills for months, often referred to as the OnePlus Z or the OnePlus 8 Lite.

The company has already confirmed it’ll be launching the phone on July 21. Instead of the usual live stream, the brand is also trying out something different and will leverage augmented reality (AR). OnePlus has previously tried this, and the OnePlus 2 launch was a virtual reality (VR) event.

The meme contest is an excellent way of encouraging fans and users to post about the upcoming phone. This gets the brand a lot of indirect attention and thanks to memes, it can better connect with its target audience.

While the rumor mills and leaks are in full swing, we’ll just have to wait and watch. OnePlus has a lot of expectations to meet and its return to the midrange segment opens up a much bigger userbase.

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