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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

Lifestyle

Netflix is testing engagement by putting ads between episodes

Netflix, no chill

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How would you feel if, after a long day at work, you were relaxing and catching up on a series you’ve been excited to binge, and it gets interrupted by “But first, check out…” followed by a trailer of another show? If you’re miffed at the thought then you should sip your most calming tea, because that’s exactly what Netflix has started to do.

The streaming big shot has confirmed to Ars Technica that this move is a test to see whether or not inserting these ads would help speed up viewers’ discovery of new titles that they’ll like. Right now, these ads only appear for some people globally, but Netflix did not confirm how long this test will last.

The move has garnered some backlash from users encountering the ads, but Netflix has said that, although they are aware of the “chatter on social channels,” their focus is more on the engagement to these ads and that this is what will determine a wider rollout in the future.

If you find yourself faced with these ads though, apparently you can opt out of these tests. That way, you’ll still be able to Netflix, chill, and binge watch the night (and/or day) away.

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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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Vivo X23 teased online with small notch, in-display fingerprint reader

It’s Vivo’s turn to have a new phone

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OPPO‘s newest phones, the F9 and R17, now have smaller display notches. This is actually a trend among Chinese phone brands with Vivo aboard the wagon.

The upcoming Vivo X23 has just been teased on the company’s website with some of its key features. The main one is probably the latest fourth-generation under-display fingerprint reader which should be faster and more accurate than the NEX’s. It’s pretty obvious that the X23 will not have a complicated front camera setup ala OPPO Find X or iPhone X.

Image credit: Vivo

The X23’s front will have a teardrop notch and reportedly a 91.2 percent screen-to-body ratio. The dual-camera setup on the back of the X23 will now have a secondary super wide-angle camera rather than just a depth sensor for bokeh.

As for the material on the back, it appears to have a glass panel with a 3D color layer with blue or violet colors.

Vivo didn’t unveil much about the X23 apart from its physical design but since it has an under-display fingerprint reader, it’s safe to assume that its display will be an AMOLED panel.

There are no pricing and availability details yet, but Vivo is set to announce it in the coming days.

Source: Vivo

SEE ALSO: Vivo NEX Review: Worth it?

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