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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″]

Gaming

Zelda sequel Tears of the Kingdom has a release date

Priced at $70

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Barely more than a month into the new year, 2023 already looks like a phenomenal year for gamers. A lot of upcoming games are looking like exciting additions to everyone’s to-play list. Though we already knew the title is coming this year, Nintendo officially announced the release date of Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.

After revealing a flurry of games, Nintendo capped off their recent Direct with the fresh trailer of the upcoming sequel to Breath of the Wild. As was showcased in previous teasers and trailers, Tears of the Kingdom is a much darker vision set in the same world as Breath of the Wild. Ganon (or what looks like a zombified version of the villain) is back to terrorize Hyrule. This time, however, the iconic villain has a voice!

Plus, Tears of the Kingdom adds a lot of verticality by introducing floating terrain and more aerial movement. While the world looks similar to Breath of the Wild, the sequel still has a lot to show players.

Finally, the trailer caps off with the release date. Tears of the Kingdom will launch on May 12. Preorders have already begun for the title. Additionally, dedicated fans can also get a Collector’s Edition which includes a SteelBook, a poster, an art book, and a pin set. The release also coincides with the launch of a new Amiibo to commemorate the launch.

Priced a bit higher, Tears of the Kingdom will sell for US$ 69.99.

SEE ALSO: Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel trailer breakdown

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Gaming

Nintendo adds Game Boy titles to Switch Online

And Game Boy Advance

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Nintendo Switch Online is the gift that keeps on giving. More than giving players the ability to play online, the subscription service also offers subscribers a gallery of classic games from bygone eras. The feature remains one of the most convenient ways to play old titles from the NES and the N64. Now, the service is adding Game Boy and Game Boy Advance titles.

Announced during the most recent Direct, Nintendo has announced that several titles from the Game Boy and the Game Boy Advance are now playable through the subscription service. While all subscribers will have access to the Game Boy titles, Game Boy Advance titles will come only with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscriptions.

The starting lineup of Game Boy titles include Tetris, the original Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and Kirby’s Dream Land. Meanwhile, Game Boy Advance titles will include Super Mario Bros. 3, Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and WarioWare, Inc: Mega Microgame$. Games included will come with local and online multiplayer, if applicable.

Nintendo will continue to add more titles to the roster throughout the year. Since the Game Boy generation is one of the company’s biggest, expect a ton of announcements as the roster fills up. (We’re still holding out hope for the classic Pokémon games.)

SEE ALSO: Nintendo Switch is now third-bestselling console in history

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Apps

Twitter expands character limit to 4,000 characters

But not for everyone

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Despite the traditional limitations, the platform’s users have always found a way to express themselves beyond Twitter’s character limits. Whether broken through extensive threads or third-party sites, strict limitations don’t exist anymore. Now, Twitter is essentially getting rid of the character limit by introducing its biggest expansion to date.

Announced today, Twitter will allow users to post tweets with up to 4,000 characters. That’s a gigantic leap from the original 140-character limit and the expanded 280-character limit in 2017. But, of course, some good things come with a price.

Not everyone will have access to the new feature. Currently, only Twitter Blue subscribers in the United States can create tweets of up to 4,000 characters. Besides original tweets, subscribers can also quote tweet with the same expanded limit.

Thankfully, the new feature will not inundate everyone’s feeds with an ocean of text. Any tweets going beyond 280 characters will be cut off with a “show more” prompt.

Through the past few months, the platform has changed a few fundamental elements before Musk took over. Most importantly, Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service is now much more expansive. Among other things, subscribers now get the coveted blue checkmark attached to their profiles. Now, they also get a massive boost in capabilities when it comes to tweeting.

SEE ALSO: Twitter is teasing an ad-free subscription tier

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