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Google Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL still great for photos, now with 90Hz panel

All leaks mostly confirmed

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The Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL are now official confirming most of the leaks that came out leading up to its launch. So what’s different, what improved, and what stayed the same? We’ll go through all of that right now.

No fancy waterfall displays, just thoughtful design

Google appears to be taking plenty of cues from Apple in the design department in the sense that not much has changed. Looking at the device up front, you might mistake it for the Pixel 2XL. That’s because Google is doing away with the notch but it’s keeping the thick bezel for a reason that we’ll get to later on.

On the back, the most notable difference is the square holding its dual camera setup. Yes, just two. One main shooter and another one that’s “roughly 2x telephoto.” Google says, “While wide angle can be fun, telephoto is more important.”

The back is also moving away from the two-toned design we’ve grown to associate with the Pixel. In its place is a solid glass back with only a single color and a frosted matte coating.

The power button is still a different color from the rest of the phone depending on the variant you choose.

Still the best camera on a smartphone?

Plenty of people are eagerly waiting for the Pixel just to see well they will fair in the camera department. Based on the latest numbers by DxOMark, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro currently holds the crown but that might be quickly taken away soon.

The hardware on the Pixel 4 are as follows: 12.2MP main camera with f/1.7 aperture, plus a 16MP f/2.4 telephoto zoom lens that supports hybrid zoom. But the Pixel has always been more than just hardware.

The true crowning glory of the Pixel cameras is Google’s computational photography. And that applies even on the telephoto lens. It combines both the 2x telephoto lens along with Super-Res Zoom to produce high quality, zoomed in images.

There’s now also what Google is calling Live HDR+. It basically means the HDR application happens real-time. Basically, whatever you see right before you take a shot is the photo that you should expect to come it.

That same feature allows Double Exposure — separate slides for highlights and shadows on Pixel 4 before you take your shot.

Computational photography also lends a huge hand in white balancing along with a wider range for portrait mode, and improved night sight.

That front-camera setup

Again, just like on the iPhone, there’s now a lot going on in that thick forehead bezel.

It’s not home to a bunch of new sensors that work together towards a more secure face recognition suite. There’s the selfie camera, a pair of IR cameras, flood illuminators, and DOT projectors.

Google says it’s the first smartphone equipped with a radar. It enables Motion Sense which Google claims is the fastest and most secure face unlock feature on a smartphone. It also allows you to control the Pixel 4 without touching it — similar to the Air Gestures that Samsung first tried a few years back.

Overall equipped with better hardware

Displays with high refresh rate might be a growing trend and the Pixel doesn’t want to be left behind. The phone is equipped with a 90Hz panel, similar to the one on the most recent OnePlus smartphones.

The rest of the device also gets a spec bump. Powering the Pixel 4 is Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC along with 6GB of RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage. Nothing to write home about as the numbers pale in comparison to other flagships in 2019. But, again like the iPhone, the Pixel isn’t exactly about the numbers.

You might also be happy to know that both the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL have an IP68 rating.

Pricing and availability 

The Google Pixel 4 starts at US$ 799 and will start shipping on October 24. It will come in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White, and Oh So Orange. It will be available through all major US carriers.

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Google Pixel 5 has a plastic layer for wireless charging

The plastic layer’s called a bio-resin

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Google’s latest flagship — Pixel 5 — recently launched featuring modest specs for an attractive price. One of the notable specs of the phone, however, is wireless charging. This is baffling since Pixel 5 is made of an aluminum back. Traditionally, wireless charging requires glass or plastic back to work properly. Now, Google shared some tidbits on how it managed to cram wireless charging into its flagship phone.

Bio-resin is the key

Basically, Pixel 5 has a super-thin plastic layer aside from an aluminum body. The company has a fancy name for the plastic layer: bio-resin. It sits atop the aluminum body. This is what most users will actually feel when they hold the phone.

As such, the body of Pixel 5 is actually a combination of metal and plastic. The aluminum body is basically the phone structure, giving it a sturdy feel. By using bio-resin, Google was able to cut a hole in the chassis, allowing them to put a wireless charging coil inside.

Some might wonder why Google didn’t just put a glass or plastic back for the Pixel 5 instead. A response of Google to Android Authority gave us a clear reason why: the company wants its flagship to be as thin as possible.

Thinness as a factor for going with a metal body makes sense considering that the latest Pixel has a bigger battery than last year. Cramming in a 4,080mAh battery would have made the Pixel 5 thicker. Going with an aluminum body and plastic combination allowed Google to retain the “thin footprint” that its Pixel smartphones have on its latest flagship.

It’s impressive what Google has done this year for its Pixel 5. The phone managed to cram a large battery in a compact body while also packing water resistance along with wireless charging. Hopefully, though, the use of a super-thin plastic layer won’t affect the charging performance or the phone’s sturdiness in any way.

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Digital telco GOMO comes to the Philippines

Offers mobile data with no expiry

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Going digital is the new normal. Digital telco GOMO comes to the Philippines, offering large mobile data allocations with no expiry.

Running under Globe Telecom, GOMO offers 5G and LTE enabled sim cards with non-expiring mobile data. It can be purchased through GOMO’s website, GOMO’s PH app, or via official Lazada and Shopee stores.

Additionally, your mobile data can be used as Mo Creds through GOMO’s app. You can convert your existing data so you can subscribe to other prepaid promos like call and text, for as low as 0.2GB. In essence, your mobile data can be your form of currency.

Prepaid subscribers can buy mobile data promos through GOMO’s app, offering 25GB of mobile data for PhP 299 and more.

GOMO’s app is currently available on the Google Play Store. It’s expected to come to The App Store and Huawei’s AppGallery. Currently, GOMO offers a free sim card with 25GB of non-expiring mobile data at PhP 199, and delivers it for free nationwide.

 

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Facebook is launching messaging between Messenger and Instagram

Rolling out to a few countries first

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Last year, Facebook announced an expansive plan to merge its messaging apps on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The initiative will hopefully create a cohesive ecosystem across their related platforms. In August, the company finally started to take comprehensive steps towards that goal, inviting select users to the future program. Now, the secret’s out. Facebook is launching messaging between Messenger and Instagram.

Officially announced today, Facebook is rolling out a Messenger-centric update to Instagram’s Direct Messaging feature. Obviously, the biggest addition is cross-platform messaging between the two platforms. Instagram users can now message Messenger users directly through the app. Even more, the cross-functionality comes with video call compatibility.

Besides this function, Facebook is also introducing new features to Instagram Messaging. It now has its own Selfie Stickers, customizable chat colors, personalized emoji reactions, and animated message effects. Further,

Instagram and Messengers users can now watch content together. This includes “Facebook Watch, IGTV, Reels, TV shows, movies,” and video calls.

Right now, Facebook is releasing the update for select users in a few countries. The company plans to expand globally soon. However, if users want to, they can opt out of the update entirely. Of course, as Facebook is wont to do, the platform will likely force users int the new update sooner or later.

With Instagram’s integration into Facebook Messenger, Facebook still has WhatsApp left to integrate into its ecosystem.

SEE ALSO: Messenger Rooms is Facebook’s group video chat app

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