News

Here’s your best look yet at the upcoming Google smartphones [UPDATED]

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Google is set to make an announcement Tuesday, and when the hoopla ends, two phones will all but certainly be the face of Google’s smartphone efforts. We’re looking at you, Pixel and Pixel XL. And you’re getting the best look yet at the upcoming handsets.

The renders below come from Canadian telecom operator Bell. Someone must have erroneously published a couple of web pages containing the photos, and — well, you know the rest because you’ve heard it all before. Nothing on the internet escapes the public eye, especially those of Reddit users. Bell has since taken the pages down, though some people were able to mirror the images from before that happened.

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Google Pixel (left) and Pixel XL (right)

Funnily enough, another carrier from Canada, Telus, published new renders of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL soon after. The image below comes from Android Police. We’re seeing a pattern here, and you can bet the Mountain View internet giant isn’t feeling much love for Canadian operators right now. We, on the other hand, don’t feel any love for those “bigger than they need to be” top and bottom bezels.

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Images pulled from Telus’ website

Case-maker Spigen has also given us a good look at the Pixel XL days ahead of its launch date. The phone is widely believed to sport a 5.5-inch display; Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor; 4GB of RAM; the same rear camera sensor inside the Xiaomi 5s; and Android Nougat. You can read up more on the Pixel and Pixel XL here.

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At this point, we pretty much know exactly what to expect from Google when chief executive Sundar Pichai comes out to talk about Pixel phones. All that’s left is the official unveiling on October 4th.

UPDATE: Well, the cat (or cats?) is really out of the bag now, so to speak. Store listings for the Pixel and Pixel XL temporarily went live on Carphone Warehouse’s website, revealing just about every detail about the next Google phones. Both will ship with Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box, and will be powered by a Snapdragon 821, the fastest Qualcomm chip available today, and 4GB of RAM.

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Other specs include AMOLED displays (1080p on the Pixel; Quad HD on the Pixel XL); 32GB or 128GB of storage; 8- and 12-megapixel selfie and rear cameras with optical image stabilization; and 2,770mAh (Pixel) and 3,450mAh (Pixel XL) batteries with quick charging over a Type-C port.

To sweeten the deal, Google is throwing in unlimited photo and video backups through Google Photos.

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Source: Reddit, GSMArena

India

Nokia 6.1 Plus is here to spice up the midrange segment

The first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch

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2018 is undoubtedly the year of midrange phones. While we’ve seen some amazing innovation coming in this year like the in-display fingerprint scanner and moving camera module, they have been limited to the top-tier for now.

The actual innovation has been happening in the midrange segment where we’ve seen companies launch new phones every few months, and for the first time, there have been no compromises. Right from the design to the processor, everything is becoming near perfect. Thanks to initiatives like the Android One program, we are also assured that these phones will last you at least two years.

Joining the bandwagon, we now have HMD Global’s Nokia 6.1 Plus. The phone was launched a few months back in China and is also called the Nokia X6. For the global markets, HMD Global already has a streamlined product lineup that includes the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 5.1.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 15,999 (US$ 230). It will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart and Nokia Online Store starting August 30.

It has a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display and is the first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. Storage is expandable via a microSD card and it supports a hybrid SIM setup.

On the rear, the Nokia 6.1 Plus houses a 16- and 5-megapixel dual-camera arrangement that supports AI-powered portrait mode and automatic scene recognition. The front has a 16-megapixel snapper that is Face Unlock-compatible. The back of the phone also has a fingerprint scanner for authentication and 3060mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Continuing HMD Global’s strategy, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also a part of the Android One program and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, without any bloatware.

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India

OPPO India launches the F9 Pro with a unique notch

Redefining the trend

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OPPO has been increasing its focus on the Indian market in the last few quarters and has already brought its flagship Find X to the country. In a bid to establish itself as a long-term player, the brand has also started a new sub-brand called Realme to capture the budget segment.

The company today announced the launch of the OPPO F9 Pro in India; the device will be succeeding the F7 that was launched in March. To avoid any confusion, OPPO has also launched this phone in other markets like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam where it’s called the F9.

The design on this phone is further refined and has glass backing that creates a color gradient along with different patterns that vary according to the configuration. The notch on this phone is a lot smaller than what we’re currently seeing in the industry and is similar to a tiny “water-drop.”

This is also the first time OPPO’s F-series phone will have a rear dual-camera setup. The phone has a 16- and 2-megapixel setup that has AI-backed features like beautification and portrait mode. The front camera is a massive 25-megapixel shooter that has advanced AI-powered face enhancement and auto scene recognition features.

It’s controlled by a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Another highlight of the phone is its battery, rated at 3500mAh, which supports VOOC Flash Charge that can get you two hours of usage with just five minutes of charging.

The phone runs on ColorOS 5.2 that is OPPO’s skin based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and is available in Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, and Starry Purple. It’s priced at INR 23,990 (US$ 345) and will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart.

A cheaper non-Pro F9 is available as well for INR 19,990 (US$ 285). It comes with less memory at 4GB and a lower-resolution 16-megapixel front camera.

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Gaming

God of War’s New Game Plus mode is here

It’s time for another play through, boy!

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A New Game Plus (NG+) mode for PlayStation 4’s God of War is here. This means whatever weapons, items, and armor you amassed during your first go round, you can take with you if you wish to go on another adventure with Kratos and Atreus.

The NG+ mode also lets you pick a different difficulty setting from the one you first played with. So whether you feel like taking on a tougher challenge or just breezing through the story mode, you can do so. The choice is yours.

Other new content include a new shield skin when you start a NG+ as well as new types of armor you can forge for the father and son duo. The additions also include new challenges like Realm Tears while on a time limit and a variety of new attack patterns for draugrs, witches, and other foes you’ll meet along the way.

Updates not just for God of War NG+ mode

If you’re still in the middle of your first run, don’t worry, the creators of God of War didn’t forget about us. There’s now a button that easily lets you transfer enchantments making it easier to go from one armor to another. There are also some bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements like keeping Kratos safe at all times during parry attacks and improved consistency with how enemy attacks can be parried.

If you’ve completed the game at least once, the update also lets you skip cinematic scenes whether you’re on NG+ or not.

God of War for the PS4 first came out in April 2018 and received glowing reviews from various media outlets. Many of whom even said it’s an early candidate for Game of the Year. It takes the franchise’s main character Kratos into Norse mythology years after he tore through the Greek gods.

SEE MORE: God of War: A must-play for 2018

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