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HTC introduces overly expensive U Ultra and smaller U Play

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One of the better yet least talked about flagship smartphones of 2016 was the HTC 10. While there wasn’t anything wrong with it, the all-metal handset was just there. HTC wants to change that with a new series that’ll hopefully get people to talk about it more.

Void of any numbers for now, the U series consists of the 5.7-inch U Ultra and 5.2-inch U Play. Both phones turn away from the usual metal-loving builds of HTC in favor of glass bodies; they’re meant to imitate a liquid feel, at the expense of being excessively slippery and glossy.

HTC U Ultra

HTC U Ultra

Nothing too special, but what the U Ultra has to itself is something only LG has pulled off so far. There’s a 2-inch secondary display above the main Quad HD LCD panel, and like the V20 and V10, it’ll provide you with notifications, app shortcuts, glances at weather reports, or whatever you choose to set.

What both handsets own is an AI assistant called Sense Companion. It’s clearly an attempt to compete with Google Assistant on the Pixel phones, which happen to be manufactured by HTC as well. It can predict your needs and act accordingly — except bring back the 3.5mm audio jack missing from the two phones.

To compensate for the loss, HTC is adding a pair of earphones like it did with the Bolt. It’ll fit into the USB Type-C port and provide sonar-like capabilities that can “adjust your audio to match your ears’ unique architecture.” It may also prevent you from charging at the same time.

HTC U Play

HTC U Play

More disappointing, however, is the U Ultra’s use of Qualcomm’s older flagship processor, the Snapdragon 821, instead of the just-announced Snapdragon 835. That would pit HTC’s newest smartphone against 2016’s flagships, rather than all the upcoming premium offerings.

The rest of the of the specifications are fine: 4GB of memory, 64 or 128GB of expandable storage, the same 12-megapixel camera as the HTC 10’s, a 16-megapixel selfie shooter, and 3000mAh non-removable battery.

The Android Marshmallow-equipped U Play doesn’t do much better, settling for MediaTek’s midrange Helio P10 processor to power its Full HD display and a choice between 3GB/32GB or 4GB/64GB memory and storage configurations. You can find a 16-megapixel camera on the front and back, as well as a meager 2500mAh battery.

HTC U Play

HTC U Play

Now, here’s the bad news: The U Ultra retails for $750 with an even more expensive $910 Sapphire glass-touting variant arriving later on. Shipments for the regular version will begin this quarter. As for the U Play, no pricing or availability has been announced yet, but it’s expected to start at $440.

Source: The Verge

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Huawei’s FreeBuds 2 Pro can charge wirelessly on top of Mate 20

Maybe it can do more than the AirPods

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Image credit: WinFuture.de

Earlier this year, Huawei released an AirPods clone dubbed the FreeBuds. We weren’t able to test it for ourselves due to the limited availability in select regions. This time around though, Huawei might want to make it more accessible because it’ll be a perfect companion for the upcoming Mate 20.

The FreeBuds 2 Pro will be the Mate 20’s ideal wireless earphones. Rumors have it that it’ll be used with the Mate 20 for AI-based speech recognition. Like Apple’s AirPods, they are in a portable case, which also works as a charging dock. But, the FreeBuds 2 Pro will have a Qi standard wireless charging option.

Image credit: WinFuture.de

Not only that, but the case can also be charged when placed at the back of a Mate 20. This means you can share your phone’s juice to the FreeBuds anytime and anywhere.

According to leaked marketing materials obtained by WinFuture.de, it’ll take about three hours to fully charge the FreeBuds 2 Pro wirelessly or two hours when done through a USB-C connection. The wireless earphones can last three hours on a single charge and up to 20 hours when you keep recharging them in the battery case.

Image credit: WinFuture.de

As for the FreeBuds 2 Pro’s specs, it supports Hi-Res Wireless Audio with a bitrate of up to 560 Kbps. It also has a built-in bone sensor that captures the user’s voice via bone conduction and distinguishes it from other people’s voices using AI.

Price-wise, expect the FreeBuds 2 Pro to go on sale from EUR 150 to EUR 160.

SEE ALSO: Leaked Huawei Mate 20 copies from Apple and Samsung

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Huawei will launch a foldable, 5G-ready smartphone

Coming in the middle of 2019

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It’s that time of the year again. Towards the end of the year, the world’s biggest smartphone makers start making their huge promises for next year. For example, Samsung has already begun its annual run of rumors and leaks for the Galaxy S10.

However, among all the promises already out, the market has constantly peddled foldable screens and 5G networks. Most companies have promised future iterations of one or the other. For example, Xiaomi already conducted 5G network tests for launch next year.

Taking the cake, Huawei has promised both features in one fell swoop. Next year, the company will launch a foldable, 5G-ready smartphone.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Huawei’s deputy chairman Ken Hu confirmed the company’s plans. According to Hu, Huawei’s first 5G-ready phone will “introduce a foldable screen.” To add, the phone will launch in the middle of next year.

Curiously, this release schedule falls in between the upcoming Mate 20 series and the successors of the P20. Whatever the phone is, it will likely stay away from Huawei’s major lines.

Months ago, Huawei also hinted a foldable, gaming-centric phone coming this year. At the time, the rumored phone lived exclusively in speculative territory. Now, with the Mate 20 series on the horizon, Huawei’s plans are more concrete.

With official confirmation, next year will finally see the rise of the foldable phone running on 5G networks. Like Huawei, Samsung has also promised a foldable phone soon after the launch of the Galaxy S10 series.

If anything, next year’s new trends should spell a sigh of relief from this year’s obsession with the notch and multiple cameras.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Pro official cases leak online

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Apple iPhone XS Max undergoes scratch and bend tests

Spoiler alert: It doesn’t bend!

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The latest iPhones from Apple are available in key markets around the globe. Quite a number of people already have their hands on one (including us), so it’s time to review the phone. While we’re still working on our insights about the new iPhone XS, let’s witness the device go through a series of durability tests.

If you’re fond of seeing phones go through sharp blades, you should definitely check out Zack Nelson’s JerryRigEverything channel on YouTube. The latest phone to suffer on his table, of course, is the newest iPhone — the iPhone XS Max to be specific.

Unsurprisingly, the iPhone XS Max practically survived the whole test. The front and back glass body managed to withstand scratches like most high-end smartphones on the market. The stainless steel frame did get scratched too, but Zack pointed out that it’s less prone to damages compared to previous aluminum-made iPhones.

Everything was not perfect, though. Apple claimed that the new iPhone XS and XS Max have “sapphire crystal lens cover” for the dual rear cameras. That’s ideal to fully protect the camera from unsightly scratches which will greatly affect the image quality. Unfortunately, it seems to be just a marketing gimmick. Compared to an actual and pure sapphire crystal face of a Tissot wristwatch, the iPhone’s lens cover is not hard enough and it scratches easily.

At least, the iPhone XS Max didn’t bend at the end of the video.

SEE ALSO: Pocophone F1 gets tested for durability

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