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Huawei faked several of its phones’ benchmark scores

Will launch a ‘performance mode’ to compensate

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Do you use benchmarks to judge phones? As the market matures, the once-lauded measurement has slowly deteriorated in integrity. Nowadays, most consumers review user experience, rather than read unquantifiable benchmarks scores. In fact, test scores have now ballooned to unintelligible hundreds of thousands.

As the benchmark nears natural obsolescence, companies have started hammering the final nails in the measurement’s coffin. Indirectly proving the test’s nearing extinction, Huawei and sister company Honor have abused the benchmark test to their advantage. Both companies have been caught faking their phones’ test scores.

Recently, tech website AnandTech has discovered the companies’ anomalies. Apparently, both Huawei and Honor have altered their phones’ responses to certain benchmarking apps. When users open these apps, the phones automatically ramp up their performance specifically to pump up the test’s numbers.

Basically, when you run a benchmarking test on these phones, the resulting score artificially amplifies how the phone really runs.

To be more specific, AnandTech proved this with popular benchmarking apps, 3DMark and GFXBench. Additionally, the affected phones include the Huawei P20 Pro, the Nova 3, and the Honor Play.

In response, 3DMark has officially delisted the phones from its catalog. The ban will remain until Huawei implements a fix for the fakery.

Surprisingly, Huawei has not denied the allegations. In fact, the company has indirectly confessed to the crime.

In a statement, Dr. Wang Chenglu, Huawei’s director of software, cites “other manufacturers also [misleading] with their numbers.” Additionally, he states that it is already “common practice in China.”

To further add evidence against their case, Huawei has announced a new “performance mode” for the upcoming EMUI 9.0. The new option will allow users to “overclock” their phones at the cost of more power. Ultimately, the company hopes that the boost will allow the phones to live up to their advertised benchmark scores.

Still, the damage remains. Like another fakery issue, Huawei has made the curious decision to puff up its high scores, despite already enjoying rave reviews.

Very likely, the shady marketing tactic will not bode well for Huawei’s perception in countries where it’s weak. Particularly, the company is still in hot water with the US government.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20: What to expect

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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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Accessories

New Google Pixel Buds coming in 2020

Gotta wait a while longer

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The new Google Pixel Buds have officially been unveiled but we won’t get our hands on them until Spring 2020.

Google says the Pixel Buds were designed with the user in mind. It is truly wireless and promises rich sound, clear calls, and a comfortable fit. The company notes how it’s great hardware made exceptional by having Google deeply embedded into it. For instance, it should help you in your out-of-the-country trips with Google Translate built in.

The new Pixel Buds are supposed to last for five hours of continuous playback and extend that to 24 hours through the wireless charging case. The headphones will retail for US$ 179.

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Apple Safari caught sending user data to a Chinese company

Is Apple’s commitment to privacy just a marketing hype?

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Data privacy is a buzzword that Apple likes to throw around as built-in by default on their products. The company proudly boasts that all of their users’ data are safe and secure with their devices. However that may not be true with the recent discovery that Apple’s Safari browser is sending user data to a Chinese company.

The recent discovery involves the Fraudulent Website Warning. It is on by default on all Safari browsers. It alerts users to malicious websites by checking URLs to a list of such websites. Apple uses Google Safe Browsing to check for URLs. Recently, Apple started using Tencent Safe Browsing, as stated in the Safari’s “About Security & Privacy”:

Photo by reclaimthenet.org

Safari sends the user’s IP address by default for its safe browsing feature. An IP address may determine the user’s profile since it reveals their location.

The most concerning part here is that Safari sends a user’s IP address to Tencent. Tencent, a Chinese tech company, has links to the Chinese government. The Chinese government has a poor track record for upholding human rights and data privacy, so it is unsurprising why this discovery is concerning.

Apple recently clarified that only iOS devices in China use Tencent Safe Browsing feature. Also, the company stated that it never share URLs with Google or Tencent. Apparently, users may turn off the feature, but doing so leaves them open to malicious attacks.

The recent discovery sheds light into Apple’s troubling relationship with the Chinese government. Recently, the company gave in to the pressures from the Chinese government — especially with its removal of a police tracking app in Hongkong. So, the connection between Safari and Tencent is concerning, to say the least.

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