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Huawei’s new P9 and P9 Plus phones take a swing at low-light photography

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Huawei, it seems, is really into making premium phones now. Fresh off giving the world the Google Nexus 6P and Huawei Mate 8, the leading smartphone brand in China and number 3 worldwide, having shipped more than 100 million phones in 2015, has unveiled yet another high-priced product in the 5.2-inch P9 and 5.5-inch P9 Plus.

Whereas the Nexus 6P and Mate 8 were all about providing a speedy user experience and pushing the limits of screen size in somewhat manageable form factors, the P9 series’ most marketable quality can be found around the back. To be clear, that’s not to say the P9 and P9 Plus lag behind the curve, or other phones in Huawei’s portfolio for that matter (but we’ll get to this shortly).


A pair of 12-megapixel, Leica-certified cameras sit flush on the back of the P9 and P9 Plus, and Huawei is confident that you’re going to want to use them as soon as you get your hands on its latest creations.

Huawei P9 rose gold

Huawei P9 in rose gold

One of the rear cameras feature a monochrome sensor, while the other packs a traditional smartphone-camera sensor. When they work brilliantly together, just like the Wonder Twins from Superfriends, or for the younger crowd, Batman and Superman in the last act of Batman v. Superman, they’re supposed to produce brighter, clearer shots in low light.

Huawei says they can let in three times more light information and increase contrast by as much as 50 percent. And to that we say: Let’s leave it for consumers and experts in the tech community to determine whether or not the dual-camera setup is worth the money.

We do applaud Huawei’s efforts to try and get smartphones to do a better job of taking photographs where light is scarce. But adding another rear-facer and making the back of a very personal device look at you with horror, like you just plugged a 110-volt hair dryer into a 220-volt socket, isn’t what we had in mind. It certainly doesn’t help that the P9’s fingerprint sensor resembles an open mouth, thus completing the look of a shocked rear panel.

Huawei P9 Plus gold

Huawei P9 Plus in gold

Huawei has also thrown in a laser autofocus module, two-tone flash, and optical image stabilization for less shaky photos and videos into the P9 range’s admittedly expansive set of photography-related features. For the selfie-obsessed youth, the 8-megapixel front camera should suffice.

The P9 and P9 Plus don’t skimp on computing power and memory options, either, with both phones sporting an in-house HiSilicon Kirin 955 chip — the fastest in a Huawei smartphone to date — with as much as 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage (for the higher-end P9 variant and P9 Plus).

The P9 has a 3,000mAh built-in battery, which is slightly less than the 3,400mAh cell packed into the back of the P9 Plus. But regardless of which P9 variant you go with, you’d be happy to know that there’s a USB Type-C connector with fast charging on the bottom of either handset.

The P9 and P9 Plus resemble last year’s P8, and to a lesser extent, the Nexus 6P, and the company says the phones make use of a metal unibody for a more cohesive and seamless construction.

They’re only 6.95mm thick and have bezels that measure 1.7mm, so Huawei continuing to build fairly compact handsets with big displays isn’t a trend that will likely fizzle out any time soon. A resolution bump to 1,440 x 2,560 pixels (from 1,080 x 1,920) would have been a welcome development, but unfortunately the P9 carries the same, full-resolution display as its predecessor.

The Huawei P9 is priced at £449 ($630 or Php29,000) in the U.K., while P9 Plus retails for £549 ($780 or Php36,000). Shipping starts mid-May.

[irp posts=”2258" name=”Huawei P9 and P9 Plus gear up for Southeast Asia release”]

Laptops

Apple updates MacBook Pro lineup with tweaked keyboard and 8-core chip

The fastest Mac notebook ever

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | GadgetMatch

Apple‘s popular line of pro notebooks is getting more powerful with Intel’s new 8th- and 9th-gen Core chips. Other laptop manufacturers already announced their latest models featuring the new processors and Apple doesn’t want to get left behind.

For the first time ever, consumers can get a MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor which is two times faster than an older quad-core MacBook Pro and has 40 percent better performance than the previous 6-core MacBook Pro.


The MacBook Pro refresh for mid-2019 greatly benefits the 15-inch model with Touch Bar. The base model now has a 6-core i7 processor and its high-end sibling has an 8-core i9 processor. If you wish, it can be configured to an even more powerful 8-core i9 chip which can turbo boost up to 5.0GHz. This is what Apple calls “the fastest Mac notebook ever.”

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | Image credit: Apple

The 13-inch Touch Bar models also get a processor refresh with the base model now equipped with a faster 8th-gen quad-core i5. It can be upgraded to a quad-core i7 with a turbo boost of up to 4.7GHz.

Apart from the new processors, the rest of the MacBook Pro specs remain unchanged. However, the Cupertino company opted to use a new material for its keyboard which should reduce issues. It’s the same third-generation butterfly keyboard design from previous models, though.

The refreshed MacBook Pro 15-inch models start at US$ 2,399 in the US or SG$ 3,499 in Singapore, while the smaller 13-inch models start at US$ 1,799 or SG$ 2,599.

SEE ALSO: Apple might increase the iPhone’s price by 14 percent

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Samsung is getting a Game of Thrones-themed phone

The Galaxy Fold is getting more premium

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Image source: Caviar

Today, a foldable smartphone is one of the most exclusive things you can own. Despite the recent wave of launch announcements, the foldable smartphone is still a rare sight. Notably, Samsung delayed its own Galaxy Fold after new flaws popped up before launch. No one knows when (or if) the foldable smartphone will take off. As it is, the revolutionary form factor is only a premium purchase.

Despite the hitches, Samsung is making the Galaxy Fold even more premium. Russian luxury smartphone maker Caviar is taking the foldable smartphone on a trip to Westeros. Much like the golden Galaxy Note 9, Caviar’s Galaxy Fold draws inspiration from the recently concluded Game of Thrones HBO series and the unreleased Winds of Winter book.


Because of the foldability, the customized phone is shaped like a book. The front panel is stylized “into a cover of the long-awaited book.” Both the front and rear panels flaunt an exquisite bas-relief featuring the series’ dragons and Westeros’ house crests. As always, the phone’s extravagant details shine with a layer of pure gold. Likewise, the Galaxy Fold locks with a gold clasp when folded. Outside of the gold bas-relief, the rear panel also features a detailed map of Westeros.

Image source: Caviar

Specs-wise, the Caviar-led design touts the same hardware as Samsung’s main driver. The Galaxy Fold comes with a Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal storage. It also features a quad rear camera setup and a dual front-facing camera combo. It comes with a 4380mAh battery.

Currently, Samsung has not announced a new launch date. Previously, Samsung announced an April launch date. As such, Caviar cannot announce a definite launch yet. However, the luxury brand has promised a simultaneous launch date with Samsung.

Caviar’s Galaxy Fold Game of Thrones Edition sells for a bank-breaking US$ 8,200. Additionally, Caviar is selling “cheaper” carbon and leather variants — selling at US$ 5,870 and US$ 6,180, respectively. At the very least, Caviar is offering free worldwide shipping for all purchases. Hopefully, it also comes with a free “Rains of Castamere” ringtone.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a luxury treatment with 1kg pure gold plate

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Gaming

Playdate is a handheld gaming system with a crank

Yes, an actual crank

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If you’re bored of the current gaming console landscape or are simply waiting for the next-gen PlayStation to come out, there’s this new handheld system that might keep you a little busy.

From a company named Panic, which is known for developing the popular game Firewatch, comes the Playdate. It may seem like a simple gaming system at first, but look to its right and you’ll see its defining feature: a crank.


The developer says that some titles will use this analog controller exclusively, while some won’t at all (which, to me, sorta defeats the purpose of placing that game on this console). Everything will be played on its monochrome screen with no backlighting.

You can see it in action here:

The spin here is that the Playdate will come with a subscription of 12 games — delivered to you once a week for 12 weeks. It’s part of the initial cost of US$ 149, but there’s no word yet if there’ll be subscriptions after that and how much they’ll cost.

Each game will be a surprise, which may or not be a good thing. Spending this much on an unproven console — and possibly more for succeeding subscriptions — could end up becoming a costly risk.

Orders will be accepted later this year, while actual shipping will happen in early 2020. For now, you can sign up through the official website to receive updates on its progress.

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