News

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”]

Automotive

First-ever Ford Ranger Raptor lands in the Philippines

We witnessed why it was named as such

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Ford’s rugged truck has finally reached Philippine shores after it was unveiled early this year. Holding the title as the only factory-built performance truck across the region, the Ranger Raptor is targeted towards those looking for a vehicle built tough for your off-road adventures.

One look at this beast and you’ll know it’s not your ordinary pickup. It takes styling cues from the F150 Raptor with the iconic block FORD lettering within the grille design. The front bumper is also installed with fresh LED fog lamps and air-curtain ducts for less wind resistance against the body. Being a true off-roader, its front fenders not only look tough, but Ford says it also resists dents and dings from driving on the road less traveled.

Powering the Ranger Raptor is a new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine that outputs 213PS of power and 500Nm of torque. Ford explains that running with its 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo simply means taking advantage of sequential turbocharging in order to deliver greater responsiveness, drivability, and maximum efficiency. Being a performance vehicle means it should be ready for anything that the road (or lack of it) presents the driver. This is why the Ranger Raptor’s shock absorbers are exclusively manufactured by Fox while its suspension has been crafted to take on rough terrain even at high speeds.

During the launch, the Ranger Raptor showed off for a bit as it raced through the open track. It rained really hard that night so it made the course a lot tougher, but the Raptor pierced right through it and leaped around like it was nothing. We saw why it was named as such.

While it oozes power, this truck has the brains to go with its brawn. It has a Terrain Management System which includes different modes depending on the terrain you’re in. For one, there’s the Baja Mode, inspired by Mexico’s famous Baja Desert Rally. While this mode is activated, it automatically switches to being ultra-responsive and allows off-road driving without being held back. Additionally, the company’s Driver Assist Technologies found their way here including SYNC 3, Hill Start Assist, and more. It’s own Satellite Navigation System even has a “breadcrumb” feature and leaves a trail when entering uncharted areas.

The Ranger Raptor is available at all Ford dealerships in the country with a starting price of PhP 1,898,000.

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India

Nokia 5.1 Plus launches with dual rear cameras and a notch

A near perfect budget offering

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Following in the footsteps of Xiaomi and Huawei, HMD Global also aims to fill up every price segment with an offering. The company has enjoyed very good brand recognition in India and with its straightforward Android One lineup, picking a Nokia-branded phone is easier than ever.

Last month, HMD Global launched the Nokia 6.1 Plus to take on the Xiaomi Mi A2. Now, the Nokia 5.1 Plus intends to take on the Redmi 6 series along with ASUS’ ZenFone Max Pro, neither of which are a part of the Android One program.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus is priced at INR 10,999 (US$ 151) and will be exclusively available via Flipkart and Nokia’s online store. Pre-orders for Gloss Black and Gloss Midnight Blue start from October 1. Airtel customers can receive INR 1,800 instant cashback and 240GB data over 12 months on plans of INR 199, INR 249, and INR 448.

The phone has a very simple yet solid build along with a glass backing. The front sports a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. The notch houses the front camera along with an earpiece and the usual sensor array.

HMD Global has marketed the phone to be a performance-centric offering that can easily zip through every game and app. The phone is powered by a MediaTek P60 SoC along with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The fingerprint scanner is located below the vertical dual camera setup on the back.

The rear dual camera setup consists of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The front has an 8-megapixel wide-angle sensor, and the camera app brings in support for AI-assisted portrait and HDR modes.

Powering the phone is a modest 3000mAh battery that charges via the USB-C port. Being part of the Android One initiative, HMD Global has promised that it will be among the first phones to receive the Android Pie update.

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India

Motorola One Power launches with a huge battery

The Mi A2 has some serious competition now

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After launching the Moto G6 series in India, Motorola has now announced the availability of the One Power in the country. Unlike the G6 series, the company isn’t launching the phone months after the global unveiling and is banking on the phone to be a hot sell.

The company has also reiterated that they have long-term goals in the country and are now making the new One Power completely in India, under the Make in India initiative. Motorola has more than 700 Moto Hubs in the country and is expanding their offline reach to more than 30,000 counters or retailers.

The Motorola One Power is priced at INR 15,999 (US$ 220) and will be exclusively available via Flipkart. It will be on sale starting October 5, going up against the Nokia 6.1 Plus and Xiaomi Mi A2.

The phone has a 6.2-inch LCD Full HD+ display with an aspect ratio of 19:9. Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. It supports a microSD card for expanding storage and features a fingerprint scanner on the back.

The back has a dual-camera setup — a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor that are capable of shooting pictures with a bokeh effect. The front has a 12-megapixel sensor that is housed in the notch along with the earpiece and sensor array.

Motorola has closely partnered with Google via the Android One program, hence all its phone will be receiving monthly security updates for the next three years. This will also be among the first devices to receive the Android Pie update and the company is confident it will be pushing it out by the end of October.

The battery is another unique selling point, the One Power has a huge 4850mAh battery that supports Motorola’s TurboPower charging technology. The company says it can deliver six hours of moderate usage on just 15 minutes of charging.

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