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‘Metal’ smartphone Flash Plus 2 costs P6,990 in PH, exclusively available online through Lazada

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If you’ve been keeping tabs on recent smartphone releases at all, you might have heard about the Flash Plus 2, a budget smartphone sequel from the brand formerly known as Alcatel. The phone was launched just a week ago, and now, it’s gearing up for a Philippine release through Lazada. And just like the Flash phone before it, the Plus 2 will go on sale exclusively online, where its fanbase continues to grow.

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As for the device itself, it’s mostly what you would expect from brands like Xiaomi, Meizu, and, more recently, Huawei — it apes a few design and engineering choices of more premium models and offers good specs while maintaining a remarkably low price point. It’s the result of a formula we’ve seen many times before from this part of the world, mostly from the likes of local companies like Cherry Mobile and MyPhone, but it’s nonetheless impressive that a device with a lot to offer doesn’t cost a lot of money.

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Chief among its attractions is a midrange Helio P10 processor from MediaTek, which comes with 4G LTE connectivity and either 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage or 3GB of RAM and 32GB of memory. The front of the device sports a physical home button that acts as a fingerprint scanner and looks identical to Samsung’s. Just above it is a 5.5-inch display that works at full resolution.

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The back is partly made of metal rather than painted plastic, which may sound a bit confusing given the marketing speak used to describe this supposedly very “metal” phone. It’s removable, too, giving you access to the fixed 3,000mAh battery with fast-charging tech. The Flash Plus 2 also features 13- and 5-megapixel rear and selfie cameras, both paired with wide-angle lenses and LED flash units.

The Flash Plus 2 will be available on May 31, starting at P6,990 in the Philippines, or $160 in other countries where it will be sold.

[irp posts=”2875″ name=”Flash Plus 2 review”]

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Samsung Galaxy M51 price and availability in the Philippines

Another monster battery phone!

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Samsung’s new beast — the Galaxy M51 — is finally making its way to the Philippines. With an official listed page on the Samsung Philippines website, the arrival of this monster battery phone is imminent.

The Galaxy M51 prides itself with a massive 7000mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging. This new midrange phone sports a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED+ Infinity-O display. On its front, you can find an in-display fingerprint scanner and a punch-hole camera housing a 32-megapixel shooter.

It’s powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 730G processor, equipped with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. For extra storage, it comes with a MicroSD slot up to 512GB.

Meanwhile, its rear features a quad-camera setup: a 64-megapixel primary sensor, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel macro camera.

Regarding its ports, the Galaxy M51 uses a USB Type-C port and the well-loved 3.5mm audio jack. In line with all other Galaxy-branded phones, it’ll ship with OneUI out-of-the-box and Samsung Knox, Samsung’s multi-layered security feature.

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy M51 will retail for PhP 19,990 and will come in two colors: Black and White. It will be exclusively available online starting September 25, 2020, at Samsung’s official online store, eCommerce partners such as Lazada, Shopee, Abenson, and MemoXpress, and telecom companies like Globe and Smart. Early birds can score up to PhP 2,098 worth of freebies from September 25-28, 2020.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy M31: How long does a 6000mAh battery last?

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Instagram is being sued for spying on a user’s camera

Accessed a camera without permission

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The world of social media is rapidly sinking into a period of reckoning. Earlier today, the Trump administration has announced a definitive takedown of TikTok and WeChat starting this Sunday. Apparently, American social media platforms can’t catch a break as well. In the United States, Instagram is being sued for spying on a user’s camera.

Reported by Bloomberg, a New Jersey Instagram user, Brittany Conditi, filed the complaint against the company in a San Francisco court. According to the lawsuit, Instagram accesses an iPhone’s camera even when the app isn’t currently active.

Conditi argues that the practice is deliberate and “lucrative” for the company. Instagram allegedly uses the obtained data for “valuable insights and market research.”

According to Facebook (who owns Instagram), the issue is a bug and does not indicate any deliberate attempts to spy on users. The company has also said that the bug is now patched in the latest version.

Regardless, Facebook and Apple have butted heads in the past. Since the introduction of iOS 14, Apple has upped its efforts to curb any untoward privacy violations from apps. Even without the current allegations, Facebook’s concern (or lack thereof) for privacy is well documented.

Currently, Facebook and Instagram are in a race to catch up with TikTok in the short-form video-sharing trend. Instagram, for one, recently launched Instagram Reels, its own take on TikTok.

SEE ALSO: Facebook is paying users to delete their accounts

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TikTok and WeChat will be banned from app stores in the US

So, did the Oracle deal go through?

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After months of escalating, the US Commerce Department has announced it’ll ban business transactions with TikTok and WeChat. The two apps are owned by Chinese giants ByteDance and Tencent, respectively.

Practically, you won’t be able to directly download the app via stores like Play Store and App Store. Furthermore, companies are also barred from hosting these apps in the US. Essentially, the user won’t be able to download the app from third-party websites that are hosted in the US.

It also blocks US companies from providing services through WeChat “for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S.”

However, it remains unclear whether the announcement means the Oracle-TikTok deal won’t be going through. The Trump administration wanted ByteDance to sell its local TikTok operations to an American company.

In the last few months, multiple American giants like Walmart, Twitter, and Microsoft were interested in getting their piece of TikTok. But things haven’t moved smoothly and the Chinese government isn’t keen on handing over TikTok’s algorithm to an American company.

While Oracle has been chosen for a deal with ByteDance, the latter continues to maintain that the ongoing process isn’t an acquisition and Oracle shall be a technology partner. This is in stark contrast to what President Trump envisions as a business takeover.

The app ban could be a tactic to pressure the Chinese, but we can’t be certain of that right now. Going by the latest statements, it’s clear that the administration wants to completely block user’s access to these apps and is willing to go the extra mile.

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