Smartphones

Microsoft launches the Surface Duo 2

Microsoft tries again

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Around a year after their first foray into the foldable market, Microsoft is running things back with a new entry in the Surface Duo series. This time, the new Surface Duo 2 feels more like an Android phone than the first model.

Last year, the Microsoft Surface Duo launched to lukewarm fanfare. Unfortunately for the company, the foldable device couldn’t compete as adequately as its rivals in the foldable market. Thankfully, it seems like Microsoft has learned from the past.

Instead of the more conventional folding screen, the Microsoft Surface Duo 2 has two 5.8-inch, 1344 x 1892 OLED screen attached to one another. The device can be used in variety of different configuration depending on how it was unfolded.

Inside, the foldable device sports a Snapdragon 888 chipset, 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB of internal storage. It also finally comes with 5G connectivity support, a feature that was notably absent in last year’s device. The Surface Duo 2 now has a triple rear camera combination consisting of 12-megapixel shooters with wide angle and telephoto capabilities. It will come with Android 11 out of the box.

The launch did not indicate how much batter life the Surface Duo 2 will come with. However, Microsoft does claim that it can last the whole day.

The foldable device will come in either black or white. Pricewise, the base 128GB model will sell for US$ 1499.99. The 256GB variant will retail for US$ 1599.99, and the 512GB variant will sell for US$ 1,799.99.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft intros Surface Laptop 4 with new AMD and Intel processors

Smartphones

Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition lets you customize your phone’s colors

Mix and match

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Despite the availability of several devices in the market, foldables are still as niche as they come. Not everyone can get behind the new form factor yet. However, there is no doubt that owning a foldable phone helps users stand out from the crowd. Samsung, despite being one of the leaders of the market already, has launched a new way to further express creativity through its foldables. The new Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition allows users to customize how their foldables will look like.

With the Bespoke Studio, users can mix and match panels for their phones with different colors including blue, yellow, pink, white, and black. Further, users can customize their phone’s frame with either black or silver. They can also preview their custom colors through Samsung’s website.

Of course, a mind can sometimes be fickle. As such, Samsung is also offering Bespoke Upgrade Care which allows owners to change their panels and colors when they want a change for a varying service fee. Ordered editions will also come in packaging and themes that correspond to the user’s selected colors.

The Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition will start at US$ 1099.99 and will come with 12 months of Samsung Care+ protection. If ordered through Samsung.com, users can also avail up to US$ 600 of trade-in credit towards the special foldable phone.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s customizable BESPOKE refrigerator arrives in the US

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The Pixel Pass is official, will bundle the Pixel 6 with Google services

As cheap as $45 per month

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A bit before Google officially launched the Pixel 6 series, a leak revealed an upcoming subscription package called the Pixel Pass. The then-unannounced package bundles the new Pixel 6 with a host of Google products. Since the Pixel 6 series is now official, the Pixel Pass is now official, too. Here’s what the subscription plan will offer.

Announced with the Pixel 6 series, the Pixel Pass offers either a Pixel 6 or Pixel 6 Pro and Google’s other paid services like 200GB of Google One storage, Google Play Pass, YouTube Premium, and YouTube Music Premium, and Preferred Care coverage.

The regular Pixel 6 will sell for US$ 45 per month, and the Pixel 6 Pro will sell for US$ 55 per month. Google Fi subscribers can also save an additional US$ 5 from the price tag. Subscribers will pay for their chosen phones over two years. Regardless of which phone, the Pixel 6 will be unlocked. If you do the math, the package can actually save you money, compared to paying for the phone directly.

Additionally, the Pixel Pass will offer users the opportunity to upgrade to another Pixel phone after the initial two-year period. However, if subscribers cancel anytime during the subscription, they have to pay for the phone’s remaining non-discounted value.

The new subscription package introduces a new way to get a Pixel phone, similar to how Apple created the iPhone Upgrade Program. Unfortunately for those outside the country, the package is currently exclusive to the United States for now.

SEE ALSO: Here are new Pixel 6 features you should definitely try

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Google Pixel 6 series now official

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Pixel 6

The Google Pixel phones have always been about harnessing the best of what Google has to offer and putting in a smartphone. This concept is even more evident in their newest smartphones the Pixel 6 series which include the Pixel 6 and the Pixel 6 Pro.

We’ve already seen the device so there are no more surprises on that part. The main focus of the phone is the all-new Material You design showcasing the best of what Android is at the moment. We’ve already shared some of what to expect in this Android 12 Beta rundown. But some of the must-tries are the Themed Icons, New Widgets, as well as Dynamic Colors for various apps.

Complementing these design changes is the new and improved display. The Pixel 6 goes up to a 90Hz refresh rate while the Pixel 6 Pro goes up to 120Hz.

Of course, the improvements go beyond the aesthetics. Search has been expanded to People, Apps, App Shortcuts, and many more. The smart features extend to Calling Assistance — the one CEO Sundar Pichai showed off at Google I/O some years back where the Google Assistant handles the call for you.

There’s also Assistant Voice Typing which can be quite helpful for multitaskers. Then there’s this writer’s personal favorite — Live Translate. You can point to an image and have the Pixel translate the text. Pretty useful if you’re traveling (that is if you’re allowed to travel) in a country whose language you’re not familiar with. It supports English, German, and Japanese online as well as 48 other languages online.

Vaunted Pixel cameras

Pixel 6

Fans and tech reviewers alike have raved about the Google Pixel’s cameras. For the Pixel 6 series, Google added more features to make you not want to lug around a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

A tool plenty might have fun with is Magic Eraser. It lets you touch up and remove unwanted elements in an image while preserving the look of the photo. It’s like photoshop for dummies like yours truly.

If you’re a fan of capturing moving things, the new Motion Mode lets you do Action Pan that focuses on the moving subject and adds blur to enhance that moving effect. Then, there’s Long Exposure for light trail images that everyone seems to love so much.

It’s also great for capturing people. There’s Face Unblur which is pretty self explanatory, as well as Real Tone which captures the right skin tone of people.

For video, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is able to capture 4K moving frames both in the rear and front cameras.

For battery and charging, the Pixel 6 series comes with a 30W wired charging brick. Google says it can charge the phone from one percent to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.

Here are the specs

Pixel 6

  • Display — 6.4” FHD+ AMOLED, 90Hz
  • Processor + OS — Google Tensor, Android 12
  • RAM + Storage — 8GB + 128/256GB
  • Battery — 4614mAh, 30W Fast Wired Charging, 21W Fast Wireless Charging
  • Cameras — 50MP f/1.85 (main), 12MP 114º (UWA), 8MP 84º (selfie)

Pixel 6 Pro

  • Display — 6.71” QHD+ LTPO AMOLED, 120Hz
  • Processor + OS — Google Tensor, Android 12
  • RAM + Storage — 12GB + 128/256/512GB
  • Battery — 5003mAh, 30W Fast Wired Charging, 23W Fast Wireless Charging
  • Cameras — 50MP f/1.85 (main), 12MP 114º (UWA), 48MP 4x (telephoto), 11.1MP 94º (selfie)

Pricing and availability

  • Pixel 6 — US$ 599
  • Pixel 6 Pro — US$ 899

That’s mostly it for now. You can also check out this Pixel 6 tips and tricks or watch our Unboxing Video.

SEE ALSO: NBA ties up with the Pixel 6 series for the playoffs

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