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Motorola debuts G Stylus and G Power budget smartphones

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Michael Josh test drives the new Moto G Stylus. Image by Enobong Etteh / @BooredAtWork

For many years Motorola has offered some of the best budget phones in the US and it hopes to continue the trend with the launch of two new devices today, the Moto G Power and the Moto G Stylus.

The company says both phones are meant to punch above their weight in terms of battery life, image quality, and overall entertainment experience while maintaining a sub $300 price tag.

I got to spend some time with both phones at Motorola’s Headquarters in Chicago earlier this week. Both phones offer more than what you pay for them – are well built, with better displays than on the previous models, have better cameras, and come with enough features to keep those who don’t want to break the bank on an Android smartphone happy.

Moto G Stylus

The Moto G Stylus is Motorola’s first smartphone to come with a bundled stylus for taking notes, a unique offering in its price range. The only other smartphone with a stylus is Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 which retails for $700 more. At CES 2020, Samsung also unveiled the mid-range Galaxy Note 10 Light but that phone is currently not available in the US). 

The pen on the G Stylus is tucked away on the bottom right hand side of the phone. You pry it out with your fingernail instead of pushing down to eject. The stylus feels sturdy, not plasticky, with a metallic finish. Touch response felt good.   

Pulling out the stylus while the display is off automatically launches the phone’s built-in Moto Note app. When on, a customizable toolbar pops up instead.

The phone comes 3 cameras, a 48MP main camera, a Macro Vision Camera, and a 117 degree ultra wide angle action camera dedicated for shooting video. The GoPro-esque ultrawide video camera is the same one we saw on the Moto One Action from last year. One very practical features of this action camera is being able to record horizontal videos while holding the phone vertically. 

The cameras come with a host of camera features seen on higher end phones like portrait lighting, spot color, and night mode.   

The Moto G Stylus is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Motorola is promising 2 days of battery life thanks to its 4000 mAh battery. 

It will retail for $299.99 and is available in Mystic Indigo.

Moto G Power

The Moto G Power, replacing last year’s G7 Power, gets its name from a massive 5000 mAh battery that supposedly should last you up to 3 days on a single charge. 

It’s also intended to bring flagship camera smartphone features to midrange price points. The phone has 3 cameras –  a 16MP wide angle, an 8MP 118 degree ultra wide angle, and a Macro Vision camera with 5th X zoom. 

The G Power run’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor, and comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. 

It will retail for $249.99 and will be available in Smoke Black.

Both phones share a similar 6.4” Full HD+ display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. 

And come with a close to vanilla implementation of Android based the latest version Android 10. There are a few custom features built in, Moto Experiences they are called, like being able to launch the camera with the flick of a wrist.  

New to these models is a feature called Moto Gametime which lets you block notifications whenever you’re engaged in your favorite game, that a call or message doesn’t get in the way of a PUBG victory.

Both phones will be available in spring this year.

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ROG Phone 3, Lenovo Legion first to carry Snapdragon 865 Plus

Qualcomm’s new flagship chip is focused on ‘Elite Gaming’

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Qualcomm’s newest flagship System on a Chip (SoC) is heavily focused on 5G and providing a faster gaming experience. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the first two devices that will carry the chip are the upcoming ASUS ROG Phone 3 and the much-rumored Lenovo Legion mobile gaming device.

Snapdragon 865 Plus

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC brought 5G connectivity to the top smartphones for the first half of 2020. Qualcomm is taking it a step further with the Snapdragon 865 Plus by adding what they call the Qualcomm Snapdragon Elite Gaming experience.

The new chip is promising to deliver “desktop-quality gaming with first-to-mobile features like updateable GPU drivers and desktop forward rendering, and ultra-smooth 5G gameplay.”

In numbers, the chip will deliver 144 FPS along with true 10-bit HDR for that added cinematic detail when you play. Other enhancements include the following:

  • Kryo 585 CPU Prime core clock speed at up to 3.1 GHz (10% increase)
  • Adreno 650 GPU offers 10% faster graphics rendering
  • FastConnect 6900 compatibility — boasting staggering Wi-Fi speeds for
    up to 3.6 Gbps – the fastest of any mobile Wi-Fi offering in the industry — delivering performance fit for premium devices and experiences

The Snapdragon 865 Plus will also offer improvements in AI engines for camera performance and audio.

ROG Phone 3

Expected to be announced in late July is the ASUS ROG Phone 3. While the rest of the specs and features have yet to be confirmed, having the Snapdragon 865 Plus at the heart of the device is a reassurance of what is another over-the-top mobile gaming experience.

“Full specifications for the ROG Phone 3 will be announced in the coming weeks, but the addition of the Snapdragon 865 Plus ensures that the overall performance will take yet another leap forward.” said Bryan Chang, general manager of smartphone business unit for ASUS.

Lenovo Legion mobile gaming

We’ve had several rumors and tiny details here and there, but this is the absolute confirmation that Lenovo Legion — the company’s gaming sub-brand — is coming up with a mobile gaming device.

“Three years after the launch of the Lenovo Legion PC portfolio, we’re bringing our beloved gaming sub-brand’s core values of speed and powerful performance to 5G mobile gaming — where Lenovo Legion will be amongst the first to offer the new Snapdragon 865 Plus in our expanding family of gaming devices this year,” said Jerry Tsao, vice president of Lenovo’s Mobile Gaming Group Emerging Markets.

“Lenovo has a long history of co-engineering amazing consumer experiences with Qualcomm Technologies and we can’t wait to share more soon,” he added.

Tsao was coy about sharing more details. He didn’t even confirm if it’s indeed a gaming smartphone or not. While that may be the assumption, we’re very much open to surprises.

Commercial devices based on Snapdragon 865 Plus are expected to be announced in the third quarter of 2020.

 

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Sony now selling wearable air-conditioner Reon Pocket

Available only in Japan

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Remember Sony’s crowdfunding effort to bring wearable air-conditioners to the masses? The company has begun selling its soap-sized personal air-conditioner, the Reon Pocket.

It’s now available for purchase on all Sony stores, as well as Amazon Japan.

Sony initially promised to make this device available to the public by March 2020. However, they had to delay most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After almost a year since it was revealed, buyers can now lay their hands on the portable air-conditioner by shelling out JPY 13,000 (US$ 121) for the device and JPY 1,800 (US$ 17) for the shirt.

Reon Pocket works by using the “Peltier effect.” It uses electrical currents to either cool down or heat up the body. Users have to insert the device into a tiny insert located on a specialized t-shirt to make the whole thing work.

They can control the device through an app. It not only acts as an air-conditioner, though. Through the app, users can adjust the device to make it a portable heater during winter.

The timing of this device couldn’t have been more fitting. July marks the beginning of summer in Japan. It should have also been a perfect companion device for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which has unfortunately been delayed due to the pandemic.

Sony hasn’t yet announced the availability of Reon Pocket in other markets. It will remain a Japan-exclusive for the moment.

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Automotive

Land Rover launches hybrid electric SUVs, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport

Part-electric, all-terrain

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When you think of electric vehicles, you’re usually thinking of city driving or, at least, travelling through city roads. However, the electric vehicle segment has already developed cars that can traverse all types of terrains.

Recently, celebrating its 50th anniversary, Land Rover has launched its second set of hybrid electric SUVs, the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) sport a 2.0L Ingenium turbocharged petrol engine complemented by an 85kW electric powertrain, churning out 404ps of horsepower and 640Nm of torque. Both engines have a 0-100km/h time of just 6.7 seconds. Both also have a top speed of 220km/h.

Either model will come in two modes: Parallel Hybrid mode and EV mode. The default Parallel Hybrid mode will use both the petrol engine and the electric motor to power the vehicle. In doing so, the vehicle can optimize usage of both engines, complemented by a smart computer analyzing driving conditions and destinations. Meanwhile, the all-electric EV mode will allow for a quieter, no-emission drive.

Using the default mode, drivers can reach up to a whopping 700 kilometers before needing a recharge or a refuel. On the other hands, the EV mode can reach up to 50 kilometers without the petrol engine.

Both models come with a 13kWh Li-ion battery that charges from empty in just 2 hours and 45 minutes. Both are covered with an eight-year, 160,000-kilometer warranty for when the battery dips below 70 percent health.

If you purchase either model, Land Rover will bundle a free Type 2 7kWh wall charge. However, you’ll still need to pay for installation fees outside of the price tag. The carmaker will evaluate households if their homes are compatible with installation.

The Range Rover PHEV starts at PhP 11,990,000. Meanwhile, the Range Rover Sport PHEV starts at PhP 9,490,000. The price tags already come with a wall charger. A second charger will sell for PhP 105,000, pending installation fees.

SEE ALSO: Jaguar launches the all-electric I-PACE

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