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.

India

Realme X launches with pop-up selfie cam, better processor

Should Xiaomi be worried?

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Realme has been aggressive in launching new phones since its inception last year and is directly competing against Xiaomi. The brand has been teasing the launch of Realme X for quite some time and has finally launched it in India.

The phone has a premium design with curved edges and a glass-like plastic back panel. On the front is a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display and the notch has been replaced by a pop-up camera. The brand says it has a screen-to-body ratio of 91 percent and features Gorilla Glass protection.


Powering the Realme X is an octa-core Snapdragon 710 chipset along with 4GB RAM and 128GB internal storage in the base variant. Expandable storage isn’t available, but the headphone jack has been retained. It runs on ColorOS 6 out of the box and features Dolby Atmos enhancement for better music output.

The rear sports a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor paired along with a 5-megapixel secondary camera. The front gets a 16-megapixel selfie shooter and Realme claims the pop-up takes just 0.74 seconds to completely slide out. The camera software comes with Chroma Boost, Nightscape, and a redesigned portrait mode to optimize pictures perfectly. Other standard features include beauty mode and AI-based picture improvement.

Backing these internals is a 3765mAh battery that supports VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 technology for faster charging.

The phone was first unveiled in China a couple of months back and shall be going up against Xiaomi’s soon-to-launch Redmi K20 Pro. Realme has also announced a special Spider-Man: Far From Home limited edition phone that features a unique design and user-interface, it’ll cost INR 20,999.

Lastly, the company will also be offering the Naoto Fukasawa collection with Garlic and Onion finishes that come in 8GB RAM + 128GB storage configuration at a price tag of INR 19,999.

The standard 4GB+128GB configuration costs INR 16,999 and the 8GB+128GB option is priced at INR 19,999. Sale starts from July via Flipkart and Realme online store.

 

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Accessories

Xiaomi launches affordable Mi Super Bass Wireless headphones

20 hours of non-stop playback

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Xiaomi is known for its feature-packed smartphones, but the brand has a massive presence in the lifestyle segment. For now, a lot of these products are limited to Mainland China, but the brand is slowly releasing them in its core markets like India.

Today, the Chinese company launched the Mi Super Bass Wireless headphones in India and they’re priced quite aggressively. This week is going to be even more exciting because the Redmi K20 Pro is scheduled to launch on July 17.


The headphones come with a 400mAh battery that Xiaomi claims can last up to 20 hours on a single charge. In simpler words, it is sufficient to listen to 300 songs in one go. Equipped with 40mm drivers, they are tuned to deliver high bass and pressure-less earmuffs provide a comfortable listening experience over extended periods. The head beam is adjustable and has elastic shafts to rotate the ear muffs.

Lastly, they connect to any smartphone via Bluetooth 5.0, offering wider range and capability to connect two headphones simultaneously to one phone. They can also be used along with a wire if you want truly acoustic output. Operations can be handled via voice commands thanks to an in-built mic and support for virtual assistants.

They’re priced at INR 2,199 (US$ 32) and can be purchased via Amazon.in. Prime Day sale is going on and they can be grabbed for just INR 1,799 (US$26). Color options include Black and Red, as well as Black and Gold.

Previously, Xiaomi has launched its range of smart TVs, air purifiers, and light bulb in India. A couple of weeks back, they also unveiled a trimmer. We expect the brand to launch more of these in the coming future as it slowly scales up operations.

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India

Apple may soon start selling top-end iPhones made in India

Hopefully, the iPhones get cheaper

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Apple has been trying to ramp up local production in India for years but has always hit a few roadblocks. In 2016, it finally started making the iPhone SE via its partner Wistron. They slowly expanded the facilities to make space for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 last year.

A new report by Reuters suggests new top-end iPhones that are assembled in India could hit stores as soon as next month. The Cupertino giant has also partnered with Foxconn in the country and their facility is located in the state of Tamil Nadu.


Local sourcing of iPhones will help the brand bypass import duty on fully-built devices as well as meet local regulations for opening its first-hand retail stores in the country. The Indian government currently levies 20 percent import duty on finished devices and this makes the iPhone quite costly in the country right now.

We expect the prices of iPhone XR and XS to go down marginally after production has leveled up to the demand. Currently, every major smartphone brand has local facilities in the country to avoid import duty. Samsung has successfully kept the prices of its flagship phones on par with international rates because of this.

Apple has taken a massive beating in India and its market share is now lesser than one percent. Competition from OnePlus, Samsung, and even Huawei has decimated the giant. Even though it enjoys the widest brand recognition, extremely high prices are a huge hurdle.

The government also plans to make the country a hub for smartphone manufacturing. In fact, Xiaomi has also started sourcing components like PCBs and displays locally. This further gives the brand an edge in avoiding import duty on individual components.

With the ongoing trade war between the US and China, India could very well take advantage and become a secondary smartphone-making hub of the world.

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