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Pixel and Pixel XL make you care about photography and Google’s new Assistant

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Google Pixel views

Google’s highly anticipated, and heavily leaked, smartphones are now official. They’re high-end, strong on software, and effectively replace the Nexus series as Google’s flagship smartphone lineup. Without further ado, here are the Pixel and Pixel XL.

It seems like all the Google Pixel leaks we’ve seen in the past week were indeed legit. If you’ve been following our coverage, you would’ve already had a clear look at the design and specifications of the internet giant’s latest smartphones.

Google Pixel main photo

As expected, the only difference between the two handsets is size: The Pixel has a 5.2-inch AMOLED screen with a Full HD resolution, while the 5.5-inch Pixel XL has a noticeably better Quad HD AMOLED panel. The difference in measurements extends to the batteries, wherein the Pixel and Pixel XL have 2770mAh and 3450mAh capacities, respectively.

The lack of major differences is a big deal, because you aren’t forced to choose a larger phone just for its beefed-up features. This is something Google failed at with the Nexus 6P and 5X; the former was equipped with flagship-level specs, but the latter had the pocketable size nearly everyone wanted at the time.

Whether you go big or small, you’re treated to a metal unibody with a glass coating around the fingerprint scanner mounted at the back. With a thickness of 7.3mm for both handsets, they won’t win any style awards, but the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack will delight a lot of traditional audiophiles.

The shared internals include a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB of memory, storage options of 32GB and 128GB, and fast charging through a USB Type-C port, but what really stands out is the camera. Having a 12.3-megapixel main shooter and 8-megapixel selfie camera with no optical image stabilization whatsoever may not seem special, but the real-world performance says otherwise.

Google Pixel angles

If you recall our recent article on the iPhone 7’s DxOMark rating, you’d know that the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge’s camera is the benchmark’s king with 88 points. Well, with the release of the new Google phones, the Galaxy has been unseated by the Pixels’ 89 points — the highest ever recorded in DxOMark’s mobile phone database. Impressive!

In case you’re wondering, the phones are manufactured by HTC, but Google is keeping this piece of information under the rug. The company wants Pixel to feel like a fully integrated Google product. To do that, the brand’s new virtual assistant is at the forefront of the Pixel phones.

Along with Android 7.1 Nougat, the Pixel phones are the first to come with Google Assistant, which is the company’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Google spent a ton of time explaining all the core functions at the event, but in a nutshell, the virtual assistant is really efficient at catering to your personal requests. The more you use it, the smarter it gets.

With the improved artificial intelligence, you can search through photos with ease and listen to your favorite music on the fly, all done by voice command. Google Assistant is pretty much the replacement of Google Now, the now obsolete assistant of every other Android device.

Google Pixel colors

The color options are quite humorous; you have Quite Black, Very Silver, and Really Blue. What isn’t funny, however, is the pricing. Prices begin at $649 for the smaller Pixel — as much as you’d spend on a brand-new iPhone 7. The 128GB variant costs $749, while the larger Pixel XL goes for either $769 or $869 for the 32GB and 128GB storage options, respectively.

On the bright side, the phones come with unlimited cloud storage on Google Photos at original quality and full resolution. That’s great value, and might make the 32GB storage option enough if you have a reliable internet connection on hand.

You can pre-order as early as today if you live in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, or Germany. Fans in India will have to wait until October 13 to begin ordering.

[irp posts=”11910" name=”OnePlus 3 and 3T imitate Pixel in latest update”]

News

Xiaomi partners up with Alita: Battle Angel for a transparent Mi 9

This used to be the ‘Pro’ variant

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Image credit: Xiaomi

The launch of the Mi 9 from Xiaomi is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we’ll just wait for the official announcement. We’ve heard rumors about a Mi 9 model with a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro from last year. Well, the rumors are true and it’s more special than before.

An official teaser for the special edition Mi 9 appeared online today and it brings the blockbuster film Alita: Battle Angel to the picture. Xiaomi partnered up with the film to present the Mi 9: Battle Angel.

Check out the action-packed promotional video below:

The teaser shows the main features of the transparent Mi 9: triple rear cameras, a Snapdragon processor (which is already confirmed), and wireless charging.

Since the Mi 9: Battle Angel will have a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro’s, it also has a window to its awesome-looking circuit board, but it’s likely not the actual thing. What’s more interesting is the visible wireless charging coil right in the middle of the battery.

The phone will be launched alongside the other Mi 9 variants on February 20. Essentially, the Mi 9: Battle Angel model will be a marketing ploy in China since the movie will hit the theaters in the region two days after the launch.

Price-wise, the phone is rumored to cost CNY 5,999 or roughly US$ 885.

SEE ALSO: What could the new unicorn Xiaomi Mi 9 be called?

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Gaming

TNC Predator, Afreeca Freecs Fatal win Predator League APAC 2019

For Dota 2 and PUBG, respectively

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After three long days of battle in Bangkok, Thailand from February 15 to 17, two champions have emerged from the two featured games of the Predator League in Asia Pacific 2019.

For Dota 2, it’s TNC Predator from the Philippines; and for PUBG, the champ is none other than Afreeca Freecs Fatal from South Korea.

Their winnings come from a prize pool worth US$ 250,000. Each champion receives US$ 75,000 for their efforts, while the runners-up split the remaining pot.

The grand event concluded after over 3,500 competing teams from 16 countries were eventually reduced to only 26 groups in Bangkok for the finals.

This was the Predator League’s second event in the APAC region. In 2018, it was held in Indonesia. Next year’s event will take place in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Fujifilm X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera

Cheaper version of the X-T3

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Image credit: Fujifilm

After Canon‘s announcement of the new EOS RP, it’s now Fujifilm‘s turn to present their latest offering: the X-T30. Fuji’s new mirrorless interchangeable camera is the successor to 2017’s X-T20.

The X-T30 is positioned to be a cheaper variant of the flagship X-T3 camera, but they actually share many common features and specs. It’s got a compact and lightweight body at just 383g which looks similar to the premium model, but with some minor changes at the back. It’s got a focus joystick instead of a d-pad, but retains the touchscreen.

Speaking of, it’s a 2-way tilting LCD panel with 1.04 million dots. The EVF, on the other hand, is a 2.36-million-dot OLED color viewfinder with a near 100 percent coverage area.

Image credit: Fujifilm

Inside the camera is a 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 12800, which is expandable up to 51200, and backed by an X-Processor 4. With this, the X-T30 can shoot 30fps at 1.25x crop and 20fps without a crop using the electronic shutter. If you wish to use the mechanical shutter, the speed will be reduced to 8fps.

It has a hybrid AF system with 100 percent phase-detect AF, face detection, and eye tracking. Autofocus is also improved even in low-light. Focusing can be selected either through the touchscreen or joystick.

When it comes to video, the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps and up to 120fps when downscaled to 1080p. It’s capable of 10-bit recording and 4:2:2 DCI 4K video through the HDMI port. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes are also available.

The Fujifilm X-T30 will be available in March starting at US$ 899 for the body only. It’ll go up to US$ 999 when bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, or US$ 1,299 when bundled with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

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