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Samsung Galaxy J1 (2016) is a cheap Android phone with LTE

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Samsung is currently enjoying a renaissance in the premium smartphone segment, but that doesn’t mean it has forgotten about the bargain basement from where most manufacturers get their volume orders and market share. Enter the Samsung Galaxy J1 refresh for 2016.

It’s a slightly bigger and more powerful than last year’s model (4.5 inches and quad-core internals compared to 4.3 inches and dual-core on the 2015 edition), as you would expect, but the big idea behind this small-ish handset remains the same: disrupt the market with a cheap Samsung smartphone that covers the basics and then some.

Having said that, don’t expect to find an octa-core processor, a fingerprint sensor, or a metal chassis anywhere on the J1’s feature set.

galaxy-j1

This Samsung sticks to the formula set by its predecessor closely, with its 4.5-inch AMOLED display, 5- and 2-megapixel main and secondary cameras, and quad-core chip with 1GB of RAM and LTE integration — a first for the product line — for faster mobile Internet speeds.

Granted, LTE connectivity isn’t widely available on budget models to this day, making the J1 more appealing to first-time smartphone buyers who are looking to subscribe to streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify.

Samsung’s Galaxy J1 is now available in select markets like Singapore and the Philippines, retailing for 208 Singapore dollars (roughly $150) and P5,449 ($120), respectively.

Samsung, as you probably know, is the poster child for much-desired Android gear, what with its sustained focus on product innovation, especially in the high end. The J1 doesn’t fit that vision — but perhaps it doesn’t need to. Maybe the Korean OEM is hoping that if it builds something cheap enough, customers will come.

MWC 2018

LG announces V30S ThinQ with artificial intelligence built in

It’s all about AI

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As early reports suggested, LG didn’t introduce a completely new flagship at MWC 2018 but rather an updated V30 handset with the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) platform, ThinQ.

More and more companies are banking on AI. If you recall, the ThinQ platform of LG was first introduced at CES 2018 earlier this year and the V30S ThinQ is LG’s first AI phone. According to LG, the focus of their AI platform for phones is on the camera and voice recognition features.

LG V30S ThinQ in Moroccan Blue

With Vision AI, the new V30 will have three new intelligent camera features. First is the AI Cam which analyzes subjects in the frame and automatically sets the shooting mode among eight categories: portrait, food, pet, landscape, city, flower, sunrise, and sunset. Then there’s QLens which is much like Samsung’s Bixby Vision that lets you visually search for products. For example, you see an item that you like and to know more about it or purchase it online, you can point the phone’s camera to it and it’ll look it up for you. Lastly, the Bright Mode aims to enhance low-light photography on the V30 by pixel binding.

As for the voice recognition, LG has Voice AI which allows users to run apps and tinker with settings through voice commands. That’s not a groundbreaking feature nowadays, but it works with Google Assistant and it’ll be an LG-exclusive with direct and specific functions.

LG V30S ThinQ in Platinum Gray

The LG V30S ThinQ (quite a mouthful) is built on the V30’s physique and they look identical, but specs-wise, it received some upgrades. The updated phone now has 6GB of memory and 128GB of expandable storage, but if you need more space, there’s a V30S+ ThinQ variant with 256GB of storage.

In an effort to make the new V30S ThinQ distinguishable from the older version, LG gave it two new colors: Moroccan Blue and Platinum Gray. Both have a lenticular finish on the back which displays different hues under certain lighting conditions.

SEE ALSO: LG V30 Review: Can it replace your vlogging camera?

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MWC 2018

Alcatel’s new 5, 3, and 1 smartphone series get 18:9 displays and Android Go

All of them have tall displays!

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TCL, the parent company of Alcatel, just launched an army of 18:9 smartphones. Why? Because 2018 smartphones should sport the new aspect ratio to keep up with the trend, and you now have a lot to choose from.

Alcatel is proud to present their latest smartphones with a taller display, and they made it available across each of their phone series. The brand also introduced a new design philosophy for its mobile devices called Simganic which is described as human-centric and iconic. The new design language is present on all the new phones starting with…

Alcatel 5 Series

The latest Alcatel 5 brings flagship design for just under EUR 300 with its near-bezel-less 5.7-inch FullView HD+ 18:9 display encased in a premium brushed metallic unibody. Powering the well-crafted device is a MediaTek MT6750 processor (this is really getting old) and it boots the dated Android Nougat.

The processing power may be a bit disappointing, but selfie lovers will appreciate the phone’s dual front cameras. It has a combo of a 13-megapixel f/2.0 main selfie shooter, a secondary super wide-angle 5-megapixel camera, and a dedicated front LED flash. For the rear, you get a standard 12-megapixel camera with dual-tone flash.

For security, the Alcatel 5 has a facial recognition feature called Face Key which is claimed to work in less than half a second. If you don’t like scanning your face, the fingerprint reader is found at the back of the phone.

The Alcatel 5 will come in Metallic Black and Metallic Gold for EUR 230 (US$ 280) in select markets that the brand serves.

Alcatel 3 Series

You can always get a cheaper phone with about the same features, and that’s what the Alcatel 3 Series is for. You’re not just getting one choice here but three — Alcatel 3V, Alcatel 3X, and Alcatel 3. All come with 18:9 displays, fingerprint readers, and Face Key unlock.

The Alcatel 3V is the biggest in the series with a 6-inch 2K display, MediaTek MT8735A processor, 2GB of memory, and up to 32GB of expandable storage. It has dual rear cameras with a 12- and 2-megapixel combo for bokeh effect, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. The phone boots Android Oreo out of the box and packs in a 3000mAh battery.

Second in line is the Alcatel 3X which has a 5.7-inch HD+ display, MediaTek MT6739 processor, up to 3GB of memory, and up to 32GB of expandable storage. This one also has dual rear cameras (13- and 5-megapixel sensors) and a 5-megapixel shooter for taking selfies. Quite unfortunate that it’s loaded with Android Nougat, but you still get a sizable 3000mAh battery like the bigger sibling.

The Alcatel 3 is the most modest among the bunch with its 5.5-inch HD+ display, MediaTek MT6739 processor, 2GB of memory, and 16GB of expandable storage. It has a 13-megapixel rear shooter and a 5-megapixel selfie camera for photography — pretty basic but will get the job done. Despite being the base phone, the Alcatel 3 gets Android Oreo and a 3000mAh battery.

As for pricing and colors, the Alcatel 3V will be available in Spectrum Black, Spectrum Blue, and Spectrum Gold for EUR 190 (US$ 235), while the Alcatel 3X will be on sale for EUR 180 (US$ 220) in two more colors: Metallic Blue and Metallic Gold. The Alcatel 3 will be sold for EUR 150 (US$ 185) with the same color options as the 3V.

Alcatel 1 Series

If we’re talking about budget phones, let’s not forget about the most affordable in the lineup. The Alcatel 1X will definitely not break the bank starting at just EUR 100. Even with a cheap price tag, it still comes with a 5.3-inch 18:9 display but with a lower resolution at just 960 x 480. Don’t expect too much from its 8-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front cameras, but they are there when you need them. The phone has a 2460mAh battery to keep it going and a fingerprint reader along with the Face Key security unlock.

The Alcatel 1X boots Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but it will also be available with Android Oreo (Go edition) in select markets, making it the first Android Go phone of Alcatel.

The phone will come out in April in single and dual-SIM variants for EUR 100 (US$ 125) and EUR 110 (US$ 135), respectively. It’ll be available in two finishes: Suede for the black and blue colors, and Satiny for the gold and rose options.

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MWC 2018

TCL gives Android tablets a chance with affordable Alcatel 1T series

Cheap but still up to date!

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Android tablets may not be a common sight nowadays, but that doesn’t mean manufacturers have given up on them. TCL Communication banks on the opportunity of putting affordable slates on the market with the new Alcatel 1T series.

The Alcatel 1T series of tablets is envisioned by the Chinese company as devices that are accessible to consumers, especially to families that share common devices like tablets. The new devices come in two versions — 10-inch and 7-inch.

The bigger tablet is aptly called the Alcatel 1T 10 with its 10.1-inch IPS display that has a resolution of 1280 x 800. It’s powered by a MediaTek MT8321 processor with 1GB of memory and 16GB of expandable storage. Thanks to its size, it comes with a fairly large 4000mAh battery that’s said to last for eight hours on a single charge. Its cameras are basic at just 2 megapixels for both the front and back.

It’s Alcatel’s most affordable 10-inch tablet to come out starting at just EUR 100 or roughly US$ 125 when converted and will come in two colors: Premium Black and Bluish Black. An optional dedicated Bluetooth keyboard and textured cover will also be available as its accessories.

As the series’ mini version, the Alcatel 1T 7 is a lightweight and pocketable option. As the name implies, it has a smaller 7-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1024 x 600. It’s powered by the same processor and memory as the 10-inch version but comes with a lower 8GB of expandable storage. Its cameras are also just 2 megapixels on each side. The smaller tablet has a 2580mAh battery which is claimed to last for 7 hours of usage.

The Alcatel 1T 7 retails for just EUR 70 or about US$ 86. It’ll come in Premium Black and Bluish Black color options, too.

While the two differ in size, they come with the same set of features including Android 8.0 Oreo and a dedicated Kids Mode that’s pre-loaded with apps and content for the young ones. It also has built-in parental control for setting usage limits.

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