India

Samsung Galaxy M40 is a budget phone with triple rear cameras

Takes on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro

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Samsung has been on a launching spree this year due to increasing competition from Xiaomi, Realme and Nokia. The brand has announced multiple phones within a short span of time covering every possible price segment. After the successful launch of the Galaxy M10, M20, and M30, the brand is back with another offer; this time bringing flagship features at an affordable price.

The Galaxy M40 has been announced today in India and it directly takes on the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro. With a triple rear camera setup and punch-hole front camera, the brand has aggressively marketed the phone.

On the front is a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display that Samsung prefers to call Infinity-O. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and features a punch-hole camera on the top-left corner. It also includes Screen Sound technology that enables the display panel to generate audio vibrations natively without using a conventional earpiece.

The design is similar to other M-series phones and features a physical fingerprint scanner on the rear. Other authentication options include face unlock.

The rear features a triple camera setup consisting of a 32-megapixel primary lens, 5-megapixel secondary sensor, and an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. The camera UI offers smart HDR, auto color saturation, stickers, and beauty enhancements. The front houses a 16-megapixel selfie shooter.

The phone is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 675 processor, coupled with 6GB RAM and 128GB internal memory. Lastly, these internals are backed by a 3500mAh battery with support for fast charging. It runs on One UI based on Android 9.0 Pie out of the box.

The Galaxy M40 is priced at INR 19,990 (US$ 288) and will go on sale from June 18 via Amazon and Samsung Online Shop in Midnight Blue and Seawater Blue gradient color options.

India

Forget iPhone 11, Apple’s secret weapon is the iPhone XR

OnePlus and Samsung should be worried

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Continuing the legacy, Apple announced the iPhone 11 series in September and response has been widely positive. The phones pack the latest A13 Bionic chipset, exponentially improved cameras, and best-in-class display.

However, Apple’s secret weapon is a generation old iPhone that is often perceived to be low-cost. In developing regions like India, the latest offerings are extremely expensive and amid a global slowdown, demand has remained unchanged.

Apple’s secret weapon is the iPhone XR and its recently announced price-cut. The phone is now available for INR 44,990 (US$ 635), down from its launch price of INR 76,900 (US$ 1,100). And, even though it’s one-year-old, the specifications are still class-leading with an A12 processor, kick-ass single-lens camera, and smooth iOS experience.

Apple’s market share has taken a massive beating in the country due to increasing competition from OnePlus and Samsung. Being a very price-sensitive market, the iPhone XR has been selling like hotcakes since the official drop. In fact, further discounts were also available during festive sales and the device was out-of-stock in no time.

Apple is doubling down on India and has been slowly ramping up local production to avoid import duty as high as 20 percent. Older models like the iPhone 7 and iPhone X are already being sourced locally and the brand has now started with the iPhone XR.

Multiple sources confirmed to IANS that production of the iPhone XR is up and running at Apple supplier Foxconn’s facility in Sriperumbudur, Chennai.

For years, Apple has been accused of ignoring the Indian market, but multiple developments this year have confirmed that the brand is indeed serious about establishing itself. After almost a decade of trying, the brand finally got approval to directly sell products in India and not rely on third-party vendors that are termed “Authorised Resellers”.

There have also been reports about an iPhone SE 2 launching in the first quarter of 2020 and if this materializes, India will be a primary market for the low-cost iPhone.

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Gaming

PUBG Mobile has a host of surprise gifts this Diwali

Burst in-game crackers!

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Diwali is a very auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar and is comparable to Christmas in India. With the onset of the festive season, everyone is on a shopping spree. Companies are gearing up to send out gifts and streets will be lit up with diyas and lanterns.

The country is also one of the largest markets for PUBG Mobile, and the brand intends to leverage the festive season this year. The game has announced a plethora of in-game offerings as well as physical gifts.

Starting October 19, ‘Diwali Dhamaka Event’ will go live in the game and players need to complete daily missions to collect ‘Diwali Sparklers,’ which can be used to ‘Burst Crackers.’ Bursting these crackers will get you ‘Gift Tokens’ that can be redeemed for exclusive in-game items.

For reference, bursting crackers has been a tradition during Diwali. However, everyone is urged to refrain from bursting actual crackers because it leads to massive air pollution. A virtual celebration is best for everyone.

Progressing up the ladder, there will be three levels and each will offer you up to 25 tokens. Once all the Gift Tokens are collected, players will get a Diwali special in-game item for free. Additionally, few lucky winners will also stand a chance to win physical rewards like TVS Apache Bike, OPPO Phones, gold coins, and more.

In-game offering currently includes a Kurta Pajama Set (traditional clothes worn during Diwali), Cricket Costume, Future Policewoman set, Lobster Set, AWM/M416 gun skins, Crate Coupons, and more. The festivities will be available in-game till November 4.

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India

Redmi Note 8 Pro intends to be the best at gaming and photography

It’s powered by an Helio G90T processor

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It has pretty much become a routine now. Xiaomi is known for its aggressive push in the developing markets of India and the brand has been on a spree launching new products every month. Today, it launched the Redmi Note 8 and Note 8 Pro in India, alongside an affordable air purifier.

The Redmi Note series has received a phenomenal response and the brand wants to continue this legacy. Taking quite a few stabs at Realme, the brand is confident its products can outperform the competition and continue leading the smartphone segment.

To start with, the Note 8 Pro gets an improvised design that Xiaomi is calling Aura Design and feature Gamma Green, Halo White, and Shadow Black color options. The rear gets a 3D curved glass and IP52 rating for water and dust resistance.

On the front is a 6.5-inch Full HD+ display with a dot-notch that provides a better screen-to-body ratio. Protecting the screen is a Gorilla Glass 5 panel and chin has been further reduced.

This is the first phone to be powered by a gaming-centric MediaTek Helio G90T processor along with 6GB RAM in the base variant. Xiaomi has also incorporated LiquidCool technology to enhance the processor’s performance over extended durations. The phone also gets dual SIM support along with a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion.

The rear gets a quad-camera setup that consists of a 64-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel portrait camera. On the front is a 20-megapixel selfie camera. Xiaomi is confident this phone can fulfill the requirements of every type of user.

Backing these internals is a 4500mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging. This time, the brand is also bundling along a fast-charge adapter with the phone. Xiaomi claimed it can last up to two days on a single charge, though we’ll be able to confirm this only after an extended review.

Lastly, the phone is available in three configurations. The starting option comes with 6GB+64GB configuration and costs INR 14,999 (US$ 210), followed by 6GB+128GB for INR 15,999 (US$ 223), and 8GB+128GB at INR 17,999 (US$ 250). It’ll be up for sale from October 21 via Mi.com, Amazon, and Mi Home stores.

Xiaomi also announced the release of MIUI 11 and it’ll be available to previous devices in a phased manner.

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