Unlike most major smartphone launches, Samsung released its flagships for the year, the Galaxy S9 and S9+, in India just a week after the global launch. The phones will start at a price of INR 57,900 (US$ 890).
To recap, both devices are powered by Samsung’s in-house chipset, the Exynos 9810, along with 4GB of memory for the Galaxy S9 and 6GB of memory for the S9+. The S9 has a 5.8-inch AMOLED screen while the S9+ sports a 6.2-inch display. In terms of looks, both the S9 and S8 series are very similar, except the fingerprint sensor has been moved underneath the camera module as many struggled with the one found on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
The highlight of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ is the dual aperture setup on the primary rear camera, which is capable of shooting at f/2.4 when there’s ample light but can switch to f/1.5 when the phone detects low-light conditions. The other headline feature of the main camera is the super slow-mo mode that’s capable of recording 960 frames per second. Samsung is also introducing AR Emoji, its answer to Apple’s Animoji with a few key changes.
The duo also come with dual stereo speakers tuned by AKG. The phones even support Dolby Atmos, which offers 360-degree sound effects. Like last year’s models, the phones have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.
This year, Samsung has placed the devices at a higher price. The Galaxy S9 comes with a starting price of INR 57,900 (US$ 890) for 64GB of storage, whereas the 256GB variant costs INR 65,900 (US$ 1,010)
The 64GB storage version of the bigger Galaxy S9+ sports a price tag of INR 64,900 (US$ 995) and the high-end 256GB variant is priced at INR 72,900 (US$ 1,120). Samsung will not be selling the 128GB models in India.
For network carriers, Samsung partnered with Indian telecom operators Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. Users can get up to 250Mbps of speed on 4G connections — 2.5 times more than any other device in India.
OPPO launches Reno5 5G series in international markets
It has 65W fast charging!
Why settle for nice pictures when you can also have great videos? OPPO is starting the new year with the Reno5 5G series that boasts a quad-camera setup and is designed for content creation. The phone also has a distinctive premium design that makes it perfect for the Instagram generation.
The Reno5 and Reno5 Pro made their debut in India a few days ago, and now they’re available in Singapore. More markets are expected to join the list soon. As the name suggests, the phone has 5G support.
The company has been quite aggressive in launching the series with a quick unveiling and launch. Demand for smartphones has risen dramatically due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and OPPO doesn’t want to miss the bus.
Reno5 Pro 5G
The OPPO Reno5 Pro 5G has a 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. Powering the phone is a MediaTek Dimensity 1000+ processor that’s built on a 7nm process. The phone doesn’t have a microSD card, and the top variant comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage.
The rear is a 64-megapixel primary camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel macro sensor, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. For selfies, a 32-megapixel camera is located within the punch-hole cut-out. OPPO has also bundled in many video-oriented features such as Ultra Night Video and Dual View video.
The phone is powered by a 4350mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging. The Pro ditches the headphone jack but gets NFC instead. Both the phones ship with ColorOS 11.1 out-of-the-box. It’ll be available in Astral Blue, Starry Black, Starry Dream, and Star Wish Red color options.
The OPPO Reno5 5G has a slightly smaller 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. Under the hood is a Snapdragon 765G processor with up to 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
It has the same camera module as the Reno5 Pro, but the front camera sensor is slightly different, with a focal length of 26mm instead of 24mm. The phone is backed by a 4300mAh battery that supports 65W fast charging. It’ll be available in Aurora Blue, Moonlight Black, and Starry Dream color options.
Price and availability
Singapore: Reno5 5G – SG$ 699 (8GB+128GB) | Reno5 Pro 5G – SG$899 (12GB+256GB)
India: Reno5 Pro 5G – INR 35,999 / US$ 492 (8GB+128GB)
OnePlus Band is now official with AMOLED display, 14 day battery life
Challenging the Mi Band 5
OnePlus has finally made a debut in the wearable segment, and while the OnePlus Watch has leaked in the past, the first device is actually the OnePlus Band. Focusing on fitness, the band aims to deliver a feature-packed experience at an affordable price.
The band works with Android out-of-the-box, and iOS support is expected to come soon. On the front is a 1.1-inch AMOLED display that’ll help you navigate the interface. An array of sensors includes a blood oxygen sensor, a three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, and an optical heart-rate sensor.
The OnePlus Band gets many watch faces and personalization options through the OnePlus Health app. Coming to fitness, it has 13 pre-installed modes that include outdoor run, indoor run, fat burn run, outdoor walk, outdoor cycling, indoor cycling, elliptical trainer, rowing machine, cricket, badminton, pool swimming, yoga, and free training.
It’s certified for 5ATM and IP68 water resistance, and it has Bluetooth 5.0 support for seamless connections. Other nifty features include displaying notifications, as well as music playback and camera shutter controls.
The OnePlus Band packs a 100mAh battery that is touted to deliver up to 14 days of usage on a single charge. It’s priced at INR 2,499 (US$ 34), and sales are limited to the Indian market for now. Color options include Black, Navy, and Tangerine Gray.
FAU-G is an Indian alternative to PUBG Mobile, launches on January 26
FAU-G stands for Fearless and United Guard
PUBG Mobile has been a global sensation, and players love it. But it’s not available in the world’s second-largest smartphone market right now. India banned the game last year, and local developers are rushing to fill the gap. One of them is nCore Games, and it plans to launch an alternative called FAU-G soon.
FAU-G stands for Fearless and United Guard, but the term fauji means soldier in Hindi, one of India’s official languages. Making things more interesting, the game is endorsed by one of India’s most popular actors — Akshay Kumar. There is an immense demand for the game due to the PUBG Mobile vacuum, anti-China sentiments, and increasing nationalist attitude that prefers indigenous products over others.
The game was supposed to launch in October 2019 but was indefinitely delayed. Thankfully, nCore Games has announced it’ll be releasing the game on January 26, the day India celebrates its seventy-fourth Republic Day.
Earlier in December 2020, the registrations for the game went live as well. FAU-G created a record with over one million pre-registrations in just 24 hours. All we know so far is, it’ll be a first-person shooter game, and since it’s supposed to bridge the PUBG Mobile gap, a battle royale mode is quite obvious.
— nCORE Games (@nCore_games) January 3, 2021
So far, the developer has only released a few marketing pictures of the game, followed by a teaser. Intricate details of the game are still unknown, but the game’s description on the Play Store says, “it brings to life the thrill and adrenaline of a life spent guarding India’s borders.”
However, it’s a herculean task to build a massive game like PUBG Mobile within such a short period of time. FAU-G will have a minimal time frame to quash bugs and attain a clean experience because it’ll always be compared to seasoned competitors like PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty: Mobile, Fornite, and Mobile Legends.
Adding to this, PUBG Corporation has severed ties with Tencent to dodge anti-China sanctions and plans to launch a modified game similar to PUBG Mobile, specially designed for the Indian market. It’s a race against time right now, and the first one to debut has an edge. But that edge won’t last forever.
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