News

Sony confirms Philippine launch for Xperia X, Xperia XA, and Xperia XA Ultra

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We may not have heard much from Sony’s latest Xperia lineup from this archipelago, but that doesn’t mean the company has decided to give the Philippine audience the same cold shoulder it has given to fans in the United States. After announcing the Xperia X, Xperia XA, and Xperia XA Ultra earlier this year, Sony has revealed to GadgetMatch that it plans to launch the said phones in the Philippines on June 14, three weeks from today. No word yet on the possibility of the Snapdragon 820-based Xperia X Performance seeing a local release. Sorry, Android power users.

For the uninitiated, the Xperia X series is Sony’s midrange play, aimed at consumers who’d rather not spend $600 or $700 on the latest technology but are willing to spend more money for more features. If anything, the Xperia X signals a shift in focus away from the more affluent user base Sony has been catering to for the longest time. And that’s important to note, because the midrange is shaping up to be the most important battleground for smartphone makers, and it’s where many of them are expected to get their volume from.


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Sony Xperia X

Among the trio, the Xperia X is the most beefed-out device, carrying a Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor with 3GB of RAM and up to 64GB of storage, with room for more via a microSD expansion slot. It’s also the only model with a fingerprint reader, which is unfortunate, considering phones retailing for as low as $200 have the security feature built into their hardware. Other specs include a 5-inch, full-resolution display, a 23-megapixel rear camera, a 2,620mAh fixed battery, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The Xperia XA and XA Ultra share a similar system-on-a-chip in the MediaTek Helio P10, but vary in just about every other spec. The Xperia XA Ultra, as you may have gathered, offers more RAM (3GB compared to the XA’s 2GB) and more in the way of screen real estate and resolution (6 inches and 1080p as opposed to 5 inches and 720p on the XA).

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Sony Xperia XA

In any case, you’ll be missing out on waterproofing — a signature feature of some Xperia models — regardless of which model you settle for; of the Xperia X bunch, only the X Performance (which, again, likely won’t go on sale in the Philippines) is not afraid to get wet.

The Xperia X and Xperia XA cost £500 (roughly P34,000) and £240 (P16,500) in Europe, respectively. The Xperia XA Ultra hasn’t been priced yet, but expect it to fetch a much higher price than the latter.

[irp posts=”11148" name=”Sony Xperia XZ Premium Hands-On”]

Laptops

Apple updates MacBook Pro lineup with tweaked keyboard and 8-core chip

The fastest Mac notebook ever

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | GadgetMatch

Apple‘s popular line of pro notebooks is getting more powerful with Intel’s new 8th- and 9th-gen Core chips. Other laptop manufacturers already announced their latest models featuring the new processors and Apple doesn’t want to get left behind.

For the first time ever, consumers can get a MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor which is two times faster than an older quad-core MacBook Pro and has 40 percent better performance than the previous 6-core MacBook Pro.


The MacBook Pro refresh for mid-2019 greatly benefits the 15-inch model with Touch Bar. The base model now has a 6-core i7 processor and its high-end sibling has an 8-core i9 processor. If you wish, it can be configured to an even more powerful 8-core i9 chip which can turbo boost up to 5.0GHz. This is what Apple calls “the fastest Mac notebook ever.”

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | Image credit: Apple

The 13-inch Touch Bar models also get a processor refresh with the base model now equipped with a faster 8th-gen quad-core i5. It can be upgraded to a quad-core i7 with a turbo boost of up to 4.7GHz.

Apart from the new processors, the rest of the MacBook Pro specs remain unchanged. However, the Cupertino company opted to use a new material for its keyboard which should reduce issues. It’s the same third-generation butterfly keyboard design from previous models, though.

The refreshed MacBook Pro 15-inch models start at US$ 2,399 in the US or SG$ 3,499 in Singapore, while the smaller 13-inch models start at US$ 1,799 or SG$ 2,599.

SEE ALSO: Apple might increase the iPhone’s price by 14 percent

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News

Samsung is getting a Game of Thrones-themed phone

The Galaxy Fold is getting more premium

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Image source: Caviar

Today, a foldable smartphone is one of the most exclusive things you can own. Despite the recent wave of launch announcements, the foldable smartphone is still a rare sight. Notably, Samsung delayed its own Galaxy Fold after new flaws popped up before launch. No one knows when (or if) the foldable smartphone will take off. As it is, the revolutionary form factor is only a premium purchase.

Despite the hitches, Samsung is making the Galaxy Fold even more premium. Russian luxury smartphone maker Caviar is taking the foldable smartphone on a trip to Westeros. Much like the golden Galaxy Note 9, Caviar’s Galaxy Fold draws inspiration from the recently concluded Game of Thrones HBO series and the unreleased Winds of Winter book.


Because of the foldability, the customized phone is shaped like a book. The front panel is stylized “into a cover of the long-awaited book.” Both the front and rear panels flaunt an exquisite bas-relief featuring the series’ dragons and Westeros’ house crests. As always, the phone’s extravagant details shine with a layer of pure gold. Likewise, the Galaxy Fold locks with a gold clasp when folded. Outside of the gold bas-relief, the rear panel also features a detailed map of Westeros.

Image source: Caviar

Specs-wise, the Caviar-led design touts the same hardware as Samsung’s main driver. The Galaxy Fold comes with a Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal storage. It also features a quad rear camera setup and a dual front-facing camera combo. It comes with a 4380mAh battery.

Currently, Samsung has not announced a new launch date. Previously, Samsung announced an April launch date. As such, Caviar cannot announce a definite launch yet. However, the luxury brand has promised a simultaneous launch date with Samsung.

Caviar’s Galaxy Fold Game of Thrones Edition sells for a bank-breaking US$ 8,200. Additionally, Caviar is selling “cheaper” carbon and leather variants — selling at US$ 5,870 and US$ 6,180, respectively. At the very least, Caviar is offering free worldwide shipping for all purchases. Hopefully, it also comes with a free “Rains of Castamere” ringtone.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a luxury treatment with 1kg pure gold plate

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Gaming

Playdate is a handheld gaming system with a crank

Yes, an actual crank

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If you’re bored of the current gaming console landscape or are simply waiting for the next-gen PlayStation to come out, there’s this new handheld system that might keep you a little busy.

From a company named Panic, which is known for developing the popular game Firewatch, comes the Playdate. It may seem like a simple gaming system at first, but look to its right and you’ll see its defining feature: a crank.


The developer says that some titles will use this analog controller exclusively, while some won’t at all (which, to me, sorta defeats the purpose of placing that game on this console). Everything will be played on its monochrome screen with no backlighting.

You can see it in action here:

The spin here is that the Playdate will come with a subscription of 12 games — delivered to you once a week for 12 weeks. It’s part of the initial cost of US$ 149, but there’s no word yet if there’ll be subscriptions after that and how much they’ll cost.

Each game will be a surprise, which may or not be a good thing. Spending this much on an unproven console — and possibly more for succeeding subscriptions — could end up becoming a costly risk.

Orders will be accepted later this year, while actual shipping will happen in early 2020. For now, you can sign up through the official website to receive updates on its progress.

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