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.

India

Nokia 6.1 Plus is here to spice up the midrange segment

The first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch

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2018 is undoubtedly the year of midrange phones. While we’ve seen some amazing innovation coming in this year like the in-display fingerprint scanner and moving camera module, they have been limited to the top-tier for now.

The actual innovation has been happening in the midrange segment where we’ve seen companies launch new phones every few months, and for the first time, there have been no compromises. Right from the design to the processor, everything is becoming near perfect. Thanks to initiatives like the Android One program, we are also assured that these phones will last you at least two years.

Joining the bandwagon, we now have HMD Global’s Nokia 6.1 Plus. The phone was launched a few months back in China and is also called the Nokia X6. For the global markets, HMD Global already has a streamlined product lineup that includes the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 5.1.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 15,999 (US$ 230). It will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart and Nokia Online Store starting August 30.

It has a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display and is the first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. Storage is expandable via a microSD card and it supports a hybrid SIM setup.

On the rear, the Nokia 6.1 Plus houses a 16- and 5-megapixel dual-camera arrangement that supports AI-powered portrait mode and automatic scene recognition. The front has a 16-megapixel snapper that is Face Unlock-compatible. The back of the phone also has a fingerprint scanner for authentication and 3060mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Continuing HMD Global’s strategy, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also a part of the Android One program and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, without any bloatware.

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India

OPPO India launches the F9 Pro with a unique notch

Redefining the trend

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OPPO has been increasing its focus on the Indian market in the last few quarters and has already brought its flagship Find X to the country. In a bid to establish itself as a long-term player, the brand has also started a new sub-brand called Realme to capture the budget segment.

The company today announced the launch of the OPPO F9 Pro in India; the device will be succeeding the F7 that was launched in March. To avoid any confusion, OPPO has also launched this phone in other markets like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam where it’s called the F9.

The design on this phone is further refined and has glass backing that creates a color gradient along with different patterns that vary according to the configuration. The notch on this phone is a lot smaller than what we’re currently seeing in the industry and is similar to a tiny “water-drop.”

This is also the first time OPPO’s F-series phone will have a rear dual-camera setup. The phone has a 16- and 2-megapixel setup that has AI-backed features like beautification and portrait mode. The front camera is a massive 25-megapixel shooter that has advanced AI-powered face enhancement and auto scene recognition features.

It’s controlled by a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Another highlight of the phone is its battery, rated at 3500mAh, which supports VOOC Flash Charge that can get you two hours of usage with just five minutes of charging.

The phone runs on ColorOS 5.2 that is OPPO’s skin based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and is available in Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, and Starry Purple. It’s priced at INR 23,990 (US$ 345) and will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart.

A cheaper non-Pro F9 is available as well for INR 19,990 (US$ 285). It comes with less memory at 4GB and a lower-resolution 16-megapixel front camera.

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Gaming

God of War’s New Game Plus mode is here

It’s time for another play through, boy!

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A New Game Plus (NG+) mode for PlayStation 4’s God of War is here. This means whatever weapons, items, and armor you amassed during your first go round, you can take with you if you wish to go on another adventure with Kratos and Atreus.

The NG+ mode also lets you pick a different difficulty setting from the one you first played with. So whether you feel like taking on a tougher challenge or just breezing through the story mode, you can do so. The choice is yours.

Other new content include a new shield skin when you start a NG+ as well as new types of armor you can forge for the father and son duo. The additions also include new challenges like Realm Tears while on a time limit and a variety of new attack patterns for draugrs, witches, and other foes you’ll meet along the way.

Updates not just for God of War NG+ mode

If you’re still in the middle of your first run, don’t worry, the creators of God of War didn’t forget about us. There’s now a button that easily lets you transfer enchantments making it easier to go from one armor to another. There are also some bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements like keeping Kratos safe at all times during parry attacks and improved consistency with how enemy attacks can be parried.

If you’ve completed the game at least once, the update also lets you skip cinematic scenes whether you’re on NG+ or not.

God of War for the PS4 first came out in April 2018 and received glowing reviews from various media outlets. Many of whom even said it’s an early candidate for Game of the Year. It takes the franchise’s main character Kratos into Norse mythology years after he tore through the Greek gods.

SEE MORE: God of War: A must-play for 2018

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