News

Sony announces the Xperia 1 II, their newest flagship smartphone

A major improvement over the Xperia 1

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Image by GadgetMatch

It’s been a year since the announcement of Xperia 1 during MWC 2019. Although GSMA surprised everyone in the tech world with the cancellation of MWC 2020 due to the novel coronavirus, it hasn’t stopped Sony from announcing their latest devices.

Even if there are a lot of smartphones coming, the Japan-based company is ahead of the game by announcing three new smartphones: the flagship-grade Xperia 1 II, the midrange Xperia 10 II, and a professionally-targeted Xperia Pro that’s currently in development. The new “Mark II” naming scheme even reminds us of Sony’s Alpha mirrorless cameras.

What’s changed

With the debut of Snapdragon 865 chipset last December, Sony decided to equip their newest flagship with the latest chipset. This means there are improvements in performance over last year’s Snapdragon 855.

What’s groundbreaking is the support for 5G, something the Xperia 1 doesn’t have. To be specific, it uses the sub-6GHz spectrum instead of the mmWave. You can read this article to know all the hullabaloos of 5G connectivity.

Image by GadgetMatch

Sony is generous by giving more memory, bumping up from 6GB to 8GB. Instead of offering 64 and 128GB options, internal storage is only 256GB. Don’t worry, storage expandability isn’t limited to dual-SIM models anymore. Expect more battery life with its 4000mAh battery (which is a step up over last year’s 3330mAh).

There’s also a minor cosmetic change on the Xperia 1 II. The camera bump can now be found at the upper left portion instead of the center, making the design language similar to the Xperia 5.

As expected, it will run on the latest Android 10 out of the box.

What remains

Image by GadgetMatch

Just like the Xperia 1, it’s the same type of monolithic slab that’s sandwiched by two Gorilla Glass 6. Although it has a faster 90Hz refresh rate, it’s still the similar 6.5-inch 4K OLED Display with a cinematic 21:9 Aspect Ratio.

The camera system is still a triple 12-megapixel setup but it now has larger sensors and ZEISS optics. The cameras are also calibrated by ZEISS and the lens have a special ZEISS T* anti-reflective coating on them (something you can only find on professional lenses before). Optical zoom is one-step further with three times magnification instead of two.

Although 8K video recording isn’t there, 4K recording now has a 60p option. There’s even an additional 3D ToF sensor for sensing objects and faster focusing. The Eye AF tracking now works in animals too. It can even do 20fps burst shots with AF tracking. Selfie camera is still rated at 8 megapixels though.

Image by GadgetMatch

The Cinema Pro app still exists for professionally-inclined smartphone videography. An added bonus is the touch focus instead of the fixed focus found on previous versions. In addition to that is the new Camera Pro app which does the same job for photographs taken with the Xperia 1 II.

Front-facing stereo speakers also remain. The IP65/68 rating is still present which helps in keeping the device functioning even in harsher environments. Fingerprint reader is still side-mounted instead of an under-display scanner.

Audio jack resurrected

Image by GadgetMatch

Not totally a headlining feature, but for audiophiles, they know that the 3.5mm audio jack was missing last year. Sony has decided to bring it back with the Xperia 1 II. It’s a clever move considering this smartphone is a multimedia powerhouse. This also indicates that Sony still listens to its loyal fanbase.

Pricing and availability

Image by GadgetMatch

As stated earlier, the Xperia 1 II only comes in one configuration: 8GB RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. It will be available in Europe with a retail price of EUR 1199 (approximately US$ 1299). The Xperia 1 II only has two color options: black and purple.

Availability is uncertain. A French press release stated it will be available by “spring” or around March. Meanwhile, Dutch and Bulgarian press releases suggest “end of spring”, which is around May.

Pricing and availability in other regions have yet to be announced.

News

Apple reportedly delays mixed-reality headset once again

Not a big delay, though

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Mercifully, “metaverse” lost Oxford’s word of the year award to “goblin mode”. Despite all of Meta’s claims, the stylized term for its version of virtual reality has not taken off. Just so, Meta’s competitors are still holding out on their entries to the virtual reality realm. Hit by delays in the past already, Apple is once again delaying its much-awaited mixed-reality headset.

According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the unannounced headset is coming sometime in the second half of 2023. Previously, the device was pegged for a second quarter launch. It’s not a drastic delay, but it’s another speed bump for the enigmatic device.

If anything, Apple’s issues are now stemming from the software side. As such, Kuo expects that the individual components for the headset will still come relatively on time in the second quarter. The report remains unsure if the planned reveal in January is still a go, though.

Further, the headset’s shipments will reportedly be less than previously expected. Neither Kuo nor Apple have commented on why a reduced shipment is currently planned.

That said, Apple hasn’t really commented on the coming of its mixed-reality headset. All information comes from leaks and reports from external sources. However, from what we’ve heard, Apple is promising a lot from its headset, including the ability to pay handsfree using only their eyes.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s AR headset will let users pay with their eyes

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Accessories

OnePlus is building its own mechanical keyboard

To celebrate its 9th anniversary

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It’s OnePlus’s 9th anniversary. For almost the entirety of December, the smartphone brand is holding a plethora of events for its fans. Naturally, one of those events involves new products coming to OnePlus. Teased officially, the company has revealed what’s coming: a mechanical keyboard.

Besides smartphones, OnePlus also has a wider lineup of other devices like smartwatches and earbuds. That said, a mechanical keyboard is an all-new department for the company.

Based on the small landing page for the keyboard, OnePlus is creating the device with Keychron, a notable brand for the segment. Unfortunately, the page does not reveal much more about the keyboard. If anything, Keychron’s involvement confirms that the company means business.

As with most mechanical keyboards these days, users can customize the upcoming device’s keycaps. With that, another mystery is whether the brand will sell custom keycaps of their own, or users can buy their own.

Thankfully, interested users don’t have to wait long. OnePlus is scheduled to launch the new keyboard on December 15, right in the middle of its grand celebration for its 9th anniversary.

Since its inception, OnePlus has moved from flagship killer to selling flagships itself to now expanding beyond just simple flagships. Now, the brand is looking beyond.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus officially teases Nord Watch

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Gaming

Xbox will raise prices of new titles next year

Will soon cost US$ 69.99

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New video games are expensive. Since the launch of the PlayStation 5, stores have been charging US$ 69.99 for every new release. On the flip side, Microsoft has kept its own slate of titles at the usual US$ 59.99 price point. However, that’s about to change next year. The company is raising the prices of first-party Xbox titles to US$ 69.99 next year.

In a recent statement (via The Verge), Microsoft has announced that new next-gen titles coming from Xbox Game Studios next year will face a price hike to reflect their “the content, scale, and technical complexity.” The announcement specifically names Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and Starfield (incidentally, one of the most anticipated titles next year) as part of this starting slate.

Prior to today’s status quo, new titles always sold for US$ 59.99. By itself, the old price tag is already hefty. However, it was one that was eventually accepted, especially after increasingly longer playthrough times.

Now, however, players are once again in a renewed state of justifying the expensive prices of new games. Titles are US$ 10 more expensive these days. Plus, special editions, which are becoming more common, have even higher price points.

If anything, Microsoft has waited until after the holidays before hiking prices up. If you were looking at a new title for your Xbox Series X/S, the holidays might be the best time to grab it. Or, as always, you can pay the monthly price of an Xbox Game Pass to access a trove of titles including new ones.

SEE ALSO: Xbox outsells the PlayStation for the first in 11 years

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