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.

Gaming

Black Shark 4: Price and availability in the Philippines

For mobile gamers

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Black Shark 4

The gaming-focused smartphone Black Shark 4 has found its way to the Philippines.

The Black Shark 4 has a 6.7-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate, 720Hz multi-finger touch sampling rate, and SGS eye protection-certified pressure-sensitive screen. Black Shark has boasted of 111 percent DCI-P3 color gamut and a peak brightness of 1300 nits.

It’s powered by a Snapdragon 870 processor with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage. Backing these internals is a 4500mAh battery with 120W fast charging. It’s got dual stereo speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a liquid cooling system, as well as two USB-C ports.

As for cameras, it has a 48MP main shooter, 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, 5MP macro lens, and a 20MP selfie shooter. The phone ships with JOYUI 12.5 based on Android 11 with plenty of gaming-centric features.

Price and availability

The Black Shark 4 will come in two colors: Mirror Black and Pale Grey. It will be available in these configurations: 8GB+128GB, 12GB+128GB, and 12GB+256GB.

The gaming smartphone will officially launch on April 28. You can watch here. Exact pricing will be released during launch day. Interested buyers can pre-order starting April 28 at Black Shark Philippines’ Shopee store. 

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Gaming

Tales of ARISE releases on Sept 9

Collector Edition also announced

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Tales of ARISE

The long-running Tales series (25 years now!) has a new title coming! Tales of ARISE will be released in Southeast Asia on September 9, 2021.

Here’s the release date trailer to get you hyped.

What is Tales of ARISE?

The game will follow the story of Rena — the star that has been ruling the Dahna planet with an iron fist for the past 300 years. Renans have been depleting Dahna of its natural resources, enslaving most of the planet’s population in order to do so.

This tale follows the fight to free Dahnans of their fate and will be experienced through the eyes of Alphen, an iron-masked Dahnan fighting to free his people, and Shionne, a girl from Rena, who’s on the run from her countrymen. They will be joined through their journey by characters like Rinwell and Law that will help them in their fight for freedom.

Southeast Asia Game Editions

Tales of ARISE

All pre-orders and Day-1 retail package version will receive a new costume for Alphen and Shionne, as well as outfits accessories and new cooking recipes and ingredients.

  • Tales of Arise retail package version is only available for the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 in Southeast Asia.
  • The package version includes pre-order digital bonus only for the first production. The number of initial production is limited and will end as soon as it runs out.

Digital Platforms

On Digital platforms, a Deluxe and an Ultimate edition will be available. The Deluxe edition will have the following items:

  • Premium Item Pack, containing gold, cooking items and Boosts
  • Premium Costume Pack, including 8 full costumes and 6 accessories
  • Premium Travel Pack, allowing for better cooking and crafting abilities as well as discounts in shops

The Ultimate Edition will have all the content from the Deluxe Edition as well as new costumes for the characters including special costumes in collaboration with other BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment games.

Tales of ARISE

A physical Collector Edition will be available and include the same content as the Ultimate Edition, along with an exclusive figurine, a Steelbook, an Artbook and the game’s Soundtrack. This edition can be purchased at participating retailers in Southeast Asia.

A special Hootle Edition will be available exclusively and in limited quantities on the BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Asia store at a later date. This edition will include, in addition to the base game, a metal case, an Artbook, the Soundtrack, a 15 cm Hootle plush along with 4 accessories, Hootle DLC for the game as well as stickers and 3 art prints.

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News

Google Drive was down for PLDT users

Service appears to be working now

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Google Drive down

Google Drive was not working for PLDT users in the Philippines.

Multiple users in the Philippines have taken to Twitter to express frustration that Google Drive is down. The earliest tweets started at around 7PM (GMT+8). As of writing, the service continues to not work for some people.

Some tweeters have pointed out that the problem is with the Internet Service Provider PLDT. Some have switched to using a different ISP and it has worked for them.

PLDT replying to queries

PLDT has yet to fully acknowledge the problem and have only so far replied to a handful of customers who have tagged them to flag the issue.

As of 4:24AM (GMT+8), the service has returned for some users.

Google Drive is Google’s cloud service that’s also home to its Office Suite of apps including Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. Several people rely on the service both for study and work.

 
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