Smartphones

Sony Xperia 10 IV is just as impressive as a flagship

Launching in June

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Flagships not your thing? While the company announced its next flagship coming in September, Sony also kept the midrange market in mind. Alongside the Xperia 1 IV, Sony fans can also get their hands on the flagship’s smaller sibling, the Xperia 10 IV.

First of all, it has a smaller display. Though smaller, the smartphone’s 6-inch FHD+ OLED screen can still deliver impressive images for users. For durability, it also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. Plus, at 161g, the Xperia 10 IV is now the lightest 5G smartphone available.

Under the hood, the smartphone sports the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset with an Adreno 619 GPU. It has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage (expandable through a microSD slot).

For cameras, the phone comes with three rear cameras: 12-megapixel main sensor + 8-megapixel telephoto lens + 8-megapixel ultrawide lens. In front, the phone comes with an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. Like the main flagship variant, the phone still retains the headphone jack with capabilities for high quality audio. Finally, the smartphone comes with a 5000mAh battery, compatible with 21W of fast charging.

The Xperia 10 IV will start shipping sometime in June. It will sell for EUR 499.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia 1 IV offers what other flagships dropped

Deals

Nokia announces new accessories, T20 bundle

Four new earbuds and headphones

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Nokia has announced four new accessories to its growing lineup of smartphones and other tech devices.

They are the Nokia Comfort Earbuds Pro, Nokia Clarity Earbuds +, Nokia Wired and Wireless Headphones, and Nokia Go Earbuds 2 Pro.

Both the Clarity Earbuds + (PhP 3,490) and Comfort Earbuds Pro (PhP 2,990) feature Active Noise Cancellation technology and up to 20 hours of playback, making them ideal for workouts and everyday use.

For a more affordable option, the Go Earbuds 2 Pro (PhP 1,790) comes in handy, with low latency mode and sweat- and splash-resistance to boot.

Meanwhile, the foldable wired (PhP 890) and wireless (PhP 1,690) headphones sport big bass for powerful sound. The wireless variant can deliver up to 60 hours of playback.

The four new products will be available exclusively on Shopee until July 11. They may be also purchased in all Nokia mobile official stores and authorized resellers nationwide from late June.

In addition, customers may also avail a limited time bundle starting on July 1: the Nokia T20 tablet will be on sale for only PhP 10,990 — a PhP 2,000 slash from its original price – and shall be bundled with the new Nokia wired headphones.

 

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Hands-On

Nokia G21: Stock Android experience

Guaranteed updates on a budget smartphone!

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Nokia is refusing to throw in the towel as the company tries to keep its footing, at least in the budget segment. This year, the Nokia G21 found its way to the Philippines, promising a stock Android experience without breaking the bank. But will it deliver?

Robust build

Nokia brings in what it’s good at — a robust design with a penchant for durability. The Nokia G21 looks and feels sturdy, although I’m sure it isn’t as strong as Nokia’s phones from two decades ago.

It’s painted in Nordic Blue, which seems Navy to me, and at certain lighting conditions, appears green-ish. There’s a striking, horizontal pattern that adds texture when you hold the phone and touch its rear.

The camera island is a little bit embossed, but it doesn’t protrude that when you place the phone on a flat surface, it’s almost even. The disparity isn’t noticeable.

More importantly, the heft is quite tolerable, even for those who have tiny, frail hands like yours truly. But when compared to other budget smartphones, it’s a bit light.

Comfort features

What most people enjoy about budget phones is their comfort features — stuff you’ve always wanted to stay in a smartphone.

On the right, you can find the volume rockers above the fingerprint scanner which doubles as a power button.

At the bottom, you’ll be glad to see a USB-C port along with the speaker grilles.

On the left side, you can find the SIM tray slot along with a quick button for Google Assistant. Up top, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack.

The tray offers an option for a single or dual SIM, along with a dedicated microSD card slot.

The upsides

Running on Android One, the Nokia G21 exhibits a near-stock version of Android with few modifications. It puts a focus on Google services, housing essential apps you might need for your connected lifestyle while still running on Android 11. The operating system might be a bit late considering how Android 13 started rolling out.

Nevertheless, there’s still relief in knowing that a budget phone like this — which usually doesn’t get favorable treatments from smartphone manufacturers — will get two years of OS updates and three years of security updates. After all, running on Android One means Nokia gets the updates straight from Google.

Frankly, I missed seeing the cleanliness of Android One. It’s simple and efficient — easy to the eyes and to the user experience. Every app you’ll use is basically under Google. For instance, checking images would prompt you to check Photos app because there’s no Gallery. Gmail automatically becomes your mailing app. Chrome is the default browser. Entender?

Surprisingly, it comes with the Netflix  app built in so you can enjoy worthwhile content when YouTube gets tedious for you. Furthermore, you can watch your favorite shows or continue using the smartphone from day to night with its humongous 5050mAh battery. It might take a while for it to fully charge though, given that the unit ships with a 10W charger. Although, the G21 can handle up to 18W of charging. If you have a third-party Power Delivery (PD) charger, it’s high time you use it.

At the very least, let the phone charge while you sleep. Think of it as the two of you bonding by recharging through the night.

The downsides

The Nokia G21 sports a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate. With a 20:9 ratio, you can enjoy your favorite shows albeit the waterdrop cutout can get distracting when watching on full-screen mode.

I was catching up with The Rising of the Shield Hero and the experience is as budget as it gets. Nothing stellar, just a smartphone delivering what’s expected out of it. Visuals aren’t vibrant and audio isn’t as loud as most smartphones in the same category.

At the very least, this smartphone is totally acceptable for anyone looking for an affordable smartphone that they can use as a daily driver.

In terms of gaming and even multitasking, the G21 struggles. It runs on a Unisoc T606 chipset, an octa-core CPU inside, and a Mali G57 Mp1 GPU. The configurations for the smartphone are 3GB/64GB, 4GB/64GB, and 4GB/128GB.

IMO, even if you get the 128GB variant, it won’t be enough. There’s a considerable delay in accessing the phone after unlocking it with facial recognition or other security measures. The same goes for the fingerprint scanner, which you’d think is the faster option among all unlocking methods.

Opening the apps usually takes a while since the phone flashes the app’s logo for a second or two before it shows the interface. While the delay is minuscule for most people, it’s still puzzling since the slow, laggy experience happens even when I haven’t consumed most of the storage.

I only installed Roblox and Ni no Kuni to test the device and of course, get a dose of my favorite games. Playing Ni no Kuni is a real challenge, especially with its graphics-intensive setting.

I was able to play, of course, but it comes with annoyances when it doesn’t load as quickly as I would like it to be. I’d recommend not playing on this device unless you have the patience to deal with the inevitable delays.

Hit-or-miss cameras

Let’s get this out of the way. The Nokia G21 is equipped with a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. Its selfie camera houses a single 8-megapixel wide lens. Here are some samples we’ve taken for you to peruse:

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Nokia G21, by any means, can’t be considered a daily driver worth buying. It’s something you’d probably get if it’s the only phone available in the nearest stores and you badly need one. After all, it retails for PhP 9,990 and is available in a Nordic Blue colorway.

Its saving grace is the promise of OS and security updates, thanks to its Android One program. There’s a guarantee that Google will extend its lifespan as long as it can.

Ideally, there are different budget options you can get for under PhP 10,000. There’s the Redmi Note 11, the vivo T1X, and even the Infinix Note 12.

On the off chance that you already have a primary phone, the Nokia G21 has plenty of use cases as a secondary phone. For one, its long battery life and robust build give me the peace of mind that I can rely on it as a companion when I drive a motorcycle. It’s durable and can last longer when needed.

Just because it’s a budget phone with plenty of compromises doesn’t mean there are no use cases for it at all.

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News

Arm has unveiled its first GPU to have ray tracing

Introducing the Immortalis-G715

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It was only a matter of time before smartphones caught up with the latest in gaming technology. However, smartphone chips have really put pedal to the metal, catching up to modern consoles at an unprecedented clip. Arm has unveiled a new GPU that can deliver ray tracing to Android phones.

Introduced a few years ago, ray tracing revitalized how lighting is presented. Whenever you see shining light react to an object or a person in a game, that’s ray tracing at work. However, it’s still such a technology-intensive feature limited to capable devices. Regardless, a lot of AAA games already have ray tracing available in in-game settings.

Mobile games are about to get the same treatment. Revealed recently, Arm’s Immortalis-G715 GPU chip can deliver the same capabilities using up to 16 cores. It also promises up to 15 percent better performance from the previous generation.

Of note, Arm already introduced software-based ray tracing in the past. However, with the new Immortalis-G715, the company can now focus on hardware-based tracing, pushing the feature to more users. Likewise, Samsung has also announced the same capabilities in the Exynos 2200 series.

Smartphones are slowly moving towards games capable of the same feats as console games. Now, it’s only a matter of waiting for developers to create mobile games with the feature.

SEE ALSO: Qualcomm plans to buy Arm with its rivals

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