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The Xperia PRO-I is Sony’s first smartphone with a 1-inch camera sensor

The same camera sensor from the Sony RX100 VII

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Remember when Sharp launched the first 1.0-inch camera sensor in a smartphone? Well, Sony has finally entered the scene.

If you’ve recently picked up a Sony Xperia PRO, you might not be too thrilled about this news. This isn’t a new smartphone line from Sony, rather the successor to the Xperia PRO announced in MWC 2020.

Xperia 1 III with the PRO treatment

Just like the Xperia 1 III, the Xperia PRO-I has a 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display. While not the same 240Hz panel found on its Sharp counterpart, its 120Hz refresh rate is still smooth and capable in today’s needs. Other than the screen, it also has other similarities like a microSDXC card slot, Gorilla Glass 6 and Victus protection, IP65/68 water and dust resistance, among others.

Under the hood, it’s packed with the latest Snapdragon 888 5G chipset — a leap ahead from Xperia PRO’s Snapdragon 865 that was also launched this year. It also has a 4500mAh battery with support for 30W fast wired charging and a sole 512GB + 12GB configuration.

Alpha-grade cameras

What sets the Xperia PRO-I apart from its cousin and sibling are the new set of cameras — particularly that large 1-inch Exmor RS camera sensor you barely find on smartphones nowadays. Rather, it’s found on capable compact cameras like the Sony RX100 VII.

On paper, it still has triple 12MP cameras like the Xperia 1 III. The difference is that the 12MP wide camera has a dual variable aperture of f/2.0 and f/4.0 for that seamless bokeh transitioning like a real point-and-shoot. Ultra-wide is the same at 12MP f/2.2 with 124-degree FoV (Field of View) but the telephoto lens is a downgrade from 3-4.4x optical zoom to just 2x. There’s also a 0.3MP 3D iToF camera for depth-sensing.

On a greater note, the cameras have high-index optical glass spherical lenses that were fit in such slim form. They’re also coated with ZEISS T* coating to avoid pesky reflections — which can also be seen in our vivo X70 Pro+ camera shootout.

For photography

For mobile photographers, the Xperia PRO-I is a true gift from gods. It has Phase Detection AF as well as OIS for less blurry photos even in the dimmest situations. It even supports 12-bit RAW support for flexible color grading especially in pro-grade monitors.

The Xperia PRO-I boasts 315 AF (Autofocus) points, Real-time Eye AF plus Real-time tracking and object tracking for precise tracking and shooting. The wide lens can shoot up to 20fps continuous shooting while the ultra-wide and telephoto lenses are restricted to 10fps. The wide lens also has an anti-distortion shutter to reduce that rolling shutter effect.

To make any Xperia PRO-I user feel at home, there’s a dedicated shutter button as well as a single shortcut key just like on any Sony camera. This ensures better focusing and shooting especially when you always shoot photos in a hurry.

For videography

4K HDR 120fps video recording is what makes this more pro of smartphone. There’s also an Optical SteadyShot with FlawlessEye for shake-free videos when panning and roaming around. You should take note though that these features are only accessible to the 24mm wide lens.

Object tracking are also supported in video mode so you can continuously record footage with one subject in focus.

For vlogging

The Xperia PRO-I is advertised as a great compact vlogging camera, too. It has Eye AF in video so the subject is still focused even when recording one’s self. Other than that, there are also stereo mics, one of which is a mono mic found on the rear side to record crystal clear audio. It even has an Intelligent Wind Filter to avoid muffled recordings outdoors.

Image by GadgetMatch

There are also vlogger-centric accessories like the 3.5-inch Vlog Monitor a la professional cinema camera monitor. This is for you to see yourself while using the great rear camera setup since the Xperia PRO-1 doesn’t have a flip screen like the RX100 VII.

Other than that, there’s also the Shooting Grip which is a common vlogging accessory you see from Sony users. This serves as both a handling grip and a mini tripod and a mount for an external mic.

For cinematography

With Xperia PRO-I’s cinematic 21:9 display, shooting 21:9 content also makes a whole lot sense. As mentioned earlier, 4K HDR 120fps recording is included to capture crisp and clear footages.

There are also eight (8) color styles perfected by Sony for you to capture cinema-grade content even with a device that fits in the palm of your hands.

For multimedia needs

Other than the inclusion of microSDXC card slot for people who need it on the go, the Sony Xperia PRO-I also has a strap hole to attach straps like a typical camera. At the same time, they’re still keeping the 3.5mm audio jack in 2021! This is to make sure that audiophiles can still enjoy LDAC and Hi-Res audio that works mostly in Sony’s wired headphones.

Pricing and availability

Sony sells the Xperia PRO-I in a single Frosted Black colorway at a whopping retail tag of EUR 1799 (US$ 2078) — that’s almost US$ 500 less than the original Xperia PRO. The Vlog Monitor gives you an additional EUR 199 (US$ 230) and the needed back cover attachment is an added EUR 89.99 (US$ 104) in the cart.

It will be available starting on December in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and other European regions. Availability in other countries will follow in 2022.

News

A new iMessage feature alerts you of any government spies

Anyone can use it

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Do you have an irrational fear of government hackers spying on your text messages? If you do, Apple has a new feature to help alleviate your phobia. Starting today, users can opt into the new iMessage Contact Key Verification feature, a security measure designed to prevent any unwanted snooping on your messages.

If it sounds too specific, it’s because Apple designed the feature for those who face “extraordinary digital threats,” like journalists and politicians. Naturally, this subset of the population can benefit from keeping their conversations away from snoopers (which includes, according to Apple, state-sponsored attackers). However, there’s no denying that the feature is also a boon to users who want an extra layer of protection for their messaging needs.

To use the feature, both the sender and the receiver need to have the option turned on while using their device. On a more basic level, the device will alert both users if an unexpected party suddenly crashes and enters the encrypted conversation. A more advanced level even allows iMessage users to compare verification codes, ensuring that both parties are indeed talking to whomever they intend to talk to.

While most users might not find a lot of use for an exorbitant amount of protection against hackers, it’s a step in the right direction for total message encryption. Despite some significant hiccups, Apple remains focused on bringing encryption to its users.

SEE ALSO: Apple is tracking users even with settings turned off

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Gaming

Microsoft is being prevented from buying Activision Blizzard

Sued by the FTC

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The year started off with a bang. Microsoft, already a respectable name in the gaming industry by itself, announced the impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard for US$ 68.7 billion. Perhaps it’s fitting that the year will end right back where it started. The FTC is officially suing Microsoft to block the monumental purchase from going through.

Announced today, the United States’ FTC (or Federal Trade Commission) has filed a legal claim against Microsoft, stating that the acquisition will allow the company to suppress competition between its rivals in the gaming industry. The commission believes that it has enough to effectively block the purchase. Allowing Microsoft to go through with the purchase will supposedly enable the company to prevent Activision Blizzard’s titles — including the Call of Duty franchise — from coming out easily on other platforms.

Since the announcement of the acquisition, Activision Blizzard has gone through a rocky year. The company had its dirty laundry aired out: a plethora of disagreeable practices from within the company. Exacerbated by the rocky launches of Diablo Immortal and Overwatch 2, it’s not exactly a stellar year for the company.

In fact, it’s not a good year for monopolistic practices either. Recently, Ticketmaster found itself under the microscope after a massive kerfuffle preventing Taylor Swift fans from purchasing tickets to the star’s upcoming concert.

While the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still up in the air, it seems company acquisitions aren’t as easy as this year has made them out to be.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft announces a modular Adaptive Mouse

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Apps

Google is merging Waze with Google Maps

Apps will remain separate

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It’s not a secret. Google owns both Google Maps and Waze. Though both certainly come with their own pros and cons, using either app can boil down to a matter of preference, especially in driving cities. Starting soon, the two might even look more alike. Google is merging the teams of Google Maps and Waze together.

Since acquiring Waze in 2013, Google has kept the app’s development separate from Google Maps. Even knowing this face, it’s hard to draw comparisons between the two. They felt like separate products, and they were.

Now, as announced today (via Wall Street Journal), Google will merge Waze’s team (which consists of over 500 employees) with the larger team that oversees Maps, Earth, and Street View. While there are no plans to lay off any employees, incumbent Waze CEO Neha Parikh is expected to leave the company after the merger.

Though a merger might spell the end for Waze, Google remains committed to keeping its own services separate from each other. However, by merging the teams, the company can reduce a lot of redundant work that the two teams have in common.

From a more generalized standpoint, Google Maps and Waze are incredibly distinct apps. While the latter focuses more of directions for drivers, Google Maps offers a grander sweep of directions for all travelers including those who prefer to walk or take public transportation.

SEE ALSO: Google Maps introduces a new way to be a tourist

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