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Sony Xperia XZ2 Premium suddenly arrives with series-first dual cameras

A pleasant surprise!

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It was only a couple of months ago during Mobile World Congress 2018 when Sony’s newest flagship Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact pair were unveiled. And while they’re finally rolling out to select markets this month, an even newer flagship has been quietly launched: the Xperia XZ2 Premium.

If the mention of “Premium” gives you the idea of a 4K HDR screen like on previous high-end Xperia handsets, that certainly applies here. The XZ2 Premium comes with a 5.8-inch 4K display that supports high dynamic range. Surprisingly, it’s of the traditional 16:9 screen ratio, and not the trendier 18:9 ratio found on even the standard XZ2.

The other, possibly more notable feature is the dual-camera setup on the back. It’s a first for the brand which has always stuck to a single shooter. Its implementation is similar to what Huawei has in place, wherein one has a 19-megapixel color sensor while the other has a 12-megapixel monochrome sensor. When put together, they produce clearer photos and videos in the worst of lighting conditions.

Combined, the pair of shooters can go up to an ISO of 51200, which is high for any sort of camera and fantastic for low-light photography. Similarly, videos can go up to ISO 12800, and the single 13-megapixel camera in front manages a respectable ISO 3200.

Another pair of upgrades are in the memory and battery of the XZ2 Premium. It now has 6GB of memory (more than the 4GB of the XZ2) and a 3540mAh battery (higher than the 3180mAh capacity of the XZ2) which can be wirelessly charged. Aside from those, the processor is still the same top-shelf Snapdragon 845 chipset.

Everything else is carried over from the slightly smaller Xperia XZ2, from the new curved body introduced to the Xperia series and IP68 water and dust resistance, to the Dynamic Vibration System and lack of an audio port.

Sony is currently mum about the pricing of the Xperia XZ2 Premium, but rollout should happen in the next couple of months. The first two colors to be offered will be Chrome Black and Chrome Silver.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a luxury treatment with 1kg pure gold plate

Turn your phone into jewelry

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The Galaxy Note 9 is not a cheap smartphone, especially the 512GB variant that will set you back US$ 1,249. It arrived with a Gorilla Glass 5 body, but what if they covered it in gold instead?

Russia-based luxury smartphone company Caviar decided that the Note 9’s glass body is not flashy enough, so they customized one and added 1 kilogram of pure gold.

Mind you, this is actual gold, and not just a simple paint job. Look at the images below:

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Fine Gold Edition is still a typical Galaxy Note 9 inside but with Caviar’s custom gold plate on its back.

It starts at RUB 3,870,000 or almost US$ 60,000! You can buy 60 units of the regular Galaxy Note 9 with this money, and that’s just for the 128GB variant. If you wish to get the one with 512GB of storage and 8GB of memory, you’ll have to add another US$ 1,000.

Check out Caviar’s website if you’re interested.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 hands-on: All about the S Pen?

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus S is the slimmest gaming laptop available today

The thinnest gaming laptop of them all

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Alongside the 17-inch ROG Scar II, ASUS has announced a new ROG device that they claim to be world’s slimmest gaming laptop. The ROG Zephyrus from last year was already thin by gaming laptop standards, but the new ROG Zephyrus S is 12 percent thinner with updated specs.

The ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) still has the look and feel of the original Zephyrus but it’s now only 14.95 to 15.75mm thick. Those numbers might not sound as sexy as other super-slim notebooks, but the Zephyrus S has desktop-grade gaming performance with either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Max-Q or GTX 1060 GPU inside its chassis.

Powering the Zephyrus S is the six-core Intel Core i7-8750H processor with up to 24GB DDR4 memory. Storage options are from 256GB to 1TB M.2 NVMe SSDs.

The laptop’s display is a 15.6-inch 1080p panel with a 144Hz refresh rate, 3ms response time, and 100 percent sRGB coverage. It’s definitely not the sharpest laptop display, but it’s one of the fastest for smooth gameplay. The display has a thin-bezel design as well, so the footprint of the laptop is just a bit bigger than your typical 14-inch notebook.

ASUS uses their Active Aerodynamic System (same as with other Zephyrus laptops) which opens a vent at the bottom of the laptop when the lid is lifted, and the vent stretches across the entire back of the body. This improves airflow by 22 percent over a conventional design as per ASUS.

Another distinct trait of the Zephyrus S is the keyboard. It’s still on the front of the device, which helps with cooling, but it might not be everybody’s cup of tea. The keys have 1.2mm of travel, N-key rollover, and RGB lighting via Aura Sync over four zones.

As for I/O, it has two USB-C ports (Gen1 and Gen2), two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI 2.0 at the back, and a headphone jack.

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S (GX531) will become available starting September in the US and in October for the UK and Asia. Pricing starts at US$ 2,099 for the GTX 1060 model, while the higher-end GTX 1070 is priced at US$ 2,199.

SEE ALSO: ASUS’ new ROG Strix Scar II is world’s most compact 17-inch gaming laptop

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ASUS’ new ROG Strix Scar II is world’s most compact 17-inch gaming laptop

Thanks to its super-slim bezels!

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After going hands on with the ROG Strix Scar II and reviewing the Hero II in full, we wondered what else could be done to improve this second-generation lineup. Well, it looks like ASUS just gave us the answer.

Discreetly launched today, the new 17.3-inch ROG Strix Scar II (model name GL704) is the most compact gaming laptop of its kind, according to ASUS. It’s basically a supersized variant of the already-available 15.6-inch version but with an even badder screen.

It may be worth the wait, because the color-accurate 17.3-inch 1080p display is able to fit into a chassis designed for 15.7-inch panels, effectively providing it a width of less than 400mm thanks to the slim bezels.

The wide keyboard and Aura Sync RGB lighting make a return, along with the fast 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time of the display.

In terms of specs, it can go up to an Intel Core i7-8750H processor with 16GB of memory and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip. A 256GB SSD plus 1TB SSHD combo maintains the speed and fluidity of the system.

It’ll be available by the end of September in official ROG stores. Pricing begins at US$ 1,699.

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