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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.

News

Xiaomi partners up with Alita: Battle Angel for a transparent Mi 9

This used to be the ‘Pro’ variant

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Image credit: Xiaomi

The launch of the Mi 9 from Xiaomi is around the corner, but that doesn’t mean we’ll just wait for the official announcement. We’ve heard rumors about a Mi 9 model with a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro from last year. Well, the rumors are true and it’s more special than before.

An official teaser for the special edition Mi 9 appeared online today and it brings the blockbuster film Alita: Battle Angel to the picture. Xiaomi partnered up with the film to present the Mi 9: Battle Angel.

Check out the action-packed promotional video below:

The teaser shows the main features of the transparent Mi 9: triple rear cameras, a Snapdragon processor (which is already confirmed), and wireless charging.

Since the Mi 9: Battle Angel will have a transparent back like the Mi 8 Pro’s, it also has a window to its awesome-looking circuit board, but it’s likely not the actual thing. What’s more interesting is the visible wireless charging coil right in the middle of the battery.

The phone will be launched alongside the other Mi 9 variants on February 20. Essentially, the Mi 9: Battle Angel model will be a marketing ploy in China since the movie will hit the theaters in the region two days after the launch.

Price-wise, the phone is rumored to cost CNY 5,999 or roughly US$ 885.

SEE ALSO: What could the new unicorn Xiaomi Mi 9 be called?

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Gaming

TNC Predator, Afreeca Freecs Fatal win Predator League APAC 2019

For Dota 2 and PUBG, respectively

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After three long days of battle in Bangkok, Thailand from February 15 to 17, two champions have emerged from the two featured games of the Predator League in Asia Pacific 2019.

For Dota 2, it’s TNC Predator from the Philippines; and for PUBG, the champ is none other than Afreeca Freecs Fatal from South Korea.

Their winnings come from a prize pool worth US$ 250,000. Each champion receives US$ 75,000 for their efforts, while the runners-up split the remaining pot.

The grand event concluded after over 3,500 competing teams from 16 countries were eventually reduced to only 26 groups in Bangkok for the finals.

This was the Predator League’s second event in the APAC region. In 2018, it was held in Indonesia. Next year’s event will take place in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Fujifilm X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera

Cheaper version of the X-T3

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Image credit: Fujifilm

After Canon‘s announcement of the new EOS RP, it’s now Fujifilm‘s turn to present their latest offering: the X-T30. Fuji’s new mirrorless interchangeable camera is the successor to 2017’s X-T20.

The X-T30 is positioned to be a cheaper variant of the flagship X-T3 camera, but they actually share many common features and specs. It’s got a compact and lightweight body at just 383g which looks similar to the premium model, but with some minor changes at the back. It’s got a focus joystick instead of a d-pad, but retains the touchscreen.

Speaking of, it’s a 2-way tilting LCD panel with 1.04 million dots. The EVF, on the other hand, is a 2.36-million-dot OLED color viewfinder with a near 100 percent coverage area.

Image credit: Fujifilm

Inside the camera is a 26.1-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 12800, which is expandable up to 51200, and backed by an X-Processor 4. With this, the X-T30 can shoot 30fps at 1.25x crop and 20fps without a crop using the electronic shutter. If you wish to use the mechanical shutter, the speed will be reduced to 8fps.

It has a hybrid AF system with 100 percent phase-detect AF, face detection, and eye tracking. Autofocus is also improved even in low-light. Focusing can be selected either through the touchscreen or joystick.

When it comes to video, the camera can shoot 4K at 30fps and up to 120fps when downscaled to 1080p. It’s capable of 10-bit recording and 4:2:2 DCI 4K video through the HDMI port. Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes are also available.

The Fujifilm X-T30 will be available in March starting at US$ 899 for the body only. It’ll go up to US$ 999 when bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, or US$ 1,299 when bundled with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.

SEE ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

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