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Sony’s newly unveiled Xperia XA Ultra is a selfie lover’s dream

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Sony’s mobile division may be going through rough times as of late, but that hasn’t stopped them from pushing more headline-making smartphones. Their latest offering is the Xperia XA Ultra, and as its name suggests, it’s a handful.

The obvious highlight is the 6-inch display with near borderless sides and 1080p resolution, but if you look more closely, you’ll notice the fully loaded front camera.

The selfie camera’s features include a 16-megapixel sensor, LED flash, and optical image stabilization. That last bit happens to be the most important aspect, as the Xperia XA Ultra is only the second smartphone to sport one on the front. (The HTC 10 pioneered this feature not too long ago.)

This leads to stable shots in dimly lit environments despite shaky hands. And if all else fails, the front-facing flash is always available to literally brighten your smile.

Sony Xperia XA Ultra black

Not to be outdone, the rear camera has a 21.5-megapixel sensor, hybrid autofocus, and an LED flash. If it’s anything like the Xperia X we played around with last month, the subject tracking abilities should be top-notch.

With all these high-end features, it’s easy to forget that the Xperia XA Ultra is still just a midrange handset. Expect to find a non-flagship MediaTek Helio P10 processor inside once the phone officially enters the market. Fortunately, users will enjoy an ample amount of RAM at 3GB and a microSD slot that accepts cards up to 200GB.

It’s obvious that the Xperia XA Ultra is the direct successor to Xperia C5 Ultra, which was Sony’s previous selfie king. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that the midrange Xperia C series is totally out of commission.

There’s no word yet on pricing and availability, especially in this part of the world, but let’s all assume that it’ll cost more than the smaller, less capable Xperia XA.

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Samsung files a patent for a bezel-less, notch-less Galaxy Note

Bad news: no audio port

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This year’s quest for the holy grail hunts for a truly bezel-less and notch-less smartphone. Phone makers frantically push for their own takes on all-screen phones.

With a new patent, Samsung is throwing their hat into the ring with a Galaxy Note-like device that eliminates bezels altogether.

In the patent, the included drawing depicts a phone that takes out the residual bottom chin and reduces the top bezel to a notch-less strip.

Notably, the patent also majorly alters Samsung’s usual design philosophy for the rear panel. Instead of the usual central positioning, Samsung has moved this phone’s rear camera to the upper-left corner, similar to the iPhone X and Huawei P20.

Image source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Also, despite the lack of a home button, the phone doesn’t add a new button for a fingerprint sensor. This likely implies that Samsung is making significant headway with an under-screen fingerprint sensor. (The feature will likely make an appearance on the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, as well.)

For all its optimism, the patented phone depicts a hugely disappointing non-feature — the lack of a 3.5mm audio port. Currently, Samsung remains one of the last bastions of the celebrated audio port. The patent’s lack of the feature is a stark surprise from the Korean company.

Right now, this specific form factor has found significant traction with the new Vivo NEX. However, Vivo’s take on the design still carries a noticeable bottom chin and a controversial pop-up camera.

Regardless, Samsung’s patent will likely enter production after this year’s slate of Samsung phones. The company has already scheduled the Galaxy Note 9’s launch on August 9.

To add to this, another leak indicates that even the Galaxy S series will feature bezel-less screens next year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung might launch a 512GB Galaxy Note 9 in Korea and China

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Does this confirm the ASUS ROG Phone coming to the US?

Finally leaving Taiwan

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One of the biggest mysteries during the ROG Phone launch — among many — was when and where the ASUS gaming phone was going to be rolled out.

Outside of the obvious homeland of Taiwan and “coming soon,” there wasn’t much else divulged about the availability, or even the price for that matter, but we may have found one major clue.

The US website of ASUS put up a dedicated page for the ROG Phone. While it doesn’t indicate any of the details we want to know, it’s a strong indicator that the gaming handset is in fact on its way to the other side of the world.

ASUS executives themselves promised that the device will become commercially available some time during the second half of 2018, and with that about to begin in a little over a week, more details may soon be known.

For now, the ROG Phone is still the most powerful handset ASUS has released to date, and continues to be the most attractive gaming smartphone this year.

You can learn more about it in our hands-on video here:

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Apple plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port soon

In anticipation for the AirPower wireless charger

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A few years ago, Apple eliminated the audio jack from its iPhones, ending years of tangled cords and loose-fitting earbuds. The move rightfully irked audio fans, citing lost AirPods and monopolized accessories.

Sadly, Apple is continuing its war against I/O ports. By September, the company will release their first official wireless charging mat, the AirPower.

Of course, Apple’s AirPower isn’t the first exclusive charging mat in the smartphone industry. Currently, Android smartphones also tout their own Qi wireless charging mats. However, despite wireless prevalence, Android phone makers have not announced plans to remove wired charging altogether.

Shockingly (or perhaps not), Apple already has plans to remove the iPhone’s Lightning port. According to Bloomberg writer Mark Gurman, the company considered removing the port as early as the iPhone X.

At the time, Apple did not have the guns to back up their vision. Since the AirPower hasn’t launched yet, a push for wireless exclusivity is ill advised.

Although, with the AirPower’s nearing release, Apple’s desire to eliminate all wired accessories is slowly coming to reality. Despite last year’s setback, Apple is still adamant to create a completely wireless iPhone.

Notably, the Lightning port’s capabilities extend from just simply charging. The port also supports media and file transfers from larger devices. Eliminating the port also puts a premium on wireless file transfers.

Without a Lightning port, Apple is realizing an iPhone that will look like a slab of glass. As of now, a Lightning-less iPhone will likely spark more controversy for Apple. The company has already earned a lot of ire for removing the 3.5mm audio port.

Regardless, an I/O-less iPhone is coming sooner than we would like.

SEE ALSO: Apple might switch to USB-C, fast charging in the future

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