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Vivo brings in high-end Xplay 6, midrange X9 and X9 Plus

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Vivo Xplay 6

Vivo has really stepped up its game this week. After releasing the V5 in India a couple of days ago, the Chinese manufacturer went back to its home country to launch its new flagship Xplay 6, along with two additions to the X series.

This has to be the company’s answer to pressure forged by rivals Xiaomi and Huawei after they came out with some of the most impressive hardware we’ve seen this year. Vivo can rest easy with its second-place ranking in China, but there’s no telling when the tides could shift to another brand’s favor — just ask former top-ranker Xiaomi.

[irp posts=”7758″ name=”Vivo V5 with 20MP front camera launched in India”]

The Xplay 6, in particular, is no joke. Although it imitates a lot of the established ideas from fellow Chinese flagships, the price competes with Google’s Pixel phones at a bewildering CNY 4,498; that’s $655, seriously!

What makes this smartphone so special? Looking down the feature list, there’s nothing out of this world if you’re updated on the latest mobile tech.

Vivo Xplay 6 rose gold

Vivo Xplay 6 in rose gold

Standing out the most is the curved 5.46-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, which is something you’d find on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. But the Xplay 6’s advantage over its Korean counterpart is the use of 6GB of memory and a larger 4080mAh battery with built-in fast charging.

There’s also the inclusion of smartphone technology’s latest trending feature: a dual-camera setup. With a pair of 12- and 5-megapixel rear cameras, the former does the photo taking with the help of optical image stabilization, while the latter provides depth information to produce sharper subjects with blurred-out backgrounds.

Curiously, Vivo decided to go with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor instead of the newer 821. Reminds us of what HTC had done earlier with the Bolt. The Android version is also stuck at 6.0 Marshmallow, and not the much maturer 7.0 Nougat.

Vivo Xplay 6 gold

Vivo Xplay 6 in gold

Even if you consider the full-metal body, fingerprint scanner in front, and super-cool rose gold color, the Xplay 6 is a tough sell. You can purchase it beginning December 12, if you really must.

And then we have the X9 and X9 Plus, which fit between the lower-end V5 and premium Xplay 6. The 5.5-inch X9 retails at CNY 2,798 ($407) for the 64GB storage variant, and the 128GB storage option goes for CNY 2,998 ($436); both are already available for pre-order. No details have been revealed for the 5.88-inch X9 Plus.

The X9 and X9 Plus have one thing in common, and that’s the dual-front-facing cameras. One is 20 megapixels in resolution, and the other has an 8-megapixel image sensor for depth info, just like the rear camera setup of the Xplay 6. Both have a plain 16-megapixel shooter at the back.

Vivo X9 rose gold

Vivo X9 in rose gold

Other than that, you can already spell out what else they offer. The smaller X9 has a midrange Snapdragon 625 processor, 4GB of memory, and 3050mAh battery. As for the larger X9 Plus, it has a faster Snapdragon 653 chipset, 6GB of memory, and 4000mAh capacity for its battery.

If all these sound too expensive for you, you can always look down the pricing ladder towards the Vivo Y55. It got our thumbs up in both its full review and our best budget phones list, plus it costs only $165.

[irp posts=”7340″ name=”Vivo Y55 unboxing and review”]

Sources: Fone Arena, (2)

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Xiaomi’s foldable phone spotted in the wild

Is this a prototype?

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Everyone’s getting into foldable smartphones these days. After Samsung’s semi-successful foray into the market, other smartphones are rushing to compete with the South Korean giant. One of the earliest experimenters with the form factor, Xiaomi is apparently making strides in the foldable market. In China, Xiaomi’s foldable phone was spotted out in the wild.

In a now-deleted Weibo post (saved by GSMArena), the leaked phone is a whopper of a device. It’s obviously that Xiaomi’s foldable phone since it runs MIUI 12. It looks a lot larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Z lineup. However, it’s large enough to wield in a subway, as the photo portrays.

Whatever this is, it doesn’t look like it’s doing well. The device has a sizable crease running along its midsection. Back in the Galaxy Fold’s early days, Samsung had the same problem before fixing it in later iterations. Since the technology already exists, it’s likely that the spotted Xiaomi device is an early version of whatever the company is actually working on.

Xiaomi has teased an upcoming foldable phone in the past. However, the company has not outed a consumer-friendly foldable phone outside of prototypes. The last time we heard about a potential Xiaomi foldable phone was an old patent revealed last year.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi patents an upcoming foldable phone

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Samsung will remove the free charger from more phones

Confirmed in an official Q&A

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The cat’s out of the bag. After months of persistent rumors, Samsung has finally ended its free charging adapters and wired earphones starting with the Galaxy S21 series. The controversial decision mimics Apple’s identical ones last October. One question remains, though: Will Samsung remove the free charger in other smartphones? Apparently, yes.

In an official Q&A with Samsung’s officials, the company explained why it chose to remove the free charger from the flagship series. As expected, Samsung is taking the same stance as Apple; that is, everyone already has a bunch of extra chargers lying around anyway. Further, the removal will help in Samsung’s sustainability goals for the future.

However, in explaining their stance, Samsung has revealed its plans for the future. “To support our Galaxy community in this journey, we are transitioning to removal of the charger plug and earphones in our latest line of Galaxy smartphones,” Patrick Chomet, executive vice president of product and innovation, explains.

Besides the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung is likely phasing out the free chargers in future models, too. Thankfully, if you haven’t acclimated to the charger-less future yet, the company is not changing last year’s smartphone packaging; not yet at least, according to online store pages.

If Samsung is truly removing its chargers for future models, we’ll know soon enough. Unlike Apple, who releases smartphones more sporadically, Samsung launches numerous models throughout the year. After starting the year off with a charger-less bang, 2021 is going to be an exciting roller coaster for flagship users.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

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Trump administration blacklists Xiaomi, 10 other Chinese companies

Xiaomi headed the Huawei way?

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The US has added Xiaomi and 10 other Chinese companies to a blacklist amid national security concerns. The current blacklist is only focused on companies that have military ties and strategic importance in China.

The Defense Department released names of additional “Communist Chinese military companies” operating directly or indirectly in the United States.

Although adding Xiaomi to the list is surprising, the company has largely remained apolitical and focuses on making affordable smartphones. Considered to be China’s answer to Apple, Xiaomi plays a crucial role in progressing China’s telecommunication industry. It surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales in the third quarter, according to IDC.

Xiaomi is China’s second-largest smartphone maker and dominates multiple developing markets like India. Xiaomi’s stock plunged more than 10 percent following the announcement, although it’s considered to be a knee-jerk reaction at the moment.

The ban means that Xiaomi risks getting delisted from global benchmarks like MSCI and American stock exchanges. Just last week, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom were removed from MSCI indexes. This largely affects their ability to raise capital from the open market in the future due to global compliance complications.

In response, a Xiaomi spokesperson told GadgetMatch, “The Company has been in compliance with the law and operating in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations of jurisdictions where it conducts its businesses. The Company reiterates that it provides products and services for civilian and commercial use. The Company confirms that it is not owned, controlled, or affiliated with the Chinese military, and is not a “Communist Chinese Military Company” defined under the NDAA. The Company will take an appropriate course of actions to protect the interests of the Company and its shareholders.”

Other companies banned

Apart from Xiami, the additional companies blacklisted include Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Luokong Technology Corporation, Beijing Zhongguancun Development Investment Center, GOWIN Semiconductor, Grand China Air Company, Global Tone Communication Technology, China National Aviation Holding, and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

Furthermore, the ban is a stepping stone for US authorities to curb Chinese companies’ growth in the international market. The US took a similar step with Huawei and gradually pushed it out of every possible industry. Today, Huawei can’t use Google Mobile Services, cannot ship phones to the US, and has lost significant ground in supplying 5G equipment to telcos worldwide.

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