Smartphones

What could the new unicorn Xiaomi Mi 9 be called?

Xiaomi asked and people have answered

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Xiaomi’s new flagship is coming and, of course, the Chinese brand wastes no time in telling us that we’re going to want this new phone. Over the weekend, Xiaomi showed off the Mi 9’s color options and I am swooning.


The three colors posted all include a beautiful gradient in black, one in blue, and another in a purple-pink hue. Let’s look at that last one again:

The color, which people have been quick to call unicorn, has no official name. Global spokesperson Donovan Sung asked Twitter world what they could possibly name it.

There were a number of interesting and funny answers:

Of course, we had our own guesses:

If there’s any clue, though, it would be this reply:

The official Xiaomi Twitter account did conduct a poll calling it Lavender Violet the day before Donavan Sung sent out the tweet…

Until we have this confirmed, we’re calling it unicorn Mi 9. 🦄 Besides, whatever they call it, it’s looking like a very pretty color and I want it!

Reviews

Vivo X50 Pro Review: Exceptional Camera for Less

This smartphone employs a new “Gimbal Camera System” feature but does that make it better than the rest?

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From pop-up cameras to under-display fingerprint scanners, vivo has truly made a lot of technological advancements in less than three years through their APEX Concept and flagship-bearing NEX line.

Today, vivo defied the odds by launching the X50 Pro. It’s the first X-series smartphone to become available outside China. It employs a groundbreaking “Gimbal Camera System” that made its debut through vivo’s APEX 2020.

But does that camera feature make it better than the rest? Here’s our review of the vivo X50 Pro.

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vivo X50 series now official, employs Gimbal Camera System

Placing heavy emphasis on camera performance

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vivo’s been pretty quiet since the launch of the vivo NEX 3. Today, the company breaks its silence with the launch of the vivo X50 series. It consists of three phones: the X50, X50 Pro, and X50 Pro+.

The series is putting a strong emphasis on camera performance. Specifically, vivo is touting its Gimbal Camera System and its zoom capabilities. We’ll get to that more later.

The X50 series also promises a futuristic and user-centric design along with flagship grade performance. The company says it’s the first X-series to be released globally, so there’s a lot riding on these devices.

Gimbal Camera System

Gimbals are primarily used for stabilization. By adding what they call the Gimbal Camera System, vivo says they’ve unlocked the capability to take clear photos and videos while in motion. This applies, they claim, even at night.

Here’s how it works: the gimbal module, which was modeled from a full-size professional gimbal, moves in the opposite direction of shaking motion to provide stability. It also widens the rotation angle and anti-shake area — wider than the usual smartphone stabilization methods — to produce super clear images.

There’s a gimbal radar that lets users know when the frame is stable. It appears as an on-screen animated ball that reflects the gimbal’s movement. This works in concert with vivo’s motion-deblur algorithm, customized sensors and continuous focus tracking to improve the clarity even more.

If that seemed like it’s a lot to take in, that’s because it is. For our part, we’re excited how it actually works both in demo and in the real world.

Zoom and other camera features

There’s more to the X50 series than the gimbal camera system. vivo says all three are equipped with the cameras you expect from flagship smartphones. Both the X50 Pro and the X50 Pro+ have a periscope lens that supports up to 60x Hyper Zoom.

The X50 Pro has a quad-camera setup with a single selfie camera. Meanwhile, the X50 Pro+ sports a main camera that has a 1/1.3 inch ISOCELL GN1 sensor. This should result in photos with “breathtaking detail.”

The series also has a super wide-angle lens and a super macro lens, giving you versatility in various shooting situations. There’s also Super Night Mode for low light scenarios, and an Astro Mode for stunning nightscape images whether in a city or open field setting.

Lastly, there’s Portrait Mode. vivo says it’s now more refined thanks to a four-layer masking algorithm that not only separates the subject from the background, it’ll also let you apply separate effects for even better results.

A truly flagship series

All the phones in the X50 series will support 5G connectivity — which seems to be something we should expect from all flagship phones from here on out. The series will also have a high screen refresh rate — a choice between 90Hz/120Hz depending on the model.

Those screens, vivo claims, are now even better. They’re more flexible, slimmer, lighter, but also more durable than anything they’ve ever made before.

The X50 Pro+ is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+X55 processor. The Gimbal Camera System on the rear of the X50 Pro is in the shape of an eye for a unique design element. And lastly, the X50 is the slimmest 5G phone so far measuring at only 7.49mm

Pricing and availability

It will be available over the next three months in the following markets: Asia (specifically India, Indonesia, and more), Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe.

In India, pricing are as follows:

  • vivo X50 (8GB+128GB): Rs 34,990
  • vivo X50 (8GB+256GB): INR 37,990
  • vivo X50 Pro (8GB+256GB): INR49,999

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 1, 2020. It has been updated to with our video review, new images and to reflect pricing and availability.

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Redmi 9, 9A, 9C budget family now official

Because three is better than one!

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We’ve already shown you how you can maximize your budget phone. Those exact same methods apply to all three of these new budget smartphones — the Redmi 9, 9A, and 9C.

We’re just going to do a quick rundown here.

Redmi 9

This is a budget smartphone equipped with a quad-camera setup. That’s shooting versatility for less. Whether you’re looking to take a quick snap, wide-angle group shot, close-up with stunning details, or beautiful portrait photos, Redmi 9 has you covered.

It has a 6.53’’ FHD+ Dot Drop display with TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification and Corning  Gorilla Glass for on-the-go protection.

Inside it’s powered by a MediaTek Helio G80 SoC. It has a 5020mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging.

You also get your usual ports and connections:a 3.5mm headphone jack, IR blaster, multifunctional NFC, while supporting dual SIM usage and an additional microSD card slot.

The Redmi 9 is available in the Philippines and comes in Carbon Grey, Ocean Green and Sunset Purple. Pricing are as follows:

  • 3GB+32GB — PhP 6990
  • 4GB+64GB — PhP 7490

They are available for offline purchase at official Mi Stores, as well as Xiaomi’s authorized offline retailers and the Xiaomi Official Store on Lazada.

Redmi 9A

If a huge display with a big battery for less is your jam then you might want to rock with the Redmi 9A.

It has a 6.53” Dot Drop display with 5000mAh battery. Elsewhere on the phone you get the MediaTek Helio G25 chip and a 13MP rear camera.

It’s available in The Philippines with one variant, 2GB+32GB, in Granite Gray, Peacock Green and Sky Blue. Priced a PhP 4,690.

The device is available for purchase from at official Mi Stores, as well as through Xiaomi Flagship Store on Lazada and Xiaomi Global Store on Shopee.

The model will also be available for purchase from July 21 via Xiaomi’s authorized offline retailers.

Redmi 9C 

The Redmi 9C hits much of the same beats as the 9A with a similar 6.53” Dot Drop display with a 5000mAh battery. Inside, it’s powered by a MediaTek Helio G35 chip.

It comes in three colors: Midnight Gray, Sunrise Orange, and Twilight Blue. Global pricing are as follows:

  • 2GB+32GB — EUR 119
  • 3GB+64GB — EUR 139

For distance learning

It’s interesting to note that all three fall within the minimum spec requirements laid out by the Philippines’ Education Department. Despite common sense and on the ground knowledge dictating that it’s best to skip the school year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, they are still bullish about pushing through with it.

So, if you’re a parent and want to arm your child with a basic smartphone to help, all three of the mentioned phones will suffice. For reference, here are the minimum requirements.

Distance Learning, Smartphone Minimum Tech Specs

Processor

Octa-core 2 GHz

Memory

2GB

Display

6”, IPS LCD

Storage

32GB

Network

GSM / HSPA / LTE

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth

Ports

Micro USB or Type C, 3.5mm Audio Jack

OS

Android 8.1

 

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