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Xiaomi Mi 8 SE is a smaller, flagship-grade borderless smartphone

The first to have the Snapdragon 710 processor

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Part of Xiaomi’s launch event today included the introduction of a “Lite” version of its flagship smartphone. Since Xiaomi likes to take cues from Apple, they didn’t call it the Mi 8 Lite or the Mi 8 Mini, but rather Mi 8 SE.

The Mi 8 SE is a toned-down version of the Mi 8 with midrange pricing and specs, but it has the same premium materials like an aluminum frame and glass back. Like the Mi 8, it also has a notched display, although it doesn’t sport the same infrared-powered Face ID feature. The panel is a 5.88-inch Super AMOLED with a Full HD+ resolution and 18.7:9 aspect ratio.

Design-wise, the Mi 8 SE is more angular yet it still has a high screen-to-body ratio that’s in the same league as the Mi Mix 2S. It also has high-resolution shooters including a 20-megapixel front sensor with large 2µm pixels for better low-light selfies. There’s also an AI-powered dual rear camera setup using a 12- and 5-megapixel combo.

The phone is the first to have the new Snapdragon 710 processor that’s built on the 10nm node and can handle AR and AI well. It’s a flagship-grade chip for midrange devices like the Mi 8 SE, but at a cheaper price point. According to Xiaomi, it’s 20 percent better in overall performance compared to the Snapdragon 660 while delivering 40 percent lower power consumption when playing games or during 4K video playback.

The Mi 8 SE has a 3120mAh battery with support for 18W Quick Charge 3.0 through its USB-C port, a rear fingerprint reader, and will run the latest MIUI 10.

It’s priced starting at CNY 1,799 (US$ 280) for the 4GB version and CNY 1,999 (US$ 310) for the 6GB variant — both have 64GB of storage. Both come in black, gold, red and blue colors. Global launch or even Chinese availability are yet to be confirmed.

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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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