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Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 improves on predecessor in every way

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The original Mi Mix was a trendsetter for getting near-borderless smartphones to the mass market before the likes of the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8. As the successor, the Mi Mix 2 banks on improving on every aspect of the original’s winning formula.

Obviously, the primary attention goes to the screen once again. Now smaller, the 6-inch 1080p LCD screen is narrower as well with a 18:9 aspect ratio (compared to last year’s 17:9), but with the same super-slim bezels.

The aluminum frame makes a return, along with the ceramic back that set the first Mi Mix apart. It’s slightly more curved on the back this time, even though the display itself is totally flat.

To make the front more seamless, the 5-megapixel front-facing camera is all black so it blends in with the bottom chin better. So yes, you still have to rotate the phone if you want to take selfies or go on video calls.

For the single 12-megapixel rear camera — which now has optical image stabilization but no secondary shooter — an 18K gold rim can be found around the lens, just like on the Exclusive Edition of the Mi Mix.

As you’d expect, Xiaomi fitted the Mi Mix 2 with some of the best specifications you could find on a modern flagship: a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB of memory, up to 256GB of non-expandable storage, and a hefty 3400mAh battery. What’s missing is a 3.5mm audio port, like on the Mi 6.

There’ll also be a Special Edition of the Mi Mix 2 with more memory at 8GB and a set storage of 128GB. It’ll come in a ceramic unibody with a choice between two colors: black or white. The former has 18K gold rims for both the rear camera lens and fingerprint scanner, while the latter owns rose gold rims for the two circles.

Correction: The Special Edition has 8GB of memory

And for the cherry on top: The Mi Mix 2 will retail for CNY 3,299 (US$ 505) for the 64GB storage version, CNY 3,599 (US$ 555) for 128GB of storage, and CNY 3,999 (US$ 615) for the largest 256GB configuration. The Special Edition costs CNY 4,699 or about US$ 720.

Like with other China-launched gadgets, global availability for both models is still uncertain.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi unveils Mi A1 with Android One and dual cameras

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LG G7 ThinQ will have a dedicated button for Google Assistant

No ThinQ for you

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Raise your hands if you enjoyed Samsung’s Bixby button. Now, put those non-existent hands back down. However, if you were one of the scant few who did use it, you might enjoy the upcoming LG G7 ThinQ.

As you might have noticed from leaked renders, LG’s new flagship sports an extra button that curiously looks like a dedicated ThinQ button. Now, we have reports that our hunches have a little bit of truth to them.

According to CNET, the G7’s inconspicuous little button links directly to Google Assistant, rather than LG’s ThinQ AI. The button will occupy the phone’s left edge, opposite the power button on the right.

Even without the button, users can pull up the Google Assistant by long-pressing the home button or through voice commands. A dedicated button will eliminate the need for a long press or for shouting “Okay, Google” in public.

Like LG’s other phones, the G7 will have voice commands exclusive to LG. Previously, these mainly include the various functions available to their camera technology. With the G7, we can hope for a more generalized slew of commands tailored for other phone functions.

With the G7 ThinQ, LG will be the first smartphone maker to ship with a dedicated button for Google. Before, dedicated AI buttons linked only to their brand’s exclusive assistant. Most popularly, Samsung’s Bixby button opened the phone’s assistant of the same name.

Sadly, like Bixby, LG won’t allow G7 users to rebind the button for other apps. This exclusivity is the same pain point that the Bixby button suffered from.

Of course, the LG G7 ThinQ will still launch officially on May 2 in New York. Anything can happen before then. If the reports are true, its Google Assistant button will enjoy more staying power if LG allows us to rebind it for other purposes.

SEE ALSO: LG G7 ThinkQ appears in a promo teaser showing a new angle

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Vivo launches V9 Youth with FullView display and dual rear cameras

It is a toned-down version of the V9

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Nearly a month after the launch of its V9 smartphone, Vivo has expanded the series with the V9 Youth.

The new Vivo V9 Youth was launched in India for INR 18,990 (US$ 287) and will be available on both online and offline channels. While the offline availability of the device starts today, the online platforms such as Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Amazon, and Vivo E-store will begin selling the phone from April 24.

The smartphone, as Vivo claims, is designed keeping in mind the young and dynamic consumer base and hence is packed with a host of new features like dual cameras on the rear, Android 8.1 Oreo, face unlock, and there’s also something called a Game Mode to deliver an uninterrupted gaming experience.

The V9 Youth focuses on its camera capabilities. The highlight of the smartphone is its dual rear cameras with 16- and 2-megapixel sensors. Selfie lovers get a 16-megapixel camera at the front alongside the AI Face Beauty feature. The device comes with a triple-card slot for adding two nano-SIM cards and one microSD card. On the rear, it also has a fingerprint sensor.

It comes with a metal unibody design and will be available in black and gold color options. On the front, the Vivo V9 Youth sports a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. Under the hood is a Snapdragon 450 SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card.

It’s backed by a 3260mAh non-removable battery and lacks fast charging support. The device runs Android 8.1 Oreo with the company’s own FunTouch OS 4.0 running on top of it.

“With the launch of ‘Vivo V9 Youth,’ we are bringing the best features of our flagship V9 in a new avatar for our young and modern consumers,” said Kenny Zeng, CMO, Vivo India.

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Vivo Y71 receives pricing in the Philippines

Vivo’s newest affordable smartphone

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After making a quiet debut in India, the Vivo Y71 is making its way to the Philippines. Even better news: It comes with a lower starting price.

In the Philippines, you can purchase the Y71 beginning at PhP 7,990 (US$ 152). That’s lower than the US$ 170 price we reported before, but take note that this is for the 2GB memory configuration. If you want the variant with 3GB of memory, you’d have to shell out PhP 8,990.

Besides that, the two models share the same specifications, from the Snapdragon 450 chipset and 16GB of expandable storage, to the 3360mAh battery and 6-inch 720p 18:9 screen.

The only real difference is in the cameras. Both have the same 5-megapixel front camera, but the 3GB memory version has a 13-megapixel rear camera while its cheaper sibling has only 8 megapixels for its main shooter.

You can find the Vivo Y71 in online and offline retailers in the Philippines beginning today.

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