News

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7 is a true bang for the buck smartphone

It has a 48-megapixel camera

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Xiaomi has been known to offer affordable smartphones with great specs and features through its Redmi series. Starting today though, Redmi is now a sub-brand just like Pocophone. The first phone under this new arrangement is the Redmi Note 7.

As the first phone to be part of the Redmi sub-brand, the Note 7 gives it all. It’s got a 48-megapixel camera, Snapdragon 660 processor, big screen, massive battery, and a really attractive price tag.

Image credit: Xiaomi

The Redmi Note 7’s main selling point is its main 48-megapixel Samsung-made sensor. But of course, all those pixels will be used to create a crisper image at 12 megapixels — just like with Huawei flagship phones. It’s paired with a 5-megapixel secondary shooter which is responsible for AI scene recognition and edge detection for creating the bokeh effect. For selfies, there’s a 13-megapixel sensor in front of the phone.

The phone’s display measures 6.3 inches with a small cutout for the selfie camera. It’s protected by Gorilla Glass and has a resolution of Full HD+. Xiaomi claims a screen-to-body ratio of 84 percent and the back panel is also made of premium glass.

Image credit: Xiaomi

The Snapdragon 660 processor may already be old, but it’s still fast and reliable. Also, for a budget phone, a well-known midrange processor is very welcome to join the party.

Keeping the Redmi Note 7 lighted up is a large 4000mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4. Xiaomi finally shifted to USB-C for its Redmi phones and using a fast charging brick, the Note 7 can be fully charged in under two hours.

Image credit: Xiaomi

Price-wise, the Redmi Note 7 is a steal. The base model with 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage starts from CNY 999 or around US$ 150. The 4GB/64GB variant is slightly more expensive at CNY 1,199 (US$ 180), while bumping up the memory to 6GB will jack it up to CNY 1,399 (US$ 210). The available color options are blue, red, and black.

Pre-orders have already started in China, with shipments scheduled for January 15. The phone is only available in China for now, but it’ll be available in other Xiaomi markets very soon.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi’s AirDots Pro is the latest AirPods copycat

News

OxygenOS 11 will come with major design changes

Eerily similar to OneUI

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OnePlus fans have always sworn by OxygenOS for its stock-like Android experience. However, that may soon change with the release of OxygenOS 11, the latest iteration based on the upcoming Android 11.

OnePlus dropped these changes on the latest developer preview of OxygenOS last August 11.  While these may change before the final release, some of them are already causing a stir among many fans and Android users.

Inspired by OneUI

The biggest takeaway from OxygenOS 11 is its likeness to OneUI. Clearly, OnePlus took some design inspiration from Samsung’s skin. The big headers and large empty spaces are straight out of OneUI’s playbook. Almost all system apps — settings, contacts, messages, and weather app — from OxygenOS 11 have been redesigned with this design principle. Even the drop-down notification shade and Shelf gets the redesign treatment.

Photo by dsmonteiro from OnePlus

To OnePlus’ credit though, this new version of OxygenOS is much more coherent on adhering to its own design language. OnePlus’ brand redesign culminated with a brand-new font, and it is debuting as OnePlus Sans here.

Always-on display makes a debut

Another big thing debuting on OxygenOS 11 is always-on display (AOD). Technically, OnePlus’ phones had an always-on display in the form of ambient display. However, the implementation in the new version of OxygenOS is much closer to how other phone manufacturers implement AOD. The company even threw some slick new AOD styles, including the unique “Insights” style.

Zen Mode, Gallery, dark mode, and RAM optimizations

Some of the apps get new additions and optimizations for OxygenOS 11. Zen Mode gains a new sharing feature that enables users to share their sessions with other users. The gallery app, on one hand, has a revamped explore tab that automatically creates stories based on taken shots.

Users can now set dark mode to toggle automatically too. There are tweaks to the dark mode and more system apps now support it too.

Furthermore, OxygenOS 11 brings RAM optimization that should address aggressive app killing in the background. This is a small but welcome change considering that OnePlus ranks among the worst offender for aggressive RAM optimization.

Developer preview out now

Users who are willing to try out OxygenOS 11 may do so by downloading it directly from OnePlus’ website. As of now, it is only available for technically-inclined users of the OnePlus 8 series. A public beta is not long in the tooth now, considering that stable Android 11 is almost here.

All-in-all, OxygenOS 11 is set to be a major design change that will surely polarize long-time OnePlus fans and users. Perhaps, this change will be another in the long line of controversial decisions that OnePlus did in an effort to catch up with major phone manufacturers.

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Accessories

Sony WH-1000XM4 price and availability in the Philippines

Right around how much we expected it to be

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Sony’s best just got better as the Sony WH-1000XM4 is now official and has come to the Philippines.

New to the headphones in its 4th iteration is Multiple device pairing. This has been one of this headphones’ weaknesses and it has finally been addressed. You can now connect the Sony WH-1000XM4 to two devices simultaneously.

When a call comes in, your headphones will know which device is ringing and connect to it automatically. You’ll also be able to quickly switch your headphones to either of the two devices in a single tap.

Sound of the WH-1000XM-line has always been stellar and the XM4 should be no different. The ever-reliable QN1 is still here for noise-cancellation but it’s now paired with a new Bluetooth Audio SoC. It can sense and adjust to music and noise at over 700 times per second.

It now also has Edge-AI, DSEE Extreme which more accurately rebuilds audio lost during digital compression for a full fidelity experience. The 360 Reality Audio feature is now also making its way to these headphones. It lets listeners enjoy a custom immersive musical field that is perfectly optimized for each individual user.

The WH-1000XM4 also supports Google’s helpful new Fast Pair feature that lets you easily locate where you left your WH-1000XM4 by ringing them.

Lastly, there’s Speak-to-chat. Previously, you had to cover one of the ear cups to disable the noise-cancelling for a short period. Now, you only have to speak and the headphones will recognize your voice, automatically stop your music and let in ambient sound so you can conduct a conversation without removing your headphones.

Pricing and availability 

The Sony WH-1000XM4 will retail for PhP 19,999 and is available in the Philippines starting August 14, 2020 in all Sony Centers and dealers nationwide.

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Enterprise

TikTok has collected user information illegally

They know who you are

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For months now, the US has hounded TikTok for potentially enabling Chinese cyber espionage. ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, is a Chinese company, making it a prime target for data collection. Of course, despite the numerous warnings, TikTok’s transgressions have only started appearing en masse recently. Today, a new conspiracy adds another drop to the overflowing bucket. Unfortunately, it’s a big one. Apparently, TikTok has collected user information illegally for over a year. TikTok knows who you are.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, TikTok collected and sent valuable MAC addresses and advertising IDs to ByteDance until around November of last year. Of note, Google prohibits this questionable practice, banning apps that practice the method. However, TikTok applied a layer of encryption that hid the practice from the Play Store.

For the unfamiliar, MAC addresses are much more valuable than IP address. While IP addresses constantly change, MAC addresses are more difficult to alter. Most users will usually cycle through the lifespan of a device without giving their MAC addresses a second thought. However, the MAC address is an incredibly unique identifier for your device. Only you should ideally have that address. That said, TikTok’s sketchy collection tactic is much weightier than normal.

According to TikTok’s policies now, the platform does not collect these identifiers anymore. However, it doesn’t bode well for long-time TikTok users since last year. At its most docile, the practice likely facilitated advertising opportunities for the platform. However, it is still highly illegal to collect that data without permission. If anything, the report will give cybersecurity pundits more ammo against the already struggling company.

More than a week ago, Trump had already signed a ban against the app, giving the platform only until September 15 to divest its American assets over to an American corporation.

SEE ALSO: French privacy watchdog is now probing TikTok

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