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Xiaomi Redmi Pro brings dual-cam system to budget phone category

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We knew it was only a matter of time before the dual-camera set-up in a smartphone becomes mainstream. After all, one camera just doesn’t cut it when you want better focus and depth perception. Xiaomi is the latest company to join the fray with the newly launched Redmi Pro.

The 5.5-inch device uses sensors from different manufacturers: a 13-megapixel Sony IMX258 main lens for the still image and a 5-megapixel Samsung assistive sensor for that DSLR-like bokeh effect you probably want. You may even adjust the focus point after taking a photo.

To show the Redmi Pro’s camera prowess, Xiaomi has released the following sample images.

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The Redmi Pro is also Xiaomi’s first smartphone to get an OLED display — a full-HD at that — to make visuals eye-popping.

We’re surprised the company has introduced the dual-camera and OLED screen technologies into the entry-level Redmi lineup, not into the flagship Mi series. It makes us wonder how Xiaomi is going to set its next top-of-the-line phone apart.

Not that we’re complaining, considering the base model, which comes with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of ROM, and MediaTek Helio X20 10-core processor, costs only 1,499 yuan or about $225. Even the variant with 3GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and MediaTek Helio X25 64-bit deca-core chipset is priced at just 1,699 yuan or roughly $255, and the version with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal memory, and Helio X25 processor sells for only 1,999 yuan or around $300.

At those prices, you already get a brushed-metal unibody, a 2.5D curved glass up front, a fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen, a USB Type-C port, dual-SIM and VoLTE support, an IR blaster, and Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based MIUI 8 OS.

To top it off, you may not have to worry about charging the Redmi Pro often because it boasts a huge, 4,050mAh battery. Fast charging should keep you sane as well.

Xiaomi has not announced any international launch for the Redmi Pro yet. The August 6 availability of the gold and silver models is only for the Chinese market, but we’re pretty sure it will soon be sold in India, the second largest smartphone market after China.

The low-cost Redmi series is Xiaomi’s most successful line of devices. The Chinese company sold more than 110 million Redmi units — or 1.2 units per second — in three years.

With the entry of the Redmi Pro, coupled with Xiaomi’s strategy to use celebrity brand ambassadors and traditional advertising for the first time, that number may probably rise significantly, hopefully enough to take on Chinese rivals Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo, which research firm IDC says beat Xiaomi in terms of global shipment volumes in the first quarter of 2016.

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Honor 10 offers the best of Huawei minus the premium price

Gives up only a few features

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Huawei has done it once again, releasing a more affordable alternative to its latest flagship smartphone lineup and placing it under the more budget-friendly Honor brand. This time, we’re looking at the newly launched Honor 10.

Make no mistake about it, the Honor 10 is a feature-packed device. A lot of the high-end specifications found on the Huawei P20 series — such as the top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor, glass and metal body, and latest EMUI 8.1 software (based on Android 8.1 Oreo) — are mostly here.

And yes, there’s a notch on top. It fits inside the 5.84-inch 1080p LCD with a 19:9 screen ratio. Underneath the display is the front-mounted fingerprint sensor, although Huawei’s usual facial recognition feature is available if you prefer that for unlocking your phone.

This being a Huawei device, you can expect the cameras to be great. In this case, there’s a 16- and 24-megapixel combo on the back, with the latter having a monochrome image sensor for sharper photos. Not to be outdone, the selfie shooter is of the 24-megapixel kind, as well. Unfortunately, there’s no Leica branding in sight, which explains why this phone can be sold cheaper, but you do get artificial intelligence in the cameras for smarter scene recognition.

Memory and storage configurations are excellent, with 6GB for the former and a choice between 64GB and 128GB for the latter. And because this is a big phone, a 3400mAh battery is found inside, just like on the P20. What’s extra special is the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio port, something Huawei flagships have given up on since the Mate 10 series.

Pricing starts at CNY 2,599 (US$ 412) for the 6GB memory with 64GB storage variant, and CNY 2,999 (US$ 477) for the model with 128GB of storage (neither of which can be expanded using a microSD card). There’s some difficulty in translating the exact color names to English, but rest assured there are four to choose from: black, gray, purple, and blue.

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Motorola announces Moto G6, G6 Play, and G6 Plus with 18:9 displays, Android Oreo

The latest midrange phones to beat

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Meet the new Moto G6 family, Motorola’s latest trio of midrange smartphones. Each comes with its own strengths, but they have a number of similarities.

Each G6 phone has Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box with no skin on top, a display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, front LED flash, water-repellent coating, and fingerprint reader. They also share a common design that’s starting to get old since every Motorola phone has had the same shape.

Moto G6

The regular Moto G6 comes with a 5.7-inch Full HD+ display and Snapdragon 450 processor which easily puts it in the same league as lower-midrange phones. It’ll have up to 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage. There’s a microSD card slot just in case you need more space.

A dual rear setup is onboard with a 12- and 5-megapixel combo and bright f/1.8 lens. It records video up to 1080p at 60 frames per second. An 8-megapixel front camera takes care of selfie needs.

With a 3000mAh battery and 15W TurboCharger bundled in the box, you can quickly charge the phone and it’ll last (most likely) the whole day.

It uses Gorilla Glass 3 for both of its front and back with similar curves we first saw on the Moto X4. The same goes for the G6 Plus variant.

Pricing starts at EUR 250.

Moto G6 Plus

The Moto G6 Plus gets the best features in the series. It has the biggest display with a 5.9-inch IPS LCD sporting a Full HD+ resolution. It also has a more powerful Snapdragon 630 processor with up to 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of expandable storage.

Camera-wise, the G6 Plus features dual rear cameras as well — a 12- and 5-megapixel combo with a large 1.4µm pixel size and f/1.7 aperture. It has Dual Pixel autofocus for quick focus times and support for 4K video recording. As for selfies, there’s an 8-megapixel front camera complete with beauty mode and filters.

The Plus model has a slightly larger battery than the regular variant with its 3200mAh capacity. Fast charging is also a feature of the Plus using the included 15W TurboPower charger and USB-C cable.

Pricing starts at EUR 300.

Moto G6 Play

Lastly, we have the G6 Play — the G6 phone with the biggest battery at 4000mAh packed into a body sporting a 5.7-inch display. Motorola claims it can last up to 36 hours on a single charge which is pretty impressive. The large battery phone is also bundled with a 15W TurboPower charger just like its siblings.

The Play version is all about longetivity, so its specifications are not the best in class but still capable. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 430 processor with 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable storage.

There are no dual cameras here but the single 13-megapixel rear shooter should be enough for quick snaps, while the 8-megapixel selfie camera is on par with the more expensive models.

Its price is only EUR 200.

All of the new Moto G6 phones are going to be available in markets where Motorola is present, except for the Moto G6 Plus which will skip North America.

SEE ALSO: Motorola Moto X4 Review: Beautiful and fragile

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Huawei P20, P20 Pro, P20 Lite: Prices and availability in the Philippines

More affordable than in most regions

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Nearly a month after the international launch and two weeks after the release in Singapore, Huawei’s newest lineup of smartphones is finally coming to the Philippines.

The flagship P20 Pro and P20, along with the midrange P20 Lite, will be available beginning April 28.

Being the best of the lineup (and possibly best of all Android handsets at the moment), the P20 Pro will cost you the most. It’ll retail for PhP 44,990 which converts to about EUR 695 — way below the European launch price of EUR 899. The color options are Black, Midnight Blue, and Twilight Purple.

And then we have the P20, which retails for only PhP 34,990 or around EUR 540. This is, again, much cheaper than the EUR 649 price tag in Europe. For now, it’ll come in Black and Midnight Blue — no sign yet of a local Pink Gold release.

Finally, the P20 Lite will arrive with a price of PhP 15,990. This is only slightly higher than what the Nova 2i (viewed as Huawei’s staple midrange offering since last year) was retailing for. You can purchase one in either Klein Blue or Black.

Pre-orders are also being accepted for the P20 Pro and P20 from April 21 to 27. Do so, and you’ll receive a Canon photo printer for free. And if you buy the P20 Lite during the April 28 launch day, you’ll get a free Huawei accessory for its cameras.

Learn more about Huawei’s P20 series in our hands-on video:

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