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Xiaomi’s Black Shark gaming phone has high-end specs, liquid cooling

Has the Razer Phone been dethroned?

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There’s a new high-end gaming smartphone in town, and it’s called the Black Shark. Doesn’t sound familiar? We can’t blame you.

It’s the first in its lineage but isn’t exactly coming out of nowhere. As you can see in the title of this piece, Xiaomi helped make its launch happen.

Black Shark is a portfolio company under Xiaomi’s own hardware ecosystem, meaning Xiaomi invested in it but it’s not part of the company’s smartphone lineup. All you really need to know is that this is a brand-new product and it comes with some hefty features.

Being a gaming phone, it delivers the highest-end specs: 6-inch 18:9 LCD with a 1080p resolution, Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of memory, up to 128GB of storage, and a generous 4000mAh battery. That matches the best Samsung, Sony, and even Xiaomi have to offer.

Keeping the system cool is an advanced multi-layer liquid cooling setup that’s normally found in gaming laptops. Although the Snapdragon chip is already proven to be efficient in maintaining temperatures, this design will at least lengthen gaming sessions and the phone’s overall lifespan.

But what really makes the Black Shark special is its ability to attach a gamepad on the side for improved control during games. It connects through Bluetooth and has its own built-in battery so it won’t suck energy from the phone. The gamepad will be given away for free to the first 50,000 customers and will cost CNY 179 (US$ 29) on its own.

For those interested in gaming and photography, there’s a dual-camera setup on the back consisting of 20- and 12-megapixel sensors, plus another 20-megapixel shooter in front. Android 8.0 Oreo runs the software, but it’s skinned with Black Shark’s own user interface.

The Black Shark is available for pre-order in China beginning today. Its 6GB memory with 64GB storage variant retails for CNY 2,999 (US$ 475) while the model with 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage goes for CNY 3,499 (US$ 555). Available colors are black and gray as shown above.

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OnePlus 6 price and availability in the Philippines

Not that competitive anymore?

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After a successful launch in London and introducing a sweet Avengers Edition in India, the OnePlus 6 is now making its way to the Philippines.

Pricing is as follow: The 6GB RAM + 64GB storage variant is priced at PhP 30,990, while the 8GB + 128GB version goes for PhP 33,990. Both will have identical specifications other than those key numbers.

For comparison, the first variant costs US$ 529 (PhP 27,850) in the US and the latter has a price tag of US$ 579 (PhP 30,480). The markup isn’t that bad considering this is an imported product, but this signals the first time a OnePlus phone has a starting price over PhP 30,000 in the Philippines.

But it’s not all bad news, because there are some freebies involved. While not specified how to qualify, the first customers will be entitled to the following bonuses: a Baseus MVP USB-C Cable, Motorola Buds Earphones, and PhP 1,000 voucher at Digital Walker. Like before, everyone gets an official warranty lasting 18 months.

Digital Walker, the official distributor of OnePlus products in the Philippines, says that they’ll have the 256GB storage variant in the coming weeks, too. And you’ll also be glad to know that the Mirror Black color variant will be available from the very start.

As of now, there’s no exact availability date yet. Digital Walker currently has a page where you can show your interest for the OnePlus 6, meaning you’ll get updates as soon as dates are set.

What we do know is which Digital Walker branches it’ll be available in at launch: SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, Estancia Mall, Gateway Mall, and Ayala Cebu.

Now, how about bringing over the OnePlus Bullets Wireless earphones to the Philippines as well, Digital Walker?

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Apple’s new ‘free’ iCloud upgrades are designed to get more of your money

Read the fine print

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Every year, storage solutions grow faster than we can fill them. Despite the industry’s steadfast progress, cloud storage is still woefully catching up. Sadly, for some brands, progress hovers precariously out of reach.

Particularly, Apple’s latest efforts focuses more on sales rather than the actual product. Besides 5GB of free cloud storage, Apple now offers one month of free upgrades to more substantial storage plans.

For Apple users, the free 5GB of iCloud storage is part and parcel of every iPhone package. However, every smartphone photographer can tell you that five gigabytes pale in comparison to what everyday usage is like now.

Most users deplete this within a few months (if not, weeks). To increase this, Apple usually offers 50GB, 200GB, and 2TB upgrades on monthly subscription prices. Easily outclassed by their rivals, these upgrades don’t find much of an audience even from the most hardcore of users.

Now, Apple is offering free one-month trials for these upgrades. When users deplete their 5GB allocation, a new pop-up notifies users that they are entitled for a month of more iCloud storage.

However, this enticing offer hides a dastardly trap for unsuspecting subscribers. As with most online subscriptions, Apple will not automatically opt you out when your free month expires. After you finish the month, Apple will charge its users the regular rates for these upgrades.

Regardless, the internet has entertained this scheme for as long as online subscriptions have existed. The system hopes that users are either too ignorant to notice the fine print or too reliant on the upgrade to back out.

While internet-savvy users can detect the ploy immediately, Apple’s massive reach ensures that even casual users will receive the offer.

Unfortunately for Apple, competing cloud services still edge out iCloud handily. Most notably, Google Photos offers unlimited storage on the cloud for free.

Also, iCloud remains one of the weakest names in cyber security. Just a few years ago, hackers breached and obtained extremely sensitive material from the iCloud accounts of famous Hollywood celebrities.

SEE ALSO: What’s the difference between RAM and internal storage?

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Samsung launches new devices and faces old problems: Weekend Rewind

Samsung has their work cut out for them

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. Samsung faces legal trouble, while the iPhone X enjoys the top spot

Six years after Samsung was first found liable for infringing on five iPhone patents in its own smartphone designs, they are now ordered by a California jury to pay US$ 539 million in damages to Apple. CNET reports that the infringements in question occurred on Samsung phones sold in 2010 and 2011. All this comes after a March 2018 report says that the iPhone X remains the best-selling smartphone in the world, while Samsung’s new flagships the Galaxy S9 and S9+ share the no. 5 and 6 spots. Samsung sure has their work cut out for them.

2. Samsung announces new phones around Asia

We’re still a few months away until we see Samsung’s new premium flagship, but there’s no stopping the Korean company from announcing phones for other budget segments. New Galaxies launched this week around Asia, including the Galaxy S Light in China, Galaxy A6+ in the Philippines, and the Galaxy J6, J8, A6, and A6+ in India.

3. HTC unveils notchless U12+

HTC has a new flagship and while it packs top of the line specs, it’s unique in so many ways for a phone launched in 2018. Instead of carrying a notch, it sports a 6-inch Quad HD+ screen with an 18:9 ratio. It comes in Ceramic Black, Flame Red, and a color called Translucent Blue, which allows users to see the inner workings of the phone through the translucent back panel. Read more about the phone here.

4. Essential is up for sale?

According to reports, Essential is canceling the Essential Phone 2, and is now focusing its efforts on an undisclosed home tech product. Essential also reportedly enlisted the help of the Credit Suisse Group to find potential buyers for the whole company, including its entire library of patents (which houses the Essential Phone), and the company’s engineering team. Read the report here.

5. Acer launches new laptops and desktop PCs

It was Acer’s big week as they announced a slew of products at their annual Global Press Conference in New York. There’s the powerful Predator Orion 5000, gaming laptop beast Predator Helios 500, affordable Acer Nitro 50, and lightweight 15-inch Swift 5. There’s also a Special Edition Predator Helios 300 in white and it’s gorgeous.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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