Smartphones

ZenFone 2 Laser: Redefining Value

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We partnered with Asus to put a spotlight on the Zenfone 2 Laser. While the ZenFone 5 is still a pretty good bang for your buck phone, the ZenFone 2 Laser is an upgrade in every respect.

And where sub-10K phones are concerned, this phone offers many things its rivals don’t. For example, it is the only smartphone under P10,000 equipped with a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 display That means coins, keys, not even this cutter can scratch your screen.

Her GadgetMatch

Meitu will launch a triple selfie camera phone

Showing the selfie some love!

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This year signaled the renaissance of smartphone photography. Starting with Huawei, the triple camera system revolutionized the Instagram game. Suddenly, everyone can take extraordinarily impressive photos from a phone. Of course, the revolution remains exclusive to the coveted rear camera.

Sadly, the front-facing selfie camera has gotten no love. Instead of working on the camera’s hardware, companies have resorted to cheaper smoothing software. The so-called beautification feature paled in comparison to the sharpness of advanced rear cameras.

Thankfully, a handful of companies are working on improving selfie cameras as a whole. Fresh off a Xiaomi acquisition, Chinese company Meitu has revealed its plans for a more capable selfie shooter.

Image source: TENAA

Spotted on TENAA, the Meitu MP1801 sports an astonishing three selfie cameras. According to the posting, the future smartphone will have a 12-megapixel + 20-megapixel + 8-megapixel front-facing camera combination. Sadly, it doesn’t specify what these cameras are for. Based on speculation, its main driver will likely be the 12-megapixel sensor. Meanwhile, the 20-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensors could be wide angle and depth sensors, respectively.

On the flip side, the phone will have a standard 12- and 8-megapixel rear camera combination. Under the hood, it will sport a 6.21-inch OLED screen, an unidentified hexa-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of internal storage.

Design-wise, the Meitu phone looks similar to the company’s previous selfie beast — the Meitu V6. At the time, the Meitu V6 delivered amazing selfies. Given the company’s reputation, the upcoming triple selfie camera phone will likely follow in the V6’s success.

With Xiaomi taking the reins, Meitu will likely launch this amazing selfie shooter sometime soon. Regardless, this answers the uncertainty that initially surrounded Xiaomi’s acquisition of the company.

SEE ALSO: Meitu V6 Review: A luxury selfie smartphone

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India

Samsung Galaxy A9 with quadruple rear cameras is up for grabs

Is this every photographer’s dream phone?

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This year has been underwhelming for Samsung. Even though its flagship phones like the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 are top-class, they haven’t been selling like hot cakes due to rising competition from the likes of Huawei and OnePlus. Secondly, the company is facing cut-throat competition in the midrange and budget segment from Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo.

Hence, Samsung has decided to completely revamp its strategy for the coming year and has already started launching phones that have unmatched capabilities. The Galaxy A7 was the first product that brought in a triple rear camera setup to the midrange segment following the success of the P20 Pro.

Now, the brand has unveiled the Galaxy A9 in India that brings in four cameras on the rear. To further sweeten the deal, it also incorporates Samsung’s Infinity Display technology and a glass build.

The phone has a 6.3-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with an aspect ratio of 18.5:9. Usually, a majority of the devices from Samsung house an Exynos processor, but the A9 is powered by the popular midrange Snapdragon 660 SoC along with 6GB RAM in the base variant. A second option is also available that has 8GB RAM, and internal storage remains constant at 128GB in both the options.

On the rear is a vertical module that houses the four cameras: a 24-megapixel primary sensor, a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with 2x optical zoom, an 8-megapixel wide angle camera, and lastly a 5-megapixel depth sensor for bokeh effects. On the front is a 24-megapixel selfie shooter that supports facial unlock.

Unlike the Galaxy A7, this phone has a fingerprint sensor on the back. It runs on Samsung Experience UI that’s built on top of Android 8.0 Oreo and includes the Bixby smart assistant and Samsung Pay. The Galaxy A9 is backed by a 3800mAh battery that charges via a USB-C port.

The phone will be available exclusively online starting November 28 from Flipkart. The base offering of 6GB is priced at INR 36,990 (US$ 515) and the 8GB option costs INR 39,990 (US$ 560).

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Hands-On

Huawei Y9 (2019) hands-on: Things got bigger

It’s also more fashionable

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Like every year, cheaper devices come after the premium phones get announced. If the flagship phones are too much for your usage or maybe you’re just looking for a secondary phone, the midrange lineup is the way to go.

As a successor, the new Huawei Y9 (2019) brings in noteworthy upgrades. Although, Huawei seems to be pushing larger phones to the mass market because this year’s Y9 model comes with a bigger display and, of course, a vibrant colored body.

Is the Y9 (2019) any good? Let’s find out.

It has a large 6.5-inch Full HD+ display

Pretty much edge-to-edge with a notch

The notch houses two front cameras

And some sensors as well

The power and volume buttons are on the right

The power button has a special texture

The phone accepts a microSD and two nano-SIM cards

No need to choose!

It uses a micro-USB port for charging

At least there’s a headphone jack

The rear of the phone looks beautiful!

The exterior is plastic, though

There are two AI-enabled cameras on the back

Capable of portrait shots!

It’s bigger, better than before

From 5.93 inches, the latest Huawei Y9 model now has a bigger 6.5-inch display and a higher screen-to-body ratio. The resolution remains at Full HD+ and so does the battery at 4000mAh, but it’s now borderless, which means the infamous notch comes in. The cutout is relatively small though, and it houses two cameras for taking selfies. Also, the aspect ratio is now a bit taller making the phone easier to hold with one hand despite the bigger dimensions.

The phone’s body is mostly made out of polycarbonate, but it doesn’t feel cheap or plasticky. The interesting color of the phone’s back makes the Y9 (2019) look more interesting than other phones in its range. If you like flashy phones, the Y9 (2019) will not disappoint.

When it comes to performance, the Y9 (2019) will also satisfy even the most demanding of users. The phone is powered by Huawei’s latest midrange chip, the Kirin 710. Since the Kirin 710 is manufactured using the 12nm process, it’s more efficient and powerful. The unit I have has 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage, which is enough for what users need today.

Running Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2 and GPU Turbo already available out of the box, the phone can handle graphics-intensive games with ease, especially those that are fully optimized with GPU Turbo like Asphalt 9. I also got high frame rates with Mobile Legends and PUBG: Mobile during my time with the phone.

Equipped with AI-powered cameras

The Y9 (2019) has four cameras: two at the back and two in front. Although, the additional sensors on each side of the phone are purely for depth sensing, so there’s not much to be excited about.

The 16-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera, which is accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor, takes care of the main shooting duties, while the 13-megapixel f/1.8 front camera (also assisted by another 2-megapixel depth sensor) handles selfies. Like any other Huawei phone to come out lately, the Y9 (2019) has AI available to take better photos based on the detected scenario.

Check out these samples:

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Again, turning on AI doesn’t always help. There’s something about the AI cameras on Huawei midrange phones (even Honor) that makes photos appear more saturated and a bit softer, especially in low-light. Good thing it can always be turned off even after taking the shot.

Portrait shots seem pretty okay as well as the selfies. The beauty mode is not my cup of tea, so I have it set to the lowest setting most of the time.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a device that’s relatively cheap and has everything a modern smartphone should have, the Y9 (2019) is an easy recommendation. Don’t expect it to fly, but it’s got more features than your typical midrange phone. Basically, this is Huawei’s answer to the Honor 8X. Both practically have the same specs, but Honor is selling theirs with a cheaper price tag.

The Huawei Y9 (2019) is now available across Asia and it retails for PhP 12,990 in the Philippines, MYR 899 in Malaysia, and CNY 1,499 in China. Aside from the Sapphire Blue color, it’s also available in Midnight Black and Aurora Purple.

Price-wise, the Y9 (2019) sits below another Huawei phone — the Nova 3i. They have matching specifications and features, so the Y9 (2019) is a good option if you want to save a few bucks yet still own a Huawei phone.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Review: The simpler sibling

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