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.

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Find X slides in, IGTV comes out: Weekend Rewind

All-screen phones and a truly mobile video platform

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. We found X!

All-screen phones are coming out one after another. Following the release of Vivo’s NEX last week, OPPO announced their official entry into the western market with the OPPO Find X. It boasts a 93.8 percent screen-to-body ratio and has specs that match today’s flagships. However, what’s most interesting about it is the sliding camera system. Tap the camera app and the top portion of the phone slides up to reveal both the front-facing camera that has 3D scanning functions like the iPhone X and the dual rear cameras with the flash situated in between the two.

OPPO’s push for innovation comes at a steep price of EUR 999 or about US$ 1,155 and that’s not even the most expensive variant of this phone. OPPO also announced a Lamborghini Edition which will retail for EUR 1,699 or around US$ 1,965. Yikes.

2. Is this the Galaxy S10?

Did we say all-screen phones are all the rage? Notable leaker IceUniverse posted a photo of an all-screen phone with the caption, “This may be a design beyond.” The curved sides — prominent on Galaxy S phones in recent years — lead many people to think this could be what the Galaxy S10 will look like. Details are obviously scarce but it’s always fun to speculate how the camera system will be implemented and if it will have an in-display fingerprint scanner or not.

3. Look Ma, no ports!

Apple just keeps taking things away. After removing the headphone jack a few years back, there are now reports saying they’re taking away the Lightning port. The news comes right before Apple launched AirPower, its first official wireless charging mat. The company will likely earn the ire of several users but that hasn’t stopped them before. This also means a port-less iPhone is coming sooner than we realize.

4. IGTV is here

Instagram is taking YouTube head-on but with its own mobile twist with IGTV. After implementing IG Stories and Live video, the app that started as a photo-sharing platform will now allow users to upload videos from 15 seconds to 10 minutes but in portrait orientation, embracing its mobile roots. On its blog, the company says, “It’s built for how you actually use your phone.” Instagram also hopes to add more features to IGTV like ads and monetization.

5. PS4 faves at a discount!

PS4 gamers rejoice! If you missed out on titles right around the time the console was launched, then let this news ease your worries away. Selected titles deemed as “PlayStation Hits” will retail for only US$ 20 starting June 28. That’s a third of their original price.

The complete PlayStation Hits lineup includes Battlefield 4Bloodborne (standard edition), DOOMDriveClubInfamous: Second SonKillzone: Shadow FallThe Last of Us RemasteredLittleBigPlanet 3Metal Gear Solid 5: The Definitive ExperienceProject CARSRatchet & ClankStreet Fighter 5Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndYakuza 0, and Yakuza Kiwami.

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Samsung files a patent for a bezel-less, notch-less Galaxy Note

Bad news: no audio port

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This year’s quest for the holy grail hunts for a truly bezel-less and notch-less smartphone. Phone makers frantically push for their own takes on all-screen phones.

With a new patent, Samsung is throwing their hat into the ring with a Galaxy Note-like device that eliminates bezels altogether.

In the patent, the included drawing depicts a phone that takes out the residual bottom chin and reduces the top bezel to a notch-less strip.

Notably, the patent also majorly alters Samsung’s usual design philosophy for the rear panel. Instead of the usual central positioning, Samsung has moved this phone’s rear camera to the upper-left corner, similar to the iPhone X and Huawei P20.

Image source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Also, despite the lack of a home button, the phone doesn’t add a new button for a fingerprint sensor. This likely implies that Samsung is making significant headway with an under-screen fingerprint sensor. (The feature will likely make an appearance on the upcoming Galaxy Note 9, as well.)

For all its optimism, the patented phone depicts a hugely disappointing non-feature — the lack of a 3.5mm audio port. Currently, Samsung remains one of the last bastions of the celebrated audio port. The patent’s lack of the feature is a stark surprise from the Korean company.

Right now, this specific form factor has found significant traction with the new Vivo NEX. However, Vivo’s take on the design still carries a noticeable bottom chin and a controversial pop-up camera.

Regardless, Samsung’s patent will likely enter production after this year’s slate of Samsung phones. The company has already scheduled the Galaxy Note 9’s launch on August 9.

To add to this, another leak indicates that even the Galaxy S series will feature bezel-less screens next year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung might launch a 512GB Galaxy Note 9 in Korea and China

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Does this confirm the ASUS ROG Phone coming to the US?

Finally leaving Taiwan

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One of the biggest mysteries during the ROG Phone launch — among many — was when and where the ASUS gaming phone was going to be rolled out.

Outside of the obvious homeland of Taiwan and “coming soon,” there wasn’t much else divulged about the availability, or even the price for that matter, but we may have found one major clue.

The US website of ASUS put up a dedicated page for the ROG Phone. While it doesn’t indicate any of the details we want to know, it’s a strong indicator that the gaming handset is in fact on its way to the other side of the world.

ASUS executives themselves promised that the device will become commercially available some time during the second half of 2018, and with that about to begin in a little over a week, more details may soon be known.

For now, the ROG Phone is still the most powerful handset ASUS has released to date, and continues to be the most attractive gaming smartphone this year.

You can learn more about it in our hands-on video here:

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