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.

News

HTC launches the notch-less, translucent U12+

Sports an 18:9 display

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Finally, HTC has lifted the veil off its much-anticipated flagship. After weeks of leaks and rumors, the HTC U12+ has arrived on the scene. In a global launch event, the Taiwanese company has completely unveiled both the specs and price of their new flagship.

Unlike most smartphones today, the U12+ will not carry the controversial camera notch. Instead, it sports a 6-inch Quad HD+ screen. The sizable display packs in an 18:9 resolution of 2880 x 1440.

The screen features HTC’s upgraded Edge Sense 2. Besides the usual complement of gesture controls, the feature can now detect which hand is being used. The extra detection allows for convenient one-hand phone handling with gestures.

Under the hood, the U12+ touts the top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor, and comes with 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of internal storage (expandable up to 2TB with a microSD).

Camera-wise, the U12+ snaps photos with a dual 12-megapixel wide-angle (1.4µm, f/1.75) and 16-megapixel telephoto (1.0µm, f/2.6) rear shooter. Additionally, the dual-flash camera supports speedy phase detection and laser autofocus. It also supports up to 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom.

On the other hand, the dual 8-megapixel (1.12µm, f/2.0) front shooter touts wide-angle capabilities of up to a 84-degree field of view.

Further, the U12+ can churn out crystal-clear sound with support for active noise cancellation, hi-fi playback, and wireless audio.

For connectivity, the dual SIM phone supports up to dual 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, and HTC Connect for wireless streaming.

Finally, the U12+ owns a 3500mAh battery. According to HTC, it can power through up to 23.8 hours of talk time on 4G. It also supports fast charging with an included Quick Charge 3.0 charger.

It comes in Ceramic Black, Flame Red, and Translucent Blue. Notably, the Translucent Blue variant’s unique design (called Liquid Surface) allows users to see the inner workings of the phone through the back panel.

Online pre-orders are now available. The HTC U12+’s 64GB variant retails for NT$ 23,900 (around US$ 800). Meanwhile, the 128GB variant sells for NT$ 24,900 (around US$ 830).

SEE ALSO: HTC will launch a blockchain-powered phone in October

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy A6 Hands-on: Repackaging the older series

A combination of the Galaxy J7 Pro and Galaxy A8

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The latest midrange phones of Samsung are finally hitting the stores, but they got us a little confused. Since the introduction of the Galaxy A series, it has always been the family of upper-midrange Samsung phones with a premium design. In 2018 though, Samsung is blending the Galaxy A and Galaxy J’s designs; the result is the new Galaxy A6 phones. There’s a regular and a better plus variant, but let’s check out the former first.

This is the Galaxy A6: A phone with a 5.6-inch Super AMOLED display and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio or Infinity Display, as Samsung calls it. The resolution of the display is underwhelming at just 1480 x 720 pixels or 294ppi, but it’s still pretty sharp. The Infinity Display of the Galaxy A6 doesn’t curve to the sides unlike with the Galaxy S9 flagship, yet the bezels are minimal.

The vibrant Super AMOLED display is a common Samsung trait

We have the usual sight in the front including the 16-megapixel f/1.9 selfie camera paired with its own LED flash, earpiece, and sensors. There’s no branding on the face of the phone so when the display is turned off, it looks sleek and clean on the table.

Too bad it doesn’t have the Always On Display feature, even though it has an AMOLED screen.

It’s an Infinity Display but not edge-to-edge

Having the loudspeaker at the side has now been a staple among Samsung midrange phones. It’s a much better placement than on the bottom since you don’t cover or muffle it when viewing in landscape orientation. This is ideal for watching videos or playing mobile games.

Both the loudspeaker and power button are on the right side of the phone

The volume buttons are on the right

Those who dislike making a choice between a microSD card or secondary SIM card will be glad to see the triple card slots of the Galaxy A6. There are two card trays inside the phone: one for the main nano-SIM card and another for the second nano-SIM and the microSD card.

You have to take out two trays to get all your cards inside

The body of the phone is mainly made up of aluminum with U-shaped antennas similar to the Galaxy J7 Pro’s frame. To be honest, the Galaxy A6 can easily be mistaken for the Galaxy J7 Pro if not for the rear camera. Speaking of, the Galaxy A6 has a 16-megapixel f/1.7 rear sensor inside an area shared with the fingerprint sensor. Thankfully, it’s identical to the Galaxy A8’s and Galaxy S9’s placement.

There should be fewer smudges on the camera lens

Going further into the internals of the Galaxy A6, it’s powered by an Exynos 7870 processor — the same silicon the popular Galaxy J7 Prime had back in 2016. The processor is getting old, so we’re hoping Samsung will use a newer one in their next release.

Good thing the bigger Galaxy A6+ has the latest Snapdragon 450, or else it’ll be just an under-powered midrange phone.

The variant we have here has 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage, but there’s also a 4GB/64GB combo available in select markets.

The Samsung Galaxy A6 with the 3GB/32GB configuration retails for PhP 16,490 in the Philippines while in India, it goes from INR 21,990 up to INR 22,990 depending on the variant.

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India

Honor 7A and Honor 7C with dual rear cameras launch in India

A perfect package in terms of features and price?

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After launching the duo in China, Honor has now announced the Honor 7A and 7C in India.

Back in November, the Honor 7X was launched in the country and received a good response in terms of sales. The budget smartphone segment has never been this competitive; Xiaomi has the Redmi Note 5, ASUS has the ZenFone Max Pro, OPPO has the Realme 1, while Samsung too is trying its luck with the On and J series. 

The major differences between the two are in display size and their processors. As far as design is concerned, the two are identical and closely resemble their sibling, the Honor 7X. The duo ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box and support Face Unlock.

The Honor 7A has a 5.7-inch HD+ LCD display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 that Honor likes to call FullView. The device is powered by a Snapdragon 430 processor backed by 3GB of RAM. On the rear, it sports a dual camera setup consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel secondary camera. On the front is an 8-megapixel selfie shooter along with a soft LED. The device is priced at INR 8,999 (US$ 132) and will be available exclusively from Flipkart starting May 29.

On the other hand, the Honor 7C consists of a 5.99-inch HD+ LCD display and the same FullView aspect ratio. It’s powered by a slightly more powerful Snapdragon 450 processor and comes with either 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage or 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. It sports the same camera setup on the front as well as the back. Both devices are backed by a 3000mAh battery and fingerprint scanner on the back. The Honor 7C is priced at INR 9,999 (US$ 147) for the 32GB variant and INR 11,999 (US$ 176) for the 64GB variant. Even this device will be available from Flipkart starting May 31.

These two phones will also be available for purchase from HiHonor Online Store. Launch offers include 50GB additional free data for the Honor 7A and 100GB additional free data for the Honor 7C from Jio.

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