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Xperia XZ1: What’s up with Sony’s upcoming flagship phone?

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Xperia XZ1

It’s an open secret now that Sony is prepping to launch three Xperia smartphones at IFA 2017. Sure, the smartphones have been through several leaks and rumors, even revealing some of the possible specs of the devices. However, there still exist many uncertainties when it comes to the design and other key aspects of the phones. Of the three handsets, Sony will launch this year, two of them – Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact – will deliver brand new design and high-end specs.

Sure, Sony’s current flagship – Xperia XZ Premium is a pretty good phone when it comes to performance and features. In fact, the main highlight of the phone is its 4K HDR display. The display is just brilliant, although it’s a bit of an overkill for a 5.5-inch device. And, one of the other features we loved in the XZ Premium is the Super Slow-Mo – it can shoot slow motion videos at a whopping 960 frames per second. Now, to compare, Apple’s latest flagship, the iPhone 7, can shoot slow-mo videos at just 240 fps.

But, there’s one prominent feature that the XZ Premium lacked – an all-screen front design. Instead, the smartphone came with a year old design that has huge bezels on the top and bottom. At least, we can all agree on the fact that XZ Premium looks ugly when compared to other flagships in the market. On the other hand, the Galaxy S8 features a gorgeous design backed by an Infinity display. This has indeed disappointed many hard-core Xperia fans out there, who were expecting a new design from their favorite company. Speaking of which, the phone features the same old classic Sony design, which has indeed become old and boring.

But, it’s all going to change soon! Or at least, that’s what the rumors have to say. Sony has apparently taken the criticisms and negative consumer reactions, and is prepping to launch a series of Xperia phones to take over the current leaders of the industry – Samsung, and Apple. According to several reliable sources, Sony is ditching the old design for a new all-screen front design.

Xperia XZ1

A fan-made concept of what the XZ1 could possibly look like. Source: Saber Kchikech

Rumors are pointing out that at least two of the forthcoming Xperia phones – presumably the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact – will be designed completely anew from the ground up. However, both the phones will lack a 4K display, and instead, they will come with a 1080p display. Quite disappointing, if you ask me! But so what? The new Xperia phones will be much thinner with a relatively smaller capacity battery providing the same battery life as the XZ Premium, if not better!

READ ALSO  Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus: Which one has a better camera? (Video)

If we are to by the rumors, the Xperia XZ1 will be backed by a 3000 mAh battery. Besides that, the new Xperia phones will run the latest Android 8.0 ‘O’ out of the box. Quite a feast for the Xperia fans! However, Sony has promised the update for the XZ Premium users, and will start rolling out the update out as soon as they complete tweaking it for the best user experience.

Apart from these, GeekBench listing has revealed that both the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact will pack Galaxy S8-grade specs. Yes, we are talking about the Qualcomm’s high-end chipset Snapdragon 835 and 4GB RAM making their way into these forthcoming flagships.

Several rumors have almost confirmed the launch of three new Xperia phones on August 31st this year. Sony will launch a mid-range phone, dubbed Xperia X1, alongside the flagship devices.

Update:

Xperia XZ1

Leaked rear panel of XZ1

A picture allegedly showcasing the rear panel of the device has leaked online. And, there’s an interesting thing about this leak. It shows that the panel will have an extra large hole for inserting the flash light. Now why is that, we don’t know for sure. But apparently, it is a known fact that the forthcoming Xperia XZ1 should have a Laser AutoFocus and RGBC-IR sensor, although the two of this teeny hardware wouldn’t need a hole as large as that to sit comfortably. But, don’t you worry about it as we are about to hear all the nitty-gritty details regarding the handset from none other than the horse’s mouth on August 31st.

The Rumor Talk is a recurring column by Android Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, Abhin Mahipal. It is essentially a round up of all rumors and leaks surrounding an upcoming device, coupled with his own opinions on the same. 

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Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus: Which one has a better camera? (Video)

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Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus
Photo: YouTube/Byte Review

Here’s a detailed camera comparison video between the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7 Plus that you shouldn’t miss. 

If you’ve been involved in the world of phones recently you’ll know that Samsung have been doing some serious heavy lifting with their cameras. Starting with the S6, through to the newly released Note 8, Samsung have been flexing their imaging prowess. That’s great for us, because it means a lot of other companies (LG, HTC, OnePlus) have been trying their best to out some amazing cameras too.

However, the iPhone camera was always the one to beat, and through 2016 – 2017 I think pretty much every major manufacturer has managed to develop a camera that either lived up to the mighty iPhone, or surpass it completely. Samsung, LG, Google, and even HTC managed to bring some amazing quality shooters to the market recently, and it’s great to finally see android phones getting the cameras they deserve.

The following video is a fair-as-I-can-make-it comparison between the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7 Plus, and it dives into most areas that people look for – low light performance, color reproduction, and HDR ability. I’ve also given my opinion on each shot, so you’ll get my thoughts and ideas while the video is running.

Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus: Detailed camera review (video)

It’s easy when watching this video to forget about the iPhone 7 plus’s second camera, the telephoto lens. This feature has some amazing ‘portrait’ style effects that simulate the background blur or ‘bokeh’ that you would normally get from a dedicated DSLR. So if you’re still trying to decide between these two phones, then that’s certainly worth keeping in mind. If you’re looking for that effect from an Android phone, you’ve got plenty of options out there now too – the Note 8, OnePlus 5, LG G6, Mi A1 and a few others have started adding a second shooter to their phones, and it’s definitely something we’re going to see more of over the next few months of phone releases.

READ ALSO  Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus: Which one has a better camera? (Video)

For this video, I’ve excluded the iPhone’s second camera, because despite its effects the actual quality of the camera is lower than the main sensor, and it wouldn’t be a fair comparison to the S8.

All things considered, I do prefer the images coming out of the S8, despite the colors being a little crazy in some photos. Like I mentioned in the video, I think the pictures are better suited to a social media share straight out of the camera and most people will be happy with how the Samsung performs in all conditions. On the flipside, I still think the iPhone has a more natural response, and for people who prefer a more regular look from their cameras might find the iPhone 7 Plus’s photos more appealing.

Have an iPhone 7 Plus or Galaxy S8? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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OnePlus 5T may not launch soon, but a new variant of OnePlus 5 is already here

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OnePlus 5T

Just when we were all waiting for the OnePlus 5T from the Chinese firm, it launches a yet another new variant of the already existing OnePlus 5. 

Looking forward to the launch of next-gen OnePlus smartphone – OnePlus 5T? Well, it seems you’ll have to wait for at least until the beginning of the next year to see what the Chinese firm has in store for the next flagship killer. However, here is a new variant of the already existing OnePlus 5 that you might like to check out.

Chinese smartphone manufacturer, OnePlus, has collaborated with leading French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to unveil a limited edition variant of its latest flagship phone, the OnePlus 5. The collaboration is part of the launch of ‘Callection’, an exclusive product line-up co-created with JCC. The Castelbajac OnePlus 5, the first look of which was revealed recently, was launched at a pop-up event in Paris on Friday along with another limited-edition variant, the OnePlus 5 JCC+.

OnePlus 5T

A new OnePlus smartphone is here, but it’s not the OnePlus 5T we’ve been waiting for. Instead, it’s a new expensive gimmicky variant of the OnePlus 5 – featuring a handwriting-ornated rear.

The Paris pop-up event was organized in association with Paris-based fashion boutique Colette and held at its retail store in the city. The Castelbajac-themed OnePlus 5 handset will be available in the 8GB RAM and 128 GB storage variants. However, the sale of this limited edition smartphone will be limited to Europe, where it’ll be available October 2 onward for EUR 559 through OnePlus.net. The exclusive ‘Callection’ rolled out by OnePlus and JCC also includes t-shirts, holsters, caps, bags, in addition to the limited edition OnePlus 5 handsets bearing the Castelbajac’s signature in chromatic style.

Speaking of the unique partnership, OnePlus co-founder said that the collaboration was in line with the company’s efforts to offer its users something new and exciting, embodying the Never Settle spirit. Partnering with an iconic designer like Jean-Charles Castelbajac, who is known for setting the bar really high in the fashion circles with his game-changing ideas aptly reflects the company’s motto.

Castelbajac said that the collaboration was in keeping with his objective of always looking toward the future. “To change the world, you always need to be creative and work with people who are ahead of their time,” he was quoted as saying.

This isn’t the first time the Chinese phone maker has rolled out limited edition handsets to captivate the imagination of its customers. The limited edition of Colette-engraved OnePlus 3T, in the 128GB storage variant, was also introduced and made available through the boutique’s Paris store. Even though customers outside Europe won’t get their hands on the Castelbajac inspired smartphone, they can still buy the ‘Callection’ and ‘Never Settle’ t-shirts.

Source: Engadget

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It’s Official, Google to acquire a part of HTC’s smartphone workforce

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Google HTC deal

After a long spell of speculations and rumors, Google’s acquisition of HTC is finally official. However, the deal is not quite on lines of what was being expected. So far, the rumor mill was rife with speculations of an outright acquisition. Unlike its acquisition of Motorola, Google isn’t buying HTC lock, stock, and barrel. The internet giant has, so far, only entered into an agreement with the Taiwanese electronics maker, as of which a part of HTC’s workforce will move over to Google, besides a non-exclusive license for the former’s intellectual property. The electronics company will, in turn, receive a cash influx of $1.1 billion.

As part of the current deal, HTC will continue to function as an independent entity and manufacture its own smartphones. None of HTC’s manufacturing units have been included in the transfer deal. This could be attributed to the fact such manufacturing plants turn out to be quite a liability instead of an asset in the realm of the smartphone business.

Announcing the partnership with HTC, Google’s senior vice-president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, published a blog post stating, “With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization. These future fellow Googlers are amazing folks we’ve already been working with closely on the Pixel smartphone line, and we’re excited to see what we can do together as one team.”

It looks like Google has brought on board HTC’s Pixel team, which are said to be the ‘secret’ manufacturers heavily influencing the design and functionality of Google’s smartphones. The company’ Pixel and Pixel XL released in 2016 were manufactured by HTC, whereas for the upcoming Pixels phone, the manufacturing process has been split between HTC and LG. Hopefully, the addition of this team to Google’s workforce will allow the internet giant to radically revolutionize its line-up of smartphones, making them a cut above the competition.

READ ALSO  Galaxy S8 vs iPhone 7 Plus: Which one has a better camera? (Video)

The $1.1 billion cash infusion would be nothing short of a fresh lease of life for HTC, allowing it the opportunity to stay relevant in the smartphone as well as VR markets. In a press statement regarding the acquisition, HTC said the deal would help it secure “a more streamlined product portfolio, greater operational efficiency and financial flexibility.” It also promised that it’ll be around, producing “best-in-class flagship phones”. While the big bucks coming from Google will help alleviate HTC’s woes for now, it is far from a permanent solution. The only way HTC can hope for Google’s cash to bail it out is by using it to overhaul its smartphone technology, with an eye on undoing its plummeting sales.

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