The Kirin 970 NPU is faster than the Snapdragon 845 Why?

As artificially intelligence creeps its way into our smartphone experience, SoC vendors have been racing to improve neural network and machine learning performance in their chips

Realme 1 hands-on: Budget smarts from OPPO

Realme is a sub-brand of OPPO and this handset is the result of a partnership with Amazon India, where the phone is launching exclusively. The device will sell for 13,990 rupees for the top version (6GB+128GB), which is the equivalent of $200 or 150 pounds..

Google Pixel 3 Rumors: Everything You Need to Know

Google has been making inroads into the smartphone market over the past couple of years, but the company hasn't yet mounted a serious challenge to Samsung or Apple

HTC U12 Plus : Literally more sensitive than ever

HTC’s latest flagship has arrived! On top of new cameras and a full screen without a notch notch, HTC has created a phone is literally more sensitive than ever. This is the HTC U12 Plus.

samsung galaxy s10 codenamed "beyond"

Samsung Galaxy S10 codenamed ‘Beyond’, to sport in-display fingerprint sensor: Report

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

OnePlus 6T Shown Alongside OnePlus 6 in New Teaser; Leaked Renders Show Waterdrop Notch, Glossy and Matte Finishes

While the expected launch of the OnePlus 6T is still a few days away, a teaser image has been released that shows the upcoming handset alongside the existing OnePlus 6. The teaser highlights both smartphone models from a side - without detailing any major differences. However, it does show the change in the placement of the earpiece. The OnePlus 6 carries a traditional display notch with an earpiece at the centre, whereas the teaser shows the earpiece of the OnePlus 6T is available at the top edge. This once again suggests the presence of a waterdrop notch design, similar to what was featured on the Oppo R17. Separately, OnePlus 6T renders have surfaced that show the smartphone in both glossy and matte finishes. The leaked renders also highlight the waterdrop notch design.
OnePlus has released a teaser image that shows the OnePlus 6T alongside the OnePlus 6. The OnePlus 6 available on the top shows its earpiece and the traditional notch design, whereas the OnePlus 6T is available on the bottom has the earpiece on the top edge. This hints at the presence of a waterdrop notch that we recently saw on the Oppo R17. Further, the left side of both OnePlus phones looks identical, with a dual-SIM tray and a unified volume rocker. We can easily speculate that there will be a power button and an alert slider at the right of the OnePlus 6T, similar to the OnePlus 6. The size and thickness of the OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6 also look quite similar - though the former is expected to have a slightly larger display than the latter.
Coming towards the leaked renders, courtesy, there are glossy and matte black versions of the OnePlus 6T - similar to the OnePlus 6. These could be the Mirror Black and Midnight Black versions. The renders also show the waterdrop notch and even thinner bezels over the previous OnePlus flagship. The front panel looks similar to the Oppo R17. The notch includes the front-facing camera sensor, whereas the earpiece is available on the side of the top edge. On the back, there is a vertically placed dual camera setup along with an LED flash module and OnePlus branding.
The optical fingerprint sensor that was featured at the back of the OnePlus 6 is missing from the leaked renders of OnePlus 6T. This makes sense as OnePlus has already confirmed that there will be an in-display fingerprint sensor on its next flagship model. The confirmed absence of the 3.5mm headphone jack can also be seen from the leaked renders.
oneplus 6t render winfuture OnePlus 6T
OnePlus 6T render showing its glossy finish version
Photo Credit:

Overall, the design of the OnePlus 6T surfaced in the leaked renders looks quite similar to the Oppo R17. OnePlus and Oppo notably share the same parent company, BBK Electronics. Thus, both vendors have often been spotted using similar hardware, albeit with major differences on the software side.
To recall, some recent rumours have claimed that the OnePlus 6T will come with a 6.4-inch Optic AMOLED full-HD+ display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, coupled with 6GB and 8GB RAM options and up to 256GB of onboard storage. The smartphone is also reported to have a 3,700mAh battery that will be larger in capacity over the 3,300mAh battery available on the OnePlus 6. Moreover, the OnePlus 6T is expected to run Android 9.0 Pie out-of-the-box.
If we believe a recently leaked invite, the OnePlus 6T launch is scheduled for October 17. The Chinese company hasn't revealed the formal launch date, though.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Vivo Nex hands-on: Welcome to the all-screen future

The day many of us have been waiting for has finally arrived. A truly bezel-free smartphone is here! Sort of. Many have tried and many have failed, with the much-maligned notch emerging as the compromised offspring of those failed attempts to rid the smartphone of bezels. The Vivo Nex is the closest to a truly bezel-free smartphone we’ve seen come to market. It’s has very few compromises and no notch.
The phone fuses the in-display fingerprint scanner demo shown at CES 2018 and the drool-worthy Apex concept phone’s front-facing camera from MWC 2018, and we got to hands on with it.
Unfortunately, the phone everyone wants — with a look long promised by science fiction — not everyone will be able to get. The Vivo Nex is currently only slated for a Chinese release. It may come to other select markets in time, but a truly global release isn’t likely. Given Huawei and ZTE’s woes in the U.S., one can hardly blame Vivo for focusing on more friendly markets. Selling units isn’t Vivo’s main focus here though; demonstrating truly cutting-edge technology is.
Science fiction has long promised us that smartphones of the future would look like the Vivo Nex.
If U.S. hostility to Chinese smartphones means the first bezel-free device you buy isn’t made by Vivo, that’s perfectly fine. Vivo says the Nex is more about taking a step into the industry’s future than it is about being number one. To that end, Vivo senior vice president Alex Feng says he hopes the Nex gets the industry to “continue pondering ‘what’s next?’ in this mobile experience journey.”
For what it’s worth, I wish everyone would have a chance to buy the Vivo Nex, because it truly feels like a momentous turning point. It feels somehow unfair that not everyone will get to experience such a significant device.
vivo nex display
As with most smartphones these days, it all starts with the screen. As bezels have shrunk, so too have the defining features on the front of most phones. The Vivo Nex features a 6.59-inch Super AMOLED panel with a 19.3:9 aspect ratio and Full HD+ resolution (1,080 x 2,316, 338ppi). As with most other OLED panels, it offers deep blacks and colors that pop. There’s also an always-on display option for showing missed calls and message notifications.
The Vivo Nex does away with the bezel above the display, only keeping a very slight chin at the bottom. In case you’re interested, the bezels measure 1.71 mm on the sides, 2.16mm on top and 5mm below the display. Because the Vivo Nex pushes the boundaries with a 91.24 percent screen-to-body ratio, there’s no room for the usual array of sensors, cameras and speakers you’d find on a traditionally-proportioned smartphone. Those have now moved under the glass or inside the device’s body.
The earpiece speaker has been removed altogether. Vivo’s Screen SoundCasting technology now use the display itself as a speaker. Vivo says this not only releases the Nex from the burden of a top bezel but also adds “more powerful bass and softer, smoother treble.” From what I could hear at the noisy launch event it sounded fine, but we’ll give it some more rigorous testing in the full Vivo Nex review. The rest of the Nex’s audio comes from a single bottom-firing speaker. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone port up top, in case you were worried.
The earpiece speaker and fingerprint scanner live under the display glass while the front-facing camera slides up from the top of the Vivo Nex only when needed.
The in-display fingerprint scanner is the other Big Deal in the Vivo Nex. While the Vivo X21 UD and Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS also featured such a scanner, Vivo was the first to demo the tech back at CES 2018. The tech is now in its third generation, and while it won’t offer device unlocking quite as quick as a modern capacitive finger scanner, the slight delay you’ll experience will be far outweighed by the simple satisfaction of unlocking your phone through the screen. According to Vivo, the new scanner provides a 10 percent speed increase, 50 percent higher accuracy and a 30 percent lower fake recognition rate than the under-glass scanners in previous devices.
vivo nex fingerprint sensor in display
The front-facing camera is hidden in the upper frame of the phone, popping up when you launch the front-facing camera. It’s a novel and, perhaps counterintuitively, kind of “obvious” solution to the bezel-free problem. Like Oppo’s rotating camera on the Oppo N1 or a plastic cover to obscure the webcam on your laptop, sometimes a simple solution is best. That said, I totally understand the misgivings many have aired over making the operation of your front-facing camera dependent on a piece of mechanical tech that could fail.
The camera mechanism has undergone extensive testing and can be raised and lowered 50,000 times and withstand up to 45kg of thrust force when extended.
To address the “failure question,” Vivo assures me that the front-facing camera can push up to 500g in repeated trials and its micro-stepping motor, independent drive ICs and control algorithms allow the camera to move with absolute precision. With a special buffer structure design, the camera has also undergone reliability tests such as drop resistance and dust resistance tests. According to Vivo, the camera can be raised and lowered repeatedly up to 50,000 times and withstand up to 45kg of thrust force when extended. Only time will tell what the failure rate of the camera elevator will be in real-world usage.
vivo nex camera
Speaking of cameras, the Vivo Nex has a dual camera setup on the back. The camera has a 12MP f/1.8 sensor with 1.4-micron pixel size and both optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization. The secondary camera on the back is a 5MP f/2.4 lens and the front-facing camera is an 8MP f/2.0 shooter. We didn’t have time for usable test shots at the launch event, but we can tell you shutter lag is a thing here. Stay tuned for a full gallery of images.
The camera app offers a range of aspect ratios and shutter triggers (including touch, voice, and a palm gesture). You can also reassign a long press of the volume down button to quickly launch the camera when the screen is off. If the last camera you were using was the front-facing one, the lens will slide up instantly while the camera app launches. There’s a full manual mode, HDR, portrait mode, and Live Photos. The front-facing camera only shoots 1080p video, but the main camera shoots 4K.
vivo nex cameras
The Vivo Nex’s glass back features a nice diffracting pattern beneath the glass which creates rainbow colors in the right light. Despite the glass, the Nex lacks wireless charging, an IP rating, or NFC for contactless payment systems like Google Pay. The omission of any or all of these might be a dealbreaker for some.
As far as the rest of the phone goes though, there are no compromises. The Vivo Nex  packs in the Snapdragon 845 with Qualcomm’s AI Engine and the Adreno 630 GPU, 8GB of RAM, variants with 128 or 256GB of internal storage, a 4,000mAh battery with fast charging and Android 8.1 Oreo underneath Vivo’s FunTouch 4.0 software layer.
Vivo Nex
Display6.59-inch Super AMOLED, Full HD+ (2316 x 1080, 338ppi), 19.3:9 aspect ratio
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 845 with AI Engine, 64-bit, octa-core, 10nm
GPUAdreno 630
CamerasRear: Dual pixel 12 MP f/1.8 (Sony IMX363) with 1.4┬Ám pixel size, OIS and EIS + 5MP f/2.4
Front: 8MP, f/2.0 with elevating mechanism
Audio32-bit/192kHz audio, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery4,000 mAh, fast charging
IP ratingNo
SensorsFingerprint (3rd generation in-display), accelerometer, proximity, compass, gyroscope, infrared, ambient light
NetworkGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 5(850), 8(900), 34(2000), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5.1G/5.8G, hotspot
Bluetooth 5.0
microUSB 2.0
3.5mm headphone port
USB Type-C
SIMDual SIM/hybrid slot
SoftwareAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Funtouch OS 4
Dimensions and weight162 x 77 x 7.98mm
ColorsBlack, Red

The software experience on most Chinese phones won’t appeal to most westerners, but a quick dip into the pool of alternate Android launchers will manage to cure some of what ails you. We’ll dive deeper into what the software offers in the full Vivo Nex review, but most of what you’d expect from an Android device is present and accounted for, it’s simply presented in a less palatable fashion than, say, the Pixel 2.
vivo nex display
There’s a dedicated AI button on the left for summoning Vivo’s Jovi Intelligent Voice Assistant. You can change what the button does in the settings, but only to the image recognizer, voice assistant, or nothing — there’s no option for switching it to your virtual assistant of choice. There’s also a ton of AI-this and AI-that, primarily in the camera. Most of this will probably not appeal, and often doesn’t rely all that heavily on AI at all. We’ll cover that further in the review too.
Out of the box, the Vivo Nex has gesture navigation turned on. Swipe up from one of three spots on the bottom of the screen to go back, go home or open recent apps. You can also turn on on-screen nav buttons if you prefer. Vivo also lets you rearrange the order to put the back button (or back gesture) on the left side where it belongs. If you opt for gesture navigation and would like a visual cue, you can choose between horizontal lines or small dots. You can remove everything from the bottom of the screen once your used to it.
vivo nex smartphone
The Vivo Nex will be available in China (and possibly other select markets in future). It’s priced at 4998 yuan (~$780) for the 256GB version, while the 128GB version will cost 4498 yuan (~$702).
Like its screen-to-body ratio, the Vivo Nex comes very close to doing everything but falls slightly short. Even in my brief time with it, I noticed a few things that will niggle some people. Camera lag, a slow(ish) fingerprint scanner, bloatware, as well as the lack of an IP rating, NFC, and wireless charging are all worth noting. In all honesty, those absences are relatively minor, and frequently don’t appear on “normal” phones with big bezels and regularly placed fingerprint scanners.
Where the Nex fails, it more than makes up for in the sheer coolness, the novelty, the audacity of what it promises.
In some ways the Vivo Nex shouldn’t be considered a normal phone and shouldn’t be judged by the same standards. It goes somewhere no one else has gone before and it does so surprisingly well. However, it’s also a phone in the real world, affected by things like price, availability, update reliability, feature set and so on. It’s a first-gen product, to be sure, and as such we should expect a few things to not be quite perfect. Perhaps this is why Vivo is more interested in showcasing tech with the Nex than it is in taking the world by storm.
The Nex more than makes up for its problems in sheer coolness, novelty, and the audacity of what it promises. We are literally on the brink of smartphones with all their traditional front-facing components and sensors hidden out of sight or underneath the display. The Vivo Nex, even its name, points to a time so tantalizingly close we can almost touch it, even though it still hasn’t fully arrived.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Moto G6 and G6 Play launched in India, but what about G6 Plus?
Lenovo‘s Moto G series has firmly established itself as one of the more popular budget device ranges in India. Now, the company has announced the availability of the Moto G6 and G6 Play in the market.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Kirin 970 NPU is faster than the Snapdragon 845 Why?

As artificially intelligence creeps its way into our smartphone experience, SoC vendors have been racing to improve neural network and machine learning performance in their chips. Everyone has a different take on how to power these emerging use cases, but the general trend has been to include some sort of dedicated hardware to accelerate common machine learning tasks like image recognition. However, the hardware differences mean that chips offer varying levels of performance.

Realme 1 hands-on: Budget smarts from OPPO

These days there is no shortage of affordable devices with premium-like features. Now there’s one more: the Realme 1.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

HTC U12 Plus : Literally more sensitive than ever


Monday, 21 May 2018

Google Pixel 3 Rumors: Everything You Need to Know about upcoming Pixel 3

Google has been making inroads into the smartphone market over the past couple of years, but the company hasn't yet mounted a serious challenge to Samsung or Apple. That could change with the Pixel 3.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL have turned heads with their top-notch cameras and easy access to Google Assistant. In fact, the Pixel 2 is our top-rated smartphone camera overall. But the Pixel 2 XL, in particular, suffered from several quality-control issues and bugs during its launch window and beyond.
The Pixel 3 smartphones are still months away, so we don’t know much about them. Despite this, I have a few ideas on what the flagships could bring to the table to outsell their predecessors and rival the phones like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro.

I long for the days of Google’s old Nexus devices, which offered fantastic performance for their price. I don’t think they’ll come back, but I hope Google lowers the price of the upcoming Pixel 3 smartphones by at least $100.

The Pixel 2 XL is more expensive than the Galaxy S9 Plus.

The Pixel 2 series is expensive. The XL model starts at $850 — $10 more than the Galaxy S9 Plus, which has a larger screen, a newer chipset, and loads of fancy features like AR Emoji and a dual aperture camera. The Pixel 2 is more affordable at $650, but that’s still a high price tag for a device with a 5-inch display and thick bezels that don’t belong on flagships anymore. Bringing the price down could have a positive effect on sales, which haven’t been great so far.

Although Google’s Pixel series is often talked about, it isn’t nearly as popular as Samsung’s Galaxy S line. Sure, its sales have doubled in 2017 to 3.9 million units, but that pales in comparison with the Galaxy S8 duo that sold 20 million units in the first five months alone.

A new, notch-less design

I hope Google won’t follow the latest trends and stick a notch on the Pixel 3 series. This design feature kills the symmetry of a smartphone and generally hasn’t been well received. I’d much rather see a slightly thicker bezel on top with enough space for a large, loud speaker — just like on the Pixel 2 XL.

While I’m fine with the size of Pixel 2 XL’s bezels, I can’t say the same for its smaller brother. The Pixel 2’s huge bezels above and below the screen make it look dated. Slimming them down would not only make the Pixel 3 more modern, it would also allow Google to increase the display size without increasing the overall footprint of the device (more on this later).

I also want to see a few changes on the back of the devices. The back of the Pixel 2 series is made of metal, with the addition of the glass window that sits on top. It’s minimalistic and modern, but it doesn’t impress. It also looks similar to the first Pixel series.

Google should take more risks in the design department to bring a “wow” factor to the Pixel 3 devices. I want a complete redesign, not just a refinement of the current look. A few new lively color options would also be a nice addition.

Wider availability

I hope Google will expand the Pixel 3 devices’ availability. Its smartphones aren’t sold in many smaller countries, especially those in Europe. What’s more, you can only get them through Google’s online store in many places because the tech giant hasn’t partnered with local carriers.

Inking deals with carriers should be a priority for Google.
Inking deals with carriers in as many markets as possible should be a priority for Google if it wants to increase sales. After all, most smartphones are still sold through carriers, which often offer discounts and affordable monthly payment plans. At the very least, selling the devices online in more regions couldn’t hurt.

Part of Samsung’s success is that is has a vast distribution network. The company’s smartphones are sold by most carriers around the globe, as well as electronics retailers. That’s exactly what Google needs to have any chance of becoming a dominant player in the smartphone space.

Remappable Active Edge feature

Pixel 3

The squeezable Active Edge feature of the Pixel 2 is great but limited, as it can only open Assistant. HTC’s Edge Sense, on the other hand, lets you open an app of choice, turn on the flashlight, or take a screenshot, among other things.

I hope Google will take a page out of HTC’s playbook this year and allow users to remap the Active Edge feature. It sounded gimmicky at first, but Active Edge works surprisingly well. It’s one of the main selling points of the device if you use Assistant regularly. Otherwise, the feature doesn’t add any value whatsoever.

Sure, there are apps available that let you customize the Pixel 2’s squeezable feature. Edge Sense Plus is one of them, but it requires root access and charges a fee for premium functions, so it’s far from ideal. Remapping Active Edge within the device’s settings would be a much better option.

Better (and larger) display

Pixel 3

One of the biggest problems with the Pixel 2 XL was its display. Some users said encountered issues with muted or undersaturated colors. Others reported seeing a blue tint on the screen. The display also suffered from burn-in issues, which typically affect OLED screens as they age, very quickly.

Hopefully, Google won’t make the same mistake this year. The display of the Pixel 2 XL shouldn’t have any issues, as is expected from a flagship that costs a small fortune.

In addition to a better display on the larger model, I’d also like to see a larger screen on the Pixel 3. The display of its predecessor only measures 5 inches, making it quite small for a flagship. Bumping it up to at least 5.5 inches would be good. If the handset comes with thinner bezels, its overall footprint might end up being the same or only slightly bigger than that of its predecessor, too.
These are the top five things I want to see on the Pixel 3 series, but a few others come to mind. A headphone jack would be nice, although the chances of that happening are slim to none. I’d also like to see an in-display fingerprint scanner like on the Vivo X20 Plus UD and a 3D facial recognition feature, but those probably won’t happen either.

What do you think of my list? Would you add or remove anything? Let me know in the comments!


Latest OnePlus 6 review: the spiritual successor to the Nexus

Move over OnePlus 5T, the OnePlus 6 has arrived. The latest iteration of the OnePlus family brings us an all-new design on the outside, and more of what we already love on the inside.
Aside from the obvious cosmetic changes, the OnePlus 6 feels very familiar. Let’s find out if that’s a positive or a negative in our OnePlus 6 review. Keep reading for the written review from Andrew, and be sure to check out David’s video review above. 


OnePlus 6 review

The OnePlus 6 is immediately distinguishable from its predecessor.

The phone swaps out a metal back for a glass one and rotates the camera, moving it to the center of the body. The rear fingerprint scanner is now oval, instead of the 5T’s circle.

The beveled edges on the OnePlus 6’s back panel are subtler than the 5T, making it feel slightly wider. The OnePlus 6 is also 15 grams heavier (at 177 grams) and .45mm thicker (7.75mm thick), due to its Gorilla Glass 5 exterior. This sounds like a minor difference, but it makes the OnePlus 6 feel a lot sturdier.

Despite these changes, the overall shape and footprint of the OnePlus 6 is very similar to the OnePlus 5 and 5T. This is rather impressive considering the display size increased by .27 inches.