Xiaomi Mi 9 With Snapdragon 855, Triple-Cameras, And Upto 12GB RAM Announced

Ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 launch, Xiaomi has announced its new flagship, the Mi 9. Most of the features of the mobile phone were already out, including the triple camera at the back with a 48-megapixel sensor and the powerful Snapdragon 855 processor.

Announced at a special event in China, the new Mi 9 comes in an interesting curved glass design with gradient finish at the back. There’s a 6.39-inch Samsung-made AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution. There is a tiny water-drop notch at the top and a slight chin at the bottom, so no it isn’t completely bezel-less and the company claims a 90.7-percent screen-to-body ratio.

As mentioned above, the handset runs on a Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB and 8GB RAM options. During the event, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun has announced a Game Turbo feature which is said to boost the phone’s performance for an improved gaming experience. He went on to say that this feature helps in maintaining a higher framerate when compared to the likes of Huawei’s Kirin 980 equipped device. The triple camera setup at the back includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.75 aperture and laser autofocus, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens with a 117-degree view as well as 4cm macro photography capability. There are also some AI features, distortion correction, a bunch of face filters and more. There’s also a “Moon Mode” which does exactly as it sounds. It is claimed to take sharp and detailed photos of the moon. Sure, that’s exactly what consumers do when they buy a phone with a high-end camera. The company went on to actually compare shots taken from an iPhone XS and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro with the Mi 9. Hopefully, this feature also works for other bright objects that are far away instead of just working on the moon. Other features include an in-display fingerprint sensor, NFC, infrared remote to control TVs and air conditioners and improved audio courtesy a large driver and a 0.9cc sounding chamber. There’s a 3,300mAh battery which can fully charge within 60 minutes as the phone supports 27W fast charging. There is also 20W wireless charging support which is evidently faster than Samsung and Huawei.

To experience that, Xiaomi also introduced a $15 (Rs 1,100 approx) wireless charger, a 10,000 mAh power bank worth $22 (Rs 1,600 approx) and an in-car wireless charging cradle with automatic grip for $25 (Rs 1,800 approx). All of these accessories will be sold separately.

Last, but not the least, the Mi 9 also gets a transparent limited edition just like last year’s Mi 8. The limited edition of the Mi 9 was announced in association with newly released sci-fi movie Alita: Battle Angel. The company has improved the overall camera here adding an extra lens and a faster f/1.47 aperture. It also comes with a whopping 12GB of RAM so you don’t have to slow down on multitasking.

The Mi 9 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at 2,999 (Rs 32,000 approx) yuan while, the 8GB version will cost 3,299 yuan (Rs 35,000 approx) . The special transparent edition with 12GB RAM and 256GB of storage will cost 3,999 yuan (Rs 43,000 approx) .

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Vivo V15 Pro

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo has launched its new device Vivo V15 Pro in India today for Rs 28,990. The all-new Vivo V15 pro will be available from 20 February in India. The device sports a pop-up front camera, which the company first introduced in the iconic Vivo Nex smartphone in early 2018.

The Vivo V15 Pro sports a 6.39-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED Ultra FullView Display and include a Snapdragon 675 SoC, paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The phone is also likely to have a 3,700mAh battery along with a “Dual Engine” fast charging technology. The device also lacks physical fingerprint sensor, so V15 Pro could have a fingerprint scanner embedded in the display screen itself.

In terms of optics, the back of the Vivo V15 Pro houses a triple-camera setup with three lenses arranged in a vertical fashion. This line-up is likely to include a 48MP quad pixel primary sensor, with effective capabilities of a 12MP sensor. One 8MP sensor and another 5MP sensor are also likely to be in the mix. On the front, Vivo V15 Pro will have a 32-megapixel selfie camera that is going to pop-out whenever required.

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Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, Galaxy S10e India

Samsung has officially shown off its Galaxy S10 lineup, which includes the Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10e. These smartphones will be available for pre-orders on Flipkart beginning tomorrow, revealed the e-retailer today on its website. The page also allows users to sign up for notifications about the handsets by clicking on the ‘Notify Me’ button when logged in. It is believed that Samsung India will start selling the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10e around March 8, if not on the same day. The company has already revealed that select markets will be getting the phones on March 8.

In the US, the Galaxy S10 carries a starting price of USD 899 (approx Rs 63,000), while the S10+ starts at USD 999 (approx Rs 70,000). The S10e is the cheapest of the lot with a starting price of USD 749 (approx Rs 53,000).

Samsung Galaxy S10
The Samsung Galaxy S10 features a 6.1-inch QHD+ Infinity-O Display which has a 19:9 aspect ratio. This year Samsung is called its display tech as ‘Dynamic AMOLED’ which supports HDR10+ and the entire front is protected by Gorilla Glass 6. The handset will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, but of course in India, we will be getting the Exynos 9820 processor which should be equally fast. The handset will be offered with 8GB RAM in two storage variants including 128GB and 512GB, both of which offer expandable storage.

In the camera department, you get three of them at the back aligned horizontally. There’s a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens camera. At the front, the S10 features a 10-megapixel selfie camera as well. Other features include a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB Type-C port, wireless charging with support for reverse charging, a 3,400mAh battery, and an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner. The smartphone will come with Android 9 Pie with Samsung’s One UI out of the box. As for the price, the Galaxy S10 will start at $899.99 which should roughly translate to Rs 64,200 in India. A 5G variant of the S10 was also announced, which is expected to launch later this year.

Samsung Galaxy S10+
The Samsung Galaxy S10+comes as a larger version of the S10 with a bigger 6.4-inch display, with 19:9 aspect ratio and HDR10+ support. It is powered by the same processor options as the Galaxy S10 including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and the Exynos 9820 This one also comes with two memory configurations including 8GB RAM and a top-end 12GB RAM variant while storage options include 128GB, 512GB, and 1TB all of which are again expandable. The Galaxy S10+ features the same camera setup at the back as the S10 but at the front, you get a dual-camera setup. It also gets a larger a 4,100mAh battery, while rest of the features including wireless charging, the in-display fingerprint sensor, are all here. There is also going to be a special ceramic-finish version available only with the 8GB RAM with 512GB storage configuration. Pricing for the Galaxy S10+ starts at $999.99 which is roughly around Rs 72,000 in India.

Samsung Galaxy S10e
Yes, there is a slightly compact version of the S10 as well which is going to be pitted against the iPhone XR. Called Galaxy S10e this one features a 5.8-inch Infinity-O Display and will be offered with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. The smartphone will be offered with a Snapdragon 855 or an Exynos 9820 processor. You don’t get the triple camera setup here insteada 12-megapixel wide-angle sensor paired with a 16-megapixel fixed focus sensor on the back. On the front, you get the same 10-megapixel camera as the Galaxy S10. This Galaxy S10e will be offered in two storage variants including 128GB and 512GB both of which will offer expansions using a microSD card. This one comes with a regular capacitive fingerprint sensor unlike the in-display fingerprint sensor seen on the other two S10 smartphones. It also comes with a smaller 3,100mAh battery while the rest of the features remain the same. Pricing for the Galaxy S10e starts at $749.99 which is about Rs 53,500.

The Galaxy S10 5G, which is due later this year will be coming with the same processing power but will get a larger 6.7-inch display, a bigger 4,500mAh battery and an extra ToF (Time of Flight) camera at the back.

Huawei Mate X Folding 5G Smartphone

Huawei Technologies unveiled a $2,600 folding smartphone on Sunday which it said was primed for next-generation 5G mobile connections, even as the United States campaigns to bar the Chinese company from such networks over security concerns. Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor after Samsung, said it had taken the lead on developing phones for 5G – which promise super fast internet speeds for consumers and businesses – because it was also involved in developing the networks.

“This phone is not only for today for 5G but also for future 5G. On all the benchmarks you can see the performance, the speed is the fastest for 5G in the world,” said Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group. Speaking ahead of the mobile industry’s biggest global event, which kicks of on Monday in Barcelona, Yu said the Huawei Mate X will have two back-to-back screens which unfold to become an eight-inch tablet display.

Yu said the Mate X would be able to download a 1 gigabyte movie in three seconds but also be priced at 2,299 euros ($2,607) when it goes on sale later this year, setting a new upper limit for consumer smartphones. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd last week unveiled its own folding smartphone, priced at nearly $2,000, in a bid to top the technology of Apple Inc and Chinese rivals and reignite consumer interest amid slumping sales. Huawei, which is also the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, is under intense scrutiny in the West over U.S.-led allegations of enabling Chinese state espionage, accusations which the company denies. Huawei’s chairman said on Sunday recent comments by U.S. President Donald Trump that the U.S. needed to get ahead in mobile communications through competition rather than seeking to block technology was “clear and correct”.

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OPPO to Launch Phone With 10x Zoom Camera

To add more power to smartphone photography, Chinese smartphone maker OPPO has said it will launch a phone with 10x “lossless” zoom technology in the second quarter of this year. The phone will have a triple-lens camera structure including a 48MP main camera, 120 degree ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens, the company announced at its “Innovation Event” here on Saturday on the eve of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona.

“With all the three lenses we can cover broad focal lengths of 16 mm-160 mm which make up our 10x lossless zoom,” said Chuck Wang, Product Manager, OPPO. “How did we fit it in a smartphone? We developed a periscopic module that is structured in a horizontal organisation. This reduces the thickness of the lens, resulting in a camera module only 6.76 mm thick,” he said.

The phone will have optical image stabilisation (OIS) features on both the main camera and telephoto lens so that images become less blurry. “Our 10x Lossless Zoom is mass-production-ready and will appear in a product soon,” Wang added. OPPO also showcased at the event its first smartphone that is designed to work in a 5G network. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor and paired with the chipmaker’s AX50 5G modem, the OPPO 5G phone is likely to be launched this year, said Henry Tang, Director of Standards and Head of OPPO Standards Research Centre. OPPO said the phone would be ready for trial in India in the second quarter of this year. OPPO first showcased a 5G prototype of its flagship Find X smartphone in China in December 2018. The OPPO Find X was launched last year. In November 2018, OPPO completed a group video call on a R15 Pro-based 5G smartphone which lasted for more than 17 minutes on a 5G network with a bandwidth of 100 MHz. So the buzz is that OPPO’s new 5G phone could either be in the Find or the R series, with sources claiming that the chances are higher for the latter making the cut. OPPO currently operates in more than 40 countries and regions, with six research institutes and four R&D centres worldwide, including one in Hyderabad.

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Spotify India Review

After a really long struggle, Spotify has managed to launch its services in India. The app was enabled yesterday for most users and is offered with multiple plans to suit their needs. In case you have been living under a rock, Spotify is a Sweden-based music streaming platform which was originally launched in October 2008. It has been the top music service provider globally when it comes to subscriber base. In fact, As of February 2019, it had 207 million total monthly active users, including 96 million paying subscribers.

Spotify is definitely late to the party and could have a hard time to compete against existing services like Apple Music, Google Music and Amazon Music as well as domestic player like JioSaavn and Gaana. The reason for Spotify’s delayed arrival is that the company took its time to sign deals with various labels that control the music industry in India. Mind you, unlike most countries, India has a massive music industry. There are independent artists, regional music and of course Bollywood. The company hasn’t had a very pleasant experience as it reportedly had concerns with T-Series and is currently still in talks with Warner Music to finalise content.

So what can you expect if you are a keen Spotify user in India? Let’s find out… Content and Experience
The app is available for all Android and iOS devices as well as Windows 10 PCs, macOS devices, Android TV, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox and of course on all web browsers. Spotify claims that the app is also available on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however, I tested the app and couldn’t use the service on the latter. Hopefully, a quick update will enable the feature. Also, if you own an Android TV, make sure you download the app as it just looks majestic on a large screen.

(Update: Fired up Spotify and connected it to my car stereo, and voila it started working.)

Considering I have used the global version of Spotify, the Indian version is pretty much the same. You get access to all features including the highly praised ‘Discover’ curation which you can find under the Search option. Specifically for India, you get curated playlists based on what users are listening in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. There is also a tab customised for you, which suggests songs based on what you have been listening. Then there are Editor’s picks, best of artists, and a variety of auto-generated playlists which keep improving as you use the app.

As for the content itself, there is a wide range of music including Bollywood, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, apart from a variety of international genres, podcasts, radio, and more. Notably, some international content is missing from Spotify. I was surprised to see music from legendary bands like Led Zeppelin and Metallica unavailable on the app. Now it’s not like everything is missing, but one expects to find a song immediately under the search results. You will notice that while all artists are present, some of them have no music while some have only a few singles or albums. The reason for that is presumably the ongoing tussle with Warner Music.

Spotify had confirmed that Warner revoked a previously agreed publishing license for reasons completely unrelated to Spotify’s launch in India. Just a day back, Warner sued to stop Spotify’s use of its catalog, which Spotify had tried to obtain rights to through a controversial amendment to the Indian copyright act that allows for broadcasters to obtain licenses without the copyright owner’s consent. So don’t be surprised if your favorite Ed Sheeran track is missing, but hopefully, Spotify will eventually get content from Warner.

In my opinion, if you have been using a streaming service say Apple Music or Google Music, then there isn’t a huge reason for you to jump boat. On top of that, a chunk of international music isn’t available as of yet. Having said that, Spotify is highly capable and intuitive and the existing services can’t match up when it comes to playlist curations and suggestions. Personally I also think that the app lets you discover new artists that are aligned with your music tastes. Audio experience has been impeccable and one can seamlessly switch between devices.

Why should I get Premium?
The good thing is, if you don’t get the premium plan, you still get access to the entire music library offered by Spotify. But if you want to enjoy the full potential of Spotify, we suggest you go for the premium plan. Apart from an ad-free experience, the premium tier offers 320Kbps audio files to stream and download (for offline playback) under the very high-quality music option. This makes for an enhanced audio experience, especially for the ones who prioritise quality over size.

The premium tier also unlocks the ability to skip tracks and you can also download tracks for offline listening making albums and playlists accessible to you all the time. The premium tier also offers Spotify Connect, which controls Spotify music across multiple devices. You can control what’s playing on your laptop using your smartphone, or pair Spotify with dedicated hardware, like speakers or a console.

Plans
As for the subscription, just like the global version, Spotify in India is being offered as an ad-supported free tier, as well as premium tier options. The premium plans are ad-free and include a 30-day free trial. After the free trial ends, you need to pay Rs 119 per month to get full access to all the music and premium features. You only get the complimentary one month access if you pay for your monthly plan via Visa or Mastercard.

Spotify Premium starts for Rs 13 a day while a week-long subscription is priced at Rs 39. If you are a more serious user, then you can go for the monthly subscription which priced at Rs 129, Rs 389 for 3 months, Rs 719 for 6 months and Rs 1,189 for one year. Notably, while this is only slightly cheaper than Apple Music, there are no sharing or family packs, which give Apple an advantage here.

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