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Samsung Unveiled their Own Dual Camera Sensor which will most likely be found on the Note 8

Samsung Unveiled their Own Dual Camera Sensor which will most likely be found on the Note 8

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Recently, Samsung has revealed their latest smartphone camera technology. More specifically they have revealed their latest Dual Camera Sensor series which are now expected to arrive in their future flagship smartphones. Samsung utilizes ISOCELL imaging sensors to make this statement initially. There are four new imaging sensors which targets different targets: – Bright, Fast, Slim, and Dual. We are expecting the Dual camera series to be built into the Galaxy Note 8 coming up later this year.

There was a leaked CAD rendering of the Note 8 which showed off a horizontal array of Dual camera sensors. Samsung’s MWC Shanghai’s booth presented information that the company is preparing a dual 13 MP camera configuration. This would be a monochrome camera plus an RGB sensor. The aperture is smaller compared the the S8 with an aperture of f/2.0 with 1.12 micron pixel’s. Samsung has stated that their Dual camera solution will deliver “superior image quality” within low-light conditions. The booth rep for Samsung explained that ISOCELL sensors will have a physical layer that which separates each pixel. This allows a decrease in crosstalk which results in higher color fidelity regardless of the smaller pixels.

Here’s the breakdown of the new ISOCELL lineup:

  • ISOCELL Bright sensors deliver bright and sharp images with high color fidelity and reduced noise in low light environments
  • ISOCELL Fast sensors provide fast autofocus onto still or moving objects even when dark
  • ISOCELL Slim sensors adopt the smallest pixel sizes available in the market at 0.9-1.0um, yet produce high quality images for the slimmest devices
  • ISOCELL Dual sensors can be mixed and matched in various combinations on consumer devices to bring about features demanded in the latest dual camera trend

Whether or not the Dual camera ISOCELL sensor lineup will make it’s way into the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 is only speculation. Samsung has not yet confirmed details about their upcoming flagship thus far. However, the timing of their Dual Camera announcement may mark the beginning of a new era of high quality, high performance dual camera enabled smartphones from the manufacturer. The Note 8 is expected to be unveiled sometime in late August, or September, but more leaks are on their way and we are excited to see what is next.

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OnePlus 5 Review: Is it Worth It?

   OnePlus 5 Review: Is it Worth It?

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The next OnePlus smartphone is here and it didn’t take long for it to arrive. Quickly overshadowing the OnePlus 3T as the companies flagship smartphone a big change did occur: an increase in price. OnePlus was well known for competitive pricing, high end specs, and attempting to be the flagship killer. The company has been really positioning itself as a high end smartphone manufacturer in the last 4 years which all culminated to an important moment for OnePlus. The hardware is getting stronger, faster, more efficient but also more expensive to make and OnePlus 5 completely eliminates any ideas of being “mid range” by sporting super high end components which we normally would find inside the iPhone, the Galaxy S8 and even the next upcoming HTC, LG Sony flagship phone’s. The phone begins at $479 which comes with 64 GB of storage space. Comparative to its predecessors the OnePlus 5 is also more expensive compared to the OnePlus 2 and 3T but it is understandable due to the high end components. The black OnePlus 5 with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage will cost $539. This is still quite cheap compared to the $869 price tag on the Google Pixel XL and the iPhone 7 and the $825 price tag for the Galaxy S8 Plus that comes with 64 GB of storage.

The OnePlus 5 will come with the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset (the same found in the Galaxy S8). This will provide the best available power, efficiency, and speed available. The device will also come with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. There will be an option for 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128 GB of storage. There is also a 3,300 mAh battery which should last you at least the day.

OnePlus alway’s kept their pricings low in the past by cutting costs aggressively in their past flagship phones. This trend ends with the OnePlus 5. The phone comes with the classic OnePlus notification switch (similar to that of the iPhone), Dash Charge charging, and an iPhone-esque build design.It comes with a more rounded edge with curved antenna lines. The OnePlus 5 comes with a dual camera set up that follows in the footstep’s of Apple. However, OnePlus deploys a higher 16 MP Sony sensor selfie camera and a dual camera at the rear that enables portrait mode shots. Unlike Samsung’s Infinity Display, OnePlus did not do anything fancy for their design this year.

Build Quality

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The OnePlus 5 is slimmer than the 3T or 3. It has a black logo found on the back panel with a slim edge on the rounded sides. It reminds us of the iPhone 7 Plus’ design, which is a good thing. The phone finally looks and feels premium compared to its past. OnePlus utilizes their own Oxygen OS skin on top of a rather stock Android experience. It enables small tweaks to the UI and also gives users a “shelf” system for their most used apps, weather and other features. The OS also enables the AMOLED display to be altered to mimic a Kindle display for easy night reading. A gaming mode is also employed in the OS which turns off notifications while you are in your gaming session.

The Snapdragon 835 while paired with the 6 or 8 GB of RAM is a beast. Also thanks to a light weight operating system the OnePlus 5 will absolutely fly through everything you throw at it. Multitasking, gaming, video calling, downloading, browsing, opening up all your apps at once, and just trying to stress it out with heavy duty applications will yield no lag. We are truly living in good times where technology has advanced so far that we can easily eliminate lag. The fingerprint reader is located in the same spot as many expected, at the bottom below the display. The finger print sensor works lightning fast and should give you no problems.

Battery life is good as well, it will last you a full day of usage with its 3,300 mAh pack. Even if you run out of power, charging is made easy via OnePlus’ Dash Charge technology that will help you get through the rest of the day easily.

The one thing that is underwhelming is the display resolution. It is a 1080p panel which is the only non-high-end piece of the puzzle. Sure, it contributes to longer battery life compared to 4K or even QHD+ displays but in this day and age where our eyes are consistently glued to these little displays and where our expectations are only growing higher and higher, this was a strange decision made. It is also true that you should not be able to noticeably discern just how much more packed the pixels are available on such a small display. The differences would be a lot more noticeable on larger display’s such as your living room TV. It could be good to note that even Samsung’s Galaxy S8 runs default on 1080p mode out of the box to help conserve battery life. The 5.5 inch 1080p panel, in light of that, does the job well thanks to deep blacks and vibrant colors of the AMOLED panel.

The Dual Camera

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The dual camera system is a huge overhaul compared to it’s predecessor. There is a 16 Megapixel sensor that captures wide angle shots while a 20 Megapixel sensor captures short telephoto images. With every image both sensors actually capture light at the same time while the software will complete the rest of the job. The software provides an impressive Manual mode that includes shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and manual focus.

There is also a portrait mode included which artificially creates a “shallow depth of field” effect in post processing just like the iPhone 7 Plus. The effect is quite nice initially but it is certainly evident that it is software based and not because of the lens.

The dual camera set up is awesome on paper, but the images themselves aren’t the best we’ve seen. It is fast enough and captures enough light but it sometimes fail’s to produce a good still image time to time. Even in situations where you have plenty of light the OnePlus 5 still manages soft images near the edges with a lot less detail compared to the latest flagship phones. The AutoFocus is fast on the OnePlus 5 but it does not lock on correctly all the time. Perhaps with future software updates these things can be fixed. Low light performance is not good in the OnePlus 5. The ISO is cranked up high and unfortunately the noise renders the images generally useless. The latest update provided did fix a lot of the issues but there are still plenty more to fix and we are sure OnePlus is hard at work to optimize the photographic part of the smartphone.

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Conclusion

The OnePlus 5 is an impressive smartphone. It features high end specifications and still yet manages to be sold at a competitive pricing that under cuts the likes of Apple, Samsung and even Google. Is the OnePlus 5 still worth it despite being more expensive compared to the OnePlus 3T? The price hike certainly pulls the OnePlus 5 a bit out of reach for the truly budget minded people. However, on the most part we believe it is still worth picking up at the current price tag. It is a good bang for the buck still albeit not as much as it used to be. Again, this is all understandable because OnePlus is now beginning to establish themselves as a premium smartphone company.

The OnePlus 5’s lower 1080p resolution (non QHD+ or 4K) does mean that VR and AR performance is quite noticeable due to pixel’s being more obvious but it should still suffice. We hope OnePlus changes this detail in future iterations.

There are a ton of phone’s out there that perform extremely well and will give you what you need. No longer are we at the point where you MUST buy the latest and the greatest. You still do not need a ton of RAM to run Android and it’s host of apps. You don’t need the best from Snapdragon or other chipmakers as other chipsets that are considered “middle or middle-high” all get’s the job done without problems at this point. So the OnePlus 5 is in a bit of an awkward position indeed. The company may have lost to excellent mid tier to mid high tier smartphones and they are now just mimicking the high end with a competitive pricing. If you have the cash for the OnePlus 5 by all means, it is a great choice. However, if you need to save as much as you can but really need a new phone we would suggest to look elsewhere.

Samsung Releases “Rose Pink” Galaxy S8+ in Taiwan (Limited Time)

Samsung Releases “Rose Pink” Galaxy S8+ in Taiwan (Limited Time)

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A new color is joining the ranks for the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and that is the “Rose Pink”. Samsung always had this tendency to release new colors later down it’s path following the launch of their new phone. Perhaps this is to renew interest and keep increasing sales in target markets. Unfortunately, this is only available in Taiwan for now. Samsung Taiwan is gearing up to begin sales in July. The Rose Pink Galaxy S8+ will be made available on their online retail store but for a limited time. The cost is roughly 920USD (TW 27,900).

Samsung Taiwan interestingly rebranded the color naming scheme for the Galaxy S8 calling them: “Ice Lake Blue”, “Smoked Purple Grey”, and Quicksand Gold. (This came from Orchid Grey and Maple Gold.)

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 latest update removes black navigation bar and adds UI tweaks

Samsung Galaxy S8 latest update removes black navigation bar and adds UI tweaks

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ received a new update that finally removed the black background in the navigation bar. The company also brought a bunch of UI tweaks along with the June 1, 2017 security patch update.

An icon now resides to the left of the navigational bar which allows you to auto-hide the navigation bar (in app). This enables you to utilize the whole 18.5:9 panel. For those who do not like this Auto-Hide feature you can easily turn it off by going to Settings > Display > Navigation bar > Show and hide button.

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Fullscreen mode is being improved upon by including a button that sits above the navigation bar which enables apps to go into full screen mode (especially for the apps that do not support the new 18.5 : 9 resolution. It is literally labeled, “Tap here to fill entire screen”. Activating this will restart the app into fullscreen mode.

The update also brings in a few changes. You can no longer use a color wheel to decide what the background color of your navigation bar is. Rather, Samsung predetermined a set of colors to choose from. Black is no longer an option.

A lot of fears were expressed due to the AMOLED panel and static images. An effect called “burn-in” occurs when an image remains static on the display for too long. This update should alleviate any concerns of burn in effects. The update is 454.18MB in size and began rolling out in India. This is made available in all markets.

Mophie Charge Force Review: A Great Charging Solution for the Galaxy S8

Mophie Charge Force Review: A Great Charging Solution for the Galaxy S8

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Today we are reviewing a product released by a prominent smartphone accessories company; Mophie. We all recognize that charging case, or that portable power bar, or that high price tag for premium brand and build. Mophie’s latest and greatest was built around the Galaxy S8’s built-in wireless charging technology. To be more precise, the Mophie charging case takes advantage of that really really well.

The big down sides that many agree to is the sheer size increase whenever you slap on a battery case. It can be thick, bulky and that added heft is quickly noticeable. A sacrifice to prolong your mobile battery life during the day or two away from a power outlet. Mophie seems to be betting on their new product called “Charge Force”.

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This new series kicked off for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 7 as well. The product introduces a different take on modular design. The case itself is a slim, high quality, and made of a type of leather. This case will provide protection. The cool part is in a magnetic component inside the case and a separate battery pack that also has a magnet. When you find yourself running low on power you can simply pull out the battery pack, slap it on (it will stay secured to the back of your case via the two magnetic forces) and enjoy wireless charging technology. The iPhone 7 will have a thicker version of the case as iPhone’s don’t have wireless charging technology yet.

The Build

The case itself provides pretty good protection overall. Sure, it is not one of those heavy armor, heavy duty cases we see but we can expect it to adequately protect our phone’s from nicks and bumps. The case is made from a strong, durable plastic material with a leather overlay. The end result is a comfortable hold in your hands while giving you that solid feel as you use the phone.

The case also is designed to help users find the fingerprint sensor a lot easier. The buttons are also improved so that it retains that high quality click.

Powerstation Mini

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The Powerstation Mini is that little battery pack that wirelessly charges your S8. Just pull it out, let it stick onto the back, and off we go on about our day as the phone charges. The battery pack is a 3,300 mAh wireless charge battery. The case will align the battery pack correctly via the magnets as well.

What this means is that whenever you need more power just whip out your Powerstation Mini and hold it close to the back of the case protecting the S8 and every time it will stick together perfectly aligned. Then you simply need to hold down the power button on the Powerstation Mini pack and a haptic vibration will show you that the S8 has entered wireless charging mode.

Charging Speeds

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It is important to note that charging speeds are slower than cable charging. However, because the phone has an opening for the charging cable at the back and also the phone is comfortable to use in had (despite that Powerstation Mini attachment).

A downside to this charging solution is that it is quite difficult to get to the fingerprint sensor with the battery pack  magnetically attached. The battery pack creates a “protrusion” that may get in the way.

Another downside is that the Powerstation utilizes Micro-USB to charge up again which mean’s you need an extra cable in your bag. Mophie Powerstations are made to be cross-device compatible which means it will also work with the iPhone 7’s version of the case.

The Mophie Charge Force is well built and designed. A good magnetic connection that aligns the battery pack for correct wireless charging every time is impressive. If you like the idea of modularity for a phone case to charge or not (wirelessly) then this case may be a good option for you.

OnePlus 2 not getting Android Nougat (Confirmed)

OnePlus 2 not getting Android Nougat (Confirmed)

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After much expectation the OnePlus company has officially confirmed that the OnePlus 2 will not be getting the Android 7.0 Nougat update. A OnePlus representative confirmed the news. It as about this time last year that the OnePlus 2 received Marshmellow, it is quite late for the Nougat to come out as well as the company gears for the OnePlus 5 release. The Nougat update focus was given to the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T devices. The only recent update OnePlus gave to the 2 was an incremental Marshmellow update (about two months ago). Marshmellow will be the final update for the aging OnePlus 2.

Dedicated OnePlus fan’s may take this news with difficulty as the phone is only 2 years old. Android phone users have expectations to receive security patches on a regular basis which is also followed by the reality that Android updates are extremely fragmented. Android users now know that the only way to receive frequent updates is to either get a Google phone or to buy the latest and greatest while burning a big hole in your wallet. All phone’s usually receive one big update but a second major update is not a common sight. This sad news, however, did not hinder programmers and developers from working on and releasing custom ROM’s for the OnePlus 2.

The OnePlus 3 and 3T has already received the Nougat update and the company also confirmed that the flagship phone’s will be receiving the Android O update. A positive step forward is shown in the companies efforts to release and promise good updates for their flagship phones beginning with the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 2, may have been an important stepping stone for the company to reach this stage. The OnePlus 5 is expected to be released on June 20 and should entice many to that phone soon.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with a Dual Speaker Setup

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 comes with a Dual Speaker/Camera Setup

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A quick update for the Galaxy Note 8 rumor scene: Rumors suggest that SAMSUNG is working on their Note 8’s Dual Speaker system. This means that the Note 8 will come with one speaker on top and one on the bottom. Theoretically, this new setup should bring louder sound with better quality. Samsung also acquired the sound engineering company Harman-Kardon through which the company has been able to provide AKG headphones in the box with the Galaxy S8 devices. AKG sound chips and technology is definitely expected to be integrated into the Galaxy Note 8 which is expected to be unveiled in New York’s Samsung UNBOXED event sometime during August or September.

A dual speaker set up is a welcome feature that should help with users who like to chill at home and watch some clips online but don’t want to bother with headphones or plugging into a sound system. It is great to see more powerful features being put into your hands through this powerful smartphone. 2017 is shaping up to be quite interesting for Samsung especially with the introduction of it’s “Infinity Display” in their S8 line. The design feature was a speculation that is based off of a schematic drawing that was leaked online through multiple outlets.

As with any rumors we should always take it with a grain of salt as the company can make changes at any stage before the unveiling. The schematic also shows something interesting. A dual camera module on the back. On either side of the camera also shows two separate LED flash for those dark circumstances. We are unsure how a dual flash will turn out along side the dual camera. We are also wondering if Samsung will complete an optical zoom (as opposed to a digital zoom camera) system internally. We hope that more leaks will illuminate more on this subject.

To recap on an internal spec rumor, it seems like the Note 8 will come with an upgraded version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. It could be called the Snapdragon 835 pro or the 836.

Stay tuned for more updates that are certain to come.

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Essential Phone will be Exclusive to Sprint in the U.S.

Essential Phone will be Exclusive to Sprint in the U.S.

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US Carrier Sprint has plans of showing off the Essential Phone across thousands of their Sprint stores in the USA. Co-founder of the Android platform; Andy Rubin created the Essential Phone which we covered here. The Essential Phone is a beauty to look at with a unique edge to edge display panel that rivals even that of the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship models. Andy Rubin has made the Essential Phone available for purchase (unlocked) directly from his companies website. The Essential Phone has the ability to connect to most carriers around the world. It certainly supports the four major carriers in the U.S. If you choose to purchase the Essential Phone from a Sprint store it will be locked to the Sprint network.

Niccolo de Masi, president of Essential explained to USA Today the reason why the company chose Sprint as its exclusive carrier partner.

“We like to bet with where we think the market is going as opposed to where the market was. I feel like we are a new brand and a new consumer electronics company and we are partnering with the network of the future.

It’s certainly conscious for us to work with partners that can make an investment in supporting our brand ambitions…(and) it’s an approach that obviously Andy Rubin has been very successful with in the past as well as a lot of our management team.”

Andy Rubin also has a close relationship withe SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son. The telecommunications company owns 83% of Sprint so it is not difficult to draw the lines. Sprint has stated that the Essential Phone will be clearly shown in all of its retail stores and will give the device its own “premium stage”. The Essential Phones will not come with Sprint branding.

There are no news just yet as to the release date for these fantastic devices in the Sprint retail stores but it should come soon. The Essential Phone costs 699$ unlocked and shipping will begin by the end of this month.

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A Larger Google Pixel XL may be on it’s way

A Larger Google Pixel XL may be on it’s way

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Google seems to be jumping on the “larger is better” bandwagon alongside Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Though it may not be a direct replica of the Pixel and though it will not be called the Google Pixel XXL, it will be a second generation Pixel device nonetheless.

According to internal rumors from Google, the company is planning to release their second generation Pixel phone in a larger format (larger display). A project called “Muskie” was supposed to be the next big thing after the Pixel XL. However, with that now gone we are left with another project called “Taimen”. Rumors seem to indicate that Taimen is a larger display (and larger bodied) smartphone compared to what Muskie was supposed to be. It seems that what ever Taimen will look like it will have the chassis of “Muskie” but with a larger screen.

While all this is happening Google is also gearing up to release a smaller second-generation Pixel device. This should be announced by Google soon this year. The code name for this project is “Walleye”.

These days Google seems to be taking a fancy to codenaming their projects after water dwelling creatures.

The iPhone 8 May Beat the Note 8

The iPhone 8 May Beat the Note 8

 

There has been rumors going around that suggests that Apple will be integrating a fingerprint sensor into its display. While this has been going around, Samsung’s Note 8 is expected to be released later this year. Samsung’s upcoming flagship model is deemed not to come with a fingerprint sensor under the display panel. We had been receiving various news about how the Note 8 would match the iPhone 8 in terms of this feature. If these rumors are true then Samsung fan’s may be quite disappointed. galaxy-note-8-schematics-leak-2

A new Galaxy Note 8 schematic shows a drawing that indicates a dual camera set up that also comes with a dual led flash module at the back. There seems to be a dual speaker system (one on top and one on the bottom). A 3.5mm headphone jack is still seen along with the obvious inclusion of the S Pen stylus in the body. Amongst the surprising camera set up there is an additional feature that seems to suggest that the fingerprint sensor will be placed on the back of the Note 8. This basically dispells all rumors suggesting that the finger print sensor will be found under the display.

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If you look a bit closer, you will see a circle found on the back. This will undoubtedly be the fingerprint sensor since the home button (via a pressure sensitive strip) is found under the display at the bottomside already. To further cement this an anonymous Samsung executive has stated that the Galaxy Note 8 will not have a under the display fingerprint scanner.

If the rumors for the Apple iPhone 8 supporting under-the-display fingerprint sensors hold true then the iPhone will take the cake in that department when these flagships are released. It is true, however, that integrating such a feature under the display is quite hard and we wonder if Apple will be able to deliver such a feature in 2017. We can certainly see it come true in 2018 and beyond if proven difficult this time around.

As Apple paid Samsung a huge sum of money to purchase their AMOLED panels we expect the iPhone 8 to finally sport an bezel-less display design like the S8.