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Systems

Xiaomi will announce the Mi 9 on the same day as the Samsung Galaxy S10

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Xiaomi is well known as a leader in the entry-level and mid-range segment of smartphones. But, with recent products like the Mi MIX series as well as the Mi 8 (including the Explorer Edition with the transparent back), Xiaomi has been inching closer to the textbook definition of “premium.” Its Mi MIX 3with a sliding mechanism is a classic example of this phenomenon.

The Chinese giant is now set to unveil yet another flagship – the Mi 9, which it is claiming to be the best-looking Xiaomi smartphone so far. Xiaomi officially confirmed that the launch will take place on February 20. Curiously, that’s the same date as Samsung’s Unpacked 2019 event, where Samsung will be launching its headliner Galaxy S10 series.

Based on the event teaser shared by Samsung recently, we might also get a chance to see the foldable Galaxy F. So, by choosing the same launch date for its flagships as Samsung’s, Xiaomi might have risen up to a challenge, even dividing fans to choose between the two brands, especially in Asia.

The two events, however, will be taking place at separate locations. While the Mi 9 will be launching in China, Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy Unpacked event will be held in San Francisco, California, adding a 16-hour time difference. This could, hopefully, reduce some confusion.

Since the Mi 9 launch announcement comes after Samsung had already confirmed its event, this is clearly not an error or a miscalculation. Furthermore, Xiaomi’s choice of codename for the Mi 9, which can be translated to “Battle Angel”, suggests that the Chinese giant is prepped up for a fierce battle.

There is currently no information on Xiaomi launching the Mi 9 in markets other than China, which is likely to be the most vital battleground between the two flagship series. While Samsung is among the most influential foreign brands in the country, it ranks seventh in terms of smartphones shipments. Xiaomi, on the other hand, comes in at the fourth position.

Coming back to the Mi 9, based on previous leaks, we learned that the Xiaomi flagship could feature a triple camera setup on the back. This has been confirmed by a new teaser published by the company, as shown above. The device can also be expected to sport a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 mobile platform and possibly an under-display fingerprint scanner. A few weeks ago, Xiaomi co-founder Lin Bin also hinted at the possibility of a Mi 9 with a translucent back, perhaps the Explorer Edition.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S10 series, including the S10+ and the relatively affordable S10e, have been routinely leaked. The most recent leak reveals the complete camera specifications and features of the three smartphones. Meanwhile, earlier speculations and tips have contributed information including different colors, up to 12GB RAM, an inbuilt cryptocurrency wallet, and even the truly wireless Galaxy Buds which will be launching alongside the flagships.

While February 20 is not too far, we’ll keep you updated with whatever comes our way ahead of the launches of the two leading smartphone series from Xiaomi and Samsung.

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Systems

Hands-on with the new Apple MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

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These two entry-level Apple laptops get spec upgrades and, in one case, an important price cut.

Apple kicked off the back-to-school season with some pretty significant changes to the MacBook lineup on Tuesday. There were price cuts, trickle-down features and a few quiet cancellations, including the old, pre-redesign MacBook Air and the cult favorite 12-inch MacBook

Getting an update are the MacBook Air and the lowest-end version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. For the Air, that’s a significant point, as the system received its largest overhaul in a decade just last year. 

Both new MacBooks have arrived in the CNET Labs for review. Our testing is ongoing, but here’s an early look at some of the initial results and our first hands-on impressions. 

The new MacBook Air doesn’t look any different, but it adds Apple’s True Tone display, which can adjust the screen’s color temperature based on the ambient lighting. It’s already found on iPad Pro, recent iPhones and some MacBook Pros. 

But more important than that, the starting price has been cut by $100, from $1,199 to $1,099 (£1,099, AU$1,699). That’s still not the classic MacBook Air price of $999, but it’s getting closer and students can get it for $999. 

More consequential are the changes to the 13-inch MacBook Pro. That $1,299 model was a favorite for some, as it excluded the Touch Bar found in more-expensive MacBook Pros. Now you can no longer avoid the Touch Bar, but it’s included for the same $1,299 price, along with the TouchID fingerprint reader and T2 security chip. 

It also jumps from an older dual-core Intel CPU to a newer quad-core version, so the least expensive Pro feels more like, well, a Pro. Case in point, we ran the new quad-core 13-inch MacBook Pro against an older dual-core version. Yes, the eighth-gen chips have an advantage over the seventh-gen ones, but the difference between the two base models is huge. 

GEEKBENCH 4 (MULTICORE)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (quad-core, 2019)16949MacBook Pro 13-inch (dual-core, 2017)9032

NOTE:

 Longer bars indicate better performance

CINEBENCH R15 CPU (MULTICORE)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (quad-core, 2019)647MacBook Pro 13-inch (dual-core, 2017)381

NOTE:

 Longer bars indicate better performance

SYSTEM CONFIGURATIONS

MacBook Pro 13-inch (2019)MacOS Mojave 10.14.5; 1.4GHz Intel Core i5-8257; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 1536MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645; 256GB SSD
MacBook Pro 13-inch (2017)MacOS Sierra 10.12.6; 3.1GHz Intel Core i5-7267; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz, 1536MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics 650; 256GB SSD

We’re currently testing both the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and will report full benchmark results, including battery life, in upcoming reviews. While the Pro is getting a big speed boost, I wouldn’t expect any real change in the MacBook Air performance — the biggest move there is the price. 

We tested 5G speeds in 13 cities. Here’s what we found: Faster speed versus more coverage. That’s the most important issue for 5G networks today.

We drowned AirPods, Powerbeats Pro and Galaxy Buds: We sprayed them, dunked them and even put them through the wash to find out which one of these three wireless earphones can handle the most water.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/hands-on-with-the-new-apple-macbook-air-and-macbook-pro/

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Mobile Phones

New leak seems to confirm the iPhone 11’s biggest design change

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We have just two more months to go until Apple unveils the iPhone 11, which means we’re going to see more and more leaks in the coming weeks as the iPhone 11, 11 Max, and 11R (or whatever Apple ends up calling them) head to production. But we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this year’s iPhones when it comes to design, and now we have a brand new leak that supports all the previous design leaks

All three iPhone 11 models will have a square-shaped camera module on the back that will contain three lenses on the iPhone 11 and 11 Max,  and two lenses on the iPhone 11R. That camera design will force Apple to make some changes you’ll never see because they’ll be inside the phone. Apple had to figure out how to add that extra lens without affecting the battery life of its new phones, and a leak tells us what that might entail.

According to the following image that someone on SlashLeaks sourced from Facebook, the iPhone 11 will have an I-shaped logic board rather than an L-shaped one, as was the case with the previous iPhone generation.

Image Source: Facebook

Below, you’ll find an image from iFixit’s iPhone XS teardown that shows the design and location of the logic board in last year’s flagship iPhone. You’ll also notice that the battery in the iPhone XS phones features an L-shaped design. While you’re at it, check out the SIM tray’s placement relative to the logic board and the battery:

Image Source: iFixit

As you can see, the logic board is placed on the same side as the rear camera, but it doesn’t go all the way down to the bottom of the phone. Moreover, Apple used the space available between the dual camera and the battery for the logic board. That space will now be occupied by an extra camera on the iPhone 11.

Image Source: iFixit

The size of this leaked iPhone 11 logic board isn’t mentioned and it’s unclear whether it’ll stretch from the top all the way to the bottom of the phone. If it’s indeed taller than the iPhone XS logic board, then the iPhone 11’s battery will also have an I-shape design, being placed right next to the logic board on the left side of the phone. However, let’s not forget that the SIM tray should also be placed on the right side of the phone, eating some of the space that could be used by the logic board. With all that in mind, the SIM tray slot might be placed lower on the right side of the iPhone 11 than it is on current models.

The leak also indicates the logic boards are in the making at Apple’s suppliers, which means the iPhone 11 supply chain is already shipping parts to Apple’s assembler Foxconn. That said, it’s still only a leak that won’t be confirmed until iFixit tears down the iPhone 11 phones after they’re released.

Source: https://bgr.com/2019/07/08/iphone-11-vs-iphone-xs-leak-suggests-a-big-camera-design-change/

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Laptops

VAIO announces tiny laptop with tons of ports

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VAIO has announced the SX12, a laptop with a 12.5-inch screen and more I/O options than many far heftier machines. It’s the follow-up to the S11, and features much more efficient use of space with a larger screen and keycaps in about the same size body.

Just look at everything you can plug in! That’s three USB-A ports, one USB-C for charging, HDMI, a full-size SD card slot, a headphone/mic port, an Ethernet port, and even VGA. The keys now stretch to the edge of the laptop, and the bezels have been slimmed down. The SX12 uses Intel 8th Gen quad-core Core i5 or i7 processors and have an optional LTE module. It weighs 888 grams, or a little under two pounds.

The Verge recently reviewed VAIO’s SX14, which this is basically a smaller variant of. We found that it was a practical, lightweight machine with a comfortable keyboard and strong performance. The cramped trackpad and underwhelming battery life were downsides, and you might not expect those to improve in a smaller machine, but the trackpad doesn’t appear to have been shrunken any further at least.

The VAIO SX12 will go on sale in Japan this week, priced anywhere between 119,800 yen (~$1,100) to 216,800 yen (~$2,000) based on storage, color options, and processor. No word on a US release yet, but the S11 and SX14 made it over, so there’s a good chance that this one will follow.

In any case, it’s proof that you can make a thin and light laptop without sacrificing connectivity. Now how about a VAIO P resurrection?

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/9/20687252/vaio-sx12-announced-price-specs-release-date

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