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Huawei Mate Xs First Impressions – A different take on Foldable Smartphones

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It’s the year of foldable smartphones, it seems. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, a Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 in the works, the Motorola RAZR, and now the Huawei Mate Xs want a slice of the pie. Huawei is no stranger to foldable smartphones, though their first device, the Huawei Mate X, only ever launched in China. Its successor, the Mate Xs, just got announced in Barcelona, and we got to spend some hands-on time with it. The foldable Mate Xs does not have Google Mobile Services pre-installed since Huawei is still on the U.S.’s Entity List. Instead, the device includes Huawei Mobile Services, which is the company’s alternative to Google Play Services. Despite this setback, Huawei is going full steam ahead without Google and with their own vision on what foldable smartphones should look like.

Huawei Mate Xs Forums

Specifications

The Huawei Mate Xs is definitely top-tier when it comes to specifications, though you’d hope that’s the case at a price of €2,499. Huawei’s take on the foldable form factor is different than Samsung’s or Motorola’s. Huawei’s devices involve a display that wraps around the outside, rather than being protected on the inside of some kind of a clamshell design. The Mate Xs has a plastic screen that doesn’t feel any different from the Huawei Mate X. In contrast, the new Galaxy Z Flip notably features an ultra-thin layer of glass, though we’ve seen that the glass is more for form than function. Because the screen of the Mate Xs wraps around the device, there’s no need for a secondary display. Huawei claims that the Mate Xs has a durable “quad-layer” display along with a redesigned hinge mechanism to further prevent any accidental damage. The display is composed of two layers of polyamide film, followed by the flexible OLED display, a soft polymer for cushion, and finally a layer that connects the display to the body.

The Huawei Mate Xs is also powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 990 chipset, which launched alongside the Huawei Mate 30 last year. It has 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a 4,500 mAh battery.

Camera-wise, the Huawei Mate Xs is packing a main 40MP camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, a 16MP wide-angle camera, and a depth-sensing camera. All of these cameras are housed on the “rear,” but when the screen is folded, they can face the user. Speaking of the display again, it’s 8-inches in tablet mode and 6.6-inches when folded.

Huawei Mate Xs design

Huawei is very proud of the Mate Xs design, particularly when it comes to the lack of a notch, the design of the hinge internally, and the lack of a gap when the device is folded over. While there is indeed no notch and no gap, it can be quite annoying to take selfies, and it can also be quite a thick device. When trying to take a selfie, you need to fold the device, open the camera, activate the selfie camera, and then turn around the device to use the other screen. You can then keep using it like this if you want, though the phone will leave a large annoying message at the bottom of the display so that you don’t.

As for how the actual folding part of the Huawei Mate Xs works, it’s rather simple. When the device is folded entirely over, you can press an ejection button on the back (the button with a red stripe) which will release it and flip it halfway out. You then just need to pull it to open the rest.

Huawei Mate Xs
Huawei Mate Xs
Huawei Mate Xs
Huawei Mate Xs

The four stages of opening the Huawei Mate Xs

From there, you can use the Huawei Mate Xs just like you would any other Android tablet. Watch YouTube, play games, browse the internet, etc. When you want to put it away again, simply fold it back up again into its phone form.

huawei mate xs
huawei mate xs
huawei mate xs

Unlike with the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the Huawei Mate Xs doesn’t really have any compromises when it’s in phone mode. The screen isn’t a tiny placeholder to be used only when you can’t unfold the device – it’s entirely serviceable by itself. Sure it’s plastic and that’s a downside, but if you’re careful with the device things should be okay. However, nobody has had one of these for long enough to pass the test of time quite yet.

Entering the fold

The Huawei Mate Xs is, more or less, the same device as the Huawei Mate X but with one or two key upgrades. It feels basically the same but has a newer chipset, redesigned hinge, and a better hinge mechanism. While I didn’t get enough time with the Mate Xs to test more than just the pre-installed applications, it was a lot of fun to play with to see how apps reacted to the device folding and unfolding. For example, the settings application would change from tablet mode to phone mode when you folded and unfolded the device; simple stuff that you’d expect to be the case, but may not necessarily have been implemented by Huawei. The Huawei Mate Xs is certainly a unique take on the foldable smartphone, but with Huawei pushing a launch without Google Apps on board, it might be a tough sell, especially at its €2,499 price.

Source: https://www.xda-developers.com/huwaei-mate-xs-foldable-hands-on/

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Systems

Samsung developing two new high-end Exynos chipsets, one features AMD GPU

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It is rumored that Samsung will soon introduce the Exynos 2100 chipset and that it won’t be plagued by performance and power efficiency issues that plagued the Exynos 990. However, that isn’t the only processor that the South Korean smartphone giant is working on. The company reportedly has two more Exynos processors in the pipeline.

The Exynos 2100, which is expected to be a part of the Galaxy S21, goes by the internal model number Exynos 9840. According to Ice Universe (@UniverseIce on Twitter), Samsung is working on the Exynos 9855 and the Exynos 9925. So, we can expect the Exynos 9855 to debut with the Galaxy S22 in 2022. The Exynos 9925 will reportedly feature AMD’s Radeon graphics, and we can expect it to be released only in 2023. However, some previous rumors had claimed that we could see an Exynos chipset with AMD graphics as soon as 2021, so we can only be certain after an official announcement from Samsung.

Samsung had recently unveiled the Exynos 1080 processor with 5nm process, Cortex-A78 CPU cores, Cortex-A55 CPU cores, and the ARM Mali-G78 GPU. The Exynos 1080 is expected to be a mid-range processor and could debut inside a Vivo smartphone, followed by the Galaxy A52 and the Galaxy A72.

Samsung fans have been waiting for an Exynos chipset that can beat its Snapdragon counterpart for years, but most of them are now losing hope, especially after the dismal performance of the Exynos 990. The South Korean firm’s semiconductor design arm needs to work harder to meet consumer expectations.

Source: https://www.sammobile.com/news/samsung-developing-two-new-high-end-exynos-chipsets-amd-gpu-2022/

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A custom USB-C cable can jailbreak the T2 chip in a MacBook Pro

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The security researchers that found a vulnerability in Apple’s T2 chip have developed an exploit using a clone of an internal debugging cable that can hack a Mac without user action.

Earlier in October, the checkra1n team developed the unfixable vulnerability that essentially allows an attacker to jailbreak the T2 security chip in a Mac. Once they do, all types of malicious attacks can be carried out on an affected macOS device.

Now, the team has demoed a real-world attack that takes advantage of a technique similar to one leveraged by specialized USB-C cables used internally by Apple for debugging.

As depicted in a YouTube video, and accompanying blog post, the exploit causes a machine to shut down once the cable is plugged in. From there, it’s placed into DFU mode and checkra1n is run to achieve a root SSH session. A second video posted to the team’s YouTube account showed that the attack was successfully carried out by modifying the Apple logo at boot.

The attack is carried out by software reverse engineered from specialized debug probes, which are used by Apple and known under internal code names such as “Kong,” “Kanzi,” or “Chimp.” These cables work by allowing access to special debug pins within a USB port for the CPU and other chips.

These “Chimp” or “Kanzi” cables have leaked from Cupertino and Apple retail in the past. Security researcher Ramtin Amin created an effective clone of the cable, dubbed a “Bonobo” and used in the video. Combined with the checkra1n team’s exploits, it allows for this type of attack to be carried out.

Although the video demonstration shows them modifying the Apple logo, the team notes that the same exploit can be used to replace a device’s EFI and upload a keylogger. That’s possible because a mobile Mac’s keyboard is connected directly to the T2 chip.

The proof-of-concept exploit was disclosed by checkra1n security researchers Rick Mark, Mrarm, Aun-Ali Zaidi, and h0m3us3r. The team also announced that a version of the cable will soon be available for sale.

Who’s at risk, and how to protect yourself

As noted earlier, these specialized debug cables can sometimes be found in the wild. With a commercial clone soon to be available, there’s a good chance that most Mac models on the market with a T2 chip could be vulnerable.

Of course, the attack requires direct physical access to a Mac, which rules out most types of scenarios for the average user.

However, users who may find themselves targeted by nation-states or cybercriminals should ensure that they have keep their Mac safe by maintaining physical security of the device.

Source: https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/10/13/a-custom-usb-c-cable-can-jailbreak-the-t2-chip-in-a-macbook-pro

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iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11: Everything Apple changed and who should upgrade

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On Tuesday, Apple unveiled four iPhone 12 models: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will be available starting Oct. 16, while the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available starting Nov. 13 (here’s how you order all four iPhone 12 models on two different days). If you’re thinking about upgrading from last year’s iPhone 11 to the iPhone 12, you may be wondering: What exactly is the difference?

We’ve gathered all of the iPhone 12 specs and prices to help you see how the new phone stacks up against the iPhone 11. You can also determine if you should buy a new iPhone now or wait, and the best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone.

Different size screens

Apple announced four iPhone 12 models: the iPhone 12 Mini (5.4-inch), the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro (6.1-inch), and the iPhone 12 Pro Max (6.7-inch). By comparison, there are only three iPhone 11 devices: the iPhone 11 (6.1-inch), the iPhone 11 Pro (5.8-inch) and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (6.5-inch).

Same refresh rate

Though there was speculation that the iPhone 12 Pro’s display may have a 120Hz refresh rate and a ProMotion display (like the iPad Pro), this ended up being just a rumor. Both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12 refresh at 60 frames per second, or 60Hz. Most phones are the same. But some, like the Galaxy S20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, refresh at 120Hz. The higher the refresh rate, the faster and smoother a phone feels when you’re scrolling through apps and websites.

Better cameras

As is typically the case with new iPhones, the iPhone 12 has upgraded camera capabilities over the iPhone 11 — especially the iPhone 12 Pro models. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini largely stick with the iPhone 11’s camera design, with regular, ultrawide and selfie cameras. But they also offer Night Mode photos that now work on the ultrawide and selfie cameras, too, and an improved HDR mode for challenging scenes with bright and dark elements.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max get major photography improvements, including a larger image sensor and a fourth telephoto camera for more distant subjects, too. The iPhone 12 Pro has the same 2x zoom telephoto reach as earlier iPhones — a 52mm equivalent focal length — but the Pro Max’s extends to 2.5x zoom, or a 65mm equivalent lens.

Despite this, the iPhone 11 camera is nothing to sneeze at: It has a Night Mode and an ultrawide-angle camera that can add extra detail in photos, along with a great video camera.

The addition of 5G

All iPhone 12 models offer next-generation 5G cellular connectivity, as virtually all new Android phones arriving in the US already have. This means the phones can tap into the high-speed wireless network on the go — which might seem slightly less exciting during the pandemic, as we’re spending more time at home, but will still future-proof your device for the rise of 5G.

The iPhone 11 does not offer 5G connectivity, though many people seem to believe it does.

Price

The 2019 iPhone 11’s base model cost $699, which was $50 less than the 2018 iPhone XR. Now, with the addition of the iPhone 12, the iPhone 11’s price has dropped to $599.

The iPhone 12 Mini costs $699, the iPhone 12 is $799, the iPhone 12 Pro is $999, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is $1,099.

For more about the iPhone 12 and everything else Apple announced, check out our roundup. You can also check out our review of the iPhone 11 and all of its features.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-12-vs-iphone-11-everything-apple-changed-who-should-upgrade/

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