Huawei Honor Note 8 – a 6.6″ monster

note-8

Huawei aims at the multimedia consumers with one of the biggest smartphones ever made, Honor Note 8.

A few years ago, we thought that smartphones will continue growing in physical size. However, the biggest widely known smartphones have been Sony’s Xperia Z Ultra and Samsung’s Galaxy Mega since 2013. Those phones were experiments that were proven too big.

However, Huawei has now released a new monster phone. This 6.6″ QHD giant is called Honor Note 8 and packs some serious hardware. The 2560 x 1440 display is Super AMOLED, probably Samsung made. Under the metal body is a Kirin 955 SoC and 4 GB of RAM and if the 32, 64 or 128 GB internal storage isn’t enough, the Note also has a microSD card slot. The battery is huge, 4500 mAh. All this runs Huawei’s UI on top of Android Marshmallow.

note-8-back

The phone’s design is absolutely beautiful with very Nexus 6P -like camera vizier and fingerprint scanner placement. The plastic strip on the back is also familiar as is the USB Type-C port on the bottom. The physical size of the device is massive, 178.8 x 90.9 x 7.2 mm and 219 g.

A phone of this size is not only very difficult to handle but also too large for most pockets. We are very interested to see if the Note 8 succeeds as that would mean yet another chapter to the book of new smartphone trends.

The Honor Note 8 is now available for preorders in China. Other markets will probably follow but nothing has been announced yet. Pricing in China equals something around $350 for the base model.

Source: Huawei

S7 Active leaks with full specs

s7-active

The new Active will again bring a lot of power in a ruggedized body. The fresh leaks reveal full specs. 

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Active will again be quite an impressive device, if the leaks and rumors are to be believed. The specs are mostly the same with the Galaxy S7 with 5,1″ 1440p Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 820, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The microSD slot is also on board.

The biggest differences are the ruggedized body, physical navigation buttons and a much larger 4000mAh battery. Obviously the IP rating is going to be higher and the body of the device will be able to take much more hits than the glass and aluminium sandwich of the normal S7. One big feature the S6 Active lacked, the fingerprint scanner is now built in to the home button.

On the camera side, there are no differences. The 12MP rear camera is accompanied by a 5MP front shooter. The rear camera module seems to be lower than the riced edges of the 9.9mm thick body, so it’s probably less vulnerable for damage than the protruding one on the original S7.

Source: VentureBeat

Note 6 to have IR autofocus

note-5-camera

Samsung is rumored to add IR autofocus to the next Note. The Note 6 has been rumored a lot lately.

Samsung Galaxy Note 6 will be released in the fall but we already have quite a lot of rumors. Now, Android Geeks have heard that Samsung is testing an infra red autofocusing system for the Note 6. The Galaxy S7 already has ridiculously fast focusing but for some reason Samsung wants to further improve it.

The IR autofocus is used by many of Samsung’s competitors. For example LG, HTC and Huawei have already implemented it to their high-end phones. At least the feature is going to improve the reliability and predictability of the autofocus even though it probably won’t improve the speed. The 12 megapixel sensor will most likely be the same that’s already in the S7.

Other rumors of the Galaxy Note 6 suggest a 5.8″ display, Snapdragon 823 or Exynos 8 series SoC, 6GB of RAM and 4000mAh battery. Some new features, Samsung is rumored to add, are iris scanner and IP certification of some sort. Samsung is also claimed to be testing both, a flat and a curved display, only one of which will make its way to market.

Source: Android Geeks

Google releases Android N developer preview

android-n-developer-preview

Google has released the first developer preview of the Android N with Android Beta program. 

The next version of Android is now available for selected Nexus and Android One devices as a developer preview. It looks like the Nexus 5 will not receive the Android N update as it’s left out of the preview program.

There are two ways to update a Nexus device to the preview version. The image can be downloaded directly from Google and flashed to the phone with Android Studio. The second option is to join the beta program to receive updates over the air. The beta program site is currently down so we are not sure if it’s really an option.

The biggest new feature of the Android N is the multi-window or split-screen multitasking. The feature Samsung has had for ages is finally available in the stock Android. There are also some adjustments on the notifications and the Doze.

I’ll be joining the beta program when possible to be one of the firsts to try out the next Android.

Source: Google

Xiaomi Mi 5, another flagship killer

 

mi-5-white

Xiaomi has released their new flagship smartphone, Mi 5 at MWC 2016. It seems to be a quite interesting product. 

For the first time, Xiaomi has made an announcement in front of an international crowd and for good reason. The Mi 5 packs flagship specs in much more affordable price.

There are three models to choose from. The about $415 PRO model has a Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and ceramic back. The middle one costs around $350 and packs the same Snapdragon 820 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 64GB of storage and glass back. The cheapest, about $305 model has an underclocked Snapdragon 820 SoC at 1.8GHz instead of 2.15GHz. It also has 3GB of RAM and glass back but settles at 32GB of onboard storage.

Other specs include a 5.15″ Full HD display, fingerprint scanner and 3000mAh battery with quick charge 3.0 via USB type-C. The cameras are 16 and 4MP the rear sensor being a Sony IMX298 with OIS. The internal storage uses the same UFS 2.0 technology that Samsung uses in their flagships.

The Mi 5 appears to be quite a challenger for the more expensive flagships. However the availability in most markets might be bad and Xiaomi’s user interface frightens out some of the potential customers. The Mi 5 goes on sale on March 1 in China, no information about other markets yet.

Source: MIUI

Sony releases Xperia X lineup of smartphones

xperia-x

Sony has introduced a completely new Xperia X lineup, three differently priced 5″ smartphones.

The Xperia X Performance is a quite typical 2016 flagship with Snapdragon 820 SoC, 3GB of RAM and 5″ Full HD display. The design is more rounded than in the previous Sony flagships and the back of the device is now aluminium instead of glass. IP68 rating remains the same. Cameras are 23 and 13MP units and battery capacity is 2700mAh. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the power button on the right side and there are dual stereo speakers on the front.

The Xperia X has a downgraded Snapdragon 650 processor and 2620mAh battery but otherwise the specs are same as in the Performance model. The most affordable Xperia XA only has a 720p display, Mediatek Helio P10 SoC and 2GB of RAM. The battery is also smaller at 2300mAh and cameras are 13 and 8MP.

The Xperia X lineup will be available in summer and the pricing is unknown.

Source: Sony

Samsung releases the Galaxy S7 lineup

 

s7-edge

Samsung has released their 2016 flagship phones, S7 and S7 edge. 

The new Samsung Galaxy S7 retains the best of the S6 but improves in a few key areas. The display is still 5.1″ and the resolution stays at QHD but it’s now always-on. The back of the device is now curved like in the Note 5 and the camera bump is almost gone. The physical size is a bit larger in all directions.

The S7 edge now has a 5.5″ QHD curved always-on display but other specs match with the standard S7. There are two liquid cooled SoC options for different markets, Snapdragon 820 and Exynos 8890. Also onboard is 4GB of DDR4 RAM. The battery on the S7 edge is obviously larger at 3600mAh vs 3000mAh on the S7. The devices also support Vulkan to allow better, more realistic games.

Both models are now water resistant with IP68 certification. Samsung has also listened the customers and the microSD slot is back. Of course onboard are the usual Samsung features like fingerprint scanner and the heart rate sensor.

The new 12MP F1.7 camera takes even better low light images while retaining the great quality in daylight. The sensor also uses dual pixel technology in every single pixel to reduce focusing time. The S7 doesn’t use the BriteCell sensor Samsung announced a while ago but Sony Exmor RS IMX260 sensor instead.

The color options are black, white, silver and gold and a Gear VR comes for free with pre-orders. The devices will be available in mid March.