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Apple takes the crown as it ships most smartphones in Q4 2021

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The latest iPhone 14 rumors suggest that we may get 120Hz refresh rates and other great features in every single variant

By Samuel Martinez


January 14, 2022, 4:59 pm

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Score great savings on the SteelSeries Apex Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and other great gaming products

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January 14, 2022, 2:20 pm


industry

Google announced that it’s purchasing the Central Saint Giles site in London, which is already the home of Google, for $1 billion. The company also will also recruit thousands of new employees in the coming months and years ahead.

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By Roland Udvarlaki


January 14, 2022, 1:00 pm

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Services

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, is facing a £2.3 billion ($3.2 billion) class action lawsuit for abusing its market position to collect and exploit personal information from more than 44 million people.

By Roland Udvarlaki


January 14, 2022, 12:00 pm

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Android

On today’s Pocketnow Daily, we talk about the new rumors about the iPhone 14’s punch-hole design, Pixel Fold leaks, and more.

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By Samuel Martinez


January 14, 2022, 11:07 am


Android

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A new leak now suggests that the Galaxy S22 lineup may arrive with an updated Gorilla Glass Victus+ that would likely offer better performance and slightly more protection in case of a drop.

By Roland Udvarlaki


January 14, 2022, 10:30 am

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Apps

Twitter recorded and stored previous Spaces for up to 30-days, but it never let users replay them again. The feature was tested on iOS, and it’s now also officially available on Android, and it’s rolling out to all users.

By Roland Udvarlaki

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January 14, 2022, 9:00 am


Gaming

Valve officially confirmed that those who pre-ordered the Steam Deck when it was released should be getting their devices by the end of February.

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By Roland Udvarlaki


January 14, 2022, 7:30 am


Phones

According to a new leak, Motorola could launch the Moto Edge X30 as Moto Edge 30 Pro in global markets.

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By Sanuj Bhatia


January 14, 2022, 4:45 am

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Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is now official: slightly faster and 30% more efficient

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A featured image for Qualcomm 8 Plus Gen 1 Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm announced its latest premium 5G mobile platform, the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. The new premium SoC comes with a more power-efficient and even more powerful performance, improved AI, gaming, camera, connectivity, and Bluetooth technologies. The new chipset replaces the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that was announced last year.

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset is the new powerhouse SoC, offering performance enhancements and efficiency across the board. The next generation of premium and high-tier Android smartphones will mostly pack the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC and the newly announced Snapdragon 7 Gen 1 chipset in midrange devices.

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Availability

Qualcomm revealed that the new Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset would be commercially available to devices sometime in the second and third quarters of 2022. Several smartphone manufacturers have already announced their intention to release brand new premium devices equipped with the latest platform. We expect to see both the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and the latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC in the upcoming devices.

These phones will have the new SoC

In the press release, Qualcomm announced that leading global OEMs have already announced their intention to adopt the new platform and technologies. The following OEMs have officially confirmed that they’ll pack the new chip in at least one of the future smartphones:

  • ASUS ROG
  • Black Shark
  • HONOR
  • IQOO
  • Lenovo
  • Motorola
  • Nubia
  • OnePlus
  • OPPO
  • OSOM
  • realme
  • REDMAGIC
  • Redmi
  • vivo
  • Xiaomi
  • ZTE

Specifications

Category Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
Manufacturing Process 4 nm
CPU Qualcomm® Kryo™ CPU
– CPU Clock Speed: Up to 3.2 GHz
– CPU Cores: Qualcomm® Kryo™ CPU
– CPU Architecture: 64-bit
GPU Qualcomm® Adreno™ GPU
Display Max External Display: Up to 4K @ 60 Hz
Max On-Device Display: 4K @ 60 Hz,
QHD+ @ 144 Hz
HDR: HDR10+
Color Depth: Up to 10-bit
Color Gamut: Rec2020
AI 7th-generation AI Engine 3rd-generation
Qualcomm Sensing Hub
Memory Speed: 3,200 MHz
Type: LPDDR5
Image Signal Processor Image Signal Processor: Qualcomm Spectra™ image signal processor
Triple 18-bit ISPs, Hardware accelerator for computer vision (CV-ISP)
Triple Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 36 MP
Dual Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 64+36 MPSingle Camera, MFNR, ZSL, 30fps: Up to 108 MP
Single Camera: Up to 200 MP
Camera Features: Multi-frame Noise Reduction (MFNR), Locally Motion Compensated Temporal Filtering, AI-based face detection, auto-focus, and auto-exposure, Low light photography architecture
Slow Motion Video Capture: 720p @ 960 FPS with frame rate conversion
Video Capture Codec Support: Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, HLG, H.264 (AVC), H.265 (HEVC), VP8, VP9
Video Capture Features: 8K video capture at 30fps, Bokeh Engine for Video Capture, Video super resolution, 4K Video Capture @ 120 FPS
Video Playback: HDR Playback Codec support for HDR10+, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision
Modem Snapdragon™ X65 5G Modem-RF System
– 5G mmWave and sub-6 GHz
– Peak Download: 10 Gbps
Other Connectivity Qualcomm® FastConnect™ 6900
– Peak Speed: 3.6 Gbps
– Standards: Wi-Fi 6E, 802.11ax, 802.11ac, 802.11a/b/g/n
– Wi-Fi Bands: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz
Bluetooth System: Qualcomm® FastConnect™ 6900
– Bluetooth 5.3NFCUSB 3.1, USB-C
Security Biometric Authentication (Fingerprint, Iris, Voice, Face)Sensor: Qualcomm® 3D Sonic Sensor
Charging Qualcomm Quick Charge 5 (100W+)

Connectivity

The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC comes with the same modem that was already available in the non-plus, Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. It comes with the 4th generation Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF system, which offers more advanced 5G performance. The modem allows up to 10 Gbps speeds, and it supports 10 mmWave bands, and 300 MHz sub-6 GHz bands for more reliable performance.

Camera

The Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 features the Qualcomm Spectra image signal processor, and it uses triple 18-bit ISPs that can capture 4,000-times more data than the 14-bit ISP, enabling simultaneous triple capture. It supports billions of shades of colors with 8K HDR video capture. It supports up to 200MP sensors on a single camera, and there are other configurations allowing OEMs to customize the performance even further depending on the camera layout and features.

Unfortunately, the video capture at 8K resolution is still limited to 30fps, but the 4K video capture is capable of recording at 120fps. The video formats support Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR10, and HLG formats.

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AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset Source: Pocketnow

The SoC uses the 7th generation Qualcomm AI Engine, which is up to four times faster, and it delivers up to 20% better performance per watt than its predecessor. It’s more efficient and more powerful. It also uses the third generation Qualcomm Sensing Hub that can automatically track activities and surroundings. The camera also benefits from the AI engine, which allows for AI-based face detection, camera effects such as bokeh, AI-based Echo cancellation and noise suppression, and more.

Gaming

Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 Gaming Source: Qualcomm

Qualcomm says the new system contains the full suite of Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, resulting in ultra-responsive, color-rich HDR scenes and desktop-level capabilities. The SoC includes the Qualcomm Adreno GPU, providing 10% faster speeds and 30% power reduction to deliver an improved gameplay experience.

Due to the new power efficiencies, Qualcomm says that a user can expect to game for an additional 60 minutes. When it comes to the CPU, it’s received a 10% faster processing power, and it’s up to 30% more power-efficient. The numbers might not look massive, but they do add up, and these are marginal but welcome improvements to help lengthen the battery life and reduce the heat.

Sound

The chip contains the Qualcomm Aqstic, which features AI-based Echo cancellation and noise suppression, support for High Dynamic Range (HDR), Record, and Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N). The Snapdragon Sound technology comes with Qualcomm aptX Lossless technology and LE Audio with over 17 hours longer playback.

Security

The chip supports the Qualcomm® Trusted Execution Environment & Services and it also allows manufacturers to equip devices with all Biometric Authentication sensors, including Fingerprint, Iris, Voice, and Face security systems. The chip also comes with a Trust Management Engine to provide more security to applications, and it’s also capable of safely storing ID cards, driver’s licenses and more.

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Xiaomi just partnered up with Leica: what does this mean?

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Xiaomi and Leica camera partnership Source: Xiaomi

After months of rumors, it looks like the news was true, and Xiaomi partnered up with the legendary Leica to create a “global strategic partnership in mobile imaging.” The two companies released a press release and a photo on Twitter, confirming their partnership and commitment.

The promotional image reveals that Xiaomi plans to unveil a new device with the Leica branded camera setup. The new device is expected to arrive sometime in July, and it will almost certainly come with Leica branded lens and software. We expect to see the upcoming Xiaomi 12 Ultra, which will be the new flagship from the company.

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For those unaware, Leica has partnered with HUAWEI in the past, and most high-end, premium smartphones from the company came with the partnership and branded software and camera lens. The collaboration between the two companies was very successful. The camera was also not just a PR move as it helped HUAWEI become one of the best camera-performing companies on the market.

Smartphone OEMs often partner with well-known and classic camera companies as a marketing move to try and hype up future premium smartphones. We’ve seen OnePlus make the same move with the Hasselblad partnership. Most of the time, it’s just a marketing move, and it doesn’t equal to a better and more reliable camera performance, but Leica is different. Ever since the HUAWEI P9, every single HUAWEI P-series flagship device came with a branded lens and special software. As a result, HUAWEI has become known as the camera flagship brand.

HUAWEI makes some of the best camera smartphones on the market. It has excellent color production, night and low-light capabilities. Its videography features are also on point, competing with some of the best devices from Samsung, Google, Apple, and OPPO. It’s not surprising to see Xiaomi wanting to join that list, and it wants to make it with a bang, as loud as possible.

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Ever since the US embargo was introduced on HUAWEI, the company has not been able to produce, use, and purchase a lot of third-party components to create devices, and use software that would allow it to access the Google Play Store and many more. Although the company has been rebuilding its entire ecosystem, mirroring Google, it still has a long way to go, and that cost the company most of its global smartphone market share. HUAWEI is nowhere to be found in North America and Europe – although the manufacturer is still well-known in Europe, their devices are increasingly harder to find as there is less demand for them.

The HUAWEI x Leica branding was a powerful move, and it worked exceptionally well, helping HUAWEI establish itself as the camera king in the smartphone industry. Xiaomi wants to take on that, and it’s why it likely signed up for the partnership. The deal between the two companies suggests that it may be a special one, meaning that Xiaomi may have exclusive rights to the branding for many years to come.

“It is an honor to announce the long-term strategic cooperation with Xiaomi today. Leica and Xiaomi are both global premium brands and during this unprecedented deep cooperation process, both parties have successively worked on the goal of providing customers a new era of mobile photography. We are convinced that the first jointly developed imaging flagship smartphone makes the pioneering progress of both companies visible. We will provide consumers in the field of mobile photography exceptional image quality, classic Leica aesthetics, unrestricted creativity, and will open a new era of mobile imaging.” adds Matthias Harsch, CEO of Leica Camera AG.”

How is Leica going to help Xiaomi?

leica

Xiaomi has been making excellent high-end and mid-range smartphones in the past, most of which had great cameras. The company has rebranded itself in the past few years and worked on becoming a premium smartphone company in Europe and other parts of the world, and it has significantly increased the prices of its premium lineup of products.

Xiaomi is already the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, and it’s clear that it wants to play a more prominent role, and take on Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi knows that if it wants to become the next HUAWEI or Samsung, it needs to improve its photography features, and a branding deal with Leica may just be what it needs to sell its smartphones more easily. We can’t wait to get our hands on the next device and take it for a spin!

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Google Pixel 6a vs Samsung Galaxy A53: Which one should you buy?

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Google Pixel 6a vs Samsung Galaxy A53 Featured Image Source: Pocketnow

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Brands like Motorola and Samsung have dominated the competition in the North American mid-range smartphone market for quite a while. And year after year, they continue to launch devices that look modern, have a good feature set, and are available at attractive prices. The latter is especially true when tied in with carrier offers.

But with the newly launched $449 Google Pixel 6a and an improving share in the smartphone market, Google is faced with an opportunity to increase its presence. Hence, this article pits the new entrant against the Samsung Galaxy A53, a phone that’s part of a proven lineup and is also priced at $449, to see which of the two devices you should pick!

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Design

Pixel 6a Colors Source: Google

When comparing the Pixel 6a and Galaxy A53, it’s visible that the Samsung device has its unique elements, while the Pixel 6a borrows heavily from its flagship brethren. The Pixel 6a’s adoption of the design is a positive look in our books, especially as it will help increase brand awareness.

So, on the 6a, you will see the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro-like camera bar housing its two camera lenses and a dual-tone finish on its thermoformed back panel. If you flip it around, you’ll see a display with a hole punch cutout, and to hold the two sides together, Google uses a midframe made from recycled aluminum.

The Galaxy A53 is in a similar boat with its polycarbonate back panel and centered hole-punch display, but it chooses to ship with a plastic frame instead of metal. The camera array on the Samsung is also quite traditional, as it features a camera island housing the four lenses.

Top down shot of Samsung Galaxy A53 Colors Source: Samsung

Upon examining the buttons and ports, you will find the Pixel 6a to have its USB C port on the bottom and its volume rockers and power button towards the right. The Galaxy A53 features the same idea, though the power button is below the volume rockers, unlike the 6a, where it is above. Lastly, each device also uses under-display fingerprint scanners and comes with an IP67 rating.

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Display

From the images you’ve seen until now, you may have noticed that the Pixel 6a and Galaxy A53 have similar-looking screens, but their specifics are quite different. The Galaxy A53 is the larger of the two, with a 6.5-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED panel having a 120 Hz refresh rate. On the other hand, the Pixel 6a comes with a 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED display that’s only capable of refreshing at 60Hz.

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As mentioned earlier, both of these panels have a centered hole-punch cutout and feature a fingerprint sensor under the display.

The Galaxy A53’s advantages in terms of specifications continue with its use of Gorilla Glass 5, while the Pixel 6a uses years old Gorilla Glass 3.

Processor

When you look at the midrange market, a high degree of performance isn’t always at the top of the checklist for many, with OEMs attempting to get “just enough” in there to ensure a device can handle day-to-day activities and multitasking. Such a notion isn’t wrong at all, as this allows them to focus on other aspects of a device, but at the same time, it also puts phones like iPhone SE 2022 in a separate league — owing to its use of Apple’s flagship A15 Bionic.

But with Pixel 6a, Google ships the exact processor found in its flagship. While this decision doesn’t give Apple a run for its money, it does make the competition a little difficult for other Android devices. Google Tensor is said to be similar (or better) to the Snapdragon 860 in terms of performance, and in North America, there aren’t many budget devices that can match that!

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The Exynos 1280, found on Galaxy A53, offers a level of performance that puts it behind Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G (a processor common in budget phones), and even that chipset is no match to the Google Tensor in terms of raw power. Hence, if longevity and overall ability to multitask is something to be considered, the Tensor holds an advantage worth keeping in mind. Not to ignore its prowess in AI-related tasks, which Google harnesses for its unique set of Assistant-based features.

Camera Hardware

When looking at camera performance, Samsung and Google have continually impressed with the hardware they offer as a package and the overall image quality they produce. Hence, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that both phones will do great in your daily adventures.

The article stated earlier that the Google Pixel 6a comes with a dual-camera setup, and this includes a 12.2 MP Wide and 12 MP Ultrawide camera. The Galaxy A53 features twice the number of lenses, including a 64 MP Wide, 12 MP Ultrawide, 5 MP Depth, and a 5 MP Macro lens, but the 5 MP sensors aren’t worth heeding too much attention.

If you focus on the front, Samsung holds an upper hand because of the higher resolution 32 MP sensor, while the Pixel 6a ships with a much lower resolution 8 MP Fixed Focus sensor.

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The images coming out of both phones should be more than satisfactory, and if you were impressed by the photos the Google Pixel 5a captured last year, the Pixel 6a is poised to offer an even better experience.

Battery

Fast charging Source: Pocketnow

Focussing on the batteries on offer here, the Pixel 6a and its smaller chassis come in tow with a 4410 mAh cell. This cell should last most users through a day of use, but it remains to be seen how Google has optimized the smartphone to function. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy A53 has a larger 5000 mAh cell which should also be able to provide a whole day of use.

If you’re wondering how these devices charge, the Pixel 6a supports 18W fast charging, while the Galaxy A53 can accept 27W. Neither phone has support for Qi Wireless Charging.

Verdict

Choosing between the Pixel 6a and Samsung Galaxy A53 can be confusing for many, as the devices are similar on many fronts. While Samsung holds an advantage in the display and battery segments, the Pixel 6a excels in performance and is bound to offer a better camera experience if past results are a metric to go by!

Hence, we feel that if you’re looking to get access to the renowned Google Photo Algorithm and an Android user experience as Google intended, the Pixel 6a is the device to get. But suppose you need a phone with better endurance and a pleasing visual experience. In that case, the Samsung Galaxy A53 holds a strong position with its lower-powered chip and larger battery, not to say it will also charge faster if required.

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Google Pixel 6a Product Box Image

Google Pixel 6a

Google Pixel 6a offers best-in-class features and specifications, shipping with Google Tensor, highly-capable camera hardware, and a refreshed design, worth the asking price of $449.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

Samsung Galaxy A53

Samsung Galaxy A53 packs in a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED Display, the Exynos 1280, and a 5000 mAh battery alongside a decent set of camera sensors. For $450, it offers a combination that is a perfect balance of price and specifications.

Technical Specifications

Category Google Pixel 6a Samsung Galaxy A53
Dimensions 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm 159.6 x 74.8 x 8.1 mm
Weigth 178g 189g
Display 6.1-inch FHD+ OLED, 60Hz
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
High brightness mode
>1,000,000:1 Contrast Ratio
6.5-inch, FHD+ (1080 x 2400) Super AMOLED Display, 120Hz
Processor Google Tensor
Titan M2 security
Exynos 1280
Memory & Storage 6GB LPDDR5 with 128GB (UFS 3.1) 6GB RAM with 128GB
Expandable Storage No Yes (up to 1TB)
Rear Cameras Wide: 12.2 MP, ƒ/1.7, 1.4 μm
Ultrawide: 12 MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.25 μm, 114-degree FoV
64MP, ƒ/1.8, OIS
12MP, ƒ/2.2, Ultra-Wide
5MP, Depth, ƒ/2.4
5MP, Macro, ƒ/2.4
Front Camera 8 MP, 1.12 μm pixel width, ƒ/2.0, Fixed focus, 84-degree FoV 32MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture
Video Rear Camera: 4K @ 30/60 fps, 1080p HD @ 30/60/120/240 fps
Front Camera: 1080p @ 30 fps
Rear Camera: 4K @ 30/60 fps, 1080p HD @ 30/60/120/240 fps
Front Camera: 1080p @ 30 fps
Connectivity 5G, LTE, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 5G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.1
Ports USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 USB-C
Battery 4410 mAh
18W Wired Charging
5000 mAh
25W Wired Charging
Water Resistance IP67 IP67
Operating System Android 12 (launched with Android 12) One UI 4.1 based on Android 12
Colors Charcoal, Chalk, Sage Black, Blue, Peach, White
Price $449 $449.99

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