Buying a ZTE here in the US phone may not be “hip” these days, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t say I was at least a bit curious about the company’s latest flagship phone. The Axon 40 Ultra just went on sale and after looking over the spec sheet as well as the software features that ZTE has built on top of Android 12, plus when you factor in the $799 price, it’s absolutely worth a look.
For well below $1K, the Axon 40 Ultra includes a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a base model of 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, 6.8-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate and under-display selfie camera, 5,000mAh battery with 65W fast charging, dual SIM slot, dual speakers, under-display fingerprint reader, triple rear camera system (with dual Sony IMX 787 sensors), and Android 12.
More on the software, ZTE is committing to security patch updates every 3 months (no mention of how many years that support lasts), as well as upgrading the device to Android 13 by the end of August. On the features side, ZTE has baked in many things for its rear-facing cameras, such as Smart Moon (multiple shots and image calculations to magnify the moon to a level that mimics that of the naked eye), Star Enhancement, an AI-powered Constellation Connection feature, Super Night Video, as well as Dual OIS and EIS for system wide stabilization.
If you’re ready to give something other than a Pixel, OnePlus, or Samsung device a try, why not ZTE? I may ask for a review unit and see about giving this device a shot. It really doesn’t look all too bad at that $799 price.
First Galaxy Z Flip 4 Color Sells Out
The entire suite of new Galaxy products has been up for pre-order since Wednesday and we keep checking to see if any of it is selling out. So far, not much has outside of a single online exclusive color of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, while the Fold 4 and both Galaxy Watch 5 watches can still be had with August 26 launch day delivery.
The first color of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 to sellout is the “Navy” colorway. The pre-configured version with navy is listed now as “out of stock,” plus if you try and use the Bespoke tool to capture a Flip 4 entirely in navy, it’ll show there as soldout too. Interestingly, if you Bespoke tool a Flip 4 and only put navy as a single panel, you’ll get a 3-4 weeks estimate.
The only other item with even a slight delay is the goofy burgundy Fold 4, but it appears to be sticking to the advertised 3-4 week delivery. I wouldn’t actually consider it much of a delay.
Whatever the situation is here, I’ve got to admit that I’m surprised that more of the new Samsung devices aren’t soldout or with extended shipping times. As of right now, all four of the main Flip 4 colors will arrive on time (see here), as will the three main Fold 4 colors (see here) and the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro in all configurations (see here).
Compare this launch to the Galaxy S22 from earlier in 2022 and they couldn’t have hit differently. Samsung’s dates for the exclusive online colors of the S22 Ultra started slipping almost immediately, which we know first hand because of Tim’s struggles to land one. Within a week, the dates further moved with estimates a full month out or even later.
We’ll keep an eye on shipping times over the next week or so to see how this launch changes. Will the situation start to match the Galaxy S22 launch or are the minor improvements in this year’s foldable line-up not enough to get people to bite? In my first couple of days with the Flip 4, I can tell you that the phone is very much like the Flip 3, but that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the hell out of it.
Telegram’s Big Update is for the Emoji Lovers
A new update is rolling out to Telegram today and it is all about emoji. If you love emoji, custom emoji, animated emoji, or any other type of emoji, you are in for a special treat.
Telegram announced its new Emoji Platform “where anyone can upload custom packs with unique art styles and characters for Telegram Premium users.” Folks can use these uploaded custom emoji packs in messages or captions, plus premium users are getting access to another 10 emoji packs.
To make it more obvious that all of these new custom and animated emoji are available, you’ll see the sticker shortcut in the message box turn into an emoji shortcut as you type. That shortcut leads to a new emoji panel, where you’ll see suggestions and be able to browse your various packs. To make things (potentially) easier, typing shortcuts like :smile or :lol will give you all of the available options too.
And finally, custom emoji can be interactive in 1-on-1 chats, so “any user can tap to play synchronized, full-screen effects” from all of the emoji you spam off to friends.
For iOS users, there are new sticker, GIF, and emoji panels “with separate tabs for stickers, GIFs and emoji – just like on the Android, desktop and web apps.”
In other Telegram Premium feature news, users will find a setting that allows them to control who is able to send them voice and video messages. The options now are Everyone, My Contacts, or Nobody.
There are additional controls that will let you choose specific people or groups, and of course, you can always convert audio messages in to text. The settings for all of this are in Settings > Privacy and Security > Voice Messages.
The last new feature for Premium users is an option to “share the experience with friends, family and coworkers by sending them a prepaid subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months – at a discount.” To do so, you can tap on the profile image of someone in a chat, then the 3-dot menu to “Gift Premium.”
These updates appear to be rolling out right away, as I’ve already seen the update on Android.
First Early Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Review Arrived
Of the two new Galaxy Watch 5 models announced, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the one we’re most interested in. Not only is Samsung marketing it as an “outdoors” watch for the active type, they also gave it “Pro” name, as if it packs a number of extra features over the regular model. We don’t have one in for review (we did order one) yet, so we’re doing that thing we often do with Samsung launches – looking elsewhere for early impressions.
Thanks to Ray from DC Rainmaker, one of the best at reviewing sports watches, we have a first early Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review to analyze. He took the watch for a run to test GPS and heartrate accuracy, as well as battery life. The video he posted also compares some features of the Watch 5 Pro to the Watch 5, in case we didn’t do a good enough job of that earlier in the week.
The takeaways from this early and not-at-all-final review, show that the new Compass feature might have some initial issues, GPS accuracy is not bad and performs far better than the Apple Watch Series 7, heartrate accuracy was quite good after a slowish start, and that GPS battery life is probably closer to half of what Samsung is advertising. Daily battery without GPS is likely closer to 2.5 days vs. the 3.5 days advertised. Again, these are all early, first look numbers that could change over the coming weeks with more testing.
The video also dives into “Pro” features here and laughs a bit at what that even means because there aren’t really any pro features when you compare to other outdoor-focused sports watches. And I would tend to agree with that. In fact, Tim and I were joking earlier in the week about Samsung’s forced “outdoors” push for this watch, when almost nothing about the watch makes it better for outdoors than other Samsung watches except for GPX support and backtracking when navigating. These are not “pro” features and the rest of the watch is just the same as the Watch 5. It’s just silly branding.
Anyways, we’ll have our Watch 5 Pro soon enough and will do out own testing. If you were trying to decide now to get in on this awesome pre-order promo ($50 credit, free Charger Duo, and $240 off trade-in) , give the video below a watch.
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