WhatsApp could allow users to download their data, thanks to Europe

Fan site WABetaInfo recently unpacked WhatsApp version 2.18.50 (beta), and noticed that, among other tweaks, the new option that enables users to download a copy of the information that WhatsApp has collected on them. Below we see screenshots of how this data download can be done from the Account>Privacy section of the app.

whatsappbetainfo2 Access to your data is simple, if not exactly fast. / © WABetainfo

This is a welcome feature to anyone worried about privacy online. And there are good reasons to be concerned, whether you think you’ve done something wrong or not. Sure, we still may be giving a lot of personal information to WhatsApp, but at least we’ll be able to know what exactly about us the company is keeping track of. This kind of transparency shifts some power over to the side of the user.

Why is WhatsApp is giving users more control?

By now we’re all used to waiving away our privacy to use popular “free” social apps, without knowing much about what data is being collected and what’s done with it. And certainly, tech giants aren’t bending over backwards to reveal the details of their data collection activities to the public. Unless, of course, they are forced to, which looks like the case here.

The new WhatsApp feature, available for now only in beta, anticipates the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a measure by various European Union (EU) authorities intended to strengthen data protection for European citizens, but may have a positive knock-on effect in protecting users in other countries as companies make changes to adapt to the European market regulations.

The GDPR  requires companies to offer the data they collect about users in a portable format. This means that users should not only be able to download the information, but also be able to read, store and export it as they please.

AndroidPIT privacy 1 Highest privacy settings could be enabled by default. / © AndroidPIT

So if you request a report, you can then import it to another service or keep it backed up for your personal records. Upon request, WhatsApp must compile the report within 20 days, upon which the report remains available to the user for 30 days.

How Europe is forcing greater transparency from big tech

Besides the right of users to export data collected about them, the GDPR also demands more transparency from corporations regarding user data overall:

  • Companies are required to be more clear about what kind of data they store and for how long and users should also be able to easily find contact details about the individuals responsible for the data collection.
  • Companies that allow users to customize their privacy settings to start with the highest privacy level enabled by default.
  • Users should be told upfront what kind of data is collected about them and need to give explicit consent to collect and store that data. For children under 13, the parents have to give consent.
  • Users have the right to be forgotten, and can demand their data is deleted under certain circumstances.
  • Violations of the regulations can incur high fines of up to  €1,000,000 ($ 1,250,000) or 2% of yearly revenue.

Should the US follow Europe’s lead?

Although the regulation is intended primarily with the protection of European citizens, its consequences may range much further than Europe, and certainly further than WhatsApp.

Stateside users, and indeed WhatsApp users around the world, may enjoy the benefits of access to their data. As services make changes to comply with GDPR and avoid trouble in the European market, users outside of Europe using the updated version of the app should also be able to download these data reports.

Even if you don’t use WhatsApp, and there are good reasons not to, the GDPR will affect WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook, and the other members of that corporate family. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple will also have to adapt to these regulatory changes.

Also other companies, like WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook, but also Google, Microsoft, Amazon and other tech companies will need to comply with the new regulations. Not a moment too soon, either, as the next front of data collection, AI-enabled smart home devices, opens up, with Facebook finally entering the market to battle its rivals.

At the moment it’s not certain if American users will also gain the advantages from the EU regulation. If WhatsApp applies the updates universally, then we can thank European strictness for shifting the balance of power ever so slightly more to the side of ordinary users. 

EU flaggs hero Should the US follow the EU’s example? / © Metro

If not, then it may be time to think about applying more pressure to US institutions to consider similar protections for its citizens. Generally, the combination of powerful corporate lobby groups and the idea that citizens should be able to make their fortune however they wish makes US culture distrustful of any government interference with business, although the reverse situation is less frequently addressed.

And yet, in the face of unpopular moves such as the repeal of net neutrality, or the controversial pressure from the US government against Huawei smartphones, it might be worth considering whether US citizens should demand that their government guarantee them similar protections to the GDPR.

After all, the more information a user has about where their data is going and what is being done with that, the freer they are to control their own private lives as well as make intelligent and informed consumer decisions.

What do you think? Should the USA join Europe in demanding more accountability from big tech?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge problems and solutions

The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is a fantastic smartphone that still holds its own today, so it’s all the more frustrating when it doesn’t perform properly. If your Edge is driving you close to the edge, our guide to the most common Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge problems and solutions should help save your sanity – and your smartphone.

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The screen turns on randomly

You may have enabled Easy Screen Turn On, which wakes the display when you wave your hand over it. You can check in Settings > Accessibility > Dexterity and interaction.

Camera Failed

Assuming your Samsung isn’t actually on fire – the Camera Failed warning is known to pop up when phones are running really hot – a hard reset can usually banish the unwanted warning. If that doesn’t work, try clearing the camera app’s data cache: go to Settings > Applications > Application Manager, locate Camera, Force Stop it and then clear both the app cache and the app data.

AndroidPIT Samsung galaxy s7 edge 17 The dreaded Camera Failed warning can occur if your phone is getting hot.  / © ANDROIDPIT

Wireless charging is really slow

Take your Galaxy out of its case if it’s in one: that can make wireless charging flaky. If that doesn’t solve the issue makes sure Fast Wireless Charging is actually turned on (in Settings > Battery) when your device is on the charger—and of course make sure the charging pad you’re using actually supports fast wireless charging.

Palm detection isn’t working

Palm detection is supposed to stop the screen registering false taps, but in some cases it doesn’t appear to be working: the slightest bump or just holding the Edge in a certain way can register a tap. This appears to be a software glitch, and Samsung did issue an update to improve this back in 2016, but if you’re still suffering from this problem, the best solution appears to be to put your Edge in a protective case.

You could try a screen protector too, but many Edge users have found that the curved screen makes it hard for protectors to stick.

s7edge The screen is supposed to ignore accidental bumps and taps, but it doesn’t always. / © AndroidPIT

Buttons aren’t working

Many users are reporting problems with the hardware buttons, but the problem appears to be a software one because the fix involves, er, using the hardware buttons that aren’t working.

If you press and hold Power and Home you should be able to perform a hard reset that makes your buttons work properly again.

Wi-Fi isn’t working or Bluetooth is broken

These are common issues in any phone, and in case of Wi-Fi the wireless router is often the villain of the piece. Rebooting our router and our device fixes 99 percent of our home Wi-Fi problems, but if you’re having connectivity issues when you’re out and about it’s worth forgetting and rejoining Wi-Fi networks – and similarly, if your Bluetooth is broken, removing any paired devices and re-pairing can solve the issues too.

roterwifiandroidhero This is the cause of most Wi-Fi problems. The router, not the robot. / © ANDROIDPIT

Briefing is slowing everything down

Samsung’s Briefing app, which creates a kind of electronic newspaper for you, has the same effect on your phone’s performance as having a large man sat on you affects your ability to sprint. Long-press on a blank bit of the screen, swipe to Briefing and turn it off for an instant boost.

androidpit samsung galaxy s7 edge 9 Briefing? Briefer battery life, more like. / © AndroidPIT

Battery is draining too quickly

There are a lot of factors that can cause battery drain, here are a few different approaches to troubleshooting:

androidpit samsung galaxy s7 edge review 6 Use Battery Usage to see if a rogue app is eating your battery. / © AndroidPIT

It’s on fire!…Or just too hot.

Not literally, but if your Samsung is running hot then there are a few things to check.

  • If the problem occurs when your Edge is charging, try leaving it alone instead of using it and disable Fast Cable Charging in Settings > Battery. That will increase charging times, but if it stops your Edge getting too hot that’s a sacrifice worth making.
  • It’s worth checking for rogue apps too. In Settings > Battery > Battery Usage > More > Optimize Battery Usage you can select All Apps to ensure that apps can’t drain the battery by running in the background.
  • If the heat is at the cable end rather than the Edge itself, you may have a faulty cable: we’ve found even really good quality chargers can get alarmingly hot once they’ve been used and abused for a while. Resist the temptation to use very cheap no-name chargers and cables from eBay, too, as they’re often the cause of catastrophic overheating and in some cases, actual fires.

If all else fails, a full Factory Reset is the last resort before calling in the warranty.

Have you encountered any other problems with your Galaxy S7 Edge? Let us know in the comments.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

You can now add GIFs to your InstaStories, here’s how

Again, Instagram is giving us a lot to talk about this year. The next being a really cool feature that has been recently added to the app—the ability to add GIFs to our ‘InstaStories’.

GIFs, believe it or not have been around for a long time, probably even before some of you were born. Since 1987, the graphic format GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) has been available on the net, but only in recent times has it become popular along with memes in social networks and instant messaging applications, such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Instagram therefore, didn’t want to be left behind on the craze. Here, we’ll explain how to add GIFs to your stories, as well as in private messages.

Spice up your InstaStories with GIFs

  • Open the application
  • Click on the camera icon to create a new story
  • Create an image or a video (in exactly the same way you did before)
  • Click on the icon to add stickers
  • Select ‘GIF’
  • In the search bar (located at the top, ‘write’ the word you want to search in the GIF menu and select the one you liked
  • Locate the GIF wherever you want in your story

androidpit instagram gif Follow the blue arrows / © AndroidPIT

GIFs work like any other Instagram sticker. You can move, rotate, enlarge, or delete them by dragging the GIF to the trash can, and you can also add as many as you want, create and use filters and layer several stickers or GIFs at the same time.

Keep in mind that, if you put GIFs in an image, the story or message will be converted into a video when it is published. Good to know if you have a limited data plan, but still want to check out what you posted that day.

Are you looking forward to adding GIFs to your Instagram stories? Or is this a useless feature to you?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone review: The keyboard is here to stay

The KEYone is BlackBerry’s brand new smartphone, which was presented at the Mobile World Congress. This is the first smartphone of a new generation of BlackBerry phones manufactured by TCL (a second model should be launched this year). But do we really need a smartphone with a keyboard in 2017? Are there still customers out there looking for a keyboard smartphone? The answer is in our comprehensive review.

Rating

Good

  • Physical keyboard
  • Quality manufacturing
  • Battery life (and very fast recharge)
  • Apps and useful extensions

Bad

  • Average performance
  • No dual SIM
  • Price

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BlackBerry KEYone release date and price

After briefly sowing its face at CES in Las Vegas under the code name Mercury, the new BlackBerry KEYone was finally made official at MWC 2017. The smartphone is available worldwide, and was released in the US on May 31, 2017 after arriving to the UK on May 5. The KEYone is listed at $ 549 in the US and £499 in the UK.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7493 The KEYone is available from all mobile carriers. / © AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone design and build quality

The KEYone is a phone created for hardcore BlackBerry fans. While some of the manufacturer’s previous smartphones, such as the DTEK50 may have disappointed the Canadian firm’s followers, this is not the case for the KEYone, which is the first model of this new generation manufactured by TCL. TCL is not a newcomer to the industry, as Alcatel’s smartphones are already being designed by the company.

This new BlackBerry smartphone is clear in its positioning: it is aimed at people who prefer physical keyboards (or those who like the professional side of a BlackBerry smartphone). This market, abandoned by other manufacturers, is acclaimed by many users according to the brand, including former customers who are aiming to improve the productivity of their smartphones.

The device is therefore better suited for business customers. The feeling that the physical keyboard provides is indeed impossible to recreate with a virtual keyboard and some people just cannot do without this feature.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7621 The KEYone keyboard will delight those who are looking for a physical keyboard. / © AndroidPIT

In terms of design, BlackBerry no longer uses the slide-up format of the Priv and returns to its origins, which is quite pleasant in the end. The KEYone is in this way a large monobloc smartphone composed of a screen and a QWERTY keyboard. Even with the keyboard, the smartphone is relatively compact as it remains as impressive as most 5.5-inch smartphones (Google Pixel XL, iPhone 7 Plus, OnePlus 3T, etc.).

Of course, the smartphone would benefit from being slimmer and lighter (it’s 180 grams), but BlackBerry has done a great job overall, since the smartphone has an elegant professional look thanks to its combination of gray and black on the chassis. It also grips well (even with one hand) because of its good ergonomics.

In addition, although the gray chassis is made of aluminium, the keypad keys are plastic and the back of the smartphone has a soft, rubbery finish. The KEYone features a fingerprint reader that is integrated in the space bar on the front panel of the keyboard. I have to admit that the idea is clever and proves to be very practical and effective everyday.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7875 The fingerprint reader is integrated in the space bar of the keyboard. / © AndroidPIT

Below the screen, BlackBerry has kept Android’s navigation buttons the way they are. It’s a little disappointing that these are constantly visible, even when the smartphone is turned off or in standby.

The rest of the design is quite traditional. On the left there’s the power switch. On the right there’s a slot for a SIM card and SD card, volume buttons and a utility button on the right (I’ll return to this later). Personally, I think that Blackberry’s greatest flaw was that it didn’t allow for dual SIM compatibility. Since the device is intended for professionals, it’s unfortunate that this option isn’t available.

On the bottom, there is a Type C USB port and the speaker (there are two speaker grids, but only the one on the right contains a loudspeaker). The good news is that BlackBerry kept a minijack plug on the top of device.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7594 The KEYone is not a dual SIM smartphone. / © AndroidPIT

I have to also commend the quality of the manufacturing, which BlackBerry obviously takes quite seriously. The adjustments are good and the smartphone breathes quality. The idea of a rear rubber coating allows the KEYone to distinguish itself from other smartphones.

BlackBerry KEYone display

The BlackBerry KEYone features a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display with full HD resolution (1620 x 1080 pixels). Unlike the latest innovations, such as the Galaxy S8 or LG G6, which offer an 18:9 or 18.5:9 ratio, or traditional smartphones with a 16:9 display, the KEYone offers a 3:2 ratio. This can sometimes cause some problems with some games or videos as black bars appear above and below.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7475 The KEYone screen has a 3:2 ratio. / © AndroidPIT

In normal light conditions, the KEYone’s screen gives a good first impression. All the details are displayed clearly and the colors are bright. It’s certainly not AMOLED and the blacks aren’t as deep as on a Galaxy S8, but it will suit most users.

In the display options you can change the brightness and color temperature according to your preferences. Unfortunately, there’s no mode to filter blue light.

androidpit blackberry keyone screen The KEYone allows you to manually adjust aspects of the display. /  © AndroidPIT

You should also note the the BlackBerry KEYone features the Ambient display feature that wakes up the phone when you receive a notification as well as the Dual tap feature to wake up the screen.

BlackBerry KEYone special features

The physical keyboard

This smartphone’s special feature is that it offers a keyboard. Those of you out there who are accustomed to this type of keyboard on their old BlackBerry won’t be phased by this. Some of you, like me, will have to learn to type with a physical keyboard again, which may require some patience. The keyboard looks very narrow at first glance, but it works well when you use it with both hands. Whether you like it or not, you have to admit that the KEYone’s keyboard is successful.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7524 What would a BlackBerry be without a keyboard? / © AndroidPIT

This keyboard, similar to the BlackBerry Priv’s, has gesture capabilities. So it’s not just used for writing, it can be used as a trackpad as well. You can move up and down as well as left and right around your home screen, or even scroll through applications. Other features are also possible: you can copy and paste, double tap to display the cursor, or swipe to the left to delete a letter.

It’s also possible to create shortcuts using the keyboard (52 in total). You can then choose a letter to open an application. For example, I chose Y for YouTube, W for WhatsApp and G for Gmail. The only thing you have to do to use these shortcuts is use the BlackBerry launcher.

In the end, the BlackBerry keyboard is full of features that you can discover as you go along. For example, I found out that I could take a picture with the space bar by accidentally pressing on it. And if you’re not a fan of the keyboard, you can always activate the virtual one.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7478 The keypad of the KEYOne is equipped with gesture capabilities. / © AndroidPIT

Utility button

The KEYone also features a utility button on the right side. This is similar to what Alcatel has on a number of its smartphones. It’s no surprise to find it here, since TCL is the manufacturer of Alcatel devices as well as the KEYone. This button allows you to access additional software features on the smartphone. You can, for example, open an application or a shortcut. If at the beginning this button seems rather strange, it will quickly become very useful.

androidpit blackberry keyone convenience key The utility button can activate many applications. / © AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone software

The BlackBerry KEYone features Android 7.1.1 Nougat (including the security patch). BlackBerry has confirmed that security updates will be issued continuously throughout the lifespan of the product, and this obviously includes Google’s monthly security updates for Android. BlackBerry also encrypted the processor for added security.

If you’re familiar with BlackBerry smartphones with Android, the interface won’t seem out of place. It’s quite close to Android stock software, but there are still various BlackBerry additions that focus on organization, security and productivity.

The BlackBerry launcher is filled with features to help you with your daily tasks. For example, if you drag your finger up or down on some applications, you can create a widget. It may sound trivial to you, but it’s really very useful. The app drawer gives you access to three tabs: applications, widgets and shortcuts. In addition, as always on Android BlackBerry smartphones, you’ll find the productivity tab on the right, which is activated by swiping to the left and provides access to shortcuts (calendar, contacts, settings, etc.).

androidpit blackberry keyone launcher The BlackBerry launcher has some changes compared to Android Stock, but the settings and notification menus have remained the same. / © AndroidPIT

Some of BlackBerry’s homemade applications like BBM, BlackBerry Hub, and DTEK from BlackBerry are also on the device. As its name suggests, the BlackBerry Hub is a hub that gathers all your notifications, emails, text messages and messages from different social networks and even reminders and appointments. It’s awfully handy, but unfortunately the Hub can become very quickly overloaded if you have many notifications and it’s not easy to delete all of them.

As a reminder, BlackBerry DTEK takes care of your privacy and confidentiality. This application allows you to restrict access to the microphone, camera, location and personal information. And finally, you’ll find that the KEYone comes equipped with Google Assistant.

androidpit blackberry keyone hub BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry DTEK are two of the features exclusive to BlackBerry smartphones. / © AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone performance

There’s a Snapdragon 625 processor under the hood of the KEYone. Those who were hoping for more with a Snapdragon 835 will be disappointed. Qualcomm’s octacore processor, however, is quite sufficient and has the advantage of low power consumption thanks to the 14 nm LOB process. You’ll notice this in the smartphone’s battery life.

Coupled with 3 GB of RAM and an Adreno 506 chip (an extension for a microSD card is also included), it allows the smartphone to offer flawless fluidity. This means that the phone supports multitasking perfectly. In terms of productivity, the smartphone meets expectations and professionals will be satisfied with it. In the end, only games or applications requiring good graphic performance will cause the KEYone to flicker, which then shows its limits. A few slowdowns are therefore to be expected.

It’s no surprise to see such behavior for a smartphone equipped with a mid-range processor, but we were expecting a little bit more out of the device, especially considering the device’s price at $ 549. An LG G6 that is now available at this price offers a lot more performance (Snapdragon 821 and 4 GB of RAM).

BlackBerry KEYone benchmark comparison

 
  BlackBerry KEYone Samsung Galaxy S8+ HTC U11 Xperia XZ Premium
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.1 426     3.132 3.599 3.245
3DMark SlingShot ES 3.0

720

3.336 4.129 3.697
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited 12790 28.742 40.034 40.286
Geekbench Single Core 2.014 1.905 1.898
Geekbench Multi Core 6.479 6.454 6.294
PCMark Work Performance 4949 5.094 6.787 6.338
PCMark Storage

3435

4.772 4.989
Google Octane 2.0 4358 10.440 11.928 11.086

BlackBerry KEYone audio

The KEYone offers a mono speaker that provides enough quality to play videos or music. However, you should not expect extraordinary sound quality, since when the volume is too high the sound is somewhat distorted. The audio output is average. Those of you who still have high-end headphones will be a bit disappointed with its audio quality.

That being said, the sound quality during phone calls is very good, even when you turn on the speakerphone.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7610 The mini-jack plug is still there! / © AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone camera

The BlackBerry KEYone offers a 12 megapixel main camera (Sony IMX378 sensor) with an f/2.0 aperture. Unfortunately it doesn’t have optical stabilization. The front camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels. The phone can in 4k at 30fps or in Full-HD at 60fps for video.

The device proves that to have a good camera you need more than a very good sensor. Although the phone is equipped with the same very good sensor as the Google Pixel, the Sony IMX378 image sensor, the quality of the images is quite different. This starts with the fact that KEYone has difficulty focusing properly, especially when you’re taking portraits.

In addition, its white balance and color reproduction are lagging behind current flagships. The auto HDR mode is lower than Google Pixel, resulting in overexposed and underexposed areas in high contrast images. Although this is a common problem for smartphones and devices with small sensors, the KEYone simply can’t compete with the Google Pixel.

The KEYone offers correct image quality and is close to the current flagships. Its detail reproduction is good under daylight conditions and it has correspondingly low ISO values. In low lighting conditions, the KEYone needs to increase ISO sensitivity, which causes more noise in the images. Compared to many competitors, BlackBerry uses very optimistic shutter speeds to keep ISO speed as low as possible. On the one hand, this leads to better image quality, but you also need very stable hands when taking pictures. That’s why you may have a lot of blurry pictures if you move around too much.

Color reproduction in daylight is generally good with occasional hiccups regarding white balance. In darker conditions, increased noise reduction disturbs color reproduction, resulting in bland images, which is typical for smartphones.

Overall, KEYone offers correct image quality and is close to the current flagships. Even if we could have expected more, this is a big step for BlackBerry, which up until now had been a bit disappointing when it came to camera technology. KEYone changes the game. But don’t expect the same quality as the Pixel, because Google has more control over the camera’s software.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7534 The BlackBerry KEYone offers decent camera technology. / © AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone battery

This is clearly one of the strong points of the KEYone. The smartphone has an integrated 3505 mAh battery pack that ensures great battery life. In addition to this good battery capacity, the KEYone has an energy-efficient processor and only has a ‘small’ 4.5-inch screen to run.

In everyday use, the smartphone can easily last a day and a half, or even longer, with somewhat intensive use (calls, text messages, internet, videos…). I was therefore able to have more than 6 hours of screen time without the battery completely draining. In the PCMark battery test, the battery lasted 9 hours and 25 minutes, going from 100% to 20%.

There’s some more good news as well, since the KEYone is capable of charging 50% in 36 minutes with Quick Charge 3.0. In this respect, KEYone has one peculiarity: When you plug the device in, you have two different charging options: the recharge mode or the boost mode, but the boost mode blocks many items (including notifications) to speed up charging. This lets you charge the phone even faster, since it immerses the KEYone in an energy-saving mode to maximize the device’s charging efficiency.

AndroidPIT blackberry Keyone 7617 The KEYone performs very well in terms of battery life. /  © AndroidPIT

BlackBerry KEYone technical specifications

Dimensions: 149.3 x 72.5 x 9.4 mm
Weight: 180 g
Battery size: 3505 mAh
Screen size: 4.5 in
Screen: 1680 x 1080 pixels (433 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 7.1 – Nougat
RAM: 3 GB
Internal storage: 32 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

Final verdict

No, BlackBerry’s not dead. The KEYone is proof of this (at least thanks to its partnership with TCL). The telephone with the slogan “Distinctly Different” stands out from many of its competitors because of its physical keyboard.

The KEYone is therefore a solid smartphone with good performance that is perfectly suited to people who are looking for a phone with a keyboard like this, and for those seeking a professional look. The software is complete, the photo quality is decent and its battery life is remarkable.

The KEYone, however, is not flawless. The smartphone won’t allow you to write any faster or make you more productive, and while the keyboard may not be a priority for you, the smartphone market today offers a whole range of devices that are better than the KEYone, including some that are cheaper.

Where to buy BlackBerry KEYone

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Motorola Moto G6: Pricing, battery and processor specs leaked

The upcoming Motorola Moto G6, Moto G6 Plus and Moto G6 Play have already been the subject of several leaks, including renders and some specs. The latest news comes from a tipster on Twitter who reveals potential pricing details, plus battery and processor specs. Check it out below.


Shortcuts:


Latest news: prices and specs leaked

A fresh leak from tipster Andri Yatim has given away possible prices and some specs of the upcoming Moto G6 family of devices. According to the leak, the devices will be priced at Rs. 12,000, Rs. 15,000 an Rs 17,000, which is equivalent to $ 187, $ 234 and $ 265 respectively. As for the specs, the Moto G6 will have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor and a 3,000 mAh battery. The Moto G6 Play will sport the Snapdragon 430 processor and a massive 4,000 mAh battery. The Moto G6 Plus will have a 3,250 mAh battery, though the SoC was undisclosed. As always, take these details with a grain of salt.


Price and release date

The presentation date for smartphones has not yet been announced, but if the company decides to follow last year’s plans, it is likely that we will see new models at MWC in Barcelona at the end of February. Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus prices should be around $ 240 and $ 330, and there is no price information for the Play model or prices for the European market just yet.


Design and renders

It’s no secret we think that the leaks for the 2018 Motorola lineup were fake, and today we’re showing you the new renderings and photos that confirm this and so far have been the most realistic. My opinion has stayed the same regarding the Moto Z3 and X5 leaks – that they are clearly false.

Anyway, enough discussion about the plausibility of the leaks, let’s take a look at the new renderings, which show the beautiful design of the new range smartphones. The photo below shows the Moto G6 in two of the colors that will be available once launched. Both the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Plus share many design features, including the Moto X4 glass and metal look presented during IFA 2017. The fingerprint reader is located underneath the display.

moto g6 plus black gold It almost looks like a revised version of the Moto X4./ © My Smart Price

On the back of the phone, you will find a double camera, with a double LED flash, as well as the logo underneath. At the front there is a single camera accompanied by another LED flash. According to the rumors, Moto G6 will be available in colors Rose God, Black and Silver, while G6 Plus will be available in an additional a color named Dark Teal.

In the photos below you can see some pre-production models of the Moto G6 Plus that confirm the renderings published yesterday by the team at Droid Life.

Moto g6 plus leak These photos are blurred and low resolution as usual. / © Gizmochina

Moto G6 Play will have a similar design, but is different in some details. We find a single camera on the back while the fingerprint reader on the front seems to have been removed. Overall, we can see how different it is to the other models, so we assume that the fingerprint reader was integrated at that point.

moto g6 play watermarked The fingerprint reader is finally implemented where the logo used to be located / © My Smart Price


Features

The leaks of the last few days don’t stop at design but also bring to light many of the technical features of the three smartphones. Moto G6 will have a 5.7″ fullHD+ 18:9 fullHD+ panel, bringing the new aspect ratio to the brand’s smartphones for the first time. The SoC will be a Snapdragon 450 and to power it, there will be a 3000 mAh battery.

The G6 Plus will have a display slightly larger than 5.93″, always with full HDD+ resolution and 18:9 ratio. The CPU will have an increase in performance and the SoC used will be Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 630. The chip will be supported by a 3200mAh battery.

The latest information suggests the Moto G6 will remain closer to the classic style with its 5.7” display, and with a 16:9 ratio and HD resolution. As of yet, we don’t know much more about the Moto G6 Play, except that it has a huge battery capacity that will be 4000mAh. This capacity, combined with the low power consumption of the HD display and a processor that is not too powerful, will certainly help ensure a prolonged battery life.


Technical specifications

Moto G6, Moto G6 Plus and Moto G6 Play: Specs comparison

 
  Moto G6 Moto G6 Plus Moto G6 Play
Display 5.7″ FullHD+ 18:9 5.93″, FullHD+ 18:9 5,7 Inches, HD 16:9
OS Android Android Android
Processor Snapdragon 450 Snapdragon 630
RAM
Memory
Camera Dual rear camera Dual rear camera Single rear camera
Battery 3000 mAh 3200 mAh 4000 mAh
Features Front flash, front fingerprint reader Front flash, front fingerprint reader Front flash, fingerprint reader on the back

Are you interested in the Motorola mid-range?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

HTC U11+: Great photo quality and impressive software

What camera is the HTC U11+ packing?

The smartphone scores well on the hardware side. HTC uses the Ultrapixel 3 and the image sensor named IMX362, which was developed by Sony. It has a 12 megapixel resolution, and the pixels on the 1 / 2.55-inch chip are relatively large at 1.4 microns. Large pixels are better because with more surface area, the sensor collects more light, and therefore improves the photo quality.

With an aperture of F1.7, the U11+ camera takes photos that are quite bright, and if slower shutter speeds are required in low light conditions, an optical image stabilizer reduces the camera shake. In addition, a dual LED flash is available for poor lighting conditions, which adapts its color temperature depending on the environment.

AndroidPIT HTC U11 Plus 1867 Despite the trend, the HTC U11+ doesn’t have a double camera. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

If you’re a fan of artificial Bokeh effects, you might be disappointed. HTC does not use a second camera to blur the background using a depth map, nor does it use the Sony sensor’s dual-pixel autofocus for this function. For example, Google does the latter for Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, which use the same chip. With the U11+, a noticeable depth of field effect can only be achieved with macro photos.

Finally, to the front of the phone is an 8-megapixel picture for selfies. Here, there is an F2.0 aperture and a diagonal image angle of about 85 degrees. Converted to 35-mm equivalent, this corresponds to about 24 millimeters and is slightly wider than the main camera. In contrast to the 12-megapixel camera on the back, the front camera doesn’t have autofocus. Considering it has a very small image sensor, however, the autofocus isn’t necessary: With an optical focal length of 2.51 millimeters, almost everything is sharp; from a distance of about 40 to 50 centimeters and more. 

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus farben In daylight, the HTC U11+ takes great photos in daylight / © AndroidPIT

U11+ photo quality: only one weakness

When transferring photos from the HTC U11+ to your computer, the photo quality is excellent. The JPEG files are up to 7.5MB for detailed images, and HTC has chosen a 90% compression level, enabling the photos to be reproduced to maintain detail, in smaller objects such as leaves, for example. This detail is what competitors usually fall short on with cameras. 

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus detailwiedergabe The camera produces very detailed photos in good lighting conditions / © AndroidPIT

The colors are also impressive, with a strong contrast as well as being natural-looking. Automatic white balance functions well and skin tones are also accurate. I would recommend this camera without a date for taking photos in the daytime.

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus skin tones Skin tones are accurate, and the close up again demonstrates the detail  / © AndroidPIT

Unfortunately, as with many smartphone cameras, the same cannot be said for low light conditions. In poor lighting, the automatic white balance doesn’t work quite as well, and the photos may have a yellowish or greenish tone. Having said that, the image quality in low light is still OK. Noise levels are even kept under control even in the four-digit ISO range.

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus jpeg raw low light The U11+ may struggle with image noise and detail in low lighting. The RAW format however, improves on this. The image sensitivity for this photo was ISO 2.891. / © AndroidPIT

HTC’s camera app enables you to control the color temperature with a slider, so you can manually adjust the white balance and correct the color for more accuracy. Incandescent light for example, equals approximately 2,700 Kelvin.

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus hdr on off The left image is without, and the right image is with HDR mode. In some cases though, image errors are noticeable, like the slight halo effects in the sky in this picture. / © AndroidPIT

A downside to the HTC U11+ is its dynamic performance. The automatic HDR, otherwise known as HDR Boost by the manufacturer, simply does not reach the results that Google does with the current pixel generation and HDR+. Although the dynamic range is noticeably improved with activated HDR boost, there are some problems with halos, ghost images and the typically pale HDR look.

AndroidPIT htc u11p hdr bewegung fail2 Double Beard: Movements during shooting HDR photos sometimes cause ghosting. / © AndroidPIT

I often disabled the HDR mode. However, in the case of high-contrast scenes, overexposed areas of the image are often visible, which makes it obvious that the photo was taken with a smartphone. If you take the time to use the RAW format in Pro mode and process the files afterwards, you will notice an improvement in the dynamic range.

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus jpeg raw contrast The overexposed brick wall in the JPEG can’t be saved in Photoshop – this only works with RAW files. / © AndroidPIT

Taking selfies with the U11+: mini sensor, mini dynamics

The selfie camera is noticeably slimmed down compared to the main camera. With an 8-megapixel sensor, it is clearly smaller and not as high quality as the rear camera in terms of resolution and surface area. Although HTC does not reveal the chip itself, it is possible to assume the sensor format is 1/3.6 to 1/4 inches from the data sheet’s 85 degree field of view and the real focal length of 2.51 millimeters in the EXIF data.

First of all, the good news is that the front camera benefits from image processing algorithms and delivers really beautiful colours in good lighting conditions. However, the smaller sensor surface area is noticeable in the dynamic range, so that only halfway high-contrast subjects quickly lead to overexposed image areas. Unfortunately, the HDR mode can only be set to “Automatic” or “Off” in selfie mode – forcing is only possible with the main camera.

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus selfie During the review, the fixed focus on the front camera didn’t cause any problems. However, there is still some overexposure in the image  / © AndroidPIT

As well as that, HTC offers the obligatory make-up function in selfie mode. There is no way to adjust the intensity of the effect. On the positive side, however, the beauty filter does look quite natural compared to the exaggerated effects that some competitors’ smartphones have.

U11+ video quality

The above information is also relevant to the video quality: during the day, the clips recorded are detailed with beautiful colors, and the image stabilizer works impressively well and stabilizes even when walking.

However, over-exposed areas of the image are often noticeable. The UTC U11+ does not currently support HDR video. In low light environments, the noise increases and the automatic white balance is not as reliable. Unfortunately, there is no Pro-Video mode that allows for more detailed settings.

Finally, the HTC U11+ offers a number of special functions. Including the Hyperlapse function, which generates image-stabilized time-lapse images, providing appealing results from images taken on walks or bicycle rides, for example. Unfortunately, the resolution here is limited to 1,280 x 720 pixels, and the images are somewhat lacking in detail and show excessive micro-contrast.

Furthermore, there is also a slow motion function that brings the action in front of the camera onto the digital film at a much slower rate of 120 frames per second. A lot of light is required for good pictures, otherwise you’ll see noise. However, the resolution of the U11+ is maintained at Full HD, and detail reproduction in daylight is good. 

HTC’s camera app: simple but effective

Since the release of the U11, HTC has given its camera app a new look, which I enjoyed using. The app is simply structured and is not overloaded with functions, and although there are only a small number of them, you probably won’t need much more for average use. 

AndroidPIT htc u11 plus camera app In manual mode, there are some good setting options. I would have liked more presets for white balance, such as neon light. / © AndroidPIT

The fast autofocus, which HTC calls “UltraSpeed”, is also a feature worth mentioning. The dual-pixel autofocus of the built-in Sony sensor should be of particular help here. Out of focus photos may be a common problem with smartphone cameras, but during my review, this didn’t happen once. 

Conclusion: The software makes all the difference

The HTC U11+ once again shows how important the software is. Android itself is available for all manufacturers, and the same applies to Sony’s image sensors. The Sony sensor in particular is a solid basis, and the U11+ does conjure up really beautiful photos using this sensor. But where software makes the biggest difference, the difference between HTC and the toughest competitors becomes clear.

Google has meanwhile decoupled the development of the camera app from Android and pushed it onto the smartphone manufacturers. In the age of computational photography, this is not good news for “the little ones”. It is becoming increasingly difficult to compete against Samsung, Apple and Google. The difference is not big yet – but it will certainly not be any easier in the next few years.

HTC U11 + camera: summary

 
Pros Cons
– Fast autofocus – Mediocre dynamic range 
– Great detail reproduction  – HDR mode is error-prone
– Excellent colors – Poor quality in low-lighting

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Facing up to face recognition: how it works on various phones

Facial recognition is certainly not a new technology, as Android users saw it appear for the first time with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It is clear, however, that it has made its way as a technology and has diversified into many various forms. In this article I’ll give you an overview of the most famous examples of how it’s currently used.

The end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 have led the mobile industry to follow new trends. We’ve seen the bezels on smartphones shrink and almost disappear and we’ve witnessed the increasingly advanced use of artificial intelligence with the simultaneous appearance of some new chipsets.

Another one of the trends that came about at the end of last year was the introduction of more advanced versions of facial recognition such as Apple’s FaceID.

As has often occurred in the history of Apple smartphones, Apple has decided to take a technology that already existed, redesign it and refine it and then adopt it on its new devices. And as we have already seen, all the Android manufacturers have decided to follow the trend by adopting the same functions, in order to profit from all the buzz generated by Apple.

How does face recognition work?

But how do these facial recognition technologies work? There are different variations and today we’ll see how they work according to their different characteristics.

LG Face Recognition

In my opinion, LG uses the simplest but most effective version of simple facial recognition. The dedicated software records an image of the user through the front camera, and as it acquires biometric data, it asks the person to nod and rotate their head left and right to capture as much data as possible.

The unlocking is performed in the most intelligent way among all the techniques described in this article: just pull the smartphone out of your pocket or lift it up from the table and place it in front of your face to unlock the device.

This is certainly not the safest implementation of the technology, but it is certainly the most convenient. You don’t have to press the release button and no interaction with the display is required. You can hide the content of your notifications until the device recognizes your face, but you can’t watch notifications come in from the lock screen. This feature is available on the LG G6, Q6 and V30 smartphones.

Honor Face Unlock

Huawei’s sister company in China introduced face recognition for the first time on the Honor View 10. The function was then also recently introduced to the Honor 7X through an update.

Honor’s first implementation of facial recognition was somewhat peculiar, to put it nicely. At first the technology was only used to show the contents of notifications in the lock screen (that were otherwise hidden), but didn’t actually unlock the smartphone. A PIN or fingerprint scan was still needed to unlock the device.

With the latest software update the recognition technology has finally become useful because after recognizing the smartphone’s owner, the technology allows you to unlock the device directly or through a swipe, without a pin or password. You can choose to turn on the display and start recognition automatically as soon as you lift up your smartphone and point it towards your face, similarly to what you do for LG or Apple.

OnePlus Face Unlock

OnePlus introduced unlocking via facial recognition on the OnePlus 5T and then made it available on its predecessor models, the OnePlus 5 and 3/3T. OnePlus’s procedure is also simple, as the appearance of your face is detected via the front camera and the scan is recorded offline on your smartphone.

Each time you unlock your smartphone, it uses the front camera for recognition, comparing the original scan to what the camera sees.

Unlocking usually occurs immediately when the power button (or through a double tap on the off display) is pressed quickly and accurately, but you can change the settings so that after detecting the user’s face it will require a swipe on the screen to unlock. This is useful if you just want to read notifications without unlocking the device.

There is also a function that illuminates the screen to allow for better facial recognition in low lighting conditions.

Samsung Face Recognition (and iris scanner)

Samsung uses facial recognition technology that is very simple and similar to Android stock software. During setup, your smartphone will ask you to be at a distance of about 20 to 50 cm from your device so that it can scan your face. Unlocking is fact enough, but requires that you press the unlock key to turn on the display and start the recognition procedure.

As an alternative to this insecure unlocking method (a photo or video can deceive the system) your smartphone allows you to also use the iris scanner.

Samsung is the only manufacturer that currently uses this technology on its smartphones, but I personally find it slow and unreliable, despite the fact that according to company it’s much more reliable than reading your fingerprint. It’s also really difficult to position your device at the right distance and angle for the scanner to work. The function is available on the Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8.

Apple Face ID

The iPhone X is the only smartphone from the Californian company that has this feature. The smartphone, designed to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the device that has changed the world, features an array of sensors located in the upper part of the display inside the so-called notch.

The most important sensors required for the facial recognition are the IR beam projector and the infrared camera. Thanks to Apple’s IR emitter, the iPhone X is able to project thousands of infrared rays toward the user that allow the camera to create a 3D model of your face by measuring the distance traveled by each beam before they hit your face.

The scan is really precise and effective and mainly takes into account facial features and the relative position of your eyes and nose. This choice has proven to be successful in everyday use, as the iPhone X can even recognize its owner after a change in hairstyle, facial hair (especially relevant for me) or if you’re wearing a hat, headphones, or a scarf.

Furthermore, it makes this type of facial recognition the safest ever seen on a smartphone thanks to the precise information detected through 3D scanning.

The smartphone’s display can be turned on independently thanks to Rise to Wake and recognizes the user’s face in a fraction of a second, even in the dark. The facial recognition only serves to reveal the content of notifications (otherwise hidden) and unlock your smartphone, meaning that the iPhone understands it’s in the hands of its owner. The actual unlocking to reach the home screen is done with a swipe from below.

What is the best method for unlocking with face recognition?

The answer to this question depends on what a person is expecting. For example, unlocking with LG’s face recognition is extremely convenient. You don’t even notice that you’ve enabled it, and your smartphone turns on and unlocks the exact moment you position it in front of you. It can, however, be unsafe and easy to circumvent.

The same can be said for Honor and OnePlus. Although they are better implemented, they don’t have a system that is any safer than the fingerprint reader, which is now universally accepted and used.

AndroidPIT honor view 10 vs oneplus 5t 8660 Both OnePlus 5T and Honor View 10 use only the front camera for face recognition. The same holds true for LG. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung has taken an important step in this field and the iris scanner provides some certainly for those who are really concerned about the security of their data. It is perhaps the most uncomfortable and slowest-functioning implementation of facial recognition, but at the same time it is also safer.

Apple currently has the most advanced facial recognition system with the creation of a three-dimensional model that evolves over time as the user’s appearance change. Even in terms of security, the system is more advanced than its predecessors, and the recognition speed makes it usable in everyday life without too much stress, unlike Samsung’s iris scanner.

Huawei Honor Face ID technik Honor and Huawei are already catching up with Apple. / © Winfuture

But we shouldn’t forget that Honor (meaning Huawei) has already announced that they are working on an Apple-style three-dimensional recognition system and Samsung is preparing to present the new Samsung Galaxy S9, which should have an improved iris scanner in terms of speed and precision. LG also seems to be working on an iris scanner that would raise the security level of its smartphones.

But now we’d like to hear from you! Do you use facial recognition to unlock your device? If so, on which device do you use it and how has your experience been with it so far?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

How to change Android notification settings

Smartphones are great for being connected to the rest of the world whenever you need to be, but it can get a bit much when it constantly bombards you with notifications. These notifications are generally quite useful but it can be a bit overwhelming when it doesn’t seem to ever stop. Luckily, Android has a solution. Read on to find out how to manage your notifications in Android.

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Why should you manage your notifications?

With the ever-increasing number of apps we have on our smartphones, it’s becoming pretty much a requirement to manage your app notifications. Between Facebook, WhatsApp, text messages, Snapchat and maybe some news apps too, you can end up receiving notifications every few minutes. And you’ll quickly realize that the majority of these aren’t really that useful to you. So managing these notifications will not only bring you peace of mind, but it’ll stop you looking at your phone every two minutes to see what’s it’s alerting you about now.

Temporarily turn off all notifications

Like Apple’s iOS, since Android Marshmallow 6.0 Android offers a “Do not disturb” option, whereby the smartphone won’t ring or vibrate and can even switch off all forms of interruption. You can turn off all notifications on your phone or only authorize specific ones, like your wake-up alarm or calls from certain people.

Notifications will still arrive on your phone but you won’t be disturbed by then as your phone will remain silent and the screen stays off. 

How to set up Do not disturb on Android Marshmallow or newer

Go to your smartphone settings and select Sound & notification then Do not disturb to enter the settings for this mode. You can then modify these to suit your needs (alarms, reminders, events, etc.).

androidpit marshmallow notifications donotdisturb Android Marshmallow has made it easier for you to manage your notifications. / © AndroidPIT

To activate this mode, drag the menu down twice from the top and press the Do not disturb icon. Once in the options, you can select the time frame as well as Total silence, Alarms only or Priority only.

androidpit marshmallow notifications donotdisturb settings Pull the notifications bar down twice to access the Do not disturb settings. / © AndroidPIT

You can also set Do not disturb mode to automatically switch on at a defined regular time. In the settings, select a time slot when you want the mode to switch itself on. 

androidpit marshmallow notifications donotdisturb settings 2 You can set Do not disturb to automatically switch on or off at specific recurring times. / © AndroidPIT

How to manage notifications on Android Lollipop or older

If your device runs Android Lollipop or an older Android version, you can also deactivate any interruptions. To do this, press the volume rocket up or down until a menu appears.

There are then two different ways to deactivate notifications:

  • Priority: you’ll only be notified of priority notifications like alarms. You can decide yourself which ones are priority. It’s worth mentioning that when you limit the notifications you receive to priority ones only, you won’t hear any other notification. Go to Settings -> Sound & notification -> Interruption then select the types of notifications you wish to set as priority.

androidpit lollipop notifications You can customize your app notification preferences. / © AndroidPIT

  • None: all notifications are switched off. When you select this option, you won’t receive ANY notifications.

androidpit lollipop notifications none all With Android Lollipop, you can opt to have zero notifications. / © AndroidPIT

Limit notifications to certain apps

Some people prefer to manage their notifications by deciding what notifications each individual app is permitted. Lollipop allows you a decent amount of control and Marshmallow takes it a step further by allowing you to refuse authorizations. Notification management is in Settings -> Sound & notification. In App notifications, you can access the settings for each app individually. This is perfect if you wish to stop that one app that’s causing your phone to go off every two seconds.

You can also hide the contents of a notification when your device is locked.

How to individually manage app notifications on Android Marshmallow or newer

androidpit marshmallow app notifications Managing your app notifications on Marshmallow is super easy. / © AndroidPIT

How to individually manage app notifications on Android Lollipop or older

androidpit lollipop app notifications You can restrict certain app notifications in Android Lollipop. / © AndroidPIT

Do you have other ways to manage your app notifications on your smartphone? We’d love to hear about it so we can update our article. Let us know in the comments below.

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Sony Xperia XZ Pro: leaked pic shows 18:9 display, 8.1 Oreo

Last month at CES 2018, Sony Mobile showed with the Xperia XA2, Xperia XA2 Ultra and the L2 the first tentative steps of the Japanese electronics group’s future smartphone strategy. We expect the Xperia XZ Pro to be the next stage of Sony’s evolution.


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Latest news: 18:9 aspect ratio confirmed by benchmark

It’s only few days before Barcelona opens its doors to the world’s largest mobile phone trade fair, the Mobile World Congress. In addition to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ from Samsung, Sony’s Xperia XZ Pro is also likely to be a highlight. But in order to really be considered a rival to the Galaxy S9 and regain market share, Sony must follow 2018 smartphone trends, some of which the competition already established in 2017. 

One of these trends will be the use of an 18:9 display format. In the past few days, a number of benchmark entries have confirmed that the Japanese firm will indeed adopt the trendy portrait format. Gizchina, which specializes in the Chinese smartphone market, showed a screenshot of a test result of a smartphone identified as Sony Xperia XZ2 Pro with the internal designation H8116.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Pro source gizchina The HTML5 Browser Benchmark reveals something about the display, but also muddies the waters around the name of Sony’s next flagship. / © Gizchina

The fact that the benchmark identified the Xperia smartphone with the internal Sony designation H8116 as Sony Xperia XZ2 Pro is confusing, but not relevant. The display resolution is crucial, because the browser test shows 424 x 848, which means that the display of the Sony top smartphone is launched with a 2:1 (18:9) aspect ratio. 

In addition to the aspect ratio, the screenshot of the benchmark result also contains other interesting information. Sony seems to be already testing Android 8.1 for the Xperia XZ Pro. This would definitely be a good idea, because at the IFA 2017 in Berlin, Sony, with the Xperia XZ1 and XZ1 Compact, was one of the first manufacturers to follow Google in presenting products with Android 8.0 Oreo.

Design: what will the Sony Xperia XZ Pro look like?

In the past, Sony Mobile was known for its consistent adherence to tradition, the tried and tested. Many people described the design as old-fashioned and outdated, while fans regarded it as independent and part of the brand’s personality. Similarly, the side-mounted fingerprint sensor is divisive and it’s notable that other manufacturers have been able to tease out more from Sony’s own image sensors than the PlayStation makers themselves.

sony xz pro concept This unofficial concept shows an attractive direction for the next Sony Xperia smartphones to take. / © Weibo

With the switch to the 18:9 format and the trend towards bezel-less displays that take up the entire front side, (now dominating in the mid-range as well as flagships), Sony’s design department is stepping up to the challenge.

Concepts and alleged designs for the new Sony design of the year 2018 have been circulating on the Internet for several months now, but we believe that Sony will basically stick to the rectangular design for the Xperia XZ Pro and will primarily concentrate on dramatically increasing the display size. The Xperia XZ Pro will certainly continue to be IP68 rated against water and dust and will feature stereo speakers.

Display: 4K-OLED?

Even though the first rumors emerged at the end of January 2018 that future Sony smartphones would be equipped with OLEDs from LG Display, it is unlikely that the switch from IPS-LCDs to OLEDs will happen in time for the Xperia XZ Pro. Sony will wait until LG Display will be able to offer an OLED display with 4K resolution in order to market the high resolution as a unique selling point.

What will change in terms of display in the Sony Xperia XZ Pro? Primarily, the aspect ratio will probably have to change, because of the huge success of the 18:9 format. In addition, the bezels above and below the screen will be reduced dramatically.

Hardware: newest Qualcomm processor and more RAM

When it comes to technical specications, Sony’s flagship products have always been among the top-of-the-line smartphones. This should not change with the Xperia XZ Pro. It is certain that Sony will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845, and the Japanese company will probably give the XZ Pro 6 GB of RAM.

sony xperia xz pro tech specs A bit blurry, but you can see some possible specs of the Xperia XZ Pro. / © Weibo

The internal memory should also be expanded from 64 GB to 128 GB, which should be expandable as per usual with Xperia phones. It goes without saying that Sony will deliver its top 2018 smartphones with Android Oreo. It’s worth noting that, since last year, Sony Mobile has emerged as one of the few manufacturers to be able to provide timely software and security updates.

Dual camera looks likely for the Xperia XZ Pro

The Sony Xperia XZ Pro will probably be equipped with a dual camera on the back, with 18 and 12 MP sensors. Rumor has it that the pixel sizes will be 1.33μ m and 1.38μ m and are likely to benefit from light sensitivity, and this is necessary because the Xperia smartphones of 2017 didn’t perform well in low light conditions. In addition, you will probably use the dual camera setup to achieve the blur (Bokeh) effect.

It is still unclear how large the apertures will be and whether Sony will again rely on the interaction of electronic and five-axis image stabilization, balanced by gyroscope, for image stabilization.

Sales could start some time after MWC

The presentation of the Xperia XZ Pro and most likely other smartphones and gadgets will take place on February 26 2018 as part of the press conference. We will also be on site to report on Sony’s MWC highlights as soon as possible. The official price and availability of the Xperia XZ Pro will be announced by Sony at the Catalan fair. We can make an educated guess that the price will be between $ 700 and $ 800.

A leaked document on the smartphones equipped with Snapdragon 845 shows that the Xperia XZ Pro can be expected in June 2018. As a reminder: The XZ Premium was also presented at the MWC in 2017 and went on sale last June. So the launch of an Xperia XZ Pro in June 2018 would certainly be a good start.

Sony Xperia XZ Pro: specs, price, release date

 
  Sony Xperia XZ Pro
Presentation 26. February 2018
Availability Probably June 2018
Price Probably between $ 700 – $ 800
Display 5.7 inch IPS LCD
Resolution 3,840 x 2,160 Pixel (4K)
Chipset  Snapdragon 845
RAM 6 GB
Storage 128 GB, MicroSD-Slot
Camera Dual camera, 12 and 18 MP  
Battery 3,420 mAh
Operating system Android 8.0 with Sony UX

Are you excited for the Xperia XZ Pro? What features are you expecting from it?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Fake reviews in exchange for free smartphones?

“A free Huawei Mate 10 Pro just for a quick product review on a retailer’s website? Sure! Why not?” That’s what thousands of Facebook users thought in the US following Huawei’s call for willing Mate 10 Pro beta testers. Trading a free smartphone for a fake review? Could Huawei really be behind this?

The call for US Mate 10 Pro beta testers is clear in the “Huawei | Honor Beta” Facebook group. So far, so good. But in a beta test, the participants should get the product first, test it and then evaluate it. Huawei’s process in the US seems to be different: In order to become a beta tester, the first step is to rate the Mate 10 Pro at Best Buy. This can only be considered a fake review, after all, sales in the US have not even started yet. How could people truly review something they’ve never tried? If you send in the link to your fake review, you could receive the Huawei Mate 10 Pro as a free gift.

The Facebook group has since been deleted, but if we’ve learned one thing in recent years, it’s this: the Internet never forgets. As such, numerous screenshots from the aforementioned group are circulating which supposedly prove Huawei’s immoral offer of a free Mate 10 Pro in exchange for a fake review.

huawei facebook The post has since been deleted. / © 9to5google

The Best Buy ratings are apparently in the process of being reviewed and deleted, as currently only 72 ratings with an average of 4.8 stars are still visible. That’s still a lot for a product you can’t even buy. Like other online shops, Best Buy begs the question why reviews for an unavailable product like the Mate 10 Pro are accepted at all.

customer reviews huawei 51092dlg best buy 2018 02 12 14 57 17 108 reviews for an unreleased product? Seems high. / © 9to5google

But were these really the official actions of Huawei, which is now trying to cover its tracks? In an age dominated by social media, even a child could tell you an open call like this could go the wrong way. If the post goes viral, you could suddenly have not hundreds but thousands of reviews. Of course, you can’t give away that many smartphones as beta test devices. Sometimes things can go wrong and you can get caught. Now the media is aware and denouncing this immoral attempt to get fake reviews. There’s not much to be gained by this practice, in fact, there’s far more to lose.

AndroidPIT Huawei Mate 10 2528 The Huawei Mate 10 Pro. / © AndroidPIT

Does Huawei want to make up for its recent defeat in the US?

Huawei has recently suffered a bitter defeat in the US. Almost at the last minute, massive pressure from the government under President Trump led to Huawei not being able to launch the Mate 10 Pro with AT&T and Verizon. The CES trade show, which was originally planned as a great kick-off for Huawei, fell through, and CEO Richard Yu was appropriately emotional about it. The Mate 10 Pro will now be launched without the carriers, which are so essential to selling phones in the American market. Huawei could surely put its marketing budget to good use, as it has done very effectively in Europe. Such an obviously risky move doesn’t sound like Huawei at all. It’s quite possible that there were other forces at work here. For example, it could be someone posing as Huawei to collect contact information on Facebook fraudulently.

We have asked Huawei for a statement on this matter, and if we get a response, we will update this article accordingly. 

What do you think of all this? Do you think Huawei is capable of such a clumsy move?

Android News + App Reviews + Hardware Reviews – AndroidPIT