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Tech News

Flipkart SmartPack Offers 100% Moneyback on Top Smartphones in India


Buying a new smartphone is a special feeling. But when you consider the amount of money you have to spend on a new phone, and on top of it all those Online Subscription Services, you have to think again. What if there was a way you could get 100% moneyback on the smartphone of your choice? What if you had to pay only for the online services you use?

Flipkart has come up with an industry-first innovative solution that brings 100% moneyback when you buy a new smartphone from popular brands such as Realme, Poco, Samsung, Redmi, Motorola, Infinix, Oppo, and others. You get the entire amount directly in your bank account after 12/18 months. Sounds too good to be true? Well, you better believe it.

What is Flipkart SmartPack?

Flipkart SmartPack is the Smartest way to buy a Smartphone of your choice. You get 100% moneyback along with access to some of the best online services which you’d normally have to pay for, besides spending money on a new smartphone. Flipkart SmartPack, will make it easier and more affordable for Indian smartphone users to buy a new smartphone every year.

What Does Flipkart SmartPack Offer?

The Flipkart SmartPack plans offer benefits of multiple online services including Disney+ Hotstar VIP, SonyLiv, Zee5, Zomato Pro, Cult.fit Live, Practo, Gaana, etc. Now you don’t have to buy individual subscription packs for each of these services. The feature gives you moneyback directly into your bank account, and not vouchers or points so that you can simply use the money to buy a new smartphone next year.

How to get 100% moneyback using Flipkart SmartPack?

Here are the simple steps you can follow to avail Flipkart SmartPack:

1. Choose your favourite smartphone on Flipkart
2. Pick a Flipkart SmartPack of your choice. You can choose from 12 months or 18 months duration.
3. Pay for your smartphone upfront, and you can pay for your Flipkart SmartPack every month. 4. Return your smartphone after 12 or 18 months in any working condition*, and Get upto 100% Moneyback in your bank account.

That’s it! Flipkart SmartPack is perfect for those who wish to buy the perfect smartphone for themselves, from a top mobile brand, and don’t want to pay the full amount. This way you only end up paying for a host of online services that you normally pay extra. Customers can also choose to pay the entire amount for the smartphone upfront or use the available no-cost EMI payment options.

The innovative offering lets you buy a smartphone, and get 100 percent moneyback directly in your bank account after a year. This way you only end up paying for the online services that you use. Customers can return the smartphone in any working condition, provided it turns on and the IMEI number is visible on the screen after 12/18 months.

Besides 100% moneyback, consumers will also get access to complete mobile protection plans that offer protection against screen damage, liquid damage, and other accidental covers. There is no better way to buy a new smartphone in India than the Flipkart SmartPack way. With Flipkart’s trusted network of sellers and an innovative offering like Flipkart SmartPack, you’re assured a Great Smartphone buying experience no matter which phone you buy.

Flipkart SmartPack is now available in India. For more details, visit this page.

Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.



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Technology US

LG considers exiting smartphones in 2021

LG is considering exiting the smartphone market in 2021. After losing around $4.5 billion over the past five years, LG’s smartphone business has been struggling to compete with rivals. Now LG CEO Kwon Bong-seok has notified employees that the company is considering making big changes to its smartphone business.

The Korea Herald reports that Kwon Bong-seok sent out an internal memo to staff on Wednesday, hinting at a change in direction for LG’s phone business. “Since the competition in the global market for mobile devices is getting fiercer, it is about time for LG to make a cold judgment and the best choice,” says an LG official in a statement to The Korea Herald. “The company is considering all possible measures, including sale, withdrawal and downsizing of the smartphone business.”

LG confirmed the internal memo was genuine in a statement to The Verge, noting that nothing has been decided yet. “LG Electronics management is committed to making whatever decision is necessary to resolve its mobile business challenges in 2021,” says an LG spokesperson. “As of today, nothing has been finalized.”

LG’s Rollable phone.
LG

This new internal memo follows a now-deleted report from Korean outlet TheElec earlier this month that claimed LG was planning to exit the smartphone business. LG branded that report “completely false and without merit,” in a statement to Android Police just a week ago.

LG has previously promised “wow factors” to try and attract consumers and make its flagging mobile division profitable. LG has tried multiple times with the G7, the V40, the G8, and the V50 to compete with Samsung and Huawei, but it’s not been enough to push its market share in the right direction. LG’s latest Velvet and Wing smartphones have attempted to try something new, but neither were well received.

Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Apple all continue to dominate worldwide smartphone shipments, according to IDC. LG is now turning its focus to its Rollable phone, in an effort to differentiate it from the competition. LG teased the Rollable device again at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, with a “unique resizable screen” that extends from a phone to become a small tablet display.

LG has promised its Rollable device is real and will launch in 2021, but with the company reconsidering its mobile plans it could be one of the last LG phones we’ll see.

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Technology UK

Samsung Galaxy S21 pre-orders – where to buy the newly unveiled smartphone


It’s the moment Samsung fans have been waiting for – yes the launch of their latest handsets is here and they are gorgeous.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21 5G, Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G are available for pre-order now at all major outlets.

You can buy the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G outright from £22.75 a month, or £819, and comes in six stunning colourways: Phantom Grey, Phantom Pink, Phantom Violet, Phantom White, Phantom Black and Phantom Silver.

The Samsung Galaxy S21+ costs £27.75 a month, or £999 outright and comes in the same colours as the standard S21 5G.

Last but by no means least, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will set you back £33.31 a month, or £1,199 when bought outright. The Ultra is also available in some irresistible colours.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 11: The Samsung Galaxy S21+, the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are displayed at Samsung 837 on January 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for Samsung)

Naturally the new devices come with some impressive features, and of course the 5G capabilities.

The latest Samsung Galaxy S21 Series come with a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz, meaning scrolling through social feeds or high-speed gaming will feel ultra-smooth.

All three devices come with Samsung’s next generation cameras to help customers take their best shots yet. With the Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and S21+ 5G, they both feature a 12MP wide, 64MP telephoto and 12MP ultra-wide lenses. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G’s quad camera boasts a 108MP wide lens to capture extraordinary detail, even at night.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and S21+ 5G also has a 10MP front camera and increased facial recognition technology which automatically captures 14 creative versions of the images and videos being taken, helping users take the perfect shot first time. Whilst the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G comes with a mighty 40MP front camera. All three handsets are able to capture video in incredibly crisp 8K, ensuring your content will be more stunning than ever, no matter the subject.

If you pre-order your new Samsung S21 device before 28th January, some operators are offering a pair of Galaxy Buds Live and a SmartTag or a pair of Galaxy Buds Pro and a SmartTag with specific devices too.

We think you’ll agree that all three phones have some seriously impressive features if you’re looking to upgrade this month. Below, we’ve listed all the latest pre-order deals from the major networks.

Where to pre-order?

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G pre-order deals:

Virgin Media : unlimited data = for £42 a month

iD Mobile : unlimited texts and minutes, 20GB of data = from £34.99 a month (£99.99 upfront)

Carphone Warehouse : 20GB of data = from £34.99 per month (£99.99 upfront)

Giff Gaff : from £769 up front or £35.71 a month

Mobiles.co.uk : 54GB data = from £179 upfront or £34 a month

EE : 10GB Smart Plan with unlimited texts and minutes = £64 per month (£50 upfront)

O2 : 30GB data = from just £20.99 per month for the first six months, then £49.99 (£30 upfront)

Vodafone : from £31 a month (£99 up front)

Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G pre-order deals:

Virgin Media : unlimited data = for £48 a month

iD Mobile : unlimited texts and minutes, 20GB of data = from £41.99 a month (£99.99 up front)

Giff Gaff : from £949 up front or £44.53 a month

Mobiles.co.uk : 54GB data = from £350 upfront or £34 a month

EE : 10GB Smart Plan with unlimited minutes and texts = £72 per month (£50 upfront)

O2 : 30GB data = from £25.99 per month for the first six months, then £54.99 (£30 upfront)

Vodafone : from £39 a month (£99 upfront)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G pre-order deals:

Virgin Media : unlimited data = for £34 a month

iD Mobile : unlimited texts and minutes, 20GB of data = from £52.99 a month (£99.99 up front)

Giff Gaff : from £1,219 up front or £57.31 a month

Mobiles.co.uk : 54GB data = from £599 upfront or £30 a month

EE : 10GB Smart Plan with unlimited minutes and texts = £82 per month (£50 upfront)

O2 : 30GB data = from £32.99 per month for the first six months, then £61.99 (£30 upfront)

Vodafone : from £47 a month (£199 upfront)

Are you planning on upgrading or changing your handset to a Samsung Galaxy S21 device? Let us know in the comments box below.





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Technology UK

How the new Samsung Galaxy S21 mobiles compare with the equivalent iPhones


Samsung has announced its new flagship S21 series phones which the company says offer new levels of connectivity and productivity to users.

But how do they stack up and compare to their rivals?

Galaxy S21 and S21+

The key features here are that both come with 5G compatibility and a triple rear camera system.

The main difference between the S21 and S21+ is that the former has a 6.2-inch display and the S21+ is slightly larger at 6.7-inches.

Those screens are both edge-to-edge Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O displays.

It’s complete with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate which means smoother scrolling on the web and social media as well as when watching video.

Are you going to get one? Let us know in the comments below

Samsung Galaxy S21 and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have been revealed

The triple rear camera system on the phones is AI-powered to aid with better photo and video capturing with an improved Portrait Mode and Space Zoom which allows users to capture images at up to 30x zoom.

Video capturing tools are also well-stocked, with 8K Video Snap allowing users to not only capture 8K resolution video but also grab clear still images from within that footage.

There is also the new Director’s View mode which enables users to see and switch between the viewing angles of the different cameras in order to get the shot they’re looking for.

Crucially, all this comes at a reasonable price for devices of this specification – the S21 starts at £769 and the S21+ starts at £949.

And what about the S21 Ultra?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is displayed at Samsung 837 on January 11, 2021 in New York City
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has also been uncovered

The largest of the three new phones, the S21 Ultra comes with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, which Samsung says for the first time combines both Quad HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.

It also has a quad-camera system made up of ultra-wide, wide and dual tele-lenses which include a 108-megapixel sensor.

The Space Zoom feature is enhanced here too and is able to shoot images at up to 100x.

The full range was revealed to the public by Samsung

A whole video can be recorded in 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps) across all four of those lenses and even the front-facing camera is at the very top end of smartphone capability.

The Ultra is also the first Galaxy S series device to be compatible with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus, meaning users are able to make notes, annotate and edit files using the pen.

The S21 Ultra starts at £1,149.

So how do they compare to the iPhone 12 range?

Apple iPhone 12 Pro seen on display at an Apple store in Taipei
Apple iPhone 12 Pro seen on display at an Apple store in Taipei

The iPhone 12 handsets best comparable to the S21 series are the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The 12 Pro starts at £999, while the Pro Max costs £1,099.

The 12 Pro has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, which is the same as the slightly cheaper iPhone 12, while the Pro Max has a much larger 6.7-inch version.

Both the Pro and Pro Max have a triple rear camera array of 12-megapixel wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lenses, as well as a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanner.

This is used for better object detection and room scanning and to improve autofocus on subjects in low-light images as well aid augmented reality experiences.

Another notable feature on all four iPhone 12 handsets is the introduction of Ceramic Shield to the display.

This is a type of hardened glass which Apple says is four times more resistant to damage if the phone is dropped.





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Technology UK

You might never lose your keys again thanks to handy new Samsung phone feature


Samsung has launched a new gadget that could stop you ever losing your keys again.

It has today confirmed rumours of its hotly-anticipated ‘Galaxy SmartTags’.

The GPS tags priced at £29 can be attached to your most valuable items – like your house keys or a pet with a habit of running away – and tracked using your phone’s bluetooth.

Samsung fans have been eagerly awaiting the tags, which are also designed to use other people’s smartphones nearby to trace lost items once activated.

So if you were to, say, lose your bag on a bus – SmartTags would use other people’s phones with the app SmartThings Find downloaded to track the tag as it speeds away out of your phone’s range.

The brand unveiled the bluetooth tags today by showing how it could be used to track a missing dog.

What would you use SmartTags to track? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Galaxy SmartTags can even be attached to your dog

Pet owners can clip the tag to their pet’s collar – and if little Fido goes missing, his location can be pinpointed using Samsung’s existing app SmartThings.

The brand is marketing the tags as a way to track your most treasured possessions, and syncing the items’ locations to Samsung phones.

The tags come in a range of colours to match the new Samsung S21, S21+ and Ultra smartphone line unveiled today.

The colour themes includes Phantom white, violet, grey and pink.

And the SmartTags also come in black too.

So far, Samsung UK is offering black and oatmeal SmartTags on its site only.

A smartphone user uses an app in their home to find a lost item attached to a Galaxy SmartTag devices
Samsung’s new Galaxy SmartTag tracker uses your phone’s bluetooth to find your lost keys

The brand is marketing the tags to track everyday items – like your laptop, bag, or keys.

But expect to see some light-hearted shenanigans once they are launched -and some questions around privacy too.

How long do you think it will take before users will test out track their spouses, or kids?

Samsung launched the new product on Thursday as it showed off its new Galaxy S21 phone and latest ear buds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, at its first Unpacked event of 2021.

It is the first major smartphone launch since rival Apple launched the iPhone 12 range late last year.

The SmartTags release sees Samsung pip Apple in the race to produce an everyday bluetooth-operated tracker.

Apple’s AirTags are said to have been in the works for years, but the product has not yet dropped.

GalaxyTags come hot on the heels of the success of Tiles – which some of you may already be familiar with.

Samsung presents a visual of four colours of its new Galaxy SmartTag tracking devices
The SmartTags come in a range of colours

Tile’s bluetooth accessories clip to other items so they can be tracked down if your phone is in range.

Users who have lost their device can search for the Tile using their smartphone, triggering the tag to play a loud tune.

If its out of range, it calls on an anonymised network of Tile users’ phones to help track the missing item.

So if someone with the Tile app goes past your missing item with the tracker attached, it will ping back their location to your phone so you can get hot on the trail.

The new Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra
The new Samsung range features Galaxy Ear Bud Pro too

The latest tech is very much in the vein of Apple’s now vintage Find my iPhone service, that allowed users to login and track lost and stolen devices.

But the tags, which Samsung will be hoping prove popular with the forgetful Average Joe smartphone user, expands on the idea by allowing tags to be attached to any item the owner holds dear.

So what would you attach yours to?

  • Read more and pre-order the new Samsung Galaxy SmartTag retailing at £29 here.





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Tech News

Lava to Launch ‘Made in India’ Smartphones on January 7


Lava has sent out an invitation for a January 7 event that will witness the launch of new smartphones from the Indian vendor. The Indian company has been teasing the launch since last week and today it has officially revealed that the upcoming smartphones will have “evolved and dynamic engineering.” The company has already listed Lava BeU smartphone, designed with women buyers in mind, on its website. Lava previously confirmed to Gadgets 360 that it will launch a total of five phones, including Lava BeU in January.

Lava smartphones launch time, livestream details

As per the invite shared by Lava, and a tweet via the Lava official Twitter handle, the company will launch new smartphones on January 7 at 12pm (noon). The event will be livestreamed via the company’s Facebook and YouTube handles. The tweet also mentions #AbDuniyaDekhegi and #ProudlyIndian hashtags that likely hint at ‘evolved and dynamic engineering’ and ‘Made in India’ smartphones, respectively.

“I invite you to witness something that has never happened in the smartphone industry before. Never before has smartphone engineering been so evolved and dynamic, thanks to our talented engineers. Tune in to the live webcast of history in the making. I promise what follows will make you feel proudly Indian,” Sunil Raina, President and Business Head, Lava India, said in the invite.

Lava BeU price in India

Lava first teased the launch of its BeU smartphone with a tweet on December 23. It came a day after it announced Lava BeU with dual rear cameras in India. The company has already revealed that the handset’s price in India has been set at Rs. 6,888 for its single 2GB + 32GB storage variant. The phone is already listed on the official website. The phone, aimed specifically at women, can be purchased in Rose Pink colour.

Alongside Lava BeU, the company is planning to launch four new smartphones and a smart fitness band on January 7, the company confirmed to Gadgets 360. Furthermore, Lava also said that the new smartphones will be priced between Rs. 5,000 and 15,000 and will be available through both online and offline channels.

Lava BeU specifications

The dual-SIM (Nano) Lava BeU runs on Android 10 (Go edition) and features a 6.08-inch HD+ (720×1,560 pixels) display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The display is protected by a 2.5D curved glass and has a waterdrop-style notch. Under the hood, the smartphone is powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 1.6GHz, coupled with 2GB of DDR4 RAM. There is 32GB of onboard storage that is expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB).

For photography, Lava BeU comes with a dual rear camera setup that features a 13-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.85 lens, along with a 2-megapixel secondary sensor. The phone also includes an 8-megapixel selfie snapper at the front, with an f/2.2 lens.

Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/ A-GPS, Micro-USB, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Lava BeU packs a 4,060mAh lithium polymer battery. The phone also comes with a fingerprint sensor at the back. It measures 155.5×73.3×9.82mm and weighs 175.8 grams.


Which is the bestselling Vivo smartphone in India? Why has Vivo not been making premium phones? We interviewed Vivo’s director of brand strategy Nipun Marya to find out, and to talk about the company’s strategy in India going forward. We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.





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Technology UK

WhatsApp warning – service will stop working on some phones from January 1


WhatsApp users could find themselves unable to send messages after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Users of some iPhone and Android models will need to take steps to ensure they can send ‘Happy New Year’ messages after midnight.

The popular messaging service will stop working on particular older models unless they upgrade their Apple latest operating system.

Otherwise WhatsApp will stop working on some phones from January 1, reports Birmingham Live.

The messenger app will no longer be supported by certain smartphone models that are not running iOS 9 or Android 4.0.3 operating systems, from January 2021.

This primarily include the iPhone 4, and all earlier models.

If you have iPhones iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6S, all you have to do to get WhatsApp is to update your software to iOS 9.

iPhone and Android users must check if they need to update

If you have one of the affected handsets and don’t want to lose your chats, you’re advised to back up your WhatsApp messages so they won’t be lost.

To do this, open the chat you want to save and click on ‘Group Info’.

You’ll then need to click ‘Export Chat’ – and you’ll be given the option to download the chat with our without media.

The news has emerged just a month after it was revealed a handy new service was coming to the popular messaging app.

The popular app will stop working for some users on January 1, 2021

WhatsApp is introducing a ‘disappearing messages’ option that will erase chats from the phone of both the sender and recipient after seven days.

The Facebook-owned app, which has two billion users worldwide, said the setting would help keep chats private.

In a blog, the company said messages could be set to expire after seven days to offer “peace of mind that conversations aren’t permanent, while remaining practical so you don’t forget what you were chatting about”.





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Tech News

Xiaomi Shipped the Most Smartphones in October in India: IDC


Xiaomi shipped 5.5 million smartphones in October, taking the top spot in the Indian smartphone market according to latest data from analysts International Data Corporation (IDC). The Chinese company secured 24.8 percent market share, growing 38.1 percent year-on-year. Samsung was behind Xiaomi with 20.6 percent market share, even though the company also saw a more significant year-on-year growth of 42.2 percent. Overall, the Indian smartphone market grew by 42 percent year-on-year in October, with 21 million units shipped.

IDC released its Indian Monthly Smartphone Tracker that shows Xiaomi shipped 5.5 million units in October this year to secure 24.8 percent market share. In the same month last year, the company had shipped 3.9 million units with 24.7 percent market share. Xiaomi saw a 38.1 percent year-on-year growth in October. In second place, Samsung accounted for 20.6 percent of the market, and shipped 4.5 million units in India, to register a 42.2 percent year-on-year growth.

Next on the list of the top 5 smartphone vendors was Vivo which shipped 3.9 million units in October, compared to 2.9 million units shipped in the same month last year, growing 37.3 percent year-on-year in October shipments. Realme, at number four shipped 3.0 million units registering a significant 48.2 percent growth — the highest among all the brands.

Oppo came fifth with 2.7 million units shipped for a year-on-year growth of 40.2 percent. Other brands account for the remaining 2.4 million units shipped.

The Indian smartphone market grew by 42 percent year-on-year in October as 21 million units were sold in total. IDC states that this growth was due to the increase in online sales and pent up demand from the third quarter of this year. The number of units shipped in India is the highest ever for October and second highest for a single month after the 23 million units that were shipped in September this year.

Online platforms facilitated the majority of smartphone sales with 51 percent, growing 53 percent year-on-year. The report also points out that purchases of low- to mid-range smartphones between $100 (roughly Rs. 7,400) and $200 (roughly Rs. 41,700) grew by 60 percent year-on-year. Apple led the premium segment in India, which grew 16 percent year-on-year in October.

 


Will iPhone 12 mini become the affordable iPhone we’ve been waiting for? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.



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Technology UK

Oppo Find X2 Pro review – incredible smartphone is one of our favourites of 2020


Not everyone will have heard of Oppo, but if you’re an Android smartphone fan, then it would have been hard not to. The Chinese brand officially arrived in the UK on 29 January 2019 and since then has been gaining some traction, developing an impressive lineup of handsets in less than two years which managed to get heads turning.

You might have caught sight of their Reno series last year, which featured a sexy bezel-less display. What really got people talking, though, was the front facing snapper, which popped up out of the smartphone’s top whenever you enabled the selfie camera app.

While the same snazzy design doesn’t appear in Oppo’s latest flagship phone – the Find X2 Pro, which we are reviewing right here – it does still boast a host of other features we’re looking forward to testing out. Here is our review.

Design

To look at, the Find X2 Pro isn’t anything remarkable. Yes, our ceramic black review device has a very sleek and slender look about it, but things are left very minimal, complemented by smooth edges and an almost bezel-less display. You can’t blame us for being a little bit disappointed, though – as we mentioned earlier – the company’s last flagship did have a pop-up selfie camera for goodness sake!

While the Find X2 Pro won’t get heads turning, it is certainly a pretty and well made phone touting a muted aesthetic that’s likely to appeal to most new smartphone shoppers.

Something that you won’t know by just looking at it, though, is that the handset has an IP68 rating, which means it is waterproof and fully submersible in water up to one meter for 30 minutes. Handy if you’re accident prone or inclined to dropping your phone down the toilet or in the bath.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro is available now in ceramic black, orange or limited edition green from most network operators, or can be picked up SIM-free for £899

Display

One of the finest features in the Find X2 Pro is the AMOLED screen. Measuring 6.78-inches, it’s definitely a hand full, but only in a good way. A slight curve to the left and the right of the display mean bezels are hardly visible, and then a QHD+ 1440 x 3168 resolution offers up impeccable video playback, helped only by a punch-hole selfie camera design which is unobtrusive and thus doesn’t impede on screen viewing experiences.

We’re very impressed with the Find X2 Pro’s display as it offers up the kind of detail you’d find in top-notch phones that cost £300 or so more.

Performance and battery

Sporting Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 865 processor alongside a massive 12GB RAM, the Find X2 Pro won’t give you anything to worry about when it comes to performance. Apps are opened instantly with zero lag and everything, geneally, is super responsive; just how it should be.

Unlike Huawei’s last few releases, Oppo’s latest handset runs the latest version of Android and means you have access to Google ’s suite of apps, thankfully. The UI is simple, easy to use and doesn’t come loaded with lots of bloatware like some Android phones do. Overall, you’re getting a very minimal OS experience similar to what you’d find on handsets running the stock Android OS, such as the Pixel series of phones, for instance.

When it comes to snapping yourself into a selfie hole, the Find X2 Pro doesn’t disappoint

In terms of battery performance, the Find X2 Pro boasts a 4,260mAh battery that, with average use, will see you right for about a day – or in some instances – a day and half before dying. Obviously, if you’re the type of user who is glued to Instagram every other minute, this is going to be reduced significantly, so it all depends on your usage and whether you’re connected mostly to WiFi or 4G/5G (the latter will drain your juice much faster FYI).

One of the most impressive things about this battery, however, is its fast-charge capability, which sees it recharging from zero to 100% in less than 40 minutes. It’s quite shocking to watch it rapidly juice up before your very eyes, and something we’d love to see on smartphones as standard in the coming years. Downsides? There’s no wireless charging support, but that’s not something we have found to use that often anyway.

Camera

When it comes to snapping yourself into a selfie hole, the Find X2 Pro doesn’t disappoint.

On the front, there’s a punch-hole style 32MP selfie cam that produces impressively vivid images of you and your pals (or pets) – even in low lighting. Comparing the images we produced at night time with those on our Huawei P40 Pro Plus, we actually preferred the results in the Oppo handset, which – might we add – costs considerably less. This is probably because Oppo has spent time in ensuring the Find X2 Pro’s camera performs better in low light conditions than rivals. They did this, we are told, by incorporating a Sony sensor that was custom-built to achieve better results in lighting.

Oppo’s latest handset runs the latest version of Android and means you have access to Google’s suite of apps, thankfully

On the rear, you’ll find a triple camera system with a 48MP snapper with optical image stabilisation, another 48MP ultra-wide version when you want to take snaps of vast landscapes, and finally a periscope lens with an optical zoom that can zoom up to 5x without losing quality. It is a bit of a shame this isn’t a 10x optical zoom as most devices in the calibre have these days, but 5x does still work well.

While there’s nothing super innovative here (we saw these kinds of specs from camera queen Huawei about a year ago), we found that each of these cameras worked flawlessly in our tests, producing vibrant and clean images that certainly gave us nothing to worry about.

We should also add that video recording is silky smooth thanks to some pro stabilisation features that Oppo says it has had built in.

Verdict

The Oppo Find X2 Pro might have a bit of a peculiar name, but that is where the weirdness ends. Everything else is not short of fabulous. With a large, bright screen that doesn’t drain the battery too quickly, a super fast charging battery as well as an impressive specs list that ensures it can handle just about anything you throw at it, and not forgetting its versatile cameras set up that’s bound to please even the most snap happy smart user, you can’t go far wrong with the Find X2 Pro. Oh, and did we mention you get all this for under £900? This has to be one of our favourite smartphones of 2020.

The Oppo Find X2 Pro is available now in ceramic black, orange or limited edition green from most network operators, or can be picked up SIM-free for £899.





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Huawei Mate 40 Pro – impressive camera makes up for lack of Google software


On paper, Huawei’s latest flagship handset, the Mate 40 Pro, has it all. But it isn’t until you look closely that you realise it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be. And as you might have already guessed if you’re already well-acquainted with the brand, that’s the lack of support for official Google apps.

The Mate 40 Pro is Huawei’s third flagship handset to not support Google’s much-loved software suite, so – quite frankly – we’re a little tired of having to make a disclaimer every time we write a review. It’s not always been this way, of course, but if you’re unfamiliar with the matter and want to know what happened, read our news report about it.

Still, this is something that does have a huge effect on whether you will actually buy this phone or not – so it is important that we tell you about it right away, hence this dramatic intro.

Nevertheless, what the Mate 40 Pro lacks (majorly) in one area, it sure as hell makes up in another. In this instance, it’s the camera. In true Huawei style, the company’s latest flagship flaunts a stellar cam setup that has to be one of the best we’ve ever used on a smartphone. This, alongside the epic design and screen will get you shaking your fist in the air at Donald Trump. However, if the missing Google apps aren’t a huge deal to you, you have even more reason to read on.

Design

If you’re in any way familiar with Huawei’s back catalogue, you’ll be more than aware that the company has a knack for cramming oodles of impressive hardware into a sleek design. Well, it’s gone and done it again with the Mate 40 Pro, which boasts an attractive casing and overall sexy aesthetic.

The impressive camera makes up for the lack of Google software

The first thing you’ll notice is the unique circular design of the camera housing, something Huawei refers to as the “space ring” due to the phone’s four rear-facing cameras sitting in a UFO-style disc layout. It’s like nothing you’ll find on most modern-day smartphone releases, and it really helps the phone stand head and shoulders above the rest (we mean, it had to do something to make up for that lack of Google apps!).

Still, the phone is quite a hefty device, measuring just over 9mm thick, and weighing 212g. While this is 14g less than its predecessor, the P40 Pro Plus, it does still feel on the heavy side. The sleek, elegant design by far makes up for this, though.

We should add that the Mate 40 Pro has an IP68 rating, which basically means it’s protected against harmful ingress of static water at up to 1.5 meters, for up to 30 minutes. Definitely a handy bonus!

Display

When it comes to display, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro switches out an AMOLED screen (as seen in its predecessors) for a whopping 6.76in OLED panel, which offers up some lovely, deeper blacks for a richer-looking colour pallet.

Still, the phone is quite a hefty device, measuring just over 9mm thick, and weighing 212g

With a resolution of 1,200 x 2,640 pixels, the overall display is nothing short of stunning. It’s also the curviest we’ve seen on an Huawei phone yet, wrapping halfway around all sides of the handset’s chassis. While this makes the phone look quite futuristic, it does annoyingly distort the app content at the edges, somewhat tarnishing the viewing experience. It also means that your finger drops at the side like it’s falling off a cliff edge if you scroll too far left or right. You do get used to this after a while, though, with it becoming less of a problem over time.

Performance and battery

As with the last few flagship handsets from Huawei, the Mate 40 Pro houses the firm’s own brand of processor. This time, it’s the most recent Kirin 9000 5G chipset, a super fast processor that’s more power efficient than those seen in previous Huawei devices, equating to a better battery life.

Joining the Kirin CPU is 8GB of RAM, which isn’t so much if you consider what rival handsets have built in them these days (take Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra, for instance, which touts 16GB RAM). Still, if real-life performance is anything to go by, 8GB is plenty, especially coupled with Huawei’s more efficient processor. We found the device to be exceptionally nippy, reacting to touch commands in the blink of an eye, even with multiple apps open.

So, how does the battery fare with all this power? Well, as you can expect with a 4,200mAh battery like this, very well indeed. In practice, it easily powers through a full day of intensive use before blacking out and gasping for a recharge. You might even get a day a half out of it if you’re careful.

The Mate 40 Pro also supports 40W fast charging via a USB Type-C port alongside wireless charging. For connectivity, it should come as no surprise that there is no 3.5mm headphone jack or MicroSD expansion, but it does come with 256GB of in-built storage so should still be plenty to store all the basics, like lots of songs, media files, games, etc.

Although the Mate 40 Pro has a sexy design, robust processor and decent battery life, the real standout feature is the six Leica camera setup

Software

While everything so far sounds pretty swell, there is (like with most things in life) one huge caveat, and that is – like the last two flagships Huawei has launched – the Mate 40 Pro does not (we repeat, does NOT) have access to Google’s intricate software ecosystem of apps. This, believe it or not, means that most of the applications you’re used to powering up on your handset without a second thought – like Google Maps or Chrome – are no longer supported. If you have owned an Android device in the past, this will prove a massive pain in the butt. Especially when you consider how much this phone costs.

As a result of the Mate 40 Pro seriously lacking in terms of app access when compared to most of its rivals, it does make it hard for us to recommend this phone to any Android lovers. On the plus side, though, Huawei’s EMUI 10 user interface (which replaces Google Android skin) is nippy and responsive, ensuring switching between tasks is super easy.

If you’re wondering how you get your favourite, non-Google apps on this phone, you’ll be pleased to know that Huawei does have its own AppGallery, which comes preloaded on the device and features a nice selection of applications. There won’t be all of your favourites here but many will be, such as Spotify and the like.

We should also mention that you’ll find an app preinstalled called Petal Search. This is a fairly recent addition from Huawei and has been developed to help you search the web for compatible app .apk packages (basically it’ll find the install-files for apps made for Android without needing to go through Google’s official Play Store). A quick search here and you’ll find results from all the major players such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, helping you to install them on your device. While this works relatively well 75% of the time, you should still be vigilant when it comes to security as many of the apps on there won’t have been vetted by an official app store beforehand. Gulp!

The Mate 40 Pro seriously lacking in terms of app access

Camera

Although the Mate 40 Pro has a sexy design, robust processor and decent battery life, the real standout feature is the six Leica camera setup.

There’s four on the rear consisting of a 50MP Ultra Vision main camera, a 20MP ultra-wide snapper with image stabilisation, a 3D depth-sensing camera and a 12MP telephoto camera that can achieve an impressive 10x optical zoom for spying on your neighbours (joking – that can land you in prison).

These cameras are capable of capturing impeccable detail – and thanks to the telephoto lens – from huge distances. So much so that it can actually leave you quite shocked just how crisp these can appear when taken from so far away.

On the front, there’s a dual camera setup with a 13MP cam joined by a 3D-depth sensor lens for depth estimation and autofocus as well as 4K video recording. The resulting images are nothing short of amazing, with exposure, colour, noise levels. However, we are a little disappointed that Huawei downgraded the megapixel count for this camera over its previous flagship release, the P40 Pro Plus, which sported a 32MP selfie snapper. While you’re not going to notice day-to-day, the images it takes don’t seem quite as clean on close inspection. Considering how much we all use selfie cameras these days (or is it just us?), we think this is an odd move.

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Verdict

From a hardware point of view, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro has to be one of the most impressive smartphones available today. But the sad thing is, the software side of things is just too disappointing for it to win us over completely.

If you’re well and truly baked into Google’s Android services, it would be super hard to just give them up – even for a phone with such an amazing specs sheet. Yes, the camera setup is incredible, but without the convenience of Google Pay, Maps and the Play Store, it just becomes a glorified digital camera (a bloody great one at that!)

If you truly think you can live without them, though – please, be our guest. After playing around with it, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Huawei Mate 40 Pro. And while, yes, you might have a hard time getting all the apps you know and love, at least you’ll be the proud owner of one of the best smartphones (hardware-wise) that you can buy right now

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro is available now in either black or mystic silver via most major network operators, or can be bought SIM-free for £1,099.





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