A steady-spate of launches that have seemingly filled in every possible gap in pricing has led to a whole lot of new Samsung phones, but not all have been worth a recommendation.The Infinity-O cutout is similar to what we’ve seen on the Honor View 20 and the Galaxy S10e and presents itself as yet another way to avoid a notch.This is a science that Samsung has got down pat.It helps that the phone weighs a mere 168 grams.Like almost all of the A and M series of devices, the Galaxy M40 continues to use polycarbonate for its construction.This is great for every-day resilience, as the material resists damage from drops in a way that glass simply can’t.
That’s a pretty serious about-face from just two years ago when Motorola released the Moto Z2 Force, especially when you consider that the most expensive phone Motorola makes now is the Moto Z4.It's $500 in the US, and we're waiting on UK price confirmation, but will likely be somewhere around £450.A mid-range phone with modularityPRICE: $500 (UK price TBA)LIKE: Big OLED display, solid battery life and performance, clean build of Android 9, Moto brought back the headphone jackDON'T LIKE: In-screen fingerprint sensor can be hit or miss, you really need to take advantage of mods to get the phone’s true value, Night Vision pics can look a bit blurry
The Mi 9's little brother has arrived in the UK today.A compact little bastard, the Mi 9 SE sports a 5.97 inch AMOLED Dot Drop display compared to the Mi 9's 6.39 inches, and you can pick it up for less than £400.Touted as a "compact version of the Mi 9" which, incidentally, we thought was pretty solid, the handset houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 712 processor and is the first device to use the chipset.The 712 is an upgrade to the 710, and straddles the space between the budget 600-series chips and the flagship 855 used in the higher tier Mi 9, like the majestic and ever-flexible Jean-Claude Van Damme.The 712 offers a 35 per cent increase in graphics and power-efficiency over the 710.It's not too shabby in the camera department either, boasting a 48MP ultra-high resolution triple rear camera with an ultra-wide 123-degree field of view, and a 20MP front camera that'll make even your worst selfies look half decent, with Beautify and 3D makeup, as well as adding a Snapchat style glimmer to your dull, lifeless eyes.
There is a lot of discussions now around the upcoming Galaxy Note 10 because of some unpopular rumors.There’s, of course, the now notorious Galaxy Fold and the current Galaxy S10 king.There’s even the Galaxy A series that has become Samsung’s playground for experimental features.Some might think that Samsung may have forgotten it has one other letter in its alphabet soup but the recently revealed Galaxy M40 proves that it has big but slightly confusing plans for that series.The Galaxy M replaces the Galaxy C and Galaxy On brands in emerging markets and nicely forms an “S, A, M” series with Samsung’s other lines.As such, most probably expected it to also be along the lines of the budget-friendly, entry-level, low-tier phones that it supplanted.
Phone sales have been trending downward for some time now.There are a number of reasons for this — many of which you can read about in this piece I published last week.The creeping cost of premium handsets is pretty high on that list, with flagships now routinely topping $1,000 from many of the big names.The big smartphone makers have begun to react to this, with budget flagship alternatives like the iPhone XR, Galaxy S10e and Pixel 3a.A new crop of mid-range flagships, however, are giving them a run for their money and serving as an important reminder that a quality handset doesn’t need to be priced in the four digits.The Honor 20 Pro fits nicely in the latter camp, joining the likes of the recently announced OnePlus 7 Pro and Asus ZenFone 6 in demonstrating that premium specs can still be had for what was once considered a reasonable flagship price.
Google’s mid-range Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones have only been on the market a couple of weeks and some users are already complaining of random shutdowns.Those affected have been posting details of the issue on a number of online forums, though at this stage the precise cause is far from clear.It’s also impossible to determine how many of the new handsets are suffering with the problem.Reports suggest that after the phone shuts down, users have to perform a hard reset by holding down the power button for up to 30 seconds to get it working again, though it doesn’t necessarily prevent further shutdowns from occurring.In a Reddit post, one owner described it as a “weird issue” that may be linked to Wi-Fi.“Whenever I connect to my work Wi-Fi and let the phone sit for ~10 minutes it will require a reboot,” the owner wrote in the post.
Smartphones have gotten more expensive over the last few years even though there have only been a handful of recent innovations that really changed the way you interact with the phone.In the U.S., Google’s new Pixel 3a, with its superb camera, is bringing a lot of credibility to this segment.Outside the U.S., though, you can often get a flagship phone for less than $500 that makes none of the trade-offs typically associated with a mid-range phone.Meizu, of course, is essentially a total unknown in the U.S., even though it has a sizable global presence elsewhere.After a week with its latest flagship, which features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 chip and under-screen fingerprint scanner, I’ve come away impressed by what the company delivers, especially given the price point.The dual-sim 16s must have one of the smallest selfie cameras currently on the market, and the actual bezels, especially when compared to something like the Pixel 3a, are minimal.
It has barely been three months since Sony unveiled its latest attempt at staying in the rat race that is the smartphone market.And while it won’t be another six or seven months before it comes out, it seems that information about the company’s next-gen phones is already starting to appear.The good news is that Sony isn’t fundamentally moving away from its new design found on the Xperia 1.The bad news is that Sony isn’t fundamentally moving away from its new design found on the Xperia 1 and, soon, the Xperia 2 and 20 as well.The Xperia 1’s defining feature, which the mid-range Xperia 10 also inherited, is, of course, its ultra-wide or ultra-tall screen which Sony has dubbed “CinemaWide”.This 21:9 screen ratio, it argues, is the perfect ratio for watching videos, even if there aren’t that much ultra wide format videos anyway.
From the 48MP rear camera to the punch-hole selfie snapper, there’s no denying that the phone brings a few pertinent features to the table.Main: 48MP (Samsung GM-1), f/1.7 aperture, 1.6 micron pixels, OISSecondary: 5MP f/2.4 depth sensorVideo: 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30/60fps, 720p at 30fpsFront: 25MP f/2.0, 0.9 micron pixels4G LTE (Cat6), UMTS / HSPA+, GSM / EDGE
Realme just unveiled the Realme X — the company’s tenth phone and first proper mid-range handset.You can read our early impressions here, but the general feeling is that the young Chinese brand has knocked it out of the park with a great value phone.That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise as the BBK company has been busting out decent phones for a year now.What does come as a bit of a bizarre surprise is that the Realme X has two special editions based on vegetables.Say hello to the Realme X “onion” and “garlic” editions.Both editions are a little more pricey than the regular white or blue models at 1,899 yuan ($276), but what you lose in cash you’ll certainly gain in attention at the dinner table when you whip this thing out (just don’t cook it by mistake).
Teardown specialists iFixit have dismantled the Google Pixel 3a, finding that the mid-range device is easier to repair than the Google Pixel 3 flagship.The website gave the Pixel 3a a repairability score of six out of 10, compared to the Pixel 3‘s four out of 10 score.Google’s latest phone also achieved a better score than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro (and tied with the iPhone XR).iFixit praised the Pixel 3a’s use of “standard T3 Torx” screws, repair-friendly adhesive for the battery, and modular components.It wasn’t all rosy for the mid-range phone though, as the website criticized the number of long, thin ribbon cables, and the “thin and poorly supported” display.iFixit also confirmed that the phone’s so-called gOLED display is made by Samsung, and that the Pixel Visual Core chip is indeed missing.
The OnePlus 6T currently reigns as champion of the affordable flagship market, a position it’s held for several months – but Google wants a piece of the action, and with the Google Pixel 3a it now has a serious challenger.The Pixel 3a sees Google distilling the best parts of the Google Pixel 3 phone into a more-budget alternative, so it’s got many features which you can find in the high-end phone.For 6GB RAM and 128GB storage you’ll pay $549 / £499 (roughly AU$875), with the price rising to $579 / £529 (around AU$840) for 8GB / 128GB and $629 / £579 (about AU$900) for 8GB / 256GB.That’s a lot more cash if you’re looking at the best-equipped OnePlus 6T – but you’re getting double the RAM and four times the Pixel 3a’s storage.The screen on the Google Pixel 3a is unbroken, with prominent bezels to the top and bottom of the front, whereas the OnePlus 6T has a smaller ‘teardrop’ notch that houses the front-facing camera – for some phone users this may be an important point to differentiate the devices, but you’ll still have more screen space on the latter phone.The Pixel 3a is somewhat of a dainty device with dimensions of 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm, which makes it quite a bit smaller than the OnePlus 6T at 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm, but as phones go neither is an especially massive handset.
Samsung released its Galaxy S9 flagship over a year ago.And yet, the Samsung Galaxy S9 remains a cracking phone.A great example of this is Amazon, which has the 64GB Midnight Black model for $474.That’s $125 off the previous ticket price of $599.That’s nothing short of bonkers, especially when you consider it’s still a really good handset.It’s an incremental, slightly cautious upgrade on the previous generation’s model.
Backed by Oppo, Realme has managed to clock in solid numbers and pose a threat to Xiaomi’s dominance in the mid-range segment.If last year’s Realme 2 Pro fired warning shots at the Redmi Note 6 Pro, the Realme 3 Pro is a declaration of war.In our review of the Realme 3 Pro, we talked about how it is extremely close to not just besting the Redmi Note 7 Pro but claiming the throne for one of the best devices in the sub 20,000 rupees segment.Today, we take a look at just how well the Realme 3 Pro compares to the Redmi Note 7 Pro and what, according to us, is the best option between the two.The glass sandwich design and high-gloss reflective colors help the phone climb up a notch as far as visual appeal is concerned.Rather hard to capture on camera, the curving pattern definitely helps make the phone more visually appealing.
After several leaks detailing Google’s upcoming mid-range phones over the past couple of months, we might finally see the Pixel 3a, and the Pixel 3a XL in a matter of weeks.Google just announced that it’ll hold a briefing on May 7 (May 8 for some parts in the world), and it’s almost certainly about the company’s new handsets.Earlier reports have suggested that both devices will be powered by the mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor announced from the last year, and will have a 12-megapixel rear shooter and an 8-megapixel front camera.These devices will sport a headphone jack as well.A recently leaked listing on Google’s store site confirmed that the smaller version will have a 5.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2220 pixels, and the larger model will sport a 6-inch screen maxing out at 1080 x 2160 pixels; both phones will have a modest 4GB of RAM.This is the first time since the death of the Nexus series of handsets in 2016 that Google’s releasing a phone for less than $600.
Truth to be told, gaming is one area where Qualcomm is intensely promoting their new chips; the company declared that the Snapdragon 730 will be joined by the Snapdragon 730G—a Snapdragon 730 with an overclocked GPU and few gaming-centric features.For example, the Snapdragon 730 incorporates many of the AI enhancements presented with the Snapdragon 855, while the somewhat higher-tier Snapdragon 730G presents several of the new Snapdragon Elite Gaming features that we first observed on the Snapdragon 855.The first smartphones with the Snapdragon 665, Snapdragon 730, and Snapdragon 730G are expected to launch in mid-2019, which is decently soon.It’s difficult to see where the Snapdragon 665 fits in given the numerous mid-range chipsets that Qualcomm already offers, however, the Snapdragon 660, regardless of its immense fame among budget Chinese smartphone manufacturers, is an aging chip.The following table summarizes the key contrasts between the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 665.Qualcomm flaunts that the Snapdragon 665 can support triple rear camera setups including fax, wide-angle, and super-wide angle lens and that the ISP is equipped of handling 48MP snapshots.
In a few hours, Samsung will be holding yet another “A Galaxy Event”, a new series of events revolving around its Galaxy A series phones.While that naturally makes it all about Samsung’s mid-range phones, that doesn’t make it any less interesting, even for those who only have eyes for expensive flagships.That’s especially true considering Samsung has “realigned” the Galaxy A series to be the testing ground for technologies and features that will eventually make it to those more premium models.There might be some other Galaxy A phones that will be announced soon but the real star of the show will be the Galaxy A90.This one has been in the rumor mill for quite a while, especially with its expected sliding and rotating camera.That, however, might not be its only selling factor.
Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 730, a new system-on-chip that will likely power mid-to-high-end phones later this year.Its predecessor, the 710, wound up in devices like Samsung’s Galaxy A8s and the Xiaomi Mi 8 SE, and while Qualcomm recently launched a slightly faster iteration called the 712, the 730 is a much bigger improvement.The 8-core Snapdragon 730 uses Kryo 470 cores at up to 2.2GHz and is built on an 8nm process.It has an Adreno 618 GPU, a Hexagon 688 processor with a tensor accelerator, a Spectra 350 “computer vision” image signal processor, an X15 LTE modem, and support for Wi-Fi 6.Many of these elements should help bring AI-powered processing and imagery to not-quite-flagship devices.There’s also a gaming-focused version called the 730G, with a GPU clocked higher for 15-percent faster performance.
The Huawei P30 and P30 Pro have impressed us with their photography prowess, but later this year it won't just be the flagship phones boasting impressive zoom features.Smartphone SoC (system-on-chip) maker Qualcomm has just announced its latest chips, with the Snapdragon 655 and Snapdragon 730 ready to power the next generation of mid-range handsets.They come with the usual generational boosts in performance and graphics, while upping support for screen sizes and resolutions, but the two new chips also come packed with a host of photography goodies.The iPhone 11 is likely to see camera enhancementsOne of the most eye-catching of which is support on the Snapdragon 655 for a 5x optical zoom - a feature found on the Huawei P30 range, and one which has impressed us in our reviews.The chip can also support triple camera setups with telephoto, wide and ultra-wide lenses and a single sensor up to 48MP in size, providing manufacturers with a host of photography flexibility.
Google just can’t stop info about its Pixel phones from leaking, can it?It happened several times last year ahead of the Pixel 3’s launch, and now, the latest news about the handset’s successor comes from, um, Google itself.9to5Google noticed that the company accidentally listed its upcoming mid-range phone, the Pixel 3a, on its site last week.That indicates that the new device could launch real soon.Both the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL – names that were confirmed in an Android Q listing –were listed on Google Play Developer console last week under codenames Sargo and Bonito.The listing on Google’s store site confirmed that the smaller variant will have a 5.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 x 2220 pixels, and the larger model will sport a 6-inch screen maxing out at 1080 x 2160 pixels; both phones will have a modest 4GB of RAM.