iMovie gets some attention with an iPhone X-ready update

After a few months without updates, Apple has shown some attention to the mobile version of its free iMovie video editor with a new update. It’s now fully compatible with the iPhone X’s Super Retina Display (and that notch), and according to the notes, finally takes advantage of the Metal API for direct access to your iPhone GPU. Unfortunately, judging by a few early reports, that doesn’t seem to do much for video rendering time, but maybe there are benefits that just haven’t been uncovered yet.

GTA IV will lose some of its in-game music over licensing issues

The last time this happened, Rockstar didn’t tell players, who unknowingly downloaded a patch that deleted a Michael Jackson song. This time, at least, players will be in the know. There are currently nearly 30 songs, mostly Russian pop, on Vladivostok FM. They add some flavor to sections of the game when you’re driving or at the Bahama Mamas Club in Episodes From Liberty City.

Rockstar didn’t say whether it would delete all the songs or just some of them. The music is supposed to be cut on April 26th, according to Kotaku’s sources, but there is a silver lining. “We are replacing some of those songs with a new set of songs on that station,” said Rockstar. “We will update our customer support website with new information as soon as it is available.”

Xiaomi Blackshark shines in two new promo images

Just minutes before its launch, the Xiaomi Blackshark appeared in two promo images on Twitter, showing more of its design. It will come with a tall screen and minuscule side bezels, while the back will have an edgy design reminiscent of gaming laptops.

The first picture shows the tall display of the front that early AnTuTu benchmarks suggested will have Full HD+ resolution. The phone is positioned next to the Xiaomi Gaming Laptop debuted in the end of March alongside the Mi Mix 2s.

The second image is pretty straightforward – it says Blackshark gaming phone and reveals the dual cam setup, coupled with LED flash. There is also the funky design solution with green elements, giving us a slight Razer vibe. It is also in line with the first live image of the device from earlier this week.

Xiaomi Black Shark shines in two new promo images

The Xiaomi Blackshark appeared on Geekbench with Snapdragon 845 and 8 GB RAM while running Android Oreo. The rest of the specs should be unveiled shortly – stay tuned to our homepage.

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Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018) gets Wi-Fi certification

The Samsung Galaxy A6+ (2018) has received a certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance, which suggests it will be released really soon.

The model number of the Galaxy A6+ (2018) is SM-A605FN/DS, signifying there will be a dual-SIM version, as we already know.

A day ago the phone was spotted in a HTML5 test, which revealed it will have a tall-aspect Infinity Display.

We already have a good idea what specs the Galaxy A6+ (2018) and A6 (2018) will carry. The non-plus model will have a 5.6-inch 18:9 2220x1080px display, and an Exynos 7870 chipset with 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage.

The Galaxy A6+ (2018) adds a few inches for a 6-inch diagonal of the same resolution, it gains 4GB of RAM and likely a Snapdragon 625 chipset.

When the two arrive it’s rumored they’ll be sold in Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

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Razer Phone review, 4 months later: Gamers’ delight

Mobile games have never looked or sounded so good.

You have to commend Razer for going against the industry trends and making some really bold design choices for its first smartphone, the Razer Phone. Okay, I guess you don’t have to commend them — but I will.

Razer calls the Razer Phone the “smartphone for gamers” and also “the ultimate smartphone for mobile entertainment”. And I know that those are marketing buzzwords but damn if it hasn’t mostly lived up to those lofty claims. As the resident gaming guy around these parts and also a serial streamer of media on my phone, I was really eager to see what the Razer Phone brings to the table.

In spite of some of the obvious shortcomings as mentioned by Alex Dobie our main review — namely the pathetic camera performance and lack of water resistance — the Razer Phone’s strengths are impressive. In fact, they may have honestly changed the value I place on specific smartphone design and features — and that goes far beyond the buttery smoothness of the 120Hz UltraMotion display (although more of that, please).

But seriously, have you seen the specs on this thing?

It’s important to say right off the bat that the overall performance of the Razer Phone is simply outstanding thanks to Razer cramming as much top-end hardware into the chassis as possible.

The Snapdragon 835 chipset and 8GB of RAM allow you to play the most resource-heavy games, like Vainglory or PUBG Mobile, without any noticeable slowdown even in those moments when the screen is cluttered with enemies and action. This phone should be fairly futureproof for whichever direction mobile gaming decides to head in (excluding mobile VR) which at this point seems to be focused on porting over more PC and console experiences to mobile. With the Razer Phone in hand, I say bring it on!

Coupled with the massive 4,000mAh battery and that PC-quality display you get the best mobile experience for stream hours of Netflix or YouTube without reaching for your charging brick. When it is time to charge, this phone charges up real quick thanks to the support for the latest Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+ technology. Despite having never owned a Razer product in my life, I still feel like this phone was designed for someone like me with similar needs for streaming and gaming and I acknowledge and appreciate it.

Crazy good audio

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I tend to use the built-in speakers on my phones as much as I use headphones or Bluetooth speakers. Whether I’m hanging out with friends and trying to share a hilarious YouTube video in a noisy space or wanting to resume watching Netflix while I go about cooking dinner in the kitchen, I’ve realized that I rely on my phone’s speakers for so much more than just notification blips.

In an era where smartphone companies are trying maximize the screen-to-body ratio on devices, Razer took off in the other direction an added a combined inch to the top and bottom of the display to create the best damn smartphone speakers I’ve ever experienced. Far from being a compromise, I’ve found the speaker layout (coupled with the Dolby Atmos audio support) delivers the best sound from a smartphone while also addressing the issue of your hand muffling the sound when using phones with bottom-firing speakers. Furthermore, the speakers also give you a bit of a buffer between your palms and the screen which helps cut down on accidental touches along the edge of the display.

In an era when companies are trying to maximize the screen-to-body ratio, Razer took off in the other direction and created the best damn smartphone speakers I’ve ever experienced.

Another common sticking point for newer phones is the removal of the headphone jack, but Razer managed to compensate for that by including a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter with a 24-bit THX certified DAC inside. I actually had to get some second opinions when I tested out the included dongle because I wasn’t sure if the audio was as impressive as I was imagining or what, but everyone I showed it to was just as blown away by it as I was. I’m also living a mostly Bluetooth life when it comes to speakers and headphones as it is, so while it certainly sucks to carry a dongle around for those times I want to use wired headphones It’s not as much of a deal breaker for me as it might have been just a few years ago.

No curves, no problems

Call me a contrarian but I’m one of those folks who constantly gripes about curved displays on smartphones. Ever since Samsung set the industry trend with the Samsung Galaxy S6, it’s all we typically see from flagship devices these days.

Sure, I’ll agree that they look really pretty in person and can feel smooth and nice in your hand, but it still a mostly cosmetic design choice. I don’t find that it adds anything substantial to the experience of using the smartphone beyond added anxiety about replacement costs if it slams against the ground.

I don’t mind bezels around the display if they’re used effectively as is the case here.

That’s why I really appreciate the decision Razer made to not follow those trends and deliver a different option for consumers. I don’t mind bezels around the display if they’re used effectively as is the case here. Because the screen doesn’t go edge-to-edge and is built around an aluminum frame, I’ve been less concerned about screen damage nor do I feel obligated to slap a case on the Razer Phone.

Like I mentioned above, the front-facing speakers sound great and also offer a bit of a buffer between your hands and the screen when playing a game in landscape mode. With bigger and better games coming out for Android these days, I want a phone that features more practical features rather than cosmetic ones to make the overall experience better, and I think Razer has gotten off to a good start here offering something different from its competitors.

Should you consider buying the Razer Phone in 2018?

The bottom line here is that the Razer is asking $700 for a phone that offers supreme performance in some areas while falling short in others. Depending on how you primarily use your phone will be key in determining whether a ridiculously smooth (but occasionally dim) display backed by top-end performance specs can outweigh a lackluster (but functional) camera setup. Whether fantastic, front-facing speakers offer more value to you than a seamless display with no bezels.

We’re also still waiting for the Razer Phone to get Android Oreo which should improve the overall experience, but we won’t know for sure until it arrives. Razer released a major software update in January that shows that Razer is committed to supporting the Razer Phone and improving the experience — yet it still has a ways to go to match the overall user experience.

Having said all that, I’m still really impressed by the Razer Phone, but that’s because I spend a good majority of my phone time playing games and consuming entertainment. I never realized how much I valued a higher refresh rate or proper front-facing speakers on a phone, and given my obsession for mobile gaming, I could see the phone specs holding up pretty well over the years.

It’s definitely a phone that you need to experience firsthand before deciding if it’s right for you. If the 120Hz refresh rate and booming audio features don’t instantly turn you on, then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

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Xiaomi Mi 6X set for unveil on April 25, could launch globally as the Mi A2

 

This could be Xiaomi’s Android One phone for 2018.

Xiaomi caught the smartphone industry by surprise when it announced that it was teaming up with Google over an Android One phone. The Mi A1 turned out to be a fantastic phone in the budget segment, offering a great design, powerful specs, and pure Android. The phone itself was a rebranded variant of the Mi 5X with Android One instead of Xiaomi’s MIUI.

The Chinese manufacturer has now sent out invites to the Chinese media (Via FoneArena) for an event on April 25, where it is set to unveil the Mi 6X. The phone made its way through TENAA last month, giving us a look at the specs on offer.

The Mi 6X will feature a 5.99-inch FHD+ 18:9 panel, Snapdragon 626, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, microSD slot, hybrid SIM card slot, 20MP + 8MP dual cameras at the back, 20MP front shooter, and a 2910mAh battery. The battery may not be as massive as that of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but as I saw on the Mi A1 last year, Xiaomi still knows a thing or two about optimization to eke out the most out of the battery.

As this particular variant is aimed at a Chinese audience, it will be running an Oreo-based build of MIUI. Right now, there’s no information regarding an Android One model that will go on sale in global markets, but the Mi A1 saw a decent amount of sales in India last year, and Xiaomi will be looking to offer an alternative to MIUI in the budget segment.

OnePlus 6 is fully revealed by a case maker

As OnePlus continues its teaser campaign for its next smartphone, a case maker has decided to fully reveal the device’s design. You can see both the front and the rear of the OnePlus 6 in the renders below, which come from Olixar.

All of these cases are already up for pre-order at MobileFun, with prices ranging from $7.49 for the gel cases and all the way up to $35.49 for a combo of the toughest-looking one and a glass screen protector.


OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases
OnePlus 6 inside various cases

OnePlus 6 inside various cases

Once again the notch is unsurprisingly present on the front. You have surely also noticed how the company went for a centered vertical design for the dual camera array on the back, in a clear departure from the left-aligned horizontal setup seen on the OnePlus 5T.

The LED flash is right underneath the cameras, and below that sits the fingerprint sensor which is on the small side – it reminds us of the size of the scanner on Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and S9+.

The OnePlus 6 is definitely coming soon, with its announcement probably happening within the next few weeks. It’s expected to rock the Snapdragon 845, paired with up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. According to one past leak, it will boast a 6.28-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 2,280×1,080 resolution, a 20 MP f/2.0 selfie cam, and a 3,450 mAh battery. The rear cameras should have 20 MP and 16 MP resolution, both with f/1.7 aperture.

Xiaomi Black Shark gaming phone gets shown off in a three-second hands-on video

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark is getting ready to unveil its first smartphone. The eponymous device will be all about gaming, as Black Shark is meant to be a gaming-focused offshoot of the Chinese handset maker.

We’ve already seen the Black Shark in a couple of benchmarks, a live image, and not one, but two teasers. Now though a hands-on video of the phone has been outed, and you can see it embedded below.

Sure, it’s not the longest of videos – by any stretch of the imagination. Yet it does give us our first 360-degree view of the smartphone.

It looks pretty big and bulky, as you can see, but that may aid in handling, especially when holding it in landscape in order to enjoy a game or two. Or three. Unlike the also gamer-focused Razer Phone, this one is much more curvy.

From previous leaks we’ve gathered that the Black Shark will have the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 8GB of RAM, at least 32GB of storage, and a 2,160×1,080 touchscreen with 18:9 aspect ratio. It may become official as soon as tomorrow.

Thanks for the tip, Zoser!

Moto G6 Play, Moto G6, Moto G6 Plus renders in all colors appear

Motorola is launching its G6 series on Thursday, but the three phones surfaced with press renders in all colors. The Moto G6 Play, Moto G6, and Moto G6 Plus will arrive on Thursday in Sao Paulo, Brazil with a tall screen and are also expected to have Android Oreo and quick charging support.

Moto G6 Play

The most affordable of the three phones is the Play variant. According to Geekbench, it should have a Snapdragon 430 chipset with octa-core CPU running at 1.4 GHz. The display panel is 5.7” in diagonal with HD+ resolution. There will be 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage on board, microSD slot is available for all the extra files you need on the phone.


Moto G6 Play in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 Play in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 Play in Indigo Blue

Moto G6 Play in Indigo Blue

There is only one camera, placed in the circular module on the back and it is 13 MP. The front one is 8 MP. Both snappers are coupled with an LED flash. The phone is coming with a stock Android, coupled with some Moto apps. The fingerprint is found on the back, placed under the Moto logo. This is the only Moto G6 phone where the scanner is not below the screen.

Moto G6 Play in Gold
Moto G6 Play in Gold
Moto G6 Play in Gold
Moto G6 Play in Gold

Moto G6 Play in Gold

The back of the G6 Play looks plastic and will arrive in only two colors – Indigo Blue or Gold.

Moto G6

The medium member of the G6 family has the same screen size as the Play, but with Full HD+ resolution. TENAA listing revealed the chipset is upgraded to Snapdragon 450 and the eight CPU cores go as high as 1.8 GHz. The RAM/storage combo is 4/64 GB.

Moto G6 in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 in Indigo Blue

Moto G6 in Rose Gold
Moto G6 in Rose Gold
Moto G6 in Rose Gold
Moto G6 in Rose Gold
Moto G6 in Indigo Blue and Rose Gold

The circular camera module houses two snappers – 12 MP + 5 MP that have an accompanying LED flash below them. The front 16 MP cam gets another LED flash. Unlike the G6 Play, here the fingerprint is wedged in the bezel below the display, but it is extremely thin to make room for the Motorola logo.

Moto G6 in Silver
Moto G6 in Silver
Moto G6 in Silver
Moto G6 in Silver

Moto G6 in Silver

The battery capacity is 3,000 mAh and it comes with Turbo Charging through the USB-C. The back has a glass panel for a slick look and there are four color options for this phone – Indigo Blue, Silver, Rose Gold and Black.

Moto G6 in Black
Moto G6 in Black
Moto G6 in Black
Moto G6 in Black

Moto G6 in Black

Moto G6 Plus

The most powerful of the lot is the G6 Plus. As we have written before, here we have a Snapdragon 630 chipset and a bigger 5.93” screen with Full HD+ resolution. RAM is now 6 GB, but storage is the same as the regular G6 – 64 GB with microSD for expansion.

Moto G6 Plus in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 Plus in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 Plus in Indigo Blue
Moto G6 Plus in Indigo Blue

Moto G6 Plus in Indigo Blue

Although the Moto G6 Plus comes in a bigger body, it still sports similar physical attributes – dual cameras on the back, glass-sandwiched body and a weirdly thin fingerprint scanner on the front. There is no info if the camera will have different sensors, but the battery will be slightly bigger – 3,200 mAh.

Moto G6 Plus in Gold
Moto G6 Plus in Gold
Moto G6 Plus in Gold
Moto G6 Plus in Gold

Moto G6 Plus in Gold

Moto G6 Plus will hit the markets in only two colors – Indigo Blue or Gold. It should come as the most expensive of all three phones, but prices and availability will be revealed at the launch next week.

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FTC: You Can’t Void a Warranty by Breaking a Seal

The FTC issues a wake-up call for any company demanding authorized parts or services be used to maintain a device warranty.

 

We’ve all purchased products that have a little sticker on the back that says something along the lines of “warranty void if removed.” Or you actually read the manual or visit a product website where it states any warranty is void if you don’t carry out repairs using official parts and service providers. Well, it turns out such demands and claims are illegal, and the FTC is taking action against such practices.

In a post on the FTC website, the Federal Trade Commission details how it has sent warning letters to six major companies who market and sell “automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems in the United States.” In each case, the company states its products must not use unauthorized parts or service, be used with products not sold or licensed by the company, or have had a warranty seal altered, defaced, or removed.

Limiting a warranty based on any of those restrictions is actually illegal in the US, classes as deceptive under the FTC Act, and is prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

The six companies in question have been asked by the FTC in the letter to review their promotional and warranty material, “to ensure that such materials do not state or imply that warranty coverage is conditioned on the use of specific parts of services.” 30 days from now, the FTC will carry out a review and “law enforcement action” if the relevant changes have not been made.

There are only two scenarios where such warranty rules can apply. The first is if the authorized parts and services will be offered for free, and the second is if the FTC grants a waiver for a product. As we are talking about cellular devices, video games hardware, and vehicles, neither of those scenarios is realistic.

The names of the companies receiving the FTC letter have not been revealed, but it’s not hard to guess. There’s one company in particular that makes it very hard to open up its devices and is quite strict about not honoring a warranty if it sees any evidence of so-called (perfectly legal) tampering.