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Xiaomi POCO F2 Pro

The POCO F2 Pro has a lot going for it — a great display, top-tier specs, brilliant battery life — all in a $499 package. If you’re not fussed about camera performance, this is a tremendous deal.

The POCO F2 Pro is the winner of Android Authority’s Best of Android: Mid-2024 Value award . The POCO F2 Pro competes with phones in the $1,000 range, at a much lower price. It offers incredible value in terms of performance, battery, and display quality without breaking the bank. To learn more about the awards and how we decide them, visit the Best of Android: Mid-2024 announcement page

About our POCO F2 Pro review: I wrote this POCO F2 Pro review after spending nine days with the device as my primary phone. Xiaomi provided Android Authority with the review unit, which was running MIUI 11 atop Android 10, software build 11.0.6.0.

POCO F2 Pro review: Here’s the deal

Xiaomi’s POCO brand sells budget-friendly smartphones. The company put its name on the map after its pilot device launch — the POCOphone F1. The F1 was released at a crucial time when many of the top devices were starting to breach the four-figure mark in terms of cost. The F1 came in and woke up the market and showed consumers that you didn’t need to spend big bucks to get big specs.

The F2 Pro carries this idea forward. It’s a smartphone that costs half that of a true flagship, and yet it offers flagship specs. Can it deliver in the speed department given its top-to-bottom redesign?

Design

163.3 x 75.4 x 8.9mm

219g

Glass and metal build

In-display fingerprint scanner

Pop-up selfie camera

USB-C port, headphone port

If you’re wondering if you’ve seen this design before, it’s because you have. The Redmi K30 Pro and the POCO F2 Pro share the same chassis. On both front and back, we’re treated to Gorilla Glass 5 with metal framing the device. This is a huge change from the predominantly polycarbonate construction of the original F1. The F2 Pro feels like a more premium phone in the hand than its predecessor, helping it fit into a smartphone market that skews toward the high end.

The optical in-display fingerprint scanner was finicky, sluggish, and unresponsive at times. The original F1’s traditional scanner was rapid, so this is a shame. Xiaomi did not make the phone to be water-resistant, but you wouldn’t expect that in a device at this price. The healthy array of colors means there’s an option to suit most people’s tastes.

The POCO F2 Pro’s build quality is far superior to its predecessor’s.

The phone as a whole feels well put together. I was impressed with just how much better the F2 Pro felt to use than the F1.

Display

6.68-in. Full HD+ display

2,400 x 1,080 resolution

20:9 aspect ratio

AMOLED panel

60Hz refresh rate

Gorilla Glass 5

The POCOphone F1’s display was pretty good, and so you’d expect the F2 Pro’s to be just as good. It is. In fact, thanks to its larger size, uninterrupted panel, and higher screen-to-body ratio, it’s far more immersive than the previous model. It’s even been upgraded from an IPS LCD to a Super AMOLED for better contrast, deeper blacks, and punchier colors.

The POCO F2 Pro’s refresh rate is just 60Hz. Many flagships are running 90Hz and even 120Hz panels. That said, I’m not sure Xiaomi would have been able to pack a 120Hz panel into the F2 at this price point. I think the omission is justified.

Can you really tell the difference between a Quad HD and Full HD display?

Features

The display itself looks great. Holding it side by side with the F1, the difference in fidelity is easily spotted. I ended up watching a few episodes of The Simpsons on the F2 Pro one evening and I was impressed with how bright the display got. I was sitting in my garden at the time and the viewing experience was great. Netflix HD is enabled on the F2 Pro, so if you’re a mobile movie buff, this device should be a contender for your next phone.

Snapdragon 865

1 x 2.84GHz + 3 x 2.42GHz + 4 x 1.8GHz

Adreno 650

6/8GB RAM

128/256GB storage

No microSD card

Processor

Was there ever a question that the POCO F2 Pro was going to be quick? It’s got top-shelf hardware inside and good software. It doesn’t matter whether you scroll through the same three social media apps every day or play heaps of high-end 3D titles, the POCO F2 Pro has you covered. It’s pretty hard to mess up performance when you have the 865 purring under the hood.

See also: Here’s why flagship killers might not do much killing this year

During my time with the device, I experienced very few hiccups. The user experience was smooth, even when switching between power-hungry apps like the camera app and Real Racing 3. Image processing seemed to complete quickly, and opening multiple apps in quick succession was no problem.

Gaming itself proved to be no issue for the device. I played Fortnite, Real Racing 3, and a host of other 3D titles and my gaming experience was almost flawless. I say almost because loading in certain maps there was the odd short stutter, but nothing that would really affect your ability or performance in-game.

Battery

The F2 Pro sports a large, 4,700mAh battery and fast 30W charging. Charging from 0-100% takes just 64 minutes, and the gap between charges stretches two days. This kind of battery life is likely thanks to the large cell, aggressive RAM management within MIUI, and the lack of a high-refresh-rate display.

We asked, you told us: Anxiety over smartphone battery life is a real thing

Features

That said, I’m not super heavy on my phone. My typical day consists of social media scrolling with a bit of Spotify. I’m also connected to 4G on the O2 UK network and to my home network over Wi-Fi 5. I connected some true wireless earphones and used those for about 30 minutes every day during exercise.

Continue reading: The phones with the best battery life in 2023

Software

Android 10

MIUI 11

MIUI 11, based on Android 10, looks and feels rather different from stock Android. Some will love it, and some will hate it. I personally love MIUI’s aesthetic, with its bubbly, minimal approach to the design language. There’s a healthy use of background blur for screens like the notification dropdown and recents. The default app-drawer layout with tabs for automatically-sorted application types is clean and helpful.

By default, there are a fair number of bloat applications installed. It’s annoying to have these automatically come loaded on the phone, but at least you can remove them without much hassle.

As far as software updates go, the original F1 came with Android 8.1 and has received Android 10 this year. This should indicate that the POCO F2 is likely to get at least two platform upgrades in its lifetime. That said, Xiaomi hasn’t made a public statement on its commitment to software updates for the F2.

Camera

Rear:

Main: 64MP, f/1.89 (IMX686)

Ultra-wide: 13MP, f/2.4

Macro: 5MP, f/2.2

Depth: 2MP, f/2.4

Front:

Selfie: 20MP

Video: 1080p at 30fps

Video:

8K at 30fps

4K at 60fps

1080p at 960fps

Portrait mode produces some good photos thanks in part to the depth sensor. Edge detection seems to be decent, even with my lockdown hair. There is some minor haloing around the subject where the focus rolls off, though that’s more of a processing artifact than a styling thing.

There is a significant drop in quality when switching to the ultra-wide camera, which isn’t surprising. The colors don’t change massively, but there is a drop in dynamic range with deep shadows becoming gloomier than real life.

I noticed some noise-reduction artifacts. As you can see in these images, the dark portions where the vegetation sits on the cliff has a weird smoothing effect. It’s as if the camera is picking it up as noise and trying to smooth it over while the rest of the image is processed normally. Hopefully, Xiaomi fixes this in a software update.

The macro mode was fun to play with. It’s a gimmick if anything, and I’d have preferred a telephoto lens, but the quality isn’t bad as far as cheap macro cameras go.

Flipping around to the front, the F2 Pro’s selfies are a bit soft, but have some solid dynamic range and accurate colors. I’m glad that there’s less noise reduction here because it could have potentially led to artifacts in selfies. There is a fair amount of noise in the selfie images, but it’s not overpowering.

Night mode is pretty disappointing. It’s exclusive to the main sensor and the processing isn’t great. It doesn’t seem to take as long to snap the photo as other devices, some of which take upwards of 10-second captures, so there’s naturally less data there for the phone to work with. The resulting images are too smooth and have too little detail. Moreover, weird blue/purple artifacts surround the images like a vignette.

Moving onto video, the UHD 4K 60fps is exclusive to the main shooter with the ultra-wide recording at 30fps. The footage is shaky and there’s a lot of contrast, which results in videos that look a bit cheap.

The Steady video mode uses electronic stabilization. It drops the frame rate from 60 to 30fps and the resolution from Ultra HD to Full HD. It does the job, but the crop and quality loss are significant trade-offs.

As for the 8K 30fps video, it records at 100Mbps and shares the 4K’s shaky and contrasty properties. It’s cool to have, but I don’t see anyone using this mode a lot. It takes up double the amount of storage space, isn’t as smooth as the 4K60, and can’t be played at native resolution anywhere but on 8K TVs, which are few and far between.

Xiaomi’s camera app is pretty good in my opinion. There are plenty of modes and features, and everything you need is there, but there is a strange layout. Whoever made the decision to put the macro mode button in the photo mode instead of on the carousel with the rest of the modes needs a stern talking to, and the default beauty modes are annoying and shouldn’t be on by default.

The full-sized versions of the camera samples shown here and more can be found in this Google Drive folder.

Extras

The speaker is unfortunately a mono job. The earpiece is not amplified to create a stereo effect — a popular technique in 2023. It gets loud enough, but the sound quality isn’t great thanks to a distinctly tinny sound signature. Xiaomi has thankfully decided to keep the headphone port present. It’s refreshing to see a device with such performance keep the headphone port.

The F2 Pro sports a sub-6GHz 5G radio, though I haven’t been able to test speeds due to the lack of local 5G coverage. There’s Wi-Fi 6 present for those with fancier home wireless networks, though I was still able to pull 250Mbps download and 115Mbps upload on my Wi-Fi 5 setup. We’re also treated to Bluetooth 5.1.

POCO F2 Pro specs

POCO F2 Pro: 6GB RAM, 128GB ROM — $499

POCO F2 Pro: 8GB RAM, 256GB ROM — $549

The POCO F2 Pro is definitely more expensive than its predecessor, but I believe the jump in price is justified when you consider the equally significant jump in build quality, spec sheet, and, most importantly, the new display. Moreover, with the competition charging upwards of $100 more for their devices, the F2 Pro starts to look like one heck of a deal.

POCO F2 Pro

See price at Amazon

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Ryzen Pro 7040 Brings Amd’s Cutting

The fine print, though, reveals a small penalty: While last year’s Ryzen Pro 6000 models were designed for both 35W to 45W laptops as well as thinner 15W to 30W and 10W to 25W thin-and-light laptops, AMD’s latest chips require more power. The high-end 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 9 Pro 7940HS consumes 35W to 54W of power, and there’s only a single second tier of chips for laptops that consume between 15W and 28W.

Still, AMD claims that its new Ryzen Pro 7040 processors can actually outperform an Apple Mac not on performance, but on battery life. (While AMD refers to its mobile family as the Ryzen 7000 Mobile series, the Ryzen 7040 series are the specific “Phoenix” chips designed for thin-and-light notebooks. The Pro 7040 series are the commercial offshoots for business notebooks.)

AMD unveiled six new Ryzen 9 Pro processors, and three new Ryzen Pro desktop chips. AMD’s Matthew Unangst, senior director of its commercial client and workstation business, also declined to confirm reports that AMD was extending the longevity of the AM5 desktop socket until 2026. Instead, he claimed that there had been no change to the company’s previous guidance and that it would last until at least 2025.

From a performance standpoint, AMD is claiming that its new Ryzen Pro chips will compete favorably with Intel’s 13th-generation mobile processors in terms of performance, even challenging one of Intel’s 13th-gen “P” performance processors with its own low-power “U” cores.

“Select models” of the Ryzen Pro 7040 series include an XDNA core, the Ryzen AI technology that AMD has shown off previously. For now, Ryzen AI and XDNA are limited to accelerating and enabling Windows Studio Effects, the technologies that debuted in Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered devices like the Surface Pro 9 (5G). Windows Studio Effects include face tracking and framing, background blur, plus some audio filtering. The hope, though, is that AMD will be at the forefront of helping whatever AI technologies emerge, whether it be machine vision or content creation.

AMD’s battery-life estimates for the Ryzen Pro 7040, using Microsoft Teams.

AMD

AMD debuted the Ryzen AI and its XDNA technology inside the Ryzen 7940HS, 7840HS, and 7640HS and the comparable U-series parts. AMD hasn’t confirmed the exact versions of the Pro series that will include XDNA cores, but the comparable Pro 7940HS, the Pro 7840U and Pro 7840HS, the Pro 7640U and Pro 7640HS are likely.

“We’re helping lead an industry and an ecosystem around the development of AI technologies,” Unangst said. Still, he added, AMD’s AI ” journey has a lot of unknowns.”

AMD said notebooks like the HP Elitebook 865/845/835 series, Lenovo ThinkPad Z13/Z16, and more would use AMD’s chips.

AMD adds desktop Ryzen Pro chips

AMD’s desktop lineup of its Ryzen Pro chips.

AMD

Unangst was asked about how long the AM5 socket would persist, especially as a version of his slide deck noted that it would be supported until “2025+”.

“We’re going to work with our partners and with our customers,” Unangst said. “But we feel very confident at this point that we can commit to at least 2025. And as we look at the situation we’ll communicate as we figure out what we’re going to do for 2026 and beyond.”

AMD’s own tests show it outperforming a 13th-gen Core i5.

AMD

Unangst agreed with a spokesman that there had been “no change” in AMD’s plans.

Nasa May Be Cutting Corners On Safety Of Mars Rocket And Capsule, Report Finds

Space has always been a risky endeavor. But according to the latest report from the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), which makes safety recommendations to NASA, the space agency is not being careful enough. The latest report criticizes several aspects of the Orion capsule and the Space Launch System (SLS) that NASA is designing to bring astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.

The report blames the safety concerns on budget pressures and a lack of accountability.

“Funding remains a challenge for NASA as it strives to do so much with so relatively little,” ASAP writes. “NASA’s budget is insufficient to deliver all current undertakings with acceptable programmatic risk.”

In other words, cutting corners to stay on schedule and under budget could put astronauts at risk. The report points out several safety concerns.

Some critical components won’t be thoroughly tested before crewed missions Heat shields

After a test flight in December 2014, the Orion team found cracks in some of the seams of the spacecraft’s heat shield. That’s not good, since spacecraft face temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees when they’re reentering the Earth’s atmosphere from space. As a result, Orion engineers have had to make changes to the heat shield design.

NASA hasn’t really explained how it plans to test the new heat shield design. Under the current plans, the report notes, the only opportunity to flight-test the new heat shield will be on the Space Launch System’s first flight in 2023–and the next one after that will be a crewed launch in 2023 or 2023. That thought probably won’t be terribly comforting to the astronauts who’ll be flying on that mission.

“In our opinion,” ASAP writes, “the test of the new Orion heat shield has become one of the most important mission objectives.”

A mock-up of the Orion capsule

NASA is developing this 16-foot spacecraft to carry humans to Mars. In space, it will dock with a larger module to provide living space for the 6- to 9-month journey.

Life support

Under the current schedule, the first crewed launch of the Orion capsule will also be the first to try out the spacecraft’s “environmental control and life support system.” This mission is currently scheduled as a sortie to lunar space–a trip that could take up to 11 days.

“This system will not have had an end-to-end flight test to build confidence that it will function safely during a [lunar orbit] mission,” says the report. “This plan appears to incur an increased risk without a clearly articulated rationale.”

A better idea, the report suggests, would be to first test the life support system in low Earth orbit, where astronauts could return to Earth in as little as one to two hours using an emergency de-orbit procedure.

Launch abort system

To save money, the report says, NASA has had to whittle down its testing. The first SLS flight in 2023 will be the first to test the heat shield, a functional (uncrewed) Orion module, and the SLS itself. During this test, ASAP says the launch abort system motor will be deactivated.

The launch abort system is the system that, if the rocket explodes during launch, ejects the Orion capsule and carries the humans inside to safety.

ASAP would prefer to see a more realistic, activated abort system tested on the 2023 flight. This “is the only opportunity to flight test the LAS and its interactions with many other Orion systems in the challenging transonic flight environment,” the panel notes.

The abort system will be flown on every mission for the next 40 years, and is “the last hope for the crew if something goes wrong during the early phase of ascent.”

Questions about the rocket’s upper stage

The upper stage of the SLS–the part of the rocket that will propel Orion toward the moon in its 2023 mission–is not rated to be flown with humans onboard. That means NASA will either have to modify that stage to make it safe for a crewed mission, or come up with a new one.

In an email to Popular Science, NASA press officer Kathryn Hambleton said NASA is currently planning to fly the SLS’s first crewed mission with a brand new upper stage. There is no guarantee that upper stage will be flight-tested before it carries humans toward the moon in SLS’s second mission.

“There is no requirement for a validation flight before flying crew with [the new upper rocket stage],” Hambleton wrote.

The Space Launch System

An artistic rendering of NASA’s SLS

What’s the rush?

Many of the safety concerns listed here–particularly the ones regarding adequate safety testing–exist because the agency is doing its best to launch the first crewed mission of Orion and SLS by 2023. The original goal was to achieve that flight in 2023, and NASA has said that although 2023 is more realistic, they are still working toward a 2023 goal.

“What is the compelling reason to adopt these measures to maintain a 2023 schedule that appears to be unrealistic by NASA’s own analysis?” the panel asks. “Why is it important to fly crew on [the second SLS flight]?”

NASA’s “Journey to Mars” in the 2030s is still lacking many other critical components–such as adequate food supplies and a safe living space. Why rush, putting human lives at risk, just to put the cart before the horse, so to speak?

Each launch of the SLS is expected to cost $500 million or more, which is probably a significant factor in NASA’s trying to pack as much testing into as few missions as possible. Of all the problems reported in the study, budgeting issues were listed at the top. Perhaps it’s either time to rethink NASA’s budget, or else rethink our expectations for America’s space agency.

Oneplus 8 Pro Review: The ‘Pro’ Machine The Users Demanded?

The Breakdown

4.1

8.2

The OnePlus 8 Pro forms a solid choice packing in the gorgeous QHD+ 120hz display, and the Snapdragon 865 chipset. While the cameras aren’t as good as the one’s seen on the Galaxy S20, it performs decently well for a smartphone priced at Rs.55,000 in India

Build and Display

8.2

Performance

8.2

Optics

8.2

Battery and Charging

8.2

OnePlus in the past has been seen a stage where the brand had been running towards launching phones back to back, The OnePlus 7T Pro, which was launched in the last year, seemed like a half baked product which the brand had pushed out in a hurry. It brought no major changes compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro leaving aside the upgraded Snapdragon 855+ chipset and an additional camera lens at the back. However with the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus has finally packed in all the features the users have been requesting for, and leaps a step forward becoming an almost perfect flagship. Here’s my review and why I do think the same about the smartphone.

Design:

If you ever have used an OnePlus branded smartphone in the past, the OnePlus 8 Pro would seem pretty ordinary to you with subtle changes: the display is rounded on both the side and as a consequence (in a positive way) the display offers an immersive feel, while also meaning that the fingers could accidently touch the screen at any point of time while holding the smartphone. Yes, this could be inconvenient while typing or having a chat, but OnePlus has done a decent job with the palm rejection keeping accidental touches blocked.

Buttons and Ports

Additionally, there’s the USB Type-C port placed at the bottom for charging and data transfers, right next to the primary speaker grille and the SIM tray on the left of the port. Flipping the phone apart and one could find three out of the four camera lens’s placed in a vertical array one below the other, while the fourth sensor along with the laser AF module has been placed right beside the three lenses. Without a doubt, the box includes a newly designed silicone case with the bold ‘Never Settle’ text written across it. While the case not only just is symbolic of a style but also grip, which is highly important considering the size of the smartphone.

Display:

Credit where its due, OnePlus is one among the few brands which allow the consumers to use the phone at QuadHD+ resolution and refreshing at 120Hz at the same time (..Cough cough Samsung). I have been using it at the max QHD+ and 120Hz refresh rate as it is the USP and let me get that straight: the OnePlus 8 Pro’s display is just fabulous and is among the best screen’s I have ever used till date. Viewing the phone outdoors is not at all an issue, the viewing angles are great, it has deep blacks, great colours and the screen is vibrant, However, the screen doesn’t get comfortably low in brightness as some of us would prefer: it is pretty bright even when set to the least brightness and could cause issues while viewing in the dark.

Content on OnePlus 8 Pro

Moreover, OnePlus has included tons of display features whether it’s calibrating the display’s colour to your liking or inserting frames while consuming content to making it look smoother, also called MEMC or Motion Graphics Smoothing. There’s a ton of other options too such as a Reading mode which could help your eyes strain less while reading or Vibrant Color Effect Pro which boosts video colours and contrast to make it look more vivid.

The OnePlus 8 Pro has the Widevine L1 certification meaning users will be able to stream HD content from streaming services such as Netflix and Prime Video with HDR enabled. While the jump from a regular 60hz to 90hz display is quite noticeable, the bump from 90hz to 120hz isn’t a major difference and shouldn’t be your deciding factor while purchasing the smartphone. Talking about curved displays, as Prakhar from PocketNow states “Curved displays make your phone look good but they lose out on practicality”, I completely agree with him.

Performance:

As a usual OnePlus flagship goes, the smartphones are power-packed with the latest and the greatest specifications under the hood and the OnePlus 8 Pro is a no exception packing in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset coupled with X55 5G modem. The unit I have been using is the one with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB of internal storage built-in. OxygenOS combined with the powerful hardware and the 120hz display forms a perfect combination barring a few instances which I will talk about in the latter part of the review.

The smartphone manages to perform all the daily day to day tasks either be it surfing the web, scrolling through social media feeds or playing games with ease. Additionally, thanks to the UFS 3.0 storage built-in, the app opening times are pretty fast and never caused a hassle. However, to test out the gaming performance and the thermal management, I played a couple of graphics demanding titles such as PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile and casual instances of Among Us on the smartphone and the performance was blazing smooth. The smartphone can run the games at the maximum possible settings and extreme framerates especially PUBG Mobile runs pretty smooth on 90 FPS.

Audio

Moving on to Audio, OnePlus ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack quite some time back, and it has not made a return with the OnePlus 8 Pro But, there’s a stereo speaker setup on the 8 Pro where the earpiece doubles as a secondary speaker to form a stereo effect. The sound output produced is pretty loud and crisp, it performs well for listening to movies or while playing games. Further, there’s support for Dolby Atmos too. On the side of call quality, the earpiece is loud enough and the person on the other end was able to hear me properly without much of a background disturbance.

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Cameras:

OnePlus devices have been struggling in the past with their optics, while they have been significantly improved with the OnePlus 8 Pro; yet it forms one of the key factors which doesn’t let the smartphone being called ‘the best’ overall. As for the details: there’s a 48-megapixel Sony IMX689 sensor paired with f/1.78 aperture lens and OIS; a secondary 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 3x hybrid zoom paired with an f/2.44 aperture and OIS; a 48MP ultra-wide-angle lens with a 120-degree field-of-view and f/2.2 aperture; and a 5MP colour filter lens.

The 48-megapixel ultra-wide angled lens used here is the primary sensor from the last year’s OnePlus 7 Pro, but with a wider field of view and that performs well. The details captured through the lens is good enough with a decent dynamic range and slightly warmer colours. However, there’s some colour shifting with the primary and ultra-wide angled lens; and is easily visible in the viewfinder while shifting from the primary to ultra-wide or vice versa. Interestingly, it can also function as a macro shooter to take some close-ups shots and performs much better than those additional two or five-megapixel macro lenses while being easier to focus comparatively.

Primary Lens

Moving on to the primary lens, the Sony IMX689 sensor used here captures some excellent shots in daylight; with negligible noise in the background and a good depth of field. To nit-pick, I have personally noticed certain instances where the camera tends to over saturate the colours; but that could be fixed with a software update in the future. The 8-megapixel telephoto lens is a hit or a miss with the colours, wherein the brand has opted in for a 12-megapixel sensor which has been cropped in to deliver 3x magnification. The output produced is decent and come nowhere near the Galaxy S20 series of smartphone. The lens requires a large chunk of light to perform optimally. While it can go as close to cropping in at 30x, image outputs over 10x arent recommended by me.

On to the software tricks, the night mode which OnePlus likes to call it as Nightscape Mode; performs well in low-lighting conditions. Shooting in low-light without the night mode often results in noisy images which can be reduced but not completely using the nightscape feature. However, portrait mode shots seem too contrasty for my liking with tat details even in darker parts of the image. Skin tones produced by the algorithm seem to be on point but with slightly warmer tones at instances.

Selfie Camera

Switching to the front-facing camera on the front housed in the punch-hole, there the 16-megapixel Sony IMX471 shooter. It can capture some good looking shots with a decent amount of details but struggles with dynamic range; especially in low or no lighting conditions. Portrait mode shots come out to be good looking; with a good amount of depth separation between the subject and the background.

Overall, the camera output produced from the phone seems decent but is just average considering it a flagship priced over Rs.50,000 in India. Yes, the phone takes some excellent shots during daylight but on the contrary, it struggles with selfies and portrait mode on the rear. Additionally, for now, OnePlus has disabled the 5-megapixel colour filter camera, so I wasn’t able to check it out.

OnePlus 8 Pro: Battery and Charging:

There’s a 4,510mAh battery on board with support for 30W fast wired and wireless charging. Do note that, this is the first OnePlus smartphone to come with support for wireless and reverse wireless charging. The OnePlus 8 Pro has the same Warp Charge 30T charging technology from the previous OnePlus 7T series of smartphones; where other brands have started offering 65W fast charging technologies under the Rs.20K price segment in India. However, the Warp Charge 30T adapter can get your phone charged from 0 to 50% in just half an hour; and up to 90% in about 65 minutes.

Before moving on and talking about my SOT and so on do note that my usage involves scrolling through social media feed, watching youtube videos, attending online lectures, shooting a couple of photos regularly. With the smartphone set to QHD+ and 120Hz, I was easily able to achieve 5.5 hours to 6 hours of usage; while shifting down to the FHD+ resolution adds additionally up to 10-15% of battery. I would recommend you use the phone set to QHD and 120Hz to take complete benefit of the display.

Software:

OxygenOS has made a loyal fanbase in the past which included me at a certain point of time; The OnePlus 8 Pro runs on OxygenOS based on Android 10, and is one among the first few phones to already have received the Android 11 beta. While OxygenOS is fast and fluid, there were certain instances in my usage period where the smartphone rebooted randomly, was frozen in the middle of an important task; wherein I had to reboot the phone to get it back normal.

OxygenOS includes a ton of features from changing the themes, the Always-on Display clock style, fingerprint unlock animations, the horizon light which lights up the edge when you receive a notification to changing the icon packs, digital wellbeing to monitor your usage and more. Not to mention, there’s the optical under-display fingerprint scanner which is pretty fast and accurate; there’s the loved face-unlock, Wi-Fi 6 onboard alongside support for VoLTE and VoWifi.

Verdict: Worth the Money?

The OnePlus 8 Pro has its areas where it excels and some areas where it doesn’t. The display, the build, performance and the user-interface are where it excels; providing a smooth 120hz display, being power-packed with the Snapdragon 865 and more. However, if you are looking to buy the OnePlus 8 Pro just for its camera’s, I would recommend you look for other options; under the same price such as the Xiaomi Mi 1o which has the 108-megapixel sensor. Incase camera isn’t your top priority, the OnePlus 8 Pro forms a solid choice; coming in for Rs.55,000 and being cheaper than the regular Galaxy S20 and even the Motorola Edge+.

Brydge Pro+ Review: The Best Ipad Pro Keyboard Doesn’T Have An Apple Logo

Brydge Pro+ Review: The best iPad Pro keyboard doesn’t have an Apple logo

Happy harmony is the new iPad Pro and Brydge’s Pro+ keyboard, arguably the purest and best accessory out there for Apple’s laptop-replacing tablet. If you want the simplest form of a keyboard attachment for the iPad Pro, I recommend skipping the review and heading straight to chúng tôi to purchase the Magic Keyboard. If, however, you’re looking for the best typing experience available that happens to have an integrated trackpad and looks damn sleek, then keep reading my review of the Brydge Pro+. I promise it’ll be worth your time.

If you’re truly using the iPad Pro for everything from consuming media content to processing images and massively-sized videos, then your best option is to go with nothing less than 512GB or 1TB. Among the main reasons I’d opt for the iPad Pro over a MacBook Pro or Air right now is the integrated LTE capability. I’d go so far as to say it’s crucial for anyone that travels a lot for work, and needs the convenience of an always-connected device.

My 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2023 review unit from Apple came with both 1TB storage and LTE, which – with tax – comes in at a whopping $1,790.81. There’s no doubt that that’s a lot of money for a tablet. Then again, if you’ve read my review of the new iPad Pro, you’ll already know it’s more than just a tablet or a laptop replacement. Nonetheless, every additional dollar you consider spending on accessories, whether it’s the second generation Apple Pencil or a keyboard, might seem like an undue burden on your bank account.

The Brydge Pro+ is priced at $199.99 and $229.99 for the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, respectively. That makes it great bang for your buck compared to everything else out there; Apple’s Magic Keyboard, for example, is significantly higher at $299 and $349 for the 11-inch and 12-inch iPad Pro.

Brydge retained much of its core design principles from previous keyboards for the iPad and iPad Pro lines, while the Magic Keyboard does the same by retaining similar design elements as the Folio Keyboard. However, both of these keyboards are worlds apart in how they attach to each other.

Before I continue, it’s worth noting that the best solution is up to your preference and if money was no object, owning both is still the best option.

The iPad Pro physically attaches to the Pro+ keyboard by way of sliding it into the left and right hinges hanging out of the top of the keyboard. It’s not as elegant as Apple’s magnetic solution, nor is it as easy and efficient. You do need to use both hands when attaching and detaching the iPad.

One immediate drawback I’ve experienced with previous Brydge Pro and Pro+ keyboards comes down to using screen protectors. The slots into which you slide the iPad are a fixed width, meaning that any screen protectors with a thickness of over 0.03mm will have issues fitting, and can even cause the rubber attachments to peel off. I shared my concern with the team and was offered Brydge’s own screen protector to test for myself; I’m happy to report that the fit is near-perfect, but you’ll need to budget another $29.99.

There’s no denying that the Pro+ and iPad Pro combo look amazing. To my eyes, it’s as if Apple were to make a MacBook touch laptop, this would be what it would look like. The overall dimensions and finish match the tablet perfectly, right down to the Space Gray.

The Brydge Pro+ for the iPad Pro 12.9-inch measures in at 11.04 X 8.46 x 0.27 inches compared to the tablet itself at 11.04 X 8.46 X 0.23 inches. The thickness of the Pro+ is ever so slightly greater, then, by 0.03 inches; it’s also slightly heavier, at 1.51 lb (690g), compared to the while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi + Cellular’s 1.42 lb (643g). Together, they total up to 2.93 lb, which lines up with what you’d expect from a MacBook Pro or Air.

If you’re thinking, man, that’s heavy, I might as well buy a laptop, then this is where the iPad is the best of all worlds. After all, you can’t detach the screen from your MacBook and carry that around by itself.

In real-world usage, I’ve had zero issues of the iPad Pro unintentionally sliding out of the hinges. I can carry it around from room to room, or run through an airport, with little worry of an accident. That’s not the case with the Magic Keyboard: its magnets are more convenient if you frequently attach and detach, but not as reassuring in their grip.

Using the Pro+ on my lap is just as you’d expect from using a laptop. The biggest benefit here? Due to the design of the hinges, the viewing angle can go from 0 (closed) to 180-degrees. It’s hard to beat this design, hands down. I’m still waiting on my review unit of the Magic Keyboard to test it for myself, but early reviews are in and everything I’m reading is that the viewing angle is still limited, particularly in how far you can tilt the screen back.

So does the iPad Pro topple over if it’s tilted more than 150-degrees back? Nope, not at all. If like me you’re used to being able to quickly get work done – whether you’re in a car, on an airplane, or back at your desk – having that flexibility helps a lot. It’s also a godsend when you’re trying to cut down on glare from the sun, or indeed angle the screen to keep prying eyes from seeing what you’re working on.

Why Apple didn’t include the row of function keys on its official keyboards is a mystery to me; it’s not like there isn’t enough space above the number row. Here’s another +1 for the Pro+, then. It finds space for home, lock, keyboard backlit, brightness up and down for the iPad, the virtual keyboard on/off, emoji keyboard, multimedia switches, volume up/down, Bluetooth and power buttons for the keyboard.

So why’s this important? For me, reaching up with my left pinky finger to go back to the Home screen is much faster and more convenient than swiping down twice on the trackpad. It’s the same as having direct access to pausing and skipping music or video I’m listening to or watching.

What’s mercifully the same as you’d expect is the main keyboard layout. That’s basically standard, with the exception of a new key on the far left of the bottom row for Siri. Each key feels solid and the travel is 1.5cm compared to 1cm on the Magic Keyboard. The typing experience is nothing short of great – which says a lot for a third-party keyboard accessory.

While the backlit keys are useful at night, there’s definitely some light bleeding out from underneath. It’s not a major issue but worth pointing out if this is something that bothers you.

Two pieces of rubber on the far edges, off the side of the trackpad, prevent the display of the iPad from touching the keyboard. There’s nothing worse than smudges or key prints on the display, this is something that drives me absolutely bonkers on laptops.

It means no three-finger swipe up to switch apps, go home, or switch back and forth between apps. There’s a minor workaround under Assistive Touch where you can create a custom three-finger tap to bring up the list of apps opened. That would be fine, were it not for a bug with iPadOS which constantly brings up the virtual keyboard even when there’s a physical keyboard attached. I just ended up flipping Assistive Touch off. Without the finger gesture, it takes a whole three swipes down just to bring up the app switcher. If you’re inside another app, the first swipe brings up the row of apps at the bottom, the second swipe takes you home and, finally, the third brings up the list of open apps.

Happily, it doesn’t matter if you’re using Apple’s own keyboard or a third-party ‘board: holding down the Command key will allow for certain shortcuts depend on the app and where you are within iPadOS. Similar to the Home button, for instance, you can press Command + h to jump back to the homescreen. The most often used key combo for me is Command + Spacebar, which allows me to perform a universal search on the iPad.

Finally, other iPadOS gestures work as expected. Swiping straight up towards the middle of the display and over to the left drops down notifications, while swiping up towards the right and then pushing further pulls down the shortcut panel.

Iphone 12 Pro/Pro Max Unboxing & Review: A Promise Of The Future

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are solid refinements to last year’s 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, but there have been some let downs. There’s no high-refresh-rate display to be found, battery life has gotten worse, and Apple’s making the phone more expensive for those of you who don’t already own a USB-C power adapter and earphones. But is it still worth it?

Unboxing

The unboxing experience and what you get in the box has been quite the point of controversy with the iPhone 12 lineup. This is because you’re no longer getting the headphones and USB-C power adapter normally included with the phones. Apple did this to support driving down E-Waste. Many people who purchase this phone are already going to have a charger and some headphones on deck. But for those of you who are buying this without those accessories on hand, you’re definitely being put in a difficult position. But spending the extra $40 for those accessories or an equivalent might prove to be worth it in the long run if you’re interested in the 12 Pro.

Design

The 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max now have completely different feels in the hand compared to the 11 series. And the difference is night and day. Some users have expressed that this flat-edge design can have an uncomfortable feel in the hand after a while due to sharper edges. Personally, this hasn’t been an issue for me. Overall usability hasn’t been compromised in the slightest. Even the massive 6.7-Inch 12 Pro Max feels just as good to use as the 6.5” 11 Pro Max. The 12 Pro’s are .7mm thinner than last year’s 11 Pros, but that isn’t noticeable visually or in the feel of the phones at all.

The 12 Pro Max has larger lenses than the 11 Pro and Pro Max. And I’m a fan of this design tweak. I think it helps visually emphasize the max in 12 Pro Max. Overall, I like the way the phones look and feel. The new colors are a nice addition, as well. The new pacific blue color is, in my opinion, the perfect blend of subtleness and elegance.

Display

Both the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max feature slightly larger displays than the 11 Pros, with 6.1 and 6.7-inch screens as opposed to 5.8 inches and 6.5 inches. The display’s gotten a slight bump in resolution because of this, and it isn’t noticeable by any means. But generally speaking, the displays on both phones are great. Because of the HDR capability both of these phones possess, these displays can get extremely bright (1000+ nits) and can offer very punchy and vibrant colors.

I think the iPhone 12 Pro is no different from any flagship iPhone made in the last three years, in the sense that it’s got one of the best display’s in the business. But the lack of a high-refresh-rate or “ProMotion” display in this year’s models is disappointing. Not only is this a feature Apple offers on their “Pro” version of the iPad, but it’s basically become a standard amongst all Android flagships, as well. However, I’m well aware of the struggles every company faced this year trying to get new products built and assembled. Besides that, the 12 Pros are telling the same story the 11 Pros did. The Super Retina XDR display is awesome.

One area where Apple did make display changes is with durability. The 12 Pro and Pro Max have what Apple calls a Ceramic Shield, achieved by implementing nano-ceramic crystals into the display. Because of this, you supposedly get 4x the drop performance. And although I’m not able to put that to the test, I’ve seen other tests that showcase the improved durability. The display doesn’t seem any more scratch-resistant, though, as I was able to unknowingly scratch my 12 Pro within the first day of usage. Nano-ceramic crystals or no ceramic crystals, glass is glass, so I’d still recommend utilizing some method of protection with these phones.

Speakers

The 12 Pro once again has fantastic audio output. It honestly blows me away how good the speakers in these phones are for being so thin and light. Both the Pro and Pro Max deliver an excellent sound with very punchy mids and highs. The low-end performance is probably what amazes me the most, though. The 12 Pro’s speakers put a lot of other smartphones to shame. Paired with that Super Retina XDR display, you’ve got yourself a solid multimedia experience in the palm of your hands. 

Performance

This year, the iPhone 12 Pros are running on the A14 Bionic chip in addition to 6GB of RAM, and performance on paper is substantially better than last year’s 11 Pros with the A13 and 4GB of RAM. But honestly, there isn’t a noticeable difference in speed for the day-to-day tasks. Opening and launching apps is fast and fluid, but not noticeably faster or fluid than the 11 Pros. I think the biggest longterm benefit of the 12 Pros for the average user is the extra memory. The extra memory will give you a bit more breathing room for multitasking or using RAM-heavy applications. Gaming on the 12 Pro and Pro Max is definitely an enjoyable experience. And for anything else you want to do, like photo edit or video edit, the 12 Pros will get the job done with flying colors.

MagSafe

MagSafe is Apple’s Magnetic wireless charging solution for the iPhones. And the Apple MagSafe charger has sparked some controversy due to real-world charging speeds. But I don’t believe the charging aspect of this tech was the sole intention of reviving MagSafe. The charger is only useful for charging your iPhone wirelessly at a marginally faster speed (15W). But the majority of third-party cases don’t maintain the magnetization, so using that charger at all is something I barely think to do.

MagSafe has a few tricks up its sleeve, though. In addition to charging, MagSafe can transmit data between a MagSafe accessory and the iPhone. If this functionality gets fleshed out, the accessory world for iPhones could see unprecedented evolution. Portable battery packs, add-on camera modules, or storage devices are all possible with MagSafe. But for now, we’re stuck with a hockey puck and a $60 Wallet that you have to “practice” using in order to get the proper functionality out of it. We are very much in the infancy-stages of MagSafe; right now, it doesn’t offer much. But with the proper execution, it could be a critical component of the iPhone in the near future.

Battery Life

Battery life on 12 Pro and Pro Max are two completely different stories. The regular 12 Pro has thoroughly disappointed me in the battery department. Apple decided to use slightly smaller batteries in both Pro phones this year. But between the two, the 12 Pro’s battery downgrade is much more noticeable than on the 12 Pro Max. On a good day, you could get close to 6.5 hours of SOT. But that’d be with pretty light usage. I’m not so much of a power-user on my smartphone. I’ve got other devices like my iPad or Macs for more intensive work. And given that, I still struggled to make this phone last all day for me.

With basic usage, iMessaging, social media, and the occasional 5G speed test, the phone could easily be at 20-30% battery life by 3 to 4 p.m. And all of this is without fully-utilizing the 5G radio, which can affect battery life as well. The 12 Pro’s battery life, quite simply, is not great. It’s good enough to be a usable phone, but not good enough to live up to the $1,000 price tag, in my opinion. I’d suggest keeping a charger handy with the 12 Pro.

The 12 Pro Max has a much better battery life. It’s still noticeably worse than the 11 Pro Max, but not substantially worse. I think that’s partially because the 11 Pro Max already had best-in-class battery performance. I can get 6.5 to 7 hours of screen-on time with ease. Unlike the 12 Pro, I’d say the 12 Pro Max still has a truly all-day battery.

5G

5G has been Apple’s huge marketing push for the iPhone 12 lineup, and the potential of 5G with mmWave is obviously insane. Getting Gigabit internet speeds on-the-go is extremely impressive. But mmWave has a long way to go before you can access it in more places than the top three American cities.

Cameras

The camera system on the 12 Pro and Pro Max further refine the experience you get on the 11 Pro and Pro Max but with some new and useful features implemented. The first of which being the LiDar Scanner. The LiDar scanner, originally found on the iPad Pro, is a sensor that measures the light between it and a subject using invisible lasers. And not only can this be extremely beneficial for AR applications, but it can also improve autofocus and low-light photography as well. Apple now lets you use Night Mode when taking portraits, and that’s because of the LiDar Scanner. I don’t think the LiDar scanner is necessarily a critical component in the iPhone’s camera performance. But it’s definitely a nice bonus.

The standard 12 Pro gets a slightly lower aperture wide-angle lens than on the 11 Pro, meaning the camera should be a bit better for low-light. But the biggest improvement photography-wise for both models is the ability to shoot in night mode on all three lenses. This was something that was previously disabled for the ultra-wide lens. And as expected, this dramatically improves low-light performance on the ultra-wide lens. General photo performance on the 12 Pro is noticeably better than the 11 Pro, but not by much.

The 12 Pro Max offers some more notable improvements that the standard 12 Pro doesn’t have, the first of which is a larger sensor, which slightly improves low-light performance and detail compared to the standard 12 Pro. This is something Apple tried to hype up, but in real-world-usage, it’s marginally better than the standard 12 Pro. A feature exclusive to the Pro Max that’s a lot more noticeable is the sensor-shift image stabilization. For a device that’s pretty much always used handheld, having good image stabilization is important.

Image stabilization is not bad on the standard 12 Pro by any means, but the 12 Pro Max definitely takes it up a notch. This is probably the biggest benefit of going with the Max’s camera over the regular 12 Pro. You have a 2.5x optical zoom lens on the Pro Max, which compared to the 2x lens from last year, feels more like a true-telephoto lens. Quality-wise, they’re not differentiable, but it is nice to get a higher (65mm) focal length with the Pro Max.

Apple ProRAW

ProRAW is a feature that’s exclusive to the 12 Pro and Pro Max that should pique the interest of mobile photographers. For the first time, Apple’s allowed you to take RAW photos directly from the stock camera application. And having RAW capability allows for so much more flexibility when editing photos. You have a lot more room to adjust highlights and exposure without ruining the image. The files are recognizable by nearly any photo editing app as ProRAW files are saved in DNG. And while third-party apps have supported RAW output for a while now, having it built-in to the camera app definitely makes me more likely to take RAW photos.

HDR Dolby Vision Recording

Outside of all these camera improvements, the most important improvement by far is the HDR video capability. The iPhone 12 can record 10-Bit DolbyVision HDR video at up to 60FPS on the rear cameras and up to 30FPS on the front-facing camera. You might’ve noticed Jeff and I recently started releasing all 9to5Mac videos in HDR. And if you have an HDR-capable display of some kind, HDR content is almost all-upside from a viewer’s perspective. The contrast ratio you get with HDR video is incredible. Everything appears much more true-to-life because of the dynamic range. Having HDR on the iPhone definitely makes me want to record videos more often. And with the inclusion of HDR in the iPhones, you can be sure that more social platforms will support HDR video in the future.

If you’re a content creator looking to use their phone as their primary device for photography and videography, the 12 Pro and even more so the Pro Max are the best smartphones you can get your hands on for photo and video. And even if you’re on the 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max, these new camera features could be enough to justify an upgrade — especially if you use your smartphone as your primary photography and videography device.

Still from a 4K HDR video clip @60FPS

9to5Mac’s Take

Overall, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are not revolutionary upgrades. A lot of the new features implemented are still in their infancy. MagSafe is already showing its potential as more third-party manufacturers release useful accessories. But for now, we’re stuck with an underwhelming charger and a wallet that most certainly won’t work for everyone. HDR video is one of the biggest features of the iPhone’s camera system since 4K. However, HDR Video isn’t exactly standardized within video-sharing platforms. Even YouTube’s HDR support is somewhat half-baked. And the iPhone 12s are capable of utilizing the full potential of 5G speeds. But right now, there are only so many places you can truly access it. 

If you want to upgrade to the best iPhone money can buy, I would point you to the 12 Pro Max every time. And if the Max is too big for you, there are only a few reasons why the regular 12 Pro is worth it over the even cheaper iPhone 12. That’d be for better build quality, the telephoto lens, and double the storage (128GB) at the base specification. Otherwise, you could definitely save more money and go for the standard iPhone 12 or 12 mini. Those phones, for nearly a couple hundred bucks less, offer a lot of the best things about the 12 Pro. The 12 Pro and Pro Max are just as exceptional as the 11 Pro and Pro Max. But what they truly represent outside of an upgrade is a promise of the future.

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