xda-developers https://www.xda-developers.com Android and Windows Phone Development Community Sat, 23 Jan 2021 10:39:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6 Discussion: What do you think will be the best processor for 2021’s flagship killers? https://www.xda-developers.com/discussion-best-processor-2021-flagship-killers/ https://www.xda-developers.com/discussion-best-processor-2021-flagship-killers/#respond Sun, 24 Jan 2021 09:00:58 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386381 OnePlus spearheaded its way into the smartphone market by introducing a “flagship killer.” Alien to the industry at first, the idea of a specs-heavy smartphone without some of the premium features hit home with many smartphone manufacturers, especially the ones seeking recognition in the premium segments of the market. Over the years, these flagship killers have

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OnePlus spearheaded its way into the smartphone market by introducing a “flagship killer.” Alien to the industry at first, the idea of a specs-heavy smartphone without some of the premium features hit home with many smartphone manufacturers, especially the ones seeking recognition in the premium segments of the market. Over the years, these flagship killers have successfully been able to seize a share of the market from premium and much more expensive devices, thus proving the designation correct.

After smartphone manufacturers, chipmakers are making chipsets for flagship killers. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, MediaTek Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200, and the Exynos 1080 mobile platforms serve exactly that purpose, and we feel these could help bring a balance between performance and cost for flagship killers of 2021. Do you agree?

Snapdragon 870 is a hopped-up Snapdragon 865 Plus

Qualcomm recently announced the Snapdragon 870 and marketed it as a new processor designed especially for 2021 smartphones. In reality, it is nothing but the second turbocharged version of the Snapdragon 865 after the Snapdragon 865 Plus. Due to the older microarchitecture, the Snapdragon 870 lags behind the Snapdragon 888 in terms of performance.

But at the same time, it will be cheaper for OEMs to procure and use in their flagship killers, and therefore, bring the cost of the smartphone down with the trade off of slightly lower performance. OnePlus 9 Lite, Redmi K40, and Motorola’s flagship Moto G are some of the devices expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 870.

MediaTek Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200, and the battle of the spin-offs

The newly announced Dimensity 1100 and 1200 processors are being projected to propel Taiwanese chip manufacturer, MediaTek, back into the race of mobile chipmakers where it has traditionally trailed behind. With a 6nm design and ARM’s Cortex-A78 cores, the latest Dimensity chips are expected to offer performance on par with — or even better than — the Snapdragon 870 which still uses custom Kryo 585 cores based on ARM’s Cortex-A77 reference design.

Xiaomi’s spin-off Redmi and OPPO’s spin-off Realme are already planning to launch flagship killers with the Dimensity 1200.

Samsung Exynos 1080, the overpowered underdog

Samsung’s reputation as a straggler is destined to change with the new Exynos 2100 that was launched with the Galaxy S21 series to give Snapdragon 888 a run for its money. Meanwhile, the younger sibling — Exynos 1080 — is set to challenge chipsets in the upper mid-range with a 5nm design and ARM’s Cortex-A78 cores.

Samsung has already announced an alliance with Vivo, which will announce a phone running on Exynos 1080.

Can flagship killers compromise on performance?

While flagship killers have traditionally run the most advanced, top-tier flagship processors, some brands have also tried different approaches like showing ads, throttling performance, or using the previous year’s flagship chipset to keep prices under a check. With mandatory 5G adding to the cost of the smartphones, slightly underpowered chips actually make up for good choices for flagship killers. But can a phone be a flagship killer if it isn’t sporting a flagship chipset in the first place?

Do you think a slight compromise in performance is worth the access to 5G and a relatively great package? Or do you always want the absolutely most powerful chipset on the next flagship killer, even if it pushes the phone outside the “flagship killer” pricing? Let us know in the comments below!

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Should you buy the Galaxy S21 series or the Galaxy S20 series? https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-s21-vs-s20-series/ https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-galaxy-s21-vs-s20-series/#respond Sat, 23 Jan 2021 12:30:09 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=382791 Samsung’s latest flagship series has finally arrived and it comes with many improvements over the previous generations of flagships. From brighter dynamic AMOLED displays to the performance increment that the new processors bring, the new Galaxy S21 series is destined to lure anyone who wants the latest and the best that Samsung has to offer.

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Samsung’s latest flagship series has finally arrived and it comes with many improvements over the previous generations of flagships. From brighter dynamic AMOLED displays to the performance increment that the new processors bring, the new Galaxy S21 series is destined to lure anyone who wants the latest and the best that Samsung has to offer. But for the average consumer who prefers experiencing a Samsung Galaxy flagship without the compulsion to try the latest ones, the Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 Plus, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra from last year are still pretty lucrative devices.

To help you make an informed decision, we are comparing Samsung’s latest Galaxy S21 series with the Galaxy S20 from 2020. We have broken down this comparison between the three Galaxy S20 variants and their corresponding Galaxy S21 models. Let’s start by comparing the standard variants.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Galaxy S20

Specifications Samsung Galaxy S21 Samsung Galaxy S20
Build
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Plastic back
  • Gorilla Glass Victus front
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass 6 back
  • Gorilla Glass 6 front
Dimensions & Weight
  • 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm
  • 171 grams
  • 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm
  • 163g
Display
  • 6.2″ FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display
  • 2400 x 1080 pixels
  • 421 PPI
  • 120Hz variable refresh rate
    • 48-120Hz
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • HDR10+
  • 1300nits peak brightness
  • Always-On display
  • Infinity-O display
  • 6.2″ Dynamic AMOLED
  • 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • HDR10+
  • 120Hz @ FHD+
  • 20:9 Aspect Ratio
SoC
  • International: Exynos 2100:
    • 1x ARM Cortex X1 @ 2.9GHz +
    • 3x ARM Cortex A78 Cores @ 2.8GHz +
    • 4x ARM Cortex A55 Cores @ 2.2GHz
  • USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888:
    • 1x Kryo 680 Prime Core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 Performance Cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 Efficiency Cores @ 1.8GHz
  • International: Exynos 990:
    • 2x Exynos M5 custom cores @ 2.73GHz +
    • 2x ARM Cortex A76 Cores @ 2.5GHz +
    • 4x ARM Cortex A55 Cores @ 2.0GHz
  • USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
    • 1x Kryo 585 Prime Core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 585 Performance Cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 385 Efficiency Cores @ 1.8GHz
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB LPDDR5 + 128GB
  • 8GB + 256GB
  • 8GB LPDDR5 + 128GB UFS 3.0
  • 12GB + 128GB
Battery & Charging
  • 4,000mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 4.5 reverse wireless charging
  • No charger in box in most regions
  • 4,000mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • No charger in box in most regions
Security 2nd Gen Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm
  • Tertiary: 64MP, telephoto lens, f/2.0, 1/1.76″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
  • Primary: 12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm
  • Tertiary: 64MP, telephoto lens, f/2.0, 1/1.76″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
Front Camera(s) 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
Port(s) USB 3.2 Type-C USB 3.2 Type-C
Audio
  • Stereo speakers by AKG
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Stereo speakers by AKG
  • Dolby Atmos
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
Software Samsung One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 Updated to Samsung One UI 3.0 based on Android 11
Other Features
  • IP68 water resistance
  • ANT+
  • Samsung DeX
  • Knox
  • Bixby Voice Assistant
  • Google Discover pane
  • IP68 water resistance
  • ANT+
  • Samsung DeX
  • Knox
  • Bixby Voice Assistant
Colors
  • Phantom Violet
  • Phantom Gray
  • Phantom White
  • Phantom Pink
  • Cosmic Grey
  • Cloud Blue
  • Cloud Pink
  • Cloud White
  • Aura Red

If we set aside Samsung’s refreshed design language, the standard Galaxy S21 appears fairly similar to the Galaxy S20 in terms of internal specifications. The one and perhaps the only significant improvement on the Galaxy S21 is the newer and significantly more powerful chipset. This especially holds for the variants sold outside of the US as the new Exynos 2100 is finally ready to give tough competition to the Snapdragon 888. The much faster and efficient 2nd Gen Qualcomm Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner comes standard across all three devices.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 comes with a Full HD+ Super AMOLED Display that may be seen as inferior as compared to the WQHD+ display on the Galaxy S20. However, it must be noted that the WQHD+ display had to be downscaled to Full HD+ resolution to utilize the 120Hz refresh rate. Not just that, the Galaxy S21’s display — although lower in terms of resolution — can also support dynamic refresh rate switching such that the refresh rate automatically changes in sync with the frame rate at which an app usually renders data.

Notably, one area that the Galaxy S21 is certainly inferior is the new plastic back despite its premium price tag. This might put off several users vying for a device that is premium in all regards. Additionally, the Galaxy S21 also misses out on a 12GB variant.

In addition to these points, one must note the launch price of the Galaxy S21 is $200 less than that of the Galaxy S20. So, unless there is a major price drop, the Galaxy S20 would make little sense over the Galaxy S21.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs Galaxy S20 Plus

Specifications Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Build
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass Victus back
  • Gorilla Glass Victus front
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass 6 back
  • Gorilla Glass 6 front
Dimensions & Weight
  • 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm
  • 202 grams
  • 161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm
  • 186g
Display
  • 6.7″ FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display
  • 2400 x 1080 pixels
  • 394 PPI
  • 120Hz variable refresh rate
    • 48-120Hz
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • 1300nits peak brightness
  • HDR10+
  • Always-On display
  • Infinity-O display
  • 6.7″ Dynamic AMOLED
  • 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • HDR10+
  • 120Hz @ FHD+
  • 20:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Always-On display
  • Infinity-O display
SoC
  • International: Exynos 2100:
    • 1x ARM Cortex X1 @ 2.9GHz +
    • 3x ARM Cortex A78 Cores @ 2.8GHz +
    • 4x ARM Cortex A55 Cores @ 2.2GHz
  • USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888:
    • 1x Kryo 680 Prime Core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 Performance Cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 Efficiency Cores @ 1.8GHz
  • International: Exynos 990:
    • 2x Exynos M5 custom cores @ 2.73GHz +
    • 2x ARM Cortex A76 Cores @ 2.5GHz +
    • 4x ARM Cortex A55 Cores @ 2.0GHz
  • USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
    • 1x Kryo 585 Prime Core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 585 Performance Cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 385 Efficiency Cores @ 1.8GHz
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB LPDDR5 + 128GB
  • 8GB + 256GB
  • 8GB LPDDR5 + 128GB
  • 12GB + 128GB
  • 12GB + 256GB
  • 12GB + 512GB
Battery & Charging
  • 4,800mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 4.5 reverse wireless charging
  • No charger in box in most regions
  • 4,500mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 4.5 reverse wireless charging
  • No charger in box in most regions
Security 2nd Gen Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm
  • Tertiary: 64MP, telephoto lens, f/2.0, 1/1.76″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
  • Primary: 12MP, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, OIS, Dual Pixel PDAF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm
  • Tertiary: 64MP, telephoto lens, f/2.0, 1/1.76″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS
Front Camera(s) 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF 10MP, f/2.2, 1.22µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
Port(s) USB 3.2 Type-C USB 3.2 Type-C
Audio
  • Stereo speakers by AKG
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Stereo speakers by AKG
  • Dolby Atmos
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
Software Samsung One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 Updated to Samsung One UI 3.0 based on Android 11
Other Features
  • IP68 water resistance
  • ANT+
  • Samsung DeX
  • Knox
  • Bixby Voice Assistant
  • Google Discover pane
  • IP68 water resistance
  • ANT+
  • Samsung DeX
  • Knox
  • Bixby Voice Assistant
Colors
  • Phantom Violet
  • Phantom Gray
  • Phantom White
  • Phantom Pink
  • Cosmic Grey
  • Cloud Blue
  • Cloud Pink
  • Cloud White
  • Aura Red

The comparison between the Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S20 Plus is almost the same in all regards as the previous set of devices. The only factor that stands out is that the Galaxy S21 Plus still uses a glass back. Just like the Galaxy S21, the S21 Plus gets a brighter display traded at the cost of a lower resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and dynamic switching, better performance than previous generations, and a bigger and more efficient fingerprint scanner.

This year’s Plus model is priced $200 lower than the last year’s model and that is incentive enough for users to buy the Galaxy S21 Plus over the Galaxy S20 Plus. You again miss out on the 12GB RAM or 512GB storage variants; so if that’s your priority, the last generation makes more sense.

But if a significantly improved camera is your top priority, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is definitely worth looking at.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S20 Ultra

Specifications Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Build
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass Victus back
  • Gorilla Glass Victus front
  • Aluminum mid-frame
  • Gorilla Glass 6 back
  • Gorilla Glass 6 front
Dimensions & Weight
  • 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
  • 229 grams
  • 166.9 x 76.0 x 8.8mm
  • 220 grams
Display
  • 6.8″ QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X curved display
  • 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • 515ppi
  • 120Hz variable refresh rate
    • 120Hz at QHD+ supported
    • 10-120Hz
  • 20:9 aspect ratio
  • 1500nits peak brightness
  • HDR10+
  • Always-On display
  • Infinity-O display
  • 6.9″ Dynamic AMOLED
  • 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • 120Hz @ FHD+
  • 20:9 Aspect Ratio
  • HDR10+
  • Always-On display
  • Infinity-O display
SoC
  • International: Exynos 2100:
    • 1x ARM Cortex X1 @ 2.9GHz +
    • 3x ARM Cortex A78 Cores @ 2.8GHz +
    • 4x ARM Cortex A55 Cores @ 2.2GHz
  • USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888:
    • 1x Kryo 680 Prime Core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 680 Performance Cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 680 Efficiency Cores @ 1.8GHz
  • International: Exynos 990:
    • 2x Exynos M5 custom cores @ 2.73GHz +
    • 2x ARM Cortex A76 Cores @ 2.5GHz +
    • 4x ARM Cortex A55 Cores @ 2.0GHz
  • USA: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
    • 1x Kryo 585 Prime Core @ 2.84GHz
    • 3x Kryo 585 Performance Cores @ 2.4GHz
    • 4x Kryo 385 Efficiency Cores @ 1.8GHz
RAM & Storage
  • 12GB LPDDR5 + 128GB UFS 3.1
  • 12GB + 256GB
  • 16GB + 512GB
  • 12GB LPDDR5 + 128GB UFS 3.0
  • 12GB + 256GB
  • 16GB + 512GB
Battery & Charging
  • 5,000mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 4.5 reverse wireless charging
  • No charger in box in most regions
  • 5,000mAh
  • 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • 4.5 reverse wireless charging
  • No charger in box in most regions
Security 2nd Gen Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 108MP ISOCELL HM1, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 79°, 24mm, 1/1.33″, 0.8µm (pre-nona-binning), OIS, PDAF, Laser AF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 13mm, 1/2.55″, 1.4 µm, AF
  • Tertiary: 10MP, telephoto lens, f/2.4, 35°, 72mm, 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, OIS, 3x optical zoom
  • Quarternary: 10MP, periscope camera, f/4.9, 10°, 240mm, 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, OIS, 10x optical zoom
  • Primary: 108MP ISOCELL HM3, wide-angle lens, f/1.8, 79°, 24mm, 1/1.33″, 0.8µm (pre-nona-binning), OIS, PDAF, Laser AF
  • Secondary: 12MP, ultra-wide-angle lens, f/2.2, 120° FoV, 13mm, 1/2.55″, 1.4 µm, AF
  • Tertiary: 48MP, telephoto lens, f/3.4, 24°, 103mm, 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, OIS, 4x optical zoom
Front Camera(s) 40MP, f/2.2, 0.7µm, PDAF 40MP, f/2.2, 0.7µm, PDAF
Port(s) USB 3.2 Type-C USB 3.2 Type-C
Audio
  • Stereo speakers by AKG
  • Dolby Atmos
  • Stereo speakers by AKG
  • Dolby Atmos
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • 5G
Software Samsung One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 Updated to Samsung One UI 3.0 based on Android 11
Other Features
  • IP68 water resistance
  • ANT+
  • Samsung DeX
  • Knox
  • UWB
  • Bixby Voice Assistant
  • Google Discover pane
  • Wacom Stylus and S Pen support (sold separately and stored externally)
  • IP68 water resistance
  • ANT+
  • Samsung DeX
  • Knox
  • Bixby Voice Assistant
  • Google Discover pane
Colors
  • Phantom Gray
  • Phantom White
  • Samsung.com Exclusive:
    • Phantom Titanium
    • Phantom Navy
    • Phantom Brown
  • Cosmic Grey
  • Cosmic Black
  • Cloud White

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is clearly the most beguiling device among the three and we see the most improvement on it. Apart from the improvements in terms of processing power, which is the same across all models, the Galaxy S21 Ultra gets a much brighter and crisper screen. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is also the first Samsung smartphone with a display that is calibrated to support a 120Hz refresh rate on WQHD+ resolution. Furthermore, you get S Pen support on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and that just makes the smartphone a whole lot more exciting.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra also gets major improvements in terms of cameras. It is the first smartphone to feature Samsung’s ISOCELL HM3 108MP sensor that supports 12-bit color capture. It also comes with two telephoto cameras — a 3x standard telephoto and a 10x periscope camera with up to 100x hybrid zoom. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also uses AI-backed Zoom Lock to guarantee that images at 100x are not spoiled because of shaking.

Besides the hardware improvements, the Galaxy S21 Ultra gets many software features to enhance photos and videos. Some of these features are:

  • Director’s View for changing camera mid-recording
  • Vlogger View for recording videos using the front and one of the rear cameras simultaneously
  • Multi-mic recording to record audio for a video from multiple sources
  • 4K video recording across all cameras

To read about the camera improvements in detail, you can find out everything’s that new in the Galaxy S21 cameras. Do note, that if you are planning to buy the Galaxy S20 series, the newer software features may not be available instantly — or worse, might not be available at all. That’s one area where the Galaxy S21 series definitely does better.

Lastly, unlike the other models, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is not priced below the Galaxy S20 Ultra. But all the hardware and software improvements that it is jammed with make it absolutely worth the price.


Samsung Galaxy S21 series or Galaxy S20 series: Which should you buy?

The Galaxy S21 and the S21 Plus are minimal yet meaningful upgrades over the last generations. But what makes them really lucrative is the much lower price this time around. At the same time, you lose out on features like the WQHD+ display, up to 12GB RAM or 512GB storage. In all, if you want better performance, improved security, and longer software support, the Galaxy S21 series makes way more sense. On the other hand, you should go for the Galaxy S20 if you absolutely want a higher resolution display or higher RAM/storage.

However, when it comes to the hero device of each range, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is a much clearer upgrade over the Galaxy S20 Ultra, thanks mainly to the camera setup. There is no plausible reason why you would buy the Galaxy S20 Ultra over the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

    Samsung Galaxy S21
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 is the starting point of the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC, along with a decent display and camera setup.
    Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle child in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC and a premium build, along with a decent display and camera setup.
    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the ultimate overkill in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC, a premium build, a great display, and an amazing camera setup, as well as all the extras expected on a premium flagship.

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[Update: Prices reverted] Xbox Live Gold memberships are increasing in price, so stock up before then! https://www.xda-developers.com/xbox-live-gold-price-increase/ https://www.xda-developers.com/xbox-live-gold-price-increase/#respond Sat, 23 Jan 2021 10:37:49 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386579 Microsoft is raising the prices of the Xbox Live Gold service, so stock up on months now! You can also convert Xbox Live Gold to Game Pass Ultimate.

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Update 1 (01/23/2021 @ 05:37 AM ET): After the ensuing uproar, Microsoft has reverted the pricing on Xbox Live Gold memberships, and even opening up free-to-play games. Scroll to the bottom for more information. The article as published on January 22, 2021, is preserved below.

It always sucks when subscription services go up in price. It’s sort of a natural part of inflation, but that doesn’t make it any more pleasant. The latest service to get a price increase will be Xbox Live Gold, also known as ‘the one that’s not Xbox Game Pass’ (which you should look into by the way, as Game Pass Ultimate should include Xbox Cloud Gaming). The price increase hasn’t happened yet, though, so now is your time to stock up on the service so that you won’t be paying more later!

The change for Xbox Live Gold was announced by Microsoft earlier this morning, and on paper, it doesn’t seem too bad, with the monthly subscription going up by $1 and the three-month subscription going up $5. Of course, you’ll see that the math doesn’t quite add up there, and the price increase for multiple months of Gold only gets worse from there. Six months of Live Gold currently is $40, but it’ll be increased to $60, which is also the equivalent for a year of PlayStation Plus.

It’s a bit strange, but many see this as Microsoft making the price increase an incentive for users to switch to Xbox Game Pass, which offers more features at what will soon be a similar price. This is backed up in Microsoft’s announcement itself, stating that Xbox Live Gold time can be directly upgraded to Game Pass Ultimate time, up to 36 months.

Basically, it’s time to stock up! First, if you’re not already an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate user, you’ll want to sign up for three months for a dollar. Then, pick up some Xbox Live Gold time cards from Amazon. Finally, convert those months into months of Game Pass Ultimate, and you’re ultimately (ha) saved on the superior service!

For reference, currently, 12 months of Xbox Live Gold is $60, and it will convert to 12 months of Game Pass Ultimate. Just three months of Game Pass Ultimate is $45, so… yeah, that’s quite a bit of savings! Since that yearly price will effectively double soon, it’s best to just stock up on Live Gold before then, even if you’re not planning on converting it over to Game Pass Ultimate.

    Xbox Live Gold (12 months)
    A year of Gold will effectively be doubling soon, so get your subscription before that happens!
    Xbox Live Gold (6 months)
    6 months of Gold will be increasing to $60 soon. Grab some at the current price before it's too late!
    Xbox Live Gold (3 months)
    Three months of Gold will be going up by $5 soon. Grab some time before it's too late!

Update: Xbox Live Gold prices reverted, free-to-play games opened up

After the uproar from the gaming community, Microsoft has decided not to increase the pricing on Xbox Live Gold for now, reverting back to the older pricing, i.e. $9.99 for 1-month, $24.99 for 3-months, $39.99 for 6-months and $59.99 for 12-months. Further, gamers no longer need an Xbox Live Gold membership to play free-to-play games on the Xbox.

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Genshin Impact v1.3 update brings along a free 4-star character, new boss, Tower Defense minigame and more https://www.xda-developers.com/genshin-impact-v1-3-update-free-4-star-character-new-boss-tower-defense-minigame-more/ https://www.xda-developers.com/genshin-impact-v1-3-update-free-4-star-character-new-boss-tower-defense-minigame-more/#respond Sat, 23 Jan 2021 07:46:02 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=387101 Genshin Impact is a pretty amazing game, inarguably one of the best games out there. Whether you are a beginner just starting off, or an advanced player grinding away, whether you are someone who regularly purchases in-game items, or whether you are staunchly a free-to-play player — the game has enough content to keep everyone

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Genshin Impact is a pretty amazing game, inarguably one of the best games out there. Whether you are a beginner just starting off, or an advanced player grinding away, whether you are someone who regularly purchases in-game items, or whether you are staunchly a free-to-play player — the game has enough content to keep everyone engrossed. Game developer studio Mihoyo is now adding in more content to Genshin Impact with the upcoming v1.3 “All That Glitters” update scheduled for February 3rd, bringing along a new character, new events, a new boss, and a way to get a free 4-star character as well as loads of free Primogems.

You can watch the trailer above to get a glimpse of all of the new changes, or you can watch the full English stream where all the notable changes are expanded upon, or read along as we summarize everything that is about to come in the new update. The full changelog for the update is not out yet, so there’s bound to be a few smaller changes, bug fixes, and probable Quality of Life improvements included as well.

New 5-star character: Xiao (Anemo, Polearm)

This update is bringing along a new 5-star character in the form of Xiao. From the details given, we know that Xiao is an Anemo character wielding a Polearm.

Genshin Impact -- Xiao new character with Anemo polearm

5-star characters are usually intended to be “premium” characters, and consequently, Xiao will also receive its own banner which will up the chance of pulling the character through the loot boxes.

But as we mention that Genshin Impact is quite generous to free-to-play players are well, all players will receive 10 free Intertwined Fate by simply logging into the game over a few days, which they can use on this banner to try their luck in pulling this new character. Xiao will be sharing its banner with Keqing since there are no new 4-star characters in this update.

Free 4-star character

While there are no new 4-star characters in this update, Mihoyo is offering all users a free 4-star character through the “Stand by Me” special event.

Genshin Impact -- Free 4 star character event

All players who complete the event can choose one 4-star character from Xiangling, Xinyan, Beidou, Ningguang, Xingqiu, and Chongyun. While no details were offered on the event tasks, we can expect it to be slightly challenging but still very much feasible for all players.

As to what character you should select as the reward, we would suggest first picking up a character you do not have over getting a repeat character for their Constellation. Xingqiu is a good pick because of his extra talent “Flash of Genius” which gives him a 25% chance to refund one count of one material out of all crafting materials used. Over time, this will be really beneficial through your leveling up grinds. Alternatively, you can also aim for C4 Xiangling or C1 Ningguang if you have all of these characters already.

Lantern Rite event

Lantern Rite will be the highlight event for this update, divided into a few stages. Completing these stages will give you an event-specific currency that you can use in the event-specific shop to exchange for Character Ascension fragments, Experience books, Mora, or the Dust of Azoth (new material).

Theater Mechanicus — Tower Defense minigame

As part of the Lantern Rite event, we get a new tower defense minigame. The trailer suggests that players will be able to craft, place, and upgrade different towers with different elements and mechanics along a path.

Like tower defense games, hordes of enemies will try to pass through the path. Your objective will be to stop them from reaching the end of the path. Genshin Impact is adding its own twist to this by letting you also enter the field with your own character and help clear out any chokepoints or just get through quicker.

Primo Geovishap — New boss

Genshin Impact -- Primo Geovishap new boss

The Primo Geovishap is a new boss coming to the world of Genshin Impact. This beast appears to be a massively powerful form of the annoying Geovishap Hatchlings. Adding a twist to the tale is the fact that this boss can shift between different elements. More details are awaited on the mechanics of the boss, but it sure does change things up on how party setups will be tweaked depending on which element of the boss you are tackling. The boss will be unlocked through an investigation mission that will also pay out some Primogems and Mora.

Boosted Ley Line Overflows

Through the new update, Mora and Experience Ley Lines will have a 2x boosted drop for the first collection. So you can spend 20 resin and get 2x the usual output on your first collection. This will be a significant boost for players who are grinding to level up their characters.

Miscellaneous Changes

These are some of the less exciting changes. There will be a new tab within the Archive section that will show off Living Beings and their models as well as how many times you have defeated those enemies so far. The player profile screen is also seeing a small refresh, allowing you to pick up to 4 characters that you can show off to your friends. The Alchemy section will now also allow you to transform crystals from one element to another by using the Dust of Azoth. It’s not clear how easy or difficult to obtain this new material is, but it could shift the way players need to tackle annoying bosses. Another event will require you to take pictures of certain things using the in-game camera tool to get Primogems and other rewards. There is also a Parametric Transformer gadget to be obtained, that will allow you to convert items from one to another.

There is also a small browser minigame that you can play right now to get some rewards.


The new update will be rolling out on February 3, 2021, and we can expect the events to roll out in a staggered manner over the month.

Genshin Impact (Free+, Google Play) →

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OnePlus Band Review: A solid first attempt at fitness tracking https://www.xda-developers.com/oneplus-band-review/ https://www.xda-developers.com/oneplus-band-review/#respond Sat, 23 Jan 2021 06:15:13 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=385327 Over the years, OnePlus has carefully cultivated its brand reputation to rise from a niche smartphone maker offering value-for-money flagships, to a premium brand with a far-reaching mass appeal. So it was only about time that the company would look for ways to leverage its brand value and expand beyond the smartphone market. Having set

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Over the years, OnePlus has carefully cultivated its brand reputation to rise from a niche smartphone maker offering value-for-money flagships, to a premium brand with a far-reaching mass appeal. So it was only about time that the company would look for ways to leverage its brand value and expand beyond the smartphone market. Having set its foot in the audio and TV segments, the company is now entering the wearables space. The OnePlus Band is OnePlus’s first attempt at wearables and it sets the stage for future smartwatch endeavors. It’s basically a rebadged Oppo Band with the OnePlus logo on it. But since the Oppo Band never launched outside China, it shouldn’t make any difference to potential buyers.

With a price set at ₹2,499, the OnePlus Band locks horns with the current segment leader Mi Band 5 and aims to shake up the entry-level fitness band market. But how does it hold up to the competition? I’ve spent 14 days with the OnePlus Band and here’s what I think about the product.

OnePlus Band: Specifications

Specs OnePlus Band
Dimensions & weight
  • 40.4mm x 17.6mm x 11.45mm (Main Tracker)
  • 257mm x 21.0mm x 0.7mm (Band Strap only)
  • Net Weight 22.6g (Main Tracker with Band Strap)
Display
  • 1.1-inch AMOLED
  • 126 x 294 resolution
  • P3 wide color gamut
  • Scratch resistance coating
Sensors
  • Heart rate sensor (optical)
  • Spo2 sensor (optical)
  • 3-Axis Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.0 BLE
Protection
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
Battery & Charging
  • 100 mAh
  • Up to 14 days of battery life
  • Wired charging dongle, USB Type-A
Compatibility
  • Android 6.0 and above
  • iOS
Other features
  • Notifications
  • Music playback controls
  • Stopwatch
  • Alarm
  • Camera shutter
  • Find My Phone
  • Zen Mode synchronization (OnePlus phones only)
  • Weather forecast
  • OTA updates

About this review: The OnePlus Band review unit was loaned to me by OnePlus India. This review is written after 14 days of use. OnePlus did not have any input in the content of this article.


Design & Display

As far as the design is concerned, the OnePlus Band doesn’t try to deviate too much from other fitness bands on the market. It features a removable tracker module lodged into a cavity between the silicone strap which can be popped out for charging or cleaning purposes. The front of the module is protected with scratch-resistant glass and beneath it is a 1.1-inch AMOLED color display with a discreet OnePlus logo printed below it. There’s no button and the entire surface of the front is flush, making your finger smoothly glide over the display without any resistance.

The silicone strap is made of good material and I didn’t find it uncomfortable or irritating my skin. The band is remarkably lightweight; you can wear it all day long and to sleep without even feeling it’s there on your wrist.

The display is bright and colorful, offering dark contrasts and saturated colors – just like you would expect from an AMOLED. The brightness can be adjusted manually at thresholds of 20%. At 100%, it’s bright enough to be readable under direct sunlight. The display is prone to pick up fingerprints and smudges but they’re easy to get rid of with a simple wipe of a cloth or a splash of water.


User Interface

The OnePlus Band offers a very intuitive user interface with bright, colorful icons and clean typography

The OnePlus Band offers a very polished user interface. It’s a breeze to navigate around the UI and everything seems very well thought out and intuitive. Bright, colorful icons and clean typography make it easier to glance over content without having to squint. You swipe up or down to scroll through the preloaded apps. Swiping right takes you back to the previous screen. Meanwhile tapping on the watch face reveals indicators for Bluetooth connection, DND mode, and the battery level. Finally, you can switch between watch faces by swiping right or left.

The band lets you store up to 5 watch faces. Additional watch faces can be accessed from the OnePlus Health app but the process of syncing new faces is so painfully slow, you won’t wish to go through this very often. There are 37 watch faces to choose from and you can also use a photo from your gallery to create your own watch face.

OnePlus Health watch face OnePlus Health watch face

OnePlus Health App

The OnePlus Band needs to be connected to the companion OnePlus Health app. The app is available on the Google Play Store and can be downloaded on any Android phone running 6.0 and above.

OnePlus Health (To be announced, Google Play) →

The OnePlus Health app scores big on the simplicity and ease-of-use fronts but lacks rudimentary functionalities

OnePlus did promise to release the app on iOS post the official launch, but so far it hasn’t been listed on the App Store. The app requires you to log in using your mobile or email. It lacks support for Google account login which is rather amusing for an app in 2021. To make matters worse, the app doesn’t save your data to the cloud and you’ll lose everything if you uninstall the app. I learned this the hard way when I switched to a new phone and logged into the app only to find I had to start afresh and my 4 days’ worth of data was lost. How OnePlus missed such a rudimentary thing is beyond me but I wish the company would address this with priority. Having an option for cloud sync would have been a nice touch.

OnePlus Health homescreen OnePlus Health Fitness Tab OnePlus Band SpO2 tracking OnePlus Health settings

Coming to the user experience, the OnePlus Health app stands in contrast to Xiaomi Mi Fit with its clean and minimal user experience. It cuts straight to the point without bombarding you with a myriad of settings and menus, presenting important stats and data on rounded cards. In the Health tab, you can check out your daily activity including steps and calories burned, heart rate over a period of time, sleep quality analysis, SpO2 levels as well as workout logs. The fitness tab lets you record a walking or running session while the Manage tab is where you will find watch faces and additional settings.


Tracking & Monitoring

Heart rate monitoring

Heart rate monitoring is a staple feature of pretty much every fitness tracker and quite predictably it’s available on the OnePlus Band as well. The band uses an optical sensor that beams green lightwaves through your skin and detects changes in blood flow as blood is pumped through the vessels. Optical sensors (PPG) are considered less sophisticated compared to electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors but they’re cheap and get the job done relatively well, making them a good fit for a cheap fitness tracker like the OnePlus Band. You can initiate the manual heart rate reading from the band or have it taken at intervals of 6 minutes, 2 minutes, and per second.

My initial experience with heart rate monitoring was irksome. The sensor repeatedly failed to obtain reading despite multiple adjustments and fastening the belt ever so tightly. But this was fixed after I discovered that it was my hairy skin that was getting in the way, and once I shaved a small patch of skin around my wrist the sensor started to return reliable readings.

SpO2 sensor

The Blood oxygen sensor, commonly known as oximeter or pulse oximeter, is one of the main highlights of the OnePlus Band. The sensor uses a red LED and infrared light to measure the level of oxygen in your blood. A normal SpO2 level ranges between 95% to 100%. Repeated readings below 90% along with symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, and lightheadedness can be a sign of mild to moderate hypoxemia, a condition indicating oxygen deficiency in arterial blood. Generally, children and young healthy adults don’t need to monitor their SpO2 levels. However, if you’re suffering from lung disease or a heart condition, monitoring your blood oxygen levels can be helpful.

I didn’t have access to a medical-grade pulse oximeter so I wasn’t able to assess the accuracy of the sensor but it did seem to work reliably, with data captured in quick succession showing no unusual readings or wild variations. SpO2 reading can be initiated right from the band. The measurement takes up to 30 seconds to complete and you must keep your hand still throughout the process. You can also have your SpO2 level being monitored during your sleep. There are two options: periodic tracking, in which a reading is taken every 6 minutes, and continuous monitoring which tracks your SpO2 level in real-time. Automatic SpO2 monitoring kicks in only when the band detects you have fallen asleep.

OnePlus Band SpO2 tracking

 

Sleep tracking

The OnePlus Band offers accurate and reliable sleep tracking

Just like other fitness trackers, the OnePlus Band can also track your sleep and provide analysis and insights about the quality of sleep. On the first night, I wore the band to sleep, it didn’t register any sleep data at all. On the next two nights, it did record some data but only registered the first couple of phases even though I did have a sound sleep. It was only on the fourth night that it managed to record my entire sleep session. And from there on forward, it has been consistent at doing its job with accurate detection of when I fell asleep, awake period between sleep, and when I got up in the morning. On a couple of days when I took a nap to make up for lost sleep hours, it was also able to record it pretty accurately. Overall, I feel the OnePlus Band represents a big step up over my Mi Band 3 which often fails to tell apart idling in bed from the actual sleep.

OnePlus Band Sleep tracking OnePlus Band Sleep analysis

Features

In addition to tracking your steps and calories burned, the OnePlus Band has a wide range of fitness tracking features. It offers 13 dedicated exercise modes including Outdoor Run, Indoor Run, Fat Burn Run, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Cycling, Indoor Cycling, Elliptical Trainer, Rowing Machine, Cricket, Badminton, Pool Swimming, Yoga, and Free Training. Since the OnePlus Band doesn’t have built-in GPS, it relies on your phone’s GPS and location service to estimate data about speed and distance covered. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to carry their phone while running or cycling, you’re better off with something like the Amazift GTS Mini 2 which comes with a built-in GPS.

Exercise modes can be accessed from the Workout app on your band and you can also set goals like distance, duration, and calories. Heart rate is continuously monitored during the workout and is displayed in real-time on the band’s display along with other stats. There’s a feature called Auto Pause which automatically pauses your on-going workout while you are at rest and resumes it when it detects your movement. After the completion of the activity, collected data is then sent to the Health app and from which a detailed graph along with other statistics is generated which you can find under the Workout logs. Similar to the Mi Band, the OnePlus Band also reminds you to get up and move around if it detects no physical activity for an hour, this is quite helpful for those who spend a great deal of time sitting at their desks.

Aside from the fitness-oriented functionalities, the OnePlus Band offers several other nifty features. You get alarm, stopwatch, music playback controls, and the camera shutter button – all of which can be accessed right from the band. Notification support is also present and you can control which apps you want to receive notifications from. Breathe is another useful addition which guides you through breathing exercise with on-screen instructions and gentle vibration. At the end of the exercise, it shows your average heart rate and the number of breaths. The band can also preview and reject incoming calls. Finally, Find My phone helps you relocate your misplaced smartphone by playing a high pitched sound.

However, the OnePlus Band does miss out on two important features: Stress Monitoring and Period tracking. Both of these features are available on the Mi Band 5. Implementing them doesn’t require any special hardware so this is something that can be easily added via an update.


Battery Life & Charging Speed

The OnePlus Band packs a 100mAh battery and claims to provide up to 14 days of battery life on a single charge. In my testing, however, that claim seemed a little far-fetched. In the first run, the band lasted only three days, — mainly because I was using everything to its fullest capacity: brightness set to 80%, heart rate tracking frequency set to every 2 minutes, notifications enabled for every messaging and work app, and SpO2 tracking during sleep set to real-time.

The battery life falls short of the official claim

In the second run, I dialed down things a notch: brightness between 40-60%, night mode enabled, heart rate monitoring every 6 minutes, notifications disabled, and SpO2 tracking at a 6-minute interval during sleep. But even with these concessions, the band barely made it to the seventh day. OnePlus did roll out an update a few days ago addressing the unusual power draw during sleep and standby which has improved the situation to some extent. However, the numbers I’m getting still remains a far cry from what the company is advertising, with the average daily power draw coming in at between 12% to 15% with the same usage pattern.

The band charges via a plastic cradle which feels cheap and finicky and is simply no match for Mi Band 5’s super convenient magnetic charger.

For charging, you’ll need to eject the capsule from the strap and put it into the charging cradle. But I found that snapping the cradle onto the back of the band works just as well and is more convenient than having to pop out the capsule every single time. As for the charging speed, the band takes a little over an hour to reach 100% from an empty state. For reference, the Mi Band 5 takes anywhere between 1.5-2 hours to fully charge.


Conclusion

OnePlus’ first attempt at a fitness tracker is a solid one but not enough to unseat the Mi Band 5 from its position. A bright colorful display, intuitive UI, robust set of fitness features, accurate sleep tracking, and SpO2 monitoring are strongholds of the OnePlus Band. It’s also the only fitness band on the market to offer SpO2 monitoring at this price. But being a first-gen product, it does fall short in a few areas. The lack of cloud sync and missing features such as stress monitoring and period tracking puts the fitness band at disadvantage to the Mi Band 5. The battery-life, although good, is nowhere near to the company claim. But for what it’s worth, most of the shortcomings of the OnePlus Band appear to be fixable with software updates. Should you consider the OnePlus Band over the Mi Band 5? For now, the Mi Band 5 appears a more mature and polished product, offering more customizations and seemingly better battery life. However, the OnePlus Band does have an edge with its SpO2 sensor which is missing on the Mi Band 5’s global variant.

    OnePlus Band
    The OnePlus Band is the first fitness tracker from OnePlus. Based on the OPPO Band, it is a good first attempt with fair few ticks, but some notable issues that need ironing out.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

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Google Chrome is adding a performance overlay to help web devs build faster websites https://www.xda-developers.com/google-chrome-performance-heads-up-display/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-chrome-performance-heads-up-display/#respond Sat, 23 Jan 2021 00:08:17 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386863 When Google launches Chrome 90 later this year, the browser will feature an optional new overlay that will provide developers with vital stats for how a website is performing. Chrome’s new Performance Heads-Up Display (HUD) was detailed by Google Engineering Manager Addy Osmani (via AndroidPolice). The new overlay, which will become part of Chrome DevTools,

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When Google launches Chrome 90 later this year, the browser will feature an optional new overlay that will provide developers with vital stats for how a website is performing.

Chrome’s new Performance Heads-Up Display (HUD) was detailed by Google Engineering Manager Addy Osmani (via AndroidPolice). The new overlay, which will become part of Chrome DevTools, will provide developers with both Core Web Vitals and smoothness metrics. Once the HUD is enabled, it will be persistent and display on each tag.

The new performance overlay arrives following Google’s launch of Web Vitals, an initiative that aims to provide “unified guidance for quality signals that are essential to delivering a great user experience on the web.”

Here’s what we said about Core Web Vitals back in May of 2020:

Core Web Vitals are a subset of all the Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all website owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools. Currently, these Core Web Vitals focus on three aspects of the user experience — loading, interactivity, and visual stability — and include the following metrics (and their respective thresholds):

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have a FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1

It’s in a developer’s best interest to create a website with an experience that’s fast and smooth. That’s because Google will rank websites based on “page experience” beginning May 2021. Google started labeling websites as meeting Core Web Vitals metrics in August of last year, telling users in Chrome 85 whether a link led to a “fast page.”

According to Osmani, the HUD is still being polished, so things like stability and performance will come with time. You can head over to crbug.com and report any bugs or feedback under the Internals > GPU > Metrics component.

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Signal adds custom wallpapers and animated stickers to catch up to WhatsApp https://www.xda-developers.com/signal-custom-wallpapers-animated-stickers/ https://www.xda-developers.com/signal-custom-wallpapers-animated-stickers/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 22:53:31 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386835 Signal enjoyed an unexpected uptick in users following WhatsApp’s recent privacy blunder. In an effort to capitalize on its rising popularity, Signal has started testing features that make the messaging platform feel a little friendlier. Earlier this month, Signal announced a handful of new features that would be coming to the platform, including chat wallpapers

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Signal enjoyed an unexpected uptick in users following WhatsApp’s recent privacy blunder. In an effort to capitalize on its rising popularity, Signal has started testing features that make the messaging platform feel a little friendlier.

Earlier this month, Signal announced a handful of new features that would be coming to the platform, including chat wallpapers and animated stickers. As promised, these two features are now available in the beta version of the app, making it feel more like WhatsApp than ever before.

Android Police got its hands on both new features, sharing screenshots of what chat wallpapers look like. You can change your chat wallpaper in Signal by going to Settings > Appearance > Chat wallpaper. You can also change the wallpaper of an individual chat by tapping the person’s name in the top bar and looking for the chat wallpaper option.

There are a total of 21 chat wallpapers to choose from, including 12 solid colors and 9 gradient colors. Android Police said you can also choose a photo from your phone’s camera roll for extra personalization. Before, Signal featured only white and black backgrounds depending on if dark mode was enabled on your device.

Android Police also provides a quick preview of Signal’s new animated stickers—something the platform has dabbled with in the past. There’s a new Day by Day sticker pack that contains 24 animated stickers to help liven up your conversation. The art is by Miguel Angel Camprubí.

Finally, Signal appears to be adding a simple About section for users’ profiles. Users will have the opportunity to choose an emoji and also add a short description of themselves. It’s a simple way to share some of your personality before even having a conversation. Apparently, Signal users can save several blurbs and switch between them on the fly, essentially making them status updates.

If you’re on iOS, Signal said it also plans to add media auto-download settings and full-screen profile photos, the latter of which is already available on Android.

These new additions to Signal appear to be in the beta version of the app for now. Hopefully, testing goes smoothly so they can be added to the stable build. Once that rolls out, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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Google Search gets a big redesign on mobile that focuses on simplicity https://www.xda-developers.com/google-search-redesign-on-mobile/ https://www.xda-developers.com/google-search-redesign-on-mobile/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 21:35:00 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386819 Google on Friday introduced what it’s calling a “major visual redesign” of the mobile Google Search experience, which the search giant said will be available in the coming days. The theme of this update? Simplicity. “We wanted to take a step back to simplify a bit so people could find what they’re looking for faster

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Google on Friday introduced what it’s calling a “major visual redesign” of the mobile Google Search experience, which the search giant said will be available in the coming days. The theme of this update? Simplicity.

“We wanted to take a step back to simplify a bit so people could find what they’re looking for faster and more easily,” said Aileen Cheng, a Google designer who led the overhaul. Cheng called the new design a “breath of fresh air.”

One of the first things Cheng wanted to do was simplify Google Search and get people the information they were looking for. That meant presenting search results as clearly and quickly as possible. One way Google did this was by using larger, bolder text, and also using Google’s own font, which is already used in Android and Gmail. The results and section titles are bigger as well.

Google Search redesign

“Bringing consistency to when and how we use fonts in Search was important too, which also helps people parse information more efficiently,” Cheng explained.

The new Google Search results also span edge-to-edge, while Google has gotten rid of shadows. This makes it easier for you to spot the result you’re looking for, providing visual space and breathing room. Google is also using color to highlight what’s important. By displaying results on a clean background, Google can use color to guide users to information.

Finally, the company said that users will notice Google Search is now “bubblier and bouncier.” That means rounded icons and imagery, which Cheng said is already a big part of Google’s DNA. Just look at the Search bar or the magnifying glass.

“Rethinking the visual design for something like Search is really complex,” Cheng said. “That’s especially true given how much Google Search has evolved. We’re not just organizing the web’s information, but all the world’s information. We started with organizing web pages, but now there’s so much diversity in the types of content and information we have to help make sense of.”

Google (Free, Google Play) →

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Samsung Internet 13.2 adds redirect protection, URL quick access, and better dark mode https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-internet-adds-redirect-protection-url-quick-access-better-dark-mode/ https://www.xda-developers.com/samsung-internet-adds-redirect-protection-url-quick-access-better-dark-mode/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 21:09:46 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=372987 After rolling out stable Samsung Internet 13.0 earlier this month, Samsung is now back again with a fresh beta of its popular browser, just in time for the holiday season. The new Samsung Internet 13.2 Beta debuts several nifty features to further improve the overall browsing experience, including the added protection against redirects, OS Settings

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Update 1 (01/22/2021 @ 04:10 PM ET): Samsung Internet 13.2 is now rolling out on the stable channel. Click here for more information. The article, as published on December 16, 2020, is preserved below.

After rolling out stable Samsung Internet 13.0 earlier this month, Samsung is now back again with a fresh beta of its popular browser, just in time for the holiday season. The new Samsung Internet 13.2 Beta debuts several nifty features to further improve the overall browsing experience, including the added protection against redirects, OS Settings integration, ARCore upgrade, and more.

One of the major improvements in the Samsung Internet 13.2 is Smart Protect, which warns users when a site tries to persuade users to download malware and shows a warning pop up to help them return safely back to the homepage.

The new beta now also makes it easier to quickly visit URLs stored in your clipboard. When you tap on the address bar, you will see a quick access menu that shows your copied URL, and you can simply click on it to visit that URL — without needing to hit the Go button.

Next up, the Samsung Internet 13.2 lets you quickly search for various in-app settings right from within the main Settings app. You don’t have to open the app and work your way through a myriad of menus to find that specific control or setting. For example, if you want to disable cookies, simply enter the keyword in the Settings search bar, and it will show you a shortcut to jump directly to the Cookies settings.

A recent ARCore update had broken the AR functionality in the Samsung Internet. The Samsung Internet 13.2 has fixed that issue, and AR experiences should now work as intended after updating to this version. Finally, this update also brings several improvements to the Dark mode, including the introduction of the prefers-color-scheme media query and the color-scheme meta-tag CSS property to give web developers control over how their sites look when the user has the dark mode enabled. Similar to Google Chrome, Samsung Internet now also lets users toggle a force dark mode called “Force Dark Behaviour” as an experimental feature under internet://flags.

Samsung Internet Browser Beta (Free, Google Play) →


Update 1: Samsung Internet 13.2 Stable Release Now Available

If you’re using the stable version of Samsung Internet, you can now download version 13.2 which includes the aforementioned features. If you haven’t yet received the update, you can sideload the release from APKMirror.

Samsung Internet Browser (Free, Google Play) →

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[Update: ZenFone 7 Fix Rolling Out] Some ROG Phone 3 and ZenFone 7 owners are having issues with HD playback in Netflix https://www.xda-developers.com/rog-phone-3-zenfone-7-issues-hd-playback-netflix/ https://www.xda-developers.com/rog-phone-3-zenfone-7-issues-hd-playback-netflix/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 20:59:24 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=377199 Some owners of the ASUS ROG Phone 3 and ZenFone 7/7 Pro have discovered that their devices have lost Widevine L1 status. As a result, they’re unable to play Netflix content in HD. Users have taken to ASUS’ forums to voice their complaints. Seems the issue has persisted over several weeks now with no signs

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Update 1 (01/22/2021 @ 04:00 PM ET): ASUS is rolling out an update to the ZenFone 7 series that allegedly addresses the Widevine downgrade issue. Click here for more information. The article as published on December 30, 2020, is preserved below.

Some owners of the ASUS ROG Phone 3 and ZenFone 7/7 Pro have discovered that their devices have lost Widevine L1 status. As a result, they’re unable to play Netflix content in HD.

Users have taken to ASUS’ forums to voice their complaints. Seems the issue has persisted over several weeks now with no signs of going away.

Widevine is a DRM technology used by many streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to ensure that these services are being used by devices with unmodified and secure firmware. Without Widevine L1 status, users are unable to stream videos from Netflix above 540p quality. Unfortunately, due to a bug in the SoC firmware of the ROG Phone 3 and ZenFone 7 (both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865), the Widevine DRM level is being downgraded from L1 to L3 for a handful of users. The only way to fix this, according to ASUS, is for the affected users to ship their devices to ASUS so they can re-provision them.

ASUS released a statement regarding the issue: “Asus is aware of this issue which affect a small number of users and is caused by a bug from our SOC vendor Qualcomm,” ASUS said. “If this has happened we urge you to contact Asus customer service in your region.”

Some users in the forums have stated that after getting their phone fixed, the issue has reared its head again. “I have this issue happened to me after that service center resolved my issue but the issue happened to me AGAIN today,” user yashpandya295 said in the ASUS forums. “So I have to visit service center again.”

For what it’s worth, we checked our ROG Phone 3 and ZenFone 7 review units and our Widevine level hasn’t been downgraded. To check your own Widevine DRM level, download the DRM Info app.

ROG Phone 3 Forums ||| ASUS ZenFone 7 Forums

DRM Info (Free, Google Play) →


Update 1: Potential Fix for ASUS ZenFone 7

After informing us that the only way to resolve the Widevine downgrade issue was to ship your device to a service center, ASUS is now rolling out an update to the ZenFone 7 series that allegedly fixes the issue. Software version 29.14.53.23 is rolling out globally with the following release notes:

  1. Updated Android security patch to 2021-01-05
  2. Improved touch stability
  3. Enabled Volte on Telia (LT)
  4. Fixed Widevine downgrade to L3 issue

Since we aren’t facing the issue on our own units, we can’t confirm if the update resolves the problem for the affected units. However, since the issue was allegedly caused by a bug in Qualcomm’s firmware, it’s not unreasonable to think that it can be fixed by a software update. We haven’t spotted a similar update roll out for the ROG Phone 3 just yet, but once it does, we’ll let you know. If your ZenFone 7 had its Widevine level downgrade to L3 and this update bumped it back up to L1 for you, let us know in the comments below!

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The Magisk Manager APK can now be flashed from within TWRP https://www.xda-developers.com/install-magisk-manager-without-separate-zip/ https://www.xda-developers.com/install-magisk-manager-without-separate-zip/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 20:50:19 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386785 Topjohnwu, the developer of Magisk, announced a major change today to the popular open-source rooting tool. The biggest change is that the binaries and scripts required to root your phone are now contained within the Manager app rather than being downloaded over the Internet. As a result, you’ll only need to download one file —

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Topjohnwu, the developer of Magisk, announced a major change today to the popular open-source rooting tool. The biggest change is that the binaries and scripts required to root your phone are now contained within the Manager app rather than being downloaded over the Internet. As a result, you’ll only need to download one file — the latest version of the Magisk Manager APK — to both root your phone and manage root access.

Before today’s update, the most common method to install Magisk was to first install the Manager app, then from within the Manager app download the latest flashable ZIP containing Magisk’s required binaries and scripts for installation, and finally flash that ZIP in a custom recovery like TWRP. After today’s update, all you have to do is download the latest Manager APK, change its extension to ZIP so it’ll be recognized as a flashable file by TWRP, and then flash the ZIP. The reason this can work is that APK files follow the ZIP file format, so with a few modifications, it’s possible for an APK to act as both an Android installation package and as a flashable ZIP file recognized by TWRP.

Besides reducing complexity, this also makes the entire installation and uninstallation process completely offline. Previously, the Manager app required an active Internet connection in order to download the latest Magisk ZIP from GitHub. Since the required binaries and scripts are contained within the Manager APK, you can bypass needing to download any files on the target device you want to root.

In addition, topjohnwu says that, by shipping all binaries as “native libraries” of the Manager APK, the target SDK version of the Manager app can be set to 29 or higher. The reason, he says, is because of Android 10’s SELinux restrictions on executing files within an app’s home directory — the same restrictions that forced the Termux developers to abandon serving updates to the app on Google Play. However, the target SDK version has not yet been increased and will be addressed in a future commit.

As always, you’ll be able to find the latest version of Magisk from topjohnwu’s GitHub. You can find the latest release notes, installation instructions, and FAQs here.

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Sony Xperia 5 II, Xperia XZ1 series and Xiaomi Mi Note 2 receive Android 11 custom ROMs https://www.xda-developers.com/android-11-custom-rom-sony-xperia-5-ii-xperia-xz1-xiaomi-mi-note-2/ https://www.xda-developers.com/android-11-custom-rom-sony-xperia-5-ii-xperia-xz1-xiaomi-mi-note-2/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 19:51:03 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386679 The custom ROM‌ development scene is in full swing over on the XDA‌ forums. Ever since Google published the Android 11 source code, aftermarket developers have been relentlessly working toward making the latest flavor of Android accessible to more and more devices. The Redmi K20 Pro/Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro was the first phone to receive

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The custom ROM‌ development scene is in full swing over on the XDA‌ forums. Ever since Google published the Android 11 source code, aftermarket developers have been relentlessly working toward making the latest flavor of Android accessible to more and more devices. The Redmi K20 Pro/Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro was the first phone to receive an AOSP-based Android 11 ROM and since then, the list of devices with unofficial Android 11 ports has grown substantially. Earlier this month, we saw the modding community bring Android 11 custom ROMs to devices such as the OnePlus One and the Google Nexus 5. Now, four more guests have joined the party as Android 11 custom ROMs are now available for the Sony Xperia 5 II, Xperia XZ1, Xperia XZ1 Compact, and the Xiaomi Mi Note 2.

Sony Xperia 5 II

The Sony Xperia 5 II, which was launched last year with Android 10, has recently picked up its official Android 11 update in some regions. And now, fans of the LineageOS project will be glad to know that an unofficial build of the custom ROM is already available for the Xperia 5 II. If you do decide to flash it, make sure to read through the installation instructions posted on the ROM thread linked below.

Download unofficial LineageOS 18.1 based on Android 11 for the Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony Xperia 5 II Forums

Sony Xperia XZ1

The Xperia XZ1 launched all the way back in 2017 with Android 8.0 Oreo, and if you’re still holding onto one of these, you’ll be glad to know you, too, can try out the goodies in Android 11. An unofficial LineageOS 18.1 ROM for this phone is here, and it also supports the WireGuard VPN protocol out of the box.

Download unofficial LineageOS 18.1 based on Android 11 for the Sony Xperia XZ1

Sony Xperia XZ1 Forums

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Much like the regular Xperia XZ1, the “Compact” variant has also received its first taste of Android 11 through an unofficial LineageOS 18.1 build. The current release works wonderfully, at least for the most part, but you might not be able to use the spellchecking feature if you change the default keyboard. Give your Xperia XZ1 Compact a new lease of life with LineageOS 18.1 by following the link below.

Download unofficial LineageOS 18.1 based on Android 11 for the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact

Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact Forums

Xiaomi Mi Note 2

It’s great to see that development for the Mi Note 2, which was released back in 2016, is still going strong. If you want to experience Android like you would on a Pixel device, you can now flash the official Pixel experience ROM on your phone. The Android 11-based custom ROM includes all Google apps and Pixel goodies like the Pixel Launcher, wallpapers, icons, fonts, and boot animation.

Download official Pixel experience (Beta) based on Android 11 for the Xiaomi Mi Note 2

Xiaomi Mi Note 2 Forums


If you wish to try out the aforementioned custom ROMs, click on the respective links and then carefully follow the instructions in the forum post to install the ROM on your device. Do note that since some of these ROMs are still in testing, you may face some unwanted bugs. In case you do, you can report the bugs in the forum post and help the developers further improve their custom ROMs.

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Inspired by The Queen’s Gambit? Learn to play chess with up to 92% off these courses https://www.xda-developers.com/inspired-by-the-queens-gambit-learn-to-play-chess-with-up-to-92-off-these-courses/ Fri, 22 Jan 2021 17:34:59 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=384243 Looking back at 2020, there was one bright spark: watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. This historical drama kept millions gripped by games of chess. If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Beth Harmon, here are four great courses for learning to play. How to Play Chess for Beginners Course Bundle With

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Looking back at 2020, there was one bright spark: watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. This historical drama kept millions gripped by games of chess. If you would like to follow in the footsteps of Beth Harmon, here are four great courses for learning to play.

How to Play Chess for Beginners Course Bundle

With 32 hours of beginner-friendly training, this bundle can help you master the fundamentals of chess. You learn from international-standard players, as you walk through beginning moves and game strategies.

Get the How to Play Chess for Beginners Course Bundle for $49.99 (reg. $434), a saving of 88%. 

Advanced Chess Strategies & Tactics for Intermediate Players Course Bundle

If you have played chess before but want to improve your game, this bundle can help. It includes 37 hours of training on decision making, pawn structures, and more from three world-renowned masters.

Get Advanced Chess Strategies & Tactics for $49.99 (reg. $486), a saving of 89%. 

Mastering Chess for Advanced Players Course Bundle

You can play chess for many years and still find yourself struggling against certain opponents. This bundle gives you the tools to dominate, with 44 hours of tutorials on advanced endgames, schematic thinking, and crystal-clear positional vision.

Get the Mastering Chess for Advanced Players Course Bundle for $49.99 (reg. $456), a saving of 89%. 

The Complete Chess Bundle for Beginners to Advanced Players

Bringing together all the courses into one huge collection, the bundle provides a complete education in chess. You get 121 hours of coaching from grandmasters and international masters, helping you go from complete beginner to competitive player.

Get The Complete Chess Bundle for Beginners to Advanced Players for $99.99 (reg. $1,376), a saving of 92%. 

Prices subject to change 

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These rugged cases for the Galaxy S21 Plus will ensure you don’t crack your new phone https://www.xda-developers.com/best-galaxy-s21-plus-rugged-cases/ https://www.xda-developers.com/best-galaxy-s21-plus-rugged-cases/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 16:29:22 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=382323 The Samsung Galaxy S21 series just launched recently and if you’ve pre-ordered one of the new devices, you’re going to probably want to protect your purchase. If the protection of your smartphone is paramount, then we’ve picked out some of the best Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus rugged cases that you can get already. Rugged cases

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The Samsung Galaxy S21 series just launched recently and if you’ve pre-ordered one of the new devices, you’re going to probably want to protect your purchase. If the protection of your smartphone is paramount, then we’ve picked out some of the best Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus rugged cases that you can get already. Rugged cases aren’t the prettiest, but they get the job done. There isn’t a lot to choose from at the moment, but we’ll be sure to add more as they’re announced!

    Samsung Rugged Protective

    Complete with kickstand

    This is the official Samsung rugged protective case, and it's military drop tested too.
    Spigen Rugged Armour

    Spigen's best

    It's not quite as protective as the rest, but it's a good compromise between looks and protectivity.
    YOUMAKER Full Body

    Full body protection

    With a built-in screen protector, the YOUMAKER full body case protects your phone from all angles.
    MMY Military Case

    Complete with kickstand

    Complete with a kickstand, this case from MMY will protect your phone from some painful drops.
    ArmadilloTek Vanguard

    High-end protection

    With military grade protection, the ArmadilloTek Vanguard will protect your device from nasty falls.
    Feitenn Rugged

    Shock proof

    You'll have to build this one yourself as the case screws onto your phone, but it helps make it sturdy.

A rugged case isn’t for everybody, as some people prefer to show off their phone’s design. Cases can be quite ugly, and with the Galaxy S21 series sporting a unique enough design already, it can be hard to come to terms with covering it up. If you don’t mind that though, then you can choose from any of the cases above! Samsung’s very own protective case is the one to go for if you want something official, though there are arguably even more protective cases listed here too. The YOUMAKER full body case has a built in screen protector that sits over the display of your smartphone, while the Feitenn case will need to be screwed together. If you want something not quite as protective as any of those, but still more protective than a simple plastic case, then the Spigen Rugged Armor is the way to go.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle child in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC and a premium build, along with a decent display and camera setup.

If you’re looking for more options, we have collated a list of best cases for the Galaxy S21 Plus as well. And if you want something specific, we got you covered with great options for clear cases as well. And since the device has a flat display, it’s also a good idea to pick up a screen protector for the Galaxy S21 Plus as well, just to be doubly sure.

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Apple working on thinner, more powerful MacBook Air alongside new MacBook Pro with SD card slot https://www.xda-developers.com/apple-working-on-thinner-more-powerful-macbook-air-alongside-new-macbook-pro-with-sd-card-slot/ https://www.xda-developers.com/apple-working-on-thinner-more-powerful-macbook-air-alongside-new-macbook-pro-with-sd-card-slot/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:53:18 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386611 We’ve already heard a few rumors about Apple’s upcoming MacBook products for 2021. Last week, we heard that the company is working on new MacBook Pro models (14-inch and 16-inch) that could launch this year with newer and more powerful ARM-based in-house chips. It has also been speculated that these might ditch the Touch Bar

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We’ve already heard a few rumors about Apple’s upcoming MacBook products for 2021. Last week, we heard that the company is working on new MacBook Pro models (14-inch and 16-inch) that could launch this year with newer and more powerful ARM-based in-house chips. It has also been speculated that these might ditch the Touch Bar but include a new magnetic ‘MagSafe’ charging port.

A new report from Bloomberg now offers more information regarding Apple’s plans for its future Mac lineup. Firstly, a new MacBook Air model is in the works. Considering the recently launched model is similar to the last-gen Intel variant, Apple is going to launch a redesigned variant with thinner bezels around the 13-inch display, and it will include the previously rumored MagSafe charging port. It is also expected to feature the next-generation of Apple’s M1 chipset, a pair of USB 4 ports, and will be offered as a higher-end version of the current MacBook Air. It is also expected that it could feature a mini-LED panel and a 2022 launch cycle. A 15-inch variant of the MacBook Air could also be on the cards, however, don’t expect that to arrive anytime soon.

As for the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models that are expected to launch later this year, we could see Apple bringing back an old but very useful feature. Bloomberg reports that the upcoming MacBook Pro models will include an SD card slot which is great news for creative professionals who need to handle a lot of photo or video footage. Prior to the 2016 MacBook Pro refresh, Apple did offer an SD card slot which has now slowly phased out and is missing from a majority of laptops today. In line with the previous report, the new report also states that the new MacBooks will be powered by more powerful M1 chipsets and include the MagSafe charging port. The new report also reiterates the fact that Apple will remove the Touch Bar from the MacBook Pro lineup.

Lastly, the report says that Apple has managed to develop the tech to introduce support for cellular connectivity on Mac. Additionally, the company is also ready to introduce Face ID, the company’s facial recognition system, to Mac systems. However, neither of the features will be coming anytime soon. FaceID was set to arrive with this year’s iMac redesign, however, it seems that the plan has been delayed indefinitely.

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Download: POCO X2 is getting its Android 11 update with MIUI 12 https://www.xda-developers.com/poco-x2-android-11-miui-12/ https://www.xda-developers.com/poco-x2-android-11-miui-12/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:46:40 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386543 Launched back in February last year, the POCO X2 (our review) offers some solid specifications, such as a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, a 4,500mAh battery with 27W fast charging support, and a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor as the primary rear camera. The factory-installed operating system on the phone was MIUI 11 on top of

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Launched back in February last year, the POCO X2 (our review) offers some solid specifications, such as a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G SoC, a 4,500mAh battery with 27W fast charging support, and a 64MP Sony IMX686 sensor as the primary rear camera. The factory-installed operating system on the phone was MIUI 11 on top of Android 10, but the underlying Android layer remained unchanged in the subsequent MIUI 12 update. Now, close to the one-year anniversary of the phone’s release, POCO has begun the rollout for the stable version of Android 11 to POCO X2 owners in India.

POCO X2 Android 11 OTA

Thanks to Twitter user AviSaHa_01 for the screenshot!

Bearing version number V12.1.2.0.RGHINXM, the update is 2.4GB in size for its recovery flashable ZIP. It also bumps the Android security patch level (SPL) to January 2021. In terms of what’s new, users can look forward to all the new Android 11 goodies, including Chat Bubbles, smart device controls, wireless Android Auto support, and much more.

The build number clearly suggests that the Android 11 update for the POCO X2 is still based on MIUI 12, not MIUI 12.5. However, the Chinese variant of the phone, i.e. the Redmi K30 4G, has already received a taste of MIUI 12.5 through the closed beta channel.

POCO X2 XDA Forums

You can either wait for the update to arrive on your phone or you can sideload the new build after downloading the update package linked below. Notably, the company treats the current release as a “stable beta”, which means an authorized Mi Account might be required to sideload the update package.

Download Android 11 with MIUI 12 for the POCO X2 (codename: phoenixin) — V12.1.2.0.RGHINXM

In case the bootloader of your POCO X2 is unlocked and you want to install the updated build right now, you can flash the recovery ROM using a custom recovery like TWRP, effectively bypassing the Mi Account validation. A server-side switch is required to remove the need for such authorization, which usually occurs as soon as the Fastboot-flashable firmware is up.

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Here’s why the Termux app is no longer receiving updates on Google Play https://www.xda-developers.com/termux-terminal-linux-google-play-updates-stopped/ https://www.xda-developers.com/termux-terminal-linux-google-play-updates-stopped/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:36:28 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=378483 As many of you may well be aware, the Android operating system is powered by the Linux kernel underneath. Despite this, Android and Linux apps are not readily exchangeable because of different runtime systems and libraries. You can, however, get a terminal emulator app like Termux up and running on any Android device. For years,

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As many of you may well be aware, the Android operating system is powered by the Linux kernel underneath. Despite this, Android and Linux apps are not readily exchangeable because of different runtime systems and libraries. You can, however, get a terminal emulator app like Termux up and running on any Android device. For years, crafty Android users have been using Termux as a handy terminal emulation software as well as a powerful GNU/Linux environment, thanks to its substantially large Linux Package Collection. Unfortunately, the app is now at a pivotal junction of its life, as its developers have decided to stop updating the Play Store version altogether and migrate to F-Droid due to recently introduced Google Play policy and Android SDK behavior changes.

Since November 2, 2020, all updates to existing apps in Google Play were required to target Android 10 (API level 29) or higher. While the precondition might sound like good news sprinkled with a lot of optimism, things haven’t exactly gone that way for Termux. In a post on the project’s GitHub Wiki, Leonid Pliushch AKA xeffyr, a major contributor to the software, explained the app’s compatibility issue with the aforementioned API level. Google has been enforcing the W xor X security feature since Android 10, which is why an untrusted app that sets targetSdkVersion to “29” or higher can’t invoke exec() on files within the app’s home directory. Such a design effectively breaks Termux when compiled against API level 29, as all its packages contain executables.

You can still find the app on the Play Store but the build is severely outdated. Since the Play Store version doesn’t officially support Android 10 (or higher), it will not start a shell on certain devices unless SELinux is set to permissive mode, which admittedly has serious security implications. Moreover, non-rooted users can’t access /proc/net, which means netstat and other utilities using data from this interface do not work anymore.

Why are all these changes not affecting the F-Droid build of Termux? That is because there is no strict Android SDK version requirement while submitting a package for inclusion in the F-Droid repository. Unlike the Play Store variant, a build targeting an older version of Android than 10 is unaffected here, so the team can continue to push updates without worrying about losing core functionality.

Termux (Free, F-Droid) →

The Termux development team now wants users on the Play Store release to migrate to the F-Droid variant to continue getting updates. The migration process isn’t exactly straightforward because the builds are signed with a different set of keys, hence a seamless update can’t be performed. As expected, these changes do effectively create a barrier for regular users who prefer to stick with the Play Store update channel for convenience.


If you already have a Termux instance on your Android device, let us know what you are using it for below!

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Protect your brand new Galaxy S21 Ultra with these durable rugged cases https://www.xda-developers.com/best-galaxy-s21-ultra-rugged-cases/ https://www.xda-developers.com/best-galaxy-s21-ultra-rugged-cases/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 15:29:43 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=380785 Samsung just dropped the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and if you’re planning on getting one, you surely don’t want to drop yours. At a starting price of $1,200, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the most expensive phones from Samsung so far. And while its glass-sandwich design may look pretty, it’s definitely not durable enough

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Samsung just dropped the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and if you’re planning on getting one, you surely don’t want to drop yours. At a starting price of $1,200, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the most expensive phones from Samsung so far. And while its glass-sandwich design may look pretty, it’s definitely not durable enough to survive a drop or five. So, in order to protect your $1,200  investment, we’d recommend slapping on one of the following Galaxy S21 Ultra rugged cases on your phone.

    Samsung Rugged Protective Cover

    Best overall

    The Samsung Rugged Protective Cover is the best rugged case for the Galaxy S21 Ultra as it offers great protection at a relatively affordable price. The case has been drop-tested to military-grade standards, which means that your device will survive even after you drop it from a height of 1.5m. But while that definitely is reassuring, the case also features a textured rim around the edges to ensure that you don't drop it in the first place. Additionally, the case has two kickstands on the back to help you prop up your device whenever you want to stream some movies on it.
    Ringke Onyx

    Best budget pick

    If you don't want to spend an additional $40 on a protective case for your $1,200 phone, then the Ringke Onyx TPU case is the best option for you. While the soft shell case doesn't provide the same level of protection as some of the alternatives mentioned here, it's enough to protect your phone from the occasional drop. The case features grippy sides to prevent any drops in the first place, it has a raised lip around all edges and the camera module to protect them from the full force of the drop, and it has tiny feet on the back panel to prevent the camera module from touching any surface and picking up scratches.
    Spigen Rugged Armor

    As slim as it gets

    The Spigen Rugged Armor case is a great pick for those of you who don't want to add too much bulk to your phone with a heavily ruggedized case. The soft TPU case has a raised lip around the screen and the camera module to protect them while the phone is kept on a surface, and it even has reinforced sides to prevent any damage when dropped. The slim form factor and affordable price tag makes the Spigen Rugged Armor case my top pick. Spigen also has a great reputation, so you are getting a lot of value here.
    ArmadilloTek Vanguard Case

    Cheap yet reliable

    If you're on the lookout for a $20 case for your Galaxy S21 Ultra that offers the best protection from drops, then the ArmadilloTek Vanguard case is the one for you. At just $18.98, the case offers a ruggedized back panel with reinforced edges to protect your device from drops, a protective front frame to protect the display from scratches, and a kickstand on the back. Much like the official rugged case from Samsung, the ArmadilloTek Vanguard also offers military-grade drop protection for your device.
    Urban Armor Gear Monarch

    Ultimate protection

    The Urban Armor Gear Monarch case offers a multi-layer design with a soft impact-resistant core and a protective outer shell that can help your device withstand all kinds of abuse. The precision-engineered case offers a snug fit, tactile buttons, and MIL-STD 810G X2 rating for drop resistance. While it may seem a bit expensive, $60 is a small price to pay to protect your $1200 phone, and we recommend shelling out now to avoid the pain of a cracked phone.
    Otterbox Defender Pro Case

    The gold standard

    The Defender Series Pro is the toughest case that renowned ruggedized case manufacturer Otterbox has on offer. It has an outer polycarbonate shell to protect your phone from impacts, a synthetic rubber slipcover to cushion your device, and it comes with a polycarbonate holster to help you easily clip it to your belt. It also has a port cover to prevent dust and lint from getting into your device's USB Type-C port, an antimicrobial coating to block the growth of common bacteria on the case, and a MIL-STD 810G X4 rating.

That rounds up our list of the best Galaxy S21 Ultra rugged cases. These cases will not only protect your device from drops, allowing you to use it without any worries, but they’ll also ensure that it doesn’t pick up any micro-scratches on the glass back. As you can see, we have made a point to include cases in all price points so you can choose one that fits your budget. We have also considered different design choices, so you can find at least one case that suits your liking. The last thing you want to do is buy a beautiful phone and slap an ugly case on it.

If you’re still confused about which case to pick, I would recommend going with the Spigen Rugged Armor case because it offers a perfect blend of ample protection and minimal design. It’s also comparatively slimmer than the other rugged cases on this list. That’s kinda crucial for people with small hands, as the Galaxy S21 Ultra is already a big phone and a bulky case will end up making it unmanageable. That being said, if you want the best protection, you should go with the Samsung Rugged Protective Cover, as it offers the best protection and it can handle the occasional drop with relative ease.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the ultimate overkill in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC, a premium build, a great display, and an amazing camera setup, as well as all the extras expected on a premium flagship.

So, which of the aforementioned cases do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below. Also, if there’s a good case we missed out on, drop a link in the comment so that we can add it to our list and help other Galaxy S21 Ultra users out there.

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LG K42 with MIL-STD-810G certification launches in India https://www.xda-developers.com/lg-k42-mil-std-810g-certification-launches-india/ https://www.xda-developers.com/lg-k42-mil-std-810g-certification-launches-india/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 13:17:10 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386477 Although recent reports suggest that LG may completely shut down its smartphone business this year, the company is still bringing new smartphones to the Indian market. Today, the company launched the budget-friendly LG K42 in the region, featuring a 6.6-inch HD+ display, a quad-camera setup, and MIL-STD-810G certification. LG K42: Specifications Specification LG K42 Dimensions

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Although recent reports suggest that LG may completely shut down its smartphone business this year, the company is still bringing new smartphones to the Indian market. Today, the company launched the budget-friendly LG K42 in the region, featuring a 6.6-inch HD+ display, a quad-camera setup, and MIL-STD-810G certification.

LG K42: Specifications

Specification LG K42
Dimensions & Weight
  • 76.7 x 165.0 x 8.4mm
  • 182g
Display
  • 6.6-inch HD+ LCD
  • Centered hole-punch cutout
SoC
  • MediaTek Helio P22 (MT6762)
RAM & Storage
  • 3GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
Battery
  • 4,000mAh
Security Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
Rear Camera(s)
  • 13MP primary camera
  • 8MP wide-angle camera
  • 2MP depth sensor
  • 2MP macro sensor
Front Camera(s) 8MP selfie camera
Port(s)
  • USB Type-C
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Wi-Fi
Other Features
  • Dedicated Google Assistant button
  • MIL-STD-810G certification

The LG K42 features a design similar to Samsung’s recent M series devices, with a rectangular camera module on the back and a centered hole-punch display over on the front. However, unlike Samsung’s M series devices, it offers a textured back panel that provides a stable grip and prevents scuffs from daily use. As mentioned earlier, it features a 6.6-inch HD+ LCD screen with a centered hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera and chunky bezels all around.

LG K42 launch

The LG K42 packs MediaTek’s Helio P22 chipset, 3GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage, which is powered by a substantial 4,000mAh battery. In the camera department, the device features a quad-camera setup on the back, with a 13MP primary shooter, a 5MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro sensor. Over on the front, it has a single 8MP selfie camera.

LG K42 launch

 

The highlighting feature of LG K42 is its MIL-STD-810G certification, which, LG claims, can help the device survive daily abuse with ease. LG is so confident of its durability that it’s offering two years of warranty with the device and free one-time screen replacement. Along with the aforementioned features, the LG K42 also features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, a dedicated Google Assistant button, a USB Type-C port for data transfer and charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi.

Pricing & Availability

The LG K42 is priced at ₹10,990 and it will go on sale on January 26th exclusively via Flipkart. The device will be available in two color options — gray and green.

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The powerful new Fossil 5 LTE is now available at Verizon for $349 https://www.xda-developers.com/fossil-5-lte-verizon/ https://www.xda-developers.com/fossil-5-lte-verizon/#respond Fri, 22 Jan 2021 13:00:43 +0000 https://www.xda-developers.com/?p=386273 Want a smartwatch that doesn't need to be connected to your phone to work? The Fossil 5 LTE uses cell service and is available for purchase!

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Last week during CES 2021, the Fossil 5 LTE was officially announced, providing a smartwatch option to those that want to be a bit less tethered to their phones. Retailing at $349, the smartwatch is now available in Black and Pink at Verizon, which happens to be the exclusive carrier for the smartwatch as well.

The Fossil 5 LTE was already available for purchase at Fossil’s website, but in order to use the features you’re paying for, you have to get a Verizon plan, as it’s only pairable with phones with Verizon Numbershare. So grabbing this smartwatch from Verizon is definitely a good idea! You need them either way, after all.

Costing $50 more than the original Fossil 5 smartwatches, the Fossil 5 LTE effectively has the same tech inside it. What you’re paying for here is for the watch to function completely without your phone having to be nearby. So if you maybe want to leave your phone while you go on a hike–then your Fossil 5 LTE will have no issues holding a signal and tracking your hike via GPS. Want to use Google Pay on your watch without worrying about where your smartphone is? There you go!

At Verizon, you can play the straight $350 for the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, or pay $14.53 a month for 24 months. In addition, you’ll save $150 if you bundle the new Fossil with a smartphone. I’m pretty sure there are some Samsung Galaxy S21 deals you can stack at Verizon with this too!

    Fossil 5 LTE at Verizon
    The LTE version of the Fossil 5 is not at Verizon! For $349 or $14.53/month for 24 months, get a smartphone that can function without your smartphone nearby.

If you’re not interested on having your smartwatch on a Verizon plan, you can instead opt for the standard Fossil 5. Since the tech for both smartwatches is essentially the same, you can save a cool $50 for the same experience… and that’s only if it’s not on sale. Right now at Amazon, the Fossil 5 Carlyte is on sale for $240, so you save $110 over the LTE version!

    Fossil 5 Carlyte
    Don't need to have your smartphone connected to your cell data, or don't have Verizon? The standard Fossil 5s has the same technology within at a lower price!

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