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⚡ Welcome back to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that casts an eye back across the top Android and tech news from the week.
🔵 Tristan Rayner here with you on Pi Day, 3/14. Don't worry: Unlike Pi, it won't go on forever! (Ba dum tish).
Launches, announcements of events, and intrigue over possible event clashes.
- Find X3 Pro: First up is Oppo’s launch of the Find X3 series, with the flagship Find X3 Pro as the centerpiece. It has a real look, it has serious cameras (aside from the interesting-for-a-week “microlens”), and it is seriously expensive at €1,149. Here’s everything you need to know. Also, one more bit of Oppo news: Oppo’s first foldable phone could be revealed by the end of June.
- ROG Phone 5: Asus really packed this gaming phone with gaming essentials and left reviewers pretty amazed at some of the attention to detail and innovations. For non-gamers, I don’t know. It’s expensive, lacks an IP rating, no wireless charging… so for day-to-day usage at flagship prices, there may be better devices, but respect to Asus for stepping it up here.
- OnePlus 9: OnePlus announced a launch date of March 23 for its OnePlus 9 series and confirmed Hasselblad’s involvement on its cameras (plus a $150M spend on camera R&D). Lots to like about what we’ve seen around minimal distortion of the wide-angle camera! Lots of teases throughout the week too, including this clip showing the Real McCoy being used by photographers, and confirmation of 65W charging in the box.
- OnePlus Watch: OnePlus looked to confirm the launch of the OnePlus Watch with the OnePlus 9 series later this month. Here’s what we know so far about the coming round wearable.
- Samsung: Samsung announced its next Unpacked media event for March 17, titled “Awesome Unpacked.” We’re going to see, at least, the new mid-range A52 and A72 series of devices, likely rocking a higher-end 5G spec, and cheaper 4G LTE versions. These have leaked wildly already, too.
- ChromeOS: Chrome OS received a host of new features on its 10th birthday, including Phone Hub that lets you easily control your Android smartphone from your Chromebook.
- Apple event?: This hasn’t been confirmed yet but there’s talk Apple will host its next media event on March 23. This is expected to be a non-iPhone launch, likely revealing a new iPad Pro and AirPods 3. That’s also the same date as the OnePlus 9’s big day. Will they clash? Will OnePlus reschedule as it has in the past?
- Huawei P50: Renders of both the Huawei P50 and P50 Pro leaked this week, punctuated by a massive rear camera system that suggests a much bigger camera sensor. Steve Hemmerstoffer, who dropped renders and details of both devices this week, said, “Huawei may have managed to put the first one-inch mobile camera sensor (allegedly the Sony IMX800) in the Huawei P50 Series. Sounds pretty awesome.” Indeed. (Android Authority).
Good reviews here. Especially loved the deep dive into the Find X3 Pro and the packed out ROG Phone 5:
- Oppo Find X3 Pro review: Form and function but not quite flawless, and a financial burden too!
- Asus ROG Phone 5 review: King of the hill for gaming.
- Xiaomi Mi Box S review: Outpriced and outperformed. Pass!
- Realme Narzo 30 Pro review: It’s fast enough and has 5G, but the competition beats this on most counts.
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra one year later: Is it still worth buying at full price? Samsung still sells it at full price?!?! No no no. Get the S21 Ultra.
- The Oppo Find X series lacks a much-needed identity: The Find X, X2, and X3 have all been so wildly different that you can never be sure what’s going to arrive. Rob Triggs argues that this leads to devices that never quite perfect what the previous model was attempting, leaving too much on the table.
- Why is everyone talking about Roblox? (Polygon).
- The perplexing psychology of returning to “normal”: “When you get that vaccine shot in your arm, it’s not like some switch will flip and your stress will melt away.” (Wired).
- Tim Berners-Lee says too many young people are excluded from the web: In a letter marking 32 years sine he founded the web, Berners-Lee says getting 2.2 billion fully online must be a priority, and IT poverty is real for younger people. (The Guardian).
The Oppo Find X3 Pro has attracted the tech world’s attention again. The Find X2 was good enough to put Oppo flagships within range of the best from Samsung, Apple, and arguably better than OnePlus flagships, though at a much higher price.
The Find X3 Pro builds on that: it’s unique, Color OS is better than ever, the main camera is an impressive shooter.
It’s not all good: there are some negatives, especially around proprietary SuperVOOC chargers. You’ll get 65W as long as you have the bundled adapter, but any other brick will drop the speeds to just 10W. The main and ultra-wide cameras are great, but lack of a zoom lens stings and the Galaxy S21 Ultra does beat it, according to our review. It also lacks mmWave 5G, which probably should be available with such an expensive price tag of £1,099/€1,149 (~$1,520).
But the biggest thing is that, yet again, the Find X3 Pro still isn’t available in the US. That’s even with Oppo’s sister company, OnePlus, making inroads in the fiercely competitive US market where carrier deals are make or break.
So, Oppo has the hardware, it can borrow the knowledge… yet still, no US entry.
You could take a few positions here. It’s expensive, you could say. People won’t buy what they don’t know, you could argue. All true, but these flagships tend to build brand recognition.
I don’t know. Maybe OnePlus will remain the sole BBK entity to operate in the US proper. That would make US consumers worse off. But if they’re just buying iPhones anyway, maybe Oppo is right to concentrate more on the big bases in China, India, and Europe.
- March 16-20: SXSW Online
- March 17: Samsung Awesome Unpacked
- March 17: Toyota EV unveiling
- March 23: OnePlus 9 series launch
- March 23: Possible Apple event?
- March 25: Vivo V60 launch
Tech Tweets of the Week
MagSafe returns to the Mac. pic.twitter.com/3QNAcKfyTn— Dana Sibera (@NanoRaptor) March 11, 2021
A big week in the bag, and more in store next week! Thanks as ever for reading and catch you in the next one.
Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.