Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Thursday, 15 October 2020.
1. Google Pixel 5 and 4a 5G reviews
Pixel 5 and 4a 5G reviews finally dropped and there’s plenty of strong scores in the 8/10 range floating around for both devices. The vibe I’m getting is the Pixel 5 is fine, but the 4a 5G is one of the best mid-range phones. Ever.
The Pixel 4a 5G at $499 is really in a different category. It cuts a few corners to be cheaper, with a bigger screen, and at $499, is mid-range pricing perfection.
The Pixel 5 is a little more finished and a little more pricey, but is raved about. At $699, it’s $200 more, and that $200 takes you further.
Google Pixel 5 initial review: The best premium Pixel
- Finally, great battery life, with great display and camera.
- The Pixel experience remains top-notch, and there’s no flaws in performance from the slightly less-than flagship processor.
- The camera is starting to show a little bit of age in terms of Google still using a small sensor, but the image processing prowess remains.
TechCrunch has a really nice review of the Pixel 5, too, getting right to the point about Google’s slightly unusual Pixel lineup that doesn’t have a lot between them.
Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Perfectly balanced, as all Pixels should be
I’m just going to quote the praise here from the review:
- “Concessions had to be made to hit a sub-$500 price, but almost all of the trade-offs are justifiable. The main exception is the 60Hz display. While wireless charging, water resistance, and premium materials are all “flagship” features, the lack of a 90Hz refresh rate feels arbitrary.
- “The positives outweigh any gripes, however. There are the expected highs. The software is the best Android offers, while the camera wipes the floor with other rivals in the price tier. But there are also the little extras that make the Pixel 4a 5G feel special. Those include the comprehensive audio suite, the pleasing haptics, and the Pixel exclusive apps and services.”
- “2020 has been a turbulent 12 months for Google with the premature end of the Pixel 4 series and lengthy delays for the Pixel 4a. But the Pixel 4a 5G isn’t just a bright spot in a tough calendar year. It’s one of the best phones Google has ever produced.”
2. OnePlus 8T launch and reviews
OnePlus held the launch event for the OnePlus 8T yesterday, with a new design and shape, and a $50 price increase over the OnePlus 8, now starting at $749 unlocked.
So, what do you get for your money?
- A 120Hz refresh rate screen, up from the previous 90Hz refresh rate.
- On the cameras, there’s a new, higher-resolution macro sensor, and the addition of a monochrome sensor to round out the quad rear setup.
- It also has a flatter screen, which is a big change from the more curved previous displays and builds, and brings it closer to the iPhone 12 already.
- You also get more RAM, more storage, more battery. All 8T models come with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, doing away with the lower tier options of 8GB/128GB.
- The battery is up from 4,300mAh to 4,500mAh too.
- Oh, and faster 65W charging, too.
The ‘T’ models from OnePlus have rarely been must-upgrades, if you already owned the previous model. For everyone else, there’s a new contender.
- Our 8T review, from my colleague Ryan Thomas-Shaw, says there’s really no reason unless the flat display really really appeals.
- The extra camera looks unnecessary.
- And one of the disappointments of the phone compared to the competition is the camera too, looking over-processed and just a touch off. OnePlus hasn’t really been able to nail a camera for some years now, although many just port the GCam mod app over, to use Google Pixel processing on a OnePlus device.
For everyone else, the OnePlus 8T is an interesting choice and likely to appeal even with the price jump.
- It still has the performance and speed, and now with faster charging, while the higher refresh rate was at least starting from 90Hz, so it’s not a huge jump.
- And the point was made that the OnePlus Nord is a better buy for many: “For half the price, you get a capable display, good battery life, okay camera, and solid speed.”
- It’s going to remain a top near-flagship device. At $899, the OnePlus 8 Pro remains decently placed too, even if the 8T catches up in a few areas.
One more thing: OnePlus confirms a smartwatch is coming.
3. OnePlus won’t preinstall Facebook apps on its new phones, OnePlus 8T included. The problem was it couldn’t be removed once it was preinstalled… (Android Authority).
4. Samsung explores a Xiaomi-like dual folding phone design (Android Authority).
5. iPhone 12 Pro models have 6GB of RAM, iPhone 12 and 12 mini remain at 4GB (MacRumors).
6. The iPhone 12 ships without a charger. Will it curb e-waste? (Wired).
7. Per CNBC: “Facebook and Twitter decided to limit the distribution of a New York Post story that claims to show “smoking gun” emails related to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son. The editorial decision to reduce the spread of the story, which provides minimal evidence, is a significant one for Facebook.” (CNBC)
8. Zoom news: OnZoom is a new tool to let paid users charge for admission to online events (like conferences or fitness classes) (Business Insider). And, Zoom will begin rolling out end-to-end encryption next week, with a technical preview first. Plus some more features like immersive backgrounds (Android Authority).
9. The LAFD just hired America’s first firefighting robot (Engadget).
10. A Soyuz capsule just made a record-breaking 3-hour flight to the ISS. An impressive effort with its latest manned mission (Space).
11. First room-temperature superconductor reported: superconductivity is exciting again. (Ars Technica).
12. Hidden camera’s hugging tiger wins wildlife photo award, runners up are amazing too! (BBC).
13. AI can now remove moving images from video. Genuinely mind-blowing (YouTube).
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