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Galaxy Z Flip review: Samsung's killer feature makes this flip phone shine – CNET

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The Galaxy Z Flip is the best foldable phone I’ve ever used. Considering this is still a new field with only the Motorola Razr, Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X for competing devices you can buy today, that might not sound like much. Don’t believe it. Samsung has done most things right with the Z Flip’s design, creating a foldable phone that’s fun to wield and practical enough for everyday life. 

How it stacks up

Like

  • Sits open for selfies and video calls
  • Foldable glass screen
  • Camera quality
  • Ultraportable

Don’t Like

  • Expensive
  • Overly small outer display
  • Susceptible to damage

With the Galaxy Z Flip, Samsung proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that foldable phones have a right to exist as more than just experimental toys. That’s quite an impressive feat for Samsung’s second stab at foldables, especially after its first attempt had such a disastrous start. To see Samsung pivot so quickly to a design that’s sturdier, recognizable as a phone and straightforward to use is worth acknowledging. 

I’ve quickly fallen in love with the Galaxy Z Flip — particularly the way the 6.7-inch glass screen stands upright on its own — but Samsung still has work to do. At $1,380 (£1,300), the Z Flip is wildly expensive for the specs, and beyond the reach of most budgets. The bendable glass display is fragile and the phone is vulnerable to water and dust. Battery life is only so-so, and its 1.1-inch outer screen is stupid small. 

Most people shouldn’t run out and buy the Galaxy Z Flip. While it’s good enough to rely on in the real world, foldable phones remain largely showpieces for early adopters and hobbyists. You’ll get more camera options, longer battery life and a bona fide water-resistance rating from other flagship phones (I test the $1,400 Galaxy S20 Ultra next). 

That said, if you’re debating between this and the Motorola Razr, get the Z Flip without compunction. I also prefer it to the Galaxy Fold, although I’d honestly just wait for the Fold 2 if you want a tablet-size foldable.

Overall, Samsung has done an excellent job bringing thrilling innovations to the Galaxy Z Flip that are simple to understand and surprisingly easy to use. I expect that the next generation will be even better.

You’re staring this phone’s best feature right in the face.


Juan Garzon/CNET

What I love about the Galaxy Z Flip

  • A cohesive device that’s easy to pick up and use right away.
  • Closed, it feels sturdy and compact. Gripping it by the hinge end feels secure.
  • The screen stays open on its own at a wide variety of angles (more on this below).
  • The foldable glass screen — a world’s first — helps keep the dreaded crease to a minimum. There’s no damage so far to the one I’ve bought.
  • Camera quality is strong on all three sensors (see breakout).
  • Solid specs include a Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, 256GB of storage, fast charging and reverse wireless charging (all specs below).
  • A swipe-out screen is helpful for launching favorite apps and split-screen mode, especially during one-handed use.
  • It comes with a free plastic case for extra peace of mind.
  • Android 10 and Samsung One UI 2 keep the software current.

What I don’t like about the Galaxy Z Flip

  • It’s expensive: $1,380 or £1,300 (about AU$2,500 converted from the UK price).
  • Fingerprint smudges accumulate quickly on all surfaces.
  • The cover display is too small to be useful. Samsung missed a sizable opportunity (more below).
  • Battery life is a tad disappointing.
  • Many videos and games don’t fit perfectly into the 21.9:9 screen dimensions, resulting in black side bars.
  • The fingerprint reader would be more conveniently placed on the lower half — at least for my hands.
  • It’s vulnerable to damage from exposure to water and dust (you get a one-year warranty and 24/7 customer service).
  • Since you have to unfold it first, it takes longer to do most things than on a standard phone. I’ve missed a few camera moments as a result. (On the flip side, I like the finality of snapping it closed.) 
Samsung Galaxy Z FlipSamsung Galaxy Z Flip

The Galaxy Z Flip is incredibly portable and easy to carry around.


Jason Hiner/CNET

Flex Mode is the Galaxy Z Flip’s killer feature

Open the Galaxy Z Flip from either side and let go. The half you pulled up hasn’t snapped back down into closed position or slowly arched back to fully open. Chances are, it’s stayed exactly where it is.

The hinge’s freestanding ability is something Samsung called Flex Mode, and it’s the Z Flip’s most unique, interesting and effective feature by far because it lets you interact with the phone hands-free. 

I didn’t have to invent reasons to keep the screen propped open. That happened naturally. Sometimes I was taking a selfie without awkwardly getting my arm in the way (the wide-angle lens and timer worked great). Or reading an article or scrolling through my inbox or social media feeds while eating lunch. Any time I was tired of holding the phone and wanted to set it down. Making a video call. Making a speakerphone call from the couch. Even bending the phone in the middle in landscape mode to watch a video solo or to show a friend.

Using Flex Mode does come with a few trade-offs I’m willing to make. It winds up bisecting the screen, so the part you’re interacting with is relatively small, often less than 4 inches diagonally. The camera app is dynamic enough to readjust to Flex Mode, with other apps to come, Samsung says, but for me, the convenience of going hands-free outweighed my other objections. It’s just that nice to use the Z Flip as its own stand. 

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You can watch a video or read a story hands-free. With split screen mode on (pictured), you can do both at once.


Patrick Holland/CNET

On foldables with larger screens, you can envision a real benefit to using one half as a virtual keyboard and the other as the display screen.

The only immediate downside I can see to Flex Mode is that a stiffer hinge means it takes a little more force to flick the phone open when it’s closed, especially if you’re trying to impress someone with your gunslinger skills. I’m curious (and perhaps a little concerned) to see if the hinge will loosen over time and lose some of that self-supporting capability, slumping one way or the other.

Tiny cover display is the Z Flip’s worst trait

The Galaxy Z Flip is so good that my disappointment with the phone’s outer screen pangs me all the more. Samsung gave the foldable flip phone a tiny pill-shaped display next to the main cameras. 

Unfortunately, it’s too small, squat and narrow to really do anything meaningful with it, and that’s something the Razr can brag about. For all its foibles, that phone’s 2.7-inch exterior display is large enough to view notifications and  will let you respond to them with voice dictation and canned messages. 

On the Galaxy Z Flip, you can double-tap to see the time, date and battery percentage. You’ll also see the battery percentage while charging up. Swipe the cover screen to see app icons that represent notifications. Tap one to see the subject or read a message on a scrolling ticker. You may need to open the phone to truly see what’s going on. It’s not entirely useful.

Samsung Galaxy Z FlipSamsung Galaxy Z Flip

You can’t do much with that tiny outer screen.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung also envisions this mini window as a viewfinder for you and others. The problem is that you can’t really place yourself within the photo, and the window is too small to see what you really look like. I do like that you get access to the two main 12-megapixel cameras that way, and that you can swipe on the outer screen to swap between standard and ultrawide-angle sensors.

In one selfie I took with the phone closed (the only photo type you can take this way), a friend and I looked centered as I held the phone at arm’s length. It’s only when checking in the photo gallery that I noticed a third person in our group had just as much screen share, a person who we didn’t see in the viewfinder.

Outer screens are tricky for foldable phones. They suck up battery reserves and internal space. If they’re irregularly shaped, like the Fold’s too-tall-and-narrow 4.6-inch screen, you start to resent the cramped quarters that make typing and using apps feel unnatural. 

To me, this design is clearly Samsung compromising usability for battery life and to undercut the Razr’s price. I don’t think that’s a winning strategy in the long term.

Samsung Galaxy Z FlipSamsung Galaxy Z Flip

You get dual 12-megapixel cameras here and a 10-megapixel shooter inside.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Camera quality puts Motorola Razr to shame

I feel for the Motorola Razr. The concept is terrific, but the execution pales in comparison to the Galaxy Z Flip. That’s especially apparent in the camera category.

Samsung’s 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultrawide-angle sensors take better photos and give you more options than the Razr’s single 16-megapixel camera, especially with low light shots. Inside, the Z Flip has a 10-megapixel shooter that’s also good for selfies (like when you want more control over the shot) and for video calls. 

The Razr has a 5-megapixel interior camera that the company admits is really just there to start a video call before closing the phone and switching to the better camera, but smaller outside screen. Stay tuned for a deep dive comparison between the Motorola Razr and Galaxy Z Flip cameras.

The internet has approved of the photos I’ve been posting on Twitter from the Galaxy Z Flip. Keep in mind it’s essentially using the Galaxy S10’s camera sensors. Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S20 phones all use at least one 12-megapixel camera apiece as part of their arrays, but those lean on larger sensors that Samsung says have been completely redesigned and greatly improved.

Single Take camera mode is more trouble than it’s worth

One camera feature that the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy S20 phones will have in common is Single Take, a new photography mode that will take up to 10 photos and four videos when you select it and then press and hold the record button. The mode uses multiple cameras and settings to quickly get you variety that you can choose from. 

I tried this out several times, and… it’s just not for me. Single Take works best during action shots or when you’re photographing a group of friends hanging out, but I never got a photo or video that I liked better than one I’d take myself. Some of that probably comes down to me and my Type A personality that wants to compose the shot to my specifications. Some might come down to my reluctance to sort through the haul and delete what I don’t want.

The idea here is convenience, and I could see myself using it if I only had one chance to capture a moment. I could also see myself adding the Live Focus portrait mode to my menu bar instead.

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That gorgeous purple finish can get gunked up with fingerprints fast.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Galaxy Z Flip battery life is just so-so

What good is a $1,400 phone if it can’t take you through the day? Thankfully, that’s not the Galaxy Z Flip’s problem for me most days. With a combined capacity of 3,300 mAh spread across two battery cells, it gives you more juice than the Razr (2,510 mAh). In my real-world tests, it’s lasted from the time I wake up until evening, when I can easily plug it in again.

On my heaviest use days with hotspotting, streaming video and maps navigation, it ran about 13 hours, lasting overnight on lighter days. In CNET’s lab test to simulate mixed real-world use, it lasted 12 hours. In our battery drain test using looping video (and airplane mode), the result was 15 hours of run time on a single charge. 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip hingeSamsung Galaxy Z Flip hinge

How long with the Galaxy Z Flip last? That depends on the screen and hinge.


Jason Hiner/CNET

That’s on the lower end of the spectrum for most phones, and a far cry from the Galaxy Note ($800 at Amazon) 10, which easily takes me from early morning to the wee hours without concern. I wouldn’t plan a late night with the Galaxy Z Flip without bringing a charger along with me or topping it up first. 

For reference, the Galaxy S20 battery starts at 4,000 mAh and goes up to 5,000 on the Ultra, a phone that costs $20 more than the Z Flip. Battery life is clearly a challenge for foldable phones, and one that I hope Samsung and others are working on for future generations.

Will the Z Flip’s glass screen last?

Longevity is something we can’t test on a product a week out of the box, but it is something we’re keeping an eye on with foldable phones — on our review units and on others’ reports. Samsung says that the Z Flip’s screen and hinge will hold up for 200,000 flips, a volume it estimates will take five years to achieve during typical use. That’s the same rating as the Galaxy Fold.

Galaxy Z Flip vs. Motorola Razr

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Motorola Razr
Display size, resolution Internal: 6.7-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED; 2,636×1,080-pixels / External: 1.1-inch Super AMOLED; 300×112-pixels Internal: 6.2-inch, foldable pOLED; 2,142x876p pixels (21:9) / External: 2.7-inch glass OLED, 800×600-pixels (4:3)
Pixel density 425ppi (internal) / 303ppi (external) 373ppi (internal screen)
Dimensions (Inches) Folded: 2.99×3.44×0.62 ~0.68 in / Unfolded: 2.99×6.59×0.27 ~0.28 in Unfolded: 6.8×2.8×0.28 in / Folded: 3.7×2.8×0.55 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) Folded: 73.6×87.4×15.4 ~17.3 mm / Unfolded: 73.6×167.3×6.9 ~7.2 mm Unfolded: 172x72x6.9mm / Folded: 94x72x14mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.46 oz; 183g 7.2 oz; 205g
Mobile software Android 10 Android 9 Pie
Camera 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra wide-angle) 16-megapixel external (f/1.7, dual pixel AF), 5-megapixel internal
Front-facing camera 10-megapixel Same as main 16-megapixel external
Video capture 4K (HDR 10+) 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ (64-bit octa-core) Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 (2.2GHz, octa-core)
Storage 256GB 128GB
RAM 8GB 6GB
Expandable storage None None
Battery 3,300 mAh 2,510 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Power button Below screen
Connector USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack No None
Special features Foldable display; wireless PowerShare; wireless charging; fast charging Foldable display, eSIM, Motorola gestures, splashproof
Price off-contract (USD) $1,380 $1,499
Price (GBP) £1,300 Converts to about £1,170
Price (AUD) UK price converts to about AU$2,500 Converts to about AU$2,185

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Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 feature new 'Light' battery-saving mode – MobileSyrup

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Samsung’s latest flagships running One UI 4.1.1 feature a new battery-boosting performance profile. This profile hidden in the settings on the Z Flip 4 and the Z Fold 4 is in a new section called ‘Performance Profile.’

In this settings section, there are two options called ‘Standard’ and ‘Light.’ The Light profile is described as prioritizing “battery life and cooling efficiency over processing speed.”

A user on Reddit that got their hands on a Galaxy Z Fold 4 early has put both modes to the test.

According to ‘Dudi4PoLFr‘, with Light mode turned on, benchmarking apps seem to drop about 20 percent of raw performance. This should, in theory, result in battery savings while still offering better overall performance than the Z Fold 3.

It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy Fold 4 and Flip 4 feature a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, which Qualcomm says is 30 percent more efficient than previous device Samsung devices.

I haven’t noticed that much of an increase in battery life in my testing of the Fold 4 of far. However, I’ve yet to try the foldable’s new Light mode. I’ll have a full review of the Galaxy Fold 4 up on MobileSyrup in the coming weeks.

Source: Reddit Dudi4PoLFr‘ Via: 9to5Google

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Google: Some Pixels are meant to get Android 12 instead of Android 13 – Android Authority

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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Google has responded after some Pixels received Android 12 instead of Android 13.
  • The company says it didn’t make a mistake and that this update was indeed intentional.
  • The Pixel maker says it’ll tweak the messaging in the Android 12 update notification.

Now, Google has responded to the news in a statement obtained by Android Authority. The search giant explained that it indeed meant to push out an Android 12 update to some Pixel owners running an older version of Android 12. It just turned out that this older release coincided with Android 13’s release.

Check out the statement below:

On August 15, Pixel devices running an old version of Android 12 received a notification about a previously released Android 12 update with bug fixes. The messaging in the notification was confusing with the timing of Android 13, and is currently being changed for clarity.

Google’s statement further stresses that this Android 12 update is separate from the Android 13 OTA and that it could take a few weeks for the new update to hit your device.

We’re glad to see the company tweaking the notification for this Android 12 update, as it could’ve probably avoided a lot of confusion in the first place. The notification originally suggested that Android 12 was a new update (complete with “introducing Android 12” header), while there was no mention of Android 13 still coming.

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vivo Launches New High-performance, Color Changing V25 and V25 Pro with Enhanced Photography Features for Creative Expression – Canada NewsWire

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The new V25 series enables new dimensions of creativity with flagship-level camera technology, and stylish appearances with eye-catching colors

SHENZHEN, China, Aug. 17, 2022 /CNW/ — vivo has unveiled the latest additions to its stylish V series: V25 and V25 Pro. With superior photography features, the smartphones have been designed for users who express themselves through photos and videos. The new V25 series will give users the power to embark on a self-expression journey with its stunning camera, powered by high-performance, energy-efficient hardware, all cased in an exquisite body.

The new V25 series follows V series’ heritage of capturing exquisite moments with its superior camera capabilities and cutting-edge imaging technology. The flagship-level 64MP OIS ultra-sensing camera on the back minimizes blurry shots and supports a longer exposure time, creating clearer and brighter images and videos even in dim lighting conditions. With an eye-catching design, the Color Changing Fluorite AG Glass[1] covering the rear panel changes its hue when exposed to UV light, reflecting the dynamic personalities of users. Below its beautiful appearance lies a powerful processor with high energy-efficiency ratio and great capacity. Coupled with the newest cooling technology and fast charging capabilities, it offers a long-lasting and smooth mobile experience in various scenarios.

“vivo V series has always been about being innovative and technologically advanced, while exuding style and encouraging users to create, have fun, and explore. The new V25 and V25 Pro continue to embody this concept and provide users with fresh tools and features,” said Spark Ni, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at vivo, “vivo understands that users want a smartphone that is aesthetically pleasing and has excellent functional attributes. With the carefully designed new devices, users can capture the best moments in life with their family and friends anywhere, any time with intuitive camera technologies, while expressing their creativity and emotions through the unique color-changing design.”

Light up portraits in the night with intuitive imaging technology

Equipped with a 64MP OIS ultra-sensing rear camera that boasts upgraded OIS and EIS capabilities and an 8MP wide-angle camera, V25 and V25 Pro deliver an excellent imaging experience and allow users to capture high-quality, super-wide shots with ease.

V25 Pro is setting new standards in night photography with the upgraded Super Night Mode feature, which accurately restores the colors and brightness of highly saturated images at night. Coupled with the new Real-Time Extreme Night Vision feature, users can manually adjust the exposure intensity when they preview an image, further improving the brightness, noise control and details of photos in real-time even in low-light environments. This gives users the freedom to play with the rear camera portrait features at night.

Easy and fun video filming experience with style

V25 Pro creates more possibilities for users to easily film and record fun and playful moments with families, friends, or pets at night. The Super Night Video feature is excellent at brightening and noise reduction in dark environments, enabling users to shoot brighter and clearer videos at night. The front cameras of V25 and V25 Pro both have the Natural Portrait video mode, which enhances the overall skin texture and clarity. Furthermore, the Hybrid Image Stabilization (OIS+EIS) feature makes video shooting clearer and more stable[2].

V25 and V25 Pro also come with a new Vlog Movie feature that improves the filming experience with video templates and tutorials to guide users on how to shoot in different scenarios, such as night, food, city and more, as well as an upgraded Multi-Style Portrait feature in the front camera that provides fun filters, enhancing the video experience. The Multi-Style Portrait feature also allows users to unleash their creativity with the Motion Blur effect, a new style which innovatively separates people from the background for a better portrait creation experience.

Clear selfies powered by auto-focus capability and leading AI algorithms

Clarity is a key consideration and an ever-growing demand of users when it comes to taking great selfies and videos. Therefore, V25 and V25 Pro have 50MP and 32MP HD front cameras respectively with autofocus and eye focus capabilities, enabling users to take clear images and videos any time of the day or night. In addition, the front cameras are equipped with AI HD Algorithm that optimizes sharpness. Moreover, V25 Pro’s industry-leading AI Skin Retouching Algorithm provides users with the airbrushed look when needed.

Spark creativity and fun through innovative color-changing design

V25 has a thin 2.5D body that is 7.79mm, while the slim body of V25 Pro is 8.62mm[3] and features an elegant 3D Curved Screen with a punch hole centered at the top of the front camera[4] . The lightweight and slim body makes both devices a comfortable fit in the hands of users. To ensure the phones stand out, vivo incorporated vivid colors into its newest models. V25 Pro comes in Surfing Blue and Starlight Black, while V25 is decked out in Aquamarine Blue, Sunrise Gold, and Diamond Black.

In addition, vivo designed the smartphones to spark creativity and fun in users with the revolutionary Color Changing Fluorite AG Glass, which enables the rear panel of the devices to display different colors at different angles when exposed to UV light. The Surfing Blue edition of V25 Pro changes from light sky blue to deep ocean blue; the Aquamarine Blue edition of V25 switches from ocean blue to bluish green; while the Sunrise Gold edition of V25 shifts from gold to reddish orange.

Powered by energy-efficient and high-performance chipsets

The new V25 series delivers robust performance and high-power efficiency to support various daily uses of its users. V25 Pro is equipped with a quasi-flagship octa-core CPU, MediaTek Dimensity 1300, with 8GB/12GB RAM + 8GB extended RAM[5], which powers exceptional 5G capabilities[6] and provides greater AI imaging capacity to effortlessly produce stunning 4K videos and ensure a smooth gaming experience. Its performance and user experience are improved thanks to the new, industry-leading Bionic Cooling System. In addition, featuring a 66W FlashCharge capability and a 4830mAh large battery, it can power up the large-capacity and high-density battery cell from 0% to 71% in 30 minutes[7].

V25 features a MediaTek Dimensity 900 processor with a high energy-efficiency ratio and 8GB/12GB RAM + 8GB extended RAM, enabling users to seamlessly play demanding games and multitask across various apps. V25 supports 44W FlashCharge that can recharge the 4500mAh battery cell from 0% to 61% in 30 minutes[8]. 

Pricing and availability

Starting from today, the V25 and V25 Pro are available in more than 20 markets across Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and more, including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, Mexico, and the UAE. The availability, pricing and specifications of each model will vary according to local market conditions and consumer preferences.

PR Contacts

About vivo

vivo is a technology company that creates great products based on a design-driven value, with smart devices and intelligent services as its core. The company aims to build a bridge between humans and the digital world. Through unique creativity, vivo provides users with an increasingly convenient mobile and digital life. Following the company’s core values, which include Benfen*, user-orientation, design-driven value, continuous learning and team spirit, vivo has implemented a sustainable development strategy with the vision of developing into a healthier, more sustainable world-class corporation.

While bringing together and developing the best local talents to deliver excellence, vivo is supported by a network of R&D centers in Shenzhen, Dongguan, Nanjing, Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an, focusing on the development of state-of-the-art consumer technologies, including 5G, artificial intelligence, industrial design, imaging system and other up-and-coming technologies. vivo has also set up an intelligent manufacturing network (including those authorized by vivo), with an annual production capacity of nearly 200 million smartphones. As of now, vivo has branched out its sales network across more than 60 countries and regions, and is loved by more than 400 million users worldwide.

*”Benfen” is a term describing the attitude on doing the right things and doing things right – which is the ideal description of vivo’s mission to create value for society.

Stay informed of latest vivo news at https://www.vivo.com/en/about-vivo/news

[1] The Color Changing Glass is only applicable to the Surfing Blue edition of vivo V25 Pro, and the Aquamarine Blue and Sunrise Gold editions of vivo V25.

[2] The Hybrid Image Stabilization (OIS+EIS) feature and Super Night Video feature cannot be enabled at the same time.

[3] The size and weight of the phone may vary slightly depending on the process, material supplier, measurement method, etc.

[4] Actual dimensions and weight of each edition may differ due to variations in processes, measurement method, materials supplies.

[5] 8GB extended RAM is realized by software.

[6] Actual SA network compatibility depends on available networks and software. Actual 5G network mode and coverage are subject to local carrier’s network situation.

[7] Charging data is based on vivo laboratory environmental tests. Actual charging speed is subject to actual usage and may vary depending on environmental and other factors.

[8] Charging data is based on vivo laboratory environmental tests. Actual charging speed is subject to actual usage and may vary depending on environmental and other factors.

SOURCE Vivo

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