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iPhone 12 Review: The one to buy – MobileSyrup

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One thing is abundantly clear about Apple’s iPhone 12 line: the standard iPhone 12 is the device most Apple users should consider purchasing if they’re in the market for a new iPhone.

While this was also the case with last year’s iPhone 11, the upgrades Apple has made to the smartphone, including the iPhone 12’s new 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, 5G capabilities, its A14 processor and more, amount to an impressive smartphone package.

Except for the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max’s telephoto lens, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor and a few other minor technical differences, the iPhone 12 offers a smartphone experience nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s.

iPhone 12 back

As expected, these upgrades also come at a price increase, with last year’s iPhone 11 costing $849 and the iPhone 12 bumping the price up to $1,129. A $280 difference is a pretty substantial price change any way you look at it, though the inclusion of an OLED display helps soften that blow.

“With all that in mind, it’s clear the iPhone 12 is likely the device most Apple users should be interested in”

Just like with the iPhone 12 Pro, several questions remain about the iPhone 12 series. For instance, the 5.4-inch iPhone mini isn’t yet available, and neither is the highest-end iPhone Apple has to offer this year, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Both devices are set to launch together in early November. It’s also unclear if Apple’s MagSafe accessories will live up to the tech giant’s loft claims and solve some of Qi wireless charging’s main issues.

With all that in mind, it’s clear the iPhone 12 is likely the device most Apple users should be interested in.

Specs

Stainless steel vs. aluminum

iPhone 12 with Google Home app

I’m shocked to be writing this, but I actually prefer the look of the iPhone 12 over the iPhone 12 Pro.

The smartphone features the same flat-edged iPad Air and iPhone 4-inspired design as the iPhone 12 Pro, but its matte aluminum edges get far less greasy than the stainless steel border featured in its higher-end counterpart. This gives the device a cleaner look when it isn’t inside a case and makes the smartphone feel better when you’re holding it in your hand.

iPhone 11 side view

Like the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 12 features a ‘Ceramic Shield’ front the tech giant claims is more durable than previous iPhones. It’s impossible to verify this statement, but given how shockingly hardy the iPhone 11 was, I tend to believe Apple.

The smartphone itself is roughly 15 percent smaller than the iPhone 11, but it still features a 6.1-inch display thanks to its reduced bezels. This makes the device easier to hold in one hand than its predecessor.

iPhone 12

Colour-wise, I prefer the hues Apple offered last year with the iPhone 11, but the new green colour Apple sent me to review looks stunning. It’s light green and features an intensity not present in the iPhone 11’s colours. The iPhone 12 is available in the following colours: ‘Black,’ ‘White,’ ‘Product Red,’ ‘Green,’ and ‘Blue.’

Each colour and the still-grease-resistant back glass also match the iPhone 12’s overall hue, giving it a uniform look.

“I prefer the hues Apple offered last year with the iPhone 11, but the new green colour Apple sent me to review looks stunning”

It’s worth noting the squared-off design might take some long-time iPhone users a little getting used to and, for a select few, might even feel like a step backwards.

While I initially counted myself in this camp, the design quickly grew on me. It looks and feels great and is a solid step forward for Apple’s iPhone line in terms of aesthetics.

Say hello to OLED

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12

What’s most interesting about this year’s iPhone lineup is the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are nearly identical in several ways.

For example, the iPhone 12 features a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display that comes in at 2,532 x 1,170 pixels and 460ppi, just like the iPhone 12 Pro. The screen also supports ‘True Tone,’ HDR capabilities, features a P3 wide colour gamut, and includes the same 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio as the more expensive iPhone 12 Pro.

iPhone 12 Lightning port

The only difference is the iPhone 12 Pro’s standard max brightness measures in at 800 nits compared to the iPhone 12’s 625 nits. This change isn’t noticeable at all, and in general, the iPhone 12’s display looks stunning and a significant step above last year’s solid but rapidly ageing Liquid Retina LCD screen that came in at a 1,792 x 828 pixel resolution. Video content with apps like Netflix and YouTube, as well as games and even just browsing the internet, all look great.

“My experience with the iPhone 12 has been extremely smooth over the last few days and I haven’t encountered a single instance of lag”

Like last year, the iPhone 12 features the same chip as its more expensive counterpart, the new A14 Bionic processor. Though I don’t put much stock into benchmarks because they don’t speak to how a phone operates in the real world, the iPhone comes in at 1,596 for its single-core score and 4,025 for its multi-core score with Geekbench, which is a substantial increase over the A13-equipped iPhone 11 coming in at 1,326 and the 3,397. My experience with the iPhone 12 has been extremely smooth over the last few days and I haven’t encountered a single instance of lag.

iPhone 12 benchmark

The other difference worth noting about the iPhone 12 is it weighs 162g compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s 187g. Just like last year, storage options include 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

Regarding battery life, I found the iPhone 12 comes in at roughly a day with moderate use, which is similar to my experience with the iPhone 12 Pro.

Camera improvements

iPhone 12 camera

Similar to the iPhone 12 Pro, the most significant changes to the iPhone 12 relate to the smartphone’s camera performance.

First off, the array is very similar to the iPhone 12 Pro’s, including a wide f/1.6 lens and an ultrawide f/2.4 aperture. However, the iPhone 12 doesn’t feature the iPhone 12 Pro’s telephoto lens, which means it isn’t capable of 2x optical zoom.

iPhone 12 photo compare

The iPhone 12’s camera is on the left and the iPhone 12 Pro’s is on the right. While the images are nearly identical, the iPhone 12 Pro features slightly more contrast.

The iPhone 11’s wide shooter is on the left side, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s wide camera is on the right. The images above shot with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are slight improvements over the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

I’d argue a wide-angle lens is likely more useful for taking group shots and capturing landscapes, but it really depends on the type of photography you do with your smartphone. For example, I value 2x zoom over wide-angle photography because I often find myself shooting landscapes and not large groups of people.

While the ultrawide lens measures in at the same f/2.4 aperture, the wide lens comes in at f/1.6 and now has seven elements, which allows more light into the sensor, resulting in overall brighter, less noisy images, especially when under low-light.

iPhone 12 low-light photo comparison.

The iPhone 12 wide camera is on the left side, and the iPhone 12 Pro’s wide camera is right. Though the pictures are very similar, the photo shot with the iPhone 12 Pro features slightly more contrast and overall better tones.

It’s also worth noting the iPhone 12 doesn’t support Apple’s new ProRAW image format that’s launching later this year because it lacks the iPhone 12 Pro’s LiDAR sensor.

While not a significant hit to camera quality, this means the iPhone 12 doesn’t benefit from the same quicker focusing and improved low-light performance as the iPhone 12 Pro. However, it does still feature Apple’s new Smart HDR 3 technology coupled with Deep Fusion, Night mode and of course, Portrait Mode.

iPhone 12 selfie shooter comparison

The iPhone 12’s selfie shooter is on the left with night mode turned on, and the iPhone 12 Pro’s selfie shooter is on the right with night mode turned on. Night mode selfies are generally pretty blurry and give skin a very plastic tone.

The iPhone 12 features the same new night mode selfie shots with the smartphone’s front-facing 12-megapixel camera, but they’re a little darker and pretty noisy. I don’t find this new feature very useful and feel it gives skin a weird, over-detailed, almost plastic tone. The device’s ultrawide camera also now works in night mode and produces images nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s that feature sightly more noise and less contrast.

iPhone 12 wideangle comparison

The iPhone 12 ultrawide image is on the left, and the iPhone 12 ultrawide shot is on the right. Though the images are very similar, the iPhone 12 photo features slightly more vibrant colours and more contrast.

Photos generally look better than those shot with the iPhone 11. However, they’re slightly noisier, a little less sharp and don’t feature as much contrast as what the iPhone 12 Pro can shoot. Overall, the difference is surprisingly marginal.

Further, instead of dual optical image stabilization, the iPhone 12 features optical image stabilization. In my tests, I didn’t find this really made much of a difference when snapping photos, even when using the smartphone’s night mode.

iPhone 12 back

Finally, the iPhone 12 also features 10-bit Dolby Vision HDR video recording — a first for any smartphone — that can only be viewed on supported televisions and monitors.

That said, even YouTube doesn’t support the format. The iPhone 12 only includes HDR 4K Dolby Vision video at 30fps compared to the iPhone 12 Pro’s 60fps.

Everything else

iPhone 12 display

Unlike in previous years, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro offer a very similar smartphone experience, and because of this, there are several aspects of the device this review doesn’t touch on.

If you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to use an iPhone 12 with 5G in Canada and Apple’s MagSafe accessories, follow this link to my iPhone 12 Pro review.

Other things worth noting are that the iPhone 12 features Face ID that seems just as reliable as last year, with authentication working roughly 95 percent of the time.

iPhone 12 on a stump

Most people won’t need an iPhone 12 Pro

The main takeaway from my time with the iPhone 12 is that across the board, the average iPhone user likely won’t need the features that the iPhone 12 Pro offers, especially now that the smartphone includes a great-looking and vibrant OLED display. On the other hand, if you’re a smartphone photography enthusiast, the incremental improvements the iPhone 12 Pro offers could be worth the upgrade.

 

Of course, questions still remain surrounding the iPhone mini and the iPhone 12 Pro, which don’t release until November 13th. Given the mini’s positively minuscule 5.4-inch size display size and lower $979 price tag, some people may want to wait for that device.

 

 Overall, though, the iPhone 12 offers photography and performance capabilities nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s. That said, its low-light performance isn’t quite as solid because it doesn’t feature a LiDAR sensor.

 

 With all this in mind, the iPhone 12 is one of the most solid smartphone packages the tech giant has released in years.

 

“The iPhone 12 offers photography and performance capabilities nearly identical to the iPhone 12 Pro’s”

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Latest Galaxy S21 Leak Reveals Samsung’s Surprising Decision – Forbes

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With Samsung expected to launch the Galaxy S21 handset in the surprisingly early month of January, the South Korean company has decided to update the design of a key area. Changes to the rear of the handsets should allow it to expand the potential power of the camera.

The new details come from the team at Let’s Go Digital. Ilse Jurrien reports:

“LetsGoDigital has received reliable information, including images, from the Galaxy S21 series. To protect our source, which is closely associated with Samsung Electronics, we regret that we cannot post these images online. The LetsGoDigital design team is currently creating highly detailed, high-resolution images, based on the information we have received. Next Monday, December 7th, we will share all the details with you!”

One of the biggest design changes comes with the camera. Thanks to the leading role that photography and imaging plays in the smartphone world, especially in flagship handsets, the capabilities of the camera lens and overall output are critical. Physics of course comes into play, and the requirements for as much space as possible means that the raised ‘camera island’ is here to stay.

Samsung is tweaking the standard look of the island by extending the Island out and around the edge of the handset. From the early renders it looks like Samsung may have found a way to make its handsets physically stand out in a sea of Android slabs. How it looks and feels in practice is going to be an interesting question to answer.

With many expecting Samsung to host a launch event for the Galaxy S21 family at the end of 2021’s Virtual CES on January 14th, we don’t have long to wait for a definitive answer on the new look. 

Now read about the possible cancellation of the Galaxy Note series…

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Qualcomm details connectivity, AI and performance benefits of new Snapdragon 888 – MobileSyrup

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Qualcomm kicked off the first day of its 2020 Snapdragon Tech Summit by announcing its latest Snapdragon 888 mobile platform. Initially light on details, Qualcomm hosted another live stream on Day two of the Tech Summit to dig deeper into the new Snapdragon 888.

During its Day 2 keynote, Qualcomm shared more about the new system-on-a-chip (SoC) and what it brings to the table for 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), photography and more. The Snapdragon 888 will likely power many of 2021’s most significant Android flagships.

To start, Qualcomm dug into the 3rd gen Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System integrated into the Snapdragon 888. The X60 enables 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth experiences. On the 5G end, the X60 supports Sub-6 carrier aggregation and mmWave, sporting up to 7.5Gbps speeds on 5G. Additionally, Qualcomm says the X60 works across virtually all major networks worldwide, as well as U.S. nationwide 5G through the use of Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS).

Snapdragon 888 supports global 5G multi-SIM as well, allowing for international roaming and managing multiple numbers from the same device.

Aside from 5G, the X60 includes the recently announced Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 Mobile Connectivity System. This system enables up to 3.6Gbps Wi-Fi 6 speeds, 6GHz capacity with Wi-Fi 6E. FastConnect 6900 also enables support for Bluetooth 5.2, dual Bluetooth antennas, Qualcomm aptX suite, broadcast audio and advanced modulation and coding optimizations.

Snapdragon’s AI power

As Qualcomm noted on Day 1, the Snapdragon 888 uses the company’s 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine, which sports the new Qualcomm Hexagon 780 processor. Qualcomm says the Hexagon 780 enables premium experiences that merge AI with professional cameras, personal voice assistants, gaming, connectivity and more.

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 888 boasts three times more performance per watt over the previous generation, as well as 26 tera operations per second (TOPS). To put that in perspective, last year’s Snapdragon 865 with the 5th gen AI Engine featured 15 TOPS, so this year’s increase is quite impressive.

Alongside the 6th gen AI Engine, the Snapdragon 888 includes the 2nd gen Qualcomm Sensing Hub, which integrates a dedicated low-power AI processor. The Sensing Hub enables features like screen awake, lift and activity detection, and audio event detection.

Powerful camera and gaming capabilities

Qualcomm detailed the improvements to camera capabilities in the Snapdragon 888. Specifically, the company touted its new Spectra 580 ISP, the first in a Snapdragon with a Triple Image Signal Processor (ISP) capable of capturing from three cameras at once.

As the company boasted on Day 1, the Spectra 580 ISP features processing speeds of up to 2.7 gigapixels per second. which translates to roughly 120 photos at 12-megapixel resolution. Qualcomm says the Spectra ISP is capable of capturing 120fps burst snapshots or taking three 4K HDR videos at the same time. Finally, the Spectra 580 ISP includes a new low-light architecture for capturing brighter photos in the dark. There’s support for 10-bit colour depth in the High Efficiency Image File Format (HEIF).

Qualcomm continued its gaming push as well, noting that the Snapdragon 888 comes equipped with the full Snapdragon Elite Gaming feature set. That means HDR graphics, Variable Rate Shading (VRS) and more features. VRS helps improve game rendering performance by up to 30 percent for mobile’s most immersive experiences.

Further, the Snapdragon 888 sports Qualcomm’s Game Quick Touch tech, which can lower touch latency by increasing responsiveness by up to 20 percent.

Increased performance and security rounds out the Snapdragon 888

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 888 features major architectural advances that improve power efficiency and more. That includes using a 5nm process. The new Qualcomm Kryo 680 generates up to 25 percent better CPU performance with top frequencies of up to 2.48GHz. Additionally, the Kryo 680 is the first commercial CPU subsystem based on the Arm Cortex-X1.

Coupled with the Kryo 680 is a more powerful Adreno 660 GPU boasting up to 35 percent faster graphics rendering compared to the previous generation. Qualcomm says both the new CPU and GPU can sustain performance over long periods of time but didn’t elaborate on how long.

On the security side of things, the Snapdragon 888 features several built-in pieces for maintaining the privacy of user data on the device. That includes a Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit, Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment and support for Qualcomm Wireless Edge Services. Wireless Edge Services is a cloud-based service that allows Snapdragon 888 to measure the security of the device and its wireless connections in real-time.

Qualcomm says it expects Snapdragon 888-powered devices to be commercially available in the first quarter of 2021. Those interested can learn more about the new SoC here.

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Leaker reveals Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 branding – MobileSyrup

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Earlier today, prolific leaker Evan Blass leaked the Galaxy Buds Pro, the rumoured successor to the Galaxy Buds+.

Now, he’s leaked the branding for the upcoming Galaxy Chromebook 2.

Unfortunately, the fact that a new Samsung Chromebook is likely coming is all we know about the device so far.

This year’s Samsung Galaxy Chromebook featured a 4K AMOLED display, a built-in pen and the latest 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor. It’s likely the laptop’s successor will feature similar high-end specs.

The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook hit shelves on April 6th this year, so we might get the successor around that time in 2021 as well.

Source: Evan Blass 

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