The OnePlus Nord is what happens when you give people most of what they want for a reasonable price. The iPhone SE has a similar appeal, but OnePlus and Apple take different approaches to their cheapest phones. And when you take a hard look at what you’re getting for the money, the Nord looks like the better value
Yes, the iPhone SE ($399) has the faster A13 Bionic processor, but when you look at other areas like screen size, design, the number of cameras and 5G capability, you can see why the OnePlus Nord (£379, under $500) starts to pull away. Here’s why the OnePlus Nord is a better value than the iPhone SE.
A bigger and better screen
Although some people may prefer the tiny 4.7-inch LCD on the iPhone SE, the OnePlus Nord’s 6.4-inch OLED panel is bigger and more colorful. OLEDs are technically superior to LCDs in terms of color saturation, black levels and viewing angles. If you’re into watching Netflix shows or playing games, the Nord is a no-brainer.
Plus, the Nord offers a 90Hz refresh rate, compared to 60Hz for the iPhone SE. This means you should enjoy smoother scrolling, video playback and gaming on the OnePlus Nord. The Nord also wins on screen resolution, packing 2400 x 1080 pixels compared to just 1334 x 750 for the iPhone SE.
A design that looks like it’s from 2020
The iPhone SE’s design has some things going for it, including water resistance and premium looking glass back. However, the OnePlus Nord actually looks like a phone from this year, with minimal bezels around its display.
By comparison the bezels on the iPhone SE look ginormous, including the chin that houses Apple’s Touch ID sensor. The OnePlus Nord integrates its fingerprint sensor directly into the display.
The OnePlus Nord wins on color options, too. While the iPhone SE comes in ho-hum hues like white, black and red, the Nord has more interesting options in Blue Marble and Gray Onyx.
More versatile cameras
Apple proved with the iPhone SE (just like the Pixel 3a did before it) that you can deliver excellent photos with a single rear camera. And that’s because of the computational photography magic provided by Apple’s A13 Bionic chip. It allows the iPhone SE to pull off Portrait Mode and Smart HDR without needing a second lens.
However, it’s hard to overlook the versatility of the OnePlus Nord. The handset packs four rear cameras, including a 48MP wide camera, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 5MP depth sensor and even a 2MP macro lens. That gives you a lot of shooting options the iPhone SE can’t match. Plus, the Nord offers a Nightscape mode for low-light shots while the iPhone SE lacks a Night mode.
The OnePlus Nord also looks to be a better option for selfies, thanks to a 32MP camera up front paired with an ultra-wide camera with a 105-degree field of view. This should let you fit more people into your shots. The iPhone SE makes due with a 7MP selfie cam.
5G speed vs 4G
Granted, 5G is far from ubiquitous around the world. but even if you’re buying a cheaper phone you probably prefer that it’s as future proof as possible. After all, you’re probably going to hold onto the phone for at least a couple of years. That’s why it’s good to know that the Snapdragon 765G chipset in the OnePlus Nord support 5G connectivity.
That way you can enjoy faster downloads wherever there’s coverage — and if 5G is not in your neck of the woods yet you’ll be ready for when it is. The iPhone SE will forever be stuck in the 4G LTE lane.
Bigger battery and faster charging
Apple’s iPhone SE reportedly packs a 1,821 mAh battery, which didn’t deliver great results in our web surfing battery test. The handset lasted only 9 hours and 18 minutes, while the handsets on our best phone battery life list all last over 11 hours on a charge.
The OnePlus Nord should offer more saying power with its much larger 4,115 mAh battery, but it also needs to power a much bigger display than the iPhone SE.
What we do know for sure is that the OnePlus Nord charges faster than the iPhone SE out of the box. And that’s because the OnePlus Nord includes a 30W fast charger, while Apple forces you to pay extra for a 18W charger.
The iPhone SE is one of the best cheap phones of the year because it delivers flagship-level performance for hundreds less than flagship phones, along with very good camera quality. But the OnePlus Nord looks like an even better value because you get a bigger and smoother screen, 5G connectivity a much more modern design and more versatile cameras.
The biggest strike against the OnePlus Nord is that the company currently does not plan to bring the handset to the U.S. But overall, the OnePlus Nord looks to be a superior mid-range phone to Apple’s handset.
Microsoft Surface Duo: $1,399 price, Sept. 10 release, no 5G, and how to preorder – CNET
Microsoft’s bringing the Surface Duo to market Sept. 10, with preorders starting yesterday. The $1,399 Surface Duo, powered by a modified version of Google’s Android software, puts a different spin on the foldable phone trend, joining Samsung’s recently announced , the and last year’s reboot. is the key difference, bringing together two 5.6-inch screens instead of relying on one massive display that can be folded. Microsoft created the Surface Duo over five years, developing the hinge in a way that’s easy to open but hard to accidentally close. The hinge allows the super-thin screens to rotate 360 degrees. , per se. Instead, it wants us to think of this as a new type of product.
“When we designed it, the intent was, ‘How do you make something so thin, beautiful, light and super elegant that when people pick it up they can feel that emotion in the product,” Panos Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer and head of Surface devices, said in an exclusive interview.
The device brings new ideas to the mobile world, including software Microsoft wrote to make the two screens interact. You can drag a photo from one screen to the other and it works thanks to a mix of computer programming that follows your finger across the screens. There’s also an array of sensors that track where the displays are relative to each other, including if they’re open, closed or somewhere in between.
While CNET Editor at Large Scott Stein — a noted dual-screen skeptic — says the device felt good in his hands, he says $1,399 is a lot of money to ask of people on a normal day, let alone in the middle of an economic downturn fueled by the .
Still, Microsoft invited us to talk with its engineers about how the Surface Duo was conceived, the technology invented to make it possible and how it’ll work when we get it in the mail (watch out for CNET’s review in the next few weeks).
In, Stein shares what it was like to hold a Surface Duo prototype. Microsoft shipped us a near-production prototype device with the screens replaced by clear glass so we can see the inner working and learn how it works. Stein also talks about why he hasn’t like dual-screen devices before, and why the Surface Duo may be the device to change his mind.
In, we look at where the Surface Duo fits in the world, and why Microsoft is choosing to make a new handheld device after a series of embarrassing multibillion-dollar attempts that ended in failure.
Here’s how Microsoft’s Surface Duo compares to its foldable rivals:.
Surface Duo vs. Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs. Razr
|Microsoft Surface Duo||Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2||Motorola Razr|
|Display size||Dual 5.6-inch AMOLED; Combined: 8.1-inch AMOLED; 2,700×1,800 pixels||Internal: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED; External 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED||Internal: 6.2-inch, foldable OLED; External: 2.7-inch glass OLED|
|Resolution||1,800×1,350 pixels; 2,700×1,800 pixels||TBD||2,142x876p pixels; 800×600 pixels|
|Dimensions (Inches)||Folded: 5.72×3.67×0.399 inches / Unfolded: 5.72×7.36×0.19 inches||TBD||Unfolded: 6.8×2.8×0.28 inches / Folded: 3.7×2.8×0.55 inches|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||Folded: 145.2×93.3×9.9mm / Unfolded: 145.2×186.9×4.8mm||TBD||Unfolded: 172x72x6.9mm / Folded: 94x72x14mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||8.8 oz; 250g||TBD||7.2 oz; 205g|
|Mobile software||TBD||TBD||Android 9|
|Camera||11-megapixel||TBD||16-megapixel external, 5-megapixel internal|
|Front-facing camera||TBD||TBD||16-megapixel external|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||TBD||Qualcomm Snapdragon 710|
|Battery||3,577 mAh||4,500 mAh||2,510 mAh|
|Fingerprint sensor||TBD||TBD||Below screen|
|Special features||Dual-screen display; dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM)||5G, Foldable display, 120Hz refresh rate||Foldable display, eSIM, Motorola gestures, splashproof|
|Price at launch (USD)||$1,399 (128GB)||TBD||$1,499|
|Price (GBP)||Converts to about £1,070||TBD||Converts to about £1,160|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to about AU$1,960||TBD||Converts to about $2,090|
Here’s what else you need to know about the Surface Duo.
How much does the Surface Duo cost?
Microsoft is charging $1,399 for the 128GB version of the Surface Duo. There will be a 256GB version as well.
Is the Surface Duo a phone?
That question is one of the things that’s surrounded this devices since it was announced last year. Wired’s take back then summed the situation up well: “It folds, but the screen isn’t foldable. It sort of fits in your pocket. It has a camera. And it makes phone calls-but don’t you dare call it a phone.”
Ultimately, if your definition of “phone” is it takes and receives calls, then yes it is one. But so is your PC, tablet and potentially your game console too.
So, maybe “phone” is more a state of mind than a label.
Is the Surface Duo an Android?
This is easier than asking whether the Surface Duo is a phone. This device is an Android, in that it runs Google’s mobile software for tablets and phones, and it is designed to run pretty much all the apps you can use on a standard non-Apple device.
In fact, Microsoft said it chose to build the Surface Duo using Android instead of its Windows software because of the large base of hundreds of thousands of apps that already exist in the Android store. Why reinvent the wheel?
Will the Surface Duo have 5G?
Nearly every major phone launch this year, including 5G wireless capabilities. Samsung’s , announced earlier this month for $1,300, has 5G. So does its cousin, the , whose price and launch date will be announced in September., is expected to support
The Surface Duo, on the other hand, will work with 4G networks. Microsoft said the reason comes down to tradeoffs — the company chose to stick with the previous generation wireless tech to allow for better battery life and a thinner device.
Where will it sell?
Microsoft AT&T, too., so you won’t be able to find them there even if you’re willing to venture out during the pandemic. It’s available for preorder online through and . You’ll be able to buy it from
If the $1,399 starting price is too steep for you, Microsoft said it’ll offer a 0%, 24-month payment plan through Dell financing. AT&T similarly will allow you to pay in installments through its Next Up program.
How well do apps run in the phone?
Microsoft made a point of showing us that standard Android apps run on the device just fine, thanks to its two screens being the equivalent of two standard phone displays. For apps built with the second screen in mind, they can be designed to “span” across the two screens, meaning an email app could have your inbox on the left and opened messages on the right. They could also be programmed to open new links or companion apps in the opposite screen you’re looking at.
Microsoft demonstrated Amazon’s Kindle book reading app, which was designed to look like a book with text on the left and right. When you swipe your finger across the screen, an animated page follows along.
At launch, it appears Microsoft’s apps will primarily be the ones built with the Surface Duo in mind. Those include Microsoft Office, Outlook, Teams, OneNote and Authenticator. Oh, and you can’t forget Microsoft Solitaire Collection too.
The company said that it’s working with Google to integrate some of the software it developed for the Surface Duo back into Android so other two-screen devices in the future will benefit from Microsoft’s work. That also means more apps may eventually be programmed for the Surface Duo as a result.
Will the Surface Duo run Windows apps like my PC?
The Surface Duo runs Microsoft apps, including Office, Teams and Outlook, but it doesn’t run the same software as your computer. That’s one of the tradeoffs Microsoft had to make when building this device.
Its larger cousin,, will run many of the same apps your computer has today. That’s because it’ll be powered by Windows 10X, . But that device, which brings together two 9-inch screens likely wouldn’t fit in your pocket as easily as the Surface Duo. The company’s also .
How many folds can the Surface Duo take?
We’ve tested a few folding devices at CNET using a special robot developed by SquareTrade. The phones and that could change with the different designs companies are inventing).began failing after about 120,000 folds during our test last year. That was much less than the 200,000 folds we estimated it would go through during five years of use. (Although we’re just starting to learn how people use folding
When we put the new Motorla Razr through FoldBot’s paces last year, that device.
Microsoft preemptively said folding test robots don’t simulate real life usage the same way its own labs do. Still, it wouldn’t say how many folds the Surface Duo could last through, except that the company expects the hinge mechanism to last beyond the Surface Duo’s own natural lifecycle.
Does the Surface Duo have a camera?
Many companies releasing premium phones justify their $1,000 or more prices with the beautiful photographs they say you could take. Apple has thatbillboard campaign, and the . Samsung boasts about how its devices can deliver with their cameras. And Google proudly says its advanced programming makes photos on its Pixel phones unlike competitors, offering shockingly well . They can even photograph .
By comparison, Microsoft’s mostly talked about how the Surface Duo is built for productivity and better interaction between apps. Translation: Its camera will not be a killer feature.
CNET will still test the camera against other premium phones when we do our reviews.
Will it get quick Android updates?
One of the most vexing parts of owning a phone powered by Google’s Android software is Android itself. Manufacturers routinely fail to deliver timely updates to users, even with Googlemonths ahead of the typical fall release.
Microsoft says it’s working with Google directly on the Surface Duo, which naturally led to questions about whether that means it’ll get updated more often and more quickly. Microsoft says the device will get software updates, but didn’t commit to timetables about when.
Other details about the Surface Duo
- A 360-degree hinge means you can fold one screen flat against the other to hold it like a notepad.
- You get a total of 8.3 inches of screen real estate.
- There’s no outer screen — you have to open the device to use it.
- It supports the Surface Pen, which you need to buy separately for at least $99.
- The Surface Duo has thick screen bezels, but that might help keep you from accidentally tapping while you hold it. Microsoft said the bezels are a tradeoff from miniaturizing parts and making the screens so thin. It’s also Microsoft’s way of saying smaller bezels are likely in the future.
- You can drag and drop items, like a phone number, from one screen to the other.
Surface Duo specs
- Two 5.6-inch AMOLED displays running at a resolution of 1,800×1,350 pixels separately
- 8.3 inches of total screen real estate when opened fully, running at an effective resolution of 2,700×1,800 pixels
- Snapdragon 855, 6GB DRAM
- LTE 4×4 MIMO (Not 5G), supports AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in the US
- Fingerprint reader
- USB-C charger
- 128GB or 256GB of internal storage
- Mono speaker
- 11-megapixel camera, f2.0 with
Apple Readies Subscription Bundles to Boost Digital Services – Bloomberg
Apple Inc. is readying a series of bundles that will let customers subscribe to several of the company’s digital services at a lower monthly price, according to people with knowledge of the effort.
The bundles, dubbed “Apple One” inside the Cupertino, California-based technology giant, are planned to launch as early as October alongside the next iPhone line, the people said. The bundles are designed to encourage customers to subscribe to more Apple services, which will generate more recurring revenue.
There will be different tiers, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. A basic package will include Apple Music and Apple TV+, while a more expensive variation will have those two services and the Apple Arcade gaming service. The next tier will add Apple News+, followed by a pricier bundle with extra iCloud storage for files and photos.
Apple’s plans, and the structure of the bundles, may change. But the goal is to offer groups of services at lower prices than would be charged if consumers subscribed to each offering individually. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
The initiative is a major bid by Apple to achieve the same loyalty that Amazon.com Inc. has won with its Prime program, which combines free shipping with video streaming and many other services for an annual or monthly fee. This bundle is the bedrock of Amazon’s success and has been mimicked by other companies before with mixed results.
Apple has no e-commerce delivery and warehouse network like Amazon’s, however it has hundreds of millions of ardent hardware customers who have already embraced some of its digital subscriptions. The iPhone and iPad will suggest different packages to users based on which Apple apps and services they already use. This feature will come later this year as part of iOS 14, the next software update for Apple’s devices.
The company is also developing a new subscription for virtual fitness classes that can be used via an app for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, the people said. That service will be offered in a higher-end bundle with the rest of Apple’s services. Codenamed “Seymour,” the workout package would rival virtual classes offered by companies including Peloton Interactive Inc. and Nike Inc., according to the people.
Peloton shares slipped in premarket trading Thursday following the announcement, but gained about 1% to $65.02 after the market opened. Apple rose 1.5%.
The new bundles will be geared toward families, meaning they will work with Apple’s Family Sharing system that provides access to as many as six people for each service. The offerings are designed to save consumers about $2 to upwards of $5 a month, depending on the package chosen. For example, if a family subscribes today to all of Apple’s major services plus the highest iCloud storage tier, that would cost about $45 a month. A new bundle could knock more than $5 off that.
This approach is likely to be applauded by Wall Street, which craves businesses that generate reliable revenue streams. However, there’s also a risk of confusing consumers with multiple subscription choices. This hampered the launch of the HBO Max streaming service, which was introduced this year alongside existing offerings HBO Go and HBO Now.
The initiative is being spearheaded by Peter Stern, a top lieutenant to Eddy Cue, Apple’s longtime services chief. Bloomberg News reported last year that Apple was targeting a bundles launch in 2020.
At first, Apple doesn’t plan to integrate the bundles with services such as AppleCare support or monthly payment plans for hardware like the iPhone or Mac. Earlier this year, as part of the Apple Card, Apple started offering monthly payments with no interest for several of its devices.
In addition to the services bundles, Apple is planning new software and hardware bundles, including giving buyers of the Apple TV set-top box a free year of Apple Arcade. That would follow a free year of TV+ offered to those purchasing new Apple devices.
Apple tested the waters with a subscription bundle last year, offering students free access to TV+ with a subscription to Apple Music, though it has never confirmed plans for a wide-ranging bundle for all of its major paid services.
The company signaled the possibility though when it included a provision in deals with publishers participating in News+ that said the service could eventually be bundled with other services.
For years, analysts and investors have called for Apple to mimic Amazon’s Prime approach. Some of Apple’s newer services, including News+ and TV+, have started slowly. By bundling them at a discount with more popular services, usage and subscriptions could increase.
Apple’s services segment is one of the company’s fastest growth areas and has become a $50 billion-a-year business. While services like those for advertising and AppleCare were down in recent quarters due to the impact of Covid-19, digital offerings like the App Store, iCloud and video products set records.
Apple reportedly plans to launch a new bundled subscription service for music, news and more – CNBC
Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Monday, March 25, 2019.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Apple is preparing to launch new subscription plans that bundle several of its services together, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. The plans are reportedly called “Apple One” by employees, but it’s unclear if that’s going to be the final name.
According to the report, Apple plans to package services like Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple News+, Apple Arcade and iCloud storage into different plans that provide consumers a discount for packaging everything together. Those services typically cost between $4.99 and $9.99 per month. The report said Apple is preparing several different tiers, including one that offers everything and others that bundle some services but not others. One may also offer a new workout class subscription, according to the report.
An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.
Apple’s services business is surging. The segment delivered $13.16 billion in revenue during Apple’s fiscal third quarter, showing double digit growth. Some of Apple’s services have reportedly been off to a slow start, however, like Apple News+, which gives you access to several publications for $9.99 per month. If it’s packaged with a more popular service, say Apple Music, people may be more willing to use it.
It’s sort of like Amazon’s Prime service. If you sign up for Amazon Prime, you get access to faster shipping, Amazon Prime Video services, Amazon Photos, Amazon Prime Music, discounts at Whole Foods and so on. A bundled plan creates a better chance for Apple to lock customers into its services.
Apple is planning to unveil the services as soon as October, when it’s expected to announce new iPhones, according to the report.
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