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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra early impressions: Say hello to the S Pen – CNET



Samsung’s most expensive nonfoldable phone is taking a lesson from the company’s past. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, announced on Wednesday alongside the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S8 effectively replaces the Galaxy Note in Samsung’s lineup. The Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,200 (£1,149, approx. AU$2,170) and launches on Feb. 25, with preorders live now.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first Samsung phone since the Galaxy Note 20 to not only incorporate S Pen support, like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Z Fold 3, but also include a physical slot on the phone for stowing the stylus. S Pen fans who bought last year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra had to buy the stylus separately and opt for a specific phone case that could store it. Other upgrades to the phone are more iterative, including steps forward in the processor, camera and screen.

Samsung declined to comment on future products when asked if it would release new Galaxy Note phones in the future. But it did say the company is now thinking of the Galaxy Note as an “experience” more than a product line, and it plans to point Note fans toward the Galaxy S22 Ultra in future.

The Galaxy Note, which debuted more than a decade ago, was an industry disrupter. It popularized bigger screens, and Samsung further distinguished the line with exclusive features that were missing from other Galaxy phones. 

But the Note’s place has become less clear. In 2020, Samsung squeezed the Note lineup in between the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra. The Note line skipped 2021 entirely. Now, the Galaxy S22 Ultra represents what appears to be a much-needed merging of the Note and the Ultra.

A more Note-like experience on the Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S22 Ultra looks like a full Galaxy Note replacement.

Richard Peterson/CNET

In addition to full S Pen support and a spot inside the phone to store it, Samsung also made some improvements to the way its stylus works. The latency is lower, and it can transcribe handwritten notes to text in 88 languages. In the brief time I had to try the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the S Pen felt fluid and responsive, although it’s hard to tell if it was any different than before. 

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has also inherited the Note’s more streamlined design, which has sharper edges and a more angular look compared to the standard Galaxy S phones. This gives it the more “notebook” like shape that Note fans are likely familiar with, and it could be helpful for reading and reviewing documents. The regular Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus, which Samsung also announced on Wednesday, have a more rounded aesthetic by comparison. 

This makes the S22 Ultra feel indistinguishable from the Galaxy Note, and it’s a visually striking design that works well on such a large phone. It also helps the Ultra stand out from the regular S22 and S22 Plus, as it should considering the gap in price. The S22 Ultra will be available in black, white, green and burgundy.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note and Galaxy S Ultra phones are known for their gigantic screens, and that’s no different this time around. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s display measures 6.8 inches diagonally, just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it has a QHD Plus resolution. All three new Galaxy phones can also boost their screens’ refresh rate to 120Hz for smoother scrolling. 

Samsung is also adding a feature it calls Vision Booster, which adjusts color and contrast based on your environment. This should make it easier to watch darker scenes in movies and TV shows. It’s available on all three Galaxy S22 models, but the company says the Ultra and Plus have Samsung’s brightest screens yet. 

A similar camera with better night photography

Samsung S22 and S22 UltraSamsung S22 and S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a four-lens camera, unlike the regular Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus.

Richard Peterson/CNET

The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera is similar to the one on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, at least on paper. There’s a quadruple-lens rear camera with a 108-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses. The field of view on the wide and telephoto lenses is slightly wider on the Galaxy S22 Ultra compared to its predecessor.

But Samsung claims there are other upgrades that should make the device better at shooting at night and framing multiple subjects. The Galaxy S22 Ultra can detect up to 10 subjects and adjust the framing accordingly, even when new people enter the scene. That’s an increase compared to the previous generation, according to Samsung. 

Samsung is also emphasizing the phone’s ability to take better photos and videos in the dark. All of Samsung’s new Galaxy S22 phones use a process called pixel binning, which combines multiple pixels into one larger pixel to improve brightness. This process on its own isn’t new to Samsung phones. But what’s different is the way the S22 lineup combines pixel binning with the resolution from the phone’s main camera sensor to improve both brightness and clarity, Samsung says. 

Even though this process works across all cameras, the Galaxy S22 Ultra should have an advantage in this department over the S22 and S22 Plus since it has a bigger 108-megapixel main sensor. The other two S22 phones each have a 50-megapixel main camera by comparison. 

Portrait Mode also works at night thanks to the S22’s upgraded processor, and Samsung claims the camera’s new processing algorithms should improve detail too. The S22 Ultra’s camera can also capture four times as much data, which should bring general image quality improvements across the board.

Read more: Photographers, the Galaxy S22 Ultra probably isn’t worth your money

When shooting video, all three phones can also blend multiple exposures into a single frame to improve brightness and choose the correct frame rate automatically to optimize light.

But in terms of what really sets the Ultra apart from the standard Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, not much has changed since last year. Many of Samsung’s general picture quality improvements seem to apply to all new Galaxy models. The 108-megapixel lens, extra telephoto lens and 10x optical zoom still seem to be the biggest differentiators, which may be disappointing to anyone who was hoping to see a bigger leap like Samsung’s new 200-megapixel image sensor in the S22 Ultra.

Processor and other details

Samsung S22 UltraSamsung S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a sharper shape with more angular edges, just like the Galaxy Note. 

Richard Peterson/CNET

The Galaxy S22 lineup will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in the US and other markets where Samsung’s Exynos chip isn’t available. There’s a 5,000-mAh battery in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it supports up to 45-watt fast charging when plugged in. The starting configuration will come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, while the high-end model includes 12GB of RAM with 1TB of storage.

Many of these upgrades, such as faster processors and better cameras, are expected from next-generation devices. But the Ultra’s new Note-like features are what distinguishes it from the rest of the S22 lineup and the broader premium phone market.

That’s especially important since many advanced features that were once reserved for high-end phones — such as multilens cameras, 5G support and screens with high refresh rates — are now becoming the standard on moderately priced phones. As such, companies like Samsung will have to work harder to convince people to splurge on top-of-the-line devices. Now we’re getting a better sense of how Samsung intends to do that on the S22 Ultra.

Check out the chart below to see how the Galaxy S22 Ultra compares to the rest of Samsung’s Galaxy S22 lineup. For more, take a look at how the Galaxy S22 compares to the iPhone 13, Pixel 6, Galaxy S21 and S21 FE

Samsung Galaxy S22 Lineup Specs

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Samsung Galaxy S22
Display size, resolution 6.8 inches; QHD+ 6.6 inches; FHD+ 6.1 inches; FHD+
Pixel density TBD TBD TBD
Dimensions (Millimeters) 77.9 x 163.3 x 8.9 mm 75.8 x 157.4 x 7.6 mm 70.6 x 146 x 7.6 mm
Weight (Grams, Ounces) 229g, 8.1oz 196g, 6.9oz 168g, 5.9oz
Mobile software Android 12 Android 12 Android 12
Camera Quad camera with 108MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, dual 10MP telephoto lenses Triple camera with 50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP telephoto lens Triple camera with 50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP telephoto lens
Front-facing camera 40MP 10MP 10MP
Video capture 8k at 24 FPS, 4K at 60 FPS 8k at 24 FPS, 4K at 60 FPS 8k at 24 FPS, 4K at 60 FPS
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM/Storage 8GB RAM with 128GB internal storage 12GB RAM with 256GB internal storage 12GB RAM with 512GB internal storage 12GB RAM with 1TB internal storage 8GB RAM with 128GB internal storage 8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage 8GB RAM with 128GB internal storage 8GB RAM with 256GB internal storage
Expandable storage None None None
Battery/Charger 5,000 mAh with up to 45W wired charging and 15W wireless charging 4,500 mAh with up to 45W wired charging and 15W wireless charging 3,700 mAh with 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging
Fingerprint sensor Yes, ultrasonic Yes, ultrasonic Yes, ultrasonic
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C
Headphone jack None None None
Special features S Pen included, quad camera, ultra wideband location detection tech, 120Hz refresh rate screen Triple camera, ultra wideband location detection tech, 120Hz refresh rate screen Triple camera, 120Hz refresh rate screen
Price off-contract (USD) $1,200 $1,000 $800
Price (GBP) £1,149 £949 £769
Price (AUD) AU$2,170 (converted) AU$1,790 (converted) AU$1,450 (converted)

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Google warns of 'hermit spyware' infecting Android and iOS devices – Mashable



As part of Google’s efforts to track the activities of commercial spyware vendors, the company’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) released a report Thursday on spyware campaigns targeting Android and iOS users.

Google TAG researchers Benoit Sevens and Clement Lecigne go into detail about the use of entrepreneurial grade spyware dubbed “Hermit.” This sophisticated spyware tool allows attackers to steal data, private messages and make phone calls. In their report, TAG researchers attributed Hermit to RCS Labs, a commercial spyware vendor based in Italy.

Hermit poses many significant dangers. Due to its modularity, Hermit is quite customizable, allowing the functions of the spyware to be altered to the will of its user. Once fully situated on a target’s phone, attackers can harvest sensitive information such as call logs, contacts, photos, precise location, and SMS messages.

Sevens and Lecigne’s full report details the ways in which attackers can access both Android and iOS devices through the use of clever tricks and drive-by attacks. Potential targets of this scam will have their data disabled through their ISP carrier before sending a malicious link via text to get them to ‘fix’ the issue. If that doesn’t work, targets will be tricked into downloading malicious apps masqueraded as messaging applications.

Just last week, cybersecurity firm Lookout reported the use of Hermit by agents working in the governments of Kazakhstan, Syria, and Italy. Google has already identified victims in these countries, stating that “TAG is actively tracking more than 30 vendors with varying levels of sophistication and public exposure selling exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed actors.”

The Milan-based company claims to provide “law enforcement agencies worldwide with cutting-edge technological solutions and technical support in the field of lawful interception for more than twenty years.” More than 10,000 intercepted targets are purported to be handled daily in Europe alone.

When reached out for comment by The Hacker News, RCS Labs said its “core business is the design, production, and implementation of software platforms dedicated to lawful interception, forensic intelligence, and data analysis” and that it “helps law enforcement prevent and investigate serious crimes such as acts of terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, child abuse, and corruption.”

Still, the news of the spyware being used by state government agents is concerning. Not only does it erode trust in the safety of the internet but it also puts at risk the lives of anyone a government considers an enemy of the state such as dissidents, journalists, human rights workers, and opposition party politicians.

“Tackling the harmful practices of the commercial surveillance industry will require a robust, comprehensive approach that includes cooperation among threat intelligence teams, network defenders, academic researchers, governments, and technology platforms,” Google TAG researchers wrote. “We look forward to continuing our work in this space and advancing the safety and security of our users around the world.”

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iPhone, Android users ALERT! Google warns of Italian spyware out to hack your phone – HT Tech



An Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan, informs Google. Check details here.

In a shocking development it has been revealed that your iPhone and Android phones are at risk. As per the information a tool has been developed to spy on personal messages and contacts of the targeted devices. Alphabet Inc’s Google has said in a report that an Italian company’s hacking tools were used to spy on Apple Inc and Android smartphones in Italy and Kazakhstan. According to the report, Milan-based RCS Lab, whose website claims European law enforcement agencies as clients, developed tools to spy on private messages and contacts of the targeted devices. However, Google said it had taken steps to protect users of its Android operating system and alerted them about the spyware.

“These vendors are enabling the proliferation of dangerous hacking tools and arming governments that would not be able to develop these capabilities in-house,” Google said. According to a report by Reuters, commenting on the issue, an Apple spokesperson said the company had revoked all known accounts and certificates associated with this hacking campaign. RCS Lab said its products and services comply with European rules and help law enforcement agencies investigate crimes.

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? To check mobile finder click here.

Also Read: 5 million Facebook accounts in danger! This phishing scam will steal your money- how it works

Reuters was further informed via an email, “RCS Lab personnel are not exposed, nor participate in any activities conducted by the relevant customers.” RCS Lab further said that it condemned any abuse of its products.

It can be known that the global industry making spyware for governments has been growing, with more companies developing interception tools for law enforcement. Anti-surveillance activists accuse them of aiding governments that in some cases use such tools to crack down on human rights and civil rights, said Reuters in a report.

Also Read: Google Workspace will NOT be Free anymore; here are top 5 alternatives

As per the report, the industry came under a global spotlight when the Israeli surveillance firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware was in recent years found to have been used by multiple governments to spy on journalists, activists, and dissidents.

Though not as stealthy as Pegasus, RCS Lab’s tool can still be used to read messages and view passwords, said Bill Marczak, a security researcher with digital watchdog Citizen Lab. “This shows that even though these devices are ubiquitous, there’s still a long way to go in securing them against these powerful attacks,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.

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iQOO Neo 6 VS Poco F4: We compare the specs, both will SURPRISE – HT Tech



iQOO Neo 6 vs Poco F4: Both these Snapdragon 870 smartphones under Rs. 30000 are tempting, but which is better?

iQOO Neo 6 or Poco F4? Of late, the smartphone space under Rs. 30000 has seen two strong offerings from these fairly young brands. iQOO, which is a subdivision of Vivo, announced the iQOO Neo 6 last month as its most affordable offering with the Snapdragon 870 chipset, promising better gaming experiences and an overall midrange collection of specifications. The iQOO Neo 6 comes with a decent set of cameras too and is currently one of the most exciting phones money can buy at this price.

However, Poco has the same idea and it manages to offer its Poco F4 at a much lower price. Launched just hours ago, the Poco F4 has almost the same kind of spec sheet as the iQOO Neo 6, save for minor differences. In essence, this is a rival to the iQOO Neo 6 and if you are wanting to spend that much money on a performance smartphone for around Rs. 30000, it does add to the confusion. After all, both look good on paper.

Since we have reviewed both of the smartphones lately, we put both of these against each other and here is what we think.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Design

While both the smartphones have distinct designs to flaunt, it is the Poco F4 that pulls the lead with its glass rear panel. The Poco F4 feels better built, especially with its fit and finish. That’s not to say the iQOO Neo 6 is poorly built but the phone’s plastic unibody design is not as desirable. 

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Display

Honestly, both these smartphones are equal when it comes to the display specs. Both phones have a 6.67-inch FHD+ E4 AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz and higher touch sample rates. No in-display fingerprint scanner on either of these.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Performance

The same Snapdragon 870 chip powers both the Poco F4 and iQOO Neo 6. Hence, it is your pick. The Snapdragon 870 is a stable chipset that delivers high on performance, especially in terms of thermal stability and throttling. You will be able to play all the high-end games such as COD Mobile and Apex Legends Mobile at high graphics settings with ease.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Software

This is where your preference matters. Poco uses Xiaomi’s MIUI 13 interface based on Android 12 whereas the iQOO neo 6 uses Vivo’s FunTouch OS 12 based on Android 12. Both custom skins are full of customisation features and pre-loaded apps. Both brands promise three years of OS updates.

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Cameras

Both the Poco F4 and iQOO neo 6 feature a triple camera setup on the rear – a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The Poco F4 has a 16MP selfie camera while the iQOO Neo 6 has a 32MP camera

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Battery

The iQOO Neo 6 on paper has a bigger 4700mAh battery compared to the 4500mAh battery on the Poco F4. The iQOO Neo 6 offers a 80W fast charging solution while the Poco F4 has a 67W fast charging. 

Poco F4 vs iQOO Neo 6 Price

This is where the Poco F4 takes a mega lead. Starting at 27,999 for the base 6GB/128GB storage, the F4 is cheaper. The 8GB/128GB variant costs Rs. 29,999 whereas the 12GB/256GB variant comes with a price of Rs. 33,999. The iQOO Neo 6 starts at Rs. 29,999 for the base variant with 8GB/128GB variant.

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