A bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed on Thursday a 25% tax credit for investments in chip production in the country. The proposal is an addition to the $52 billion semiconductor industry funding plan approved by U.S. legislators last week, showing a large push to boost support for domestic chipmakers.
The Facilitating American-Build Semiconductors (FABS) Act proposes a 25% investment tax credit for investments in semiconductor manufacturing facilities and in production of fab tools.
Currently, only 12% of global chip output is made in the U.S., down from 37% in 1990. Meanwhile, the vast majority of chips are designed in the U.S. Bringing at least some of the chip production back to the U.S. could create tens of thousands of well-paid jobs.
However, building semiconductor production facilities is expensive. A state-of-the-art fab tends to cost well over $10 billion, so companies like Intel or TSMC usually receive significant incentives from governments to build fabs in Israel, Ireland and Taiwan. By contrast, the U.S. government (unlike state governments) has been reluctant to provide substantial compensations, until now.
“As much as 70% of the cost difference for producing semiconductors overseas is driven by foreign subsidies, rather than comparative advantages,” U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), one of the senators who proposed the act, said in a statement.
There are a number of companies from the U.S. that have developed chips in the country and sell them to local clients, including Intel and Micron, that will welcome the tax incentives. In fact, foreign companies, like TSMC and Samsung Foundry, which are on track to build advanced fabs in the U.S. in the next couple of years, would also benefit from the act. Furthermore, fab tool producers, like Applied Materials and LAM Research, would also take advantage of tax credits.
“Our bill would provide a significant investment tax credit to companies that build chips here at home, rather than overseas,” U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said. “The United States can’t allow foreign governments to continue to lure companies’ manufacturing overseas, increasing risks to our economy and costing American workers good-paying jobs.”
The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) and SEMI have applauded the proposed law.
Increasing chip production in the U.S. clearly has its potential benefits, but virtually all U.S.-based semiconductor companies assembly and test their products in South East Asia. As a result, even with some chip manufacturing moving to the U.S., the industry will continue to rely on Asian chip packaging and testing facilities.
The FABS Act is co-proposed by Crapo, Ryden and U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan).
(Pocket-lint) – Google is expected to announce the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones towards the end of the year, succeeding the Pixel 5 that arrived in October 2020.
We’ve compared how the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro could compare based on the speculation in a separate feature, but here we are focussing on how the Pixel 6 might stack up against the Pixel 5.
Pixel 5: 144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm
Pixel 6: 158.6 x 74.8 x 8.9mm, 11.8mm with bump
Pixel 6 Pro: 163.9 x 75.8 x 8.9mm, 11.5mm with bump
Based on the rumours, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will offer a complete redesign compared to the Pixel 5. Renders suggest a rectangular camera housing will stretch across the entire width of the devices on the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro compared to the square housing positioned in the top left corner on the Pixel 5.
It also looks like the punch hole camera at the top of the display will move to the centre in the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, repositioning from the top left corner on the Pixel 5.
The other big change in design appears to be the introduction of an under-display fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 6, rather than the physical sensor on the rear of the Pixel 5. The Pixel 6 and 6 Pro also both appear to be a little more exciting in terms of colours, with blocks of colours on the rear based on the leaked images.
In terms of physical measurements, it looks like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will both be larger than the Pixel 5, as well as thicker. The Pixel 5 has an IP68 water and dust resistance, and we’d expect the same from the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
Pixel 5: 6-inch, Full HD+, 90Hz
Pixel 6: 6.4-inch, Full HD+, 120Hz
Pixel 6 Pro: 6.67-inch, Quad HD+, 120Hz
Rumours suggest the Google Pixel 6 will come with a 6.4-inch display and the Pixel 6 Pro with a 6.67-inch display. If true, both devices would be bigger than the Pixel 5’s 6-inch display.
It’s thought the Pixel 6 will likely come with a Full HD+ resolution, a flat screen and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Pixel 6 Pro meanwhile, is thought to be coming with a slightly curved display, a Quad HD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The Pixel 5 has a 6-inch display that has a Full HD+ resolution at 2340 x 1080 for a pixel density of 432ppi. It offers a 90Hz refresh rate and it has HDR support, which the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are both likely to offer too.
It’s thought the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will run on an in-house chip Google is said to be working on codenamed Whitechapel. The chip is claimed to have a raw performance somewhere between the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and the Snapdragon 865. It’s expected to offer 5G capabilities.
RAM and storage options haven’t been detailed as yet in leaks, though it’s said the Pixel 6 will have a 5000mAh battery capacity, so we’d expect the same or higher from the Pixel 6 Pro.
The Pixel 5 runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. There’s no microSD support. The battery capacity is 4000mAh and the Pixel 5 supports fast charging and wireless charging, both of which we would expect on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
Pixel 6: Dual camera
PIxel 6 Pro: Triple camera
Pixel 5: Dual camera
It’s claimed the Pixel 6 will have a dual rear camera with talk of a 50-megapixel main camera coupled with an ultra wide-angle lens.
The Pixel 6 Pro meanwhile, is said to have a triple rear camera with the same 50-megapixel main sensor and same ultra wide angle lens as the Pixel 6, but with the addition of an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor too.
The Pixel 5 has a dual rear camera comprised of a 12.2-megapixel dual-pixel main camera with 1.4µm pixels and a f/1.7 aperture, along with a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with 1.0µm pixels and an f/2.2 aperture.
The front camera on the Pixel 5 is an 8-megapixel sensor with 1.12µm pixels and an f/2.0 aperture.
Based on the speculation, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro will offer a big redesign compared to the Pixel 5, along with larger displays, faster refresh rates and upgrades in hardware.
It also looks like the camera offering will be more advanced on the Pixel 6 and certainly the 6 Pro with the possible addition of a telephoto lens, but nothing is confirmed as yet and we’re still waiting for more rumours on the RAM and storage options.
You can follow all the rumours for both the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro in our separate round up features.
The Honor 50 series will be able to ship with Google’s apps and services, Honor officially announced today as it launched the Honor 50 and Honor 50 Pro in China. In a statement, Honor says its phones will go through Google’s security review and that “Honor devices will therefore have the option to have Google Mobile Services (“GMS”) preinstalled on compatible devices, in accordance with Google’s licensing and governance models.”
“Consumers will be able to experience Honor smartphones and tablets equipped with GMS,” the company said. A spokesperson confirmed that the “Honor devices” referred to in the statement include the newly announced Honor 50. The device will be available for preorder in China on June 25th and will come to international markets such as France, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UK at a later date at a price that’s to be announced.
Honor hasn’t been able to ship Google’s apps and services, including the Google Play Store, on its phones since its former parent company Huawei was placed on the US’s entity list, forcing Google to pull its Android license. What’s changed with the 50 series is that Huawei sold off Honor at the end of last year, allowing the company to work with Google once again. Huawei, meanwhile, is still unable to use Google’s software and is positioning its own HarmonyOS as a replacement.
Reports about the return of Google’s software to Honor’s phones emerged last month, after the company’s German Twitter leaked the news in a now-deleted tweet.
Turning to the devices themselves, the most eye-catching thing about the Honor 50 and Honor 50 Pro are their rear cameras, which are arranged into a pair of circular bumps. The phones have four rear cameras in total, including a 100-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle, a 2-megapixel macro, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. On the front, the Honor 50 Pro has a pair of selfie cameras, combining a 32-megapixel camera with a 12-megapixel ultrawide, while the Honor 50 just has a single 32-megapixel camera.
Both phones have a 120Hz display, though the Honor 50 Pro’s is slightly bigger at 6.72 inches compared to 6.57 for the regular Honor 50. Available colors include silver, bronze, green, and black. Internally, they’re powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor. The 50 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery that can be fast charged at up to 100W, while the regular 50 has a 4,300mAh battery and supports 66W fast charging.
The return of Google’s software to Honor’s phones is unlikely to make much of a difference in China, where phones typically ship without the Play Store. But their absence has made Honor and Huawei’s phones pretty hard to recommend elsewhere. When the Honor 50 eventually releases in the West, that could all change.
In China, the Honor 50 will start at 2,699 yuan (around $422), while the Honor 50 Pro will start at 3,699 yuan (around $578). Alongside the two flagship phones, Honor is also announcing the cheaper Honor 50 SE, which will start at 2,399 yuan (around $375).
(Pocket-lint) – It’s probably no surprise that the Realme GT’s international reveal happened just one day after the OnePlus Nord CE hit the headlines. Because, while the GT isn’t a direct competitor – it’s actually more powerful than OnePlus’ more budget offering – it’s certainly a handset that wants to lead the young brand’s charge on OnePlus’ ongoing dominance in the alt-flagship space.
It’s even pulled the same old-hat promotional tagline – “flagship killer” – which is rather cheeky. But that gives Realme a platform upon which to stand. It is a bit cheeky. It has previously released phones with eye-slapping phrases plastered on them – we lambasted the Realme 8 Pro for its ‘Dare To Leap’ slogan. It’s that bit different, that bit of fun.
With the Realme GT the company is looking to enter the fast lane – the ‘Grand Tourer’ name reference name says it all really – for this alt-flagship has top-tier Qualcomm processing power, a more grown-up looking vegan leather finish than earlier Realme devices, and arrives at a price point that could make you pay attention to this brand over better-established products such as, say, a Moto G100 or Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite.
Design & Display
6.43-inch AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
Colours: Racing Yellow, Dashing Silver, Dashing Blue
Dimensions: 156 x 73 x 9.1mm / Weight: 186g
Finishes: Vegan leather or glass back
In-display fingerprint scanner
With phones often gigantic slabs these days, it’s rather refreshing to hold onto the Realme GT – because it’s sensibly proportioned, not too thick even in its vegan leather finish, and is on the right side the 200g weight barrier (a limit that we’ve pretty much decided to impose having handled the all too heavy Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra).
Motorola’s new Moto G9 Plus is a stunner of a phone – find out why, right here
By Pocket-lint Promotion
That the volume control buttons are on the opposite side to the Realme GT’s power button – a rarity in most Android phones – is something you might not immediately love, but we stuck with it and it’s actually a sensible layout. Taking one-handed screengrabs is easier, as one beneficial example.
But it’s not the layout that’ll first catch your attention. It is, but of course, that bright yellow rear – which Realme calls ‘Racing Yellow’, keeping in theme with that GT name. It’s a bold, bright finish, almost like an exemplary Pantone shade card for what a true yellow should represent.
That it’s vegan leather is another standout point, but less for its apparent environmental kudos – although there’s an argument that processes for this material aren’t actually Thunberg pleasing – and more for its tactile quality. It’s nice and grippy. It doesn’t become smeared in heaps of fingerprints. It looks consistent – and the black stripe down from the integrated cameras panel helps to soften the look.
Why, then, Realme has decided to (literally) stick its logo onto the rear is a big question. This silvered stick-on will inevitably fall off over time – not that we’ve actively been picking at it. Maybe that’d be for the better though – we’re not fans of any brand sticking big logos onto its phones. Motorola used to, before realising it looks much better to be subtle. Still, Realme ought to deboss or emboss for added chic.
Flip the phone over to its front and the Realme GT houses a 6.43-inch AMOLED panel, delivering a screen that’s capable of deep blacks and strong colours. Sadly, however, its auto-brightness adjustment is so shy that you’ll often end up squinting at the dulled screen trying to find the manual brightness slider. At maximum brightness it can remain visible in outdoor sunlight though. At lowest brightness there’s some ‘black crush’ to visuals, which is fairly common – an issue other Oppo phones present (Realme is effectively under the same umbrella as that brand).
Interestingly this panel has some top-end features, such as a 120Hz refresh rate, to keep visuals extra smooth and easy on the eyes. You needn’t have the 120 refreshes per second active for the sake of battery life, though, as a 60Hz option is found within the menus – which is on by default anyway. In terms of resolution the Full HD+ span of pixels over the 20:9 aspect ratio panel delivers ample detail – these days you don’t really want or need much more, as it rarely enhances apps and mostly just squeezes the battery life.
Performance & Battery
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform, 8GB/12GB RAM
Realme UI (v2.0) software over Google Android 11 OS
4,500mAh battery capacity, 65W fast-charging
Stainless steel cooling system
That the Realme GT can cope with a 120Hz refresh rate is no surprise given its top-end hardware under the hood. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, paired with 8GB or 12GB RAM (there are two variants, we have the lower spec 8GB model in for review).
It’s this “my processing power’s bigger than yours” angle that will garner the GT a lot of attention – especially for its asking price. And so it should, for this Realme performs really well whether you’re casually navigating between pages and apps, or digging deep into a gaming session.
Other than when recharging it doesn’t overheat either, which is impressive in the context of a faux leather-backed device with such a strong performance engine running things. The stainless steel cooling system designed within must be part of the reason for the apparent well-managed heat dissipation.
With mixed use we’ve found the GT’s battery life to be perfectly acceptable. Long days will see you finish close to the 20 per cent mark, after around 18 hours, but that includes some gaming so we think that’s pretty good innings. Besides, with a 65W fast-charging capability – no wireless to be found here – topping it up is speedy. It can even learn your typical charging pattern as to not refill the battery too quickly, which will help with long-term battery health.
We suspect the GT could last longer if various settings were activated to throttle the experience. But we’re glad that’s not the case. So often we hit a wall with, say, a Xiaomi phone because its software default controls the way in which apps respond – often causing notification issues or delays. Realme doesn’t have that issue; its Realme UI (version 2.0 here) is effectively a rework of Oppo’s ColorOS, which we’ve found in recent iterations to be generally pleasing.
Triple rear camera system:
Main (26mm): 64-megapixel, f/1.8 aperture, Sony IMX682 sensor, 0.8µm pixel size
Given the phone’s price point its camera setup is the one area to expect some compromise. Realme has gone down the “triple camera” route – but, really, it’s a main camera paired with ultra-wide that show their worth, while the low-resolution close-up macro camera isn’t even worth including in our view. It’s a trap so many makers have fallen into – to oversell their cameras.
Anyway, that’s not to say expect bad things all across the board. As a straightforward point-and-shoot camera the main 64-megapixel sensor – which uses six-in-one processing to deliver 12-megapixel results by default – is capable enough. For sharing snaps on socials and so forth it’ll deliver the goods.
That said, however, it’s not the most refined in terms of processing. Where detail lacks – subject edges such as buildings, or busier areas such as trees and shrubs – there’s oversharpening, often to the detriment of realism. Colour also can look as though it’s been washed over with a blue filter, while contrast is a bit punchier than needed.
: Main cameraMain camera
Then there’s the wide-angle camera. Results from this aren’t consistent with the main lens – the colour looks different, for example – while detail lacks, and optically speaking it’s not particularly great. The benefit of having the wide camera is, of course, that it’s wide; that you can fit more into a shot, even if the edges are blurred and the contrast pushes image noise into greater visibility. You can compare the main camera and the wide camera – including 100 per cent zoom-in for each shot – in the gallery above.
The Realme GT might have wide-angle covered, but it doesn’t really cater for zoom. Well, it depends how you look at it. The camera app does offer 2x and 5x as part of the controls, but we’d strongly suggest avoiding using these as it’s nothing more than digital zoom. Given that the main sensor is 64-megapixels, however, the 2x ought to be better than it is. The 5x really pushes beyond what’s acceptable, with soft and unimpressive results. You can see the zoom stages from wide to main to 2x to 5x in the gallery below:
: Ultra-wide (16mm)Ultra-wide (16mm)
So while the zoom is one to avoid and the wide-angle isn’t great, the GT’s main camera is passable. It recognises backlighting to boost high dynamic range (HDR). It’s managed pretty well in low-light conditions, too, so if you’re shooting indoors at night then it can still focus and present enough detail – as we found out in a basement distillery at Edinburgh Gin.
That’s the long and the short of it: there’s not really much that’s “GT” about this Realme’s cameras. A “Pro” version might be able to rectify that – but it’d also come at cost, given the list price of camera components. And, really, that’s not the point of this phone. The GT is all about flagship performance for the day to day, not top-tier cameras – if you want that then you’ll have to pay out a lot more cash elsewhere.
From its striking yellow-colour vegan leather finish, to its impressive performance thanks to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 platform, the Realme GT is an impressive alt-flagship – but one that will depend on its eye-catching asking price to lure in a fan base.
As we said up top, this Realme has arrived at a time when OnePlus is no longer, well, “being OnePlus” – i.e. delivering flagship devices for considerably less cash. In that sense, then, the GT slots into the space that OnePlus once occupied in its earlier days, a tactic that’s as measured as it is a bit cheeky.
No, the GT doesn’t offer the greatest of cameras, its auto-brightness is shy to activate, and as a brand name it might not yet resonate with the masses.
But it’s hard to not see the GT’s specification for what it is: more powerful than a Motorola equivalent, such as the G100; and more software consistent than a Xiaomi device, such as the Mi 11 Lite.
In that sense, then, the Realme GT sure does enter the alt-flagship fast lane, overtaking some of the big competition that are also jostling for pole position.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
We love the Xiaomi’s colour finish and slender build – it’s a great alternative to the current glut of massive flagship phones. That said, it’s less powerful and the software brings its share of irks.
Read our review
It’s about the same price, but with a slightly lower-spec processor, equally so-so cameras, but a more established brand name and near flawless software.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a bright display and long battery life, but its performance could be stronger, and it has a very high price, even for a business-class laptop.
+ 5G option
+ Bright Display
+ Long Battery Life
– Middling Performance
– Expensive even for a business-class computer
The original HP Elite Dragonfly challenged the Lenovo ThinkPad line with its style and excellent keyboard. Now, there’s a variant, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max ($2,199 to start, $2,789 as configured).
Despite the Max title implying that this device would be bigger, it’s actually the same size as the original, which is one of the best ultrabooks. This version adds a bright Sure View Reflect screen and 5G networking. But if neither of those appeal to you — the Sure View Reflect screen in particular suffers from some really harsh viewing angles that undercut its positives — you might be better off looking at the original Dragonfly or other options.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is a slick, thin convertible laptop with a glittery matte black shell that feels durable but loves to collect fingerprints. There’s a symmetrical, reflective HP logo on the lid and a smaller logo below the screen, plus EliteBook and Bang & Olufsen branding on the keyboard deck.
What’s most noticeable about this laptop is the size, although it’s not especially larger or smaller than most other ultraportables. At 11.98 x 7.78 x 0.63 inches, it’s a little wider than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (11.6 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches) and the Razer Book 13 (11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6) but not too much thicker. But at 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.55 inches, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is significantly thinner than the HP Elite Dragonfly Max.
The Elite Dragonfly Max is on the lighter end when it comes to weight, however. Its 2.49 pound weight is only beaten by the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 2 pounds. Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and Razer Book 13 are 2.9 and 3.1 pounds, respectively.
Ports on the Elite Dragonfly Max are varied but poorly distributed. While the left side has the NanoSim card reader (if you have a model with cellular networking capabilities, as we did) and a single USB Type-A port, the convertible’s right side has two Thunderbolt 4 connections, an HDMI 2.1 connection and a single 3.5mm combination headphone/microphone jack. This uneven port distribution can make charging your laptop a pain if your desk setup makes its left side more accessible.
Productivity Performance of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
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The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is HP’s latest attempt to compete with Lenovo’s ThinkPad, specifically the ThinkPad X1 Nano. That means it aims for plenty of productivity power, and comes equipped with the slightly more powerful Intel Core i7-1185G7 to accomplish this. But the ThinkPad, with the Intel Core i7-1160G7 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Razer Book 13 with Intel’s Core i7-1165G7 CPU still offered strong performance and won out in some tests.
In Geekbench 5, a synthetic benchmark for testing general performance, the Elite Dragonfly Max achieved a single core score of 1,512 and a multi-core score of 5,195. That puts it slightly ahead of the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 1,473 single core score but about on par with its 5,155 multi-core score. But the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Razer Book 13 beat it on both fronts, and by a much wider margin when it comes to multi-core performance. The former earned scores of 1,539/5,571, and the latter hit scores of 1,556 and 5,495.
The Elite Dragonfly Max did have a slightly faster SSD than its competitors, transferring 25GB of files at a rate of 558.9 MBps. The Razer Book 13 was the next fastest, hitting 479 MBps, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano came in towards the bottom of the pack with a 424.81 MBps speed. The XPS 13 2-in-1 was the slowest computer here, transferring the files at a rate of 405.55 MBps.
Our Handbrake video transcoding test, which tracks how long it takes a machine to transcode a video down from 4K to FHD, saw the Elite Dragonfly Max once again land on the weaker side. It took 19:44 to finish transcoding, while the ThinkPad X1 Nano took 16:55. The XPS 13 2-in-1 was faster at 15:52, while the Razer Book 13 was the quickest at 14:46.
We also ran the HP Elite Dragonfly Max through Cinebench R23 for 20 consecutive runs to see how well it operates during an extended work session. Scores started out at 4,172 before dropping to the high 3,000s for most runs, and achieved an average of 3,925. There were a few peaks and valleys during tests, which might have been related to short bursts of throttling we noticed throughout the 20 runs. Most of the throttling happened during the beginning of the tests, but there were instances of it throughout. The CPU ran at an average 2,405.82 MHz clock speed during this test, and sat at an average temperature of 69.16 degrees Celsius (156.49 degrees Fahrenheit).
Networking Performance of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
Our configuration of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max came with a Nano Sim card slot for 5G networking, plus a prepaid card from AT&T. When I tested the laptop in downtown Brooklyn, I found that it was only slightly slower than my home Verizon Fios connection.
I was able to watch videos, download apps and stream music with no interruptions. The biggest difference I noticed was the time it took to load pages, which would sometimes take about a second longer than on Wi-Fi.
Still, your experience might differ based on where you live and your choice of carrier.
Display on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is, no matter how you configure it, a pricey computer. And for that extra cost, you do get a new, almost absurdly bright HP Sure View Reflect display, which also packs novel privacy and anti-blue light technology. While we were impressed with a measured 707 nits of average brightness, we were let down by extremely strict viewing angles. This screen tended to wash out for me when I moved more than 45 degrees away from it, perhaps because of the privacy features.
But when I was sitting directly in front of the screen, I had a great experience even in my brightly lit office. I tested the screen by watching the latest trailer for Cruella on it, and colors were vivid while blacks were deep. Glare also wasn’t an issue, although the screen had some minor reflectivity to it.
When I looked at the screen in a darker environment, reflectivity became less of a problem, but viewing angles still remained tight.
HP Sure View Reflect is one of HP’s privacy-oriented displays, with a built-in app (you can also turn it on with the F2 button) that turns the image into a blank copper rectangle when you look at it from more than 45 degrees away. This worked well for me when I turned it on, but given that the image is already so washed out at those angles, it seems like an unnecessary addition, especially because it also made my screen uncomfortably dim even when looking at it from straight on. I also wonder if building the screen to accommodate this technology reduces viewing angles even when the privacy feature isn’t turned on.
Still, there’s no denying that the screen is pleasant under optimal conditions. Our colorimeter showed it covered 81.7% of the DCI-P3 spectrum, which is much higher than the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 71.6% and the XPS 13 2-in-1’s 70%. Only the Razer Book 13 came close, with 80.7%.
And, of course, 707 nits is immensely bright. The ThinkPad X1 Nano is much dimmer at the still very bright 430 nits. At 426 and 488 nits, respectively, the Razer Book 13 and the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 are in a similar boat. However, there is such a thing as diminishing returns, and we’re not sure that the extra brightness is worth it — we still had great viewing experiences on these competitors, some of which boast better viewing angles.
What might be worth the extra cost is HP’s Eye Ease technology. This always-on, hardware level anti-blue light filter supposedly shifts harmful blue light spectrum images to more comfortable places on the spectrum without affecting the look of the image. This is because the screen only targets a very specific area of blue light, rather than tinting the whole image yellow like most solutions. After a whole day of working on the Elite Dragonfly Max, I did notice a lack of eye strain; however, I’m not sure if it was a placebo effect. I tend not to feel too much strain from my regular monitor, either, and I feel like I’d need to judge this feature over the course of a few weeks to fairly assess it.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Stylus on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a chiclet style keyboard that feels stiff and hard when pressing down keys, but I still managed to type quickly on it
On 10fastfingers.com, I regularly hit 78 – 79 words per minute, which is towards the upper end of my usual score range. However, I also had a number of typos during my tests, and keypresses didn’t exactly feel cushiony. Aside from the typical notches on the F and J keys, the keycaps also don’t have any distinct build features to help you find your fingers’ position by touch alone. This left typing feeling a bit like a chore, even if I technically typed speedily.
The large, 4.3 x 2.6 inch precision touchpad is, by contrast, a more pleasant experience. It feels smooth to the touch, and scrolling happens just as smoothly, although there’s enough friction to easily make precise adjustments. Multi-touch gestures like scrolling with two fingers or switching apps with three fingers were also a breeze to pull off.
There’s also a small, separate fingerprint reader to the right of the touchpad, which is a nice plus given that much of this computer’s competition integrates fingerprint readers into the touchpad instead, which creates dead zones.
Audio on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max comes with four speakers by Bang & Olufsen (two top-firing and two bottom-firing) that have impressive bass. I listened to “Butter” by BTS on them, and I didn’t feel like I lost any information from the beat heavy song. Audio was also clear with no tinniness, even on high vocals, and I could easily hear the song across my two-bedroom apartment at max volume.
At around 50% volume, I had about as optimal of a listening experience as I would expect to get from a device this size.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also comes with an audio control program called, well, HP Audio Control. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear much of a difference between its music, movie and voice presets.
Upgradeability of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
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The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is surprisingly easy to open for an ultraportable. It’s got five Torx T5 screws on the bottom, and the case easily lifts off after removing them. (The hardest part may be finding a Torx screwdriver.) Once you’re inside the laptop, you’ll have immediate access to both the Wi-Fi and 5G chips, plus you’ll see a silver shield above the battery with a pull tab on it. If you pull on that tab, you’ll have direct access to the laptop’s SSD.
Battery Life of the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has an edge on battery life over its competition. In our battery benchmark, which continually browses the web, runs OpenGL tests over-Wi-Fi and streams video at 150 nits, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max held on for 13 hours and 9 minutes.
That’s a bit more than an hour longer than its longest-lasting competition, the ThinkPad X1 Nano, which had a 12 hour battery life on the same test. The Razer Book 13 lasted for 11 hours and 44 minutes, while the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 was the quickest to die with a 10 hour and 52 minute battery life.
Heat on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max runs on the cool side for an ultraportable laptop, plus it has special software to keep it extra cool when it’s on your lap.
After 15 minutes of streaming video, the laptop’s touchpad measured 77.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the center of its keyboard (between the G and H keys) was about 10 degrees hotter at 88.9 degrees Fahrenheit. The laptop’s underside was mostly about 90.1 degrees Fahrenheit, although it ran closer to 102.7 degrees Fahrenheit closer to its vents.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also has HP Context Aware software, which uses machine learning to detect when the laptop is on your lap so it can lower the performance mode. HP claims this can reduce the temperature by up to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, although you can turn the feature off if you’re using a lap desk and would prefer to prioritize performance. For my part, I noticed that the Dragonfly was still warm on my lap, but it did adjust its performance mode on and off as advertised. Unfortunately, I don’t have a temperature reading camera at home to test lap temperatures.
HP Elite Dragonfly Max Webcam
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max comes with a 5MP webcam that captures photos at 1440p, which is a higher resolution than you’ll find on even most desktop webcams. Plus, it’s also got a physical camera shutter.
That said, artifacts are still present on photos taken with this laptop’s camera, although lighting and color is accurate. The quality should be more than enough for most casual use cases, but my face is more pixelated than I like when I view this camera’s photos at full screen.
Pixelation becomes more noticeable in low-light environments, but color and lighting remains strong.
This camera’s performance in saturated lighting conditions is unique, but maybe flawed. I’ve never seen a webcam take such a detailed photo through a window pane before (usually, they’ll just depict windows as sheets of white), but my face is bathed in so much shadow that I’m not sure the camera counts as usable under these conditions.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also has two front facing mics and two world facing mics, which lets it use AI noise cancellation to help keep background noise out of calls. I found that the AI noise cancellation works well, although the microphone quality itself is questionable. My recordings sounded echo-y and especially muffled, and part of me wonders if the AI noise cancellation contributed to this.
This laptop also has a sliding physical webcam cover.
Software and Warranty on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max
This laptop does not skimp on the pre-installed software, with over 16 HP-branded programs alone coming pre-loaded on it. And that’s not even everything. There’s also a program that tries to get you to install free trials for different Adobe Creative Cloud programs, plus typical Windows pre-installs like Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Maps.
At least the HP apps are generally useful. HP Wolf Security, for instance, is a free firewall not unlike Windows Defender. HP QuickDrop lets you easily transfer files across devices, including mobiles phones. There’s even HP Easy Clean, which is a novel app that shuts down all of your laptop’s input for a few minutes so you can sanitize it without accidentally pressing any buttons (there is a 2-button keyboard shortcut to unlock your PC early if you need to, though).
But there’s no reason all of these utilities have to be their own separate programs. It’s easy to see them as clutter that way. If I were HP, I’d consider rounding up most of these functions into one central hub app, similar to Lenovo’s Vantage program.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max also comes with a three year limited warranty.
HP Elite Dragonfly Max Configurations
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max has two pre-built Wi-Fi only configurations, one pre-built Wi-Fi and 5G configuration and one fully customizable option. Our review configuration was that Wi-Fi and 5G pre-built option, which came with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 13.3 inch FHD display. It costs $2,789.
The Wi-Fi only pre-built models are $2,199 and $2,399, respectively, although the only difference between them seems to be whether the laptop uses an i7-1165G7 chip or an i7-1186G7 chip. Otherwise, you’ll get 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 13.3 inch FHD display.
The configurable option is exclusive to HP’s website, and starts at $2,409 for the Windows version (the website says it technically costs $3,347, but there’s a permanent $1,000 discount applied to it). You can shave $236 off the price if you want to go for FreeDOS, which might be useful if you intend to install Linux on the device.
More realistically, you’ll be configuring your PC to add on to it. Here, you can bump the CPU up to an i7-1185G7 processor and the RAM up to 32GB for a combined $489, and the SSD up to 2TB for $865. There’s also in-between options— bumping the SSD to just 1TB will cost you an extra $235, and there are 16GB and 32GB RAM bundles available for both the cheaper i7-1165G7 CPU and the more costly i7-1185G7 CPU.
You can also choose to go Wi-Fi only in a custom build, or go for either Intel XMM LTE ($155) or Qualcomm SnapDragon 5G ($440) networking. Plus, there’s add-ons like an optional Wacom pen, which costs $74.
HP’s website says custom builds won’t ship until October, although HP assured us that this is incorrect, and is in the process of sending us more information.
The HP Elite Dragonfly Max is an expensive convertible with a great look and a bright screen that purports to have an anti-blue light feature, but it doesn’t have a worthwhile power boost compared to cheaper options and doesn’t exactly make up for it with its keyboard or its display’s other specs.
I acknowledge that our configuration has an extra cost tied to it thanks to the 5G, which was admittedly only slightly slower than my Wi-Fi when I tested it in downtown Brooklyn. But even without the 5G, this computer costs more than $2,000. Compare that to the ThinkPad X1 Nano, another business class convertible which either beat it or performed on par with it in all of our productivity tests and only costs around $1,600 from certain e-tailers, and it’s hard to justify getting the Elite Dragonfly Max.
Granted, the HP Elite Dragonfly Max has a slightly higher battery life and a much brighter screen than the ThinkPad X1 Nano. But viewing angles on this display are excessively strict, so it still comes with caveats. Plus, you lose out on that great ThinkPad keyboard and the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s 16:10 aspect ratio.
If you go for a non business-class computer like the XPS 13 2-in-1 9310, you can get even more power for even less.
If you’re a business-oriented buyer and you really want 5G or bright displays or niche security software like HP Sure View, then this laptop might be for you. Otherwise, you can get more raw power for less elsewhere, plus maybe some better viewing angles while you’re at it.
Samsung has downplayed a report that claimed the company has suspended production of an upcoming phone called the Galaxy S21 FE. Korean publication ETNews alleged over the weekend that production of the unannounced phone had stopped because of a shortage of semiconductors, and that Qualcomm processors had been reallocated to foldable devices.
The report has since been deleted, and Samsung now says it hasn’t made a decision on whether to halt production. In a statement texted to Bloomberg, the company says “While we cannot discuss details of the unreleased product, nothing has been determined regarding the alleged production suspension.”
The Galaxy S21 FE — the FE stands for Fan Edition — was expected to be a cut-down, more affordable version of the regular S21. Last year Dieter Bohn gave the Galaxy S20 FE a positive review, noting that it had “a few high-quality components that will delight while the cheaper parts don’t hurt the experience too much.”
The S21 FE hadn’t been formally announced, but Samsung did say at an event last year that it planned to release Fan Editions of flagship phones going forward. OnLeaks posted alleged renders of the S21 FE back in April, showing a similar design to the well-received Galaxy S21.
While it’s noteworthy that Samsung didn’t deny ETNews’ report outright, it may take some time before the truth emerges. The S20 FE wasn’t announced until September last year and got a release in October, so even if Samsung is experiencing supply chain issues with its successor right now, a launch wasn’t necessarily imminent.
New outbreaks of COVID-19 in Asia could create delays in the global supply chain and exacerbate the global semiconductor shortage, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.
Taiwan, which is a significant hub for chip manufacturing, is currently experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases. On Saturday, Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center announced that there were 251 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 26 deaths. On Friday, the agency reported 287 new cases and 24 deaths. And cases have been on the rise since early May. “Starting on May 10, COVID-19 infections jumped from one to three-digit figures within a matter of days,” South China Morning Post reported.
The outbreak is having a big effect on at least one major chip company in Taiwan. “At King Yuan Electronics Co., one of the island’s largest chip testing and packaging companies, more than 200 employees have tested positive for the virus this month, while another 2,000 workers have been placed in quarantine — cutting the company’s revenue this month by roughly a third,” the WSJ reported.
TSMC, which makes chips for Apple, Qualcomm, and many other big tech companies, says it has not yet been affected, according to the WSJ. But the company already warned in April that chip shortages could last through 2022, and it’s unclear how the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan might affect that estimation.
The WSJ reported that factories in Malaysia have had their manufacturing capabilities slowed due to COVID-19 as well. “All told, the Malaysia Semiconductor Industry Association says the lockdown will reduce output by between 15% and 40%,” according to the WSJ.
Shipping centers in Asia have also been affected by the pandemic. For example, Yantian, a major container port in Shenzhen, is at 30 percent of its normal activity, the WSJ reported.
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If you’re looking for a 5G Android phone and want to spend as little as possible, you can stop right here. At $279, the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is your best bet right now, especially if you’re in the US where such options are scarce. It offers good 5G support (including the all-important C-band!), a huge battery, and four years of security updates. That’s a compelling package for under $300.
That’s not to say it’s perfect. The A32 5G’s screen isn’t great, performance is a little laggy, and though capable, its camera is limited. If you can spend just a bit more, you can get a phone that does better in at least one of these areas. And if you can hold off on your phone purchase for even a few more months, we should see many more very affordable 5G phones on the market to choose from, like the OnePlus N200. But if you don’t have time to wait and can’t spare the extra cash, I can’t find a good reason to talk you out of the A32 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G screen, performance, and design
The A32 5G features a big 6.5-inch 720p LCD panel that’s best described as nothing special. Colors look a little flat and washed out, and though it gets bright enough to see in direct sunlight, the screen’s reflective plastic protective panel makes it challenging. It’s also a low resolution to be stretched across such a large screen, so you’ll see a little pixelization if you look close.
The phone uses a MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G processor that compares well with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 690 5G chipset for budget 5G phones, used by OnePlus Nord N10 5G. The Galaxy A32 5G combines the MediaTek processor with 4GB of RAM (decent) and 64GB of storage (skimpy but just enough to get by, and you can throw in a microSD card to expand it), and it performs well enough for its class.
There’s noticeable hiccuping with media-dense pages, brief pauses when diving into a demanding task like starting Google Maps navigation, and noticeable camera shutter lag. For the most part, though, I just didn’t notice slowdowns as I jumped between apps, scrolled through Instagram, and just generally went about using the phone normally. That’s about all I’d ask for from a sub-$300 phone.
The phone’s headline feature, 5G, still isn’t something we’d recommend you run out and buy a new phone to get. But the A32 5G has a couple of features that make it worth your time, even considering that good 5G is still a year or two away in the US. Crucially, the A32 5G has been cleared by the Federal Communications Commission to use C-band frequencies that Verizon and AT&T, in particular, will be utilizing for 5G in the coming years. Not all 5G phones can use C-band, so that’s a big ol’ checkmark in the A32 5G’s favor. There’s no mmWave support here, which is the fastest and scarcest flavor of 5G, but that’s no great loss.
The second factor here is that you can reasonably expect to keep using this phone for enough years to actually see 5G that’s meaningfully better than LTE because Samsung will keep offering security updates for four years. Many budget devices only get about two years of security update support, but the A32 5G’s lengthy lifespan should see it through to the actual 5G age in a few years.
Battery life is one of the A32 5G’s strengths. Its 5,000mAh capacity battery is big indeed, and I had no trouble getting two full days of moderate use out of it. My usage was more battery-friendly than someone else’s might be, with battery optimization on and the bulk of my time spent on Wi-Fi, but even the most power-hungry user would be able to get a full day — if not more — out of the A32 5G.
With a 6.5-inch screen, the A32 5G is a big phone for sure. It’s a little too bulky and awkward-feeling in my hand. What I dislike even more is that it feels slippery to me — the back panel plastic feels hard to get a decent grip on. On one occasion, I set the phone down on a softcover book, and it somehow shimmied itself across the cover and off of a side table when I wasn’t looking. (There’s a happy ending, though: it only fell about a foot into a box filled with hand-me-down baby clothes waiting to be put away, so there’s a good argument for keeping clutter around your house.) Anyway, get a case for it if you buy this phone, and know that if your hands are small, it won’t be very comfortable to use.
Samsung Galaxy A32 5G camera
There are two cameras of consequence on the A32 5G’s rear panel: a 48-megapixel standard wide and an 8-megapixel ultrawide. There’s a 5-megapixel macro camera that’s not very good and a 2-megapixel depth sensor that may or may not help with portrait mode photos. There’s also a 13-megapixel selfie camera around front.
Taken with ultrawide
Taken with ultrawide
Considering the phone’s price, the A32 5G’s main camera performs well enough. Like most any other phone, it takes very nice pictures in good lighting. That’s no surprise, even for a budget phone. But it reaches its limits quickly in less-good lighting, like interiors. That’s where optical stabilization or more sophisticated image processing would come in handy, neither of which the A32 5G offers. Instead, you may find some of your photos indoors are a little blurry, and you’ll be very challenged to get a sharp photo of a moving subject in anything less than bright daylight.
The ultrawide camera shows its shortcomings if you look close — there’s some distracting flare in direct sunlight, and some noise visible in shadows of high-contrast scenes. There’s no telephoto lens here, with shortcuts in the camera app to jump to 2x (acceptable), 4x (eh), and 10x (don’t use it) digital zoom.
It’s tough to say how the Galaxy A32 5G compares to the competition because it doesn’t have much yet. It’s among the least expensive 5G phones you’ll find anywhere. Its closest competition at the moment is the OnePlus Nord N10 5G, which is a little more expensive at $299 but offers some worthwhile hardware upgrades, like a nicer screen, a bit better camera performance, and faster charging. It’s a nicer phone in a lot of ways, but it’s only slated for two years of security updates.
Of course, if you only plan to hold on to your phone for a couple of years, then the N10 5G is worth strongly considering. If that’s the case, then 5G becomes a less important feature, too. If there’s room in your budget, consider the $349 Google Pixel 4A, which will get you a much better camera, cleaner software, and timely updates over the next couple of years, albeit without support for 5G at all. It’s a much smaller device, though. So if a big screen is part of the A32 5G’s appeal, you might want to look at something like the $279 Motorola Moto G Stylus.
If you’d like to avoid the hassle of phone shopping again in two years and you want a future-proof choice that’s easy on the budget, then the Samsung A32 5G will do the trick.
(Pocket-lint) – Xiaomi really, really wants you to pay attention to the Mi 11 series. That’s clear because there’s a Mi 11, a higher-end Mi 11 Ultra, a lower-spec Mi 11 Lite 5G, plus a bunch of regional specifics – including this model on review, the Mi 11i, which is also known as the Mi 11X Pro in India.
Whew. Lost count yet? Us too. But that’s not even every Mi 11 model available – there’s actually eight in total at last count. We shant bother you with the additional options right here, but it does make us wonder if Xiaomi has taken its eye off the ball somewhat. There’s delivering something for everyone, then there’s delivering something excessively.
The Mi 11i, however, is a powerful handset that sits just below the original Mi 11, making for an ought-to-be-more-affordable option (its price is, at the time of writing, to be confirmed). It doesn’t sacrifice much in the pursuit of that saving, though, so is the ‘i’ the more favourable Mi model to go for or just a Mi too far?
Design & Display
Display: 6.67-inch AMOLED panel, 1080 x 2400 resolution, 120Hz refresh
Finishes: Celestial Silver, Frosty White, Cosmic Black
Dimensions: 164.7 x 74.6 x 7.8mm / Weight: 196g
Side-positioned fingerprint scanner
At a brief glance and the Mi 11i doesn’t look especially different to the Mi 11. But there are tell-tale signs: the ‘i’ doesn’t feature a curved screen; instead its 6.67-inch panel is not only a mite smaller than the Mi 11’s, but it’s flat too, which some will prefer – but we don’t think looks quite as flashy from a visual perspective.
The screen is quality, though, delivering a Full HD+ resolution – note that’s lower than the Mi 11’s WQHD+ offering – and capable of up to 120Hz refresh rate for smooth visuals. We’ve already seen the likes of this panel in the Redmi Note 10 Pro, so its performance is one and the same – i.e. decent quality.
As it’s an AMOLED panel that means the Mi 11i can have an always-on display activated – which illuminates the edges in a subtle fashion when there’s a notification, as one example – for visuals to be shown on the lock screen without actively needing to turn the display on. The screen tech also means deep blacks and rich colours as standard (and you can further tweak to your preference within the settings).
There’s little to criticise about the screen – although its brightness isn’t as searing as some. Still, it’s a sensible panel selection for this level, even better paired with this device than the Redmi, really, as the Mi 11i has more power to support that 120Hz fast refresh – ensuring support across more demanding situations.
Also similar to the Redmi, the Mi 11i drops the under-display fingerprint scanner for a side-positioned one in the power button. Although setting this up suggested it wasn’t going to be especially responsive – for some reason it was being fussy while registering – ongoing use has proven it to be highly responsive. We might even prefer it to an under-display option, as it happens.
Flip the Mi 11i over and, again, it looks largely similar to the original Mi 11. That means there’s a glass panel that’s curved at the edges, which picks up light nicely, but fingerprints show in abundance sadly. We much prefer the fingerprint-resistant and colourful finish of the Mi 11 Lite 5G.
Where things do differ is in the camera arrangement. The triple unit, which has two particularly large lenses, does protrude rather incessantly, but that’s all part and parcel of a flagship phone these days – the 11i’s isn’t as disruptive as the giant lump on the Mi 11 Ultra anyway. The really peculiar thing about the Mi 11i is the integrated microphone sandwiched between the two main lenses. Like, seriously, what is that all about? We’re weirded out every time we have to look at it.
Performance & Battery
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 8GB RAM
Storage: 128GB UFS 3.1 (no microSD)
Battery: 4,520mAh; 33W charging
Software: MIUI 12 (on Android 11)
Dual SIM, 5G connectivity
Unlike the aforementioned Redmi device, the Mi 11i steps things up in the power department, utilising the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 platform as found in the original Mi 11. That’s the top-grade processor that you’ll find in any phone during 2021, which translates into really great performance.
As we said, it gives the Mi 11i an upper hand in ensuring that higher frame-rates are achievable for making the most of that fast-refresh panel. So whether you’re admiring the smooth scrolling around the MIUI software, or playing your very best PUBG: Mobile, it’s an impressive outlay.
Even when gaming we’ve not found heat dissipating from the body to be a problem – likely the result of a plastic rather than metal shell? – while the 4,520mAh battery has been holding up really well under our mixed use. We’ve been getting about 14 hours use, which has seen us arrive at just under half battery by bed time on most days. It also sports 33W fast-charging to get topped-up again nice and quick.
Part of the reason for this long battery innings is the fairly high impact of Xiaomi’s MIUI software. There are lots of options to pick through, a number of alerts to suggest limiting certain functions to retain battery, and a lot of per-app permissions that you’ll need to tinker with to ensure everything runs as you please. They’re not all in the one place, either, so you’ll really need to dig deep to find everything.
As we said of the original Mi 11: that’s kind-of good, but kind-of bad all at the same time, because there’s so much footwork to get everything functioning as you expect – and sometimes you won’t know there’s a ‘problem’ with a specific app until, say, it doesn’t send you a notification. And we’ve found Gmail slow to update and Outlook largely ill-responsive when it comes to notifications on this software platform.
All that said, however, we’ve not run into as many considerable hurdles while using the Mi 11i as with some other Xiaomi handsets. It’s quirks rather than total experience killers. And this is running MIUI 12.0.4 – so it’s still not on the expected 12.5 update. How much difference that will genuinely make is yet to be seen though.
On the cameras front the Mi 11i is largely similar to the Mi 11. Both have triple rear systems, both of which feature a 108-megapixel main camera, a wide-angle, and a macro. However, the ‘i’ model downgrades the wide-angle’s resolution (from 13MP to 8MP) and drops the optical stabilisation of the main camera too.
: Wide angle camera (full size image)Wide angle camera (full size image)
Still, we’re glad that there aren’t other throwaway cameras like with so many other phones at the moment. Each lens has its own distinct task. Sure, that built-in microphone looks like its been installed by a 1970s Bond-esque spy team, but otherwise there’s not excesses to be seen. And, no, there’s no zoom lens here – but that wouldn’t be expected at this level.
The main lens uses nine-in-one pixel processing to produce 12-megapixel images as standard – smaller than the four-in-one 27-megapixel output offering from the standard Mi 11 device. There’s still heaps of detail crammed in, though, so it’s a decent enough optic to deliver good results – just don’t expect too much in lower-light when you can’t hold the phone steady. The Night Mode isn’t that great, really, but it can get you out of a tricky low-light situation.
: Main camera (full size image)Main camera (full size image)
The telemacro, which also doesn’t feature any stabilisation either, can be a bit tricky to use. But its results are fun. You’ll get some great close-ups, but there’s not the same degree of accomplishment with sharpness or detail as the main lens – partly because it’s 5-megapixels only, partly because the autofocus is limited. But at least it’s a step better than the no-good 2-megapixel macro lenses that so many makers are mindlessly putting on their phones.
All in all, despite the absence of proper optical zoom lenses, the Mi 11i’s take on cameras is decent for this level. There are limitations, though, and the wide-angle isn’t very good here, but in terms of an accomplished main optic without too many distractions it works.
The Mi 11i is, on the one hand, a confusing entry to Xiaomi’s series because it adds yet another handset to the Mi 11 line-up. And that muddies the waters between the standard Mi 11 and the Mi 11 Lite 5G – the latter which we’d buy beyond both others given its preferable design.
On the other hand, the Mi 11i doesn’t get anything truly wrong, per se, it functions smoothly as there’s heaps of power – which is a reason you’d consider it above and beyond more budget contenders, such as the Redmi Note 10 Pro.
Using the Mi 11i feels largely effortless, but as it’s an exercise in market flooding there’s also no distinctive reason to opt for one.
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G
Of all the Mi 11 handsets this would be our choice. It’s the best looking, the slimmest, and while not the most powerful just feels best balanced as the handset to own. Especially in the minty colour finish, as pictured, which we think looks super.
Read our review
Redmi Note 10 Pro
It’s less powerful, but then it’s cheaper. With the same screen as the Mi 11i, but lesser protruding rear cameras, and software that – for whatever reason – we found more consistent, this money-saving option would be our budget alternative pick.
(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus announced an addition to its Nord range of smartphones during an event in June in the form of the Nord CE 5G.
The device sits below the original Nord, which means it subsequently sits under the flagship OnePlus 9 series.
You can read more about how the Nord CE 5G compares to the original Nord in our separate feature, but here we are covering how it stacks up against the OnePlus 9. Should you spend the extra cash?
Nord CE 5G: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm, 170g
OnePlus 9: 160 x 74.2 x 8.7mm, 192g
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G features an all-plastic design that has a pill-shaped rear camera housing in the top left corner, a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom of the device alongside the charging port, and a singular punch hole camera in the top left corner of the display.
The display is flat, there is no official IP rating and the Nord CE 5G comes in three colour options.
The OnePlus 9 meanwhile, has a glass rear, though it has a plastic frame, and it features a more prominent rectangular camera housing on the rear. Two of the three camera lenses are larger and have a metal surround, making more of a feature on the back.
On the front, the display is flat on the OnePlus 9, like the Nord CE 5G, and it also features a punch hole camera in the top left corner. There is no official IP waterproof rating, though the 9 Pro model does offer this if that’s a feature you are desperate for.
The OnePlus 9 has an alert slider – something the Nord CE 5G doesn’t have – but there is no 3.5mm headphone jack.
Nord CE 5G: 6.43-inch, 2400 x 1080 (410ppi), 90Hz
OnePlus 9: 6.55-inch, Full HD+ (402ppi), 120Hz
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G has a 6.43-inch display that sports a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution to deliver a pixel density of 410ppi.
The flat display has an aspect ratio of 20:9 and it offers a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s a Fluid AMOLED screen.
The OnePlus 9 meanwhile, has a slightly larger screen at 6.55-inches. It has a Full HD+ resolution like the Nord CE 5G though, which results in a pixel density of 402ppi.
The 9 has a Fluid AMOLED display like the Nord CE 5G, but it offers a higher refresh rate at 120Hz and it also supports HDR. Both the OnePlus 9 and Nord CE 5G have under-display fingerprint sensors.
Hardware and specs
Nord CE 5G: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, 6/8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4500mAh
Under the hood, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G processor, with a choice of 6GB, 8GB and 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, though not all variants will be available in all regions.
There’s a 4500mAh battery that supports Warp Charge 30T fast charging. There is no wireless charging on board.
The OnePlus 9 meanwhile has the flagship – and more powerful – Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor under its hood, with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage.
The same 4500mAh battery capacity is on board the OnePlus 9 too, but it offers support of 65W fast charging and there is support for wireless charging too.
Both devices are 5G capable.
Nord CE 5G: Triple camera (64MP main + 8MP ultra wide + 2MP mono), 16MP front
OnePlus 9: Triple camera (48MP main + 50MP ultra wide + 2MP mono), 16MP front, Hasselblad partnership
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G and OnePlus 9 both have a triple camera on their rears, but they are made up of different lenses, while the OnePlus 9 also has a Hasselblad partnership on board.
The triple camera on the Nord CE 5G is comprised of a 64-megapixel main camera (f/1.79), an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera (f/2.25) and a 2-megapixel mono-lens camera (f/2.4).
The triple camera on the OnePlus 9 meanwhile, is a 48-megapixel main camera with f/1.8 aperture, a 50-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with f/2.4 aperture and a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor.
Both the OnePlus Nord CE 5G and the OnePlus 9 have a 16-megapixel front camera on board.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G starts at £299 in the UK.
The OnePlus 9 starts at £629 in the UK, making it quite a bit more expensive.
The OnePlus 9 is likely to feel like a more premium device compared to the Nord CE 5G thanks to the materials used. It also delivers a more powerful processor, faster charging capabilities, a larger display with a faster refresh rate, and likely better camera capabilities.
The Nord CE 5G appears to offer quite a lot for its price point though, with a good battery size, 5G capabilities, nice design and what looks like it could be a good camera load out.
We would expect the OnePlus 9 to be the better device, naturally, but based on the specifications alone, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G looks like it could be a good option to consider if the 9 is too expensive.
(Pocket-lint) – OnePlus added the Nord CE 5G to its more affordable Nord range of smartphones, joining the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus Nord N10 and OnePlus Nord N100.
Sitting just below the OnePlus Nord in terms of specifications, rather than replacing it, here is how the OnePlus Nord CE 5G compares to the Nord to help you work out which is right for you.
Nord: 158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2mm, 184g
Nord CE 5G: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.9mm, 170g
The OnePlus Nord and Nord CE 5G look similar on first glance, especially from the rear. Both have a pill-shaped rear camera housing in the top left corner, and both come with a flat display.
Dive a little deeper and there are some standout differences between the two models though. The original Nord has a plastic frame, but offers a glass rear. It also has an alert slider like other OnePlus devices, though it doesn’t have a headphone jack.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G meanwhile, features a plastic frame, as well as a plastic rear and though it offers a headphone jack, it misses off the alert slider.
In terms of physical size and weight, the OnePlus Nord CE 5G is slimmer and lighter than the Nord, but fractionally taller and wider. Both come in three colour options with the Nord available in Blue Marble, Gray Oynx and Gray Ash, while the Nord CE 5G comes in Blue Void, Charcoal Ink and Silver Ray. Neither has an official IP rating.
Nord: 6.44-inch, 2400 x 1080 (408ppi), 90Hz
Nord CE 5G: 6.43-inch, 2400 x 1080 (410ppi), 90Hz
The OnePlus Nord and Nord CE 5G have very similar specifications when it comes to their displays too. The Nord has a 6.44-inch screen with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, offering a pixel density of 408ppi.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G meanwhile, has a 6.43-inch display, also with a 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution that puts its pixel density at a slightly higher 410ppi because of the 0.1-inch reduction in size. That difference is not something you would notice though.
Both devices have a 90Hz refresh rate, both come with an AMOLED screen and both have a 20:9 aspect ratio. They also both have a P3 colour gamut.
Nord CE 5G: Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G, 6/8/12GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4500mAh
The OnePlus Nord runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G platform, supported by either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. It’s not available in the US though, with the Nord N10 model placed there instead.
There’s a 4115mAh battery under the hood and it supports 30T Warp Charge fast charge but there is no wireless charging.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G platform, supported by 6GB, 8GB or 12GB or RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. You’re looking at a very similar loadout here really, with the Nord CE 5G taking a slight dip in processing power but this isn’t likely to be something you’d notice in everyday use.
The Nord CE 5G has a larger battery capacity than the Nord at 4500mAh, and it supports 30T Plus Warp Charge fast charging, but again, there is no wireless charging.
Nord: Quad rear (48MP main + 8MP ultra wide + 5MP depth + 2MP macro), dual front (32MP main + 8MP ultra wide)
Nord CE 5G: Triple rear (64MP main + 8MP ultra wide + 2MP mono), single front (16MP)
The OnePlus Nord has a quad camera on the rear made up of a 48-megapixel main camera with 0.8µm pixels and a f/1.6 aperture, a 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.25 aperture, a 5-megapixel depth lens with f/2.4 aperture and a 2-megapixel macro lens with f/2.4 aperture.
There’s a dual front camera with a 32-megapixel main camera offering a f/2.45 aperture, and an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with f/2.45 aperture.
The OnePlus Nord CE meanwhile, has a triple rear camera with a 64-megapixel main camera with 0.7µm pixels and a f/1.79 aperture, an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens with f/2.25 aperture and a 2-megapixel mono-lens lens with f/2.4 aperture.
The front camera is a single lens with a 16-megapixel sensor, offering an f/2.45 aperture.
In terms of video capabilities, both the Nord and Nord CE 5G support 4K video recording at 30fps and 1080p video at 30fps and 60fps. They also both support super slow motion video, but the Nord CE 5G offers 1080p at 120fps and 720 at 240fps, while the Nord has 1080p at 240fps.
The Nord CE 5G’s front camera is also only capable of 1080p video, while the Nord offers 4K video from its front camera.
The OnePlus Nord CE 5G and Nord offer similar designs, but the Nord CE 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a plastic body, while the Nord has an alert slider and a glass rear. The Nord CE is also slimmer and lighter.
Both have very similar displays and they both offer similar hardware loadouts, though the Nord has a more powerful processor on board and an extra camera on the front and rear, while the Nord CE 5G has a larger battery capacity.
Overall, the two handsets are pretty much on par, with both tipping the scales in their own areas. The Nord CE 5G is fractionally cheaper than the Nord, but there isn’t a huge amount in it so the decision will likely come down to which features you are more bothered about.
(Pocket-lint) – There’s no beating around the bush, the Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless in-ears are exceptional for their price. And, while there are one or two competitors that offer slightly better sound quality, they are usually more expensive and cannot match these for adaptive noise-cancelling (ANC) tech.
Sony has taken an already excellent pair of ANC headphones – the WF-1000XM3 ‘buds, in this case – and improved almost every aspect, resulting in a class-leading product. Sure, some will likely bemoan Sony’s lack of support for Qualcomm’s aptX, but the XF-1000XM4 are still among the best all-round in-ears we’ve had through the test labs. Here’s why.
Design and comfort
Bluetooth 5.2 to each ear
Four NC microphones
Bone conduction sensor
Custom Polyurethane eartips
The first thing that’ll strikes you when unboxing the headphones from Sony’s new totally biodegradable packaging is just how much smaller the charging case is from the previous generation. It is, according to Sony, 40 per cent smaller – and it notices.
To be fair, the last model has one of the biggest charging cases in the business – especially when compared to its near competitors – so the latest brings the XM4s into line. However, its lightness and pocket-sized girth are both very welcome.
As is the Qi charging and the matte plastic finish. The latter makes it nice to hold in the hand and will disguise minor scratches, we expect. The former wireless charging feature will make it much easier to just plonk the case onto a mat, ready to pick it up again when you are about to leave the house.
The ‘buds themselves are smaller than before – 10 per cent, it is claimed – with a familiar bulbous design, matte finish, some neat design touches such as small gold elements (rose gold on the black version we tested).
There are two noise-cancelling mics on each ‘bud, one behind the (almost) Mod symbol on the front, another behind a little slot facing rearwards. Both are accented by gold.
Three different sized eartips are included in the box, which are made from soft polyurethane rather than the usual silicone. This allows for a more comfortable, secure fit that also aids noise isolation greatly.
You do have to fiddle around with each ‘bud a bit more than with most brands in order to get it into the right position in your ear, but the audio quality merits it. The Sony Headphones Connect app even helps each ‘bud analyse the shape of your ears for even better audio personalisation.
We were pleased to note that after a decent period of use these ‘buds were just as comfortable as they were at the start. That’s not something we could comparatively say about their predecessors.
They also stay in better during exercise. We haven’t worn them on a full run yet, but have aggressively used an exercise bike and jogged on the spot a few times to make sure they don’t wobble much. They are also IPX4 certified, so are sweat- and water-resistant.
Setting up the WF-1000XM4 earphones is a doddle. They support both Android and Windows’ easy pairing modes, while our iPhone found them instantly in the Bluetooth list. The Sony Headphones Connect app also found them straight away.
It is here that you get to customise just about every nuance, including the ANC modes, touch controls, and sound equaliser (EQ). Sony provides many more options than a lot of rivals we’ve tried, so you can spend a while tweaking all the options to suit you best. However, the defaults are generally decent too, if you don’t want to get bogged down in minutiae.
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The ‘buds themselves have touch options on each ear: noise cancelling/ambient sound controls on the left; play/pause on the right. Touch both at the same time for seven seconds and you can set them back into pairing mode.
These touch options can be changed in the app though, such as adding voice assistant activation or volume. Both Alexa and Google Assistant can be enabled by voice instead – with wake-word support – so you are probably best sticking to the original setup.
You will need to turn on Speak-to-Chat though, if you want to use it. This stops any playback as soon as you talk – handy for speaking to cabin crew on an aircraft, for example. And, you might want to adjust the Bluetooth connection too – if the priority on sound quality is causing too many dropouts.
DSSE Extreme is also available in the app on a slider. This is said to enhance standard audio – MP3/AAC – to a higher bitrate through artificial intelligence.
Sony’s tried and trusted ANCtech is on board too, of course, which is one of the last customisable options. Again, default will be perfect for most as it will assess the best sound mode based on your current location and circumstance – whether you are sitting, travelling, and so forth.
We did find that we had to go into the app to force ANC on when we wanted to use it in the garden, for example, as it thought the ambience was tranquil enough – and we didn’t.
This generation of in-ears come with a new integrated V1 processor, which better handles ANC duties, you just have to make sure certain options are tuned to your own preferences first.
Sound performance and battery
Up to 24 hour battery life (8hr in buds, 16hrs in case)
Qi wireless charging
New integrated V1 processor
LDAN and Hi-Res Audio Wireless support
There are a number of reasons why the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds outperform their predecessors. A new 6mm driver with increased magnet volume, plus enhanced amplifier is one. A high compliance diaphragm is another. The latter is more flexible, so can reduce latency and therefore more accurately reproduce certain frequencies.
In short, these ‘buds sound great. We tested them mainly on an iPhone 12 Pro Max, which means we couldn’t feed them with lossless audio that way. However, we also ran a few lossless tracks over LDAC (which is Sony’s own high-res streaming codec – but nobody has any idea what the acronym means) on a supporting Android handset, so feel we got a good grip on their capabilities.
The ‘buds are Hi-Res Audio Wireless capable and support LDAC themselves, although they do not come with support for Qualcomm aptX or any of its guises. As we’ve said above, that might irk some, but many handsets are LDAC-enabled these days and we’d imagine these will be used with lower bitrate tracks for the vast majority of the time anyway.
To that end, DSEE Extreme is provided. This is a newer version of Sony’s own AI-driven software. It essentially upscales lower quality audio to around CD quality – filling in the gaps as it imagines. It’s a bit like watching a Blu-ray on a decent 4K TV – it will look better, but don’t expect miracles.
Still, unless you are an audio purist, you will likely love the richness and grunt of these ‘buds. Even basic AAC versions of The Beatles’ She’s Leaving Home and Liam’s Gallagher’s Once exhibited great detail and staging, especially with DSEE Extreme activated. While the thumping bass hits in Elbow’s Dexter & Sinister grab you by the nethers.
That’s in either noise cancelling and ambient sound modes. Speaking of the former, the improvements made to the tech are quite impressive. ANC on in-ears has been somewhat hit-and-miss in the past, but the new implementation here is jaw-dropping at times.
Considering how the world is right now, flying anywhere to test its prowess, even taking a train have been difficult, but we wore the ‘buds with ANC on while mowing the lawn as part of our tests. We didn’t hear the mower. At all. Some might think that dangerous, but it’s certainly staggering.
What’s more, the Bluetooth connection held up well. We’d like to find out how it would act when thousands of wireless technologies are all bouncing around and competing – on a packed London Tube concourse, say – but that’s not really feasible right now.
Battery life might be tested a little more then too. As it stands, Sony quotes eight hours for the ‘buds, a further 16 in the case, and that seems reasonable based on our experiences – if a little stingy compared to some competitors. We do love that addition of Qi wireless charging though – it makes life so much simpler.
Sony has sure hit its stride now, first with the superb WH-1000XM4 over-ears, now followed-up by these exemplary WF-1000XM4 in-ears. There are so many new features in these true wireless earbuds that they’re even worth considering as an upgrade over the last generation – something that we rarely recommend.
Above all it’s the excellent audio performance and, in particular, active noise-cancelling (ANC) talents. Yes, we couldn’t really try them out in as many real-world settings we would usually wear ANC ‘buds in, but in homelife equivalent tests they hold up superbly.
So sony has done it again: it’s truly taken every tiny quibble anybody had with the XM3s, tweaking and improving along the way to make a class-leading pair of in-ears that will take some beating. The WF-1000XM4 are fairly pricey, of course, but we think worth every penny.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
A very strong competitor in the active noise-cancelling game, offering similar sound isolation, comfort, and longevity for a very similar price. Talk about battle of the best!
Honor has released a couple of official images for its upcoming 50 series smartphone via its Weibo page and Twitter. The images focus on the rear of the phone, showing an eye-catching pair of circular camera bumps. The Honor 50 series is currently due to be announced on June 16th.
Amidst a sea of square and rectangular camera bumps, the dual circle design is an interesting look for Honor’s next flagship. It’s also a style that Honor’s former parent company Huawei is planning to use for its next flagship, the similarly-named P50. It’s possible that the two companies finalized their designs before Huawei sold off Honor late last year, but it’ll be strange to see such similar looking devices released from two distinct manufacturers within such close proximity to one another.
From the images it appears as though Honor’s next handset will have four rear cameras in total. The upper camera circle has one large lens, and it’s joined by three more on the lower bump. In contrast, Huawei’s P50 appears to have three lenses on the upper circle, and a single camera paired with a flash on the bottom.
Beyond its design, Honor’s next flagship will be powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G processor, will feature 100W fast charging, and will also come with a “hypercurved screen.” It may also mark the return of Google’s apps and services to Honor’s devices (including the Google Play Store) if a now-deleted tweet from the company’s German Twitter account is to be believed. Honor was prevented from including Google’s software because of sanctions placed on its former parent company Huawei, but these are believed to not apply since it became independent.
A spokesperson from Honor previously declined to comment to The Verge as to whether or not Google’s software would be available on the upcoming 50 series. But with an official launch just round the corner, we won’t have long to wait to find out.
Nvidia does not have plans to bring its ray tracing-enabled GPU architectures to smartphones or other ultra-mobile devices right now, CEO Jensen Huang told journalists at a Computex meeting this week. The statements come just days after AMD confirmed that upcoming Samsung smartphones using AMD RDNA2 GPU architecture will support ray tracing.
According to Huang, the time for ray tracing in mobile gadgets hasn’t arrived yet.
“Ray tracing games are quite large, to be honest,” Huang said, according to ZDNet. “The data set is quite large, and there will be a time for it. When the time is right we might consider it.”
AMD, meanwhile, has licensed its RDNA2 architecture, which supports ray tracing, to Samsung for use in the upcoming Exynos 2200 SoC expected to power its laptops and other flagship mobile devices. AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su said this week that the SoC will indeed support ray tracing.
“The next place you’ll find RDNA2 will be the high-performance mobile phone market,” Su said, as reported by AnandTech. “AMD has partnered with industry leader Samsung to accelerate graphics innovation in the mobile market, and we’re happy to announce we will bring custom graphics IP to Samsung’s next flagship SoC, with ray tracing and variable rate shading capabilities. We’re really looking forward to Samsung providing more details later this year.”
Currently, Samsung’s Exynos-powered smartphones use Arm Mali-powered graphics; whereas, Qualcomm Snapdragon-based handsets use Adreno GPUs.
Nvidia is in process of taking over Arm, which develops general-purpose Cortex CPU cores as well as Mali graphics processing units for various system-on-chips (SoCs). Nvidia has long tried to license its GeForce technologies to designers of mobile SoCs and devices without any tangible success. If Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm is approved by various regulators, Nvidia will be able to offer its latest GeForce architectures to Arm licensees. Yet, it appears Nvidia has no immediate plans to bring GeForce RTX to smartphones.
Nvidia’s Ampere and Turing architectures seem to be too bulky for smartphone SoCs (and even for entry-level PC graphics) anyway. For now, the company will have to use its GeForce Now game streaming service to address demanding gamers on smartphones and tablets.
“That’s how we would like to reach Android devices, Chrome devices, iOS devices, MacOS devices, Linux devices — all kinds of devices, whether it’s on TV, or mobile device or PC,” said Huang. “I think that for us, right now, that is the best strategy.”
Yet, ray tracing is nothing new on mobiles. Imagination Technologies architectures since the PowerVR GR6500 introduced in 2014 have supported ray tracing, so it’s up to hardware designers to decide on implementing the capability and game designers to leverage it. Imagination’s PowerVR ray tracing implementation is currently supported by Unreal Engine 4 and Unity 5, but it’s unclear whether it’s primarily used for eye candy, performance increase and/or power reduction.
Samsung has announced two new Windows laptops running Arm-based processors. The Galaxy Book Go and Galaxy Book Go 5G both use Snapdragon chips from Qualcomm rather than Samsung’s own Exynos designs.
The Galaxy Book Go is an entry-level model that starts at $349. It has the updated Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor that Qualcomm announced last month, as well as 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of eUFS storage. The display is a 14-inch 1080p LCD and the laptop is 14.9mm thick, weighing in at 1.38kg.
The Galaxy Book Go 5G, meanwhile, uses Qualcomm’s more powerful Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 processor — though other laptops with that chip aren’t exactly powerhouses — and, as the name suggests, it includes 5G connectivity. Despite running on a Snapdragon chip with an integrated LTE modem, the $349 Galaxy Book Go is actually Wi-Fi-only.
Specs otherwise appear to be shared between the two laptops. The Galaxy Book Go has two USB-C ports, one USB-A port, a headphone jack, a 720p webcam, and a microSD card slot. Samsung hasn’t given pricing or release information for the Galaxy Book Go 5G just yet, but the $349 Galaxy Book Go is going on sale on June 10th.
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