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4
Jul

Huawei P10 camera guide




Inez del Prado Photography

The dual-lens, Leica co-developed cameras on the back of the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus are prime reasons to go out and buy one of these great phones. They take beautiful shots, whether in color, monochrome, a portrait or a photo with a cool, blurred background. Most enticingly, the P10 boosts your confidence as a photographer, and its ability to produce wonderful pictures pushes you to go out and experiment.

If the P10 is in your hand right now, but you’re a newcomer to Huawei’s phones and software, it can be difficult to know where to start. We’ve put together a guide on how to make the most out of the P10’s excellent camera, and its intuitive user interface, that’s applicable to both the P10 and P10 Plus.

Getting started

Huawei’s main camera app, like the lenses on the phone, has been co-developed by Leica; mimicking its own user interface. It’s intuitive and attractively laid out, and goes a long way to making the P10 so usable. Open the app and you’re presented with the viewfinder, along with the shutter release below, and a menu above it.

Return to the main viewfinder screen by swiping to the left, then swipe to the left again to reveal another screen, this time filled with settings for the camera. Among features like a watermark, smile capture, and a timer, we do recommend using one of the Grid options. These help frame and compose your photos, and although there are some complex options available, the simple Grid is fine for most people.

Back on the main screen, below the viewfinder is a button to change between stills and video to the right of the shutter release, and a shortcut to the gallery on the left. From here, you can start snapping away, but to get the best from the P10, you’ll want to play around with some of the other modes.

Portrait, wide aperture, and more

Turning our attention to the menu above the viewfinder window, there are two buttons that you’ll end up using most. The first is the Portrait button, which looks like a person’s head and shoulders in a circular window, and the second is Wide Aperture mode, which looks like a camera lens.

Tap Portrait mode, and the camera sets itself up to take pictures of people. The P10 cleverly looks for faces, and, using some complex and detailed face scanning algorithms, tracks 190 points in 3D space, then adjusts the scene to suit the person — including artificial light sources, blurring out the background to give the picture a bokeh-style pop, and enhancing the color in the foreground.

Don’t think this only works with the color lens either. Swap to the monochrome lens — swipe left, and tap Monochrome — to get the same effect, only in striking black and white. It’s not only for use on the rear camera, so tap the button on the top right of the upper menu to swap to the selfie camera, and get the same great features. Huawei enhanced Portrait mode with a beauty effect, which can be adjusted along with the bokeh style, using two buttons overlaid on the viewfinder. The button with the number value tweaks the beauty mode, while the button below it activates the bokeh shot. Play with both to get the right look for your photo.

Wide aperture mode is for activating the bokeh mode, giving the blurred background effect that’s such a trend in mobile photography at the moment. When activated, the mode brings up another button for adjusting the camera lens aperture, and a slider lets you strengthen or lessen the blur. Don’t feel restricted by getting the blur right at the time of taking the picture, as it can be adjusted after the photo has been taken, too.

To do this, open the Gallery app — or tap on the preview image in the camera app — and look for the same camera lens icon used to activate the wide aperture mode initially. Tap this, and then choose the area in the photo you want in focus, or blurred out. A slider at the bottom of the screen widens the aperture, emphasizing the blur. There’s also a filter button to add different effects. Don’t pass these by, as they add really unusual looks to the picture. Try the monochrome filter to see what we mean!

Together, these two modes make the Huawei P10 one of the most versatile, creative, and competent camera phones out there.

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4
Jul

Best Yeelight Products in 2018


Yeelight offers a great selection of smart lighting options.

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There are plenty of options available if you’re in the market for smart lighting solutions, and Yeelight is a brand that rose to prominence in recent years. Yeelight is a Chinese lighting brand that counts Xiaomi as one of its main investors, and its products are sold as part of the Mi Ecosystem label in China. Much like Xiaomi, Yeelight is notable for rolling out products that offer great value for money.

Starting this year, Yeelight starting selling its more popular products directly on Amazon.com, making it easy for consumers in the U.S. to pick up its wares.

Yeelight LED bulb

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The Yeelight LED bulb is an affordable alternative to the Hue ecosystem. Like Hue, the Yeelight smart LED bulb is available in both white and color options, and they’re also rated as a 60W equivalent. The main difference is that unlike Hue, the Yeelight bulbs don’t need a dedicated bridge to work, which lowers the barrier to entry.

For instance, you can get started with the Yeelight LED bulb by just picking up one unit and seeing how it functions in your home environment, all for just $29. The bulb has a color temperature between 1700K to 6500K, and you can set up lighting effects, add a schedule, adjust the intensity of the lights, and more from the Yeelight app.

Like all smart bulbs in the market today, the Yeelight LED bulb is compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and you’ll be able to launch routines and set up schedules with your voice. There’s also the option to configure actions via IFTTT.

See at Amazon

Yeelight LED Lightstrip

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Like the LED bulb, Yeelight’s light strip is similar in functionality to the Hue Lightstrip. The two-meter light strip has 3M adhesive at the back, and you can bend it or cut it to length as needed. It also connects over Wi-Fi to your home network, and is controllable with the Yeelight app.

It also comes with a one-button control that lets you toggle the light strip on or off and switch between various colors. The light strip is currently sold out at Amazon, so you’ll have to pick it up from GearBest for $29.99

See at GearBest

Yeelight Ambient Light

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The Ambient Light is the latest addition to Yeelight’s catalog. It essentially mimics a candlelight — it has a fixed color temperature of 1800K. There’s a control ring that lets you adjust the intensity of the light by rotating the glass housing clockwise or counterclockwise.

The candela features Bluetooth mesh tech, so you can set up several lights and control the lighting options by changing the setting on one unit. There’s even a flicker mode that recreates a similar effect you get with candlelights.

There’s a 2100mAh battery that provides up to six hours of continuous battery life, and the candela is portable enough that you can carry it with you. As the candela works over Bluetooth, you won’t be able to control it with Alexa or Assistant, but the control ring on the glass housing comes in handy for toggling the light on or off.

See at Amazon

Yeelight Bedside Lamp

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Yeelight’s bedside lamp is packed with 14 LEDs that offer a uniform light. The lamp has 16 million colors, and comes with a control surface at the top that lets you toggle the light and switch colors.

You can set up a wake timer from the Yeelight app that will create a visual alarm of sorts: the lamp automatically switches on in the morning, and slowly increases the intensity of the light until your specified alarm time kicks in. Unlike the candela, the bedside lamp needs to be plugged into a power outlet to work.

See at Amazon

While Yeelight has some accessories up for sale in the U.S., the list pales in comparison to what the company sells in China. If you’ve used Yeelight gear in the past and are interested in seeing what the brand has to offer, head to GearBest from the link below to see all the products up for sale.

See at GearBest

What’s your go-to Yeelight?

Do you Yeelight? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!

4
Jul

MoviePass: Everything you need to know


Here’s your one-stop-shop for all the MoviePass news, controversies, and more.

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard a thing or two about MoviePass. Although the company was founded way back in 2011, it’s picked up a lot of steam over the past year or so with its too-good-to-be-true offer of allowing you to see one movie per day for just $9.95/month.

MoviePass has become one of the most disruptive companies of recent memory, and whether you’re looking for the latest controversies or want to learn more about the service before you sign up, you’ve come to the right place.

Without further ado, this is everything you need to know about MoviePass!

The latest MoviePass news

June 22, 2018 — MoviePass Peak Pricing, Bring-A-Guest, and Premium Showings

Get ready, folks. There’s a lot changing with MoviePass, so let’s dive right into the big highlights:

  • Bring-A-Guest: If you’re going to the movies with a friend or family member that doesn’t have MoviePass, you can purchase their ticket from the MoviePass app. You’ll still pay the full ticket price, but it should make the ticket-buying process a bit more seamless. You can pick a seat for you and your guest if you’re going to a theater that supports e-ticketing and reserved seating, and if your friend signs up for MoviePass without 24 hours of your showtime, you’ll get a full refund for the ticket price.

  • Peak Pricing: For showtimes where “the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher”, you’ll need to pay a “small additional fee” for your ticket. You can avoid the added cost by seeing a different movie or seeing that same title on a different day, and MoviePass will give you a Peak Pass once a month that waives the fee for you. If you’re billed annually or quarterly, you won’t be subject to Peak Pricing until your subscription resets.

  • Premium Showings: No matter what plan you’re on, you’ll have the option of seeing RealD 3D, 2D IMAX, 3D, and other Premium Large Format movies by paying an upgrade fee.

MoviePass says these features will be rolling out to members “in the coming weeks.”

June 11, 2018 — A family plan is coming!

Since MoviePass’s inception, one of the features users have been asking for the most is a family plan. We’ve been waiting and waiting for something along these lines to be announced, and on June 11, Helios and Matheson Analytics CEO (MoviePass’s parent company) Ted Farnsworth confirmed that a family plan is, in fact, in the works.

With MoviePass’s family plan, you’ll be able to book tickets for you and your family members/significant other all in one app/transaction. There won’t be any sort of discount for the family plan, but the added convenience of not having to bother with multiple apps and subscriptions will be a welcome treat.

Farnsworth said that they “might do something down the road to get more of a discount for the family plan”, but it’s unclear if/when that’ll happen.

All the important details

There are two plans to choose from

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Right now, you’ve got two options to choose from if you want to get MoviePass — MoviePass and MoviePass Unlimited.

The former of those two is a limited time offer and allows you to see three movies per month + comes with an extended three-month trial of iHeartRadio All-Access.

While it’s nice that MoviePass has this available if you want to save a couple bucks each month, I’d recommend going all the way with MoviePass Unlimited. For $9.95/month, you can watch one new movie per day in theaters every single day.

Both plans are billed monthly and can be canceled at any time.

See at MoviePass

E-ticketing makes everything easier

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MoviePass is regularly partnering with more and more theater chains to support e-ticketing, and if you happen to live near one that offers this, you’re in for a real treat.

For theaters that don’t support e-ticketing, using MoviePass requires you to be within 100 yards of the theater you’re going to, check-in to the showtime on your phone, and then swipe your card to get your ticket. If the showing happens to sell out by the time you get to the theater, you can either choose another movie or call it a night.

However, if there’s a theater near you that does support e-ticketing, the process is way simpler. Once you find the showtime you want to go to, a “Get E-Ticket” button will pop up instead of the “Check In” one.

E-tickets can’t be canceled once you buy them, but they do have the added benefit of allowing you buy them wherever you are. Also, if you’re theater supports e-ticketing and reserved seating, you can even choose your seat right from the MoviePass app! Once you get to the theater, just type in the redemption code for your e-ticket or scan the QR code.

Right now, e-ticketing with MoviePass works at Goodrich Quality Theaters, Studio Movie Grill, and MJR Theaters.

Only 2D movies are supported, at least for now

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As it currently stands, you can only use your MoviePass to watch regular 2D movies. In the near future, however, that will soon be changing.

In the coming weeks, MoviePass will allow you to pay an upgrade fee to see RealD 3D, IMAX 2D, 3D, and other Premium Large Format movies.

It’s unclear right now how much those upgrade fees will cost, but you can absolutely expect them to be considerably less than the full ticket price.

You can’t rewatch movies

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As good of a deal as MoiePass is, it’s not without a few limits here and there — the first of which is the fact that you can’t rewatch movies.

MoviePass experimented with letting people rewatch the same movie over and over again for a few months but eventually decided to revoke the right to prevent ticket-scalping and other misuses of the service.

It would certainly be nice to have the option of seeing a movie again that you particularly like, but don’t expect this to come back anytime soon.

You can still benefit from your theater’s loyalty program

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If your theater has a loyalty program that rewards you with points for buying tickets and concessions, you can link it up to your MoviePass account and still get rewarded for the tickets you “buy” with your MoviePass subscription.

As it currently stands, you can link loyalty programs from Goodrich Quality Theaters, D Place Entertainment, and Starlight Cinemas.

It’s an admittedly small list right now, but it’s one that should only grow more and more as time goes on.

What’s the deal with “Peak Pricing”?

MoviePass is always trying to find ways of adapting its business model as more and more people join, and one of those latest efforts is seen with Peak Pricing. On June 22, MoviePass said the following:

Under this plan, if the combination of demand for a title, date or part of day is higher, subscribers may be asked to pay a small additional fee depending on the level of demand. You can avoid this peak surcharge by choosing an alternative date or film.

It’s unclear right now how much that “small additional fee” will be, but MoviePass also notes that it’ll give all subscribers one Peak Pass per month that’ll waive the fee for one movie.

If you’re currently subscribed to an annual or quarterly plan, you won’t have to deal with Peak Pricing until your plan ends and renews.

Be mindful of the device authorization limit

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If you’re someone that lives the two phone life or frequently goes from device to device, you’ll want to keep MoviePass’s device authorization limit in mind.

To “keep your account secure”, MoviePass only allows you to be signed into the MoviePass app on one phone at a time. However, if you do get a new phone or need to sign into another one for whatever reason, you can log into your account on another phone every 30 days.

Just download the app, enter your credentials, and confirm that you want to use that as your authorized device.

4
Jul

Deal: Save up to $300 on flagship phones from Verizon and Sprint


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Verizon and Sprint are turning it up with some great savings on flagship devices like the Google Pixel 2 or 2 XL, LG G7 ThingQ and a bunch of Samsung Galaxy devices.

Verizon is offering up to $300 off the Google Pixel 2 or 2 XL, LG G7 ThingQ or LG V30, and the Samsung Galaxy S9 & S9+. To take advantage of this deal, you’ll need to trade in an eligible device and sign up for a monthly installment plan. Discounts will come in the form of monthly bill credits.

See at Verizon

Meanwhile, Sprint is offering 50% off new Samsung Galaxy phones, including the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9 & S9+. Galaxy S8 & S8+, and the Galaxy S8 Active. To be eligible, you must sign up for a new line with Sprint Flex Lease for 24 months. You’ll get the discount in the form of monthly credits on your phone bill ($16.50/month). Also for a limited time only, you’ll get free activation when you sign up online (saving you $30).

See at Sprint

4
Jul

Latest iOS 12 Beta Lets Users Generate iCloud Links for Sharing Pictures in the Photos App


In the latest beta of the upcoming iOS 12 update, Apple has included a feature that lets users generate iCloud links for sharing pictures via the stock Photos app.

The iCloud.com URL link option, first noticed by Reddit user Hunkir
The new sharing option appears in the bottom row of the iOS Share Sheet, and allows users with iCloud Photos enabled to copy an iCloud.com URL link to one or several selected images that lasts for 30 days.

Clicking a link in an email takes the recipient to a web page containing the image in question, as well as an option to download it. Sharing a link in the Messages app also shows a preview of the image right in the chat thread. The link also includes the author’s name, the photo’s title, and associated EXIF data, excluding location information.

The addition should come in handy for times when you quickly want to share an image from your iOS device, minus the hassle of uploading it to a third-party service. It’s also more than likely that the iCloud link sharing option will feature in macOS Mojave.

For more on all the changes coming in iOS 12, check out our dedicated roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 12
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4
Jul

Apple’s Senior Siri Director to Discuss Natural Language Processing at AI Frontiers Conference


Apple’s senior director of Siri, Alex Acero, will speak at the AI Frontiers conference in San Jose, California, this coming November.

The event brings together specialists in the fields of robotics, natural language processing, virtual assistants, autonomous driving, and more, with speakers from the likes of Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Uber.

As part of a panel exploring the role of personal assistants, Acero will about how deep learning informs the way Siri works on Apple devices. From the AI Frontiers online schedule:

Siri brought personal assistants to the mainstream after its introduction in 2011 in the iPhone. Deep learning is powering many components in Siri: trigger word detection, large vocabulary recognition, text-to-speech, machine translation, and natural language understanding. In this talk I will show a few examples of how deep learning is used in Siri.

Also on Acero’s panel are Amazon Alexa director Ruhi Sarikaya and Google research scientist Dilek Hakkani-Tur.

Acero arrived at Apple in 2013 after spending two decades at Microsoft, where he oversaw research into computer vision, speech, neuro-linguistic programming, machine learning and translation, amongst other areas. His work on Siri takes in speech recognition, speech synthesis, and machine translation.

The AI Frontiers conference takes place from November 9 to November 11. For more information on the event and scheduled speakers, check out the AI Frontiers website.

Tag: Siri
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4
Jul

How to Use the New Screen Capture Interface in macOS Mojave


In macOS Mojave, Apple has introduced a new screen capture interface that unifies the screenshot and screen recording features on Mac, making accessing them easier than it used to be.

A new floating palette brings the traditional Mac screen capture functions together under a single menu. You can access it by hitting Command-Shift-5. Let’s take a closer look at what’s on offer.

The three buttons to the left of the first menu divider provide you with options to take a screenshot of the entire screen, a selected window, or a selected portion of the screen. Note that the keyboard shortcuts for these actions still function as before in macOS.

Meanwhile, on the right of the palette’s first divider are two buttons to begin a screen recording – taking in the whole screen or just a portion of the action. These actions were previously only accessible in the macOS Grab utility.


If you choose to capture a window, hover your mouse cursor over it: The window will be highlighted and your cursor will change to a camera. Simply click your mouse button to take the capture.

If you’re capturing a selected portion of the screen, use the mouse cursor crosshairs to select the area you want to capture. When you take a screen recording, a button will appear in the menu bar for you to click when you’re ready to end the recording.

You can click the rightmost button on the palette to reveal an additional menu of options for controlling other variables, like where you want your captures to be saved (Desktop, Documents, Clipboard, and so on) and whether to include a 5 or 10-second delay before the capture takes place, giving you time to get your screen in order.

As you’d expect, unchecking the Show Mouse Pointer option ensures the mouse cursor doesn’t appear in your capture. The Show Floating Thumbnail option takes a little more explaining.

When you take a screenshot or screen recording in Mojave, a floating thumbnail appears in the bottom corner of the screen, just like it does when you take a screenshot on an iOS device running iOS 11 or later.

Clicking on the thumbnail opens the capture in a window, which includes image Markup tools, or a clip trimming option in the case of recordings, as well as options to share the image/recording or delete it if it didn’t turn out like you wanted.

If you’re taking multiple screenshots in sequence, you probably won’t want the floating thumbnail showing up in subsequent captures, which is why the option to turn it off exists.

For additional tips on controlling the behavior of screenshots using keyboard shortcuts, click here.

Related Roundup: macOS Mojave
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4
Jul

Netflix Testing New ‘Ultra’ Tier of Service That Cuts Premium Plan Streams From Four to Two


Netflix is reportedly testing a new tier of service for subscribers that supersedes the existing top tier Premium plan, according to Italian blog Tutto Android.

Titled “Ultra”, the new plan would allow up to four devices to receive Ultra HD video and audio streaming at the same time. In Italy, the tier is priced at 16.99 euros, or approximately $19.80.

Image credit: Evan Davis
Netflix has three subscription plans at present: Basic ($7.99), Standard ($10.99), and Premium ($13.99). Basic subscribers can watch Netflix on one screen at a time, Standard enables simultaneous viewing on two screens, and Premium allows up to four screens to be used at once to stream the service.

Commenting on the story, Netflix provided CNET with the following statement:

“We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time,” Smita Saran, a Netflix spokeswoman, said in an email. “In this case, we are testing slightly different price points and features to better understand how consumers value Netflix.”

Saran went on to say that not all Netflix subscribers would see the Ultra tier currently being tested, and the company many never offer the plan and its features to a wider base.

The screenshot above indicates that the Ultra plan would reduce the number of simultaneous streams for Premium users from four to two, with Ultra subscribers getting four for their money at the higher price point. Similarly, users on the Standard plan appear to be getting only one stream instead of the usual two.

If the Ultra tier was ever to be officially adopted, it would essentially mean existing Premium users having to pay around $6 more for the same level of service they’re used to.

Netflix has increased the price of its subscription plans in the past. Back in November the company hiked its Standard plan by $1 and its top Premium plan by $2.

Tag: Netflix
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4
Jul

Amazon is opening a second, much larger checkout-less store


Amazon is opening its second “grab-and-go” store in the coming months, and it promises to be much larger than its first one.

Amazon Go lets customers take their items and leave without having to visit a checkout. Cameras and sensors placed around the store automatically record a shopper’s selections before charging them to their account when they exit the store.

The new Amazon Go will be located inside the Madison Centre building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Marion Street in the company’s home city of Seattle, GeekWire reported on Tuesday. That’s about a mile from Amazon’s Day 1 tower where the first Go store opened in January.

“We are excited to bring Amazon Go to 920 5th Avenue in Seattle,” Amazon confirmed in a statement, adding that it’ll open in the fall of 2018.

Permit filings seen by GeekWire suggest the store will be significantly larger of the original one, with space of 3,000 square feet compared to 1,800 square feet.

In May, Amazon confirmed it’s also looking to open Go stores in Chicago and San Francisco, though it declined to offer any specific dates. It’s already secured a permit for the construction of what’s believed to be a Go store in Chicago’s Loop district, while Union Square has reportedly been selected for the San Francisco site.

There have also been reports that the company wants to open as many as six Amazon Go stores in U.S. cities before the end of 2018.

The apparent expansion drive is confirmation that the company is happy with the operation of its original checkout-less store, with its technology functioning as it should. As you’d expect with such a revolutionary idea, the original store saw extensive testing with Amazon employees before it opened to the public, and things didn’t always go to plan.

To shop at the high-tech store, customers only need to scan their Amazon Go app when they enter the premises. After that, it’s simply a case of choosing your items and popping them in your bag. The system can even track when you put a previously selected item back on the shelf, should you change your mind as you make your way around.

The interest in checkout-less stores is apparently spreading to other big companies, too. Last month, reports surfaced that Microsoft is developing similar technology and is in talks with Walmart about a possible partnership.

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4
Jul

ASUS ZenFone 5Z with Snapdragon 845 debuts in India for just ₹29,999 ($440)


ASUS is taking the fight to OnePlus in the mid-range segment.

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We’ve seen ASUS take an aggressive stance in India’s budget segment with the ZenFone Max Pro M1, and the Taiwanese manufacturer is now doing the same in the mid-range category with the launch of the ZenFone 5Z. The ZenFone 5Z sits at the top of the ZenFone lineup, and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset.

The phone also features a 6.2-inch 19:9 FHD+ display, dual 12MP + 8MP cameras at the back with OIS and EIS, 8MP front shooter, 3300mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0, Wi-Fi ac, FM radio, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm jack, and a high-fidelity DAC.

On the software side of things, the ZenFone 5Z is running ZenUI based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and ASUS has committed to rolling out the Android P update shortly after it becomes available. ASUS significantly dialed back on the customizations with ZenUI, and the interface doesn’t feel as bloated as before.

I’ve been using the device for just over a week, and the interface feels much more polished from even a year ago. ASUS is heavily touting the AI capabilities of ZenUI, with the phone featuring an AI-assisted screen calibration tool that adjusts the color balance of the panel, an AI ringtone mode that automatically adjusts the ringtone volume based on ambient noise, and a host of camera tweaks. I’ll delve into the AI features in the review next week, so stay tuned.

The ZenFone 5Z isn’t the first device to feature the Snapdragon 845 in India — the OnePlus 6 has that distinction — but ASUS is effectively undercutting OnePlus by launching the ZenFone 5Z for ₹29,999 ($440). By contrast, the OnePlus 6 retails for ₹34,999 ($510) in the country. ASUS undertook a similar strategy with the M1 in the budget segment, and it’s clear that the manufacturer is looking to regain momentum in the country, and isn’t willing to lose out on short-term profits to do so.

ASUS is selling the ZenFone 5Z in two color options — Midnight Blue and Meteor Silver — and the base variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage will be available for ₹29,999 ($440), and a version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will retail for ₹32,999 ($480). The high-end variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage will be available for ₹36,999 ($540). The ZenFone 5Z will go up for sale exclusively on Flipkart starting July 9.

OnePlus went unchallenged in India’s mid-range segment for the last two years, but we finally have an alternative in the ZenFone 5Z.

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