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Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro First Impressions

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Redmi Note 6 Pro is the latest smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi that’s set to launch in the Indian market. It succeeds the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which has been a popular choice in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment in the country since its launch nine months ago. Xiaomi now faces competition from new models including the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, Nokia 6.1 Plus, Motorola One Power, and Honor 8X at around the same price. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro will fight back against these competitors. It shares many of its internals and design elements with the Redmi Note 5 Pro, but also sports a new display 6.26-inch 19:9 full-HD+ display with a notch.

The smartphone will be launched at an event in New Delhi scheduled for November 22, at which
its pricing will be announced. The Redmi Note 6 Pro price in India is expected to be close to that of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, which started at Rs. 14,999 and went up to Rs. 16,999 — though the phone (and two other Xiaomi offerings) got Rs. 1,000 cheaper on Friday. However, given the recent hike in the prices of other Redmi models, the Redmi Note 6 Pro could be priced slightly higher as well. We got to spend some time with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro ahead of its launch, and here are our first impressions.

Redmi Note 6 Pro specifications and design

As compared to its predecessor, the display on the Redmi Note 6 Pro has slightly larger dimensions and has a notch. It has a resolution of 1080×2280 and a maximum brightness of 500 nits. In our brief time with this phone, its display seemed to have good viewing angles, with accurate colour and contrast. We did, however, notice slight backlight bleeding along the top edge at the maximum brightness level. The 2.5D curved edges help the display glass meet the frame of the phone smoothly.

Apart from a few cosmetic changes, the Redmi Note 6 Pro strongly resembles the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The new model is 0.21mm thicker and slightly wider but feels the same in your hand as would the Redmi Note 5 Pro. On the front, the phone is devoid of any hardware or capacitive navigation buttons; instead users can choose from onscreen buttons or MIUI’s gestures. There is a familiar dual camera setup at the back. There is also a small physical fingerprint sensor at the back. When we tried it, there seemed to be a slight lag unlocking the phone, but we will be testing it more ahead during our review process.

The Redmi Note 6 Pro sports the lock/ power button and volume buttons on the right, and a hybrid dual-SIM tray on the left. This tray can take either two Nano-SIMs or one Nano-SIM and a microSD card at a time. Storage is expandable up to an additional 256GB. On the bottom, there is (still) a Micro-USB port, the external speaker on the right, and a faux speaker grille on the left for symmetry. The 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone, and IR emitter are all placed on top of the smartphone.

Though the Redmi Note 6 Pro any kind of an IP-rating for dust/ water resistance, it does sport a water-repellant P2i coating, which should provide basic protection against spills and if you are caught in the rain.

The rear cameras are slightly improved. While there’s still a 12-megapixel primary autofocus sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor, both have wider f/1.9 apertures compared to the cameras on last year’s model, theoretically allowing for more light to be captured for clearer shots. Daylight shots seemed crisp, in our limited time with the Redmi Note 6 Pro. We were unable to test low-light photography, but you can stay tuned for our final review, coming up soon, in which we will have full details of this phone’s camera performance.

One of the major new features with this generation is the dual selfie camera setup. There is a 20-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor on the front for portrait shots. Photos taken in good lighting were clear, and the bokeh effect was accurate.

The Redmi Note 6 Pro, much like its predecessor, has an all-metal back with a smooth matte finish, making it slightly slippery. The large body is also a little difficult to hold. Xiaomi does help you with a bundled TPU case for a better grip. Weighing in at 182g, the Redmi Note 6 Pro feels solid in the hand and is only about 1g heavier than the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

At its core, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro disappointingly uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 as its predecessor. We would have preferred a slightly more powerful processor, such as the Snapdragon 660, which the Chinese phonemaker uses in its Mi A2 smartphone. Xiaomi could even have opted for the MediaTek Helio P60 SoC, now that Redmi smartphones are coming to India with MediaTek processors. However, we will have to wait till we can fully review the Redmi Note 6 Pro in order to find out whether this is still good enough, and whether Xiaomi has made any other tweaks to improve the usage experience.

There will be two variants of the Redmi Note 6 Pro in India – one with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the other with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Performance was smooth and we experienced no lag in the time we spent with the 6GB RAM variant. Our full review will detail performance benchmarks, extensive real-world usage, and more.

Redmi Note 6 Pro software

The Redmi Note 6 Pro runs MIUI 10 on top of Android 8.1 Oreo, with no official timelines announced for an Android 9.0 Pie update. As with previous MIUI-based Xiaomi smartphones, this one too comes with a tonne of customisations, proprietary apps, and additional features. For starters, there is a Security app with functions including a RAM cleaner, security scanner, battery manager, data usage overview, and more.

Preloaded apps on the phone include Amazon Shopping, Facebook, PhonePe, Netflix, NewsPoint, Dailyhunt, Opera News, Opera Mini, and BHIM ABPB. This phone also gets the ShareChat app, from an Indian company backed by Xiaomi.

The AI face unlock feature felt smooth on the Redmi Note 6 Pro. Registering a face was super fast, as was unlocking the handset. It isn’t quite as accurate as 3D face unlocking, considering it can unlock the phone even when you are not facing it. We will test this feature thoroughly in our upcoming review.

The Redmi Note 6 Pro has the same 4,000mAh battery capacity as its predecessor, and supports the same 10W level of charging. It has a battery saver mode that can be customised to cut out activity from apps that might be draining the battery in the background.

Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our extensive review of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro, coming up very soon, in which we test its display, design, performance, software, battery life, camera, and value for money.


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Microsoft Confirms Edge Is Switching to Chromium, and Coming to Windows 7, Windows 8 as Well as macOS

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Microsoft has officially announced that it is bringing Chromium engine to Microsoft Edge. The open-source Web rendering engine is already available to the masses through Google’s Chrome browser. The Redmond-based giant also wants to become a “significant contributor” to the Chromium project. Alongside switching to Chromium engine, Microsoft has revealed that it is expanding its Edge to Apple’s macOS. A Chromium version of the Edge browser is also reaching previous Windows platforms, including Windows 7 and Windows 8.

“Ultimately, we want to make the Web experience better for many different audiences,” says Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Windows, in a blog post. “People using Microsoft Edge (and potentially other browsers) will experience improved compatibility with all websites while getting the best-possible battery life and hardware integration on all kinds of Windows devices. Web developers will have a less-fragmented web platform to test their sites against, ensuring that there are fewer problems and increased satisfaction for users of their sites; and because we’ll continue to provide the Microsoft Edge service-driven understanding of legacy IE-only sites, Corporate IT will have improved compatibility for both old and new web apps in the browser that comes with Windows.”

By switching to Chromium, Microsoft is finally ditching the existing EdgeHTML browser engine. The company is set to align Microsoft Edge simultaneously with Web standards and with other Chromium-based browsers. This will help Web developers easily test their new projects, without making any tweaks to make them compatible with the Edge browser. Microsoft is also committing to improve the Chromium project by working on features such as ARM64 support, Web accessibility, and touch support.

For the end users, the switch is vital as it will help Microsoft Edge address the ongoing compatibility issues with a large number of websites. Support for browser engines such as Blink and V8 JavaScript will also come to the Edge as these are a part of the Chromium project that has Adobe, Google, Intel, Opera Software amongst its key contributors.

“Over the next year or so, we’ll be making a technology change that happens ‘under the hood’ for Microsoft Edge, gradually over time, and developed in the open so those of you who are interested can follow along,” adds Belfiore.

Aside from opting for Chromium engine, Microsoft is set to bring the Edge browser to other platforms including macOS. This is something big if you’re among the developers who want to have the Edge browser on your Mac machine to test your Web projects. Microsoft hasn’t announced any specific schedule around the Edge support for macOS, though it’s likely to be sometime next year.

Microsoft has also revealed that it is bringing the Edge browser to Windows 7 and Windows 8. This means the browser will no longer be exclusive to Windows 10.

The arrival of Microsoft on the board of supporters of the Chromium project could indirectly help Google bring new changes to Chrome, which is currently the most popular Chromium-based browser. Also, it will give the Windows maker a chance to once again attract the open source community.

A preview build of the Edge browser based on Chromium engine is expected to debut in early next year. Meanwhile, you can join the Microsoft Edge Insider community to receive updates around the new development and continually get new preview builds to set the stage for the refreshed Edge experience.

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Xiaomi Phone With 48-Megapixel Camera Launching in January, President Confirms

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Xiaomi is looking to launch a new smartphone that will sport a 48-megapixel camera sensor. Xiaomi’s President Lin Bin has shared a photo on Weibo confirming this new development. At the Qualcomm 4G/5G summit in October, Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain had said that the company will launch a new smartphone with the Snapdragon 675 processor next year, and this new processor supports up to 48-megapixel sensor as well. It is likely that Jain and Lin Bin are talking of the same smartphone, and a device equipped with a Snapdragon 675 processor and a 48-megapixel rear lens is in the offing soon.

Lin Bin posted an image on Weibo, showing only a portion of the upcoming smartphone. The photo confirms that the rear lens will sport a 48-megapixel camera sensor. In his post, he also adds that he has been testing it since a few weeks, and that the smartphone will release in January. There is no name attached or rumoured for this upcoming smartphone, but we expect more leaks running up to the launch.

In July, Sony launched the Sony IMX586 sensor with effective 48-megapixels with minute 0.8 micron pixels. Sony started shipping samples to OEMs in September, so it is likely that Xiaomi could be integrating the same sensor in the upcoming device.

Furthermore, this new smartphone could also be powered by the Snapdragon 675 processor that was launched by Qualcomm in October at the 4G/5G summit in Hong Kong. Made from the 11nm LPP process technology, the SoC integrates octa-core Kryo 460 CPU, enhanced AI Engine, and an Adreno 612 GPU. On the imaging front, the Snapdragon 675 has Qualcomm Spectra 250L ISP for 14-bit image signal processing along with support for up to 48-megapixel snapshots, single 25-megapixel at 30fps with Zero Shutter Lag (ZSL) and dual 16-megapixel cameras at 30fps and ZSL.

Also, at the summit, Jain had confirmed that a new device with the Snapdragon 675 will be launched next year, and it is possible that Lin Bin and Jain are talking about the same device.

If the January launch date is true, then we should hear more about the Xiaomi smartphone very soon.

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Huawei said to debut 3D camera phone powered by Sony sensors

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Huawei Technologies Co is planning to unveil a new phone with a camera capable of taking three-dimensional pictures, people familiar with the matter said. The phone, code-named Princeton internally, will be announced this month and go on sale within a few weeks, according to one of the people who requested anonymity discussing private plans. The technology uses sensors developed by Sony Corp that can accurately measure distances by bouncing light off surfaces, another person said.

The new feature — dubbed “3D Camera” at Huawei — comes at a critical juncture for the smartphone industry, which is facing cooling global demand as consumers find fewer reasons to upgrade to new phones. Huawei is aiming to boost sales and win market share from competitors such as Apple Inc by offering users the ability to generate 3-D models of themselves and the environment in real-time, and share it with others.

“This is technology that has never been seen before and, at the extreme, has the potential to change how we view the world,” said Yusuke Toyoda, a sensors analyst at Fuji Chimera Research Inc in Tokyo.

A Huawei spokesman did not immediately provide comment, but said the company does not normally respond to speculative reports. Sony declined to comment. Besides generating pictures that can be viewed from numerous angles, Huawei’s new camera can create 3-D models of people and objects that can be used by augmented-reality apps, according to one of the people. The new camera will also let developers control apps and games in new ways, such as hand gestures, the person said, who added that some of the details may change as developers work with the technology.

Huawei will probably feature the camera in more than one phone model, including some slated for later in 2019, according to the people, who said the specific plans could still change. For Sony, the world leader in image sensors used in regular cameras, 3-D cameras could generate billions in additional revenue from the sale of its new components. The company accelerated the development of the technology after buying Brussels-based Softkinetic in 2015, combining the Belgian startup’s time-of-flight technology with its own semiconductor manufacturing prowess to create 3-D chips small enough to fit inside smartphones.

While Apple’s FaceID facial-recognition feature is also powered by 3-D sensors, it relies on a different technology called Structured Light, which can measure depth at shorter distances. Sony’s time-of-flight sensors can do so at longer distances. The Tokyo-based company last year showed off its own Xperia phone that lets users take 3-D pictures and models, but that technology was not powered by its new time-of-flight sensors, according to one person familiar with the matter.

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