Posts with «author_name|richard lai» label

Insta360's gimbal webcam is a DJI Pocket without a body

Insta360 is known for its 360 cameras and action cams, so call us surprised when it unveiled its first-ever dedicated webcam product today. The Insta360 Link is a 4K webcam with a 3-axis gimbal, so it's basically like a DJI Pocket 2 without its body. The company touts the 1/2-inch sensor here, which is apparently much larger than what the competition offers. For example, the tried and tested Logitech Brio only has a 1/4-inch sensor, so the Link should perform better in terms of accuracy and dynamic range. Insta360 added two noise-cancelling microphones as well, which are much needed in the age of remote working.

The Link can be hung on a monitor using the built-in screen clip, or you can fit it onto any stand with a standard 1/4-inch mount. Then it's just a matter of letting the device's AI algorithm track your face, so that the camera can pan around and zoom — up to 4x digitally — to keep you centered in frame. When you're done using the Link, it automatically points its camera downwards within 10 seconds of inactivity for the sake of privacy.


The Link Controller companion software lets you adjust various image parameters like brightness, exposure, white balance and more. You can also switch to lower resolutions in favor of higher frame rates — 1080p and 720p go all the way to 60fps, instead of just 30fps at 4K. The software also offers various shooting modes. DeskView Mode lets you quickly toggle between your face and your tabletop, which should make your usual show-and-tell a bit more convenient. There are also Whiteboard Mode for tracking your designated whiteboard area (the Link comes with four reusable whiteboard recognition markets), Portrait Mode for live streaming in portrait orientation, and Overhead Mode for pointing your Link downwards to show your subject on the tablet (you'll probably want to mount the device on a tablet stand for this). If needed, you can toggle HDR mode as well in case of strong backlight, though this is only available at 1080p or 720p resolution, and capped at 30fps.

The Insta360 Link is compatible with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Google Meet and more video conference platforms on both macOS and Windows. It's asking for $300 and is available today via the company's website.

ASUS' Zenfone 9 gets a bigger camera in a palm-friendly body

With the launch of its latest smartphone today, ASUS finally bids farewell to its quirky "Flip Camera" feature, but it still believes that there's a market for compact flagships. The new Zenfone 9 only comes in one size, which has kept the same 5.9-inch screen and 169-gram weight as its predecessor, but packing a bigger processor, main camera, battery and thermal material.

The biggest upgrades are, as you'd expect, the processor and camera. Much like its very recent ROG Phone 6 series, the Zenfone 9 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which is a notable jump from the Zenfone 8's Snapdragon 888. As for the camera, this time ASUS opted for a much larger 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor, which offers a pixel size of 1um instead of just 0.8um on the older IMX686.

Richard Lai/Engadget

The icing on the cake here is the new 6-axis hybrid gimbal stabilizer, which can apparently make corrections at up to plus/minus 3 degrees with no optical deteriorations. This should help capture steady stills and clips — the latter at up to 8K resolution. On a related note, there are only two microphones on the Zenfone 9, as ASUS has nixed the audio focus feature in video recording, hence the lack of a rear-facing mic.

Another significant change here is the overall design. With the return of flat edges (thanks to the iPhone 12), the Zenfone 9 is able to accommodate bigger internal parts, hence the larger 4,300mAh battery and more thermal material (as well as two big "eyes" instead of one boring camera island on the back). Said battery works with ASUS' 30W "HyperCharge" tech, which the company claims is "the most powerful charger of any phone below 6 inches." The phone also swapped out the metallic back with a new plastic material to not only reduce weight, but to also add a high-grip, anti-fingerprint coating. This comes in four colors: "midnight black," "starry blue," "sunset red" and "moonlight white" (which is more of a light beige).

Richard Lai/Engadget

Unlike its recent phones, ASUS ditched the usual in-display fingerprint reader in favor of a capacitive sensor on the power button, dubbed "ZenTouch." This smart key allows for instant toggling of any assigned app with a double click, as this unlocks your phone at the same time. By default, you can also slide down this button to pull down the notification tray for a quick peek, and then slide up to hide the tray. Alternatively, you can set this to refresh webpages, jump to home or end of pages, or skip songs in music players. This is all part of ASUS' grand plan to optimize the one-handed operation on its latest phone.

Appearance and software changes (ZenUI 9 based on Android 12) aside, you'll find the rest of the Zenfone 9 rather familiar. It's exactly the same ultra-wide camera and selfie camera (both 12 megapixels) as before, with the latter punched out in the top-left corner of the 2,400 x 1,080 120Hz AMOLED screen. Both speakers are once again tuned by audio specialist, Dirac, which already delivered impressive results on ASUS' other recent phones; and you still have the option to plug in wired headphones via the 3.5mm jack. As for durability, there's still an IP68 rating for resistance against dust and liquids.


To make the most out of this beefed-up camera stabilization, ASUS will offer a "Smart Backpack Mount" which lets you clip the Zenfone 9 onto your backpack's shoulder strap. With the main camera facing forward, you can wear the phone as an action cam. You can also single-handedly pop your phone in or out of its magnetic holder with ease, and with its retractable safety cord attached.

Another accessory option from ASUS is the "Connex" modular case system. Rather than using magnets like Apple's MagSafe design, this protection case has multiple built-in holes that let you snap either a kickstand or a silicone cardholder onto the back of your Zenfone 9. You can also assign an app — YouTube, by default — to auto-launch whenever the kickstand is flipped out.

Richard Lai/Engadget

The Zenfone 9 will be coming to the US, with prices starting from $699 (8GB RAM with 128GB storage), though actual availability will be announced at a later date, so stay tuned.

As to whether the "Flip Camera" will ever make a comeback, ASUS said it'll revisit this idea only if the tech makes it feasible. The company shared that globally, the two Zenfone 8 sizes actually sold similar numbers, with consumers in Japan and Europe preferring the smaller Zenfone 8. So for now, there will be no more Zenfone "Flip" variants in the foreseeable future.

The ASUS ROG Phone 6 has a ‘wireless’ thermoelectric cooler add-on

Following the ROG Phone 5 and 5s, ASUS decided to skip Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in favor of the more efficient 8+ Gen 1, which brings us to the new ROG Phone 6 series today — almost a year after the 5s. In a nutshell, this beastly gaming phone is all about its faster 165Hz 6.78-inch display, 720Hz touch sampling rate, up to 18GB of RAM, up to 512GB of storage, bigger 6,000mAh battery, enlarged internal cooling system and IPX4 splash resistance, in addition to its handy ultrasonic triggers and proven audio performance by Dirac. The most notable change, however, lies within the revamped clip-on cooler, which has now integrated a thermoelectric chip and yet doesn't require external power.

This new AeroActive Cooler 6 is noticeably bulkier than before, partly because of its larger, more ergonomic physical buttons — and there are now four of them instead of just two. It also has a bigger kickstand that flips out from the bottom (though not necessary), and there's a spring-loaded clamp at the top to secure (and activate) the cooler. The new Peltier cooling chip inside — positioned right over the phone's processor when mounted — is sandwiched between the fan and a large piece of copper plate, and there's also a humidity sensor nearby to help avoid condensation.

Richard Lai/Engadget

You can toggle between four cooling modes in the updated Armoury Crate app's console: "Smart" is basically automatic, "Cool" is fan only, "Frosty" is fan plus Peltier chip, and "Frozen" is pushing the Peltier chip to the max, but this is only available when there's external power plugged into the cooler. ASUS claims that in "Frozen" mode, the AeroActive Cooler 6 can lower the ROG Phone 6's surface temperature by up to a staggering 25 degrees Celsius. The cool air blowing out of the two sides serves as a nice bonus for gamers with sweaty palms (like me).

The company also provided some figures from more realistic scenarios. After a 60-minute session in the notoriously resource-intensive Genshin Impact (at 60Hz), "Frosty" mode lowered the phone's surface temperature from 44.8 degrees Celsius to 37.2, and "Frozen" mode took it down further by one degree. Under the same test environment, the ROG Phone 6 was apparently able to maintain an average frame rate of 59.7 fps while staying cool at 37.2 degrees Celsius in "Frosty" mode, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro Max apparently reached a lower 56.8 fps but higher 46.3 degrees Celsius, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra allegedly only managed 47.3 fps while reaching 47.9 degrees Celsius. This goes to show how cooling is key to maintaining a stable frame rate over a long period. 

Richard Lai/Engadget

Sadly, the AeroActive Cooler 6 — along with its own bumper case — is an optional accessory for the ROG Phone 6 series, so you'll likely have to pay extra for this handy piece of kit. But there's some good news for existing fans: ASUS plans to release a variant of this attachment for the ROG Phone 5 and 5s as well, and it'll make use of the old pogo pins instead of the USB-C side port. Release date to be announced later.

The ROG Phone 6 series comes in two flavors: the regular ROG Phone 6 and the higher-end ROG Phone 6 Pro, with the main difference being the latter has the small "ROG Vision" PMOLED display on the back for showing off customizable animation graphics, as opposed to just having an RGB-illuminated ROG logo. Internally, the Pro packs up to 18GB of LPDDR5 RAM instead of just 16GB. The trade-off — if you want to call it that — on the Pro is that it only comes in "Storm White," while the regular model also offers a "Phantom Black" version. Save for the different camera module layout, "ROG Vision" positioning and printed graphics, the two ROG Phone 6 variants bear a strong resemblance to their immediate predecessors — to the point where they can share the same glass screen protector and ROG Clip controller. 

Richard Lai/Engadget

The modular Kunai 3 Gamepad — now available in white as well as black — has once again been granted a life extension by way of a bumper designed for the ROG Phone 6. If you already have this controller since the ROG Phone 3 or 5, you'll only need to get the new bumper in order to attach these Joy-Con-like sticks. Or you can just slot them into the same old gamepad grip and use the entire assembly wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The ROG Phone 6 packs an improved (apparently) main camera featuring a 50-megapixel Sony IMX766 sensor, along with a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a 5-megapixel macro camera. On the other side, there's a 12-megapixel selfie camera with a Sony IMX663 sensor — as seen on the compact Zenfone 8. The main rear camera is capable of shooting videos at up to 8K@24fps, though I'd imagine most people would default to 4K@60fps to get the best of both worlds.

Richard Lai/Engadget

On the software side, the ROG Phone 6 runs on Android 12 with ROG UI (you can switch to the less flashy Zen UI), with ASUS promising at least two major OS updates and at least two years of security updates. There's the usual Armoury Crate app which is mainly for accessing your game library, as well as the console for customizing your system lighting, the rear "ROG Vision" screen (6 Pro only, of course), the AirTriggers and more. When in a game, you can toggle the redesigned "Game Genie" dashboard by swiping in from any of the two top corners of the screen while in either orientation. Here, you can quickly toggle the screen frame rate, key mapping, screen recording, performance modes, do not disturb, crosshair and more.

The new AirTriggers 6 now lets you map up to 14 specific touch points, and you get a total of nine input methods with these two ultrasonic buttons, including the new "press and lift" — basically toggling one set of actions for pressing down on the trigger, and then toggling another set of actions when lifting from the trigger. That said, casual gamers like myself will likely just use the classic tap (to fire) and maybe slide (to reload). If needed, you can also map motion gestures with touch points in Armoury Crate.

Richard Lai/Engadget

The ROG Phone 6 series includes a bumper case and a 65W USB-PD charger (which takes just 42 minutes for a full charge). As far as availability goes, ASUS has only shared that the ROG Phone 6 series will start from €999 (around $1,000) for the 12GB RAM + 256GB storage configuration in Europe, whereas the ROG Phone 6 Pro will only have one version in Europe: 18GB RAM with 512GB storage for €1,299 (around $1,300). Prices and models will obviously vary across different countries, so stay tuned for further updates.

Xiaomi 12S Ultra has a Leica camera with a massive 1-inch sensor

Merely six months after its previous flagship launch, today Xiaomi announced a trio of familiar-looking smartphones to mark the beginning of its partnership with Leica. The new 12S Series features MIUI 13 based on Android 12, and it runs on Qualcomm's allegedly more efficient Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 flagship processor, with the headlining 12S Ultra packing a massive 1-inch, 50.3-megapixel Sony IMX989 main sensor. This translates to a generous pixel size of 1.6um, which then doubles to 3.2um via pixel binning for a supposedly boosted color accuracy and low light performance. And unlike the Sony Xperia Pro-I, the Xiaomi 12S Ultra apparently uses the entire portion of its 1-inch sensor.

According to CEO Lei Jun, Xiaomi took part in the Sony IMX989's development, and the $15 million cost was also split evenly between the two companies. Interestingly, the sensor won't be exclusive to Xiaomi; Lei added that it'll be made available to his local competitors after the launch of the 12S Ultra, in order to "promote the advancement of mobile imaging together."

Xiaomi 12S Ultra

As for Leica's part on the Xiaomi 12S Ultra, you get a "Leica Summicron 1:1.9-4.1 / 13-120 ASPH camera system" covering all three rear cameras: the aforementioned 50.3-megapixel main camera (23mm, f/1.9), along with the 48-megapixel ultra-wide camera (13mm, f/2.2) and the 48-megapixel periscopic camera (120mm, f/4.1). Both 48-megapixel cameras use a 1/2-inch Sony IMX586 sensor. The entire circular camera island — now with "Leica" co-branding — benefits from some coating magic to mitigate lens glare and improve image consistency across each lens. Oh, and there's a 23K gold rim here as well.

In addition to some Leica filters, users will be able to switch between two photographic styles: "Leica Authentic Look" for natural-looking shots with stronger three dimensional depth, and "Leica Vibrant Look" which adds Xiaomi's input on vibrancy while preserving authenticity (somehow). You can also toggle the watermark banner at the bottom of your photos, which will add Leica's iconic red logo, photo metadata and location coordinates to the right, along with phone model and timestamp on the left.


On the other side of the phone, there's a 32-megapixel selfie camera powered by an unknown RGBW sensor. Most of these cameras are capable of Dolby Vision HDR video recording (up to 4K@60fps) and playback, thus making the 12S Ultra the first Android device to sport these features. Some also utilize the motor-based "HyperOIS" for more stable footage. As for still shots, the entire 12S Series supports 10-bit RAW format calibrated by Adobe Labs, with color correction metadata embedded in the files for easier post-production with the likes of Adobe Lightroom.

The 12S Ultra also happens to carry two proprietary Xiaomi Surge chips: a Surge P1 fast-charging chipset and a Surge G1 battery management chipset. These provide support for 67W wired fast charging, 50W wireless fast charging and 10W reverse charging for the 4,860mAh single cell silicon oxygen anode battery. Note that some fast-charging solutions use a dual cell battery instead to split the current load, which is why it's a good thing that the Surge P1 can handle an output current of up to 16A here, and apparently with 96.8% conversion efficiency. Like Oppo's and ASUS' recent handsets, the 12S Ultra offer adaptive charging as well, which allegedly increases the number of charge cycles by 25 percent.

Keeping the phone cool is also key to a healthier battery, not to mention a more stable performance while gaming. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is equipped with a "three dimensional cooling pump" which moves cooling liquid across warm surfaces using a capillary mechanism similar to that on leaves. This apparently improves thermal conductivity significantly, compared to conventional vapor cooling modules.


The rest of the Xiaomi 12S Ultra is standard flagship affair. For the display, you get a 6.73-inch Samsung E5 AMOLED panel (3,200 x 1,440, 522ppi; LTPO 2.0), with a peak brightness of up to 1,500 nits, a 1-120Hz AdaptiveSync Pro refresh rate, native 10-bit color depth and support for P3 color gamut. As you can tell from the camera features, the screen can handle Dolby Vision, as well as HDR10+, HDR10 and HLG; these will go well with the Harman Kardon speakers which also support Dolby Atmos audio. The device is IP68-rated, meaning it should survive accidental dives into sinks and pools. You'll also find an infrared remote port at the top for controlling home appliances.

Options include up to 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM, up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 storage — featuring Xiaomi's self-developed FBO (File-Based Optimization) storage refresh tech, which supposedly maintains the same read/write performance for at least four years (and Lei added that FBO has already been written into the next-gen UFS 4.0 storage specification). Buyers can choose between a "Classic Black" and a "Verdant Green," both wrapped in vegan leather. 

Xiaomi 12S Pro

The lesser Xiaomi 12S Pro shares the same 6.73-inch display and Surge P1 fast charging-chipset as the 12S Ultra, though it supports a whopping 120W wired charging for its smaller 4,600mAh battery, but lacks 10W reverse charging. It features a more regular (but apparently still pricey) 1/1.28-inch, 50-megapixel Sony IMX707 main sensor, which is a variant of the IMX700 previously found on Huawei's Mate 40 Pro series. This still offers a good pixel size of 1.22um (or 2.44um after pixel binning), and it matches the resolution of its ultra-wide camera (14mm) and telephoto camera (50mm) — all fine-tuned by Leica as well, of course. 

As for the "basic" Xiaomi 12S, it has the same main camera as the 12S Pro and the same fast-charging features as the 12S Ultra, but with a smaller 4,500mAh battery in a more palm-friendly body under the 6.28-inch 120Hz display. Apparently there is still a sizeable demand for small flagship phones, according to Lei.

The Xiaomi 12S Series is now available for pre-ordering in China ahead of retail launch on July 6th. The 12S Ultra is priced from from 5,999 yuan (8GB RAM, 256GB storage; around $900) to 6,999 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; around $1,000). The 12S Pro is cheaper, asking for 4,699 yuan (8GB RAM, 128GB storage; around $700) to 5,899 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; around $880). The 12S is the most affordable option here, starting from 3,999 yuan (8GB RAM, 128GB storage; around $600) and capping at 5,199 yuan (12GB RAM, 512GB storage; around $780). We'll keep an eye out for international availability later.

Insta360 and Leica partner on a 6K 360 camera with 1-inch sensors

There aren't many options when it comes to consumer 360 cameras these days, so when Insta360 launched its more powerful One RS modular camera back in March, I was a little disappointed with its 5.7K "360 Lens" option — basically on par with the Sphere, One X2, One R and the One X. Don't get me wrong, they all do well for their form factors (not to mention the computational improvements), but after three years or so, it's about time for a major upgrade. As it turns out, Insta360 was saving its "one more thing" for today: a "1-inch 360 Edition" One RS co-branded with Leica. 

As the name implies, this new kit comes with a chunkier 360 lens module powered by two 1-inch CMOS sensors, and these are capable of capturing at higher resolutions — up to 6K for 360 videos, or up to 21 megapixels for 360 photos. This should guarantee a boost in image quality, especially in low light. This also happens to be the world's first 360 camera to be "co-engineered with Leica," following the two companies' earlier collaboration on the One R's 1-inch Wide Angle Mod.

A close-up shot of an Insta360 One RS '1-inch 360 Edition' with Leica branding.
Richard Lai/Engadget

Unlike the regular One RS kit (with either the new "4K Boost Lens" or the regular "360 Lens"), this "1-inch 360 Edition" uses a vertical assembly to accommodate the bigger lens module. From top to bottom: lens, core (with a touchscreen), then a vertical battery. 

The One RS core benefits from an upgraded processor to support onboard "FlowState Stabilization" (which is faster than the app) as well as "Active HDR" video capture for action sports. As for battery life, this whole kit is apparently good for up to 62 minutes of 6K@30fps video recording. 

The core and battery are inserted into a housing, which then clips to the lens to secure the entire device (thus enabling IPX3 water resistance, which is good enough for rain and snow). You'll still have access to the 1/4-inch standard screw mount at the bottom of the battery.

To disassemble this kit (especially when you need to access the microSD slot), you'll have to first open the USB port flap on the housing, then press the two clips under the lens to detach. It's obviously best to keep the soft protection case (included) on the lens while doing so.

An Insta360 One RS '1-inch 360 Edition' assembly next to another assembly with the regular '360 Lens' module and mounting bracket.
Richard Lai/Engadget

The Insta360 One RS "1-inch 360 Edition" is now available for $800, which is quite a jump from the $549.99 "Twin Edition" (which comes with a "4K Boost Lens" and a "360 Lens" instead). A company rep explained that this new kit is targeting the prosumer market, such as users who want to create virtual tours for museums or real estate properties.

That said, if you already own a One RS, you can buy the same "1-inch 360 Edition" kit sans core for $650, thus saving you $150. This also applies to those who have the older One R, as this lens is backwards compatible.

This is what the Nothing Phone 1 will look like

Even though the Nothing Phone 1's launch is still about a month away, the company has already begun showing what the device will look like to help generate hype. From afar, the device appears to be a blend of the iPhone X's back (with its pill-shaped dual-camera island) and the iPhone 12's flat edges. However, the back cover here is transparent, revealing a big wireless charging coil, several screws (something you don't really see on phones these days) and a mysterious pattern teased earlier by founder Carl Pei.

Bold. Warm. Full of soul.

A return to instinct.

This is phone (1).

Tune in on 12 July to hear all about it:

— Nothing (@nothing) June 15, 2022

Nothing didn't provide any further detail in these teaser posts, but we imagine the company still has a few tricks up its sleeve — particularly, how Pei will enable "an open and diverse product ecosystem" with this device. So far, we know that the Phone 1 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset — Engadget understands that it'll be a mid-tier processor — and the pure Android-like Nothing OS with some design flair. Nothing's design team is led by former Dyson lead designer, Adam Bates, who joined the company in early 2022.

The Nothing Phone 1 will be launched in London at 4PM BST/11AM EST on July 12th. There will be a livestream available, but you'll have to RSVP in advance.

Xiaomi and Leica to launch a co-branded phone in July

After some earlier rumors, today Xiaomi finally confirmed its "long-term strategic cooperation" with Leica, and that they've been co-developing a flagship smartphone ahead of its July 2022 launch. This will be the German camera firm's latest mobile imaging collaboration after Sharp, Huawei and Panasonic

Xiaomi hasn't shared much else about this upcoming product, but our money's on a "Xiaomi 13" label and Qualcomm's brand new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, along with some classic imaging aesthetics and filters from Leica's side. In the press release, CEO Lei Jun added that "this cooperation will provide a strong boost to Xiaomi's imaging strategy."

Xiaomi isn't the first Chinese phone maker to leverage the photography know-how from a renowned camera brand. In late 2020, Vivo followed the footsteps of Sony plus Nokia and joined forces with Zeiss. More recently, Oppo (and OnePlus) started launching handsets jointly developed with Hasselblad.

The Vivo X Fold has a fingerprint reader on both screens

Following the likes of Samsung, Huawei (and Honor), Motorola, Xiaomi and Oppo, we have a new contender in the foldable smartphone market. As reported by Engadget Chinese earlier today, the Vivo X Fold is the first of its kind to pack not only Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, but also an under-display fingerprint reader — the ultrasonic kind — on both its main and external screens. Sadly, this device is only available in China for now.

When opened, a zirconium alloy floating middle plate rises up slightly to support the flexible AMOLED panel, thus rendering the seam less visible.

Much like the Huawei Mate X2 and the Oppo Find N, the X Fold also adopted a water-drop flexion hinge design to achieve a gapless fold while minimizing its foldable AMOLED panel's seam. But Vivo took things one step further: when opened, a zirconium alloy floating middle plate rises up to gently push against the flexible panel, thus smoothing out the remaining seam. While this sounds impressive, we'll have to see it in person to believe it.

According to TÜV Rheinland, Vivo's X Fold can survive over 300,000 folds — 100,000 more than Oppo Find N's certification. Assuming an average user would open and close a foldable phone 80 times a day, the X Fold should be good for around 10 years of daily usage. That is, of course, assuming you can tolerate the 311g weight for that long; Samsung and Huawei's latest large-size foldables only weigh 271g and 295g, respectively.

The Vivo X Fold has a 50MP main camera, a 48MP ultra-wide camera, a 12MP portrait camera and an 8MP periscopic camera with 5x optical zoom.

For a foldable phone, the Vivo X Fold packs a surprisingly powerful set of cameras. For one, this is only the second foldable phone to carry a periscopic zoom camera (8MP, 5x optical zoom, optical stabilization), after Huawei's Mate X2. The X Fold also comes with a 50MP main camera (Samsung GN5 sensor, f/1.75, optical stabilization), a 48MP ultra-wide camera (Sony IMX598, f/2.2, 114-degree field of view, low distortion) and a 12MP portrait camera (IMX663, f/1.98, 47mm equivalent focal length). And yes, you get Zeiss T* coating here for its anti-glare properties. It's a similar setup to the X70 Pro+, except for the lack of micro-gimbal and missing optical stabilization on two of the cameras.


In terms of screen aspect ratio, Vivo has gone for a wider design than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The external screen is a 6.53-inch 2,520 x 1,080 (21:9) panel, while the main screen features an 8-inch 2,160 x 1,916 (4:3.55) panel. Both are of Samsung E5 AMOLED nature and support up to 120Hz refresh rate, but only the bigger panel features adaptive refresh rate to further save power. These screens also pack their own 16MP f/2.45 selfie camera, though you can always open the phone and toggle the "rear selfie" mode to leverage the more powerful cameras instead.


Like its competitors, some of the X Fold's built-in apps — tucked inside the Android 12-based OriginOS Ocean — take advantage of the foldable form factor. For example, the camera app offers a kickstand mode which is handy for time lapse videos and low-angle shots. You can also use the device like a laptop with the built-in Notes app, and likewise with third party Chinese apps like QQ for video calls and Youku for video streaming. Hopefully Vivo will extend these benefits to western apps ahead of a possible international launch.

There's still a list of features worthy of mentioning. The 4,600mAh dual-cell battery supports 66W wired charging and 50W wireless charging, along with 10W reverse charging to help your friends in need. In fact, the X Fold comes with an 80W USB-PD GaN charger with two USB-C ports, so you can charge your laptop with it as well. 

The phone itself also packs a CS43131 Hi-Fi chip, three microphones, stereo speakers, a barometer, various heat dissipation features and an infrared port — a common feature on Chinese phones for controlling your home appliances. And for the first time, Vivo decided to add a physical silent mode slider, which is otherwise only seen on Apple and OnePlus devices these days.


The Vivo X Play is already available for pre-ordering in China, with the 12GB RAM with 256GB storage version asking for 8,999 yuan (around $1,410), and the higher-end version with twice the storage going for 9,999 yuan ($1,570). You can pick either blue or grey, both wrapped with vegan leather on the back.

Xiaomi's cheapest 5G phone now starts from $199

Xiaomi has come a long way since the launch of its budget Redmi line back in 2013, and while the latter has since extended its coverage across a wider price range, it isn't about to abandon the budget market. Ahead of its 12th anniversary on April 6th, Xiaomi announced a new Redmi 10 5G which, starting from $199, happens to be the company's — and some markets' — cheapest 5G smartphone to date. To put things into perspective, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G costs $240, and Samsung's recently-launched Galaxy A13 5G is priced at $250.

The Redmi 10 5G — not to be confused with the 4G-only Redmi 10 or 10A — is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor with dual 5G standby, and it runs on MIUI 13 based on Android 11. You get a reasonably-sized 6.58-inch 2,408 x 1,080 LCD with up to 90Hz refresh rate, along with a generous 5,000mAh battery which supports 18W fast charging (interestingly, the phone comes with a 22.5W charger), a side-mounted fingerprint sensor and a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

Redmi 10 5G in "Aurora Green."

There's not much going on in terms of design — just a plastic body with a grooved concentric circle texture and flat edges. Likewise with photography: just a 50-megapixel main camera paired with a 2-megapixel depth camera on the back, plus a 5-megapixel "dot drop" selfie camera above the screen.

As with all Xiaomi phones these days, the Redmi 10 5G won't be headed to the US, but a spokesperson confirmed that we can expect it to land in most of Xiaomi's global markets, including the UK, Europe, South East Asia, Middle East and more. You'll have two options: the $199 model comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, whereas the $229 version bumps the storage up to 128GB. These will come in "Graphite Gray," "Chrome Silver" and "Aurora Green."

Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G in "Forest Green."

Also announced for the international markets are the higher-end Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G and Redmi Note 11S 5G, both of which also pack a MediaTek processor (Dimensity 920 and Dimensity 810, respectively) with dual 5G standby, a side-mounted fingerprint reader, an IR blaster, a 3.5mm headphone jack and dual speakers (with JBL tuning on the Pro+).

The Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G has been available in China since October, and it's all about its 15-minute fast charging on its 4,500mAh dual-cell battery, thanks to Xiaomi's 120W HyperCharge tech. You also get a 6.67-inch 2,400 x 1,080 AMOLED screen, which delivers up to 120Hz refresh rate and up to 360Hz touch sampling rate for some slick scrolling, as well as a high brightness mode of up to 700 nits for outdoor usage. With its 108-megapixel main camera (Samsung HM2 sensor), 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2-megapixel telemacro camera and 16-megapixel punch-hole selfie camera, you should be able to get some nice photos out of this device. Prices range from $369 (6GB + 128GB) to $449 (8GB + 256GB), and you can pick "Graphite Gray," "Star Blue" or "Forest Green."

Redmi Note 11S 5G in "Midnight Black," "Twilight Blue" and "Star Blue."

The marginally cheaper Redmi Note 11S 5G is a slight variant of China's earlier Redmi Note 11 5G, with the main difference being the extra 2-megapixel macro camera on the back. The rest appears to be identical: 6.6-inch 2,400 x 1,080 LCD (90Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate), 5,000mAh battery with 33W fast charging, 50-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera and 13-megapixel punch-hole selfie camera. Prices range from $249 (4GB + 64GB) to $299 (6GB + 128GB), with color options including "Midnight Black," "Twilight Blue" and a sparkly "Star Blue."

Insta360's latest modular action cam has built-in video stabilization

Following last year's GoPro Hero 10 Black and DJI Action 2, it's finally Insta360's turn to bring out its latest action cam — along with a new 4K wide-angle lens to go with it.

The new Insta360 One RS is yet another modular action cam from the company, but this time featuring an upgraded processor to support onboard "FlowState Stabilization" (this used to be handled by the app, which takes time) as well as "Active HDR" video capture — one that is apparently powerful enough to handle action sports without ghosting issues. 

While the One RS looks almost identical to the older One R, the core's touch display has been given a slight facelift: you'll now see a marker for the "quick menu" and another for "instant zoom." Other less visible bonuses include improved WiFi connectivity (for faster file transfers and more stable live preview), as well as an additional mic (for crispier audio capture) and 21-percent more battery.


The new "4K Boost Lens" features a larger 1/2-inch 48MP sensor. This can capture 4K 60 fps footage, "6K Widescreen Mode" (6,016 x 2,560) videos at 25/24fps or 1080p clips at up to 200fps. You can get this One RS "4K Edition" kit for $299.99. And if you already own a One R, you'll be pleased to know that this 4K Boost Lens is backwards compatible, pending firmware update. (Speaking of, the new battery base is also backwards compatible, though it won't fit in the old mounting bracket.)

Alternatively, you may also consider the "Twin Edition" kit which adds a 5.7K 360 lens (same specs as before, except for its lighter shade of gray), and this is asking for $549.99. Like before, with the 360 lens, you'll be able to capture spherical videos and photos, and export 2D content with the selfie stick rendered invisible.

If you want the absolute best wide-angle camera mod and don't need a 360 lens, there's a third option: you can bundle the One RS with the good old Leica 1-inch 5.3K lens mod. This also costs $549.99.

Insta360 One RS quick-release mounting bracket.

Launching alongside the One RS is a new easy-release mounting bracket, which allows for quicker lens swapping, better heat dissipation and better mic wind-proofing. You'll also be needing this bracket to ensure that the entire camera is waterproof up to 16 feet (5 meters) deep; or you can get the dive case instead, should you need to go deeper.