sony zv 1 review hand solo s

Sony ZV-1 Review | NDTV Gadgets 360

Earlier this year, Sony introduced a new series in its compact camera lineup with the debut of the ZV-1. Marketed as a ‘vlog camera,’ the Sony ZV-1 has features specially designed to make vlogging much easier for novice users. Its highlight features include a compact body, a fully articulating LCD, and dedicated buttons for things such as background defocus.

Priced at Rs. 67,990 (MRP), is the new Sony ZV-1 worth buying? I’ve been using it for a few weeks and here’s what I think.

Sony ZV-1 design: Highly pocketable

While many vloggers would prefer using mirrorless or even DSLR cameras, Sony aims to offer most of the advanced features found in such cameras, but in a more compact form factor. The dimensions of the Sony ZV-1 are very similar to those of Sony’s RX100 VII digital camera. The ZV-1 weighs about 294g with the battery and memory card, which is still pretty light. It’s also small enough to easily slip into your back pocket if needed.

sony zv 1 review hand solo s

The Sony ZV-1 is compact and easy to carry around

 

There’s a small rubber insert in the front, which acts as a mini handgrip, and another at the back for your thumb. The outer body is built mostly of plastic, but it feels sturdy and the textured surface offers decent grip. The top of the Sony ZV-1 features a hot-shoe connector, a three-capsule microphone, and a series of buttons. The back of the camera also has some more buttons, which are smaller than the ones on the top, and are not the easiest to use. The circular jog dial at the back also doubles up as a directional pad but feedback is a bit soft and not very tactile.

In order to make the ZV-1 vlog-friendly, Sony has moved the movie record button from its typical place at the back, to the top. It’s a lot larger too, which makes it easier to use. You also get a large, diffused red LED indicator next to the lens in the front to let you know when video is being recorded.

A 3.5mm microphone input, Micro-USB port, and Micro-HDMI port are placed on the right of the Sony ZV-1. The ports are covered with plastic flaps, however these are not weather sealed. There’s no electronic viewfinder on the ZV-1, only a 3-inch LCD touchscreen. Unlike most other compact Sony cameras though, this one is fully articulating so it can flip out sideways and rotate 180 degrees.

sony zv 1 review ports sony

The Sony ZV-1 has a good selection of ports

 

The battery/SD card compartment is on the bottom, along with the tripod mount. The hinge for the battery tray actually extends over the tripod mount, which means if you need to swap batteries or SD cards during a shoot, you have to dismount the camera from the tripod first which can be quite frustrating.

The Sony ZV-1 features a fixed lens with Zeiss optics. It has a focal range of 24-70mm (35mm equivalent), 2.7x optical zoom, and an aperture range of f/1.8 – f/2.8. There’s a built-in neutral density (ND) filter for cutting the exposure by a few stops, which is useful in harshly lit environments.

The Sony ZV-1 can be purchased as a vlogging kit, which includes an extra battery, a 64GB SD card, and the GP-VPT2BT Bluetooth handgrip. Sony sent me this kit for review, and we’ll talk about the handgrip a bit later.

Sony ZV-1 specifications and features: Impressive for the price

The Sony ZV-1 features a 1-inch sensor with a 20.1-megapixel resolution. There’s optical (SteadyShot) stabilisation for stills, hybrid stabilisation for video, 315 phase detection autofocus points (PDAF), 425 contrast detection autofocus points, and a maximum burst capture of about 24 frames per second when using the ‘Hi’ setting. The ZV-1 also has eye autofocus (Eye AF) for humans and animals when shooting stills, and only humans when shooting video. The native ISO range is 100-12,800 and only the lower end is expandable. This camera also supports RAW image capture in Sony’s ARW format.

sony zv 1 review rear ss

The Sony ZV-1 borrows a lot of features from the RX100 series

 

When it comes to video, the Sony ZV-1 is capable of shooting up to 4K at 30fps, or up to 1080p at 120fps. There’s a dedicated high framerate (HFR) shooting mode which captures ready-to-use slow-motion videos at up to 1,000fps but in very short bursts. Given the camera’s price, it’s nice to see that Sony hasn’t removed the professional video modes. The ZV-1 supports advanced profiles such as HLG, S-Log2, and S-Log3, among others for HDR workflows.

Finally, the ZV-1 can be connected to your smartphone to take advantage of Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile app. The app lets you remotely control the camera by using your phone as the viewfinder. It also lets you transfer images and video to your smartphone, wirelessly. The camera has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi n, but no NFC.

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The Sony ZV-1 has a dedicated button (C1) for the vlog-centric Background Defocus feature

 

Some of the new vlogging-specific features incorporated into the Sony ZV-1 include Product Showcase. This feature is super handy for anyone looking to present or show off a product on camera, like what we do here at Gadgets 360 for example. When enabled, it essentially disables face and eye tracking so the focus shifts quickly to whatever is being presented to the lens. This feature is mapped to the C2 button by default.

Background Defocus is mapped to the C1 button by default and this lets you get a shallower depth of field between your subject/yourself and the background. The ZV-1 also has a Soft Skin Effect toggle in the Quick Settings panel, if you need to use a beautification filter for your pieces to camera.

Sony ZV-1 performance and battery life: Not too shabby

The Sony ZV-1 is a fun little camera and doesn’t take long to master. Due to space constraints, there’s a ‘Mode’ button instead of a dial, which lets you cycle through the various shooting modes. Most of these modes should be very familiar. They include Sweep Panorama, which takes multiple photos in quick succession and stitches them together; Scene Selection if you want the camera to adjust its parameters automatically; and the usual perture, Shutter, Program and Manual modes. The ZV-1 doesn’t offer the best grip if you have large hands but I found it manageable. The rear buttons could have had better tactile response but the shutter and video recording buttons fare much better in this respect.

sony zv 1 review battery sony

The Sony ZV-1 has an awkwardly designed battery door hinge, which extends over the tripod mount

 

As a vlogging camera, I was pretty happy with the Sony ZV-1. It’s easy to manage with one hand thanks to its low weight and compact size. When shooting handheld, I mostly used it with the Bluetooth handgrip that Sony sent along. This accessory connects to the camera via Bluetooth and offers shortcut buttons for zoom, shutter release, video recording, and the C1 shortcut. There’s a lock switch that turns the handgrip off to prevent accidental presses. The base of the handgrip can be tilted forwards and backwards, or rotated 360 degrees. It also doubles up as a tripod, which is handy.

The touchscreen was responsive, but I wish we could do more with it than simply change the focus point. For instance, with the camera pointed at yourself when vlogging, it would have been nice to be able to quickly change settings, rather than needing to turn the camera around and fiddle with the buttons.

In terms of image quality, I found the Sony ZV-1 to be very capable under good light. We begin with our ISO test, to see how well the camera performs across the ISO range. It’s also a good indication of the kind of photos you can expect in low light.

sony zv 1 ISO test sony

Sony ZV-1 ISO test

 

The Sony ZV-1 was able to preserve details very well till about ISO 1,600, after which the image began to lose its sharpness a bit. This was very apparent at ISO 3,200. Going up a full stop, we noticed slight grain in the image and the edges of the pencils started to get fuzzy. At the maximum ISO value of 12,800, details were weaker, text wasn’t as sharp anymore, and there was a lot of visible grain. However, I was happy to note that there’s not a lot of chroma noise and the image at the highest ISO level was still somewhat usable.

When shooting stills in daylight, the Sony ZV-1 managed very good details, colours looked natural and punchy, and dynamic range was fairly adequate too. When using the full optical zoom range in landscape shots, details were still fairly decent, but finer objects and textures weren’t very sharp, which is more of a limitation of the sensor size than anything else.

Sony ZV-1 camera sample: ISO 125, f/4, 1/250, 24mm (tap to see larger image)

Sony ZV-1 camera sample: ISO 400, f/1.8, 1/30, 24mm (tap to see larger image)

 

Close-ups looked good, and the natural depth you can get with the large aperture at the widest focal length was pleasing. When shooting in good light, I found the autofocus to be on point. The ZV-1 was quick to lock focus, with minimal to no hunting, and I could track my subject simply by tapping it in the viewfinder. Faces are tracked automatically and Eye AF worked well.

In very dim lighting, the Sony ZV-1 struggled with focus since it doesn’t have a focus illuminator. I found this to be a slight problem, even with close-up subjects. It also struggled to detect faces properly, which can be an issue if you plan on using this camera in low-light conditions a lot. With decent light sources around, the ZV-1 does a fair job with autofocus for stills, although it still had mild hunting issues when shooting video.

Sony ZV-1 camera sample: ISO 400, f/2.2, 1/10, 27mm (tap to see larger image)

Sony ZV-1 camera sample: ISO 12,800, f/2.8, 1/13, 70mm (tap to see larger image)

 

Videos shot with the Sony ZV-1 looked great. Colours were punchy, skin tones looked natural, and the Background Defocus option did a great job of separating me from my background. Sony includes a windbreaker in the box, which can be attached to the ZV-1’s hot-shoe to reduce wind noise. This made a huge difference in my experience, almost cutting out this disturbance entirely, and I didn’t even have to bother with enabling the wind-noise reduction setting in the camera.

Videos shot at 4K and 1080p looked very good, with rich details and saturated colours. There didn’t seem to be a recording limit as such, but on multiple occasions, I noticed the camera stopped recording just under the 15-minute mark when shooting in 4K, with slight variations in the total recording length. Video shot in low light looked a bit grainy, but not too bad overall. I also had great fun shooting ultra-slow-motion video with the camera’s HFR mode, although the quality was strictly average at the highest setting.

Battery life was a bit disappointing. The Sony ZV-1 is rated to deliver about 260 shots per charge, and while this is very attainable (I usually managed a bit more), it’s not great. This is understandable, considering the camera has a pretty tiny battery. What would have made this more bearable is if there had been an easier way to swap batteries. Thankfully, you can power the ZV-1 with a power bank and keep going if needed. With video, Sony claims the ZV-1 is capable of shooting continuously ta 1080p for up to 75 minutes on a single charge.

sony zv 1 review display ss

The Sony ZV-1 is a very capable little camera and is priced quite aggressively

 

Verdict

The Sony ZV-1 has turned out to be a fantastic little camera, even if you don’t care about vlogging. The fact that it packs in nearly all the features of a RX100 VII, at a lower price is a good enough reason to consider it. If you opt for the standalone version of the camera, it’s available for roughly Rs. 60,000 on Amazon. The vlogging kit will cost you an additional Rs. 10,000, which is a decent deal considering you get an additional battery, a 64GB memory card, and the Bluetooth handgrip.

If I had to pick a few things that could have been better, I’d say an easier way to swap out the battery and memory card when the camera is on a tripod or other accessory would be number one. I found the rear buttons to be a bit too small and hard to press at times, the touchscreen could have been more functional, and perhaps an AF illuminator would have helped with autofocus in low light.

Overall, if you were thinking about buying a Sony RX100 series camera, I’d say take a look at the ZV-1 instead, especially if you don’t need a high level of zoom.

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lenovo xiaoxin laptops Lenovo Xiaoxin laptops

Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 2-in-1 Notebook, New Xiaoxin Laptops Launched: Price, Specifications

Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 2-in-1 notebook has been launched in China at a dedicated launch event. Alongside, Lenovo also unveiled three new laptops — Lenovo Xiaoxin Pro 16 2021, Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 15 2021, and Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 14 Plus 2021. Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 comes with a detachable keyboard that lets you use it in tablet mode as well. Plus, there is a stand at the back to prop the laptop in different angles. It supports the stylus on its touchscreen display. It comes with 16GB RAM and up to 512GB SSD storage.

Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021, Lenovo Xiaoxin range price, availability

The new Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 is priced at CNY 6,499 (roughly Rs. 75,000) and comes in a single Space Grey colour option. It is up for reservation on the company site and will go on sale starting April 30.

Coming to the Xiaoxin range, Lenovo Xiaoxin Pro 16 2021 is priced at CNY 4,999 (roughly Rs. 57,700), Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 14 Plus 2021 is priced at CNY 4,999 (roughly Rs. 57,700,) and Lenovo Air 15 2021 is priced at CNY 4,199 (roughly Rs. 48,500) for the base models. All of them are up for pre-booking and will go on sale starting April 30.

Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 specifications

Coming to the specifications, Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 2-in-1 runs on Windows 10 Home and features a 13-inch (1,350×2,160 pixels) IPS touchscreen display with 16:10 aspect ratio. It is powered by the 11th-generation Intel Core i5 i5-1135G7 quad-core processor, paired with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage. Ports include a 3.5mm audio jack, two USB Type-C ports, and a Thunderbolt 4.0 port. It packs a 41Whr battery that claims to offer power for up to 13 hours. The notebook weighs only 799 grams, is 9.19mm thin, and runs on Windows 10 Home Chinese version. With the stand at the back and offered stylus support, Lenovo Yoga Duet 2021 can be used in flexible angles.

Lenovo Xiaoxin Pro 16 2021 specifications

Lenovo Xiaoxin Pro 16 2021 also runs on Windows 10 Home Chinese version. It features a 16-inch HD (2,560×1,600 pixels) IPS display with 16:10 aspect ratio. It supports DC Dimming and is TUV Rheinland certified. The laptop is powered by AMD Ryzen R7 and R5 processor, and even comes in an 11th-generation Intel Core i5 model as well. It weighs 1.89kg and has 16.9mm thickness. The laptop supports dual speakers and Dolby Atmos. Lenovo Xiaoxin Pro 16 2021 has a 75Whr battery. For connectivity, it a full-featured USB-C interface (supporting PD and data transmission), dual USB 3.2 ports, a 3.5mm two-in-one audio jack, Wi-Fi 6 high-speed wireless network card, a standard SD card reader, and a full-size HDMI interface.

lenovo xiaoxin laptops Lenovo Xiaoxin laptops

All new Lenovo Xiaoxin laptops will go on sale on April 30.

Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 15 2021 specifications

Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 15 2021 runs on Windows 10 Home. It features a 15.6-inch full-HD+ (1,920×1080 pixels) display with 60Hz screen refresh rate. It is powered by AMD Ryzen 5 and 7 series processors and packs 16GB RAM with 512GB SSD. The laptop supports integrated graphics. Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 15 2021 has a 70Whr battery on board, weighs about 1.72kg and is 16.9mm thin. Ports include HDMI, USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports, an SD card reader, and a headset jack.

Lenovo Xiaoxin Air 14 Plus specifications

The Xiaoxin Air 14 features a small 14-inch full-HD (2,240×1,400 pixels) IPS anti-glare display and is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 5600U SoC. It supports Nvidia GeForce MX450 GPU, packs 16GB RAM, and has 512GB SSD. The laptop packs a 56.5Whr battery, supports Wi-Fi 6, weighs about 1.41kg, and is 15.9mm thick. It has a backlit keyboard and ports include HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-A port, and three USB Type-C ports.


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Samsung Galaxy A52 Update Brings Galaxy S21’s Camera Features, Improvements

Samsung Galaxy A52 is receiving an update that brings camera features from the Galaxy S21 series. Alongside, the update also comes bundled with April 2021 Android security patch and improvements to existing functions. The update is currently rolling out in Indonesia but should be released to other regions in the coming weeks. The smartphone was launched in March 2021 and runs Android 11-based One UI 3.1 out-of-the-box. Galaxy A52 features a quad rear camera setup headlined by a 64-megapixel primary sensor.

The update for Samsung Galaxy A52 was first spotted by TizenHelp. The update brings new features to the camera and a few improvements to existing functions. The camera gets three new modes in the portrait mode — High-Key Mono, Low-Key Mono, and Backdrop effect — along with improvements to picture quality. Additionally, Samsung has improved the call quality, stability of the touchscreen. It also upgrades phone security with the April Android security patch.

The firmware version for the update is A525FXXU1AUD2 and is 415.53MB in size. It is recommended that the Samsung Galaxy A52 is updated while connected to a strong Wi-Fi connection and is put on charge. As mentioned, it is currently rolling out in Indonesia but is expected to be rolled out in other regions soon. If for some reason the update doesn’t reach your device, you can head to Settings > Software update > Download and install to manually check for the update.

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Samsung Galaxy A52 changelog shows new additions to the smartphone
Photo Credit: TizenHelp

Samsung Galaxy A52 specifications

Samsung launched the Galaxy A52 in March 2021. It sports a 6.5-inch full-HD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display with 90Hz refresh rate. It is powered by a Snapdragon 720G SoC paired with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage, expandable to 1TB using a microSD card. It features a quad rear camera setup with a 64-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.8 lens, a 12-megapixel secondary sensor with an f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens, a 5-megapixel depth sensor, and a 5-megapixel sensor with a macro lens. It has a 32-megapixel camera for selfies and video calls. It packs a 4,500mAh battery that supports 25W fast charging.


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Netflix Can Now Automatically Download Movies and TV Shows for You

Netflix Can Now Automatically Download Movies and TV Shows for You

Netflix’s Smart Downloads feature is broadening its horizons with “Downloads for You.” It can now automatically download movies and TV shows that you might like, to help you in situations where you find yourself stuck without Internet access or in a long wait like the evening commute. (Remember travelling to and fro for work? Saving on commute time is one of the few things I’m grateful to COVID-19 for.) Previously, Netflix’s Smart Downloads would automatically delete the episodes you’ve watched and download the next episode of said TV series. But movies (or new shows) were out of the question. With Downloads for You, Netflix goes a step further.

How to automatically download movies and TV shows on Netflix app

Naturally, Netflix’s Downloads for You is an opt-in feature that you can turn on inside the Netflix app. The feature is only available for Android devices, it’s not on iPhone and iPad right now.

  1. To get started, simply launch the Netflix Android app.
  2. Then, tap on the Downloads tab.
  3. There, hit the toggle next to Downloads for You.
  4. On the next screen, decide how much storage space you want to dedicate for Downloads for You. Netflix says 3GB is enough for 12 movies and TV shows.
  5. Once you’ve made up your mind, tap Turn On.

If you change your mind, you can always deactivate the Downloads for You toggle in the Netflix app. Or if you run into storage troubles, you can decrease the amount it takes up from Downloads > Smart Downloads. Alternatively, if you want more surprises, just increase the storage space allotted to Downloads for You. The storage space you reserve for automatic downloads will not be used by manual downloads you initiate in the Netflix app.

“Three years ago, we introduced Smart Downloads so you can find the next episode of your favorite show — even when you’re on the go,” Netflix’s director of product innovation Patrick Flemming wrote in a Netflix blog. “Now, we want to make discovering your next new favorite series or film quick and easy whether you’re connected or not. Today we’re launching Downloads for You, a new feature that automatically downloads recommended shows or movies to your mobile device based on your tastes.”

Netflix’s Downloads for You is available now on Android globally. It will soon enter testing on iOS. If you’re wondering how much of a wait it might be, Netflix’s Smart Downloads feature took nearly seven months to make the jump from Android to iOS.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Akhil Arora covers entertainment for Gadgets 360, interviewing stars such as Christian Bale and Anurag Kashyap, covering series premieres, product and service launches across the globe, and looking at American blockbusters and Indian dramas from a global socio-political and feminist perspective. As a Rotten Tomatoes-certified film critic, Akhil has reviewed over 150 movies and TV shows in over half a decade at Gadgets 360. When he is not completely caught up with new film and TV releases, Akhil
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Google Photos Will Now Let Users Add Photos, Videos to an Album While Offline

Google Photos Will Now Let Users Add Photos, Videos to an Album While Offline

Google Photos will now let you add content to albums even when the devices are offline. The update has been rolled out silently, with the latest version of Google Photos and will mostly affect Android devices. Earlier, images and videos could only be sorted into albums after they had been uploaded and backed up. Google has been on an update spree recently. Its Photos app now include many new features such as Google Lens integration and video editing tools for both Android and iOS apps.

A report by Android Police claims that Google has updated its Google Photos app that will let users sort images and videos into albums before they are uploaded and backed up. Gadgets 360 was able to independently test out the feature. The process is smooth, users can sort their images and videos into albums by simply creating the folders and adding content to them. The offline feature works for both existing and new albums. All the changes made will be synced with Google servers once the device is back online.

Last year in November, Google announced that it is removing the unlimited storage option on its Photos app. From June 1, 2021, Photos app will no longer let users will be charged a fee after they reach the 15GB storage limit. Users will no longer be able to upload and back up high quality photos on the server after the mentioned date.

As mentioned, Google is ramping up the Photos app by integrating Google Lens in the app. The integration will allow users to scan saved images and can be accessed by clicking on the Lens icon at the bottom of the screen in the app. Lens will grab relevant information from pieces of text in the images and relay back information that it finds. Users can translate the text, copy it to another app, get it spoken by the Google Assistant, or transfer it to a Google-connected PC.


Is OnePlus 9R old wine in a new bottle — or something more? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 23:00), we talk about the new OnePlus Watch. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Satvik Khare is a sub-editor at Gadgets 360. His proficiency lies in educating how technology makes life easier for everyone. Gadgets have always been a passion with him and he’s frequently found finding his way around new technologies. In his free time he loves tinkering with his car, participating in motorsports, and if the weather is bad, he can be found doing laps on Forza Horizon on his Xbox or reading a nice piece of fiction. He can be reached through his Twitter
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Canon PowerShot Zoom Pocket-Sized Monocular Telephoto Camera With 400mm Optical Zoom Launched

Canon PowerShot Zoom, a new unique point-and-shoot monocular camera, has been launched in the US. This product was launched after being tested under a crowdfunding project in Japan. It essentially acts as a telescope, allowing users to zoom over a large distance, and it also lets you take pictures and videos of the zoomed-in subject. The company that this digital camera is useful while watching a game at a sports stadium, during birdwatching, and even capturing your kid’s facial expressions when they are on stage.

Canon PowerShot Zoom price

The Canon PowerShot Zoom is priced at $299.99 (roughly Rs. 21,900) in the US and its availability is pegged for late November, reports The Verge. It comes in a single White colour option. It’s worth noting that no pricing or launch details have been listed on the company’s US website yet.

Canon PowerShot Zoom specifications, features

Canon PowerShot Zoom has a three-way one-touch switchable button that lets you view at 100mm to 400mm optical zoom, and up to 800mm digital zoom. Camera features include autofocus, face tracking, and optical image stabilisation. There is a 12-megapixel CMOS sensor that is 1/3-inch in size and comes with a variable aperture of f/5.6 to f/6.3. This means the camera won’t likely produce great quality night shots.

Canon notes that the Powershot Zoom will allow users to capture Full-HD 30p videos as well. It has a 0.39-inch OLED-based Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) featuring approximately 2.36 million dots. The camera weighs 145 grams.

Users can connect the camera to the Canon Camera Connect app and use their mobile phones as a Remote LiveView to see what’s seen through the camera’s viewfinder. The app also allows for easy transfer of images and videos from PowerShot Zoom to the phone. The camera offers support for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and has a microSD card slot for storing content. The Canon Powershot Zoom features a USB Type-C port for charging and comes with an inbuilt microphone support.


Flipkart, Amazon have excellent iPhone 11, Galaxy S20+ sale offers, but will they have enough stock? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.
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Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha With 11th-Generation Intel Core Processor Launched: Price, Specifications

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha laptop has been launched in the US. The South Korean technology company has directly listed the laptop on its US website for pre-orders without talking about it during the Galaxy Unpacked event in which it launched Galaxy Book, Galaxy Book Pro, Galaxy Book Pro 360, and Galaxy Book Odyssey. It is the successor to last year’s Galaxy Book Flex Alpha and offers the same 2-in-1 convertible design. The Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha is powered by 11th-generation Intel Core i5/ Core i7 processor.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha price, availability

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha is available for pre-booking in the US on the company website. The laptop with Intel Core i5 processor starts at $849 (roughly Rs. 63,000), and one with Intel Core i7 processor can be purchased at a price of $1,049 (roughly Rs. 77,700) in Black and Silver colour options. Customers in the US can also utilise trade-in offers that start from $499 (roughly Rs. 37,000) to buy the new Samsung laptops.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha laptop offers a 2-in-1 convertible design. It sports a 13.3-inch QLED full-HD (1,920×1,080 pixels) touchscreen display that offers 400 nits brightness indoors and 600 nits in outdoor mode. Under the hood, the laptop is powered by 11th-generation Intel Core i5/ Core i7 processor. The one with Intel Core i5 processor is paired with 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and SSD 256GB storage, and the one with Intel Core i7 CPU gets 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 512GB SSD storage.

Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 Alpha has an aluminium build, a backlit keyboard, and a large glass trackpad. Customers also get a 720p webcam, dual-array microphones, and two 1.5W stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos audio. There is a fingerprint sensor for security, and it runs Windows 10 Home. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth v5.1. Ports include two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, one USB Type-C port, an HDMI port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The laptop measures 12×7.95×0.55 inches and weighs 2.62 pounds (roughly 1.18kg).


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For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Sourabh Kulesh is a Chief Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He has worked in a national daily newspaper, a news agency, a magazine and now writing technology news online. He has knowledge on a wide gamut of topics related to cybersecurity, enterprise and consumer technology. Write to sourabhk@ndtv.com or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @KuleshSourabh.
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Mi 11X Review: Who Says You Have to be an All-Rounder?

The Mi 11X from Xiaomi is the most affordable of three new models in the Mi 11 family. It’s priced a bit lower than the Mi 10T but offers plenty of updated features, most notably its Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC which is only one step below the current flagship level. Priced starting at Rs. 29,999, this phone could offer a lot of bang for the buck – as long as you aren’t looking for every possible premium feature. While some phones these days go heavy on camera or battery performance at the cost of everything else, and others try to be well-balanced all-rounders, the Mi 11X is all about its processor.

That said, the Mi 11X does also have other noteworthy features, particularly its display and design. So who will this appeal to? Gamers make up a significant segment, and considering that dedicated gaming phones are often much bulkier and more expensive, there should be plenty of people who like this approach. If you’re not sure whether the Mi 11X is right for you, read on.

Mi 11X price in India and buying options

Xiaomi has launched the Mi 11X in two variants. The base version has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is priced at Rs. 29,999, but you can also get it with 8GB of RAM and the same amount of storage for Rs. 31,999. Depending on what bank you use, you can get up to Rs. 3,500 off. With only a Rs. 2,000 difference between variants, the higher priced one seems to make a lot more sense. The lower starting price might work great psychologically, but given the high-end processor, it makes sense to spend a little more for the potential added future-proofing. The phone will be available officially on Mi.com and Amazon as well as at Xiaomi’s own retail locations and other offline stores.

Along with the Mi 11X, Xiaomi has also launched the Mi 11X Pro, which shares the same body and is priced starting at Rs. 39,999. This upgraded model features the flagship Snapdragon 888 SoC and a 108-megapixel main rear camera, but both have the same screen, battery, and other features. Both phones are available in the same three colours: Cosmic Black, Frosty White, and Celestial Silver.

Xiaomi uses different branding and positioning strategies in different countries, so you might see the Mi 11X sold as the Redmi K40 or also as the Poco F3. There might be minor differences to suit each market but it appears that they all come from the same mould, so don’t be confused by mentions of these other names online.

mi 11x rear ndtv mi 11x

The Mi 11X has an extremely reflective rear panel made of Gorilla Glass 5

 

Mi 11X design

The Mi 11X looks refreshingly plain, with no elaborate flourishes and no over-the-top branding elements like we’ve seen from some of the competition of late. The camera module on the rear is noticeable but not attention-grabbing, and doesn’t protrude much even with its two-step design. Just like the Redmi Note 10 series, the frame is slightly flattened on the top and bottom, and bulges on the right where it envelopes the power and volume buttons.

The Cosmic Black and Frosty White options are pretty plain, while Celestial Silver appears to be a subtle gradient finish. My black unit picked up a lot of smudges and fingerprints as soon as I started using it. The rear panel is extremely reflective but thankfully not too smooth or slippery.

Having a 6.67-inch screen makes this phone pretty tall and wide, but it is fairly average in terms of thickness and weight at 7.8mm and 196g respectively. Like we saw on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max (Review), the front camera hole is very small but is unfortunately surrounded by a silver ring which can be very distracting. My review unit came with a pre-applied screen protector but it was slightly misaligned, which made the camera hole even more noticeable – though this is a minor, subjective issue.

There’s a speaker grille for stereo sound and Xiaomi’s trademark infrared emitter on the top. The power button on the right has an integrated fingerprint sensor, and my right thumb rested on it naturally. The volume buttons are above it. On the bottom, you’ll find a dual Nano-SIM tray, a USB Type-C port, and the primary speaker. A Type-C to 3.5mm audio adapter is included in the box, along with a clear plastic case, the 33W charger, and a USB cable.

We’re always happy to see an IP rating, and the Mi 11X is dust and water resistant up to the IP53 standard. The front and rear are made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

mi 11x frontangle ndtv mi 11x

The Mi 11X has a 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED screen

 

Mi 11X specifications and software

The Snapdragon 870 has so far only been seen in a small number of phones such as the OnePlus 9R (Review) and Vivo X60 Pro (Review), both of which cost more but also boast of other high-end features. iQoo’s recently announced iQoo 7 is a closer match in terms of pricing. The Snapdragon 870 is a very minor refresh of the Snapdragon 865, but as we’ve already seen, it’s still a powerhouse. Xiaomi has also used UFS 3.1 storage and LPDDR5 RAM.

For gaming and entertainment, the choice of a 6.67-inch AMOLED panel should work well. It has a full-HD+ (1080×2400) resolution, 120Hz maximum refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate, and HDR10+ with a 1300nit peak brightness rating. Colour reproduction is said to be 100 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut. There’s also support for MEMC motion smoothing which is said to potentially make low-framerate content look more fluid, as well as AI-based HDR enhancement. There isn’t an in-dispay fingerprint sensor – you’ll find it integrated into the power button on the side.

Xiaomi has gone with a 4,520mAh battery and promises up to 11 hours of gaming per charge. You get a 33W fast charger in the box, which should support the USB-PD and Qualcomm Quick Charge standards and deliver a full charge in under an hour. The Mi 11X also has stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos said to be added in a future software update, and high-res certification for wired and wireless headsets.

There are two Nano-SIM slots but no provision for microSD storage expansion. You get Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, and multiple navigation systems including NavIC, but no NFC (the company’s website did list NFC support until Gadgets 360 contacted a representative for confirmation). A haptic motor provides physical feedback for gestures and taps. One potential minor inconvenience is that the USB port works only at USB 2.0 speed for data transfers.

Xiaomi ships the Mi 11X with MIUI 12.0.3, and I received an update to 12.0.4 during the review period. This is based on Android 11, and my unit had the April 2021 security patch. The experience is pretty much the same as on other recent Xiaomi phones including the Redmi Note 10 series. One continuing issue is the prevalence of advertising and promotional notifications. You have the choice to disable ‘Glance’ content on the lockscreen during setup, which I would highly recommend. Xiaomi has said that MIUI 12.5 will remove this and also allow users to uninstall nearly all of the preloaded apps, which I look forward to.

MIUI 12 has loads of customisation options including themes, an optional app drawer, navigation gestures, a Lite mode, a secure Second Space for private data, and an always-on display mode.

mi 11x bottom ndtv mi 11x

There’s a dual Nano-SIM tray on the bottom but no microSD card slot or 3.5mm audio socket

 

Mi 11X performance

This phone is designed to deliver class-leading performance for its price, and so of course it does well when it comes to ordinary usage. It feels responsive when performing actions, especially when using MIUI’s navigation gestures. The 120Hz screen refresh rate does seem to help the experience feel snappy. The fingerprint sensor worked well, but its location means that it is easy to activate inadvertently while just holding the phone.

The screen is bright and vibrant, making the Mi 11X great for watching videos on. Together with the processor, it means that games are also highly enjoyable. The main complaint I have is the silver ring around the front camera – although Xiaomi boasts of how small the hole is, the ring still calls attention to it which is distracting when trying to focus on content on screen. There are options within the Android Settings app to tweak the colour profile and toggle the reading mode. AI HDR and video smoothing do make slight differences, but you’ll need specific kinds of content to really notice them.

One pleasant surprise is that the speakers are quite well balanced and produce a very wide, engaging sound. Bass is definitely lacking but the sound doesn’t distort even at high volume, and most music as well as spoken content sounds good. Dolby Atmos can be tweaked using the Video Toolbox overlay, and the improvement in clarity is immediately audible.

Xiaomi blocks many benchmarks on its pre-release phones, but AnTuTu 9 was able to run and reported a score of 673,855 which is marginally higher than what the OnePlus 9R managed. Games were quite smooth – both Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty Mobile ran well at their highest settings, but the screen refresh rate seems limited to 60Hz and 90Hz respectively. The upper back of the phone did get a bit warm after about 10 minutes of playing.

I was able to use the Mi 11X for a full day without worrying about the battery running out. With a few hours of video streaming, gaming, camera use, and general Internet usage, you shouldn’t have any trouble lasting at least from morning to night. Our HD video loop test ran for 17 hours, 16 minutes, which is good but not spectacular.

The Mi 11X did charge very quickly – I logged the battery level at 67 percent after being plugged in to the bundled charger for 30 minutes and hit 100 percent after just 56 minutes, which is just slightly over what Xiaomi claims but still very convenient. The phone was off, but its entire body got extremely hot while charging.

mi 11x top ndtv mi 11x

The silver ring around the front camera can be distracting. An IR emitter is located in the speaker grille at the top.

 

Mi 11X cameras

Xiaomi has resisted the temptation of marketing and gone with only three rear cameras on the Mi 11X: a 48-megapixel primary rear camera with a Sony IMX582 sensor and f/1.79 aperture, an 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, and a 5-megapixel “telemacro” camera with 2X zoom. The front camera has a 20 megapixel resolution and f/2.45 aperture.

The MIUI camera app is not entirely straightforward – some controls such as switching to the Macro camera are buried in menus, although other things like switching video resolutions are more accessible than usual. The main carousel of modes is customisable so you can choose which ones you want at your fingertips and which can live in a spillover menu. There are lots of camera modes and options to play with.

Mi 11X daytime camera samples (top: standard; bottom: ultra-wide) (tap to see full size)

 

While the 48-megapixel primary camera is quite good in general, photo quality isn’t the main priority that went into developing this phone – that’s a key differentiator for the more expensive Mi 11X Pro. Still, the industry standard is high enough that you won’t be left disappointed. Photos taken in the daytime were a little lacking in terms of dynamism and vibrance, whereas other phones tend to saturate colours to make everything pop. Detail is good when subjects are well lit, but you might find textures a little lacking if you magnify photos all the way on a big screen. Portrait mode also does a good job.

Mi 11X daytime macro camera sample (tap to see full size)

Mi 11X daytime portrait mode camera sample (tap to see full size)

 

The ultra-wide camera doesn’t do a bad job but you can expect some distortion at the edges of the frame. The “telemacro” camera is much more interesting – this seems to be similar to the implementation on the Redmi Note 10 Pro Max, and it’s just as impressive. You can capture detailed macros without needing to be too close to your subject, which means you don’t obstruct light and framing is easier. However, there’s no focus guide on screen which means a lot of trial and error is needed. If you take your time, you can get some dramatic results.

Mi 11X low-light camera samples (top: standard; middle: night mode; bottom: ultra-wide) (tap to see full size)

 

 

Details get a bit murky in photos taken at night, and there’s plenty of noise. Night mode definitely makes things brighter and helps with exposure balance, but there isn’t necessarily any improvement in definition and there’s potential for shots to be affected by motion blur. As expected, the ultra-wide camera does a very poor job at night, with poor exposures and weak detail. However, night mode actually makes it usable. You can capture some reasonable shots in the dark. The macro camera also struggles to pick out small subjects.

 

Mi 11X selfie camera samples (top: daytime; bottom: low-light) (tap to see full size)

 

Beautification is on by default with the front camera. Skin textures didn’t look too good when magnified but portrait mode creates good-looking depth behind the subject.

Video recording goes up to 4K 30fps (the Mi 11X Pro can do 4K 60fps plus HDR). Quality is good at 1080p as well as 4K. Footage shot in the daytime isn’t too shaky despite the lack of OIS, but there’s severe juddering if you record video while walking at night.

mi 11x cameras ndtv mi 11x

Xiaomi has gone with three rear cameras on the Mi 11X

 

Verdict

Smartphone makers have limited ways in which to make their offerings stand out, and with premium features constantly becoming available at lower and lower prices, there isn’t that much room for differentiation at each price level. Xiaomi already has a portfolio stuffed with feature-rich phones across its Mi and Redmi series, plus the recently spun off Poco brand. With the Mi 11X, Xiaomi has chosen to tilt the scales in favour of processor power and overall polish, somewhat sacrificing camera quality in the bargain.

If you aren’t too concerned about camera quality, this is a great phone for around Rs. 30,000. Games run well, and thanks to the slick screen plus powerful SoC, there’s a lot of potential for entertainment as well as general-purpose use, and some degree of headroom for future needs is built in. I also like the small touches, like good stereo speakers, an IP rating, and fast charging. With the promised MIUI 12.5 update, the software should become much more user-friendly, but that isn’t a factor we can take into account yet while adding up the scores.

Ultimately, the Mi 11X is a strong contender but not as an all-rounder. If your needs align with what it offers, you’ll be happy with it – especially considering the price.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G With Android 11 Reportedly Spotted on Geekbench

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G has allegedly been spotted on Geekbench platform. A listing on the benchmarking site shows a Samsung tablet that runs on Android 11, and is powered by an octa-core SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM. Reports have connected the listing to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G. This is not the first time that there has been reports about the lite variant of the Galaxy Tab S7. Previously, a report claimed that the South Korean company has been working on an upper mid-range tablet with Wi-Fi, LTE, and 5G variants.

As per the Geekbench listing, the alleged Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G has a model number SM-T736B. A previous report had also claimed that the 5G variant of the rumoured upper mid-range tablet is SM-T736B/ SM-T736N. There is also a chatter about other variants which are claimed to carry model SM-T730 (Wi-Fi) and SM-T735 (LTE). The report also said that the Galaxy Tab S7 Lite could be launched as Samsung Galaxy Tab S8e.

Furthermore, the Geekbench listing shows the alleged Galaxy Tab S7 Lite 5G scoring 650 points in Single and 1694 points in Multi-Core testing results, respectively. It also shows that the tablet packs 4GB of RAM and runs on Android 11. As per MySmartPrice, which first spotted the listing, the tablet features the Adreno 619 GPU and the CPU has a max clock speed of 2.21GHz which hints at the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC under the hood. Speculations are rife that Samsung may also launch a Galaxy Tab S7 Lite Plus or XL variant that may have the same hardware as the alleged Galaxy Tab S7 Lite, but they are rumoured to sport a bigger display.


What will be the most exciting tech launch of 2021? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Sourabh Kulesh is a Chief Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He has worked in a national daily newspaper, a news agency, a magazine and now writing technology news online. He has knowledge on a wide gamut of topics related to cybersecurity, enterprise and consumer technology. Write to sourabhk@ndtv.com or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @KuleshSourabh.
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How to Mute Mention Notifications on WhatsApp

How to Mute Mention Notifications on WhatsApp

WhatsApp has already provided an option to let you mute notifications of individual chats and group messages forever on its platform since October last year. However, that option is not useful when you are mentioned by someone in a group chat for which you have already muted notifications. You will continue to receive notifications if a user in the group replies to one of your previously sent messages or mentions you in the thread. This is not technically a flaw, but it could get annoying if multiple members in a muted group are mentioning you or replying to your earlier message.

However, you can mute such notifications by following a workaround, as initially reported by WABetaInfo.

How to mute mention notifications on WhatsApp

You can mute notifications of the messages that mention you or are in response to your existing message in a group for which you have already muted notifications on both Android and iOS. It also works on WhatsApp Web or its desktop client. What you need to do is to mute notifications from the individual users who mention you or send a reply to your earlier message in the muted group.

To mute notifications from an individual user, you just need to go to their profile on WhatsApp and then tap the name of the user. After that, look for the Mute notifications option on Android or Mute on iOS. You can choose from three options — 8 hours, a week, or always options to mute notifications.

This comes in handy when you cannot leave a WhatsApp group but don’t want to receive continuous notifications if someone mentions you or replies to your message in that group.

WABetaInfo reports that the workaround would work even when WhatsApp will enable the reported multi-device support. It could essentially sync the rules for notifications across devices.


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.


Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips.
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