When the words used to describe a new smartphone are nuts, bonkers, and overkill, we get a little bit excited.
Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Monday, July 22, 2019!
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1. ROG Phone II launched: fastest ever?
One of the great things about smartphones is the sheer scale of variety on offer:
- Low on cash? $100 will get you a passable quality phone with enough features, even if the photos are bad.
- Heck, $190 might even get you something decent like a Samsung A30 that will last years.
- And the other end of the market offers the most blisteringly overspec’d devices with insane everything.
The newest competitor here is the ROG Phone 2, the 2019 update to the gaming-focused smartphone line from ASUS sub-brand Republic of Gamers. It offers the best specs on Android right now.
Android Authority’s David Imel was on hand in Taiwan for the pre-briefing for the device, and the list of aggressive hardware decisions and ideas is long.
Notable ROG II specs:
- First phone with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus chip.
- 120Hz AMOLED display, beating the OnePlus 7 Pro with a 90Hz screen,
- The display has 240Hz touch sensitivity, meaning faster recording of touches on the screen or less touch-lag.
- 12GB of RAM, with up to 512GB of UFS 3.0 storage.
- 48MP primary and 13MP ultra wide-angle rear camera.
- 6,000mAh battery which is one of the largest we’ve seen.
- Air triggers that act as shoulder buttons for landscape mode gaming.
- Add fast charging with any USB-C 3a cable, 802.11ad Wi-Fi connectivity with four Wi-Fi antennas for faster throughput, passive and active cooling… and more.
- There’s also a mechanism to tone down the gamer vibes, switching the gamer UI to something more stock Android.
- It’s bonkers.
David told me:
- “It looks great, it has nuts specs, it has so much power it hurts, and they’ve gone all out on accessories, and lots of little details have been improved over the original ROG Phone.”
- Watch his hands-on with the device on YouTube.
- We don’t know the price yet, but the original ROG Phone was sold across the globe, including the USA, Asia, and Europe, starting at $899. The ROG Phone 2 is unlikely to cost any less than that.
- It’s coming to stores September 4.
- Gaming phones are an interesting platform. Like a sportscar, many people think they’re an unnecessary expense, given any decent phone these days can easily handle just about everything you throw at it.
- The Pixel 3a at $399 proved that value is there for just about every applicating.
- Gaming has always been the one reason to pay more for a PC or laptop – faster framerates and nice looking details make for better gaming.
- The real problem with gaming phones is that all the power goes into a ~6-inch display.
- The ROG Phone II offers some solutions. There’s one accessory (ROG Kunai Gamepad) that turns the device into something like a Nintendo Switch, with dedicated controls on the side:
- And the TwinView Dock II adds a 3DS-like extra-screen accessory which adds a second screen, and 5,000mAh battery as well. (No pricing yet either, the first version was around $250.)
- At over $1,000 for a phone and accessories, for the vast majority of people, this is a pass. A Nintendo Switch Lite for $199 is going to make more sense for a much bigger audience, even if the games don’t come cheap.
- Phones calling themselves “gaming phones” have really been in vogue since the first Razer Phone in late 2017. But it’s still unclear if that experiment has really worked beyond creating a niche.
- But for a small segment of ultra-committed gamers, who play PUBG Mobile or Fortnite or Asphalt 9 and need speed to bleed, the ROG Phone 2 has it all and more.
2. The Pixel 4 has a mystery sensor (Android Authority).
3. Tinder strikes major blow against Google by removing Google Play payments (Android Authority).
4. What is Vsync and why should you use it (or not) (Android Authority).
5. Want to do crimes? Upgrade to 5G, apparently (Gizmodo).
6. A lot happened at San Diego Comic-Con. Marvel announced “Phase 4” of the MCU, which includes five movies and five Disney Plus series, including “Doctor Strange 2”, and Natalie Portman as female Thor in “Thor: Love and Thunder”, and Marvel’s Hawkeye series starring Jeremy Renner (Polygon). Also, we saw the first trailer for “Star Trek: Picard” (YouTube), and a tonne more, nicely rounded up on The Verge.
7. What are click farms? A shadowy internet industry is booming in China (Yahoo).
8. Switch “Joy-Con Drift” class action lawsuit officially filed (GoNintendo).
9. After fourth annual Hyperloop competition sees speeds of 288mph from a Munich university, Elon Musk says next SpaceX Hyperloop competition will be in a six-mile, curved tunnel (TechCrunch).
10. A US Navy ship used a new drone-defense system to take down an Iranian drone (The Verge).
11. A New York Times reporter worked delivering food for apps including Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates in New York City, and detailed the story, including the nefarious ways tips are skimmed (NY Times).
12. “What’s something that seems fun, but is actually terrible?” (r/askreddit). First comment: “New Year’s Eve in Times Square.”
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