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For once, a hot new Android phone isn’t just copying the iPhone X

When the Pixel 3 launches in October, we’ll add Google to the growing list of Android device makers who copied Apple’s iPhone X design this year.

But the Pixel 3 isn’t the only hot new Android device supposed to launch this year, as we’ve got two more incoming flagships this year. They’re both from China — that’s the OnePlus 6T and the Mate 20 — but only one of them will offer specs that are unlike any other 2018 Android flagships.

That’s Huawei’s phone, which should soon become the first Android handset to pack a 7nm chip, and it’ll all happen well before Samsung’s Galaxy S10 drops. Apple’s 2018 iPhones will be the only other smartphones to feature 7nm chips this year.
We saw a variety of Huawei Mate 20 leaks in the previous days, which revealed the phone will come in three versions just like the P20 series, including Lite, regular, and Pro.

The best Mate 20 version is expected to offers users high-end features like a fingerprint sensor under the screen, Face ID-like authentication, a triple-lens rear camera, and a 4,200 mAh battery, according to some reports.

Previous leaks revealed the phone will look a lot like the iPhone X, featuring a large notch at the top. But Huawei’s phone will still have a bezel at the bottom, just like every iPhone X clone out there. The iPhone X, of course, doesn’t have a chin.

A new report from xda-developers now brings an unexpected Mate 20 twist. The site claims it had access to photos of an engineering sample of the device, and created renders based on the leaked images.

The same site had access to the leaked firmware of the Mate 20, which revealed plenty of the phone’s features.

What’s puzzling about these renders is that they show a phone that has a tiny notch, one that reminds us of the Essential Phone’s design. Here’s how it looks like:

If this design is accurate, then it means the Mate 20 won’t have 3D facial recognition like the iPhone X. You need a more prominent top bezel to house all the components that make Face ID possible.

The renders also reveal the phone will have a 3.5mm headphone jack, as well as stereo speakers. If there’s one thing interesting about the Mate 20’s notch is the placement of the speaker, check it out:

On the back, the Mate 20 will have a triple-lens cam, and xda has this render up, which shows a rather peculiar way of arranging those cams — not that it’s wrong or anything like that:

On the other hand, if these Huawei leaks seem confusing, that’s because the same thing happened earlier this year before the P20 series was unveiled. Not all three P20 or Mate 20 phones have the same set of specs and features, and leaks don’t always get things right.

Huawei is expected to launch the Mate 20 phones in October, although the 7nm Kirin 980 chip that will power it should be unveiled soon, at the IFA 2018 event in Germany.

YouTube’s most famous camera guy did the iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 9 shootout we’ve been waiting for

Casey Neistat is a YouTube vlogger in a class of his own. His daily life-in-New York videos are insanely popular, in no small part because of the outstanding videography he manages to pull off without a real film crew.

As a result, when Casey talks about day-to-day video equipment, people listen. He’s particularly well-known for video quality reviews and comparisons on gear that isn’t nearly pro-level, like smartphones and drones, and in his latest installment, he puts the Galaxy Note 9 and the iPhone X head-to-head.

Before you commit eight precious minutes of your life to the video, you should understand that this isn’t a full-on review of the phone, or even of the camera system. Casey doesn’t even show the photo app, or give any of his own opinions. Instead, what you’re getting is a whole bunch of 4K footage shot around New York City literally side-by-side by a renowned photographer.

I’ve watched the video back a couple of times, and a few things stand out. The first — and most boring — is just how even these two cameras actually are. You might think that Samsung would have a significant advantage, since it’s competing with a device that’s nearly a full year newer than the iPhone X. But when it comes to the simple things like detail, noise, and color reproduction, both devices seem to be so close that you’d need a seriously fancy 4K video-editing monitor to ever tell the difference.

Two things did stand out about the Galaxy Note 9’s image, however. The dynamic range on some of the outdoor shots, especially the landscapes over water, put the iPhone X to shame. You can see more details in the shadow and in the sky than you can on the iPhone X, which is a big win. I also found the Galaxy Note 9’s color profile to look a little better, although again, without a reference monitor, it’s a really tough thing to judge.

YouTube’s most famous camera guy did the iPhone X vs Galaxy Note 9 shootout we’ve been waiting for

Casey Neistat is a YouTube vlogger in a class of his own. His daily life-in-New York videos are insanely popular, in no small part because of the outstanding videography he manages to pull off without a real film crew.

As a result, when Casey talks about day-to-day video equipment, people listen. He’s particularly well-known for video quality reviews and comparisons on gear that isn’t nearly pro-level, like smartphones and drones, and in his latest installment, he puts the Galaxy Note 9 and the iPhone X head-to-head.

Before you commit eight precious minutes of your life to the video, you should understand that this isn’t a full-on review of the phone, or even of the camera system. Casey doesn’t even show the photo app, or give any of his own opinions. Instead, what you’re getting is a whole bunch of 4K footage shot around New York City literally side-by-side by a renowned photographer.

I’ve watched the video back a couple of times, and a few things stand out. The first — and most boring — is just how even these two cameras actually are. You might think that Samsung would have a significant advantage, since it’s competing with a device that’s nearly a full year newer than the iPhone X. But when it comes to the simple things like detail, noise, and color reproduction, both devices seem to be so close that you’d need a seriously fancy 4K video-editing monitor to ever tell the difference.

Two things did stand out about the Galaxy Note 9’s image, however. The dynamic range on some of the outdoor shots, especially the landscapes over water, put the iPhone X to shame. You can see more details in the shadow and in the sky than you can on the iPhone X, which is a big win. I also found the Galaxy Note 9’s color profile to look a little better, although again, without a reference monitor, it’s a really tough thing to judge.

Apple’s next-gen iPhones might actually copy a Samsung phone for once

Apple will unveil three new iPhones next month, including an affordable iPhone X successor with an LCD screen as well as two premium models that will have OLED displays like the iPhone X. All three devices will deliver the same core features, which means the cheapest model will be almost as powerful and fast as the most expensive one. The more expensive models will have better displays, dual cameras, and better battery life, to name just a few of the differences between the new LCD iPhone and the premium models. On top of that, the OLED phones will reportedly get an extra feature we didn’t see coming.

For the second time in a matter of days, we’ve heard that Apple Pencil support is in the cards for Apple’s 2018 iPhone models. A few days ago, it was a research firm that mentioned it. Fast forward to Thursday, and we have Taiwan’s Economic Daily News saying the same thing.

But the new report delivers a detail we didn’t have before. Apple Pencil support will supposedly be restricted to the OLED phones, meaning the 5.8-inch iPhone and the new “iPhone X Plus.” If this information is accurate, it means that older iPhones, 2017 iPhone X included, will also be left out.

For years, Apple resisted the urge to make a stylus for iOS devices. When the Pencil launched three years ago, it only worked with the iPad Pro. However, since then, Tim Cook did make comments that hinted Pencil support for the iPhone was in the works, and we saw some patents showing us how a stylus would work on the iPhone.

Samsung fans may be quick to point out that Apple is finally copying the iconic feature from the Galaxy Note, but Apple’s way of doing things is slightly different. The Pencil isn’t likely to be bundled with the iPhone, and it’ll probably remain a separate purchase.

Apple will unveil its next-gen iPhones in about a month, at which point we’ll learn more details about Apple’s plans for the iPhone and Pencil support going forward.

Nearly a year later, opinions on the iPhone X’s most controversial new feature are still mixed

It has now been almost one year since Apple unveiled the iPhone X. The handset is a complete reimagining of Apple’s iPhone, and it’s without question the most significant update the company’s smartphone line has ever seen. Features that had become staples of the iPhone user experience were eliminated and replaced with new designs and features. In fact, things as core to the user experience as the way people navigate the UI were revamped.

Apple fans have been known to freak out when the company makes even the simplest change to a new iPhone, so it’s understandable that the iPhone X made some waves when it was first released. And by “made some waves,” we mean set off a panic that might have been even worse than when Apple ditched the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 in 2016.

Normally when Apple fans panic about a change, it ends up being much ado about nothing. The headphone jack is a perfect example; the vast majority of new headphones sold these days are wireless, and most users don’t even think about the headphone jack anymore. But in the case of the iPhone X’s most controversial new feature, it turns out that much of the concern was warranted.

Apple iPhone X is different from earlier iPhone models in so many ways that it can be difficult to list them all. If you ask someone what the most controversial change is, however, he or she will inevitably mention one of two things.

First, we have the notch. People definitely freaked out when they saw that a big chunk had been taken out of the top of the iPhone’s display. But we can now say with 100% certainty that it was much ado about nothing. Nearly every other smartphone maker on the planet has copied Apple’s iPhone X display design, and their phones are selling just fine. As for iPhone X users specifically, they don’t even notice the notch anymore.

The second answer you might get when you ask about the iPhone X’s most controversial feature also relates to the notch, and this is the concern that turns out to have been warranted. That’s right, we’re talking about Face ID. The very reason the iPhone X’s notch exists is to make room for the handset’s TrueDepth camera system, a series of sophisticated sensors that enable secure 3D facial recognition. You know how the facial recognition on Samsung phones can be completely bypassed with a simple photo? Yeah, that’s not happening with Face ID, and TrueDepth is the reason why.

Now, no one questions whether or not Face ID is secure. We all know it is. The problem people have with Face ID is that for many users, it simply doesn’t work well. That might not be an issue if the iPhone X still had Touch ID, Apple’s beloved fingerprint authentication system. But it doesn’t, which means users who consistently have trouble with Face ID have no other way to quickly and easily unlock their phones, open secure apps, or authenticate mobile payments. They’re basically bumped back to the old days of having to constantly type in a PIN or password.

In a recent thread in the iPhone subreddit on Reddit titled “iPhone X users, how has Face ID fared for you?” a user who goes by the name “Makegooduseof” posed a simple but important question. And unfortunately, the responses were all too predictable.

Many of the top-voted comments in the thread come from people who love Face ID. They find that Apple’s new tech works wonderfully and reliably, and some people even say they would never want to go back to Touch ID. But not everyone has the same experience with Face ID. A smaller but still significant portion of the comments come from users who have not had good experiences with Face ID, and it’s quite concerning considering how integral Face ID is to the iPhone X user experience.

“I’ve had an iPhone X since early December and still, passionately, hate Face ID,” one user wrote. “It works about 3/4 of the time which means I type my password a lot. A lot a lot. It also never works if the phone is sideways which is bad for someone like me who lays in bed and looks at their phone.”

Others chimed in with similar experiences, and we’ve heard much of the same from people we’ve spoken with offline about Face ID. Most users find that Face ID works wonderfully, but a decent amount of people find that it fails far too often, and that understandably results in a great deal of frustration. This is of particular concern for many people right now since we’re about one month away from seeing Apple unveil three brand new iPhone models that all ditch Touch ID in favor of Face ID.