Smartphones

The Tough Land Rover Explore Smartphone

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Land Rover lends its name to another ruggedised smartphone-- the Explore, a handset the company describes describes as the toughest yet, "built to work in places other phones can't reach."

Land Rover ExploreThe work of British smartphone maker Bullitt (who made devices branded by the likes of Caterpillar, Kodak and JCB), the Explore includes a factory-fitted screen protector and protective casing allowing it to survive dives of up to 1.8m in salt water and drops of up to 1.8m. The phone also has an IP86 rating for splash, water and dust resistance, and includes the ViewRanger mapping app for customers wanting to take their Land Rover (the car, not the phone) off the beaten track.

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HTC Intros Dual-Camera U11 Eyes

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HTC returns to dual-camera smartphones with the U11 Eyes-- a handset featuring dual 5MP front-facing cameras allowing customers to take better selfies complete with bokeh depth of field.

HTC U11 EyesThe front-facing cameras are clearly the USP of the U11 Eyes, since they also feature f/2.2 lenses, HDR Boost and an 80-degree field of view. A bokeh mode can adjust depth of field both in real-time and after a photo is taken, while a beauty mode promises "spectacular selfies" through skin smoothing, skin brightening, face slimming and eye enlargement options.

In terms of hardware specifications the U11 Eyes is more mid-range than flagship-- it carries an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 chipset, 2160 x 1080 LCD touchscreen (with 18:9 aspect ratio), 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (expandable via microSD slot), 12MP rear-facing camera, 3930mAh battery and USB-C connectivity.

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Samsung Intros W2018... Flip Phone

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The flip phone ain't dead-- at least not in China, where Samsung announces the W2018, a high-end device featuring flagship internals and a camera with an f/1.5 aperture for better low-light photography.

Samsung W2018Made exclusively for the China Telecom "Heart of the World" charity event, the W2018 features a pair of 4.2-inch 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED touchscreens together with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, 6GB RAM, 64/256GB storage and a 2300mAh battery. Connectivity comes through dual-SIM slots, NFC and USB-C, security features include a fingerprint reader and an iris scanner, and the Bixby assistant can be summoned via dedicated button on the side.

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The Tiny Jelly Smartphone

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Chinese manufacturer Unihertz releases what it claims is the smallest 4G smartphone around-- the Jelly, a device with a 2.45-inch display, a far cry from the current 5-inch standard.

JellyThe result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Jelly measures all of 92.4 x 43 x 13mm, making it tiny compared to most smartphones. It run on Android 7.0 and promises to be a fully-fledged smartphone, with the plastic shell packing a 1.1GHz processor, 1/2GB RAM, 8/16GB internal storage (expandable via microSD card slot), 4G LTE connectivity and dual-SIM capability.

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The Foldable Dual-Screen ZTE Axon M

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ZTE claims the Axon M brings nothing less than "a new smartphone category"-- or in the least something rather interesting, since it features a foldable design with two full-size displays.

ZTE Axon MThe Axon M has a pair of 5.2-inch 1920 x 1080 displays, one in the front and the other in the back. A hinge connects the two, allowing users to flip the rear display and slot it next to the front one, creating a single 6.75-inch display. Users can then either stretch apps across the larger display or take advantage of Android split-screen features to run two apps simultaneously, one on each screen. Users can even watch two different videos on the two screens, switching between audio streams as they want.

In addition, one can also "tent" the phone and mirror the displays, allowing two people to look at the same content from the front and back. ZTE promises the "top 100" Android apps work on the Axon M, with the tablet version of the app (if one exists, obviously) running when the it is in "extended" mode.

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