Insta360 ONE and ONE X action camera international giveaway!

It’s time for the Sunday giveaway!

A big congratulations to the winner of last week’s OnePlus 6T international giveaway, Offord from Canada.

This week we’re giving away three Insta360 cameras!

In the world of 360 action cameras, it doesn’t get much better than the new Insta360 ONE X.

The Insta360 ONE X was made to provide best-in-class image quality no matter the environment, whether you’re skiing down a snowy mountain or deep-sea diving. It’s able to shoot 5.7K video at 30fps, 4K video at 50fps, and 3K video at 100fps. Perhaps most importantly, the ONE X features FlowState Stabilization, which means you’ll never have to worry about your videos coming out shaky.

We’re not just giving away one camera this week, we’re giving away three… and more! Check out the giveaway widget below to find out how to win. And if you want to see some great Insta360 ONE X footage, be sure to follow Insta360 on Instagram and subscribe on YouTube!

Enter the giveaway here

Insta360 ONE and ONE X action camera international giveaway!

Don’t miss: JBL Charge 4 giveaway

Winners gallery

Terms & conditions

  • This is an international giveaway (except when we can not ship to your country).
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only one entry per person; please do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by Android Authority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

More: Android Authority international giveaway FAQs

The most underrated smartphones of 2018

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

We saw plenty of fantastic smartphones in 2018, ranging from the Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9 to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus 6T. All that’s even before we get into the ultra-competitive mid-range sector, where phones like the Pocophone F1, Honor 8X, and Realme 2 Pro fought for supremacy.

These phones got plenty of critical (and likely commercial) acclaim, but what about some of the sleeper hits of 2018? Let’s take a look at some of the more underrated phones of the year.


BlackBerry Key2

Blackberry Key2

The new BlackBerry isn’t generating as many headlines as the new Nokia, but that doesn’t mean its phones aren’t worth a look. In fact, the BlackBerry Key2 might just be the best BlackBerry phone since the brand switched to Android.

Believe it or not, some people out there still prefer a physical keypad. The Key2 should make them feel right at home. Its keyboard has a couple of neat tricks too, such as the ability to assign an app to each key or the unique fingerprint scanner embedded in the spacebar. There’s also the convenience key, which gives you another shortcut to pretty much anything.

The BlackBerry flourishes are felt in the software too, such as the BlackBerry Hub for notifications and messages, the Privacy Shade to prevent people snooping over your shoulder, and DTEK security suite. Despite all that, the phone still looks and feels like a stock version of Android rather than something more garish.

The core specs don’t quite fit the $650 price tag though, largely due to the mid-range Snapdragon 660 chipset. You also get 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, a rear dual camera with two 12MP lenses (one standard and one telephoto), 8MP selfie snapper, and a 3,500mAh battery.

And how many other phones offer a physical keypad anyway?


LG G7 ThinQ

The LG G7.

The company’s first proper flagship of the year delivered almost everything you could want in a high-end LG phone. That means a wide-angle 16MP secondary camera (albeit with a slightly narrower field of view), quad-DAC audio hardware, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The company also included extras like water resistance, wireless charging, a Google Assistant button, and an interesting BoomBox speaker. The latter uses the space inside your phone to create louder sound, and you can even amplify the sound by putting it on a hard surface.

Related

Other noteworthy specs include a bright, 6.1-inch LCD display (3,120 x 1,440), 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage, a 16MP main camera, and an 8MP selfie snapper.

The phone could do with a bigger battery and it’s not a groundbreaking release, our own Lanh Nguyen wrote in his LG G7 review. He still thought the phone had the “firepower” to duke it out with other flagships. With the device available for just under $600, it certainly seems like a wise purchase.


Motorola One Power

A promo shot, showing the Motorola One Power Motorola

The budget Moto series has seemingly been overshadowed by Huawei and Xiaomi devices, but phones like the Motorola One Power show that the company still has a lot to offer.

The phone’s headline feature is a 5,000mAh battery, which means two-day endurance — even more if you really try — should be well within your grasp. You’ll need to look at the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 and the Honor Note 10 for similar endurance from the two Chinese super-brands.

This isn’t a one-trick pony, however, offering a 16MP and 5MP rear camera pairing, a 12MP selfie snapper with LED flash, USB Type-C connectivity, and a headphone jack. Toss in a Snapdragon 636 chipset, 3GB or 6GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of expandable storage, and a 6.2-inch notched full HD+ display, and you’ve got a capable phone for around $226.

You’ll also be glad to hear that the phone is part of the Android One program (hence the “One” in the name, presumably). This means the device is running stock Android for the most part and is guaranteed to receive feature updates for two years and security updates for three years.


Motorola Moto Z3

The front of the Moto Z3.

Motorola’s Verizon-only flagship felt more like a Moto Z2.1 in some ways, with the same fundamental design and 2017’s Snapdragon 835 chipset. However, it’s definitely one of the more underrated smartphones thanks to the $500 price tag.

The Moto Z3 also continued the Moto Mod tradition established back in 2016, allowing you to slap a variety of add-ons onto the back of the device. So if you need a better camera, louder speakers, a gamepad or even a projector, Motorola has your back.

Read: All you need to know about the 5G phones confirmed so far

The Moto Mod system also allows the company to claim it’s the first to launch a 5G-ready phone. Yep, the company confirmed the Moto Z3 will have 5G thanks to a separate Moto Mod accessory in 2019.

Motorola’s phone also sports 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of expandable storage, a dual 12MP rear camera setup (one standard and one monochrome), an 8MP selfie snapper, and a 3,000mAh battery.


Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

If ever a brand was perennially known for underrated smartphones, it would be Sony. The company has quietly been crafting polished flagships for a while now, even if the camera quality is often inconsistent. If you’re looking for a smaller high-end phone, the Xperia XZ2 Compact is pretty much the winner by default.

Staying with the camera experience, the Compact offers a single 19MP f/2.0 shooter. This camera offers proper 960fps super slow-mo (in 720p or 1080p), predictive capture, and 4K HDR video recording too. Selfies are handled by a bog-standard 5MP front-facing snapper.

Sony has generally focused on multimedia, and this rings true for the Xperia XZ2 Compact as well. It has SDR-to-HDR conversion, front-facing speakers, high resolution audio support, and LDAC support for Bluetooth headsets.

Other noteworthy specs include the Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, a 2,870mAh battery, water resistance, and a rear fingerprint scanner. The phone’s currently available for around $500, so you’re definitely getting a good deal.


Sony Xperia XZ3

The back of the Sony Xperia XZ3.

Two Sony phones on the list? You’d better believe it.

The Xperia XZ3 improved on the XZ2 series in a few meaningful ways.

Gone is the XZ2 Compact’s 5-inch full HD+ LCD screen, being replaced by a 6-inch 1,440p OLED screen. The smaller phone’s 5MP selfie snapper has also been replaced, with the XZ3 featuring a 13MP front-facing camera instead. Sony has also bumped the battery size to 3,300mAh, from the Compact’s 2,870mAh pack. And yes, Sony has tossed in wireless charging too.

Editor’s Pick

Probably the weirdest addition is the dynamic vibration system, however, which is essentially force feedback for video clips and movies. It’s not new — first seen on the standard Xperia XZ2 — but it’s yet another feature missing from the Compact model.

The rest of the phone is largely similar to the XZ2 Compact, so that means a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB of RAM, a 19MP f/2.0 main camera with 960fps super slow-mo, water resistance, USB Type-C, and no headphone jack. You can’t win ’em all, right?


Those are our picks for the most underrated smartphones of 2018. What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments section!

Fortnite quiz: True or false?

Fortnite Season 7 Battle pass skins

Last week, we tested out just how familiar you are with PUBG Mobile. The results were impressive — 97 percent of all participants got at least seven correct answers out of ten. This week, we’ll test out how much you really know about the mobile version of Fortnite, one of the most popular battle royale games on Android.

The quiz below contains 10 statements that revolve around things like weapons and controls, and your job is to figure out whether they are true or false. If you think you’re a Fortnite expert, you should get the majority of them right.

Click the Start button if you’re up for the challenge — and don’t forget to share your score with friends on social media when you’re done.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s widget.


This is the 21st quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take a few of the most popular ones via the links below or check out all of them by clicking here.

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

Huawei troubles poised to land on US industry

The Huawei logo.

Huawei is in deep trouble. It might not quite be ZTE levels of trouble, but the winds are swirling.

I’ve written about Huawei’s security and telecommunication equipment problems before. Add in trade wars and criminal allegations, and you’re almost caught up.

Previously I’ve tried to get to the bottom of security issues with Huawei, but the exact secrets have never quite been revealed. The Five Eyes nations firmly believe Huawei is more or less a proxy for the Chinese state, but the public hasn’t seen verifiable proof.

Things are changing. The arrest of CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, in Canada occurred on Dec. 1. The public wasn’t aware of her detention until Friday, December 7th.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou is cataclysmic. You may have seen the headlines about Beijing’s fury, threats to Canada, and furor, but it hasn’t taken legal action, as you might have well expected.

The situation currently surrounding Huawei has major implications for worldwide 5G rollout.

Here’s how the South China Morning Post described the aftermath of the arrest:

“The shocked tone rings false. If China’s ambassador to Canada was really so sure Meng’s arrest was wrong, he could have filed a writ of habeas corpus to have her brought immediately before a court to determine the lawfulness of her detention. He did not.”

Meng was eventually freed on a $7.5m bail, and must wear an ankle bracelet along with paying for 24/7 security to ensure she does not attempt to flee Canada, as an extradition hearing is set up. Meng was also forced to surrender all passports and travel documents.

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking to pursue investigations that Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. While non-U.S. companies are free to deal with Iran — Samsung sells smartphones to Iranians — they can’t sell U.S. technologies like Intel or Qualcomm chipsets or modems. A similar breach of sanctions saw ZTE barred from using U.S. companies’ technology — something later watered down to fines after reported intervention from the White House.

Any such ban would be devastating for Huawei’s business. Of Huawei’s reported 92 core suppliers, 33 are U.S. corporations, including chip makers such as Intel, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Micron.

Any ban on Huawei utilizing U.S. technology, would cause serious issues for the company’s handsets and 5G technology. Huawei manufactures more of its own chips, including an award-winning processor but this could still cripple it. Huawei is largely a symbol of China’s success, both domestically and abroad.

For us, we need to imagine if Tim Cook or Sundar Pichai were arrested in China. The uproar would be immense, and many would feel China would be overreaching.  In this case, the U.S. involving Canada adds a third party, and Canadians may be anxious about retaliation from Beijing having been caught up in the Huawei mess.

Additionally, the U.S. is still pressuring its allies to avoid Huawei telecommunications equipment. Japan is the latest country to exclude both Huawei and ZTE from the 5G network rollout. BT in the UK also recently decided to bar Huawei equipment from its 5G rollout, and remove existing Huawei 4G infrastructure as well.

Why?

Spy agencies come in from the cold

Five Eyes world map

We know that the Five Eyes (U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand — often abbreviated FVEY) attorneys general met this year from an Australian government release later removed from a Home Affairs website, though you can read it here.

Then came a rare set of speeches by top intelligence chiefs. These were significant, even if the words were moderate and indirect.

On Oct. 29, the first ever public speech was made by head of the Australian Signals Directorate Mike Burgess, following Australia’s ban on Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks:

These twin themes of technological and strategic economic shifts can be seen in the government’s recent decision to prohibit telecommunications carriers from using high-risk vendors in 5G networks.

This decision, which was not taken lightly, was supported by technical advice from my agency, all elements of my agency. Our intelligence and offensive cyber experts that led the formation of our cyber security advice. Offence informs defence.

Then came the second-ever public speech by an MI6 boss, Alex Younger on Dec. 3, who sounded a general warning over technology:

But I have also witnessed the damage new technologies can do in the hands of a skilled opponent unrestrained by any notion of law or morality, as well as the potentially existential challenge the data age poses to the traditional operating methods of a secret intelligence agency.

We and our allies face a battle to make sure technology works to our advantage, not to that of our opponents.

“We need to decide the extent to which we re going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a quite definite position,” Younger said in later comments reported by the BBC.

Three days later, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s top spy, David Vigneault, gave his first public speech.

“Plainly said: there is state-sponsored espionage in Canada,” said Vigneault.

None of these spymasters mentioned Huawei or ZTE, but you don’t need to have beaten an Escape Room game to understand the warnings.

Then from the top echelon of the U.S. seat of power came the hugely significant speech by Vice President Mike Pence, a truly extraordinary attack on China at The Hudson Institute. Hostile and directly mentioning China no less than 91 times in remarks heard around the world.

How much does hurting Huawei hurt US networks and allies?

Huawei is banned from involvement with 5G rollout in the U.S., Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada may follow suit, with a former prime minister calling for the same limitation. Huawei remains active with 20 5G contracts with other major carriers, and it’s actively involved in 5G rollout and testing in the U.K., despite spy chief concerns.

At the very least, carriers in countries banning Huawei will have a more expensive and difficult rollout of 5G technology. That means consumers will have to wait longer and pay more for 5G when it becomes available. Countries will have to rely on Swedish giant Ericsson and Finnish Nokia, a two-horse race for most major wireless bands. Samsung is a contender in mmWave very high spectrum bands only.

Any country banning Huawei will have a more difficult rollout of 5G technology.

This will likely mean slower U.S. uptake of 5G wireless. We’re already seeing test environments in some major urban centers, but significant 5G penetration outside of major cities soon is unlikely.

The U.S. has legitimate concerns about the importance of 5G infrastructure. 5G will, in as little as two or three years, take over from even wired installations where the traditional routing of major voice and data takes place. Significant and nationwide telecommunications infrastructure could be at risk to Chinese influence, however small, and however much Huawei protests its innocence.

The next major act of significance will be the outcome of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition, and the response from China. For now, China is incensed, but not retaliating. If that changes, U.S. lag on 5G infrastructure could be the least of its worries.

Here are the 10 best Christmas tech gifts under $100

Christmas is not that far away, but plenty of you out there might have put off getting gifts until the last minute. That moment has now arrived, and some of you might not know what to get your family, friends, or colleagues.

Good news! There are plenty of quality gift ideas out there that should make anyone happy, and they don’t all cost an arm and a leg. Here are our picks for the 10 best Christmas gifts you can buy for under $100.

Roku Ultra 4K streaming media box

Best Christmas gifts - Roku

If your family or friends are interested in turning their television into a truly smart TV, the Roku Ultra 4K streaming media box is the best way to do just that. It supports streaming even from 4K video services, and they can even connect the box physically to a network router with its built-in Ethernet port for the best possible data connection. The Roku Ultra also comes with a remote that supports voice commands for searching for your favorite TV show or movie without a lot of tedious button pushing. It even ships with a pair of JBL headphones, which connect to the remote.

Editor’s Pick

The Roku OS offers access to thousands of streaming services, including all the major ones like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and others. The Roku Channel also offers a selection of movies and TV shows for free, with ads. You can get the Roku Ultra from Amazon right now for $79.99.

Amazon Echo smart speaker

Best Christmas gifts - Echo

The leading smart speaker brand comes from Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. The Echo lineup of smart speakers lets people get information like news and weather with just their voice, along with fun stuff like playing music playlists, games, and more. You can even use Echo smart speakers to send commands to other smart devices, go shopping on Amazon, and more.

Editor’s Pick

The standard Amazon Echo speaker not only looks good, with its stitched fabric material you can get in different colors, but it also sounds great, thanks to its 2.5-inch woofer and its 0.6-inch tweeter. You can get this great Christmas gift at the moment on Amazon for just $69.99.

Barnes & Noble Nook tablet

Best Christmas gifts- Nook Barnes & Noble

Amazon’s family of Fire tablets are made for budget audiences, but they are limited by Fire OS and its app system. Installing standard Android apps requires side loading the Google Play Store, which can be a pain for anyone who gets one as a gift this holiday.

Editor’s Pick

Barnes & Noble is trying once again to go after Amazon’s tablet audience with its latest Nook tablet. It has a 7-inch IPS display and a resolution of 600 x 1,024. There’s 16GB of onboard storage which can be expanded to 128GB with the built-in microSD slot. Best of all, this is a true Android tablet, which means the person who gets this gift can download almost any Android app via the Google Play store. You can snap up the new Barnes & Noble Nook tablet right now for just $49.99, either online or at your closest Barnes & Noble location.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite eReader

Best Christmas gifts - Kindle

 

Many of your friends or family might not want a full tablet, but they may still love to read. In that case, there’s really no better gift than the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite eReader. The e-ink screen it uses makes it easy to read text, and the 300 ppi glare-free display works great even in direct sunlight.

The standard Kindle Paperwhite has 8GB of storage — enough to store thousands of books. Users can even download magazines and audiobook to the Kindle Paperwhite. Amazon offers not just Wi-Fi hardware but also free cellular connections too, meaning your friends or family members can buy and download eBooks almost anywhere. Finally, the battery life should last at least a few weeks, even with heavy use. You can get the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite eReader right now for the special discount price of $99.99.

Nokia 2 smartphone

Best Christmas gifts - Nokia 2

Many people would like to get a new smartphone for the holidays, but you don’t have to spend tons of money to get one. The Nokia 2 comes in at $99, and it has a big 4,100mAh battery inside. Anyone you give this pone to should be able to use it for up to two days on a single charge, which could be pretty helpful.

The Nokia 2 also has a 5-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of expandable onboard storage, an 8MP rear camera, and a 5MP front camera. It’s not really meant as a primary phone, but given its price and battery life, this can be a great gift for anyone who wants a secondary phone. It’s available now on Amazon, again for just $99.

JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth speaker

Best Christmas gifts - JBL

While smart speakers are cool, they don’t always offer the best sound quality. If your family or friends want a better audio experience while playing music from your smartphone, get a Bluetooth wireless speaker for them. Our sister site SoundGuys says the best Bluetooth speaker under $100 is the JBL Flip 4

Read more: Best Bluetooth speakers under $100

Not only does this speaker offer excellent sound quality for the price, it also has a Connect+ plus button. This allows the JBL Flip 4 to connect to up to 100 other speakers with this feature, which means you can buy one for each member of a family, and they can link them all up so the music plays everywhere. It’s also got a an IPX7 waterproof rating, which means your friends can take this to the pool once summer starts again with no worries. Finally, the battery should last up to 12 hours if they don’t have the volume all the way up. It’s available now on Amazon for $74.95.

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air wireless earbuds

Best Christmas gifts - Anker

More and more smartphones are shipping without the traditional headphone jack, which means your family and friends might be looking for some good wireless earbuds. Again, the team at SoundGuys has been trying them al. The best ones they found for under $100 is the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air earbuds.

Read more: Best wireless earbuds under $100

For such a low price for wireless earbuds, you get some solid audio quality with this Anker product, and it supports Bluetooth 5.0 for the best wireless connection. Indeed, our testing found these devices rarely dropped a signal, which is an issue with earbuds at lower price points. It only needs to be paired with your smartphone once, so when you take them out of the case, they should just work. They are also IPX5 certified for water resistance, which means they should be excellent for when you are working out at the gym. Finally, they have a battery life of up to 4.82 hours. They are available now from Amazon for $79.99

Samsung Wireless Charger Duo pad

Best Christmas gifts - Samsung Samsung.com

It’s likely some of your family and friends own a smartphone, or maybe even two, with wireless charging capabilities. It’s also possible that they own a smartwatch as well. For people who own both, you might want to get the Samsung Wireless Charger Duo pad, which can charge up two smartphones, or a phone and a smartwatch, at the same time.

Editor’s Pick

The larger pad supports any Qi-based smartphone, such as the Samsung Galaxy S9, the Galaxy Note 9,  or even phones like the Apple iPhone XSLG V40 ThinQ, and Google Pixel 3. The large pad can also be raised up so whoever gets this gift can watch videos hands-free on the phone while it charges up. The smaller pad can also charge up any Qi-based phone, or a smartwatch with the tech like the Samsung Galaxy Watch and the older Gear watches. It’s available now on Amazon for a discounted price of $79.84.

Anker PowerCore 20,100mAh portable charger

Best Christmas gifts - Anker

While wireless charging pads can be convenient, they are also not the fastest way to charge up your smartphone, nor are they usually all that compact. The Anker PowerCore 20,100mAh portable charger is the perfect gift for someone who wants to keep their phone powered up without the need to go searching for an open outlet.

Editor’s Pick

This portable charger should be able to power up their smartphone several times on a single charge with its large 20,100mAh battery. It also uses Anker’s own PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology to charge up the phone as quickly as possible. In fact, it has two USB charging ports so it can handle two devices at the same time. Yet, for all of its capacity, it weighs just 12.5 ounces, which means it won’t be hard for whoever receives it to take it with them on a trip. It’s available on Amazon now for as low as $39.99.

Garmin vivofit 4 fitness tracker

Best Christmas gifts - Garmin

As we end 2018, many people are looking to 2019 as the year they finally get back in shape. If someone on your gift giving list wants to do that, one of the best ways they can keep track of their physical activities is with a fitness tracker. The  Garmin vivofit 4 not only will allow them to do just that, but it also won’t hurt your wallet when you buy one for them.

Editor’s Pick

The vivofit 4 is much lighter and slimmer to wear than a standard smartwatch, yet it can keep track of the number of steps your gift receiver takes, how many calories they have burned, and more. It even has a feature called Move IQ, which will automatically detect if they are walking, running, biking, using an elliptical, or swimming. Its color display is easy to read, its battery life should last up to a year, and it’s IP5 certified for water resistance, which means you can swim in the pool while wearing it. You can get the Garmin vivofit 4 from Amazon for $59.99.

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

PUBG Mobile: Test out how much you really know about the action-packed game

pubg mobile android game moto g6

PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular Android games at the moment with well over 100 million downloads. You play as a mercenary who parachutes onto an island along with up to 99 other players. Once you land, you have to find weapons, ammo, and other supplies, and then try to take out as many other players as possible. The last man standing wins.

In this quiz, we’ll test out just how familiar you really are with the battle royale game. The questions revolve around weapons, controls, vehicles, maps, and more. If you consider yourself an expert at PUBG Mobile, you should get the majority of them right.

Are you ready to take on the challenge? Press the Start button below to get started — and don’t forget to share your score on social media at the end.

Note: There is a widget embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post’s widget.


This is the 20th quiz in our regular weekly series. You can take a few of the most popular ones via the links below or check out all of them by clicking here.

Let us know which questions you thought were the hardest and share your result with others in the comment section.

Fortnite Season 7 guide: Start date, Battle Pass, skins, map changes, challenges, and more!

Fortnite Season 7 start date, battle pass, skins, challenges

Fortnite Season 7 is fast approaching, and it looks like a cold snap is about to hit Epic Games’ hit battle royale game. With all the confusion over Season 6’s giant cube finally put to bed, the Fortnite team has begun teasing a winter theme to coincide with the Christmas season.

Below we’ll be piecing together all the clues and leaks, and running through everything we know so far. Here you’ll find the Fortnite Season 7 start time, Battle Pass details, map changes, weekly challenges, new skins, and more! Check back frequently to stay up to date on the ever evolving world of Fortnite!

Put down your Llama Bell and check out the rest of our Fortnite content:


When does Fortnite Season 7 start?

Fortnite Season 6 and the Season 6 Battle Pass end this Thursday. Fortnite Season 7 starts later that same day on Dec. 6. Here are the usual start times for Fornite Seasons:

  • 4 a.m. ET
  • 1 a.m. PT
  • 10 a.m. CEST
  • 9 a.m. BST

Epic confirmed the Season 7 release date on Twitter just three days before the mayhem is due to kick off. Dec. 6 also happens to coincide with The Game Awards. The show’s host, Geoff Keighley, confirmed that a big Fortnite announcement and “world premiere” will be announced during the event.

While there’s a chance we might catch our first glimpse of the Fortnite Season 7 trailer at the show, one of Epic’s PR representatives has teased that the announcement is much more significant than the new Season launch.

Epic Games’ worldwide creative director of Fortnite will be in attendance for the big reveal, as well as mega-popular Fortnite streamer Ninja, who is both nominated for an award and presenting.

When will Fortnite Season 7 end?

The Fortnite Season 7 end date should fall ten weeks after the start on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

How much does the Fortnite Season 7 Battle Pass cost?

Like the previous seasons, the Fortnite Season 7 Battle Pass should cost 950 V-Bucks. You can buy 1,000 V-Bucks for $10. While there’s a free Battle Pass for players who don’t want to spend their hard earned cash, you’ll only unlock the most sought after exclusive skins, emotes, and other cosmetics by completing challenges to progress through the premium Battle Pass’ 100 levels.


Fortnite Season 7 Theme and Map Changes

Fortnite season 7 iceberg castle

After an exploding giant cube transformed Loot Lake into Leaky Lake in the closing weeks of Season 6, things have gotten a little quieter around the Fortnite map — that’s all about to change.

All the signs point to a winter theme for Season 7, with a possible medieval theme once the Christmas period comes to an end. Here’s what we know so far.

Editor’s Pick

The first sign of a cold front came with the appearance of a blizzard in the middle of November, which was visible when peering out beyond the map from Flush Factory.

A week later, the snow storm parted to reveal a massive iceberg. At the same time, players started noticing you could now see your avatar’s breath in the cold when standing on the starting island. 

The map changes seem to suggest we’ll be treated to a range of skins and other items that fit a winter theme. There’s also the chance the iceberg could collide with an existing area of the map — data-mined files are suggesting Tilted Towers could (again!) be a target.

The winter theme was later all-but-confirmed by Epic Games thanks to a teaser image accompanying the Season 7 release date. The image shows an icy figure wearing a crown that also doubles up as a mountain with a tiny skier on the right side. The caption “a bitter ice spreads” is also a pretty big giveaway!

However, this could all just be the tip of the iceberg (get it?).

Eagle-eyed players have now noticed the top of a medieval-style castle poking out of the iceberg (see image above), indicating the rest of the building is encased in the ice.

Going as close to the iceberg as possible from r/FortNiteBR

This could also tie-in with the portal technology in the Wailing Woods laboratory, which shows a reflection of a castle at certain angles.

We’ll know more as Epic begins to further tease Season 7 this week ahead of the full launch.


Fortnite Season 7 Skins

Fortnite Season 7 winter event

Fortnite Season 7 Battle Pass Skins

We’ve yet to see any of the new skins for Season 7. As soon as we do we’ll post them here!


Fortnite Season 7 Weekly Challenges

Fortnite Season 7 start date, skins, battle pass

To get all the new stuff in Season 7 you’ll need to complete Free Pass Weekly Challenges and Battle Pass Weekly Challenges!

Previous weekly challenges will be available even after a new week starts, we’ll list them below in reverse chronological order when a new one goes live (the most recent week first). We’ll also include some handy tips for the trickier challenges.


That’s all for this Fortnite Season 7 guide. What are you most looking forward to this season and what would you like to see in Season 8? Let us know in the comments!

What will smartphones of the future look like? Here are 6 (crazy) predictions

smartphones of the future

My first mobile phone was the Ericsson A1018s. I bought it at a gas station in 1999 when I was 11 years old. Some of its biggest features were changing the ringtone (there were 12 options) and caller ID — impressive, I know. You could also customize the device by getting a keyboard plate with a different color.

Technology has come a long way since. Today’s smartphones sport large touchscreen displays, impressive cameras, and high-tech features like 3D facial recognition. While phones were primarily used for making calls back in the day, now we use them for things like listening to music, browsing the web, playing games, and watching cat videos on YouTube.

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If you told me back in 1999 what these devices would be capable of in around 20 years, I’d call you crazy — and I wouldn’t be alone. Back then, no one could have predicted the impact phones would have on our lives. It would have sounded like science fiction.

This got me thinking: what will smartphones of the future look like? What features will these devices have in 20, 30, or even 50 years that seem like science fiction today? Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Mind control

mind control

Back in the day, the main way of using a phone was a physical keypad. This was eventually replaced by the touchscreens we use today. With services like Google Assistant and Samsung Bixby, we can now interact with our devices just by using our voices.

I think the next step in this evolution is mind control. The technology would allow you to perform every task you can do via touch or voice with your mind. You could open an app of choice, play a specific video on some futuristic version of YouTube, and even edit images with your thoughts. You could also send a text, control the screen brightness, or create a movie from the videos you’ve captured — you get the picture.

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Using smartphones would be a lot faster with mind control. You’d no longer have to search for an app to open it or stretch your finger all the way to the top of the screen to tap it. You could perform any task in a heartbeat.

We’re still far, far away from something like this becoming a reality, but scientists are making progress in this field. As we reported last year, Facebook’s Building 8 division is developing technology to allow people to type with their minds. The typing speed targeted is 100 words per minute, which is about five times faster when compared to typing on our smartphones.

Scientists at MIT are also working on something similar with a device called AlterEgo, which lets the user converse with machines with only their thoughts. Here’s hoping any such technology in the future doesn’t require you wear a weird contraption on your head to use it.

Even though the idea of using a smartphone with your thoughts seems crazy now, it just may become a thing decades down the line. Fingers crossed!

Over-the-air charging

the future of smartphones -- charging

Let’s face it: the battery life of the average smartphone sucks. Even if you have a high-end phone like the Mate 20 Pro with its massive 4,200mAh battery, you’re still only looking at around two days of average use. Once the device runs out of juice, you either have to plug it in for a couple of hours or place it on a wireless charging pad, if your phone supports it.

Things could be quite different in the future. A company called Energous is developing technology to charge devices over the air. Place your phone within three feet of the WattUp Mid Field transmitter and it will start charging right away. I love this idea, but let’s take it a step further.

With over-the-air charging, you’d never have to worry about running out of juice again.

Imagine a future where these transmitters are a lot more powerful and can charge devices over-the-air at great distances. They could be placed across countries, just like cell phone towers today, and would constantly charge your smartphone from afar, making sure it never runs out of juice. These charging transmitters would be so powerful, they’d keep your smartphone’s battery at 100 percent all the time. You’d never have to worry about battery life again and would get rid of all those pesky charging cables for good.

The technology wouldn’t be exclusive to smartphones either. It would constantly charge all your gadgets, from Chromebooks, to Bluetooth headphones, and smartwatches. It could even charge your electric car, which is what we’ll probably all be driving in the future.

Stretchable phones

stretchable smartphones of the future

The next big thing in display technology in the near future seems to be flexible displays. We recently saw the first foldable phone, the Royole FlexPai, and we expect many more from companies like Samsung, LG, and Huawei.

When I think about the next technological breakthrough in this area — decades away — I envision stretchable phones. Instead of unfolding a phone for more screen like with the FlexPai, you’d stretch it out to increase its size, sort of like a rubber band. All you’d have to do is pull the phone from two of its corners diagonally.

Read more: Foldable phones with flexible displays – Here are the ones we know about so far

This type of design would let you quickly increase the size of the device when watching videos and make it smaller to fit in your pocket. For it to work, the vast majority of components would have to be stretchable, not just the display.

Obviously, there would be a limit to how far you can stretch a device. If that limit was 50 percent of the size of a phone, for example, it would mean you could transform a 6-inch display into a 9-inch one.

futuristic phones

Work is already being done in the field of stretchable displays, but we’re a long way off from fully stretchable phones becoming a reality. Samsung announced a prototype of a stretchable display last year which can be dented up to 12mm without causing damage — shown in the image above. That display just bounces back to its original flat shape — similar to a trampoline — so it’s not really what I have in mind for the future.

Engineering researchers at Michigan State University have also developed the first stretchable integrated circuit and see a future for stretchable electronics.

“Our work could soon lead to printed displays that can easily be stretched to larger sizes, as well as wearable electronics and soft robotics applications,” said Chuan Wang, assistant professor at Michigan State University in a releases from the school.

In addition to making phones larger or smaller, stretchable displays would also add a new dimension to things like gaming and watching videos. Imagine playing a first-person shooter game and the display flexing out while someone is shooting at you — the experience could be a lot more immersive.

Changing colors

phones of the future

Phones come in a variety of colors and choosing the best one can often be a struggle. Black, silver, and white give off a more classic vibe, but they’re also boring. Red, green, or purple colorways stand out more, but can give devices a toyish, less professional look. With smartphones of the future, you may not have to choose anymore.

Imagine a phone with a completely transparent back made from a glass-like material that fully absorbs light. The device would have one or more LED lights inside, the color of which you could change in the settings of the phone (or maybe with your mind!). When you choose orange, the entire back cover would completely absorb the color of the light and look exactly the same, almost as if it were painted on.

You would be able to change the color of your smartphone as frequently as you’d like.

This technology would allow you to switch between different colors as frequently as you’d like. The feature could also have a mode to change the color automatically on a daily basis. With a few LED lights inside properly positioned, you could also create gradient colors, like what the Huawei P20 Pro has.

This new glass-like material (as well as the display) would also be virtually unbreakable, so you wouldn’t have to worry about it cracking if you drop your phone. Unlike glass phones today, it would also be resistant to fingerprints.

OLED and E-ink in one

smartphones of the future

OLED displays are great for watching videos and playing games, but they aren’t the best for reading. E-ink displays like those in Amazon’s Kindle e-readers are a much better option. I’ve been using a Kindle Paperwhite for years now and love the fact my eyes don’t get strained after reading for a few hours. It also lets me read outside, under direct sunlight.

This is more or less impossible with OLED displays. Sure, features like night mode filter out blue light and can even turn the screen to monochrome, but even when enabled OLED displays still don’t come close to matching e-ink technology in terms of reading comfort.

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The smartphones of the future I envision would combine OLED and e-ink technology into one, likely killing dedicated e-readers. With a simple tap in the settings, you could transform an OLED display into an e-ink screen for reading books, articles, and various documents without all that light shining into your face. An e-ink display is also a lot less power hungry, which could mean longer battery life.

Unfortunately, something like this is impossible at this point. Apple had a similar idea back in 2011 when it applied for a patent regarding a hybrid e-ink/OLED display, but we haven’t seen this technology hit the market yet. There are phones available today featuring both display technologies, but they don’t combine them into one.

The YotaPhone 3 features an AMOLED display on the front and an e-ink display on the back. Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro wearable also which lets users switch between an LCD and OLED display for improved battery life, but even this doesn’t quite match the kind of futuristic hybrid display technology we could see in the coming decades.

Will there even be smartphones in the future?

Smartphones of the future may not be smartphones at all. These devices may take on a whole new form factor, which will enable us to perform the same tasks as smartphones do today — and more.

I see a future where smartphones in their current form get replaced by what look like regular glasses. Yes, I know we’ve already seen devices like Google Glass, which failed miserably. But the product I have in mind goes beyond Google’s pet project. It’s sort of like Google Glass on steroids.

My version of futuristic glasses would let you make calls, watch videos, listen to music…

My version of futuristic glasses would let you make and receive calls. When someone rings you, you’d see their name/image in front of your eyes. When you answer the call, you’d immediately hear the caller without having to use an earphone. The glasses would use bone conduction technology or something even more high-tech. They’d also be able to play music, offer turn-by-turn navigation, and read the emails and texts you’ve received. All these things could also be displayed in front of your eyes using AR technology.

Of course, the glasses would feature a camera on board. When you’d want to take a picture, a frame would show up in front of your eyes, showing exactly what the camera will capture. Say the word “Snap” in your head and the image will be taken.

Thanks to AR technology, the glasses would project a screen/image in front of you, allowing you to watch your favorite shows, play games, see the images you’ve captured with the camera, and browse the web. That means you wouldn’t have to buy a dedicated TV, which would save you money as well as space in your home.

Vizux

With these glasses, you’d also be able to see 3D holograms of people. Just imagine sitting in your living room and watching Marilyn Monroe singing you Happy Birthday Mr. President. Or Fik-Shun dancing. Or porn. The experience would be extremely immersive.

A lot of companies are already working in the field of smart and connected glasses. In addition to Google, Intel showed off a pair of smart glasses this year, which project a stream of information in front of you (directions, notifications…). But unfortunately, the company has already given up on the technology. An Amazon-backed company called North is working on a similar idea with their glasses called Focals, which are expected to go on sale by the end of this year. Then there are mixed reality headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens, which brings holograms in front of your eyes — see how it works in the video below.

So the glasses I have in mind would combine smartphone capabilities with holograms and other features offered by today’s smart glasses. It’s an interesting idea, but let’s go crazy and take it a step further. Imagine these futuristic glasses being replaced by a small computer placed in your brain. You’d be able to receive calls by hearing the voice of the caller in your head, just like your thoughts. You’d listen to music the same way, hear GPS direction, and more.

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Additionally, you’d be able to take pictures, watch videos, play games, and see holograms. But instead of the images being projected in front of you by the glasses, the computer in your head would project them through your eyes. Essentially, this computer would be capable of doing the exact same things as the smart glasses of the future, but it would be less intrusive. Well, kind of. It would have to be placed in your brain, but at least you wouldn’t have to put it on and off every five minutes. It would also be impossible to lose it or for someone to steal it.

It all sounds like science fiction. Something you’d expect to see in a cartoon like The Jetsons. But hey, perhaps it will become a real thing in the future. After all, work is already being done in this area.

Elon Musk founded a company called Neuralink last year, which is working in the field of “neural lace” technology. The idea is to implant tiny electrodes into the human brain to allow them to communicate directly with machines. The technology would also enable you to upload and download your thoughts — seriously. With that in mind, I feel like anything is possible in the future. However, the current development of the technology is still far behind my wild imagination.


I see a future where everything is connected and our smartphones – or whatever replaces it – can communicate seamlessly with virtually every device. As long as you have it with you, your front door will open once you get near it, you’ll be able to unlock your car and start the engine, and even go through the mechanical gate at the subway and airport if the ticket is saved on your phone. It’d be fantastic — at least until your phone gets stolen.

Don’t miss: eSIM: Pros and cons of the new way to connect

So that’s it for my thoughts on what I’d like to see from mobile devices in the future. Now it’s your turn. Think about what features smartphones of the future could bring to the table and share them with us in the comments below!

Huawei Mate 20 Pro vs LG V40: which wide-angle camera is best?

Huawei P20 Pro vs LG V40 cameras

If you’re after a mobile photography powerhouse, the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro and LG V40 ThinQ both offer compelling triple-camera setups designed to give serious photographers that added flexibility. Both offer wide-angle shooting options, something that’s become one of the most popular camera features packed into high-end smartphones.

LG has been experimenting with wide-angle lenses for a few generations now, so it has plenty of experience here. The Mate 20 series is Huawei’s first entry into the field. Let’s break down how they stack up.

Wide Angle Camera Specs Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40
Resolution 20 megapixels 16 megapixels
Aperture f/2.2 f/1.9
Pixel Size 1.0µm 1.0µm
Sensor Size 1/2.7″ 1/3.1″
Auto Focus PDAF & Laser NA
Equivalent Focal Length 16mm 16mm

On paper, there’s very little in it. Both offer an equivalent focal length, have 1.0um pixel sizes, and there’s not much detail difference between 16 and 20 megapixel images either. The LG V40 has a slightly wider aperture, hinting at a lead in low light performance. However, the Mate 20 Pro includes autofocus technology, which should make it more flexible for both near and distant shots. Let’s dive into some samples.

Also read: Google Pixel 3 camera shootout

Fitting more into the frame

The whole point of a wide-angle lens is to fit more into the picture than your regular camera. So how much more can you squeeze in versus both of these phones’ main sensors?

Both the V40 and Mate 20 Pro’s main cameras offer an equivalent focal length of 27mm, widening to 16mm when switching over to the wide-angle lens. As such, both cameras widen out their field of view by a virtually identical amount and should offer virtually identical frames.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro main camera (27mm) Huawei Mate 20 Pro wide-angle camera (16mm) Huawei Mate 20 Pro main camera (27mm)

Huawei Mate 20 Pro wide-angle camera (16mm)

LG V40 main camera (27mm) LG V40 wide-angle camera (16mm) LG V40 main camera (27mm)

LG V40 wide-angle camera (16mm)

The LG V40 offers a field of view of about 107 degrees. Although the Mate 20 Pro shares the same 16mm equivalent focal, it has a slightly larger sensor and therefore a slightly wider field of view. We can see this slight extra width in our example shots above and the ones below. It’s not a huge difference — maybe a few degrees — but the Mate 20 Pro does fit a tiny bit more in the frame.

Wide-angle lenses offer a “step back” from the regular sensors. Both cameras perform their duty well enough in that regard. Colors are bright and vivid, though more so with the V40, and exposure is pretty good in most scenarios too. It’s only when we begin pixel peeping that major differences appear.

Lens quality is hugely important

While both cameras look pretty good on paper, we still need to find out the quality of both lenses. This is particularly important with wide-angle lenses, as light capture without distortion and image curvature around the edges are more important here. The less-than-ideal lighting conditions of the rainy day are a pretty good way to see how the cameras perform in the real world. Here are a couple of full frame examples.

LG V40 Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

LG V40 Wide-Angle Full Frame Huawei Mate 20 Pro Wide-Angle Full Frame LG V40 Wide-Angle Full Frame

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Wide-Angle Full Frame

At full frame, there isn’t too much to tell between them. There are some exposure and color balance differences, but nothing you probably couldn’t even out in post. However, cropping into the details reveals some major differences in image quality. Let’s start with the center focal point of the picture.

LG V40 100 percent crop Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop LG V40 100 percent crop

Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop

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While the Mate 20 Pro may be a tad aggressive on the sharpening, it captures a lot more detail on both the brickwork and trees than the V40. This isn’t a megapixel issue, as these are 100 percent crops and the difference between the 20 and 16 megapixel images should be negligible. The V40’s lens setup just doesn’t allow for enough light and detail capture, which results in much lower resolution looking images than its sensor suggests. We can also see aggressive use of denoise across the V40’s image, which rubs out a lot of the detail too.

Overall, the V40 appears smudged by comparison and is almost out of focus on the background trees. This focusing issue has been a consistent problem in my experience with the camera, owing to the lack of autofocus. The focus and detail situation is even worse at the camera’s edges.

LG V40 100 percent crop Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop LG V40 100 percent crop

Huawei Mate 20 Pro 100 percent crop

Here, the V40’s lack of focus is far more obvious. There’s no detail capture on the nearby wall or ivy, and it’s a similar situation when examining the distant bushes too. Few users will crop in on these wide-angle shots (you’d be better off using the main sensor), but serious photographers probably won’t be impressed when they come to print out these pictures.

While the lack of focus isn’t such an issue on a small smartphone screen or social media post, the loss of detail and poor focusing is much more apparent on larger displays and high-quality printouts.

Both lenses also suffer from some chromatic aberration (purple tint on high-contrast areas) towards the edges of their lenses. This is not unexpected for smartphone lenses, but the LG V40 still comes off worse in this regard too.

Few are ever likely to crop or blow up wide-angle shots, but when you do the results are night and day.

Super macro and low light

While not the main reason many will want a wide-angle camera, the Mate 20 Pro has an extra ability to focus in as close as 2.5cm in super-macro mode. So if you want to take some super close up pictures and capture fine details, the Pro’s wide-angle camera can actually be more useful than its main 40MP shooter.

The LG V40 doesn’t offer any autofocusing technology for its wide-angle camera, and the Mate 20 Pro offers both PDAF and laser options. The result is that the Mate 20 Pro can focus on super close up objects, while the V40 can’t.

LG V40 Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

This certainly isn’t a major use case for most people who will be shooting with a wide-angle lens. However, the Mate 20 Pro’s support for super macro shooting certainly makes it the more flexible shooter for the more serious photographer.

Low light is more likely to be a common use case for these cameras.

LG V40 Huawei Mate 20 Pro LG V40

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Related

While the Huawei Mate 20 Pro might be a winner in terms of daylight clarity, the LG V40 is by far the better wide-angle camera in low light. Huawei doesn’t apply any of its usual low light trickery to the wide-angle camera, and as a result, the pictures come out very dark, lacking in color, and blurred from the combination of long exposure time and denoise algorithm.

The LG V40 take a little longer snap its pictures, hinting at some HDR magic to help boost the exposure. Although the result is still rather noisy, the V40 managed to capture much more color in low light. Even with HDR on, I couldn’t get the Mate 20 Pro anywhere near as good as the LG V40 in every low light situation I tried.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the better performer, but only just

The LG V40’s wide-angle camera is great for typical smartphone snaps. You’re unlikely to notice the focus or detail issues when viewing pictures on a smartphone screen or compressing them down for social media. The camera does its job, providing extra width for pictures just when you need it. It’s not the main camera after all.

The LG V40’s lack of autofocus lets the camera down when we go pixel peeping

Compared to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the LG V40’s wide-angle camera clearly isn’t as consistent or as flexible in most instances. The Mate 20 Pro isn’t perfect — the company’s heavy use of sharpening won’t be to everyone’s tastes — but it captures more detail and has better focusing capabilities. However, it is noticeably worse in low-light situations. If you’re regularly capturing wide-angle shots in the evenings you might want the V40.

Overall, the Mate 20 Pro is the better wide-angle camera in daylight, which is when most people will be capturing their wide-angle snaps. This might seem like a very harsh comparison, but we’re talking about $1000 smartphones boasting some of the best cameras in the business. The LG V40 cuts corners with its lack of wide-angle autofocus that might end up being a bugbear for those looking to get the most out of their camera.

Next: Best of Android 2018: The best Android smartphone cameras

4 reasons why HMD Global is a spiritual successor to Nokia, not just a brand licensee

Nokia 7.1 back of both colors

This week marks the second anniversary of the Nokia name’s return to smartphones under HMD Global. We’ve seen a slew of smartphones from HMD since then, ranging from entry-level devices to high-powered flagships.

It’s easy to dismiss HMD Global as a mere pretender and brand licensee. After all, it’s not the real Nokia, right? Here’s why the company should be seen as a proper spiritual successor to Nokia.

A ton of former Nokia employees

HMD Global CEO Florian Seiche.

HMD Global CEO Florian Seiche

One thing you might not know about HMD Global is many of its executives were actually former Nokia employees. Whether it’s current CEO Florian Seiche (a former Nokia Europe executive) or the company’s design directors, there are loads of HMD people with “Nokia” on their resumes.

Heck, it even surprised me when the regional PR people were employees I had previously known when they were at Nokia. Of course, the presence of a large number of former Nokia employees doesn’t guarantee anything. However, there are people at the company who get why consumers bought Nokia phones in the first place.

Nokia design DNA

The back of the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

One of Nokia’s trademarks was its durable and premium designs, and HMD has certainly delivered here. You need only take a look at the Nokia 8 Sirocco to see some Nokia DNA, but even the firm’s low-end devices maintain that philosophy. It’s hardly a surprise, given how some senior Nokia designers work at HMD, but it’s welcome to see anyway.

The company also issued two retro reboots in the Nokia 3310 and Nokia 8110, and it’s tough to argue that they don’t look like something the “real” Nokia would’ve done today. (Now, about those ridiculous prices.)

The Nokia camera experience

If there was one unique selling point for Nokia Lumia phones, it was the camera experience. Back then, Nokia had been teaming up with Carl Zeiss in order to deliver better camera lenses. The firm also offered features like refocusing and cinemagraphs before most other OEMs picked up these features.

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Arguably the most influential addition has to be the inclusion of a Pro Camera mode in Lumia phones. This delivered manual adjustments (ISO, shutter speed) before Android supported it. It was all packaged in a very intuitive wheel-based menu.

We’ve seen LG adopt a similar UI for its manual mode in the years that followed, but HMD Global went the whole hog and acquired the patents for the UI last year. Now all Zeiss-equipped HMD Nokia phones have the same Pro Camera UI seen on older Nokia devices.

A focus on audio recording

The front of the Nokia 8.

The Finnish company’s phones, like the Lumia 1520 and Nokia 808, were audio recording beasts. This was due to the multiple high-quality microphones in each phone that delivered solid, distortion-free sound at a time when rival phones struggled with loud audio.

The Nokia 8 shows HMD Global hasn’t forgotten about audio capabilities, featuring three microphones and Nokia’s OZO recording tech for 360-degree surround sound recording. This audio setup has also landed on devices like the Nokia 7 Plus and Nokia 8 Sirocco, giving you better audio recording in theory than many rival devices.

What more could HMD do?

Nokia 7.1 holding and showing front of phone

HMD Global has focused on the design and camera performance of its devices, showing it understands what made Nokia a popular choice in the first place. The company’s job isn’t done yet, though.

For starters, we know the Finnish company obtained the Pureview name from Microsoft and Nokia earlier this year, suggesting more camera improvements are afoot (although Pureview was a brand name used for Nokia phones rather than a specific technology).

We also have to wonder when we’ll see a device truly manage to combine the best of Nokia and HMD. The Nokia 8 Sirocco demonstrated the firm’s design chops, but we thought the camera experience should’ve been better for the price. HMD has a ways to go to truly succeed Nokia and challenge the likes of Google, Samsung, Huawei, and Apple’s cameras.

Hopefully that oft-rumored penta-lens smartphone isn’t just a gimmick.

NEXT: The best Nokia you can buy