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Hands-on with Huawei’s MediaPad M3 Lite and T3 tablets

Huawei is far from being a household name, especially in western markets such as the United States, but there’s no denying the brand’s global recognition is on the rise. The company’s growing reputation started with the Huawei Nexus 6P, and has grown as the company has introduced various handsets under its brand, as well as its Honor sub-brand.

Now Huawei is bringing us two new Android-powered tablets – both in 8 and 10-inch sizes — in attempts to take a slice of the budget tablet market. So what does Huawei bring to the tablet with the MediaPad M3 Lite and the MediaPad T3? Let’s jump in and take a closer look.

MediaPad M3 Lite

Starting with the Huawei M3 Lite, you’ll have the choice between an 8-inch and 10-inch variant, though both options offer the same premium aluminum shell. Spec wise, both devices essentially are the same, powered by the same unspecified Quad-A53 1.4GHz + Quad-A53 1.1GHz processor package — likely a Huawei Kirin processor or a MediaTek chip. The camera configuration, RAM, storage, and software are also identical between the two models. The differences comes down to 4 Harmon-Kardon speakers in the bigger model instead of two, battery size, and the obvious display devices.

The 8″ device feels very welcoming in the hand as an e-reader style tablet. We rarely see this form factor much anymore outside of the iPad and Kindle, and many of the Android options attempting to follow this form factor are outdated and just begging for a replacement.

The 10″ variant may be the bigger brother, but that doesn’t mean it’s better. Though this thing has got 2 more speakers surrounding the body, you’ll have to be a fan of the landscape if you opt for this model. Though it sports a bigger battery, the extra 2.1″ of screen is sure to drain this thing a little bit faster, so we’re glad to see such an immense capacity bump. If you’ve been waiting for something that lets you watch content smoothly on the fly, this may be worth a look.

The M3 will cost you either $199 or $249, depending on if you go with the 8-inch or 10.1-inch version. Looking for a deeper spec breakdown? Here you go:

  MediaPad M3 Lite 8″ MediaPad M3 Lite 10″
Display 8-inch IPS display at 1920 x 1200 resolution
283 ppi
10.1-inch IPS display at 1920 x 1200 resolution
224 ppi
Processor Quad-A53 1.4GHz + Quad-A53 1.1GHz co-processor Quad-A53 1.4GHz + Quad-A53 1.1GHz co-processor
Speakers (2) Harmon-Kardon tuned speakers (4) Harmon-Kardon tuned speakers
RAM 3 GB 3 GB
Storage 16GB 16GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 2 TB Yes, up to 2 TB
Cameras Front: 8MP (Fixed Focus)
Back: 8MP (Auto Focus)
Front: 8MP (Fixed Focus)
Back: 8MP (Auto Focus)
Battery 4,800 mAh 6,600 mAh
Software EMUI 5.1 Lite based on Android 7.0 Nougat EMUI 5.1 Lite based on Android 7.0 Nougat
Colors Silver Silver
Weight 320g 450g

MediaPad T3

The Huawei MediaPad T3 Lite comes in the same two sizes as the M3 Lite series, though the 10″ model is actually 9.6″ vs the 10.1″ in the M3 Lite. This is the lower end version of the MediaPad line, but it should still make a great option for those looking for a nice feeling tablet at a competitive price.

When it comes to specs on these devices, they are just about exactly the same, and that’s true for the batteries, too. We’re not sure why Huawei chose to keep a 4,800 mAh capacity on the 10″ device, but we’re assuming it had something to do with thermals. If you want something with better battery life, we’re suggesting you go with the 8″ device, or upgrade to the M3 Lite if you were looking for a landscape option.

The T3 series will set you back just $139 for the smaller model, or $159 for the 9.6-inch version. Tech specs of the MediaPad T3 are as follows:

  MediaPad T3 8″ MediaPad T3 10″
Display 8-inch IPS display at 1280 x 800 resolution 10.1-inch IPS display at 1280 x 800 resolution
Processor Qualcomm MSM8917 + Quad-A53 1.4GHz co-processor Qualcomm MSM8917 + Quad-A53 1.4GHz co-processor
Speakers (2) Huawei tuned speakers (2) Huawei tuned speakers
RAM 2 GB 2 GB
Storage 16GB 16GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 2 TB Yes, up to 2 TB
Cameras Front: 2MP (Fixed Focus)
Back: 5MP (Auto Focus)
Front: 2MP (Fixed Focus)
Back: 5MP (Auto Focus)
Battery 4,800 mAh 4,800 mAh
Software EMUI 5.1 Lite based on Android 7.0 Nougat EMUI 5.1 Lite based on Android 7.0 Nougat
Colors Space Grey Space Grey
Weight 350g 460g

What do you think of Huawei’s new budget tablets? Let us know down in the comments.

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IFA 2017 preview: What to expect from Europe’s largest tech show

IFA Berlin, Europe’s largest technology trade show, is scheduled to take place between September 1 and September 6, 2017. Hundreds of tech companies will be present at the event, which, every year, is the venue for numerous product launches.

Despite the fact that IFA 2017 is just around the corner, only a few companies have shared specific details regarding exactly which devices will be revealed at the show. However, we can make some educated guesses based on what was announced last year and the latest rumors that are making the rounds right now.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at the devices companies like Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, and others will show off at IFA in Berlin.

On a side note, those of you interested in attending the show can already purchase tickets online. One-day tickets are currently available for €40, while two-day tickets cost €58. These prices will rise to €49 and €72 if you buy them at the event. You can get them on IFA’s website via the link above.

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Best Android phones (August 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

Best Android phones (August 2017): our picks, plus a giveaway

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Samsung at IFA 2017

The Galaxy Note 8, which was initially rumored to make its debut at IFA in Berlin, has recently been announced at an event in New York City. Nevertheless, the new Note 8 will be one of the major attractions in Berlin, despite the fact it has already been revealed. For most people, IFA will be the first occasion to see the Note 8 in real life, and interest in the device will be sky-high. Following the disastrous recall of the Note 7, Samsung really needs to nail the new entry in the series.

So, what exactly will Samsung announce at IFA? Well, there’s a good chance we’ll see the Gear Fit 2 Pro, which was recently listed on Samsung’s Spanish website for a short period of time, likely by mistake. The listing revealed quite a few details about the upcoming device and gave us a good look at its design (see image below). The Gear Fit 2 Pro features a 1.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 216 x 432 pixels, 4 GB of internal storage space, and a 200 mAh battery. It’s also water resistant to 5 ATM, sports Bluetooth 4.2 as well as GPS, and will be available in at least two color options:  black and black/red.

We have also heard rumors regarding a Bixby-enabled pair of wireless earbuds — similar to Apple’s Airpods — which were initially rumored to be announced alongside the Note 8. Since that didn’t happen, we just might see it launch at IFA in Berlin together with the Gear Fit 2 Pro.

Additionally, Samsung might also take the wraps off a Bixby-powered speaker in Berlin. Although we have heard reports claiming that the company doesn’t plan on entering the smart speaker market anytime soon, it looks like it is, in fact, developing a device that will go head to head with the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others. This has recently been confirmed by DJ Koh, the president of Samsung’s mobile division, in a chat with CNBC. He didn’t go into details regarding the speaker or its release date, but did say, “Maybe soon we will announce it.” This means it might be revealed at IFA or perhaps at a later date.

LG at IFA 2017

Last year, LG didn’t announce any new smartphones at IFA. It looks like things might be quite different this year, as the company will show off the LG V30 at the show in Berlin. LG has confirmed that it will officially announce the device during an event taking place one day before IFA officially kicks off, on August 31.

This will be the first time that LG takes the wraps off a V series smartphone at Europe’s largest consumer electronics trade show. Although both the V10 and V20 were announced in September (2015 and 2016), the former made its debut in New York, while the latter was revealed at a press event in San Francisco. So why the change? Well, for one, the V30 will actually be available in Europe, unlike the V10 and V20, so it makes sense to show it off in Germany.

The LG V30 is expected to be a high-end device that will go head to head with the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 and other phablets. It’s expected to feature an OLED display, the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset, a dual-camera setup on the back, a new ESS Quad DAC, and will be available in three storage variants: 32, 64, and 128 GB.

Unlike its predecessor, the V30 won’t have a removable battery, likely because it will be resistant to water and dust. It will reportedly be quite different than the V20 in terms of design and is expected to look a lot like the G6. To learn more about it, check out our LG V30 rumor roundup post.

Sony at IFA 2017

Sony is expected to reveal quite a few new smartphones in Berlin. The company has already announced that its press conference will take place on August 31, a day before IFA officially starts.

According to rumors out of China, Sony might take the wraps off a bezel-less smartphone. It is expected to feature a 6-inch LCD display with 18:9 aspect ratio, similar to what we’ve already seen on the LG G6. Despite the fact that Sony is known for making smartphones that have large bezels, the rumor just might be true. The reason for this is that display manufacturer JDI, a joint venture comprised of Sony, Toshiba, and Hitachi has already started mass-producing a “Full Active” QHD display with thin bezels. The technology is already there, so it would make sense that Sony would be the first company to use it commercially.

In addition to the bezel-less smartphone, we have also heard rumors about three upcoming Sony devices called the Xperia X1, XZ1, and the XZ1 Compact that might be revealed at IFA as well. The XZ1 will reportedly be a high-end smartphone with a 5.2-inch Full HD display, Snapdragon 835 chipset, and 4 GB or RAM. What appear to be press images of the device — one of which you can see below — have recently leaked online, so we assume that the device is just around the corner.

The XZ1 Compact is expected to feature similar hardware but will sport a smaller display measuring 4.6-inches. The Xperia X1, on the other hand, is said to be a mid-range device that will come with a 5-inch Full HD display, the Snapdragon 660 chipset, and 4 GB of RAM.

Huawei at IFA 2017

Huawei has announced that it will hold a press event at IFA on September 2. It looks like the company will show off its AI (artificial intelligence) efforts in Berlin, although there’s no word on what exactly we can expect to see. One possibility is a digital assistant that will go head to head with Google Assistant, Alexa, and others.

Unfortunately, the rumor mill has been pretty dry when it comes to any possible devices that Huawei might reveal at IFA. At last year’s show, the company took the wraps off the Nova and Nova Plus. Their successors — Nova 2 and Nova 2 Plus — have already been announced in May, but they aren’t available in Western markets yet. It’s therefore quite possible that the company will officially launch the two devices in Europe at IFA. The smaller of the two smartphones has actually already popped up on websites of various retailers in the Netherlands, revealing that it will set you back €400. Of course, pricing will likely vary from country to country within Europe, as it usually does.

We probably won’t see any high-end smartphones announced by Huawei in Berlin, as the flagship P10 series was revealed in February, while the upcoming Mate 10 phablet will make its debut on October 16 in Munich, Germany.

HTC at IFA 2017

Back in February, HTC announced that it only plans to release six or seven smartphones this year. These will either be mid-range or high-end devices, as the company doesn’t plan on launching any entry-level smartphones — the competition is too fierce and the profit margins are too thin to justify the effort.

Three of HTC’s 2017 phones have already been revealed — U11, U Play, and U Ultra — which means we’re expecting to see three or four more by the time 2017 comes to an end. A few of them (probably not all) just might be shown off at IFA in Berlin.

As of now, we have only heard a few things about one of the upcoming device that’s codenamed Ocean Life. According to one of our sources, the smartphone will launch as the HTC U11 Life and will feature a 5.2-inch Full HD screen, the Snapdragon 630 chipset, and a two 16 MP cameras (front and rear). What’s even more interesting is that it will come with HTC’s Edge Sense technology, just like the U11. However, the device is said to launch “later this year,” which means it might be revealed sometime after IFA.

 

If the U11 Life will indeed make its debut towards the end of the year, HTC will likely announce one of the other smartphones it has in the pipeline. The company has unveiled quite a few new devices at IFA over the last few years, and we think that this trend will continue in 2017. Last year, for example, it showed off the One A9s.

Lenovo at IFA 2017

Lenovo has also announced the date of its IFA press conference. Just like Sony and LG, the company will reveal new devices on August 31, a day before Europe’s largest tech show officially opens its doors.

As of now, there’s no word on which Lenovo products will see the light of day. But based on last year, we can expect to see quite a few of them. At IFA 2016, the company unveiled the K6 series of smartphones, the Moto Z Play, the Yoga Book ultrabook, as well as a convertible touchscreen laptop called the Yoga 910.

This year, Lenovo just might announce the successors to the K6 series along with new convertible laptops and ultrabooks. However, we probably won’t see any Moto smartphones at the event. The Moto Z Play successor has already been announced in June, the Moto Z2 Force is already official, and the Moto X4 is due on August 24.

Final thoughts

In addition to the ones mentioned above, we’ll obviously see a lot of other tech companies at IFA in Berlin as well. Acer, Asus, ZTE, and Alcatel will be there, just to name a few.

As soon as we hear more, we’ll update this post to keep you up to speed with the smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets that might be unveiled. Meanwhile, let us know which of the devices mentioned in this post are you most excited about.

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You will soon be able to theme Android 8.0 Oreo without rooting your device

One of the reasons folks prefer Android over iOS is the flexibility the former offers. From the launcher you use to how your icons look, Android offers multiple levels of customization that go even further with theme engines from the likes of Sony, OnePlus, and Samsung. However, that customization will get taken to a new level as themes will soon work for any device that runs Android 8.0 Oreo without the need to root.

To provide some context, Substratum is a theming engine that allows devices that are rooted, run custom ROMs, or are certain Samsung Galaxy phones to, well, run themes. However, folks over at XDA and other developers announced they will do away with those requirements, since they managed to get themes working for any Android 8.0 Oreo device.

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This was achieved thanks to Google’s integration of Sony’s Runtime Resource Overlay (RRO) theme engine into Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It just so happens that Substratum is based on the Overlay Manager Service (OMS), which was RRO in its previous life, and after a few commands, the folks behind Substratum discovered that they could use Substratum themes without rooting or using a custom ROM.

There are a few things to consider, the first being that you have to connect your device to your computer and run a desktop application. From there, you can go to the Play Store and download the Substratum app to install any of its themes. Furthermore, you will have to run the desktop app every time you shut your phone off and turn it back on – a soft reboot does not carry the same requirement.

Finally, you will need to go into the Substratum app to manually uninstall any theme you no longer want.

Even with such caveats, however, this is an exciting development for those looking to add a bit more oomph to their Android customization. According to Substratum’s development team, an app for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P will soon be released that will allow owners to download and apply Substratum themes, so long as the aforementioned devices run Android 8.0 Oreo.

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Watch MrMobile, SuperSaf TV, and more tech YouTubers describe the Note 8 in 20 seconds

And that’s it, folks!

What do you think about the Galaxy Note 8? Sound off in the comments if you’re planning on buying one for yourself.

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Check out these Galaxy Note 8 camera samples from Samsung

In case you’ve missed it, Samsung officially took the wraps off the Galaxy Note 8 yesterday at an event in New York City. One of the main features of the phablet is its dual-camera setup on the back that sports a 12 MP wide-angle sensor with an f/1.7 aperture and a 12 MP telephoto lens that has an f/2.4 aperture.

This is the first Samsung device with two rear cameras and in an effort to show off what it can do, the company has released a bunch of camera samples, which you can check out in the two galleries below. The first one contains images captured with the main camera, while the other shows the ones taken with the telephoto lens.

Gallery 1

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Gallery 2

The samples do look quite nice, although it’s kind of hard to judge the quality of the camera based on the images released by the manufacturer. We’ll know more about just how good the camera performs once we test it out in our full review. Meanwhile, feel free to check out our Galaxy Note 8 hands-on post.

What do you think about the sample images? Let us know in the comments.

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