Redmi 13: Xiaomi's budget 5G phone goes on sale with introductory offers



The Redmi 13 5G smartphone is now available for purchase in India. Launched at the company’s 10-year anniversary event on July 9, the Redmi 13 5G boasts a 6.79-inch display, which the company said is the biggest in the price segment. The smartphone is available with introductory offers on Xiaomi online store, e-commerce platform Amazon, and select retail outlets. Follow for details:


Redmi 13 5G: Price and variants


6GB RAM + 128GB storage: Rs 13,999


8GB RAM + 128GB storage: Rs 15,499


Colours: Black Diamond, Hawaiian Blue, Orchid Pink


Redmi 13 5G: Introductory offers


Customers can avail Rs 1,000 discount on select bank cards. Alternatively, Xiaomi is offering an exchange bonus of Rs 1,000, on top of the exchange value of the older smartphone, on trade-in deals.


Redmi 13 5G: Specifications


  • Display: 6.79-inch FHD+ Display, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 4 Gen 2

  • RAM: 6GB and 8GB

  • Storage: 128GB

  • Rear camera: 108MP primary + 2MP depth sensor

  • Front camera: 8MP

  • Battery: 5030mAh

  • Charging: 33W wired

  • OS: Android 14-based Xiaomi HyperOS

  • Protection: IP53, Corning Gorilla Glass 3


Along with the Redmi 13 5G, Xiaomi also introduced the Redmi Buds 5C wireless earbuds. These are also available for purchase in the sale on Xiaomi online store, e-commerce platform Amazon and Flipkart.


Redmi Buds 5C: Price and availability


Price: Rs 1,999


Colours: Acoustic Black, Bass White, Symphony Blue


Redmi Buds 5C: Details


  • 12.4mm Dynamic Titanium Drivers

  • Hybrid Active Noise cancelling (ANC) technology up to 40dB

  • Quad-mic setup

  • AI powered environmental noise cancelling (ENC)

  • Up to 36 hours of music playback on a single charge

  • Up to 2 hrs playback on 10-minute charge

  • IP54 rating

First Published: Jul 12 2024 | 1:48 PM IST



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WhatsApp explores Pixel-like transcription feature for voice notes: Report



Meta is testing more artificial intelligence features for its instant messaging platform WhatsApp. Reportedly, the US-based social media giant is exploring Google Pixel-like voice transcription feature for voice messages.


According to WABetaInfo, an online news platform that tracks WhatsApp updates, the instant messaging platform has started testing a new feature that allows users to see a textual transcription of a voice note sent to them. The report stated that the Meta-owned instant messaging platform has made this new feature available to a select number of Android users in some regions.


The report stated that once the feature is available, users will be able to enable transcriptions for both incoming and outgoing audio notes – may require additional packages for preferred languages. The feature, which is currently under beta testing, allows generating transcriptions in English, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Hindi. However, support for more languages is expected to arrive with the final release. The report also stated that based on the languages available, it is likely that the feature will initially roll-out to select regions which would likely include India.


The feature reportedly notifies users once it is available with a message that states that the feature is end-to-end encrypted. The report also states that the feature uses on-device processing to generate the text transcription of audio notes for added privacy.


Google offers similar functionality on its Messages app but it is limited to select Pixel devices. With WhatsApp testing transcriptions for audio notes, the feature is expected to be available more widely and on more Android smartphones. There is currently no information about the feature on the iOS app for WhatsApp.


Recently, Samsung also confirmed that it will expand the Galaxy AI-powered “Live Translate” feature to third-party diallers on select Samsung smartphones. Samsung has confirmed that the feature that offers real-time phone call translations will be coming to third-party app diallers, but has not specified any apps. However, WhatsApp is expected to be among the first apps to feature Samsung’s AI feature.

First Published: Jul 12 2024 | 1:31 PM IST



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OPPO Reno 12 Pro review: Almost perfect midrange AI smartphone, but pricey


China’s OPPO on July 12 launched in India the Reno 12 series, which brings its first wave of mobile artificial intelligence features. There are two identical looking models in the series, but the top-end model, the Reno 12 Pro, boasts a more capable camera system and a dual-tone design on the back cover. Powered by MediaTek Dimensity 7300, the midrange smartphone seems to be on the pricier side based on on-paper specifications. But, there is more to the Reno 12 Pro than meets the eye. What exactly? Let us find out:


Design


The OPPO Reno series is known for its unique design, and the legacy continues with the Reno 12 Pro – boasts a distinctive dual-glass finish at the back. The top section, which covers the majority of the back, features a matte finish, while the lower part boasts a glossy look. These two sections are divided by a thick glass strip that prominently displays the OPPO branding. The rear camera module is more understated, with three-camera sensors stacked vertically on top of a rectangular bump.


While the back of the phone looks and feels premium, it’s the front that truly catches the eye. The smartphone features a quad-curved glass design over a flat display, creating a bezel-less appearance. This curved glass not only enhances ergonomics but also helps prevent accidental touches.


The only drawbacks I noticed were that the glossy lower half and the camera module tend to accumulate dust frequently, requiring regular cleaning. Additionally, the smartphone wobbles slightly when placed on flat surfaces.


Overall, the OPPO Reno 12 Pro boasts a sleek design and offers a comfortable grip for extended use. It feels light and well-balanced in terms of weight distribution. OPPO said it has incorporated durability features such as an impact-resistant internal design and Gorilla Glass Victus 2. The phone could be sturdy, but I strongly recommend not to torture the phone to test the company’s claims.


Oppo Reno 12 Pro (Front and Back)


Display


The OPPO Reno 12 Pro sports a 6.7-inch fullHD+ flat display with a quad-curved glass protection on top of it. The viewing experience is good, as the panel maintains optimal colour accuracy and vibrancy regardless of the content on screen. With a 120 Hz refresh rate and smooth animation effects, the smartphone delivers a premium experience. The display is also bright, ensuring good visibility in outdoor conditions from all angles.


OPPO has integrated several value-added display features, including Adaptive Tone, which automatically adjusts the screen colour temperature based on ambient lighting conditions. During my testing, I kept this mode enabled, and it effectively switched between a slight yellowish tint and a bluish tint depending on the environment. While this feature reduces eye strain during long-term use, it occasionally affects colour contrast when consuming media.


The Reno 12 Pro supports HDR viewing, producing more vibrant colours and deeper blacks for compatible content. It also includes a Bright HDR video mode, which increases screen brightness for HDR supported content even further, when enabled. OPPO has incorporated several AI features through the side panel for an enhanced viewing experience. When starting a video on streaming platforms like YouTube, Disney+ Hotstar, and more, the smartphone suggests the Air Scroll feature, allowing you to scroll hands-free by flicking your hand in front of the front camera. This feature works, albeit with a lag.


Camera


The OPPO Reno 12 Pro has a 50-megapixel primary sensor, 50MP telephoto for 2x zoom capability at the sensor level, and an 8MP ultra-wide. On the front, the smartphone has a 50MP auto focus camera sensor.


Photos taken with the primary camera sensor are clear and crisp under natural lighting. However, the colours can appear slightly off due to the software processing, which tends to overexpose brighter sections, resulting in a whiter appearance. Under artificial lighting, the camera struggles to accurately capture skin tones and often softens facial details to compensate for the sensor’s limitations. The ultra-wide-angle lens seems to be included more for the sake of having one, as it produces grainy pictures in low light and lacklustre images in daylight.


The telephoto camera stands out as a highlight. While photos at 2x zoom are not as clear as those from the main sensor, the colours appear more lifelike, and the sensor performs consistently well even under artificial lighting conditions. The front-facing 50MP camera is a pleasant surprise, offering more realistic skin tones and better saturation levels in pictures.


For portraits, the subject separation and edge detection work well most of the time, although it can be a bit aggressive around hairlines. The bokeh effect is natural and not over the top.


In terms of videography, the OPPO Reno 12 Pro supports 4K recording at 30 frames-per-second and 1080p recording at both 30 and 60 fps. However, recording with the telephoto camera is limited to 1080p at 30 fps. On the plus side, you can also record 4K videos with the front camera. The ultra-steady mode is available but is limited to 1080p recording for both front and rear camera systems.


Performance


The OPPO Reno 12 Pro is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 chip, paired with 12GB RAM and 256GB on-board storage (review unit). The smartphone offers smooth and lag-free performance, handling daily tasks such as minor multitasking, web surfing, watching videos, and casual gaming with ease. However, I did encounter some glitches on the review unit, including delays in opening the keyboard and occasional sudden app closures. These issues can likely be resolved through software updates and patches.


For more demanding tasks like high-resolution video recording or graphics-intensive gaming, the smartphone starts to reach its limits when used for extended periods. There is also minor heating around the frame. To mitigate this, OPPO has included a RAM expansion feature and it does offer more breathing space during intensive tasks.


Software


The OPPO Reno 12 Pro runs on ColorOS 14, based on Android 14, which is stable and smooth with improved animations and transitions. It packs some useful features such as the File Dock on the side panel. After enabling the Smart Side Bar, which offers easier access to most used apps and other functionalities, you can simply drag a photo or a file to the side to store it on the File Dock that acts like a clipboard and allows sharing it on other apps. Another handy feature is the Flexible Window option in settings that turns apps and notifications into floating window tiles for multitasking.


However, the smartphone comes with a few pre-installed third-party apps and games, such as Agoda and Bubble Pop. Additionally, the home screen includes Hot Apps and Hot Games sections that suggest third-party apps and games. While this can feel a bit intrusive, these apps and games do not generate unwanted notifications and can be easily uninstalled.


AI features


OPPO has integrated several AI features into the Reno 12 Pro, ranging from photo editing to text summarisation and voice transcription. First up is the AI tool box on the Smart Sidebar that automatically recognises the content on the display and offers relevant AI-powered tools. For example, when you open an article in the web browser and access the sidebar, you’ll see two options at the top: “AI Speak” and “AI Summary.” The “AI Speak” feature reads out the text from the webpage, while “AI Summary” generates a bullet-point summary highlighting important information. This feature is limited to browser apps though.


The AI tool box also has an AI Writer feature for writing assistance that appears on the side bar once you open a text field such as when composing an email. By tapping on the feature, it scans the screen and opens a floating window where you can input pointers, keywords, or phrases to generate text around. You can also choose between tones for the generated content, such as “concise,” “detailed,” and “polite.” I tested this feature on Gmail, asking it to generate a polite email requesting leave, and it performed well. The generated text appears in the floating window and can be easily copied. You can also use this feature to write picture captions for social media. While it worked well with Instagram and Facebook, it was less reliable with Reddit, as the AI toolbox sometimes did not offer the AI Writer feature for the app.


OPPO has also integrated AI into the native voice recorder app for audio transcription and text summarisation of voice recordings. The summarisation feature works for audio recordings longer than 30 seconds, and the summaries are stored in the Notes app. Like the AI toolbox text summariser for the web, audio recording summaries are generated in bullet points, highlighting important sections and providing quotes from the recording. Notably, the summaries and transcriptions do not mention any names taken in the recordings, which enhances privacy. Additionally, explicit words are hidden in the text transcription.


For photo editing, OPPO includes features like AI Eraser, AI Best Face, and AI Clear Face. The AI Eraser effectively removes unwanted objects from pictures, filling the empty space using generative fill. The AI Clear Face feature clears out blurry faces in group shots, although it sometimes softens facial details in certain lighting conditions. However, AI Best Face, which recognises human faces and expressions to improve images with the help of AI, did not perform as well as the other two during testing and occasionally displayed error messages.


Battery


The Reno 12 Pro features a 5,000 mAh battery, which is the industry standard nowadays. The smartphone easily lasts a full day on a single charge with average usage. However, extended video streaming or gaming drains the battery faster, which might necessitate recharging it within the same day. On the positive side, the smartphone supports 80W fast wired charging, allowing it to reach 70 per cent in just 27 minutes from zero.


Verdict


Priced at Rs 36,999 onwards, the OPPO Reno 12 Pro boasts durable construction, premium design, vivid display, but most importantly a suite of artificial intelligence features for enhanced experience. However, the smartphone falls short in offering lasting battery and a consistent imaging experience. Moreover, performance is not up there when viewed from price-performance optics. Nevertheless, the OPPO Reno 12 Pro could be a good option for someone looking for a midrange smartphone to experience mobile artificial intelligence features.



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OnePlus confirms four-year software support for upcoming Nord 4 smartphone


OnePlus Nord 4 (Image: OnePlus)

OnePlus is gearing up to unveil the Nord 4 smartphone, along with several other ecosystem devices, at its upcoming “Summer Launch” event on July 16. The Chinese smartphone maker is set to break ground with its software support for Nord 4, promising updates for four years and security patches for an impressive six years, surpassing even its flagship OnePlus 12 series in this regard.


Kinder Liu, OnePlus President and COO, highlighted the company’s commitment to ensuring users continue to enjoy optimal performance from their devices long after purchase. This includes rigorous testing and certification processes to maintain speed and smooth operation over extended periods. The Nord 4 has notably achieved a TUV SUV Fluency 72 Month A rating, indicating it is expected to perform like new even after six years of use.


Battery health is another focal point for longevity, with OnePlus integrating its Battery Health Engine technology. OnePlus said this proprietary system adapts to users’ charging habits, optimising power input and charging times to preserve battery life. The Nord 4’s battery has been certified for 1,600 complete charging cycles, underlining its durability and efficiency.


Design-wise, the Nord 4 will feature a metal unibody design, a first in the 5G smartphone era, with an aluminium construction that ensures a sleek profile measuring 7.99mm at its thinnest point. OnePlus has employed new manufacturing techniques for this model, incorporating a “nano-etched design” and improving antenna performance.


OnePlus Nord 4: Expected specifications


  • Display: 6.74-inch OLED, 120Hz refresh rate, 1.5K resolution

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 3

  • Rear camera: 50MP primary + 8MP ultra-wide

  • Front camera: 16MP

  • Battery: 5,500mAh

  • Charging: 100W wired

  • OS: Android 15

First Published: Jul 12 2024 | 11:53 AM IST



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OPPO Reno 12 series India launch at 12pm: Where to watch and what to expect


China’s OPPO is set to launch the Reno 12 series smartphones in India on July 12. The series will comprise two identical looking models – the Reno 12 and Reno 12 Pro – with different processors and imaging configurations. Both the smartphones, however, will debut with OPPO’s first wave of artificial intelligence features, which will span across imaging, communications, and productivity aspects.


OPPO Reno 12 series: Where to watch


OPPO is hosting an in-person event in Delhi that will be livestreamed on the company’s YouTube channel and social media channels for the online audience. The event will kick off at 12 pm on July 12. You can watch the OPPO Reno 12 series launch here through the video embedded towards the end of this article.


Oppo Reno 12 series: What to expect


AI features


The Reno 12 series will debut OPPO’s AI-powered media editing tools such as “AI Best Face”, “AI Eraser 2.0”, and more. OPPO said its AI Best Face feature recognises human faces, expressions, and improves images with the help of AI. For the AI Eraser, OPPO said that this feature offers up to 98 per cent image recognition accuracy, allowing users to remove distractions from images. The smartphone will also come with the “AI Clear Face” feature that OPPO said reduces distortions on up to 10 people, enhancing the clarity of group shots.


Apart from media editing tools, the smartphones will offer text generation and summarisation capabilities across various apps and services. For example, the “AI Recording” summary that transcribes voice recording or AI summary for summarising articles and long-form text from the web. The smartphones will have an “AI Writer” feature, too, that will essentially function like a writing assistant.


AI integration will be available in other areas as well, especially in connectivity. OPPO said the Reno 12 series will feature AI LinkBoost, which detects when the network connectivity is weak and optimises accordingly.


OPPO Reno 12 Pro: Expected specifications


  • Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED, FHD+ resolution, 120Hz Refresh rate, 1200nits peak brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2

  • Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7300

  • RAM: 12GB

  • Storage: up to 512GB

  • Rear camera: 50MP primary, 50MP Telephoto, 8MP ultra-wide

  • Front camera: 50MP

  • Battery: 5000mAh

  • OS: ColorOS 14 based on Android 14


OPPO Reno 12: Expected specifications


  • Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED, FHD+ resolution, 120Hz Refresh rate, 1200nits peak brightness, Corning Gorilla Glass

  • Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7300

  • RAM: 12GB

  • Storage: up to 512GB

  • Rear camera: 50MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro

  • Front camera: 32MP

  • Battery: 5000mAh

  • OS: ColorOS 14 based on Android 14


Oppo Reno 12 series Launch event: Livestream

First Published: Jul 12 2024 | 10:52 AM IST



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Tech wrap Jul 11: Microsoft Surface, Lava Blaze X, Samsung XR headset, more



Microsoft has announced that its Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7 are now available in India for pre-orders. Powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X-series chips, these Surface devices are among the first wave of AI PCs in India based on Microsoft’s Copilot Plus platform, which brings exclusive AI features that are processed on-device using the integrated Neural Processing Unit (NPU).


Motorola has started accepting pre-booking for the Razr 50 Ultra in India through its partner e-commerce platform Amazon. Customers interested in purchasing the smartphone during its first sale can now pay a token amount of Rs 1,999, which will be adjusted at the time of purchase. If a customer decides not to go ahead with the purchase, the token amount will be refunded in the form of Amazon Pay balance, said Motorola. Launched on July 4, the clamshell-style foldable smartphone from China’s Lenovo-owned smartphone brand is set to go on first sale on July 10.


Samsung introduced the Galaxy Z series foldable devices in India on July 10. The series comprises a book-style Galaxy Z Fold 6 and clamshell-style Galaxy Z Flip 6 models. On paper, the 2024 foldable models from the South Korean electronics maker are not much different from the last-generation model as it pivots focus to software and AI enhancements this time around. Notable upgrades in the 2024 model include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, improved design for enhanced ergonomics and durability, and more Galaxy AI features tuned for foldable form factor.


Indian smartphone brand Lava has launched the Blaze X, a budget smartphone packed with curved AMOLED display and Sony camera sensor. The smartphone boasts in-display fingerprint sensor and a display punch-hole design for the front facing camera. Lava said that the Blaze X smartphone sets new benchmarks in the affordable smartphone segment.


Samsung is reportedly enhancing the cover display functionality on its flip-style foldable smartphones, specifically with the upcoming Galaxy Z Flip 6. According to a report by 9To5Google, Samsung confirmed during a media briefing ahead of the Galaxy Unpacked event on July 10 that it is working to add more app support to the cover display of its flip phones.


British consumer technology brand Nothing on July 11 announced that its latest budget smartphone, the CMF Phone 1, is being manufactured in India. In a press note, Nothing said that it recognises India as a key market in its global strategy and has aligned with the ongoing “Make in India” initiative. Moreover, the company stated that the CMF Phone 1’s customisable design caters to the unique preferences and needs of the Indian market. By manufacturing in India, Nothing said that it aims to deliver high-quality, locally-produced products.


Samsung is planning to launch a mixed-reality headset gear, called XR headset, later this year to rival Apple’s Vision Pro. This was confirmed by TM Roh, President, Samsung mobile division in his endnote address at the Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris, France on July 10 where the South Korean electronics major announced the Galaxy Z series foldable devices, Galaxy Buds 3 series wireless earphones, Galaxy Watch 7 and Watch Ultra, and Galaxy Ring.


Apple and Google have collaborated to offer a solution for transferring photos directly from Google Photos to iCloud Photos as part of the Data Transfer Initiative (DTI). This comes after both the companies collaborated in 2021 to allow easier file transferring from iCloud Photos to Google Photos. According to an update on the DTI webpage, the offering from Apple and Google will be rolling out over the next week.


Motorola has been synonymous with clamshell-style phones, particularly since its introduction of the original Razr in 2004, which propelled flip phones into the mainstream. Even today, Motorola, under Lenovo’s ownership, continues this legacy with the Razr 50 Ultra, a 2024 foldable smartphone that retains the iconic flip design while incorporating modern features. While design remains a focal point, the Razr 50 Ultra offers more than meets the eye.


Apple will open its tap-and-go mobile payments system to rivals, EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday, ending a four-year long investigation that could have resulted in a hefty fine for the iPhone maker.

First Published: Jul 11 2024 | 8:03 PM IST



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