#LYTV: vivo V7+ Unboxing

The vivo V7+ has just been launched in Malaysia, and it’s a pretty interesting mid-range smartphone. Featuring Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 430 chipset, an almost bezel-less FullView Display and a 24MP front-facing camera – touted as a world’s first – the V7+ will likely appeal to those who want a sleek, selfie-centric smartphone.
Among the most noteworthy features of the V7+ is definitely its 5.99-inch 720p FullView Display. Not only is it a taller and narrower 18:9 display – smartphones typically have 16:9 displays – the V7+’s FullView Display also boasts an impressive 84.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Aside from that, there’s also the V7+’s 24MP front-facing shooter. Naturally, it comes with a slew of selfie-centric features, including Face Beauty 7.0, a front-facing flash, and even Portrait Mode. Our extended hands on of the V7+ has all of these features covered.
If you’re planning to get the vivo V7+, it’s worth checking out what you’re getting in the box with our unboxing video right here. You can learn more about the V7+ here.
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Pokemon Go is Down Worldwide

Is Pokemon Go down? The worldwide phenomenon, with millions of active users each day, is inaccessible to players in the last hour or so.
Developers Niantic is yet to confirm the issue, but players around the world have reported being unable to access the game. The game’s servers appears to be offline, and is affecting players on both Android and iOS.
This is the first real outage for the game – though those who play using a Pokemon Trainer Club (PTC) account usually sees some minor downtimes.

What will certainly irk players more is the fact that this downtime is happening during the in-game Equinox event, which offers greater benefits for plenty of in-game actions such as hatching capturing and hatching Pokemon.
Niantic has not come up with a statement on this issue, but some hopeful players are speculating that this downtime may have something to do with the expected release of Gen 3 Pokemon in the game. There was no reported downtime when the Gen 2 characters were released, so this is not likely to be the cause.
Update: The official Pokemon Go Twitter account has confirmed the issue, and are currently investigating.

We're investigating an issue which is preventing Trainers from logging in. Thank you for your patience as we look into this issue.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) September 26, 2017

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A Closer Look at the vivo V7+ and Its FullView Display

Disclosure: this article is sponsored by vivo Malaysia.
More and more phone makers are adopting taller and narrower displays, but more often than not, this particular feature is reserved for high-end, flagship smartphones. Well, that’s where the vivo V7+ stands out: it’s a mid-range smartphone with an 18:9 FullView display.
Aside from its display, the V7+ boasts some respectable hardware too, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, a 16MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus, a 24MP front-facing shooter complete with flash, as well as a 3,225mAh battery.

These are respectable hardware for a mid-range smartphone, and the V7+ is one of a few vivo smartphones to come with a Qualcomm chipset; other phones from the company are usually equipped with MediaTek SoCs. Nonetheless, let’s get to one of the most notable features of the V7+: its sleek 5.99-inch 1440 x 720 FullView Display with 84.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Like most noteworthy flagship smartphones in the market now, the V7+ features very minimal top and bottom bezels, giving it a modern-looking design. Despite packing a large 5.99-inch display, the phone doesn’t feel unwieldy at all thanks to the minimal bezels; the display’s 18:9 aspect ratio is also taller and narrower than your typical smartphone display.

Although the V7+’s FullView Display is “only” a 1440 x 720 panel, it’s certainly good enough for daily use. The display’s viewing angles are also good, and colours are vibrant too. Given the 720p resolution of the display, we imagine the V7+’s 3,225mAh battery can return commendable battery life as well. The Snapdragon 450 chipset powering the V7+ is also a pretty power-efficient SoC; it’s built on the 14nm process, after all.
And then we have the V7+’s 24MP selfie camera, which is touted as a world’s first. Featuring a front-facing flash, Face Beauty 7.0, and even Portrait Mode – yes, the selfie camera can create bokeh effect – we imagine those who love taking selfies will appreciate these selfie-centric features. Face Beauty 7.0, for one, is said to use a new algorithm to brighten images and offer a more even complexion in your selfies. According to vivo, selfies will look natural even in low-light conditions.

Interestingly, the V7+ also comes with Face Beauty for video calls, which is effectively real-time beautification. The best part is, this feature is supported on quite a number of popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line, Viber, and even BBM.
Out of all these features, we reckon the V7+’s Portrait Mode is the most exciting one. As its name suggests, Portrait Mode on the V7+’s front-facing camera adds bokeh effect to your selfies. Surprisingly enough, the single selfie camera can separate the subject from the background pretty well too.
Portrait Mode in action.

Normal selfie shot (top) and Portrait Mode. The V7+ does a decent job blurring the background.

Beyond these selfie-centric features, the V7+’s front-facing camera is also used for one particularly interesting feature: Face Access. Essentially, it is vivo’s take on facial recognition, and it works quite seamlessly. The V7+ can recognise my face accurately and quickly most of the time, and it’s quite impressive how fast it unlocks the phone.

Besides the selfie camera, the V7+’s 16MP rear camera is pretty good too. Much like the vivo V5s, the vivo V7+ also supports Live Photo. Once enabled, all you have to do is press and hold on an image, and the phone will play a short video before and after that particular image was shot. Yes, it’s very similar in practice to Apple’s Live Photo feature.
Beyond the Live Photo feature, the V7+’s rear camera is really quite a decent shooter. With ideal lighting and good composition, the 16MP shooter can return some good-looking shots.

Another noteworthy feature of the V7+ is its dedicated DAC: it comes with an AK4376A DAC, which does improve audio quality when used with earphones quite a bit. There’s certainly a noticeable difference in audio quality in comparison to other smartphones – most of which don’t even come with a dedicated DAC. Naturally, the V7+ comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack too.
Other aspects of the V7+ are really what you’d come to expect from a mid-range smartphone worth its salt. It has an all-metal body with rounded sides for better ergonomics, a rear fingerprint sensor – which is easily within reach, unlike certain smartphones – and although its Snapdragon 450 chipset isn’t the most impressive SoC around, the V7+ feels plenty responsive and zippy.

The vivo V7+ sports a sleek, modern design thanks to its FullView Display. In fact, it’s really one of very few mid-range smartphones with such a display at the moment in Malaysia; the LG Q6 isn’t exactly available here, after all. Aside from that, the V7+’s plethora of selfie-centric features will likely appeal to those who love taking selfies.
Not many mid-range smartphones offer the same feature set as the vivo V7+, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint in the design department. If you’re looking for a sleek, mid-range smartphone that doesn’t break the bank, the V7+ is an interesting option.
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Vivo V7+ Unveiled in Malaysia, Featuring World’s First 24MP Selfie Camera

vivo has officially announced the arrival of the vivo V7+ in Malaysia. Despite being a mid-range smartphone, the device brings quite a number of flagship-level features to the table.
For instance, the vivo V7+ is the world’s first smartphone with a 24MP selfie camera. There’s also a whole suite of beautification features called Face Beauty 7.0, as well as a front flash. Given previous devices in the V series have always been selfie-centric, this isn’t much of a surprise. The best part of this is the fact that the face beautification features can also be applied in real-time, allowing you to use them in video calls in WhatsApp, Line, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and even BBM.
On top of that, the vivo V7+ adds two more features that utilises the 24MP front camera. The first is Portrait Mode, which adds bokeh effects for your selfies. While Portrait Mode is fairly popular on a lot of flagship smartphones, this is one of the first times we’re seeing it applied on the front camera. The last front camera feature is also another flagship smartphone feature: face recognition unlock called Face Access.

Besides the front camera, the vivo V7+ also introduces a new 18:9 aspect ratio display with minimal bezels. It’s similar to a number of flagship smartphones from this year, and vivo calls its version FullView Display. While the display resolution is on the lower end (1440 x 720), the 5.99-inch display is fitted into a much smaller chassis (with a screen-to-body ratio of 84.4%), similar to that on a 5.5-inch smartphone.
As it is designed as a mid-ranged smartphone, the vivo V7+’s hardware is more in line with what one would expect. Besides the 5.99-inch 720p display, the V7+ is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chipset with 4GB RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, a 3,225mAh battery, and a 16MP rear camera with phase detect autofocus. Finally, the vivo V7+ is also fitted with an upgraded AK4376A Hi-Fi audio chip for improved audio output. The vivo V7+ runs on FunTouch 3.2 OS, based on Android 7.0.

The vivo V7+ will be available in two colours, Crown Gold and Matte Black. It will go on sale from 29 September onwards at all vivo concept and partner stores nationwide, and is priced at RM1,499. It will also be available on its official online store in Lazada.
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Huawei Nova 2i Lands in Malaysia for RM1,299

The Huawei Nova 2i has just been launched in Malaysia, and as expected, it’s really the Maimang 6 with a different name. Nonetheless, the highlight features of the Nova 2i are its four different cameras and 18:9 display – a first for a Huawei smartphone.
Like other noteworthy smartphones in recent times, the Nova 2i sports a taller than usual 5.9-inch 2160 x 1080 display – Huawei dubs this FullView Display. Thanks to the tall and narrow 18:9 aspect ratio, the Nova 2i should be pretty manageable to use with only one hand. Of course, the phone’s minimal bezels give it a modern-looking design too.

Another interesting feature of the Nova 2i – and something Huawei has focused on quite a bit – are the phone’s four cameras: two on the back, and another two on the front. The primary 16MP rear camera is paired with a 2MP shooter to enable bokeh effect, while the 13MP front-facing camera is also complemented by a 2MP snapper.
Aside from these hardware, other specifications of the Nova 2i include a HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, a 3,340mAh battery, as well as EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.

The Huawei Nova 2i will be available in three different colours in Malaysia: Aurora Blue, Graphite Black, and Prestige Gold. Retailing at RM1,299, it’s quite a competitively priced mid-range smartphone, especially for its feature set.
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Manfrotto Owner Buys JOBY and Lowepro

Vitec Group, the owner of camera accessory brand Manfrotto, has completed the acquisition of competitors JOBY and Lowepro to the tune of $10.3 million (about RM43 million) in cash from DayMen. These brands join the already substantial Vitec stable, which also includes names like Gitzo, Lastolite, Colorama, Litepanels and SmallHD.

JOBY is famous for its GorillaPod line of products – the flexible camera tripods series – while Lowepro has been the choice for many professional photographers for their camera bags, pouches and accessories.
The company believes that their extensive knowledge of the photographic market will enable them to add a wealth of value to these already leading brands. There is a side-effect of this acquisition as there will be less competition in the market, as Vitec will essentially dominate the market with the many brands under their wing.

Part of the acquisition deal are the R&D facilities and manufacturing bases of JOBY and Lowepro will now be under Vitec Group, expanding its capabilities in creating new products and solutions. It also plans to integrate the two brands into their photography portfolio, although there are no plans shared on how this will happen.
(Source: DPreview )

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Samsung Developing Chip For AI Processing

Samsung is joining Apple and Huawei in developing AI-centric CPU cores for its upcoming processors. The new Exynos chips will supposedly be able to process data from AI directly on the smartphone without offloading it to the cloud.
Set to be commercialised in the next couple of years, the new AI co-processor will reduce cloud-base processing dependency by instead processing the data in the smartphone itself. Today’s AI tasks (voice recognition, big data processing) are offloaded to the cloud, and then retrieved when needed by the users.
This will be very useful as Samsung’s Bixby is still in the early days of developing into a proper smart assistant.
The next Exynos chip from Samsung will have AI processing built-in
As one of the major semiconductor manufacturer, Samsung is well equipped to start developing the co-processor. This will contribute to a 3% global revenue growth that semiconductor manufacturers are expected to see from 2018 until 2022 according to market intelligence firm TrendForce.
With AI Processing becoming a fast growing trend among OEMs, having a leg’s up in the game will benefit Samsung to differentiate it from the other manufacturers in the market.
(Source: Korea Herald via Android Authority )
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New Huawei Mate 10 Details Leaked: Water Resistance, f/1.6 Lens, 4,000mAh Battery

The Huawei Mate 10 series isn’t expected to be introduced until next month, but naturally, more details are surfacing as we approach the devices’ release date. According to these leaked information, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro will boast some neat hardware upgrades, including a feature that was sorely missing on its predecessors: water resistance.
That’s right, the Mate 10 series will finally get water resistance; IP67 rating, to be specific. Interestingly, the leaked slides also detail the Mate 10’s Leica-certified dual-camera setup: both sensors are said to feature f/1.6 lenses. Considering the fact that there’s only one other smartphone with an f/1.6 lens – that will be the LG V30 – this is a pretty major feature.

Staying true to the Mate series’ signature feature, the Mate 10 devices are said to come with sizeable 4,000mAh batteries. This, combined with the power efficiency of the new 10nm HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor, we imagine the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro will boast respectable battery lives.
Aside from these details, we also got a closer look at the design of the upcoming Mate 10 phones. The almost bezel-less display is shown here yet again, and interestingly enough, the Mate 10 may just sport a glass back and a rear fingerprint sensor. Although the leaked images did not specifically mention this, we reckon the Mate 10 Pro will have a front-facing fingerprint sensor instead.
Possibly the Mate 10 (top) and Mate 10 Pro.
The Huawei Mate 10 series is expected to be unveiled on 16 October. Until then, take these leaked information with a grain of salt.
(Source: Slashleaks via GSMArena)
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Sea, Formerly Garena, Files For US IPO; Hopes To Raise RM4.2 Billion In Funds

Sea, the company formerly known as Garena, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York stock exchange. The company is looking to raise some $1 billion (about RM4.2 billion) for continued expansion plans.
Sea currently owns the Garena gaming platform, from which it draws most of its revenue. Most of that revenue is then being used to subsidise its other online businesses: Shopee and AirPay.
Both Shopee and AirPay are only available in a limited number of markets in Southeast Asia where they face increasing competition from much bigger foreign companies. Especially from Lazada, which is now backed by the Chinese giant Alibaba. Amazon has also begun operations in Singapore, and is rumoured to have plans for rapid expansion across the region.
The IPO does not mean that Sea is planning to start operations in America, but is rather an offer for investors to bring capital into Southeast Asia. That said, this is only the second attempted IPO from the region on the US stock market. MOL had earlier tried raising funds from the US, and that only lasted two years before being removed from trading.
[Source: Techcrunch]
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China Begins Blocking WhatsApp As Censorship Strengthens

Chinese WhatsApp users have reported heavy disruption of the service since Sunday. It is believed that the communist government has begun to block text messages from the app, or at least has found a way to interfere with the encryption services used by WhatsApp.
As it stands, China already had a watchful eye on the instant messaging service. Voice messages, videos, and images were already blocked from being sent. What is happening now appears to be the logical progression of censorship over the second most widely used chat service in the country.
WhatsApp owner Facebook is already banned in China, and this latest turn of events represents a heavy blow to CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plans. He has been looking to enter the world’s most lucrative online market for some time now, and has even stealthily launched an app to test the waters. However, it looks like the Chinese have other things in mind.

Social media and instant messaging are heavily censored in China, with blocks being placed on most secure solutions. Most users will likely be on China’s homegrown WeChat. Although, that comes with its own set of problems; seeing that the app recently reminded users that it will happily turn over all user data to the Chinese government.
WhatsApp users can still try to use a VPN to tunnel past the censorship. That said, China has also been clamping down on VPN usage in the country. No actual blocks have been reported but the Chinese are only allowed to use networks provided from state-approved sources.
[Source: New York Times]
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