A Closer Look at the Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Series

The Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) series is an impressive range of mid-range smartphones, and we’ve covered almost every aspect of the smaller A8 thoroughly in our extensive review. If that’s not quite enough for you, let’s take a deep dive at some of the most notable features of the Galaxy A8 and A8+ – some of which are quite a rarity for mid range devices.
First, specifications. Let’s start with the smaller device of the two, the Galaxy A8. It features a 5.6-inch Full HD+ 2220 x 1080 Super AMOLED Infinity Display, a Samsung Exynos 7885 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM, 32GB of expandable storage, a 16MP f/1.7 rear camera with phase detection autofocus, 16MP + 8MP f/1.9 dual front cameras, and a 3,000mAh battery. Of course, the new Galaxy A8 is also IP68-rated.
As for the bigger Galaxy A8+, it shares many of the Galaxy A8’s hardware, but it comes with a larger 6-inch display, more RAM and storage at 6GB and 64GB respectively, as well as a bigger 3,500mAh battery.
Dual Front Cameras

The Galaxy A8 series’ dual front cameras may be similar to the Galaxy Note 8’s dual rear cameras, but there are some unique hardware differences here. The A8 phones’ primary 16MP front shooter is made for closeup shots, while the secondary 8MP sensor is fitted with a wider lens to capture more of the background – ideal for group selfies.
These two shooters can work independently, but together, they can emulate a shallow depth of field for bokeh-like shots in Live Focus mode. Not only can the cameras separate the subject from the background well, you can capture some really good-looking selfie shots too. And just like the Note 8, you can also adjust how blurry you want the background to be.
These are some sample shots with the different selfie modes on the Galaxy A8 (2018):
Standard mode
Wide-angle mode
Live Focus mode
Shines in Low Light

Aside from the dual front cameras, the Galaxy A8 and A8+’s 16MP rear camera is quite impressive too. It performs admirably in daytime, and in low-light conditions, it is surprisingly capable too. The camera interface doesn’t feel sluggish at all either – definitely a plus point.
On top of that, thanks to the bright f/1.7 aperture, low-light shots taken with both phones look very impressive. Judge for yourself with these sample shots.

Do More With Water Resistance

Last but certainly not least is the Galaxy A8 series’ IP68 rating. Not only is this a feature not commonly found on mid-range smartphones – heck, several flagship phones don’t even sport this level of water and dust resistance – you have peace of mind knowing that your Galaxy A8 or A8+ won’t suffer from water damage in normal, everyday use.
Both the Galaxy A8 and A8+ can also be immersed up to 1.5 meters underwater for as long as 30 minutes, thanks to their IP68 rating. This means you can be extremely creative with the cameras – perhaps some underwater selfies? Or if you’re the type who runs with your phone to measure your vitals and it starts raining – you don’t have to worry about your Galaxy A8 phones getting damaged from the rain.

Even better, if you ever spill some food or drinks on the phone, you no longer need to carefully wipe them off with a damp cloth and hope for the best. Just rinse the whole phone over some water, wipe it dry, and it’ll be good as new.
At an age where a smartphone is a rather expensive investment, having water and dust resistance on your smartphone isn’t really a luxury anymore. It offers peace of mind in the event when we are just a tad too clumsy, and unlocks users to do bold things with their smartphones.
Mid-Range Phone With Flagship Spirit

The Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) series has some exemplary mid-range smartphones. They trickle down features previously found only on Samsung’s flagship phone, and they’re polished, premium devices through and through. Retailing at RM1,799, the Galaxy A8 is priced rather competitively as well. The Galaxy A8+, on the other hand, goes for RM2,499.
If you’re looking for a well-designed, feature-rich mid-range smartphone, the new Galaxy A8 series definitely fits the bill to a tee. If you’d like to learn more about the smaller phone of the two, our comprehensive review should help.

Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Samsung Malaysia.
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Intel Supposedly Warned Chinese Companies About Spectre And Meltdown Before The U.S.

The Spectre and Meltdown flaws are without a doubt two of Intel’s biggest issue this year. Since the discovery of the vulnerabilities, the semiconductor company has been liaising with several key industry players to fix them.
Unfortunately for Intel, who it contacted first might have allowed for a possible exploitation on a national (global even) level. According to a report on Engadget, a source inside the Wall Street Journal had told them that when the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities were discovered, Intel made it a point to tell Chinese tech companies like Alibaba and Lenovo first, and not the U.S. government.

Why is this important? Because while Lenovo may not have directly liaised with the Chinese government per se, the latter still routinely monitors any and all corporate conversations. Therefore, it is possible that the Chinese government could’ve taken that information and exploited those flaws before Intel could scurry out the patches in time.
To be clear, there is no proof or evidence to suggest that China did act on the vulnerability, but the focus here is that, again, Intel didn’t make informing the U.S. Government a priority. The argument is this; had Intel told the U.S. government about the issue, it could have helped coordinate the disclosures, allowing several other tech companies to have fixes to the issue in place. Yes, Lenovo and Alibaba are big names in the world of technology, but so too are Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Naturally, Intel has refrained from telling the media who else they had initially informed, but also added that they couldn’t notify everyone in time because both flaws had been revealed early. In the case of Lenovo and Intel; Lenovo said that the information provided to them was protected by an NDA, while Alibaba has exclaimed that any suggesting that the company shares information with the Chinese government is ‘speculative and baseless’, at best.
The Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities have been thorns in Intel’s side since its discovery. To be fair, Intel has been rolling out patches, but as of last week, the company had told consumers and partners to ‘hold out on using it’, at least until it comes up with a better solution.
(Source: Engadget)
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Asus Unveils ROG Strix XG32VQ And XG35VQ Gaming Monitors

Asus Malaysia has announced two brand new gaming monitors called the ROG Strix XG32VQ and ROG Strix XG35VQ; both of which are curved gaming monitors. In addition, these gaming monitors also come with several interesting features that make them rather enticing for PC gamers.
When it comes to design, both the ROG Strix XG32VQ and ROG Strix XG35VQ come with a dark grey and red chassis along with several LED-lit areas (customisable, of course). The ROG Strix XG32VQ, as its name implies, is a 32-inch curved gaming monitor (2560 x 1440). It features a 144Hz refresh rate along with a response time of 4ms.
Next up is the 35-inch ROG Strix XG35VQ curved gaming monitor (3440 x 1440). Like the ROG Strix XG32VQ, this gaming monitor comes with a response time of 4ms. That said, the refresh rate of the ROG Strix XG32VQ is slightly lower at 100Hz. Do keep in mind that both of the aforementioned gaming monitors do feature AMD’s FreeSync technology.
Unfortunately, the local pricing and specific date of availability of the ROG Strix XG32VQ and ROG Strix XG35VQ were not mentioned by Asus Malaysia at the time of writing. That said, the company did mention that consumers should expect both curved gaming monitors to be made available in Malaysia by the end of February. Besides that, both monitors will be backed with a three-year warranty as well (1-to-1 swap).
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Meizu 15 Renders Leak; Dual Rear Cameras And Curved Screen

A new leak for Meizu’s upcoming Meizu 15 has appeared online. The company’s next smartphone looks to be following the trend with dual cameras and a curved screen for the bezel-less look.
From the renders, we can see that Black (unsurprisingly) will be a colour option for Meizu 15. On the front the screen looks to be inspired by the Samsung Galaxy S8 thanks to the curved display. Also on the front is what seems to be a home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. This could also be Meizu’s mBack convenience key.
On the back, the vertically oriented dual camera sits on top of a 10-LED flash. The flash hides the laser auto-focus unit, and the camera is said to have phase detection built-in. There are no specs revealed so far for the Meizu 15, but as this is the company’s flagship for 2018, we may see a high-end processor like the Snapdragon 845 installed.
Reports are stating that the expected launch window for the Meizu 15 is sometime in February – coincidentally that would be around Mobile World Congress 2018. We may see this model in Barcelona, so look out for news of its launch there.
(Source: Twitter via GSMArena)
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Possible Sony Xperia XZ Pro Drawings Appear Online

A new schematic drawing of the Sony Xperia XZ Pro may have surfaced online. It has characteristics of the typical Sony flair, with some modern touches. Which only reinforces the perception that Sony’s design language has not changed much in the last few years.
The schematics shows the familiar Xperia design to which Sony has doggedly attached itself. The angular sides, the camera shutter button and the side power button cum fingerprint scanner. Happily Sony is keeping the stereo speakers on the XZ Pro if the drawing is correct.
Of course, the biggest change here is the dual-camera setup. It looks like Sony may be using a module with either a telephoto zoom or a wide angle as the lenses looks to feature different magnifications. One of the cameras is expected to be an 18MP sensor with a pixel size of 1.33μm and the other a 12MP sensor with a pixel size of 1.38μm. Next to the camera is the LED/Laser Autofocus module.
Powering the XZ Pro will be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of UFS internal storage. Sony is expected to retain the IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating on all its smartphones with the XZ Pro; and should be including a respectable 3,450mAh battery.
We will be seeing this phone launched (or at least previewed) during MWC 2018, which just a few weeks away.
(Source: PhoneCorridor )
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YouTube Ads Found To Be Delivering Cryptocurrency Mining Malware

There has been a malicious ad campaign going around the internet, and it appears to have found its way onto YouTube. This malware delivers a script that uses the victim’s CPU to mine for cryptocurrency; increasing power usage while also providing income for the attacker.
Most of these malicious ads are based on the coinhive script; which was made publicly available and is intended to provide an alternative source of income for websites struggling to make ends meet. The currency of choice in this case is Monero, which has quickly become a focus for cybercriminals looking to cover their tracks.
In legitimate use, the coinhive script sends a 30 percent cut of the mining activity back to coinhive as a service fee. However, the YouTube attack seems to have used a modified version that prevents this fee from being implemented. Allowing the attackers to claim all of the mined coin. It was also designed to use up to 80 percent of the victim’s CPU power.

An independent security researcher says that YouTube was targeted because people are used to spending a lot of time on the site. Providing the malware with plenty of time to mine for cryptocurrency while people indulged in their preferred content.
YouTube, for its part, has said that the ads were found and removed within two hours. Although, it is difficult to tell how long they actually lasted on the site.
Not every visitor to YouTube was affected by the attack. It looks to have targeted a specific number of countries, including Japan, France, and Spain. Possibly being aimed at developed countries where people have more computing power to be stolen.
[Source: Ars Technica, Diego Betto]
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Microsoft Confirms The End Of Windows 10 Mobile Insider Programme

In case it wasn’t already crystal clear, there is not going to be a Windows 10 Mobile. It also appears that the Windows 10 Insider Programme has completely dropped the Mobile version of the OS from its release schedule. Despite Microsoft originally saying that it would continue development.
Brandon LeBlanc, Senior Program Manager on the Windows Insider Program Team, casually informed the public of the lack of Windows 10 Mobile builds after responding to a question on Twitter. Reversing a statement from Microsoft that it would continue to work on the Mobile operating system.

No mobile builds are coming.
— Brandon LeBlanc (@brandonleblanc) January 24, 2018

Univerval Windows Programme apps are still being developed and supported, but it is likely that these will also go away as Micosoft phases W10 Mobile completely out of its development cycle.
There may still be those holding out for a new smartphone from Microsoft. Especially considering all the rumours of a Surface Phone that keep appearing every few months. However, it is more likely that Microsoft has shelved any plans that it had for entering the mobile phone market.
[via Windows Central]
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Newbee Wins ESL One Genting 2018; Beats Team Liquid for RM620,000

After a close best of five games against the reigning TI7 champion, Team Liquid, Chinese team Newbee is the winner of ESL One Genting 2018. For winning 2018’s very first Dota 2 Minor event, Newbee takes home a whopping $160,000, which comes up to about RM620,000.
Newbee started the match strong with a confident win for the first game, but Team Liquid’s Miracle- proved to be a formidable foe with his very aggressive Terrorblade in the second game. In game three, Miracle-‘s Invoker was kept in check by Newbee enough to secure the team a second win.

Newbee’s kpii (top) and Team Liquid’s Miracle-.
Just when we thought Newbee could take it home in game four itself, Team Liquid’s excellent teamwork and controlled aggression affected Sccc’s Queen of Pain in the mid lane. Although Liquid overextended quite a bit towards the end of the game, Matumbaman’s Lifestealer and Miracle-‘s Dragon Knight were too much for Newbee to handle.
And finally, we’re in game five. In the early stages, both teams were almost equally matched, but a couple of very impressive clashes – and even a team wipe – about 30 minutes into the game gave Newbee enough momentum to push through to Team Liquid’s base, securing the team its third win.

For winning ESL One Genting 2018, Newbee takes home the $160,000 cash prize as well as 200 Qualifying Points. Team Liquid, on the other hand, wins $80,000 (that’s about RM310,000) and 120 Qualifying Points.
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Apple Might Be Developing Four iPhone This Year

A report from Taiwan has claimed that Apple is developing four next generation iPhones this year. The four models includes a 5.7 to 5.8-inch LCD device; a 6.0 to 6.1-inch LCD device; a 6.0 to 6.1-inch OLED device; and a 6.4 to 6.5-inch OLED device.
Luke Lin, senior analyst at DigiTimes said that Apple may eventually focus on producing three models to market, similar to their 2017 strategy. If that is true, the market should be seeing the two LCD-based devices ans well as the larger OLED device as the next generation iPhones and iPhone X respectively.
The report also pointed out that alongside the three flagship devices, Apple may be considering a budget model that will be come the successor to the iPhone SE that was released in 2016. Wireless charging will be part of the feature set of these 2018 phones, but however, only the flagship devices will have 3D-Touch.
Production for these new iPhones will apparently start in the second quarter of this year and they will be launched sometime in either May or June. This timeline seems rather short when compared to Apple’s usual schedule, so we wouldn’t discount the notion that the actual release date will only take place later in the year.

Of course, let’s see how true all the information will be as we further progress deeper into 2018.
(Source: DigiTimes )
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Here Are Your Best Look At The Samsung Galaxy S9 And Galaxy S9+ So Far

Evleaks has done it again. As some might have anticipated, the profilic leaker has published a set of renders for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ which are scheduled for launch at the Samsung Unpacked event this February in conjunction with the Mobile World Congres 2018.
These renders further strengthen the rumors of size differences that we can expect from the upcoming 2018 Samsung flagship smartphones. As per the rumor circle, the Samsung Galaxy S9 will carry a 5.7-inch display while the S9+ will feature a 6.2-inch display.

These are the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ https://t.co/deXGg39m0d pic.twitter.com/RNGezrF4Bs
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) January 26, 2018

At the same time, Evleaks has also revealed the rear camera setup that will be equipped into both devices and they are clearly quite different from their predecessors:
(L – R) The new camera modules for the Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy S9 respectively.
According to certain reports, Samsung will be introducing camera module with variable mechanical aperture for the rear cameras on the 2018 S-series line which was adopted from W2018, Specifically, the main rear camera on Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ will feature a lens with changeable aperture of between f/1.5 to f/2.4.
As for the new secondary rear camera on Galaxy S9+, it will be equipped with a fixed f/2.4 lens instead. All rear cameras on both phones will come with 12MP sensor while their front cameras will carry 8MP sensor instead.
The two SoC options for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+.
Meanwhile, we will apparently see two different processors on these devices as well in the form of Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and Samsung’s own Exynos 9810 depending on respective markets. There will be two memory and storage configurations with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage for the Galaxy S9 while the larger Galaxy S9+ might receive 6GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage.
Not to forget, Evan has also revealed that Samsung might introduce an animoji-like feature with the selfie shooter on both devices. Even though all these leaks might feel like that they are taking the party away from Samsung, we are still curious enough to see them in action and we expect to hear even more about the compay’s new flagships as we get closer to the Unpacked event next month.
(Source: @Evleaks, Venturebeat)
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