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Samsung 50MP ISOCELL GN2 brings Dual Pixel Pro AF, staggered-HDR

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When Samsung launched its first 100x Space Zoom camera on the Galaxy S20 Ultra last year, it was criticized for neglecting one important aspect of digital photography, the autofocus performance. Since then, Samsung has been careful to improve AF in its flagship phones and its next one might take it to the next level, or so Samsung boasts. Going beyond its own Dual Pixel brand of PDAF, Samsung is announcing a new 1.4μm 50Mp ISOCELL GN2 sensor that carries a Dual Pixel Pro version of its AF tech, along with other tricks that improve the sensor’s low-light performance.

Dual Pixel is Samsung’s take on the common Phase Detection AF technology, utilizing all pixels on a sensor for both RGB and phase detect light data. This, it says, already has a huge edge over normal PDAF as it doesn’t sacrifice picture quality for autofocus. Like all PDAF-based solutions, however, it still has the same weaknesses, especially when dealing with horizontal patterns.

Dual Pixel Pro solves that by splitting the green pixels diagonally rather than just vertically. This allows those pixels to not only recognize left and right phases of an image but also top and bottom, addressing PDAF problems that occur when taking shots of horizontal stripes. It also improves focusing in low-light situations and on fast-moving objects.

The Samsung ISOCELL GN2 also features what Samsung bills as staggered-HDR, using rolling shutters to capture images in different exposures. Compared to the real-time HDR used in most sensors, Samsung says it uses 24% less power while still delivering vivid highlights and dark shadows.

The 50MP sensor also has other tricks, like four-pixel-binning under difficult lighting conditions or using a mosaic algorithm to create a 100MP picture. The Samsung ISOCELL GN2 is already in mass production so we will most likely hear soon which phones will be using it.

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OnePlus 7T OxygenOS 11 Beta brings Always-on-Display feature

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OnePlus has always been proud of what it’s able to accomplish despite being a small company and exactly because it is a small company. It is able to be more agile and flexible, to establish more intimate relationships with its customers, and to take risks that richer companies are ironically more afraid to take. Unfortunately, it also means it may have fewer resources, especially for things like developing its custom OxygenOS Android experience whose latest version has still to reach its older phones. Fortunately for OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro owners, the wait might be well worth it.

Despite its usual speed in rolling out Android updates, it seems that OnePlus has somewhat dropped the ball with Android 11 and OxygenOS 11. It was only just this Monday that the OnePlus Nord got its update and, before that, only the current OnePlus 8 series has been gifted with the update. The rest are still stuck in Open Beta for at least two months now.

OnePlus just recently announced another beta release of OxygenOS 11, this time for the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro. It has the usual changelog of fixes since the last beta release but Piunikaweb noticed one important bullet point missing. OxygenOS 11 is supposed to bring Always-on-Display or AOD, what OnePlus brands as Always-on Ambient Display, but it was nowhere to be seen in the changelog.

Fortunately, that might have just been a clerical error since the feature is actually available on the OnePlus 7T, at least if you’re part of that beta program. Those who were already on the beta will actually see AOD mentioned in the update, just not on the official forums. Given the OnePlus 7 OxygenOS 11 Beta does have AOD listed, it would have been odd if the more advanced OnePlus 7T didn’t get the feature at all.

That said, the question remains when the stable version of OxygenOS will come to the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T series. The company hasn’t updated its schedule for the rollout so far and the fate of the OnePlus 6 and 6T as well as the OnePlus Nord N10 and N100 are still unknown as well.

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Galaxy Tab S6 One UI 3.1 update is rolling out two months early

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Given how people complain when things arrive early, it’s no surprise that they all celebrate when things arrive a lot earlier than expected. Not expected until May, it seems that Samsung has started the ball rolling to bring One UI 3.1 and Android 11 to its 2019 premium slate, the Galaxy Tab S6. Given the company and the type of device, this could be even more proof that Samsung has definitely matured and changed for the better, at least as far as updates go.

Although it does make a fuss over its most recent Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones, Samsung didn’t always bring Android updates to its other phone models in a timely manner. That’s sometimes even worse for tablets, where its latest Galaxy Tab S doesn’t always get preferential treatment at all. To its credit, Samsung has indeed been getting better at that and this might be one more point going for it.

With the update, the Galaxy Tab S6 jumps from One UI 2.5 and right into One UI 3.1, which means it’s also being upgraded to the so-far latest Android 11 version. That’s already a big jump under the hood but even more when it comes to the visual refresh that was introduced in One UI 3. There are, of course, new features as well but those might be harder to pin down on tablets.

For example, it isn’t certain which of the features announced in the Galaxy Tab S7 One UI 3.1 update will be available on the older tablet. The previous announcement does make mention of 360 Audio support becoming available on the Galaxy Tab S6 and SamMobile adds Auto Switch support when paired with a Galaxy Buds Pro. It will be terribly disappointing if new S Pen functionality, like Pen to Text in Samsung Notes, will be missing in this update.

The one small catch is that the One UI 3.1 update has so far been reported only for the LTE model of the Galaxy Tab S6 in Germany. Barring a mistake on Samsung’s side, the update should also start rolling out to other countries and both LTE and Wi-Fi models soon. Given the early release, there’s also a chance that the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite will join the party earlier than May as well.

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OPPO Find X3 Pro, Neo, Lite leaked in full

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In just a few days, OPPO will be officially revealing its premier flagship for the year. Before that could happen, however, a single leak may have uncovered all there is to know about not one but three phones under the OPPO Find X3 banner. While OPPO might still have a few surprises to show, not to mention confirmations of these unofficial details, this massive leak already shows what the brand’s fans and customers can expect, and it’s a pretty interesting one at that.

Usually, you’d expect that variants of the same smartphone series would mostly differ in size and specs. While that’s still true here, OPPO has surprisingly made the three OPPO Find X3 models look distinctly different as well. The biggest outlier is the OPPO Find X3 Pro which has what can probably be better described as a camera mound instead of a camera bump.

The Find X3 Neo and the Find X3 Lite are more conventional in design, sporting thankfully smaller and narrower camera bumps. All three have four cameras on their back but, of course, the Find X3 Pro gets the best ones with a 50MP Sony IMX766 main sensor, a 13MP periscope-style telephoto lens, a 5MP macro camera, and a 50MP ultra-wide shooter. The Find X3 Neo gets a plain telephoto camera while the Find X3 Lite loses that altogether and swaps a 2MP depth sensor instead.

The three also differ in specs, with the Find X3 Pro running on the latest Snapdragon 888, the Find X3 Neo getting a 2019 Snapdragon 865, and the Find X3 Lite left with a Snapdragon 765G. That means, however, that all three are at least 5G capable, despite the performance differences. The top-end Find X3 also gets the largest 6.7-inch 120Hz QHD+ screen while the other two are left with 90Hz FHD+ displays at nearly similar sizes.

All three phones will be running OPPO’s ColorOS 11.2 based on Android 11, which should be reassuring to Android fans that want the latest versions. Of course, we’ll have to wait to hear about availability details and, more importantly, the photography feats that the phones, particularly the OPPO Find X3 Pro, will be capable of.

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