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2 years ago

Blurring the background: Understanding focus, defocus, refocus and Ufocus

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Lumia 1020, HTC One M8 and Lytro

Your HTC One M8 isn't a Lytro, but that doesn't mean you can't create some neat-looking effects

Background defocus effects are the hot new feature for smartphone cameras this year. Sony, Nokia, LG, Samsung and HTC are all offering DSLR-like bokeh effects in photos through software trickery. These effects have even been likened to the Lytro, the first mainstream light-field camera, which lets users refocus their photos after capture.

Instant after-the-fact refocusing from a smartphone camera isn't truly upon us just yet, however, and each manufacturer's approach to defocusing and refocusing shots after taking them has its individual quirks. That includes the HTC One M8's Ufocus feature, which while capable of producing some striking depth-of-field effects, has its limitations. And the same goes for single-camera refocusing effects from competitors like the Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G Pro 2 and Sony Xperia Z2.

Let's take a closer look after the break.

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2 years ago

S-OFF for HTC One M8 paves way for further hackery

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HTC One M8 S-OFF

S-OFF exploit for M8 released by Firewater team, Google Play edition conversion now possible for GSM handsets

Good news for those wanting greater freedom to hack and tinker with the HTC One M8, as the Firewater dev team has released its method for gaining S-OFF ("security off") on the device. The method is relatively straightforward if you're handy with a command line — first your device will need to be rooted, then disable any lockscreen security, push the files to your device and let them work their magic.

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2 years ago

Oppo Find 7a international pre-orders go live

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The folks at Oppo caused a stir with the recent Find 7 launch, and now the – only slightly – less spec happy Find 7a has gone up on international pre-order. Folks across Europe and the U.S. can now place their orders for the new phone, and you'll be parting with €399/$499. And you're getting more than just the phone for that, too.

Oppo is throwing in an Easy Cover case, an additional 2800mAh battery and a 32GB microSD card in to the package with every pre-order of the Find 7a. Not a bad deal at all.

The Find 7a might not pack the crazy screen and camera of the Find 7, but it's not exactly a low-end device. Beneath that 5.5-inch 1080p display lies a Snapdragon 801 CPU, 2GB of RAM, a 13MP rear camera, 5MP front facing camera and support for microSD cards up to 128GB. It comes running Android 4.3 and Oppo's own Color OS, with promise for third-party ROM support coming soon.

Who's buying?

Source: OppoStyle (Europe)

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2 years ago

Motorola 'Moto X+1' branding appears in Twitter leak

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We all love a good rumor from time to time, and Twitter leaker @evleaks has revealed a tantalizing piece of possible branding today. As shown in the leaked image after the break, we're looking at the 'Motorola Moto X+1'. Nothing else has been published besides from the codename, which (as always) could change prior to a product announcement, but there's a chance we could be looking at a Moto X successor. Then again, we have no idea what this device could be.

Motorola itself has hinted at a successor to the Moto X coming this summer. And while @evleaks has a solid track record, we do recommend some degree of caution, as there's not much context here — it could refer to a smartphone, tablet or something else entirely. We'll have to wait and see what Motorola has in store for consumers with "Moto X+1." In the meantime, check out our our six-month look-back feature for some Moto X nostalgia.

Source: Twitter (@evleaks)

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2 years ago

How to get email and calendar notifications on your HTC One M8 lock screen

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Here's a quick tip for those of you with the HTC One M8. If you're missing notifications for email and calendar on your lock screen, there's a good reason for that. They're not turned on by default. Fixing that is just a matter of diving into the settings and checking a couple boxes.

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2 years ago

Best Buy selling last year's HTC One for $1, new Verizon One M8 $50 off

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If you aren't quite ready to dish out the funds for a new HTC One M8, Best Buy is offering up the HTC One M7 for just $1 today and tomorrow. That means you can grab one on contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon at a huge discount. The offer stands for all colors of the One including black, red, silver and blue. Not such a bad price if you're looking to get what's still an awesome device on the cheap.

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2 years ago

Purported Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom specs leak out, Exynos 5 Hexa on board

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Leaked information of the expected Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom continue with reported specs now to accompany the images from earlier this week. According to the folks at SamMobile, the successor to the S4 Zoom will pack Samsung's own Exynos 5 Hexa CPU as well as that 20.2 MP rear camera we've already seen.

Other notable specs include a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display at 1280x720 resolution, 2GB of RAM a microSD card slot and Android 4.4.2 KitKat fresh out of the box – though we'd expect nothing less from Samsung at this point.

We also hear more about that honkin' great camera on the back. The 20.2MP shooter reportedly has OIS on-board and a Xenon flash to go alongside that 10x optical zoom. All the usual connectivity is included, as well as 802.11ac Wifi support.

Of course, it isn't real, until it's real. And neither are these specs. But nothing seems too out of the ordinary here.

Source: SamMobile

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2 years ago

Sony Xperia Z1 LTE now available to buy from Sony U.S.

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16GB black model available for $619.99

Sony has made the SIM-unlocked LTE version of the Xperia Z1 available in the US. Sold through the Sony web store in black, purple and white, the soon-to-be-outdated Android device (remember, the Z2 is launching this month in some countries) is going for $619.99. Previously, the Japanese manufacturer only had the HSPA+ version available for consumers to purchase.

The black variant of the 16GB LTE Xperia Z1 is currently the only one in stock; the purple and white versions are backordered with an estimated shipping date of April 30th. What’s interesting is the HSPA+ version is also completely out of stock through Sony, so while it’s slightly cheaper you’re now able to quit waiting and pick up an LTE variant.

It’s worth noting that this is listed with Android 4.2, though most Z1 models should be on at least Android 4.3, with 4.4 updates updates rolling out for some models in recent weeks. So, U.S. Sony fans, will you be picking up a Z1 or holding out for an American Z2 launch?

Source: Sony, via: Xperia Blog

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2 years ago

Verizon Galaxy S5 price: $199.99 on contract, $599.99 outright

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Samsung Galaxy S5

Shipping for April 11 global launch

Last but by no means least when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy S5, Verizon has put its pre-order page live at last. It will ship by the global launch date of April 11, and to pick one up you'll need to part with $199.99 – via a $50 mail in rebate – on a two-year contract or $599.99 without one. The Verizon Galaxy S5 is also eligible for the current buy one get one free offer the carrier is running, allowing you to pick up a second phone.

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2 years ago

HTC One M8 Google Play edition unboxing and hands-on

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HTC One M8 Google Play edition

Some of HTC's custom software survives in the latest member of the GPe ranks

Behold, the HTC One M8 Google Play edition. Same M8, less HTC. Look, there's not a lot here you haven't already read in our comprehensive HTC One review. Same 5-inch display. Same loud speakers. Same tall but sleek form factor. The difference here is software.

And as has been the case with other GPe devices, things get a little interesting here. While we tend to think of Google Play editions as "pure Google" devices, though that's not quite the case. There's still a little HTC code left over. That's a good thing, actually. The question is whether you want a phone stripped of some of the features that make it unique — and that explain some of the hardware peculiarities inherent to the M8.

Pique your interest yet? Let's break down this new HTC One M8 Google Play edition.

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2 years ago

Save $50 on the HTC One M8 Unlocked or Dev Edition for a limited time!

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Anybody hankering to get their hands their hands on a developer edition of the HTC One (M8) will only have until the end of tonight to get one at the promotional price of $50 off. The developer edition has an easily unlockable bootloader and doesn’t have any of that nasty carrier bloatware on top.

At midnight tonight, the cost of the HTC One (M8) Developer Edition will go up to $700, so better get cracking at the HTC online store. Expect yours to ship in the next week or two. Anybody still sitting on the fence? Who’s already ordered one?

Source: @HTCUSA

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2 years ago

Galaxy Ace Style offers entry level specs at an entry level price

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An entry level Samsung handset by the name of Galaxy Ace Style is being shown off in Germany, boasting KitKat 4.4 compatibility and not much else. The SM-G310HN packs a modest 4-inch 800x480 display, dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, a 5 megapixel camera without flash, and a dual-SIM version will be available. As you might expect, the pricetag is fairly low, hovering between €200 and €300. Above, you can see it next to the Samsung Galaxy Core for scale.

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2 years ago

Galaxy S5 Zoom cameraphone gets pictured

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Here it is, folks, your first look at the Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom. We've seen benchmarking data on the expected follow-up to the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, and thanks to a new photo leak we get to see what the zoom-lens-toting back side looks like. And it's leathery.

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2 years ago

LG G Flex now available in Rogers stores

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The LG G Flex (yes, we dislike the name just as much as you do) was destined to be available at Rogers in Canada this spring. That we already knew. Announced today on the carrier blog, and running Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2, the rather unique smartphone is now available at Rogers. The price? $199 on select 2-year plans.

Sporting a 13MP rear shooter (with a 2.1MP sibling on the front), an advanced Qualcomm processor, self-healing chassis, LTE connectivity, 2GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage, the LG G Flex is a premium smartphone.

Read our in-depth review and head on over to the Rogers Store to place your order.

Source: Rogers Store

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2 years ago

Google Play edition HTC One M8 is shipping

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HTC One M8 GPe mockup

If you've been patiently awaiting word that your Google Play edition HTC One M8 has shipped, well, there's a good chance it did. Yesterday. We just got a heads up that ours will arrive today (with overnight shipping), so we'll soon get a chance to see how Google's working the Duo Camera features, and whether the popular Dot View case still works. Stay tuned for more.

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