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Pixel 6 Pro Reviews, Galaxy S22 Ultra Leaks, Surface Duo 2 Surprises

Pixel 6 Pro Reviews, Galaxy S22 Ultra Leaks, Surface Duo 2 Surprises

Pixel 6 Pro Reviews, Galaxy S22 Ultra Leaks, Surface Duo 2 Surprises

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes the first Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro reviews, comparing the Pixel 6 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro, the latest Galaxy S22 leak, the Honor 50 review, Surface Duo 2’s potential, Android 12L details, and documenting Material You.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here).

The Prize Winning Pixel

 Following last week’s launch, the details reviews of Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have been published across the community and it’s fair to say Google has hit the sweet spot with it’s new smartphone design, new chipset, and Android’s latest update.

One of the biggest visual changes on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro is the camera bar. No more island for the lenses, this stretches across the back of the device, and is one of the best marketing choices possible, as well as being practical:

“Now Google’s Pixel family has a distinctive and practical mark of its own with the camera bar. No other phone has this look and you can easily ask for “the one with the stripe at the back”. It’s practical because, until islands of camera the phone does not not rock around it when on a table, and it offers a nice ledge at the back of the large phone to help hold it in place in your hand.”

(Forbes).

Google has leaned heavily into the camera to show off the Pixel 6 Pro. You have the editing software and the Magic Eraser to remove items from your photos (the BBC has a great demo of this), and the camera hardware itself is probably the best on offer:

“The main 50MP camera is, simply put, one of the very best on a smartphone. It easily captures a stunning amount of detail across a range of good and tricky lighting conditions, with generally well-judged colour balance and a pleasing level of vibrancy. The telephoto camera is easily one of the best available, producing unrivalled shots at 4x magnification in good and medium light, with very little quality drop-off compared to the main camera, which is rare. Only Samsung’s S21 Ultra with both 5x and 10x optical zoom beats it on utility, though not necessarily on quality.”

(The Guardian).

 Overall the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro have captured the attention of the smartphone world in a good way, set the benchmark for Android handsets, and challenge the dominance of Apple in the minds of many:

“Great performance. Fantastic cameras for photos and video. Real Tone genuinely takes better pictures of people with darker skin. More than a day of battery life. Colorful and smooth OLED screens. IP68 water resistance, 5G, wireless charging. Packed with helpful everyday smart features.”

(Wired).

The All Important Pixel vs iPhone Performance Test

Putting the Pixel 6 Pro in a head to head comparison with the iPhone 13 is going to be a popular topic over the next few weeks and months, In terms of pure benchmarking, the iPhone has the lead. Moving to more real life tests and the two handsets are much closer together in performance, as Chris Smith reports:

“The Pixel 6 Pro is quite a surprise. Google’s Tensor loaded apps faster than the A15 Bionic initially. When the resource-intensive apps appeared, the iPhone took the lead. Apple’s phone then finished both rounds before the Pixel 6 Pro

“…The Pixel 6 phones should match the real-life performance of the Galaxy S21 and all Snapdragon 888 phones. And that means the new Pixel 6 phones will also be almost as fast as the iPhone 13 in real-life use. After all, we’re only looking at a few seconds here. You’d need to own both handsets to tell the difference.”

(BGR).

Galaxy S22’s Colorful Leak

Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy S22 family early in 2022. As well as the continued use of the S-Pen, the new handsets are set to bring in users with the latest features and specifications. And for those looking at the Galaxy S Ultra in 2022, there’s a stunning green color coming your way. Once more, Samsung is leaning into colors to help build the personal connection between the user and the handset:

 “Samsung is well aware that the release of multiple colors can contribute to extra high sales numbers. Last week, the South Korean manufacturer organized another huge virtual Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 event, with most of the attention being paid to the Galaxy Z Flip 3 Bespoke Edition . This device offers exactly the same features as the regular Z Flip 3 . With the Bespoke Edition, however, it is possible to compose the colors of the two folding panels yourself.”

(Let’s Go Digital).

Honor 50 Review

Honor has returned to the international marketplace with the Honor 50 now on sale. Thankfully it supports Google Mobile Services (following Honor’s spinning out from Huawei, I think this was the number one requested feature), and the Chinese company is looking to tempt bloggers in with a new camera and some slick software.

“To help guide you through these various options of dual or single cameras, Honor’s camera has a ‘Story’ mode, that guides you through taking various shots and editing them together. This is pretty fun, and gives you enough confidence to start working on your own more involved videos than a straightforward point and shoot. That you can do everything on the phone is welcome.”

(Forbes).

Surface Duo 2 Continues The Three Party Story

Legends say that Microsoft gets it right the third time around. In which case the second iteration of the Surface Duo should be a huge improvement on the first dual-screened Android device. Looks like the legends are true:

“Should Microsoft continue with Surface Duo? Absolutely. Version 2 feels very much like the middle of a story — it’s coming into focus, improving in many areas, and making a lot of progress — but more needs to happen to complete the tale.

“Don’t let anyone tell you differently: Surface Duo 2 is a huge improvement over the first model. But the actual Surface Duo experience is waiting for another chapter, making Surface Duo 2 a nice milestone but still a novelty for many.”

(Windows Central).

The biggest noticeable change in the Surface Duo design is the camera. Unlike the webcam only approach of the first device, a three-camera island now brings the Surface Duo 2 up to date in terms of the expectations of a phone camera. How good is it? Steve Litchfield puts the Surface Duo 2 up against his personal benchmark Lumia 950 XL in a series of head-to-head challenges:

“This comparison is almost the story of modern phone imaging in one go. The Lumia’s shot of me is more natural – if a tiny bit yellowed and I suspect the focal plane was closer to the wood behind me. While the Duo 2 uses its depth sensor to synthesise a fake ‘bokeh’, focussed on me and with the wood (only 0.6m) behind me completely out of focus.

“Which one do you prefer? It’s subjective, I contend, but I’ll give an extra point to the Duo 2 because at least it can ‘do’ these fake portraits. Even if they’re… fake!

(All About Mobile).

Android’s Tablet Update

Alongside the release of Android 12, Google has also announced the developer beta of Android 12L, an optimised version of Android 12 designed for Android-powered tablets and foldable with large screens. A public roll-out for consumer devices is expected early next year, but you can contribute to the process with the aforementioned beta.

“12L optimizes the layout of a device’s UI, adjusting the placement of the home screen, lock screen, notifications, Quick Settings, and more. Google notes that any screen 600 density-independent pixels (dp) and above will display a two-column layout that makes use of the entire screen. In the example Google shows, the Quick Settings menu is pushed towards the left side of the screen, while the notifications panel is locked to the right, giving you the ability to access both simultaneously — all without opening one app and closing another:”

(The Verge).

And Finally…

Android 12 brings in some big changes to the visual experience with Google’s move to Material You (the imaginatively titled follow up to Material UI). While it can’t dictate the exact look and feel to third-party apps, with the various libraries on offer, developers will want to consider making sure their own apps fit. How to do that is all laid out in Google’s Material You design website:

“Material Design is an adaptable system of guidelines, components, and tools that support the best practices of user interface design. Backed by open-source code, Material Design streamlines collaboration between designers and developers, and helps teams quickly build beautiful products.” 

(Google).

Android Circuit rounds up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course read the sister column in Apple Loop! Last week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!

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