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In the world of traditional media, IPs often have to wait to receive a big-budget adaptation before mainstream audiences embrace them. For instance, George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones took 15 years to receive an adaptation — and audiences across a wide gamut of demographics ate it up.
However, in the spirit of Web3 making new approaches possible, the Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult hopes to flip that meta on its head. “We’re speedrunning the next big fantasy franchise,” said Forgotten Runes co-creator Dotta in an interview with nft now. How big? “Bigger than Middle Earth, Westeros, and Hogwarts combined,” they boldly proclaim on their about page.
Instead of waiting for a big studio to bring the world they’ve built to a wider audience, the team took matters into their own hands. Following the initial launch of its NFTs in June 2023, Forgotten Runes has expanded at a tremendous pace — and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Comic books, TV series, and even a full-fledged blockchain game billed as World of Warcraft meets Stardew Valley — all built on top of an NFT collection that started as pixelated Wizards.
Let’s look at where the magic began, the ever-evolving lore, and what’s next for the Runiverse.The Wizards that started it all
Master of Spots Hunter — a Forgotten Runes NFT that sold for 100 ETH. Source: Forgotten Runes
But these Wizards aren’t intended to be used as simple PFP NFTs — each one grants its holder complete rights to flesh it out as they see fit. “What’s different [about Forgotten Runes] is that it’s our holders that help create the characters,” Dotta said. “You build your character, you own that character, you have a commercial right to that character.”
While that might not sound too out of the ordinary now, Forgotten Runes launched with the intent to shake things up in the nascent NFT space. “To me, it seemed like [other creators] were just doing another crypto token that just happened to have a picture on it,” Forgotten Runes co-creator Elf explained. Thus, the team ventured to create an NFT collection that gave due respect to the characters depicted within. “All of our tokens have a unique name, every project out there has a serial number. Our Wizards have names. We were the first to do this because we want to emphasize the character,” Dotta elaborated.Playing with lore
Forgotten Runes’ holders took that sentiment and ran with it as far as they possibly could. One of the greatest testaments of the creativity of the Forgotten Runes community is its Book of Lore, a codex for each Wizard from the initial collection that’s fully editable by its respective holders.
Of course, while in theory, anything goes for holders in terms of lore, the Forgotten Runes team laid down some helpful groundwork; it all starts with how Forgotten Runes’ Runiverse diverges from reality. For one, in this world, magic exists. As for technology? “This is not your standard medieval-like wizarding world. This is a world that’s as technologically varied as our current world,” Elf said.
Although decentralizing the worldbuilding of Forgotten Runes to this extent might sound like a continuity nightmare on the surface, Elf believes that the franchise can still tell a cohesive story at the end of the day, citing the continuity issues long-running franchises have historically overcome without a hitch. “If you look at other IPs out there throughout history like Batman, Ninja Turtles, or James Bond, even, […] all of them have almost no continuity,” Elf said. Yet, they still have incredibly dedicated followings.
Furthering this point, Elf even pointed out that the stories holders have been telling with their Wizards do share a continuity, although not in the conventional sense. According to Elf, holders have all been modeling their respective lore around the monomyth — some without even realizing it. “You would be shocked at how often people will be writing about the same thing, like thousands of miles apart without communicating with each other,” he said.Multimedia pursuits
Elf also had nothing but good things to say about the sheer creativity put on display by the Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult — although, in a sense, the founding team has led by example from the start. “In our cult, magic is the act of creation when you make art,” Elf said. “When you make music, when you write a story, you’re engaging in magic, you know? This can even be applied to coders. Dotta is a wizard. He literally writes spells in smart contracts. Even Bear Snake — our third partner — he’s a wizard who opens doors. He can literally open any door in Hollywood,” he said. This last bit is critical because it’s what’s enabled Forgotten Runes to gain some serious momentum in making its planned TV series possible.
One of those fateful doors that Bear Snake opened involved a call with Derek Kolstad — best known as the creator of the Keanu Reeves-led John Wick franchise. With Kolstad agreeing to helm the upcoming Runiverse-inspired series, the Forgotten Runes team has also enlisted animation studio Titmouse to bring the planned series to life.
This planned series — along with its currently running comic book — hopes to provide an even greater bedrock on which members of the Forgotten Runes Wizards Cult can base their storytelling. Doing so will unlock what looks to be one of Forgotten Runes’ most tantalizing utilities for any die-hard fantasy and fiction fan — the opportunity to create functionally canon fanfiction.Real-world engagement
“You need JK Rowling to write Harry Potter before you can have Harry Potter fanfiction,” Dotta said. “And so, how do we get the stories of our world out in a way that is as fast as possible? We think one of the best ways to do that is to have a TV show, that’s written by, you know, professional storytellers. [But] in the meantime, we’re [also] trying to do more bite-sized storytelling from our own company [in the form of comic books].”
Despite Dotta describing the storytelling Forgotten Runes has been doing with its comic book as bite-sized, the intention behind its release is anything but. This, and all of Forgotten Runes’ other media ventures, are also intended to drive more people into the core community.
“We printed nearly 200,000 copies. As far as NFT projects go, other products have done comics, but to my knowledge, nobody has actually printed a comic, let alone 200,000 copies, and it’s so annoying. NFT people want to turn everything into an NFT,” Dotta said. “Why would you create a whole comic book and then token-gate it just to your holders and make it some super rare collector’s item? When you hold a physical copy of this comic book, and you flip through it, [you] can leave it in [your] office, and [your] kids can pick it up and read it,” he said.
“My kids aren’t gonna log into my MetaMask and read my Cool Cats token-gated comic. It’s absolutely critical to speedrunning a franchise because the whole point is to go beyond a niche crypto community,” he said. And so, how’s progress been? Based on last June’s Enter The Runiverse event held at NFT NYC 2023, pretty good. Held a year after the collection’s initial launch, the Enter The Runiverse event launched in NYC to a (surprisingly) raucous crowd decked out in full costume.
It was such a blast in the @forgottenrunes #runiverse. And the #NFT_NYC hasn’t even really started yet! chúng tôi Tabitha of the Marsh (@tabitha_6154) June 21, 2023
“We’re all just sort of like creating something new together. And we all love this idea that we’re creating the next Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, but instead of it all being owned by one person, it’s this community. It’s this giant piece of art that’s created by all of us, and we’re all drawn together right through that common mission,” Elf said.
Here’s to hoping this speedrun pays off. Move over Middle Earth — the Runiverse just might be coming for you.
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Boeing’s Phantom Badger at the Sea Air Space Exposition 2014
Phantom Badger. “Phantom Badger?” Phantom Badger. “Phantom Badger,” Phantom Badger, “Phantom Badger.” Phantom Badger.
At the Navy League’s Sea Air Space Exposition this year in National Harbor, Maryland, there was an unusual craft on display next to Boeing’s usual display of aircraft. It was a jeep-like thing, both narrower and longer than expected. Dubbed the “Phantom Badger,” it solves a very specific problem: it fits (just barely) inside Boeing’s tiltrotor V-22 Ospreys used by Marines and Special Forces. Now when those troops deploy far ahead and into tricky places, they can finally bring a working vehicle with them.
To understand the Badger, first one must understand the Osprey. The V-22 Osprey is a tilt-rotor aircraft. This means that it can land and take off like a helicopter, which greatly expands the number of places it can go. In air, the rotors tilt forward, so it carries troops fast, carrying up to 32 troops or 10,000 pounds of cargo where it needs to be. The problem with the V-22, then, is that it can get into many places, and few other aircraft can go where it goes. So special forces or Marines operating from Ospreys can only use what Ospreys can carry with them, and for a long time that meant only small vehicles, similar to commercial ATV four-wheelers, were the only ground transportation an Osprey could supply.
Phantom Badger And Osprey
It’s a snug fit.
At the exposition, Popular Science spoke with Boeing’s Garret Kasper about the Phantom Badger. This isn’t exactly the first time Boeing’s designed a car, Kasper quipped. “Back in the 1960s we made the lunar rover.” Still, land vehicles are relatively new for the company. For the Badger, they collaborated with North Carolina’s MSI Defense Solutions.
On Tuesday, Boeing announced that the U.S. Navy has certified the Phantom Badger for flight onboard military V-22s Ospreys. And at the expo, Kasper shared this: there’s “an undisclosed Department of Defense customer” interested in the Badger, and it’s not the Marine Corps. That’s a truth by omission: the only part of the military outside the Marine Corps that uses V-22 Ospreys are Air Force Special Operations.
Is it time for an even bigger iPad Pro?
The gap between the iPad Pro and the MacBook only gets smaller, and now I suspect it’s time for Apple’s tablet to get bigger. The arrival this week of the new 2023 iPad Pro, complete with LiDAR Scanner camera and fancy new Magic Keyboard cover, saw Apple take a huge step with the addition of mouse and trackpad support, and an on-screen cursor.
It’s something that the Cupertino company has long maintained is unnecessary, even as it quietly changed its mind on things like stylus support and external peripherals. Even so, the Apple Pencil and USB-C are one thing: the ability to use a good old-fashioned mouse with your iPad Pro feels like quite another.
Apple’s messaging cranked up a gear, too. The newest iPad Pro “is so fast it outpaces most PC laptops available today,” the company crowed. The new “A12Z Bionic is designed to be put to work, especially with pro apps.” Multitasking, split-screen view, and big-name software all add up to one core conclusion: it doesn’t really matter whether you consider the iPad Pro a “laptop” now, it’s aiming to eat the segment’s lunch regardless.
From that perspective, maybe it’s time for Apple to go even bigger. Large tablets, like Samsung’s 18-inch Galaxy View, haven’t exactly set the world alight, but that’s arguably because they haven’t really done enough – bar being bigger – to distinguish them from cheaper, smaller Android slates.
Part of me finds it’s odd I’m even considering the value in a bigger iPad Pro. After all, the 12.9-inch version of Apple’s tablet always seemed borderline too-big for my tastes. Seeing fellow travelers pull one out of their bag in airport lounges or on planes, then twist it up atop its comically truncated keyboard case, only reinforced my opinion that the 11-inch iPad Pro was the sensible decision.
Today, though, that doesn’t seem so clear-cut any more. I think it’s because, with the arrival of trackpad support and an on-screen cursor, the iPad Pro no longer falls squarely into the “tablet” category.
Instead I’m envisaging something more akin to what we’ve seen Wacom offer creatives over the years. Its Cintiq range of “pen displays” combine art tablet with high-resolution display, but have long been limited to a fairly small audience. No small part of that is the price – a 16-inch Cintiq Pro is $1,500 – not to mention the fact that they’ve also demanded a PC or Mac to actually drive them.
The iPad Pro, in contrast, is self-contained. I’m currently imagining a larger iPad Pro, docked in such a way that it could be pushed upright to use as an iMac replacement, or pulled down near-horizontally for art and video editing, and making a mental list of what software I’d really need for that to become a practical reality.
Therein lies the rub: it’s not just hardware, but software that’s required. If a larger iPad Pro is to succeed – if, indeed, the continued narrowing of the gap between iPadOS and macOS is to get smaller – then Apple needs to address the few glaring app omissions. Final Cut Pro seems like an obvious one, particularly now that Adobe appears to be all-in on bringing Photoshop for iPad up to feature parity with its traditional counterpart.
Creatives have always liked the idea of replacing a laptop with a tablet, they just need the full suite of apps – and the full range of functionality within those apps – in order to make that practical.
The irony is that, with its processors seemingly tailor-made by Apple to focus on content creation, the iPad Pro has always had more relevant horsepower for things like video and photo editing than similarly-priced notebooks. With a bigger screen, a desktop dock, and now keyboard and mouse/trackpad support, it would arguably no longer be an “alternative” to that notebook, but the obvious first choice. Meanwhile the barely-kept secret that Apple is exploring how a wholesale switch to ARM chips, and all that might mean for app ubiquity, could be enacted would only encourage developers to embrace new form-factors.
As is so often the case in flights of fancy like this one, in the end it comes back to imagining just how the Apple keynote might go down. A spotlight on a stage at Apple Park, focused on what, at first glance, looks like a streamlined iMac on its plinth. Tim Cook, grinning, slowly shifting the display down into place as a graphics tablet, then – with just one finger, naturally – gliding it back up again. And then – “it’s the most flexible iPad Pro ever” – reaching out to pluck it from its dock as applause thunders and wallets spring open.
Unthinkable? Maybe. But then we said that about a stylus for the iPad, and for Apple giving up on Lightning too. The iPad Pro is already a big deal; maybe it’s time for an even bigger one.
“Customers told us what was missing from today’s smartphones, and low-quality audio was one of the biggest sticking points.” – ZTE
When we talk about audio bit-depth, from a consumer perspective, we mean the number of points available with which to record or playback the waveform’s amplitude. 16-bit CD quality audio offers 65,535 points (-32,768 through 32,767), 24-bit studio quality files offer 16,777,216 possible values (−8,388,608 to 8,388,607) and 32-bit files reach a huge 4,294,967,296 range.
People often confuse bit-depth with the resolution “accuracy” of something like a camera image or incorrectly think about smoothing out signal “stair-stepping”. But the real purpose of higher bit-depth at the recording and playback stage is to improve the signal to noise ratio (SNR). 32-bit math processing is a different matter. This is done by increasing the number of points between the peak signal and the noise floor (dynamic range) and reducing distortion caused by rounding errors, something which dithering also addresses.
On paper, an ideal 16-bit signal has an SNR of 96dB, 24-bit has 144dB, while 32-bit theoretically jumps to 192dB.
Noise pre ADC or post DAC reduces the useful bit-depth of digital audio.
However, there are physical limitations to the actual SNR that can be achieved, which depends on hardware layout and the noise limits of integrated circuits. Real world high-end audio implementations are often limited to an SNR less than 132dB, which works out to 22-bits.
Data from the Axon phone press release vs other flagships ( source ).
The Axon’s result is still very good for a smartphone and shows a noticeable improvement over competing handsets on the market. However, it doesn’t provide as big of a gap between the competition as the 32-bit tag line would suggest, and won’t lend itself to the full dynamic range offered by a 24-bit source, let alone a 32-bit file.
All of that said, by the time we take the average listening environment, volume, and increased amounts of compression used in modern music, listeners will struggle to notice any difference between 16, 24 and 32-bit audio anyway.Distortion Characteristics Recording options
Turning to the handset’s recording options, the Axon boasts a 24-bit ADC with dual-microphone for omni-directional recordings, using a microphone at the top and bottom of the device.
The two microphones can help more accurately pinpoint a sound within 20 meters from the phone. As for how it works, just imagine a sound traveling to your ears. The slight difference in space between the two means that a sound arrives at ever so slightly different times, which allows your brain to pinpoint the rough location. A single (or mono) microphone setup does not capture this time difference, but a stereo microphone setup can help preserve this additional sense of space.
The phase and time differences between offset microphones helps to preserve a more realistic sense of distance. ( source
While this effect will probably work reasonably well when listening back through headphones, the decision to use a single speaker in the Axon phone means that this effect may not preserve quite the same sense of space when mixed down to a mono signal.
The ADC boasts 24-bit 96 kHz sound capture, but a quick check of the spec sheet SNR again suggests that the real-world usable bit-depth is actually closer to 17-bit, or 16-bit when the mic amp adds an additional 18dB of gain.
This is still more than good enough for high-quality, low noise audio capture, providing that the microphone is good enough, and the ability to capture stereo audio data through the use of two microphones should offer up a compelling sense of space. This could be a particularly nice feature to use in conjunction with the phone’s video capture.
ZTE has also picked an audio codec that comes with a built-in DSP core. The AK4961 can handle echo cancellation and microphone noise suppression for audio recording on the chip. It can also perform voice processing to enable voice commands and wake-up functions, as well as hands free functionality. Having these processes managed on the codec will save on the need for additional hardware or using up main CPU processing time.
Like all good codecs, the AK4961 and 4490 feature oversampling modes to reduce noise from out-of-band sources and make use of differential inputs and outputs to help prevent noise leaking into the signal path from additional sources.Wrap Up
Hopefully this breakdown has helped to give you an idea of the type of audio improvements that the Axon phone actually delivers and those that it can’t.
While a 32-bit “Hi-Fi Audio” DAC tag-line might be an easy sell, the reality is that the confined and noisy environments of a smartphone chassis are not going to allow hardware to operate anywhere close to that level of accuracy, if consumers could even notice the difference. However, the Axon phone’s choice of high quality ADC and DAC hardware does boast improvements to noise and distortion, which are sure to please audiophiles out there.
We’ll have some more time to spend listening to the phone when review time rolls around, so we won’t draw any final conclusions. But the Axon looks to be a step in the right direction for mobile audio lovers.
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2023 has seen unprecedented growth in Edtech sector with more tech companies coming up with emerging ideas.
For the first time,Big changes for Moodle mobile app
April unofficially marked the beginning of the crisis. Lockdowns were implemented in many countries across the globe making tech solution providers find a substitute for physical classes. At that time, Moodle App announced the launch of Moodle App Pro and Moodle App Premium for organizations to be able to access more powerful features for mobile learning. While the app remains free for learners and individuals, organizations can choose the mobile learning plan that best suits their need. The new Moodle app plans were focused on medium and large organizations that use mobile learning extensively. Some of the features of the update are expanded notifications with multimedia previews, more offline courses per device and more custom branding options.EduBrisk starts classroom to the virtual classroom program
EduBrisk, the emerging brain-friendly educational solution announced that the company will provide a revolutionary education program ‘Classroom to Virtual Classroom within the next 24 hours’ in May 2023. This leverages the facility to enable schools and freelance teachers to go live within 24 hours. The company began the initiative by taking 30 schools on-board in the mission. The schools will totally go live through the virtual program.Google announces new tools to boost learning
In August, Google kick-started it’s ‘Anywhere school 2023 event.’ The initiative powers the remote learning process. The company has introduced over 50 classrooms and Meet features. With the latest move, Google Meet users will be able to see all the 49 participants on the screen at the same time. Google also announced that the company will incorporate its digital whiteboard called Jamboard in Google Meet in September. Besides, Google Meet will also get the ability to replace or blur the background in Meet.Apple updates coding program and resources for educators and students
Apple announced the launch of a new set of tools to help educators teach coding to students from grade school to college. Besides significant enhancements to the Development in Swift and Everyone Can Code Curricula, Apple has also started a new professional learning course for Develop in Swift, available at no cost. In addition, Apple is adding resources for educators and parents to help ensure they have the tools they need to help students learn and grow from anywhere.Suraasa is upskilling Indian teachers, offering global opportunities
Quality education is one of the top priorities for every government today. To make education accessible and impactful, teachers have to be highly qualified for the job. Suraasa trains teachers in the UK, India and UAE to make them work with both public and private schools. The start-up builds its own courses, working with people who have master’s degrees and chúng tôi in education and have had decades of experience in international teaching and learning.PlayShifu launches Orboot Dino, an AR globe for dinosaur lovers
For the first time, EdTech is receiving exponential attention and funding. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. The education sector is under rough weather since the outbreak of the contagious disease. Schools, colleges and all other education venues stopped physical classes. However, the virus can’t stop the educators from teaching their students. The year 2023 has seen unprecedented growth in Edtech sector with more tech giants coming in with emerging ideas and start-ups finally getting the attention they deserve. The global Edtech market is a diverse and rapidly growing industry with a large runaway across the business lifecycle from early-stage start-ups to middle-market companies and publicly traded companies. Education industry faced its biggest crisis in 2023. As the traditional education systems closed its door for students and teachers, pencil and notebook way of learning got lost in the school corridor. Whatever educators, students and their families planned for 2023 back in January, became irrelevant in March when WHO declared Covid-19 as a global pandemic. This brought light to the emerging trend, remote learning . Both tech companies and investors saw high potential in the sector and made their moves at the right time. Recently, around 88% of growth has been witnessed in the number of individuals downloading Edtech apps. Even though 2023 was not an easy year, 2023 is expected to be more or less similar . But more developments are expected in the upcoming months. Henceforth, let us go back in time and have a look at big tech decisions and trends that stole the Edtech stage in 2023.April unofficially marked the beginning of the crisis. Lockdowns were implemented in many countries across the globe making tech solution providers find a substitute for physical classes. At that time, Moodle App announced the launch of Moodle App Pro and Moodle App Premium for organizations to be able to access more powerful features for mobile learning. While the app remains free for learners and individuals, organizations can choose the mobile learning plan that best suits their need. The new Moodle app plans were focused on medium and large organizations that use mobile learning extensively. Some of the features of the update are expanded notifications with multimedia previews, more offline courses per device and more custom branding options.EduBrisk, the emerging brain-friendly educational solution announced that the company will provide a revolutionary education program ‘Classroom to Virtual Classroom within the next 24 hours’ in May 2023. This leverages the facility to enable schools and freelance teachers to go live within 24 hours. The company began the initiative by taking 30 schools on-board in the mission. The schools will totally go live through the virtual chúng tôi August, Google kick-started it’s ‘Anywhere school 2023 event.’ The initiative powers the remote learning process. The company has introduced over 50 classrooms and Meet features. With the latest move, Google Meet users will be able to see all the 49 participants on the screen at the same time. Google also announced that the company will incorporate its digital whiteboard called Jamboard in Google Meet in September. Besides, Google Meet will also get the ability to replace or blur the background in Meet.Apple announced the launch of a new set of tools to help educators teach coding to students from grade school to college. Besides significant enhancements to the Development in Swift and Everyone Can Code Curricula, Apple has also started a new professional learning course for Develop in Swift, available at no cost. In addition, Apple is adding resources for educators and parents to help ensure they have the tools they need to help students learn and grow from anywhere.Quality education is one of the top priorities for every government today. To make education accessible and impactful, teachers have to be highly qualified for the job. Suraasa trains teachers in the UK, India and UAE to make them work with both public and private schools. The start-up builds its own courses, working with people who have master’s degrees and chúng tôi in education and have had decades of experience in international teaching and learning.Playshifu, an educational toymaker announced the launch of Orboot Dino at CES 2023 that took place in September. This toy, when used with the compatible app using AR, superimposes animals from the prehistoric worlds. The dinosaurs come alive in 3D on scanning the globe with the app. Orboot Dino is compatible with a range of tablets and smartphones and is available on Android and iOS stores.
The Huawei Mate X measures 161.8 x 145.8 x 8.2 mm when unfolded and 161.8 x 74.6 x 14.7 mm when folded. It is powered by the Kirin 9000 CPU and a 4500mAh battery.
The two halves of the phone are actually not symmetrical in terms of thickness, with both sides being slightly wedge-shaped. This design technically allows there to be no gap between the two halves when folded. But makes the phone lopsided in terms of weight balance and means it doesn’t sit well on flat surfaces. While it’s an exciting solution to the gap that Samsung still leaves between the two closed halves a generation later, Oppo and Honor have since pioneered more elegant solutions.Models/Versions
At the time of its release, Huawei had two lines of foldable phones, though a third line has since been released. The Mate X series has a large central screen. The second-generation version we’re covering here has a foldable screen on the inside of the fold similar to other manufacturers. The Mate Xs series has a slightly smaller screen size and has the foldable screen located on the outside of the fold. The Pocket series also has a clamshell-style vertical fold and a much smaller form factor, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Flip series.
The Huawei Mate X2 is available in three capacities: a 256GB variant with 8GB of RAM, a 512GB variant with 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB variant with 12GB of RAM. All capacities support expandable storage with Huawei’s proprietary NanoMemory expansion cards up to 256GB in capacity, though this uses the second shared SIM slot.Battery
The Huawei Mate X2 has a reasonably sized battery with a capacity of 450mAh. It can fast-charge at 55W with the included proprietary SuperCharge charger, though that can output a maximum of 66W. While it does support standard USB PowerDelivery charging, it only does so at significantly slower, non-fast-charge speeds. There is no support for wireless or reverse charging.
Many foldable phones have high-end hardware but only average battery capacities. This results in lower battery lives than you might see in flagship phones which already struggle to survive a full day of reasonably heavy use. With the slightly lower power draw, and performance of the Kirin CPU compared to the latest Snapdragon CPUs, the battery life is a bit better than you might expect. The large screen, however, has a big impact on battery life. If you need to make the most of a single charge, it’s best to limit use to just the cover screen.Screen
The Huawei Mate X2 has a 8.0-inch foldable main screen with a resolution of 2200 x 2480 for a pixel density of 413 PPI. It has a 90Hz refresh rate, and a peak brightness of 542 nits. The secondary cover display is 6.45-inches across and has a resolution of 1160 x 2700 for a pixel density of 452 PPI. Again, its refresh rate is limited to just 90Hz. Neither screen officially support HDR10+ and support is spotty, in practice, however, some sources may be able to play HDR content, so your mileage may vary.Cameras
The Huawei Mate X2 has a quad rear camera setup. A primary wide-angle camera has a 50MP 1/1.28-inch sensor with an f/1.9 lens. The telephoto camera has a 12MP sensor, an f/2.4 lens, and 3x optical zoom. There’s also a periscope telephoto camera with an 8MP sensor, an f/4.4 lens, and a 10x optical zoom. The final camera is an ultrawide with a 16MP sensor and an f/2.2 lens. The cover screen has a hole-punch selfie camera with a 16MP sensor and an f/2.2 lens.
The rear cameras are a strong point of the Mate X2. The pair of telephoto cameras work well together to provide excellent optical zoom capabilities. The 10x optical zoom can even be combined with digital zoom for up to 100x zoom. Obviously, this comes with some reduction in quality, but not as much as you’d see on other phones lacking a 10x optical zoom.
The ultrawide also features autofocus and so can pull double duty as a macro camera. Low light performance isn’t great, but is acceptable, with long exposure and processing times in night mode to get decent pictures. The selfie camera is perfectly normal and acceptable, but likely rarely used. It does have an unusually large, elongated hole punch. The main screen does not have any form of selfie camera. Video-wise, the rear cameras can record in 4K or 1080p both 30 and 60fps. The selfie camera can only record at 1080p30.Software/OS
The Huawei Mate X2 was released with Android 10 and the EMUI 11 skin. An update to HarmonyOS is available. Being a China regional exclusive and more importantly a Huawei device. The Mate X2 also doesn’t support Google Play services which may be a big issue for potential western buyers looking to import one.Features
The single most prominent feature of the Huawei Mate X2 is, of course, the ability to flip the phone open and closed. The hinge design is decent allowing the screens to be flush against each other, though this comes at the cost of the uneven wedge-shaped halves. The crease is present and noticeable, but less so than on Samsung’s foldable devices.
The joint of the phone, unlike most foldable phones, is easy to move, only holding position reliably in the fully open or fully closed positions. It can’t easily be partially folded and just left to rest there as the hinge isn’t stiff.
There is a fingerprint reader, however, unlike most modern high-end phones, it isn’t embedded under the screen. Instead, it’s a classic side power button/fingerprint reader combo. This makes some sense as the single sensor can be used to unlock the phone when it’s closed, open, or somewhere in between. The phone can also be unlocked with facial recognition.
Dual SIM cards are supported, though the second slot also doubles as the NanoMemory expandable storage slot. Wi-Fi 6 is supported for high-speed home networking, and 5G is supported for the fastest mobile data speeds.Price
The 256GB model has a retail price of ¥ 17999, which is roughly $2650. The 512GB model with 12GB of RAM, sells for ￥18999, approximately $2798. The phone has an extremely short supply, mainly a tech demo with a sky-high price. Being a China-exclusive and with limited numbers, you’ll struggle to find it outside the region. However, some international resellers may occasionally have models.
Be careful where you buy from, with the limited numbers and high price, it may well be a popular target for unscrupulous sellers and web stores. We highly recommend you use a payment service that will reliably respond to refund requests or chargebacks to help you get your money back in the case of fraud.Improvements Over Previous Generations
The previous generation of the Mate X has the foldable screen bend around the outside of the fold. The change to an interior folding screen with a secondary cover screen brings them more in line with the rest of the industry and helps to protect the screen. The CPU, obviously, has been upgraded from the previous generation. The screens now run at 90Hz, rather than 60. The cameras are better in all regards, though a ToF sensor is missing. The Mate X2 also has stereo audio.Summary
The Huawei Mate X2 is a solid foldable phone. Unlike many foldable phones, it features an excellent camera set. Performance is generally reasonable across the board, though it’s not quite top tier. The lack of any waterproofing rating and the limit of just 90Hz on the displays may put some potential users off.
Concerns about the lifespan of the fold in the screen are likely to be difficult to assuage. The price, however, is likely to be the main issue. At over $2500, the Mate X2 is extremely expensive, assuming you can even find one in stock. Flagship phones with significantly better performance and features are available for more than $1000 less. The real question is do you really want, or need, a phone that folds? If that’s the case, you’ll have to accept some compromises, and, in this case, a sky-high price tag.
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