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Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Although predominantly focused on its Chinese home market these days, HUAWEI has a new release for Western audiences in the flagship Mate 50 Pro. Launched with a hefty £1,199/€1,199 price tag, HUAWEI still wishes to compete with Apple and Samsung hardware, but you must scrutinize the broader package at this level too.
As with all recent HUAWEI releases, the absence of GMS and Google app support continues to be a barrier that most consumers won’t want to hurdle. While HUAWEI claims the app situation is ever-improving, the workaround remains somewhat cumbersome and still can’t provide all the services or experiences Western audiences are used to.
In the past couple of years, a reason to overlook this lingering issue has been HUAWEI’s best-in-class camera expertise. But with the Leica partnership over, can HUAWEI still lead the mobile photography field?
What you need to know about the HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
As you’d expect from HUAWEI, the Mate 50 Pro is a well-equipped flagship handset. Highlight features include an IP68 rating, a multi-day 4,700mAh battery, fast 66W wired and 50W wireless charging, and a vivid 120Hz 6.74-inch OLED display. The inclusion of ultra-secure, 3D depth-data-powered face unlock sees a return of a large notch, though this dates the looks somewhat.
There are some bigger caveats here, though. Despite the inclusion of a powerhouse Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, there’s only 4G modem support onboard. So no 5G connectivity. EMUI 13 is based on Android 12 (not Android 13, as you might expect), and HUAWEI promises an increasingly below-average two-year OS and three-year security update pledge.
Still, the phone’s highlight, for me, is the design. The Mate 50 Pro is lighter than rival handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, while the rear Kunlun glass (which boasts Switzerland’s SGS 5-star glass drop resistance) feels great in hand and is resistant to fingerprints. Not everyone will love the curved display, but the circular, symmetrical “Space Ring” camera housing continues to offer an interesting look. HUAWEI offers three colorways: black, silver, and orange (vegan leather).
But the real reason to continue to pick up a HUAWEI flagship is for the cameras. Powered by a 50MP RYYB main sensor with 10-point f/1.4-f/4.0 variable aperture, 13MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 64MP f/3,5 3.5x periscope camera, 13MP f/2.4 selfie snapper, proximity light sensor, and laser autofocus, backed by HUAWEI’s Ximage software, there’s plenty to sink our teeth into here.
Let’s take a closer look at how the phone’s camera package performs.
HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro camera review
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Let’s start out with a broad selection of snaps captured with the Mate 50 Pro before diving into a closer look at some specific scenarios.
In general terms, most photographers will be very pleased with the results below. Colors are punchy without veering into frustrating oversaturation, fine details are present, and the main camera flies through HDR and low-light environments without issues. The handset’s white balance is also exceptional, for the most part.
One complaint is that HUAWEI’s algorithms can result in the odd underexposed and desaturated image, while details can take on a processed look (likely owing to image fusion algorithms) in some situations. Thankfully that’s not a really common occurrence, and it won’t be an issue for the majority of users who never crop in.
While I’m being really picky (which is my job), the comparison with the Galaxy S22 Ultra shows the pros and cons of HUAWEI’s approach to detail processing.
In daylight, there’s a comparative level of detail to Samsung’s flagship (HUAWEI actually overtakes in low light). However, the trade-off is fractionally sharper-looking shadows and marginally more aggressive denoise that creates a more painted look on a 100% crop. There’s not a lot in it, but any presumptions that HUAWEI is well ahead in the detail game no longer hold up.HDR and low light
Turning to trickier environments, the Mate 50 Pro hangs with the best. HDR capabilities have long been one of HUAWEI’s strengths, and the phone stands up well next to the mighty Google Pixel 7 Pro in this regard. In our first samples, you’ll find similar highlight preservation and shadow detail between the two. However, the Mate 50 Pro has a bit of a purple tint in the top left that looks like chromatic aberration, which could be a result of lens distortion caused by the wide f/1.4 aperture.
The second image, above, is also incredibly similar. I give the Pixel 7 Pro the nudge on taming scene highlights. However, there’s much less shadow noise in the Mate 50 Pro’s picture, possibly in part thanks to its unique RYYB sensor configuration.
Turning the lights down lower reveals consistently solid white balance and detail capture. However, as we previously observed, the Mate 50 Pro is a little more aggressive in its processing than Samsung, which trades off lower noise for sacrifices in detail. Personally, I don’t mind a little grain in my images if it results in less distracting sharpening.
Oddly, the Mate 50 Pro dials up the color in low light. This could be in a bid to avoid the desaturation we often see with minimal light sources. Compared to the Pixel 7 Pro above, the color pop ends up looking a bit too much, in my opinion.
Compared to previous HUAWEI smartphones, something has definitely changed in this area of processing. It could be down to moving algorithms over from its in-house Kirin to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform or to the loss of Leica’s partnership. Either way, HUAWEI’s low-light images, and details more generally, aren’t quite as clean as I recall in past models.Ultrawide and macro
Your preference here will really depend on whether you favor bokeh or sharp details in your macro shots. The Pixel 7 Pro does better at the latter, while the S22 Ultra offers nice bokeh. I find the Mate 50 Pro’s perspective too warped here.
HUAWEI missed a trick to leverage the phone’s variable aperture for much improved macro capabilities. You can toggle the aperture manually in the dedicated mode, and this works great to address the dreaded over-powering depth of field effect when using the primary lens up close. However, it’s a pain to navigate quickly. I would rather that the automatic macro mode handled it for you. Check out the shots below with the default f/1.4 aperture, f/4.0, and auto-macro settings.
I’d say the result’s pretty clear-cut here. Overall, HUAWEI’s ultrawide setup is better than most when it comes to fitting more in your shot as well as preserving image quality to a higher standard. However, I’m less confined by the extreme field of view and macro capabilities.Hybrid zoom compared
Although it looks like the HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro camera package has four lenses, there are actually three and a proximity light sensor. The third camera is a 3.5x optical lens which, while a good pick for portrait photos, is a step back for long-range zoom enthusiasts compared to the Mate 40 Pro’s 5x optical zoom and certainly not close to the HUAWEI P40 Pro Plus and its 10x optical zoom capabilities. But perhaps HUAWEI can make up the gap with its super-resolution zoom technology.
With non-ideal lighting, the HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro’s super res zoom technology closes in on the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s periscope camera. While Samsung still provides a softer, more realistic image that’s free from sharpening, HUAWEI’s entirely software-based approach isn’t far behind at all when looking at the full frame.
Overall, while HUAWEI has taken strides to surpass the competition in the ultrawide department, the Mate 50 Pro’s zoom capabilities trade blows with but can’t knock out the best in the business. While solid out to about 5x, the phone doesn’t quite offer the same level of detail as the Pixel 7 Pro and can’t quite keep pace with the S22 Ultra at longer range.
Portraits and selfies
Thankfully, bokeh edge detection is as good as its rivals. However, you have to switch the camera to 1x and enable the Circles effect before HUAWEI’s portrait mode does anything noticeable to the background. Even here, the blur effect isn’t quite as pleasing as the light circles you’ll see from other phones.
The bottom line: there are better selfie snappers out there. This is a shame because the Mate 50 Pro’s portrait photography is really decent.
HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro camera review: The verdict
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
As expected, the HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro wields a competent camera array that’ll have you well covered regardless of the subject matter. Versatility remains one of the camera package’s greatest strengths, particularly in the portrait and ultrawide photography departments. It’s an innovative piece of kit too. Although the variable aperture controls could be more user-friendly, it is a powerful tool for taking greater control over the look of your pictures. I certainly hope more smartphones crib the idea in 2023.
Huawei Mate 50 Pro
Huawei Mate 50 Pro
Wonderful design • 3D face unlock • Flexible cameras
The Mate 50 Pro continues to represent the best of Huawei’s mobile technology
With an exquisite design, flexible camera package, fast charging, secure 3D face unlock, and top-class performance, there’s plenty of hardware to sink your teeth into with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro.
See price at eBay
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The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is hands-down one of the best Android smartphones on the market right now. The current flagship device from Huawei is only a few months old and the device is not only running Android 8.0 Oreo, but also ready for rooting.
Since rooting your Android device for the very first time can be a tricky process, we’ve compiled a guide to make things easier. From unlocking the bootloader, installing TWRP custom recovery and rooting the Mate 10 Pro with SuperSU, we’ve covered it all in detail down below.
Things you will need:
Huawei Mate 10 Pro with a min. 20% battery charge (min. 50% recommended!)
TWRP Recovery for Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Download link)
Magisk and Magisk Manager (Download link)
Minimal ADB and Fastboot (Download link)
Enable USB Debugging from the Developer Options.
Step 1: Unlock the bootloader
To unlock the bootloader of your Huawei Mate 10 Pro, you will need to procure a unique 16-digit bootloader unlock code directly from Huawei. Requesting the unlock code will automatically void the warranty on your mobile device.
Head over to the Huawei Bootloader Unlock request website and login/ register with an account.
Provide the required information and receive the 16-digit bootloader unlock code for your device.
Turn off your Mate 10 Pro, press and hold down the Power + Volume Down buttons and release the Power button when the phone vibrates.
Connect your Huawei device to the computer using a USB cable, and type in the following command in the command in the Minimal ADB and Fastboot terminal – “adb reboot bootloader”.
Once the device reboots in bootloader mode, type in the following command – “fastboot oem unlock your-unlock-password” (enter your 16-digit code in place of your-unlock-password).
The bootloader of your Huawei Mate 10 Pro will now be unlocked and ready for flashing with TWRP.
Step 2: Flashing TWRP custom recovery
You will be able to flash TRWP through Minimal ADB and Fastboot tool, so make sure to save the downloaded chúng tôi file and remember the path of the directory.
Connect your Huawei phone to the computer and type in the following command on the terminal screen – “adb reboot bootloader”
Once your device screen appears to be in Bootloader mode, type in the next command “fastboot flash recovery_ramsik FilepathTWRP.img” (replace Filepath with the file directory where you have stored the chúng tôi file).
Once the process is completed, you will have TWRP custom recovery up and running on your Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Step 3: Install the Magisk Manager
Now that you have the hard part out of the way, it’s time to get the rooting side set up with Magisk.
Connect the device to the computer and type in the following command in the terminal – “adb reboot recovery”
Now your device will enter TWRP recovery, so use the screen and navigate to Advanced Settings – ADB Sideload and swipe right to enable it.
Now head back to the terminal screen on your computer and type in the following command – “adb sideload FileMagisk.zip” (replace Filepath with the directory of where the chúng tôi file is saved).
Once the process is completed, reboot your Huawei P10 Pro and you’ll find that the Magisk Manager is up and running on your device. With Magisk Manager install, you can enjoy systemless root on your Android device. This will ensure that you get superuser permissions and still pass Google’s SafetyNet check.
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.
Zak Khan / Android Authority
There can be a natural gravity towards smart speakers if you’re shopping for home audio in 2023. Voice and casting controls are inherently useful — even Sonos has its own voice assistant, now — and companies like Amazon and Google offer low-cost speakers that punch above their weight to get you in the door of their smart home ecosystems. Yes, plenty of audiophile speakers still omit smart functions, but even prestige labels like Bang & Olufsen are implementing tech such as AirPlay and Google Cast.
There are, however, drawbacks to smart speakers, and sometimes, a straightforward Bluetooth speaker may be the better option. Here’s why.
Sound Guys’ picks: The best Bluetooth speakers you can buy
More control in social environments
Adam Molina / Android Authority
A frequently ignored truth, it seems, is that smart speakers are only great if you live solo or with people you can trust not to hijack your music. Since music services commonly limit you to streaming on one device at a time, it’s easy for a child, roommate, or anyone else in your home to interrupt your listening with a voice command — like the time my son accidentally stopped the gym soundtrack on my phone so he could hear Elmo back in bed. While you can sometimes assign separate music accounts to separate voice profiles, not everyone knows how to do that, and not everyone is willing or able to create extra accounts.
See: How to set up Amazon Alexa voice profiles
With or without voice safeguards in place, there’s the issue of someone casting to a speaker when you want to use it or keep it quiet. I’ve found casting to be less problematic — it requires deliberate intention, and a device on the same Wi-Fi network as the speaker — yet it’s still a concern.
Smart speakers are only great if you live solo or with people you can trust not to hijack your music.
All of these worries fade away with Bluetooth. There is of course the potential for abuse via re-pairing or multi-device connections (when speakers support them), but the barriers are high enough to make Bluetooth speakers better for limiting access.
While not all Bluetooth speakers are portable battery-powered models, many of them are. That tends to make them more flexible both inside and outside of the home. If you’ve got a typical smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Sonos One, you can only use it anywhere there’s Wi-Fi and an outlet. The Bluetooth-based JBL Charge, conversely, works as well at the beach as it does in a workshop or bathroom.
Crucially, “smart” functions nearly always vanish in the absence of Wi-Fi. Assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant won’t work well or at all without an internet connection. Sonos’ new voice tech gets around this limitation, but even then, you can only control music away from Wi-Fi if you’ve got the company’s Bluetooth-capable Move or Roam products connected to a phone or tablet. (Sonos won’t let you use Bluetooth unless you’ve previously set up a speaker via Wi-Fi, we should note.)
Even if there’s Wi-Fi where you’re going, Bluetooth speakers can be more convenient for travel. Products dependent on Wi-Fi have to be manually connected to each new router, which can be more trouble than it’s worth. You might use your phone as a hotspot at the risk of running into tethered data caps.
The pitfalls of Bluetooth
Before pulling the trigger on a Bluetooth speaker, it’s worth remembering the downsides. The biggest, obviously, is that you may miss those smart functions. Even if you don’t care about voice commands, stereo and multi-room groups are a lot easier to create and control with smart tech. Any grouping functions with Bluetooth speakers tend to be brand-exclusive, where they exist at all. And no smarts means no integration into smart home automations, and probably no way of linking to a media streamer without introducing lag.
The simple audio output of Bluetooth speakers means that you hear everything coming out of your phone or tablet. That includes interface sounds and the sounds of any app you switch to, so you can’t load things like games or YouTube without disrupting music in the background. Phone calls will halt audio entirely until you hang up or mute them.
In some cases, you can get better audio quality out of smart speakers, since Wi-Fi offers more bandwidth for formats like lossless audio and Dolby Atmos. If you’re an especially discerning audiophile, smart speakers may be the way to go for home listening. Recent Bluetooth codecs do provide surprisingly good sound, mind you, and you need to spend big to hear the nuances of lossless formats.Do you prefer smart speakers, Bluetooth speakers, or a mix of both?
What are the future prospects for Bluetooth speakers?
Despite the gravitational pull of smart tech, it seems like Bluetooth speakers are here to stay. They serve specific interests, primarily simplicity and portability, and upgrades to Bluetooth itself are keeping them relevant. It doesn’t hurt that Bluetooth is sometimes cheaper, although large batteries can inflate the cost of portable options.
Expect both speaker types to live side-by-side until a fundamental shift puts their features on par. It’s not hard to imagine Sonos-style offline assistants spreading to more brands, or a day when voice and casting access are more refined. For the moment, you can feel safe picking whichever format best suits your needs.
Up next: This is the first setting I change on any Google smart speaker
We’ve scoured the web to bring you the best cases for both the 5.8in screened P20 and the 6.1in P20 Pro. Whether you want to show off the awesome colours with a clear case or want something hardier, here are the best.
If you’re looking to upgrade, we also gathered the best P40 and P40 Pro deals here.Official Huawei P20 Colour Hard Shell Case
Huawei itself has a great selection of affordable official cases including this hard shell. It keeps your P20 slim and sleek but with decent protection from drops and scuffs. The black case is nicely understated but does cover up the bold colours of the phone.
Pick it for the P20 for £18/$19 from Mobile Fun. Options for the P20 Pro are available on Amazon for under £5 in the UK ($17 in the US).Official Huawei P20 Smart View Flip Case
If you’re after a flip case, this official one from Huawei is smart. Not only does it provide screen protection, the window design means you can view the time and notifications even when the case is closed.
It gives access to all ports, buttons and the camera, and you can even talk on the phone with it closed. A great all rounder.
It costs £5.99 on Amazon. The P20 Pro option costs around £32.Olixar FlexiShield Huawei P20 Case
Olixar continues its excellent line of affordable gel-style simple cases with this for the P20. The extra grippy material means you won’t be dropping your previous phone in a rush.
It’s not the most protective case should you drop it from a great height, but for peace of mind under a tenner it’s a worthy option.
Pick it for the P20 for £4.99/$6.99, or for the P20 Pro also for £4.99/$6.99.Love Mei Powerful Huawei P20 Protective Case
This is one of the oddest cases we’ve seen for a while, but we kinda dig it. It’s also pretty much guaranteed to save your breakable Huawei P20 from any sort of harm given its complete protective design.
It also makes the non-waterproof P20 water and dust resistant. With access to all ports via flaps and a lanyard loop, it’s a niche but fully featured option.
It’s available for the P20 for £23.99 and P20 Pro for £30/$31.Official Huawei P20 Pro Silicone Case
Another official case from Huawei at a great price point. If you want the best fitting silicone case for your P20 Pro, this is it.
The blue colour in particular stands out for us, and there’s a microfiber lining on the inside to keep the glass and metal body intact. Just be aware that like other silicone cases it may collect dust on the outside.
Pick it up for the P20 for around £7 and the P20 Pro for around £11.Spigen Rugged Armor Huawei P20 Tough Case
No case roundup is complete without a Spigen Rugged Armor case. The company keeps the designs similar for its range and offer subtle protection, though it does cover up the phone completely save for the screen.
It has a carbon fibre texture and is flexible enough to easily get on and off the phone.
Availabe for the P20 for £7.99/$19.99 and for the P20 Pro for £7.89/$19.99.
The new iPad Pro lineup is here. Both the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro offer some noteworthy changes over the models they replace, with the larger of the two picking up the all-new mini-LED display.
However, it turns out that Apple did some tweaking of the front-facing camera system to make sure that it really stands out, especially with the ultra-wide and the company’s new Center Stage feature. According to the folks over at Lux, who developed the mega-popular camera app Halide, Apple’s new front-facing camera system in the new iPad Pro lineup is basically a superpower.
Apple was more than willing to talk about Center Stage at its Spring Loaded event earlier this year, going over how the feature works and showing it off in action. However, the company didn’t really dive into the details, which is an interesting move considering there’s some noteworthy elements to talk about. That’s what Sebastiaan de With is looking over in the latest blog post over at Lux’s website.
Things start off normally, with the developer and photographer going over the rear camera system in the new iPad Pro. Specifically, that Apple didn’t make any real noteworthy changes between the 2023 iPad Pro and the 2023 iPad Pro. But, things are different when it comes to the new front-facing camera system in the 2023 iPad Pro lineup.
Apple said it was introducing a new ultra-wide camera within the new iPad Pro lineup to handle the Center Stage feature. One with a 120-degree field of view. The expectation at the time was that Apple was introducing a separate camera, in addition to the non ultra-wide option. And, indeed, there’s an option to toggle between the “regular” camera and the ultra-wide option while using the front-facing camera. However, de With notes that this is just a trick of Apple’s software magic.
Apple is known for clever little lies, though. There is no second camera.
A real tell-tale was there all along. Ever notice that there is no hitch in zooming between the two cameras?
The M1 iPad Pro has those 12 megapixels packed into the front-facing camera system to enable a more seamless ‘dual camera system’: one that is entirely created in software. The camera is ultra-wide and only ultra-wide; thanks to software corrections and extra megapixels, the system can just crop that wide and detailed camera feed down to its old focal length.
Because of the way Apple handles this, it’s worth noting that the “regular” front-facing camera is now just at 6 megapixels, down from 7MP in the previous model. So, a slight step down in megapixel count from the previous model. Whether or not that’s a huge loss can only really be determined by the individual.
So, that superpower. de With explains:
Oh, right, the hidden superpower. I’m one of those people that got the nearly-thirteen inch iPad Pro, which is an absolute spaceship of a tablet. It certainly does not evoke thoughts of anything micro, but that’s precisely where its strength lies.
iPad basically comes with a microscope. That’s right: you can take some pretty incredible macro shots of things without any accessories. The iPhone 12 Pro (or any iPhone, really) has a different lens design and only focuses to about 8 cm (that’s over 3 inches) away from the camera lens. iPad Pro easily focuses on things much closer to its sensor.
You can check out an example just below.
Using a manual focus option to get in there for macro photography is your best bet, if that’s something you want to try out with your 2023 iPad Pro. And of course, Lux did just launch Halide, its popular camera app, for the iPad.
Go check out de With’s full blog post for more on Apple’s hidden iPad Pro superpower.
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