Although Sony just debuted their first handheld gaming console ever since the PSP Street in 2011, the device, codenamed Project Q, received a lot of negative attention for how limited it was. The handheld console would, according to Sony, only work with the PS5, streaming games over a local WiFi connection. In short, you could only ‘stream’ games off the PS5 using a local internet connection, rather than playing your PS5 games anywhere. The folks at RIG were having none of that. Designed to be everything gamers wanted Sony’s Project Q to be, the RIG Nacon MG-X PRO gives gamers the ability to play all their favorite AAA games on the small screen, wherever they go. With its ergonomic design that lets you sandwich your smartphone in between, the MG-X PRO comes specially made for the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, giving you the ability to play all your favorite console games wherever you go. It’s also MFi-certified, allowing you to tap into your iPhone for some upper-echelon gaming that goes beyond the Apple Arcade.
The design of the MG-X PRO places emphasis on familiarity and ease of use. Crafted to mimic the layout of an Xbox controller, the device includes Home/Nexus, View, and Menu buttons, as well as clickable asymmetric analog sticks. This design pays tribute to the traditional gaming feel while keeping pace with the advancements of mobile gaming technology.
Where the RIG MG-X PRO truly shines is its adjustable phone cradle. Engineered to accommodate a variety of iPhone models, starting from iPhone 6 and newer, this versatile cradle comfortably fits screens up to 6.7 inches in size. So whether you’re still cherishing your old device or have just upgraded to the latest iPhone, this wireless mobile controller has you covered.
Gaming can sometimes get pretty intense, and you’d be right to worry whether your phone, quite literally, is in good hands. To that very degree, the RIG MG-X PRO is designed with rubberized clamps, ensuring that your phone remains secure while you’re in the thick of the action. The last thing you need in the middle of a virtual battle is your device slipping out of its holder, and whether it’s an Android device or iPhone, the MG-X PRO holds onto it pretty snugly and securely.
The RIG MG-X PRO connects to your device using Bluetooth 4.2 (+ BLE), which ideally isn’t as low-latency as WiFi, but it does keep your phone’s WiFi antenna free to connect to external networks so you can stream your games effectively. Although designed for the Xbox Game Pass, the controller works with other gaming platforms too, including Steam Link, Nvidia GeForce Now, PS Remote Play, and even Apple Arcade. The controller comes with its own built-in battery that promises 20 whopping hours of gameplay on a full charge. It juices in a mere 2 hours too, letting you jump right back into gameplay after a quick break.
Even though we’re still 4 months away from the iPhone 15 being announced, the tech rumor mill is hard at work trying to decipher what future iPhone models will look like… and can you blame them? 8 out of 10 of the best-selling phones of 2022 were iPhones! While we’ve pretty much got some solid intel on what the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro will look like, designer Ivano Frankivsk put together a concept for what the 16 Pro model should look like. Marking a major deviation from the 13 Pro and 14 Pro models, this concept features a 4-lens camera system, and a double camera bump that’s staggered for some visual dynamism (as well as to make place for the Periscope Lens). The phone looks unapologetically Apple-like… but the staggered camera bump feels visually refreshing. It also makes enough space for a flash and a LiDAR sensor, allowing the iPhone 16 Pro to have perhaps the most advanced camera system we’ve ever seen on a smartphone!
Details on the 16 Pro at this moment are scarce, but as far as we know, the iPhone is definitely going to get a USB-C model this year, given strict EU regulations that kick in in 2024. Since Apple’s phones sell for roughly 2 years before being discontinued, it makes sense for the company to make their USB-C model now, so that it doesn’t need to be pulled off the shelves next year in one of Apple’s biggest global markets. Suffice it to say, the 16 Pro will still have a USB-C, although Apple seems to really be gunning for a port-less iPhone in the somewhat distant future. It’s rumored that they even tried solid-state capacitive buttons, before reverting back to physical click buttons for the 15 Pro.
Frankivsk’s iPhone 16 Pro concept showcases a rather unique-looking camera bump, although to keen eyed enthusiasts, it’s just two iPhone X camera units placed one beside the other. This staggered design gives the phone enough space for each lens and sensor array, especially allowing Apple to cram a larger 48MP sensor into the cameras as well as that rumored Periscope Lens, which will be capable of impressive levels of optical zoom.
As far as the front goes, it still looks like the Dynamic Island will play a significant role in defining the front of the iPhone. Debuted just last year, the Dynamic Island was considered a welcome change after 6 full years of having a notch in the upper part of the bezel. It doesn’t look like under-screen cameras or fingerprint readers will be coming any time soon, although Samsung did reveal their latest Sensor OLED display on Monday, with the ability to read heart rate and blood pressure right through the screen’s touch interface.
The iPhone 16 Pro won’t arrive before September of next year, but credible leaks in the early days of 2024 will help us understand what the new phone will really look like.
Google may have killed Stadia, but smartphone gaming isn’t going ANYWHERE. If anything, it’s just begun, with Sony rumored to be thinking of debuting a new handheld PlayStation this year. Meet the SnapJoy, a set of ergonomic controllers that snap onto the corners of your phone (quite like this wild Xbox Cloud mobile gaming concept from a few years ago), turning it into a handheld console quite similar to the Switch or Steam Deck. Unlike the Switch or Steam Deck, however, the SnapJoy turns your trusty smartphone into a comprehensive gaming setup, with easy-to-grip controllers that have all the buttons you need, and a curved design that actually does a precious job of not blocking any part of your screen. The best part? Discreet bumper stickers that you apply to your phone allow it to snap securely onto the SnapJoy controllers, so there’s never any chance of them disengaging during intense gameplay.
Designer: Zak Boardman
Designed by Zak Boardman, the beauty of the SnapJoy controllers are the fact that they exist independently as left and right devices that occupy hardly any space, making them easy to carry around in a bag with you wherever you go. Unlike the Steam Deck, which is a pretty massive piece of hardware, these controllers are the size of ergonomic mice, and snap to the phone in your pocket.
The way the SnapJoy controllers attach to your phone is quite brilliant. A rail guides the controllers onto the sides of the phone, with a tight tolerance for a great fit, and a set of powerful magnets help the controllers snap into place, helping them hold their position even if you’re gaming while lying down in bed.
Once snapped in place, they connect to your phone using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) to work just the way regular wireless controllers do – although there’s a debate about whether that’s wiser than using a WiFi connection, which is a little trickier, but offers much lower latency.
The controllers themselves are fashioned with all the buttons needed for great gameplay, including two joysticks, a D-pad, action buttons, and all four L1/L2 and R1/R2 shoulder buttons. An internal battery in each controller supplies them with power, and a quick glance below also gives us a look at the internal components, which also include a vibration module for haptic feedback during gaming.
As per Boardman’s vision, the SnapJoy controllers come packaged with their own charging case, which holds four controller devices that enable two people to play games at the same time. Contact points within the case help charge each individual SnapJoy controller, and a backlit battery indicator in the case helps you gauge how much juice your controller has.
The SnapJoy controllers are conceptual for now, although Boardman has shown some progress with building 3D mock prototypes of the controller to judge their ergonomics and reliability. Let’s hope we see these in markets soon!
We have become extremely dependent on our smartphones these days, whether it’s for business, entertainment, social connections, or anything in between. Smartphones themselves have become quite capable of supporting a myriad of uses, from playing games to recording videos, but there’s only so much you can cram inside a small space. Fortunately, there’s a thriving market of accessories that can supplement what smartphones can do or even give them abilities they never had in the first place. That large market, unfortunately, is also overflowing with choices that can be downright overwhelming, so here are our Top 10 picks for smartphone accessories that can take your mobile experience to the next level.
1. SnapGrip MagSafe Camera Grip + Battery
Smartphones these days are very capable mobile cameras, but their designs aren’t always the best for that kind of use. The vertical candy bar design is, of course, the best shape for regular phone use, but unless all you do is take TikTok vids or square Instagram photos, you’ll be holding your phone horizontally like a traditional camera, which is an uncomfortable and precarious hold for a phone.
SnapGrip solves that problem with an ingenious design and offers an added feature to benefit mobile shutterbugs as well. Utilizing magnetic technology like Apple’s MagSafe, it attaches to the back of a compatible phone to provide not just a camera-like grip but also a physical shutter button that’s so much easier and safer to reach than the one on your screen. But wait, there’s more! The grip also functions as a wireless power bank, so you can shoot on and on without worry. And when the day is done, you can prop up your phone on a desk, using the multi-talented SnapGrip as a stand.
A lot of people use their phones less as a phone and more as affordable yet powerful digital cameras. With how much technology has improved, higher-end smartphones can definitely take the place of some of these professional shooters, though there are still some tricks that they’re not exactly capable of. Stabilization is still a developing technology, especially when it comes to recording smooth video while moving. Thankfully, there are accessories to help with that.
The Trexo Slider is a rather unique product that literally takes the problem out of your hand. When all you need is a small linear movement, this compact photography equipment is the tool to beat. Simply set it down on a flat surface or prop it up on a tripod and say goodbye to jittery shots. Even better, you can program the Trexo Slider’s movements so that you can focus on making great content instead of worrying about the camera’s placement.
Sometimes, all you really need to make your phone really shine is a beautiful case. It protects your phone and gives it a bit of personality to match yours, and it can even open the door to more functionality if it’s properly designed. That combination of simple elegance and open design is what makes Peak Design’s Everyday Case for the iPhone 14 series a true everyday hero.
Available with a fabric cover in color options of Charcoal and Sage, the Everyday Case exudes a luxurious character that still leaves plenty of room for customization. Peak Design’s innovative SlimLink mounting technology makes it compatible with a variety of other accessories from the company while still allowing access to MagSafe technology. It’s a visually simple design that minimalism fans will love, as well as a sophisticated accessory that power users will appreciate.
Even with the arrival of wireless technology, USB cables are still the most efficient and direct way not only to charge phones but also to transfer data. These cords, however, are anything but convenient, especially when, not if, they get tangled up inside your bag or drawer. Cable management only works on desks and tables, but not when you need to pull one out on the go. Rather than settling for clips and ribbons, it’s probably a better solution to change the design of the cable itself.
SuperCalla does what few accessory makers have tried to accomplish and refines the design of the age-old USB cable. While still retaining its basic form and flexibility, SuperCalla introduces magnetic rings that keep the cables from going all over the place, whether it’s fully uncoiled or neatly wrapped around. The cable’s durable yet flexible silicone tubing still gives it that shape-bending property that all cables have, giving you the same freedom as a regular cable but with the hassles of tangled messes.
Simple doesn’t have to mean boring, and this minimalist yet elegant case for the iPhone 14 Pro Max proves it beyond doubt. The unibody shell attaches and detaches without breaking a sweat, providing necessary protection without covering up important openings. It’s compatible with MagSafe charging and accessories, so you won’t lose out on any extra features even with the case on.
The Mujjo Full Leather Wallet Case, however, also has a few distinctive traits that raise its profile above the rest. Made from vegetable-tanned Ecco leather, the cover of the case ages gracefully over time, developing a patina that is unique to each and every owner. The diagonal cut of the card slot also gives it a rather unconventional method of displaying those cards, making your iPhone 14 Pro Max look rather unique and stylish to match your own aesthetics.
Despite how durable smartphones are these days, their large sizes and slippery surfaces are still accidents waiting to happen. There are plenty of ways to mitigate such unfortunate events, but one of the most minimalist solutions has been the so-called ring holder or grip. Unfortunately, it happens to also be the most awkward solution, with a thick piece of plastic or metal sticking out of your phone 24/7.
The Tango Grip & Stand has a design that lets you have your cake and eat it too. When not in use, it’s just a thin, 2.9mm piece of metal sticking to your back. A simple push on an edge release the coin-like enclosure to reveal a steel helix structure that extends to become the grip your fingers need to hold the phone securely. This twisting metal is also sturdy enough to act as a phone stand, delivering a 2-in-1 accessory that thankfully also looks stylish when not in use.
The cameras on the back of our mobile partners have gotten a lot more powerful, though they have also gotten a lot larger as well. Even then, they won’t be able to accommodate the myriad shots and needs of professional photographers, at least not without making a ton of sacrifices in terms of the phone’s size and price. Admittedly, cameras like DSLRs really only have one imaging sensor, but their flexibility mostly comes from how they can change lenses in a flash.
ShiftCam’s ProLens collection tries to recreate that same scenario with smartphones. Although you can’t change the lens that’s already built into your phone’s cameras, you can supplement them with a different kind of lens attachment as the shot requires. Thanks to a specially designed lens mount and a variety of lenses, you can achieve true 10x macro shots, fish-eye effects, 60mm portraits, and so much more without having to wait to upgrade phones.
Some people put cases on their phones for added protection, while others choose one for self-expression. Of course, you can also have both, especially if the case is designed in such a way that clearly calls attention without being garish or overbearing. This folio case, for example, protects an iPhone while also providing space for some of your most important cards, all while looking like a classic masterpiece of literature miniaturized.
TwelveSouth’s BookBook is a funny yet charming tribute to book lovers and a luxurious treat for your phone. Made with premium leather, it gives the phone an appearance of a vintage book, complete with a decorative spine. Yes, it will make your iPhone look a bit bulky, but so would many folio wallet cases anyway. At least with this rather creative case design, you’ll be able to flaunt your sophistication while keeping your phone and money cards safe and sound.
Smartphone manufacturers have been working on improving camera performance for the past years, but one aspect that seems to get left out lately is image and video stabilization. These features are present on many high-end phones, but it seems that most people have just become used to the shaky cam effect identified with smartphone footage. Unfortunately, that can hardly be considered professional, which is where handheld gimbals and stabilizers come in.
GravGrip sets itself apart by offering the same stabilization feat without using batteries, utilizing hydraulic mechanisms instead. This makes the stabilizer smaller, lighter, and more convenient to carry around, and it removes the worry of running out of battery when you need that silky smooth footage the most.
Some people are more than satisfied with their smartphone’s capabilities, but that doesn’t mean they have to be limited to what the device can do. Given how we almost always have our smartphones with us, there is definitely a potential to let them do more, with the right accessories, of course. Some, for example, have started to use their phones to hold their IDs or their most important card, and this creative wallet delivers that functionality and more.
Peak Design’s Mobile Wallet is stylish MagSafe-compatible that can keep up to 7 cards always at hand. More than that, however, the Stand Wallet variant can also prop up your phone vertically or horizontally, with a precision-tuned friction hinge locking it into a stable position. Its 100% recycled nylon canvas material not only gives it durability and weatherproofing, it also makes the back of your phone look elegant, especially when paired with a matching Peak Design case.
The long-anticipated Google Pixel 7A smartphone has now been officially introduced at the I/O 2023 annual developer conference’s keynote event. Keeping in mind the competitive landscape with strong contenders such as Galaxy A54 5G and OnePlus 11R. Google had to offer something compelling and that’s what they’ve done with the new value-oriented Pixel smartphone.
The device is hard to distinguish from the Pixel 7 that was released last fall with its aluminum camera island and metallic side rails. Only if one notices closely, the camera bump on this one is a bit thinner. Most importantly the new release is quite a few levels increment over the Pixel 6A and that too at a $100 lower price bracket. Along with this Google also announced the Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet at the event, so quite a lot to look forward to for prospective buyers.
For starter, the Pixel 7A has a 90Hz refresh rate screen option for a smoother user experience. A very common complaint that Pixel 6A users and critics shouted out loud since it is a basic feature nowadays. The device also comes with wireless charging capability and face unlock feature that should lure more buyers into the Google ecosystem.
Another added perk is the presence of Tensor G2 processor that also powers the guts of the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro flagship costing $599 and $899 (unlocked version) respectively. That means the Pixel 7A will have same software trickery up its sleeve like voice-to-text, image Real Tone processing and Photo Unblur features.
The phone gets IP67 water and dust resistance rating and the 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display gets Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. This size is just right for small-handed people as compared to the 6.3-inch Pixel 7. The camera setup on the smartphone is impressive as predicted with a 64MP primary sensor and a 13MP ultrawide shooter. Pixel devices are known for their camera prowess and 7A ups the ante with a higher resolution than the Pixel 7. The front-facing camera is also better with 13MP resolution.
The 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM could have got any other variant in 256GB configuration but we aren’t complaining. Google bringing many premium features at a lesser price tag of $499 to its devices is a clear sign it wants to compete for the bigger chunk of the market.
It’s fascinating to see how mobile devices constantly evolve year after year, providing users with a broader range of options to suit their needs. The Google Pixel Fold is a perfect example of this, as it combines smartphone and tablet technology to push the boundaries of innovation in the Android market. Foldable smartphones have risen in recent years, and Google is finally getting into the game with the Pixel Fold. This device offers a versatile form factor that seamlessly transitions between folded and unfolded states, meeting the demands of users who want the best of both worlds, powered by the rawest form of the Android operating system.
The Pixel Fold has an exceptionally proven camera system that takes full advantage of its distinct design, providing a smooth experience on both screens. The phone’s rear camera has a 10.8 MP ultrawide lens, a 48 MP primary camera, and a 5X telephoto lens. Additionally, the inner camera has an 8 MP lens.
The Tensor G2 and Android, combined with AI, make the Pixel Fold a powerful phone that transforms into a compact tablet. When folded, it reveals a slim 5.8-inch front display that easily fits in your pocket, making it the thinnest foldable on the market.
Experience a larger-than-typical smartphone display with the Pixel Fold. Simply unfold it to reveal a spacious 7.6-inch screen. Its custom 180-degree fluid friction hinge ensures a flat and crease-free display. Plus, the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus provides scratch resistance, and its IPX8 water-resistant design safeguards it against the elements.
The Pixel Fold is incredibly slim, with a thickness of only 0.5 inches. When closed, it measures 3.1 inches in width and 5.5 inches in height. Once it is unfolded, its overall size is 6.2 inches. Amazingly, it only weighs 10 ounces.
Despite its size, this device’s battery is smaller than its competitors and other Pixel phones, with only 4821 mAh. However, Google assures users of a battery life of more than 24 hours or up to 72 hours with Extreme Battery Saver mode on. Unfortunately, the fast charging feature requires a separate purchase of a 30W USB-C charger.
As a globetrotter, one feature I’m most excited to try out is the dual-screen interpreter mode for real-time translation and all the personal AI features expected from a Pixel device, including safety speech and call assist. This is also an excellent entertainment device, with a “tabletop mode” for optimized video playback and the ability to switch displays within an app.
You can now place a preorder for the Pixel Fold, which will be shipped next month. As a bonus, if you preorder, you can receive a free Pixel Watch. The Pixel Fold is a high-end device that Google has put a lot of effort into creating. It starts at $1,799 for the 256 GB model and goes up to $1,919 for the 512 GB model, which is only available in Obsidian. However, the Porcelain model only comes with 256GB and is exclusively sold in the Google Play store.
Considering that the Pixel Fold is a first-generation device, the cost charged by Google better come with a long-lasting build. We’re excited to test out the design and usability of the device once we get our hands on it.
Huawei launched the newest foldable phone HUAWEI Mate X3 in global markets alongside the HUAWEI P60 Pro. Huawei has released fold phones in different form factors in the past. There is an outward folding Mate Xs and Xs 2, an inward folding X2, and a flip P50 pocket. Adding to the wide range of Huawei’s fold smartphones, Mate X3 packs impressive features in an ultra-thin, ultra-light body.
Mate X3 is remarkably thin and light compared to other folding phones with similar screen sizes. Roughly 21% thinner when folded compared to Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Mate X3 is only 11.08mm thick when folded and 5.3mm when unfolded. It weighs 239g, about 9% lighter than Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Mate X3 features a big 6.4 -inch 3D OLED external display with 2,496 x 2,224 resolution and a 7.58-inch foldable OLED internal screen with 2,504 x 1,080 resolution. Both the internal and external displays support 426 PPI pixel density with LPTO 120 Hz refresh rate.
The external screen is equipped with Kunlun Glass to resist breaks and scratches. On the other hand, the internal screen sports a composite layer structure utilizing non-Newtonian fluid material for durability. Huawei claims Mate X3’s external screen offers ten times more drop-resistance than its predecessor, while the internal screen is four times more impact-resistant.
The new-generation multi-dimensional hinge allows the device to stay open from 45 to 100 degrees and close flat when folded. The hinge is made with aviation-grade aluminum alloy for durability and a smooth folding-unfolding experience.
A significant upgrade from the predecessor Mate X2 is the addition of an IPX8 water-resistant rating, which is a rarity on foldable phones, with the exception of Samsung phones.
Mate X3 packs a 50MP primary camera, a 13MP ultrawide camera with macro support, and a 12MP periscope telephoto camera capable of 5x optical zoom with OIS. And there is an 8MP selfie camera on both internal and external screens.
The camera setup is housed in a unique camera module design inspired by the portholes of space stations. The camera module with a circular bump matching the back panel and a contrasting black rectangular bar that nests the cameras gives the device a distinctive aesthetic focus.
Mate X3 comes with a 4800mAh battery and supports 66w wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 7.5W reverse charging. Huawei says the device can be fully juiced up in 37 minutes with a cable. In addition, the device adapts the cross-hinge graphene cooling system for greater heat dissipation across the screens.
Mate X3 is available in black Feather-Sand Glass and dark green Vegan leather. Getting an ultra-thin capable Mate X3 is costly, and it will cost you 2199 Euros or 1999.99 Pounds.
Huawei is raising the mobile photography bar with its latest P-series flagship smartphone, HUAWEI P60 Pro. Released in March this year in China and now available in Europe and UK, the newest flagship smartphone from Huawei features a fully upgraded camera array, durable Kunlun glass, and premium aesthetics.
P60 Pro boasts a triple camera setup on its rear, comprising a 48MP main, a 48MP telephoto which can be used as a macro, and a 13MP ultrawide, which can also take micro photos. Flip to the other side, and there is a 13 MP selfie camera.
The main camera is equipped with a physical aperture that can be set to ten different stops ranging from f/1.4 to f/4.0, just like HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro. Combined with a high transmittance lens group is an RYYB SuperSensing sensor with OIS. According to Huawei, P60 Pro’s main camera can capture three times more light than its predecessor, producing photos with high dynamic range.
The redesigned 48MP telephoto camera features the world’s first multi-lens groups and an f/2.1 aperture, the largest in the industry. The telephoto camera also features a RYYB sensor with OIS and is capable of 3.5x optical zoom. In addition, Huawei claims the telephoto camera with 13 MP Ultra-wide camera uses a RYYB sensor with an f/2.2.
For P60 Pro, Huawei steered away from the giant camera module trends we’ve seen from other brands’ camera-focused flagship smartphones. Instead, P60 Pro adapts a more subtle camera bump. The camera module design Huawei calls “The Eye of Light” features a rectangular camera bump that matches the back panel color. The main camera is housed in the middle of the camera module, accompanied by the ultrawide camera on one side and the telephoto camera on the other side.
For the global market, P60 Pro comes in two colorways – Rococo Pearl and Black. Rococo Pearl finish produces distinct patterns on each phone, making your device unique and elegant.
P60 Pro sports a 6.67-inch OLED display with 1-120Hz adaptive LTPO, ensuring smooth image during intensive tasks while conserving battery during less demanding workloads. New to the P series is the Quad-Curve Display with Huawei-exclusive Kunlun Glass. Weigh a mere 200g, P60 Pro’s slightly curved four sides wedded with more round edges provide a more comfortable grip and immersive display. In addition, the device has an IP68 dust and water-resistant rate.
A slight upgrade from its predecessor, P60 Pro packs a 4815 mAh battery which supports 88W wired charging, 50W wireless charging, and 7.5W reverse wireless charging. Not the biggest battery or fastest charging speed, but it should last a whole day easily. And if you need to quickly top-up, Turbo mode can charge the device to 50% in just 10 minutes. Huawei does not cut corners with the charger either. P60 Pro comes with an 88W dual-port charger that lets you charge devices via USB-C or USB-A.
P60 Pro runs the latest EMUI 13.1 operating system out of the box. Improved UI for the software includes a zoom scroll bar and an easily accessible camera menu, making it easy to shoot photos with one hand.
Black will retail for 1,199 EUR or 1199.99 GBP and comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Rococo Pearl is priced at 1,399 EUR or 1,299.99 GBP and comes with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.
The moment Carl Pei departed OnePlus and unveiled the Nothing brand, all of us knew exactly what was in store. When the Ear (1) TWS earbuds dropped, we knew it was just a precursor to a smartphone. Surely enough, Pei took the stage in the summer of 2022 to announce the Phone (1), a device that promised to shake the status quo. The Nothing phone (1) was unveiled with pretty impressive specs and a ridiculous £399 GBP ($475 USD) price tag – ridiculous by flagship standards, definitely. It’s been almost a year since that landmark moment, and looks like Nothing is gearing up for round 2. The company just announced that the Phone (2) will be revealed at a keynote event ‘this summer’, and following Pei’s visit to Mobile World Congress this year, we know that it’ll be using the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 chipset.
However, the upcoming Phone (2)’s specs just dropped online, and the company (just like last time) released a cryptic render of a close-up that highlights one thing for sure – the Phone (2) will be an exercise in iterative improvement, just like the Ear (2) which released earlier this year. This concept by YouTuber Concept Central showcases what the new Nothing phone could look like. It retains the transparent design language and Glyph Interface, but makes just enough changes to really set the 2nd generation model apart.
The thing with making smartphones is that it’s an incredibly difficult task on a shoestring budget. For a company like Nothing, changing the design of every subsequent model means redesigning, re-engineering, and re-tooling… and that can drain a startup’s capital. That’s why the Ear (2) looked so similar to the Ear (1) because it hoped to establish two things. One, that Nothing’s design is on point, and that something that doesn’t look old and outdated doesn’t need revamping. And two, it’s easier to establish a brand by sticking to a visual design but making minor changes over the years. The Phone (2) concept from Concept Central reinforces that fact.
The Phone (2), for the most part, looks a lot like its predecessor, but has one glaringly obvious change – the camera array. Now with three cameras instead of two, the smartphone gets a minor (yet significant) makeover. The Glyph Interface gets a slight change, which in turn acts as a visual symbol of progress, and the camera system gets an upgrade, with a third lens added to the mix. This 3-lens array would also probably help the Nothing Phone (2) shine better in MKBHD’s blind smartphone camera tests.
The Glyph Interface has a touch of familiarity, but is different enough to look like an ‘upgrade’.
The side profile remains unchanged, giving the phone consistency.
The unique camera bump not only looks appealing on the Phone (2), but it would also make the device differentiate itself from the iPhone
The front of the phone looks exactly the same, although it runs the latest NothingOS 1.5 launcher on top of Android 13. Google is expected to announce Android 14 this week, although I’ll be surprised if the new Nothing Phone (2) gets the upgrade this soon.
As per GSMArena, the upcoming Phone (2) is rumored to come equipped with the powerful Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset, along with either 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB or 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. Its display is expected to measure 6.55 inches and feature an AMOLED panel with FullHD+ resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, and an in-display fingerprint reader. The potential specs also include a 50MP main camera with OIS, as well as two other cameras, likely an ultrawide and auxiliary cam. The Phone (2) is also said to have stereo speakers and NFC capabilities. Additionally, the phone is rumored to boast a large 5,000 mAh battery that supports fast charging and wireless charging.
Google has just officially confirmed something that has long been leaked almost to death. With its entry into the foldable phone competition, Google has pretty much validated a device category that manufacturers have started taking seriously, but consumers are still wary of. The Pixel Fold isn’t exactly proof of a successful and thriving niche market, but it is at least an indication that the Android maker is taking it seriously. There are still many variables that could make or break Google’s first stab at a foldable phone, but here are some of the design decisions that the Pixel Fold needs to follow or avoid to survive in this exciting but risky endeavor.
5 Ways the Pixel Fold will Fly
Samsung might be the leading brand in foldables, but its design isn’t exactly the best in class, especially with the Galaxy Z Fold line that hasn’t changed its basic shape since it first debuted. Disregarding technical considerations like the hinge design and the foldable display panel itself, the biggest design complaint people have is that the device is difficult to use as a regular phone when folded shut.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
OPPO Find N2
The Pixel Fold will seemingly join the likes of the OPPO Find N2 with an external display aspect ratio that is closer to the norm compared to the tall and narrow Galaxy Z Fold 4. Although it does make the device a bit more squarish when unfolded, this design means that the Pixel Fold will be more usable as a regular phone when folded. That will also make the device more approachable to people that do still use their smartphones as phones rather than just miniature tablets.
Foldable phones, by their very nature, are head-turners already, and some brands seem to leave things at that. While the foldable display is definitely novel, the rest of the phone sometimes ends up being lackluster. With few exceptions, foldable phone designs have simply followed that of their non-folding siblings, making them almost visually indistinguishable from regular phones when they’re folded shut.
The Pixel Fold is bringing something fresh, a trait that it inherited from the current Pixel phone design. While not exactly identical to the “visor” of the Pixel 7, it still carries that distinct horizontal camera bump that you won’t see on any other brand these days. It isn’t trying to mimic the look of a digital camera or any other device and stands proudly on its own with a quirky design that could appeal to a wide range of people, especially younger audiences.
Foldable phones have the image of being fragile luxury items, mostly because of how the first generation of devices lived and died with the slightest accidents. A lot has changed over the years, but that stereotype remains, especially since few of these phones can even boast of the same durability as normal handsets. Where dust and water resistance is common among premium devices, it’s still a rarity among all foldables save those made by Samsung.
Of the many foldables in the market, only Samsung is able to boast of an IPX8 rating. It might be thanks to its hinge, which, unfortunately, still causes a more visible crease. Google could easily one-up the competition with this much-sought-after assurance. It had more time to cook in the oven, so it has little excuse not to get this basic feature down right from the start.
Pixel Perfect Photography
Although not exactly dismal, foldable phones aren’t exactly up there when it comes to photography performance. There is just so much you can cram in such a thin device, and most of the build costs will go toward the R&D and implementation of the hinge and display technologies. That makes foldables less ideal for one of the most important uses for phones these days: taking photos and videos.
This is where Google’s special sauce comes in. Ever since the first Pixel phone, Google has been doing magic with its computational photography, producing astounding results even with what some would consider sub-par imaging sensors. That said, the first teaser for the Pixel Fold hints at a competent array of cameras, including what could be a periscope telephoto shooter. With both hardware and software, Google could possibly pull off a foldable phone that shutterbugs would absolutely love.
Premiere Android Experience
Google isn’t the oldest or biggest phone manufacturer in the market, but the reason that its Pixel phones sell well is because of the software experience it offers. Android is long past its teenage years, but some of its flaws linger around. Although they do offer some added value, custom vendor skins and experiences come with a lot of bloat that creates problems across the board.
It does have its own set of proprietary and exclusive bits, but the Pixel experience is the closest you’ll get to an unadulterated Android experience as envisioned by Google. For the Pixel Fold, we’ll finally see Google’s interpretation of what a foldable phone is supposed to be and do in a way that’s not burdened by bloatware or hampered by late or sporadic updates.
5 Ways the Pixel Fold will Fold
Although Google has nearly perfected its Android phone experience, it hasn’t seriously dabbled outside that category. Sure, it knows about tablets, but its attitude to these large slates has been anything but supportive. The Pixel tablet may be a sign of the changing times, but that only means that Google is only now acknowledging a device it has long tried to ignore.
A foldable is a cross between a phone and a tablet, and it would be completely uncharted territory for Google. Sure, it actually worked with Samsung on some of the features that would be hidden in Android for years, but it’s one thing to work on things behind closed doors and quite another thing to have a finished commercial product. Hopefully the Pixel Fold won’t feel half-baked like Google’s first attempts to support tablets back in Honeycomb and Nexus days.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
Unlike a smartphone or tablet, a foldable phone would need some special attention from developers to get right. Although it’s definitely possible for apps to work as is without modification, the experience wouldn’t be comfortable and may sometimes even break, depending on how well they conform to Android app guidelines.
Even years after major brands like Samsung have been launching foldable phones, only a few apps have taken advantage of this unique form factor. Then again, some apps still don’t support tablets at this point in time. Google will definitely need to do some nudging to get developers to take note, especially those with popular names on phones or tablets.
Despite their popularity, Pixel phones are not that easy to come by, especially if you live outside the US and EU. The global coverage of Google’s products is still relatively small compared to the network of the likes of Samsung or even OPPO. The Pixel Fold might have an even shorter reach, limited to a few markets that Google would consider “major.”
It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy because sales of such a limited device will definitely be small. Furthermore, it won’t have a chance to be tested by a lot more people, people who could provide important feedback on how to improve the product. It might not be a surprise, then, if Google announces later on that the Pixel Fold is a commercial failure and axes it after just a single generation.
TECNO PHANTOM V Fold
Despite their growing numbers, many people still aren’t convinced there’s ever a need for foldable phones. Most of that is probably due to how expensive and fragile these devices are. More screen space and more productivity have been the common tag lines for foldables, but those might not be the only ways to sell the design.
Google definitely needs to work on how it sends its message across effectively, and it might actually have a bit of trouble pulling that off on its first try. It took almost six generations for Google to make a hit Pixel phone design and a marketing strategy that revolved around creating a personal connection with one’s smartphone. It could try that same strategy with the Pixel Fold, but a clamshell-type foldable might be a better fit for a lifestyle device like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7.
Google Pixel 7
At the end of the day, however, the biggest hindrance to the market embracing the Pixel Fold wholeheartedly is, ironically, Google itself. While the tech giant is famous for its ideas and products, it is equally notorious for killing them off suddenly as well. Google’s past attitude towards Android devices outside of smartphones might not spark much confidence, so it isn’t going to be a surprise if people approach it with some hesitation.
The age of smartphones being one-off novelties is long over. People buy these essential devices with some expectations not only about their longevity but also about their future options. If there is no or little assurance that Google will carry the Pixel Fold forward to future iterations, they might be less willing to invest in an expensive product that might not live beyond the first generation.