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Samsung Galaxy S21 unboxing and first impressions
by João Carrasqueira
Samsung's Galaxy S series is a staple of smartphone releases in the first quarter of every year, and this year was no exception. The Galaxy S21 family was introduced last month, and while many of its changes were iterative, some things definitely stand out.
Most notably, the price. After years of consecutive price increases that led us to the Galaxy S20 starting at $999, Samsung has finally cut back, and the Galaxy S21 starts at just $799. Samsung seems to have learned a lot from the more affordable Galaxy S20 FE it released later in the year, and made smart sacrifices like using a plastic back and reducing the screen resolution.
Still, this is a flagship phone in most ways that matter. You get a Snapdragon 888 chipset (or an Exynos 2100 outside of the U.S.), 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage. On top of that, a 120Hz display with the same Samsung quality as ever, a triple-camera setup on the back, and a 4,000mAh battery.
Samsung has also made what I consider a very significant design change, creating a metal camera bump that melts into the frame of the phone. This new look is fantastic, and it definitely helps this phone stand out. While we're only getting started with the Galaxy S21, you can check out our first impressions video below:
By Hamza Jawad
Microsoft announces new U.S. datacenter region
by Hamza Jawad
A couple of weeks back, Microsoft made Azure Availability Zones for the South Central U.S. datacenter region generally available. These zones are physical locations containing one or more datacenters with independent power, cooling, and networking systems, which stay resilient in the case of availability failures. The tech giant also announced new sustainable regions for the state of Arizona in September.
Building upon the aforementioned endeavors in the United States, Microsoft has today announced that its next datacenter region in the U.S. will be based in the state of Georgia. Dubbed "East US 3", the datacenter will be established in both Fulton and Douglas Counties. This move is also part of the firm's commitment to the Atlanta region, as per Microsoft President Brad Smith's blog post published earlier today.
Michel Turpeau, Chairman of the Development Authority of Fulton County, lauded the economic growth that could be realized through this venture, noting:
East US 3 is a large-scale project that will be diligently planned to meet sustainable design operations. Once the project is complete, the new datacenter region is set to provide "world-class data security and privacy", alongside access to a variety of Azure services. Azure Availability Zones will also be delivered, providing increased resiliency and failure tolerance for cloud applications. Microsoft also hopes that the making of this datacenter will help create an assortment of local jobs in the area.
By News Staff
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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G unboxing and first impressions
by João Carrasqueira
Top-tier smartphones, especially from brands like Samsung and Apple, are getting incredibly expensive. Because that kind of experience isn't feasibly affordable for everyone, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S20 FE 5G, a cheaper variant of its flagship phone from earlier in the year. This phone packs quite a punch, but it brings down the price to $699, while the standard Galaxy S20 original launched at $999.
The Galaxy S20 FE 5G comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, even in Europe, though there is an Exynos 990-powered variant of the phone (which isn't available in the U.S.). It also has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, depending on the configuration you choose. The display has been toned down to Full HD+ resolution, but it still supports a 120Hz refresh rate.
The camera setup still includes three rear cameras and one selfie camera on the back, but some of the specs have been downgraded to bring the price down, like a lower resolution for the telephoto camera or smaller pixels for the ultra-wide lens.
Overall, though, the Galaxy S20 aims to be Samsung's value king, and it might just be exactly that. We'll be working on a full review in the next couple of weeks, but you can watch our initial hands-on below.
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra unboxing and first impressions
by João Carrasqueira
Back in August, Samsung introduced this year's member of the Galaxy Note series, stepping it up to the Note20 and Note20 Ultra. The company has sent us over the latter, and it comes in the new Mystic Bronze color, which Samsung is using across its entire lineup of devices this year.
In Europe, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra is powered by an Exynos 990 chipset, featuring two cores at 2.75GHz, two at 2.5GHz, and four power-efficient Cortex-A55 cores at 2GHz. It has 12GB of RAM, and it comes with 256GB of internal storage, a configuration that's also not available in the U.S., where the only options are 128GB or 512GB. This variant costs €1,339 in Portugal or £1,179 in the UK.
It has a huge 6.9-inch QHD+ display, now with a 120Hz refresh rate, though this only works in Full HD+. As usual for the Note family, it comes with an S Pen, and this time, thanks to the increased refresh rate, it should have lower latency than last year's models. The phone also has some new pen-related features, such as text recognition for handwritten notes, or the ability to convert them to plain text. This is still a wireless S Pen with a battery, so it still supports air gestures and you can use it as a remote shutter for the camera on the phone.
The camera setup is very similar to the Galaxy S series from earlier in the year, featuring a 108MP primary camera, a 12MP wide-angle lens, and a 12MP periscope telephoto camera, with up to 50x digital zoom. There's a 10MP camera on in a punch-hole on the front.
We're also taking a look at the Galaxy Buds Live, the new truly wireless earbuds introduced alongside the Galaxy Note20 Ultra. They're the first Galaxy Buds with active noise cancellation, and they feature a new bean-like design. There are also features like a dedicated voice pickup unit to activate Bixby with voice. Check out our hands-on video below.