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How to enable the refresh rate overlay on Android 11
by Anmol Mehrotra
The last couple of years have seen a rise of smartphones with high refresh rate displays as well as gaming focused smartphones. However, as high refresh rate displays use more battery, most manufacturers use adaptive refresh rate wherein the smartphone dynamically changes the refresh rate based on the content that is being displayed on the screen. If you are curious about your phone's refresh rate or want to track your refresh rate in real-time then you are in luck. With the introduction of Android 11, Google has added a new feature that lets you add a refresh rate overlay on the top of the screen.
To use this feature, you will need an Android 11 smartphone and you can enable it by following the steps below:
Open Settings and navigate to About Phone > Software information. Tap on the Build Number seven times or until you see a popup saying, “You’re now a developer”. Do note that the content of the popup could change based on the phone manufacturer. Once Developer mode is enabled, go back to Settings and scroll down to Developer options. Again, the placement of Developer options could change based on the manufacturer so if you are unable to find it then use the search bar on the top of the settings menu. Open Developer options and scroll down to the debugging section. Under this section look for the “Show refresh rate” option. Flip the toggle beside the option to turn it on and you should see your current refresh rate on the top left corner of the screen. The feature may look familiar to PC gamers who have similar option available from Nvidia as well as a host of other third-party services. Most smartphone manufacturers use adaptive refresh rate so you will see it fluctuate depending on the content. On my Galaxy S21, 60Hz refresh rate is shown in red text while 120Hz is shown in bright green text. The same will apply to all Android 11 smartphones with the lower refresh rate in red while the higher refresh rate will be shown in the green colour. With the feature enabled, you will be able to see refresh rate change in real-time.
Utilizing this, you will be able to see what apps or games can take advantage of the high refresh rate display. A higher refresh rate will be beneficial for gamers as long as the game can run at high FPS (Frames Per Second). You can turn it on for a couple of days to test-drive the feature and if it gets boring or annoying then you can go back to the Developer options and disable it.
Clubhouse announces global launch of Android app this week
by Subir Kathuria
Clubhouse launched in March of 2020 as an invite-only social media app for iOS where users communicate in voice chat rooms that accommodate groups of up to 5,000 people. The audio-only app hosts live discussions, with opportunities to participate through speaking and listening.
After launching its Android app last week in beta, the social audio platform announced it will roll out to more countries in the coming week. The launch will be staggered one, starting with Brazil, Japan, and Russia on Tuesday, India, and Nigeria by Friday, and the rest of the world by end of the week.
Clubhouse was only available on iOS devices at launch and remains an invite-only social media platform. Despite this restriction, it has grown to over 10 million users in just a year since its launch. Its success has also prompted other dominant social media platforms like Twitter and Discord to introduce Clubhouse-like features in their apps. Twitter introduced Spaces and Discord has Stage Channels.
It is used by many famous celebrities like Oprah, Drake, Elon Musk, among others. Elon Musk even invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for a discussion on Clubhouse a few months ago, which apparently never happened. Having such high profile user base has led to the platform been valued at over $4 billion dollars after the latest round of funding.
Elon Musk is quite active on Clubhouse and keeps having discussions with celebrities. It was in one of his Clubhouse conversations where he had stated his support for Bitcoin, following which the prices of the cryptocurrency soared. Just recently Elon Musk announced that Tesla would stop accepting Bitcoin as a payment method which lead to the cryptocurrency losing almost 10% of its value overnight.
Source: Clubhouse via TechCrunch| Image source: Penplusbytes
Android 12 leak shows off massive redesign before Google I/O
by Subir Kathuria
Google is set to host its annual I/O event on Tuesday and one of the main product reveals will be Android 12. As is typical with Google events, some of the details Google will reveal have already surfaced online. Google has been redesigning existing UI elements of Android and adding new animations by making small changes year by year but Android 12 is set to be the biggest update since Lollipop.
According to information that has surfaced, the latest Android update will feature a "new experience", improved privacy protections, and it should work with your other devices more seamlessly. Images of the new interface and animations have leaked, but the details regarding the new stronger privacy and security features are scarce. It's also uncertain at this point how devices are going to work together more cohesively.
Even though a lot of changes coming to Android 12 were documented in the various developer previews' release notes, the visual, privacy, security, and connectivity changes bringing Google's device ecosystem together have been kept under wraps so they can be revealed during the upcoming Google I/O event.
With regards to the interface, the update could include a bigger clock on the lock screen, redesigned Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles, native theming support, a new keyboard, new app icons, a system app UI overhaul, and widgets that will change their appearance based on the chosen theme.
Other UI customization options that we could see include a revamped Quick Settings menu, updated volume controls, the option to manually group notifications, and the ability to adjust the size of the calculator pad inside the calculator app.
You can check out some of the visual changes in the gallery below.
Gallery: Android 12 leak
Source: Jon Prosser via XDA-Developers | Image source: Phonearena
OPPO Find X3 Neo review: One of the most beautiful phones I've seen
by João Carrasqueira
After reviewing and absolutely loving the OPPO Find X2 Pro last year, I was pretty heartbroken that OPPO chose to send its successor to Rich Woods for our review at Neowin, even more so after it turned out to be such a great phone. However, OPPO did end up sending me the Find X3 Neo, the more affordable flagship for this year, which still packs quite a bit to be excited about.
Outside of the Pro, the Find X3 series is actually just a rebranding of other OPPO smartphones that released in China a few months ago. The Find X3 Lite is a rebranding of the OPPO Reno5, and it's very similar to the Reno4 Pro 5G I had already reviewed, and the Find X3 Neo is a rebranding of the Reno5 Pro+, and it's still a pretty unique phone in its own right.
The Find X3 Neo packs generally flagship-level components, but it's closer to a 2020 flagship than one from this year. Considering the lower price tag, it still has a lot to love, with one of my personal favorite things about it being the design.
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 GPU Adreno 650
Display Exterior: 6.6 inches, 1080x2400 (21:9), 405ppi, 90Hz refresh rate, OLED
Body 159.9 x 72.5 x 8mm (6.30 x 2.85 x 0.31in); 184g (6.49oz)
Camera 50MP IMX766 main, 16MP ultra-wide, 13MP telephoto (2x optical zoom), 2MP macro; Front - 32MP Video 4K 60fps; Front - 1080p 30fps Aperture f/1.8 + f/2.4 + f/2.2 + f/2.4, Front - F/2.4 Storage 256GB; non-expandable RAM 12GB Battery 4,500mAh Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 Color Galactic Silver (as reviewed), Starlight Black
OS Android 11 with ColorOS 11 Price £699 / €799-€819 (varies by country) Day one
Remember how I started my review of the OPPO Reno4 Pro 5G saying that it was the most beautiful phone I've reviewed? Well, this might be the phone that changes that, and once again, it's all about the color. I love colors, and the Find X3 Neo, specifically in this Galactic Silver model, has a ton of them. OPPO uses something called OPPO Glow, where the back feels like it's covered in microcrystals, and on this phone, they're made to reflect light in some crazy ways. Depending on how you look at it, it will always look a little different and it's just awesome to see how it looks from different angles.
It feels really nice to the touch, too. Unlike the Reno4 Pro 5G, the Find X3 Neo actually uses a glass back, which gives it a slightly different feel to the touch. It's surprising how similar it feels in terms of texture, which is why I said it was made of plastic in my hands-on video. Glass does give it a very solid feel, though, and it's good to see that OPPO isn't cheaping out on the build quality for this lower price tier - an advantage this phone has over the similarly-priced Samsung Galaxy S21.
I also really like the look of the camera bump on this phone. It's the kind of thing that's hard to put your finger on, but the metal look of the overall setup with its shiny chamfered edges just contrasts really well with the colorful glass backplate.
The Find X3 Neo has another unique factor up its sleeve, particularly on the top edge of the frame, which is covered in a small plastic plate instead of being all-metal. I asked OPPO why it chose to do this, and apparently, it's just because it looks nice. I have to agree that it does, especially because this plate glows in the dark for some reason. During the day, it just has a colorful sheen, which varies between pink and blue depending on how you look at it. I also wouldn't be surprised if this helps with wireless reception, which I've found to be very good on this phone.
The sides of the frame are typical OPPO style. The right side has a power button with OPPO's signature green accent, which I still like.
The left side has a volume rocker with visibly separated buttons. I quite like the feel of these buttons, they're solid and clicky.
The bottom edge of the phone is also somewhat new for OPPO, being that it's completely flat. It reminds me somewhat of Samsung's Galaxy Note20 Ultra, and it houses the usual components - a bottom-firing speaker, USB Type-C port, and a SIM card slot.
Display and sound
The OPPO Find X3 Neo packs a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate, which is about what you'd expect for a modern high-end phone. It's not quite flagship level, and it loses out to Samsung's 120Hz panels, but 90Hz already offers a very smooth-feeling experience. It also has up to a 180Hz touch sampling rate.
OPPO also touts up to 1100 nits of peak brightness, so you can easily use this phone anywhere and still have the screen be clearly visible. It's a screen that looks great, with vivid colors and enough sharpness for its price point. Few phones include a QHD display at this price point nowadays, and I'm fine with that.
One thing that's bothered me about the display is what happens when quickly scrolling through content with black UI elements, and particularly when switching from black to other dark colors. There's a bit of a purple trail behind those black elements, which OPPO tells me is because of the time it takes for pixels to discharge, especially with dark colors or low screen brightness when each pixel has a less powerful current. OPPO told me this is common for OLED displays, but comparing with some other panels, it still seems a bit more noticeable to me on the Find X3 Neo - though it does happen on other phones as well.
As for sound, the Find X3 Neo has a stereo speaker setup, comprised of the bottom-firing speaker and an amplified earpiece, and it sounds great. Similar to my previous OPPO experiences, the speakers can get pretty loud and there's not much distortion at high levels, so they're some of my favorite speakers for media consumption.
The camera experience is probably the biggest difference between this phone and the Find X3 Pro, or at least, the one that's most likely to make you prefer the Pro, in my opinion. The Find X3 Neo does use the same main sensor as the Pro - a 50MP Sony IMX766 - but the rest is a downgrade across the board. You get a 16MP ultra-wide camera, a 13MP telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, and a tiny 2MP macro camera, which is as useful as it's always been, and by that I mean it's not very useful.
The star of the show is naturally the main sensor, and there are definitely some things I love about it. It produces pretty sharp and detailed images, and in daylight, colors look fantastic on this phone, albeit often oversaturated to some degree. But before we get to real-life shots, I decided to create a sort of benchmark for cameras starting with this review, and for that, I took three pictures of different amiibo figures with different zoom levels. These shots were taken in my room, using only the ceiling light to illuminate the scene. See how the OPPO Find X3 Neo compares to the OPPO Find X2 Pro below. The pictures were taken with the ultra-wide camera, main camera, and then at 3x zoom - which uses the main camera on the Find X2 Pro and the telephoto camera on the Find X3 Neo. For each shot, the Find X2 Pro is listed first.
Gallery: Find X3 Neo vs Find X2 Pro
As you can see, the pictures come out much darker with the Find X3 Neo, which ends up hurting the amount of detail in the darker areas, such as the mesh clothing below the figure's neck. The Find X2 Pro was a higher-end phone at launch, of course, but the phones do have the same chipset, and the Find X3 Neo has the same main camera as the Find X3 Pro. Maybe some software tuning could help with this, but it's not amazing as it is.
As for more realistic use cases, like I said, there's a lot that I like about this phone's camera, particularly the main sensor. Pictures do look very sharp in general and they have a nice, natural bokeh effect when taking close-up pictures of something. The colors it produces are also very pleasant, albeit a little too vibrant compared to real life. There's some inconsistency between the colors in the three cameras, which is nothing new or exclusive to OPPO, and it's also not too bad. Something to watch out for using this phone is the AI scene recognition, which sometimes makes colors even more vibrant when they shouldn't be. Again, that's not exclusive to OPPO, but it was certainly noticeable with this phone.
Gallery: Find X3 Neo samples
If you'd like to see additional samples, I also used the Find X3 Neo for the pictures I used in my review of the Huawei Mate X2. I am slightly disappointed in the selfie camera on this phone, which isn't as sharp as I'd like it to be. I think Samsung phones really spoiled me on this since they consistently have very sharp selfie cameras, even when they're just a 10MP sensor.
OPPO packs a pretty good night mode in its phones, and I'm still a fan of it. My favorite thing, though, is night mode for video. I've been praising this feature ever since I first saw it on the TCL Plex in 2019, and I will keep praising it. When you turn on the AI Highlight mode in video recordings and you're in a dark environment, night mode kicks in and makes everything so much more visible. Almost every phone has a night mode for photos, but having it in videos is awesome and it makes a huge difference. TCL did this with a dedicated camera for night time, but here, it's a software toggle, and this time it even works with the selfie camera.
I also find that OPPO has some of the most intuitive camera software out there, though that could just be because that's what I have the most experience with. All the most common options are laid out nicely in the Camera app, with ColorOS 11 bringing some welcome changes, like swiping down from the top of the viewfinder for additional settings. Other features like dual video, pro modes, and macro photos are hidden in the More section.
Performance and battery life
Some may balk at the idea of buying a Snapdragon 865-powered phone in 2021, especially when you consider Samsung is offering its Galaxy S21 with the latest silicon at a similar price point, but truth be told, the Snapdragon 865 is still more than fast enough for most people's needs. I never found myself really wishing I had a faster phone. At the same time, the Find X3 Neo has its own advantages against Samsung's phone here, like 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The Galaxy S21 only stays in the same price range if you stick to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and 12GB of RAM isn't even an option unless you get the S21 Ultra.
Of course, in terms of raw performance, the Snapdragon 865 does fall behind other flagships this year, as you can observe in benchmarks, but it's actually not far off from Samsung's Exynos 2100. In fact, in AnTuTu, the Find X3 Neo still beats the Galaxy S21 Ultra, mostly thanks to the more powerful GPU.
GeekBench 5, a test focused on the CPU, does give the newer chip a clear advantage in terms of performance, both in multi-core and single-core, where the standard Galaxy S21 got 1079 and 3370 scores, respectively.
As for GFXBench, which tests the GPU, the Find X3 Neo stands its ground pretty well, trading blows with its competitor.
Of course, if you bring in something like the OnePlus 9 into the mix, the Snapdragon 865 loses a bit more steam compared to its successor, the Snapdragon 888. Still, performance is something you won't be missing out on in general.
Battery life is pretty great, too. With a 4,500mAh battery, the Find X3 Neo usually lasts me at least a day and a half on a charge, which I think is solid enough. I've had it last two full days with more moderate usage, so it's definitely not bad battery life. As per usual with OPPO's more expensive phones, you can count on 65W wired charging, which is awesome. Some other manufacturers have caught up with this charging speed over time, but being able to get back to 100% in about 40 minutes is still awesome. I never charge my phone overnight because it can charge up very quickly, but if you do prefer charging while you sleep, OPPO has also implemented a smart charging feature that prevents the phone from charging to 100% until you're about to wake up and unplug it.
There's a lot that I like and love about the OPPO Find X3 Neo, and I think anyone would be hard pressed to say this is a bad phone in any way. My favorite thing about it has to be the design and the Galactic Silver colorway, which really makes it look unique. I'll always find myself moving this phone in all kinds of different angles to appreciate the way it reflects light. Plus the fact that it glows in the dark kind of boggles my mind in a good way.
Other aspects of the phone are also good. The display looks nice and has a nice enough refresh rate, sound quality and volume is great, performance is more than good enough, and battery life is also solid. The camera is capable of some really nice shots, and it's always good to see the return of things like night mode for video. Of course, I do wish a periscope camera was here, but those aren't too common in any phone, let alone at this price. And I also have to mention that ColorOS 11 is probably my favorite Android skin.
There are some things that took away some of the enjoyment I had with this phone, though. The oversaturation of some of the pictures I took with this phone, specifically the ones I used for my "benchmark", threw me off a bit. I also stand by the complaint I made about scrolling quickly when using a dark background or low screen brightness. Yes, it happens on other phones, but it's more noticeable than I'd like here.
Overall, though, there's a lot of positives with this phone, and putting it against its most direct competition in the Android space, the Galaxy S21, the Find X3 Neo has some advantages. It uses a more premium build, it has better battery life (and much faster charging), more RAM and storage for the same price, and what I'd say is slightly better audio. I'd also say the camera holds up a bit better at night, though they're not too far off from each other during the day. On the other hand, Samsung offers a better display and a faster processor.
If I were choosing between the two, I think I'd go with Find X3 Neo. If you agree, you can find it on Amazon UK for £699, or check your local OPPO website to buy it in your country. In most European countries, it costs €799, but prices may vary. It's worth mentioning that this is about the same price as the Reno4 Pro 5G I mentioned before, despite being better in almost every way.
ShareX 13.5.0 [Pre-release]
by Razvan Serea
ShareX is an open source program that lets you take screenshots or screencasts of any selected area with a single key, save them in your clipboard, hard disk or instantly upload them to over 80 different file hosting services such as Imgur, FTP, Dropbox, Mega and Pastebin.
User can select any or all of these tasks to be automatically run after each screen capture:
Add image effects: User can choose from over 37 image effects and apply multiple image effects and apply them to an image. Add watermark: Adds customizable text/image watermark to image. Annotate image: Using Greenshot image editor to annotate image. Copy image to clipboard: Copies image to clipboard. Print image: Be able to print images with printer device. Save image to file: Saves image as file with user’s preferred image format. Save image to file as: Shows file dialog before saving so user can select where to write file to. Save thumbnail image to file: Saves resized image as file. Copy file to clipboard: Copies image file to clipboard. ...and more. Additional tools to make certain tasks more efficient:
Screen color picker: As the name suggests, allows user to retrieve the color from anywhere on the screen and provide values of Hue, Saturation, Brightness, and RGB. Ruler: Allows user to get X, Y, width, height, distance and angle information on screen. FTP client: Opens a basic FTP client user interface for the currently configured FTP account. Hash check: Allows user to check/compare file hash values. Index folder: Allows user to share the index of a folder contents by uploading the index of the selected folder as text, html or xml. Image editor: Based on Greenshot image editor. It offers functions such as ability to add annotations, highlighting or obfuscations to the screenshot. Image effects: Allows to apply over 37 different image effects with their own settings to image. Edited images can be saved in PNG or other formats. Monitor test: Allows user to render different colors on the screen which provides user the opportunity to test for bleeding and dead pixels on LCD monitors. DNS changer: Allows user to quickly change computer DNS settings with popular DNS servers such as Google DNS. QR code: Open QR code window which user can enter text to get QR code of it. User can copy QR code image to user’s clipboard or save as file. Tweet message: Allows user to post message to Twitter. ShareX 13.5.0 changelog:
In task settings window, moved toast notification and sound settings from advanced tab to newly added notifications tab Added drag and drop file support to toast notification (by @Craftplacer) Added “Copy file” and “Copy file path” notification click actions UI improvements to hotkey settings window Added option to automatically cleanup old backup and log files Removed “Test” tab from custom uploader settings window. It is now a separate window which can be used in different places Removed “Response” tab from custom uploader settings window. Both request and response contents are now in the same panel with scroll bar. You can maximize window to see all contents directly Added inspect window tool Added “Auto fill background” option to image combiner tool Added rotate flip option to “Image” image effect Added dash style option to “Border” image effect Updated Zero Width Shortener API to v2, which now supports custom hosting Actions now use $ prefix instead of % for input and output. New prefix will not add quotes around file path to give more control to user Created example actions web page: https://getsharex.com/actions Added “UseAlternativeClipboardGetImage” option to application settings advanced tab, which lets getting image from clipboard with alpha channel Added ability to use roman numerals in step annotation tool (by @EdwardSierra) Support lowercase step letters and roman numerals Added Vault.ooo file uploader (by @shjonas) When hotkeys are disabled, show enable hotkeys button in hotkey settings window ShareX uninstaller will now prompt to close ShareX on behalf of the user if it is currently running
Download: ShareX 13.5.0 | Portable | ~8.0 MB (Open Source)
View: ShareX Home Page
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