Asus made a compact flagship phone to rival the Pixel 5 (The Daily)

Plus, new Echo Show displays and iMac benchmarks.

In this edition of The Daily…

Asus had a big day yesterday with the unveiling of its new ZenFone 8 and 8 Flip. The 8 Flip is definitely an interesting device because of its unusual camera housing, but by far the phone most people are talking about is the standard ZenFone 8.

That’s all thanks to its design, which goes for a compact form factor like Google’s Pixel 5. It also includes flagship specs in its smaller-than-average stature, similar to the iPhone 12 mini. But don’t get it twisted: this phone is no iPhone mini competitor. It’s clearly targeted at the same crowd who love the Pixel 5’s design, like myself.

The ZenFone 8 has a simple design with rounded edges and slopes on the back. The display measures in at 5.9-inchs, a tenth of an inch short of the Pixel 5’s 6-inch panel. It is, however, a bit better than the Pixel’s with its 120Hz refresh rate. It does stick with a 1080p resolution, though.

Under the hood, you get the high-end Snapdragon 888 like you’d expect in a flagship, plus up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. 5G support is here along with dual rear cameras (one main 64MP shooter and an ultra-wide 12MP lens).

Asus threw in a 4,000mAh battery which should be enough to get through a full day, but some early reviews are saying it’s pretty disappointing. At least you get 30W fast charging.

Here’s something else you get: a headphone jack. That’s a really big rarity nowadays, so it’s notable whenever it pops up in more premium devices like this.

What’s most interesting about the ZenFone 8 is its price: $599. That’s $100 less than the Pixel 5, which leaves buyers with a choice. Is having clean software and a (likely) superior camera with a slower processor worth spending $100 more than a phone with slower updates, a worse camera, and a flagship chip?

Asus says the ZenFone 8 will go on sale in July in the United States.


Amazon refreshes Echo Show 8 and 5 with new cameras, better privacy

Amazon has announced refreshed versions of its Echo Show smart displays. Both the 8-inch and 5.5-inch variants have better cameras, privacy, and software, while the Echo Show 8 gets a new processor.

It’s a new, undisclosed octa-core chipset which powers Amazon’s new software on the Echo Show 8. Thanks to the new 13MP 110-degree camera, the software can track your movements and pan accordingly so you’re always in the frame during video calls. It’s also smart enough to detect human motion and activate routines such as turning on a light or locking a door. Amazon will also introduce AR effects for video calls in addition to 2D reactions and stickers.

For privacy, Amazon includes a camera shutter which will be included on all new Echo Show devices. You can also disable the microphone like below, as well as delete recordings of your voice commands at your command.

Elsewhere, the Echo Show 8 is the same as before with its dual stereo speakers and 8-inch HD display.

The Echo Show 5, meanwhile, gets the new camera shutter and a 2MP webcam. That’s it. It’s basically the same device as before, plus these two features. The processor’s the same, the software’s the same – it’s familiar, to put it kindly.

Amazon is also releasing a new Echo Show 5 Kids edition for $10 more than the regular Echo Show 5 with a colorful fabric finish, a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids Plus, and a two-year worry-free warranty.

The Echo Show 8 will cost $129.99 while the Echo Show 5 goes down in price to $84.99. Meanwhile, the Echo Show 5 Kids will cost $94.99. They’ll all start shipping next month, with pre-orders now open on Amazon’s website.

You can spend $10 on a calculator for your Nintendo Switch, if you want

I’m not sure how many people actually want this, but you can now buy a $10 calculator app for your Nintendo Switch. Published by a company called Sabec, the app offers a similar to experience to just about every modern calculator app available on your phone out of the box. That’s to say there’s no way it’s worth $10 unless you only have access to a Switch in times of calculating needs.

Sabec says the app works both in console mode and on your TV, so you can use it everywhere. Again, I don’t know why you’d buy it, but if you want it it’s there.

It may be ugly, but the 21.5-inch M1 iMac is powerful

Benchmarks have surfaced that were run on Apple’s upcoming 21.5-inch M1-powered iMac. And in case you were expecting anything but incredible scores, readjust your expectations and get ready to be blown away.

The benchmarks (via 9to5Mac) point to a single-core score of 1736 and a multi-core score of 7429. That’s incredibly impressive, especially when you consider the Intel core i7-powered 21.5-inch iMac benches at about 1,200 on the single-core and 6,400 on the multi-core.

Of course, we’ve come to expect results like this from Apple’s M1 computers. The M1-powered MacBook Air and Pro have proven to be incredibly powerful laptops with fabulous efficiency, so I assume you can expect nothing less when the new iMac starts shipping. In addition, expect similar results on the new iPad Pro.

The new iMac might be ugly, but at least it’s speedy.

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