The display specs for Samsung’s first XR headset may have just leaked

We're expecting a Samsung XR/VR headset in the near future – that's extended reality and/or virtual reality – and a new leak gives us a better idea of the display specs the hardware device might bring along with it.

According to Daily Korea (via SamMobile), the headset will use a micro-OLED display supplied by Sony, with a size of 1.3 inches, a resolution of 3,840 x 3,552 pixels, a refresh rate of 90 frames per second, and a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits.

For comparison, the Meta Quest 3 headset launched last year offers a resolution of 2,064 x 2,208 pixels per eye, an experimental 120Hz refresh rate mode, and a 90Hz standard refresh rate mode. The size of the displays isn't specified, but they use LCD technology, and you can read our thoughts on it in our Meta Quest 3 review.

As for the Apple Vision Pro, inside that particular device we've got micro-OLED tech. Apple doesn't specify a resolution, but does say there are 23 million pixels across both displays, and the refresh rate goes up to 100Hz. As our Apple Vision Pro review will tell you, it offers rather impressive visual performance.

Coming soon?

Samsung announced it was working on an XR headset all the way back at the start of 2023, with Google and Qualcomm helping out. It's yet to see the light of day though – there have been rumors that the launch of the Vision Pro gave Samsung executives enough food for thought that they decided to take more time over their own device.

Extended reality or XR, if you're unfamiliar, is the catch-all term for virtual reality (entirely enclosed virtual worlds), augmented reality (digital elements laid on top of the real world), and mixed reality (digital elements and the real world interacting in more realistic ways, like an upgraded augmented reality).

So far we've seen a battery leak, got confirmation that the Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chipset will power the device, and… that's been about it for specs and features. There've been more leaks regarding a launch, which could happen in the second half of the year, 

Specifically, that might mean July. Samsung held an Unpacked launch event in July 2023, and is expected to do the same this year, giving full unveilings to the Galaxy Z Fold 6, the Galaxy Z Flip 6, the Galaxy Watch 7, the Galaxy Ring, and probably more besides.

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Samsung Glasses could be the name of a new pair of Samsung smart specs

Rumors of some kind of Samsung smart glasses have been swirling for years at this point, but it looks as though the wait for an actual device might soon be over: Samsung has filed to register “Samsung Glasses” as a trademark in the UK.

This comes from UploadVR (via Android Central), and the filing comes with a description of the categories the product covers: virtual reality headsets, augmented reality headsets, headphones, smartphones, and smart glasses.

That covers a lot of ground. Virtual reality or VR means fully enclosed digital experiences, augmented reality or AR means looking at the real world with digital graphics overlaid on top, mixed reality or MR is enhanced AR where the digital elements and real elements interact, and extended reality or XR is used to mean VR, AR and MR all together.

Exactly which category the Samsung Glasses might fall into remains to be seen, but we know that the company is working on several different products offering these technologies, after previously being responsible for the Samsung Gear VR.

What to expect

Samsung itself has confirmed that it has an XR headset in the pipeline to rival the Apple Vision Pro, but it's not expected to appear until later in 2024, so that Samsung has time to get features such as display sharpness as good as they can be.

The term “glasses” really doesn't sound like a headset, anyway. Could it be that Samsung is also working on a pair of AR specs? We've seen suggestions of this in previous years, though no confirmation from Samsung itself.

Or, we might be talking about more basic smart glasses: able to take photos and videos, an on-board smart assistant, but no fancy augmented reality. See our Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses review for Meta's recent entry in this product category.

Right now it's not clear exactly what to expect – but it looks very much like Samsung will soon launch a device that you can wear on your face. Its next big launch event should be for the Samsung Galaxy S24 phone, sometime in January.

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The Ray-Ban Stories 2 is here with a new design, new specs, and a new name

We knew Meta Connect 2023 would be when Meta finally told us everything we needed to know about the soon-to-release Meta Quest 3 VR headset, but that’s not the only XR gadget up Meta’s sleeve. It also introduced us to its latest smart glasses collaboration with Ray-Ban, (up for preorder right now starting at £299, US and Australian pricing to be confirmed) and I got to try them out.

This follow-up to the Ray-Ban Stories may not be called the Ray-Ban Stories 2 – officially it’s known as the Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection (quite the mouthful, I know) – but it might as well be a sequel. Meta has improved everything, from the internal components to the design of the case, while keeping everything that makes the Ray-Ban Stories what they are.

The first improvement is the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses’ camera. It now boasts a 12MP snapper instead of 5MP, which will capture images and video at a higher resolution than before. The 32GB of internal storage can hold up to 500 photos, or 100 30-second videos. The mic system has also been upgraded, and Meta says the five-microphone setup is better at capturing immersive spatial audio.

You’ll likely notice the speakers are better too. According to Meta, the open ear speakers in each arm are 50% louder than those found in Ray-Ban Stories. Plus, Meta promises they can deliver deeper bass, greater clarity and have less audio leak (so people should have a harder time hearing what you’re listening to).

RayBan Meta Smart Glasses jumping out of their case

(Image credit: Meta)

A new useful feature is the addition of a simple voice assistant. You can instruct it to take a photo or video, or if your Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses are wirelessly connected to a phone, you can ask the assistant to call someone in your contacts and send them a pic of where you are.

The design has also been refreshed. You can still pick up a pair in the classic Wayfarer style (either standard or large) or you can buy them in the new Headliner style created for this collaboration. Every frame type is compatible with a range of different lens styles for prescription to polarized, and you can customize the frames with five different colors: glossy black, matte black, transparent black, transparent turquoise, or transparent orange. Thanks to all these options, there are over 150 different combinations, so you should be able to find the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses you want.

The new specs are set to ship on October 17, with preorders live right now. The Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection starts at £299 (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed). If you want to pick up a pair with Transitions or Polarized lenses, this will cost you a little more, at £379 and £329 (US and Australian pricing to be confirmed) respectively.

What I thought of the RayBan Meta Smart Glasses

You can check out my full hands-on Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses Collection review for my in-depth thoughts on the new Meta x RayBan smart specs, but long story short – these glasses seem good albeit a bit niche.

Hamish wearing a black pair of Wayfarer smart glasses from Ray-Ban and Meta. He's also wearing a hat and a bag in a large modern living room.

(Image credit: Future)

Images and videos I snapped with the glasses look fine – plus the hands-free nature makes it easy to capture moments that wouldn’t suit your holding a phone in hand. I also agree with Meta that the glasses allowed me to capture a memory while also feeling more active in the moment than I might feel if I were recording on my phone.

Audio from the glasses seem solid too. I didn’t have the opportunity to hear as wide a range of tracks as I’d need to for a full assessment but my first impression is that they offer good clarity and volume, though I’m not sure the sound is as forceful as I like. As for audio leakage, this seem controlled. I had my demo at the same time as another person and when their music was on moderate loudness and mine was off, I couldn’t hear what they were playing even though I was standing fairly close.

My main concern is that the glasses feel a bit niche. Ideally, these are something you’d wear as often as possible to enjoy music wherever you are, or to capture a picture or recording of whatever impromptu moments come your way – but I’m not sure the people around me will love that I’m wearing a noticeable camera everywhere I go. 

Sure, I could carry them around in their charging case and only take them out when I need them, but then why wouldn’t I just use my phone instead – even mid-range phones have a better 50MP+ camera. 

If I need both of my hands free or I want to feel more involved in the moment, I could whip out one of the best action cameras, many of which are cheaper or only slightly more pricey than these specs. And for a similar music experience, you could pick up a pair of air-conduction headphones such as the JBL Soundgear Sense.

You can see inside these transparent orange frames, giving you a look at the internal componenst and spoeakers housed in the arm of the Ray-Ban and Meta smart glasses

(Image credit: Future)

That said, I’m admittedly not super familiar with this category of glasses. My experience is with specs like the Xreal Airs, which are focused on AR video rather than having an in-built camera. During a longer test, I imagine finding a use-case for these RayBan glasses that makes them feel less niche.

If you can already see how these glasses would suit your lifestyle then they might be a worthwhile purchase. But if you can’t think of a good use for them, maybe think twice about getting your pre-order in.

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Google Pixel 4a release date, price, specs, news and leaks

The Google Pixel 4a is starting to look like the Pixel 4 device you may actually buy, and it could be such a good value that it ends up as one of 2020's best affordable phones

But it's been weeks since we first expected Google to officially announce the Pixel 4a and it still hasn't been unveiled. While we'd last expected it to come out alongside the Android 11 beta, now that that's officially launched, we aren't sure when we'll see Google's next mid-range device.

In any case, it's long past the time last year when Google surprised everyone by releasing the Pixel 3a and 3a XL in the middle of 2019 as affordable versions of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL retaining some of the best perks of the premium devices at a mid-range pricetag. In short, consumers could once again get the famed Pixel photography at an affordable price.

Leaks have started flowing in since the beginning of 2020, so it looks like a budget Google Pixel 4a could be coming at some point soon – although we've heard that the phone will be released alone without its larger XL sibling. That might make sense, though we'd hope the regular 4a wouldn't retain the standard Pixel 4's battery issues.

The Pixel 4 and 4 XL were popular devices, but didn't land with quite the fanfare of the Pixel 3 handsets. The cheaper Pixel 4a phones could be Google's opportunity to win back consumers, especially those who have been reducing their phone budgets amid the current outbreak.

Below we've put together everything we know so far about the upcoming phones including details on when to expect it and the first images of the upcoming handsets.

Latest story: It looks like the Pixel 4a might not go on sale until October now, though we're still crossing our fingers for an announcement about the phone on July 13.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? An affordable variant of the Pixel 4 smartphone
  • When is it out? We should find out on July 13
  • How much will it cost? Around $ 399 / £399 / AU$ 649 or less

Google Pixel 4a release date

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4

Originally, we had expected to see Google introduce its next affordable devices at Google IO 2020, which was expected to take place between May 12-14, but that event has now been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL were announced at last year's Google IO, but in its absence, we'd heard a rumor that the Google Pixel 4a could release on May 22. That date has come and gone.

A subsequent rumor suggested a later date of June 5. Why? Probably to coincide with the Android 11 public beta launch – but that itself got pushed back, and we still haven't seen the Pixel 4a.

According to those in the know, Google will now reveal details about the Pixel 4a on July 13, though the handset won't go on sale until October. It might even be renamed the Pixel 5a and go on sale with the Pixel 5.

Yet another rumor, however, claims the Pixel 4a launch will get delayed until July 13, though we're not sure why. It will be announced without an XL model, the rumor states – and it won't be 5G-capable.

Google Pixel 4a price

The Pixel 3a cost $ 399 / £399 / AU$ 649 at launch, while the Pixel 3a XL cost $ 479 / £469 / AU$ 799. In terms of how much you'll pay for the 4a, the Google Pixel 4a price could actually be lower than the Pixel 3a price. That could be due to regional price differences – or because Google might intentionally lowball the phone's pricetag amid a more competitive mid-range market.

For instance, one price rumor puts the Pixel 4a at $ 349 (roughly £285 / AU$ 540) for 128GB of storage – so you'd be paying less and getting twice as much storage. And it's always possible there would be an even cheaper 64GB model. But Google might be thinking of a baseline lower price: the company allegedly surveyed consumers to see if they'd buy a non-premium Pixel phone for $ 349 (around £246 / AU$ 535).

Having said that, an older price rumor points to $ 399, which is exactly the same as the Pixel 3a, so we're not sure right now.

Google Pixel 4a design and display

Google Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3a XL

We're going to start with a rumor that might disappoint some of you: word is that Google might not put out a Pixel 4a XL, only focusing on the smaller device. 

Apparently this is so people looking for a bigger phone stick with the Pixel 4 XL, as supposedly the Pixel 3a XL stole sales from the Pixel 3 XL.

While that rumor is seemingly backed up by the relative lack of Pixel 4a XL rumors, we've heard there could be three Pixel 4a devices, including a 5G model. This comes from Android code which refers to three different devices, presumably consisting of a main device as well as an XL and 5G phone, although they aren't named as such.

Those devices have appeared again in subsequent Google code, and this time two of them were alongside the phrase ‘pixel_20_mid_range’, all but confirming that they're unannounced mid-range Pixel phones, though the source speculates that the third code name might refer to a circuit board rather than a device.

As such, we'd say there might well be a Pixel 4a XL, but either way there's almost certainly at least going to be a Pixel 4a. So what will the base Pixel 4a look like? We think it'll be like the below, which we don't believe are hands on shots of the phone and are instead doctored image of the original Pixel.

We've left these images here though as they show what other sources believe the device may look like. It may have a punch-hole selfie camera in the top left of the screen, which would be a first for a Pixel phone.

Some unofficial renders of the device as well as a leaked case render show a similar design to the fake photos above too, and it's likely these were where the design was taken from.

Elsewhere, we've also seen leaked images seemingly showing retail boxes for the phone, which match the design above.

Google Pixel 4a specs

We've also seen a full specs leak for the Pixel 4a, claiming that it will have a 5.81-inch 1080 x 2340 OLED screen, a mid-range Snapdragon 730 chipset, 6GB of RAM, a 3,080mAh battery, 128GB of storage, a 12.2MP main camera, an 8MP front-facing one (in a punch-hole), a 3.5mm headphone port, and that it will come in Just Black’ and ‘Barely Blue’ shades.

There's also said to be no Soli chip, which allowed you to navigate the Pixel 4 hands-free (well, in theory). This is unlikely to be available on the Pixel 4a in order to keep the price as low as possible.

What is powering the Google Pixel 4a? That's currently a little uncertain as while the leaks above points to a Snapdragon 730, an investigation run by XDA Developers dug up prototypes of the phone that run both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 and the Snapdragon 765.

The Snapdragon 765 prototype may be a 5G-ready version of the phone as that chipset is designed to power 5G hardware. We've heard conflicting rumors on whether there will be a next-gen internet version of the Pixel 4a, but consistent rumors suggest it may be a reality.

A leaked benchmarks score also suggests the phone will be more powerful than the Google Pixel 3a but won't be as capable about the Pixel 4 series. It scored 6,366 in Geekbench 4 testing, which is quite impressive.

Based on a leaked image posted to the web, we're looking at 6GB of RAM (as leaked above) and faster UFS 2.1 flash storage when the Pixel 4a finally appears, with 64GB being one of the storage options. When we say faster, it's an upgrade on the flash storage used in the Pixel 3a. 

Google Pixel 4a camera

Then we have the camera to talk about. We're expecting it to be similar to the Google Pixel 4's shooter – one of the best smartphone cameras around – but it's unlikely to have all the bells and whistles of that device's tech.

Someone with an early piece of hardware has provided the below camera samples with the Google Pixel 4a. It seems the shooter works well at color reproduction, but there's no gurantee this sort of tech will make its way onto the final device.

The tweet adds more evidence to the suggestion we'll see a 12MP main shooter on the Google Pixel 4a.

What we want to see in the Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4 was an innovative flagship feature, but when it comes to adapting this feature to a budget price tag, there are a few things we'd like it to consider. Here's what we want to see:

1. Bring back the fingerprint scanner

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 has no rear-mounted fingerprint scanner like the Pixel 3, not does it have an in-screen one like many premium smartphones around. Instead, it relies on facial recognition unlocking for you to access your phone.

For some, this is a useful feature to help them get into their phone quickly and easily; others find this an unsecured and frustrating experience. For the Pixel 4a, we'd like Google to drop this feature, and instead have a physical or screen-mounted fingerprint sensor.

It's likely Google will make this change, as the tech involved in efficient face unlocking adds quite a bit of price to the phone, so if the company wants to slash the price of the new device, it'd make sense to remove face recognition first.

2. Improved battery life

Google Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3a XL

A recurring problem with Google Pixel smartphones is that their battery lives always leave a lot to be desired, and plummet quicker than competing devices. Saying that, the Pixel 3a solved that problem with a bigger battery capacity and a weaker processor, which meant it drained battery less.

Since most normal people need smartphone batteries that'll last them a day, even in a pinch, the more affordable and accessible Pixel 4a needs a battery that'll last it this long, which means a bigger capacity than the 4 as well as tools in place to keep it going longer, like canny optimizations.

3. Drop the 90Hz screen

This is bound to be a pretty controversial suggestion, but if Google is looking for features to cut to keep the Pixel 4a price down, we'd argue the 90Hz screen is an unnecessary luxury that could be lost without making the device worse.

While some people really love 90Hz screens in phones like the Pixel 4, as it makes the viewing experience a little smoother, many more people struggle to notice the difference, especially people who aren't huge tech fans who don't know the feature is in place.

That means it's not a vital feature, and when there are aspects of the Pixel 4 that we would like to see in the 4a, we'd say the 90Hz screens are expendable.

4. Keep the telephoto camera

Google Pixel 4 camera

The Google Pixel 4’s main camera

The Google Pixel 4 smartphones bumped the number of cameras on Google's devices from one to two, adding a telephoto snapper for optical zoom.

The Pixel 3a devices saw the cameras slightly downgraded from the Pixel 3 line, but that was purely in terms of software post-processing, and the hardware was exactly the same. 

A telephoto lens in a camera is really useful, so you can take better pictures of a subject without dropping the quality dramatically, and we'd love to see it kept in the Pixel 4a. We'd be surprised if this wasn't the case, as the telephoto lens really ties the rear design together. And talking of Pixel 4a design…

5. Stick with the weird design

Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 XL (left) and Google Pixel 4

The Google Pixel 4 smartphones are weird looking devices, there's no getting around that. They're bare on the back except for a pretty sizeable camera bump (no fingerprint sensor, like in previous Pixels), with a glass back but a rubber frame around the edges. Yep, you read that right, rubber in a smartphone!

On the front, there's a notch the likes of which you barely see in modern smartphones, with a sizeable chin at the bottom of the screen. All in all, the Pixel 4 devices are far from 'conventional' Android phones, for better or worse.

Well, we kind of like the design. It's unique, and the Pixel 4 feels distinct in hand when you're using it. We'd like to see the Pixel 4a retain the 'weird' design, especially the rubber frame, as we found it great for protecting the phone. 

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