The Daxian N100i is a phone you can literally plug into the wall (video)

You can literally plug this phone into the wall

Gone are the days of bizarre phones with some special practical use, but not all hope is lost. Earlier today, this author stumbled upon a shanzhai Android 4.0.1 phone with a built-in power plug! It's a bit awkward, though, as you have to take off the back cover to flip up the Type A plug -- we're assuming it has a world-friendly voltage rating, but we'll double check. Should you wish to juice the phone up the old-fashioned way, the micro-USB port is still there.

Externally, this Daxian N100i seems to be very much "inspired" by the Xiaomi Phone 2 or 2S. Given the HK$599 (about US$80) price point (or about US$40 each in bulk), don't expect too many goodies from this outlandish candy bar: there's a dual-core 1GHz MT6517 chipset, a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 TN display, 4GB of storage, a microSD slot, an 1,800mAh cell (plus a spare in the box) and dual-SIM slots -- but for GSM 900/1800 only. The front and back cameras both have a resolution of just 3.1 megapixels, and it was hard to judge the picture quality on that horrible screen. Still intrigued? Then check out the flip plug in action in our video after the break. %Gallery-slideshow73411%

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Keepin’ it real fake: HTC One gets a convincing plastic clone (video)

Keepin' it real fake HTC One finally gets a convincing plastic clone

We hate to say this, but the KIRF market is often a good indicator of how popular certain devices are, hence the plentiful fake iPhones and Galaxy phones in China. (Meanwhile, MediaTek is shamelessly cashing in as it ships its SoCs to those cloning factories.) Now, we're not saying the HTC One doesn't have any clones, but most of those we've seen weren't very convincing -- they were either of different sizes or had very poor build quality. But we eventually stumbled upon a pretty good fake in Huaqiangbei.

The offending device is pictured above on the left. Externally, it bears a disgustingly strong resemblance to the real deal thanks to the same 4.7-inch screen size, the same curved back, the same micro-SIM tray, the same dual-soft-key layout and even the same metallic chamfer on the front. But if you look closer or touch it even, the tell-tale signs start to show up. See for yourself in the gallery below -- the fake One is to the left or on top of the real thing.

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Visualized: the inside of Nokia Lumia 1020’s six-element, 41-megapixel camera

Visualized Nokia Lumia 1020's 41megapixel camera

Optical engineering is something that we take for granted these days, with almost every smartphone packing its very own camera for our convenience. But if you take a look at the delicate structure inside a mobile camera module, you may appreciate the technology more every time you snap a shot. Like this cut-out diagram of the Nokia Lumia 1020's camera, for instance: you can see how the six lens elements and other tiny parts are tightly packed together above the 41-megapixel sensor. The elements are actually a combination of five plastic lenses plus one glass lens, with the reason being a taller module would've been made if all the lenses were made of glass.

And to enable optical image stabilization, ball bearings are used to counteract hand movement -- there's one near the bottom right corner. Luckily, the module is also designed to withstand normal drops, so neither the bearings nor lenses would fall out of place unless you try really hard. One more shot after the break to compare sensor sizes.

Check out all the news from today's Nokia event at our hub!

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Nokia Lumia 1020 vs. 925 vs. 920 vs. 808 PureView: what’s changed?

Nokia Lumia 1020 vs Lumia 925 vs Lumia 920 vs 808 PureView what's changed

Nokia's sure taken its time, but its 41-megapixel Windows Phone beast is now finally out of the bag. Naturally, we have to compare this Lumia 1020 with its recent siblings: externally it's closer to the 920 than the slimmer 925 or 928, except for its earpiece and, well, the camera. That said, the 1020 is somehow a lot lighter and a little thinner than the bulky 920, while packing the same 2,000mAh battery. Clearly, the lack of built-in Qi wireless charging and perhaps that Gorilla Glass 3 screen are responsible for this weight loss.

And needless to say, the Symbian-powered 808 PureView didn't come with as many goodies compared to its Windows Phone cousin -- even the newer lens is faster with six elements instead of five. Feel free to check out our detailed comparison table after the break.

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HTC One is highly repairable with special secret tool, says lead designer

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Many folks who've torn down an HTC One agree that it's practically impossible to do so without damaging the body, hence iFixit's low repairability score of 1/10. That said, as we found out from HTC's Frequencies Asia event earlier today, there's apparently an elegant solution to this problem. This little surprise came from none other than Justin Huang, the man who personally sketched the phone's conceptual designs.

"During the development [of the One], there was another team inside HTC who looked at the repair process," said Huang, who's also the Senior Manager of the One's design team. "So every phone sent to HTC, they have a special tool to disassemble the back cover, to let us have the ability to access all the components inside."

Huang added that his folks can even put everything back together neatly, as you'd expect. But the problem is that only HTC has this tool, and our man wasn't keen on revealing the magic behind it. This is bad news for those who want to do a bit of DIY repair or modification -- especially with different colors.

"Don't try it," teased Huang with a smile. Fine, we'll just have to keep an eye out for this oh-so-precious kit in the Huaqiangbei markets. Or we can just tickle Peter Chou when we next see him.

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Imagination Tech CEO: ‘The industry needs MIPS as much as MIPS needs the industry’

Imagination Tech CEO 'the industry needs MIPS as much as MIPS needs the industry'

At an earlier press event in Shenzhen, Imagination Technologies' CEO Sir Hossein Yassaie delivered a clear message: his company's $100 million acquisition of MIPS isn't a short term strategy. Additionally, he has ambitious plans with the latter's chip architecture -- a well-known rival of ARM and Intel's x86.

In his presentation, Yassaie boasted that there are currently over 300 SoCs based on MIPS. And out of the five billion devices shipped with Imagination Tech's IP to date, three billion of them use MIPS. These include phones, tablets (especially in China), wearables, printers, networking devices, storage devices and more.

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Sony Xperia Z Ultra hands-on redux: benchmark and camera preview

Sony Xperia Z Ultra handson redux previewing its camera and benchmark performance

You may have already read our Sony Xperia Z Ultra hands-on last week, but since then we've also been able to spend a tiny bit more time with a pre-production unit (with firmware build 14.1.B.1.277). Instead of going over again how hilariously large this 6.4-inch, pen-friendly phone is, this time we'll focus on some early benchmark results, camera performance and Sony's very own UX features.

As you'll see after the break, many of the benchmark scores aren't too far off from what we saw on the MDP phone with the same Snapdragon 800 SoC, and the final units should be optimized with higher numbers. While we didn't manage to get CF-Bench and Quadrant running on the phone, the higher-than-before 3DMark score did cheer us up, meaning either Sony or Qualcomm's managed to fine tune the latter's new Adreno 330 GPU.

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Sony’s Jun Katsunuma on the inspiration for Xperia Z Ultra’s design

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After the Xperia Z Ultra's launch event in both London and Shanghai, we had a brief chance to talk to Sony's Product Design Director, Jun Katsunuma, who was present in the latter city. Jun's been responsible for Sony's mobile devices since the Xperia S days, so the transition to the Xperia Z's double-glass design was also under his watch. That said, the newer Xperia Z Ultra isn't simply just an enlarged version of its smaller sibling, as we found out straight from the horse's mouth.

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Home Lohas brings hydroponic gardening into your room, rabbit guard not included

Home Lohas brings hydroponic plantation to your living room

While running between booths at Computex earlier this month, we were momentarily distracted by these vegetable boxes (maybe it was lunch time as well). As it turned out, this product was launched by Taiwan-based Home Lohas around the same time as when the expo started. The company pitches its hydroponic gardening appliance -- so the vegetables rely on nutritious water instead of soil -- as a hassle-free, low-power solution for growing your own greens, plus it's apparently the only solution in the market that doesn't need water circulation. With its full spectrum LED light, air pump and timers, harvest time can apparently be reduced by about 30 percent. It's simply a matter of filling up the water tank, adding the necessary nutrients and placing the seeded sponge on the tray (the package includes three types of organic fertilizers and some seeds).

The only downside is that this system costs NT$15,800 (about US$530) in Taiwan, and for some reason, it'll eventually be priced at US$680 in other markets. If that's too much, then stay tuned for a half-size model that's due Q4 this year.

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Source: Home Lohas (Chinese)

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