Summarizing 2016 is best done by going through the highs and lows — well, mostly lows.
As this turbulent year comes to a close, GadgetMatch presents a total of 16 unforgettable moments and polarizing announcements that have shaped the past twelve months.
This is going to be a long read, so let’s get right to it.
Hit: Google releases its own smartphones to positive reception
Google’s Pixel and larger Pixel XL have been experiencing great critical and commercial success — so much so that Google’s third-party partners, specifically Samsung and LG, are caught in an upstream, and the Nexus program has been set aside for now. The search giant is showing manufacturers how to do Android right, but one question remains leading into 2017: Where’s Android One headed?
Miss: Samsung recalls its greatest phone ever
This has to be the most heart-wrenching miss on this list. The recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caused such an impact on the tech industry, we’ll still be feeling it well into 2017. It’s a shame really, as many media outlets — including ours — praised the stylus-equipped smartphone as not just the best smartphone this year, but even the greatest Android device ever made.
Miss: Apple lets go of everyone’s favorite port
No bit of tech news this year harmed mainstream audiences as much as Apple’s removal of the audio jack in its latest crop of iPhones. It’s a move marketing head Phil Schiller believes takes “courage,” but we think it has more to do with consumerism, making people buy new pairs of wireless headphones which Apple coincidentally markets together with partner company Beats.
Hit: Nintendo cares about our childhoods
Nintendo clearly won the award for coolest gift to buy your parents, yourself, or even your kids this holiday season. The miniature Famicom and NES consoles are always sold out wherever they’re available, and why not? They’re incredibly affordable, come preloaded with 30 classic games, and make you relive all those bitter sibling rivalries during childhood.
Miss: Android Nougat never really took off
It’s been four months since Android 7.0 Nougat began rolling out, but a total of only 0.4 percent of consumer devices actually have it today. To make matters worse, an even newer Android 7.1 came out already, and support for the more widespread Android 2.3 Gingerbread will be discontinued early next year. Google has a lot of ground to cover until Android 8.0 launches next year.
Miss: Smartwatches are going the way of the dodo
How many people do you know constantly wear a smartwatch? Exactly. Sales have been slumping, and even though the latest version of Android Wear is set to release early 2017, brands like Motorola and Samsung aren’t keen on applying Google’s smartwatch operating system, opting instead to either give up completely or use their own interface.
Hit: Chinese smartphone brands reach new heights
Chinese smartphone brands ruled 2016. Yes, Apple is still on top when it comes to total profit, raking in 91 percent of all smartphone revenue last quarter, but the global rise of Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo is unprecedented. And it’ll only get better with these Asian companies making a stronger push in the western hemisphere during the next few months.
Miss: Project Ara doesn’t see the light of day, sort of
We were so disappointed to hear this news: After years of development and hopeful demos, Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone never entered the mass production phase. Fortunately, an actual prototype of the project leaked last month, but all it did was remind us how much potential was wasted.
Miss: GoPro suffers financially and recalls Karma drone
GoPro has been the go-to brand for all things action camera since its conception. Now, unfortunately, its profits have plunged, and mishaps like the recall of its ambitious Karma drone doesn’t help maintain a positive image for the brand. GoPro will need some divine intervention to make up for its 40 percent drop in sales as compared to 2015.
Hit: Apple finally updates its MacBook lineup
After years and years of minor refreshes, Apple finally launched what we’ve all been waiting for: an all-new MacBook Pro. With so many changes — such as the new keyboard and loss of several important connectivity ports — it feels like a totally new product, but the true innovation comes in the Touch Bar, which is open to endless support from third-party developers.
Miss: BlackBerry gives up on hardware
In what was the least surprising yet still heartbreaking news, BlackBerry has halted all plans for designing its own smartphones. Instead, the entire development and manufacturing process is now in the hands of third-party companies, to the disgruntlement of long-time fans. The awkwardly named BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60 are simply rebranded midrange Alcatel handsets with added security, courtesy of BB.
Hit: Xiaomi cuts in front of innovation line
We’ve seen hundreds of leaks and prototypes that never got turned into actual commercial products, but Xiaomi went ahead and pulled the trigger with its Mi Mix concept phone. Just look at its massive near-borderless display, ceramic-encased design, and high-end specifications — has Xiaomi set the standard for what smartphones will strive to be in 2017?
Miss: LG fails modular experiment
For every successful modular phone, there are a few that fail. LG had its first attempt with the flagship G5 earlier this year, but a not-so-great reception to its not-that-intuitive execution lead to the Korean company possibly junking it completely. The recently launched V20 doesn’t have modularity either, so Lego-like phones are probably better left as works in progress for now.
Hit: World goes crazy for Pokémon Go
No single game has caused as much controversy as Pokémon Go this year. The augmented reality app invaded smartphones all over the world, making developer Niantec filthy rich in the process. We ourselves got swept into the craze, writing comprehensive guides for getting started and finding the best spots for those rare creatures.
Miss: ASUS jacks up this year’s ZenFone prices
ASUS made waves in 2015 with ZenFones that had unmatched horsepower for their price points, effectively forming a booming segment of bang-for-buck phones we still see today. A year later, when the Taiwan-based company released the outrageously priced ZenFone 3 series, formerly loyal fans have been jumping ship for more affordable offerings.
Miss: Yahoo goes up for adoption
How the mighty have fallen — Yahoo was so wealthy at one point, it could have bought Google. Instead, the former internet giant got bought by Verizon for only $5 billion; that’s a huge drop from its $125-billion valuation back in 2000! The nail in the coffin came when news broke about 500 million Yahoo accounts getting hacked — two years after the breach actually happened.
[irp posts=”8433″ name=”Best smartphones of 2016″]
What can you do with a big screen that folds?
Featuring the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
You’ve likely seen videos and articles here and there about this COLOSSAL foldable. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is, as of writing, a one of a kind device. But what’s it like to actually use one? And what can you really do with a screen this big that folds?
We vibed with this device months ago but that was with an engineering unit. And THE Michael Josh showed us the many useful things you can actually do with it.
You can watch this video for the full rundown:
In case you couldn’t be bothered to watch the video, here’s a quick summary:
- Can be used with or without the included bluetooth keyboard.
- Great for working in tight spaces.
- Keyboard is great. It’s clickety and has great travel.
- One long vertical slate.
- Unli-scroll on websites like GadgetMatch.
- Good for video calls with split screen function.
- Yours truly’s favorite mode.
- Huge 17.3-inch display even while on the go.
- Great for work.
- Fantastic for media consumption.
- Use it like a really big book. Works even when semi-folded.
- Works as a large chess board.
At home daily usage
I’m mostly working from home these days and I didn’t know I needed a big screen until I started using the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. Everything felt closer and larger without feeling overwhelming. It’s a stark contrast to the 13-inch screen that I use more regularly.
I don’t typically push my machine to the limit on the daily. My days regularly consist of writing, copy editing, some light photo editing, and jumping between one chat app to another.
Being an Intel EVO laptop, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is certified to last for long work sessions. The device is optimized for all these tasks making it perform much more efficiently.
I was also most pleasantly surprised with the bluetooth keyboard included in the package. My expectations for inclusions like this are usually low. To my delight, the keyboard felt really nice to type on. Parts of this article were written using that keyboard specifically.
For the next iteration, though, it would be nice if the keyboard had some backlighting to make it easily usable even in darker setups.
Working at a café
If you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, the laptop mode turns the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED into a discreet notebook. As already mentioned, the keyboard feels nice and will keep you typing as long as your brain can keep churning out words.
It is chunkier when in this mode. That means the keyboard has a higher elevation from the desk which is something I personally prefer.
If you don’t mind eyes glancing over to where you are, you can totally prop it up in Desktop Mode or Extended Mode. I’ve only really used it outside twice and in both situations, I didn’t feel the need to look for a power outlet.
That said, I only typically work outside for about 3-4 hours. Any longer rapidly depletes my social battery. Thankfully, the same isn’t true for the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’s battery.
Indoctrinating friends to the church of Chaewon
This is a joke, in case that wasn’t clear. That said, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is perfect for showing off your current K-Pop obsession to friends, family, and what-have-you.
The large screen makes it easy to showcase photos and other media. Say, you prepared some sort of presentation, you can easily face the screen to the person you’re speaking with and still control it using the keyboard.
It’s top-notch for consuming media too. That huge display is perfect for watching (and sharing) fancams or whatever shows or movies you’re currently into. The Harman Kardon speakers are okay, but if you want a more immersive experience, I suggest you use earphones – wired or otherwise.
Bottomline is, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a great screen for presentation and media consumption. And the fact that you can fold it makes it easier to bring around wherever.
Oh and much like ASUS’ other laptops, at least in the Philippines, the package comes with a nice carrying pouch to keep the thing protected.
Big (screen) things coming
ASUS wasn’t coy in saying that this 17-inch foldable display is a sign of bigger things to come in 2023. If you’re into big screens, you can expect ASUS to deliver more of it soon.
Personally, using the 17-inch screen was such a revelation for me. I’m lowkey hoping we get a similar implementation for a ZenScreen – ASUS’ own mobile external display.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
At PhP 219,995, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED isn’t for everyone. And only 100 units will be sold in the Philippines. If you want to be on the cutting edge of tech and are inclined to have the notoriety of owning a truly one-of-a-kind device, this is certainly for you.
Naysayers will say it isn’t a practical purchase. That’s true. But practicality isn’t the point. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a showcase of ASUS’ commitment to experiment and push the limits of hybrid laptop form factors. What you have here is a first generation device that feels a lot more polished than it has every right to be.
The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is also available for purchase at 0% interest with up to 12 months of installment over at Home Credit.
Every unit comes with ASUS Platinum Warranty. Any physical damage within the first year, ASUS will cover 100% of the labor cost and 80% of the parts replacement cost of the repair.
This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.
90 days with the Galaxy Z Fold4
A three-month affair with Samsung’s high-end foldable
The first time I laid eyes on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, it felt like seeing a friend whom you know has gone through several character developments.
It’s not a love-at-first-sight scenario unlike what struck me when I saw the Galaxy Z Flip3. Despite having a marvelous time using the Fold’s predecessor, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of having a long-time affair with this foldable smartphone.
So I gave it another try — 90 days, that is. Just like that hilarious reality series brimming with loathsome personalities.
On the first month of having the Galaxy Z Fold4, I treated it like a partner that I’m becoming acquainted with. I thought of it as an ex-lover who got better, trying to win my heart again.
The first thing I did was personalize it to my liking. I ordered a case from China that would make me happy while using the device while keeping it protected from scratches and dents — if it accidentally slips.
Using it bare, you can feel that the device is lighter than its predecessors. True to the company’s claim. It’s like a classic tale of shedding a few pounds and increasing your worth. The Fold is more attractive when it’s lightweight.
Yet somehow, it didn’t feel safe and secure in my grip. It’s slippery, too massive in my tiny hands, and still felt fragile despite proving its immense durability over the years.
A smartphone with an almost US$ 2000 price tag is certainly delicate, no matter how you look at it.
With the phone case I bought, the Fold felt heavier but it gave me assurance that it was protected from anything that might break it.
Arm and eye candy
I’ve brought the Galaxy Z Fold4 to meetings, events, and conferences. Every time I whip it out of my bag, I pique the crowd’s curiosity.
The Fold4 isn’t a shiny new toy anymore. But it bedazzles anyone who sees it for a multitude of reasons. Expensive, a unique form factor, and surely, an innovation to most eyes.
It’s like having a partner that’s both an arm and eye candy. I enjoy the attention I get from the crowd, mesmerizing them as I showcase the Fold’s camera features.
I can take a group selfie like a regular smartphone, or prop it open and use its under-display camera. Furthermore, I used the rear camera to take a selfie, by exhibiting how the secondary screen can act as a mirror when taking photos.
The same trick can be used when taking portraits of friends and acquaintances, so they can strike a pose while giving them a glimpse of how they’d look.
Here are some photos I took using the Galaxy Z Fold4 in different modes:
The Galaxy Z Fold4 has a versatile arsenal of cameras at its disposal, breaking the notion that all features of a flagship smartphone should be used to maximize its worth.
After all, people have different preferences and usage regarding the devices they own. With a unique form factor, the Fold sets itself as an everyday device that can adapt to different situations. At least, that’s what I thought of after having the device for a month.
Days with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 got a little bit stale after the first month, seeing how I got swamped with various projects at work.
The honeymoon phase fizzled already, getting used to having the Fold with me at all times.
I’ve recognized its ability to help me catch up with work while on the go. It lets me check designs, communicate through emails and chats while power walking through fifth and ninth avenue in Bonifacio Global City. With it, I can also monitor my platforms through its big screen.
Occasionally, I use it to play SimCity — a game I play to train my decision-making skills by becoming a mayor of a made-up town. The device offered plenty of screen real estate to give me an overview of the game. However, I couldn’t say the same for other titles.
Some would enjoy having the bigger screen on a portable, versatile device as they play graphics-intensive and action-packed titles. I saw some tech creators do it. Not me, though.
It allows me to have a tighter and firmer grip on my device as I smash my thumbs against the display. The Fold4 required me to spread my fingers apart to support the device when playing games.
Entertainment on the go
While I have qualms regarding playing games on the Fold4, the same cannot be said when watching films and TV shows. With its lightweight form factor, it’s easier to hold with one hand when watching videos on the go.
But if I get exhausted, I can prop it up and fold it halfway so it stands on its own. It’s a much smaller screen real estate, but it’s manageable to watch on, especially when you don’t have any phone stand that can support the Fold4’s size.
Lasts for quite a while
For what it’s worth, I’m elated with how the Fold lasted me throughout the day. It didn’t give up on me on days when I’m stuck running around the Fort, traveling between cities, and being out and about.
Most reviewers picked on the device’s battery and “slow” fast-charging, but seeing how I’m the peak, multi-tasking average user — it’s still enough. It could’ve been better, that’s for sure. Especially for days when I leave in the morning and back home at almost midnight. Halfway, I would need to recharge my device.
But truth be told, nowadays, people bring power banks and carry their cables and adapters in case they find sockets to charge their devices on. Besides, the Fold is barely a device you bring along for long days of work outside — it really just isn’t it.
After spending two months with the Fold4, I found it difficult to keep using the foldable smartphone as my lifestyle changed.
I can only keep up with using it when I’m handling commitments to my work and my sports team. I’ve been using the device as a work notebook in most cases. From tracking down my meetings, hopping on zoom calls at the nearest Starbucks cafe, and catching up with important messages.
As I put more focus on being an athlete, it was challenging to bring the Fold to my training. It doesn’t fit my armband, and it’s heavy for my belt bag and hydration vest. I felt it will impede me from reaching new personal records.
My last race, which was held in Timberland Heights, didn’t give me the opportunity to use the Fold4’s impressive set of cameras.
I had wished it was there with me. To capture my favorite moments of triumph and victory over a grueling race course. But I didn’t since the device wasn’t meant for rugged activities.
As I ended my 90-day stint with the Galaxy Z Fold4, I’ve had epiphanies regarding the device and of course, myself.
It wasn’t meant to be
The Galaxy Z Fold4 wasn’t meant for me and the person I’m becoming, no matter how much I enjoy its features and unique form factor.
It’s like a lesson of learning how to cherish the people we come across. We might be able to delight in the experience of having them with us for a moment in time, but our paths only cross for a short while.
It wasn’t even a “right device, wrong time” situation. It’s simply a case of not being my GadgetMatch. Think of the relationships you’ve had in the past. The connections you’ve outgrown. The people you left behind because you weren’t aligned anymore.
That is my case for the Galaxy Z Fold4. It’s a fleeting affair. A companionship that harmoniously blended into my life for three months. That is until I decided to leave my comfort zone and pursued what really makes my soul jump.
I don’t intend to bring it into the new chapter of my life. But if my path moved once more and we crossed paths, maybe I can take it for another time. Maybe, third time’s the charm. Or maybe, it’s an experience that I will fondly recall in the months to come.
Who knows? The future is uncertain and that’s what makes life exciting. C’est la vie.
Have a vivo Christmas!
vivo is making Christmas a little merrier
Ho ho ho.
It’s the most beautiful time of the year.
And Filipinos celebrate it like no other.
We get together with friends, colleagues, and family.
There’s plenty of merry making, gift giving, and food. Copious amounts of food.
If you haven’t picked out a gift yet for your loved ones…
Or yourself… We’re totally cool with self-love here….
Then you’re watching the right video. Especially if you’re after getting a smartphone…
And for a wide range of budgets at that.
You see, vivo has tapped us to show-off some of their best releases this year.
So some members of the GadgetMatch team got together to do just that.
vivo V25 series
Let’s start with the V-series. Specifically, the vivo V25 and V25 Pro.
This is Vincenz. He spent the most time with the vivo V25.
And has taken many, many photos with it.
Plenty of them at night and in low light.
Which is what the vivo V25 series is great for.
And imagine the possibilities, especially when YOU go out to meet your friends and family.
But that’s not all the V25 series is good for.
If, like MJ here, you adore being the center of attention.
The vivo V25 Pro is a great match for you.
You see, it has this unique feature called Photochromic 2-point-O design.
It’s a feature unique to the V25 series where the back panel shifts colors.
You can even add a Christmas touch to it by doing this.
Naturally, that’s not all there is to the V25 series.
The V25, for instance, has a power-efficient chip.
So you should have no trouble using it from sun up until sun down.
And when you do need to charge.
You can juice it up rather quickly.
It’s a trait it shares with the vivo V25 Pro.
Which charges even faster.
Plus these have other features too, that you’ll surely enjoy even long after the holidays.
The vivo V25 series is available now at these prices.
But if these are outside your budget range, you could check these out.
vivo Y35 and Y16
This lovely couple Andre and Apple have in their hands…
The vivo Y35 and vivo Y16
Andre here reviewed the vivo Y35.
He says the phone is fast enough for daily tasks and games
And on the gaming part, it helps that its RAM can be extended by up to 8GB more.
If you need more storage space for shows, movies, and whatnot…
The storage can be expanded up to 1TB via microSD.
It also doesn’t hurt that the phone actually looks nice.
And like most vivo phones, It charges fast and won’t easily die on you.
Oh and it also has decent cameras for capturing precious moments with friends and colleagues.
Basically, the vivo Y35 gets the job done with a few extras here and there
And then there’s the vivo Y16 that Apple spent time with.
Like the Y35, it should last you throughout the day.
It’s a phone that handles the basics.
Whether that’s your daily regular usage.
Or even some light gaming on the side.
And for a phone at its price range.
It looks pretty darn good.
These are also up for grabs now at this pricing.
Whatever kind of smartphone you need. vivo has you covered at every price point.
And you’re sure to have one that performs well…
Takes good photos…
And looks so. Damn. Good.
Globe launches GPlan 2499 for new Huawei Mate 50 Pro
Samsung Black Friday Cyber Monday sale back in Singapore
PMC’s film-making contest lets you win an iPhone 14
Trip to Boracay awaits lucky vivo Y22s, V25 buyer
What to expect from Apple Music, TV+ and Arcade this Christmas
realme 10 review: It’s a 10!
LOOK: The 2023 Starbucks Traditions is here!
Xiaomi 12, Redmi Note 11, and more get discounts for 11.11
RAM Explained: The Unsung Hero of Smartphones
Lenovo Legion Slim 7i 2022: Slimmer with no compromises
Features1 week ago
Get Google Apps on your Huawei Mate 50 Pro
Gaming2 weeks ago
OPPO created a game to show off Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Features2 weeks ago
Taking the vivo V25 Pro on a date night in Boracay island
Gaming2 weeks ago
The Witcher 3 will ship out free next-gen update
Deals1 week ago
PlayStation Black Friday 2022: Buy select titles, controllers for less
Entertainment2 weeks ago
HONOR Magic4 Pro: My Best Concert Companion
News2 weeks ago
Samsung unveils new Pokémon-themed accessories
Apps2 weeks ago
Netflix will now let you kick people from your account