Features

17 biggest hits and misses of 2017

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We can all agree that 2017 was a tough year for everyone, but it wasn’t all bad. There were bright spots too, as proven by this list we’ve compiled.

With hundreds of stories in both tech and lifestyle to run through, cutting this list down to 17 was difficult. Striking a balance wasn’t easy either, yet here we are: These are what piqued our interest most in 2017 — both good and bad.


Apple in India

Hit: Apple will start making iPhones in India

In order to set up official stores in India, Apple had to first locally manufacture iPhones in order to comply with the “Make in India” initiative. After months of rumors leading into 2017, it finally happened.

Hit: Nokia 3310 steals thunder from Nokia 3, 5, 6

Nokia made a successful comeback by joining the Android bandwagon with their Nokia 6, but it was the resurrected 3310 that made the most headlines in 2017 with its ability to tug on everyone’s nostalgia strings.

Image credit: Getty Images

Miss: Essential Phone continues to face hurdles leading to delayed launch

What could’ve been the biggest newcomer of 2017 turned out becoming the floppiest introduction of the year. Essential’s first phone looked great when it was first revealed, but shipping delays and mismanagement ruined a potentially great company.

Hit: Vivo shows off Under Display fingerprint scanning

Although the technology didn’t make it in time for any 2017 smartphone, Vivo’s demo of their Under Display fingerprint scanning was one of the most exciting handset features of the year. We can’t wait to see it on all phones one day!

Miss: Uber suspended in the Philippines for a month

Uber has had legal trouble in countries all over the world, and the Philippine branch wasn’t exempted. Because of the company’s failure to comply with rules set by the local transportation regulating body, the ride-sharing service was suspended for a month.

Hit: Samsung is still the top smartphone vendor in the world

Despite 2016’s Galaxy Note 7 recall and the rise of every other smartphone brand, Samsung managed to maintain their position as the world’s top smartphone vendor with nearly a quarter of the total worldwide smartphone shipments.

Miss: Google acquires part of HTC’s smartphone business

Depending on how you look at it, this could also be viewed as a hit, but ultimately, it’s sad to see HTC lose a large chunk of its team to the search giant’s hardware division. On the bright side, Google made good use of their acquisition with the production of the Pixel 2.

Hit: SNES Classic solves NES Classic’s two biggest flaws

2016’s NES Classic had two issues: limited availability and overly short controller cables. 2017’s SNES Classic handled those flaws while making it one of the most memorable gaming consoles of the entire year.

Hit: Huawei finally overtakes Apple in smartphone sales

It took a while, but Huawei finally made good on their promise to go beyond the number three spot in the world’s smartphone market and overtake Apple at number two earlier this year. While they still have a long way to go to secure their position, this put Samsung and Apple on notice.

Miss: OnePlus confirms they secretly collected user data

Security was a major topic going into 2017, and OnePlus became one of the bad guys after being caught secretly taking user data without the proper permissions. They quickly changed their policies and apologized, but the damage was already done.

Miss: Windows Phone is dead, but Microsoft tried to make it better

One of the biggest what could have been moments of 2017 was when a former Microsoft employee revealed that his company had plans of releasing a near-borderless Lumia phone in 2014. It would’ve cost less than US$ 200, and prototypes showed how gorgeous it could’ve been.

Hit: Android One was never really dead

Android One, if you recall, was Google’s platform for bringing a pure Android interface to less-expensive smartphones. After months of silence, consumers thought the program was dead, but it suddenly got revived thanks to a partnership with Xiaomi and the launch of the Mi A1.

Miss: Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are facing serious defects early on

In a sad turn of events, the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were marred by defects as they came out of the factory. The media was all over their rocky start, and some reviews were even pulled or revised with the bad press in mind.

Miss: Smartphones are indeed getting more expensive

A research institute confirmed what we’ve all been noticing in the past year: Smartphones are definitely getting more expensive. 2017 saw US$ 1,000 become the new mark for the high-end segment, and it only looks to go higher in 2018.

Hit: Apple iPhone X sells out instantly, doing better than expected

Despite the unworldly price, the iPhone X sold beyond expectations and proved that Apple’s allure is stronger than ever. Shipments went as far as being delayed by weeks because of the incredible demand. Reviews were mostly glowing, too.

Miss: Android Oreo distribution is still terrible

Android Oreo has been experiencing the same sad fate as Nougat’s; even though it’s been out for several months already, only a fraction of the Android smartphone population has it. As of this month, only 0.5 percent of all handsets have Oreo.

Hit: OPPO still tops market share in China, rivals quickly catching up

China’s smartphone market is currently being led by four homegrown brands: OPPO, Huawei, Vivo, and Xiaomi. OPPO is the current leader, but not by much. The tight competition is great for consumers since it pushes companies to never settle for mediocrity.

SEE ALSO: Where GadgetMatch has been in 2017

[irp posts=”26528" name=”Where GadgetMatch has been in 2017"]

 

Features

Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 leaks, Redmi vs Realme: The Rewind

It’s a megapixel party

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Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.

1. Xiaomi Mi Mix 4 leaks

Xiaomi’s 108-megapixel camera phone might finally have a name — and it’s a familiar one.


Leaks suggest that the phone Xiaomi has been teasing is the Mi Mix 4 and the camera isn’t the only thing that stands out about it.  In fact it might have four lenses. Joining the main shooter are a 16-megapixel superwide lens

A 12-megapixel lens, and a periscope lens.

According to rumors we could be looking at a phone powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus with 12GB of RAM and 1TB of internal storage. Supporting the massive specs is a 4,500mAh battery that supports 30W fast charging. Those numbers are insane.

The rumor also suggests the Mi Mix 4 might come with 5G and will re-introduce the headphone jack to the Mi Mix lineup.

There are no details about the front-facing camera. So we don’t know for sure if it’s sliding mechanism similar to the Mi Mix 3 or if we will finally see the under display camera that Xiaomi teased a while back.

We won’t find out for sure until September — that is if that rumored month of announcement also holds true.

2. Phones with 64MP cameras finally named 

It appears Xiaomi and Realme are on the path to a head-on collision

Earlier in the year, Realme teased a photo taken with a 64MP camera with Realme’s watermark on it. Just weeks ago, Xiaomi also announced that they’re working on a phone with 64MP cameras. It didn’t take too long for both companies to reveal the names of the handsets.

Redmi’s general manager shared an image taken with the 64MP camera with the phone name clearly showing Redmi Note 8 Pro.  Digging deeper, leaks suggest the phone will sport a whopping 5,000mAh battery and will be powered by the gaming-centric MediaTek Helio G90T processor A chip that hopes to rival Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855.

Over on the Realme side, the company recently launched the Realme 5 series but towards the end of the event they also teased their 64MP camera phone — the Realme XT. Rumors suggest it will sport the Snapdragon 855 plus further solidifying the potential clash that these two phones are in for.

Redmi though will be officially launching on August 29th and we might not see the Realme XT until end of September or early October.

3. Huawei in ‘battle mode’ amid US turmoil

Huawei just can’t stay out of the news.

After Trump’s latest pledge to ease Huawei’s restrictions, the US government has yet to deliver the goods. Earlier this year, Huawei gained a 90-day temporary operating license. That license has expired this week but the US government extended the license for another 90 days. Huawei isn’t happy since it still means they are in limbo.

Huawei’sCEO Ren Zhengfei issued an all-hands-on-deck ultimatum for his employees implying that underperformers will be sacked. The CEO remains determined and optimistic saying Huawei will “survive” and that they will “dominate the world.”

4. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo are playing nice

File sharing in an open ecosystem like Android can be… challenging.

If you’ve experienced the wonders of Apple’s Airdrop no file sharing app really comes close. Three Chinese companies want to change that.

Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo have banded together forming a new cross-brand direct file transfer alliance. With this new, yet to be named file sharing feature devices of all three brands will be able to transfer files at 20 MB/s without the need of a third-party service like ShareIt.

It’s a huge step forward considering the three brands own 50% of China’s smartphone market. If this proves to be successful, it might encourage brands like Huawei to also join the fray.

5. NVIDIA GeForce Now will bring PC games to Android devices

Is cloud gaming the future?

That’s a loaded question but for now, it seems brands are gearing up for it. After the announcement of Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud now comes NVIDIA’s GeForce Now. 

The cloud gaming platform has been in beta for PC, Mac, and NVIDIA Shield TV but now they’re offering something new. GeForce Now will also be available on Android.

This means you’ll be able to play Triple A games on PCs  using your Android smartphone. There is no exact date when GeForce Now will be available to the public as well as how much the platform will cost. But what it offers is promising so we will all gladly wait.


The Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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Hands-On

Realme 5 Pro Hands-On: It’s all about the numbers

Finally a real competitor

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Realme has launched a wide array of phones this year and it doesn’t look like they’re stopping anytime soon. The brand is extremely aggressive about marketing and thanks to immense pressure from Xiaomi, Vivo, and Samsung, they’ve unveiled the Realme 5 Pro.

It has a faster processor, quad-camera setup on the rear, and flashier design. While the Realme X is built for a slightly more premium experience, the Realme 5 Pro is intended to be an affordable all-rounder that excels at everything.


A plastic design that looks flashier

We have the Blue variant and Realme calls this a holographic design due to the reflection and slight color gradient. We’ve previously seen this diamond cut design language in a lot of other phones and it offers a new choice to users instead of just relying on a plain metal back.

The phone feels sturdy enough and has slightly curved corners for an ergonomic user experience. Realme says the phone is splash resistant including the buttons as well as the charging port.

Holographic diamond cut back

The power button is located on the right

Volume buttons and SIM-tray are located on the left

Realme has finally endorsed USB-C and the headphone jack continues its legacy

A sharp and well saturated display

The Realme X has an AMOLED panel, but this one sports an LCD screen. This cost-cutting measure shouldn’t be a major drawback since the display is very sharp and bright enough. The colors are punchy, but tend to look too saturated sometimes. Thankfully, you can adjust or even schedule the screen’s warmth.

It’s 6.3-inch screen has Gorilla Glass protection and houses a small water-drop style notch on the top. The bezels are small and the chin is quite paltry as well.

A powerful processor that’s perfect for regular use

Powering the phone is an octa-core Snapdragon 712 processor that clocks at 2.3Ghz. A dedicated NPU looks after AI operations and the base option comes with 4GB of RAM. Storage is expandable via a microSD card.

Four cameras to help you get the best shot

It has a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens, 2-megapixel macro lens, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Rest assured, you’re covered from all ends. Whether its a low-light shot or a huge group photo, this setup is perfect for the average Joe.

For selfies, the notch houses a 16-megapixel front-facing shooter. Realme has added a handful of modes like Chromaboost, Nightscape, and Portrait Mode in the camera app.

ColorsOS to get you through the day

The Realme 5 Pro ships with ColorOS 6.0 and a few minor changes include new icons, smoother transitions, and filtering.

A near-perfect battery

It has a 4,000mAh battery and it is sufficient to get you through a day of heavy usage. It supports VOOC 3.0 fast charging technology and can charge your phone completely in about an hour and a half.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Realme 5 Pro ticks all the boxes, and we’ll be doing an in-depth review soon. For now, it offers a robust camera setup, substantial performance, and a new design. Although, a few cost-cutting measures like plastic build and LCD display are clearly visible.

ColorOS can be a deciding factor since it still isn’t well refined. If you’re looking for a long-lasting phone that has consistent updates, a Nokia-branded phone or Xiaomi’s Mi A3 are the only alternatives in this price segment. And even though the Redmi Note 7 Pro was launched just a few months back, it may have lost its edge in this ever-changing world due to a better processor, versatile camera, and faster charging.

SEE ALSO: Realme 5 series pricing and availability in India

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Camera Shootouts

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ vs Huawei P30 Pro: Camera shootout

The current king and queen of flagship smartphones

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Samsung has launched the Galaxy Note 10 series, which currently holds the crown in DxOMark camera ratings. Previously sitting was Huawei’s flagship, the P30 Pro. Both smartphones currently pride themselves as leaders in smartphone photography, so it’s time to compare through a blind shootout!

With this shootout, you’ll get a chance to analyze each photo and pick which one is the better shooter for you. Photos are shot in auto mode with default settings. Of course, no post-processing was done except for resizing so you can easily view the images. The answer sheet can be found at the end of this comparison.


#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15 – Selfie

#16

#17 – Portrait Mode

#18

Results

Galaxy Note 10+ — 1A, 2B, 3B, 4A, 5A, 6A, 7A, 8B, 9A, 10B, 11A, 12B, 13A, 14A, 15B, 16A, 17A, 18B

P30 Pro — 1B, 2A, 3A, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, 8A, 9B, 10A, 11B, 12A, 13B, 14B, 15A, 16B, 17B, 18A

Personally, both photos are astounding on their own. The Note 10+ and P30 Pro proves that they are indeed the king and queen of smartphone photography.

But when they’re being pitted against each other, the Galaxy Note 10+ shines when it comes to color reproduction. Its daylight photos have a better white balance complemented by high contrast which results in vibrant and saturated colors as seen in the blue skies and greenery. Even its night shots, the photos produced are more alive making every photos ready for uploading on social media. No more post-processing needed. However, it struggles in dark and low-light photos.

On the other hand, the P30 Pro produces brighter and warmer photos at daylight. Its colors are a little bit washed out due to added brightness and lesser contrast, however, mobile photography enthusiasts wouldn’t even bother since the photos produced can be altered depending on the user’s liking.

Furthermore, the P30 Pro provides a raw feeling on its night shots. It may be a little bit less vibrant compared to the Galaxy Note 10+, but it allows users to experiment and apply their artistic style on their captured photos during post-processing.

Optical Zoom

The Galaxy Note 10+ shines with its highly-rated cameras, but it’s still behind the P30 Pro when it comes to optical zoom. The Note 10+ has a 2x optical zoom while the P30 Pro has a 5x optical zoom.

Conclusion

It’s safe to say that both smartphones are winners at their own game, as it all comes down to a user’s preference. Thankfully, we’re now in an era where premium smartphones provide the best value their users deserve. All that’s left is for people to choose which phone they should buy.

So, how did you feel about the results? Did it help you decide which phone is really your GadgetMatch?

Share your thoughts about this shootout and connect with us on our social media channels. Don’t forget to join our growing community of fellow Matchketeers! If you have more suggestions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter.

 

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