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

11 most notable things about the Huawei MatePad 11

A quick list for you!

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It’s always a little tricky trying to find a spot for a tablet in your life especially if you’re not exactly the artsy, doodling type. But time and time again, Huawei makes devices that make you really want one. This is the case with the Huawei MatePad 11. 

If you’re already considering one, we put together a quick list that just might make you click checkout on your cart.

Gorgeous display

One of the primary reasons for getting a tablet is the larger display — at least one that’s larger than your smartphone but still more mobile than a laptop. But what good is a larger display if it doesn’t perform well? That’s not the case with the MatePad 11. This thing is packing.

You’re getting a 10.95-inch display with an 86 percent screen-to-body ratio. That display also has a 120Hz refresh rate for a buttery smooth experience. Not to mention the DCI-P3 colour gamut for accurate colors. The 8MP front-facing camera is situated at the bezel so you get an uninterrupted screen experience.

Perfect for reading

The Huawei MatePad 11’s display is also easy on the eyes. It’s certified by TUV Rheinland for low blue light. This means it’s still friendly to your eyes even during extended sessions with the device.

That extended session can mean going through the collection you’ll find on the pre-installed Huawei Books. Naturally, you can also install whatever reading app you fancy.

Fantastic for watching

Noze of WAYB on Street Woman Fighter 😍

Speaking of apps, you’ll find plenty of streaming ones you can enjoy on the MatePad 11. We’ve been on Viu quite a lot watching episodes of Slam Dunk and this new Dance variety show Street Woman Fighter — our Managing Editor is especially rooting for Noze of WAYB.

M-Pencil is included 

You know how you have to buy the stylus separately for most other tablets? Not the case with the MatePad 11. The M Pencil (2nd gen) is included in the packaging. It’s a handy tool for many things, even if you’re not art-inclined.

The M-Pencil (2nd Gen) sits magnetically on this part of the MatePad 11

We’ve used this for signing documents, precise skimming of videos we need to preview, and many more tasks. The 2ms low latency makes for a really good writing experience.

And there’s sufficient app support 

But of course, if you are on the artsy side, there’s no shortage of apps that you can use this with. When you boot the device with the clean-looking HarmonyOS 2.0, there’s a folder with suggested apps you can install made especially for taking advantage of the M Pencil (2nd gen).

But if the suggested apps aren’t to your liking, there are a bunch more that you can look for and download on the Huawei App Gallery and Petal Search. Want quick access to good design work? Get Canva. Need something reliable for note-taking? Download Nebo and jot down things to your heart’s desire!

The Smart Magnetic Keyboard is better than we expected

What surprised us the most is perhaps how you can really get things done on the MatePad 11. This is especially true when used in conjunction with the Smart Magnetic Keyboard.

Despite its tiny look, it’s a full-sized keyboard with a decent amount of travel for a satisfying typing experience. Whether you’re writing a lengthy email or composing a rant tweet that you probably shouldn’t post, this tablet-keyboard combo is made for typing productively.

This one is sold separately, but it’s worth the addition! Oh and more thing, tapping the Shift button will automatically project your Huawei phone’s screen on the tablet — a feature will dive more into shortly.

Huawei Share is convenient 

Are you the type who sends links and files to your own chat box so you can access it on your other devices? Huawei has made it so much simpler in their family of devices with Huawei Share.

Just pick the file or photo you want to share, and it’ll instantly detect the other Huawei device in the vicinity. Convenient.

Works great with your Huawei phone

If you wanna take that connection a little bit further, you can do so. Just like how it works on laptops, you can make it so that your phone’s screen is visible on the MatePad 11.

When this feature is enabled, you can control your phone without physically lifting it. Easier and faster access for messaging or if you wanna swipe on dating apps in between work tasks.

Multi-window is helpful

That floating window works not just when you connect your phone. It also works on certain apps. This way, you can easily reference other apps you might need for whatever you’re working on.

No need to leave the main app you’re working on just to take a quick glance at what’s happening on another app. This is a time-saver.

Floating apps is a godsend 

When those floating apps are inactive, they sit in the right-hand side of the screen. The most recent app you used for multi-window is the icon that will show up on top. But the rest will be right there for easy access.

This is great for toggling between multiple messaging apps. So whether you’re coordinating with your team on Slack or exchanging messages on Telegram, it’s quick and easy to do so without being completely distracted from what you’re working on.

It’s a great addition to your Huawei life 

The MatePad 11 is a big part of Huawei’s 1+8+N strategy where you can build your Huawei life starting with one of their smartphones. This extends to the secondary devices and accessories like the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro and Freebuds Pro. If you add the MatePad 11 to that equation, it makes for a seamlessly connected set of devices that’ll elevate your quality of life.

Price and availability

The Huawei MatePad 11 retails for PhP 26,999. If you purchase now, you’ll get a Dark Grey Cover (PhP 999) for free.

You can get the device on the Huawei Online Store or the official Huawei Store on Lazada and Shopee.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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First Look

realme GT Master Edition: Unboxing and First Impressions

Does it remind you of a suitcase?

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realme GT Master Edition

realme has a new phone — the realme GT Master Edition — and we’re gonna take it out of the box. We’ll also tell you what we initially think because these are the only things we’re allowed to do. For now.

The company is using all their favorite buzzwords again to generate… well… buzz for the phone. Words like disruptive, game changer, flagship experience — the works. It gets too hypey, but that’s what you gotta do to standout in an industry dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung. I digress.

Take a look at the realme GT Master Edition specs before we proceed with the unboxing:

  • Display — 6.43″ AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G
  • RAM — 8GB + up to 5GB DRE (Dynamic RAM Extension)
  • Storage — 128GB and 256GB
  • Battery — 4,300mAh, Dual-cell design, 65W SuperDart charging
  • Rear Cameras — 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.3 119° ultra-wide lens, 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
  • Selfie Camera — 32MP
  • OS — Android 11, realme UI 2.0
  • Color Options — Voyager Grey, Daybreak Blue

It came in this cool tiny travel suitcase. It’ll be a recurring theme.

realme GT Master Edition

Opening it reveals two boxes safely tucked in between foams for shock absorption.

realme GT Master Edition

The left box, as you can see, is just black with the trademark yellow realme logo. On the right side is the box of the actual phone itself.

The left box is filled with different realme items.

Some stickers, keychains, and more.

It also has printed pictures of shots taken using the realme GT Master Edition.

Now, onto the main event — the box of the phone itself.

realme GT Master Edition

Opening the box, you’ll see this warm welcoming message.

realme GT Master Edition

Inside this, you’ll find the usual documentation — warranty, manual, all that good stuff.

Lift that and you’ll be greeted by the realme GT Master Edition.

realme GT Master Edition

Wrapped in plastic with an indicator of where the in-display fingerprint sensor is located.

Lift that layer where the phones and you’ll find the plasticky case.

realme GT Master Edition

It looks exactly like the back of the phone except it’s a shade lighter and doesn’t feel quite as good.

Underneath it is the USB Type-C cable.

realme GT Master Edition

And as you may have gleaned from the photo above, the SIM tray ejector tool lies under it.

 

 

realme GT Master Edition

When you life the case, you’ll see the 65W SuperDart power brick.

realme GT Master Edition

That’s it for everything inside the box. Now let’s look at the phone.

Here’s a good look at the back of the realme GT Master Edition.

realme GT Master Edition

As mentioned earlier, the whole suitcase and travel thing is the main theme of this phone’s design. The horizontal grids were meant to replicate the look of a suitcase to trigger the thought of travel. It’s kind of cruel given the general travel restrictions still imposed on us because of the pandemic. But maybe that’s just me.

Signed by Naoto Fukasawa.

realme GT Master Edition

Responsible for the design is Naoto Fukasawa. He even signed the thing on the back. It’s a puzzling move to say the least. I’m fairly certain 90 percent of the people who will end up purchasing this phone will have zero idea who Fukasawa is. But congrats, you have his autograph now!

Fukasawa is a Japanese industrial designer. He is most known for his works with retail company MUJI. Now, I’m sure a lot of you will be familiar with MUJI. Even then, I don’t think the idea of a renowned designer’s signature being on your phone’s back is something you’ll find thrilling or enticing.

realme continues to make these wild choices for back designs. It’s brave and bold which is in keeping with their whole approach. Personally, these aren’t things I find appealing. Then again, an oldie like me is likely not their target market. I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Looks aside, that back feels great

realme says it’s called the concave vegan leather — the first of its kind in the smartphone industry. I’m not gonna pretend to understand the whole process so here’s an excerpt from realme’s infosheet explaining the thing:

“realme has adopted a more challenging way – the polymer material is turned into an initial three-dimensional shape through the injection molding process, and then use the hot pressing process to synthesize the vegan leather with the substrate, and finally achieve the integrated concave vegan leather shape.

Did you get that? Basically, all of that was needed to achieve the uneven finish with the feel of leather. It’s a lot to take in but all you need to know is that it feels great to touch and isn’t slippery at all.

Bottom: Speaker grille, USB-C port, and suprise — 3.5mm headphone jack.

realme GT Master Edition

Button placements are your usual. Power button on the right side and the volume buttons as well as the SIM card tray on the left side.

Here’s the realme GT Master Edition with the case on.

realme GT Master Edition

It mimics the look of concave vegan leather but feels nowhere near it. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend using this case if you want to preserve that leather feeling. Really wish realme came up with vegan leather case too.

The phone’s wallpaper looks like a pavement.

realme GT Master Edition

Points for consistency, I guess? It’s running Android 11 with a coat of realme UI 2.0. If you’re an OPPO user, this UI going to feel familiar. It’s almost like ColorOS which isn’t a bad thing. The whole UI feels clean and easy to navigate.

What’s surprising are the overwhelming number of apps pre-installed. Sure, you have ones that you’ll likely install like Facebook, Messenger, and Netflix. But for every one of those useful apps, there’s a couple more that’s just flat out bloatware. There are also incessant notifications about apps you can download from their App Market. I know “disrupting” is their thing but maybe not like this?

Cameras to die for?

realme GT Master Edition

realme made a big deal about the back design and just as much as they did, they also said the cameras on this thing are fantastic. Hence, the inclusion of printed photos taken with it in this special unboxing package. We have no samples to show you just yet. We’ll take a step outside, observing health and safety protocols of course, to see if we can come up with stunning images ourselves.

The realme GT Master Edition (that’s a mouthful) is a decently-sized smartphone with concave vegan leather for its back that feels absolutely fantastic. It has an overall clean UI that’s bogged down a little bit by bloatware. We’ll explore its performance and camera prowess in the review. By that time, we’ll also know how its price so watch out for it.

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Accessories

Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM4?

Here’s a quick guide

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Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony is back again with another top-of-the-line pair of true wireless (TWS) earbuds and it’s one that’s worthy of your consideration. Roughly a couple of years after the launch of the Sony WF-1000XM4, we now have the Sony WF-1000XM4. Should you spend your hard earned cash on it? That’s what we’ll try to answer.

We do have a pretty comprehensive review of the WF-1000XM4. But if that’s a little too long for you, consider this article the TLDR. Let’s dive right in.

It’s within your budget

It should go without saying but in hard times such as now, one shouldn’t mindlessly splurge on the shiniest new tech out there. That said, if you can shell out PhP 13,999 (US$ 280 / SG$ 379 / MYR 1099) then by all means, grab this pair. It’s easily one of the best devices in its category and is definitely worth every penny.

You’re an Android user

Sony WF-1000XM4

STAYC’s “Stereotype” is bop. Give it a listen.

Sony has this tech called LDAC. While it’s not exactly hi-res audio, it’s likely the closest thing to it. Here’s an entire explainer from the SoundGuys if you want a deep dive on it. And sadly, this format isn’t supported by any iPhone as of writing. To experience the absolute best audio quality that the WF-1000XM4 has to offer, you’re better off being on Android.

Now, that’s not to say it’s terrible on iPhones or any other device. In fact, we’ve used this on both an iPhone and a Mac and the audio quality is still a blessing to the ears. You’re not getting the ‘absolute best’ but it’s still better than most others.

You care about the environment

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony moved away from the usual box you expect from devices of this caliber. Instead, they’re using recycled packaging for the WF-1000XM4. It’s plastic free and is made from a special blend of paper.

It’s a move to the more sustainable side of things and it’s one we’re totally down with. Besides, if you’re looking for that premier feeling, there’s no shortage of that on the device itself.

You’re not a fan of the AirPods design

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 with the Huawei Freebuds Pro. Don’t have AirPods on hand, sorry.

Pretty much every other manufacturer who jumped on the TWS market followed Apple’s cue. That means TWS earbuds that have a stem. While we’ve gotten used to the look over the years, the general perception is still that if it has a stem, it’s an AirPods copycat. This despite other brands giving their own spin on it.

The stem isn’t just for show though. For most of these earbuds, they serve as a mic. During our tests, they’ve generally performed better in call situations over ones that don’t have them.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is still pretty decent for voice and video calls, so if you can live with that and want something that doesn’t stick out of your ear too much, then this is the choice for you.

You want something for multiple uses

Multiple uses in every kind of sense. The WF-1000XM4 promises up to eight hours of music playback with noise cancellation switched on, and the case can supply an additional 16 hours of battery life via charging. That’s pretty consistent with our usage.

Trust us, you’re not gonna have these on for eight hours straight anyway. With its IPX4 rating, it’s water resistant enough to take with you for workouts. After freshening up from exercise, you can use it for a few work meetings here and there. And then you can cap your day by listening to your favorite podcast or music — for us, it’s been a heavy dose of TWICE tracks, STAYC’s “Stereotype” and some Slow Jams to put us to bed.

That’s what regular daily use looks like. And we’ve only had to charge the device after two to three days. Of course, that’ll vary depending on your usage — which, no matter what that may be, the WF-1000XM4 can handle mightily.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM4 review: Simply the best

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