I make it no secret that the Google Pixel was, to me, one of the best smartphones of 2017 — along with the OnePlus 3 and 3T, of course. And yet, it came with its fair share of flaws that the successor could potentially rectify for an even better experience.
The Pixel 2 and its larger equivalent (Pixel XL 2? Pixel 2 XL?) will arrive on October 4. Unlike the iPhone X launch, however, leaks for the pair have been scarce, with only a handful of renders floating around the web giving us clues.
Even info on the partner manufacturers have been kept under wraps. Rumors point to HTC coming back to create the smaller Pixel, while LG will try their hand at making a Pixel from what they’ve learned designing the V30.
In any case, we’re half a month away from the big reveal, and I’ve compiled my wishlist for what will hopefully be 2017’s best phone.
Please trim the bezels
I think we can all agree that no phone looks more last year than the original Pixel. The thick bezels on the top and bottom with nothing maximizing their space — like stereo speakers or a fingerprint scanner — got scrutinized by critics and consumers alike.
Now that most major brands have jumped on the near-borderless bandwagon, it’s only natural for Google to follow suit. The render above was leaked by Android Police a couple of months ago; it still has that Pixel aesthetic minus the unsightly bezels, but we can’t say for certain if this design will fly. Hopefully, Google has more planned out.
Please make them water-resistant
Another weakness the Pixel phones shared was the lack of any level of water and dust resistance. Yes, this was 2016, but rivals Samsung and Apple added the feature on their own phones at that point after Sony popularized it.
With HTC and LG expected to take the helm and having produced the water-resistant U11 and V30, respectively, chances are high for this feature to pull through for both Pixels. They better.
Please don’t touch the 3.5mm audio port
What do the newly released iPhone X, Essential PH-1, and HTC U11 have in common? You guessed it: no port for headphones and speakers.
Leaked case renders for the Pixel 2 hint at the exclusion of the port, since there’s only one gap that’s seemingly reserved for the more vital USB-C port. I’ve already invested in Bluetooth headphones in anticipation of this year’s complete shift to wireless audio, but unless Google promises a much larger battery capacity in exchange for the loss, I’d rather keep the hole.
Please make them easier to buy
Whether it was Google’s fault for not anticipating the demand of their first-ever smartphone (not counting the Nexus line) or HTC simply not being fast enough in manufacturing, the Pixel and Pixel XL were so difficult to find in stores — especially for the larger storage variants and that Really Blue color.
With more experience under their belt and the possibility of two factories producing the Pixels, this shouldn’t be an issue anymore. And if we’re going to be optimistic, more widespread international availability would be great, as well.
Please focus on designing the best smartphone camera ever
Fun fact: The two top-rated smartphone cameras in the world are created by Google and HTC, based on DxOMark’s ratings. We shouldn’t expect anything less than stellar from the next flagship produced by the two companies.
The question is: Do we want dual cameras on the new Pixel pair? I’m a firm believer that two cameras working in tandem don’t necessarily equate to better image quality — as the original Pixel has proven — but settling for a single shooter may hold back certain sought-after features, something like the iPhone X’s portrait mode and Galaxy Note 8’s optical zoom. Whatever the case, I hope Google applies the same setup for both the regular- and XL-sized models like they did last year.
I’ll be looking back on this list come October 4. Make these happen, Google!
[irp posts=”17685″ name=”HTC U11 Review: Better than the Pixel”]
realme 9i Hands-On
Solid as usual
The realme 9i is the “little brother” in the realme 9 series. And while it doesn’t pack the same punch as its pro siblings – the realme 9 Pro and realme 9 pro+ – there’s enough here for anyone who just needs a reliable daily smartphone.
Here’s a quick look at the specs before we dive in deeper:
- 6.6-inch IPS LCD display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Qualcomm SM6225 Snapdragon 680 4G processor
- 6GB RAM with Dynamic RAM expansion feature up to 5GB
- 128GB Internal Storage
- 5,000mAh battery
- 33W Dart Charge tech
- 50MP main camera
- 2MP macro lens
- 2MP depth lens
- 16MP selfie shooter
Here are some samples for your appreciation.
Neat, simple, and elegant
The realme 9i is pretty understated in the looks department. The variant we got comes in blue and depending on how the light hits, you’ll see some lines to accentuate its back.
As for button and port placements, at the bottom you’ll find the usuas: speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack.
On the right side is the power button/fingerprint scanner.
And on the left hand side are the two, tiny volume buttons.
Overall, the realme 9i looks neat. Simple yet elegant. The camera stands out, obviously. But you can say that for most phones these days. It’s light for its size and appearance. It’s already easy to hold as is, but it’s even easier if you’re the phone-case-and-pop-up socket type of person.
Switching from one app to the other, or going back to the home screen for that matter is seamless and fast. There’s no trouble opening or loading apps so far.
The apps load from where I last left it, provided I haven’t closed all apps, cleared RAM, or optimized phone usage.
Media consumption and gaming
We enjoyed more than our fair share of watching sports highlights on the realme 9i. It pays to have a great-performing phone to not miss any action. We didn’t have any problems watching on YouTube at the highest resolution settings and at 60 fps.
Same is true for other types of content. The viewing experience was likewise seamless.
The speaker is really loud and complements the video. You don’t have to put it on max volume although it’s still of the best quality when put to max. It doesn’t break.
Playing Mobile Legends with friends and relatives on this phone is perfect even if it’s “only” a mid-level phone. The game’s graphics settings were set on default when opening from the phone. I tinkered it to HD mode with a high refresh rate and “Ultra” graphics, and it didn’t have problems throughout the game like lagging when I played.
On full standby in power saving mode without having to connect it to Wi-Fi or turn on mobile data, the phone consumes just about 5 to 10 percent of its battery power in one whole day.
When charging, it takes less than an hour to charge from 30 percent to full with its 33W fast charging.
Solid as usual
The “i” variants in realme’s numbered series phones have consistently been steady performers and the realme 9i is no different. It’s not gonna wow you with raw specs, but the overall package and performance makes it worthwhile.
The realme 9i retails for PhP 11,990. Buy it here.
vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review
vivo’s best smartphone just got even better!
The vivo X70 Pro+ was launched just several months ago. However, we’re already having a follow-up!
Namely the X80 and X80 Pro — with the latter being vivo’s latest flagship smartphone.
But what makes it different from its predecessor? And what makes the successor a lot more exciting?
Watch our vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review now to find out more!
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions
Premium, smart timepiece
Huawei has been giving us the best choices for stylish timepieces to help us reach our health and fitness goals. And they’re taking the stage again with their new flagship smartwatch — the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro.
Now let’s take a closer look at this device and check what Huawei has in store for us this time.
The GT 3 Pro comes in this sleek black box with the name of the device in gold. Through the box, we also get to know that it is powered by HarmonyOS.
Lifting the cover, you’re immediately greeted by the GT 3 Pro Titanium Edition looking classy beside a gold Huawei logo.
Pulling the tab on the right, you’ll see a smaller enclosure. Opening it up, you’ll see some paperwork, a USB-C cable and a wireless charging cradle.
Now here’s the GT 3 Pro taken out of the box. Looks premium, doesn’t it?
By examining the watch strap, you can easily tell that it’s made of genuine high-quality leather.
The Huawei branding is not seen on the strap. It’s instead engraved on the buckle.
Also unlike the previous GT 2 Pro that has the usual double crown design, the GT 3 Pro has a watch crown and a button.
The rotating crown serves as its power button and scroll and zoom wheel. Rotating it feels smooth without much resistance. But it does have haptic feedback, mimicking a mechanical feel.
Powering it up, you’re notified to get the Huawei Health app and pair it with your phone.
Once paired, you can tinker with the settings and apply customizations based on your preference and liking.
What I immediately liked with the GT 3 Pro is how classy it looks. And despite it being a big smartwatch compared to what I usually use, it feels light on my wrist.
I also can’t help but admire how clean and clear it looks with its 1.43-inch AMOLED display and sapphire glass lens.
Its body, on the other hand, is made of titanium and it has a ceramic back case to complete the premium package.
Using it for a few days, it looks like this timepiece will definitely level up my expectations for smartwatches. But I have yet to fully explore and experience everything about the GT 3 Pro that I’ll share on my hands-on review so don’t forget to also check that out.
Pricing and availability
The Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro retails for PhP 16,999 and is available in Titanium and Ceramic Edition.
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