Features

8 things you must know about Android 8.0 Oreo

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The newest Android name has just been officially announced! Version 8.0 of the mobile operating system has a dessert name of Oreo, so what’s there to know?

Here are eight of the most important ones:

It’s the second Android version to use a brand name

We were rooting for Google to use “Oreo” for its eighth Android version, which hits the letter O in the alphabet, and they did! Most Android names are generic treats like Marshmallow and Nougat, so this should be something special!

This is not the first time that Google used a brand name — remember KitKat? Version 4.4 of Android was a marketing hit due to the agreement between Google and Nestle/Hershey to produce limited edition KitKat candy bars and collectibles.

Manufacturers are already working on updates

In the Android universe, a new version means another round of waiting for the update to reach your phone — unless you have a Google Pixel or Nexus device. So far, these manufacturers are scheduled to update or launch an Android Oreo device:

  • Essential
  • General Mobile
  • HMD Global Home of Nokia Phones
  • Huawei
  • HTC
  • Kyocera
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Samsung
  • Sharp
  • Sony

If you’re wondering if your phone is part of the list destined to have Android Oreo, check out our list of devices that’ll receive the update.

Android Oreo promises longer battery life

As always, a new release promises longer battery life. With Android Oreo, Google has made improvements by limiting the activity of apps running in the background. True multitasking has always been a key feature of Android, but it consumes too much juice. Don’t worry, your 6GB or 8GB memory will not be put to waste; they’ll be just used more efficiently.

Picture-in-picture mode and notification dots are exciting and useful

Speaking of multitasking, the famous picture-in-picture (PIP) feature is going live on Android Oreo. It allows you to continue watching videos while using another app without having to hit pause. A shrunken video window appearing on top of other apps will let you do more while watching, and it’s perfect for YouTube, Netflix, and even video calling. Notifications got even better, too — you can check more with fewer taps.

Google redesigns and adds more emojis!

When the Android O Developer Preview was released to the public, we witnessed the farewell of Android’s unique blob emoji. The cute blobs were replaced with a redesigned emoji set that is more consistent with those from iOS, Twitter, Facebook, Samsung, and more. Android Oreo also gets 60+ new ones because we just can’t get enough of the overwhelming amount of emoji available.

Expect a cleaner home screen with adaptive icons

This feature is not exactly grand, but it’ll make a big difference to the unsightly icons that developers and users overlook. Apple’s iOS looks tidy and neat due to its uniform size and shape of icons. As for Android, it’s always a mess! With Android 8.0’s adaptive launcher icons, users will see a more consistent set of icons. It’ll not be as monotonous as iOS, as the icons will still come in various shapes.

Project Treble will deliver faster Android updates

Project Treble is the biggest change to the foundations of Android, according to Google themselves. While it may be the biggest, it’s something the end user might not notice. With Android O, Google worked closely together with device makers and processor manufacturers to address the concern of rolling out new updates. Project Treble takes on a modular approach by re-architecting Android updates, thus making it easier and less costly for manufacturers.

No news if it’s coming to Android One devices

Android One is still surviving, but we’ve yet to hear any confirmation that phones under this flag will get Android O. If we’re to base how Android One benefits the user, it should be able to get the update on newer models. Google is also working on a similar approach of giving the best possible Android experience on affordable devices with Android Go, but details about it are still limited.

SEE ALSO: List of devices getting Android 8.0 Oreo

[irp posts=”18548" name=”List of devices getting Android 8.0 Oreo”]

Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

December 2019 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 200 to US$ 400.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Realme XT (US$ 333)

The Realme XT is our choice for best smartphone with a 64MP camera. This smartphone produces flagship-level photos.

REVIEW: Realme XT

Xiaomi Mi 9 SE (US$ 300)

Xiaomi has always been a part of the list and the Mi 9 SE truly deserves its spot. It’s a flagship-grade phone from its design to its specs. It’s dubbed as a “compact flagship” thanks to its smaller-than-usual form factor. If you’re looking for a phone that won’t hurt your pockets both in size and price, check out the Mi 9 SE.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi 9 SE

Realme 5 Pro (US$ 232)

A quadruple-camera setup at this price point seems unlikely but Realme made it happen. And it’s not just the setup, the lenses actually take photos with good image quality. That would have been enough to recommend this but it also has a Snapdragon 712 AIE chip with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. If you’re looking for a great deal, this is it.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5 Pro

ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 (US$ 245)

While not as affordable as its predecessor, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 still does several things most phones can’t even dream of at this price point. We get an upper-midrange chip, large 5000mAh battery, versatile cameras, and a pure take on Android.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2

Huawei Nova 5T (US$ 367)

Huawei managed to put a flagship-level chip with a glass back and with triple cameras on a midrange phone. These are things you expect from brands like Xiaomi but Huawei was able to pull it off as well.

READ: Huawei Nova 5T

Samsung Galaxy A50s (US$ 345)

Samsung’s pivot to the A series has been fantastic and the Galaxy A50s is another proof of that. It’s a refinement of everything that was good with the Galaxy A50. If you’re a die-hard Samsung fan looking for a midrange phone, the Galaxy A50s is a solid option.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A50s

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

December 2019 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

Redmi Note 8 (US$ 155)

The Redmi Note 8 is proof that you can put quality cameras on a budget smartphone. It has a 48MP main shooter which is what you’ll find on most flagships and midrangers. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC, it should also have no trouble handling basic gaming and other tasks you do on your phone.

READ: Redmi Note 8

ASUS ZenFone Max M2 (US$ 175)

We were disappointed to find out that the ZenFone Max Pro M2 went above the US$ 200 mark, but we still have the non-Pro Max M2 to buy at this price point. Fortunately, the fast Snapdragon 632 processor, large 4000mAh battery, and dual rear cameras remain.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max M2

OPPO A5s (US$ 117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Realme 5 (US$ 154)

Realme is giving Xiaomi a run for its money on our top-of-mind easy phones to recommend. The Realme 5 is a real treat for people looking for a budget smartphone that provides more than what they need.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5

Samsung Galaxy A20 (US$ 190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20

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Best Smartphones

Best Upper-Midrange Smartphones from $400 to $600

December 2019 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best upper-midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 400 to US$ 600.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Redmi K20 Pro (US$ 364)

With the future of Pocophone up in the air, the Redmi K20 Pro fills the category that the sub-brand created for itself. On paper, it’s equipped with flagship specs but without the price tag usually associated with top of the line smartphones.

READ: Redmi K20 Pro

Realme X2 Pro (CNY 3299)

The Realme X2 Pro has flagship killer written all over it. Equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ and a 64MP camera sensor along with three other cameras, this phone promises to be a powerhouse with a price tag that doesn’t require sacrificing any of your internal organs.

HANDS-ON: Realme X2 Pro

Google Pixel 3a (US$ 399)

Years after the death of the Nexus line, Google has finally unleashed a more affordable Pixel phone that still has the same great set of cameras. While the body is now plastic and the processor isn’t as fast, the Pixel 3a still runs circles around the competition at this price point.

REVIEW: Google Pixel 3a

Xiaomi Mi 9 (EUR 449)

Xiaomi once again brings the latest and fastest processor available to the midrange segment. That’s right: The Mi 9 has the Snapdragon 855 chipset, and it doesn’t cost a fortune. Not only that, Xiaomi’s flagship also has speedy wireless charging and class-leading cameras.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi 9

OnePlus 7T (US$ 599)

When the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro came out, the company wanted to clearly communicate that they’re competing in the premium space. Fast forward to the OnePlus 7T and it looks like they are back to their flagship killing ways offering premium-level specs at a price lower than most top-of-the-line flagships.

UNBOXING & HANDS-ON: OnePlus 7

ASUS ZenFone 6 (EUR 499)

ASUS wowed us with the ZenFone 6 and its new Flip Camera. The unique mechanism of the phone’s camera not only allows a notch-free display, but it also lets users take incredible selfies using the primary shooters. Also, ASUS has blessed its new smartphone with the latest specs possible at a competitive price point.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone 6

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