Features

9 smartphones from 2016 that still matter

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2017 has been an incredible year for smartphones. Bezels are getting smaller, cameras are breaking new grounds, and artificial intelligence is playing a bigger role. Don’t think for a second, however, that last year’s handsets are any less relevant.

Despite their age, the phones listed here are still solid choices for your next purchase. Some are a lot cheaper now, but be warned: They may also be more difficult to find now.

Here they are in no particular order:

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

This was the first choice to come to mind when compiling this list. The iPhone 7 Plus is an excellent option to this day for two reasons: It looks identical to this year’s iPhone 8 Plus, and it’s much cheaper than the iPhone X. Updating to iOS 11 will also make it feel like a newer phone.

REVIEW: Apple iPhone 7 Plus

LG V20

LG V20

LG’s V20 symbolizes the end of an era; it’s the last flagship smartphone from a major brand to house a removable battery. But that isn’t the V20’s only claim to fame. It also delivers an excellent video and audio experience, as well as an underrated secondary screen for faster multitasking.

REVIEW: LG V20

Huawei Mate 9

As great as the Mate 10 series is, we must not forget how well-rounded the Mate 9 was. Even though the bezels aren’t up to today’s standards, the extra-large build feels lovely in one’s hand. Mix in the dual-camera setup and its revolutionary machine learning software, and you have a handset that keeps getting better.

REVIEW: Huawei Mate 9

Google Pixel

You don’t have to look any further than all the camera shootouts the Pixel won to see how great of a camera-phone it is. To this day, we still use the original Pixel for shoots and recording Facebook Live shows. And it’s got something the newer Pixel 2 doesn’t have: a 3.5mm audio port.

REVIEW: Google Pixel

ASUS ZenFone 3

Our one complaint about the ZenFone 3 when it first launched was its price. But now that it’s discounted, we’re looking at a great all-around phone. Its Snapdragon 625 processor and 4GB of memory are still the standard setup most midrange handsets follow today, and the build quality is as premium as ever.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone 3

Moto Z

Moto Z

At first glance, the Moto Z doesn’t stand out in this cutthroat list; however, its edge comes in the form of Moto Mods. Even the newer modular accessories work with the aging handset, making this an affordable yet powerful gateway to the world of feature-rich attachments.

REVIEW: Moto Z

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

It’s easy to forget how the Galaxy series once looked now that the Infinity Display of the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 are engraved in our minds. And yet, the Galaxy S7 Edge is still a beautifully shaped device with a conveniently placed front-mounted fingerprint scanner. The planned update to Android Oreo will raise its stock even higher.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

OnePlus 3T

If there was one smartphone that was a cut above the rest in 2016, it was the OnePlus 3T. As an improvement over the original OnePlus 3, the newer version had it all: a reliable camera, impeccable build quality, the fastest interface of its time, above average battery life, and a mouthwatering price for its specs.

REVIEW: OnePlus 3T 

Xiaomi Mi Max

It was tough choosing just one Xiaomi phone from their comprehensive 2016 roster — the Mi Mix and Redmi 4 Prime came to mind, as well — but the Mi Max won out for being their best multimedia option. The massive screen and generous battery capacity make this the go-to choice for movie watching and gaming on the go.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi Max

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First Look

ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip Unboxing and First Impressions

It comes with a special case!

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Zenfone 8 Flip

“Oooh what’s in the box?” is what I imagine most of you say whenever a new device comes out. So, for the Zenfone 8 Flip, we’ll show you what you can expect should you decide to cop the latest from ASUS.

This is the box. Pretty standard, with the 8 on top.

Zenfone 8 Flip

The inside follows the same color and brushed-cement looking finish. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

I totally just made-up “brushed-cement” but it’s the only thing I can think of to describe the look.

First thing in the packaging is a packet with the SIM tray ejector tool.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Inside it are the user guide and the special case.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Underneath the packet is the Zenfone 8 Flip itself. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

We’re gonna dive straight into the phone. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It has quite a glossy glass finish. That means smudges. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

That’s icky

The power button has a bright blue tint that stands out from the rest of the device. 

Zenfone 8 FlipSitting right on top of it are the volume rockers.

The bottom has the usual USB-C port and speaker grille.

Zenfone 8 Flip

While the left side has the SIM tray. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

Here’s a closer look at the Flip camera module. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

And here it is actually flipped. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

What’s cool is you control the angle of flipping.
Zenfone 8 Flip

Here it is with the case on. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It has a stopper to keep the module from flipping.

Zenfone 8 Flip

And the phone knows when it’s on. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It’ll give you this prompt if you switch to ‘selfie’ on the camera app with the stopper equipped. 

Zenfone 8 FlipPretty cool, yeah?

This is what the home screen looks like. That wallpaper is actually animated. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

You also have the a USB-C cable

And a power adapter.

That’s everything inside the box!

Zenfone 8 Flip

First Impressions 

The ASUS Zenfone Flip 8 has some heft to it. Perhaps that’s to be expected given the Flip camera module. Speaking of, that camera module has a way of making you want to use it. I’m not one for selfies but I took a few for a quick test run along with some other quick snaps.

Selfies

Main camera, HDR off

Ultra-wide, HDR off 

Ultra-wide, auto HDR

Main camera, auto HDR 

Ultra-wide, auto HDR 

Indoors, Main camera 

Indoors, Portrait 

Bright light indoors

Some observations: The post-processing after you take photos does A LOT of work whether or not you have HDR turned on or off. This results in high contrast and sharpened images. On the contrary, using the same camera but with portrait mode, the resulting image looks softer.

This isn’t a good look for the image processing and I can see people opting to use Google Camera instead of the stock one on the phone.

Performance-wise, we haven’t spent a significant amount of time with the device but the whole thing feels snappy and buttery-smooth. So, it’s par for the course for something flagship. The display does look sharp and pleasing to the eyes. It is, after all, Samsung AMOLED.

That’s all we have on the Zenfone 8 Flip for now. Stay tuned for the review.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Here’s a quick look at the specs of the Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip side by side.

Zenfone 8 Zenfone Flip 8
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Display 5.9” Samsung AMOLED, 120Hz 6.67” Samsung AMOLED, 90Hz
OS Android 11, Zen UI 8 Android 11, Zen UI 8
Configuration 6GB + 128GB

8GB +128GB

8GB + 256GB

16GB + 256GB

*No storage expansion

8GB +256GB

*Up to 2TB storage expansion via MicroSD

Battery 4,000mAh 5,000mAh
Cameras 64MP Sony IMX686

12MP Ultra-wide

12MP front-facing

64MP Sony IMX686

12MP Ultra-wide

8MP telephoto

*Flip camera module

Pricing and availability details to follow.


Watch our Zenfone 8 review

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Reviews

ASUS Zenfone 8 Review: Tiny but Mighty

The compact flagship

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Zenfone 8

In a sea full of big smartphones, ASUS made a detour with the Zenfone 8 by making it smaller than its previous Zenfone 7 predecessor.

Packed with flagship specs such as Snapdragon 888, 16GB of RAM and a 120Hz display, it’s simply their best and most compact phone to date.

But how did ASUS managed to fit in all these powerful internals in such a compact body? Watch our full review video of the ASUS Zenfone 8 to know more.

SEE ALSO: Zenfone 8 Flip Unboxing and First Impressions

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Features

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G: Redefining gaming phones

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galaxy a52

Mobile games are convenient, portable, and efficient. You can play anywhere and any time instead of being tied to your desktop or console. On top of all that, it’s also mostly for free so, despite the memes and childish slap fights, getting a proper gaming phone has been a legitimate hunt for some people.

As the mobile gaming scene gained traction over the years, gaming brands have released top-performing phones with pretty high price tags. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a ton of casual players or hopeful esports pro players who want to get their hands on something more affordable.

Surprise, surprise! There are top-performing phones out there that may not come from the gaming fan service brands but can do just as well. Enter the Galaxy A52 5G.

No fuss, all game buffs

galaxy a52

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G isn’t marketed as a gaming phone but it features specs suited for people looking for a more affordable and well-rounded phone.

It has a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display and sports a 120Hz refresh rate. The phone display is capable of reaching 800 nits of brightness. So, expect this midranger to unapologetically flaunt buttery smooth graphics perfect for stunning playthroughs.

galaxy a52

Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G sports an octa-core processor, along with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. That’s more than your storage and processing power than any other mid-range phone. And, more than enough storage for your daily use and play.

If you’re somehow missing out on more space, it also comes with a MicroSD slot that supports up to 1TB of storage. On top of all that, it’s equipped with a 4,500mAh battery, giving you uninterrupted day-to-day use.

Games you can play

galaxy a52

With its processor, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G can handle more than you’d expect. Samsung brought the big guns for the Galaxy A52 5G with their octa-core processor. With League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and PUBG Mobile as the most played competitive games people play on; it doesn’t stutter or struggle.

The lengths of mobile gaming doesn’t end there. More artsy games like Florence and Sky can be played on the Galaxy A52 5G with ease. And, they look nothing short of stunning.

The Galaxy A52 5G is decked out with 120Hz refresh rate capabilities. So, everything looks buttery smooth and detailed with whatever game you play on it. That’ll come in handy when you’re in the mood for competitive play. If you’re worried about the battery life, you can scrap the plug, in “plug and play” for this one, because the battery manages well with day-to-day gameplay.

Photo perfect?

galaxy a52

One feature that most gaming phones don’t necessarily sell out on is the camera. The Galaxy A52 5G sports a quad-camera system: a 64-megapixel main camera with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with a 123-degree field of view, a 5-megapixel dedicated macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor.

On its front, it houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera located on a punch-hole cut-out. Check out the samples below:

Main camera

Macro

Zoom 2X, 4X and 10X

Food

Low light

Landscape wide

Panorama

Night mode

Portrait: Cat

galaxy a52

Main Camera: Person with Auto HDR Off

galaxy a52

Selfie

galaxy a52
Not your typical gaming phone

The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is a pretty impressive phone. Most gaming phones get away with some features faltering into the sidelines, with gameplay features taking the forefront of the phones’ priorities.

However, with the Galaxy A52 5G, you get the full package of top-performing features people want from a regular phone. From immersive watch time, to quality photos, to playing on your phone, this mid-ranger takes the cake.

galaxy a52

On top of all that, this phone stands out when watching Netflix or listening to podcasts on speaker with Dolby Atmos. Essentially, you get a smooth and responsive display, decent storage, reliable battery life, decent quad-camera set-up, and good audio.

Is the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for an affordable gaming phone with all the same bells and whistles you’d look for on a flagship gaming phone, this is it. It delivers all its features without selling itself out as a gaming phone because, we would argue, it’s technically more than just that.

galaxy a52

If this is just what you’re looking for, the Galaxy A52 5G costs PhP 23,990 SRP. The 5G compatibility makes this phone slightly more expensive than its sibling. But, it still costs a fraction of any ungodly RGB-vomiting-rainbow-gamer phone out there.


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Samsung Philippines.

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