2019 iPhones will look just like 2018 models, and that’s fine

Don’t get too excited



We’re still about eight months away before the next batch of iPhones arrive, but it’s looking like there isn’t much to be excited about.

A report by Bloomberg claims that the highest-end iPhone of 2019 will come with three cameras on the rear, backing a previous leak showing what could be the design of this particular model.

This will presumably be the update to last year’s iPhone XS Max. Its third camera is said to allow wider angles and greater pixel capture for automatic photo and video repair using software. Combined with the traditional regular and telephoto camera setup, this would give the new beefed-up iPhone a larger shooting range and more editing flexibility.

It’ll be followed by successors to the iPhone XS and XR. Unfortunately, these models may have their upgrades purely internal, with no change in exterior looks. We’re expecting a faster processor and an improved Live Photos feature that doubles the video length.

While there’s still lots of time for Apple to jam more features into the next set of iPhones, multiple reports believe that the Cupertino company is saving its best hand for 2020. Next year’s models will be the ones with 5G connectivity, an augmented reality-enabled 3D camera, and possibly a USB-C port in place of Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector.

That’ll be a problem for this year’s models, which may end up being the third year in a row that we’ll see the same notched aesthetic. It’s reminiscent of the iPhone 7 from 2016, a transitionary device between the form-changing iPhone 6 and iPhone X. Three years after that, we may be seeing the third part of another three-year cycle.

“We may be seeing the third part of another three-year cycle.”

However, if Apple really were to take a short break in innovation, now’s the best time to do so.

The company has been at the negative end of news lately. Even though they’ve been raking in loads of cash en route to their trillion dollar valuation, key markets aren’t receiving iPhones as well as they used to, if at all.

Apple has gradually been losing grip of the world’s second-largest consumer market, while the biggest market in Asia as well as the most powerful in Europe have been banning certain iPhone models. Apple CEO Tim Cook already acknowledged these issues, pointing fingers at lost court battles and the aftermath of the highly documented iPhone slowdown fiasco.

In addition, the brand is being hit with lots of controversy regarding user privacy. After hearing bold claims such as “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone,” users then experienced one of the most damaging bugs to ever grace iPhones in the form of a FaceTime glitch that would let anyone listen in on them without their consent.

Outside the realm of smartphones, consumers simply want to know what’s up with bent iPad Pro units out of the box and the missing-in-action AirPower wireless charging pad that was announced a couple of years ago. Apple’s PR hasn’t been doing a great job at crowd control, either discrediting defects or keeping silent altogether.

The issues are numerous, and rivals are taking advantage of the situation. But that doesn’t mean Apple has to shock the world with the next big product just yet.

Instead, the company has to take a step back and find its footing. Like how the most recent iOS version took care of persistent software issues rather than reshape the mobile operating system, Apple needs to regroup before venturing into yet another full redesign of the annual iPhone.

“Apple needs to regroup before venturing into yet another full redesign of the annual iPhone.”

Before injecting new iPhones with 5G and USB-C ports — both of which are sure to bolster user experience yet add more potential controversy — it may be in everyone’s best interest to sort what’s currently on the table and get ready for a more prosperous 2020.

I for one can’t wait to see how the iPhone XX (double meaning since it’s releasing in 2020) chargers through a USB-C MacBook charger or on top of an AirPower, all while staying connected to the latest in 5G technology.

For all that to simultaneously happen, however, Apple needs more time.


ROG Phone II Hands-on

Console replacement?



Is there a place for gaming phones in 2019? ASUS believes so. In fact they’re so bullish about the mobile gaming industry that they’re giving their gaming phone an update!

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Special thanks to The Unlockr David Cogen for helping create this video.

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ASUS ROG Phone II Hands-On: The ultimate in mobile gaming

With new and improved accessories too



Is there a place for gaming phones in 2019? ASUS believes so. In fact they’re so bullish about the mobile gaming industry that they’re giving their gaming phone an update. This is our ROG Phone II hands-on.

At first glance, it’s not very different from last year’s model and that’s intentional. Their focus hasn’t been to rework the wheel but to make the original even better.

The phone is now taller, giving it that now popular 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. It’s built tough with a Gorilla Glass 6 display and is intentionally flashy with RGB lighting baked into the logo on its back with ROG’s trademark styling.

Best display on a smartphone today

The flat all screen display is edge-to-edge except for its top and bottom. ASUS said this is a design decision so that gripping the phone doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.

It also leaves room for the dual front firing speakers and a selfie camera. It’s strategically placed so game streamers can play and stream at the same time.

The panel itself is impressive possibly the best we’ve seen on a smartphone today. It’s the world’s first 120Hz AMOLED display on a smartphone with a super fast one millisecond response time.

It not only gives you buttery smooth transitions, but combined with ultra low touch latency, it’s supposedly also going to give you an advantage when pulling the trigger in a head-to-head shooting game. This HDR display is glorious. Colors pop and images are rich and vibrant. It’s my new favorite display and is perfect whether you’re watching videos or playing games.

Baked into the display is a fingerprint scanner which, based on our initial tests, is quick and snappy.

Performance fit for the most competitive gamers

When it launches, the ROG Phone II will also be one of the most powerful smartphones in the market today. Topping early benchmark tests versus other flagships including the Galaxy S10+ from Samsung and the OnePlus 7 Pro.

It’s powered by an updated version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 — the 855 Plus which is even faster. Coupled with an updated Adreno 640, it’s promising a 15 percent GPU performance.

A completely souped up model will have 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The phone promises to handle any power intensive game you throw at it with not only fast frame rates but also a commitment to sustained performance across long gaming sessions.

To keep its internals running at optimal condition the phone offers three steps of cooling: First with a 3D Vapor Chamber, second with a built-in heat sink and vents on its back cover, and third via an attachment called the Aero Active Cooler II. With all of these working together, ASUS promises unbeatable performance.

A battery that can handle all that power

So what about battery life? Surely all of this performance power will take a toll on battery life? Nope. The ROG Phone 2 will come with a massive 6000mAh battery. That’s 2000mAh more than most flagships these days.

ASUS is promising 7.1 hours of battery life when playing something like PUBG. What excites me the most is that non-gamers could potentially get two days of more than average use.

The phone also comes with fast charging support built in. A full charge will take one hour and 21 minutes.

More love for gamers

There is much more gamers will love about the new ROG Phone II. ASUS kept the Dual USB-C ports — one on the bottom of the phone and one on its side. This means you can charge the device and continue playing any which way you like.

I also particularly like the improved air triggers that let you control your game by tapping either top side of your phone in landscape mode. Along with an improved vibration motor, the phone feels more like a game controller than ever before.

It’s clear that this isn’t your average phone. It’s one built specifically for gamers. But having said all that ASUS says it’s not just the best gaming phone. It’s a great flagship too!

To ensure the experience is top notch. They gave the ROG Phone II the same impressive camera that’s on the Zenfone 6. Except for its flipping mechanism of course.

A 48MP main camera and a 13MP ultra wide secondary camera. Take a look at some sample photos.

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On the front of the phone is a 24MP selfie camera. Here are some selfie samples.

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The ROG Phone Ecosystem

Depending on how you like to play, ASUS attempted to cater to every game style with a range of accessories made specifically for the ROG Phone II.

The new Kunai gamepad comes with controllers that snap on to a bumper reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch. You can also attach the controllers to the Kunai Holder and use them as you would a gamepad.

The Twin View Dock from last year has also been updated making it lighter and easier to use. It can also be used in conjunction with the GamePad.

Other accessories include the Aero Active Cooler II, Aero Case, and the Lighting Armor Case. Older accessories like the desktop dock, Pro Dock, and the WiGig Display Dock Plus also support this new model.

Is the ROG Phone II your GadgetMatch?

Let me start by saying this phone isn’t for everyone. From the way it looks, to some of its standout feature, these are things that appeal to a very special kind of user.

If you’re the type who is serious about mobile gaming then it definitely is going to be a good investment. If you’re not a gamer but care about things like a great display and ultra long battery life this might be a phone worth considering also.

Representatives from ASUS tell me that once the phone rolls out globally this September there will also be an option to change its interface to the stock-like ZenUI for a more everyday smartphone feel. That’s good news too.

The ROG Phone II launches in China this week. The Global Version is coming first week of September – our review video will drop around the same time.

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BLACKPINK unboxes their own edition of the Samsung Galaxy A80

Spoiler alert: It has a different content inside




In case you missed it, BLACKPINK members were chosen as Samsung’s A-series ambassadors, thus the reason for the spectacular performance at the Galaxy A event last April.

After a few months, Samsung also launched a special BLACKPINK edition of the Galaxy A80. It was first available in Thailand, then it also made its way to other Southeast Asian markets.

Samsung and TikTok then partnered up and made the Galaxy A80’s slide and swiveling camera movement a dance challenge, giving BLINKs the chance to win the phone with the BLACKPINK branding.

The serious endorsement makes sense especially because Samsung and BLACKPINK are both considered icons of Hallyu (한류) or K-Wave.

Meet the BLACKPINK members: Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo and Rosé (L-R)

All BLACKPINK members were excited to unbox their special edition phone.

As you can see, the boxes are different. BLACKPINK has their own special pink box with a fancier design.


For clarification, the usual pink box consists of the BLACKPINK charging stand, case, and a random photo card.

Meanwhile, BLACKPINK’s Special Edition Box includes not just the Galaxy A80, but also the BLACKPINK-branded Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Buds.

The BLACKPINK logo can be found at the phone’s back and during its initial boot up.

The members were astounded when they saw themselves on the phone’s lock and home screens. The BLACKPINK theme was already set upon turning on the phone.

The BLACKPINK Galaxy Buds is something you can’t get from the other package. It stands out with its black and pink-colored buds (BLINKs would definitely flex this!). The AirPods could never. 👀

Aside from Jisoo wearing the watch, it’s more special because the strap is in BLACKPINK’s official pink color.

Whether that may just be the case or the special Galaxy Buds, BLINKs (including me) would still spoil ourselves with goodies related to BLACKPINK.


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