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Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.

1. ASUS ROG Phone 2: Mobile gaming beast 

This is the most specced out phone in the world today. ASUS held nothing back when they launched the ROG Phone 2.

Just look at these specs:  Snapdragon 855 Plus, 120Hz AMOLED Display, 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, 6,000mAh battery

All of that along with a host of other features specifically on performance improvement and cooling that keeps the phone in optimal condition promises to deliver the best mobile gaming experience to date.

There are even new and improved accessories like the Kunai gamepad that makes the phone look almost like a Nintendo Switch to take your gaming experience to an even higher level!

While it’s announced globally, it’s only currently available in China and comes in different variants. We’ll likely find out global pricing at IFA in September.

2. Huawei worked with North Korea on spying tech

Huawei continues to make headlines and not in the best way.

A Washington Post report says the company worked with North Korea on spying tech. Yikes.

Huawei and North Korea’s ties began when the company helped establish Koryo link — the country’s telecommunications provider. That’s all well and good, right? However, the report says the partnership didn’t end there.

A telling internal document suggests that Huawei agreed to create an algorithm that allows the government to intercept and monitor all calls made using Koryolink. This news doesn’t bode well for Huawei who has been the star of the US government’s crackdown on cybersecurity concerning China.

If you find this alarming, it’s prudent to note that the US was also in a cybersecurity mess not too long ago.

Back in 2013, then NSA analyst Edward Snowden leaked classified information revealing that the US government had also been spying on its citizens. They used a program called PRISM that collected user data from companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple.

Bottomline: Cyber Security is and will continue to be a hot topic but, as I mentioned in a previous article, it shouldn’t be Huawei’s burden to carry alone.

3. “iPhone 11” details starting to link

We’re getting more details on the iPhone 11 as its launch approaches.

A report by 9to5Mac reveals we could be saying goodbye to 3D touch. Taking its place is a new taptic engine that has the codename “leap haptics.” It’s unclear what this is capable of but surely we’ll find out more soon.

Another new thing is the front-facing camera is getting an upgrade that will allow it to record slow-mo videos in 120 FPS. There’s also the expected new chip which will likely called the A13.

Previously we’ve seen leaks about the upcoming iPhone’s triple rear cameras. One of which will be a wide angle lens. Lastly, the report says Apple will stick to a lightning port instead of shifting to USB-C.

4. Honor 9X series launches in China 

Honor just launched a new midrange series — the Honor 9X.

The Honor 9X and Honor 9X pro will both be powered by the Kirin 810 processor. It has a pop-up camera giving way to the 6.59-inch All View display.

The star of the phone though is its 48MP main camera that comes with a Night Vision feature. The main camera is flanked by a 2MP depth sensor and an 8MP wide angle camera.

All these features will be supported by a 4000mAh battery.

The Honor 9X will come in the configurations: 4GB RAM + 64GB storage, 6GB RAM + 64GB storage, and 6GB RAM + 128GB storage.

Meanwhile, the Honor 9X Pro will come in these configurations: 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, 8GB + 256GB storage

The phones are currently only available in China but we have confirmation that they will also hit global markets soon.

5. Starbucks wants to send your coffee straight to your door

No need to line up for coffee anymore as Starbucks is partnering with app delivery services that will send your coffee right where you are.

In the US, Starbucks is expanding to a nationwide delivery via Uber eats. Previously, the service was only available in 11 cities including New York, LA, Chicago and a few more.

In Southeast Asia, Starbucks is already available via delivery through GrabFood. Singapore and Malaysia previously had this service but this week the Philippines was also added to the list!


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

Best Smartphones

Best Premium Smartphones above $600

November 2019 Edition

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If you’re looking for the very best high-end smartphones available, you’ve come to the right place! Every month, GadgetMatch updates this list with the finest devices money can buy, no matter how much they cost.

Updated monthly, this list takes every newly launched flagship costing more than US$ 600 into consideration, but doesn’t discount the smartphones that continue to make an impact since their launch last year.

Here they are in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (US$ 1100)

The Samsung Galaxy Note series continues to set itself apart by being the premiere smartphone that comes with a stylus. It doesn’t hurt that the smartphone is also pretty darn good at pretty much any other thing you might think of doing on a smartphone. While it’s not necessarily elite at one thing, it’s pretty darn good at everything.

HANDS-ON: Samsung Galaxy Note 10

ASUS ROG Phone 2 (Starts at US$ 500)

Nobody asked but ASUS followed up their gaming smartphone. The ROG Phone 2 maxes out every imaginable spec all while maintaining the design language of its predecessor. While the older accessories work, ASUS still introduced a few new ones. Most notably the Kunai gamepad that makes the gaming phone look almost like a Nintendo Switch.

REVIEW: ROG Phone 2

Google Pixel 3 (US$ 799)

As good as the Pixel 3 XL is, we’re recommending its smaller sibling once again. Not only is its 5.5-inch screen the perfect size for one-handed use, but the absence of a notch also makes all the difference in this era of camera cutouts. As expected, the Pixel 3 has the best single rear camera in the biz, plus the extra camera in front adds another dimension to selfies.

REVIEW: Google Pixel 3

iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max (US$ 999)

The iPhone 11 Pro made no leaps in design which is why it somewhat feels underwhelming. It does, however, make up for it with yet another faster than ever processor, and a much-improved camera system. No, Apple didn’t exactly “innovate” but the iPhone is still what you expect it to be — a smartphone who’s hardware and software just works.

UNBOXING: iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max

OnePlus 7 Pro (US$ 669)

OnePlus went all out with its latest flagship smartphone, and although the price is now firmly in the premium category, the OnePlus 7 Pro provides all the high-end featured you’d expect from even pricier phones. The combination of the stunning design, top-of-the-line specs, and impressive cameras all this phone to compete with the Samsungs and Huaweis of the world.

REVIEW: OnePlus 7 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro (EUR 999)

Yes, we are well aware that the Huawei Mate 30 Pro has been released. But one thing that the P30 Pro has over the Mate 30 Pro is Google Mobile Services that’s ready out-of-the-box. The Mate 30 Pro has superior hardware so far, but the hardware can only take you so far. The Mate 30 Pro is a fantastic smartphone, but if the software we expect aren’t readily available, it’s a tough sell.

REVIEW: Huawei P30 Pro

Motorola razr (US$ 1499)

If you’re hell-bent on owning a foldable smartphone, this is probably the easiest choice. The Motorola razr is proof that being first to get new tech out on the market isn’t as important as being the first to get it right.
It’s an old favorite, reinvented. And that’s just flat out brilliant.

HANDS-ON: Motorola razr


Update as of November 2019:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ replaced the Samsung Galaxy S10+
  • Motorola razr has joined the list

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Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

November 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


Update as of November 2019:

  • The Realme XT was added to this list

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

November 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


Update as of November 2019:

  • The Redmi Note 8 replaces the Redmi Note 7 on this list

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