Features

GadgetMatch’s Best Smartphones of 2017

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If you had to choose the best smartphone of 2017 off the top of your head, which would it be? That’s admittedly a tough question to answer if you’re forced to pick just one.

We here at GadgetMatch believe there’s no single best handset, and that every person has their own perfect match to suit their needs.

For this year’s list of best smartphones, we decided to highlight the best handset by categories ranging from performance features to technologies.

Here they are in no particular order:

Best Battery Life: Xiaomi Mi Max 2

Long battery life wasn’t such a priority for smartphone manufacturers this year, so it was up to Xiaomi to take the lead. The Mi Max 2 and its huge battery outlasted every other phone we’ve tested this year in terms of single-charge longevity.

Best Selfies: Huawei Mate 10 Pro

While there were a lot of selfie-centric phones this year, it was the handset less known for self portraits that won our hearts. Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro gave us the best selfies and group selfies we could possibly ask for since its launch.

Best Productivity: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

It’s easy to choose the Galaxy Note 8 for this category with its S Pen alone, but that’s not all this Samsung device has to its credit. The bundled productivity software is top-notch as well, and the massive screen provides the perfect working canvas.

Best Special Edition: Nokia 3310

No feature phone attracted as much attention as the revived Nokia 3310 has this year. The iconic design is still there, along with some modern stylings and the legendary durability Nokia is best known for.

Best Design: Essential Phone PH-1

Setting aside all the controversies surrounding Essential, the PH-1 (Ph-one, get it?) has what we believe is the best borderless design implementation on any handset this year —  no need for an awkwardly placed front camera or elongated notch.

Best Charging Technology: OnePlus 5T’s Dash Charge

Anyone who’s used OnePlus’ Dash Charge tech knows it’s the best. It brings a battery to full in less than one and a half hours, the phone doesn’t heat up, and its cable has that striking red color.

Best Portrait Shooter: Google Pixel 2

Google once again proves that you don’t need two cameras to take one great portrait. The Pixel 2 instead uses advanced AI for both its single rear and front cameras to produce the best-looking solo shots in recent memory.

Best Durability: Doogee S60

None of the phones we tested this year could handle burn, scratch, drop, and water dunk tests like the Doogee S60 does. It may not be popular by any means, but its durability is the stuff of legends.

Best Video Shooter: LG V30

Great video and audio recording is a lost art in today’s smartphones; fortunately, we have LG’s V30 to cater to vloggers and audio enthusiasts. Combined with the near-borderless screen, it’s 2017’s multimedia powerhouse.

Best Beauty Mode: OPPO R11s

It’s not enough to have a great camera; you need the right software to process the images and create the perfect selfies. None do it better than the R11s from OPPO, which uses AI to intelligently beautify your face without taking away any of your best features.

Best Special Feature: Meizu Pro 7’s secondary screen

There were so many fantastic smartphone features in 2017, but nothing tops the secondary display found on the back of the Meizu Pro 7. You can do all sorts of tricks on it, such as checking the weather and taking well-composed selfies with the rear camera.

Best for Gaming: Razer Phone

Although any high-end smartphone could be a mobile gaming machine, the Razer Phone goes beyond the ordinary with powerful stereo speakers, extra-long battery life, and a design that won’t simply slip out of your hands.

SEE ALSO: Best Premium Smartphones above $600

[irp posts=”19164″ name=”Best Premium Smartphones above $600″]

Features

4 simple ways to improve battery life on your smartphone

You don’t need a power bank for this one

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Owning a smartphone has been a need for a lot of people over the past few years — not just for calling and texting your family and friends, but also helping you book a ride or take pictures. It’s essential that your phone is up and running at all times.

But, let’s say the night is still young and your phone’s battery is close to empty, say, around 25 percent left. You or your friends don’t have an available power bank, and there are no charging outlets in sight. You still need your phone to book an Uber or call your parents to tell them how you’re holding up. Say no more, because here are some tips on how you can make your phone last longer.

Force-close your apps

Let’s say you opened a ton of apps over the course of the day, and you kept them idle while using other apps in the process. Having a ton of idle apps open drains your battery despite just being in the background. Your phone is still using power from the battery to refresh your apps in the background, apart from delivering notifications from these apps.

While smartphones have been getting better at managing battery drain from these apps, what you can do is to simply force-close your unused apps. Android smartphones have a built-in feature wherein you can see all the recently accessed apps and regulate their usage. For iPhone users, simply access the Multitasking feature and close your unused apps and turn off the “Background App Refresh” setting.

Turn down your phone’s brightness and screen timeout

Another feature that eats up your phone’s battery is your screen’s brightness. By default, your phone would have the brightness set to automatic, but if you want to see all the colors in full bloom, you would turn the brightness up.

But, for cases wherein your battery is already low, it is advisable to turn it down to conserve energy. Also, you can turn down the screen timeout settings on your phone to the quickest time. The shorter time your phone’s screen is on, paired with low brightness settings, the more your battery conserves energy.

Turn off some phone features when not in use

Apart from idle apps open in the background, your phone also has main processes and features running. Functions such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, cellular data, location services, and auto-sync are normally on by default. You would want to keep these running at all times to stay connected, and obviously in case of emergencies.

However, it’s best to turn some of these features off, especially if you’re not actively using them. Of course, the easiest way of turning off your Wi-Fi and cellular services is by turning on Airplane Mode. For the rest, you have to turn them off manually through your phone’s action center. Doing so stops the background processes for the time being, saving your battery life for a while longer.

Use ultra power saving mode

Let’s say your phone is now bordering on the 10 to 15 percent mark, and you are desperate to keep your phone alive. You’ve tried all the things above but your phone’s battery is still depleting by the minute. Luckily, your phone also comes with different battery saving options accessible through its settings.

When you go to your Settings menu, enter Battery options and you’ll likely notice that your phone has both a power saving mode and an ultra power saving mode. If you want to keep your phone on for as long as possible, turn ultra power saving mode on for good measure. While on ultra power saving mode, you only have access to your calls, texts, and other necessary apps you prefer.

There are other ways to improve battery life, but these are the easiest, most accessible ways to do so. Let’s hope your phone had enough power left to scroll through this article!

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Mate 20 series offers a solid lineup: Weekend Rewind

There’s a Mate 20 for everyone!

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. Huawei offers plenty of things with their Mate 20 Series

Huawei could very well fill up this week’s entire rewind with the whole Mate 20 series. In total, they released four new smartphones along with two wearables during their event in London. Here’s all of them.

Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro

These were the devices most of us expected to see. The Mate 20 Pro is probably the most feature-packed phone of 2018. They brought in everything that was good with the P20 Pro and added a few wait-hold-up-did-it-really-do-that features like reverse wireless charging.

Watch the Mate 20 Pro Hands-on…

And our Mate 20 Unboxing while you’re here.

Porsche Design Mate 20 RS

If you have an excessive amount of money to spend (please give us some), you can opt for the more luxurious Mate 20 RS. It has all the bells and whistles of the Mate 20 Pro but with the leatherback Porsche Design. It’ll come in two colors: Black in select markets and in a limited edition Red in China.

Mate 20 X

This was announced as Huawei’s one more big thing. Big, it truly is. Coming with a massive 7.2-inch display, the Mate 20 X is being marketed as a gaming smartphone. It even pairs with a gamepad for that ultimate gaming experience.

Huawei Watch GT and Band Pro 3

These two wearables mostly flew under the radar but they are still worth taking note of. The Huawei Watch GT, while waterproof and equipped with fitness features, is the more lifestyle model thanks to its design. The Huawei Band Pro 3 is the more straightforward health tracker and something you probably shouldn’t wear at formal gatherings.

2. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 getting hype ahead of launch

In case you haven’t been keeping up, there’s already a handful of smartphones released in October and there’s a handful more coming. One of them is Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 which is slated for an October 25 launch and is rumored to have a whopping 10GB of RAM and 5G connectivity.

Xiaomi also released a teaser showcasing the device’s sliding camera feature.

3. Palm breaking trend of bigger phones

Tired of phones getting bigger and bigger? Palm came back this week and offered a different approach with the Palm phone. It’s not exactly a standalone smartphone and is really meant to be more of a Robin to the Batman which is your daily driver. At this point, we’re not sure how useful it’ll be but if you’re curious, it’s priced at US$ 349.

4. OnePlus 6T moves launch date

Speaking of more phones coming, the OnePlus 6T, which was reported to come with a smaller notch, an in-display fingerprint scanner along with the usual performance we’ve come to expect from the company, was forced to move its launch to October 29 with OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau saying they want “to make sure it gets the time and attention it deserves.”

Why wouldn’t it get the attention during its initial launch date? Well, it’s because of this next news item.

5. Apple wants to end October with a bang

Whether intentional or not, looks like Apple isn’t done announcing things and they want to be the one to cap off October with their own launch event. After announcing the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, the company is expected to unveil a new iPad Pro with Face ID, and possibly a low-cost MacBook or MacBook Air as reported by Bloomberg.


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.

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Smartphones

Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro Unboxing

What’s inside the box?

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You already know how impressed we were during the hands-on, so now it’s time to see what comes in the package of Huawei’s newest flagships. This is our Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro unboxing.

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