We don’t want to do it, but we have to. Twelve long months have passed and we need to look at both the best and worst of the year.
What you’re about to read are the biggest hits and misses in the tech, gaming, and lifestyle world for 2018. Let these be the basis of what’s to come in 2019 and beyond.
Miss: Newly discovered bugs leave two decades of devices vulnerable
This was a terrible way to start 2018. The exploits presented by Meltdown and Spectre shifted the security landscape for months to come — decades, in fact, if you count the damage they dealt.
Hit: Nokia reboots another classic: The 8810 4G
First we got the 3310 in 2017; this year, it was the 8810 — now with 4G! The banana phone we all know and love came back in a stylish yellow option, and it made us hungry for more throwbacks.
Miss: Huawei is spying on you, says US government
This was the start of several obstacles for Huawei in its pursuit of global product distribution in 2018. The investigations are still going on, and several countries have followed suit. This will likely continue to show up in headlines for the entirety of 2019.
Hit: India is now world’s second-largest mobile phone producer
Tech brands have been seeing the potential in India for both production and buying power, thus becoming the second-biggest phone manufacturer cements their place in the techie world order.
Miss: Uber sells their Southeast Asia business to Grab
What’s worse than a duopoly? A monopoly, sadly. Grab took over the ride-sharing space in Southeast Asia, resulting in no alternative for commuters who want options on their smartphones.
Hit: Thanos of Avengers: Infinity War comes to Fortnite
When you put together 2018’s most popular movie and video game in one package, you get absolute chaos that everyone can enjoy! It was madness that resonates to this day.
Miss: ZTE faces ban from using Qualcomm, Android on their phones
ZTE was another Chinese company that experienced misfortune in the US. President Donald Trump later came to their rescue, but the damage was already done to ZTE’s image.
Hit: The Roots, Jimmy Fallon, and Ariana Grande perform her new single with Nintendo Labo
Now this was a collab that we thoroughly loved! Ariana Grande’s hit song played with Nintendo’s cardboard Labo was a match made in heaven. LSS, anyone?
Miss: Microsoft recalls Windows October update due to deleting issues
Losing files is never cool, especially when it happens without you knowing because of a major bug. Windows 10’s October update was a major headache for everyone, and took what felt like forever to resolve after even more mess-ups.
Hit: WHO officially recognizes gaming addiction as a mental health disorder
While mental health disorders suck, recognizing one as a legit problem is a definite hit. WHO reminded everyone in 2018 that video game addiction is real, and it can cause more harm than good.
Miss: Google is shutting down Google Plus after data leaks
The oft-forgotten social network got dealt its final blow after it was revealed that user data was leaked and Google+ was subsequently destined for closure. This is a Google-made product, mind you, making this breach even more worrisome.
Hit: Huawei takes Apple’s crown as second-largest smartphone brand
No one saw this coming a few years ago — except Huawei, of course! While Apple still enjoys record-breaking sales, the Chinese giant could at least savor the fact that all its hard work has been paying off.
Miss: Stan Lee passes away at 95
The most significant pop culture icon to pass away in 2018 was Stan Lee. It’s gonna be hella sad to no longer see his cameo appearances in upcoming superhero flicks. 😭
Hit: Apple is now worth $1,000,000,000,000
Those are a lot of zeros! With Tim Cook at the helm, Apple has been experiencing its most fruitful results since the company started. Watch them fight for that next trillion.
Miss: Tumblr will start banning porn this month
Tumblr has turned from being a haven for porn into a hub for… things that aren’t porn. While sexy creators scramble for another platform to share on, Tumblr struggles to form a newer, cleaner identity.
Hit: Esports added to the official sports for the 2019 SEA Games
What a victory for the competitive gaming community in Southeast Asia! Esports is finally getting the recognition it deserves, placing its PC, mobile, and console warriors alongside traditional athletes in 2019’s major event.
Miss: China bans Apple from selling iPhones
While the western world gives Huawei and ZTE problems, Apple is facing a serious ban in China. Although it only affects older iPhone models, the hit in sales could impact future sales in the world’s biggest consumer market.
Miss: Samsung will re-evaluate fake Supreme partnership after criticism
This made hypebeasts around the world go whaaaat. The partnership initially seemed too good to be true, and that’s because it was. After all the backlash, Samsung has been asking the cool kids in their departments how to fix this.
Best of 2019: Our favorite smartphones
So many choices, so we narrowed them down for you
There’s really not one best smartphone. We all have different needs and thankfully, the options that brands give us is not lacking at all. Whether your priority is photography, gaming, or just something basic, there is definitely a smartphone for you.
Here are our favorites.
Best smartphones for photography: iPhone 11 Pro, Pixel 4
How good are the cameras? That’s always a topic of conversation when new phones are released. While other brands have made huge strides, the iPhone 11 Pro and the Pixel 4 continue to dominate this category. The iPhone is a no-brainer choice for most people. Consistency is key and Apple has been pretty much consistent with the cameras on the iPhone.
Meanwhile, Google’s computational photography on the Pixel 4 continues to wow reviewers and casual users. Like the iPhone, the Pixel has consistently been one of the best in this category and it appears it will continue to be in the foreseeable future.
Honorable mentions: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro
Best Android flagship: Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10+
While the S Pen continues to set the Galaxy Note 10 series apart, the latest iteration of this Samsung flagship does so many other things at a high level as well. It is still a smartphone that’s literally for anyone, especially with the Galaxy Note 10 being made for people with smaller hands. Audio enthusiasts will lament the lack of a headphone jack for HiFi audio but more casual users are buying wireless earphones for their devices.
Honorable Mentions: OnePlus 7T Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10+
Best implementation of a foldable display: Motorola razr
While the Samsung Galaxy Fold dominated this year’s headlines — and not always for the best reasons, it was the Motorola razr that showed us that while it’s notable to be the first, it’s more important to be the first to get it right. The new razr is a buzzer beater entry in this category but it’s also a slam dunk. The device, at launch, just works. No creases, no displays you can tear off, and no threat of software support being banned.
Best smartphone with a 64MP camera: Realme XT
The only two other phones in this category are the Redmi Note 8 Pro and the Vivo NEX 3. We think that of the three, the Realme XT offers the best value. You see, other than the megapixel count, what sets smartphone cameras apart is the phone’s post-processing. The Realme XT consistently produces images with great detail and fantastic color reproduction. It doesn’t hurt that the phone’s white variant looks pretty good too.
Best value smartphone: Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (Redmi K20 Pro)
This is 2019’s flagship killer. Not only is it equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 that’s present in most flagships today, it also has a modern all-screen design with a pop-up camera plus its rear cameras more than holds its own against phones that are similarly priced. But the price, that’s where this phone truly sets itself apart. For less than half of most flagships today, you get very near-flagship performance. There’s almost nothing else like it.
Honorable Mentions: OnePlus 7T, Realme 5 Pro
Best budget smartphone: Realme 5
Realme broke out in 2019 like no other brand. They’ve strengthened their foothold in key developing markets by launching devices that punch above their weight class. The Realme 5 is one such device. As one of the few budget smartphones with a quad-camera setup and is capable of basic gaming, it’s a well-rounded device and is perfect for anyone looking to get their first smartphone.
Honorable Mentions: Redmi Note 8, Samsung Galaxy A20s
Best smartphones for videography: iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhones have been far and away the best smartphones for taking videos for a while now. The same is true in 2019. The iPhone 11 series has put even more emphasis on the cameras and just took what it was already good at and just became better at it. No one’s touching the iPhone in this category but the challengers have been gaining on them.
Honorable mentions: Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Huawei P30 Pro, OPPO Reno2, Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
Best gaming smartphone: ROG Phone 2
It’s not even about the accessories. Yes, those are cool, but what really makes this a gaming smartphone is its design. We’re not just talking about how it looks. Design should always be how form and function come together. The ROG Phone 2’s features and little touches here and there like the second usb-c port for charging, the flat display, the front-firing speakers — these are all design decisions that address a mobile gamer’s needs. It’s extremely thoughtful of its target market.
Best Android smartphone without Google Mobile Services: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Heh. Sorry Huawei, we just had to. ✌
Motorola razr Hands-On
The popular RAZR is back!
The new Motorola razr is a modern version of the popular RAZR V3. It still has a sleek design, but now has a 6.2-inch Flex Display with a perfectly executed zero-gap hinge.
It runs on Snapdragon 710 chipset, 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 2510 mAh battery with 15W TurboPower charger right out of the box.
But does all of that justify the $1499 price tag?
This is our Motorola razr hands-on.
I was in Facebook jail for 24 Hours
Banned unjustly without any chance to appeal
It was a lazy Friday morning when I woke up to a 9GAG article. Chuckling on its narrative, I saved the article in hopes of reading it later again so I can decide if I will share it with a close friend of mine. However, saving the article meant posting and sharing it, according to Facebook. I was given a warning for violating their community guidelines.
Shocked and confused, I unsaved the link. To find out if it’s the real culprit, I saved the link once again and then boom! I was banned from posting, liking, and engaging in any posts on Facebook.
At first, I thought the ban would only affect my profile. Little did I know, the ban would extend to the pages I handle. I couldn’t post, not even the scheduled posts I prepared for the day were posted. It affected my job as a social media manager.
Locked up and grounded
Que horror, the only word I uttered after realizing I screwed up. I asked someone to cover for my work while I channel my frustrations on Twitter and Reddit. Mindlessly, I scrolled through Instagram and I repeatedly had the urge to switch apps and browse on Facebook so I can share memes, just like what I would do on a normal day.
“They know everything, they can see what’s happening, but they just can’t tell the world the situation they’re in.”
However, I couldn’t handle it anymore. Not being able to share or at least react, I felt disconnected from everyone. To free myself from the negative feelings circulating inside, I uninstalled Facebook and did the rest of my work for the day.
For 24 hours, I was impatiently waiting to get my ban lifted. Being in Facebook jail didn’t feel like being cut-off from the world, but it was more like being grounded. It’s like my parents decided to stop me from seeing and contacting my friends just because I sneaked out of the house past 10pm.
But more importantly, being in Facebook jail made me reminisce the prison life in the TV series I used to watch. How people — both criminals and victims of injustice alike — band together in a different, locked-up space, watching the world outside prison quietly. They know everything, they can see what’s happening, but they just couldn’t tell the world the situation they’re in.
To make it through the day, I casually searched for people who experienced the same situation — unjustly banned for using a feature that isn’t directly hurting anyone. If I would have said something explicit or any form of hate speech, I would understand. But I didn’t.
“Facebook is just an authoritarian organization doomed for failure.”
If the article I wanted to save and read for later was violating the platform’s nudity policy, then why was 9GAG not reprimanded for posting it at all? Why did it have to be me? Up until today, I still can’t fathom the reason. Not even on Facebook’s useless Help center. It was reading stories that shared the same fate as I did that made me feel better. They made me feel that I’m not alone. “I’ll get through this,” was what I told myself.
It’s funny how being connected through the world’s largest social media platform made it both a good and a bad thing for everyone. It’s good in a way that Facebook helped us maintain the connection and relationships despite the distance. It’s bad in a way that we depend on Facebook to get updates from people through the posts they share and the stuff that goes viral; that we need to stay online and check on everyone through our news feed just so we don’t miss anything that might be discussed in real life.
What I learned
The ban was lifted after what felt like forever and I learned my lesson. It’s like being given a second lease on life. But what I learned, first and foremost, is to never use Facebook’s save feature. Without any strict, proper guidelines on what constitutes a ban according to their policies, Facebook is just an authoritarian organization doomed for failure — a dictator deciding what to censor without any justifications or proper explanations.
Of course, it’s their platform. They can do whatever they want with it, but Facebook is more than a platform. It’s a whole new way of connecting with everyone around the world. A lot of realizations dawned on me through this incident, and there is one more lesson to learn here: Life without Facebook can be a good one, too. One where we rely on real, physical, and intimate connections. One where we only catch up with the people that truly matter.
Now I know what people feel like when they claim they have found freedom after deleting their Facebook accounts. I’m still far from deleting my account, but slowly, I’ll figure it out. Maybe, for now, what I can do is step away and disconnect, and live a day or two without social media.
ASUS VivoBook S15 Review: Mixing style and function
Also a lesson about love and relationships
ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo: A multitasker’s dream
Is the expensive price tag worth it?
Dell G7 review: All the heft and the heat
It's simply one hot package your wallet hopes to afford
Huawei showcases Gentle Monster Eyewear, other wearables
Vivo Y19 is an affordable phone with triple rear cameras
Phone case by castAway doubles as a secondary display
Samsung reveals Galaxy Note 10+ Star Wars Special Edition
Samsung Galaxy Fold: Price and availability in the Philippines
Huawei Philippines Smartphone Price List
How to find porn on Facebook
Samsung Philippines Smartphone Price List
Apple Philippines Smartphone Price List
Nokia Philippines Smartphone Price List
Philippines2 weeks ago
Huawei Philippines Smartphone Price List
Philippines3 days ago
Samsung Philippines Smartphone Price List
News5 days ago
The Motorola razr is now a foldable smartphone
Camera Shootouts1 week ago
Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera shootout
Apps2 weeks ago
YouTube Music and YouTube Premium roll out in the Philippines
News2 weeks ago
Xiaomi’s Mi Note 10 with 108MP penta camera setup now official
News5 days ago
Taiwan suspends sale of three Huawei phones
Camera Shootouts2 weeks ago
Realme XT vs Samsung Galaxy A80 vs Huawei P30 vs iPhone XR: Camera shootout