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.
What selfies look like taken on an under display camera
Using the Rakuten BIG
The ZTE Axon 20 5G — the world’s first smartphone with an under display camera — launched in September but not very many people have had a chance to try it. The relatively obscure Vinsmart Vsmart Aris Pro (Vietnam) and Rakuten BIG (Japan) followed suit.
The Rakuten BIG is a 6.9-inch phone with an OLED display. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also has a battery capacity of 4,000mAh.
On its rear is a quad-camera module: 64MP main sensor, and 8MP ultra-wide angle lense, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro camera.
If those specs seem familiar that’s because they’re exactly the same as the ZTE Axon 20 5G. Well, almost exactly. There’s a bit of a difference in the battery capacity 4,000mAh vs 4220mAh but that’s still pretty close.
The selfie camera
For all intents and purposes, the Rakuten BIG may just be a rebranded ZTE Axon 20 5G. They also share the same megapixel count for the selfie camera which is 32MP.
If this is the case, the phone might be using the same transparency material that includes new organic and inorganic films, to balance the performance of the display and the front camera.
Here are what some quick selfies look like. These were taken indoors, inside a hotel with sufficient amount of lighting. No editing was applied to the photos but they were resized in the interest of faster load time.
It certainly doesn’t seem like a photo taken by a camera lens with a cover over it. But you can tell the software is doing a lot of heavy lifting. At first glance it looks like a regular selfie, but a closer inspection shows some detail smoothing.
Color reproduction is a little inconsistent too. Here’s a pair of selfies taken just seconds apart.
The selfie on the left is considerably warmer than the one on the write. Note that Ayano was in the exact same place with nearly the exact same pose and angle.
Here’s another sample with a better look at the lights in the background — which probably most represents all the post-processing the phone is doing. Take note that you can’t take selfies in rapid succession. The phone really does take longer than most to process the images.
What we were impressed with though is the video. The picture quality was clear and didn’t have any excessive traces of post-processing during a video call via Facebook Messenger.
Here’s a sample video taken separately after the call with beauty mode turned on. The post-processing is more pronounced here but it certainly doesn’t harm the picture quality.
What do you think of the selfies? Pretty good already for an under display camera?
Price and availability
The Rakuten BIG retails for JPY 69,800 Yen (US$ 665) and is currently only available in Japan. It comes in three colors: Black, White, and Crimson Red.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review: Last of its Kind
Every year, Huawei’s Mate series dominate the smartphone world with hosts of new features.
This October, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro finally made its way out of the limousine. As usual, it’s packed with the latest and greatest internals minus the full Android experience. Albeit, you still get support for AppGallery and other existing Huawei services.
With all that mind, is it still worthy to invest your money just to buy this smartphone?
You can watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro review by clicking this link.
Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch for the Casual User
So well-rounded, it simply works
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra represents the current pinnacle of the Galaxy Note line. That’s why it’s not far fetched to think that it can seamlessly add value to people from different walks of life.
In this second of a three-part feature, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be a reliable partner for the average, casual user.
In this first of a three-part feature, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be reliable partner for three specific people:
- The Manager
- The Casual User
- The Multimedia Creative
Note: Link to part 3 will be added when it’s published.
All-around for the well-rounded
Life is all about finding balance. Wherever you are in this walk of life, we always cut a portion of our time to do things that matter: self, hobbies, love, career, health, and more.
But how do you manage to find balance when it feels like we don’t have enough time? The answer is simple: Get an all-around phone that’s as well-rounded as you. In particular, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
Let me set the record straight: I’m not a techie, a gamer, a selfie master, or an aspiring content creator. I simply don’t fall into any stereotype. While I can try to look like a D-lister, I’m just like the average consumer, using a phone to navigate life in the 21st century.
Though I work in the technology industry, I was never caught up in the hottest specs, highly innovative pieces, great hardware, or monster features. All I ever needed — as I’ve been saying for three years now — is a phone that’s smart enough to carry with for my everyday life.
Having the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra helped me find the balance I need, accompanying me in juggling my hectic yet blissful life.
Work and play
Being in a remote work setup for god-knows-how-long, I’m used to being glued on my phone almost 24/7. While it’s a habit that I’m still trying to change, I’m thrilled with how I can do my tasks on-the-go. With a 6.9-inch screen, it’s easy to do your work even when you’re away from your desk.
You can browse through social media, switch between apps seamlessly, and multi-task. When you apply the 120Hz refresh rate? Oh, it’s so buttery-smooth, you won’t even consider going back to a lower refresh rate!
In essence, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is swift and powerful enough to do whatever tasks you need to do on your phone.
And when things get a little bit boring, you can hop to Spotify, YouTube, or watch your favorite shows on Netflix. With its massive screen, impressive display, and astounding speakers — you’ll feel like you have your portable home entertainment albeit a little bit smaller than the usual setup.
If you want a little bit of privacy, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra works seamlessly with my Galaxy Buds or with my wired USB-C earphones. Connectivity wasn’t an issue; be it via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cellular strength, and even connection between devices.
Not gonna lie, my gizmos are mostly Samsung’s. I’ve fallen in love with it and its ecosystem ever since I switched. I’ve enjoyed its exclusive features and I’ve grown accustomed to One UI.
The art of pleasure
Speaking of experience, the whole shebang with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra teaches the art of pleasure. I played League of Legends: Wild Rift, watched Lucifer on Netflix, edited my photos on Lightroom, produced a video using Rush, and created art using the S Pen.
Being able to do what makes me sane, feeds my soul, and gives my heart joy is possibly the greatest pleasure I can find in my day-to-day life.
I was able to keep on doing it because of the impressive battery, which lasted me enough to finish one task before charging its juice again. After all, to achieve pleasure you must have enough juice to keep going and be long-lasting.
But if there’s one thing you must not forget: It’s finding beauty in every day, no matter how the weather (or your day) sucks.
Finding beauty in everyday
Beautiful is an understatement when I first saw the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It’s polished, sleek, gorgeous, and sexy. Touching it was like caressing someone you’re really passionate about; gentle, smooth, and oozing with desire.
It’s no wonder anyone can fall in love at first sight upon seeing this dandy. Of course, the Note 20 Ultra isn’t the epitome of beauty — but it’s a great accessory to wear to look astonishing.
While it seems like I’m asking people to keep on looking at the phone, beauty can really be found everywhere. The search won’t be difficult, seeing how the Note 20 Ultra is equipped with capable cameras.
You can capture whatever type of beauty you’re looking for. In my case, it’s capturing myself through my mirror selfies and portraits, as well as coffee and furniture.
Like any other consumer, having great cameras is one of my major concerns before buying a smartphone. Thankfully, I was able to capture Instagram- and Pinterest-worthy photos using the Note 20 Ultra — which I may or may not upload to my social media accounts.
Is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fit for the Casual User?
Definitely. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — to most people — can be too much. Yet it’s perfect for those who just want a smartphone smart enough to get things done.
You don’t have to worry about running out of space, lagging, tinkering to install apps you don’t have, or encountering issues you normally would on a midrange phone.
It’s so well-rounded, it simply works. And for a person who tries to find the balance in doing a little bit of everything, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the perfect GadgetMatch — only the best for someone who deserves the best.
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