Buyer's Guide

BUYER’s GUIDE: Galaxy S22 vs S22+

Which one is your GadgetMatch?

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So there’s a new Galaxy S22 Series and three models to choose from.

The top-of-the-line Galaxy S22 Ultra is branching out into a different class of device — basically the reincarnation of the Galaxy Note. We’re left to choose between the S series regulars, the Galaxy S22 and the S22+.

If you’re torn, let me help you out. 

The easy answer would be to pick the size that’s right for you, but with a US$ 200 dollar premium, it’s important to go over the key differences between the S22 and S22+ to justify the additional spend or not.

Peak Brightness

What you should know about peak brightness is that by default, your phone doesn’t even come close to hitting it, even if you move your slider all the way up. You’ll actually need to go into your display settings and turn on Adaptive Brightness. 

Peak brightness comes in handy most when you’re outdoors, under the sun. When you need the display to crank up as much as it can so everything is legible.

It will also kick in whenever viewing HDR content, some Netflix shows for example are available in HDR.  

Unless you use your phones outdoors under the sun a lot, peak brightness won’t matter as much. Also a caveat, it also drains your battery faster.

Battery Size and Charging

Apart from display and phone size, the other big determining factor and reason to go for the S22+ is its larger battery. On paper, that extra 800mAh is a lot of extra juice and could spell the difference between lasting the whole day or not. 

Do keep in mind though that the bigger display on the S22+ also consumes more power. 

Expect an extra 2.5 hours on average with the S22+. But at the end of the day it will all boil down to real world use. 

Faster charging is another pro of the S22+ the phone supports 45W charging. But there’s a caveat. A Samsung 45W charger is an optional US$ 50 purchase. If you have no plans to buy one, then the rest of this is moot.

But even if you do, don’t expect the improvements to be massive. In the first 30 minutes of charging, expect about an 8% difference. Quick top ups are great when you’re in a pinch, but if you’re the type of person who charges overnight, then a slower charger is kinder on the overall health of your battery .

Ultra Wide Band

UWB stands for Ultra Wide Band and it has something to do with spatial awareness. Anything with a UWB chip theoretically should be able to tell, more or less, where another UWB device is. 

iPhones, for example, know when you are pointing at a Home Pod mini speaker and will ask if you want to transfer the music you’re listing to over to it. They also work with AirTags — trackers that you can attach to things like keys. When used alongside your phone’s camera — your phone will display virtual arrows that lead you to your missing items. 

In the Samsung ecosystem, UWB only currently works with one device. Their AirTags competitor called the Galaxy SmartTag + (not to be confused with the non plus SmartTag that retails for US$10 less). That said, I imagine a day where UWB might be built into other Samsung appliances and there might be a way for these devices to work together

Will you hold on to your phone for five years – maybe invest in future tech. Otherwise it’s not a feature that would affect my buying decisions today.

WiFi 6E 

Every few years or so, a new WiFi standard is introduced. The latest is WiFi 6E. Long story short, it has its own spectrum so theoretically you don’t have to compete with congested networks. 

That’s an oversimplification. But basically it’s better and potentially faster. 

But as always there are caveats. How fast is your home connection to begin with? Do you already have a WiFi 6E router and if not do you intend on buying one? Should you wait for WiFi 7, I heard it’s coming soon too.

At home I currently have one of the best routers out there, an Amlifi Alien. Of course, I got it two years ago and it’s a WiFi 6 router, so unless I plan on getting a new one, WiFi 6E will not benefit me.

So ask yourself these same questions. Just like UWB I don’t think WiFi 6E is a reason to get the S22+ over the S22. It’s not something you will miss.

S22 vs S22+

I’m a believer that the S22 makes more sense for most people. It also offers the best bang for your buck. After all, when it comes to performance power and cameras, these phones are identical.   

While last year’s S21 came with a plastic back, the S22 is made of all the same tough materials as the S22+ and S22 Ultra even. 

Get the S22+ if you like bigger phones and need a bigger battery. But ask yourself if $200 is worth the premium. 

Watch our Galaxy S22 and S22+ Hands-On.


Buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, 128GB Unlocked here.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S22+, 128GB Unlocked here.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S22, 128GB Unlocked here.

Buy the Samsung 45W Charger (White) here.

Accessories

BUYER’S Guide: 5 DIZO products for you

Which ones should you take home?

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First, the basics. What is DIZO? In case you missed it, DIZO is realme’s sub-brand that aims to make smart devices accessible to more people. They’re doing this by offering quality products at a more affordable price.

This list, in particular, features five devices that won’t break the bank, but will help give users a taste of that smart tech life. 

DIZO GoPods D 

In terms of wireless earbuds, this is about as entry level as it gets. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing though. The Dizo GoPods D has a 10mm driver with a Bass Boost+ algorithm. Most people like to measure if an earbud or headphone is good based on the bass levels it can produce. That’s certainly the schtick here as well. 

Buyer’s Guide: Buy this if you’re still using a phone with a mini-USB cable. That way, you don’t have to carry a different cable or your phone and your wireless earbud. 

DIZO GoPods Neo

 

Think of this as the USB-C version of the GoPods D. It has a similar 10mm driver with Bass Boost+. In addition though, this also has active noise cancellation for when you want to shut the world out. Inversely, it also has a transparency mode that lets you hear your surroundings even with the earbuds on. 

The case has a clamshell design just like the DIZO GoPods D. It’s compact and easy to carry since you can just slide it in your pocket. They also instantly pair with any Android smartphone that has its bluetooth on. So, maybe don’t set it up around other people.

Buyer’s Guide: This one’s for those already rocking USB-C smartphones. It’s also made for people who want a taste of active noise cancellation but aren’t ready to fork out north of PhP 5,000 (around US$ 100) to experience the feature. 

DIZO Buds Z 

The DIZO GoPods Z deviates from the more compact design of the DIZO GoPods D and DIZO GoPods Neo. In terms of looks, it’s more in line with the AirPods Pro and Freebuds Pro that feature a tiny stem. In our experience, these are normally used as mics which make them pretty good for making calls. Even the case is reminiscent of the Freebuds Pro’s which is a circular thing with holes that house the stem. 

The stem also has this special material that reflects light to create a myriad of bedazzling colors. Great if you want to make people look.

Like the DIZO GoPods, this has both active noise cancellation and transparency modes. It also claims to last for two weeks on a single charge. 

Buyer’s Guide: It’s for anyone who wants something that’s lowkey flashy and also has wireless earbuds staples like bass boost and noise cancellation. Plus the stem design should really help with call clarity. 

DIZO Wireless 

The DIZO Wireless is the most easily distinguishable from all the audio products here. It sports a neck band design which, one could say, is the precursor to the wireless earbuds that saturate the market today. It has all the Bass Boost and noise cancellation bells and whistles one might look for on a modern smart earpiece, but this one’s designed for sporty types who like to workout.

 

Buyer’s Guide: If you constantly workout and want something you can wear during your sweat-it-out sessions, this is the one to buy. You won’t worry about it falling off your ears and you can just as easily not mind it as you keep fit.

DIZO Watch 2

While we’re on the topic of keeping fit, why not pair the DIZO Wireless with the DIZO Watch 2. It has an undeniable resemblance to the Apple Watch which can either be a good thing or bad thing depending on who you ask. 

It has a 1.69-inch full touchscreen display that could be a little more responsive. That said, it is a PhP 1,999 smartwatch so you get what you pay for. It does the usual smartwatch things like monitor your heart rate, track your steps, measure your workouts. You know, the works. 

Buyer’s guide: Another decent starting point if you want to try a smartwatch but don’t have the capacity to spend big. It’s also one of the better looking Apple Watch look-alikes out there. 

DIZO Products are available on the DIZO official Lazada Store.

 

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Accessories

Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM4?

Here’s a quick guide

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Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony is back again with another top-of-the-line pair of true wireless (TWS) earbuds and it’s one that’s worthy of your consideration. Roughly a couple of years after the launch of the Sony WF-1000XM3, we now have the Sony WF-1000XM4. Should you spend your hard earned cash on it? That’s what we’ll try to answer.

We do have a pretty comprehensive review of the WF-1000XM4. But if that’s a little too long for you, consider this article the TLDR. Let’s dive right in.

It’s within your budget

It should go without saying but in hard times such as now, one shouldn’t mindlessly splurge on the shiniest new tech out there. That said, if you can shell out PhP 13,999 (US$ 280 / SG$ 379 / MYR 1099) then by all means, grab this pair. It’s easily one of the best devices in its category and is definitely worth every penny.

You’re an Android user

Sony WF-1000XM4

STAYC’s “Stereotype” is bop. Give it a listen.

Sony has this tech called LDAC. While it’s not exactly hi-res audio, it’s likely the closest thing to it. Here’s an entire explainer from the SoundGuys if you want a deep dive on it. And sadly, this format isn’t supported by any iPhone as of writing. To experience the absolute best audio quality that the WF-1000XM4 has to offer, you’re better off being on Android.

Now, that’s not to say it’s terrible on iPhones or any other device. In fact, we’ve used this on both an iPhone and a Mac and the audio quality is still a blessing to the ears. You’re not getting the ‘absolute best’ but it’s still better than most others.

You care about the environment

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony moved away from the usual box you expect from devices of this caliber. Instead, they’re using recycled packaging for the WF-1000XM4. It’s plastic free and is made from a special blend of paper.

It’s a move to the more sustainable side of things and it’s one we’re totally down with. Besides, if you’re looking for that premier feeling, there’s no shortage of that on the device itself.

You’re not a fan of the AirPods design

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 with the Huawei Freebuds Pro. Don’t have AirPods on hand, sorry.

Pretty much every other manufacturer who jumped on the TWS market followed Apple’s cue. That means TWS earbuds that have a stem. While we’ve gotten used to the look over the years, the general perception is still that if it has a stem, it’s an AirPods copycat. This despite other brands giving their own spin on it.

The stem isn’t just for show though. For most of these earbuds, they serve as a mic. During our tests, they’ve generally performed better in call situations over ones that don’t have them.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is still pretty decent for voice and video calls, so if you can live with that and want something that doesn’t stick out of your ear too much, then this is the choice for you.

You want something for multiple uses

Multiple uses in every kind of sense. The WF-1000XM4 promises up to eight hours of music playback with noise cancellation switched on, and the case can supply an additional 16 hours of battery life via charging. That’s pretty consistent with our usage.

Trust us, you’re not gonna have these on for eight hours straight anyway. With its IPX4 rating, it’s water resistant enough to take with you for workouts. After freshening up from exercise, you can use it for a few work meetings here and there. And then you can cap your day by listening to your favorite podcast or music — for us, it’s been a heavy dose of TWICE tracks, STAYC’s “Stereotype” and some Slow Jams to put us to bed.

That’s what regular daily use looks like. And we’ve only had to charge the device after two to three days. Of course, that’ll vary depending on your usage — which, no matter what that may be, the WF-1000XM4 can handle mightily.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM4 review: Simply the best

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Buyer's Guide

Best 5G smartphones you can buy today (Philippines)

From flagships to lower midrange smartphones

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5G smartphones are becoming increasingly common these days. Once a flagship-exclusive feature, more and more smartphones are featuring 5G, especially those in the midrange segment. In the Philippines, you have many options nowadays thanks to OEMs bringing their competitive offerings to the market.

While more and more smartphones are coming in with 5G, adoption of the next-gen network is still at a breakneck pace in the country. Major telcos are upping their game though, with many areas receiving 5G connectivity sooner than later. Still, you have to be mindful of the areas without 5G yet — there are still a lot in the country, to be exact.

You don’t have to wait for a country-wide adoption of 5G to take advantage of its benefits though. Through these smartphones, you can now enjoy faster network speeds and flaunt the venerable “5G” icon to your friends. Here are the some of best 5G smartphones you can buy in the Philippines now, sorted by categories.

Flagship (PhP 30,000 and above)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (Starts at PhP 69,990)

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra could arguably be the best 5G smartphone from the beloved Korean company to date. It has all the features one can ask from a flagship, including cutting-edge cameras and top-notch performance. 5G connectivity is made possible by next-gen processors such as the Exynos 2100 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888.

Yes, the camera hump is still there but a refined design and the 108MP wide-angle primary camera should be enough to gloss this over. The Infinity-O display is also here to stay, along with 1440P+ resolution. Coupled with the fact that it now receives up to four years of software updates, the Galaxy S21 Ultra surely delivers in both the hardware and software front.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (Starts at PhP 68,990)

This year’s iPhone 12 Pro Max is one of the first Apple devices to feature 5G conectivity. Upon first glance, Apple’s most expensive and largest flagship may look the same as last year’s model. After all, it still has the same three cameras on the back, and a notch that seems out of place in 2021. Make no mistake, however, since Apple has actually refreshed the design of its flagships to have flatter edges. Plus, there is a brand-new LiDAR sensor on the back along with MagSafe — Apple’s new proprietary wireless charging connector.

These changes and additions may not interest all users, but it is enough to give the iPhone 12 Pro Max a competitive edge. Couple that with six years of software support and you basically have a flagship worth your hard-earned money.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro (PhP 55,999)

This may not be the best time to adopt a Huawei flagship given the precarious situation the company finds itself in, but the Mate 40 Pro impresses at almost every level. The back design is arguably the one of best out there in the market today.  It hides the camera setup very well, which by the way is perfectly versatile and well-rounded. With a Kirin 9000 chipset running the show, buyers can expect a top-notch performance that punches its weight against Qualcomm and Samsung’s offerings.

The chipset also has a 5G modem built-in to support the next-gen network. For those worried about the app situation, Huawei has come a long way in remedying the lack of Google apps and Play Store on their devices. However, getting some of popular apps still proves to be a challenge though.

ASUS ROG Phone 5 (PhP 39,995)

A 5G-enabled gaming smartphone is what the ASUS ROG Phone 5 is all about, and it never failed on that front. The gaming-centric design is still here to stay, but ASUS surely fitted some cool tricks on the ROG Phone 5 that you may have seen before on certain ROG laptops.

Powering the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with a Qualcomm Game Quick Touch included for best-in-class responsiveness. Truly, responsiveness is the name of the game since its display comes with a whopping 144Hz refresh rate. If those aren’t enough, it also has a 6,000 mAh battery is to keep going whatever tasks you throw at it.

Xiaomi Mi 11 (PhP 36,990)

Unarguably one of the first smartphones to launch with the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, Xiaomi Mi 11 offers 2021 flagship specs at a bang-for-the-buck price. That has been the case for Xiaomi’s flagships anyway, which always have shook the competition with an attractive pairing of specs with prices.

One of the notable elements for Xiaomi’s latest flagship is the more rounded corners of the camera bump, which helps the Mi 11 stay distinct from its competitors. By the way, the camera bump houses a humongous 108 MP primary wide-angle lens paired with a 13 MP ultra-wide and a 5 MP depth sensor. Xiaomi also took the time to refine MIUI for version 12 in the Mi 11. Granted, ads are still a part of the OS but users now have more control over which apps they can uninstall or disable.

Upper Midrange (PhP 20,000 to PhP 29,999)

OnePlus 8T (PhP 29,990)

OnePlus’ tradition of bringing flagship features at bargain prices continues with the 8T, which is more than a refinement of the highly-popular 8 series. 5G connectivity is possible thanks to the included Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor. That processor alone is indicative of flagship performance, and it shows on this device. Everything just runs smoothly, which is also thanks to OxygenOS 11.

Buyers expecting flagship camera performance, however, would be a bit disappointed on the 8T. It is a great all-around camera for sure, but it lags behind flagships in night-time situations. Water-resistance ratings are also absent here as a cost-cutting measure. Finally, it lacks a curved display which is one of the highlights of the OnePlus 8 Pro.

vivo V20 Pro (PhP 24,999)

vivo continues to enjoy success on its V-series devices, which are predominantly midrange devices. The V20 series offers a Pro variant that features 5G, thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor. This Pro variant is exactly the V20 Pro, which the company touts as the world’s slimmest 5G smartphone yet.

Aside from its thin profile, the device packs respectable specs for its class. The processor itself is quite capable, handling games, apps, and some intensive tasks. Likewise, the camera setup is versatile for almost every scenario thanks to the 64MP wide-angle lens coupled with an 8 MP ultra-wide and a 2MP depth sensor.

Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (PhP 23,990)

For 2021, Samsung is finally getting more serious about its A-series lineup and the latest Galaxy A52 5G is an evidence for this. Gone are the flashy yet equally divisive design of the yesteryear, now replaced by a minimal yet almost-professional look thanks to a unibody matte finish all throughout the device.

The display also gets a nice bump in the refresh rate department, which is now a whopping 120Hz for the 5G-enabled variant. The processor here is also a win, with Samsung fitting in a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G. The primary rear camera gets a bump to 64MP, while the battery sees modest increase to 4,500 mAh. Almost everything here gets a nice bump, and Samsung is even generous to include IP67 dust and water resistance.

OPPO Reno5 5G (PhP 23,990)

OPPO is shaking things up on the upper midrange segment with the release of OPPO Reno5 5G. It is the smaller brother of the Reno5 Pro 5G, having a 6.4-inch FHD+ resolution instead. Beyond that, it retains almost all of the features including the quad-camera setup in the form of 64MP wide-angle + 8MP ultra-wide-angle + 2MP depth + 2MP macro lens.

With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G, the device supports 5G connectivity and features modest performance for almost everyone. It’s not exactly flagship class, but it has the chops to play even the most graphically intensive games. And yes, the 3.5mm headphone jack is still here, which is getting quite rare to find in this price segment.

OnePlus Nord (PhP 21,990)

OnePlus stole the scene again last 2020 when it launched its first Nord device. It was the brand’s another attempt in the midrange segment after the ill-fated OnePlus X. So far, OnePlus’ strategy is working, with Nord driving sales for the brand thanks to its unique set of features including OxygenOS. When it launched in the Nord, it represented an Android purists’ dream.

Since then, the OS underwent major changes in its latest version mimicking another brand’s signature design. Still, it is not as bloated as the others. Beyond the OS, OnePlus Nord offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor and a quad-camera setup. That camera setup may not excel in one particular area, but it is decent enough for most situations.

Huawei Nova 7 5G (PhP 17,990)

Huawei has put compelling options in recent years, and the Nova 7 5G is no exception. It is one of the first devices in the upper midrange segment to feature 5G, all thanks to the in-house Kirin 985 chipset. The chipset definitely keeps up with everything thrown at it, even on the most intensive tasks. Battery life is also a big plus for the midrange. Finally, its camera is definitely capable of any situation.

The plastic build and lack of a 3.5mm audio jack may put off some buyers, but it definitely is a well-made phone featuring everything one can ask for a flagship at a reasonable price. The biggest drawback though: the lack of Google apps and Play Store.

Lower Midrange (PhP 10,000 to PhP 19,999)

Mi 10T (PhP 19,990)

Xiaomi is only one of the few that dared to offer a 5G smartphone in the Philippines with a sub-PhP 20K price. Yes, the Mi 10T is still dangerously close to PhP 20K, but it represents one of the best bang-in-the-buck devices right now.

First, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor for flagship performance. It is quite rare for any brand to offer a device with a flagship processor in this price segment, but Xiaomi is not like any of those brands. The Mi 10T also gets a capable camera setup, with triple cameras in the rear providing flexible shooting modes.

TCL 10 5G (PhP 17,990)

Some of you out there may get confused with the inclusion of a TCL smartphone. Include this on your “today I learned” — TCL makes smartphones that are worth a second look. Chief among that is the TCL 10 5G with a price so appealing for buyers who really wanted to have a 5G-capable smartphone.

It’s no slouch too with the features it packs. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G runs the show, and the HDR-capable full HD display is something worth looking at. It even has a glass body which is truly quite rare for the price. Bundle in a headphone jack, and you clearly have a winner with the TCL 10 5G.

moto g 5G Plus (PhP 16,990)

It’s no secret that the primary draw of the moto g 5G Plus is its 5G capability. But there’s more to this phone. It sports a tall 6.7-inch FHD+ display with support for a 90Hz refresh rate, comes with a satisfyingly clean My UX, and equipped with a no-slouch Snapdragon 765G chipset.

Furthermore, this phone promises up to two days of battery life with its 5000mAh battery. And it fills up quickly with its 20W TurboPower charging. It’s easily one of the affordable options you can have if you’re looking for a future-proof handset.

No budget option yet

There are now quite a few 5G smartphones in the Philippines, and there’s more incoming as adoption continues to grow. However, it is quite baffling to see that there are no budget 5G smartphones yet. By the way, budget here means smartphones costing less than PhP 10,000.

One of the probable reasons why is the cost involved in the manufacturing process. Like every other technology, it takes time for the cost of manufacturing to go down especially with the strained capacity and logistics. The same goes for the manufacturing of modems that enable 5G connectivity.

As general advice, buyers rocking a 4G smartphone shouldn’t outright buy a new 5G-enabled smartphone just yet. Yes, it is the future of cellular networks but it doesn’t mean the end for 4G yet. For the greatest and the latest though, smartphones with 5G are the way to go.

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