Smartphones

Our daily drivers and what we’d rather use

Each GadgetMatch member chimes in

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While we agree that the best smartphone is the one we have in our pockets, we can’t help but want more out of our gadgets, or simply something else.

In this feature, we expose our daily drivers and which smartphones we’d rather use. Whether they be fictional or real yet unavailable, these are our true GadgetMatches.


Daily driver: Huawei Mate 20
Prefers: Xiaomi Mi MIX 3

In 2018, you can pick up any flagship and expect it to work superbly for your daily needs. So as we end the year, there’s been one phone that does exactly that but also brings an exciting extra feature: the sliding pop-up camera of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3. I don’t take a lot of selfies so I won’t necessarily need to slide out those front facing selfie cameras for what it’s actually there for. But I’m not gonna lie, the added feature of being able to fidget with it is something that makes me super curious about wanting the phone on the daily.

Daily drivers: iPhone XS and Honor 10
Prefers: Xiaomi Mi MIX 3

While I’m completely happy with my current daily drivers, I still find myself wanting to use a phone that’s not yet widely available in the world. I was lucky enough to test the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 while I was in Beijing and boy did I want to take it home! It’s essentially a Mi MIX 2S in a sliding form-factor, and with much-improved cameras. I just wish it also came in white like its predecessor.

Daily driver: LG G7 ThinQ
Prefers: OnePlus 6T… but with an ultra wide-angle camera 😜

One of the underrated mobile phones to be released this year is the LG G7 ThinQ. Despite its mouthful name, it’s a pretty good all-around device. Aside from its fun-to-use ultra-wide-angle camera though, everything about the phone is just so-so. That’s why I’d love to go back to using a OnePlus phone, especially the latest model, the 6T. I love everything about the OnePlus 6T — its display, performance, build, and software. Wouldn’t it be nice to also equip it with a wide-angle shooter? The secondary camera of the 6T is rather redundant to the main sensor, so I’m hoping OnePlus would consider adding one soon.

Daily driver: Not Pink Pixel 3
Prefers: An actual pink Pixel 3 🤬

I can’t let go of phones from the Pixel line simply because I trust their cameras most. I don’t just want good selfies, I want an actual phone that I can take in place of cameras. That being said, it really wouldn’t have killed Google if they made an actual pink phone instead of teasing me with this half-baked maybe pink device.

Daily drivers: Galaxy Note 9 and Mate 10 Pro
Prefers: A tougher and more robust flagship smartphone

I love how smartphones today are so feature-packed that they can be used for leisure and productivity on the go. If I’m not out raiding legendaries in Pokémon Go, I’d be out shooting with a camera and my smartphone. Thing is, I’m the kind of user who doesn’t put a case on his smartphone simply because I think feeling the material and its texture are part of the phone’s experience — that plus it bulks up the phone. But today’s high-end phones scratch easily with everyday handling so having a tougher protective glass would really be a good addition. Maybe for Gorilla Glass 10?

Daily drivers: Pixel 3 and Mate 20 Pro
Prefers: Razer Phone 2

I must say, using the Pixel 3 and Mate 20 Pro together is a match made in tech heaven. I get the latest Android updates and compact dimensions of the former, as well as the versatile cameras and incredible battery life of the latter. And yet, what I really want is a smartphone that simply games. It’s been a Razer Phone 2 versus ROG Phone type of year, but my money is on Razer’s side. Sticking to the 16:9 screen ratio and front-facing speakers has become invaluable for mobile gaming, which is something I’ve gotten more into lately.

Daily drivers: Huawei P20 Pro and LG V40 ThinQ
Prefers: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

I’ve been in love with Huawei’s P series ever since they collaborated with Leica. It’s been a great travel companion that perfectly captures postcard- and instagram-worthy photos. But sometimes, I’d wish they add a wide-angle feature — something that I like from the LG V40 ThinQ. This is why I prefer the Mate 20 Pro. It’s packed with three versatile rear shooters that can handle any adventure I go on.

Daily drivers: Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro and Pocophone F1
Prefers: The Xiaomi Mi 8 with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s cameras

I’m generally happy with the Xiaomi Mi 8. It’s a great performer and I think it’s the absolute sweet spot for me in terms of size. While its cameras are pretty good, they just aren’t at the level of the Mate 20 Pro’s which are great under any lighting condition. Since this fantasy phone isn’t happening any time soon, I’m content with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro. It’s a great multitasking machine plus I really enjoy MIUI!

Features

6 best smartphones of 2019 (so far)

H1 2019 Edition

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We’re about to hit the half-way mark of 2019, and with most major smartphone launches out of the way, it’s time to pick the best models so far.

After numerous new products around the globe, it’s impossible to cover everything and provide a top-to-bottom ranking. With this in mind, these are the top smartphones we actually tested and believe are front-runners till the end of the year.


In no particular order, here they are:

Xiaomi Mi 9

Whenever a new Mi flagship comes out, people’s heads turn. The Mi 9 is this year’s first “flagship killer,” owning the specs and attractive price tag that made the more premium brands rethink their marketing strategies. Despite being one of the earliest to release this year, its price-to-performance ratio is still one to beat.

Samsung Galaxy S10+

Even though the Galaxy S10+ borrows several key features from the past generation, it does so with grace. By combining the best of the best, we have a flagship smartphone that’s more refined inside and out compared to the other entries on this list. It may not be groundbreaking, but Samsung nailed what we want in a high-end device.

Huawei P30 Pro

Controversies and trade ban aside, the P30 Pro set the highest bar for smartphone photography this year. Its zooming capabilities are unreal, and when combined with the advanced image processing and incredible battery life, this is practically a standalone camera replacement. Let’s just hope the second half of the year is nicer to Huawei.

OPPO Reno 10x Zoom

OPPO made it clear that they’re serious about the premium segment when it unveiled the Find X last year. The Reno follows up on that ambition with an impressive set of rear cameras and one of the most unusual selfie shooters we’ve ever seen. It owns some of the best internal hardware, as well, making this a lot more well-rounded than you’d expect.

Google Pixel 3a

Months of leaks and rumors eventually blossomed into the lower-end sibling of the much-loved Pixel 3. Google’s Pixel 3a makes a few compromises here and there, yet retains the features we truly want, such as the unmatched single rear camera and always up-to-date software — all in a package that costs only US$ 399.

OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus may have veered away from its affordable pricing strategy, but the OnePlus 7 Pro justifies the price hike with possibly the best smartphone screen in the market, along with a gorgeous design and unrivaled specifications. This gadget most definitely does not settle.

Honorable Mention: Redmi K20 Pro

We’re currently in the process of reviewing this device, but from what we can tell so far, this is indeed a winner. As the spiritual successor to last year’s smash hit, the Pocophone F1, the Redmi K20 Pro looks to become 2019’s one true flagship killer. It’s got everything, from the sharp looks and top-shelf specs, to the high-tech cameras and lovely price.

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News

Some Huawei phones are showing unwanted ads on lock screens

A way for Huawei to earn money?

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Huawei P30 Lite | GadgetMatch

While Huawei continues to find ways to fight off the trade ban implemented by the US, a number of Huawei phone owners are expressing their dismay over sudden ads on their lock screens. Huawei doesn’t need more negative publicity right now, but the company decided to push unwanted ads without users’ permission.

Initially reported by Android Police, users in several countries have noticed an ad for Booking.com on the lock screen of their Huawei phones. Surprisingly, some of the devices affected include the flagship models like the Huawei P30 Pro, P20, P20 Lite, P20 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, and Honor 10. Other models are also presumably affected. [Editor’s note: I noticed this on my Mate 20 X, as well.]


Huawei users now have a Reddit thread to talk about this fiasco, and Twitter reports are coming in. Here some of the tweets showing the reported lock screen images:

It seems like the ads are appearing for device owners who are using the preinstalled landscape background wallpapers. The ads are showing up in certain countries in Europe and South Africa for now.

Huawei phones have a “Magazine unlock” feature that shows a series of curated wallpapers based on the user’s preference. This can be turned off and that should get rid of the advertising. Needless to say, this could be Huawei’s move to earn extra ad cash.

SEE ALSO: Huawei on getting to top spot: ‘This process may take longer’

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Deals

Pocophone F1’s cheaper price makes it an even better flagship-specced phone

A 2018 flagship for the price of a midrange phone

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Pocophone F1 | GadgetMatch

While we anticipate the arrival of the Redmi K20 Pro or Mi 9T Pro, the former affordable flagship model of Xiaomi gets a new discounted price. The Pocophone F1 already had its retail price slashed earlier this year making this price cut a sign that a new model is coming.

If you’re in the market looking for a new flagship-specced phone, be sure to check out the Pocophone F1. The 6GB/64GB variant is now priced at just PhP 13,990, which is a thousand pesos off from its former retail price and PhP 4,000 cheaper compared to its launch price.


Image credit: Xiaomi Philippines

The discounted Pocophone F1 is listed on LazMall through Lazada Philippines and it’s eligible for free shipping anywhere in the country. It’s available in two colors: Blue and Red.

The phone was first released in August 2018 as Xiaomi’s breakthrough phone that offers incredible specs for a fraction of the price of premium offerings. Check out our review of the Pocophone F1 to know more about the device:

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi 9T is basically the Redmi K20 for the European market

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