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!

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Mi 11 Lite: Price and availability in the Philippines

Ultra-slim midranger

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Mi 11 Lite

The youngest sibling from the Mi 11 series expansion announcement, the Mi 11 Lite, has made its way to the Philippines.

Despite an overall slim footprint, it does sport a 6.55-inch FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay with a 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10. It also has a 4,250mAh battery with 33W fast charging.

Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 732G chip. It’s a chip that’s more than capable of handling most of what you’ll do on a smartphone. Into gaming? Yes, this phone can certainly handle that. It even employs the LiquidCool tech to keep you cool even as the game heats up.

It also has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Yes, this is only the 4G version. No word yet if the 5G one will arrive in the country. Its camera setup are as follows: 64MP f/1.79 Wide. 8MP f/2.2 UWA, 5MP f/2.4 Telemacro, and 16MP selfie camera.

The phone will come in three colors: Boba Black, Bubblegum Blue and Peach Pink.

Price and availability

The Mi 11 Lite will retail for PhP 14,990 and will be available for purchase from Authorized Mi Stores and partner retailers nationwide as well as our official stores in Lazada and Shopee starting April 24.

Watch our Mi 11 Lite Unboxing and Hands-On

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Infinix launches Hot 10S, Hot 10S NFC

For ‘ultimate entertainment’

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Infinix Hot 10S

Infinix just launched a pair of smartphones that should cater to most people’s basic smartphone needs. These are the Infinix Hot 10S and Hot 10S NFC.

There’s not a lot of differences between the two so let’s jump right in and identify them. The Hot 10S has a 6,000mAh battery while the Hot 10S NFC is rocking one that’s 5,000mAh. The Hot 10S also has more configuration options. These are: 4GB+64GB, 6GB+64GB, 4GB+128GB, and 6GB+128GB. Meanwhile the Hot 10S NFC only has 4GB+64GB and 4GB+128GB.

Other than the aforementioned, the two Infinix phones share pretty much the same specs and features. These include a 6.82 HD+ display with 90Hz refresh rate, a MediaTek Helio G85 chip, as well as a fingerprint scanner.

On the camera department, they both have an 8MP selfie shooter. On the back are the following: 48MP, 2MP, and AI lens.

Both phones are running Android 11 with XOS 7.6 on top. This UI is the latest from Infinix and brings refreshed icons and live wallpapers. It also features Game Zone — a game manager so you get the most of your phone for your mobile gaming. Lastly, it also has X-Proof that obscures your screen so others can’t go snooping around what you’re doing.

Price and availability

The Infinix Hot 10S and Hot 10S NFC will come in the following colors: Black, Morandi Green, Heart of Ocean, and Purple. They will be available in Indonesia starting May 12 and will rollout in other countries soon after. The Infinix Hot 10S starts at US$ 130, while the Infinix Hot 10S NFC starts at US$ 120.


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Huawei loses its dominance in the smartphone market

It’s not even in the top five

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Huawei

In the first half of 2020, Huawei was the world’s largest smartphone maker. It shipped more units than Apple and Samsung. Fast forward one year, the Chinese giant isn’t even in the top five spots, and its future looks grim.

According to Strategy Analytics Q1 2021 quarterly report, smartphone shipments increased by a whopping 24 percent YoY. More than 340 million units were shipped, and the top five vendors captured 76 percent of the market.

Samsung is the numero uno now and holds a 23 percent share, followed by Apple at 17 percent and Xiaomi at 15 percent. OPPO and vivo also made it to the top five due to their well-oiled supply chains and market reach. Three out of five top phone makers in the world are now Chinese.

But we’re missing Huawei. It was added to a blacklist by the US government, barring it from transacting with American counterparts. This meant that it couldn’t use Google Mobile Services (an integral package of Android that makes Play Services possible), ARM-powered processors, and other essential components.

The ban derailed its global expansion plans, and all dealt a massive blow to its 5G investment. Due to the ban, it sold off the Honor brand that looked after the affordable smartphone segment. It’s now an independent company that has no ties with Huawei or its group companies.

Honor played a pivotal role in raking in numbers for Huawei. Being a budget-friendly brand, it had massive distribution channels in the developing markets of India, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and more. With the sub-brand now gone, Huawei relies completely on its in-house portfolio.

Huawei still makes phones but is severely hit due to the sanctions. The company has kickstarted the development of its own Android alternative, but bridging the semiconductor gap will be difficult in the short term. Although, it’s worth noting that Huawei’s yearly revenue for 2020 still grew by a measly 3.8 percent thanks to local Chinese demand and stop-gap measures like AppGallery.

Read Also: Huawei ban could persist under Biden administration

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