Back in March, several days after announcing a $30-per-movie 4K HDR streaming service, Sony unveiled a new generation of expensive TV sets in the Philippines that not only promise ultra-sharp visuals, but HDR or high-dynamic-range lighting as well.
I attended the media event, saw the new screens up close and thought to myself, “Now this is the future of gaming.”
To be clear, I wasn’t talking about 4K technology, which has been around for quite a while, and hasn’t taken off the way it once seemed destined to.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, but I always thought the market wasn’t ready to spend a fortune upgrading to a new TV that, given the right circumstances, could make things look sharper than they already were. If you were sitting a few feet away, you probably couldn’t tell where those extra hundreds of dollars went, anyway.
Plus: TVs are like cars; once you get one, you stick with it for as long as you can until it breaks down or slowly crumbles away. But I digress.
I was referring to high-dynamic range, the latest
advancement in picture quality buzzword in the industry. Only it’s less marketing gimmick to sell TVs and related hardware and more pushing the needle forward in a way that most consumers will notice, in a way that one can see from across the room.
Remember what it felt like, the butterflies in your stomach, when you first laid eyes on a high-def screen? My initial, if limited, experiences with HDR had that effect on me.
What does high-dynamic range mean for picture quality? Let me get technical here for a second. The technology improves visibility in areas of peak brightness and peak darkness, thus allowing you to see a more nuanced range of whites and blacks. Content can look far more realistic than what’s possible with a non-HDR TV, with colors that seem to jump off the screen. So yeah — better picture quality.
If you ask me, out of all the good reasons to upgrade your existing HDTV, HDR is about as good as it gets, because better — not sharper — images is the sort of technical improvement we can all raise our glasses to. Trust me when I say you’re gonna want to own an HDR TV when you see one.
It gets better still: More HDR (and 4K) content is expected to arrive soon. Not just movies and TV shows, not just offline but online, too.
But I’m more excited about what the technology could do for gaming at large. Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long to find out.
Sony has already released a software update that allows all PlayStation 4 models to support high-dynamic-range color in games, though there are none available at the moment; Microsoft’s Xbox One S has the same feature and one game — NBA 2K17 — that’s encoded in HDR format. A post-launch patch for NBA 2K17 will bring HDR compatibility to the PS4.
Yes, a patch. It turns out adding HDR lighting to games doesn’t require much effort, as some game developers have told Polygon. One developer even said it “had an extremely small impact on development,” which is very encouraging to hear.
Optimizing video games to run at 4K? That’s for another discussion. One that may not be necessary when HDR adoption starts to pick up.
[irp posts=”9240″ name=”Sony launched an incredible 4K HDR OLED TV”]
iPhone 15 + 15 Pro Series MEGA UNBOXING!
iPhone 15 domination comin’ thru
Most of you think there’s nothing extraordinary about unboxing videos anymore.
While that relies on one’s interest, there’s still that amount of satisfaction when unpacking Apple products.
The newest iPhone 15 lineup aren’t exemptions to that.
We might get the same ol’ box content in an overall minimalistic packaging design.
Still, there’s the sound of the screen-protecting sticker coming off from the phone.
Do I even need to iterate one’s design language appreciation when getting and flipping the device?
Here’s our MEGA unboxing of the iPhone 15, 15 Plus, 15 Pro, and 15 Pro Max in various colors — that might be your next GadgetMatch!
Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Series Hands-on
Which iPhone 15 is your GadgetMatch?
It’s the time of the year again!
Wonderlust — it’s the theme for this year’s annual Apple Event held at the ever-popular Apple Park in Cupertino, California.
Excited to see what’s new? How about the latest colorways?
Are you even convincing yourself to upgrade?
More of your questions might just be answered by heading over to our iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Series Hands-on video.
I need a Huawei Mate X3, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 fusion
I am now a foldable enthusiast
I’m suffering from foldable withdrawal. For the better part of the past month or so, I’ve had both the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 and the Huawei Mate X3. As of writing, it’s been a little over a week since I let go of both book-style foldable smartphones. I badly miss using a foldable.
It took five generations of the Galaxy Z Fold and the rest of the pack to come up with a slimmer foldable design for me to realize that I might be the target market of this device after all.
It wasn’t until I really had to start going out and attending physical events that I felt the need for this specific type of gadget. Why? Well, over the years, I’ve gotten used to bringing a laptop wherever I go. But the events I’ve gone to of late, I realized I didn’t really need to bring one.
In order to lighten the load I carry when I step out for an event or two in a day, I figured I’d switch over to an 11-inch tablet instead. It’s lighter while still giving me access to a full-sized keyboard making tasks like copy editing and long email replies easier. I did that for a while. But then, the review units for the foldables arrived.
Living the foldable life
With the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 in hand, I realized I could make my events loadout even lighter. In a pocket I could carry a device that can handle all the tasks I did as an editor. I can preview videos on it and still spot changes because of the larger screen. I can comfortably sit down somewhere to copy edit an article. I can step aside for a little bit to quickly respond to emails or chats. All that and more. It truly is the productivity gadget it’s marketed to be.
But I had one gripe about the Galaxy Z Fold5. The only time I could enjoyably use it folded is when I’m trying to take clips for a Reel or just generally taking videos and photos. I’m not saying the outer screen isn’t usable. It is. However, it just doesn’t feel right. And for all the strides it has made in software, the Galaxy Z Fold5’s hardware design feels dated.
Enter the Huawei Mate X3. As cliche as it sounds, this thing felt like an engineering marvel the first time I held it. The design fulfilled the promise of having the best of both worlds: a regular smartphone and a mini tablet. It would have been perfect, but it’s only truly available in China. And Google Mobile Services or GMS still isn’t present on Huawei smartphones.
Some snaps comparisons
While we’re at it. Here’s what photos look like on both devices. To make things easy, everything on the left was taken with the Galaxy Z Fold5 and everything on the right was taken with the Mate X3.
The difference in the color science is very evident. In night time and lowlight scenarios, the Galaxy Z Fold5 works overtime in processing the images. With people present, the results look nice. But with general scenes, it tends to create a halo effect on some lights and appears to bright.
Meanwhile, the Mate X3 was outstanding in most scenes but struggled somewhat when people were present in the shots. And the selfie had some pretty obvious smoothing and beautification applied.
Overall, these are still pretty darn good shots for foldables. All were taken using the main camera of each smartphone. Foldables still also need time to develop for other lenses like utlra wide and telephoto/zoom.
Frustration sets in
The Huawei Mate X3 is the lightest, thinnest book-style foldable I’ve personally held so far. It would have been my dream foldable had it been running a software that worked like on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5.
Yes, I am aware of the existence of the HONOR Magic V2 and the Xiaomi Mix Fold 3. But the former’s actual global unit hasn’t been released yet and the latter, like Huawei, is only made for China. For now, at least.
Hardware-wise, all three are definitely ahead of Samsung. When folded, the foldable does feel like a regular slab of a smartphone. But unfold it and you get the benefits of a mini tablet. But the software on these devices just hasn’t caught up to Samsung just yet.
On the Galaxy Z Fold5, when folded, my other devices detect it as a smartphone. Unfolded, it registers as a tablet. And many of the apps I use like GMail, Spotify, YouTube, and more automatically and seamlessly switch from smartphone to tablet user interfaces when I fold and unfold the device.
This is what’s really been grinding my gears. As of writing, I have yet to use a book-style foldable that’s an absolute slam dunk. The form-factor, after all, is just around five years old so there’s still plenty of room for growth.
Staying patient and holding out hope
The smartphones we use today weren’t always as good as they are now. It also took years before the updates, especially on flagship smartphones, to merely become iterative additions. They have evolved so much that they’re now borderline boring especially if you’re just a casual follower of tech trends. That’s what makes the foldable segment so exciting.
Just seeing the hardware and software gap means there’s plenty of tweaking left for these manufacturers to do. And Samsung, while still firmly leading the market should feel the pressure from the likes of HONOR, Huawei, and Xiaomi when it comes to hardware design. Software-wise, it appears no one else comes close. Not even Pixel Fold. Not yet, at least. Then there’s also OPPO’s Find N series that has a stouter look which also has its fans, including yours truly.
At the end of 2022, we predicted 2023 to be the year of foldables. It hasn’t quite blown up the way we thought it would. But there’s race brewing in this segment and everyone’s gearing up to overtake Samsung.
My ideal foldable doesn’t exist yet. It may not exist even in 2024. But I’m staying patient and holding out hope that it’s coming sooner rather than later.
Redmi 12 review: Just the basics
Decent-performing, nothing exceptional
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There's more than just the Titanium Design
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A strong contender in its category
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China accuses the United States of hacking into Huawei
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