Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: Smashing, superb, splendid

It’s unconventionally terrific!

Published

on

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the headliner in Samsung’s current lineup of the Tab S series. It boasts a whopping 14.6-inch sAMOLED screen, a monstrous 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of internal storage, and a sizable 11,200mAh battery.

The tablet is surely getting some love. It sports the new Exynos 2200 chipset, equipped with powerful rear cameras that can shoot up to 4K video, and an improved S Pen.

What’s the fuss about?

When I had a sneak peek of the Galaxy Tab S8 series, I gave a nonchalant look. Until I saw the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, standing out among its siblings enormously. I asked myself, “Who would need a tablet this big?”

Weeks later, I found the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra nestled on my desk. A month-long companionship helped me understand how to use this colossal device, and who can make the most out of it.

If you’re looking for a review based on the tablet’s specifications and technical capabilities, you’re better off reading elsewhere. In this review, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra fits into your lifestyle. Is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra your GadgetMatch? Come, let’s find out.

Livin’ your Secretary Kim Mi-So and/or Secretary Cha Sung-Hoon dreams

My fascination with tablets stemmed from my long, incessant desire to be a hot, sexy secretary to a young, bachelor executive. I may be an artist who would greatly benefit from using tablets as drawing slates, but I take pride in my organizational skills which would make me indispensable to anyone I work with.

During my stint with the Tab S8 Ultra, I tried using this humongous device as a remote notebook to do work on the go. I know for a fact that this isn’t the size you’d normally bring and fit inside your briefcase, but I still gave it a try.

And boy, it proved to be challenging. Even though I’m used to lifting weights and carrying bulky cameras and other equipment, the Tab S8 Ultra isn’t the tablet to lug around while walking and checking your calendar.

That’s precisely the Galaxy Fold’s reason for existence, and it’s evident in Secretary Cha Sung-Hoon’s lifestyle in Business Proposal.

Work efficiently on the go

Kat Edison, Scarlet Magazine’s Social Media Director from the Hulu series The Bold Type, exhibited the best way to use a tablet at work.

In the show’s first season, Kat was seen carrying the tablet on her left arm while reporting about the analytics for their magazine’s website and social media accounts.

I’ve been doing the same manner in every tablet I’ve ever held, even something as big as the Tab S8 Ultra. I find it easy to look at the bigger picture, analyze the data, and present reports while carrying such a colossal slate.

Whenever I need to step away from my desk, I continue my work through the tablet. It performs just like my M1 Macbook Air and has a bigger display that can handle intense sunlight during the afternoon. I personally enjoy it since I tend to work outdoors or at an alfresco cafe, sipping cucumber lemonades or smoothies.

Moreover, I don’t have to worry about its battery. It’s got a humongous capacity and I can freely plug it into a power bank in case I ran out of juice. It’s still a tablet, right?

An extension of productivity

To make it the real productive device promised, Samsung offers the Book Cover Keyboard (PhP 17,599/SG$ 548) specifically for the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

It doubles as a protective cover for its back and as a keyboard to provide a laptop-like experience. The keyboard snaps easily through a magnetic pin, while the back cover latches magnetically.

There’s a protruding curve near the camera island, and that’s where you can safe-keep your S-Pen if you don’t want it magnetically attached to the tablet.

The trackpad is nearly as smooth as my Macbook’s, although the keys are incomparable. Sure, it travels smoothly and there’s a function key to turn on the backlight. However, I’m annoyed by the sound it makes every time I type since I prefer quiet keyboards, especially when writing long-form stories.

More importantly, the only advantage this Book Cover Keyboard has is its packaged offerings. A holder for your S Pen, protection for your tablet’s back and screen, and a backlit keyboard.

Other than that, I don’t think the pricing is justified considering there are other alternatives. But of course, if you have the means to do so, go ahead and buy it. Who am I to make decisions for you? I’m just a crumpled-up piece of paper lying here; a soldier who’s returning half his weight. Kidding. I’m just a Swiftie.

Can it be a laptop alternative?

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra retails for US$ 1100, SG$ 2,188 in Singapore, and PhP 77,990 in the Philippines. Honestly, this costs way too much than my 13-inch M1 Macbook Air.

For its price, I highly believe this tablet isn’t made for those looking for a laptop. Or those dreaming of having both a laptop and a tablet, and happened to find one that has similar functions.

If you’re in dire need of a laptop, there are far better options in the market that specifically performs tasks meant for such gear.

Personally, tablets are meant to support your daily activities. An extension of your digital space; a tool to help you stay connected when you’re out and about in between meetings and events.

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra can help augment your everyday activities with laptop-like capabilities. Besides, there’s more to the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra.

When MJ becomes Oh Mi-Joo!

If you’re fond of K-dramas filled with healthy character dynamics, add Run On to your watch list. The series explored Oh Mi-Joo’s life as a hustler translating films and being an interpreter. The woman has plenty of skills and has a familiar setup as we do. Think: Monitors, laptops, keyboards, and more.

When the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra arrived, I was in the midst of juggling multiple activities. In between work, meetings, coverages, and other personal affairs, I was also studying and completing my courses at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business.

The tablet felt like a divine gift, helping me multitask when I’m pressed with deadlines. At times when I’m really overwhelmed by everything that’s going on in my life, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra helped lighten my load.

A multitasker’s companion

Sometimes, I use the tablet for Zoom meetings, due to its dual front-facing cameras that are better than my Macbook’s built-in webcam.

Sometimes, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is an extra working space when my Macbook is swamped with work. When I plugged a USB-C cable connected to my Huawei MateView, the tablet instantaneously switches to Samsung DeX.

The Huawei MateView can act as an external display that mirrors the tablet’s content, but it can also act separately through Samsung DeX. Occasionally, I use the tablet for my Zoom classes, and then I use the keyboard and the trackpad to navigate Samsung DeX for my assignments and seatworks.

Using Samsung DeX separately can get sluggish when typing or even using the cursor. The same goes for the tablet where there are one-second delays when opening a new app but switching is still seamless as ever. It lives up to its ‘Ultra’ moniker.

As an entertainment device

On days when I feel liberated from my responsibilities, I use the Tab S8 Ultra to watch the latest episodes of Business Proposal and Forecasting Love and Weather. With a near-borderless sAMOLED display bigger and better than my Macbook’s, what’s a better way to use it than indulging in lighthearted K-dramas?

Coupling it with four speaker grilles on both top and bottom sides, or left and right when using the tablet horizontally, it easily becomes an entertainment device.

The colors are vibrant, there are deep blacks, and the overall experience is immersive. It’s like watching on a Samsung QLED TV albeit smaller.

Nurturing your Inner Child

A tablet has always been described as a productivity device. But for the creative community, tablets are executioners of our wills and ideas. iPads are still the gold standard when it comes to tablets, especially with a plethora of apps working seamlessly with the iPadOS. Par exemple, Procreate.

Samsung is trying to put a dent in it, building a tablet that also promotes other creative apps that most artists and designers know too. There’s AutoDesk’s Sketchbook, and this year, Samsung tightened its long-standing partnership with Clip Studio.

Samsung also improved the S-Pen, bringing its latency to 2.8ms so drawing, writing, and overall use of the stylus are seamless and smooth.

I certainly had fun doodling during meetings and sketching my favorite Pokémon, recent animé obsessions, Kemonomimi, and memories I just want to paint. I would share some of my drawings here, but they’re somewhat considered lewd and erotic.

A household gadget

Mmkay, let’s be real about this. Plenty of tablet users are considered the uncle and/or aunties in the family. Sometimes, even your abeoji and eomeoni have one. Or better yet, your halmeoni and harabeoji use it as their daily driver.

Tablets offer a bigger alternative to smartphones so that people with poor eyesight don’t have to squint their eyes to read the texts on their screen.

The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra might seem too much for your grandparents, since most of them have weaker arms and fragile bodies, they’re better off with a base Tab S8 or the Tab S8+.

However, if the tablet is situated on a desk together with a book cover keyboard to act as an occasional laptop, then the Tab S8 Ultra might be worth considering, too. Nevertheless, it’s a good household device that the family can use for communication, entertainment, or productivity purposes.

Is it okay to take photos using my tablet?

Taking photos using a tablet feels hilarious to me. I suddenly remember the uncles and the aunties during holiday festivities, taking photos of the guests and the food.

There was always clamor about tablets having cameras. Should manufacturers stop doing it? Are they really that annoying? (Well, yes, during concerts.)

Tittle-tattles I hear are mostly about how no one really needs it or uses it — which I beg to differ. Just because we don’t need it, doesn’t mean other people won’t.

People with vision impairment use tablets as their daily drivers to make it easy to communicate and do their everyday activities.

It’s actually easier to check the photo (or capture the subject) if the display is big, although the output might lose its actual resolution to fit the expanded screen.

Using it that way looks absurd to the eyes of many, especially when you do it in restaurants or other public places. But the plight of impaired vision is real, and to them, a tablet as colossal as the Tab S8 Ultra can be quite a blessing.

Moreover, Samsung slapped its cameras with the ability to record 4K videos and I’m still baffled by how you can produce a 4K film with this tablet, let alone capture 4K clips that you probably won’t be able to watch properly.

Finding the answers is beyond me, I won’t even. I’m certain Samsung has reasons, but I dare not to tread that path.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Some people believe they deserve the best and finest things in life. If you’re that type of person, you can skip this review and proceed to the nearest Samsung Experience store.

In a nutshell, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the best Android tablet on the market right now. Especially if you can afford it. But if you’re still wary about the purchases you make, then continue reading.

Samsung slaps the word ‘Ultra’ like a hotcake. But they’re right in doing so. The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra houses the best of what Samsung can offer. The experience — whether as a tablet or a productivity device — is as seamless as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Everything you’d expect from Samsung’s high-end devices, the Tab S8 Ultra delivers.

The drawbacks are something you can ask yourself if you can live with it. For example, a 45W wired charging speed that you’ll rarely get, apps that aren’t optimized for tablet use, and the strain that its weight can put on your arms when lugging it around.

What are my alternatives?

If you still believe that you deserve the best of the best, then most likely, it is your GadgetMatch. If you’re still on the fence about the Tab S8 Ultra, consider the Tab S8 or the Tab S8+ instead. The experience is pretty much the same, and the compromises are inconspicuous. You’ll barely notice and the size is apt for your everyday use, as well.

The Galaxy Tab S8 WiFi (8GB/256GB) retails for PhP 41,990 and is available in Silver and Pink Gold. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Tab S8 5G (8GB/256GB) retails for PhP 49,990, available in Silver.

On the other hand, the Galaxy Tab S8+ 5G (8GB/256GB) costs PhP 63,990. It comes in Graphite. There’s a stark difference in its price points, but it’s still the Galaxy Tab S series you’ve known.

Whatever you decide to get, just know that they’re still the best Android tablet you can purchase at the moment. And if you’re getting the Tab S8 Ultra, just remember that you can use it as protection against the sun if you forgot to apply your sunscreen during the day. Kidding. I’m just having fun with a device that’s not going to be my GadgetMatch.

Have fun looking at these colossal slates on Samsung’s Experience store, Samsung’s Online Store, and authorized retailers.

Computers

MSI Summit E16 Flip review: Creator on the go

A plethora of ways to be as productive and creative as possible

Published

on

We all love a good 2-in-1 device that gives us everything we need all in one go. From portability to productivity, devices like these truly bring out the best in everyone no matter what kind of use case you throw at it. Such is the case for MSI, a brand notably known for gaming hardware but has their fair share of productivity-focused laptops, as well.

One such 2-in-1 device under MSI’s portfolio is the MSI Summit E16 Flip, complete with hardware and features for the more well-rounded user out there. With a rather slim form factor, the device would ideally mix both portability and productivity in one. Also, it comes with some external hardware that elevates the productivity just a bit further, as well.

With all these in mind, is the MSI Summit E16 Flip a worthy option for all your productivity needs?

Performing above expectations

The MSI Summit E16 Flip performs rather fantastically for any given situation; whether you’re working or watching, it has the hardware to keep up. Inside this machine is a 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM — a standard for most productivity-laden devices. Most applications run smoothly on this device, which is expected as a daily driver for most tasks.

It also comes with a 16:10, QHD+ anti-glare display, which does provide a bigger canvas for multitasking with multiple windows open. This IPS touch display is quite bright and color-accurate, especially at peak brightness and in broad daylight. Whether you’re working during the day or watching movies at night, this device is perfect for these activities.

Gaming and creating on the go

Much like all other MSI laptops, the MSI Summit E16 Flip comes with a dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti GPU inside. Although not as powerful as oher mobile GPUs, this one packs a punch for a good balance of gaming performance with high quality graphics. When throwing in Esports titles, the device poured in high frame rates suited for competitive play.

Of course, a powerful GPU also enables greater performance when editing photos and videos in high quality, as well. This is also helped out by the display having a 165Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response rate, so you don’t miss out on any out of place pixels. From our tests, render times for HD videos were decent enough — about 2 minutes for a 15-second video with many visual elements.

A pen and large display for your notes

Part of the package for the MSI Summit E16 Flip is the addition of the MSI Pen for those who prefer a pen over a mouse/trackpad. This additional accessory links up quite quickly, and lasts for more than a day on a full charge. Also, it comes with a few magnetized areas so it sticks to the side of the laptop or the top of the display for ease of access.

Ideally, you’d need something like the MSI Pen if you’re more into drawing illustrations or taking down handwritten notes — and it shows. From legible handwriting to brush strokes, the device was able to pick up on these inputs well. It even supports other Windows gestures like zoom, drag, and multi-select — essentially replicating the wide trackpad.

Although, from our usage of the device, the display has this slight problem with rejecting palms on top of it. While writing with the MSI Pen, it is natural to rest your palm somewhere on the display yet even inputs from that get picked up. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be wary of.

Lasts decently long for consistent productivity

Longevity is another thing the MSI Summit E16 Flip provides, specifically on the battery side of things. Throughout our usage of the device, on normal usage, it lasts around 10-11 hours which is pretty decent for the hardware. Accounting for higher quality videos playing, the device lasted for 9-10 hours on average.

When gaming full time or even rendering higher quality videos, the battery does take a hit, as expected. For full time video rendering, it drained its battery after three and a half hours on average, while gaming cut it down to around two to three hours.

Although, if you need to get back into your productivity workflow, the MSI Summit E16 Flip restores its battery quickly with the charger it comes with. On average, charging the device took around two hours from nothing to full, which should put you back in action.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Starting PhP 130,999, the MSI Summit E16 Flip has everything you need in a 2-in-1 device when you’re on the move. From the hardware to the accessories, it’s a well-rounded machine designed for the multihyphenated or those who work and play hard. Also, its overall design makes it a bit easier to bring around.

If money isn’t entirely an issue, this laptop is one great upgrade option out there both as a work machine and a creator hub. Accessory-wise, the MSI Pen should be on your list of must-haves when purchasing this device, in case a mouse doesn’t suit your liking.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Serial Cleaners review: Stealth in the mafia

Outrunning the police, but you can’t outrun the truth

Published

on

Serial Cleaners

As seen in most crime movies, clean up duty is one of the hardest things to do. Basically, every little detail must be accounted for when you’re protecting people in high places. As they say, “leave no stone unturned” when hiding the truth of the crime. The moment the clean up guy messes up, normally everything bad happens after that.

In essence, that’s what Serial Cleaners is all about: the life of a person doing clean up duties for murders that take place anywhere. Although, the murders you’re cleaning up is from the mafia you work for. And it’s not just one person handling the cleaning process. As the cleaners gather for maybe one last time before Y2K, they reminisce on the life of crime they chose to protect.

Is Serial Cleaners a game to try and experience in full? Honestly, the work speaks for itself.

Four different characters with a unique take on stealth

Serial Cleaners is the rather riveting sequel to the 2017 game called (wait for it), Serial Cleaner. Bob returns from the prequel and brings together a group of his cleaners for one last night before Y2K. To start off, you get to know just a little bit more about each of the characters. You also find out how Bob recruited them into the business of cleaning up murders.

Each character comes in with their own unique take on how to either successfully hack into systems or hide/dispose of corpses just scattered around as evidence. The key to this game is literal stealth and precise planning of your next move in order to avoid capture, so understanding how they work is key.

Honestly, I felt this was a rather unique way to introduce character stages while staying true to the main idea of the gameplay. Obviously, it’s a step in the right direction to simply let the characters be their own thing, instead of forcing the same gameplay style across all of them. You get to experience everyone in their own way, which makes the gameplay totally varied.

Game controls that could be improved

Overall, the controls of this game feels quite easy to work around, especially during the early stages. It’s even a lot more interesting knowing that you have different play styles to work with, which further deepens the experience. Also, there’s no kind of linear progression in play, so you can proceed however you want.

In most cases with the games I play, I normally adjust controls according to my default keybinds that are comfortable. This was something I applied to most of the actions, like using Bob’s vacuum or running/scaling fences with Dati. Gameplay and progression feel a bit better when you customize your keybinds in that way, but the default ones aren’t bad either. 

Serial Cleaners

If you’re playing this on PC, though, you might have to get used to just using your keyboards mostly. I genuinely found it a bit jarring at first. There are certain actions in the game that fit better with mouse controls, but still solely relied on the keyboard. In any case, there are possible solutions around it. But it would have been nice if the mouse was part of it.

Fantastic art design through and through

Serial Cleaners

What drew me to the game as I progressed through most of the main storyline was how the visuals looked. From the loading screens to all the different places in New York that each level is staged in, a full 90s backdrop works just well with this game. Also, the fact that it’s done in a 2D space instead of 3D is well-suited.

Serial Cleaners

I even felt it when halfway through the game, the mood within the group starts to sour rather quickly. Subtle lighting changes, along with some blood, body-hiding stories, allowed the whole plot to progress in the fashion that it did. Of course, with all the twists and turns along the way, the story ends in any way you decide.

Not much of a bloody mess to clean up

Overall, Serial Cleaners was a fun time to get through for the most part. Although I am in the process of uncovering every possible story ending, I have no problem going through every chapter. With variety in gameplay styles plus a rather DIY-style of storytelling, this game provided an experience that is unique.

The biggest thing with this game is that on PC, you’re limited to just the keyboard for full control. You literally navigate through menus with the mouse anyway, so it made sense to use it beyond just menu navigation. Although, you have the option to use a controller for a better experience. Still, I felt this was a miss in the gameplay style.

Even with the mass amount of murders you have to clean up, Serial Cleaners gave me a glimpse of how a group of misfits managed to keep things bottled up for so long. It’s a story of friendship, cold-blood murders, and doing what you gotta do to not get caught with your hands dirty — a thrill we can all appreciate.

Continue Reading

Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Watch5 review: Best Android smartwatch yet?

Training for a half-marathon race made easy with this trinket

Published

on

The biggest plot twist I had this year was turning into an athlete in the most unexpected way.

I never thought that the fitness journey I started three years ago, which was even amplified last year when I had the Galaxy Watch4 Classic, would propel me to a path that tests my limits.

Back then, I only had regular gym sessions, trying out calisthenic exercises, alternating between boxing and Muay Thai lessons, and running occasionally. I was late to realize that presently, I’m already a full-fledged runner and obstacle course racer.

Upgrading my watch

I’ve been spending the last three months collecting mileage, building my strength, and pushing my endurance — hopping off between obstacle training and running long distances in flat and elevated terrains.

Joining AIA Vitality Sports allowed me to meet like-minded people who accompanied me on my new journey. As I prepare for the last race I’m participating in for the year, I got a chance to upgrade my Galaxy Watch4 Classic to the Galaxy Watch5 series.

Originally, it should’ve been the Galaxy Watch5 Pro that’s apt for my activities. It’s made for the outdoors; rugged, durable. However, the size — similar to the Apple Watch Ultra — proved to be overwhelming for my small wrist. I took the 40mm Galaxy Watch5 instead, and boy, it worked wonders.

Barely feeling it

The first thing I noticed when I wore the Galaxy Watch5 is its featherweight. Its heft is barely noticeable on your wrist, especially for someone with frail forearms. Unlike other sports-centric smartwatches I’ve tested before, it simply doesn’t feel any weight especially when running. It’s extremely comfortable that I only removed it when it’s time to charge or take a bath.

My unit came in Graphite. Normally, I would’ve preferred a lighter colorway, but I realized later on that a neutral smartwatch works well if you tend to put on eccentric sportswear. I’ve been wearing bold, vivid colors when it comes to my performance wear along with my sneakers, and it feels nice that people notice you instead of the trinkets you’re holding.

In a way, the Galaxy Watch5 completed my athletic look inconspicuously. You’ll know it’s there, without taking away the attention from you.

Like muscle memory

I’ve worn Galaxy watches for a few years now. I still remember trying them out at Pretty Huge Obstacles when Samsung hosted an obstacle course race for technology and lifestyle journalists. That experience kickstarted my journey to becoming an athlete.

Tinkering with a Galaxy Watch seems like muscle memory now. I’ve been accustomed to its experience that it’s easy to figure out. Even for non-Galaxy Watch users, the interface is straightforward and simple.

The functions are similar to an Android smartphone. They’re easily accessible, customizable, and of course, understandable.

When health and technology go hand-in-hand

To fully maximize the Galaxy Watch5, ideally, you’ll use a Samsung smartphone and install the plug-in for Galaxy wearables and the Samsung Health app.

All collected data can be accessed inside the Samsung Health app, which includes sleep, workout, ECG, blood pressure, body composition, and more. It’s a holistic app that has everything you’ll need to get an overview of your health and fitness level.

For beginners, the sports and workout modes usually have built-in coaches inside the program. For instance, the running coach instructs you on what to do when running. The more advanced users can take advantage of using just the workout modes to enable them to study their activities.

In my case, I’ve been using Running mode to track my time, distance, and pace I’m in. It also showcases my heart rate which helps me during my zone training. The watch also exhibited the average speed, cadence, and average pace — essential information that can be used to analyze and improve your runs and/or activities.

I used to be scared of numbers, but knowing the importance of health and fitness data helped me improve my body and performance. Now, numbers are my friend.

Full-day training companion

One thing I like about the Galaxy Watch5 is how seamless the experience is. It’s truly a smartwatch, you’ll barely use your brain cells since every feature is intuitive and easy to use.

It’s taken the best from the Galaxy Watch4 series and improved it with a more durable screen, a better design to accurately monitor your health, and longer battery life.

I still remember how the Galaxy Watch4 Classic kept up with my training when I was just a fitness enthusiast. I didn’t complain much about its battery, not until I joined a sports team and I had to train from morning to evening. The Galaxy Watch4 Classic couldn’t keep up and I had to charge it every now and then.

I didn’t feel the same about the Galaxy Watch5. It truly has a longer battery life that I can last a full day of training without worrying about my battery dying when I’m recording my runs.

Preparing for my first half-marathon race

As of writing, I’ve been using the Galaxy Watch5 to prepare for my first half-marathon race. I only started running this year, and I feel like I’m moving too fast.

The smartwatch helps me ground myself when I feel the jitters, knowing that I put in my best effort even if I got sick after pushing my body’s limits. I kept reminding myself that the numbers I put into my smartwatch for the past five weeks is enough to make me trust in my physical and mental strength.

On days that I only have 40 percent, I still gave my 100 percent and I’m proud of myself for giving my best. That alone is already a win.

The vibrant display comes with a compromise: smudge city

As I wait for race day, I put my focus on the underrated part of training: Nutrition and recovery. The Galaxy Watch5 offers one of the best tracking features that most people take for granted. There’s sleep tracking that’s much better now, thanks to the added skin temperature sensor (which, by the way, doesn’t measure your body’s temperature).

The body composition tool, which was seen from the Galaxy Watch4 series, helps me check my body’s mass and allowed me to track my weight as well, which I need to maintain until race day. Food and water intake can also be logged easily, by customizing the tiles for easy access.

Everything I need to prepare for my first half-marathon race is already in this little trinket. No need for notebooks and pens, everything is accessible by swiping on my wrist.

An Android smartwatch through and through

The smartwatch accompanied me every step of the way, even if I had multiple apps running. It’s an Android smartwatch through and through. I had it connected to the Galaxy Z Flip4 and the Galaxy Buds2 Pro, and I get to access apps such as Strava, Calm, MyFitnessPal, Google Fit, and the like from my smartphone that are also compatible with my smartwatch.

I get to control my music playback so I don’t have to take out the Flip from my armband, and I get to respond to urgent messages that need replies — even if I’m just using my watch.

Of course, these are nothing new. For the past few years, smartwatches — not just the Galaxy Watch lineup — have enabled these features. But the best implementation has been by Samsung — so smooth and flawless. Samsung has been consistent with creating an allure that you can only experience when you’ve touched and tried their technology.

That je ne sais quoi can’t be merely captured through words, photos, and any video. If you have access to a Galaxy store or you know a friend who uses a Galaxy Watch, it’s time to pique that curiosity and try it out.

Could’ve been the best smartwatch for everyone

Samsung set out to have the best Android smartwatch in 2021 with the Galaxy Watch4. Somehow, it continued its legacy through the Galaxy Watch5. The upgrade is incremental, which is why it doesn’t make sense for Galaxy Watch4 users to make the jump unless they’re in it for better battery life, or a chance to try the Pro variant.

What I couldn’t wrap my head around is how it isn’t the best smartwatch for everyone. Past the Galaxy Watch3 series, the Galaxy Watch syncs well inside the Samsung ecosystem. It struggles a bit when connecting with other Android smartphones. Using an iPhone, on the other hand, is completely inaccessible.

I’m disappointed with how this smart, fabulous piece of technology is limited to a set of users. That walled ecosystem that Apple started trickled down to other smartphone brands like Samsung. Now, it’s difficult to enjoy different gadgets because you’re forced to use all devices in one ecosystem.

It’s either you use the Galaxy Watch5 and use a Samsung smartphone to fully maximize it, or use an Android smartphone to still connect to it somehow. That, or you use an iPhone and ditch the watch and move to an Apple Watch or an ecosystem-free smartwatch such as Garmin or Fitbit.

Price and availability

The Galaxy Watch5 comes in different sizes, colors, and prices. For the 40mm, it’s available in Graphite, Pink Gold, and Silver. The LTE variant costs PhP 19,990 while the Bluetooth variant retails for PhP 16,990.

Meanwhile, the 44mm Galaxy Watch5 comes in Graphite, Sapphire, and Silver. Its LTE variant retails for PhP 21,990 while the Bluetooth variant costs PhP 18,990.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Galaxy Watch5 proves to be the best Android smartwatch yet. It has a better battery life that accompanies athletes, and even fitness enthusiasts, in their quest to improve their bodies and performance. Add to that is holistic health and fitness features that sync exceptionally within the Samsung ecosystem.

If you’re knee-deep in the Samsung ecosystem, the Galaxy Watch5 is a must-have. If you’re using a different Android smartphone, the Galaxy Watch5 is nice to have — if you only need the essential features for performance tracking.

However, iPhone users better steer clear of the Galaxy Watch5, no matter how lightweight and demure the device is. It won’t work. You’re better off with Garmin, Fitbit, or an Apple Watch.

The asking price for the base Galaxy Watch5 is higher than the Galaxy Watch4 during its launch, but the incremental upgrades match the value of the current price tag.

With that, the Samsung Galaxy Watch5 deserves the GadgetMatch Seal of Approval.

Continue Reading

Trending