Globe beats Smart in 4G availability, loses in overall download speed
OpenSignal released its September 2017 report for mobile data speeds and 4G LTE availability in the Philippines for both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. The results favor one side a little more.
This is the second time the independent group tracked data in the Philippines, recording three months’ worth of data from May 1 to July 31 for the two major network carriers. The data is largely the same as what was previously recorded, but it still gives us a good idea of which company does mobile data better.
There are a lot of numbers to look at, so we compiled them in a series of graphics. Take a look:
The first one represents 4G availability throughout the nation. OpenSignal measures this by looking at how often users can access the network, and not by how many areas have 4G connectivity. Globe has a significant edge here with 62.59 percent, which is nearly 10 percent more than Smart’s 52.71 percent.
The next piece of data shows average 4G download speeds for both providers in the Philippines. Smart has a much better speed of 10.55Mbps here; that’s over 3Mbps faster than Globe’s average speed!
While not as advanced, 3G is still important in rural areas without access to 4G. Luckily, users of both sides experience the network at virtually equal speeds.
With that, the overall download speed when you consider both 4G and 3G networks favors Smart. OpenSignal also factors in 4G availability, which Globe won earlier, but it isn’t enough to help the blue side catch up.
Latency signifies the delay data goes through when traveling from one point to another in a network. In this case, a lower number results in faster response, and Smart wins by a hair with an average 4G latency of 57.57ms compared to Globe’s 69.03ms.
As for 3G latency, it’s another virtual draw. But do note that the delay here is much longer than the 4G latency numbers shown earlier. This goes to show how much better it is to connect to the more advanced technology for a more fluid experience.
As you can see, there are a couple of ties, but the majority of wins go to Smart. The sole success for Globe is in 4G availability, which, if you think about it, may actually be the most important factor in terms of long-term statistics.
The data was recorded from over a billion measurements across 62,502 devices. Although these numbers are considered to be a fairly accurate representation of the state of mobile data in the Philippines, individual usage varies greatly and doesn’t necessarily equal to what we see here.
SEE ALSO: Smartphone Price Lists in the Philippines
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Xiaomi 13 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Camera Shootout
200MP camera or 1-inch sensor?
Both Samsung and Xiaomi started 2023 by announcing each of their latest flagship-grade smartphones totally focusing on professional photography.
As early as February 2023, Samsung made some jaws drop with the Galaxy S23 Ultra and its monstrous 200MP main camera based from the recent in-house ISOCELL HP2 sensor.
Just a month after, Xiaomi stole the spotlight and finally introduced the Xiaomi 13 series to the rest of the world in Barcelona at MWC 2023 — even though it was unveiled in China a little bit early last December 2022.
The Xiaomi 13 Pro specifically adopted the 1-inch Sony IMX989 camera sensor plus LEICA optics that debuted on last year’s China-exclusive Xiaomi 12S Ultra (and nope, not the one with a detachable Leica lens system).
200MP camera or 1-inch sensor?
Before going further, let’s take a deep dive into these cameras’ specific imaging systems.
|Xiaomi 13 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra|
1.0” Sony IMX989
Dual Pixel PDAF
Laser AF, OIS
1/1.31” Samsung ISOCELL HP2
Laser AF, OIS
|Ultra-Wide||50MP f/2.2 115º
1/2.76″ Samsung JN1
|12MP f/2.2 120º
1/2.55″ Samsung IMX654
Dual Pixel PDAF
1/2.76″ Samsung JN1
3.2x optical zoom
1/3.52″ Sony IMX784
3x optical zoom
Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
10x optical zoom
Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
|Selfie||32MP f/2.0||12MP f/2.2
Dual Pixel PDAF
Aside from the main (wide) cameras and slightly distinct apertures as the huge differentiators of the two phones, the Xiaomi 13 Pro boasts two more 50MP cameras with the same Samsung JN1 image sensors for its ultra-wide and telephoto shooters.
Meanwhile, Samsung is stuck to its 10MP or 12MP cameras with smaller sensors (and even a lower aperture for its telephoto lens). Still, it features Dual Pixel PDAF + OIS that the Chinese phone doesn’t have.
The bonus would be the periscope lens of the Galaxy S23 Ultra that the Xiaomi 13 Pro lacks. As for selfies, well, that’s preferential regardless of which phone has the best “spec” on paper (more on that later).
Fair and square
This camera shootout is divided into four parts with a bonus section at the very end. I’ve carefully curated my picks and selected thirteen (13) photos for each category (except the bonuses) which I deemed best in terms of composition, as well as for comparison.
To keep things level on this camera shootout I opted to use Xiaomi 13 Pro’s Leica Vibrant over the Leica Authentic look (less-saturated). This is to match Samsung’s imaging algorithm leans more towards the saturated side. There’s no in-between as Xiaomi gives the user the option to select between either color profiles when shooting with no option to turn them off.
Disclaimer: Just like our previous camera shootouts, photos were all taken in Auto Mode. These images were collaged, resized, and labeled for faster loading and preview. No other manipulations were applied.
200MP or 1-inch? But before you whine, I only used the usual Auto Mode and not the special 200MP / 50MP Pro camera modes (or Expert RAW, idc) of both phones to make the battle as fair as possible.
While Xiaomi boasts its 50MP sensor and Samsung relies on its 12MP camera, both phones feature a sufficient f/2.2 lens opening.
But with a five-degree (5º) difference between each phone’s FoV (Field of View), this might make or break your succeeding photo picks.
I only focused on using the respective 3.2x and 3x telephoto lenses of both flagships as Xiaomi lacks a dedicated periscope zoom lens.
But to make it fair for Xiaomi, I managed to squeeze it in a little bit to 3.2x on the Galaxy S23 Ultra in most (if not all) photos.
Lastly, this section will further prove if the 50MP 1-inch camera sensor can break its rival’s 200MP camera with a smaller 1/1.31″ sensor when it comes to low-light scenarios with Night Mode processing and AI algorithm turned on.
N2 (1x wide)
N4 (1x wide)
N11 (1x wide)
N12 (1x wide)
BONUS: Farther zoom
Since Xiaomi lacks a dedicated 10x periscope zoom lens, I just made a bonus section to at least showcase how it performs past its 3.2x zoom mark against Samsung’s ultra-zoomification of every photo subject it sees at a farther distance.
B1 (7x zoom)
B2 (10x zoom)
B3 (Low-light 10x zoom)
Crucial to some (or most of you) are portraits and selfies. While I don’t shoot much of these to begin with, it still needs to be pointed out which phone is the best when it comes to capturing the human flesh and mankind.
B4 (1x wide)
B5 (Daylight selfie)
B6 (Night selfie)
B7 (Beauty OFF)
B8 (Beauty ON)
Were you conflicted with your picks? The inconsistencies don’t mean I shuffled the photos. Here are the respective results:
Photo A — Xiaomi 13 Pro
Photo B — Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The Galaxy S23 Ultra sticks to its usual brighter, vibrant, and warmer look. But as I always say in my write-ups, a brighter, more vibrant photo doesn’t mean it’s the better photo.
Still, I liked how it gave enough contrast and better dynamic range in some shots. Albeit, the Galaxy S23 Ultra still tries to over-sharpen its images just to show it takes the clearer photos.
However, Xiaomi overall leans more towards the cooler, less bright, and less saturated side — but they’re actually closer to what I see in real life. Although there were times when Xiaomi has gone nuts with its AI algorithm (refer to W5, W7, W9, W12, W13, U3, U5, Z8, Z10, N7, N8, N9, N10).
There aren’t much of a difference in terms of Depth of Field. Xiaomi’s 1-inch sensor helped, more so with the larger f/1.7 aperture on the S23 Ultra.
But with that 1-inch camera sensor, I felt that shutter rapidness even at low-light shooting conditions. That’s why even if Night Mode photos turned out to be on the darker side, Xiaomi shoots faster in just under a second whilst still clearer in detail (N11, N12, N13).
This is where you can’t fully utilize the S23 Ultra’s 200MP camera. In Auto Mode, Samsung’s AI switches to a lengthy 2-4-second Night Mode if it detects a low-light subject. In photography, those few seconds are enough to capture light data. But clearly, Galaxy S23 Ultra’s longer shutter duration contributes to a photo’s blurriness — even if I don’t have shaky hands.
Selfies on both phones are, again, preferential. What surprised me more is the fact that the Xiaomi 13 Pro can keep up with the Galaxy S23 Ultra in terms of zooming in farther than 3.2x. This is just one testament that a bigger sensor shoots clearer photos.
Does megapixel count really count?
Aside from having that ~intentional pun~, I have a serious takeaway on this.
In my years of working under GadgetMatch, I’ve held numerous pro-grade cameras and smartphones with advanced imaging systems. But even before work, my interest (other than smartphones) has always been photography.
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The best answer I could convey is by quoting TheUnlockr in the Galaxy S23 Ultra: YouTubers’ React video I edited back in February:
“I don’t think 200MP is important. I’d rather (have) a bigger sensor”
Megapixels vs sensors
Now before casual shooters, megapixel apologists, and naysayers fight me (and David Cogen), the reason why the size of an image sensor matters more than how millions of pixels you get from a single camera is all about how you get the best image quality possible.
The only main advantage I can see when using a 200MP camera (or even so the used-to-be headliner 108MP) is the ability to keep all the details even if you crop the photo in (especially landscapes). But professionals barely crop as close as 50~100x. Photographers already have a composition in mind right before hitting that shutter release.
Michael Josh even demonstrated how the Galaxy S23 Ultra was able to capture the amazing New York skyline with its 200MP feature — but that took a while to process.
Now, the real deal is when your smartphone is equipped with a 1-inch image sensor. Aside from no sensor cropping, detail preservation, and wider dynamic range, day and night shooting are a LOT faster. To most, it won’t matter. But for photographers, every second counts the moment they click that shutter button.
I can now say that a 200 million pixel camera isn’t a “flagship-exclusive” feature anymore. It’s rather gimmicky now. That’s because Redmi recently released the Note 12 Pro+ 5G — a budget midrange smartphone with a 200MP main camera as its main selling point.
200MP and 1-inch sensor combo?
Pairing a 200MP with a 1-inch sensor might sound like an easy-peasy technological amalgamation, but it is more complicated than what it seems — and might just be an abomination to the camera industry.
Not only does it still rely on the computing and imaging power of both the CPU and NPU, imaging companies will also need more time for research and development in making this a consumer-ready product.
But imagine all the possibilities if either Samsung or Sony creates a 200MP smartphone camera with a 1-inch sensor underneath? Even though I said that 1-inch sensors hasten time you take photos, that would be a huge overkill and will still take a lot of processing and every technological power it needs to process such a huge chunk of immaculate 200MP image data.
Lower MP count on ‘pro-grade’ cameras
This is why to this day, there are barely any industry-grade cameras boasting more than the 100MP megapixel count. They go to more medium format cameras such as this 400MP multi-shot Hasselblad camera as well as the Fujifilm GFX100 and GFX100S, among others.
Heck, 61MP is even the largest megapixel count for any full-frame camera out there: the Sony a7R IV and a7R V. Even when we look at Xiaomi’s exclusive photography partner Leica, the most it has is the 60.3MP-equipped Leica M11. There’s plenty of room for innovation — both in the perspective of industy-grade photography and mobile photography.
Charge test: Infinix 260W&110W All Round FastCharge
Smartphone charging technology keeps developing at a rapid speed. And Infinix just took “fast” to another level with the Infinix 260W&110W All Round FastCharge.
On paper, this new charging tech has lofty promises Infinix says the 260W All-Round FastCharge can charge a phone to 25% in just one (1) minute. Going from zero to 100% takes only 7.5 minutes. Meanwhile, the 110W Wireless All-Round FastCharge can charge up a device to 100% in 16 minutes.
But how will it fare in an actual charge test? That’s what we wanted to know. Luckily, Infinix sent over an entire test kit, complete with a prototype phone.
What’s in the test kit?
Nothing fancy here, just the basics. Front and center is the wireless charging stand. To the left, there’s the 260W power brick and a USB-C to USB-C cable. And to the right is the aforementioned prototype phone.
We charged the smartphone straight out of the box. At the time it had 43% of battery left. But we were eager to try the charging and just recorded the numbers straight away.
The number on the right is the battery percentage while the number on the left is the timer at hours: minutes: seconds.
Test 01 – Wireless:
- 43% — 0:00:00
- 80% — 0:05:23
- 90% — 0:07:00
- 96% — 0:08:04
- 100% — 0:08:39
Given that Infinix promised going to 100% in 16 minutes from zero percent, the charge rate totally checks out with our test.
In the interest of time, we started charging the smartphone around 19-22% which is usually when the battery indicator on smartphones turns red. Our succeeding tests yielded similar results.
Test 02 – Wireless:
- 20% — 0:00:00
- 40% — 0:03:53
- 65% — 0:09:44
- 95% — 0:12:03
- 100% — 0:12:42
Test 03 – Wireless:
- 22% — 0:00:00
- 50% — 0:04:44
- 73% — 0:08:59
- 94% — 0:10:36
- 100% — 0:11:57
On average, the 110W wireless All Round Fast Charge was juicing up the phone at a rate per minute as the one promised by Infinix. That’s already fast for wired standards. But for wireless charging, that’s just unheard of.
Your phone will finish charging faster than you can finish the discography of Fifty Fifty which is a relatively new K-Pop girl group that you should totally check out.
If you thought wireless charging was fast, things go up another level with wired charging. Full disclosure though, we did the wired fast charging test immediately after draining the battery for roughly around 5-6 hours.
The prototype phone came with an app that pushes the phone to the limit and discharges it faster than you would on regular usage. We started the wired charging process with the phone having 19% battery left. But we ran into a problem.
Test 01 – Wired:
- 19% — 0:00:00
- 43% — 0:01:01
- 61% — 0:02:05
- 65% — 0:03:05
The phone, for some reason, stopped charging at 65%. We theorized it must have been because of the level of stress put on the battery. The wireless charging, forced discharging, and then charging all happened just hours apart.
We kept the phone plugged for about a minute, but figured something was wrong since it stopped going up from 65% at that point. For our next tests, we made sure to have the phone cool down first before charging. These were the results:
Test 02 – Wired:
- 21% — 0:00:00
- 53% — 0:03:01
- 91% — 0:06:05
- 95% — 0:06:15
- 100% — 0:06:46
Test 03 – Wired:
- 20% — 0:00:00
- 40% — 0:02:41
- 73% — 0:04:55
- 96% — 0:06:01
- 100% — 0:06:36
The last two tests all clocked in under 7.5 minutes which aligns with Infinix’s promise of going from 0% to 100% in the aforementioned time frame. That’s the length of roughly about two regular songs and shorter than “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version).”
It’s important to note that the device heats up significantly when going wired. This wasn’t much of an issue when going wireless as the wireless charging stand had a fan that helps cool the smartphone as it is charging.
As it is now, it’s likely safer to charge the phone wireless than wired, especially if you’re using the charging device together with a non-Infinix phone.
Infinix says the All-Round FastCharge will arrive alongside an upcoming Infinix NOTE series. Whatever that phone ends up being, it’ll likely have an internal cooling solution that should be able to handle the intense wired charging better.
This is promising charging technology from Infinix. It will definitely affect the charging experience and habits of people as more and more brands adopt faster charging tech.
WATCH: realme GT3 Charge Test
Google Bard hands-on: Not much to worry about
Still has some work to do
Recently, Google made its upcoming AI chatbot available for testing. Bard, as it’s called, previewed Google’s progress in competing against other language learning models such as GPT-3.5. However, the company is keeping the ongoing test exclusive to Google One subscribers. Recently, we got access to the bot and tried it for ourselves. Here’s what we found:
Much like other chatbots, Bard allows users to input a prompt to get a response. No matter how detailed your prompt might be, the system will take only a few seconds to put out an answer.
Now, what can you ask Bard to do? Its uses range from writing copy to creative writing to just playing around. We tried asking for a simple sponsorship letter, the health benefits of ketchup, fan fiction, and a sonnet.
Compared to other chatbots, Bard does vary in quality. While simple tasks like sponsorship letters are decent and presentable, pieces that supposedly deal with facts are problematic. For example, when asked about the health benefits of ketchup, Bard claimed that the word “ketchup” came from the Malay word “ketchupas.” That word does not exist.
It also struggled with simple creative forms. When asked to write a haiku, Bard wrote a piece that failed to meet the 5-7-5 syllabic requirement for a haiku.
It does perform notably better when asked to mimic the style of shows and personalities. When asked to praise GadgetMatch in the style of Shaggy, we thought it was succinct enough to work.
Sometimes, it just flounders like a high schooler trying to rush through an essay’s requirements in the most lopsided way possible. Check out this ketchup-themed essay in the style of a 1970’s workout video. Props on getting the start right, but you can clearly see the point where the AI drops all pretense of a workout instructor and just narrates its ketchup spiel as quickly as possible. And then, of course, it forgets all about ketchup and goes back to being a workout instructor.
It also struggles with some abstract concepts. Despite knowing that we might be metaphysical beings with no bodies, Bard still suggested some workouts for our ethereal buns.
Sometimes, it admits its shortcomings, though. Sorry, Adam Sandler.
Also, Bard has no idea what to make of modern-day lingo. (If you’re like Bard, here’s a translation: “There’s a stinkbug on my hotdog. How do I get it off?”)
Bard has a long way to go. While it is already workable for simple writing tasks, it has some catching up to do if it wants to compete with GPT-3.5 and beyond. On the plus side, we don’t think human writers have to worry about chatbots just yet.
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