Smartphones

Google launches Android 12 (Go edition)

Lower-end smartphones get a boost

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Amid the growing field of flagship smartphones, budget-friendly smartphones are still drawing quite a crowd. Naturally, a thriving affordable industry needs a capable operating system backing it up. For just those devices, Google maintains the Android Go systems built specifically for lower-end devices. Since we’ve already seen the next generation of Android, Google has to update its systems. And now, we have just that: Android 12 (Go edition).

Recently, Google announced that over 200 million people use an Android (Go edition) today. Just as the lower-end operating system reached that milestone, Google announced Android 12 (Go edition) coming to compatible devices gradually.

An upcoming feature for the system, Splash Screen, will help users multitask while they wait for another task to load. Additionally, a hibernate function can help phones conserve their batteries for longer lifespans.

For security purposes, the operating systemwill allow for multiple profiles in one device. Users can switch between different profiles whenever they lend their phone to someone else or need to concentrate on work. Profiles can be accessed straight from the lock screen. And speaking of security, the system also has a privacy dashboard which displays which apps siphon data from a user onto other parties.

Android 12 (Go edition) devices will start launching next year.

SEE ALSO: Google announced Android 12L for foldables, tablets

Reviews

realme GT 2 Pro review: GT Master Edition mastered

A bold step for realme

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realme gt 2 pro

Since coming into the Philippine smartphone market in 2018, realme has focused on the midrange and budget segments. With this focus came considerable success. The company posted number one sales on multiple occasions. Now, they’re extending their reach, flying close to the premium territory with the realme GT 2 Pro. Question is, is it worth taking a look at considering the stiff competition in this stratosphere? 

Based strictly on the merits of this phone, the short answer is yes. However, there’s more to the smartphone market than simply what a phone can do. But let’s start with that anyway. 

General performance

realme gt 2 pro

Powering the realme GT 2 Pro is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Already, with that information, you know that it’s ready to tussle with the heavyweights. Flanking that is 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. On paper, looking good so far. But what about in actual usage?

Well, it performs every bit as good as any other 8 Gen 1 equipped device. It also helps that the realme UI based on Android running on it makes your entire experience relatively smooth. 

Apps stay running in the background even after a prolonged period of inactivity. It learns which apps you regularly use and devote RAM and processing power accordingly. Daily activities like browsing socials, checking emails and messages, and whatever else you regularly do on your phone simply just works. And that’s a hallmark of a good device. 

The 5,000mAh battery normally lasts more than a day on regular use. It also has support for 65W fast charging which realme says will get you from zero to 100% in 33 minutes. We never let the phone drop to zero and would normally charge at around 20% left. Using a 65W wired charger, it does juice up quickly — right around the 30 minute mark. Unfortunately, it does not support wireless charging.

Mobile gaming

realme gt 2 pro

realme has its fair share of mobile gaming focused devices. So, it comes as no surprise that the realme GT 2 Pro, while not being marketed as such, still performs admirably in this department. 

Granted, we didn’t really do plenty of mobile gaming on the phone. Just some occasional sessions of Call of Duty: Mobile here and there, and a couple of afternoons testing its graphical capability by playing Genshin Impact.

A Stainless Steel Vapor Cooling System kept the device humming despite extended hours of playing the demanding game from MiHoyo/Hoyoverse. It never, at any point, felt too hot to hold. 

Media consumption

realme gt 2 pro

It has a 2K AMOLED Flat Display with LTPO 2.0 Technology that measures at 6.7 inches. That last detail is a little surprising considering the overall footprint of the device. It certainly didn’t feel that humongous but the display is, indeed, great for consuming content. 

Watching your favorite shows, YouTubers, TikToks, and what-have-you is an overall enjoyable experience. The speakers are about what you expect from a flagship. It can get loud. And while the sound doesn’t exactly feel rich, it also isn’t distorted when you turn it up to max. 

Worthwhile cameras

realme gt 2 pro

The realme GT 2 Pro has a triple camera setup. You get the following: 

  • 50 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, multi-directional PDAF, OIS
  • 50 MP, f/2.2, 15mm, 150˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.76″, 0.64µm
  • 3 MP, f/3.3, 20mm (microscope), AF, 40x magnification

It performs just about as well as you’d expect. Detail retention is top-notch and color reproduction is just right. The software post-processing isn’t doing too much. Just enough to make photos look extra appealing without going ham on saturation. 

 

It has a 32MP selfie shooter which is alright in daylight and is a hit or miss at night. 

All told, the cameras are good enough to carry around and capture worthwhile memories for your own enjoyment or for posting on social media. 

Unique back material 

realme’s efforts to be more sustainable is well noted. For this smartphone, specifically, they used the industry’s first bio-based polymer design inspired by the concept of paper art. The exterior of the realme GT 2 Pro Master Edition is made of sustainable Sabic bio-based materials extracted from renewable raw materials. The company says these “can reduce carbon emissions by up to 63% per kilogram and can reduce potential fossil feedstock consumption by up to 35%.”

realme gt 2 pro

Collaborating once more with industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa, the back of the realme GT 2 Pro will remind you of their midranger – the realme GT Master Edition. In fact, it very much feels like a direct upgrade of the phone. 

The back is nice to hold and look at. And unlike most flagship phones, you won’t feel the need to cover it with the significantly less premium material case included in the packaging. 

realme gt 2 pro

The usual stuff are found at the bottom: speaker grille, USB-C port, and SIM Card tray slot.

The power button is on the right side while the volume rockers sit on the left. Pretty standard stuff.

Is the realme GT 2 Pro your GadgetMatch? 

realme gt 2 pro

Smartphones are more than just the thing we use daily to connect with our friends, loved ones, and the rest of the world. The reality is, they’re also a status symbol. And if you’re spending quite a hefty amount of money for a premium product, you wouldn’t want the people asking you what your phone is to go “huh?” when you tell them the brand name. 

The realme GT 2 Pro is a fantastic phone, no doubt. But realme, as a brand, has its work cutout for itself if it truly wants to compete in the premium flagship space.

Based solely on its technical merits, though, the realme GT 2 Pro is worth every penny. The general performance is undeniably flagship-grade, the back material is unique and premium, and the cameras are pretty good. Retailing for PhP 34,990 (around US$ 640 at the time of writing), the phone is definitely good value-for-money. 

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First Look

Vibe Check: realme 9 4G

Our eyes are ablaze in awe with this Sunburst Gold colorway!

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realme, the Philippines’ number one smartphone brand for 2021, has continued to deliver innovative technology to the midrange segment.

Its latest offering is the realme 9 (4G), yet another option joining the realme 9 lineup. We’ve got plenty of time to play around with this new smartphone, and our eyes are ablaze in awe with this Sunburst Gold colorway.

Golden like daylight

Hit me like the ray of sun, burning through my darkest night. (Beyoncé, is that you?)

Kidding aside, I like how the realme 9 (4G), especially in its Sunburst Gold and Stargaze White variants, came up with a Ripple Holographic design encompassing its rear body. They look like sand dunes, akin to waves of shining, shimmering gold found by Aladdin.

The design is subtle that when you use a clear case, you’ll think there’s nothing extra about this smartphone. But when you let the light shine on it, it glistens and exudes a beautiful pattern.

Midrange smartphones usually forsake their design language to focus on battery and performance — something that budget-conscious consumers prefer.

But realme is bringing back the charm of its previous smartphones from a few years ago: so beautifully designed you’ll forget they offer these devices at a cut-rate price.

I still fondly remember caressing the realme 5 back in 2019 which, frankly, is the best style that captures realme’s brand and positioning.

It wasn’t experimental; it was something that helped people remember who they are. Its successors played around with new designs, instead of polishing what was already working.

Beautifully designed

Going back to its rear, the realme 9 (4G) has an aesthetically-pleasing camera island, housing its 108MP ProLight Camera powered by a Samsung HM6 sensor, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera with a 120-degree lens, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.

It has a 16-megapixel selfie camera housed in a punch-hole cutout.

The brand’s logo is seamlessly etched in the lower-left corner.

The bottom side sports the most important stuff: speaker grilles, microphone input, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. Yey!

Power under that gorgeous hood

Upfront, the realme 9 (4G) sports a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. We appreciate how realme puts a high refresh rate for people who simply want to game because they’re the ones who benefit the most from the feature.

With a Snapdragon 680 chipset and an Adreno 610 GPU, you can play heavy-duty games like Genshin Impact, Call of Duty, and Asphalt 9. It’s the same processor housed in most gaming-oriented budget smartphones for under US$ 300.

But let’s be real: this smartphone is perfect for multitasking and casual, everyday use. Its performance is seamless across different apps, thanks to its 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, which you can expand up to 256GB via a microSD card. More importantly, it offers a Dynamic RAM Expansion (DRE) of up to 5GB if you need extra memory.

It also comes with long-lasting battery life due to its humongous 5000mAh battery. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent in realme’s midrange lineup, it’s the battery that stays with you throughout the day. When you pair it with a 33W Dart Charge, you can get the juice back up in an hour and a quarter.

The new realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12

Watch to your heart’s content

As mentioned before, the realme 9 (4G) uses a Super AMOLED display. Visuals are definitely bright, vivid, and vibrant. It’s easy to watch even under broad daylight since the display delivers up to 1000 nits of brightness.

I remember using realme’s smartphones before and I have to step on a shade while I was in Boracay, simply because their previous devices deliver lower nits.

This time around, the realme 9 (4G) allowed me to watch my comfort shows to my heart’s content. Yes, I kept replaying Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix whenever I’m sad or when I just need something familiar when everything around me is changing.

The realme 9 (4G) has a featherweight, slim body so it doesn’t put a strain on your hands when watching on a smartphone. That’s something to consider when you’re the type of person who keeps watching content while on the go.

Price and availability

The realme 9 (4G) retails for PhP 14,999 with a 6GB/128GB configuration. It’s available in all realme stores nationwide.

Vibe Check!

At a glance, the realme 9 (4G) has an inviting demeanor that makes you want to hold it. The experience is similar to most gaming-oriented budget smartphones, and you’ll have a good time using it for quite a while. But that’s where it ends.

When you factor in the overall experience with the realme 9 (4G), it doesn’t match with its competitors — offering better specifications and experience at the same price range. Some, even lower.

In a short amount of time, the realme 9 (4G) passed our vibe check. It’s worth checking out if you’re badly in need of a smartphone right away for your everyday needs.

But in the long run, being a 4G smartphone doesn’t serve any purpose if you live in a developing city — especially with 5G expanding its rollout and 6G is on the horizon, unveiling in a few years from now.

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News

ROG Phone 6 shows off its design ahead of launch

Featuring a second screen

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ROG Phone 5s

In a few weeks, ASUS is unveiling the ROG Phone 6. The next generation of gaming smartphone promises stellar performance packed inside a sharp design. Naturally, the power inside the phone isn’t a gigantic surprise, given what’s already out in the market today. However, figuring out what it will look like is always a treat. Now, a short time before the official launch, the ROG Phone 6 makes a small debut elsewhere, revealing the phone’s drip.

Recently, the phone popped up on TENAA. As with most filings, the entry comes with a set of photos that reveal both the front and the rear of the coming device. While the new device does share some similarities with its past siblings, the ROG Phone 6 has its own unique appeal.

Like the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate, the new phone will have a secondary screen on its rear. However, while the former looks sleek and smooth, the latter has a more industrial charm, paired with a larger camera island. It looks like something from Guardians of the Galaxy, as opposed to the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate’s Iron-Man glam. That said, the new phone still looks interesting.

In terms of hardware, the phone is expected to launch with the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, 16GB of RAM, and 6000mAh of battery life. ASUS is launching the phone on July 5.

SEE ALSO: ROG Phone 6 will launch in July

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