Features

Google officially shuts down the Nexus program

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All the signs were there, and now we have confirmation: With the release of the Pixel phones, Google has officially discontinued the Nexus line. It was a memorable six-year run.

The internet giant didn’t announce this bit of news during its “Made by Google” event for obvious reasons, but journalists in attendance were still able to squeeze out the company’s confirmation. By ditching its once-flagship series, owners of the year-old Nexus 6P and 5X are left in the dark.

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A lot of questions are raised: Will Nexus devices still receive timely Android updates down the line? Will they get updates at the same time as Pixel phones? Will Google’s new Assistant software come to the Nexus 6P, at least? None of these have answers yet.

On the other hand, the decision makes sense. The Nexus lineup has always been Google’s way of teaching third-party manufacturers how to implement Android the right way. Now that the Pixel and Pixel XL pretty much do the same thing, there’s no more room for a secondary brand.

Some will argue that the Nexus phones could have been relegated to the midrange category, but looking at Google’s current hardware strategy, it’s obvious how Apple-like the Mountain View company wants to be. It’s either go Pixel or go home.

Google Pixel Really Blue

It’s still quite sad, really. The Nexus program had several groundbreaking devices for their time. It all began in 2010 with the HTC-produced Nexus One, followed by iterations from Samsung (Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus 10), LG (Nexus 4, 5, and 5X), ASUS (Nexus 7 and Nexus Player), Motorola (Nexus 6), Huawei (the most recent Nexus 6P), and another HTC in the form of the Nexus 9 tablet.

That’s a solid group of brands to work with, but Google is now looking the other way in order to hoard all the glory for itself. HTC is once again the maker of the company’s latest pair of smartphones, and yet, there’s no logo in sight other than Google’s prominent G.

By having full control of the designing and manufacturing process, the search specialist can be taken seriously as a force in the hardware realm, as well. The timing seems perfect, with Apple’s super-special anniversary iPhone coming out next year.

[irp posts=”6953″ name=”You can install Google’s Pixel camera app on your Nexus right now”]

Features

The Honor 8X is a storage space beast

More space than you think you’ll need

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Having some extra space can always come in handy. With the Honor 8X, you’ll have all the extra space you can possibly need.

Internally, the storage can go as high as 128GB but it doesn’t stop there. The phone has a microSD card slot that supports up to a whopping 400GB of additional storage.

The Honor 8X has the all the space to handle memories you take with the phone.

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It can even hold files and other media from your other devices so you can take them wherever you go.

Photos, videos, documents, apps — it doesn’t matter what it is. You’ll have access to them whenever and wherever because the storage on the Honor 8X is just ridiculously massive.

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “lost in space.”


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Honor Philippines

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Apple iPhone XR Unboxing and Hands-on

Did Apple skimp on this one?

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You’re probably not expecting this video to drop until Friday, but here it is! We have the iPhone XR early.

In this video, we find out if there are accessories Apple left out to make this phone more affordable, and if its display and camera are subpar compared to its more expensive brothers.

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Hands-On

Nokia 6.1 Plus hands-on: A compelling midranger

The benefits of Android One

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HMD Global continues trying to lift the Nokia phone brand to where it was before. While they’re still far from being on top again, the current Nokia phones are quite compelling. The latest we have is the Nokia 6.1 Plus, which is practically the Nokia X6 we first heard of in China.

This is Nokia’s first notched phone. While that doesn’t necessarily make it any better, this is a stepping stone for Nokia as they embrace the popular design choice for modern bezel-less devices.

Is the Nokia 6.1 Plus any good? Here’s what I have to say.

It’s got a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display

With a tall 19:9 aspect ratio

The notch houses the front camera, earpiece, and sensors

Thankfully, the notch is pretty small

The chin gives the phones a bit of a balance

It also shows the Nokia logo

There’s a hybrid card tray on the left…

You have to choose between a second SIM or microSD card

… while on the right are the physical buttons

One for power and another for the volume

On top are the audio port and noise-canceling microphone

There are also some antenna lines all around

It’s rocking a USB-C port! 👌

Beside it is the loudspeaker and main microphone

The back is a slab of smooth glass

Like the Nokia 7 Plus but with a different material

The fingerprint reader sits below the camera module

Easily for the index finger

Android One assures you with the latest updates

Quite a lot of other printed words, as well

It owns a common design

Design-wise, there’s not much to talk about. The look and feel of the Nokia 6.1 Plus are not that different from its competitors. It’s got the same aesthetic of the ASUS ZenFone 5 with an aluminum frame sandwiched by curved glass. Nokia claims to use Gorilla Glass 3 to make theirs stronger and scratch-resistant.

The display of the phone measures 5.8 inches, so it’s more pocketable than most smartphones today. It also has a tall aspect ratio of 19:9 which makes it easier to hold in one hand. The Full HD+ resolution is sharp at this size and there’s nothing to complain about the overall quality of the phone’s display.

The notch might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to be fair to Nokia, this is their first attempt. There are other Nokia phones without a notch that consumers can buy if they dislike it. The cutout is not as obtrusive as the iPhone’s, but there are no complicated sensors for facial recognition. Good thing the rear fingerprint reader is accurate and fast.

Overall, the Nokia 6.1 Plus stays true to the notion of Nokia’s build quality. The design is nowhere near iconic, but you’re not paying much for the phone either.

Performance is smooth as butter

The smooth operation of Android that we come to expect from Nokia phones is also present on the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The handset is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor paired with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. It’s a pretty standard midrange setup that’s able to perform smoothly even with a number of apps running in the background.

I didn’t encounter any hiccups or notice any lag during my time with the phone, but I can say that it loads apps slightly slower than on flagship phones. Of course, there’s no bloatware that hogs resources since the phone is under the Android One program, and it’ll have consistent updates for up to three years.

I wouldn’t say that the Nokia 6.1 Plus is ideal for gaming, but it can handle popular titles. The Adreno 509 GPU that comes with the chipset is more than capable of rendering medium to high-quality graphics depending on the game’s demand. My staple Asphalt 9: Legends racing game runs fine, but it’s definitely not the smoothest I’ve seen.

The camera is more than okay

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is equipped with dual rear shooters and a single wide-angle selfie camera. The main sensor at the back is 16 megapixels accompanied by a 5-megapixel depth sensor. There’s also a dual-tone LED flash to help in taking photos in the dark. For selfies, it’s got a 16-megapixel sensor.

Check out the samples:

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Even without Zeiss branding on its cameras, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is able to take decent photos using both the front and rear cameras. They’re not the most appealing stills, but they’ll do good for social media. You can apply bokeh effects with the rear cameras, but it’s a bit cumbersome to use.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you want to stick to Nokia, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is a convincing choice among its midrange lineup. It’s not as impressive as the Nokia 7 Plus we loved before, but it’s cheaper and smaller. For PhP 15,990 (US$ 300) in the Philippines and MYR 1,149 in Malaysia (US$ 280), it’s a pretty good deal. It’s an even better deal in India for just INR 15,999 or roughly US$ 215.

The phone offers pure Android software with timely updates, a sturdy build, and good performance. It’s an all-around device, but don’t expect it to be an ideal phone for everyone.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 3.1 review: Back to Android One’s beginnings

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