Features

Moving away from Google Photos? Here are some alternatives

From Google One to the self-hosted Nextcloud

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Are you a Google Photos user? If yes, then you may have heard of a big change that Google is going to implement starting June 1. Unlimited storage for photos stored in high quality is going away, and free users will soon be limited to 15GB of storage after the date.

However, there’s no need to panic just yet. A lot of alternatives do exist as a backup for your precious photos. Still, you may be wondering why Google is actually doing this.

After years of gracefully offering unlimited storage, you may have come to use and associate the service as a dumping ground for all your photos and videos. Transferring these to alternative services can indeed be time-consuming, not to mention, it may also cost a lot.

2020: The end of unlimited storage

For those following the news, however, the end of unlimited storage for Google Photos isn’t exactly new to them. Last 2020, Google announced sweeping changes on its storage policy that affected its popular services such as Gmail, Google Drive, and of course, Google Photos.

As for Google Photos, the change in storage policy meant the end of free, unlimited storage for photos uploaded in high quality. High quality here doesn’t mean that the photos and videos uploaded kept their original resolution, though, as Google actually compresses them with this option.

Google didn’t mention any reason for ending its unlimited storage. It could be likely that the company wants more people to try its Google One storage plans. It may also have to do with the growing number of users. Either way, offering unlimited storage seems unsustainable for the company in the long run.

Yes, there are alternatives

It could be really hard to switch to alternatives especially after years of getting acquainted with Google Photos. If, however, you find it hard to get over the features that it offers, then why not consider paying for more storage space? Google One’s storage plans start at US$ 2 a month for 100GB of space, which is not bad.

The storage plans max out at 2TB for US$ 10 per month, which could be more than enough for everyone. There are no unlimited storage options, but most of the storage plans will likely satisfy the bulk of die-hard Google Photos users.

It is worth noting that you can still actually enjoy unlimited storage — if and only if you own existing Pixel smartphones. Emphasis on the “existing” since that means all the Pixel smartphones released prior to 2021.

If paying for cloud storage is an issue for you, just remember that Google offers a generous 15GB of free storage across services such as Gmail and Google Drive. It is also worth noting that any photos and videos you uploaded before the dreaded June 1 date won’t be deleted even if they exceed your storage quota.

iCloud for the Apple converts

Outside of Google’s own products though, there are competent alternatives that could satisfy Google Photos users. Those who switched to an iPhone can easily find a one-on-one alternative in the form of iCloud. Sure, there are no options for unlimited storage here, but the price tiers closely match those of Google’s.

Pricing starts at US$ 0.99 for 50GB of storage and goes all the way to 2 TB for US$ 9.99 per month. Just remember that device backups and other files are also counted towards the storage.

Luckily, users can fine-tune their iCloud settings so that only choose what files (and photos) will count towards their storage quota. Users who don’t want to pay a dime can also opt for a free plan, but this one only comes with a measly 5GB of storage.

Microsoft OneDrive: a multi-platform solution

If you are a user of Microsoft Office, then you may already be aware of OneDrive. Microsoft’s own cloud storage solution is a competent alternative that works across many platforms.

However, it is best used along with a subscription to Microsoft 365. It may not be cheap at US$ 6.99 per month, but the personal plan nets you a massive 1TB of storage along with a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office.

That alone could be a definitive reason for trying out OneDrive. It is also a good choice for most professionals who would rather pay for a single bundle rather than shelling out money for different products.

You may also try out OneDrive’s free plan before paying for a plan. Just take note that the storage maxes out at 5GB for the free plan.

Dropbox, the long-time cloud storage stalwart

Dropbox is one of the most established cloud storage providers out there. It also offers one of the most generous storage spaces out there, maxing out at 2TB for US$ 11.99 per month. A big plus here is the option for camera uploads, which backs up all your photos and videos to the cloud.

Users who opted to pay can also take advantage of Dropbox Paper, which is a collaborative document editing service useful for work environments. Those sharing their storage space with family members can even upgrade for up to six users sharing up to 2TB of space.

Like the other two mentioned above, Dropbox also offers a free plan with 2GB of storage. This is much limited than the other two,

Photographers still have a Flickr to rely on

Flickr used to be one of the most popular image hosting services back in the day. It still is a favorite among some photographers out there thanks in part to its pricing tiers.

There is only one premium plan, but that includes unlimited storage and various perks including a free two-month to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

Monthly plan starts at US$ 7.99 per month, which is not bad. Unfortunately, though, storage is limited to photos only.

The Nextcloud Equation

Tech-savvy users can try a radical solution to storing their photos and videos with Nextcloud. Nextcloud allows you to create your own cloud storage solution for your files — photos and videos included.

Since it is self-hosted, the only limit to the storage space is the hardware you choose. The setup is not for the faint-hearted though, and users are also responsible for maintaining their self-hosted cloud storage.

However, building your own self-hosted cloud storage is a feat worth celebrating with various advantages too. Privacy and control of data are the biggest advantages since your data stays within your own cloud storage.

Getting out of Google Photos

If you’ve already decided to get out of Google Photos, then you’ll take some steps to export your photos and videos. It’s an easy affair that begins by heading to your settings.  Scroll down and you’ll see the option to export your data. Select that, and you’ll see the option to back up an archive of your data.

Google will then take you to a dedicated page for exporting your data. Just follow along with the process, bearing in mind that you can choose to export your data to other services through the “Delivery method” option.

When you are done, you can click the “Create export” button to end the whole process. Take note that the whole export process may take hours or even days.

Sure, the death of Google Photos’ free and unlimited storage is lamentable. It is worth remembering the old adage though: “there is no such thing as free lunch”. Perhaps, that could just be the painful reality of life. Luckily though, users have lots of alternatives to choose from for their precious mementos.

Hands-On

Why the Samsung Crystal UHD 2021 is a must have in your 20s

Make happy TV-viewing memories

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Samsung Crystal UHD TV 2021

Your 20s is a wonderful time. You fumble your way into adulthood and find your footing in the grand scheme of things. It’s a process that isn’t always pretty, but the whole experience can be elevated and extra fun with the right companion. Yes, we’re talking about a TV. Specifically, the Samsung Crystal UHD 2021. Why? Because Samsung — The World’s Number 1 TV Brand — sponsored this video and the Crystal UHD is actually, really pretty good.

Netflix and chillin’

You’re gonna want to do a lot of Netflix and chillin’ in your 20s. So, while you cool down and get your chill on, the Samsung Crystal UHD TV has your back with all the Netflxing and whatever other things you want playing to set the mood.

You see, when you’re actually watching, the TV’s Dynamic Crystal Colors is a treat for the eyes. Colors are vibrant and crisp, dark scenes pop, and the display gets pretty bright putting an end to the age-old question – lights on or lights off. Doesn’t matter. Whatever you choose, the picture quality will be crystal clear.

This is possible because the TV is really just smart. It upscales non-4K content and adjusts videos scene-by-scene making sure you’re getting the best picture possible.

And it doesn’t even have to be Netflix strictly. This 4K TV comes pre-installed with plenty of other streaming apps like YouTube, AppleTV, Viu, and HBO GO. You can also install other apps like VLIVE and Facebook Watch. Speaking of Viu and HBO GO. You actually get fantastic deals when you buy a Samsung Crystal UHD TV?

That’s a lot of streaming whatever and chillin’ which is so much better on a TV than say your smartphone or laptop.

Where will I put it?

Ah yes, space. It’s always a tricky subject perhaps even more so when you’re in your 20s. Where do I put this? Where do I place that? Was I being too clingy? Or maybe I wasn’t around enough? You know, that sort of thing.

Thankfully, the Samsung Crystal UHD TV comes in many different sizes. It goes anywhere from 43 inches all the way up to 85 inches.

Size matters, yes. And Samsung has one that will definitely fit your space.

You see, the TV has this AirSlim design making it just 25mm thin. That’s about as thin as you can get for a TV of this caliber.

That makes it easy to slide into whatever kind of space you have. Whether that’s in the living room with your family, your bedroom, or your studio apartment.

You can already picture it, right? Yeah, us too.

While we’re on the topic of Space, the TV actually takes this into consideration when it comes to sound. As they are, the speakers already deliver good audio. But say, you’re in a larger space. You can simply switch the sound mode to Amplify and it’ll fill-up your room stat. And we all know every viewing experience is better with that feeling of surround sound.

Make me wanna take it home

Alright, alright. We see you’re really interested now. We’re gonna rapid fire this part. We know you’ve moved most of your entertainment to streaming. So of course, the remote control is tailored for that lifestyle. No more of those numbers you barely press these days. Just a nice button and directional pads with shortcuts Netflix or Prime video and an easy toggle volume and channel controls.

And if for some reason you lose the remote into the abyss that is your room because that’s just a thing that happens. Fret not, because you can easily control the TV via the Samsung SmartThings App on your smartphone that you refuse to put down.

The Samsung Crystal UHD 2021 also has three HDMI ports so you can take things further by getting a soundbar, connecting your laptop, and if you’re into gaming, hooking up a gaming console.

So, if you’re into gaming, you’ll be happy to know that the Samsung Crystal UHD TV is next-gen console ready. Whether you’re into Xbox or PlayStation, you’re gonna get 4K and 60Hz of gaming goodness. And that… is a life changer.

And if you’re working from home the TV actually supports Bluetooth 5.2. This lets you connect speakers and PC peripherals to turn your TV into a monitor. Best of all, you’re not gonna grope your way through it because the TV has built-in menus to set this up. Just wow.

You can buy the Samsung Crystal UHD TV now at any authorized Samsung dealer, and they’ll even set it up for you at your request.. Top notch service with a top notch TV, for a top notch you.

We know you’re picturing it now… watching the game with your buddies, snuggling with your S/O, or just winding down after a long day of work. These are the moments you cherish in your 20s. And these are moments best spent with a TV. Which one? We’ve made our case. The choice… is crystal clear.


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Samsung Philippines.

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Explainers

The secrets behind iPhone 13’s Cinematic Mode

Together with Apple’s VP for iPhone Product Marketing as well as their Human Interface Designer

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For the first time ever, we had a three-way interview with Apple’s VP for iPhone Product Marketing, Kaiann Drance as well as one of their leading Human Interface Designers, Johnnie Manzari. If you’re not starstruck enough, both of them appeared in Apple’s September 2021 Keynote event!

Other than new camera sensors, newer camera features are also found on the new iPhone 13 Series. One of those is the new Cinematic Mode.

If you’ve watched some of our latest iPhone videos including the Sierra Blue iPhone 12 Pro Max unboxing, we’ve let you take a sneak peek on that new video mode.

We’re not gonna lie, it’s one amazing camera feature Apple has managed to deliver.

But what are the secrets behind it? And are you curious how technicalities work?

Watch our 16-minute interview with the Apple executives explaining why Cinematic Mode is the next big thing in mobile videography.

 

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Hands-On

Apple iPhone 13 and 13 mini Unboxing and Hands-on

Which iPhone 13 is your GadgetMatch?

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After we unboxed the Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro Max and gold iPhone 13 Pro, it’s time to do the same to these iPhone 13 babies.

Changes with the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini aren’t just about the “odd” camera placement. Other than the new wide camera sensor, there’s a more powerful A15 Bionic Chip, smaller notch, and more.

Watch our iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini Unboxing and Hands-on video now to find out more!

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