It’s been a while, but HTC is officially back in the Philippines with a renewed focus on all price segments. It’s great timing, really, with strong contenders about to unveil their own flagships in the next two months.
A total of four smartphones were launched today, all of which are available starting today through Lazada Philippines. Let’s run through each one.
If you’re looking for the best HTC has to offer, you shouldn’t look any further than the 5.5-inch U11. It has a top-shelf Snapdragon 835 processor, the highest-rated smartphone camera in the market, and an exclusive feature called Edge Sense, which lets you squeeze the side of the handset to activate a function of your choice. It just lacks a 3.5mm port, but it comes with USB-C earphones with active noise canceling and high-resolution audio.
As expected of a phone this level, it’ll retail for PhP 36,990.
HTC U Ultra
As the original HTC flagship of 2017 when it was launched last January, the U Ultra is quite hefty, placing a secondary 2-inch LCD on top of its already large 5.7-inch Quad HD main display. Although it’s nowhere near as advanced as the U11, the U Ultra get plus points for premium specs while retailing for less than the newer flagship.
You can purchase the U Ultra for PhP 26,990.
HTC U Play
Positioned at the center of the lineup, the 5.2-inch U Play is a pretty midranger thanks to its shiny glass back and clean aesthetics. It’s the option you’d go for if the U Ultra is too much to handle and the Desire 10 Pro is too plain-looking for you. The only drawback is you have to settle for a somewhat old processor in the MediaTek Helio P10 on top of its outdated Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system.
Those interested can buy the U Play for PhP 18,990.
HTC Desire 10 Pro
Want something unusual in design but capable all around? That’s what the 5.5-inch Desire 10 Pro is for. It really stands out with its unique design cues and attractive colors. And even though it uses the same old processor the U Play has, there’s plenty of memory at 4GB and lots of space in its 64GB of storage. The 20-megapixel rear camera is alluring, as well.
It’s a little bit cheaper than the U Play, retailing for PhP 13,990.
Which is your GadgetMatch?
With an offering in every price category, it isn’t that difficult to choose the right HTC for you.
Clearly, if you want the best of the best — both in this lineup and compared to other brands — you can’t go wrong with the U11. It’s new, stunning from all angles, and has the horsepower to run with the best of them.
Those looking for a large phone should automatically choose the U Ultra. There’s so much screen real estate on hand for heavy multitaskers, and it’s reasonably priced now that the U11 exists.
Choosing between the similarly equipped U Play and Desire 10 Pro is a little trickier. If design and a more portable build are your priority, the U Play is the obvious choice; otherwise, there’s more value in the Desire 10 Pro even though it came out last year.
Sources say HTC is readying another smartphone for the fourth quarter of 2017. How it’ll fare against rivals and the brand’s current lineup is still up in the air.
SEE ALSO: 5 waterproof flagship phones: No raining on this parade!
[irp posts=”16848″ name=”5 waterproof flagship phones: No raining on this parade!”]
Nokia 6.1 Plus hands-on: A compelling midranger
The benefits of Android One
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
The notch houses the front camera, earpiece, and sensors
The chin gives the phones a bit of a balance
There’s a hybrid card tray on the left…
… while on the right are the physical buttons
On top are the audio port and noise-canceling microphone
It’s rocking a USB-C port! 👌
The back is a slab of smooth glass
The fingerprint reader sits below the camera module
Android One assures you with the latest updates
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:
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.
4 simple ways to improve battery life on your smartphone
You don’t need a power bank for this one
Owning a smartphone has been a need for a lot of people over the past few years — not just for calling and texting your family and friends, but also helping you book a ride or take pictures. It’s essential that your phone is up and running at all times.
But, let’s say the night is still young and your phone’s battery is close to empty, say, around 25 percent left. You or your friends don’t have an available power bank, and there are no charging outlets in sight. You still need your phone to book an Uber or call your parents to tell them how you’re holding up. Say no more, because here are some tips on how you can make your phone last longer.
Force-close your apps
Let’s say you opened a ton of apps over the course of the day, and you kept them idle while using other apps in the process. Having a ton of idle apps open drains your battery despite just being in the background. Your phone is still using power from the battery to refresh your apps in the background, apart from delivering notifications from these apps.
While smartphones have been getting better at managing battery drain from these apps, what you can do is to simply force-close your unused apps. Android smartphones have a built-in feature wherein you can see all the recently accessed apps and regulate their usage. For iPhone users, simply access the Multitasking feature and close your unused apps and turn off the “Background App Refresh” setting.
Turn down your phone’s brightness and screen timeout
Another feature that eats up your phone’s battery is your screen’s brightness. By default, your phone would have the brightness set to automatic, but if you want to see all the colors in full bloom, you would turn the brightness up.
But, for cases wherein your battery is already low, it is advisable to turn it down to conserve energy. Also, you can turn down the screen timeout settings on your phone to the quickest time. The shorter time your phone’s screen is on, paired with low brightness settings, the more your battery conserves energy.
Turn off some phone features when not in use
Apart from idle apps open in the background, your phone also has main processes and features running. Functions such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, cellular data, location services, and auto-sync are normally on by default. You would want to keep these running at all times to stay connected, and obviously in case of emergencies.
However, it’s best to turn some of these features off, especially if you’re not actively using them. Of course, the easiest way of turning off your Wi-Fi and cellular services is by turning on Airplane Mode. For the rest, you have to turn them off manually through your phone’s action center. Doing so stops the background processes for the time being, saving your battery life for a while longer.
Use ultra power saving mode
Let’s say your phone is now bordering on the 10 to 15 percent mark, and you are desperate to keep your phone alive. You’ve tried all the things above but your phone’s battery is still depleting by the minute. Luckily, your phone also comes with different battery saving options accessible through its settings.
When you go to your Settings menu, enter Battery options and you’ll likely notice that your phone has both a power saving mode and an ultra power saving mode. If you want to keep your phone on for as long as possible, turn ultra power saving mode on for good measure. While on ultra power saving mode, you only have access to your calls, texts, and other necessary apps you prefer.
There are other ways to improve battery life, but these are the easiest, most accessible ways to do so. Let’s hope your phone had enough power left to scroll through this article!
Mate 20 series offers a solid lineup: Weekend Rewind
There’s a Mate 20 for everyone!
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. Huawei offers plenty of things with their Mate 20 Series
Huawei could very well fill up this week’s entire rewind with the whole Mate 20 series. In total, they released four new smartphones along with two wearables during their event in London. Here’s all of them.
These were the devices most of us expected to see. The Mate 20 Pro is probably the most feature-packed phone of 2018. They brought in everything that was good with the P20 Pro and added a few wait-hold-up-did-it-really-do-that features like reverse wireless charging.
Watch the Mate 20 Pro Hands-on…
And our Mate 20 Unboxing while you’re here.
Porsche Design Mate 20 RS
If you have an excessive amount of money to spend (please give us some), you can opt for the more luxurious Mate 20 RS. It has all the bells and whistles of the Mate 20 Pro but with the leatherback Porsche Design. It’ll come in two colors: Black in select markets and in a limited edition Red in China.
Mate 20 X
This was announced as Huawei’s one more big thing. Big, it truly is. Coming with a massive 7.2-inch display, the Mate 20 X is being marketed as a gaming smartphone. It even pairs with a gamepad for that ultimate gaming experience.
Huawei Watch GT and Band Pro 3
These two wearables mostly flew under the radar but they are still worth taking note of. The Huawei Watch GT, while waterproof and equipped with fitness features, is the more lifestyle model thanks to its design. The Huawei Band Pro 3 is the more straightforward health tracker and something you probably shouldn’t wear at formal gatherings.
I could do this all day.😎 pic.twitter.com/GRAF4jPMZt
— Mi (@xiaomi) October 18, 2018
2. Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 getting hype ahead of launch
In case you haven’t been keeping up, there’s already a handful of smartphones released in October and there’s a handful more coming. One of them is Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 which is slated for an October 25 launch and is rumored to have a whopping 10GB of RAM and 5G connectivity.
Xiaomi also released a teaser showcasing the device’s sliding camera feature.
3. Palm breaking trend of bigger phones
Tired of phones getting bigger and bigger? Palm came back this week and offered a different approach with the Palm phone. It’s not exactly a standalone smartphone and is really meant to be more of a Robin to the Batman which is your daily driver. At this point, we’re not sure how useful it’ll be but if you’re curious, it’s priced at US$ 349.
4. OnePlus 6T moves launch date
Speaking of more phones coming, the OnePlus 6T, which was reported to come with a smaller notch, an in-display fingerprint scanner along with the usual performance we’ve come to expect from the company, was forced to move its launch to October 29 with OnePlus CEO and founder Pete Lau saying they want “to make sure it gets the time and attention it deserves.”
Why wouldn’t it get the attention during its initial launch date? Well, it’s because of this next news item.
5. Apple wants to end October with a bang
Whether intentional or not, looks like Apple isn’t done announcing things and they want to be the one to cap off October with their own launch event. After announcing the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR, the company is expected to unveil a new iPad Pro with Face ID, and possibly a low-cost MacBook or MacBook Air as reported by Bloomberg.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
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