The first phone that comes to the minds of people looking to upgrade to a smartphone with a big and spacious display is the Galaxy Note series of Samsung. But with the latest Galaxy Note 8 already at the US$ 1000 mark, is there a cheaper option? The answer is yes.
Huawei doesn’t need any introduction — not anymore. The Chinese company has captured not only the Asian market, but is also making a name for itself in Europe. The company’s latest flagship line, the Mate 10 series, has two variants: regular and pro. I took the non-pro variant around as my daily driver for two weeks, and here are my findings.
You know the drill, let’s start with the physique of the phone.
The large 5.9-inch display is crisp and punchy
The top bezel has fewer visible sensors than usual
A fingerprint reader conveniently sits in front
The power and volume buttons are on the right
It’s got a hybrid card tray, so take your pick
It’s also has a 3.5mm jack and IR blaster on top
Of course, the USB-C port is found at the bottom
The back shows off the Leica-powered dual-camera setup
There’s even a strip to highlight the cameras
Feels like the widest premium phone of the year
All of the flagship smartphones and even midrange phones this year already use the taller 18:9 aspect ratio, but the Mate sticks with the 16:9 ratio. While the older widescreen ratio on mobile is ideal for watching videos (since most content is still in 16:9), it feels outdated and stout, especially at this size. I’m still puzzled by the fact that the Pro variant has the new taller display ratio, but this one doesn’t.
Putting the aspect ratio issue aside, the 5.9-inch IPS LCD with its Quad HD resolution and 499ppi pixel density is one of the sharpest displays for big smartphones. It’s also HDR10 compliant and automatically adjusts when playing compatible videos. Although, popular video streaming services like Netflix and YouTube don’t support the Mate 10 as of writing.
The phone is built premium all around. It has an aluminum frame and glass back to prove it’s worthy of the premium label. Huawei didn’t throw in wireless charging though, despite the phone’s glass body, so the glass back is purely for aesthetics and it gets really smudgy. As a small consolation, it’s IP53-certified, making it protected against occasional spills and water splashes, but don’t throw it in the pool.
Flagship performance without the hefty price
If there’s one thing that Huawei kept on bragging about their latest smartphones, it’s artificial intelligence (or simply AI). Huawei made a big fuss over the neural network processor built into the Kirin 970 chipset, but there aren’t many apps available to truly feel its advantage. It’s supposed to improve battery life and make everything faster by learning your patterns.
Moving forward, the powerful chipset has 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage at its aid, along with the new Mali-G72 MP12 for handling graphics. The processing power of the Mate 10 is comparable to the likes of other flagships in the market like the Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30. With the help of AI, the phone never felt slow and rarely showed signs of slowing down. I could open multiple demanding apps simultaneously and jump in between them without hiccups. Gaming is also not an issue; major titles like Asphalt Extreme, NBA 2K17, and Riptide GP: Renegade ran well on the phone. All were set to high graphics settings by default.
It has Android 8.0 Oreo on board skinned with EMUI 8.0. Huawei’s own take on Android is still pretty half-baked for my liking and mimics iOS, but it has some nifty features which give it an edge over bare Android, such as scrolling screenshots. EMUI jumped from version 5.1 to 8.0 (to align with Android 8.0) and it’s disappointing that there’s no significant change to the interface aside from the inconsistent rounded icons that are a mess to look at. If you have time, downloading a launcher in the Play Store and working your way around the clutter will fix this.
Still one of the best dual cameras
Huawei introduced a new and improved dual-camera system on the Mate 10 series. Whether you choose the non-Pro or Pro variant, you get the same 12-megapixel color and 20-megapixel monochrome sensor combo — both with an f/1.6 aperture. It also has optical image stabilization and software-optimized 2x lossless zoom. For selfies, it’s got a pretty standard 8-megapixel shooter.
The AI feature shines in the camera department, as it can instantly identify the object you’re taking a photo of. For example, it can differentiate between flowers, plants, food, and people. The AI supposedly adjusts the settings to what’s ideal for the shot.
The Mate 10 shoots amazing photos, whether in bright or dark environments. The partnership between Huawei and Leica shows in the processing of the photos that look great right off the bat. You can still manually adjust the controls if you want to, but shooting in auto already captures the best possible photo. You can also shoot with bokeh or in black and white thanks to the secondary monochrome sensor.
Shooting in bokeh is still hit and miss depending on your subject, but most of the time the cutout is okay. There’s a portrait mode in both the rear and front cameras for better selfies. I noticed that unlike with the P10, the front camera doesn’t automatically adjust for group selfies. But the fixed lens is already wide enough for more than two people in the frame.
It can you get you through the day
Since this is a big phone, it’s gotta have a big battery. Inside is a non-removable 4000mAh cell which supports Huawei SuperCharge. The retail box comes with a SuperCharge-compatible charger that easily fills up the phone to 50 percent in just around 20 minutes. The charging speed trickles down afterwards to prevent the battery from heating up, so a full charge is over an hour. That’s still pretty fast for a battery this size, but the phone is picky with the fast chargers it works with. Third-party fast chargers don’t charge as quickly.
With a fully charged Mate 10, you can leave your charger at home. This phone was able to last a whole day with more to spare overnight. I consider myself a heavy user with mobile data always on when Wi-Fi isn’t available. I binge-watch on Netflix while stuck in traffic, browse web pages when bored, play mobile games in between breaks, and chat with friends and colleagues all day.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you’re considering a big smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are not your only options. If you take time to look at what others offer, you’ll find that the Mate 10 is a good deal — not just in specs and features, but also in value. It might not have an extremely borderless display like on other Android flagships or an 18:9 ratio, but it also doesn’t have a hefty price tag (at least here in Asia).
In the Philippines, the phone retails for just PhP 32,990 or roughly US$ 655. In other parts of the world, it’s at a premium EUR 699, which is about US$ 820.
[irp posts=”25102″ name=”Honor V10 brings best of Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro together”]
Apple Watch Series 6 Review
Is it worth every penny?
The Apple Watch Series 6 offers more than just being a “luxurious timepiece”. Over the years, they’ve pioneered in what a true smartwatch can offer. From the ability to track your runs, cycles, and swims, as far as reading heart rate and even ECG. This year, the Watch Series 6 has a new SpO2 sensor that can read blood oxygen levels within the reach of your wrists.
But does all of that make up for a fancy price tag? Why is the Apple Watch a worthy investment for your health?
You can head on to our Apple Watch Series 6 review by clicking the link here.
Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review: Last of its Kind
Every year, Huawei’s Mate series dominate the smartphone world with hosts of new features.
This October, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro finally made its way out of the limousine. As usual, it’s packed with the latest and greatest internals minus the full Android experience. Albeit, you still get support for AppGallery and other existing Huawei services.
With all that mind, is it still worthy to invest your money just to buy this smartphone?
You can watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro review by clicking this link.
Infinix Note 7: Best underrated budget phone?
Does size matter?
The underrated brand, Infinix, is coming in with a perfect phone for when you’re strapped for cash. Infinix has consistently released great phones that deliver every bang for your buck and their recent release is no exception. What’s the latest addition to their great line-up? The Infinix Note 7
Show us what its got
The Infinix Note 7 is a dual-sim budget smartphone with a 6.95-inch HD+ and Corning Gorilla Glass display. It’s decked out in three different colors: Forest Green, Aether Black, and Bolivia Blue. Despite being encased in plastic, the Infinix Note 7 looks and feels premium. Just be more forgiving when the phone looks heavily smeared with your fingerprints — most phones tend to do so.
The phone features and specifications aren’t necessarily what people would view as technologically new or revolutionary. But, with phones on the same price range, this one delivers on all fronts of functionality, affordability, and durability. The phone has loud dual speakers, a great battery life, and reliable performance that makes it a stand-out in with its price tag.
Bang for your buck
The Infinix Note 7 is powered by a Helio G70 Processor paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. If you’re worried about storage, the phone has a dedicated microSD card slot. But, note that the phone has more than enough space to run apps on the Google Play Store without much of a hitch.
The Infinix Note 7 doesn’t falter on features when tested. The phone didn’t stutter or struggle when putting it through the stress test of scrolling, unlocking, and opening and closing multiple apps. On top of that, the Infinix Note7 has a 5000mAh battery that makes your daily grind of work and play look easy.
For gaming, the phone didn’t seem at all bothered with Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Genshin Impact, and Among Us. And, with the amount of storage the phone had, I’d downloaded all the games I wanted with reckless abandon. The phone held up to its dependable battery life too, despite a full day of work and play.
Does size really matter?
The Infinix Note 7 is big for a phone. Facts. If anything, it’s a love child of a phone and a tablet. With its 6.95-inch HD+ display and dual speakers, the phone makes watching Netflix or playing games an overall immersive experience. Despite Infinix sticking to HD+ on a bigger display, it doesn’t really impose on all the great features the phone has.
Remember: the Infinix Note 7 has a good price tag of PhP 7,990. If you’re asking it to feature 2k or 4k resolution, that good price tag isn’t even remotely ideal on top of the other features the phone comes with.
Is the cake a lie?
No, just misunderstood. Hear me out here: The Infinix Note 7 features a quad-camera set-up with a 48MP primary shooter, a 2MP macro lens, 2MP depth lens, and a 2MP dedicated video camera. On the front, the phone has a 16MP selfie camera. These specs can sometimes come misunderstood since Infinix does say the phone features a quad rear camera set-up. The phone technically features three with the fourth as its dedicated video recording camera.
The Inifinix Note 7 performed really well even with little lighting. I tried to photograph a dim sunset and most phones would often scrap some details in photos to compensate with the lack of lighting. That wasn’t the case for this phone. With a phone at its price point, it greatly outperforms phones in the same category quite easily. The phone delivers on detailed selfies with it 16MP in-display front camera and doesn’t struggle to focus using either rear or front cameras.
The phone doesn’t seem at all bothered with taking detailed photos. Sometimes the contrast can be a bit much but again, seeing a budget phone like the Infinix Note 7 perform well under tough circumstances that can just be from being nit-picky.
Is this your BudgetMatch?
If you need a phone to get you good shots and get you through a long day of non-stop work and play while delivering good photos overall, this is the phone for you. There’s nothing to complain about with this phone besides Infinix being utterly underrated for the quality of phones they put out. The Infinix Note 7 is a great phone for your daily grind if you’re looking for a phone that delivers on functionality, efficiency, and durability. It even delivers on good quality shots!
The Infinix Note 7 costs PhP 7,990 (US$ 165).
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