Lifestyle

Huawei Mate 20 Review: The simpler sibling

No need for the Pro?

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The Huawei Mate 20 is the simpler sibling in the Mate 20 lineup, and honestly… it simply works.

I’m an everyday normal guy, with normal demands from my smartphone. And when you’re like me, and you don’t have a specific thing in mind when choosing a phone, it helps to have a device that is just good in every aspect.

In real-world use, there’s nothing to complain about in terms of performance. It’s got a Kirin 980 processor, and it runs the way any flagship phone with the latest and greatest processor should.

A phone that’ll go perfect with your OOTD

When it comes to our phones, I’ll agree with Isa, our Lifestyle Editor, that they’ve become more than a gadget and are now also an accessory to show off.

This phone looks great! So much so that I’ve caught myself intentionally not putting it in my pocket, just so I can show it off.

And while there might also be many other good-looking options out there, the Mate 20 wins in my book because I can use it without a case and not have to worry about getting fingerprints all over it.

On our Midnight Blue review unit, I’ve loved the special glass texture that barely shows any fingerprints and how it makes the phone easier to grip.

Good display, but speakers need work

Flip the phone over and there’s the huge 6.53-inch screen that’s great for consuming media, but I will say that it was an adjustment having to get used to such a wide phone again.

Now while I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all gotten relatively used to notches by now. It still must be said that the notch on the Mate 20 is tiny (much smaller than the notch on its Pro sibling) and easy to forget about when watching videos in full screen.

One thing I did notice in watching videos is that while the Mate 20 might have stereo speakers (from the earpiece and the bottom firing speaker), the sound comes out uneven and mostly from the speaker at the bottom. It would have been better if the sound were more balanced.

Battery for days… literally

Usually, I start my day at 8am and end at about 9pm. How has the 4000mAh battery capacity been for me? In using the phone for about two weeks, I’ve never ended my day with less than 35 percent left. It’s been such a joy not having to carry around a bulky powerbank with me!

In a day that usually includes social media, using maps for directions, watching YouTube, and Netflix, no longer do I have to tell myself to get off Instagram because I need to preserve battery.

It’s a phone that will last you a full day and then some. When you do end up needing to charge, it juices up quick — boost of about 50 percent in 30 minutes.

Typical Huawei cameras

Now, let’s talk about the cameras. There are three cameras on the back: Its main camera has 12 megapixels, the ultra-wide shooter has 16 megapixels, and the 8-megapixel telephoto camera goes up to 2x optical zoom.

To put it plainly, they’re good. And I can tell you they’re good all day, but I think it’s better if I just show you:

And of course something that Huawei has been amazing with is nighttime photography:

Plus, the addition of a wide-angle lens is great for getting more into the frame:

  

All these photos we’re taken with the Master AI setting on and shot completely in automatic mode.

Now, I don’t take a lot of selfies — we leave that to Isa at GadgetMatch — but if that’s your thing, the Mate 20 has a 24-megapixel selfie camera. Also, here’s a selfie of me with Jason Mraz:

Here are more selfie samples (I turned off the beauty mode for these):

Glad to see you headphone jack!

The regular Huawei Mate 20 doesn’t have the curved screen like the Pro does. It doesn’t have the in-display fingerprint scanner, either. What it does have that the Pro model doesn’t, is a headphone jack. 

True story: When I was traveling around Singapore and my Bluetooth earphones died, it was a lifesaver to be able to plug in regular wired earphones so I could continue listening to music.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

This phone ticks all the boxes I needed it to. Good cameras? Check! Great battery life? Yes, sir! Is it good for watching Netflix? You betcha!

It isn’t as flashy as the Pro model, but the Mate 20 to me is meant for someone who doesn’t need any of the bells or whistles, and just wants a phone that’s going to work when you need it to.

Accessories

Sony’s WF-H800 h.ear in TWS headphones offer rich sound

Available in five colors

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Already a leader in noise-cancelling headphones, Sony is offering something a little different in the true wireless headpones department — the Sony WF-H800 h.ear in headphones.

One of the first easily noticeable things is how the WF-H800 is available in five colors: red, orange, green, blue, and black.

Noticeably missing is the active noise-cancellation feature. However, it makes up for it with other Sony staple-features, primarily the 360 reality audio. The effect of which can only be truly felt once you experience it for yourself.

It also has a 6mm dynamic driver to deliver a wide range of audio frequencies as well as a feature Sony calls DSEE HX or Digital Sound Enhancement Engine. This tech restores the high-range sound that’s lost in compression. It reproduces digital music files with rich, natural sound.

It’s also lightweight and designed to fit your ears perfectly. The WF-H800 promises up to eight hours of music playback plus another eight hours with the carrying case giving you a total of 16 hours. Additionally, 10 minutes of charge time will give you up to 70 minutes of listening time.

Just like other Sony headphones, these are compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa.

Price and availability

The Sony WF-H800 will be available at selected Sony Stores, Sony Centers, Sony authorized dealers and the official Sony store on Lazada from March 2020. It will retail for SG$ 299.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM3 review: Masterclass in noise cancellation

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Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ levels up battery, sound quality

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With the the headphone port nowhere to be found on the Galaxy S20 series comes a pair of improved true wireless earbuds — the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.

It’s a step up from last year’s Galaxy Buds. While last year’s version promised 6 hours of listening time, the Galaxy Buds+ takes it up to 11 hours on a single charge. You also get another 11 hours with the charging case.

In terms of sound quality, these are still tuned by AKG. It employs 2-way dynamic speakers and 3 mics to deliver better sound and voice quality

Inside the box you’ll also find a variety of wing and ear tips so you get the fit and comfort that’s made just for you.

It doesn’t have the noise-cancelling chip that you’ll find on the true wireless earbuds offered by Sony, Apple, and Huawei. Its approach to noise-cancelling has to do more with its physical design and rather than a tiny chip.

Speaking of its design, it retains the form factor of the original Galaxy Buds — which is great since it doesn’t look anything like the AirPods which many other manufacturers have taken a cue from. Speaking of Apple, if you’re not a fan of the AirPods’ design, you’ll be happy to know that the Galaxy Buds+, along with its companion app, will be compatible with iOS devices.

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ will be available in Cosmic Black, White, Red, and Cloud Blue, starting February 14, 2020 on Samsung.com, followed by major mobile carriers and retailers on March 6, 2020 and will retail for US$ 149.

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Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ price and availability in the Philippines

A minor improvement

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True wireless (TWS) earbuds are popping up one after the other. Samsung’s latest — the Galaxy Buds+ — is also making its way to the Philippines.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ improves upon the battery life of its predecessor promising up to 11 hours of listening time in a single charge. You also get another 11 hours thanks  to the charging case.

Its approach to noise cancellation has to do more with its 2-dynamic speaker and physical design which means this may not be in direct competition with the likes of the AirPods Pro, Huawei Freebuds 3, and Sony WF-1000XM3.

It maintains the same design as its predecessor — a welcome look in the sea of TWS earbuds that all look like AirPods. If you use an iPhone but are not fans of the AirPods’ design, you’ll be happy to know that the Galaxy Buds+ will also be compatible with iOS devices.

Price and availabilty

The Galaxy Buds+ will be available starting March 6, 2020. It will retail for PhP 6,990.

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