First Look

Huawei Mate X first look: Answering the burning questions

From software to durability

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No smartphone development has been hotter than foldables this year. Sure, 5G connectivity and hole-punch cameras may be the buzz words of 2019, but folding displays are the future tech we have now.

While the Galaxy Fold is expected to launch sooner, no one except Samsung’s executives and developers have used the device. It’s a stark contrast to the Mate X, which has not only been handled by media during the last Mobile World Congress, but also made its way to Southeast Asia already.

I was fortunate enough to spend some hands-on time with the Mate X; not enough to present a comprehensive experience, but good enough to address some questions our readers have asked since the foldable was first announced.

Is there enough heft to it?

The funny thing is, the Mate X feels heavy in its smartphone state, but almost too light when in tablet mode. That’s because there’s a lot of screen (8 inches when opened up) and battery capacity (4600mAh split into two units) for a handset, while being remarkably thin for a slate.

There’s a sort of handle to the side that’s helpful for holding the device when opened up, yet prevents it from lying down flat when unfolded. When folded, however, the smartphone-like thinness and curves on the sides make the Mate X such a joy to grasp — well, based on my early usage at least.

How durable are the display and hinge?

This is one question that’s crossed everyone’s mind. Although the idea of a folding display gives the impression of poor quality, Huawei’s implementation is anything but. Huawei is said to have worked for three years on the Mate X’s sturdy hinge, and though it’s too early to judge the plastic display’s durability, it feels like it can take constant, everyday folding.

I can’t attest to the display’s scratch resistance, but it does get quite smudgy with dirty fingers. It’s especially apparent with the sheer size of the panel. It’s even more obvious because of how reflective the screen is under bright lights. Again, these are things that’ll take time before we can come to a conclusion.

Are the cameras any good?

There are pros and cons to the Mate X’s camera system. The good: Since it has three cameras on the back for everything, there’s no need for a notch, and they’re as good as the Mate 20 Pro’s chart-topping shooters. The bad: Because of the placement, you can’t take advantage of the 8-inch screen for video calls.

Still, it’s a fine compromise and doesn’t get in the way of the phone’s usability. What’s especially great is that you can use the rear display like a mirror during smartphone mode so that the subject can see his or herself for better compositions. It’s a lot like what the Vivo NEX Dual Display offers.

Is the software optimized for foldables?

The lingering question after the Mate X’s launch was: Will the software — and its developers by extension — adjust to this new form factor? From the few apps I got to try out, the experience was surprisingly smooth, allowing me to fold and unfold the device at any time without noticeable lag or glitches.

That’s saying a lot for a device which isn’t even in the consumer market yet and has no apps with its unusual aspect ratios in mind. The possibilities here are endless if game developers are willing to adjust their titles to this; imagine switching from one viewing mode to another with a simple fold.

What else is there to know?

A minor gripe I had with the Mate X during my short time with it was the single loudspeaker. Considering how gorgeous the display is, I was hoping for more power and bass out of the lone audio source. However, I’m sure anyone who can afford a Mate X already has excellent wireless or USB-C headphones on hand.

I didn’t get to test the security features, but I did like the placement of the fingerprint scanner on the side-mounted power button. It felt natural and well within reach. There’s no under-display scanner, unfortunately, and I can’t say for certain if unlocking this phone with the rear cameras is a practical option.

Is this a glimpse into the future or a niche product?

This is what I got asked most once my friends found out I tried out the world’s first outward-folding smartphone, and it’s definitely the most difficult question to answer. With the pricing Huawei and Samsung have chosen for their first-generation products, they’re certainly reserved for those who can afford it, and not those who simply desire it (like myself).

Unless prices go down in the next year or two, foldables will never be as practical as a smartphone-tablet combo, or even a handset paired with a reliable laptop. It’ll take a while before folding phones go mainstream, but for now, the Mate X is fun as hell to use, and I can’t wait to play around with an actual retail unit.

First Look

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus first look

Beautiful, bewitching, and bedazzling in Blue

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Motorola returns to the Philippines, bringing its crowd-favorite clamshell phone and the Moto G 5G Plus, a midrange phone that hopefully reinvents the mid-tier segment.

The new midrange contender presents itself as an affordable 5G smartphone. Right now, there are a lot of questions to answer. Can it potentially shake the competition? What other advantages does it have?

However, we haven’t had the handset for a long period. Hence, we’re going to do a quick rundown first.

Beautiful, bedazzling, and bewitching in Blue

Blue, truly is the warmest color. When Pantone announced Classic Blue as 2020’s color of the year, it was expected that most smartphones will release a similar color, or at least close to its shade and hue.

Motorola did the same with the Moto G 5G Plus, albeit more stunning and enchanting. Rather than following the muted, serious-like color of the year, this phone came in a shade of blue brimming with boldness called Surfing Blue. What a babe!

This striking color reminisces our happy, summer days basking under scorching sunlight, watching surfers play along the waves from the deep blue ocean.

It’s undeniable this handset is visibly made of plastic. You can see and feel it through its plastic coat. But all can be forgiven since Motorola used a textured finish underneath its plastic back.

It looks flamboyant. Refreshing in a sea of bland, plastic-bodied smartphones. There are curved edges cornering a shiny, reflective coat, and a subtle gradient varying on certain angles.

Near the middle of the back, you can find Motorola’s imprinted insignia. Thankfully, it didn’t ruin the embellishments.

For its camera setup, the Moto G 5G Plus dons four lenses on its rear. It didn’t come with a bulky bump, and it adorned its cameras cohesively, enclosed in a square setup while maintaining the textured aesthetic.

Smart, simple, and efficient

The Moto G 5G Plus is decked with efficiency on both its left and right sides. There’s a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that doubles as a power button and a shorter but responsive volume rockers on the right. Meanwhile, the left side carries a dedicated button for Google Assistant and a SIM card slot.

The bottom, on the other hand, carries fan-favorite features together with its speaker grilles: a headphone jack and a USB-C port.

Moving to its front, the phone sports a 6.7-inch LCD display, which is quite vibrant and stunning even when it’s not using the popular AMOLED panel.

On its upper left, you can find two punch-hole cameras housing its front-facing camera system: a 16-megapixel main sensor and an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens.

But let’s forget about it for a moment and let’s appreciate how clean the interface is.

Motorola used Google’s stock Android system while running Android 10, with only the Moto app installed for all your Moto stuff — Display settings, personalization, tips, and the like.

It also uses a 90Hz refresh rate, offering a buttery smooth experience while enjoying a simple, efficient interface.

5G, 5G, 5G

Motorola parades the Moto G 5G Plus as one of the most affordable 5G smartphones in the market. It’s not just affordable, it also prides itself on power, speed, and longevity.

The device supposedly runs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765 processor with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. It’s powered by a 5,000mAh battery capable of up to 20W fast charging via TurboPower. More importantly, it can handle 5G connectivity. Although, we haven’t had the chance to test it.

Consider me impressed… or not?

The Moto G 5G Plus looks promising — both on paper and upon the first meeting. It’s just like taking someone on a first date, everything can be quite impressive. But there are still layers we need to discover, and that’s what we’re going to do next in our upcoming review.

For now, the striking color is captivating. Additionally, the 5G connectivity coupled with a long-lasting battery and enough power is a solid promise for consumers. When done right, this can totally shake the competition and join the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei, and realme.

The 8GB RAM variant of the Moto G 5G plus will retail at PHP 16,990 in December 2020.

SEE ALSO: Motorola returns to the Philippines, brings 5G phones

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Accessories

This LG Face Mask has a Built-In Air Purifier!

Something we all need in this pandemic

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LG may not have revealed a new smartphone during IFA 2020, but they announced a revolutionary device.

Meet the LG PuriCare Wearable Air Purifier — a mask that has a built-in air purifier into it. ‘PuriCare’ is LG’s special line for their air and water purifiers. The mask is battery-powered and charges via USB-C to keep it running. It also has fans and even HEPA filters to filter out pesky

Although this isn’t approved yet for commercial use, we’re still hoping that regular consumers would be able to have one of their own — especially that the COVID-19 crisis is far from ending.

You can find more about LG’s mask here.

 

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First Look

The new $399 Apple iPhone SE

iPhone 8 body, iPhone 11 internals

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After several rumors, Apple has finally unveiled the iPhone SE 2 — or simply called the iPhone SE.

Just like its 2016 predecessor, it’s an old iPhone with newer internals. You get the same display, design, security system, and even the single rear camera setup. What’s exciting about it? It has Apple’s latest tech including the A13 Bionic Chipset which promises blazing-fast performance.

Best of all? You can get these features at a much cheaper price of USD 399.

Know more about the new iPhone SE here.

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