Midrange smartphones have gotten so much attention from a lot of brands lately. And why not? This is the middle ground for people who’d want the premium of a higher end smartphone but don’t want to break the bank. Here, it’s Huawei’s turn to give the midrange line some love with their newest addition to the Nova series — the Huawei Nova 8.
The Nova 8 in a classic Huawei white box
Inside the accessories box, we get the standard SIM card ejector tool.
Also a clear jelly case for protection while still showcasing the beautiful back cover.
The charger is surprisingly smaller than the 65W charger that came with the MateBook D15 I previously reviewed. I wonder if this can charge the MateBook D15?
Of course a 6A USB-C cable.
A closer look of the phone
We have the 64MP main shooter, 8MP Ultra-wide, 2MP Macro and 2MP depth camera.
And a 32MP front facing camera.
A nice touch for a midranger, we get a sleek looking curved edge display
The top and bottom frame has a matte texture with glossy edges
Holding the Nova 8, you can tell right away that the feel is quite similar to what you get on higher end models. With the curved edge and firm build quality, there’s definitely a discernible distinction with its lower end sibling, the Nova 8i. I also noticed immediately that the touch sampling rate of the display is of higher rating as it felt snappy to my touch and swipes.
Loaded with a Kirin 820E chipset, 8GB of RAM and running EMUI 12, the experience is quite pleasant for a midrange phone but also nothing to be too hyped about.
What got me curious though, is the 66W charging. According to Huawei, the Nova 8 can be fully charged in just 35 minutes. We went on and tried it out so we plugged it right in after we unboxed it. I must say, Huawei’s estimate might just be realistic. You can literally stare at your phone and watch the battery indicator rise up.
So far, my initial impression on the Nova 8 has been pretty solid. It manages to keep up on its performance and also gets you that sophistication that you’d mostly feel with the higher ends. So if that’s what you’re really looking for, the Huawei Nova 8 is now available for pre-order.
The Huawei Nova 8 comes in Bluish Gold and retails for PhP 19,999.
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14 Pro Max
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Aside from the usual one day usage, it’s also a great time to see the streets of New York, at least virtually.
With the new cameras of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (including a 48MP sensor),
is it suffice to say it’s worth upgrading to this year’s iPhone?
Here’s Michael Josh’s first 24 hours with the new iPhone 14 Pro Max for you to find out more.
Vibe Check: ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
This one’s different
We haven’t seen anything quite like this before. The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED (which we’ll just call the Zenbook 17 Fold for brevity) is the first of its kind at its size.
Foldables aren’t new, especially to those who constantly follow tech news. Samsung has lorded over the foldable smartphone segment with its two device types – the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip. They are finally getting some competition in 2023 with the likes of OPPO, Xiaomi, and HONOR all gearing up to globally launch their own foldables.
But that’s smartphones. In the laptop category, the closest thing we’ve seen to this is the ThinkPad X1 Fold. And while that’s promising, it still needs a few more iterations to be a really attractive option.
The same is pretty much true with the Zenbook 17 Fold. At least, that’s the impression we got after spending a good hour with it. And that hour wasn’t even the full experience. The unit we had was an early engineering unit, so we can only really tell you so much from that brief experience.
ASUS went out of their way to showcase how the Zenbook 17 Fold. While you can probably get more creative with it, here are four modes that are actually software supported.
In this mode, you prop up the Zenbook 17 Fold on a desk, table, or what-have-you, and use it with the accompanying bluetooth keyboard detached. It’s kind of like the tablet top mode of the Nintendo Switch but for an oversized foldable PC.
This one’s pretty straightforward. You can hold it horizontally and fold it mimicking the folding feeling of an actual book. I gotta say, at 1.50 kg (3.31 lbs) it’s got a bit of a heft to it so maybe holding it for a prolonged period of time isn’t advisable.
In laptop mode, you only get to use half of the screen. What happens is you fold it halfway as if you’re using a laptop. And then you slap on the included keyboard on the bottom half. This gives you a generally smaller device – kind of like the netbooks from a decade ago. It’s a little cramped but is nice for working in tighter spaces.
This one should be self explanatory as well. You simply open it up wide and use it as a true-blue oversized tablet. This is particularly great for media consumption. Can say we definitely enjoyed watching LOONA’s “Flip That” on this thing.
And just look at LOONA Heejin occupying that much space on the FOLED (Foldable OLED) screen. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.
It’s also worth noting that in landscape mode, the device will offer multiple split screen options for your multitasking needs.
What’s it packing?
We didn’t get to test it much, since, as mentioned earlier, it is an engineering unit. But here’s what the Zenbook 17 Fold is packing on paper to give you an idea.
- Windows 11 Pro – ASUS recommends Windows 11 Pro for business
- Windows 11 Home – ASUS recommends Windows 11 Pro for business
- Intel® Core™ i7-1250U Processor 1.1 GHz (12M Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 2P+8E cores)
- Intel® Iris Xe Graphics
- 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 FOLED 4:3 aspect ratio, 0.2ms response time, 500nits HDR peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 1,000,000:1, VESA CERTIFIED Display HDR True Black 500, 1.07 billion colors, PANTONE Validated, Glossy display, 70% less harmful blue light, Touch screen, Screen-to-body ratio: 87％
- 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 FOLED 4:3 aspect ratio, 0.2ms response time, 60Hz refresh rate, 500nits HDR peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 1,000,000:1, VESA CERTIFIED Display HDR True Black 500, 1.07 billion colors, PANTONE Validated, Glossy display, 70% less harmful blue light, Touch screen, Screen-to-body ratio: 87％
- 16GB LPDDR5 on board, Total system memory upgradeable to:16GB
- 1TB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 4.0 Performance SSD
- 2x Thunderbolt™ 4 supports display / power delivery
- 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack
Keyboard and Touchpad:
- Soft Keyboard, 1.4mm Key-travel, Touchpad
- 5.0M camera with IR function
- Smart Amp Technology
- Built-in speaker
- Built-in array microphone
- harman/kardon (Premium)
- with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition support
- Wi-Fi 6E(802.11ax) (Dual band) 2*2 + Bluetooth 5
Battery and Power Supply:
- 75WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
- TYPE-C, 65W AC Adapter, Output: 20V DC, 3.25A, 65W, Input: 100-240V AC 50/60GHz universal
- 1-month trial for new Microsoft 365 customers. Credit card required.
- Office Home and Student 2021 included
- Microsoft 365 Personal 1-year included.*
- *Activation required with 6-months of Windows activation date.
- Microsoft Office Home & Business 2021
Pricing and availability details to follow.
Vibe Check: realme 9 4G
Our eyes are ablaze in awe with this Sunburst Gold colorway!
realme, the Philippines’ number one smartphone brand for 2021, has continued to deliver innovative technology to the midrange segment.
Its latest offering is the realme 9 (4G), yet another option joining the realme 9 lineup. We’ve got plenty of time to play around with this new smartphone, and our eyes are ablaze in awe with this Sunburst Gold colorway.
Golden like daylight
Hit me like the ray of sun, burning through my darkest night. (Beyoncé, is that you?)
Kidding aside, I like how the realme 9 (4G), especially in its Sunburst Gold and Stargaze White variants, came up with a Ripple Holographic design encompassing its rear body. They look like sand dunes, akin to waves of shining, shimmering gold found by Aladdin.
The design is subtle that when you use a clear case, you’ll think there’s nothing extra about this smartphone. But when you let the light shine on it, it glistens and exudes a beautiful pattern.
Midrange smartphones usually forsake their design language to focus on battery and performance — something that budget-conscious consumers prefer.
But realme is bringing back the charm of its previous smartphones from a few years ago: so beautifully designed you’ll forget they offer these devices at a cut-rate price.
I still fondly remember caressing the realme 5 back in 2019 which, frankly, is the best style that captures realme’s brand and positioning.
It wasn’t experimental; it was something that helped people remember who they are. Its successors played around with new designs, instead of polishing what was already working.
Going back to its rear, the realme 9 (4G) has an aesthetically-pleasing camera island, housing its 108MP ProLight Camera powered by a Samsung HM6 sensor, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera with a 120-degree lens, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.
It has a 16-megapixel selfie camera housed in a punch-hole cutout.
The brand’s logo is seamlessly etched in the lower-left corner.
The bottom side sports the most important stuff: speaker grilles, microphone input, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. Yey!
Power under that gorgeous hood
Upfront, the realme 9 (4G) sports a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. We appreciate how realme puts a high refresh rate for people who simply want to game because they’re the ones who benefit the most from the feature.
With a Snapdragon 680 chipset and an Adreno 610 GPU, you can play heavy-duty games like Genshin Impact, Call of Duty, and Asphalt 9. It’s the same processor housed in most gaming-oriented budget smartphones for under US$ 300.
But let’s be real: this smartphone is perfect for multitasking and casual, everyday use. Its performance is seamless across different apps, thanks to its 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, which you can expand up to 256GB via a microSD card. More importantly, it offers a Dynamic RAM Expansion (DRE) of up to 5GB if you need extra memory.
It also comes with long-lasting battery life due to its humongous 5000mAh battery. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent in realme’s midrange lineup, it’s the battery that stays with you throughout the day. When you pair it with a 33W Dart Charge, you can get the juice back up in an hour and a quarter.
Watch to your heart’s content
As mentioned before, the realme 9 (4G) uses a Super AMOLED display. Visuals are definitely bright, vivid, and vibrant. It’s easy to watch even under broad daylight since the display delivers up to 1000 nits of brightness.
I remember using realme’s smartphones before and I have to step on a shade while I was in Boracay, simply because their previous devices deliver lower nits.
This time around, the realme 9 (4G) allowed me to watch my comfort shows to my heart’s content. Yes, I kept replaying Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix whenever I’m sad or when I just need something familiar when everything around me is changing.
The realme 9 (4G) has a featherweight, slim body so it doesn’t put a strain on your hands when watching on a smartphone. That’s something to consider when you’re the type of person who keeps watching content while on the go.
Price and availability
The realme 9 (4G) retails for PhP 14,999 with a 6GB/128GB configuration. It’s available in all realme stores nationwide.
At a glance, the realme 9 (4G) has an inviting demeanor that makes you want to hold it. The experience is similar to most gaming-oriented budget smartphones, and you’ll have a good time using it for quite a while. But that’s where it ends.
When you factor in the overall experience with the realme 9 (4G), it doesn’t match with its competitors — offering better specifications and experience at the same price range. Some, even lower.
In a short amount of time, the realme 9 (4G) passed our vibe check. It’s worth checking out if you’re badly in need of a smartphone right away for your everyday needs.
But in the long run, being a 4G smartphone doesn’t serve any purpose if you live in a developing city — especially with 5G expanding its rollout and 6G is on the horizon, unveiling in a few years from now.
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