Reviews

Huawei P20 Pro review: 3 months later

Does it get better with age?

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I’ll be honest: New smartphone releases don’t excite me the way they used to. As much as I enjoyed using the Mi Mix 2S and Galaxy S9 as my daily drivers for most of early 2018, they’re practically the same as their predecessors.

It takes something special to win me over. The massive gold-trimmed Mi Mix did that for me in 2016, and so did the notch-pioneering Essential Phone last year (once its price dropped, of course). But let’s be real: Neither of these phones had decent cameras. As pretty as they were to look at, in no way could they replace my mirrorless camera on trips.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a Huawei bandwagoner, but the P20 Pro has been doing it all for me, and I’m not just talking about the fantastic cameras. Having spent significant time with both the Pro and non-Pro versions, they’ve been my go-to phones midway this year.

P20 Pro versus P20 (not) Pro

Before having the privilege of using the P20 Pro as my current daily driver, I had the regular P20 in my pocket. While this may have been for OOTD purposes, it became the basis for my experience with the Pro, and a reference to Huawei’s current-generation capabilities.

Isa already wrote her comprehensive thoughts on the P20, which largely reflect how I feel about the non-Pro model. It’s sized just right for hands both big and small; the cameras are above the competition (in most cases); and its color options are simply gorgeous in person.

Blue P20 on the left, Pink Gold P20 to the right

The P20 Pro is all that and a little more. Since it’s larger, there’s more screen real estate from its 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display and it houses a more generous 4000mAh battery — both of which are much-appreciated upgrades for power users.

Other differences aren’t as significant, like the stereo speakers and stronger waterproofing on the Pro model, but are again features that add value to the more expensive variant. Are these enough to justify the added premium? Not really, yet we haven’t touched on the main reason for buying a P20 Pro: the Leica-infused triple-camera setup on the back.

The mooore, the merrier

There are a total of four cameras on the P20 Pro, three of which are on the rear. They are: a 20-megapixel monochrome camera, an 8-megapixel sensor for additional zoom, and a primary shooter with 40 megapixels at its disposal. What does this all mean? The best imaging capabilities on a smartphone by a long shot.

People (us included) have become skeptical of DxOMark’s ratings and how they affect potential users’ perception of the best camera-phones, but there’s some truth in the soul-crushing dominance the P20 Pro experiences at the very top of their mobile chart.

Although it’s a given that every smartphone generation delivers a decent upgrade in image quality each year, none have dotted their exclamation point as much as Huawei has. It’s already been three whole months since the P20 Pro was unveiled, and no newer handset till now has even come close to dethroning its cameras’ performance.

I’ve already taken the P20 Pro across the world and used it to document my trips. I rarely say this, but this phone can definitely replace my consumer-grade mirrorless camera. Like the cameras, there are three things they specialize in, namely incredible image quality, unmatched zooming abilities, and nighttime photography like no other.

You can find a bunch of samples in my New York travel piece, along with a few more from my recent trip to Taipei right here:

Whether I’m taking shots at night or under broad daylight, with or without color, the P20 Pro absolutely delivers. I can’t count how many times I’ve been amazed by the results and thankful that I left my dedicated camera at home.

Even the zoom comes in handy when I’m traveling or shooting at an event. With a dedicated lens for this purpose, the P20 Pro can optically zoom up to three times. What’s even more impressive, however, is the image quality at 10X zoom.

Using a mix of optical and digital zoom (and some advanced software tricks), photos shot at the maximum length turn out usable, which is something I can’t say for the majority of cameras out there.

While the 24-megapixel front camera seems like another recipe for success, it doesn’t hit the same high notes. Not that it’s bad by any means — and trust me, I’ve had worse — but selfies simply don’t match up to anything the main cameras produce.

This can be considered the weakest aspect of the P20 Pro’s shooters. It takes steady hands to produce sharp images, and the sensor seems to struggle a bit with groups (something Isa pointed out, as well).

It seems to me like Huawei marketed the rear cameras so strongly in order to make people ignore the weakness of the selfie cam. It’s a shame, but this leaves some room for improvements in the next flagship. Last year’s Mate 10 Pro proved that Huawei knows how to polish its selfies.

Downsides? There are a couple.

For one, I find the Master AI feature, which chooses the best mode for you using artificial intelligence, cumbersome to use. Although it gets the settings right most of the time, it adds a few seconds to the process, and there will be instances wherein it’ll experiment on its own, leaving you forced to watch it switch from one mode to another.

I simply leave this feature turned off and do the scene selection on my own. Need a good nighttime pic? I simply go to night mode and take a four-second handheld exposure. Want to blur the background behind my subject? I’m already in portrait mode. Artsy-fartsy time? There’s monochrome mode for that.

On the other hand, video mode isn’t that great. Even though Huawei managed to improve the stability and clarity of videos, they missed a golden opportunity to massacre the competition outside of just photography.

If you try the super-slow-mo mode, you’ll see how unrefined it is compared to what the likes of Sony and Samsung have done. Yes, it shoots HD videos at 960 frames per second too, but it’s nowhere near as fun or as intuitive to use.

It does almost everything else

Of course, this is first and foremost a smartphone, and we can’t sell it solely on its shooters. But even if the cameras weren’t this good, the P20 Pro stands as one of the most impressive handsets of 2018 thus far.

Give me a moment to be a little technical:

Its Kirin 970 processor, though a bit behind in terms of raw power compared to this generation’s chips, is still a beast for everyday tasks and playing the latest mobile games; the generous battery is more than enough to power through a day of heavy usage with mobile data or Wi-Fi constantly on; and the OLED display, while not the brightest or sharpest out there, has been serving me well.

So, what’s there to consider three months later? Does it truly get better with age?

To get a pure feel of the P20 Pro, I decided to not use a case or any form of protection for it. Fortunately for me, its glass and metal body held up well. It doesn’t pick up scratches easily and the frame of my black variant has a matte finish, providing more grip than I’m used to on slippery glass phones.

And even if the rear cameras protrude a great deal, they don’t show signs of wear and tear after all this time. Their placement is annoying, however; the phone wobbles with every press on the screen while laid flat on a table.

Another constant gripe is Huawei’s uncertainty about going truly wireless or not. As you may already know, there’s no audio port for your headphones, forcing you to use an adapter or wireless earphones. Nothing we can do about that since that’s the direction all brands are heading toward, but having no wireless charging despite there being a compatible glass back seems counter-intuitive.

On the bright side, charging to full takes less than two hours, but that’s if you use the bundled SuperCharge adapter. It’s a proprietary standard, meaning you won’t be able to get SuperCharge speeds with chargers from non-Huawei phones.

The phone will simply indicate “fast charging” when using other adapters and slow down the top-up considerably. As someone who brings multiple devices with me at a time, it bums me to carry a dedicated charger just for the P20 Pro.

Software-wise, EMUI has grown on me. Despite feeling like it’s based on an older version of Android and not the Oreo it’s actually running on, I appreciate the fluidity of the animations and convenience of the quick settings. After uninstalling all the bloatware upon setting the phone up, everything has been fine and dandy since.

I can’t say for certain if it truly got faster the more I used it — Huawei’s machine learning tech is supposed to kick in for this — but the phone does feel as fast as when I first took it out of the box.

And no, the camera notch doesn’t bother me. I’d take it over the mechanical sliding cameras popping up lately.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Fun fact: I wrote this entire review on a P20 Pro. That’s not saying it can replace a laptop; I simply can’t let go of this phone.

There’s little to dislike about the P20 Pro. The only strong argument I have against it is to save your money by considering the regular P20 instead. It’s significantly cheaper in most markets, and lots of users will appreciate the handier form factor.

But if you do end up with a P20 Pro: Congrats! Smartphone cameras don’t get any better than this, and they happen to be on a mostly complete handset.

Reviews

Samsung Galaxy A71 Review

A solid choice

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Samsung started the year with an awesome upper midranger — the Samsung Galaxy A71

It looks more fresh and premium than the older A-series smartphones with its punch cutout, and rectangular camera module which closely resembles the recently launched Galaxy Note 10 Lite.

Although it doesn’t feature a tougher gorilla glass, it’s “glasstic” back still feels premium on hand. Even when you have tiny hands, you’ll enjoy holding it thanks to its rounded corners, slim build, and light weight.

The prismatic styling shines well in certain angles. Other than the Prism Crush Blue colorway, it’s also available in Prism Crush Silver, Black, and Pink.

Awesome screen

The Galaxy A71’s screen size is massive at 6.7 inches. Watching K-Pop music videos will pop even more with its Super AMOLED Plus display that produces stunning colors. The screen bezels are crazy thin, which maximizes your viewing experience.

Although there’s no LED light for notifications, always-on display will help you see them at a glance.

The punch hole cutout might be a little bit distracting, especially since it stands out over bright backdrops. But maybe that’s just us nitpicking.

Awesome cameras

The Galaxy A71 feaures a quad-rear camera setup: 64MP f/1.8 wide, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, 5MP f/2.2 depth, and 5MP f/2.4 macro.

It’s great when you shoot in daylight. Even with ultra-wide mode, it gives plenty of vibrance and detail. But when you take low-light shots, night mode falls a bit short. Most shots look blurry, if not grainy.

Contrast and sharpness level of the 32MP front cam might be too much. So consider editing your selfies to impress your crush.

Even with Gyro-EIS, videos might sometimes look wobbly and warped. But don’t worry! It’s still an awesome camera in most cases.

Long-lasting performance

The internals of the smartphone will not disappoint you: Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, Adreno 618, 6/8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage that’s expandable up to 512GB via MicroSD.

It’s fast and buttery smooth with its near flagship-grade chipset. Even software experience is seamless with the latest Android 10 + One UI 2.

You can binge-watch multiple episodes of your favorite K-Drama, as the 4500mAh battery will last you around a day or two. Worried about charging speeds? It comes with a super fast 25W charger right out of the box.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Regardless of the higher price tag than the competition, the Galaxy A71 is a solid smartphone and a good choice altogether.

You might find other compelling options around this price range, but at the end of the day, you’ll enjoy using this phone as well as the perks that come from Samsung.

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Lifestyle

Nike React Infinity Run review: Anti-injury kicks

Exactly as advertised

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The brand new Nike React Infinity Run just went on sale globally earlier this month, and Nike sent us a pair to check out! Nike is pitching this as their solution to help prevent running injuries and you know what? I think it’s actually true.

If you’re a seasoned runner you’ve probably had an injury or two pop up every so often because of a bad landing while you run or numerous other reasons. Nike’s aim with the Infinity Run was to reduce these overuse injuries, and they worked with the British Columbia Sports Medicine Research Foundation to do so.

They had over 226 runners test this shoe against the Nike Structure 22, which is a more traditional motion control shoe, and they found that the runners using the Nike React Infinity Run reduced running injuries by a huge 52% compared to the Structure. Which if you believe the marketing, is a pretty huge deal.

Nike has already made a name for themselves in the running scene with the vaporfly running sneakers. You know those sneakers that were so good that athletes wearing them started breaking records, so the competition tried to get them banned? Thankfully they didn’t get banned and Nike can go on pushing boundaries with their sneakers.

As such the React Infinity Run really stands out in Nike’s lineup of training shoes. First, because of the generous amount of React cushioning, but also because of the entire shape of the shoe, along with a lot of improvements.

There’s a wide midsole, and a shape that helps with its grounded feel. All that comes together to create a performance-minded running sneaker that allows the miles to just fly by.

Look and feel fly

Buying an everyday running shoe can be really stressful. You need something that’s comfortable, yet durable, and able to last intense training cycles and long runs. It turns out, the Nike React Infinity Run is great at all of that.

I was a huge fan of the Epic React Flyknit from 2019., I even bought a pair to check out, so I had high hopes for the React Infinity Run.

You can see I got the really hot Bright Crimson colorway to check out — it’s really hard to photograph and color correct, so here is what Nike’s press photo of the sneaker looks like to give you a better idea.

But the Infinity Run also comes in a bunch of other colorways as you’d expect, including an all black version. Though, the standard white and pink version is my favorite.

Coming to the shoe itself, the big deal about this running shoe, is the midsole. There’s 24 percent more Nike React foam here vs last year’s Nike Epic React Flyknit 2, and it’s also much wider.

This makes a huge difference in midsole cushioning, with the stack height measuring 30.5 mm in the heel and 21.5 mm in the forefoot. The extra wide base also helps avoid any side-to-side wobbling when you’re running in this shoe.

But the main highlight is the React foam which cushions your every step, and springs back into shape, just like we’ve seen in other React midsole sneakers.

It’s quite different from Adidas Boost, somehow being more cushiony but still having a good amount of energy return — different but similar. I’ll talk more about this in the performance section later on.

Light with great fit

Moving on to the upper, there’s a single-layer Flyknit upper which gives the shoe a really sleek, streamlined look and fit. The Flyknit material used here is slightly stretchy in the forefoot area and has tiny little micro perforation dots for more breathability.

But the best part about the upper for me is the integrated tongue that allows the shoe to have a sock-like feel. Instead of a usual shoe tongue, Nike chose to seamlessly knit stretchy, soft fabric and the elasticity maintains the one-piece construction of the shoe, giving it a really clean silhouette.

At the same time, the material is stretchy enough to accommodate even wide feet so you can go true-to-size. Sometimes running shoes can be too narrow for your forefoot, but here, there’s plenty of room and enough stretch so that it is an appropriate level of snug.

There’s also the secure, minimal lacing system up top to help ensure a nice fit via four eyelets up the center of the shoe.

Coming to the back, Nike wrapped an extra overlay around the back which gives some extra structure in the mid foot area, with a thin heel counter that helps secure your foot.

That being said, there is no extra padding in the ankle collar, which you’ll either love or hate. Instead Nike finished the collar with contrasting stitching. If you wear regular socks this will feel really comfortable, but if you wear no-show socks the sensation of the fabric against your skin might annoy you slightly — so just wear higher socks.

Lastly at the back, there’s a pull tab that helps slip your foot into the shoe, which is much appreciated.

Built for an infinite ride

As we mentioned earlier, the main attraction with the Infinity Run is the React foam midsole which really helps ensure an energetic ride. However, the shape of the shoe itself also plays a major role in how it performs.

Nike created a midsole that is in a rocker shape, similar to the curved shape of the midsole and carbon-fiber plate of the first Nike Vaporfly 4% marathon shoe. This rocker shape means the wearer has an ever so slight forward lean.

Nike says this is to move your natural footstrike to the midfoot or forefoot area, which in theory will create a natural feeling of propulsion as you walk in them. As such it helps move your foot through a really fluid foot strike, and you won’t notice any weirdness as you transition from heel to toe during your runs.

This rocker shape is becoming more and more common in running shoes so it definitely has a bit of performance benefits, especially so on the Infinity Run.

As you take a stride, the shoe rolls smoothly through the transition, with a relatively quick turnover. In addition to all of this, the shoe is also quite lightweight even with all that foam, so it’s surprisingly quite nimble to use.

Plenty of React

The other unique aspect about the midsole here is the width. It’s an interesting shape for sure, especially when you look at the shoe from up top. The midsole flares out from the heel and forefoot area. This creates a foundation that is wider at the bottom and that wide base gives the shoe a lot of stability.

With narrow shoes you sometimes feel like you might accidentally roll your ankle in, but you never have to worry about that in the Infinity Run because the wider base keeps your foot closer to the ground to help with stability.

It’s something that you feel right away when you start walking in these shoes.

The entire midsole is made from the React foam, and it performs just as you’d expect. According to Nike, their React foam is a combination of thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), which are common polymers you’d find in most running shoe cushioning midsoles. And this all makes for a midsole that is springy, yet durable, with a nice soft foam cushioning.

Because of everything that midsole has to offer, coupled with the rocker shape, the Nike React Infinity Run is actually perfect for runs — be it your daily jog in the mornings, an evening run after a long work day, or even if you’re only just starting out. This is one of the best running shoes I’ve tried in a while.

I should point out though that these aren’t really meant for long marathon runs. Nike says the Infinity Run works best with variable training where you vary your training instead of running the same amount of distance at the same pace at the same path every day.

Another thing I should point out is that if you tend to overpronate while running, the Infinity Run really helps keep you neutral and allow that toe-off to be right down the middle. If you’re a neutral runner, it’ll still help control the foot while on a run.

At the end of the day, Nike’s claim about this shoe helping with preventing running injuries seems to be true. If you’re tired of overuse injuries or you’re worried about starting out with running — these are the shoes for you.

Is the Nike React Infinity Run your SneakerMatch?

The Nike React Infinity Run is a shoe that I love for its clean styling and premium level of performance. But honestly, my favorite thing about it is the overall stability.

Nike was spot on with their marketing here. It really is a secure running shoe that’s meant to help prevent injuries and for those of you who are new to running — this might actually help overcome your fear or reluctance towards it.

Nike designed the React Infinity Run for everyday runs, and it definitely excels at that. The rocker shape allows for smooth transitions into and out of each stride, and the stretchy Flyknit upper feels great and can accommodate all types of foot shapes.

The heel-to-toe transition here was just amazing and it makes you feel faster in your runs, and generally makes running feel easier.

And then of course there’s that amazing bouncy React foam on top of a wide base. There’s more React Foam here than on any Nike shoe ever before. It all makes for a shoe that you’ll want to wear not just on every casual run, but maybe even throughout a normal workday as well, because they’re so comfortable.

Of course, if you’re a long-time runner and want something serious, there’s nothing better than the Nike Vaporfly Next%. If you’re looking for a long distance marathon shoe, well there’s the more secure and durable ASICS GEL Nimbus 22 which I still think is a great shoe. And if you’re leaning more towards the Adidas camp, there’s the Ultraboost 20 which is a decent alternative.

But for everything else, I have to admit, the Nike React Infinity Run is definitely recommended. I think Nike has yet another winner on their hands here, and this is easily going to be my most recommended pair of running sneakers this year!

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Reviews

Samsung Galaxy A71 review: Worth giving a try

A well-rounded phone who can do the job

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When you’re accustomed to familiarity, it’s difficult to try something new. Such is the case when the Samsung Galaxy A71 landed on my hands.

There was hesitation, as I’ve been using Huawei as my daily driver since 2016, and it became my comfort zone since then.

But this year, I promised myself to do things that make me uncomfortable. Being proactive, I took a risk and tried a Samsung smartphone, not because it’s my job to review a device, but because I want to see if it’s actually worth a try.

Totally crushing on it

Samsung offers the Galaxy A71 in three different colors: Prism Crush Blue, Prism Crush Black, and Prism Crush Silver. This particular model we’re reviewing comes in Prism Crush Blue, and I’m totally crushing on it.

This may not pair well with most of my clothes, but it certainly matches my pastel-colored face masks from Leaders Cosmetics — a South Korean brand just like Samsung — which you can buy from Watsons and CNA.

This makes me happy, seeing how I want my stuff to follow a certain palette. I may be a neutral guy when it comes to fashion, but I’m all in for pastel products. If you’re obsessed with K-Culture, a pair of Korean brands can make your heart happy.

Inducing a love-at-first-sight feeling

The Samsung Galaxy A71 comes in a refreshing design, following Samsung’s new design language this 2020. It has a rectangular camera module, with its camera lenses forming an L-shape position.

Its back comes with subtle diagonal cutouts and varying opacity, embellished with subtle stripe patterns. It’s adorned by prism shining in certain angles, which has been a staple in the Galaxy A series.

This phone looks polished and premium, thanks to its “glasstic” design. Anyone can be fooled by how stunning the Galaxy A71 is, seeing how it looks marvelous — both from a distance and up close. It might spark a “love at first sight” feeling to consumers currently looking for a smartphone.

Subtlety is attractive

What makes the Galaxy A71 look upscale isn’t its refined back design. It’s the combination of tiny details — something we can’t figure out when we like someone. When you thoroughly look into the little things, you realize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that attractive piece keeps you hung up.

In Galaxy A71’s case, it’s the combination of glass and glasstic design, and thoughtful curves and frames. The phone shines and reflects like a premium smartphone. Even the buttons are subtle, blending well with the frame.

On the left side, you can find the sim tray which can fit up to two SIMs and a memory card. Found on its right side are the volume and power keys, which you can also use for taking screenshots.

Meanwhile, the bottom has the mouthpiece, speaker grilles, USB-C port, and audio jack — an important feature that’s becoming a luxury now.

Something you might want to hold

The Galaxy A71 is massive, especially for my standards. Having tiny hands made me hate how most phones have been getting bigger throughout the years, and the Galaxy A71 is still on that trend. Fortunately, Samsung kept a slim and lightweight profile for this smartphone.

It’s easy to grip and hold, unlike other massive smartphones. Removing the discomfort in my experience made this phone look and feel top-end, and that’s what we need from most smartphones now.

It won’t be massive if it wasn’t for its 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display. Thankfully, it’s adorned with round corners and almost symmetrical bezels making it seem soft and pleasant to look at. Additionally, the earpiece grille is subtly situated between the frame and screen.

Thoughtfully crafted

Coupled with a flattened Gorilla Glass 3, there are no sharp edges. Samsung thoughtfully crafted the front design and its display, allowing users to focus on the experience.

For instance, the ambient light sensor is placed behind the screen, and there are no LED indicators for your notifications. However, the Galaxy A71 supports an Always-On Display.

The only downside is its punch-hole housing the 32-megapixel selfie shooter. I mostly use bright wallpapers, and I can’t help but look at the punch-hole. It’s highly disturbing since it’s actually bigger than the pimples I get in my face whenever I pull an all-nighter at work. But that might just be me nit-picking.

Keeps you entertained

Combining the Galaxy A71’s awesome screen and lightweight profile, you can expect a breezy experience when it comes to entertainment.

I spent my weekends catching up with Crash Landing On You on Netflix, and my arms never felt strained and numbed. It’s definitely a treat to watch using this phone and enjoy an immersive, vivid experience.

Its audio is loud but gets cranky. If you can’t live without music, it’s best to use the wired earphones that come in the box, or even better, a Galaxy Buds which pair easily. I barely used its speakers, and I only do when I’m dancing to BLACKPINK in the bathroom.

Speaking of which, the Galaxy A71 doesn’t have any ingress protection (or IP rating) so keep it out of the water — unless you have a safe space for your phone. Until then, don’t risk it.

Keeps you safe and secure

One of the biggest concerns right now is privacy and security. In this age, the one who prioritizes its users’ safety is the winner in the long run. Thankfully, Samsung is doing its best to keep everyone secure.

For starters, you can unlock the Galaxy A71 through different screen locks such as pattern, pin, and password. You can also access it through biometrics like an optical under-screen fingerprint sensor — which is slow and far from perfect.

A lot of times, I have to tap my on the screen thrice before I can unlock it, which is why I opted for face recognition. It’s a hundred times faster, and you have the option to require open eyes during facial recognition for added security.

Moreover, any Samsung phone has the ability to protect you from apps, viruses, and malware. It regularly updates its security and policies, thanks to its exclusive Samsung Knox.

A phone you can rely on

The Galaxy A71 runs on Android 10 and One UI 2.0. Navigating between apps is seamless and buttery smooth. Every time I glide my fingers, it feels like I’m caressing a harp or a piano.

Additionally, it runs on Snapdragon 730, offering near-flagship power. I barely encountered any hiccups throughout my usage, but some apps are quite heavy which creates a bit of delay. However, I temper my expectations when it comes to midrange smartphones.

The Galaxy A71 allowed me to multitask. Seamlessly switching from Slack to Google’s suite of apps to a multitude of social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — all while playing Spotify on the background. What else can I ask for?

I was able to play Black Desert Online, too. This South Korean MMORPG requires intensive graphics and power to run, and I was able to play it even in the highest settings possible — with no lags and delays experienced. Honestly, the Galaxy A71 has the right amount of power needed for most consumers like me.

It’s here for the long run

These days, we need something that won’t give up on us. The Galaxy A71 packs a 4,500mAh battery — which can last for a whole day (or night), with enough juice to keep you going. On one occasion, I went out of the office at 6PM with 100 percent battery.

Throughout the night, I sipped my favorite Starbucks cold brew, went to a Korean grill restaurant, took selfies, went on an upload spree on social media, drank beer, and caught up with my friends all while keeping my mobile data on.

Afterward, I arrived home at 2 AM with a whopping 60 percent battery. How great is that? It also comes with a 25W Fast Charging adapter and a USB-C to USB-C cable, and it only took an hour and a few to fully charge my phone when I reached 10 percent the next day.

Captures every moment

The Galaxy A71 has a promising quad-camera setup: a 64-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel depth, and 5-megapixel macro. It comes with every smartphone’s camera staples like portrait mode (or live focus), night mode, panorama, macro, pro, super slow-mo, slow motion, hyperlapse, and food.

Taking every bit of its camera mode entails a different story. Such is the case for 64-megapixel photos, which we’ll be publishing on a shootout. For now, let’s take a look at how the Galaxy A71 fares with regular shots in different lighting conditions.

If you swipe through the photos above, you can see how Samsung’s color balance is mainly cool. It inaccurately depicts the scenery. Food shots — even when using Food mode — still capture a cooler vibe. This makes it difficult to post on your social media since food photos have to be warmer to look tasty and appetizing. Thankfully, there are photo-editing apps like VSCO and Lightroom to help you balance and polish the look in accordance with your aesthetics.

Moreover, its macro lens doesn’t capture enough details. It’s difficult to take close-ups, and you have to put your lens too close to your food. The best thing to do is to take flat lays and angled shots by the window, for an appetizing shot.

To more travels with you

The Galaxy A71 might be a downer when it comes to color balance and taking close-ups, but it’s a contender when it comes to wide-angle photos.

For more samples, just swipe the photos below.

If you analyzed it, wide-angle photos take better details and produce richer colors. The distortion is also useful in cramped and open spaces.

Selfies that will make you smile

The Galaxy A71 houses a 32-megapixel front shooter, allowing you to capture regular and wide-angle selfies. You can also use Live Focus for DSLR-like portrait modes, which actually suck because portrait modes are half-baked up to this date. If you’re meaning to capture better-looking portraits, forget portrait mode and read this trick.

During daylight, the Galaxy A71 performs marvelously. It captures great details, and you can temper it down by turning on Beauty Mode, with a Level 1 intensity. Just don’t go high, though, since you’ll look like a painting.

In low and bad lighting conditions, the Galaxy A71 struggles in taking awesome photos, particularly when you use Beauty Mode, as seen on my selfie with two pretty ladies during Ben&Ben’s concert.

But when exposed to proper lighting, the Galaxy A71 can provide a decent selfie whether it’s an indoor or outdoor shot. The only problem you’ll encounter is the higher contrast and strong blacks.

Nonetheless, no one will care about the nitty-gritty of your selfies. People will only look at how beautiful and amazing you are, and most people just want to be able to take selfies that make them feel awesome.

Every moment can be perfect

The Galaxy A71 can record videos — from 1080p to 2160p, and even 4K. Below is a sample video of our Producer, Vincenz Lee, during his travels in Jakarta with the Galaxy A71.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a solid smartphone, the Galaxy A71 is a good choice albeit with a higher price tag. For PhP 22,990, Samsung is sitting on a sweet spot, making itself ten times better than phones in almost similar price tags like the Vivo V17 Pro and OPPO Reno 2F. On the other hand, those who are looking for flagship power at an affordable price might consider the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.

Still, the Galaxy A71 is a well-rounded phone. Just like how it was advertised, it really has an awesome screen, awesome camera, and long-lasting battery life. If you want an upscale-looking phone which takes awesome photos, coupled with stellar experience and a battery that’ll keep up with you, then you have your GadgetMatch.

If you’re still iffy about trying this phone out, remember that sometimes, we need to be open to new flavors and experiences. After all, we might be missing a lot if we shy away because something (or someone) isn’t entirely our type.

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