Hands-On

Huawei Y7 Prime Hands-on Review (Honor Holly 4 Plus)

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What can we get out of a US$ 200 smartphone nowadays? The Huawei Y7 Prime aims to answer that question.

You know the drill for this: Let’s first take a look at the physique of the handset.


The front has a 5.5-inch IPS display

Budget devices are yet to have near-borderless displays

On the left is the hybrid card slot

Need to choose between a microSD or a second SIM card

While on the right are the power and volume buttons

They’re pretty tactile

We still have the 3.5mm port on top

The small pinhole is for the noise-canceling microphone

This budget phone has a micro-USB port

Symmetrical speaker grilles but not stereo

The back looks clean and neat!

But the metal backplate is quite difficult to wipe clean

Even the Huawei logo is very subtle

A large 4000mAh battery is beneath that plate, too

EMUI 5.1 runs the show

Based on Android Nougat!

Simple yet effective design

The Y7 Prime sits on top our favorite budget Huawei device, the GR3 2017, based on pricing. But on paper and in design, it kinda feels like a step down. But, perhaps the GR3 2017 was just an amazing deal in its range. No worries, the Y7 Prime has a bigger 5.5-inch display (resolution is just 720p, though) and a more premium metal body.

Its design, as already mentioned, is clean and modest. There’s nothing really special about it, but while I was using the phone, it’s understated looks grew on me. It also feels really solid in my hand, and that’s a big check mark

A Huawei with a Snapdragon

Like Samsung, Huawei makes their own processors called Kirin. Their home-baked processors power the company’s latest flagship and even midrange phones. The Y7 Prime, however, has a Snapdragon 435 processor which has Adreno 505 graphics on board. For those who want an efficient and reliable processor on their mobile phones, the Y7 Prime will be one of your options.

With EMUI 5.1 and Android Nougat at the helm of user experience, I encountered no hiccups during my time with the phone. Despite being a heavy skin on top of Android, EMUI brings a number of improvements and enhancements; and since we have a Snapdragon processor, gaming is not an issue here, either. Our favorite title Asphalt Extreme was set to high settings by default and ran smoothly. More intensive games have to be set in medium or even low settings though for smoother gameplay.

Camera is fairly decent

For photography, the phone has a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. In this range, there’s not much to expect from these basic shooters but they are able to take okay everyday photos. Check them out:

I had trouble focusing on my subjects using the tap-to-focus feature most of the time, so it’s best to let the camera automatically focus on its chosen subject. It’s a minor bug that could (and should!) be addressed by an over-the-air update. Beauty mode is available if you want to look fresher in your selfies but, personally, I am not that pleased with the output of my “beauty shot.”

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I gotta admit, when compared to the GR3 2017, the Y7 Prime falls short. The former has a sharper display, slightly faster processor, and a more attractive design, while the latter gets a bigger display, metal body, and longer-lasting battery. If you value the looks of your phone and its overall package, the GR3 2017 is still a good option, but if you consider yourself a power user, the Y7 Prime can keep up.

There’s not much to expect from devices in this price bracket, but hopefully next year, the near-borderless trend will be available to more market segments. For now, we have bezels for budget phones. If you have more cash to spend, you should check Huawei’s better offering, the Nova 2i.

The Huawei Y7 Prime retails for PhP 9,990 in the Philippines and it’s also known as the Honor Holly 4 Plus in India with a slightly pricier tag of INR 13,999.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Nova 2i Review (Honor 9i)

[irp posts=”22432" name=”Huawei Nova 2i Review (Honor 9i)”]

Accessories

MPow Headphones Hands-On: Are these worth your while?

Little-known brand promises value-for-money products

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When people talk about headphones and earphones, the brand MPow isn’t the first one that comes to mind. The company boasts quality audio gadgets at really competitive pricing.

Of course, we have to tell for ourselves if these headsets are really any good. We gave a pair to each of our four guys. After a through hands-on, we asked for their verdict.


MPow H7 [Dan]

I’m unfamiliar with MPow. Admittedly, I Googled about the brand and my particular model. Apparently, the MPow H7 is one of the best-reviewed wireless headphones on Amazon US (and other shopping portals). I slightly expected great things. Indeed, the H7 is good for its price. However, it has a couple of shortcomings.

The good: The H7 sounds better than any headphones I’ve used for US$ 20. It’s a balanced pair of headphones for general listening. Bass is really good for electronic music. Vocals are pretty clear in acoustic hits. It’s comfortable and lightweight. I could wear them for hours without any discomfort. Also, I have no issues with pairing on my laptop or my phone.

The bad: The H7’s light weight makes it feel a bit cheap. It’s not exactly a bad thing; you’ll wear this more than you’ll hold it, after all. Additionally, the H7 looks so generic. That’s perfectly subjective, though.

For its price, the H7 is an easy recommendation for those looking for a pair of comfy, good-quality over-ear wireless headphones. It’s certainly not a looker — at least for me — but it deserves the praises it has received so far.

MPow S10 [Rodneil]

The MPow S10 is positioned as a workout companion. However, my usage proves that it can be more than that.

Still, I used it for a few workout sessions. The IPX7 helps take out the worry of getting sweat all over. The fit around your neck and on your ear was also perfect for me. I love that the buds are magnetic. You can even wear it like a pseudo-necklace when not in use.

Coming off the Galaxy Buds, I can say the audio quality lacks a little bit of texture. It just doesn’t have the crispness that I got from Samsung’s wireless earbuds. Of course, the quality isn’t that bad. For video editing and video calls, the quality is more than adequate.

There were also zero problems pairing. Switching from my phone to my laptop was seamless. It’s pretty versatile for a pair of earphones marketed as a sporting buddy, and at US$ 24.99, I would say it’s a pretty darn good deal.

MPow H5 [MJ]

The MPow H5 was a total treat. It’s comfortable to wear and carry around. For US$ 40 headphones, it comes complete with features you can see in similar yet more expensive products.

Its noise-canceling capabilities actually work against the blabbers and chatters while giving a pleasant, sound experience. It can’t completely block the human voice. Still, I think it’s a good thing as it removes the need to pause your music when people approach you. For clearer communication, you can turn off the noise-cancellation with an easily accessible button.

What I liked the most is its ability to switch Bluetooth connection between devices seamlessly. There are times that I had to switch devices (especially when I run out of battery). It’s helpful to stay connected so I can maintain focus on the task at hand.

MPow EG3 [Kevin]

The EG3 is all about gaming, and then some. It specializes in first-person shooter (FPS) games especially with the 7.1 surround sound. It puts you in the middle of the battlefield. You can tell where each sound is coming from. Together with its decent audio performance, gaming becomes a more immersive experience compared to when you only have ordinary headphones on.

Personally, I look for a specific sound when I play games and a different one when I listen to music. MPow’s Audio Center makes it easy with an equalizer and customizable audio profiles. It also has an array of effects such as environment effects, pitch shifting, and a built-in gooseneck microphone. Speaking of the mic, it has an impressive quality good enough for recording voice overs.

Notably, MPow aims for quality products with competitive pricing. For a pair of lightweight headphones delivering good audio and packing premium features, the EG3 is priced at just US$ 29 — more affordable than most models in its tier. Considered altogether, it’s hard to pass on the EG3.

Overall verdict

Four different people, four different devices, one brand. The verdict is pretty unanimous. These MPow headsets aren’t the absolute best in terms of quality. However, in terms of value for your money, these headphones are easy recommendations.

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Features

We tried Lenovo’s foldable ThinkPad PC and it screams future

A foldable computer like no other

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Lenovo’s been working on a new kind of computer: a folding laptop that will supposedly replace your own laptop.  

While foldable smartphones captured the talk of the tech world, Lenovo worked behind the scenes on a foldable computer over the past three years. Going on sale sometime next year, Lenovo aims for the bragging rights to call it the world’s first.


The device does not have a name yet. However, last week, Lenovo gave me the unique opportunity to play around with an early prototype.

It’s a computer that screams of the future. In fact, it will run an unannounced Intel processor and an upcoming skew of Windows.

Of course, Lenovo is still fine-tuning certain details. Still, the foldable 2K LG OLED display and torque hinge already do what they’re supposed to. The mechanism ensures each fold and unfold cycle goes smoothly and without a hitch.

Considering how much my iPad Pro has become my go-to, on-the-go device, Lenovo’s all-in-one device is an idea that I’m willing to embrace.

The device starts out as a 10-inch leather-bound Moleskine notebook, with the display folded shut.

Unfold it a little: it’s an ebook like nothing you’ve used before.

Keep it at a 90-degree angle: you’ve got yourself a laptop with an on-screen keyboard on the bottom half.

When used this way, both halves of the display can work independently. You could be on a Skype call on the top screen and viewing a presentation on the bottom half. You could also watch a video up top and jotting down notes on the bottom

Fully articulated, it’s a 13-inch tablet.

Prop it up and use the bundled Bluetooth keyboard: it’s a desktop PC.

According to Lenovo, user confidence in foldable devices is currently low. However, the brand is confident in its product so much that it’s attaching the ThinkPad X1 line — a name associated with reliability and durability — to the foldable laptop.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy A20 Hands-on: One of the familiar faces

One of the many new similar-looking phones

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Samsung‘s new strategy involves compelling models that are competitively priced. One of those is the Galaxy A20 which is priced under US$ 200. It’s been quite some time since I’ve tried a budget Samsung phone. This makes the Galaxy A20 interesting — at least, for me.

How does a budget Samsung phone fare? Here’s my hands-on.


Let’s get right into the phone starting in the front:

It has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display…

Fairly big for a budget phone

… with a V-shaped notch

Samsung calls this Infinity-V

On its left, a triple card slot

Fans would love this

The physical buttons are all on the right

One for power and another for volume

At the bottom: headphone port, USB-C, and speaker

USB-C on a budget phone!

Its back is really glossy

It’s called “3D Glasstic”

It has two rear cameras and a fingerprint scanner

Keeping the essentials in check

The new wave of Samsung phones

The Galaxy A20 is part of Samsung’s reimagined Galaxy A series for 2019. The Galaxy A series used to be Samsung’s midrange lineup. Now, it also covers the budget segment. The move battles the rising popularity of Chinese manufacturers in developing markets.

The Galaxy A50, which is currently one of the best midrange phones shares a lot in commone with the Galaxy A20, design-wise. Both phones have the same 3D Glasstic body — a fancy name for glossy plastic. To be honest, I still prefer the previous matte bodies of the discontinued Galaxy J series, specifically the Galaxy J6 or the Galaxy J8.

The Galaxy A20 sports a Super AMOLED edge-to-edge display with a small V-shaped notch. To meet the target price point, the phone’s display only has an HD+ resolution. The lower pixel count is pretty obvious to the naked eye. The lack of sharpness is redeemed by the panel’s vibrant colors and deep blacks.

Decently fast and stable

Performance-wise, the Galaxy A20 doesn’t disappoint. I have little expectations for a budget Samsung phone. Still, the phone has proven me wrong. It already has Samsung’s new One UI on top of Android 9 Pie out of the box, a big advantage over older Samsung phones. I particularly like One UI’s system-wide dark mode. Likewise, I don’t have to wait for Android Q to get that.

The processor of the phone is Exynos 7884. It’s paired with 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable memory. This is not the fastest configuration you can under US$ 200, but it gets the job done. The storage might not be enough to store all your games and videos, though. Thankfully, the phone has a dedicated microSD card slot for expansion.

Generally, the Galaxy A20 performs okay with everyday tasks like messaging, browsing the web, and scrolling through social networking apps. There’s no hint of sluggishness with day-to-day use. Although, it takes a bit longer to load heavier apps. The phone just needs an extra second or two compared to faster (and more expensive) phones.

In the gaming department, I am surprised that the Galaxy A20 can deliver better than the competition. My staple games — like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile — run smoothly with little to no lag. I’m not saying the Galaxy A20 can be your next gaming phone. At the very least, it can handle casual games and graphics-intensive titles in low to medium settings pretty well.

Also, the Galaxy A20’s battery capacity is impressive. The phone has a 4000mAh battery inside — bigger than most cheap phones today. Additionally, it also has a USB-C port that supports fast charging up to 15W.

Ultra wide-angle is a treat

Finally, you can get dual rear cameras on a budget Samsung phone. Like with the Galaxy S10e, the Galaxy A20’s setup is a combination of a normal camera and an ultra wide-angle shooter. The main one has a 13-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 aperture. Meanwhile,the ultra wide-angle camera has a 5-megapixel sensor.

Like with most phones today, even in the budget segment, the Galaxy A20’s main camera can shoot decent stills in bright environments. At night or in low light, the quality becomes so-so. The phone also has an 8-megapixel front camera which takes not-so-pleasing selfies.

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As for the wide-angle shooter, it has a really wide FOV like an action camera. Having this secondary camera will let you take an image with a different perspective. It’s also fun to use; you’ll enjoy trying it out in open areas.

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Of course, there’s a catch. The quality of the wide-angle shots is nowhere near the main camera’s. At least, it’s definitely more useful than just a depth sensor. The Galaxy A20’s camera also has other features like Live Focus for bokeh and beauty mode for an instant touchup.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

In my opinion, the Galaxy A20 is proof of Samsung’s realization of its customer’s love for more value for their money. Despite brand unfamiliarity, Chinese manufacturers are luring phone buyers by offering bang-for-the-buck devices.

Although the Galaxy A20 is far from holding the bang-for-the-buck title, it’s a good option for those who want a budget Samsung phone. It has the basics covered with a few extra features to make it stand out.

The Galaxy A20 is priced at PhP 9,990 in the Philippines, MYR 699 in Malaysia, and INR 11,490 in India.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A50 Review: The ideal midranger, almost

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