I’ve got 10 smartphones on my desk, but one stands out because of its size.
In a sea of phones that are 5 inches and larger, Apple’s 4-inch iPhone SE goes against trend. It’s a big-phone world out there, not just because larger screens are hip, but because a phone’s display is a window to a universe of productivity, entertainment, and possibility.
Still, there’s a certain charm to a smartphone that fits comfortably and securely in one’s hand. For Apple, it’s also about logic, or as one of their ads puts it, “A dazzling display of common sense.”
For about half a decade since it was originally introduced, the iPhone sported a 3.5-inch display — tiny by today’s standards. Then in 2012, when Apple decided to bump up the iPhone 5’s screen to 4 inches, it justified the decision by saying 4 inches is as much as the human thumb could reach.
Four years later, Apple is resurrecting the iPhone 5, giving it modern specs, and calling it the iPhone SE.
On the Android side of the fence, there’s the Xperia Z5 Compact from Sony. Many will praise Apple and its commitment to smaller phones, but it was actually Sony that first pushed for high-specced phones in smaller form factors.
When it first introduced the Z1 Compact in 2014, Sony said the phone was designed for those who want a “mini” phone that doesn’t compromise on flagship features. The Xperia Z5 Compact is everything the Z1 Compact was, only better.
About the same size as the iPhone SE but with a bit more heft and a larger display, the Xperia Z5 Compact is the most powerful small phone money can buy today. It’s rather pretty, too (for this story, we borrowed the pink variant to match our rose-gold iPhone SE, but it comes in other colors also).
If you’re unwilling to jump on the phablet bandwagon, both the iPhone SE and Xperia Z5 Compact are worthy upgrades. Here are a few reasons why.
Who says small can’t be powerful? The performance of both of these phones is super. Neither slows down when you’re switching between tons of apps or playing a game that requires as much processing power as possible.
Don’t be fooled by their size, these phones are not the watered-down versions of their bigger brothers. In fact, they’re equally as powerful, and leaps and bounds ahead of anything else their size.
You also get high-end features like fingerprint scanners and 4K video recording. The Z5 Compact has 32GB of built-in storage; the iPhone SE starts at a measly 16GB, but you can always opt for the 64GB model. That’s what we’d recommend.
The iPhone SE has the same camera as the iPhone 6s, one of the most dependable cameras on the market now. iPhone cameras are known to capture accurate colors and balance light and shadows really well.
The SE is no exception, and if we’re comparing, it outperformed the Z5 Compact in our testing. Not that the Z5 Compact is a slouch by any stretch. It’s got almost twice the amount of megapixels as the iPhone; it focuses fast; and it takes pretty decent photos in different lighting.
Here are some photos taken with the iPhone SE’s rear camera.
Unlike the iPhone, it also offers manual mode for those wanting a bit more control over the way their photos look. The only thing I don’t like about the iPhone SE is that its front camera is stuck in the dark ages.
As a rule, I don’t count megapixels — and neither should you — but when an upper-midrange phone only has 1.2 megapixels for the selfie camera, you have every right to complain. Having said that, most of my selfies these days are sent via Snapchat, and my friends don’t seem to mind.
Below is a gallery of images taken using the Sony phone.
The Xperia Z5 Compact has a 5-megapixel front cam, which takes better, less grainy selfies, even in low light.
The Xperia Z5 Compact is water-resistant, not something that can be said of many smartphones of any size. Theoretically, you can submerge the phone in a pool for up to 30 minutes. We’ve done it many times before, though we don’t recommend you do it often.
Previously, Sony ran entire marketing campaigns on the fact that the phone makes for a great underwater camera, but these days, it’s left unsaid. It’s safer that way.
I recommend limiting water exposure to the occasional rinse when things get a bit sticky, which in this climate is often, or for when you’re caught in the rain without an umbrella.
The iPhone SE, unfortunately, while reportedly resilient to a light shower, isn’t rated for waterproofing. Expose it to the elements at your own risk.
OUTLASTING THE ENERGIZER BUNNY
Bigger smartphones have more space for larger batteries, but these smartphones are long-lasting anyway.
With heavy use, the iPhone SE can last a full day on a single charge, so you should have enough juice from when you wake up in the morning till right before you hit the sack.
The Xperia Z5 Compact lasts even longer — no kidding! You could get about 24 hours of heavy use on average, with possibly a little bit left over. And then there’s Ultra Stamina Mode, which extends battery life even further. With things like WiFi, data, and the screen turned off, the phone can last up to 2 days.
THE WAY FORWARD
I decided to write this piece knowing that Apple draws more attention than Sony. It had to be said that for a few years now, Sony was alone in advancing the cause of the small but powerful smartphone. But now, with Apple back in the mix, everyone is paying attention.
By betting on an older but much-loved form factor, Apple is laying the predicate not just for a small-phone revival, but for small phones that kick ass. I wouldn’t be surprised if the industry responds soon. That would be a big win for lovers of small phones.
[irp posts=”925″ name=”Sony Xperia Z5 Premium Review”]
Stylish leather accessories: His and Hers
Accessories to help complement your look ✨
More and more manufacturers are designing gadgets as a fashion statement. Depending on how you style it, a device can make or break a look.
If you haven’t tried it before, you can build outfits around a device and make it a focal point. These stylish accessories can help complement the look you’re going for.
His: Rugged Case for Pixel Buds A-Series in Rustic Brown
Give your wireless earbuds case a rugged makeover with a sleek leather cover. The raw, vegetable tanned leather is sourced from one of America’s oldest tanneries and the case has an optical light pipe to allow the Pixel Bud’s LED charging indicator to shine through.
Hers: Native Union Clic Heritage Case in Sapin
A premium phone deserves an elegant case that lasts, not a clear jelly case that will turn yellow in a few months. The Native Union Clic Heritage is made with a blend of smooth and cross-grained Italian leather and finished with gold accents to match even your favorite pair of earrings.
His: AirTag Leather Loop in Rustic Brown
Upgrade your everyday carry with a leather loop for your AirTag. Track your keys, camera, umbrella, or your bag with this minimal and sleek accessory. It’s designed to beautifully patina with time creating a MagSafe charging experience unique to you.
Hers: Stow Slim for MacBook in Sage
Your laptop doesn’t have to go into a clunky black bag. Truth be told, it deserves better than that. The Stow Slim protects your laptop from anything that might scratch it in your tote, but it looks just like a casual clutch that you wear with a flirty top and wide leg trousers.
His: Nomad Card Wallet in Rustic Brown
Keep your cards and cash secure in this slim card wallet from Nomad. It can fit up to 10 cards, including the Card for AirTag that will launch in September. Now the two essentials in your pockets match, too!
Hers: Heritage Card Holder in Sapin
Carry your cards and a little bit of cash in a matching card holder as your iPhone case. You would instantly look more put together when you want to walk into a cafe for a cup of joe.
Dancing in the rain? Capture it with the Galaxy A52 5G
Content creation with IP67
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is easily the best flagship-loke phone without the wallet-robbing price.
And with flagship specs, come flagship lenses. These make the Galaxy A52 5G the best content creator phone.
With its quad-camera’s 64MP main shooter and 32MP selfie camera, it’s really no surprise this phone’s got all the specs you want and need for content creation.
A quick swipe into more camera features, gives you loads to choose from. The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is feature packed. From delivering stunning stills, to features like 4K video, Fund Mode, nothing comes close to making content all in one phone.
From silly obscure intros, to filming your new indoor hobbies, to finding the best moments while vlogging. And it doesn’t stop there.
The phone has IP67, protecting it against dust and sand. It can also work for at least 30 minutes while under 15cm to 1m of water.
Want to record quality TikToks? Play and stream? Or, Vlog your day-to-day? You ca do those, plus watch and immerse in other’s content on the 6.5” Full HD+ AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is a heavy hitting midranger. Whether you’re watching content or making it!
This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Samsung Philippines.
I’m missing the Olympics because I don’t have cable
And it sucks
It’s 2021. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, is in full swing as of writing. However, as someone whose primary source of media entertainment all comes from streaming, there’s no easy and convenient way for me to watch the games. Major bummer.
I like to enjoy my media a certain way; I prefer to stream them on my TV. Which is why majority of the content I consume come from YouTube, Netflix, and the occasional Amazon Prime, HBO Go (Yep, not even HBO Max), and Apple TV.
I find it incredibly baffling that the stakeholders involved in bringing the games to the people failed to come to an agreement to make it easily accessible on the aforementioned platforms. It’s 2021. Why on earth am I not able to watch the greatest sporting event on the planet the way I want to?
Believe me, I hear the privilege in my words. Regardless, I still feel marginalized.
So how can you watch the Olympics right now?
I asked a friend who’s been covering the games. He watches through cable and had to pay a PhP 150 fee (around US$ 3/ SG$ 4) to avail of the Tokyo 2020 Premium from a particular cable provider.
Thing is, the whole Olympic coverage in the Philippines is locked to the MVP group of companies. You wanna follow the games, you’re gonna have to do it on one of their platforms.
Here’s an excerpt from their press release on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic coverage:
“Sports fans will have comprehensive access to the Olympic Games — from the Opening Ceremonies all the way to when the games conclude — on free to air via TV5 and One Sports. One Sports+ on Cignal TV will also dedicate a significant amount of their daily hours to broadcast the events, with Cignal also opening up two exclusive channels dedicated to broadcast the games 24/7. Cignal Play, in addition to live channels TV5, One Sports & One Sports+, will be offering exclusive channels broadcasting live updates to its subscribers, along with exclusive content not available on the TV broadcast. Cignal TV’s One News leads the group’s round-the-clock news coverage, featuring results, updates, and highlights.”
Comprehensive? Maybe. For platforms within the MVP group of companies. If you’re not subscribed to any of these, well, that’s just too bad. It’s good for business and I completely understand how the whole thing works. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
The coverage also missed to televise or showcase Hidilyn Diaz’s historic gold medal win in the Weightlifting competition. If you’ve been following sports news, the Philippines was expected to get a medal in this event. Sadly, the moment was only known following updates from reporters on the ground.
How I wish it was handled
I’m sure there’s a lot more that goes into it in terms of TV and broadcasting rights, but we’re literally at an age where plenty of folks have decided to cut the cord and rely on streaming for content.
On YouTube, you can buy and/or rent movies and shows. The platform and structure exists for pay-to-watch content. They could have even made tiers or packages like charge a certain amount to gain access to all the games, a different and lower amount if you just want to follow a certain sport and/or a certain event.
Maybe the potential earnings to do so didn’t justify the costs to implement it. Whatever the case, it’s still incredibly frustrating.
Sure, I can go through the hoopla of setting up a VPN and look for streaming sites. But that’s more even more cumbersome. I don’t mind paying a convenience fee if it means that after a long day of work I can kick back, relax, and watch some damn sports.
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