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LG G5 Hands-On

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LG puts the fun back in function with the announcement of its latest flagship smartphone at Mobile World Congress, the LG G5. It has everything a 2016 flagship is expected to have: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, Quick Charge 3.0 that promises 83% of battery after 30 minutes of charging, a fingerprint scanner, quad HD display, USB Type C, Android Marshmallow, and great cameras.

The G4 had one of the best smartphone cameras in 2015 so it’s no surprise LG retained most of its features. Simple, Auto, and Manual modes are still there, giving users more flexibility when taking photos.

LG also retained the same 8MP front-facing camera but added “selfie flash” – an extra white space framing the screen that illuminates the face when activated.

But what’s new are the phones two main cameras. Yep, it’s got two.

You can now switch from the main 16MP camera that’s also found on the G4 to a new 8MP shooter with a 135° wide field of view that captures more than what the human eye can see.

On the G5, the app drawer appears to be missing but we found out this can be fixed in the Settings menu under Home Screen.

First introduced by LG in the V10’s secondary screen, the G5’s main display also gets the Always-On feature to show time, date, and notifications. LG claims it only eats 0.8% of battery life per hour or about 5% per day.

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All of this are packed into a completely new design and form factor. Gone is the plastic and leather, slightly curved smartphone with sharp edges. Filling in the LG G4’s leather shoes is an all-aluminum unibody.

You can still hot swap batteries though thanks to a new innovative design.

Its trademark back side volume rocker has been moved to the phone’s sides leaving only the power button and dual cameras at the back.

But what really sets the G5 apart from all the other flagships this year is its modular design. And this is where the real fun and excitement begins. LG calls it an adventurous theme park in your pocket.

Aside from being able to replace your battery in case you run out of juice, it also allows you to attach accessory modules to expand the phone’s capabilities.

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One press on the lock button and the cap along with the 2800 mAh battery comes off revealing the hollow insides of the phone when you pull it out all the way.

Removing the cap and reattaching the battery to the modules is not as intuitive as it looks. We had to be coached before we got it right.

The modules LG introduced at launch were the LG Cam Plus and the LG Hi-Fi Plus.

The LG Cam Plus is a camera grip that turns the phone into a point and shoot camera. It has a toggle button at the bottom that launches the camera, a zoom dial, a dedicated shutter button, and a button for video recording.

It’s also packed with an additional 1200 mAh battery providing the G5 a massive 4,000 mAh battery life.

For audiophiles and improved media consumption, LG also introduced the LG Hi-Fi Plus, a 32-bit digital to analog converter or DAC made by top-tier audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen.

It offers high-quality audio that would usually only be available through high-end audio devices.

At the bottom are its own headphone jack and USB-C port making it a stand-alone DAC, compatible with other phones.

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LG also introduced a wide-range of companion devices for the G5 which they call Friends.

These ‘Friends’ include the LG 360 VR, a virtual reality headset that’s much smaller and lighter than its rivals. It only weighs 118g – that’s ⅓ as heavy as competing VR goggles.

The LG 360 Cam – as its name implies a 360 degree camera with two 13MP 200-degree wide angle lenses, a 1,200mAh battery and an expandable 4GB internal memory.

And the LG Rolling Bot – a round, remote-controlled toy that has a built-in speaker and an 8MP camera, perfect for home surveillance. It’s packed with a 5000mAh battery and is smart enough to go to the charging dock when it’s about to run out of juice.

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Alcatel introduces their fastest LTE mobile broadband devices

You should get these if you want the speed

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TCL just announced their fastest LTE mobile broadband devices under the Alcatel brand. Two new mobile hotspots join the brand’s Linkzone series — the Linkzone Cat12 and the Linkzone Cat7.

The Alcatel Linkzone Cat12 has maximum download speeds of up to 600Mbps and upload speeds of 100Mbps, but that’s if your telco supports 3-channel LTE carrier aggregation. It’s also one of the smallest pocket Wi-Fi models in the market, but it still has a massive 4300mAh battery. Alcatel claims that the Linkzone Cat12 can deliver 15 straight hours of usage or up to 300 hours of standby time. The device has dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and can also act as a power bank for other mobile devices.

Then there’s the Alcatel Linkzone Cat7 which might not be as fast as the Cat12 but still has respectable download speeds of up to 300Mbps and upload speeds of 100Mbps using 2-channel LTE carrier aggregation. The mobile Wi-Fi is pocketable, lightweight, and can last for 8 hours on a single charge.

The Linkzone Cat12 and Linkzone Cat7 from Alcatel will be available in select regions around the world starting later this year at EUR 180 (US$ 220) and EUR 100 (US$ 125), respectively.

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LG Watch Sport Review

Fitness buddy on your wrist

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With the influx of smartwatches available today, it sometimes gets confusing to choose which specific device suits your needs. Although they all have a common purpose, some of these wearables cater to specific audiences. There are the straightforward variants that simply track your activities, or smartwatches with unique designs that will cost you. There are also those that boast built-in features.

This is where the LG Watch Sport comes in as it runs on the latest Android Wear 2.0 OS and comes with goodies not usually seen on normal smartwatches.

Minimalist design

The LG Watch Sport doesn’t have the rotating bezel of the Samsung Gear S3 or the textured strap of the Fitbit Ionic. No, it flaunts a plain design for the bezel with a simple strap devoid of anything eye-catching.

Still, I personally like how it’s made. The watch itself is a bit thick, but nothing out of the ordinary when you compare it against other smartwatches.

The 1.38-inch circular P-OLED display has pleasing colors even under sunlight and viewing angles are decent.

On its right side, there are three buttons with the main crown having the ability to rotate. The top button launches Google Fit in an instant while the bottom is for Android Pay.

When you turn it over on its belly, you’ll be introduced to its heart rate sensor. It’s also worth noting that since this is activewear, the body is sealed to have an IP68 certification. This means it can withstand sweat, a shower, and even being submerged in up to 1.5m of water for 30 minutes.

The Watch Sport charges wirelessly through its included cradle. Just plug the USB-C cable and dock the watch to charge. This has always been my preferred charging setup — better than fumbling while trying to connect the cable to the device.

A smooth experience

As mentioned earlier, the Watch Sport already runs on Android Wear 2.0. It now comes with design updates and needed features that make the experience more enjoyable as a whole.

A selection of watch faces are fun to switch around from time to time, and standalone apps make the watch easily accessible in just a few taps.

One press of the middle button and the available apps come as a scrolling list. Apart from swiping the display to browse through them, rotating the crown scrolls through the selection which gives the experience a more tactile feel.

The LG Watch proves to be responsive when you’re swiping across the display, but tapping on selections sometimes need be done knowingly — precise and with a bit of effort.

Overall, it’s been pretty easy to navigate through its menu and submenu, even if the user isn’t familiar with the Android ecosystem.

Google Fit is your friend

Onto fitness tracking. The Sport in its name should be a dead giveaway that it focuses on your activities. Google Fit is a capable assistant during training or workout sessions as it works in tandem with the heart rate sensor to give users real-time info like BPM and calories burned.

The standalone app is accompanied by vast selections of exercise trackers ranging from backcountry skiing to kickboxing. If you’re just in the gym lifting weights, Strength Training mode is the way to go; it will give you a summary of how your workout went.

I’d say that a big chunk of why I appreciate this smartwatch is the fact that it’s somehow centered around Google Fit. The one-press button to launch and scrolling to browse through its activity features make it easy to just have it on your wrist when you hit the gym.

Extra features to enjoy (depending on where you are)

The Watch Sport isn’t just useful when you’re sweating it out. LG also made it capable to be used for everyday payments through Android Pay. Although there’s already a fair number of countries that support this system, it’s still not available widely so that’s one thing to consider.

Another thing is that the watch accepts a nano-SIM card which allows users to still be connected without using a phone. The problem is, it works only in the US, as other countries don’t currently support full features (like NumberSync).

Battery life could be better

But then again, most smartwatches don’t excel in this department. This is because it’s always been a challenge to equip watches with a large capacity pack while at the same time making the shell as thin as possible.

In real-life use, taking it off its charging cradle in the morning will last you for about 10 hours, so you’ll barely make it in time back to your place to charge. Activate its always-on display and expect battery life to drain almost twice as fast.

Verdict

The LG Watch Sport is easily a friend to gym buffs and fitness freaks, if you have the US$ 300 budget. It might not help list down your caloric or water intake, but it will be with you every step of your training.

It does all the things that a usual smartwatch does, but it’s just a bit of a downer that you have to be in select places to fully take advantage of its features (although I still enjoy mine with no Android Pay and SIM connectivity).

At the end of the day, it’s your routine and what you do that dictates your need for devices like this.

Is the LG Watch Sport your GadgetMatch?

SEE ALSO: Fitbit Ionic review: What forced me to get fit

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Official Samsung Galaxy S9 cases are now available including a Hyperknit cover

All are looking good!

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We’re just a week away from the official announcement of the Galaxy S9 from Samsung, but its official cases just can’t wait anymore.

With all the leaks we’ve seen and read about all over the internet, we already know everything about the physical looks of the Galaxy S9. It’s supposedly not much different compared to its predecessor, aside from the fingerprint reader placement at back. With probably the same fragile glass body, how do we protect it? Here’s a preview of the official cases from Samsung.

Fabric is the new thing in tech nowadays. If the luxurious Alcantara cases aren’t enough, the Galaxy S9 will also have Hyperknit covers in red or gray. There’s another cloth case with a flap on the front and shows time when closed.

The usual high-quality silicone cases will also be available and they’ll come in pink, black, and gray. The coverage of the silicone cases is the same as the Hyperknit’s sans the sporty-looking fabric cover.

The staple Clear View Stand cases will be on sale as usual. So far, there are three confirmed colors: gold, purple, and blue.

The source link below directs to the listing of MobileFun along with the corresponding prices of these and others like the new Alcantara cases but they don’t have available images as of writing.

Source: MobileFun

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9 Preview Video

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