Hands-On

LG G7 ThinQ Hands-on: Ticks all the boxes

It’s never too late

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There’s a lesson to be learned from the tortoise and the hare, and it seems like LG took this to heart when it developed its 2018 flagship.

Launched today in New York, the LG G7 ThinQ comes two months later than what we’re used to. But it’s these two extra months that could have been exactly the right pace needed for it to finish first.

For us tech journalists, these two months mean time for LG to sort out its artificial intelligence strategy, work out supply chain challenges so that the phone ships with all the best parts and hits stores soon after its launch, and  carve out the space for it to have its own moment in the spotlight.

LG G7 ThinQ (left), LG G6 (right)

For everybody else, this means extra time that’s allowed LG to produce a solid smartphone that ticks off many, if not all, of the important boxes that we consider when looking for a smartphone.

It’s built well, has a great camera, has a bright screen and loud speakers, and is backed up by artificial intelligence that simplifies all this tech for you.

Design

2017 was a renaissance year for LG in terms of smartphone design. Both of its flagships were smashing, well-built smartphones, with each release being iteratively better than the last.

Earlier this year, reps from LG’s design team told me that the design of the V30 was so strong and so well received, that it could be one they could settle in for a few generations. And so it comes as no surprise that the G7 and V30 feel like they’re from the same family.

The G7 ThinQ is made mostly of glass, with an aluminum frame, soft rounded corners, and a subtle amount of curves. In the hands, it has just the right amount of heft giving it a more premium feel, fits well in the hands, and is slightly taller and squeezes in more screen.

And of course, because its 2018, it has a notch, which one might argue gives you more screen real estate. If that’s notch your cup of tea, you could turn it off completely, so that the part of the your screen that displays your signal bars and battery status are filled with black. LG also lets you adjust the amount of curvature of the inside corners of your display, a teeny tiny aesthetic change that we’ve nitpicked about in the past and are thrilled to see addressed.

The LCD display itself fills most of the screen apart from a small chin on the bottom of the phone. It’s super bright and has great outdoor visibility.

There are no physical buttons in front; instead, you rely on traditional on-screen buttons to go back, home, and dive into your list of open apps. There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back, a headphone jack on its bottom, wireless charging support, and an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. Yep, pretty much the essentials.

Artificial Intelligence

But what makes the G7 an upgrade is its new artificial intelligence-based features.

Earlier this year, LG launched its own AI brand called ThinQ, first seen on its lineup of consumer home appliances. That G7 is the final part of the ThinQ puzzle, hence it officially goes by a longer name.

The phone should be able to identify LG appliances in your living space and allow you to control them from the phone.

While ThinQ today represents only a small part of what LG wants to do in the area of artificial intelligence space, LG’s vision is to use these technologies to create a device that’s hyper personalized to your needs.

We like how LG’s not reinventing the wheel by forcing users on yet another (half-baked) personal assistant, and instead keeping its platform open, giving Google Assistant even tighter integration. There’s now a dedicated button to summon Google — just press and speak a command. Or if the “Okay/Hey, Google” hot word is more to your liking, they’ve also improved improved the phone’s ability to hear you from much father away.

Cameras

Of course, the biggest AI changes come via the phone’s cameras, which have also been improved. It’s still got the same dual camera setup, one of which has a wide-angle lens. Both now shoot at 16 megapixels, meaning you don’t have to scrimp on quality if you’d rather shoot wide.

There’s a new image sensor that supposedly shoots better low-light photos, although I have yet to test those claims.

What I can tell you for sure is that, through AI, the phone can detect up to 19 objects and scenes and offer you four different filters that it thinks best match what you are taking a photo of. You can also choose to ignore any of these suggestions and shoot, just as the camera sees it.

There’s a new selfie camera too, one that’s usable, and I say that with plenty of thankfulness in my heart, as the selfie camera has long been a weak spot on a whole string of recent LG phones. Portrait mode is available on both the front and main cameras.

BoomBox Speaker

Another area where the G7 shines is its new BoomBox Speaker. They’re not stereo speakers unfortunately, but these bottom-firing speakers are sufficiently loud and of great quality. LG says they’ve utilized the cavity inside the phone as a chamber used to amplify the sound. We tried it, and are pretty impressed.

The phone also supports DTS:X audio for 3D surround sound and Quad DAC (on both Asian and North American variants and not just the former).

Specifications

That’s a theme with the G7 ThinQ: The phone doesn’t compromise on specs, including a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 3000 mAh battery.

The LG G7 will come in four colors, namely Moroccan Blue, Aurora Black, Platinum Grey, and Raspberry Rose.

Prices will differ depending on region, but LG promises it will retail for less than the V30 and closer to last year’s G6 pricing.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

It sure is too early to tell, but as early as now, it’s safe to say LG’s built a great phone they can be proud of, one that you would enjoy using.

We particularly like LG’s approach to an ecosystem of AI devices. Because LG makes so many other home appliances, it’s in a unique position to provide tighter integration. And because it’s also embracing the open approach, you’re not locked in to a single platform.

There’s a lot of promise here, and it’s exciting.

Features

8 things we like about the Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Definitely one of the best value 4K Smart TV around!

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Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Samsung is known for a lot of things. And in the home theater department, the South Korean giant cemented itself as one of the leading brands.

There are a lot of reasons why. But for starters, the company creates sturdy yet well-designed TVs. It never shies from packing its devices with plenty of smart features. More importantly, there’s a range of lineups that suit your taste, preference, lifestyle, and of course, budget.

Of all its lineup, Samsung’s Crystal UHD TV series is the one that’s worth checking out, if you’re in the market for an affordable Smart TV. And the Crystal UHD TU8000 variant, in my opinion, is one of the best value Smart TV you can get right now. It’s a really sweet package, and here are 8 reasons why.

Easy setup via SmartThings app

Smart TVs are supposed to be smart, and shouldn’t be a gatekeeper between the tech-savvy and everyday consumer. Samsung kept this in mind, so they optimized the TV setup. You can quickly finish it on the TV itself, or you can connect it via SmartThings app, and do everything on your smartphone!

One of the best smart TV system

Samsung’s TV that has 4K HDR, like the Crystal UHD TV series, is powered by Tizen — an open-source operating system developed by Samsung which can be seen on smartwatches, smart TVs, and appliances.

With this system, you can have quick access to popular streaming services. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, and even Apple TV — without the need for a dedicated Apple TV box.

Operating systems are often overlooked, but it’s one part of what makes or breaks your watching experience. Samsung’s Tizen made navigation easy, smooth, and functional. It might be due for a look upgrade, but it still gets the job done. It’s perfect for nights when you don’t want to engage your brain and watch telly after a long day at work.

Detailed picture quality

Watching on any Samsung TV is a treat for your eyes, with its sharp and detailed picture quality. It uses an LCD UHD panel technology, so its strength isn’t blowing your mind (and eyes) with vivid colors and a vibrant palette.

Rather, it keeps the visuals interesting by leveling the natural colors. Moreover, you can adjust its picture modes to match your preferences and your room’s lighting condition.

4K and Upscaling

Even though we already have 8K technology, I still enjoyed the 4K HDR capabilities of Samsung’s Crystal UHD TU8000. It was cinematic, immersive, and visually astonishing.

After all, the TV automatically switches to HDR mode whenever you’re watching HDR content, and upscales non-4K videos decently. And if you’re worried about added noise after being upscaled, fret not. The upscaling technology keeps quite a good amount of detail.

Ambient Mode

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

The artistic Ambient Mode, which was only exclusive to the high-end QLED range, made its way to the Crystal UHD TV series — and I love it. You can choose what to do with the display when you’re not using your telly. Opt for nice scenery, place images directly from your Samsung phone’s gallery, make it look like a frame — the choice is yours.

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Lastly, the TV operates on lower power mode when in Ambient mode. So it’s not just prettifying your display when not in use, it helps save energy, too.

Stylish, functional, and sturdy

The TU8000 is pretty sturdy despite using plastic on its back panel, bezels, and stand. Nonetheless, it looks stylish whether it’s mounted on a wall or on a TV stand. Its back is designed with cables in mind, allowing you to manage it in an orderly manner to keep your TV neat and clean.

While already looking stylish, the TV never forgot about functionality, too. It has three HDMI ports, two USB ports, an ethernet port, a common interface slot, and an input for composite video and radio-frequency antenna. It definitely suits whatever kind of user you are!

Remote Control

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the remote control. It’s lightweight, fits my hands with its slim and curvy figure, and easy to navigate with its buttons that are only necessary. It’s also a smart assistant and a voice remote in one, so you can use your voice to search in apps like YouTube and make it function like Bixby, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

Pricing

Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000

The Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000 sits well at an affordable price point. The 43-inch model retails for PhP 27,999 while the 50-inch model costs PhP 33,999. For those who want a larger unit, the 55-inch model retails for PhP 41,999.

Bonus: Soundbar

Frankly, the sound quality isn’t the best when it comes to Samsung’s Crystal UHD TV TU8000. It’s loud and decent, however, having an impressive picture quality should be matched with stellar audio quality.

This is why pairing it with Samsung’s TF-400 Soundbar made the audio-visual experience heavenly, especially the Surround Sound that the soundbar offers. It’s really a match made in heaven, so if you’re considering the Crystal UHD for its 4K HDR capabilities, make sure you pair it with the right soundbar.

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Features

Why people can’t stop talking about the 2021 Huawei MateBook D 15

Now with 11th Gen Intel Core and 16GB RAM

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MateBook D 15 2021

Huawei has always been known to be that powerful force in innovation. The bezel-less display, Huawei Free Touch and the recessed camera are just some of the many instances when Huawei have revolutionized and leveled up the playing field for the PC industry.

I think it goes without saying that Huawei’s premium brand, the MateBook family, is one that has truly set a new standard for intelligence when it comes to laptops.

It has been five years since the inception of the MateBook and ‘till this day, the MateBook family pushes on to be the perfect tool for the challenges we are faced with. From enhanced connectivity for online classes, immersive audio for work-from-home conferences to engaging visuals for Netflix nights, the MateBook family has got you covered and that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about here as we move further.

As they celebrate their fifth year of the MateBook series, they introduce to us another line of technological advancement with the 2021’s MateBook series.

With this comes the revamp of the very popular MateBook D 15 with the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen along with the powerfully sharp MateBook 14 2021 11th Gen and the borderless MateBook X Pro 2021.

Talk of the town with its elegance

There’s no denying that the MatebBook D 15 2021 is a dazzling piece of machinery. And being one that has been used to plastic laptop bodies, the all aluminum alloy body of the D 15 had me drooling over it. A prominent indication of its quality also, was how this MateBook’s body had rounded edges and a very solid build which are admittedly satisfying to the touch.

MateBook D 15 2021

Carrying the device, it’s impossible not to notice just how feather light this MateBook D 15 is. For 1.56kg and only 16.9mm thin, it’s amazing just how this laptop carries a ton of horsepower and 15.6-inches of screen real estate.

Feature packed FullView display

Relatively bezel-less at only 5.3mm of bezel width, the MateBook D 15 2021 sports the iconic FullView display of the MateBook family. At 87% screen to body ratio, this 15.6-inch FHD IPS display panel is a feast for your eyes.

MateBook D 15 2021

Given that we mostly look at our computer screens most of the time, eye strain is often the setback. A noteworthy feature the D 15 has with its display is that it has been certified under TÜV Rheinland’s Low Blue Light emittance and Flicker Free qualifications which makes it perfect for binge watching K-dramas on Netflix. Top that with 100% sRGB rating, there’s no reason to doubt the color representation this display outputs when doing creative work.

Much to flex under the hood 

At the heart of this laptop is Intel’s 11th Gen Core i5 processor and the Intel Iris XE graphics that it comes with. While most of us are already familiar with the power of the Core i5 processor, this newest generation of Intel’s offering takes this up a notch. Running four cores and eight processing threads, Intel’s newest architecture delivers 31 percent faster multi-core performance from its predecessor.

MateBook D 15 2021

I believe many would agree that a lot of us do try to get some form of gaming done on their school or work laptop. The Intel Iris XE graphics is perfect for sneaking in some play time with our favorite games as well as for running some multimedia tasks.

Swamped with work or just juggling multiple tabs on your web browser, expect the experience to be as smooth as it can be as there’s now 16GB of DDR4 RAM packed in this slim body.

Smart power button

I guess you won’t have time to make coffee while waiting for your laptop to start up as with the D 15’s smart fingerprint power button, keying in your log on password is now a thing of the past. The moment you press on the D 15’s fingerprint power button automatically authenticates your identity and jumps you directly to your home screen, saving you the hassle of typing in your password.

At only 2.5 seconds as recorded by Windows for its start up, this has been the fastest power on time I have yet encountered on a laptop. Seriously, a boot up time this fast would make you doubt if you’ve left the laptop on sleep mode or if it was from a coldboot.

Cool and quiet

Despite the size of the MateBook D 15, it did not become noticeably hot. In fact, the palm rest felt cool to rest your palms on.

You know what they say: work smart and not hard. Huawei definitely worked smart with the ingenious fan design of its Shark fin fan. Designed with higher density and thinner fan blades, the need for increasing fan speed to cool the whole laptop has been drastically minimized. This resulted in the device to use less power, run cooler and operate quieter as this Shark fin fan contributes to 24% better cooling performance from its last-gen counterpart.

Next Generation WI-FI 6

I couldn’t help but geek out on this feature as I’m sure many I.T. professionals would as well. This next generation Wi-Fi 6 is actually known to be the successor to the standard 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5 that most of our devices use.

MateBook D 15 2021

The inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 on the D 15 means that this device is able to operate at more stable Wi-Fi frequency bands to eliminate interference and reach significantly faster speeds. This ensures that the MateBook D 15 is ready for crowded scenarios such as what you would experience in shopping malls, corporate offices or even populated areas.

Not your ordinary charger

I just can’t count how many people I know who’ve asked me where to buy a new charger for their laptop simply because its cable is broken. I’m happy to say that that problem is pretty much gone with this one as the D 15’s charger features a detachable USB-C cable.

Surprisingly, it took exactly 9 hours and 30 minutes for the D 15’s battery to shift to power saving mode and with Huawei’s Supercharge feature built-in, this 65w charger was able to fully charge the D 15 in just an hour. That’s insanely fast for such a long run time if you ask me.

But that’s not all. Weighing only 160g, this charger isn’t much bigger and heavier than a smartphone charger.

Speaking of smartphones, this charger can also charge your USB-C compatible smartphone. Talk about #PowerInLightness .

Hear and be heard with Dual Mic and Immersive sound

By this time, we’ve all probably been on an online meeting or conference of some kind. Personally, I’m one who could tolerate bad video signals but bad audio is really something that would really ruin the experience for me. Thankfully, the dual front facing microphones of the MateBook D 15 ensures our voice would be picked up clearly even at longer distances.
MateBook D 15 2021

Guaranteed to give you an immersive experience, the 2W dual-speaker audio system can simulate both 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound performance.

Tap and share with HUAWEI Share 

If you’re fortunately among the proud owners of a Huawei smartphone then you’d be able to maximize this very handy feature of the 2021 MateBook D 15.

Huawei Share lets you cast your smartphone screen on your laptop, transfer files wirelessly and basically use almost all features and apps of your smartphone onto your laptop. With just a tap of your Huawei smartphone on the Huawei Share label on the D 15, the two devices are all set. It’s that easy.

MateBook D 15 2021

I can’t emphasize how convenient this is for people like me who always transfer footage I took with my smartphone. No cables for data transfer and no switching from two devices to get things done, just tap and you’re wirelessly connected.

Fast is the word that I think best describes the 2021 HUAWEI MateBook D 15 11th Gen.

The fast new processor, large amount of RAM, next generation Wi-Fi 6, ultraportable charger with SuperCharge, thin and light size, Huawei Share and an ingenious smart fingerprint power button, every bit contributes to everything being faster and just getting things done faster.

With so many features loaded in one package, I understand why it’s hard not to talk about these new offerings of the MateBook family and why there’s no need to think twice on getting a hold of this awesome device.

MateBook D 15 2021

The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 retails for PhP 52,999. Interested buyers may purchase from any of the following: Huawei Store, Lazada, Shopee.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Hands-On

Galaxy Book Pro and Pro 360 Hands-on: Samsung’s first “Pro” laptops

First laptops in the world with Super AMOLED displays

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Galaxy Book Pro

Samsung isn’t new in the laptop department, but what’s new is them launching a new “Pro” laptop line. Meet the Galaxy Book Pro and Galaxy Book Pro 360.

Packed with the latest hardware, the Galaxy Book Pro series aims to deliver the best of power and performance in such a thin and lightweight form factor. To make it more Pro-centric, they’re equipped with Super AMOLED displays — a first on any laptop.

Curious to find out what Samsung has to offer? Head over to our Galaxy Book Pro hands-on video now!

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