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.

Hands-On

How the MatePad 11 fits in your workflow

Can it be a substitute laptop?

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MatePad 11

We often get asked what’s a good “budget” laptop. And there’s never an easy answer.  Most decent options start at PhP 35,000 but the budget of people asking is capped at around PhP 30,000.

Then, we got to thinking — Do they really need a laptop, or just something that functions like one? Exploring this idea, one of our editors used the Huawei MatePad 11 for daily tasks, and this video chronicles the experience.

Typing away

For any writer or editor, it’s impossible to get anything done without a reliable keyboard.

The task ranges from writing your own articles to copy-editing the staff’s work. You also have to respond to emails and correspondence within and outside of the team.

That’s a lot of typing. And while we’ve come a long way in terms of getting accustomed to hitting a flat surface to type, nothing can replace a good, functioning full-sized keyboard for some real productivity.

Thankfully, the MatePad 11 has a compatible Smart Magnetic Keyboard. It looks tiny at first, but the keyboard is full-sized and offers a good amount of travel for its size.

In fact, parts of the script for this video was written on the MatePad 11-Smart Magnetic Keyboard Combo.

It’s also sturdy and balanced enough that you can pull it out in a pinch and prop it up on your lap. From experience, this isn’t the case with most other similar setups due to the weight of the tablet.

Thankfully, the MatePad 11 is light enough that it won’t topple over even when placed on a not-so-even surface.

Access to your usual apps

What most people really need is access to some type of Office apps. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available right from the App Gallery.

You can opt to go with Microsoft Office and link your existing subscription. Or select any of the other set of Office apps available.

Microsoft Office runs perfectly fine on the MatePad 11. Quickly set it up and you’ll be balancing sheets, making decks, and writing essays in no time.

If what you need is on Google Docs or Google Sheets, there’s a way to quick-launch these apps so you can work on the document or work file you need to.

Since plenty of our work files are on Google Docs, this was the editor’s primary way of accessing the stuff needed to get things done.

And if you’re having trouble with anything else you normally use, you can always access them via the browser like you would on a laptop.

There’s also Petal Search baked into the App Gallery that’ll scour the web for sources of the apps you desperately want and need.

Huawei understands the pain points it had to deal with and has addressed them with the App Gallery and Petal Search combo.

Multitasking master

The ease of switching from one app to another on a laptop is still pretty much unparalleled. But the MatePad 11 offers unique multitasking capabilities that offer an effective way to multitask.

What the editor found most useful in particular is how you can have smaller versions of the apps float on the screen.

And when minimized, it goes into this tiny app icon on the right side of the device functioning somewhat like a dock.

This is perfect for placing chat apps to look at messages at a glance. So even if the editor is in the middle of writing or copy-editing, glancing at messages is easy and doesn’t take the full attention away from the work at hand.

This is especially helpful for someone who juggles plenty of messaging apps.

Additionally, if you have a Huawei phone with you, the multi-screen collaboration feature takes this even further.

You can have your phone screen on the side and just open it up when needed. From here you can open any app whether that’s for messaging or something else you may need to reference for the work you’re doing.

It’s an incredible feature and one we hope will be adopted by other brands in some shape or form.

Not just for work

It’s recommended that you take short breaks in between tasks to keep yourself fresh and focused.

Breaks can be anything from standing up and walking around for a little bit, mindlessly browsing social media, or playing a quick game.

If the type of breaks you take fall on the latter two categories, the MatePad 11 is great for that as well.

The 120Hz refresh rate that this tablet has makes it a sight to behold and a joy to touch. Your general interaction with the device will feel incredibly fast and smooth.

It’s great whether you’re just swiping from one TikTok video to another or playing a quick round of whatever mobile game you’re into.

The M-Pencil is truly handy

Not everyone needs a stylus. But just because you don’t need one, doesn’t mean it can never come in handy.

An editor’s work also entails signing a lot of documents. This can be anything from loaner sheets or non-disclosure agreements.

It’s also great for providing a rough illustration of the visuals you need. Sometimes, the only way to really get your point across to visual artists is to show them what you have in mind, and then just let them work their magic on it.

On the Nebo app, you can draw rough sketches to show your graphic artist how you want something to look like. It’s a helpful guide and one that prevents miscommunication.

You can also use the app for taking notes and doodling which is a pretty underrated way of clearing your mind.

Mate just be what you need

The MatePad 11 is an excellent tablet. One that can be more than a stopgap to your laptop needs.

It gives you access to the work stuff that you need, while offering features that laptops in its price range aren’t capable of.

It’s a fine mate for work, play, and everything else in between.

Pricing and availability

The Huawei MatePad 11 retails for PhP 24,999 and comes with two freebies: Wireless Charging Table Lamp and MatePad 11 Cover

Buy here: Huawei Online Store | Lazada | Shopee

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Hands-On

Tempo Move Hands-On

This Compact $400 Home Gym Changes Everything!

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Tempo has just launched a new sub $400 system that fits into a console table! Not only that they a lot less space than regular home gym systems, it also uses advanced tech like the LiDAR sensor on your iPhone. Their new 3D Tempo Vision technology is also there as a complement to make workout reading and tracking more precise.

But could this be the future of home workouts? Watch our Tempo Move Hands-on now!

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Hands-On

Apple 14″ M1 Pro MacBook Pro: Unboxing & Hands On

Is this the right MacBook Pro for you?

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Finally, the newly-redesigned M1 Pro MacBook Pros have finally arrived after years of waiting!

For now, Michael Josh unboxes and spends more than 24 hours with the new M1 Pro silicon chip-touting 14-inch MacBook Pro — as well as the software experience with the new macOS Monterey update.

If you’ve been wanting to buy one today, you have to wait for our review video baking up real soon.

For the meantime, all the basic things you need to know about the new M1 Pro MacBook Pro are in this unboxing and hands-on video.

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