Before the exhibition doors of Mobile World Congress open to the public, for most journalists, half the job is already done.
48 hours prior, my team and I had scuttled across the beautiful Mediterranean city hopping from one launch event to another.
We were at a total of eight during this year’s show; overall one of the best in recent years.
Credit Samsung, if you will. Them pushing back the Galaxy S8 launch to later in March, allowed other brands to collectively bask in the spotlight it once monopolized. Credit Nokia for its nostalgia-fueled comeback. Or credit every other smartphone brand that stepped it up and gave us, not only something to talk about, but also more wows than disappointment.
If MWC 2017 is any indication of what the rest of the year will look like in terms of smartphones. We’re pretty darn excited!
After a two-year absence, BlackBerry is back!
This time via a lifeline from Chinese tech company TCL (also known for its midrange TVs and Alcatel smartphones).
The KEYOne is only the second truly BlackBerry phone to run Android, and is perfect for those wanting both a 2017 smartphone experience and the familiarity of the full keypad BlackBerry is known for.
In the short time we spent with the KEYOne, it felt exactly like what you’d expect from a BlackBerry – metal frame, rubber back, and that keypad which it gets its name from. The new, old keypad doubles as a touchpad and comes with a fingerprint sensor built into its space bar.
While LG has pulled the plug on its modular smartphone concept, the new G6 leaves plenty more to be excited about.
LG’s biggest talking point is big screen, small phone. And while size is relative, you’ve got to hand it to them; despite having 0.2 inches more screen real estate than the iPhone 7 Plus, the G6 is indeed a much smaller phone that fits in the hand better.
What I like most about the G6 is its design. The phone is solidly built, much more than last year’s model. It’s a difference you can see and feel. And I’m lusting over the ice platinum one as I write this piece.
LG’s made sure the G6 satisfies by all accounts. It’s got a beautiful display, water and dust resistance, and a great camera. LG also says it’s given the G6 a heat pipe to protect it from unexpected situations — their subtle way of saying it won’t explode, if you note what I’m saying.
Following a very successful year, Huawei didn’t dramatically change much about the P10. Instead, it improved on the already good product.
The company is working together with color experts Pantone to release its new smartphone in two unique new shades, including 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery.
A Huawei executive told GagetMatch, the new color symbolizes new beginnings, and it hopes that these little touches contribute to how users feel about their phones and life in general.
Like its predecessor, the camera on the P10 is co-engineered with Leica. We had the pleasure of shooting with the phone around Barcelona, and have been blown away by its excellent camera.
Nokia 6 / Nokia 3310
Nokia is back, too! Like a phoenix from the ashes, the phone brand that many of us grew up with is given new life by Finnish startup HMD Global.
The new company hopes to leverage its pool of Nokia old-timers and new talent to deliver the core qualities that we expect from Nokia with a fresh flavor that makes it relevant to millennials who have never used a Nokia before.
The new Android-powered Nokia 6 flagship is just that. Carved from a solid block of aluminum and with a pure Android experience — just how all smartphones should be.
Nokia also announced the new 3310 — a revival retro phone that’s just as you remember it: Snake, Symbian OS, removable battery, one-month standby time, and the Nokia ringtone. And because it’s the question I’ve been asked most this week: The 3310 will retail for €49 when it goes on sale in the 2Q of 2017.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
Sony loyalists will love the new Xperia XZ Premium, a phone that’s way too beautiful to be used. Fingerprints will ruin the aesthetics of it, and so will need a much-needed protective case. But I guess that’s the point; the XZ Premium is meant to be a phone of excesses.
Take for example its 4K HDR display — simply put, the new phone has as good a display as a top-of-the-line TV. Sony is also working with Amazon Prime Video to guarantee a list of original content that will benefit such a smartphone when it launches later this year.
Film makers will also love the new super-slow-mo feature, 960 frames per second in total! This will let you freeze the exact moment a water drop drips from a kitchen faucet.
OPPO didn’t have a new smartphone to announce at MWC; just a promise of what future phones could be like.
The company debuted new camera technology that utilizes a dual-camera setup to zoom in on subjects up to 5X. Previously to achieve such a feat, you’d need bigger lenses that protrude from the phone.
OPPO’s been able to shrink that technology into a lens element that’s only a few millimeters thin. My iPhone 7 Plus can zoom up to two times without relying on digital zoom; five times would be such a game-changer when you’re trying to steal a shot of that attractive person two tables away.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 / Galaxy Book
There weren’t a lot of new tablets announced at MWC, but Samsung, in lieu of its S8 announcement, had two to show off.
The most important thing about both the Galaxy Tab S3 and Galaxy Book is that they come bundled with an S Pen, unlike Apple’s iPad Pro that requires you to buy it separately. There’s even a special edition Staedtler that looks like an actual pencil.
[irp posts=”11072″ name=”Samsung responds to protest incident at MWC”]
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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