Android P is finally official and its dessert name is Pie. Only a few phones have the update so far which include the Pixel and Pixel XL (both first- and second-generation) and the Essential Phone PH-1. Having Android 9 Pie is quite special at the moment.
What’s new in Android 9 Pie? Here are ten of the new features we’re already enjoying on our own Pixel and Essential phones.
New navigational features
This is one of the major changes in Pie. Since the release of the iPhone X, we’ve seen more phones attempting to implement with gestures and this is Android’s native way.
In Android Pie, you can let go of the traditional navigational buttons and opt for a little pill-shaped nub at the bottom of the screen. You tap it to go Home from anywhere, hold down for the Google Assistant, and swipe up or right for the new Recent Apps screen.
Revamped recent apps screen
Another major UI change is found in the Recent Apps screen which is now called Overview. From a vertical stack of cards, Android Pie now shows your recent apps horizontally.
If you have the new gestures enabled, you can simply swipe up from the navigation bar to see this. You can also swipe the navigation bar to the far right to scroll through your most recent apps.
Redesigned quick settings
The redesigned Quick Settings Panel is another notable UI change. It’s now minimal and has rounded icons. It’s also more spacious and easier on the eyes. You can still customize it and scroll through more shortcuts on the next page.
Depending on your wallpaper (Pie adapts automatically, but you can choose manually in the Settings), you’ll either get a white or dark panel with blue circles to show active toggles and grayed-out ones for those that are off.
Thanks to better AI implementation, Android Pie can now pre-empt what it thinks you’re likely to do in an app. It knows when to suggest things depending on your location and what you’re currently doing.
It’s pretty cool and creepy at the same time. For example, based on your usage, it’ll suggest to message someone specifically first thing in the morning and check on certain activities in productivity apps.
Tech companies are making a big deal about managing screen time. As much as apps and devices are designed to keep us glued to the screen, there are also concerns about our “Digital Wellbeing.” As the name implies, it helps you manage your phone usage.
It’s still in beta but when you get to join the program, it’ll be integrated to your phone. It has a Dashboard which gives you an overview of your device usage. It also has an App Timer to let you set time limits for addictive apps (*ahem* Facebook) and such. There’s also Wind Down to cut down your device’s activity as you get to bed.
Smarter battery use
Another AI-enabled feature is “Adaptive Battery” which lets you have longer battery life. It limits the battery consumption of apps that are not so important based on your usage. It’s basically a new battery saver mode but it only targets specific apps.
Like other battery-saving options, there’s a catch to this like delayed notifications. Of course, you can always turn it off when it’s hampering the functionality of your phone.
Better volume controls
Oreo already has some improved volume controls, but Pie makes it better. By default, the volume buttons now adjust media volume rather than ringer volume. Also, the volume menu has been moved closer to the physical volume buttons, plus it has an instant toggle for mute and vibrate-only.
Hitting the Sound Settings menu will bring you to more volume controls. The menu includes adjustments for media, ring, and alarm volume. There are also advanced settings for dial pad tones, screen locking sound, and touch vibration available in the menu.
New Do Not Disturb mode
Do Not Disturb mode has been modified in Android Pie. You can now select what you want to see when this is turned on. You can add exceptions, adjust notification handling, remove visual disturbances when the screen is off, and so on.
Gone are the priority mode and alarms only, so if you’ve learned to love those two, you might have a hard time adjusting to the new simplified yet customizable DND mode.
Here’s a simple change that’ll make a big impact. You can now edit a screenshot via the notification shade. If you’ve been using pure Android phones, this is heaven-sent.
The controls are still pretty limited compared to skinned-Android like EMUI, MIUI, and Samsung Experience, but if you want to crop, circle something, or highlight a section, this will do for now. Hopefully, we’ll have scrolling screenshots soon.
Instant rotation control
Lastly, there’s Instant Rotation Control. The new smart rotation button will appear in the navigation bar when the phone knows that you might want to rotate the screen’s orientation even if you have auto-rotation disabled.
The feature works great in the gallery app when viewing photos. It’ll save a trip to the Quick Settings when you want to watch a video or view a photo in full screen.
These are just some of the new features available in Android Pie. There are more to be discovered and tested. There are also under-the-hood improvements that only time will tell if they’re worth the update.
Android Pie might get additional features on the upcoming Google Pixel 3 phones which are arriving — based on inside info — in early October.
The Galaxy Fold is real: Weekend Rewind
And it’s pretty darn expensive
Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.
1. Samsung unpacked… err… unfolded the future with Galaxy Fold
Yes, we expected Samsung to release a foldable smartphone. What we didn’t see coming is that they would open the Galaxy S10 event with the Galaxy Fold.
No, this isn’t just a concept anymore. Samsung demoed a working device on stage and said the device will be on sale starting April 26 at a staggering but also unsurprising price of US$ 1,980.
It’ll be interesting to see how other brands respond to the Galaxy Fold. Watch out for our MWC 2019 coverage so we can all find out together.
2. Samsung Galaxy S10 cameras tie Huawei’s flagships
Looks like Samsung is determined to hold on to its top smartphone maker reputation with its latest flagship Galaxy S10 tying Huawei flagship numbers on DxOMark. In fact, it even leads in the selfie camera department. That’s made possible with an overall score of 109 for the rear cameras and 96 for the front shooters.
However, the S10 isn’t just about its cameras. Watch our hands-on to get a good idea on how well-rounded a phone it is.
3. Xiaomi pre-empted Samsung with the Mi 9
Xiaomi almost came out of nowhere when they announced their first 2019 flagship — the Xiaomi Mi 9 — right before Samsung’s Galaxy S10 Unpacked event.
The Mi 9 had more than enough to grab hold of your attention with flagship specs: Snapdragon 855 and a 48MP camera among other things. And since it’s Xiaomi, it’s bound to be cheaper than the other flagships that will come out between now and MWC 2019.
Xiaomi’s a disruptor and they did a good job disrupting with the Mi 9.
4. Huawei building up anticipation for the P30
Not to be outshone by Samsung and Xiaomi, Huawei has been constantly releasing bread crumbs about its upcoming flagship for all of us to chew on.
All the teasers point to an improved zoom or telephoto lens for the P30. That’s something we’re definitely excited to test.
5. Fujifilm’s X-T30 could be people’s mirrorless camera choice
Fujifilm’s cameras have always been pretty darn good, but this latest one from them could be a big hit. The X-T30 is a lightweight 4K mirrorless camera, making it a perfect travel companion wherever you go.
The Fujifilm X-T30 will be available in March starting at US$ 899 for the body only. It’ll go up to US$ 999 when bundled with an XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens, or US$ 1,299 when bundled with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
Samsung Galaxy S10 vs Galaxy S10+ vs Galaxy S10E: What are the differences?
A decade of Galaxies
Samsung has launched three new flagship phones: the Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy S10E. With three new models to choose from, it might be difficult to choose which Galaxy S10 is the one for you.
To help with this, we took the liberty to show you the differences between the three. Which of the Galaxy S10 models will be your GadgetMatch?
Starting with the screen, the three Galaxy S10 models sport Super AMOLED displays in different sizes. The Galaxy S10E is the smallest among the bunch with a 5.8-inch display. It’s followed by the regular Galaxy S10 with its 6.1-inch display and, of course, the Galaxy S10+ with its large 6.4-inch panel.
It’s also worth noting that the Galaxy S10E has a completely flat display, while the other two Galaxy S10 variants have the curved panels we’ve come to expect from Samsung.
All three models don’t sport a notch, but they do have holes on the upper-right corner for their front cameras. The Galaxy S10E and Galaxy S10 have a perfectly rounded hole-punch camera, while Galaxy S10+ has a pill-shaped cutout since it has two front-facing cameras.
Despite the size differences of the phones, all models are powered by a flagship processor. Depending on where you are, the Galaxy S10 family will sport either a Snapdragon 855 or an Exynos 9820.
Memory and storage configuration will also vary depending on the region. The lowest possible memory available is 6GB and it can go as high 12GB. As for storage, it starts at 128GB and will reach up to 1TB. The 12GB+1TB combo will be exclusively available for the Galaxy S10+.
Another significant difference between the Galaxy S10 phones is battery capacity. The Galaxy S10E has a modest 3100mAh battery, the Galaxy S10 owns a pretty standard 3400mAh battery, and the Galaxy S10+, being the biggest of the three, comes with a huge 4100mAh battery.
All three variants support fast charging using wired or wireless chargers. They can also do reverse wireless charging (which Samsung calls Wireless PowerShare) to charge other devices using the Qi wireless standard.
Lastly, both the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ feature the new ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader, which is definitely faster than any of the in-display fingerprint readers we’ve tried before. The Galaxy S10E has a more conventional side-mounted fingerprint reader that’s still accurate and fast, but not as advanced.
The Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+ are the first among the Galaxy S lineup to have triple rear cameras. The setup is composed of a main 12-megapixel Dual Pixel and Dual Aperture camera, a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle, and a 12-megapixel telephoto with 2x optical zoom.
Since the Galaxy S10E is priced lower, it only has two of the three rear cameras of its more expensive siblings: the main Dual Pixel camera and the ultra wide-angle shooter.
The situation in the front is quite different, though. Both the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10E have a single selfie camera, while the Galaxy S10+ gets an extra depth sensor for a more precise bokeh effect or Live Focus.
Pricing and colors
The cheapest model is the Galaxy S10E which starts at US$ 750. The regular Galaxy S10 will set you back US$ 900, while the bigger Galaxy S10+ is priced at US$ 1,000.
All three models will come in Prism White, Prism Black, Prism Green, and Prism Blue. In addition, the Galaxy S10E will be available in Canary Yellow, as well. The Galaxy S10+ also has premium Ceramic Black and Ceramic White variants, but these are only available for the high-tier configurations.
Colors option may vary per region, so not all colors will be available in all markets.
Get to know more about the latest Galaxy S10 series by watching our hands-on video:
Instagram photo challenge with the Samsung Galaxy S10
Hands-on with all three versions!
Samsung’s newest Galaxy S devices have just been announced and we’re blessed with three versions: The Samsung Galaxy S10e (small), the Galaxy S10 (big), and the Galaxy S10+ (big big!).
Each phone is equipped with a number of cameras so you know what that means: IG photo test!
In our Her GadgetMatch video, we check out what’s so cool about the new Samsung phones and test what the cameras can do. Spoiler: They do a lot!
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