Redmi Note 9: Darkhorse budget phone?

Good kind of unexpected



Xiaomi released the Redmi Note 9 and Note 9 Pro earlier this month and I got the chance to spend a little time taking it for a spin.

Now, before we throw ourselves into the nitty-gritty of this phone, I just want to say: it is been an overwhelming 6 months into this year. I don’t how time just flew by at a horrendous pace while making sure we all suffered every moment of it.

I just want to just get this out there: if you completely shattered your phone and are looking for a good budget phone that won’t rip your moth infested wallets during a global pandemic, you might want to stick around for this review. Looking at you, Chan. You got this, buddy.

No-fuss design

The Redmi Note 9 has a 6.53-in FHD+ DotDisplay protected by a Corning Glass 5. It comes in three different colors: Interstellar Grey, Aurora Blue, and Glacier White. At face value, the Redmi Note 9 doesn’t stray too far from standard smartphone designs, sticking to no-frills and prioritizing functionality.

The Redmi Note 9 has an in-display (not to be confused with under display) front camera and four cameras on the back. Below the quad-cam, set-up is a fingerprint reader making it easy to access when picking the phone up. The Redmi Note 9 keeps things simple with its design while achieving a clean and buttery-smooth display.

Delivers great performance

The phone is powered by a Helio G85 processor with either a 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage or a 4GB RAM with a 128GB internal storage. This is a massive upgrade from its predecessor: the Redmi Note 8.

It delivers surprisingly smooth gameplay and holds up sharp quality while playing over a long period of time. It even delivers arguably smoother and better-quality gameplay than phones with a higher price tag.

A properly good battery life

Let’s talk about battery life. The Redmi Note 9’s battery life far outlives the quick dwindling of any salvageable motivation to commit to my 2020 resolutions. The phone has a 5020mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

I’ve gone through a few days of using this phone without charging. With needing to charge the phone being a sparse experience, it was a glorious one. Trading off battery life for better performance should be less a thing than it usually is because nobody needs to get tied to the nearest charging station so often.

Camera: you win some you lose some

The phone has a 13MP in-display front camera and a 48MP AI quad-camera. This is pretty much a step up from the Note 8. The phone delivers on good quality photos with striking contrast but if there’s a downside, it’s the focus.

The phone struggles to keep the focus on your subjects too often especially under low light. Overcasts and dimmer rooms are this phone’s Kryptonite so, keep that in mind.

Here are sample shots I took while using the Redmi Note 9:

Is the Redmi Note 9 your Gadgetmatch?

The Redmi Note 9 is a really good phone to have. If there’s one good reason to get it, it’s to have it as a gaming phone because it delivers stellar performance while sustaining it with properly great battery life.

The phone’s cameras aren’t too bad either. If you want a phone that lets you play while not falling short on lifestyle shots all while making sure you don’t break the bank, this is definitely the phone for you.

The Redmi Note 9 costs PhP 7,990 (US$ 160) for the 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage variant and PhP 9,990 (US$ 200) for the 4GB RAM with 128GB internal storage.

Convenient Smart Home

This cordless wet/dry vacuum might be what every busy bee needs

Squeeze in chores between hustling!




We all love a nice, clean home. But these days, it can be difficult to balance everything in our lives. If you live a busy life, you probably don’t want to face up to cleaning your home with the little spare time that you have. It should be reserved for relaxation, not for a giant mountain of chores.

The last thing we all want is to be surrounded by mess. For me, it’s a good thing that keeping my home clean is doable even though I’ve got a hectic schedule that seemingly makes it impossible.

What I’ve realized is that investing in new and more efficient equipment will allow us to get things done swiftly. This could mean anything from replacing a raggedy mop to buying a more powerful vacuum cleaner.

What’s in the box?

When the Dreame H12 wet & dry vacuum was handed to me, I felt thrilled to try it out! I always get intimidated by the idea of using large vacuum cleaners, but not with the Dreame H12.

It comes with user-friendly features and a wide array of accessories that would make doing chores bearable.

To begin with, there’s a charging base. It’s molded, so you can set the vacuum directly into a convenient socket. This base can be used both for charging and cleaning.

(1) H12 Main Body Unit (1) Floor Brush (1) Charging Base (2) Accessory Holder (1) Extra Filter (1) Power Adapter (1) Cleaning Brush (1) Detergent Floor Cleaner

User-friendly features

As easy as clicking on the button at the top of the handle, the H12 will begin to clean the roller brush as thoroughly as possible, which is why the process takes around two minutes to complete.

Since it’s much easier to clean small areas like my studio apartment, having the upgraded edge-cleaning roller brush effectively deals with those hard-to-reach corners and baseboards freely.

The Dreame H12 has two modes: auto-mode and suction mode. In Auto mode, the cleaner automatically adjusts water and suction to the desired level depending on cleaning tasks.

In suction mode, it shuts off the mopping feature and only vacuums liquid without mopping. It also has this Smart Dirt Detection feature that identifies dirt and adjusts its suction power automatically.

You can also monitor the condition of the floor with the circular cleaning indicator around the screen. A smart LED screen that displays the cleaning status and clear voice prompts is beneficial for new vacuum owners like me.

A green light indicates light dirt while an orange light means there’s medium dirt present. A super dirty floor will prompt the ring to glow red.

Other features

Other features of the H12 can be monitored via the screen which also prominently displays the battery percentage. But you don’t need to rely on the display all the time as the H12 can audibly provide alerts since it has voice prompts as I’ve mentioned.

You’ll never be able to keep every single speck of dirt off the floor especially if you were running low on time. Partly, it takes a very long time until the roller from the wiping vacuum is dried. Thanks to the Wet and Dry Cleaning feature of Dreame H12 that removes wet or dry messes in one pass.

A good feature that I appreciate here is the absence of a dust bag, which is known to be a hassle to clean. Instead, all the dust, dirt, and grime get mixed with the water, so you just need to pour out the wastewater. H12 has two transparent containers built into it.

The top is a 900ml water tank for clean water, used for the mopping function. The bottom is a 500ml dirty water tank, which also serves as a dust hopper. Both tanks are easy to remove, refill, empty, and release with a simple latch.


A filthy property can affect a person’s health. The nice thing about Dreame H12 is it does self-cleaning on the roller brush to avoid bacterial cross-contamination. It also self-dries the brush to prevent bacteria growth and odor.

It’s amazing how vacuuming the floor, cleaning up the kitchen, and straightening up clutter always improve my mood. Even if it’s just 15 minutes of my spare time, it does really feel good.

Imagine having this cordless Dreame H12 that can run for about 35 minutes. I am able to clean my small house frequently without having the need to recharge it every time.

Is the Dreame H12 Wet & Dry vacuum your GadgetMatch?

Accomplishing a few chores might give your mood a boost. So if you dream of spending less time cleaning, you can cut yourself some slack now. With the Dreame H12 Wet and Dry vacuum, you should not worry about sweeping and scrubbing messy floors in the little time you have.

With sleek designs to match, You can now literally have the clean home of your dreams. The Dreame H12 retails for PhP 25,990.

Don’t miss the Dreame H12’s Launch on Shopee this August 15, to get an exclusive price of P21,890 (SRP: P25,990) plus gifts with every purchase. For more info, visit Dreame Philippines’ official pages on Facebook and Instagram.

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Samsung Galaxy A73 5G review: Awesome phone not meant for the A-list

Does it still deserve the Galaxy A branding?




Galaxy A73

This year, Samsung launched not just one, but five smartphones in their March 2022 Galaxy A lineup — the Galaxy A73 5G being one in the roster alongside the Galaxy A53 5G, A33 5G, A23, and A13. And the Galaxy A73 5G is Samsung’s top-of-the-line smartphone in the midrange segment.

Galaxy A33 5G, A53 5G, and A73 5G

A quick rundown

For the spec-obsessed, the Galaxy A73 5G doesn’t differ that much from its smaller sibling, the Galaxy A53 5G, as well as last year’s A72 and its 5G version.

A73 5G A53 5G A72/A72 5G
Display 6.7” 120Hz Super AMOLED Plus Infinity-O Display + Gorilla Glass 5 6.5” 120Hz Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display + Gorilla Glass 5 6.7” 90/120Hz Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display + Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Snapdragon 778G 5G
6nm chipset
Exynos 1280
5nm chipset
Snapdragon 720G/750G
8nm chipset
Memory 6/8GB
Storage 128/256GB + microSDXC slot
Cameras 108MP f/1.8 wide
12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
5MP f/2.4 macro
5MP f/2.4 depth
32MP f/2.2 selfie
64MP f/1.8 wide
12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
5MP f/2.4 macro
5MP f/2.4 depth
32MP f/2.2 selfie
64MP f/1.8 wide
12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto
5MP f/2.4 macro
32MP f/2.2 selfie
Battery + Charging 5000mAh
25W Fast Charging
Operating System Android 12, One UI 4.1 Android 11, One UI 4.1

Compared to the Galaxy A53 5G, the big brother clearly has the bigger and better display technology along with a Snapdragon 5G chipset instead of using Samsung’s in-house Exynos 1280. Moreover, the main camera of the A73 5G has double the megapixel size, but that’s about it.

Appealing and lightweight

The design of the Galaxy A73 5G isn’t any different from its other Galaxy A siblings. Heck, it’s even harder to distinguish if you place it beside last year’s Galaxy A72.

Galaxy A73

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Samsung “recycling” last year’s design is not a bad idea at all.

Galaxy A73

I have the Awesome White colorway and it’s perfect for my taste! I love how there’s more emphasis on the camera lenses (in contrary to last year’s black). The subtle hump of the whole camera module is also a nice touch to an already clean design language.

Galaxy A73

Although the back is made of polycarbonate, it doesn’t feel like the flimsy, cheap-o plastic phones we used to have back in the day. This reminds me of the Galaxy S21 FE I’ve held for some time back in January.

Some people may have been fooled but I need to point out that the frame is also made of plastic. It just looks nice with a shiny, chrome finish, imitating a stainless steel frame. I just hope it wouldn’t fade or chip overtime.

Galaxy A73

The plastic also makes the phone very lightweight and not too fragile unlike most glass-touting phones these days. This also means I can hold the phone without slapping an icky silicone case on it.

Galaxy A73

The idea of having plastic on premium midranger isn’t exactly thrilling. That’s understandable especially when a lot of midrange smartphones have glass backs for that added premium feel.

Galaxy A73

Flipping the phone doesn’t reveal anything different either.

Galaxy A73

It’s still the same 6.7-inch Infinity-O display — more on the specifics later.

All-rounder midranger

As previously mentioned, the Galaxy A73 5G has the same display size as last year’s Galaxy A72 — but it doesn’t mean there are no upgrades.

Galaxy A73

First off, the Galaxy A73 5G features a better and faster 120Hz Super AMOLED Plus display as opposed to the 90Hz Super AMOLED screen of the A72. Its 5G version has a faster 120Hz refresh rate but still having a Super AMOLED display without the ‘Plus’ moniker.

Galaxy A73

LF: my 이준호

While the differences between the two types of Samsung display are pretty far to differentiate from a consumer’s standpoint, all I can say is that the Super AMOLED Plus display is a real visual treat.

Galaxy A73

I flipped during Jeon Heejin’s part in LOONA’s Flip That!

Visuals ultimately pop with its bright display that reaches up to 800nits — perfect if you’re always out and about.

Galaxy A73

SNSD’s full-group comeback after 5 years is every K-Pop veteran’s dream to see 🥺

No need to worry about artifacts as the Full HD+ resolution makes everything crisp and clear. Pixel density is pretty much compact too. That’s 393ppi if you want to know the exact number.

Galaxy A73

A-T-T-E-N-T-I-on is what I want (from you) 😭 stream NewJeans’ New Jeans EP (TBH one of the best K-Pop EPs out there)

If you’re the type who doesn’t want a display that looks too colorful, it can easily be changed from Vivid to Natural in Settings for that less saturated look.

I wish I can live by LOONA’s words in Pale Blue Dot

If you’re curious about its audio performance, the speakers are loud enough with the right amount of bass and treble.

The best way to flex your #shoefie is to play ITZY’s SNEAKERS out loud

It may not be the best stereo speakers around but it’s not that bad — with my definition not being too mediocre-sounding nor flat-tuned.

I feel like I’ve low-key participated in a K-Pop group’s latest comeback track: BEAUTIFUL (STAYC girls) MONSTER (me) 🥴

Day or night, I’m sure most of you will truly enjoy the Galaxy A73 5G as your next best all-rounder multimedia device.

Assuring performance

On paper, the Galaxy A73 5G is equipped with Snapdragon’s 778G 5G chipset. The specific variant I have has a 6GB memory with 128GB of internal storage. Other models can be configured with 8GB+128GB or 8GB+256GB options.

No doubt, the Galaxy A73 5G can handle most tasks and games quite well without hitches.

Playing Asphalt 9 Legends with the maximum graphics settings did very well on my end.

I also turned the best possible settings while I played Call of Duty: Mobile.

And just like my favorite racing game, this FPS game also ran smooth without hiccups that I sometimes encounter on other Android smartphones.

The presence of an even faster display contributed to my gameplay since it comes hand-in-hand with faster touch sampling rate as well that’s very well needed for shooting games.

This is when things fell apart when I played with the Galaxy A73 5G…

Even if I didn’t change the graphics setting for Genshin Impact, the laggy gameplay and choppy frame rate was evident at the very start of the game. If you’re a heavy Genshin user, you might want to take your Traveler exploits elsewhere.

Awesome endurance

“Long-lasting battery life” has been with Galaxy A’s tagline ever since the new breed of A-devices were announced back in 2020.

The Galaxy A73 5G isn’t any different — just like it’s 5000mAh battery that’s the similar capacity to last year’s Galaxy A72 and A72 5G, as well as this year’s A53 5G.

Galaxy A73

I’ve used the phone with basically everything turned on — Wi-Fi when I’m indoors, 4G LTE/5G mobile data when outside, as well as Bluetooth, and location services.

Surprisingly, the Galaxy A73 5G can last until the end of the day with moderate usage. Of course, expect faster battery draining if you play games for hours.

Galaxy A73

While Samsung’s “two-day” battery life seems like a stretch, it is achievable if your phone is in power saving mode while being used lightly for short calls, text messaging, or chatting. Most of all, when it’s just resting on your desk instead of being used extensively.

Galaxy A73

But unlike its predecessor, the Galaxy A73 5G doesn’t have a bundled charger out of the box — one among many tech companies’ “initiative” to reduce e-waste production and consumption.

Galaxy A73

Despite that, Samsung never made any move to make up for that unwanted bold move that most consumers will surely whine about. The phone is still stuck with a not-so-fast 25W Fast Charging just like it was in the Galaxy A72, Galaxy A71, and even the Galaxy A70 from three years ago.

That being said, I used my third-party adapter with a 45W max output. It displayed inconsistencies, switching between “Fast Charging” and “Super Fast Charging” every once in a while. In my two different charge tests, it still took around 1 hour and around 30 to 45 minutes to fully-charge the A73 5G.

At the same price point, Chinese counterparts still provide chargers inside the packaging. Regardless if it’s the proprietary USB-A charger and cable, I would still want to have them rather than sacrificing charging speeds by using a super-fast third-party USB-C charger and cables that won’t be recognized by the phone itself.

Adequate cameras

As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy A73 5G features a quad camera setup.


Most phones have mediocre ultra-wide angle (UWA) cameras. The one on the Galaxy A73 5G performs well despite having the similar 12MP f/2.2 — just like younger and older Galaxy A phones from last year.

Galaxy A73

As long as there’s enough source of natural light (whether you’re indoors or outdoors), this phone can produce picture-perfect super-wide shots.

In the examples below, the wide and ultra-wide camera may have looked consistent…

…but there are instances where there’s a huge gap in quality taken through these two different modes.

Sometimes, the ultra-wide shot produces a cooler shot, other times it’s warmer than the main one, and vice versa.

Not that most people post both ultra-wide and wide-angle shots on socials, but it’s one point that these two lenses don’t perform coherently with one another.

Wide (Main)

The cream of the crop (or the filling of the cake) of the camera segment has got to go with the A73 5G’s 108MP f/1.8 main camera.

Galaxy A73

The wide camera isn’t a slouch. It focuses fast and accurate at the right amount of distance.

HDR sometimes suffer in times where there’s harsh sunlight or a hazy sky above.

Not that everyone always take photos of light bulbs but this is another example that HDR doesn’t do its job properly.

Food shots look appetizing with precise focus and creamy bokeh at the back (and yes! No pesky radial blur-ish effect).

But relying on indoor light somehow affects the exposure, highlights, sharpness, and even the AWB (Auto White Balance) processing of the image.

And even with the presence of natural light outside, as long as your primary source light is warm, it messes up the AWB and overall AI algorithm of the A73 5G.


Another unnecessary bold move that Samsung did in the Galaxy A73 5G (other than the removal of in-box charger) was the elimination of telephoto zoom lens.

Last year’s Galaxy A72 had an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. This was replaced by a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor (together with the already existing 5MP f/2.4 macro lens).

If you barely use the zoom feature, you would hardly notice quality difference especially when you just mix / collage it alongside other photos taken with the wide and ultra-wide lenses.

But if you zoom in a lot, you would know the difference it makes. Fairly, zooming in at a modest distance of 2x would still make photos acceptable and shareable. The trick is that it uses its 108MP main sensor and totally relies on digital crop just like other phones with a dual-camera setup.

And with a fair amount of light or shooting outdoors, zooming in does the job right, too.

Once you go past that zoom distance, everything crumbles — exposure, contrast, and most of all, sharpness.

The photo above was zoomed in at just around 4.5x. While all of us can still recognize the trees, bungalow houses, as well as the tall condominiums and buildings, it’s a photo you won’t ever dare post on Instagram because of how smudged-looking it is.

And you know what makes it more puzzling and baffling? It’s the fact that Samsung still opted to show more “zoom” options in its camera UI — I mean, the audacity to even include 10x despite the bad quality of zoomed shots below 5x?

Night Mode

One separate segment are photos taken using Samsung’s built-in Night Mode for low-light scenarios that had little to no source of light.

Using the wide lens for most of your night time scenery can work wonders for a dark low-light shot.

Good enough, Night Mode also works when you take zoomed shots…

Wide | 2x zoom

…but not so much when shooting in ultra-wide (the f/2.2 aperture being mostly at fault).

Ultra-wide | Wide

Taking photos of pets are a hit or miss, though. It’s decent when there’s brighter artificial light…

…and obviously worse when there’s little to no light.

Fortunately, it was still able to shoot the photo of the beer I had despite only relying on strobing party lights that changes every split second.

Portrait Mode

For people who are pretty much confident in flaunting their full-blown #OOTDs or #NewMakeupLook, I’m glad to report that the A73 5G takes decent portrait shots.

Whether it’s on or off, the skin tone looks nice overall.

And with the effect turned on, it gives better background segmentation with clearer distinction between the subject and the background with creamier bokeh. I think this is where the new 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor plays a pivotal role.

For a midranger like the A73 5G, you would barely expect a great-looking portrait shot.

Thankfully, unlike the zoomed shots, the Portrait Mode delivered great results.

Alluring Selfies

Another thing that was unchanged from several Galaxy A phones is the front-facing 32MP f/2.2 camera.

Anyone would like this selfie camera especially with an extra ultra-wide option for those who take wider selfies (or groufies).

While it all boils down to personal preferences, my [redacted] actually preferred the cooler selfies taken with the A73 5G against the vivo V23 5G which is basically one of the midrange smartphones with the best cameras on front.

But too much coolness evades from the real look of you (and what you wear). Take for instance the pineapples on my polo shirt below looked pinkish instead of a solid red and orange.

At night, it looks alright as long as there’s enough source of artificial light.

I don’t want to ruin someone’s day (or night) but for fun, I took these cringey low-light selfies to show there’s a stark difference between with and without the fill light.

You’ll be the judge though. Some of the photo samples here were in the camera shootout article I did against the vivo V23 5G — especially the difference between Samsung’s fill light feature against vivo’s dual-tone dual-LED flash.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A73 5G vs vivo V20 Pro: Camera Shootout

Added novelties

The Galaxy A73 5G still has Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for front glass protection just like the old Galaxy A72 as well as its younger A53 5G sibling.

Galaxy A73

Beneath the display is an under-display fingerprint scanner. While it’s still the optical one instead of the ultrasonic found on higher-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones, it’s still fast and responsive.

And while the plastic material may be a feature most of you frowned upon, the good thing is that Samsung still made this smartphone IP67-rated which can withstand dust and water in a certain amount of volume for a certain amount of time.

Galaxy A73

And just like other Galaxy A phones, it would be amiss for Samsung to skip the inclusion of microSDXC slot. Just take in mind that it’s still a hybrid tray: you can only store one SIM + microSD or two nano SIMs but without the card in it.

Galaxy A73

An upgrade some might not even know other than the inclusion of 5G (vs A72’s limited 4G network support) is the addition of Wi-Fi 6. This means the Galaxy A73 5G can achieve blazing-fast download (and upload) speeds not just through 5G, but also through Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.

A few stumbling blocks

This particular Galaxy A73 5G is sluggish every time I open the camera app.

Galaxy A73

Regardless if I open it from the camera app or through double-pressing the power button, it takes around 5-6 seconds before the camera shows the viewfinder — all when I already missed the fast-moving subject/object I was about to capture. I hope Samsung addresses this issue via a software update.

Last but definitely not the least, Samsung has also decided to remove the beloved 3.5mm audio jack from the A73 5G. So if you still rely on your pair of wired ear/headphones, the only 2022 Galaxy A phones for your specific need are the less-powerful Galaxy A23 and A13.

Is the Samsung Galaxy A73 5G your GadgetMatch?

You can purchase the Samsung Galaxy A73 5G in three Awesome colors: gray, mint, and white. Pricing and configuration are as follows:

  • 6/128GB = PhP 26,990
  • 8/128GB = PhP 27,990 / SG$ 618 / INR 41,999
  • 8/256GB = PhP 29,990 / SG$ 718 / INR 44,999

Without a doubt, the Galaxy A73 5G is an “Awesome” phone. But unless you need the larger display, better Snapdragon chipset, and a larger 108MP main camera, the A73 5G is harder to recommend when the Galaxy A53 5G is just around the corner.

The PhP 3K/SG$100/INR 9000 price gap is still huge for budget-conscious buyers. That difference can easily be traded for an additional accessory purchase: wireless earbuds, USB-C earphones, or a charger that Samsung doesn’t provide.

I know my heading subtitle sounds a little bit controversial, but that could mean both ways. The Galaxy A73 5G is not meant for the A-ffordable list nor the ‘A-list’ of smartphone users who want the best in tech.

If you’re looking for a “more premium-looking” 5G smartphone that’s much like the Galaxy A73 5G, you can consider the vivo V23 5G — even at a more discounted price. It’s a plus too if you’re a heavy selfie user especially with its special set of front-facing camera hullaballoos.

The Xiaomi 11T Pro is also a clear contender — another midrange phone with better internals, build quality, audio output, and even a 120W charger out of the box. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t feature a dedicated telephoto lens.

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OnePlus 10T review: Lots to love, nothing to hate

Even better than the OnePlus 10 Pro?



Last year, the OnePlus 9T didn’t see the light of the day. However, OnePlus isn’t backing down this year.

Meet the OnePlus 10T, their latest T-series offering that embodies the OnePlus 10 Pro in a cheaper price tag.

But don’t let that make you frown.

Being powered by the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and even a 16GB RAM variant is enough to make you wonder:

Is it any better than the OnePlus 10 Pro? Or should you still look elsewhere?

Watch our OnePlus 10T review to know if this is your GadgetMatch.

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