Reviews

Samsung 4K QLED Q80T TV Review

Superb home entertainment and next gen gaming

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I spent close to a month with the Samsung 4K QLED Q80T TV and I am thoroughly convinced that as far as TVs go, this is my GadgetMatch.

Samsung has always quietly been one of the leaders in TVs. But they’ve dialled things up to eleven with their recent offerings. They are exploring both new form factors like The Sero and The Frame and also improving picture quality and smart TV tech.

The Samsung 4K QLED Q80T falls in the more traditional form factor category but with good strides in the exact categories that I, and potentially most other people, care about.

Quite a sight to behold

This should come as no surprise but Samsung’s display technology is just so damn good. While they dominate the mobile department with their SUPER AMOLED screens, they are taking a different approach with their higher end TVs.

As the name indicates, the Q80T uses QLED tech. We’ve gone into detail explaining the tech in this video. In a nutshell, QLED relies on LED backlighting. But instead of lighting the entire LCD panel, it hits quantum dots. When the light hits these tiny dots, they gain emissive tech qualities.

But what does that mean for the viewer? It means fantastic picture quality without the risk of burn-in. I’m not going to lie, I think OLED still produces the superior picture quality, but QLED is not at all far behind.

Watching 4K titles is an absolute joy which is the case with the Netflix series Alice in Borderland. Just look at the fine detail you see in this image of best girl Kuina (played by Asahina Aya) in this scene below.

Elevating that experience is the support for Dolby Atmos 5.1. If you’re not getting this with a soundbar, you’re not going to miss out as much. The audio this produces is almost cinema-like, especially in a cramped space like the studio unit I dwell in.

That combo of 4K goodness and cinema-like audio also bodes well not just for movies but also for music-oriented videos. Watching the 4K dance practice video of TWICE performing their surprise single Cry For Me was such a treat to the senses I almost actually want to cry every time I watch it.

That SaChaeng verse is intoxicating

Quenching your thirst for 4K

But what if the content isn’t 4K? Well, it’ll still look hella good. Part of the tech the Q80T is capable of is upscaling what you see to near 4K no matter the video source.

For instance, the Cheer Up video from my favorite girls was released in 2016 and isn’t available in 4K. Regardless, you’re still going to get eye-popping detail thanks to the TV’s capabilities.

Adorable baby cub Chaeyoung in 2016

Just look at this Momo close-up. She’s just absolutely flawless.

Momo can shoot me and I’d thank her for it

The same is true no matter the video source. For instance, the TV itself doesn’t support the NBA app. But I am able to stream NBA League Pass using Chromecast and I still get fantastic picture quality.

I normally watch games all day both live and replays. Sometimes I watch while I’m doing the dishes which is a vantage point that isn’t the most ideal. That said, the Q80T offers fantastic viewing angles that you get pretty much the same experience no matter where you are in the room.

I also re-watched Attack on Titan on the Q80T. It’s only available on HD but Captain Levi’s assault on the Beast Titan looks pretty damn epic up-scaled to 4K.

Quick pro tip

Intelligent mode was turned off out-of-the-box. I’m not sure if this is the case for all Q80Ts but my advice is to turn it off. Having it on gives you this odd smoothing effect on the picture quality. With that turned on, the picture quality loses a little bit of cinematic look.

But that’s just me. You can compare by watching the same clip with Intelligent mode turned on and turned off to see which one is your cup of tea.

Quality of life things

I’d like to think I’ve firmly established how good the picture quality is. But what really sold me on calling this my TV GadgetMatch is the overall quality of life things.

First of which is the remote controller. It does away with the usual remote that’s peppered with numbers. Samsung understands that consumption has moved from flipping channels to flipping through different streaming services and the remote is the testament to that.

Next is the Tizen UI that you primarily interact with. It doesn’t take up the whole screen so it won’t get in the way of what you’re watching in case you want to tweak stuff while you’re watching.

The TV also boots up extremely fast. This was a huge step-up from the six-year-old TV I’ve been using. One click on the power button and it instantly turns on picking up right where you left off.

You also get this Ambient Mode that gives you a host of options on what you want the TV to display when it’s not in use.

You can opt for a nice scenery.

Or customize it by adding images from your Samsung phone’s gallery.

Best girls Momo, Chaeyoung, and Heejin on my gallery 👀

The Q80T operates on lower power mode when in Ambient mode.

Quintessential pair for the PS5

While more people wait for PS5 restocks, I imagine some are also already in the hunt for a TV that will take advantage of the next gen console’s capabilities. The Q80T is one such TV.

It has an HDMI 2.1 port for that oh so smooth 4K/120 gaming. The HDMI port is even labelled with a controller so it’s pretty hard to miss.

If you’re curious, you can even check if you plugged in the right HDMI port as you’re about to play.

But what’s the experience like? Absolutely jaw dropping visuals and a smooth overall gameplay. I spent much of the holidays playing through Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on Performance RT mode (60FPS with ray tracing) and the game looked spectacular.

This looks more like a movie scene than a video game

I also played a lot of NBA 2K21 next gen which, I would say, is one of the games that truly take advantage of the PS5’s new graphical capabilities in terms of photo-realistic graphics.

I’m not really that big a fan of first-person shooters (FPS) so I don’t own such a game but from the games I’ve played so far really feel enhanced thanks to the Q80Ts Game Mode.

When you fire up your PS5, the TV automatically switches to Game Mode which not only calibrates the picture quality to be optimal for gaming, it also has AMD FreeSync to reduce screen tearing and stuttering.

Is it your GadgetMatch?

The unit that Samsung graciously lent me is the 55-inch one but you can go as big as 85-inches. Pricing are as follows:

Name Size SRP (in PhP) Net Cash (in PhP)
QA85Q80TAGXXP 85” 299,999 249,999
QA75Q80TAGXXP 75” 239,999 199,999
QA65Q80TAGXXP 65” 129,999 104,999
QA55Q80TAGXXP 55” 85,999 69,999

So first, you have to determine which TV size suits your space and your budget. After which, the decision should be pretty easy.

If, like me, most of your entertainment comes from streaming, this TV’s entire design was made for it. From the remote control to the UI, it’s a streaming entertainment heaven. If you still have cable subscription, the remote still does let you easily jump channels.

If you’re concerned about picture quality and future proofing, the Samsung 4K QLED Q80T knocks it out of the park. It’s ready for next gen gaming and delivers one of the absolute best home cinema experiences.

Reviews

vivo Y16 review: The basics turned classy

Budget phones look like this now

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vivo Y16

The competition for the best smartphone gets tighter by the minute. If you’ve been up-to-date with tech news, you’ll notice that more smartphones are being released. And the features just keep getting better.

Many of us aspire to have these latest and greatest smartphones. But let’s be honest, not all of us can afford it. 

So what can we get our hands on that’s possibly within the budget? We have here the newest member of the vivo’s Y series this year — the vivo Y16. 

Now let’s check out what this new player can offer us.  

Dazzling design in Drizzling Gold

vivo Y16

One thing that vivo’s been consistent with is how they make their smartphones look and feel premium, even the ones belonging in the budget range. 

The 8.19mm-slim Y16 weighing 183g really feels premium, especially with its 2.5D curved flat frame that makes it comfortable to grip. 

vivo Y16

I also understand why people can’t help but glance at it especially when I’m using it outdoors because its design is striking, especially this Drizzling Gold variant that we have. When hit with light perfectly, its design actually makes it seem like I’m holding a piece of the sun. 

I also prefer smartphones that are not fingerprint magnets. Even if I’m using a flagship phone, I tend to dislike it when I see fingerprint smudges all over its body. So I was really pleased that the Y16 is smear-free no matter how sweaty my hands get. 

Decently sized display but colors could be improved

vivo Y16

Up front, the vivo Y16 comes with a 6.51-inch 720p Fullview Display with a dewdrop notch. While I do like its size, I noticed that the colors do seem a bit washed out. This is more noticeable when side by side with other phones, nonetheless, it was still an enjoyable experience to watch music videos on it.

The bottom bezel is noticeably thicker than the rest which makes the screen look more dated paired with the notch.

vivo Y16

I did walk around Baguio City and BGC with this and found that it was a bit of a struggle to use it outdoors, especially on sunny days.

Mediocre Performance but tons of storage

vivo Y16

Under the hood, the vivo Y16 comes with the Media Helio P35 octa-core processor, 4GB + 1GB Extended RAM storage and 128GB of internal storage. Which is quite refreshing to me since most phones I’ve encountered in this level are commonly just 32 and 64GB variants. 

Not being a big gamer, I did try to play a few games such as Asphalt 9 and Crash on the Run while I was out at BGC and the experience was mostly pleasant.

vivo Y16

It does have vivo’s Multi-Turbo 5.5 performance gaming mode which optimizes the phone as it is running games. I’m guessing this may have contributed to reducing stuttering and lag so I was able to play smoothly. 

In addition, it also has what vivo calls an Ultra Game Mode. It lets users experience 4D Game Vibration, mute and block incoming calls, and hide visual notifications. To add in having a more immersive and focused gameplay.

vivo Y16

But ironically, it was when I was not playing that I noticed that the phone’s performance was not as snappy and fast as I wanted it to be. 

I often notice that there’s a bit of delay while swiping, tapping and opening apps. It didn’t affect my usage and productivity that much but I just really can’t help but notice it. 

Capable camera by day, needs improvement by night 

vivo Y16

We’re very much familiar with the fact that vivo is well established in the smartphone camera scene especially with its flagship phones. But even in the entry-level spectrum, vivo did not underwhelm. 

A dual camera setup with 13MP main rear camera and 2MP macro camera is loaded in the Y16.

I used it as my secondary shooter during our 3-day trip in Baguio and the photos taken with decent lighting actually look pretty good. Colors looked natural and the photos didn’t look badly processed and saturated.

 

vivo Y16

While taking snaps at Camp John Hay, photos even looked better when I adjusted the exposure a bit. This worked well with its HDR mode which I found to be effective in capturing the bright sky and keeping the whole image nicely exposed.

vivo Y16

vivo Y16

Personally, I think they’re very usable despite not having a bunch of megapixels unlike its contemporaries. I was quite pleased with the outcome that I can consider posting it on socials without much needed tweaking. 

Selfies taken with the 5MP front camera looked okay. But I did feel it needed a bit of editing on Snapseed before posting as that seemed a bit dull.

As for night shots, the Y16 didn’t have a dedicated Night Mode so you can only shoot in standard photo mode. We gave it a try and did a short photowalk before heading back to the hotel and as we had expected, photos looked grainy.

 

Adequate battery life 

vivo Y16

We started our days early when we were in Baguio. So. it was quite commendable that its 5000mAh battery lasted me throughout the day. That’s with me using the phone mostly for photos, a bit of web browsing, and listening to music. Oh and also there’s navigating around the city. 

Getting back to the hotel, I still had around 20 to 30 percent battery. I didn’t need to immediately reach for the charger. When I juiced it up with its 10W charger in the morning, it took a little over two hours to be fully charged. Seemed pretty standard for its rated battery capacity. 

Is the vivo Y16 your GadgetMatch? 

vivo Y16

The vivo Y16 may not have many remarkable features aside from its mesmerizing design and sizable memory. However, there really isn’t too much that we can demand from devices that are within its price range.

The Y16 has a capable battery. It has hardware that is enough to do light gaming and media consumption. Plus, nice enough cameras that lets you keep memories through beautiful photographs. 

vivo Y16

If you’re looking for a smartphone that’s within your budget and your criteria fit everything that we mentioned, then surely the vivo Y16 deserves to be among the options for you to choose from. 

The vivo Y16 retails at PhP 7,999 for its 4GB + 32GB variant. The 4GB + 128GB variant retails for PhP 8,499  and is available in Drizzling Gold and Stellar Black. 

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POCO M5 review: No need to break the bank

More than just a gaming phone

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Gaming is usually an expensive hobby. Between new hardware and pricey games, it’s too common to feel broke as a gamer. However, buying into gaming shouldn’t always break the bank. If you’re a mobile gamer, the world now has options to feed your habit without feeling guilty. Earlier this month, POCO launched a new gaming smartphone for budget-conscious gamers — the POCO M5. Now, almost a month after the launch, let’s see how the phone holds up.

Big but light

Boasting a 6.58-inch screen, the POCO M5 is quite hefty. However, despite the size, the phone is a few millimeters narrower than my main driver. It’s gigantic but not uncomfortably so. Of course, size is a great aspect to boast for a gaming phone. Watching Netflix is more than enjoyable on the POCO M5.

Adding to that, the smartphone is remarkably light for its size. Weighing in at just 201 grams, it sits comfortably on my hand while I’m either watching or playing.

As for other design quirks, the smartphone does take some creative liberties behind the screen. Instead of a smooth back, the rear has a leathery texture, adding to a premium feel. Also, like the Pixel 6 series, it sports a camera island that wraps around the entire width of the rear panel. However, unlike the aforementioned Google flagship, the island doesn’t protrude as much, making for a pleasantly stable surface.

Gaming on a budget

Armed with the MediaTek Helio G99 octa-core processor, the POCO M5 is capable of holding its own weight. Besides the processor, it also has up to 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage (expandable through a microSD slot). It’s not quite a flagship, but it’s enough to get the job done.

Everyday operations — browsing, texting, taking photos — felt seamless. The smartphone never felt slow or laggy — at least during non-gaming sessions.

Unfortunately, the phone’s gaming capabilities fall a bit short from “true gaming phone” territory. While Genshin Impact (which the phone came installed with) played well, meatier games like Diablo Immortal did run into some lag spikes. Thankfully, it’s not a huge downside. Despite playing in low to medium settings, Diablo Immortal played well enough to get through an hour of unbridled gameplay.

Heat wasn’t an issue, either. After playing through an hour, the smartphone never really got hot enough to an uncomfortable level. Plus, with a plastic case, the heat simmered down to lukewarm levels. It might be different during a hot summer day, but the transition between summer to fall is a good time to have this phone.

Taken with the POCO M5

An impressive camera for its price

For a phone with an affordable price tag, the POCO M5 carries an impressive camera combination. Sporting a 50-megapixel main sensor and two 2-megapixel macro/depth sensors, the smartphone can deliver photos that are good enough for the ‘gram.

Taken with the POCO M5

Under bright to overcast lighting situations, photos offered substantial detail and contrast. In fact, it was enough to go up against my Pixel 6. Of course, it doesn’t do as much for less-than-stellar lighting conditions. Regardless, it does remarkably well for its price point.

For example, I took the phone to a live show. The photos were a delight. Although, if you zoom in enough, you can spot some pixelation. It doesn’t matter as much, especially since the photo itself is still impressive.

Taken with the POCO M5

Similarly, the phone does well enough for night shots. Taking photos required stable hands, of course, but the photos were decent. A well-lit photo at night is more than enough for a phone of this caliber.

Gaming all day

With a huge 5000mAh battery, the POCO M5 lasted more than a day. The battery does well for everyday use and some moderate gaming on the side. Further, I tried an all-day screen test with the phone. Despite being on for an entire day (that is, from 5AM to 10PM), the smartphone still had more than a quarter of its battery left.

Charging is standard. With a fast 18W charging standard, the phone filled up to 100 from 15 percent in around 90 minutes.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Coming in black, green, or yellow, the POCO M5 is available now starting at EUR 189 (going up to EUR 229 for the highest trim). For its price point, the new smartphone is a worthy purchase if you’re looking to game on a budget. And that’s without the additional frills you’re enjoying.

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vivo Y35 review: Y series upgraded

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vivo Y35

We know that the Y series is vivo’s entry-level line of smartphones and is among their highest selling variants to date. So, it does feel confusing that the vivo Y35 still belongs in this category as a lot of its features already belong to a higher class. 

It has everything a Y series should be but also a lot to take it to the next level.

That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss as we talk more about the identity crisis this phone is having and why it actually is pretty good.

Specs

A quick recap of the specs before we proceed. The vivo Y35 is running on the Snapdragon 680 chipset with 8GB RAM plus 8GB of extended RAM, it also has a large internal storage of 256GB and is being powered by a 5,000mAh battery with a 44W Flash Charge.

Designed like a Y series and that means beautiful

vivo Y35

The way this phone is designed looks and feels almost exactly like vivo’s other entry-level offerings. It’s not necessarily a bad thing since their designs are recognizably attractive and are pretty well built.

With this one, the size feels slightly thicker and heavier on the hands. It can be both a blessing and a curse especially for people with bigger hands. I like that it feels a bit chunky. It makes it easier to grip though it also bulges a bit in my pants’ pocket.

vivo Y35

It’s commendable that for a relatively affordable phone, I feel proud to bring out even in sophisticated engagements. Contrasting the camera module’s dark gray mirror finish with the Dawn Gold colorway of the whole body is picture-perfect.

Plus, I greatly appreciate that they finally went with a matte textured back case which doesn’t attract smudges.

Responsive Display 

vivo Y35

If you place the Y35 side by side with other budget phones from vivo, you’ll probably think they’re all using the same screens. Most of them still have a chin and a dew drop front camera design. But on paper, most of them slightly differ. 

The one on the Y35 is a 6.58-inch, full HD+, IPS display but now boasts a 90Hz refresh rate. So it does feel a bit more responsive adding to its overall user experience.

vivo Y35

Given that this isn’t AMOLED, we can’t expect it to have the same vibrance of that kind. But at least the viewing angles are decent and colors are nicely saturated.

Outdoor usage may be a bit of a struggle but not to the point that it gets annoying.

Battery and Charging is its best feature

One of the highlights on the Y35 is its fast charging capabilities. vivo claims this phone can charge up to 70 percent in just 34 minutes. It’s quite unusual to experience in this category of smartphones.

Based on my personal test, the 44W Flash Charge on this was able to get a 20 percent increase in just ten minutes of charging. And from 15 percent, it took a whole hour and two minutes for it to get fully charged.

Not entirely the same as vivo’s claims but still remarkably fast. Especially if we consider that most entry-level phones do take more than two hours to get fully charged.

This means we can now change our overnight charging habit to just charging before we prepare ourselves for leaving the house.

vivo Y35

Battery performance was also fairly good. I managed to use this mostly on data connection, streaming a whole bunch of YouTube videos in a four-hour bus trip to Baguio and I ended the whole day still with 58 percent battery remaining.

That’s pretty decent for a 5,000 mAh battery if you ask me.

Built for Multi-Tasking 

vivo Y35

Aside from the large RAM and storage, there really isn’t much to go crazy about the Y35’s hardware and performance. Apps run more or less the same as other Snapdragon 680 powered phones. But the benefits of having more RAM is quite noticeable.

It can surely handle running apps side by side on multi-window mode but not absurdly responsive. It also manages to return to apps I have running in the background without having to wait for it to load all over again.

vivo Y35

I assume games may have also benefited from the large available RAM as Call of Duty: Mobile is able to run lag-free at very high settings with high FPS enabled. 

vivo Y35

But I feel that among the games I’ve tried, Genshin Impact had a more significant benefit from its specs. Despite being very demanding, the Y35 seemed pretty comfortable handling this game at its default setting with no noticeable slowdowns.

At medium setting, slowdowns did become evident but dropping a few settings to low made the game run at nearly its full speed. I even managed to configure some settings to a combination of high graphic options and this worked out pretty well, too.

Cameras that take Insta-worthy snaps 

vivo Y35

Like the display, I was also expecting the camera to be the exact same one that came with the Y35’s more affordable siblings. With 50MP for its main camera, 2MP bokeh shooter, 2MP macro camera and 16MP selfie camera, on paper, these do seem very similar.

But having the chance to use a lot of them, I can say that that isn’t the case. Image quality has improved but not so drastically.

 

 

 

 

It often gets the colors where I want them and looks Insta-worthy but so long as we manually adjust the exposure slider. Not doing so will mostly result in an overly exposed image which isn’t too appealing.

I noticed that it still has difficulty capturing details in background subjects like leaves of trees. However, I may belong in the minority who actually likes the look of its softness. It kind of reminds me of old digicams which make some shots feel nostalgic if that makes sense.

What I really liked was the ability to recover quickly after taking a shot. I think this could also be a product of its hardware specs and not the camera itself. Whatever it is, it helps ease shooting. The Y35 manages to snap at fast moving subjects allowing me to catch candid moments as it happens.

Is the vivo Y35 your GadgetMatch?

vivo Y35

Priced at PhP 14,999 as of writing, the vivo Y35 does seem to be pushing against the boundaries of the entry-level category. For just a little bit more, a lower mid-range phone isn’t too far off which would likely be better in most cases.

Having this consideration in mind, I think the Y35 would be an ideal fit for people eyeing a budget phone who are willing to stretch their pockets a bit for more features.

vivo Y35

It’s fast enough for daily tasks and games. and is capable of capturing the moment with its decent cameras. It’s also a fast and vibrant display, and best of all, it charges fast and won’t easily die down on you. Plus it also looks really nice, albeit with the notch design.

Basically, it’s a phone that gets the job done with a few extras here and there. Maybe vivo can consider calling this a Y series Plus or Pro? 

The vivo Y35 is available in Dawn Gold or Agate Black colors at their Shopee, Lazada, Tiktok Shop and vivo e-store and all vivo Concept stores nationwide.

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