First Look

Samsung Galaxy A52 First look: Awesome and affordable?

The next phone you should set your eyes on!

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Samsung’s best-selling smartphone gets a refresh this year. Meet the Samsung Galaxy A52, the newest midrange headliner.

Launched together with the Galaxy A32 and Galaxy A72, the Galaxy A52 promises an “awesome” experience, brought by the newest Galaxy A Series.

Compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy A52 now comes with a matte haze finish and a camera bump matching the rest of the phone’s color. It doesn’t have the subtle diagonal cutouts embellished with subtle stripe patterns. Samsung traded the prism effect to create a premium appeal despite using a polycarbonate body.

It comes in four new colors: Awesome Black, Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet, and Awesome White. Frankly, we prefer the lighter colors since the Awesome Black is more prone to getting smeared by smudges. With the Galaxy A52 coated with a matte finish, you might struggle cleaning it, unlike glass bodies. Best case scenario: Slap a case on it to prevent smudges.

Definitely an awesome screen

The Galaxy A52 comes with a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel, capable of reaching 800 nits of brightness. It sports a 90Hz refresh rate, higher than the 60Hz refresh rate from last year’s models.

If you want the super-smooth 120Hz display, make sure to get the 5G variant of the A52. Yes, you read that right. There’s a Galaxy A52 5G, and it’s the one sporting that buttery smooth goodness you’ve been wanting.

Just like its sibling, it comes with Eye Comfort Shield, In-Display Fingerprint Scanner, and stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos.

Capture awesome

The Galaxy A52 sports a quad-camera system: a 64-megapixel main camera with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with a 123-degree field of view, a 5-megapixel dedicated macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. On its front, it houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera located on a punch-hole cut-out, the same as the Galaxy A72.

Galaxy A52 5G

You can enjoy shooting AI-processed photos, especially with Scene Optimizer to capture a shot appropriate for your scene and subject. There’s also a Night Mode for your usual low-light photography.

If you’re into videos, we’re happy to report that you can now enjoy a near-flagship experience. You can shoot 4K videos and pick a frame to turn it into an 8-megapixel photo. There’s also a Pro Video Mode.

Last but not the least, the new Galaxy A52 comes with Fun Mode. In partnership with Snapchat, Fun Mode hosts a whole bunch of AR filters built right into the camera app.

A stands for All the Essentials

The Galaxy A52 and A52 5G are equipped with a 4,500mAh battery. Samsung included a 15W charger and cable in the box, believing that the A-series will captivate users to switch to Galaxy. It promises two days of battery life, but you’ll have to wait for our review to find out.

It sports an octa-core processor, along with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. It also comes with a MicroSD slot that supports up to 1TB of storage. Running on Samsung’s One UI 3 based on Android 11, the Galaxy A52 promises four years of guaranteed security updates.

Awesomely affordable?

The Galaxy A52 retails for PhP 18,990 while the Galaxy A52 5G costs PhP 23,990 — the same as the Galaxy A72. Based on our impressions and initial usage, the Galaxy A52 5G might be Samsung’s new headliner, promising a solid experience while boasting a 120Hz refresh rate and 5G connectivity. Indeed, it’s going to be a near-flagship experience at an affordable package.

But for a PhP 5,000 difference between the LTE and 5G variant, are the added features worth it? Only our review can tell. Stay tuned!

24 Hours Series

First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14 Pro Max

Battery & Camera Champ?

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Just in time with the newest iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series, our First 24 hours series is back on track!

Aside from the usual one day usage, it’s also a great time to see the streets of New York, at least virtually.

With the new cameras of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (including a 48MP sensor),

is it suffice to say it’s worth upgrading to this year’s iPhone?

Here’s Michael Josh’s first 24 hours with the new iPhone 14 Pro Max for you to find out more.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 First 24 Hours

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First Look

Vibe Check: ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED

This one’s different

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Zenbook 17 Fold

We haven’t seen anything quite like this before. The ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED (which we’ll just call the Zenbook 17 Fold for brevity) is the first of its kind at its size.

Foldables aren’t new, especially to those who constantly follow tech news. Samsung has lorded over the foldable smartphone segment with its two device types – the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip. They are finally getting some competition in 2023 with the likes of OPPO, Xiaomi, and HONOR all gearing up to globally launch their own foldables. 

But that’s smartphones. In the laptop category, the closest thing we’ve seen to this is the ThinkPad X1 Fold. And while that’s promising, it still needs a few more iterations to be a really attractive option. 

The same is pretty much true with the Zenbook 17 Fold. At least, that’s the impression we got after spending a good hour with it. And that hour wasn’t even the full experience. The unit we had was an early engineering unit, so we can only really tell you so much from that brief experience.

Four modes

ASUS went out of their way to showcase how the Zenbook 17 Fold. While you can probably get more creative with it, here are four modes that are actually software supported. 

PC

Zenbook 17 Fold

In this mode, you prop up the Zenbook 17 Fold on a desk, table, or what-have-you, and use it with the accompanying bluetooth keyboard detached. It’s kind of like the tablet top mode of the Nintendo Switch but for an oversized foldable PC. 

Book

Zenbook 17 Fold

This one’s pretty straightforward. You can hold it horizontally and fold it mimicking the folding feeling of an actual book. I gotta say, at 1.50 kg (3.31 lbs) it’s got a bit of a heft to it so maybe holding it for a prolonged period of time isn’t advisable.

Laptop

Zenbook 17 Fold

In laptop mode, you only get to use half of the screen. What happens is you fold it halfway as if you’re using a laptop. And then you slap on the included keyboard on the bottom half. This gives you a generally smaller device – kind of like the netbooks from a decade ago. It’s a little cramped but is nice for working in tighter spaces.

Tablet

Zenbook 17 Fold

This one should be self explanatory as well. You simply open it up wide and use it as a true-blue oversized tablet. This is particularly great for media consumption. Can say we definitely enjoyed watching LOONA’s “Flip That” on this thing. 

Zenbook 17 Fold

And just look at LOONA Heejin occupying that much space on the FOLED (Foldable OLED) screen. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. 

Zenbook 17 Fold

It’s also worth noting that in landscape mode, the device will offer multiple split screen options for your multitasking needs.

What’s it packing?

 

We didn’t get to test it much, since, as mentioned earlier, it is an engineering unit. But here’s what the Zenbook 17 Fold is packing on paper to give you an idea. 

Operating System: 

  • Windows 11 Pro – ASUS recommends Windows 11 Pro for business
  • Windows 11 Home – ASUS recommends Windows 11 Pro for business

Processor: 

  • Intel® Core™ i7-1250U Processor 1.1 GHz (12M Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 2P+8E cores)

Graphics:

  • Intel® Iris Xe Graphics

Display: 

  • 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 FOLED 4:3 aspect ratio, 0.2ms response time, 500nits HDR peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 1,000,000:1, VESA CERTIFIED Display HDR True Black 500, 1.07 billion colors, PANTONE Validated, Glossy display, 70% less harmful blue light, Touch screen, Screen-to-body ratio: 87%
  • 17.3-inch, 2560 x 1920 FOLED 4:3 aspect ratio, 0.2ms response time, 60Hz refresh rate, 500nits HDR peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color gamut, 1,000,000:1, VESA CERTIFIED Display HDR True Black 500, 1.07 billion colors, PANTONE Validated, Glossy display, 70% less harmful blue light, Touch screen, Screen-to-body ratio: 87%

Memory: 

  • 16GB LPDDR5 on board, Total system memory upgradeable to:16GB

Storage:

  • 1TB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 4.0 Performance SSD

I/O Ports:

  • 2x Thunderbolt™ 4 supports display / power delivery
  • 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack

Keyboard and Touchpad:

  • Soft Keyboard, 1.4mm Key-travel, Touchpad

Camera:

  • 5.0M camera with IR function

Audio:

  • Smart Amp Technology
  • Built-in speaker
  • Built-in array microphone
  • harman/kardon (Premium)
  • with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition support

Network:

  • Wi-Fi 6E(802.11ax) (Dual band) 2*2 + Bluetooth 5

Battery and Power Supply:

  • 75WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion
  • TYPE-C, 65W AC Adapter, Output: 20V DC, 3.25A, 65W, Input: 100-240V AC 50/60GHz universal

Microsoft Office: 

  • 1-month trial for new Microsoft 365 customers. Credit card required.
  • Office Home and Student 2021 included
  • Microsoft 365 Personal 1-year included.*
  • *Activation required with 6-months of Windows activation date.
  • Microsoft Office Home & Business 2021

Pricing and availability details to follow.

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First Look

Vibe Check: realme 9 4G

Our eyes are ablaze in awe with this Sunburst Gold colorway!

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realme, the Philippines’ number one smartphone brand for 2021, has continued to deliver innovative technology to the midrange segment.

Its latest offering is the realme 9 (4G), yet another option joining the realme 9 lineup. We’ve got plenty of time to play around with this new smartphone, and our eyes are ablaze in awe with this Sunburst Gold colorway.

Golden like daylight

Hit me like the ray of sun, burning through my darkest night. (Beyoncé, is that you?)

Kidding aside, I like how the realme 9 (4G), especially in its Sunburst Gold and Stargaze White variants, came up with a Ripple Holographic design encompassing its rear body. They look like sand dunes, akin to waves of shining, shimmering gold found by Aladdin.

The design is subtle that when you use a clear case, you’ll think there’s nothing extra about this smartphone. But when you let the light shine on it, it glistens and exudes a beautiful pattern.

Midrange smartphones usually forsake their design language to focus on battery and performance — something that budget-conscious consumers prefer.

But realme is bringing back the charm of its previous smartphones from a few years ago: so beautifully designed you’ll forget they offer these devices at a cut-rate price.

I still fondly remember caressing the realme 5 back in 2019 which, frankly, is the best style that captures realme’s brand and positioning.

It wasn’t experimental; it was something that helped people remember who they are. Its successors played around with new designs, instead of polishing what was already working.

Beautifully designed

Going back to its rear, the realme 9 (4G) has an aesthetically-pleasing camera island, housing its 108MP ProLight Camera powered by a Samsung HM6 sensor, an 8-megapixel ultrawide camera with a 120-degree lens, and a 2-megapixel macro camera.

It has a 16-megapixel selfie camera housed in a punch-hole cutout.

The brand’s logo is seamlessly etched in the lower-left corner.

The bottom side sports the most important stuff: speaker grilles, microphone input, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack. Yey!

Power under that gorgeous hood

Upfront, the realme 9 (4G) sports a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. We appreciate how realme puts a high refresh rate for people who simply want to game because they’re the ones who benefit the most from the feature.

With a Snapdragon 680 chipset and an Adreno 610 GPU, you can play heavy-duty games like Genshin Impact, Call of Duty, and Asphalt 9. It’s the same processor housed in most gaming-oriented budget smartphones for under US$ 300.

But let’s be real: this smartphone is perfect for multitasking and casual, everyday use. Its performance is seamless across different apps, thanks to its 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage, which you can expand up to 256GB via a microSD card. More importantly, it offers a Dynamic RAM Expansion (DRE) of up to 5GB if you need extra memory.

It also comes with long-lasting battery life due to its humongous 5000mAh battery. If there’s one thing that stayed consistent in realme’s midrange lineup, it’s the battery that stays with you throughout the day. When you pair it with a 33W Dart Charge, you can get the juice back up in an hour and a quarter.

The new realme UI 3.0 based on Android 12

Watch to your heart’s content

As mentioned before, the realme 9 (4G) uses a Super AMOLED display. Visuals are definitely bright, vivid, and vibrant. It’s easy to watch even under broad daylight since the display delivers up to 1000 nits of brightness.

I remember using realme’s smartphones before and I have to step on a shade while I was in Boracay, simply because their previous devices deliver lower nits.

This time around, the realme 9 (4G) allowed me to watch my comfort shows to my heart’s content. Yes, I kept replaying Brooklyn Nine-Nine on Netflix whenever I’m sad or when I just need something familiar when everything around me is changing.

The realme 9 (4G) has a featherweight, slim body so it doesn’t put a strain on your hands when watching on a smartphone. That’s something to consider when you’re the type of person who keeps watching content while on the go.

Price and availability

The realme 9 (4G) retails for PhP 14,999 with a 6GB/128GB configuration. It’s available in all realme stores nationwide.

Vibe Check!

At a glance, the realme 9 (4G) has an inviting demeanor that makes you want to hold it. The experience is similar to most gaming-oriented budget smartphones, and you’ll have a good time using it for quite a while. But that’s where it ends.

When you factor in the overall experience with the realme 9 (4G), it doesn’t match with its competitors — offering better specifications and experience at the same price range. Some, even lower.

In a short amount of time, the realme 9 (4G) passed our vibe check. It’s worth checking out if you’re badly in need of a smartphone right away for your everyday needs.

But in the long run, being a 4G smartphone doesn’t serve any purpose if you live in a developing city — especially with 5G expanding its rollout and 6G is on the horizon, unveiling in a few years from now.

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