Reviews

Samsung Galaxy A71 review: Worth giving a try

A well-rounded phone who can do the job

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When you’re accustomed to familiarity, it’s difficult to try something new. Such is the case when the Samsung Galaxy A71 landed on my hands.

There was hesitation, as I’ve been using Huawei as my daily driver since 2016, and it became my comfort zone since then.

But this year, I promised myself to do things that make me uncomfortable. Being proactive, I took a risk and tried a Samsung smartphone, not because it’s my job to review a device, but because I want to see if it’s actually worth a try.

Totally crushing on it

Samsung offers the Galaxy A71 in three different colors: Prism Crush Blue, Prism Crush Black, and Prism Crush Silver. This particular model we’re reviewing comes in Prism Crush Blue, and I’m totally crushing on it.

This may not pair well with most of my clothes, but it certainly matches my pastel-colored face masks from Leaders Cosmetics — a South Korean brand just like Samsung — which you can buy from Watsons and CNA.

This makes me happy, seeing how I want my stuff to follow a certain palette. I may be a neutral guy when it comes to fashion, but I’m all in for pastel products. If you’re obsessed with K-Culture, a pair of Korean brands can make your heart happy.

Inducing a love-at-first-sight feeling

The Samsung Galaxy A71 comes in a refreshing design, following Samsung’s new design language this 2020. It has a rectangular camera module, with its camera lenses forming an L-shape position.

Its back comes with subtle diagonal cutouts and varying opacity, embellished with subtle stripe patterns. It’s adorned by prism shining in certain angles, which has been a staple in the Galaxy A series.

This phone looks polished and premium, thanks to its “glasstic” design. Anyone can be fooled by how stunning the Galaxy A71 is, seeing how it looks marvelous — both from a distance and up close. It might spark a “love at first sight” feeling to consumers currently looking for a smartphone.

Subtlety is attractive

What makes the Galaxy A71 look upscale isn’t its refined back design. It’s the combination of tiny details — something we can’t figure out when we like someone. When you thoroughly look into the little things, you realize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that attractive piece keeps you hung up.

In Galaxy A71’s case, it’s the combination of glass and glasstic design, and thoughtful curves and frames. The phone shines and reflects like a premium smartphone. Even the buttons are subtle, blending well with the frame.

On the left side, you can find the sim tray which can fit up to two SIMs and a memory card. Found on its right side are the volume and power keys, which you can also use for taking screenshots.

Meanwhile, the bottom has the mouthpiece, speaker grilles, USB-C port, and audio jack — an important feature that’s becoming a luxury now.

Something you might want to hold

The Galaxy A71 is massive, especially for my standards. Having tiny hands made me hate how most phones have been getting bigger throughout the years, and the Galaxy A71 is still on that trend. Fortunately, Samsung kept a slim and lightweight profile for this smartphone.

It’s easy to grip and hold, unlike other massive smartphones. Removing the discomfort in my experience made this phone look and feel top-end, and that’s what we need from most smartphones now.

It won’t be massive if it wasn’t for its 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display. Thankfully, it’s adorned with round corners and almost symmetrical bezels making it seem soft and pleasant to look at. Additionally, the earpiece grille is subtly situated between the frame and screen.

Thoughtfully crafted

Coupled with a flattened Gorilla Glass 3, there are no sharp edges. Samsung thoughtfully crafted the front design and its display, allowing users to focus on the experience.

For instance, the ambient light sensor is placed behind the screen, and there are no LED indicators for your notifications. However, the Galaxy A71 supports an Always-On Display.

The only downside is its punch-hole housing the 32-megapixel selfie shooter. I mostly use bright wallpapers, and I can’t help but look at the punch-hole. It’s highly disturbing since it’s actually bigger than the pimples I get in my face whenever I pull an all-nighter at work. But that might just be me nit-picking.

Keeps you entertained

Combining the Galaxy A71’s awesome screen and lightweight profile, you can expect a breezy experience when it comes to entertainment.

I spent my weekends catching up with Crash Landing On You on Netflix, and my arms never felt strained and numbed. It’s definitely a treat to watch using this phone and enjoy an immersive, vivid experience.

Its audio is loud but gets cranky. If you can’t live without music, it’s best to use the wired earphones that come in the box, or even better, a Galaxy Buds which pair easily. I barely used its speakers, and I only do when I’m dancing to BLACKPINK in the bathroom.

Speaking of which, the Galaxy A71 doesn’t have any ingress protection (or IP rating) so keep it out of the water — unless you have a safe space for your phone. Until then, don’t risk it.

Keeps you safe and secure

One of the biggest concerns right now is privacy and security. In this age, the one who prioritizes its users’ safety is the winner in the long run. Thankfully, Samsung is doing its best to keep everyone secure.

For starters, you can unlock the Galaxy A71 through different screen locks such as pattern, pin, and password. You can also access it through biometrics like an optical under-screen fingerprint sensor — which is slow and far from perfect.

A lot of times, I have to tap my on the screen thrice before I can unlock it, which is why I opted for face recognition. It’s a hundred times faster, and you have the option to require open eyes during facial recognition for added security.

Moreover, any Samsung phone has the ability to protect you from apps, viruses, and malware. It regularly updates its security and policies, thanks to its exclusive Samsung Knox.

A phone you can rely on

The Galaxy A71 runs on Android 10 and One UI 2.0. Navigating between apps is seamless and buttery smooth. Every time I glide my fingers, it feels like I’m caressing a harp or a piano.

Additionally, it runs on Snapdragon 730, offering near-flagship power. I barely encountered any hiccups throughout my usage, but some apps are quite heavy which creates a bit of delay. However, I temper my expectations when it comes to midrange smartphones.

The Galaxy A71 allowed me to multitask. Seamlessly switching from Slack to Google’s suite of apps to a multitude of social media platforms — Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — all while playing Spotify on the background. What else can I ask for?

I was able to play Black Desert Online, too. This South Korean MMORPG requires intensive graphics and power to run, and I was able to play it even in the highest settings possible — with no lags and delays experienced. Honestly, the Galaxy A71 has the right amount of power needed for most consumers like me.

It’s here for the long run

These days, we need something that won’t give up on us. The Galaxy A71 packs a 4,500mAh battery — which can last for a whole day (or night), with enough juice to keep you going. On one occasion, I went out of the office at 6PM with 100 percent battery.

Throughout the night, I sipped my favorite Starbucks cold brew, went to a Korean grill restaurant, took selfies, went on an upload spree on social media, drank beer, and caught up with my friends all while keeping my mobile data on.

Afterward, I arrived home at 2 AM with a whopping 60 percent battery. How great is that? It also comes with a 25W Fast Charging adapter and a USB-C to USB-C cable, and it only took an hour and a few to fully charge my phone when I reached 10 percent the next day.

Captures every moment

The Galaxy A71 has a promising quad-camera setup: a 64-megapixel main camera, 12-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel depth, and 5-megapixel macro. It comes with every smartphone’s camera staples like portrait mode (or live focus), night mode, panorama, macro, pro, super slow-mo, slow motion, hyperlapse, and food.

Taking every bit of its camera mode entails a different story. Such is the case for 64-megapixel photos, which we’ll be publishing on a shootout. For now, let’s take a look at how the Galaxy A71 fares with regular shots in different lighting conditions.

If you swipe through the photos above, you can see how Samsung’s color balance is mainly cool. It inaccurately depicts the scenery. Food shots — even when using Food mode — still capture a cooler vibe. This makes it difficult to post on your social media since food photos have to be warmer to look tasty and appetizing. Thankfully, there are photo-editing apps like VSCO and Lightroom to help you balance and polish the look in accordance with your aesthetics.

Moreover, its macro lens doesn’t capture enough details. It’s difficult to take close-ups, and you have to put your lens too close to your food. The best thing to do is to take flat lays and angled shots by the window, for an appetizing shot.

To more travels with you

The Galaxy A71 might be a downer when it comes to color balance and taking close-ups, but it’s a contender when it comes to wide-angle photos.

For more samples, just swipe the photos below.

If you analyzed it, wide-angle photos take better details and produce richer colors. The distortion is also useful in cramped and open spaces.

Selfies that will make you smile

The Galaxy A71 houses a 32-megapixel front shooter, allowing you to capture regular and wide-angle selfies. You can also use Live Focus for DSLR-like portrait modes, which actually suck because portrait modes are half-baked up to this date. If you’re meaning to capture better-looking portraits, forget portrait mode and read this trick.

During daylight, the Galaxy A71 performs marvelously. It captures great details, and you can temper it down by turning on Beauty Mode, with a Level 1 intensity. Just don’t go high, though, since you’ll look like a painting.

In low and bad lighting conditions, the Galaxy A71 struggles in taking awesome photos, particularly when you use Beauty Mode, as seen on my selfie with two pretty ladies during Ben&Ben’s concert.

But when exposed to proper lighting, the Galaxy A71 can provide a decent selfie whether it’s an indoor or outdoor shot. The only problem you’ll encounter is the higher contrast and strong blacks.

Nonetheless, no one will care about the nitty-gritty of your selfies. People will only look at how beautiful and amazing you are, and most people just want to be able to take selfies that make them feel awesome.

Every moment can be perfect

The Galaxy A71 can record videos — from 1080p to 2160p, and even 4K. Below is a sample video of our Producer, Vincenz Lee, during his travels in Jakarta with the Galaxy A71.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a solid smartphone, the Galaxy A71 is a good choice albeit with a higher price tag. For PhP 22,990, Samsung is sitting on a sweet spot, making itself ten times better than phones in almost similar price tags like the Vivo V17 Pro and OPPO Reno 2F. On the other hand, those who are looking for flagship power at an affordable price might consider the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro.

Still, the Galaxy A71 is a well-rounded phone. Just like how it was advertised, it really has an awesome screen, awesome camera, and long-lasting battery life. If you want an upscale-looking phone which takes awesome photos, coupled with stellar experience and a battery that’ll keep up with you, then you have your GadgetMatch.

If you’re still iffy about trying this phone out, remember that sometimes, we need to be open to new flavors and experiences. After all, we might be missing a lot if we shy away because something (or someone) isn’t entirely our type.

Accessories

Lenovo ThinkVision M14T: Elevate productivity on-the-go

Ultra portable and sexy looking device

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ThinkVision M14T

Many of us have gotten used to the convenience of multitasking on our computing devices. It’s just one of those things that helps make our daily grind much more manageable and efficient. With today’s devices becoming more and more powerful, simultaneously running apps on your phones and a number of browser tabs and windows have become second nature to us. 

With desktop computers having ultra wide monitors and multiple desktop displays, nowadays you can watch YouTube videos, browse social sites, and even do work on side by side opened windows.

Lenovo has brought that same experience to our portable devices with the Lenovo ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor

Ultimate portability 

The ThinkVision M14T is a 14-inch 1920x1080p resolution, touch screen, IPS display monitor. With much focus on portability, the ThinkVision M14T is just 4.6mm thin and weighs only 698g.

The moment I saw the actual device, my initial impression was just wow. Its sleek and ultra slim form factor with that glossy 14-inch display wrapped with slim bezels just looked impressive. However, that impression faded away quickly.

As I picked up the unit from the box, handling it felt fragile. It is so slim and light that I was afraid to place it anywhere with fear that I might accidentally break it. To address that, a soft pouch does come with the package for its protection. Though, without a dedicated hard case, I wonder if it may actually survive being stored in my bag along with other things.

As easy as Plug and Play

Searching the contents of the box, I was thinking if Lenovo just forgot to pack the power brick in the box because it just didn’t come with one. No, it wasn’t a mistake. The ThinkVision M14T monitor requires only a single USB-C cable to get power, touch or pen input signal and a display signal from its source. 

Plugging it in the USB-C port of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13 laptop, the ThinkVision M14T was instantly detected. And with a press of the power button, the M14T was up and running. I have to say, it amazes me that it is that convenient. Not having to need an external power source was like magic.

At 300 nits of brightness, the M14T’s IPS display panel is bright and vibrant. At its max brightness setting when paired with the ThinkPad X13, the ThinkVision M14T’s display seemed to overpower that of the X13, making the two look a bit unbalanced.

Its base folds out from the bottom of the monitor which acts as its stand. Opened out, the ThinkVision M14T felt stiff, solid and stable.

You can choose which side you’d want to plug your device as both the left and right sides of the base each have a USB-C input. On its right, we have the power button and on the left we have a brightness control switch. Sadly, no other input ports are available other than USB-C.

Precision and response as you like it

The M14T is not only a secondary touch screen display, you may also use it as a tablet complementary to your device with its interactive stylus. This means if you have a device that doesn’t have touch or pen input built-in, the ThinkVision M14T will give you just that.

By this time, most graphic tablet users must have already been exposed to stylus pens being rechargeable similar to the Apple Pencil. The stylus pen that comes with the M14T still uses a single and unusual type of battery (AAAA). Thankfully, a battery does come with the unit.

ThinkVision M14T

Having set my standards high on this aspect, I honestly didn’t expect this combo to perform as good as Wacom drawing tablets and the likes. To my surprise, as soon as I started writing, I immediately noticed how smooth its pen input was. With only minimal latency, the M14T’s stylus registers my movement almost instantly and its dedicated buttons are mapped automatically.

With the monitor folded down on a flat surface, it really did feel like I was doodling on an actual drawing tablet.

The M14T’s 10-point multi-touch input for touch gestures and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity with its stylus, graphic artists won’t be disappointed with this bundle.

ThinkVision M14T

Is the Lenovo ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor your GadgetMatch?

The ThinkVision M14T is by no means a perfect device. Having USB-C as the only display input option may have limited its potential for versatility of use. The stylus not having batteries built-in might raise some eyebrows too. But if you’re willing to live with its limitations, Lenovo still has managed to tick many of the right boxes with their ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor.

ThinkVision M14T

The convenience of having more screen real estate on the go and using a single cable for its operation is just a glorious experience. Ultra portability, decent brightness, good viewing angles, pen and touch input in such a sexy looking device, the M14T would be an ideal companion for just about anyone. 

The good most definitely outweighs the bad with Lenovo’s ThinkVision M14T.

Get the Lenovo ThinkVision M14T Portable Monitor for PhP 19,995.

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Nokia 2.4: Basic budget phone but can keep up

Dependable battery life and surprisingly decent camera shots

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Nokia 2.4

One of the main factors that we look for when choosing a mobile phone is getting the best value for our money, and certainly Nokia does not disappoint.

As they continue to make a stride in the country by offering competitive smartphones, they bring in another budget phone which is the fourth iteration of the Nokia 2 series — the Nokia 2.4.

Before we delve into the nitty gritty details, let’s take a look at the basic specs of Nokia 2.4 to get a glimpse on what you can expect.

Nokia 2.4
Display 6.5″ HD+ 20:9 1600 x 720 pixels
Processor Media Tek Helio P22
RAM + ROM 3GB + 64GB | MicroSD card slot supports up to 512GB
Cameras Dual Camera (13MP Main Camera + 2MP Depth Sensing)

5MP Front Camera

Battery 4,500mAh
Unlock Rear fingerprint scanner
Other connections Micro USB (USB 2.0), 3.5mm jack

A definite looker

As HMD Global is known for creating modern designs even for previous Nokia smartphones, the Nokia 2.4 is definitely stunning with its Charcoal Grey Nordic finish. Its shell may be made of out of painted polycarbonate, but the dual tone gradient and textured cover add plenty of grip and just spells quality.

Nokia 2.4

Up front, you’ll see the top selfie waterdrop-style notch which is actually a bit intrusive for my taste. The bezels surrounding its 6.5-inch HD+ display is also thicker than today’s standards but is barely noticeable as the screen already lets you maximize your viewing experience.

Nokia 2.4

One nice touch to the Nokia 2.4’s design is the Google Assistant button just below the SIM card slot on the left side of the phone. With just a click of a button, you can do quick searches, manage your tasks and get directions on the go.

Moving on to the back, it has a dual camera setup with 13MP as the main sensor and the 2MP sensor for depth, plus a single LED flash. Just below it, you can find the fingerprint sensor which is convenient for quicker unlocking.

But to my dismay, this phone uses a micro USB port, instead of a USB-C port for charging, which results to slower charging of up to 3 hours and slower file transfer.

Ready for what’s next

One major advantage of the Nokia 2.4 is that it’s part of Google’s Android One program which gave me a clean, vanilla Android user experience, free from bloatware that may take up memory and storage.

Nokia 2.4

The Nokia 2.4 is currently running on Android 10 but it will be upgraded to Android 11 when available as you can expect 2 years of software upgrades and 3 years of monthly security updates with this phone.

Passable performance

A bit on the downside, the Nokia 2.4 is not for multi-tasking and intensive games, as expected for a budget phone.

Using one app to another is quite a smooth experience but when I opened multiple apps, I experience a bit of lag and took some time for other apps to run.

As for video streaming, I watched a few episodes of Alice in Borderland and the quality was just acceptable as the phone doesn’t support 1080p videos.

Nokia 2.4

Gaming was also not its strongest feature, especially for graphic-intensive ones. I tried 3D gaming with Asphalt 9: Legends and it worked quite well on low graphics settings but when I shifted the settings to high, the game just crashed.

Nokia 2.4

Battery that lets you go on and on

 The news that leaked around July last year that the Nokia 2 series might even get a bigger battery, coming from the Nokia 2.3 that carries 4000mAh, was confirmed when Nokia 2.4 came with a 4500mAh battery.

Upon using it to navigate through my social media apps, answer a few emails, watch around 3-4 episodes of my current favorite Netflix series and get my music fix every now and then to get my mojo working, the phone lasted for around 2 days.

I fully charged it again and just left it open while still being connected to my Wi-Fi and the phone lasted four to five days. These factors definitely show that the Nokia 2.4 has a battery that you can definitely bank on.

Either day or night

As a budget phone, the Nokia 2.4 surprisingly gives one of the best camera experiences you can have for a phone at its price.

I took it out for a spin during my workout sessions and the primary lens can actually take good detailed photos during daylight while retaining natural colors, compared to Samsung budget phones that usually produce saturated ones.

The night mode of the Nokia 2.4 was also impressive since it was still quite usable in lower light conditions, product decent photos where details were still evident, and colors were still vivid.

Is this your Gadgetmatch?

At a retail price of PhP 6,990, the Nokia 2.4 is pretty competitive. Despite its shortcomings such as having just a passable performance when it comes to multi-tasking and gaming and mediocre display resolution, it makes up for it by its advantages.

If you’re some who prioritizes having a phone with a striking design, dependable battery life, takes surprisingly good camera shots and a promise of timely security updates and software upgrades, then the Nokia 2.4 can actually be your Gadgetmatch.

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Accessories

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Review: Better than AirPods Pro?

Finally, real Active Noise Cancellation out of the box

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Samsung has unveiled the newest Galaxy Buds Pro alongside the announcement of the latest Galaxy S21 series.

Other than the new design, better sound quality, and surround sound setup, there’s now a real and intelligent Active Noise Cancellation.

But do these earbuds live up to its ‘Pro’ branding? Watch our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro review by clicking the video link right here.

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