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.

Reviews

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro Unboxing & Review: About Time!

Killer specs at a reasonable price

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It seems like Google’s Pixel 5 announcement didn’t stop Xiaomi from announcing their newest Mi 10T series.

As confusing as it might be, the new Mi 10T Pro is the successor to Mi 9T Pro, last year’s popular midranger. But the thing is, Xiaomi’s newest phone isn’t a midrange device anymore.

Packed with Snapdragon 865, set of brilliant cameras, and a gaming-centric 144Hz display, the new Mi 10T Pro might just be establishing a new smartphone category with flagship-tier specs at a midranger’s price.

Curious to find out what was added and removed? Watch our review of the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro here.

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Samsung Galaxy S20 FE Unboxing and Review: Not What You Think!

Samsung’s answer to their pricey flagship smartphones

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Galaxy S10e, S10 Lite, and the Galaxy S20 FE, three phones meant for the less tech-savvy consumers. Samsung may not be consistent with naming their phones, but they’re still consistent in giving fans the best of specs.

The Galaxy S20 FE is a follow-up to Samsung’s S20 Series — packed with no-compromise specs at a reasonable price. But in order to bring down costs, they have to make adjustments for it to have a retail value just below the US$ 700 mark.

Are these cuts acceptable for it to be called as one of 2020’s “cheapest” flagship smartphones?

You can watch our Samsung Galaxy S20 FE review by clicking this link.

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realme 7 Pro review: A real deal

Supercharging their way into the action

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realme has gone aggressive in attracting attention for their smartphones. There’s always something that they bring to the table, either new features or just an incredibly-built smartphone. Now, they have another new smartphone that will surely capture the public at lightning-fast speeds — the realme 7 Pro.

The realme 7 Pro is the company’s latest entry into a more powerful space. It’s power, like most smartphones, would come from the hardware it possesses. However, there’s much more that this phone actually offers apart from power. In essence, it strives to give you the best smartphone possible.

So how does the “best smartphone possible” actually stack up? Here’s what the realme 7 Pro offers:

It has a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED display

The rear cameras are powered by the 2nd generation Sony IMX682 sensor

There is an in-screen fingerprint reader at the lower portion of the display

It comes in either Mirror Silver or Mirror Blue

Provides some excellent performance across the board

It was a joy using the realme 7 Pro, and it’s not just for the most part. The phone comes with the Snapdragon 720G octa-core processor inside, which ideally grants it great performance. Whether it was browsing social media, watching videos, or playing games, I genuinely felt how incredibly fast this phone is.

Along with the 8GB of RAM given to the phone, I felt no lags doing my normal phone routine. That Super AMOLED display provided great color accuracy and a bright enough screen to bring outdoors. I was able to watch some YouTube videos and Netflix shows even with the sun shining bright.

I’d also like to give huge props to realme’s UI and how it’s fully optimized for all use cases. The enhancements it brought while I was playing Call of Duty: Mobile gave me a smooth gameplay experience. And this was already on top of the powerful processor and high-enough RAM.

Supercharging is the star of the show

This device comes with a 65W SuperDart Charge brick, which ideally charges the phone up to 42% within a matter of 10 minutes. They’ve even mentioned during a forum that you can charge it to 30% in a matter of 7 minutes. At first, to me it seemed too good to be true — until I tried to replicate these exact figures.

As it turns out, I actually got to about 29% from 0% within 7 minutes — and that’s pretty fast. I stretched it all the way to time a 30-minute charge, and I got close to 78% within that time. In essence, you can use your phone almost instantly the moment you drain it to zero. Based on my experience, it takes a long while to do that.

With a 4,500 mAh battery inside, the realme 7 Pro takes more than a day before you could fully use it up. I played games on it for 6 hours, watched high-resolution (up to 4K for some) videos, browsed social media, and listened to music on the phone. Yet, after doing all of these activities, I still had about 16% left. Basically, this is one long lasting phone that charges incredibly fast!

The camera work is just as great, and deserves some love

Perhaps the second best thing that the realme 7 Pro wants to present are its cameras. In particular, the rear camera comes with a 2nd generation Sony IMX682 sensor at 64MP. Along with a supposedly enhanced Nightscape feature, this phone can also take high quality images in the dark.

For the most part, this was the case when I took photos with it. Image quality is pretty excellent, without rendering anything in a blurred or grainy fashion. I appreciate it even more that sometimes, even when zooming in the objects are pretty clear.

Captured with HDR on

When using Night Mode and the Nightscape AI feature, it showed color-vibrant images while sacrificing some detail.

Captured with Pro Nightscape

 

Captured with Pro Nightscape and adjust brightness

The 32MP selfie camera, I’m happy to report, was also a joy to use. Again, for the most part, image quality is fantastic as it captured even small facial features. However, I don’t recommend taking selfies in relatively total darkness if you use Night Mode.

Captured with Nightscape on

As far as shooting videos, you can shoot up to 4K resolution at 60 FPS with the rear camera. Video quality is great and all due to the active stabilization features the camera offers. However, I honestly feel it’s best to have your own physical stabilizer just to be safe.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 17,990 (US$ 371), the realme 7 Pro ticks all the boxes of a quality smartphone. It provides great performance across the board, takes really great pictures, and lasts for a long time. Even if you run out of juice, the SuperDart Charge brick simply won’t allow that to happen.

I honestly think that it deserves to have its TUV Rheinland Smartphone Reliability verified. For most common use cases, there’s really nothing else you would complain about. If anything, my only minor complaint is that the selfie camera is placed at the top left.

Overall, this smartphone offers, what is essentially, the real deal. It gives you everything you want out of any decent smartphone, but supercharges it for the best experience.

SEE ALSO: realme 7 review | realme Buds Q hands-on


BUY THE REALME 7 PRO HERE

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