Smartphones

What we want to see on the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2

It can only get better

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By now you’ve all probably heard or read everything that people have to say about the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It certainly made several headlines in 2019 for various reasons.

While we do think it is a step in the right direction, we also believe it needed a bit more time in the oven. After spending roughly two weeks with the Galaxy Fold, here are a few things I wish would happen with the inevitable Galaxy Fold 2.

A form factor that makes more sense 

As it is now, when folded, the Galaxy Fold’s screen feels like it’s half a phone, and when unfolded it feels like it’s three-fourths of a tablet. This current form factor just isn’t it.

That’s really bad screen-to-body ratio

We’ve already seen reports of a Galaxy Fold that’s more of a phone and then folds into something smaller. Something reminiscent of the Motorola razr.

I don’t think that’s the only thing Samsung is doing. Best believe the direction is still to have something that’s a fully functioning smartphone when folded, and a full-sized tablet when unfolded.

Better app support

If they can figure out how to do this properly, that might solve many of the Fold’s shortcomings. For instance, as of writing, the Galaxy Fold doesn’t support the latest version of Netflix.

No Netlfix and chillin’ on this one :(

I was so excited to binge on this thing only to find out that, unfortunately, I can’t.

Because of the form-factor, some games also just do not look right. The controls on NBA 2K20 take up nearly half the screen. It’s nearly impossible to see what’s going on, making the whole experience just unenjoyable.

Controls completely blocking off a huge part of the screen

I guess it doesn’t make sense to have regular app updates for a device that only a handful of people own. That’s one of the major hurdles of foldables.

Take away that ugly notch

Whatever you’re watching, whatever you’re playing, it’s impossible to not notice the eyesore that is the front-facing camera. I also dread the punch-hole solution but that would have been way better than what we got.

Not a pretty sight

Make it thinner and lighter

The Galaxy Fold is just unwieldy. Sure, you can grip it with one hand when it’s folded but it’s a little too thick than what I’d like.

Hard to tell here because I have fat hands 😂

The tablet form is pretty much what you’d expect from other tablets when it comes to weight and thickness. Which might be an indication that the Galaxy Fold was first a tablet before a phone.

Here’s the folded Galaxy Fold next to a PS4 game’s Blu-ray case

Whatever the case is, a thinner and lighter version will be more than welcome.

Race to be the best

Everything I mentioned here are pretty much expected growing pains from a first-generation device. We don’t always get it right the first time and that’s okay.

Samsung can now claim they are the first to market this new device category. But will they also be the first one to perfect it? If they are the innovators they claim to be, then I wouldn’t be surprised if they completely re-imagine their approach to foldable devices.

For more thoughts on the Galaxy Fold read our hands-on. For some laughs, check this one out.

Camera Shootouts

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Mi 11: Camera Shootout

Camera duel between 2021’s newest smartphones

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Just recently, Xiaomi launched the Mi 11 outside China. We quickly tested it against Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra — which is one of the newest smartphone flagships around.

Again, this is a blind camera shootout with photos completely randomized. Someone in the comments section pointed it out and yes, it’s as clear as the sunny skies that this is like an examination where you have to jot don your picks on a piece of a paper (or through your notes app) and find out the answer at the latter part of the article.

As usual, no additional post-processing was done aside from compiling and resizing the photos. Let’s dive right into this camera battle!

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Comparing shots taken with natural light may look easy, but it’s harder than it seems — especially if we compare each phone’s HDR capabilities.

#1 (Ultra-Wide)

#2 (Ultra-Wide)

#3 (Wide)

Auto White Balance (AWB)

Some sensors might be created equal but when it comes to AWB, there are phones that accurately depict the scene you see in real life — and some that take it too far.

#4 (Daylight)

#5 (Sunset)

Saturation

AI and computational photography either make or break a photo’s saturation level.

#6 (Wide)

#7 (Wide)

#8 (Zoom)

Zoom

This is to test the limits of Mi 11’s zoom capabilities with one telephoto lens against the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s telephoto pair.

#9 (3x Zoom)

#10 (10x Zoom)

Macro

Although there are no dedicated macro lenses for both smartphones, taking macro shots was possible thanks to zoom.

#11

#12

Food

There’s always a better food shot between two different phones — and it clearly shows.

#13 (Wide)

#14 (Zoom)

Night Mode

To test both phone’s camera prowess, these were taken in a scene without sufficient lighting other than the night city line.

#15 (Ultra-Wide)

#16 (Wide)

#17 (Zoom)

Faces

A comparison for people who shoot a lot of selfies and portraits.

#18 (Selfie Portrait Mode)

#19 (Portrait Mode)

#20 (Night Portrait Mode)

Results

Have you made your final photo picks? Check out the results below:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra:

1A / 2A / 3A / 4B / 5A

6A / 7A / 8A / 9A / 10B

11B / 12B / 13B / 14B / 15B

16A / 17B / 18B / 19A / 20A

Xiaomi Mi 11:

1B / 2B / 3B / 4A / 5B

6B / 7B / 8B / 9B / 10A

11A / 12A / 13A / 14A / 15A

16B / 17A / 18A / 19B / 20B

Conclusion

Even if we all have our preferences in choosing the best photo, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has proven its advantage in the smartphone camera department.

Other than the accurate White Balance detection, it’s also able to preserve the right amount of details, contrast, saturation, and even performs well under harsh daylight (HDR) or low-light scenarios. Not to mention, all lenses have wider Field of View (FoV) versus its competitor.

Its better AI processing and camera software algorithms also make better foreground and background segmentation. Producing creamier bokeh while being able to keep the details (even fine hair strands) intact.

Mi 11’s camera quality isn’t horrendous. Although it has AWB and autofocus inconsistencies, it was still able to keep up especially with shots taken by its main (wide) 108-megapixel sensor. While these two smartphones rock different sets of cameras including the 108-megapixel sensors (Galaxy S21 Ultra with ISOCELL HN3 / Mi 11 with ISOCELL Bright HMX), Xiaomi still delivered great and promising photos. For someone who wants to get a smartphone with great set of cameras at the fraction of the cost of the S21 Ultra, this is still a solid option.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout | Xiaomi Mi 11 vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

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Camera Shootouts

Mi 11 vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

Similar camera system, different image quality?

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Mi 11 Mi 10T Pro

It’s been years ever since we did a head-to-head camera comparison between two Xiaomi smartphones — and those were the Mi 9T and Mi 9 SE . Leaping to 2021, we finally have a follow-up Xiaomi shootout with the newest Mi 11 together and last year’s Mi 10T Pro.

On paper, the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro has a brighter 108-megapixel sensor with a f/1.7 aperture over Mi 11’s f/1.9 sensor. Regardless, does that bring any significant improvements over the older unit knowing they still ship with the same ol’ Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor?

If you’re down for some challenge, grab a pen and paper (or just open your notes app) and list down your best picks. This is a “blind test” for a reason so photos are completely shuffled. Sticking with GadgetMatch’s camera shootout standard over the years, these were taken and posted as they are without post-processing aside from collage and image resize.

Enough talking! Pick your best photos below.

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

There’s barely any difference in this camera shootout section.

#1 (Ultra-wide)

#2 (Ultra-wide)

Auto White Balance (AWB) and Saturation

The competition obviously starts here where each smartphone has their own way of processing photos — despite being under the same brand.

#3 (Wide)

#4 (Zoom)

#5 (Sunset / Ultra-wide)

#6 (Sunset / Wide)

Macro

Again, no dedicated macro lenses for both of these phones but their telephoto lenses managed to shoot close-up shots anyway.

#7

#8

Zoom

This is to test the limits of Xiaomi phones’ zoom capabilities with one telephoto lens.

#9 (2x Zoom)

#10 (10x Zoom)

Food

Which looks more appetizing in each shot?

#11 (Wide)

#12 (Zoom)

Night Mode

The biggest difference can be found here. Had the need to take more shots to show that there’s a difference between how these smartphones process night shots despite having the same camera system.

#13 (Ultra-wide)

#14 (Wide)

#15 (Zoom)

#16 (Zoom)

#17 (Wide)

Faces

For those who are curious to find out which is the best phone for taking selfies, bokehlicious portraits, and even thirst traps.

#18 (Selfie with Beauty Mode)

#19 (Selfie Portrait Mode)

#20 (Portait Mode)

Results

Are you convinced with your picks? Find out the final results below!

Xiaomi Mi 11:

1A / 2B / 3A / 4B / 5B

6A / 7B / 8B / 9A / 10B

11B / 12A / 13B / 14B / 15B

16A / 17A / 18A / 19B / 20B

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

1B / 2A / 3B / 4A / 5A

6B / 7A / 8A / 9B / 10A

11A / 12B / 13A / 14A / 15A

16B / 17B / 18B / 19A / 20A

Conclusion

Despite having the same 108-megapixel sensor (Samsung ISOCELL Bright HMX), the Mi 11 and Mi 10T Pro delivered varying image results (saturation, white balance, and contrast) due to different software camera processing and AI algorithm. The differences can be seen among colorful objects, greenery, skies, and even food.

While the Mi 10T Pro’s large f/1.7 aperture showed its true advantage in the night mode shots, most photos taken with the Mi 11 looked brighter under broad daylight. Other than that, the difference in the amount of Depth of Field (DoF) is barely noticeable — except for that portrait mode shot where the Mi 10T Pro looked like it just applied radial blur over the face. And while we’re on the topic, the Mi 11 takes wider selfies over the Mi 10T Pro.

If you’re considering camera alone, you wouldn’t go wrong with the Mi 10T Pro since it sells less than the Mi 11. But if you prefer those “vivid”-looking shots aside from Snapdragon 888, cleaner design, and lighter form factor, get the Mi 11 instead. If you’re looking for some serious camera smartphone (like the Galaxy S21 Ultra), you might just have to wait the Mi 11 Ultra that’s rumored to come sooner or later.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Mi 11: Camera shootout | Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout 

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Reviews

Xiaomi Mi 11 review: Vanilla flagship

No weird gimmicks, just the fun necessities

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Mi 11

Xiaomi’s promise of providing a fantastic price-to-feature ratio on their devices seems to have finally extended to their flagship. After dancing around the US$ 1000/ PhP 45,000+ range, they now give us the Mi 11. A smartphone that’s undeniably a flagship at just EUR 749/ PhP 36,990. Now that’s a great deal.

What makes the Mi 11 a flagship? 

There are a lot of indicators, but most people like to look at the specs to determine which category a smartphone should fall under. And on paper, the Mi 11 is no doubt a flagship.

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Display: 6.81” AMOLED with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Cameras: 108MP Wide + 13MP Ultra-wide + 5MP Telemacro
  • Configuration: 8GB RAM + 256GB ROM
  • Battery and charging: 4600mAh with a 55W charger in the box

If you’re solely playing the numbers game specs-wise, this is undoubtedly a flagship. And if you factor in the price, this might just be the best value flagship in the market right now.

Naturally, you’re curious about what it’s like to actually use the phone right? That’s what we’re here for.

Buttons-wise, everything’s on the right side

Mi 11

Being right-handed, this is a design choice I personally really like especially for a smartphone with as big a footprint as this one. Sliding my thumb upwards from the power button to adjust the volume while holding it in a single hand is convenient. Just not sure how lefties feel about this.

At the bottom you’ll find the speaker-grille, USB-C port, and SIM card tray

Mi 11

Not much to write about here. These are all pretty standard stuff. You can say the same about the back of the phone. Nothing too fancy about its backplate so you won’t feel bad covering it with some sort of case.

Holding the phone can be tricky

Something to take note of is how both the display and the back taper to the side of the phone. This makes the sides feel really thin. I imagine this was made with the intent of making it easier to hold the phone with one hand. It achieves that goal. However, for people like myself who have chubby hands, it’s easy for parts of your hand to touch the sides of the screen and trigger gesture navigation or hold the display in place even when you’re trying to scroll.

Jeon Somi is so freakin adorable

It’s a minor inconvenience at most but do expect a bit of annoyance especially when trying to use the phone with just one hand. This issue wasn’t persistent when using the phone with two hands.

Having reviewed several phones, I’ve found that my personal sweet spot in terms of display size is somewhere between 6.2” to 6.4”. Anything beyond that already starts feeling a little too large.

Media consumption

Naturally, one of the benefits of having a larger screen is a better media consumption experience. While this is true for the most part, I still personally would have preferred a slightly smaller screen.

That said, if your hands are big enough, this won’t be an issue. If your hands are small enough, it may also come to a point where you’re treating this almost as if it’s a mini tablet and that sort of works too.

Who’s watching Vincenzo right now?

But yeah, the AMOLED screen is great. The 8192 brightness levels are bright enough even under direct sunlight. There’s going to be some glare but nothing you shouldn’t be able to adjust too.

The issues with media consumption though had more to do with the processor and the software, not the display.

Turning the heat up 

I have developed this unhealthy habit of mindlessly viewing one TikTok video after another at night right before I fall asleep. Normally, I wouldn’t notice the time pass but I did so when I tried the same thing with the Mi 11.

Follow @moneyhealthcheck/Antonette Aquino on TikTok for some quality financial advise 👌🏼

In the first few days that we had the phone, it heats up significantly after just around 12-15 minutes of viewing. I tried having it cool down and watched a few more videos on YouTube and the same thing happened.

It was quite interesting since a 20-minute session of Call of Duty: Mobile didn’t heat up as much as it did when arguably, that was stressing out the processor more.

Mi 11

Final Killcam yo!

Thankfully, this was only during the first few days. There was a software update in the middle of our testing period that mostly resolved the issue. It still gets a little hot, but not to the point where you’d need to put the phone down. Which is perfect for when you’re binge watching on Netflix.

Backtracking a little bit to gaming, we only really played CODM extensively. A first person shooter is fantastic for testing touch input and the Mi 11 was a dream to play on. The display was smooth and the touch input felt snappy. We’re sure it can also handle other popular titles like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Wild Rift, PUBG, Genshin Impact.

Pretty darn good battery

One thing to remember about the Mi 11 is that it supports 5G. And while the chip and perhaps the UI does a lot in managing power consumption, it can still eat into the 4600mAh capacity quickly.

5G speed when you’re a little further away from the source

It’s advisable to manage your 5G usage during the day. If you’re out all day but don’t have to use your phone much, make sure to toggle the mobile data off. We extensively used it on a day that started at around 9AM and we were already juicing up by 2PM.

But that’s really, extensive usage. We’re talking about connecting to a Zoom call, taking plenty of videos, and watching an hour long episode on Netflix all while relying on mobile 5G connection. It’s pretty darn good.

Mi 11

How many apps do you open in a day?

The 55W charger also tops the phone up quickly, so even if you don’t get to a full hundred, you can rest easy that you’ll have plenty of juice even if you were plugged for just a few minutes.

Oh and it also supports wireless charging which further solidifies its flagship pedigree. My personal recommendation is to use it with Xiaomi’s 30W wireless charger.

MiUI needs a little tweak

Let’s start with the good. MiUI is still very much smooth and buttery even if you don’t have the 120Hz screen refresh rate turned on. This was the most pleasant surprise I got since it felt extremely smooth to navigate out of the box. I was surprised to find that 120Hz wasn’t on by the default but it still felt really fast.

The icons are nice, the animations feel fluid, and it doesn’t at all feel bloated. There are pre-installed apps but these ones that you’ll likely use any way like the suite of Google apps, Facebook, and YouTube. I also like that when you swipe left, you’ll get the Google Cards instead of some news feed curated by the manufacturer.

These Google cards are more in line with the news I actually follow

My tiny annoyance came in its system-wide dark mode implementation. The UI felt like it took a few steps back when it forces dark mode on all apps. This results in a less polished dark mode look especially for apps that already have a native dark mode option.

This can easily be remedied by toggling off specific apps by going to Settings >Display > More Dark mode options. It’s a little annoying, but certainly not a deal breaker. I would have loved a smarter Dark Mode implementation but it’s a minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

Either this should be smarter or it should just be turned off by default

Are the images flagship level?

Photos taken by Xiaomi devices have been… a little inconsistent. For instance, we’re huge fans of the Mi 9T Pro, but the Mi 10T Pro felt a bit short for us in certain situations. That said, overall, the cameras are wonderful for some casual point-and-shoot scenarios.

Mi 11

That’s Vincenz holding the Mi 11. He’s 1000x better than me in taking photos

We’ll throw in a few samples below for your appreciation but below them are links to camera shootouts of the Mi 11 vs both the Mi 10T Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra for you to get a better picture (pun totally intended) of how the Mi 11’s cameras perform.

Daylight, auto white balance, food, ultra-wide

Night Mode

Selfie and portrait

As mentioned, we dig a little deeper into the photos in the following camera shootouts:

Mi 11 vs Mi 10T Pro

Mi 11 vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Mi 11 is also home to plenty of ‘Movie Magic’ features that you can really have fun with. One example is Time Freeze.

We’ll showcase more of those features in a quick video that we’ll embed here once it’s up.

Is the Xiaomi Mi 11 your GadgetMatch? 

Mi 11

The Xiaomi Mi 11 might be the easiest flagship to recommend. The features scream flagship but at a relatively friendly price.

Nearly everything else at its price point is missing one key feature or two. That’s not the case with the Mi 11. It’s not a smartphone that pushes the boundaries in terms of specs or tries something wildly different, but it ticks the right boxes of what a baseline flagship should be. It’s a complete experience with little to no compromise

 

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