Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on: An expensive sneak peek into the future

It’s not for everyone

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2019 is the year of the foldable phone. First in the ring was Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Announced in February, it was supposed to launch as early as April. As we all have probably read or heard, its early release to reviewers was met with a lot of issues. Samsung had to delay its official launch.

Over the last few months they’ve been busy reworking the Fold; now it’s tougher than ever and ready for the real world.

A reintroduction

In some ways you can think of the Galaxy Fold as a 7.3-inch tablet that you can fold into a candybar phone with a 4.6-inch display.

When folded, all buttons are on the right hand side of the device: volume rocker, power button, fingerprint sensor, and its SIM tray.

On the bottom a USB-C port and speaker grilles.

What’s changed?

Samsung focused on addressing the main issues that plagued its first release. Some users previously peeled off what they thought was a screen protector that turned out to be a very important protective layer. That layer is now tucked under the bezels so you don’t even know it’s there.

There’s also a cap that is meant to prevent dust and dirt from getting underneath the protective layer.

The hinge, too, has been reinforced. The gap between the hinge and the display has also been reduced.

Having used the original Fold, I can say that opening and closing i feels more secure. Even if you feverishly snap it open and close. All these changes have been made to ensure the phone survives the rigors of the real world.

One UI has also been optimized for the Fold. Home, back and multitasking buttons for example can be flushed to either side of the display for one handed use.

To open more windows alongside the app that’s already open just swipe from the right side and use apps edge to launch new apps. Closing windows is one tap or swipe away.

When you’re on an app and a notification comes in, you can press and drag the notification to open it as a separate window, so you can respond to a WhatsApp message easily, for example.

Even if you have two displays you can seamlessly switch between both by enabling a setting called App Continuity. That way whether you’re adding a contact on the big screen, or using your map on your small screen, you can close or open the display and continue what you were doing seamlessly.

Imperfect innovation

While the changes are much improved, the Galaxy Fold is not perfect. The front display is very small and is very hard to type on. I’d use it for things like Instagram, maybe. Even then, I’d benefit from the larger display. Not all apps support the squarish form factor, either. YouTube videos of course will only fill to fit a portion of the display. Although there are games like Asphalt 9, that are optimized to fill the display.

The Galaxy Fold doesn’t use a glass display, so there will always be creases in the middle. That’s just a limitation of the technology.

Otherwise, make no mistake — its a top of the line device. It’s got high end specs, and the same cameras as Samsung’s current flagship smartphones: three rear cameras and two selfie shooters up front.

Wireless charging and reverse wireless charging are also available, along with a few other bells and whistles.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I am excited about the Galaxy Fold, and am thrilled that it’s full steam ahead. It’s an early device and it can get only better with time. What needs to happen now is app developers and Android need to optimize for this new, niche form factor.

With a price tag of US$ 1,980 in the US, SG$ 3,088 in Singapore, and PhP 109,990 in the Philippines, the Galaxy Fold is not for everyone — not even for people who can buy it outright. It’s for early adapters who want to get their hands on new technology ahead of everyone.

Hands-On

Snapdragon 865 Hands-on: Top 5 Features

5G for all, 200MP, 8K, and more.

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As we lean towards the second decade of the millennium, Qualcomm is ready to ship out their next flagship chipset.

Snapdragon has been running most devices people use today. Snapdragon 865 (together with the midrange 765) are two of Qualcomm’s chipset offerings for 2020. They offer more than incremental performance boosts.

Watch more to know the top 5 promising features of the new chipset.

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Hands-On

Realme X2 Pro Master Edition hands-on: Tough looks, solid performance

It’s made of a soft-frosted glass but feels like cement

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The Realme X2 Pro has gotten fans really excited. Touted as the new flagship killer, it has quad cameras, Snapdragon 855+, and other flagship-level features at an affordable price tag.

While the regular Realme X2 Pro is already pretty awesome, what we got here is even more intense. We have the Reame X2 Pro Master Edition to check out, the Concrete edition to be exact.

Tough looks

The Master Edition of the Realme X2 Pro also comes in a Red Brick design. I’m not too big a fan of that look, so I got the Concrete version instead.

The Realme X2 Pro Master Edition is designed by famous Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa. It comes with a signature of the designer on the back panel.

The texture is pretty similar to the Sandstone feel of the older OnePlus devices — just less rough and more matte.

Realme says this is a soft-frosted glass although it’s hard to tell to be honest. The finish looks and feels like concrete cement even if it’s soft-to-touch.

Solid performance

Apart from the differences in design, it’s pretty much the same exact Realme X2 Pro inside. It packs 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

The Realme X2 Pro has a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a waterdrop notch, and a high 90Hz refresh rate. It boasts a 91.7 percent screen-to-body ratio and an in-display fingerprint scanner that works really fast.

Making it an even better media device is a pair of stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

There’s also a vapor chamber liquid cooling, a superconducting carbon fiber multi-layer scheme, multi-layer graphite sheet and other heat-dissipating materials so the phone can definitely game without heating issues.

This is all backed up by a massive 4000 mAh battery with 50W SuperVOOC Flash Charging technology. It can fully charge the phone from zero, in just about 35 minutes.

This super fast charging is definitely something anyone would appreciate. Imagine waking up in the morning and charging your phone while you’re in the shower. It’ll be ready and full just before you head out.

Capable cameras

The Realme X2 Pro has a quad-camera setup, with the Samsung GW1 64-MP sensor with a fast f/1.8 aperture as the main camera. There’s also a 13MP telephoto lens with support for up to 20x hybrid zoom, an 8MP ultra-wide with a 115-degree field-of-view, as well as a 2-megapixel depth sensor to help with portrait shots. Up front is a 16MP selfie camera.

In China the Realme X2 Pro is priced at CNY 3299 (US$ 469). In India, it will be going on sale around Christmas time for INR 34,999 (US$ 490).

What do you think about this version? Should phone companies make more special edition phones in a similar design? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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5 reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play

They can do more than just game

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If you’re a professional in need of a powerful laptop, you might find it difficult to find something that meets all of your needs and preferences. While you’d rather have something that’s sleek, sometimes what you need are on a gaming laptop that’s bulky and just screams gaming too much.

Fortunately, brands like ASUS and Lenovo have started redesigning gaming laptops with portability in mind. This attempt makes consumers consider gaming laptops once again.

While it’s easy to look for a reason to buy a gaming laptop if you’re a gamer, there are still a few good reasons to invest in a gaming laptop even if you don’t play games.

Work anywhere you want

Brands are redesigning gaming laptops by making them slimmer and more compact. Gaming laptops have started looking like real laptops and not a clunky machine that will be tough to carry around for most people. They’ve trimmed the weight and now a lot of them fit in most backpacks with a dedicated 15-inch laptop sleeve. Think of it as bringing a laptop with the power of a mobile PC wherever you go.

Stay ahead of the game (no pun intended)

A lot of laptops launched this year carry the latest processors and graphics card meant for the future. For instance, the Lenovo Legion Y540 has a 9th-gen Intel i7 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, 8GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage.

With that much power, that’s more than enough for your work and daily usage. Imagine running multiple tabs without any hiccups, or even when using power-hungry apps like Netflix, Spotify, and Google Chrome simultaneously.

Show-off a personality

Most gaming laptops nowadays are designed stylishly to reflect different personalities. The ASUS’ ROG line roars like thunder, screaming power, and strength. It’s also unafraid of coming out too loud and daring.

On the other hand, Lenovo’s Legion laptops remain true to their motto of being “stylish on the outside, savage on the inside.” A lot of their laptops look discreet and classy, but are powerful on their own right and oftentimes, they let their work  — and performance — do the talking.

Since I have a hint of narcissism and vanity, I enjoy showing-off from time to time. However, I resonate most with the Legion lineup since I prefer astounding the world with the quality of my output.

Choose when to be untethered

A lot of people prefer being mobile so they can work remotely. Gaming laptops may be humongous but they’re portable and have multiple ports for you to stay connected. It’s difficult to pass on this kind of convenience. Additionally, gaming laptops aren’t limited to USB-C ports, unlike most business laptops. Furthermore, you don’t have to be tied down with cables compared to when you opt for a desktop PC.

Get the extra features to make you more productive

While your needs for a work laptop sometimes are limited to the basics, switching to a gaming laptop lets you enjoy extra features. Case in point: near-borderless display, better visuals, a 144 Hz refresh rate allowing a smooth and seamless, immersive sound experience, antiglare screen, and unique cooling system.

With all these nitty-gritty details, gaming laptops can make your workflow easier since these machines do most of the work for you. It’s just a matter of you taking advantage of all that power.

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