Hands-On

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

It’s not for everyone

Published

on

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.

Accessories

realme Buds Q: Keeping up with the ‘new normal’

Wireless is the new normal

Published

on

When this year started, I’ve already laid out most of my personal plans: do more outdoor activities, travel to different places, and slowly pick myself up from the emotional downhill I experienced last 2019.

But what do we know, the universe has much bigger plans.

The past few months of quarantine has been a wild transition for me, especially as a person who finds solace in the outdoors. Staying indoors for a long time has challenged my mental health, and it’s still an ongoing battle that I face every single day.

A total shift in my personality

During this collective isolation period, the first thing I did is try to make peace with things I can’t control. I started channeling my energy into doing what is feasible for now — both in my career and personal life.

I began doing activities that are completely opposite from my usual hobbies, starting with yoga and meditation to help me become more present.

realme Buds Q

It is also the same time I shifted to using wireless earbuds after years of using wired earphones. I have tried several brands for a while, and currently, I am using the newly released Realme Buds Q.

Light and portable device that is compatible with all my new activities

Doing yoga in the morning is easier — the Realme Buds Q fits just right and it’s light in the ears. Personally, I really prefer using earbuds rather than open-type ones. The latter hurts my ear in the long run, so the Realme Buds Q is a nice fit for me.

I can do all the poses with ease and without worrying they might slip off my ear. It has IPX4 water resistance, so I don’t bother sweating a lot during and after every session.

I also use it during my meditation, and every time I go jogging.

Buds Q is also a handy companion to all my other activities with its intelligent touch controls. Playing music and answering calls is easy with just a few taps. It’s perfect for multi-taskers like me who usually attend Zoom meetings while preparing food away from my laptop.

Wireless is the new normal

While I still keep my wired earphones, the wireless technology is totally heaven sent. It’s essentially helpful in a lot of ways especially now that we need less contact as possible.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Personally, the design is nothing too grand, just quite similar to the other earbuds I have tried before. The lightweight feeling is a plus for me — it weighs only 3.6 g, lighter than a sheet of A4 paper!

However, this newest earbuds offering is quite underwhelming in the sound department. While it’s good for upbeat songs with its dynamic bass boost, the overall sound is really not that impressive. Still, it’s a decent buy with its 40mAh battery life, which is longer compared to other brands.

SEE ALSO: realme 7 Pro review | realme 7 review


BUY THE REALME BUDS Q HERE

Continue Reading

Hands-On

vivo X50 Hands-On: Underrated, overshadowed

It deserves some spotlight

Published

on

We’ve all felt inadequate. This is especially when we’re surrounded by people we believe are better than us. This is the feeling I remember after having used the vivo X50 for a few days.

To start with, the vivo X50 is the more affordable sibling in the X50 series. It lacks the features that sets the X50 Pro apart: the Gimbal camera system, a flagship-grade chipset, and 5G connectivity.

But do we even need all the features that the X50 Pro has? For everyday users, the X50 is more than enough, and it deserves to be given a chance.

Like a dapper gentleman

First and foremost, the X50 is gleamingly handsome. If I were to draw a character, the X50 would look like a high-maintenance, dapper gentleman, whose hair and beard were trimmed and sculpted in a barberdashery (a barber and haberdashery in one) like Felipe & Sons.

It exudes a classic appearance that makes you want to hold it. But before you do that, you’d have to choose between the matte Frost Blue and the fingerprint-magnet glass in Glaze Black.

Personally, I prefer the Glaze Black due to my habit of leaving memories behind, like a smudge on a glass. Kidding aside, I love the reflective mirror-like design.

But its design doesn’t matter as much since I tend to slap a case on any phone I use. If I won’t, there’s a ninety-six percent chance of glass phones slipping from my regularly moisturized hands.

Comfortable and entertaining

Surprisingly, the X50 is lightweight and slim enough to sit comfortably in my tiny hands. It can reach the in-display fingerprint scanner easily.

On the front, the vivo X50 prides itself on the same 6.56-inch AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ technology like the X50 Pro. Watching videos and playing games is a treat with its vibrant colors, high contrast, and bright screen.

There’s also an Ultra Game Mode — an exclusive feature found on Funtouch OS 10.5 (based on Android 10). Mobile games like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legend: Bang Bang are supported by vivo’s gaming feature.

In case you didn’t know, this feature helps you stay focused on your game, whether you’re playing for fun or competitively. Notifications are definitely turned off and your system’s resources are managed well, especially when you opt for Esports mode. There will be no accidental touches, annoying calls, and it moderates your phone’s temperature for smoother gameplay. Moreover, it saves battery.

Serving more than enough of what you really need

Frankly, the vivo X50 packs enough power to fuel your entertainment needs. Whether it’s intensive gaming or seamless performance. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 730 and sports an 8GB RAM and 128GB built-in storage.

This handset is also equipped with a 4200mAh battery and supports vivo FlashCharge 2.0, reaching 33W of fast charging. Of course, it uses a Type-C port and cable, just like any normal 2020 phone.

With a bigger juice and near-flagship grade chipset, you can ensure a long-lasting experience. You can play to your heart’s content and binge-watch all 16 episodes of the latest K-drama people are talking about.

In my case, I watched the visual spectacle that is Fire Force — an animé based on the manga of the same name filled with brilliant animation sequences and blazingly hot character designs.

The downside in having this exquisite display while playing games or watching shows is the intrusive punch-hole cutout, which houses its 32-megapixel selfie camera.

Getting that glass skin

Moving to its selfies, the front camera struggles to take clear and decent selfies at low light but performs exceptionally with sufficient daylight.

Even under harsh sunlight, the vivo X50 snaps portrait-oriented selfies perfectly… for the ‘gram. I uploaded my selfies on Instagram Story’s Close Friends feature, handpicking people that are attracted to me so I can receive comments and validation.

Most of them complimented how I looked fresh, striking a close resemblance to South Korean actors’ glass skin apparent in K-dramas. On the other hand, some people were hesitant to compliment me because they’re too afraid to flirt and possibly fall for me. (Just kidding.)

Choosing the real you

But the truth is I’m not pore-less, and I refused to use vivo’s beauty mode since I thought it was too intense. Despite having beauty mode tailored for men, I was still averse since a beautified version of myself is far from how I actually look. And definitely not how I want to be seen.

What seems to be the common case in my selfies is how vivo pads beautification in its post-processing, even if you’re not actively using its beauty mode.

The thing is, vivo’s front camera uses an f/2.45 aperture, which results in backlit photos and brightened selfies. For reference, you can look at the well-lit busy background and cerulean-like sky on the middle photo above. Meanwhile, the photo on the right looks overexposed, even though I’m just basking under the sunlight inside a car.

However, this nitpicking can be handled easily if you know some tips and tricks in taking better selfies. Overall, the quality looks decent, and any selfie-taker or young professional who’d love to look good for a self-esteem boost will be satisfied with the results.

Putting Portrait Mode on a pedestal

It’s been years, but smartphone companies are still far from perfect in terms of their cameras’ portrait modes. Evident in the X50 is vivo’s attempt to produce cleaner bokeh albeit still unrefined.

When taking photos against a busy background, Portrait Mode should help you produce cleaner outputs while keeping the focus on the subject. But it’s still unpolished, as seen through the cutouts around my hair and shoulders. Additionally, vivo smartly applied HDR which lit my background causing haze around my face and hair.

Forgive me for slapping a clear case meant for the X50 Pro, I just really needed to put a case on.

Using its rear camera, the Portrait Mode had troubles dealing with depth of field (DoF), blurring my arms together with the background in the mirror. If you struggle with Portrait Mode, I mentioned in one of my camera hacks a trick on how to use mirrors to create better depth.

This way, you don’t have to be dependent on maxing out Portrait Mode, which results in ugly cutouts where you’d look like a pasted magazine cutout in a gaussian blurred image.

For every moment you can capture

The vivo X50 uses a quad-camera system similar to the X50 Pro, only with a smaller camera bump and narrower module. It uses Sony’s IMX598 sensor, comprised of a 48-megapixel primary shooter, a 13-megapixel portrait camera (with 50mm prime lens), an 8-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 5-megapixel macro camera.

When compared to phones in a similar price range, the X50 is a mild contender in the camera department. It certainly packs useful features in shooting any type of photos. There’s a 120-degree super wide-angle, a clear 2X optical zoom, and 20X digital zoom.

Shot in auto mode on a 1:1 format (Square)

 

Backlit shot in auto mode on a 1:1 format (Square)

 

Flat lay produced through 2X optical zoom

 

20X digital zoom on a hive in my home’s window

 

Horizontal macro shot taken by placing the cameras close to the flowers

 

Vertical macro shot taken by placing the cameras close to the flowers

While vivo boasts of sharp and crystal clear night shots, I wasn’t able to test it due to curfew restrictions in my neighborhood.

The way our heart beats with strong connections

Casual users like me spend most of our time watching videos and listening to music. Of course, audio is as important as the display and other features. To audiophiles, vivo isn’t worth considering despite starting its humble story with peerless audio tuning.

Regardless, the vivo X50 fills a room loud enough like a night club booming with party speakers. It doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but Type-C wired earphones will still work well.

If you’re down with vivo’s ecosystem, it’s better to get the vivo TWS Neo since it pairs easily with the X50. Just like any other smartphone brand, vivo is focused in creating a seamless connection between its devices. With an R&D focused in audio, you get the same rich sound in both the X50 and TWS Neo.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

On paper, tech junkies might say a lot about its internals, yet vivo is more than the specs it offers. For years, vivo has been delivering an experience that is relevant to casual consumers.

The X50 is a testament to vivo’s history — offering the right power that everyday users need. While there are similar upper midrange phones with better specs and features, the vivo X50 still promises an all-around experience.

It may not have the X50 Pro’s flagship-grade power and extra features, the X50 serves that nearly similar flagship experience, at a reduced price. Undisturbed gaming, near-flagship efficient performance, better selfies and balanced cameras, and seamless ecosystem — what’s there to ask for?

Undoubtedly, it’s similar to the Samsung Galaxy A71. Both handsets are well-rounded, yet the X50 has a better build and design.

The vivo X50 retails for PhP 25,999 (US$ 536) in vivo’s official stores and authorized retail partners. Select outlets will also add in an exclusively X50 fit silicone Comfy case.

SEE ALSO: In having healthy connections through the vivo TWS Neo

Continue Reading

Accessories

Apple Watch Series 6 vs Watch SE: Unboxing and Buyer’s Guide

Published

on

There’s a new Apple Watch iteration every year — although this year, we have two new models to unbox. Other than that, we also have the newest one-piece bands called ‘Solo Loop’ — both in silicon and braided.

Although Apple completely removed the charging brick out from the usual packaging, they packed several new features on the Watch Series 6 including the new blood oxygen sensor and Always-On Altimeter. Meanwhile, the Watch SE is meant for people who’d want to experience Apple’s wearable without having to spend too much.

Between these two, which of them is your GadgetMatch? Or are you struggling to choose one?

You can head over to our latest Apple Watch Series 6 vs Apple Watch SE Unboxing and Buyer’s Guide right here to find out more.

Continue Reading

Trending