Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime Hands-On



With smartphones transitioning to the size of tablets, it can be hard to navigate your way around one with convenience. It’s a petty complaint but if you have small hands, want to just check your phone, and reply quickly without having to fumble with both hands, you’ll get why.

Do I feel like the dinosaur in Meet the Robinsons? A bit. But to be fair, I sometimes still shop in the kid’s section of the clothing store, so this might not be a big deal to a lot of people.

Good specs in a smaller package

The Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime runs on Android Marshmallow; has 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, and up to 256GB expandable storage via microSD; is powered by a 2400mAh non-removable battery; and has a 5-inch display with HD resolution. It looks like the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime Mini-Me.

Besides the home button on the phone doubling as the fingerprint scanner, the Gorilla Glass protection on this phone can take some clumsy drops. Not to mention, the 13-megapixel rear and 5-megapixel front camera are just like the J7 Prime with not as big a price tag on it.

The J5 Prime’s front camera even has the same gesture control as on the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime that scans for your palm with a five-second delay for quick and easy selfie snaps. Forget straining your arm to get everyone in the photo; you can use gesture control to take the shot.

Goodbye, single-SIM phones

Why keep two SIM cards on separate phones when you can have both in one? The Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime is dual-SIM, so both your work and personal numbers can stay in a single phone with less the bulk of two phones. This way, you don’t have to keep switching from one phone to the next when answering calls and replying to texts.

Can I play mobile games on it?

Yes, you can. The Galaxy J5 Prime is powered with an Exynos 7570 quad-core processor, making gameplay smooth on light to medium titles. There’s a ton of mobile games you can play on this phone. As for me, Hearthstone and Mobile Legends worked fine. However, there is no auto-brightness feature on this phone, so you might need to manually transition when you move around the house while playing.

That aside, the Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime looks to have standard features with small interesting tweaks packed into a premium build. The phone looks and feels top-quality as well as it performs without such a fuss on an attractive display.

The Galaxy J5 Prime starts at INR 13,790 in India and PhP 9,990 in the Philippines. This phone looks like it delivers on design, battery life, and display.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) review

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Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus hands-on: A step-up

The company’s greatest contender



Cherry Mobile recently launched their new Flare S7 series, which is essentially their main smartphone lineup for the year. The greatest offering among the bunch is the Flare S7 Plus, a device with all the specifications and features you’d expect from a 2018 phone.

Since it’s from Cherry Mobile, you’d expect the phone to be cheap, right? Price-wise, it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s just another affordable phone.

Here’s what I got to say about the Flare S7 Plus.

Cherry Mobile has officially joined the notch wagon with a borderless 6.18-inch display. It’s a Full HD+ panel with a 19:9 aspect ratio, and it’s Cherry Mobile’s best display yet.

It’s vibrant and produces vivid colors, but the user interface kind of ruins the beauty of the display. It’s best to download your preferred third-party launcher and customize to your heart’s content.

Unlike with other midrange phones, the Flare S7 Plus’ notch is pretty wide and there’s a reason for it. The phone is equipped with more advanced facial recognition hardware including an IR camera. This ensures higher accuracy, faster unlocking, and even better face detection in low-light.

If you’re not a fan of face unlock, you can always resort to the fingerprint sensor placed on the back of the phone. Based on my usage, the fingerprint reader is faster most of the time than the face unlock. Good thing you have the best of both worlds.

Now that we’re on the back of the phone, let’s talk about another special feature of the Flare S7 Plus. Finally, Cherry Mobile embraces a more elegant design using a glass back and metal frame. I was told that they used Gorilla Glass 3 on both sides, so it won’t scratch easily in your pocket or on the table.

Since we we have a glass back, it’s possible to put in wireless charging and the company did just that. Simply place the phone on any Qi standard wireless charger, and let the magic happen.

It’s not exactly magic per se, but it’s amazing to have your phone charge by placing it on a table. This phone costs less than half of most flagships that don’t even support wireless charging.

Of course, you can always charge this phone’s 3050mAh battery through the reversible USB-C port, which also doubles as the audio port because, sadly, the Flare S7 Plus doesn’t have a 3.5 headphone jack. Cherry Mobile bundles a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter inside the box, so you can still use your legacy headphones as you please.

Powering the Flare S7 Plus is a MediaTek Helio P60 processor. We have already tried the capabilities of this chipset with the OPPO F9, and it definitely delivers great performance. If you’re into benchmarking, you’ll be glad to know the Helio P60 scores higher than its competitors.

The phone also comes with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage which is pretty standard nowadays. It boots Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but there’s no word when Android 9 Pie is coming.

The gaming performance of the Flare S7 Plus is above average, which is what you can expect from the Helio P60. The Mali-G72 MP3 GPU works well with intensive games, but you must reduce the graphics quality a bit to get consistently high frame rates.

As for the cameras, the Flare S7 Plus has capable shooters that are probably the fruit of Cherry Mobile’s investment in improving their R&D when it comes to picture quality. The phone has dual rear shooters using a main 16-megapixel RGB sensor and a secondary 5-megapixel depth sensor. In the front, there’s another 16-megapixel selfie camera that’s paired with the IR sensor when needed. Check out the samples below:

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An additional feature of the front sensors is FlareMoji. Using the IR sensor and facial recognition, you can animate cutesy characters. Check this out:

It’s essentially like Apple’s Animoji, but the tracking is nowhere near as smooth as with the iPhone. Anyhow, it’s still enjoyable to use.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For just PhP 11,999 (US$ 225), the Flare S7 Plus offers a lot. You get a great premium phone with midrange power, beautiful display, and a plethora of extra features like wireless charging and an IR face scanner. The software UI is quite a letdown, but you can always download a launcher from the Play Store.

If you’re wondering what the Flare S7 Plus is in other markets, it’s also called the BLU VIVO XI+ and they share similar specifications and design.

SEE ALSO: Cherry Mobile announces Flare S7 series with three new smartphones

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro Hands-on: Best phone of 2018?

Huawei outdoes itself again



In an industry where incremental updates are the new norm, Huawei manages to wow us again — barely a year after the release of the P20 Pro. The Chinese company is back with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro which might just be the best among the best this year.

In this video, we go over the phones’ new designs, updated cameras, and new memory card format. We also go through the differences between the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

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Razer Phone 2 Hands-on

A pocketable gaming rig with flagship features



Razer has improved last year’s model, and from the looks of it, we might just have a phone that not only gamers would want to use. This is our Razer Phone 2 hands-on.

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