Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy J6 Hands-on: When you want a trusted budget phone

Lives up to expectations, but also lacks in certain aspects

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The popular J-series from Samsung has a new member, and for loyal fans looking for a new budget-midrange phone, the Galaxy J6 is a viable option. It’s got everything users need in an everyday phone, plus premium features.

A well-crafted phone

Despite having a plastic body, the Galaxy J6 doesn’t feel cheap at all. It lacks the metal unibody of the Galaxy J7 phones but, thanks to the matte paint of the back panel, has a good feel in the hand. It doesn’t attract fingerprints much which avoids the need to constantly wipe the phone.

In front is the tall display along with the earpiece, front sensors, and selfie camera. There’s no branding here making the phone look clean and stylish, especially when placed flat on a table. Keeping up with the trend, the bezels of the Galaxy J6 are minimal, but still there just like most budget phones with tall aspect ratios.

There’s no display notch on the Galaxy J6 — something Samsung dislikes on their phones. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

Samsung made the left side of the Galaxy J6 really busy by putting most of the phone’s physical features on this side. There’s a couple of buttons for adjusting the volume and two card slots are placed right below them. The first slot accepts a nano-SIM card labeled as SIM1, while the other slot is for the second SIM card and the microSD card. It’s good to see a dedicated card slot for expanding storage.

On the right side are the loudspeaker and the power button. Ever since the Galaxy J7 Prime was introduced, Samsung’s midrange and budget phones have always had their loudspeakers on the side. It’s fantastic compared to a bottom-firing speaker, to be honest, since you won’t muffle the speaker when holding the phone in landscape orientation with two hands.

Sitting at the bottom of the Galaxy J6 is the micro-USB port, microphone, and 3.5 audio port. Samsung is yet to introduce USB-C ports for their budget phones just like OPPO and Vivo. It’s about time to make USB-C truly universal though, and there are already a number of USB-C cables available for cheap.

The rear is pretty basic with just the main camera positioned above the fingerprint reader. There’s also a single LED flash beside the camera while the Samsung logo is debossed onto the plastic black.

Overall, the Galaxy J6 is a simple-looking phone that gives a bit of value for money by copying the design of more expensive Samsung phones. If you’re already spoiled by the cold and solid feel of aluminum, you could check out the Galaxy A6 which is only a little more expensive.

Amazing display, decent camera, old processor

Being a Samsung phone, the Galaxy J6 has a vibrant Super AMOLED display — not just another LCD panel. The phone’s display measures 5.6 inches with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Infinity Display usually found on premium Samsung phones is now made available to its budget devices, sans the curved edges and high pixel count.

It features most of display features too, but it doesn’t have Always On which is a bummer since it’s already an AMOLED display. Other display features include an outdoor mode for increased brightness, blue light filter to reduce eye strain, and multiple screen color modes including adaptive display.

The cameras on board the phone are single shooters, but with large aperture openings that help to see more in low-light environments. On the back is a 13-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 opening while the front has an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 opening, as well. Here are some samples for reference:

Samsung’s familiar camera launcher is present here, along with a few camera modes including Pro (manual mode with very few controls), Night, and HDR. Both the front and rear shooters support AR stickers, while only the front shoots portrait photos.

In terms of performance, the good old Exynos 7870 processor takes care of things along with 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable storage. A 3000mAh battery keeps the lights on and it runs Android 8.0 Oreo skinned with Samsung Experience.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 13,990 in the Philippines, there are more powerful options available in the market, but they don’t have certain Samsung traits when it comes to build and design. The best-selling feature of the Galaxy J6 is its Super AMOLED display which is a rare sight in this price segment. The display alone could convince people to purchase one, even though the phone sports a pretty old processor.

For everyday usage, the Galaxy J6 is a capable phone. It’s not a gaming smartphone, but it was never meant to be one. You’ll get the Galaxy J6 for its looks, display, camera, and Samsung label.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A6 Hands-on: Repackaging the older series

Accessories

Huawei MateBook X (2020) + FreeBuds Pro + Watch GT 2 Pro Hands-On

Huawei ecosystem done right

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It seems like the pandemic isn’t stopping companies from announcing their newest tech. Today, Huawei announced not just new software features, but also their latest hardware in the annual Huawei Developers’ Conference (HDC).

Whether it’s the newly-updated MateBook X, Pro-rated iterations such as the FreeBuds Pro and the Watch GT 2 Pro.

Head over to our latest hands-on video as we talk about these devices and how Huawei’s seamless ecosystem can make your life meaningful.

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Hands-On

Poco X3 Unboxing and Hands-on: Killer Specs for $250?

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Ever since the Pocophone F1 was launched, Poco became silent for two years. Fast forward this 2020, they announced not just one, but two phones in a duration of just three months — namely the F2 Pro and X2.

Just after three months, Poco is back with a follow-up to the X2. The X3 NFC’s performance isn’t compromised: It has a smooth 120Hz display, newer Snapdragon 732G chipset paired with Adreno 618 GPU, massive battery, and fast charging out of the box.

With a base price of just EUR 229 / PhP 10,990 (approximately US$ 271), this might just be your best smartphone deal. Head over to our Poco X3 NFC unboxing and hands-on video here to know more.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 Hands-On

A quick look at Samsung’s new foldable

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Samsung has taken all the things we love about the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and applied it to the design language of the Galaxy Z Fold2, and not just with the Mystic Bronze color.

It’s more flat and angular in some places with a brushed metal finish on its frame and a frosted matte finish on its back. It’s Gorilla Glass Victus up front, Gorilla Glass 6 on the back, and UTG or Ultra Thin Glass on the inside.

I like how it feels in the hands. And how much more elegant it looks. But this form factor. Whether closed or unfolded takes some getting used to.

The crease is still there. It’s really just the nature of the material used for the inner screen. But it really doesn’t bother me as much.  Samsung offers the Fold 2 in Bronze and Black. In some markets, you can even customize the hinge with an accent color: Black, Silver, Gold, Red and Blue.

I’ve already pre-ordered mine in Black and Blue, of course.


Customization doesn’t add to the cost of the phone, but it adds a five week delay. So in case you want your phone on September 18th, don’t customize.

Original Fold vs Fold2 

The biggest, most obvious change from the Fold 1 to the Fold 2 is its larger Cover Display. Unlike on the original, the entire front panel is all-display, measuring 6.2 inches diagonally.

When used like a regular smartphone, it still feels narrower and thicker compared to your average smartphone. But things like texting, scrolling through Instagram, and even taking photos are totally doable now. You can now watch videos on it too. And If you start something on the cover display, you can pick up where you left off when you open it up.

When opened up, the weird selfie camera module is gone completely. All that’s left is a punch hole cutout for the selfie camera.

The Fold 2 is a tad bit shorter but wider. And the bezels have been reduced also.

This display is bigger too — 7.6 inches diagonally. Perfect for things like playing some games that support this aspect ratio, navigating using Google Map, or reading a book using the Kindle App.

Oh and like on the Z Flip,the hinge can now stay open at a 90 degree angle. It’s called Flex mode. So you can do things like prop it up for Google Duo calls, watch YouTube videos with only half the screen, and use it like you would a mini laptop.

Display differences

Apart from the obvious size, aspect ratio, and material differences, the cover display is Super AMOLED

While the main display is Dynamic AMOLED. This means it adds support for HDR10+ and also has lower blue light emissions.

In terms of resolution we’re looking at HD+ and QXGA+ respectively — it’s not called Quad HD due to its unique aspect ratio. But it’s definitely more high-res than Full HD.

The cover display has a 60Hz refresh rate while the main display has a 120Hz refresh rate at full resolution  with Adaptive Display adjusting it based on which app you’re in.

Over the course of the next few days I plan on testing both displays out more. I want to find out if I can survive exclusively off of the cover display. I also want to see how I will best make use of the all that extra screen real estate the main display offers.

As per usual, Samsung has included a whole bunch of multitasking features like being able to have three windows open at the same time. As well as shortcuts to launch your favorite app combinations.

Power, performance, battery

As this is supposed to be one of the best phones Samsung has to offer, the Fold2 is packed with top-notch specs including a Snapdragon 865+ processor no matter where you buy it.

There’s also a 256GB of UFS 3.1 Storage, 12GB of RAM, and 5G support.

I managed to get to 5G service from my rooftop but not the speeds I enjoyed during an afternoon with my Note 20 Ultra at Bryant Park.

The phone packs a 4500mAh battery — actually two cells that add up to 4500. In my day of heavy use setting it up and using it out and about, I managed to get it to zero. Close to five hours of screen on time.

Using its bundled charger, a 10-minute charge filled it up to 13% and a 30-minute top up got it to 35%.

The Fold 2 supports wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. More detailed battery usage reports, and charging tests in my full review.

Is the Galaxy Z Fold2 your GadgetMatch? As always my answer to this question will have to wait until the full review.

In the meantime, click here for a sneak peek of what the Galaxy Z Fold2’s cameras can do.

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