Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy J7 Core Hands-on Review

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If Samsung is playing favorites when it comes to phone names, the J7 moniker would be its first choice. Just about a week ago, the South Korean company brought us its newest budget phone — and you guessed it — it sports the J7 title.

Let’s take a look at the Galaxy J7 Core.

The front is a familiar Samsung face

Pretty thick bezels, though

There’s a front-facing LED flash up top

Shiny plastic chrome frame surrounds the phone

A physical button and two capacitive keys on its chin

It doesn’t have a fingerprint reader!

It has micro-USB and 3.5mm ports at the bottom

Standard ports for budget phones

Even the rear is a traditional layout from Samsung

The rear cover has a rubbery surface

Removable 3000mAh battery and dedicated microSD card slot!

You get two slots for SIM cards plus another for storage expansion!

Performs great, gaming is okay

The Galaxy J7 Core is currently the lowest-end and cheapest offering in the J7 series, although it sports similar specs like its siblings. It’s still powered by the aging Exynos 7870 processor paired with an ample 2GB of memory. Unlike the Galaxy J7 Prime from last year, Samsung blessed the phone with its gorgeous Super AMOLED display; however, the panel only has a 720p resolution. The display might not be the sharpest around (even for its price), but the color quality is top-notch. It perfectly shows the vibrant Samsung Experience UI on top of Android Nougat.

During its launch, Samsung said they positioned the phone to be a budget gaming device. The Philippine retail version comes with 10,000 battle points and three hero trial cards from Mobile Legends, plus a free 16GB microSD card to store your files and apps, because the 16GB internal storage will never be enough. Pre-loaded on the phone is Samsung’s Game Launcher app, which we first saw on flagship models. Basically, this gives users some tools for better gaming like silent alerts, option to disable the capacitive keys (we need this since we always tap the back key accidentally), screen recording, and more.

Performance-wise, the J7 Core is no slouch. The system runs smoothly and it has a comparable gaming performance to its siblings (they sport the same processor and graphics units), without the higher price tag. The lower memory is a bottleneck, but it’s necessary to keep its price low for a Samsung. Our favorite titles like Asphalt Extreme and NBA 2K17 run fine as long as you keep the settings in check. We manage to get smooth frame rates in low to medium graphics level.

Camera is okay and straightforward

If its Galaxy J7 Pro sibling is marketed to “capture the night” with its f/1.7 rear camera, the J7 Core is a runner-up with a 13-megapixel f/1.9 main camera. Those numbers are just on paper though, as we find the daylight images to be just okay. Low-light performance is pretty good, but the camera doesn’t compensate for the shake and slow shutter speed. Here are a few samples:

The selfie photo was captured with the front LED flash on. This helps fill up light directly onto the subject’s face, especially when taking a photo indoors. Not exactly a quality selfie phone, but the front flash is handy.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For the phone’s retail price of PhP 9,990, there are a number of options you can choose from. But, we get how some consumers like to stick to Samsung as a trusted brand. The Galaxy J7 Core has some unique offerings, including its Super AMOLED display, removable 3000mAh battery, and a triple-card slot. The budget segment has tough competition, but with a number of models you can choose from (and it continues to grow), you’ll never run out of options.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro Review: Looks good, feels good

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Hands-On

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

Huawei outdoes itself again

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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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Hands-On

Razer Phone 2 Hands-on

A pocketable gaming rig with flagship features

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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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Gaming

Razer Phone 2 hands-on: Not only for gamers

All glass, all power

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Last year, Razer — the company known for gaming notebooks and peripherals — released a smartphone designed specifically for gamers, with features like loud front-firing stereo speakers, a brilliant display with fast refresh rates, and all the power to run your favorite games.

And just like that the gaming smartphone category was born.

This year, new competitors like the ASUS ROG Phone and ZTE Nubia Red Magic have cropped up. But Razer is back with an update! And from the looks of it, we might just have a phone that not only gamers would want to use.

At first glance, the Razer Phone 2 looks very much like last year’s model. It’s the same size, has the same boxy shape, and the same front-firing speakers on both its forehead and chin.

But turn it around and you’ll know it’s completely different. The 12-megapixel dual-camera setup (one has a 2x telephoto lens) is in a new place, and the back is now glass instead of aluminum.

In my briefing with Razer, I was told the decision on glass was to enable faster connectivity speeds — Gigabit LTE, to be exact — and to enable wireless charging.

Plus, they sell this wireless charging stand separately with cool RGB lighting underneath!

But you know what’s really cool? The Razer logo on the phone’s back lights up. Not just with Razer’s signature green, but any color of the rainbow! All of which can be managed with an app.

One thing that was really important to Razer this time around was to build not just a gaming phone, but also a flagship phone. So this year, they set out to improve the Razer Phone 2’s cameras.

The phone has got new Sony image sensors and better post-processing software, which are supposed to improve photo quality that, they say, should be able to compete with other flagships.

The camera app too has been updated — made simpler and easier to use. And for those who like it, there’s even beauty mode on the front-facing 8-megapixel camera.

Of course, all of what makes the Razer Phone 2 a great gaming phone is here.

The screen’s refresh rate is still a crazy 120Hz, but the panel has been improved further with even better dynamic range, whether you’re watching YouTube, an HDR movie on Netflix, or playing PUBG, which runs great on this device as can be expected from its pretty specced-up configuration.

This includes a high-end Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of memory, 64GB of expandable storage, and a hefty 4000mAh battery. All these power what you see on the 5.7-inch IGZO LCD and its 1440p resolution. Keeping everything cool is Razer’s vapor chamber cooling system.

With the official case on

So, is the Razer Phone 2 your GadgetMatch? Of course, you’ll have to wait till we finish our full review to find out whether or not the Razer Phone 2 lives up to its hype. But from the limited time that I had with the device, I think it has plenty of potential.

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