Lifestyle

Samsung Galaxy J7+ hands-on review

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Samsung’s firm belief in the saying “the more, the merrier” stands true as yet another phone is launched under the J7 banner. This saying also applies to the number of cameras on their phones: The Samsung Galaxy J7+ is Samsung’s second dual-camera phone and this time, you don’t have to shell out US$ 1,000 to own it.

The phone looks good

With a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, the Galaxy J7+’s screen wows.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ AMOLED screen

This also means you get an Always On display which can be pretty useful, TBH.

The screen is bright and the images look crisp. The phone is pretty responsive — it does well for a midrange phone —  though it’s obviously not as snappy as flagship devices, but that is to be expected.

And it feels good, too

Samsung Galaxy J7+ back details

It has a good weight and an aluminum body which means it’s a delight to hold — I don’t like light and plastic-y phones as they usually tend to feel cheap.

Speaker grilles are still at that spot we love

That spot is at the top-right side of the phone, above the power button.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ speaker grille

Marvin and Dan have raved about this speaker placement, but I never really appreciated it until I used the phone. Clear audio all the way, and no issues with accidentally covering speakers way up there, even when I’m on the phone while lying in bed.

Still pretty old school with a micro-USB and (yay!) audio jack

It’s 2017 and while I’d love to see USB-C in new devices, it’s still pretty common for more affordable phones such as the Galaxy J7+ to have a micro-USB port.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ micro usb port

The chin of the phone houses a physical home button with a built-in fingerprint scanner which unlocks the phone in a second. There are two capacitive buttons (back and recent apps) to the sides of the home button.

More choices with a dual-SIM slot

Again, the more the merrier! Two nano-SIM cards can be inserted on the phone, with one convertible slot that can house a microSD card for added storage as much as 256GB.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ sim card tray

The volume buttons are on the top-right of the phone.

Of course, there’s the dual-cam rear setup

The rear packs 13- and 5-megapixel shooters, the latter camera designed to capture depth on photos.

Here are a few test shots:

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

The Galaxy J7+ cameras prove to be very capable with photos coming out with great color and detail in normal daylight scenarios.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

The phone was even able to capture my dog in this pose — and doggies are rarely very still!

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

Another new feature that comes to the Galaxy J7+ is its Live Focus view, which allows you to adjust the bokeh or blur on a particular photo during or even after the photo had been taken. I’ve tried this mode on the Galaxy Note 8 and it’s a pretty fun feature!

Unfortunately, because this is a pre-production unit and some bugs are to be expected, I wasn’t able to try the mode out on this phone. The photos I took were tagged as “processing,” and this went on for a long time. After 30 minutes of waiting, I still couldn’t edit or open them.

The selfie camera is cool, too

This phone’s front-facing camera is a 16-megapixel shooter and has a built-in beauty mode which allows you to slim down your face, smoothen it out, adjust skin tone, or even increase your eye size.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

There are also bundled stamps and stickers that make for the cutest selfies, and if you’re not impressed, well then you’re missing out on some serious millennial fun. I will never tire of these Samsung filters!

Here are more sample shots from the front and rear cameras:

All other things worth noting

The Samsung Galaxy J7+ is powered by a MediaTek Helio P20 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. I had no issues running multiple apps and games that aren’t so heavy, like Stranger Things and Plants vs Zombies, played smoothly. A single charge on its 3000mAh battery lasted me a whole day’s worth of use.

Samsung Galaxy j7+ dual-camera

At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy J7+ is good for what it is: a midrange smartphone with good cameras on it.

Using the Samsung Galaxy J7+

This dual-camera phone comes at a way cheaper price point than the other dual-camera Samsung alternative (the Galaxy Note 8), but it’s worth noting that there are other phones in the market with specs that rival this for even less.

For those who know and love the Samsung brand, however, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re looking for a Samsung smartphone and only a Samsung, this may be the dual-cam handset for you.

The Samsung Galaxy J7+ retails for PhP 19,990 in the Philippines and THB 12,900 in Thailand.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy J7+ launches in the Philippines

Accessories

This is a notebook that will charge your phone because why not

One good-looking and useful planner!

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The good old notebook is being given an update.

If you’re still sentimental about stationery, or if you’re the pen and paper type of gal and you still can’t shake your organizer habits, this folio might be right up your alley.

The Tesmo notebook is a good-looking journal. The outside is bound by a durable leather material, there are slots for your pen, cards, and notes, plus you can easily refill the pages with standard A5-sized paper. What’s so different about this organizer then?

Place your phone on the notebook and you’ll find out. This organizer doubles as a wireless charger. Basically, it will charge any Qi charging-capable device — that means your iPhone X and most Android flagships — without even plugging in the phone.

With an 8000mAh battery capacity stored away in its cover, this notebook also allows simultaneous charging of up to three devices. It’s equipped with all the ports you’ll ever need: micro-USB, USB-C, and Lightning adapter.

It’s the journal that every career woman needs — well, okay, not exactly need. It would be cool, though. And, it’s honestly one profesh-looking planner. It comes in gray, black, and brown (pictured).

Check out their Kickstarter page here.

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Apps

10 good photography apps for your iPhone

Always get great shots

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Most photos we post and look at today are shot through the lenses of a handset. Gone are the days of big, bulky cameras and smartphones have replaced most shooters.

The great thing about shooting with your iPhone is that the creative process for your photo taking doesn’t end when you tap the shutter. There are so many things you can do with your photos; all you need is a good app.

Here are ten photography apps that you should check out.

VSCO

Price: Free!

Easily one of the most popular editing apps out there, VSCO is pretty easy to learn and simple to use. It allows you to edit photos, add presets, and even share your work to the VSCO community.

Download here.

Adobe Lightroom

Price: Free!

Think Adobe Lightroom on your computer but in mobile form. And yes, you get all the different tools and presets. If you upgrade to premium, you’ll be able to edit images across all your devices.

Download here.

Snapseed

Price: Free!

Another crowd favorite, Snapseed is an in-depth photo editing app. It can do all your basic editing on your iPhone, easy.

Download here.

Polarr Photo Editor

Price: Free!

Polarr boasts being an app that both photography pros and newbies can use. It has everything you’ll ever need for top-notch shots.

Download here.

Darkroom

Price: Free!

Another great app, Darkroom will level up your editing skills on mobile and give you tools to make sure your photos are always 👌🏽

Download here.

Afterlight 2

Price: US$ 2.99

This app offers basic editing, overlays, stylized filters, and even artwork text! It also provides free updates and new content monthly after that one time fee.

Download here.

Mextures

Price: US$ 1.99

Make photo editing easier with Mexture’s layered workflow. Add more texture to your photos and even edit existing formulas and presets with this app.

Download here.

Touch Retouch

Price: US$ 1.99

This app removes unwanted objects in your photos, easy peasy. Just trace the offending shape and you’re done! Definitely editing magic that you need.

Download here.

Portrait by img.ly

Price: Free!

Your portraits will never be the same again. Choose from different portrait styles, make selfie collages, and more!

Download here.

Enlight Photofox

Price: Free!

Not your basic editing app, Enlight not only gives you basic tools, it also allows for effects like double exposures, graphic elements, and even unique special effects.

Download here.

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Apps

What I learned about myself using Android Pie’s Digital Wellbeing Dashboard

Am I on my phone too much?

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When Android Pie was unveiled and released last week, I pretty much craved pie because everyone was talking about the delectable dessert. But, I was also very excited about one particular feature: The Digital Wellbeing Dashboard.

Image of me actually eating pie the day after the Android Pie unveiling

Announced earlier, this dashboard was supposed to be a ticket to a healthier lifestyle — well, at least in theory. In an effort to curb unhealthy phone user habits, a dashboard that tracks app usage is built in to Android’s newest operating system. Although not available to everyone as of writing, Pixel users (like yours truly) are able to try out the beta version of the dash. Since I’m a sucker for self-actualization and information that may potentially heal (and hurt) me, I tried it out for the last week or so and here’s what I learned.

I’m on my phone — a lot

No sh*t, Sherlock.

I know I’m always looking at these tiny screens but I didn’t realize I was literally living my life in front of it. A record day saw me looking at the screen for — get this — 11 hours and 55 minutes. That’s half a day! Legitimately, that’s the whole time I’m not sleeping. And take note, I review phones so this isn’t the only screen I look at in a day.

Given these numbers, I’m honestly unsure how I get anything else done in my life.

I get a ton of notifications

I mean sure, technology connects people, but I didn’t realize just how connected we are.

According to my data, I get around a minimum of 250 notifications per day and this number varies. At some point, there was a whopping 620 notifications. Let’s think about that for a minute; that means around 51 messages per hour in a 12-hour day. There are only 60 minutes per hour so that means almost a message for each freaking minute.

On average, Facebook Messenger tops the list for these notifications followed by Gmail and Telegram.

I check Instagram more than I should

Now, this is funny because as you just saw, Instagram isn’t on that list of top app notifiers. But, this might also be because I turned off IG notifications because they were distracting me (yay for being self-aware?). This health dashboard tells me that I unlocked my Instagram app most, with as many as 153 times in one day. This was, on average, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

The top three apps I spent time on are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which just tells me that I’m ‘gram crazy and I’m on social media too much (which isn’t really news to anyone).

Grayscale is annoying and I hate it

Part of the dashboard is a feature aimed at curbing being on your phone before bed (which I do a lot 🙄). Wind Down allows you to set such times and then gives you an option to turn on Do Not Disturb and a Grayscale that makes browsing less desirable for people who should be sleeping and not looking at their phones.

The mess of an app IG becomes on grayscale

Reading tweets on grayscale is weird and browsing through Instagram is just plain wrong. I guess, in that way, this function is effective in getting me to stop being on my phone — until I turned it off the next day and never turned it on again.

I refuse to turn on the app timer as I justify social media use as work

Say what you want because it’s true. 😅

See, there’s a timer option on the dash that allows you to limit app usage time. Thing is, I’ve never turned it on. Why? Because I work on the internet and turning it on may amount to catastrophic consequences.

I will keep using this to justify my action of disallowing app time limits, so what’s your excuse?

It must be noted that, as mentioned earlier, I use more than one phone on a daily basis and am on social media on my laptop a lot, too. That being said, it’s worth pointing out that this still isn’t a complete picture of my daily phone and internet habits. Even though this data only shows a fraction of the grand picture, it already says a lot.

As with everything in life, the choice is in your hands (er, on your phone). Though I am ultimately left to decide what to do about my phone habits, knowing is always the first step.

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