News

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 beats Galaxy S9+ at DxOMark

Despite having the same cameras

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When the Galaxy Note 9 first came out, Samsung didn’t promote its camera performance that much, instead saying that it uses the same setup as that of the Galaxy S9+ but with more intelligent features. Interestingly, the Note 9 went through some camera tests, and as it turns out, is significantly better at shooting than its non-stylus equivalent.

Imaging authority DxOMark made these findings recently, giving the Note 9 an overall score of 103 compared to the 99 of the S9+. For additional comparison, the Note 9 is tied with the HTC U12+ for the second spot, and they both trail the Huawei P20 Pro which still leads with 109 points.

DxOMark claims that when comparing the Note 9 to the S9+, the former does better at autofocus consistency, image stabilization, zooming in on subjects, and utilizing Samsung’s portrait mode. All these revolve around the image sensors, which explains why the two phones can have the same hardware but different performance.

Breaking down the score further, the Note 9 garnered 107 for the photo category, gaining praise for its great dynamic range, detail retention, and color reproduction. As for videos, it does well enough at subject tracking, exposure accuracy, and noise reduction to earn a score of 94.

Both these numbers handily trump the Galaxy S9+ and secure the Note 9 as Samsung’s best camera phone ever. From our own experience, we can say with certainty that this is true.

You can learn more in our hands-on video:

News

Google stops selling the Pixel 3A

Making way for the Pixel 4a

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Google has officially stopped selling its midrange offering, the Pixel 3a. In a statement to Android Police, the company said “Google Store has sold through its inventory and completed sales of Pixel 3a.” This includes the Pixel 3a as well as the Pixel 3a XL.

If you’re thinking of getting one, supplies may still be available with a few partners. This could include offline sellers as well as online listings. However, the company won’t be shipping any more units directly.

The sale closure means Google has no midrange phone to offer under the Pixel brand. However, this is also a positive indication if you’ve been waiting for the Pixel 4a. The Pixel 3a was launched last year and a successor is much-needed at this point.

The successor, Pixel 4a, has been delayed by a couple of months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With no more Pixel 3a stocks coming in, it’s safe to assume Google is focusing its supply chain and logistics resources on the Pixel 4a.

It was then speculated that the smartphone will be announced in June. However, a reliable tipster had recently claimed that the Pixel 4a may go official on July 13.

As far as specifications go, the Pixel 4a is expected to sport a 5.8-inch OLED display with Full HD+ resolution and a punch-hole camera. Powering the phone could be a Snapdragon 730 processor along with 6GB RAM. We expect a 12-megapixel camera on the rear along with an 8-megapixel front camera.

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Apps

TikTok is a massive data collection service – researcher

Disguised as a social network

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Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

TikTok is getting a lot of heat for its opaque data collection policies after it was discovered that the app also accessed the user’s clipboard on iOS. Now, a researcher alleges that the app has collected a huge amount of user data in the background while the service continues to operate like any other social network.

Going by the name bangorlol on Reddit, the user claims that after reverse-engineering the app, they caught it collecting an abnormal dose of personal information. This includes users’ phone hardware, the apps on their phone, network-related information like IP address, router MAC, Wi-Fi access point name, and if a user’s phone was rooted or jailbroken.

He further added that GPS location pings were also being sent to the company’s servers within short intervals. However, we should take the current findings with a pinch of salt. The allegations are from an independent study and yet to be verified or audited by a government or assigned third-party.

We also can’t ignore the report. TikTok has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately. The US government has officially cited its potential security threats with the Chinese social network and at least two security audits are currently underway.

India has already banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok. The government said these apps are “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner.”

When compared to other social networking apps, TikTok has access to extremely sensitive data. At this point, we need more transparency from TikTok. The company has already pulled its service from India, citing the recent ban. However, it’s yet to convince public authorities about its data protection policies.

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Lifestyle

Samsung brings The Frame to the Philippines

Space-saving for art enthusiasts living in small spaces

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Image by Samsung

This isn’t just a picture frame. It’s a TV.

Looks cool, right? Launched in Paris back in 2017, Samsung’s The Frame finally makes its way to the Philippine archipelago.

Countless times, we’ve found it difficult to arrange and decorate our spaces due to humongous televisions that seem like a huge block of a black panel. This picture-frame looking TV innovates one of the centerpieces of every home.

The Frame — with its elegant and modern frame — blends smoothly into your wall, just like an art decor. This looks astonishing when you surround yourself with paintings and other artworks. It also has interchangeable bezels that you can customize into different colored frames, depending on your liking.

You can hang it on your wall with its no-gap mounts and hide the cables with One Invisible Connection, or you can put it on a TV stand to match your style and interior.

Art Mode

The Frame prides itself with Art Mode, a feature where it previews artwork or personal photographs when the TV is not in use. It curates your favorite art pieces, easily learning what you like, and hands out recommendations. Samsung rolls out software updates, so expect new artwork releases.

Through this feature, you can create a personalized gallery of your favorite artworks, or exhibit your photographs and family portrait. This can easily be done using your phone or a USB flash drive.

Art Mode allows you to use seven different types of layout and a palette of ten different colors. The Frame ensures your artwork and photographs will look great, wherever it is placed.

Smart features that are really smart

The Frame promises to be a smart TV that complements your lifestyle. It houses nifty and smart features that will make your watching experience stellar and immersive. For starters, it has Brightness Sensor which optimizes the screen depending on the lighting condition.

There’s also Motion Sensor which detects your presence and showcases artworks when you’re not watching. When you leave, it automatically turns off, thus, saving energy.

Samsung’s popular Ambient Mode comes to The Frame, as well. You can set it up so you decide what you see on-screen, or you can make The Frame match your walls to virtually blend in. No more big, black panels!

The Frame also analyzes your room’s lighting, the video’s content and audio, as well as the surrounding noise in your area. The Frame then adjusts your audio-visual experience to make it natural.

Samsung makes it easy to connect with The Frame, too. You can mirror content by pairing your phone, or by tapping it on The Frame. You can also connect your Galaxy phone, and split The Frame’s screen, allowing you to watch on TV and check your mobile device on one screen. No more looking away!

Furthermore, The Frame comes with Samsung’s QLED 4K technology, providing users an immersive experience that’s incredibly realistic and rich in detail and texture.

Price and availability

Samsung is bringing The Frame to the Philippines — together with the new QLED 8K TV — as part of Samsung’s 2020 TV lineup. The Frame will come in three sizes: 32-inch (PhP 31,999), 55-inch (PhP 79,999), and 65-inch (PhP 109,999). Starting July 1, The Frame will be available in Samsung Authorized Dealer stores. Every purchase will come with one free Frame Bezel, redeemable through Samsung’s Redemption website.

The Art Store also comes with one-month free trial, giving you access to classic and contemporary art. If you opt for the full subscription, you can choose from thousands of artworks from international galleries, such as Royal Collection Trust, Art Space, Saatchi Art, and Lumas.

The Frame is one of the three lifestyle TVs Samsung offers. It’s still unsure whether The Serif or The Sero will come to the Philippines.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s The Sero is a quirky rotating TV


Editor’s Note: This story was published on April 17, 2020. It has been edited to reflect Samsung’s official pricing and availability for The Frame in the Philippines.

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