Features

Samsung Galaxy S8: 8 things to expect

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After all the leaks we’ve been seeing, we can’t help but wonder why Samsung doesn’t just release its freakin’ Galaxy S8 already! We know everything there is to know — or do we?

Its official March 29 reveal date is just a week away, and while we could just wait a few days to see the flagship phone for real, this wouldn’t be GadgetMatch if we didn’t prep our readers (and ourselves) for this year’s spiciest handset yet.

These are eight things we sorta, kinda, hopefully will see on the Galaxy S8. Please don’t get mad if get any of them wrong!

Massive, near-borderless screens

Okay, this one we’re pretty sure about. The S8 will come in two dual-curved screen sizes — 5.8 inches for the regular model and 6.2 inches for the obviously larger S8+ variant — which will eat up most of the phone’s front. Because of the minimal bezels, navigation buttons will be moved to the display itself and the fingerprint scanner will be found at the back, beside the camera lens.

A personal assistant named Bixby

Personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant are cool to have, but they have their limitations. Samsung recognizes this and has a virtual companion named Bixby ready in time for the S8 pair. It’s designed to be a lot smarter and can learn from your everyday behavior; there’ll be a dedicated access button, but compatibility with apps will be limited during the early phase.

A single-lens, yet incredibly fast camera

2017 was the year of dual-camera smartphones; what was once an obscure feature for obscure handsets turned into a standard, and even Apple and a bunch of midrangers jumped on the bandwagon. Samsung is having none of that — for now, at least. Every leak and rumors points to a single lens at the back of both the S8 and S8+.

We’re not complaining, though; the best-ever camera-phone performance is found on our darling Google Pixel, and it settles for a solo unit. In exchange, there’s a chance the S8’s camera can shoot at a blistering 1,000 frames per second during video recording, similar to what the Sony Xperia XZ Premium can do. This is made possible thanks to…

The fastest processor to date

If you read our primer on the brilliance of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor, you’d know how much of a game-changer it’ll be for phones using it this year, including the S8. Well, guess what: There’ll likely be an in-house Exynos chipset version of the S8 as well, and according to leaked benchmark results, it’s gonna be even faster than its Snapdragon counterpart! Here are the rest of the premium specs:

Smarter facial recognition technology

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 wasn’t exactly revolutionary — it was like a larger Galaxy S7 Edge with an S Pen — but one of its headline features, the iris scanner, set it apart. Now, the S8 might step it up and introduce facial recognition that’ll not only provide secure phone access, but also verify your identity before making transactions using Samsung Pay. Yay for more security!

Some snazzy colors

As of now, the only colors we can confirm are black sky, orchid gray, and arctic silver. Sounds boring, but we imagine all these looking better in the flesh than on the bland renders we have here. This being Samsung, there’ll definitely be a multitude of special editions and fresh new colors to choose from later on in the phone’s life.

An April rollout date

Good news: The S8 will become official during its launch in New York next week. Bad news: Shipping of retail units will reportedly begin on April 21 for South Korea and April 28 for the US. While it’s perfectly normal for such a gap between launch and rollout dates, remember that the Galaxy S7 was revealed and distributed much earlier last year.

Sky-high prices and our reaction

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S8 secrets revealed

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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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Features

Huawei Mate 20 vs Mate 20 Pro: What are the differences?

Price isn’t the only factor

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Huawei has once again launched two flagships phones at the same time; one comes with a Pro moniker, while the other does not. Like before, there are some significant differences between the Mate 20 pair to take note of.

While we wait to get our hands on the Porsche Design Mate 20 RS and Mate 20 X, here are the two phones we already know everything about.

Display

One obvious difference is in their displays. While the Mate 20 Pro goes for a notched 6.39-inch 1440p curved HDR OLED display — certainly a mouthful — the regular Mate 20 has a 6.53-inch 1080p RGBW HDR LCD with a much smaller notch.

The Pro model justifies the larger notch by housing a more complex camera system for secured facial recognition, but if that doesn’t matter to you, the regular variant’s Dew Drop notch may be more appealing — and definitely less intrusive.

In addition, the Mate 20 Pro’s OLED tech allows it to curve the edges and equip an in-display fingerprint scanner. It’s essentially the more modern-looking design of the pair.

Performance

Since both models have Huawei’s Kirin 980 chipset installed, pure performance is virtually identical. The Pro and non-Pro also share the same memory and storage configuration of 6GB and 128GB, respectively, although the plain Mate 20 has a more affordable 4GB memory variant available, too.

Another minor difference: The 4200mAh capacity of the Mate 20 Pro, along with the more energy-efficient OLED, provides it with potentially longer battery life than what the Mate 20’s 4000mAh capacity and LCD panel offer.

A more significant advantage for the Mate 20 Pro is its inclusion of a 40W SuperCharge adapter in the package — noticeably better than the 22.5W output of the Mate 20’s. Plus, the Pro version can charge other phones wirelessly using wireless reverse charging tech.

Cameras

Perhaps, you’ll care most about the difference in camera quality and performance. While it’s too early to make photo and video comparisons, an initial look at specs shows that the Mate 20 Pro may have an edge.

There are three modules in place for the Pro: One is a 40-megapixel main camera, another has 20 megapixels and an ultra-wide lens, and the final unit offers 8 megapixels with 3x optical zoom

As for the Mate 20, its main camera has only 12 megapixels, the ultra-wide shooter settles for 16 megapixels, and the 8-megapixel telephoto camera goes up to only 2x optical zoom.

Despite the larger notch of the Mate 20 Pro, they share the same 24-megapixel selfie camera.

Pricing and colors

This part largely depends on where you reside, but in an ideal setting, all five colors — Emerald Green, Midnight Blue, Twilight, Pink Gold, and Black — should be available for both models.

Pricing is another matter, and it again depends per region. In Europe, the Mate 20’s 4GB+128GB configuration retails for EUR 799 and its 6GB+128GB model goes for EUR 849. The Mate 20 Pro’s sole 6GB+128GB variant costs EUR 1,049, making it more expensive by EUR 250 and EUR 200, respectively.

In Singapore, the Mate 20’s 6GB+128GB setup retails for SG$ 998, while the Mate 20 Pro is at SG$ 1,348 — a difference of SG$ 350.

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Features

Huawei Mate 20 series first to have Nano Memory Card

Could this become a trend?

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Aside from introducing a host of flagship features to the freshly minted Mate 20 series, Huawei also introduced a new memory card standard, simply named Nano Memory Card.

It’s available on both the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, and it effectively replaces the microSD slot we’ve become so accustomed to. The question is: What’s so special about it?

The simplest answer is that it has the same size as the nano-SIM card inside any smartphone today. Because of the identical dimensions, the secondary card slot doesn’t have to be designed differently, like what has been done for microSD cards.

In the case of the Mate 20 series, the removable card tray has back-to-back slots: one for the nano-SIM, and the other for either another nano-SIM or separate Nano Memory Card.

As of writing, Huawei will be offering 128GB and 256GB NM Cards, with speeds of up to 90MB/s.

It’s certainly a more efficient way of adding physical storage to a handset, and allows manufactures like Huawei to use the saved space for other features, like a large battery.

Looking ahead, it seems only logical for other smartphone brands to follow suit, but that would mean consumers would have to buy into a whole new standard and let go of their microSD cards.

The same thing happened with the introduction of the USB-C port, wherein users had to replace their micro-USB cables for the newer, more intuitive system. It’s been a gradual process, but definitely rewarding.

It’ll take a while before we find out if this will become a trend, but for now, we should appreciate Huawei’s courage in taking the first, big step.

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