Features

Samsung Galaxy S9 Preview

Everything we know about Samsung’s 2018 flagship

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Samsung Galaxy S9 Renders by Concept Creator for GadgetMatch

With official invites in hand, our focus now shifts to the first, big, flagship of 2018, the Samsung Galaxy S9. Early this year, GadgetMatch spoke with multiple sources familiar with the phone, and based on these accounts, here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S9.

LAUNCH: Launch date is February 25th in Barcelona, a day before the start of Mobile World Congress 2018. US availability is slated for early March.

DESIGN: Give or take a few millimeters, the Galaxy S9 will look just like the S8. Design-wise, this year’s update will be mainly iterative, improving on the S8’s quirks. Most importantly, Samsung fixes the awful positioning of the fingerprint sensor; on the S9, it will be underneath the camera and not beside it. The new placement makes it easier to reach and avoids accidental smudges. Its front panel will have the same curved Infinity Display that tapers off on both sides.

TWO MODELS: Just like on the S8, Samsung’s new flagship will be available in two sizes — 5.8 and 6.2 inches — dubbed the S9 and S9 Plus, respectively. The larger model will have more RAM and a bigger battery. Also, only the S9 Plus will rock a dual camera setup, so you’ll have to go big if you want two cameras just like on Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus.

SPECS: The S9 will run on either Samsung’s Exynos 9810 chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845. The S9 will come with 4GB of RAM while the S9 Plus will come with 6GB. We know that at least the S9 will come with a 64GB base storage. Battery capacities will be 3000mAh and 3500mAh, respectively. Both processor variants are also expected to deliver power efficiency for longer battery life.

CAMERA: If it isn’t obvious from Samsung’s S9 launch teaser, camera improvements are going to be the new phone’s headline feature. The S9 will sport a faster 12-megapixel f/1.5 lens with optical image stabilization, but will come with a feature called Dual Aperture which will adjust the aperture of a photo to f/2.8 when plenty of light is available, giving your daytime photos more details. The S9 will also now be able to shoot super slow-mo videos at an impressive 960 frames per second, something first seen on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

SAM-EMOJI: A combination of software and hardware will enable AR style / Animoji-like features. Sources tell GadgetMatch that Samsung’s take also involves face tracking, but will be multi-platform, meaning it will work across a variety of chat apps, and will come with branded partnerships that will provide a steady stream of characters (versus Apple’s pre-defined set of 12, 16 if you consider the four new ones coming in iOS 11.3).     

PREMIUM PRICING: Like the Galaxy Note 8 that came before, the S9 and S9 Plus will be priced higher than last year’s models. Expect pricing to hover around US$ 900 for the S9, and about US$ 1,100 for the S9 Plus.   


Shoutout to Concept Creator for these renders. Follow this awesomely talented dude on YouTube.

Reviews

Google Pixel 4a Unboxing & Review: Unbelievably Good?

A direct contender of the iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord

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Google’s ‘a'(ffordable) line-up may be long overdue because of the pandemic — but after several months of waiting, we finally have one on our hands.

Cheaper than last year’s US$ 399 Pixel 3a, the US$ 349 Pixel 4a might just be the most affordable flagship killer contender you can get over the 2020 iPhone SE and the OnePlus Nord.

But can the mid-tier specifications and less-fancy phone features justify its affordable price tag? Head over to our in-depth Pixel 4a review here.

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

August 2020 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order

Redmi 9 (PhP 6,990 / US$ 141)

Quality build with baseline specs that can handle, well, the basics. This is what the Redmi line has been offering and that remains true with the Redmi 9. You’ll have to be bit creative with some of the apps you install (always go for the Lite versions), but the pre-installed Google apps run smoothly and should be more than enough to power you through.

Hands-On: Redmi 9

Redmi Note 9 (US$ 200)

This is a routine appearance for the Redmi Note line. Xiaomi continues to lord over the budget segment by offering fairly capable smartphones at such an affordable price.

Review: Redmi Note 9

Realme 6i (US$ 196)

Realme finally releases a budget phone with a USB-C port! That aside, everything here is standard Realme — which is great. Its cameras leave much to be desired but what this is a budget phone after all. It does pretty well everywhere else — can game, handle your usual daily things, and has an impressive battery life.

READ: Realme6i 

OPPO A5s (US$ 117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Samsung Galaxy A20 (US$ 190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20

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Best Smartphones

Best Midrange Smartphones from $200 to $400

August 2020 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from US$ 200 to US$ 400.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

realme 6 Pro (PhP 16,990/ US$ 339)

This is the only smartphone in this segment that offers a 90Hz screen refresh rate. It’s one thing if that’s the only thing it’s good at, but the realme 6 Pro has a 64MP quad-camera setup, a really clean UI, and Snapdragon 720G along with 30W VOOC charging. We’re convinced this is the best Android phone in this segment.

Review: realme 6 Pro

realme 6 (PhP 13,990/ US$ 280)

It’s pretty much everything its “pro” sibling is except it’s instead powered by a Helio G90T processor made for gaming. the RAM and storage combo is no slouch too (8GB/128GB) and yes, it also has a 90Hz screen refresh rate. Solid. Value.

Review. realme 6

iPhone SE (US$ 399)

One of the world’s fastest processors, a fantastic camera, at a midranger’s price. If we told you, we’re talking about an iPhone you probably wouldn’t believe us but here we are. The iPhone SE’s design is dated, but everything about its performance is near-flagship or flagship 2020 levels.

REVIEW: iPhone SE

Huawei Nova 7 SE (PhP 19,990/ US$ 399)

Barely making the price point, Huawei phones are facing a unique problem with the lack of Google Mobile Services. That said, Huawei Mobile Services is making a headway. But the reason the phone lands on this list is because of its 5G capabilities. This is one of the most affordable phones to support 5G and that has to count for something.

Hands-On: Huawei Nova 7 SE

Samsung Galaxy A51 (US$ 320)

Samsung’s on a roll with their Galaxy A-series. The Galaxy A51 builds on everything that was already great with the Galaxy A50 and A50s and just makes it even better. Much like everything on the Galaxy lineup this year, the Galaxy A51 sports a look that as of posting is still undeniably Samsung.

Pixel 3a (US$399)

The Pixel 3a barely makes this price range by being just a hair under $400. The camera alone easily makes this crème de la crème of this bunch. Add to that the vanilla Android experience and of course being in the priority list of Android updates, this is the Pixel to get for Android purists.

HANDS-ON: Pixel 3a

POCO X2 (INR 19,99/ US$ 279)

The future of Pocophone was up in the air for a while, but all of that was finally put to rest when the brand finally released the POCO X2. This isn’t exactly the successor to the POCO F1. In fact, this is just a rebranded Redmi K30 Pro. But it’s still a step in the right direction for a brand that quickly captured everyone’s attention only to go completely silent for over a year.

REVIEW: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy M31 (INR 15,99/US$ 224)

This battery-powerhouse of a smartphone has never quite made it to more markets, but it has gotten a significant amount of attention thanks to its 6,000mAh battery. Something this long-lasting appears to still be one of the priorities of smartphone buyers.

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