Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 Hands-On

A quick look at Samsung’s new foldable

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Samsung has taken all the things we love about the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and applied it to the design language of the Galaxy Z Fold2, and not just with the Mystic Bronze color.

It’s more flat and angular in some places with a brushed metal finish on its frame and a frosted matte finish on its back. It’s Gorilla Glass Victus up front, Gorilla Glass 6 on the back, and UTG or Ultra Thin Glass on the inside.

I like how it feels in the hands. And how much more elegant it looks. But this form factor. Whether closed or unfolded takes some getting used to.

The crease is still there. It’s really just the nature of the material used for the inner screen. But it really doesn’t bother me as much.  Samsung offers the Fold 2 in Bronze and Black. In some markets, you can even customize the hinge with an accent color: Black, Silver, Gold, Red and Blue.

I’ve already pre-ordered mine in Black and Blue, of course.


Customization doesn’t add to the cost of the phone, but it adds a five week delay. So in case you want your phone on September 18th, don’t customize.

Original Fold vs Fold2 

The biggest, most obvious change from the Fold 1 to the Fold 2 is its larger Cover Display. Unlike on the original, the entire front panel is all-display, measuring 6.2 inches diagonally.

When used like a regular smartphone, it still feels narrower and thicker compared to your average smartphone. But things like texting, scrolling through Instagram, and even taking photos are totally doable now. You can now watch videos on it too. And If you start something on the cover display, you can pick up where you left off when you open it up.

When opened up, the weird selfie camera module is gone completely. All that’s left is a punch hole cutout for the selfie camera.

The Fold 2 is a tad bit shorter but wider. And the bezels have been reduced also.

This display is bigger too — 7.6 inches diagonally. Perfect for things like playing some games that support this aspect ratio, navigating using Google Map, or reading a book using the Kindle App.

Oh and like on the Z Flip,the hinge can now stay open at a 90 degree angle. It’s called Flex mode. So you can do things like prop it up for Google Duo calls, watch YouTube videos with only half the screen, and use it like you would a mini laptop.

Display differences

Apart from the obvious size, aspect ratio, and material differences, the cover display is Super AMOLED

While the main display is Dynamic AMOLED. This means it adds support for HDR10+ and also has lower blue light emissions.

In terms of resolution we’re looking at HD+ and QXGA+ respectively — it’s not called Quad HD due to its unique aspect ratio. But it’s definitely more high-res than Full HD.

The cover display has a 60Hz refresh rate while the main display has a 120Hz refresh rate at full resolution  with Adaptive Display adjusting it based on which app you’re in.

Over the course of the next few days I plan on testing both displays out more. I want to find out if I can survive exclusively off of the cover display. I also want to see how I will best make use of the all that extra screen real estate the main display offers.

As per usual, Samsung has included a whole bunch of multitasking features like being able to have three windows open at the same time. As well as shortcuts to launch your favorite app combinations.

Power, performance, battery

As this is supposed to be one of the best phones Samsung has to offer, the Fold2 is packed with top-notch specs including a Snapdragon 865+ processor no matter where you buy it.

There’s also a 256GB of UFS 3.1 Storage, 12GB of RAM, and 5G support.

I managed to get to 5G service from my rooftop but not the speeds I enjoyed during an afternoon with my Note 20 Ultra at Bryant Park.

The phone packs a 4500mAh battery — actually two cells that add up to 4500. In my day of heavy use setting it up and using it out and about, I managed to get it to zero. Close to five hours of screen on time.

Using its bundled charger, a 10-minute charge filled it up to 13% and a 30-minute top up got it to 35%.

The Fold 2 supports wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. More detailed battery usage reports, and charging tests in my full review.

Is the Galaxy Z Fold2 your GadgetMatch? As always my answer to this question will have to wait until the full review.

In the meantime, click here for a sneak peek of what the Galaxy Z Fold2’s cameras can do.

Apps

Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay 2.0: Cut through the queue

Make life less hectic!

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Starbucks Mobile

When you’re an adult, coffee isn’t just a power-up drink helping you get through the day. It becomes an avenue for conversation, an invitation to meet people, a kick you need to fuel your creativity and productivity.

While there are several ways to brew coffee and there are different local neighborhood cafés to explore, Starbucks has always been within reach. And it has ingrained itself as an important part of my working life. A staple of the modern workforce’s culture. A lifestyle — tradition to an extent — that seeped in through the interstices of friendships and family.

When the pandemic struck, I started learning how to brew my own coffee. Occasionally, I order my caffeine fix through Grab or Foodpanda. But the experience isn’t the same.

Keyword: Experience. That’s precisely what Starbucks offers. So when Starbucks Philippines sent me a holiday card to try the new Mobile Order & Pay, a feature they had for a while that was rehashed, I decided it’s time to go out and try again.

Exploring the app

The Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 is available through the Starbucks app. If you’re a Starbucks lover, you probably have an account registered to Starbucks Rewards. The app is easy to use, particularly because of its clean user interface (UI) design.

Through the Starbucks app, you can check your account’s transaction history, monitor the stars collected via the Rewards program, and make some changes to your personal profile and payment methods. The app also has a lot of promotional materials, parading their latest drinks and treats that you can avail yourself of in-store or online.

Starbucks Mobile

And more importantly, you can reload your account, register your cards, and of course, get ahead of your day and order your favorite beverages.

Cut through the line

Once I got my cards settled in, I ordered my go-to drink: Cold brew topped with four pumps of white mocha sauce. I placed my order through the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 feature, which gave me four options to pick up my order. Although, the options vary depending on the closest branch near you.

There’s the usual In-store pickup where you head straight to the pickup counter for your order. Yes, you won’t get in line anymore. When I tried this pickup option, everyone gave me looks when I went past the queue and headed straight to ask the Barista about my order. I had the audacity to ask about my drink because the app notified me when the order was ready.

Starbucks Mobile

When I got my drink, I walked out of the store feeling ravished. It felt like I was in a slow-mo montage of a coming-of-age film where the protagonist suddenly did something extraordinary. Frankly, this is my favorite pickup option. It makes so much sense to just get your orders if you can walk inside. And that gives you extra steps for your smartwatch to count. Get moving, people!

But if you don’t like the hassle of scanning your QR codes and getting your temperature checked, or the usual mumbo-jumbo you encounter inside a store, there are other pickup options outside.

Just wait outside

My other favorite option was the Outdoor pickup, which I chose when I was passing by Starbucks The Grove — my favorite branch in Pasig. I was dead-tired from a weekend night-out with my friends at Okada Manila, and the all-night casino adventure bled through a Monday morning.

I was on my way home, ready for work. Then, I realized I badly need the good ol’ Barista Drink. Nothing can beat an americano topped with white mocha sauce splashed with sub-breve (and no water!). Especially when it comes to waking you and your senses up. More importantly, you can have it served iced or hot depending on your preferences.

Starbucks Mobile

I placed my order when I was already in Arcovia City, a kilometer away from The Grove by Rockwell. Apparently, you can’t order ahead for an Outdoor pickup if you’re 3 kilometers away, which I tried to do when I was still in Taguig. So you have to be close to the branch if you want to place your order.

I tried to do the math in my head, calculating if I can pull over for a minute while I wait for my order. But I’m bad at numbers so I went ahead. The app said the order will be ready in five to six minutes anyway.

I pulled over when I arrived at the branch, and I didn’t wait long enough for one of my favorite baristas to come out to my chosen pickup point and hand me my order.

Stay in your car

I hate parking. Or wasting the time spent trying to park properly in between enormous SUVs. Or finding a spot to park your vehicle. This is why I don’t understand the Curbside pickup option, where the barista locates your designated parking slot and gives your order while practicing social and safe distancing.

I tried the pickup option in Starbucks Sierra Valley — a humongous, stand-alone branch with a massive parking space and drive-thru option found east of Metro Manila.

Starbucks Mobile

If you’re in a time crunch, this option really doesn’t make sense. But if you have a few moments to spare and you don’t want to get out of your vehicle for safety measures against the COVID-19 (and its variants), then the Curbside pickup is the way to go.

Frankly speaking, it doesn’t work for me. I know having your order brought to you is part of the experience, but I value my time. And it was against my morals to just sit inside my car and wait for the barista to come out and bring my order. In my head, they could be doing more valuable things than going outside the store, when I can pick up my order at their counter.

The In-store pickup is the fastest option in my experience, and I feel good doing the task instead of sitting and waiting around. I guess it’s my can-do attitude speaking, but that’s how I’m really built.

Drive through it

Now, there’s another option to get your order: Drive-thru pickup. You just have to line up in a queue of cars and wait for your turn. Like the Curbside pickup option, I didn’t like the Drive-thru pickup for one reason: It takes too long to get through the drive-thru window.

People are afraid to get out of their vehicles because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s valid. That’s why there are plenty of cars lining up to get their caffeine fix. I spent roughly 30 minutes waiting for my turn, which annoyed me since it would’ve been faster if I chose the In-store or Outdoor pickup.

Making life less hectic

Regardless of my rants and experience, the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 lets you get your favorite treats and beverages conveniently. In the way you like it.

While I’ve loved the In-store and Outdoor pick-up because they work well with my personality and lifestyle, I know some people (read: friends) would enjoy the Curbside and Drive-thru pickup. Especially since they’re cautious about the pandemic.

Not that I’m not wary of the virus being out there, I just value my time because every second counts. If I wanted to waste my time waiting, I would’ve lined up inside.

Nevertheless, the rehashed feature is worth giving a try. Through the Starbucks app, you can customize your orders. Just like your baristas, the app can modify the size, the number of espresso shots, dairy selection, and various options for your order. All done with just a single tap on your smartphone.

Frankly speaking, the Mobile Pay & Order 2.0 made my life easier especially when I’m in a hurry to get a caffeine fix. Not all days can be spent brewing your coffee, living in a slowed-down lifestyle. Some days, we just need to get through it, and Starbucks knows how to accompany me through those days.

The Starbucks PH app is available on The App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Unboxing and Hands-on

A more affordable Galaxy S21!

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Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE was one of 2020’s popular smartphones — even more than the S20 lineup. With its power-packed performance in a more affordable price point, you get to experience a flagship-grade Samsung phone.

That success also comes with a new successor. The Galaxy S21 FE isn’t very different from the Galaxy S21 — glasstic back, 120Hz AMOLED display, speedy 5nm chipset, and more. But what makes it different and more special versus the entry-level Galaxy S21 and other phones in the market today such as the iPhone 13 mini and Pixel 6?

Watch our Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Unboxing and Hands-on video now!

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Accessories

UGREEN 100W 3C1A GaN Charger: One charger to rule them all

A faster and reliable charger shouldn’t come at a cost

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UGREEN 100W GaN

Owning a new charger is a must nowadays. Whether it’s for your new smartphone without a charger in the box, or just looking for a charger replacement.

But in a sea full of chargers, how are you supposed to know which one to buy? Well, you should buy one that isn’t limited to charging only one device, but a charger to rule them all — and the UGREEN 100W 3C1A GaN Fast Charger is the best candidate for that.

Here are five (5) reasons why I think this isn’t like any other chargers in the market today:

1. Very compact

For comparison’s sake, I’ve decided to compare the UGREEN 100W charger to my two other chargers.

UGREEN 100W GaN

As you already notice, UGREEN is a tad smaller compared to my 87W USB-C MacBook Pro charger. And for obvious reasons, it’s bigger than my 56.5W USB-C PD charger. Still, the differences are uncanny.

UGREEN 100W GaN

Despite having almost the same size as my MacBook charger, it surprisingly weighs lighter. While not as light as the smaller one, it still fits in right in my palms.

UGREEN 100W GaN

And just like any other charger with a US plug, this one also is foldable. All you need to do is store it in your bag or a small pouch whenever you go out.

2. Wide compatibility

If you’re like me who charges a lot of devices, whether that may be your iPhone or Android smartphone, tablets, iPads, MacBooks, power banks, AirPods or any other wireless earbuds, and even the Nintendo Switch, the UGREEN 100W GaN charger can provide power to all of them. With its wide range of device compatibility, you don’t even need to bring several chargers with you.

UGREEN 100W GaN

Case in point: As someone who goes out for work every once in a while, my bundled MacBook charger not only is hefty, it’s also less-powered. But with the UGREEN GaN charger, it provides power for all of my devices while dealing with less heft in my small satchel or tote bag.

UGREEN 100W GaN

As the world slowly transitions into USB-C, it features three (3) USB-C ports to maximize its fast-charging capabilities. There’s still a single USB-A port for your older devices and peripherals, too.

If you’re curious to find out the tech behind these ports, it supports the current fast charging technology such as PD (Power Delivery) and QC (Quick Charge) 3.0 and Apple’s 5V2.4A USB-A.

3. Faster than ever

Paired with UGREEN’s braided USB-C charging cables (two of each have USB-C and Lightning end ports), I definitely noticed how it fully-charged my iPhone and Pixel faster that my other charger cannot achieve — even if that one has PD (Power Delivery) in it. UGREEN’s braided charging cables are also MFI-certified. This simply means Apple recognizes it as an accessory that can charge your Apple products safely.

UGREEN 100W GaN

While I may not able to pinpoint the total number of charging times for both phones, I’m certain that UGREEN charged both of them faster than my regular charging times. This makes me feel less-worried when charging my phones especially if I forgot to charge them overnight and I’m on a hurry for an errand next day.

This GaN Fast Charger can also fill up my large AF 26,800mAh power bank faster than ever. That’s in stark contrast to my 56.5W USB-C PD charger and the 87W MacBook Pro charger that doesn’t support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

And while we’re already on the topic, I’ve still managed to run a quick charging speed test on my MacBook Pro using the UGREEN 100W charger with the braided USB-C to USB-C cable.

  • 2 minutes = 2%
  • 5 minutes = 7%
  • 8 minutes = 9%
  • 10 minutes = 11%
  • 15 minutes = 17%
  • 20 minutes = 25%
  • 30 minutes = 35%
  • 45 minutes = 54%
  • 60 minutes = 70%
  • 75 minutes (1h 15m)  = 82%
  • 90 minutes (1h 30m) = 91%
  • 100 minutes (1h 40m) = 96%
  • 112 minutes (1h 52m) = 100%

The UGREEN 100W GaN charger quickly juiced up my 15-inch MacBook Pro. If I were to compare, charging it with its 87W Apple USB-C charger usually takes around 150 minutes (2h 30m). With those extra 40 minutes, you’ve already went out of the place you’re staying at. This is one among many reasons that the GaN charger works like a charm!

Disclaimer: I only left my MacBook Pro charging when I conducted this test. Overall charging time will vary once you plug in more devices into the charger.

4. Safer and more reliable

UGREEN 100W GaN

One of the main reasons why you should buy a GaN charger over the conventional ones is its fast yet efficient technology. With Gallium Nitride (GaN), it runs cooler than most chargers that use Silicon (Si), which most of us know as that cheap semiconductor still being widely used a lot in devices and in the whole tech space.

In my experience, I tried touching it while it’s still plugged while charging four devices simultaneously but it doesn’t feel that hot — unlike my 87W Apple charger when charging my MacBook.

Not only it does it charge your devices fast, GaN chargers like this one from UGREEN also assures you a safer and more reliable accessory without worrying about overheating and fire hazards.

5. Surprisingly affordable

In the Philippines, it has an SRP of PhP 2,799 — which is pretty affordable compared to other 87W/96W MacBook Pro chargers and other heavy-duty 100~120W GaN chargers in the market. It’s currently available on Shopee, Lazada (for PhP 2,649), and UGREEN Philippines website (for PhP 2,509).

Meanwhile, the braided cables are priced differently. PhP 539 for the USB-C to Lightning variant and PhP 229 for the USB-C to USB-C version.

Here are direct links if you’re interested to buy:

You can buy other UGREEN accessories through:

If you live in USA or the rest of the world, the charger is being sold in their official website for US$ 79.99. The cables are available at Amazon.com.

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