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Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch will arrive in PH on January 14th

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The holiday season is just around the corner. And really, Christmas isn’t Christmas until you get a gift for yourself, yes?

To that end, Samsung Philippines is making a bid to get into every techie’s last-minute shopping list with the Gear S3 smartwatch, which broke cover two months ago as the centerpiece of Samsung’s IFA announcement in Berlin.

The Gear S3 will be available from January 14, 2017 in the Philippines, but preorders start today, December 12, on Lazada and Abenson’s website. Local pricing is set at P16,490, or $330. Early adopters, though we probably shouldn’t call them that given the timing of the release, will receive an extra watch band (valued at almost $40) so they won’t have to spring for one when they eventually get tired of wearing the same strap all the time.

Left: Gear S3 Classic; right: Gear S3 Frontier

Similar to its predecessor, the watch has two designs: the Classic and the Frontier. The former is classier, updated with stainless steel and a polished silver finish, whereas the latter tends to appear more casual and rugged, sporting a darker, gunmetal face with textured buttons and a silicone band.

Regardless which model you pick, you’ll get an Tizen-based timepiece with the same hardware on the inside, in addition to wireless charging via the included magnetic dock; GPS for fitness-tracking purposes; NFC for wireless payments; and a speaker for calls and music playback. Both also tout a large, always-on AMOLED display and an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

The Gear S3 Frontier that’s coming to the Philippines will not have standalone LTE connectivity found on models sold in other markets.

Samsung has packed a lot of features into a very small package, but in doing so, it’s sacrificed the thing that makes the Gear S2 so appealing and physically satisfying to wear. The new Gear smartwatch is bigger and much thicker than what came before. Still though, props to Samsung for not compromising on style and keeping them looking like traditional timepieces, the kind Apple Watch fans must miss having on their wrist.

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Huawei’s FreeBuds 2 Pro can charge wirelessly on top of Mate 20

Maybe it can do more than the AirPods

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Image credit: WinFuture.de

Earlier this year, Huawei released an AirPods clone dubbed the FreeBuds. We weren’t able to test it for ourselves due to the limited availability in select regions. This time around though, Huawei might want to make it more accessible because it’ll be a perfect companion for the upcoming Mate 20.

The FreeBuds 2 Pro will be the Mate 20’s ideal wireless earphones. Rumors have it that it’ll be used with the Mate 20 for AI-based speech recognition. Like Apple’s AirPods, they are in a portable case, which also works as a charging dock. But, the FreeBuds 2 Pro will have a Qi standard wireless charging option.

Image credit: WinFuture.de

Not only that, but the case can also be charged when placed at the back of a Mate 20. This means you can share your phone’s juice to the FreeBuds anytime and anywhere.

According to leaked marketing materials obtained by WinFuture.de, it’ll take about three hours to fully charge the FreeBuds 2 Pro wirelessly or two hours when done through a USB-C connection. The wireless earphones can last three hours on a single charge and up to 20 hours when you keep recharging them in the battery case.

Image credit: WinFuture.de

As for the FreeBuds 2 Pro’s specs, it supports Hi-Res Wireless Audio with a bitrate of up to 560 Kbps. It also has a built-in bone sensor that captures the user’s voice via bone conduction and distinguishes it from other people’s voices using AI.

Price-wise, expect the FreeBuds 2 Pro to go on sale from EUR 150 to EUR 160.

SEE ALSO: Leaked Huawei Mate 20 copies from Apple and Samsung

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Huawei will launch a foldable, 5G-ready smartphone

Coming in the middle of 2019

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It’s that time of the year again. Towards the end of the year, the world’s biggest smartphone makers start making their huge promises for next year. For example, Samsung has already begun its annual run of rumors and leaks for the Galaxy S10.

However, among all the promises already out, the market has constantly peddled foldable screens and 5G networks. Most companies have promised future iterations of one or the other. For example, Xiaomi already conducted 5G network tests for launch next year.

Taking the cake, Huawei has promised both features in one fell swoop. Next year, the company will launch a foldable, 5G-ready smartphone.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Huawei’s deputy chairman Ken Hu confirmed the company’s plans. According to Hu, Huawei’s first 5G-ready phone will “introduce a foldable screen.” To add, the phone will launch in the middle of next year.

Curiously, this release schedule falls in between the upcoming Mate 20 series and the successors of the P20. Whatever the phone is, it will likely stay away from Huawei’s major lines.

Months ago, Huawei also hinted a foldable, gaming-centric phone coming this year. At the time, the rumored phone lived exclusively in speculative territory. Now, with the Mate 20 series on the horizon, Huawei’s plans are more concrete.

With official confirmation, next year will finally see the rise of the foldable phone running on 5G networks. Like Huawei, Samsung has also promised a foldable phone soon after the launch of the Galaxy S10 series.

If anything, next year’s new trends should spell a sigh of relief from this year’s obsession with the notch and multiple cameras.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Pro official cases leak online

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Apple iPhone XS Max undergoes scratch and bend tests

Spoiler alert: It doesn’t bend!

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The latest iPhones from Apple are available in key markets around the globe. Quite a number of people already have their hands on one (including us), so it’s time to review the phone. While we’re still working on our insights about the new iPhone XS, let’s witness the device go through a series of durability tests.

If you’re fond of seeing phones go through sharp blades, you should definitely check out Zack Nelson’s JerryRigEverything channel on YouTube. The latest phone to suffer on his table, of course, is the newest iPhone — the iPhone XS Max to be specific.

Unsurprisingly, the iPhone XS Max practically survived the whole test. The front and back glass body managed to withstand scratches like most high-end smartphones on the market. The stainless steel frame did get scratched too, but Zack pointed out that it’s less prone to damages compared to previous aluminum-made iPhones.

Everything was not perfect, though. Apple claimed that the new iPhone XS and XS Max have “sapphire crystal lens cover” for the dual rear cameras. That’s ideal to fully protect the camera from unsightly scratches which will greatly affect the image quality. Unfortunately, it seems to be just a marketing gimmick. Compared to an actual and pure sapphire crystal face of a Tissot wristwatch, the iPhone’s lens cover is not hard enough and it scratches easily.

At least, the iPhone XS Max didn’t bend at the end of the video.

SEE ALSO: Pocophone F1 gets tested for durability

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