Features

Smartphones are indeed getting more expensive — here’s proof

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If you feel like smartphones are becoming alarmingly expensive these days, you’re not alone. Everyone’s been noticing the bump up in prices, and as it turns out, there’s data to prove it.

Market research institute GfK released data revealing that the global average sales price experienced a record seven percent year-on-year increase in the third quarter of 2017.

Considering that this number represents a mix of premium and budget-friendly smartphones, a seven percent increase is a major jump.

Arndt Polifke, Global Director of Telecom Research at GfK, had this to say:

The industry has clearly been switching its focus to drive sales value, and top tier global brands, such as Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, LG, Moto, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony, either already have, or will release, new premium models in an effort to upsell customers to their flagship devices.

He added that “premium features are increasing in importance to consumers” and that we should expect to see more emphasis on water and dust protection, increases in battery power and memory, higher-resolution sound, better camera and video capabilities, plus bezel-less designs and biometric sensors on upcoming phone releases.

From our own observations, brands have definitely been more liberal in upping smartphones prices since last year. If you recall, the general consensus last year was that any phone retailing above US$ 650 was too much, which made phones like the original Pixel seem overly premium.

A year later, we now have the Pixel 2 and its unchanged US$ 650 price tag, and people are actually calling it a good deal. Similarly, OnePlus has gone from their flagship starting price of US$ 300 a few years ago to the US$ 479 of the OnePlus 5 today (a more than 50 percent boost), but that’s a relatively competitive price point for the feature set it offers.

Most of the fault can be placed on Samsung and Apple dictating the upper limits of premium pricing with their recent flagships. US$ 1,000 is gradually becoming the new US$ 700, and US$ 850 is becoming less surprising on a high-end handset.

This hasn’t changed the demand for proper valuation, however. Established companies like Xiaomi are sticking to the steady pricing model to stay competitive, and newcomers like Essential are realizing that you can’t simply plaster a US$ 700 tag on an unproven product and call it a day.

The Essential Phone has since been reduced to just US$ 500 after less than three months of market availability.

SEE ALSO: Vkworld Mix Plus looks like Xiaomi Mi Mix, costs only $100

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First Look

Huawei MatePad 2021 Unboxing and First Impressions

The device for people on the go!

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Huawei has updated its primary tablet the Huawei Matepad. Come and join me as we unbox the new Huawei MatePad 2021.

Unboxing

Starting off, we have the box. A clean and simple look, but definitely pleasing! The front of the box shows us the branding and the name of the device.

A Huawei logo on the upper left corner, the AppGallery on the lower right, and on the lower left, the screen size of the device.

The box also has an interesting texture, only on the top cover though.

Opening the box, we have the device itself wrapped in fine paper and a pull tab to assist you when lifting the device out of the box.

Underneath the device, you are presented with two boxes. One box for the charging brick…

and the second containing the paperwork, USB Type-C cable, a 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor, and a warranty card.

Only the larger box is removable so be careful not to rip out the smaller box. Behind the larger box is the sim ejector tool, be sure to keep it safe!

Huawei MatePad

Removing the paper, we now see the simple but gorgeous Huawei MatePad in the “Midnight Grey” colorway. Be sure to remove the sticker — it’s optional but I suggest that you do.

The device itself is lightweight and easy to carry around, as a slim device it’s very easy to place it in a bag and you will have no problem carrying it around all day.

Starting off at the front, you will see the 10.4-inch screen with the camera at the top. Referring to the format at the back of the device, the front-facing camera is placed at the top.

On the left side of the device, you will be able to find the speakers along with the sleep/wake button. The right side shows you another pair of speakers and a charging port.

The top shows 4 microphones with the volume up and down button at the very left.

Heading over to the back you’ll be able to see the single-shooter camera, the Huawei branding, and an indication of their partnership with Harman/Kardon. The camera is accompanied by a flash and a microphone.

Specs

  • Display: 10.4-inch 2000×1200 IPS, 225 PPI
  • Processor: Huawei Kirin 820 series
  • Memory: RAM – 4GB, ROM – 128GB
  • Camera: 8MP front, 8MP rear
  • Battery: 7250mAh

Final thoughts

Finally, now we have unboxed the new Huawei MatePad. With this, the device itself feels good to the touch and is a good size for a tablet. Additionally, the “Midnight Grey” colorway of the MatePad is a great choice, it doesn’t collect fingerprints easily and the device is lightweight so you don’t have to worry when taking it with you anywhere.

The initial setup of the new MatePad was fast and easy, there are pre-loaded apps that are ready to use. Although I’m not sure if it’s just me or the apps change from time to time when you open the designated folders of the pre-loaded apps. For media consumption, the experience was good. Although the YouTube app was not the same as the ones we see on our devices, it works well as it should.

The screen looks good so far with the 2000×1200 IPS display, trying a few videos and films, the quality was great. Additionally, the speakers are a huge boost to the volume — loud but good quality. The MatePad also doesn’t have a 3m5mm headphone jack, luckily, they provided an adaptor. The MatePad is looking good so far, stay tuned for the next article as we are going deep and we’ll be having a full review of the Huawei MatePad 2021.

 

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Features

Virtual Assistants reimagined as animé characters

Voice assistants no more!

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Virtual assistants

What if we gave a face to our favorite virtual assistants? That’s a question that sparked among us when Virtual Assistant Sam made the Internet go nuts.

After seeing people’s reception towards an animated assistant, we decided to commission Ange Salasiban, an artist based in the Philippines. Here, we reimagine how the popular voice assistants would look like.

Google Assistant

Not a girl, and not a robot. Google Assistant is giving us Janet’s vibes from the comedy show The Good Place. After all, Google decided to give it a gender-neutral name — and multiple voice options — to make them a personality that can serve depending on a user’s need.

In a way, we reimagine Google Assistant as a femme-presenting non-binary persona, albeit looking like a cis, blond woman, who’s knowledgeable and conversational, and isn’t defined nor limited by their gender to do certain tasks. It’s a much-needed representation in our society, slowly paving the way to encourage acceptance.

SEE ALSO: Google wants Samsung to favor Google Assistant over Bixby

Apple’s Siri

Apple’s Siri is sassy, sophisticated, and definitely a trendsetter. She most likely has a million followers and built a social media empire in her teens.

A celebrity-like persona, whatever Siri does encourages her cult-like community to follow her. Whether it’s dyeing her hair with an attention-grabbing color, sporting a new style to wear for Coachella, or even eating at a hip restaurant around Brooklyn. Although, she’s loud most of the time she talks and takes a lot of mirror selfies in every mirror she passes by.

She’s giving us major Leo vibes bordering between obnoxious and self-absorbed. But what made her cult-like community love her is her ability to connect and create a conversation. People just love it when they’re a part of a story, or if the lines of communication are open. And Siri is definitely a people person.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s Siri listens to private conversations, sexual adventures

Amazon’s Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa, in our reimagination, is the resourceful friend we all have in our lives. You might’ve mistaken them as Virgo multiple times because of their ability to provide information exactly the way you needed it.

After all, Alexa is well-rounded and possesses a versatile set of skills. She’s analytical, methodical, and highly organized. She’s a reliable friend that you can trust when it comes to finding solutions, as long as she’s not busy cooking and cleaning her home filled with gadgets and smart appliances — that probably make her life better.

SEE ALSO: How Alexa wants to be your round-the-clock assistant

Microsoft’s Cortana

Miss Ma’am Cortana, step on us. Kidding aside, Cortana is that intimidating yet softie superior in your office. She’s smart, sexy, and talented that you might even question your sexuality.

She looks serious and determined most of the time, kinda like a Capricorn. Though ambitious and goal-oriented, Cortana knows how to bond with her team, sometimes bringing out dark humor due to her sardonic personality.

Nonetheless, Cortana knows how to get a job done, and knows how to simplify tasks without using too many resources. She’s the efficient team leader we all need.

SEE ALSO: Even Microsoft listens to your Skype and Cortana recordings 

Jang Yeong-sil

If you haven’t watched Start-Up, you need to rethink your life. The hit K-drama showcased Jang Yeong-sil as the superior voice assistant that enabled two-way communication for the blind through an app called NoonGil.

Though the show *spoiler alert* introduced a character in the final episode with the same voice as Jang Yeong-sil, that didn’t stop us from reimagining the virtual assistant into this hot, gorgeous guy sporting the latest Samsung devices.

He’s classy, sexy, sometimes cheeky, and definitely a looker but you won’t see him bragging about it. He can be a good friend or a chivalrous partner that you might want to introduce to your parents. Or even envision marrying him in the future.

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch Reacts: Netflix’s Start-Up

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Hands-On

vivo X60 Hands-On: vivo X Zeiss team up for mobile photography

Redefining power and photography

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vivo X60

Now that we’re at an age of portability with a purpose, we definitely want to own a smartphone that can provide everything that we want and need, so we don’t have to rely on any other gadgets. That’s what the vivo X60 aims to be.

One of the features we usually look for in a smartphone is if its cameras are top notch. With that in mind, vivo made sure that they can contend against the best of the best as they comeback with the vivo X60 series — among these is the vivo X60.

With the X60, vivo co-engineers their cameras with high-end lens manufacturer Zeiss, making us experience Zeiss’ cutting edge imaging technology through our phones and making X60’s photography function more powerful than ever.

Specs and performance

Providing us so much in the camera department, vivo also ticks all the boxes when it comes to amazing specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor
  • 6.56” AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 12GB+3GB RAM
  • 256GB internal storage

Expect lag free browsing of your social media content and your favorite mobile games, even the very demanding Genshin Impact.

With so many things that you want to do with your smartphone, the vivo X60 is packed with a 4300mAh battery. This gives you more than enough power for a day of media streaming, social media browsing and some games on the side.

It even comes with a 33W flash charger that lets you juice up your phone back to a hundred percent in just a little over an hour.

As for the software, the vivo X60 runs Funtouch OS 11.1 based on Android 11 which has to be one of the most efficient skins from vivo yet.  It’s a very simplistic skin which feels close to vanilla Android but with visual improvements to enhance that vivo experience.

Stunning display

Despite its 6.56” display, the X60 is still ebay to grip thanks to it being slim at only 7.44mm and light at 176g.

Its AG glass back definitely grabs your attention with its gradient finish. Shifting its colors depending on how the light hits it, the shimmer blue design we have in our hands is absolutely gorgeous.

As we’ve touched on the 6.56” display of the vivo X60 earlier, do not be deceived as this is not your ordinary display. This is a 120Hz LTM AMOLED display and it boasts an HDR 10+ certification. This means you can expect details on the shadow side and lighter side of images that you won’t normally see on an average smartphone.

So surely, it would be your perfect companion for streaming films, documentaries, and TV series. LTM technology lets you enjoy clear visuals even with bright sunlight.

Now let’s talk about the star of the show, the camera with Zeiss optics.

Smartphone companies partner with camera or lens manufacturers to enhance their camera systems. And vivo pulled off a great move in partnering with Zeiss, making its superb technology present on all of vivo X60’s cameras.

Fantastic camera features

There’s the 48MP main camera, 13MP telephoto camera, and a 13MP ultra wide angle camera. And up front, you have the 32MP selfie camera.

With all these, you can take remarkable photos in whichever mode you choose. Your photos will look like it came straight out of a DSLR or a mirrorless camera with your main shooter.

Landscape views look amazing on the X60’s ultra wide mode, and your photos still look sharp and detailed with the telephoto lens.

The vivo X60 also has the Zeiss biotar portrait style, giving your portrait photos that iconic bokeh look. The portrait lens also has an equivalent 50mm focal length which is a staple for photographers to take great portraits.

As for its super panorama mode, shots are so seamless that you wouldn’t see any stitches.

Video taking

Now when it comes to taking videos, its main camera has optical image stabilization (OIS) making your video shots really smooth and steady. The vivo X60 has ultra stabilization which combines OIS and EIS.

But what happens when the lights are out and you only have your surround light to keep you lit? That’s what really puts the vivo X60 on the pedestal — its outstanding low light capability.

With vivo’s updated AI noise reduction algorithm, you can take stunning photos even at night. With its HDR super Night Portrait Mode, you can still stay in the spotlight and shine even in darkness.

Even if it’s pitch black outside, the vivo 60 can still make it seem like it’s daytime, giving us photos with good light and clear details, thanks to its Extreme Night Vision 2.0.

The X60 also lets you shoot in long exposure mode, giving you the chance to capture light streaks without worrying about too many settings.

The vivo X60 surely puts the wonder in wonderful with its outstanding cameras. It even takes things a few notches higher among smartphone contenders with its amazing display and performance, with a competitive base flagship pricing.

Pricing and availability

vivo X60, 12GB+3GB RAM/ 256GB Storage — PhP 34,999. Available in vivo Official Stores, Lazada, and Shopee.


This feature is a partnership between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

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