Reviews

Sony Xperia XZ Premium review

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As interesting as the new Xperia X lineup was in rebranding Sony’s flagship efforts, none of them could touch the Xperia Z series of years past in terms of prestige. Adding that “Z” to the Xperia XZ sort of, kinda, brought back that old flame, but it just wasn’t there for me. And that was the issue at hand.

The Xperia XZ came at a time when smartphones were already rocking up to 6GB of memory (the XZ had half of that), Quad HD displays (the XZ, again, settled for nearly half that), and slightly better processors. But that wasn’t the point of buying into the XZ experience; you buy one because of its fans-first approach, which we talked about a while back. At the same time, I just couldn’t recommend it over the more affordable, yet more feature-loaded flagships out there.

That changes with the Xperia XZ Premium, which aims to rectify what the non-Premium XZ couldn’t accomplish.

An evolution of a familiar aesthetic

Once again, this is practically the same design language we’ve been seeing from Sony since the original Xperia Z launched in 2013. That’s ages ago! Sure, there were refinements every now and then — such as the use of ALKALEIDO metal and a more ergonomic power button infused with the best-placed fingerprint scanner in the business — but it’s the same old look we’ve grown accustomed to.

Don’t get me wrong; while the XZ Premium is definitely gorgeous, its smudge-loving, hyper-reflective glass back can only bring it as far as my unsightly fingerprints do. It’s reminiscent of Sony’s previous excessively high-end smartphone, the Xperia Z5 Premium, which we reviewed in all its glory back in 2015.

And yet, the best design cues are all here. The volume buttons are now rightfully positioned above the power button; its 5.5-inch display (with the balanced top and bottom bezels) feels so perfectly sized in my somewhat large hands; the front-facing stereo speakers and IP68-rated water and dust resistance made a return; and the rear camera is still flush with the back panel — no wobbles on tables!

What you actually come for

But seriously, what you should really be after is the 4K resolution of its display. It’s only the second time Sony implemented such a monstrous pixel count on one of its phones, with the Z5 Premium being the last one. The difference here is it comes with an HDR (High Dynamic Range) panel this time, leading to deeper blacks and brighter highlights simultaneously.

As you can guess, you’d need content optimized for the resolution and HDR capability to truly get the most out of it. That’s a tall order with 4K HDR videos still in the early stages of breaking into the mainstream market — heck, finding such content on YouTube is considered special, and that’s if your internet connection is fast enough to stream without buffering every few seconds.

From my own tests, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between videos shown in 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) and Quad HD (2560 x 1440 pixels). The 5.5-inch screen is simply to small and the pixels are already densely packed enough at Quad HD. Like on the Z5 Premium, it feels like Sony is just showing off, rather than implementing a functional feature everyone can appreciate from the get-go.

Slower than slow, faster when it counts

The other highly touted feature is the super-slow-motion video recording, something we already enjoyed back in MWC last February:

It’s such a novelty feature, but we can’t get enough of the 960fps slow-mo video recording. Yes, that’s 960 frames per second! It’s the result of combining a super-fast processor in the Snapdragon 835, and a stronger focus on making a single camera great, instead of adding another one for optical zoom or background blur effects.

As for the still photo quality, we can’t give the same amount of praise. Although focus tracking and locking on to a subject is speedy, the final products (especially at night) sometimes left a lot to be desired. The issue seems to lie in the post-processing, which didn’t know how to optimize each photo’s colors or noise reduction, leaving us with mushy parts in some images. These are our best shots from a recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan:

Not bad really, as long as you take several shots and pick the best one. Our experience with the front-facing 13-megapixel camera was much more pleasant. Thanks to its own autofocusing system, which is still surprisingly rare in modern smartphones, selfies were sharp no matter how close or far our faces were from the lens.

Something new, something older

As mentioned earlier, a high point for the XZ Premium is its use of Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 835 SoC (System on a Chip). This processor is no joke; it’s the tiniest, most efficient, and most powerful of its kind. It’s the same chip that handles Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and OnePlus’ upcoming flagship handset. Partnered with 4GB of memory, up to 64GB of storage with microSD expansion, and the choice of owning a dual-SIM version, this is the definition of a premium Xperia device.

My only qualm lies in the actual video-watching experience. With a 3230mAh battery capacity, the XZ Premium doesn’t exactly last long for movie marathons. The battery percentage reaches near 10 percent after watching two full movies (about two hours each), and the average screen-on time with mixed usage hovers around five hours in a single day. In addition, despite having two separate speakers blasting audio towards your face, the maximum volume is inadequate. I ended up connecting my Sony MDR-1A headphones whenever I wasn’t too lazy to reach for them.

And now we have to talk about an ongoing legacy: the Xperia UI. Being a user since the first Xperia Z smartphone, I must say there hasn’t been much change since 2013, and that’s disappointing. Having been spoiled by the advancements of several Android Nougat-based interfaces and even Android O on our Pixel, going back to the Xperia UI feels like a trip down memory lane. The notifications and quick settings panel takes up a lot of space; the settings menu chooses to spread out several categories without simplification; and the side-scrolling app drawer doesn’t feel that fluid anymore.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I have to look at this from three different perspectives to get a proper answer: a hardcore multimedia consumer, myself, and an Xperia fan.

For users heavily reliant on their smartphone to get things done, the XZ Premium is an excellent choice. As one of the few handsets to have a Snapdragon 835 chipset, there is no going around how fast and efficient this phone is. Not once did it overheat during intense use, and the overall audio-visual treat of its display, speakers, and camera — despite their shortcomings — rarely failed me. Again, its Xperia interface is a little behind the competition, but all the Android 7.1 Nougat optimization is still there.

As for myself, I have a hard time stomaching the price tag. At INR 61,990 in India and PhP 45,490 in the Philippines, it’s up there with the Galaxy S8 in pricing, and this is for a phone that hasn’t evolved much in design, features, or interface. If Sony somehow managed to trim down the bezels, overhaul the UI, or add another class-defining feature, I’d be more inclined to spend for such a premium.

And for Xperia fans, this should be classified as a maybe. Do you really need a 4K display and super-slow-mo video recording over whatever Xperia you have now? If not, I’d recommend looking for a discounted Xperia XZ instead or the more recent Xperia XZs, which has slightly better specifications over its older counterpart.

SEE ALSO: Stunning red Sony Xperia XZ Premium leaks

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Gaming

Rollerdrome Review: Trick, shoot, repeat

Challenging, fun, and never boring

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Rollerdrome

The best way I can describe Rollerdrome to anyone curious about trying it is that it’s a cross between Tony Hawk Pro Skater and the shooting of Max Payne. You get shades of those two games in a unique art style along with a gameplay that demands hours to be mastered. 

The game has a pretty simple premise. You play as Kara Hassan making her way through the tough, violent sport called Rollerdrome.

The opening area tells you a little bit about the world Kara is in. But after that, it’s pretty much one challenge after the other. 

Basic tutorial 

Rollerdrome

Like any other game, you’ll be put through some relatively easy tutorials. You’ll first be taught the easy movements and then progress to more advanced ones as you beat each level. 

It’s a good idea to spend some time trying out the various trick combinations during the tutorial stages. Things can get quite hectic during the actual levels so, the more you’re familiar with the controls, the better chance you’ll have at getting high scores.

That’s not what I did. I took some of the tutorial stages for granted and had to learn on the fly. Not being too familiar with the controls while advancing through stages is hard as the game will really challenge you.

Advancing gameplay

Rollerdrome

Each stage has a number of different challenges you have to meet. This includes doing specific tricks on a trick marker, killing enemies a certain way, and having to do specific maneuvers on an area in the stage. 

There are also high score challenges which are the hardest to beat in each stage. These are the ones that require some level of mastery of the tricks and the shooting. 

The tricks and shooting are tied to each other. You only have a limited number of ammo and you’ll need to perform tricks to reload. So, the primary gameplay loop is having to do tricks while dodging enemy attacks, and then unleashing your own attacks all while transitioning to the next trick to reload. 

It’s easy enough to understand conceptually, but it’s in the execution where it can be extremely challenging. Enemies spawn in waves and they get tougher and more aggressive as you progress.

Precision required

Rollerdrome

My consistent thought throughout each stage is how I wished I had more time to be familiar with all the controls. I keep thinking back to how I just know NBA 2K controls by heart, having played it for years, despite a few changes here and there in the core gameplay. 

It was frustrating not being able to apply that same level of mastery. Especially since I had to go on a work trip in the middle of this review process so I couldn’t spend as much time with the game as I wanted. 

Regardless, it’s a game I’ll probably keep coming back to. More skilled players will likely have an easier time, but Rollerdrome does demand you put in the hours.

The controls are pretty tight and precise too. You won’t get through this by randomly pressing buttons. Your mastery of doing tricks while controlling the camera to properly aim will all be tested.

Overall presentation

Other than the gameplay, it’s the art style and its bombastic and frenetic animations that really caught my attention when the game was first announced. It simply looked fresh and unique.

There are instances where there is a lot going on during a stage. Other than the characters and items on screen, you also have markers alerting you if a sniper has you on lock or if you have projectiles tailing you. 

Despite this, the screen never gets too busy to a point where you no longer know what’s going on. The design of each stage makes it so you can easily tell which areas you can perform tricks on without it standing out too much from the rest of the stage. 

The soundtrack largely stays in the background but does a good job of not being distracting. Which is great because having something blasting too loudly could give you sensory overload with everything that’s going on. 

Overall, this game is stylish AF without going overboard. I’m personally a big fan of the art style and it works well in this kind of game. 

Is this your GameMatch?

Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome is a day one pick-up. If the preview videos intrigued you at all, I guarantee you’ll have a grand time playing. This is especially true if you’re fond of challenging yourself. 

Figuring out how to smoothly go from attacking, to doing tricks to reload, and dodge in the process can be really challenging. Unless you’re super skilled, there’s no way you’ll get all of it in one go.

But despite needing to repeat stages, it never feels stale because the core gameplay loop is engaging. It can get frustrating, sure, but the feeling of beating each stage all while crossing off specific challenges is extremely rewarding. 

Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome retails for US$ 29.99 both on Steam and the PlayStation store. But it will be discounted on both platforms until August 29, 2022.

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Convenient Smart Home

This cordless wet/dry vacuum might be what every busy bee needs

Squeeze in chores between hustling!

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We all love a nice, clean home. But these days, it can be difficult to balance everything in our lives. If you live a busy life, you probably don’t want to face up to cleaning your home with the little spare time that you have. It should be reserved for relaxation, not for a giant mountain of chores.

The last thing we all want is to be surrounded by mess. For me, it’s a good thing that keeping my home clean is doable even though I’ve got a hectic schedule that seemingly makes it impossible.

What I’ve realized is that investing in new and more efficient equipment will allow us to get things done swiftly. This could mean anything from replacing a raggedy mop to buying a more powerful vacuum cleaner.

What’s in the box?

When the Dreame H12 wet & dry vacuum was handed to me, I felt thrilled to try it out! I always get intimidated by the idea of using large vacuum cleaners, but not with the Dreame H12.

It comes with user-friendly features and a wide array of accessories that would make doing chores bearable.

To begin with, there’s a charging base. It’s molded, so you can set the vacuum directly into a convenient socket. This base can be used both for charging and cleaning.

(1) H12 Main Body Unit (1) Floor Brush (1) Charging Base (2) Accessory Holder (1) Extra Filter (1) Power Adapter (1) Cleaning Brush (1) Detergent Floor Cleaner

User-friendly features

As easy as clicking on the button at the top of the handle, the H12 will begin to clean the roller brush as thoroughly as possible, which is why the process takes around two minutes to complete.

Since it’s much easier to clean small areas like my studio apartment, having the upgraded edge-cleaning roller brush effectively deals with those hard-to-reach corners and baseboards freely.

The Dreame H12 has two modes: auto-mode and suction mode. In Auto mode, the cleaner automatically adjusts water and suction to the desired level depending on cleaning tasks.

In suction mode, it shuts off the mopping feature and only vacuums liquid without mopping. It also has this Smart Dirt Detection feature that identifies dirt and adjusts its suction power automatically.

You can also monitor the condition of the floor with the circular cleaning indicator around the screen. A smart LED screen that displays the cleaning status and clear voice prompts is beneficial for new vacuum owners like me.

A green light indicates light dirt while an orange light means there’s medium dirt present. A super dirty floor will prompt the ring to glow red.

Other features

Other features of the H12 can be monitored via the screen which also prominently displays the battery percentage. But you don’t need to rely on the display all the time as the H12 can audibly provide alerts since it has voice prompts as I’ve mentioned.

You’ll never be able to keep every single speck of dirt off the floor especially if you were running low on time. Partly, it takes a very long time until the roller from the wiping vacuum is dried. Thanks to the Wet and Dry Cleaning feature of Dreame H12 that removes wet or dry messes in one pass.

A good feature that I appreciate here is the absence of a dust bag, which is known to be a hassle to clean. Instead, all the dust, dirt, and grime get mixed with the water, so you just need to pour out the wastewater. H12 has two transparent containers built into it.

The top is a 900ml water tank for clean water, used for the mopping function. The bottom is a 500ml dirty water tank, which also serves as a dust hopper. Both tanks are easy to remove, refill, empty, and release with a simple latch.

Vacuuming

A filthy property can affect a person’s health. The nice thing about Dreame H12 is it does self-cleaning on the roller brush to avoid bacterial cross-contamination. It also self-dries the brush to prevent bacteria growth and odor.

It’s amazing how vacuuming the floor, cleaning up the kitchen, and straightening up clutter always improve my mood. Even if it’s just 15 minutes of my spare time, it does really feel good.

Imagine having this cordless Dreame H12 that can run for about 35 minutes. I am able to clean my small house frequently without having the need to recharge it every time.

Is the Dreame H12 Wet & Dry vacuum your GadgetMatch?

Accomplishing a few chores might give your mood a boost. So if you dream of spending less time cleaning, you can cut yourself some slack now. With the Dreame H12 Wet and Dry vacuum, you should not worry about sweeping and scrubbing messy floors in the little time you have.

With sleek designs to match, You can now literally have the clean home of your dreams. The Dreame H12 retails for PhP 25,990.

Don’t miss the Dreame H12’s Launch on Shopee this August 15, to get an exclusive price of P21,890 (SRP: P25,990) plus gifts with every purchase. For more info, visit Dreame Philippines’ official pages on Facebook and Instagram.

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Reviews

Samsung Galaxy A73 5G review: Awesome phone not meant for the A-list

Does it still deserve the Galaxy A branding?

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Galaxy A73

This year, Samsung launched not just one, but five smartphones in their March 2022 Galaxy A lineup — the Galaxy A73 5G being one in the roster alongside the Galaxy A53 5G, A33 5G, A23, and A13. And the Galaxy A73 5G is Samsung’s top-of-the-line smartphone in the midrange segment.

Galaxy A33 5G, A53 5G, and A73 5G

A quick rundown

For the spec-obsessed, the Galaxy A73 5G doesn’t differ that much from its smaller sibling, the Galaxy A53 5G, as well as last year’s A72 and its 5G version.

A73 5G A53 5G A72/A72 5G
Display 6.7” 120Hz Super AMOLED Plus Infinity-O Display + Gorilla Glass 5 6.5” 120Hz Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display + Gorilla Glass 5 6.7” 90/120Hz Super AMOLED Infinity-O Display + Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Snapdragon 778G 5G
6nm chipset
Exynos 1280
5nm chipset
Snapdragon 720G/750G
8nm chipset
Memory 6/8GB
Storage 128/256GB + microSDXC slot
Cameras 108MP f/1.8 wide
12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
5MP f/2.4 macro
5MP f/2.4 depth
32MP f/2.2 selfie
64MP f/1.8 wide
12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
5MP f/2.4 macro
5MP f/2.4 depth
32MP f/2.2 selfie
64MP f/1.8 wide
12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
8MP f/2.4 3x telephoto
5MP f/2.4 macro
32MP f/2.2 selfie
Battery + Charging 5000mAh
25W Fast Charging
Operating System Android 12, One UI 4.1 Android 11, One UI 4.1

Compared to the Galaxy A53 5G, the big brother clearly has the bigger and better display technology along with a Snapdragon 5G chipset instead of using Samsung’s in-house Exynos 1280. Moreover, the main camera of the A73 5G has double the megapixel size, but that’s about it.

Appealing and lightweight

The design of the Galaxy A73 5G isn’t any different from its other Galaxy A siblings. Heck, it’s even harder to distinguish if you place it beside last year’s Galaxy A72.

Galaxy A73

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Samsung “recycling” last year’s design is not a bad idea at all.

Galaxy A73

I have the Awesome White colorway and it’s perfect for my taste! I love how there’s more emphasis on the camera lenses (in contrary to last year’s black). The subtle hump of the whole camera module is also a nice touch to an already clean design language.

Galaxy A73

Although the back is made of polycarbonate, it doesn’t feel like the flimsy, cheap-o plastic phones we used to have back in the day. This reminds me of the Galaxy S21 FE I’ve held for some time back in January.

Some people may have been fooled but I need to point out that the frame is also made of plastic. It just looks nice with a shiny, chrome finish, imitating a stainless steel frame. I just hope it wouldn’t fade or chip overtime.

Galaxy A73

The plastic also makes the phone very lightweight and not too fragile unlike most glass-touting phones these days. This also means I can hold the phone without slapping an icky silicone case on it.

Galaxy A73

The idea of having plastic on premium midranger isn’t exactly thrilling. That’s understandable especially when a lot of midrange smartphones have glass backs for that added premium feel.

Galaxy A73

Flipping the phone doesn’t reveal anything different either.

Galaxy A73

It’s still the same 6.7-inch Infinity-O display — more on the specifics later.

All-rounder midranger

As previously mentioned, the Galaxy A73 5G has the same display size as last year’s Galaxy A72 — but it doesn’t mean there are no upgrades.

Galaxy A73

First off, the Galaxy A73 5G features a better and faster 120Hz Super AMOLED Plus display as opposed to the 90Hz Super AMOLED screen of the A72. Its 5G version has a faster 120Hz refresh rate but still having a Super AMOLED display without the ‘Plus’ moniker.

Galaxy A73

LF: my 이준호

While the differences between the two types of Samsung display are pretty far to differentiate from a consumer’s standpoint, all I can say is that the Super AMOLED Plus display is a real visual treat.

Galaxy A73

I flipped during Jeon Heejin’s part in LOONA’s Flip That!

Visuals ultimately pop with its bright display that reaches up to 800nits — perfect if you’re always out and about.

Galaxy A73

SNSD’s full-group comeback after 5 years is every K-Pop veteran’s dream to see 🥺

No need to worry about artifacts as the Full HD+ resolution makes everything crisp and clear. Pixel density is pretty much compact too. That’s 393ppi if you want to know the exact number.

Galaxy A73

A-T-T-E-N-T-I-on is what I want (from you) 😭 stream NewJeans’ New Jeans EP (TBH one of the best K-Pop EPs out there)

If you’re the type who doesn’t want a display that looks too colorful, it can easily be changed from Vivid to Natural in Settings for that less saturated look.

I wish I can live by LOONA’s words in Pale Blue Dot

If you’re curious about its audio performance, the speakers are loud enough with the right amount of bass and treble.

The best way to flex your #shoefie is to play ITZY’s SNEAKERS out loud

It may not be the best stereo speakers around but it’s not that bad — with my definition not being too mediocre-sounding nor flat-tuned.

I feel like I’ve low-key participated in a K-Pop group’s latest comeback track: BEAUTIFUL (STAYC girls) MONSTER (me) 🥴

Day or night, I’m sure most of you will truly enjoy the Galaxy A73 5G as your next best all-rounder multimedia device.

Assuring performance

On paper, the Galaxy A73 5G is equipped with Snapdragon’s 778G 5G chipset. The specific variant I have has a 6GB memory with 128GB of internal storage. Other models can be configured with 8GB+128GB or 8GB+256GB options.

No doubt, the Galaxy A73 5G can handle most tasks and games quite well without hitches.

Playing Asphalt 9 Legends with the maximum graphics settings did very well on my end.

I also turned the best possible settings while I played Call of Duty: Mobile.

And just like my favorite racing game, this FPS game also ran smooth without hiccups that I sometimes encounter on other Android smartphones.

The presence of an even faster display contributed to my gameplay since it comes hand-in-hand with faster touch sampling rate as well that’s very well needed for shooting games.

This is when things fell apart when I played with the Galaxy A73 5G…

Even if I didn’t change the graphics setting for Genshin Impact, the laggy gameplay and choppy frame rate was evident at the very start of the game. If you’re a heavy Genshin user, you might want to take your Traveler exploits elsewhere.

Awesome endurance

“Long-lasting battery life” has been with Galaxy A’s tagline ever since the new breed of A-devices were announced back in 2020.

The Galaxy A73 5G isn’t any different — just like it’s 5000mAh battery that’s the similar capacity to last year’s Galaxy A72 and A72 5G, as well as this year’s A53 5G.

Galaxy A73

I’ve used the phone with basically everything turned on — Wi-Fi when I’m indoors, 4G LTE/5G mobile data when outside, as well as Bluetooth, and location services.

Surprisingly, the Galaxy A73 5G can last until the end of the day with moderate usage. Of course, expect faster battery draining if you play games for hours.

Galaxy A73

While Samsung’s “two-day” battery life seems like a stretch, it is achievable if your phone is in power saving mode while being used lightly for short calls, text messaging, or chatting. Most of all, when it’s just resting on your desk instead of being used extensively.

Galaxy A73

But unlike its predecessor, the Galaxy A73 5G doesn’t have a bundled charger out of the box — one among many tech companies’ “initiative” to reduce e-waste production and consumption.

Galaxy A73

Despite that, Samsung never made any move to make up for that unwanted bold move that most consumers will surely whine about. The phone is still stuck with a not-so-fast 25W Fast Charging just like it was in the Galaxy A72, Galaxy A71, and even the Galaxy A70 from three years ago.

That being said, I used my third-party adapter with a 45W max output. It displayed inconsistencies, switching between “Fast Charging” and “Super Fast Charging” every once in a while. In my two different charge tests, it still took around 1 hour and around 30 to 45 minutes to fully-charge the A73 5G.

At the same price point, Chinese counterparts still provide chargers inside the packaging. Regardless if it’s the proprietary USB-A charger and cable, I would still want to have them rather than sacrificing charging speeds by using a super-fast third-party USB-C charger and cables that won’t be recognized by the phone itself.

Adequate cameras

As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy A73 5G features a quad camera setup.

Ultra-wide

Most phones have mediocre ultra-wide angle (UWA) cameras. The one on the Galaxy A73 5G performs well despite having the similar 12MP f/2.2 — just like younger and older Galaxy A phones from last year.

Galaxy A73

As long as there’s enough source of natural light (whether you’re indoors or outdoors), this phone can produce picture-perfect super-wide shots.

In the examples below, the wide and ultra-wide camera may have looked consistent…

…but there are instances where there’s a huge gap in quality taken through these two different modes.

Sometimes, the ultra-wide shot produces a cooler shot, other times it’s warmer than the main one, and vice versa.

Not that most people post both ultra-wide and wide-angle shots on socials, but it’s one point that these two lenses don’t perform coherently with one another.

Wide (Main)

The cream of the crop (or the filling of the cake) of the camera segment has got to go with the A73 5G’s 108MP f/1.8 main camera.

Galaxy A73

The wide camera isn’t a slouch. It focuses fast and accurate at the right amount of distance.

HDR sometimes suffer in times where there’s harsh sunlight or a hazy sky above.

Not that everyone always take photos of light bulbs but this is another example that HDR doesn’t do its job properly.

Food shots look appetizing with precise focus and creamy bokeh at the back (and yes! No pesky radial blur-ish effect).

But relying on indoor light somehow affects the exposure, highlights, sharpness, and even the AWB (Auto White Balance) processing of the image.

And even with the presence of natural light outside, as long as your primary source light is warm, it messes up the AWB and overall AI algorithm of the A73 5G.

Zoom

Another unnecessary bold move that Samsung did in the Galaxy A73 5G (other than the removal of in-box charger) was the elimination of telephoto zoom lens.

Last year’s Galaxy A72 had an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. This was replaced by a 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor (together with the already existing 5MP f/2.4 macro lens).

If you barely use the zoom feature, you would hardly notice quality difference especially when you just mix / collage it alongside other photos taken with the wide and ultra-wide lenses.

But if you zoom in a lot, you would know the difference it makes. Fairly, zooming in at a modest distance of 2x would still make photos acceptable and shareable. The trick is that it uses its 108MP main sensor and totally relies on digital crop just like other phones with a dual-camera setup.

And with a fair amount of light or shooting outdoors, zooming in does the job right, too.

Once you go past that zoom distance, everything crumbles — exposure, contrast, and most of all, sharpness.

The photo above was zoomed in at just around 4.5x. While all of us can still recognize the trees, bungalow houses, as well as the tall condominiums and buildings, it’s a photo you won’t ever dare post on Instagram because of how smudged-looking it is.

And you know what makes it more puzzling and baffling? It’s the fact that Samsung still opted to show more “zoom” options in its camera UI — I mean, the audacity to even include 10x despite the bad quality of zoomed shots below 5x?

Night Mode

One separate segment are photos taken using Samsung’s built-in Night Mode for low-light scenarios that had little to no source of light.

Using the wide lens for most of your night time scenery can work wonders for a dark low-light shot.

Good enough, Night Mode also works when you take zoomed shots…

Wide | 2x zoom

…but not so much when shooting in ultra-wide (the f/2.2 aperture being mostly at fault).

Ultra-wide | Wide

Taking photos of pets are a hit or miss, though. It’s decent when there’s brighter artificial light…

…and obviously worse when there’s little to no light.

Fortunately, it was still able to shoot the photo of the beer I had despite only relying on strobing party lights that changes every split second.

Portrait Mode

For people who are pretty much confident in flaunting their full-blown #OOTDs or #NewMakeupLook, I’m glad to report that the A73 5G takes decent portrait shots.

Whether it’s on or off, the skin tone looks nice overall.

And with the effect turned on, it gives better background segmentation with clearer distinction between the subject and the background with creamier bokeh. I think this is where the new 5MP f/2.4 depth sensor plays a pivotal role.

For a midranger like the A73 5G, you would barely expect a great-looking portrait shot.

Thankfully, unlike the zoomed shots, the Portrait Mode delivered great results.

Alluring Selfies

Another thing that was unchanged from several Galaxy A phones is the front-facing 32MP f/2.2 camera.

Anyone would like this selfie camera especially with an extra ultra-wide option for those who take wider selfies (or groufies).

While it all boils down to personal preferences, my [redacted] actually preferred the cooler selfies taken with the A73 5G against the vivo V23 5G which is basically one of the midrange smartphones with the best cameras on front.

But too much coolness evades from the real look of you (and what you wear). Take for instance the pineapples on my polo shirt below looked pinkish instead of a solid red and orange.

At night, it looks alright as long as there’s enough source of artificial light.

I don’t want to ruin someone’s day (or night) but for fun, I took these cringey low-light selfies to show there’s a stark difference between with and without the fill light.

You’ll be the judge though. Some of the photo samples here were in the camera shootout article I did against the vivo V23 5G — especially the difference between Samsung’s fill light feature against vivo’s dual-tone dual-LED flash.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A73 5G vs vivo V20 Pro: Camera Shootout

Added novelties

The Galaxy A73 5G still has Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 for front glass protection just like the old Galaxy A72 as well as its younger A53 5G sibling.

Galaxy A73

Beneath the display is an under-display fingerprint scanner. While it’s still the optical one instead of the ultrasonic found on higher-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones, it’s still fast and responsive.

And while the plastic material may be a feature most of you frowned upon, the good thing is that Samsung still made this smartphone IP67-rated which can withstand dust and water in a certain amount of volume for a certain amount of time.

Galaxy A73

And just like other Galaxy A phones, it would be amiss for Samsung to skip the inclusion of microSDXC slot. Just take in mind that it’s still a hybrid tray: you can only store one SIM + microSD or two nano SIMs but without the card in it.

Galaxy A73

An upgrade some might not even know other than the inclusion of 5G (vs A72’s limited 4G network support) is the addition of Wi-Fi 6. This means the Galaxy A73 5G can achieve blazing-fast download (and upload) speeds not just through 5G, but also through Wi-Fi 6 connectivity.

A few stumbling blocks

This particular Galaxy A73 5G is sluggish every time I open the camera app.

Galaxy A73

Regardless if I open it from the camera app or through double-pressing the power button, it takes around 5-6 seconds before the camera shows the viewfinder — all when I already missed the fast-moving subject/object I was about to capture. I hope Samsung addresses this issue via a software update.

Last but definitely not the least, Samsung has also decided to remove the beloved 3.5mm audio jack from the A73 5G. So if you still rely on your pair of wired ear/headphones, the only 2022 Galaxy A phones for your specific need are the less-powerful Galaxy A23 and A13.

Is the Samsung Galaxy A73 5G your GadgetMatch?

You can purchase the Samsung Galaxy A73 5G in three Awesome colors: gray, mint, and white. Pricing and configuration are as follows:

  • 6/128GB = PhP 26,990
  • 8/128GB = PhP 27,990 / SG$ 618 / INR 41,999
  • 8/256GB = PhP 29,990 / SG$ 718 / INR 44,999

Without a doubt, the Galaxy A73 5G is an “Awesome” phone. But unless you need the larger display, better Snapdragon chipset, and a larger 108MP main camera, the A73 5G is harder to recommend when the Galaxy A53 5G is just around the corner.

The PhP 3K/SG$100/INR 9000 price gap is still huge for budget-conscious buyers. That difference can easily be traded for an additional accessory purchase: wireless earbuds, USB-C earphones, or a charger that Samsung doesn’t provide.

I know my heading subtitle sounds a little bit controversial, but that could mean both ways. The Galaxy A73 5G is not meant for the A-ffordable list nor the ‘A-list’ of smartphone users who want the best in tech.

If you’re looking for a “more premium-looking” 5G smartphone that’s much like the Galaxy A73 5G, you can consider the vivo V23 5G — even at a more discounted price. It’s a plus too if you’re a heavy selfie user especially with its special set of front-facing camera hullaballoos.

The Xiaomi 11T Pro is also a clear contender — another midrange phone with better internals, build quality, audio output, and even a 120W charger out of the box. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t feature a dedicated telephoto lens.

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