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V20 both improves and harms LG’s image

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Earlier today, the world witnessed the unveiling of the LG V20. It’s the successor to the warmly received V10 from last year, and it’s the larger counterpart of this year’s LG G5. There’s a lot going for it, including a top-end processor, handy second screen, and unmatched audio chip. However, the real story is how the V20 is carrying LG’s image for the next few months. Let’s talk about its operating system and physique for a few minutes.

As you may have heard from several reports, the V20 is the first Android to come with Nougat out of the box. This is a bigger deal than most people think, because every time a new Android version got released in the past few years, Google’s Nexus series had first dibs on the latest operating system with its newest phone at the time. Things have changed this year, with the seventh generation of Android coming to older Nexus models through over-the-air updates, and then straight to LG’s current flagship.

LG V20 spread

Giving a third-party manufacturer such priority was unheard of just a few months ago. Reports stemming around Google ditching the Nexus program in exchange for a more streamlined Pixel series of smartphones and tablets probably explains the sudden change of method. By spending more time on the yet-to-be-released successors to the Nexus 6P and 5X, Google might be leaving the software distribution to reliable partners.

For LG to be the lucky winner of the Nougat draw can be seen in two ways. Firstly, it’s not surprising; LG was the maker of last year’s Nexus 5X, plus the Nexus 5 and 4 before that. Google has spent years dealing with several brands to work on its vision of the ideal Nexus, but for LG to be the constant go-to option for the smaller-sized products means a lot. On the other hand, it’s highly unusual for Nougat to be represented so prominently on a smartphone brand that heavily skins its operating system. If you compare the LG V20 and G5 to the lighter versions of Android from Sony and OnePlus, you’ll understand what we’re talking about.

Now, let’s move on to the V20’s construction. A highly controversial omission is the compatibility with add-on components called Friends, which were first made available on the LG G5. The Korean company promised strong commitment to the semi-modular platform when the G5 was originally released, and for the newly unveiled LG flagship to exclude it shows a lack of confidence in the system. Not only is this a blow to LG’s image, but to modular phones in general.

We argued last week that modular devices are the next evolutionary step for touchscreen smartphones. By allowing consumers to fiddle around with their handsets and choose exactly which components they want to keep and upgrade, purchase cycles would become a lot more dynamic, and in turn, lead to far less e-waste.

So far, only Lenovo has shown real dedication to the future of modularity. The manufacturer followed up on its stylish, semi-modular Moto Z and Moto Z Style flagships with the midrange Moto Z Play at IFA 2016. For a non-flagship device to carry on the modular compatibility of its predecessors is a step in the right direction, and proves how committed Lenovo has become towards its customizable platform.

We can only hope that the true successor to the G5 will somehow follow through on LG’s modular legacy next year. Backtracking on features has never ended well for smartphone brands, and only alienated users expecting some level of future-proofing.

LG-V20-press-images (4)

If you look at the V20 as it is, clear of any past history or legacies, there’s no denying it’s shaping up to be LG’s best smartphone ever. It’s a clear upgrade over the predecessor critics loved last year; the V20 just happens to be in an unfortunate spot, wherein the expectations are booming after the critical success of the V10, and the shadow of the G5 still lingers.

Only time and our full review will conclude this story. Watch out for that!

Features

Sony’s PlayStation is back, Xiaomi outs new Mi 8 variants: Weekend Rewind

Ending the week with nostalgic feels

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. The iconic PlayStation is back!

Let’s kick things off by taking a trip down memory lane. Almost 25 years after its debut, Sony is bringing back the iconic first-gen PlayStation and it will come as the PlayStation Classic.

It’s basically a miniaturized version complete with a pair of original controller replicas. What’s even more exciting is that fans of the original PlayStation will be able to relive 20 legendary titles including Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3!

2. Razer Phone 2 gets a launch date

Razer officially confirms the arrival of its second gaming smartphone — the Razer Phone 2. It succeeds the Razer Phone that was launched last November and based on earlier leaks, it’ll be a familiar-looking product.

The phone should sport the same body as its predecessor including the display with buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Of course, the internals will have beefier specs as well. We’ll know the low down real soon during its special event at California this October 10.

3. Apple is on the lead!

While it may be true that Apple didn’t sell the most number of smartphones, they still earned more than their competitors. According to the latest data from Counterpoint Research, Apple had the biggest share of industry profits during the second quarter of 2018.

For comparison, Apple earned 62 percent of the second-quarter smartphone profits. Samsung, which is the top-selling smartphone vendor, is responsible for just 17 percent of smartphone profits in the quarter. Huawei takes the third spot with eight percent of the profits.

4. A complete but affordable smartwatch

Huami, Xiaomi’s sub-brand in China, has a smartwatch that offers tremendous bang for your buck. The company just unveiled the Amazfit Verge and it’s got everything you could ask for in a wearable without the high price tag.

The Amazfit Verge has a GPS, heart-rate sensor, and a full-circle AMOLED display. It’s also equipped with a microphone and loudspeaker that allow voice calls through the smartwatch.

5. Xiaomi outs Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite

On a related note, Xiaomi also held a quick event to announce a few things including two new Mi 8 variants — the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite.

In a nutshell, these are additions to the flagship Mi 8 family. The Mi 8 Pro is similar to the Mi 8 with the same specs like its Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and 128GB of expandable storage. Although, this model comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

As the name suggests, the Mi 8 Lite is a toned-down Mi 8 and comes with a midrange Snapdragon 660 chipset, dual rear cameras, and a 24-megapixel front camera. Both phones are initially available in China, but international availability is yet to be announced.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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Singapore’s first iPhone XS buyer goes all out

He went for the 512GB storage!

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Whenever new iPhones launch, a familiar scene is people lining up in front of Apple Stores long before launch date. The same is true in Singapore where the iPhone XS and XS Max officially became available on Friday, September 21.

We visited the Apple Store in Orchard Road and caught up with the first person to cop the new iPhones. His name is Daniel and he went all out getting two units of gold iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage. Watch our interview with him.

The same situation is true elsewhere in the world. In countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and more, lines formed as those who pre-ordered got ready to claim the new iPhones.

This is the first time that the two sizes of iPhones feature the same specs. In years past, there was always a plus model that had more features other than just having a bigger form factor. In 2018, the only difference is the screen size — 5.8 inches for the iPhone XS and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max. Both phones are equipped with the new A12 Bionic processor. Apple says it’s their smallest and most powerful chip to date. Both also sport dual cameras.

The Apple Watch Series 4 also launched today. It’s a significant update to Apple’s primary wearable featuring medical advantages other than the usual improvements. As always, it still is a lifestyle gadget and comes with an array of available looks.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!

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Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!

We have them early!

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It’s now mid-September and if you’ve been following technology news, you’d know that means one thing: new iPhones from Apple. And if you’ve been following GadgetMatch closely the last few years, you’d expect us to be brewing content by now.

This year, we got them early. What we are unboxing the 5.8-inch model, dubbed the iPhone XS and the bigger variant, the iPhone XS Max. There’s also a more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone XR coming later in October.

The box has not changed much — it’s still the same minimalist white box with the image of the phone you’re getting. Inside are a packet with manuals and stickers, USB-A charging brick, Lightning cable, and a pair of Lightning EarPods (not AirPods, they just look alike).

It’s worth noting that the bundled charger is the regular adapter and cable from yesteryears, even if the new iPhones already support fast charging. To get fast charging on the iPhone XS and XS Max, you need to spend an additional US$ 75 for a Lightning to USB-C Cable and a 29W USB-C adapter.

Since omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack, these new iPhones are also the first ones to not include a headphone jack to Lightning dongle — an extra US$ 9 purchase if you ever need one.

Unlike previous years where you need to get the bigger model to have the best features iPhones have to offer, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are essentially the same phones — the latter just has a bigger display and battery capacity.

The iPhone XS and XS Max also come in a new beautiful gold color, something similar to our favorite iPhone 8 and 8 Plus color from last year — a subtle, non-tacky shade of gold. A slightly darker gold but shiny stainless steel band also highlights the edges of the phones. Button and port placements have not changed, and the notch housing Apple’s TrueDepth Camera technology lives on.

We have more iPhone content coming in the next few days so make sure to stay tuned for that. Our unboxing video is also coming where we unboxed a new case color as well. Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t yet.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone XS cruises to top of AnTuTu benchmark ranking

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