Features

Will Apple kill iPhone 7 headphone jack?

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At 7.1 mm today’s iPhone 6S is almost as thin as your average pencil.

But can it get any thinner?

Among the many engineering challenges smartphone manufacturers face, reducing smartphone component size has always been a work in progress. For Apple, the last 8 years of innovation have shaved off more than 4.5 mm from the original iPhone.

But there is at least one component, even the best engineer can’t shrink — the headphone jack. And so, in an effort to make the next iPhone thinner than ever, Apple is reportedly planning on ditching it altogether.

Sure, in doing so, Apple risks upsetting millions of iPhone users that have invested in a pair of wired headphones, but this isn’t the first time Apple’s tested its vaunted brand loyalty.

Back in 2012, the company phased out its 30-pin cable in lieu of the more technologically advanced and space efficient Lightning port. In one sweeping motion, Apple effectively crippled the iPhone’s ability to work with hundreds of accessories that relied on the 9-year-old connector.

It was a painful transition process, but not one without merit. The new Lightning port brought with it faster charging times and data transfer speeds, and the ability to dock new iPhones and iPads to external monitors.

In 2016, another painful technological shift is upon us, and this time around, it’s all about space.

Universally, the standard size for any headphone port is 3.5mm. Barring some engineering miracle, if you add that to the millimeter or two taken up by the phone’s display and frame, you’ll hit the physical limits of a phone’s thinness. By removing the headphone jack altogether, Apple is removing this limitation, and freeing up a considerable amount of space in the process.

More space means more room for other features that previously weren’t possible. Maybe dual front facing speakers, an additional (or better) camera module, or perhaps, and more likely, a larger, longer lasting battery.

But how then will users listen to music?

iphone-6s-headphone-jack

According to the Internet rumor mill, Apple is working on cordless earbuds that resemble ear plugs. These wireless buds will let you listen to music while untethered from your phone, and will come with built-in microphones so you can speak commands to Siri.

While wireless earbuds are cool and all, don’t count wired headphones out just yet. Among its many talents, Apple’s superstar Lightning port is also capable of carrying audio signals, meaning it can also function as a headphone jack. In fact, you can already buy Lightning port headphones for $300 on Amazon (see the Philips M2L/27). To appease critics, it also isn’t far fetched that Apple may also offer, for a fee, a Lightning port to headphone jack adapter or its own lightning port headphones. Whatever the case, we wouldn’t bother breaking a sweat.

Just like the time Apple removed the Ethernet port and CD-ROM drive from its MacBook line of laptops, just like the time it phased out FireWire from the iPod and the 30-pin port from the iPhone, we expect users to grumble under their breath and live with it until the day they realized Apple was right all along, just ahead of its time.

With reporting from Nico Baguio

[irp posts=”4420″ name=”Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus unveiled; no headphone jack, but waterproofing and dual cameras are a yes”]

Accessories

TP-Link Archer Air R5 and E5: For the minimalist

As sleek as they come

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TP-Link R5 and E5

Don’t you just love it when certain tech around your home just blends in, not drawing any unnecessary attention to itself? That appears to be the primary design focus of the TP-Link Archer Air R5 and E5. It’s a Wi-Fi router and range extender combo. 

Unboxing 

We unboxed the TP-Link Archer Air R5 and E5 (or just R5 and E5). Other than the flat, white units, you’ll see some documentation, cables, power adapter, and adhesives inside the box. 

Watch the unboxing.

@gadgetmatch Unboxing the TP-Link Archer Air R5 and E5! #router #rangeextender ♬ original sound – GadgetMatch

Understated and simple

TP-Link R5 and E5

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that there isn’t much to the R5 and E5, and that’s by the design. TP-Link specifically made this router and range extender combo to blend into your home. No antennas sticking out, just a couple of slabs that you can wall mount. 

 

Set-up is also just as simple as the devices look. You simply plug the adapter, hook it up to your modem using the included ethernet cable. We were ready to use the router in less than 10 minutes. 

TP-Link R5 and E5

One thing to note is that the cords of the power adapters are rather short. Same is true with the included ethernet cable which isn’t as much of an issue as the power adapters. This means you have to be a little creative with where you’ll place these. Depending on the power outlet situation in your home, you might have to buy a few new extension cords to achieve your preferred look. 

The E5 was a little more troublesome to set-up at first. But this was because we plugged it a few paces away from the R5. To avoid the hiccups we went through, make sure you set the E5 up right next to the R5. After the set-up, you can move the E5 to maximize its range-extending capabilities. From there, it’s all about just following the prompts on the Tether app.

Tether app

TP-Link R5 and E5

Yes, this router-range extender combo comes with an app. The Tether app is TP-Link’s own and is compatible with their devices. The app makes the set-up as breezy as possible. If you have any trouble setting things up, just simply follow the prompts and instructions on the app and you should be good to go. 

You can consider the app as your main hub for making the most of your R5 and E5. Here, you can make sure that the devices’ firmware are updated. You can also monitor all the gadgets connected to them. 

A neat feature is that you can create profiles in the app. Each profile assigns a role for traditional family members. This is a great tool for parents who want to limit the time and content that their children can access. 

Performance

TP-Link R5 and E5

The R5 and E5 are WiFi 6 capable. It’s tech that’s been around for about half a decade now but there’s still plenty who are missing out on its capabilities. For instance, most modems issued by local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are still a generation behind. 

With WiF 6 capable routers, you’re bound to experience a boost in speeds. Take us for instance, the service plan we’re subscribed to is supposed to max out at around 250 mbps. And multiple speed tests, when connected only directly to the modem, returned results that hover around 210 mbps for download speeds and  201 mbps upload speeds. 

After connecting to the R5, the speeds we were getting literally doubled. Tested multiple times in multiple days since setting up the router, we would average 413 mbps download speeds and 419 mbps upload speeds. We’re particularly happy about the upload speeds given that we do have to upload videos a lot these days. 

We didn’t particularly need the E5 since we live in a tiny apartment. But the extended range came in handy when we wanted to step outside and get some fresh air from the common area balcony. It’s a few paces away from our unit and was previously completely out of reach by our Wi-Fi. That isn’t the case anymore with the E5. 

The R5 and E5 have the OneMesh feature. What it does is seamlessly move the connection of your smartphone or laptop to the nearest Wi-Fi connection. This means uninterrupted browsing as you move around. 

Additional services 

The R5 is also compatible with the use of VPN or Virtual Private Networks. This helps shield your IP address and provides a generally more secure way to browse the Internet. Another benefit of VPN use is you can switch the location of your IP and gain access to streaming app content you otherwise would not have access to. 

For its part, TP-Link offers security services on the Tether app. We didn’t see the need to subscribe but it’s there as an option if you feel you need to add extra layers of protection. 

Is the TP-Link R5 and E5 your GadgetMatch? 

Truthfully, the TP-Link Archer Air R5 and E5 is easy to recommend. This Wi-Fi router and range extender combo is perfect for people who like their devices to be understated and simple. The size of this pair also means they’re easy to fit even in tiny living spaces. 

The R5 and E5 perform as advertised with TP-Link offering additional security options for your peace of mind. This is a perfect addition for any household looking to improve their Internet Connection without having to upgrade their ISP plan. 

The TP-Link R5 retails for PhP 6,590 while the TP-Link E5 retails for 5,590. 

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Leica virgin? Try the Xiaomi 13T Pro

Cameras powered by Leica

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Xiaomi 13T Pro

Xiaomi is going all in on their partnership with Leica making it the headliner even in the “T” editions of their flagships. The company is flexing it even more with the Xiaomi 13T Pro and the Xiaomi 13T. 

The extra push is warranted. Just ask my colleague Vincenz who has refused to let go of the Xiaomi 13 ever since being handed the unit for review. Even myself was enamored with the photo-taking capabilities of the flagship released earlier this year. The thing made me look like a pro when I took it around Barcelona. 

The Xiaomi 13T Pro isn’t that much different. You still get to choose between Leica Authentic or Leica Vibrant when you first launch the camera app. Don’t fret though as the choice isn’t final. You can easily toggle the selection by tapping on the upper-right area of the screen when using the camera app. 

You also get the Leica custom photographic styles that add so much character to your shots when used appropriately. There’s plenty to choose from with the Leica BW NAT, F-50, and Gold Vibes being some of my personal favorites. 

But talk is cheap. So, enjoy some of these photos taken over the past few days. 

Leica Authentic

 

Filtered

Portraits

Photo-taking experience 

Xiaomi 13T Pro

You don’t have to think much when using the Xiaomi 13T Pro to take photos. Even after just a few days with it, I can say it delivers some of the best photos from the many smartphones I’ve tried this year.

It makes things easy too. The color science applied by Xiaomi and Leica does a lot of the heavy lifting. All you have to do is to learn how to compose better shots and you’ll look almost like a pro in no time. 

Incredibly smooth 

Xiaomi 13T Pro

One of the first things I noticed when I started using the Xiaomi 13T Pro is how incredibly smooth the display is. The 144Hz refresh rate on paper delivers without fail. It’s super evident especially since I’ve been splitting my time between this and another smartphone. Although, to be fair, that one’s an upper mid-ranger that doesn’t have this high of a refresh rate. 

It makes doom scrolling feel extra fine. Yes, the world is burning on the Internet but hey, you’re seeing it through a Full HD AMOLED Display that slides effortlessly each time you scroll. It’s all good. I guess. 

 

I also watched my fair share of short videos on this thing. Particularly, some fancams from TWICE’s Ready To Be Tour that happened over the weekend in Bangkok. I’ve yet to watch any HDR-capable content, but I can say the general viewing experience is enjoyable. It helps that the speakers aren’t too shabby either. The sound is clean and does not distort even when pushed to maximum. 

The audio was enjoyable too when listening to my favorite tracks. One night I put Yena’s “Love War” on repeat and I was jamming to it until I fell asleep. I also listened to some of my favorite hoop podcasts on the Xiaomi 13T Pro. And well, no complaints here. I got my NBA fix through The Lowe Post and The Hoop Collective all while playing them on the phone.

Battery and charging

Xiaomi 13T Pro

It’s only been a few days so I can’t say anything definitive here. Plus, my usage varied so much and I haven’t been keeping track of it completely. I can say I felt the 5,000mAh capacity drained faster than I expected, especially after a night of intense doom scrolling. 

However, topping it up was fast and easy. With 32% left, I watched a couple of anime episodes on TV and found the thing already fully charged after. 

Between upper-midrange and flagship build

The unit we have in particular is the Meadow Green that has a glossy finish. And while it’s slightly heavier than its Alpine Blue sibling, it still felt so much lighter than what I’m used to using. For context, I rock an iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and HONOR Magic5 Pro when I’m not reviewing a smartphone. 

I’m personally not a fan of the glossy finish and that’s a fact for any smartphone. It’s not completely a smudge magnet but you’re probably better off using a case with this one. I’ve been rocking it in its birthday suit since it feels tough enough on its own. But if you’re forking out your hard earned cash on a smartphone, my general advice is to always use protection. 

Experience Leica 

Xiaomi 13T Pro

The main draw of the Xiaomi 13T Pro, without a doubt, is how it lets you experience a Leica camera without it costing you an arm and a leg. We all know how expensive Leica cameras are but Xiaomi is giving you the chance to experience it at a fraction of the cost. Now, I’m not saying you get the exact same photo quality. But output-wise, this is about as close as you’re going to get. 

Elsewhere, the Xiaomi 13T Pro is also a winner. The silky smooth display catches your attention immediately, and its general size and overall build makes you feel secure. You just have this peace of mind that what you’re holding is made with care and won’t break easily. There’s also something about it that’s hard to describe or quantify. You just know, you’re using a device that’s better than most.

Xiaomi 13T Pro Specs

Display — 6.67″ FHD CrystalRes AMOLED display. Up to 144Hz refresh rate, Pro HDR, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Processor — MediaTek Dimensity 9200+
RAM+ Storage — 12GB+256GB, 12GB+512GB, 16GB+1TB
Battery and Charging — 5,000mAh, Xiaomi 120W HyperCharge
OS — MIUI 14 based on Android 13
Connectivity — Dual SIM, Wi-Fi7, NFC9, Bluetooth 5.4, 5G
Cameras:

LEICA VARIO-SUMMICRON 1:1.9-2.2/15-50mm ASPH.

24mm Leica main camera

  • 50MP wide angle camera
  • 1/1.28” sensor size
  • 1.22μm pixel size, 2.44μm 4-in-1 Super Pixel
  • f/1.9, 7P aspherical lens, OIS
  • Supports HDR10+ video recording for up to 4K at 30fps
  • Supports 8K video recording at 24fps
  • 10-bit LOG video recording, supports LUT import

50mm Leica telephoto camera

  • 50MP
  • f/1.9, 5P aspherical lens

15mm Leica ultra-wide camera

  • 12MP
  • f/2.2, 5P aspherical lens

20MP front camera

  • f/2.2, 5P aspherical lens
  • Night mode
  • Portrait mode
  • HDR

Price and availability

The Xiaomi 13T Pro retails for PhP 37,999 for the 12GB+512GB variant and PhP 39,999 for the 16GB+1TB variant.

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Accessories

Apple Watch Series 9 + Watch Ultra 2 Unboxing

Featuring the bundled bands plus the new FineWoven and Nike Sport bands

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Apple’s September 2023 “Wonderlust” Event isn’t just about the new iPhones. They’ve also announced updates to the well-loved Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch Ultra.

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 may not look so different from their predecessors, but the new features cater to older Apple Watch users to upgrade.

Aside from the upgraded S9 SiP (System in a Chip), this also enables new features like having a built-in Siri and even Double Tap using your two fingers and wrist.

And thanks to Apple’s Carbon Neutral goal by 2030, the new Apple Watches (at least the Ultra 2 and aluminum-cased Series 9s) are now more sustainable for the environment.

This also means saying bye-bye to our good ol’ leather Watch bands — but wait until you see what Apple has to offer.

Watch our latest unboxing of the new Apple Watch Ultra 2, Apple Watch Series 9 (in Aluminum and Stainless Steel), plus a plethora of bands to try out!

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