Reviews

Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X review

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If there’s one issue we had with the Redmi 4 Prime we reviewed late last year, it was its smallish 5-inch display. We wanted something a little bigger, and the Redmi Note 4X does just that.

There’s a 5.5-inch Full HD display this time

With full-time navigation buttons right below

The fingerprint scanner is underneath the camera

And yes, it’s as fast as ever!

It looks a lot like the Redmi 4 Prime

Can you tell which is which?

The Redmi Note 4X’s screen is just a bit less sharp

Blame it on the larger display with the same 1080p resolution

You get a hybrid slot on one side

Accepts one nano-SIM and either another nano-SIM or microSD card

And the power and volume buttons on the other

Everything feels solid!

Audio port and IR blaster are on top

Infrared connectivity is becoming rare these days

While the speaker and micro-USB port are at the bottom

It’s a single speaker; don’t let the second grille fool you

But how well does it perform?

With an efficient Snapdragon 625 processor, 3GB of memory, and 32GB of built-in storage, we’re looking at a near identical copy of the Redmi 4 Prime, except for the larger display, of course. Knowing that, we can already expect a winner here.

While modest, the specs are enough to handle games like NBA 2K17 and Asphalt Xtreme on mid-level graphics settings. Multitasking is a breeze, as well; it was only when heavy apps like YouTube and Chrome hogged so much memory that there was slowdown during switching.

Its Android skin, MIUI 8, is a joy to use. Based on Marshmallow 6.0, it’s not exactly the newest version available — we already have Nougat 7.0 as well as the upcoming Android 8 to look forward to — but the customization options are plenty and the design doesn’t feel like an iOS ripoff anymore. It just takes some getting used to, as mentioned in our Mi Mix review.

Does it take pretty photos?

Although seemingly identical, the cameras of the Redmi Note 4X and Redmi 4 Prime are a bit different. The model we have here has a brighter f/2 aperture compared to the Redmi 4 Prime’s f/2.2 opening, meaning the Redmi Note 4X should technically take better photos. Here are some samples:

Turns out the Redmi Note 4X’s camera has the same strengths and weaknesses as the Redmi 4 Prime’s. Daylight shots are a piece of cake for the newer phone, producing strong colors whether HDR mode is turned on or not. But once the sun sets, both the rear and front-facing cameras begin showing excessive noise and lots of blur if you don’t have steady hands.

Can it last more than a day?

Most definitely! Long-lasting endurance has become a common theme for all the Xiaomi phones we’ve been reviewing, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The Redmi Note 4X’s battery life isn’t as robust as the Redmi 4 Prime’s because of the former’s more demanding screen resolution, but it’s still excellent. Expect more than six hours of screen-on time over the course of two days or more on a single charge.

On the other hand, charging is a major chore. It takes more than three hours to bring the phone’s 4100mAh battery to full using the bundled charger. That’s twice as long as smartphone-charger combos that support some form of fast charging.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

There was a lot of demand for us to cover the Redmi Note 4X, and we can see why. It’s basically the Redmi 4 Prime everyone fell in love with, only this is bigger and more fun to play on.

The larger display certainly makes a difference, and you don’t have to add much for the privilege. Since Xiaomi phones like this are tough to find outside of China and India, prices fluctuate, but the average value of the Redmi Note 4X hovers around $200 — $30 more than the Redmi 4 Prime.

We acquired ours through GearBest.com, which handles international shipping really well. If you’re lucky, you might even catch one of its flash sales to bring the price down to as little as $170. That’s a steal for such a complete smartphone!

Drawbacks are few: Charging the phone from zero to full takes ages, and there’s still no NFC support if you need quick pairing with your gadgets. Are those deal-breakers? Not at all. It doesn’t get much better than this at the $200 price point.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Mix (Exclusive Edition) review

[irp posts=”13959″ name=”Xiaomi Mi Mix (Exclusive Edition) review”]

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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OnePlus 10T review: Lots to love, nothing to hate

Even better than the OnePlus 10 Pro?

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Last year, the OnePlus 9T didn’t see the light of the day. However, OnePlus isn’t backing down this year.

Meet the OnePlus 10T, their latest T-series offering that embodies the OnePlus 10 Pro in a cheaper price tag.

But don’t let that make you frown.

Being powered by the latest Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and even a 16GB RAM variant is enough to make you wonder:

Is it any better than the OnePlus 10 Pro? Or should you still look elsewhere?

Watch our OnePlus 10T review to know if this is your GadgetMatch.

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2 months with the vivo T1x

There have been ups and downs

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vivo T1x

The more time you spend with something or someone, the better you get to know them. That’s certainly the case with the vivo T1x which we had the opportunity to be with for longer than the usual two to three weeks. 

So, what exactly did we learn about the smartphone during this time? Here’s a quick list. 

It lives up to its gaming billing

vivo T1x

As a budget mobile gaming smartphone, the vivo T1x is excellent. Pretty much everything we noted on our gaming feature of the device holds up even after a couple of months.

The Gaming Assistant still works as beautifully as the first time we used it. The same is true for the things running in the background to make sure gameplay is smooth. Features like Multi Turbo 5.0, its cooling solutions, and general computing power allocation haven’t skipped a beat.

Things get dicey when you’re not playing

vivo T1x

It’s when you’re not playing that the general experience seems to take a dip. It just overall doesn’t feel as enjoyable to use as when you’re trying to rank up on your favorite games. 

Response time swiping, tapping, and just generally interacting with the device feels half a second late. Loading apps isn’t snappy at all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible but it isn’t that good either. 

Not to mention, it also falls prey to the dreaded ads that most other budget phones fall victim to. Overall,the experience is mid and is not something we can confidently recommend to most people. 

The cameras are alright

The photos produced by the cameras are pretty good for a budget smartphone. With a few carefully composed shots, you’ll be able to wow your social media followers. 

That said, it also doesn’t exactly inspire continuous use. The cameras are more for utilitarian use than artful pursuits.

Here are samples we weren’t able to share last time. 

Good battery life 

The less than stellar showing in the general usage department may have contributed to us just not wanting to pick it up regularly. Regardless, we think the battery performed admirably. 

The 5,000mAh battery along with the many performance efficiency features are probably what carried its long-lastingness. We can comfortably go through a day without needing to reach for the charger. 

It’s only during extended play sessions that you’ll feel the need to plug right after. Which is generally a good thing. Last thing you wanna do is stay glued to your phone all day doing  nothing but playing. 

Is it your GadgetMatch?

Based on the categories we discussed, it doesn’t seem so bad since it’s great for gaming, has decent cameras, and just a tier under stellar battery life. But if you spend more time just browsing socials, watching YouTube or TikTok, then you might not be able to maximize the vivo T1x. 

Buy this only when it’s on a discount and you really will use it mostly for playing the less demanding mobile games available today.

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