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Best Mid-Range Smartphone: Moto X4, A Review

Best Mid-Range Smartphone: Moto X4, A Review

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While other’s are clamoring for the best of the best by paying exorbitant prices the rest of us are looking to the years best mid range and budget smartphones available. They are still very much capable and do what most of us expect them to do. Why pay more for functionality that these lower cost smartphone’s can easily do? We take a look at the Motorola Moto X4 today which is being heralded as one of the best mid-range smartphone’s your wallet can buy now.

Whats Good?

  • The Build Quality is Great
  • Matured Software brings excellent experience
  • Camera is good for the cost
  • Display is of high quality

Whats Bad?

  • Average battery life
  • Performance is noticeably lower compared to high end smartphones
  • Android One is Limited to PROJECT FI

Do you remember Project Fi? This is Google’s own mobile virtual network provider which gives users phone, messaging, wifi, and data capabilities through partnerships with T-mobile, Sprint, U..S Cellular and Three. The service’s key strength was the ability to switch carriers depending on signal strength and availability. This is particularly useful in saving battery life as constantly searching for network signal is draining. This is also great in the U.S. where connections are found to be spotty at times bringing greater user experience in terms of connectivity. The MOTO X4 was added to the list of supported devices for the project and it was in dire need of a budget model too. The Moto X4 is priced at 399$ and provides solid build materials. For the price the battery life, performance, and camera capabilities are just right. We are happy to see waterproofing and a 3.5mm headphone jack make a return on this years X4. Google, in their conquest to optimize Android, is seeing a lot of success in the MOTO X4’s software as it is more appealing by adding guaranteed updates via the Android One program.

 

Tech Specs Sheet:

  • OS:
    • 7.1 Nougat Android
  • Display:
    • 5.2 inch IPS LCD 1080p (424 ppi)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Platform:
    • Processor:
      • CPU: Snapdragon 630 Octa-Core, 2.2 GHz
      • GPU: Adreno 508 @ 650 MHz
    • RAM:
      • 4GB (APAC)
      • 3/4GB (EMEA)
      • 3GB(NA, LATAM)
    • Storage:
      • 32GB (NA, LATAM)
      • 32/64GB (EMEA, APAC)
  • DUAL Camera:
  • Battery:
    • 3,000mAh (Non-Removable)
  • Ports:
    • USB-C
      • Turbo-Charging
    • 802.11ac Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
    • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Others:
    • Water & Dust Resistance IP68 Rating
    • Finger Print Sensor
  • Dimensions:
    • 148.35 x 73.4 x 7.99 mm
      163 g
  • Colors:
    • Super Black, Sterling Blue

The Built Quality Is Stellar

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Bottom line: The Moto X4 is a great choice for those looking to save cash.

Motorola built the Moto X4 with a solid metal frame and also features finely milled edges that keeps the glass together front and back.  The phone can perhaps be mistaken as some high end smartphone is some eyes. Glass has always been a concern for cracks upon drops as it is a lot less sturdy compared to aluminum or ceramic materials. The phone does continue on the traditional Motorola budget phone design, however, so this can be a boring or a good point depending on your tastes. The feeling of the phone is great and we have no complaints about it and the hardware features all feel like no-nonsense and will get the job done.

Useful Features

There are also some nice-to-have features on this phone. There is a USB-C port with Turbo-Charging capabilities and a 3.5mm headphone jack, NICE. The Moto X4 also comes with an IP68 Rating (which is the same rating the expensive Samsung Galaxy Note 8 received), a dual camera system (one with a wide angle lens that is A LOT more useful), and a front facing selfie flash. The one-touch fingerprint sensor is also located at the front.

The 5.2 inch 1080p display is expected for a phone found in this segment. It does not have that crazy crisp look that OLED panels are known for, but the display on this phone still delivers vivide colors and great viewing angles. 5.2 inch is considered small in this day and age and thus the phone is easy to handle in the hands yet big enough to still view things comfortably. The display is not the best when compared to other smartphones but in this segment it is to be expected. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 is quite old and will scratch more easily compared to today’s Corning Gorilla Glass 5 so we recommend putting on a screen protector as soon as possible.

The Software is Clean and Speedy

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Google’s own Android One software is found on the X4. The software includes features and tweaks from Motorola which are also found on unlocked non-Android One devices. You receive a good Motorola camera application, excellent ambient display and notifications. You also retain some interesting gesture functions such as twisting the phone to launch the camera or doing a “chopping” motion to turn on another function of your choosing. Being an Android One smartphone Google has given us the promise of at least 2 years worth of updates to come. Android One is truly beginning to bring unity within the dysfunctional family that is Android. Motorola is known to deliver slow updates to their budget line of smartphones but we are happy to see Google bringing these changes.

The software on the Moto X4 is excellent. Other than the awesome additions of Motorola’s home grown functions (which are all quite useful) it also fits into Google’s new ecosystem, or rather, the company’s big vision for Android. The Moto Display is also quite better than what we have seen on Google’s own Pixel 2. We did not see any bloat ware or duplicated software apps (like two music apps, or two folder apps) and we found the Moto X4 to be very much refined for a smartphone that is being advertised for this mid-range segment.

A Big Improvement in the Camera Department

Motorola is not known for camera quality, however, this is changing from what we saw in the Moto X4. The X4 comes with a Dual Camera set up, one regular and one wide-angle. In our opinion, a wide angle lens is a lot more useful compared to the iPhone 8 Plus’ telephoto camera.  The main camera comes with a higher resolution, larger pixels, and a wider aperture for those low light moments. The secondary camera is the wide angle which is smaller in aperture, has lower resolution but still gives you a unique and fun perspective.

Judging from the out put of the camera’s we were impressed! The X4 gives us good color reproduction and details. The Wide Angle loses in quality when used in low light situations but in every other situation it holds its own. The main camera’s wider aperture of f/2.0 gives it better capability to handle low light situations so we would use that len’s over the wide angle when light is sparse. The processing software does not perform as well as ultra high end smartphones do but given the price point the X4 is excellent in this department.

The only downfall in this category is HDR, it is quite slow and we missed a lot of moments with it activated. The app itself works just fine but we found it to take a bit longer to shoot compared to other smartphones.

Other Downfalls

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With such a cheap price point and high build quality we can’t complain about much. The Moto X4 is a fantastic mid-range smartphone. However, the only issue we had with the smartphone is in the internal specs department. For 399$ the build and quality of the camera is phenomenal, but, for the price we have to come back down to earth and realize that we are still within the mid-range market. The Moto X4 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 630 processor and about 3GB of RAM (in North America) while other regions receive 4GB of RAM. We also only receive 32 GB of internal storage in North America (64GB variants are available elsewhere in different regions where 4GB RAM models are available).

In real world usage, we found that the phone can slow down in certain areas and it cannot handle huge, complicated applications as easily as flagship phones do. The performance of the X4 is just OK as you won’t see big stutters or frame rate drops but you will notice loading and just everyday basic actions such as swiping will seem to take a few steps longer than usual. It is as if the Snapdragon 630 is being maxed out in terms of it’s performance potential in the Moto X4. Also with only 3GB of RAM (here in North America) we must expect to see apps getting dumped out of memory more often then not. This means we must expect to reload apps we opened earlier.

The final gripe we had with the Moto X4 is about the battery life. It is also just OK. As we mentioned above the Snapdragon 630 is, seemingly, pushed to its limits due to apps becoming more complex and heavy. The RAM is also expected to see it getting maxed out. All this hard work naturally translates into; poorer battery life. The battery pack is also not the largest we have seen clocking in at 3,000 mAh. However, we have seen this 3000 mAh battery in other flagship models and they are doing just fine. The fault, we figure, mostly lies in the processor and RAM optimization or limitation. The only way we could have a full days worth of usage out of this phone is when we do barely anything on it. If we start texting, running apps like Facebook, messenger, instagram, and snapchat we will have to top off in the middle of the day. Good thing that the Moto X4 includes Turbo Charging.

So Should You Buy the Moto X4?

After all that has been said about the Moto X4, we still like it. The Moto X4 will be sufficient for a good amount of work and productivity for any person in any given week.  The design, the build quality, and the dual camera’s are surprisingly awesome and that is good. We simply have to stay down to earth when we start considering it’s performance capabilities. The snapdragon 630 and 3GB RAM included is limiting in terms of battery life and performance. If you are a light to medium user, who loves Android, needs a budget phone, and is interested in Google’s Project Fi, then we do recommend the Moto X4. For 399$ it is a good deal and it is kind of hard to find another smartphone out there this year that can beat the Moto X4 at this price point.

Also remember that Google is promising 2 years of guaranteed updates and security patches, but as long as you are part of Project Fi. Whether or not you choose to go with an Unlocked Moto X4 or buy a Moto X4 locked to Project Fi we believe you will be happy with your decisions.

If you are also looking to Unlock your Moto X4 Cellunlocker.net has you covered, just click here.

 

 

Google Pixel 2 & the Pixel 2 XL: #Courage (No Headphone Jack)

Google Pixel 2 & the Pixel 2 XL: No Headphone Jack

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The Google Pixel and the Pixel XL were big successes in relaunching Google’s signature pure Android line up of high end flagship devices. The Pixel was up there amongst the best in terms of photographic capabilities while boasting big specs and a comparatively large price tag.

The Google Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL launched recently at Google’s own unveiling. The Pixel 2 is the second iteration of it’s focus on building great hardware for the Android ecosystem. This year, the Pixel 2’s camera (which is not a dual camera setup) was given, yet again, the highest DxO score. The device boasts of the latest high end specs and a full metal body with that iconic Google Nexus/Pixel

The biggest gripe, nonetheless, is the lack of the headphone jack which shows that Google is following in Apple’s footsteps. Last year during Apple’s transition away from the 3.5mm headphone jack with their iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Google poked fun at Apple. Now the Pixel 2 connects to USB C powered headsets or via USB C to 3.5mm adapters. #Courage seems to be the growing trend here and you can take it as a good or bad thing. The 3.5mm headphone jack is slowly on it’s way out but it is too soon for it to be snuffed out due to the fact that the majority of people still prefer using cheap alternative 3.5mm headphones and high end 3.5mm headset’s that pump out audiophile-approved quality sound. It is true, however, that wireless technology will be a big part of our technological future.

The Pixel 2 is also the most boring of the two models presented. The Pixel 2 XL is the better choice in our eyes for the updated design that certainly plays catch up to all other mainstream manufacturers (Samsung, LG, etc). The Pixel 2 stays true to the original Pixel device released last year with thicker bezels on the front and being the smaller choice. It does not have the headphone jack either but it also does not go for the bezel-less design.

We will take a quick look at both the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL side by side and see what is special about them.

Let’s quickly look at the Pixel 2 specs:

  • CPU:
    • Snapdragon 835
  • RAM:
    • 4 GB RAM
  • Display:
    • 5 inch (1080p) AMOLED panel 1920 x 1080 (16:9 Ratio) (~441 ppi density)
  • Storage:
    • 64GB/128GB of storage no microSD
  • I/O:
    • NO 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Camera:
    • 12.2 MP, f/1.8, OIS, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.4, Front Facing Camera
  • Battery:
    • 2,700 mAh pack
  • Comms:
    • Dual-Band WiFi
    • Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP,LE,aptX HD
    • USB Type C
  • Water Resistance:
    • IP67 Dust & Water RESISTANCE for up to 1.5 meters and up to 30 minutes

 

The Google Pixel 2 was made for those who love the original Pixel design

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And that pretty much sums up the basics of the Google Pixel 2. It is the younger brother of the Pixel 2 XL.

The Pixel 2 has it’s own purpose and will serve it in a very different way than what the Pixel 2 XL has. It caters more to those who loved the older design of the original Pixel phone but with a high end spec treatment. It also gives more options for those who really do not want to buy into the whole bezel-eliminating trend and for those who do not want a large display / large bodied phone.

The Pixel 2 will be plenty fast due to the Snapdragon 835 processor and 4 GB of RAM (which is plenty still and for a while). Remember back in the day when 1 GB of RAM were reserved for the truly high end flagship models? We’ve come a long way and the industry is moving quickly. Apps are becoming bigger and more robust and multitasking is a huge signature feature for the Android OS. The 4 GB of RAM will carry users through multitasking especially with Androids new multi window function which opens two apps side by side. Keeping apps in memory to quickly jump around from app to app should not cause any slow downs or issues.

Another difference between the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL is in the resolution. While the Pixel 2 XL receives the new P-OLED 2880×1440 (18:9 ratio) display the Pixel 2 retains the same 1080p display. At least the Pixel 2 get’s upgraded to an AMOLED panel. The Glass is the standard Corning Gorilla Glass 5.


 

Enter the Pixel 2 XL

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So then let’s move onto the more juicier bits. Enter the Google Pixel 2 XL. The older and more matured brother to the basic Pixel 2 and that which also embodies Google’s entry into serious hardware making actions they are taking as a company to represent pure Android. It is also their first attempt at creating something near bezel-less in terms of the display which follows in the footsteps of LG, Samsung and HTC. The Pixel 2 XL is “the” flagship device that Google has produced in conjunction with HTC.

Specs for the Pixel 2 XL:

  • CPU:
    • Snapdragon 835 Octa-core processor
  • RAM:
    • 4 GB RAM
  • Display:
    • 6 inch P-OLED panel 2880 x 1440 (18:9 Ratio) (~538 ppi density)
  • Storage:
    • 64GB/128GB of storage no microSD
  • I/O:
    • NO 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Camera:
    • 12.2 MP, f/1.8, OIS, PDAF
    • 8 MP, f/2.4, Front Facing Camera
  • Battery:
    • 3,520 mAh pack
  • Comms:
    • Dual-Band WiFi
    • Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP,LE,aptX HD
    • USB Type C
  • Water Resistance:
    • IP67 Dust & Water RESISTANCE for up to 1.5 meters and up to 30 minutes

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The Pixel 2 XL also comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 which is the latest in glass tech found on most flagship devices. These are found to be resistant to your car keys and other metal objects in your pockets such as coins. Of course, the glass back display will not be hard enough to resist something as hard and sharp as sand which will cause micro scratches. The display uses the new P-OLED panel with a QHD resolution of 2880 x 1440. The display is also tall with a ratio of 18:9 (like the LG V30) due to the less-bezel’s approach.

The Pixel 2 XL, like the basic model Pixel 2 comes with the newest Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core processor which has been proven to be a beast of a chip. You do not need to worry about slow downs, heat issues, or other performance concerns.

Built out of mostly-aluminum the body is sturdy yet still manages to be pretty light. The curved glass panel on the front of the device also shows a front facing camera at the top. The Panel on the back is also made of glass but only on the top region where the main camera sits. The finger print sensor marks the beginning of the metal back region of the phone. This is a confident design language by Google giving us a composite two piece material back that the Pixel was known for.

The Pixel 2 XL is powered by a 3,520 mAh battery pack that should give you all day performance with ease. Coupled with the Snapdragon 835 you are in for a world of efficient processing. This large battery capacity is large considering that even the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 houses only a 3,300 mAh battery. Even the 3,300 mAh in the Note 8 enables all day usage so the Pixel 2 XL should fare better. Google stated that 15 minutes of charging can give you 7 hours of battery life.

Portrait Mode Available

The primary camera found on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL both come with a new 12.2 MP, f/1.8 sensor and lens. It also utilizes dual-pixel sensors which actually enables Google’s own portrait mode just as Apple, Samsung and many other manufacturers are implementing.

No Dual Camera but that’s quite alright

Google did not go with a dual camera set up this year on either models yet we are impressed to see Googling still adding features like Portrait Mode. Sure Portrait Mode is all about the software but the hardware enabling this via a dual-pixel array is pretty cool to see. The camera that Google offer’s always manages to receive the top DxO mark and this year it is no different. The camera should still give you awesome photos.

New Always On Display

Always on displays have been around for quite some time. However, Google now implemented a new feature on the AOD where the phone will constantly listen for the songs playing in the ambient space in restaurants or other places you may be and show the song title at the bottom of the AOD.

A new “SQUEEZE” feature

This was actually seen in a feature called HTC Edge Sense but since Google did acquire 2,000 engineers and intellectual property from HTC for $1.1 billion we aren’t really surprised it made it to the Pixel 2 and 2 XL. Instead of having to press a button like the S8 you simple squeeze your phone to launch Google Assistant. People seem to have a bit of fun with this feature.

So what do You think?

Despite Google dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack making many fan’s woe and walk away, we still have a good amount of people who will buy the Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL. The phone’s are still fantastic in their own right with high end specs, a wonderful camera, and new AOD functions that listen to the music around you without you needing to do anything. The only other thing we did not talk about was price, which is marked at 649 USD for the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL starts at 849 USD.  The costs for these phone’s aren’t exactly cheap.

Would you buy the Pixel 2 or the Pixel 2 XL?

 

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: This is the Best One

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X: Which is the Best One for You?

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Apple has already begun the sales for their brand new iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus but we are going to acknowledge the looming presence of the iPhone X over all iPhone 8 / 8 Plus reviews. What is the iPhone X? Who is the iPhone 8 meant for? What is the best choice for you? If you are in the market for a new upgrade in the iPhone genre let us give you more insight into what the differences are between the three flagship phones. Check out our 5 considerations below to see if it helps you in deciding which iPhone is best for you! Thank you.


 

To begin answering your question we will begin by comparing the Specs below:

iPhone 8

iPhone 8 Plus iPhone X
Display Size: 4.7in Retina HD (1334×750, 326ppi) IPS 5.5in Retina HD (1920×1080, 401ppi) IPS 5.8in Super Retina Display (2436×1125, 458ppi) (Super AMOLED)
OS: iOS 11 iOS 11 iOS 11
Processor:  Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor  Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor  Apple A11 Bionic, M11 co-processor
Storage Size:  64GB/256GB  64GB/256GB  64GB/256GB
Main Camera(s):  12Mp, f/1.8, 5x digital zoom, Quad-LED flash  12 MP wide-angle, f/1.8, OIS + 12 MP telephoto, f/2.8, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, Portrait Lighting, Portrait Mode, Quad-LED flash  12 MP wide-angle, f/1.8, OIS + 12 MP telephoto, f/2.4, OIS, optical zoom, 10x digital zoom, Portrait Lighting, Portrait Mode, Quad-LED flash
Selfie Camera: 7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video 7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video 7Mp FaceTime HD, f/2.2, 1080p video
Video Recording: 4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps 4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps 4K at 24/30/60fps, 1080p slo-mo at 240fps
Dimensions: 67.3×138.4×7.3mm 78.1×158.4×7.5mm 70.9×143.6×7.7mm
Touch ID? YES YES NO
Face ID? NO NO YES
Wireless

Charging?

YES YES YES
Water Proofing? YES IP67 YES IP67 YES IP67
Price USD  $699 $799 $999
3D Touch? YES YES YES
Weight 148g 202g 174g

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Consideration 1: Display / Design

  • iPhone X (iPhone 10):
    • 5.8 inch Super AMOLED (Super Retina Display) (~82.9% screen-to-body ratio) 2436 x 1125 resolution (~458 ppi) True Tone OLED Display w/ ION strengthened glass
  • iPhone 8
    • 4.7 inch True Tone IPS Retina Display (LCD) (~65.4% screen-to-body ratio) 1334 x 750 resolution (~326 ppi) ION strengthened glass
  • iPhone 8 Plus
    • 5.5 inch True Tone IPS Retina HD Display (LCD) (~67.4% screen-to-body ratio) 1920 x 1080 resolution (~401 ppi) ION strengthened glass

 

Let’s begin with the obvious, the display and design. The iPhone X is undoubtedly different. A complete transformation of the iPhone that we used to know. Apple finally got on board with the OLED display with the iPhone X which makes it the first Apple flagship to sport a vibrant display with deep blacks and beautiful colors that OLED panels are known for. Here the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus differs by carrying the regular Apple IPS LCD panels. Now don’t get us wrong, the IPS panels are calibrated meticulously by Apple to still produce “true tone” colors and the iPhone have always been regarded as having some of the best displays for a very long time. Here we must consider if an AMOLED display is important to you.

The next is the shape / design of the iPhone’s. The iPhone X is also extremely different here with it’s brand new Super Retina Display (aka. OLED) that stretches edge to edge but also from the top to the bottom. The unusually bit about the iPhone 10 (X) is that there is a added “lip” at the top which contains the new and fancy optical gadgets needed for it’s advanced Face ID feature (alongside the selfie camera). Many people have agreed that the iPhone 10 (X) looks like it has a pair of “ears” while other’s calls it a “lip” that sticks in from the top cutting into the display. Sure, for some it may not be as elegant of a solution when compared to other edge-to-edge display smartphones out there but there is a reason why Apple chose to go with this design. Apple designed it so that swiping down from either the left or right will bring down either the command center or the notification panel which is not new but could be pretty neat. The only issue that we have seen and was discussed online was the fact that videos and web pages would render strangely on the iPhone 10 (X). Instead of creating a pseudo blackpanel to make the display rectangular as it normally should the webpage or video will flow in and fill those extra screen space. It will take software tweaking via Apple, and app developers to create a new solution for this in the future.

Is this design choice going to throw you off? Would you rather consider the iPhone 8 Plus or the iPhone 8 with it’s more traditional rectangular display?

The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus still provides us with a fantastic viewing experience that we all know and love. The iPhone 8 comes with the traditional 4.7 inch display while the iPhone 8 Plus comes with a 5.7 inch display. The iPhone 10 (X) comes with the unusual display design but is rated at having a 5.8 inch display. So if you still want a great display

All three iPhone’s now come with a glass back as well as with the glass front. There is a cleanly hidden plastic gasket at the edge of the glass panels which help absorb impact from falls (great design by Apple) and the metal aluminum 7000 series is found to wrap around the iPhone’s. Even the buttons and the mute switch is full aluminum. The metal mesh that covers the ear piece and the microphone is installed with precision to prevent them from popping out. The build quality is fantastic on all three iPhone’s so materials, build quality, design languages should be of little concern to any potential buyer. Apple did a great job here.


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Consideration 2: Design and Performance

Quick Specs Comparison:

  • iPhone X: 
    • Processor: A11 Bionic 6 core processor (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral)+Tri Core Apple GPU
    • Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm / 174 g
    • No Home Button at all
  • iPhone 8:
    • Processor: A11 Bionic 6 core processor (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral)+Tri Core Apple GPU
    • Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm / 148 g
    • Home Button Available (Haptic Feedback)
  • iPhone 8 Plus:
    • Processor: A11 Bionic 6 core processor (2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral)+Tri Core Apple GPU
    • Dimensions: 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm / 202 g
    • Home Button Available (Haptic Feedback)

The next big thing to consider are the specifications of the iPhone’s. Here, the iPhone 10(X) begins to diverge a little bit away from the iPhone 8 siblings. Internally, however, we have the same powerful Apple A11 Bionic processor with the M11 (Motion) co-processor integrated across all three iPhone’s (refer to chart above). They all differ in size as well as shown above. The iPhone X has a new Super AMOLED display panel which is flexible and wraps to the edges of the smartphone nearly eliminating the bezels. As a result we have the iPhone X clock in between the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus with a weight of 174g and a body dimension of 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm. The iPhone 8 Plus is a bit bigger than the iPhone X with a slightly smaller display size. The iPhone 8, being the base and the youngest sibling, has the smallest display but with the smallest and lightest build.

Since all of the iPhone’s hold an A11 Bionic Processor we know that the performance will be nearly identical (differences can be caused by the display sizes).  Performance should be of little concern except perhaps that the iPhone 8 may squeeze out a higher performance score due to it’s smaller display. A smaller display requires less processing power from the cpu and gpu. All three iPhone’s will apparently feature 3 GB’s of RAM. However, due to Apple’s strict control over their app store and the iOS operating system and the homogenized nature of the iPhone we have little to worry when it comes to RAM performance and speed. Heck, even the first iPhone can be quite smooth and buttery for the most basic tasks and apps even today.

Here, we can easily see what the size and shape differences are from iPhone to iPhone and we hope this will help you make a more informed decision on your purchase. Do you want a light and small iPhone? The iPhone 8 is perfect for you. Do you want a larger iPhone that isn’t too expensive? The iPhone 8 Plus is right up your alley. Don’t care about the costs and want the latest and greatest? Re-introducing the iPhone X.

Phone-X-vs-iPhone-8-Plus-vs-iPhone-8-All-Detailed-Specs-Comparison-740x358


Consideration 3: Face ID vs Touch ID

  • iPhone X: Face ID / No Touch ID
  • iPhone 8: Touch ID / No Face ID
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Touch ID / No Face ID

This is huge. So huge, in fact, that we had to create a whole new category to talk about this. So Apple’s vision of a futuristic phone’s will come without a 3.5mm headphone jack and also without a fingerprint sensor. Interesting. Instead the company has introduced a brand new feature called “Face ID”. Yes, you’ve seen and heard it over and over, it is a pretty advanced facial recognition system right on the iPhone. Of course, the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus will NOT come with Face ID but rather they will retain the tried and true Touch ID (finger print bio metrics security). This can make it or break it for a lot of people. Face recognition systems aren’t new, it has been around for several years and it is even available on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. However, what differs here is that Apple completely revamped it to make it really secure and really accurate. Apple does what it does best, to re-introduce and re-imagine existing tech to make it actually useful and appealing.

We all know about the big Apple mess up during their live keynote when demonstrating the Face ID function for the first time. It didn’t work. Craig Federighi (the speaker) later on tried it three times in quick succession to show that it works flawlessly. This stirred an array of concerns from people world wide but Apple did provide an explanation as to why the iPhone X’s first ever Face ID demonstration “failed”.

With that obvious gripe aside Face ID is honestly a pretty cool tech. This requires new sensors to be packed into the iPhone X’s top “lip” that sticks into the display from the top. Which includes: a flood illuminator, infrared camera, front camera and a dot projector. All of these components work together to create a supposedly seemless facial recognition system. Apple went so far as to make sure that an accurate replica of your face (via  a mask) can’t fool the system let alone a printed photo. The sensors account for “Depth” of your face which essentially scans your face in 3D. Apple did also claim that the iPhone X’s face ID will “grow” with you meaning that even if you grew a beard, made cosmetic changes to your look, or put on a thick winter scarf covering your face the Face ID system will still work. On paper and in terms of marketing that is very cool but we have yet to see how this will work when the iPhone X is in the hands of the millions world-wide. Unfortunately, it seems that the iPhone X did not have any space to include a fingerprint sensor which works without you have to lift your phone up to your face.

Now, we understand that there will be some enthusiasts who will have no problems with this feature. While others, honestly, may revert to the old school pin lock because the “honeymoon” phase with this new feature got either too complicated or annoying. While still others would most likely opt for a Touch ID enabled iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.

The iPhone X may be Apple’s experimental step forward to test the waters. Shedding the 3.5mm headphone jack, the fingerprint sensor and the home button as well this is a very different iPhone altogether. A whole different beast. The specs are powerful, the technology cutting edge and re-imagined.


Consideration 4: Camera, Lights, Action

Capture

  • iPhone 8
    • 12 MP f/1.8 quad-LED (focal length: 28mm) PDAF, OIS, quad-LED flash
  • iPhone 8 Plus
    • Dual 12 MP: Wide Angle, OIS, f/1.8  +  Telephoto f/2.8, quad-LED flash
  • iPhone X
    • Dual 12 MP: Wide Angle, OIS, f/1.8  +  Telephoto f/2.4, quad-LED flash

All three iPhone’s will come shipped with the latest iOS 11 update which is filled with the newest tweaks and features. This also includes Apple’s camera feature: the revamped “Portrait mode” on the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X thanks to the dual camera module. The iPhone 8 will need to sit out on this one. There is also another feature that is new which Apple calls it “Portrait Lighting”. This new function uses software algorithms to “shine light” from any direction onto your subjects face. This is like having a virtual set of studio lights around you (the photographer) to illuminate your subject. Since this is software based we can see that sometimes the results are a bit wonky depending on the lighting (real lighting at the time of shooting) and the contrast of colors between your subject, the ambient light, and the background. We found that the feature is not that great under tungsten lighting or other poorly lit rooms / places. Nonetheless it is a cool and interesting new feature presented by Apple. We can only look forward to tweaks, improvements and further overhauls of these two Portrait features.

The iPhone 8 will be the only flagship iPhone that will come with a single 12 MP sensor camera. It still has that great f/1.8 wide open aperture which lets in a lot of light and the camera lens is flanked by a quad-LED dual tone flash unit built in. The other two older brothers being the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X both come with a 12 MP dual camera setup yet there are still big differences between the two. The iPhone X will have a upper hand as it comes with a Dual 12 MP camera (one with a wide f/1.8 aperture and the telephoto lens having a respective f/2.4 lens). The iPhone 8 Plus also has a 12 MP dual camera system going on (the primary also being f/1.8 but the telephoto lens being f/2.8 instead which is narrower than the iPhone X’s telephoto lens). 0.4 is not a huge number to fret over but it is a little bit more light that the iPhone X can receive which translates to slightly less noise in your photos. If the fastest telephoto lens on a smartphone is important to you the iPhone X is the go to smartphone. Otherwise, the iPhone 8 Plus (and the iPhone 8) are both more than competent iPhone’s that will still take those famously fantastic photos in most lighting.

Both the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X’s dual camera will be paired with the quad LED dual tone flash units. Also, both telephoto len’s in the dual camera setup come with a 2x OPTICAL zoom feature with up to 10x digital zoom available at your disposal. Only the iPhone X will come with dual OIS (optical image stabilization) in both lenses which enables sharper photos in low light and also reduces camera shake handheld. The iPhone 8 Plus only has OIS in the wide angle lens.

The Selfie Camera is basically the same on all iPhone models with a 7 MP camera with an f/2.2 aperture lens. It will take great selfies as we all know iPhone’s are capable of.

Video Capability

All three iPhone’s have the same videography functionality available via their primary camera:

4K video: [email protected]/30/60fps

[email protected]/60/120/240fps (Slow Mo)

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Consideration 5: The iPhone X is Late

  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Available Now
  • iPhone X: Pre-Order starts on October 27 and starts shipping on November 22

The iPhone X will be late, very late, to the party. While the iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus (which are great flagship iPhone options) are now available for your purchase and to be enjoyed almost immediately we still need to wait a month to only pre order followed by another month to actually get them shipped to us. Yes, there will be die hard fans who can wait out an eternity to get their hands on the latest and greatest from Apple while others will simply have great timing with their situation to pick up an iPhone X. The rest of us will need to be patient.

This brings up an important question: “Is the iPhone X worth waiting for?” The fears of it becoming a sort of a glorified let down in the hands of the millions of expected adopters is not an impossibility. There are chances that the Face ID feature which will stand as the phones main unlocking, payment, and other security method (other than the old pin code lock) may run into unexpected issues. If that fails and suddenly becomes unreliable or too annoying to use then what was the wait for? The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus has the same processors, has a familiar design, Touch ID, and a fantastic camera. Purchasing the 8 or the 8 Plus will still yield you the latest tech from Apple.


Conclusion

So, despite the fact that the iPhone 8 Plus is not too much different from the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 being smaller yet is still a very capable device what would you choose? The iPhone 8 is created and marketed to the people who really need a smaller phone that still packs power and an amazing camera. The 8 is also the cheapest of the three and the price increases as we move up the tier to the 8 Plus and the iPhone X. The only advantages the iPhone X has over the the 8 models is: the display (5.8 inch edge to edge), OLED display panel, brighter telephoto, Face ID (for some), advanced Face ID sensors at the front and top, and being lighter than the iPhone 8 Plus. The rest, largely remains the same with all three boasting Apple’s latest and greatest processors, iOS 11, primary camera’s, True Tone displays (where colors are rendered more true to life), and wireless charging thanks to the glass backs. Speaking of which, all three iPhone’s also feature a stronger glass build that Apple claims should be stronger due to some sapphire mixed in. Portrait lighting and Portrait mode can be more or less a bonus for some photo enthusiast.

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: Is It the Best?

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review: The Beast Unleashed

Is the Galaxy Note 8 the best?

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Samsung’s latest flagship offering is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The Note series have always been known for it’s large body size, high-end components, vibrant displays, long battery life, and the advanced S-Pen stylus experience. The very first Galaxy Note received a lot of ridicule but little did the majority know the first Note was a huge success and thus Samsung was the first ever to create the “Phablet” category. Every other manufacturer (including Apple) followed suit eventually and here we are today with jumbo sized smartphones with jumbo sized specs. Let’s dive in for a quick look as to what the Note 8 has to offer.

Specs Cheat Sheet:

  • Body Specs:
    • Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm (6.40 x 2.94 x 0.34 in)
    • Weight: 195 g (6.88 oz)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on front and back + Metal material on sides
  • Display Specs:
    • 6.3 inch 2960 x 1440 resolution (~521 ppi pixels per inch)
    • Infinity Display
    • Super AMOLED Display Technology
    • HDR 10 compliant
    • “3D Touch”: Pressure sensitive home button tech under the display
    • Updated Always On Display
  • Processing Power:
    • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core processor (North America) OR Exynos 8895 Octa-Core processor (International)
      • Snapdragon 835: 4 x 2.35 GHz Kryo cores + 4 x 1.9 GHz Kryo cores
        • GPU: Adreno 540 (North America)
      • Exynos 8895: 4 x 2.3 GHz + 4 x 1.7 GHz
        • GPU: Mali-G71 MP20 (International)
    • RAM: 6 GB
    • Battery: 3,300 mAh capacity
  • Other Specs:
    • Storage space: 64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB
      • MicroSD storage Available
    • 3.5 mm headphone jack available!
    • IP68 certified – dust/water proof over 1.5 meter and 30 minutes
    • Bluetooth 5.0
    • USB Type-C
    • Security:
      • Iris Scanner, Face Recognition, Finger print sensor, Samsung Pass, Samsung Knox
    • Available Colors:
      • Midnight Black, Maple Gold, Orchid Grey, Deep Sea Blue, Star Pink (Taiwan only)
  • Camera:
    • New Samsung Dual Camera
    • Selfie Camera
      • 8 MP Autofocus f/1.7 camera

 

Performance:

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The Note 8 is a power house of a smartphone and can tackle any task you throw at it with ease. This is a premium high-end Samsung flagship that should not have any performance issues. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (US / China / Canada) or the Exynos 8895 (International) processors both exhibit high level’s of performance. This is no longer 2016 where Samsung included an octa-core exynos processor for international Note 7’s while including a Snapdragon 820 QUAD-Core processor for the North American/Chinese units. The 820 was noticeably slower, got hotter faster, and had stutter issues that comes randomly compared to an octa-core. This year Samsung did it right with the 10nm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor which does not heat up, is super speedy, and exhibits no stutter at all. 3D gaming is easy for the Note 8 as you will get high fps and smooth gameplay.

To elaborate on how hot the Note 8 gets, at the very most we felt it get slightly warm. We were playing Final Fantasy 9 and it stayed cool in the hands, maybe slightly warm. Watching youtube videos, browsing the web, browsing instagram, editing photos, and playing some more Pocket Morty was definitely not enough, by far, to even get the Note 8 warmed up. In conclusion, unless you are running a stress test of the highest degree we cannot see the Galaxy Note 8 produce any significant amount of heat either with the Snapdragon 835 nor with the Exynos 8895 variant. Bravo Samsung. We theorize that due to the larger body of the Note 8 and being slightly thicker also contributes to a much more efficient natural heat management system.

The 6 GB RAM is a first for Samsung and we welcome it even though they are behind compared to OnePlus. Regardless multitasking has become even more easier as the larger RAM can take on larger amounts of apps opened and tasks demanded.

Display:

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The Note 8 comes with a massive 6.3 inch display with a resolution of 2960 x 1440 (521 ppi). The display is a Super AMOLED Infinity Display so it basically wraps to the edges and eliminated most bezels save for a tiny bit on the top and bottom. You can only see the volume, power and the bixby button on the sides if you look straight down. Depending on the wall paper you use the image seems like it flows off of your Note 8 and onto the reality behind it, almost blending in with the world. It is a beautiful display, the most beautiful display we have seen yet even with the iPhone X coming out. The Infinity Display tech makes more sense when compared to the Essential or the iPhone X which both have this bezel sticking in the center from the top giving the phone’s annoying “ears”. The Note 8’s Infinity Display has curved edges on both the right and left sides (just like the S8) but the difference here is that the Note 8’s “edge” is a lot less pronounced and is only a slight edge. This is something we have seen on the Note 7 before and it only contributes to a more comfortable user experience.

The display is sharp, vibrant, with deep blacks (as we always expect from OLED panels) and high brightness levels. You can’t go wrong with this bag of magic. The Note 8’s display is massive which means that you get a lot more screen real estate than ever before. We viewed web pages and found that we did not need to scroll anymore in a lot of cases. We only scrolled from old habits we gained from using smaller screened phones. There is just so much space! All in a slim, light packaged phone that still somehow fits comfortably in your hands.

Build and Handling:

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The Galaxy Note 8 is bigger and heavier than most flagship smartphones we have seen yet. It weighs about 195 grams and has a very large 6.3 inch display. It is also slightly thicker than the S8+ and noticeably at least an inch taller than the S8+. The phone is still thinner than the iPhone 7 Plus which has a considerably smaller display despite the iPhone’s massive bezel’s surrounding that smaller display. The iPhone 7 Plus, consequently, is just a big unwieldy smartphone compared to the elegant design of the Galaxy Note 8. The Note 8 is taller, however, compared to the iPhone 7 Plus but we prefer that than having a fatter, larger iPhone that has a smaller display. The Note 8 is packaged in a water/dust proof build with an IP68 certification. That means up to 1.5 meters and 30 mins of water.

The phone is built out of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back which is bound together by a metal bezel that goes all the way around the phone. It is beautiful to look at (especially the Deep Sea Blue and the Midnight Black) and screams premium when you hold it. With 195 grams it does have some heft to it but it is far from being “heavy”. Despite being slim and slender considering that it has that massive 6.3 inch Infinity Display flowing like rainbow waterfalls off the edges it is still a relatively large smartphone. Nothing like the Nexus 6P or the iPhone 7 Plus large but still large. People with smaller hands will need to consider all of their options before looking at the Note 8.

The Finger Print sensor makes a return to it’s high throne above and sits as the left hand wing man beside that dual camera. Samsung did switch up the arrangement this time around as the flash and heart rate sensor is lodged between the camera module and the finger print sensor. This should help users make less errors (mistaking the camera as the sensor) when reaching for that sensor. The sensor is quite hard to reach due to the phones tall build and requires more than finger gymnastics to get used to this. You may need two hands.

The camera module along with the heart rate sensor and the finger print sensor is flush on the back which is good to see. The only thing is that the color of that rectangular piece (which holds the cameras and sensors) will always be black. So even if you purchase the Deep Sea Blue the panel holding the sensors will still remain black. This could be a good thing for some folks.

The Note 8 comes with wireless charging back (fast charging) and also a USB Type C. The Speaker grill is found at the bottom beside the USB connection port which is also flanked by that beautiful 3.5mm headphone jack. The S-Pen is nestled in its silo beside the speaker at the bottom right corner of the Note 8. The phone also supports microSD cards.

The Home Button is re introduced in the Note 8 as the same pressure sensitive strip under the display but only for the home button at the bottom and center of the Note 8’s display. This has a huge resemblance to the iPhone’s new home button introduced with the iPhone 7 with haptic feedback emulating a button click. The tech works very well without any flaws or issues and we even sometimes felt that the phone’s bottom half is a button that is clickable. It feels great. The home button works even with the display turned off.

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Battery Life:

The 3,300 mAh battery is smaller than the 3,500 mAh battery found in the S8+. Last year we all know what misfortune overtook our beloved Galaxy Note 7, but the good thing is that Samsung learnt a big lesson from this and has implemented an 8 point safety check system that guarantees safety and also it seems like Samsung tweaked with the Note 8’s battery chemistry which enables the battery to retain about 95% of its charge even after 2 years of usage. The typical smartphone (even flagships, such as Apple) can only retain about 70% battery life after 1 year of usage.

From our initial tests the Note 8 shows a very respectable 4 – 5 screen on time with about 55% battery life remaining at the end of the day. This is with mild usage including: browsing 9 GAG, playing Pocket Morty, engaging in social media apps, a lot of messaging back and forth and browsing the web for info. The Note 8 easily lasts you throughout the day but if you need to top up it only takes minutes for you to last an additional several hours. You can forget your anxiety and worries surrounding smartphone battery life if you own the Galaxy Note 8. It just lasts.

Despite the smaller battery size and a bigger 6.3 inch display the Note 8 is equal to or even better than the S8+ with a larger 3,500 mAh battery. We assume that the 6 GB RAM, and optimized Snapdragon 835 processor is providing high efficiency performances leading to less battery consumption needed.

Camera Quality:

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The GALAXY line has been known for some time now for their high quality picture quality. The S7 Edge, in particular, received high praise and awards for having such a fantastic low light camera that reproduces vibrant colors and details. That same 12 MP camera with phase detect autofocus and a wide and fast aperture of f/1.7 is also included in the Note 8. The only difference is Samsung’s brand new attempt at their own Dual Camera set up. Beside the 12 MP 23mm standard camera we now have a 56mm telephoto lens which also contains a 12 MP sensor but with a narrow aperture of f/2.4. The telephoto, consequently, cannot take in as much light as it’s partner beside it but has a unique ability to capture photos farther away with original optical quality without sacrificing data by pinching in to zoom (digital zoom).

Granted, Samsung is actually quite late to the dual camera party but with good reason. Samsung worked hard to include, for the first time, OIS (optical image stabilization) into BOTH len’s in the dual camera setup. No other manufacturer had this until the recently announced iPhone X. Having OIS in a telephoto lens is crucial in getting clearer, sharper shots. Telephoto photography is much too shaky without OIS or some form of stabilizers.

The Telephoto lens enables Samsung to include their own variation of Apple’s Portrait mode which Samsung calls “Live Focus”. Live Focus is basically portrait mode except this time the user can adjust the amount of background blur a photo should have before, during and AFTER the shot is taken, even if you come across the photo several days later and decided that less blur should be used. This is a cool touch indeed. Another new feature Samsung has introduced with the Note 8’s dual camera set up is “Dual Capture”. Dual Capture takes two photos with both the wide angle lens and the telephoto lens when you shoot with the telephoto lens. We actually found this to be very useful because when we shot a portrait shot of a friend she wished she could see more of the background, so all we had to do is click the “Normal Picture” button while you are reviewing the photo to see the wide angle version of the photo with more of the background captured. Since you cannot travel back in time (yet?) to take that exact same photo with your wide lens, we are grateful Samsung thought this through and included the Dual Capture feature.

The Selfie is an 8 MP sensor f/1.7 lens and we found it to be just that, it works in low light and captures good amounts of details. It is a typical Samsung flagship selfie camera unit with high quality results. The auto focus included helps in various situations but we found that we had to tap the screen to refocus time to time. Despite the f/1.7 fast aperture low light selfies are difficult for any smartphone since smartphone’s only have a tiny sensor. We enjoyed using it and we are certain selfie lovers will love the Samsung f/1.7 selfie camera.

Regardless, the software and algorithm that Samsung deployed is new (starting with the S8) which enables faster autofocus, faster shooting, sharper photos, and photos with deeper tones. The camera shoots three photos whenever you shoot with your main camera and combines them into one image (this all happens during the time it takes you to hit the shutter button, nano seconds).

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The New and Improved S-Pen:

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The S-Pen is a staple feature to the Note series. We must admit that the stylus has it’s appeal and use to only a small percentage of users while most will most likely forget about it after their “honey moon phase” with it. Despite all of that the S-Pen is chock full of actually useful features and functions. This year the Pen is the same as the Note 7 with its thinner and more pen like 0.7mm tip and with a 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity under the display the S-Pen brings you closer to a digital “pen and paper” experience. I personally use my Galaxy Tab with S Pen and the Note phones for my journal entries everyday and note taking and handwriting has never been so fluid and natural. It is an awesome thing to have in an advanced smartphone.

Samsung includes a button on the S-Pen that which you can click while hovering the pen above your display to launch a wheel that contains all sorts of functions.

There are many cool features including: GIF capture by creating a box around something and it will record the animations or video clip within that box. You can share gifs that you normally can’t with this method.

Translation by hovering your S-Pen over menu’s and websites that are in a different language during travel’s was absolutely indispensable and made the experiences of travel that much better in those small scenarios.

Smart select (create a box to capture), screen write (write on any screen you captured), and bixby vision (hovering your pen over certain images and texts will enable your AI Bixby to tell you more.

Drawing and writing has never been easier and natural, we know you will enjoy it. The S-Pen is built of plastic but has metal accents and a click top which is the Note users age old fidget spinner for some years now. The pen does not fit backwards and is light weight and feels high quality. Best of all the S-pen does not need a battery to operate! (Looking at you Apple pen).

The stylus has been ridiculed by many manufacturers, users, and reviewers including Steve Job’s himself. However, seeing how Apple launched their own official stylus (Apple Pen) and the S-Pen not going away in any foreseeable future the use for it is still very much alive. The S-Pen is the most advanced smartphone / device stylus implementation in the market and no one does it better than Samsung. Samsung has had several years to keep innovating and building on it and it is paying off. The Note lines S-Pen is a highly recommended tool for bloggers, people who love to write with their hands, to play games with a stylus (instead of with fat fingers blocking the way), and any creative minds who love creating art. We have seen some of the most detailed and fantastic artworks created on the Note smartphones throughout the years.

Should You Buy the Galaxy Note 8?

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This is an age old question in the consumer market asked by all. Given the information above and a lot more floating around on the web the Galaxy Note 8 is a strong contender among the high end smartphone segment. The two major downsides to the Note 8 is the Price, and the fingerprint sensor positioning. The fingerprint position beside the camera is not that big of a deal on the S8 or even the S8 Plus because we can get used to it and because we can reach it. However, the Note 8 is substantially taller and require you to double your efforts to reach that sensor, it is difficult. The price of 930$ or 1299 CAD is expected as the general market price for Smartphones is on the rise right now. Even the iPhone X is currently priced at 1400 CAD on the website which is more than the Note 8.

The things we must consider when buying a Note 8 are the following: can you afford it?, do I use the S-pen habitually or am I really interested in gaining that new habit?, how will the size of the Note 8 affect me? What other phones are there available?

If you doubt that you will use the S-Pen, just go for the Galaxy S8 Plus. The S8 Plus has essentially all the same specs as the Note 8 minus the dual camera, size, and extravagant price tag. If you want smaller we recommend the Galaxy S8. However, other highly recommended smartphones include the iPhone 8 Plus, and the LG V30. All the high end phones will be priced similarly (except for the LG V30 which under cuts the competition) but if money is a large issue then we also recommend looking at the mid-tier phones that perform admirably with older tech repackaged such as the Asus Zenfone 3.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is a fantastic phone with powerful specs, long battery life, barely any heat emissions, huge Infinity Display, and a high quality dual camera setup. The S-Pen is the main reason people go for the Note phones due to its versatility and usefulness. If all of these things are in your realm of interests and needs and if you have the deep pocket required for this, then by all means, go for the Note 8. Otherwise check out the other phones we mentioned above.

If you need to Network Unlock Your Galaxy Note 8 permanently, safely and quickly, check out our Samsung Unlocking Services below!

(Unlocking lets you use any other networks you wish and will save you a lot of money when traveling as Unlocking enables you to use local SIMS. Don’t Pay Expensive Roaming Fees to Your carriers!)

Click Here

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Samsung Finally Allows Users to Disable the Bixby Button

Samsung Finally Allows Users to Disable the Bixby Button

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Samsung initially really wanted to force users to use Bixby their new AI platform which has been mapped to that Bixby button on the left side of the S8/S8 Plus/Note 8 below the volume keys. Many third-party apps attempted to work around this but Samsung also tried to stop this from happening. However, it seems that Samsung is finally lowering their guard and is enabling users to disable the Bixby button via a new option in your settings.

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The update is still being rolled out to all handsets and is distributed in stages. It may be some time before you can gain access to this option. Many users have lodged complaints against Samsung stating that they keep accidentally hitting the Bixby button when in fact they were trying to hit the Volume Keys instead. Also accidentally launching Bixby while pulling the phone out of your pocket is a common issue. Bixby is not going anywhere, however, because the company is pouring resources into this AI assistant. This new option should be a welcome change in allowing users to disable that hardware Bixby button.

Bixby is still quite too young to be the most useful assistant available today as it still has too many holes in it’s capabilities. It certainly will mature into the future and there are still a lot of features that we hope to see very soon.

The Apple iPhone X is Worth the Upgrade

The Apple iPhone X is Worth the Upgrade

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Apple just uncovered the wraps on the brand new Apple iPhone X, the most talked about smartphone immediately during and after the Apple Keynote today. This is a beautifully crafted iPhone with beefy specs, amazing technology and a hefty price tag. Let’s quickly dive into what Apple is giving us for the holidays. Is the Apple iPhone X worth the upgrade for users who already own the iPhone 7 Plus? Is it worth switching over from Samsung’s S8 and Note 8? Let’s find out.


 

Quick Tech Specs:

  • Dimensions:
    • 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 in)
    • Weight: 174 g (6.14 oz)
  • Body Design:
    • SIM: Nano-SIM
    • IP67 Water and Dust Resistant
    • Apple Pay enabled
    • Strong Glass on front and back with Stainless Steel wrapping around the sides
  • Display:
    • Super AMOLED (Super Retina Display) touch screen
    • 5.8 inches (~458 ppi pixels per inch) 2436 x 1125 resolution
    • Edge-to-Edge Display Panel
    • 3D Touch Display
    • Dolby Vision / HDR 10 compliant
    • True-Tone Display
    • Display Zoom
  • System Specs: 
    • OS: iOS 11
    • Apple-Designed A11 Bionic Processor (64 Bit Architecture)
      • 6 – Core processor (2 high performance + 4 high efficiency cores)
      • Embedded M11 Motion Co-processor
    • microSD: NO
    • 3.5mm headphone jack: NO
    • Internal Memory: 64GB / 256 GB
    • RAM: 3 GB
  • Camera Specs:
    • Primary:
      • Dual 12 MP , f/1.8 & f/2.4 phase detect autufocus lens.
        • OIS in both lens’
        • 2x optical zoom on telephoto f/2.4 lens
        • Quad-LED True-Tone Flash
          • Video:
            • Able to record 1080p @ 240 fps for ultra slow motion
            • 4K video recording @ 24/30/60 fps
    • Selfie:
      • 7 MP f/2.2 with Face Detection
        • Portrait Mode / Portrait Lighting Mode
          • Video:
            • 1080p @ 30 fps
  • Wireless Communication:
    • Bluetooth: 5.0, A2DP, LE
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
    • USB 3.0 (Lightning) Reversible Connector
  • New Features and other Features:
    • New: Face ID
    • New: Animoji
    • New: Augmented Reality Implementation
  • Battery:
    • Unspecified: Claimed to have 2 hours More than the iPhone 7
    • 30 minutes of charging provides 50% battery life (Fast Charging)

 

What is the iPhone X?

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The iPhone X is Apple’s celebration for their 10th anniversary by providing the best components and the best product they can at this point in time. The iPhone X or the iPhone 10 was unveiled at the Steve Jobs Theatre alongside the more traditional iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone X matches up with most of the leaks and rumors we have already seen with that edge-to-edge bezel-less display that resembles a cross breed of the LG G6 and the Essential Phone. What is most exciting, however, is not in the design of the phone but the hardware and software that Apple presented. It comes with AR (Augmented Reality) capabilities backed by powerful hardware and professional software engineers who put it all together into a cohesive package that, so far, does not feel like a gimmick. The iPhone X also comes with a chock full of senors at the top of the display within that tiny strip of black bezel which can measure the depth of your face and shoot 30,000 invisible dots to create a security image based on your face. This is so advanced and I have not seen such a thing launch with a smartphone yet. Samsung’s face recognition is full of holes and can be bypassed with a printed picture of the owner of the iPhone. The new Apple-Designed processor is the A11 Bionic which is a 6 core processor with 2 high performance and 4 high efficiency cores. There is also an M11 Motion coprocessor and a Neural Engine that processes the new Face ID feature. There is so much more to cover about the iPhone X so read on below and we will try to explain what we witnessed in each category of the phone.

So far, the iPhone X is shaping up to be Apple’s best offering as many people are already raving about the innovations of Apple and this new refreshing design choice that brings the already well received breath taking AMOLED display panel that goes edge-to-edge.

Lets Break it down…

iPhone X: The Display

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Apple calls it the Super Retina Display which is basically the leaked Edge-to-Edge near bezel-less Retina Display now built on an OLED display panel for the first time for an iPhone. OLED panel’s have been around for a long time and Samsung and LG are the primary manufacturer’s of said display technologies. It provides deeper colors, deeper blacks, high brightness levels and more. We are happy to see that the iPhone X boasts a 5.8 inch Super Retina Display with a (~458 ppi pixels per inch) 2436 x 1125 resolution, The display panel curves around the edge’s of the display. There is only a tiny piece of bezel that sticks in from the top and center which contains an impressive array of sensors and cameras.

The display is quite beautiful to look at. Period. We are already deep in an age of high end smartphones that provide amazing display experiences so though we are not utterly blown away we still greatly appreciate Apple joining the bezel-less wars. The 5.8 inch display is awesome to look at and to have more display real estate is always welcome. With true blacks, and awesome colors popping Apple also engineered the device to provide accurate color gamuts.

iPhone X: The Specs, Battery Life and the removal of the Home Button

As mentioned the new iPhone X is powered by Apple’s newly developed A11 Bionic processors which is a six core 64 bit processor with an M11 motion co-processor and a Neural Engine. The A11 Bionic CPU is 25 percent faster than last year’s A10 chip and it the four core high efficiency component is 70 percent faster than the older model. The new Apple-Designed GPU is 30 percent more efficient than last year making it on par with the A10 at half the power.

The flagship is rated at IP67 which is water and dust resistant. The iPhone weighs about 174 grams which is quite light compared to the Galaxy note 8 and the phone itself is not that big in the hands with a spacious 5.8inch AMOLED (Super Retina) display.

The Processor is not slow at all but rather the opposite. IT is fast, powerful and speedy. Gaming will never be an issue as the new GPU also supports Metal 2 API and console quality gaming. Heavy duty apps won’t be an issue either as the processing power can handle up to 600 billion operations per second. Apple hasn’t been clear on a few front’s though; we have still yet to figure out what the battery capacity is. Apple simply dismissed any comments about battery specs with a simple statement that the iPhone X will last 2 hours longer than the iPhone 7. So far we have heard that the iPhone X should have 3GB of RAM but this is not officially confirmed yet.

The iPhone X is running on iOS 11 at launch so it will come with all of the awesome perks the operating system brings.

71f76490c7da1e03f06ca371a41154d8Face ID works very well.

The Home button is now gone, instead it is replaced by a tiny on screen tab at the bottom of the phone which you must swipe up to go home, tap and swipe to the center to go to your multitasking cards and also swipe left and right on that little tab to switch between apps. This seems a bit strange to us and though the process is smooth enough it will be a bit of a transition for people who are used to the famous iPhone button. If that traditional button placement is still preferred we recommend you check out the iPhone 8 or the iPhone 8 Plus instead. To unlock your phone with Face ID will require you to pick up your phone, look directly at it to see that white lock icon switch to the Unlocked position, then you must slide up to get rid of the lock screen. It sort of feels like the android lock screen with all that swiping and sliding.

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To get to your Commands just swipe down from the top right corner of the phone and to get to your notifications you will need to swipe down from the left side of the iPhone.

The iPhone X has been certified with an IP67 water/dust resistant rating. This is perfect for the time where you accidentally spill water and you have no need to worry about dust.

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iPhone X: The Camera & Augmented Reality:

Main Camera:

The iPhone X comes with a Dual Camera configuration both of the lens’ will be 12 MP in sensor size. True to the leaks, rumors and the dummy units the iPhone X’s dual camera layout is vertical (up and down) compared to the horizontal placement we see on the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus. Between the two len’s sits the Quad-LED True Tone Flash which illuminates subjects 50% farther and brighter. The Dual 12 MP sensors have larger pixels that are deeper and have new color filters. The iPhone X will be the second flagship phone to have Dual-OIS (optical image stabilization) in both lens’ (the first being the Galaxy Note 8). Optical Image Stabilization will provide clearer and sharper images even in low light situations. Especially during video recording OIS will come in handy as it stabilizes your video shots a great deal compared to devices that do not have OIS.

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A new feature that was announced was Portrait Lighting. This feature uses the advanced cameras, the new A11 Bionic processor with it’s new ISP, Depth Sensing Cameras and complicated software to create artificial lighting on your subject’s face as if there were studio lights in place all around you. We have yet to test this and see how well this works. Just like the portrait mode that came with the iPhone 7 Plus this could be a hit or a miss. The different Portrait Lighting modes include: Natural Light, Studio Light, Contour Light, Stage Light, and Stage Light MONO (black and white).

The 2X optical zoom is found on the telephoto lens with that f/2.4 aperture opening. Sure, the f/2.4 is narrower and lets in less light compared to the f/1.8 faster lens on the wide angle lens but generally portraiture is best used in good lighting. When you tap and hold the 2x ZOOM button in the camera app you have the option to slide it around on a small circle to quickly zoom up to 10x zoom. 6x zoom is highest for video zooms.

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Apple says that because the A11 Bionic chip has advanced machine learning this would help a great deal in taking better photo’s. It seems that the photography system will be able to see more, comprehend the scenes more and execute methods. There are 6 elements (lens’) in the f/1.8 wide angle camera. The company also managed to include OIS in the telephoto len’s via what they call a “state-of-the-art seven-magnet solution”.

Apple also stated that the Portrait Mode is improved so that you can achieve even sharper images and the background blur should be improved even in low light usage.

The iPhone X now supports 4K video up to 60 fps and slo-mo videos up to 1080p up to 240 fps.

Augmented Reality

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AR, Augmented Reality was a big feature presented during Apple’s keynote. The primary dual camera’s on the iPhone X is more than capable. Apple paired up with some well known game development companies to demo a game based entirely on AR. The game was smooth, immersive, and sound and visuals respond to your camera. During the Apple Keynote they showed some pretty cool AR usages. For example, when watch a game at the basketball match or baseball you can use various apps to point your iPhone at the players on the court. The app will use your iPhone’s AR capabilities to pin a name and face and stats on each living player before you.

Another cool AR implementation is using the star apps. Point your iPhone towards the sky above you and the app will apply the starry map with its lines, dots, and names upon the literal sky. No software gimmicks. It uses the advanced AR enabled software and the advanced iPhone camera inside.

The Cool side of the new Selfie Camera: Face ID and the TrueDepth Camera

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The 7 MP True Depth Camera has an aperture of f/2.2. Impressively, Apple integrated Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting mode into this camera. We expect to see some pretty awesome portrait selfies to start popping up online.  The Selfie camera also works with the new security feature Apple calls “Face ID”. Face ID is basically an advanced form of the face recognition unlocks found on other devices. The greatest difference between the two is that Apple’s implementation provides a fast, and an actual secure solution to use your face to unlock your iPhone and also use Apple Pay.

The set up is quick and involves you looking at the screen and rotating your head in a circular motion. This is achieved by the TrueDepth camera, the infrared sensor, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, flood illuminator, dot projector and the A11 Bionic chip with the Neural Engine inside. So your information need not sync with some cloud system far away but directly with the engine integrated inside your iPhone X. The TrueDepth camera projects 30,o00 invisible dots that creates a precise 3D depth map of your face. During the keynote Apple has explained that you no longer can use a simple photo of your face nor can you sculpt a perfect replica of your face and use that to unlock. It needs YOUR face. Additionally, even if you were to grow a beard, your hair, wear a scarf or change your earrings thanks to the adaptive Face ID feature the function changes with you and still recognizes you.

The TrueDepth camera is also able to analyze more than 50 different muscle movements that is then mimic’d by your chosen emoji. It worked fantastically and was super fun to play with. You can send this over Apple iMessages as a sticker or an animated emoji with your voice recording. It is accurate, fun and worked darn well.

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iPhone X Joins the Wireless Charging Front:

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The build of the iPhone comprises of glass and surgical-grade stainless steel. Thanks to the glass back Apple is able to finally incorporate wireless charging. During the keynote various reps introduced their partnerships with various companies who will be providing Qi Certified wireless charging products and service in and around stores, cafes, libraries, and charging pads. They already announced an elegant looking Apple AirPower which is a take on previously presented charging power mats but somehow through this mat the iPhone will be able to show the battery percentages of all of your other Apple products such as the new Apple Watch Series 3, and the optional AirPod Wireless Charging Case.

Conclusion & Thoughts:

The phone comes in either a 64 GB configuration for 999$ or a 256 GB variant which is priced higher. On the Canadian website the pricing is set at $1319.00 and $1529.00 respectively.  So the price is going to be heavy and most may be deterred from this awesome iPhone due to that point alone. Considering that the smartphone market prices are on the rise we should not be entirely surprised with the pricing. If you do end up pouring in your savings into this device outright or on contract remember that you are investing in a fantastic new smartphone with high end specs, new features that look really cool (though we are unsure how the customers will respond into the future). If the price is too high and if you miss the home button we still recommend other high end smartphones such as the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, the LG V30 and others.

The pricing seems to be competing with that of the Galaxy Note 8 which is similarly priced at a high premium.

The iPhone X is undoubtedly a big contender in the flagship premium smartphone arena. It needs to face off with the likes of the LG V30, the Note 8, the S8 Plus, and a few others. Apple, however, seems to have the upper hand in marketing as their commercials and adverts appeal to most people. The Apple brand is also a premium icon statement that have heads turning without much effort. We would not be surprised to see many still go for the iPhone X one way or another as it is indeed the most beautiful and refreshing design change that Apple has brought in a long time. One of the major pitfalls of releasing a new smartphone every year is the challenge of designing a revolutionary device. The iPhone X’s design did not seem unique in itself as it resembled a cross breed of the S8, the Essential phone and the LG V30. I do not believe that design alone is the main reason to buy the iPhone X. The reason is in the Apple brand, the new and awesome features that Apple laid out on us which includes the newly announced; AR, amazing TrueDepth camera with it’s array of advanced senors, and the new FaceID. The Animoji is also a cute and fun addition that breathed life into Apple’s new product.

During the Apple Keynote Tim Cook and his associates did not make any mentions about the 3.5mm head phone jack at all. In Apple’s eyes, it is truly a thing of the past. However, we still see many people and users desire for a flagship premium phone to have all functions available including the 3.5mm headphone jack. How long will the 3.5mm jack last?

Overall the iPhone X is a serious flagship phone with serious specs and exciting new features some of which unseen yet in another smartphone.  Just be prepared to shell out an arm and a leg for it’s premium price.

Preorders for the iPhone X begins on October 27 while the smartphones will begin shipment on November 3.

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Cases

Top 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Cases

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is shaping up to be the best premium phablet flagship device this year. While we wait for the iPhone 8 to arrive we already know that the Note 8 is a big phone with a huge near-bezel-less display and advanced specs. Powered by the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and being the first Samsung device featuring a dual 12-MP camera system this is no ordinary phone.

Of course the Note cannot be a Note without mentioning the S-pen and its suite of features. With the tip being only 0.7mm thin combined with 4096 levels of pressure on the display you get a fantastic pen-paper writing experience on the go.

The only downside to the Note 8 is it’s current price tag of 930$ or 1299 CAD in the north. So it would make sense to invest in a case and screen protector to really safeguard your expensive investment. Most youtuber’s and phone enthusiasts all agree that having a screen protector and phone case will greatly improve your chances of preventing scratches, cracks, and other damages that would otherwise easily happen in your pocket, bag, or during an unfortunate drop.

Here we list our top 10 choice of cases for the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, be sure to follow our other article about our Top 10 Screen Protectors for the Galaxy Note 8.

 

 

1. Spigen Rugged Armor

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Spigen is a well known brand by now and they create some of the best screen protectors and cases. Here we present the Spigen Rugged Armor case for the Galaxy Note 8. It is mostly minimalistic save for the top and bottom section which present a carbon fiber finish. The matte black color is gorgeous and it uses flexible TPU layers to protect your Note 8. The case comes with raised edges to protect your phone when placed on table tops and it adds only 0.1 inches to the thickness of the phone. We highly recommend checking out this case

Check them out here.

 

2. Tech21 Note 8 Case

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This case by Tech21 comes with a pretty cool design on the back, it is thin, light weight, and is advertised to protect your Note 8 from a 3m / 10 ft drop thanks to their “Three-layer drop protection” which they call FlexShock. The materials used give it a tactile feeling so it should be a lot better to grasp in hand. Of course you are given access to all of the phones buttons and ports.

Check them out here.

 

3. Spigen Slim Armor CS w/ Slim Dual Layer Wallet Design

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If carrying a card inside your case is important to you check out the Spigen Slim Armor CS for the Note 8. The dual-layered shock-absorbing TPU material provides rigid protection and durability. The case is surprisingly slim and light which keeps the phone pretty thin still. There is a compartment at the back of the case where you can slide in up to two cards and some cash for the road. The case received military grade certification and they also use air-cushion tech in the four corners of the case.

Check them out here.

 

4. Trianium Clear Hybrid Case

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If you are looking to protect your Note 8 but still show off it’s sleek colors and design check out the Trianium Clear Hybrid Case. The case will fit your Note 8 like a glove with proper cutouts for the Spen, ports and buttons. It uses flexible TPU for the sides and a hard PC back for the back cover. The case is very slim so it shouldn’t add much to the bulk of the device. The back is raised a little bit as to protect the camera of your phone as well.

Check them out here.

 

5. OtterBox Defender

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For those looking for ultimate protection need not look further than OtterBox. As a long time manufacturer of heavy-duty cases they have proven time and time again that phones have the greatest chance for survival with their cases. We introduce the OtterBox Defender. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is a well known manufacturer. Works with wireless charging and has a multi-layer build for maximum protection. There are also port covers that protect them from additional dust.

Check them out here.

 

6. Samsung S-View Flip Cover

S view cover

For those who prefer OEM cases directly from Samsung we recommend the Samsung S-View Flip Cover. This is easily one of the more prettier cases available as it compliments the color of your Note 8 and also doubles as a kick stand when showing videos to friends or viewing it yourself. Even when the screen cover is closed the case shows all sorts of important information including: missed calls, new messages, emails, alarms, and more. You can even accept and reject calls without having to open up the cover!

Check them out here.

 

7. Samsung Galaxy LED Cover

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Another Samsung OEM case is the SAMSUNG LED View Wallet Case. The LED case has been released along side every flagship Samsung phone since the Note 4. Presenting a cool pixel lighting format it tells time, shows missed calls and messages, you can accept and reject calls and it also shows various animations that you can configure to mean different things. Music controls are also shown on it. This is a perfect case to protect the front and back of your phone while still seeing a cool 8 bit pixel LED lighting version of critical information right on the cover.

Check them out here.

8. Spigen Liquid Air Armor for the Note 8

Spigen Air

Spigen’s other design is called the Liquid Air Armor and it looks sleek and good. Using a flexible and slim TPU material the case is lightweight and looks fantastic. It fits the Note 8 perfectly giving it a slim feeling. There is a geometric pattern going on in the back and because it is matte it should be pretty good against fingerprints. Air cushion technology and military grade certification all goes to help protect your Note 8.

Check them out here.

9. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 ATGOIN Crystal Clear Flexible TPU case

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For those who love simple and basic clear TPU cases we would like to recommend ATGOIN’s Crystal Clear Slim Fit Flexible TPU. Being a clear case it still shows off that beautiful Note 8 in its entirety but also protects it from scratches, finger prints and most drops. Using a flexible material it easily covers the sides and the corners of the Note 8 combined with a raised lip on the front and a bit on the back protects the phone from the surface of a table you may set it on. The material is definitely light and you wont feel it in the weight but due to the grippy feeling of the material it should make it a lot harder to accidentally have it slip out of your hands.

Check them out here.

10. Caseology Vault Series Slim Protective TPU Case

Caseology vault

Caseology has been manufacturing many cases as well. The Vault series is what we recommend in protecting your brand new Galaxy Note 8. The case is thin and utilizes a protective TPU based case to absorb shock from drops. Using a 3D texture cover provides additional grip along with additional shock absorption. The case is light and still enables the Note 8 to be pocket friendly and has cutouts for your buttons, the SPen and ports. The case is compatible with Samsung’s Original Wireless charging pads as well with most 3rd party wireless chargers.

Check them out here.

Asus ZenFone 3 Review and Some Thoughts

Asus ZenFone 3 Review and Some Thoughts

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PROS:

  • Beautiful design
  • Good Battery Life
  • Excellent performance
  • Selfie/Main Camera modules work well

CONS:

  • Slippery build + Magnet to Fingerprints
  • Price is higher then similar competition
  • Huge levels of bloatware

Technical Specifications:

  • MODEL: Asus Zenfone 3 ZE552KL
  • Physical Specs:
    • Dimensions: 152.6 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm (6.01 x 3.05 x 0.30 in)
    • Weight: 155g
    • Corning Gorilla Glass back (unspecified type)
    • Dual SIM slot
    • 3.5mm headphone jack w/ 24-bit/192kHz audio
    • USB-Type C 1.0
    • Fingerprint sensor on back
  • Display Specs:
    • Super IPS+ 5.5 inch 1080p Display (~401 ppi pixel density)
    • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 front panel
  • Platform Specs:
    • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 (Octa-Core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
    • GPU: Adreno 506
    • OS: Android 6.0.1 (Marshmellow) + Asus ZenUI 3.0
    • RAM: 3 GB / 4 GB
    • Storage: 32 GB internal/64 GB interal
    • Storage 2: microSD slot available with support up to 256 GB (used in SIM slot 2)
    • Battery: non-removable Li-Ion 2650 mAh / 3,000 mAh capacity
  • Camera:
    • Main: 16 MP PixelMaster 3.0 (f/2.0 aperture) OIS sensor
    • Selfie: 8 MP f/2.0 aperture
  • Networking Specs:
    • Wifi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    • Bluetooth 4.2 w/ A2DP, EDR, LE

 

What is the Asus Zenfone 3?

ASUS created the ZenFone 3 as a means to begin moving away from the budget smartphone segment of the market and instead begin taking a stab at the premium phone market. The company is now competing with the likes of the OnePlus 3 and the Honor 8 as an example.

The ZenFone 3 comes in two types: a 5.2 inch display (3GB RAM/32 GB storage) type and the other being a 5.5 inch display with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage. The ZenFone 3 still contains many mid-range specs internally, however, but within a new glass chassis build giving off a premium feel along with a higher price tag.

Design Comments

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The ZenFone 3 is quite pleasing to look at and is a nice break away from the usual boring design language ASUS used in their past smartphones. Now the ZenFone 3 utilizes a 2.5D curved glass front and rear with metal bezel frames wrapping around the device. It looks great.

The phone is also quite small being only 7.69mm in terms of thickness combined with rounded edges make this phone pleasing to hold for a long period of time. The ZenFone 3 pays tribute to the days where flagship smartphones used to be quite small, compact and still high end. The phone is light as well weighing in at only 145 grams! Sure this does not make the ZenFone 3 the lightest in existence but it certain is very light while still providing that needed heft in hand that is not uncomfortable by any means.

The Fingerprint sensor is found on the back of the phone which is also found in a convenient spot right on the back. It is certainly reachable with the finger in a comfortable manner and the sensor itself is quite speedy in unlocking your phone.

Some issues with the ZenFone 3 include an all-glass design upon which finger prints will stick on and show up within seconds of picking up the phone. We do recommend utilizing cases or skins if this causes you any stress. The phone is also quite slippery in hand and we can imagine users dropping the phone not on purpose but because the phone slipped easily out of loose hands.

Also the navigational keys at the bottom portion of the phone do not light up so you would need to memorize their location and use muscle memory when using the phone in pitch darkness at night (before bed or else where). It is quite surprising to see a smartphone in this day and age to have touch keys that are not back lit. We would call this a design flaw.

The rear camera also protrudes out of the body but this is a mixed personal taste as some do not care while others truly dislikes those types of design’s. We at Cellunlocker.net did not care much for this design point as it does not hurt the overall aesthetic appeal.

 

Despite the few caveats we had with the ZenFone 3 which are mostly aesthetics based we found the 5.2 inch or 5.5 inch display variants to be both super high res, sharp and colorful. The Full-HD IPS+ displays may not have the same color schema that OLED panels do but it still gets the job done being a bit cooler yet colorful. Vibrant, rich colors are offered here and is a treat to look at while watching HD videos and when playing games. Thanks to modern hardware components such as the Snapdragon 625 and the included Adreno 504 graphical unit the performance of the phone is snappy. We would be hard pressed to find mid-range smartphones that still lag and perform like old phone’s did in the past.

The brightness level is quite impressive as it can reach up to 600 nits which is great even in direct sunlight. The viewing angles are found to be good and the display also supports glove usage which is a bonus.

ASUS includes a display calibration app which they call “SPLENDID” and enables users to choose between preset configurations from Balance, Bluelight Filter, Vivid, and other custom color settings. The Blue Light Filter mode is particularly useful during night time before sleeping or even in general usage to prevent eye strain caused by blue light. Protect thy eyes.

Performance Comments

As mentioned the 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 625 powers the ZenFone 3. Even though the 625 processor is labelled as a mid-range processor we found this to be more than adequate in getting your daily tasks done easily. The included 3 GB of RAM also helps multitasking a breeze. Please note that the 5.5 inch variant includes 4 GB’s of RAM instead. The CPU is clocked at 2GHz and the GPU is the Adreno 504. Phone’s like these have raised questions whether or not people should invest in high end flagships over adequate phone’s such as the ASUS ZenFone 3. The 5.2 inch model includes 32 GB of storage while the 5.5 inch model uses 64 GB of storage. In the 32 GB model we found that 23.5 GB was usable straight out of the box but thanks to microSD support users shouldn’t have any issues with storage.

The ZenFone 3 comes with a hybrid SIM slot tray which can take either two SIM cards side by side or one SIM and one microSD card. You can fit both a microSIM  or a nano SIM. The important thing to remember is that only one slot can gain access to the phone’s data capability (3G/4G data). While travelling 32 GB may not be enough for you so in those cases we recommend considering the 64 GB model instead.

Camera

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ASUS has been trying to sell the camera feature for the ZenFone 3. The optics certainly is there, but the software; PixelMaster 3.0 is sorely lacking. The camera consists of a decently fast f/2.0 aperture and a 16 megapixel sensor. The camera utilizes a 6P Largan lens and has super fast autofocus. ASUS claims that the auto-focus tech combines all three features including laser, phase detection, and continuous autofocus which together pulls focus within about 0.03 seconds. OIS (optical image stabilization) and EIS (eletronic image stabilization) are also included which enables steady hand held shots and videography.

In normal outdoor lighting with plenty of light most camera’s should perform well and the ZenFone 3 does not fail here either. It produced good photos with vibrant colors and retaining a good amount of detail and focus. Where the camera begin’s to fall short is within low-light conditions. Depending on the lighting sometimes you can get away with certain images but on the most part we found that a ton of noise is introduced into the images and thus much information is lost as well. Despite lighting conditions we were able to get some blur-free shots thanks to the OIS included.

The 8 MP selfie camera was actually quite well built and offered sharp and detailed results as well despite the conditions.

The camera app includes many options and modes to choose from. There is even a low-light mode which increases light sensitivity to try and create a clearer, brighter shot in low light situations. The Super Resolution mode enables the camera to take images with resolutions up to 4X larger. GIF animation mode is arguably the most fun filled component here where you can create fun little GIF’s from what ever you captured.

Overall, the ZenFone 3 has a good camera but needs to work on the camera app to enable a faster process.

The ZenUI 3.0

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The UI found on the ZenFone 3 is called the ZenUI 3.0.  It is built on top of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. Compared to previous versions of ZenUI’s this version has the least amount of bloatware which is great. The UI is clean with subtle animations and all the icons have been revamped. However, there are still a ton of ASUS branded apps that no one ever really uses. Most of these apps are system apps which means you cannot uninstall them. You can only disable them but they will still sit there using up your internal storage data.

ZenUI 3.0 retains the traditional app drawer but als oincludes a built-in search function. You can swipe down and have access to your phone apps and web searches and all the frequently used apps. A newly revamped theme store enables users to gain access to paid themes, icon packs, wall papers, and sound files for ring tones and others.

A cool feature in ZenUI 3.0 is called ZenMotion which enables users to set up custom touch motion gesture commands. You can configure things like “double tapping your display” to wake up or to ignore an unwanted call. This feature would minimize the need to use the phone with both hands.

Gamers rejoice, ASUS includes the Game Genie app which enables you to record your gameplay, share them and also live stream your gameplay’s to Youtube or Twitch. You can also search for tips through this app which launches along side your current game loaded.

We found ZenUI 3.0 to be fast, fluid, and good as it aims to retain the stock Android experience while adding to the core experience. However, we wish ASUS did not force their own bloatware apps on the users.

Conclusion

The ASUS Zenfone 3 is not an entirely cheap phone but is still on the low cost compared to today’s comparable smartphones. The price is similarly priced along side the OnePlus 3, however, which makes us gravitate towards the OnePlus instead.Despite this ASUS has provided a new phone that has the capability to propel the company into the more premium side of the smartphone market.

Regardless of which model you go for (the smaller 5.2 inch or the bigger 5.5 inch) we know you will not be disappointed. The phones are fast, zippy and have the fire power to handle what ever tasks you throw at it.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 is not officially sold in the US but can be found on sites such as Ebay, Amazon and even sold as 2nd hand devices on online marketplaces.

 


 

Introducing our New Product: The Cellunlocker SIM!

Introducing our New Product: The Cellunlocker SIM! ©

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Are you looking to travel or switch carriers? Unlocking your iPhone becoming too complicated and your iPhone Re-locking? Looking to save money on cheaper/better phone plans but your iPhone won’t work with a different sim card?

If any of the questions above applies to you we have a solution!

Introducing the Cellunlocker SIMⒸ! The fastest and easiest method of getting your iPhone to work with any carrier you need. Skip the hassle of dealing with expensive roaming fees while traveling and also skip the unfair policies that carriers impose on their customers preventing them from using their phone’s on any network they wish.

Check out the video below to see a 52 second explanation of how it works

 

Get your Cellunlocker SIM today! Click Here!

LG V30 & LG V30 Plus News, Rumors and When is it coming out?

LG V30 & LG V30 Plus News, Rumors and When is it coming out?

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The Launch date is fast approaching for the LG V30 and much has already been covered. The LG V series is comparable to the LG G series as the Galaxy Note is to the Galaxy S. The V30 has been rumored to be LG’s most powerful premium flagship smartphone to date.

The V30 will be announced soon this year in 2017 (rumors have suggested an unveiling date on August 31).

The current V phone which is the LG V20 received a positive reception for being a sleek and compact metal smartphone with a large display and a heft in its body that people appreciated. It also had a military standard water and dust proofing which made it rugged. The unique feature of the LG V20 from last year was its mini display above the main display on the front screen panel. This mini panel show cases various information, time, date, and app icons which you can launch from. This would be LG’s “Always On Display” feature but in the form of a separate physical display panel above the main one. LG actually confirmed that this secondary display will become a virtual panel that can appear at the top of the FullVision display.

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During the Google I/O 2017 developer conference it was actually confirmed that LG would be releasing a second flagship smartphone before the end of 2017 (the first being the LG G6 earlier this year). It was also announced that the new flagship from LG will be compatible with Google’s Daydream VR (virtual reality). The unveiling date of August 31 (tomorrow) has been provided via a teaser poster. The announcement will be held at the Consumer Electronics show IFA this year. The rumored LG V30 Plus will also be unveiled. The poster was then followed up by LG with another poster showing the words “By Invitation Only” and “Lights, Camera, Action”. The LG V30 name was also written on the invitational image. The event will begin at 09:00 Berlin time while being live-streamed to Facebook. The poster also shows how the texts and the design on the silhouette of the screen hits the absolute edge of the front display which could suggest that the V30 and V30 Plus will indeed have near-bezel-less display panels.

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After the unveiling takes place reports have previously suggested that the V30 should go on sale soon after in August but it is more realistic to see the new smartphone hit retail stores sometime later in September. Pre-orders are expected to begin on Sept 17 while the units will be shipped on Sept 28. This is regarding both the LG V30 and V30 Plus.

What will the Design be like?

The LG G6 was a huge change compared to its predecessors due to its new unique curved corner (near-bezeless) display panel and joining the sleek modern world of how other premium flagships are built. In light of this we know that the V series (LG V20 and the V30’s) act as the realm where LG can perfect their design ideas and execute them quite nicely.

The V30 is expected to become the brainchild of the LG G6 and the previous LG V20. This would mean that the standardized Military STD 810G water/dust/shock resistance rating will be built in (but most likely will be the IP68 water and dust proof rating instead). The body will be built out of high premium glass and metal while offering an almost all-screen display. The fingerprint sensor is expected to be mounted at the back as most LG flagships have come with and we expect to see an improved dual-rear camera set up with dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilization in both lenses).

On the V20 we saw a secondary display above the main display at the front. This acted as an information, news feed or space that provided a way for users to launch apps. However, LG has confirmed that the LG V30 will no longer have this implementation but rather have the secondary display appear virtually on the new FullVision display panel.

Here are some quick Tech Spec points:

  • Internal Specs:
    • CPU: Snapdragon 835 Octa-Core processor
      • GPU: Adreno 540
    • RAM: 4 GB
    • Storage: 64 GB / 128 GB + microSD support up to 2 TB
    • Ultra High Quality Quad DAC (high quality sound) (ESS HyperStream 2 or 3)
      • High quality adaptive Mic
    • 3,200 mAh non-removable battery
  • Display Specs:
    • FullVision 2880 x 1440 6-inch OLED (near bezel-less) Front Display
    • 18:9 Aspect Ratio for an all-screen front (confirmed)
    • Secondary Display will be a “floating display” (confirmed)
    • HDR 10
    • Dolby Vision Ready
  • Hardware Specs:
    • USB Type-C 3.1
    • Quick Charge enabled

LG V30 Specs and Hardware

The 3,200 mAh battery should suffice but we will need to have one in our hands to do further testings. We hope to see how the new FullVision OLED display and the efficiency of the Snapdragon 835 will perform for the LG V30. We expect the LG V30 to last you the day at least but that is usually enough for most as the Quick Charge feature should get you back up to speed within less than an hour.

The processing chip will most likely be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. We are talking about the most high end processing chip available on the market today. The Snapdragon 835 is an Octa-core processor that is based on a 10nm chip which yields an increase in performance and efficiency compared to the Snapdragon 821 of last year. The Snapdragon 835 will provide noticeably faster and more efficient performance in the LG V30 thanks to the multi core’s and high efficiency cycles.

Qualcomm includes many features into the LG V30 including the newly upgraded CAT.16 LTE speeds and Qualcomm sounds that is built beside the Quad DAC which yields superior sound quality for music playback. VR performance and gaming will also be very smooth thanks to the new Adreno 540 graphical unit. To further performance the 4 GB RAM will be more than enough to open many apps and still have a smooth UI experience in games and other apps.

The LG V30 is expected to have a 64 GB internal storage (128 GB models are usually manufactured for certain markets) that is also boosted by a microSD slot that enables you to insert your own microSD and never have to worry about storage or being unable to access your cloud data in various places around the world while travelling.

The LG V30 will certainly come with a USB Type-C at the bottom with Qualcomm Quickcharge enabled for fast charging.

OLED Display Panel

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LG as a manufacturer have been creating various OLED display panels of high quality standards but they have been mainly used for their TV line ups. However, after all this time we are finally seeing LG implement an OLED display into their flagship smartphones and it may begin with the LG V30. With an OLED display panel expect to see vivid colors, deep blacks and high brightness display panels. Everything will be crisp, colorful, and warmer compared to IPS display panels.

The LG V30 is expected to have a 6 inch FullVision OLED display that will cover most of the front. Dolby Vision and HDR 10 compliance is now becoming the standard feature in all flagship phones so expect to see it happen on the LG V30 as well. LG has confirmed that the resolution will be 2880 x 1440 with a pixel density (ppi) of 537. It is said that the P-OLED display panel will be mounted on a plastic base which will enable the curving over the display easier. LG has boasted that the LG V30 display panel will be able to reproduce a whopping 148 percent of the sRGB colour space and due to the high resolution / ppi count this smartphone will be great for high performance Virtual Reality.

LG V30 Camera

Dual camera’s will be a mandatory feature as LG has been banking on it for quite some time. The LG G6 dual camera has been great and fun to play with so the LG V30 will also exhibit some upgraded version of the dual camera. It is confirmed by LG that the V30 will have an f/1.6 aperture lens and the covering material for the lenses will be crystal glass as opposed to plastic. The sensor resolutions have not yet been confirmed. Laser detect autofocus, optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization will all be included in the V30 camera suite.

If the V30 follows in the footsteps of the LG G6 then the camera sensors are expected to be dual 13 MP sensors (one standard, one ultra wide). The f/1.6 aperture lens on the LG V30 will provide a lot more light in low light situations and keep grain lower than what other smartphones can achieve. The Galaxy S8 has a main camera with an aperture of f/1.7 which is known for taking great photos during the night. The LG V30 should have no issues following in this respect and have little to no issues in low light conditions.

The selfie camera on the LG V30 is expected to be a 5 MP sensor (though the resolution is actually expected to be increased in the LG V30) that will come with face-detect autofocus that operates even with the FullVision display is turned off.

As mentioned in the poster above showing “Lights, Camera, Action”, we only expect that LG has worked on some new feature or upgraded existing videography functions on the LG V30. We expect that video capture will be a whole category on it’s own during the press release.

Nougat and LG UX 6.0+

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LG has been working on a new LG UX which is called LG UX 6.0+ which will be laid on top of Android. This will include several new features and software engineered to take advantage of the new 18:9 aspect ratio FullVision OLED display. A new feature called Graphy is one such feature found in the camera app. While in manual mode (or pro mode) in your camera you can choose from various preset photo modes that have been fine tuned and created by professional photographers. The photo modes affect the exposure triangle of photography (ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture) to bring you various “looks” that you may want for your photo shoot.

LG has also created new security measure and have added facial recognition which means that the LG V30 is joining the modern security world alongside Samsung and Apple. Simply look at the LG V30 to unlock it quickly even when the display is turned off. You wont even need to press the power button to turn it on first! The V30 can also recognize your voice to unlock via a set phrase that you must configure beforehand.

In terms of customization LG has included options to adjust haptic feedback levels to cater to your individual tastes while navigating around the smartphone.

The LG V30 will be running on Nougat 7.1.1.

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Conclusion

A lot has been confirmed already and much has already been revealed. It certainly does not seem like LG is scared that people will find out. Rather the company seems pretty enthusiastic in sharing a lot of the information especially now that we are approaching the day of its unveiling. August 31 is the official unveiling date and we will expect to see much from LG because the LG V30 will be going up against the likes of the iPhone 8, the Galaxy Note 8 and others. The V30, nonetheless, is an exciting flagship smartphone from LG that will have a near bezel-less display front, wide and fast aperture lens on the back and powerful modern specs included inside. We hope that you will be as excited as we are as we look forward to what LG will bring.

Keep checking this article to see if there will be any more updates and check out our coverage of the LG V30 tomorrow!