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Are Tablets a Dying Breed?

Are Tablets a Dying Breed?

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We would be hard pressed to give an exact answer on this common question but we do see that many major manufacturers are “giving up” on this category. More specifically, we are seeing a decline in profitability due to declining interest in the tablet market. The R&D speed has slackened and manufacturers are discontinuing well known tablet models such as the Venue slates when Dell decided to put an end to tablet line ups.

The reason for declining tablet sales compared to smart phones is because people tend to hold onto their tablets a lot longer than they do with smart phones. The tablet market was young and full of questions for manufacturers. They were unsure how often consumers would “upgrade” to the newest model. The demographic behavior in this field seems to be more visible now. For many manufacturers, tablet development and efforts are actually quite underwhelming because of little returns.

Another reason why tablet’s are on their way out is because of over-saturation. Consumers are demanding less and less as there are already a ton of choices and there is only so much a tablet can actually do. This was the main reason Dell decided to end the Venue tablet’s life.

The Dell Venue 8 7000 was one of the best high end Android tablet of the time. It still is today. IT features OLED displays, and a RealSense camera. In all honesty, despite usage of tablets in multimedia senses and for other personal usages, no one really needs a tablet when phablets are in the market that can do so much more on top.

Tablets are also trailing behind iPad’s and will never catch up to the iOS ecosystem in one important aspect. App support. Both Android and Apple stores have vast numbers of apps but Android still pales compared to App optimized support and sheer number in the iOS ecosystem.

The differentiating factor is too little between a big powerful phablet phone one would shell out thousands for over time compared to a 700$ tablet device.

At this time, we see that Android Tablets are actually becoming something else now. Enter Chromebooks. Google has updated Chrome OS to support Android Apps which would allow Chromebooks with touch screen devices to become a much more functional hybrid tablet. We would eventually see 2 in 1 detachable Chromebooks coming out soon.

The Tablet market is dying over time, but this does not mean that everyone thinks they are pointless. Many have found good usage for their beloved tablets purchased recently or years ago. All in all, they have their own place but in the eyes of manufacturers there is simply not enough demand.

Galaxy S8 to Have 6.2 Inch Bezel-less Display

Galaxy S8 to Have 6.2 Inch Bezel-less Display

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Samsung is reportedly set to launch the GALAXY S8 “PLUS” variant in 2017. This ‘plus’ model features 6.2 inches of bezel-less displays.

Most information out there are all speculati
on based on various leaks and insider look at associated manufacturers. We are also still a few months away from any official statements Samsung has made for its S8. We have heard of a beefy AI coming and the home button disappearing along with the head phone jack.

Recently an online publication site known as “The Investor” suggested that Samsung will be releasing two versions of the S8 while the latter is an attempt to appeal to consumers who prefer the Note series.

According to sources the S8 is set to launch a 5.7 inch display model and a 6.2 inch display, both bezel-less.

Despite the screen increase, Samsung is known for ultra thin profile devices jam packed with features. Consumers should feel comforted that such a trend should continue. This means that despite the screen size increasing the dimensions of the phone should remain largely the same as the already ultra thin S7 series.

Lastly, it seems plausible that Samsung is stopping any “flat” screen variants of the GALAXY line up in 2017. As curved AMOLED display technology and bezel-less displays are becoming the trend it would be interesting to see what Samsung decides to extravagantly change and keep. We see a lot of this happening with Apple.

Galaxy S8 Rumored to get Interesting AI

Galaxy S8 Rumored to Get Interesting AI

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Many rumors have been circulating based on certain facts that the upcoming Galaxy S8 will feature Samsungs very own AI. This is based off the acquisition Samsung has made over Viv Labs who are the pioneering designers behind Siri. It seems like Samsung has been working on a voice recognition based AI to integrate into not just the upcoming Galaxy phone but to their other product lines such as an advanced refrigerator.

To further the rumors a Wall Street Journal reported that a dedicated button may be added to the S8 just for the AI. A prototype of the device is said to have an extra button on one of its sides that gives instant access to the apparently powerful AI assistant.

Samsung has made hints that their AI will be significantly different from their rivals such as Siri and Google Assistant. Samsung revealed a bit of how the service would work:

“Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” reported Rhee Injong, vice president executive of Samsung. “Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services, and provide them to end-users with ease.”

Unfortunately, due to the Note 7 fiasco it may seem that the traditional release date cycle Samsung has become known for may be shifted. Normally Samsung would unveil their next S series flag ship phone at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February. However, WSJ made hints that the S8 unveiling may come as late as April. We guess that Samsung is leaving nothing to chance and making sure their flagship products will never face the troubles of its short lived elder brother. Better safe than sorry.

 

 

LG V20 Available in Canada

LG V20 Available in Canada

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2 months ago LG announced their new flagship device; the LG V20. This is the first V series device that will hit Canada for the first time. The LG V20 will be sold by Canadian carriers Videotron and Wind Mobile. Consumers who purchase these devices early will be able to receive a bonus gift which are the Beoplay H3 headphones by Bang & Olufsen. However, there will be limited quantities so first come first serve!

The LG V20 provides users with a powerful suite of multimedia tools deployed at their finger tips. With the inclusion of the quad DAC (32 bit digital to analog converter) for super high-quality audio experiences and a high performance mic for excellent phone recording users would have a lot of fun being creative. The dual camera and steady shot 2.0 is also included to provide seemless video recording and picture taking. The dual rear facing camera is a combination of a 16 MP f/1.8 aperture module and a 8 MP f/2.4 module. There is also included a “wide angle” lens which shows a field of view of 135 degrees. The 5 MP front facing camera views at 120 degrees so you can selfie a lot of friends. The unique design of the LG V20 is the secondary screen which displays notifications and frequently used apps.

In terms of other specifications the LG V20 features the 5.7 inch QHD IPS display and carriers a 3,200 mAh battery. With 64 GB of expandable storage (via microSD) and 4 GB of RAM storage and performance will not be an issue. Speaking of performance the LG V20 utilizes the Snapdragon 820 chipset which is a high end SoC found in other high end flagship phones of 2016. A notable mention is that the LG V20 is the first non Google android to arrive with Android 7.0 Nougat. The LG V20 is Band 66 compatible which allows the phone to work with Wind’s unique AWS-3 LTE network.

At this point only Videotron and Wind carriers this flagship model in Canada, we have yet to recieve any further word from other major Canadian carriers.

PRICE

Wind is currently selling the V20 for as low as 349$ on the Wind Tab and 999$ outright. Videotron is selling the LG V20 for 249.95$ on a 2 year contract and 1020.95$ outright.

 

 

LG V20 “ShatterGate”: What is going on?

LG V20 “ShatterGate”: What is going on?

 

2016 seems to be a circus for smart phone makers starting with the discontinuation of the Note 7 device for being fire prone. A growing controversy is starting to grasp a new flag ship device that was just released, known as the LG V20.

The LG V20 is a fantastic device manufactured by LG which replaces the LG V10 device. The device features a secondary ticker screen, dual camera system on the back, metallic body, fast snapdragon 820 SoC, replaceable batteries, and a big screen.

Unfortunately, several reports show that the LG V20’s camera glass shatter’s upon small drops, scratches, and possibly from simply putting the phone down.

A Reddit Thread which was created by xAmorphous began gathering all relevant cases which includes youtube user JerryRigEverything’s stress test video which showed the camera unit cracking after a simple scratch test.

A user on Android Central also reported that the camera glass shattered after dropping the phone 2.5 feet on carpet. The troubling fact was that the phone was encased in a strong Otterbox case.

The Reddit thread contains various other cases of similar shattergate situations. The LG V20 is supposed to feature the MIL-STD-810 standard (shock – resistant certification) so the camera glass should not be shattering. As the news is still rather fresh we are assuming that it is a handful of LG V20 units that are affected. We hope to see how LG will react and rectify the situations for those select few, if not them all.

Samsung’s New GALAXY TAB A(6) 10.1 + S PEN

Samsung’s New GALAXY TAB A(6) 10.1 + S PEN

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 inch display with S pen

Back in September amidst the excitement of the Note 7 release Samsung released another budget tablet into the Korean market. This is the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1  that allegedly comes with the S pen and S pen innovation suites that was found on the awesome Note 7. The U.S. release date was also set for OCT. 28 2016. Any release dates for Canada is still not known. You can order them now through various U.S. channels. The device is priced just below the TAB S2 and has significant improvements over the previous iteration’s of the TAB A family.

The Hardware (SPECS)

  • 10.1-inch WUXGA display with a resolution of 1,920×1,200 pixels
  • Exynos 7870 octo-core processor
  • Android Marshmallow 6.0
  • 3GB RAM
  • 16GB of storage
  • Expandable microSD storage up to 256GB
  • 1.22 pounds (553 grams)
  • Wi-Fi-only
  • Antiglare screen with blue light filter

Despite being budget we found that the tablet is worth it due to it’s specs. This is a 10.1 inch tablet which is set to retail for about 350$. The display resolution is better at 1920 x 1200 and comes with the same S Pen stylus with S pen app’s found on the Note 7. The S pen is a great tool which does not need to be charged and utilizes Wacom technology for precise writing and drawing. As the software found on the Note 7 also should exist here users will be able to not only write and draw but also select items, modify, edit, and even capture a portion of your screen as screen shots or as an animated GIF. The new Samsung Notes is also available, which combines previous Note phablet apps such as Action Memo, S Note, and Scrapbook all into one app.

The tablet runs on the Exynos 7870 SoC which run’s alongside of the 3 GB RAM. There is only 16 GB of on-board storage but that is also paired with a micro SD slot that supports storage sizes of up to 256 GB of expandable storage on top. It is rare to see microSD support on tablets now a days.

The Camera is a 8 MP main and a 2 MP front facing camera set up. The device has a 7,300 mAh battery with which Samsung claims can provide you a usage time of up to 13 hours. We will find Bluetooth 4.2 LE and USB 2.0 connections.

The tablet is a WIFI unit but an LTE version is also expected to be released soon into the future.

Should you get it?

Despite being priced lower than Samsung’s flagship Tablet models known as the S series (S and S2) the Tab A provides a strong performing spec on board for a fraction of the price. This device is highly recommended for anyone still in the market for a tablet with the added feature of being able to draw, write and design with the S pen.

IP67 & IP68 Waterproofing Phones Explained

Water”Proofing” Explained (IP67 vs IP68 and others)

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For some time now we have seen the likes of Sony advertise waterproof designs in their smartphone line up. Samsung introduced the IP68 rating in their S7 / S7 Edge and even the Note 7 devices this year. It seems that Apple has joined the fray and introduced the IP67 rating in their iPhone 7 line up.

Lets take a look at the original Apple Watch with the IPX7 certification. Cupertino actually stated that “[while] the Apple Watch is splash and water resistant, [the Watch] is not waterproof. You can use the product during exercise, in the rain, and while washing your hands, but submerging Apple Watch is not recommended.”

What Does the IP67 and IP68 Actually Mean?

A lot of smartphones today have various certifications with IPXX. The first digit pertains to protection against dust particles while the second number shows the devices resistance against water. This rating system was created to inform equipment operators of how well the device or equipment is protected against the elements. The digits simply conform to the conditions summarized by the information below.

IP – International Protection marking, this is a standard created by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Comission). IP can also stand for “Ingress Protection”.

6 – The “6” in IP6X translates into “Dust Tight’. Basically this means that there is no ingress of dust. A completely sealed protection against contact. As the numbers decrease we see less protection against dust elements or a different kind of protection against physical or foreign objects coming into contact with internal hardware. For example, a number 2 would allow the equipment to be effective against fingers or smaller objects. You would see this in power outlets.

7- The “7” in IP67 is effective against “Immersion of up to 1m of water”. Important factors to consider would be the amount of depth and the amount of time submerged.

8- The “8” in IP68 is effective against “Immersion beyond 1m”. The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which must be specified by the manufacturer. Generally equipment with the IP68 rating should be fully sealed. However, sometimes devices such as smartphones could allow water to enter certain spaces but create zero harmful effects.

 

Samsung, for example indicated that the S7 and S7 edge is protected up to watery depths of 1.5 meters (5 feet) for up to 30 minutes. This is quite amazing for a smartphone device. This would be the manufacturers specification users must understand.

Apple’s iPhone 7 has a slightly lower rating of IP67. This means that the phone will survive depths of up to but not exceeding 1 meter and for a time limit of generally around 30 minutes.

Important Notes on Wear and Tear and Pressure

It is important to note that because Smartphones are very sturdy yet at the same time contain extremely delicate hardware we need to be mindful of a few things. First, these mobile devices are not water PROOF. Rather, they are water resistant. One must be mindful that this certification is not everlasting physically on the device. We will see wear and tear occurring on your phone as you use and drop it. Wear and Tear will compromise the integrity of your IP rating.

Another important aspect to consider is the type of force the liquid’s impose upon your phone. Though the phone should survive calm waters it cannot resist against water jets that make contact with your phone directly with force. There are other non smartphone equipment with stronger IP ratings that can resist extremely high pressures of water but our smartphones will not survive that at all. As the device sinks lower into deeper depths the seals that protect your internals can easily break due to increased water pressure. If the device is held under a stronger pressurized amount of water, you may see issues occurring.

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What Device would be Truly Water Proof?

If you want a device that can withstand outdoor activity and other extreme activities you should look out for the IP68 + MIL-STD 810G certification. This enables your phone to withstand low pressure altitudes, high temperature, low temperature, contamination by fluids, solar raiation, humidity, salt fog, sand, dust, and a wide range of environmental conditions.

The MIL-STD 810 is extremely effective for those who enjoy outdoor recreation, extreme sports and for those who work in skill trades such as construction. These phones may be recognized as “rugged” phones.

Final Thought’s

While it is great to see manufacturers utilize ingress protection certification in their manufacturing design process it is important to note that our devices, still need our care. Get informed, look up all information online and really try to see past marketing facades.

New Google Pixel & Pixel XL Review

Google Pixel & Pixel XL Quick Review

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Google set out into 2016 with a new goal in mind. Get rid of the Nexus name and usher in a new era for the Pixel series “made by Google”. The word is that Huawei was supposed to be the partner with Google for 2016. Unfortunately, once the company found out that the Huawei branding is not going to be showcased in any way in the advertisements and in the phones Huawei backed out. HTC took the spot as Google’s partner to create the two devices we see today; Google Pixel and the Pixel XL.

The review here is simply to look at the general information released by Google on these two devices and for us to make a quick judgement. Of course, we will need to spend more time with these puppies when possible to give a better review later on. So stay tuned.

 

What is the difference between the Pixel and the Pixel XL?

The Pixel was introduced alongside its elder brother the Pixel XL (which is a lot more expensive as well). The difference between the two aren’t that great other than the battery capacity and the display specs.

The Pixel comes with a 5″ FHD AMOLED screen 1920 x 1080 (441ppi) while the Pixel XL comes with a 5.5″ QHD AMOLED Display 2560 x 1440 (534ppi). The battery capacity is also quite different in capacity with the Pixel rated at 2770mAh and the XL sporting a 3450mAh battery. Of course, as the Pixel XL is a larger phone the dimensions are a bit larger too and a tiny bit heavier.

Similarities between the Two

This is where their differences ends. In terms of other hardware features and software features the two devices are the same. They both run on the new Snapdragon 821 processor which operates via the 2×2 Kryo cores which have higher clock speeds compared to the Snapdragon 820. The GPU will be the Adreno 530 also with higher clock speeds compared to the Adreno 530 found on the 820 SoC. Technically, the Pixel phone’s are the first devices to get the 821 SoC and this should make these phones the fastest and most up to date mobile phones in 2016 compared to the flurry of smartphone releases with the likes of the iPhone 7, Note 7, HTC 10, One plus 3 and more.

Both the Pixel and the Pixel XL will have 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, a 32 or 128 GB internal storage base. Unfortunately, both phone’s will not feature a microSD slot.  Corning Gorilla Glass 4 glass is also used as both phones are seamlessly built from metal and glass. These are two premium devices. They will both have the USB Type C connection and a huge advertised feature is that the Pixel can charge up 7 hours of battery life within 15 minutes of fast charging. We suspect this is possible with the advent of Quick Charge 3.0.

Google Daydream VR

The Snapdragon 821 has a 10% increase in performance so we should see improved performance in VR as well.

Speaking of VR, the Pixel phone’s will be the first to be compatible with Google’s Daydream VR platform which has been announced. Google has been teasing us with the much anticipated Daydream platform for some time now. It seems that there is much fruit to their works. The larger 5.5″ QHD screen will be a lot more pleasant to use via the Pixel XL with the VR headset for certain compared to the smaller Pixel’s FHD. QHD screens generally have a lot more sharper images displayed on screen.

 

Mobile Photography

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The Camera is a rather large part of their advertisement as well as Google stated that these phones hit the highest mobile DxO photography score of 89, a record high in the industry of smartphone cameras. DXO mark has stated that “the Pixel has the highest rated smartphone camera ever tested.” Both models carry the 12.3 MP camera with rather low level’s of noise in various lighting conditions. Both phone’s are said to have very fast autofocus, accurate exposures, and great control of white balance. Low light photography is also much improved with an aperture of f/2.0.

Many have rated the Galaxy S7 Edge as the device with the best smartphone camera. It’s DXOMark was rated at 88. The Pixel impressed us with a slightly higher score of 89. We are confident, in this case, that the Pixel will be a very strong performer.

Google Assistant

The Pixel devices are the first to have Google Assistant built into the software. Users simply need to touch and hold the home button and say the “word”. The Assistant then comes up and gets to work. Google’s event demo’ed the Assistant being used to bring out photos from specific times and places, plays music of your choice and your favorite music app as default. This feature also integrate the Google Now on Tap function which is very useful when quickly asking your phone for directions to places, for restaurants, phone calls, and access into other apps. The Assistant can also make reservations for you at particular restaurants.

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Endless cloud Storage

Google has taken off the size limitation and compression of images and allows free unlimited storage space for “full resolution” images and videos shot with your Pixel. This also supports your 4K video shots.

Headphone Jack a Welcome Return

The Pixel smartphones will feature awesome 3.5mm headphone jacks! To be honest the headphone jacks are placed on the top of the phone’s so that is up for subjective opinions.

3 Colors

The handsets will come in 3 colors, “Quite Black”, “Really Blue”, and “Very Silver”. The model designs, to be honest, reminds us of a cross between the HTC 10 and the iPhone 5 model.

Fast Updates & Assistance & Connectivity

Google will be updating the Pixel as soon as updates are available. Google phones will always be first to obtain the latest Android software upgrades. Included in the handsets software is a 24 hour live support system directly to Google’s phone support. The tech support operator will be able to see exactly what is on your screen an help you out with your situation. Google has updated the Pixel’s hardware to be able to get the 7 hours of power with only 15 minutes of quick charging for awesome on the go endurance. Finally we see the inclusion of Google Duo which is Google’s own video chat application.   pixel charge

 

 

 

 

Google Pixel leaked in Canada

Google Pixel white color leaked in Canada

 

The much rumored Google Pixel series is a hot topic. As many know Google has dropped the Nexus name and is now taking on their own take in the smartphone market.

Canadian carrier Bell accidentally released marketing material which contains a picture of a White colored Google Pixel device ahead of its time. The image and promotional blurb was mistakenly uploaded to their Galaxy Note 7 pre-order page. The site seems to be deactivated now and is most likely being fixed as we speak.

Here are the images shown:

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The blurb read “Introducing Pixel™, Phone by Google. Order yours today.” However, there was no clear indication as to news of the Pixel XL model. No other information was provided by Bell. This, however, confirms that the “Pixel” naming is pretty much set in stone. October 4th will be D-Day for the Pixel launch so we can’t wait till they are released finally. One interesting thing to consider was the images file name. The black version was labeled “Pixel XL” which suggests that the black colored version from Bell will be the Pixel XL.

Stay tuned for more information.pixel-pixel-xl-scale  pixel-xl-black

LG V20 Unveiled!

New LG V20 Unveiled and Reviewed!

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With the Note 7 and iPhone 7 released close to one another LG reveals the LG V20 flagship model. The timing is quite impeccable for LG to release a capable, premium device. On paper we are looking at a powerful smartphone with interesting specifications. Let’s see how well it performs up against its competitors.

The latest LG flagship device is the LG V20 claims to be the greatest multimedia smartphone you would ever own. LG included the world’s first 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC (digital-to-analog) converter inside the V20 for incredible sound via your headsets (still rocking the 3.5mm headphone jack). The device also features two rear-facing cameras for super wide-angle imaging.

Interestingly, LG’s “secondary display” makes a return this year which is basically a second screen up top above your main display which displays “always-on” ticker information.

The LG V20 is the first non Nexus device to receive the Android OS update to Nougat. This comes with improved battery life via the Doze functionality and multi-window features. The Google In Apps search feature is also included which functions a lot like Apple’s iOS search which combines contacts, apps, messages, and the web to find your information via key words. This is a clean and handy tool that should have been on Android a long time ago.

The device shapes up to be quite an interesting competitor within this time of the year when major flagship models are presented. We will review the unit and also talk about how well this device works for the user.

Specs:

  • Quad-Core Kryo Processors Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU (2 x 2.15 GHz Kryo combined with 2 x 1.6 GHz Kryo cores)
  • Adreno 530 GPU
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64 GB internal storage + microSD support up to 1 TB
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 5.7-inch QHD IPS Quantum display 2560 x 1440 resolution (513ppi)
  • Secondary Display: IPS Quantum 1040 x 160 resolution 513 ppi
  • Dimensions: 7 x 78.1 x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 174g
  • Camera 1: 16 MP rear camera with f/1.8 aperture and OIS (75 Degree lens)
  • Camera 2: 8 MP f/2.4 aperture wide angle camera
  • Camera 3: 5 MP front facing camera with f1.9 aperture (wide angle 120 degrees)
  • Removable 3200 mAh battery (Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 enabled)
  • USB Type – C
  • 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC inside
  • Finger Print Scanner on rear

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PROS

  • Great Quantum display
  • Removable battery
  • Secondary display is useful
  • Impressive wide angle dual camera system
  • Premium design materials used
  • The most audiophile friendly smartphone in existence right now
  • Great High Definition triple mics for audio recording
  • Top notch specs on paper
  • Android Nougat (7.0) pre installed

CONS

  • Performance is great but there are times when the phone feels sluggish due to lags and delays turning on (inconsistent performance)
  • Slow boot time
  • Not IP68 proofed
  • Can heat up in the hand
  • Can be a bit too big for some
  • No APP drawer by default

Introducing… the 32bit Hi-Fi QUAD DAC

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A huge selling point that LG has made a big deal about was the internal DAC. The V20 is the first smartphone ever to integrate a 32-bit Hi-Fi DAC (powered by the ESS Sabre ES9218) into its device. This provides powerful quality sounds through wired connections. Given that you are using high quality audio files and good pairs of can’s this would be a clear winner for audiophiles who had to choose a device for 2016. For other users this may be more difficult to distinguish, especially for those who do not use larger music files to play off of. If one spends enough time with this powerful sound setup you most likely cannot go back to any other high end phone such as the Note 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus. Did we also mention that the LG V20 comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack? Though DAC’s primarily bring high end music files such as FLAC to what it is meant to express the DAC within the V20 device can also take your simple MP3’s and make it sound louder and with great clarity. You do have the option to turn off the DAC system. The V20 enables users to revisit their old tunes and relive concert recordings, playlists, and other old songs you might find in your hard drive’s attic space.

The exterior speaker is found at the bottom of the phone and is quite good. It does not crackle or sound high like playing in a tin.

At the bottom of the device LG has included an HD 24-bit audio recording microphone system. This means your LG V20 comes with three AOP mics to ensure professional level sound recording that brings voice to the front. The mics will still record background noises that are articulated and it is works quite wonderfully. The recorded files are LPCM 24 bit audio formats with up to 48kHz sampling.

It is good to invest in a device knowing that you will have powerful music experiences that no other smartphone can offer via lossless files but also have the means to record sounds with high quality output.

To round of the tour de force of a sound system within LG is including a pair of Band and Olufsen H3 headsets in the box. If you would dare to compare these cans to simple earbuds that come with many other smartphones, you would be gravely mistaken. The quality upgrade in this decision is a huge step-up to really show what you can benefit with the DAC system inside the phone.

Double Snappers

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The V20 sports a dual rear facing camera one being 16 MP (f/1.8) and the other being an 8 MP f/2.4 wide angle camera. This can really help people create awesome content with two different degrees of view. Though 75 degrees is a lot narrower than 135 degrees the wide angle camera provides an interesting fish-eye look for creative content. Users would certainly find this fun to play with among friends and family. LG’s camera also comes with laser guided detection, phase detection and contrast auto focus. We should see high quality images coming out of this device.

However, as reported by users of the pre-production model the condition must be right. While images look crisp and sharp where light is adequate, mid to low light situations tend to cause motion blur and grainy effects during AUTO mode. Sharpness is visible but definition can be soft at times. The LG V20’s camera is still a very strong contender in the smartphone camera category.

It is important to note that no smart phone today can take great photos in darkness or low light compared to a DSLR or a professional camera. These cameras, though they have come very far into the future are still companions for certain creative work and mostly used for personal life to capture your moments and other information around you. Not really for professional use.

Within the pre-production model of the V20 we found that the camera had a tendency to crash. We hope that the final release of the model will have it updated and fixed. The only way, at this time, to fix the crash is to do a phone reboot. Compared to the iphone or the faster Note 7 which launches camera’s with a double click of the home button the LG V20 will need to sort out this bug. Missing a moment because your camera app crashing is no joke. Another important note is that this may be a faulty unit.

The device can record 4K video with the assistance of Qualcomm’s EIS 3.0 technology (electronic image stabilization) (AKA LG’s Steady Record 2.0) which should reduce sync latency by up to 50 milliseconds. This feature utilizes the phones gyroscope-based electrical image stabilization and digital image stabilization. In real world this means that your hand movements will cause a lot less jitters and shakes. This can seriously help with home movie makers and other people looking to take on a challenge. User can also record in 1080p video support.

Design Language

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The LG V20 features a matte metal body. It has a premium feel and is rather quite minimal and quite nice to look at. The size is a little bit large in the hand but it still feels good somehow. The device is light with the weight of 174 grams which is between the iPhone 7 and the Note 7. Physically, however, it is longer and wider then both alternatives. The larger size could possibly contribute to a well balanced device.

The look and feel of a device is very subjective and can be quite difficult for reviewers to try and please everyone with. Some may say that the V20 looks plastic and cheap when viewed from afar. Personal taste may alter on how you use the phone. Overall, we would agree that the V20 is a fantastic device.

To continue the LG tradition, the fingerprint sensor is found on the back of the phone. A USB-Type C port along with a 3.5mm headphone jack is found at the bottom of the device. An interesting point to make is that the LG V20 has a Metal back that is removable. This reveals the 3200 mAh battery, MicroSD slot, and SIM slot. To have user friendly battery exchanges right from your back is very convenient and important later on in the future. Battery life degrades over time due to heat and usage (charging) and it is unavoidable. That is why a few years down the road people start to report issues with battery life even from 100% charge. The batteries simply cannot hold a full charge like it used to on day 1. However, for the LG V20 the story changes. You can easily swap in a brand new battery pack from LG or a 3rd party company and voila you are set for another few years or more given that you do not switch out your phone so soon.

The phone is not water resistant which is a bit of a downer. The device can get hot in the hands due to the beefy CPU and GPU inside. You may feel some heat in your hands but the temperature is not crazy hot so no need to worry.

Secondary Display

The Secondary Quantum display above your main display features five quick tools which includes and are not limited to sound profiles, camera, flashlight, and Wi-fi. You can add on any other apps to an additional 5 slot row for a quick launching experience. Remember that this display does not turn off and remain on even if your main display is turned off. To add or remove the app you simply need to tap and hold the app on the secondary display and pull it down into your main screen and vice versa. The final section as you scroll on displays your name in a specific font. Notifications displaying information does show up as a rolling display. Rest assured, despite the “always – on” feature of this display, users can opt to turn it off via their settings.

Main Display

The 5.7 inch QHD IPS Quantum display is bright and has rich colors all around. The resolution is set at 2560 x 1440 pixels and is a fantastic display. The resolution is the same as that of the Note 7 while the iPhone 7 Plus uses an IPS LCD display that uses a 1920 x 1080 panel. While watching a movie or playing a game the colors are vivid, crisp and they are very much detailed thanks to its 1440p resolution. LG allows users to customize the temperature of the screen to make things easier on your eyes by applying a warmer hue.

The Internals and Battery Life

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The LG V20 comes with the new UX5.0+ UI which is a slightly more refined edition of what was seen on the LG G5. The main home screen does not have an app drawer. We were grateful to see that LG included 3 different home screen options with two of them offering the App drawer back. The LG UX5.0+ UI is relatively non-distracting from the overall Android experience. LG includes other App’s that are LG flavored and are quite useful. The QuickMemo+ app is sort of like Google Keep, the Comfort view function gives you screen a bit of a yellow hue to help you view the phone at night and still be able to fall asleep. We also found the Knock-to-Wake and Knock-To-Sleep functions extremely useful. A cool app LG deploys is called the Smart Bulletin. This is a home screen slide you can add and combines all of your related information into a simple layout.

The LG V20 utilizes the new Qualcomm 820 chipset, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage with expandable storage via microSD, and support for X12 LTE speeds. On paper, the LG V20 is more than capable of handling its own weight right? Most of the time the device ran admirably and worked zippy and super fast as expected. However, it is important to note that there are moments time to time where the phone struggles with certain tasks such as Google Maps, Internet browsers, and other apps randomly. We are criticizing both the optimizations LG has made utilizing the Snapdragon 820 CPU and also Snapdragon as well for decreasing multitasking performance from octa core (810 cpu) down to Quad core (820 cpu). The biggest example is between the two different Note 7 (international vs North American) Exynos 8890 VS Snapdragon 820 battle. The Exynos with its octa core configuration and optimized performance destroys the Snapdragon 820 in many fronts. Snapdragon, while being an innovative silicon company who has great history in CPU and in the smartphone market, will need to come back stronger especially after the Snapdragon 810 failure. One thing we must note is that the Snapdragon 820’s Adreno 530 GPU is a powerful beast. It runs graphical tasks like no other and out ranks other silicons in the graphical department. The LG V20 has cross-platform Vulkan API support which is advertised as ushering in “console quality” graphics on your mobile platform.

The LG V20 comes standard with 64 GB’s of storage space and kept the microSD slot which supports up to 1 TB. Bluetooth 4.2, NFC and USB-Type C is also found on the phone.

The battery life of the device performs pretty well. You can expect about a day and a half of heavy usage. If you are a moderate user you can expect about 2 full days sometimes. Thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick charge 3.0 you would expect faster charging and we have seen this. It took 1 hour and 15 minutes for the battery to fully charge. A big plus to the removable battery is that you can simply swap out the battery pack when the phone dies. This eliminates the need to stand around a power source for 20 – 30 minutes for at least a good 2 – 4 days.

 Early Verdict

The LG V20 is ambitious. As LG’s next phablet-sized smartphone which strays far from standard smartphone designs we are happy to see powerful specs on the device. Despite some lag which we suspect should be fixed and non existent in most devices the LG V20 does not disappoint. With a Dual camera system on the front and back, a removable battery, and Android Nougat all in one package what is there not to love? LG V20 creates an innovative stance with the included QUAD DAC inside (compared to Apple’s rather boring iPhone 7 release) we are excited to see how users express what they feel about the LG V20. The LG V20 is a premium device that is recommended as one of the most interesting devices of 2016.

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