adminSeptember 24, 2018
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6min13770

With the launching of its latest flagship phone, Google is set to conquer the hearts, as well as wallets, of consumers today. The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are now available for purchase, and many people are curious whether the device is worth every penny.

With Pixel 3 XL, it is evident that Google has invested in things that people want out of a smartphone: great screen, great camera, and a sizeable battery life, among many other elements that make a great phone. Whether the claim rings true or not, let’s try to find out.

 

Pros

  • Improved screen
  • Superb front-facing speakers
  • Exceptional camera and wide angle front camera

Cons

  • Awkward notch
  • Rear finish is prone to scratches
  • Limited availability from US carriers and internationally

 

Screen and Display

If you’re curious what the biggest improvement on Google’s newest release is, I would say that it’s the quality of the screen. The screen of the Pixel 3 XL is absolutely wonderful as it uses OLED technology, which displays vibrant and bright colors, as well as deep blacks, and significantly lowers the power consumption of the device.

Looking at it as a whole, one could easily conclude that the company has spent a lot of its time and resources to make its flagship device worthy of being called just that by means of enhancing almost every aspect of the device, including longevity, brightness, and color accuracy.

Another great thing about the Pixel 3 XL is the new color mode that Google is using as a default scheme, and it is called adaptive. Adaptive considerably enhances the vibrancy of the colors on the screen without making human skin tones look out-of-this-world. Of course, it still doesn’t compare to the screen technologies of Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X, but you will notice that the purples and the reds can be quite flattering.

Going back to the screen, the Pixel 3 duo are indeed significantly larger than the previous models, which they owe to reduced bezels and taller aspect ratios. It is especially true for the Pixel 3 XL since it has been extended to the top corner, which gives it a chin and a notch.

The notch can be quite annoying for some people, but you will see that the often you use the phone the notch becomes kind of unnoticeable. Actually, it looks way worse in photos than it does in real-life.

As for the speakers, they have indeed been improved. The company is claiming that they are 40% louder, but there isn’t that much extra volume when tested out. However, instead of the extra volume, it seemed like the quality of the sound had been improved.

Hardware

Now I can finally say that the latest Pixel phones are worthy of their price tag. These top-tier models cost a thousand bucks, and I believe that it’s worth every penny. It’s not to say that it’s better than Samsung’s and Apple’s flagship devices, but it’s finally on par with these high-end phones. As a matter of fact, it’s the little things that actually make these phones feel premium.

The Pixel 3 XL finally features a Gorilla Glass 5 front and rear panel and, more importantly, its overall fit and finish are way better than the previous models. It also comes in three color: “not pink”, “clearly white”, and “just black”. You’ll also be delighted to see that the only logo you will see on the whole device is a single G on the back, which is one of Google’s logos.

Camera

The camera is definitely one of the major reasons why someone would choose to buy the Pixel 3 XL. Google didn’t really change much about the traditional camera specs as there is still only one camera at the back with a 12.2 megapixel sensor located behind an image-stablized f/1.8 lens. In addition, the Pixel 3 XL also makes use of an updated Pixel Visual Core chip for image processing.

The biggest hardware update so far is the second wide-angle selfies camera located on the front portion of the device as well as a flicker sensor at the back, which means that most of the changes would come from the software. Most of the camera capabilities and tricks are still the same although they are significantly better at it now.

Should you choose the Pixel 3 XL as your new device? Well, it depends on your preference. If you want to have a great Android experience and the best phone camera, then you should definitely try out the Pixel 3 XL.

 


adminSeptember 24, 2018
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9min3880

Although iOS is arguably the world’s first smartphone operating system, Google’s Android is without a doubt the most popular among consumers. Android has come a long way since its release back in 2008. Looking at it in retrospect, it has already been 10 years since then and a lot of significant updates have come to pass.

Seeing that this year is Android’s 10th year anniversary, let’s look back on the brief history of the OS and its various updates since then.

A Brief History

Android was first introduced to be used on an HTC-made T-Mobile device in 2008. However, the origin of Android dates back before it was even made available on smartphones. As a matter of fact, Android was first developed and released for digital cameras in 2003 by Andy Rubin.

He soon realized, however, that digital camera operating systems aren’t all that profitable, and so he shifted his attention toward smartphones. By 2005, Google purchased Android and used it to enter into the mobile device business. The company promoted Android to other manufacturers, specifically catching the eye of HTC, who used the platform to produce the first Android phone, which is the HTC Dream.

The Different Android Versions

Android mobile operating system had its origin with the release of the Android beta on November 2007. A year later, the first commercial version, which was named Android 1.0, was released to the public. From there on, there had been a number of minor and major updates to the mobile OS. Here is the complete list of the Android updates to date:

  • Android 1.0
  • Android 1.1 – Petit Four
  • Android 1.5 – Cupcake
  • Android 1.6 – Donut
  • Android 2.0 – Éclair
  • Android 2.2 – Froyo
  • Android 2.3 – Gingerbread
  • Android 3.0 – Honeycomb
  • Android 4.0 – Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Android 4.1 – Jelly Bean
  • Android 4.4 – KitKat
  • Android 5.0 – Lollipop
  • Android 6.0 – Marshmallow
  • Android 7.0 – Nougat
  • Android 8.0 – Oreo
  • Android 9.0 – Pie

Various Updates on the Android OS

Following the production of the first Android phone, Google released Android version 1.0, which was obviously far less developed compared to the operating system that we have today. It featured the Google Play Store, which was called the Market at the time. Moreover, it also featured the use of home screen widgets, which the iOS didn’t have at the time.

A year later, Google made its first two updates to the operating system: Android 1.1 and Android 1.5. Not only did the OS get a new version number; it was also the first update to use Google’s unique naming scheme as well. Android 1.1, which was called Petit Four, was released on February 9 and featured a few minor changes, including longer in-call screen timeout and the ability to save attachment in messages; whereas Android 1.5, which was also known as Cupcake, was significant for a lot of reason. The most important one would be that it was the first version to have an on-screen keyboard. The new update also allowed users to capture photos, which they were not able to do with the previous version.

The next big update on Android came in the form of Android 1.6, which is also called Android Donut, in 2009. The much recent update offered support to CDMA networks like Verizon, Sprint, and other big networks in Asia. Donut was primarily aimed to making Android more user-friendly, for example, by enabling it to support different screen sizes. By doing this, manufacturers could create devices with varying display sizes and Android could still run in them.

In the same year, Google made another update on Android, which has now become Android 2.0 Éclair. Éclair perhaps is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, update on Android to date. Most of the changes it brought are still prevalent today, including Google Maps navigation, HTML5 support, and the lock screen.

The following year, Android 2.2 Froyo was introduced, which served as a means to refine the Android experience for users. Froyo also brought mobile hot spot support to the table, as well as the PIN lock screen.

In the same year, Android 2.3 Gingerbread was released and offered a redesign of Android’s widgets and home screen. The update also came with an enhanced keyboard, which lets users to press on multiple keys in order to get access to a second set of keyboard, and the front-facing camera. Would anyone care for a selfie?

In 2011, Google made two other updates to the Android OS, namely the Android 3.0 Honeycomb and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. These updates were made to refine most of what is seen on the home screen as well as the widgets. Other features that were added were face unlock, data usage, analysis, and apps for the calendar and mail.

Another big update on Android came in 2012 with the release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. There are a number of significant changes made by this update, but I would say the most important would be Google Now and Project Butter, which aimed to notably improve the touch performance of the OS by tripling the buffering graphics.

After Android Jelly Bean, Android 4.4 KitKat was launched and brought with it a number of amazing features, mostly focusing on aesthetic changes to the OS at the time. KitKat also brought changes like the “OK, Google” command prompt, a new phone dialer, and the Hangouts app, among many others.

Android 5.0 Lollipop was then released a year later after Andoid KitKat was released. Lollipop featured the company’s “Material Design” philosophy; however, the changes were not all about aesthetics alone. Google also made some major changes under the hood.

After Android Lollipop, along comes Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which brought some design changes as well as changes under the hood. The most significant change would probably be the app menu. In the new update, the background is white rather than the typical black background from the previous OS versions.

The 14th Android version would be the Android 7.0 Nougat, and it is arguably one of the biggest updates to Android since its first release. Google Now got replaced with the much better Google Assistant. Other notable changes are the split-screen mode, an improved multitasking capability, and an enhanced notifications system.

A year after Android Nougat was released, another update was made and was subsequently called Android 8.0 Oreo. This new update brought about a lot of amazing features, such as picture-in-picture, notification dots, and native split-screen.

The most recent Android update, which was released just recently, is named Android 9.0 Pie. Android Pie offered a lot of visual changes; as a matter of fact, looking at a visual standpoint, it is arguably the biggest update to Android in the last few years.

All these complete the evolution of Android, from its simple beginnings to how impressive it is now. With that, I do believe that we will be seeing a lot more impressive things from Android in the coming years.


adminJune 11, 2018
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5min790

Asus has yet again wowed the market with the recent launch of the ROG Phone, a high-performance smartphone that is designed for the mobile gaming enthusiast under their gaming brand, Republic of Gamers.

The ROG Phone signifies the entrance of ROG, a brand that has always been well-known for their gaming laptops, in the smartphone scene. It was presented at the Computex 2018 that was held last Monday, June 4.

The ROG Phone proves to be the flagship of Asus’s smartphones, with its specifications and features, but it has been visibly tuned to appeal to more serious mobile gamers. It is built with a modified Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip, the clock speed of which has been upped to 2.96GHz from the standard 2.8GHz. The ROG Phone is the first one to carry this faster version of the Snapdragon 845, which has clear benefits for the phone’s gaming performance.

Asus ROG Phone is More Than Just another Gaming Phone

What makes the ROG Phone exceptional is its pumped-up processor, which is perfect for power users who do everything on their mobile devices. It has 8GB of internal RAM and up to 512GB of UFS 2.1 storage, and of course, the modified Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.

To address the additional heat, which a faster processor may produce, cooling was made as a key component for the phone. The ROG Phone uses a 3D vapor-chamber cooling system, which boasts a heat dissipation area that is 16 times larger than standard systems.

Asus’s ROG Phone has an 18:9 aspect ratio, which makes its body narrower and easier to hold. To protect its screen from inadvertent damage, the ROG Phone is built with Gorilla Glass, and its water-resistant design protects the body against liquid infiltration.

Dual front-facing speakers use Smart Amp technology to produce more volume with less distortion for its dazzling audio. Depending on your preference, you can also plug in analog headphones or the new ROG Delta Type-C headset and immerse yourself in virtual surround sound with a measure of privacy.

ROG Phone’s integrated networking is also top-notch with Gigabit LTE cellular and WiGig-certified 802.11 and 60GHz WiFi. Its side-mounted port also supports Gigabit Ethernet over Type-C, HDMI, and USB. These Type-C ports work with regular chargers for convenience and compatibility.

What really makes ROG Phone shine is the included HyperCharge adapter, an upgraded adapter that integrates the charger IC that is typically in the phone, which increases the power delivery up to 20W and lowers charging temperatures for the handset. ASUS ROG Phone can charge its 4,000mAh battery up to 60% capacity in only 33 minutes and can get up to an 85% charge in just over an hour.

Asus’s ROG Phone also comes with a fingerprint reader which gives instant unlocking abilities to its owner. The ROG Phone captures 12MP images with the use of its primary camera, while the secondary camera takes 8MP wide-angle shots with a 120-degree field of view.

A New Era of Mobile Gaming

It really is impossible not to be amazed by the ingenuity and engineering that is evident in the ROG Phone. It’s definitely one of the most ambitious projects from Asus to date.

The Asus ROG Phone may have managed to set the bar high for mobile gaming. Its powerful technology and versatile accessories set the foundation in redefining what portable computers should be.


adminJune 7, 2018
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6min1320

With the way the world of technology is advancing today, it isn’t so surprising to hear about someone finding their true love online. In fact, since online dating sites and apps have rapidly gained fame, we all know at least one person who has found love through the Internet.

And obviously, because of this trend, various online dating sites and apps have begun crowding on the Internet. It is, of course, a bit scary to sign up for an online dating site because one might worry about the trust and security aspects, not to mention that some of these online dating sites require a subscription fee. But contrary to popular belief, there are some online dating sites that are privacy-safe and surprisingly free, including Plenty of Fish, OkCupid, Tastebuds, Passion Network, and DateMySchool, to name a few.

Facebook Announces Dating Feature

During Facebook’s annual F8 Developer Conference, Mark Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook and is currently leading it as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, talked about how Facebook is developing a proprietary dating app separate from the rest of Facebook’s products; a new feature that will only be visible to non-friends who also opted into dating.

“This is going to be for building real, long-term relationships and not just for hook-ups,” Zuckerberg told the audience, explaining that the opt-in feature will allow users to build and share a separate dating profile.

With the way Facebook has collected data on every user, “a dating tool has always seemed the next logical step,” Chris Cox, Facebook’s Chief Product Officer, said.

Facebook Announces Dating Feature

How Will This New Feature Work?

First of all, users can opt-in to create a profile with just their first name. Their profile won’t be visible to friends, users who didn’t choose to sign-up for the dating feature, and most importantly, it won’t show up in the News Feed.

After that first and most important part, users are allowed to browse events in their city and groups that would match their interests; users can select to “unlock” one for dating. Then, users will be able to see the profiles of other dating users who’ve unlocked the same events or groups.

And after that, users can browse through other user’s profiles that show off a few of their photos together with some basic information about them. Users will be shown users based on mutual interests and friends, plus other data Facebook has on you.

Lastly, if both users are interested, they will be able to start a conversation in a special box, which is separate from Messenger and WhatsApp. For the user’s safety, only text can be sent through this message box for now.

How Safe Will This New Feature Be?

Facebook Privacy and Safety

However, the most important question to be asked is whether Facebook has built enough barricades between its social network and new dating feature. It will certainly be awkward to expand your network and then trying online dating in just one app. Also, if something bad happens, they could end up blaming the new dating feature, or worse Facebook itself. However, as Chris Cox explained, dating was always a natural fit for Facebook thanks to its ubiquity, data, and trusted platform for identity.

“We have designed this with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning,” Mark Zuckerberg said. The company has been under fire recently for possibly not doing this with its other features over the years.

So, how will this new dating feature fare? Let’s wait and see. As for most people, I think they would find it fun and interesting because it would surely help them build confidence and it would be a fun, new way to meet other people.


adminJune 1, 2018
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7min1160

Walking downtown I could hardly turn every corner without seeing someone holding a Smartphones. With the way technology is developing faster and consistently, Smartphones nowadays are more common than the cold and flu. And there are a lot of Smartphones in the market today so it is difficult to pick the best one to buy. Of course, among all of these Smartphones being marketed today, the best Smartphones are those with the established brand name – such as Samsung, Sony, ASUS, iPhone, et cetera.

Before you make a choice on which Smartphones to buy, let me just remind you that expensive doesn’t always mean the best. You could actually get good quality phones without spending a lot. We have a lot of budget Smartphones in the market and you don’t even know about them. So, let me take this opportunity to share my top 5 budget Smartphones for 2018. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. ASUS ZenFone Max M1

ASUS ZenFone Max M1 makes it to my top 5 list of budget Smartphones because it is highly affordable (currently priced at Php 8,995) and it has a big-battery (4,000 mAh) handset. Additionally, it also has dual cameras and a fingerprint sensor – two features you wouldn’t usually find in a budget phone.

The new ZenFone Max is also equipped with a Snapdragon 430 chipset that’s both fast enough for everyday tasks and highly efficient at optimizing every ounce of energy from the battery. There is even a facial recognition using the front camera to unlock it. So, large battery, efficient processor, reasonably low price, all the features you need – do you need anything more?

  1. OPPO A83

If you’re the type to obsess over a Smartphone with a near-borderless display, you definitely wouldn’t go wrong with OPPO 83. It is not just OPPO’s best budget Smartphones (priced at Php 9,990); it is also one of the cheapest Smartphones you can find anywhere. Although it’s most remarkable feature is an 8-megapixel front camera with artificial intelligence built in for smoother selfies.

Usually, budget phones get low-powered processors, but that is not true for OPPO A83. Even though screen resolution and security features were downgraded, OPPO didn’t sacrifice the performance. It has the same chipset as the F5 series – the MediaTek Helio P23. It has the new Mali-G71 MP2 graphics for better gaming performance. Memory and storage configuration is also fine at 3GB and 32GB.

  1. Lenovo P2

Lenovo P2 quickly drew high acclaim since it has the best battery life of any Smartphones we’ve tested so far. It can last for almost 30 hours on a single charge, which is quite noteworthy. The Lenovo P2 is the budget Smartphones to beat if we are talking about longevity.

Although it is a bit chunkier than most budget Smartphones, it is a small price to pay for the longest lasting Smartphones in the market. There are also quite a few amazing features offered by Lenovo P2 – Lenovo P2’s display, performance, and overall build quality are all first-rate. In fact, it’s actually giving the other mid-priced handsets a run for their money.

  1. Samsung Galaxy J5

Samsung has always performed far better than any of its competition and has a great track record of pumping out fantastic budget Smartphones. For the past few years, it is Samsung’s J-series line up that has mostly drawn the headlines, and the Galaxy J5 is no exception. Not only does it have monstrous battery life, but its super AMOLED display (despite being the only 720p) is a true beauty. As a matter of fact, its colors are so vibrant that it puts other LCD displays to shame.

Camera performance has also had a notable upgrade, too. In fact, it’s even better than the sensors on the previous Moto G5, if I would say so myself.   Together with its eye-catching display, you could definitely snap some Instagram-worthy photos.

  1. Huawei Nova 2 Lite

Huawei never fails to offer complete packages with prices below $200. And as proof, Huawei offers Nova 2 Lite, which comes equipped with dual main cameras, a fast fingerprint sensor, and some of the thinnest bezels among the budget Smartphones offered in the market today. Its pricier counterpart Nova 2i may have more features, but this is where Huawei shows their true value and where they shine.

Each and every smartphone showcases their unique and amazing features. And after sharing all these features and reasons to buy these budget Smartphones, I do hope that you have an idea which of these Smartphones best fits your needs.



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