Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Review

There are two big things to address with folding phones: the screen and the hinge. These two parts are such a focus because they’re the things that aren’t yet solved problems in the phone world. It’s where the experimentation is happening, and it’s also where the biggest points of failure are found.

Samsung’s so-called “Ultra Thin Glass” is 30 microns thick, on the order of a very thin human hair. That has consequences. Chief among them: any ding or nick in the glass could be catastrophic.

Then there’s the crease in the middle of the screen. It is there, no getting around it. I can see it when I’m looking for it, but I don’t see it when I’m not. It also feels a little odd, but not so much to put me off like it did on the Razr. The screen is also surrounded by big, raised plastic bezels. I don’t love them, but I also understand their necessity and don’t find them especially annoying.

Third, there is a small gap when the phone is closed. That’s a little scary because, again, the screen is fairly fragile, and it’s a space where debris could get wedged in. (The Motorola Razr, for its many faults, managed to fold completely flat without any gaps.)

Fourth and lastly, Samsung has added brushes and caps to the hinge to better protect it from debris getting inside. That’s the issue that likely destroyed the screen on my very first Galaxy Fold review unit last April. Will these new brushes work? Who knows! They couldn’t stand up to a dust test from iFixit, but it was a very aggressive test. All I can say is that I have more faith in this hinge holding up than I did in the Razr’s or the original Fold’s.

Google Pixel Buds (2020) Review

It’s taken Google a surprisingly long time to make good earbuds. The original Pixel Buds from 2018 were a bulky, mushroom-shaped mess that made you look like Frankenstein’s monster. The charging case was huge, the sound was middling, and when you finally worked up the courage to go outside with them, it felt like everyone wearing AirPods was laughing at you.

Ridiculously comfortable

One of the most important things about the hardware of earbuds is fit and comfort and this is something that I feel Google has absolutely nailed. The Pixel Buds are very small compared to normal silicone-tip wireless earbuds. They’re slimmer than Samsung’s Galaxy Buds and smaller in almost every dimension compared to other options.

Excellent touch gestures that could use some fine-tuning

Touch gestures are one of the best parts of Google’s Pixel Buds. Generally, truly wireless earbuds have some form of touch gestures for simple functions such as play/pause, skipping tracks, accessing your voice assistant, and

Here’s the thing, Google’s gestures are fantastic, but they could use a bit of work. Sensitivity is at times too much but at others too little. Constantly I found myself raising the volume while trying to pause music or vice versa. Part of this is just the nature of the buds. Since they’re smaller than the previous generation, there’s less space to recognize the gestures. More than likely, though, this is something Google can adjust with software updates.

Great Sound

You might occasionally use voice commands to text someone back or ask Assistant the weather, but the vast majority of your time with the Pixel Buds will be spent listening to music. For audio quality, these are some of the best wireless earbuds I’ve tried.

They’ve got one of the more nuanced sound signatures I’ve ever heard in portable earbuds. Every instrument comes through with crystal clarity, which makes denser mixes like Foxygen’s “San Francisco” come through with elegant depth. You hear the tinny cymbals in the middle, the beautiful piano notes on the far right side, with chugging acoustic guitars on the left. Each has its own musical space.

Xbox Series X release date, specs & design

Xbox Series X is the next-generation Xbox that is due for release in late 2020. So far we know when the new Xbox will release, its official name, some of the games we’ll be playing, as well as information on backwards compatibility, and how cross-gen game ownership will work under the new Smart Delivery feature.

From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like the Xbox Series X will sport a blockier style that’s similar to that of a small gaming PC. More importantly, we now know what’s inside the console, thanks to Microsoft giving us the Series X’s full specs, and we can say for sure that the new Xbox is going to be an absolute powerhouse.

Specs

  • CPU: 8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.8GHz (3.6GHz with SMT) 7nm
  • GPU: 12 TFLOPs, 52 CUs at 1.825GHz, Custom RDNA 2
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6
  • Storage: 1TB custom NVMe SSD
  • Optical drive: 4K UHD Blu-ray
  • Ports: HDMI 2.1 output, 3x USB 3.2, networking port, expanded storage slot, power input
  • 120 fps support
  • Potential 8K resolutions
  • Ray-tracing technology
  • Variable Rate Shading for more stable frame rates
  • Compatible with Xbox One accessories
  • Smart Delivery

We knew what the Xbox Series X will look like, a few of the features on offer, and a good deal about specs the next Xbox is boasting. But May 7 was when we first saw Xbox Series X gameplay revealed.

According to Microsoft, this event would see us fans getting a first look at next-gen gameplay, trailers and sneak peeks from Xbox’s third-party partners, an update on how devs are utilizing the Xbox Series X and, finally, confirmation of the Xbox Series X games that will use Smart Delivery.

With no look at the console itself, or its interface features, this was all about third-party titles – and ultimately we felt it was a little underwhelming, with no standout titles to shout about.

OnePlus 8 – It ranks as the best smartphone

OnePlus 8 – Everything you need to know about

Well here is everything you need to know about OnePlus 8. OnePlus has been steadily climbing the ranks of the best smartphone makers. The OnePlus 8 series is the company’s latest release and, without doubt, it’s the best one yet.

In this OnePlus 8 buyer’s guide, we bring together all the best resources on the OnePlus and OnePlus 8 Pro. You’ll find purchase advice if you’re just considering buying the OnePlus 8, but also tips and in-depth resources for OnePlus 8 series owners. In short, welcome to your one-stop-shop OnePlus 8 resource.

OnePlus 8

Design

  • Polished design, vertical rear camera bump
  • Tall in the hand, but light: 160.2mm x 72.9mm x 8mm, 163g
  • No pop-up selfie camera, opting instead for a less-flashy punch-hole

The OnePlus 8 is a more iterative take on its predecessor, the OnePlus 7T, but it includes enough improvements to make it a serious affordable flagship handset – and in some ways, the new OnePlus phone has less competition given that the Samsung Galaxy S20 line doesn’t have its own lower-priced equivalent.

But the OnePlus 8 has also been elevated closer to Galaxy S-range level with the kind of je ne sais quoi touches that put Samsung’s flagships in a different league to the OnePlus 7T.

Performance and battery life

The OnePlus 8 runs as well as the OnePlus 8 Pro and the Galaxy S20 phones thanks to running on largely similar specs, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 mobile chip.

One spec where the OnePlus 8 differs from other top Android phones is its LPDDR4x RAM versus the faster and more power-efficient LPDDR5 standard in more expensive phones. Again, despite technically lesser RAM, the OnePlus 8 wasn’t any slower in running apps and the Android operating system.

Cameras

Here’s another hidden spec that’s buried in a OnePlus 8 tech sheet. The OnePlus 8 has technically “lesser” array of Sony camera sensors that the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Specifically, the OnePlus 8 has a Sony IMX586 camera sensor, and the OnePlus 8 Pro has a higher-end Sony IMX689. The differences between the two are unclear, but the OnePlus 8 still takes great photos that the grand majority of us will be happy with, regardless.

iOS 14 release date, features, beta and more

iOS 14 release date, features

Given last year’s big iOS updates came out on September 19, one day before this year’s new iPhone line. We’re guessing that iOS 14 will launch in late September 2020. That will be just in time for the launch of the iPhone 12, which will be the first phones to get the next iOS.

Assuming Apple follows prior years, it will likely unveil iOS 14 at its annual WWDC conference. That’s set to take place virtually this year – due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and it’ll be starting on June 22.

Apple usually releases an initial developer beta the same day, so it may do the same in 2020. The first public beta will likely follow later in the month, and will accordingly get new betas after the developer versions.

ios14

iOS 14 compatibility

While Apple didn’t leave any phones behind when it introduced iOS 12. The most recent jump to iOS 13 made up for it by stranding two generations of iPhone handsets. It’s unclear what kind of new features require Apple to raise the threshold for which iOS phones will be able to download the new version of iOS. So it’s all speculation whether a generation of older iPhones won’t be able to install iOS 14.

The company just unveiled a new iPhone SE, which leads us to think it won’t. However, another rumor suggests Apple is thinking of keeping support for the iPhone 6S and SE or newer. It’s always possible that Apple changes its mind in the next few months, of course.

iOS 14: Features

  • New multitasking interface: . When you want to jump from app to app in the current version of iOS, you spend a lot of time swiping your way through a series of individual app screens. That could change in iOS 14, as Apple may introduce a multitasking interface that displays four open apps at once.
  • New list view for apps: . The grid look for your iPhone home screen could be getting a refresh in iOS 14. 9to5Mac reports that Apple may introduce a List view that provides a new way to scroll through all the apps on your phone.
  • New fitness app: It’s no secret Apple has an interest in helping you monitor your health and fitness activity. But iOS 14 may take that one step farther, according to a MacRumors report about a new app rumored to be called Fitness.
  • A new AR app: Leaked files show off an icon for a Gobi app. According to John Constine. That’s an AR app that will work with QR codes to present comparison shopping features, open links and forge promotional tie-ins with partners like Starbucks. AR also figures into an updated Find My app and Apple’s upcoming AirTags trackers for helping locate tagged objects.
  • A way to use apps without downloading them: 9to5Mac reports that there’s a Clips tool that will let iPhone users access some app features without having to download a full app. (It’s similar to the Instant App and Slices features that Android supports.)
  • Wallpapers and widgets: Leaker DongleBookPro tweeted out leaked images reportedly of iOS 14 that show you’ll be able to toggle between different looks on your home screen wallpaper — in addition to the standard view, you’ll also have the option of switching between dark, dim and blurred variations. In addition, 9to5Mac reports that Apple may allow you to post real widgets to your iPhone’s home screen; currently widgets are restricted to the Today section of the iPhone.

Samsung soon with a NEW $1,100 Galaxy Fold version

If the $1,980 price tag on Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is too much for you (it is), and you really want a foldable phone, you’ll be happy to know that there might be a far more affordable option coming.

According to the report, the cheaper Fold will look like the original Galaxy Fold but it will have last year’s components, allowing Samsung to offer it at a greatly reduced price. The compromises might involved a smaller cover display, 4G instead of 5G and 256GB base storage. The processor powering the phone should be Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865, however.

If accurate, the price difference between the original Fold and the new Special Edition Fold is massive and could ignite a whole new round of interest in foldable devices. That’s not to say that $1,099 is cheap, but it’s nearly half the price of the original Fold and at least in the same ballpark as most top flagship phones these days.

As for the true successor of the original Fold, the Galaxy Fold 2, it should become available this August, alongside the Galaxy Note 20. It will probably be just a tad cheaper than the Fold, though.

Google Pixel 5 – Too Expensive, Rumors

The Google Pixel 5 release date will likely be toward the end of 2020, a year that’s starting to feel very long indeed – but that just means the tech giant has time to retool and learn from the feedback on the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL phones.

The big theme with the Pixel 5 has to be fixing the mess that Google itself created with the Pixel 4. The Pixel 4 and the 4 XL were two of the most viciously criticized flagships of 2019, and shortly after the launch, the two phones were discounted sharply, not least because of all the bad press around the two devices. Most people were disappointed with the small size of the battery on the Pixel 4, but other key features were also missing.

Before the Pixel 5, we’re expecting to see the Pixel 4a phones, mid-range versions of the Pixel 4s in the same vein as the Pixel 3a. We’ve heard a lot of rumors as the phone gears up to launch at the end of May or the beginning of June.

Google Pixel 5 rumored specifications:

  • Lower-tier Snapdragon 765G Chip
  • Lower price, expectations are for $600 to $700 MSRP
  • Improved power efficiency, bigger battery size
  • Improved camera
  • 5G support

Improved battery life

More power efficient chip and bigger size of the batteries

While performance on the Pixel 5 might take a hit, the newer chip might also be more power efficient. We expect Google to benefit from the more power-efficient Snapdragon 765G and from a bigger battery cell.

Ultra-wide camera

The one key camera feature that is missing

Google, we come on bended knee. We entreaty. We plead. Make like every other Android flagship in 2020 and give us an ultra-wide lens on the Google Pixel 5.

The addition of a telephoto lens was very welcome, justifying a lot of hopes that a second lens would enhance the Pixel’s portrait photography and expand its versatility. But the phone could be so much better, and have so much more range, with an ultra-wide camera. We can, and will, still dream.

Too Expensive…

In late 2020, the year of the corona, the price of new phones will matter more than ever. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and the recovery process might not be easy. A mid-range Pixel 5 phone that can’t match the performance of other 2020 Android phones, and which is significantly more expensive than several iPhone models will be a tough sell.

And don’t forget that phones like the OnePlus 8 and upcoming OnePlus 8T, would be better alternatives at the same price. By then, the Galaxy S20 will be even cheaper than it is now — and Samsung has been started cutting the price weeks ago. Not to mention the flurry of devices made in China that rock high-end specs for bargain prices.

The $699 Pixel 5 is a great deal only if it gets the best possible mobile chip available right now. Hopefully, the Pixel 6 won’t have this problem, as Google is finally developing its own silicon.

iPad Pro (2020) review – A powerful device for Creatives

The 2020 model looks and performs much the same, but now much of the initial excitement has settled. Instead of going for a new design. Apple used this updated model to test drive some technology that may become more important to other Apple products down the line. Although it’s not particularly exciting or even well-suited for this particular device. This is unquestionably the best iPad ever made.

Augmented specs

This review is based on the 12.9-inch model, which is identical to the 11-inch model in virtually every respect aside from screen size and weight. (The 12.9-inch model with cellular weighs 1.42 pounds; its 11-inch counterpart weight just over a pound.)

Cameras

The iPad Pro comes with a TrueDepth camera at the top of the display for things like selfies and video calls. It’s the same camera system you’ll find on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. That means you can take advantage of features like Face ID, Portrait mode, Animoji, Memoji, and more. That front camera’s clarity is way better than the grainy 720p camera on the new MacBook Air. And it takes some impressive selfies, too.

But the iPad Pro’s rear-camera module doesn’t offer Portrait mode. That feature is only accessible using the front-facing camera. So, you’ll have to add in the bokeh effects after the fact. But at least you can shoot in 4K video if you plan on using the iPad Pro to record footage.

A LiDAR scanner

Packed into the rear module is also a LiDAR scanner for augmented reality apps. If you have absolutely no idea what that is, it’s really okay.

LiDAR stands for “light detection and ranging” and it uses a Time of Flight sensor (for depth) to measure reflected light.

But all you really need to know is that it makes all those AR apps faster and better. Thanks to the LiDAR scanner, you no longer have to calibrate the space around you by moving the camera back and forth.

While I barely use any AR apps, I will admit there were times when I’d want to see what a piece of furniture looked like in my room using the Ikea app. And then I would eventually end up force quitting the app because I was too lazy to calibrate the area.

The best iPad ever

This is the best iPad Apple has ever made, and peripherals like the new Magic Keyboard make Apple’s tablet more appealing as a work machine. The fact remains, though, that unless you’re heavily involved in video editing or professional artwork, most people will be served just fine with the $499 iPad Air—although it currently doesn’t come with that spiffy keyboard. If you do need the power of a Pro, though, it’s still worth considering getting the 2018 model. On the low end, at least, you’ll almost certainly be able to find one for a lower price, and Apple’s new Magic Keyboard is even compatible with it.

Microsoft Surface Duo Leaks – Underwhelming Specs

Microsoft is busy testing the upcoming Surface Duo internally, a device that has two screens on two equal sides, with a 360-degree hinge between them. So while neither display panel is foldable, that hinge gives you plenty of use case flexibility.

At its event last year, Microsoft had only revealed the device would have two 5.6-inch screens (with 1800×1350 pixel resolution on each) held together on a hinge—rather than a flexible screen, as is the case with the Galaxy Fold. Other than photos, the company didn’t expand much on what to expect in terms of hardware and performance.

The chipset at the helm is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 from last year, which is a very odd choice. The reason for this move apparently has to do with the fact that Microsoft had finalized the Surface Duo’s internal design way before the Snapdragon 865 was a thing. There’s simply no room inside for the X55 5G modem that Qualcomm requires companies use in tandem with the 865.

The device has 6GB of RAM, which may still be okay for Google, but is mid-ranger level in the very competitive Android smartphone market, where flagships now start at 8GB and go up to 16GB. Anyway, there will be 256GB of storage too, and it’s not expandable.

The camera (singular) will be an 11 MP f/2.0 snapper with 1.12um pixel size, which once again feels like a blast from the past (aside from the odd resolution).

Netflix is starting to restore normal streaming quality

Netflix is working to restore streaming quality in various European countries following government requests for the company to reduce bandwidth usage out of fear that it was putting too much stress on broadband connections.

People in Denmark, Norway, Germany, and other countries reported noticing an uptick in streaming bitrate, according to FlatpanelsHD. Netflix confirmed to the website that it is “working with ISPs to help increase capacity.

In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity,” a spokesperson told FlatpanelsHD. “As conditions improve we will lift these limitations.”

European Union industry chief Thierry Breton originally called on streaming platforms — including Netflix and YouTube — to help reduce their load on infrastructure used around the continent. Netflix agreed to reduce bitrates on its streams for 30 days, estimating that the move would reduce “Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 percent,” a spokesperson told The Verge in March.