Hottest Gadgets and Holiday Gift Ideas for 2021

It is that time of the year again. It is the season of giving and receiving – it’s the Christmas holiday! A time when the smiles of your loved ones are inversely proportional to the health of your wallet and/or bank account.

Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet? No? No worries, we’ve got you. In this article, we unwrap our gift to you.

With all budget categories taken into consideration, here are the best gadgets to gift your loved ones this holiday season!

 

Gifts Under $100

  1. Anker Nano Pro Charger | $19.99

Anyone who has recently bought a top-tier smartphone has faced a sad, but eco-friendly new reality. Getting a charger in the packaging is no longer guaranteed.

With how fast phones can charge these days, it is almost comical that the chargers supporting these speeds are a separate purchase. Regardless, Anker’s Nano Pro Charger is a great and affordable option, especially for the 2021 range of iPhones.

  1. Isotoner Women’s Touchscreen Cold Weather Gloves | $30

How good would it be not to have to remove your gloves in the freezing cold just to use your phone? Suppose you need an affordable and thoughtful gift for the special ladies in your life. Isotoner’s range of women’s touchscreen gloves is what you are looking for.

  1. Tile Mate Essentials 4-Pack | $79.99

With all the traveling during the holidays, keeping track of your stuff is more important than ever. With the essentials pack from Tile, you get 3 mate trackers, a slim one, and a sticker. Anyone who tends to lose their keys and wallet would be done a world of good if they received this pack as a holiday gift. There’s a free companion app on Android and iOS, with Smart Home integration and a Tile Network to help find lost items.

  1. LARQ Self-Sanitizing Water Bottle | $98

How about a whole water purification system inside a bottle? UV-C LED light eliminates 99% of any bio-contaminants found in the water within either a minute or 3-minutes for thorough purification. It is an excellent gift for someone who travels or goes for hikes often where they may be unsure of the water sources in the new locations. It has a great design as well—with a variety of finishes to add some personality.

  1. Apple AirTags 4-Pack | $99

For anyone already in the Apple Ecosystem, picking this AirTags 4-pack over the Tile Essentials may be the way to go. However, there is no slim form factor with AirTags to help keep track of the wallet. Either way, the 4-pack is a great deal and an excellent gift for some of your more forgetful family members and loved ones.

  1. Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer for Smartphones | $99

Having a gallery full of memories is fun and all, but there’s just something about a printed photo that’s special. With the IVY Mini printer from Canon, those special holiday moments can be made tangible. Photos are printed via Bluetooth with the help of the Canon print app and are 2″ x3″ with peel and stick capabilities. A great gift for that sentimental person in your life.

  1. Apple HomePod Mini | $99

Bring a lot of rich sounds and bold color into the holiday season and beyond with one or more HomePod Minis. It delivers excellent, 360-degree sound for a smart speaker of its size and is easily integrated into the smart home ecosystem. The bold color choices make it an excellent gift for the person who has personality and meshes well with any and all décor. With a bunch of HomePod minis, you can gift someone a smart sound system for the whole home, with Siri as the ever-present DJ!

  1. DJI Tello Mini Drone | $99

This budget-friendly drone is the perfect introductory gift for someone who’s always wanted one. It offers great value for the price, being capable of shooting HD video for 13 minutes at a time. With two antennas and a relatively powerful battery, the flight experience is extremely enjoyable.

 

Gifts Under $500

  1. Apple TV 4K | $179

The 2nd gen. Apple TV 4K 2nd generation is a nice gift for any entertainment lover. It combines great TV with access to your favorite Apple services, making it great for anyone already using Apple products.

It supports 4K, High Frame Rate HDR with Dolby Atmos sound, delivering a truly cinematic experience. You also get to enjoy content from Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Disney+, as well as live channels from Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling TV.

Bundled with it is the 2nd gen. Siri Remote with its all-new touch-enabled click pad for more precise control. Do you know anyone that might need one?

AirPods have become a staple accessory for anyone owning an Apple product (iPhone, iPad, Mac). This makes it one of the safest bets for gift ideas. The third generation of the world’s most popular earbuds comes with spatial audio with dynamic head tracking for an immersive 3D listening experience. Other perks include impressive sound quality, an even more comfortable contoured design, force sensor control, and sweat and water resistance. Daily workouts and gym sessions? Anyone?

The setup process for Apple devices has been made as easy as possible, so even the most non-techie recipient will be able to get set up. The bundled case can be charged wirelessly using a MagSafe charger, Qi-certified charger, or the Lightning connector.

Surely you must know someone who’s always in need of a massage? Theragun Prime from Therabody finds the perfect balance between depth, speed, and force to bring you the best of percussive therapy and true deep muscle treatment. It is a great hand-held massager that helps ease discomfort, soothe tightness and tension, and recover faster in seconds.

This holiday, you can gift someone an escape. You can gift someone an experience that is so unique, so immersive, and as easily achievable as putting on the Oculus Quest 2 headset.

You can get lost in a game and cool down at a concert before running up a scenic mountain from the expansive comfort of your personal space. There are no wires, giving you the freedom to move as you please as you explore worlds unknown. What’s even better is that you can link up with friends for all your escapades!

The OG switch was the benchmark for portable gaming, and this year’s Switch OLED took that a notch higher. With a bigger, much better screen and double the storage, gaming on the Switch is as enjoyable as it has ever been.

The design of the Apple Watch has barely changed, and the bump up in features has been negligible from the series 6 to this year’s series 7. However, the Series 7 continues Apple’s reign atop the smartwatch totem pole. If you know anyone with an older series watch, or an Apple fan who’s never had one, the Series 7 is a solid bet.

The DJI is a significant step up from the Tello in terms of price and features. The Mini 2 weighs as much as an Apple, making it travel-friendly.

It boasts a 4K camera with Quickshots capability and 4X zoom on a 3-axis gimbal for consistently smooth shots. You can shoot 4K/30fps video from as high as 4,000 meters for as long as half an hour.

The 2021 iPad Mini (iPad Mini 6) is bound to be one of the most gifted devices this holiday season. The iPad Mini got a design refresh with flatter edges and beautiful finishes. It has a stunning 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display, the powerful A15 Bionic with 5G, an impressive 12MP Ultrawide front-facing camera, and TouchID in the power button. It also supports the 2nd gen. Apple Pencil, which sticks to its side using magnets.

Unlike the iPhone series, it has a USB-C charging port and cable and charger bundles in the packaging. There is no going wrong with this one.

 

Gifts Under $1000

Upon release, the AirPods Max met mixed sentiments, largely because of the price. There seemed to be much better-value offerings in the market. However, only after experiencing the AirPods Max did that sentiment change, and with good reason.

They sound and feel great; really great. The AirPods have a different design, with the primary aim being comfort for extended periods. Ultimately, they will appeal most to an Apple fan.

Google has released this year’s best value phone in most people’s opinions. As has become customary with Google products, every single detail about the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro was general knowledge way before they were announced. The announcement did not disappoint, with the price of the standard Pixel 6 making it what most people gravitated towards. Looking at it objectively, the difference between the sibling phones is not enough to justify the $300 price difference—except maybe for those who want the best of the best.

It is the phone to get for an Android enthusiast. It has clean software, a great design, and an epic camera to capture precious holiday moments.

The Dyson Pure is an excellent gift for any space – home or office. It purifies, humidifies, and cools the space that it is in. It has a fully-sealed filtration system that captures gases and particles, ensuring that the occupants don’t breathe them in. Its HEPA and activated carbon filters capture 99.97% of allergens.

Gift this to someone who has fallen victim to allergies.

Not much can be said about the iPhone 13 series that is not already widely known. While not a lot changed from last year, there’s a better camera, a better processor, more color options, 5G, 120Hz ProMotion displays on the Pro models, and the best battery life on any smartphone this year.

2021 will probably be the year that laptops return to the top of everyone’s Wishlist, all thanks to Apple. Their M1 series of processors, which debuted on the MacBook Air, was nothing short of revolutionary. It performed better than most other laptops, including the Intel MB Pros, with great battery efficiency and no fans.

For most people, students, and professionals, the M1 MacBook Air is the laptop to get. It comes in just shy of $1000 for the base model.

 

Gifts Over $1000

This is arguably one of the best Windows laptops there is. Simple. It is sleek, beautiful, powerful, eco-friendly, and a joy to use.

As described by LG themselves, “LG OLED TV is a joy to behold. Self-lit pixels allow truly spectacular picture quality and a whole host of design possibilities, while the latest cutting-edge technologies help deliver unprecedented levels of wonder. This is everything you love and TV – elevated in every way.

This is possibly the best TV you can gift someone this holiday season.

An excellent gift for the gaming enthusiast. It houses an AMD Ryzen 9 processor with 16GB of RAM, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics card, a 15.6-inch 165hz QHD display, and a 1TD SSD. There is also a bonus. You get 1 month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

This is for the tech enthusiast. The creative. The aspiring filmmaker or Youtuber. This is for anyone with intense workflows that they need to breeze through. This is the best laptop there is for the price.

 

Priceless Protection

This part is the bonus gift you find at the bottom of an unwrapped package. It’s the thing that brings it all together.

For all the gadgets you will gift and receive this holiday season, make sure that they last. Make sure that they are protected.

Tech Armor provides protection for all your tech devices, leaving you fully invested in moments instead of constantly worrying about their safety. Did something spill on your device? We have the best cleaning kit to return it to its former glory.

Find protection for your device here.

Happy Holidays!

Apple iPhone 13 Device Review

iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max Review

When the word iPhone appears in a conversation, well not much introduction is needed. It honestly speaks for itself. Probably because it’s the most prominent smartphone made and marketed by Apple. What’s even better is the incredible advancement in terms of the announcement of new series released periodically. And this year the iPhone 13 series is the talk

First iPhone 13 pre-orders now shipping ahead of Friday release - 9to5Mac

Following the announcement of the iPhone 12 in October last year, Apple promised a new and advanced lineup, and of course, it came to pass—no disappointment. The iPhone 12 featured new technology and a fancy new design which is the Mini-sized version.

Well, not much has changed. The iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max were released on the 13th of September, this year, alongside an updated entry-level iPad, Apple Watch 7, and iPad Mini 6—The event was spectacular. These updated iPhones come with an iOS15 ready to be installed, together with an upgraded camera, a new A15 Bionic processor, an upped storage and so much more.

The improvements, assuming you’re looking for a decent phone, really matter. But do these changes really convince us? Does the new iPhone lineup prove to be the greatest, well, since the last one? —to be fair, they have really brought some revolutionary changes. But a closer look at what the lineup offers and how the 4 versions perform, and their differences are much more important.

So, let’s just proceed to the best part…

The specs

With these clever advancements, Apple aimed to make the iPhone Pro Max or either of its siblings, a compelling upgrade made to fit the needs of different individuals—pros and those in need of an everyday consumption phone. So, the question remains, which will suit you best?

There is a lot to read on as far as the iPhone model is concerned. But before we head on to all that:

iPhone 13 lineup prices

One thing about the lineup is that the physical appearance of each isn’t so different from that of its predecessors. And so, is the pricing. This—pricing— is similar in most of the models except in the standard and mini options. This is because the 64GB storage option in the two, has been done away with. And if you are be expecting a price change for this, well, sorry to say, there isn’t.

Generally, the prices of this new lineup increase with the increase in storage. This is mostly seen in the models with the 1TB storage options feature. Available in the Pro Max model, the storage feature ups the price to $1,599.

For the normal prices of the iPhone 13 high-end Pro version—without the extra storage—comes a similarity to that of the Galaxy S Ultra and Galaxy S plus which costs $1,200 and $1,000 respectively.

  128GB storage 256GB storage 512GB storage 1TB storage
iPhone 13 Mini $699 $799 $999 NA
iPhone 13 $799 $899 $1,099 NA
iPhone 13 Pro $999 $1,099 $1,199 $1,499
iPhone 13 Pro Max $1,099 $1,199 $1,399 $1,599
  1. Design, size and color

The smartphone offers a similar Ceramic Shield display upfront, flat edges, and a durable glass back. Actually, even the IP68    water resistance is the same. The robust frame in the iPhone lineup together with all the advanced physical features makes the holding feel nice. However, Apple gave a ‘redesigned on the inside and out’ comment pointing at it being different from the others where, honestly, it’s hard to spot the differences.

The most obvious difference is noticeable in the edge. You will notice the volume controls, silent/ring switch and the power button have been slightly switched.

There are two more design changes in the iPhone44. One is the 20% smaller notch. This enables an undistracted time while watching videos in landscape mode with both sides at full screen. And most importantly the reduction in the Mini version is more interesting.

Considering the phone is narrower the notch swoops down a bit more making apps like Gmail—ones with a white background in portrait orientation— more fun to use. Secondly, the cameras on the rear which were placed vertically in the iPhone 12 are now arranged diagonally.

The iPhone 13 mini and13 are available in Pink, Midnight, Blue, Product (RED), and Starlight. While the13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are in Graphite, Silver, Sierra Blue, and Gold.

Unfortunately, there is one thing missing—the touch ID. This is an upgrade that would have been highly appreciated since the face ID, well, with our masks on, can be a hassle to use. Also, the smartphone had some problems unlocking with the Apple Watch. But this isn’t an issue since Apple is working on it.

When it comes to size the iPhone Mini is 5.4 inches, standard 6.1 inches, iPhone 13 Pro 6.1 inches, iPhone 13 Pro Max 6.7 inches.

  1. ProMotion display

This feature is a brand name for Apple display which means updates and refresh rates that happens often— 60Hz or 60 times per second. But for this new model, they included a 120Hz refresh rate. This, when compared to the screens we have at home i.e., tv, is double the rate since they usually update at 60Hz. The feature has been available on the iPad Pro but has been now launched in the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The refresh rate determines how smooth and fast the scrolling is. And sailing content is a great experience than the smearing one. This feature, however, isn’t available in the mini. But that doesn’t stop it from giving its user an excellent time. In fact, when you compare it to the iPhone 12, there are some noticeable and visible improvements. So, no worries.

All the iPhone models have OLED screen panels.

The brightness increase rate favors people using it in the sun. This is because of the Super Retina XDR display which is 28% brighter than its predecessor—the change isn’t dramatic though. And when it comes to watching a movie, the HDR content can be screened at 1,200 nits on all the siblings.

The display size is also noticeable. The smallest display is on the iPhone 13 mini—5.4 inches with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, 476ppi. This makes this handful version the sharpest display of all. The largest is, of course, the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It has a resolution of 2778 x 1284 pixels, 458ppi, and a display size of 6.7 inches.

The 13 and 13 Pro have a similar display size o 6.1-inches while the resolution is 2532 x 1170 pixels, 460ppi.

  1. Camera

There are so many interesting facts about the camera in all four versions. just imaging taking pictures in low lighting. Or better still owning a phone that can help you measure height? Cool, right? Well, the iPhone 13 has a lidar scanner on the Pro Max and Pro versions unlike in the iPhone 12 lineup. Its main purpose is autofocused pictures and videos with low noise as well as quality shots even in low lighting. Additionally, Apple said that there will be a new feature, on the Pro models, called ProRES that includes video recording of up to 4K at 30fps, later this year.

Although the new lens setup is the most common visible change, it has come with a few more advantages. The large camera has 1.7μm pixels and a wider camera that gathers 47% more light. The improved cameras on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini, has an ultrawide lens and are 12-megapixel wide. And for iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, the three rear cameras have telephoto lenses, are 12-megapixel wide, and are ultrawide.

Color temperature is an important fact to check on when buying a phone. Whether you want a rich contrast, vibrant, standard, cool, or warm one, the control should be yours. And alas the iPhone 13 lineup has the Photographic styles feature that is specifically for this purpose.

Wait, here comes the best part…the Macro photography and cinematic mode feature. The macro-Photography helps take pictures with the appropriate camera lens automatically while still offering a focused image. And the cinematic mode, just like the Apple Portrait Mode in the iPhone 7 plus, allows the subject to move around the frame and still remain in focus. This mode can be used while recording one or more subjects, and you can as well tap to the main focus or get a focus mode while editing.

However, as sweet as the deal sounds, there are some limitations. For the cinematic mode to work, there must be good lighting. And if there isn’t the camera app will warn you. The editing of the videos also needs to be done on Apple apps i.e., iMovie. And lastly, the cinematic mode can only be shot in p at frames per second.

  1. A5 Bionic and performance

The A15 Bionic is a faster chip and an advancement from the A14 Bionic in iPhone12. It offers a 4-core GPU, 6-core CPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. This means the CPU works up to 5% faster and the GPU is in a place to handle rendering graphics that are 20% faster which is quite impressive. The iPhone 13 Pro model has the fastest GPU which is five cores while the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 has our cores.

You can switch between tasks without any issues.

  1. Battery life

The iPhone 13 has an extended battery life than the iPhone 12 lineup. This is because of the A15 Bionic chip, bigger battery, and iOS 15. Despite Apple not revealing the battery specs, another source showed that there is a significant capacious cell than in the iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 Pro Max has the best battery life of Up to 28 hours. However, the bigger the battery, the bigger the phone. So, if you do mind a handful phone, then the iPhone 13 Pro Max isn’t for you.

The iPhone Mini powers for nearly 17 hours, while the other two—13 and 13 Pro—are at least 19 hours and 22 hours respectively. All these, when compared to the previous lineup, are a sizable leap.

iPhone 13, 13 MINI, 13 PRO AND 13 PRO MAX SPECS

iPhone 13 mini iPhone 13 iPhone 13 Pro iPhone 13 Pro Max
Storage 128, 256, 512GB 128, 256, 512 GB 128, 256, 512, 1TB 128, 256, 512, 1TB
Processor A15 Bionic A15 Bionic A15 Bionic A15 Bionic
Screen size 5.4 inches 6.1 inches 6.1 inches 6.7 inches
Rear cameras Dual 12MP (Wide, ultrawide) Dual 12MP (Wide, ultrawide) Pro 12MP (Telephoto, Wide, Ultra-Wide) Pro 12MP (Telephoto, Wide, Ultra-Wide)
Front camera 12MP TrueDepth 12MP TrueDepth 12MP TrueDepth 12MP TrueDepth
Zoom None / 5x digital None / 5x digital 3x optical / 15x digital 3x optical / 15x digital
Adaptive refresh No No Up to 120Hz Up to 120Hz
Water resistance IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68
Resolution/ppi 2340 x 1080/476 2532 x 1170/460 2532 x 1170/460 2778 x 1284/458
Colors Red, Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink Red, Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue
Size 5.2 x 2.5 x 0.3 inches 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches 6.3 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
Weight 4.97 ounces 6.14 ounces 7.2 ounces 8.5 ounces
Battery life (video playback 8:41 10:33 11:42 12:16
Starting price $699 $799 $999 $1,099

 

Conclusion

Despite the upgrades being mostly under the hood, they are precisely made to give you a more improved experience. Fancy new features, great battery life—except in the mini— who wouldn’t want that? If you are still wondering if it’s worth it getting one, aim to focus on the fundamentals. ‘What upgrades are there?’ ‘Is there a promise that the game will get better?’ — once the debate is over and have a final answer, head on to the store and purchase that dream phone.

But most importantly, don’t forget to get the best screen protector from Tech Armor. A smartphone with such features deserves to be taken care of. And that’s your responsibility.

 

The iPhone 13 lineup just announced

iPhone 13 Recap

As was very accurately predicted, the most anticipated event in Apple’s annual calendar happened on the 14th of September 2021. Apple’s events are always grandiose showcases with impeccable production. In true Apple fashion, they somehow managed to one-up what they did last year, with a lot of drone shots. It was quite cinematic – the amazing transitions, cinematography, lighting – everything was top-notch. It was quite the visual spectacle.

Twitter was part of the celebrations as well. For every tweet that included the trending #AppleEvent hashtag, the like button turned into a glowing Apple logo before quickly turning back into a heart when clicked. iPhone 13 was also trending, of course, and as Tim Cook walked on stage, the world awaited the reveal of the heavily leaked new iPhones. Were there any surprises? Read on to find out.

The iPhone 13 Line-up

A Closer look at iPhone 13 & 13 Mini

Design

The non-pro iPhone 13 has a new look for the advanced dual-camera system with the lenses arranged diagonally instead of vertically as was the case for the iPhone 12. Every year, Apple makes a slight design change to make it easier to distinguish previous versions from the current releases, and re-arranging the camera array was their choice for this year.

Other than the camera module, the chassis (or the beautifully-formed aerospace-grade aluminum frame as it was described during the announcement) remains largely the same. This year’s colors were unveiled to be an all-new Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, and Product Red.

A much-rumoured detail about the new iPhones was confirmed when the smaller notch was revealed. After years of having the large obtrusive notch at the top of the display, Apple finally did something about it. This is another differentiating factor from the iPhone 12. The reductions were possible because the true-depth camera system has been re-engineered to make it take up less room while taking up less space, thus the increased screen real estate.

Battery

Internally, the iPhone 13 has been completely re-architected to make room for new additions, and more importantly, a bigger battery! While Apple did not confirm the actual sizes of the batteries for this year’s standard iPhones 13, battery improvements are always welcome.

Apple claims that on iPhone 13 Mini most users will experience 1.5 more hours in their day than with iPhone 12 Mini. They also claim that the standard iPhone 13 lasts 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12. Them branding it as ‘incredible all-day battery life is a bit of a stretch, however.

 

Display

Size aside, the design is the same across the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, as was the case with last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Mini. Both phones feature an improved, more advanced Super Retina, XDR display. The display is 28% brighter up, going up to 800 nits of peak brightness. This makes it even more suitable for use even when outside. This improved display delivers an immersive viewing experience with support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG meaning that the content shot on and for these platforms and technologies will be viewed as intended.

Processor

Things are about to get a little technical now. Ready?

Apple’s lead in the smartphone SoC (System on a Chip) category just got a little wider with the A15 Bionic. Apple’s control over the entire iPhone makeup gives them the capability to incorporate innovations across the entire system. This, in turn, enables the delivery of improved performance and power efficiency. The A15 is built on 5nm architecture which enables the inclusion of nearly 15 billion transistors on the chip. The result? An absolutely smooth, optimized, and efficient experience when handling demanding workloads. The A15 houses a powerful new 6-core CPU with two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores for graphics-intensive tasks like advanced games. The A15 Bionic also features the latest 4-core GPU with the new 16-core Neural Engine to handle all the machine learning requirements. In addition to the performance improvements, iPhone 13 features a new Display Engine, a new video encoder, and decoder, and twice the system cache. All this is to make video playback as smooth as it has ever been

 

Camera

With the A15 Bionic also comes an improved camera system on iPhone 13. There’s an all-new 12mp wide camera with a larger 1.7 micron-pixels sensor that should capture more light with a wide f-1.6 aperture. Amazingly, Apple decided to bring the iPhone 12 Pro Max exclusive Sensor-Shift technology to all iPhones in this year’s line-up. Sensor-Shift introduced advanced Optical Image Stabilization for even better images, especially in low-light. Apple also included a new ultra-wide camera that is set to help “reveal more of the dark areas with less noise”.

A brand-new feature announced for iPhone 13 is Cinematic Mode. According to the details provided during its showcase, once the recording starts, Cinematic Mode will hold focus on the subject even when they’re moving. Additionally, focus transitions are said to happen automatically and in real-time, for example, from one subject to another. Cinematic Mode is said to anticipate when a subject is about to enter the frame and intelligently racks focus to them when they do. When a subject gazes away from the camera, iPhone 13 itself changes focus and then back. This is certainly one of the features that most people will want to test out for themselves when the phones are released. If it does what it says on the box, iPhone will almost be the default phone for millions of content creators, even more than it is already.

Pricing and Availability

It was great to see that even with the improvements it starts with and the fact that the starting capacity is now 128 GB (plus a new 512 GB option), iPhone 13 Mini still starts at just $699 and $799 for the standard iPhone 13. There are also opportunities to get up to $700 off in the US when you trade in a qualifying iPhone.

 

iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

Design

iPhone 13 Pro comes in four ‘striking’ finishes that are different from the standard iPhone 13. There is Graphite, Gold, Silver, and an all-new Sierra Blue. Just as is the case with the standard iPhone 13, the Pros have a (20%) smaller notch. On the back is a familiar-looking triple camera system, with a stainless-steel trim that surrounds the Sapphire Crystal lenses of each of the cameras. The inside is said to be ‘completely redesigned to support the latest technology inclusions including an all-new camera system, a new display, and a bigger battery.

Better A15 Bionic

The Pros are also powered by the A15 Bionic which features the earlier-mentioned CPU, GPU, a faster Neural Engine, as well as a new ISP (Image Signal Processor) which is said to provide improved noise reduction and tone mapping. As an improvement on the standard iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, the Pro models’ A15 Bionic includes a new 5-core GPU for even better handling of graphic-intensive tasks.

Display

The new Super Retina, XDR display is also present on the Pro models, with an improved peak brightness of 1000 nits, a 25% improvement on last year’s iPhones.

If there is one feature everyone wanted confirmation on, it was the inclusion of a high refresh rate display. The confirmation did come, but it was bittersweet: It is only on the Pro models. The highly anticipated ProMotion display is finally on iPhone, with the capability of refreshing from as low as 10 Hz to as high as 120 Hz. IOS is also completely optimized to take full advantage of this. When swiping between apps, or scrolling, the system adapts the frame rates to precisely match the speed of the user’s finger.

Camera

The iPhone 13 Pro camera system has a new 77 mm telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. There is also a new ultrawide-angle camera with autofocus and a larger f 1.8 aperture, providing up to a 92% improvement in low light. The third camera is a wide camera with a larger f-1.5 aperture and 1.9 micron-pixels for up to 2x improvement in low light. The ultrawide camera also has Macro Photography. Its design and autofocus system enables incredibly sharp focus and can magnify subjects with a minimum distance of 2 cm. Additionally, all the cameras, including the telephoto, have night mode.

Apple also announced a feature that lets you ‘personalize your iPhone camera’ dubbed Photographic Styles. The feature is said to bring your individual preferences right into the advanced image pipeline, applying local edits like a photo editor would, but in real-time as the photo is being rendered.

The iPhone 13 pro camera system also has some advanced video capabilities. The ultrawide camera enables Macro slo-mo videos which should look amazing. The 3x telephoto has improved zooming capabilities and offers a new focal length for video. Coupled with Cinematic mode, it uses machine learning and disparity to create a depth map that’s built into the video so that the depth effect can be changed, including the level of bokeh and where the focus is applied – even after capture.

ProRes is a feature that is set to come further down the line. With it, you can now record up to 4k at 30 fps right in the camera app thanks to the efficiency of the A15 Bionic, IOS 15, and a larger battery.  iPhone 13 Pro is said to last more than 1.5 hours longer in your day than iPhone 12 Pro. iPhone 13 Pro Max will apparently last more than 2.5 hours longer than iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Pricing and Availability

The iPhone 13pro still starts at $999 and the iPhone 13pro max still starts at $1099. The Pro models have a new 1 TB storage option. All four models of the iPhone13 line-up go up for Pre-order on the 17th of September and will all be available on September 24th.

 

Final Thoughts

Depending on your expectations, you were either disappointed because some of your expectations weren’t met or underwhelmed because you knew almost everything that was coming. The rumors of this year’s iPhones being referred to as the 12S might have been on to something because there’s no day and night difference between last year’s iPhones and the new ones. The notch is smaller, and ProMotion finally made it to Apple devices after making it to Android years ago, but at least it’s here. It is only for the Pro models though, which is set to anger a lot of people who were looking forward to buying the non-Pro versions.

Another drawback is that 4K recording is not available for the 128 GB storage options, but there may be a logical and technical explanation for that. Features like MagSafe and Ceramic shield are still present, and the iPhone is now capable of recording when your MagSafe wallet is disconnected from the phone, making it easier to track in case it is lost.

The physical changes may be indistinguishable to most users, but the changes under the hood are set to give an improved experience regardless. After all, it is an iPhone and people will buy it. If you will make sure you get the best protection for whichever model you get at Tech Armor.

iPhone 2021 Rumors - Round 2

What to Expect for the 2021 iPhone Line-up!

Leak season is in full effect and we are here for it! This year would have been a rather quiet one if Apple’s attempts to silence leakers would have been completely successful. A reputable member of the Apple community known as ‘Kang’ was the most high-profile recipient of a warning letter from Apple’s lawyers. While he confirmed that he would not be sharing any more leaks, news has continuously and consistently trickled in about what to expect from the 2021 iPhones.

Excited? You are not alone. Let’s get into exactly what you came here for! Here’s an update on our earlier article on the much-anticipated iPhones.

iPhone 13 Trailer : Apple - YouTube

A September Release Date
Chip shortage has been a major problem since last year. Smartphone makers and other players in the tech industry have had their plans delayed or even derailed simply because not enough parts were available. Apple fell victim to this last year, with the iPhone being delayed and some intended features left out completely.

It’s a completely different story this year. As earlier reported, everything is pointing towards the September release date that we’ve become accustomed to over the years.

Chip-maker TSMC is reportedly prioritizing 2021 iPhone chips and ramping up production of the same. This is great news for Apple fans everywhere as it means large-scale production of the 2021 iPhones has begun early enough.

If the past is anything to go by, an educated guess for the exact release date would be in the third week of September, on a Tuesday that is September 14th. Fingers crossed!

A15 Bionic
The A14 Bionic processor ushered in the 5nm era for Apple and this year’s A15 will most definitely be an improvement. The current chip shortage will do nothing to deter Apple’s continued domination when it comes to processors. It is no wonder why TSMC is prioritizing the production of the 5nm+ chips.

The performance and overall efficiency of this year’s iPhones are set to receive a relative boost, which is always welcome seeing how buttery smooth the iPhone experience always is. The competition just can’t keep up.

No 13, Just S
Since last time, rumours have continuously swirled that this year’s iPhone line-up will skip the logically expected ‘13’ branding for the ‘S’ moniker. This may be because of a couple of reasons.

The last ‘S’ phones we got from Apple came in 2018 – iPhone XS and XS Max. This indicated that while there were subtle improvements on the iPhone X, they were not that significant to warrant a completely new line. Could this be the case this year?

Reports state that this year’s iPhones will feature the same four models from last year: The Mini, the standard iPhone, the Pro, and the Pro Max. They are reportedly going to look pretty much the same without going into specific dimensions, with the only visual changes being in the notch and camera bump. This could explain why this year could see the return of the S.

The other reason is culture. Many cultures see the number 13 as unlucky, with some going as far as removing the number from floors and elevators. Opting for the S may be a smart way of avoiding the number 13 altogether in those specific markets, without confusing their global consumers.

Smaller Notch
A long-awaited change (feature?) may finally be coming with the 2021 iPhones. It doesn’t matter how good the iPhone is, one look at the Android alternatives is enough to make you wish that the ugly notch just disappeared. I mean, it so big in comparison. Useful, yes, but a real eyesore.

While it will not completely vanish anytime soon, the notch is getting smaller for the first time in what feels like forever. A design and component improvement in the FaceID system will allow Apple to shrink the notch. You are finally getting a little more of that precious screen real-estate back.

Who knows, at the rate at which tech is improving, it is only a matter of time before you can flex a full, uninterrupted screen to your Android foes!

120Hz ProMotion Display – It’s About Time
Yes, yes. Leaks have all but confirmed that this year’s iPhones will have a 120Hz ProMotion display. However, this may only be for the Pro models. A report from DigiTimes claims that only the ‘premium iPhones’ are getting the LTPO high refresh rate displays. LTPO technology allows for variable refresh rates, anything from 1Hz (refreshing one time per second) to 120Hz. This is great for battery life.

Sadly, the Mini and the always-popular standard iPhone may be left out in the cold when it comes to this long-awaited feature. This will certainly rub a lot of the Apple faithful the wrong way. While it may irk consumers, it makes business sense for Apple to differentiate the standard and Pro iPhones better than they did last year, where many people saw the non-pro version as better value due to the negligible differences.

It all comes down to how important 120Hz is to you!

Always on Display
Many expected to have AOD ready when Apple put OLED displays on the 12-series iPhones. That feature was seemingly put off until this year, with the implementation set to be the same as in the Series 6 Apple watch. The feature may be a little different from the Android implementation. Apple may opt to significantly dim the screen as opposed to just showing a few icons and the time.

TouchID: The Return
The information is mixed for this one. Some reports are stating that this feature will come this year while some state that it is getting delayed until next year. Fingers crossed for the former.

Many users have reported missing TouchID because of the whole mask thing, and with OLED panels now bring standard on the iPhone, nothing is stopping Apple from bringing it back (under the display).

Battery and Charging
Battery life on the 12-series was not as good as on the 11 Pro Max for example, but this year is set to top that. With bigger batteries for the entire line-up, LTPO panels, and the efficiency of the A15 Bionic, battery life is set to see a significant boost.

MagSafe is also set to improve with a bigger coil being used this time around. Not only will the magnet be stronger, but also the charging will be more efficient and allow for higher wattage, faster charging, and maybe even reverse wireless charging!

Better Cameras
Larger sensors, sensor-shift, macro mode, Astro mode, portrait video – all features that are set to come (back) to the 2021 iPhones. The jury is still out on what features make it to what model, but no one is complaining about upgrades!

iPhone SE 2021?
While this year may be the last year we see the iPhone Mini due to poor sales, the SE is going nowhere. Reports state that the 2021 iPhone SE is set to be the cheapest 5G iPhone there is. Time will tell!

 

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iPhone 2021 Rumors

It’s been over 6 months since Apple released the drop-dead gorgeous iPhone 12 lineup. And to say the devices were well-received would be an understatement. They were a hit—to both consumers and tech enthusiasts! But that’s in the past. It’s now time to speculate on what we should expect to roll out of Cupertino come Fall 2021 – i.e., the iPhone 13.

And like clockwork, the rumors are already circulating and gaining traction as we move into the 2nd half of the year. After combing the web, here are some leaked specs and feature to get your excited.

What Brand Name will Apple Go With?

iPhone 13 seems like the obvious choice—but it’s not the only one. Based on Apple’s naming conventions over the years, there’s a decent possibility that the tech giant may go with iPhone 12S. For now, it’s all in the realm of speculation—with barely any concrete info that we can lean on.

If you’re not well-versed in the Apple ecosystem, the “S” tag on phone models basically implies that the changes from its predecessor are relatively minimal.

 

 

Release Date – When Can We Expect the 2021 iPhones?

This is arguably the million-dollar question. Apple releases often come with a ton of fanfare—and we expect nothing less this year. It’s fair to say that we’re all anxious to see what Tim Cook unveils later this year. But when exactly is this?

Apple has historically released their flagships in September—save for a few deviations here and there (the latest being the iPhone 12 due to pandemic-related reasons). Emerging leaks hint that this year Apple is on track to release the iPhone 13/12S in September as usual.

Wedbush Securities’ Daniel Ives places the release date in the 3rd week of September based on supply chain analysis (as seen in  9to5Mac). Similarly, the well-respected and reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo bets on a September release.

 

Price of the “iPhone 13”

How much will you have to fork out for arguably the ‘biggest-baddest’ smartphone of 2021? According to most leakers and speculators, expect a figure right around the price of the iPhone 12 lineup. And if we’re lucky enough, the upcoming iPhone 13 might even be cheaper than its predecessor (*fingers crossed).

 

“iPhone 13” Design – If it Ain’t Broken Don’t Fix It

The iPhone 13 family is likely to bear a near-identical resemblance to the iPhone 12—and few people will have qualms over this. Most of us are still smitten by the modern—yet nostalgic— ‘slabular’ design of the iPhone 12 lineup and Apple knows this.

Rumors suggest that the phone sizing will remain the same as that of the predecessors. The only alterations being whispered are:

  • The Notch – Apple might be taking it down a notch (too corny?) thanks to a redesign on the TrueDepth Camera System and relocation of the speaker.
  • Larger Camera Bump/System – Likely to accommodate expected camera upgrades.

There’s even a dummy of the ‘supposed’ design on the iPhone 13.

 

Display

If there’s one thing that left most of us disappointed with the iPhone 12 announcement was the now-archaic 60Hz display.

Hoping that the rumors come to fruition, Apple is en-route to amuse fans with a 120Hz ProMotion Display come Fall 2021 with the release of the iPhone 13. This might not feature in all phones on the lineup—but a few is better than none.

To stoke the rumors, Samsung and LG are believed to be taking measures to produce LTPO OLED panels for the iPhone 13.

 

Camera Upgrades

Here’s what to expect from the iPhone 13 cameras:

  • A much-welcomed upgrade from the current f/2.4, five-element lens on the iPhone 12 Pro models to an f/1.8, six-element lens.
  • LiDAR on all devices in the iPhone 13 lineup.
  • Redesign of the arrangement of the rear camera in the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13—from vertical to diagonal.
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization (OIS) on all devices.
  • A shift to f/1.5 aperture for the Pro Max’s main camera from the current f/1.6 aperture.

 

Biometrics – Under-Display Touch ID?

Apple might finally bring under-display Touch ID via iPhone 13. This is a long-overdue biometric feature that is expected to improve convenience (with face mask being the norm and all) and possibly impact the design of the screen in the near future.

 

Battery – More Juice Incoming

iPhones have never been known for their ‘larger than life’ batteries. Apple instead focuses on improving efficiency to slash power consumption. Well, this year the Cupertino tech giant is tipped to dial up the iPhone 13’s battery capacity.

One Twitter leaker, @L0vetodream claims that the battery capacities will increase to 2,406mAh (iPhone 13 Mini), 3,095mAh (iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro), and 4,325mAh (iPhone 13 Pro Max).

PS: Keep in mind that increased battery capacity does not necessarily translate to better battery life.

 

Processor – More Power Under the Hood, As Usual

It’s impressive how Apple keeps producing chips that dwarf the competition year on year. The 2021 lineup of iPhones is tipped to run on an A15 Bionic chip (5nm+) that promises better efficiency and bolstered speeds as expected. Reports suggest that TSMC has already started production of the processors.

 

Connectivity

The word on the street is that Apple and Qualcomm have struck a deal for the latter to supply its X60 5G modem for use in the iPhone 13 lineup and other incoming models—until Apple builds its own modems. The 2021 iPhone might even feature the improved Wi-Fi 6E for faster wireless speeds.

 

Lightning Port – Go Bye, Bye?

Ousting the headphone jack rubbed people in different ways. But phone companies seem to have an appetite to take the ‘port-Armageddon’ a step further. Serial leaker Jon Prosser and a couple of analysts predict a portless iPhone in the near future.

According to some earlier rumors appearing on MacRumors, Apple has been contemplating the idea of axing the lighting port in favor of Qi-based wireless charging. Whether or not this happens in 2021 is still to be seen.

Tune in for more incoming rumors as they develop.

 

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iPad Mini 6 Rumors

iPad Mini 6 – The Long-Overdue Update to the Mini is Coming!

After years of speculation and unending tittle-tattle in the Apple community, it seems that iPad fans might finally set their eyes on the sixth-generation iPad Mini. According to the word on the street, Apple is scheduled to announce the successor to the widely popular (*bordering cultic) iPad Mini 5 in a few weeks—and it might be a treat!

From a larger display, dialed-down bezels, juiced-up performance, to Apple Pencil support—there’s a lot to look forward to when the iPad Mini 6 hits the stores. But until Apple officially unveils the long-overdue device, here are some rumors to keep you excited. Read on for more on the release date, new features, and estimated price of the upcoming iPad Mini 6.

 

iPad Mini 6 Release Date – The Time is Nigh, Finally!

iPad fans…pull out your calendars and draw a huge red circle around March 16. According to multiple—and relatively reliable—sources, this is the date when Apple is supposedly scheduled to showcase the long-awaited iPad Mini 6 and a couple of other devices in a virtual event (*as is the case with any other post-COVID product announcement).

As reported by MacRumors, Ming-Chi Kuo (a well-respected Apple analyst) previously announced that “We predict that Apple will launch the new 10.8 inch ‌iPad‌ and 8.5–9 inch ‌iPad mini‌ models in 2H20 and 1H21, respectively…The two new ‌iPad‌ models will follow iPhone SE’s product strategy, and selling points will be the affordable price tag and the adoption of fast chips.”

Kuo’s prediction is backed by other sources—including Korea’s Economic Daily News, ETNews, and the Japanese blog Mac Otakara.

And besides, it’s in Apple’s nature to announce hardware upgrades in March—case in point, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch 4th Gen that was unveiled last year on March 18 and the iPad mini 5 on March 18, 2019. For this reason, the rumors are not far-fetched.

Along with the iPad Mini 6, expect a refresh of the iPad Pro series and AirTags. The well-renowned leaker Jon Prosser recently tweeted, “AirTags are still on for March”—and when asked about the upgraded 2021 iPad Pro, he replied, “Also March, as far as I know.”

PS: Kindly take the rumored release date of the iPad Mini 6 with a grain of salt—owing to the industry-wide supply chain disruptions following the pandemic.

 

iPad Mini 6 Design Revamped – Biggest Mini Yet?

While nothing is official yet, rumors seem to be gravitating towards an exciting bump up in screen size and a sleeker design—all without compromising the iconic compactness of the Mini-series. How so?

Similar to the latest iPad Pros, Apple is expected to achieve a more spacious iPad Mini 6 screen by simply slimming down its bezels. Mac Otakara and Ming-Chi Kuo suggest that the upcoming device will sport an 8.4-inch and 8.5 to a 9-inch display, respectively.

Display size aside, CAD renders released by Pigtou and @xleaks7 suggest that we might be treated to a complete overhaul in design. The pair—who have released on point renders in the past—believe that the iPad Mini 6 will boast of a particularly high screen-to-body ratio. It will likely have compact dimensions of 203.2 x 134.8 mm and a thickness of 6.25 mm—housing a 9.15-inch display.

iPad Mini 6 CAD renders (Source: Pigtou & @xleaks7)

As shown in the rendered images, the device may go against everything we’ve grown to associate with Apple by incorporating a punch-hole selfie camera. Pigtou and @xleaks7 further believe that the iPad will feature Touch ID on either the power button or under-display.

There are also suggestions that a Mini LED for Apple products has been in the pipeline for a while now—and we might get a glimpse of the OLED-esque experience sooner than later.  We’ll have to wait and see whether the display debuts in the March 2021 unveiling, or not.

 

iPad Mini 6 Rumored Specs and Features

  • Processor: An upgraded processors/chipset is a must-have in the tech world. With this in mind, the rumor mill points to either an A13 or A14 Bionic chip—up from the antiquated A8 processor.
  • Camera: The iPad Mini 5 had a 1.2MP selfie camera and an 8MP main camera. While the iPad is not necessarily a photography device, we at least expect camera quality that is decent enough for a Zoom meeting.
  • Ports: Could this be it? Couple Apple finally ditch the characteristic Lightning port for the globally-accepted USB-C port?
  • Apple Pencil Support: Back in September 2020, the iPad Air was imbued with Apple Pencil compatibility. We hope that the iPad Mini 6 joins the club.

 

iPad Mini 6 Price

When Apple released the iPad Mini 5 two years ago, the devices retailed at a starting price of $399. The idea was to create something powerful, compact, and pocket-friendly. This appealed to a huge population of tech enthusiasts—and it still does, especially with today’s economic hardships.

Coupled with the report by Ming-Chi Kuo’s (quoted earlier) regarding Apple’s strategy of leveraging an affordable price tag as a selling point, it is fair to assume that the iPad Mini 6 will not deviate too far from its predecessor’s price. So, expect to nab the Basic model for less than $500 when they hit the stores.

 

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iPhone SE Plus – The Rumor Mill as it Unfolds

iPhone users have a reason to be excited this year 2021. The word on the street is that Tim Cook and his Cupertino-based team are working on a new budget smartphone—dubbed the iPhone SE Plus or the iPhone SE 3). And drawing on the success of its predecessor, this doesn’t come as a surprise from a business viewpoint.

Saying the iPhone SE (2020) was a huge hit would be an understatement. According to The Guardian, the device was “Apple’s cut-price smartphone king. Top performance, good camera, long support and manageable size make cheaper iPhone a bargain.” This flattery is echoed by CNBC, which stated that “it’s the best iPhone for most people right now, given its incredible value.”

A quick Google search of the iPhone SE (2020) paints a picture of a smartphone that swept the media, critics, and customers off their feet—and the hopes are high for its successor. For this reason, read on for more on the rumored iPhone SE Plus—including its release date, design, specs, price, and everything in between.

 

iPhone SE Plus Rumored Release Date

Let’s hark back to April 15, 2020; the media team at Apple announced the second-generation of the 2016 iPhone SE via a Press Release on their website. The device was boldly marketed as “A powerful new smartphone in a popular design”—and it was scheduled for release on April 24, 2020. The phone hit the stores are promised and it more than lived up to the seemingly audacious claims by Apple.

Now, drawing on the trend observed with the previous iPhone releases, it makes sense for Apple to announce the new SE variant around the same time as its predecessor (i.e., April 2021). But incoming reports make this release unlikely.

According to a piece appearing on 9to5Mac, a reliable Apple analyst known as Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that we may not see the next instalment in the SE lineup until the 2nd half of 2021 due to widespread disruptions in the supply chain. A similar perspective is shared by a Barclays analyst.

However, Ross Young and JP Morgan Chase (via GizChina) draw a grimmer picture by slating the iPhone SE Plus for a 2022 release date. With such conflicting information, you’ll have to keep tabs on the rumor mill for more accurate release date predictions.

 

iPhone SE Plus Design and Size

The iPhone SE (2020) was a beast under the hood—sporting an A13 bionic chipset and all. Its only drawbacks were the outdated design and small size. The upcoming iPhone SE Plus is touted to ‘stamp a band-aid’ on both flaws by offering a design upheaval.

The latest (January 19, 2021) and most widely cited rumor of the iPhone SE Plus design comes from a tweet by the well-known tipster @aaple_lab. The supposed leak features a render of the phone and a few specifications to get fans excited.

Based on the render, the next iPhone SE will adopt a more modern design—including a wide notch (seen in other recent iPhones), minimal bezels, and a non-existent home button. Interestingly, the device might integrate Touch ID into the power button. On the back, the smartphone sports a single camera and it comes in white, red, and black.

The tweet by @apple_lab also confirms the rumors by Ross Young, who had earlier speculated that the iPhone SE Plus would be 6.1 inches—a major size upgrade from the 4.7-inch iPhone SE (2020). As for the screen, all hints point to a cheaper LCD/IPS panel rather than OLED.

In more theoretical territory, a recent concept illustration by Svetapple.sk shows an iPhone 12-borrowed design that’s to die for. But since it’s purely artistic and unlikely to make way into stores, we’ll leave it at that.

 

 

iPhone SE Plus Cameras and Other Specs

Although the iPhone SE (2020) used slightly outdated sensors on its single 12MP camera, it performed surprisingly well for its price range. The third generation of the device is expected to follow this tradition with a 12MP iSight sensor for the rear camera and a 7MP sensor selfie camera. Though it remains to be seen, there’s a good chance that Apple might go with a double or even triple camera.

The camera specs look modest on paper, but with the computational photography power of the A13/A14 Bionic chips—it has the potential to be one best value camera phones among its competitors. The device is also tipped to feature 6 portrait light effects, Smart HDR 3, and OIS.

As for battery and charging, we can only hope for an improvement over the measly 1,821 mAh battery capacity that underwhelmed customer last year.

 

What is the Rumored Price of the iPhone SE Plus?

With the economic uncertainties that continue to cast an ominous cloud over the world, an affordable iPhone SE Plus would be a huge relief for countless users looking for a big-screen phone that takes advantage of Apple’s revered ecosystem.

Whispers from leakers and tattlers suggest that the iPhone SE Plus could retail at around $499. With the possibility of a big 6.1-inch screen, powerful hardware, and the latest iOS, this sounds like a steal—even though it’s $100 more than its predecessor. It balances precariously on the edge of budget and mid-range smartphones, which constitute the bulk of users.

 

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Chinese New Year 2021 – Tradition Meets Modernity

Mouth-watering food shared with loved ones, loud celebrations, colorful lantern displays lining the streets, shopping sprees, troupes of mesmerizing lion dancers, and spreading wishes of prosperity with lucky money (Red Envelopes). It’s easy to see why the Chinese New Year (aka. Spring Festival) is one of the most important times of the year for billions of people in China and across the globe.

The annual celebration, which has been practiced for millennia, is marked by the traditional lunisolar calendar – i.e., based on the astronomical observations of the Moon’s phases and Sun’s longitude. This means that the dates for the Spring Festival are constantly changing each year.

In 2021, the Chinese New Year starts on February 12—with festivities continuing for 40 days, characterized by multiple rituals and sub-festivals.

 

Chinese New Year 2021 – Year of the Ox

 

2021 is the Year of the OX

In Chinese astrology, there are 12 zodiac signs—derived from the year of birth. They include the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig—in that order. These Zodiac signs stem from an ancient Chinese folk story about “The Great Race.”

In the story, the Jade Emperor summoned 13 animals and announced that their order of arrival would determine how their names would appear in the calendar. (If you’re wondering why there are only 12 animals, the cat drowned).

The coming Chinese New Year 2021 ushers in the year of the Metal Ox. As a valued animal in Chinese culture, the Ox is believed to bring longevity, stability, and plenty of great things/achievements. This is set to be a productive and positive year – i.e. when all the hard work finally pays off.

 

Why is the Chinese New Year Important?

Since its inception thousands of years ago, the Chinese New Year has grown in importance in several countries—including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Tibet, South Korea, other countries with Chinese populations.

Eye-catching decorations aside, the Chinese New Year holds a special place in people’s lives for one reason; it’s a time for generations of families to spend time together and strengthen their bonds.

It is a prime opportunity for everyone to leave behind their every day obligation (school, work, etc.) and gather under a common purpose. One of the main themes of the occasion is spreading hope, promoting happiness, and wishing property for the coming lunar year.

As a testament to the significance of the Spring Festival, the event spawns one of the largest annual migrations in the world. Dubbed Chunyun, the spring migration attracted a staggering 3 billion travelers in 2020. As you might guess, this puts a strain on even the highly-developed infrastructure in China—but it’s definitely worth the hassle when it means spending valuable time with your kin.

Away from China, the festival is also a way to appreciate the uniqueness of traditional Chinese culture and to spread it to the world. Talking of traditions…

 

Chinese New Year Traditions and Taboos

The Chinese New Year is deeply rooted in tradition. And that’s clear right from the use of the traditional lunisolar calendar. The period is also characterized by several age-old practices and beliefs. For example, it is customary for people to clean their houses thoroughly and put up red decorations before the festival.

On the eve of the Chinese New Year, a family gathers in the home of the eldest member for a hearty traditional feast—often overflowing with dumplings and fish. This is followed by the Shou Sui dinner as the family stays awake through midnight to usher in the New Year. Customarily, people light firecrackers as a way to chase away evil monsters.

Another noteworthy tradition is gifting children with hongbao (red envelops/packets with money). The underlying idea is to wish them good health, prosperity, and ward off evil. (PS: The color red in Chinese culture symbolizes happiness, joy, vitality, prosperity, and wards off evil).

There are also some superstitions and taboos that surround the Spring Festival, especially on the first day. According to the beliefs, you should avoid sharp objects, brooms, crying children, theft, debt, laundry, porridge, damages clothes, monochrome fashion, and washing hair, among other taboo items/activities.

Please note that the traditions and practices may differ from one country to another—but the general idea of reuniting families is the same.

 

The Chinese New Year in the 21st Century

Times have changed since the inception of the Chinese New Year over 3,000 years ago. While most people still hold onto the foundational values and beliefs that define the festivals, elements of modernity also have an impact.

In our technologically-focused world, Spring Festival shopping has gone online as people prefer the convenience of home delivery, minimal hassle, tons of options, and awesome offers in eCommerce marketplaces. Even the iconic Red Envelopes can be sent over apps like WeChat in a colorful greetings message.

And due to the effects of pollution and safety reasons, many cities in China have banned private firework shows. But you can expect a couple of spectacular displays in public squares.

With that, the team here are Tech Armor wishes everyone New Year Goodness.

 

恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) “Happiness and prosperity!”

Samsung Galaxy S21 Release

Samsung Galaxy S21 Specs – Cheaper, Smarter, Lean!

Welcome to the Everyday Epic!” On January 14, Samsung finally took the wraps off by unveiling the much-anticipated Galaxy S21 lineup—and the South Korean tech giant did not disappoint. While all the 3 devices in the lineup boast of admirable qualities and improvements from the predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra characteristically stole the limelight—staking its claim as the Android phone to beat in 2021.

With the official shipping date scheduled for January 29, eager consumers are likely wondering whether making pre-orders and hitting the stores is worth it. What does the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup offer?

In a nutshell, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Series is the pinnacle of consumer-ready tech ingenuity encased in a—dare we say—bewitching casing! But you’re probably here for more than a one-sentence description of Samsung’s latest instalments. So, read on…

From a sleek design, impressive power ‘under the hood’, to a few out of the box (literary) surprises, here’s a snippet of what the recently revealed Samsung Galaxy S21 Series offers.

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Specs Sheet  

As the ‘upper crust’ of Samsung devices and probably Android phones, it perfectly reasonable to expect nothing but the most high-tech and exquisite features in the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup. And this is the exact direction Samsung took.

Here’s what the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup packs under the hood:

Specs Samsung S21 Samsung S21 PLUS Samsung S21 ULTRA
Dimensions 6 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

(6 ounces)

6.4 x 3 x 0.31 inches

(7.2 ounces)

6.5 x 2.97 x 0.35 inches

(8 ounces)

Build/Body Mid-frame: Aluminum

Back: Polycarbonate Plastic

Front: Gorilla Glass Victus

Mid-frame: Aluminum

Back: Gorilla Glass Victus

Front: Gorilla Glass Victus

Mid-frame: Aluminum

Back: Gorilla Glass Victus

Front: Gorilla Glass Victus

Display Full HD+ (6.2 inches) Dynamic AMOLED 2X flat display, 2400*1080 pixels Full HD+ (6.7 inches) Dynamic AMOLED 2X flat display, 2400*1080 pixels QHD+ (6.8 inches) Dynamic AMOLED 2X curved display, 3200*1440 pixels
Refresh Rate 120Hz 120Hz 120Hz adaptive (supported at QHD+
Back Camera Main: 12MP

Ultra-Wide: 12MP

Telephoto: 64MP

Main: 12MP

Ultra-Wide: 12MP

Telephoto: 64MP

Main: 108MP

Ultra-Wide: 12MP

3X Optical: 10MP

10X Optical: 10MP

Front Camera 10MP 10MP 40MP
Chipset (US/UK) Snapdragon 888/ Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888/ Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888/ Exynos 2100
RAM 8GB + 128GB/256GB 8GB + 128GB/256GB 12GB + 128GB/256GB, 16BG + 512 GB
Power/Battery 4,000mAh 4,800mAh 5,000mAh
Colors Phantom White, Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, and Phantom Violet Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, and Phantom White (+exclusives) Phantom Gray and Phantom White (+exclusives)
OS Android 11/One UI 3.1 Android 11/One UI 3.1 Android 11/One UI 3.1
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, 5G Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, 5G Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6E, 5G
Security Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner Ultrasonic In-Display Fingerprint Scanner

 

Design

The resounding feedback from the online community of tech reviewers—including MrWhoseTheBoss, MKBHD, and Unbox Therapy—is that the Samsung Galaxy S21s are eye candy, design-wise. They have an understated, clean, and sleek look.

The most obvious change to the phones’ design is the interesting integration of the camera module on the back. Samsung decided to retire the ‘Island’ design that had its fair share of critics—and instead opted to merge the camera module to the Aluminum midframe in a seamless flow. This reduces the annoying wobble and gives the phone an aesthetic upgrade. The back design is further compounded by a two-tone color, which Samsung calls ‘Phantom’.

Other noteworthy features include a USB 3.2 Type-C port, NO headphone jack, a speaker grille on the bottom, dust protection, and an IP68 waterproof rating.

 

Cameras

To quote TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business at Samsung, “be on the lookout for super-intelligent, pro-grade camera and video capabilities in 2021.” Could this refer to the S21 lineup? Maybe; maybe not—we’ll have to put the lenses to the test. But here’s what they hold on paper:

The Galaxy S21’s camera setup is more-or-less borrowed from its predecessor’s—with the exception of the highest-end Galaxy S21 Ultra.  Both the Galaxy S21 and S21+ sport a triple camera setup—consisting of the Main Sensor (12MP), an Ultrawide Sensor (12MP), and a Telephoto Lens (64MP).

The Ultra variant has two 10MP cameras and a 108MP main camera with a spruced-up second-gen image sensor to make up for the shortcomings of its predecessor.

If you’re one of those people who can’t resist recording noteworthy events, the Galaxy S21 Ultra supports 4K (60fps) video recording. And there’s a “Vlogger View” feature in the camera software that allows you to use both the rear and front camera at the same time—sweet, right!

 

Battery

The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra models will feature a 4,000mAh, 4,800 mAh, and 5,000mAh battery, respectively. While this doesn’t offer a significant boost from the Galaxy S20 Series, you can expect your device to hold more power courtesy of improved chipset efficiencies.

Charge-wise, they boast of 15W wireless charging, 4.5 reverse wireless charging, and 25W USB Power Delivery 3.0 fast charging. Again, we couldn’t expect any less from a flagship.

 

Accessories – Ditching the Charger, iPhone-Style

Remember when Apple decided to leave out a charger in its iPhone 12 packaging for environmental reasons? Well, Samsung is heading down that same road.

The recently announced devices will not ship with chargers in most regions. If you want one, you can order it at a reduced price. And that’s not all… You should also forget about the microSD card slot (not that anyone uses it anymore). This drive to reduce e-waste results in an uncharacteristically small and compact packaging box. Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how the Android community responds to the changes.

Amid all the dialed down accessories there’s one noteworthy addition. Samsung just tossed their famous S Pen Stylus into the Galaxy S Series lineup. Specifically, the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Although the device does not have the same housing cavity as the Galaxy Note Series, Samsung offers case options to both store and charge the Stylus. Could this spell the end of the Galaxy Note Series?

Let’s Talk Money – Galaxy S21 Prices

The past year has not been kind to a lot of people—and Samsung seems to understand this situation. This is because the phone manufacturer slashed the base price of the Galaxy S21 lineup.

The Galaxy S21 ($799) and S21+ ($999) are a whopping $200 cheaper than their predecessors—while the S21 Ultra ($1199) takes the price-cutting up a notch by retailing for $300 less than the S20 Ultra before it. While they’re still relatively high-priced, who would say no to an upgrade that saves you a couple of bucks?

 

Samsung Came Out Swinging!

The year may be in its infant stages, but it seems we already have a winner for the most value-driven phone of 2021. It’s interesting to see what other manufacturers have up their sleeves to usurp Samsung’s strong start.

And as you contemplate grabbing the biggest and baddest Android device in town, play safe! Observe COVID-19 safety rules and slap a protective screen protector from Tech Armor for your precious Samsung devices. (PS: Kick your hygiene up a notch with a Tech Armor Cleaning Kit).

Smartphones in 2021 – What’s Coming and When?

At its advent, you would have been completely justified to think that 2020 would not be a good year for smartphones and other devices. It did not seem like it would be a good year for anything to be frank. The biggest (annual) mobile device trade show of the year – Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 – was cancelled due to health concerns and most of the big companies pulling out. CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2020 happened early enough in the year not to be affected by the pandemic. Other events like IFA 2020, the Apple Event, and other big announcement events were different this year. No tech enthusiasts were in attendance, and instead, the events were live-streamed over various platforms. It was a new way of doing things, and while hands-on experiences are so important for tech devices, this new way was necessary.

 

A Good Year for Smartphones

Luckily, the resilience of smartphone manufacturers shone through and we got a plethora of devices – arguably more than previous years. The big players unveiled the latest and greatest they had to offer and more. To the credit of the manufacturers, this year saw more price points catered to so that no one was left out during these trying times. There truly is a device for everyone.

With the new released came further innovation. The manufacturers’ attempts to outshine each other brought about some great features and prices. There were attempts to push the boundaries of today’s technology, and as a result, we saw some great things this year, with a promise of even better things in the next few years.

 

We take a look back at what we got in 2020 and use that as a baseline to predict what we might get to see come 2021. All in all, there are reasons to be excited. No matter what kind of a smartphone user you are, you just cannot deny how cool some features we’ve seen are.

 

Big Smartphone Features We Saw in 2020

 

  1. 5G

5G has been the topic of discussion in prior years and 2020 finally saw it debut on smartphones. On paper, 5G is revolutionary. It brings with it a change in how we use our phones and other devices. The data transfer speeds are (sometimes) miles ahead of what is achievable on 4G. Running a speed test on 5G for the first time is like seeing a new magic trick. You can download a movie in seconds and an entire season of episodes in minutes. There is one caveat though: coverage.

 

5G coverage has improved and is set to be even better with the inclusion of the technology in the 2020 iPhones. It is bound to be mainstream within the next year or two. Because of its nature, total 5G coverage would require many receivers placed all over, at least for the top tier 5G bandwidth (mmWave). As a workaround, carriers are providing slower 5G with better reach. It is worth noting, however, that even slow 5G is better than 4G.

 

  1. The First 5nm Processors

Smartphone processing power has come leaps and bounds and yet another milestone was reached in 2020. The already fast 7nm architecture processors became second best to the first 5nm chip – Apple’s A14 Bionic. It is efficient, powerful, and became an even bigger deal when it was used as the blueprint for Apple’s revolutionary M1 chips for the Macbooks. The second 5nm chip was Huawei’s Kirin 9000, which was then followed by Qualcomm’s announcement of the Snapdragon 888 chip. Even Samsung is expected to feature their new Exynos 1080 chip in their next flagships. What all the 5nm chips have in common is the raw power and efficiency, which means greater performance with no negative effect on battery life.

 

  1. Android 11 & iOS 14

Each year sees the newest flavors of both Android and iOS. In 2020 we got both, with each bringing something different when compared to previous offerings. IOS 14 brought Android-like UI changes in the form of widgets that changed how users interacted with their home screens. Android 11 built on top of Android 10 and doubled down on privacy and security. There are some nifty features like a smarter AI Assistant that improve the overall user experience.

While the experience is very streamlined and standard across the board for Apple devices, it is a vastly different case for Android. Each manufacturer uses a skin to deliver what they think is the best version of the OS. Samsung introduced OneUI 3.0 for its newer devices while Oxygen OS 11 was unveiled for OnePlus devices. New versions of MIUI, ColorOS, and FunTouch OS were also unveiled, all based on Android 11.

 

  1. 108Mp Cameras

Devices bearing the Ultra and Pro monikers have brought some insane features in the past, but 2020 saw that taken to new heights. Devices like the S20 Ultra and the Mi Note 10 had 108MP main cameras – a mind-blowing figure. Using such a large sensor on a phone is an achievement in itself, and the images captured had lots of detail even when zoomed into.

 

  1. Insane Zoom Capabilities

On top of 108MP cameras came over 100x zoom, albeit hybrid (optical + digital). It was more of a marketing gimmick than anything else because zooming past a certain level makes photos unusable. Still, owners of phones like the Samsung S20 Ultra have all the bragging rights when it comes to zooming capabilities. From a more realistic standpoint, an optical zoom of 5x or 10x is very, very impressive. Such telephoto cameras are the gold standard.

 

  1. Super-Fast Wired & Wireless Charging

The huge numbers did not just stop at the cameras in 2020. The Mi 10 Ultra debuted with 120W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. I do not know what part of that you find most impressive. When wired, the phone goes from 0 to 41% in 5 minutes, and up to 100% in 23 minutes. Its wireless charging can fill it up in 100 minutes. Additionally, it has 10W wireless reverse charging, a technology that appeared in more upper echelon devices in 2020.

 

  1. High Refresh Rates

Smooth scrolling, responsive gaming – benefits of high refresh rate screens. What started at 90Hz quickly moved up to 120Hz and subsequently 144Hz as seen in 2020 gaming phones and some mainstream ones. High refresh rates improve the experience of the user, not exactly the phone’s raw power or capabilities. There are split camps as far as high refresh rates go – some do not care and some just cannot live without it. Which side are you on?

 

  1. The Return of Mediatek

You’d be forgiven for not knowing about MediaTek. The chip makers have been second best to Qualcomm for the longest time but had their resurgence in 2020 through their Dimensity range of chipsets. Cheap, but powerful, they featured in many midrange devices allowing manufacturers to offer very competitive prices, something not quite possible with Snapdragon chips.

 

  1. Weird, but Cool Smartphones

The LG Wing was a standout 2020 phone because of its rotating screen and all the possibilities it brought. This was in addition to the second generation foldables like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and the clamshell design Moto Razr throwback.

 

  1. The First Under-Display Camera

The ZTE Axon 20 became the world’s first smartphone with an under-display camera. It was announced in September and became available for purchase in December, although with limited availability.

 

 

What big features are coming in 2021?

 

  1. More 5nm Processors

While a lot of 5nm processors were announced in 2020, we are bound to see the bulk of them incorporated in smartphones in 2021. The most powerful generation of smartphones yet will make its way to your pocket in the course of this year, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 making its debut on the Xiaomi Mi 11 and S21 soon after.

 

  1. Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

Announced in 2020, the Snapdragon 888 is more than just another 5nm processor. The improvement from the previous gen 875 is quite significant, with boosts in CPU and GPU capabilities. Other huge talking points are camera capabilities, AI, and 5G. For camera, the 888 is capable of HDR video, insane low-light shots and snappy performance. Unlike the previous processor, the 5G modem is hosted on the chip making it cheaper and more power-efficient. There is a new AI chip that will make AI tasks all the more awesome.

 

  1. Invisible (Disappearing) Cameras

At CES 2020, OnePlus showcased the Concept One phone that had one headlining feature – the cameras at the back were there in one second and gone in the next. It electrochromic glass, the same technology that McLaren uses in its supercars to darken the sunroof. It is an aesthetic feature that will probably be in niche devices. It is still cool though.

 

  1. Rollable Displays

First showcased on TVs, we could very well see a smartphone with a rollable display for the mass market. Bets are up for which manufacturer will be the first to do it and the first to do it right. Unlike the disappearing cameras, rollable displays solve an actual problem – foldable phones have a crease and an unorthodox form factor. A rollable display can maintain the shape of a normal phone while still being able to extend to larger sizes.

 

  1. Even Faster Charging Speeds

Manufacturers like Oppo have already showcased 125W wired charging and 65W wireless charging. If this is anything to go by, 2021 will be the year where battery capacity does not matter as much if all it takes is a few minutes to get it charged to full capacity.

 

  1. Under Display Cameras

While the feature debuted in 2020, it is bound to go mainstream in 2021 – at least for the high-end devices. Having an uninterrupted display without the moving mechanisms required for a pop-up selfie camera should be quite the addition to smartphones.

 

  1. First Portless Phone

This is most likely going to be Apple if the past years are anything to go by. They made the headphone jack irrelevant – and with the inclusion of Magsafe – they might do the same to their infamous lightning port, at least on their iPhones. They already removed the charging brick from the retail packaging.

 

  1. The Return of TouchID

With the inclusion of OLED displays on the 2020 iPhones, Apple can now include TouchID on the 2021 iPhones and hopefully reduce or get rid of the huge notch entirely.

 

 

What devices are coming in 2021

 

  1. Samsung Galaxy S21 Lineup

Sources claim that we might see the S21 as early as January. The camera bump might see a new design with flat displays. There should be a new color as well – Mystic Purple. The best news? The series might start at a lower price than its predecessors.

Past years have seen complaints from regions that received S-series phones with Exynos processors because they were inferior to the Snapdragon versions. 2021 may be different though. Samsung’s in-house 5nm processor may finally be just as good as the latest Qualcomm processor, at least in terms of raw performance.

Lastly, we may see the last Galaxy Note device this year, or none at all! The S21 might just have S-Pen support.

 

  1. Galaxy Z Fold 3

The Fold 3 might just be replacing the Note in 2021. It is set to have S-Pen support and under-display cameras.

 

  1. Pixel 6

Google chose to focus on good performance and more affordable pricing and the result was a mid-range flagship. Chances are that Google will go the same route for the Pixel 6, but with much better camera performance, which is saying a lot for a Pixel device.  More interestingly is that the Pixel 6 might use a version of Samsung’s 5nm Exynos processor.

 

  1. iPhone 13 Lineup

Not a lot is known about the iPhone 13 series, but it might just be the first portless smartphone lineup. A 120Hz ProMotion display is all but guaranteed at this point. Fingers crossed that the notch shrinks in size!

 

  1. OnePlus 9 Lineup

OnePlus might have three devices in their lineup – the standard 9, the Pro, and the new 9E. The 9E might be the affordable flagship, sort of like the 8T. The design of the OnePlus 9 might be new, specifically on the placement of the camera modules.

 

  1. 2021 iPads

Apple’s iPads are the best tablets – period. With the strides that Apple is making both in hardware and software, the gap between them and second-best can only get wider. 5G may be included in the entire lineup, as well as iterative upgrades.

 

Looking Forward

There is certainly a lot to look forward to in 2021 – this applies to both smartphones and life in general. We can only sit and wait – as we protect ourselves – and protect all our current devices with the brilliant Tech Armor Accessories.