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.

 

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).

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Device Review

A Review of the iPhone 12 & 12 Pro

While Apple announced four iPhone 12 models, only two of the four were released with the others set to come at a later date. The similarly-sized iPhone 12 and 12 Pro were made available on the 23rd of October, with the 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini slated for November releases.

The 12 & 12 Pro are arguably the most popular iPhone choices anyway. The two phones are more similar than they have ever been, and choosing between them is going to be a real headache. Consequently, what is said for one mostly remains true for the other—except for a few distinguishing features and the accompanying price difference.

So what did Apple give us this year?

 

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Pro - Macworld UK

 

The Return of a Beloved Design

Every few years, Apple redesigns the iPhone to keep it looking fresh—while triggering that gadget lust in all of us. 2020 is inevitably one of those years. While it is refreshing, Apple’s design isn’t necessarily new. It pays homage to the flat edges that we first saw on the iPhone 4 and then later the original iPhone SE.

This design aesthetic is also found in another of Apple’s products – the iPad Pro.

The 2020 iPhones have flat edges all round, so flat that they can stand on their own. The notch and the camera bump largely bear resemblance to last year’s devices. The bodies, however, are thinner and lighter than last year.

The choice of materials is one of the distinguishing factors between the vanilla 12 and the Pro: the former is made of aluminum while the latter is made of stainless steel. While stainless steel is arguably the better material, it does attract a lot more fingerprints than aluminum making it look a little less pristine. Regardless, both devices feel nothing short of premium.

 

Better Displays

One thing that is not getting mentioned enough when talking about significant upgrades is the display. All iPhones get an OLED display that sits somewhere between FullHD and QHD. It looks stunning, which is saying something seeing as the iPhone 11 had a great display, albeit LCD. Consequently, the bezels are thinner and the contrast ratio has significantly improved. It is the best display on any iPhone to date.

The notches are still the only downside to what would have otherwise been a great-looking screen. It is understandable that the notch takes up so much space – FaceID is still the most secure unlocking method on any platform.

 

New Processor & iOS 14

The A14 debuted with the 2020 iPad Air, but its inclusion in the iPhones will always be more significant. Combined with iOS 14 – it flies. It’s a shame that the iPhone 12 did not get the eagerly anticipated 120Hz ProMotion display. Regardless, if this 60Hz screen is anything to go by, we are in for a treat for when iPhones finally get high refresh rate screens!

 

MagSafe

It’s safe to say that the return of MagSafe was unexpected. On the back of the iPhones are magnets that align with the MagSafe charger for 15W wireless charging.  Charging aside, MagSafe allows accessories to be appended to the back of the iPhone, a capability that will surely see a slew of third-party accessories. The magnets are relatively strong, allowing the charger to align perfectly every single time for efficient charging. Apple essentially took the guesswork and fidgeting out of wireless charging.

Still on matters charging, Apple remains stubborn about switching out the lightning port for the more conventional USB-C which it has already added to products like the iPad Pro. Maybe next year?

5G

The iPhone 12 release event had 5G left, right, and center. Apple listed the inclusion of 5G as one of the reasons for a design refresh. While Android competitors have been there and done that, nothing is ever mainstream until Apple includes it in their products. All the iPhones in the 2020 lineup get 5G. The inclusion of 5G now makes a lot of sense. Why? Because people usually keep their iPhones for several years. In that period of time, 5G will definitely have become more widespread than it is currently, and the iPhone 12 will be future-proofed. However, the inclusion of 5G is regional depending on whether the infrastructure is present or not.

IOS 14 is optimized to maximize the use of 5G, as well as manage its battery-use.

 

Improved Cameras

The most notable visual difference between the 12 and the 12 Pro is the extra lens and the LiDar sensor. The iPhone 12 Pro has a 2x optical zoom camera. When compared to last year’s iPhones, the setups are largely similar with some tweaks and improvements. The camera setups are as follows:

  • A 12-megapixel wide camera with an f/1.6 aperture, optical image stabilization, and a new, 7-element lens.
  • A 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with an f/2.4 aperture and a 120-degree field of view.
  • A 12-megapixel telephoto camera, with a 2x optical zoom range exclusive to the iPhone 12 Pro.

While capturing still photos is as great as ever on the iPhones, it is the video department that has seen the most improvement. The iPhone 12 lineup pioneers shooting in Dolby Vision on mobile devices. Dolby Vision is video technology that is used by Hollywood studios and Microsoft’s next-gen gaming consoles. Stills have also improved, thanks to the 12 and 12 Pro having a slightly larger image sensor that takes in 27% more light.

 

A Close Call

This year more than ever, the iPhone 12 gives the 12 Pro a run for its money. Starting at $799, there is a $200 difference between the 12 and the Pro, making the base 12 a very compelling option. Granted, the iPhone 12 starts at 64GB base storage while the Pro starts at 128GB and has less sensors, but most people will not mind losing out on those features. Whichever the case, a case from TechArmor should fit any of the two, seeing as they have the same dimensions. Get one here.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ - Device Review

Plus means better. Plus means more. The Galaxy Tab S7 was already a great android tablet offering from Samsung, so by extension, the S7+must be a cut above.

Not a lot can be said for Android tablets. They have been underwhelming at best, with Apple’s iPads being miles ahead in almost every aspect, including popularity. Samsung’s capability, however, has never been in question and the Galaxy name is associated with some of the best hardware there is in mobile devices – and their tablet hardware is on the verge of catching up. So how good is the S7+ really? What improvements has it made on the S6 and how does it stack up against the regular S7 and its fierce rivals?

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 & S7+ | Samsung US

 

  1. Display

The Galaxy Tab S7+ sports a 12.4” Super AMOLED 120Hz display. There is everything to love about that sentence. If nothing else, Samsung is known to have the best displays on the market. This is an improvement in both size and quality when compared to the 11.0” LTPS 120Hz screen on the regular Tab S7 and even more so when compared to the Tab S6. It is a 16:10 display with 2800×1752 resolution, coming to a pixel density of 266 PPI. It has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection and is HDR10+-capable. The display is buttery smooth and an absolute delight to consume media on.

 

  1. Performance

Samsung did not hold any punches when it came to performance. The Tab S7 has the very powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ with 6/8GB RAM (LPDDR5), 128/ 256/ 512GB storage (UFS 3.1 Flash) combinations. It flies. It has Samsung OneUI 2.5 based on Android 10 out of the box. Reports say that Android 11 for the Tab S7+ is already in beta, though.

The 120Hz refresh rate helps breeze through the UI, though there are a few software hiccups consistent with Android tablets. App optimization is one of these problems, and it can consistently make you forget that the hardware you are using is impeccable. This one of the areas where iPads leave Android tablets in the dust.

The Tab S7+ has a 10,090 mAh battery with 45W fast-charging, though only a 15W charger is included in the box. You will get between 14 and 15 hours of battery life while watching video, better than the iPad Pro.

Samsung DeX is also present, a feature that allows you to use the tablet like a desktop PC.

 

  1. Connectivity

There are two versions of the Tab S7+, the 5G version and the Wi-Fi model. The 5G model supports both mmWave and Sub-6, and the latter has Wi-Fi 6. Both models have Bluetooth 5.0.

 

  1. Design

The Tab S7+ has hints of the 2020 iPad Pro in its design, which is the device it is meant to be challenging for the title. It is a thin slab of glass and aluminum with flat edges. At the top is the power button, volume rocker, microphone and the card slot. On the opposite end right in the middle is they keyboard connector for connecting the accessory. On the left are two speaker grills and a microphone, with the right side having two more speaker grills and a USB-C port. The camera module at the back is above the groove where the S Pen magnetically rests and charges when not in use.

Color options available are Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, and Mystic Bronze, though the 5G version is limited to Mystic Black.

 

  1. Camera

The Tab S7+ has a dual camera system with a 13 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide) main camera capable of 4K@60 video and a 5 MP, f/2.2, 12mm ultrawide lens. The front camera is a 8 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide) lens capable of 1080@30 video.

 

  1. Accessories

Unlike the iPad, the Tab S7+ ships with the S Pen ready. The Samsung Book Cover keyboard, though sold separately, is a necessity to fully take advantage of what the S7+ has to offer. They keyboard also serves as protection for the thin tablet and attaches magnetically.

 

Verdict

The Tab S7+ is by far the best Android tablet there is. It has fantastic hardware, but has a few software issues to overcome before it can truly dethrone the iPad Pro.

 

The Best Screen Protection For the Best Android Tablet

The S7+, like all investments, needs to be well-cared for. Inevitabilities like drops and scratches are not likely to worry you if you are assured that it is protected at all times. And who does not like options?

The Tech Armor HD Clear Film screen protectors are not made out of glass, but of Japanese PET film and high-grade silicone adhesives for rainbow-free viewing clarity and easy, bubble-free installation. They have anti-fingerprint, oleophobic coating that resists smudges and helps maintain the pristine clarity of your Tab S7+. Oh yeah, and it’s a pack of 2!

If a matte feel is your thing, the Tech Armor Anti-Glare/Anti-Fingerprint Matte Film screen protector is the way to go. Also coming in a pack of 2, it does what it says in the name to very  high standards. Protection without compromise. Get yourself a pack here.

Device Review - Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra

The Best Samsung Phone of 2020 Walks Among Us – A Look at Note 20 & Note 20 Ultra

Every year, Samsung gathers the best smartphone specs and puts them into one lineup.  As Samsung’s most powerful phone of the year, Note phones always attempt to snap the competition out of existence.

The Note 10 announcement in 2019 brought with it Samsung dual-release format that saw 2 Note phones released: the Note 10 and Note 10+. The difference between the two was mainly in the size, with the regular note being significantly smaller than the plus model.

Flash forward to 2020 and Samsung released 2 phones as well: the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra. Borrowing from the Galaxy S lineup, the Ultra moniker is meant to signify the most premium of premium smartphones. What dis this mean for the regular Note 20?

Well, this year saw significant differences between the two models, the size being the least of them. Just how good are this year’s Notes? Is the Ultra worthy of its name? Here’s a quick review of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra.

 

Galaxy Note 20

The vanilla Note 20, at face value, look pretty similar to the Ultra. That is until you start looking a little closer. Coming in at $1000, any buyer would expect to receive a lot of high-end specs for the price. Unfortunately, the Note 20 falls just short of expectations, even with some improvement on last year’s offerings.

 

Build and Design

The Note 20 is available in 3 colors: Mystic Bronze, Mystic Green, and Mystic Gray. It sports the same squared-off design found in the Note 10 series but with one very questionable design choice: it has a plastic back. For context, the regular Note 10 came in 5 colors and featured a Gorilla Glass 6 back. Gorilla Glass (5) can still be found on the Note 20, but just on the front. It is a flat panel, with the curved edges only appearing on the back of the phone.

The camera arrangement is different on this year’s Notes, with significantly bigger lens cutouts housed in a wider camera bump. The bump adds to the 8.3mm thickness. The front has an Infinity-O cutout for the selfie camera.

The bottom of the phone has a bottom-firing speaker, the USB-C port, a microphone, and the S-Pen slot which is found in the bottom left as opposed to the right as in previous years.

It has IP68 water/dust resistance.

 

Display

The Note 20 has a 6.7” Super AMOLED display at 60Hz and 1080p resolution. It is a great Samsung panel by all means. It is a much bigger screen than last year’s regular Note, which came in at 6.3”. This is in line with the idea of a Note phone and Note lovers will appreciate the bigger screen. The glaring feature here is the lack of a high refresh rate screen which has almost become a 2020 staple, appearing at almost all price points. Lack of a QHD-capable screen might also be an issue, but most people enjoying high-refresh rates on Samsung flagships have had to stick to 1080p anyway.

 

S-Pen

The S-Pen, the hallmark feature of the Note series, saw great improvement this year. While all the great and gimmicky features remain, the latency has been reduced by about 40% as compared to last year. It gives a true pen-to-paper feeling this year.

 

Battery and Charging

The Note 20 has a 4,300 mAh battery with 25W fast-charging. The battery is up from 3,500 mAh last year, but the charging speed remains the same.

 

Memory and Storage

The Note 20 has a decent 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of UFS 3.0 storage, similar to last year. There is no expandable storage onboard but the provided storage should suffice for most buyers.

 

Cameras

The Note 20 has a triple camera setup:

  • Main: 12MP f/1.8
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2
  • Zoom: 64MP f/2.0 3x, 30X SpaceZoom

The Note 20 has a similar camera setup to that of the S20 lineup, with the ability to record 8K video on the 64MP sensor. The photos are great, not very far off from the Note 20 Ultra

 

Note 20 Ultra

It is really in the name. The Note 20 is the premium device. It has significant improvements, not only on last year’s most expensive model, but also on its 2020 sibling.

 

Build and Design

The Note 20 Ultra is a squared-off glass and aluminum sandwich: pardon the tech YouTuber cliché. It comes in 5 colors compared to the 3 in the regular Note, adding Mystic Black and Mystic White to the color options. The Mystic Bronze on the Ultra looks and feels great with its matte finish. The front and back sport the new Gorilla Glass 7, also known as Victus. It feels like an expensive phone, and it is at $1,300.

The Note 20 Ultra is surprisingly thinner than the Note 20 at 8.1mm, even though it is 16 grams heavier. It has flat edges and squared corners as compared to smoother edges on previous Notes.

 

Display

The Ultra is bigger with a 6.9” Super AMOLED screen at 120Hz and QHD+ resolution. It is slightly bigger than the Note 10+ which had a 6.8” display. It is one of, if not the best display on a smartphone. Better than any other Samsung phone, Note or otherwise. It is also the biggest display on a Samsung phone yet. It is slightly curved, just enough to look as good as last year’s Notes while greatly reducing cases of accidental touches. The 120Hz and QHD+ resolution are great specs, but unfortunately cannot be enjoyed simultaneously. The higher refresh rate is only at 1080p. What a waste.

 

S-Pen

While the 46ms latency on the Note 20 is impressive, the Ultra one-ups that with 9ms. 9! Coupled with the high refresh rate screen, this is as close to drawing on a real canvas as it gets. The older Notes do not even come close!

 

Battery and Charging

Both Notes share the 25W fast-charging, but the Ultra has a bigger 4500mAh battery. However, the cut down specs in the Note 20 give it a better endurance rating than the Ultra.

 

Memory and Storage

The Ultra comes with up to 512GB of on-board storage, with MicroSD storage expansion supported for up to 1TB.

 

Cameras

  • Main: 108MP f/1.8
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP f/2.2
  • Zoom: 12MP f/3.0 5x, 50X SpaceZoom

With a huge and very noticeable camera bump, the Note 20 Ultra offers more than just a wow factor. The 50x sensor cuts down on the issues that plague the S20 Ultra and produces excellent photos.

 

Both 2020 Notes share the following specs:

Processor

Samsung continues its very controversial inclusion of Exynos processors for flagships in European markets. The better Snapdragon 865 Note phones are sold in the United States. Benchmarks and real-world tests showed that last year’s Exynos 9825 Soc was behind the Snapdragon 855. The Snapdragon 865 comfortably edges out this year’s Exynos 990. Either way, the Note 20 offers improved performance as compared to the Note 10 and 10+.

 

Connectivity

There are 4G and 5G variants for the Note 20, allowing buyers to choose based on preference or 5G availability. 5G was not available at all for 2019 Notes.

 

Final Thoughts

While some choices made for the regular Note 20 are mind-boggling, it is still a solid offering giving the full ‘Note’ experience. The price, the worst of those choices, is not appealing at all and might just be Samsung’s way of pushing more people towards the Ultra. The Ultra is a beast of a phone, ticking all the right boxes and then some. It might be huge and unwieldy to some, but it is a great media machine.

 

iPhone SE 2020 - Device Review

A Review of iPhone SE (2020) – The Most Powerful Budget Phone in a Nutshell

The iPhone SE is back! Loaded with enough power to challenge the best smartphones available—but for a fraction of the price. The first iPhone branded with the ‘SE’ name tag took the market by storm back in 2016. And judging by the fuss surrounding the new iPhone SE (2020), it seems well on track to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor. Here’s a breakdown of why the device is regarded as a market-disrupting game-changer.

Blistering Fast A13 Bionic Processor

The highlight of the iPhone SE (2020) is its processor—the A13 Bionic chip. Why is this such a big deal? The A13 is the same processor that powers the iPhone 11 models—and it has a rapport as one of the most powerful smartphone chipsets available today. Including a flagship-worthy processor in a budget phone caught most people by surprise (in a good way). So, whether you’re looking for a new gaming phone or a device capable of handling resource-intensive processes, the iPhone SE (2020) has more than enough power to exceed your expectation.

 

Pricing

The idea of owning a brand new top-shelf iPhone for $399 sounds comical. If you’re on a budget, few devices—if any—can offer better value for money. Think about it: The iPhone SE (2020) boasts of the same performance (relatively) as the $999 iPhone 11 Pro. But what’s the catch? Apple must make profits by cutting down on costs somewhere, right?

Sure, the latest iPhone SE’s chipset is impressive or even too good for its price range—but that’s not the whole picture. Some features can only be quantified by the user. For example, how do you feel about shorter battery life? What about Bezels? Do you care about a telephoto, ultrawide rear camera, or night mode? If these factors are deal-breakers to you, then iPhone SE does not provide value for money (to you at least).

 

iPhone SE (2020) Design and Display Specs – Old is Gold (*Almost)

How do you create a budget phone? To most manufacturers, this means dialing down on the performance or cameras—but not Apple! As evidenced by the iPhone SE, the company’s solution to cutting costs is packing top-of-the-range internal components in the body of an older model. It’s like fitting the 760-horsepower engine of Ford Mustang Shelby in a Toyota Prius.

The screen’s design borrows from the iPhone 8, which in turn borrowed from the iPhone 7 and iPhone 6—only that this time it’s been spruced up. In fact, screen protectors used on the iPhone 6/7/8 are also compatible with the new iPhone SE. It features a flat 4.7-inch Retina display (1334×750 pixels) with HDR adjustments, True Tone enhancements, and wide color gamut support.

 

How Good is the iPhone SE (2020) Camera and Battery?

Apple’s iPhone SE comes with a single 12MP rear camera, deviating from the dual and triple camera in the iPhone 11. It features phase-detection autofocus, optical stabilization, Smart HDR, and portrait mode. The front-facing camera is fitted with a 7MP unit that supports Retina flash.

As for the battery, a 1,821mAh (same as the iPhone 8’s) leaves a lot to be desired—but you also have to factor in Apple’s device optimization prowess. It comes with a disappointing 5W charger, though you can use any USB-PD charger you have lying around.

 

A Hit or Miss?

The iPhone SE (2020) is a remarkable device. If you’re strapped for cash, investing in the smartphone is a no-brainer. Well, as long as you can live with the bezels. But if bezels make you queasy, you can add another $200 for the iPhone XR or $300 for the iPhone 11. And if you already own an iPhone 6, 7, or 8, the iPhone SE (2020) is largely the same—but on ‘steroids.’ All factors considered; we believe the latest iPhone SE is a HIT! It’s a device that will serve you diligently for the next couple of years. Well, as long as you protect it with Tech Armor’s screen protection.