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.

 

Tech Armor – Because You Can Never be Too Safe

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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!”

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.

Cleaning and Care for Mobile Devices

Name a better duo than your mobile phones and hands…we’ll wait. Research shows that we touch our screens up to over 5,000 times for us heavy user. We would likely spiral into a series of tantrums or feel completely lost if we misplaced our mobile devices.

But how often do you stop to consider the host of illness-causing germs (including the COVID-19 virus) that live on the surfaces of your must-have mobile devices? Unless you’re a self-proclaimed germophobe, we’ll assume it’s not that often.

Covering your face, washing your hands, and observing social distancing protocols is great! But failing to clean some of you most-touched surfaces leaves you susceptible to illnesses and grossly unsightly devices.

Now comes the million-dollar question; how do you remove gunk, clear fingerprints, and disinfect your phone without compromising its surface with an eye-sore of scratches?

Read on for our phone cleaning tips…

Tips to Cleaning and Sanitizing Cell Phones and Other Mobile Devices

First things first; know your cleaning products! Start by differentiating between what works and what will cause more harm than good to your mobile devices.

As a rule of thumb, clean your mobile devices with a textured microfiber cloth and a water-based disinfectant. Steer clear of window cleaners, hand sanitizers, kitchen cleaners, paper towels, ammonia-based cleaners, makeup removers, vinegar, and dish soap. So put down that bottle of bleach unless you’re planning to fork out extra dollars to get a new high-end phone.

Here’s how to clean and care for different mobile devices:

  • Tablet, Laptop, and Phone Cleaning: Did you know that it’s advisable to clean your phone at least once every day? Sanitizing cell phones or laptops may not be the first thing on your mind—but it’s necessary, especially as COVID-19 cases continue to soar around the globe. If you’re using a cleaning solution, first turn off your device, apply the formula on a microfiber cloth, and gently wiping your devices. Alternatively, you can use specialized disinfectant wipes.
  • Smartwatches and Fitness Trackers: If there was a hierarchy of the most touched mobile devices, smartwatches and fitness trackers would be second in command after cell phones. And like phone cleaning, you can use both wipes and microfiber cloth bathed in a cleaning solution for a lint-free, streak-free wipe-down.
  • Cleaning Earphones and Headphones: Use a microfiber cloth dampened with a water-based disinfectant cleaning solution. And don’t forget to dig into the gunk or wax sitting in grille parts of your AirPods.
  • Cleaning Flat Screen TVs: Okay, this isn’t really a mobile device but it’s an often-neglected piece of tech—and it deserves some love (cleaning) from time to time. Turn the device off and apply some cleaning solution on a microfiber cloth before going over the surface. And ensure your remote control gets in on the action.

Tech Armor – Protect Your Screen, Protect Your Health

Remember that water-based disinfectant we mentioned earlier? Well, this is it! We have not one; not two; not three; but four cleaning kits to keep your mobile devices gleaming and germ-free.

If you want to go all-in—leaving no stone unturned—you can grab the complete cleaning kit.  And if you’re always on the go and carrying an entire set of cleaning products in your back pocket doesn’t sound appealing, maybe a pack of 100 Tech Armor Purify Go Cleaning Wipes will do. You can also buy a cleaning kit with our Extramove formula.

In other words; Say Adios to grime, smudge, fingerprint, and pesky germs! Tech Armor has phone cleaning solutions to keep your devices sparkly clean at a microscopic level.

Hottest Gadgets for the Holidays 2020

If you listen closely, you might hear the joyful chime of jingle bells emanating from the North Pole. Christmas (aka., gifting season) is nearly upon us—and you better be prepared with the right gift for your tech-loving friends.

Let’s be honest; gifting has always been a minefield of uncertainty and risky purchases—and this year it takes a new form of urgency. The holidays in 2020 offer a much-welcomed break from the tumultuous years that has left most of us scarred in one way or another.

But while the need for a spirit of gifting is given, finding the hottest and best gifts 2020 is a whole ‘nother issue. Even with the widespread disruption following the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a relatively active year for techies. Manufacturers have ‘churned’ out all kinds of cool gadgets—some better than others. The tech announcements also mean that there are tons of possible gadgets for the holidays. This large number of choices can be overwhelming—which is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to scour the internet on your behalf.

Read on for a guide on the best gadgets 2020 that are ideal for holiday gifting. Whether you’re a gamer, fitness warrior, or kitchen aficionado, we have something for you.

 

Gaming – The SteelSeries Nimbus+ Apple Gaming Controller

Winter is coming lads and lassies! It’s freezing outside, there are holiday offers from left to right, the folk are at home, no school/work for most, and some cool gadgets are out. For gamers, this is a time to gear up and charge into virtual battle.

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your gaming set-up or send a gamer some of the best gadgets 2020 as a gift, there’s no better time like the present. And if you’re looking for an inspiring gifting idea, we recommend the new SteelSeries Nimbus+ Apple Gaming Controller. We’d have suggested the Next-Gen PlayStation 5 Console, but getting your hands on one at this time is quite the hassle.

Now, what is the SteelSeries Nimbus+ Apple Gaming Controller and why is it one of the best tech gifts 2020? It’s simply one of the best gaming controllers for iPhone—and we suspect few alternatives can usurp it in terms of compatibility, convenience, and performance!

The gadget is officially licensed by Apple and it’s specifically designed to shine in all platforms by the Cupertino-based tech giant—including TvOS, iPadOS, and of course, iOS. It even boats of Apple-specific features such as a Lighting port, an iPhone mount, and a Home button. The controller brings next-level tactility to the Apple gaming framework.

In all honesty, we wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of someone wielding the SteelSeries Nimbus+ combined with the badass performance of the iPhone 12’s A14 Bionic Chip. So rest assured that your gamer friend will be gleaming with excitement when they unwrap this cool gadget.

 

Fitness/IoT – Mirror Smart Home Fitness System 

If you’re willing to place $1,495 for one of the most interactive fitness experiences to date, the Mirror is as astonishing as they come. As you can tell from the brand name, it’s a reflective mirror—but not just any mirror; it also doubles are your personal trainer. It’s like a private gym—complete with an instructor.

With this downright cool gadget, you can watch live, on-demand fitness classes led by an instructor on the LCD display. It combines advanced machine learning and top-of-the-range camera technology to gather information about your form/body and provides real-time feedback on your progress.

One interesting feature of the Mirror is a one-on-one personal training option that allows a trainer to see your form as your exercise. Combined with the heart-rate monitor and fitness bands, you no longer have to worry about whether your form is correct.

There are more-than-enough classes and streams on the gadget’s platform to ensure you stay healthy. Whether it’s boxing, strength training, yoga, or good ol’ cardio, the Mirror’s library got you covered. And when you’re not in the mood for crunches and squats, the sleek and modern design of the full-length mirror still looks great as part of your home décor.

But if you’re gifting the Mirror to someone, you might want to mention that there is a membership fee of $39/month. Regardless, it’s easily one of the best tech gifts 2020.

 

Kitchen – Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System

Hey, y’all coffee junkies? What if we told you that there is a cool gadget that can fulfil nearly all of your wildest caffeine fix desires? And no, this is neither click-bait nor a far-fetched idea. Whether you’re in the mood for a chai latte, mouth-watering drip coffee, a cappuccino, iced coffee, or a near-flawless cold brew, the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System has a function to quell your thirst.

Just like real-life/cinematic ninjas, the gadget is impressively flexible and versatile. It comes with a reusable filter, thermal carafe, and even a frother. The automated and programmable coffee maker lets you serve your drink of choice in multiple sizes. The Ninja Hot and Cold Brew System is the Swiss army knife of the coffee world—and one of the best gadgets 2020.

But it’s not just about what’s under the hood, the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System is an aesthetically-appealing kitchen appliance. It features a piano black plastic surface and a glossy finish, with silver highlights. This stylish appearance is capped off by sleek LED indicators.

The coffee makes takes a spot in this list of best gadgets 2020 for two reasons. One, a dose of your favorite cup of Joe is quite comforting, especially in the cold weather that characterizes the holidays. Two, the versatility of the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System means that you can effectively address the caffeine needs and tastes of different family member/friends as you wind down the year.

 

With those few holiday gadget idea, HAPPY HOLIDAYS from the team here at Tech Armor.

Google Pixel 5 – What To Expect

What comes to your mind when you think about the Pixel phone lineup? Cameras and software, right? You know the drill by now, every tech reviewer with a Pixel device in hand almost always talks about the “best point-and-shoot” cameras and “guaranteed, fast software updates”. While true, is that really all there is to a Pixel?

Google Pixel 5 design render

Throwback to the Nexus

Taking a quick trip down DDR5 memory lane, the 5th Pixel installation corresponds to the 5th device in the Nexus phone line: the Nexus 5 – arguably the best (most popular?) device from Google. While fondly remembered, the Nexus 5 had glaring flaws, especially in the hardware department. The cameras were not great and neither was the battery life; two areas that could kill a release on launch in today’s market. The flaws were, however, extremely easy to overlook thanks to the Snapdragon 800 and the brand new Android Kitkat for just $349.

 

A Second Chance

Last year’s Pixel 4 line-up was not exactly received well. Google’s innovative additions were mostly overlooked and instead, the focus was on the relatively lofty price, uneven bezels, and underwhelming battery life. That was last year though. Google’s release of the Pixel 4a much to positive reception might bode well for the Pixel 5.

So, what should you as the user expect from the Pixel 5?

 

Better Camera Options

The Pixel 4 is right up there with the most leaked phones of all time. Even Google themselves got in on the action. The camera cut-out looked like it had a triple-lens setup. It eventually turned out to be 2 cameras, but the most disappointing aspect was that neither was a wide-angle lens.

This year bodes well for Pixel lovers and users because the word is that the Pixel 5 might have a triple-lens setup with the wide-angle lens joining the foray. Google has surely taken feedback from the Pixel 4 into account this time around.

Leaked renders show a familiar square-shaped camera cut-out on the back, with a flash unit and what looks like three lenses (it looked the same last year so…). The front has a single selfie camera, this time in a punch hole as Google will supposedly ditch the chunky top bezel in the Pixel 4 and 4xl.

As good as Pixel photos are, having more camera options would be a huge plus for Google. With competitors like Huawei, Samsung and Apple catching up (and even surpassing, depending on who you ask) with Google, more lenses will help re-cement themselves as the camera dons.

 

A Friendlier Price Tag

For devices that received a ‘meh’ verdict, the price tag accompanying last year’s Pixel was a huge point of contention. To be honest, they did have 90Hz refresh rate screens, high-res OLED screens, and 7nm processors; all standard for flagships. The small batteries and dim screens could not be overlooked though.

For this year, Google might just be re-thinking their strategy and going for a significantly lower price to be more competitive. Flagship prices are on the rise, making them harder and harder to get for the everyday user. Google might want to appeal to users by pricing the Pixel 5 competitively.

An image that surfaced on Reddit shows a $349 tag for a ‘Google Pixel Phone’ and a $699 tag for a ‘Premium Google Pixel Phone’.  The Pixel 4a was announced for $349 so the premium may very well be the Pixel 5. The premium phone is described as having the best-in-class camera, wireless charging and water resistance, which are all flagship staples. It would offer great value for money as compared to other flagships.

 

A 5G-Capable Processor

One of the more interesting rumors about the Pixel 5 is that Google will forego a flagship processor and instead opt for an upper-midrange 700 series. This could be the 765G or the newer 768G with slightly better performance. This could explain the aggressive pricing. Both options are 5G-capable, but some worry is bound to be brought up by Pixel fans who expect the latest flagship processor instead. It is worth noting that by optimizing its software, Google can make the performance of the Pixel 5 feel almost as smooth as the higher-end processors, especially for the everyday user.

 

More Storage

The Pixel 5 is said to start shipping with a 128GB base storage, ditching the 64GB variant from previous years. This would follow in the steps taken with the released Pixel 4a which only has the 128GB option. Roland Quandt, a twitter leaker with a solid reputation, is said to have found no evidence of the existence of lower storage options.

 

A Simple Design

If you have seen the 4a, then you have an inkling of what the Pixel 5 might look like. David Kowalski shared an image with a seemingly textured finish, a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a square camera bump, an accented power button and a punch-hole selfie camera with slim bezels. The design, as always, depends on the user. It definitely looks like a typical Pixel phone though.

 

A Smooth Experience

Last year’s Pixels had 90Hz screens and this year’s phones should either have the same or a rumored 120Hz panel. Ross Young from Display Supply Chain Consultants stated that it would be not only 120Hz but also a 6.67” Samsung display. This would make it the biggest Pixel phone yet.

Coupled with the high refresh rate could be 8GB of RAM, up from the 6GB on the Pixel 4.

 

A Bigger Battery

One of the biggest gripes users have had with Pixel phones has been in the battery department. With the upgrades that the Pixel 5 is rumored to get, the battery will have to be on point. Leaks say that the Pixel 5 will see a significant bump in battery capacity, up to 4000 mAh. Rumors also claim that it will have wireless and reverse wireless charging at 15W and 5W respectively.

 

Android 11

As always, the Pixel brings with it the new Android version and the Pixel 5 will come with Android 11 out of the box. Android 11 is set to bring with it great improvements in privacy, optimization, foldable screens and 5G use.

 

An Overall Improvement to the Pixel 4

Fingers crossed for the Pixel 5. It will hopefully be a significant improvement to the so-so Pixel 4 lineup. Meanwhile, make sure that you get the best armor for all your beloved devices here at Tech Armor!

To 5G or Not to 5G - That is the question

Is 5G Worth it Today? – Cost Vs Reward

5G! The next-gen technology that’s touted to revolutionize the responsiveness and speed of our devices. It’s been hyped for a couple of years ever since Verizon ran the first field test for the “crazy-fast” cellular technology.

Suggestions have been made that 5G will be the foundational tech to power everything from remote surgery, augmented reality, to self-driving cars. The close of 2019 saw this technology turn from a future prospect to a reality for more than a select pool of early adopters

Major players such as Samsung have already laid their claim in the market through devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung Note 10+ 5G and Galaxy S20 lineup. Their bitter rivals from Cupertino also have a lineup of as many as four 5G-enabled models set to be launched in the final quarter of 2020.

However, some rumors by Ming-Chi Kuo (a highly-regarded Apple Analyst) suggest that the successors to the widely popular iPhone 11 lineup may face a “potential delay risk”—pushing the mass production of the 2020 iPhones to October. Delay or not, the point is that 5G is here and it will soon be the norm.

But what exactly does 5G offer? Is it just hype? And more importantly, is it worth its hefty price? Here’s a brief breakdown of the implications of the next generation of wireless tech.

 

What’s the Fuss with 5G?

In it’s simplest form, 5G (fifth generation) is a cellular technology that is set to achieve speeds that eclipse anything we currently see in a typical cellular connection today.

Carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have recorded speed exceeding 1.7Gbps. This translates to downloading an entire season of your favorite TV show in mere seconds. But 5G doesn’t stop at the blazing speeds!

It also promises to reduce latency—facilitating a lag-free connection that could be a game-changer for self-driving cars, surgeons, virtual reality, and intense gaming. Other benefits of 5G include the ability to connect to more devices.

 

To Buy or Wait?

5G is great—that’s already set in stone! But is it the right time to invest in a 5G-enabled device? The case against 5G is two-fold. One, its range is limited and the coverage is spotty. Although 5G coverage is expanding to more cities and manufacturers are increasingly rolling out compatible devices, it’s not there yet—and it may take some time to mature, especially amid the pandemic.

Coverage aside, the main deterrent to the immediate adoption of 5G is the price of devices. Manufacturing a 5G phone is expensive and the wireless networks they use are pricey. This cost is then transferred to the consumer. The number of 5G-enabled phones that retail at anything less than $1000 is merely a handful.

This begs the question:  are you willing to pay a “premium price” for technology with limited coverage? Sure, 5G-enabled phones are nice to have—but not necessary (at least not yet). There’s no need to rush for a costly 5G phone just for the hype. Like any other technology, time will drive down the cost—and affordable 5G phones are on the horizon.

Light Phone 2 - A Cure for the Modern Day Smartphone

An Overview of Light Phone II – Less is More

Would you buy a mobile phone that can only call, text, and set alarms?

In our current fast-paced and technologically-driven world, we are more attached to our iPhones and Androids than ever before. Some of us are trapped in an anxiety-inducing loop—whereby we can’t go a few minutes without reaching out for our phones. Open Twitter, get lost in the feeds for a few hours, put the phone away! A notification pulses, you’re back at it again…and so on.

While relying on our smartphones might sound harmless at face value, it’s actually a mental problem described as nomophobia—NO MObile PHone phOBIA. With increasing concerns regarding the impact of smartphones on our well-being, two designers came up with the Light Phone. A dinky device that claims to be “a phone for humans.”

 

Back to Basics - The Light Phone 2 - MADPAC

 

The Ideology Behind the Light Phone II

Walk into any restaurant and there’s a good chance you’ll find a group of people eating together—but barely interacting as they’re all glued to their screens. To be honest, it’s quite easy to get lost in your smartphone.

Scrolling for 2 pages just doesn’t seem to cut it—and it’s partly the fault of our phones. You see; social media platforms, games, and other time-consuming apps are designed to lure and hook you one way or another. Light Phone II’s creators—Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang—realized this “trap” and launched a Kickstarter campaign for a device that freed users from the push notification cycle.

With the success of their original 2017 Light Phone, the company is back with the Light Phone II. This new device builds upon the first iteration—including some additional features. (PS: the first Light Phone could only make and receive calls).

 

Key Features and Specs

  • Price: $350
  • Battery Life: According to the company, a fully juiced battery can last you 3 days of usage or 7 days on standby.
  • Dimensions: It measures 95.85 x 55.85 x 8.75 mm—with a weight of 78 grams
  • Charging: The device comes with a Micro-USB charging port.
  • Connectivity: It has 4G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS connections.
  • It has a SIM slot that works with Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T network carriers in the U.S.—but you can also opt for a $30 Light Phone monthly plan.
  • The Light Phone II comes with a headphone jack.

 

Review of the Light Phone II

The whole point of the Light Phone II is quite simple. No Twitter notification to ruin your dinner! No emails in the morning to disrupt your workout. By having LESS features on your phone, you get to enjoy MORE of life.

But based on hands-on reviews, the Light Phone II is a divisive device (*rhyme game on point). On the one hand, the phone is aesthetically appealing, its intentions are noble, and the battery life is respectable. On the other hand, PC Mag notes that it has issues with screen ghosting, call quality, and the design isn’t ergonomic.

So, is this device worth the $350 price tag? Well, this depends on the user. As Michael Zelenko from The Verge puts it, “There may not be a mass market for minimalist phones — they’re expensive, they’re superfluous, they’re extra — but there could be niche markets for the Light Phone: well-to-do campers, weekend warriors, the hyper-wired looking for relief.”