Back in the day, people had clamshell phones which are devices that you can fold in half- making them more portable than others.
Nowadays, the smartphones we are using are getting bigger and bigger and phone companies are trying to solve the size problem by folding their devices in half- much like a throwback to the phones of the yesteryears.
Today, I am going to be talking about the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G, Samsung Galaxy Fold, and Motorola Razr as these are the foldable phones that you can get on the market in 2020.
If you are going to invest in one of these foldables, read further to find out which one you should get.
Now, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, and the Motorola Razr are all foldable devices but the manner in which they fold kind of what separates them apart from each other.
The Z Flip 5G folds inward which means that you are only left with a small screen for some notifications. This kind of limits what you can do if it is in its more compact form factor.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a bit different in that it folds in a way much like sticking two devices together. That is because this particular product is meant for productivity purposes, so you essentially get a tablet when it is fully unfurled and a small screen if you completely fold the device.
As for the Motorola Razr, the company intends to make this as a throwback to the Original Motorola Razr V3, so just imagine that phone but slap it with a touchscreen.
Basically, you get a clamshell-type smartphone but the good thing is that the outer display (which is the one you will see when the device is folded) allows you to do a lot more things. You can either skip songs, erase all notifications, use it as a makeshift viewfinder, among many others.
From a design standpoint, I like how Motorola has implemented its own take on a foldable device. The ability to use the device even without fully unfurling it is a good thing.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is actually a close second. You see, it also displays some notifications on the outer display, but once you unfold the device, you essentially get a tablet that provides you with more screen real estate to work with.
As far as design goes, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G is severely limiting when it is completely folded, but you still get a vibrant display once you open the thing up.
In addition, the Z Flip 5G can also be orientated kind of in a laptop mode where you slightly fold the screen so that you can place the device on the desk and use it as such. Everything will look great thanks to the Flex Mode feature that basically rearranges the elements on display based on how the phone is orientated.
As you can expect from a phone that is manufactured by Samsung, the Galaxy Z Flip 5G has a 6.7-inch internal display with Dynamic OLED technology. Its vibrant screen allows you to enjoy whatever content you wish to consume on any given day. Its bigger screen real estate also allows you to multitask if you desire.
The Galaxy Fold has a much bigger screen with the same Dynamic AMOLED technology used in the Z Flip 5G. It measures 7.3-inches and is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 6 for increased durability.
Despite the fact that the Moto Razr has an OLED display, it only measures 6.2-inches which is a bit smaller compared to the previously mentioned devices.
I do have to point out that both of the Samsung foldable phones have a native resolution of 1080p on their inner displays while the Motorola Razr only has a native resolution of 2142 x 876. This does help the device when it comes to lasting longer, however.
This is where both of the Samsung Foldables separate themselves from what Motorola has to offer.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G comes with the new Snapdragon 865 Plus which means that you get the best possible performance in a smartphone that is released in 2020. You can play all of the games that you want and it would perform admirably well.
Since the Z Flip 5G also comes with the newest SoC, that means that it is a 5G phone right off the bat. It can even support mmWave which is the fastest 5G implementation that is out today.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is a close second. It does have flagship specs, albeit it is a bit slower than what the Z Flip 5G has.
That is because the Galaxy Fold was released in 2019, which meant that the highest-end processor for mobile phones at that time was still the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855.
The said SoC is, by no means, a slouch as it can handle any task you throw at it with impressive results. It is slower in benchmarks when compared to the newer device, but it is mostly negligible in real-world use.
To be honest, I did not like what Motorola did here. For a phone that is priced at $1,499, I expect it to have better specs, but the Motorola Razr just doesn’t have that.
For its SoC, you are getting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 which is a mid-range processor that is almost 2 years old at this point.
It can still handle real-world applications steadily, though you will not be able to crank up the settings to 11 when you are playing some Android games.
I am really disappointed with what Motorola went with, so this is a clear win for both Samsung foldable devices.
Before I say anything else about the foldable devices’ cameras, do keep in mind that you are better off buying any of the flagship phones that you can find on the market that is not foldable.
You see, the cameras that are included in the foldable devices mentioned in this article are mediocre at best. So, if you intend to buy a better camera phone, you are better off spending your money elsewhere.
Now, onto the cameras. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G has two cameras at the back. One is a 12-megapixel main sensor and another 12-megapixel wide-angle lens. Both sensors perform well thanks to its software processing and features that are included in the Samsung camera app.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is equipped with a 12-megapixel wide-angle shooter, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and another 12-megapixel telephoto lens for greater optical zoom. This device provides much better photo quality, albeit not enough to justify its higher price tag.
For the Motorola Razr, the company has equipped it with a 16-megapixel camera on the external side and another 5-megapixel found on the inside. Camera quality is okay but it is not in parity with the Samsung devices just mentioned.
Both the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G and the Galaxy Fold are equipped with 10-megapixel front cameras, but the latter does have an 8-megapixel 3D depth sensor for more improved selfies. The Razr uses the same 16-megapixel sensor mentioned earlier.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G is shipped with Android 10 out of the box. The Galaxy Fold was shipped with Android 9 but you can now update to the latest version of Android when you use it for the first time.
At the time of writing this article, the Motorola Razr still uses Android 9 with no notification regarding updates to the operating system. The company did express that you will be getting Android 10, but you will be late at the party since Android 11 is just around the corner.
Both of the Samsung devices do use the company’s own One UI skin while the Moto Razr provides you with a vanilla stock Android experience.
One of the areas that companies had to cut corners just to make a foldable device is the battery. So, you should not expect a lot when it comes to the battery life of the phones mentioned here.
That being said, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G is packed with a 3,300mAh battery, the Galaxy Fold has a 4,380mAh battery, and the Razr has a measly 2,510 mAh battery.
If you truly want a foldable device that can last an entire day without any problems, you should turn your attention to the Samsung Galaxy Fold. Its 4,380 mAh battery should provide it with enough juice.
Both the Galaxy Z Flip 5G and the Moto Razr suffer in the battery department, though you will get better mileage if you use the former rather than the latter. It seems that app optimizations seem non-existent on Motorola’s device.
It is also worth mentioning that the Samsung foldables are capable of wireless charging and reverse wireless charging as well.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 256GB, non-expandable
- Display: 6.7-inch Dynamic OLED, 2,636 x 1080 resolution, 425 PPI
- Software: Android 10
- Cameras: 12-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel wide-angle lens; 10-megapixel front camera
- Battery: 3,300 mAh, wireless charging
Samsung Galaxy Fold
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
- RAM: 12GB
- Storage: 512GB
- Display: 7.3-inch Dynamic OLED, 2152 x 1536 resolution, 362 PPI, Corning Gorilla Glass 6
- Software: Android 9 (shipped), Android 10 (upgradeable)
- Cameras: 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, 12-megapixel telephoto; 10-megapixel front camera
- Battery: 4,380 mAh
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 128GB, non-expandable
- Display: 6.2-inch OLED, 2142 x 876 resolution, 373 PPI
- Software: Android 9
- Cameras: 16-megapixel external (also used as front camera), 5-megapixel internal
- Battery: 2,510 mAh
With all of the foldable phones explained, which one should you consider buying? Personally, you are better off spending your money to buy any of the best smartphones that you can find on the market.
However, if you are adamant about getting a foldable device, I would recommend that you get the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G. Not only does it have 5G capabilities but its top-of-the-line specs ensure amazing performance across the board.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is great for productivity purposes, but its steep price tag of $2,500 makes it an unappealing proposition. Getting a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 instead would be a wiser decision.
Lastly, I would recommend that you stay away from the Motorola Razr. At $1,499, its foldable nature is its only saving grace. Aside from that, you are better off spending your money elsewhere.
Google Nest Audio vs Amazon Echo- The Battle of the New ‘Smart’ Speakers
Smart home speakers are not as popular as mobile phones, but in my opinion, it actually should be.
You see, companies are slowly rolling out smart home devices so that your life will be so much easier given the convenience of having them.
That being said, I am going to be talking about the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo speakers because they are the ones that are at the forefront when it comes to smart home speakers. Which of these should you choose? Read on to find out!
For those of you who do not know, Google Nest Audio is actually the Google Home speakers that were released just about a year ago. It seems that Google wanted to use a new moniker to denote that this particular thing can ‘nest’ your other smart home devices.
The Amazon Echo, on the other hand, refers to the medium-sized Bluetooth speaker that the largest online retailer sells. The company is set to release a new version of this device soon, so it would be interesting to see how well it performs.
Even though the new version of the Amazon Echo hasn’t arrived at our doorstep yet for an official review, this is not to say that we can somehow speculate what it can offer, especially considering that the company has provided us with some really good information about it.
With all of those out of the way, let’s talk more about the design first. The Google Nest Audio takes on a more cylindrical approach in that the speaker itself has a higher height than the Amazon Echo.
For that reason, you are getting a 75mm woofer and a single 19mm tweeter. Google touts the Google Nest Audio as a better sound solution compared to its original Google Home Speaker because of the changes.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo, in my opinion, has better sound quality. That is thanks to its two 20mm tweeters and a huge 76.2mm woofer. Its design is more spherical but I am pleased (and surprised) that Amazon was able to include two tweeters on its Bluetooth speaker implementation.
At the base of the Amazon Echo is a blue light ring that changes the way it emits light depending on the current usage.
Both of these Bluetooth speakers are offered in various colors so you have different options to choose from.
If you look at the design of both speakers, you could make a case that the Amazon Echo wins this round when it comes to pure sound quality. Its two tweeters compared to the single tweeter on the Google Nest Audio, provides it with a much better chance of delivering mid-high sound frequencies.
This is not to discount the fact that Google has some tricks up its sleeves because its AI technology is smart enough to adjust the sound quality on the fly when needed.
Both of the speakers have an adaptive sound feature wherein if it detects that the ambient noise is loud enough, it increases the volume of whatever content you are consuming at that moment to compensate. This is using both of the speakers’ microphones. The volume should normalize to the last known level after it detects that the ambient sound has quieted down.
Of course, this is only my opinion after looking at the spec sheet because I will have to get my hands on these things before I can give my honest opinion. But, my initial assessment would be that the Amazon Echo delivers better sound compared to the Google Nest Audio.
To be able to provide you with ‘smart’ features, both the Google Nest Audio and Amazon Echo are equipped with processors that can handle just that.
The Google Nest Audio comes with the company’s TeraOPS A53 processor which is a quad-core chip that boasts of better performance compared to the company’s previous Bluetooth speakers.
On the other hand, Amazon’s own speaker is equipped with the AZ1 Neural Edge processor that, according to the company, should be more responsive to voice commands compared to previous versions.
It is hard to say who wins this round. You see, Amazon has Zigbee hub integration which means that your connected smart home devices have better compatibility with the said speaker because of this.
However, we all know that Google’s AI technology is so advanced (and even more accurate) than Alexa, so it could potentially provide you with better features overall compared to Amazon’s Bluetooth speaker.
Of course, I cannot truly say which one wins this round until I get to review these wireless audio solutions. In that case, stay tuned for more.
The Google Nest Audio will be available on October 5, while the Amazon Echo will not be released until later this month (October 22). That being said, both of these speakers will retail for $99.99, so stay tuned for our official product reviews to help you know which one you should ultimately choose for yourself.
Apple iPad 8th Generation Review- An Iterative Upgrade
When it comes to ease of use and convenience, people like getting Apple’s products because of its more streamlined approach to everything. Sure, there is a lot to tinker on Android but that is also precisely the reason why the user experience, at least for the layman, is not as great.
There is this saying that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Well, although I would have liked to say that here, I just don’t think that that approach applies here.
You see, the design of the 8th generation iPad is identical to its predecessor. As in everything about its aesthetics are similar which means that if you want to imagine what the new iPad looks like, all you have to do is look at the 7th gen variant.
Like all things, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is a good thing because that familiar design should feel right at home, especially for people that already own an iPad. It is bad because, in this day and age, more and more mobile devices have slimmer bezels and the new iPad still has those atrociously huge ones.
Don’t get me wrong, there are practical uses to having large bezels as it allows you to hold the tablet better when using it in landscape mode, but if you are watching online content, you can’t help but be bothered by the huge sides.
There are two versions of the 8th generation iPad and that is one with WiFi only and the other one having LTE. Its dimensions are 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29. The only difference between the WiFi and the LTE versions is that the latter is a bit heavier at 495 grams compared to the 490 grams of the former.
Thankfully, Apple didn’t remove the headphone jack but if you are going to utilize its built-in speakers, you are better off using a good Bluetooth speaker instead.
The 8th generation iPad has a 10.2-inch Retina Display with a resolution of 2160 x 1620 and 264 pixels per inch or PPI. It has a good peak brightness at 500 nits, though you can still experience some problems when you are outside and the sun is shining brightly.
You can utilize the Apple Pencil on this device and it is also quite accurate as well (just keep in mind that it is sold separately).
What I love about iPads, in general, is that their displays provide you with crisp and clear details. Whether you are working on your documents or perhaps watching your favorite movies and TV shows, they do not disappoint.
Specs and Performance
- CPU: A12 Bionic
- GPU: Apple GPU (4-core graphics)
- RAM: 3GB
- Storage: 32GB/128GB
- Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD Display, 2160 x 1620, 4:3 aspect ratio, 500 nits brightness, 264 PPI
- OS: iPadOS 14
- Cameras: 8-megapixel (back), 1.2-megapixel (front)
- Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 AC, Bluetooth 4.2
- Battery: 32.4 Wh
So, if the 8th generation iPad has an identical design to its predecessor, what has changed here? Well, I am glad you asked. The only notable difference here is that the new model comes with the A12 Bionic chip and that’s pretty much it.
While you could be unhappy with the change, the new CPU actually beats its predecessor by a lot. By using Geekbench 5, single-core scores are about 60% higher than the 7th gen iPad and about 100% better in multi-core tasks than the previous model.
Granted that the said benchmark is relatively old, you couldn’t argue that the new processor is indeed way better than its predecessor.
Even when you are just using the tablet the way it should be used, you can really tell the difference. This is more evident if you are going to play some games.
Now, do not worry about the 3GB of RAM because the iOS ecosystem is quite streamlined and efficient that you normally wouldn’t need more than that.
It should also go without saying that the included cameras are just there for show and they do not really do anything special, so I don’t think that covering them is warranted here.
Sure, the new 8th generation iPad doesn’t bring a lot to the table, but its new processor is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor. Does that justify buying the new one? Probably not, especially if you already own the 7th generation model.
However, if you own an older iPad and you want better performance across the board, then you could probably spend your money to get one.
My gripe here is that there are only two storage options to choose from. You can get the 32GB variant for only $329 but in this day and age, 32GB is not a lot of storage space.
If you want more storage, you will need to spend an additional $100 premium just to get the 128GB model. In fact, I would go on to say that you should be buying this particular model compared to the 32GB variant. I just don’t like that the company is gouging you another $100 ($429 in total) just to get one.
The 8th generation iPad is disappointing in a lot of ways and its only redeeming quality is its new processor. It would have been nice if there is a redesign or that the lightning cable is changed to USB-C, but there is just not a lot of things to talk about here.
Therefore, I should say that the 8th generation iPad is just an iterative upgrade. Whether you want to buy it or not is entirely up to you.
Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes
Amazon, the biggest online retailer in the world, has created its own AI implementation in the form of the Amazon Alexa.
It is actually quite polished and it can go against Apple’s Siri and Google’s own AI. That being said, the company has released some ‘Echo’ speakers that not only act as Bluetooth audio devices but as smart devices as well.
Today, I am going to be reviewing the Amazon Echo Studio. Does this thing really have what it takes to compete with the others?
One of the biggest criticisms of Amazon’s Echo speakers of the past is that although its smart features are okay, their sound output leaves much to be desired. As a way of addressing the issue, Amazon has built the Echo Studio.
The Amazon Echo Studio is pretty big. It is 8 inches in height and 7 inches wide so this is indeed a pretty hefty audio solution. In fact, I would go on to say that this is one of the biggest Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Its design is pretty much akin to the Amazon Echo speakers of old. You get a fabric mesh design that encapsulates the speaker itself with all of its button controls situated at the top of the device.
You also get a blue ring light that will pretty much add to the aesthetic appeal of the unit. The microphone is also placed at the top and it is always on ‘listening mode’ so that whenever you want to interact with Alexa, it can do so at a moment’s notice.
Although you cannot see it, the Amazon Echo Studio is actually powered by a subwoofer, a tweeter, and four mid-range speakers that are mounted at the top and the sides. This thing is a beast as it can output 330 watts of power when needed, which is ample enough even for home cinema setups.
The Amazon Echo Studio is quite a powerful Bluetooth speaker. No matter what genre of content you’d like to consume, this thing can output the necessary sound to make your viewing experience more immersive.
I am usually keen on an audio solution’s performance when it comes to playing music and I am happy with the Echo Studio’s prowess.
Although it favors the lower frequencies more than the mids and the highs, it does so without drowning the latter two, which is something that you normally do not see on large Bluetooth speakers.
An interesting feature that the Amazon Echo Studio has is its support for 3D Audio. You will need to sign in to your Amazon Music HD account before you can get a hold of this feature and it is the only platform that supports the Echo Studio’s 3D Audio. Amazon did mention that it will hand out support for other streaming platforms at a later date though.
So, how is the speaker’s performance on that front? Well, I am not really sure what to think about it as I have mixed feelings about the said feature.
3D audio is meant to provide a more immersive listening experience but I can hardly tell the difference between traditional Hi-Res audio and this one.
I guess you could say that for tracks that have a more melodic tone that you can discern a 3D audio-enabled track from a regular track, but other than that, non-audiophiles can hardly tell the difference.
To be fair, the said feature is still not polished yet, so expect it to improve in the years to come.
The Amazon Echo Studio also has seamless integration with the Amazon Fire TV Stick, though it does support all other streaming services like Netflix and Hulu as well.
You are also given the option to link up another Amazon Echo Studio speaker so that you can have them work in tandem to provide you with even better sound. I do not have a second unit though, so I cannot really tell anything about this. But, the feature is there if you want to get another unit.
Aside from 3D audio, the Echo Studio also acts as a control hub for your smart devices. You can use Alexa to turn off your lights at a specific time of the night or you can have it play your favorite track if you want. The possibilities are endless.
Do keep in mind that while it should support most of the smart home devices that you can buy on the market, there are some products that do not play ball.
For instance, some smart locks can only be supported using Apple’s Siri, so you cannot control that using this device.
You can also link up a second Echo Studio speaker if you have one and you can use both of them to provide you with an even more powerful and more immersive listening experience.
You can control the speaker’s features by manually tapping on the buttons at the top of the device or by downloading its companion app.
Amazon has finally solved the issue of the Amazon Echo speakers of the past by giving you a relatively large speaker that can do a lot of things.
The Amazon Echo Studio has support for 3D audio, but you will need to have an Amazon Music HD account to get a hold of the said feature.
You can also use the speaker to control your smart home devices which is pretty nice. The microphone is always on listening mode so that you can call Alexa’s attention at a moment’s notice.
Normally, I would expect a product like this to cost more than $300, but the Amazon Echo Studio actually costs just $199. I guess getting another one is not too far out of the equation, eh?
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