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Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 4a vs Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL- What is Different and What is Not?

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Google Pixel Phones Compared

Google’s Pixel smartphones are always at the forefront when it comes to innovations brought about by the company’s own mobile operating system. That is why they are the first ones to receive the new version of Android when it is officially launched every year.

Aside from getting software updates, you can also expect amazing photography and videography capabilities thanks to the powerful camera hardware, as well as seamless integration and processing power on the software side of things.

Now that Google has released a substantial number of Pixel devices, I think that it is just right to create an article that compares all of the popular ones.

Today, I am going to compare the Google Pixel 4a against the Pixel 3a and I will also make a comparison between the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL.

My aim with this article is to help get the best pixel device for you by outlining some of the best qualities of each of them.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a

Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a

Design

Aesthetically speaking, the Google Pixel 4a looks more modern than its predecessor. It borrows the same design elements as its older brothers (Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL) by having a square that houses the camera lens and LED flash situated at the top-left corner at the back.

The Google Pixel 3a just has a single camera lens at the top-left corner and it looks kind of like a smartphone that was done a couple of years ago. It is okay, but in terms of aesthetics, I would go for the newer device.

They both have polycarbonate bodies but the only thing going for the Pixel 3a is that you get to choose from 3 different color options. If you are going to buy the Pixel 4a, you only have one option and that is black.

For measurements, the Google Pixel 4a is slightly smaller with dimensions of 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm. It also weighs only 143 grams.

The Pixel 3a, on the other hand, has dimensions of 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm and weighs 147 grams. 

As you can see, the Pixel 3a is slightly larger, though, in the next section, you will find that the Pixel 4a is better when it comes to proportions.

Display

As mentioned above, the Google Pixel 4a actually has more screen real estate. That is because of the slimmer bezels and the 90% screen-to-body ratio. I really love what Google did here as you can enjoy your content more.

The Google Pixel 3a looks like it was made from 5 years ago. It has thick bezels both at the bottom and the top- the latter, in particular, houses the sensors, as well as the front camera.

While you will grow fond of the thicker bezels, the difference is night and day when you get a hold of the Pixel 4a and watch your favorite online shows.

The Pixel 4a is packed with a 5.81-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080, has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The Google Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch gOLED panel with a resolution of 2,220 x 1080, an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, and is protected by Dragon Trail glass.

Even though they both have OLED displays, I would lean more towards the Pixel 4a thanks to the bigger screen real estate and more premium look.

Performance

Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a Compared

The Google Pixel 4a is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chip while the Pixel 3a comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor. Both of them are mid-range SoCs, but the newer Pixel device does provide better performance across the board (but not by a lot).

The older device has 4GB of RAM and just 64GB of onboard storage which is non-expandable by the way. The newer model bumped the RAM up to 6GB and internal storage to 128GB which should provide adequate performance and storage space for modern use.

Cameras

Both the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 3a all have only single camera lenses at the back. The former has a 12.2-megapixel shooter with an aperture of f/1.7 and also includes optical and electronic image stabilization technologies.

The Pixel 3a has the same number of megapixels on its sensor, albeit its aperture is f/1.8, has a 76-degree field of view, has dual-pixel phase detection, and both OIS and EIS enabled.

To be honest, both of them are pretty good, though you might like the newer Pixel model simply because of the new features that are added.

For instance, the Pixel 4a supports the new astrophotography mode which can be enabled in pitch-black environments- allowing you to take a nicer photo of the stars at night.

With some processing magic on the software side, both of them perform admirably well, despite only having one camera lens at the back.

As for selfie cameras, both of them have 8-megapixel shooters with pretty much the same specs. As you can tell, both of them perform nearly identical to each other, though again, the newer device has a slight edge thanks to the new camera features.

Battery

Google Pixel smartphones are not really well-known for their amazing battery life, however, the Pixel 4a does have a much faster charger than its predecessor.

Aside from that, you also get a slight bump in battery capacity because the successor has a 3,140 mAh battery while the predecessor only has 3,000 mAh battery capacity.

Both of them do not support wireless charging though, so you might take this as an inconvenience.

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL

The Google Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 4 XL are both flagship phones made by Google and were released back in 2019.

This is a much easier comparison to make because the only differences they have are that the Pixel 4 XL has a bigger display, better screen resolution, and bigger battery life. The rest of the specs are virtually the same.

Design

As just mentioned, the Google Pixel 4 is the smaller device. Its dimensions are 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2mm while its bigger brother has measurements of 160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2mm. The former weighs 162 grams while the XL version is 31 grams heavier at 193 grams.

Both of them look exactly the same when it comes to overall aesthetics. They both have glass backs, three different color options, and the square that houses the camera lenses situated on the top-left corner. You also get the ‘G’ logo at the bottom as well.

They both have IP68 ratings which means that you can have peace of mind while using this device in the pouring rain or if you are near the pool.

It is also worth noting that they do not have headphone jacks which means that you will have to use any pair of wireless headphones if you intend to listen to music without disturbing your neighbors.

Display

In terms of display, both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL have OLED panels, though it would be nice to consume media content on the much bigger device.

That is because the Pixel 4’s screen only supports Full HD resolution while the bigger Pixel phone supports 1440p. Although the difference is almost negligible for casual users, you will definitely spot the difference if you have a keen eye.

The higher resolution also means that there are more pixels packed per inch. The Pixel 4 XL has 537 PPI while the smaller Pixel 4 has only 444 pixels per inch.

Performance

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL Compared

 

The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have the same processing package. They are both equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and they also have 6GB of RAM as well.

You can play even the most demanding Android games out there and the nice thing about them is that they do not heat up when you are gaming.

I do have to point out, though, that their smaller battery capacity might yield poor endurance across the board. That means that if you play games for hours, you might end up reaching for the charger after 5 or 6 hours of gaming.

Cameras

Both of these phones are equipped with the same camera lenses. At the back, you will find a 12-megapixel main shooter (wide-angle lens), as well as a 16-megapixel telephoto lens. The latter allows you to use its 2x optical zoom that doesn’t present any graininess or degradation to the overall quality.

When combined with the Super Res Zoom feature that can be enabled in the camera app’s settings, you can go further with minimal loss in detail which is pretty nice.

I would also like to point out that you can also enable Live HDR+ as well. Basically, what you see on the phone’s screen will be an actual representation of the resulting photo or video once everything is done processing. This feature is unlike any other and I hope that other phone manufacturers will follow suit.

Both of them support Night Mode which allows you to take stunning photos even in dimly-lit environments and you also get to enable the astrophotography mode mentioned earlier in the article as well.

For the selfie camera, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL are both equipped with 8-megapixel front cameras that allow you to shoot 1080p or 720p videos if you desire.

Battery

Again, do not set your expectations too high as both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have subpar battery life and endurance.

The smaller Pixel phone only has a 2,800 mAh battery, while the bigger model comes with a 3,700 battery capacity. The latter definitely holds up much better than the former, but when you compare it to the best phones on the market, you will definitely find that it is a mediocre performer.

They do come with 18-watt fast chargers and you have the ability to wirelessly charge these devices thanks to its Qi charging capabilities.

Conclusion

Now that you know all of the modern Pixel devices, which one should you choose? Well, in the budget category, I would definitely recommend the new Google Pixel 4a. It has considerably better performance, a better screen-to-body ratio, and its design looks more modern than its predecessor.

For the flagships, I would definitely recommend the Pixel 4 XL. Not only does it have a longer battery life, but it also has a bigger screen that packs more pixels. Watching any online content and playing any games on it provides a much better experience than its smaller brother.

The Google Pixel 4a is priced at $349 and you can get the Google Pixel 4 XL at a discounted price of $599 (down from $899 last year).

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Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

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Amazon Echo Studio Review

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?

Design

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.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

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.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

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.

Conclusion

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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iOS 14 is Finally Here- Everything You Need to Know

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iOS 14 New

The iOS 14 beta was first introduced back in June 2020 but on September 16, Apple has released the final version of the ever-popular mobile operating system that is placed at the heart of your Apple iPhone.

Just like Android 11, iOS 14 can be construed as an incremental upgrade but there are some noteworthy improvements that you will surely love.

Today, I am going to go over everything you need to know about Apple’s new mobile operating system and find out what new features you might like using immediately.

Features

1.App Library

When you swipe right on the homescreen a couple of times, you will be presented with a new feature called the App Library. Think of this as Apple’s implementation of an app drawer (that is a mainstay in Android Devices).

All of the applications that are found in the App Library are neatly categorized for your convenience. Here, you can find all of your folders and some app folder suggestions as well.

2.Smart Stack

Apple understands that iPhone homescreens can get really cluttered, and so, the company has provided users with the ability to stack the same type of apps into a single folder.

Furthermore, depending on the time of day, the operating system can suggest certain apps that you might like to use at that moment.

For example, the OS might suggest that you use a music streaming app if you want to jog a couple of laps while listening to your favorite music.

3.Widgets

Apple was heavily criticized for not giving users the freedom to add widgets to the homescreen. Well, that has changed in iOS 14.

Now, users have the ability to add any widgets that they like on the homescreen. Not only that but these widgets provide useful information right off the bat so that you can simply glance at the particular widget to find out the current weather conditions, for instance.

You can add as many widgets as you want and you can also resize them a little bit, though its implementation is not as extensive as the Android ecosystem.

iOS 14 What is New

4.Improved Siri

People often use Siri as a means of enabling almost hands-free access to their iPhones. Well, in iOS 14, Siri is vastly improved- both in its AI technology and the things that it can do.

You can make use of Siri to craft messages for you, call specific people, translate foreign languages (more on this later), block possible incoming calls, and so much more.

In addition to what I’ve said, Siri also doesn’t take up the entire screen anymore. Instead, you can look for Siri in a small globe icon that is usually situated at the bottom of the display.

5.Picture-in-Picture (PIP)

This feature was first implemented on iPads, but you can also enjoy picture-in-picture mode on your iPhone as well.

This allows you to play videos on the background while you are face timing someone which is pretty awesome.

6.App Clips

Think of App Clips as Apple’s implementation of Android’s Instant Apps. Basically, you get a hold of some specific app features without actually having to download and install the said app.

For example, you can purchase a coffee from Starbucks just by scanning a particular code. This alleviates the need for downloading the company’s specific app just for the same job.

Not a lot of applications support this as of yet but expect that more and more of them will be supported in the future.

7.iMessage Has New Features

Apple’s Messages app has plenty of new features that you will really love using frequently. First is the ability to pin any important messages within a conversation. You can pin messages just by swiping a particular part of the conversation to the right. The pinned comment can be placed on your homescreen for convenience.

Aside from that, you now have the ability to reply to a specific message within the conversation via inline replies.

Have you ever used Facebook Messenger and you want to mute notifications from certain group chats but still want to get notified if your name is mentioned at any point in the conversation?

Well, that specific feature is also now available on the Messages app as well. This is a great feature if you want to mute notifications from your group chats but you still want to get notified if you’re ever given a special mention.

To mention any person within the chat group, all you have to do is use the ‘@’ symbol and a list of names should pop up. Just tap on the person that you want to shoutout and the app should do the rest.

Lastly, if photos are uploaded to the group chat, you can add an image overlay on top of it or you can add some cute emojis to make it more fun and lively.

iOS 14

8.New Memojis

Memojis are nothing new, but the iOS 14 introduces some new ones, including new headwear, hairstyles, stickers, and so much more.

Moreover, Apple has done a pretty good job of making Memojis even more expressive than ever before!

9.Health App

WatchOS 7 was released in the same window as iOS 14 and because of that, you can expect some integrations with Apple Smartwatches as well.

The new health app not only allows you to use your Apple Watch’s sleep tracking feature, but it also records some important data that you can use to relay to your physician to give you a general idea of your overall health.

10.Improved Weather App

The default weather app in iOS 14 also gets some major improvements, including the ability to give you notifications and more information about upcoming severe weather systems, improved forecast accuracy, precipitation readings, and so much more.

iOS 14 2020

11.Curated Guides

You can use your Apple Watch to help provide you with clear routes if you intend to use a bike to go to work. Although this doesn’t work in all cities all over the world, Apple intends to add support for more cities sometime in the near future.

12.Digital Car Keys

This unique feature not only unlocks your car doors but it can also be used as a means of starting your car’s engine as well.

Not all new cars are supported, however, so if you want to use this feature, make sure that you have a compatible vehicle.

In addition, when the u1 chip is released next year, you can also unlock your car doors without having the phone with you (but you will need an Apple Watch that is tethered to your phone for this to work).

13.Translate App

You will find a new Translate app when you install the new update. The beauty of this application is that you can use its extensive features even when you are not connected to your home network.

This means that if you’re talking to your friend that doesn’t speak the local language, you can use the app to have things translated for you and you can also use its conversations feature so that the translated text can be spoken out loud for your friend to hear (and understand).

Furthermore, you can use your Apple Watch to do the same thing as well since it, too, has its own translate app.

iOS 14 Translate App

14.Improved Privacy

Every time you fire up an application that sends or requires user data, that application must provide you with a heads up if they’re going to do those things. You are given the power to either provide access to that application or deny permissions.

In addition to that, you will see a colored dot that indicates whether your camera or your microphone is in use (green for the camera and orange for the microphone, respectively).

15.Set Default Apps

Apple has finally given you the freedom to choose your own default apps. At the time of writing, you can only set your default web browser and mail application, but the company is set to add support for more applications moving forward.

16.Automatic Switch

If you are using the Airpods Pro and you are also using other Bluetooth devices as well, now you can switch between the said devices seamlessly thanks to an automatic switching ability.

Airpods Pro users can also enjoy the improved spatial audio feature which essentially provides you with an even more immersive listening experience.

17.Password Monitoring

If you’ve been using the same password in almost all of your accounts using an iPhone, iOS 14 introduces a new password monitoring system that will alert you to change passwords whenever it detects any data breach that could compromise your data.

The best thing that you can do is to use a password manager like LastPass so that you will only have to remember a single master password for all of your passwords.

How to Get the New Update?

So, which devices are supported? Well, any iPhone that is above the iPhone 6 is supported. This means that from the iPhone 6s to the newest Apple iPhone SE should receive a notification to download the latest update.

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Apple Watch SE Review- The Apple Watch to Get for Most People

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Apple Watch SE Review

People would always assume that if a product comes from Apple that you need to spend quite a bit of money compared to its competitors. For the most part, that is actually true, but not for the product that I am going to review today.

In this article, I will be talking about the Apple Watch SE. Find out why I think this is the Apple Watch to get for most people.

Design

The Apple Watch SE is set to be an entry-level smartwatch by Apple, but this is by no means a ‘cheap’ product as it does come with features that are also present in the Apple Watch 6, for example.

Its design is quite similar to the Apple Watches of old which is actually a good thing. The familiar look will make people who’ve owned those watches feel quite comfortable when using the newer model.

You basically have two size options to choose from (40mm and 44mm) and the screen is big enough so that you can utilize its functions more readily than other smartwatches that you can find on the market.

When you are going to buy this thing, you get to choose which strap you want to get along with it. The default strap uses nylon fiber which is not only comfortable but can also be used as a daily watch without getting ‘too gimmicky’.

The other option would be for you to get the ‘Solo Loop’ variant which is essentially a strap that conforms to your wrist- kind of like using a rubber band.

If you are going for the Solo Loop straps, it is important that you get the right fit as its fitting options are a bit limited. You have 9 choices to choose from but you will have to measure your wrist just right in order for you to get a relaxed fit.

Don’t worry, Apple’s website provides you with some guidelines to help you get the exact measurements.

Other than that, you have the watch crown situated on the right side of the watch which feels good whenever you use it.

Display

Apple Watch SE Review 2020

One of the big differences between the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch 6 is that the former doesn’t have an always-on display. This is to be expected, given that this particular model is the more affordable one.

I have the 44mm version and its display has a screen resolution of 368 x 448 which should provide you with adequate screen real estate to enjoy the watch’s features.

The display is no slouch because its brightness can be turned up automatically whenever you are outside. In other words, outside visibility is not an issue at all.

Performance

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is perfectly suited for casual use and for those that want to have an active lifestyle.

Just like its bigger brother, this watch also has new activity-tracking options for functional strength training, core exercises, dance, and cool down. The last one is great for people to have an idea of how long they should perform static stretches after working out to provide their muscles with an optimal way to start recovery.

This smartwatch also has GPS and I’ve used it to calculate the distance after taking a couple of minutes to run. It is relatively accurate and I am pleased with it.

You do have a step counter to give you a rough estimate of how many steps you’ve taken during the course of the day. It is somewhat accurate, but there are more accurate watches out there.

WatchOS Features

WatchOS 7 Update

It is interesting that the Apple Watch SE comes with the new WatchOS 7 preloaded which means that you do not have to do some manual updates once you receive the unit.

Keep in mind that because this watch is a stripped-down version of its more premium counterpart, there are no ECG and Sp02 sensors that can be found here, but that is a fair compromise, in my opinion.

One of the biggest features that I really love about the new operating system is the sleep tracking capability.

You can set a specific time when you usually sleep and if it is that time already, the watch will not only dim its display but will also make sure that notifications that you may receive at the specified time will not disturb your sound slumber.

Although the company doesn’t encourage you to completely believe in the results that the watch gives you (because this is not marketed as a bonafide medical instrument), I find it to be quite helpful nonetheless.

If the watch detects that you haven’t had enough sleep, it will provide you with some helpful tips to improve the quality of your sleep the next night which is pretty nice.

Another unique feature here is the hand-washing reminder. Every time you wash your hands, the watch will use its sensors and microphone to tell you if you’ve washed your hands for 20 seconds or not.

If you’ve finished earlier than the said time, the watch will notify you to continue. This ensures that you kill the Covid-19 virus, as well as other pathogens that might prove to be dangerous to your overall health.

Battery

Apple Watch SE Smartwatch

The Apple Watch SE’s battery life is probably its biggest downside. It is rated to last up to 18 hours, but if you are using the GPS or the watch’s other features quite a lot, you will get less than that number.

It is also worth noting that charging time for this particular smartwatch requires 2.5 hours to complete. That is sad considering that the Apple Watch 6 only requires 90 minutes to be fully charged.

If you need to be using the watch’s features quite a lot, I suggest that you carry a hefty power bank with you at all times.

Verdict

A lot of people love using Apple products because it has better integration with its ecosystem compared to other products on the market.

That being said, the Apple Watch SE is a great introductory product for people that want a smartwatch that does a lot of things.

It is a stripped-down version of its more premium counterpart but all of the useful features such as sleep tracking, more activity tracking, GPS, and others are present here, which means that it would still be a good purchase nonetheless.

And, at just $280, the Apple Watch SE is definitely what I would recommend for people that want a relatively affordable smartwatch with plenty to offer.

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Google Pixel 3a vs Pixel 4a vs Pixel 4 vs Pixel 4 XL- What is Different and What is Not?

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Google Pixel Phones Compared

Google’s Pixel smartphones are always at the forefront when it comes to innovations brought about by the company’s own mobile operating system. That is why they are the first ones to receive the new version of Android when it is officially launched every year.

Aside from getting software updates, you can also expect amazing photography and videography capabilities thanks to the powerful camera hardware, as well as seamless integration and processing power on the software side of things.

Now that Google has released a substantial number of Pixel devices, I think that it is just right to create an article that compares all of the popular ones.

Today, I am going to compare the Google Pixel 4a against the Pixel 3a and I will also make a comparison between the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL.

My aim with this article is to help get the best pixel device for you by outlining some of the best qualities of each of them.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a

Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a

Design

Aesthetically speaking, the Google Pixel 4a looks more modern than its predecessor. It borrows the same design elements as its older brothers (Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL) by having a square that houses the camera lens and LED flash situated at the top-left corner at the back.

The Google Pixel 3a just has a single camera lens at the top-left corner and it looks kind of like a smartphone that was done a couple of years ago. It is okay, but in terms of aesthetics, I would go for the newer device.

They both have polycarbonate bodies but the only thing going for the Pixel 3a is that you get to choose from 3 different color options. If you are going to buy the Pixel 4a, you only have one option and that is black.

For measurements, the Google Pixel 4a is slightly smaller with dimensions of 144 x 69.4 x 8.2mm. It also weighs only 143 grams.

The Pixel 3a, on the other hand, has dimensions of 151.3 x 70.1 x 8.2mm and weighs 147 grams. 

As you can see, the Pixel 3a is slightly larger, though, in the next section, you will find that the Pixel 4a is better when it comes to proportions.

Display

As mentioned above, the Google Pixel 4a actually has more screen real estate. That is because of the slimmer bezels and the 90% screen-to-body ratio. I really love what Google did here as you can enjoy your content more.

The Google Pixel 3a looks like it was made from 5 years ago. It has thick bezels both at the bottom and the top- the latter, in particular, houses the sensors, as well as the front camera.

While you will grow fond of the thicker bezels, the difference is night and day when you get a hold of the Pixel 4a and watch your favorite online shows.

The Pixel 4a is packed with a 5.81-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2340 x 1080, has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The Google Pixel 3a has a 5.6-inch gOLED panel with a resolution of 2,220 x 1080, an aspect ratio of 18.5:9, and is protected by Dragon Trail glass.

Even though they both have OLED displays, I would lean more towards the Pixel 4a thanks to the bigger screen real estate and more premium look.

Performance

Google Pixel 4a vs Google Pixel 3a Compared

The Google Pixel 4a is equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G chip while the Pixel 3a comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor. Both of them are mid-range SoCs, but the newer Pixel device does provide better performance across the board (but not by a lot).

The older device has 4GB of RAM and just 64GB of onboard storage which is non-expandable by the way. The newer model bumped the RAM up to 6GB and internal storage to 128GB which should provide adequate performance and storage space for modern use.

Cameras

Both the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 3a all have only single camera lenses at the back. The former has a 12.2-megapixel shooter with an aperture of f/1.7 and also includes optical and electronic image stabilization technologies.

The Pixel 3a has the same number of megapixels on its sensor, albeit its aperture is f/1.8, has a 76-degree field of view, has dual-pixel phase detection, and both OIS and EIS enabled.

To be honest, both of them are pretty good, though you might like the newer Pixel model simply because of the new features that are added.

For instance, the Pixel 4a supports the new astrophotography mode which can be enabled in pitch-black environments- allowing you to take a nicer photo of the stars at night.

With some processing magic on the software side, both of them perform admirably well, despite only having one camera lens at the back.

As for selfie cameras, both of them have 8-megapixel shooters with pretty much the same specs. As you can tell, both of them perform nearly identical to each other, though again, the newer device has a slight edge thanks to the new camera features.

Battery

Google Pixel smartphones are not really well-known for their amazing battery life, however, the Pixel 4a does have a much faster charger than its predecessor.

Aside from that, you also get a slight bump in battery capacity because the successor has a 3,140 mAh battery while the predecessor only has 3,000 mAh battery capacity.

Both of them do not support wireless charging though, so you might take this as an inconvenience.

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL

The Google Pixel 4 and the Google Pixel 4 XL are both flagship phones made by Google and were released back in 2019.

This is a much easier comparison to make because the only differences they have are that the Pixel 4 XL has a bigger display, better screen resolution, and bigger battery life. The rest of the specs are virtually the same.

Design

As just mentioned, the Google Pixel 4 is the smaller device. Its dimensions are 147.1 x 68.8 x 8.2mm while its bigger brother has measurements of 160.4 x 75.1 x 8.2mm. The former weighs 162 grams while the XL version is 31 grams heavier at 193 grams.

Both of them look exactly the same when it comes to overall aesthetics. They both have glass backs, three different color options, and the square that houses the camera lenses situated on the top-left corner. You also get the ‘G’ logo at the bottom as well.

They both have IP68 ratings which means that you can have peace of mind while using this device in the pouring rain or if you are near the pool.

It is also worth noting that they do not have headphone jacks which means that you will have to use any pair of wireless headphones if you intend to listen to music without disturbing your neighbors.

Display

In terms of display, both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL have OLED panels, though it would be nice to consume media content on the much bigger device.

That is because the Pixel 4’s screen only supports Full HD resolution while the bigger Pixel phone supports 1440p. Although the difference is almost negligible for casual users, you will definitely spot the difference if you have a keen eye.

The higher resolution also means that there are more pixels packed per inch. The Pixel 4 XL has 537 PPI while the smaller Pixel 4 has only 444 pixels per inch.

Performance

Google Pixel 4 vs Google Pixel 4 XL Compared

 

The Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have the same processing package. They are both equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and they also have 6GB of RAM as well.

You can play even the most demanding Android games out there and the nice thing about them is that they do not heat up when you are gaming.

I do have to point out, though, that their smaller battery capacity might yield poor endurance across the board. That means that if you play games for hours, you might end up reaching for the charger after 5 or 6 hours of gaming.

Cameras

Both of these phones are equipped with the same camera lenses. At the back, you will find a 12-megapixel main shooter (wide-angle lens), as well as a 16-megapixel telephoto lens. The latter allows you to use its 2x optical zoom that doesn’t present any graininess or degradation to the overall quality.

When combined with the Super Res Zoom feature that can be enabled in the camera app’s settings, you can go further with minimal loss in detail which is pretty nice.

I would also like to point out that you can also enable Live HDR+ as well. Basically, what you see on the phone’s screen will be an actual representation of the resulting photo or video once everything is done processing. This feature is unlike any other and I hope that other phone manufacturers will follow suit.

Both of them support Night Mode which allows you to take stunning photos even in dimly-lit environments and you also get to enable the astrophotography mode mentioned earlier in the article as well.

For the selfie camera, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL are both equipped with 8-megapixel front cameras that allow you to shoot 1080p or 720p videos if you desire.

Battery

Again, do not set your expectations too high as both the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4 XL both have subpar battery life and endurance.

The smaller Pixel phone only has a 2,800 mAh battery, while the bigger model comes with a 3,700 battery capacity. The latter definitely holds up much better than the former, but when you compare it to the best phones on the market, you will definitely find that it is a mediocre performer.

They do come with 18-watt fast chargers and you have the ability to wirelessly charge these devices thanks to its Qi charging capabilities.

Conclusion

Now that you know all of the modern Pixel devices, which one should you choose? Well, in the budget category, I would definitely recommend the new Google Pixel 4a. It has considerably better performance, a better screen-to-body ratio, and its design looks more modern than its predecessor.

For the flagships, I would definitely recommend the Pixel 4 XL. Not only does it have a longer battery life, but it also has a bigger screen that packs more pixels. Watching any online content and playing any games on it provides a much better experience than its smaller brother.

The Google Pixel 4a is priced at $349 and you can get the Google Pixel 4 XL at a discounted price of $599 (down from $899 last year).

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Amazon Echo Studio Review- The Bigger ‘Echo’ Speaker That Competes

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Amazon Echo Studio Review

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?

Design

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.

Audio Performance

Amazon Echo Studio Review 2020

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.

Features

Amazon Echo Studio

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.

Conclusion

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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iOS 14 is Finally Here- Everything You Need to Know

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iOS 14 New

The iOS 14 beta was first introduced back in June 2020 but on September 16, Apple has released the final version of the ever-popular mobile operating system that is placed at the heart of your Apple iPhone.

Just like Android 11, iOS 14 can be construed as an incremental upgrade but there are some noteworthy improvements that you will surely love.

Today, I am going to go over everything you need to know about Apple’s new mobile operating system and find out what new features you might like using immediately.

Features

1.App Library

When you swipe right on the homescreen a couple of times, you will be presented with a new feature called the App Library. Think of this as Apple’s implementation of an app drawer (that is a mainstay in Android Devices).

All of the applications that are found in the App Library are neatly categorized for your convenience. Here, you can find all of your folders and some app folder suggestions as well.

2.Smart Stack

Apple understands that iPhone homescreens can get really cluttered, and so, the company has provided users with the ability to stack the same type of apps into a single folder.

Furthermore, depending on the time of day, the operating system can suggest certain apps that you might like to use at that moment.

For example, the OS might suggest that you use a music streaming app if you want to jog a couple of laps while listening to your favorite music.

3.Widgets

Apple was heavily criticized for not giving users the freedom to add widgets to the homescreen. Well, that has changed in iOS 14.

Now, users have the ability to add any widgets that they like on the homescreen. Not only that but these widgets provide useful information right off the bat so that you can simply glance at the particular widget to find out the current weather conditions, for instance.

You can add as many widgets as you want and you can also resize them a little bit, though its implementation is not as extensive as the Android ecosystem.

iOS 14 What is New

4.Improved Siri

People often use Siri as a means of enabling almost hands-free access to their iPhones. Well, in iOS 14, Siri is vastly improved- both in its AI technology and the things that it can do.

You can make use of Siri to craft messages for you, call specific people, translate foreign languages (more on this later), block possible incoming calls, and so much more.

In addition to what I’ve said, Siri also doesn’t take up the entire screen anymore. Instead, you can look for Siri in a small globe icon that is usually situated at the bottom of the display.

5.Picture-in-Picture (PIP)

This feature was first implemented on iPads, but you can also enjoy picture-in-picture mode on your iPhone as well.

This allows you to play videos on the background while you are face timing someone which is pretty awesome.

6.App Clips

Think of App Clips as Apple’s implementation of Android’s Instant Apps. Basically, you get a hold of some specific app features without actually having to download and install the said app.

For example, you can purchase a coffee from Starbucks just by scanning a particular code. This alleviates the need for downloading the company’s specific app just for the same job.

Not a lot of applications support this as of yet but expect that more and more of them will be supported in the future.

7.iMessage Has New Features

Apple’s Messages app has plenty of new features that you will really love using frequently. First is the ability to pin any important messages within a conversation. You can pin messages just by swiping a particular part of the conversation to the right. The pinned comment can be placed on your homescreen for convenience.

Aside from that, you now have the ability to reply to a specific message within the conversation via inline replies.

Have you ever used Facebook Messenger and you want to mute notifications from certain group chats but still want to get notified if your name is mentioned at any point in the conversation?

Well, that specific feature is also now available on the Messages app as well. This is a great feature if you want to mute notifications from your group chats but you still want to get notified if you’re ever given a special mention.

To mention any person within the chat group, all you have to do is use the ‘@’ symbol and a list of names should pop up. Just tap on the person that you want to shoutout and the app should do the rest.

Lastly, if photos are uploaded to the group chat, you can add an image overlay on top of it or you can add some cute emojis to make it more fun and lively.

iOS 14

8.New Memojis

Memojis are nothing new, but the iOS 14 introduces some new ones, including new headwear, hairstyles, stickers, and so much more.

Moreover, Apple has done a pretty good job of making Memojis even more expressive than ever before!

9.Health App

WatchOS 7 was released in the same window as iOS 14 and because of that, you can expect some integrations with Apple Smartwatches as well.

The new health app not only allows you to use your Apple Watch’s sleep tracking feature, but it also records some important data that you can use to relay to your physician to give you a general idea of your overall health.

10.Improved Weather App

The default weather app in iOS 14 also gets some major improvements, including the ability to give you notifications and more information about upcoming severe weather systems, improved forecast accuracy, precipitation readings, and so much more.

iOS 14 2020

11.Curated Guides

You can use your Apple Watch to help provide you with clear routes if you intend to use a bike to go to work. Although this doesn’t work in all cities all over the world, Apple intends to add support for more cities sometime in the near future.

12.Digital Car Keys

This unique feature not only unlocks your car doors but it can also be used as a means of starting your car’s engine as well.

Not all new cars are supported, however, so if you want to use this feature, make sure that you have a compatible vehicle.

In addition, when the u1 chip is released next year, you can also unlock your car doors without having the phone with you (but you will need an Apple Watch that is tethered to your phone for this to work).

13.Translate App

You will find a new Translate app when you install the new update. The beauty of this application is that you can use its extensive features even when you are not connected to your home network.

This means that if you’re talking to your friend that doesn’t speak the local language, you can use the app to have things translated for you and you can also use its conversations feature so that the translated text can be spoken out loud for your friend to hear (and understand).

Furthermore, you can use your Apple Watch to do the same thing as well since it, too, has its own translate app.

iOS 14 Translate App

14.Improved Privacy

Every time you fire up an application that sends or requires user data, that application must provide you with a heads up if they’re going to do those things. You are given the power to either provide access to that application or deny permissions.

In addition to that, you will see a colored dot that indicates whether your camera or your microphone is in use (green for the camera and orange for the microphone, respectively).

15.Set Default Apps

Apple has finally given you the freedom to choose your own default apps. At the time of writing, you can only set your default web browser and mail application, but the company is set to add support for more applications moving forward.

16.Automatic Switch

If you are using the Airpods Pro and you are also using other Bluetooth devices as well, now you can switch between the said devices seamlessly thanks to an automatic switching ability.

Airpods Pro users can also enjoy the improved spatial audio feature which essentially provides you with an even more immersive listening experience.

17.Password Monitoring

If you’ve been using the same password in almost all of your accounts using an iPhone, iOS 14 introduces a new password monitoring system that will alert you to change passwords whenever it detects any data breach that could compromise your data.

The best thing that you can do is to use a password manager like LastPass so that you will only have to remember a single master password for all of your passwords.

How to Get the New Update?

So, which devices are supported? Well, any iPhone that is above the iPhone 6 is supported. This means that from the iPhone 6s to the newest Apple iPhone SE should receive a notification to download the latest update.

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Apple Watch SE Review- The Apple Watch to Get for Most People

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Apple Watch SE Review

People would always assume that if a product comes from Apple that you need to spend quite a bit of money compared to its competitors. For the most part, that is actually true, but not for the product that I am going to review today.

In this article, I will be talking about the Apple Watch SE. Find out why I think this is the Apple Watch to get for most people.

Design

The Apple Watch SE is set to be an entry-level smartwatch by Apple, but this is by no means a ‘cheap’ product as it does come with features that are also present in the Apple Watch 6, for example.

Its design is quite similar to the Apple Watches of old which is actually a good thing. The familiar look will make people who’ve owned those watches feel quite comfortable when using the newer model.

You basically have two size options to choose from (40mm and 44mm) and the screen is big enough so that you can utilize its functions more readily than other smartwatches that you can find on the market.

When you are going to buy this thing, you get to choose which strap you want to get along with it. The default strap uses nylon fiber which is not only comfortable but can also be used as a daily watch without getting ‘too gimmicky’.

The other option would be for you to get the ‘Solo Loop’ variant which is essentially a strap that conforms to your wrist- kind of like using a rubber band.

If you are going for the Solo Loop straps, it is important that you get the right fit as its fitting options are a bit limited. You have 9 choices to choose from but you will have to measure your wrist just right in order for you to get a relaxed fit.

Don’t worry, Apple’s website provides you with some guidelines to help you get the exact measurements.

Other than that, you have the watch crown situated on the right side of the watch which feels good whenever you use it.

Display

Apple Watch SE Review 2020

One of the big differences between the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch 6 is that the former doesn’t have an always-on display. This is to be expected, given that this particular model is the more affordable one.

I have the 44mm version and its display has a screen resolution of 368 x 448 which should provide you with adequate screen real estate to enjoy the watch’s features.

The display is no slouch because its brightness can be turned up automatically whenever you are outside. In other words, outside visibility is not an issue at all.

Performance

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is perfectly suited for casual use and for those that want to have an active lifestyle.

Just like its bigger brother, this watch also has new activity-tracking options for functional strength training, core exercises, dance, and cool down. The last one is great for people to have an idea of how long they should perform static stretches after working out to provide their muscles with an optimal way to start recovery.

This smartwatch also has GPS and I’ve used it to calculate the distance after taking a couple of minutes to run. It is relatively accurate and I am pleased with it.

You do have a step counter to give you a rough estimate of how many steps you’ve taken during the course of the day. It is somewhat accurate, but there are more accurate watches out there.

WatchOS Features

WatchOS 7 Update

It is interesting that the Apple Watch SE comes with the new WatchOS 7 preloaded which means that you do not have to do some manual updates once you receive the unit.

Keep in mind that because this watch is a stripped-down version of its more premium counterpart, there are no ECG and Sp02 sensors that can be found here, but that is a fair compromise, in my opinion.

One of the biggest features that I really love about the new operating system is the sleep tracking capability.

You can set a specific time when you usually sleep and if it is that time already, the watch will not only dim its display but will also make sure that notifications that you may receive at the specified time will not disturb your sound slumber.

Although the company doesn’t encourage you to completely believe in the results that the watch gives you (because this is not marketed as a bonafide medical instrument), I find it to be quite helpful nonetheless.

If the watch detects that you haven’t had enough sleep, it will provide you with some helpful tips to improve the quality of your sleep the next night which is pretty nice.

Another unique feature here is the hand-washing reminder. Every time you wash your hands, the watch will use its sensors and microphone to tell you if you’ve washed your hands for 20 seconds or not.

If you’ve finished earlier than the said time, the watch will notify you to continue. This ensures that you kill the Covid-19 virus, as well as other pathogens that might prove to be dangerous to your overall health.

Battery

Apple Watch SE Smartwatch

The Apple Watch SE’s battery life is probably its biggest downside. It is rated to last up to 18 hours, but if you are using the GPS or the watch’s other features quite a lot, you will get less than that number.

It is also worth noting that charging time for this particular smartwatch requires 2.5 hours to complete. That is sad considering that the Apple Watch 6 only requires 90 minutes to be fully charged.

If you need to be using the watch’s features quite a lot, I suggest that you carry a hefty power bank with you at all times.

Verdict

A lot of people love using Apple products because it has better integration with its ecosystem compared to other products on the market.

That being said, the Apple Watch SE is a great introductory product for people that want a smartwatch that does a lot of things.

It is a stripped-down version of its more premium counterpart but all of the useful features such as sleep tracking, more activity tracking, GPS, and others are present here, which means that it would still be a good purchase nonetheless.

And, at just $280, the Apple Watch SE is definitely what I would recommend for people that want a relatively affordable smartwatch with plenty to offer.

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