Samsung has begun rolling out the official Android 13 update to owners of the Galaxy S22, bringing the full suite of One UI 5.0 changes.
Android 13 was officially released, starting on Google’s Pixel phones, on August 15, and just days before that launch, Samsung began beta testing the new changes on their Galaxy series phones. After over two months in beta, as spotted by SamMobile, Samsung is now rolling out the full, stable Android 13 release with One UI 5.0, starting with the Galaxy S22 series.
For now, the rollout seems to be limited to Exynos variants of the Galaxy S22 in South Korea and across Europe. Thus far, the Android 13 update has not been made available in the United States, but that is likely to change in the coming days.
To get fans acclimated with the new update and all of the hottest features of One UI 5.0, Samsung has released an official “Introduction Film” highlighting what’s changed. Samsung’s Android 13 and One UI 5.0 video, of course, kicks off with the new lock screen customization, meant to help the Galaxy S22 compete with what Apple brought to iOS 16. Another familiar feature from the iPhone series is the introduction of “Modes,” which quickly set your sound and notification settings to suit your daily activities.
Going beyond matching the iPhone’s feature set, Samsung’s lock screen options allow you to use a video wallpaper or change the artwork periodically. Just like it did for the Pixel series, the Android 13 update for Samsung Galaxy phones gives you multiple vibrant theme options generated from your current wallpaper.
Continuing the theme of customization, Samsung also showcases a new way to “stack” widgets on your homescreen, making them easily scrollable. You can even deeply customize your Galaxy Watch with the Watch Face Studio.
In changes that are less exciting but still quite useful, Samsung’s Android 13 and One UI 5.0 update combines privacy and security settings into one hub. This security and privacy dashboard is designed to be easily read and understood, making it easier to be sure you’re safe in the digital world.
For more on what’s new in the One UI 5.0 update with Android 13, across the Galaxy S22 and the rest of Samsung’s lineup, check out our video from the original beta.
Google’s Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are important phones for a few reasons, but one of the biggest is how they support apps. As it turns out, the Pixel 7 series delivers the first Android phones that block support for apps that aren’t 64-bit. What does that mean for you? Let’s discuss.
It’s been no secret that Google has been working toward a future where Android is a 64-bit operating system, as opposed to one that still supports 32-bit software. What’s the difference between the two? In short, a 64-bit operating system can access drastically more memory addresses, which leads to improvements on both performance and security. Google boasted speed improvements to Chrome for Android, for instance, when it moved to a 64-bit build.
Android made the move to support 64-bit apps in 2011 with the launch of Android 5.0, but the platform has always supported 32-bit apps in the years since. It was in 2019 that Google moved to make 64-bit support a requirement for all apps distributed through the Google Play Store, Android’s primary source of apps, with the Play Store later ending serving apps that either didn’t support 64-bit or didn’t have a 64-bit version.
Now, Google is taking the next step by releasing the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro with 64-bit only support for apps, but not through a firm block.
As Mishaal Rahman confirmed, the Pixel 7 series only supports 64-bit apps. The devices are not running on a 64-bit only version of Android, though, instead only blocking the installation of 32-bit apps with a message “app not installed as app isn’t compatible with your phone” appearing when a user attempts to install a 32-bit app.
What does this mean for you?
In theory, Google’s change to supporting exclusively 64-bit apps on the Pixel 7 series should have no noticeable impact on your experience.
This is largely because of the groundwork Google has laid out over the past decade on building up support for 64-bit in Android. One of the only apps that comes to mind as a 32-bit only app is the flash-in-the-pan hit Flappy Bird, which hasn’t been updated since the game’s monumental success and still-shocking closure. Rahman also points out that a version of the Pebble smartwatch app doesn’t support 64-bit, which means that the older smartwatches, which are technically still functional, though unsupported, can’t be paired to Google’s latest Pixel phones.
Notably too, there’s also a potential positive from this. Rahman claims that benchmarks for power efficiency and performance on devices with more than 4GB of RAM jump by 5-10%.
Meanwhile, Google’s Pixel Tablet is expected to be the first Android device that is truly 64-bit only, as Android 14 may make that move further for other devices.
Meta has issued a Facebook security warning to around one million users that their login credentials may have been stolen by scam apps.
While most of the apps were Android ones, 47 of them were iOS apps found in Apple’s App Store …
Many apps and websites offer third-party login options, with the most common ones being:
Login with Facebook
Login with Google
Login with Apple
The intention behind these login methods is to make it quicker and easier to start using an app, by skipping the need to register an account. However, a bad actor can also use this approach to steal your credentials.
Engadget reports that this is what a whole bunch of scam apps have done with the “Login with Facebook” option.
Meta is warning 1 million Facebook users that their account information may have been compromised by third-party apps from Apple or Google’s stores. In a new report, the company’s security researchers say that in the last year they’ve identified more than 400 scammy apps designed to hijack users’ Facebook account credentials.
According to the company, the apps are disguised as “fun or useful” services, like photo editors, camera apps, VPN services, horoscope apps, and fitness tracking tools. The apps often require users to “Log In with Facebook” before they can access the promised features. But these login features are merely a means of stealing Facebook users’ account info. And Meta’s Director of Threat Disruption, David Agranovich, noted that many of the apps Meta identified were barely functional.
Facebook security warning
If you have used one of the known scam apps, Meta will push a message to you in the Facebook app:
A security notice from Meta
You may have logged into Facebook from a malicious app designed to steal your Facebook account information.
To protect your information we recommend you secure your account immediately.
The site says that the iOS apps identified mostly appeared to be targeting business users, with names like Meta Business, FB Analytic, and so on.
Meta has provided the full list of apps to both Apple and Google, so that they can be removed from their respective app stores.
Apple of course argues that its app review process keeps users safe from scams, and this is why it shouldn’t be obliged by antitrust concerns to allow third-party app stores or sideloading of iOS apps.
This latest revelation could be said to provide ammunition to both sides of the debate. On the one hand, dozens of scam apps made it through app review despite the fact that (a) they were stealing credentials and (b) scarcely worked. On the other, there were far fewer of these apps in the App Store than in Google’s Play Store.
Most devices have some sort of battery saver mode, while Google’s Pixel lineup comes with an “Extreme Battery Saver.” So what is it, and what makes it extreme? This guide will take you through it.
On most Android devices, battery saver works in a very similar way. Unnecessary processes are turned off in the background, your screen’s refresh rate slows down (even to the point of turning off variable refresh rate entirely), and your phone switches to a dark theme to save energy. You might also experience the lack of certain features, such as the always-on display.
All of these limitations combined significantly improve your batter’s efficiency, and battery saver mode can mean the difference between a dead phone in two minutes or an extra 25 minutes of power, roughly speaking.
So what is the Pixel’s Extreme Battery Saver?
Beyond the regular battery saver, the Pixel’s Extreme Battery Saver is an added layer of battery efficiency. In fact, in order to use the latter, you need to initially have battery saver active.
Once it is, you can access the extreme version, which goes beyond turning off a couple of features. Rather, Extreme Battery Saver turns off most of your apps and completely pauses notifications from them. In essence, most nonessential apps completely halt background usage.
This feature is used for pretty dire circumstances and can get you even more battery life when you really need it. While you can’t access most apps during Extreme Battery Saver mode on the Pixel, you can choose to classify some apps as essential. After doing so, those apps become usable while the limitation is turned on.
How to turn it on
Before turning it on, you need to adjust a couple of settings that specify how you use it.
On your Pixel, head to your settings by swiping down twice and hitting the settings cog.
Hit Battery Saver.
Select Extreme Battery Saver.
Choose when to use it – you can choose to have it turn on automatically with regular battery saver or you can have your Pixel ask you first.
Choose your essential apps.
Note: Don’t go wild. The fewer apps you choose, the better your battery life will be.
Once you configure these settings, you can choose to have the extreme mode turn on after battery saver is initiated. The best way to turn the battery saver on is to access your Quick Settings on your Pixel and turn it on from there. We have a great guide on doing just that.
Samsung is on a roll as of late with device updates for a number of handsets. The October 2022 security update is even rolling out for a number of Samsung Galaxy phones and even a few tablets.
Samsung October 2022 security update – here’s what’s new:
No details have been released for the latest Android Security Update Bulletin, but we expect that to change over the coming days as Pixel devices catch up – usually on the first Monday of the month. Samsung has yet to update their own tracker for Galaxy smartphones, but that too will likely be updated very soon.
Some Samsung Galaxy devices are part of the One UI 5.0 beta program, which means that the Android 13 stable should be right around the corner.
Devices with the Samsung October 2022 security update
As is often the case, the Korean tech giant has a fairly consistent approach to updates. It’s usually the latest and greatest Galaxy devices such as the S series get updated first. While it’s not always the case, this seems to be true.
This list will include a note on where the update first debuted and if it is also available in the United States. As usual, the latest additions will be marked in bold.
Galaxy S series
It should come as absolutely no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S22 series was the very first to receive the October 2022 security update. As Samsung’s flagship non-foldable smartphone, it was expected and likely anticipated. Right at the very end of September, Samsung released the latest security patch for the S22 series in limited regions. The update is likely to head out in more regions as we reach October proper.
Just a few days later carrier-locked versions of the Galaxy S21 series began to be updated. The October 2022 security patch is already hitting Verizon handsets in the United States. Often the latest patches arrive in global markets, so this is a nice change of pace. Those on Xfinity Mobile are also starting to see the Samsung October update on the entire Galaxy S21 series according to SamMobile.
Although technically part of the S21 series, the Galaxy S21 FE was launched just a month before the S22. This means it’s in a strange position of being part of the 2022 cohort while still having a foot in the previous generation. That said, it is still updated promptly with Indian models now starting to get the most recent patch.
Galaxy S21 / S21+ / S21 Ultra — G991USQS5CVI8 (Released first in US)
Galaxy S21 FE — G990EXXU3CVI8 (Released first in India)
Galaxy S22 / S22+ / S22 Ultra — S90xBXXS2AVI7 / S908EXXS2AVI7 (Released first in Europe/Asia)
How to check for the latest OTA on your Galaxy device
If your Samsung device is slated to have been updated already, but the October patch hasn’t arrived for you personally, you can try updating manually. Simply open the Settings app, tap “Software update,” and choose “Download and install.”
The Galaxy S21 series will not go gentle into the night. On the contrary, it will produce one last bang before the Galaxy S22 steals the spotlight. The last of the S21 series caters to the true fans of the brand and combines all Galaxy S21 essentials into one powerful no-nonsense smartphone. Yes, this is the Galaxy S21 FE 5G.
Samsung has focused on three fan-favorite features for this Fan Edition – display, performance, and camera. And it has tried to give more of those for less, a job best suited for the flagship-killer kind. We surely are not calling it that, but the S21 FE does sound quite promising as an almost-there-flagship.
The Galaxy S21 FE updates the display with the S21’s screen panel. It offers a 6.4-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with native HDR10+ support and a 120Hz refresh rate. The Galaxy S20 FE’s Super AMOLED had no HDR10 capabilities at launch, which was disappointing back then, but these were enabled later in 2021.
Then there is performance – quite expectedly, the Galaxy S21 FE offers the same hardware as the rest of the S21 series – either the Snapdragon 888, or the Exynos 2100 chipset. But the chipset segmentation is reversed here – the international model is the one with the Snapdragon, while Samsung’s silicon is limited to Australia (so far).
Finally, let’s talk about the camera department. It looks like a copy-paste from the Galaxy S20 FE – a 12MP primary, another 12MP camera for ultrawide photos, and an 8MP tele for 3x optical zoom. The selfie imager is likely the same, too, a 32MP one. Samsung is not advertising the hardware as more capable, but it brags with better processing and cool features like Object Eraser – all possible thanks to the new chipset.
The stereo speakers and the UD fingerprint scanner are here to stay, too, but the microSD slot didn’t make the cut. It is one of these fan-favorite features that will not be accepted well among the community, that’s for sure. But on a positive note – the S21 FE now features a proper proximity sensor instead of a virtual one, something that should solve the numerous complaints.
Waterproofing is a vital part of the Galaxy S series, and the S21 FE is IP68-rated for dust and water resistance. Its design resembles the rest of the Galaxy S21 phones, and its build is a match to the vanilla Galaxy S21 flagship – a Gorilla Glass Victus front, an aluminum frame, and a matte plastic back.
Here is a rundown of the specs sheet.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G specs at a glance:
Body: 155.7×74.5×7.9mm, 177g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus), plastic back, aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), 1/2.74″, 0.8µm.
Video capture:Rear camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR10+, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS.
Battery: 4500mAh; Fast charging 25W, 50% in 30 min (advertised), Fast wireless charging 15W, Reverse wireless charging, USB Power Delivery 3.0.
Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC; Bixby natural language commands and dictation, Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified).
The most notable omissions of this new Fan Edition are the 3.5mm jack (not available on the S20 FE) and the microSD slot (available on the S20 FE). We would have liked one of those 10MP AF selfies instead of the 32MP Quad-Bayer snapper, too, but we guess that’s going on the S22 FE wish list instead.
There is no cheaper 4G version of the Galaxy S21 FE, like it was with the S20 FE, which is possibly another bummer for some users. We guess the 5G has become the new norm and cheaper 4G versions in the future are highly unlikely.
Unboxing the Galaxy S21 FE
Apple has started something that Samsung quickly adopted, even though consumers don’t appreciate it. Yes, we are talking about the ‘eco-friendly’ cost-saving retail box, which contains only a cable and some paperwork.
That’s exactly what you get with each Galaxy S21, and that’s what the Galaxy S21 FE 5G retail box contains. The phone supports 25W fast charging, but if you want to enjoy that and you haven’t purchased such an adapter yet, now is a good time to do it.
The good news is that once you buy such a charger, you can use it for your next phone a year or two from now. Plus, it can charge plenty of electronics because of its USB-C port and USB-PD support.
The Galaxy S21 FE 5G is a well-executed smartphone and a proper sequel to the Galaxy S20 FE. It brings a better display, more powerful hardware, and improved camera performance even if the camera sensors and optics haven’t changed much since the S20 FE. Oh, and we do appreciate the new, S21-like design.
But the one thing that should have been spot-on from the get-go – the price – is all wrong. The Galaxy S21 FE should have offered ‘more for less’ – those are Samsung‘s words, mind you – yet, it’s quite an expensive smartphone at launch with a starting price of €750. And while it arguably offers more over the Galaxy S20 FE and the Galaxy S21, it’s not for less.
Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 FE
See, the Galaxy S21 5G retails at about €650, which is €100 less than this new Fan Edition. Yet, the standard S21 offers a more capable display with a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate, more RAM (6GB vs. 8GB). The Galaxy S21 has a different type of 3x zoom, but even if it’s achieved with some trickery, it is pretty good and not drastically different from the FE. We believe many users will happily save €100 and get the Galaxy S21 instead.
Then there is one of our favorite Galaxy phones for 2021 – the Galaxy A52s 5G. It is an equally stylish smartphone, water-resistant as well, with a similar 120Hz AMOLED screen and quite a powerful Snapdragon 778 5G chipset. If you can live without optical zoom and HDR10 support for the paid streaming apps, the 6GB+128GB model of the A52s costs as low as €360 – and compared to the S21 FE’s €750 price – that’s a bargain!
Of course, there are other cool options to consider outside Samsungverse. The Realme GT 5G is €250 cheaper, and it beats the S21 FE with a better AMOLED with a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate (and it supports HDR10). It is not a water-resistant phone and has no zoom camera, but if those are not important, you can spend less and still get what’s important to you.
The Asus Zenfone 8 is €100 cheaper than the FE, but if you are after a more compact Android, you may want to consider this one instead. It has a superb 5.9-inch AMOLED with 120Hz and HDR10+, runs on the same Snapdragon 888 chipset, has powerful speakers, and offers fan-favorite goodies like a 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio, AF for the selfie camera. It may not be rocking a telephoto camera, but its ultrawide shooter has autofocus and can take macro shots. Overall, it’s a great offer worth considering.
Finally, the €480 4G and €530 5G versions of the previous Galaxy S20 FE are still available. They are noticeably cheaper, yet with similar capabilities and identical cameras. If you can live without HDR10 support and put up with the virtual proximity sensor, they are worth considering. Their Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990 chips are still great performers and part of the flagship crop, plus they run amazingly under 1080p screens. Oh, and they both offer microSD expansion.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G
The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G is a brilliant smartphone with top-notch features. It excels in the most critical departments – display, performance, camera, speakers, software, even design. For that – it’s a great smartphone.
But it’s not a Fan Edition, not like the S20 FE. For a phone that’s supposed to cater to the fans, ditching the charger and the microSD slot does not make sense. And it doesn’t bring any substantial camera updates, not even AF for selfies or ultrawide, though the improved photo quality could be arguably enough. But these shortcomings are not the Fan Edition’s biggest problem.
The Galaxy S21 FE’s most notable drawback is the launch price. The Galaxy S21 FE 5G costs €750 for its basic 6/128 version and €830 for the 8/256 model. And that’s quite high for the segment the FE’s aiming at.
The Galaxy S21 FE launches mere weeks before the Galaxy S22 premiere, and the expectations are that the regular Galaxy S22 with more powerful hardware and a better screen will retail between €800-€900. And it sure makes sense to wait and see what the Galaxy S22 has in store for us. Meanwhile, there are many phones that are offering similar features for much less, and what’s worse, some of them are Galaxy phones themselves.
So, the Galaxy S21 FE is a powerful and capable smartphone, no two ways about that. But we just cannot recommend it at this price, not without reservations. Once Samsung introduces its first price cut, though, the Galaxy S21 FE should get a spot on the shortlists of everyone looking for a no-nonsense flagship-like smartphone.
Excellent AMOLED HDR10 screen, 120Hz, superb color accuracy.
Ah, a new Photo king rises, but its kingdom of apps was taken away before its birth. What happens next then, the crowd asks? Will its subjects flee with the riches now gone? Or will the Huawei P40 Pro break new paths through this uncharted territory and keep its former glory? The crowds shall get their answer!
It was tough for Huawei to lose Google support, but it will be even more challenging to sell in the current stagnated market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. But the P40 series is having its launch despite the global health crisis, and the P40 Pro surely looks like it is ready to stand its ground.
The P40 Pro provides a premium camera experience with improved sensors and a focus on the optical zooming, plus it has the new 90Hz 1200p OLED screen. There is an even more premium device than the Pro – the new P40 Pro+ with a ceramic body and a jaw-dropping 10x optical zoom.
The Pro+ launch was moved for this summer season though and it seems it will be more of a limited edition, quite expensive at that. So, all eyes on the P40 Pro here, please, as it is the star of this show.
The P40 Pro is Huawei‘s first smartphone with a high-refresh-rate screen – it now has a 6.58″ curved OLED with high-resolution of 1200p and 90Hz refresh rate. The elliptical punch-hole is quite the eyesore but packs a brand-new 32MP selfie camera with autofocus (finally!) and a ToF snapper. It seems that Huawei is making up for the lost pixels Huawei by putting the tech needed for 3D face unlock.
The main camera is what everyone will be talking about, of course. It has a new 50MP sensor with a RYYB filter that will spit 12MP photos. Then comes the ultrawide shooter lifted straight from the Mate 30 Pro – a 40MP sensor with RGGB filter and autofocus. The zoom camera seems to have an identical periscope lens for 5x optical zoom as seen on the P30 Pro’s – but gets a new 12MP sensor with RYYB filter and will allow more light at nighttime. And finally, there is another ToF camera for portraits and autofocus assistance.
The new Kirin 990 5G is at the helm of the P40 Pro. At 4,200 mAh, the battery capacity has remained unchanged since the P30 Pro but charging should be faster.
Huawei P40 Pro specs
Body: Glass front and back, aluminum frame; IP68-rated for dust and water resistance.
Security: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical), 3D face recognition.
Connectivity: 5G/4G/3G/GSM; Dual SIM, Wi-Fi 6+, Dual-band GPS, Bluetooth 5.1 + LE, NFC, USB Type-C.
Misc: IR blaster, acoustic display acts as earpiece, bottom-firing loudspeaker.
The Huawei P40 Pro seems to be lacking so little but the elephant in the room – the absence of Google Mobile Services – is something that raises many questions. And you will get those answered if you stick for a while with us.
Unboxing the Huawei P40 Pro
There are no surprises within the P40 Pro retail box – its contents are worthy of a flagship. Inside you will find the 40W power brick and the enhanced USB-C cable that goes with it.
Huawei is also throwing a pair of its wired earbuds ending on a USB-C plug. Those have the same shape as Huawei’s FreeBuds 3, they are just not so free.
Some markets may be getting a silicone case with the P40 Pro, but our box did not offer one.
If someone thought Huawei was done after Google cut them off – they were wrong. The Mate 30 and the P40 series are here to prove that there is a life after Google, and it’s not as bad as you might think initially.
Google’s absence is still obvious and while we are pretty sure the Play Services will find their way on to the P40 phones, one way or another, the third-party stores are getting better and stronger, and you are never left without options. The Amazon AppStore and APKPure are perfectly capable to keep most of your apps up to date.
The hardware package is mightily impressive though, and this is where everyone should be focused, not on the Google stuff. The P40 Pro has an excellent screen with top-notch resolution and high refresh rate. The new Kirin 990 5G is one of the best on the market, with solid thermal properties.
But the new Leica camera on both ends are the attention grabbers. Huawei has kept the same arrangement on the back as on the P30 Pro, but has improved the sensors, lenses, and the processing algorithms. New video options are available, too. Meanwhile, at the front, the selfie shooter has finally gotten an autofocus, while with the help of the ToF camera you will get some amazing portrait shots.
With the right price position, stimuli (the pre-orders get FreeBuds 3), and most important – marketing push – the Huawei P40 Pro has every chance of not only surviving but beating the odds.
Well, we can’t start this chapter without mentioning one great alternative sold at nearly half the P40 Pro price. Huawei P30 Pro figure was slashed numerous times post the USA vs. Huawei war, and it is currently a hot deal pretty much everywhere. The previous generation flagship offers a similar experience in terms of performance and camera (read great). Sure, you will lose the 90Hz refresh rate and the top-notch ultrawide camera, but the P30 Pro almost €500 cheaper! Oh, and it has all Google services on board and already runs on Android 10 + EMUI 10.
Huawei P40 Pro next to the P30 Pro
The Galaxy S20+ is your next option. Its price is a close match to the P40 Pro, but it’s Dynamic AMOLED is larger and of higher resolution. The screen also supports HDR10+, and you can enjoy high-definition content from all popular streaming services thanks to the entirety of Google’s package. The camera experience and quality are similar even if the optical zoom has a shorter range. The Galaxy also offers stereo speakers, 120Hz refresh rate instead of 90Hz, 8K video capturing, and a bit faster performance.
Oppo Find X2 is an interesting alternative to consider if available in your region. It’s a great flagship ran by the Snapdragon 865 and uses a 6.7″ 120Hz Quad HD AMOLED screen. It has high-res wide and ultrawide snappers and a 13MP cam witha periscope lens for 5x optical zoom. Stereo speakers, Android 10, and 65W fast charging complete the flagship bundle.
Finally, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro will be launching soon, and it will cost as much as the Huawei. We know it will have a 6.67″ 90Hz AMOLED of 1080p resolution and the newest Snapdragon 865 chip. The quad-camera at the back is quite peculiar – a 108MP primary, a 20MP ultrawide, an 8MP telephoto for 10x hybrid zoom, and a 12MP portrait camera with 2x optical zoom. 8K capturing is available on its main camera, stereo speaker setup is present, Android 10 as well, and the Mi 10 supports 50W fast charging.
Huawei P30 Pro • Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus • Oppo Find X2 Pro • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
The Huawei P40 Pro is the right kind of a flagship – it offers cutting-edge tech across the board. The OLED screen is both high-resolution and with a high refresh rate, the performance is brilliant and yet won’t suffer from throttling from heating, and then the battery is relatively large and very fast to recharge.
Photography is what the P40 Pro is all about, and the phone excels in that even if there were some hiccups along the way. We are sure Huawei will fix the minor issues we observed with an update, and we already like its plans for EMUI’s expansion.
The fate of the brand lies in its supporters, but we are seeing no reason why you should stay away from it. The P40 Pro is an excellent flagship specimen worth experiencing, be it with Google functions or not.
Eye-catchy curved design, water-proof body.
Excellent high-res 90Hz OLED screen.
Flagship-grade sustained performance.
Dependable battery life, blazing-fast charging.
Excellent photo quality day and night across all cameras.
Great video quality at 30fps across the board, excellent stabilization.
All-round connectivity, though no 3.5mm jack
Only takes NV cards for memory expansion.
No Google Mobile Services means some apps and games will never work no matter what.
Foldables for the masses, that’s the direction where we’re headed. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but at $999/€1049 for the base version, the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is the most affordable smartphone with a bendy display.
In addition to a lower price tag, the Flip3 comes with some meaningful improvements over the previous generation. Since we’re on the topic of generations, the Flip3 is the third installment in the lineup, with the original Flip and the chipset refresh that was the Flip 5G almost making the 3 in the new model’s name make sense.
Anyway, in no particular order, the upgrades include an IPX8 rating for water resistance (the ‘X’ means it’s not rated to be dust-tight), a high-refresh rate on that glorious main Dynamic AMOLED 2X display (the Flip and Flip 5G were 60Hz), and a larger, more useful cover display. There’s also the mandatory chipset upgrade that sees the Snapdragon 888 inside the new Flip.
We’re going to have to take the good with the bad, however, since there are areas where the new generation has stood still, and they are pretty important. It’s mostly the cameras that give us pause. The rear setup is headlined by a small-ish 1/2.55″ sensor that’s a descendant of the one that came in the Galaxy S7 a good while back, the ultrawide has no autofocus, there’s no telephoto of any sort. The selfie camera on the inside isn’t overly impressive either, with a relatively dim lens and no AF either.
The 15W charging capability harks back to even more distant days, though one could argue you don’t need much more with the smallish 3,300mAh battery – some consolation. The new model starts at 128GB of storage, as opposed to the 256GB-only approach of the previous generation – that probably helped with the price tag.
It may sound like more of a conclusion than an intro, but we just had to go over the key specs, and we’ve hardly made up our minds yet, writing these lines. Here are the numbers at a glance, before we get going.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G specs at a glance:
Body: 166.0×72.2×6.9mm, 183g; Plastic front, glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus), aluminum frame; IPX8 water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins).
There’s not a lot to unpack here. The Galaxy Z Flip3 arrives in a two-tone gray box that’s half-height – so you know not to expect to find much inside. An oversized ‘Z’ alludes to the phone’s name and its foldable nature.
The Z Flip3 5G rests on top, face-up in its unfolded state. Underneath, there’s a paper sleeve that holds a USB-C cable and SIM ejection pin, and that’s it.
Pre-order bundles in some regions will include a 25W adapter, or a wireless charger, or Samsung store credit of various amounts, or buy-back discounts – in some places more than one of these at the same time to help sweeten the deal. In the very box, however, you only get the bare minimum.
Samsung‘s foldable surge this year means more people will likely be considering a phone whose display bends in half. It’s no wonder – the company’s advancements in the field mean that foldables can now be made both more robust and more affordable. The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G is the least expensive of the breed to date, but with a list price at launch of $1000/€1050 for a base version, it’s hardly a bargain, even if pre-order bundles or discounts do improve the numbers. What are your options?
Let’s assume you’re hell-bent on getting a foldable. Motorola has the Razr 5G, which has a few things going for it. First is nostalgia – if you’ve ever had a Razr V3 in the mid-noughties, Motorola’s 2020 reincarnation will probably strike a chord with you. The latest Razr’s outer display is larger and a lot more useful too, and the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor makes more sense than the Flip3’s implementation of a side-mounted one. The Moto is a midranger at heart, however, and has an SD765 chipset and only a single rear camera, plus ‘water-repellent design’ isn’t quite an IP rating. There’s also the matter that Motorola isn’t overly keen on selling you one – not with a retail price of $1400/€1500.
The Flip3 is a significant upgrade over the Flip and Flip 5G, but if you can find a deal on one of the older ones, that might make sense if just any foldable will do. You’d be missing out on a much improved main display (a 120Hz refresh rate and 50% more brightness), and you best not get those older Flips wet, plus an old chipset is an old chipset, though you could stand to gain extra battery life in the process. Ultimately, we’d try and snatch a Flip3 with one of the pre-order deals over an older device, but we don’t know the prices in your particular situation.
The numbers are fairly clear when it comes to the Z Fold3 – it’s roughly twice as expensive as the Flip, though carrier subsidies could skew things one way or another. The Fold is arguably twice the phone that the Flip is, though, even if an entirely different beast – essentially a tablet when unfolded, it has nicer cameras, S-Pen support and extra software tricks up its sleeve.
Motorola Razr 5G • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
Now, if you are the more sensible type and foldability isn’t a top priority, but you are instead into the Flip3 for its perceived compactness, there are multiple alternatives that will generally save you some money, while also offering more features and/or performance. Starting with the Galaxy S21, you’d be getting a more versatile camera system with zoom capability on the back and AF-ing selfie camera, all of them delivering better image quality. Battery life is also better on the bar phone as is charging speed. Oh, and the S21 can be had for up to $300/€300 less than a Flip3 (though, again, pre-order deals on the Flip can affect these numbers). Ultimately S21 – more pragmatic, Flip3 – way cooler.
That holds true against the next one, the Asus Zenfone 8. It starts at around €400/$400 less than a Flip, and even after all the early-bird discounts on the Galaxy, the Asus will still be notably cheaper. The Zenfone is also more compact, has better cameras all around, lasts longer and sort of charges faster. Has a headphone jack too, but what it doesn’t have is a hinge.
Going even smaller, the iPhone 12 mini is also substantially cheaper than the Flip3 – when was the last time an iPhone had ‘price’ in the Pros list. Similarly equipped in the camera department, the mini is also about as bad at endurance as the Galaxy. This bout is going to be decided on size and OS preferences.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G • Asus Zenfone 8 • Apple iPhone 12 mini
The Galaxy Z Flip3 is being marketed as a fashion statement, and while the looks and relative novelty of the form factor remain its main selling points, it’s not entirely devoid of practicality. When folded, it will fit in places normal phones won’t (though, admittedly it may not be the best for tight-fitting jeans), and when unfolded, it’ll greet you with one of the best displays around, foldable or otherwise. It’s also water resistant and comes with improved materials all around.
No, the Flip3 doesn’t have competitive battery life, it charges slowly, and its cameras are anything but state of the art. It’s also more expensive than a myriad of phones that will do most things better. But they won’t fold in half.
The Galaxy Z Flip3 5G was never meant to be a value proposition in the grand scheme of things. In its more niche foldable scheme, however, Samsung made sure to put an appealing price sticker on it, and if you act quick with the pre-order, the figures are looking even better. The phone is hardly perfect, but the trade-offs almost make sense, and even if they don’t entirely, it’s hard to argue with the Flip’s sheer coolness factor. If you value coolness more than practicality in a phone, then it most certainly deserves our recommendation.
The Moto G series has become a staple of the affordable phone market, and Motorola has managed to make an even cheaper than normal base device for 2020 in the form of the Moto G8.
It doesn’t have as much of a specs jump as new numbered models usually do (and in some ways it’s even a step down), but instead the company is aiming to give you the most bang for your buck in the Moto G8, and it mostly achieves that.
You shouldn’t expect a handset that is going to amaze you, but considering how low the price is you shouldn’t be disappointed by what’s on offer either.
The Moto G8’s design feels premium for the type of device we’re talking about, and it has a big display (although the resolution isn’t as good as we’d like).
The battery meanwhile will last you for a full day even with extensive usage, and if you’re not going to be using the phone much each day you should find that it can last even longer. It’s slow to charge, but the 4,000mAh cell performs well.
The camera can hold its own too. There are three elements – a 16MP main shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide one, and a 2MP macro one, with the former two allowing you to take some impressive shots considering the price of the device.
And that’s what it all comes down to; the price of the Moto G8 is – as noted above – even cheaper than the last few generations of Moto G phones. That in itself is impressive, and while you may be missing a few specs that some will be desperate for, this is a perfect cheap phone for others.
The Moto G8’s release has been complicated as the company unveiled a variety of handsets in the range at different times. The standard Moto G8 was unveiled in March 2020, and it went on sale in Europe soon after that.
The phone costs £179.99 / AU$329 (about $220) but it isn’t coming to the US (though you can buy the Moto G Power and Moto G Stylus there, both of which are part of the same range). Exactly why Motorola chose not to bring the G8 to this market is currently unclear.
There’s only one variant of the Moto G8 that you can buy, and it comes with 64GB of space and 4GB of RAM. It’s remarkably cheaper than the Moto G7 that launched at $299 / £239 / AU$399 but it’s important to note that the spec is a little lower here in some regards.
For example, the screen tech on the Moto G8 is a little weaker when compared to the Moto G7.
This is an affordable phone, and if you consider that when handling it then you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised with how the Moto G8 feels in the hand.
It has a plastic frame and rear, so it isn’t going to feel as svelte in your hands as a modern day flagship phone like the Motorola Edge Plus does.
If you’ve got smaller hands, you may not appreciate how large this phone is. It comes with dimensions of 161.3 x 75.8 x 9mm, making it a larger device than a lot of other cheap phones, which could make it a struggle for some to hold.
That said, we enjoyed the size of the device as it allows for a substantial screen (which we’ll dive into more in a moment) as well as a large battery inside.
Buy it if…
You need a cheap phone
For the price, the Moto G8 is a fantastic choice. You will miss out on a few features that you get on the Moto G8 Plus and some other budget phones, but some won’t mind missing these considering the Moto G8 is less than £200 / AU$350.
You want long battery life
The Moto G8 Power is the phone that will impress you when it comes to battery life, but this device is also capable of lasting for two days with light usage and should certainly last you a full day even if you’re using your phone a lot.
You want a 3.5mm headphone jack
A lot of top-end devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20 and iPhone 11 series have dropped this legacy technology. Having a 3.5mm headphone jack means you’re still able to listen to music on a wired headset with ease on the Moto G8.
Don’t buy it if…
You want a beautiful display
The 720 x 1560 display on the Moto G8 is noticeably lacking when compared to rival devices that tend to have Full HD panels. If you’re looking for a phone that will display videos in all their glory, this isn’t going to be it.
You need a powerful rear camera
This isn’t going to blow your mind with its camera, but it’s suitable for the average person that is looking for an affordable phone. Just don’t expect this to take beautiful photos that floor your friends and family when they’re uploaded to Instagram.
You want to be able to make mobile payments
As we’ve said, the Moto G8 lacks NFC so it isn’t capable of using Google Pay. That isn’t a feature that everyone needs, but it’s something worth noting if you’re considering the Moto G8 for your next smartphone.
For the past three years Google has attempted to repackage its flagships phones into A Series phones that capture the Pixel essence at a far more attractive price point. The Google Pixel 6a even got the same custom Tensor chipset as the more expensive Pixels, further sweetening the deal.
The Pixel 6a is notably compact with its 6.1-inch OLED screen and far lighter at 178g (vs 207g for the Pixel 6). It perfectly captures the design, look, and feel of the more expensive Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro while strategically shaving costs down in places that doesn’t have a big impact on usability.
The Pixel 6a doesn’t have a charger in the box – a change that came with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro. Google also axed the headphone jack in a first for the Pixel A Series.
Google Pixel 6a specs at a glance:
Body: 152.2 x 71.8 x 8.9 mm, 178g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 3), plastic dual-tone back with horizontal camera bar, aluminum frame; IP67 water and dust resistant.
The Pixel 6a‘s camera is the tried-and-true Sony IMX 363 sensor, the same one that’s been used since the Google Pixel 2. Google only stopped using it on its premium Pixels this year, so we probably shouldn’t be surprised that the 6a didn’t get a different sensor. And we might still see the aging sensor up its performance when paired with the Google Tensor.
Pixel A Series have had excellent battery endurance historically. This time Google slightly reduced the battery size, but with a smaller screen and the Tensor chip we might be in for another solid run. We are also hoping that the 6a has addressed thermal performance weakness we saw with the 6 and 6 Pro. But let’s start with the unboxing.
Unboxing the Google Pixel 6a
The Google Pixel 6a comes in a slim package that we can’t really say covers even the essentials. You’ll no longer find a power adapter in the package, so the Pixel 6a comes with a SIM eject tool and 1-meter USB-C to C cable. We’re glad to also see the USB-C (male) to USB-C (female) “Quick Switch Adapter” for bringing data from another Android device or iPhone over a cable.
Now let’s dive into the testing, starting with the phone’s design, looks, and build. We’re excited for this one, so grab an icy beverage and enjoy the ride.
The Google Pixel 6a costs $449 in the US, £399 in the UK, and €459 across major EU markets. It is also available in India for Rs 43,999, where the markup caused by import costs is by far the highest.
There is plenty to choose from in this price range. One competitor selling for less is the Nothing phone (1), which is cheaper than the Pixel 6a. It has a higher refresh rate screen, respectable camera performance, and the unique Glyph design that is sure to stand out even amongst flagships.
If you’re after a small flagship device, the iPhone 12 mini is still available from Apple, though it is pricier than the 6a at $599. There’s also this year’s iPhone SE, which we’d avoid unless you really insist on getting an iPhone and it’s the only one you can afford (but then you probably wouldn’t be reading this).
Nothing Phone (1) • Apple iPhone 12 mini • Apple iPhone SE (2022)
The Samsung Galaxy A53 is a popular smartphone in the US for its lower price point. You get more features and a more impressive hardware sheet. There a high refresh rate display, large battery, IP67 rating, though the camera is not too stellar and the Exynos 1280 is not a great performer.
If you’re after a small Android flagship, the Zenfone 9 is at least worth mentioning. It’s priced out of competing with the Pixel 6a, but it’s a compact handset with a 5.9-inch AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate and the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.
The Realme GT Neo 3T is in the same price bracket as the Pixel 6a and it has great battery life, a bright AMOLED screen with 120Hz, and excellent charging speeds. Its main camera is solid and can stand up to the Pixel 6a, but its ultrawide shooter is inferior.
The Nord 2T has a reliable camera and great performance with the Dimensity 1300 5G chip. There’s also 80W fast charging, but there’s no ingress protection.
Samsung Galaxy A53 5G • Asus Zenfone 9 • Realme GT Neo 3T • OnePlus Nord 2T
Before continuing with the verdict, we need to address an issue revealed by early testers of the Pixel 6a. It was confirmed that some devices were able to authenticate the device’s biometrics by using a finger that was not even registered to the device. The instances seem isolated, but they pose a serious security flaw with the device. Google is yet to addressed the issue, so it’s worth keeping an eye on and withhold purchase until it’s cleared if you often find yourself in environements where sensitive info might be exposed.
That aside Google may have finally mastered the A Series formula with the Pixel 6a. It managed yet again to capture the essence of the Pixel flagships into a more affordable phone that does not water down the overall experience too much. The 60Hz display and leisurly charging speeds count against it, but the overall execution of the 6a is great for its price. The
Shipping the 6a with a Google Tensor versus last year’s Snapdragon 765G and keeping the same $449 price point makes it a great offer. Camera performance remains solid, software and performance are polished and battery life is respectable. Plus, Google addressed performance throttling issues with Google Tensor on the Pixel 6a.
It’s arguably Google‘s most competitively positioned smartphone in a good while and one we can wholeheartedly recommend. The obvious asterisk here is that things stand differently in India where consumers have a huge choice in this price segment and the Pixel 6a‘s higher price makes it far less tempting.
Attractive, compact design that looks more expensive than it is.
Bright and accurate AMOLED display.
Good sustained performance from the Google Tensor this time.
Extended firmware update support; Voice Typing and on-device language processing is excellent.
Great all-around camera.
Isolated instances of a fingerprint security flaw are not acceptable.
60Hz refresh rate is not competitive for this price range.