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By Rich Woods
Huawei Mate 40 Pro review: Another amazing camera
by Rich Woods
Huawei's Mate 40 Pro is yet another lovely device from the Shenzhen company. It has an inspired design, a beautiful 90Hz display, and one of the best cameras around. One thing it doesn't have is a surprise.
Last year's Mate 30 series was the one that ditched Google Play Services, so we've covered that. The P40 series was the one that got the big camera improvements, as the P-series does every year, so we've covered that too. Now, it's mostly about a new chipset and a refined design.
The sad part is that I couldn't run benchmarks on the new chipset. No really, I wasn't able to install any benchmarking app from any source. I couldn't even get AnTuTu from Huawei's own AppGallery. Everything said there was a parsing error.
CPU Huawei Kirin 9000, single 3.13GHz Cortex-A77, triple 2.54GHz Cortex-A77, quad 2.05GHz Cortex-A55 GPU 24-core Mali-G78 NPU Dual Big Core + Tiny Core NPUs Body 162.9x75.5x9.1mm, 212g Display 6.76 inches, 2772x1344, 90Hz, OLED, 456ppi Memory 8GB RAM + 256GB ROM Camera 50MP f/1.9 + 20MP f/1.8 Cine (ultra-wide) + 12MP f/3.4 5x Telephoto, Front - 13MP f/2.4 Video 4K - 60fps, Front - 4K - 60fps Battery 4400mAh, 66W SuperCharge, 50W Wireless SuperCharge Water resistance IP68 5G bands n1/n3/n5/n7/n8/n28/n38/n40/n41/n77/n78/n79/n80/n84 OS EMUI 11 (based on Android 10) Colors Mystic Silver, White, Black, Olive Green, Sunflower Yellow Price Starts at €1,199
For a few years now, Huawei has been innovating in design. In my opinion, it's been making some of the prettiest phones on the market. It started with the P20 Pro in 2018, which has a unique gradient color called Twilight. Since then, the company has been experimenting with all kinds of unique designs, from gradient colors to different finishes, to even different materials.
The Mate 40 Pro comes in glass, or you can get it in vegan leather. The glass one comes in Mystic Silver, White, and Black, while Vegan Leather comes in Olive Green and Sunflower Yellow. Huawei sent me the Black one, although as I said in my P40 Pro review, the Black still looks really cool. It seems to almost have a mirrored surface that I'd compare to hematite.
Last year's Mate 30 Pro introduced the circular camera housing, which was beautiful with its metallic border. This year, it's evolving a bit. This year, the border is the camera housing, with the interior showing off the Leica branding. Personally, I always think a circular camera is a nice touch because so few companies do it. It's a welcome departure from the rectangular camera with rounded corners that we've seen from everyone else, including Huawei with the P40 series.
On the bottom is the USB Type-C port for charging, just like with seemingly every one. There's also a nano-SIM card slot. It also supports expansion with Huawei's NM cards, which are the size and shape of a nano-SIM.
Sadly, this year heralds the return of the volume rocker, which you'll find on the right side of the device along with the power button. You might recall that the Mate 30 Pro actually didn't have a power button; instead, the user would double-tap on the side of the screen to activate a volume slider. The natural downside to this was that it didn't work when the screen was asleep.
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro is a lovely device that will get noticed, and if that's what you're going for, then look no further. In fact, the round camera housing is always a nice touch, because it's a way to make the device look stylish when it even has a case on it.
The Huawei Mate 40 Pro has a 6.76-inch 2772x1344 display, which Huawei is calling FHD+ for some reason. It's actually closer to QHD+, but since it's not quite there, I suppose it still qualifies as FHD. The screen is another one of Huawei's beautiful OLED displays, and it has a 90Hz refresh rate.
The curves on the screen are only on the left and right sides, and they're not as pronounced as they were on the Mate 30 Pro. The Mate 30 Pro has full-on waterfall edges, although the Mate 40 Pro still has the effect of appearing to have no bezel, with the screen just fading away at the sides. Note that the P40 Pro had curves on all sides of the screen; this device is flat on the top and bottom.
The screen has a hole-punch cut-out for the 13MP front facing camera, and it also has a 3D Depth Sensing Camera. Yes, you can keep that in mind the next time that you hear that Apple's massive notch is necessary.
The 90Hz refresh rate makes for a smooth experience, which is always nice. I'd just like to have seen a 120Hz refresh rate like OnePlus and Samsung are offering. Huawei would point out that the higher refresh rate would chew up additional battery life, and you won't notice as much of a difference between 90Hz and 120Hz as you would between 60Hz and 90Hz.
The main sensor on the Mate 40 Pro is a 50MP RYYB sensor, just like you'll find on the P40 Pro. If you're unfamiliar with RYYB, it's something that Huawei started using with the P30 series. It removed green subpixels and replaced them with yellow, finding that that allowed in 40% more light. In fact, it's safe to say that these phones can see better than your actual eyes can at night.
Along with that, there's a 20MP ultra-wide sensor and a 12MP 5x zoom lens. That makes for some serious lossless zoom, something that Huawei has definitely been focusing on over the last few years.
It has the modes that we're used to, such as portrait and aperture, the latter of which is like a portrait mode for objects. There's also night mode, which I don't even use anymore because the main sensor is just so good. Huawei was actually the first to do night mode, before Google ever shipped Night Sight in Pixels.
Gallery: Huawei Mate 40 Pro samples
The last phone that I reviewed was the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and while these both have amazing cameras, they're both very different. Apple doesn't really focus on lossless zoom in any meaningful way. It offers a 2.5x zoom lens, but that's it. Huawei has a 5x zoom lens, plus a high-resolution main sensor.
The way that digital zoom works is that it just sort of crops the image. If you have a 40MP image and zoom it 2x, you now have a 20MP image. High-resolution images work for that because even a 4K display is just 8.3MP, and a FHD display is just 2.1MP.
A telephoto lens on a smartphone works by just making a lens that's still high-resolution, but can see less. This can run into trouble at night with smaller apertures and smaller pixels. But combine a good telephoto lens with the high-resolution main sensor that's needed for lossless digital zoom, and you can do some solid hybrid zoom.
I took those pictures in a variety of lighting conditions, and they all came out pretty good. It goes from pitch black near the woods to indoors at night with dim lighting to daylight. It's impressive.
Performance, battery life, and Huawei services
Huawei's Mate 40 Pro includes the first 5nm 5G chipset. Apple's A14 Bionic is actually the first 5nm chipset, but unlike its competitors, Apple doesn't have a cellular modem to integrate into it. Sadly, as I pointed out in the beginning of this review, I wasn't able to run any benchmarks on it.
I tried installing the suite of AnTuTu apps from the Huawei AppGallery, but they say that those apps don't support Android 10. This is, of course, untrue, as I've ran AnTuTu on plenty of Android 10 devices. I used Petal Search to try and get Geekbench and GFXBench, but no luck there either. They didn't even come over through Phone Clone when I set up my apps.
Performance with the Kirin 9000 is fine, as it is with all flagship chipsets. It's just frustrating that benchmarks are blocked.
Obviously, there are still no Google services on Huawei devices, at least for now. That means that for most of the apps that you want to use, you need to find workarounds, which Huawei is pretty dedicated to helping you find. First of all, Phone Clone brings everything over from your old phone except for Google apps. That makes things nice and easy.
If you need more apps, you can check AppGallery, but Huawei also has something called Petal Search. Petal Search checks trusted APK sites (it is definitely not perfect) and finds the app you're looking for. It even downloads and installs it for you. Unfortunately, it will not keep it updated for you.
Living life without Google isn't very hard, at least in my experience. Obviously, I'm more of a Microsoft guy anyway, and Microsoft's apps are pretty standalone. For notes, I use OneNote, for cloud storage I use OneDrive, and so on. If you're glued to using Google, then you should already know that this isn't the phone for you.
Battery life on the Mate 40 Pro is excellent, and I had no trouble getting through the day. The 4,400mAh battery gets the job done, but even if it doesn't, Huawei fast charging is just out of control. This thing supports 66W wired charging and 50W wireless charging. Even with the old 40W wired charging and 27W wireless charging, I was happy. At this point, you can get a lot of juice on just a little time charging.
Once again, Huawei has produced a winner in the Mate 40 Pro. However, it's a rare time that it doesn't have a key feature that would have me tell you to upgrade from its predecessor. The 90Hz display is new compared to the Mate 30 Pro, but the Mate 30 Pro had those beautiful waterfall edges. And besides, I'd like to see a 120Hz refresh rate in something this premium.
It's also a real shame that benchmarking apps were blocked. One of the key features of the Mate 40 Pro, or any Mate series device for that matter, is that it has the latest Kirin processor and we get to see how it measures up against what Apple and Qualcomm have to offer. Sadly, we don't get to see how it measures up this time. Obviously, Google services would offer an easier experience, although that's not a deal-breaker for me.
But overall, like I said, it's a winner. Benchmarking apps aren't what make a phone great. This thing has a beautiful 90Hz OLED display, even if I want 120Hz. It's also got a unique and bold design, something that Huawei is second to none at providing. And finally, it's got one of the best cameras on the market.
If you want to check it out, you can find it here.
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By Rich Woods
Microsoft is once again reportedly bringing Android apps to Windows
by Rich Woods
When Microsoft first introduced Windows 10, it promised a series of "bridges" to bring apps to the Windows Store, which is now called the Microsoft Store. Project Centennial brought Win32 apps to the Store, Project Westminster was for hosted web apps, Project Islandwood let developers recompile an iOS app with minimal modifications, and Project Astoria would actually allow Android APKs to be installed and run on Windows.
Project Astoria was the only one that never actually shipped (other than in Insider Previews), and it was pronounced dead in February 2016. As it turns out, not all was lost. It evolved into the Windows Subsystem for Linux as we know it today.
According to a new report from Windows Central's Zac Bowden, Microsoft once again has a plan to bring Android apps to Windows 10. This time it's called Project Latte, and it will be based on the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Being that WSL supports GUI apps now and GPU acceleration, there's a stronger basis for getting this to work properly.
The reasons that Project Astoria was killed off are still unclear. According to Microsoft, it was just too confusing for developers to have both an iOS and an Android bridge. Unofficially, some people said it was never good enough for production, while others said it was too good, with Microsoft fearing that Astoria could cannibalize its own UWP app ambitions.
Of course, Microsoft ruined that all on its own, and native Windows apps are no longer where the firm feels it needs to be. With Your Phone, you can basically stream Android apps to your PC, going so far as to add shortcuts for them. The next step is getting them to run natively.
Limitations of Project Latte don't really sound any different than they were for Project Astoria. Developers won't need to make any major modifications, but of course, there won't be any Google Play Services support. There's just no way that Microsoft could get that up and running while companies like Huawei have failed.
As for when this will arrive, Bowden is expecting it to show up in the fall 2021 update, which is expected to be a major one. We'll see x64 emulation on ARM PCs, an overhauled UI, and more.
Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra review: almost everything you want, for a price you don't
by João Carrasqueira
Samsung has been considered one of the top Android smartphone manufacturers for some time now, and we hear about how great the Galaxy S and Note series are every year. Until now, I had never had the chance to use the company's high-end smartphones for an extended period, so I was excited to get the chance to review the Galaxy Note20 Ultra.
Being that I live in Europe, I got stuck with the Exynos variant of the phone, and while I can't personally speak to the differences between Exynos and Snapdragon models, Samsung's chipsets definitely have a less than stellar reputation. Still, this is Samsung's "everything phone", meaning it delivers almost everything you would want a phone to do, and then some.
It's not all amazing, though, and while it's a very capable smartphone, the exorbitant price tag of €1,339.90 is hard to swallow. In fact, I can say right now that this isn't a phone you should buy - at least not at this price.
CPU Exynos 990 (Octa-core) - two 2.73GHz custom cores, two 2.5GHz Cortex-A76, four 2.0GHz Cortex-A55 GPU Mali-G77 MP11 Display 6.9 inches, 1440x3088, 525ppi, 120Hz FHD or 60Hz QHD, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Body 161.9x73.7x7.8mm (6.37x2.90x0.31in), 186g (6.56oz) Camera 108MP main + 12MP ultra-wide + 12MP telephoto, Front - 10MP Video 8K - 24fps, 4K - 60fps, HDR10+, Front - 4K - 60fps Aperture f/1.8 + f/2.0 + f/3.0, Front - F/2.2 Storage 256GB UFS 3.0 RAM 12GB Battery 4,500mAh, 25W fast charging 5G Sub6 + mmWave Color Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic White OS Android 10 with OneUI 2.5 Price €1309 - €1,339.90; £1,179 Day one
Samsung's Galaxy Note series is typically responsible for the company's largest phones, and that certainly holds true here. The Note20 Ultra feels massive, and almost to a fault. I like being able to use phones with one hand, but this phone makes me constantly feel like I don't have a good enough grasp on it. The phone's backplate has a satin-like finish that feels nice to the touch, but it adds to the feeling that this phone can slip out of my hand at any time. Altogether, this has made it so that I don't want to use the phone a lot of the time. I do like the Mystic Bronze color, though.
The camera bump on this phone is absolutely massive, too, and while that's not something you'll feel all the time, it's noticeable. Laying it down on a table, the phone will rock much more than any other phone I've tested, but again, that shouldn't be something that affects the way you use the phone.
One thing I find interesting about the Galaxy Note20 Ultra's design is that the top and bottom sides of the phone are completely flat. It makes the phone feel more substantial, but it also makes it more comfortable in a way, since I almost always hold my phones so that the bottom edge is resting on my little finger. Speaking of which, the bottom edge houses the bottom-firing speaker, a USB Type-C port, a microphone, and of course, the S Pen that makes this phone unique.
The top edge is a lot cleaner, with another microphone and the SIM card slot.
Over on the right side, there's the power button that can also be used to summon Bixby, along with the volume rocker.
The left side of the phone is completely clean, which is probably helped by the fact that that's where the S Pen is stored.
Display, S Pen, and sound
The Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra packs a huge 6.9-inch display, and to be absolutely clear, this is the best-looking phone display I've ever used. Everything here is just stellar, with beautiful and vivid colors, pure blacks, smooth animations thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, and no color distortions or issues I could complain about. The punch-hole for the selfie camera is also the smallest I've seen yet, or at least it feels that way because of the sheer size of the display. I'd say, as far as visuals go, this display is pretty much perfect. The only potential downside is that you can't use QHD+ and 120Hz at the same time. There's also an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display, which works fine, though it's not as fast as the optical sensors most other phones use.
Using it, though, can be a different story. My complaints about the phone's size are exacerbated by the huge display and the curved edges at the sides. Not only is the phone somewhat hard to hold, typing with a single hand can be torture, not because I can't reach both sides of the screen, but because whenever I reach over to the A key, my hand touches the delete button, so words keep disappearing from my texts. I thought this was a bug with Samsung's keyboard for a while until I realized I was deleting words by accident. It's become more and more common to hear arguments against the use of curved edges, and it becomes an even bigger problem at this size.
Of course, what makes the Note series special is the S Pen, and that definitely holds true here in my opinion. When you pop the S Pen out of its slot, you get a list of shortcuts to common S Pen actions and apps, like drawing on a screenshot, taking notes, or open apps like PENUP, where you can get more creative and color some images to share with the community. Some of the S Pen's features can be considered gimmicks and novelties, but they can be quite fun to use.
Beyond being fun, though, the S Pen is just a very useful tool in my opinion. Samsung's handwriting keyboard works really well, and when I'm standing or sitting still, it's my favorite way to type on this phone. It feels natural and it's almost never annoying, which I can't say for some other handwriting experiences like my laptop (a late 2017 HP Envy x360, for reference). One of the features that's been added in recent iterations of the S Pen is the ability to convert handwritten notes in the Samsung Notes app to plain text, and it's also great to have. Even better, you don't even need to convert it for the text to be searchable, you can just search for the words you want, and if you wrote them with the pen, they will still show up.
Recent iterations of the S Pen have also added support for Air Gestures, which are quick shortcuts to a number of actions, which can change based on the app you're using if developers want to hook into the feature. One gesture I personally find useful is shaking the S Pen to start drawing on a screenshot of the current screen. You can also use the S Pen as a remote shutter button for the Camera app, which is another great use case for it.
As for sound, The Galaxy Note20 Ultra has a bottom-firing speaker and an amplified earpiece for stereo sound, and it's pretty good. It gets fairly loud and the audio comes out clean without any distortion that I can detect. I don't think it's the loudest I've heard, but it doesn't leave much to be desired.
The Galaxy Note20 Ultra packs a triple-camera setup on the back, comprised of a 108MP primary camera, a 12MP wide-angle, and another 12MP periscope camera for telephoto shots with 5x optical zoom and up to 50x digital zoom. As I've mentioned in other reviews, this kind of setup is my favorite, with the ability to zoom in and out at a wide range of levels. All of these cameras produce 12MP shots by default, since the main sensor uses Samsung's "Nonacell" technology, combining nine pixels into one, though you can switch to 108MP mode if you want to.
Results from these cameras are generally good, but I'm not completely sold on them. I'd heard a few times about Samsung phones' tendency to oversaturate shots, and I can definitely see that happening here. Some shots crank up the saturation much more than they should, and while it can look pretty, I try to judge cameras on how accurately they represent what I'm seeing, so I don't let personal preference play as much of a role. In many situations, especially during the day, the Note20 Ultra doesn't do that very well.
Gallery: Galaxy Note20 Ultra samples
One thing I have to give Samsung credit for is the consistency of the images from all three of the cameras. It's really easy with three different sensors for shots to change significantly depending on whether you're using the main camera or the telephoto, but the cameras here are fairly consistent, though it depends on the situation.
Samsung packed a lot of camera features into this phone, and the company has most often highlighted Single Take, a feature that captures a series of photos and videos over a few seconds and save what it considers the best ones. This can be useful if you're taking pictures of moving subjects, for example. It must be noted, however, that Single Take is not exclusive to the Note20 Ultra. There's also a Pro Video mode, which I personally find more interesting. It gives you a handful of manual controls for focus, white balance, directional audio recording, and more, so you can adjust it all on the fly while recording.
There are some omissions that I find weird, though, like the fact that the ultra-wide angle camera can't double as a macro camera, like many other high-end phones do. For a phone that's about being able to do everything, that's something I would have liked to have.
Performance and battery life
As I noted at the start, I have the European variant of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, which means it's powered by the Exynos 990 chipset, developed by Samsung itself. It's still a flagship processor, and you won't really see much in the way of slowdowns or anything like that, but I have had some problems with this phone.
For example, while using it for navigation with the HERE WeGo app, if I turn off the screen, it simply stops giving me directions, and I need to turn it on for the phone to locate me again. I don't currently have a way to hold the phone where I can see the screen while I'm driving, so it's not uncommon for me to rely on just voice directions, but I can't do that with this phone. Of course, I can't say for sure that has to do with the chipset being used here, but it's the first time I notice this issue with one of my phones. And yes, the app is allowed to run and get location access in the background.
Setting that aside, let's take a look at benchmarks to see how the Note20 Ultra measures against other flagships. First, we have AnTuTu, which is a general benchmark:
Right away, you can see a notable difference between this and the Snapdragon variant of the phone, but it's no slouch either. Next up is Geekbench 5, a CPU test:
In terms of single-core performance, the Exynos 990 seems to outperform the Snapdragon 865 in the OnePlus 8 family, but it gets handily beaten in multi-core performance. Finally, GFXBench tests the GPU:
Moving on to battery life, I was again disappointed by this phone. In the first couple of days, I was having to charge the phone long before I went to bed, even after trying to moderate my usage more than usual. At one point I was at 7% battery by 7PM, after unplugging the phone at around 9:15AM, and without anything that could be considered heavy usage. It turns out that one of my apps had been draining more battery than usual in the background, and after disabling background activity for it, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra usually got me through the day, but it's still not amazing.
With a sizable 4,500mAh battery, I really expected a lot more, but this is worse than something like the OPPO Find X2 Pro with its smaller 4,050mAh battery. Samsung offers Wireless PowerShare so you can wirelessly charge other devices off of this phone, but I never want to do that because the phone itself is more likely to be dead by the end of the day than my watch or earbuds are. I can't speak to whether this also applies to Snapdragon variants of this phone, but this is what you're getting if you buy it in Europe, and it's not great. The phone also supports 25W charging, which is fine, but pales in comparison to the aforementioned Find X2 Pro.
Software and Microsoft integrations
The Galaxy Note20 Ultra is running Android 10 and OneUI 2.5, though Android 11 should be on the way soon. As I mentioned in my review of the Galaxy A51 back in March, Samsung's OneUI is one of the most complex skins in the Android universe, and I don't really love it. It constantly gives me a feeling that there's something I might be supposed to try out, but I just don't know how to find it. With this being my second Samsung phone review, I'm a bit more comfortable with it by now, but I still get that feeling sometimes. One thing Samsung fixed, though, is that the Android 10 navigation gestures now work with third-party launchers.
All the features I mentioned in my previous review are still here, but one of the things that makes Samsung phones stand out these days is the deep link between Samsung apps and services and Microsoft's equivalent services, as well as specific features of the Your Phone app for Windows 10.
In terms of integration between specific apps, we have OneDrive replacing Samsung Cloud in the My Files app and as the sync service for photos on the Gallery app; Samsung Notes syncing with the OneNote Feed, which you can access in Outlook on the web or the OneNote app for Windows 10; and Samsung Reminders syncing with Microsoft To Do.
These things work fine, and they can make it simpler to have these items sync across your phone and PC, but I have a hard time seeing them as a big selling point considering you can just install those Microsoft apps on your phone. Sure, it's easier to keep using the same apps, but most of these links aren't linked by default or prompted to you visibly, so it's not that much easier to set up than just installing the Microsoft apps you want. However, the Samsung Reminders integration is pretty cool, since you can make it work with Bixby, which makes it easier to create reminders with your voice. Of course, that comes with the downside of using Bixby.
As for Your Phone, the capabilities of the app have grown, and they're actually very nice to have. Now, not only can you see your phone's screen on your PC, you can open individual apps from your phone, and even pin them to the taskbar as if they were PC apps, and run them simultaneously. There are quite a few times when I want to check something out on my phone quickly and I don't want to have to shift my attention away from my PC screen, so this is awesome. You can even drag and drop files between your phone and PC this way, it's really cool. What's more, you can also enable clipboard sync, so copied items on the PC show up on your phone and vice versa.
Galaxy Buds Live
In addition to the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, Samsung also sent me the Galaxy Buds Live, and while I'm not exactly an audio expert, it's worth talking about the overall experience. I quite like the aesthetic of the Buds Live, and Mystic Bronze is probably the best color to get here, just because it sticks out a lot less from most skin tones and makes them pretty subtle. I find them comfortable enough, but every now and then I get this feeling that they're not secure enough and they might fall off. They have never fallen off accidentally, even when riding my bike at high speeds, but the in-ear tip design of other earbuds feels a bit safer to me.
Setting up the Galaxy Buds Live is especially easy with a Samsung phone like the Note20 Ultra, and as you pop the case open, they show up on your phone, ready to connect. In fact, the Buds Live are even supported by Windows 10's Swift Pair feature, so they also show up on your PC if they're not paired with another device yet. The process of connecting to other phones is like any other pair of true wireless earbuds.
It's also pretty easy to switch between devices with the Buds Live, though it's not as seamless as what Apple touts with its AirPods, for example, where it automatically switches to wherever you have media playing if you have a bunch of Apple devices. Here, you can just head into the Bluetooth settings on a paired device and connect to the earbuds, even if they're currently connected and playing media somewhere else. It requires more action from the user, but it's a seamless process and it works well.
The big selling point of the Buds Live compared to Samsung's other earbuds is the active noise cancellation, but if that's the reason you're considering them, I can tell you it's not worth it. At first, I had to repeatedly turn ANC on and off because I was never sure if it was enabled or not. The only situation where I could notice a real difference was when I was sitting in my car with the AC on, and the earbuds did make the noise slightly quieter, but not by much. A better test might be with plane engine rumble on a flight, but that's not something I can do right now.
The Galaxy Buds Live have touch controls, but I was somewhat disappointed that there aren't swipe gestures like some other premium earbuds have. Because of this, volume controls have to come at the cost of some other features, like activating my voice assistant or enabling active noise cancellation. This isn't a huge problem because I usually have a smartwatch connected as well, but having to pull out my phone for these actions would be annoying.
As for sound, the Galaxy Buds Live are alright, but as I've stated before, I'm not an audio expert. Switching from my PC speakers to the Buds Live, I do feel like the sound is a little less clean with the earbuds, but that could just be because they're earbuds instead of the large drivers you can get with PCs or even phones.
It's also worth noting that the Galaxy Buds Live charge in the case, and the case itself charges via USB Type-C, as it should. It also supports wireless charging, and you can charge off the back of the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, as I mentioned above. I haven't had to do this, though, because the battery life on the earbuds has been solid and I've never had to charge them beyond the first charge when I got them.
As far as its role of being Samsung's "everything phone" goes, the Note20 Ultra does a good enough job. It has a huge, gorgeous display, the S Pen, solid stereo speakers, premium design, and some cool exclusive features to boot, like the links with Windows 10 and other Microsoft apps and services. It does a lot of things well enough, and is even the best at some of them, like the amazing display and the S Pen features.
But as a phone with a standard form factor that costs €1,339, there are a bit too many shortcomings to overlook. The camera is good, but not amazing, and the consistent oversaturation can get annoying. The huge display is good for media consumption, but the curved edges are prone to accidental touches, and the overall size of the phone makes it hard to use with one hand. And while performance in general terms is good, battery life on this Exynos model is far from what you'd expect of a 4,500mAh battery. I'm also just not a big fan of OneUI, but that's less of a problem.
Most of those things aren't necessarily huge problems. But what is huge is the price tag for this phone, at €1,339.90. I think the Galaxy Note20 Ultra is a really good phone. It's just not a phone that should ever cost as much as it does, even in the context of other incredibly expensive phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max or - a personal favorite of mine - the OPPO Find X2 Pro.
That said, if you're interested, you can find it on Amazon UK, where it's currently discounted to £929, a much better deal. That price only applies to the Mystic White version, though, and it goes up from there. Over in the U.S., you can get the Snapdragon variant with 128GB of internal storage, which is discounted to $1,049.99. The Galaxy Buds Live can be had for $139.99 (currently $30 off) in the U.S., and in the UK starting at £103.16.
By Usama Jawad96
You may soon be able to get new emojis on Android without waiting for system updates
by Usama Jawad
Love it or hate it: a lot of people use emojis to convey a variety of emotions as it allows them to do so in a lesser amount of time with fewer taps of the keyboard. Typically, support for new emojis on Android and iOS devices comes with system updates such as Android 11 and iOS 14.2. Now, a new report claims that Google may be looking to decouple this dependency on Android system updates.
As spotted by the folks over at XDA, Google has made several commits to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) Gerrit to achieve this purpose. Currently, all fonts and emojis are stored in a read-only system partition so updating them requires either rooting your phone and having a go at modifying system files yourself or waiting for a system update.
The new commits on the Gerrit indicate that Google will allow the "system_server" process read-write access to the system directory, which essentially means that the company will be able to roll out support for new emojis faster than before.
It is important to note that these commits have not been merged as of yet, so there's no assurance that this change will even happen. However, if they do get merged, we should probably see this change happening with Android 12 which is supposed to bring in at least 217 new emojis with Emoji 13.1 in 2021.
Source: Google (1, 2) via XDA
By Jay Bonggolto
Motorola unveils the Moto E7 budget phone in Europe for €119.99
by Jay Bonggolto
Image via PhoneArena Motorola today announced a new budget phone in Europe that costs only €119.99 (~$143). The Moto E7 will also be available in select countries in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia in the next few weeks.
As a budget-friendly handset, the phone comes with modest specs that don't compromise its performance. Inside, it's rocking an octa-core MediaTek Helio G25 chipset with a clock speed of 2.0 GHz. The processor is coupled with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that's expandable up to 512GB via a microSD card.
The phone sports a 6.5-inch Max Vision display with a resolution of 1600 x 720 and a waterdrop notch that houses a 5MP selfie camera (noted by PhoneArena). Additionally, its display has a 20:9 aspect ratio that Motorola says provides "the best viewing experience" for watching movies together with friends and family.
At its back, the Moto E7 features a dual camera setup comprising a 48MP main sensor and a 2MP macro camera. Its camera can also record videos in both HD and FullHD resolution at 30fps.
The phone packs a 4000mAh battery that can keep it running for up to "36 hours" on a single charge for various tasks, Motorola says. Speaking of gaming, the handset features HyperEngine technology for smooth and improved gaming performance.
The device runs stock Android 10 and it also includes a dedicated Google Assistant button mounted on the side.