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LG posts highest quarterly revenue and profit ever in the first quarter
by João Carrasqueira
Like many other companies, LG has posted its earnings results for the first three months of calendar year 2021 this week, which in LG's case is also the first quarter of its fiscal year. Even though this is the quarter after the holiday season, LG managed to increase both its revenue and profit from the previous quarter, to 18.81 trillion won ($16.90 billion) and 1.52 trillion won ($1.36 billion), respectively. Not only is that an increase from the last quarter, but those are the highest quarterly results LG has ever posted.
As to what contributed to those numbers, the LG Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company continues to be its biggest division, posting 6.71 trillion won ($6.03 billion) in revenue, up 23.8% from the same period last year. Operating profit was 919.90 billion won ($826.39 million), which is 22.1% higher compared to last year.
The LG Home Entertainment Company - responsible for LG TVs and soundbars - was its second-biggest division, with 4.01 trillion won ($3.60 billion) in revenue and 403.80 billion won ($362.75 million) in operating profit. Those numbers are up 34.9% and 23.9%, respectively, from the previous year.
The last division to post a profit was the LG Business Solutions Company, which saw a 9.1% increase in revenue year-on-year to 1.86 trillion won ($1.67 billion). Profits, however, went down to 134 billion won ($120.38 million) due to increasing costs of LCD panels and semiconductors.
The LG Vehicle Component Solutions Company saw a whopping 43.5% increase in revenue from the past year, reaching 1.89 trillion won ($1.7 billion). The division still didn't turn a profit, however, and lost 700 million won ($629,000), though it did lower its losses.
And finally, we have the soon-to-be-defunct LG Mobile Communications Company. With LG preparing to shut down its mobile division - a move announced shortly after the fiscal quarter ended - it didn't release any new products in this time. It posted 998.70 billion won ($897.18 million) in revenue in this quarter, and operating loss dropped 28% to 280.10 billion won ($251.63 million) thanks to its decreased investment. LG says it will include profits and losses for its discontinued operations in its second-quarter results.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review: A mobile powerhouse
by João Carrasqueira
Samsung introduced three new phones in its Galaxy S family this year, and if you've been following us, you probably already know that two of them are pretty great additions to its portfolio. So, of course, I was very interested to see what the company could deliver with its top-of-the-line offering, the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The S21 Ultra is not only the range-topper for this year, it's easily the most distinct of the three phones. It's the only one with a Quad HD display (which is also the most power-efficient of the family), it's the one with the biggest camera setup, the biggest battery, and most notably, the only one with support for the S Pen, a long-standing trademark of the Galaxy Note series. Indeed, using the S Pen on a Galaxy S phone would have been really cool, except Samsung didn't send me one. There are other things that are worth talking about, though.
Samsung sent me the base configuration for the S21 Ultra, with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, but you can configure that up to 16GB and 512GB, respectively. As usual, it's the Exynos-powered model, and Samsung sent me the Phantom Black color.
CPU Exynos 2100 (Octa-core) - one Cortex-X1 at 2.9GHz, three Cortex-A78 at 2.8GHz, four Cortex-A55 at 2.2GHz GPU Mali-G78 MP14 Display 6.8 inches, 1440x3200, 515ppi, 10Hz-120Hz, Dynamic AMOLED 2X Body 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm (6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35in), 229g (8.08oz) (mmWave)/227g (8.01oz) (sub6) Camera 108MP main with nine-pixel binning + 12MP ultra-wide + 10MP telephoto (3x optical zoom) + 10MP periscope telephoto (10x optical zoom) + ToF sensor, Front - 40MP Video 8K - 24fps or 4K - 60fps, HDR10+, Front - 4K - 60fps Aperture f/1.8 + f/2.2 + f/2.4 + f/4.9, Front - F/2.2 Storage 128GB UFS 3.1; non-expandable RAM 12GB Battery 5,000mAh Connectivity Wi-FI 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, UWB Color Available at retailers: Phantom Black (as reviewed), Phantom White
Samsung.com exclusive: Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, Phantom Brown
OS Android 11 with OneUI 3.1 Price €1,249-€1,279/$1,199 First impressions
Let's be realistic here: the way Samsung presented the Phantom Black model during its unveiling of the Galaxy S21 Ultra sounded absolutely bogus. Samsung called it its "boldest color yet", which is ridiculous considering it's black. However, I have to admit the color has won me over. It's an incredibly smooth-looking black, and so little light reflects off of it that it always looks uniform. The camera module seems to use a similar finish, so the whole phone ends up looking almost completely flat.
The glass on the back isn't like any other matte finish phone I've tried, either. It's so smooth to the touch that I sometimes find myself just gliding my finger across the back just for fun. The only part of it that stands out is the Samsung logo, which is etched to remove the haze effect and looks more glossy. Regardless, it's an extremely classy-looking phone.
Samsung seems to take pride in the huge camera bumps on the S21 Ultra series, and that stays true here. The four cameras (plus a time-of-flight sensor) make for a very thick protrusion. However, I think it's balanced out by the new Contour Cut design that Samsung is using across the entire line, where the camera module melts into the frame of the phone. I loved it on the standard Galaxy S21, and I love it here.
Looking around the sides of the phone, it's all pretty much business as usual. On the left side of the frame, there's nothing to be found save for a couple of antenna bands.
On the right, you'll find the power/Bixby button and the volume rocker, both of which feel nice and clicky, but not too harsh.
The top edge is also unexciting, featuring two microphone holes and another antenna band.
And the bottom edge houses most of what you'd expect to find on the frame - a bottom-firing speaker, a USB Type-C port, a SIM card slot, and another microphone.
Overall, if it's not obvious already, I love the look of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and I think a lot of that does come from the Phantom Black color. I haven't seen any of the other colors in person, but this is one is an easy recommendation.
Display and sound
On the front of the phone is, of course, the massive 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, only interrupted by the punch-hole cutout for the front-facing camera. You probably don't need me to tell you that Samsung makes great displays, but it holds true here. Colors are punchy with a very satisfying contrast, it gets very bright, and of course, it's super smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. There are phones with higher refresh rates now, but I'd say you probably won't notice much of a difference in day-to-day use. It's also the only phone in the Galaxy S21 family to have a Quad HD display, so if you feel you need the extra sharpness, this is the one for you.
As far as the quality of the screen goes, little more can be said, but one thing that's worth mentioning is that the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a wider range of adaptable refresh rates compared to its smaller siblings. It can go as low as 10Hz, so if you want to use an always-on display, the phone can save some battery by only refreshing the screen 10 times per second, while the other two can only go down to 48Hz. I would be remiss to ignore that phones such as the OnePlus 9 Pro go a bit further and can go as low as 1Hz, though.
Of course, you can also use the S Pen with this display, but it's not included in the box, and for some reason Samsung didn't think it was worth it to send it out to reviewers. It's a shame because it would have been one of the biggest distinctive elements of the Ultra, and you'd think Samsung would want to highlight that, but it seems that's not the case. Either way, you can buy the S Pen separately by itself or with a dedicated case, which gives you a storage space for it. I'd definitely recommend the latter option if you don't want to risk losing your S Pen within two days of buying it.
As for sound, the S21 Ultra offers a stereo pair of speakers, comprised of the bottom-firing unit and an amplified earpiece above the display, which you can barely see. Sound quality is great both from the speakers and the microphones based on my testing. The speakers get fairly loud and have a good range, but I do feel like it's outdone by some of its competitors in terms of volume. My OPPO Find X2 Pro seems to do a bit of a better job rising above surrounding noise, but that's not to say the S21 Ultra is really lacking in any way.
Just like with the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung went all-out with the numbers on the camera setup in this phone. On the back, four cameras plus a time-of-flight sensor make for a gigantic camera module, and it's probably one of the best combinations of sensor I've had the chance to try. The main sensor here is Samsung's latest 108MP sensor with nine-pixel binning, resulting in 12MP shots. You also get a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and my favorite part, two whole telephoto cameras, both with 10MP resolution, but one capable of 3x optical zoom and the other going up to 10x. Even the selfie camera is something else, with a 40MP sensor using quad-pixel binning and phase detection autofocus.
The most noticeable difference from its predecessor is the addition of the 3x optical zoom lens, and it's bigger than you may think at first. I've made it clear in the past that I love it when I can take out my phone and go from an ultra-wide shot all the way to a photo that looks to be very up-close to the subject even though I'm far away. I love periscope lenses for that very reason, but with a setup that only includes a periscope lens, you have a big range of zoom where the primary camera is still being used for digital zoom. With this 3x lens in-between, you can easily zoom into an object as much as you need to and get clear, sharp pictures at every level - until you start getting too close to the 100x digital zoom, that is.
Gallery: Galaxy S21 Ultra daytime samples
Now, that isn't to say that shots from this camera setup are perfect, but let's start with the positives. In daytime, the Galaxy S21 produces bright and vivid colors with sharp and detailed images across all of its cameras. I always love how sharp images are coming from Samsung cameras, as it makes each object pop, in my opinion. Even images from the selfie camera look super sharp, and Samsung phones consistently take some of the best pictures from the front-facing camera, in my experience.
The color balance isn't perfect across all four cameras, but it's not too noticeable and the image processing helps even things out. I do find that there's a tendency to oversaturate, and greens especially seem to suffer from a noticeable case of yellowing. That does help plants and trees pop a bit more, but it's definitely not a color-accurate representation of them a lot of the time.
Things get a bit iffier at night time, which really reveals the differences in the sensors used for each of the cameras. You can use night mode across all four of them, and the image processing there definitely helps. Without it, comparing the ultra-wide and main cameras, it's hard to believe it's even the same phone. Otherwise, though, I'd say night mode does a fairly good job at making night shots more visible and consistent across the cameras, and the overall results are solid, though not spectacular. You can see a full comparison between all the camera with and without night mode at the end of these samples:
Gallery: Galaxy S21 Ultra night time samples
As for video, you can record at up to 8K resolution and 24 frames per second from the main camera, 4K60fps from any of the others, including the front-facing camera. That isn't to say the quality is the same across all the cameras, though, and naturally, the main camera will offer the best quality in general.
Samsung also offers a ton of modes for both photos and videos. Single Take takes a series of photos over 10 seconds and saves the best ones, which might be useful for capturing the perfect moment when a subject is moving. You also have things like Pro video recording and Director's View, if you want a bit more flexibility with recording videos.
Performance and battery life
Performance is the most boring part of most reviews, especially when you review a lot of flagships, because all of them nowadays are expected to run nearly flawlessly. That applies to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, too, which comes with an Exynos 2100 chipset, 12GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage, all of which keep things running smooth as butter in day-to-day use. If you're in North America, you'll get the Snapdragon 888 chip instead, which is arguably even better, but Samsung did a pretty good job with the Exynos 2100 and it's a huge leap forward compared to last year's Exynos 990.
Looking at the benchmarks, the Galaxy S21 Ultra certainly holds its own. First off, there's AnTuTu, a general-purpose benchmark that measures almost every aspect of the experience:
Because AnTuTu got updated with an all-new scoring system recently, we can't compare this directly to a ton of past phones, but you can see that the S21 Ultra is trailing behind Snapdragon 888 devices like the OnePlus 9. Looking at each section, you can also tell that the biggest reason for that difference is the CPU and GPU, both integral parts of the chipset. If you're in the U.S., there's a good chance the score will be higher here, since that version also has a Snapdragon 888.
Moving on to GeekBench 5, which is a CPU-focused test:
My particular Galaxy S21 Ultra actually holds its own very well against Snapdragon 888 devices, though it does trail them slightly. GeekBench also apparently added a new feature recently that highlights the average scores for your device, so you can have a better idea of what to expect. I personally run benchmarks off of a fresh reboot, which might explain the above-average scores.
Finally, there's GFXBench, which is a very intensive test focused on the GPU:
These scores are also very much in line with what we've seen from other flagships, even Snapdragon-powered ones. It's nothing too surprising, but Exynos gets the job done pretty well this year.
Performance-wise, the biggest problem I've noticed with this phone is that the Wi-Fi reception is worse than most other flagship phones I review. I've seen worse, but the signal definitely gets blocked far more easily than other phones that command such a high price.
As for battery life, with a massive 5,000mAh, you can only expect it to be great, and it is, showing once again how much Exynos has improved over the last generation. It's always lasted me easily through a day, and usually it goes about a day and a half without charging for me. I always had the phone set to Quad HD+ resolution and adaptive refresh rate enabled, so you can get even more out of it if you leave it at Full HD+ or 60Hz (or both). In fact, the display resolution is set to Full HD+ out of the box, and frankly, you probably won't see a difference in image quality.
The big thing to note with the S21 Ultra is that it doesn't come with a charging brick, which makes fast charging a bit trickier. If the charger you have right now doesn't support the fastest charging speeds - which I don't - it can take well over an hour to charge this phone's battery. That's a downside of the "environmentally-friendly" approach that Samsung is taking with its phones' packaging. By the way, the phone does support wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.
On the software side, it's all the same as I explained in the Galaxy S21 review, so I won't repeat myself too much. It's running Android 11 with OneUI 3.1 on top, and it's pretty nice, even if the overflow of settings and apps can make it a bit hard to adapt to the phone at first. Samsung has some cool exclusive features like DeX, which lets you connect to an external screen and use your phone like a PC, and it also offers the best integration with the Windows 10 Your Phone app.
After what I considered to be a year of disappointing phones for Samsung in 2020, the company seems to have redeemed itself with its first flagships of 2021. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, much like its smaller siblings, is $200 cheaper than its predecessor, and it hardly makes any compromises to get there - of course, barring the removal of the charging brick in the box.
It has the same high-resolution, high-quality panel, the design is arguably way better than what we got with the S20 series, and the camera setup is just a wonderful combination of sensors that makes this a very versatile phone for taking all kinds of pictures. On top of that, non-American users can rejoice in the fact that Exynos processors are much better in terms of performance and battery life this year. As a bonus, you can even get an S Pen for this phone now, even if you have to pay extra to buy it separately.
It's not a perfect phone, and I found the below-average Wi-Fi reception to be especially disappointing considering it's still a phone that starts at $1,199, or €1,249 in Europe. There are also some inconsistencies between the rear cameras that are especially noticeable at night, and even though night mode helps alleviate them, it's certainly jarring when you see it for the first time.
All things considered, though, those are relatively small parts of the experience on what's otherwise a stellar phone. The asking price is nothing to brush off to the side, but you get a whole lot of phone for your money.
If you're interested, you can buy the U.S. version of the Galaxy S21 Ultra from Amazon, where it's currently going for $1,186.14 for the Phantom Black variant. Over in the UK, while official pricing starts at £1,149 with 128GB of storage, you can actually get the 256GB model for £1,114.79 in Phantom White as of the time of writing.
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By Namerah S
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro review: The perfect earbuds for business use
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Anker-owned audio brand Soundcore unveiled the Liberty Air 2 Pro true wireless earbuds at a virtual event in mid-January. The earbuds are equipped with features like targeted ANC, numerous mics, and wireless charging. Taking the charging case into account, Soundcore states that the buds can provide up to 26 hours of playback.
Successors to the Liberty Air 2 and Liberty 2 Pro, the Liberty Air 2 Pro offers completely customizable audio. Users get the opportunity to personalize their earbuds to their own personal sound preferences through the companion app. Priced at $129.99, the earbuds are a good bargain on paper. Today's review will assess whether the touted specs translate well in real life.
Weight 2.4 ounces Dimensions 4.61 x 2.4 x 6.73 inches Design In-ear Connectivity
Bluetooth 5.0 | USB Type-C | Qi wireless charging Battery 5V, 55mAh per earbud, 500mAh charging case| Up to 7 hrs, 26 hrs with charging case Speaker 11mm PureNote drivers Frequency response 20Hz to 20,000Hz Codecs SBC, AAC Supported profiles AVRCP, A2DP, HFP Colour Crystal Pink Price $129.99 Design
Soundcore's Liberty Air 2 Pro earbuds have a stylish design and come in four shades: Onyx Black, Titanium White, Sapphire Blue, and Crystal Pink. For this review, Anker sent me the Crystal Pink option which has a lovely rose gold colouring. The case and buds are made of similar material, they are very smooth and feel nice to the touch.
I quite like the way the lid of the case opens, it slides upwards instead of swivelling open. Each earbud has touch panels on the top, where the small brand logo is located. The touch controls on them are pretty standard but can be changed completely with the companion mobile app. Soundcore really focused on customizability with this product and I'm very happy with that. However, I did find that the panels were not as responsive as some of the other earbuds that I've used.
The charging case has three LED lights to indicate the battery status of the earbuds on one side. There is also a power button on the opposite side, next to the USB Type-C charging port. The case supports Qi wireless charging which adds functionality.
There are nine ear tip sizes included in the box which is pretty generous. Users can choose between XXXS, XXS, XS, S, M, M+, L, L+ and XL size variants. Changing the ear tips to match your preference is very important as it can transform your entire user experience, especially for truly wireless earbuds.
Unfortunately, no matter what size ear tips you choose, the wear experience with the Soundcore buds is very unpleasant. The shape of the earbuds' heads was very uncomfortable after a while and I had to remove them periodically to relieve my ears. It was almost like having strange bulbous hooks lodged into my ears.
If the ear tips aren't changed, users may have issues with the earbuds falling out or being too tight. In my case, both issues occurred. When I didn't push them is in as much as they're supposed to go, they fell out. But when I pushed them further in, the buds were quite painful. I think it depends on the size of your ears so for the sake of completion I had my husband use the Liberty Air 2 Pro as well. He has large ears and most earphones tend to fall out. In his case, they fell off a couple of times even with the correct ear tip size but when he pushed them deeper to make them stay put, it hurt.
The problem lies with the design of the heads of the buds I would say. They are quite chunky and don't sit nicely when worn. People who feel uncomfortable wearing such audio devices usually don't push them in as much as it is painful, therefore they fall out. Either way, the experience is pretty bad and not suitable for long-term use.
The Liberty Air 2 Pro has targeted active noise cancellation, 6 microphones, HearID for personalized sound, and a companion app that lets you customize almost everything. There are several presets for users to choose from in the app. These presets allow them to let certain sounds pass through, such as voices, or no sound at all.
Along with targeted ANC, the multitude of mics make the experience of online meetings and conference calls much better than usual. I did not have to worry about stray background noises such as my cats meowing or the loud whirring of the ceiling fan. The Liberty Air 2 Pro made for an excellent work-from-home companion.
Aside from office use, the Soundcore true wireless earbuds were pretty average. Don't get me wrong, the sound quality is pretty decent. Highs and lows sound good, and bass is okay. The audio quality is like a staple food that does the job, like rice. It isn't bad and you can mess around with the different equalizer and HearID settings to alter it to your liking, but it just doesn't excel.
On paper, the wireless audio device has a 500mAh battery which supposedly lasts for up to 26 hours overall. Soundcore claims that the earbuds and the case altogether can be charged back up to full power in two hours.
In my testing period, the Liberty Air 2 Pro lasted for five days with moderate usage. This included attending several long calls and meetings each day, a few hours of music, watching a whole two-hour movie, and consumption of other audio-visual media. I was satisfied with the battery life as this matched the audio brand's claims more or less.
Once completely drained of power, the entire charging case inclusive of the dead earbuds took me a few minutes shy of two hours to charge. In terms of charge time, I found that the Liberty Air 2 Pro to be consistent with its spec sheet.
On its website, Soundcore recommends the Liberty Air 2 Pro for 'commute, travel, workout and business calls'. After weeks of usage, I think these earbuds fit the official description to a T. They're great for calls and virtual meetings where crystal clear audio is nearly essential.
Outside of a professional work setting, the earbuds get the job done in a neat and tidy manner. But for me, I think the Liberty Air 2 Pro lack pizzazz. There's nothing spectacular about the audio quality, it's best described as just plain decent.
For an asking price of $129.99, I think the Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro provide good value for money. Users can expect a nice and simple experience with plenty of options to tailor the sound quality to their liking. It won't blow anyone's socks off, but it will not disappoint either.
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By Namerah S
DOOGEE S59 Pro Review: Battery life so good, charging becomes a weekly chore
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
The DOOGEE S59 Pro was initially launched by its maker on December 15. Eventually, the rugged smartphone made its way to the U.S., arriving on Amazon in mid-January. Born in Spain, the Chinese brand focuses on creating durable phones and selling them at affordable prices.
One of the unique features of the S59 Pro, apart from the military standard IP rating, is the giant battery it comes with. The DOOGEE smartphone has an enormous 10,050mAh battery paired with 24W fast-charging support and is priced at $239.99 in the U.S.
We received the international version for the purposes of this review in the Army Green shade. Continue reading for a detailed evaluation of the rugged device.
Display 5.71 inches, IPC LCD, HD+, 720 x 1520, 295ppi, 90Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass Weight 340g CPU Mediatek Helio P22 2.0GHz 12nm GPU IMG PowerVR GE8320
4GB Storage 128GB, expandable up to 256GB via microSD Camera Main: 16MP f/2.0 130° ultra-wide + 8MP wide-angle + 8MP macro + 2MP depth
Front: 16MP Dimensions 6.41 x 3.19 x 0.63 inches Battery and charging 10,050mAh, 24W fast-charging via USB Type-C Connectivity Dual-SIM, WiFi 6, NFC, Durability IP68, IP69K, United States Military MIL-STD-810G Security Face unlock, side-mounted fingerprint sensor Material Metal and hard plastic blend Colour Army Green Price $239.99 Day One
One of the first things that I noticed immediately about the S59 Pro was its chunky size. Since it is a rugged smartphone, it's normal for the device to be built in such a manner but that doesn't make it easy to carry. As it has many protective layers and is made of metal and hard plastic, the phone is extremely heavy at 340g. It looks like a miniature tank or a brick, almost like a regular smartphone on steroids.
On the right side, you'll find the volume buttons, the power button and a dedicated fingerprint reader. Meanwhile, the left side houses the dual-SIM tray and a fully customizable extra button called the smart key. It can be programmed to trigger an SOS message, open any app, record audio and more. The top of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone port covered with a tab to maintain the waterproof nature of the phone. The USB Type-C port can be found at the bottom of the phone, also hidden away underneath a tab.
DOOGEE has fitted a powerful 2W speaker on the back of the S59 Pro. While it is really loud, the location makes it prone to being covered up and muffled when the phone is set down or held in hand. This was very problematic as the phone is so thick and heavy, I couldn't really hold it up in a way that didn't block the speaker for very long. The speaker placement essentially made it functionally useless most of the time.
Speaking of the display quality, I was very happy with it despite some shortcomings. The DOOGEE S59 Pro has a 5,71-inch HD+ LCD display with a 720 x 1520 resolution, 90Hz screen refresh rate, and Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It has an LED notification light on the top left, a waterdrop notch and extremely thick bezels. The forehead and chin are especially chunky and decrease the actual screen size by quite a bit.
The colours were crisp, bright and very accurate, and I could see content even in bright sunlight. Thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate, it responded very well and displayed smooth transitions and animations. The quality of the screen reminded me of the earlier iPhones, like the iPhone 5 or 6 (but better). Bottom line is, I think this was one of the best budget displays I've seen, despite the thick bezels.
Quad-cameras have become a bit of a fashion statement in the industry and the S59 Pro has embraced the trend as well. On the back, it has a square camera unit that houses a 16MP Samsung AI f/2.0 130° ultra-wide camera, an 8MP wide-angle camera, an 8MP macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. As for the front camera, it sports a 16MP lens that supports face unlock.
Honestly speaking, I went into the process of reviewing this phone with minimal expectations but the cameras surprised me. As seen in the sample images below, the pictures came out really nice with clear details and vivid colours. The bokeh mode, or portrait mode as it's generally called, was a bit too artificial for my liking but the effect can be customized to the user's tastes so I was fine with it overall.
There is also an underwater mode and a dedicated monochrome mode in the camera which captures some aesthetically pleasing images in black and white. The cameras did struggle a lot with low lighting though, especially when the lighting was warmer. Under soft yellow lights, the pictures came out blurry and lacked detail and clarity. There is no night mode so it goes without saying that taking photos at night was hopeless.
As for the front camera, the 16MP selfie snapper took good shots but only in bright settings. Overall, I would say that the S59 Pro is capable of capturing some nice pictures but only with a lot of proper lighting. From an affordable rugged phone such as this, it is to be expected but I was hoping there would be a night mode.
Gallery: DOOGEE S59 Pro samples
DOOGEE touts that the S59 Pro is designed to withstand various forces of nature such as extreme weather conditions, shocks, falls and water. It has several durability certifications, including IP68 and IP69K water and dust resistance as well as the MIL-STD-810G military-grade rating.
I tested out its durability by dropping it face forward on tiled floors and there were no visible scratches or any damage. Dipping it in water did absolutely nothing, and even after a rough day of playing with my dog, the S59 Pro was completely unharmed. It got dirty with mud and I simply washed it under the tap afterwards. It felt a little unnerving to be washing a phone at first, but seeing the positive results made me relaxed.
Performance and battery life
Under the hood, the DOOGEE smartphone has the entry-level Mediatek Helio P22 chipset, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage and runs stock Android 10 out of the box. To test out the performance of the rugged phone, I tried playing various games that are heavy on the system such as The Elder Scrolls: Blades and Warhammer: Odyssey. It could handle the first game but the second one was abysmal, I couldn't even play for ten minutes because the app was so slow and kept getting stuck.
Running normal apps such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Google Docs or YouTube wasn't any hassle for the phone. I never faced glitches with any other application apart from the bigger, heavy-duty mobile games. Even smaller games like Gardenscapes and SimCity BuildIt played alright.
For proper benchmarks, I started off by running GFXBench which tests the GPU.
Next, I ran Geekbench 5 which tests the CPU.
Last on the list, I ran AnTuTu which tests everything. I used the Blackview BV4900 Pro's benchmarks for comparison as it is a rugged smartphone with the same CPU, GPU and similar storage options. According to the BV4900 Pro's scores on Unite4Buy, the Blackview phone got a total score of 94,288 whereas the DOOGEE S59 Pro got a significantly better overall AnTuTu score of 103,448.
Moving on to the battery life, DOOGEE touts the S59 Pro's gigantic 10,050mAh battery can last for two days on a single charge and can juice up to 100% in three hours. I put this to the test as well, and let me tell you, that was quite a task. The battery just would not die! I was astonished because the results were unbelievable. I went a whole seven days without having to charge the phone. That is, without a doubt, the longest any phone or wireless device I have ever owned lasted without losing power.
Followed by such heroic battery life, I had to deal with the daunting process of charging the S59 Pro back up. My goodness did that take a while - exactly four hours on the dot. Bear in mind that the phone comes with a 24W fast charger.
In the end, I would say that with the DOOGEE S59 Pro, nothing went as I was expecting. The overweight device was full of surprises but in the best sense. That being said, it had plenty of downsides as well. The bulky, heavy nature of the phone makes it really hard to carry it around. You can forget about putting the device in your pant pockets. If you do, however, the ever-present risk of being pantsed by your own phone will haunt you.
The speaker placement is extremely foolish and defeats the purpose of fitting such a loud one in the first place. Performance-wise, mobile gamers should definitely give this phone a pass because it can't handle demanding apps such as process-heavy games that well.
The rugged DOOGEE phone is meant for someone who prioritizes battery life over everything else and needs a decent, functioning smartphone. Aside from the excellent battery life, the device is extremely durable, it has good cameras and a great display. Though it needs to be charged for four long hours, that only needs to be done once a week so I believe it balances out.
Then there's the customizable smart key which is fantastic because you can assign different functions to it for one click, two clicks and a long press. That's really handy for emergency situations, you could use it as an SOS button and automatically alert contacts of your safety issue. You could also choose to take screenshots with the button or open any app.
All things considered, I believe that the S59 Pro is appropriate for a very specific segment of the market. If you're an adrenaline junkie, construction worker, army personnel, or simply a very clumsy human, I would definitely recommend you this phone.
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By Rich Woods
Dell Latitude 7320 review: The ultimate work from home laptop
by Rich Woods
Last summer, I reviewed Dell's Latitude 7310 laptop, and I truly enjoyed it. When Dell offered the newer Latitude 7320, I couldn't resist, despite the fact that little has changed. Indeed, the fact that so little has changed is part of the charm. I just love the form factor of this tiny little PC,
The main thing that has changed, of course, is that it now comes with Intel's 11th-generation processors. The new chips come with Iris Xe graphics, and they're a massive upgrade from 10th-gen, especially for business PCs like this one. It's also a bit thinner, a bit lighter, has a 1080p webcam, and more.
These days, Dell does offer a higher tier, the Latitude 9000 series, but honestly, I like the Latitude 7000 series a bit more, even though it lacks some key features like 5G support (you can get it with 4G though).
CPU Intel Core i7-1185G7 GPU Iris Xe Body 306.5x202.81x16.96mm (12.07x7.98x0.67in), 1.17kg (2.57lbs) Display 13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare, Super Low Power, Non-Touch, ComfortView Plus Low Blue Light, WVA, 400 nits, sRGB 100% Memory 16GB LPDDR4 SDRAM (on board) 4266MHz Storage 256GB SSD M.2 2230 PCIe Gen 3 NVMe Input Single Pointing Non-Backlit Keyboard, Spill Resistant
Single Pointing Backlit Keyboard, Spill Resistant
Microsoft Precision Touchpad Ports (2) USB Type C Thunderbolt 4.0 with Power Delivery & DisplayPort
(1) USB 3.2 Gen 1 with Power share
(1) HDMI 2.0
(1) external uSIM card tray (optional)
(1) uSD 4.0 Memory card reader
Battery 4 cell 63 WHr ExpressCharge2.0 Capable Battery & Long Life Cycle capable Webcam 1080p Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 2x2 .11ax 160MHz + Bluetooth 5.1 Material Carbon fiber Color Black carbon fiber weave OS Windows 10 Pro Price $2,149
Dell's Latitude 7000 series comes in a variety of styles. The 7300 series is 13-inch, the 7400 series is 14-inch, and the 7500 series is 15-inch; on top of that, you can choose between the 7320 clamshell like the one I'm reviewing, or the 7320 2-in-1 if you want a convertible. Moreover, there are options between carbon fiber and aluminum.
The clamshell that Dell sent me is carbon fiber, allowing it to weigh in at just 2.57 pounds. The lid has a carbon fiber weave design, something that not a lot of companies are doing, especially in the mainstream space. Lenovo does it for premium, but that's it. It's a nice look, and it's something that's different from the rest of the pack.
What I really love about the Latitude 7320 is just how light and small it is. Being a 13-inch laptop and having small bezels, it has such a small footprint that it's just so easy to carry. When I reviewed the Latitude 7310 last year, I described it as the perfect laptop for around the house. If I had to get work done on the couch, this would be the first machine I'd grab because it just feels so comfortable to carry, and it's a laptop that feels good on a lap.
Being a business laptop, it's also got a solid array of ports, not skimping out on USB Type-A. On the left side, there's a lone Thunderbolt 4 port, which you can use to connect dual 4K monitors, an external GPU, and so on. There's also a 3.5mm audio jack on that side.
Last year's Latitude 7310 supported a single 4K display on each Thunderbolt 3 port, as Dell used the base spec. That means that Thunderbolt 4 is actually a big improvement, offering double the bandwidth.
On the right side, you'll find a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port for 5Gbps speeds, an HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K output, a microSD slot, a SIM slot that's filled with a slug if you get the cellular model, and a second Thunderbolt 4 port.
I really want to commend Dell for putting Thunderbolt 4 ports on each side, and that's actually one thing that did change in the chassis since last year. So few OEMs do it, but it really makes life easier when you can charge your laptop from either side. It's really rare in the Windows world.
Like I said, I really do like the design of this laptop, particularly just the shape and size of it.
Display and audio
The Latitude 7320 has a 13.3-inch 1080p display, and unfortunately, there's no option for 4K resolution. There are four display options, including non-touch options that come in at 250 nits or 400 nits, and two 300-nit touch options, one of which has Dell's SafeScreen privacy display.
Dell sent me the 400-nit non-touch screen, which is pretty good. It's easily bright enough to work from anywhere, which is something that I always appreciate. You should never have to use anything at 100% all of the time in order to be comfortable. You can use this screen at 50% brightness or less without an issue.
While is has narrow side bezels, the top bezel is a bit bigger, and as you can see, there's a lot to unpack there. First and foremost, the webcam is 1080p this time around, and that's super important. We're in an age where working from home is super popular, and while webcam quality wasn't nearly as important a couple of years ago, it's important now. So many companies are still using 720p webcams, so this is another thing I'll commend Dell for.
As you can see, there's also a privacy guard over the camera that you can use if you want to. Of course, that means that a bunch of other stuff won't work, the least of which is the IR camera for facial recognition.
Dell also has a bunch of AI features included, and there are some extra sensors in that are in that top bezel, all of which can be controled in the Dell Optimizer app. Those sensors can tell when you sit in front of the PC or when you walk away. When you sit in front of the PC, it can wake up, and then Windows Hello will light up to know that it's you that sat down, logging you in without you ever touching the PC. And then it can lock your PC when you walk away after a determined amount of time.
This is a security feature if you're working in an office or if you're working in public, but it's also great if you're working from home. When your computer automatically locks a minute after you walk away, you don't have to worry about your little kids messing up your important work. Moreover, you just don't have to think about this stuff.
And then there's audio, as the dual speakers are located under the base as usual. The audio gets louder than I thought it would, which is great for listening to music. But I once again want to focus on working from home, as both the speaker and microphone are great for meetings. I really feel like this is the ultimate work from home PC.
Keyboard and touchpad
While there have been some subtle changes to the rest of the PC, I don't think that the keyboard has changed at all. It's a backlit, Chiclet-style keyboard that you'll find on all of Dell's Latitude laptops, which is fine. Dell's keyboards are good, and in fact, I'd probably say I like the Latitude ones even more than the consumer ones.
The only problem is that they're not the best. This is never the highlight of the review because Lenovo's ThinkPad and HP's Elite laptops simply have better keyboards. Again, this is good, but those are better. Of course, I don't think you'd ever think that this is lacking in any way if you didn't compare the two.
The touchpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, as you'd expect. It's also a bit larger than it was last year, taking advantage of more of the real estate on the keyboard deck. This is always nice to see. I much prefer a larger touchpad to wasted space.
Performance and battery life
The Latitude 7320 that Dell sent me includes a Core i7-1185G7, 16GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD. Strangely enough, when I went to price it out on Dell.com, there were no configs on there with over 256GB of storage. That's just an interesting fact though; businesses can get PCs through other channels that no doubt have additional customization options.
The performance improvement over the last generation is significant. Here's the long story. Last year, Intel's 10th-gen processors had two families: Ice Lake and Comet Lake. Ice Lake moved to 10nm, but it also included Iris Plus Graphics, a significant improvement over the integrated graphics in previous generations. Comet Lake pretty much existed because Intel couldn't make enough 10nm chips, so it was another 14nm lineup, once again including UHD Graphics.
This year's 11th-gen 'Tiger Lake' is a big step forward. The 10nm process has been refined, but also, these chips come with Iris Xe graphics. While last year's Iris Plus was nearly double the performance as before, this is nearly double the performance of Iris Plus.
Here's where it gets even better. Since Intel was so short on Ice Lake chips, all business PCs came with Comet Lake. The company didn't even make a vPro variant of Ice Lake. So while Tiger Lake is a big improvement on Ice Lake, it's an even bigger improvement over Comet Lake, which is what was in the Latitude 7310.
Intel's U-series processors, now called UP3, have been great at productivity for a long time, but now you can do more creative work on them. There's some actual graphics power here. Photo editing is no problem, nor is FHD video editing. It's a great product.
Battery life on this laptop is phenomenal too. I can easily get over a dozen hours of battery life on here, with the battery slider on one notch above battery saver and the screen on about 25% brightness. Dell has been making some bold battery life claims, and it's nice seeing it deliver.
For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8, PCMark 10, Geekbench, and Cinebench.
Core i7-1185G7 Latitude 7310
Core i7-10610U XPS 13
Core i7-1065G7 PCMark 8: Home 4,478 3,639 3,899 PCMark 8: Creative 4,655 3,693 4,253 PCMark 8: Work 4,099 3,845 3,797 PCMark 10 4,743 4,253 4,402 Geekbench 1,540 / 5,181 Cinebench 1,230 / 4,428
As you can see, there's a big improvement over the last generation.
While all of the changes that Dell made on this generation seem small, they're meaningful changes. I love that there are charging ports on either side for convenience, and of course, the FHD webcam is a must in 2021. Seriously, the amount of companies that have ignored that just baffles me.
My biggest complaint is that it doesn't have a 4K option again. This is something that's competing with the EliteBook 800 and ThinkPad T-series of the world, just like the Latitude 9000 should be competing with EliteBook 1000 and ThinkPad X1. A 4K option would be nice.
Of course, that would affect the sweet, sweet battery life that I'm getting from this thing. Seriously, it's wild. It's hard to not look at the Dell Latitude 7320 and call it the ultimate working from home PC, because it checks those boxes. It has the proper webcam, which is a rarity, and it's also light and small. It's easy to work from anywhere in your home, whether that's at a desk or on the couch.
This really is just such a good PC, and this year's improvements are really meaningful. If you want to check it out on Dell.com, you can find it here.