Every year, we look forward to Apple’s September event, where they unveil their new phones and gadgets. Most years have been fairly predictable, with either an all-new iPhone model or an iPhone “S” model being introduced.
But this year was a little different, as Apple unveiled not one, not two, but three new iPhones, making this year’s choice perhaps the hardest one to date.
In the past, I would simply upgrade my iPhone every two years when my contract was up for the newest iPhone (if I had an iPhone 6, I’d skip the iPhone 6S and upgrade to the iPhone 7), and I was usually able to do an even swap thanks to generous trade-in deals, so my out-of-pocket cost was pretty close to zero.
This time around, Apple’s Tim Cook introduced the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, three phones that look similar but have some key differences between them. Honestly, we were a little surprised by the decision to release 3 phones at once. But Apple wants to offer a specific model for every need. Here, we break down the different models for you:
The iPhone XS (“Ten S”) is the successor to the iPhone X, and it retains the same design, with a 5.8″ Super Retina HD display and edge-to-edge design, along with that dreaded notch at the top. As with most “S”, the phone gets some minor upgrades, with a more powerful A12 Bionic chip, dual 12-megapixel wide and telephoto cameras for even better photos, and a new 512GB capacity option. Pricing for the iPhone XS starts at $999.
The iPhone XS Max is essentially the same as the iPhone XS, only bigger, with a massive 6.5″ screen, making it the largest display yet on an iPhone. But thanks to it’s edge-to-edge display, it actually manages it in a smaller form factor than previous “plus size” models like the iPhone 8 Plus. Pricing for the iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099.
Last but not least is the iPhone XR, and this is where things get a little confusing. You see, the iPhone XR offers many of the same great features from the iPhone XS, with a slightly larger screen (6.1″), but at a significantly lower price, starting at just $749. So how’s it $250 cheaper? By cutting a few corners along the way. The iPhone XR uses aluminum for the frame, with 6 colors to choose from. In addition, the XR features an LCD screen (which Apple calls “Liquid Retina Display”), rather than the OLED of the XS/XS Max. It also comes with a single camera setup rather than dual lenses, though Portrait Mode is still supposed to work.
While the iPhone XR seems like a good deal, until we’re able to compare both phones side by side and see how different the two phones are, it’s really hard to make a decision one way or another. And to further complicate matters, Apple is releasing the iPhone XS and XS Max nearly a month before the XR.
In the end, I’m not sure if Apple made the right move giving people too many options like this. Only time will tell I guess.
What do you think of the new iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR phones?
Samsung Unveils The Galaxy Note9, Galaxy Watch, And More At Unpacked Event
Yesterday, we headed up to Brooklyn for Samsung UNPACKED, where the company unveiled the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy Note9, the latest in Samsung’s premium Note series, along with a few other surprises thrown in for good measure.
First on deck was the Galaxy Note9, which expands on the popular Note8 with a bigger screen, larger battery, massive storage space, faster processor, intelligent camera, and new S Pen. It’s clear that the Note9 is gunning for the iPhone X, and it’s got the specs to back it up. Pull up a chair while we break it all down for you.
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 features the largest edge-to-edge displays ever on a Note, with a 6.4-inch Super AMOLED Infinity Display and stereo speakers tuned by AKG, to provide a truly immersive experience whether you’re playing games like Fortnite (which is coming to Android next week) or simply watching YouTube videos.
While the larger screen is nice, the real story here is with the insane 4,000mAh battery, which promises to deliver all-day performance so you don’t need to be constantly hunting for a free outlet to recharge your phone. Leave that charging cable behind and live worry free!
Storage concerns are also a thing of the past, with the “base” model Note9 coming with 128GB of internal storage, and the upgraded model sporting 512GB of storage. Paired with Samsung’s upcoming 512GB MicroSD card, the Note9 can hold up to 1TB, so you will never have to worry about running out of space again. Seriously, that’s more space than my laptop has..
The Galaxy Note9 is powered by a 10nm 64-bit Octa-core processor, and they have upped the ante with the addition of a Water Carbon Cooling system, along with an on-device AI-based performance adjusting algorithm to deliver powerful yet stable performance, keeping things cool no matter how processor-intensive your game or app is.
More would argue that the most important thing on a phone is the camera, so Samsung pulled out all of the stops here, with a unique combination of advanced intelligence features and premium hardware. Dual 12MP rear cameras (one wide-angle, one telephoto) capture all the action, with a Dual Aperture lens that adjusts to light just like the human eye to deliver a crystal clear shot no matter the setting.
But it’s the Note9’s new “intelligent camera capabilities” that have us excited, taking the work out of getting the perfect picture. The Scene Optimizer automatically identifies elements of a photo, classifies it into one of 20 categories, and optimizes the photo accordingly. And Flaw Detection lets you know if there’s something wrong (someone blinked, the image is blurry, a smudge on the lens, etc) so you can take another picture before the moment is lost.
Lastly, the Note’s signature S Pen has evolved. What began as a tool for writing and drawing is now putting more power and control in your hands. Now, with Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) support, the new S Pen allows you to take selfies and group pictures, present slides, pause and play music, and more with just a click. The S Pen charges in the phone in just under a minute, so it’s ready for you in a matter of moments.
The Samsung Galaxy Note9 will retail for $999.99 for the 128GB version and $1,249.99 for the 512GB version. Both phones will be available for purchase starting August 24th online and in stores, and they’re currently available for pre-order.
In addition, customers who pre-order either phone between now and August 23rd can choose between a pair of AKG noise-cancelling headphones ($299 retail) or the Fortnite Galaxy skin with 15,000 V-bucks ($150 retail) or get both for just $99.
Overall, we think Samsung really knocked it out of the park with the new Galaxy Note9. Sure, it’s easy to get a case of sticker shock when you see the price tag. But for those power users who rely on their phones on a daily basis, we think it’s a no-brainer.
Visit www.samsung.com to learn more about the Galaxy Note9. And stay tuned, as we’ll have more about the rest of the devices unveiled at Unpacked in the coming days!
Apple Introduces New (RED) iPhone 8 / Plus Special Edition
Apple is doing it again, unveiling (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition versions of the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which sport a beautiful glass enclosure, now in red, with a matching aluminum band and a sleek black front. Other than that, it’s exactly the same as other iPhone 8 models.
Not only do the new phones look great, but as part of Apple’s long-time partnership with the (RED) campaign, a portion of the proceeds go directly to fighting HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Global Fund. Since partnering with (RED) in 2006, Apple has raised over $160 million for this great cause.
“We are proud to support (RED) with this bold new iPhone and hope customers think it is as special as we do,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing.
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition will be available in 64GB and 256GB models, with pricing starting at $699. Pre-orders start tomorrow, and you’ll be able to buy it at Apple stores on Friday. So if you’ve been thinking about getting a new iPhone, here’s your chance to support a worthy cause while getting a great phone. But don’t wait too long, as these will sell out before you know it!
And don’t feel left out iPhone X users, as you can still support the cause by purchasing a dark red leather folio ($99), which is crafted from specially tanned and finished European leather for a luxurious look and feel. This case will be available for purchase starting tomorrow.
What do you think of the iPhone 8 (PRODUCT)RED Special Edition?
Rough On Technology? Then Look For These Features In Your Next Smartphone
If you are tired of handling your smartphone with kid gloves, it might be time for you to upgrade to something sturdier. No phone is indestructible, but rugged smartphones come pretty close. You can drop them, splash water on them, and trust that the screen won’t crack and that the battery won’t be screaming for juice before the day is over. They say dog is a man’s best friend, but rugged smartphones may be a close second.
Here are some features you should keep an eye out for if you’re hunting for the Rambo of smartphones:
The word “rugged” refers to more than tougher perks or thicker frames; the best “rugged” smartphones also undergo a military-grade assessment. In order for a phone to meet military-grade durability standards, it has to withstand shock, dust, water submersion, high temperatures, and strong vibrations. These phones are built to deliver, without losing the functionality of a regular smartphone. Most durable phones will be advertised with a “rugged” tagline, but make sure to ask or inspect the listed features.
There is no point having a durable smartphone if it’s back on charge before it can prove its worth. So look for a battery that is 3500mAh or higher, as this should give you about two days before your next charge. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for features like fast wired or wireless charging in order to maximize your time spent unplugged.
Dust and Water Resistance
Not all rugged phones are created equal when it comes to dust and water resistance. While most of them can withstand sand, dust, or salt mist, water resistance varies by phone. Some phones can handle splashing, while others can be submerged in water for a set amount of time and up to a certain depth. Check for an IP68 water/dust resistance feature, like the one on the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active available from T-Mobile, for the best results when choosing a phone. This means your phone will be water resistant when submerged up to 5 feet for a total of 30 minutes.
Shatter Resistant Screen (Heavy Falls)
Sometimes regular smartphones can feel like handheld mirrors. All it takes is one drop or bump, and you’re looking at a cracked reflection and a payment in the near future. With a shatter resistant screen and a drop proof phone you can forget looking at those cracks or bills again. These phones have been drop tested and can even sustain falls of five feet or more.
While the emphasis is placed on shatterproof screens and avoiding unnecessary cracks, there are several other useful features to look out for. Some screens come with glare resistance, making them easy to use in the sun. Where you might usually shade your phone with a hand or adjust the brightness, these phone screens work the same come cloud or sunshine.
Another handy feature to keep an eye out for is wet screen technology. While more of a luxury, this feature makes sure that your finger tracking isn’t affected by screen dampness. It’s a handy add-on, especially if you work in damp environments.
While not a perk in and of itself, choosing the right carrier is almost as important as choosing the right phone. When you’re relying on your carrier to keep you connected, you want one with low downtimes, low latency, and high speeds online.
A carrier with low latency means you will generally experience smaller delay times when loading websites, and high speeds enable you to download content quickly. T-Mobile has the highest ranking for speed across the board, with Verizon and AT&T slightly behind. Choosing the right carrier can drastically improve your user experience.
In fact, if you’re locked into a contract, the carrier is something you’ll have to deal with for a while. Before you make up your mind, be sure to check out the mobile coverage map in your area, as well as the quality of the service. The last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere with no reception or an unreliable phone when you need it the most.
Hopefully by referring to this guide, you can choose a phone that is durable, reliable, and near unbreakable, so you can forget about cracked screens, overheating, and water damage for good.