Which is the better smartphone? Which camera comes up tops? There's something for everyone - decide yourself!
We sure do love our gadgets, from wireless headphones to nostalgic knick-knacks like the Nokia 3310. But if there’s one thing we can’t live without, it’s the smartphone. How did we become so dependent on them? From recording important moments on the phone to having loved ones on speed dial for emergencies, it’s undeniable that smartphones have become part of us. In this era where technology can get scarily good, we have seamless connectivity, hyper sharp camera lenses, and wireless everything. And in the constant battle of Apple vs Android, who delivers better? We bring up some top choices.
Google Pixel 2 XL
The Pixel 2 XL is probably the best, if not, the smartest Android phone on the market right now. Design-wise, it’s a simple beautiful piece which feels good on the hand. A combination of glass and metal with a metal frame and a glass panel at the top of the rear housing the camera lens. The fingerprint sensor is also situated at the back – a smart, intuitive move by Google. The Pixel 2 is also waterproof like the iPhone X – if you’re a clumsy one.
The camera, software and user interface is the best I’ve experienced, especially with the integration of pre-installed Google apps like Google Assistant (aka Siri, but engages in better conversation) and Google Lens which work seamlessly – this phone is close to perfect.
The blazing performance of the phone is probably down to the 4GB of RAM built in and the slick Oreo OS. An added bonus is that Pixel phones will receive software updates before any other Android models so you’ll be number one to try out the new features and fixes. There are some lags and flaws when it comes to certain features like Bluetooth which bugs me sometimes.
One thing worth mentioning is how great the camera is on this phone. The 12-megapixel camera is optically stabilized and has a wider f/1.8 aperture for low-light shots and a Portrait mode which takes stunning shots with real depth and without looking too cheesy. It’s also fully integrated with Google Photos meaning you’ll never run out of storage. On top of that, Google Lens works perfectly with the camera, recognising landmarks, buildings, information from book titles, music albums and even namecards – making it truly a smart smartphone.
Intrigued? Android users in Singapore will finally be able to get their hands on a Google Pixel phone on 15 November. A bonus for those getting it on the 15th, Google Assistant will also be able to recognise Singlish. Pretty cool.
Who should get it: Tech-savvy, curious types, and if you love a good and smart camera…
Apple iPhone X
The first of the new era, Apple’s iPhone X (pronounced “iPhone Ten”) is designed to mark the 10th anniversary of the device. The formidable iPhone X entered the market with a lot of hype surround the face-recognition camera. While I feel that this feature is still a little gimmicky, it’s still early days to see if its fodder for “We test iPhone’s face recognition” videos or Apple making a prescient prediction.
It runs on the super speedy iOS 11 system and offers seamless user interface. The iPhone X’s A11 bionic chip has 3GB stuffed in it but the ultra efficient system-on-a-chip comes out tops compared to its Android counterparts. A new feature for the iPhone X is also the wireless charging feature it offers which is a plus for the lazy sorts who forget to plug in and charge up their phones at night.
Now getting to camera – we expect nothing less from an iPhone camera, and the iPhone X delivers of course. The dual-rear camera comprised of two 12-megapixel sensors, one telephoto with an f/2.4 aperture and one wide-angle with f/1.8 aperture. The front camera is a 7-megapixel sensor with a f/2.2 aperture. It also offers Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting Mode, along with body and face detection. This latter feature enables FaceID, allowing users to unlock their device and pay using Apple Pay with their face, replacing the need for a fingerprint sensor. Animojis? Gimmicky.
It’s a great phone – as we would expect – but as expected as well, it does come with a hefty price tag so better save up if you’re planning to get one.
Who should get it: Die-hard Apple fans, Android haters
BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition
The BlackBerry KEYone Black Edition is a sophisticated-looking (it’s all black) smartphone that offers a dose of nostalgia with its physical QWERTY keyboard in this modern Android era. (Does that make you feel old that your one-time go-to gadget is now described as ‘nostalgic’?). The Black Edition was built following user feedback and they have now produced a sleeker, more powerful device.
First impressions, they’ve gone in for a ‘blacked-out’ look – almost every surface of the body comes with a matte-black finish, save for the polished keys, the camera ring and the BlackBerry logo on the back. The smartphone uses four materials for its construction, glass, plastic, metal and rubber (or silicon) which is one too many for a smartphone these days. But how BlackBerry puts it all together that is quite impressive. The fingerprint reader also doesn’t sit on the back, but on the front, and it has been smartly embedded into the spacebar key, which secretly makes it invisible.
On top of that, it’s also a durable phone with smart and secure software and great battery life. For busy sorts, there’s the Hub and the Productivity Tab which lets you plan out everything and keeps you in check for every meeting, appointment and event. The KEYone comes with a Power Center application, found in the app drawer. This is different from the standard Battery settings in the Settings app and will let you customise and control how each app consumes the available power from the battery.
When it comes to entertainment capabilities though, this phone might still be more about business than leisure. Still, it’s the sort of phone for a specific sort of person and for that, it works.
Who should get it: Super organised and busy types who never want to miss an appointment or email
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