Tag Archives | smartphone

Image via store.google.com

If you’re a university student in 2018, chances are you never really knew a life where smartphones weren’t necessary. Our entire lives are on our phones, and if we ever forget to bring it out with us, we feel naked. The unfortunate thing is that they are incredibly expensive – especially if they need to be replaced every few years. So as a student trying to pay your way through school, you need to find the balance between a great smartphone and a great price.

Enter Google Pixel 3.

Aside from a sleek design, the best part about this phone has got to be the camera – whether you’re outside during golden hour or in a dimly lit restaurant, you can be confident your photos will be of great quality. For the price you’re paying, you will get all the connectivity, apps, storage and speed you’re looking for, and in the age of Instagram and social media, having a better camera than competitors is nothing to shy away from!

Pros:

  • The camera – great quality photos, no matter the light
  • Water resistant – because we all need a little safety net
  • Wireless charging – say goodbye to sitting on the floor next to your outlet!

Cons:

  • No headphone jack (am I the only one disappointed by this trend?)
  • If you need more memory than 64GB, you’ll have to buy a new phone (or delete some selfies)

Overall, the Google Pixel 3 has very few cons, and with a price a couple of hundred dollars lower than competitors, it’s the perfect fit for students!

Security: Fingerprint reader
Operating System: Android Pie
Cameras: Dual front-facing camera; rear-facing camera
Colors: Just Black, Clearly White, Not Pink
Processor: QUALCOMM 8-core 64-bit
Resolution: OLED 2160x1080px
Size: 5.5 in
Battery: Wireless charging
Memory: 64GB
Price: from $750 USD
Buy: Google Store

I’ve been an iPhone user for about two years now, and don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone, but sometimes I miss the features that Android phones of my past provided. I’ve noticed more and more iPhone users switching back over to Android, which had me wondering, what changed? The perfect opportunity to jump back into Android phones arose with the new release of the LG V20. LG claims that this phone has superior true-to-life sound on video playback, a larger camera lens to capture more in photos and a new second screen feature on a phone running the newest Android 7.0 Nougat software. So how does this phone do when faced with the schedule of a busy university student?

PACKAGING

The phone comes in a standard white box with the V20 logo on the front. It flips out into a three-compartment holder. In the left most slot is the phone in all its glory, in the middle there is the phone charger, and in the right most area is the battery. The phone charger comes with a two-pronged wall plug-in and a cord, where one end is a USB and the other end plugs into your phone. This makes it easy to use the cord to plug into a computer or sound system.

DESIGN

The design of this phone is very sleek and quite large. It has a huge display screen, at 5.7 inches, and is about 6 inches tall and 3 inches wide. It weighs about 6oz, so it’s quite light and doesn’t bear a huge burden in your pocket. It’s quite a bit bigger than your iPhone 6, which you can see displayed side by side above. I enjoyed the sleek design, which looks high end. The phone has a fingerprint scanner on the rear right underneath the camera, which to be honest, only worked about 50% of the time, and an additional SD card slot and huge removable battery. The location of the fingerprint scanner was awkward and was difficult to unlock with one hand.

The actual display and design of the phone is really great. I love the way the icons look, and the kind of bubbly style was a great departure from what I remembered the Android software looking like. This made the phone a pleasure to use! The phone does not have any home or back buttons, so on the bottom end of the display is a back button, a home button and a button that displays all open tabs when you touch the bottom of the screen. The screen is very clear and high res, and looks great playing 4K videos. It also remains clear while in direct sunlight, unlike a lot of other LG phones.

One of the cool design features is the upper secondary screen that displays notifications, the time, the date and open apps. Whenever you pick up the phone, this part of the screen turns on, instead of turning on the entire screen display. It also responds to touch, so you can swipe through any notifications without unlocking your phone. It’s a pretty cool feature for checking social media activity without having to open the app right away.

Overall, I like the design of this phone. It’s a big phone, but not too big where it can’t fit in your pocket. Though it is a little bit large to hold in your hands, it was nothing too cumbersome, especially if you lean towards larger screens. I did find the secondary screen feature very cool, but as I mentioned before it turned on whenever the phone was held up or even if it was just in your hand. I found it a little bit annoying that it wouldn’t turn off if I was on the bus and trying to sleep because the light would be bright in my face; but other than that I enjoyed the design through and through.

SOFTWARE

The phone has Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 820 with X12 LTE and 2.15 GHz Quad-Core Custom 64-bit Qualcomm Kryo. To be honest, I’m not too sure what that means, but I do know that this phone has a TON of memory. I use Apple Music, but I don’t have a ton of data, so I usually download my music to my phone. My 16 GB iPhone only lets me download a few hundred songs. This phone had 64GB of internal memory and room to add a 2 TB micro SD card. I downloaded a lot of songs and apps onto that phone with no worry about taking up space. I think the Apple Music app works better on this phone than it does on my iPhone!

I found I could use a ton of apps at the same time – the phone has 4 GB of RAM, so I could operate as many games as I wanted without having to worry about anything being slow. I ran a few action games, like Pocket Morty’s, with no lag, and not a ton of battery being eaten up – which any student would love.

One thing I didn’t like so much about the phone was some of the built-in applications, like the Notes app and the Calendar app. The calendar was simply just not as intuitive as Apple’s Calendar app. It wasn’t as user friendly and the notifications and settings simply were just not up to my standards. The Notes app was strange – it was more akin to ‘Microsoft OneNote’ than ‘Microsoft Word’, which didn’t make it easy to scribble down a note in a hurry. The texting application was okay as well, but nothing special – although I do enjoy the super cute LG emojis!

The phone also came with some cool features that I haven’t seen on many other devices. If you were using the phone one handedly, you could move the keyboard from one side to another to make it easier to type. You can use the Smart Lock feature to keep the phone unlocked when you are connected to your home Wi-Fi, which made life a lot easier. It had a setting which reduced blue light for easier reading and you can view two windows side by side which can be a useful feature – for example, when trying to dial a phone number.

Without considering the LG standard apps, I think the phone performed well and I enjoyed the features it came with. I loved the huge amount of memory and the phone’s ability to process a ton of activity at once without draining the battery.

CAMERA

The camera on this phone is one of the special features that set this phone apart from any others. This phone has TWO cameras on the back and a wide-angle lens camera on the front! There is a 16 MP standard angle lens and an 8 MP wide angle lens on the back of the phone (the iPhone 7 only has a 12 MP), and 5 MP wide angle lens at the front. The amount of content that you can fit into one picture is absolutely AMAZING. I was floored when I started using the camera. The pictures are extremely clear, much better than the ones my iPhone 6 can take. The colours are more saturated, but it makes scenery look so much deeper and richer than other cameras. In dim light, the pictures do lose this colour and end up more pixelated and more grey-toned, even with the flash on. I think on this spectrum the iPhone may be a bit better at taking night photos, but it doesn’t compare to the quality and amount of space you can get into photos with this phone.

The front camera is similar, able to fit a ton of content into one picture. I think Ellen would have loved this camera for the 2015 Oscar’s selfie because it as a group setting that can be used when there are a bunch of people trying to get into a picture. It was really cool how much you could get out of the camera, and it was definitely my favourite part of the phone. If you’re a photographer, I think you’ll love this for any spur of the moment photoshoots. The phone provides a selfie light to make sure that your selfies are well lit, has built in filters to blur out any imperfections and can take quick shots in case you need to snap a pic real quick. I thought this camera was great for selfie taking – I even posted a few on my Instagram account!

As for the video settings, this phone has a cool feature that helps to reduce any shakiness on videos. I wasn’t able to use it on any moving targets, but if you are filming with a shaky hand, it definitely aids in keeping the video steady no matter who is moving. The videos were as clear as the pictures. I think the camera on this phone is incredible and is probably the stand out feature for a product like this. I’ve never seen anything like this on any phone, so it is definitely a cool thing that you can show off to your friends!

LG V20 Vs iPhone 6

Taken with the LG V20

Taken with the iPhone 6

You can clearly see that the V20 shows much more clarity, richer colours and gives off a wider view of the scene.

AUDIO

The audio playback on this device was wonderful. Music that I had downloaded from Apple Music sounded really great through headphones, and the sound capability from video playback was also very crisp and clear. I can for a fact say that the playback from this phone was superior to the iPhone 6 and it was quite nice, as I like to listen to music when I’m walking around on campus. Listening to music didn’t drain the battery life either, which was an added bonus.

The LG website also claims that this device has a very high sound recording capability for video and audio. Video recordings have ‘true-to-life sound’ for clean audio to match your videos. Additionally, when audio recording, you can capture crisp sounds and can record on separate tracks that layer over playback. This would be great for recording memos or even lectures, which is a useful feature to have as a university student.

BATTERY LIFE

To put this product to the test, I took it to school for an ENTIRE day. And that means travelling with me from about 8:30am to 10:00pm, because it takes me about an hour and a half to get to school and from there I had class from 11:00am to 9:00pm. On a daily basis, I use my phone to listen to music in between classes and when on the bus, and constantly use my phone to check social media, text and research things. Now, I typically don’t have my data on all the time – at school I’m pretty much always connected to the WiFi. To give you an apt comparison, when I use my iPhone, by the end of the day I’d say my phone is in the 20-35% battery left category for the same length day.

With this phone with me through my day, I was left with 36% battery power – and the phone indicated to me that this meant another 7h and 43 minutes of usage (which was probably only standby time) but still, that’s a lot of battery power left. This was with Wi-Fi on, with the phone on vibrate and the game battery saver on, but not the regular battery saver. Though it performed about the same as my iPhone, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised that the battery lasted so long. It did a great job and a college student would have no issue taking this phone out for the day and not having to worry about it dying. And it charges really fast – it took about 4 hours to charge completely and was ready to use again, which is great for the student on the go.

OVERALL

PROSCONS
· Large, clear screen

· Great cameras

· Great audio playback

· Long lasting, quick charging battery

· Expensive – $480 retail!

· Poorly designed fingerprint scanner

· Poor built-in app design

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this device. In the past, whenever I have used an Android phone, I was never impressed because I had an iPhone, but this phone changed my outlook completely. I think this phone is great – it comes power-packed with a bunch of features, more than the iPhone has, and is less than half the price (but is still quite expensive when compared with other Android devices). The camera changed the game for me – the resolution of the pictures and the wide-angle camera lens is like nothing the phone world has seen before and definitively changes the game. There are so many great features to this phone that makes it practical for those on the go, the gamers, the social media stars, the photographers, etc. This is a phone that has features that cater to everyone, whether it be music, video, audio, or battery life. Though it’s not perfect (and nothing is), LG did a great job on this phone, and I can definitely say that it is a phone that students will love.

Overall rating: 8/10