Apple and Samsung’s updated product lines
What’s new in smartphones and tablets? If you’re looking for one or both of these devices, I’ve got the latest from Samsung and Apple.
The Galaxy z fold3 from Samsung is an Android phone that is expanding into a tablet. Yes, you read that right. There is also the Galaxy z flip3, an Android phone that folds in half to make it much easier to slip into a pocket or purse.
Is One Of These Wacky Phones Right For You? Read on.
Apple, meanwhile, kicked off its usual flood of news on the iPhone and iPad in early fall. An intriguing development is the last ipad mini, which has been completely redesigned; I bought one and have impressions.
New iPhone 13 the models are incremental upgrades, but have much better battery life as well as photography improvements.
Fold it up, flip it over
There’s a joke in the tech world that looks like this: Any phone can fold, but you want one that can fold more than once.
Samsung hasn’t been laughing in recent years when it released foldable phones that were plagued by problems. One of the early Fold models tended to break down almost immediately.
Now, in its third run, Samsung has released foldable phones that seem to hold up better (although their long-term durability is hard to assess).
As a longtime tablet enthusiast, I’m particularly interested in the Galaxy Z Fold3. (AT&T sent me a to review.) It’s an engineering marvel with tedious compromises. There’s also the cost: it starts at $ 1,799. That price tag might make sense if the Fold3 was a near-perfect phone and a near-perfect tablet, but it’s neither.
When closed, the Fold3 is a bulky rectangle, much like an oversized candy bar, with a display on the front that’s gorgeous but eerily narrow and difficult to use compared to that of a regular smartphone. It works well but won’t display all apps and websites correctly, and might make you a little claustrophobic.
When unfolded, the Fold3 is a great tablet – well, a mini tablet. This means you have more space to read, write, and watch videos. If a traditional phone screen feels cramped, you might like this.
But you will run into trouble. One of them is a seam that runs down the middle of the screen, where it folds. It’s invisible when holding the phone from certain angles, but sometimes painfully obvious. You could get used to it, and maybe not (I didn’t mind too much).
The biggest problem, for me, is the software. Apps that look great on a rectangular phone screen don’t always look so good on a more square tablet screen. Apple solved this problem by pushing developers to make iPhone and iPad apps that look different, but this trend is not as advanced in the Android world.
Samsung has been helpful in creating screen management tools in the Android operating system. You can organize two or three apps on the Fold3 screen at a time, change the appearance of individual apps on the screen, and more. It’s great, but a work in progress (as Samsung acknowledges by calling some features experimental).
So who is this phone for? If you have a big budget, a taste for adventure and a high tolerance for risk, this may be your jam. Average consumers will want to stay away, but watch this space as foldable phones continue to evolve and come down in price.
For now, the Galaxy Z Flip3 makes more sense. (AT&T sent me a to review.) It looks a lot like a regular phone when opened; it’s about an inch taller than a standard Apple iPhone, which is great for adding another row of icons.
When closed (much like a “Star Trek” communicator), it is a tidy set with a mini screen on the outside to display the time, date, state of charge. , new messages, etc. The mini screen is also used as a selfie-cam viewfinder. Samsung has come up with some super cute accessories, including a case that turns the Flip3 into an oversized keychain.
The best news here is the Flip3 price tag, starting at around $ 1,000, which matches traditional smartphones. You still have to deal with a pesky screen seam and uncertainty about how long the folding mechanism will last, but I see a lot more people buying this phone.
All new iPad mini
Apple often takes its time to redesign its iPad tablets. The iPad mini, for example, hadn’t seen an update since 2019 and didn’t look that different before that, since the product’s debut in 2012.
So Apple isn’t hyperbolizing when it says the latest iPad mini is its biggest update ever. I was so excited that I ordered one within an hour of its unveiling on September 14th.
IPad mini embraces the design language of the larger iPad Air and iPad Pro models. The classic home button is gone, the edges are flatter, and the screen is a bit larger at 8.3 inches measured diagonally, though overall looks pretty much the same.
The iPad mini uses a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port, its A15 Bionic processor is similar to the newer iPhone 13 models, and it is compatible with Apple’s second-generation Pencil stylus that clicks on magnetically on the right edge so you have a doodle and writing accessory close at hand. Its selfie camera has a new Center Stage feature that lets you stay in the frame when you’re video chatting, even if you’re moving around.
This is the iPad for you if you want an Apple mobile device that’s larger than an iPhone, for entertainment and lightweight productivity, while being more portable than larger iPad models. Apple doesn’t make a clip-on keyboard for the mini as it does for the bigger ones, but any Bluetooth keyboard will work.
I am not sure if I will keep my mini. Using it non-stop I’m having my doubts about how the small screen is hampering my ability to work, and am looking to get a bigger iPad.
The iPad mini isn’t very cheap starting at $ 499 with a paltry 64 gigabytes of storage. The price seems reasonable compared to the Galaxy Z Fold3, and the iPad has a bigger screen, more tablet-friendly apps, and fewer worries about hardware longevity.
If you’re on a budget, also check out Recently Updated Entry-level iPad, starting at $ 329. It looks a lot like a regular iPad with a Home button and only has 64 gigabytes of storage in its entry-level configuration, but Center Stage and a more zippered processor are on board, along with some display improvements. I could fall for one of them.
iPhone for photos
Apple releases new iPhone models every year, and some of these upgrade cycles are more amazing than others. This year is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but not without revealing aspects. The battery life is significantly improved compared to the iPhone 12 range on the one hand.
Apple always pays close attention to its iPhone cameras and photography capabilities, and this year is no exception with improved lenses and improved software. The cheaper iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini (with two rear-facing lenses, standard and wide-angle) benefit, and the higher-end iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max (with three lenses: standard, wide-angle ). angle and telephoto) even more.
New features (which I’ll have fun trying out in the coming weeks with the four iPhone 13 models Apple sent me) include:
Kinematic mode. You know those movie scenes where the focus shifts from the object or person in the foreground to something or someone in the background? IPhone 13 phones do that! You can trigger and adjust the effect while shooting video, or while manipulating files later (but only in Apple video editing apps at first). Cinematic Mode is a software feature that works on all iPhone 13 models.
Macro shooting. A few years ago, I attached a third-party macro lens to an iPhone so I could take close-ups of monarch butterflies floating around my lawn. The monarchs were beautiful but the lens offered only average image quality. Now Apple has brought macro shooting to the iPhone, and it looks a lot better. Only iPhone 13 Pro users get it because it is a hardware feature of the lens.
Photographic profiles. Before taking pictures, you can lock different modes or “profiles” which give the pictures different appearances or personalities, such as “vibrant”, “hot” and “cold”. Once engaged, such a profile is the standard way to shoot the camera; Think of it as the digital equivalent of film. You can even create your own profiles. This is a software feature that works on all iPhone 13 models.