Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
At MobileSyrup, we have the opportunity to test out a variety of flagships throughout the year. We’ve made a list of all the best smartphones you can currently get in Canada, and why we think they’re so great. Let us know your favourite smartphones of the year in the comments below.
While the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are Apple’s flagship, high-end smartphones this year, the standard iPhone 11 has a lot to offer, just like its predecessor, the iPhone XR.
The smartphone, unfortunately, lacks the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max’s OLED screen, instead opting for LCD. It also doesn’t feature the more premium design or third 12-megapixel 2x zoom lens, but still packs the functionality the average iPhone user likely cares more about.
This includes bright colours like ‘Green,’ ‘Purple,’ and ‘Yellow,’ along with the device’s excellent 12-megapixel f/1.8 wide and 12-megapixel f/2.4 ultrawide camera. The iPhone 11 also sports Apple’s excellent A13 Bionic processor, just like the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.
While the iPhone 11 does have a few shortcomings, it’s the all-around best Apple smartphone for the average iPhone user.
The iPhone 11 is available for $979 outright for the 64GB version of the smartphone. For more on the iPhone 11, check out our review.
iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max
The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, Apple’s 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch highest-end 2019 smartphones, have a lot in common with the iPhone 11. The devices ditch LCD screen technology for a modern OLED screen and feature a more premium design that includes a matte rear that’s resistant to dust, fingerprints and grease, as well as slightly smaller bezels.
The device also sports three shooters this time around, resulting in a sizable camera bump on its rear that looks far better in person than it does in pictures (trust us on that one). The three-camera array measures in as follows: a 12 megapixel, f/1.8, 26mm wide shooter, a 12-megapixel, f/2, 52mm telephoto lens and a f/2.4 13mm ultrawide angle camera.
All of these cameras combine to offer the best photography package Apple has ever included in an iPhone. The cameras are so good that they’re able to match the Pixel 4 in terms of quality in most situations.
The iPhone 11 Pro starts at $1,379, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $1,519, and check out the full review, here.
OnePlus had a standout year where it stepped its devices up to the level of flagships from other manufacturers. While the OnePlus 7 Pro is the flashier of the two smartphones, with its pop-up camera and full-screen display, the lower cost OnePlus 7T is the handset most people should buy.
The 7T features the same excellent camera, screen and build quality as the 7 Pro, but has a cheaper price tag, and a slightly smaller size that makes it more comfortable to use.
The camera isn’t the only improvement that catapulted this device into flagship-level. The Chinese company implemented a high-end haptic engine that makes physically interacting with the handset a joy. Each keypress, copy/paste and back gesture swipe felt responsive and premium in a way that not many Android phones often are.
Since you spend most of your time interacting with the phone’s screen, this is one of the best improvements a manufacturer can make to a device. It’s also great that the smartphone runs Android 10 out of the box.
The OnePlus 7T retails for $799 in Canada. Read our review to discover what else makes this handset one of the best smartphones of 2019.
Samsung Galaxy S10+
It’s not shocking that both Samsung’s flagships made the list. While similar, they’re excellent in different ways. This is why both devices are getting separate entries this year.
The Samsung Galaxy S10+ features a candy bar design with rounded edges. Additionally, the phone sports dual front-facing cameras in the top right corner. What is cool is that Samsung didn’t design the Galaxy S10 with a notch or much of a top bezel. Instead, the phone features an Infinity-O hole-punch camera, optimizing the device’s screen real estate.
What’s probably the most celebrated design element of the S10+ is its 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom, giving users the choice to use standard headphones with the smartphone. The Galaxy Note 10+, on the other hand, doesn’t feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, making it Samsung’s first Note not to feature the port.
Spec-wise the handset features a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a 1440 x 3040 pixel resolution, Snapdragon 855 chipset, up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of memory. On the rear, the phone sports a triple rear-facing camera setup with a 12-megapixel sensor and a variable aperture with sizes ranging from f/1.5 to f/2.4. Additionally, there’s another 12-megapixel camera with a f/2.4 aperture and 2x optical zoom, as well as a 16-megapixel ultrawide shooter that features f/2.2.
This handset also includes an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, allowing users to unlock the phone with just their thumb. The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is a tad slower than the optical variants featured in phones like the OnePlus 7T, but this version of the technology is more secure.
The phone’s display quality is also superb, which makes videos and pictures look amazing on it.
Another great thing about the S10+ is the phone’s One UI Android skin. OneUI is intuitive, works great and is very different from Samsung’s beleaguered Touch Wiz.
The Galaxy S10+ starts at $1,219 at the Samsung Experience Store. You can read our review here to learn more about one of the best phones in Canada.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
The Note 10+ is very similar to the Galaxy S10+ in several ways, however, design-wise it’s quite different.
Instead of the rounded corners, the Note 10+ is far more rectangular. Additionally, the handset features a centred hole punch front-facing camera. Many prefer the Galaxy Note 10+’s form factor and camera placement and believe the phone is more comfortable to hold. Furthermore, thanks to the rectangular display, the device sports even more screen real estate, coming in at 6.8-inches.
The camera setup in the Note 10+ is similar to the S10+, except the Note 10+ features a time-of-flight sensor for depth.
Additionally, the Note 10+ features an S Pen stylus with Bluetooth integration that allows for dedicated gestures and controls. The S Pen lets users navigate through the phone and snap pictures without holding the device. It’s also great for taking notes.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ outright costs $1,459.99. You can read our review of the smartphone here.
Huawei P30 Pro
Even though Huawei is dealing with several issues related to the U.S. government, the P30 Pro is a flagship smartphone with top-of-the-line specs, one of the best cameras on the market and an excellent battery.
The P30 Pro’s 4,200mAh battery was able to squeeze out almost 17 hours of screen-on time just by using the phone’s battery saving settings.
The camera is capable of snapping pictures from 190 metres away thanks to its 50x digital zoom. Night images are also awe-inspiring and brighten up photos to make them clear, even in darkness.
The phone also features a curved display as well, so it fits perfectly in your hand.
Unfortunately, EMUI 9.1 isn’t the greatest, it’s advisable slapping a third-party launcher on the P30 Pro. The P30 Pro sports a 6.47-inch OLED display a 1080 x 2340 pixel resolution alongside a triple rear-facing camera setup.
The primary camera features a 40-megapixel sensor with an f/1.6 aperture, allowing users to take pictures in the dark. Additionally, it sports an 8-megapixel periscope camera with an f/3.4 aperture and up to 5x optical zoom. There’s also a 20-megapixel ultrawide camera and a time-of-flight sensor.
Furthermore, the P30 Pro features an optical under-display fingerprint scanner and a waterdrop notch.
The P30 Pro is available outright for as low as $1,200. Check out our review of the device to learn more.
Google Pixel 4 XL
The Pixel 4 X — not the Pixel 4 to be specific — sports one of the best cameras on the market. It feels great when you’re holding it in your hand and sports a pure Android experience.
The Pixel 4 XL features top of the line specs, including a 6.3-inch display with a 1440 x 3040-pixel resolution and a fantastic 90Hz refresh rate. The higher refresh rate results in scrolling that feels incredibly smooth, making the phone a joy to use. In fact, after using the Pixel 4 XL, it’s hard to switch back to other handsets that don’t feature a high display refresh rate.
Similar to the Huawei P30 Pro, the device snaps fantastic pictures even at night thanks to its excellent ‘Night Sight’ mode. Furthermore, selfie pictures look great.
The device also sports face unlock, allowing users to authenticate and access the phone with just their face. Further, there’s Motion Sense, which works both passively and actively. Passively, for example, is when your alarm or a timer goes off and you begin reaching for your device. The phone automatically reacts and quiets the alarm. Motion Sense’s active functionalities include swiping to dismiss alarms, timers and changing songs in specific apps.
The Pixel 4 XL also receives Google’s updates right away, and sports a Snapdragon 855 processor with 6GB of RAM and a fast-charging battery.
The Pixel 4 XL starts at $1,129. Check out our review of the smartphone, here.
LG G8X Dual Screen
The LG G8X is what we’d consider a sleeper hit. The device’s secondary display is great for multitasking, and it helps users play games like PUBG Mobile.
The G8X’s secondary screen attachment is an exact copy of the main phone’s 6.4-inch display. It even sports a waterdrop notch, which is odd considering there’s no camera in the secondary display.
The G8X rarely experienced any slowdowns even while jumping between apps. The phone can also easily survive the day with about 35 percent battery when the secondary screen is not attached.
LG designed the handset for mobile gamers or anyone who enjoys multi-tasking. You can use one screen with an app like Instagram and the other for Google docs, allowing you to work and play at the same time.
Additionally, the G8X features top-of-the-line specs, including 6GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The phone costs $1,150 outright. You can find more about the LG G8X in our review.
Asus ZenFone 6 / ROG Phone II
The Asus ZenFone 6 sports a full display with a unique flip-up camera. Within the flip-up, the ZF6’s camera setup features a 48-megapixel sensor and a 13-megapixel sensor with an ultrawide angle lens.
The Asus ZenFone 6 also features a 5,000mAh battery with 18W quick charging. The phone’s battery lasts for nearly two days. Additionally, the phone features a Snapdragon 855 processor with Zen UI 6, along with a slim user interface that’s both intuitive and unobtrusive.
The ZenFone 6 costs $799 outright. If you want to learn more about this device, check out the review for the handset.
We’ve paired this for the ROG Phone 2 because that phone works similarly to the ZenFone 6 but is faster and lacks the flip-up camera.
The ROG Phone features a Snapdragon 855+ processor, with up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage (in Canada). The ROG Phone 2’s screen is also capable of refresh rates up to 120Hz, coupled with 240Hz touch sensing. Due to the high refresh rate, the handset’s display looks and feels incredibly smooth.
The display and touch sensing help make the phone feel incredibly quick, especially compared to other Android devices on the market. The touch sensing and refresh rate are especially great for gaming, offering an experience that is smooth and quick.
The ROG Phone 2 costs $1,482 CAD on Amazon.
Samsung Galaxy S10e
While it may not seem like much, Samsung’s ‘budget’ flagship is arguably one of the best smartphones of 2019. It gets a lot right and doesn’t break the bank.
First and foremost, the S10e is just a bit smaller than the S10 and S10+ thanks to its 5.8-inch display. But while the screen may be smaller, it’s still a large, excellent display. Plus, thanks to the small bezels, the S10e manages to feel more minuscule than it actually is. If you like small phones that aren’t actually that small, it’s a great way to go.
Plus, the S10e sports a ‘flat’ display instead of the curved ‘edge’ style seen on the S10 and S10+. Some may favour the curved screen, but I’m not a fan and the flat display is much easier to use.
The final note about the display is that the S10e features a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. Again, some might not like it, but compared to a notch, it looks way better. It’s one of the things that makes the S10e so unique and pleasing for me to use. The hole-punch really adds to the overall experience and looks fantastic.
All that said, the S10e isn’t perfect. It lacks the third telephoto camera found on its bigger brothers, it has a smaller 3,100mAh battery, and it doesn’t have an in-screen fingerprint scanner. However, for the price, these are all things that are easy to forgive for excellent performance, great in-hand feel and a superior price.
You can find the S10e for $869.99 outright in Canada or for as low as $0 on a plan with most major Canadian carriers. Check out the review for the S10e here.
Honorable Mention: Samsung Galaxy Fold
While Samsung’s Galaxy Fold isn’t a perfect smartphone, the fact that a device with a foldable display is finally available in Canada is something to be excited about. While the pricey smartphone initially wasn’t set to make its way to Canada following a string of issues related to the device’s display, Samsung changed its plans and dropped the Fold here in early December.
Despite its several drawbacks including the Fold’s thickness, price tag and lack of other features currently featured in other modern smartphones like water-resistance, Galaxy Fold is an undeniably exciting smartphone. The Galaxy Fold costs $2,635 and is only available at Samsung Experience stores across Canada.
Honorable Mention: Google Pixel 3a
While the Pixel 3a might not be one of the best phones of the year spec-wise, when it comes to value, it’s incredible. And if you like quick Android updates, then the 3a series delivers.
Additionally, it packs a fantastic camera, great battery life and most of the awesome Pixel-specific features like Google’s ‘Now Playing’ passive music detection software, camera software like Night Sight, and much more. It even has a headphone jack!
It might be missing wireless charging and premium-feeling build quality, but if you can look past some of these shortfalls, it’s an excellent phone at a reasonable price.
Samsung Galaxy A51 review: Old wine in a shiny new bottle – Android Central
Under increased pressure from Chinese rivals, Samsung overhauled its budget strategy last year. The underwhelming Galaxy J series was gone, and the Galaxy A lineup essentially took its place. Samsung traditionally limited the Galaxy A series to the mid-range segment, but now it fields devices starting as low as $120 all the way to $600.
The new-found change in focus also came with better product releases. The Galaxy A50 was one of the best budget phones you could buy in 2019, featuring great hardware, a fresh design, and decent cameras. In typical Samsung fashion, the company introduced an updated model six months down the line in the Galaxy A50s, and now we have the Galaxy A51.
The Galaxy A51 is a continuation of what Samsung has been doing in this segment for the last 12 months. There are a few enticing changes — particularly around the camera side of things — but the fundamentals are unchanged from last year. In fact, 80% of what I wrote in my Galaxy A50 review last year is relevant for the A51, because the underlying hardware hasn’t changed much.
That said, the Galaxy A51 isn’t a bad phone. If anything, the new design and the fact that it comes with One UI 2.0 based on Android 10 out of the box makes it a decent option for under $350. With the phone slated to go on sale in the U.S. and other global markets later this year, let’s find out if it may just be the budget phone for you in 2020.
At a glance
Bottom line: The Galaxy A51 shares the same fundamentals of last year’s A50 and A50s. The 48MP camera takes decent shots during the day, you get all-day battery life, a vibrant AMOLED display, 3.5mm jack, and Android 10. But the hardware just doesn’t hold up in 2020, and there are much better alternatives available at the same price point.
- 48MP camera
- 3.5mm jack
- Gorgeous new design
- Long-lasting battery
- One UI 2.0 with Android 10
- Aging hardware
- Laggy in daily use
- Low-light shots are unusable
- Macro lens is limited
Samsung Galaxy A51 Design and display
Source: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central
No other brand rolls out iterative updates quite like Samsung, and in the last five years it has managed to turn iteration into an art form. The Galaxy A51 takes a lot of cues from the A50s, which in turn was based on the A50. So essentially, a lot of the internal hardware that you get in the A51 is over a year old at this point.
But that doesn’t mean there are no new features on the A51. Let’s start with the back: the A51 has two diagonal lines across its surface that break up the design — just like the A50s — but this time there’s a gradient effect that shows up when light hits the surface. That gradient effect is the basis for the device’s colors, with the A51 available in Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush Blue, and Prism Crush White.
With a vibrant design and Infinity-O cutout, the Galaxy A51 is one of the best-looking phones Samsung has released.
The lower quadrants also feature subtle lines that further differentiates the design, and the overall effect is that the A51 is one of the best-looking phones Samsung has released to date. I’m using the blue option, and the vibrant color makes the phone stand out. Like last year, the back is made out of plastic, but the glossy finish gives it a glass-like feel. The best part is that it doesn’t smudge as easily as a glass back, and it is more durable.
Another major change at the back is the camera housing. The rectangular camera housing is identical to that of the Galaxy S20 series, and it’s clear that Samsung is trying to create a design identity here. While the camera housing is by no means attractive, it is consistent across all of Samsung’s 2020 devices.
The major design change at the front is the Infinity-O cutout for the front camera module. Last year’s A50 and A50s featured the Infinity-U cutout, and the cutout on the A51 is smaller and better integrated into the design. The bezels are razor-thin this time around, and it makes using the A51 that much more enticing.
Rounding out the design, you’ll find the power and volume buttons on the right, and the 3.5mm jack, USB-C charging port, and a solitary speaker at the bottom. Samsung has also moved away from the 3.5mm jack on its flagships, so it’s good to see the analog jack intact on the A51. The SIM card tray is on the left, and you get the option to slot two SIM cards as well as a MicroSD card. Of course, the variant of the A51 sold in global markets will likely have a single SIM slot.
The Galaxy A51 is astonishingly light at 172g for a phone that has a 4000mAh battery, and it has a great in-hand feel thanks to the subtle curves at the back. With a width of 73.6mm, the phone is also narrow, and while it isn’t conducive for one-handed usage, it is on the lower end of the scale as far as phone sizes go in 2020.
The Galaxy A51 has the same AMOLED display as last year’s A50, but that’s not a bad thing.
Coming to the screen, the Galaxy A51 has a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display that ticks all the right boxes. Colors are vibrant, you get decent viewing angles, and there weren’t any issues while using the screen under harsh sunlight. You get to choose from Natural or Vivid picture modes, and there’s no option to manually tweak the color balance of the screen.
But you do a blue light filter that can be customized to run from sunset to sunrise, and you get the other scaling and font sizing options that are standard on all Samsung phones. The screen is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3, another area that’s unchanged from last year. That’s true for the panel quality itself — other than the switch to an Infinity-O cutout and a minor 0.1-inch increase in screen size, there isn’t any difference from the A50 or A50s. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, as the screen holds up just fine in 2020.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Hardware
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
Samsung has been recycling hardware on its phones for several years, and it’s no different on the Galaxy A51. The phone is powered by the Exynos 9611, the same as the A50s. The A50 had the Exynos 9610, and while the Exynos 9611 is marketed as a new chipset, the only difference from the 9610 is that it can facilitate 48MP camera modules. Both the 9610 and 9611 use the same set of cores and the same Mali G72 for visuals, and they’re both fabricated on a 10nm node.
|Specs||Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite|
|Software||One UI 2.0 based on Android 10|
|Display||6.5-inch (2400×1080) Super AMOLED|
|Chipset||2.30GHz Exynos 9611|
|Rear Camera 1||48MP ƒ/2.0 (primary)|
|Rear Camera 2||12MP ƒ/2.2 (wide-angle)|
|Rear Camera 3||5MP ƒ/2.4 (macro)|
|Rear Camera 4||5MP ƒ/2.2 (portrait)|
|Front Camera 1||32MP ƒ/2.2|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, BT5.0, NFC|
|Battery||4000mAh | 15W|
|Colors||Prism Crush Black, Prism Crush White, Prism Crush Blue|
|Dimensions||158.5 x 73.6 x 7.9mm|
If anything, Samsung is shortchanging buyers on the storage front this year, with the A51 offering UFS 2.0 storage whereas last year’s A50 and A50s had UFS 2.1 storage. Let’s get back to the hardware, because Samsung’s decision to use the Exynos 9611 in the A51 makes things sluggish in day-to-day use. The chipset has four Cortex A73 cores at 2.3GHz and four energy-efficient A53 cores at 1.7GHz, and there’s just not enough grunt to handle even basic tasks like web browsing.
You will notice lag at times even while navigating the user interface, with actions like opening the app drawer causing a negligible delay. Then there’s the issue of gaming, and the Mali G72 just does not hold up in titles like PUBG and Fortnite. If you’re serious about mobile gaming, you’re better off picking a phone with a Snapdragon 730 instead. The A51 is barely adequate even for everyday use — you should not be able to see lag when exiting an app to go to the home screen.
The phone is available with 6GB/128GB and 8GB/128GB variants in India, but in other markets Samsung will offer the A51 with a 4GB option. There’s a MicroSD slot that can accommodate cards up to 512GB in size, and you also get NFC with Samsung Pay, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, FM radio, and Wi-Fi ac. The optical in-display fingerprint sensor is fast and reliable, and I didn’t face any issues with it.
On the connectivity front, the A51 has LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/20/26/28/38/40/41/66. That should be more than adequate to connect to most LTE networks around the world, and with the phone slated to go on sale in global markets, Samsung will tailor LTE bands according to the region.
Yet another area where things are unchanged is battery. The A51 has the same 4000mAh battery with 15W fast charging, and I didn’t have any issues with battery longevity. The phone manages to last a day with ease, and although the hardware itself hasn’t changed from the A50, I got better battery usage figures on the A51.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Software
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
One of the highlights of the A51 is that it comes with One UI 2.0 based on Android 10 out of the box. That wasn’t always the case with Samsung’s budget phones, so it is great to see the manufacturer offer its latest UI on all of its 2020 phones. One UI 2.0 integrates Android 10’s system-wide dark mode, and you also get the ability to choose from Android 10’s default navigation gestures or Samsung’s take.
One UI 2.0 comes with Android 10 and a treasure trove of customization options.
Samsung’s gestures include designated zones at the bottom of the screen from where you swipe up. It is an elegant solution, and is easier to get acclimated to if you’re switching from the legacy navigation keys. But the fact that you also get Android 10’s gestures — with the swipe-in from either side to go back, and swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go to the home screen — makes it that much more enticing.
Samsung has always offered a healthy list of customization features, and it’s no different on the A51. You now get Edge screen, with the ability to configure pull-out Edge panels and set up Edge lighting for incoming notifications and calls. Edge lighting makes up for the fact that phones these days don’t have an LED notification light, and there’s just a lot of customizability to choose from here.
The A51 also has software-based face unlock, and while it isn’t as secure as a fingerprint reader, it is fast. Elsewhere, you get the ability to use two instances of an app at once, Bixby, off-screen gestures, Digital Wellbeing controls, and one-handed mode. Samsung made a dedicated effort to modernize its UI in recent years, and the result is that One UI 2.0 feels modern and a far cry from the TouchWiz days.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Camera
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
The highlight with the Galaxy A51 is the quad camera array at the back: there’s now a 48MP primary camera joined by a 12MP wide-angle lens, 5MP macro shooter, and another 5MP lens for portrait mode. You get a 32MP camera up front, which is a minor upgrade from the 25MP shooter on last year’s A50.
The camera interface itself should be immediately familiar if you’ve used a Samsung phone recently. The main shooting modes are laid out in a ribbon at the bottom, and you can edit these as needed based on your preferences. There are toggles for flash, timer, filters and beautify effects, and you can easily switch between the primary lens and wide-angle shooter.
The 48MP camera is a known quantity at this point, and it takes great shots in daylight conditions. Resultant images have plenty of detail and decent dynamic range, and you get those saturated colors that define Samsung’s cameras. One of the biggest changes Samsung made in 2020 is with the ultra-wide lens, with the shooter managing to produce shots with the same level of detail as the primary lens.
As good as the A51 is in daylight conditions, shots in artificial or low lighting are a blotchy mess. There’s far too much noise, colors are washed out, and the final images are just nowhere near good enough for sharing on social platforms.
The macro lens does not have autofocus, and it struggles to dial in on busy subjects, like a watch face. Regardless of what I tried, I could not get it to focus on the watch face of my Promaster Skyhawk, and although the 5MP resolution is higher than what you get with most other phones, the macro lens is still very limited in its usability.
Samsung Galaxy A51 Should you buy it?
Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central
The Galaxy A51 isn’t vastly different from what Samsung offered in this segment last year, but the upgrades to the camera and design allow it to stand out. The 48MP camera takes decent shots during the day, the display is one of the best you’ll find in this segment, the battery life is fantastic, and you get the latest One UI 2.0 based on Android 10.
There are far too many trade-offs here to justify the $350 price tag.
That said, the hardware is slow compared to the rest of the field, and you will see noticeable lag in day-to-day use. Also, it doesn’t make sense to switch to the Galaxy A51 if you’re already using the A50 or A50s, because for the most part this is the same phone that Samsung released last year.
Obviously, the Galaxy A51 doesn’t make much sense for the Indian market, because there are phones that offer much better value and beefier hardware in 2020. The Realme X2 Pro, Redmi K20, or the POCO X2 would be a better option if you’re in the market for a phone under ₹25,000 ($350).
However, none of those phones will make it to most Western markets — unlike the Galaxy A51. The A51 will be going on sale in the U.S. and other global markets in a few months, and while there aren’t many devices at the $350 price point, there are a few options like the Pixel 3a. If you’re spending $350 on a phone in 2020, you’ll want usable hardware, and the A51 fails to deliver on that front.
If you want to save some cash, you can just get the Galaxy A50s for ₹19,999 ($280) and get a phone that’s nearly identical to the A51. Or if you’re in the market for a device for gaming, the POCO X2 at ₹16,999 ($236) is my recommendation.
There aren’t many alternatives to the Galaxy A51 in global markets. Samsung dominated with the Galaxy A50 last year for this reason alone, and while the phone by itself had a lot going for it, that isn’t the case with the Galaxy A51. If you need a phone for under $400, you should pick up the Pixel 3a or wait for Google to launch the Pixel 4a series.
Too little too late
Decent design letdown by poor hardware.
The Galaxy A51 shares the same fundamentals of last year’s A50 and A50s. The 48MP camera takes decent shots during the day, you get all-day battery life, a vibrant AMOLED display, 3.5mm jack, and Android 10. But the hardware just doesn’t hold up in 2020, and there are much better alternatives available at the same price point.
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Pandemic simulation game 'Plague Inc' pulled from China's App Store – Mashable
Pandemic simulator Plague Inc. became China’s top paid iOS download in January, as players flocked to the game in the wake of coronavirus concerns. Now the game has been taken down from China’s App Store, with the Cyberspace Administration of China citing “illegal content.”
Plague Inc. developer Ndemic Creations announced the sudden removal in a Feb 27. blog post. “We’ve just been informed that Plague Inc. ‘includes content that is illegal in China as determined by the Cyberspace Administration of China’ and has been removed from the China App Store,” Ndemic Creations wrote. “This situation is completely out of our control.”
Exactly what illegal content Plague Inc. contains is unclear. Though it was only removed from the App Store this week, the game had been available in China since its worldwide release eight years ago. However, Plague Inc. had recently gained significant attention due to its thematic relevance to the current coronavirus epidemic.
In Plague Inc., players take on the role of an infectious disease and attempt to wipe out all human life. Gameplay involves choosing how to evolve, becoming more deadly and spreading across the globe.
It feels very pertinent considering recent events.
“It’s not clear to us if this removal is linked to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that China is facing,” wrote Ndemic Creations. “However, Plague Inc.’s educational importance has been repeatedly recognised by organisations like the CDC and we are currently working with major global health organisations to determine how we can best support their efforts to contain and control COVID-19.”
Ndemic Creations is attempting to contact the Cyberspace Administration of China to find out more information and work to return Plague Inc. to the Chinese App Store.
We’re really sad to announce that Plague Inc. has been removed from the China App Store. This is completely out of our control and we are working to find a way to bring the game back to our players in China. Our statement here: https://t.co/oYkHHkMbgw pic.twitter.com/5wQ93NsCKw
— Plague Inc. / Rebel Inc. (@NdemicCreations) February 27, 2020
Last month, Ndemic Creations acknowledged Plague Inc. had seen a significant spike in players due to the coronavirus. “However, please remember that Plague Inc. is a game, not a scientific model and that the current coronavirus outbreak is a very real situation which is impacting a huge number of people.”
Coronavirus Concerns Lead to the Cancellation of One of Tech's Biggest Developer Conferences – Gizmodo
The spread of coronavirus is prompting companies to cancel nonessential travel. That includes trade shows like the smartphone-centric Mobile World Congress, which was scheduled to be held in Barcelona this week but was called off. Now Facebook has canceled its own annual event, the F8 developer’s conference, citing “growing concerns around COVID-19.”
The move is clearly out of an abundance of caution: F8 was scheduled to take place in San Jose, California, May 5 and 6. Now all eyes are on Facebook’s rival companies, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, who also have developer conferences in the works for early summer. Google I/O is slated for May 12 through 14 in Mountain View, Microsoft’s Build is scheduled for the following week in Seattle, and Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is typically held in the first half of June in San Jose.
Facebook’s Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, director of developer platforms, wrote in a Thursday blog post that the company is still planning local events and live-streamed sessions for developers to learn about changes and new features.
“This was a tough call to make—F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world—but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” Papamiltiadis wrote. “We explored other ways to keep the in-person part of F8, but it’s important to us to host an inclusive event and it didn’t feel right to have F8 without our international developers in attendance.”
Microsoft also announced Thursday that it will no longer attend the annual Game Developers Conference, slated for March 16 through 20 in San Francisco. The company joins Epic, Unity, and Sony in withdrawing from the event due to the coronavirus outbreak. Microsoft plans to host an online event that will coincide with GDC for developer sessions and announcements March 16 through 18. It’s unclear if GDC will be canceled or proceed without some of gaming’s biggest players.
It makes sense that voluntary conferences and trade shows be called off to stem the spread of COVID-19. Facebook and Microsoft don’t want to be the reason for a severe outbreak, nor do they want to be in the news for encouraging people to travel when they don’t need to. Developers will miss out on networking opportunities, but they’ll still be able to learn about the latest developments despite the lack of in-person sessions. At this point, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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