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Jon Lamont's top five favourite things from 2019 – MobileSyrup



2019 was an absolutely incredible year in tech, entertainment, video games and so much more. At MobileSyrup, we have the opportunity to step back, reflect and write about some of our favourite things from the past year. With such a full and incredible year, it’s hard to pick just a few things as favourites.

That said, I’ll certainly try my hardest to do so. Below you’ll find my favourite things from 2019.

Return of the Razr

I had the opportunity to go to Los Angeles this year for the unveiling of Motorola’s new Razr foldable smartphone. It was a memorable trip for several reasons, but namely, it was for the phone itself.

Folding smartphones have been a dominant topic in tech for some time now. From leaked patents to rumours, it felt like I wrote about some kind of foldable news almost every day. 2019 was the year of the foldable with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, unveiling of the Huawei Mate X and other devices. While those ones were certainly impressive, Motorola’s play at foldables felt like something consumers could actually use.

The Razr, while not yet available in Canada, is on its way (with Telus letting customers sign up for pre-order notifications now). It’s positioned to cost significantly less than the Galaxy Fold when it arrives, although official pricing hasn’t been announced.

Unfortunately, Motorola has delayed the Razr, so it likely won’t be available anywhere until next year. However, the company claims the delay is due to high demand — if true, it’s a testament to the Razr’s appeal.

In my brief time with the Razr in LA, it felt more practical than the Fold. The clamshell design evoked nostalgia for the old Razr flip phones while also maintaining the form factor of current smartphones when unfolded. When folded up, the Razr offers a small display to see incoming notifications or take selfies.

Getting to go hands-on with the Razr and try out the device before it comes to Canada was definitely one of my highlights of 2019.

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung releases a lot of phones every year, but 2019’s S10e was one of my favourites. I talked about it on a recent SyrupCast about our favourite phones of the year, but I really have to say it’s a great phone.

Ultimately, I like what Samsung, Apple and other manufacturers are doing with the different flagship phone tiers. Devices like the S10e and the iPhone 11 offer the same high-end experience expected from a flagship but without some of the fancy bells and whistles that make flagships so pricey. With the increasing cost of phones, having an option that offers a similar experience without the high cost is a major plus.

The S10e does this exceptionally well, sporting almost identical internals and comparable camera experience to the Galaxy S10 and S10+. Where it really lacks is in ‘bonus’ features like a curved display — I’m not a fan of these anyway, so I’m happy the S10e doesn’t have one — and an in-display fingerprint scanner.

None of these are deal-breaker omissions, which makes the S10e an easy choice for someone who wants the best on offer but doesn’t want to break the bank.

Those interested can read a full review of the S10e here.

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s

I also get the opportunity to review several laptops throughout the year, and this year, Lenovo surprised me with one of the best Windows laptops of 2019.

When I first received a ThinkBook 13s review unit from Lenovo, I didn’t think much of the unassuming business-facing laptop. However, it boasted better performance than most other Windows machines I’ve used this year in a lightweight, compact body with a stylish, MacBook-esque design.

The ThinkBook 13s continuously surprised, with its solid battery life and impressive thermal handling — in my time with it, it hardly heated up. It even had one of the fastest fingerprint scanners I’ve seen on a computer.

All that said, the laptop wasn’t perfect. It lacked some convenient features, like Windows Hello facial recognition. It also sported a less-than-stellar trackpad, as most Windows laptops do. But it was still a surprisingly well-built machine and I can’t wait to see how Lenovo improves on it going into 2020.

You can read my full review of the ThinkBook 13s here.

Destiny 2 regained its stride

Gaming has been a hobby of mine ever since I was a kid and while I never really got into Halo, I liked what Bungie did with the series. When Destiny 2 launched on PC in 2017, I hesitantly picked the game up. I’d heard about some of what happened with the console-exclusive first game, but several friends were planning to play Destiny 2 on PC and assured me Bungie had turned things around and the next game would be great.

After a tumultuous launch and a disastrous first DLC drop, we all knew that wasn’t the case. As much as I enjoyed playing Destiny 2 — Bungie really nailed the feel of the game — I was among many who abandoned the title entirely.

Fast forward to 2019 — Bungie broke up with Activision, the game publisher behind gaming industry titans like the Call of Duty franchise. It marked a turning point for the developer, which was no longer bound by a strict contract. The company made several pro-consumer changes to the game, moved Destiny 2 to Steam and transitioned it to a free-to-play model.

The changes were enough to get me, and several other people, reinvested in Destiny 2. In many ways, Bungie fixed the biggest flaws with the game and made it something enjoyable to play again. It isn’t perfect, but I think Destiny 2 is in a much better place than what it was. It also became one of my most-played games of the year and new content drops have breathed fresh life into a nearly-dead game.

Ultimately, it was nice to see Bungie get out from under Activision and set things right for Destiny 2 players, and I’m excited to see where the company goes next with the franchise and other new games.

Image credit: Bungie

Apex Legends, the ‘just-right’ battle royale

Battle royale games that pit players against each other in large, open maps have become increasingly popular, but one really stole the show in 2019. Apex Legends, a free-to-play battle royale set in the Titanfall universe and developed by Respawn Entertainment, came out of nowhere in February and quickly became a favourite.

It offered a nice balance between the silly but massively popular Fortnite and the realistic PlayerUnkown’s BattleGrounds, or PUBG. And when I say it came out of nowhere, it really did. Respawn surprised everyone with Apex, launching with virtually no announcement after working on it in secret.

While I haven’t played Apex much since Bungie fixed up Destiny 2, I did play it religiously after its launch. Apex launched in an incredibly polished state and I found it much more enjoyable than either PUBG or Fortnite.

If you haven’t tried out Apex Legends yet, now’s a good time to do it. It’s free, which makes the barrier to entry quite low, and the game is in the midst of its holiday bash with special game modes and other festivities ongoing.

All in all, 2019 was a solid year. These are just a few of my favourite things, and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings.

Image credit: Respawn

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Ninja hits back at Tfue after fight challenge and bold accusations – Dexerto



Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins has fired back at Turner ‘Tfue’ Tenney after the Fortnite star made some pretty bold accusations during a February 23 YouTube video – including claims that he’d “tried to ruin” his career.

The situation started on February 22 after a hacker infiltrated their way into Ninja’s Twitter account and propositioned the Fortnite star to a fight. “Fight me Tfue,” one tweet read. Another said “#TfuevsNinja, I’d really clap his a**,” alongside a laughing emoji.

While the streamer soon regained access to his account and deleted the messages, Tfue wasn’t done. He uploaded a YouTube video the next day in which he talked more in depth about actually wanting to go ahead with the fight, as well as making some rather bold accusations.


Ninja fires back at Tfue over “publicity stunt”

In the video, the 22-year-old claimed that the beef with Ninja has been going on for a long time, and even alleged that the Mixer star had tried to get his Twitch account permanently banned in the past.

“I think he did get hacked, but regardless of that, this is something that I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for a while now… For years and years, me and Ninja have been rivals… Ever since I started blowing up on social media, he’s been trying to tear me down, he’s been talking s**t behind my back,” he said. “I never mentioned this to anyone before, but he actually did try to get me permanently banned behind my back. He tried to literally ruin my career.”

He then revealed that he’d actually like to accept the hacker’s proposition for a fight – even though it wasn’t Ninja himself who made the tweets. “I know he doesn’t f**king like me, and I know he’s been trying to tear me down forever, I’m giving him the opportunity now to try and tear me down in the ring… I don’t care, UFC, MMA, whatever, the KSI Logan Paul shit went well, so why don’t we do it?” he continued. “I’m not scared, if anything he’s scared. He’s talked all this s**t on me in the past, and now I’m giving him an opportunity to back it up.”

(Timestamp 2:14 for mobile viewers.)

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After seeing this, Ninja fired back at the Twitch personality on Twitter, claiming that he doesn’t want to fight him and that he’s unhappy with his account being hacked used as a “publicity stunt.”

“I have no interest in fighting you Tfue. I don’t hate you, I don’t want you to fail, but I also don’t appreciate you using my twitter being hacked as a publicity stunt,” he tweeted. “It was a breach in privacy which nobody deserve to deal with, your making it worse for me and helping him.”

After YouTuber Carlitoes replied to the post claiming that it was just a joke, the Mixer streamer hit back with “That is not the point, all this does is give the hacker even more clout and attention, not to mention smear my name considering I never tweeted those things, and not everyone knows I was hacked.”

Twitter: @Ninja

The 28-year-old is not happy with Tfue at all.


Tfue has yet to reply to Ninja at the time of this article, but one thing is for certain – the Mixer streamer is not happy with how it’s played out at all.

Dexerto will provide further updates on the situation as it develops.

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Coronavirus forces Samsung to temporarily shut down its Galaxy Z Flip factory in South Korea – The Union Journal



The break out of Coronavirus (COVID-19) illness that has actually declared the lives of over 2,000 individuals around the globe at the time of composing this has actually impacted the technology market also. Mobile World Congress (MWC) that was slated to kick-off on February 24 has actually been terminated as well as the supply chains of mobile phone brand names in China are additionally anticipated to take a hit.

Now information appearing of South Korea informs us that Samsung has shut down a smart device plant in Gumi after a staff member obtained contaminated with Coronavirus.

This factory, where Samsung makes Galaxy Fold as well as Galaxy Z Flip, will certainly stay shut up until February 24 as well as accessibility to the flooring where the staff member functioned will certainly be off the limitations up until February 25.

Coronavirus forces Samsung to shut down its Galaxy Z Flip factory in South Korea

Samsung in a press release stated that its staff members that came in call with the contaminated employee are put in a self-quarantine as well as it took actions to have them examined for feasible COVID-19 infection.

The closure of the Gumi factory is not likely to have any kind of significant effect on Samsung’s mobile phone production, considering that it represents a little section of its overall mobile phone manufacturing.

Source (in Korean)|Via 1, 2

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The makeup industry is still failing people with dark skin – Global News



Melissa Vincent was 12 years old when she tried on makeup for the first time.

But when she smoothed foundation on her face, it was cakey and heavy, she said. Even worse, it didn’t blend easily into her skin tone.

“I couldn’t find anything that worked for me,” the 25-year-old Toronto resident told Global News.

READ MORE: From acne to dark spots, the most important skincare steps for Black skin

For many people of colour, struggling to find makeup that matches their skin tone is a familiar experience. The beauty industry itself has often come under attack for not being inclusive of its diverse customer base.

Are some brands lagging behind?

In an informal survey in 2018, Toronto-based Makeup for Melanin Girls founder Tomi Gbeleyi polled 5,500 women about the beauty industry. Gbeleyi found 80 per cent of women faced challenges in finding a foundation that matched their skin tone, Bustle reported.

Nielsen market research group found that African-American women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, and spend 80 per cent more on ethnically targeted beauty products than their non-Black counterparts.

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And Canadians spend more on prestige beauty products than any other country in the world, with the NPD group reporting that we spend on average $1.4 billion annually on luxury beauty brands.

The most important skincare steps for Black skin

The most important skincare steps for Black skin

In fact, it wasn’t until Grammy-winning musician Rihanna launched her highly acclaimed makeup line Fenty Beauty in 2017 that boasted 50 foundation shades that brands began to rethink their own shade ranges. This has now been dubbed the “Fenty Effect.”

Makeup artist Aniya Nandy who teaches cosmetic management at Humber College in Toronto, says some brands are still lagging behind.

“The brands that are going to make money are the ones that cater to their minority customers like Fenty has,” she said.

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Makeup brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Tarte Cosmetics, I.T. Cosmetics and Beautyblender have faced swift backlash for limited shade ranges that excluded nonwhite people.

Although Tarte, I.T. and Beautyblender have since expanded their shade ranges, most major drugstore and prestige brands have only expanded their shade ranges in the last four years in response to consumer pressure generated by Fenty’s debut.

A collection of foundations by Fenty Beauty. Getty Images

But even when brands do boast 40 colours, people of colour may still find themselves at a loss.

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Black hair care: Canadians open about their hair journeys

Black hair care: Canadians open about their hair journeys

It’s not just about one single colour

Complexion makeup can’t be defined by just one colour, it’s also about undertones and varying pigmentations all over the face, particularly for nonwhite people.

Stellar makeup founder Monika Deol says that when it comes to foundation, more choices doesn’t necessarily mean better results.

“Brands think that having 100 different foundation colours means they are doing a good job, but that’s not necessarily true,” says Deol, who is South Asian.

“It’s about having a number of colours that address each undertone.” 

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Where you live can also be a factor. Even in a country as diverse as Canada, finding your shade is dependent on whether your local drug store stocks every single shade in a 40 colour brand.

Most Canadians go to Shoppers Drug Mart for their beauty needs, market research group ProdegeMR suggests

But Toronto makeup artist Elle St. Aubyn said that it’s been a struggle to find her shade at a drugstore.

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“I just want to be able to go into the drugstore and find makeup that suits me,” says Aubyn.

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“With drugstore brands, even though there are some darker shades, there’s still something missing. There’s a bit of an ashiness. When things aren’t made with people of colour in mind, it’s never quite right.” 

In a statement from Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation to Global News, Kelly Jessop, vice president of category management says Shoppers Drug Mart has put an emphasis on listening to customers.

Foundation selection at a local Shoppers Drug Mart. Photo By Genelle Levy

“We understand their current needs and work hard to anticipate what they’ll be looking for in our stores in the future. Industry trends, product innovation, new brands and what resonates with our customers are all factors that play a role in the decision we make.”

READ MORE: ‘Hair Love’: Short film encourages Black girls to embrace their hair

Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. also noted that they’ve recently included the British brand Revolution Makeup in their online store and 600 of their physical locations.

Revolution Makeup “serves to represent and champion a diverse set of customers” and offers over 40 shades in several of their foundation products, according to their site.

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Makeup comes down to science

Science and innovation are often underrated in conversations about diversity in the beauty industry. But you can’t create makeup without chemistry, even in clean, natural brands.

Makeup is a formulation of different natural and chemical ingredients. Research and development not only comprises the testing phase, but also the creation and cosmetic chemistry behind a product.

In 2018, the Statista database reported L’Oreal spent just over $1.3 trillion on research and development in comparison with Estee Lauder who spent only $267.8 million in the same category. 

Liquid foundations are first created in a lab from an emulsion (a combination of oil and water) before pigments are added says Seneca College professor and cosmetic scientist Ivana Knezevic.

‘Does your hair get wet?’: Black Canadians on how others perceive their hair

‘Does your hair get wet?’: Black Canadians on how others perceive their hair

There are four industry-standard pigments used to create foundations: red, yellow, black and white. 

“When used in different ratios they can achieve a huge range of shades,” said the Toronto-based cosmetic scientist.

But sometimes in order for a brand to create a quality product for darker skin tones reformulation is required, and that’s where things get complicated.

“There’s the cost of the chemical itself,” says Knezevic.

READ MORE: How to take care of Black hair, from heat damage to breakage

“Then there’s the matter of how easy or how complicated it is to include in the formula. There could be quality assurance issues. Maybe under certain conditions the original formula used for past products won’t work. So then the formula has to be reformulated and then that adds costs.” 

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In 2012, L’Oreal committed to that reformulation process, and African-American cosmetic scientist Balanda Atis created a breakthrough formulation that would become a game-changer for how foundations were created for people of colour.

Atis used ultramarine blue to create darker foundation shades now worn by Lancome ambassador Lupita Nyong’o. In a documentary titled The Spectrum, Atis explained that in order to create deeper shades “you don’t necessarily go blacker, you go deeper in colour.”

How learning to love their afro-textured hair led to self-love

How learning to love their afro-textured hair led to self-love

In 2014 the L’Oreal Multicultural Lab was established to create products tailored to people of colour in the 140 countries where L’Oreal products are sold. 

In the past, brands have been the ones to control the conversation around makeup.

Experts say there are four industry-standard pigments used to create foundations: red, yellow, black and white. Getty Images

Nandy says that 20 years ago brands used to be more selective about who they were going to market to, whether it was young women or older upper-middle-class women who shopped in department stores.

Back then, brands marketed to their ideal clients.

“Now it’s gone in the direction of marketing to everyone,” Nandy said. “Brands like Glossier are consumer-friendly. They’re telling consumers you don’t have to be a professional makeup artist to look good, and it’s empowering the consumer.”

Twelve years later, Vincent says she is noticing a change when it comes to shopping for makeup as a woman of colour.

Black Canadians give their hair care tips, advice

Black Canadians give their hair care tips, advice

She was recently able to find her shade in Glossier’s Perfecting Skin Tint. When she reached out to the brand’s Instagram page to get assistance with colour matching, they mailed her two extra shade options free of charge so that she wouldn’t have to sustain extra shipping costs.

“I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that before. The beauty industry has been a historically racist institution.”

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She says many Black people have felt excluded in the beauty industry for decades.

“That gesture felt like a small act of trying to repair that relationship, and it allowed me to have more trust in the product.” 

Genelle Levy is a freelance journalist who focuses on culture and social issues. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Toronto Life and TeenVogue. She is also a contributing editor at the creative nonfiction magazine Narratively.com. 

© 2020 Global News

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