Best MicroSD Card alternatives for the Galaxy S21

Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 with tons of improvements and a new design. However, it also ditched a user-beloved feature – the microSD card slot. You can no longer expand the storage on your Galaxy S21. But what if you have important files on your previous device that are backed up on a microSD card? What if you have loads of important data on a microSD card? Don’t worry, you have come to the right place. We have compiled a list of the best microSD alternatives for the Galaxy S21.

Anker SD card reader

    Anker SD Card Reader

    A microSD card reader

    Have a lot of files stored on a microSD card that you need to access on your shining new Galaxy S21? Use this!

This compact 2-in-1 SD card reader can be used effortlessly and connected to your phone even while it’s in its case. You can use it to access the files stored on your microSD card. You get a standard and a MicroSD slot to let you easily sync, swap, and share files. It is also optimized to work with a wide range of USB-C devices, like MacBook, Galaxy S21, and more.

Samsung T7 Portable SSD 1TB 

    Samsung T7 Portable SSD 1TB

    An SSD

    So you bought the base Galaxy S21 but 128 gigs of storage isn't enough for you? Spend your money on this!

This Samsung SSD is likely one of the best MicroSD alternatives for the Galaxy S21. It can transfer files nearly 9.5x faster than an external hard disk drive (HDD). Furthermore, it offers a shock-resistant design that can withstand 6-foot drops so you can take it anywhere with you. Plus, it offers 1,050 MB/s write speeds that guarantee quick transfers between your Galaxy S21 and SSD.

Samsung Duo Plus 256GB

    Samsung Duo Plus 256GB

    A flash drive

    If you find an SSD too expensive, and if it is too big for your use case, look at this flash drive from Samsung.

This is a cable-free, 2-in-1 Type C USB on the go flash drive for expanded storage and easy file transfers between your Galaxy S21, tablets, and PCs. It is designed with a key ring to reduce the risk of losing it. It offers reliable and secure storage for your photos, videos, music, and files. Plus, Samsung offers a 5-year warranty on this product.

RAVPower FileHub

    RAVPower FileHub

    A File Hub

    Do you need to connect SD cards, a portable hard disk, or an SSD wirelessly to your Galaxy S21? If yes, buy this!

A file hub can enable you to connect all kinds of storage devices including an SD card, an HDD, as well as an SSD to your Galaxy S21 wirelessly. You can not only stream music, photos, videos, and browse documents, but also transfer files mutually between an SD Card, SSD/HDD, and your Galaxy S21. It is a must-have if you are a frequent traveler. It is perhaps one of the best MicroSD alternatives for the Galaxy S21.

uni USB-C Memory Card Reader

    uni USB C Memory Card Reader Adapter

    Under $15

    Do you want to access content on an SD card or a microSD card but are on a tight budget? Look at this product.

If you are on a budget, this $15 SD card reader can simultaneously read and write on two cards to save the constant plugging and pulling of plugs. It will enable you to double your productivity with simultaneous microSD/SD card access with your Galaxy S21.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 FE leaked renders reveal glastic back, flat display and more

Samsung launched a Fan Edition (FE) smartphone in the Galaxy S20 lineup late last year. Hence, it was being speculated that the company would launch a Galaxy S21 FE. However, there was no information about the device’s presence up until now. The Galaxy S21 FE renders have leaked online. These give us a first look at the next Fan Edition model from the house of Samsung.

The latest development comes from Steve H. McFly / OnLeaks who took to Voice to post the renders of the upcoming smartphone. Unsurprisingly, the Galaxy S21 FE seems to follow the design language of the Galaxy S21 lineup with its camera module extending to the frame of the phone. However, instead of glass, Samsung is said to opt for a glastic rear panel, which is essentially plastic. It is tipped to have a metal frame and measure 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9mm. Notably, the smartphone seems to be larger than the vanilla Galaxy S21 – 4mm taller.

A plastic back, downgraded rear cameras but flagship performance

The front of the Galaxy S21 FE houses a selfie camera in a punch-hole cutout, which Samsung calls an “Infinity-O” display. It is likely to be an AMOLED panel. The display is flat on the edges like the Galaxy S21 and S21+. It is touted to feature a 6.4-inch display, which is bigger than that of the Galaxy S21 (6.2-inch). As for the rear, the FE device is rumored to sport a triple camera setup. However, it is likely to have downgraded lenses since it will also be cheaper.

Galaxy S21 FE Voice
Via: Steve H.McFly / Voice

With the Galaxy S20 FE, Samsung offered flagship features but corners were cut in the design, which isn’t much to worry about if the smartphone is solid. The company seems to be on track to repeat the success mantra with the Galaxy S21 FE by offering flagship features at a lower price tag. It might launch around USD 700.

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OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12 series: Which one justifies the premium you pay?

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OnePlus pulled a surprise (sort of) last month when it added a third phone to the OnePlus 9 series – christened the OnePlus 9R. The phone is essentially a reborn OnePlus 8T, but with the new Snapdragon 870 SoC, which in itself is a reincarnated Snapdragon 865. Phew… too many revivals in the tech industry these days. The OnePlus 9R is oddly limited to the Indian market, where the device has been priced roughly at $550, playing in the budget segment battlefield OnePlus is known to be a champion of. While the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro have entered the bonafide flagship territory, the OnePlus 9R will be an option for buyers who are torn between Samsung and Apple’s vanilla flagships that don’t necessarily cost a bomb.

Specifically, the OnePlus will be on the list of potential buyers who are eyeing the iPhone 12 Mini or the vanilla iPhone 12. Let’s get straight into our OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12 series comparison and find out which one would be the right pick for you:

Pocketnow Advisory: In case you’re torn between the OnePlus 9 and iPhone 12, or the OnePlus 9 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro models, we’ve done separate comparisons for them as well on Pocketnow to help you make the right decision. Additionally, we’ve compiled useful lists of the best cases to protect your shiny new OnePlus flagships, both the OnePlus 9 and its Pro sibling. And in case you’re not sure where to buy them, we’ve created a detailed OnePlus 9 series deals list for that as well. Oh, and read carefully, as you might save some dollars with ongoing discounts!

OnePlus 9R vs iPhone 12: Build and aesthetics

OnePlus 9R vs Galaxy S20 FE
OnePlus 9R

Both the OnePlus 9R and iPhone 12 go with a glass-and-metal sandwich design. However, the biggest difference between the two phones is ingress protection. The iPhone 12 Mini and its Mini sibling come with an IP68-certified build and are rated to survive immersion in up to 6 meters of water for 30 minutes. If IP-rating is something that is at the top of your priority list, then the Apple offerings are where you should put your money. 

READ MORE: OnePlus is evolving, but it’s in a tricky place right now

OnePlus relies on Corning Gorilla Glass for protecting that smooth 120Hz display, while the Apple devices rely on Ceramic Shield that is touted to be 4x stronger at brushing off accidental drops. OnePlus 9R has a curvier profile and is a tad heavier than the Apple phones, especially when compared to the compact iPhone 12 Mini. But if you like flat sides that invoke some classic iPhone 4 vibes (and a huge notch), the iPhone 12 duo should suit your tastes well.

iphone 12 mini
iPhone 12 Mini (Image only for representation)

Now, let’s talk color options. The iPhone 12 pair is up for grabs in a choice of five colors – black, white, red, green, and blue. The OnePlus 9R, on the other hand, will be available in only two colors – Lake Blue and Carbon Black.

Display

Now, this is one area where the OnePlus 9R leaves the iPhone 12 pair far behind, thanks to one trait in particular – a 120Hz panel. It comes armed with a 6.55-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) display that offers a pixel density of 402 PPI and a circular hole-punch cutout in the top-left corner. However, it’s the 120Hz refresh rate that truly sets it apart, offering a smooth visual experience for all kinds of tasks, ranging from doom-scrolling your Twitter feed to playing Fortnite. 

The iPhone 12 Mini offers a 5.4-inch (2340 x 1080 pixels, 476PPI pixel density) Super Retina XDR OLED display, while the standard iPhone 12 goes with a 6.1-inch (2532 x 1170 pixels, 460 PPI) display with a peak brightness of 1200 nits. The screen quality is top-notch, but the 60Hz refresh rate is somewhat of a limiting factor. Actually, it is disappointing, especially when phones that cost almost a third offer a 90Hz panel.

Internals 

The OnePlus 9R draws power from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, which is essentially the Snapdragon 865 revived under a different marketing name. But that doesn’t mean it is slow, as the latter was Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line processor for the year 2020, and can handle anything you throw at it without a hitch. The phone is available in two configurations  – 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB.

oneplus 9R rear panel

Coming to the iPhone 12 Pro duo, you’ll find the blazing-fast A14 Bionic chip ticking at its heart. Apple, as usual, has not revealed the amount of RAM, but you get to choose between three storage configurations – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. 

OnePlus 9R Apple iPhone 12
Display 6.55 inches
AMOLED
2400 x 1080 pixel resolution
120Hz refresh rate
402 PPI pixel density
Aspect Ratio: 20:9
6.1‑inch OLED display
2532 x 1170-pixel resolution
60Hz refresh rate
460 PPI
1200 nits peak brightness
Ceramic Shield
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 Apple A14 Bionic
RAM 8GB / 12GB
Storage 128GB / 256GB 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
Cameras Rear:
48MP primary (f/1.7, OIS)
16MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 123°)
5MP macro lens
2MP monochrome camera Front:
16 MP
Rear:
12MP primary (f/1.6, OIS)
12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4, 120°)
2x optical zoom out
Digital zoom up to 3xFront:
12MP
Video
features
4K at 30/60 FPS
FHD at 30/60 FPS
Slo-mo HD at 480 FPS
Slo-mo FHD at 240 FPS
4K at 24/25/30/60 FPS
HD at 25/30/60 FPS
Slo-mo 1080p at 120/240 FPS
Battery 4,500mAh
65W wired fast charging
No wireless charging
20W wired fast charging
15W MagSafe wireless
IP Rating IP68
Weight 171 grams 162 grams
Dimensions 151.7×71.2×7.9 mm 146.7×71.5×7.4 mm

Now, let’s talk battery longevity. OnePlus has armed its latest ‘budget flagship’ with a 4,500 mAh battery. Again, Apple has not revealed its battery capacity but says that the iPhone 12 and its Mini sibling can last up to 17 hours and 15 hours of video playback on a single charge respectively. However, real-life tests have proven that the iPhone 12 Mini struggles to go past a day of usage. 

Additionally, it is charging speeds where the OnePlus 9R leaves the iPhone 12 duo far behind. The OnePlus 9R offers support for 65W fast charging, which is claimed to fill the tank from 0-100% in just 39 minutes. However, it misses out on support for wireless charging. The iPhone 12 pair maxes out at 20W wired fast charging (up to 50% juice with 30 minutes of charging), while the MagSafe system delivers 15W of wireless charging wattage. 

Cameras

iPhone 12 in blue

Before we get into the megapixel count comparisons, I’ll spell it out clearly early on – OnePlus 9R takes the cake when it comes to versatility, while the iPhone 12 handily wins in terms of features and capabilities. The quad rear camera setup of the OnePlus 9R includes a 48MP main sensor, a 16MP wide-angle snapper, a 5MP macro shooter, and a 2MP depth-sensing camera. There is a 16MP camera on the front for selfies and video calls. 

On the iPhone 12 and its Mini version, you get a 12MP wide and a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera. Selfies are taken care of by a 12MP front snapper. However, the iPhone 12 pair brings support for Dolby Vision HDR video capture at 30FPS with the front as well as the rear camera. Apple has extended the Deep Fusion and Smart HDR3 tech to all three cameras, while the front snapper also gets support for Night Mode. You can find more about the iPhone 12’s camera performance in the video below:

Pricing and availability

The iPhone 12 Mini starts at $699, while the base 64GB model of the iPhone 12 will set you back by $799. As for the OnePlus 9R, it is priced at Rs.39,999 (roughly $550, as per current conversion rates), but the tricky part is that the device likely won’t make it outside the Indian market. 

View iPhone 12 at Best Buy


View iPhone 12 Mini at Best Buy


View iPhone 12 Mini at Verizon

 

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Google’s starting to learn about Smartphone User Interface Design

The latest Google Android app to drop the hamburger button is now the Google Play Store. Thank goodness Google is finally learning about better smartphone user interface design. Google Photos removed the design element last year and Google Maps removed it in 2019. The YouTube app removed it as well. Hopefully, the Gmail app, Google Drive app, and Google Calendar apps are next.  If only we could get that awesome experimental Google Chrome user interface back too!

Why is the hamburger button such a bad design?

Oh my! There are so many reasons! Your first clue is in the name. If we have to make up a ridiculous name to describe an interactive element, that means the designer failed miserably in creating a button that clearly communicates its function. Every time you call it a hamburger button, you’re insulting whoever put it there.

We’ve actually talked about this before numerous times, (see: What’s wrong with hamburger buttons?), but we can summarize again.

  1. People don’t know what it does. There’s no indication as to what it’s supposed to be and what it’s supposed to do other than “something”. This is because people don’t understand icons. They do, however, understand words, because we learned about words at an early age and almost all humans have been taught about words for hundreds of years. It’s a really good way to communicate.  See:
  2. It’s often used inconsistently. The hamburger button might be used for one type of thing in one app and another type in another app. There’s no consistency and therefore no way for a user to predict what’s it’s going to do. I’ve seen some apps with multiple hamburger buttons, maybe one at the top and one at the bottom, and they both do completely different things. That’s not user-friendly at all.
  3. Placement at the top is the worst possible location for interactive elements.  Also, see:

Our 2014 & 2015 articles about this were mainly targeted at Microsoft for implementing hamburger buttons in Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10. I believe this poor design decision is part of what contributed to the fall of Windows 10 Mobile as all of the data seems to show that hamburger button-based user interface designs have reduced engagement and reduced usability. See:

Okay, okay… I know what you’re saying, “But Adam, the Pocketnow mobile website has a hamburger menu at the top! Hypocrisy much?”  I know, I know, but my excuse is that I didn’t design this site, and the person who did doesn’t read my articles about user experience design or the advantages thereof. It looks like Google does read them though since they’re definitely moving towards a better user experience design among their apps.

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Is it too late for the Google Pixel Watch?

The-Editors-Desk

The alleged Google Pixel Watch recaptured the headlines yesterday, after a rather long hiatus. Remember, a smartwatch made by Google has been rumored for years, and, if the recent chatter holds any truth to it, we might soon see it. Who knows, maybe Google will show something off at the upcoming Developer Conference, so we can get more clarity.

Even though it’s been a long time coming, where would the supposed Pixel Watch sit and rank on a market that is saturated?

There are currently three major smartwatch categories out there: on one hand, we have the Apple Watch running on its own watchOS, and on the other hand (pun intended) we have all the Google Wear OS-powered devices. In between, we have the HUAWEIs, the Samsungs, and the FitBits (to name a few), running on a different platform, proprietary or not.

The Apple Watch is really no competition for the other two categories as it’s only compatible with the iPhone, and, to be honest, an iPhone user will likely only purchase an Apple Watch rather than a third-party solution.

Pixel Watch and its competition

Now that we knocked the Apple Watch out of the proverbial ring, the Pixel Watch will have to compete with devices in the other two segments. Whether Tizen, HarmonyOS, or another platform built upon RTOS, these devices have already established themselves on the market.

Both HUAWEI and Samsung have some really compelling models on shelves, for every look, and for every wallet. The Pixel Watch will indeed have the advantage of having notifications you can actually do something with instead of just dismissing, but you simply can’t beat the outrageous battery life these watches offer. HUAWEI comes to mind, and HONOR, with their monstrous, more than one week-long runs.

…and then we have all the other offerings running Wear OS, from Louis Vuitton to Mobvoi, and everything in between, designer or not. These are some heavyweights that, in the absence of a Google watch, have established themselves on the market using Google’s own Wear OS.

We also need to mention that, if the rumors are true, Samsung will likely embrace Wear OS for its future models, making the competition even more cutthroat.

Pixel Watch competitor

Not all is lost for the Pixel Watch

Now, before we write the pre-launch obituary for the Pixel Watch, it makes sense to acknowledge the probable future customer. Just like in the case of Apple users, the most likely buyer for a Google Pixel Watch is a Google Pixel smartphone owner. Yes, being invested in the Google ecosystem is possible across many brands, but purists will likely flock to the online stores to complete their Google hardware collection. 

And this, I believe, will be the entire raison d’être for the Pixel Watch. It will likely be a niche product not necessarily aimed at the masses. Google might knowingly target a specific chunk of the user base – the purists and loyalists – and by doing that, on a smaller scale, it could offer the Pixel Watch a chance of finding its place on the market, and growing. Sounds familiar? Just think of the Pixel phone line-up, where it began, and where it is today.

Which begs the question: is it too late for the Pixel Watch or is it going to be just right, with the proper pricing and targeting? Let us know in the comments below: would you buy a Pixel Watch? Why?

Thanks for reading! Welcome to The Editor’s Desk!

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LG is dead, but check out the heavily discounted LG Velvet and Wing right now!

This week has been a tumultuous one for the tech industry. The data of over half a billion Facebook – and LinkedIn – users got leaked. Nokia launched not one, but six budget phones in one go. The global semiconductor shortage tightened its grip around giants such as Google and Apple. But the biggest news was about LG, and the brand’s exit from the smartphone market. Lack of innovation, poor software update cycle, and inability to keep up with the competition are being cited as the key reasons behind LG calling it quits.

While the news led to an outpouring of emotions and countless expert takes on social media, there is some silver lining too. LG’s existing portfolio of phones – especially the premium devices – just got a lot cheaper. Specifically, I am talking about the wild LG Wing with a swiveling dual-screen design and the sleek LG Velvet, both of which have received some sweet discounts merely days after LG’s not-so-shocking announcement.

LG Velvet for around $400, or even lower? Go, get it!

Starting with the LG Velvet, Amazon currently has an unlocked unit going for as low as $379. And if you can settle for a renewed unit, it will cost you an even smaller sum of $275. The phone originally made its way to the US market priced at around $600, while the variant that supports mmWave 5G – which Verizon sells as LG Velvet 5G UW – hit the shelves priced at $700. T-Mobile, on the other hand, has discounted the phone to $400.

For that price, the LG Velvet is a fairly good phone. It has a premium glass-and-metal build with an appealing design, a capable processor (MediaTek Dimensity 1000C / Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G), a trio of cameras at the back, a sufficiently pixel-dense OLED display, and a 4,300mAh battery with wireless charging support. And with LG promising updates for at least another two years, the LG Velvet seems like a very compelling phone at its reduced price. Want to get into the nitty-gritty? Watch Pockentow’s LG Velvet review above.


View LG Velvet 5G at Amazon


View LG Velvet 5G at T-Mobile

The wild LG Wing gets a cool 40% discount

Down the road, LG Wing will be a cool piece of smartphone history

Now, this one’s a cool collector’s item, even if you’re not much intrigued about the value proposition here. I mean, just look at the phone. LG was the only brand courageous enough to do such an experiment last year. And even though the phone didn’t prove to be a smash hit, it at least brought something fresh to the table. Also, that second screen isn’t merely a gimmick. Don’t just take my words for it. Watch Pocketnow’s review video above in which Joshua Vergara explains all the pros and cons in detail.

So, the LG Wing made its debut in the US market priced at $999. However, T-Mobile is currently selling it for $599.99. Alternatively, you can go for an installment plan that will set you back by $25 per month for the next two years. For that price, you get a phone that will get at least the next two major Android upgrades, fairly capable hardware, and a ton of bragging rights for you.


View LG Wing 5G at T-Mobile

The downside?

Well, LG is saying goodbye to the phone market, and will offer software support for some of its premium phones. However, after-sales support might not be as solid down the road as it was last week. Yes, there will be third-party services that can fix your phone if it meets an accident, but that would ultimately depend on the availability of replacement parts, especially for these two premium phones – the LG Velvet and Wing. If you think that gamble is worth taking, go ahead.

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Apple’s iPad Pro lineup, the Galaxy Buds Pro and more affordable phones are on sale

You can currently grab a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro starting at $949 after a $50 discount when you grab the WiFi-only variant with 128GB of storage space. You can go for more storage space and get better deals, as the 256GB variant is getting a $69 discount, which means you can get yours for just under $,1030, or get the LTE variant with the same storage for $1,349 with $100 savings.

The smaller 11-inch iPad Pro is also on sale, and you can get one starting at $750 with $49 savings. This will get you a new WiFi-only version in Siler with 128GB of storage space. The 512GB Space Gray version, is also getting a $49 discount, meaning you can get one for $850.

 

Now, we head over to Verizon, where you can grab a pair, wait no, two sets of Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro for $325 shipped. These wireless earbuds usually sell for $200 a pair, but if you get two sets, you will be getting $75 savings, which means you would only have to pay $162.50 per pair.

And since we’re talking accessories, you must check out the Timex Metropolitan R AMOLED smartwatch in Black with a brown leather and silicone strap. It is currently getting a $35.90 discount, so you can get yours for as low as $143.10. You can also keep your Google Pixel 4a Basically Black case for $23 with $17 savings. It is made with recycled polycarbonate and recycled polyester, and it will protect your phone from regular daily use.

And you can get a new smartphone for as low as $60 if you’re not looking for anything fancy. The TracFone Samsung Galaxy A10e 4G LTE Prepaid Smartphone (Locked) is currently getting a $20 discount, meaning you can grab one for $60. Or get the Motorola Moto G Power 4G with $50 savings, making it available for $100. Check out the complete listing here

 

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