Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 review: best Windows laptop for most (video)

Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 is one of the best Windows laptops you can buy in the premium bracket, and this is our full review, both in video and text format, for your viewing pleasure.

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What I REALLY think about Apple’s Spring Loaded Event

OK, so, we started scripting this video as your typical Pocketnow Daily, where I go through a recap of all things Apple, but then I realized I had just too much to say to only report the news. The event ended, and then I was hoping for a “One More Thing,” and it didn’t happen.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what was announced was great, then some was expected, and then some was underutilized potential, and some just didn’t happen, so let’s dive in. I’m Jaime Rivera with Pocketnow and let’s dive into our Apple Spring Loaded Event recap.. 

So let me start with the things we didn’t get.

  • No AirPods, which have been heavily rumored for this event. Seems Ming-Chi Kuo’s predictions were right in that production won’t begin until the fall.
  • No iPad mini update, which at this point seems either dead or maybe some silent update that’ll come later. We’re gonna talk more about iPad soon, and why I’m so disappointed.

As for what we did get, historically this was once a Services event, and we got some of that. Apple Card now supports families, so spouses can share credit together, and you can even share your card with children 14 and older with spending limits. I guess Apple has never met my kids.

Apple Podcasts

Now, something I’m a bit disappointed about is Apple Podcasts, but I might just have to wait for it to launch. Right now all we heard was a new design, with recommended content to explore, ways to subscribe and get early access to content, and support for 170 regions. What we didn’t hear was support for video, which I’m hoping I miraculously missed or something. If Apple wants to bank on how popular video has become to this medium and how Spotify is leveraging this, they need to act fast.

purple iphone 12

Purple iPhone 12

Also, in a very non-Apple fashion, we get a new color for the iPhone 12 being released mid-term. This isn’t new though, we saw it with the white iPhone 4, and with the Product Red editions of iPhone, but a product purple is interesting. By the way, the original code name of the iPhone project was Purple, so it’s funny that we had to wait 13 years to actually get one. Yes, it’s for both the regular 12 and the mini, with pre-orders starting Friday and available on April 30th.

AirTags

AirTags

Now, a big deal was made about how Apple’s Find My feature is taking a step further with AirTags. Guys this is not your typical Bluetooth Tracker. If you have an iPhone with a U1 chip, Apple offers something called Precision Finding, which provides visual, audible, and haptic feedback of where your product is, and not just sounds or a half-baked map view. There are added privacy measures to void unwanted detection, and there will be a ton of accessories that help you clamp them to whatever you want. Pre-orders start Friday, and they’re available on April 30th. They start at $30 bucks, but you can get 4 for $100.

Apple TV 4K Siri Remote

Apple TV 4K

A product I thought was going to die into TV apps was the company’s Apple TV, but nope, the 4K variant is getting some much-needed updates. A12 Bionic chip that can now play HDR content at a high refresh rate, meaning if you filmed anything in Dolby Vision on your iPhone 12 Pro, you’ll finally be able to watch it streamed through AirPlay. To ensure color accuracy, there’s now even a Color Balance feature that helps you use your iPhone to calibrate the signal the Apple TV will send to your television. Maybe what took too long to see is this new Siri Remote.

The previous one was terrible. Now, in iPod fashion, you have a click pad that’s touch-enabled and allows circular gestures for job control. There is now a Power and a Mute button for you to control your TV, and the Siri button is now out of the way, as it should be. That starts at $179 for 32 gigs of storage, with more capacity for a couple of extra bucks, with pre-orders beginning April 30th. But then from now on, you’re gonna be hearing a lot of – available in the second half of May, which is not like Apple. Odd we’re not getting confirmed dates.

Apple iMac 2021

24-inch iMac M1

But alright, as for the two cool kids in the room, let’s talk about the first, the M1 iMac. This portion of the event started well with those Spectrum colors paying an homage to the original iMac. That whole slim body we’ve dreamed of is here. I mean it was all going well, but those white bezels, like, who can get immersed in content with that? Anyways, it’s powered by the M1 chip, and this is what allows such a slim profile.

There are two fans that don’t make more than 10 decibels of noise at the bottom, with a logic board that’s tiny when compared to the past. This is now a 24-inch 4.5K retina display that supports the P3 color gamut, 500 nits of brightness, True Tone, a reflective coating, you get the picture. I’m honestly more excited for the 1080p camera with computational video and a 3 mic array that allows beamforming so that the rest of the room doesn’t bother your calls. There’s also spatial audio thanks to a crazy set of speakers at the bottom, there’s a magnetic fabric cable behind that has an ethernet port on the power adapter. Like seriously pretty cool.

There’s even a new set of Mac Keyboard accessories with two supporting Touch ID, a new Magic trackpad, and Magic Mouse with new colors to match, though we’re still not sure if they still charge awkwardly through lightning. Even better, this would be the first M1 product with more than one USB C port. There’s actually 4 with two supporting Thunderbolt, though obviously in the worse placement ever at the back.

Cause it wouldn’t be an iMac if that wasn’t weird, but there are a couple of catches you should know. First, the Price starts at $1299, but then color options are limited, you don’t get the ethernet adapter on the power brick, and you lose the two extra USB C ports, and touch ID on the magic keyboard unless you buy separately. To get all the bells and whistles, you have to pick the $1499 or $1699 models. Orders also start on April 30th, with availability in the second half of May. I think even that base model is enough for anyone looking for a powerful creative beast since we’ve proven the M1 has exceeded expectations on Apple’s laptops.

2021 iPad PRo

iPad Pro

Honestly, I think my biggest problem is with the second product. So to provide some context, ever since the first-generation iPad, we’ve dreamed about Apple making a tablet. Steve Jobs famously made fun of it. But at the time, the dream included OS X. The last thing we wanted was an iPod Touch with a larger canvas, and this is why it was so highly criticized. The only reason it took off was that it was priced way below what people predicted. And listen, I get it, the iPad wasn’t ideal, but its A4 chip laid the foundation that created the M1 chip that now has every chip maker and their mother fighting to catch up to. So of course, you start an event with an M1 chip on an iPad Pro, at the time when macOS Big Sur already runs on it, and I was literally standing on my chair just ecstatic.

Sadly, no, you have all the power of a MacBook Pro on an iPad Pro, that continues to be neutered by an Operating System that’s designed mostly for phones, oh and by the way, with the phone handling widgets better. So yes, we now have 5G support, the Pro cameras have this crazy motion tracking feature that lets you apply chroma effects in real-time, there’s an ultra-wide Face ID camera that can track you for wider Face Time calls.

Guys, we even get Thunderbolt support over USB-C, and yes, crazy improvements in performance when compared to the previous model. The problem is that if you know anything about iPads, that won’t mean much about how apps will run, so then what’s the point? Also, my second problem is that the whole mini LED display with Pro Display XDR claims is only available on the larger model, which is priced so high that at that point, just buy a MacBook Air and save some money.

Apple April event

Prediction

But alright, I’m gonna calm down, because I have a little theory when it comes to all this underutilized potential. Either this is the most powerful creative tool that continues to be neutered by its operating system, or Apple has something else up its sleeve. Like, maybe not macOS, but if a Mac can run iPad Apps, what if this the way to get Mac Apps to run on an iPad, and then you choose what form factor you want?

Like, what if this is finally the way to get Final Cut Pro running on an iPad? Cause, unless this happens at Apple’s next event in June, I hate to say this, but you’re fine with an iPad Air or a MacBook Air. There is simply no purpose for this product other than bragging rights of performance you won’t be able to achieve. There’s no such thing as iPad apps that can only run on the Pro models unless you consider Lidar limitations which people barely care about. 

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iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5: sorry Google (video)

Anton D. Nagy contributed to this iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5 comparison.

Apple and Google have a very different approach to their line-ups when compared to competitors. While most companies are deliberate about creating a distinction between what’s affordable and what’s not, Apple and Google are really good about blurring the lines for a reason I think others should consider: brand reputation.

The best way for any company to retain customer loyalty is to not water down the experience you get, regardless of the variant you bought. If you know the Pixel brand is known for photography and timely software updates, you expect it at whatever the price the brand is being utilized. To a certain degree that gives consumers peace of mind knowing that choosing a less expensive iPhone is not really a downgrade if what they lose is features they probably don’t care about, and not quality in the experience. 

This is why the Pixel 4a and the iPhone SE are so popular. You can go cheap with the confidence that performance is speedy, software updates are guaranteed, and the camera will be better than most, and I think it was a learning experience for Google. To see the company skip flagships for a year and focus more on the experience is only proof of how Apple’s iPhone XR and 11 experiments worked. Success clearly lies in the midrange, but the 2020 approach for both companies is more than interesting.

On one corner we have the iPhone 12, what Apple will never call its mid-ranger, and also the closest kin to the company’s Pro lineup ever. On the other, we have the Pixel 5, what Google calls its Ultimate 5G phone, and yet another case of mid-ranger denial. Right now there’s a bit more than a benjamin standing in-between their price tags if you read the fine print. The biggest question is, which one is the best investment for you.

iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5

Software

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, part of your decision is already made based on the ecosystem you’re currently on. If you love elements like FaceTime, iMessage, your HomePod, or your Apple Watch, then you’re pretty much locked into your iPhone. Android on the other hand is a bit less stringent since pretty-much every single Google service works on an iPhone, and that even extends to their speakers and smartwatches. Unless you’ve made hefty purchases on the Google Play store that won’t follow you to Apple’s App Store, switching away from Android is easier.

I’ve always been more of a fan of Android’s versatility, but iOS 14 is making the competition tough, and it’s not just the widgets. I actually wish there were more of those six months later, but at least the apps I care about are now supporting this. For me, it’s things like the smarter App Library, and the smart hand-off that happens between products. Cases like how I still struggle to find a better smartwatch than Apple’s offering, or how much I love my AirPods Pro is proof of how valuable Apple’s Ecosystem is in adding value to any iPhone, cheap or expensive.

iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5

If only iOS had smarter services, because Siri is no match for the Google Assistant, and the widgets menu is no match for the Google feed. If Android is your jam, no phone does it better than Google’s own. From snappy performance to getting the latest version of Android on day one to the perks in notifications and home control with Android 11, to all the feature drops that Google is pushing out lately, this Pixel 5 is a true investment. I only wish it would be supported for longer, as Apple has already proven to be the king of this by pushing iOS 14 to its 5-year-old iPhone 6S.

Hardware

The hardware story is quite different though. Not sure if you noticed but this is the first time I don’t compare the best Pixel to a Pro iPhone. Not launching a flagship is kind of a smart move given our current economy, but if we’re to be fair, Apple’s mid-ranger compares to more modern flagships better than the Pixel. It has the same chip from its Pro models, supports all flavors of 5G, has the same connectivity, wireless charging, and IP rating. By contrast, Google decided to pick a midrange chip to cut the cost. It’s no slouch in things like 5G flavors and other forms of connectivity, and if anything sweetens the pot is offering double the starting storage than the iPhone for less money, and all while not skimping on wireless charging and water resistance.

iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 on table

I wouldn’t say either phone does better at 5G or any other form of wireless connection, but I do prefer the Pixel for endurance. The iPhone 12 is no slouch, but somehow Google can really stretch out its power pack for a tad longer.

I’d even say the Pixel has a better display. They’re both gorgeous OLED panels with vibrant color, contrast, and viewing angles, but the iPhone offers a brighter display at up to 1200nits that’s a hair taller and is protected by a stronger ceramic shield. Still, the Pixel has no notch, offers Always-On options, and has the 90hz refresh rate that Apple is already late to adopt. That said since the Pixel lacks an earpiece that can be convenient for phone calls in noisy environments, the iPhone does a far better job at its dual-firing speakers.

Android and iOS

As for the rest of the build, even with Google’s choice for Gorilla Glass 6 at the front, the coated aluminum at the back will do a better job at surviving a fall than Apple’s back glass, which is horribly expensive to repair. I’m a bit more inclined towards the flat finish on the iPhone 12 and its color options, but the Pixel 5 in Sage is also quite the looker. The fingerprint scanner at the back is also more useful during this pandemic than Apple’s Face ID as we continue to wait for iOS 14.5, but I do wish Google didn’t remove the privacy features we had on the Pixel 4, as only the iPhone 12 hides your notifications on the lock screen until your face is detected.

Camera

The last claim to fame for these phones is photography, and this is the department where we see the most similarities in our iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5 comparison. Both offer an ultra-wide and a primary camera, and enough software processing to make their specs almost irrelevant. Each company is focusing more on giving you the most practical and automated point and shoot in your pocket, and I think both do a comparable job.

If the Pixel was first at computational photography, the iPhone has caught up almost entirely cause you’ll have a hard time telling them apart during the day. From dynamic range to detail, to even color reproduction, the results are nearly identical at whichever focal length you pick. There were a few cases where I preferred the iPhone for closeups, but very sporadic.

iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 in hand

In low light, I think we’ve gotten to the point where other higher-end phones do better than the Pixel. I don’t think the iPhone 12 does better, especially when you switch cameras, but it’s not as if the Pixel is that much better. Obviously the further your subject, the lesser the detail on both.

Selfies and Portraits are the mixed bags where the Pixel does better in most scenarios and is able to capture more than one subject every single time. The iPhone struggles with more than one person, but then provides more natural skin tones in my opinion, even if I do prefer the Pixel’s crop or the lack thereof in portrait mode.

Pixel 5 and iPhone 12 cameras

Really the video is where the iPhone just obliterates the Pixel. If you’re a creator looking for a B Camera or home movies are your jam, you should pick the iPhone 12. Even if Stabilization is on-par, the dynamic range and detail that Apple provides are second to none, though remember these are phones, and that only applies with enough light on both cases. Maybe where that’s most evident is in selfie video, where the iPhone has been slaying most Android Phones with 4K at 60fps for a second year in a row, while the Pixel is still stuck at just 1080p, and a very uncomfortable crop for VLOGGING.

iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5 conclusion

To conclude our iPhone 12 vs Pixel 5 comparison, I agree, this is a very tough call. Software is a matter of taste, where I find Apple’s ecosystem to provide more value, along with its longer support in software, but then Google provides a more useful approach to services. The iPhone has more variety in the hardware, but then the Pixel might be more durable and gives you double the storage for less money.

iPhone 12 and Pixel 5 on table

Once you throw the camera into the equation, the Pixel is looking like a better option if you care more about photography, but if video is important to you, it falls really short when compared to the iPhone.

I know, it’s hard to pick, and I’m gonna surprise you by picking the iPhone for the first time ever, and the reason has more to do with commitment. You get more for your money with the Pixel, but for how long? Google has been fumbling around with its Pixel phones since the days of the Nexus a decade ago, while Apple is not playing around. The iPhone has been a driving force for smartphones since its inception. If you’re the kind of person that holds on to a phone for more than a year or wants a good resale value, I think the iPhone is a better pick. Just the simple fact that the chip on this iPhone is on par with Apple’s own MacBooks says a lot about performance in the long run, even if I’d stretch a little extra money for double the storage if I were you.

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OnePlus 9 Pro review: they almost nailed it! (video)

Anton D. Nagy contributed to this OnePlus 9 Pro review.

This is the OnePlus 9 Pro, and by all counts, I think this is the phone the company has wanted to make for years. The product that will establish them more as part of the cool kids, where we see more established players like Samsung and Apple. Companies that have gained enough brand recognition to become status symbols, that have earned customer loyalty for years.

The biggest question is if this is the phone we’ve wanted them to make. This is the company that became famous for flagship killers. Products that defied that establishment with better value at acceptable compromise. There’s even proof that the strategy worked as we saw companies like Google, Apple, and Samsung diversify their lineups in order to launch their own sort of affordable flagships.

Now, in their defense, that flagship killer does exist in the OnePlus 9, which is such a dramatic improvement from before, that it deserves its own separate review. The Pro is more a showcase of everything the company can do, and I think the only way to judge it correctly is to forget the past. I get the impression that OnePlus is so certain of the 9 Pro’s capabilities, that this is the most expensive phone they’ve ever made. This price bracket is tough because we even debate the Apples and Samsungs that created it. That would mean that this phone is better than those, not just for the price, and there’s only one way to find out. This is our OnePlus 9 Pro review, in both video and text format.

OnePlus 9 Pro review video

Even if we’re going clean slate, the OnePlus 9 Pro seems like a blend of many successful ideas from the past. I think Huawei was first at calling any of its phones a Pro, and actually owning that title. Their reputation for cheap phones was so bad in the early days that I wouldn’t even care to review any of them before the Nexus 6P or P10, but then we saw the company drift so dramatically towards quality and capability, that they became a driving force that was hard to be ignored.

I mean, the P40 Pro Plus was my favorite camera on a phone last year. It also demonstrated the importance of co-branding with photography experts like Zeiss on Nokia and Leica on HUAWEI to prove that they’re taking photography seriously. What’s different with OnePlus is that this would be the youngest company to try to do all this, and for Hasselblad, a second chance at getting this right.

OnePlus 9 Pro review

Hardware

Visually, I’m gonna call this my favorite design on a OnePlus phone, ever. No more aggressive camera humps to wobble much on a table, and a far lighter build that feels more balanced in the hand. I’m not sure if it’s the cutout or the co-branding on it, but this phone looks like one of those classic Chevies from the 50s and 60s. I think the morning mist color plays a huge role in that appearance from the top, but the bottom is a mirror that made filming this phone a nightmare.

It does have this cool way of making fingerprints almost blend with the gradient, but I recommend you consider the other matte color options. Still, staples like the three-way mute slider are still here to remind you that this is a OnePlus phone.

OnePlus 9 Pro in hand

From the front, we have the company’s best display on a phone. Dubbed its Fluid Display 2.0, we’re talking OLED with fewer curves, 10-bit color, 1300 nits of brightness, QuadHD+ resolution, and LTPO, so the variable refresh rate can go from 1 to 120hz based on your usage, and we have up to 360hz touch sampling for gaming. Certifications include HDR10+ from the panel and even Dolby Atmos from the speakers for content consumption. Oh, and by the way, this includes Qualcomm’s new Aqstic platform for improved wireless performance.

And since we began talking specs, In typical OnePlus fashion we also have the latest ones, with the amount of RAM and storage directly tied to how much you’re willing to pay. The latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, IP68 resistance, Dual flavors of 5G, and even a Dual-Cell battery that enables Warp Charge 65T, meaning crazy fast 65 watt PD from the charger that’s actually included in the box, or 50-watt wireless that’s only possible if you grab the optional stand. Also, that wireless charging is now reversible for accessories.

OnePlus 9 Pro lifestyle

That said, I have a feeling you won’t need to charge this phone much. Testing any phone’s 5G in New York is rough, and even if Google Fi is still not pushing blazing speeds, they were good given the city’s infrastructure. Phone calls were loud and crisp even on Subway stations, but this would be the first OnePlus phone I test that isn’t dual-SIM. It might just be that the T-Mobile approach now became regional, so just keep it in mind. Regardless, after 10 days of testing, this proved to be an all-day phone every single time, no matter how hard I taxed it.

Software

A lot of it has to do with Oxygen OS on top of Android 11. Even if OnePlus is not as quick as Google at pushing you new versions of Android, they’ve been number 2 for at least two years. It’s fast, aesthetically pleasing, includes the Google Feed on the launcher, the Power Menu in the power button, but then has its own set of perks focused on flexibility.

Never Settle speedtest

You can easily switch to Amazon’s assistant, you have Reading Mode which is still one of my favorites, Zen Mode to force you to take a break from your phone every now and then. Maybe my favorite is to use facial recognition to only show me notifications on the lock screen when it detects it’s me, and the fact that the optical fingerprint scanner on the display can also be used to lock specific apps.

Camera

But alright, if anything the first part of this review proves that this is very much a OnePlus phone in everything we’re used to, which is great. I’ve always been a big fan of using them and was accustomed to accepting the OK cameras because the price was just too good. Now we have a Hasselblad collaboration, and a retail ticket to match, and if you were to look at the spec sheet, OnePlus is not playing around. The Primary sensor is one of the best Sony makes right now, the Ultra-Wide is also the best on any phone right now, which doubles as a Macro camera, and even if the Telephoto is not designed to honor all the lunar marketing prowess that Hasselblad is known for, it looks pretty good on paper.

camera lifestyle

The results are.. Well, good depending on your scenario. If you have enough light you’ll get the typical photos you’ll expect from any phone with great color, contrast, and detail. In close-ups or macro shots, you get some really good dynamic range, though it can blow out colors when taxed too hard. The problem is that the slightest gloom will somehow have the camera software favor light over the shutter. This makes it really hard to capture detail unless you have a steady hand, and the darker it gets, the more the color tuning gets in the way of the detail.

And sure, inconsistencies are expected when switching focal lengths since each is a different sensor, but in some cases, even saturation varies. It’s as if the software magnifies the grain and sometimes makes a dark vehicle look cartoony. If you like to take photos of animals you’ll find yourself frustrated. I get the impression that the software wants to push that Hasselblad contrast so much that it forgets that all that is pointless without detail. Just keep in mind that on the phone they’ll mostly look good. My findings are when you pull these shots into a computer and compare them to other flagships.

Hasselblad

That means that obviously at night, finding detail only becomes more difficult. Some photos are good, some are not. The way light reflections are handled could have a lot to do with it, again, because of that slower shutter being used.

You’ll see what I mean in portrait shots where unless your hand is ultra steady, the detail will be lost. Same story with Selfies where I struggle to find any shot that I can say I like as skin tones are just completely gone over this sort of hue the camera is trying to bring in how it handles light.

In video, sure, you have 8K and I love that the ultra-wide sensor is good enough to assist, pushing a far better crop than Samsung. You also have 4K at 60 and even 120 to get some really smooth cinematic shots. Just make sure you have enough light as that will require more shutter work.

OnePlus 9 Pro and OnePlus 9

Stabilization is somewhat inconsistent though, with some video working well and some not so well, so just keep that in mind. Really my problem is having selfie video that’s 16 times lower in resolution than what the primary cameras can do, throwing the versatility of what you can do with this phone just out the window if you care about being able to frame yourself in-home movies.

In photos, I feel a software update is needed urgently, and in selfie video, I mean the megapixels are there, and if the OnePlus Nord can do 4K, seriously the flagship should too.

OnePlus 9 Pro review conclusion

To conclude, I think that OnePlus has achieved a lot of what it intended with this launch. If the desire was to prove that it could launch a true flagship that competes against the premium sector, the hardware is all there, and all it needs is a bit more software tuning to become one of the best Android phones you can buy right now.

Warp Charging

The only problem is perception, and it has a lot to do with how young the brand is. I asked at least 5 friends that were average consumers to pick between the 9 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro or the Galaxy S21 Plus, which are almost the same price, and none of them picked the OnePlus. Sadly, if the 9 Pro is not really a better phone, or doesn’t have a halo feature that makes those other phones look bad, once you remove the value proposition from the equation, it’s a hard sell.

For sure, in cases like photography, it has Improved a bit, but not completely. And then if the company chooses to trail behind in things like selfie video at a time when social media is a huge part of our lives, then why should you pay more for the 9 Pro if a regular iPhone 12 can tackle these things for less money? If there was one product that needed that whole Never Settle mentality, it’s this one.

OnePlus 9 Pro in hand

If you’re a OnePlus fan, I have no problem recommending the 9 Pro. It’s definitely the best phone they’ve ever made and we know the company is speedy about software updates to address the shortcomings. Now, if you’re not, you might want to consider what features you care about most before choosing this over any of its flagship competitors.

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