Samsung just unveiled its newest Note device. And while there aren’t many groundbreaking things about it, at least hardware-wise, it does have a number things that may still make it a worthy upgrade to those coming from an older Note.  Even perhaps a great starter for those who are just getting into Samsung’s phablet lineup.

More “Boxy” design

note 9 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First ImpressionsWhen I first got hold of the Note 9, I immediately noticed the similar design language to the Note 8. But there was something a bit different about it, it was more symmetrical, and uses less curves. In some angles, it may even look like the bezels are slightly thicker than its predecessor.

So did those things make it worse? not exactly. I actually like the way the device feels in the hand. The weight is just right, the position of the fingerprint sensor is just right, though it’s a bit too small for my taste. Then there’s the glossy finish, which may make it a smudge magnet, but adds a more premium vibe.

Perhaps the most striking thing about it is the display, which is a 6.4-inch Infinity Display with QHD+ resolution. Something you don’t commonly find these days, even in some flagships, as everybody seems to be going to the FHD+ direction. As such, details are impressive, and colors are punchy and lively. Text is also as sharp as it could get.

Improved Optics

note 9 1 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First ImpressionsWhile I was only able to take a few shots with the phone, I’d say the Note 9’s camera has almost the same capability as the Note 8’s, quality-wise.

note 9 cam 7 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First Impressionsnote 9 cam 6 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First Impressionsnote 9 cam 5 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First Impressionsnote 9 cam 4 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First ImpressionsOnly now, it has auto scene detection, which allows the camera to intelligently adapt to a number of scenes. I’d say it worked for most of the time I was using the phone, but of course, we’ll have to test it in more places to really find out.

note 9 cam 3 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First Impressionsnote 9 cam 2 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First ImpressionsThe main camera now has dual aperture mode, which basically allows you to switch between f/1.5, and f/2.4 apertures, which in turn leads to better low-light photos. While I could actually see the effect, this only works in Pro-Mode. Another issue I had was that it took a while to preview photos. I’d say, about 4 to 5 seconds at times. The wait can get quite annoying.

More Capable S-Pen

note 9 26 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First ImpressionsIt’s a feature that every Note device thrived on, the S-Pen. And in the case of the Note 9, I’d say they did a spectacular job with it. Why? because now, the S-Pen is connected to the phone via Bluetooth, and also has its own battery, which can be charged in less than a minute just by simply putting it back to the phone.

That means the S-Pen can now be used as a remote for a number of things. Say, opening the camera app, switching between the front and rear cameras, taking a photo, navigating your gallery, controlling music playback, and your presentation slides, among many other features. Will it work without battery power? yes. It can still function as a regular S-Pen for taking down notes, and other tasks even without charge.

Larger Battery

note 9 11 - Samsung Galaxy Note 9: First ImpressionsThe Note 9 has the largest battery of any Note device, coming in at 4,000mAh. My sample unit had around 35% of charge when it was given to me, and after about 12 hours, it still had around 10% left. That’s with light usage of course. But if anything, that says a lot about how sturdy this one is as far as battery life is concerned.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 may not be an impressive phone hardware-wise, but I think that Samsung did focus on the right thing. Instead of trying to up the ante on hardware, they concentrated on improving the user experience, adding features that are not just for show, but are really useful to the end-user.

So is it the best Note device to date? can’t say yet. There are other things that we need to try out. Stay tuned for our full review.

ProcessorExynos 9810 (Octa-Core)
Storage128GB/512GB (Expandable)
Display6.4" QHD+ Super AMOLED
Rear Camera12MP (f/1.5, f/2.4) + 12MP (f/2.4)
Front Camera8MP (f/1.7)
OSAndroid 8.1 + Samsung Experience UI 9.5
Battery4,000mAh (Fast-Charging, Wireless Charging)
Other FeaturesDual Pixel PDAF
2x Optical Zoom
Up to 10x Digital Zoom
Bluetooth-Powered S-Pen
Samsung DeX

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Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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Tokyo Game Show Special Coverage

Tokyo Game Show 2018

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Witness this year’s biggest gaming convention in Asia, the Tokyo Game Show 2018. This September 19, our team will fly to Tokyo, Japan, to be part to TGS 2018. Special thanks to our brand partners Huawei Mobile, PLDT Home, Smart Communications and Cherry Mobile for making this coverage possible.

The Gadget Pilipinas Team was given access to a press briefing with Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director from From Software and a bit of hands-on gameplay. Here’s our take on the hands-on gameplay and the insights from the press interview. We also  figured a listicle is in order to rundown why this game will match the hype surrounding it.

Here’s our Top 5 reasons why “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” is to die for.

1) The game is Tenchu-inspired

sk8lqukaqalhq2mrzkqd 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forIf you’ve played any of the Tenchu games in previous game consoles, you know that the use of the grappling hook to set-up a one-slash-stealth kills from above is a hallmark of the series. Zipping to rooftops and treetops will be the go-to move in this game to get rid of sentries. And yes, those ever-so glorious decapitations and dismemberments with the stealth kill are present.

2) Casual or hardcore can play

sn1rmqcvrwomyuttaoyq 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forFrom Software is notorious for challenging games and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is no exception. However, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of From Software, revealed that he himself is a casual gamer and has made it clear that the game should be accessible to beginners and experienced players alike.

3) Upgradeable prosthetic arm

jjn6e6ivua5u142iukql 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat prosthetic arm that Sekiro has isn’t just for looks. It can launch a grappling hook and is upgradeable too. No details were revealed but its good to know that a skill-tree based system is in place. Think Horizon Zero Dawn or Spiderman on the way skill and gadgets are upgraded. Tech upgrades set in feudal Japan? What’s not to like?

4) Play the style that suits you

jo1pi5md3myj0pxynz9p 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forStealth like Tenchu or head-on like Dark Souls? It’s up to you. What’s clear is that you can’t use stealth for the whole campaign since the game wasn’t designed that way. Stealth can be used to thin enemy numbers and to preserve your health before confronting the big boss. The mix of stealth and hack and slash is always a good mix to change-up the pace and should suit any gameplay style.

5) Single-player only campaign can last 20 to 30 hours 

ocxemodvr6oa72argpyo 770x433 - Top 5 reasons "Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice" is to die forThat’s the length of the campaign as per Miyazaki. The game is focused-solely on the single-player experience. No more wayward players who can just jump-in and help or derail your campaign. From Software also focused on the story-telling. Given that no resources were spent in developing the multiplayer aspect, expect the campaign to take it up a notch.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will be released on March 22, 2019 on PC, Xbox One and the Playstation 4.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

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Heads-up, Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) players. The PES game you’re playing on your phone is going to get a major upgrade.

For starters, the visuals will get a major overhaul and will be using Unreal Engine 4 – the same graphics engine used in triple A games for consoles and PCs. With the use of Unreal Engine 4, PES will be inching closer to how it looks versus its console port. It

Next, over 3,000 new animations, improved player AI with every playstyle accounted for, and realistic ball movements has been optimized for fans to enjoy the ultimate soccer game.

And lastly, 10 new league licenses from Europe, South America and Asia have been added, including Japan’s J. League.

The best part? Despite these updates,  Winning Eleven 2019 is still free-to-play (with in-game purchases).

PES 2019 promises to give a life-like behavior of the beautiful game and should take competitive mobile sports gaming to new heights.

Screen Shot 2018 09 21 at 1.16.38 AM 640x327 - TGS 2018: PES mobile game to be updated to "Winning Eleven 2019" this December!

More about the game and new features, here.

Our Tokyo Game Show 2018 Coverage is brought to you by our brand partners: Huawei Mobile Philippines, PLDT Home Fibr, Smart and Cherry Mobile. Access our coverage here.

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