LG Shows Off Foldable Plastic Display That Promises to Be As Hard As Glass

LG is done making smartphones, though that doesn’t mean it isn’t still attempting to one-up its biggest rival. Samsung beat the competition to the punch with foldable phones, but its bendable screens came with a preinstalled layer of protective film to keep the display from falling apart. LG’s solution to this promises to be more sophisticated, with improved plastic that the company is calling “Real Folding Window.”

There aren’t many specifics on the new material used. LG Chem, which published the press release, mentions that it uses a Polyester (PET) film material to coat each glass side. According to a spokesperson for LG Chem, the coating is enough reinforcement to “maximize flexibility.” LG adds that it’s thinner “compared to existing tempered glass,” and while it has the same hardness, it’s not as prone to “cracking on the screen.”

The Real Folding Window is coated in “a few dozen micrometers” of this new material to increase its resistance to heat. The company is also working on developing a version of the Real Folding Window without additional reinforcement.

The Real Folding Window has an advantage over its competition: It can bend both outward and inward. It’s unclear if the display can bend both ways on the same device or if this is mere mention to show LG’s plan for manufacturing scalability. The company says the coated glass will work with tablets, laptops, and bendable phones.

LG plans to start production on the foldable display technology next year, with plans to “begin full-scale sales” in 2023. The company hopes to start with mobile phones and plans to expand to laptops and tablets eventually.

Of course, LG is not without competition from Samsung in this realm. Samsung showed off its upcoming foldable display tech earlier this year at the SID’s annual Display Week. Samsung is also tipped to be working with Google on a folding Pixel smartphone and with Corning on a more durable glass. It’ll be interesting to see which manufacturers LG partners with when its bendable Real Folding Window hits the market.

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Lenovo’s Fall Lineup Includes Ryzen Windows 11 Laptops

Lenovo has an absolute ton of devices coming this fall, and of particular note are the company’s new Windows laptops and Chromebooks. The company just took the wraps off its first AMD Ryzen-based IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon, along with an update to the Chromebook Duet, which was one of the more popular Chrome OS devices to sell out at the start of the pandemic. And for those wondering who is still selling Android tablets, Lenovo has a new one that promises enticing specs—perhaps powerful enough to woo you away from Apple’s iPad.

Ryzen IdeaPads
Let’s just jump right in. The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is 14.9mm thin and weighs less than three pounds. It has a 14-inch quad-HD display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a maximum brightness of 400 nits. The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon includes a 61Wh battery, and there are vents on the side to help dissipate heat when the laptop is resting on a table.

Inside, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is available with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U mobile processor and up to 16GB of RAM. The Carbon variants of Lenovo’s laptops are typically more durable and lightweight due to their aluminum build, and when I saw the laptop in person, it was indeed quite light—I didn’t feel much strain holding it with one hand. The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon starts at $1,290 and will be on sale in October. It will ship with Windows 11 right out of the box.

The IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro is the other Ryzen-based Windows laptop announced alongside the Carbon. It’s tuned for content creators and pros, and as a result, offers a larger 16-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Inside, it’s available with up to the same AMD Ryzen 7 5800U mobile processor as the Carbon, as well as up to 16GB of RAM. It has a larger 75Wh battery to accommodate the higher refresh rate and will ship with Windows 11 out of the box. The IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro starts at $1,450 and will also be available in October 2021.

Chromebook Duet 5
Lenovo is refreshing the Chromebook Duet with upgraded specs and a more refined look. The Duet 5 Chromebook runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 processor with up to 8GB of RAM. This Chromebook is best suited for school-from-home, or perhaps even WFH, depending on how much power you need.

The Duet 5 Chromebook resembles a traditional laptop, with a 13.3-inch full-HD OLED display, though you can convert it to a tablet as you need. There’s a comfortable keyboard included. It’s available with up to 256GB of storage, which should be enough if you’re truly planning to take advantage of Chrome’s cloud storage. There’s also a 42Wh battery on the inside with rapid-charging technology and both a front-facing 5-MP camera and a rear-facing 8-MP camera for video chatting. There are a limited number of ports, however, with only two USB-C slots available. You’ll want to invest in an adapter to add peripherals or connect the Chromebook to a monitor.

The Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 starts at $430 and will be available in October.

Tab P12 Pro
For those asking about the manufacturers still producing Android tablets, look no further than Lenovo. Lenovo announced the Tab P12 Pro, a successor to the P11 Pro, though it’s not necessarily a replacement.

This tablet is a whopper of a device. It has a 12.6-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and up to 600 nits of brightness. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor and is available with up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage.

The tablet has both facial recognition and a fingerprint reader embedded into the power button. There’s a front-facing 8-MP and dual rear-facing cameras, including a 5-MP wide-angle camera and a 13-MP autofocus camera. The Tab P12 Pro also features quad JBL speakers and Dolby Atmos to make it more of a home entertainment device.

For stylus users, the Tab P12 Pro comes with the Lenovo Precision Pen 3, and there’s an optional keyboard available. There’s even a handy silicone case on the back of the folio cover to bring the pen along without worrying about losing it.

The Tab P12 Pro will cost $610 and will be available in October. It will launch with Android 11 out of the box.

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Apple’s iPhone 13 Event Is Sept. 14

We knew it was coming, and you knew it was coming, but the waiting game is finally over. Apple just sent out invites to its iPhone 13 launch event, which will be held on Sept. 14 at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET. And for the second year in a row, the event will be streamed instead of in person at Apple Park.

Apple generally likes to tease what’s on deck for its events with cryptic taglines and art, and this time is no exception. Today’s invite uses the description, “California streaming.” Perhaps this is simply a nod to the fact that once again we’re in for a live-streamed launch event. Although there was speculation earlier this year that we might return to in-person events at Apple Park, the covid-19 Delta variant has put the kibosh on that for a bit longer.

As with the iPhone 12, we’re expecting to see four iPhone 13 models: a regular iPhone 13, a 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max, and for likely the last time, an iPhone 13 Mini. And after months and months of rumors, we also have a pretty good idea of what Apple’s got planned. Expect a smaller notch, enhanced camera and video features, 120Hz displays on the Pro models, Wi-Fi 6E support, bigger batteries, and possibly a stronger MagSafe array. Also, you might want to prepare your wallet. Recent reports say the iPhone 13 models may be more expensive due to the ongoing global chip shortage.

But the iPhone 13 isn’t the only thing we might get to see. The Apple Watch Series 7, AirPods 3, and perhaps a new iPad Mini might also make an appearance. The Apple Watch Series 7 was widely expected to launch alongside the new iPhones, though recent rumors hint the device might be delayed due to production issues. Nevertheless, leaked renders have shown a watch with a slightly bigger display and flat-edged redesign. If the Series 7 does make an appearance, it’s possible that it might be in short supply until Apple can smooth over its production woes.

Meanwhile, the AirPods 3 have been rumored to have a sale date of Sept. 30, and are expected to borrow several design elements from the AirPods Pro. As for the iPad Mini, we’re expecting a redesign that’s closer to the iPad Air with slimmer bezels and no home button. It’s also expected to have a faster chip, USB-C, and a smart connector for accessories.

At least we won’t have to wait much longer to find out what Apple hardware you can buy this fall.

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The Galaxy Z Flip 3 Is Almost the Android Flip Phone of My Dreams

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the Android smartphone of my dreams—mostly. It’s everything I loved about my flip phone from the early aughts, combined with the abilities of a flagship smartphone. But just as I had to ease into the idea of an all-screen phone a decade ago, I’m now finding myself taking a beat before jumping to a foldable.

The Z Flip 3’s flip-down body is a total flashback to the past. I’ve never felt more satisfied hanging up on a video call—regular phone calls are less frequent in this day and age—or even shutting the phone closed after a raid gone bad in Pokémon Go. I love the malleability of the Z Flip 3, which is unlike anything we had back in the day. It has all the requisite features you want out of a high-end smartphone, along with a form factor that lets you take better selfies, pocket the device in a pair of jeans, and even take it around shallow bodies of water.

As with everything in life, there are caveats. The main one here is that there is a learning curve because the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a different type of phone. The differences were enough to become a disruption to my daily routine that led me back to my brick phone to move more quickly between tasks. Perhaps that speaks more to the general state of the world to which Samsung is marketing its new foldable smartphones than anything else. And I think that’s something to consider if you’re thinking about switching to the Galaxy Z Flip 3.

Flip Phone Redux
The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is Samsung’s third-generation effort at putting the flip phone back into the gadget zeitgeist. Its design is sure to turn heads, which Samsung is betting on. Every Snapchat ad (yes, I still use Snapchat) I’ve seen for the folding phones thus far claims that people will do double-takes when they see the device. I experienced a variety of reactions myself each time I showed off the Z Flip 3. A few folks seemed awed by the folding mechanism, while another friend was vehemently against the entire idea of a folding smartphone.

But flipping the phone closed is only one way to use the Galaxy Z Flip 3. When laid out, it looks and functions like a regular “flat” phone. It has a shiny backside, though the fill is matte and solid, giving it a similar effect to a car with a solid color chassis. The glass back is also very slippery, so it will need a bit of a watchful eye if you’re without a case to keep it from sliding around or off a table.

The Z Flip 3’s overall aesthetic is fun—what an advertising executive might refer to as “young at heart.” Samsung is offering seven different color options, three of which are exclusively available online. There’s both a pink and purple variant, plus cream, green, grey, and phantom black. And paired with one of its bold-colored silicon cases, the Z Flip 3 is one of the cutest smartphones available. You will likely see it sprout up in gadget aesthetic TikToks and Instagram Reels in the coming months. Brace yourselves.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is Samsung’s third iteration of the folding flip phone, so it’s had some time to figure out the overall design. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which hails the company’s new under-display camera technology, the Z Flip has a punch-out camera squarely in the middle of the 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display. That helps cut down on the outer bezel of the Z Flip 3, which is noticeably bigger than the OnePlus 9 Pro, for example. I don’t mind the bezel, as the phone needs that bit of structure to help retain the folding display. It also gives me more options for gripping the phone, which is already a bit tricky with its tall, narrow profile.

High-Resolution Fold
When the Z Flip 3 is laid out flat, it looks and functions like any other smartphone. I can still toss Poké balls, tap and select a mass of text, switch between applications, or clip it into a tripod in landscape mode to shoot photos. There is a noticeable crease in the middle of the Galaxy Z Flip 3’s 1080 x 2640 resolution display, though only when you’re staring carefully. From afar, and while there’s a video playing on screen, it’s hardly noticeable. The screen’s 120Hz refresh rate certainly helps make up for it.

There is a protective film over the screen to help maintain the integrity of the flexible display over time. I’m curious to see how the display panel will fare over months of use. Samsung claims each of its folding devices can do so about 200,000 times with nary a crack.

After a little over a week with this phone, I’m still trying to figure out how to handle the Galaxy Z Flip 3 in a way that feels natural. I had a heck of a time typing fast with my long nails, so I reluctantly cut them, hoping I’d have a more effortless time multitasking. That’s when I realized that the issue for me is the lack of the third-party accessory I rely on the most: the Pop Socket. I have become so reliant on its existence over the years—I started using one when I bought the first-generation Google Pixel. Every case for every phone I’ve used since then has had one. So when I converted over to the Z Flip 3, I had to adjust my use. I was cradling the Z Flip 3 a little more carefully at first since I didn’t have that extra apparatus on the back to hang on to. The silicon case helped me grip the Z Flip 3 with a little more confidence, and I started to use the included keychain loop on the back, similar to how I’d use a Pop Socket to secure the phone between my fingers. If you’ve built your life around one particular way of handling a smartphone, the Z Flip 3 will throw a wrench into that.

Remember when you could satisfyingly hang up on someone by simply flipping a phone shut? It’s hard to do one-handed with the Galaxy Z Flip 3. Though it’s possible, the phone requires a bit of “breaking in” before it’s soft enough to take that wielding. I had a hard time opening and closing it with just my dominant hand. Anyway, the flip phones that I was handling as a young adult were much smaller than this relative behemoth.

Needs More Folding Software
Another way to use the Z Flip 3, which I ended up using the most, is by folding it at an angle so that half of the screen is in use with your app and choice, and the other half acts as a prop a second display of sorts. In most instances, you’ll see a navigational menu pop up at the bottom, with options to adjust the volume and screen brightness, as well as an option to bring down the notification panel so that you don’t have to attempt to drag your finger across the bent-up display. There’s also a handy screenshot button, though the screen cap will include the navigational buttons, so you’ll have to crop it if you want to leave that bit out.

Not every app can natively support the Z Flip 3’s folding display mechanism, but a Labs feature hidden deep in the settings menu will force any app you want into the half-screen mode. It’s great for watching videos and works with apps like Pluto TV, YouTube TV, and Paramount+. The downside here is, you’re not using the entirety of the Z Flip 3’s vivid display, only a mere fraction. It’s fine at night before dozing off before bed, and I can even see myself using this when we’re flying again.

With the apps that didn’t translate well to the half-screen mode, I was reminded why we no longer have 3- and 4-inch displays. It’s simply not enough screen space! It was fine for messaging apps and text-based social networks like Twitter. But anything more graphical, and it feels like the screen gets cut off. And even when an app works fine on the half screen, sometimes it’s too small to use feasibly.

Google and Samsung redeveloped a few of the Z Flip 3’s included apps to better adapt to the faux dual display. For instance, in the Samsung Gallery app, the top half of the screen is for the image preview, while the bottom acts as a touchpad and navigation carousel. The camera app offers a similar interface, with camera controls at the bottom and the top half serving as a viewfinder. It’s especially beneficial when you’re trying to frame a photo and you don’t have a tripod in tow.

Get a Load of That Cover Display
The 1.9-inch Super AMOLED color display on the back of the device is one of my favorite features of the Z Flip 3. Samsung beefed it up over its predecessor by adding slightly more screen and functionality. I like to stand it up in front of my keyboard during work hours to track the time and notifications as they come in. The screen is small, so you’ll have to open the phone up for some of the longer notifications, but at least you can get a preview before you commit.

When you double-tap the screen, the wallpaper or graphic of your choice pops up. (It looks slick in person.) You can then slide to the right for current notifications or the left for Z Flip-specific widgets. They remind me of the ones that I already use on the Galaxy Watch Active. However, most of them act as exterior placeholders, and if you need to do more than peek at a stat, you’ll have to open the phone for most options.

The best part of the cover display is that it acts as a preview window for the primary camera. This means you can take high-resolution selfies with the Galaxy Z Flip 3’s 12-megapixel camera, which includes optical image stabilization. Double press the power button as you would with the phone open to launch the camera, then tap the screen to being a quick two-second countdown. It’s enough time to fluff up your hair and fake a smile.

Battery Life Leaves You Hanging
Battery performance had me more worried, considering the Z Flip 3’s giant display and high refresh rate. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a 3300 mAh battery on the inside with 15W fast charging capabilities, 10W wireless fast charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. That’s quite a few ways to work with such a small battery pack, at least compared to the other big-screened smartphones that have come out in recent years. Even Samsung’s Galaxy S21 has a larger 4000 mAh battery for its 6.2-inch screen. Ultimately, I managed about 11 hours in full in Gizmodo’s battery rundown test before the Z Flip 3 wholly petered out. It’s shorter than the Pixel 5’s 16 hours, and even the Galaxy S21 managed at least 12 hours.

Samsung’s Take on Android Is an Adjustment
There are still some things I’m figuring out about this particular form factor. Most of it has to do with Samsung’s One UI and its interpretation of Android specially tailored to its smartphones. Some of the menu structures vary from what I’m used to on Google’s version of Android on the Pixel or even OnePlus’s version of Oxygen OS running atop Android 11 on its flagship smartphones. That’s all to say that if you haven’t been on a Samsung device in a while, remember that it’s the company’s version of Android and not necessarily Google’s, despite how closely the two companies worked together to make apps better accommodate to folding screens.

At the very least, Samsung has committed itself to three years of major software updates, about on par with what Google offers. But as the company’s track record has proven thus far, you’re like to get the latest version of Android a bit later than when Google pushes it out to the Pixel devices.

Every time I pick up the Galaxy Z Flip 3, I think about whether this is a form factor I could see myself living with day in and day out. Truthfully, I’m still straddling the line. Though there is plenty to like about this flip phone, the fact that it folds is a serious commitment to a new way of using a smartphone. Snapping a photo takes a beat as you move to flip open the phone and get the camera situated. Holding the phone one-handed is hard without help from a case accessory since the screen is so tall. And you’ll have to make some concessions to battery life, which is sure to show its limitations over time.

If you’re curious about the experience and are willing to take the plunge, the price is a little less daunting than it used to be. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 starts at $1,000, but sales and discount offerings can get the phone to as low as $500 outright. That’s only $50 more than the Pixel 5a, which is a traditional smartphone with mid-range offerings. But you’ll still have to ask yourself if it’s worth trading in what you’ve known all this time for a brand new experience.

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Google Pixel 5a Review: The New King of Mid-Range

Ever since Google got into the mid-range phone game with the Pixel 3a, Google’s most affordable handsets have just been getting better and better. And when you combine all of Google’s Pixel-only software features with an even bigger screen, improved durability, and new support for water resistance on the new Pixel 5a, it really feels like Google—not Motorola or OnePlus—is the new king of mid-range handsets. And better yet, with a price tag of $450, the Pixel 5a might be Google’s best value ever.

Design: Basic, but in a good way
Like previous Pixel A-series phones, the Pixel 5a couldn’t be any simpler. You get a beautiful 2400 x 1080 OLED display, stereo speakers, a punch-hole selfie shooter, two rear cameras, USB-C port, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor—basically all the standard features you’d expect on a modern smartphone. And once again, the Pixel 5a still has a 3.5mm jack for wired audio (but no microSD card slot).

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t upgrades, and on the Pixel 5a, Google has been quite clever in its strategy—especially considering the ongoing global chip crunch. Standing at 6.34-inches diagonally, the Pixel 5a’s screen is the biggest on any Pixel A-series phone yet, while also boasting excellent brightness that hit upwards of 800 nits during our testing. So even though fans of small may be disappointed that there isn’t a pint-sized Pixel A this year, giving everyone else more screen for the money is a valuable addition.

Meanwhile, on the inside, Google has switched over to a new metal chassis that’s covered with a matte black plastic shell, combining improved strength with a soft-touch finish that’s quite nice to hold. And for the first time ever on a Pixel A phone, the Pixel 5a features IP-67 water resistance, so you don’t have to worry about an errant splash or a drop in the toilet ruining your day (it’s ok, it happens to everyone). Finally, in back, the Pixel 5a features two rear cameras that Google says are exactly the same as what came on last year’s mainline Pixel 5 (more on those later). It’s practically everything you could really want or need on a mid-range phone aside from wireless charging (which would be nice, but is an understandable omission).

Oh, and one important note about the Pixel 5a is that while it does come with a power brick included in the box, this may be the last time Google does that. Like a lot of other smartphone makers, Google has been planning to stop bundling power bricks with phones to help cut down on e-waste; according to the company, the number of people who don’t already have a USB-C is getting to the point where shipping phones with power bricks is becoming redundant. Look, I don’t make the rules, but that’s how it is.

Performance: When a 1-year-old chip is still more than enough
One of the aspects affected most by the global chip crunch is the availability of processors, so instead of upgrading to a brand new SoC, Google stuck with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G—the same chip Google used in the regular Pixel 5. And you know what, it still holds up. Sure, it’s not a powerhouse by any means, but the 765G (along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage) more than held its own in benchmarks compared to other mid-range phones like the TCL 20 Pro 5G (review on that coming soon). It was also enough to keep apps and games feeling smooth and stutter-free (unless you’re playing intense FPS titles), which is all I’m really looking for in a mid-range handset.

The one strange wrinkle is that while the Pixel 5 has support for both mmWave and sub-6 Ghz 5G—despite having the same chip, the Pixel 5a only supports sub-6GHz 5G connectivity. This means you’ll be able to tap into the wider coverage areas that you get with sub-6Ghz, but you won’t get those super-fast 1000 Mbps+ download speeds that mmWave 5G often provides.

The Pixel software experience
Now, I don’t always talk about the software on Android phones because nowadays device makers have gotten pretty good at nailing the basics. But when you take into account all of Google’s Pixel-specific features like its Personal Safety app, Call Screener, Live Captions, and more, it really feels like Pixels make the most out of today’s AI-powered capabilities. And with three full years of OS and security updates, you’re getting longer support than rival phones from companies like Motorola, which often stops sending out updates after a year or two.

Battery Life: Simply divine
Frankly, the Pixel 5a’s battery life is so long, I thought our video rundown test was broken. But then I tested it three more times just to be sure, and the results are simply fantastic. With an average battery life of 18 hours and 18 minutes, the Pixel 5a has some of the best longevity we’ve ever seen, beating out every phone I’ve tested this year by at least an hour. So while not everyone loves a huge screen, going larger on its display also meant Google had more room for a bigger battery, and on the Pixel 5a, that tactic truly paid off.

For $450, why buy anything else?
I will admit that there is one comparison I have been conveniently ignoring up until now, which is how the Pixel 5a stacks up against Chinese phones with big specs from companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, and others. But my reasoning is simple: They’re not really in the same category. Because, while you can get a phone with big specs for under $500, none of those phones are officially available in the U.S., which means they aren’t a viable option for a lot of people in the land of Uncle Sam.

On top that, because of the ongoing chip crunch, the Pixel 5a will only be available in two markets—the U.S. (unlocked only) and Japan (via Softbank)—which means the Pixel 5a isn’t really competing with the Vivos or Realmes of the world either. But most importantly, while a lot of mid-range Chinese phones place a much heavier emphasis on processors and RAM, with the Pixel 5a, Google is focused on simplicity and usability more than anything else.

The Pixel 5a has all of a phone’s most important bases covered. It’s got a great screen, a straightforward design (now with water resistance), thoughtful software, and better battery life than anything I’ve seen in recent history (and it’s not even close). And if it was my money, I’d be struggling to come up with reasons to buy anything else.

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How to Get the Most Battery Life Possible Out of Your iPhone 12

Battery life is a priority for most of us, whether it’s on a phone we picked up three years ago or a brand new handset. The older your phone (and its battery), the more difficult it is to squeeze out extra time between charges, but if you just bought a new iPhone 12, there are a few ways to make sure the battery lasts as long as possible.

The tips we’re going to talk about apply to all four phones in the new Apple lineup: the iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Out-of-the-box battery life is better on the bigger phones. The 5.8-inch iPhone 12 mini lasts a full five hours less than the iPhone 12 Pro Max in our own tests.

According to Apple, the iPhone 12 Mini can manage 15 hours of video playback, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro max out at 17 hours, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max is able to go all the way up to 20 hours. It’s worth bearing in mind those differences as you try and optimize battery life on your own handset.

iOS 14 Updates
As certain as death and taxes are new iOS updates that will introduce battery life bugs for at least some people, and iOS 14 releases are no different—iOS 14.2 was the most recent patch to cause unexplained battery drain on a variety of models, including some iPhone 12 handsets, though it’s not clear exactly how widespread the problem was.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about these iOS-induced bugs except be aware of them and sit tight—Apple will usually push out a fix fairly rapidly. If a recent software update has reduced the battery life you’re used to getting, a quick web search should be enough to find out if other people are experiencing similar issues.

Sometimes the user community or Apple itself will publish steps you can take to get your battery life back up to normal while you’re waiting for a software update to roll out. In the case of iOS 14.2, for example, some users reported that turning off 5G or Bluetooth was enough to fix the problem. If there’s no official word from Apple about an iOS issue, then places like Reddit can be very helpful.

5G or Not 5G
5G has blessed us with super-fast download and upload speeds, and much better network capacity (so your phone can actually keep working in sports stadiums and at music gigs), but it can also be a serious drain on phone battery. Apple says 5G usage is “optimized” to preserve your battery as much as possible, but if you don’t need the benefits 5G brings, or if it’s going to be a long time before it’s rolled out in your area, you can turn back to LTE and potentially save yourself some battery life.

From Settings, tap Cellular then Cellular Data Options, and under Voice & Data you can select LTE rather than the default 5G Auto option. You can also choose Data Mode from the Cellular Data Options menu and switch to Low Data Mode to further restrict how much data your iPhone uses for streaming video and so on, no matter what type of cellular connection you’ve selected. This should also help battery life.

As has always been the case, if your phone is struggling to make a connection to a cellular network, it starts working harder to try and find one, which can drain the battery significantly. If you know signal strength is going to be low or patchy (in the subway or out in the woods for example), then you might want to turn on airplane mode for certain stretches of time to conserve battery life.

Check App Usage
If you’re serious about keeping your iPhone 12 going as long as possible between charges, then it’s always worth doing a bit of detective work to see if any apps are taking more than their fair share of juice. If you open up Settings on your phone and choose Battery, you’ll see the apps that are draining the battery the most. You can check this based on the last 24 hours or the last 10 days.

Obviously, the apps you use most often are going to drain the battery the most, but you might spot some anomalies. Tap the Show activity link at the top of the list to switch between how much battery life each app is using and how much time you’ve spent inside it, as this should tell you whether an app is being more of a power drain than it should be.

If there is an app causing a worrying amount of strain on your battery, you can remove it from your phone with a long press on its home screen icon. If you absolutely need to keep it, make sure you’re running the latest version of the app, and try contacting the developer to report the problem.

Low Power
Mode Low Power Mode on the iPhone was introduced all the way back in iOS 9, and you’ll see a prompt to turn it on when your device’s battery has dropped to 20 percent. It cuts out some background processes, turns off a few visual effects, disables 5G (except for video streaming), stops automatic downloads, and applies a few other tricks too.

If you know you’re going to be away from a charger for an extended period of time you can always turn on Low Power Mode manually. Your iPhone will still function more or less as normal, with the caveats mentioned above—apps won’t be able to be as active in the background, and your emails won’t come through right away (possibly a blessing).

Open Settings then choose Battery and Low Power Mode from the menu. You can enable it whenever you like, but it will turn off automatically if your phone is being charged and climbs above 80 percent. You can also add a Low Power Mode toggle switch to Control Center for easy access—from Settings pick Control Center, then Customize Controls. Display options and other settings The same phone tasks that have always drained the battery more quickly still apply to the iPhone 12.

Display brightness is a big one: If you go to Display & Brightness from Settings you can manage screen brightness and switch to the iOS dark mode if you want to, and it’s also worth lowering the Auto-Lock time so your screen is on for less time when you’re not using it.

Playing audio at a high volume drains battery life, so you might want to turn the level down a notch or two. Heavy GPS use also puts a major strain on the battery—if you open up Privacy then Location Services in Settings, you can limit GPS use for particular apps, or turn it off for your phone completely.

If any of your apps offer you the option, telling them to sync via wifi instead of data connections can give you a bit of extra battery life (keeping a minimum number of apps on your phone helps, too). Stopping your iPhone from listening out for “hey Siri” can give you a little extra time between charges too—go to Siri & Search in Settings to do this.

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3 Future Smartphones Features That Will Change The Industry

Smartphones are one of those technologies that you don’t fully realize how much an impact they’ve had on society until you realize that there are more phones on the planet than there are people. With that said the opportunities for smartphones are endless but here are 3 future improvements we could see over the next decade, or perhaps even sooner.

Better Sensors
From light sensors, accelerometers and of course your camera, phones are packed sky high with all sorts of different sensors that can detect tiny changes in the phones environment. These are mostly built in for minor conveniences such as automatic screen rotation, or perhaps automatic brightness adjustment. While these are useful features, they’re really just scratching the surface as far as usefulness is concerned. Soon we will see these sensors become major selling points, from being able to measure key human vitals such as blood pressure or even glucose levels, these sensors could not only become incredibly convenient for certain demographics but they could also change the entire playing field when it comes to how the healthcare industry takes care of their patients entirely.

Flexible displays
Displays have come a long way, if you ask anyone who had an original iPhone they’ll be quick to note how much brighter and clearer the displays they have now are compared to their predecessors. That being said, screens aren’t confined to maximizing performance, they’re also being built to be bigger and more durable. With folding phones starting to grow into the mainstream we are going to see a larger and larger demand for flexible screens. With flexible displays not only are we going to be obtaining larger screen sizes in smaller bodies thanks to folding and rolling mechanisms, but we are also likely to see an improved level of durability for these screens as well. With screens being able to bend they’re now far less likely to shatter. While this technology is still growing it is likely to improve rapidly if the consumers create the demand for better and better technology.

Reverse Charging
This is a different approach to the two items I listed above, newer sensor capabilities and flexible displays are all rather cutting edge technology at the moment. As for reverse charging, I would make the argument that it’s fairly old. While it may be new that more and more phones are allowing users to reverse charge their various other gadgets, all you’re really doing is using your phones battery as a charger for other items. The reason I think this will play a key role in the future of smartphones is because of the demand for electricity everywhere we go now. With cars and larger tools and appliances turning towards electric systems there may be a day where as long as our phone is fully charged we’ll be able to power any other gadget around us. Imagine a world where your phone battery doesn’t just last a full day, but instead it last an entire week, allowing you to power things like TV, computer or maybe even your car. Now that’s some crazy future I want to live in!

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Explaining Apple’s INFAMOUS “Battery Gate”

Apple’s iPhones have been known for years now for their durability and long life, lasting much longer than almost any other device with a lot of people being reluctant to change, preferring to keep them for years instead.

With that long life, many users noticed that their iPhones would suddenly get unreasonably slower after performing well as soon as they got older. Many users suspected that this was an intentional move from Apple to push them to change their older models for newer ones quicker.

This turned out to be an intentional move on Apple’s behalf which got a lot of backlash, but it was not meant with a bad intention from Apple, or was it?

Battery Gate and how people misunderstood it
We can not mention the iPhone slowing down without mentioning the infamous battery gate of 2017, but it is not the only reason behind this, and it is not even what you think of it.

So, back in 2017, Apple was accused of intentionally slowing down certain models of the iPhone with certain updates to their phones. Now, this sounds bad, but that is not all of it. IPhones are devices with batteries like any other phone, and with time, these batteries get progressively worse and will no longer be capable of handling the heavier tasks and can’t handle peak performance the way they used to do.

This might be enough for the iPhone to crash down under heavy load and suddenly shut down which used to happen a lot, especially that IOS gets heavier and more demanding every year.

Now, this puts Apple in a hard situation. They can do one of two things:
1.They can let it be and do nothing about it, but this will be very bad for their reputation and would be a bad move, making devices that last longer but then become unusable.
2.Actually do something about it, and this is what they actually did by providing updates that slow down their devices a bit so that they will consume less power when older and go easy on their batteries consuming power slowly and decreasing the risk of suddenly shutting down or going from 20% to 0% in seconds while using it or doing an important task.

Apple then did update the older models of the iPhones to solve this issue which was not a bad move by itself, but Apple made one big mistake, they did not announce their intentions from the beginning. But think about it, how can they do that. Apple can never explain such a plan and get people to go for it.

Apple would have to explain that they are intentionally are going to slow down all iPhones to save some devices from crashing down, and no matter how much they explained this idea, no one will ever go for it, but still, it had to be done since iPhones crashing would have been a great hit to Apple’s iPhone and would affect their long-term sales and their reputation for making durable iPhones.

Conclusions and personal thoughts
It was not at all a bad move on Apple’s behalf and actually did decreased the chance of Apple’s iPhones suddenly stopping and decreased the risk of harm to their batteries and their deterioration.
But the whole idea is, did Apple actually do it all with good intentions and had no harm in mind, or did Apple simply know that they can move more people quicker to the newer models, knowing that they could simply explain it this way if it ever came out.

We can never know what the full reason behind this was since it was a while ago, and Apple was always so secretive, but let us hope that it was made with the convenience of the customer in mind even Apple was eventually fined for this action.

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Is It Bad to Leave Your Laptop Plugged In All the Time?

A weak battery can make a perfectly good laptop unusable. This is a common problem for laptop owners, and there are plenty of tips out there for how to prevent it. If you want to extend your computer battery’s life as long as possible, just be careful about which advice you follow. The old idea that leaving a laptop plugged in for too long will hurt it is simply not the case.

According to Windows Central, this myth comes from the idea that laptops can be overcharged. Modern laptops use one of two battery types: lithium-polymer battery or lithium-ion battery. Both devices are designed to stop charging the moment they hit 100 percent power. Instead of passing through the full battery first, the power from the charging cord will be diverted directly into the computer. This means that keeping a fully charged laptop plugged in all day won’t damage the power unit.

As Protect Your Gadget points out, this does come with a caveat. A laptop battery is healthiest when it maintains a charge of roughly 70 to 80 percent. If the charge is kept too low or too high on a consistent basis, your laptop battery won’t last as long. Of course, keeping your charge hovering around 75 percent throughout the workday isn’t always practical. Instead of obsessing over the specific number, try to unplug your device periodically once it’s fully charged and plug it back in once it dips below 50 percent power.

Though the technology has improved significantly in recent years, the death of your laptop battery is still inevitable. The moment you power up your new computer for the first time, the lithium inside starts to degrade. The best way to extend its longevity is to make sure your laptop isn’t consuming more power than necessary. Do this by closing any unused apps that are running in the background and adjusting the battery settings on your device. Heat is another major factor when it comes to battery life. Too much of it can damage your lithium battery, so make sure the bottom of your computer is always properly ventilated.


Heading to the Beach? Here’s How to Protect Your Phone from Water, Sun, and Sand

Even when we go somewhere to unplug, our smartphones are rarely out of reach. That includes our favorite beach destinations. Unlike many summer accessories, our phones aren’t built to handle excessive sun, sand, and saltwater. Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your device from the elements on your next beach day.

Your skin isn’t the only thing that needs protection from the sun when you’re at the beach. If your phone sits in direct sunlight for too long, it can overheat. This can drain your device’s battery, trigger a forced shutdown, and potentially damage its hardware.

The easiest way to avoid this is to keep your phone out of the sun. Make sure it’s in a shady place when you’re not using it, like under a beach umbrella or in a bag. Wrapping your phone in a small towel or tucking it into a drink koozie can also protect it from direct sunlight and keep it from overheating. If your phone does overheat, try blowing on it or cooling it with a fan—like the kind you might bring to the beach to cool down your face.

Sand has the tendency to get wherever you don’t want it to be. In most cases this is annoying, but when it comes to electronic devices, it can be disastrous. Placing your phone in a resealable sandwich bag before stepping onto the beach should keep it clean and sand-free.

If sealing your phone away for hours isn’t an option, you can avoid the worst-case scenario by investing in some dust plugs. These accessories will block off your phone’s ports where sand can do the most damage. For an even cheaper option, look for any old cords you have lying around. Cutting off the plug part and sticking it into your phone will provide just as much protection as a dust plug.

Even smartphones that are advertised as water resistant can still suffer from water damage. The good news is that the same plastic bag that protects your phone from sand can also protect it from any moisture you bring back from your swim.

It’s safer to skip the selfies when you’re standing in the water, but if you do drop your phone in the ocean, you need to take quick action. Samsung actually recommends quickly rinsing your phone with fresh water after it takes a saltwater dip, as the salt may clog the device’s openings. Remove excess moisture by wiping it with a dry cloth and gently tapping your phone with the charging port facing down. Setting it near a fan can also help it dry more quickly.

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