Tag Archive | "Apple"

Apple AirPods (2019) review: Convenient but Android users have better options

Airpods (2019)
By Apple
$ 128.98 USD purchasing options

Great connection
Super portable
Better battery life (on iOS) thanks to new H1 chip


Terrible/no isolation
The best features are still iOS exclusive
Even with the improvement, battery life is still just average

Bottom Line

If you’re looking to just listen to music or a few podcasts, the new AirPods are a good choice since the connection never drops and the battery life is longer than the previous version. Plus you can also charge the case wirelessly with any Qi wireless charger. Just don’t expect to get a great sound experience and know that some of the cool features like auto-pause and “Hey Siri” functionality are iOS-only.

Read the full review

Reviews – Android Authority

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Apple MacBook Air (M1) review: Apple’s silicon for Apple’s laptop

MacBook Air (M1)
By Apple
$ 999 purchasing options

Apple M1 Processor
Iconic design
Build quality
Impressive battery life
Large trackpad
Good audio for a laptop


Lack of ports
720p camera
Possible app incompatibly during the transition phase

Bottom Line

Apple’s M1 processor promised much and delivers on those promises. The MacBook Air with the new processor takes everything that was great about the previous generations of MacBook Air and brings it to a whole new level of performance and power efficiency.

Read the full review

Reviews – Android Authority

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Apple iPhone 12 Mini review: Pint-sized power (Update: Video!)

iPhone 12 Mini
By Apple
$ 699 purchasing options

Great design
Compact size
Super-fast performance
Incredible ecosystem
Quick to charge, even at 18W


No telephoto lens
iOS is limiting
No power adapter in the box
Hard to wirelessly charge
Sub-par battery life

Bottom Line

Apple’s iPhone 12 Mini is one of the best small phones you can buy. And at $ 700, it’s a no-brainer for anyone who wants a tiny but powerful handset running iOS.

Read the full review

Reviews – Android Authority

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Apple Car Keys: What is it and is there an Android alternative?

NFC toggle button Android menu
Apple Car Keys was announced at WWDC 2020. For those who don’t know, Car Keys is a new iOS 14 feature that lets you unlock your car using an iPhone.

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

There isn’t a ton of support for it yet, but the features are actually kind of cool. You can send your car key via the Messages app and you can restrict some car functions with a shared key. It also works offline as it’s based on NFC. Future iterations may even use different wireless connectivity to unlock the car with the phone in your pocket.

Naturally, Android users are likely curious whether there will be an equivalent for the top Android phones. There are plenty of car keys apps already available, Apple’s unique approach is ahead of the competition. Thankfully, it doesn’t seem like the Apple Car Keys feature is anything Android users can’t eventually have too.

Opinion: iPhone 6S getting iOS 14 is like the Galaxy S6 getting Android 11. Imagine that.

What is Apple Car Keys doing that makes it special?

A photo of the BMW booth at the Zagreb Auto Show
For starters, Apple’s solution bucks a lot of trends. A lot of smart tech requires the cloud and, therefore, a constant data connection. Apple Car Keys does not need those things. NFC technology is available even while offline so you can unlock your car anywhere, even if an underground garage or other places where a connection is spotty. That already makes it better than some car manufacturer solutions since all of those require server access.

Some other unique features include full Apple Watch support so you don’t even need to take your phone out of your pocket if you have the Watch too. You also don’t need an iOS Car Keys app to make it work — it can either sit in Wallet or just activate as soon as you wave your iPhone over your car’s lock (as long as it has Apple Car Keys compatibility, of course). Finally, Apple has an API for this and isn’t relying on apps or services from car manufacturers. Even Android solutions like the official Tesla app require a third-party app to make it all work.

The only downside is that the number of Apple Car Keys compatible cars will be restricted to a handful of BMW vehicles at launch. Support should improve over time.

Apple’s solution and execution are both extra clean. Everything takes place on or near your person without any cloud access or any special tricks. You just tap your phone or watch to a supported car and boom, the car is unlocked. It’s hard to criticize that on any level. The good news is that this technology probably won’t be restricted solely to Apple.

You can kind of do this with NFC already

NFC is a surprisingly robust platform. You can buy blank NFC stickers and blank NFC tags on Amazon. From there, you get an app like NFC Tools and you’re off to the races. You can toggle various settings, add various bits of information, and even make your own commands with something like Tasker.

The problem is the barrier to entry is rather high. Fiddling around with the tags and NFC apps is a bit of pain if you’ve never done it before. Those with more experience could very easily create a custom NFC car unlocker with this method, but it requires a KeyDuino (an Arduino development board with integrated NFC), knowledge of open source code, and some DIY know-how.

NFC tech in cars is still rather new, but it definitely didn’t start with Apple and it definitely won’t end with Apple.

It’s not really worth it for folks who don’t know this stuff, but the tech is already more accessible. Tesla was among the first to address the problem as you can use NFC to unlock your Tesla via its app. In other words, this tech was coming whether Apple brought it or not. The question is whether or not Android follows suit with OS-level integration or if it’s up to app developers to bring it to all of us. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

NFC is only one option

Car Connectivity Consortium Car Data
Many car makers, including the aforementioned ones above, have apps that let you unlock your phone over a network connection. You can also get third party components that perform more or less the same task, such as MoboKey and Viper SmartStart. Apps and services like those use Bluetooth Low Energy or a mobile data connection over a server to start your car and do all sorts of other things.

Credit: Car Connectivity Consortium

On the low end, you can unlock and remote start your car. The high-end options let you engage climate controls, see the last place you parked, check diagnostics, and, if your vehicle supports it, even leave the parking spot and come find you. The high-end options are a lot more difficult to find and a lot more expensive to install.

Many car makers, including Ford, Chevrolet, and Hyundai (via Blue Link) also have apps that let you unlock your phone over a network connection. However, NFC is definitely the best tech for a manual, offline method. Simply tapping your car in the right spot to open it is a neat trick and it’s easier to pull out a phone than it is your keys half the time. However, with Bluetooth Low Energy especially, we will eventually just get into the car and drive off as long as our phones are on us. That’s not a wild guess either. There are companies working on this technology right now.

The Car Connectivity Consortium

Car Connectivity Consortium Digital Key
Enter the Car Connectivity Consortium, a group of auto and technology companies. The goal of the group is to standardize the tech in every car so that everyone gets a similar experience. The group was established back in 2011 with the expressed purpose of using today’s new technology such as NFC, Bluetooth, etc. for use in cars. In fact, its announcement press release mentions NFC specifically.

Credit: Car Connectivity Consortium

The Consortium didn’t spend the last nine years doing nothing. They finalized Digital Key Release 2.0 just this last May — a standardized and secure method for vehicle owners to use their own mobile devices as a digital key specifically via NFC. We’re relatively certain that Apple Car Keys uses Digital Key Release 2.0 because the specs and use are so similar.

It is likely Apple uses a standardized method for Car Keys which means other platforms should get it too.

It’s likely that Android users will get access to this technology eventually because it is a standardization similar to USB-C or the headphone jack. It may not be in the OS for Android users, but definitely in app form at the very minimum. The Consortium already has a website for app developers to integrate OS-agnostic car tech.

The more exciting news is Digital Key Release 3.0 which should include support for multiple connectivity methods such as Bluetooth Low Energy and other connections. It should let you unlock your car without ever touching your smartphone. The two will just wirelessly communicate when you’re close enough to unlock (and potentially even start) the car without your input.

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In other words, the technology won’t stop at NFC and it should easily come to non-Apple devices as well. Between Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC solutions, you may never need a key fob again.

Apple Car Keys is no doubt a game-changer for car owners. It’s just way easier than using your keys unless you have those keyless entry systems. More car manufacturers need to support the tech and, of course, Android needs to as well. However, based on the available information, we see no reason to believe that Android users won’t get something like Car Keys in the next year or two. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

Would you use an Apple Car Keys equivalent on Android? Let us know in the poll above and check out some of our Apple coverage below:

Android Authority

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The 10 Apple TV+ shows you should watch first

apple tv plus interface

Source: Apple

Apple TV+ shows started immediately with the streaming service’s launch in November 2019. Since then, we have seen a low but steady trickle of new series debut on the service, and now there’s enough content to really dive deep into its selections. But which series are the best Apple TV Plus shows? Good question, and one we aim to explore here. 

As you will see, the original Apple TV Plus series already has a variety of content; from children’s shows to more mature series just for their moms and dads.

Remember, if you buy a new iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV box, you get one year of the service for free (read more about it here.) For everyone else, you can sign up now for Apple TV Plus for $ 4.99 a month, following a seven-day free trial, at the link below. 

Best Apple TV+ shows

1. For All Mankind

for all mankind

This is our favorite of the current crop of Apple TV Plus shows. It’s an alternate history tale, showing the Soviet Union winning the race to put a man on the moon in 1969. In response, the NASA of this timeline decides to keep going. Part of their plan is to recruit more women and minorities into the US space program much earlier than what happened in our reality. It’s a different look at how early space exploration could have happened.

2. Dickinson


Emily Dickinson is the real life US poet who inspired tons of other writers over the decades. This show examines a fictionalized version of Dickinson’s early life. The twist is that this incarnation of the poet, as played by Hailee Steinfeld, and her friends act and sound more like teenagers in modern times. It’s not exactly historically accurate, but it is entertaining.

3. Home Before Dark

home before dark apple tv plus

We have read stories about fictional young reporters in school. However, this show tells the story of a real-life young journalist, Hilde Lysiak. As played by Brooklynn Prince in this series, the 11-year old Lysiak publishes her own newspaper for her community. Things take a big turn for her as she starts investigating a murder that happened near her home.

4. Ghostwriter


This reboot of the classic children’s TV series focuses on four kids. They attempt to solve mysteries that are tied into well-known books like The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland. If you have kids and want to encourage them to read more, this series might be a good first step.

5. Defending Jacob

defending jacob

This Apple TV Plus show is based on the best selling novel of the same name by William Landay. Chris Evans takes off his Captain America uniform and shield as the star of this series. He plays an assistant DA in a Massachusetts town, who suddenly has to deal with the fact that his son Jacob is accused of murdering a fellow classmate in school. This is an old-fashioned murder mystery, but with some family drama as well.

6. Mythic Quest

mythic quest

HBO’s Silicon Valley made a comedy out of the creation of tech startups. Mythic Quest does something similar. Instead of an internet app company, this show is about the workings of a video game developer. Specifically, it centers on the creator of an MMO game, and his team members that have to deal with his sometimes outrageous ideas and requests. Rob McElhinney, the co-creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, also co-created this show, and stars as its lead character Ian Grimm, who sometimes believes his job is to “create worlds”.

7. Little America

little america

This series isn’t as flashy or as high concept as most of the other Apple TV Plus shows on this list. However, it may be more human and heartwarming. It’s an anthology show, with each episode following an emigrant as he or she tries to make a life in America. Episodes have shown the life of a Nigerian boy who comes to Oklahoma and becomes a cowboy, along with a Chinese woman who ends up winning a cruise for her family. It shows the American experience through many different eyes.

8. See

see apple tv plus

This sci-fi series takes place hundreds of years in the future, after an unnamed disaster strikes the Earth, and blinds all humans. The few survivors manage to stay alive, and one tribe of people, led by Aquaman’s Jason Momoa, weds an already pregnant woman. To their surprise, she has twins, both of which can see. This development gets the attention of a rival tribe, who wants the twins for their own purposes. This is a different sort of post-apocalyptic tale with heart and family.

9. Servant


M. Night Shyamalan is an executive producer of this thriller series, and also directed two of its episodes. The show itself fits with his dark storytelling themes. A young couple deal with the tragic death of their baby boy. However, the wife later starts to take care of a reborn doll that she thinks is really alive. The husband hires a nanny to help take care of their “child” but she seems to act like this thing is real as well. Get ready for some Shyamalan-style twists and turns in this series.

10. The Morning Show

Apple TV plus the morning show

Source: Apple

This show is by far the biggest high-concept series on Apple TV Plus. It also has the biggest stars, with Jennifer Aniston as a national morning news anchor who is shocked when her co-anchor, played by Steve Carell, is fired for alleged sexual misconduct. To make matters worse for Aniston’s character, she also has to deal with a rising young female reporter, played by Reese Witherspoon. The office and media politics can sometimes get a bit confusing and dull, but the performances by Aniston, Carell, Witherspoon and Billy Crudup as a news executive make this show very watchable. 

That’s our look at the best Apple TV Plus shows so far. We will update this list when more shows debut on the service. In the meantime which ones are your favorites?

Again, you can sign up for the service at the link below, which costs just $ 4.99 a month after a seven-day free trial.

Android Authority

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The Apple Watch Series 5 convinced me to try iOS, and I don’t regret it

Since its first iteration, the Apple Watch has been hailed as a best-in-class device. So much so, in fact, that many people cite the timepiece as reason enough to make the switch from Android to iPhone. That includes yours truly. Several factors recently convinced me to make a temporary switch to iOS, and the Apple Watch Series 5 was the clincher.

Coming from the Android ecosystem as an avid fitness tracker/smartwatch user, just how much better is the Apple Watch? Was it worth making the change?

Also read: An Android fanboy spends an enlightening week with an iPhone

Apple Watch Series 5 design and hardware

Apple Watch Series 5 Lying Down

The smartwatch is an example of a device category where design really does matter. It’s something you’ll be displaying on your wrist for all to see: a fashion accessory and a statement about who you are. This is something Apple clearly understands and has put a lot of thought into. Apple’s watch has a minimal and classy design.

Everyone knows what an Apple Watch looks like by now, and it has changed very little over the years. It’s a small, rounded square that sits on your wrist — and that’s really all there is to say about it. The only notable features are the digital crown (dial) on one side and a button sitting flush just below it. Together with the highly responsive touchscreen, these controls allow you to navigate through the UI. The digital crown is a particularly fine piece of engineering that has a surprisingly varied number of uses. It offers haptic feedback to mimic an analog control. Haptics, in general, are beyond excellent on the Apple Watch Series 5.

Apple Watch Series 5

To go with the sleek body, the watch has a vibrant screen that brims with color and wraps neatly around the edges thanks to the curved glass. It comes in two screen sizes: 40mm and 44mm. These offer 394 by 324 and 448 by 368 pixels, respectively. I actually went for the smaller model, as I wanted something that would feel light on my wrist. I often found that other smartwatches would dig into my hand during push-ups, or feel uncomfortable on a desk while typing. Fortunately, the 40mm Apple Watch is something I can easily wear all day. Moreover, the screen real estate is still more than ample for interacting with the watch.

There’s also a built-in speaker that allows you to hear notifications and feedback from Siri, listen to music, and take voice calls.

The Apple Watch has a sharp, vibrant screen that brims with color.

You can get the watch in aluminum, steel, or titanium, though most will likely choose the more affordable aluminum. Both options are plenty resilient, and you get water resistance up to 50 meters.

Apple Watch on Wrist

The Apple Watch Series 5 finally gets an always-on display, meaning you can show off your favorite watch face (and check it) without the awkward, exaggerated wrist gesture to wake the screen. The always-on display is a little dimmer when not active, but it still looks great. It uses some pretty clever technology to achieve the effect without draining the battery, too. This works by combining Low Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide (LTPO) with Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) technology, which allows Apple to control the precise voltage supplied to each pixel. The combo enables a variable refresh rate that can go as low as 1Hz, drastically reducing the power consumed when the watch isn’t in use. Lift it up, and the regular AMOLED screen will kick in, slightly increasing the brightness.

The only downside of the design is that it has become ubiquitous. The Apple Watch is no longer unique or special, though that doesn’t detract from its quality.

Apple Watch Complications 2

In terms of sheer design, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is arguably the closest competition. It has the same minimal aesthetic, but in a round form factor. The size options are identical (40mm or 44mm), and Samsung offers similar material choices, too.

Read also: Galaxy Watch Active 2 review: solid smartwatch, inaccurate fitness watch

samsung galaxy watch active 2 vs apple watch series 5 watch face clock face 4

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 competes with the Apple Watch in terms of design

The screen is likewise just as bright, and just as high-resolution. The big difference is that Samsung provides far more robust customization options.

This is one area where I really miss Android. While the watch faces on the Apple Watch are varied and attractive, you still can’t create or download custom ones. This limits the amount of self-expression possible.

Montblanc Summit 2

The Montblanc Summit 2 is a premium, luxury smartwatch.

Of course, if your main concern is fashion and style, there are plenty of beautiful smartwatches available from actual watch companies. These trounce the Apple Watch in terms of design, no problem, but they don’t tend to offer the same level of functionality. And no watch has quite gained the instant recognizability as the Apple Watch, for better or for worse. The Apple Watch is iconic.

Also read: The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is the best Wear OS watch you can buy

Apple Watch Series 5 specs

  Apple Watch Series 5
Material Aluminum, steel, or titanium
Size 40mm 44mm
Water resistance 50M
CPU Apple S5
Storage 32GB
Battery 18 Hours
Operating System WatchOS 6.1
Celluluar Yes (Optional)
Heart rate monitor Yes
Compass Yes
Barometer Yes
Gyroscope Yes
Ambient light Yes
Microphone Yes

Powering the Apple Watch Series 5 is the Apple S5 chip, which is extremely snappy and surprisingly capable. Devs have gotten 3D games running on this thing and they don’t look awful. The Watch has an impressive 32GB of on-board storage, all the usual sensors, built-in GPS (no phone necessary), and optional cellular data.

Apple Watch Series 5 Side Profile

In terms of hardware, the Apple Watch’s biggest limitation continues to be the infamous battery life. The Watch is supposed to last around 18 hours, though it will generally go a day and a half with normal use. You’re going to need to charge it every night, which means it can’t come with you on long hiking trips (you’ll only get 4 hours of GPS tracking) and it isn’t ideal for sleep tracking, either. This isn’t a huge problem for me, as I simply charge the device each morning while I make breakfast for my daughter. That said, it does take a while to charge at 1.5 hours and this means it often misses out on some activity tracking when I’m chasing my daughter around the house.

Apple Watch Series 5 Face

Smartwatch features

Neither the specs nor the design are what set the Apple Watch Series 5 apart. Like all of Apple’s best products, the magic of the Apple Watch lies in the perfect marriage of hardware and software.

Of course, the Apple Watch Series 5 handles all your smartwatch basics. It shows notifications, it sends messages, and it lets you pay for stuff with Apple Pay. It even shows the time!

Notifications on Apple Watch Series 5

But it’s the thoughtful software features, intuitive-yet-powerful user interface, and snappy responsiveness that make this such a fantastic product.

WatchOS 6.1 really feels like a shrunken-down version of iOS. For example, you swipe down to see your notifications, and you can double-press the digital crown to call up Apple Pay. A swipe up from the bottom opens the settings menu, which includes some neat features such as the torch, and a “find my phone” function. Swipe left or right along the bottom to switch between watch faces, and raise the watch at any time to begin talking to Siri. A click of the digital crown will bring up the cluster of apps, while the button will show either a list of your currently open apps, or your favorites for easy access. Switching between open apps is almost as fast as it is on a full-sized mobile device.

Apple Watch Series 5 Moody Lighting

The Apple Watch comes with a lot of built-in apps and services. You can control media playback, communicate with other Watch owners with a walkie-talkie (great/terrible for couples), make calls, or get directions with haptic cues straight to your wrist. Talking from your wrist is not an exclusive Apple feature, but it’s only found in a handful of smartwatches, and it’s surprisingly useful. I used it a number of times in situations where my phone was inaccessible, or my hands were full. It’s perfect for making quick plans, or telling someone you’ll call them back.

Apple Watch App List

To me though, the real stand-out feature is the ability to control my iPhone’s camera. (The other big reason I switched to iOS was for the iPhone 11 Pro Max‘s camera.) For my fitness YouTube channel and Instagram account, I need to regularly record myself training and working out. In the past, this has been cumbersome and I can’t count how many times I achieved a personal best on one exercise or another only to find I was out of focus. The Apple Watch Series 5 sends a live feed from the camera right to my wrist, and I can even swap between lenses, or shift the focal point. It’s game-changing for me, and it never ceases to impress friends when we’re lining up for group photos (note that Wear OS devices can do this too).

Apple Watch Camera Training

Setting reminders is one of my favorite uses for the Apple Watch. Being able to speak to Siri as easily as raising my wrist is game-changing, and it’s much harder to miss notifications on iOS than it is on Android (this was something else that drove me away from Samsung in particular). In short, this takes a load off my mind and helps me be just a little less scatterbrained. It’s this kind of additional productivity that I was really hoping I’d be able to get from the Apple Watch.

Also read: The best Siri commands for productivity, information, laughter, and more

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Google Assistant on Wear OS is a better assistant. But Siri is more than capable of most tasks you might conceivably want from a watch (and it’s miles better than Bixby).

Setting reminders is one of my favorite uses for the Apple Watch.

App support

Just like the iPhone itself, the Apple Watch really comes alive when you start installing third-party apps (which can now be done directly from your wrist). Finding these apps can be hard work, seeing as there’s no dedicated Apple Watch store on iOS (something Google does better), and the one on the watch itself is fiddly to use with few features for easy discovery.

Once you do find them, though, the selection of Apple Watch apps is pretty amazing. A lot of the big brand apps have watchOS counterparts, which includes the likes of Headspace, Todoist, Spotify, MyFitnessPal, Audible, and more. The Todoist app lets me not only tick off my to-do items, but even add new ones by voice.

Apple Watch Audible

Complications, or watch-face widgets add greatly to this functionality. You can pick several widgets for each watch face, providing a quick shortcut to the apps of your choice. This lets you see useful information at all times, such as upcoming todos. Again, this really helped me stay on task throughout the day, as I was constantly reminded of what I needed to do next. Complications can be customized to a small degree, though it’s crazy to me that WatchOS has better widgets than iOS itself.

Smaller developers are knocking it out of the park here and have found plenty of ways to be useful on the Apple Watch. Nano, for example, is a surprisingly feature-rich Reddit app; a great distraction in a pinch. I also enjoy Peak for its brain-training games. To me, brain training and smartwatches are a natural pairing.

Also read: The best workout earbuds you can buyThe best smartwatches you can buy

Apple Watch App Store

The last smartwatch I wore frequently was the Garmin Vivoactive 3. That device had a lot of apps too, available through the Connect IQ store, but the selection paled in comparison to what Apple offers. Further, a lot of the Garmin apps either didn’t work or only supported newer Garmin models. You’ll get more apps with the Garmin Vivoactive 4 or Venu, but it still falls short compared to the Apple Watch.

Wear OS fairs better than Garmin in terms of app support, but again, the Apple Watch has it beat.

Also read: Garmin Vivoactive 4 review | Garmin Venu review

Fitness tracking

For many people, the Apple Watch has become their go-to fitness tracker and there is a lot to like here.

General activity tracking on the Watch is denoted by three rings representing your calories burned, exercise, and time standing. The watch measures your heart rate roughly once every 10 minutes (though some apps will measure more frequently), and there’s an FDA-approved ECG that can alert you to potential heart conditions.

Galaxy Watch Active 2 vs Apple Watch Series 5 Activity Tracking

One of the most vaunted features of the current line of Apple Watches is fall detection. If you should fall while wearing the watch and then fail to move, your watch can call for help. There have already been stories of Apple Watches saving lives.

You can monitor your heart rate and activity more thoroughly during workouts, but automatic-workout detection leaves a little to be desired; you’ll probably be better off starting activities manually. The GPS is precise, and the Apple Watch Series 5 has everything you need for a run built-in — meaning you can confidently leave your phone at home. While a wrist-worn heart rate monitor will never be as accurate as a chest-worn strap (especially during weight lifting), the Apple Watch Series 5 is still one of the better options and does pair with a strap if you prefer. With GPS on, you’ll only manage around 4-6 hours, so it’s cutting it fine for a marathon (but still not bad!). To eke out the most battery possible, you’ll want to turn off the display and other connectivity, though.

Also read: 15 best fitness apps for Android

Apple Watch Fitness Tracker

There are dozens of stories about the Apple Watch saving lives.

Unfortunately, the Apple Watch doesn’t track sleep out of the box, which is presumably due to battery limitations.

Third-party options fill the gap, however. I used one called Sleep++  for a bit. When I found that app wasn’t logging my nightly wake-ups properly though (of which there are many, thanks to my 15-month-old daughter), I swapped it for another called Autosleep. Autosleep is excellent, and in many ways rivals the detail generated by dedicated hardware, such as the Oura Ring 2. You get a huge amount of information, including a readiness score that is based on HRV (heart rate variability), and resting heart rate.

Oura Ring 2 Review

There’s nothing to stop you from using the Oura Ring 2 in conjunction with the Apple Watch. And support for Apple Health is available out of the box!

And that’s the story of fitness tracking on Apple Watch. What’s there is robust, but basic. It’s the huge variety of fitness apps that make the Apple Watch such a strong contender. Apps like Gymatic offer to count your reps at the gym, Endomondo is one of the best running apps, and there are tons of great guided yoga apps, HIIT sessions, and calisthenics routines.

Apple Watch Series 5 Heart Rate Monitor

I really enjoyed an app called Endel, which creates relaxing soundscapes based on the time of day and personal metrics. There is a level of creativity and polish here that I simply haven’t found on other devices. If you are interested in using biofeedback to improve your health and lifestyle, the Apple Watch Series 5 has you covered.

That said, the depth of information available from a Garmin fitness tracker still trumps the Apple Watch.

An Android user’s take on Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5 From Side

So, how does the Apple Watch stack up compared to what’s available on Android?

The Apple Watch Series 5 base model cost $ 399 with an aluminum chassis. The stainless steel case starts at $ 699, while the titanium model costs a hefty $ 799. The cellular model starts at $ 499 in aluminum. That makes it significantly more expensive than most of the competition. In my opinion, though, it definitely justifies that price.

Apple Watch Series 5 (40mm) The best smartwatch, period.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is the best smartwatch available, period. The ECG keeps track of your heart rate and warns you if it gets too high or low. The always-on screen means you’re always aware of the time. It even senses if you’ve fallen and don’t respond to the vibrations.

While it’s true that there are some solid smartwatches for the Android platform, and Wear OS certainly has a few things going for it, the Apple Watch is a step above. There’s a reason this device has garnered so much praise: it benefits from a beautiful design, an intelligent UI, and impressive app support. It’s not perfect (battery life and sleep tracking let it down), and it’s expensive, too. Whether it’s paying for groceries with my wrist or getting reminders that I can’t possibly miss, there are countless times throughout the day I was glad to have the Apple Watch.

Another great thing about the Apple Watch is that it’s getting better all the time. Unlike Wear OS, which rarely sees updates from Google, the Apple Watch gets new features regularly and benefits from superb ongoing support.

The Apple Watch Series 5 is the first smartwatch I’ve ever used that became an essential part of my workflow, and I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do.

More posts about smartwatches

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Camera shootout: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Apple iPhone 11 Max Pro

Last fall, Apple came out swinging with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The fruit company’s latest flagship has an advanced triple-camera system meant to provide users with the ultimate mobile photography experience. Samsung rose to meet the challenge with its Galaxy S20 series, and the Galaxy S20 Ultra in particular. This new phone boasts one of the most capable multi-camera systems in the market. Is one better than the other? Find out in our Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max camera shootout.

Note: All the sample photos in our article have been resized for display purposes. Full-resolution samples are available here.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Specs

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Apple iPhone Pro Max 3

Before we dive into the photos, let’s take a gander at the hardware. Each device has a complex system stuck on the back, with myriad cameras working together to produce results.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s main shooter captures 108MP at f/1.8. Of note: it has a really large 1/1.33 sensor, which lets it capture a lot of light. This is what powers its nighttime features. Shots taken with this camera are binned down by a factor of nine (nona-binning) to 12MP each, but the full resolution is available with the press of a button. The telephoto camera snaps 48MP shots at f/3.5, the ultra-wide snaps 12MP shots at f/2.2, and the selfie camera snaps 40MP shots (binned to 10MP) at f/2.2. A time-of-flight (ToF) sensor helps with depth information. That’s a lot of sensors and lenses.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera module profile

Apple’s approach is similar though not quite the same. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a three-camera setup on the rear. Apple opted for three 12MP sensors for the ultra-wide, standard, and telephoto cameras. The ultra-wide enjoys an aperture of f/2.4 and a 120-degree field of view, while the standard camera has an aperture of f/1.8, and the 2x optical zoom telephoto offers an aperture of f/2.0. These are joined by a 12MP selfie camera at f/2.2. Apple does not use a ToF sensor, nor does it use pixel-binning.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Camera

Samsung and Apple rely on entirely different processing platforms. The S20 Ultra, for example, relies on the Snapdragon 865 system-on-a-chip. The 865 provides a range of advanced imaging tools, including machine learning and a dedicated image signal processor. Apple, on the other hand, uses its home-grown A13 Bionic chip with a third-generation neural engine.

Pitting the performance of these two processors head to head is not exactly an (ahem) apples-to-apples comparison, so we’re not going to deliver a verdict here. We do know, however, that the Snapdragon 865 bested the A13 on some benchmarks.

See also: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra review | Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max review

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Apps and features

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Apple iPhone Pro Max 2

Specs are important at determining the results, but the software is often doing most of the work. How are the camera apps from Samsung and Apple?

Both Samsung and Apple have straight-forward camera applications that make it a breeze to find and use features. A double-press of the power button launches the camera app of the S20 Ultra, but there’s no way to truly rapidly launch the iPhone camera app. The best you can do is wake the screen and tap the camera shortcut on the lock screen. I wish Apple had a speedier method.

Samsung simplified its camera UI recently in One UI 2.0. The shutter button is located prominently, with camera modes and zoom tools nearby. I like that Samsung makes certain controls (flash, timer, aspect ratio, etc.) a breeze to adjust with a few quick taps. Shooting modes include photo, video, Single Take, pro, panorama, food, night, live focus (portrait), live focus video, pro video, super slow-mo, slow-mo, and hyperlapse.

The most significant mode is Single Take, which records up to 10 seconds of video and then automatically generates up to nine different photo/video file types for sharing.

Apple has long offered a dead-simple camera app to iPhone users. The main viewfinder offers easy access to the wide-angle, standard, and 2x telephoto lenses, as well as the bevy of shooting modes. These include photo, video, time-lapse, slow-mo, portrait, and panorama. The far side of the viewfinder is where you’ll find buttons for the flash, live photos, and the timer.

While the Samsung app has more overall features, the Apple app is a touch easier to use. With these in mind, we’ll call the Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max camera app comparison a draw.

Winner: Tie

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera shootout


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample tracks and falls Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample bridge falls Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample tracks and falls

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample bridge falls

Daylight shots are where every camera should shine. There’s not a lot of greenery around just yet, but I did take the Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max comparison outdoors to see what’s what.

In these shots, you’ll see blue skies, brown trees, gray gravel, and lots of contrast. In fact, the iPhone shots are over contrast-y if you ask me. The S20 Ultra shots have less contrast but also a touch less color. In this series, I prefer the S20’s results over the iPhone’s, particularly because they are more in line with what my eyes saw when I took the pictures.

Winner: Galaxy S20 Ultra


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample wide angle tracks Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample wide tracks Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample wide angle tracks

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample wide tracks

The amount of detail visible in these photos depends almost entirely on the exposure. For example, the S20 used a brighter exposure and thus lost some detail. In other instances, the S20’s brighter shot retains detail where the iPhone’s darker shot did not. More importantly, when you zoom in on these photos, the level of visible detail in the gravel and wood grain is about even. There’s no clear winner in this category.

Winner: Tie


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample portrait Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample portrait Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample portrait

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample portrait

The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a time-of-flight sensor, which should help to take superior portraits, right? This isn’t necessarily the case.

As you can see in the samples here, the S20 was able to define me from the background very well, with a few rough edges here and there (look at my coat sleeve). The background is properly exposed, but my face looks overly pink. Worse, I’m not entirely in focus.

The iPhone did a slightly better job. My coat sleeve is smoother along the edges, and my face is much sharper. More to the point, color is a tad more accurate and there’s more detail in the background and foreground. Last, my face isn’t over-beautified.

As for selfies, the S20 messes up in a few ways. First, it mirrors the scene, meaning everything is backwards (you can see the reversed text on my jacket). You have to dive into the selfie camera settings to switch this. Second, the S20 smoothes over my skin a bit too much. The iPhone simply delivers here, whether it’s focus, color, bokeh effect, or temperature.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample selfie Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample selfie Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample selfie

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample selfie

Again, it’s only by a hair, but I’m going with the iPhone this time around.

Winner: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

See also: Best Android phones for taking selfies


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample color 1 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample color 1 Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample color 1

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample color 1

In my experience, the Apple iPhone has always had an issue properly processing colors. Apple’s algorithms often generate a t00-warm cast to photos that isn’t necessarily accurate to the scene at hand. The iPhone 11 Pro Max still does this to some degree, but the effect isn’t nearly as pronounced as it used to be. That’s good news for the iPhone.

In these samples, the iPhone’s exposures are a touch darker than the Samsung’s. This allowed them to retain more detail and deliver richer hues. It’s very close, but I think the iPhone has the better balance of exposure and detail here. It’s particularly pronounced in the grain of the wood. Samsung is often known for over-saturating colors, but in these samples the colors come off as a little flat. I’m calling the iPhone the winner here, but only by a hair.

Winner: iPhone 11 Pro Max


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample HDR Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample HDR Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample HDR

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample HDR

HDR is meant to help balance out the light and dark parts of any given scene. In the sample here, I shot the underside of a bridge with the sun overhead. It’s challenging, given the reflectivity of the river on both sides. The Galaxy S20 Ultra nailed it the first time. It’s not perfect — some detail is missing in the underbelly of the bridge — but it’s very good. More importantly, the sky is blue, and the surrounding vegetation is properly exposed. It took the iPhone three tries to get this shot right (it blow out the sky on the first two attempts), and even then it still loses too much of the bridge to the shadows.

Samsung’s flagship delivers the better HDR shot.

Winner: Galaxy S20 Ultra

Low light

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample low light 1 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample low light 1 Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample low light 1

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample low light 1

This is a tough one. In the sample above, the S20 got everything just right. It captured the tone and color of the sky without under- or over-doing it. The iPhone simply didn’t get it right. Focus is really soft, which makes the clouds look more like a painting than a photo.

In the shots below, however, I think the reverse is true. The S20 blows out some details that the iPhone is able to keep. Moreover, the color is a bit richer in the iPhone shot and the focus is a touch sharper. This one is too close to call.

Winner: Tie

Night mode

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample night mode 1 Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera sample night mode river Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample night mode 1

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera sample night mode river

Both the S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 have night modes that are meant to really deliver in darker environments. In this shot, there was almost no light at all, and yet both phones managed to find enough to flesh out the scene. I think the color looks a bit more natural in the S20 Ultra shot, while it skews too warm in the iPhone shot. The S20 image is also sharper and less noisy. I’m giving this one to the S20.

Winner: Galaxy S20 Ultra


Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample wide angle Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample ultra wide Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample wide angle

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample ultra wide

Let’s talk about zoom for just a second. The S20 Ultra’s main selling point is absurd levels of zoom. The device has an ultra wide-angle camera that delivers 0.5x zoom, in addition to offering 1x, 2x, 4x, 5x, 10x, 30x, and, yes, even 100x zoom. Samsung’s S20 Ultra does this by blending its up-to-4x optical zoom telephoto lens with digital cropping of the 48MP sensor to reach the 100x claim. You can see in the samples below just how effective this really is.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample 1x Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample 1x Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample 1x

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample 1x

Apple adopted this triple-threat approach to imaging as well. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has its own ultra-wide and telephoto cameras, though it is more limited. The iPhone’s zoom is capable of 2x optical and up to 10x hybrid optical and digital crop.

The S20 Ultra’s ultra-wide shots look very good, with solid color tone and good focus. By way of comparison, the iPhone’s shots look a bit washed out and flat. Similarly, the S20 delivers quite good 10x zoomed shots, while the iPhone’s max range of 10x zoom comes across as soft and more like a painting than a photograph. Toss in the S20 Ultra’s 30x and 100x zoom range (limited though it may be), and it’s clear which device wins this round.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample 2x Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample 2x Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max photo sample 2x

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Photo Sample 2x

Winner: Galaxy S20 Ultra

Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Which wins?

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra camera modile profile times square

Based on the sample shots I was able to capture for this article, I’m going to call the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra the winner, but just by a nose. Some will surely prefer the warmer look to shots captured by the iPhone, and Apple’s device clearly takes excellent pictures in varying scenes and scenarios. I think the S20 Ultra edges out the iPhone 11 Pro Max due to its more flexible zoom range, better night mode, HDR, and daylight shooting. Yes, the iPhone does better with color and portraits, but not by much.

This concludes our Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max camera comparison. What do you think? Did we get it right? Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments below, and be sure to check out our S20 Ultra vs Pixel 4 XL camera shootout as well.

Winner: Galaxy S20 Ultra

$ 1249 .99
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Buy it Now

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Buy it Now
$ 1249 .99

$ 1399 .99
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Buy it Now

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Buy it Now
$ 1399 .99

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Apple AirPods Pro vs Huawei Freebuds 3: The pro or the clone?

True wireless earbuds have been some of the most popular releases of the last few years, but it can be tough to figure out which ones are best for you. With the newest crop of ‘buds featuring active noise cancelling, we’re putting two of the most recent options against each other: the Apple AirPods Pro and the Huawei Freebuds 3. While you can’t really go wrong with either, there are still some things you should know before you pick one or the other up for yourself. Let’s get into it.

Which one has a better design?

Huawei Freebuds 3 on top of P30 Pro phone and AirPods Pro on top of iPad Pro Apple logo

The AirPods Pro and the Freebuds 3 are similar in many ways, right down to preference for their own source devices.

Let’s start with obvious. The Freebuds 3, like the Freebuds before them, are an obvious clone of the AirPods 2. They feature the same design right down to the one-size-fits-all open-air approach to fit. Having reviewed the original AirPods, I have the same problem here regarding fit. The Freebuds 3 just would not stay in my ears no matter what I tried. Like the original AirPods, the Huawei Freebuds 3 either fit perfectly or they don’t fit at all. In our review, Bogdan said he didn’t have any issue wearing them. Similarly, both David Imel and Kris Carlon described a perfect fit when trying them. I was not so lucky, as just bending over to tie my shoes caused them to fall out of my ears. If you can get your hands on a pair to try, make sure they fit before buying. Apart from fit, the Freebuds 3 do a great job mimicking the premium Apple aesthetic right down to the metal cap on the bottom of the stem.

White Freebuds 3 and AirPods Pro on a red background

Both earbuds have sensors on the inside and outside that allow them to auto-pause when one is removed from your ear.

On the other hand, the AirPods Pro features a brand new design that most people will still find familiar. Just like the good ‘ol wired earbuds of the past, the AirPods Pro come with three different silicone eartips – large, medium, and small. This change helps account for the variety in human ears, meaning they’ll comfortably fit a wider range of people. Not everyone will find a perfect fit, but Apple finally seemed to realize how important a good seal is for blocking outside sound from reaching your ears. There’s even a fit test that you can take in order to make sure that you’re using the correct eartips. To no one’s surprise, this test can only be done from an an iOS device.

Both white charging cases pictured from above on a wood desk

The AirPods Pro and the Freebuds 3 both come with super portable charging cases that snap shut magnetically.

The cases for each pair of ‘buds are similar, though not identical. The AirPods Pro has a rectangular case while the Freebuds 3 have a circular case, but both are super easy to use and even easier to carry around in your pocket. The smooth white plastic is fairly similar on both, and the lid snaps shut almost exactly the same. There’s even a similar metal hinge on there back of both cases. Taking either pair of ‘buds one out of its respective case is almost the exact same experience. Magnets help both earbuds snap into place so you don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re charging.

Between the new design that prioritizes a better fit and the fact that the Freebuds 3 design is just a rip off of the original AirPods, this was a pretty easy one to judge. The AirPods Pro wins this category by a landslide.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Which true wireless earbuds have better active noise cancelling?

The primary feature Apple and Huawei tout for their earbuds is active noise cancelling, so let’s compare. The way to read the graphs below is easier than it looks. All you need to know is that the higher the peaks, the more noise is being cancelled. The closer the line is to 0dB (or if it’s flat), the less outside noise is being cancelled.

The winner here is obvious: it’s the AirPods Pro. While the Huawei Freebuds 3 claims to offer up to 15dB of noise reduction, it’s hindered by the open design that, by default, allows outside noise to leak in. While it is fairly effective in certain situations, such as when you’re sitting in a room with a running fan or microwave, it doesn’t completely mask the noise. It just makes it sound a little quieter.

The AirPods Pro, on the other hand, do a really good job with ANC as you can see by the bumps between 100Hz -1,000Hz on the graph. This is where most ambient noise resides, and while the AirPods Pro ANC won’t completely negate the drone of an airplane engine or train, which tend to lie in that sub-100Hz range, it’s more than good enough to make your everyday life just a little quieter.

Moreover, the AirPods Pro have a transparency mode that lets you hear what’s going on around you. The Freebuds 3 don’t have a transparency mode, so if you seek a little bit of practicality from your headphones then the AirPods Pro are the way to go.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Which one sounds better?

When it comes down to it, these are both still earbuds and sound quality is still important. Obviously, neither is going to give you reference-level quality or over-ear amounts of bass due to the small drivers inside, but that doesn’t mean they sound bad. For earbuds, they both actually sound pretty good, though they take different approaches.

By looking at the  frequency response graphs for both pairs of earbuds, you can see that the AirPods Pro tends to have a slight bump in the low end (pink), which means that bass notes will sound a little louder when compared to other notes. Compare that to the Freebuds 3, which has a sharp dip in the low end that trails off in the deep lows, and it’s easier to understand why the Freebuds have such weak bass response. This is most likely due to the open-air fit of the Freebuds 3, while silicone eartips help seal up the AirPods Pro. By physically blocking your ear canal, rather than just sitting in it, the AirPods Pro are able to keep a lot of those low-end frequencies in your ear instead of leaking them out.

This concept also applies to outside sounds coming in. Where the AirPods Pro block outside sound by physically being in your ears, the Freebuds 3 let sound in easily, making it harder for you to hear the low-end notes of your favorite songs.

Apple AirPods Pro man wearing true wireless earbuds

The earbuds fit snug in the ear canal now thanks to dedicated nozzles.

That said, the story changes a bit as we move up the frequency response graph. Where the Huawei Freebuds 3 appear to have a relatively flat line in the mids (pink to green), meaning there is no extra emphasis given to those notes, the AirPods Pro line is a little bumpy in that area. This means instruments like guitars and vocals, which reside in these frequencies, will sound a little clearer and more natural on the Freebuds 3 since there is little to no extra volume given to them.

The highs were more emphasized in the Freebuds 3 when compared to the AirPods Pro, so cymbals and certain aspects of human vocals should sound a little louder. That makes sense since the design of the Freebuds 3 allows outside noise in. The extra emphasis in the highs should help you hear those extra details.

Man holding Huawei Freebuds 3 earbud by the stem and placing in his ear

The Huawei Freebuds 3 have a touch-sensitive stem that you can tap for playback controls or to activate the active noise cancelling.

So which one sounds better? As always, sound quality mainly comes down to preference, but in this situation, it also helps to think about the use case. The AirPods and Freebuds are probably going to be used as an everyday pair of ‘buds that you’ll carry everywhere. Because of that, you’ll likely get a better experience from the AirPods Pro since the ear tips allow for better isolation from the outside (even without the active noise cancelling.) The passive sound isolation will also come in handy if you tend to listen to bass-heavy music, as lower notes are the hardest to hear when there’s outside noise leaking in. Whether I’m listening to music or the AA podcast, I prefer the isolation in this situation just because it fits what I listen to a little better.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Let’s talk microphones

We have to talk about microphone quality. You can see on the graphs above how the Huawei Freebuds 3 have a slight emphasis in the low end of the vocal range. The result here is that lower voices will be picked up by the microphone easier than with the AirPods Pro. Still, this is one of those things that it’s easier for you to just hear for yourself. It’s a close call, but we’re giving this one to the Huawei Freebuds 3.

Winner: Huawei Freebuds 3

Which one has the better connection?

AirPods Pro and Freebuds 3 earbuds in hand with lights in the background

The Freebuds 3 have a slightly longer stem than the AirPods Pro since they were designed to look like the original AirPods, not the newer model.

Part of the issue with Bluetooth earbuds, in general, has always been connection strength. There’s nothing fun about the song you’re listening to cutting out, or the audio of the YouTube video you’re watching failing to sync properly. This led manufacturers to seek workarounds, which both Apple and Huawei have done for their respective true wireless earbuds.

The Apple AirPods have the H1 chip inside, which not only allows for a strong connection between both earbuds and your source device, but also makes the initial pairing process much easier. As soon as you open up the case a card will pop up on your iOS device that lets you click to connect automatically.

Glossy white Huawei Freebuds 3 on the P30 Pro smartphone

The earbuds come in two colors: black or this glossy white.

Similarly, Huawei has the Kirin A1 chip inside its ’buds with Bluetooth 5.1. This allows each earbud to receive audio data from the source device individually, resulting in shorter lag and fewer skips. Overall, the A1 chip makes for a good experience, one that even rivals the seamless experience of AirPods. The Huawei Freebuds 3 also have a copycat pop-up card to pair easily with your Huawei device. To pair with non-Huawei devices, you’ll have to hold down the Bluetooth pairing button on the side of the case for two seconds to enter pairing mode, and then connect via the phone’s Bluetooth menu.

As far as connection strength goes, I had no issues with skipping or stuttering for either of these. The respective radios inside held up nicely to everyday use. Both worked fine whether my phone was in my pocket or across the room, and the only time they disconnected was when I intentionally tested the range. I was able to push both to around 40 feet with a wall or two in between before the connection lapsed. As long as you’re not expecting to leave your house without your source device, then you shouldn’t have any issues.

Both Apple and Huawei offer the best experience to those who choose to use matching products. When it comes down to it, this one is too close to call.

Winner: Draw

Which one is easier to use?

Man taking the Huawei Freebuds 3 out of white charging case with P30 Pro in the background

The Freebuds’ charging case is slightly larger than the AirPods, but it’s still super portable.

Whichever pair you choose, you likely won’t have many issues using them. They both pair seamlessly with their respective devices, both have an auto-pause feature when one earbud is removed from your ear, and both snap back into their respective charging cases perfectly. On top of that, they both have a very strong connection that results in basically no skips and stutters.

Apple AirPods Pro earbuds stem hand

An indentation on each stem indicates where you may press to control playback and switch between listening modes.

What about playback controls? Both have the same basic playback controls, and both lack true volume controls.

I found the squeezable stem of the AirPods Pro consistently worked perfectly. Comparatively, the tap-sensitive Huawei Freebuds 3 was a little hit or miss. I found myself double-tapping the Freebuds two or three times before they performed the correct function. True, these issues were few and far between, and for the most part the controls work fine, but I had almost no issues with the AirPods Pro and its squeezable stem.

Winner: AirPods Pro

Which one has the better battery life?

This section is probably the easiest to gauge. On background, we test all headphones at a constant output of 75dB, which is just below the levels that can result in noise-induced hearing loss. Once we’ve achieved a volume of 75dB, we play a mix of music on repeat until the battery dies. With this method, the AirPods Pro lasted 5 hours and 6 minutes when connected to an iPad Pro. Apple claims that the charging case will give you about 24 hours of extra listening time.

Close-up shot of the USB-C and Lightning inputs on the charging cases of the Huawei Freebuds 3 and Apple AirPods Pro

The Huawei Freebuds 3 charge via USB-C, which gives them the edge over the AirPods Pro when it comes to futureproofing.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 managed to get about 4 hours and 7 minutes running the same test connected to a P30 Pro. The charging case provides another 20 hours of listening time and only takes about an hour to charge up from zero to one hundred.

As far as the earbuds are concerned, the AirPods Pro outperforms the Freebuds 3 by an hour. That said, the Freebuds 3 charging case is hands down the one I’d prefer. While both cases are made of fairly similar (cheap-feeling) plastic, and both can charge wirelessly with any Qi-wireless charger, the Freebuds 3 charging case uses the (industry standard) USB-C. Apple opted for its own Lightning connector, which is the same cable current iPhones rely on. Thanks to the USB-C future-proofing, the Freebuds 3 case is more appealing.

Winner: Draw

Should we talk price? Yeah, let’s do it.

One single earbud of the AirPod Pro and Freebuds 3 side by side on a brown wallet

The earbuds look similar, but the new AirPods Pro have a slightly shorter stem and silicone ear tips for a better fit.

One of the most important factors to consider when buying something is the price. While the AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3 are both great true wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling, they both also cost $ 249. That’s a tough pill to swallow for most people. Huawei’s move to price the Freebuds 3 just slightly below that at around $ 220 makes them a hair more affordable. Not exactly cheap, but definitely more competitive — especially considering how similar the products are.

Winner: Huawei Freebuds 3

So should you buy the AirPods Pro or the Huawei Freebuds 3?

So yes, the AirPods Pro win in this tit-for-tat battle. Whether or not they are right for you depends on a few things. If you’re an iOS user the answer is obvious. You’ll get the most out of the AirPods Pro, since you’ll be able to make use of all the features. Similarly, Huawei users will get slightly better sound quality from the Freebuds 3, thanks to optimized pairing with the company’s phones.

That said, it’s no secret that Huawei is going through a bit of a rough patch here in the US and, at this time, the Freebuds 3 aren’t available stateside. In addition to which platform you prefer, depending on where you live may also play a role as you decide on one over the other. If you live in Europe, the Freebuds 3 are available to buy via Amazon or through Huawei.

Availability aside, there is one aspect where the AirPods Pro soundly defeat the Freebuds 3, and that’s active noise cancelling. The AirPods Pro is significantly better in this category. The only other pair of true wireless earbuds better than the AirPods Pro at active noise cancelling are the Sony WF-1000XM3 ’buds.

So if you’re on Android, live in the US, or just want similar features to the AirPods Pro, then the Sony’s currently your best bet.

Apple AirPods Pro Apple’s first noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds.
Apple’s high-end wireless earphones include features like active noise cancellation and transparency mode so you can still hear the world around you.

Huawei Freebuds 3 True wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling from Huawei
Huawei’s Freebuds 3 true wireless earbuds might be AirPods clones, but they actually surpass Apple’s earbuds in a few areas.

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Best Apple Black Friday 2019 deals

Apple iPhone logo

When it comes to the biggest shopping period of the year, there’s not a ton of love when it comes to Apple Black Friday sales. The folks in Cupertino do offer a few deals and discounts on some products, but for the most part they don’t go quite as nuts on the price cuts as other companies do this time of year.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great deals to be found on the interwebs. Here’s what we know will be available for Apple Black Friday deals this week, with more upcoming price cuts that will go live during the week.

Apple Black Friday gift card offer

Apple Logo

Officially, the only Apple Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal the company is offering directly is giving out Apple Store gift cards. From Friday, November 29 to Monday, December 2, Apple will give out Apple Store gift cards of up to $ 200 with sales of “select products’. Apple has yet to reveal just which products you will have to buy to get those gift cards. We will update this post when that information is revealed.

Apple Black Friday iPhone deals

iPhone 11 product shot

The iPhone remains the top-selling smartphone brand. For the Black Friday holiday week, wireless carriers and retailers are offering discounts on various iPhone models.

Apple iPhone XR

$ 299 .00 Save $ 300 .00

Buy it Now

Apple iPhone 6S

$ 99 .00 Save $ 50 .00

Buy it Now

Apple iPhone 6S Plus

$ 149 .00 Save $ 50 .00

Buy it Now

Apple iPhone XS

$ 634 .86 Save $ 665 .13

Buy it Now

Apple iPhone 7

$ 199 .00 Save $ 50 .00

Buy it Now

Apple iPhone 8

$ 294 .99 Save $ 45 .00

Buy it Now

Apple Watch Black Friday deals

Apple Watch Series 4

If you want to get your hands on an Apple Watch, there are a few deals available for people who want to save some cash on Apple’s popular smartwatch and fitness tracker.

Apple Watch Series 4

$ 299 .00 Save $ 50 .00

Buy it Now

Apple Watch Series 5 (44mm)

$ 409 .00 Save $ 20 .00

Buy it Now

Apple Watch Series 5 (40mm)

$ 379 .00 Save $ 20 .00

Buy it Now

There are many more Apple Watch Series 4 deals through Best Buy, and you can check them all out here.

iPad Deals

iPad Pro 9.7 homescreen showing apps

Apple remains the king of the tablet market with its various versions of the iPad. Let’s look at some of the Black Friday deals on versions of the iPad

Apple iPad (10.2-inch, 32GB)

$ 249 .00 Save $ 80 .00

Buy it Now

Apple iPad (10.2-inch, 128GB)

$ 349 .99 Save $ 50 .00

Buy it Now

Apple iPad Pro (12.9 inch)

$ 899 .00 Save $ 100 .00

Buy it Now

MacBook Deals

Yes, Apple still makes Mac OS notebooks. Here’s a look at some of the Black Friday deals on MacBooks that are currently available.

MacBook Air


Apple MacBook Air

$ 899 .99 Save $ 199 .01

Buy it Now

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch)

$ 2349 .00 Save $ 450 .00

Buy it Now

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch)

$ 1099 .99 Save $ 199 .01

Buy it Now

Apple TV, headphones and other deals

Want to buy an Apple TV set-top box to watch Apple TV Plus? How about a set of Beats headphones or Apple Airpods for your ears? Black Friday shopping week has some deals to check out right now.

Apple TV 4K

$ 184 .00 Save $ 15 .00

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Huawei closes in on Apple in China


Right now, the Android operating system is absolutely dominating the Chinese market. To get a snapshot of this, we can look at how iOS smartphones accounted for about 25% of urban sales in 2014, with the Android operating system constituting an overwhelming majority of the remaining 75%. However, Apple is responsible for that entire 25%, whereas Android sales are scattered across a slew of competing companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, Meizu, and Oppo. However, the growth of iPhone sales has been in decline since 2014, and now one of the Android companies is closing the gap.

huawei-logo-mwc-2015-1See also: Flashback and Forecasts: Huawei in 201610

Huawei is the dark horse that everybody is starting to notice. Back in 2014, the scrappy company only sold 5% of Android smartphones worldwide. By the beginning of this year, Huawei had nearly tripled this figure, snagging 14% of the global smartphone market. That’s a pretty massive figure for a company that hardly has any presence at all in the US, and has only recently broken into European markets. Huawei’s invasion of Europe has been pretty damn successful, with their numbers doubling in both France and Great Britain over the course of 2015 to secure a number-four position in brand ranking, while achieving second place in Italy, Spain, and Germany.


But that doesn’t even touch on where Huawei is really killing it, because these guys have quickly become a force to be reckoned with on their home turf of China. While Apple’s growth has slowed substantially since 2014, Huawei has been briskly closing the gap, capturing fully 24.3% of the market. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this Chinese company is establishing itself as a major global player in the smartphone industry, and they’ve got some crazy momentum on their side.

What are your thoughts regarding the ongoing rise of Huawei? Have you had experience with their products before? Let us know your opinions in the comments below!

Huawei-P8-vs-Apple-iPhone-6-1Next: Apple iPhone 6 vs Huawei P8 – hands on67

Android Authority

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