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What the iPhone 12 Pro Max reviews tell us that Apple didn’t

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Reviews are out for the full collection of iPhone 12 devices for the tail end of 2020. As such, today we’re taking a peek at the biggest and most extravagant of the set, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. We’re taking special care here to point out the ways in which the iPhone 12 Pro Max is different from the other models – and, as you’ll find out soon, the many ways in which the iPhone 12 Pro Max is basically the same as the others.

Processor Performance

As noted by the TechCrunch review, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is pretty much on-par with the other iPhone 12 models for performance. Benchmarks show the iPhone 12 Pro Max to have nearly the same single-core and multi-core scores for CPU, and a slight lead over the rest of the iPhone 12 family for compute / GPU testing.

Display Size and Refresh Rate

If you’ve used the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you’ll be familiar with the size of the phone and the display. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a larger display than its predecessor, but the phone’s overall size is essentially the same.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch display, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch display. As noted by the review by CNN, “The main thing missing on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a high refresh rate of around 120Hz.” The iPhone 12 Pro Max does not meet its biggest competitors (like the Galaxy Note 20) with 120Hz image refresh rate. Instead, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 60Hz display.

Battery Life

According to InputMag’s review, the battery life of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is longer than that of the iPhone 12 Pro, but shorter than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Most of the early reviews suggest the battery life is roughly equivalent to that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The cameras

In the Engadget review there are notes on how the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s cameras can be “temperamental.” The same review also states that “If you’re a big-phone person, or you care about camera performance above all, the Pro Max is the one you should be looking at.”

Apple Pencil

Apple Pencil (Gen 2) sticks to iPhone 12 Pro Max, thanks to the MagSafe business and the magnets that allow said connection between the two. But the iPhone 12 Pro Max does not work with any Apple Pencil as a stylus. The CNET Review wishes that “Apple took more advantage of the 12 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch screen” for features like Split View and Apple Pencil, as Apple allows on iPad devices.

What life?

Apple’s promotional material for the iPhone 12 Pro Max (and the rest of the iPhone 12 collection) skillfully avoids speaking about or showing the world in which you’ll use the phone. It was easy to show previous iPhone devices in the wild – with friends, taking selfies, capturing photos of big events, and so forth. Now, what will you do with your iPhone?

As noted by The Verge review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, “I can’t shake the feeling that the iPhone 12 Pro Max very much feels like the perfect phone for the life I led before the pandemic.” As reviewer Nilay Patel said, the iPhone 12 Pro Max “feels like another screen for social media on the couch.”

Small fingers

According to the CNBC review, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is best because of “fat thumbs” and “bigger screens where I have more keyboard space for typing.”

While the iPhone 12 Mini is only ever-so-slightly shorter than the iPhone 8 (or iPhone SE 2nd Gen), it has a far larger display (what with all-but-the-notch screen coverage). Is that too small? The iPhone 12 Mini’s display is 5.4-inches diagonally, while the display on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is 6.7-inches diagonally – that’s a massive difference.

More Review Action

We’ll have our own extended review of the iPhone 12 Pro Max here on SlashGear soon. The same goes for the iPhone 12 Mini. Meanwhile, take a peek at our iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Review – look beyond 5G. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are available in stores and online now, while pre-order sales for iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max started on November 6, 2020.

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Galaxy S21+ leaks – the 2021 edge of reality

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Today we’re getting our first good look at solid leaks of the Samsung Galaxy S21+. This next-generation device will mark another big move by Samsung away from traditional industrial design into design that’s a bit more… daring. Before this, Samsung’s biggest industrial design transition points were the Infinity-O (punch hole) display, and the “Galaxy Edge” or “Infinity” display curve.

The Samsung Galaxy S21+ looks a whole lot like the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra leaks we’ve seen in the last few weeks. This design isn’t a surprise, only because we’ve seen a few other views of the rest of the device family. Take a peek at the rest of the family in the Samsung Galaxy S21 leaks article published on November 16 – it is a good place to start.

Imagery from CoverPigtou and xLeaks7 show this device both front and back, side to side, using CAD drawings as their own source. These are renderings based on leaked specifications generally made to act as guide for accessory-makers and protective case-makers.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 family has a set of displays that are fairly similar to the Galaxy S20. The display bezels are thinner, the punch-hole is smaller. Otherwise we’re pretty much on-track with the year-by-year ever-more-sleek simplicity of a full frontside coverage display panel, courtesy of Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup.

ABOVE: The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge – the first Samsung phone with a display that cascaded off it’s side. BELOW: The Samsung Galaxy S10 “escapes the notch curse” with a punch hole.

The big change comes in the sides and the back of the device. If we look at the Samsung Galaxy S21+, we see the most obvious design move in the camera array. There, three cameras live in an array that sits above the rest of the device’s backside – like the Galaxy S20 – with one big change. Here, the camera array island becomes a bit more like a peninsula.

The camera array connects with the silver metal edge of the smartphone, an edge that also contains the power button and the volume rocker.

This is a solution that allows the raised array of cameras to sit above the majority of the back of the device without feeling like an element inflicted negatively upon the device. When we first started seeing backside cameras on smartphones that sat above the flatness of the back of the phone, it was an ugly situation. This might well be the most elegant integration of said design requirement yet.

We’ll likely see the Samsung Galaxy S21 family appear officially in the first several weeks of 2021. The Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra will likely be revealed in late January or early February, 2021, with release dates closer to the tail end of February, if history acts as guide for the near future – we shall see!

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Google names the best Android games and apps of 2020

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Today Google released a list of games and apps for Android that they named “best” of the year 2020. Included in the mix were categories like Best Competitive, Indies, Pick Up & Play, Game Changers, Everyday Essentials, Personal Growth, Hidden Gems, “Best for Fun”, and “Best Apps for Good”. As it is each year, this list of lists makes for a good first place to look for the apps and games that have the best chance at allowing users to make the most of their smart device experience.

Google’s best apps of 2020

Google’s choice for best app of the year, 2020, was “Loona: Bedtime Calm & Relax.” This app includes soothing sounds, simple stories, and calming game-like experiences to get users in the mood for sleep. The Loona app is free and offers in-app purchases for expanded experiences. The User’s Choice for Best App of 2020 was… Disney+, the streaming platform.

Google’s Best Everyday Essentials apps included Calmaria (for calming down, not entirely unlike Loona,) and Grid Diary (a top notch journal and planner app). Also in the mix were The Pattern (to explore your personality with astrology… only… not astrology.) Whisk was on the list, as was Zoom Cloud Meetings.

Personal Growth apps included “Centr, by Chris Hemsworth” and “Intellect: Create a Better You”, as well as “Jumprope: How-to Videos”, “Paired: Couples App” and the language app Speekoo. The best Hidden Gems included Cappuccino for mini-podcasts, Paperless Post, and Explorest – Photo Locations. And don’t forget Tayasui Sketches for a new approach to digital brush painting.

Best For Good apps included apps like ShareTheMeal and GreenChoice for Healthy Grocery Shopping.

If you’re looking for FUN apps, Google’s best-of collection included Bazaart: Photo Editor & Graphic Design, Disney+, Dolby On: Record Audio & Music, Reface, and the video editor Vita.

Google’s best games of 2020

The User’s Choice best game of the year was SpongeBob: Krusty Cook-Off, which is absolutely bonkers. This game contains both in-app purchases and advertisements and all sorts of “unlocks” and such. But who am I to argue? Google’s own best game of the year was Genshin Impact!

Google named Brawlhalla the best competitive game of the year, as well as Bullet Echo, GWENT (the Witcher card game), Legends of Runeterra, and The Seven Deadly Since: Grand Cross. Google’s Best “Indies” included Cookies Must Die, GRIS (by Devolver Digital), Inbento, Maze Machina, and Sky: Children of the Light.

The best Pick Up & Play games of the year included Disney Frozen Adventures: Customize the Kingdom, as well as another game with an impossibly long title: DreamWorks Trolls Pop: Bubble Shooter & Collection. Also on the list was EverMerge, Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells, and the SpongeBob game mentioned above.

The Game Changers list this year included some truly odd pieces of work. You’ll find Fancade, Genshin Impact, Minimal Dungeon RPG, and the game Ord. The game The Gardens Between was also included on the list – easily one of the most expensive up-front costs on the list, with good reason – no ads, no in-app purchases, just one cost and you’ve got it!

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Wyze Watch arrives for preorder: Major smartwatch features at $20

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Budget smart home company Wyze has introduced its new Wyze Watch, a smartwatch with a very budget-tier cost of $19.99, but one that promises to eclipse other offerings in the same price range. The Wyze Watch is made from aluminum and includes a number of features found on more expensive models, including a blood oxygen sensor, heart rate monitoring, and more.

Smartwatches have become a common personal gadget, but the cost keeps many people from picking one up. Wyze aims to change that with its new smartwatch — simply called the Wyze Watch — which resembles the Apple Watch and promises high-end features despite the low cost. Key features include a heart rate sensor and blood oxygen sensor, as mentioned, immediately distinguishing it from many other budget smartwatches.

Wyze notes that it has made its watch out of aluminum, not plastic, and includes a very large 1.75-inch display (if you pick up the larger 47mm model). The model features an IP68 weatherproof construction, meaning it can handle water exposure to depths of no more than two meters.

In addition to its own sleep monitoring, step, and menstrual cycle tracking features, the Wyze Watch is compatible with a number of third-party apps, including Messenger and Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Gmail, Twitter, and the Wyze app itself. Users can, as you’d expect, control their Wyze IoT products like smart lights using the watch.

Other features include up to nine days of battery life and a charge time of only 2.5 hours. Users can also purchase optional upgrades for the watch, namely silicone or leather watch straps in various colors for an additional $10. The Wyze Watch is available to preorder now for $19.99, but the company notes that there’s a limited number available.

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