Week 5

Galaxy Unpacked Feb '23: S23, S23 Ultra, and S23+ side-by-side, showing off camera arrays

Galaxy Unpacked. The Samsung Galaxy S23 series was finally announced in a few different flavors. The first Unpacked of 2023, the South Korean company launched the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra along with new Galaxy Books. Similar to the current strategy with Apple, Samsung is focusing heavily on the camera array and quality of photography — including short films by well-known directors. Watch the replay here.

HomePod 2. Reviews for the gen 2 HomePod have also started rolling out. The short version is that the sound quality is good, as was the gen 1, but it is still pricier than many competing smart speakers. But for the purposes of this dispatch, I care most about the deep integration with the Apple ecosystem as well Siri’s responsiveness, which is reported as being speedy. Personally, the lack of going beyond speaker pairs to full speaker groups with its smaller sibling, the Mini, is a dealbreaker for me.

Nothing Phone (2)… will target the US market this year (and many rejoice). One of the shortcomings of the Phone (1) was a non-beta release here in the States, which offered limited carrier support. What some may see as gimmicky, I have to admit that the light-up glyphs have piqued my interests enough to consider tracking one down. Considering Marques Brownlee gave it the Design Award for 2022, it certainly seems to be a crowd pleaser.

Artifact App. An AI-powered news app from the co-founders of Instagram. Pitching itself as a TikTok for text, the app serves up a personalized news feed driven by machine learning, recommending articles based on what you've interacted with. Hoping to leverage the social aspect, the founders have stated that they will remove posts that promote falsehoods. It all sounds good in theory, but we'll have to see how it works in practice.

Folding iPad? Not quite, but we might get a foldable notebook. Earlier last week, we had a brief moment of excitement when analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported that a foldable iPad could launch in 2024. The rumor, unfortunately, has been dismissed by other analysts… but we may get a foldable notebook instead. I take it as a reminder to use caution when sharing stories about industry rumors.

From the desk of…

Since I own a Google Pixel 6a, I thought it might be fun to share this review from Android Authority after six months of use. The article is fairly thorough and too much to go over everything here (I'll let you read it on your own). But I did want to touch on some the main points the author mentions, especially the ones that resonated with my own experience so far.

For the pros, the size and the Pixel-only features are definitely top of the list for me, although I never considered it as a pocket-size phone — although it most definitely is. It's only a smidge taller than my iPhone 14 Pro and roughly the same width, both of which I often times carry back-to-pack in my pocket (yes, I'm that big of a nerd). A new Android release and I can faithfully rely on my Pixel being the first to get it, which helps me keep up with all the platform updates (especially since I'm not a “natural” user).

For the cons, I don't really care about the missing headphone jack (although I'm still mad at myself for missing the free Pixel Buds they were offering on pre-orders). I do notice that the battery drains quicker than my Pixel 4a did, but it still outlasts my iPhone by far (but I also don't beat up on it as much as my iPhone). The one gripe I do have, however minimum, is that it has no wireless charging. But considering it is in that budget to midrange class, I can't really complain.

If you're in the market for a test device or an everyday carry, hopefully your interests are piqued enough to check out the review (includes video). Overall, I've been happy with my Pixel 6a and has served me well!




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