Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Thursday, April 23.
1. iPhone SE 2020 reviews: it’s great, not a battery beast
Last week I said the iPhone SE 2020 was good enough for most people. I can now add easily.
Now iPhone SE 2020 reviews are out, and the summary is compelling and remarkably similar across different reviews: Apple’s new small phone is a smash at $399.
- It’s not perfect, it’s by no means better than the iPhone 11, and it’s not an upgrade for most people.
- For those considering upgrading, it’s a phone without many compromises, especially for Apple.
Normally I’d linger on interesting review points or disagreements, but the reviews keep saying the same thing, with lots of high marks and star ratings:
- The biggest improvements over the iPhone 8 come from the A13 chip, notably in a better camera. While there’s just one 12MP lens, like the Pixel 3a, it’s very capable of shooting good if not wonderful shots. The main downside is that there’s no low-light camera mode.
- Other than that, the size and form factor appeal to many. The giant bezels are tired and don’t really make the most of the device, but many reviewers point out that this just feels normal for those with older iPhones already looking to upgrade.
- Also, fast LTE (without 5G) and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, plus wireless charging.
- Focusing on battery life for a second: most rated it good, not great. It lasts a day but, for example, instead of coasting home with 40% battery life to spare, you might be down to 20%. All other iPhones in Apple’s range do better. CNET reckoned battery life was great based on battery tests, Wired was more pointed in explaining real-life usage examples that led to needing to charge more than once a day.
- If I bought one, I’d recommend a battery pack case, but they’re not yet made for the iPhone SE 2020 per Apple.com listings, so third-party is your answer for now.
- The Verge recommended paying $50 more to upgrade from 64GB storage to 128GB, noting overall that the iPhone SE is a great deal and a great smartphone.
- The reviews are so positive you almost need to remember what you get when paying double for premium smartphones: better and more versatile cameras, bigger more brilliant screens for multimedia, longer-lasting devices, 5G for super-fast wireless networking, and more in the box, like fast-charging.
- Devices like the S20 range, LG V60, or the OnePlus 8, or indeed the iPhone 11 feel more like computers in your pocket, while the iPhone SE is a capable smartphone.
2. The Motorola Edge launched yesterday on schedule and everything we thought we knew was about right: this new flagship looks like it can keep up with the best from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, and others, but at $1000, and locked down with Verizon in the US. It looks promising in terms of what a good phone may be, but there are no reviews yet, just hands on. Oddly, no details yet on global pricing. Full reviews to come (Android Authority).
3. Zoom is getting its security act together with a fresh update to 5.0 (Android Authority).
4. What if your smart speaker could react to sounds in your home? For example, a doorbell ringing, or microwave ding (Android Authority).
5. A new zero-click, zero-day critical iPhone and iPad bug may be under active attack. Patch coming. Until then, “disable Mail on your iThing,” writes The Register.
6. Instagram is rushing to roll out a memorial account feature because of COVID-19 deaths: ‘Remembering’ banner (BuzzFeed News).
7. Magic Leap reportedly laying off 1,000 employees and dropping consumer business to move into enterprise (The Verge).
9. We can now watch Google’s secret self-driving cars from 2009 (Jalopnik).
10. Google’s data centers will now shift the timing of ‘many intensive compute tasks’ to when low-carbon power sources, like wind and solar, are available (blog.google).
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