CompareCellular's Top 5 Phones of 2018

December 18, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

This past year has been exciting for smartphones, as usual. From the newest breed of iPhones to Google's delightful Pixel, there were a lot of shocks and upsets from our technological friends. Now that the season has come to an end, let's take a look at some of the top phones and what they brought to show-and-tell.

Apple iPhone XS & XS Max




Apple's newest addition to their line of trendy phones shook the tables of high schoolers around the world with its hefty and unprecedented price tag of $1379 CAD. Yet the price is arguably warranted, for the XS is easily one of the flashiest phones of all time, garnering a near perfect score across the board of upscale phone reviewers throughout the Internet.

Its features include a blazing A12 Bionic chip that provides a super-speedy experience, not to mention its dual camera and slightly better battery than its predecessor (although that's not saying much... expect to recharge throughout the day if you're a heavy user).

The camera also comes with some built-in software like an improved HDR function that enhances your photos automatically. Face ID is much more responsive and so is the phone's water resistance—its IP68 rating means that it can safely be submerged in up to 6 feet of water for half an hour, so yes, Netflix and shower has become a reality.

Don't believe us? Check out this video on Youtube, where a brave reviewer dips it into 40 feet of muddy lake water! Needless to say, the XS is among the top phones ever made, if not the definitive best of the current era.



Apple iPhone XR




The iPhone XR is a cheaper alternative to the XS, but that doesn't mean it's only the baby brother of the latter. Instead, it rivals the XS in performance and features. How? For starters, it has the same A12 Bionic chip, meaning software performance will be near identical.

Then there's the glass body, along with an aluminum frame and a 6.1" Liquid Retina LED instead of OLED; bear in mind that the iPhone XR has a lower resolution (not that you'd be able to tell, honestly). It also only has a singular rear camera instead of the XS' two, yet this 12 MP camera is identical to one of the cameras in the XS.

The iPhone XR has a slightly longer battery life thanks to the absence of things like 3D touch support, and comes in a plethora of colors ranging from coral to yellow and baby blue. How vibrant!

An IP67 rating means that you can submerge your iPhone XR into 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, so feel free to bring it into your showers in case you forget those lyrics to that one Dua Lipa song. The XR is a great alternative to the XS and on its own, is a fully capable standalone phone that packs quite the competition to the other competitors.



Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL




Google's break-in to the phone industry has been swept beneath the other titans throughout its previous two iterations, yet its latest phone brings a little more to the table.

The Google Pixel 3 retails at $999 CAD for its 5.5" model and comes in a glass body enclosing a metal chasis. It also runs on Android 9.0 Pie, the newest operating system for Android limited to only a handful of devices.

Yet its most impressive feature is what Google dubs the "AI Cam," a camera that automatically enhances your photos with the usage of HDR and other software tricks, taking three photos for every click that you make and processing the best one. This is made possible through its 12 MP rear camera, and dual 8 MP front cameras which ensure that your selfies are delightfully splendid.

Unfortunately, the phone itself seems to suffer from poor battery life, often requiring a charge throughout the day during periods of high usage—so keep that battery pack handy.



Huawei Mate 20 Pro




Huawei's Mate 20 Pro is a substantial upgrade to the P20 and P20 Pro released earlier this year, with a 6.39" OLED screen that boasts some of the highest resolution available on the market. Its 1,400 x 3,120 resolution and 538 ppi inclusion will generate the sharpest frames for your browsing needs.

Like the Google Pixel 3, it runs on Android 9.0 Pie and comes loaded with 128 GB of storage space and a generous 6 GB of RAM.

Its competitive triple-camera system clocks in with three rear sharpshooters starting at a whopping 40 MP, next to a 20 MP and 8 MP mini-camera. On the other side of the yonder is a 24 MP front-facing camera that'll highlight all of your glamorous photoshoots (including those blemishes!).

The Mate 20 Pro's cameras impress further through its vibrant contrast and smart stabilisation, providing you with a range of other modes from Portrait to Monochrome and even Night. At the end of the day, Huawei's in-depth camera still proves to be a force against some of the toughest rivals on the market.



Samsung Galaxy Note 9




It's been a long wait for Samsung's next series of flagship phones, but the Galaxy Note 9 fills that void for those of you who are avid pen-users. This large phone has a 6.4" screen and like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, comes with a smartpen dubbed the "S Pen," that lets you sketch ideas, take notes, or even use it as a remote control for your apps and games.

Its Bluetooth functionality allows for you to improvise and use it for things like presentations or taking photos—that's right, no more asking strangers to take those family portraits for you at the park.

The camera comes with Samsung's in-house AI software that automatically adjusts your photos and spits them out in HDR with lighting and contrast improvements. The phone also comes in 128 GB or 512 GB, so you'll have tons of storage on the go.

Combined with its large size, this device is perfect for the multi-tasker who desires to get more usage out of their phone than simply calling, texting and browsing the Internet.


This is the end of our top 5 of 2018, but bear in mind that there are plenty of other phones that barely missed the cut. Keep your options open, especially if you're on a budget! Phones from previous generations will often fit your bill in terms of quality and price.

More importantly, stay alert and up-to-date with the latest scoop on technology; there's a ton of new phones to be released in 2019!

CompareCellular's Fantabulous 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

December 5, 2018  by Chenchen Wang



Holidays are coming up, and with the heaps of gifts also comes the infinite stress. What are the latest and greatest "hip" and cool gifts nowadays to get your friends and family? Here are some ideas that can get your brain juices flowing in the midst of the frosty air.


Apple Watch Series 4



The newest generation of Apple Watch brings a lot more to the table than ever. This smartwatch comes with a lighter shell and some tempting features, ranging from enhanced battery life to a crisp screen that shows health benefits, a GPS map, and all of your notifications on the go. Perfect if your loved one frequently ventures to the endless depths of the outdoors, or if they like to stay up-to-date on things with a dazzling robotic ornament.


Get the details of the Apple Watch here.

iPhone XR




The iPhone XR is a cheaper alternative to the XS and XS Max, allowing for a full experience of Apple's fantastic A12 Bionic Chip and a plethora of other functions. It comes in a range of vibrant colors and a smooth, aluminum case as opposed to the XS' steel one, but this doesn't stop the phone from overperforming. It also has the same rear-camera as the XS, yet lacks its dual-camera functionality. Nevertheless, this jolly-colored phone is much trendier for your wallet and still provides the full iOS experience.


Learn more about the iPhone XR's specifications here.

AirPods





If you're a frequent commuter, no doubt you've seen these little earbuds tucked away in the ears of strangers and even elderly grandmas on the subway. Its lightweight and convenient design allows for all of your music, Bluetooth, and calling needs to be met. Yup, their built-in microphone lets you make calls too. Just be sure to slip them into their snoozy box after you're done, or you'll risk losing these tiny guys for the foreseeable future.


The AirPods are the perfect stocking stuffer. Get yours here.

iPad Pro




The iPad continues to refine itself in more ways than one; in this iteration, its sleek and thin design squeezes its slimtastic proportions, this time nearly 25% thinner than its predecessor. Got a long road trip ahead of you? The iPad Pro makes the perfect frisbee to toss with your friends and family, allowing everyone to cash in on the fun—but really, its thinner design allows for better portability, sound, and a convenient experience. Also, the Pro's redesigned 12 MP camera will create all of those picture-perfect moments for the holidays.


Click here to learn more about the new iPad Pro.

Portable Speakers




Mini portable speakers are the perfect way to share your delicious taste in music with the rest of your family. These tiny little things really boom and create a dance floor anywhere, from your living room to the subway during your daily commute. Got something to say? Play it loud and clear for everyone to hear! There are tons of different brands and designs, but keep an eye out on Amazon. These little gadgets frequently go on sale, so expect to spend under $100.


Scope out some of the portable Bluetooth speakers that might tickle your fancy here.

USB to USB-C Adapter




If you're an Apple fan, you probably know that the newest MacBooks only have USB-C slots—tiny little slots that have replaced the old USB, meaning you'll need a "dongle" adapter for your older USB devices. If that isn't the worst of it, Apple's factory dongle will cost you a whopping $25.00 for just one, running a giant hole in your wallet faster than you can blink. Its lackluster, string-blocky design also leaves more to be desired. Luckily, there are some other options thanks to our friends overseas, who prove time and time again that they're somehow impervious to copyright laws. These third party adapters typically run much cheaper on Amazon (not to mention they ship much faster with Amazon Prime) and their tiny size makes for easy storage or for you to carry on the go.


Check out the variety of adapters for yourself here.

USB Adapter Dock



Need something for the home studio? There are also thicker adapters that come with multiple converters, ranging from USB to HDMI and even SD card. Amazon has lots of options at affordable prices. Keep an eye out for their Lightning Sales and holiday bargains, as these products and other electronics are frequently on sale for the low-low.


There's tons of different docks you can buy on Amazon. Click here to find out more.


Burt's Bees Lipbalm




With the advent of winter creeping up your toes, keeping your lips refreshed and moisturized is extra important (you never know who you'll encounter beneath the mistletoe!). Burt's Bees offers some of the highest quality lip balm, albeit frequently at exuberant prices. Luckily, Amazon offers a 4-pack for $12.49, meaning that anyone can enjoy its cool, wax texture on their lips in time for the New Year. We recommend the original flavor, since it contains wax and provides a cool, refreshing hint of peppermint that will leave you feeling fresh throughout the day.


Grab a bundle off of Amazon or check them out at your local convenience store.

Charger Cables




What about some charger cables? You can get never get enough of them. These things always seem to find a way to disappear or break, so buying a pack of them might be a good idea as a stocking stuffer. They come in packs of 4 or more on Amazon, and the best part is that you can get chargers of different lengths! How 'bout a 6 foot long charger for your living room, so you can laze around the couch while charging? Or a tiny 3 footer for your bedside table or the office? The possibilities are endless, and it's always good to have extras whenever you might need them.


Get a pack of charger cables now so you don't forget later.



Kent Comb




Winter got your hair follicles in a knot? Kent Combs are some of the finest combs, sliding comfortably through your hair and offering a gentle styling experience. These combs are surprisingly all crafted by hand and made with polished wood, meaning there aren't any bumps or knicks in the teeth like plastic combs that might tear and damage your hairs. They're also light and easy to clean, but a little on the heftier side when it comes to price. Expect to pay around $20 CAD for one, but trust us... you get what you pay for.


Get that perfect shine in your hairline with these fantastic combs.



The fun never stops when it comes to holiday shopping. There are endless gadgets out there for you to choose from, but be sure to choose wisely—keep those eyes peeled!

Cheap Cellphone Plans of the Month

November 30, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

With Christmas and New Year's around the corner, let's take a quick look at some of the best individual rate plans.


Koodo, Fido and Virgin Mobile have their regular plans with a bit of promotional data. Their 2 GB plans with unlimited Canada-wide calling at $50—bear in mind that these carriers use the same towers as TELUS, Rogers and Bell, meaning you'll get some great service at a much cheaper price. You can also expect good coverage around the country with the same service intact if you plan on going home for the holidays.


British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Atlantic Province Plans

Koodo, Fido & Virgin Mobile - BYOD
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
2 GB $50
4 GB $55
6 GB $65
8 GB $75


Manitoba & Saskatchewan

Koodo, Fido & Virgin Mobile - BYOD Cost
500 MB with 500 minutes Canada-wide calling $40
5 GB with unlimited Canada-wide calling $48

Quebec

Koodo, Fido & Virgin Mobile - BYOD
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
2 GB $35
4 GB $45
8 GB $49
10 GB $56



Chatr and Lucky Mobile offer much cheaper plans with bigger data, but with a catch... only 3G data. 3G data is a slower version of data that is good for browsing the internet, using text-based apps like email or sending messages, but you might run into some issues if you're a frequent music streamer or Youtube user. You also lose the ability to use your data if you leave their "zones," areas that are usually restricted to bigger cities.


Canada-wide

Chatr & Lucky Mobile
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
8.5 GB at 3G speeds $50
6.5 GB at 3G speeds $50
4.5 GB at 3G speeds $40
1.5 GB at 3G speeds $30




Freedom Mobile is another alternative with huge buckets of data for cheap, yet also with a catch: it's only available in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto, and as soon as you leave these cities, you'll lose basically all of your data (you'll retain a tiny bit of data and can still use your calling and texting on most plans). The service also frequently cuts out, so expect to lose service in busy subways or buildings with thick walls. If you aren't much of a traveler, then Freedom Mobile could fit your bill. Otherwise, it's definitely a hit or miss.


Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Ottawa

Freedom Mobile (Data + Talk Plans)
Unlimited Canada Calling
Cost
Home 4.5 GB $40
Big Gig 6 GB $60
Big Gig 15 GB $80

Huawei's Latest Phone: the Mate 20 Pro

November 9, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is checking in as Huawei’s latest flagship phone. Like the P20 Pro from last year, the Mate 20 Pro expands on the decadent features ranging from a long-lasting battery to a quick processor and an intricate camera. It comes in a sleek metallic design with a curved screen that blends your focus right in, so expect your Youtube videos to be a little more personal than before.




It’s Kirin 980 processor is also a step above the P20 Pro’s 970, and the phone’s display increased from 6.1 inches to a 6.39-inch OLED display with 3120 x 1440 pixels as opposed to the P20 Pro’s 1080 x 2240; this means much crisper icons and a phone that's perfect for your Netflix-ing needs. Fun fact: it's got the highest pixel density of any phone on the market, beating out even the iPhone XS.

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro still has 128 GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM like the P20, so no changes here—but expect a tiny bit more on-time with its slightly stronger battery. The camera also remains largely the same. Huawei phones have been frequently lauded for their camera, and the Mate 20 Pro returns with its signature 40 MP rear camera and a 24 MP front-facing camera. The rear camera is a triple-camera setup that comes in a small square, which features a detective camera system that will recognize and focus on people, plants, and even some buildings.




Some other perks include a super-fast fingerprint scanner that’ll let you unlock your phone in an instant, and a nighttime camera mode that enhances your photos taken in the dark. The phone starts at a hefty $1199 CAD, but this was expected, considering the phone rivals that of the iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S9 series.

Check out its specs and details here.

What's New with the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL?

October 30, 2018  by Chenchen Wang

The Google Pixel 3 and the Google Pixel 3 XL were released earlier this month, just in time to rival the new iPhones and the back-to-school scramble. The newest line of phones include a standard 5.5 inch display with the Pixel 3, or 6.3 inches with the XL, both of which come in either 64 GB or 128 GB of capacity and 4 GB of RAM.

The phone’s camera comes with some built-in perks, including a “Top Shot” function that takes multiple photos on each button press, automatically providing you with some options so you have a better chance of capturing that perfect shot. Unfortunately, this seems to save the other photos at a much lower resolution (likely to save space), for example, exporting at only 3 MP instead of the usual 12 MP. They clock in file size at only a single MB, while your original photo saves at a whopping 13 MB. There’s currently no option to change this, but at the end of the day it is just an added benefit anyways. Needless to say, you’d also run out of space on your phone pretty quickly, especially if you’re an avid photo taker.




On the brighter side, Google Pixel 3’s speakers are also much louder than their predecessors, up to 1.4x louder at max volume. Bear in mind that like most newer phones, there isn’t an audio jack, so be prepared to adapt to modern times and use either Bluetooth or USB-C instead. The screen is quite commendable at a 1080 x 2160 resolution, yet it’s still outmatched by the likes of even the best phones from the previous generation—namely the iPhone X or Galaxy S9 when it comes to brightness and contrast (but this is often indistinguishable to the naked eye). The phone also comes with a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone, and in a variety of colors spanning Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink, the latter of which is ironically pink.




Last but not least, difference between the Pixel 3 and 3 XL starts at its size, with the latter’s screen being almost an inch larger. The rest of the phone its largely the same, save for the battery, which is a bit worse in the Pixel 3, meaning you'll probably want to carry around a charger or portable battery pack. The XL also has a notable notch at the top of its screen, which might be annoying for those of you anti-notchers. At the end of the day, both the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are sleek phones that offer great design for Android, reminiscent of the iPhone's design. The Google Pixel 3 starts at $999 CAD while the larger Pixel 3 XL variant retails for $1,129.

A Quick Look at the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR

September 19, 2018  by Chenchen Wang



Both the iPhone XS, XS Max and the XR are available for preorder! The iPhone XS and XS Max ship on the 21st of September, while the XR arrives nearly a month later. These phones have replaced the iPhone X as Apple's newest line of luxury phones, but at what cost? Let's delve a little deeper into their specifications to decide which phone is best suited for you.

In terms of pricing, the iPhone XS Max starts from $1519 CAD, while the XS follows at $1379 and the XR at $1079, setting a landmark for the most expensive iPhones ever made. All three phones are equipped with Apple's new A12 Bionic chip, which features a 15% increase in speed and a power usage of 50% less than its predecessor—kind of relevant given the iPhone's short battery life. Aside from the chip, the XR differs vastly from the XS and the XS Max, who only differentiate in terms of their size.




The iPhone XS features a 5.8" Super Retina HD display, as opposed to the XS Max's larger 6.5". If you have deep pockets, the XS Max will suit your needs, pun-intended. Each phone has a rear camera of 12MP and 2x optical zoom, along with a front camera of 7MP which will provide pristine-looking selfies. The pixel size has increased in comparison to the iPhone X, and their HDR algorithm has been optimized so your pictures will always look bright and crisp.

Battery life has also increased, but only ever so slightly. With the XS, it'll last you 30 minutes more than the iPhone X, and 90 minutes with the XS Max. They're also the first iPhones with the option of 512 GB of storage, matching the storage size of laptops and even Macbooks! That's a lot of photos and random junk you could store on a little device. Remember when 8 GB was a thing? Or when 64 GB was the max?




On the contrary, the iPhone XR is much more affordable, albeit with some drawbacks. For starters, the 6.1" display is only Liquid Retina HD, meaning image quality will be less sharp (326 ppi as opposed to the XS' 458). It also only has a singular 12MP camera as opposed to the XS' dual wide-angle camera, but luckily it's front camera is the same as the XS, so you can still snap some of those fabulous selfies. There's also a lack of 3D touch functionality, so don't expect to get anything from pressing icons a little harder on your screen. The XR does have some of its own pros, including better battery life, and a pallet of flashy colors ranging from yellow to red to blue and even coral; it also has a 128 GB model that fits the bill for the average user who might desire the sweet spot between the XS' 64 GB and 256 GB.


Now that you know the quick details, which phone do you think you'll get? Remember, Samsung's newest phones are around the corner as well. Choose wisely!