It’s been another busy week in the world of tech, but Trusted Reviews’ Winners and Losers is here to break down the best (and worst) headlines of the last seven days.
What a week! Between getting our hands on the iPhone 13 and hurriedly writing down everything Microsoft had to say during its livestream event – the sound of typing has barely stopped. That’s even before considering the surprise Nintendo Direct that also came into play, with Nintendo announcing, amongst other things, a truly bizarre casting line-up for the Super Mario Bros Movie.
In the end it was Microsoft that impressed us the most, particularly with the new Surface Duo 2 which finally appears to be reaching the potential that its predecessor only hinted at. Unfortunately, while we did enjoy testing out the new iPhones, Apple has found itself in a bind this week over a gamechanging announcement from the European Commission.
Winner: Surface Duo 2
I’m still a long way off ever using a foldable phone as my main device, but innovations in the last year have raised my eyebrow more than once. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 finally seems durable enough to be taken seriously, while the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is genuinely one of the nicest looking phones of 2021, and an easy sell that combines fashion and function into one portable device.
The original Surface Duo, which was unveiled roughly two years ago, took things in a different direction. Instead of having a foldable screen, the phone utilised a dual-screen system with a physical hinge, promising a more durable alternative that could still be great for multitasking – at least, that’s what it was on paper. In practice, dated specs prevented the Duo from making much of a splash upon release, but it’s clear that Microsoft went back to the drawing board because the Surface Duo 2 is a huge leap forward.
For starters, the device is running on the flagship Snapdragon 888 chipset, which also allows for 5G connectivity where available. Gone is the lonely single-sensor camera of old, replaced with a triple-sensor array for better photography, and there’s even a small display on the hinge’s exterior which lets users catch a glance at the time and any incoming notifications.
What impressed us the most however was the Duo 2’s multitasking features, with examples including a Teams call with video feeds on one side and meeting notes on another, whilst Game Pass utilises one screen as a touch pad controller, as the other displays the game itself. It all looks very promising and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.
Loser: Lightning Cable
Apple has made a point of addressing its sustainability efforts during each major livestream event that the company hosts throughout the year. From cutting down the box size to offering a recycling program for older phones, the company has made an admirable push to cut down on waste, and that same mentality has kept the Lightning port alive for quite some time, allowing customers to reuse any old Lightning cables they have lying around.
It’s a concept that I could empathise with if it didn’t ignore the fact that the rest of the tech world has moved to universally embrace USB-C. Even Apple itself has made the jump with its latest iPads, recognising to some degree that USB-C is the better option – not least because of its wider appeal, but also in being much faster at transmitting power and data than Lightning.
Well, it seems as though Apple’s chance to move iPhones to USB-C on its own terms has gone, with the European Commission currently proposing legal measures to enforce companies to adopt a universally accepted charging standard by 2024.
Given that Apple is the only major holdout at this point (except from the occasional micro-USB port), it definitely feels as though the days of the Lightning port are numbered. There will no doubt be some pushback on this, but I think we can all agree that the thought of charging your iPhone, tablet, headphones and more with just one cable, sounds like a far more preferable convenience.