– So I am recording this little selfie video with the DGI Osmo 2, which is a handheld gimbal that keeps your phone steady and can do stuff like track your face, track other people's faces, and lets you make way better video with your phone than you could if you were just holding it with your stupid, dumb hand. (upbeat music) What's amazing about this thing is it only costs 130 bucks, this is the original Osmo Mobile, and it was retailing for about 300 bucks. The differences between these is this is a little bit lighter, it has a longer lasting battery, which you can no longer remove. There's a few other differences worth talking about too, but to me, the most important difference is that this thing, in addition to holding your phone in landscape mode can be rotated and you'll be able to shoot in portrait mode. And as everybody knows, portrait mode video, portrait mode selfies, portrait mode whatever is the way that most people look at videos on their phone these days, on Snapchat, on Instagram and so on.
(upbeat music) Now if you're familiar with gimbals, a lot of the stuff I'm about to say to you is stuff you already know, but it's worth talking about because this thing is so much cheaper than any other gimbal, it's 130 bucks so a lot more people are gonna pick this thing up. So what this thing is for is for stabilizing your video and giving you better, smoother tracking shots as you move around the world. Your smartphone probably already has a bunch of really good image stabilization, but what it doesn't have is the ability to just hold it up with one hand, way far out, and have these smooth, easy, good tracking moves.
It's so good! It also probably can't do a thing where you can track somebody's face with it, and then it will handle the camera movements for staying centered on their face while you pan the camera around. So you can get a bunch of shots that you wouldn't be able to get on your own with just a phone, it's pretty cool. Now the thing you should know about the current demo that I'm doing right here is right now I'm using beta software and it gets a little buggy sometimes. (laughs) Because this thing can shoot in portrait mode, and because it can also handle larger phones, you need to spend a little bit more time than you might be used to adjusting it.
There's a few adjustments you can make. The first is on the clamp, which is just sort of a, you know, spring grip here, which isn't great. There's also another knob over here so that you can move it in and out, and the reason that that matters is you're gonna be doing a lot more of it, because when you switch from portrait mode to landscape, and vice versa, you're gonna need to recalibrate this thing every time to make sure that it stays balanced. Now I would say that's a big knock on this thing, but the last one couldn't even do portrait mode, so it's not that big of a deal.
So as I've been saying over and over again, this thing, the DGI Osmo 2 is only 129 bucks, it's available for pre-order now, and if you're really looking to up your video game with your phone, it's almost an impulse purchase. I think a lot of people are gonna be picking this thing up..
The thing that I like about Android is there can be so many different kinds of phones, just a lot of weird choices. But lately, it seems like there are really only two choices, at least in terms of screen size. There's regular and there's extra large, which is why I was so excited to try this phone right here, the Sony Xperia 1. I mean, just look at this good tall boy. It's got a 21:9 aspect ratio, which makes it relatively narrow and super, well, tall. I think it's a fascinating phone, and it's way nicer than I expected it to be. But I don't think it can really justify its $950 price. Let me tell you why. Now, a lot of people would like to have a big-screened phone, but they're put off by how big these phones feel.
And that's the reason I like the Xperia 1. It has a big screen, there is no doubt about it. It's 6.5 inches. But it's quite a bit narrower than this OnePlus 7 Pro here. So you get the benefits of seeing more stuff on your screen, like on the web or on Twitter, without the drawback of feeling like you have a big honking glass slab you can barely wrap your fingers around. This phone is also really good if you like to do split-screen apps, which… I don’t know, I guess people still do that. I never do. Anyway, it's nicer to hold, but that doesn't make it a one-handed phone by any stretch of the imagination.
You're still going to need to use your second hand to reach the top of the screen. Sony has a couple of software tricks that help with how tall this phone is, but neither of them are great. You can double tap the home button to make a smaller version of the screen. Or there's this other thing with… Er, wow. What are you doing there, Chuckles? Huh. Sorry, let's back up. Or you're supposed to be able to tap either side of the screen or swipe on it to do other stuff. It's called Side Sense, and it kind of sucks. I can never get it to work when I want it to, and it pops up all of the time when I don't want it to.
Now the reason that Sony says it made this phone at this weird, tall aspect ratio is for watching movies, and Sony says that it has a 4K HDR OLED screen. It also has, quote, “professional level color reproduction.” So it can be in the DCI-P3 color gamut. It can also be in the BT.2020 color space if you care about that. And it has the D65 white point. There's this whole “Creator Mode” thing. Basically, Sony is trying to make this phone appeal to people who really care about video quality, both watching it and recording it. But Sony, the thing is, if you're going to do that, this screen should get way brighter. It is way more dim compared to other OLED screens. Anyway, yeah, I will say watching a 21:9 movie on this phone with its Dolby stuff, without letterboxing or weird camera cutouts, is great. But the truth is that most of the video that I watch is not 21:9.
It’s stuff on YouTube, and so I still end up having big black bars on the left or the right. Or, if I expand it full screen, I end up cutting off people's heads. Now, I do think this phone is pretty good from a build quality perspective. It's got Gorilla Glass and IP68. It's got some bezels, but they're not too big, and it's just nice to hold. But, you know, of course there's no headphone jack. But there's no getting around how it being this tall makes it really awkward. It's so tall, it couldn't fit in my pocket. I was sitting down, and it just slid right out of my pocket and clattered on the concrete, which is why there are dings on the edges of the phone on our review unit, which is sad. The buttons are also awkward.
They're all on the right side of the phone and, I don’t know, the fingerprint sensor is separate from the power button for some reason. And sometimes it gets a little dirty and you have to wipe it off before it will actually work. I do like that there is a dedicated camera button. But overall, when I'm trying to use this phone, I just end up hitting the wrong button, like, all of the time.
On the back, there are three 12-megapixel cameras. There's a regular, a 2X telephoto, and a wide. Sony put some nice optical image stabilization on the main lens, and you know what? Finally, Sony has made a phone with a camera that's pretty good. It's not quite as good as a Pixel 3 or a OnePlus 7 Pro to my eyes, but it's finally respectable.
I do wish that the telephoto was more than 2X, but the wide angle one, it's really fun. I kind of love it. But I don't love Sony's camera software. The wide angle thing makes you pick between prioritizing image quality or distortion. The auto made doesn't do HDR by default, and there's just a bunch of other settings that just really look and feel kind of silly. Anyway, let's get into the results of what I actually get out of these lenses. I think that Sony prefers leaving detail in, even though that also leaves in a bunch of noise. It also doesn't do as aggressive HDR as I would like unless you have to, you know, manually turn it on.
But the thing that did surprise me is that even though there's no dedicated night mode, sometimes it actually really nails it anyway, even if it's incredibly dark. Now, you can shoot 4K, and that's one of the reasons this phone exists. And so Sony also included a Cinema Pro app that lets you really dial in all these manual settings for shooting 4K video. Unfortunately, the 8-megapixel camera on the front is junk.
It's really not good. I don't know, man. If this phone didn't cost $950, I'd probably be a little bit less nit-picky, but you know what? It does. So I am. In terms of software and performance, I actually don't have a ton of complaints. It's a fairly clean version of Android 9 with just a few bells and whistles. It has a Snapdragon 855 processor so it's fast, and there's 6GB of RAM, which is decent, but not stellar. I am a little bit grumpy that there's only one storage option: 128GB of storage. If you're going to want more, and especially if you're going to want to shoot 4K, you're going to need to expand it. And you can because there's a microSD card slot. Battery life is average-ish for big phones. I'm getting over four hours of screen time, and it's lasting through a day, but there's only a 3,300mAh battery in here, and I kind of feel like that's not enough.
I would be happier with that if there was wireless charging on this phone. But no, there's not. It does do fast charging, but one neat thing Sony does is it won't fast-charge when it knows that you’re charging overnight, which helps with the overall life span of the battery, which means it should last longer, a year or two for now — at least in theory. Now, after all that, if you're still interested in this phone, you should also know that Sony as a company has kind of been deemphasizing phones since it hasn't been really successful with them in the past few years.
And that kind of makes sense, and I also think it makes sense for Sony to try something new and move into this niche of making tall boys, like this guy right here. Now, of course, you can spend less money and get a better phone like the OnePlus 7 Pro, but what you can't get is any other phone in this tall aspect ratio, so I like the idea of this form factor. I think that it should exist in the world of Android phones. So I'm glad that Sony's trying to make 21:9 happen. But I don't know that I'd recommend this particular phone to anybody. If you really, really, really love the tall screen or you really love what Sony does with video, then maybe.
But there's no getting around the fact that this is an expensive phone. For $950, I expect more, and you should, too. Hey, thank you for watching. Do you want a tall phone? Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you're wondering if there are other tall phones, we did review the Xperia 10 last month. It's kind of the same idea but cheaper and also, it's really bad for a whole other set of reasons.
But if you want to see a review of a good big phone, click here..
– Remember Windows Phone from way back when? Well Microsoft is kind of getting back into making smartphones. This is Surface Duo, and it runs Android. Not Windows or Windows Phone. That's right. Microsoft is making a Surface phone with Android. If that sounds surprising, it's because it really is. But we'll get back into the Android side in a minute. Duo is part of two new futuristic dual-screen devices that Microsoft announced today. And they're coming in Holiday 2020. Surface Duo has two 5.6 inch displays that fold out into an 8.3 inch device overall. And it's just 4.8 millimeters thin. It folds like many two-in-one laptops thanks to a 360 degrees hinge. And it's designed to get more done on the go. It looks tiny for this type of device, and it felt kind of like a Galaxy Note in my pocket. Now, I wasn't allowed to play around with the software on this device, but it looks and feels like a tiny pocket tablet that's also a phone. The difference between this and any other Android phone, except maybe the Galaxy Fold, is visually obvious.
But Microsoft thinks this is part of a new category of devices that allow people to do a lot more with tablets and phones than they do today. As part of this idea, Microsoft also announced a Surface Neo device today. Which has two larger 9 inch displays. The Duo and the Neo share a very similar design, but they don't share a common operating system. Neo, the larger dual-screen device, runs Windows 10 X, and has all your familiar desktop and tablet apps. The reason this isn't running Windows Phone is because Microsoft gave up on that operating system years ago, when it couldn't convince developers to create apps for it's devices. Now we sat down with Microsoft's Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, on the Vergecast this week, to talk about why Microsoft chose Android this time for the Surface Duo.
– [Panay] Well because, those are the apps you want. I don't know how to answer it differently for you. Because there's hundreds of thousands of apps and you want them. Asati and I talked about it, it's about meeting our customers where they are. And I don't think the, you know, the mobile application platform's going anywhere any time soon, you need the apps. – So you'll get the apps you'd expect from a phone inside the dual-screen device, but how is this different from any other smartphone? I mean it obviously looks different. And the main idea is making use of these two displays in ways we're only starting to see other Android phone makers explore. You could run a game on one side, and a game pad on the other, or multi-task by dragging and dropping content between apps. Microsoft hasn't thought of everything you'd do with the Surface Duo just yet, but that's why it's announcing it now so developers can fill in the gaps.
They're really aiming to introduce a new form factor here, and a way for a device to adjust itself on the go, no matter the task. We've seen foldable devices from Huawei and Samsung, but the Duo has two separate displays that are made of glass, rather than foldable plastic. Which given the issues with Samsung's Galaxy Fold, that might be a good choice right now. Microsoft has been working on this hardware for three years, and Panos Panay tells us that this device won't change much by the time it debuts late next year.
The real key question will be whether Android app developers create the apps and experiences that really take advantage of this dual-screen device. And whether consumers want this type of hardware in a phone form factor in the first place. That's why Microsoft also has its largest Surface Neo device running Windows. And it really feels like the company wants to offer a Surface at every shape and size. Microsoft also seems to be implying that the operating system really doesn't matter for Surface devices anymore.
And it's willing to partner with Google and others to offer what makes sense. So does that means that Android is the future for Microsoft? – [Panay] (clears throat) No no no no no no. You want to give customers what they want in the form factor that they're using. We've learned this, you know, the right operating system on the wrong product or the other way around, pick your words, but what's the right operating system for the form factor? And in this case, in mobile devices, Android's the obvious choice. But anything above that, Windows is everything.
Superior for me. – So, will the Surface Duo and the Surface Neo combine in the future? Will there be a smartphone that turns into a tablet, that then turns into a laptop, then you dock and turns into a real PC? We're years away from anything even getting close to that. But it opens up the questions about where this dual-screen and foldable hardware is going exactly. And they're really hard questions to answer right now. Microsoft will now need to convince app developers and consumers that these dual-screen devices are truly the new device category that we've all been waiting for.
Wherever things end up, it looks like Microsoft want to be ready at every point with Surface. You want a phone that's a little bit more than a phone that has an extra display? Surface Duo. You want a tablet that transforms into a laptop? Surface Neo or Surface Pro. Microsoft is covering every hardware base here, and it's leaving it up to you to decide what device you actually need.
– [Panay] You know, I think like anything, look at the product you think is most interesting to you and where you think you can be more creative, that's what I would push. And I think this products gonna be there next year. Not in a hurry, you know, hang out. Take photos or do whatever it is you do on your phone today for a little bit longer and then, see if we can convince you that you can be more creative on this product. – It's been a crazy day of Surface devices and there's a bunch of hands-on videos you should check out on our YouTube channel.
Be sure to also definitely check out the Vergecast, 'cause it has the full interview with Panos Panay, and you don't wanna miss it..