Black Friday is almost here, and we all know what that means: incredible holiday discounts!
That’s right; once November 25 arrives, we’ll all be rolling in some of the best gadget deals witnessed this year.
There’s a lot to take in, and not much time before the big day, so we’ve come up with a list of the coolest products we’ve come across so far. Bookmark this page because we’ll keep it fresh with all the latest deals as they come in. Keep your eyes peeled and your fingers fast – the best deals are the first to go, we know we’ve got our thumbs and wallets ready.
New Nintendo 3DS – $99.99
With Pokemon Sun & Moon just out, here’s something that’s immediately caught our attention! Nintendo is releasing a new special edition of the 3DS beginning this Friday, November 25 all for a super low $99.99 price tag. It’s quite awesome, really, with artwork of Mario characters embossed all over it. This special edition Nintendo 3DS will be available at all US retailers and come in black or white. We’ll post links as soon as we get them.
Kindle E-reader – $49.99
When in doubt about what to buy for yourself or a loved one this holiday season, you can never go wrong with a Kindle E-reader. Amazon is in a giving mood, and has slashed $30 off its 6-inch model, bringing the slate down to only $49.99. It has a glare-free touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, and can store thousands of books in its sleek body. What’s not to love?
Amazon Echo – $139.99
Your home isn’t truly smart until you have an Echo at its center. Like the Kindle above, Amazon is bringing the price of its voice-controlled speaker down to $139.99 from the original price of $179.99. It’s highly intelligent, able to play your online music, answer questions about everyday things like the weather or traffic situation, and help get you an Uber in a snap.
Google Home – $99
This is a tech deal we absolutely love (and one we wish we waited for). Best Buy is going to offer Google’s recently launched Home for only $99. That’s a total steal for such as new product! As a voice-activated speaker, it’s a lot like Amazon’s Echo, but relies on the search giant’s knowledge graph to assist you in everyday tasks and control smart devices around your home.
Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus – $439.99
Online retailer GearBest is currently offering a fantastic price for the international version of Xiaomi’s Mi 5s Plus. If you’re not familiar with this model, you better listen up. At $439.99, you’re looking at a smartphone with specs and features that rival the very best flagship handsets in the world. We’re not kidding; it has the best processor currently available, a pair of high-resolution cameras on its back, and enough storage and memory to handle any workload.
EasyAcc 15000mAh Solar Power Bank – $28.99
This EasyAcc powerbank can be topped up using solar energy, and costs only $28.99 if you buy it from GearBest. On top of its environmentally friendly recharging method, it has a hefty capacity of 15000mAh — enough to charge a typical smartphone to full up to five times! You can even plug two devices to it at the same time, and there’s an LED flashlight built in for emergencies.
Meizu EP-51 – $23.99
With manufacturers killing off traditional headphone jacks bit by bit, it’s up to wireless technology to serve our tunes. The Meizu EP-51 is a perfect example of sporty Bluetooth earphones on the cheap. For only $23.99 after a 49 percent discount, it’s a great deal considering the features you get: water resistance with an anti-sweat layer, built-in volume controls and mic, and up to six hours of straight playtime.
Nomu S10 – $119.99
Nomu may not be a familiar name to most, but the brand has some cool gadgets in its portfolio. Take the $119.99 S10 smartphone, for instance. It’s rugged to the core, owning the highest ratings for water, dust, and freeze proofing, as well as military-grade shock resistance for long drops. It’s no slouch in performance, either, thanks to a large 5000mAh fast-charging battery, 4G LTE connectivity, and pure Android Marshmallow on board.
Xiaomi Notebook Air 13.3″ – $809.99
Xiaomi’s MacBook Air clone is experiencing a sweet 64 percent discount on GearBest.com right now. This means the 13.3-inch Notebook Air can be had for only $809.99, and we aren’t even talking about some low-end model. You get Intel’s well-balanced Intel Core i5 processor, a generous helping of 8GB for memory and 256GB for SSD storage, and a dedicated NVIDIA graphics card. Excuse us as we place our own order.
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A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
Niantic, Inc. has just rolled out its brand new game to over 150 countries worldwide over the weekend. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is also a location-based game that uses augmented reality and builds on the current platform of the company’s games Pokémon Go and Ingress.
Quick disclosure: I’m far from being a Potterhead so I might not get the right terms related to the franchise in this article. Although, I’m a long-time and current player of Pokémon Go hence I checked out Wizards Unite.
Onto the game itself. If you’re like some players I know who would rather just get to the game right away and skip the numerous pages of introduction and dialogues, the main plot of the story is pretty simple. A mysterious event called Calamity has struck resulting in certain magical items and beings to scatter in the real world.
It is your job as part of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force to bring these items, people, and creatures back to the Wizarding World and complete your registry. This registry acts like your Pokédex and tells you what you have and things to look out for.
Throughout the game, you will come across different terms, items, and structures. Let’s take a quick look at the basic elements of the game:
Professions – Just like in the books and movies, you can choose from three types of professions once you reach level six. These are Auror, Magizoologist, and Professor.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and complements the other two during battles. It’s important to note that you can later on switch professions if you wish to but the upgrades already bought could no longer be reattributed.
Confoundables vs Foundables – In Wizards Unite, foundables are those you hunt down to bring back to their proper time and location. Meanwhile, you banish the confoundables that are responsible for getting the foundables stuck in our world.
Casting Spells – In order to banish confoundables, you need to cast spells by accurately tracing the pattern shown on your smartphones. There are about ten spells available as of the time of writing but the company says they will eventually be adding more. In addition to accuracy of tracing, speed also plays a big part to achieve a “Masterful” trace (there’s Fair, Good, Great, and Masterful).
Spell Energy – You’ll need to have spell energy to cast spells. Initially, you’re allotted up to 75 energy points and you use them whenever you try to cast spells on the confoundables. When it reaches zero, it’s basically the equivalent of running out of Pokéballs and you could no longer “catch” foundables.
Structures – Structures like Inns and Greenhouses are your way of getting more spell energy and ingredients to make useful potions. Inns will give out energy by dining in them, while Greenhouses churn out ingredients to make different potions. So playing in areas densely populated with Inns and Greenhouses will ensure you have the resources for a more efficient grinding session.
There’s a third kind of structure and it’s the Fortress. A fortress is a place where up to four friends can join forces and battle together different sets of magical creatures to further upgrade their abilities and come across rarer entries for the registry. Every tier gets tougher and tougher so it encourages players to team up with new players and overcome stronger foes.
Potions – As mentioned earlier, you can concoct your own potions by getting ingredients from Greenhouses. As per usual, these potions vary with different effects and can be used in battles either to heal yourself, make the spell more effective, or prevent the foundable from departing away and missing the chance to add it to your registry.
Portkeys – To get you moving while playing the game, you’ll be able to collect Portkeys that only open after walking certain distances in the real world. Right now there are 2KM/5KM/10KM variations of Portkeys and once it’s opened, it has the power to bring you to different locations so you can collect items and even XP.
Now that most of the basics have been covered, here are some tips to keep in mind while playing based on me and my wife’s experiences.
- Download all assets as soon as you can. This will make loading times faster while performance will be more stable.
- Turn on Trace Auto-Align to make encounters with AR slightly faster
- An Inn with a green color serves up to 10 energy points, purple and blue give up to seven, brown up to six, and a pink one only dishes out a maximum of three energy points.
- Master Notes are secret patterns that reduce brewing time of potions. Figure it out by checking the available patterns at the Potions Info page.
- As the stages you battle in Fortresses level up, magical creatures grow stronger. Having a friend to fight alongside you will be needed even more so in the higher tiers of Fortress matches.
- If you see a floating icon with a beam of light above it, it means it’s a high risk foundable with high rewards. Be sure to get it!
- Use Dark Detectors for rarer foundables to appear, Exstimulo potions against higher risk foundables, and Baruffio’s Brain Elixir before claiming rewards like Portkeys to get double XP.
- Flags and smoke from Greenhouses and Inns, respectively, signify they’re still on cooldown.
- Be sure to have enough energy before battling at Fortresses. Quitting during an unfinished session will render the Runestone useless.
- Turning off AR during encounters is easier for the phone and will save precious battery life.
- Just keep on playing. Niantic’s games reward players who just keep on exploring new things (or simply staying) in the game.
If there’s anything we missed or if you want to add to these tips, be sure to leave a comment!
What to expect at MWC Shanghai 2019
5G. 5G everywhere
Mobile World Congress 2019 in Shanghai is happening this week and GadgetMatch will be on the ground to bring you the latest updates straight from China.
5G. 5G everywhere
Perhaps the largest talking point during the entire conference is 5G with several of the programs dedicated to discussing the next generation of broadband access.
Huawei, who is currently in the middle of perhaps its biggest challenge, will continue to push for its 5G technology. Especially since the event is happening in their home turf, there should be little to nothing holding back the brand from making a big splash at MWC 2019 in Shanghai.
Just recently, the company has inked a 5G developmental contract with Russia’s biggest telco, MTS. So it would come as no surprise if Huawei will announce something big in relation to 5G tech.
OPPO already gave us a sneak peek of their prototype smartphone that features an under-display camera. Various posts online suggests they could be ready to showcase the prototype to the public and MWC is the perfect stage to do so.
Vivo will also be present at the conference. We’re holding out hope that maybe the company is also ready to unveil an under-display camera prototype. However, murmurs online suggests otherwise.
The primary innovators of the pop-up camera might be turning their attention to fast charging. And we say fast, we mean really fast.
Vivo’s 120W SuperCharge is coming. pic.twitter.com/uW7ECfUSFp
— Bob Zhang (@bobbyzhang01) June 20, 2019
Details are scarce on how it actually works but everything we’ve gathered online so far suggests that this new fast charging tech from Vivo can fill up a 4,000mAh battery in just 13 minutes.
There’s also a chance that Vivo might announce a device that supports 5G. Whatever it is they have in store, we’re excited to get our hands on it and share it with all of you!
Watching TWICELIGHTS on a 75″ Samsung 4K QLED TV
Almost as good as attending the concert
K-Pop girl group TWICE is currently on their first world tour called TWICELIGHTS and due to schedule conflicts as well as an inability to camp out for tickets, I missed all possible chances to see this nine-member group live.
I was devastated after being told that the tickets had already been sold out. This, despite me waking up much, much earlier than I usually do on a weekend and lining up for hours.
So I did the next best thing — watch fancams on the 75” Q90R Flagship QLED 4K HDR 2000 Smart TV.
4K in all its glory
My advice in watching 4K fancams is to select the ones that focus on a certain member. This will give you a better and closer look and really feel that 4K goodness.
That said, the 4K footage will vary depending on the device it was shot at. Some 4K footage don’t do well in concert lighting conditions and when zoomed in which is the case for most fancams.
Despite this, the Samsung Q90R more than delivered. It didn’t matter if I was sitting on the couch directly in front of the TV or over to the side at our dining area. I was getting the same quality no matter the viewing angle.
TWICELIGHTS on the 75” Samsung 4K QLED TV is an absolute joy to watch. Instead of being stuck with a single view, you get to experience the concert from a multitude of perspectives thanks to the various fansites that cover TWICE.
I put together a playlist on YouTube which you can find towards the end of this article. If you see an abundance of Momo and Chaeyoung fancams, this is because those two are my biases.
After watching (and *ehem rewatching) the concert, I had to test what else this TV can do.
The girls already look good in HD, and they look even better when upscaled to 4K. You see, this is what the TV is capable of. Much like its 8K counterpart, the Q90R is equipped with a chip that upscales footage to 4K.
The music videos, which are mostly just in 1080p, look stunning on the 75-inch 4K QLED display. This is especially true for K-Pop videos that are known to be colorful.
Something we quickly noticed though is that some of the upscaled videos appear a little more saturated than usual. Personally, this didn’t really bother me but it might be important to note for those considering to purchase this TV.
Gaming and watching movies
The saturation doesn’t stop at upscaling. When you switch to game mode, the colors tend to switch to colors that some people might find too aggressive.
We played NBA 2K19 on the monitor and some courts almost hurt your eye because of how strong they appear. This wasn’t the case for other games though.
The same is true when watching movies built for 4K machines. It’s a perfect blend of “damn this looks like I’m actually seeing them in real life” while maintaining that cinematic feel. Words aren’t enough, you truly need to see this in person.
With Netflix, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime Video pre-installed, you won’t run out of 4K content to go through. My only gripe is that the TV doesn’t support the NBA App. Basketball is one of the few things I actually try to watch live but that’s not possible unless I have a cable subscription which I have no plans of getting any time soon.
At first I thought this was just a glitch on the particular unit we were lent but Samsung confirmed that they currently do not support the NBA app. However, they added that they are “looking to find ways to improve customer experience by expanding our content services and apps available in our smart TVs.”
There weren’t a lot but I did experience some casting issues on the Q90R. YouTube worked perfectly but other apps like VLive struggled to connect right away unlike when I’m just using a chromecast.
There’s also this little hiccup when you want to watch Facebook videos. The TV will force you to use the Facebook Watch app and have to connect a single user’s account to the TV versus anyone just being able to cast a video as long as they are connected to the same wifi network.
It’s a minor inconvenience although it could be an issue if you have to have more than one person connect their Facebook account to the TV just so they have easy access to the Facebook videos they prefer watching. That said, I don’t imagine a lot of people need to use Facebook Watch to begin with.
Truly a Smart TV
One of the things I truly appreciate about the Q90R is how seamless you interact with it. The remote and the TV’s interface is well thought-out.
The Q90R foregoes the usual remote in favor of what looks like a circular directional pad which works perfectly on the TV’s interface. The other buttons can also be easily located by feeling your way on the remote. Adjusting the volume is as simple as pushing up or down on a button.
You can, of course, use the mic and ask Bixby to do things on the TV for you but personally that’s not my thing. I don’t want to have to speak when interacting with my TV but I find that this can be a useful way for other people.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The 75” Q90R Flagship QLED 4K HDR 2000 Smart TV is an entertainment powerhouse. It’s perfect for family gatherings and inviting a large group of friends for some Netflix and chilling. It’ll set you back at PhP 399,999 (roughly around US$ 7800).
However, if you have an extra PhP 200,000 lying around, you might want to opt for the 8K version which retails for PhP 599,999 (roughly around US$ 11,700) which puts you in better position to be ready for the future. If not, the 4K isn’t shabby at all.
Xiaomi Mi 9 SE Review: For those who like it small
A pocketable flagship-like phone
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Refinement of a modern classic
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Bang for the buck, at a cost of key features
Xiaomi forays into personal grooming with a water resistant trimmer
GCash eyes 365,000 trees planted in 365 days with the help of its users
A beginner’s guide to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
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