Features

16 biggest hits and misses of 2016

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ASUS ZenFone 3 Ultra

Summarizing 2016 is best done by going through the highs and lows — well, mostly lows.

As this turbulent year comes to a close, GadgetMatch presents a total of 16 unforgettable moments and polarizing announcements that have shaped the past twelve months.

This is going to be a long read, so let’s get right to it.

Hit: Google releases its own smartphones to positive reception

Google’s Pixel and larger Pixel XL have been experiencing great critical and commercial success — so much so that Google’s third-party partners, specifically Samsung and LG, are caught in an upstream, and the Nexus program has been set aside for now. The search giant is showing manufacturers how to do Android right, but one question remains leading into 2017: Where’s Android One headed?

Miss: Samsung recalls its greatest phone ever

This has to be the most heart-wrenching miss on this list. The recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 caused such an impact on the tech industry, we’ll still be feeling it well into 2017. It’s a shame really, as many media outlets — including ours — praised the stylus-equipped smartphone as not just the best smartphone this year, but even the greatest Android device ever made.

Miss: Apple lets go of everyone’s favorite port

No bit of tech news this year harmed mainstream audiences as much as Apple’s removal of the audio jack in its latest crop of iPhones. It’s a move marketing head Phil Schiller believes takes “courage,” but we think it has more to do with consumerism, making people buy new pairs of wireless headphones which Apple coincidentally markets together with partner company Beats.

Hit: Nintendo cares about our childhoods

Nintendo clearly won the award for coolest gift to buy your parents, yourself, or even your kids this holiday season. The miniature Famicom and NES consoles are always sold out wherever they’re available, and why not? They’re incredibly affordable, come preloaded with 30 classic games, and make you relive all those bitter sibling rivalries during childhood.

Miss: Android Nougat never really took off

It’s been four months since Android 7.0 Nougat began rolling out, but a total of only 0.4 percent of consumer devices actually have it today. To make matters worse, an even newer Android 7.1 came out already, and support for the more widespread Android 2.3 Gingerbread will be discontinued early next year. Google has a lot of ground to cover until Android 8.0 launches next year.

Miss: Smartwatches are going the way of the dodo

How many people do you know constantly wear a smartwatch? Exactly. Sales have been slumping, and even though the latest version of Android Wear is set to release early 2017, brands like Motorola and Samsung aren’t keen on applying Google’s smartwatch operating system, opting instead to either give up completely or use their own interface.

Hit: Chinese smartphone brands reach new heights

Chinese smartphone brands ruled 2016. Yes, Apple is still on top when it comes to total profit, raking in 91 percent of all smartphone revenue last quarter, but the global rise of Huawei, OPPO, and Vivo is unprecedented. And it’ll only get better with these Asian companies making a stronger push in the western hemisphere during the next few months.

Miss: Project Ara doesn’t see the light of day, sort of

We were so disappointed to hear this news: After years of development and hopeful demos, Google’s modular Project Ara smartphone never entered the mass production phase. Fortunately, an actual prototype of the project leaked last month, but all it did was remind us how much potential was wasted.

Miss: GoPro suffers financially and recalls Karma drone

GoPro has been the go-to brand for all things action camera since its conception. Now, unfortunately, its profits have plunged, and mishaps like the recall of its ambitious Karma drone doesn’t help maintain a positive image for the brand. GoPro will need some divine intervention to make up for its 40 percent drop in sales as compared to 2015.

Hit: Apple finally updates its MacBook lineup

After years and years of minor refreshes, Apple finally launched what we’ve all been waiting for: an all-new MacBook Pro. With so many changes — such as the new keyboard and loss of several important connectivity ports — it feels like a totally new product, but the true innovation comes in the Touch Bar, which is open to endless support from third-party developers.

Miss: BlackBerry gives up on hardware

In what was the least surprising yet still heartbreaking news, BlackBerry has halted all plans for designing its own smartphones. Instead, the entire development and manufacturing process is now in the hands of third-party companies, to the disgruntlement of long-time fans. The awkwardly named BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60 are simply rebranded midrange Alcatel handsets with added security, courtesy of BB.

Hit: Xiaomi cuts in front of innovation line

Xiaomi Mi Mix front and back

We’ve seen hundreds of leaks and prototypes that never got turned into actual commercial products, but Xiaomi went ahead and pulled the trigger with its Mi Mix concept phone. Just look at its massive near-borderless display, ceramic-encased design, and high-end specifications — has Xiaomi set the standard for what smartphones will strive to be in 2017?

Miss: LG fails modular experiment

LG V20 and LG G5 with removable batteries

For every successful modular phone, there are a few that fail. LG had its first attempt with the flagship G5 earlier this year, but a not-so-great reception to its not-that-intuitive execution lead to the Korean company possibly junking it completely. The recently launched V20 doesn’t have modularity either, so Lego-like phones are probably better left as works in progress for now.

Hit: World goes crazy for Pokémon Go

No single game has caused as much controversy as Pokémon Go this year. The augmented reality app invaded smartphones all over the world, making developer Niantec filthy rich in the process. We ourselves got swept into the craze, writing comprehensive guides for getting started and finding the best spots for those rare creatures.

Miss: ASUS jacks up this year’s ZenFone prices

ASUS made waves in 2015 with ZenFones that had unmatched horsepower for their price points, effectively forming a booming segment of bang-for-buck phones we still see today. A year later, when the Taiwan-based company released the outrageously priced ZenFone 3 series, formerly loyal fans have been jumping ship for more affordable offerings.

Miss: Yahoo goes up for adoption

How the mighty have fallen — Yahoo was so wealthy at one point, it could have bought Google. Instead, the former internet giant got bought by Verizon for only $5 billion; that’s a huge drop from its $125-billion valuation back in 2000! The nail in the coffin came when news broke about 500 million Yahoo accounts getting hacked — two years after the breach actually happened.

[irp posts=”8433″ name=”Best smartphones of 2016″]

Features

Why people can’t stop talking about the 2021 Huawei MateBook D 15

Now with 11th Gen Intel Core and 16GB RAM

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MateBook D 15 2021

Huawei has always been known to be that powerful force in innovation. The bezel-less display, Huawei Free Touch and the recessed camera are just some of the many instances when Huawei have revolutionized and leveled up the playing field for the PC industry.

I think it goes without saying that Huawei’s premium brand, the MateBook family, is one that has truly set a new standard for intelligence when it comes to laptops.

It has been five years since the inception of the MateBook and ‘till this day, the MateBook family pushes on to be the perfect tool for the challenges we are faced with. From enhanced connectivity for online classes, immersive audio for work-from-home conferences to engaging visuals for Netflix nights, the MateBook family has got you covered and that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about here as we move further.

As they celebrate their fifth year of the MateBook series, they introduce to us another line of technological advancement with the 2021’s MateBook series.

With this comes the revamp of the very popular MateBook D 15 with the HUAWEI MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen along with the powerfully sharp MateBook 14 2021 11th Gen and the borderless MateBook X Pro 2021.

Talk of the town with its elegance

There’s no denying that the MatebBook D 15 2021 is a dazzling piece of machinery. And being one that has been used to plastic laptop bodies, the all aluminum alloy body of the D 15 had me drooling over it. A prominent indication of its quality also, was how this MateBook’s body had rounded edges and a very solid build which are admittedly satisfying to the touch.

MateBook D 15 2021

Carrying the device, it’s impossible not to notice just how feather light this MateBook D 15 is. For 1.56kg and only 16.9mm thin, it’s amazing just how this laptop carries a ton of horsepower and 15.6-inches of screen real estate.

Feature packed FullView display

Relatively bezel-less at only 5.3mm of bezel width, the MateBook D 15 2021 sports the iconic FullView display of the MateBook family. At 87% screen to body ratio, this 15.6-inch FHD IPS display panel is a feast for your eyes.

MateBook D 15 2021

Given that we mostly look at our computer screens most of the time, eye strain is often the setback. A noteworthy feature the D 15 has with its display is that it has been certified under TÜV Rheinland’s Low Blue Light emittance and Flicker Free qualifications which makes it perfect for binge watching K-dramas on Netflix. Top that with 100% sRGB rating, there’s no reason to doubt the color representation this display outputs when doing creative work.

Much to flex under the hood 

At the heart of this laptop is Intel’s 11th Gen Core i5 processor and the Intel Iris XE graphics that it comes with. While most of us are already familiar with the power of the Core i5 processor, this newest generation of Intel’s offering takes this up a notch. Running four cores and eight processing threads, Intel’s newest architecture delivers 31 percent faster multi-core performance from its predecessor.

MateBook D 15 2021

I believe many would agree that a lot of us do try to get some form of gaming done on their school or work laptop. The Intel Iris XE graphics is perfect for sneaking in some play time with our favorite games as well as for running some multimedia tasks.

Swamped with work or just juggling multiple tabs on your web browser, expect the experience to be as smooth as it can be as there’s now 16GB of DDR4 RAM packed in this slim body.

Smart power button

I guess you won’t have time to make coffee while waiting for your laptop to start up as with the D 15’s smart fingerprint power button, keying in your log on password is now a thing of the past. The moment you press on the D 15’s fingerprint power button automatically authenticates your identity and jumps you directly to your home screen, saving you the hassle of typing in your password.

At only 2.5 seconds as recorded by Windows for its start up, this has been the fastest power on time I have yet encountered on a laptop. Seriously, a boot up time this fast would make you doubt if you’ve left the laptop on sleep mode or if it was from a coldboot.

Cool and quiet

Despite the size of the MateBook D 15, it did not become noticeably hot. In fact, the palm rest felt cool to rest your palms on.

You know what they say: work smart and not hard. Huawei definitely worked smart with the ingenious fan design of its Shark fin fan. Designed with higher density and thinner fan blades, the need for increasing fan speed to cool the whole laptop has been drastically minimized. This resulted in the device to use less power, run cooler and operate quieter as this Shark fin fan contributes to 24% better cooling performance from its last-gen counterpart.

Next Generation WI-FI 6

I couldn’t help but geek out on this feature as I’m sure many I.T. professionals would as well. This next generation Wi-Fi 6 is actually known to be the successor to the standard 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 5 that most of our devices use.

MateBook D 15 2021

The inclusion of Wi-Fi 6 on the D 15 means that this device is able to operate at more stable Wi-Fi frequency bands to eliminate interference and reach significantly faster speeds. This ensures that the MateBook D 15 is ready for crowded scenarios such as what you would experience in shopping malls, corporate offices or even populated areas.

Not your ordinary charger

I just can’t count how many people I know who’ve asked me where to buy a new charger for their laptop simply because its cable is broken. I’m happy to say that that problem is pretty much gone with this one as the D 15’s charger features a detachable USB-C cable.

Surprisingly, it took exactly 9 hours and 30 minutes for the D 15’s battery to shift to power saving mode and with Huawei’s Supercharge feature built-in, this 65w charger was able to fully charge the D 15 in just an hour. That’s insanely fast for such a long run time if you ask me.

But that’s not all. Weighing only 160g, this charger isn’t much bigger and heavier than a smartphone charger.

Speaking of smartphones, this charger can also charge your USB-C compatible smartphone. Talk about #PowerInLightness .

Hear and be heard with Dual Mic and Immersive sound

By this time, we’ve all probably been on an online meeting or conference of some kind. Personally, I’m one who could tolerate bad video signals but bad audio is really something that would really ruin the experience for me. Thankfully, the dual front facing microphones of the MateBook D 15 ensures our voice would be picked up clearly even at longer distances.
MateBook D 15 2021

Guaranteed to give you an immersive experience, the 2W dual-speaker audio system can simulate both 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound performance.

Tap and share with HUAWEI Share 

If you’re fortunately among the proud owners of a Huawei smartphone then you’d be able to maximize this very handy feature of the 2021 MateBook D 15.

Huawei Share lets you cast your smartphone screen on your laptop, transfer files wirelessly and basically use almost all features and apps of your smartphone onto your laptop. With just a tap of your Huawei smartphone on the Huawei Share label on the D 15, the two devices are all set. It’s that easy.

MateBook D 15 2021

I can’t emphasize how convenient this is for people like me who always transfer footage I took with my smartphone. No cables for data transfer and no switching from two devices to get things done, just tap and you’re wirelessly connected.

Fast is the word that I think best describes the 2021 HUAWEI MateBook D 15 11th Gen.

The fast new processor, large amount of RAM, next generation Wi-Fi 6, ultraportable charger with SuperCharge, thin and light size, Huawei Share and an ingenious smart fingerprint power button, every bit contributes to everything being faster and just getting things done faster.

With so many features loaded in one package, I understand why it’s hard not to talk about these new offerings of the MateBook family and why there’s no need to think twice on getting a hold of this awesome device.

MateBook D 15 2021

The Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 retails for PhP 52,999. Interested buyers may purchase from any of the following: Huawei Store, Lazada, Shopee.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Singapore

How To: Low-light photography, videography on an iPhone

Take out your lightsabers and record Star Wars-themed content!

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iPhone

Gone are the days where our smartphones struggle from shooting when there’s a lack of proper lighting. Nowadays, most smartphones — flagships specifically — can record amazing videos and stunning photos in low-light conditions.

For instance, FightSaber Singapore, a premier Lucasfilm-recognised lightsaber performance organization recorded a Star-Wars themed video using only the iPhone 12 Pro Max. FightSaber Singapore used lightsabers from SaberMach, Singapore’s first and only professional combat saber company, to highlight NeoPixel blades that astonishingly lit up the room.

 

Nonetheless, taking gorgeous stills and videos in low-light situations is now possible using just your smartphone. Fret not, you don’t need to be a pro; you just need to follow simple tricks.

Tips and tricks

First, make sure to turn on High-Efficiency Image File Format before you start shooting. Next, adjust HDR (high dynamic range) on your camera settings which will help you capture vibrant stills in high-contrast situations. If you plan on capturing light streaks, set your settings to 4K with 24 FPS. For smooth movements, adjust it to 4K with 60 FPS.

When you start shooting, lock the exposure and maintain auto-focus. Tap the spot on your screen that you want to adjust. On iPhone, you can also press and hold on the screen until you see AE/AF lock to keep the focus and exposure in the same spot.

Moreover, you can create a quick whip zoom effect while recording by tapping on the individual lenses. No need for post-production!

On a non-technical tip, don’t forget about varying your camera angles. Low-angle shots tend to add drama while high-angle shots provide an overview of the scene.


SMARTPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY SERIES

Smartphone photography 101: Foreground element

Smartphone photography 101: How to take slice of life photos

Smartphone photography 101: Capturing festivities

Smartphone photography 101: Taking flat lays

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Deals

GadgetMatch Finds: What’s in our cart for the 5.5 sale

Add to cart!

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Illustration by Kris Blanco

There’s definitely something to get excited about the start of May, and it’s the monthly sale from Lazada and Shopee. However, fussing about what things to buy can be a chore. So, it would be indeed helpful if there is a list of things (particularly gadgets — of course!) that one can find at bargain prices during the monthly 5.5 sale.

Without further ado, here’s our unique picks that we think you should be adding to cart this 5.5:

GADGETS

Illustration by Kris Blanco

Laptops

1. Teclast X6 Pro

If you’re looking for a budget Windows convertible that looks and plays the part of a Microsoft Surface, then the Teclast X6 Pro might be the GadgetMatch for you. Be mindful though, as this one has an outdated Intel processor. However, the outdated processor is redeemed by features such as high-res display, 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM, plus plenty of ports for whatever peripherals you want to connect.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

2. Machenike F117-V65

Machenike is one of those gaming brands that sound too good to be true. However, they have also been delivering the goods at prices that rival its competitors. Machenike’s F117-V, for example, features the not-too-shabby Intel Core i7-10750H processor coupled with a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti. To round that out, it has a roomy 512 GB SSD storage, a metal shell, and even a backlit RGB keyboard.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

3. ThinkPad X1 Nano

There’s a lot to like about the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano. First, it comes in a lightweight package that even rivals the MacBook Air. Second, it delivers with its capable performance, 16:10 display, and a respectable battery life. Finally, it has the legendary ThinkPad branding — expect a good keyboard plus solid build all around.

Buy now: Lazada

Smartphones

1. Sony Xperia 5 II

Sony continues to churn out capable smartphones that stand out among the crowd. One of these smartphones is the Xperia 5 II, which is basically the smaller and cheaper version of its flagship 1 II. It inherited all the goods that made the 1 II a great performer and packaged them all in a much compact body. The result? You still get the signature Sony-branded camera setup and apps, along with that unique 21:9 display.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

2. Nokia 5.4

This Nokia midrange smartphone is down to a low price for a limited time, so make sure to get it now before it’s gone. It also a good deal, considering that the Nokia 5.4 comes with a capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor. Plus, it even has a respectable 128 GB of storage. The display is big too, which means that it is perfect for extended hours of streaming and light gaming.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

3. Infinix Hot 10

Infinix has been making a splash for more-than-capable smartphones offered at mouthwatering prices. The Hot 10 is a good example of this. It comes with a capable MediaTek Helio G70 processor, 128 GB of storage coupled with 4 GB of RAM, and triple cameras for snapping photos in between gaming session and browsing.

Buy now:  Lazada | Shopee


ACCESSORIES & PERIPHERALS

1. 18cm Moon Lamp

Can’t go outside to see the moon? Make it your lamp instead with this nice little fixture that’ll play the part of your lovely night light.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

2. Tylex X-E02 Extension

Extension cords can be a pain. Just ask anyone who is plugging an EU-made charger into a US plug. Thankfully, this universal extension cord exist. With a length of up to two meters, it should be long enough for most users especially those who love charging multiple devices at once. It even has dedicated USB-A ports which is perfect for those who like to do away with power adapters.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

3. Zomei Q11 Tripod

Taking your content creating to the next level? A tripod is a must! This is a tough one too as it’s made with aluminum but doesn’t come with the usually steep prices of tripods of this caliber.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee


LIFESTYLE ESSENTIALS

1. YORK Fitness Dumbbell

Wanting to get that summer body look? This dumbbell set can help you achieve that goal. It comes in various plates for a total of 20 kilograms, which is more than enough for a beginner. However, this dumbbell set is also for the seasoned weightlifters who wanted to their own gym in the comforts of their own home. As a bonus, this comes with a longbar so you can perform exercises such as deadlifts and bench presses.

Buy now on Lazada | Shopee

2. Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale

For those who wanted to get a broad picture of their health, the Xiaomi Mi Body Composition Scale is more than enough to get you started on tracking the important metrics. This one touts tracking 13 different health metrics such as weight, BMI, muscle mass, and more. Powering the scale is four sets of AAA batteries for easy operation. It also connects via Bluetooth, and you will need the companion Mi Health which is readily available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Buy now on Lazada | Shopee

3. Eiderfinch Yoga Mat

Into yoga? The Eiderfinch Yoga Mat is a good option to those looking for a yoga mat. It is extra thick, lightweight, and portable — excellent for lugging this one around the house. This mat, like all others, has a double-sided non-slip surface so you can do all your asanas without a hitch.

Buy now on Lazada | Shopee


GEEK CULTURE

1. Attack on Titan Costume Green Cloak

If you want to scream out loud that you’re a weeb that’s crazy about Attack on Titan, this is the way to go. Flaunt this whenever even if there’s no costume party or whatever. Be proud! Just don’t go screaming Sasageyo! randomly.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

2. Attack on Titan Necklace Pendants

For something more low-key and can match pretty much whatever you wear, you can go with these pendants. You can go with one that has the Survey Corps’ emblem or something even deeper with the key to Eren’s basement.

Buy now: Lazada (1), Lazada (2) | Shopee

3. Attack on Titan LED Night Light

This one’s something for your room. Why not let Captain Levi be your light in the dark (or whoever your favorite character is). It’s a nice fixture that you’ll surely love.

Buy now: Lazada | Shopee

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