Features

Where GadgetMatch has been in 2018

A look back at what we covered this year

Published

on

2018 has been a very busy year for the GadgetMatch team. We’ve been to Asia, Europe, and America to deliver fresh news and quality content to everyone.

With all the places we’ve been to this year, listing them down would make a really long list. So, here are our top picks for this year:

CES 2018

As always, we kicked off the year by flying to Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest trade shows of consumer-oriented devices in the world.

This year, we saw Dell’s 2018 variant for its well-received XPS 13 notebook, Samsung’s modular 146-inch TV, the thinnest laptop from Acer, Lenovo’s sleek line of ThinkPads, and Sony’s midrange smartphone offerings.

MWC 2018

Just a month after CES, we flew to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. MWC was primarily focused on mobile, so most of the announcements were for phones and other related devices.

This year’s MWC was pretty jampacked. Big names took advantage of the conference including Samsung with the Galaxy S9 series, Nokia with a plethora of Android One devices and retro-inspired phones, Sony with their latest Xperia flagship, and ASUS with the ZenFone 5 series.

Apart from phones, new laptops from Huawei and Lenovo, plus tablets from TCL were on the showroom floor as well.

It was also during MWC when Vivo first showcased the APEX concept phone with its pop-up camera, which eventually became the Vivo NEX.

LG InnoFest 2018

We didn’t miss LG’s annual showcase on their home turf. With the growing popularity of AI, LG made sure that they were ready for it. We’re not just talking about phones here; the company’s wide range of home appliances were also part of the picture.

Everything LG showed us in Korea were connected devices. From TVs to refrigerators and washing machines to vacuum cleaners, they had it all.

Google I/O

Google I/O is another yearly event we always go to because this is where Google announces their latest software innovations. Undeniably, the most important announcement this year was the official introduction of Android P Beta. Google Assistant also got six new voices and a questionable new skill.

A lot happened at Google I/O, as always, so we have a recap of the significant announcements here.

Computex 2018

Like CES and MWC, Computex is also a grand convention of big tech brands, primarily those based in Asia. Taipei is one of our favorite cities to visit, and we sure had fun while roaming around scouting for the best devices.

During this year’s Computex, we witnessed the birth of the ROG Phone. ASUS didn’t stop there, as they also unveiled their latest gaming and multimedia laptops. After that, we saw Qualcomm’s chipset for PCs, Intel’s limited edition Core i7 processor, and AMD’s powerful 32-core Threadripper 2.

There were a lot of amazing gizmos during Computex 2018 and we awarded the best of them.

WWDC 2018

While Computex was happening in Taiwan, Apple was keeping us busy in the USA. WWDC 2018, Apple’s major developer show, impressed us with the developments the company was working on. Our favorite was the new set of Animoji and the introduction of Memoji to iOS 12.

If you enjoy Apple’s ecosystem, you should read our WWDC 2018 list to know more about what’s new in the Apple-verse.

Vivo x FIFA World Cup 2018

It was during 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia when Vivo unveiled the first NEX phone. Vivo’s first ultra-borderless phone is one of the most unique devices to come out this year.

Apart from the NEX, Vivo’s participation during the World Cup was highlighted by the release of the X21 World Cup Edition. Like most limited edition phones, this X21 variant came with all the special customizations and exclusive themes.

OPPO Find X Launch

Shortly after the NEX’s entry into the market, OPPO held a grand event in Paris to unveil the Find X. Not only that, but they also announced their partnership with Lamborghini for a special edition Find X that has crazy fast charging speeds.

OPPO’s take on the borderless phone design was sexier and sleeker than Vivo’s, but it was met with durability criticisms. Still, the Find X is one of the best-looking phones of the year.

Since Vivo and OPPO have been battling neck-and-neck, we took both of their best smartphones for a comparison.

Samsung Unpacked 2018

Every year, Samsung announces a new Galaxy Note. Also every year, GadgetMatch flies to the global announcement. The Galaxy Note 9 is the latest, and is still a big smartphone made for productivity.

Aside from our own insights about the new Note, you can also consider other YouTubers’ opinions. Our full hands-on with the Note 9 is available for your pleasure, as well.

IFA 2018

Yet another annual grand convention took place, this time in Berlin. Like with CES, MWC, and Computex, IFA was a hotbed of innovation.

Here’s what went down at IFA 2018: ASUS announced their new ZenBooks, LG revealed the world’s first 8K OLED TV, Lenovo introduced the thinnest and lightest dual-display laptop, Huawei unveiled the world’s first commercial 7nm chipset, and Sony announced the Xperia XZ3.

Again, we honored the best devices on display. GadgetMatch’s Best of IFA 2018 awards are listed here.

Made by Google 2018

While Google I/O is for software, Made by Google is for hardware. This year’s Google hardware event focused on new Pixel phones and Home speakers with gigantic displays.

The new Pixel 3 phones were leaked a lot before the official announcement, but Google still managed to keep the excitement thanks to the devices’ amazing cameras. Check out our unboxing video above and gander at the Not Pink variant here.

Huawei Mate 20 Series Launch

Huawei usually announces its new Mate series during IFA, but this year, the company decided to hold a separate event. They sure went all out by announcing four phones: Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS, and Mate 20 X.

Among all the new Huawei phones, it was the Mate 20 X that piqued our interest. Gaming smartphones have been very popular, and the Mate 20 X made sure Huawei is on the gaming smartphone list.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 Launch

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix line of phones has always been known to have the best design available. They stayed away from the infamous notch as much as possible (thankfully), and now we have the Mi Mix 3.

The Mi Mix 3 was launched in Beijing and it’s an impressive piece of hardware. Using magnetic sliders, Xiaomi is able to hide the front cameras behind the display. Check out our video above to see the Mi Mix 3 in action.

Apple iPad Pro 2018 Launch

2018 might not be an exciting time for the iPhone, but it sure was for the iPad. Apple finally unveiled the new iPad Pro and it was the tablet we’ve been waiting to own.

With its slim bezels and Face ID security feature, the iPad Pro finally has the modern redesign it deserves. Along with the new iPad Pro was the second-generation Apple Pencil; they are made for each other.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Summit

Before ending the year, we flew to Hawaii for Qualcomm’s annual summit where they announced their latest processors. As expected, the company unveiled the next-generation chipset that’ll power next year’s flagship phones: the Snapdragon 855.

Aside from powerful computation, the Snapdragon 855 also promises 5G connectivity. In addition, they revealed the new Snapdragon 8cx chipset which is the first 7nm chip for PCs. This is essentially the most extreme Snapdragon processor available.

That’s a wrap for this year’s travel list. 2019 will surely be more adventurous. Where do you want us to go next?

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch Awards: Best Products of 2018

Apps

5 Memoji-inspired outfit ideas: His and Hers

Play dress up virtually with the public beta preview of iOS 15

Published

on

Unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote are new customization options coming to Memoji on iMessage, including a much-awaited feature: outfit selection.

In 2019, Apple rolled out the most significant Memoji customization update. That year, users were able to apply makeup, change hair color, wear piercings and jewelry, and pick from different styles of headwear and glasses. The only thing missing was being able to choose clothing.

If you have the public beta of iOS 15 installed, you can now virtually play dress up and plan outfits for those trips you’ve been dreaming of and activities you’ve been deprived of after a year of quarantine.

#1 Romantic date night 

Who doesn’t like dressing up for a romantic date that will take you from a dinner at a restaurant to a cocktail or two at a speakeasy? Changing out of pajamas can do wonders to your mood.

His: a crisp long sleeved button down and his favorite hat

Hers: a flirty dress and statement earrings

#2 Stroll at the botanical garden

Has your apartment turned into a mini greenhouse with all the indoor plants you’ve adopted? Driving to the nearest botanical garden will either make you feel zen and content, or convince you that your plant collection is insufficient.

His: a breezy shirt and a pair of sunglasses

Hers: a colorful sundress and a top bun

Safari adventure

If there’s anything we learned about ourselves this past year, it’s that we all desire to be out in nature from time to time. A safari trip might not be realistic right now, but no one’s stopping you from imagining one.

His: a two pocket utility shirt and a cowboy hat

Hers: a loose tunic and a fedora

Sunny weekend at the beach

No summer is complete without a beach trip; and no beach trip is complete without some refreshing piña coladas, swimsuits that show off your summer bod, and copious amounts of sunscreen.

His: a linen top and a pair of polarized sunglasses

Hers: a long coverup, a pair of pearl earrings, and a straw hat 

Hike in the fall

Not a beach person? Maybe the mountains and autumn foliage are more your jam. Just make sure to stay warm from top to toe without sacrificing style and comfort.

His: a cable knit sweater and a fisherman’s hat

Hers: a turtleneck sweater and a beanie

BONUS: Big business convention

There’s never a bad time to get a good blazer or a pantsuit. You might not be able to wear them out to trade shows yet, but looking your best for Zoom meetings is always appropriate.

His: an olive green knit blazer, a black oxford shirt, and a skinny tie

Hers: a beige blazer, a pair of cat-eye glasses, and a pair of gold earrings

Apart from more than 40 different outfits, multicolored headwear, and new options for glasses, iOS 15 offers nine new Memoji stickers that include a shaka, a hand wave, a light bulb moment, and more.

iOS 15 will be available this fall as a free software update. If you’re interested in trying new Memoji outfits now, you can sign up for the public beta here: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/

Continue Reading

Features

Online voices: What does it take to be a caster?

A quick glimpse at the esports casting scene

Published

on

When we think of the word “Caster” we usually think of the people from the news. However, in the esports scene they serve as the voice and brains that analyze the game and hype the crowd up. It’s a different level of entertainment. Without them, games could get too boring to watch. So what does it take to be a caster?

Caster spotlight: Edwin Arctikuno

Theo “Arctikuno” Rodriguez is a Filipino-American broadcast talent currently based in the Philippines. He first got his big break as a contracted talent with Garena Philippines in 2016, working with them all the way up until 2018.

After his time with Garena, he went on to work as a freelance talent, working actively across Asia in countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and so forth. He’s also worked and collaborated with the Lenovo Legion brand on numerous occasions for different esports-related activities over the past few years.

While he initially began purely as a caster for League of Legends, his years of freelancing has led to numerous opportunities pursuing other games in direct collaboration with some of the top gaming companies and their productions.

Recently, he has begun to embark on other endeavors outside of esports while continuing to train promising talent under his wing in preparation for work in the industry. He now joins the fray as a mentor for the Legion Academy Casters, ever eager to help develop local talent for work across Asia and beyond.

Becoming a caster

A caster has many qualities which are unique, but to have that profession, you must start from somewhere. We asked Edwin, “What qualities should an aspiring Caster have? In terms of skills, what’s a good foundation to have?”

“You have to have the passion and drive to be in this industry.”

It all starts with an interest, it may be playing the game or watching games from tournaments. Then, it turns to a passion, turns to a dream, then reality. Easier said than done, the process of becoming a caster is a long road ahead.

“The reality is, you’re not going to be making big bucks right off the bat when you’re starting. If anything, a lot of casters that eventually managed to build themselves up were those that just simply had a love for what they do, the community, and the very industry they dwell in.”

The hard work in casting

Earned, not given. The esports scene has often been overlooked, but it’s as legitimate a career path as any. Especially now. With the endless grind and long nights, it’s these moments that will help shape who you are as a caster. The process will be different for everyone, but it’s a path worth pursuing.

“With that, you’ve got to have the diligence to want to constantly challenge yourself to do better and improve. While nobody is perfect, we can at least aspire and strive to be as close to it as possible by always working on bettering ourselves as talents, whether it be in our craft or our character,” Edwin added.

Here are some do’s and dont’s from Edwin himself.

DOs:

1. Always DO your homework!
2. Please DO stay humble.
3. Strive to be the best version of yourself. Once you DO, surpass it again.

DON’Ts:
1. Don’t give up! Never ever feel discouraged in the process of pursuing your craft.
2.  Don’t take the lessons you learn and opportunities you grab for granted.
3. Don’t disregard your health in the midst of the grind.

Legion Academy Caster Program

Lenovo and AMD recently wrapped up their Legion Academy Program. It was a contest to earn spots as casters for Legion’s upcoming tournaments. The winners are as follows:

1. Estelle Cerutti (Yuuske — Final Winner)
2. Wyndsor Martillana (ExcelSor PH — Final Winner)
3. Christian James Magdaluyo
4. Eugene Esteban

The four shared their biggest and most important learnings from the Legion Academy Program experience.

Yuuske says it’s “always ground yourself as a caster.”

“Clearly, there are various other casters with their own style but you must not forget the importance of highlighting your personality,” added the Final winner.

Meanwhile, Excelsor listed everything he learned:

  • Be Proactive, there’s always an upside to being proactive in the esports industry.
  • Always have your portfolio ready and updated. Like any job, this is also important in the esports casting industry.
  • Studying is very important to increase game knowledge and to be more familiar with the nuances of the game. Study, study, study.
  • Get feedback from your colleagues. Sometimes the way you can improve is to get a perspective from your peers. There are some things you won’t be able to see and that can be crucial to improvement.

Meanwhile, Zaco realized that “you really have to put yourself out there with no fear and just stick your head out the car window, because you will never know unless you look.”

Dash, for his part, highlighted the importance of building your portfolio.

“Creating a portfolio is one of the key things on how you’ll get casting gigs and learning the ropes on how to create a presentable portfolio is gonna help me entice the clients on getting me as a caster for their events.”

Asked how they felt about winning, Excelsor said, “It feels like I’m reborn as a caster.” Meanwhile, Yuuske wants to pay things forward.

“It is my goal not only to better my craft but as well as inspire others on their journey in the esports world!”

To learn more about Legion Academy and other upcoming programs, visit legion.lenovo.com/academy


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Legion Philippines

Continue Reading

Hands-On

Redmi Note 10S: Is this the most ideal smartphone?

Great hardware under a simple, subtle design

Published

on

Redmi Note 10S

As the more affordable product line, Redmi continues to bring high-quality smartphones to a more accessible market. They may not come with the most flagship of hardware inside, but they still perform roughly at par with their powerful yet more expensive counterparts. This year, Redmi has something new up their sleeve in the Redmi Note 10S.

A simple design choice in my eyes

The moment I received and unboxed the Redmi Note 10S, I said to myself, “huh, what’s new?” I mean, it comes in the usual packaging, with all the documentation, a jelly case, and the charger inside. If anything, though, the phone itself sports a simple exterior design, which doesn’t particularly stand out for a good reason.

This unit came in an Onyx Gray colorway plastered at the back, and I’m also aware that it comes in two other colors, as well. For me, this color makes it look rather professional and complements the simple design as a whole. Although, I noticed that the back of the phone likes fingerprints so much, and it’s quite obvious in this colorway.

Now, another great aspect of the exterior design was the placement of the phone’s speakers. For phones such as this, you’d expect that it’s just one speaker and it’s beside the charging port. In the case of the Redmi Note 10S, it comes with two speakers found on opposite ends. Honestly, I found it practical to set it up like this, that other smartphones should consider.

Complementing hardware and software

Let’s get to the beef of the matter, shall we? In terms of the internal hardware, the Redmi Note 10S is decent in that department. It comes with a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset, with my unit sporting 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. On the external hardware, the phone comes with a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, mostly suitable for great detail and color accuracy. 

Redmi Note 10S

Upon my initial set up and usage, the phone responds quite well and quickly. Powered by MIUI 12.5, apps load smoothly and I even found myself multitasking some apps a lot more. Although, there were times that things like Dark Mode were wonky in some apps, but I think that’s mostly on MIUI.

Furthermore, the AMOLED display is pretty bright even at around 40-50 percent brightness. Even in this setting, it manages to display images and videos with great detail with minimal stuttering. Also, those speakers I mentioned earlier are quite loud and actually give off a sense of immersion when watching movies. It’s all good stuff for now, but let’s see if it holds up later on.

Redmi Note 10S

One look into the cameras for now

Apart from the hardware inside, I also wanted to focus on the cameras the Redmi Note 10S comes with. On its rear, you get an interesting quad-camera setup, with a 64MP lens as the star of the show. Along with this, you also get an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro camera and depth sensor for that extra level of detail.

With some of the shots I initially took, I was fairly impressed with the image quality and color accuracy. From my view, it doesn’t look like there was any noticeable grain in the images, so that’s a good start. However, I ran into some trouble with the auto-focus mechanic in the camera. Hopefully, it will improve with prolonged use.

Redmi Note 10S

Up front, you only get a single 13MP lens lodged at the top of the display. For the most part, it did a good job of capturing selfies under great lighting conditions. 

A promising start, maybe?

So far, the Redmi Note 10S ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a great yet affordable smartphone. Inside and out, the phone allows you to do quite a lot and experience near-flagship features without sacrificing so much in the process. Whether or not this will hold up with longer and more drastic usage, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Redmi Note 10S

The Redmi Note 10S retails for PhP 11,990 and only comes with a configuration of 8GB RAM and128GB storage.

Buy it from Lazada.

Continue Reading

Trending