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:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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?
Are Roblox, MLBB, Call of Duty, Genshin Impact on AppGallery?
Huawei’s App Library gets deeper
Is it on Huawei AppGallery?
This is the question we get asked most when people are curious about a Huawei smartphone.
It’s no secret to anyone the challenges that Huawei faces. But they’ve done a wonderful job beefing up their own library of apps. The essentials are there. And now, we’re happy to report that they also added these apps for your mobile gaming pleasure.
These are: Roblox, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Genshin Impact.
Here’s how easy it is to download these apps through the Huawei AppGallery.
WATCH HOW TO DOWNLOAD HERE.
Roblox describes itself as “the ultimate virtual universe that lets you create, share experiences with friends”.
It appears to be very popular with kids. And some K-Pop groups have even launched partnerships with the game during their mini album releases.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang or simply Mobile Legends is a game many of you should be familiar with, especially if you live in Southeast Asia.
It’s become the de facto MOBA game for many in the region. So much so that huge tournaments have been held over the past few years.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Call of Duty is already a popular franchise on its own. It also found huge success in Asia with its mobile version.
Call of Duty is no stranger to seasonal content as even their flagship titles operate in the same manner year after year. This is likely why players keep coming back.
Genshin Impact took the world by storm when it first launched in 2020. The anime-like art style along with the engaging gameplay and story made it a huge hit.
HoYoverse continues to provide fresh content to this day, expanding the already vast world in the game.
Why the next-gen Ford Ranger is a Spartan-approved vehicle
Packed with creature comforts that make driving and being a Spartan easier!
A few years ago, I was only dreaming of becoming a Spartan. I took a leap of faith by taking on a Spartan Race back in 2022 in the midst of a hurricane, running through a 10-kilometer muddy trail.
In case you didn’t know, Spartan Race is the world’s premier obstacle course race hosted across the globe. It tests the limits and grit of an athlete, transforming anyone to be their strongest and most unbreakable self.
Three races in and I’ve clocked a total of 36 kilometers, ending the year as a full-fledged Spartan. A 10-kilometer muddy trail in Vermosa; a 5-kilometer trail run inside Timberland Heights; and a 21-kilometer mixed trail in Alviera.
As the 2023 season begins, I was dead-set on taking my first Age Group (competitive) category and a back-to-back race on the same day. All my gears were Spartan-ready, and all that was left was a vehicle appropriate for a Spartan.
In my quest to prepare for my most enduring race yet, Ford lent me the Next-Gen Ford Ranger. The Next-Gen Ford Ranger arrived in a Blue Lightning colorway, emanating strength and speed. It was instantly a head-turner, catching the attention of other commuters and passersby.
Everything about the Ranger screams Spartan. The vehicle exudes the same ethos we live for. It’s battle-ready, extremely durable, and insanely powerful.
Not to mention, it has striking looks — which I always exude whenever I take on a race. How can you get noticed by event photographers if you won’t play with colors, right?
It looked strong and it made us feel powerful. “Us” as a collective because the emotional state doesn’t just pulsate with the driver, but also with its passengers. One weekend with the Ranger and we felt like warriors. Ready to take on any challenges that we can conquer.
Made for Spartans
Just because I’m a Spartan doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the creature comforts the Next-Gen Ford Ranger brings. In fact, I am trained to be uncomfortable but the vehicle’s features allow me to pursue the Spartan lifestyle.
Call it a paradox but we take the convenience of having a comfortable ride and/or drive so we can train our minds and bodies to be familiar with pain and discomfort. As a modern-day Spartan, life isn’t all about battles and preparing for war under the heat of the sun.
We wage our fights through our day jobs, balancing our personal lives, while also developing our bodies to be ready for sports.
Having a tech-infused vehicle enables me to freely pursue the life of a Spartan. If you’re familiar with Ford’s driving experience, which we have mentioned several times here in GadgetMatch, it’s always buttery-smooth.
Even with a humongous body, I can maneuver the steering wheels easily. As someone who drives small cars, I felt the heft and the pain of driving a bigger automobile. But the features packed inside the vehicle made driving smoother — both for rookies and seasoned drivers.
When a smartphone and a vehicle match!
With every technology update to Ford’s lineup of automobiles, it’s becoming more of a tech machine each year. The Next-Gen Ford Ranger is no exception with the ability to use FordPass Connect. If you’ve been living under a rock, FordPass is Ford’s newest technology utilizing remote control functions for the vehicle through an app.
When I was in a hurry and I couldn’t locate my keys, I used the FordPass app on my iPhone to remotely unlock the Ford Ranger. Through the app, I was able to remotely start the vehicle so I can turn on the air conditioner even before I step in. I was also able to stop the engine, lock the car, and check the fuel level — all in one space.
What I like the most is the vehicle locator feature, which allows me to find the Ford Ranger in crowded parking areas. Thankfully, I didn’t have to use the feature when the Ranger was parked in Vermosa’s gravel lot since I was the only one with a vehicle in a striking blue colorway.
Aside from FordPass, the accessibility and ease of use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto allowed everyone to connect with the vehicle to help in navigation and music playback. We sang “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus while on our way to Alabang so we can hopefully shake our pre-race jitters.
I personally love the bigger, best-in-class 12-inch portrait touchscreen that allows me to see an overview of the map, adjust music playback, and even have a space for responding to calls and messages.
The perfect companion for an endurance race
For a pick-up truck, the Ranger offers extremely comfortable space for its passengers. We picked up Alison — my friend, a teacher, and an elite athlete — partaking in the first race of the weekend. Alison competed with elite and national athletes, hopefully qualifying for the national team.
Alison, together with other competitive athletes, gleefully took some rest in the back seat while in transit. They loved the leg space and the coziness the couches offered. The same experience goes for the front passenger seat, which I took as I was playing with the car’s features while my friend Betty took on the wheels.
When female Spartans are lovin’ it
Perhaps, the people who enjoyed the Ranger the most are Spartan women that I befriended after my first race. Jomi and Betty, competitive athletes who are consistently part of the Top 10 of their respective age groups, took over the wheel while I was exploring the Ranger’s features and technology.
Recently, I have learned that the Next-Gen Ford Ranger is officially the best 4×4 and pick-up according to the Women’s World Car of the Year judges. It won for a multitude of reasons; the same reasons that Jomi and Betty loved when they experienced driving the Ranger.
From excellent ride and handling, a suite of advanced driver-assist technologies and other safety features, an upgraded chassis and suspension, and the bold and confident look that resonates with strong, independent women. What more can they ask for?
Fostering a sense of community
What I love about the Next-Gen Ford Ranger is how it builds a sense of community, the same way a Spartan race brings people together. Parked in the gravels of Vermosa, the Ford Ranger became a holding area for my friends and teammates.
We used the cargo box to house our bags, equipment, and food. We were able to gather behind, passing jokes and drinks after an exhilarating day.
I used to do things alone and now, I’m surrounded by like-minded people — which was the best plot twist I’ve had so far. And even if it’s just for a weekend, I’m grateful that the Next-Gen Ford Ranger helped in making my first competitive and back-to-back race memorable.
Even with an aching body, the Ranger offered a smooth, safe, and reliable ride on our way home. It’s definitely a Spartan-grade vehicle, made for modern-day Spartans.
The Next-Gen Ford Ranger comes with a 5-year warranty. The longer warranty offering will cover the Next-Gen Ranger for up to 5 years or a total mileage of up to 150,000 kilometers, whichever comes first.
For more information, visit the Ford Ranger page on the website to reserve the next-gen Ranger through www.ford.com.ph or check your nearest Ford dealer.
Exploring wonders and falling in love with Barcelona
Spectacles of the cosmopolitan capital through the lens of the OPPO Find N2 Flip
Barcelona was never quite the city I wanted to fall in love with. But that’s the beauty of love, isn’t it? We don’t get to decide whom we fall for.
With its quaint abodes, cobblestone streets, fine architecture, evergreen trees, and naked branches — the sights are perpetually picturesque.
Everywhere you look is a marvel; buildings glimmering from the sun’s glow. But there’s something about its nook and cranny that are filled with love and charm, and it only shows up when you take the time to get to know the city.
In love with the streets of Eixample
Every street in Eixample brims with magic. It is, after all, one of the busiest districts in Barcelona known for its iconic grid pattern and octagonal blocks.
It’s dubbed as the trendiest neighborhood — home to streets of stylish boutiques and restaurants.
It’s impossible not to feel wonderstruck when you wander, most especially when you cross its main thoroughfare, Passeig de Gracia, and my favorite street: Rambla Catalunya.
Sunny days around Fira Gran Via
Every year, technology journalists from around the world convene in Barcelona to cover the annual Mobile World Congress.
This year, I was able to join other delegates from the Philippine press. The annual technology conference was set at Fira Barcelona Gran Via, a contemporary exhibition and trade center.
The majority of our days were spent in and out of this area, and I was lucky to experience sunny days around Fira Gran Via even in the middle of winter.
The sheer cold was balanced by the heat of the sun’s rays, allowing me to admire the district amidst the busy crowd.
A blend of architecture across Barcelona
Barcelona is home to towering pieces of architecture — contemporary, art nouveau, and historic landmarks blending in the beauty of the city.
These pieces of architecture stand the test of time; a wish we all make for the connections that we have in our lives.
In most explorations, I accompanied my friend Nathan as we dilly-dally around Barcelona, hoping to stumble upon undiscovered gems.
Unexpected beauty of Plaça Reial
Going past Mercado de La Boqueria, we found ourselves wandering La Rambla to get to the Gothic Quarter — the historic center of the old city of Barcelona — until we discovered Plaça Reial.
Believe me, I was only looking for a beautiful cafe so we can sit and sip some good coffee when we came across this paved square with towering palm trees.
I was astounded by its lampposts designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, the man behind historical landmarks such as Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and Casa Milà.
Plaça Reial, in a way, reminded me of how love works. It catches you when you least expect it. A risk and a gamble. What’s waiting for you can end up being the best decision you ever make.
Now, it’s my favorite spot in the city of Barcelona, so far.
Midnights became my afternoon
With my companions, the city was alive and well by midnight.
I’m still reeling from the number of dinners I attended, filled with stories and new memories to bring home.
The highlight would probably be the old and new faces I met, and the shrieks of laughter passed in between.
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to stand in good spots, overlooking Barcelona from different destinations.
While I find myself in awe, I still took the time to be grateful for the beauty that unfolds in front of me.
Gratefully, I had the OPPO Find N2 Flip to capture the spectacles of Barcelona. It’s a city I didn’t expect to fall in love with. And a place I’d be glad to come back to in the future. Hopefully, with someone to hold hands with in the middle of winter.
All photos were taken using the OPPO Find N2 Flip.
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