It was my first time in China.
Our friends from Huawei flew us to Beijing as part of their media tour. After all the work was done, we were taken to some of the city’s most famous spots.
The HTC U11 used to have the highest-rated smartphone camera in the world — beating Google’s Pixel. But alas, the newer iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus proved to be more capable shooters and took the second and first spots, respectively. Ranking aside, join us as we take this handset’s camera for a spin.
Welcome to China as seen through the eyes of the HTC U11.
Tiananmen Square/Forbidden City
Our first stop was Tiananmen Square, which also leads to the famous Forbidden City. The area buzzed with tourists from different parts of the world; you see them walking, looking around, and taking selfies. To blend in, I switched to full-on tourist mode and quickly snapped one myself.
Thousands of tourists flock to the Square on a daily basis for its rich history — albeit with some unpleasant events. Being a communist country, surveillance around Beijing is tight. Hence, lampposts adorned with security cameras are a common sight around the city.
A few minutes of leisure walking led us to the entrance of the Forbidden City. For the unfamiliar, it was named as such since no one was allowed to enter or leave the place without the Emperor’s permission during the Ming Dynasty in the 15th century. This included the Emperor’s servants and wives.
China’s founding father Mao Zedong (aka Chairman Mao) has his photo mounted right smack in the middle of the entrance. Placards flank the photo with the words, “Long Live the People’s Republic of China” on the left and “Long Live the Great Unity of the World’s People” on the right. The above photo was taken using the phone’s panorama mode, hence the distortion.
The entire palace is made of exactly 980 buildings, all with a similar design exemplifying traditional Chinese palatial architecture. Structures are mostly painted in red with golden highlights, since yellow is the Emperor’s color. This combination of red and yellow brings a good contrast to the blue sky that the HTC U11 was able to distinctly capture.
The Chinese are keen on details which are truly evident when you wander inside the walls of the City. Every corner you see either has designs or symbolism embedded in them, like the tip of this roof with a dragon inside a circle. Apart from the craftsmanship and its significance, they are also good test subjects for our camera, as it’s able to bring out details and show a natural depth of field without any software assistance.
This photo shows good contrast between the highlights and shadows of the bronze artifact. You can see its ability to show details for the bright areas as well as the dark patches, meaning it can balance the exposure effectively even on Auto shooting mode.
It’s the same case for this beat-up motorcycle. Even with the subject sort of lit from behind, the U11 was able to maintain composure in the shadowy area of the front tire. Meanwhile, saturation on the Chinese flag stands out.
A good reference for color accuracy: Light colors and yellows maintain detail alongside neutral colors, shades of red are well represented, and cold blue sunglasses contrast the overall warm tone of the image.
The Great Wall
Our next stop was the Great Wall of China, which is about an hour bus ride out of the city. Like a dragon resting on the mountains, the Great Wall welcomed us with breathtaking views.
It was cloudy when we got there. The wind was blowing pretty strong, too. The gray sky created an overcast vibe and gloomy color, but thanks to the HDR feature of the U11, it was able to give the photo a livelier look by balancing the dark and light areas.
Again, there were lots of tourists taking in the sight of this Wonder of the World. Some of them were wearing brightly colored clothing that worked positively for our test shots, as they broke the prevalent green and brown color of the mountains.
Just a few minutes later, it started raining so we had to rush to one of the watchtowers for shelter. I quickly snapped this photo and the camera was able to show the contrasting areas with a fine gradient in between. The bricks also added an appreciated texture to the photo.
After the tour was over, we headed back to town to have a nice meal. It was also a good chance to shoot indoors with available lighting.
A natural bokeh effect was once again achieved by focusing on a close subject. Some digital noise can be seen here, but that’s understandable when shooting indoors with no extra lights.
With the camera’s large aperture (f/1.7), the U11 could achieve a natural-looking exposure with a shallow depth of field. This is why only selected parts of the flowers are in focus.
For me, balance in exposure and faithful color reproduction are the strong suits of HTC U11. During the time I used it for my trip, the handset’s camera was able to show details both in highlights and shadows without overcompensating. Colors were also rendered as you’d see them in real life. This could be a good or bad thing depending on the user, since some like the extra vibrance other phones apply to their photos.
Bottom line: The HTC U11 is a capable travel buddy that could replace your point-and-shoot camera for your out of town or international adventures.
[irp posts=”17685″ name=”HTC U11 Review: Better than the Pixel”]
A 24-Hour soundtrip with the Huawei FreeBuds 4i
From waking up to sleeping soundly at night
For about a year or so now, I’ve considered my Huawei FreeBuds Lite as my go-to wireless earphones for day-to-day activities. I mean, I could basically just tone everyone out while I proceed to go about my day — whether it’s the weekday or weekend. Plus, I mean I own a Huawei phone so I guess I’d like to keep things a bit consistent.
Until one day, I was lucky enough to test out the new Huawei FreeBuds 4i, which was something quite surprising considering I was looking for another pair anyway. So I told myself, “why not, let’s use this entire thing for a whole day and see what happens.”
Wake up in the morning, feelin’ like…
I’m pretty sure you know what comes after, so let’s get the morning started. That particular Friday morning, I woke up at around 6:30 to 7:00 AM despite only getting 6 hours of sleep. Before starting the day, I did a bit of stretching to some music that powers me right up. So, I popped in the Huawei FreeBuds 4i and instantly, I just heard nothing but the music.
To be honest, being disturbed early in the morning isn’t fun and the FreeBuds 4i’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) does wonders for that. In essence, it eliminates every possible noise you can hear and just lets you enjoy your ad-free music on Spotify. Yes, even the sound of loud cars and whirring fans disappear from your ears.
After my morning routine, I grabbed myself some breakfast matched with a nice cup of coffee. Even when there’s still work to do, you can’t really skip a good breakfast! To help me get myself ready for the work day, I tuned up some podcasts about my favorite topics and issues to discuss. With the FreeBuds 4i’s ANC, it was nice to properly hear and focus on the discussion points.
With breakfast out of the way, I had some work to do — mostly on the creative side of things and some writing. For the most part, I just stayed in my room and opened my Macbook to get things started. Luckily, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i was compatible with my Apple device, and connects quite fast.
Part of my work includes having voice and video calls with some colleagues and friends through my Huawei phone. With the FreeBuds 4i, I had a pleasant experience with the noise cancellation technologies that my friends could hear my voice clearly. Also, I turned on Awareness mode either through the Huawei AI Life app or a long press on the right earbud. You know, just in case somebody in the family needed my help and they were calling me.
During my breaks, I find myself playing some nice, good ‘ol fashioned League of Legends: Wild Rift on my phone. I teamed up with some friends through the Discord app, and turned up the game’s volume to a tolerable amount. While using the FreeBuds 4i, I heard all the game’s sounds deeply while finding a way to make team comms be a little better.
The night is still young, and so are we
After my eight and a half hours of work and play, it was time for a little bit of relaxation before dinner time. I usually spend this time watching some YouTube videos or a series/movie on Netflix. For this particular Friday afternoon, I watched some VODs from the VALORANT Masters regional qualifiers for that week.
Of course, I had to quickly charge the FreeBuds 4i since it was running non-stop for eight or so hours. By quickly charging it, I mean all I needed was to give it a 10-minute recharge in the case and it’s all good to go. Essentially, this set of wireless earphones gives you about 4 hours of use in just a short amount of charging time.
Within those 4 hours, I reviewed three different sets of VODs of qualifying matches while having a smooth audio experience. With a dynamic 10mm audio driver and low latency audio algorithms, I could take in all the intense action between the best teams in VALORANT plus some commentary. After watching, I put down the earphones and gave it some more time to charge while having dinner.
Sweet lullaby, I want it more everyday
After a hearty dinner, it was finally time to get some sleep and recharge for the next day. Of course, I made it a point to watch a Netflix series and have late night calls with my girl beforehand. Then, I prepared for bed and fired up my playlist to doze off into the night.
Before I began, I popped in the FreeBuds 4i and allowed the case to just charge in the background. For the next 8-10 hours, it would be my companion through the calls and the soundtrip to sleep. Furthermore, I didn’t have to worry too much if the songs stop playing when one of the earphones falls off my ear.
With 10 hours of continuous playback and a comfortable fit in my ear, the FreeBuds 4i allowed me to just close my eyes and recharge in peace. Also, I would sometimes check the battery percentage through the Huawei AI Life app to gauge how long my soundtrip would be. By the time I woke up the next day, it would be prime and ready for another recharge like me.
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i comes in at PhP 3,599, and in three colorways: Ceramic White, Carbon Black, and Red.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.
24 hours indoors with the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro
A day in doodles!
So, here’s the tea: 🍵. You’re welcome. Jokes aside, this past year or so has been a roller coaster ride. And, we’ve been frothing at the mouth to keep our sanity at bay. With everything going on in the world (indoors and out), we might just have the right tablet to keep you and your family productive and creative: the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro.
Wasn’t short of pleasant surprises
I was lucky enough to get to test it out and since I developed a horrible rash that made me look like a beaten-up tomato, I decided to sketch a full day in quarantine with the tablet.
And, oh boy, let me preface the next 24 hours with some context. I’ve never had a proper tablet and pen before and the Tab P11 Pro made me realize how little I knew about just how much I might actually need one. From getting more work done wherever, to rediscovering my love for simple sketches, the Tab P11 Pro wasn’t short of pleasant surprises.
Pre-pandemic, I would normally wake up at around midday but now, I usually wake up early afternoon. I usually try not to check my phone first thing up but, I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t do it every single day.
Start your day right
The Tab P11 Pro really helped me with getting into the creative groove of work, play, and getting up to date. Instead of just being on my phone, I now make myself a cup of coffee and browse through work emails, daily tasks, and news. So, same thing; just on a bigger and better tablet.
Lenovo’s most powerful 11.5-inch Android tablet puts out images through a brilliant 2K OLED display. So, it was no surprise I abused it for Netflix and getting back into sketching when seeing COVID-19 active cases in 2K was festering toxic nihilism.
Multitask with ease, anywhere
You’ll be happy to find the display comes with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. The chassis also comes with four JBL speakers, supplemented with Dolby Atmos support.
These came to good use when I got to playing after work or listening to podcasts while I was going about my baking shenanigans mid-afternoon.
Quickly after baking, or while dough proofs, I get to work. The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is great for getting more done at home.
The ultra-thin Keyboard Pack with built-in trackpad snaps into place when you need to fire off an email, get work done, or school degenerates. The magnetic stand cover and integrated kickstand prop up the tablet, marrying ease and comfort while you stay productive and creative.
Features you’d need and want
A day full of work meetings can be a breeze with the Tab P11 Pro’s dual rear (13MP and 5MP) camera combo and a dual (8MP and 8MP) selfie-shooter.
On the note of features that showed off how horrendous I looked from my rash, you can unlock the Tab P11 Pro with facial recognition. And, as you would have hoped, it hadn’t failed to give me access despite how non-hyperbolic and realistic I am of the extremes my face had turned me into a walking raspberry.
When work is at a standstill or I’m hitting a wall, I get to sketching. I haven’t had the chance to dabble into sketching much lately but, the tablet has given me a creative outlet to express myself.
The intuitive Lenovo Precision Pen 2 is a huge help with its subtle pressure adjustments for a smoother digital writing and doodling experience.
Under the hood specs
The Tab P11 Pro sports the Snapdragon 730G chipset, up to 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of internal storage (with expandable storage up to 1TB through microSD).
So, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is more than capable to last a full day of work, play, baking, and doodling with its 8600mAh battery.
But hey, didn’t I technically just use it for only half the day since I woke up in the afternoon? Well, I match my ungodly waking hours with ungodly sleeping hours.
I usually end my day with journaling around 3am to 5am. These hours seem to be when I polish my doodles, write about my day, meditate, and plan out the next day.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro embodies the tablet you didn’t know you needed without taking all the money in your wallet. It goes without saying that if you’re looking for a tablet to optimize your creative and work output wherever you are, this is the perfect tablet for you. It’s feature-packed to make sure you get every bang for your buck while working like a pro.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is currently bundled with a Keyboard Pack, Folio Case/Stand Cover, and Precision Pen 2. The optional Lenovo Smart Charging Station 2 enables hands-free movie-watching and stable charging while docked. The Folio Case lets you strut in style with its modern fabric doubling down as extra protection for when you need to chuck it in your bag and go.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro has a price tag of PHP 36,990 and is available at Lenovo Exclusive Stores and Authorized resellers nationwide.
It’s also available at the Lenovo Mobile Official Store in Lazada and the Lenovo Mobile Official PH shop in Shopee.Follow Lenovo Philippines on Facebook and Instagram to get updates about the latest products and promos.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines.
24 Hours in Corregidor Island
Capturing the beauty of the ruins with the iPhone XS
Back when I was a kid, I only knew of Corregidor Island as part of Philippine History textbooks. Most (if not all) Filipinos would think of the place as a “haunted island” due to the number of casualties during the World War II.
To those who are unfamiliar, Corregidor Island is located several kilometers away from Manila. The ferry trip took about two hours before we reached the port. Despite being near the shore of Bataan, don’t be confused as this island is part of the province of Cavite.
If you look at the museum diorama above, the island’s shape reminds us of a “tadpole” — but I thought of something else entirely. 👀
I’m not here to bore you with the specific bits and pieces of the island’s history. Rather, I want to show you the hidden beauty of the land that was once devastated.
Corregidor’s one and only hotel
After we reached the port, we were greeted by several trams and headed straight to Corregidor Inn. If you’re planning to stay for a night or two, it’s the only place in the island that accepts accommodation.
The inn is spacious and comfortable that you wouldn’t actually think you’re in an isolated island. Just keep in mind that there’s no Wi-Fi connection — a perfect place for social media detoxification. I don’t advise anyone to do this but if it’s an emergency and you can’t keep your phone in your pocket, turn on your mobile data as the signal reception works well in this area.
Other than breakfast meals, they also offer lunch and dinner buffet — something you would want in a place that shows the majestic view of the sea. If you’re in need of “Vitamin Sea”, you can go to the nearest swimming pool outside (which feels better when you swim during the night). If you’re not satisfied, you can go to a beach meters away which I’ll talk about more later.
Ruins, ruins everywhere
The things that crossed my mind the moment I knew I’d be visiting this island were destroyed concrete slabs and cannon bombs — and I wasn’t wrong. You will find ruins such as the Mile-long barracks, laterals in Malinta Tunnel, and more.
Just because these buildings were ruined, it doesn’t mean they’re worthless. In fact, I recall how the tour guide pointed out that there was zero vegetation during the catastrophic bombing but these landmarks show how they survived and managed to keep their overall structure, just without glass windows and wooden walls.
A haven for thrill-seekers, hell for lost souls
I may not be someone who can sense (or see) ghosts, but conceptions about the island being surrounded by wandering souls might actually be true. Not to creep you out but during our Malinta Tunnel visit, someone hurriedly went out of the tunnel’s lateral as she sensed a roaming spirit. It made sense as the tour guide told us that the bombing completely wiped out everyone — including Filipinos, Japanese and even the Americans.
With the hard work exerted by the “prisoners of war”, Malinta Tunnel was successfully built for 10 years. It has managed to keep its structure even after what happened.
Meanwhile, the narrow Japanese tunnels were built with a different story in mind as Japanese troops built it for hideouts against the American soldiers. We had a short hike around the area and the hardest part is climbing all the way up with a steep stairway in between. Thankfully, the rope helped us along the way.
Although it may not be a big deal for me, this part of the trip is not for the faint-hearted. It’d still be a great experience though. You just need to stick with your group in order for you to not feel scared and alone.
There’s no such thing as “accident prone” roads
Early in the morning, I went out for a short jog. It eventually became a long walk as I can’t keep up with my low stamina. As I enjoyed the shore, there’s an uphill and curvy road where there are no vehicles passing by. If you have a companion, you can pose around and have your picture taken in the middle of the road — something you can’t freely do in most parts of the Philippines.
When we headed towards the Kindley Field, it’s a sight I enjoyed looking at. At first, I thought it’s the usual long road but it was just an illusion since it’s already a dead-end. It used to be a landing strip of war planes.
It’s a (hidden) paradise
As mentioned earlier, there’s a beach near the inn where you can spend your day by chilling with the sight of sparkling water. Even at night, you can enjoy the sound of sea waves while grilling your favorite food by the bonfire.
Other than the South Dock, there’s also the Corregidor Island Lighthouse which gives you a spectacular view of the island from the “topside” or the island’s peak.
You get splendid views whether you’re facing the Manila Bay or West Philippine Sea. Sunrise, mid-day, sunset — they all look breathtaking. On the “tailside” part of the island, you’ll see the Tadpole’s Tail with another smaller island called “Caballo Island”.
If you’re a huge fan of astronomy (like me), you will enjoy the island’s lack of light pollution as it shows stars and planets scattered around the pitch black sky. Constellations appeared right in front of my eyes as if I’m in a planetarium.
The unexpected surprise
There was a special contest for both participants and media by showing off everyone’s best iPhone shot with the theme “Capture the old glory of Corregidor in modern times“. It was my first time on the island so I just looked around and captured unusual perspectives and subjects that attracted my eyes.
What’s the surprise? My shot won first place — something I never expected at all. I can remember how I got pressured deciding what would be the title of the shot I submitted.
During the awarding, I ran out of words especially after hearing the comments of the talented visual storyteller Mr. JC Gellidon and Mr. Joey Alvarez, PMC’s Director of Marketing and Product Management.
View this post on Instagram
Featuring the top 3 best #ShotoniPhone photographs from Project Bayani Workshop Corregidor taken by participants. Huge thanks to @jcgellidon for sharing tips and tricks on iPhone photography and @suncruises for giving us an extraordinary experience in Corregidor Island! #PMCProjectBayani
Many thanks to our friends from Power Mac Center and Sun Cruises who made this trip possible. Seeing an unfamiliar place while meeting new people, it’s honestly a wonderful weekend experience I would never forget. If you ask me, I would go back to Corregidor Island if I have another chance.
All shots were taken using the iPhone XS.
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