Palawan is not the world’s most beautiful island for nothing.
I don’t know why it took me 25 years to visit the Philippines’ best kept not-so-secret island, but I’m glad I finally did.
While an action cam is perfect for adventures like island hopping, snorkeling, and kayaking, I try to keep the amount of devices I bring to the beach at a minimum.
The Ice Blue Sony Xperia XZs won me over the moment I laid my eyes on it at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year. It’s not completely waterproof, but it has better chances of surviving the windy beach or rain. For safekeeping, I still brought a waterproof pouch since it’s not advisable to take the phone directly into the ocean.
You need to rent one of these boats to fully experience what El Nido has to offer. Rates start at US$ 24 per head for a tour around the lagoons that lasts around four to six hours.
Taraw Cliff is also a must and should be done in the early morning to minimize sunburn.
But first, coffee. El Nido’s town center has rows after rows of cafes and restaurants — a lot of them owned by foreigners who fell in love with the island and decided to move there.
Island hopping time! Instagram photos don’t lie — the water is as clear as day and the lagoons are as gorgeous as everything I’ve seen on my feed, filtered or #unfiltered.
One can’t help but snap a selfie in the Big Lagoon and take advantage of the clouds diffusing the harsh sunlight.
My favorite part of El Nido is called Small Lagoon, where you can rent a kayak and row your way inside every opening. The water is calm and clean, making it perfect for snorkeling, too!
After the tour you can rent a scooter or tricycle and make your way to the twin beach of Nacpan and Calitang. This tree archway will greet you, but you have to be prepared for a bumpy ride along the dirt roads.
Calitang Beach Resort serves great Filipino food, has friendly owners and staff, and has the best rooftop view overlooking the serene ocean.
That silhouette of a nipa hut is actually the Harmony Floating Bar at Nacpan beach that you can get to by swimming or kayaking. What better way to end the day than by watching the sunset?
24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.
[irp posts=”13887″ name=”24 Hours in Venice Beach with the LG G6″]
vivo V27: Studio lights in your pocket
Meet the new Aura Light Portrait System
It’s spring 2023 and vivo is back with the V series. The vivo V27 comes with a new feature called Aura Light Portrait System, which takes its main camera to another level. Like its predecessor it’s got a color-changing back, making it a fashionable choice for different users.
Stylish color-changing design
We have the V27 in Emerald Green, which starts off with a lighter tint that looks like jade. When exposed to UV light, it changes into a darker shade of green. This is achieved thanks to the Emerald Glass processing technique. The phone also comes in Magic Blue, Flowing Gold, and Noble Black.
Chay is wearing light colors so the Emerald Green model matches her outfit better. It makes a nice, subtle pop of color, and goes with her pastel-y mint green purse and boots.
It’s also worth pointing out the 3D curved screen and this curved back on the V27 make it feel extremely thin and light.
Studio lights in your pocket
As mentioned earlier, the vivo V27 features the Aura Light Portrait System for great portraits even in low light. It’s a combination of the IMX677V sensor, which Sony designed with vivo specifically for this phone, algorithm optimizations, and the Aura Light. Its outer ring is matte and sandblasted, softening the light coming out of it.
The Aura Light, combined with the large sensor, and algorithm optimizations work together to take great portraits even in low light.
Lunch and coffee
The day before was a very long day so we figured we should get food and coffee. We found this dimly lit restaurant in Soho called Cafe Select. I think it’s a German restaurant because we had some schnitzel and there’s German decor everywhere.
We also specifically asked for the corner booth to test out the V27’s low light capabilities. Despite the lack of light sources, it’s impressive that the V27 managed to produce an accurate cutout of me even when I kept moving with the Bokeh Portrait video mode on.
There’s no natural light in this restaurant so it’s also the perfect place to take portraits and test out the Aura Light Portrait System. It’s like a portable ring light that you can use to take clearer portraits. Take a look at some examples.
On video mode, you can also use LUTs. We had fun using the Nostalgia filter to film a short video in the restaurant, which perfectly matches the vintage vibe of its interiors.
High definition selfies
The vivo V27 would not be a V-series smartphone if it didn’t have an amazing selfie camera. On the V27, we got a 50MP HD selfie camera with autofocus.
It’s worth noting that the phone feels so light in the hand. It’s so easy to take one-handed selfies. I also love how subtle the color change is on the Emerald Green model.
The V27 offers three levels of selfie filters that help hide blemishes and enhance your features — None, Natural, and Classic.
The 50MP front camera means clear selfie details. Most other smartphones have inferior selfie cameras compared to its rear counterparts, but not the V27. As you can see in the example below, zooming in on my eyes show that you can clearly see the strands of my eyebrows.
Walking the High Line & shopping
To test its video stabilization and macro camera, we continued to walk the High Line. Both features produced very impressive results.
Another feature we tried is MicroMovie. It’s perfect for creators like me. It comes with a whole bunch of templates that you can use for TikTok or Instagram Reels. I filmed a daily vlog with it and had so much fun.
While we were shopping, I noticed too that the V27 changed colors after being indoors for a bit. It turned into a beautiful white marble-like finish that fades into mint green at the bottom.
After the sun has set, it’s time to take more low-light portraits and OOTD. Our friends Alex and Leslie even joined us for a quick photo shoot. New York City comes to life at night, and with a 1/1.56-inch sensor and Super Night Mode, the vivo V27 can easily capture the hustle and bustle of the city streets.
More than just a camera smartphone
The vivo V27 is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7200 and comes with either an 8GB or 12GB of RAM.
With Extended RAM the phone borrows memory from your internal storage and gives you an additional 8GB RAM. This way you get either 16GB or 20GB available RAM.
Vivo says this will help when you’re playing memory intensive games or if you like keeping plenty of apps open in the background.
The phone is packed with a 4600mAh battery and supports up to 66W FlashCharge. It comes bundled with an 80W charger.
In our GadgetMatch Charge Test we got to 50% in 19 minutes. A full charge took 57 minutes.
I’ve always been a fan of vivo’s V Series. We’ve done plenty of videos on it in the past and this one is another excellent phone.
It offers users a top notch smartphone experience for less. I enjoyed using all its camera features and I think creators on a budget will too.
I also love this cool color changing Emerald Green model. This phone is definitely the prettiest vivo phone I’ve reviewed lately.
Watch our 24 Hours video with the vivo V27: https://youtu.be/nJ18OMK43yE
Google Pixel 7 Pro Unboxing and First 24 Hours
Plus a photowalk using its great set of cameras
The new Google Pixel 7 Pro has just been released to the public!
Aside from our previous first look video, Michael Josh also did a quick unboxing and hands-on.
Plus, he took it to the streets to test out its battery prowess as well as the power of its three cameras — including the new Super-Res Zoom feature.
Can’t wait to see what the Pixel 7 Pro has to offer?
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14
Bluer than Blue!
September 11 marks a historical day not just for New Yorkers, but for (almost) everyone in this world.
With a memory that lives forever in our heads, Michael Josh has tried commemorating it.
He went to the pier along Brooklyn Bridge to recreate a shot he wanted to do for so long.
Can’t wait to see how the shot turned out? Or just curious how the iPhone 14’s gonna last throughout the day?
Head over now to our iPhone 14 First 24 Hours video to feed your curiosities.
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