Early this June, the GadgetMatch team flew to Taipei, Taiwan for Computex 2018, the biggest tech show in Asia. It was my first time to travel for work, and my first international trip.
Even though Taipei isn’t on the list of places I’ve always wanted to visit, this trip made me change my mind. This is the wonder-filled city through the lens of Sony Xperia XZ2.
The sun rises very early in this city. My body clock was reset and here, I’d wake up at around five in the morning. I got up without any complaints. Who would with this view from my hotel room?
Before heading out, a quick snack! Here’s a Taiwanese burger: a Zesty Lemon Chicken bao with lettuce. (I tried my best to eat it even though I don’t like veggies).
After breakfast and my morning routine, it was time to start the city tour.
Taipei is filled with alleys, the same scenes I used to see in anime. They also embrace the culture of motorcycles and have a very efficient transportation system. Getting around is a piece of cake as long as you’re able to read and decipher directions.
Our first stop is Taipei 101, the city’s tallest building and world’s tallest building from 2004 to 2010. Of course, it’s a sight to behold. As it towers above the city, this attraction is impossible to miss.
Together with Marvin and Dan, we explored Xinyi District where Taipei 101 is located. It was a scorching hot that day and I wish we didn’t all wear dark clothes. The front cam isn’t that great with the Sony Xperia XZ2 compared to its rear, but it can pass.
Going around Taipei involves a lot of walking. Make sure to have comfortable shoes because you know what they say: Your feet’s happiness dictates your mood throughout the day. Despite the spacious sidewalks and open streets, Taipei is generally windy. It’s the perfect setting for a stroll.
If you get tired from walking, Ubike, which are bike rentals, are pretty common throughout Taipei. I even considered using it at some point to get around, but I’m not a very good cyclist. I just kept walking.
We then paid a visit to Syntrend Creative Park, Taipei’s wonder-mall for geeks. It’s a shopping mall divided by levels to cater to different people. The first levels are dedicated to tech, gadgets, and gear. As you go up, you’ll find collectibles and action figures. Up top are places to dine, the kids department, and a co-working space. It can be a day-long trip for families or for those who love to shop around.
Of course, my friends went full-on geek mode. We went to Beast Kingdom, a retailer focused on movie-themed character goods and figurines. We saw stuff from Star Wars, Marvel, and even Disney’s Queen Elsa.
Two blocks away from that mall is Blade Road in Zhongzheng District, home to tech brands and PC stores. If you need something for your gadgets and gear, you know where to go.
I wouldn’t be able to let a single day pass without a selfie. My phone’s gallery usually contains 30 to 50 selfies on days that I find myself cute, but being in awe at my surroundings made me almost forget to take a selfie.
With much persuasion, I was able to convince my friends to visit Keelung River. My heart always yearns for places that have a patch of green or a body of water. Taipei is a good mix of nature and architecture, something I really enjoy looking at.
We crossed the bridge over Keelung River to check out the neighboring Neihu District to see if there are any good cafes nearby. Passing by this Instagram-worthy spot meant I needed to have someone take my photo. Thankfully, my camera is in good hands with my GadgetMatch friends.
We chanced across Love Cafe, Love Food only to find out it’s full. Of course, a nice, small cafe will surely have all of its seats taken, just like how almost every good-looking person out there is already in somebody’s arms. *Plays the anthem for the single buds*
Sunsets are always good, no matter where you are. I’ve never seen a sunset I didn’t like. It just has a familiar warmth that creeps inside you. We went back to the bridge to be able to traverse the riverside so we can head to our main attraction.
And, here we are! I’ve always wanted to see the Rainbow Bridge. Thankfully, my friends decided to join me to take a look around. We sat by the riverside and watched the lights switch to different rainbow colors. These are the kind of moments I live for: Laughing around and having meaningful conversations while our gadgets are turned off. Sometimes, the most trivial things end up being the most unforgettable memories.
After unwinding, we decided to check out Raohe Night Market on the other side so we could meet with the rest of the team.
Raohe Night Market is popular and crowded, but that won’t stop me from tasting good food and taking a peek inside.
Here’s a guy making our favorite bubble milk tea — something the GadgetMatch team loves.
To cap off the night, we went to the Holiday Star KTV to sing our hearts out and have some fun with booze and music. It was definitely a fun day in Taipei. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with a city the same way I’ve fallen in love with nature’s wonders.
Taipei stunned me and left me awestruck. It’s a wonderful place to wander. Different cultures, good food, a change of scene, and moments you’ll always remember wherever you go. The Sony Xperia XZ2 is a good companion to capture all the details of this vibrant memory.
I hope to explore more of it the next time I’m around. I think I just left my heart in Taiwan, and I can’t wait to be back!
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.
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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