As they usually say, “unplanned trips are the best.” Like the Quezon beach trip that was decided in a spur-of-the-moment, going to Nasugbu was also ever-spontaneous.
We would’ve gone to Boracay, as we snagged a cheap PhP 5,000 worth of round-trip airfare. But with all the inconsistencies of the government in announcing lockdown restrictions, we decided to let it go and hop on a road trip down south.
Unconventional yet thrilling
Going to Pansol, Laguna, or an overlooking resort in Tanay, Rizal was one of the options to consider. However, we found ourselves driving further extemporaneously.
After two to three hours, we reached Nasugbu, Batangas. Along the way, we discovered a cool, overlooking view of Batangas at night, right before you pass through Tagaytay.
Unpack things, not feelings
At exactly 8:32 PM, we reached our destination. The first thing I did was unpack my stuff. Feelings? You can unpack it later after a late yet sumptuous dinner.
I tested Xiaomi 11T Pro’s photo prowess by taking a photo of that figurine inside the room with just that artificial light around.
Surprisingly, it looked good despite not fully embracing its overall camera performance. I also took a quick mandatory FFTB mirror selfie.
I like how that Depth of Field (DoF) separated me from my surroundings. Maybe the macro camera has its perks after all.
I went outside to get some breezy night air while I let my hair dry. Unfortunately, beaches are closed past 9 in the evening.
While sitting at a chaise lounge, I also captured photos of meat-grilling sessions. The Xiaomi 11T Pro’s Night Mode did a good job, especially with the appearance of fire and smoke. Very unlikely with how most night photos turned out in my review.
I also used it to capture these selfies sans beauty mode — which look good for my liking.
We all need that ✨ Vitamin Sea ✨
We decided to spend the rest of the night with some booze — until my friends got knocked out. I was able to stay awake and witness how the dark sky transitioned into a picturesque, beach view.
There was no sunrise view since Nasugbu is situated on the western side. The saving grace is that sunsets look magical in this town.
The resort looks antiquated; brimming with history among its guests over the years. Thanks to that ultra-wide lens, it was able to capture the place clearly. And without the obstruction of crowds.
It’s probably the best part of this quick getaway: only a few people in sight.
There’s a stainless steel gate with a stone arch paving the way towards the sandy beach of Nasugbu. Xiaomi 11T Pro’s Auto White Balance (AWB) might actually lean more into the warmer side. But notice how overly-warm my sandal-fie was?
Going further, there’s also a wooden gate near the beach. It’s suppose to deter unwanted visitors coming from other resorts. I had a small talk with the resort owner and he shared how low tides are more apparent this season. Sea waves in high tides would reach as far as the stainless, steel gate we crossed earlier.
Just like in my review, the inconsistency of the ultra-wide and wide lens can be seen especially with that less bright shot. Zooming in past 1x means relying on digital cropping via its main sensor. Little did I know that doing so loses that warm White Balance.
Unpredictable like the ocean waves
The Xiaomi 11T Pro’s camera performance is pretty much unpredictable.
While the 11T Pro’s shot looked better because it’s brighter and sharper, that’s actually the camera software’s over-processing. The night shot taken with the Mi 10T Pro was closer to what I saw in person.
Fast forward to the next day, this was how it looked like as early as six in the morning. Astonishingly, the beach shot of the 11T Pro was too cool. Not “too cool” though in terms of quality. The Mi 10T Pro delivered a better shot.
But when you switch to that even wider Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens, the Xiaomi 11T Pro was once again inconsistent AF.
After some time, fishing boats started to appear on the shoreline. I then tried tapping the 2x option for that zoomed shot. The photo turned out way too blue.
Looking around, there’s a fancier resort right next to where we stayed. I took a shot and the warmer White Balance and better Dynamic Range saved the Xiaomi 11T Pro this time.
Xiaomi 11T Pro is pretty consistent in having inconsistent wins and losses. The Xiaomi 11T Pro wins this one due to the preservation of image details and better High Dynamic Range.
Ending this with the last photo before we went home. Not much of a difference but the bluish tint in the sky is evident on the 11T Pro versus the Mi 10T Pro’s less-vibrant sky.
Spicing up this sea-scapade getaway
As GadgetMatch’s Associate Creative Producer, post-processing (or color grading) shots is also part of my job. While we barely post color-graded photo samples on this website unless clearly stated, this section is clearly dedicated to some photos taken with the Xiaomi 11T Pro that were modified through a photo-grading app.
Like what you saw earlier, the RAW versions of these photos looked so bluish to the point that I was like in Avatar. Luckily, post-processing apps were made and I was able to improve it by applying a preset and adjusting all the necessary camera settings such as temperature/White Balance, highlights, shadows, contrast, among others.
I can’t miss another beach photo this time. I asked my friend to take photos of me in this weird all-black get-up.
Then, I just tried to write letters on the sand and made it a candid-looking shot. My friend followed after me (which kinda looked like she was mocking me lol).
I then took over the Xiaomi 11T Pro and took more photos of her.
This is a testament that bragging #NoFilter shots are senseless. Color-grading shots adds more life and story to your photos.
I always tell people that camera angles play a huge part in photography. Just look at how my friend nailed the first shot compared to a regular photo shot from a distance.
The blown out highlights and exposure of the original photos made it look less appealing. Lucky enough, I was able to salvage these photos through the power of color grading.
Candid photos are simply the best for memory preservation. It makes you remember the moments more than the poses you’ve made in front of the camera.
One thing I liked about the beach in Nasugbu is the firmer sand crystals despite having a mud-like color. Those in Unisan, Quezon had white sand but are actually rougher especially when you’re barefooted.
But I do like the clearer blue water in Quezon. The one here in Nasugbu is far more brown just like the beach’s color. And as I remember my regrets of not being able to visit Boracay, it also reminded me how I badly miss the white sand plus the crystal clear and less salty water of the island.
It might seem unfortunate, not to be able to visit Boracay during this pandemic. Being surrounded by two pairs of sweet honey bees doesn’t help either.
But, in all honesty, I enjoyed the company more instead of being awkward. Especially with the bond that we already formed. And yeah, I’m used to being single and alone (and no, this ain’t a sadb0i sentiment).
Certainly, unplanned trips are indeed the best.
All shots were taken using the Xiaomi 11T Pro with a mix of RAW and post-processed photos edited through VSCO.
We made sure all of us were safe and COVID-19 free prior to going to the travel location. All of us are already fully vaccinated but still submitted the requirements needed for in-country travel. Face masks were still worn during the trip and were only removed for the sake of the photoshoot. Social distancing protocols were followed as well.
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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