24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Singapore with the Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime

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A trip to Singapore is always a yes in my book. It’s a first-world country right in the heart of Southeast Asia and there’s nothing quite like its culture. I recently had the chance to travel there for a three-day, two-night stay and needless to say, it really was an adventure.

I brought the Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime with me over that weekend. While in most cases, it probably wouldn’t be the first phone that people would think of bringing for photos on their trip, but I’m always up for a challenge. I decided to put the J2 Prime through its paces and the results may surprise you.

Arriving in Changi Airport, Singapore’s primary landing spot, it’s not surprising to see how it’s been dubbed as the world’s best airport. It’s expansive, comfortable, and the architecture isn’t there just for show.

In this light, as long as the subjects aren’t moving very fast, shots come out surprisingly sharp and colors accurate

HDR mode isn’t available, so in a photo like this, it’s either you choose to blow out the highlights or sink the shadows; in most cases, I go with the latter.

I stayed at the Pan Pacific, a five-star hotel with a great view of the Marina Bay, a premier district in Singapore.

In this view from my hallway, I could see all the floors below me up till the lobby.

While the restaurant provided great food, it didn’t exactly have great light to shoot food in. The J2 Prime struggled in low light more than I would have liked.

The selfie camera also suffered in low-light conditions, and I had to make sure to turn beautification all the way down — I’ve personally never been a fan of the feature.

Taxis are lined up just outside the hotel. Cars in Singapore never seem outdated, and that goes for the taxis, as well.

The Marina Bay Sands is one of the most popular hotels in Singapore, with the iconic skydeck shaped like a boat and an infinity pool that towers over the city. This is the view from my room.

Food shots look great if you have steady hands and good enough lighting. Just be careful how close you get; the J2 Prime has trouble focusing on close objects.

Iʻm starting to think shots of landscapes and architecture are one of the strong points of this budget phoneʻs camera.

Hereʻs a selfie with better lighting! Look at all those smiles.

Here are some more landscape shots to fawn at.

One gripe I have with these landscape shots, though, is that all of them seem to have a harsh blue tint applied to them. Here’s another shot I think looks great, but I wouldn’t want this blue shade in all my photos.

A close-up shot of an intricate design in a dimly lit scenario, definitely its two weakest points.

I don’t know what it is about hotel food that just makes me want more. Good thing a few of my meals came in buffets.

Walking and cycling around the streets of Singapore never feels dangerous. As long as you follow everybody else’s lead on when to cross, you’ll never run into any problems.

Just look at that skyline. Breathtaking.

I didn’t know I had a tour guide, but this lady was kind enough to point out Singapore’s iconic mascot the Merlion for me.

Here we see a dashing young man in his suit. The suit is color black and shirt dark blue; we could say the J2 Prime had trouble processing the colors here.

Singapore may not be Dubai when it comes to cars, but they sure are good enough to impress me.

Eating dirty, this resto is on the outskirts of the busy Marina Bay district. It took us roughly 30 to 40 minutes on a bus ride to get here. I was very happy to see the more suburban side of Singapore.

Sometimes, I get these pretty good shots with hardly any light. I guess it really does come down to how steady you can keep your hands from shaking in situations like these.

Missed my breakfast buffet before the flight, but 7-Eleven continues to save the day even while I’m abroad.

And just like that, I’m back at Changi Airport. While I couldn’t document every part of my trip, I had a blast, and the J2 Prime surprisingly lasted me throughout the three days on a single charge. Of course, that only involved the occasional camera use and nothing more, but that’s still impressive standby time.

Singapore has and will always have a place in my heart. It’s a gorgeous city that fits right in any modern man’s lifestyle, and I just can’t wait to go back. While the J2 Prime didn’t give me any award-winning photos, it certainly gave me pictures good enough to be memories, and for the price of PhP 5,990 ($120), that might just be enough.


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.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Puerto Galera: Moto M vs Vivo V5 Lite

24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Taipei with the Sony Xperia XZ2

This is the city to fall in love with!

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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.

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24 Hours Series

24 Hours in New York with the Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei in the Big Apple

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I’m a fan of both Huawei’s flagship P20 Pro and some sweet irony, so I thought, why not join these two together?

That’s right: I brought the P20 Pro to a country that has no plans of selling it and has the disapproval of the government. It’s a complicated story with many takes and twists, but all that doesn’t really matter to me. I simply wanted to tour New York with the best set of cameras ever equipped on a phone.

Before entering the Big Apple, I was fortunate enough to take a scenic route over the North Pole. Endless layers of ice and water filled my window view, making me glad I didn’t settle for the roomier aisle seat this time.

And here I was, right at the center of New York City! This wasn’t my first time on this side of the east coast, but each visit has been a memorable one — this being no exception.

Yes, more buildings. Rows and rows of skyscrapers and commercial establishments organized in the blockiest of blocks. There are less intimidating sides to NY, but I had work to do.

Here I am taking a break and enjoying the portrait mode of the P20 Pro. When you’re in a big city like this, it’s a good idea to make use of the geometry in the background to add emphasis to your subject. Intersecting lines guide a viewer’s eyes to whatever they point to.

That’s the famous Empire State Building to the far end. While I didn’t get a chance to include the iconic site in my short itinerary, it was always in the background, looming over every shot I took in that direction.

What I was able to get close to, however, was the moon. Yep, with the 10X zoom of the P20 Pro’s triple-camera system, anything’s possible! (That sounded a lot like a paid advertisement but I swear it’s that good!)

Like during my tour through Venice Beach, these green vendors were floating around. Again, I couldn’t figure out exactly what they were selling, but they (and the customers) seemed overjoyed.

Panorama time! And what better spot than at the center of Times Square. Billboards are everywhere here, screaming consumerism and lights bright enough to make it feel like a morning market.

This is perhaps the best spot to take a touristy shot of Times Square. You get a clear look of the George M. Cohen statue with the famous red steps filled with people in the background.

A little-known fact about me: I love visiting churches and appreciating their architecture firsthand, no matter what religion or era. This particular Catholic church has a standout interior, but it’s the exterior that you’ll want to see…

… through a reflection! I couldn’t fit the entire structure on cam, but this shiny building nearby did the trick.

But that’s enough of glass and cement. It’s time to find a different time of green — this time in the solace of Central Park. This is the place to visit if you’re tired of building after building (even though they’re still visible in the background).

This is more like it! Central Park is the ideal spot for both relaxation and getting work done, thanks to the tranquility and friendly neighborhood critters adding life to the scenery.

What’s a park without a picturesque fountain placed at the center? This is me once again taking a break because walking is hard. New York is, without a doubt, a walking city. Sidewalks are abundant and taxi fares are expensive, so it’s best to bring along comfy sneakers to keep your feet from dying. Remember: You only have two of them!

To the side, you might find a street performer if you’re lucky. This man played one of the best covers of Eric Clapton’s “Layla” I’ve ever heard.

But of course, I couldn’t get away from the essence of New York, which are the structures that surround the massive park. Behind every tree is a building ten times as tall.

On my way out, I found Argosy, which is New York’s oldest independent book store, having been around since 1925. It’s filled with books, prints, maps, and paintings both new and old — but mostly old. Going inside for that library-like smell alone is worth the long walk!

When the sun goes down and people begin going home from work, the bright lights of the Big Apple turn on. But while the view from below is grand and all, it takes a rise to the top of the city for a more eyegasmic experience. There are two choices for this: the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock.

For this particular trip to NY, I chose the latter, and what a sight it was! The P20 Pro’s night mode got to show off its full potential here, bringing out the beauty of the big city and its array of lights. It’s debatable which of the two skyscrapers has the better view from above, but from what I’ve been told, Top of the Rock is the place to be when capping off a tour around New York City.


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.

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24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Shanghai with the ASUS ZenFone 5Q

Top things to see other than that famous skyline 😎

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Even if you’ve never been to Shanghai, you’ve most likely already seen the view of the city’s photogenic skyline from Waitan — or The Bund to foreign tourists — on your wanderlust-filled feed.

If it’s your first time in China’s cosmopolitan city, by all means go and see it. It’s definitely a must and one of the world’s most beautiful skylines. But this article will skip that and show you other things to do and see in a city that has so much more to offer.

Shared bicycles

Dockless bike rental is one of the “four great modern inventions” of China. Mobike and Ofo bikes are literally found everywhere in the country — they don’t have designated parking. If you have the respective apps and accounts set up, you can easily grab one of them on your way to your next destination, which, in my case, is brunch.

Seesaw Coffee

Find time to stop by Seesaw Coffee in the beautiful Jing’an Design Center and sample their baked goods. They don’t have cold brew but their hot tea and iced milk chocolate are really good.

The ZenFone 5Q’s wide-angle lens was made for this extremely photogenic place!

Oriental Pearl Tower

There are a lot of ways to see Shanghai, and while the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower isn’t the tallest building or the highest view deck in the city, it offers a unique perspective through this glass floor that goes all the way around the tower. Yes, walking on glass might give you the heebie-jeebies but it’s worth it, especially if you have that extra-wide-angle lens 😎

Yu Yuan

Tourists flock to Yu Yuan not just for the extensive traditional Chinese garden and the potential photo opportunities, but also for the street food, souvenirs, and shopping.

This Instagram-famous garden is huge and is one of the most crowded sights in Shanghai.

Jianbing

Wide-angle selfie at work in the old Jewish quarters while waiting for our order

I’ve been to Shanghai a couple of times before, but it’s on this trip that I finally discovered my favorite Chinese street food. Bing, also known as jianbing, is actually a street breakfast food but fillings can vary depending on where you get it.

This one from the old Jewish quarters area had fried chicken strips dipped in spicy sauce so it was a great late lunch. I honestly still dream about this bing to this day.

Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum

When most of the world closed their doors on Jewish refugees, Shanghai was one of the few cities that welcomed them. Entering Shanghai back then did not require any visas so European Jews, most of whom penniless and escapees of concentration camps, found a temporary haven in the city for almost a decade.

While they were in Shanghai, the Jewish refugees managed to live a normal life — opening businesses, offices, and even clinics.

Century Park

If you visit Shanghai in spring, make sure to include a park in your itinerary so you don’t miss out on all the trees that only bloom once a year.

Century Park in the Pudong side is one of the bigger ones that have beautiful cherry blossom and magnolia trees — perfect for those wide-angled selfies!

Nanjing East Road

When the sun goes down, walk through Nanjing East Road for more street food, shopping, and souvenirs. This pedestrian street can get a little crowded at times, but nothing spells modern China more than rows and rows of neon signs.

Charlie’s

I love restaurants with a simple proposition and Charlie’s in Nanjing Xi Lu (West Nanjing Road), is one of those. Outside the building, painted in bold letters below its logo, it says BURGER. SHAKE. TAP. If you know me well, you know I can never shake off my burger cravings. So yes, I’d tap that.

Traveling in China can be daunting especially for first-timers, but Shanghai makes it easier. It’s a hybrid of western and Chinese culture, it’s more open and modern, and relatively foreigner-friendly.


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.

This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS.

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