24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Venice Beach with the LG G6



I’ve been to the actual city of Venice in Italy a few years back, and while the breathtaking sights I enjoyed then are still fresh to me, I had no qualms visiting what’s called the Venice of America.

The moment my trip to Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California was booked, I had a choice of nine different smartphones to take with me on the trip. After much self-deliberation, it came down to one premium handset, and that was the LG G6.

Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S8 has the single best camera right now and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus narrowly bested the LG handset in a recent shootout, but the G6 has something neither of them have: a secondary rear camera that can take extra-wide-angle landscape photos.

I figured it would be perfect for the views I was about to experience, and on top of that, the G6 is both water and dust resistant — perfect for the wet and sandy terrains I was about to set my feet in!

Right by the beach

The photo above is Venice Beach in a nutshell: shirtless folks traversing paths beside the beach and under an endless line of palm trees. Despite the clear, blue sky and beaming sun, not once did I shed a drop of sweat. Either the sea breeze was that cool, or my body was preserving all the liquids it stored!

What I loved most about Venice was the diversity of activities. I’d go from a chill Gelato bar to a high-speed skate park like this in a matter of steps!

Music of all genres filled the air at every corner. Each band had their own playlists which never overlapped with the following group’s. How they coordinate that, I may never know.

While I didn’t have the guts to come up and buy something, every street vendor braved the heat to show off what they got — love and peace were universal themes.

Right behind this set of junk-built statues of (copyrighted) characters, is the biggest selection of hats I’ve ever seen! I’m not a hat person, but I couldn’t help but try on a couple.

If you take a detour through one of the less-busy side streets, you’ll be treated to some hidden wall art such as this. I love how the possibly unintentional growth of weed underneath makes it seem like the man is peering right through.

Back on track, here’s one of Venice Beach’s trademark outdoor gyms. As you can tell by my nearly shot-ruining finger on the lower-left corner of the photo, I have to keep my hands clear of the lens when going extra wide.

The rise of corporate overlords

This is a long and narrow Snap shop containing a few vending machines for the company’s sole physical product, Spectacles.

Sadly, Snapchat’s success means office expansion along Venice Beach, and people clearly aren’t happy about losing their land to tycoons.

Another standout business is this string of stores by “Green Doctors.” I have no idea what they sell, but whatever it is, customers walking out seem extra happy and laid back.

Back to business

As much fun as it was to leisurely walk around the beach, some work had to be done. Here’s Michael Josh setting up the camera for an unboxing we were shooting. It’s coming soon!

A trip to the grocery store before dinner gave me the perfect chance to test the G6’s color reproduction. I must say, the hues here are spot on, and this shot is making me hungry again!

On to Santa Monica

Memories of the TV show Baywatch sprung to mind here — except there was no Pamela Anderson or David Hasselhoff to save me from the biting cold of the ocean!

This shot was taken during our long walk from Venice Beach to Santa Monica. The linear direction meant sunburn on just the left side of my neck and arm.

Finally, here’s me feeling like a champ after walking 4,000 steps to this point. Maybe next time, I’ll rent a car and drive 4,000 kilometers to the other end of Route 66 — Chicago, Illinois.

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 Lisbon with the Sony RX100 V

24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Phnom Penh with the Vivo V7

A hope-filled city with a horrifying history



Phnom Penh is such an underrated city. If you ask any tourist which Southeast Asian destination he or she would love to visit, the Cambodian capital will probably not even be on the list.

The more popular Siem Reap with its glorious Angkor Wat complex is usually what comes to mind first when talking about Cambodia.

But there’s something so special about Phnom Penh. Perhaps the fact that there are fewer tourists here, despite the history and similarities it shares with its French Indochina neighbors is what makes me root for it more.

Feel Good breakfast

Breakfast burrito and pancakes with a twist

Mornings are made for great breakfast food and coffee. Cold brew is still not as common in Southeast Asia as I’d like, but most cafes in Phnom Penh like Feel Good Coffee make their cup of joe the way they also do in Vietnam: with a metal drip and a splash of sweetened condensed milk.

Walking around the neighborhood gives you a quick feel of what modern-day Phnom Penh is like. It’s reminiscent of the bustling cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and even Bangkok — lining every street are parked scooters and vendors selling iced beverages including my favorite Thai iced tea!

Choeung Ek killing fields

Prepare for a long ride out of the city proper!

40 minutes from the city proper is the Choeung Ek memorial, a must if you’re visiting Phnom Penh. Tip: Hire a rickshaw or tuktuk to take you there and then back, although the newer rickshaws are cheaper, a lot more comfortable, and feel safer than the latter.

There are no words to describe how disturbing Cambodia’s history is — a very recent one at that. No more than 40 years ago, a quarter of the Khmer population — mostly people from Phnom Penh — were murdered by its own government for the promise of a utopian future.

Today, Cambodia tells the gruesome stories of the Khmer Rouge victims and survivors — some of them younger than my own parents — through memorials like the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.

Around the memorial are benches where you can sit and listen to the audioguide in peace.

They are built to remind the new generation to not make the same mistakes and to embrace the freedom that they enjoy today.

Uy Kuyteav

Phnom Penh is home to a lot of good restaurants that serve local cuisine at a reasonable price.

While Khmer food staples lok lak and fish amok are easy to find, the noodle dish uy kuy teav isn’t exactly as popular. It’s not rare to see Vietnamese and Thai food in the menu as well.

Wat Phnom

If you must visit one temple in the city, it’s got to be the tallest one. Inside the Wat Phnom complex is also a huge park where you can relax and reflect.

Shopping at Central Market

On our way to the Central Market!

Cambodia isn’t exactly known for the unique shopping finds unlike Thailand’s Chatuchak Market, but a lot of your favorite clothing brands have products made in Phnom Penh. So you’ll find good deals on quality overruns from Levi’s, H&M, and Nike in the different markets around the city.

Central Market, also referred to as Psar Thmei, is the biggest one, with stalls selling not just clothes, but also jewelry, kitchen tools, and of course, food!

The market is one of the few landmarks that will remind you of Cambodia’s colonial history. It was one of, if not the biggest market in Asia when it was built in 1937 during the French colonial period.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

If you still have time, visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum before sunset for more insight on the Khmer Rouge brutality.

The Tuol Svay Prey High School was converted into the largest detention center from 1975 to 1979 when Pol Pot’s army took over Phnom Penh and the rest of Cambodia; former classrooms became interrogation rooms, torture chambers, and prison cells.

Phnom Penh Riverside

It’s bound to get hot in Phnom Penh even in February so you might want to pack an extra top and change in the middle of the day

Phnom Penh sits at the intersection of Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. You can enjoy the view from the Riverside Park with a refreshing cup of iced Ceylon tea.

Across the park are restaurants and bars. Some of them have rooftops for a better view of the river.

Romantic dinner at Romdeng

End the day at Romdeng, a restaurant run by an NGO that trains locals in hospitality management and supports the marginalized.

Their version of Cambodia’s national dish fish amok is especially tasty!

Cambodia is on a long road to recovery from the horrors of its past, but its capital and people do not forget; they remember. And despite everything they have been through, they remain steadfast — filled with so much hope and kindness — and we could all learn a thing or two from them.

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 Koh Rong with the Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018)

How can something Koh Rong feel so right?



Koh Rong has been pretty much untouched and unknown to most tourists until very recently.

Getting to this beautiful island in Cambodia is no easy feat. There are very few flights that go to Sihanoukville, the jump-off point for the speed boats that will take you to the island itself.

The cheapest and fastest option that I found is to fly to Phnom Penh from Bangkok, and take the bus to Sihanoukville from there that lasts four to six hours depending on traffic. The return ticket for a speed boat to Koh Rong costs around US$ 25, depending on which beach you choose to stay at.

Koh Rong is a pretty big island so there’s something meant for all kinds of travelers — families, couples, friends, and backpackers. Our beach of choice is the quiet one, Coconut Beach, but whichever part of the island you choose, the beach looks pretty much the same.

You’ll get the same clear blue water…

And fine white sand…

That’s perfect for walking barefoot!

The Galaxy A8+ (2018) captures the fine white sand really well up close

Did I say the water is so clear? This is the stuff made for Instagram!

Whether you’re there for three days, one week, or even longer, there’s plenty to do at the island including snorkeling and kayaking.

You can also rent a scooter to go to other beaches although only the locals and very few tourists choose this option to get around. There are very few developments on the island for now — no paved roads, airports, or big buildings yet.

Accommodations consist mostly of nipa bungalows and tents owned by foreigners who moved to Cambodia.

Closest to Coconut Beach is Long Set Beach. It’s bigger and has fewer tourists when we visited but accommodations and food are also a little bit more expensive.

Pura Vita is one of the resorts at Long Set Beach that also has a restaurant at the beachfront.

Here’s a fullscreen selfie with Live Focus turned on

My favorite thing, whether I’m on vacation or just in the office working, is food. I have been to Cambodia before so I’m a little more familiar with Khmer cuisine now. Beef lok lak with rice and a glorious runny fried egg is my favorite.

Here it’s served with fries and the traditional Kampot pepper dip. Another thing to try is Cambodia’s national dish, fish amok.

As any beach destination, fresh fruits are a great afternoon snack to get a little refreshed and a dose of energy.

Khmer dishes are also highly influenced by Lao, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisines, so don’t be surprised if you find beef lab and spring rolls on the menu.

The Galaxy A8+ (2018) takes photos with great color reproduction

There are already plans of developing beaches of Koh Rong into luxury resorts, so traveling there will be much easier as the demand goes higher.

Sun-kissed in Koh Rong

So if you’re the type who likes a little adventure and just chilling at the beach without the luxuries of modern life, put Koh Rong on your list of places to visit in 2018 before the big corporations take over the island.

How can something Koh Rong feel so right all along?

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24 Hours Series

24 hours in San Diego with the Huawei Mate 10

Zoos, beaches, and everything in between



Huawei’s latest flagships challenge what smartphone cameras can do. Equipped with Leica lenses and AI capabilities, the Huawei Mate 10 steps up the smartphone photography game.

I decided to put its cameras to the test, a very tourist-y test!

I took the Mate 10 on my recent trip to the US (which was quite fitting as Huawei just recently launched their flagships in the region) and brought it around a quick visit to San Diego with Joshua Vergara.

Getting there

Located in Southern California, sunny San Diego is approximately 195 kilometers south of Los Angeles. This means it’s an easy two-hour drive. (All that time I spent playing with the phones’ selfie mode.)

Beauty mode, portrait mode, check!

The city, which sits on the Pacific coast and adjacent to the Mexican border, is known for its great climate, beaches, and parks.

HDR on fleek

Wilding out

Upon arriving, the first stop was the world famous San Diego Zoo, home to the Panda cams. Unfortunately, I missed the chance to take panda photos as I was too busy squealing in delight at the sight of those black and white fur-balls. I did, however, manage to take a quick snap of Joshua in the wild, with his new friend.

Joshua makes friends easily 😂

Pro tip: the cable cars will take you to the other side of the zoo and give you a pretty awesome view of the whole place from up top.

Pretend it’s a roller coaster!

A day pass will cost you around US$ 54 and a two-day pass is US$ 87. We spent the afternoon strolling around the massive zoo compound.

More HDR at work

It was almost evening when we decided to leave. Admittedly, an afternoon is not near enough time to see everything that the zoo has to offer. A whole day or two would be ideal but we were pressed for time and I got to see the pandas which is what mattered most to me. 🐼

Little Italy

The next day, we started our day with coffee at Little Italy — mainly because Joshua and I are big coffee drinkers. Also because there were so many great Instagrammable spots and Joshua was trying to be a good IG boyfriend.

I’m the true Instagram girlfriend, TBH

Like I said, San Diego has great weather conducive to photo walks. This particular area is home to many pretty coffee shops and boutique establishments. Rows of picturesque stores and quaint cafes line the streets.

So Instagram-worthy!

A latte and a choco espresso cookie shot later, we were off to explore more.

Huawei’s wide aperture setting makes for great food shots like this

Of course I needed a photo of the fountain

In San Diego, you need not go far to find the beach or a park. A quick scenic stroll eventually landed us in this pretty spot that was perfect for basking in the sun.

University of San Diego

The next stop was Joshua’s alma mater. The University of San Diego is one beautiful campus — all 180 acres of it.

See, more fountains!

It’s located in Alcalá Park which overlooks San Diego. This makes for some pretty great views!

Breathtaking view and the Mate 10’s bokeh capability

It was a walk in the park — they weren’t kidding when they said it was a nice-looking school. I also had a private walking tour from my favorite USD alumnus (pictured below 😂).

Beauty mode on the Mate 10 got us looking this fresh, even after a quick hike around USD

You’d think that at this point, I would’ve had my share of walking, as I had definitely completed the number of steps I needed in a day, but there was one last stop before this trip concluded!

Pacific Beach

Of course, you can’t leave San Diego without visiting the beach.

You can take the girl out of the beach cut you can’t take the beach out of the girl ☀️

This is Pacific beach, a popular tourist destination. The water looked so inviting but my tropical-island-beach-girl self couldn’t even fathom being in a bikini in that weather, though that certainly didn’t stop others!

Ice cream shop that matches my hair color — I should’ve taken an IG photo here #regrets

Stores, restaurants, and hotels line the boardwalk. If you choose not to swim, you definitely won’t run out of things to do here.

Dramatic shot of the boyfriend. Where’s my best IG girlfriend award?


San Diego is a big brewery city which means beer is almost always a good idea. We waited for the sun to set by the beach and grabbed a cold one before heading back.

I can tell you this much: It won’t be my last time visiting. See you soon, San Diego!

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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