Features

5 of the Best Free-to-Play Console Games

Published

on

There are plenty of free-to-play games on mobile and PC, but did you know that you can also enjoy video games on your PlayStation 4 and Xbox One without having to spend a single cent? Here are five free-to-play console games you should check out!

Warframe

Live out your high-tech sci-fi power fantasy of being a badass ancient space warrior in super-powered exoskeletons in Warframe.

Shoot, dodge, and slice your way across the solar system against grotesque monsters, cybernetically enhanced aliens, and clone armies with the help of your friends. Choose from a variety of frames and weapons, each with their own unique abilities and highly customizable, so you can always shake up how you play. You can earn just about every piece of equipment from gaining in-game credits by accomplishing all sorts of quests or by simply trading gear with other players.

The game has been available on the PS4 since 2013 and XB1 since 2014, with a steady community of millions and a constant stream of new content.

Let It Die

“It’s like a hack-and-slash roguelike kind of thing!” so says Uncle Death of Let It Die. What your bespectacled, skateboarding Grim Reaper guide means by that is you’ll be using an assortment of melee weapons to smash, cut, chop, bludgeon, beat, etc. deranged, half-naked goons in levels that always change their layout and loot whenever you revisit them or you die.

And you will die. A lot.

But, it’s okay! You have a home base that you can improve permanently with the resources you gain from ascending the mysterious Tower of Barbs and with the literal human bodies you can kidnap from other players’ headquarters, so there’s always progress to be made.

It’s a surreal and stylish single-player third-person action-brawler/dungeon-crawler exclusive to the PS4.

Killer Instinct

The over-the-top fighting game violence of the 90s is alive and well today with the modern reboot of the 1994 arcade classic Killer Instinct.

It’s Ultras and c-c-c-combo breakers with some old favorites like Jago, Glacius, and Orchid, plus a bunch of new fighters and systems in a way more polished current-gen package. The Instinct and Counter Breaker mechanics introduced in this version deepen the gameplay experience for more hardcore fighting game fans to explore, too.

With over three seasons of content to check out since its 2013 release and a different character to try every week for free, XB1 owners with a competitive drive should try out this game available only on Microsoft platforms.

The Tomorrow Children

Is your job emotionally unrewarding? Do you feel detached from the very community you’re part of? Find fulfillment (or something like it) in the oddly relaxing resource-gathering, town-building PS4 exclusive The Tomorrow Children.

Mine for minerals in far-away caverns with a trusty pickaxe. Find matryoshka dolls to populate your town. Construct facilities with the materials and currency you earn to unlock more productive ways to gather even more resources. Defend your home you worked so hard to build from the occasional marauding monsters!

Do it by yourself or with friends and strangers. It’s all for the good of rebuilding society in this strange, gleaming white post-apocalyptic void, as our enigmatic yet charismatic dear leader says!

Paladins

Heard all the hubbub about Overwatch but don’t think spending $60 on an online multiplayer-only hero-shooter is worth it? You can have a somewhat similar experience on your PS4 or XB1 for free with Paladins.

Skirmish against other players over capture points and payloads with a colorful cast of characters. Mow down enemies with Tyra and her trusty AK; charge into the frontline and cover your team with Fernando’s energy shield; keep your comrades alive while bouncing around the battlefield as Pip; sneak behind enemy lines and take down key supports as Skye.

A couple more heroes are available in the basic version, so you can have plenty of fun trying out different ways to play or going all-in on a style you really like. All the other champions can be unlocked with earnable in-game credits, allowing you to eventually get them all! Just remember that it’s still in beta so expect minor bugs and balancing tweaks.

SEE ALSO: 5 must-have Nintendo Switch games that aren’t Zelda

[irp posts=”12299″ name=”5 must-have Nintendo Switch games that aren’t Zelda”]

Hands-On

Nokia G21: Stock Android experience

Guaranteed updates on a budget smartphone!

Published

on

Nokia is refusing to throw in the towel as the company tries to keep its footing, at least in the budget segment. This year, the Nokia G21 found its way to the Philippines, promising a stock Android experience without breaking the bank. But will it deliver?

Robust build

Nokia brings in what it’s good at — a robust design with a penchant for durability. The Nokia G21 looks and feels sturdy, although I’m sure it isn’t as strong as Nokia’s phones from two decades ago.

It’s painted in Nordic Blue, which seems Navy to me, and at certain lighting conditions, appears green-ish. There’s a striking, horizontal pattern that adds texture when you hold the phone and touch its rear.

The camera island is a little bit embossed, but it doesn’t protrude that when you place the phone on a flat surface, it’s almost even. The disparity isn’t noticeable.

More importantly, the heft is quite tolerable, even for those who have tiny, frail hands like yours truly. But when compared to other budget smartphones, it’s a bit light.

Comfort features

What most people enjoy about budget phones is their comfort features — stuff you’ve always wanted to stay in a smartphone.

On the right, you can find the volume rockers above the fingerprint scanner which doubles as a power button.

At the bottom, you’ll be glad to see a USB-C port along with the speaker grilles.

On the left side, you can find the SIM tray slot along with a quick button for Google Assistant. Up top, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack.

The tray offers an option for a single or dual SIM, along with a dedicated microSD card slot.

The upsides

Running on Android One, the Nokia G21 exhibits a near-stock version of Android with few modifications. It puts a focus on Google services, housing essential apps you might need for your connected lifestyle while still running on Android 11. The operating system might be a bit late considering how Android 13 started rolling out.

Nevertheless, there’s still relief in knowing that a budget phone like this — which usually doesn’t get favorable treatments from smartphone manufacturers — will get two years of OS updates and three years of security updates. After all, running on Android One means Nokia gets the updates straight from Google.

Frankly, I missed seeing the cleanliness of Android One. It’s simple and efficient — easy to the eyes and to the user experience. Every app you’ll use is basically under Google. For instance, checking images would prompt you to check Photos app because there’s no Gallery. Gmail automatically becomes your mailing app. Chrome is the default browser. Entender?

Surprisingly, it comes with the Netflix  app built in so you can enjoy worthwhile content when YouTube gets tedious for you. Furthermore, you can watch your favorite shows or continue using the smartphone from day to night with its humongous 5050mAh battery. It might take a while for it to fully charge though, given that the unit ships with a 10W charger. Although, the G21 can handle up to 18W of charging. If you have a third-party Power Delivery (PD) charger, it’s high time you use it.

At the very least, let the phone charge while you sleep. Think of it as the two of you bonding by recharging through the night.

The downsides

The Nokia G21 sports a 6.5-inch IPS LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate. With a 20:9 ratio, you can enjoy your favorite shows albeit the waterdrop cutout can get distracting when watching on full-screen mode.

I was catching up with The Rising of the Shield Hero and the experience is as budget as it gets. Nothing stellar, just a smartphone delivering what’s expected out of it. Visuals aren’t vibrant and audio isn’t as loud as most smartphones in the same category.

At the very least, this smartphone is totally acceptable for anyone looking for an affordable smartphone that they can use as a daily driver.

In terms of gaming and even multitasking, the G21 struggles. It runs on a Unisoc T606 chipset, an octa-core CPU inside, and a Mali G57 Mp1 GPU. The configurations for the smartphone are 3GB/64GB, 4GB/64GB, and 4GB/128GB.

IMO, even if you get the 128GB variant, it won’t be enough. There’s a considerable delay in accessing the phone after unlocking it with facial recognition or other security measures. The same goes for the fingerprint scanner, which you’d think is the faster option among all unlocking methods.

Opening the apps usually takes a while since the phone flashes the app’s logo for a second or two before it shows the interface. While the delay is minuscule for most people, it’s still puzzling since the slow, laggy experience happens even when I haven’t consumed most of the storage.

I only installed Roblox and Ni no Kuni to test the device and of course, get a dose of my favorite games. Playing Ni no Kuni is a real challenge, especially with its graphics-intensive setting.

I was able to play, of course, but it comes with annoyances when it doesn’t load as quickly as I would like it to be. I’d recommend not playing on this device unless you have the patience to deal with the inevitable delays.

Hit-or-miss cameras

Let’s get this out of the way. The Nokia G21 is equipped with a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel macro lens, and 2-megapixel depth sensor. Its selfie camera houses a single 8-megapixel wide lens. Here are some samples we’ve taken for you to peruse:

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Nokia G21, by any means, can’t be considered a daily driver worth buying. It’s something you’d probably get if it’s the only phone available in the nearest stores and you badly need one. After all, it retails for PhP 9,990 and is available in a Nordic Blue colorway.

Its saving grace is the promise of OS and security updates, thanks to its Android One program. There’s a guarantee that Google will extend its lifespan as long as it can.

Ideally, there are different budget options you can get for under PhP 10,000. There’s the Redmi Note 11, the vivo T1X, and even the Infinix Note 12.

On the off chance that you already have a primary phone, the Nokia G21 has plenty of use cases as a secondary phone. For one, its long battery life and robust build give me the peace of mind that I can rely on it as a companion when I drive a motorcycle. It’s durable and can last longer when needed.

Just because it’s a budget phone with plenty of compromises doesn’t mean there are no use cases for it at all.

Continue Reading

Features

PLDT Fast Hub: A taste of (near) 10,000mbps

With the PLDT Fast Hub

Published

on

PLDT Fast Hub

Fast and consistently reliable Internet speed has always felt like a pipe dream in the Philippines. But PLDT is doing its best to make it a reality. The latest expansion sees the company bringing up to 10,000mbps to select areas in the county. 

The number seems staggering. To show exactly what it can do, we spent an afternoon at the PLDT Fast Hub. Here’s what the experience was like. 

Close to 10,000mbps 

PLDT Fast Hub

We conducted several OOKLA speed tests and never quite got to exactly 10,000mbps. However, the speeds were consistently around 8,000mbps. That’s still more than any other plan in the Philippines at the moment.

Specific hardware required

PLDT Fast Hub

Naturally, something this fast has to come with its own set of specific hardware. Every household is different, so you’ll need to fill-up this form from PLDT to find out exactly what’s required for your setup. Consequently, your setup will determine the full pricing.

How many devices can it handle? Covering up to around 6,000 square maters thanks to the ASUS ZenWifi and a mesh system, the service can accommodate up to 100 bandwidth-hungry devices at once without struggling. With this, you still have room to connect a few more passive smart devices. 

And that’s exactly what was on display on the Fast Hub.

Multiple devices

PDLT Fast Hub

This was the primary computer connected to the service. We loaded a bunch of sites, which, to be honest, didn’t really put too much strain on the service. Imagine 10 more of these in the household and the connection can still handle it smoothly.

PLDT Fast Hub

Is there a gamer in the family? Having consistent and fast bandwidth is key, especially if you play competitive multiplayer games like Valorant. We tried our hand on a few games and while we ultimately ate dust in the game, the internet connection more than held up.

PLDT Fast Hub

To set the mood while taking these photos, we fired up TWICE’s Hello (Performed by Nayeon, Momo, and Chaeyoung). Music streaming typically doesn’t really eat up too much bandwidth, so you can vibe to whatever your jam is to your heart’s content.

PDLT Fast Hub

Some Playstation 5/console games require you to be online. Inside the fast hub, we ran a few races on Gran Turismo 7. Again, the overall experience was seamless. Would’ve loved to be able to test this on NBA 2K’s Park since that’s the mode we consistently have trouble connecting to. Perhaps another time.

Connected Smart Home

PLDT Fast Hub

Other than the aforementioned devices, the PLDT Fast Hub also featured a bunch of smart lights. We can’t recall the exact number but there were probably over 15 lights setup. All of which responded swiftly  after being issued voice commands via Google Assistant.

There was also a smart vacuum in the room which also responded to voice commands. It didn’t quite do exactly what you told it to, but perhaps that’s more the device than the Internet connection.

They even had this smart mirror in the room. With it you can pull up any workouts on YouTube and follow-along the exercise while the video is playing.

A dream

The PLDT Fast Hub delivered a taste of a dream. In fact, the whole setup likely didn’t even push the connection to the limit. But to know that this is now a possibility in certain locations is encouraging. Hoping it becomes more widely available and accessible soon.

To know if it covers your area, again, you may sign up on this form.

Continue Reading

Features

vivo X80 Pro with ZEISS: Capturing the city life

Noteworthy smartphone cameras

Published

on

vivo X80 Pro ZEISS


City life. It takes its toll on you. But it also has its charms. And one way to really enjoy its hustle and bustle is to have a companion to capture everything it has to offer.

Thankfully, there’s the vivo X80 Pro. It’s the company’s latest and greatest for many reasons.
Chief of which is its outstanding cameras sprinkled with ZEISS Natural Color goodness.

vivo and ZEISS

vivo’s camera-performance has been flying under the radar over the years. But with this ZEISS partnership, they’re now ready to soar.

All the lenses on the X80 Pro have ZEISS patented T Star coating. It helps reduce reflections when taking photos of lights at night.

Photos are already sharp as is but the ZEISS Super Night Camera takes things even further. You also get ZEISS Portraits for stylized shots.

And it’s not just photos. Zeiss makes its mark on videos too. With the ZEISS Cinematic Video Bokeh feature, you can shoot in a cinematic aspect ratio… While also applying depth of field.

Working in tandem to produce these still and moving images are the ZEISS 50MP Ultra-Sensing GNV Sensor as well as the V1+ Chip. The sensor keeps things steady even if your hands are shaky. And the V1 Plus Chip is vivo’s own creation — a product of years of research and development to achieve the absolute best in mobile imaging technology.

Capturing city life

Okay, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s pullback for a bit and show you all the cameras equipped on the vivo X80 Pro.

  • 50MP Zeiss Ultra-Sensing GNV sensor
  • 48MP Ultra wide angle lens
  • 8MP Periscope lens, 5x optical zoom
  • 12MP Gimbal Portrait camera

They say the best camera is the one you can always carry with you. And this combination from vivo is about as good and as extensive as it can get.

Combined with the Camera Panning feature working in the background we can get stunning running shots.

It’s a great way to document the start to your day. After that quick run, it’s time to freshen up and grab a bite. Sharing your breakfast on socials is still a thing, right? Flex all you want. You deserve it.

And while you’re at it. Might as well flex yourself too using the 32MP selfie shooter.

Videos are all the rage these days and if you want to take social sharing to another level, do it in motion.

SEE ALSO: GadgetSnaps: vivo X80 Pro in The Fort

Premium flagship

Now, capturing isn’t all the vivo x80 Pro is good for. It is, after all, a flagship smartphone. The specs speak for themselves:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • 12+4GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage
  • 4,700mAh

It’s one thing to see it on paper, but the overall performance checks out too. Your usual social browsing, chatting, and jumping between apps is an absolute breeze.

And watching your favorite shows and videos is just flat-out great. The vivo X80 Pro has dual speakers making for a fantastic entertainment experience.

The 6.78-inch AMOLED display is a treat to the eyes. And it has a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, meaning it goes from 1Hz to 120Hz depending on what you’re doing.

This helps conserve the 4,700mAh battery which should last you quite a bit in a day. And if not, you can quickly top up as it supports wired 80W Flash Charge as well as 50W wireless Flash Charge.

As far as its looks are concerned it has a glass back with matte coating and some hints of glitter. Fittingly called Cosmic Black, the look is a straight up classic.

Superb shooter, all around partner

vivo has for itself quite a banger of a smartphone with the X80 Pro. It is literally everything you can ask for from a smartphone camera/ Delivering photos and videos that are vivid, sharp, and captivating while performing like every bit the flagship that it is.

The vivo X80 Pro retails for PhP 59,999. And the vivo X80 series is now available:


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

Continue Reading

Trending