Lifestyle

6 awesome things that happened at Google I/O 2018

We’re living in the future!

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Google I/O happened yesterday, and if you’re not familiar with the event, all you need to know is that this is where a lot of Google announcements are made. Of course, there are run-of-the-mill stuff like Android P features or Google News improvements which are all great tech innovations. But, what really got me excited were the following things:

Google fixed the beer emoji

Hallelujah! After years of sending beer with floating foam on Friday nights and congratulatory situations, Google has finally found their way and fixed the emoji.

This move was done following the great cheeseburger controversy which Google CEO Sundar Pichai himself vowed to fix. Finally, we can live in a world where beer and cheeseburgers are properly represented by our emoji. 🍻

Tania and Ken just made everyone believe in true love

Okay, I have to be completely honest: I cried a little bit (again) as I was writing this article because I watched the video a second time. Take a look for yourself:

I’m sure the bottom line here is that technology improves lives… but can we please take a second to appreciate how grand, sweet, and amazing this love story is? They met through skydiving! Ken is also helping her develop tech that will help them (and others similarly situated) communicate! Not to mention, Tania just called Ken “the love of her life and partner in crime.” 😍

John Legend becomes a Google Assistant

A few days ago, this ad for Google Assistant featuring Chrissy Teigen and John Legend came out. It’s adorable!

Little did we know that it was a sign of things to come.

In the biggest plot twist ever, it was revealed that John Legend will be lending his voice to Google as an Assistant! Soon, we’ll all have the pleasure of hearing the award-winning singer’s voice every day.

I can totally see Chrissy celebrating the victory of being able to order John around anytime.

There will be six new voices in total and they will be available later this year.

Gmail will be able to read your mind

Well, not really, but it sort of seems like it.

Gmail’s new Smart Compose feature basically predicts what you’re about to say when typing out an email. It uses machine learning based on the stuff you’ve already typed previously and suggests possible phrases as you go. This is, in equal parts, amazing and creepy.

Now, if only your boyfriend can use machine learning to read your mind, life would be simpler. 🙄 This feature is rolling out to users this month.

Making people more polite, or at least they’ll be trained to be

Google announced a feature called Pretty Please where Google Assistant will actually reward polite user behavior with affirmations. This was designed so that children are trained to be more polite, but let’s be honest: A lot of adults need this, too.

Google Assistant just made an actual call and it was glorious

This was the most exciting scheduling call I had ever heard in my life.

Google Assistant calls up a salon and books a haircut appointment — and it sounded so human! There were no robotic pauses, no weird intonations, and no misunderstandings. Listen for yourself:

Hello from Google I/O 2018. Google Assistant just called a salon, spoke with an actual human, and booked an appointment. #realcall #io18

Posted by GadgetMatch on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This is what the future sounds like: You could actually be talking to Google Assistant without realizing that you are!

Accessories

realme Buds Q: Keeping up with the ‘new normal’

Wireless is the new normal

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When this year started, I’ve already laid out most of my personal plans: do more outdoor activities, travel to different places, and slowly pick myself up from the emotional downhill I experienced last 2019.

But what do we know, the universe has much bigger plans.

The past few months of quarantine has been a wild transition for me, especially as a person who finds solace in the outdoors. Staying indoors for a long time has challenged my mental health, and it’s still an ongoing battle that I face every single day.

A total shift in my personality

During this collective isolation period, the first thing I did is try to make peace with things I can’t control. I started channeling my energy into doing what is feasible for now — both in my career and personal life.

I began doing activities that are completely opposite from my usual hobbies, starting with yoga and meditation to help me become more present.

realme Buds Q

It is also the same time I shifted to using wireless earbuds after years of using wired earphones. I have tried several brands for a while, and currently, I am using the newly released Realme Buds Q.

Light and portable device that is compatible with all my new activities

Doing yoga in the morning is easier — the Realme Buds Q fits just right and it’s light in the ears. Personally, I really prefer using earbuds rather than open-type ones. The latter hurts my ear in the long run, so the Realme Buds Q is a nice fit for me.

I can do all the poses with ease and without worrying they might slip off my ear. It has IPX4 water resistance, so I don’t bother sweating a lot during and after every session.

I also use it during my meditation, and every time I go jogging.

Buds Q is also a handy companion to all my other activities with its intelligent touch controls. Playing music and answering calls is easy with just a few taps. It’s perfect for multi-taskers like me who usually attend Zoom meetings while preparing food away from my laptop.

Wireless is the new normal

While I still keep my wired earphones, the wireless technology is totally heaven sent. It’s essentially helpful in a lot of ways especially now that we need less contact as possible.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Personally, the design is nothing too grand, just quite similar to the other earbuds I have tried before. The lightweight feeling is a plus for me — it weighs only 3.6 g, lighter than a sheet of A4 paper!

However, this newest earbuds offering is quite underwhelming in the sound department. While it’s good for upbeat songs with its dynamic bass boost, the overall sound is really not that impressive. Still, it’s a decent buy with its 40mAh battery life, which is longer compared to other brands.

SEE ALSO: realme 7 Pro review | realme 7 review


BUY THE REALME BUDS Q HERE

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India

Xiaomi launches Mi Smart Speaker, Mi Band 5, soap dispenser

Extremely handy products

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Mi Band 5

At its annual Smart Living event, Xiaomi further expanded its lifestyle lineup in India and launched a host of new products like the Mi Smart Speaker, Mi Automatic Soap Dispenser, Mi Athleisure Shoes, and Mi Smart LED Bulb. The new additions will complement current offerings like smart TV, air purifier, and more.

Mi Smart Speaker

Starting with the Mi Smart Speaker, it has a 63.5mm driver, 12W speaker, and a dedicated audio processor for superior output. Obviously, at the heart of it is Google Assistant, but the device’s affordable price makes it a lucrative catch in the developing markets.

The speaker gets a Texas Instruments’ TAS5805M Hi-Fi Audio processor and is fully integrated with the Google Home ecosystem. The device can be a solid competitor to Amazon’s Echo lineup of devices that run on Alexa digital assistant. You can use the speaker as a standalone unit or connect it with your TV or phone.

The Mi Smart Speaker is available for INR 3,499 (US$ 48) at an introductory price, while the actual retail cost is INR 3,999 (US$ 54). Users also get a year of Gaana’s premium streaming subscription for free.

Mi Automatic Soap Dispenser

It’s a pretty standard soap dispenser that isn’t connected to the internet but plays a critical role in the time of Coronavirus. Xiaomi has established its brand in the country and is now ready to leverage its existing supply chain to further push ecosystem products. The Mi Automatic Soap Dispenser fits right in.

On the technical front, the infrared scanner can sense a distance of 60-90mm and dispense soap within 0.25 seconds. A 300ml soap bottle can give you 375 washes, according to the company. The fairly simple product retails for INR 999 (US$ 14).

Mi Smart Band 5 or Mi Band 5:

The Mi Band is one product lineup that doesn’t get priority in India. The affordable fitness tracker is now finally available in India, following its global launch four months ago. We’ve already covered the tracker in the past and it continues to be an all-time favorite due to its inexpensive price.

The Mi Smart Band 5 is priced at INR 2,499 (US$ 34) and will be available in Black, Navy Blue, Teal, Purple, and Orange strap color options via Mi.com, Amazon, and retail stores.

Lastly, Xiaomi also launched Mi LED Smart Bulb that’s rated for 7.5W, emits more than 800 lumens of light, and has a service life of more than 15,000 hours. It can be connected to Google Assistant as well as Amazon’s Alexa. The bulb retails for INR 499 (US$ 7).

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Lifestyle

Nike Air Max 720 Review: Wearing the tallest Air Max ever

A shoe that’s ultra thicc and chonky

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The new Air Max 720 may not be as futuristic-looking as the recently-announced Air Max 2090, but Nike still hopes that their 2018-launched sneaker would appeal more to regular sneakerheads and casual wearers alike.

Aside from the fact that they launched more than a handful of colorways for this sneaker line, Nike is also slashing prices for most of these pairs. But what makes the Air Max 720 phenomenal like the rest of the Air Max line? Is it a sneaker you should cop or drop?

Inspiration

Image by GadgetMatch

For a non-sneakerhead (or for those who aren’t aware), Nike’s Air Max 720 was heavily-inspired by nature. The OG colorway was based from the Northern Lights (or also known as Aurora Borealis), thus a visual explanation on how they combined violet/purple, and iridescent streaks around the shoe.

Also, the “720” naming scheme was derived from the 360-degree visibility of the Air Max cushioning — both horizontally and vertically.

Image by GadgetMatch

It looks like somebody had fun playing with colors in Nike’s design lab. Other pairs even depict lava flows, sunset, sunrise, eclipse, and even the Milky Way — plus more in Nike’s Air Max 720 silhouette portfolio.

Packaging

Let’s start by doing a quick unboxing. Unlike other Air Max 720 colorways, my pair comes in this nifty black box — just with shiny, embossed logos and a big “Air 720” text that reveals the subtlety of the glitters when hit by light.

Again, nothing fancy inside. Instead of the iridescent foil wrap, it comes with a white paper wrap with black logos that covers the pair.

Finally, this one reveals the Air Max 720 in Anthracite Black colorway. My first choice was actually the Metallic Silver but it’s not available in the size I prefer. Unlike other loud color options, I picked this one for its stealthy look that goes well with most (if not all) of the outfits I wear.

Image Credit: David Cabrera via Sole Collector

Just for comparison purposes, here’s how the usual packaging looks like when you buy another color option that showcases complete gradience or iridescence.

Image by GadgetMatch

Design and Build Quality

Getting closer to the sneaker itself, the legendary Nike swoosh comes first on the wave-like layer just below the boomerang silhouette (more like an inverted Nike swoosh).

Unlike other Air Max 720 pairs with a smooth mesh fabric and synthetic upper, this colorway comes in a mesh with series of perforations around it. Don’t be confused, it’s still a legit Air Max 720. Nike just loves playing around with their shoe materials.

Another Nike swoosh can be found at the front part, just inside the flipped boomerang outline. Those series of lines really imitate a lava flowing — which Nike has thought about when they’re first making the shoe.

Finally, here’s the star of the show! This is the unique cushioning unit with the ‘720’ monicker on it. It may look like it will explode when you step on it, but it’s durable enough to withstand heavy steps and stomps.

The Air Max 720 is currently Nike’s tallest Air Max unit. With a 38mm height, it easily dwarfs the 32mm ante of the Air Max 270 React. If you’re someone who’s looking for an instant height booster, this sneaker easily serves the purpose. I have an average height of 170cm but I instantly went up to 174 cm after wearing this pair.

A sneaker inspired by nature should also care about the nature. Nike says 75% of the shoe’s material is made from recycled manufacturing waste which helps the company achieve a sustainable future goal.

Sizing and fit

Trying the Air Max 720 for the first time was weird and amusing at the same time. Unlike other sneakers I have, this one felt like I was walking on a huge bubble while part of my feet touch the ground.

Other reviewers said that walking with this pair takes a little bit of a learning curve especially because of Nike’s unique cushioning technology. I honestly enjoyed walking on it for the first few hours. But after around 4-5 hours of casual walking and strolling, I felt sore around my toe area.

If you’re a wide-footer like me, I would suggest going half a size (1/2 or 0.5-inch) up. My foot size is 11 but I should’ve just trusted my instinct to buy an 11.5 pair instead for that added allowance and breathing area. Nonetheless, TTS (true-to-size) runs fine as long as you wear thinner socks or if you have a narrow feet.

Performance

I’m not a gym freak yet when I tried doing home workouts, my movements felt a little bit restricted. I’m neither a professional dancer but I also tried dancing with this pair. If the choreography consists a lot of bending, flexing or even kneeling, the sneaker’s stiff base was one factor that hindered me from freely moving and gliding.

I also tried jumping and stomping on it several times — yet the bubble is firm and durable enough to support my weight (around 75 kilograms). I’ve seen no distortions after testing out its bouncing ability. Still, it’s not as comfortable as my Nike Air Max 97 or adidas UltraBoost’s cloud-like cushioning.

Even if the bounce cushioning is there, this particular sneaker isn’t meant for strenuous activities — especially if it’s basketball or any other sport. Don’t confuse Air Max 720 with the Air Max 270 React as this one doesn’t have Nike’s React technology specifically meant for running.

Is this your SneakerMatch?

If you’re just looking for a casual sneaker to wear when you run errands around the block or just want a new pair for your pandemic OOTD 🤷🏻‍♂️, Nike’s Air Max 720 is definitely worthy to buy. If you want to add over an extra inch to your overall stature, this sneaker also serves that purpose.

But if you’re looking for a pair that’s meant for running, workout, basketball, or any other sport with serious comfort in it, this isn’t the right one to get. Some professional dancers might like the added height boost but if you think you won’t get comfortable with this peculiar Air bubble technology especially if you move a lot around an area, consider choosing another sneaker instead.

The Nike Air Max 720 retails for US$ 180 / PhP 8,995 / SG$ 125 / INR 15,995. I was able to secure this particular colorway but it eventually got sold out except in the US. In men’s sizing, there are other colorways to choose from for as low as US$ 107.97 / PhP 5,939 / SG$ 139.90 / INR 8,497. It’s best to grab these discounted pairs before they totally run out.

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