This month started really busy with all these updates from the tech world. Facebook graced headlines with its changes and Google announced improvements on its products. Smartphones are also on top of the news, as a cheaper Pixel was revealed and OnePlus unveiled their most premium phone yet in a simultaneous launch in New York, London, and India.
While we’re busy covering these events, we still try to keep up with the latest in pop culture. See what’s Now Playing on GadgetMatch:
Movies to see
Rodneil: It took 11 years and 22 films before we reached the conclusion of arguably the most ambitious film franchise of our time. This film wraps up over a decade of storytelling and world-building. It has plenty of emotional beats, nostalgic moments, and huge battle sets to put its viewers on a roller coaster of emotions.
Kevin: As a 90s kid who invested hours playing Pokémon Red on Game Boy, flipping coins for Pokémon trading cards, and even now as I walk for hours playing Pokémon Go, I’ve always wondered: What will life be like with Pokémon around? Well, this film is the closest answer I can get. The story is simple but executed well. Ryan Reynolds voicing Pikachu — although still quite humorous — didn’t feel like it was Deadpool and that’s a good thing. Oh, and there’s a lot of Pokémon sightings scattered in the movie, so it’s also a game of “Who’s that Pokémon?” throughout the film.
MJ: Aladdin is back and I’m excited to relive my childhood memories! The trailer got me hooked and I can feel the film will be a spectacle, just like the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. It’s going to be a chance for our generation to share this Disney classic with the young ones so we can sing “A Whole New World” together. The film is scheduled to be released in theaters on May 24 (or May 22 in some countries).
TV shows to binge watch
Rodneil: This anime was recently added to Netflix. While I’ve seen this more than a couple of times, it’s one of the shows I keep coming back to. It’s a story of a wanted criminal but his personality betrays the crimes accused of him. As you dive deeper, you’ll see the protagonist’s moral compass and conviction tested multiple times. It also helps that it’s set in a cyberpunk Wild West future.
Vincenz: It’s not your typical food show as it doesn’t just focus on street food per se, but also on the history and the stories of notable people who made the food live for its taste. The first season focuses on Asian street cuisine, but not totally exclusive to a country’s capital — Delhi, Osaka, Cebu, Chiayi, Yogyakarta, to name a few.
Dead to Me
Dan: Dead to Me is the new must-see Netflix series. It’s an American dark comedy series that talks about grief, guilt, and relationships. The show is primarily about the newfound friendship between a wounded widow and a free-spirited individual. If you love a show with dark humor, twists, and sensitivity, Dead to Me is worth the binge.
MJ: Bonding is a seven-episode TV series on Netflix that can act as a transition show in case you’re looking for a new series to binge-watch. It’s about a dominatrix who hired her gay BFF as her assistant in her adventures in and out of the dungeon. It’s a hilarious show that surprisingly offers lessons about confidence, learning to love and open up, and being yourself.
Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to
Fancy by TWICE
Rodneil: I’ve only been following TWICE for a little while but it looks like I jumped on the fandom at the right time. Their latest comeback “Fancy” is a departure from their usual cutesy concept. The choreography on the new song is a lot sexier and while there’s a more mature feel to the verses, it still maintains the bright energy that TWICE has been known for.
SSFWL by OH MY GIRL
Vincenz: OH MY GIRL is among the underrated K-Pop girl groups out there. The versatility of OMG’s concepts can be heard through their title tracks but “SSFWL” (which means “Spring, summer, fall, winter, and love”) is a new whimsical musical piece on a whole new level. Their angelic visuals paired with soothing vocals are just irresistible. Fantasy anime song, anyone?
Trend/s to try
KFC Chaco and Famous Bowl
Vincenz: “Chaco” is a taco with a chicken shell. It honestly tastes like a taco without the beef and, surprisingly, the shell doesn’t taste like salty chicken at all, unlike the Double Down. Meanwhile, the Famous Bowl is back again, and you shouldn’t miss it. The mashed potatoes, Funshots, corn, cheese, and gravy all blend together as they all melt in your mouth.
Places to visit
Marvin: Having been around Europe a few times in the past — from Berlin and Prague, to Madrid and Zurich — it was a shame that I never got a chance to visit Paris. Until now, that is. To my delight, the hype is real. Although the Notre Dame Cathedral is no longer open to tourists, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Arc de Triomphe are still worth the journey. Airbnb options are plenty now, so low-cost lodging is easier than ever to find.
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
Stranger Things 3: What exactly is an ignition cable?
Possessed Billy knew what he was doing
By now, you’ve probably seen the third and newest season of Stranger Things on Netflix. If you still haven’t, it goes without saying that there are spoilers ahead and you should stay away from this article.
Seeing a pop culture reference such as Stranger Things together with the seemingly unrelated world of automotive in one writeup such as this could be strange (pun intended) for some. We really don’t mind and thought it would be a fun and unique way to talk about the show and learn a few things from it, as well.
So we ask the question: What exactly is an ignition cable?
The ignition cable is part of a vehicle’s ignition system. In simplest terms, it’s a mechanism that starts the engine. By generating a high voltage from the car’s battery to the spark plugs in its engine, it causes them to ignite the engine’s combustion chambers and get it up and running.
And in order to transfer that voltage from the source to the engine, you’ll need an ignition cable as it’s like a subway system that acts as pathways for the voltage to pass through. So if the ignition cable is not present, there’s no way to start the car.
Back to Stranger Things, Billy (although already possessed by the Mind Flayer) obviously still had his knowledge on cars so he took away the ignition cable trapping our favorite gang at Starcourt Mall’s parking lot.
Just to further stress the importance of an ignition cable and the whole ignition system for that matter, we’d like to visit other possibilities and ask, “What if Billy didn’t take it away?”
Well, the plan was for Eleven and her group to go to Bauman’s secret place and stay safe while Joyce, Hopper, and the rest try to close the portal and render the Mind Flayer powerless. If their ignition cable was intact, they’d be a lot safer away from the Mind Flayer although we wouldn’t be able to see that amazing fireworks scene inside the mall.
Through this, we see the importance of that one small part under the hood of the car. In real life, it really pays to make sure that everything is in good working condition and that one faulty cable could mean trouble for you if remained unaddressed — unless there’s a car on display inside a mall somewhere that you can take spare parts from!
Is this the chip for the ROG Phone 2? [Weekend Rewind]
Reports say yes!
Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.
1. Is this the chip for the ROG Phone 2?
We’re entering the second wave of smartphone flagships for 2019. What better way to do so than news on the chip that will power all these new phones.
Enter the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 plus. It’s not quite the chip we were expecting but it’ll still provide significant performance boosts.
The chip promises a 15 percent improvement on overall graphic performance. That’s perfect for gaming which is why reports of the chip debuting on the ROG Phone 2 is a welcome development. The chip should also provide improvements on AR, VR, and AI features.
2. Huawei firing hundreds of workers
The latest chapter in the US vs Huawei saga sees the Chinese company in panic mode.
A report from the Wall Street Journal says the company will fire hundreds of employees from a pool of 850 workers. Most of which will come from their research and development division called Futurewei Technologies.
China-born employees have the option to go back to their home country and still be employed by Huawei. The same is not the case though for their American employees.
The layoffs come from the continued pressure by the US government. This, despite the optimism created by the earlier ban’s lifting.
3. Sony’s A7R IV has a massive 61MP sensor
This wasn’t the announcement we were hoping for, but it still has plenty going for it.
Sony just launched the latest on the R-series of their full-frame mirrorless cameras – The Sony A7R IV. It has the world’s first 61MP sensor on a full-frame camera. This helps you capture images that don’t lose detail even when you zoom in.
Other improvements include, a 15-stop dynamic range, five-axis optical in-body image stabilization, as well as 10FPS shooting with continuous autofocus. The real-time eye-tracking autofocus also makes its way to video recording for the first time.
The A7R IV also comes with new tech that captures digital audio signal. To take advantage, Sony also introduced a shotgun mic and an XLR mic adapter kit to pair with the camera.
This was a serious flex by Sony. Following the release of the Canon EOS R as well as the Nikon Z6 and Z7 — both of which are mirrorless cameras — the A7R IV is Sony sending a message that they still hold the crown when it comes to full-frame mirrorless cameras.
4. The Galaxy S8 is a lifesaver
Smartphones saving lives is a headline we didn’t expect to see this week but here we are.
A boat in Cebu in the Philippines that was transporting local and foreign divers to a diving spot capsized. Emergency responders were quick to respond to a call saving the lives of all the passengers and crew members.
The call was made using a Samsung Galaxy S8 — but not just any S8 — it’s one that has been submerged in seawater for 30 minutes.
“Only my S8 was able to connect… and worked all the way until we made it to land. It stayed alive for much longer than I thought possible and it really made the difference,” said the phone’s owner
In case you were wondering, the Samsung Galaxy S8 sports an IP68 rating. Typically, it can survive five feet underwater for up to 30 minutes. We hope to hear more good news like this!
5. FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns
If you’re seeing a lot of your friends’ aged faces on social media, well, you’re not alone.
The FaceApp, for some reason, has gone viral again with celebrities, YouTubers, and NBA stars joining in on the fun posting what they’ll look like if they ever make it past 60 years old.
Using the app is pretty straightforward. Just pick a photo and apply whatever filter you like that’s anywhere from beauty filters to gender swaps, and of course, the old age filter.
While it’s all fun and games on social media, this has actually raised security concerns. A report on Fast Company indicates the Russian company behind the app saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers. The US government takes it even further saying it poses some security threat and ordered the FBI to investigate the Russian startup.
FaceApp has denied the allegations saying that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.
It’s worth noting though that this is not that different from Google and Facebook taking more information than we realize. But if you’re still concerned, the best option is to steer clear of these photo editing apps.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
2019 Honda Brio RS: The sporty baby Jazz
A fun ride through and through
For millennials and young professionals, choosing which car to buy could be a tough choice to make. For some, it has to pass certain requirements like fuel efficiency, ride comfort, space, if it looks good, and more importantly if it fits the budget. This is what first came to my mind when we got to test the 2019 Honda Brio RS. I think it has all the criteria most of us need for our daily commute and I’ll tell you why.
At first glance, it will give you the impression of a baby Jazz as it follows traditional Honda design cues. It looks far better than its competing compact hatchbacks and is definitely a big design upgrade than the previous generation Brio. From the front, this car looks aggressive and masculine for its size. The rear, however, still leans on the conservative side. Together with its sporty side skirts, the side profile is sleek with forward-tilting character lines giving it a sense of action and speed.
Being an RS variant, there are additional design upgrades which include the black roof, blacked-out honeycomb grille, a rear spoiler with mounted third brake light, 15-inch RS design alloy rims, and of course, the bright red RS badges plastered all over. These positively add to the sportiness of the vehicle.
Hopping in, you will immediately notice the orange accents running through the air vents, glove box, and side panels, plus the orange stitching and patterns on the seats. Next, we see the 7-inch touch-enabled infotainment system at the center of the dash which is connected to six speakers. Although that’s the case, we still weren’t impressed with the sound quality as it felt a bit short on bass.
Whether as the driver or passenger, you are seated in a low orientation and feel very close and planted to the ground. The height of the steering wheel and dashboard takes some getting used to if you always drive tall cars. But don’t get the idea that it’s cramped up inside. The seats up front are spacious with plenty of headroom to spare while at the back we have a decent amount of legroom for the average Asian. The trunk was large enough to carry our equipment along with other stuff. It was impressively spacious for a car this size.
We drove to our favorite scenic route of the Sierra Madre mountains, putting the car through its paces. The Brio is powered by a 1.2-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine which I think is sufficient enough for a car this small. It is then mated to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) with sport mode and the company’s Earth Dreams Technology.
This car gives you a smooth and quiet ride even at high speeds. The cabin is astonishingly quiet with very minimal wind noise and vibrations. Thanks to its CVT implementation, this car is so smooth that I didn’t realize I was already going 90 on a 50kph road.
You cannot ask it to drive like its more spirited cousins, though. It is not the fastest accelerating car and pushing down the gas pedal when overtaking or driving up a steep road takes the CVT some time to adjust and you won’t get that instant punch you were expecting.
The Brio also lacks traction control and other basic features like rear sensors and reverse camera. It doesn’t even have a center console box and an armrest, but these are things we can brush aside. In terms of fuel efficiency, we were able to average 11.1km/liter which is not bad considering we drove it aggressively through the winding and steep roads of Tanay, Rizal. Steering was light and handled tight corners remarkably. Overall, this car gets the job done. It gets you where you need to go and is reliable, economical, safe, and don’t forget that it’s such a looker.
Will I recommend the Brio RS? In the city, this car would be perfect. Although it’s not the most powerful more so for long drives. I can tell you one thing, though, it sure is fun to drive. I’m actually not a big fan of small hatchbacks but it all boils down to the company’s target market. The Brio is tuned to be sporty and modernly stylish so it might appeal to those looking for something that looks fun and doesn’t break the bank.
With those, I could confidently say that the Brio RS has the edge over its small hatchback competitors in terms of performance and design. You won’t go wrong with this car.
ASUS 6z Review: The camera flips, but is that enough?
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Use your phone, Harry!
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OPPO K3 is a fancier looking Realme X at the same price
The Pixel 3a’s DxOMark score proves how capable its single-lens camera is
Revamped Galaxy Fold passed durability tests, ready for launch
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We’re not replacing Android yet, Huawei says
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