Hands-On

Apple iPad Pro (2020) hands-on: Not a laptop, more than a tablet

Is it a good laptop replacement?

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The new iPad Pro is more powerful, has a high tech sensor for AR, works with a mouse and trackpad — there’s even a Magic Keyboard. With all these new features, is it good enough to replace your laptop?

What’s new?

This is officially the fourth generation iPad Pro — following the announcements in 2015, 2017, and most recently 2018, where Apple first debuted this form factor.

It comes in two sizes: 12.9 and 11 inches. Its camera bump is now similar to the iPhone 11 — squarish with two rear cameras, a first on the iPad.

Like the 2018 model, this iPad Pro comes with Face ID as its biometric security option.

How much better is it than the 2018 model? On the outside, there’s only the camera bump to tell both models apart. Button, port, and speaker arrangements are all the same; even the dimensions are the same. It also comes with the same 1 meter long USB-C cable, and 18W charging brick.

As with most Apple updates, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. There’s a new A12Z Bionic Chip which is much more powerful than the 2018 model.

While we don’t usually do benchmark tests, this new chip scored higher than the previous model in both CPU and GPU tests.

Camera and LiDAR technology

The new iPad Pro now has a 10 MP ultra wide angle camera to go alongside its 12MP wide camera.

I understand tablet photography is often frowned upon, but Apple really sees the iPad Pro as a device for content creators like me. Aside from being able to to edit entire videos on apps like Luma Fusion, Apple wants the iPad Pro to also be a device you can use for video capture.

Both cameras shoot 4K video, and just like on the MacBook Pro, it’s got 5 studio microphones built in.

That ultra wide angle camera also comes in handy when you’re scanning in documents, which the iPad is great for especially if you need to make annotations — the Apple Pencil is made for that.

Reps from Apple also tell me that the cameras work in conjunction with the new LiDAR scanner that’s built into the device. LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. If you’ve heard of it before it’s probably in relation to self-driving cars where the technology is also used.

LiDAR works by sending beams of light at your surroundings and creates a map of objects in the space around you by measuring the time it takes for the light beams to bounce back.

The new LiDAR scanner is meant to elevate the augmented reality experience on the device, which Apple is committed to making a reality, pun intended.

One great example of this is the upcoming AR game Hot Lava. With LiDAR technology, the iPad Pro is able to accurately detect objects in a room, that in-game elements can interact with them — including humans in the scene.

The IKEA app which I used a lot while designing my apartment is also getting an update. It will soon be able to recommend matching furniture or accessories based on what you currently have.

There are scientific applications, too, like the Complete Anatomy App that uses Lidar to measure the range of motion of someone’s arm in real time.

With LiDAR, it’s also easier to set up AR applications. Previously you needed to scan your surrounding by moving your device around.  Now you just launch the AR app to start.

Magic Keyboard and trackpad function

With the Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro gets elevated, giving it an iMac-esque feel.  The elevated display means you don’t have to look down as much.

Built into the hinge is a USB-C port so that you can keep your iPad charged while in use. The hinge is sturdy enough to keep the iPad Pro propped up at all times. 

I think what makes the Magic Keyboard even more exciting though is the built in trackpad. iPad OS 13.4 brings this functionality to the iPad.

Swipe gestures work just like on the Mac: swipe up with four fingers to see all your open apps, scroll down with two fingers to scroll through web pages. It works just like on a computer just reimagined for a touch screen device.

On the screen, instead of a pointer you’ll see a circle instead. When you hover over menu items they get highlighted to indicate they’re being selected.

It transforms into a vertical bar when you’re highlighting text. You can easily copy text like you would with a right click or a two-finger tap.

If you’re editing a long document, you can also move entire blocks of text by simply dragging them. It’s the same thing if you’re using a mouse. Third party mice work, too.

While we’re on the topic, mouse and trackpad support isn’t exclusive to the new iPad Pro. All iPads that will get this update support this functionality. The Magic Keyboard will also work with the 2018 iPad Pro.

iPad Pro vs MacBook Air

Another question I get a lot is whether it’s good enough to be an alternative to the MacBook Air? Is it powerful enough? Is it just an oversized iPhone?

With this latest iPadOS update, the iPad encroaches more on Mac territory. Having said that, these are still two different kinds of devices.

The iPad Pro is still a tablet so it’s a great device for reading books or magazines, not to mention watching videos on a plane especially when you’re flying economy.

It has a touch screen display, which means apps built for the iPad are optimized for touch, and in some cases that makes more sense.

It also has pen support making it a great device for taking notes the old way, or sketching and drawing.

It’s thinner and lighter. I love the portability of the iPad and love how I can squeeze my 11-inch iPad into my man bag, which is not something I can do with my MacBook Air.

As a creator having the two cameras on its back are a plus too. If you get the cellular model, that also means you can have internet connectivity everywhere you go.

If we’re being literal, balancing the Smart Keyboard Folio or Magic Keyboard on my lap is not as easy as the MacBook Air for example. In that sense, it doesn’t make a good laptop replacement.

The iPad Pro also isn’t necessarily cheaper than a Mac so you don’t buy it to save money. All this extra functionality I just talked about, you pay for.

The cheapest MacBook Air starts at US$ 999. The cheapest iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard Folio and Apple Pencil will cost you at least US$ 1,107.

Ask yourselves which apps you use on a daily basis. If you edit on Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premier for example, you’re stuck with the Mac. The Mac is also better at file management.

If these aren’t things you need and you’re lured by pen support and portability, then go for the iPad Pro.

I want to correct the impression that you can’t get desktop browsing experiences on an iPad.

Since iPadOS 13, a desktop version of Safari has been included so things like Google Docs and WordPress work just fine.

Is the iPad Pro your GadgetMatch?

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that starting with the 2018 model, the iPad Pro has been one of my most favorite devices of all time — apart from my iPhone that is.

I just love it. I love all the things that I can do on it, and I love the portability that it allows.

Is it for everyone? As its Pro branding suggests, this is a device for those who have more specialized needs. Those who need more power for things like photo or video editing, for professional illustrators and artists. It’s perfect for creators on the go.

If you just need an iPad for surfing the web, or taking notes, watching videos or playing games, Apple makes many capable iPads that you can get for less.

Should you get the 2018 model instead? The answer really depends on what you plan on using the new iPad for and how big of a discount you should get.

If you plan on using it for things like video editing, take advantage of the newer more powerful processor. Also remember iPad Pro updates come every 2 years.

It’s also great for students, but because of its price tag I think you’re better off getting the iPad or iPad Air. They will do the job as well.

Is it a laptop replacement? It’s not, and Apple is clear that that isn’t the point here.  It’s about having different kinds of devices that match what it is you’re trying to do. If I were to paraphrase, it’s to make sure each kind of user has his or her own GadgetMatch, even if the line between the iPad and Mac is now blurrier than ever.

One thing I’ll say is this: While tablets continue to struggle to find relevance, there’s still plenty of reasons to get an iPad.

Hands-On

Redmi Note 10S: Is this the most ideal smartphone?

Great hardware under a simple, subtle design

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Redmi Note 10S

As the more affordable product line, Redmi continues to bring high-quality smartphones to a more accessible market. They may not come with the most flagship of hardware inside, but they still perform roughly at par with their powerful yet more expensive counterparts. This year, Redmi has something new up their sleeve in the Redmi Note 10S.

A simple design choice in my eyes

The moment I received and unboxed the Redmi Note 10S, I said to myself, “huh, what’s new?” I mean, it comes in the usual packaging, with all the documentation, a jelly case, and the charger inside. If anything, though, the phone itself sports a simple exterior design, which doesn’t particularly stand out for a good reason.

This unit came in an Onyx Gray colorway plastered at the back, and I’m also aware that it comes in two other colors, as well. For me, this color makes it look rather professional and complements the simple design as a whole. Although, I noticed that the back of the phone likes fingerprints so much, and it’s quite obvious in this colorway.

Now, another great aspect of the exterior design was the placement of the phone’s speakers. For phones such as this, you’d expect that it’s just one speaker and it’s beside the charging port. In the case of the Redmi Note 10S, it comes with two speakers found on opposite ends. Honestly, I found it practical to set it up like this, that other smartphones should consider.

Complementing hardware and software

Let’s get to the beef of the matter, shall we? In terms of the internal hardware, the Redmi Note 10S is decent in that department. It comes with a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset, with my unit sporting 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. On the external hardware, the phone comes with a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, mostly suitable for great detail and color accuracy. 

Redmi Note 10S

Upon my initial set up and usage, the phone responds quite well and quickly. Powered by MIUI 12.5, apps load smoothly and I even found myself multitasking some apps a lot more. Although, there were times that things like Dark Mode were wonky in some apps, but I think that’s mostly on MIUI.

Furthermore, the AMOLED display is pretty bright even at around 40-50 percent brightness. Even in this setting, it manages to display images and videos with great detail with minimal stuttering. Also, those speakers I mentioned earlier are quite loud and actually give off a sense of immersion when watching movies. It’s all good stuff for now, but let’s see if it holds up later on.

Redmi Note 10S

One look into the cameras for now

Apart from the hardware inside, I also wanted to focus on the cameras the Redmi Note 10S comes with. On its rear, you get an interesting quad-camera setup, with a 64MP lens as the star of the show. Along with this, you also get an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro camera and depth sensor for that extra level of detail.

With some of the shots I initially took, I was fairly impressed with the image quality and color accuracy. From my view, it doesn’t look like there was any noticeable grain in the images, so that’s a good start. However, I ran into some trouble with the auto-focus mechanic in the camera. Hopefully, it will improve with prolonged use.

Redmi Note 10S

Up front, you only get a single 13MP lens lodged at the top of the display. For the most part, it did a good job of capturing selfies under great lighting conditions. 

A promising start, maybe?

So far, the Redmi Note 10S ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a great yet affordable smartphone. Inside and out, the phone allows you to do quite a lot and experience near-flagship features without sacrificing so much in the process. Whether or not this will hold up with longer and more drastic usage, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Redmi Note 10S

The Redmi Note 10S retails for PhP 11,990 and only comes with a configuration of 8GB RAM and128GB storage.

Buy it from Lazada.

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3 reasons why the Huawei Watch 3 deserves to be on your wrist

A must-have for those who live and breathe Huawei

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The Huawei Watch 3 has arrived in the Philippines and certainly on my wrist. This sleek-looking smartwatch is Huawei’s new flagship wearable — and there’s more to it than being a regular smartwatch wrapped around that space between your hand and forearm. Here are three reasons why you need to check this smartwatch out, and why it probably deserves to be worn by you.

Beautifully designed

Compared to its predecessors, the Huawei Watch 3 feels like a device that underwent a metamorphosis. A butterfly ready to spread its wings and bring wonders to the world.

The rounded case exudes a classic appeal; a semblance of watches from the recent and distant past. Unequivocally, Huawei kept it sleek with its circular finish. Those tiny details tell me the watch was studied carefully by designers and engineers, putting so much thought while keeping it simple and appealing.

It certainly won’t ruin your outfits in different situations such as casual date nights, quick errands, or sports, and other physical activities. For professional and formal settings though, you might need to invest in a strap that matches perfectly.

I’ve been using the black and plain fluoroelastomer strap, which is suitable for casual settings and active lifestyle, and also it’s the only one available at the moment in my country, but you can mix it with other straps depending on your region. Options include steel, nylon, and leather — and colors vary per style.

Apart from its stylish bearing, the Huawei Watch 3 is designed with features that make it worthy of being called a smartwatch. It sports a 1.43-inch AMOLED display, highlighting a vibrant and vivid display that makes the content visible even if you’re outdoors.

Also, there’s plenty of watch faces to choose from, and the user interface is designed simplistically to make navigation easier.

Top-notch connectivity

The Huawei Watch 3’s battery life averages three days when using the smart mode. Though, it can be extended up to 14 days when using the ultra-long battery life mode. This gives you plenty of time to stay connected without the need for your mobile phone. Dear, it’s time to let it rest comfortably inside your purse or leave it at home.

But how are you going to stay connected if it’s not connected to your phone?

If that is your question, fret not. Huawei equipped the watch with eSim technology, so you just need to go to your carrier and ask for an eSim QR that you can scan on your Huawei Health app, and voila, your smartwatch can use the same mobile number you use on your smartphone.

Now, it’s going to be easy for you to answer calls even when you’re out on a run, or when you’re heading elsewhere and you’re in a hurry. The Huawei Watch 3 runs on HarmonyOS, so the watch comes with pre-installed apps that you can enjoy seamlessly with your other Huawei devices.

There’s an AppGallery, in case you want to install more apps that suit your lifestyle. For music lovers, you can make the watch be your remote control and navigate your music playback. All can be done with a single flick on your wrist!

Your personal health manager

If you’re serious about maintaining an active lifestyle, the Huawei Watch 3 is a candidate as a companion. There’s a Skin Temperature detector that lets you know when your temperature is high. A must-have in this era, right?

It also has SpO2 monitoring, which allows you to track your blood oxygen saturation. Even your heart, Huawei’s TruSeen technology monitors your heart rate so you can be in control of your health, and so you can take care of yourself the way you need it to.

Personally, it felt like all-day health management and I have yet to dive more into it to see what else these features can do. But for now, I enjoy seeing records of my step count, periods of activity, stress levels, and the most important thing — sleep quality.

Other than the fitness trackers, the watch comes with 100+ workout modes with automatic exercise detection for common workouts. To be able to maximize this feature, Huawei’s health app is the way to go.

Can this be your GadgetMatch?

I believe it can, especially if you’re looking for an all-around watch that you can use. It ticks the right boxes: a classic appeal, plenty of straps to mix and match with your outfit, top-notch connectivity, and health management features that allow you to be in control.

The price might be too steep, but it’s a premium smartwatch for a reason. And it’s best used when you’re already enjoying Huawei’s ecosystem, and have plenty of devices that let you enjoy their seamless AI life.

The Huawei Watch 3 retails for PhP 18,999. It will be available on Huawei Store and authorized platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, as well as Huawei Experience stores and other retail partners.

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vivo V21 Series Hands-On

A pair of no-miss midrangers

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vivo V21

Light, slim and packed to the brim with specs and features that won’t leave you wanting. This is the vivo v21 series. Featuring the vivo v21 and the vivo V21e.

It’s a pair of midrangers equipped with specs to meet your smartphone needs. Take a look at their specs side-by-side:

vivo V21 vivo V21e
DISPLAY 6.44”, AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+ 6.44”, AMOLED, HDR10
PROCESSOR MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
BATTERY 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh
CAMERAS 64MP f/1.8 wide

8MP f/2.2 ultrawide

2MP f/2/4 macro

64MP f/1.9 wide

8MP f/2.2 ultrawide

2MP f/2/4 macro

As you can see, this pair is nearly identical with the only main differences being 5G connectivity, the processors, and the available colors. The vivo V21 comes in Dusk Blue, Sunset Dazzle, Arctic White. Meanwhile, the V21e comes in Diamond Flare, Roman Black.

Mobile photography

The vivo V21 series has a slew of photo and video taking pictures which we’ll discuss more in detail in another video. Because sometimes, we just want to snap away when we’re out and about.

The photos taken on auto mode already look pretty darn fine and ready for all your social media channels. As mentioned earlier, you can also play around with some of the features. Especially the portrait mode plus filters. One scene can look different with just a few taps and snaps.

Neat, right? Now, naturally you’re going to do a lot more with your phone than just take snazzy pics.

Both the Meditek Dimensity 800U 5G and Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipsets are very capable midrange processors. You can pretty much open all your most used apps at the same time, and not worry about the phones slowing down.

They’ll run smoothly whether you’re just browsing socials, writing emails, sending messages telling your friends to stream TWICE’s “Alcohol Free” music video.

Speaking of which, the video viewing experience on the vivo V21 series is also pretty darn good. The AMOLED displays are just a treat to the eyes. They’re great for getting lost in a YouTube rabbit hole or binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix!

Mobile gaming

Not into binge-watching? Why not try playing games?

Mobile gaming is all the rage these days. The games playable on smartphones keep getting better and prettier. Mobile Legends, PUBG, and Call of Duty Mobile are pretty popular titles. Then there’s also the massive hit Genshin Impact. All these games run smoothly on the vivo V21 series. Thanks to the processor and the 8GB + 3GB extended RAM feature.

You can be sure to focus on your gaming session with the Ultra Game Mode that lets you block notifications so nothing gets in the way of you winning your matches!

Naturally, after all of that browsing, watching, and playing, your phone will need to juice up. The 4000mAh fills up rather quickly thanks to its support for 33W fast charging. You can get up to 63 percent in just 30 minutes. Pretty darn quick!

The vivo V21 series is a no-miss pair of midrange smartphones.They feel great on your hands, are easy on the eyes, and performs just about as good as any midranger out there.

Best of all, you can prepare for the future with the vivo V21 5G or play it safe in 4G with the vivo V21e.

This pair of vivo Smartphones are available in vivo’s official stores as well online stores Shopee and Lazada.

  • vivo V21 5G – PhP 23,999 
  • vivo V21e – PhP 17,999

This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

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