Reviews

Apple iPhone XR review: By Android users

Will it entice us to switch?

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The iPhone XR is by far the most controversial Apple phone this year. It’s got a notch, a not-that-affordable price, and a few compromises here and there, but people are still flocking to buy them.

Wanting to investigate further, we rounded up our four most die-hard Android users of the team to take the iPhone XR for a spin and come together for a group review. The insights are both interesting and well… somewhat expected.

Let’s begin!

What surprised you most about the iPhone XR?

Dan: Battery life. It was able to last me the whole day and then some. I always charge in the morning before leaving for the office. Charging time is a different story, though.

Marvin: Having used the iPhone XR as a gaming phone, I can agree with this. It’s unlike any iPhone before. Right, Isa?

Isa: Imagine not having to lug around a power bank with the iPhone, haha. Aside from that though, I was surprised at how there was no learning curve or adjustment when returning to this iPhone. My last one was the 6S.

Rodneil: I agree the battery was pretty good but it wasn’t what caught my attention. I was surprised at how it would still play audio from IG videos I was scrolling through while I was also playing music from Spotify or listening to a podcast. None of the Android phones I’ve used could do this.

Isa: Why do you think all IG baby girls are on iPhones? They have the best IG integration, TBH.

Dan: I also appreciated the differences of the IG app on iOS. It was so much better in creating Stories and other social content on the go. I hope Instagram will do the same for its Android app.

Rodneil: YES! The snap-on guides on IG for iOS are super helpful! Especially if you’re a stickler for proper alignment.

With that, which feature did you miss most when going back to Android?

Isa: MEMOJI.

Marvin: Not much of a Memoji fan, but the fluidity of iOS is unlike any other. I wish Android could just copy this and apply more navigation gestures like what Xiaomi does for MIUI.

Dan: I wholeheartedly agree about swipe gestures. The best swipe gestures I’ve tried are MIUI’s, but iOS’ comes really close.

iPhone XR on NOMAD’s brown rugged case

Rodneil: Have to agree with Marvin and Dan. I didn’t really use Animoji or Memoji that much. However, I did enjoy making my Memoji.

Isa: One Mac user to another, Rodney. You have to admit the integration is pretty good. Makes me miss having an all-Apple setup.

Rodneil: The integration is cool and all but I have already built my personal workflow around Google so I didn’t use it as much. AirDrop was super convenient, though. Moving files from my phone to my laptop (since I’m a Mac user) has never been so easy.

Marvin: Same for me. Everything I own and use is on Google, so I’m good wherever I go.

Dan: The first apps I installed when I got the iPhone XR were my main Google apps (i.e., Maps, Inbox, Photos, Drive, YouTube, Home, Keep).

Many reviewers say the iPhone XR’s cameras are better than the iPhone XS’; for some, better than most Android flagships. Agree?

Marvin: I didn’t get to use the iPhone XS, but the iPhone XR’s single rear camera was enough for me. Portraits were great and the interface is so simple. The selfie cam… well… not so much.

Isa: Would it kill them to add selfie features on this camera, SMH.

Rodneil: I was only able to use it sparingly but I did love the portrait mode. I even took sample portraits of Isa one night and compared it side-by-side with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Pro’s. The iPhone XR easily produced the better image.

Dan: Same with Rodneil, I wasn’t able to fully take the phone’s cameras for a spin. Although, they seem great aside from the hit-and-miss portrait mode.

Marvin: I think we can all agree that it has great cameras. Not the best overall, but at a level fitting for its asking price.

What did you dislike most about the iPhone XR?

Dan: SLOW CHARGING. Whenever I charge my OnePlus 6T and the iPhone XR together, the iPhone is still at around 50 percent while the OnePlus 6T is already fully charged. Good thing the iPhone can last long despite its small battery.

Isa: True! I was on the Find X Lambo and the R17 Pro with SuperVOOC — that’s zero to 100 percent in 35 minutes — so as you can imagine, switching to the iPhone XR made me a little impatient.

iPhone XR on NOMAD’s brown rugged tri-folio case

Marvin: I won’t even bother adding to the slow charging issue; too much has been said about that. What bothered me from start to finish were the bezels. The notch is fine, but why is there so much darkness around the screen?

Rodneil: I didn’t dislike anything too much but if I had to pick one, I’d agree with Marvin. I used the phone for some Netflix and YouTube sessions and the experience felt drastically different from the bezel-less goodness I got from most Android phones.

Isa: I didn’t really mind the bezels (I still pick phones with bezels over notched phones). I did notice, though, that the XR is pretty heavy. I know it’s a glass phone but so are a number of phones in the market and those aren’t that heavy.

Dan: I’d like to add that I am surprised that some apps I use daily are having trouble with the notch. My notch experience has been better with various Android phones (sans within the IG app), so I guess iOS apps are not as optimized as I thought they’d be. But, mobile gaming has always been better on iOS.

So, would you recommend the iPhone XR to long-time Android users?

Rodneil: No, haha. I enjoyed using the XR but if you’re a long-time Android user, there’s little reason to switch to iOS, especially if you’re not going to use it along with other Apple devices. I loved Instagram on iOS and the whole experience felt smooth, but I wasn’t convinced that this iPhone could make an Android user switch.

Dan: I’d say yes, but that’s before considering the price. I have the OnePlus 6T which is one of the best Android phones today, yet it’s one of the cheapest in the flagship segment. The iPhone XR is US$ 200 more expensive than the OnePlus 6T, and it’s not even the best iPhone available.

iPhone XR on NOMAD’s black rugged folio case

Marvin: I think the price is still too high for an “affordable” iPhone, though I can see Android users switching simply to enter the Apple ecosystem and receive timely updates. These are things Android’s fragmentation will never have.

Isa: Yes, but only if they’re willing to switch to the dark side, (i.e., the Apple ecosystem). Despite it getting flak for being called the expensive “affordable iPhone,” it still costs less than the iPhone XS options and it’s a solid phone.

Rodneil: I honestly thought this would lure me into the whole Apple ecosystem. I’m absolutely in love with macOS but I just didn’t feel the same way about iOS. I’m a little too comfortable already with my current setup and I love Android just as much as I love macOS.

Marvin: Rodneil has commitment issues. Whether you like or not, the iPhone XR is the cheapest entry into iOS without going back a generation. While it’s not exactly affordable compared to its more premium siblings, it at least has the same fast processor and stable firmware, but with stronger battery life and more colors to choose from.

iPhone XR on NOMAD’s black carbon case

Isa: I think we were all pleasantly surprised at how good this “lower-tier” iPhone turned out to be. Can I have it back? I wanna make more Memoji.

Marvin: No.

Isa: NO!

Rodneil: …

Dan: The phone is with me and I’m keeping it for a while. Good luck, Isa!

Reviews

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Review: Pro Enough?

How does it set itself apart from the rest of the line?

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While the similarities between Apple’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are less distinct than ever, the iPhone 12 Pro sets itself apart enough. Other than that, consumers got more confused with the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max on the line.

Are you curious to know if the iPhone 12 Pro is your GadgetMatch this 2020?

You can find out more in our iPhone 12 Pro review by clicking this link.

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Reviews

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Superstar Shoes Review

Walk in Miles’ shoes

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For those of you that might have bought the Spider-Man: Miles Morales game you may have noticed that it appears that Miles has switched allegiance.

From the sweet Air Jordan 1 Highs that he famously rocked on the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film to this — a new pair of black and red Adidas Superstars that he wears in the game.

This has been super controversial, both in the sneaker community and the comic book community as well to an extent. Like many others, I agree that the Jordans were a part of Miles and the story line of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

But here’s a thing — this is the 2020 game. It’s a completely different story line to the 2018 animated movie.

So as much as it might be painful to see Miles sporting something other than his Jordans, think of this as Miles from another universe — because that’s really what he is. A universe where he just so happens to be a huge three-stripe fan.

The Spider-Man Miles Morales Superstars dropped this November 19th for US$ 75 in the US.

Unspectacular box

Starting with the box — it’s disappointing to see that Adidas keeps slacking off when it comes to the unboxing experience. They had a chance to create a really cool box for this collab, but nope, we have the usual blue Superstar box.

Opening it up, you have the usual Superstar wrapping paper, and the shoes, with the usual Superstar size tag and this Marvel Gamer verse tag.

Coming to the shoe itself and starting with the toe box, you have the usual Superstar Shell Toe, that’s in a black color here instead of the usual white color.

Moving along the upper of the shoe, it’s in a red leather material with the Adidas Three Stripes on the side in a black color.

This black and red design is supposed to be a nod to the Spidey suit that Miles Morales wears in the game.

Above the black three stripes on the mid-panel you’ll see the word “SUPERSTAR” in black to the side of it.

Coming to the top of the shoe you’ll see the usual Superstar regular lacing system with these flat black laces. Unfortunately, no extra pair of laces here.

You’ll also notice a tiny black lace tag here with the PlayStation symbol. Since this awesome game is only available on PS4 and PS5.

Miles Morales Superstar

Moving on, underneath the laces you have this black leather tongue which seems to have a bit more padding than usual. This is to make them feel even more comfortable on feet, compared to a usual superstar.

At the top of the tongue is the usual branding tag with the Adidas trefoil branding. It’s in this red black on the back leather, keeping in theme with Miles’ Spider-Man suit.

Coming to the inside of the shoe, you’ll notice the Marvel branding on the inside of the tongue, along with a black leather sockliner that feels pretty good against your feet.

There’s the usual Adidas superstar outsole, this time in a black synthetic leather with the Adidas branding in a red color towards the heel.

And then lastly, coming to the back of the shoe you have the usual Superstar heel tab but this has the Spider-Man logo in black and red occupying the heel tab.

Miles Morales Superstar

I know Adidas did this to give it some Spider-Man feel… 

because as you probably noticed there’s not a lot of it on the rest of the shoe, apart from the Miles Morales suit colors used.

Below that you have the same red synthetic leather material as the rest of the upper.

Moving on, that entire upper sits on the usual Superstar rubber midsole. But this time instead of the usual white rubber midsole and outsole, we get this black rubber midsole with this lining of the red outsole below it.

And then, coming to the bottom of the shoe, you have this red rubber outsole in the usual superstar thread pattern.

That’s about it in terms of design.

Fit and sizing

Coming to fit and sizing, the Adidas Superstars tend to fit true to size but Adidas sizing is pretty unpredictable.

I feel like these fit just like any other pair of superstars, true to size but if you have wide feet like I do, I definitely recommend going up half a size.

For example I’m a size UK 11 so I wanted to go up to a UK 11.5. Unfortunately, there were no half sizes available so I went up to a size UK 12. It fits okay but I have a bit more room in the toe box area than I’d like.

In terms of comfort, honestly it kinda feels like every other pair of Adidas Superstars but slightly more comfortable because of that well padded tongue. When it comes to cushioning, it’s a rather stiff, flat kind of feeling underfoot since there’s really not too much going on there..

But, to its credit, it is a very stable shoe and it’s pretty durable. So if you want a really stylish pair of everyday sneakers, and you’re okay with how the Superstars feel underfoot, this is a pretty solid option to check out.

Is this your SneakerMatch?

As much as I know that these are supposed to look exactly like the shoes Miles wears in the game, I have to admit, I’m kind of a little disappointed.

I just feel like there’s more they could have done, with the color blocking and the PlayStation and Spider-Man logos. They could have also, at least, made the box in the Miles Morales Black and Red colors.

Miles Morales Superstar

I feel like these are shoes made for kids, who would love to wear what Miles Morales is wearing in the game, which is totally okay. Granted, Miles was actually wearing mid-top Superstars in some suits, but it looks like the physical versions are only available in low-tops.

But these are not really for the same crowd of comic book nerds like me who would have copped the Jordan 1 Origin Story, which I feel was much nicer put together.

But then again, maybe this is the best that Adidas’ designers would come up with after talking to Marvel, Sony, and Insomniac Games who had to produce the same shoe in the game as well.

Miles Morales Superstar

At the end of the day, if you want to wear the same shoes as the coolest Spider-Man, here ya go. They’re comfortable, they stand out, and if you’re a Spider-Man Miles Morales fan, you’re going to love these.

Plus how cool is it to wear the same shoes as the in-game Miles, right?

SEE ALSO: Spider-Man: Miles Morales PS4 Review

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Lifestyle

MOK & MOK Mini review: Smoking just got smoke-free!

The future of tobacco?!

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MOK Mini

Government warning: Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.
The following is intended for readers 18+

Over the past decade, we’ve seen various changes in the smoking and tobacco industry. Technology played a key role in developing new ways of smoking that, surprisingly, people are adopting. From traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices emerged.

The revolution doesn’t stop, seeing how Heat-not-Burn (HnB) devices arrived. This innovation is setting the stage for a smoke-free smoking experience. Such an example is MOK — which is now conquering Asia and Europe.

A bit of history, MOK arrived last 2019 in the Philippines. With a disturbing issue in second-hand smoking, the arrival of this HnB device was promising for the archipelago. I’ve always wanted to test it, but it was only a year later when I got my hands on MOK’s revolutionary devices: MOK and MOK Mini.

MOK

The first HnB device MOK offers… is named MOK. It’s a split device comprised of a holder (which I call a heating stick for sticks) and a pocket-sized charger where you can insert the holder for charging and safekeeping.

MOK Mini

The unit I have came in Navy Blue with gold accents. However, its shade of Navy Blue looks like Onyx in most circumstances. Nonetheless, it came in a matte finish for an easy grip.

The combination of gold accents and matte finish made it look fancy, allowing MOK to evoke a classy and luxurious appeal. It complemented my accessories and didn’t look out-of-place when placed together with my Playboy Clutch bag.

Using MOK is pretty straightforward. Simply insert its specially-designed COO sticks in the holder, then press the button for two seconds to turn it on. The light will turn blue and blink to tell you it’s turned on.

Once the blue light stopped blinking, it will start the heating process. Afterward, the light indicator will turn from blue to red to signify that it’s safe for you to start using the device. MOK makes it easy for you by vibrating every time the mode changes, so you don’t have to count or wonder when it’s ready to use.

When the light indicator is gone, that’s when you know the holder needs to recharge. The holder can last up to four minutes. This is where the pocketable charger comes in handy — to allow you to consume up to 20 sticks if it’s at 100% capacity, which can last for one hour and 40 minutes. That is if you’re a heavy smoker.

From my own and my smoker friends’ experience, we got lazy to charge the holder every time we need to consume a new stick. The laziness that comes can make or break the smoker’s experience: either we learn how to reduce consuming more than one stick, or we go back to using traditional cigarettes.

What’s in the box?

MOK comes in a fancy box. Inside is a pocket charger, a holder, 10 cleaning sticks, a cleaning brush, a micro USB charging cable, an instruction manual, and a quick how-to guide.

MOK Mini

MOK Mini is the smaller version of MOK, which makes it more pocketable than its sibling. It can easily slide to pretty much anything, which makes it perfect for my girl friend who doesn’t like carrying anything that won’t fit in her compact sling bag.

MOK Mini

It’s currently the smallest HnB device available, working smartly to deliver the same satisfying flavorful experience. It preheats faster at just 12 seconds while allowing you to consume up to 12 sticks at 100 percent battery capacity. Every stick can be experienced for at least 4 minutes, so you can do the math.

Just kidding, we don’t like to do the math. The MOK Mini lasts for less than an hour in continuous usage. It doesn’t come with a separate charger so its battery life can be easily depleted. Although, it charges fairly quickly for an hour and a half using its USB-C cable.

What’s in the box?

MOK Mini comes in a smaller box. Inside, you can find MOK Mini, a MOK cleaning brush, a USB-C charging cable, and a quick how-to guide.

Heat, not burn! What’s the process like?

MOK Mini

Both devices use MOK’s proprietary Heatmaster system — a cutting-edge technology designed to heat specially-designed tobacco, instead of burning it. It’s a flavorful experience similar to traditional cigarette smoking, only without the smoke produced.

When there’s no smoke, you get to puff the nicotine to yourself without inhaling harmful chemicals passing toxins (created by smoke) into an innocent individual near you. In essence, the non-combustible process made MOK’s promise true: a smoke-free, enjoyable experience.

The future of tobacco?

MOK is exclusively enjoyed with COO — specially-designed Heat-Not-Burn sticks that offer the same tobacco experience. It uses real tobacco leaves and comes in three variants: Golden Hue for a balanced, classic tobacco taste; Blue Hue for a refreshing hit of menthol; and New Wave Capsule, mint with a bit of lime.

If you’re wondering if you can use existing cigarettes in the market, no, they won’t fit. I tried it first-hand out of curiosity. Although, having MOK and using exclusive sticks made it feel like I’m part of an exclusive community — of casual and heavy smokers switching to an alternative with lesser risks.

In some countries, HnB devices are being used to swing heavy smokers into consuming less. For MOK, they aim to capture the existing smokers as their market, to help make the world smoke-free, one smoker at a time. They don’t even sell to consumers who aren’t smokers.

The goal is simple: reduce smoke and then hopefully quit someday. Slowly, but surely. If this is the future of tobacco, then it’s a future worth considering.

Maybe one day, second-hand smoke will be a thing of the past and all we have are battered lungs of smokers who really don’t have it in them to quit. Just kidding. Or maybe not.

Is the Mok Mini your GadgetMatch?

MOK and MOK Mini offers an alternative to smokers wanting to reduce their tobacco consumption and hopefully quit one day. For others, these HnB devices allow them to enjoy a guilt-free tobacco experience: no more second-hand smoke for other people. Yay?

For the right reason, MOK and MOK Mini makes for a revolutionizing accessory. The two HnB devices’ differences in size, battery capacity, and design can surely fit any smoker’s lifestyle. Here’s to hoping it can pave the way to a better future.

MOK Mini

MOK and MOK Mini is available in Japan, Korea, Maldives, and European Countries.

In the Philippines, MOK and MOK Mini retails for PhP 3,490 and PhP 2,490 respectively. Its COO HnB sticks are priced at PhP 120 for a pack and PhP 1,200 for a ream. It is currently available at MOK specialty kiosks in Eastwood Mall, MetL!ve, SM North EDSA, SM Manila, and SM Sta Mesa.

You can get it online through MOK’s official stores in LazMall and Shopee Mall, as well as from 60 major vape shops within Metro Manila. Nearly 500 branches of 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawson offers MOK’s HnB devices, too.

It’s also conveniently available in selected GrabMart hubs. Delivery of orders is guaranteed within 90 minutes or less, that is if the hub is near you. Purchasing from official retail partners promises a twelve-month warranty.

SEE ALSO: 9 gift ideas for the man of your life

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