Features

AsiaPOP Comicon Manila 2018: What to expect

All things pop culture!

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AsiaPOP Comicon (APCC) is back in Manila as Asia’s biggest pop culture convention, bringing together the local geek community and international stars for three days. It’s set to happen from July 27 to 29, 2018 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.

Now on its fourth year, AsiaPOP Comicon 2018 promises a whole new level of geeky experience. This year, there are dedicated Halls for Netflix (Hall N), Marvel (Hall M), and Disney (Hall D), which include their own booths and exclusive content premiering on the main stage, along with merchandise, collectibles, and surprises happening during the event.

Here are what we’re excited to see:

Netflix is back!

Netflix will premiere never-before-seen content, and both Finn Jones of Marvel’s Iron Fist and Mike Colter of Marvel’s Luke Cage will be the celebrity headliners brought by the streaming giant. They also have Adi Shankar and Takashi Yoshizawa of Castlevania and Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters conducting a special panel to discuss their shows.

There’ll be a booth for fans to enjoy, with replicas of sets from Stranger Things and Riverdale from last year, along with new sets featuring Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Expect it to be a crowd-favorite as every corner is Instagram-worthy!

The Netflix booth will open at 12nn on July 27, and 10am on July 28 and 29.

What’s next for Marvel?

Marvel is back for the third time to treat fans with exclusive content. It’s been a tradition for APCC fans to visit the hall to find out what’s next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

As if the epic ending in the recent Avengers: Infinity War wasn’t enough to make you curious about what’s happening next, Hall M is guaranteed to tease its fans with more surprises not just in film and in the MCU, but across its different platforms including TV, mobile games, and animation.

D is for Disney

Disney will feature special content from Walt Disney Animation Studios. DisneyLife, an app dedicated to the world of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel, will also be launched at APCC.

Fans will be treated to exclusive Disney merchandise and an immersive experience at the Disney booth, which will also be complemented by the Marvel booth, allowing fans to interact with life-size statues of superheroes from the MCU.

Jollibee will have its own Funko Pop collectible

Jollibee, a popular fastfood chain in the Philippines is celebrating its 40th year. A great way to mark this momentous event is by having its very own Funko Pop collectible.

Teased last month on Jollibee’s official Facebook page, everyone is hyped to see this collectible unveiled during APCC.

All the coolest costumes in one scene!

Get ready to see those swords swinging! The Cosplay Authority Global Challenge (CAGE) is an annual cosplay competition, and it’s back with special cosplayer guests such as Leon Chiro, Vera Chimera, Canvas Cosplay, and Yugana Senshi Uon. They’ll also sit as this year’s judges for the competition wherein participants can win prizes worth over US$ 18,000.

There’s a lot happening in this pop culture gathering. APCC fans can bring home collectibles, meet and greet artists, and experience a fun-filled weekend. Are you excited? Check out the full schedule here. If you haven’t bought your ticket, they’re still available at SM Tickets outlets and online. See you there!

Unboxing

Apple Watch Series 7 Unboxing: Starlight the new Silver or Gold?

The best smartwatch for fitness and fashion?

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The new Apple Watch Series 7 might look ever-so-similar to last year’s Watch Series 6, but it’s more than meets the eye.

There’s a bigger display, new watch faces, and of course, newer aluminum finishes as well — including ours in Starlight.

But is it the best time for you to buy or even upgrade your Apple Watch?

Here’s our Apple Watch Series 7 unboxing.

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Gaming

Nintendo Switch OLED Unboxing and Review

Should you upgrade?

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Michael Josh might have forgotten to pre-order the newest Nintendo Switch OLED, but that doesn’t stop him from lining up to the nearest Nintendo Store in New York.

After hours of waiting and shopping spree, he finally ordered not one, but two on the line!

Other than the classic red and blue Switch, there’s also a new white version available.

But should you upgrade? Or do you just need to keep your existing Nintendo Switch for now?

Head over to our Nintendo Switch OLED Unboxing and Review now!

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Camera Shootouts

Galaxy S21 Ultra vs vivo X70 Pro+: Camera shootout

The Chinese company’s finest smartphone goes head-to-head with the South Korean giant’s best.

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Huawei with Leica, OnePlus with Hasselblad. Like many brands that have come before, vivo recently partnered with lens manufacturer Zeiss in an effort to level up its reputation as a bonafide smartphone camera champ.

We’ve always been cynical of these co-branding partnerships as being nothing more than a license to plaster a camera company’s logo on smartphones. Although, our experience made us a believer.

Before we do a deep dive on its cameras, let’s discuss the partnership first.

Vivo x Zeiss: What is it all about?

Zeiss claims one of the areas they partnered in has to do with Zeiss T* coating. This time around, all of the X70 Pro+’s cameras have this coating and Zeiss says it has to customize a recipe for each one, so it’s optimized for each lens.

The coating helps reduce the glare, ghosting, and imaging artifacts. Take a look at this example shot at the Barclays Center.

Left: iPhone 13 Pro Max (Normal coating), Right: vivo X70 Pro+ (Zeiss T* coating)

See how the X70 Pro+’s camera managed all that glare.

Cameras

Now, let’s talk cameras and take a look at some samples.

First, the X70 Pro+ has four cameras: a 50-megapixel wide camera, a 48-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera with a 114-degree field of view (and with gimbal stabilization), a 12-megapixel telephoto camera with optical zoom, and an additional periscope camera with 5x optical zoom.

Regular 1x shots

Ultra-wide-angle shot

2x zoom

Using the periscope

Macro

Taking selfies on its 32-megapixel selfie shooter

Mirrored

Performing against the Galaxy S21 Ultra

This is probably what you’ve been waiting for: a comparison of the vivo X70 Pro+ against the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Without further ado, let’s jump ahead. For easier comparison, all photos on the left were taken using the vivo X70 Pro+ while the photos on the right were shots from the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

These photos were shot during the day with the sun out, and the phones do well as expected.

Even in tricky situations such as against the light shots, where the HDR kicks in.

It’s the same on a gloomier day.

Low light is where we’ll see the most dramatic of differences, but first, let’s go indoors.

Admittedly, this wasn’t the most photogenic cocktail but the X70 Pro+ produced the most post-worthy shot.

And we like its photo best in this shot of the bar’s interior.

Next, dusk — right before the lovely blue hour.

This shot taken at Transmitter Park in Brooklyn could go either way. The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s photo is the brightest while the X70 Pro+ tones it down a little — keeping it bright but also keeping it as close to reality as possible.

Now, let’s add a human subject. The problem here is the X70 Pro+’s photo is too bright, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s is not very sharp.

Low-light battle

That evening, we also stumbled on a very, very dimly lit bar. Think: heavily dark room with little to no lights.

Truly, the X70 Pro+ is a low-light master. Chay looked stunning and the room looked bright — something you couldn’t even see even with your naked eye. (Because the room is dark, remember?)

The Galaxy S21 Ultra managed to capture all the colors too, but at cost of noise. And when a face is involved — it’s not very flattering.

Although, personally, we wouldn’t post the shot taken using the X70 Pro+. It’s so good, it kind of takes away from the point of the photo.

That said, this is such a great example of how good of a low-light shooter this phone is.

Last shot at this bar without a human subject. The drink was a Piña Colada smoothie and it was white. Notice how the X70 Pro+ captured the condensation on the glass.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s shot was color accurate, but if you’ll zoom in to the upper right corner, you can see how noisy the S21 Ultra’s shot actually is.

You good? Crazy ‘no?

While comparing, here’s one last thing we want to show you. Thanks to its T star coating, notice these two shots taken in two different subway stations. Notice how the fluorescent lights aren’t as blown out on the X70 Pro+’s photos.

X70 Pro+ vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

Cameras aside, the X70 Pro+ directly goes after the Galaxy S21 Ultra. On paper, it’s got a resume that can go head-to-head with Samsung’s best.

S21 Ultra 

X70 Pro+

Processor

SD888

SD888+

RAM

12GB/16GB

12GB

Storage

128-512GB

256GB-512GB

Display

6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz

6.8 / AMOLED / 120Hz

Battery

5,000 mAh

4,500 mAh

If you look at this chart, you’ll see they’re pretty similar. The X70 Pro+ is at a slight advantage with its newer 888 Plus processor, which was launched last June way after the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s release. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a bigger battery.

They both offer a complement of cameras that, as you saw in the comparison, are competitive with one another. But the Periscope Camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra can zoom further to 10x.

They both have things like IP68 water and dust resistance, and an under-display fingerprint scanner — both of which are fast and snappy.

Both have quick wired and wireless charging. The biggest leg up the Galaxy S21 Ultra has is support for the S-Pen, in case you want a phone that lets you use a stylus.

Is the vivo X70 Pro+ worth considering as your GadgetMatch?

Overall, vivo has built a solid challenger, delivering on the needs of hardcore users: a screen that’s great for content consumption be it watching movies or games; cameras that shoot well, especially in low light; and batteries that last longer and charge fast.

And in a world without Huawei — still suffering from the Google ban — and LG, which closed down its mobile phone business this year, vivo is the only other manufacturer that’s made a phone that can legitimately rival the best from Samsung.

Undoubtedly, the X70 Pro+ is one of the best Android phones you can buy today. Period. And for that, the phone deserves the GadgetMatch seal of approval.

For the full vivo X70 Pro+ review, watch our video on YouTube:

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