Buyer's Guide

ASUS Holiday: Laptop Buyer’s Guide

There’s an ASUS laptop for everyone!



With the holidays around the corner and gift giving on everyone’s minds, I figured it’s time for another Buyer’s Guide video, for those of you looking to splurge on a Windows laptop for yourselves or your loved ones.

If you follow me on social media, you have probably noticed that I miss Taiwan. Usually my trips there have been to visit ASUS.

Since I can’t be there in person this year, I’ve partnered with them to feature some of their best laptops from the 2020-2021 release cycle.


For the business savvy user, ASUS has its ExpertBook line, which comes with enterprise security features that are required by most big companies for office-issued devices.

The new ExpertBook B9450 is the world’s lightest business laptop weighing in at just 880 grams, or 1.9 pounds.

This is largely because it’s built with magnesium-lithium alloy instead of aluminum. If you’re a business traveler this alone is reason enough to consider it.

Despite its weighing next to nothing it’s packed with plenty of performance power and battery life, including the latest Intel 11th generation processors, up to 32GB of memory, and up to 2 terabytes of storage space. Its 66 watt hour Battery is also rated to last up to 24 hours of use, which is insane.

It’s got the same Ergo Lift Hinge and Number Pad found on the ZenBook.

Charging is quick too. With the bundled charger you can get from 0 to 60% in just 45 minutes. Worth mentioning is a cool design feature where the charging indicator is located in front of the device.

It’s got a generous amount of ports as well: two Thunderbolt 4  USB-C ports, one USB Type 8 port, a full-sized HDMI port, a mini ethernet port via micro HDMI, a Kensington lock slot, and a headphone jack.

Enterprise users will also appreciate its host of security features: biometric unlock using either your fingers or an IR camera. There’s also a WebCam Shield for even added privacy and an optional Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip for storing passwords and encryption keys.

The ExpertBook B9450 is built for this new world where everyone is teleconferencing. It’s got four 360 degree far-field microphones, and a feature called ClearVoice mic that uses Artificial Intelligence that can filter out unwanted noise  so you sound great during Zoom calls.

Finally, what’s incredible about this machine is that despite how light it is, it also boasts of military grade toughness.

ASUS says it’s been tested to the extremes: heat, cold, vibrations, and dust; the lid can endure up to 30kg of force; its keyboard is spill-proof; and it’s rugged enough to withstand drops.

For the enterprise user on the go, I recommend the ExpertBook B9450. Models start at US$ 1,299 and goes all the way up to US$ 1,999.

Check out the ExpertBook B9 series here.


For those who don’t want to spend a lot of money, ASUS’s VivoBook line is a good place to start. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, I recommend the US$ 699 VivoBook Flip.

Powered by a Ryzen 7 system on a chip and packed with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB solid state drive, it’s got more than enough performance power.

Whether you need a machine for school work or an affordable option for starting a small business, that AMD Ryzen chip is a 7 nanometer CPU, which means it’s also incredibly power efficient.

Like all of the laptops featured in this video this one is slim and light, thanks to the aluminum alloy that’s used on both its chassis and lid. The top cover has a matte finish that contrasts nicely against its glossy hinges.

The design feature I like the most about ASUS laptops is something called an ErgoLift Hinge. This gives these laptops a more ergonomic lift when opened — hence its name.

This means you’re typing at an angle. It also creates an air pocket for better cooling.

True to its name the VivoBook Flip can open up all the way and flip around. This 360 degree hinge mechanism means you can prop it up in tent mode for watching movies or like a tablet for taking notes.

ASUS ships the VivoBook Flip with a stylus; it’s got a touch screen too.

Let’s talk about ports because there are a lot of them: a full sized HDMI port, two USB-A ports, one USB-C port, and a microSD card reader.

The VivoBook Flip comes with a full sized keyboard that’s spill-resistant. This is perfect for folks like me who always has a drink when working.

It’s got a dedicated Function Lock Key so you can easily switch between Function and Hot Keys. Notice too, the enter key has a yellow outline around it. ASUS calls this design element the Gen Z key, which reflects this generation’s questioning of old systems and striving for positive change.

ASUS promises almost 12 hours of battery life on a single charge and it comes with a fast charger that can get you from 0 to 60% in 50 minutes.

This is the ASUS VivoBook, my value for money pick that starts at US$ 699. Look out for some online deals as I’ve seen it retailing for just around 500 bucks.

Check out the VivoBook 14 M413 here.  

Check out the VivoBook Flip 14 TM420 here.


If you’re looking to get real fancy, this next laptop has got all the coolest features one can find on a laptop today.

The ZenBook is ASUS’s most premium laptop and that’s pretty clear from the way it looks. Machined out of aluminum, its jade black finish is accented by red copper accents and diamond cut chamfers.

Etched on its lid is a circular pattern that’s become a design signature on ASUS’s products for years now.

The ZenBook Flip S is only 14mm at its thickest point and weighs in at 1.3kg.

Like the VivoBook, the entire ZenBook line also has the ErgoLift hinge designed for better ergonomics when typing, as well as increasing space ventilation and heat dissipation.

Because this is the Flip variant, that means the screen opens up all the way so you can use it like you would a tablet. Our unit came bundled with the Asus Pen 2.0 stylus that comes with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It’s perfect for both note taking or engaging the creative side of your brain.

Despite its compact form factor it’s got a full sized backlit keyboard that’s almost flushed against the edges of the device. There’s an extra column of keys  for Home, Page up, and Page Down that you don’t usually find on laptops.

If you’re missing dedicated number keys, just press and hold on the top right corner of the trackpad. It will light up revealing the Number Pad. You can also swipe on the top left corner to bring up the calculator. This dedicated Number Pad is such a great feature for those who on programs like Excel or Google Sheets.

The headline feature of the ZenBook Flip has got to be its 4K OLED display. It’s not something you see on everyday laptops, and the same kind of tech that’s on the most desired TVs today.

This display makes it the best kind of laptop for watching movies on, with excellent contrast and rich vibrant colors.

It’s an excellent display for content creators, too, whether you’re editing videos or photos. The color accuracy on this machine is top notch.

This maxed out ZenBook Flip S comes with all the good stuff: an Intel  i7 processor, 16GB of memory, and 1TB of storage. Its 67 watt hour battery is rated to last up to 15 hours on a single charge.

If you’re looking to splurge on a premium laptop that looks and plays the part, I recommend the ASUS ZenBook Flip S. This 4K OLED model retails for over US$ 1,600, but you can also get the non-OLED FullHD model for almost half the price: US$ 899.

For even more savings get a Ryzen-based ZenBook for as low as US$ 839.

Check out the ZenBook Flip S here.

Which ASUS laptop is your GadgetMatch?

If you need a durable, thin, light, and secure laptop, get the US$ 1,299 ExpertBook.

The best Asus laptop for school or those on a budget is the US$ 699 VivoBook.

If you’re looking to splurge on the more premium and fully-specced out laptop ASUS has on offer, get the 4K OLED ZenBook for US$ 1,600.

Watch the full video here.

Buyer's Guide

Buyer’s Guide: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Things to consider before committing



Galaxy S23 Ultra

So, you’re looking at the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. You kind of want it but didn’t jump the gun during the pre-order period. Now, you’re still eyeing it, but you’re undecided. Well, you came to the right place. 

We used the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for a few weeks. Enough time to figure out if it’s your GadgetMatch or not. So, we’re listing down things you might want to ask yourself before splurging. 

Do you like big phones?

Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra feels massive to hold. The 6.8-inch display listing is not at all an accurate representation of how it feels holding the phone. For comparison, the HONOR Magic5 Pro has a 6.81-inch display. But since both its display and back panel curve to the side, it feels easier to hold. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a boxy behemoth. 

You’ll likely want to buy a case to protect the phone and that will add to its overall bulk. If you can, drop by your nearest Samsung experience store to get a feel of the phone for yourself to gauge if it’s something you don’t mind lugging around for the next couple of years. 

How do you feel about ONE UI?

Galaxy S23 Ultra

While you’re at it, play around with ONE UI. That’s the Android wrapper that Samsung puts on top of Android 13. Many tech bros aren’t too fond of ONE UI. Personally, I don’t think it’s as bad as some make it out to be. Sure, it’s not the snappiest, but it’s pretty easy to get used to. 

This is completely a matter of preference, and you can always switch things up by changing themes or using a different launcher. But swipe around and see for yourself if ONE UI is something you’re okay with. 

Will you ever use the S Pen? 

Galaxy S23 Ultra

I was a huge fan of the Galaxy Note series when it first came out. The Galaxy SXX Ultra has become the spiritual successor of the line. It’s literally the Note in everything but name. 

Back then, I thought I liked the Note because of the S Pen. But as the line kept going, I found less and less use for the S Pen. Turns out, I liked the Note not because of the S Pen but because of the massive screen. I’m a heavy media consumer and consider big screens a boon. 

Now, I’m not saying the S Pen isn’t useful. It’s just that, personally, I don’t think it’s for me. So, that’s the question you have to ask yourself: Is the S Pen something you see yourself using regularly? 

I’ve had this conversation several times with Lea of UnboxPH. For her part, she uses the S Pen a lot for signing PDFs. I’ve also had a couple of friends who have taken full advantage of its art applications, doodling here or there whenever possible. 

Think about your smartphone usage and see if there’s something you’re already doing that can be elevated with the help of the S Pen. 

How much videos and music do you consume?

Galaxy S23 Ultra

STAYC’s Isa is 😍

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is one helluva media consumption machine. The gorgeous and large display is perfect for watching literally anything and everything. And the speakers are also easily one of the best on ANY smartphone right now. 

It’s the perfect media machine, except it does put a strain on your hand after a while. But that didn’t stop me from watching the “Teddy Bear” fancam of STAYC Isa on loop. 

Are you a mobile gamer?

Galaxy S23 Ultra

Whether casual or hardcore, you would be pleased to know that the Galaxy S23 Ultra should be able to handle any sort of gaming. Samsung even made a point of highlighting this in their presentation. Mobile gaming is on the rise, especially in many parts of Asia, and Samsung made sure that their latest and greatest slate is up to the task. 

Although, I’ve never really encountered anyone who’s eyed the Galaxy SXX Ultra for gaming purposes. Self-proclaimed gamers tend to go for the more actual gaming-centric phones. That said, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is plenty capable whether you’re just passing time on Subway Surfers or you’re looking to be the MVP in a Mobile Legends match.

Do you REALLY like colors that POP in photos?

Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a fantastic set of cameras. Easily one of the best today. Samsung likes to punch-up the contrast on their photos. They don’t do it as much now, but it’s still there.

You know what? Just take a look at these samples so you can decide for yourself. 



30X Zoom


1X | 10X | 30X


Portrait and selfies



Will you take plenty of videos?

Galaxy S23 Ultra

When it comes to smartphone videos, most of us in the team still think the iPhone is king. But the Galaxy S23 Ultra might just be the closest thing in terms of overall quality. 

Here’s a video that was taken entirely using the Galaxy S23 Ultra. 

@gadgetmatch 29Rooms is an experiential funhouse and it was an absolute blast to experience. Here’s a quick look #ShotOnGalaxy S23 Ultra. More info on #artinstallation #art #galaxys23ultra #samsunggalaxy #galaxys23ultra #galaxys23 ♬ original sound – GadgetMatch

If you’re curious about the zooming capabilities in a rather dark environment, here’s a quick sample too. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is also home to plenty of video features. The portrait video is particularly fun. You get the usual “bokeh” effect but there are also other filters like Color Point and Glitch.

You also have to consider storage if you fancy using the Galaxy S23 Ultra as a video-taking tool. Videos take up A LOT of space. You’d want to get the 512GB variant if you’re gonna make videos regularly.

Do you need a smartphone that charges fast?

Because the Galaxy S23 Ultra isn’t exactly blazing fast in this department. At least not against some of the other flagships already available as of writing. 

Watch our charge test. 

So, is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra your GadgetMatch?

These are just some of the questions you might want to ask yourself before shelling out at least PhP 81,900/ US$ 1199.99/ SG$ 1,828 to get your hands on one. 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a fantastic device. But there are certain things about it that may not be your cup of tea. The devil, after all, is in the details. 

Our advice is either visit a Samsung experience store or bug a friend who already has one. Make sure to get a feel of the device before committing to it long term.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specs

  • Display — 6.8-inch QHD+ Edge, Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, Vision Booster, Enhanced Comfort
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
  • RAM and Storage — 12GB+1TB, 12GB+512GB, 12GB+256GB
  • Battery and Charging — 5,000mAh, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless Powershare
  • OS — Android 13, ONE UI 5.1
  • Water Resistance — IP68
  • Cameras:
    • 200MP f/1.7 Wide
    • 12MP, f/2.2 Ultra-Wide
    • 10MP, f/2.4 Telephoto, 3x optical zoom
    • 10MP, f/4.9 Telephoto, 10x optical zoom
    • 12MP, f/2.2 Front

Watch our Galaxy S23 Ultra One Week Later Review.

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Buyer's Guide

PlayStation gift ideas for 2022: The best of the best

God of War: Ragnarök tops the list



Gamers, rejoice! The Christmas season is finally here. That means it’s also the perfect time to secure PlayStation titles and peripherals to boost the gaming experience. Here are some of the best gift ideas for gamers on both PS4 and PS5:

UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection

This collection retails for PhP 2,490 and includes both critically acclaimed single player adventures, UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End and UNCHARTED: The Lost Legacy.

Dive into complex history from the point of view of thieves Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer. Its PlayStation 5 option is remastered with improved visuals and framerate.

God of War: Ragnarök

Already widely considered as the game of the year, Santa Monica Studio’s sequel to the 2018 God of War features Kratos and Atreus going on a mythic journey across nine realms together before Ragnarök arrives.

Kratos will use his weapons like the Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos as he puts everything on the line to fight for family while facing fearsome enemies from Norse gods to wild beasts.

God of War: Ragnarök is priced at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Horizon Forbidden West

From Sony comes an action RPG wherein Aloy braves the Forbidden West, a frontier that conceals mysterious threats.

The adventure will take gamers to a far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon where land is dying and vicious storms keep ravaging what’s left of humanity.

That said, it will be up to Aloy to uncover the secrets, forge alliances, and defeat the enemy to prevail.

Horizon Forbidden West is available at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7

For those into racing, Gran Turismo 7 brings together the very best of the Real Driving Simulator.

The game reintroduces GT Simulation Mode, on top of the head-to-head GT Sport Mode, GT Campaign, Arcade, and Driving School.

With over 420 cars available at Brand Central and the Used Car Dealership from day one and over 90 track routes including classics, Gran Turismo 7 promises both unparalleled detail and experience.

You can purchase the game for PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part 1

The multi-awarded game gets a PlayStation 5 treatment. Protagonist Joel smuggles 14-year-old Ellie out of a military quarantine zone, which jumpstarts a brutal cross-country journey.

This package includes The Last of Us single-player story and celebrated prequel chapter, Left Behind, which explores the events that changed the lives of Ellie and her best friend Riley forever.

The Last of Us Part I costs PhP 3,490 as well.

Gaming peripherals

As for accessories, you should get your hands on the DualSense Wireless Controller for PS5 which now comes in new colors. The controllers are now available in Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Galactic Purple, and Nova Pink, as well as Gray Camouflage.

It is available in all PlayStation authorized dealers starting at PhP 3,990.

Speaking of those colors, one can now customize their console itself with the PS5 Console Covers which are priced at PhP 3,090.

To complete the immersive gaming experience, the PULSE 3D Wireless Headset delivers with PS5 system’s Tempest 3D AudioTech and comes with dual noise-cancelling microphones.

It is available for PhP 5,590 in Midnight Black and Gray Camouflage.

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Buyer's Guide

BUYER’S GUIDE: All-new PlayStation Plus

Which Tier is your match?



PlayStation Plus

It’s been close to two months, for most markets, since the all-new PlayStation Plus subscriptions launched. Being in a launch market, I have personally had it for over two months now. Even then, I still see plenty of people confused and frequently asking about which Tier they should subscribe to. My goal is to help you figure it out for yourself. 

The three tiers

There are three tiers, with the highest tier’s name changing depending on what region you’re in. They are as follows: Essential, Extra, and then Premium or Deluxe. 

Essential is what the entire PlayStation Plus subscription used to be. The benefits are online multiplayer, cloud save files, and monthly free games. 

Extra is a step above Essential. With it, you gain access to a catalog of PlayStation 4 (PS4) games. These include exclusives like Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, God of War, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and many more. In this tier, you’ll also find older titles but remastered for the PS4 like The Last of Us (PS3), Final Fantasy X-X2 (PS2), Final Fantasy VII (PS1), and more. 

Now this is where it gets sort of tricky. Emphasis on sort of. You only really need to know what Region your account is registered under. Personally, I have one for R3 (Singapore) and another for R1 (USA). If you find the Regions confusing, this guide from GameOne is pretty helpful.

An easy way to check is to just fire up your console and go to the PlayStation Plus section. Depending on your region, you’ll see either Premium or Deluxe there. So, what’s the difference? 

Deluxe has all the benefits of Essential and Extra but adds a Classics Catalog. At launch, these included PS1 titles like Tekken 2 and Ape Escape. But most recently, it’s now included remasters of Batman Arkham City and Arkham Asylum. The remasters are for PS4 but the original games were initially released on the PlayStation 3 (PS3). 

Premium, meanwhile, has all the benefits of the aforementioned along with the ability to cloud stream games. This is crucial especially for some PS3 titles that never had any PS4 remasters. 

In this tier, you also curiously get Game Trials. It lets you play a portion of what is usually a AAA title. If it piques your interest, you can buy the game digitally and your progress will carry over. 

Nobody asked but I think this should have been added, instead, to the Essential tier. If the idea is to sell more games, wouldn’t it be better to put the trials at a tier that most people will likely subscribe to? PlayStation, I hope you reconsider.

How much are they?

Here’s the pricing for key markets: 


  • United States — US$ 14.99 monthly / US$ 39.99 quarterly / US$ 99.99 yearly
  • Singapore — SG$ 13.90 monthly / SG$ 35.90 quarterly / SG$ 89.90 yearly
  • Hong Kong — HK$ 75 monthly / HK$ 215 quarterly / HK$ 515 yearly
  • Malaysia — MYR 44 monthly / MYR 114 quarterly / MYR 269 yearly


  • United States — US$ 14.99 monthly / US$ 39.99 quarterly / US$ 99.99 yearly
  • Singapore — SG$ 13.90 monthly / SG$ 35.90 quarterly / SG$ 89.90 yearly
  • Hong Kong — HK$ 75 monthly / HK$ 215 quarterly / HK$ 515 yearly
  • Malaysia — MYR 44 monthly / MYR 114 quarterly / MYR 269 yearly


  • Singapore — SG$ 15.90 monthly / SG$ 40.90 quarterly / SG$ 103.90 yearly
  • Hong Kong — HK$ 85 monthly / HK$ 239 quarterly / HK$ 599 yearly
  • Malaysia — MYR 50 monthly / MYR 130 quarterly / MYR 309 yearly


  • United States — US$ 17.99 monthly / US$ 49.99 quarterly / US$ 119.99 yearly
  • United Kingdom — £13.49 monthly / £39.99 quarterly / £99.99 yearly
  • Japan — ¥1,550 – monthly / ¥4,300 – quarterly / ¥10,250 yearly

If you’re starting from scratch – meaning no prior subscription, those are the pricings you’re looking at. 

However, if you have an existing PlayStation Plus subscription the amount will be prorated. But what does that mean? 

Here’s an example: 

Before the all-new PlayStation Plus Subscription kicked in, I had a PS Plus subscription that goes all the way to December 2022. That means I essentially have an existing subscription with the value of seven (7) months of PS Plus Essential which amounts to SG$ 97.3. 

Had I started from scratch, I would have had to pay seven (7) months of PS Plus Deluxe which costs SG$ 111.3.

But thanks to my existing PS Plus Essential credits, I only paid SG$ 14 to go Deluxe for the rest of my subscription. 

Still confusing? Essentially, I didn’t have to pay the full amount of the yearly Deluxe subscription. I only had to pay for the upgrade to Deluxe that covers the duration of my subscription. 

And there’s really no other way to do it. PlayStation will automatically prorate your existing subscription to whichever tier you’re upgrading to.  

How to buy? 

You can simply upload your debit or credit card information directly to your account. It should be seamless in most countries. If you’re in the Philippines, here’s a helpful guide from Ungeek

Alternatively, you can opt to buy PlayStation Network (PSN) credits from authorized stores and sellers.

Which one should you actually buy? 

This depends entirely on your needs, the type of games you play, and naturally, your budget. 

For instance, I initially was only going to upgrade to Extra because I wasn’t really interested in the Classic titles available at launch. But a pretty little angel offered to cover for the Deluxe subscription. And I’m grateful, because now, I’m able to play Batman Return to Arkham: Arkham City, Syphon Filter, as well as the original Resident Evil game. Totally lied about that last one as I’ve been avoiding horror games since Silent Hill gave me nightmares wayback when. I digress.

If you’re the multiplayer type, you’re definitely gonna want to get at least the Essential tier as it’s required for online multiplayer. These are games like Call of Duty, Fortnite, and even sports ones like NBA 2K and FIFA. 

Essential is also great if you’re the type who can wait. The monthly games are definitely a mixed bag, but every now and then they’ll throw in games you meant to buy but never did for whatever reason. That happened to me with titles like Persona 5 Striker, Judgment, Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time, and many others.

Premium, if you have access to it, offers classic titles as well as access to cloud stream PS3 titles. That last one isn’t available in any other tier. 

What’s the best value?

God of War

Again, this really depends on the type of gamer you are and the number of hours you can spend gaming. But generally speaking, I personally think the Extra tier offers the best bang for your buck. 

Not only do you get free monthly games, you also have access to some pretty rad PS4 titles. And just recently, it also gave us access to a much anticipated and now thoroughly beloved indie title – Stray.

Premium and Deluxe are great. But given the available titles as of writing, these two tiers are more of a luxury at this point.

Other things to keep in mind

Spidey's not shy about taking selfies

Games come and go. After all, nothing lasts forever. Unlike the free monthly games available on the Essential tier, you won’t have access to certain titles once they’re pulled out.

It’s still early in the subscription’s lifespan so no major titles have left yet. But eventually, there will be games that won’t be available anymore for one reason or another.

So, if you’re subscribed to whatever Tier and a game you really like becomes available. Hop on it as soon as you can because you never know when it’ll go away.

Happy gaming!

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