First Look

ASUS VivoBook S14 Unboxing and First Impressions

Just the right size and power?

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ASUS decks out stylish yet powerful laptops. For instance, the new VivoBook lineup comes with the latest 11th-gen Intel chipset, along with various colors befitting any personality and lifestyle.

Designed with a youthful vibe for a younger audience, the ASUS VivoBook S14 shows-off what it’s made of.

Out of the box, the VivoBook S14 greets you with its sleek, matte-like finish.

Underneath the laptop, you’ll see the usual guide and warranty booklet.

Of course, it comes with a charging cable and adapter, and a set of stickers.

A laptop that’s beautiful in black

Taking the laptop out of the box, the ASUS VivoBook S14 presents itself in a sleek, beautiful Indie Black. This color used to grace laptops from a decade ago but was abandoned in favor of parading colorful variants.

ASUS brings back the color in a classy manner — applying a matte-finish to make it look expensive. In varying angles, the Indie Black can also subtly look like Navy Blue or Dark Gray.

The curves and edges are designed flawlessly, without removing essential ports. I personally find this thoughtful, seeing how most devices we use haven’t transitioned to USB-C. The ASUS VivoBook S14 offers a balanced experience for everyday users — making the laptop a perfect companion for the daily grind.

The laptop opens easily, thanks to its bar-like hinge. Its silver body is unlike any laptops in its bracket, evoking a premium, classy appeal. Touching it feels like your fingertips were gracing a brand new SUV; it’s exciting and invigorating.

Surface you’d love to grace your finger on

The trackpad provides a touch experience decent enough so you won’t need a mouse. Additionally, ASUS reinvents the trackpad by applying a feature evident in its premium lineup — a NumberPad. Tapping the touchpad icon will turn the trackpad into a LED-illuminated numeric pad. Calculator, whomst?

The keyboard is perfect for everyday use. It’s not too big or small — just the right size. Aside from designing the keys smartly, the keyboard has secret functions that can boost the laptop’s performance.

With ASUS’s Intelligent Performance Technology, you can switch between different modes that perfectly suit your usage.

Simply toggle the Fn and F hotkey combination, and you can switch between Whisper Mode for a cool and power-saving operation; Balanced Mode for optimized performance, thermal, and power parameters; and Performance Mode which boosts the laptop’s performance up to 40 percent for heavy workloads.

A vivid, dream-like experience

Unlike the previous VivoBook S14 I’ve tried, this one comes with beefier specifications. It’s equipped with Intel’s 11th-gen Core i7 chipset, assisted by NVIDIA MX50 graphics (Intel Iris XE for other units).

This makes it easier for the laptop to balance battery life and performance, compared to previous models. It’s powered by up to 16GB of RAM with a large capacity PCIe SSD for superfast storage and experience.  You can access anything swiftly.

Moreover, the VivoBook S14 sports a 14-inch NanoEdge display that can handle a 60FPS frame rate. Its thin bezels and Full HD display offer vivid visuals; an exceptional color reproduction augmented by wide viewing angles. It’s truly a treat for content creators and everyday users.

First Impressions

There’s a lot to explore in this new ASUS VivoBook S14, but it remains true to its promise: a stylish, powerful laptop for anyone. It’s lightweight and offers just the right size — in its form, keys, and screen.

It fits in my bag and blends with my personal stuff. It’s truly a match for anyone’s personality and lifestyle. And it has the right power apt for content creation or everyday usage. In essence, it’s the perfect balance most people are looking for.

The ASUS VivoBook S14 comes in a variety of colors. The 11th Gen Intel Core i5 variant comes in Indie Black, Resolute Red, Gaia Green, and Dreamy White. Meanwhile, the 11th Gen Intel Core i7 comes in Indie Black and Dreamy White.

Pricing and availability

The ASUS VivoBook S14 S433 i5 and i7 are now available in ASUS Concept Stores, IT Multi-brand Stores, ASUS E-Store, ASUS Shopee, and ASUS Lazada official stores. They retail for PhP 49,995 and PhP 59,995, respectively.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

First Look

Huawei Band 6 First Impressions

That screen looks more watch than band

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Huawei Band 6

Huawei has been expanding its family of wearables and they aren’t stopping any time soon. Now, they’re giving users an intriguing option that doesn’t break the bank — the Huawei Band 6.

Today, we’ll be going through our first impressions of Huawei’s new budget smart band.

Bigger screen, new smart band

Even before opening the box, you can already tell there’s something different about this Smart Band. You might even doubt yourself while reading the copy right in front of you.

“Huawei… Band 6. Did I read that right?

Huawei Band 6

We already have an image of how most smart bands are supposed to look like. What immediately comes to mind is a small screen. The good is that they’re light. The bad is how they have limited real estate for information to be presented right in front of you.

Yet here we were, the Huawei Band 6, with a screen that looks more watch than band.

There’s nothing special with the unboxing experience. Aside from the device, you’ll be getting manuals and a magnetic charging cable. Straight to the point. No fluff.

Bigger doesn’t always mean heavier

The star of the show is the Huawei Band 6 itself and even at a first glance, it does not disappoint. The screen is big but it isn’t overwhelming.

The band has a minimalist look to it, with only a single button found on its right side.

Huawei Band 6

From a try-on, the Huawei Band 6 doesn’t feel heavy, which is a pleasant surprise considering its screen size. It doesn’t feel cheap either even though its body is made out of plastic. This is a quality device that screams value.

Go bigger for better

A quick run through the device and you already see the benefits of having a screen this big. Aside from having immediate access to more information such as the number of calories burned, steps counted, and heart rate, a couple of swipes brings you to a page that tracks your stress levels throughout the day. Definitely important to have that given the current pandemic.

It looks really stylish as well on your wrist. The Huawei Band 6 immediately strikes you as a device that is both useful and versatile, both for fashion and for practical use.

That’s all we have for now. Have any questions about its features? Make sure to send them over through our Facebook Page or Twitter account and we’ll take note of those as we go through the review process.

Pricing and availability

The Huawei Band 6 will retail for PhP 2,599 and each purchase is bundled with a Free Bluetooth Speaker worth PhP 1,499.

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NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… First Impressions

Yes, that’s really the game’s name

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NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… which I shall refer to henceforth as NieR Replicant, is a game I didn’t expect to play but everyone else’s hands were full so here we are. As my first title in the NieR franchise,  I honestly have trouble condensing the experience to a single theme so what I’ll do is just list down everything I liked about the game so far.

But first, what is NieR Replicant?

NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139… is a remastered version of NieR Replicant first released in 2010 in Japan. It’s a prequel to the 2017 hit NieR: Automata. 

You play the role of a protective brother who’s trying to find a cure for his sister. Aiding you in this quest is Grimoire Weiss — a sentient magical floating book who is probably the most entertaining thing about the game.

That covers the general idea. Now, onto the things I liked.

The music

This was the very first thing I noticed especially after going through the opening battle tutorial sequence. There’s just something about the music in this game that takes me back to the JRPGs from the late 90s to early 2000s.

It’s exactly the kind of music that plays in my head when I dream of being whisked away to a different reality. It’s especially true since the one we’re in right now feels like a really dark timeline. I digress.

All the levels and areas I’ve played so far had music that completely matched the look and feel of that particular area. There’s always a feeling of adventure when entering a new town and there’s also a feeling of constant threat in dungeon-type areas. Everything’s just really spot on.

The voice acting, especially Grimoire Weiss

I didn’t play the original game but learned that it didn’t have voice overs back then. I wouldn’t exactly classify the added voice over as spectacular but it uniquely appeals to my taste at the moment.

(Editor’s Note: It was very nicely pointed out to us that the original game had voice overs, just not for NPC dialogues. But all the voice overs for re-recorded for this remastered version).

If you’ve ever seen any dubbed Anime before, that’s the vibe you’ll get from the voice acting — which fits the art style of the game perfectly. The intonation, delivery, and just overall feel gives off a nice mix of earnest but also campy vibe.

This may not appeal to everyone but a great foil to everything I mentioned about voice acting is the performance of Liam O’Brien (Gaara in Naruto, Lloyd Aspland in Code Geass) as Grimoire Weiss. Unlike every other character that feels too absorbed in the world, Weiss (or Weissy as some characters fondly call him) seems self-aware without appearing too detached from the world.

Oftentimes, he’ll call out what a drag some quests feel like. His banter with the protagonist definitely distracts from what can sometimes be mind-numbing side quests. He just is a huge plus in the entertainment value of the game.

The combat 

The combat in this game is the right amount of flashy without being too simplistic. You have the usual light and heavy attacks coupled with blocks, parries, dodges, along with magic and ranged attacks that are just oh, so, satisfying.

There’s enough variety here to keep you on your toes. And sure, while you may get away with some level of button mashing, the combat offers a decent amount of depth to make it feel rewarding to not just button mash.

NieR Replicant

The changing perspectives

While I haven’t really played NieR: Automata, I’ve seen plenty of reviews and gameplay videos to know how the gameplay shifts from a traditional action RPG type to something that resembles games from the past.

In certain sections of the game, it’ll shift to a top view where you’re moving around an area dodging and taking down enemies. Some sections will also turn the game into some type of 2D platformer. It’s a nice change of pace every time these changes kick-in and it ties in nicely to the nostalgic vibe of the music.

Everything else

I’m still on the fence about the game’s story. It has, so far in my playthrough, tackled themes of loss and grief and given the current state of our world and my immediate environment, that’s not exactly the kind of escapism I look for. Perhaps, I’ll have my thoughts more fleshed out once I finish the game.

The character models, though remastered, do feel like they are from a different time. Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing but this might be off-putting to new players who’ve been spoiled by the graphics and art style of more recent games.

Should you play NieR Replicant?

To sum up my experience so far, I think NieR Replicant is a good mix of that late 90s to early 2000s JRPG vibe but with a touch of modern action RPG gameplay. I think it’s also a good entry point to the NieR franchise. Playing this so far already has me looking forward to playing NieR: Automata. 

If what I described so far is totally your jam, then you should definitely snag a copy right now.

PlayStation

Pre-order/purchase the digital version of the game before May 31, 2021 on the PlayStation Store, or pre-order/purchase the first-run physical version to receive the early purchase bonus download code for NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

  • PS4 Dynamic Theme
  • Avatar Set
  • Mini Soundtrack

Pre-Order Links: Singapore | Malaysia | Indonesia | Thailand

Physical Version Pre-Order Bonus: Tarot card of “The Fool” with the Protagonist (young) as motif.

Xbox One Digital version

Pre-order the Xbox One digital version and receive the Mini Soundtrack

Steam Digital Version

Pre-order the Steam digital version and receive the Mini Soundtrack and a wallpaper collection for PC.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… will be available on April 22, 2021 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam (PC).

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OPPO A94 Unboxing and First Impressions

This one’s a looker

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OPPO A94

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, smartphone launches have been relentless for a while now. Not even a month after debuting their latest flagship, the Find X3 Pro, OPPO is at it again. This time, with the midranger OPPO A94.

The particular box we received came in this treasure box. It should be familiar to Mobile Legends players.

There are plenty of other goodies inside, but we’re here for the OPPO A94.

This seems to be the color OPPO is going with for most of their smartphone releases for 2021.

Flip the box over and you’ll see the name of the phone with some highlight features.

It’s not really clear in the photo but those features are: Dual View Video, AI Color Portrait Video, and 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0.

We’re skipping right ahead to opening the box

Gorgeous, right? OPPO calls it the Flowing Light Design. Here’s another look.

The official name of color variants are Fluid Black and Fantastic Purple. This particular variant is the fantastic purple, but depending on how light hits it, it looks more like teal with splashes of purple.

Here’s the rest of what’s inside the box

OPPO A94

There are earphones, a USB-C cable and the power adapter. Not seen in photo is the SIM-tray ejector tool and the usual documentation: warranty and user guide.

Here’s a closer look at the power brick just because

The OPPO A94 has a quad camera setup

OPPO A94

Here are the numbers: 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, and 2MP mono camera. It also has a 32MP selfie shooter. More than the specs, it’s also home to plenty of OPPO features also found in the Reno line. These are AI Color Portrait Video, Monochrome Video, Dual-View Video, Dynamic Bokeh, Night Flare Portrait, among others.

Here’s what it looks like after boot up

OPPO A94

It’s running ColorOS 11 on top of Android 11. It’s easily one of the better Android skins right now. OPPO has taken a lot of inspiration from OnePlus’ OxygenOS to make sure the UI is able to breathe while adding their own unique customization tools.

A smartphone for gaming

While the design of the phone is loud, it’s not necessarily gaming loud. However, the OPPO A94 is equipped to tackle some of the most popular titles today, most notably Mobile Legends: Bang bang. Powering the device is a MediaTek Helio P95 Octa-core chip which is tuned for faster app start-up but also gaming-centric things like responsive on-screen touches and less lag.

It’s also home to OPPO’s  Game Assistant that has features like Game Focus Mode. You can choose to block out all notifications or have them appear like a ticker on your screen in a non-obstructive manner.

Best OPPO A-series phone so far?

All early indications suggest the OPPO A94 is a pretty darn solid midranger. It’s heavy on performance and comes in a flashly look. Those are two pretty strong qualities but the smartphone is also more than serviceable in other departments like thumbing like crazy through your social media feeds or catching up with people dear to you via chat apps.

It’s already out in Singapore but in the Philippines, you can look forward to its launch on March 26.

 

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