First Look

ASUS ZenBook S (UX393): Unboxing and First Impressions

Sleek, gorgeous, and sexy!

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There’s a premium laptop in town, and it’s worth your every attention. Meet the ZenBook S (UX393) — one of ASUS’s most premium headliner laptop.

In case you didn’t know, ZenBooks got all the coolest features that you can find on a laptop today. While looking fancy.

Without further ado, let’s unbox this beaut!

Bringing that sexy black

The ASUS ZenBook S UX393 landed in my home in a black box. You’ll know it’s not the usual laptop seeing how most laptops use a brown box made with sustainable materials.

Taking a peek inside, you’ll see two black boxes: one that carries the laptop and one that contains the peripherals.

There’s also a sleek, laptop sleeve!

But first, let’s take the smaller, rectangular box out. Inside, you can find a long, 65W fast charger in USB-C.

There’s also a USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter. Yes, you read that right. This gorgeous notebook doesn’t have a headphone jack anymore.

Moving on, the bigger box carries the ever-gracious ZenBook S. But first, let’s admire how sleek and sexy the box is — in and out. With its minimal Zen-like pattern, it’s easy to be astonished at first sight. It also looks posh with its sexy black and copper-red combination, the same colors utilized by the beautiful ZenBook S.

Upon opening, you’ll find ASUS’s stamp regarding its commitment to sustainability, honoring its promise to using environment-friendly materials despite using a different color for its packaging.

Underneath the laptop, you can find the usual product guide and warranty card tucked inside a discreet envelope.

Gorgeous and stunning

Looking at the ZenBook S is like staring at a Valentino coat and Burberry underwear. You’re not sure if you need it, but you know you want it.

It maintained the iconic, off-centered logo on its lid, with a spun-metal finish, embellished with its prominent Zen-like concentric circular patterns.

Its luxurious Jade Black finish is accentuated with subtle Red-Copper diamond-cut edges, certainly leaving quite an impression — whether it’s you looking or the one showing it off.

On its sides, the ZenBook S demonstrated a design made for people on-the-go. It has a full-size HDMI, USB Type-A ports, MicroSD card reader, and Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports.

These Thunderbolt ports support fast charging, 4K UHD external displays, and up to 40Gbps of data transfers.

First impressions

The ZenBook S embodies ASUS’s philosophy when it comes to premium laptops. Just the way it looks, it’s pretty clear that it’s meant to be fancy, smart, and glamorous.

ASUS also brings in innovative features — an ergonomic backlit keyboard design, function keys that make navigating easier, and the NumberPad 2.0 which makes the touchpad work as an LED numeric keypad, too.

For the price it commands, it’s certainly convenient and secure to use. With Windows Hello, your face is your password! The front infrared (IR) camera recognizes your face in seconds and lets you log in instantly and securely.

The ZenBook S also sports ASUS’s proprietary NanoEdge display albeit with a taller 3:2 aspect ratio and a 3300×2200 resolution touchscreen.

Its screen has a Pantone-validated color accuracy, as well, making it an excellent choice for budding creatives. Coupled with Intel’s Evo platform powered by an Intel Core i7 processor, it runs any software seamlessly while you multitask for an efficient workflow.

Price and availability

The ASUS ZenBook S (UX393) is like meeting someone and falling in love at first sight. There’s so much to explore, and you can’t keep your hands off it. That’s what the experience with the ZenBook S felt like.

And for a flagship headliner, we know this laptop still has a lot of surprises on its sleeves. It currently retails for PhP 99,990.

More details on the ZenBook S here.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.

First Look

ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip Unboxing and First Impressions

It comes with a special case!

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Zenfone 8 Flip

“Oooh what’s in the box?” is what I imagine most of you say whenever a new device comes out. So, for the Zenfone 8 Flip, we’ll show you what you can expect should you decide to cop the latest from ASUS.

This is the box. Pretty standard, with the 8 on top.

Zenfone 8 Flip

The inside follows the same color and brushed-cement looking finish. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

I totally just made-up “brushed-cement” but it’s the only thing I can think of to describe the look.

First thing in the packaging is a packet with the SIM tray ejector tool.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Inside it are the user guide and the special case.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Underneath the packet is the Zenfone 8 Flip itself. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

We’re gonna dive straight into the phone. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It has quite a glossy glass finish. That means smudges. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

That’s icky

The power button has a bright blue tint that stands out from the rest of the device. 

Zenfone 8 FlipSitting right on top of it are the volume rockers.

The bottom has the usual USB-C port and speaker grille.

Zenfone 8 Flip

While the left side has the SIM tray. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

Here’s a closer look at the Flip camera module. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

And here it is actually flipped. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

What’s cool is you control the angle of flipping.
Zenfone 8 Flip

Here it is with the case on. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It has a stopper to keep the module from flipping.

Zenfone 8 Flip

And the phone knows when it’s on. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It’ll give you this prompt if you switch to ‘selfie’ on the camera app with the stopper equipped. 

Zenfone 8 FlipPretty cool, yeah?

This is what the home screen looks like. That wallpaper is actually animated. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

You also have the a USB-C cable

And a power adapter.

That’s everything inside the box!

Zenfone 8 Flip

First Impressions 

The ASUS Zenfone Flip 8 has some heft to it. Perhaps that’s to be expected given the Flip camera module. Speaking of, that camera module has a way of making you want to use it. I’m not one for selfies but I took a few for a quick test run along with some other quick snaps.

Selfies

Main camera, HDR off

Ultra-wide, HDR off 

Ultra-wide, auto HDR

Main camera, auto HDR 

Ultra-wide, auto HDR 

Indoors, Main camera 

Indoors, Portrait 

Bright light indoors

Some observations: The post-processing after you take photos does A LOT of work whether or not you have HDR turned on or off. This results in high contrast and sharpened images. On the contrary, using the same camera but with portrait mode, the resulting image looks softer.

This isn’t a good look for the image processing and I can see people opting to use Google Camera instead of the stock one on the phone.

Performance-wise, we haven’t spent a significant amount of time with the device but the whole thing feels snappy and buttery-smooth. So, it’s par for the course for something flagship. The display does look sharp and pleasing to the eyes. It is, after all, Samsung AMOLED.

That’s all we have on the Zenfone 8 Flip for now. Stay tuned for the review.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Here’s a quick look at the specs of the Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip side by side.

Zenfone 8 Zenfone Flip 8
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Display 5.9” Samsung AMOLED, 120Hz 6.67” Samsung AMOLED, 90Hz
OS Android 11, Zen UI 8 Android 11, Zen UI 8
Configuration 6GB + 128GB

8GB +128GB

8GB + 256GB

16GB + 256GB

*No storage expansion

8GB +256GB

*Up to 2TB storage expansion via MicroSD

Battery 4,000mAh 5,000mAh
Cameras 64MP Sony IMX686

12MP Ultra-wide

12MP front-facing

64MP Sony IMX686

12MP Ultra-wide

8MP telephoto

*Flip camera module

Pricing and availability details to follow.


Watch our Zenfone 8 review

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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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First Look

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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