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ASUS ZenFone 5 First Impressions

Back and better than before

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It was only six months ago when the ASUS ZenFone 4 series launched, but here were are, trying out a radically different successor in the ZenFone 5.

Not to be confused with the original ZenFone 5 that came out in 2014, the model we have here is not an entry-level handset by any means. In fact, it has the makings of a series-defining product.

ZenFone 4 (left), ZenFone 5 (right)

For this generation, ASUS chose to focus on artificial intelligence to optimize every aspect of the phone from the battery usage to the cameras. But why only make AI a big deal now? According to ASUS, it’s because the technology is now ready for it, and it’s more practical in everyday gadgets.

And while there are multiple variants to take note of — ZenFone 5, higher-end ZenFone 5Z, and ZenFone 5 Lite to start — they all share the same mantra ASUS has been pushing for years: empowering luxury.

ASUS gave us a preview of a pre-production unit of the main ZenFone 5, and these are my initial impressions.

A trendy design

There’s no doubt the ZenFone 5 takes inspiration from its competition, from the chunk bitten off the top of the near-borderless display to the placement of the dual rear cameras. ASUS claims this design is essential to providing a large screen without compromise.

What really stands out is the edge-to-edge IPS LCD up front. It’s 6.2 inches in diameter and has an unusual 19:9 screen ratio, but this combination feels natural in my big hands. The chin was kept a little thick so the navigation buttons at the bottom are more accessible.

The panel itself has a 2246 X 1080-pixel resolution and 90 percent screen-to-body ratio. That puts the ZenFone 5 near the top of the most bezel-free phones available today.

Although very light when held, the phone’s curved edges make gripping the body comfy. The signature circular design on the glass back also makes a return, and the fingerprint sensor can be found near the center.

Intelligent software

ASUS calls the ZenFone 5 an intelligent phone beyond anything else. There’s artificial intelligence throughout the handset, from the display and ringtone, to the camera and overall performance.

For the ringtone, the volume dynamically adjusts depending on the room’s ambiance, and there’s this feature called AI Boost, which lets you choose between optimizing your Android experience for faster performance or longer battery life (whichever you find more important).

We weren’t able to truly test all these features and how they enhance the user experience, but we can tell the ZenFone 5 is much more intuitive than previous generations.

This is also credited to the new and improved Android interface, ZenUI 5.0, on top of Android Oreo. It’s cleaner and less cluttered by duplicate apps from third-party companies, but we’ll have to wait for a retail unit to say just how much smoother the software is.

Smartest hardware yet

The brains behind all these AI tricks is in the new Snapdragon 636 chipset and its neural processing engine (NPE). This part of the processor performs tasks in a more efficient and dynamic way that gets better through time, and it comes with up to 6GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage to boot.

One of the best AI implementations within the ZenFone 5 is on the cameras. Using the 12-megapixel main camera and 8-megapixel wide-angle secondary shooter, the camera app can automatically detect what type of scene you’re looking at and intelligently adjust settings accordingly. There are 16 preset types in total.

Up front, we have an 8-megapixel selfie camera that uses AI once again to help beautify your portraits. And since there’s no longer a fingerprint reader in front, the front camera can also handle face recognition duties for quick logins.

Other useful features are stereo speakers (making good use of the notch on top) which are quite loud, a large 3300mAh battery with smart charging, and the inclusion of a physical audio port for headphones and external speakers.

Impressions so far

It’s difficult to provide a solid verdict given the short time we had with the pre-production model, but I’d say the package has promise with its greater focus on optimization and user experience.

We’ll have a full review once a retail unit lands in our office. Till then, be sure to follow us on social media and visit GadgetMatch.com daily to catch every update.

Hands-On

Apple iPhone 13 and 13 mini Unboxing and Hands-on

Which iPhone 13 is your GadgetMatch?

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After we unboxed the Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro Max and gold iPhone 13 Pro, it’s time to do the same to these iPhone 13 babies.

Changes with the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini aren’t just about the “odd” camera placement. Other than the new wide camera sensor, there’s a more powerful A15 Bionic Chip, smaller notch, and more.

Watch our iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini Unboxing and Hands-on video now to find out more!

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Huawei nova 8i: Huawei’s awesome SUPER midranger

An awesome midrange comeback

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Midrange smartphones have been the middle ground for people who want the premium of a higher end smartphone but don’t want to burn their pockets. Huawei gives in to this demand and claims the title of midrange king as they dethrone all other midrangers with their new nova 8 series — the nova 8 and nova 8i.

Here, we’ll put the spotlight on the Huawei nova 8i.

Build and design

Inheriting the Huawei P Series’ signature stylish aesthetic, the Huawei nova 8i has a fancy and premium design. It is slim, sleek, and has exquisite curved edges, which makes it really easy to grip.

Checking out its back, you’ll definitely notice the quad camera setup that’s surprisingly not bulky at all. It also has a noticeable resemblance with the Huawei Mate 30. But we’ll talk more about the cameras later on.

What also caught our attention is the gradient finish of this Moonlight Silver variant that we have which is absolutely stunning.

Fantastic display

The Huawei nova 8i has an edgeless 6.67-inch display with ultra-narrow bezels around it. This results in an immersive viewing experience for browsing your social media pages or watching your favorite music videos.

The Huawei nova 8i also sports full HD+ resolution and DCI-P3 color gamut, giving us that rich and vibrant color reproduction. Once again, Huawei taps on Tuv Rheinland for certification on low blue light emittance to ensure eye comfort for long hours of work and play. It also has a natural tone feature which automatically adjusts the colors on the display depending on your surroundings.

Gaming

Just as you would expect from a midrange phone, gaming is also something you can do with the nova 8i. With its 180Hz touch sampling rate, your favorite mobile games feel very responsive, making the gaming experience really enjoyable.

When you’re deep into gaming, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by a call or message. Well, you don’t have to worry about that since the Huawei nova 8i has a gaming assistant. You can enable settings so you won’t be disrupted and you can indulge yourself fully to the game.

But the experience is not the only thing that’s fast with the nova 8i. The 66W Huawei SuperCharge can juice up this phone up to 68 percent in just 20 minutes and can fully charge it in just 38 minutes. You can literally stare at your phone as your battery indicator rises.

Cameras

Here’s where the fun part starts. Cameras: 64MP f/1.9 main, 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth, 16MP f/2.0 selfie.

The nova 8i has a quad camera setup with a 64MP main camera which uses a big 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor. It means its camera sensor has the ability to let in more light. This results to a cleaner image and better low light performance.

And we’re telling you, this sensor is not messing around.

It lets you capture the highest resolution images you could probably ever need. Different from the usual software upscaled images typically seen on an ordinary smartphone. This gives you the capability to zoom in and crop your captured image yet still maintain a tremendous amount of details.

With the powerful cameras that the nova 8i has, you can definitely maximize its features to create your content whether just for leisure, a passion project, or social media content for your business.

EMUI and multitasking

As for its software, the Huawei nova 8i runs on EMUI 11 bringing in a bunch of convenient features that boosts your efficiency. For one, if you’re someone who loves multitasking, the multi-window feature is perfect as it lets you operate multiple apps on your screen.

Speaking of apps, Huawei’s app gallery is loaded with great ones from top shopping apps like Shopee and Lazada, to the most trending ones like TikTok.

And if in case you’re having trouble finding the app for you, Petal Search has got you covered. Just type in the app or whatever it is you’re looking for and Petal Search looks it up for you on different sources making sure you get the absolute best results.

Taking screenshots has never been this easy. You can do so by just swiping down using three fingers.

And for security, a new safe sharing feature has been included on the nova 8i. We now get the option to delete information of your phone and other details before sharing your photos or screenshots.

nova 8i — easy to recommend

Jam packed with features, the nova 8i just enables you to do so much. From capturing great photos and videos to having a seamless gaming and online experience, the nova 8i is an easy phone to recommend. At its price point, it is truly worthy of its crown.

The Huawei nova 8i retails for PhP 13,999. It’s available via online Huawei Store, Lazada, Shopee and Huawei experience stores.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Apple iPhone 13 Pro Gold: Unboxing and Hands-on

How “gold” smartphones should look like

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Last year, the new gold colorway of the iPhone 12 Pro series got so popular that our gold iPhone 12 Pro unboxing made rounds online and even appeared on YouTube’s trending list.

This year, it might still be someone’s desire — the classic gold slab you’ve been wanting to own.

Lo and behold! Here’s the unboxing and hands-on of the Gold iPhone 13 Pro you don’t want to miss out!

Enjoy that gold goodness now that we’re uploading in 4K.

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