Her GadgetMatch

ASUS ZenFone 5Q review: Pretty and capable

Also known as the ZenFone 5 Lite or ZenFone 5 Selfie

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At MWC 2018, ASUS announced a slew of smartphones (again) and one of them is the ASUS ZenFone 5Q. Depending on where you are, it’s called a lot of things: ZenFone 5 Lite in Europe or ZenFone 5 Selfie in South America. Dubbed the selfie phone from the new line, the 5Q has power packed front-facing shooters and a quad-camera setup. How does this phone fare? Let’s find out.

Look and feel

First thing’s first: This phone looks awesome. Like, really stunning.


It has a reflective glass back that’s so nice and shiny. It may be a smudge magnet, but it makes for a breathtaking look and a great mirror. 💁🏽✨

And, lo and behold: A notchless phone release in 2018!

Sure, ASUS has jumped on that bandwagon for other devices, but the 5Q remains pure in its notchless glory.

Quad-camera goodness

I’m just going to go straight to this phone’s highlight: the cameras. There are four cameras on this handset, and though that’s not exactly a first, ASUS claims that it’s “the world’s first globally announced true quad-camera system.”

Wait, what?

Basically, ASUS claims that for the first time, you can use all four cameras independently. Previous quad-camera phones usually utilize secondary shooters only for portrait or bokeh modes. This means that from both sides of this device, you can take normal shots and wide-angled photos like this:

Wide-angle lenses aren’t new to ASUS, but historically, only one side of the phone had this option. These lenses ensure that you get more stuff in your photographs. That includes more space for people in selfies:

Just make sure to stay at the center of the picture as wide-angle lenses, no matter what phone they’re on, usually distort images — you don’t want your face to be at the receiving end of that.

Using my face as an example to prove a point. The things I do for my job…

The 5Q can take great photos under ideal photo scenarios. See samples below:

Images are usually bright and colors are punchy. Most of the time, they’re a tad saturated which makes photos look like these.

I did notice that in weird lighting scenarios, there was a little inconsistency with how pictures came out. There were times when the colors came out duller than usual.

Here are more photo samples:

Beauty mode and all the camera effects

Of course, what is a selfie phone without all the selfie features?

Front and back shooters are capable of portrait mode on both normal and wide-angle shots. The bokeh on the portrait mode looks like this:

Say hello to MJ, GadgetMatch’s resident creative

As clean as the bokeh cutouts may look for short-haired folks, that wasn’t the case for longer-haired girls.

Chay says hi!

Even on the rear shooters, the bokeh wasn’t as clean, especially with confusing backgrounds.

All this, however, can be forgiven. Most phones, even flagships, still have trouble with their bokeh cutouts. Remember, this software bokeh is only a plus to the phone’s wide-angle capabilities.

That famed beauty mode that the ZenFone 4 line had is still here, and so is ASUS’ built-in Selfie Master app which allows for real-time beautification while streaming. The beauty mode is mostly the same. As always, too much and the possibility of transforming into a smooth wax figure is still a possibility.

But, what changed is something that isn’t in the beauty mode.

Notice how even the photo on the left, shot on Auto, seems airbrushed. Yes folks, even when you don’t have beauty mode turned on, it seems the phone still applies a slight filter which prettifies everyone instantly. This can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the person using the phone.

Overall performance

The 5Q is powered by a Snapdragon 630 processor with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This means the phone is pretty capable — everyday social media use and mobile gaming work well on the device.

From Sims Mobile to Tekken, gaming was without a hiccup

Speaking of gaming, there’s even a live stream function on the game mode!

The phone runs on Android Nougat, which is quite a downer in 2018. This means you get ASUS’s existing ZenUI. The Android Oreo and ZenUI 5.0 updates come later this year.

Its 3300mAh battery can last me a whole day’s use, though the phone doesn’t support fast charging. It takes around two hours to charge from zero to 100 percent.

Other notable features

Its 6-inch FHD screen is a tall 18:9 display. This means more content as you scroll through social media, or when you read websites like GadgetMatch (make it your daily habit!) on your phone.

Videos also look good on this screen size, except most videos (even ours!) are shot with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Nevertheless, there’s a crop-to-fit function on the 5Q that makes for better viewing without those pillar boxes.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed on the photos, there is no fingerprint scanner up front anymore. This has been moved to the back to give way to the screen.

For those who can’t be bothered by the rear fingerprint scanner, this phone is also equipped with face unlock technology. When there is good lighting, it works pretty well.

There’s also a triple-card slot which means you have space for all your SIM cards and a microSD card.

Is the ASUS ZenFone 5Q your GadgetMatch?

There’s definitely a premium in being pretty and unpretentious. I honestly believe this is one of the best-looking midrangers out there right now. Not having a notch is notch a problem at all. (Ha ha, get it?) On the contrary, it makes me feel like this phone has a classic premium design as it doesn’t try too hard to be something it isn’t.

Performance was pretty good throughout, though the biggest qualm, really, is the fact that it still runs on Android Nougat. For those patient enough to wait till later on in the year, however, this may be a non-issue.

The wide-angle lenses on both sides of the phone are a definite plus for me — I often feel that this feature is underappreciated and I would totally rock a phone because of this. Just imagine all the cool photos!

If you’re in the market for a well-performing phone in a pretty package and an even prettier price point, the ZenFone 5Q is a definite midrange contender you might want to look at. At less than US$ 400, it’s a device that’s definitely worth considering.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 5Q (Zenfone 5 Lite) Unboxing and Hands-On

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 5 Lite comes with quad-camera system

Her GadgetMatch

3 style tips when you want to mix things up

Give yourself that long-overdue makeover!

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There comes a point in our lives when we crave makeover and start anew. Some start by drastically modifying their hairstyle and makeup, while others pursue a lifestyle change. My girl friends and I have a different way of mixing things up: we play with colors.

After living in neutrals — particularly black, white, and gray — we decided to add a splash of color in our lives. It may be tricky to try a new palette in our style and accessories, but it’s not a life well-lived if we stay in our comfort zones.

Here are a few tips on how to mix things up, especially when you just want to see a change in your lives.

Start with one color

Happy Plugs’ Air 1 Plus in Gold

The first step is owning a single hue which can be seen in every piece of your outfit. For instance, you can wear Tan — apt for that transition between summer and fall — in your dress and accessories.

When you learn the ropes of going monochrome, gradually mix different shades of your chosen hue. You can easily do this by picking colors belonging in the same variation or sitting beside each other in the color wheel.

Tan works well with Gold, Beige, Brown, and other earth tones. You can add some pearls to have that luxe, elegant look in your style, and other essentials.

READ: How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition

Extend your color choices

Happy Plugs’ Air 1 Plus in Pink Gold

When you’re done with your monochromatic lessons, it’s time to expand your horizon. You can pick one color and utilize the colors close to it. For instance, Pink — whether as an accessory or an ensemble — can help you look young, fun, and playful as long you use its lighter tones.

You can pair it with tones close to it such as Peach, Old Rose, Rose Gold, and even loud ones like Fuschia, Scarlet, and Vermillion. With this color combination, you’ll ooze with charm and a flirty allure that might be irresistible to some.

If you find it difficult to apply this palette in your clothes, apply it to your accessories instead!

READ: How to wear pink: 4 ways to look chic and grown-up

Own some metallics

Happy Plugs’ Air 1 Plus in White Marble

Shy away from the usual neutrals and consider metallics — gold, silver, copper, and rust — to make a statement. Some pieces can be bought at an affordable price and you’d still look expensive, thanks to its shiny textures.

You can match it with another bold color or pair it with white for a neat aesthetic. But if you can’t pull it off, make sure to follow a monochromatic style and match your metals to look sophisticated — be it on your watch, electronics, lipstick, clothes, and even purse.

READ: 5 ways to instantly elevate your look

SEE ALSO: Happy Plugs introduces a new chic, affordable true wireless earphones9 chic, wireless alternatives to Apple’s AirPods

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Is the Peloton bike worth it?

Fitness does not come cheap

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Getting a Peloton is more than just getting a bike; it’s joining a community. When you first start talking to someone who has the bike, they always talk about how irrationally in love they are with it. Now that I have it, I finally understand why.

After all, the bike isn’t just for taking classes and Peloton isn’t just another fitness company. Peloton is a technology company that’s creating communities and experiences that enable you to get the most out of your workouts. All of these, however, come with a pretty hefty price tag.

Peloton versus a gym membership

The bike costs EUR 2230 (US$ 2245) and an additional EUR 39 (US$ 39) a month for the classes and digital services.

Think of it like this: The digital services are like what you would pay for your monthly gym membership, and the cost of the bike is your sign up fee. If you look at it as a 3-year commitment, it ends up around something like 102.89 a month.

If you compare it to a high-end spin studio it starts to look cheap. BeCycle in Berlin, for example, offers 12 classes a month for EUR 200, and 16 for EUR 239. SoulCycle in London offers 30 classes that can be used over 12 months for around EUR 700.

It’s clear the way SoulCycle expects you to take their classes as something you add to your fitness routine a few times a month. The cost of 30 classes over the year with SoulCycle is the price of unlimited classes with Peloton, and you can do more than just spinning with the latter.

If you start to think of Peloton as a long term fitness commitment, the pricing no longer seems outrageous.

Four things that make Peloton worth it

Well-rounded classes that go beyond the bike

With Peloton, you get access to hundreds of on-demand classes and a dozen or so live classes a day. Peloton might have started with just cycling but they’ve added dance cardio, sleep coaching, running, meditation, walking, and strength training. They even have yoga classes — some of which cater to expecting mothers.

Social aspect

New research shows exercise can be contagious, and social pressure is a fantastic motivator. With Peloton, you can schedule rides with friends or join group classes — live or on demand. You can also connect with friends to see how often they ride.

Built for competitive people

The leaderboard on the right hand side pushes you to pass the next rider, and this is by far my no. 2 motivator.

Ugly sweat brings the drama

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not too proud to be a sweaty mess in public. But working out at home also means I can bring the drama. Often I find myself falling over and gasping for air like I’m JLaw in Passengers trying to breathe in that floating water bubble. If we’re talking about worth, the ability to be extra dramatic at home is priceless!

Two girls, one Peloton

Both Carol and I have a Peloton bike at home so we thought it was worthwhile to give you two takes on the same question. Is it worth it?

Nicole

If you’re like me and have a 20-euro monthly gym membership, it’s going to take a lot more than comparing Peloton’s pricing to a high-end fitness studio that I wouldn’t have paid for in the first place.

If you’re someone who has the self-discipline and already goes (or used to go, before quarantine happened) to the gym multiple times a week, Peloton is a good alternative. It’s a high-end fitness studio in your home. The best parts of having your own gym at home is not wasting any time travelling to the gym and the workouts and instructors are varied enough that you won’t get bored.

If you’re someone who thinks that getting a Peloton would be like buying the willpower to work out, you also won’t be disappointed.

In a separate article, I talked about living in a 38sqm flat during lockdown and still managed to find excuses NOT to work out. At the end of the day, even though I struggle with consistency, I’m in better shape now than I was over the past year of having a cheap gym membership and supplementing it with ClassPass.

Having a Peloton bike at home is great because you constantly see the bike. It’s like getting constant reminders that you’re not working out. This is what I’ve come to realize — it’s not that I’m not working out enough; it’s that I would feel guilty about not working out.

If this sounds terrible to you — which it should — don’t worry. Half of the time this guilt is replaced with motivation and a desire to get on the bike and get stronger.

The only way for me to stomach paying that much for a bike is to convince myself that it’s essentially a gym membership. After five months with it, I’m not even sure that I could go back to any other way of working out — especially since gyms are high risk areas and I’m just overly cautious.

SEE ALSO: Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

Carol

As someone who grew up skinny, working out was never part of my routine until I discovered spinning back in 2014. Through spinning, I learned that fitness doesn’t have anything to do with your dress size and that working out can actually be fun. It’s not the most affordable choice for workouts, but the music and the endorphin rush always left me with such a high.

I have to admit I was never a fan of the physical high fives and the loud classmates who love to go “Wooh!” throughout the class. They made me hyper aware of how much I’m struggling through the pushes and how much of a mess I look during the whole ordeal. Palm sweat on palm sweat with strangers always gave me the heebie-jeebies even before social distancing was a thing.

Having a Peloton at home brings all the things I love about spin class and leaves the things I hate about it somewhere else. I can enjoy the music, add some extra dance moves if I want to, and even sing along without worrying if I get a little too loud over that Sia song. I even started answering instructors as if they could hear me, screaming how ready I am for the ride and throwing in my own “woohs!” into the mix.

Before the pandemic, I was already really happy over the fact that I have the bike at home. Time is money and having the bike at home has given me more free time since I don’t have to make my way to and from the spin studio I frequent here in Berlin. While spin studios tend to go all out in their facilities, nothing beats showering or taking a long hot bath after a workout.

When the pandemic hit and gyms in Berlin were shuttered, I was just so thankful to have the Peloton at home. It’s a common misconception that Peloton is just for spinning and I made sure to get into the other workouts they offer while we were spending most of the time at home. During this time, I committed to doing at least one thing with the Peloton app every day.

It doesn’t even have to be a heavy sweat session. It could just be a good stretch or even a short time allotted for meditation. So even if you’re not a big fitness junkie. Trust me, it’s worth it. I’m so far from being in the upper half of the leaderboard but the fact that I get to burn most of what I ate during the day and work on relaxing my mind before bed has been such great help for my whole well-being.

SEE ALSO: Quarantine fitness diary: Forming better habits with Peloton

Since the restrictions have been relaxed and the weather has gotten so much better, I started going out more and one of the challenges, as Nicole said, is sticking to your commitment to work out. But seeing the bike at home really makes for a great reminder. If you’re someone who always has a full calendar, someone who’s busy at work, and is in need of a way to get fit and forget the world for a little bit then this is something for you. My husband and I both feel the guilt over missing a day of working out. Not because of anything else but the fact that we missed out on doing something we enjoy.

Is the Peloton worth it?

Of course it is, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to you to make the most out of it.

Let us know in the comments what you’re looking forward to when you get your bike! See you on the leaderboard soon.

SEE ALSO: Peloton tips and tricks: How to make the most out of your workout

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The Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 hair dryer: Shine and moisture beyond your mane

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In the past, hairdryers were one of the most taken-for-granted items in a person’s home. Sure, it’s a grooming essential yet people never really gave much thought to it. “As long as it blows hot air, it’s good,” a long time friend even mentioned once. That, however, has changed in the past couple of years. Now, blowing hot air just won’t cut it. Take, for example, the Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 – the brand’s latest offering.

Not all hair dryers are created equal and this one, in particular, doubles as a self-care and anti-aging tool. Not only does it promise to dry your hair in a speedy fashion, but it also leaves it shinier and moisturized.

It’s also something that you can use on your scalp and your skin to help add and retain moisture, too. This is something that undoubtedly piqued my interest. After all, the less parched my skin and hair feel, the longer it will take for them to show signs of aging.

The science of Nanoe

Panasonic’s patented technology gathers water from the air and uses it – along with negative ions – to create Nanoe droplets and Double Mineral Ions.

These droplets are smaller than steam which makes it easier for Nanoe to penetrate the hair cuticle, moisturize, and seal everything in. Despite being smaller than steam droplets when it comes to size, it packs a lot more when it comes to moisture.

“It’s perfect for people with straight and wavy tresses.”

The secret to shiny, bouncy hair

As mentioned earlier, it has different settings for your skin, scalp, and hair. They are: Hot, Cold, Intelligent Temperature Control Mode (Alternating), Scalp, and Skin. You can easily toggle between its five different modes using the button on the side of the hairdryer. You also get three power levels which can be changed through a sliding switch right at the handle.

I find that for a shiny, frizz-free, and bouncy look, it’s best to begin with the warmest setting. Run your fingers through your tresses as you dry from roots to tips. Once the hair is around 70% dry, activate the Intelligent Temperature Control Mode which will let the dryer alternate between warm and cold air. It does it all by itself – no need to press a button to switch every single time.

Do you really need to use cold air on your hair? You do – and I’m a firm believer in this method supported by stylists and hair experts worldwide. The cold air prevents over-drying and helps seal the moisture in and is proven to bring out the gloss on your strands. Finally, switch to Scalp mode to keep your skin up there moisturized as well. If you’ve been suffering from oily or even dandruff, this should be helpful to regulate the moisture level on your scalp.

Personally, I love using Scalp mode the day after I washed my hair for a healthy refresh. I spray some Batiste dry shampoo on my roots go over them with the hairdryer on medium power. Don’t forget to exfoliate your scalp often so the moisture actually reaches your scalp and roots! I use a silicone shampoo brush every time I wash my hair.

It’s also for your skin

I’m absolutely obsessed with using this on my skin, especially after slapping on some hyaluronic acid on it. If you love using humectants, the Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 can increase their effectivity by adding more moisture for it to absorb and bring into your skin.

Pro tip: I even tried using the hairdryer on my skin while putting on makeup. I love using a face mist after each layer – liquids, powders, etc – and using the hairdryer’s skin mode to set each layer made for a longer-lasting makeup look. I did not retouch the whole day and there was no caking at all.

Is the Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 your Gadgetmatch?

This hairdryer is great for wash-and-wear cuts. It does the job quickly and leaves you with a professional finish. It will also work well if you want to do a little extra, say styling your hair with a rounded brush for more volume, or for a sleeker look. It comes with a nozzle that helps the airflow to be much more concentrated but it can also be used without. It’s perfect for people with straight and wavy tresses.

For those with curls, it sadly doesn’t come with a diffuser. However, it’s not a deal-breaker. You can still dry you hair with this and retain your ringlets by scrunching up your hair as you go with your fingers. Frizz is definitely kept at bay due to the Nanoe moisture particles.

The Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 is not the cheapest hair dryer out there. It is, however, not as expensive as the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer. So if you’re looking for a more affordable alternative, this is the hairdryer for you. Getting a hairdryer that also prevents damage and keeps your hair healthy can also be a cost-effective route when you think about how much salon treatments for damaged hair are. Ladies with bleached and color-treated hair need this most and would definitely get so much use and benefits out of it.

It’s also great for travelers as even though it might look a little bulky, the Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 folds easily from the handle. This makes it easy to stuff it in a bag and stow away in a suitcase.

The Panasonic Nanoe EH-NA98 retails in Germany for EUR 193.98. You can get yours directly from the Panasonic online store or via Amazon.

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