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

5 coolest Airbnb places you can rent in Tagaytay

For when you want to escape Manila’s heat

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Image credit: Airbnb

Tagaytay is one destination you can visit when you’re looking for a weekend getaway. It’s popular for its cold weather, picture-worthy cafes, and an overlooking view of Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano. In addition, it’s just a two-hour drive away from Manila.

If you’re planning to stay in this city for a couple of days, here are our top five Airbnb rentals:


Dalton’s Lakeview Point

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Dalton’s Lakeview Point is a stylish, modern-themed Airbnb. It’s spacious enough to fit groups up to six people, and its artistic interior design gives you that cozy and calming feeling. Stay here when you want a refreshing view of Taal Lake.

Book it here.

Nordic Jewel

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Couples might enjoy staying at Nordic Jewel, a Scandinavian-inspired Airbnb located in Tagaytay Prime Residences. Despite being small, every corner is Instagrammable. If that doesn’t convince you, let me tell you this: Small spaces make you closer with a person. Now go and have a good time with the love of your life!

Book it here.

Unit 217, Tower 1, Wind Residences

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Even though it looks like a hotel room, Unit 217 in Tower 1, Wind Residences exudes an elegant, contemporary vibe. Its yellow accents give life in this Airbnb’s dominantly black and white design, and its patio invites you to relax and take a peek outside. This is perfect for those who want to feel that hotel vibe with a touch of the usual bed and breakfast.

Book it here.

Chalet de Tagaytay

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If you want to retreat from the hustle-bustle of life, Chalet de Tagaytay is a rustic Airbnb that oozes privacy. Perched on a mountainside, it has the perfect view of Taal Lake for when you want to contemplate about life. Take the time to forget the world and your problems, and just relax during your stay.

Book it here.

Windsor Vacation House

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Windsor Vacation House is the perfect place for get-togethers. It’s spacious enough to let everyone have their own space, and every corner is definitely picture-worthy. Next time you have an occasion to celebrate, bring your families and friends here for a wonderful experience. It can comfortably fit people up to 12 people, and it’s guaranteed you’ll make new memories with a beautiful Airbnb like this!

Book it here.

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Cameras

4 reasons the new Instax Mini LiPlay is perfect for any occasion

Small but packed with features

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Fujifilm recently announced their new hybrid instant camera, the Instax Mini LiPlay. It’s the newest addition to the company’s lineup of Instax instant cameras and by far the smallest and most lightweight in its series.

Despite being small, it’s packed with features that every girl would love to have in different situations. Here are the reasons why:


1. You get to celebrate occasions in a special way

The Instax Mini LiPlay is not your typical instant camera. It comes with an LCD so you can review photos you’ve captured, and choose which one to print.

It also has a “Sound” button which is capable of recording up to ten seconds of audio. The Instax Mini LiPlay then converts the audio’s data into a QR code and adds it to the photo printed. Users can play and replay for at least a year by scanning the QR code. This function is perfect for adding greetings, songs, and other messages you’d love to share through the printed photo.

2. Definitely a travel companion

This hybrid instant camera is different compared to Fujifilm’s instant cameras. Its promise of being the smallest and most lightweight makes it an easy-to-carry travel-sized camera (that won’t take too much space in your bag).

In addition, solo and group travelers can enjoy the remote shooting feature, which remotely takes a photo and print it on the spot using your smartphone. Furthermore, it has a direct print feature so you can transfer your photos from your smartphone and print it using the instant camera’s film. Whatever device you use, the Instax Mini LiPlay is a travel companion you’ll love to bring anywhere you go.

3. For the times when you want to express yourself

If you love shooting flat lays or OOTDs, the Instax Mini LiPlay may be useful as a prop or as an accessory. It has a stylish design that matches your aesthetic, and it comes in three beautiful colors: Stone White, Elegant Black, and Blush Gold.

Moreover, it has an array of design frames. The camera comes with ten pre-installed frames, which you can select during or after taking a photo. When you download the free Instax Mini LiPlay app, you get to enjoy 20 additional design frames.

4. Enjoy taking photos wherever you go

Say goodbye to AA batteries that make you feel like you’re using a device from the early 2000s. The Instax Mini LiPlay uses micro-USB for charging and takes two to three hours to fully charge the device. Its battery can last up to 100 printed photos. Photos are also saved onto a microSD card so you can keep on shooting until your memory card is full!

The Instax Mini LiPlay is priced at PhP 9,999 and will be available around late June to early July in the Philippines.

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Her GadgetMatch

Xiaomi makes your dream home more attainable with new appliances

Beautiful and affordable

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As a struggling, single twentysomething, imagining what life would be like after 30 can be difficult. On rare occasions when my bank account looks more promising than usual, I fancy my future self as someone who can afford a living space that I designed myself — from picking wall colors, to getting minimal Scandinavian furniture, to hanging my own art, to breathing more life into it with plants.

Even if I’m surrounded by new technology all the time, the thing I find hardest to imagine is filling up that space with home tech — mostly because it’s hard to find well-designed appliances that don’t cost a fortune. While we put so much thought in getting furniture and accents that go well together, it rarely ever matters that we have a combination of a green stove, a white washing machine, a silver refrigerator, and a maroon fan — all in one household. But it does matter, and Xiaomi, once again, saves the day (or in this case, my future) with four new smart products for the dream home we all deserve.


Mi Smart Door Lock

Your dream home should only be unlocked with a mechanical key during emergency situations. The Mi Smart Door Lock offers up to six different unlocking methods, including fingerprint scanning and NFC. This means the new Mi Smart Band 4 or any phone with NFC can be used to unlock the door. This also means saving extra space in your purse for more important things like your lip balm.

The Mi Smart Door Lock retails for CNY 1,699 (US$ 245).

Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro (10kg)

Let’s face it, none of us like doing the laundry but it shouldn’t be a chore. The Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro supports voice control to activate or stop a washing cycle. It also sends a notification to your phone when your laundry is ready, so while waiting you can do a home workout or make yourself a hearty meal instead.

Washing machines should also not be an eyesore, and this one from Xiaomi sports a minimalist design and a singular OLED smart button. Oh, and it’ll be able to receive over-the-air updates in the future, too. The Mi Smart Combo Wash Dryer Pro starts at CNY 2,999 (US$ 433).

Mi Smart Kitchen Exhaust Hood and Stove Set

Any grownup kitchen should be a smart one so you can braise beef without forgetting about it and potentially burning your dream homes down. The Mi Smart Kitchen Exhaust Hood and Stove Set supports remote and voice controls, so you can monitor and adjust temperatures even from the toilet. The set is available at CNY 2,298 (US$ 333).

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