Hands-On

ASUS ZenFone Max (M2) Hands-on: Still a great budget contender

New model, new upgrades

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There’s a new budget smartphone in town. Continuing the tradition of sporting long-lasting batteries, the ZenFone Max (M2) is ASUS’ latest offering which succeeds the ZenFone Max (M1). It’s also the cheaper version of the ZenFone Max Pro (M2).

Is the new model better than before? Let’s find out in this hands-on.

It’s got a 6.26-inch notched IPS LCD

Resolution is just HD+

The power and volume keys are on the right…

Both are responsive and tactile

… while the triple-card tray is on the left

Have a microSD and two SIM cards at the same time

Up top is the headphone jack

Along with the noise-canceling microphone

Sadly, it still uses micro-USB

Beside it is the loudspeaker and the main microphone

The back looks similar to its predecessor

It still has a metal back panel

Now with a bigger display

The latest ZenFone Max model has a bigger and taller display with thinner bezels. ASUS has stretched the display to occupy the top corners, but they still have to put a notch for the front sensors. It’s worth noting that the notch is quite wide, which means you’ll see fewer icons on the status bar.

With a resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels, this isn’t the sharpest you’ll ever see — even for a phone at this price. Color reproduction is okay, although I do find it to be muted especially when compared to other phones. There’s not much to expect from the phone’s screen, but at least it’s responsive to the touch.

The phone’s body is made of plastic and metal. The frame of the phone is plastic, while the back panel is metal. The subtle cold feeling of metal gives the phone a premium feel despite its price point.

If you own (or are familiar) with the previous ZenFone Max, you can tell that they share a lot in common when it comes to the design. The position of the cameras is the same, plus the fingerprint reader is still located at the back.

The ZenFone Max (M2) feels more expensive than it looks, which is how budget phones are shaping up to be. That’s a good thing and hopefully, other manufacturers will follow suit.

A budget gaming phone

I am considering the new ZenFone Max a budget gaming phone because it can deliver good performance. That is, of course, if you’re willing to pull the graphics settings down. This phone has nowhere near the performance of the ROG phone, so don’t expect it to fly.

What makes this possible is the Snapdragon 632 processor paired with Adreno 506 graphics. The phone has 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage as well, which are within the norms of a budget phone. Like before, pure Android software runs everything — no ZenUI, no annoying bloatware. The version is still Oreo, but ASUS promises to give it Pie.

Free Fire comes pre-installed out of the box and it runs great by default. I also didn’t have issues with Asphalt 9: Legends and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. It’s safe to say that popular titles are playable on the new ZenFone Max. Don’t hate it when it lags for a bit; it’s doing its best with the processing power it has.

I also appreciated the phone’s speaker. It’s loud and clear, something that other phones in this price point lack. Watching YouTube and playing games on high volume really show how good the phone’s loudspeaker is. Also, the 4000mAh battery sealed inside the phone can do hours and hours of gaming.

Cameras are surprisingly good

Equipped with a main 13-megapixel shooter and a 2-megapixel depth sensor, the ZenFone Max (M2) is surprisingly a good camera phone. During the day, the phone can capture pleasing images. Even the phone’s front 8-megapixel shooter impresses with its bright and balanced selfies.

Check out these samples:

Light is always your friend if you want to have a good-looking photo. When you zoom in though, the images don’t have the fine details. If you primarily use your phone’s camera to share on social networking sites, the ZenFone Max (M2) will do just fine.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

With a price of just PhP 8,995, it’s easy to ignore the shortcomings of the ZenFone Max (M2). To be honest, the phone has a lot of strong selling points like its clean Android software, quality build, good camera, and large battery capacity. If you want all those, go check out the ZenFone Max (M2) in stores.

The upgrades are also noticeable compared to its predecessor, making this new model a better buy.

SEE ALSO: ASUS confirms launch date for ZenFone 6

Accessories

PH3 wireless headphones is a wearable Filipino pride

A limited-edition offering that gives back

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Electronics manufacturer H-Audio has been providing quality products to its market when it comes to audio solutions. While they have a select lineup of offerings, it caters to different types of users.

What we have here is the PH3 that screams Filipino pride as soon as you put it on. Read on and find out if it performs as good as it looks.

It has a straightforward design

Red and blue stripes signify colors from the Philippine flag

Three stars and a sun on each earcup

Can’t get any more Filipino than this

Solid build quality

Headband has a good flex to it

Clasps comfortably on the head

Doesn’t come off easily

Comfortable ear cups

Earmuffs are made of memory foam

What I personally like about the PH3 when it comes to design is how it has a minimalistic kind of approach with just the three stars, sun, and stripes of red and blue. Apart from these Philippine flag-inspired colors, everything else is white. Sure, it might require extra effort to keep it clean, but it’s just something that works aesthetically.

Build quality feels durable and not flimsy which is what I look for next to sound quality. This is made possible by using stainless steel for the headband support and hard plastic for the rest — making it light, but tough.

It has a nice fit around the ears and wearing it for extended periods of time was still comfortable thanks to its memory foam earmuffs. I’ve used it a couple of times while running on the treadmill and the earcups remained snug and in place.

All-around performer

When it comes to sound quality, let’s get to the point — the PH3 delivers. It’s got warm and distinct mids, decent highs, and impressive lows. The overall sound is what you’d expect of closed-back headphones and leans on the muffled side of the sound spectrum.

Active Noise Cancellation option

One thing I noticed, though, is that sound leaks a little to the outside world so you might want to keep that in mind when you’re in an elevator with other people or something.

Connection via Bluetooth was easy and automatically pairs to the phone each time the headphones is turned on. That alone is a big check for me.

Micro-USB port for charging

The company says it has up to 20 hours of battery life. While I was not able to continuously use it, the headphones lasted me about five days with ANC off and mainly using it for music at the gym, walking around the neighborhood, or even just at home.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

H-Audio’s PH3 is a reliable pair of cans with minimal drawbacks. It might require extra care to keep it clean and sound leak at full volume might be an issue for a select few. Looking past those, however, you have a good set of headphones that not only performs well but also looks attractive with its touch of a local theme.

Additionally, its features like wireless connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation make operations easier and add to the overall music-listening experience.

Priced at PhP 7,480, proceeds will go to platforms to raise funds and help the underprivileged Filipino youth. The PH3 is available in select The Loop by Power Mac Center branches. For more list of stores carrying their products, visit their Facebook page.

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Hands-On

Professional home: Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q premium men’s shaver

‘Powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with’

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Are you a fan of a fresh, clean shave? For most, professional gentlemen, an electric shaver is one of their most important grooming tools. Maintaining a look that’s both clean and professional is quick and easy with a good, electronic shaver. Panasonic’s new premium tool — the ES-LV6Q — promises a job done well enough as if a professional did it by hand. So, we put it to the test.

We asked for the help of Sergio, 32, who works in sales here in Germany. He goes to a good number of meetings every week, representing their company. So it’s no wonder that he spends a lot of his mornings, shaving to keep a clean appearance.

“I’ve been using an electric shaver for years but the one I’ve had never really got the job done quickly. I have to keep going over the same spot a couple of times before I get a smooth shave,” he shared with GadgetMatch.

The shaver’s head is flexible and moves up to six directions, making movement along the curves of the face practically seamless. The five blades can also get as close as possible to the skin, without hurting the person using it. One of the blades is shaped like a comb, making it easier to catch each strand. Each area of the face is also clean after going through it just once — no more razor burns. Even during a dry shaving session.

Great for travel

The ES-LV6Q also travels well. An hour’s worth of charging will give you up to 45 minutes of use, making it perfect for business trips. It also comes with a travel pouch and has a blade protection clip that can help keep it safe in your suitcase while traveling.

“With the powerful motor and the blades that get every hair, it takes me a minimum of four minutes to shave. If my hair has gotten a bit longer and it needs a bit of trimming first, I go no longer than six minutes,” Sergio added. “At the speed that I can go with the ES-LV6Q, a full charge can last me up to two weeks,” Sergio added.

The shaver is also completely waterproof making it perfect for wet or dry use. Despite shaving as close as possible with the power of the 14,000 CPM Linear Motor, Sergio reported no irritation on his skin.

Another feature that Sergio liked a lot was the clipper that can be used for sideburns. It’s also great for people who just want to trim their facial hair. “It’s great for weekends or when you want to keep a little stubble,” he added.

Cleaning is also a breeze. It’s easy to do after every shave under the tap. All Sergio has to do is add some hand soap and activate the sonic vibration cleaning mode. This, by pressing the power button for more than two seconds. Removing the gadget’s outer foil section is also an easy task and putting it under running water makes for a thorough rinse. A gentle shake plus a quick wipe down and you’re done for the day.

Sergio’s always ready for a client presentation using Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q shaver. “This Panasonic 5-Blade Men’s shaver has all the features I require in a grooming gadget and more. It’s powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with. I’m really satisfied with the results! ” Sergio concluded.

The Panasonic ES-LV6Q currently retails at EUR 245,99 at Saturn.de and Mediamarkt.de. For more information on the product, visit Panasonic’s website.

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CES 2020

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Hands-on

For those who want a Note 10 on a budget

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It hasn’t been a year since Samsung released the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. They even had a Star Wars x Note 10+ collaboration.

In this year’s CES, a Lite variant of the Galaxy Note 10 has been announced — but it’s not lite on features at all.

You can watch the video above to know more. If you’re having a hard time viewing it, click this link to watch our hands-on.

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