Features

Best Video Games of 2017 (Q3 Edition)

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Deep into 2017, there’s still no end in sight to the flood of excellent video game releases. To help keep you from drowning in the goodness, here are the ten best games of Q3 2017 ordered by release date.

Splatoon 2

Nintendo’s funky fresh team-based competitive shooter is back and better than ever. Splatoon 2 features the same solid foundation of spraying ink to control space and eliminate opponents, but with new weapons, new skills, and new modes. The biggest change is that you can now play it on the go, as it’s on the Nintendo Switch.

Available on Nintendo Switch (July 21)

Pyre

What do you get when you cross basketball with fantasy and visual novel mechanics? You get Supergiant Games’ Pyre. It’s a character-driven drama played at the spaciest of arenas and with the highest of stakes: freedom. Revel in the art and ruminate on heavy decisions that will stick with you for a long time. Read our review for a more in-depth breakdown!

Available on Windows and PlayStation 4 (July 25)

Tacoma

There’s a mystery in the space station Tacoma, and it’s up to you find out what happened to its missing crew. Rifle through drawers, access personal computers, and scrub through conversations of holographic projections in real time. Unfold the untold stories of every staff member in a chill yet eye-opening experience.

Available on Windows and Xbox One (August 2)

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Mental illness has never been quite so sensitively depicted in big, blockbuster games until Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. You take control of Senua, a Celtic warrior dealing with psychosis that’s made worse after a traumatic event. Cut down enemies, recognize patterns in the environment to solve puzzles, and wrestle with your inner demons in a harrowing visual tour de force.

Available on Windows and PlayStation 4 (August 8)

Sonic Mania

SEGA’s old blue furry mascot has seen better days. It makes perfect sense then that Sonic’s best adventure in years is a trip back to the golden years, but with a twist. Sonic Mania has you replaying old favorite stages remixed for the modern era alongside brand new levels that match the design of a 90s child’s wild imagination.

Available on Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch (August 15)

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Nathan Drake’s treasure hunting days may be over after Uncharted 4, but there’s still a lot of fun to be had exploring ancient architecture and shooting mobs of mooks. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy puts you in the boots of sassy thief Chloe Price and partners you with stone cold mercenary Nadine Ross in a tightly paced, action-packed caper through the jungles and caves of India. Check out our review for a full analysis!

Available on PlayStation 4 (August 22)

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Who would have ever imagined that putting guns in the hands of Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Princess Peach would turn out to be a good idea? The makers of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry, apparently, as this cutesy turn-based strategy mash-up with the raving Rabbids is the best video game crossover of the year. Put your thinking cap on, and lead your crack squad of Nintendo icons to tactical triumph in a colorful world.

Available on Nintendo Switch (August 29)

Destiny 2

Fighting aliens was the only consistently good thing in the first Destiny. Destiny 2 makes everything else about this online sci-fi first person shooter bigger and better. Whether you just want to shoot your way through spectacular set pieces by yourself or team up with friends to conquer hardcore coordinated challenges, you’ll be having fun and looking cool while you’re at it. Get all the details by reading our review.

Available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (September 6). To be released on Windows (October 24).

Divinity: Original Sin II 

If you’re looking for the closest thing to authentic Dungeons and Dragons-style role playing in a good-looking computer game, your search stops with Divinity: Original Sin II. No other RPG right now respects player choice in character creation, combat, and conversations, and rewards it with satisfying battles and superb narratives. Play it by yourself or with a companion!

Available on Windows (September 14)

Metroid: Samus Returns

Although it’s technically a reimagining of a classic, there are enough changes to the elegant 2D side-scrolling action adventure formula in Metroid: Samus Returns to justify revisiting it. New controls and abilities give you more options to fight and traverse, while the sleek visual upgrade highlights the fun like never before. It’s a good reason to dust off that 3DS!

Available on Nintendo 3DS (September 15)

SEE ALSO: Best Video Games of 2017 (Q2 Edition)

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Accessories

Machenike: Best budget peripherals?

Worth it?

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I’ve been wanting to get myself a mechanical keyboard to slowly work towards building a PC from scratch. Of course, this is sensible considering I have a laptop to plug them into. You know, getting the pretentious privileged feel of not struggling amidst a world still in shambles?

So, while the hunt was dreadful on hypothetical money I didn’t have, we stumbled upon an affordable alternative that we didn’t quite expect. But, in a good way–I think.

What is Machenike?

Machenike is a Chinese professional gaming hardware brand. It’s the first established esports hardware brand in China with investors like Haier and partners like Alibaba Groups. Now, Machenike has its fair share of rounds online. But, it’s getting a lot of traction especially when people are looking to upgrade their work-from-home set-ups. With affordability, performance, and aesthetic seemingly in check, are their peripherals really worth the buy? Here are the ones we tried out:

Machenike K7 mechanical keyboard

Let’s put facts out there: there’s no escaping plastic with peripherals. From god-awful unachievable to wallet-saving prices, most peripherals are mainly made of plastic. So, don’t act all surprised to find that Machenike’s mechanical keyboard line is mostly plastic. Considering its price-point, this is kind of a steal.

The Machenike K7 comes in four variants depending on the keyboard color (RGB or Ice-blue) and switch color (blue or black). The keycaps have a matte texture with opaque keycap letters, characters, and controls to show off your pick of color.

Design-wise, the keyboard shows-off its minimalism, unicorn-vomit rainbow aesthetics, and multi-functionality. You can connect it via cable or Bluetooth and play around with RGB settings.

Every click is audible and only requires a reasonable amount of actuation force. Which, you’ll need to make sure you double-check before ordering one (the blue switch is 60g and the black switch is 80g).

Is this the mechanical keyboard for you?

Overall, the keyboard looks and feels great despite low-quality keycaps and unbranded switches. So if you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard but are strapped for cash, this is a really good one.

It’s got great features, a simple and sleek design, and reliable performance under its belt. So, it’s definitely a keeper. The Machenike K7 is on sale on Lazada for just PhP 1,498.

Machenike M6

Machenike M6 and M7 gaming mouse

The Machenike M6 is a wired ultra-light gaming mouse with RGB capability. The mouse comes with four variants depending on color (white or black) and mouse sensitivity (6400 DPI or 16000 DPI).

Meanwhile, the Machenike M7 is a wireless gaming mouse with RGB capability and up to 10 days of battery life. The M7 has three variants depending on mouse sensitivity (2400 DPI or 16000 DPI), OMRON switches (10M or 20M), and battery (600mAh or 1000mAh).

Machenike M7

As for design, the Machenike M6 gaming mouse has a unique honey-comb design that lets the Machenike’s logo and mouse internals peek through. It strikes out more than the M7’s minimalistic black design with RGB accents at the bottom. Both mice are made of plastic but, that comes with the price-point. They’re both minimalistic in design and have customizable features at the bottom.

Overall, they’re both reliable performance-wise and can deliver on accurate use and play. But personally, the M6 is a bit too light for my liking which is more on preference than anything else.

Are these the gaming mouse for you?

Overall, the Machenike M6 and M7 both deliver on your gaming mouse needs despite cheap components. It’s a matter of preference on wired or wireless mouse (although the M7 has a wired option), aesthetics, and weight. So, if you need an affordable gaming mouse, this is definitely a good pick.

The Machenike M6 is on sale on Lazada for PhP999 and the M7 for PhP 1,199

More wins on top of the price

As affordable as the Machenike peripherals are, there are more wins for the brand on delivering your orders within 3 days. This typically isn’t a win elsewhere on the planet but, knowing painful order waiting times on some tech essentials, this is a big fat W for the brand.

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Features

5 reasons why you need a smart, home printer

In 2021? Absolutely!

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Every year, I would tell myself I need a printer — but end up not buying one. After all, do you really need it? At this age? Where you can sign documents on Adobe Acrobat or another third-party extension through your mail, and scan photos directly using your smartphone.

Regrettably, we all still need a home printer, bud. Regardless of their horrendous sizes and designs, there are still a lot of perks when you have a home printer. Especially when it’s a smart, inkjet printer.

Recently, Brother launched a new lineup of compact, space-saving inkjet printers. Using the latest (and most affordable of the bunch) DCP-T420W made me realize how a printer can make your life fun and easy, whether you’re always out or staying at home.

Hard and soft copies still go hand-in-hand

When life went on pause due to a global pandemic, businesses and other establishments (particularly printing services) closed and shut down. While most documents needed for work are being sent and signed via digital formats, there are days when I struggled not owning a printer when I badly needed it.

Back then, I needed to print copies of sheets and labels as I was shipping an expensive music box to Taiwan. The shipping company required these papers to be attached as part of their logistical process. Banks and government agencies also require physical copies of whatever is sent on their emails and/or websites. The world hasn’t fully gone digital, and there’s still a need for papers and printers.

Save time, save money

Using the Brother DCP-T420W — or having a home printer in general — helped save time and money. I don’t have to scramble to search for printing services, which requires driving around town. And yes, when you drive, you need to fill up the tank. Read: Price hike on fuel and gasoline.

But having your own [ink] tank to fill makes it easier for your wallet and convenience. Brother’s new lineup of printers lower cost per print, which approximately prints up to 7,500 pages in black and 5,000 pages in color. And they print fast. No more waiting on printing services asking you to come back later to get the files you needed.

So far, I haven’t fully consumed my inks even though I printed a bunch of high-quality photos. But if I ever ran out of supply, I know I can easily buy one seeing how they’re affordable and accessible.

Print, scan, and copy in the comfort of your own home

Having a printer means you can do everything in the comfort of your own home. Print some important documents, scan my passport for my visa applications, and copy waybills and signed agreements — I can do all of this even when I’m wearing pajamas.

More importantly, the DCP-T420W is so versatile that it lets my not-so-tech-savvy family use the printer without me assisting them. For the old-school, you can plug the USB cable into your laptop and print using Brother’s iPrint & Scan — which works on both Windows and macOS.

Meanwhile, the tech-savvier young’n can maximize the machine’s flexible connectivity options. There’s Built-in Wi-Fi where an entire group can effortlessly share one device, and you can print directly using your mobile devices. Isn’t that so convenient?

Get creative — and productive

There’s so much you can do when you have a printer. Back then I would always wonder, why would I need one?

Occasionally, you’ll realize the reasons why you’ll feel the need to have a printer at home. But for most people, it’s a fleeting moment — simply because they sometimes forget the endless possibilities in having this machine.

For the most part of the lockdown, I spent time with printables that helped me organize my habits, lifestyle, and my room. I started printing labels, charts to track my goals, and sheets to manage my finances. I have to say I’m halfway through my journey towards self-development, and I’m happy a simple machine like a printer helped me in this pursuit.

Print whatever you like without judgment

Above all, having a printer gives you the freedom to print whatever you feel like. I had a lot of fun printing photos, illustrations, and texts to help with my vision board and manifestation journals. To re-decorate my room, I bought photo papers and printed my favorite photos and moments to remind me how blissful my life is for having all these memories.

Yes, sometimes I get sentimental and with this at home, no printing person can judge me for asking to print weird group photos and travel photos in their shop.

Price and availability

The Brother DCP-T420W retails for PhP 7,650 (US$ 157). It’s available for purchase through Brother Philippines’ authorized dealers and is supported by the Brother Customer Service Center and Authorized Service Centers nationwide. Price is inclusive of prevailing taxes and includes a 2-year Extended Warranty.

There are other models available as well — DCP-T520W (PhP 8,950), DCP-T720DW (PhP11,950), DCP-T820DW (PhP 13,950), and MFC-T920DW (PhP 18,950). For more information, visit www.brother.com.ph.

SEE ALSO: Brother’s latest inkjet printers offer faster, more affordable prints | HP Ink Tank 415: Print more and then some

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Hands-On

OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger

It’s a stellar overall package for its price

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Reno5

OPPO’s Reno line has slowly carved out an identity as somewhat of an affordable premium smartphone. Priced at around half of what flagships today cost but offering about two-thirds of the features, the OPPO Reno line has the makings of the ideal upper midranger, and the Reno5 fits that description to a T.

How it looks

The Reno5 (both the 4G and the 5G variants) come in either Galactic Silver or Starry Black. The Black has a more traditional glass finish, thereby being more magnetic to fingerprints and smudges, while the Galactic Silver has a frosted matte finish making it more palatable if you don’t like using a protective case.

Reno5

The Galactic Silver Reno5 is flashier. The color kind of shifts depending on how light hits it. If you’re into phone finishes that catches the eye, this is totally the way to go.

Button placements are pretty standard. On the right hand side is the power button while the volume buttons are on the left. At the bottom you’ll find the speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack (nice).

Reno5

At around 180g and with these dimensions (159.1 x 73.4 x 7.9 mm) with a 6.4-inch display, the Reno5 sits very close to my personal sweet spot in terms of overall smartphone size. It’s a little too light to my liking but it never feels fragile.

The ‘Oxygenation’ of ColorsOS

There’s been some buzz about how OnePlus — a sister company of OPPO under the BBK electronics umbrella — is becoming more and more like OPPO. What’s getting lost in all that noise is how OPPO is turning into OnePlus just as much as the latter is being ‘OPPO-fied.’

This is most evident in ColorOS 7.2. From its cluttered and bloatfull past, the UI skin that OPPO layers over Android has gotten more breathing room letting more oxygen come through. The customizations available run deep — everything from light vs dark mode, the shape and size of the icons, to the accent color of the settings menu.

Also present are the gesture shortcuts that longtime OnePlus fans will be familiar with like drawing a V to open the flashlight, O to open the camera, and double tap screen to wake. These are all OxygenOS staples that have found their way to OPPO and sometimes other Android skins too.

Some purists or overly zealous brand supporters might dismiss this as blatant copying, but is it really that big an issue especially when these are all quality of life improvements no matter how subtle they may be?

All things considered, ColorOS is now overall more appealing thanks in large part to applying design decisions first applied on OnePlus’s OxygenOS.

OLED, 5G, and Snapdragon 765G

This section is probably the least contentious about this phone. Its display, performance, and promise of next gen mobile connectivity work exactly as advertised. The 6.4-inch OLED display has a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s nice and smooth with the deep blacks typically found on OLED displays. It could use a bit more brightness when under intense daylight, but it’s in no way unusable under such circumstances.

The 5G variant will cost you a little more and it’s not at all a bad deal considering most especially if you live or frequent areas with 5G coverage. We used the OPPO Reno5 as a hotspot hub for half a day and it did not feel at all like we were on mobile hotspot.

Shifting talk over to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765g SoC, this seems to be the best-performing midrange chip. It won’t leave you wanting in terms of general smartphone use. We didn’t use it a lot for gaming on this particular handset but previous experience dictates it’s pretty darn good for mobile gaming as well.

Battery life is also pretty straightforward. Standby time is great and the 4300mAh will last you a day on moderate usage. That goes down to around five hours when used primarily for gaming and with 5G connection.

Fun with the cameras

Reno5

The Reno5 sports a quad-camera system: 64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth. But all the fun really happens in the software sid of things.

It still features OPPO’s fun AI Color Portrait mode that isolates the subject from the background by draining the color out of the background and putting the subject front and center in full color.

Reno5

This same feature also works on the 32MP selfie camera.

Reno5

Even more exciting, this feature is now also available in video mode so there are more ways for you to have fun with it.

Another addition is the Night Flare Portrait that captures your subject in a nice stylized night shot filled with color and creamy bokeh.

Reno5

More than just portraits

Naturally, the cameras along with the AI engine behind its imaging works not only for these fun and funky portrait images and videos. As a standard shooter for documenting your daily life, it’s more than reliable. Check out these samples:

A nice meal for lunch

Naturally, save room for dessert

Ultra wide. Take stroll after downing some delicious food

 

Capture things in good detail

Snap a quick selfie

 

Or ask someone to take a quick portrait photo

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The easy answer is yes. The OPPO Reno5’s overall package is the ideal upper-midranger. There’s a lot of fun to be had with its camera features, it looks great, and performs just about as good as any phone in its price range.

Reno5

It also doesn’t hurt that in the Philippines, OPPO went out of its way to make sure it can be had in may different ways including through TelCos and via installment basis.

The OPPO Reno5 is by no means a perfect smartphone (no such thing exists anyway), but for what you’re getting in relation to its pricing, it’s a stellar option.

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