Features

7 blue smartphones worth giving a try

All beautiful in blue!

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When Pantone announced Classic Blue as the next color of the year, we listed down powerful smartphones from 2019 that comes in this familiar shade. Nearly halfway through 2020, we saw more smartphones that come in this hue albeit in different shades.

Here, we listed phones that aren’t just beautiful in blue, but powerful and reliable enough to be your daily driver.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The first flagship to astound the world this year is Samsung’s Galaxy S20. A crowd-favorite, this phone came in a charming Cloud Blue that would be difficult to resist and not have a crush on. It’s what every flagship smartphone should be — smart enough to get the job done for you without too much tinkering.

Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S20 Hands-On

OnePlus 8 Pro

The so-called flagship killer is long gone! OnePlus finally joined the league of iPhones and Galaxies — but still at a little cheaper price compared to these long-standing flagships. Remaining true to its motto ‘Never Settle’, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a reminder that you don’t have to settle for a thousand dollar phone to get the best of the best. Also, it comes in a stunning Ultramarine Blue.

Review: OnePlus 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

Another flagship killer who moved to the premium league, the Mi 10 Pro is still one of the best smartphones Xiaomi has to offer. It comes in Solstice Grey, which looks like deep, unsaturated blue — something you see in the skies at dawn. This exorbitant flagship is an ideal alternative for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, since it’s a tad cheaper than Samsung’s 108-megapixel monster.

Review: Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

LG V60 ThinQ

Odd, quirky, yet functional — the LG V60 ThinQ is truly the most underrated phone of 2020. This phone comes in Classy Blue, packed with essential features. LG didn’t put gimmicks that are commonly familiar to most smartphones in 2020, and instead, offered what every consumer needs. It’s a smartphone with practical solutions to almost everything.

Review: LG V60 ThinQ

Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei has been on a tough spot ever since it lost Google Mobile Services, but it still continues to release phones that are hard to ignore. The P40 Pro is that one case, where everything is pretty much what you’d hope for in a flagship smartphone, except it doesn’t have the basic services to make your life easier. However, this phone found a new market to serve — its loyalists and those who love to tinker around and have full control over what they install on their phones.

Review: Huawei P40 Pro

POCO X2

POCO is back, but it’s not the successor to the well-loved F1. The POCO X2 is proof that POCO’s independence can yield outstanding results. It comes in a flamboyant Atlantis Blue, easily stunning anyone who sets its eyes on this midrange phone. Moreover, it’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of midrange smartphones trying to be the ‘first’. It simply delivers an experience, making it the perfect midrange phone you can buy today.

Review: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy A71

Samsung has a pretty crappy midrange lineup for a while, then the Galaxy A71 appeared. It may have taken years for Samsung to produce a solid midranger that gets the job done, but it almost perfected the craft with this beaut. It doesn’t have a single strong standout feature, but it’s a well-rounded phone that can keep you entertained and secure. It’s impossible not to give it a try, especially with its cute Prism Crush Blue color.

Review: Samsung Galaxy A71

Features

How to build and manage your WFH or online class setup

Manage your work and stress levels while indoors

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Photo by Luke Peters

On any other normal day, we would be preparing for several things. Some of us are off to work, dealing with the nine to five grind everyone talks about. The younger ones are off to school, with some even entering college for the first or last time. To prepare we’ll need to buy some stuff we need — from school supplies to devices that will aid in school or work.

Except well, we’re not living in a normal world — at least since 2020 started. My guess is that you’ve been stuck at home for a long time because of this pandemic. If you’ve already started working before this happened, you’re most likely still working — but, from home. If you’re supposed to be going to school, you won’t be seeing the campus for a while.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from preparing for that, as well. Of course, there will be less school supply-shopping than before. But, if you need a great setup for either work-from-home or online classes, here are some tips to keep in mind.

If you don’t have what you need yet, it’s best to plan ahead

Obviously, not all of you have a nice laptop for school yet or you prefer working from a desktop than a company laptop. In any case, it’s best to plan on what exactly kind of tech you will purchase to suit your needs. For students, you can still do this even if your school gave you a two-week notice on what kind of machine you need.

It will help to ask your family and friends, especially the tech-savvy ones on the hardware you need. It also helps to get quotations for these devices, especially if you want to build your PC but you’re running on a strict budget. However, keep in mind that shortage is a thing with some parts because of the pandemic.

This isn’t just limited to your devices, as you can also invest in other non-tech items for your setup. Things like a work table, chairs, and appliances are a few of the things you might want to look into. Remember, you’re going to be stuck indoors, possibly for a long time; might as well be comfortable in this space.

Don’t seek powerful hardware if you don’t need it

If you’re planning to buy the devices you need for your setup, I believe that you don’t need gaming PC-levels of power. There’s a reason why your school or workplace gave you a minimum PC spec sheet to begin with.

Consider this advice when you’re planning on what devices to buy. If you prefer to buy a laptop, you don’t have to go for the latest gaming laptops available. Something simple and powerful, with the latest Intel Core i5 inside and 8GB of RAM will do the trick. It’s important that your device can handle Office apps, a web browser, and video calls for 8 hours.

It’s an entirely different situation if your work actually demands a powerful machine, especially data-heavy or graphics work. But again, it’s important to plan ahead when it comes to these things because one, shortages are a thing; and two, consider your wallet’s feelings.

When you do have everything you need, make sure devices work and disinfect everything

Once you already have everything for your setup, do your due diligence and check everything. For your devices, it’s best to do a deep scan of your hard drives for any malware or irrelevant software. I also suggest doing the same on your smartphones, and even installing Office apps on it. It’s just to prepare you for the possibility of your laptop or desktop malfunctioning out of nowhere.

I also highly suggest that you put in more time into checking your peripherals, too. Do routine tests on your microphone, webcam, and headset (including their ports) and optimize according to your use case. These are important especially for those long video calls for class, or during online meetings for work.

Photo by Norbert Levajsics

Finally, disinfect everything properly and diligently. At the very least, try to clean up the parts that you touch more often, like your keyboard, mouse/trackpad, and the lid. Even if it’s brand new, you’re better off safe than sorry with a virus going around. This also goes for the entire space you will be in.

Make sure your internet connection, however you get it, is strong enough

This one is pretty obvious, but it deserves to be repeated over and over again. As much as possible, your WFH setup must access the internet at a stable rate. This even applies to those who simply live off using 4G/5G mobile data, but keep your data limits in mind.

If you don’t know how to make your internet faster, it’s best to call your provider to walk you through it. If your provider is of no help, or if you don’t have the patience to call, research about it. People all over the internet have found ways to access their routers and tick the proper settings to make it work. 

Now, if you’re feeling a bit more generous with your money, invest in another router or a WiFi Mesh system. Essentially, you’ll extend your existing WiFi coverage, and experience high speeds on your own. I do recommend routers that extend your 5Ghz WiFi connection to maximize your speed. 

Your TV can also be a second screen, if you need one

Most modern TVs nowadays come with this standard set of ports: HDMI, S-Video, and VGA. With desktop GPUs and laptops supporting such ports, it’s safe to say that even your TV can be used as its own display. Obviously, you will sacrifice refresh rates and some level of detail, but it’s still a good alternative.

This option is open for those who really need it and/or are not willing to spend for a dedicated PC monitor. If you can work without one, that’s great; save yourself the hassle of buying extra cables. But it’s something to think about if you want to be more productive.

Have a dedicated rest space

Listen, work from home fatigue is an actual thing. At some point, you will no longer be able to tell the difference between the place you sleep in and the place you work in. Because you’re going to be indoors for a long while, that line gets more blurry.

Make it a point to have a space in your room dedicated for leisure. If you need a quick break from work or school work, you have a part of your room for that. Strap up a console there, have an entertainment system, or just Bluetooth speakers will do. For you to function properly for work or school, you need to rest.

I hope these tips helped in preparing you for what’s to come. You will remain indoors for quite a while, so it’s best to prepare and enjoy your time. 

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Smartphones

Unboxing the OPPO Find X2 Pro Automobili Lamborghini Edition

Looking grand and fancy!

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Sleek, classy, and powerful — these are the words I think of whenever I see Lamborghini. The Italian luxury carmaker has always been associated with grandeur and power. It has etched itself as a desirable experience one can dream of. You can even call it a beauty and a beast; evident in their supercars, SUVs, and e-bikes.

Brimming with such finesse, no wonder it partnered with OPPO’s finest phone which similarly carries the same epitome: a beauty and a beast.

Back in 2018, OPPO and Lamborghini already collaborated. The OPPO Find X Lamborghini Edition — worth almost US$ 2000 — was a remarkable luxury device. In 2020, OPPO brings the same lavish experience albeit more sophisticated.

An exquisite unboxing

Before we start, let’s call the OPPO Find X2 Pro Lamborghini Edition as Find X2 Pro Lambo. This luxurious handset came in a sexy, black paper bag.

Both OPPO and Lamborghini’s symbols were embossed in striking gold color, shining reflectively. Lamborghini’s signature patterns were embellished to present an exquisite and noble look.

The posh and upscale weight possessed by the ornate box was conspicuous all throughout. First, its design was reminiscent of Lamborghini’s distinct scissor doors.

You can open the box outwards like you’re about to enter your own Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster — the inspiration for this special edition phone. In essence, it felt like a regal experience.

Of course, the Find X2 Pro Lambo edition came in a protective case, but I took it out to marvel at its magnificence standing out against my black coat. In certain angles, it reveals subtle patterns that make it look dapper.

But let’s forget about the phone for a while, and let’s proceed to see what else is inside the box.

The marriage of aesthetic and performance

Inside the thick layer where the phone sat houses the manuals written in a bunch of black papers, a premium-looking warranty card with stamped insignias, and a SIM ejector tool.

At the deep-end of the box, you can find the elegantly-designed accessories. If there’s one thing I can commend OPPO about, it’s the meticulous presentation of an opulent device. Those who will attempt to do special edition boxes can learn a thing or two from how OPPO and Lamborghini did it.

It’s complete with accessories produced cohesively, conveying the marriage of performance and aesthetics. Lamborghini’s design language was written all over these peripherals, how can you not love it?

There’s a SuperVOOC 2.0 charger, a golden braided USB-C to USB-A cable (and a shorter, black one), a car charger, an exclusive phone case, and OPPO’s true wireless earphones — the OPPO Enco Free.

Hey there, handsome!

The Find X2 Pro Lambo edition has a unique and stunning exterior. It’s composed of a four-layer overlaid carbon-fiber texture similar to the Aventador SVJ Roadster, coated with a forged glass revealing simulated patterns and curves you’ll definitely love.

Compared to the original Find X2 Pro (which we associated with Hermès), the Lambo edition fashioned a hexagonal, edgy camera module in lieu of the rounded frame. It also stuck to the Lamborghini branding, applying gold and metallic accents to the phone and its accessories.

What I loved the most is the golden braided cable. It’s similar to my favorite cable from the HP Spectre X360 13, which looks suave!

The beauty to your beast

Naturally, a luxurious, special edition phone should come with an exclusive case to make its users feel special. Gratefully, OPPO packed a hand-stitched two-toned case: black carbon fiber and a metallic copper leather exuding a certain oomph when you glide your fingers.

This phone will suit your style if your aesthetic is a mix between black and varying shades of leather brown. Par exemple, this fancy phone complemented my faux leather brown organizer and Louis Vuitton vacation bag.

Moving to its front, the Find X2 Pro Lambo edition runs a custom Lamborghini Color OS 7.1 theme. This handset brims with the same power and performance.

It still has the same 6.7-inch OLED display with HDR10+ support and 120Hz refresh rate. The same processor, memory configuration, and battery capable of OPPO’s proprietary 65W fast charging support — which you can enjoy on the Find X2 Pro — are also housed in the Lambo edition.

A splendid, special edition experience

Certainly, the partnership between OPPO and Lamborghini is a fine example of special edition phones done right. It offers the lavish experience every Lamborghini car owner and fan can delight on, at a staggering price.

The OPPO Find X2 Pro Automobili Lamborghini Edition retails for CNY 13,000 (US$ 1,900 / PhP 92,000). For a luxury special edition phone, the price tag isn’t something that Lambo owners worry about. However, the phone is only available in China.

Meanwhile, the Find X2 Pro retails for CNY 7,000 (PhP 65,990). In the Philippines, telco providers offer the handset as part of their postpaid plans.

SEE ALSO: OPPO Find X2 Pro Unboxing and ReviewFind X2 Pro review: OPPO’s finest

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5 things we like about the realme Watch

A fitness band you won’t mind wearing in non-workout scenarios

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realme has been on a roll in expanding their product portfolio. They started with smartphones, added some earphones and powerbanks, and this year they have two wearables so far – the realme smartband and the realme Watch.

Today we’re listing some of the things we really liked about the realme Watch. Oh and quick note – most of this video was shot using the realme X3 SuperZoom.

Battery Life

Okay so, number one is battery life.

At the time that this was written, the Watch was at 52 percent and it has been seven days since the last time it was fully charged. If I use it more or less the same way I have in the past seven days, then it’ll be another week before it completely runs out of juice.

It’s definitely a plus when you don’t have to think about charging your watch too often.

Variety of workouts

At launch it can track 14 different workouts with good variety.

You have stuff like Running, Walking, Strength Training, Yoga and even sports like Football, Table Tennis, and Badminton.

The only “workout” I really got to try is walking, since I absolutely dread running — or any other form of exercise for that matter. But the fitness tracking was fairly accurate for the most part.

I was dying to try basketball since that’s the only workout I truly enjoy. Unfortunately the courts are still closed because in case you forgot, the Coronavirus is still very much out there taking lives and we are totally not winning that battle.

Casual fit

If it’s just your regular trip to the grocery store, then this watch will suit you just fine.

Perhaps, you can also wear this on regular work days if you’re required to report onsite. Point is, since it doesn’t look like a fitness band. You can probably get away with wearing it in most casual situations.

Remote camera

This one was particularly useful for when I was making this video.

The remote camera camera works for both photo and video. And for photos, it can be set to either take the snap right away or with a timer.

Very convenient if, like me, you’re forever alone, and need or want photos of yourself.

Water reminder

For you thirsty folks out there, it also has a water reminder option that you can turn on using the realme link app.

You can set a time period when you should be reminded, as well as the frequency of the reminder. I didn’t exactly follow this all the time since I sorely lack discipline, but it’s nice to have that constant reminder.

Is the realme Watch worth buying?

To properly set your expectations, you’ll need to think of the realme Watch as more of an enlarged fitness band versus an actual Smart Watch, since most of its features are geared towards health and fitness.

And if you look at it, it’s… okay. Not really something you’d want to show off.

Underneath the display there’s this subtle realme branding that could’ve been smaller or they could’ve totally done away with. That might have helped with the overall look a little bit.

The watch faces are also limited at launch, but realme emphasized that a wide variety of choices is coming soon.

For PhP 3990 (US$ 81), you get a fitness band that you wouldn’t mind wearing in non-workout scenarios. I think that’s the primary benefit that you get, for paying around twice the price of a regular fitness band.

In case the video isn’t working, watch it here.

SEE ALSO: realme X3 SuperZoom, realme Watch price in the Philippines

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