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How to build and manage your WFH or online class setup

Manage your work and stress levels while indoors

Photo by Luke Peters

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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. 

Explainers

The secrets behind iPhone 13’s Cinematic Mode

Together with Apple’s VP for iPhone Product Marketing as well as their Human Interface Designer

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For the first time ever, we had a three-way interview with Apple’s VP for iPhone Product Marketing, Kaiann Drance as well as one of their leading Human Interface Designers, Johnnie Manzari. If you’re not starstruck enough, both of them appeared in Apple’s September 2021 Keynote event!

Other than new camera sensors, newer camera features are also found on the new iPhone 13 Series. One of those is the new Cinematic Mode.

If you’ve watched some of our latest iPhone videos including the Sierra Blue iPhone 12 Pro Max unboxing, we’ve let you take a sneak peek on that new video mode.

We’re not gonna lie, it’s one amazing camera feature Apple has managed to deliver.

But what are the secrets behind it? And are you curious how technicalities work?

Watch our 16-minute interview with the Apple executives explaining why Cinematic Mode is the next big thing in mobile videography.

 

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Hands-On

Apple iPhone 13 and 13 mini Unboxing and Hands-on

Which iPhone 13 is your GadgetMatch?

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After we unboxed the Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro Max and gold iPhone 13 Pro, it’s time to do the same to these iPhone 13 babies.

Changes with the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini aren’t just about the “odd” camera placement. Other than the new wide camera sensor, there’s a more powerful A15 Bionic Chip, smaller notch, and more.

Watch our iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini Unboxing and Hands-on video now to find out more!

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Hands-On

Huawei nova 8i: Huawei’s awesome SUPER midranger

An awesome midrange comeback

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Midrange smartphones have been the middle ground for people who want the premium of a higher end smartphone but don’t want to burn their pockets. Huawei gives in to this demand and claims the title of midrange king as they dethrone all other midrangers with their new nova 8 series — the nova 8 and nova 8i.

Here, we’ll put the spotlight on the Huawei nova 8i.

Build and design

Inheriting the Huawei P Series’ signature stylish aesthetic, the Huawei nova 8i has a fancy and premium design. It is slim, sleek, and has exquisite curved edges, which makes it really easy to grip.

Checking out its back, you’ll definitely notice the quad camera setup that’s surprisingly not bulky at all. It also has a noticeable resemblance with the Huawei Mate 30. But we’ll talk more about the cameras later on.

What also caught our attention is the gradient finish of this Moonlight Silver variant that we have which is absolutely stunning.

Fantastic display

The Huawei nova 8i has an edgeless 6.67-inch display with ultra-narrow bezels around it. This results in an immersive viewing experience for browsing your social media pages or watching your favorite music videos.

The Huawei nova 8i also sports full HD+ resolution and DCI-P3 color gamut, giving us that rich and vibrant color reproduction. Once again, Huawei taps on Tuv Rheinland for certification on low blue light emittance to ensure eye comfort for long hours of work and play. It also has a natural tone feature which automatically adjusts the colors on the display depending on your surroundings.

Gaming

Just as you would expect from a midrange phone, gaming is also something you can do with the nova 8i. With its 180Hz touch sampling rate, your favorite mobile games feel very responsive, making the gaming experience really enjoyable.

When you’re deep into gaming, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by a call or message. Well, you don’t have to worry about that since the Huawei nova 8i has a gaming assistant. You can enable settings so you won’t be disrupted and you can indulge yourself fully to the game.

But the experience is not the only thing that’s fast with the nova 8i. The 66W Huawei SuperCharge can juice up this phone up to 68 percent in just 20 minutes and can fully charge it in just 38 minutes. You can literally stare at your phone as your battery indicator rises.

Cameras

Here’s where the fun part starts. Cameras: 64MP f/1.9 main, 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide, 2MP f/2.4 macro, 2MP f/2.4 depth, 16MP f/2.0 selfie.

The nova 8i has a quad camera setup with a 64MP main camera which uses a big 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor. It means its camera sensor has the ability to let in more light. This results to a cleaner image and better low light performance.

And we’re telling you, this sensor is not messing around.

It lets you capture the highest resolution images you could probably ever need. Different from the usual software upscaled images typically seen on an ordinary smartphone. This gives you the capability to zoom in and crop your captured image yet still maintain a tremendous amount of details.

With the powerful cameras that the nova 8i has, you can definitely maximize its features to create your content whether just for leisure, a passion project, or social media content for your business.

EMUI and multitasking

As for its software, the Huawei nova 8i runs on EMUI 11 bringing in a bunch of convenient features that boosts your efficiency. For one, if you’re someone who loves multitasking, the multi-window feature is perfect as it lets you operate multiple apps on your screen.

Speaking of apps, Huawei’s app gallery is loaded with great ones from top shopping apps like Shopee and Lazada, to the most trending ones like TikTok.

And if in case you’re having trouble finding the app for you, Petal Search has got you covered. Just type in the app or whatever it is you’re looking for and Petal Search looks it up for you on different sources making sure you get the absolute best results.

Taking screenshots has never been this easy. You can do so by just swiping down using three fingers.

And for security, a new safe sharing feature has been included on the nova 8i. We now get the option to delete information of your phone and other details before sharing your photos or screenshots.

nova 8i — easy to recommend

Jam packed with features, the nova 8i just enables you to do so much. From capturing great photos and videos to having a seamless gaming and online experience, the nova 8i is an easy phone to recommend. At its price point, it is truly worthy of its crown.

The Huawei nova 8i retails for PhP 13,999. It’s available via online Huawei Store, Lazada, Shopee and Huawei experience stores.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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