Back in the early 2010s, we used to dread smartphones that are getting larger. At most, we could tolerate phones between 5 to 5.5 inches as our daily drivers — making it the sweet spot that fits our hands, pockets, and clutches.
Phablets were considered enormous with their insanely humongous screens sitting between 6.5 to 7 inches in size. But a decade later, we see it as the norm and compact phones have become a rare Pokémon in the wild.
But something shifted in the new decade as more smartphones, once again, started arriving in compact sizes. Although the definition of compact varies from one brand or manufacturer to another, smaller size phones coming back made me giddy. Goes to show that there’s a market to serve. As someone who constantly complained about the hefty, colossal smartphones with humongous screens, I am very much part of it.
I actually enjoy the technology and smart features in large phones like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, OPPO Find X3 Pro, and the Mi 10T Pro. As wonderful as they are, they came with an inconvenience that a handful of people can relate to. Too big for smaller hands, too heavy to carry, too huge and bulky inside the pocket — the list goes on.
Bigger isn’t always better, at least for me
Yes, you read it right. Bigger isn’t always better, at least in my case. I had a lot of people (and egotistical friends) preached to me how they like the biggest and the largest smartphones available because of three reasons:
1. It’s the most expensive which shows how much they can shell out for a gadget.
2. They’re the best in a smartphone lineup because again, they’re the most expensive and the biggest.
3. They have the most features that you can enjoy.
Not gonna lie, I somewhat agree. Like how the S-Pen is compatible with the Galaxy S21 Ultra but not with the base edition. Although, at the end of the day, these features are nice to have but not a must-have.
All the exact features you need to make your smartphone experience enjoyable are shared across the product lineup. It’s a lineup for a reason. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise.
Unlike the reasons listed above, I’m not looking for the best, or the biggest, or the ones that I can brag about in mirror selfies. I want the right one. The right fit for my tiny and frail hands.
I want to hold it while I’m on the street without worrying about it slipping off my hand or dropping it accidentally. Or fit in my pocket without bulging. I want it to be just enough for my day-to-day life.
The product of listening
In 2021, a lot of handsets stuck to their usual sizes — mostly 6.5-inch and above. Only two flagship phones embraced a compact size and remained true to their promise: the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the ASUS Zenfone 8.
To pack so many features in a compact body is a great feat and a mindful one — because they actually listened to what a handful of users desire. Even though we’re in the minority, Samsung and ASUS listened, and that my friend is how you make a loyal customer. Keyword: listened. (Error 404: LG Mobile not found.)
To my disbelief, I particularly enjoyed the Zenfone 8 more than the Galaxy S21. It’s made of glass, kind of curved, and it’s much easier for one-handed use.
Though it’s just a bit smaller and lighter than Samsung’s flagship, overall, the Zenfone 8 had me glued to my phone once more. Don’t get me wrong: I still like both phones (and compact phones that are yet to come), but I had more fun using the no-frills Zenfone 8.
I realized what people claim to dislike about compact phones during are also the exact reasons why I like it. Another way of saying this is “what you take for granted is what someone else wishes for.”
The misconceptions and why they’re wrong
Liking compact phones is subjective. But there are common misconceptions regarding compact phones, mostly coming from those who prefer using large phones. Or those who have unrealistic standards when it comes to the latest smartphones marketed as “small and compact.”
Some say it’s not ideal for binge-watching, but I found myself watching more shows — on YouTube and Netflix — on the go frequently. When a phone is small and light, it makes it easy for your arms to lift for a longer time and not put a strain on your hands and fingers. This works especially when you’re unwell in bed and you just want to lie down and watch something.
Also, having a smaller screen doesn’t make it hard for me to watch a video unlike other people claim. Having an AMOLED display is enough: I can delight in a visual spectacle especially when you couple it with a magnificent audio experience. Don’t believe people when they say they need to squint their eyes when watching on a smaller screen.
On the topic of working remotely, some would prefer a bigger screen — and I adamantly feel the same. It’s better for writing and doing heavy work that you need to finish as quickly as possible.
But since my work requires checking designs and monitoring social media activities, I need to be able to take a glance and be on my toes. This means being ahead of any crisis, being able to jump on sudden turnarounds even if I’m on a sidewalk or I’m heading to a restaurant for my next lunch meeting.
In my experience, the ASUS Zenfone 8 served me well. I’ve gone to several lunches and dinners, and in between meetings I was able to respond and deliver my work — all done with just one hand while my other hand carries a Starbucks cold brew.
Though having a compact phone gave me a 2010-like experience that I can enjoy in 2021, a lot aren’t still sold with my experience for one, specific reason: the current compact phones aren’t small enough.
That small isn’t small enough?!
Some friends said the Zenfone 8 isn’t small enough. But are we looking for another iPhone 12 Mini — which is cool and cute by the way — whose production ended due to a low number of sales?
I started wondering: Up to which extent are we going to force smartphone manufacturers to produce a smartphone that fits our ideals? Samsung and ASUS did it right, technically speaking. Both companies made strides to pack the smartest and best features for their lineup in a phone so small, that the only limitations I encountered were its batteries.
To which, I still think, is something that both companies should continue to work on if they decide to press forward with compact phones. Nonetheless, it’s discourteous to discredit both companies from doing their best. It’s like telling someone that their best efforts aren’t good enough.
Like it or not, compact phones are here to stay. And if the “compact” size they can do right now is a 5.9-inch, then so be it. Maybe it’s the right size, maybe it’s the new sweet spot. Only time and numbers will tell.
For now, I’ll enjoy this phone that fits my tiny hands. And I don’t think you should worry about my opinion as well. At the end of the day, the best phone that you can have is the one that fits your hands and obviously, the one that you can afford without breaking the bank. C’est la vie.
Stranger Things 4: 4 Big Things To Expect
Every Ending Has Its New Beginning, Indeed
Writing this specific article makes me remember my early days in GadgetMatch where I wrote two special articles about Stranger Things 3 — especially because I’m the biggest fan in the team (been a fan since Season 1).
After almost three years of (patiently) waiting, we’ll finally be able to watch Stranger Things 4 on our screens again!
Special Screening in Cinema 11
Seven days before the actual release of Stranger Things 4: Volume 1, Netflix Philippines invited us for a special screening of its first episode — right at Power Planet Mall’s last cinema booth, Cinema 11 (y’know, Eleven 🥁).
The littlest set details outside the cinema made me cherish the good ol’ days of the First Season of Stranger Things from 2016. From those bright neon lights, a retro-styled photobooth, and ST4-branded popcorn box, soda cup. Even the “swag set” full of ST4 goodies that imitated the look of the spooky creel house, This also reminded me of how the series (as well as the fanbase) expanded entirely until it became a hit globally.
Although I went there all by myself, I still enjoyed every bit of the screening. To best describe everything, here’s my Instagram Reel roundup of it:
4 big things to expect
After watching the first episode of Stranger Things 4: Volume 1 for about an hour and fifteen minutes, there are four things I think we should expect in the series.
1. Out with the old, in with the new?
After the devastating phenomenon that happened in Hawkins last season, several characters have moved into a new town. The Byers, together with El(even) in mind. That also means Will and El have to deal with a new set of people in a seemingly unfamiliar environment.
Other characters have remained in the OG town, though. From the Wheelers, Sinclairs, Dustin, Joe, Robin, and even Max, they have continued with their lives despite being stuck in the same ol’ town. And oh, as the gang turned from kids to teens, do expect some dramatic changes in the way they act — especially after what happened.
P.S: There’s a new school club, too, that’s hilariously fun and cool despite its degrading image to the eyes of many.
2. Familiar and unfamiliar faces
Other than the remaining original cast from Season 1, a new season also means expecting new characters on the block. Apart from new schoolmates, there are also people that might help the initial set of kiddos who have saved Will from the darker underworld a.k.a the Upside Down.
The first few minutes of the episode was also revealed through Stranger Things’ YouTube channel showing how the Hawkins Laboratory had more than 11 Eleven-like superchildren that are being tested and experimented — until everything fell apart because of one superchild that ruined how things work inside the lab.
3. Jim isn’t dead
Jim Hopper’s sudden disappearance after the closing of the Upside Down had a lot of fans shaking their heads. Most (including myself) have speculated that he already died. Well, we can’t afford losing one more main character after the death of Bob from Season 2. Plus, Billy and Alexei just last season.
Fortunately, Jim, in his new haircut, appeared on the official trailer of Stranger Things 4. And just as shown in the first episode of the first volume, his presence can be felt — just from another side of the planet.
4. Another monster to kill
The Demogorgon and Mind Flayer are two of the most wicked supervillains ever existed. Whether that may be in the history of Hawkins or just in the eyes of people.
But the two evil creatures aren’t the end of the gang’s fate. A new town means there’s a new monster, too.
As shown at the end of the official trailer, the new horrendous creature is in human form. It can manipulate the mind of the affected individual — even the dimension where s/he’s at. While I won’t be specific about what happened, it sure is a powerful, demonic creature. It can truly make someone disturbingly psychotic and literally broken inside and out.
Biggest season ever with super-sized episodes
After watching the first episode of the first volume, I can say it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. First it was thrilling, then it became a full-on comedy show. Next thing you know, you’re already mindf*cked with what’s happening. I always say this but still, hands-down to the team behind Stranger Things for making the fourth season more exciting to watch (despite being borderline creepy and horrifying).
The First Volume of Stranger Things Season 4 will be released only on Netflix on May 27, 2022 (Friday) with seven episodes. Most episodes are reported to be as long as a full-length film.
On the other hand, Volume 2 with a whopping total of nine episodes will be released after two months: exactly July 1st — just four days before the independence of the United States of America.
Netflix is losing a lot of long-term subscribers
People are switching
The Netflix revolution was indeed televised. However, after enjoying years of success as the streaming platform of choice, a lot of users are now leaving Netflix for greener pastures. Over the past few months, the company has struggled to patch its failures. A recently released data report does confirm that the platform has a right to worry. More and more long-term subscribers are reportedly cutting their subscriptions short.
According to The Information, around 13 percent of Netflix cancelers in the past quarter are from accounts that have been with the platform for over three years. The data, which was reportedly obtained from Antenna, pegs cancelations at around 3.6 million Americans, a big increase from the 2.5 million of the past five quarters.
Though 13 percent isn’t exactly a giant figure, it’s still a blow to Netflix’s empire. While streaming platform rightly focus on gaining new subscribers, losing the loyalty of long-term users isn’t something to shrug off.
Since announcing lost expectations, Netflix announced ways to save on costs and retain its subscribers. Other methods include canceling projects, opening a games division, and potentially charging users more for account sharing. Naturally, not every plan hits users the same way.
In the meantime, other platforms — like Disney+, HBO, and Hulu — are attracting more users with more varied and exclusive content. Regardless, Netflix is skidding down a slope. Only time will tell whether its latest strategies will stave off more losses.
A new hue: RELX Infinity, Essential now in 2 new colors
Forest Allure and Gold Spark
If you’ve been itching for a new hue, RELX has you covered. RELX has two new colors for both the Infinity and the Essential – Forest Allure and Gold Spark.
The RELX Infinity now comes in Forest Allure. It’s an elegant green hue with all the same innovative benefits. These include the ergonomic mouthpiece, leak-resistance, dual charging system and smart pace vibration alert.
Meanwhile, the RELX Essential now comes in this truly eye-catching Gold Spark colorway. It gives your leak-resistant device a premium and sophisticated look.
Whichever one matches your style, you won’t go wrong because both look absolutely stunning.
Kick the smoking habit
But RELX is more than just its looks. In fact, the RELX Infinity is a Red Dot Design awardee.
It’s lightweight, pocket-sized, and the SuperSmoothTM Technology gives you that quick fix all without the ash and awful smell that lingers. Its Closed Pod System also ensures there are no leaks whatsoever.
So, if you’ve been having thoughts about putting out that cigarette for good, you should consider getting yourself a RELX.
It’s a better alternative to cigarette smoking. They are also built smart. The device will remind you of your puff rate. RELX has a Smart Pace alert which means your device will vibrate if you puff 15 times in under or exactly 15 minutes.
RELX also offers long battery life. And when you do run out, you can charge quickly via the USB Type-C port or the built-in pogo pins.
On the other hand, you have the RELX Essential. It’s the perfect device for anyone who wants to try vaping. Its textured body is easier to grip. And it has a light indicator that serves two functions: to alert the user that a pod has been placed and as a battery indicator.
It’s the more affordable option but it’s also durable so you don’t have to think about upgrading right away. You can stick with it until you become more comfortable with vaping.
Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health
There’s been a conscious effort from various sectors to educate people about the risks of cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke.
Some retail packaging even showcases its severe effects. Cigarette smoking has been known to cause cancer, heart diseases, lung diseases, and many more.
It’s difficult to break away from a habit as some people use it to chill after meals or just calm their nerves ahead of tense situations.
The first step is never easy, but there’s a way to do it with relatively reduced risk. And that’s by switching to RELX.
In celebration of World Vape Day, we can raise our RELX to help lessen the health risks, amount of cigarettes produced, butts tossed out, toxins released in the air. In the process, we also hopefully lessen our dependence on nicotine sticks.
It’s still a long shot from completely eradicating cigarette smoking but at least making the switch is another step towards a no smoke journey.
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