Lifestyle

PSA: I like phones that fit my tiny hands

Bigger isn’t always better in my case

Illustration by Migs Buera

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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.

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra | Photo by MJ Jucutan

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.

Lifestyle

6 sexy gifts for your special someone

Forget mushy, make it spicy!

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sexy gifts
Illustrations by Kris Blanco

Forget rings and other common gifts that make your special someone mushy. Sex inevitably plays a key role in maintaining healthy relationships. Things get a little bit stale after a while, so make sure to spice it up.

Here are some sexy gifts that your special someone will surely appreciate (because you get to enjoy with them, too).

Massage candle

sexy gifts

Get in the mood when you light up Lelo’s Flickering Touch Massage Candle. It helps set the scene with its all-natural scent made of soy wax, shea butter, and apricot kernel oil.

You can turn those foreplays up a notch to heighten the tension.  It may get messy during petting, but that’s certainly the fun of it. Get heated and enjoy the sweat!

Coupon from a sex toy shop

Give the gift of freedom by sending your s/o with a coupon from a sex toy shop. For example, Lauvette. I was once gifted a coupon from the shop for my silver birthday, which I used to buy the cock ring that I’ve always liked.

Let your partner buy the toy that matches their preference and way of pleasure. After all, only you know what’s best for your body.

Couples’ cock ring

Cock rings don’t have to be just a ring. And they certainly don’t need to please only the one who’s doing the penetrating.

The We-Vibe Pivot is a waterproof, vibrating ring that stimulates both partners, aiming to serve a mind-blowing climax that will overwhelm all your senses.

Sex pillow

I can never stress enough how important a sex pillow is. And no, your ordinary pillows — be it from your bed or your couch — won’t make the cut for comfortable and pleasurable intercourse. The Liberator Whirl helps control the thrusts and penetration by rolling at different speeds.

Also, the Whirl looks unassuming with its bolster shape so you can cuddle it and still be discreet. It can be good for your back, too!

Massage Gun

sexy gifts

Anything that vibrates can easily be a sex toy, and that is the case for Theragun Mini — which comes in a Rose Gold colorway. However, don’t think the wrong way: I’m not asking you to use the massage gun for your holes in lieu of an actual vibrator or massager.

The Theragun Mini can help relieve muscle stiffness so you can relax and let loose, so you can perform strenuous positions that really stretch your body. Plus point if you can use the massage gun to stimulate your erogenous zones like the inner thigh, neck, or even your sacrum (that small portion of your back by the spine). Thank me later, folks!

Eye Mask

sexy gifts

Anyone who loves comfort and pleasure will never say no to an eye mask, especially if it looks bold and raunchy, like Sensara’s Eye Mask Jacquard. While you can have a pretty serene sleep, this eye mask can help elevate your sexual experiences to the next level.

Having an eye mask with a velvet-y or silky material can be quite sexy and sensual. It allows you to heighten your senses and focus on touch, smell, and sound — and maybe let your imagination run wild. I’m talking BDSM if you don’t get it.

SEE ALSO: This stimulating ring is divine, I can’t imagine date nights without it | 6 sex toys to help women achieve pleasure like no other

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Her GadgetMatch

Nokia E3500: Perfect pair or just fine?

Finding companionship on a pair of wireless earbuds

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Nokia E3500

My day wouldn’t go the way it is without listening to something. Be it from my Spotify playlist, a podcast, or even catching up with my co-streamers on a call. But untangling and twisting the crumpled, irritating earphone wire ruins the mood.

Thankfully, those days are over. Since smartphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack are getting rare, I took a leap out of my comfort zone to finally switch to a pair of wireless earbuds.

Scouring the market for a good pair that won’t make a dent out of my pocket can be daunting. What caught my eye was a familiar name I’ve known for years, and I discovered a pair — the Nokia E3500 — that begs to be given a chance.

Nokia E3500

Love at first touch

The first time I held the Nokia E3500, it felt premium and sleek despite having a charging case made out of plastic. What furthered its elegance were the featherweight material that makes it easy to carry, as well as its matte finish that makes you want to glide your fingers incessantly.

Nokia E3500

In a nutshell, the Nokia E3500 displayed a blend of practicality and sophisticated design.

The “getting to know” part

I found comfort in using the Nokia E3500. Out of the box, it comes with three pairs to help you find your perfect pair. And when you do, it won’t fall off your ear.

I even brought the E3500 on a beach trip to Liwliwa, Zambales — which was kinda risky since it only has an IPX5 resistance. Luckily, it was secure enough to fit in my ear even if I kept running and jumping.

Pairing the Nokia E3500 is easy. Once out of the case, you can press the touch buttons for two seconds to enter pairing mode. The inclusion of Ambient Mode helps me immerse in the content, especially when situated in a noisy environment. I found that keeping volume to about 60 percent seemed like the right choice to enjoy its audio performance.

Sound isolation is great, too. Imagine sitting by the beach, listening to music while also hearing the sound of splashing waves. Happy and dreamy, isn’t it?

Quarrels

Everything has its rough side, including this seemingly perfect pair of wireless earbuds. Using the Nokia E3500 during my Zoom calls isn’t as smooth and seamless as it should be when listening.

There are few delays with the microphone reception, making it a little annoying when I’m in the middle of a virtual presentation. Hopefully, the next iteration will improve the inconsistent microphone.

Nokia E3500

Is this my perfect pair?

For a mediocre audiophile like me, I would say yes to Nokia E3500. The charging case itself has a 360mAh battery which helps extend its battery life. Who wouldn’t want an uninterrupted sound trip especially during a long drive?

My experience isn’t as perfect as I thought it would be. But it’s decent and fine. The Nokia E3500 looks gorgeous, equipped with long battery life, great audio quality, and water resistance for peace of mind.

There are cheaper options available in the market, but for what it’s worth — I’d call it a steal, especially for all the features you can enjoy for its price tag.

The Nokia E3500 retails for PhP 3,499.

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Lifestyle

7 items for traveling safe

Absolute must-haves!

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travel

With the announcements of more Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL), individuals and their family or friends may have made plans to travel. While we hope that they enjoy their trip, safety should be the top priority of all. Here’s a roundup of items to help those who are traveling soon.

1. Sharp Face Shield 

Extra protection from any air-borne particles, especially in closed environments like on flight.

SHARP face shield is designed to reduce reflection/fog achieves super clear view with SHARP’s special film processing technology from LCD panels technology in Japan, allowing added protection yet crystal clear view. The Sharp Face Shield significantly reduces the reflection of light such as sunlight and prevents fogging between conversations. 

Available at Sharp eStore: https://estore.sharp.sg/
Price: SG$ 69 per unit


2. Sharp Face Mask

A must have for traveling, certified under the Europe standard to keep you safe

Sharp Surgical Medical Face Mask comes with 3 layers protection, elastic fiber easy fit comfort ear loops, high bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) >98 percent and medical grade middle & water repellent outer layer. The product is certified under Europe standard (EN14683) and has 50 sheets per box.

Available at Sharp eStore: https://estore.sharp.sg/
Price: SG$ 39 per box of 50 masks

3. Sholayered Fabric & Mask Spray

Stay refreshed, even when you have to “mask up” all day

Sholayered Fabric & Mask Spray has a scent of clear mint gently eases the physical and emotional tension. It relieves users from invisible stress and gives them a peace of mind. The pleasant scent that spreads through the body leads to calm rhythms of your heart. The mask spray contains 90 percent ethyl alcohol (alias: ethanol) that is known to have a disinfection effect and a certain amount of natural peppermint oil and peppermint leaf oil.

Available at Sholayered Pop-up Booth, Takashimaya, B1 and Walking on Sunshine
Official Website: http://sholayered.sg
Price: SG$ 26 per 60ml bottle

4. Otterbox iPhone Cases

Keeping travelers’ precious gadget and memories safe.

Otterbox is No.1 selling smartphone case brand in the US, offers a wide variety of iPhone cases to meet the needs of Apple fans everywhere. The rugged Defender series, versatile commuter series, slim symmetry series, cute and functional Otter + Pop and sophisticated Strada Series make up a full line-up of cases to cover new iPhone 13 Devices from daily drops and bumps. OtterBox also offers cases for MagSafe, with Defender Series XT and Symmetry Series+, with a wide selection of colors and graphics, there’s a style to suit everyone. OtterBox also offers Amplify and Alpha Glass screen protection to keep the display free from scratches.

Available at Official Website: www.otterbox.asia
Price: SG$ 49.90 – S$ 99.90

5. Lifeproof iPhone Cases

Be it for travels to cities or outdoor adventures, Lifeproof will keep travelers’ iPhones protected

LifeProof aims to build products that inspires individuals to get lost in the now. With LifeProof’s effort to repurpose ocean-based plastics, you can feel good about your plans to keep your phone protected. It’s perfect for everyone from independents to athletes, scenesters to world travellers – feel free to use the cases to feed your passion because Lifeproof is made to follow you into the moment. LifeProof cases includes WAKE, NEXT and SEE featuring recycled materials and a colourful assortment of waterproof FRE and FRE with MagSafe and are now available for iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Available at Official Website: www.otterbox.asia
Price: SG$ 59 – SG$ 159

6. Huiji Herbalmint Lozenges

Soothe irritated throats with these all-natural lozenges

Made from 100 percent natural medicinal herbs and plants, the Huiji Herbalmint Lozenges is perfect for quick relief for cough and helps to soothe the irritated throat. As there is no added alcohol content, it does not cause drowsiness.

Available at Official Website: https://huiji.com.sg/product/huiji-herbalmint-lozenges/
Price: SG$ 2 per box of 10

7. Casio GBD-H1000 Smartwatch Sharp Face Shield 

Keep track of heart-rate measures with these smart watches

Casio G-SQUAD GBD-H1000 features an optical sensor for heart rate measurement, along with bearing, altitude/barometric pressure, and temperature sensors. The new smartwatch is built with all the toughness of a G-SHOCK, with shock resistance and 200-meter water resistance. With Wear OS by Google, the GSW-H1000 allows you to access important information at a glance, like messages and phone calls, notifications, agenda, weather forecast, and more.

Available at https://www.g-shock.sg/ and all G-SHOCK stores 
Price: SG$ 599

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