BlackBerry, as we had earlier reported, announced today it was getting out of the smartphone business to focus on creating software for mobile devices, finally making official the news that many had expected for a while.
Let us repeat: BlackBerry — one of the most recognizable names in the phone industry — is done designing and making, um, phones. Sort of. We’ll still see BlackBerry-branded phones in the future through licensing deals, but the company won’t have a hand in creating the said handsets.
Which is a shame because the company formerly known as RIM was responsible for some of the most memorable mobile devices ever produced. Here’s a look at 10 of them.
1. BlackBerry 850 (1999)
Say hello to the original. The 850 was the first device to carry the BlackBerry name. It was introduced as a two-way pager in 1999, and it had a thumb keyboard and a thumbwheel for scrolling.
2. BlackBerry 5810 (2002)
The BlackBerry 5810, although technically a Java-based communicator or personal digital assistant, was essentially the company’s first handset. It had no built-in mic or speaker so to make or receive a voice call, you needed to plug in a headset. It featured a monochrome display and was limited to 2G networks. And you thought your phone was all shades of bad?
3. BlackBerry 7100 (2004)
The 7100 series comprised several handsets that had one thing in common: a modified QWERTY keypad that appealed to the text-crazed public. It was also the first batch of BlackBerrys targeted at the average user, not at suit-wearing business types. It was light on multimedia features — no built-in media player, no camera — but it had a colored display and Bluetooth connectivity.
4. BlackBerry Curve 8300 (2007)
The Curve arrived in 2007, the same year the first iPhone came out. But it wasn’t as smart as Apple’s phone, wasn’t as smart as the BlackBerry Bold. It was meant for chatting and quickly typing out messages. More importantly, it was cheap and had mass appeal.
5. BlackBerry Storm (2008)
Released in 2008 and touted as the company’s best hope to rival the iPhone, BlackBerry’s first full-touchscreen device was a bold, promising product — notwithstanding the absence of WiFi. It sold well during its first year on Verizon’s shelves, but the carrier eventually had to replace all of the one million Storm phones sold in 2008 after customers complained about its iffy touch navigation.
6. BlackBerry Bold 9000 (2008)
The Bold was responsive; it could connect to 3G and WiFi networks and GPS satellites; it had good-sounding stereo speakers; it had one of the best displays of any smartphone you could buy at the time. Further still, it looked the part of a handset that appealed to mobile professionals.
7. BlackBerry PlayBook (2011)
BlackBerry’s first foray into tablet territory received mixed reviews at launch, though conversation around the PlayBook got more favorable after a software update ironed out most of the kinks and added apps — BlackBerry’s and Android’s — that made it function more like a standalone device. A hefty price cut that brought it down to $199 also made it a more viable competitor to the Kindle Fire, and the iPad if price was a roadblock.
8. BlackBerry Z10 (2013)
The Z10 was the first phone to run BB10. It did pretty much everything one would expect from a high-end BlackBerry except it didn’t have access to the breadth of apps Android and iOS devices had. Its battery life also left us wanting more. Which was unfortunate because we kind of liked the Z10.
9. BlackBerry Passport (2014)
The Passport was a curious device. It was weird-looking — with its big square screen and tiny rectangular keyboard; it ran BB10, BlackBerry’s struggling operating system; and even though it brought together many of BlackBerry’s best technologies, it divided critics and fans alike. But one thing most people agreed on was it should have shipped with Android.
10. BlackBerry Priv (2015)
The Priv was BlackBerry’s first Android device. It had a curved touch display and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Critics thought it was decent; fans loved it. But it had one major asterisk: a $700 launch price that proved too steep, too ambitious. BlackBerry eventually dropped the Priv’s price, but by then it was already too late. Consumers had made up their minds.
[irp posts=”10945″ name=”KEYone is BlackBerry’s first phone in two years”]
Image credit: Pocket-lint
Machenike: Best budget peripherals?
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 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).
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.
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.
5 reasons why you need a smart, home printer
In 2021? Absolutely!
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.
OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger
It’s a stellar overall package for its price
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.
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).
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
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.
This same feature also works on the 32MP selfie camera.
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.
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:
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.
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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