We’re halfway through the year! With E3 2018 wrapped up and the second wave of flagship phones on the way, there are a lot of things coming. However, the future only looks bright if you can live in the moment, and right at this moment, this is what’s now playing for GadgetMatch.
Games to play
Detroit: Become Human
Rodneil: Most story-driven games have a single path and you just wear the shoes of the lead character as you go through that journey. That’s not the case with Detroit: Become Human where a single scene alone can have as many as six outcomes. This interactive drama game puts you in the shoes of three main characters by allowing you to make decisions for them, in turn affecting the outcome of the game and letting you be the author of your own story.
Dragon Ball Legends
JV: Both die-hard and casual fans of the Dragon Ball series have a lot to love with the latest mobile game based on the franchise. The game takes on many mobile tropes, including in-app purchases for faster progression and a play wall. However, the rest of the game is packed with action as teams of three go head to head in story or PvP modes.
Nearly every single Dragon Ball character you can think of can be summoned to be part of the team, but the built-in story mode revolves around a brand new fighter named Shallot. The campy story mode progresses in an episodic fashion, unfolding fight by fight. Battles are done in vertical mode with swipes, taps, holds, and attack cards that trigger powerful moves. Best of all, it’s a gorgeous game! The graphics are top-notch and faithful to the source material, right down to the crazy Ki explosions and dramatic finishes.
Isa: This random download from the Google Play Store got me playing God. No kidding, this game starts off with you saving some people from drowning and they end up as your very first “followers.” You build civilizations, explore unknown terrain, and even shift land masses as you create your own timeline of civilization. All that power as the almighty at the tip of your fingers is a pretty fun game, I have to admit.
Movies to see
The Greatest Showman
Chay: I rarely get to watch new movies in cinemas now because of traveling, but long haul flights are always a great opportunity to catch up on all the blockbuster hits I miss. This month, I finally got to watch The Greatest Showman on an EVA Air flight after seeing months of raving on my Facebook and Twitter timelines. If you’re a fan of musicals, this is definitely a must-see; I suggest renting or buying it on Amazon Prime now if you missed it in movie theaters. If musicals aren’t your thing, it’s still a great feel-good, star-studded movie to watch when you get bored on your next flight. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also end up humming to the songs the way I did by the time the plane lands.
The Incredibles 2
Isa: When I want to chill out and relax, I often opt for fun movies and try to shift away from suspense-filled plots. The Incredibles 2 is a perfect blend of light-hearted comedy that touches on themes of family togetherness, all wrapped in a superhero package. It was a great watch over the weekend, plus you get to see what happened in the lives of the same beloved characters from the first movie.
TV shows to binge watch
Rodneil: Meghan Markle who plays Rachel Zane on Suits recently married a prince. Not gonna lie, I have always had a crush on her and is probably one of the reasons why I started watching the show to begin with. However, I did drop the series right around Season 3, but Markle getting hitched made me want to pick up the series again. I thought Season 3 was a drag but if you’re able to power through it, Seasons 4 to 6 deliver a payoff that was set up on the show’s pilot.
World Cup 2018
Rodneil: Technically, this isn’t a TV show, but if you’re not tuned in to the 2018 World Cup, you’re missing out. It’s the biggest football stage that happens only once every four years, featuring the best athletes to take the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one of this generation’s best players, already had a signature performance scoring a hat trick against Spain. Better tune in if big names like Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. will also churn out huge performances.
Music to listen to
Lofi hip hop playlist
Rodneil: Whenever I write, I usually put familiar music on. More than silence, the white noise actually helps me think better. However, while I was trying to write one of the editions of Weekend Rewind, I couldn’t focus at all. So I hopped on Spotify and found this gem. If you’re feeling laid back and just want to go with the flow, the smooth, sexy, and funky tracks in this playlist will ride along with you. Do yourself a favor and listen to it as you read on.
Bloom: Troye Sivan
Chay: Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, you’ve probably heard of Troye Sivan in one way or another. He’s an openly gay YouTuber from Australia who blossomed into a full-fledged music artist and released his first album Blue Neighborhood in 2015. This year, Troye is treating fans with a new album called Bloom that the New York Times describes as darker and sexier. It won’t be released until August, but singles like “My My My!” and “Dance To This” featuring Ariana Grande are already available on Spotify for everyone to, well, dance to this Pride Month.
Post Traumatic: Mike Shinoda
Jane: Fans around the world were devastated when Chester Bennington of Linkin Park passed. His bandmate Mike Shinoda was at a loss on what to do so he poured all his emotions and came up with his latest album. If you’ve ever experienced loss, are going through it now, or if you simply want to listen to raw, very human emotions and thoughts across the full spectrum, listen to Post Traumatic.
Books to read
Note To Self by Connor Franta
MJ: I always love moments of introspection and reflection. When a friend suggested Note To Self by Connor Franta, I found that the best time to read it was during Pride Month. Connor Franta is an American gay YouTuber/writer who published his memoir, Note To Self, last 2017. The book talks about self-love and acceptance, his battle with clinical depression and social anxiety, and his struggles with love and loss. It’s told through essays, letters, poetry, and photography — something I also love doing in my spare time. This book really connects with me in a deeper level, and I believe that it can help people understand the perspective of people suffering from mental illness. Pride Month isn’t just about festivities and loud celebration, it’s also about connecting and understanding with the LGBTQ+ community and their untold struggles and stories.
Freedom for the thought we hate by Anthony Lewis
Isa: This book traces the history of the First Amendment throughout US legal history and tackles the events that transpired and shaped law in the constitution as we know them today. Written by New York Times journalist Anthony Lewis, this book is a good read and is very apt for today’s times.
Cities to visit
Chay: I can count the number of cities and countries I would much rather spend my money on over Russia. Moscow isn’t exactly at the top of most travelers’ bucket lists and I, for one, have always wanted to visit only to see Saint Basil’s Cathedral, but not much else. This year though, Russia is hosting the World Cup, so I’d say there’s really no better time to go, if you don’t mind a bigger crowd of tourists and fans, that is. Russians are infamous for being stern and too serious at times, so it’s also a rare sight to see them have fun at least for a few weeks.
Marvin: Visiting Taipei has become an annual habit for me, but there’s always something new to discover in the bustling city. My latest trip brought me to Elephant Mountain, which has the most gorgeous view of Taipei from a naturesque point, and the traditional beauty of Jiufen’s streets. At the end of each day, I had a wide selection of night markets filled with food carts to check out — all of which are easily accessible via public transport.
Apps to download
Chay: The official FIFA app has been updated to focus on the 2018 World Cup, providing exclusive content and features surrounding the month-long event. If you’re overwhelmed with the schedule, one tap on the app shows you the groups and all the matches in the four-week tourney. There’s also a Live Scores tab with previews, play-by-play updates, and statistics — if you can’t watch your favorite teams live.
MJ: As I’ve been getting into working out and being physically fit, I also remember to take care of my emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Headspace is my new friend in the realm of technology, an app that helps me practice mindfulness and meditation. I always use this app before I start the day, during a stressful situation to help me think clearly, and at night to help me fall asleep.
Did you like any of our picks or have suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
Sony’s PlayStation is back, Xiaomi outs new Mi 8 variants: Weekend Rewind
Ending the week with nostalgic feels
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. The iconic PlayStation is back!
Let’s kick things off by taking a trip down memory lane. Almost 25 years after its debut, Sony is bringing back the iconic first-gen PlayStation and it will come as the PlayStation Classic.
It’s basically a miniaturized version complete with a pair of original controller replicas. What’s even more exciting is that fans of the original PlayStation will be able to relive 20 legendary titles including Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3!
2. Razer Phone 2 gets a launch date
Razer officially confirms the arrival of its second gaming smartphone — the Razer Phone 2. It succeeds the Razer Phone that was launched last November and based on earlier leaks, it’ll be a familiar-looking product.
The phone should sport the same body as its predecessor including the display with buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Of course, the internals will have beefier specs as well. We’ll know the low down real soon during its special event at California this October 10.
3. Apple is on the lead!
While it may be true that Apple didn’t sell the most number of smartphones, they still earned more than their competitors. According to the latest data from Counterpoint Research, Apple had the biggest share of industry profits during the second quarter of 2018.
For comparison, Apple earned 62 percent of the second-quarter smartphone profits. Samsung, which is the top-selling smartphone vendor, is responsible for just 17 percent of smartphone profits in the quarter. Huawei takes the third spot with eight percent of the profits.
4. A complete but affordable smartwatch
Huami, Xiaomi’s sub-brand in China, has a smartwatch that offers tremendous bang for your buck. The company just unveiled the Amazfit Verge and it’s got everything you could ask for in a wearable without the high price tag.
The Amazfit Verge has a GPS, heart-rate sensor, and a full-circle AMOLED display. It’s also equipped with a microphone and loudspeaker that allow voice calls through the smartwatch.
5. Xiaomi outs Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite
On a related note, Xiaomi also held a quick event to announce a few things including two new Mi 8 variants — the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite.
In a nutshell, these are additions to the flagship Mi 8 family. The Mi 8 Pro is similar to the Mi 8 with the same specs like its Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and 128GB of expandable storage. Although, this model comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
As the name suggests, the Mi 8 Lite is a toned-down Mi 8 and comes with a midrange Snapdragon 660 chipset, dual rear cameras, and a 24-megapixel front camera. Both phones are initially available in China, but international availability is yet to be announced.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
Singapore’s first iPhone XS buyer goes all out
He went for the 512GB storage!
Whenever new iPhones launch, a familiar scene is people lining up in front of Apple Stores long before launch date. The same is true in Singapore where the iPhone XS and XS Max officially became available on Friday, September 21.
We visited the Apple Store in Orchard Road and caught up with the first person to cop the new iPhones. His name is Daniel and he went all out getting two units of gold iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage. Watch our interview with him.
The same situation is true elsewhere in the world. In countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and more, lines formed as those who pre-ordered got ready to claim the new iPhones.
This is the first time that the two sizes of iPhones feature the same specs. In years past, there was always a plus model that had more features other than just having a bigger form factor. In 2018, the only difference is the screen size — 5.8 inches for the iPhone XS and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max. Both phones are equipped with the new A12 Bionic processor. Apple says it’s their smallest and most powerful chip to date. Both also sport dual cameras.
The Apple Watch Series 4 also launched today. It’s a significant update to Apple’s primary wearable featuring medical advantages other than the usual improvements. As always, it still is a lifestyle gadget and comes with an array of available looks.
Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!
We have them early!
It’s now mid-September and if you’ve been following technology news, you’d know that means one thing: new iPhones from Apple. And if you’ve been following GadgetMatch closely the last few years, you’d expect us to be brewing content by now.
This year, we got them early. What we are unboxing the 5.8-inch model, dubbed the iPhone XS and the bigger variant, the iPhone XS Max. There’s also a more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone XR coming later in October.
The box has not changed much — it’s still the same minimalist white box with the image of the phone you’re getting. Inside are a packet with manuals and stickers, USB-A charging brick, Lightning cable, and a pair of Lightning EarPods (not AirPods, they just look alike).
It’s worth noting that the bundled charger is the regular adapter and cable from yesteryears, even if the new iPhones already support fast charging. To get fast charging on the iPhone XS and XS Max, you need to spend an additional US$ 75 for a Lightning to USB-C Cable and a 29W USB-C adapter.
Since omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack, these new iPhones are also the first ones to not include a headphone jack to Lightning dongle — an extra US$ 9 purchase if you ever need one.
Unlike previous years where you need to get the bigger model to have the best features iPhones have to offer, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are essentially the same phones — the latter just has a bigger display and battery capacity.
The iPhone XS and XS Max also come in a new beautiful gold color, something similar to our favorite iPhone 8 and 8 Plus color from last year — a subtle, non-tacky shade of gold. A slightly darker gold but shiny stainless steel band also highlights the edges of the phones. Button and port placements have not changed, and the notch housing Apple’s TrueDepth Camera technology lives on.
We have more iPhone content coming in the next few days so make sure to stay tuned for that. Our unboxing video is also coming where we unboxed a new case color as well. Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t yet.
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