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 awakens new viewing experience with BRAVIA A8F OLED
Innovative technology with sophisticated design
We first came to love Sony because of their advanced home entertainment system from the yesteryears. The Trinitron from the 70’s positioned Sony above any TV manufacturers long before the introduction of LCD and Plasma TVs. The latest advancement today is no other than OLED.
One of Sony’s best offering in the market today is the BRAVIA OLED A8F. This ain’t just another OLED-touting television you can also get from other manufacturers, because Sony — as a master in home entertainment — always puts their best foot forward.
Being an OLED TV, the A8F produces incredibly detailed images with deep blacks and rich colors. Viewers can appreciate the content on display at any position thanks to the panel’s exceptionally wide viewing angles, making watch parties more enjoyable.
Of course, Sony made sure that all of their latest display technologies are incorporated. The A8F has over eight million self-illuminated pixels capable of displaying 4K HDR picture powered by the X1 Extreme processor.
What does this mean? Let’s just say the term “best picture quality” is an understatement because seeing the TV in person is something you can’t justify with a few words. It even lets you see more details without the need to sit near the TV. Sit anywhere you like and you can still enjoy detailed images.
There’s also the Triluminos Display technology making sure you get the most accurate and faithful color reproduction. And lastly, you can view high dynamic range or HDR content in most formats including the industry standard HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma, and even Dolby Vision.
Furthermore, the A8F runs Android TV to let users effortlessly browse and enjoy content. With a wide array of apps to choose from the Google Play Store, you can easily jump to your favorite video streaming applications such as Netflix and YouTube.
You can even play Android games straight from the TV! Just be sure to have a controller available for the best TV gaming experience.
This TV is not just about the picture quality; it’s also about aesthetics. The A8F has a clean, minimalist design with a narrow frame that maximizes the viewing area.
Sony has a vision called “Soft Minimalism” that welcomes shapes and textures to deepen the viewing experience.
It also has an intelligent cable management feature that virtually hides the unsightly cables connected to your TV.
You must be asking: Where are the speakers of the A8F? With Acoustic Surface, the TV has two actuators behind the TV that delicately vibrate to create sound within the picture. This means the audio is coming out of the screen, not just from a single source or below the TV. It’s like listening to the actual conversation of the characters on screen.
A subwoofer is built into the rear of the TV to add depth and powerful bass for a more immersive viewing experience.
Apart from impressive hardware, the TV is also packed with extra audio features such as ClearAudio+ for fine-tuning and S-Force Front Surround Pro for a virtual 360-degree sound effect. Both of these work together to provide a more professional sounding and immersive surround sound without setting up external speakers.
The Sony BRAVIA OLED A8F is more than just a piece of technology to put in your home; it’s a TV that wows when it’s on and comfortably resides in its environment when turned off.
There’s a harmonious relationship between the TV and space it occupies like a piece of art. It triumphs in its simplicity, but it packs everything a modern TV should have.
This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Sony Philippines
Indie game developers in Asia get exclusive training from Google Play
Now is the time to make mobile games!
A huuuuge venue, hundreds of thousands of people, and everything gaming wherever you look.
This was the scenario during last week’s G-STAR 2018 at Busan, South Korea. Known to be one of the most important gatherings for game developers from around the world, Google Play took advantage of this event to showcase something new.
Instead of having additional big names thrown into the lineup of the four-day event, the company brought its promising platoon of independent game devs to share their works with everyone. More importantly, to share their stories of how they started and how Google has helped them get to where they are now.
Indie Games Accelerator program
Earlier this year, Google Play introduced the Indie Games Accelerator program that targets gaming startups based in India, the Philippines, Singapore, and other nearby countries. This is due to a rising revenue in mobile gaming in the APAC region with the Philippines and India being one of the fastest-growing players in Asia.
The goal is to help budding developers make high-quality games and reach their full potential. Google Play does this by conducting gaming bootcamps and providing them with all the tools and mentoring they need to create a successful title.
Aspiring developers may apply for the four-month program where they learn to build, scale, launch, and market the next generation of mobile games.
Apart from the tools and technology that Google is providing, developers accepted into the program will work with people already in the industry, be connected to its networks, and be given professional insights to help keep them walking on the right path.
Howard Go, an indie game developer from Mochibits, is the first Filipino to participate at a Google Play event at G-STAR. His game, Bounc.io – Balls vs Balls, lets players battle it out PvP style in real-time.
A former VP for a local telco, he quit the corporate life and went for what he really likes doing.
According to Go, the reason he took this path was that he wanted to do something that actually belonged to him. And by joining the Indie Games Accelerator program, he was able to produce a quality game that meets the standards of today’s big titles.
He was given tools that help detect in-game problems, avoid app crashes, and more. Go said the company also provides feedback and tells the developer what works and what doesn’t based on actual stats.
His game now has a rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 at the Google Play Store.
Mobile Gaming as the future of gaming?
There’s no denying that mobile gaming is on the rise.
Our smartphones are getting more and more powerful and we take them wherever we are — making them a perfect platform for gaming on the go. During the event, some of the biggest tournaments were not played on a console or PC, but on mobile phones. That’s something you didn’t see a few years back.
After a friendly debate with Go on whether mobile gaming is indeed the future of gaming, we’ve agreed that it’s not something that will die down soon. In fact, it will simply get bigger in the coming years.
If you’re an aspiring developer, now is the time to start making games. Google Play just made it a lot easier to get your ideas out there.
Huawei Y9 (2019) hands-on: Things got bigger
It’s also more fashionable
Like every year, cheaper devices come after the premium phones get announced. If the flagship phones are too much for your usage or maybe you’re just looking for a secondary phone, the midrange lineup is the way to go.
As a successor, the new Huawei Y9 (2019) brings in noteworthy upgrades. Although, Huawei seems to be pushing larger phones to the mass market because this year’s Y9 model comes with a bigger display and, of course, a vibrant colored body.
Is the Y9 (2019) any good? Let’s find out.
It has a large 6.5-inch Full HD+ display
The notch houses two front cameras
The power and volume buttons are on the right
The phone accepts a microSD and two nano-SIM cards
It uses a micro-USB port for charging
The rear of the phone looks beautiful!
There are two AI-enabled cameras on the back
It’s bigger, better than before
From 5.93 inches, the latest Huawei Y9 model now has a bigger 6.5-inch display and a higher screen-to-body ratio. The resolution remains at Full HD+ and so does the battery at 4000mAh, but it’s now borderless, which means the infamous notch comes in. The cutout is relatively small though, and it houses two cameras for taking selfies. Also, the aspect ratio is now a bit taller making the phone easier to hold with one hand despite the bigger dimensions.
The phone’s body is mostly made out of polycarbonate, but it doesn’t feel cheap or plasticky. The interesting color of the phone’s back makes the Y9 (2019) look more interesting than other phones in its range. If you like flashy phones, the Y9 (2019) will not disappoint.
When it comes to performance, the Y9 (2019) will also satisfy even the most demanding of users. The phone is powered by Huawei’s latest midrange chip, the Kirin 710. Since the Kirin 710 is manufactured using the 12nm process, it’s more efficient and powerful. The unit I have has 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage, which is enough for what users need today.
Running Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2 and GPU Turbo already available out of the box, the phone can handle graphics-intensive games with ease, especially those that are fully optimized with GPU Turbo like Asphalt 9. I also got high frame rates with Mobile Legends and PUBG: Mobile during my time with the phone.
Equipped with AI-powered cameras
The Y9 (2019) has four cameras: two at the back and two in front. Although, the additional sensors on each side of the phone are purely for depth sensing, so there’s not much to be excited about.
The 16-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera, which is accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor, takes care of the main shooting duties, while the 13-megapixel f/1.8 front camera (also assisted by another 2-megapixel depth sensor) handles selfies. Like any other Huawei phone to come out lately, the Y9 (2019) has AI available to take better photos based on the detected scenario.
Check out these samples:
Again, turning on AI doesn’t always help. There’s something about the AI cameras on Huawei midrange phones (even Honor) that makes photos appear more saturated and a bit softer, especially in low-light. Good thing it can always be turned off even after taking the shot.
Portrait shots seem pretty okay as well as the selfies. The beauty mode is not my cup of tea, so I have it set to the lowest setting most of the time.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you’re looking for a device that’s relatively cheap and has everything a modern smartphone should have, the Y9 (2019) is an easy recommendation. Don’t expect it to fly, but it’s got more features than your typical midrange phone. Basically, this is Huawei’s answer to the Honor 8X. Both practically have the same specs, but Honor is selling theirs with a cheaper price tag.
The Huawei Y9 (2019) is now available across Asia and it retails for PhP 12,990 in the Philippines, MYR 899 in Malaysia, and CNY 1,499 in China. Aside from the Sapphire Blue color, it’s also available in Midnight Black and Aurora Purple.
Price-wise, the Y9 (2019) sits below another Huawei phone — the Nova 3i. They have matching specifications and features, so the Y9 (2019) is a good option if you want to save a few bucks yet still own a Huawei phone.
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