Features

Dragon Ball Legends, Incredibles 2, World Cup 2018: Now Playing

Mobile games, a family movie, a major sporting event, and more!

Published

on

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.

Godus
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

Suits
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

Moscow
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.

Taipei
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

FIFA
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.

Headspace
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!

Features

Huawei ban in full swing: Weekend Rewind

Pretty much everyone is steering clear of Huawei

Published

on

Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.

1. Huawei Ban in full swing

This news had everyone buzzing this week: the US government bans Huawei’s dealings on American soil over potential security issues.


The first and biggest domino to fall following the ban is Google blacklisting Huawei from using its Android services. The ban isn’t immediate though as Huawei was granted a 90-day extension so it can work out a long-term solution.

The ban has trickled down to other companies with Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm reportedly staying away from Huawei. According to Bloomberg‘s sources, the US chipmakers will freeze their supply deals with Huawei for now. UK-based chip designer ARM is also following the ban since its designs hold “US origin technology.”

The ban inevitably has far reaching effects with some stores and brands in markets like Singapore and the Philippines dropping the brand altogether. This is happening despite involved companies downplaying the effects of the ban.

Huawei is continuing to work with Google for now but the company also announced earlier in the year that it is working on a non-Android operating system for its smartphones. There are no other updates on that front but you can bet development may need to be expedited.

If you’re an existing Huawei user, your device will function as is for the time being. Even if you think about trading your gadget, you may have limited options. GadgetMatch is following the story closely so keep it locked in for updates so you can make an informed choice.

2. Honor 20 launch proceeds despite Huawei ban

The Huawei ban didn’t stop its sister-brand Honor from releasing its latest flagship — the Honor 20 Series including the Honor 20 Pro, Honor 20, Honor 20 Lite, and Honor 20 Pro Moschino edition.

Best of the bunch is the Honor 20 Pro who’s main draw is its quad-camera set-up. It has a main 48-megapixel sensor with an f/1.4 lens aperture (the biggest opening we know on mobile phones), optical image stabilization, PDAF, and laser autofocus. It also has AI tricks like Ultra Clarity and Super Night modes.

Watch our unboxing and hands-on to find out more about the Honor 20 Pro.

3. Xperia exits several markets

Sony’s mobile business hasn’t been able to keep in step with the current players today and effects are showing. Xperia will pull out in other markets including the rest of Asia, Australia, Canada, South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

However, this doesn’t mean Sony Xperia is completely waving the white flag. The company, for now is focusing on just a few markets: Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Sony is taking two steps back but it has every intention to continue growing its mobile business.

4. MacBook Pro gets annual update

Apple‘s popular line of pro notebooks is getting more powerful with Intel’s new 8th- and 9th-gen Core chips.

The MacBook Pro refresh for mid-2019 greatly benefits the 15-inch model with Touch Bar. The base model now has a 6-core i7 processor and its high-end sibling has an 8-core i9 processor. It can be configured to an even more powerful 8-core i9 chip which can turbo boost up to 5.0GHz.

The 13-inch Touch Bar models also get a processor refresh with the base model now equipped with a faster 8th-gen quad-core i5. It can be upgraded to a quad-core i7 with a turbo boost of up to 4.7GHz.

5. Sony reveals more details about the PS5

Although exact details have been scarce, Sony hasn’t been shy about giving us PlayStation 5 crumbs.

Wall Street Journal tech reporter Takashi Mochizuki was present at Sony’s most recent gaming presentation and took a video of a comparison between the loading times of the PS5 and PS4 Pro. Predictably, the PS5’s was blazing fast.

We already know that the PS5, should it be named that, will support backwards compatibility ensuring that first owners of the console will still be able to play titles released for the PS4. Other than that, we’re still waiting for an official release date.

Continue Reading

Automotive

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: A Stylish Speedster

It’s your everyday sports car

Published

on

One of the biggest factors when buying a new car, apart from function, is how it looks. The impact of that first glance. Something that would make you look twice. Some of us have that desire to break the norm and it seems like Hyundai took note of this demand — and made it fast.

The grille is flanked with LED headlamps partnered with Daytime Running Lights

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is the second of its generation and now has a more assertive exterior than its predecessor. The most noticeable part? Its redesigned front grille. It now comes in this meshed pattern with sharper edges and, if you ask me, this alone gives the car a more aggressive presence.


Then we go to the rest of the exterior and we see those subtle lines that add to the sporty vibe of this vehicle. From the hood to the wheel arches — these accents make the Veloster look like it’s always moving.

At the back we also have this eye-catching pair of LED tail lamps plus a rear spoiler with the third brake light. Rounding up the whole sporty look is a rear bumper diffuser to improve the car’s aerodynamics.

Other notable details include side mirrors with signal repeaters and sexy 18-inch alloy wheels. If you’re already familiar with the first Veloster, then you’d know that it’s unconventional in a way that it only has one door for the driver’s side while the other has the usual two. Some call it weird. I’d like to call it style.

In terms of features, the 2019 Veloster has the bells-and-whistles for the tech-savvy. There’s keyless entry, a mechanical seat for the driver, telescopic steering wheel, voice commands, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Those are just some of the things the vehicle assists you with before you start your day. And of course, there’s more for the drive ahead!

Your main hub for music, navigation, calls, and more is an 8-inch floating display. For controls, the steering wheel has buttons for Bluetooth as well as audio and cruise control.

Important driver information and settings can be accessed through the digital dash

In the age of smartphones, charging on-the-go is of utmost importance and with the Veloster, you get more than one option. There are two USB ports up front plus a special wireless charger just below it. Of course, your phone has to support this feature for it to work, but if it does, it feels good knowing you don’t have to fumble over plugging the cable to your phone — while you’re in the car, at least.

And for when you want more light during the day or when it’s simply colder at night, you can open the moonroof and let the breeze roll in. Added comfort creatures like this make the Veloster a package for those who like having fun on the road.

One of the things I love about its interior is how the black and red color of the exterior continues here. Its bucket seats wrapped in leather offer a premium feel for the driver and passengers alike.

The company is obviously keen to details as one can see in the cabin of the vehicle. From the buttons and knobs that reflect its sporty DNA to the ergonomics and materials used to make each ride as comfortable as possible.

Being a Turbo variant, it’s powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Power is then transferred to the front wheels through a seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission. Although unlike Schwarzenegger in Jingle All The Way, it’s not always “Turbo Time!” for the Veloster. It offers different driving modes depending on what the situation calls for.

There’s Normal, Sport, Eco, and Smart. Eco obviously goes for the most efficient fuel consumption, Smart mode adjusts to your driving habits, Normal is — well, normal. Sport is for Track Day or simply when you want to show off.

Of course, all that speed has to be kept in check with a couple of safety features. The vehicle comes with dual airbags for the front, plus side and curtain airbags. Adding to those are ABS (anti-lock braking system) and an immobilizer for anti-theft.

Having the Veloster as a daily driver made me realize a couple of things. One is that it’s actually fuel-efficient for a car with this oomph when it’s set to Eco or even Normal mode — averaging about 9km to 10km to a liter in the city and up to 16km/l outside the Metro. It may have slight delays when not in Sport mode but it had no shortage of power. And together with its stance and vibrant red color, the Veloster is a certified head-turner.

See more of it in this video:

Continue Reading

Features

Capturing Europe using only a smartphone

Three countries, one device

Published

on

When traveling to picturesque countries, it’s normally best to take a dedicated camera with you. After all, that’s what they’re for: Capturing scenes with utmost quality.

However, traveling light is another factor, and if possible, bringing as few devices as possible. I thought to myself, Why not use a single smartphone to document my entire trip? And so I did.


I brought the top-ranked camera phone with me to three European countries — namely France, Germany, and Austria — and let it take all my shots. Yes, I let the Huawei P30 Pro see what I saw, and it did not disappoint.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The phone’s biggest strength for a traveler has to be its four rear cameras that offer different levels of zoom, from 0.6x all the way to 50x hybrid zoom if you’re feeling daring.

Its ultra-wide camera has to be the most handy, though, especially when trying to capture as much of a scene as possible. I used this everywhere I went, even for closeups and portraits needing more background.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see, the P30 Pro is fantastic at dynamic range thanks to AI optimization. All I have to do is turn on HDR+ and let the phone do all the computing. Needless to say, not once did I feel that there wasn’t enough color or brightness in my photos.

Another interesting feature is the RYYB color sensor, which draws in more light for sharper photos even in low-light environments. This allowed me to go full auto even during nighttime.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Speaking of nighttime, Huawei’s signature night mode makes a return with even smarter illumination. It’s amazing how well the cameras can see at night, whether it’s using the regular or ultra-wide lens.

It takes only a few seconds for the app to stitch all the multiple exposure into one attractive image. Once finished, you have what looks like a long exposure shot on a tripod, but done using only your hands.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When you need a little more control with your compositions, there’s a pro mode to help out. This gives you the chance to play around with lots of settings to achieve the perfect shot.

It might seem a little daunting at first to newbies, but the adjustments are made in real time, so you can see how each setting affects the final product. The manual focus scrolling is a personal favorite of mine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Of course, selfies matter too, and Huawei equipped the P30 Pro with a wide 32-megapixel selfie shooter to handle all your self portraits. This becomes especially important when there’s no one else to take your photos.

The P30 Pro’s camera app offers lots of beauty and background blurring options for selfies, so you still have control over how you look in the end. HDR comes in handy as well when the scene gets too bright.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But what I loved most about bringing the P30 Pro as my sole camera around Europe was its auto mode. When time is of the essence and there’s no chance to make last-second adjustments, this mode does all the work for me.

I can’t count the number of times I double-pressed the volume down button to go straight to the camera app and snap a picture in front of me. It’s the feature I used most by far, making my travels that much easier.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To be honest, going into this, I was a bit scared about relying on only one smartphone to do everything for me, from navigating places and researching about the top spots to visit, to documenting every step of the way.

Fortunately for me, the Huawei P30 Pro never faltered, and was, in fact, an incredibly reliable all-in-one camera. This is definitely going into my pocket again for my next trip.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei.

Continue Reading

Trending