Accessories

Fitbit Alta HR review

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Working out is like falling in love. The awkward and hesitant start may be quite daunting to most but eventually, something inside (whether it be attraction or diabetes) will compel you to at least try. In fitness (and in love), consistency is key.

This is what I’ve learned in the last two years of attempting a healthier lifestyle (and maybe a few relationships along the way). To be able to achieve a certain level of fitness, one must commit to changing multiple aspects of everyday life. It doesn’t end with just weekly workouts. Diet, sleep, exercise, water intake — they’re all part of the healthy equation; take one out and your fitness progress isn’t optimized.

A good way to get yourself to commit (big word) to this healthy lifestyle is through tracking your daily activity. This is easily doable via a fitness wearable. The Fitbit Alta HR was my weapon of choice for the last few months, and this is how it fared.

Meeting and initial impressions

This newest member of the Fitbit collection features a slim rubber band that comes in many different colors (of course, I chose fuschia) and an equally slim face. It sits comfortably on my small wrist with an unassuming blank screen.

Tap to view, lift to activate

It looks good and it’s very cute, but it matches nothing other than my workout clothes and purple hair.

As cute as the fuschia is, it will most definitely clash with most outfits.

This becomes a problem because the whole point of a fitness wearable is having it on 24/7, and that can’t happen if it does not match half of my wardrobe. (Even I can’t wear athleisure wear all the time.)

After moving on from my initial fashion apprehensions on color matching (i.e., I stopped caring), I now focus on function.

Dates and working out

The Alta HR automatically tracks all your movement and computes your active minutes. Now, a recurring problem I’ve had with other wearables I’ve tried is that they usually wouldn’t record my less basic exercises. Sure, there’s always a built-in tracker for running, but my other activities like HIIT or DragonBoat paddling were exercises nowhere to be found on the pre-made list of workouts.

On the FitBit app, though, that shouldn’t be a problem. Although some exercises aren’t on the list, the Alta HR records the activity with corresponding workout details (like duration, heartbeat, and calories burned). For my Dragonboat training, it usually recorded under “Aerobic exercise” and I just edited the label afterwards.

Sleeping together

Did I mention that this thing is supposed to be on your person at all times? Yes, that includes sleeping and everything in between.

The Alta HR tracks your sleep cycle and it lets you know what quality of sleep you’re getting. This is done through measuring your heart rate and movement throughout the night. What’s great about this is you can also set alarms that will indicate what time you should sleep and wake up to ensure you get enough rest — something that definitely helps if you’re someone who tends to work late nights like me.

The morning after

Updates on your activities are sent via email weekly, which means you could track your fitness progress more easily. I personally appreciate this, as it serves as little benchmarks for my progress or little nudges to get my fitness on (if I’ve been lazy throughout the week).

The Fitbit app is able to track your food intake. If calorie counting is your thing, this will definitely help. I’ve found that consolidating all your health data simplifies everything — calories burned throughout the day are computed against your caloric intake automatically. Additionally, water intake can also be tracked.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For something that you’re supposed to wear everywhere, I would’ve loved for it to have been water resistant and not just splash resistant. Although it did fare well against the many splashes it endured, this extra feature would have given me a better peace of mind. One too many times (because of my many random activities), I paused what I was doing to worry about if my band would get wet.

By design (even the ones that came in black and neutral colors), the band itself looks cute but a little too sporty for my everyday aesthetic. I would have liked it to look a little less screaming “I WORK OUT!”

I do love the idea of being able to translate everything I do into concrete information, and aside from just taking note of my activities, I found that wearing one does push me to be more consistent in trying to reach my fitness goals.

If you’re someone looking for commitment and a little more consistency in your life, the Fitbit Alta HR is for you; this machine is never too complicated, won’t ever let you down, and never flake on you.

It all works out, like I’ve been doing.

The Fitbit Alta HR retails for PhP 8,490 in the Philippines and INR 14,999 in India.

SEE ALSO: App Review: The road to getting Kfit

 

Accessories

Official Samsung Galaxy S9 cases are now available including a Hyperknit cover

All are looking good!

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We’re just a week away from the official announcement of the Galaxy S9 from Samsung, but its official cases just can’t wait anymore.

With all the leaks we’ve seen and read about all over the internet, we already know everything about the physical looks of the Galaxy S9. It’s supposedly not much different compared to its predecessor, aside from the fingerprint reader placement at back. With probably the same fragile glass body, how do we protect it? Here’s a preview of the official cases from Samsung.

Fabric is the new thing in tech nowadays. If the luxurious Alcantara cases aren’t enough, the Galaxy S9 will also have Hyperknit covers in red or gray. There’s another cloth case with a flap on the front and shows time when closed.

The usual high-quality silicone cases will also be available and they’ll come in pink, black, and gray. The coverage of the silicone cases is the same as the Hyperknit’s sans the sporty-looking fabric cover.

The staple Clear View Stand cases will be on sale as usual. So far, there are three confirmed colors: gold, purple, and blue.

The source link below directs to the listing of MobileFun along with the corresponding prices of these and others like the new Alcantara cases but they don’t have available images as of writing.

Source: MobileFun

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9 Preview Video

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Sony WH-1000XM2 hands-on: A new experience

Old tracks feel new when you listen on these headphones

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Using the Sony WH-1000XM2 is an experience I didn’t know I needed until I put them on. I felt a sort of transformation in myself and in the kind of headphones I look for.

Disclaimer checklist before we proceed:

  1. I’m not an audio expert.
  2. This isn’t a full review.
  3. I’m just sharing the experience — which is really something else.

It was love both at first sight and sound. The Sony WH-1000XM2 is a sleek stunner, especially this particular unit we’re testing. It’s black all over with only the Sony logo and left and right ear indicators as the parts that are colored.

The power button and noise cancellation/ambient button, as well as the 3.5mm port, all have labels, too. Although I did wish there was some sort of highlight, a little colored part around these buttons and the port so they’re easier to find would’ve been great.

That aside, it looks great, but of course you want to know more about how it performs, right?

Noise Cancellation

I’m actually wearing the headphones as I write this. Not because I want to listen to music, but because it helps a lot in drowning out the background noise. It’s great for when you want to focus and don’t have immediate access to a quiet room.

Trying to look serious while writing

You don’t have to remove the headphones to turn off noise cancellation. You can either put your right hand over the right ear to allow ambient noise or press the noise cancellation/ambient button on the left side.

However, to truly appreciate what this baby can do, I strongly suggest listening to some pretty darn good tracks.

Familiar songs transform

I’m the type who enjoys an hour or two just sitting or lying down somewhere, quietly listening and really absorbing songs. If you’re like me, you will absolutely love the Sony WH-1000XM2.

That’s exactly what I did one night after I got these headphones. (And a few more nights, if I’m being completely honest.) It felt like experiencing the songs again for the first time. These headphones had me feeling so fly, I actually turned into a white guy. See photo below:

I put the headphones on and suddenly turn into this white dude

Suddenly, older tracks like “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” by Incubus — which I have listened to countless times before —  felt new again.

I turned up Craig David’s “7 Days” and my sexy meter suddenly went off the charts. So much so that I felt like I could ask anyone out and they would say yes! I did that. Didn’t go well, but that’s a story for another time.

Old tracks feel new

I wanted to know what more it could do to certain songs. I remembered listening to some that had the feel of the sound traveling from left to right, vice versa, and then just all around your head.

I crowdsourced on Facebook and Twitter for songs of this nature and my friends did not disappoint. I didn’t expect to get classic, old-school rock suggestions but those dominated the suggestions.

Tracks like “Black Dog” and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, “Come Together” by The Beatles, and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen straight up took me home. These are songs I often listened to as a child who had absolutely no clue what these people were singing about.

“Stairway to Heaven,” with the acoustic guitar intro starting off from your left ear and then just an echo of it from your right just before the mellotron flute comes in will touch you in ways you didn’t realize you could be touched.

Just me enjoying all these classic tracks

“Bohemian Rhapsody” was a strong recommendation by several friends. Apparently, it’s one of the best songs to listen to when you’re testing whatever audio device, so always have this on your phone. It didn’t disappoint. The song, listened to with the Sony WH-1000XM2, feels as powerful as ever.

When it gets to the “Galileo” part, that’s when it gets really interesting. Close your eyes and you’ll feel as if you’re surrounded by the band as they play the entire thing in all its glory.

If you decide to give these headphones a spin, I put the recommended songs in a playlist. It’s mostly rock and roll tracks but I put a few handpicked anime songs there if you’re into that.

You should also try this “Love is in the air” playlist, specially since it’s the love month and all.

Other bells and whistles

I forgot to mention that I felt all of that while listening via Bluetooth. The sound quality is insanely crispy — imagine if I had used the cable that came with it. My mind might have been blown in an instant.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 also comes with a carrying case. It neatly fits the headphones inside, as well as the cable.

A carrying case as neat as the headphones

The headphones also have non-visible controls on the right ear panel. Great idea, but it didn’t work as well as I had hoped. Often times when I was trying to skip to the next track, I would wonder why the music stopped playing. Turns out, it paused instead of skipping.

The controls and gestures might take a while to get used to but during my test, I never really gravitated towards using them. I would mostly adjust the volume or skip a track on my phone or laptop.

Video editing, podcasts, video games

I switched back to my normal self once I started using the headphones for work.

No longer a white dude, but still kinda cute. Violent reactions go straight to the comments section

The ear-opening, near-mind-boggling experience listening to music translates well to other tasks. I could clearly hear any unnatural sound from what I was editing which made applying changes easier for me.

I also played NBA 2K18 and Shadow of the Colossus with these headphones on. It was funny hearing the players’ voices better while on the court. Shadow of the Colossus is a pretty quiet game but has great scoring as it changes moods from when you’re just wandering to when you’re trying to take down a colossus. With the headphones on, you really feel the intensity of the battle and it helps get you on your toes and immerse you in what you’re playing.

Final thoughts

If I had my way, I would keep the Sony WH-1000XM2 all to myself. As someone who works with video and audio a lot, and someone who enjoys sitting back and just absorbing good music, this is the exact pair of headphones I would want.

No, I didn’t actually turn into a white guy, in case that’s something that got you confused

They sound great, look amazing, and battery power lasted long! I only had to charge once in about a week. That’s considering I used the headphones a lot for both work and play.

As far as wireless, noise-canceling headphones are concerned, the Sony WH-1000XM2 set the bar high for me.

SEE ALSO: No strings attached: Sony H.ear On

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Accessories

ASUS ROG has a new accessories collection for 2018

Gamer-oriented bags and shirts

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For the new year, having the sleekest, high-powered gaming rig isn’t enough anymore. You have to pair it with accessories that’ll match the ideal gamer look and protect your investments.

The Republic of Gamers brand of ASUS has a new lifestyle collection for 2018, and it’s as bold as you’d expect from the iconic ROG aesthetic.

ROG Ranger Messenger

This is the gamer-centric bag you want when you’re always on the go with your gaming laptop. The 1260D Gucci polyester is both water- and scratch-resistant, able to keep your gear safe from outside harm no matter where you end up.

The ergonomic sling is designed to be comfy, and there are additional side straps available for when different carrying scenarios such as while biking or walking. Open it up, and you have a wide selection of padded compartments to choose from.

ROG Shuttle Backpack II

If you want something longer, tougher, and comfy on your back, the ROG Shuttle Backpack II is your best bet. It has a stronger construction that repels water and keeps your belongings well secured.

That’s made possible with the extra padded interior so you’ll never have to worry about it tipping over and damaging your precious laptop. Speaking of which, a notebook as large as 17 inches can fit inside — no machine or accessory is too big for this backpack!

There’s even a secure pocket on the lower-back cushion, dedicated to the safety of your most valuable possessions.

ROG XRanger Backpack

Need an even bigger backpack with all the space in the world? The ROG XRanger Backpack can fit the most demanding gadgets and then some.

A heavily padded compartment is good for a laptop as large as 17 inches, and there’s enough space for an additional keyboard you’d want to take along. Go deeper inside, and you’ll find pockets to place your headset, mouse, and other accessories.

The outer shell is solid too, thanks to sturdy yet nicely cushioned shoulder straps and ventilated back panels. If you look closely, you’ll find a hidden security pocket for a wallet, smartphone, or any other valuable you need quick access to.

ROG Collection Shirts

Available in sizes XS to XL, the Game On and Mechanic shirts of the ROG collection show off the brand’s stylish gamer style while being comfortable at the same time with their 100 percent cotton material. These are the clothing apparel you need to complete your look!

You can find all these at ROG Concept Stores in SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Mall of Asia, and SM City Cebu.

Need more convincing? Watch this ROG collection in action right here:


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS.

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