Her GadgetMatch

Fitbit Versa Review: Real arm candy

Is this smartwatch any good?

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Before I get on with this review, let me paint you a more accurate picture of how I use smartwatches plus my short history with Fitbit.

I’m moderately active and I do try to be more fit by gyming and doing high-intensity interval training, but I’m not the most consistent person. On days that things get busy, or when I travel, I mostly forget about my health goals only to remember later on when I start feeling like a sack of potatoes because of all the inactivity.

I usually have a wearable as I’ve found that guilting myself to exercise can be an effective way to get my lazy butt to the gym; I loved my time with the Fitbit Alta HR which was the first fitness tracker I actually stuck with (at least by my standards). For a health tracking beginner (which I was at that point, and probably still am considering I haven’t really been true to my fitness goals), the Fitbit app was a great and easy way to check out my stats.

Now, when the Ionic was unveiled, I was quite excited about the idea of a Fitbit smartwatch, but it just wasn’t quite for me.

This newest release, the Versa, is small, sleek, and cute with its rose gold face. This is the Fitbit wearable I was waiting for.

Here are my thoughts on this device.

Look and feel

In the looks department, this wearable is a definite departure from the previously released Ionic. I can tell you now that the one deal-breaker I had with that watch is how it looks. Surely, I couldn’t be expected to wear that clunky thing 24/7?

The Versa is looking good

The Fitbit Versa, on the other hand, is something I could get on board with, in fact, it hasn’t left my wrist in the last weeks I’ve had it. It’s light, sleek, and it comes in rose gold! It matches everything I own, which is a definite plus for me.

I own a lot of stuff in pink and purple 😅

My unit is the special edition Versa that came with a cute purple woven straps and basic black silicone straps, both of which I’ve loved so far. I do get a little jealous of the pink silicone strap that the standard edition Versa came with, though replacement straps are also available in a number of styles and colors.

Matches most of my #OOTDs

There are three different face options: Rose gold if you’re a fan of color, like me, and black or gray, if you’re looking for a more neutral look.

Special edition Versas pictured above are equipped with Fitbit Pay

I’m honestly feeling pretty confident with this Fitbit look. Most outfits can and will match the Versa aesthetic.

Navigation and OS

There are three buttons for navigation and you can also navigate via gestures or tapping around on the touchscreen. Swipe down for phone notifications, up for the day’s fitness statistics, and left to get to the menu. Both buttons on the right act as customizable shortcut buttons and the left button acts as a home or back button.

Although the screen is bright and colors are punchy, there’s still a tiny lag when you wake the screen and its raise to wake function isn’t as sensitive as I’d like. When you get past this, however, navigating through menus is a breeze. 

It still works the same way: The watch connects to the Fitbit app on your phone and the app allows you to better customize settings on your device. It also gives you a better and more detailed breakdown of the info you have.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Fitbit app is my first-ever fitness tracking app. I personally love it for its ease and simplicity. On this app, all health info gathered is presented in a way that’s understandable, even for a beginner. It runs on both Android and iOS so there are definitely #noexcuses for slacking off.

What can it do?

Like other Fitbit wearables, the Versa will track everything you do — from number of steps, to active minutes or exercise, calories burned, sleep, and even your continuous heartbeat. You can input your food, water, and caffeine intake on the app so you can keep tabs on that, too. You can also set and customize daily goals in the app to make sure you’re reminded of your fitness aspirations and get moving.

My usual workout view

For those who aren’t so versed in workouts and exercises, the Versa has a built-in coach that gives you quick, timed exercises you can start with. Yes, the watch will literally show you what to do and time you as you go through the workout.

Waiting for the Versa to vibrate!

You can also set up exercise shortcuts for seven activities you’d want to track. I love that interval training is one of them. I used to need my phone and a separate app that timed my home HIIT exercise, but now, I only need the Versa. It guides me through my workout with mild vibrations every time a set is done and automatically records everything when I’m finished.

Now, on good days, I get my butt up and work on my serotonin levels. But, let’s be real: I’m not made to be pumped up about working out on all days. Some days (note: most of them), I still have to force myself. This is where Fitbit Labs comes in. The “Fitbit Research initiative” creates fun apps and watch faces that will help you get moving. A favorite of mine are these pet faces — yes, these virtual pets get sad and hungry when you don’t feed them food that you earn from steps or moving.

It’s like a Tamagotchi you feed with steps

Amazingly, the promise of four-day battery life holds true. Despite all these functions, my watch has consistently lasted me four days, or even more when notification alerts are turned off. 

Fitbit OS 2.0: What’s new?

This month, Fitbit 2.0 rolled out. A quick update will give you the new Fitbit OS but be warned: The process takes time and it can get glitchy. It took me a few tries and the realization that connecting my Versa directly to Wi-Fi is the best way to go about updating.

The two most notable new features are quick replies and female health tracking. I’ve been particularly excited about the latter as I’ve long wanted an all-around health app that integrates my menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on iPhones as of now. Fitbit says Android support is coming soon, hopefully.

Quick replies, on the other hand, allow you to reply to messages straight from your Versa. These replies, however, are limited to pre-set messages that you can customize per app. This feature is only available on Android devices as Apple doesn’t allow that level of customization (boo). Cool as this feature may be, it still has to be pointed out that other smartwatches have allowed for custom replies for a while now. Thing is, I never really ever reply using my smartwatch — because why would I even bother struggling with that tiny screen since I can just get on my phone — so this didn’t really bother me.

Is the Fitbit Versa for you?

I’ve always said that wearables, especially ones you use for fitness tracking, need to be on you at all times to be able to do their job well. This has always proved to be a struggle for me as I’ve only seen a handful that look nice enough to wear every day with my different outfit moods. The Versa seems designed to overcome this personal daily wear struggle: It’s cute enough, it’s light, and it packs enough battery power. These are the same reasons why this thing is on my wrist, still.

Worth it to note though, that there are still a number of things that can be improved on this device: A higher level of customization, more compatible apps, fewer screen lags, and an easier update process.

The thing is, despite all these flaws, the Fitbit Versa ticks most of my tiny boxes. I’m not the most exacting when it comes to smartwatch functions and I just need my basics covered when it comes to fitness tracking. All things considered, I enjoy wearing this thing a lot. If your priorities are the same as mine, the Versa is worth checking out.

SEE ALSO: Fitbit Versa hands-on: A better smartwatch attempt?

Accessories

Huawei Classic Backpack: The girl with the green backpack

A fashion statement and everyday accessory

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Huawei Classic Backpack

When you’re juggling a job and a side hustle, style ends up as one of the last things you consider in your everyday life.

Admittedly, I wear hideous, bulky handbags to carry my essentials: makeup, hygiene kit, power bank, cables and organizers, and other accessories. Sometimes, I slip a book unless I’m carrying a laptop for business meetings, which proved to be harmful to my posture.

The extra weight shouldered when using a handbag had me reeling in unnecessary body pain. When I was looking for an alternative, a confidante offered the Huawei Classic Backpack — a stylish, everyday bag.

Green is the new black

Huawei’s Classic Backpack comes in lavish Forest Green. It’s quite a recherché, looking luxurious especially in its satin-like nylon fabric. In certain lighting conditions, the color shifts from emerald to dark teal. Frankly, the bluish tint is frequently evident, making this backpack challenging to pair with your outfits.

If you’re unsure how to wear this backpack in such a rare colorway, you can always pull-off an all-black outfit. Or you can go green all the way and do a bit of tonal dressing.

Huawei Classic Backpack

Green, when done right, can be chic and contemporary — all eyes will be on you, darling. It’s never as bold as red, but it’s exotic to look at in a sea of neutrals.

Taste of Paris

Huawei’s Classic Backpack emanates a Parisian vibe — chic, exquisite, serious, respectable, and admirable. If I can think of two words to describe Paris, it’s fashion and architecture.

The same values I mentioned honor the minimalist approach, as seen in the backpack. A semblance of Parisian architects’ craftsmanship; a straightforward utility bag without forsaking style.

There’s a microfiber leather flap priding itself with the label ‘Designed in Paris’ together with Huawei’s logo debossed in gold. This complements the satin-like green body, presenting a luxe appeal.

For security, the backpack features an adjustable drawstring design with a magnetic clasp underneath the flap that connects with the fabric.

Huawei Classic Backpack

Just like the Parisian architecture, the overall design exhibits durability and comfortability — using a 290T nylon fabric for the body and wide straps that reduces pressure on your shoulders. This helped to carry my laptop and other essentials easily even when I take long walks.

Inside, it uses a 200T polyester fabric lined with an H-pattern à la prominent designer bags like Gucci and Chanel. The backpack also comes with a luggage strap, making it the perfect travel carry-on. If we get to travel again, that is.

Carry what you need

If anything this backpack has taught me, it’s learning how to carry only what’s necessary. I used to wear handbags, most are large enough to fit my hairdryer or straighteners. Who knows when I would need it, right?

Sure, it has a separate compartment that can carry laptops 14-inches and under, and an abundance of zipped storage areas. But that doesn’t mean you’ll stuff your bag so much, you’ll hurt your back.

At the very least, there’s plenty of room for whatever you need to store: accessories, cards, keys, and miscellaneous stuff you think you need.

The girl with the green backpack

The Huawei Classic Backpack is the fashion statement you didn’t know you needed. Wearing it can state your persona in a glance, and create a lasting impression just like The Girl in the Green Scarf.

More importantly, it’s the perfect everyday utility bag that you can wear with certain outfits (definitely not yellow, please don’t). It also teaches you to bring only what’s essential.

This backpack, certainly, is an icon of balance between functionality, comfortability, and style. Don’t let anyone tell you to sacrifice one in order to have the perfect bag match.


This lifestyle feature was written by Nicole Beltran. She owns a pastry brand named The Cookie Nook. Her free time is mostly spent baking, taking her Shih Tzu for a walk, or trying to catch up with Netflix originals released a year ago.

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Her GadgetMatch

Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire

Your survival guide to a crazy season

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Buckle up, everyone! Mercury is in retrograde once again. In Astrology, this means the planet that governs technology, communications, and our very own thought processes spins backward. In our reality, it means doomsday is coming.

When Mercury is in retrograde, flights and travels are usually delayed, people from the past pop back in our lives, communication systems break down, and our gadgets get into accidents or start malfunctioning.

More importantly, this season makes everything fluid. Nothing will be set in stone. Decisions are usually changed when the season ends, so it’s not a good time to sign contracts, schedule surgeries, have makeovers, launch a new project, or shop for electronic devices.

But fret not, this season shall pass. Here’s what you should do before, during, and after the Mercury retrograde.

Protect your gadgets and gizmos with trusty cases and accessories

Honey, this season makes us feel frustrated, agitated, and annoyed. Often, we’ll be rushing and getting into accidents. You might drop your phone on the toilet, break them, or forget them on a cab or restaurant. You gotta get yourself some strap to keep your phone with you at all times and dress them up with hard, shock-proof cases. Should they fall from your hands, you know they’re safe.

Back up your data, make sure it’s safe and secure

Okay, Jenny, listen up. Mercury in retrograde is the season where we lose important stuff moments before we actually need them. It can be your keys, card, or presentation for your next meeting. The point here is you should back up all necessary data. Flash drives might break, Google Drive and other forms of storage may not work properly at the time you need them. The next thing you know, your life is in shambles.

Another thing to worry about is security and privacy. This season is also the time when people’s secrets tend to get exposed, such as your affair with your best friend’s boyfriend or your intimate videos getting leaked in the deepest, darkest corner of the internet. Keep your reputations from being smeared!

Double check what you type and say

Be careful with miscommunication, my dear. It’s normal to feel there’s chaos in your head since Mercury in retrograde disrupts our thought processes. We become forgetful and more prone to mistakes, so double check your typos before hitting send. In addition, think twice before voicing out your opinions and emotions. Take a deep breath, and think before you click. Your words are powerful. Once you’ve hurt someone with it, you can be forgiven but they’ll never forget.

P.S. Be mindful of what you post or tweet if you don’t want to get dragged on social media.

 

Keep your emotions in check and block your exes

If you haven’t blocked your exes until today, you need to re-evaluate your life, Susan. During this season, we barely use our logic and just follow our emotions. There might come a time where you want to send a seven-paragraph message to your ex, please don’t. You owe it to yourself to move on from the past and stop them from coming back to your life.

Oh, one more thing: Stay open to possible opportunities. Sure, Mercury in retrograde brings our past lovers back from hell, but they also bring in colleagues we’ve worked with. Most of the time, they want to work with us again. Additionally, this is a good time to reconnect with old friends. Seriously, this period isn’t that bad.

Be extremely flexible (not just in yoga but also in life)

If there’s one thing you can learn from this, it’s that life doesn’t always work out in our favor. It’s a reminder to always find a way. Be flexible and adaptable to every surprise that life brings. If we’re going to give in to our emotions, we already lost. Take a step back and reassess what’s happening, compose yourself and think of a solution. This is just another storm that’s passing by. You will overcome this.

Take a moment to slow down

Lastly, like any retrograde season, it’s a cue from the planets and the stars to slow down. We’re all rushing from one point to another, and we’re moving extremely fast. Planets spin backward to remind us that we need to look back and slow down to appreciate how far we’ve come, what we’ve been doing with our lives, and catch up on what we missed. Above all, it’s a reminder to rest. You’re doing well, my friend. I’m proud of you.

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Entertainment

3 must-haves when traveling, in case you want to be like ‘Emily in Paris’

Never ever forget these!

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Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Emily in Paris, please read with caution.

Bonjour, mademoiselles and monsieurs!

I’m certain I’m not the only one obsessed with French culture, and of course, the latest Netflix series — Emily in Paris.

In case you’ve been living under the rock, Emily in Paris re-awakened people’s lust for travel. A bit of escape from the horrific reality we’re currently facing; a year that has gone haywire.

Think croissants, cobblestones, fine architecture, chic fashion, good food, art, and sex. This is the surface of what Emily in Paris is about: Emily Cooper’s hilarious misadventures in navigating her career, romance, and friendships.

Photo NETFLIX

While the series showcases how Emily documents her life and adventures in Paris through Instagram, there are a few things she forgot to bring. For a supposedly tech-savvy millennial, Emily Cooper forgot some travel essentials. Or maybe she didn’t know she needed them.

Based on a few episodes from Emily in Paris, I realized what gadgets must be deemed travel essentials, so we don’t experience Emily Cooper’s misadventures next time we’re in another country.

A battery-powered vibrator (so you don’t blow up the fuse)

First of all, Emily was in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend in Chicago. The couple was having sexy time via video call but crappy internet connection got in the way.

To continue pleasing herself, Emily pulled out an effin’ gigantic, old-school wired vibrator. After plugging it into an electric socket, the vibrator short-circuited the electricity in her apartment. The blow-up was so bad, it shut down the power in the entire neighborhood.

As funny as it is (and no, it wouldn’t really happen in real life), there are a lot of battery-powered, wireless vibrators. Some are even high-tech enough to be controlled by your partner through a mobile app.

Consider this next time when you travel. Although before you pack your sex toy, make sure it’s not illegal in the country you will visit. In some Islamic countries, they confiscate toys as they fall under pornographic material. Last thing you want is to get persecuted in a foreign land.

An instax printer or a pocketable instax camera

Paris is the so-called city of romance. You can literally feel the love in the air. Throughout the series, Emily captured streets, everyday moments, and her life in Paris and uploaded it to her Instagram account.

But to travel — or live — in a romantic city, moments should be captured in a sentimental and romantic way. For instance, preserving memories through a pocketable instax camera which you can bring anywhere, or an instax printer where you can print your photos directly from your smartphone.

That’s exactly what we did one Sunday morning along Upper East Side in New York City. That je ne sais quoi of summer in the city is not something anyone can describe with mere words or capture on Instagram without losing its essence. Of course, we weren’t able to, either.

But we caught some vignettes on film, complete with audio recordings using the Instax Mini LiPlay. We found a way to reminisce those moments. That’s something we believe should be part of any travel.

Get a smartwatch or other running essentials

Forgive me for crying out loud, but smartwatches are made to accompany you while you run. Not hold your gigantic phone with tiny hands, huffing and puffing along the river Seine.

It’s a good idea that Emily didn’t forget how important working out is. But it’s not exactly a good idea to hold your phone while you run. Better to invest in a smartwatch like the Apple Watch to measure your heart rate, track your miles, and answer calls while you listen to music through your wireless earbuds.

And if you’re not the smartwatch-wearing type, invest in pockets, running pouches, arm wallets, or wrist straps. There are different ways to safeguard your phones, keys, and other essentials without putting yourself in potential danger.

Besides, Paris — like any other city — isn’t exactly crime-free. You can’t keep running around like crimes don’t happen. Even when I was running around Taipei, a city with low crime rate, I didn’t let my guard down. The same goes for traveling to any other city. It’s always best to keep yourself safe, no one else will do it for you.

Stream Emily in Paris on Netflix.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Paris | Sights and sounds of summer in the Upper East Side | 5 lessons we learned from Crash Landing on You

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