Features

Fortnite celebrates its first birthday in update

A new weapon, special tribute, and loads of cake!

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How about it, Fortnite fans? Epic Games’ most successful project to date is celebrating its first birthday! To welcome the festivities, Epic Games released an update with a new weapon, limited-time events, and changes in the map that you may have not noticed.

Birthday-themed experience

What better way to celebrate a birthday than a party wherever you go? That includes decorating the Battle Bus in true birthday fashion, spreading balloons on the map, and even decorating supply drops. Apart from these, players can also see large birthday cakes with slices of cake on the bottom. These pieces of cake restore health and shields when consumed, and are delicious, too!

There are special challenges to be completed for this week, as well. The Fortnite’s birthday blog shares details on these challenges that offer special, birthday-themed bling once accomplished. These challenges run until August 7, so better get started Fortnite players!

The return of playground mode and a new weapon

At the end of Season 4, Fortnite introduced Playground Mode for players who want to be creative while practicing their skills in the game. When Season 5 came out, players wanted the mode to continue its course. In this update, Playground Mode returns with more weapons, more materials, and more fun with friends!

Playground Mode 2.0 now gives players an option to be creative or competitive. It still uses the same team-based dynamic, but now allows players to be on the same team for creativity or on different teams for competition. This way, you can practice your shooting and building skills with your friends while exploring areas of the map you probably didn’t know about.

Taken from the Fortnite v5.10 patch notes

Apart from Playground Mode, the game now has a new weapon: the Compact SMG. It only comes in Epic and Legendary variants, and uses light ammo to deal quick damage to opponents. The Compact SMG can be found as floor loot or in chests, supply drops, and vending machines on the map.

Easter eggs

What the Fortnite v5.10 patch notes don’t actually show you are some pretty interesting changes to the map. The first one can be found on Risky Reels — or what was once Risky Reels. In Season 4, Risky Reels was a destroyed drive-in theater with visibly no cars in sight, which was fitting at the time. A quick visit now would show the place full of fixed-up vehicles parked from end to end. Looks like business picked up quite fast!

The second noticeable changes are three new places on the map. Initially introduced in the v5.0 patch notes, Anarchy Acres and Moisty Mire have disappeared and have been replaced by Lazy Links and Paradise Palms, respectively. These changes also came with the introduction of an all-terrain vehicle that looks like a golf cart. Furthermore, a hill on the map near Snobby Shores is now a viking-themed village — with a viking ship perched on the waterfall.

The final change is something very subtle, and would need a lot of materials to get to it. Several days ago, YouTuber Muselk attempted a rescue mission as a player was stuck on the edge of Paradise Palms. Fortnite‘s Twitter account captured the incredible moment, and decided to honor the event in the best way possible.

Here lies Chappadoodle.

When you go to the far edge of Paradise Palms, you will now see a tombstone and a set of wheels. Epic Games did this to honor the fallen player Chappadoodle as the victim of the failed rescue mission. Initially, this area was inaccessible, as it’s already beyond the build limit. In the update, you can now build all the way down to pay your respects.

Features

Bohemian Rhapsody, Ragnarok Mobile: Now Playing

We’re reliving the past!

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Curious to know what GadgetMatch has been up to besides covering everything lifestyle and tech? Here’s what we’ve been seeing, visiting, and playing this month:

Movies to see

Bohemian Rhapsody
Chay: Bohemian Rhapsody is an epic biopic-musical whose title is derived from the equally epic song. Even if there are a lot of inaccuracies and clichés as pointed out by several critics, it’s a film moviegoers will still enjoy, Queen fan or not. If you’re a true-blue Queen fan, this will either make you miss Freddie Mercury or wish you can see all four members perform again together. Good news is watching Bohemian Rhapsody is the closest thing you’ll get to watching a Queen concert in 2018; it’s like seeing Queen’s greatest hits come alive before your own eyes (and ears).

Batman Ninja
Rodneil: What’s cooler than Batman being transported to the samurai era in Japan? Nothing. This film is all kinds of bonkers and that’s why I love it. Batman Ninja captures the essence of the entire bat family as well as their villains while also throwing in every possible animé trope and/or quirk you can think of. Batman Ninja is a lot of fun. Watch with an open mind and try to not take it too seriously.

Hintayan ng Langit
Dan: Hintayan ng Langit first hit theaters during the 2018 QCinema International Film Festival last month. It’s about Lisang (Gina Pareño) who is stuck in purgatory. She then meets her ex-boyfriend Manolo (Eddie Garcia) who is apparently her new roommate. Lisang is already scheduled for passing to heaven, so Manolo’s presence kind of distracted her. It’s a fun and touching interpretation of death and kindling love. The film is an adaptation of Juan Miguel Severo’s one-act play at The Virgin Labfest in 2015 and 2016, and it’ll be shown in Philippine cinemas starting November 21.

TV shows to binge watch

Car Masters: Rust to Riches
Kevin: For all the car lovers out there, Car Masters: Rust to Riches will make you drool over its custom vehicle creations. It’s about Gotham Garage’s crew and how they buy old cars or car parts and turn them into a masterpiece in order to sell them for a higher value. They repeat this process until they reach a six-figure price in which they call it a day. It’s a good show to sit back to with a bottle of beer, while enjoying the intricate but fun process of turning rust to riches.

Magic for Humans
Kevin: Magic has always been a fascinating form of entertainment but Justin Willman, the host and performer of the show, injects it with life lessons or relates it to everyday life. It’s a reality and magic show with a fresh formula and will have you laughing while scratching your head at the same time trying to figure out how he does his performances. Oh, and its segment Magic for Susans is just one of the things I wait for every episode.

Terrace House: Aloha State
Rodneil: This season ran from 2016 to 2017, but it was only recently when I got around to watching it. Haven’t really had much recreation time so this was one of the two things that kept me sane over the last two weeks or so. It’s a relatively easy watch and there’s just something about Terrace House that gets you hooked. My favorite members are Lauren Tsai and Taishi Tamaki. Lauren is super talented and also easy on the eyes. Taishi’s arc is somewhat like a mini Ted Mosby from the TV series How I Met Your Mother. His goal in the show was to find “Shinuhodo No Koi” or a love worth dying for and his journey could actually become a movie all on its own.

Bodyguard
Dan: If you love action-thrillers, you should check out Bodyguard. It’s a six-part British drama series, so it’s not something you’ll have to binge watch for weeks. I actually finished it in just a few days because I just couldn’t get enough of the action. The series is set around Police Sergeant David Budd, a war veteran who is suffering from PTSD and is now working as a special protection officer. He’s assigned to protect the Home Secretary and the politics involved in the work drives the series wild. It’s currently streaming on Netflix outside the UK and Ireland.

Games to play

Ragnarok M: Eternal Love
Marvin: Ragnarok Online has finally made its way to mobile, and it’s been a major success so far. The Southeast Asian server for Ragnarok M: Eternal opened recently and it’s been loaded to the brim with both new and old players. A lot of the original mechanics are still around, such as the job classes and guild system, along with new tricks to make the game more smartphone-friendly, including auto-attacking and a straightforward user interface. As a returning player, I must say it’s been a smooth ride so far; let’s just hope it stays that way.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
MJ: I first heard “Shallow” on A Star Is Born’s trailer, and I fell in love with it. It’s a country rock ballad that tackles things like wondering if you’re contented with who you are, finding confidence through a person, and diving headfirst in love without looking back.

La Vie en Rose by IZ*ONE
Vincenz: This song’s concept is a mix of cutesy and mature concepts with the inclusion of strong vocals plus a vibrant and groovy electro pop beat. Together with its catchy tune and lyrics which present one’s revelation and passion towards a person, the music video’s cinematography, visuals, and choreography are all astounding. The various colors represented by each member and other elements go well with the title of the album itself, COLOR*IZ (read as color-ize).

Yes or Yes by TWICE
Vincenz: If you still don’t know TWICE, better hurry and listen to their 10th title track that shows the diversity of the nine members. The visuals will catch both your eyes and heart but the catchy lyrics, asking one’s love interest to choose between Yes or Yes, make it more addictive. With its popularity, the song went off the charts with the music video itself gaining 31.4 million views in just 24 hours and is currently the seventh-fastest YouTube music video to do so.

Cities/places to visit

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Milan, Italy
Isa: I was in Milan for the OPPO RX17 Pro launch and was able to spend some time in the beautiful city. Despite being cold and relatively wet, Milan in autumn is still a great destination. Architecture is breathtaking and simply walking along the cobblestone streets is an experience in itself. The Milan Cathedral in Piazza Del Duomo, which took almost six centuries to complete, is a must-see.


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!

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Features

Make the most of AI on the Vivo V11

Make AI work for you!

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The Vivo V11 looks good, but it has a lot more going for it. Beneath its flashy exterior is a phone with AI capabilities. The AI should be turned on by default, but in case it’s not, here’s how to do it!

First, fire up the camera and click settings on the upper right.

Scroll up and click on AI scene detection. You’ll know it’s active when the text turns yellow.

The Vivo V11 can detect 17 different scenes and apply the best photo effects based on the scene.

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On the same settings panel, you’ll find AI portrait framing. This essentially teaches you how to take portraits like a pro. For even more accuracy, you can opt to turn on framing lines.

There’s also smart face beauty. Flip to the front camera and slide to AI Face Beauty mode.

The front camera will use AI to analyze your face and apply the perfect beauty effects.

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AI also works in games. Launch an app to see the Game Assistant. It automatically optimizes the CPU and RAM for gaming.

This gives you options to auto reject calls and block floating previews and notifications so you can focus on playing!

Vivo has made significant strides on AI and it’s great that they are bringing this technology to the midrange segment. Thanks to this effort, more people will be able to experience what it’s like to have an AI assistant that works seamlessly with everything you do with your phone.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Vivo.

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Netflix knows what you want and lets you watch without buffering

The best binge-watching experience!

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Are you one of the millions of Netflix subscribers like I am? If you are (or even not), I have something interesting to share about how Netflix makes their streaming service the best in the business.

For those who don’t know, Netflix is not what they were before. The company started off as a DVD-rental business — just like your favorite local rental stores back when they were popular. It was in 2007 when they launched their streaming service formerly branded as Watch Now. It was restricted to just PCs and you needed the right browser to be able to play their videos.

It was also in 2007 when the first iPhone from Apple was announced, so two pioneers were born that year and they have yet to properly meet each other.

Netflix formally launched their mobile app in 2010 and it changed how we consume content on our phones. Today, more than 60 percent of Netflix members use the mobile app every month. This is why the company is continuously working to make long-form videos more enjoyable on mobile.

When I say enjoyable, it’s not just about showing in HDR, because there’s more to it than just high resolutions.

First, there is personalization. Netflix considers this very important because of the limited screen space on mobile phones, so you have to see the titles you really like first. This feature is not just on mobile; it’s also available on any internet-enabled device you have Netflix on, whether it’s a TV, laptop, tablet, or even game console.

If you can recall, Netflix added mobile previews to their app earlier this year. This lets users get a sneak peek of the content without leaving the homepage and make choosing a show much faster. It works well on mobile since it’s presented in vertical format — no need to turn the orientation of the phone.

Then we have the new feature called Smart Downloads which is currently available on Android phones and tablets. What this does is it identifies the show being watched and automatically downloads the next episode over a Wi-Fi network. It then automatically deletes the downloaded episode after it’s completed. Basically, Netflix makes sure that you can continue watching the next episode while you’re on the road without using up your data plan.

Speaking of saving data, Netflix is also working round-the-clock to make encoding much better. Thankfully, they know how mobile data can be expensive or slow in certain places.

Back then, Netflix streamed their shows in a “one-size-fits-all” bitrate which is great for high-quality streaming but it consumed too much data. Good thing they learned that not all content requires the same encoding bitrate, so they based it on individual titles. 2D animation shows can be compressed at a low bitrate but still be streamed in high quality, while action-packed titles will be meticulously compressed to avoid any compression artifacts.

Netflix didn’t stop there. Their latest innovation called Dynamic Optimizer Encoding now selects the best encoding recipe per shot. Each shot is dynamically encoded to ensure best overall quality which results in, according to Netflix, 64 percent less bandwidth consumption.

Before all this, users could only watch seven hours of content on mobile using 4GB of data. Since the implementation in 2015, viewers can now enjoy 10 hours, and with the per-shot encoding, members can binge-watch for 26 hours with the same amount of data. Soon, this will reach up to 33 hours using the latest AV1 codec which is something Netflix is currently working on.

SEE ALSO: Netflix is testing engagement by putting ads between episode

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