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GadgetSnaps: Galaxy Z Flip4 in Binondo-Intramuros

Small in size, but not in camera performance

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The Galaxy Z Flip4 may not be Samsung’s “best” smartphone when it comes to mobile photography, but it surprisingly offers two flexible cameras despite its compact form factor.

For those obsessed with a phone’s camera hardware, the Galaxy Z Flip4 has a set of 12MP rear cameras and an inner front camera:

  • 12MP f/1.8 wide (main) with Dual Pixel AF + OIS
  • 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide with 123-degree FoV (Field of View)
  • 10MP f/2.4 selfie with 80-degree FoV

Without any other segue, let’s hop along to our Binondo slash Intramuros (Manila) photowalk through the lenses of the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4!

Wider is (sometimes) better

It’s best to start this feature with a view from the condo unit we stayed at.

Instead of using the regular wide lens, I opted to use the ultra-wide lens to show how massive the infrastructure is.

Unlike other phones, I was less afraid to take this type of shot with my hands extended outside the condo unit’s window all because I have this (third-party) case with a ring that felt secure in my fingers. It also helps that the Galaxy Z Flip4 is already pretty light.

After leaving our stuff behind, I told my friends that we should take an LRT ride towards our destination. In another instance, the ultra-wide lens was helpful in capturing a wider train perspective than usual.

But in the shots of the Rizal Park (or formerly Bagumbayan) and the National Museum of the Philippines above, I chose the wide lens since it can capture more light data inside the train. Plus, the views are less distorted.

Upon arriving at LRT-Central Station, me and my friends walked further until we reached the infamous Manila underpass. I tried taking a shot of this view that looked good in my eyes because of the harmony of natural light and shadows.

Unfortunately, Galaxy Z Flip4’s lack of telephoto lens kind of ruined the quality of this particular zoomed shot because of the unflattering amount of sharpness.

World’s oldest Chinatown

Instead of riding and waiting for that classic Philippine jeepney, we rode a tricycle. It was actually not part of the plan but because the bridge was too steep, the tricycle driver tried to slow down while steering his three-wheeled vehicle up. Thus, it gave me wonderful shots of the Chinatown gate with little to no motion blur.

24 years of existence, and it was actually my first time going beyond Binondo’s signature gate. 2017 was my first visit but it was just a brief moment of the car making a U-turn.

As we’re already talking about numbers, the Manila Chinatown is actually the oldest Chinatown in the world that was established as far as 1594. I’m not here give you any boring lectures on Philippine History — the images speak for themselves.

The gateway-like arch called “paifang” or “pailou” is a testament to Binondo’s overall architecture influenced by the Chinese.

Th infrastructure around Binondo look quite old compared to modern Manila and other cities in Southeast Asia.

Like the Binondo Church above (or its very mouthful name of Minor Basilica and National Shrine of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, whichever you prefer)The sacred structure was built by the Dominicans in 1596. As a bonus, I tried post-processing that church shot — the warm tones make it livelier. But for this rest of the article, I’m just sticking to the unedited outputs made by the Galaxy Z Flip4.

In the particular shots above, I tried using ultra-wide and 2x zoom respectively. Samsung’s AI and HDR magic didn’t do much justice on the zoomed photo though.

And even if the Lunar New Year is already over, there are still plenty of Chinese paper lanterns around establishments, making for a lively Chinese spirit.

#CravingsSatisfied

I’ve been wanting to taste the specialty of Binondo cuisine as early as 2020 — but then the pandemic hit. Fast forward to 2022, we’re finally here!

From the Binondo Church, we first went to Chuan Kee — known for its xiao long baos and another record-holder in this article as the oldest fastfood place in the said town.

But because of the long queue (and our hungry souls), my friend then suggested that we should go further to Wai Ying Fastfood instead.

Ultra-Wide | Wide

But before that, I took them some wide and ultra-wide photos as well as ultra-wide selfies with me in it.

Another time hop! After thirty minutes of lining up for the queue and another half waiting for our food, we finally dug in to these mouthwatering Filipino-Chinese cuisine that are delicious but not too expensive.

While they don’t serve a xiao long bao that I’ve been dying to have for so long, my favorites, luckily were available at order: Lemon Chicken, Lemon Coke, Hakaw, Japanese Siomai, and the Lava Pao that’s all worth dying for. And oh, I shouldn’t forget the Macau-famous Lord Stow’s Egg Tart too.

Hopia like it

It wouldn’t be a complete visit without passing by along a famous Chinese deli chain in Binondo: Eng Bee Tin— particularly the main branch in the heart of Binondo.

Just a fun fact: the head office was founded in the heart of Ongpin St. as far as 1912. That’s more than one century and one decade ago!

Famous for its hopia (or bean-filled mooncake), Eng Bee Tin has a wide range of flavors to choose from. While it’s not in the photos above, Custard Hopia was already my best pick even if it’s my first time eating it. There are the classics too like Mongo (Red Bean) and Ube, as well as Pork Floss, Ube Queso, Custard Buko, Ube Buko, Brownie, and so much more.

And as I already mentioned a chocolate-filled mooncake — the Triple Chocolate Lava Mooncake — that I badly wanted to try was out of the shelves.

This popular Binondo household brand offers more than just hopia / mooncake. There are even siopaos, cakes, condiments, sardines, and even cured meat.

Post Food Coma

After all that food talk, it’s now time to get back to the city center for some walk.

While the Galaxy Z Flip4 doesn’t have the best-in-class mobile camera, it was able to capture the cat above with less motion blur. Too bad it ruined the second shot of a cute chomky cat all because I zoomed in digitally.

And as you already notice, Binondo’s lamp posts are special because of its design. I suppose you won’t find such red and gold dragon-styled street ornaments anywhere else in the Philippines other than Binondo itself.

Ultra-Wide | Wide

Binondo (temporarily) filled the void in me — missing Taiwan and Hong Kong ever since the pandemic hit. These tourists made the experience felt like I was in another East Asian country instead of my home turf.

Flip Nightography?

I mean why not? Samsung has been harping about its “Nightography” feature that made its debut in the Galaxy S22 lineup.

Disregarding all those ugly power lines, the Binondo Church looked better at night — more so with the help of Samsung’s “Nightography” magic through the wide camera sensor of the Galaxy Z Flip4.

And just for fun, I took portrait shots of my friends. I just love how clean Samsung processes the subject and background segmentation as well as the depth effect (or the imitation of a professional camera lens’ bokeh / Depth of Field).

And for the second time around, I was at the tricycle’s back seat. I’m fortunate enough that there were no pickpockets around when I captured these stills while the vehicle was in motion. The OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and AI algorithm of the Galaxy Z Flip4 surely helped in shooting these fast-paced shots even at night.

The bridge of solidarity

One (among the many) weird interest(s) I have is my utmost fascination of big bridges. Even though architecture and infrastructure are two different disciplines, I still love them both because at the end of the day, it’s all about being able to build out-of-the-ordinary structures that go beyond any normal person’s wildest imaginations.

Using Night Mode, I was able to achieve the shot of the newly-built bridge together with its light reflection across the Pasig River — or that crucial body of water that connects Laguna de Bay (a.k.a the biggest lake in the Philippines) as well as the disreputable Manila Bay.

Honestly, this part of Pasig River isn’t the most pleasing to the eyes — but I still captured them just for the sake of showing the power of the Galaxy Z Flip4 as well as the reality of the city.

One of the rarest moments where I captured a horizontal landscape shot in this article was the one above just to emphasize how it looks like in a panoramic-like view.

Wide | Ultra-wide

A little bit of bridge incline and several steps later, we’ve reached the part that shows the opening of the tied-arch bridge.

Just to emphasize how massive the structure is, I then used the ultra-wide lens of the Galaxy Z Flip4. Even if the wider lens isn’t as bright as how the regular 1x lens captures night shots (I mean f/2.2 aperture really isn’t sufficient), the abundant presence of lights in the bridge helped display the vital information behind the bridge’s development: the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge is a project aided by China.

This is also where I’m withholding my commentary about sociopolitical disputes between the two countries ^_^

The walled city within a city

After roaming around a Chinese-influenced city and walking across a Chinese-funded bridge, I then felt like I’ve gone further back in time as Intramuros showcases what the classic-day Manila looks like.

Back to the topic! Instead of the Chinese-style structures, you’ll see more Spanish-influenced architecture all over the place. Even the old Mercedes-Benz sedan and the kalesa made it all feel like I really went back in time.

Once again, Samsung’s Night Mode hits differently. I am more than satisfied with the night shots of the 1571-built Manila Cathedral Basilica as well as the fusion of greenery and light bulbs at Plaza Roma.

Two hits in a row: portraits of my friends at night all looked great and the cutouts looked satisfying enough for my liking — just like how it did in the group photo earlier.

A walled museum within the walled city

Several more walks towards the inner part of Intramuros, you’ll then reach the façade of Casa Manila.

Unlike Binondo, I’ve been to this place several times in my lifetime — most of which are for my old college projects.

The last one? Well that was already three years ago: a memorable street photography photowalk using a professional mirrorless camera under the scorching heat. But in 2022’s Intramuros photowalk, it felt nicer to actually walk around here when it’s night time.

Very dissimilar to modern Filipino streets, the colonial lifestyle was very evident when you walk around this area. And instead of smooth walls built through hollow blocks and cement, the building were instead made of stone and wood.

Different from the usual concrete (or asphalt) roads, roads here were made from pavement stones. But hey, at least the old and new street roads in the Philippines have one thing in common: they’re both rough when cars go through them 🤩

I’m just glad that despite coming into the third year of pandemic, establishments have already slowly opened their doors to the general public.

The Casa Manila is being shared by several establishments in the vicinity. From cold coffee drinks and teas to bars, you’d totally enjoy the center view of the museum.

Together with Samsung’s Nightography capabilities, I was relieved that the shots I took were not just post-worthy for socials, they’re also clear enough for me to make me remember how vivid the feeling was when I captured the images.

Small in size, but not in camera performance

As obvious as it sounds, I’m very impressed by how the cameras of the Galaxy Z Flip4 performed. Whether there’s an abundant source of light during the day or barely any presence of natural light at night, this wonderful compact foldable delivered good results.

Most users would think these aren’t enough for everyone’s mobile photography needs. But with the ultra-wide and regular wide lenses of the Galaxy Z Flip4, they are adequate for everyday photo-taking. And it’s not just for regular shots but also for low-light images too.

If you’re a big telephoto lens fanatic like I am, you might have to skip this phone. Regardless, even if there’s a lack of the “crucial” telephoto lens, the quality these cameras produce are sufficient for day-to-day use.

While I’m not expecting the addition of a telephoto zoom lens on the next-generation of the Galaxy Z Flip (all because it will compromise the battery capacity and phone’s overall dimensions), I still want to see what Samsung has to offer in the upcoming compact foldable in the years ahead.

SEE ALSO:

GadgetSnaps: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 in New York

Samsung’s Flip Phone Innovation Over The Years

Deals

5 realme travel essentials for holiday vacation

Upgrade your holiday trips

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For some, Christmas season isn’t only about gift-giving or bonding with friends and family; it’s also about going on holiday trips as they make the most out of the long break.

That’s where these five realme gadgets come in handy, giving your vacation trip a colorful upgrade.

realme 10

realme 10

The brand’s recently-launched flagship comes equipped with a Helio G99 processor, has a 6.4-inch 90Hz super AMOLED display, and a 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W SUPERVOOC charge.

The device runs on Android 12 and realme UI 3.0, and has 8GB RAM and up to 256GB storage.

Capturing memories is a breeze too, with its 50MP main camera and 16MP selfie camera.

Available in Clash White and Rush Black, the realme 10 retails for:

  • PhP 12,999 for the 8GB+128GB
  • PhP 14,999 for the 8GB+256GB

realme Buds T100

realme Buds T100

 

Music is a must for long road trips, so one should complement the listening experience with a fitting pair of wireless earbuds.

The realme Buds T100 feature 10mm dynamic bass driver, 88ms super low latency, and a total playback time of up to 28 hours.

The accessory has AI Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC). It is rated IPX5 for water resistance.

realme C33

Whether looking for another reliable smartphone or just a spare phone, the realme C33 should do the trick.

It has a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display, 5,000mAh battery to keep you company for long hours, and a 50MP camera.

It’s priced at only PhP 7,499 so now is the perfect time to get your hands on this budget device.

realme Pad X

For those traveling with kids or simply want to avoid boredom, the realme Pad X (6GB+128GB) can definitely keep you entertained.

Powered by up to a Snapdragon 695 5G processor and coming with a 10.95-inch 2K FullView display and Dolby Atmos quad speakers, the tablet provides an immersive viewing experience on the go.

The Pad X comes with a stylish 7.1mm Ultra Slim design. It is available in the Glacier Blue and Glowing Grey colorways.

The base price is just PhP 15,999 or if you want to opt for the 5G variant, the cost is PhP 24,999.

realme Watch 3

Lastly, the realme Watch 3 will help one burn those Noche Buena and Media Noche calories with ease.

The wearable boasts clear Bluetooth calling, all-day health monitoring, and over 110 sports modes. These can be accessed through its 1.8-inch bright display.

The realme Watch 3 retails for only PhP 3,499, one of the best fitness companions for this price point.

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Hands-On

Make moments tangible with Instax Square Link

Time to print those core memories!

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instax square link

Life looks pretty in squares — that’s how Instagram shaped our favorite moments in the past decade.

With every core memory uploaded in our social media feed for the world to see, there’s still something poignant about keeping a hard copy of your favorite moments. It feels nostalgic to be reminded of the good things in your life.

That’s what the Instax Square Link delivers. The newest instant printer comes in square, as compared to its previous siblings in the instax link lineup.

The sweet spot

The previous instant printers come in the usual mini film prints, and a wide, rectangular one. Having a square format provides a sweet spot for instant prints since it’s neither too big nor small.

Even the design of the device itself looks almost square, albeit taller. It sports the usual big button in its center that powers up the device, while there’s a smaller circle on its top-left part for linking the device to your smartphone.

It’s still as straightforward as it gets, whether you’re already familiar with previous instax printers or not. You simply click the big button until it lights up, link it to your smartphone and confirm the serial number found on the bottom side of the device, and do all the magic inside the app — which you can download via App Store or Play Store.

instax square link

New device, new features

The instax Square Link carries all the good things from the previous instax printers through its dedicated app.

You can still make personalized stickers, continuously print your best moments with just a press of a button, and collage and edit your photos in frames. They’re pretty much the same features you can find on the instax Link WIDE and instax mini Link 2.

instax square link

However, instax introduced new features that make printing more exciting. Now, instax takes AR to a new level by allowing users to print with personalized AR effects, accessible using a QR code.

It also included a feature where you can chat with a friend or loved one and have the conversation printed as text bubbles to add a more personal touch for those who are in long-distance relationships.

Printing your favorite moments

instax square link

While the new features are a much-welcome addition, I still stick to what Instax is good about. At its core, it’s still printing your favorite moments and of course, sharing them with the people you love.

Back then, I would print my photos and keep them to myself — inside photobooks and boxes that would never see the light of day unless I’m feeling nostalgic.

Being surrounded by new people encouraged me to be more giving, rather than just being selfish with my memories. And instead of constantly seeking validation and sharing my favorite moments with the world, I now love the idea of being intimate and sharing my core memories with only a handful of people.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

instax square link

The Instax Square Link is still an instant printer like its siblings. If square formats are your thing, this is easily your GadgetMatch. For wide, rectangular prints, there’s the instax Link WIDE.

And if the original, mini-sized film prints are what you’re after, you can never go wrong with the instax mini Link 2. Whatever formats you want, there’s an instax for you.

The instax Square Link comes in Ash White and Midnight Green. It’s available in all authorized Fujifilm instax dealers nationwide and Fujifilm’s online flagship stores.

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Entertainment

IN PHOTOS: Dubbing with Netflix, HIT Productions

Plus a quick glimpse of the Netflix PH office

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Netflix HIT

Have you ever been curious about how the whole dubbing process works? Netflix, along with HIT Productions, was kind enough to give us a quick tour showing how our favorite Netflix shows are dubbed in Filipino. 

HIT Productions prides itself as “The Philippines’ top audio post production house and recording studio for advertising.” And they have the clientele to back up the claim. Other than Netflix, they’ve also worked with plenty of notable brands. These include but are not limited to Jollibee, Mitsubishi, Coca Cola, and many more. 

They’ve partnered with Netflix on many shows and movies. For this particular tour, they showed us how they dubbed Season 4 of Stranger Things.

Different rooms for the talents and director

Dubbing Director Cheska Aguiluz

Heading in, I was fully expecting a Sound Booth like setup – you know, the ones we normally see in TV shows and movies. HIT has a different setup. They have the director in one room and the voice talents in another. The rooms are situated right across each other with sound engineers manning both rooms. 

The communication between the director and talents still happens real time, and they see each other through an iPad.

Each room has a monitor that displays the scene that’s being dubbed. The talents’ audio goes straight into a computer that’s in the same room as the director. 

Netflix HIT

Multiple talents will be in the same room at one time. This depends entirely on the scene that needs to be dubbed. They take turns dubbing with sound engineers adjusting the height of the mic each time to make sure it’s optimized for each talent. 

Although, they did mention this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, there will be scheduling challenges, but they’re able to work through it.

Netflix HIT

The actual dubbing back and forth is fascinating. They go through each line meticulously, making sure the cadence, the breaths, the tone, and the emotion matches that of the original actors. 

Recording a single episode will take days. And that’s just the recording. The next part is just as tedious.

Painstaking editing

Netflix HIT

The level of precision applied in the voice acting and directing extends to the cutting floor when the recordings go through post production. 

Here, sound engineers go through each scene, switching between the original scene and the dubbed recordings to make sure they match. This includes how loud or soft the voice is as well as adding effects to mimic the room environment sound of each sound. 

What makes the whole process tricky is a lot of it is guess work. I asked if they are given a cheat sheet of the effects used by the original production. They said that rarely happens. That means they rely both on their sharp ears and years of experience to make sure everything matches.

After post production, an entire episode goes through a quality check. If anything sounds off, it’s back to post processing again. 

HIT says in a month, they’re able to finish roughly around three to four episodes. Of course, that depends also on the length of the episode. Stranger Things Season 4, for instance, typically lasts over an hour. With some episodes even running as long as feature length films.

Trying out dubbing

Netflix HIT

Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado

After a look at the voice acting and post production process, HIT took us to a room where some members of the media got to try dubbing. Here, Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado, led the way. 

Baldonado explained that the most important part of the whole process is the script. Localization, as you may have surmised, is no easy task. There are so many things to consider: What words to use to match the movement of the lips, the general direction for each line, and making sure all the lines make sense when delivered together.

A couple of voice talents showed us the ropes first, recording a scene from the Don’t Look Up film. Baldonado, who also helmed localization for Trese, noted that mimicking the original actor’s voice is less important than delivering the right tone and emotion for the line and the scene. 

Netflix HIT

During the recording, he also noted that dubbing is more about voice acting than actual voice quality. How well you convey the right emotion is more important than whether or not you sound pleasant or not. 

Sit down with the voice talents

Netflix HIT

To wrap up the tour of the HIT Productions office, we sat down with the voice talents and the rest of the team that worked on the Stranger Things Season 4 dub. Here’s everyone who joined us: 

  • Christian Velarde (MIKE)
  • Albert Silos (WILL)
  • Steve Bontogon (DUSTIN)
  • JM Canlas (LUCAS)
  • Steffi Bontogon (MAX)
  • JM Torres (VECNA)
  • Nelieza Magauay (ROBIN)
  • Ericka Peralejo (SUZIE)
  • Cheska Aguiluze (Dubbing Director)
  • Rudolf Baldonado (Head of Localization)

Many of them shared their experiences and lessons learned while working as voice actors. 

A lot of the echo the same thing that Baldonado mentioned earlier. That the ability to understand the character’s emotion and act it out through your voice is the most important skill in the craft.

Netflix HIT

What stood out to me the most though, is how each of them seemed like colorful characters on their own. And they deserve just as much recognition as TV and movie actors. 

Quick Netflix PH HQ Tour

After the session at HIT Productions, we were taken to the headquarters of Netflix Philippines. Some interesting things to note: 

  • The meeting rooms are named after Netflix’s shows and films
  • There are areas designated for quiet time 
  • The place is spacious with many areas for quick, breakout meeting sessions
  • It’s filled with books and other ornaments that have to do with Netflix shows
  • Free-flowing drinks! 
  • This writer would like to spend a work day or two in the area (Thanks in advance, Netflix!) 

Here’s a photo dump:

Netflix

Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Netflix

Squid Game meeting room | Photo c/o Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Photo c/o Netflix

Beverages | Photo c/o Netflix

Pantry | Photo c/o Netflix

Netflix

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