News

How Globe, Smart, and PLDT are responding to COVID-19’s threat

From free speed boost to extended bills payment

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Due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the whole island of Luzon has been placed on a lockdown or what the government prefers to call “enhanced community quarantine.” Public utility companies, for their part, have already limited physical transactions. However, they are reassuring the public that they will continue to provide services during these difficult times.

Telecommunications operators like Globe, Smart, and PLDT have released their own advisory to meet the guidelines for enhanced quarantine in the whole island. Here’s how they are responding to the public heath crisis brought by COVID-19 outbreak:

Advisories are subject to change. We will update this article for new developments. Hit refresh from time to time to see these updates.

Bill payment extension


Globe, Smart, and PLDT are extending their payment period again for 30 days soon after the lockdown period was extended until April 30. However, this extension doesn’t mean that the operators will give a free one-month service to its customers. The billing cycle of each operator will continue. So, you will still pay a hefty amount for using their service for the duration of the lockdown.

Free speed and data boost from PLDT and Smart


PLDT customers are entitled to a free speed boost during the lockdown. But that comes with a big “if”. If you’re not a PLDT Fibr customer nor a resident from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, then you’re out of luck. Still, those within the speed boost criteria gets a decent 25 Mbps boost, irrespective of the Fibr plan that the customers have.

Smart Signature Plan subscribers are also getting a boost on their mobile data for the next 30 days. Every postpaid plan gets an increase in consumable data. To know the new mobile data limits for every plan, head over to Smart’s website.

Free, unlimited WiFi on critical areas


It is important for the medical workers to stay connected with their friends and families during these crucial moments. Battling an outbreak that has the potential to spread to more people is a risky and important task. Smart and Globe recognizes this fact, and they are offering free and unlimited Internet access to select areas via their WiFi stations.

Adjusted store operating hours



PLDT and Smart are also adjusting their store hours to comply with the enhanced quarantine guidelines. Meanwhile, Globe announced that they are closing all of their physical stores from March 16 to 22. Globe customers must resort to their online store or hotline support during these days.

SEE ALSO:
How to disinfect your tech from the coronavirus
8 apps to use when working from home


As general rules, the CDC or The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed these to help with preventing the spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces

India

Mi Watch Revolve launches with ultra long battery life, premium design

Huawei should be worried

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Today, Xiaomi unveiled a host of new products via its Smarter Living 2020 event in India. Last year, the brand announced a new air purifier, water purifier, smart lights, and more. Following the same trend, Xiaomi has expanded its Mi product lineup with a new wearable — the Mi Watch Revolve.

The Mi Watch Revolve is an affordable fitness tracker that looks extremely premium and measures 46mm. Available in two color options, the Mi Watch Revolve will go up against Huawei’s Watch GT 2e. Both the watches are quite similar on paper, and we’ll try our best to do a comparison article soon.

On the front, the watch has a 1.4-inch always-on AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection. In terms of technology, the watch connects via Bluetooth 5.0 and can be used on Android as well as iOS. Onboard sensors include a heart rate sensor, a three-axis acceleration sensor, a gyroscope, a geomagnetic sensor, a baroreceptor, and an ambient light sensor.

To withstand regular usage, the watch gets 5ATM water resistance and a battery life of 1-2 weeks. The battery consumption vastly depends on your usage and Xiaomi is sure the watch will get you through a week with heavy usage.

Making the deal even sweeter, the watch can also measure your psychological data based on physical activity and heart rate monitoring. Thanks to Firstbeat Motion Algorithm, it can measure stress, heart rate variability monitoring, and VO2 Max (blood oxygen level).

It also gets the standard workout modes like running, cycling, trekking, treadmill, and more. Lastly, the user has an option to choose from 100+ watch faces and can receive notifications from a plethora of apps.

The Mi Watch Revolve is available in one size and costs INR 10,999 (US$ 150). It’ll be available in Chrome Silver and Midnight Black color options. It’s up for purchase via Mi.com, Amazon, Mi Home, and retail stores.

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Computers

Lenovo expands ThinkBook, ThinkVision lineup

Lenovo expands ThinkBook, ThinkVision lineup

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Lenovo has been rather busy recently updating their entire product portfolio. So this ThinkBook and ThinkVision refresh was absolutely inevitable and most definitely welcome.

We’re going to go through all the ThinkBooks and ThinkVisions real quick. Ready? Take a breath. Let’s go!

ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i

This was co-engineered with Intel and meets the requirements of the Intel Evo platform. That’s true across hardware specifications and key experience targets for device responsiveness, instant wake, battery life and fast charge.

It has a high resolution 13.3-inch display with a new 16:10 aspect ratio that offers 90% screen-to-body ratio with ultra-narrow bezels and is available with optional touch.

You’re also getting Thunderbolt 4 port and optional PCIe Gen 4 storage.

We’ll be going on virtual meetings for the foreseeable future. Taking that into account, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i features microphones that has three audio modes: private, shared, and environmental.

  • ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $829
  • ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 AMD is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $729.

ThinkBook 14s Yoga i

Need something flexible? Well, here you go. The popular Yoga form factor means this thing can bend and a different number of ways.

For performance, it’s powered by 11th Gen Intel Core processors. It also comes with the Lenovo Smart Pen to really help you let your creativity run wild.

It’s available in Mineral Grey with an Abyss Blue version added to the mix.

  • ThinkBook 14s Yoga is expected to be available from November 2020, starting at $879.

ThinkBook 14/15 Gen 2 i

If working smart is your think then it doesn’t get any smarter than this. It’s powered by 11th Gen Intel Core Processors (will also come in AMD variants) with flexible storage options: HDD + SSD or dual SSD.

Working remotely and need support? The service hot key helps users reach Lenovo support at the press of a button, automatically including device details such as serial number for a fast track support experience.

But here’s the kicker. It comes with ThinkBook wireless earbuds that can be stored within the laptop. The earbuds charge automatically when stored and connect to the laptop audio instantly when taken out. Double tapping toggles the mute function, and it has dual mics and environmental noise cancellation.

  • ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $569.
  • ThinkBook 15p i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $939.
  • ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $569.
  • ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 is expected to be available from November 2020, starting at $699.
  • ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 is expected to be available from November 2020, starting at $699.
  • ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 AMD is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $549.
  • ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 AMD is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $549.

ThinkVision T27hv-20

This single cable USB-C Hub monitor is designed to to meet the collaboration requirements of a hybrid working model. The 27-inch display features a 1080p IR/RGB webcam, noise cancelling microphones and integrated speakers that help users conference with confidence

It has Smart Guard that blurs the screen the moment you look or move away or detects someone peeking over your shoulder. Meanwhile, Smart Energy will turn off the screen when it senses that you have moved away from your desk, saving power and protecting data.

  • ThinkVision T27hv-20 is expected to be available from December 2020, starting at $549.
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Laptops

Lenovo launches ThinkPad X1 Nano, pre-order for ThinkPad X1 Fold

Two ThinkPads that deserve your attention

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If the Yoga lineup is any indication, it’s that Lenovo has never been shy about experimenting with form factors. They doubled up on that when they unveiled the ThinkPad X1 Fold at CES 2020. Now, they’re following it up with the ThinkPad X1 Nano.

Here’s a refresher on the ThinkPad X1 Fold in case you forgot what it was.

So yeah, it’s a PC but not exactly. Lenovo is calling it a new device category. It starts at US$ 2,499 and is now available for pre-order.

ThinkPad X1 Nano

The ThinkPad X1 Nano is being billed as the lightest ThinkPad ever. At less than 1kg, it’s hard to argue against that claim. It promises a complete laptop package all while being ultra freaking light.

It comes with up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processors and Intel Iris X graphics. That combo promises 20% faster office productivity and over 2x faster gaming plus streaming.

It has Thunderbolt 4 for fast, single cable connection to power, monitors, storage, as well as other external devices.

It’s the first ThinkPad to feature an updated suite of AI and biometric ThinkShield security features. These include new voice recognition and human presence detection.

It has a 13-inch Dolby Vision 2K display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It has 100% sRGB for clarity and color accuracy. It also comes in touch display options.

This notebook also has four speakers with Dolby Atmos support for immersive sound. It also has four 360-degree microphones to ensure you are loud and clear during virtual meetings.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano starts at US$ 1,399. It is expected to be available Q4 of 2020.

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