It was a gloomy Thursday afternoon in Milan when I made my way to the airport. This trip’s destination was Paris for some sightseeing after an event coverage in Italy. My weapon of choice? The Google Pixel 3.
Known to be a great picture taker, it seemed to be the reasonable choice to bring to scenic Paris. Obviously, I wanted to take the best photos possible and the Pixel’s reputation when it comes to photography precedes it. Of course, I reviewed the phone along the way, too.
First off, a quick question: Is this phone really Not Pink?
Background: For some reason, Google named this new phone color Not Pink. Personally, I don’t know why Google would mess around with pink lovers like myself who wished for an actual pink phone, but they did. Bottom line is, it isn’t pink — unless you look at it under a certain light or pair it with more rose-colored stuff.
Lucky for me, I own so many pink things and a berry red trench coat, so I have stuff this almost/sometimes pink phone will go with it.
Honestly, I’m not particularly happy with this phone’s lack of pinkness, but I’ll still take it over the typical black or white versions. Also, it has a cute orange accent button on the upper-right side. Talk about a color pop!
The Pixel 3 is in a size that’s perfect for my smaller girly hands. Its all-glass body gives it a good feel but I’ve honestly held more premium-feeling non-premium phones. There are bezels, still, on this phone, but I’d totally take that over a notch anytime.
Now, on to the actual trip. Join me as I go around the city of love and review Google’s latest smartphone.
As I lugged all my stuff out of the hotel, the boyfriend, Joshua, booked our Uber to the airport. I checked Waze to see how traffic would be — we’d get to the airport on time, it told me. Smartphones are such a godsend when traveling! I was on Project Fi (courtesy of Joshua) so data was fast and seamless, even in Europe. Google Fi on a Google phone is a match made in heaven — it basically means you have data anywhere in the world without added charges, and it can work with the Pixel’s eSIM.
In the Uber, the phone’s ambient display showed my flight schedule even without me inputting these details to my calendar. Apparently, this phone is smart enough to gather said info, all from an email. It’s been doing this for the past few days to make sure I don’t forget my flight. The reminders and prompts don’t stop at plane schedules for this phone. From smart notifications on how long your battery will last, sending people the photos of them you took, or even the squeeze to activate Google Assistant feature; this is like the eager assistant I’ve always needed but never had.
Milan to Paris is an hour and thirty minutes away. I’ll see you in Paris!
Flights to Paris arrive at one of either two airports: Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Orly, or Beauvais. CDG is the biggest of all airports, but it’s also 14 miles away from the Paris center. We took the RER train to the third arrondissement where our Airbnb was.
Paris is divided into arrondissements. It starts at the first arrondissement and spirals out into the 20th arrondissement on the river Seine’s right bank. The best places to stay at, if you don’t want to do a lot of commuting to get to scenic places, are those in the first to eighth arrondissements. Our Airbnb, only a few minutes walk from Gare du Norde, is in a good non-touristy area. Phone in hand and following Google Maps’ lead, we found the apartment that was to be our home for the next few days.
Before heading out to explore, it was time to rest and unpack. Of course, with the Pixel 3, I had to bring the Pixel Stand. This equally new accessory is a wireless charger which supposedly turns your phone into a smart speaker (think Google Home). In theory, this is a good idea, especially when you’re traveling — imagine having your own smart speakers in your Airbnb! In reality, though, the phone on the stand doesn’t really do a lot more than the phone in your hand. Plus, that stand is pretty annoying to travel with because it’s so bulky.
But speaking of the phone in my hand, it’s a pretty smooth experience with Android’s latest OS and it comes with all the bells and whistles that Google has to offer like Digital Wellbeing and Google Lens.
Exploring and a few of my favorite things
In November, autumn leaves line Paris’ streets. Temperatures range from cold to pretty cold so berets, scarves, and trench coats are a go.
You have to make sure to keep warm in this cold, sometimes wet climate because there will be a lot of walking. Paris is a beautiful city and part and parcel of experiencing this place is wandering around on foot. The French even have a word for it: “Flaneur,” which means to walk around leisurely. I mean, who wouldn’t with normal views like this?
Even in the evenings, beautiful views of monuments, the city lights, and the Seine make breathtaking views. Thankfully, The Pixel 3 did justice to these low-light shots, even without the Night Sight feature turned on.
Literally anywhere in this city is a photogenic place. I mean sure, I personally am not photogenic all the time (I end up with the most awkward poses 😅) but there’s Top Shot, which allows you to pick out your best photo, to help with that.
Et voila! A great #OOTD in a random Parisian street.
There’s also a great cafe culture here and coffee is excellent! These cozy little shops are easily found on Google Maps, so just take your pick. I can’t think of a better place to lounge about with a book and a cappuccino than here.
It’s also a must to visit a local bakery to get some freshly baked bread. Coupled with some grocery salad and jamon, this was one of my favorite things to snack on during the trip. I can’t tell you how many grocery runs I made on this trip.
My feet may have been tired on this trip, but my tummy was very happy.
The beautiful streets come with equally beautiful attractions. The Eiffel tower is always at the top of this list. Pro tip: Skip the lines to go up the Eiffel and opt for photo sessions in the gardens surrounding it.
The Pixel’s portrait mode was perfect for this shot. This feature put in that great background blur and, you can even adjust the intensity of the blur, the focus point of the photo, color, or add custom filters with the built-in Photos app.
The Notre Dame Cathedral, where Quasimodo lived, can also be found in Paris. The rear camera’s zoom and wide-angle functions worked wonders for this shot despite all the work being done by software and AI. You see, the Pixel 3 only has one rear camera but that’s something you barely notice with it outputting shots like these.
The selfie camera, on the other hand, is a dual-cam setup with a wide-angle shooter and normal camera. That comes extremely useful in instances wherein group selfies are a must…
… like when you’re in the Louvre and the intricately-painted ceiling calls for a couple shot.
But when a zoom is in order to get a better view, like of the Mona Lisa, the rear camera does the trick. It’s honestly not that big of a painting and it’s cordoned off from the big crowds surrounding it so a closer view is essential.
Of course, my trip had more beautiful moments, a lot of them captured by the Pixel.
Precisely why I love traveling with a smartphone — everything is just a tap away from becoming memories that last forever. One thing I’d improve on this thing, though, is the battery capacity. For a heavy user like myself, the phone won’t even last a day. I mean, have you seen the number of photos I take? 🙄
Getting home and final thoughts
On the last day of our trip, my phone was, again, showing me details of my flight I hadn’t even put on my calendar, but were nonetheless correct. It was also prompting me to share photos with Joshua from our trip on Google Photos, which automatically recognized him in the pictures. This feature is hands down the best way to share memories. I just love that it’s already on the Pixel and it just makes everything so much easier.
But, that’s really what the Pixel does. It anticipates what you need to do and suggests it even before you yourself think about it. For an incredibly vanilla, not actually pink phone, it’s pretty useful and has the only smartphone camera I trust fully to capture my trips. Of course, there’s still room for improvement: A color that’s actually sure of itself and I really wouldn’t mind a Face ID scanner, because it’s 2018 and I don’t see why they couldn’t have added it on considering there is a top bezel.
As I got on another Uber to go to the airport, flight details again on screen, I was still awestruck at how Paris truly is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been too. Thank heavens I had the Pixel 3 to do it justice.
Hot & Straight: Garment steamers to keep your clothes wrinkle-free
For your delicate dresses and suits
Not everyone is blessed to have a Samsung Airdresser or LG Styler at home. Both of which are cabinets that clean, deodorize, and straighten your well-loved clothes. Especially for delicate fabrics such as silk and satin, and even the likes of your dresses and suits. For these, we turn to garment streamers.
A clothes iron isn’t generally a bad idea, but there’s a little chance of burning your soft fabric when you use a garment steamer. And it’s perfect for when you’re prepping for an event. Straighten out those sleeves, pleats, and ruffles — and look prim and proper with wrinkle-free clothes.
Xiaomi Zanjia GT-301W
Xiaomi surely makes clean-looking small appliances. The Zanjia GT-301W is a minimalist, lightweight, and portable garment steamer that’s perfect for your white and neat aesthetic.
You can hold it with just one hand, and despite the small size, it blasts 1200W of powerful steam — effectively removing wrinkles on your clothes.
Midea Handheld Steam Ironing Machine
Known as a household brand, Midea took it up a notch by producing a portable yet elegant-looking garment steamer. This garment steamer can be folded easily so you can look posh while you take care of your clothes during your travels.
It also packs so much steam power with steam volume up to 22g/min, making it easier to iron out creases swiftly.
Surely a trusted brand, Philips also has a candidate in the steamer category. The STH3010/70 makes for a well-rounded garment steamer — compact, portable, blasts 1000W of steam power and steam volume of up to 20g/min.
But more importantly, it boots up quickly and the steam plate can be safely pressed across all kinds of ironable fabrics — bedsheet and curtains included.
Dowell CSH-35 Fabricare Lite
Looks may not be its strongest suit, but the Dowell CSH-35 Fabricare Lite puts a strong focus on functionality. It has a large capacity for a travel steamer — sporting a 280ml removable water tank and 1500W of power.
It’s also easy to operate with its single button, it comes with two levels of steam settings, and takes care of your clothes with its three layers of Fabricare technology. Certainly, it removes creases, sanitizes, and refreshes all your fabrics.
Tefal Access Steam + Handheld Garment Steamer DT8100
Stay wrinkle-free with Tefal’s garment steamer in a short amount of time, thanks to its ultra-fast and efficient setup. It packs 1600W of steam power and releases a steam flow of up to 26g/min.
It’s perfect for last-minute steaming at home and it allows you to move conveniently with its 3 meters cord, so you’re not limited to steaming in one corner.
Blow & Dry: Handy, stylish hair dryers for easy blowouts
They deserve to be in your home and in your purse
Every now and then, we’ll need a quick blowout to maintain good hair — whether it’s prepping for an event, a quick touch-up before your Zoom call, or about to run an errand and in a bit of a time crunch.
It’s not every day we’ll need a fabulous blow-dryer that will cost us an arm or leg. Or purchase an expensive one and call it an investment. (Guilty as charged!)
Sometimes, what we need are hair dryers that work. Fast and easy, just the way you’ll like it.
Panasonic EH-NA27 Nanoe Hair Dryer
Carol, GadgetMatch’s Lifestyle Editor, swears by Panasonic’s lineup of Nanoe hair dryers. While her personal choices are a bit chic and ritzy, there are affordable options that certainly do the trick.
The Panasonic EH-Na27 brings in its patented technology, gathering water from the air, and uses it — along with negative ions — to create Nanoe droplets and Double Mineral Ions. It’s the secret to shiny and bouncy hair!
Mi Ionic Hair Dryer
If you’re looking for an affordable yet good-looking hair dryer, say no more. Xiaomi’s Mi Ionic hair dryer solves all your dilemmas: a portable form factor, minimalist and classy design (especially in that white colorway), high volume, and quick-drying technology.
Since it’s an ionic hairdryer, it’s supposedly safer and better compared to ceramic ones — and it won’t leave your hair smelling burnt.
Soocas H5/H3s Hair Dryer
Chay, GadgetMatch’s Creative Director, shared how her GadgetMatch in 2018 was not a phone but a hair dryer. Yes, it was a Soocas hair dryer, which recently had a product refresh.
To Chay, the Soocas hairdryer ticks her three main considerations in looking for a hair dryer: price, power, and design. And more importantly, it doesn’t stop working from overheating despite having an affordable price tag.
Philips Drycare Advanced Hair Dryer HP8233/00
Philips has been around for years, and they certainly produce hair dryers within your reach. The Philips Drycare Advanced hair dryer comes with a professional power as if you have your own hairdresser.
It also comes with multiple temperature settings for less hair damage and a long-lasting look. And more importantly, it sports technology that has an anti-frizz effect to help you achieve that shiny-looking hair.
Imarflex Hair Dryer HD-2210C
If you prefer it classic and generic like any hair dryers found in your mom’s closet, Imarflex retained that familiar look with its hair dryers. The HD-2210C comes with Ionic haircare system and easy toggle between hot and cold temperature settings.
It makes for the perfect hair dryer for a quick and easy blowout, especially when you’re in a hurry. And it certainly won’t break your wallet.
The Starbucks x FILA collection is what we need for hot summer vibes
Live life and have fun in a distinct style
Hold up! Hot girl summer ain’t over yet.
For the first time, Starbucks is collaborating with FILA on an exclusive, co-branded collection of sporty-street-summery style essentials.The Starbucks x FILA collection blends rich brand heritage with classic and modern design. Wearing FILA’s signature white, navy, and red, the collection showcases bold yet timeless designs as seen in the drinkware and lifestyle accessories.
Surely, you’d love to get your hands on these accessories if you’re a fan of timeless yet distinct styles. It’s evident in these tumblers, cups, pouches, and bags!
Where to get
Starbucks x FILA collection will be available starting July 20, 2021, at select Starbucks stores across the Asia-Pacific region while supplies last. In the Philippines, it will also be available in the Starbucks flagship store on Lazada.
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