When friends ask me for tips on buying techie products, one piece of advice constantly comes up: Don’t be an early adopter of first-generation gadgets. Why? Because bugs need to be ironed out first, and brands never show all their cards on the first attempt. This way of thinking is about to change, however, and it begins with Google and ends with Pixel.
Google’s pair of Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones haven’t reached the consumer market yet, but they’re already being showered with glowing reviews.
Well-respected tech journalist Walt Mossberg calls it the “best Android phone” he’s ever tested; Wired is “totally in love with the Pixel”; and Gizmodo says the Pixel makes a strong case if you must buy an Android, even though they’re calling it “dumb and ugly.”
Reviews have been so good, in fact, that Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has experienced its highest stock prices since 2004, according to a report by Bloomberg. The cherry on top: Both phones are currently out of stock because of the overwhelming demand.
[irp posts=”5053″ name=”Google Pixel got the ‘little brother, big brother’ tandem right”]
Sentiments from other outlets have been largely the same, with the only complaints being the sky-high prices, lack of waterproofing, and bland physical design. Do the cons sound a little familiar? Those have been shots taken against Apple’s iPhones for the longest time (only the second con changed recently), making the Pixel a perfect rival in both strengths and weaknesses.
Still, as happy as we are for Google and consumers wanting more choices, the Pixel strategy is alienating Android’s most important supporters: third-party manufacturers.
By releasing a high-end pair of smartphones that’s truly its own, Google is now a direct competitor to the companies it has been working so closely with since Android’s conception, sending a harsh signal to hardware partners that there’s an even better way to handle its operating system, way beyond what Nexus has ever done.
The Pixel strategy is alienating Android’s most important supporters: third-party manufacturers.
Despite having the Pixels manufactured by HTC, the search giant has the software and hardware process under its control from start to finish. This is distinctly different from the way the Nexus series was handled, wherein the likes of Huawei and LG had their own say for the design, and were only required to lay out a fresh layer of Android inside.
Samsung is clearly the most affected brand. Now that the Galaxy Note 7 is out of commission, you’d have to look all the way back to February to find Samsung’s current, yet somewhat stale, Galaxy S7 flagship line. The development surely doesn’t bode well for the Korean company, who has been largely responsible for boosting Google’s mobile operating system to an 87 percent market share last quarter, thanks to a 22 percent smartphone market share of its own.
LG has also been caught in the crossfire. Its phablet flagship, the yet-to-be-shipped V20, has been heavily marketed as being the first smartphone to have Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, only for it to be outshone by the 7.1 version the Pixel smartphones will come with at around the same time. We wonder if Google knew about this in advance, or if they sent a really nice fruit basket to LG’s headquarters.
The only major player to benefit from Google’s new-found success is HTC. Even though its own self-branded smartphones continue to slump sales-wise, the Taiwan-based company actually saw a 41 percent revenue jump last month. Once the Pixels begin shipping, HTC’s fortunes will surely turn around, in spite of the lack of branding.
The only major player to benefit from Google’s new-found success is HTC.
As for how Chinese brands Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and the like feel about this, well, they’re too busy raking in mountains of cash from dominating the entry-level and midrange markets — two segments Apple and Google don’t really care about at the moment.
The situation is similar to the topic we touched on when we talked about Project Ara’s demise a month ago. Android partners already feared Google had shot them in the foot by buying Motorola to produce its own phones. When the Mountain View company changed its mind and sold the well-known handset manufacturer to Lenovo and began work on its modular phones, brands such as LG and Samsung looked into alternatives to the Android OS.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), Project Ara didn’t push through, so third-party brands had less competition to worry about — but then Pixel came in, and here we are. Oh, Google!
[irp posts=”4335″ name=”Project Ara’s story is all about wasted potential”]
5 reasons why you should consider the OPPO Enco W11
Transition easily to the wireless lifestyle!
Anyone can hesitate to step on a wireless journey if everything you see is all godd*mn expensive. Unbeknownst to many, there are pairs of wireless earbuds that are affordable and perform exceptionally at the same time.
One example is the OPPO Enco W11. If you’re considering switching to the wireless side, here are five reasons why the Enco W11 would make the perfect fit. In your ears and life, probably.
20-hour battery life
The Enco W11 lets you enjoy up to five hours of playback time on a single charge. Use the charging case and you can extend that to 20 hours.
Moreover, the charging case can recharge your pair of wireless earbuds for only 15 minutes, and you immediately get one hour of playback time.
Depending on the form factor, some wireless earbuds can be a tad uncomfortable. Thankfully, the Enco W11 comes with an exquisite design that goes along with the shape of the ear. Plus, there are three sizes of soft silicone ear tips to choose from.
It also weighs 4.4g so you won’t feel the weight in your ears, allowing you to listen comfortably while you’re on the go.
Dust and water resistance
Get that extra peace of mind knowing that your pair of wireless earbuds have an IP55 dust and water resistance. It means that you can bring it to the gym, sweat it out, or even run through the rain — and you don’t have to worry about your device. It can stand splashes of water and dirt if you accidentally drop them.
Stable connection, lower latency
Most people are hesitant to switch to wireless earbuds because of the latency issues. With the right technology, the connection can be stable. Such is the case for the Enco W11 which receives signals on both sides to reduce latency. Unlike ordinary true wireless earbuds that receive signals on one side before sending them to the other.
The Enco W11 also uses a built-in Bluetooth 5.0 chip to help you enjoy uninterrupted audio. It’s perfect for those virtual meetings or just tuning out to your favorite playlists or podcasts.
Lastly, the Enco W11 doesn’t require a lot of brainpower to use. It pairs easily and resumes connection instantaneously within 10 meters.
Further, it comes with touch controls that are easy to navigate. You can play or pause your music with a single tap, or move to the next song by double-tapping.
The voice assistant can be activated by triple-tapping, and you can adjust the volume when you touch and hold the wireless earbuds.
Should you buy the OPPO Enco W11?
The OPPO Enco W11 makes it easy for users to transition to the wireless lifestyle, albeit at a cost that won’t hurt their pockets. It’s lightweight, comfortable, and intelligent enough to make navigating the controls smoothly. It has an SRP of PhP 1,690.
On January 27, 2022, Shopee is offering an exclusive deal — a bundle of the OPPO A55 smartphone and the Enco W11 wireless earbuds for only PhP 10,988.
For more exclusive deals, check out Shopee’s Brands Spotlight Festival.
SEE ALSO: OPPO A55 review: Just the basics
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Like it or not, dusts and other particles accumulate on our floors over time. When you barely got time to mop and vacuum, why not invest on a smart home device that can do both for you?
Shark, known for their home cleaning devices, offers not just one but two of their latest smart vacuum cleaners. But which is the most suitable for your living space?
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7 reasons why the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED is perfect for creators
It’s the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED
In my review of the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, you can tell that I really liked my experience. But having the device with me for a while longer, there are still quite a few more things I’ve come to realize about it.
You see, content creators and creative professionals have very specific requirements when choosing a laptop. Settle for less and you’re sure to get nightmares. That’s either with not being able to deliver the task at hand on time or doubtful of your creative output.
That’s why ASUS came up with the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED. It’s designed for creators with everything one would need to unleash creativity.
And I think it might just be the perfect option for every creator out there.
Suitable design for creators with quality that matches it
It’s evident that laptop designs have become pretty unoriginal in recent years with brands merely copying whichever is in the mainstream spotlight.
ASUS goes against this by truly designing their own from the ground up. With their approach on the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, they seem to be going for a more serious and less playful design. I think it’s a welcome decision for professionals.
I believe in the saying that “first impressions lasts.” For people who do creative work professionally, the last thing you want is for your client to think you’re not taking your job seriously.
With this one, you can flex your stylish laptop in meeting rooms or briefings without feeling awkward. The design isn’t flashy but it isn’t generic either with subtle hints of the device being tailor-made for creators.
Having said that, the Vivobook Pro is not only serious with its looks but also it build quality. Despite being the more affordable line from ASUS, the Vivobook Pro’s build quality says otherwise. It’s so similar to the higher end ZenBook line that I honestly couldn’t tell the difference.
So portable you won’t even realize it’s in your luggage
If you’ve seen a photographer arrive on set, chances are you’ve also seen how much gear they lug around. So, just imagine the convenience the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED brings with its ultraportable size and weight. At only 1.45kg, it greatly reduces the whole package one needs to carry for on-site editing.
It’s so light that I personally wouldn’t mind carrying this with me in my bag wherever I go. And with the thickness being only 17.9mm at its thickest point, this would probably fit most bags you already have laying around.
It may not sound as exciting as the next item in this list, but if we consider the hardware that is packed in this device, it’s just mind-blowing how everything fits in it.
Specs that can handle anything
In most creative softwares like the Adobe Creative Cloud apps, the CPU mostly carries the bulk of the task for running these software unhampered. With the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED, you won’t have to worry about the capability of this device to handle the most demanding software. Powering this laptop is a top-tier CPU — the Ryzen 9 5900HX. This is a seriously powerful processor that is already even considered as an enthusiast level of a CPU that you’ll only mostly see running on other top-of-the-line gaming laptops.
But if that isn’t impressive enough, this CPU is even paired with another commendable performer — the very capable Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU.
So, you bet this laptop can take on anything you throw at it. Especially the ones that are designed to take advantage of hardware encoding like Adobe Premiere Pro.
To further validate my claim, I was able to export a five-minute 4K timeline in Premiere Pro in under seven minutes. It’s not the fastest I’ve used but that is exceptional performance especially coming from a laptop this small.
And of course, this machine is very much capable of handling games as well for the casual work break that you very much deserve.
Performance that gets more things done at the same time
Complementing the eight cores and 16 threads that are running inside this CPU are 16GB of DDR4 RAM.
Sure, 16GB of RAM may not sound like a lot nowadays but that doesn’t mean it’s not enough either. To give you an idea how capable and sufficient this mix of hardware is, I was editing on Lightroom, Premiere Pro and Photoshop all at the same time. I was even browsing multiple tabs on Google Chrome and I barely felt them running in the background.
Even running the heaviest apps, I never had the urge to close any of it just to make room for another. As a result, it got me finishing everything I had to do ahead of time.
Very cool, yet very silent operations
With a lot of distractions around us, it’s easy to lose focus of what we’re doing. Even the simplest things can get in the way. And if you’ve used a gaming laptop, you probably know that fan noise can get pretty loud when doing demanding tasks.
However, despite having similarly powerful specs as you would on gaming laptops, the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED still runs very quietly. You can hardly hear it running which is quite impressive since I’ve had significantly lower specced laptops that are far noisier than this.
Thankfully, the quiet performance also doesn’t trade off its cooling as I barely see the temps go higher than 80 degrees celsius.
You don’t even need that much power all the time. So, we can adjust the hardware performance to make it run even cooler and quieter than it already is. This is done through the preloaded ASUS ProArt Creator Hub. This is ASUS’ control hub for their content creator products, allowing you to monitor the performance and tune the settings of your creator laptop.
Surprisingly good sound quality
I’ve used quite a number of laptops already and to be honest, I barely use the built-in speakers. I would always have a headset or an external speaker connected. Poor sound quality really ruins the experience for me.
To my surprise, this isn’t the case with the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED. It’s loud, crisp and clear and it actually sounds pretty good. I guess this is thanks to the collaboration with Harman Kardon that’s going on here.
It managed to fill up our tiny condo and I was even holding back from maxing out the volume. It didn’t sound distorted or annoying to listen to.
One of the best displays you could get — OLED Display
Saving the best for last, I think one of the main highlights of this device is this stunning display panel. It’s a 14-inch, OLED display with a 2.8K max resolution, a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate.
In case you’re not familiar with different display technologies, OLED displays are among the best in terms of image quality. It doesn’t really get much better than this, and on the Vivobook Pro 14, it looks amazing.
The 2.8K resolution paired with the 16:10 aspect ratio didn’t make me feel that the 14-inch size was actually smaller than what I personally use.
It’s so good that using this display made me wonder how I was editing with my old laptop. I feel like my eyes have just gotten used to trying to compensate for inaccurate colors and poor dynamic range.
It kind of makes me feel like going back to an IPS display is like going back to an old CRT TV. LOL Okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the ASUS Vivobook Pro 14 OLED is definitely an outstanding device. It has a lot of aspects that would make any creator including myself drool over it with admiration.
I think ASUS may have, once again, set a higher standard for other players in the market. Packing so much power in the quietest and one of the most portable bodies we could find with the breathtaking and quite possibly best looking display I’ve experienced.
And being offered at a relatively attainable price point is truly icing on the cake.
The Vivobook Pro 14 OLED comes in three available variations — the one we reviewed being the highest varian. It has the R9 5900HX, RTX 3050, 16GB with 512GB SSD priced at PhP 74,995. The R5 5600H, RTX 3050, 8GB RAM with 512GB SSD is priced at PhP 59,995. And the R5 5600H, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD with the AMD integrated graphics variant is priced at PhP 47,995.
Sure, it’s not perfect for everyone. But for creators who are starting in content creation or a well experienced creative professional, the Vivobook Pro 14 OLED definitely comes close.
This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.
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