Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.
1. US government doesn’t know how to un-ban Huawei
US President Donald Trump lifted the ban on Huawei during a G20 conference meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. However, no actual policy was announced since. This means, technically, the ban hasn’t exactly been lifted.
National Economic Council Larry Kudlow clarifies that the lifting only covers “general merchandise” and that Trump remains focused on cybersecurity concerns. The conflict, though, has definitely died down a little and Huawei can resume business as usual. But that still does not mean they’re allowed to sell in the US.
Google, for its part, has publicly opposed the ban saying it’s an even greater threat to overall cybersecurity. The company is still operating under the temporary window provided by the US government but that can change in a few weeks as talks progress between the US and China.
2. Facebook apps breakdown
All hell broke loose when the “Image could not be loaded” error message took over the Internet for a few hours this week following a slew of Facebook apps breaking down.
The news feed as well as Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp all had trouble loading images for an extended stretch.
Some people on Twitter were quick to poke fun on the breakdown with one of them even saying that Facebook CEO did this intentionally so that his products would trend on Twitter.
The company, though, was quick to address the issue saying it was just due to a “routine maintenance operation” which we all know is code for: “We were trying something new and messed up but we can’t tell you that.”
Thankfully, all the apps are now back up and running as usual so we can continue looking at other people having the time of their lives and feel miserable about ourselves.
3. Xiaomi, Meitu unveil Mi CC9 series
When Meitu was bought by Xiaomi in 2018, the hope was that it would help bring Meitu’s tech closer to more people. Fast forward to 2019 and the collaboration has finally given birth to the Mi CC9 Meitu Edition.
The phone is a solid midranger powered by a Snapdragon 710 chip along with 8GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage.
But as fans know, the Meitu magic lies all in the camera app. Instead of the usual camera app that comes with MIUI, this one’s equipped with the Meitu camera app and its entire suite of beautifications options. There’s even an AI low light portrait mode as well as video stabilization on the front-facing camera.
These are all done in the service of preserving the “Meitu spirit” which continues to “take on the journey to make girls happy.”
The other two phones in the lineup are the Mi CC9 and the Mi CC9e.
The Mi CC9 shares most of the features of the Meitu edition minus the Meitu camera and a lower configuration at 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
Meanwhile, the Mi CC9e is the smallest of the bunch and is also the least powered and lacks certain features like NFC, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and IR blaster.
4. Samsung showcases the Galaxy A80 BLACKPINK edition
BLACKPINK is not just in your area, they’re practically everywhere these days. Including Samsung smartphones.
In April, Samsung introduced a special edition of their midranger Galaxy A70 featuring the popular K-Pop girl group. This week, the BLACKPINK edition reaches Samsung’s phone with a rotating camera — the Galaxy A80.
Getting this package will net you a charging stand, a special case that fully customizes the phone into all things BLACKPINK, as well signed photocards of the members.
Also announced are BLACKPINK edition Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Watch.
The BLACKPINK Edition Galaxy A80 was first launched in Thailand but we have received confirmation that it’s also coming to the Philippines as well as other Southeast Asian markets.
5. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is coming
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 is coming our way in about a month.
Samsung posted a teaser online showing the S-Pen pointing down to what looks like a punch-hole camera. Zooming out, you’ll see that the image forms an exclamation point which probably hopes to get you excited about the upcoming Note.
The teaser also shows that the unpacked event will be on August 7 but there seems to be no other details at the moment. We should know more as we draw closer to the actual date.
We would love to invite you to support this new project — it’s a podcast called “She Said, He Said” with Nicole Scott of Mobile Geeks.
Each week, expect to hear unique perspectives, the news that matters, and a whole lot of strong opinions!
“She Said, He Said” is available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and everywhere else you get your podcasts. And since you’re here, might as well give it a listen now, yeah?
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
8 things we like about the Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000
Definitely one of the best value 4K Smart TV around!
Samsung is known for a lot of things. And in the home theater department, the South Korean giant cemented itself as one of the leading brands.
There are a lot of reasons why. But for starters, the company creates sturdy yet well-designed TVs. It never shies from packing its devices with plenty of smart features. More importantly, there’s a range of lineups that suit your taste, preference, lifestyle, and of course, budget.
Of all its lineup, Samsung’s Crystal UHD TV series is the one that’s worth checking out, if you’re in the market for an affordable Smart TV. And the Crystal UHD TU8000 variant, in my opinion, is one of the best value Smart TV you can get right now. It’s a really sweet package, and here are 8 reasons why.
Easy setup via SmartThings app
Smart TVs are supposed to be smart, and shouldn’t be a gatekeeper between the tech-savvy and everyday consumer. Samsung kept this in mind, so they optimized the TV setup. You can quickly finish it on the TV itself, or you can connect it via SmartThings app, and do everything on your smartphone!
One of the best smart TV system
Samsung’s TV that has 4K HDR, like the Crystal UHD TV series, is powered by Tizen — an open-source operating system developed by Samsung which can be seen on smartwatches, smart TVs, and appliances.
With this system, you can have quick access to popular streaming services. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play, and even Apple TV — without the need for a dedicated Apple TV box.
Operating systems are often overlooked, but it’s one part of what makes or breaks your watching experience. Samsung’s Tizen made navigation easy, smooth, and functional. It might be due for a look upgrade, but it still gets the job done. It’s perfect for nights when you don’t want to engage your brain and watch telly after a long day at work.
Detailed picture quality
Watching on any Samsung TV is a treat for your eyes, with its sharp and detailed picture quality. It uses an LCD UHD panel technology, so its strength isn’t blowing your mind (and eyes) with vivid colors and a vibrant palette.
Rather, it keeps the visuals interesting by leveling the natural colors. Moreover, you can adjust its picture modes to match your preferences and your room’s lighting condition.
4K and Upscaling
Even though we already have 8K technology, I still enjoyed the 4K HDR capabilities of Samsung’s Crystal UHD TU8000. It was cinematic, immersive, and visually astonishing.
After all, the TV automatically switches to HDR mode whenever you’re watching HDR content, and upscales non-4K videos decently. And if you’re worried about added noise after being upscaled, fret not. The upscaling technology keeps quite a good amount of detail.
The artistic Ambient Mode, which was only exclusive to the high-end QLED range, made its way to the Crystal UHD TV series — and I love it. You can choose what to do with the display when you’re not using your telly. Opt for nice scenery, place images directly from your Samsung phone’s gallery, make it look like a frame — the choice is yours.
Lastly, the TV operates on lower power mode when in Ambient mode. So it’s not just prettifying your display when not in use, it helps save energy, too.
Stylish, functional, and sturdy
The TU8000 is pretty sturdy despite using plastic on its back panel, bezels, and stand. Nonetheless, it looks stylish whether it’s mounted on a wall or on a TV stand. Its back is designed with cables in mind, allowing you to manage it in an orderly manner to keep your TV neat and clean.
While already looking stylish, the TV never forgot about functionality, too. It has three HDMI ports, two USB ports, an ethernet port, a common interface slot, and an input for composite video and radio-frequency antenna. It definitely suits whatever kind of user you are!
Surprisingly, I enjoyed the remote control. It’s lightweight, fits my hands with its slim and curvy figure, and easy to navigate with its buttons that are only necessary. It’s also a smart assistant and a voice remote in one, so you can use your voice to search in apps like YouTube and make it function like Bixby, Alexa, or Google Assistant.
The Samsung Crystal UHD TU8000 sits well at an affordable price point. The 43-inch model retails for PhP 27,999 while the 50-inch model costs PhP 33,999. For those who want a larger unit, the 55-inch model retails for PhP 41,999.
Frankly, the sound quality isn’t the best when it comes to Samsung’s Crystal UHD TV TU8000. It’s loud and decent, however, having an impressive picture quality should be matched with stellar audio quality.
This is why pairing it with Samsung’s TF-400 Soundbar made the audio-visual experience heavenly, especially the Surround Sound that the soundbar offers. It’s really a match made in heaven, so if you’re considering the Crystal UHD for its 4K HDR capabilities, make sure you pair it with the right soundbar.
5 timeless gifts you can give to a mom anytime of the year
Bizarre gifts on their secret wishlists
We’ve seen it all: the kinds of gifts we need to give moms in our lives — whether they’re your mom, someone who’s a long-time mom, a friend who recently became a mom or a colleague that’s soon-to-be a mom. Every year, we get new ideas on how to celebrate them and how to make them feel special.
But this year, we’re taking it differently. We asked a few moms what’s secretly on their wish lists. And y’all, we didn’t expect these responses. Here’s a round-up of the bizarre gifts that we can gift every mom, Mother’s Day or not.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey albeit an arduous one. For Ana, 25, and a soon-to-be mom, body pain and finding comfort have been the biggest issues in her wonderful journey. While she gets excited to see her newborn, she finds it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. For her, having a pregnancy pillow would solve 99 percent of her body pain — which she experiences every day.
Buy here: Lazada
Taking walks during sunset could be a therapeutic and beneficial exercise for soon-to-be moms. However, the pandemic imposed restrictions to keep us safe that resulted in a challenging situation where it’s difficult to cope and relax. Sunset lamps offer a good alternative; projecting aesthetically pleasing lighting similar to golden hour. All at the comforts of your own home.
When you’re a new mom, all your attention and resources shift to providing what your baby needs. To a point where you forget how to take care of yourself. For Lorraine, 31, and a mom to a 10-month old boy, self-care days are a must: getting a massage, going to a spa, having her hair styled, and other treatments to her skin, mind, body, and soul.
Given the dire circumstances, going out is dangerous for her and her baby, which is why she secretly wishes to be gifted by a self-care kit — a massager, hairdryer, hair straightener, and an epilator.
Space-saving and eco-friendly form of transportation
For Jean, 26, and a mom to a 4-year old boy, taking care of your health is more than just about the food you eat and the exercises you do. It’s also taking care of your emotional and mental health, and making a contribution to making the world a better place.
Through a foldable bike, she wishes to lessen her carbon footprint by using an eco-friendly form of transportation and save space, something that meticulous, organized homemakers want. Coincidentally, it’s also a good bonding activity with her kid. Think: mom and son biking on a Saturday afternoon.
Buy here: Lazada
A bigger TV
Having a TV is integral in keeping your family together. After all, it is a centerpiece for any home. Jenny, 48, a mom of four young adults, is always concerned about her and her children’s health. Although, secretly, she wishes to have her TV upgraded to a bigger one — at least 55- or 65-inch such as the Samsung Crystal UHD TV — to host movie nights and bond with her children, now that everyone is already having their own lives.
As a long-time mom, Jenny doesn’t like to splurge on what’s the latest gadget or appliance there is in. She wants the best value, and of course, something that lasts for a long time.
A 24-Hour soundtrip with the Huawei FreeBuds 4i
From waking up to sleeping soundly at night
For about a year or so now, I’ve considered my Huawei FreeBuds Lite as my go-to wireless earphones for day-to-day activities. I mean, I could basically just tone everyone out while I proceed to go about my day — whether it’s the weekday or weekend. Plus, I mean I own a Huawei phone so I guess I’d like to keep things a bit consistent.
Until one day, I was lucky enough to test out the new Huawei FreeBuds 4i, which was something quite surprising considering I was looking for another pair anyway. So I told myself, “why not, let’s use this entire thing for a whole day and see what happens.”
Wake up in the morning, feelin’ like…
I’m pretty sure you know what comes after, so let’s get the morning started. That particular Friday morning, I woke up at around 6:30 to 7:00 AM despite only getting 6 hours of sleep. Before starting the day, I did a bit of stretching to some music that powers me right up. So, I popped in the Huawei FreeBuds 4i and instantly, I just heard nothing but the music.
To be honest, being disturbed early in the morning isn’t fun and the FreeBuds 4i’s Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) does wonders for that. In essence, it eliminates every possible noise you can hear and just lets you enjoy your ad-free music on Spotify. Yes, even the sound of loud cars and whirring fans disappear from your ears.
After my morning routine, I grabbed myself some breakfast matched with a nice cup of coffee. Even when there’s still work to do, you can’t really skip a good breakfast! To help me get myself ready for the work day, I tuned up some podcasts about my favorite topics and issues to discuss. With the FreeBuds 4i’s ANC, it was nice to properly hear and focus on the discussion points.
With breakfast out of the way, I had some work to do — mostly on the creative side of things and some writing. For the most part, I just stayed in my room and opened my Macbook to get things started. Luckily, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i was compatible with my Apple device, and connects quite fast.
Part of my work includes having voice and video calls with some colleagues and friends through my Huawei phone. With the FreeBuds 4i, I had a pleasant experience with the noise cancellation technologies that my friends could hear my voice clearly. Also, I turned on Awareness mode either through the Huawei AI Life app or a long press on the right earbud. You know, just in case somebody in the family needed my help and they were calling me.
During my breaks, I find myself playing some nice, good ‘ol fashioned League of Legends: Wild Rift on my phone. I teamed up with some friends through the Discord app, and turned up the game’s volume to a tolerable amount. While using the FreeBuds 4i, I heard all the game’s sounds deeply while finding a way to make team comms be a little better.
The night is still young, and so are we
After my eight and a half hours of work and play, it was time for a little bit of relaxation before dinner time. I usually spend this time watching some YouTube videos or a series/movie on Netflix. For this particular Friday afternoon, I watched some VODs from the VALORANT Masters regional qualifiers for that week.
Of course, I had to quickly charge the FreeBuds 4i since it was running non-stop for eight or so hours. By quickly charging it, I mean all I needed was to give it a 10-minute recharge in the case and it’s all good to go. Essentially, this set of wireless earphones gives you about 4 hours of use in just a short amount of charging time.
Within those 4 hours, I reviewed three different sets of VODs of qualifying matches while having a smooth audio experience. With a dynamic 10mm audio driver and low latency audio algorithms, I could take in all the intense action between the best teams in VALORANT plus some commentary. After watching, I put down the earphones and gave it some more time to charge while having dinner.
Sweet lullaby, I want it more everyday
After a hearty dinner, it was finally time to get some sleep and recharge for the next day. Of course, I made it a point to watch a Netflix series and have late night calls with my girl beforehand. Then, I prepared for bed and fired up my playlist to doze off into the night.
Before I began, I popped in the FreeBuds 4i and allowed the case to just charge in the background. For the next 8-10 hours, it would be my companion through the calls and the soundtrip to sleep. Furthermore, I didn’t have to worry too much if the songs stop playing when one of the earphones falls off my ear.
With 10 hours of continuous playback and a comfortable fit in my ear, the FreeBuds 4i allowed me to just close my eyes and recharge in peace. Also, I would sometimes check the battery percentage through the Huawei AI Life app to gauge how long my soundtrip would be. By the time I woke up the next day, it would be prime and ready for another recharge like me.
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i comes in at PhP 3,599, and in three colorways: Ceramic White, Carbon Black, and Red.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.
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