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.
What can you do with a big screen that folds?
Featuring the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED
You’ve likely seen videos and articles here and there about this COLOSSAL foldable. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is, as of writing, a one of a kind device. But what’s it like to actually use one? And what can you really do with a screen this big that folds?
We vibed with this device months ago but that was with an engineering unit. And THE Michael Josh showed us the many useful things you can actually do with it.
You can watch this video for the full rundown:
In case you couldn’t be bothered to watch the video, here’s a quick summary:
- Can be used with or without the included bluetooth keyboard.
- Great for working in tight spaces.
- Keyboard is great. It’s clickety and has great travel.
- One long vertical slate.
- Unli-scroll on websites like GadgetMatch.
- Good for video calls with split screen function.
- Yours truly’s favorite mode.
- Huge 17.3-inch display even while on the go.
- Great for work.
- Fantastic for media consumption.
- Use it like a really big book. Works even when semi-folded.
- Works as a large chess board.
At home daily usage
I’m mostly working from home these days and I didn’t know I needed a big screen until I started using the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED. Everything felt closer and larger without feeling overwhelming. It’s a stark contrast to the 13-inch screen that I use more regularly.
I don’t typically push my machine to the limit on the daily. My days regularly consist of writing, copy editing, some light photo editing, and jumping between one chat app to another.
Being an Intel EVO laptop, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is certified to last for long work sessions. The device is optimized for all these tasks making it perform much more efficiently.
I was also most pleasantly surprised with the bluetooth keyboard included in the package. My expectations for inclusions like this are usually low. To my delight, the keyboard felt really nice to type on. Parts of this article were written using that keyboard specifically.
For the next iteration, though, it would be nice if the keyboard had some backlighting to make it easily usable even in darker setups.
Working at a café
If you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, the laptop mode turns the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED into a discreet notebook. As already mentioned, the keyboard feels nice and will keep you typing as long as your brain can keep churning out words.
It is chunkier when in this mode. That means the keyboard has a higher elevation from the desk which is something I personally prefer.
If you don’t mind eyes glancing over to where you are, you can totally prop it up in Desktop Mode or Extended Mode. I’ve only really used it outside twice and in both situations, I didn’t feel the need to look for a power outlet.
That said, I only typically work outside for about 3-4 hours. Any longer rapidly depletes my social battery. Thankfully, the same isn’t true for the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED’s battery.
Indoctrinating friends to the church of Chaewon
This is a joke, in case that wasn’t clear. That said, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is perfect for showing off your current K-Pop obsession to friends, family, and what-have-you.
The large screen makes it easy to showcase photos and other media. Say, you prepared some sort of presentation, you can easily face the screen to the person you’re speaking with and still control it using the keyboard.
It’s top-notch for consuming media too. That huge display is perfect for watching (and sharing) fancams or whatever shows or movies you’re currently into. The Harman Kardon speakers are okay, but if you want a more immersive experience, I suggest you use earphones – wired or otherwise.
Bottomline is, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a great screen for presentation and media consumption. And the fact that you can fold it makes it easier to bring around wherever.
Oh and much like ASUS’ other laptops, at least in the Philippines, the package comes with a nice carrying pouch to keep the thing protected.
Big (screen) things coming
ASUS wasn’t coy in saying that this 17-inch foldable display is a sign of bigger things to come in 2023. If you’re into big screens, you can expect ASUS to deliver more of it soon.
Personally, using the 17-inch screen was such a revelation for me. I’m lowkey hoping we get a similar implementation for a ZenScreen – ASUS’ own mobile external display.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
At PhP 219,995, the Zenbook 17 Fold OLED isn’t for everyone. And only 100 units will be sold in the Philippines. If you want to be on the cutting edge of tech and are inclined to have the notoriety of owning a truly one-of-a-kind device, this is certainly for you.
Naysayers will say it isn’t a practical purchase. That’s true. But practicality isn’t the point. The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is a showcase of ASUS’ commitment to experiment and push the limits of hybrid laptop form factors. What you have here is a first generation device that feels a lot more polished than it has every right to be.
The Zenbook 17 Fold OLED is also available for purchase at 0% interest with up to 12 months of installment over at Home Credit.
Every unit comes with ASUS Platinum Warranty. Any physical damage within the first year, ASUS will cover 100% of the labor cost and 80% of the parts replacement cost of the repair.
This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines.
90 days with the Galaxy Z Fold4
A three-month affair with Samsung’s high-end foldable
The first time I laid eyes on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4, it felt like seeing a friend whom you know has gone through several character developments.
It’s not a love-at-first-sight scenario unlike what struck me when I saw the Galaxy Z Flip3. Despite having a marvelous time using the Fold’s predecessor, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of having a long-time affair with this foldable smartphone.
So I gave it another try — 90 days, that is. Just like that hilarious reality series brimming with loathsome personalities.
On the first month of having the Galaxy Z Fold4, I treated it like a partner that I’m becoming acquainted with. I thought of it as an ex-lover who got better, trying to win my heart again.
The first thing I did was personalize it to my liking. I ordered a case from China that would make me happy while using the device while keeping it protected from scratches and dents — if it accidentally slips.
Using it bare, you can feel that the device is lighter than its predecessors. True to the company’s claim. It’s like a classic tale of shedding a few pounds and increasing your worth. The Fold is more attractive when it’s lightweight.
Yet somehow, it didn’t feel safe and secure in my grip. It’s slippery, too massive in my tiny hands, and still felt fragile despite proving its immense durability over the years.
A smartphone with an almost US$ 2000 price tag is certainly delicate, no matter how you look at it.
With the phone case I bought, the Fold felt heavier but it gave me assurance that it was protected from anything that might break it.
Arm and eye candy
I’ve brought the Galaxy Z Fold4 to meetings, events, and conferences. Every time I whip it out of my bag, I pique the crowd’s curiosity.
The Fold4 isn’t a shiny new toy anymore. But it bedazzles anyone who sees it for a multitude of reasons. Expensive, a unique form factor, and surely, an innovation to most eyes.
It’s like having a partner that’s both an arm and eye candy. I enjoy the attention I get from the crowd, mesmerizing them as I showcase the Fold’s camera features.
I can take a group selfie like a regular smartphone, or prop it open and use its under-display camera. Furthermore, I used the rear camera to take a selfie, by exhibiting how the secondary screen can act as a mirror when taking photos.
The same trick can be used when taking portraits of friends and acquaintances, so they can strike a pose while giving them a glimpse of how they’d look.
Here are some photos I took using the Galaxy Z Fold4 in different modes:
The Galaxy Z Fold4 has a versatile arsenal of cameras at its disposal, breaking the notion that all features of a flagship smartphone should be used to maximize its worth.
After all, people have different preferences and usage regarding the devices they own. With a unique form factor, the Fold sets itself as an everyday device that can adapt to different situations. At least, that’s what I thought of after having the device for a month.
Days with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 got a little bit stale after the first month, seeing how I got swamped with various projects at work.
The honeymoon phase fizzled already, getting used to having the Fold with me at all times.
I’ve recognized its ability to help me catch up with work while on the go. It lets me check designs, communicate through emails and chats while power walking through fifth and ninth avenue in Bonifacio Global City. With it, I can also monitor my platforms through its big screen.
Occasionally, I use it to play SimCity — a game I play to train my decision-making skills by becoming a mayor of a made-up town. The device offered plenty of screen real estate to give me an overview of the game. However, I couldn’t say the same for other titles.
Some would enjoy having the bigger screen on a portable, versatile device as they play graphics-intensive and action-packed titles. I saw some tech creators do it. Not me, though.
It allows me to have a tighter and firmer grip on my device as I smash my thumbs against the display. The Fold4 required me to spread my fingers apart to support the device when playing games.
Entertainment on the go
While I have qualms regarding playing games on the Fold4, the same cannot be said when watching films and TV shows. With its lightweight form factor, it’s easier to hold with one hand when watching videos on the go.
But if I get exhausted, I can prop it up and fold it halfway so it stands on its own. It’s a much smaller screen real estate, but it’s manageable to watch on, especially when you don’t have any phone stand that can support the Fold4’s size.
Lasts for quite a while
For what it’s worth, I’m elated with how the Fold lasted me throughout the day. It didn’t give up on me on days when I’m stuck running around the Fort, traveling between cities, and being out and about.
Most reviewers picked on the device’s battery and “slow” fast-charging, but seeing how I’m the peak, multi-tasking average user — it’s still enough. It could’ve been better, that’s for sure. Especially for days when I leave in the morning and back home at almost midnight. Halfway, I would need to recharge my device.
But truth be told, nowadays, people bring power banks and carry their cables and adapters in case they find sockets to charge their devices on. Besides, the Fold is barely a device you bring along for long days of work outside — it really just isn’t it.
After spending two months with the Fold4, I found it difficult to keep using the foldable smartphone as my lifestyle changed.
I can only keep up with using it when I’m handling commitments to my work and my sports team. I’ve been using the device as a work notebook in most cases. From tracking down my meetings, hopping on zoom calls at the nearest Starbucks cafe, and catching up with important messages.
As I put more focus on being an athlete, it was challenging to bring the Fold to my training. It doesn’t fit my armband, and it’s heavy for my belt bag and hydration vest. I felt it will impede me from reaching new personal records.
My last race, which was held in Timberland Heights, didn’t give me the opportunity to use the Fold4’s impressive set of cameras.
I had wished it was there with me. To capture my favorite moments of triumph and victory over a grueling race course. But I didn’t since the device wasn’t meant for rugged activities.
As I ended my 90-day stint with the Galaxy Z Fold4, I’ve had epiphanies regarding the device and of course, myself.
It wasn’t meant to be
The Galaxy Z Fold4 wasn’t meant for me and the person I’m becoming, no matter how much I enjoy its features and unique form factor.
It’s like a lesson of learning how to cherish the people we come across. We might be able to delight in the experience of having them with us for a moment in time, but our paths only cross for a short while.
It wasn’t even a “right device, wrong time” situation. It’s simply a case of not being my GadgetMatch. Think of the relationships you’ve had in the past. The connections you’ve outgrown. The people you left behind because you weren’t aligned anymore.
That is my case for the Galaxy Z Fold4. It’s a fleeting affair. A companionship that harmoniously blended into my life for three months. That is until I decided to leave my comfort zone and pursued what really makes my soul jump.
I don’t intend to bring it into the new chapter of my life. But if my path moved once more and we crossed paths, maybe I can take it for another time. Maybe, third time’s the charm. Or maybe, it’s an experience that I will fondly recall in the months to come.
Who knows? The future is uncertain and that’s what makes life exciting. C’est la vie.
Have a vivo Christmas!
vivo is making Christmas a little merrier
Ho ho ho.
It’s the most beautiful time of the year.
And Filipinos celebrate it like no other.
We get together with friends, colleagues, and family.
There’s plenty of merry making, gift giving, and food. Copious amounts of food.
If you haven’t picked out a gift yet for your loved ones…
Or yourself… We’re totally cool with self-love here….
Then you’re watching the right video. Especially if you’re after getting a smartphone…
And for a wide range of budgets at that.
You see, vivo has tapped us to show-off some of their best releases this year.
So some members of the GadgetMatch team got together to do just that.
vivo V25 series
Let’s start with the V-series. Specifically, the vivo V25 and V25 Pro.
This is Vincenz. He spent the most time with the vivo V25.
And has taken many, many photos with it.
Plenty of them at night and in low light.
Which is what the vivo V25 series is great for.
And imagine the possibilities, especially when YOU go out to meet your friends and family.
But that’s not all the V25 series is good for.
If, like MJ here, you adore being the center of attention.
The vivo V25 Pro is a great match for you.
You see, it has this unique feature called Photochromic 2-point-O design.
It’s a feature unique to the V25 series where the back panel shifts colors.
You can even add a Christmas touch to it by doing this.
Naturally, that’s not all there is to the V25 series.
The V25, for instance, has a power-efficient chip.
So you should have no trouble using it from sun up until sun down.
And when you do need to charge.
You can juice it up rather quickly.
It’s a trait it shares with the vivo V25 Pro.
Which charges even faster.
Plus these have other features too, that you’ll surely enjoy even long after the holidays.
The vivo V25 series is available now at these prices.
But if these are outside your budget range, you could check these out.
vivo Y35 and Y16
This lovely couple Andre and Apple have in their hands…
The vivo Y35 and vivo Y16
Andre here reviewed the vivo Y35.
He says the phone is fast enough for daily tasks and games
And on the gaming part, it helps that its RAM can be extended by up to 8GB more.
If you need more storage space for shows, movies, and whatnot…
The storage can be expanded up to 1TB via microSD.
It also doesn’t hurt that the phone actually looks nice.
And like most vivo phones, It charges fast and won’t easily die on you.
Oh and it also has decent cameras for capturing precious moments with friends and colleagues.
Basically, the vivo Y35 gets the job done with a few extras here and there
And then there’s the vivo Y16 that Apple spent time with.
Like the Y35, it should last you throughout the day.
It’s a phone that handles the basics.
Whether that’s your daily regular usage.
Or even some light gaming on the side.
And for a phone at its price range.
It looks pretty darn good.
These are also up for grabs now at this pricing.
Whatever kind of smartphone you need. vivo has you covered at every price point.
And you’re sure to have one that performs well…
Takes good photos…
And looks so. Damn. Good.
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