New Year celebrations have come and gone, my dear millennials, and with that comes fitness resolutions which (historically) don’t even last as long as Kim Kardashian’s social media hiatus (Yes, Kim K. is back on Instagram and maybe it’s time you up your selfie game, too).
Make this year different. Drop that phone and go outside to exercise; lose those unwanted pounds and finally work on those dream abs. In 2017, the only thing you should be gaining are likes on your latest #Fitspiration IG posts!
So, how do millennials, self-proclaimed digital natives in this social media jungle, begin a journey to a healthier lifestyle? With a fitness smartwatch, of course!
Working out and working it!
I spent most of December trying out the Huawei Band, a budget-friendly fitness smartwatch. I figured that at the very least, it will serve as a constant reminder (on my own wrist) of a healthier lifestyle I’m supposed to be living.
As it turns out, the Huawei Band was very good at reminding me about my lifestyle. It vibrates every time a fitness goal is reached (with virtual fireworks!), or even as a reminder to stand up and stretch after sitting for too long. The smartwatch connects to your phone via Bluetooth and may be operated through the Huawei Wear app. The app automatically calculates the number of steps needed per day according to the user’s height and weight. It also measures the distance walked, steps taken, and calories burned.
The Huawei Band is water resistant, so neither snow nor rain nor heat nor sweaty workout activities will be a problem. The watch goes on automatic sleep mode after a few seconds; it comes alive at a tap — or several, as the watch isn’t that sensitive, which may be a good thing considering the many random movements of an exercise routine. Battery life lasts a good three to four days without needing a charge.
Naturally, the fitness band should be on you at all times to track your every movement, including your time in bed (sleep is also monitored). Though unnatural at first, having a watch on all the time is something I got used to after a while. Pretty soon, it became convenient, as it left my hands free while still allowing me to get my phone notifications. But, although it’s great that the watch syncs with your phone and receives alerts, the Huawei Band does not allow you to answer calls or read full messages.
The Huawei Band retails in the Philippines for only PhP 2,990 or $80 for the rest of the world, a very affordable price tag compared to other fitness smartwatches. The small, simple gadget has a straightforward purpose and it stays true to that. The Huawei Band packs a punch when it comes to basic fitness functions, but as can be expected for the price, it has limited extra features.
GadgetMatches and matching outfits
When one thinks of fitness bands, one thinks of those rectangular plastic things that go around your wrist and come in bright colors. While I find those cute, I also find glitter glow-stick bracelets cute. Both, however, are not proper accessories to cocktail dresses or half of the things found in every girl’s wardrobe. The usual problem with these fitness trackers is that most of them are targeted towards men; they usually do not have the aesthetic we women need.
For something that’s supposed to be on your wrist 24/7, I couldn’t understand why most of these fitness bands looked, well, way too much like fitness bands.
In this aspect, the Huawei Band won out. The huge circular face is reminiscent of analogue watches, and the white plastic band looks clean and simple — easy to match with any outfit, no matter what the occasion.
After a month of usage, I now have a better gauge of my fitness activities and the calories I’ve burned along the way. I still don’t have abs (it’s coming!), but I am proud to say that not once did my outfits look unmatched.
Meitu V6 Review: A luxury selfie smartphone
The selfie machine you’ve probably never heard about
If you’re on this article, then you probably enjoy taking selfies. If not, then you’re probably just curious about this phone you’ve never heard about. If it’s still not that, then I don’t know what you want but I’m going to tell you about the Meitu V6, anyway.
What is this phone?
The V6 is a luxury smartphone by Chinese company Meitu. Remember that Sailormoon phone that went viral a little while back? Yes, the same makers.
Angled as a selfie powerhouse like the rest of their smartphones (yes, folks, this isn’t their only smartphone), the Meitu V6 is a quad-camera handset designed for those who have rich tastes. How rich? The back of the phone is covered with hand-stitched leather and it has 18K gold rivets!
Iconic because of its unique design, the Meitu V6’s shape is a nod to dedicated selfie cameras of old.
While most may find the V6’s irregularly shaped form factor to be odd in today’s sea of notched, borderless releases, this handset remains true to its origins. Its looks don’t make sense only to those who are unaware of selfie camera beginnings. Unfortunately, that means most people are clueless.
Why have I never heard about it?
Online, there isn’t a lot of material on the V6, and most of them are in Chinese. Most people have never heard of this phone because they’re only widely available in China and Taiwan. It’s fascinating how almost no one knows about this smartphone in the global tech scene save for a selfie-loving handful. Honestly, this may be the most mysterious phone I’ve reviewed to date.
If you’re an app-using makeover-loving gal though, you’ve probably heard of Meitu’s MakeUpPlus. The world-famous makeup and beauty app is a staple for those who like editing apps. With a rating of 4.6 on iTunes, this is not some small-time app.
True enough, Meitu started with photo enhancing software. They then eventually ventured on to beauty apps (more on that later) and it’s this that they’re most famous for. Eventually, in 2013, the first Meitu selfie smartphone was born. Fast forward to today, they’re still making those phones and this particular one is extra AF.
How it feels in my hands
There’s no going around it: This is one big and clunky phone. In no way is it sleek and subtle. Its unique shape and bright color make it a definite eye-catcher. But, that’s the whole point. The Meitu V6 is designed to be seen. It’s a statement phone.
Similar to designer bags that demand showcasing and attention, each V6 even comes with a matching leather case that you can carry around as you anticipate compliments on your new posh device. The handset comes in four different colors: deep blue, gorgeous emerald green, pink one that (gasp) I’m not really fond of, and this one in screaming tangerine. Although I wasn’t such a big fan of this color to begin with, I must say it definitely grew on me.
Admittedly, the V6 isn’t as comfortable to hold — it’s a little too big and heavy for one of my tiny Asian hands. It does have that one-hand feature which makes the display smaller for easier reach with one hand, but who really uses that?
This trendsetter phone did not shy away from bezels (notched phones, take note!). Although side bezels are tiny, the top and bottom bezels are obviously there — and there’s nothing wrong with that. The top bezel houses cameras, and the bottom bezel contains capacitive buttons: the home button with a fingerprint scanner, back button, and recent apps button.
The phone’s highlight
Of course, this phone’s highlight comes in the form of four cameras, two up front and two on the back. Both sides feature 12-megapixel primary shooters with 5-megapixel secondary shooters.
But, enough with the phone specs. All that really means is that it can take photos like these:
But, aside from that bokeh goodness brought about by the wide aperture (f/1.8) on this phone’s camera, it has a mode that allows for solid depth effects, which you can adjust from zero to 100 percent. The following samples were taken at 60 percent depth effect.
There’s also another built-in camera setting called Movie Mode. What can it do? Guess.
This mode makes everything oh-so-cinematic by changing the format of your photos. It comes out as wider with those movie-like black bars on the top and bottom (a.k.a. “letterboxing” in film). Depth effect is also automatically activated on this mode, and so is the post-process focusing feature.
Selfies, editing, and more!
The thing about the Meitu V6, aside from having identical shooters on both sides, is that the camera features on each side are basically the same. This is unlike other phones which dedicate certain functions to only one set of cameras on one side of the phone.
That being said, the beauty mode can be activated from either side of the phone. It can do this:
The good old beauty mode does a fine job at airbrushing, but it has the tendency to go overboard. Selfies also come out brighter — sometimes even too bright despite normal lighting. As a rule of thumb, I only go for beauty level one on this phone. But, if you want more airbrushing, you’re welcome to go up until level seven.
If that’s still not enough editing for you, a host of Meitu editing apps are pre-installed on the phone.
Aside from the number of cool things these apps can do (one turns your photos into postcards; another app, Meipai, is a short video platform), it can also perform this:
Of course, you don’t have end up a bubble gum-haired makeup diva (as shown) everytime you edit photos, but it sure is fun to know you can do fun things like this. For practical purposes, you can also tone down your makeup editing and come up with looks you’ll actually wear in real life.
As if those aren’t enough selfie features, the phone also comes with a Bluetooth shutter button. The Meitu Remote app, that’s also pre-installed on the phone, pairs the remote almost instantly and allows you to take photos or videos.
To help you find your light, the V6 has intelligent fill lights in front and two sets of flash on its rear — though who really uses a flash these days? Another plus: The beauty mode is also available for real-time video shooting.
Other things that matter
At the very basic, this phone has 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage and is powered by a MediaTek X30 processor, which may not mean anything to you (or me) but that just tells us that it’s equipped with a flagship processor and high-end specifications. This means that this phone can handle your everyday social media usage and mobile gaming. Say hello to my Sim:
The device runs on Meitu’s MEIOS 4.1 interface and runs on Android 7.0 Nougat. Unfortunately, some apps may not be compatible with the phone, probably owing to the fact that it’s not optimized for apps that are not available in China. Case in point: Snapchat crashes every time I try to use Bitmoji AR functions, which is a definite downer for my Snap game.
Despite this, the phone is snappy and responsive. MEIOS isn’t really so different from any other Android phone OS. The V6 also has a dual SIM card slot and a USB-C port for charging. Plus, It has an audio jack! Speaker grilles are at the bottom, despite the speaker-grille-like design on the front of the phone. Battery capacity is at 3100mAh which lasts me almost a day of use.
Is the Meitu V6 your GadgetMatch?
The Meitu V6 is the ultimate luxury selfie smartphone — if you can get your hands on it. This phone was created for a specific market in mind and Meitu did not hold back.
Without a doubt, this has the most detailed beauty modes and selfie-specific functions I’ve ever seen on a phone, and I love it. Looks-wise, it’s one of those devices which demand attention, it becomes more than a utility and more of an accessory, especially because you’re not assured all its functions will work outside of its native China.
This phone isn’t for everyone. And, at a price of CNY 5,099 or US$ 800, it really isn’t a device that everyone will be able to afford, even when you actually want to get it. But, if you prioritize selfies above all other things and you’re the type to make a statement with devices you own, the Meitu V6 could be a perfect fit.
Samsung Galaxy S9 guide for the selfie lover
How to get the best out of the beauty mode
The Samsung Galaxy S9 is a power-packed phone, but one great feature that is most overlooked is its front-facing camera capabilities. I’ve taken it upon myself to walk you through the wonders of what magic Samsung’s latest flagship can do to your selfies.
It all depends on what look you want to achieve. But first, the basics.
The S9 has a number of selfie modes but we’ll focus on two modes here: Selfie Focus and Selfie. Both can be found on the upper part of the camera app, when the front-facing camera is activated.
This tiny button, dubbed “beauty crystals” by one of our unboxing guests, will be your best friend. This unlocks a host of beauty filters and options that will allow you attain those flawless shots.
Now, let’s begin. On to the first look!
Sometimes, you need a no-fuss, natural-looking selfie for the times when you know you can’t be spending that much time on a selfie, but you still want to look cute.
Turn to the Galaxy S9’s Selfie Focus mode. This activates the bokeh mode which will blur out the background and make sure that you’re the center of attention in the photo. Find good, soft lighting, find your angle, and smile!
A big bright window was used in this instance, and though other GadgetMatch people were proving to be big distractions in this photo, the bokeh took care of their annoying intrusion.
Sometimes, you don’t necessarily have to up the beauty mode to take a good selfie.
For times when your face needs a little boost, we turn to those “beauty crystals!”
The same Selfie Focus mode allow for a little airbrushing. Tap the “beauty crystals” found at the bottom right of the screen and this will allow you to toggle Color and Skin Tone.
Bumping these controls up can give you a fresh, glowing face, even on days when your face is nowhere near those two things.
With aforementioned settings, I managed to take a fresh photo as I was haggardly trying to navigate my way through an unfamiliar city by foot. A little beauty mode air-brushing does wonders, I tell you.
Basic makeup look
We move on to makeup looks! The following uses the Galaxy S9’s Selfie mode.
After navigating to this mode, tap the “beauty crystals” and a slew of themed looks will appear. Tap “Basic” and adjust intensity as needed. Tapping on the tiny “beauty pencil” will also allow you to customize the settings more.
On days when you need a tiny makeup retouch, this option works best. This setting allows for a filter that makes for a subtle but made-up look. The sample shown above is me at the end of a long day — my face still looks makeup fresh because of this mode, even when I personally wasn’t.
For a more va va voom look, we turn to other settings on the S9’s Selfie mode.
Tapping each preset look will give you a fresh new makeup theme. The toggle at the bottom of the screen controls the filter’s intensity. Remember to take great care in making sure that the filter isn’t too much for your face; otherwise, you run the risk of looking fake.
After picking a particular look, tapping the “beauty pencil” brings you to even more makeup options — you can choose to change eyeshadow, lipstick, eyelashes, contouring, and more. Go crazy with the choices! And, you can even have a friend join in on the fun as the filters work for more than one person.
This is how me and Chay looked after a long day of shooting. In this photo, we’re fresh AF and makeup was definitely on fleek, which wasn’t necessarily true in real life.
Live your life on fleek with these Galaxy S9 tips. Seriously, I never thought a device could make application so easy, but here we are.
Technology, you’ve done it again.
Samsung Galaxy S9 tutorial: How to make AR Emoji
A step-by-step guide, with GIFs!
When the technological advances of 2017 brought Animoji to this world, people lapped it up. (For those uninformed in the ways of millennial technology, that name is short for animated emoji — and it’s exactly that.) All of a sudden, Animoji Karaoke was a thing — never mind how silly you look on your phone, the emoji is singing as you!
Since then, no other useless phone feature has rivaled the cute talking heads that are available exclusively on iPhones and iMessage. Until now.
Samsung’s newest flagship, the Galaxy S9, brought with it the gift of AR Emoji. Basically, you yourself are the emoji. 😱
If you’re wondering how in tech heavens this is possible, fret not. This is a step-by-step guide on how to make your own AR Emoji.
Step 1: Get to the Samsung Galaxy S9’s built-in camera app and tap “AR EMOJI” on the top of the screen.
Tap “Create my Emoji” and that will bring you to this screen. You will have to choose the gender of your emoji and the scanning begins from there. The phone will specifically request that you smile, but with your lips closed. Also, take hair and glasses away from your face because that will ruin the scan. Hold still and wait until the blue circle fills up.
Voila! You are an emoji!
Well, it isn’t really you just yet, so time to add some finishing touches…
Step 2: You can choose what face type your emoji will get and there’s a toggle bar for your skin tone.
You also have a myriad of hairstyles to choose from, pick the one that looks the best because even your emoji has to look amazing at all times. 💁🏽💁🏽💁🏽
To my delight and relief, there are different hair color choices, too!
And now, on to the outfits! There are preset looks you can choose from and certain accessories you can add. Unfortunately, you can’t mix and match the attires.
Step 3: Be the emoji!
Now that you have your own AR Emoji, just head on over to the camera, tap “AR EMOJI” and tap the emoji you created.
The phone will track your facial movements and translate them to the emoji — this just means the emoji will do everything you do! Make sure you take photos and videos of mini-you; you can do that by tapping on the shutter buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Of course, you’ll still be looking pretty silly IRL, but that is a chance you have to take. Do it for the AR Emoji!
Step 4: As if personalized emoji weren’t enough, creating your AR Emoji automatically produces a set of GIFs ready for sending. Upon creation, you will be prompted to “Save [my] emoji stickers in gallery” — the answer to that should be a resounding yes. From there, you can access your GIFs from your phone’s gallery.
And yes, you can send your cute face to anyone, no matter what smartphone they’re using. What better way to share the AR Emoji love around!
Ending this article, as I started it: With my AR Emoji GIF. Happy sending!
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