Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G review: What’s different?

Spoilers: Not a lot



We thought the Huawei Mate 30 Pro was one of the best Android phones in an ideal world. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G is pretty much the same.

We already shared our extensive thoughts on the Mate 30 Pro in a previous review. If you want the full low-down, you can open this link on another tab or watch the video below.


What I want to focus on here is what’s different.

Give me more flagships with Vegan Leather

Glass looks great, sure. But it’s smudgy and no matter what marketing spin any brand puts on how tough their glass is, the prudent thing to do is slap a case on that expensive flagship for protection. That’s just how glass feels — slippery, fragile, and an accident waiting to happen.

Vegan Leather feels like something else entirely. While it’s probably smarter to also slap a case on the Mate 30 Pro 5G, I am less inclined to do so.

The vegan leather feels great on my hand. Not having a case also keeps the footprint of the device very desirable — a sweet spot for a phone with a 6.53-inch display.

You also don’t sacrifice the wireless charging feature if you opt for vegan leather over glass. Perhaps the cost to mass produce phones with vegan leather is much larger than glass. That’s a topic for another day.

But if  we didn’t have to consider cost and production, I would take vegan leather over glass any day if only for how it feels and the way it looks.

5G just isn’t there yet

It’s honestly great that we’re getting plenty of smartphones with 5G capability. But 5G itself — that’s a bit trickier. A robust 5G infrastructure just doesn’t exist yet.

If this whole 5G business is flying over your head, perhaps our explainer can help. Go ahead and open that on another tab too for later reading.

Of course we tested what the speeds would look like.

What you don’t see here is how we were barely getting 5G where we were located. We tested this alongside other media and they even had to step out just to make sure they’re getting the best reception possible.

I don’t know about you, but that just doesn’t seem practical. We’re taking steps toward 5G, but don’t buy any phone only because of its 5G capabilities.

Better camera performance?

We’re glad to say that’s not the case with the Mate 30 Pro 5G. Much like most of their flagships ever since partnering with Leica, the Mate 30 Pro 5G produces images that will likely appeal to a lot of eyes.

Just a few weeks ago, DXOMark gave the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G a high score of 134 for photos on a smartphone. At the time, it was the highest rated, beating the non-5G variante by two points.

So we did what anyone with a smartphone would do with their cameras.

We used it to take photos of food.


Took some snaps during an event.


And we also used it to take photos for the ‘gram. Lots of them. Here are a few shots with portrait mode.


Here are some using wide angle.


Some worm’s eye view shots.


We also wanted to see differences in normal, HDR, and portrait mode. It’s staggering!


Selfies are a hit or miss even in daylight. And it’s probably best to steer clear of portrait mode altogether when taking selfies.


Portrait mode at night at a busy street looks cinematic if not for the little-too-aggressive smooth effect.


Here’s a night shot and zoom combo for you.


Night shots can be tricky.


But with an ample amount of patience, they can look pretty darn good.


Here’s a selfie at night just for kicks.

Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of these shots look like they’re social media ready. Personally, I think some of the colors come off too strong, but when it works it really does.

Also, you’re not always gonna get the best shot right away. This is true for any camera. Smartphone or otherwise.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you feel like we glossed over so many things, that’s because a lot of it, as I mentioned earlier, had already been discussed in our Mate 30 Pro review.

No, this one still doesn’t have Google Mobile Services so I imagine you have to fall into a very specific subgroup to even want to consider this phone. Those would be:

  1. You’re a loyal Huawei user. Brand-love yay! Can’t fault that.
  2. You’re able to hold on to your older phone so you can keep phone-cloning apps when they get updates.
  3. You’re really into the whole aesthetic of the photos it takes.

Personally, number two alone is giving me a massive headache. I don’t want to have to think about these things when I’m supposed to be using a “smart” phone.

That said, Huawei CEO Richard Yu says he feels they’re close to getting regularly used apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to their very own AppGallery. They’re also looking at other solutions in the meantime.

For Google’s part, they have already filed a permit with the US Government to be able to continue working with Huawei. Should that move forward, Yu told the media during a press briefing that their devices are ready to push the Google Mobile Services update immediately.

However, these are all “ifs” for now. Until these things actually happen, I would hold off on buying this phone.


vivo v29 5G review: Aesthetic phone with aura light to match

It’s content creator-friendly!



vivo V29 5G

vivo just officially launched their newest mid-ranger, the vivo V29 5G, and we’re lucky to get dibs before the release date.

I was initially excited to review this because of the stunning design, and I’d love to see the improvements of their Aura Light technology — a clever and trendy feature that set vivo apart from its competitors. 

For two weeks, I brought this phone along with me to my different activities. Below are some of my favorite things about it.

Celestial-inspired colors

One of the things I love about phones today is how brands are stepping up when it comes to design. Of course, we’re all for the specs and performance, but having a phone that fits your aesthetic is a big plus nowadays especially in the time of reels and Tiktok.

vivo clearly understood that assignment.

Starting from their color-changing back design from vivo V23, vivo’s phone releases have become much more interesting with their well-thought-of designs.

When I got my hands on the vivo V29 5G, I immediately loved the Magic Maroon color. I brought it along with me to Niki’s concert at the Mall of Asia Arena, and it matched my maroon pink floral outfit. 

The other variant, Starry Purple, looks okay for me in photos. It looks pretty and elegant in person, though. I would’ve wanted it to be fully purple, but it makes sense — this colorway is more gender neutral.

The Innovative Starry Craft design overall looks very premium, making vivo V29 5G a great gadget match to any stylish outfit.

Wearing a chrome nail polish would be a total plus!

Improved Aura Light technology

vivo V29 5G Aura Light 2.0

vivo V29 5G Aura Light 2.0

vivo’s exclusive Aura Light system was first introduced in vivo V27, which I had the pleasure to review as well. The new vivo V29 upgrades this feature with the Aura Light 2.0. It finally has the Smart Color Temperature Adjustment, which lets you adjust the color of the light depending on the surroundings or personal preferences. It’s giving warm glow.

This feature is content creator friendly. No need to ask your friend to turn on their phone light for additional lighting.

Here are some sample photos using the Aura Light technology:

Crisp camera quality


When it comes to the camera quality, the vivo V29 5G takes crisp and clear photos even up to 10x zoom. 

Group selfies are great as well. With the 50-MP AF group selfie, it can accommodate a large group without compromising the quality and with more room for the background.


The portrait camera enhances the features of the subject, and with the aura light, the photo is ready to upload without the need for enhancement. 

Selfie mode is pretty clear too.

One of the things I also noticed, though, is that it takes long for photos to process, especially when taking photos in low light.

Stunning night shots

vivo V29 5G

The vivo V29 5G delivers sharp photos even during nighttime. 

During Niki’s concert, I took some low-light indoor photos and I was impressed with the night camera.

Look at these audience snaps from when Niki sang my favorite heartbreak song, “Oceans and Engines.”



The ocean of lights were breathtaking, and the vivo V29 5G gave justice to it. Thanks to the camera’s super night mode, vivo V29 5G solidly captured the phone lights, and they didn’t appear blurry.

The phone also features an Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology which reduces blurriness, ensuring quality low-light photos. Here’s another sample photo from a night music festival I went to:

It also takes decent concert videos, but the 10x video zoom is just okay.

80W fast charging

The best thing about Android phones for me is the consistent innovation when it comes to fast charging. The vivo V29 5G provides 80W fast charging, perfect for those who are on-the-go, or those who are just impatient (like me). I immediately got an additional 15% battery charge in as fast as 5 minutes.

Other new features

Another notable thing about vivo v29 is the additional eye protection features for both hardware and software. The phone has reduced blue light and screen flickering to ensure safe usage.

This is great news if you’re thinking of availing this phone for your loved ones, especially the older ones.

Apart from these features, vivo V29 5G sports a 120 Hz 1.5K AMOLED 3D Curved Screen, giving users a comfortable grip and great screen quality for binge-watching. It has 8 to 12GB RAM for fast video editing, as well as occasional gaming, and can handle up to 27-36 active apps in the background.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Overall, the vivo V29 5G is a great gadget for those who love content creation, and those with the habit of using multiple apps in a single time. It’s a great choice as well for people who loves using their phone as accessory to match their OOTD.

The vivo V29 5G is now available in the Philippines in two storage options: 12GB+256GB, priced at PhP 24,999 and 12GB+512GB for PhP 26,999. It’s available in vivo’s official stores, Lazada, Shopee, and TikTok Shop.

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Redmi 12 review: Just the basics

Decent-performing, nothing exceptional



Redmi 12

The ever-worsening local economy and inflation rate makes us think from time to time if we will have to settle for less — not by choice but by necessity.

When it comes to smartphones, opting for an entry-level device might still be worth it, as their overall quality and suite of features have improved throughout the years to accommodate users.

Still, that depends on what you’re getting — which then depends on how much time you spend on your phone and how heavy you use it.

Xiaomi recently released the budget Redmi 12 which, on paper, can give customers a reliable budget option. But is it still worth it when put to the test?

First, here’s a quick overview of its specs and features:

  • MediaTek Helio G88 processor
  • Up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB internal storage
  • MIUI 14 based on Android 13
  • 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast-charging
  • 6.79-inch FHD+ DotDisplay, 90Hz
  • 50MP main camera, triple-camera rear
  • 8MP selfie camera
  • IP53 dust and splash resistance
  • Side fingerprint sensor

Watch our Redmi 12 unboxing.


New budget phone alert! #Redmi12

♬ original sound – GadgetMatch – GadgetMatch

Don’t expect it to be 100% smooth

When we first turned this device on, it took a little while for everything to get configured and finished, which is quite expected from a phone in the budget segment.

It’s decent everywhere else. Physically, the phone has a good feel to it when held. The interface looks neat and non-confusing. The screen has ample brightness and good colors to watch videos on your desired streaming apps.

You can switch from one app to the other, browse casually, and take photos or videos without experiencing major issues, but still, don’t expect everything to be smooth.

Redmi 12 | YouTube

For instance, the product does say being able to watch videos at up to a 2460 x 1080 resolution, but I recommended sticking to basic full HD as the playback becomes glitchy and delayed when a higher resolution is selected.

Moreover, try to avoid having several apps open. As this is a phone marketed to the Gen Z audience, it’s tempting to use it and have a ton of social media apps open in one go, from Facebook to TikTok to Instagram to X.

Naturally, there will be links that lead to external apps from time to time, like clicking an ad that leads to Shopee or Lazada, but just do your best to keep the usage as low as possible.

For productivity? It depends

It’s best to keep it simple when using the Redmi 12 for tasks. Besides, there are tablets and laptops if you really want to be “productive.”

Granted, it can handle light tasks such as typing on Google Docs or editing a photo on a free app, but if you are going to open a video editing app and piece together high-quality videos with captions and add music or audio, it will take a toll on the phone.

If anything, it’s good that the phone still kept usual features such as a 3.5mm jock for listening to important audio, and a hybrid slot for extra storage.

Gen Z-tailored cameras

As expected, the Redmi 12’s camera setup includes a 50MP f/1.8 main shooter along with an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera for the staple 0.5 selfies nowadays. There’s also a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera which works well to capture details up-close. In front is an 8MP f/2.1 selfie camera.

There’s a 50MP mode to take higher-quality photos with the main camera, although that will consume higher storage space.

The key here is to match the phone with sufficient lighting. It’s not ideal when used indoors; the captures simply lack brightness, sharpness, and vibrance and the results become noisier.

On the positive side, you can take this outdoors to get okay-quality shots at parks, malls, and everywhere else where the lighting is fine.

Do note that you will need to be extra steady when taking photos as it takes a little time to record what’s on the viewfinder. It does not work well in capturing moving subjects as well when zoomed in.

The macro lens, on the other hand, is hit or miss depending on the subject.

At the very least, 0.5 lens still work well in taking good landscapes or sceneries. The night mode feature also allows for more light to come in for your outdoor photos in low-light conditions.

You can also shoot full HD videos at standard 30fps, for your next TikTok or IG reels upload.

Take it easy on gaming

Redmi 12 | Wild Rift

Oftentimes, people expect much from entry-level devices when it comes to gaming. Surprisingly, the Redmi 12 performed decently on space fantasy RPG Honkai: Star Rail and 5v5 mobile MOBA Wild Rift, provided that you put the settings to low or medium.

Funny enough, the loading screen for Honkai: Star Rail, which is set to the best quality, took a while to finish and was laggish just as expected, but after that, you’re all good. Just keep in mind to give this phone an ample amount of rest after.

Also, since this is just a budget phone, you will have to come up with your own “gaming” or “do not disturb” mode. That’s either setting the phone to flight mode and connecting it to Wi-Fi instead of data, or disallowing all other apps from running in the background. Basically, it’s every little thing that saves up RAM space while you’re gaming.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

As mentioned, getting a device that suits you still ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.

If you just want a good everyday perform to work so you can communicate and entertain yourself while stuck in traffic or during your free time, the Redmi 12 is a decent choice.

But if you need a high-performing device without having to break the bank. Well,  just have more patience and save up, because there are better lower mid-range choices waiting for you.

If you’re really in an “I-need-a-phone-now” predicament, it doesn’t hurt considering the Redmi 12. But we have put everything on this review to make you think twice.

The Redmi 12 starts at PhP 7,999.

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Apple iPhone 15 Pro + 15 Pro Max Review: Huge Leap Forward

There’s more than just the Titanium Design



As you may already know, Apple has released their Pro-level iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max flagships.

A lot of you say they don’t look very different from their predecessors last year — but there’s more than meets the eye.

Aside from the new colors and a tougher Titanium Design, there are hardware and software features you’ll exclusively find on the iPhone 15 Pro series.

Curious to know what the hype is all about?

Here’s our very, VERY in-depth review of the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Max!

P.S: This is currently our second longest review video in our YouTube channel!

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