Her GadgetMatch

Huawei P20 review: Pink and perfect?

Here’s what this phone can do

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The announcement of the Huawei P20 got me excited over something seemingly trivial when it comes to smartphones: color. The phones that were launched in the heart of Paris looked stunning and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them.

Of course, I’ve been repping the Pink Gold gradient P20 for the past few weeks and here are my thoughts on Huawei’s newest flagship device.

Look and feel

Obviously, I adore this phone’s color. A quick look at my everyday stuff will show just how well this phone fits into my life and matches everything I own.

It’s not the easiest phone to photograph and depending on the light it may look less pink than I’d like. But, I love how subdued the color is and I’m continually amazed at how nice it is. I have, on more than one occasion, stopped mid-task to shoot flat lays with it just because I feel compelled to capture how pretty it is in photos.

I would go as far as saying that this, to me, is the prettiest phone out there right now. Sure, the popular Twilight gradient is pretty too, but this subtle blush is just so perfect.

I always say that if you’re going to hold on to something for the most part of your day, it might as well be something that’s in a color you love — and I love pink. I sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank Huawei for releasing a flagship in this hue and I hope more brands would follow suit.

The gradient back is made of glass — so you still have to be careful — and the phone’s edges are made of aluminum. The handset feels as premium as it looks, but it’s a little slippery to hold. For butterfingers like me, make sure you get a case for this beaut.

Unlike the Pro version, this device has only two cameras on its back. There’s also no audio port, unfortunately, but the phone comes bundled with an adapter for its USB-C port, so problem solved.

Notch my cup of tea

Like most 2018 flagships, one thing that it does have is a notch.

Well, unless you don’t want it there (which I totally didn’t). In a feat of tech genius, there is now a switch to hide the distracting notch. One tap in the settings menu and it goes away.

What I do love, however, is even when I turn that blasted notch off, the area beside the notch is still used for notification icons. It’s a great use of space, to be honest.

Unfortunately, while the notch does go away, there are still a few screen optimizations that could be done. Instagram Stories, for example, get cut out up top on the P20’s 5.8-inch display. But, this is nothing an update can’t cure; I just hope it comes soon.

Speaking of displays, the P20’s LCD display is bright and crisp, even if it isn’t OLED (which is what most flagships like the P20 Pro have). Oh, and this phone has a built-in “Eye comfort” setting which blocks out the blues on your screen so your eyes are less strained, which isn’t a new feature but is one I really appreciate nonetheless.

The P20 also has a fingerprint sensor in front, which is totally a Huawei thing — only they put fingerprint scanners below the display on near-bezel-less devices nowadays. Some people complain that the sensor is too low on the phone for a comfortable thumb scan, but I certainly don’t mind. At the end of the day, I still enjoy this placement more than when the scanner is on the phone’s rear — that, or I just have very agile thumbs. Either way, the P20 has face scanning for the non-believers, so that should solve all the thumb problems. It also works pretty well; I’ve honestly forgotten I have a lock code on my phone on most days.

Performance

This phone runs on Huawei’s most powerful processor (Kirin 970) and this means all app run smoothly on this phone — from Instagram to Snapchat, Google Maps, and even The Sims Mobile.

Battery time lasts me almost a day, which is a feat for most phones I touch as my day involves heavy social media use, photo- and selfie-taking sessions, plus video calling on a daily basis. Despite having a glass back, there is still no wireless charging on this thing but that’s something I can forgive as the device has fast charging. It takes around an hour and a half from zero to 100 percent on Huawei’s SuperCharge, which is fairly quick.

Unfortunately, this handset is only splash proof so yes, you shouldn’t be going swimming or showering with the phone which is a shame, because pool selfies are definitely a thing.

The phone runs on EMUI 8.1 on Android 8.1 Oreo which is the latest Android operating system out since the phone was announced. Everything is quick, snappy, and smooth — just the way I like it.

Rear cameras

Now, on to the phone’s highlight: the cameras!

There are two rear shooters on this device: 12- and 20-megapixel cameras, one of which is a monochrome sensor. The third lens is reserved only for the P20 Pro.

The real magic happens with artificial intelligence. Literally, you can just point and shoot on this thing and the camera does everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Point it at a person and it automatically turns on portrait mode. Point it at food and food mode is activated. It even identifies documents and automatically converts into a document scanner!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: What if I don’t want the phone deciding for me? Well, that’s so 2017, and also, tapping “x” at the bottom of the screen as the phone identifies the subject reverts back to normal mode on the camera.

Here are a few sample shots from my camera roll:

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What’s more amazing is the P20’s low-light capabilities. On night mode, it can take four-second handheld shots that don’t even look like four-second low-light handheld shots. You have to see it to believe it:

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You know what a good smartphone camera means, right? Better Instagrammable photos! And that is precisely what I posed for here:

Candid shot on portrait mode. This went straight to my IG.

And here:

Bokeh cutouts aren’t perfect but they do a great job at it, even with challenging lighting. This made it to mg IG, too.

And even here:

Totally shot with very low light. Don’t worry, this will be on my IG soon.

Selfie Camera

For your selfie needs, a 24-megapixel camera can be found in front. There’s the normal photo mode and a dedicated portrait mode that enables the bokeh effect, 3D lighting effects, and a beauty mode with levels zero to ten. I didn’t even bother with the 3D lighting effects (yes, it’s Portrait Lighting all over again) because I didn’t really see much use for this on the iPhone so why bother on this phone. The beauty mode, on the other hand, is a different story.

Yas, slay 🔥

Although settings past five can sometimes make you look like a wax figure, the secret is knowing when to stop. With the perfect beauty mode level, this phone can make you look fresh no matter the circumstance.

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Unfortunately, the rear cameras’ low-light capabilities don’t extend to the front-facing camera as dark selfies aren’t the most detailed and are sometimes pretty hazy. Group selfies also aren’t the best on this camera, especially with the bokeh on. One too many times, a friend’s face was blurred out which is totally not good for the squad. You’re definitely better off getting someone else to take your group photo.

Is the Huawei P20 your GadgetMatch?

If you read up until this point of this particularly long review, you must really like the Huawei P20. And honestly, so do I. 

How a phone looks and feels in my hands is something that’s very important to me, and the P20 ticked that particular box and even more. I’ve held on to this phone since the moment I got it and I still enjoy using it. Admittedly, there are still improvements that can be made on this device, but it’s nothing I can’t forgive for what I get: a solid rear camera, capable overall phone that’s pretty and with a premium build, and good beauty mode.

If your priorities are in the same place, you may want to consider getting this phone. In the meantime, I’m going to get a case for mine. I feel like I’ll be using this for a while.

Accessories

Xiaomi Haul: Spring Edition

Xiaomi is not just about smartphones

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Xiaomi is primarily known for their value-for-money smartphones that sell like hotcakes during online flash sales. But like CEO Lei Jun said in an open letter recently, Xiaomi is more than a hardware company; they are an innovation-driven internet company.

Much to my excitement, the Chinese company started opening physical Mi stores all around Asia in recent years selling not just smartphones, but also products ranging from smart home tech to toys to fashion items.

Fast forward to 2018, Xiaomi now has a whole ecosystem of products from startups and companies that they funded. In the last few months, I’ve acquired a few of them from trips abroad and the mall so now it’s time to unbox and start using them.

Amazfit Pace, CNY 799 / PhP 6,200

Xiaomi produces its own fitness trackers but they look like, well, a fitness tracker that doesn’t look good on most people’s wrists. Amazfit Pace is also one of the smartwatches available at Mi stores, and arguably one of the better looking ones. It has a heart rate sensor and GPS built-in, modes for running, walking, biking, and more. It promises 5 days of battery life, and you can even sync your data through the Strava app.

The box comes with the watch, user guide and warranty information, a micro-USB cable (sigh), and a charging dock.

Functions are honestly quite limited for it to be a full-fledged smartwatch; there are no other apps available for download right now since it runs on its own OS. And, it still looks very much like a sports watch so it’s not something I would wear everyday to work or to my brother’s wedding. But if I were to get really serious about tracking my activities and fitness goals, I’d still rather wear something that looks like a watch and not a hideous band of rubber.

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Her GadgetMatch

SCUBAPRO Aladin Sport Matrix review: Your first dive computer

Is it time to invest in diving gear?

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When you hang out with a group of hardcore technical divers, you can’t help but feel the need to own every single high-tech dive equipment they use. Everything just seems like a necessity.

So, when it came down to actually diving into gear investment (pun intended) for my upcoming trip to the deep south of Maldives, I had to hold off the urge of blindly purchasing whatever I thought was cool. For a fairly new advanced diver such as myself, I needed something that’s practical and affordable that suited my skills and circumstances. And so, the hunt for the perfect dive computer began. After some research and consultation, I found myself the owner of a new SCUBAPRO Aladin Sport Matrix.

Upfront: Bulky, but adaptable and functional

The Aladin Sport is pretty straight to the point. It’s a puck-style dive computer with a metallic silver faceplate. It has an easy-to-read display and a two-button menu system to navigate and select through its various functions.

The unit comes with an elastomer strap fitting for any type of suit you dive with. But, I’ve personally opted to forgo the strap and replaced this with a bungee strap so it’s easier to put on and take off. Thankfully, the Aladin allows for that as the strap pins are easily removed which means you can have your bungee looped into the four holes without buying any special adaptors.

When it comes down to functionality, research had to be done. All dive computers factor in depth, bottom time, and gas mix to calculate decompression time so it’s important to consider your dive habits and the usual situation you’ll be operating in.

For context, a quick background of my diving habits: I usually yo-yo with an underwater camera on hand but despite this, I’m very frugal in air consumption versus my colleagues. As for the circumstances: I was preparing for dives in the deep south of the Indian Ocean, home to some of the most beautiful marine life visible 30 meters deep — why it was important to have a computer that allowed me a generous amount of time to enjoy.

As I readied for my first dive, the local dive master/instructor, taking note of the watch, approached me and said, “That’s the best one.” And true enough, the Aladin Sport Matrix was very generous at extreme (but allowable) depths. It didn’t require me to have to do a ridiculous amount of safety stops to decompress.

The Aladin Sport is a single gas dive computer that leverages on SCUBAPRO’s adaptive ZHL-8 ADT MB algorithm. This predictive multi-gas algorithm adapts to each diver’s varied conditions, tried-and-tested based on millions of dive hours by divers everywhere. This means you can customize the algorithm based on your age, experience, and physical condition.

With a maximum operating depth of 120 meters (394 feet) and supporting up to three gas mixes, the Aladin Matrix is perfect for when your skills progress to more advanced diving.

Bluetooth Connectivity

My favorite has to be the Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity function. This enables you to log your dive profile data straight to your computer, phone, or tablet. Simply download LogTRAK on Android, iOS, MacOS, or Windows, connect to your watch via Bluetooth, and you’ll get access to a slew of dive information, including total dive time, average depth, temperature, and even calories!

Affordable + Practical

Priced at around PhP 25,000, the Aladin Sport packs a punch in features. It has replaceable batteries, lasts about 300 dives, and is equipped with a backlight. It’s water-activated so it starts calculating as soon as it hits the water.

To be honest, going puck-style wasn’t really the first choice. I hung out with divers equipped with high-end consoles like the Shearwater Perdix and had been wired to think that despite my newness, I’d eventually get to that level anyway. As a recreational diver, though, it wasn’t really advisable to spend more than PhP 30,000 for a reliable computer.

Is the ScubaPro Aladin Sport Matrix your perfect dive buddy?

It’s truly exciting to finally get started with your gear haul as you progress as a diver, but it can get overwhelming. For those looking for a great starter and eyeing further advance in their diving in the near future, this unit may be a great GadgetMatch.

By this point, you should’ve already figured that all divers are different. Some consume gas quicker than others, some are more susceptible to decompression sickness, and as such may need to stick to more conservative dive computers (regardless of experience) for safety. The SCUBAPRO Aladin Sport Matrix covers more than the basics for the best possible price-point and is highly recommended for your first foray to dive tech.

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Gaming

Special Edition Predator Helios 300 looks awesome in white

The gaming machine is a looker!

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Today, Acer announced a slew of new devices. From powerful gaming computers to updated notebooks, fans gathered as the tech brand unveiled products at the annual #NextAtAcer event in New York.

Out of all the gadgets and gizmos showcased, one thing caught everyone’s eye. This is the special edition Predator Helios 300.

It comes in a stunning all-white aluminum chassis with gold details — something you don’t see a lot of with gaming laptops.

Of course, it’s not all looks. Specs have been updated, too. It’s powered by the latest Core i7 processor with up to 16GB of RAM (expandable to 32GB) and 512GB SSD storage.

This thing is also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a 15.6-inch display with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Other than those changes, it’s still the same powerful machine released last year.

Regional pricing is yet to be announced for this bad baby. In the meantime, let’s just ogle at this beautiful, clean, and crisp-looking exterior.

As if it doesn’t get any better, Acer also unveiled matching white accessories.

A gaming mouse and headphones to match the whole mood.

Just look at that. I can’t stop staring, and I’m sure you feel the same way.

This is definitely this year’s best-looking gaming device so far. Take my money, Acer!

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