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:

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:

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.

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

The art of printing moments that you can hold onto

With the instax Link WIDE, I remember it all too well

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Memories are fleeting.

Apart from music, photos, films, and anything visual that has a moment imprinted on it can remind us what we once experienced.

Whether it’s the shriek that your friends made when you cracked a joke, or that lingering stare between two people head-over-heels in love. Or even the mundane hours passing by captured in between. And the little things that brought you joy and made your heart warm like a cup of coffee on a rainy day.

Looking back at moments I once savored twists a knot in my heart. Sometimes, it’s heartbreaking to fondly remember the past. But it’s a great reminder that I can still feel and that I experienced something blissful in my life.

If you’re wondering why instant printers are still out and about in a digital age where all your photos are stored on the cloud or shared in social media, that’s precisely the reason why this novelty is very much alive.

It’s a piece of memory that you can hold on to — transporting you back in time even when your mind can’t remember it all too well. It’s proof that you were there.

To holding something that never changes

Though I look like someone who can move on easily after a day or two, I’m highly sentimental and I have difficulty letting go of the past.

Life used to be unfair to me when I was growing up and after surviving an abusive relationship seven years ago, I lost memories of myself. Photos of friends from when I was studying, digital clutter that showed off my interests, and stuff that made up who I was. I lost them all.

Perhaps it’s the reason why I’ve owned and printed memories — unbeknownst to many — through the devices I’ve owned and reviewed in the past few years. Be it from an ink tank printer, a mini instant printer that uses an instax film, or from an actual instant camera that prints the moment captured right away.

I love holding onto memories because it’s something that never changes, no matter how many years have gone by. So, when Fujifilm unveiled the instax Link WIDE — I was giddy like a little kid on a Christmas morning, ready to open his presents.

The only present that welcomes the past

Living in the present means letting go of the past, and throwing away your worries of the future. But time and time again, it’s nice to remember the moments that shaped who you are today.

The instax Link WIDE helps bridge the present and the past by allowing you to print memories stored in your smartphone. It’s just like the instax mini Link I reviewed two years ago.

I could probably tell you the same things I wrote in my story before, but the experience is still quite different.

This instant printer is boxy and humongous when compared to the mini Link. It’s sturdier, thicker, wider, and heavier. Of course, the size is the prominent change but what I like is being able to print in wider, landscape-oriented films.

Pretty much like the ones from Polaroid, souvenir stamps, and postcards.

Navigating the device is simple and easy if you’re familiar with instant printers. Press the power button on the front — which has instax’s logo printed — to turn it on. On its back, you can find the film door where you can place your landscape-oriented film.

Upon shutting the film door, the printer takes out the excess film. So, be careful about opening the door once more lest you consume one of your films. A grim reminder that sometimes, doors from the past aren’t meant to be opened.

Any way you want it

Like I said before, the instax Link WIDE prints photos stored in your smartphone. To do that, you just need to connect the printer via Bluetooth and by pairing it with a dedicated app.

Through the app, you can determine how many films are still available and the battery capacity of the device. Apart from the status of the instax Link WIDE, the app allows you to play with your prints.

You can use the simple print mode to churn out the photo instantly, or you can use an editable template print that lets you edit the colors and text of various templates. Yes, you can also create your own templates if you want them to be more personal.

Frankly, I’m not fond of these templates since they look tacky and don’t fit my aesthetic. But of course, there are people who’d love to use stickers and other templates especially when they’re in a hurry to print their memories. To each his own.

There’s also a collage print that helps you put together two images in one print. Then, there’s the Sketch, Edit & Print option where you can write or draw something on the image, and customize it to your liking before you print it.

When past meets present meets future

Clicking the settings icon can brings you a plethora of settings that you’d want to maximize. For example, the Print Mode options are handy for toning the prints.

Using instax-Natural mode can give your prints a saturated yet classic look. Meanwhile, instax-Rich mode will print out photos with deep and immersive colors.

There’s so much to unpack here, but thank heavens, it’s not feelings. Nevertheless, I’m glad the dedicated app works seamlessly this time around. Compared to previous apps developed by Fujifilm for their instax cameras and printers, which were buggy and unstable.

In a way, the instax Link WIDE was able to bridge the memories of the past and the stability and connectivity of the future in the present.

A rare experience to remember it all too well

During the course of my experience with the instax Link WIDE, I was preparing for a holiday reunion with my almost-decade-old friends. People who helped me crawl out of that depressive rabbit hole.

Not wanting to let go of the only moment we will be able to come together after being away for two years, I printed my favorite moments with certain people and embedded a QR — which can hold voice clips, hidden messages for friends, and even a location pin to direct people.

I’m not very open with how I feel unless I’ve poured myself twelve shots of tequila. The truth is I’m afraid of the future, seeing the holiday reunion as the only time that my friends and I will be complete again.

Some of us are flying in different countries for work, some are settling down with that dreamy white-picket-fence life, and some are migrating for a better life.

I couldn’t fathom the idea of not being able to hug these people again. And I’m afraid that I won’t even remember these weirdos that helped me get a second leash in life. Times like these make me appreciate the novelty of instant printers and the personalized features they bring through technology.

That even a decade after, when my wrinkles started to show and I’m in my late 30s, I get to remember how life wasn’t unfair at all. That I was surrounded with bliss and love, and that what I was looking for was right in front of me all along.

Is the instax Link WIDE your GadgetMatch?

If you love taking photos and printing pieces of memories to hold on to, then your highly sentimental nature would love the instax Link WIDE. It doesn’t hassle you, unlike instant cameras where you have to frame it properly and take a shot perfectly as to not waste a film.

Aside from being overly sentimental with your memories, the instax Link WIDE also makes for perfect gifts or you can use the prints as souvenirs for your intimate gatherings.

There are unlimited possibilities, you just have to be open to making new memories — and collect them so you can savor them someday.

The instax Link WIDE retails for PhP 8,999 and comes with a free pack of film. There are two colors to choose from: Ash White or Mocha Gray.

The instant printer is available for purchase at Instax flagship stores in Lazada, Shopee, wonderphotoshop.ph, and at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide.

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Accessories

How to incorporate “Red” in your daily life

For when you love it in burning red

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It’s Red season, folks!

Whether it’s the red cups on Starbucks or “Red (Taylor’s Version)” streaming everywhere, Red is an iconic color that everyone should celebrate, own, and wear periodically.

But wearing Red isn’t limited to the month where Autumn leaves are falling like pieces into place. It’s a color that you can wear throughout the year, as long as you use it sporadically and pair it with the right colors.

Red smartphone

If you’re burning Red, you can always shop a smartphone in that blazing color. Throughout the years, it was Apple that consistently painted their phones Red. Specifically called Product (RED) — a colorway that, when purchased, helps Apple fund AIDS and COVID-19 research.

In case you didn’t know, Red is a company that partners with iconic brands to raise awareness and funds, fighting HIV/AIDS in several countries in Africa.

Red smartphone case

Red can sometimes be overbearing, especially if it’s your phone’s colorway. If you want Red to be worn occasionally, then you can opt for a smartphone case so you can always switch it up to pair with your mood.

The safest bet would be the Product (RED) silicone case with MagSafe from Apple — it’s not as striking as the usual Red, but enough to warrant attention without looking pompous.

Red scarf

Ah, the iconic red scarf that Jake Gyllenhaal kept because it reminded him of Taylor Swift’s innocence. It’d be really hard to forget someone wearing a red scarf; so luscious and prominent, it will bring back memories that anyone will remember all too well.

If you’re out for a fashion statement this holiday, draping a red scarf around your neck can help you stand out especially when you’re wearing neutrals or an all-black ensemble. Let the All Too Well Knit scarf be your statement piece.

Red wireless earbuds

There’s also a statement piece that doesn’t scream attention but captivates someone subtly. For instance, the Huawei FreeBuds Lipstick edition — painted in a sexy Red, housed in a lipstick case that will make women want one to pair with their actual red lipstick.

Red smartwatch band

Some people can’t stand attention. One reason why most people shy away from loud and head-turning colors for their outfits.

However, you can make Red an accent through a smartwatch band. For example, the Apple Watch Series 7 is compatible with Product (RED) smartwatch bands: Sport Band, Sport Loop, and Braided Solo Loop.

SEE MORE: How to wear red: 3 stylish pairings to try

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Accessories

Garmin Venu 2S: Reclaiming my female body

Pacing myself

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I’ll say it now and I won’t say it again. I have a hard time sometimes feeling like my body is my own. There’s some trauma, societal pressures, and toxic ideals of who I want to be.

Regardless, this dissociated feeling towards one’s own body isn’t new or uncommon of a sentiment. And, it can be extremely tough for women on top of all the other physiological qualms we go through.

But, having found Garmin Venu 2S, I feel better attuned to my female body. I finally feel and know I’m slowly working towards being healthier.

Reclaim your body

Because it is ultimately yours. Not everyone feels alien in their body but, it’s sad to say, most women do. So much of our body is policed not just by society but also, ourselves. And, honestly, I personally suffered immense alienation towards my body. It was ultimately refreshing to come across smartwatches that zeroed in on what I wanted and needed to know more about myself.

See your health not just “feel” it

In most of my perceptions of health, I often just ignore the quiet inner workings of my body. Healthiness used to be any time I wasn’t sick. Not being sick doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. But health can incrementally lessen the chances of you getting ill.

With the Garmin Venu 2S, I customized health and fitness goals. From drinking more water to being more active to sleeping more hours, the smartwatch not only tracked my progress and my health but also nudged me to pace myself into a healthier lifestyle.

And with it, you can not just feel better and be better, you have the watch to let you know you ARE doing better!

Have your feelings validated

The Garmin Venu 2S has everything for 24/7 health monitoring. From heart rate with alerts, a read on your fitness age, advanced sleep score and insights, respiration, Pulse Ox3, all-day stress, hydration, menstrual cycle, to pregnancy tracking. The watch has it all for you—making sure it gives you everything you need to know to achieve a healthier lifestyle!

It feels good to be validated by the data you encounter from the Venu 2S, especially with their highlighted feature for Women’s Health. The menstrual tracker and pregnancy tracker are a big help. IT validates what you’re feeling and soothes your worries when you get overwhelmed with worry.

I say that from someone who often forgets when her period is and weeps before it happens. I’m not insane, I just needed a watch that validated the pain and sadness that would inevitably ensue.

Plus, if you’re having a tough time articulating what you’re feeling to a health professional, the watch has a Health Snapshot feature. This lets you record two-minute sessions that log key health stats and generate a report that can be shared with your healthcare provider.

Listen to your body

Owning your body is one thing. Listening, knowing, and caring for your body is another. And, we must admit, the latter is often the hardest part. For me, it became clear that I had absolutely no idea I wasn’t taking care of myself as much. When I got the watch around my wrist and saw the near in shambles metrics of my health, I worked on it.

With the Body BatteryTM, I learned my energy levels throughout the day so I could adjust appropriate tasks. I got to scheduling workouts, rest times, and sleep.

I took Venu 2S’s breathing techniques to calm down when it showed horrid stress levels. I even went out for long walks to hit my daily step goals and forced myself to hydrate more.

For workouts, the watch felt easy to use and navigate through over 25 built-in sports apps with enhanced strength training profile and muscle map graphics. It’s even got an on-screen animation workout feature that guides you through specific workouts on-screen. Which, not going to lie, inspired me to hop back into working out more.

Serve looks

I mean, come on. Just look at it! The Garmin Venu 2S is a gorgeous watch. If you disagree, you have to get your eyes checked.

Jokes aside though, on top of the stunning AMOLED screen and yaaaasqueeen design, you can personalize it with apps and watch faces. That way, you bring your personality and aesthetics. If it’s yours, make it look like yours!

Feel even a little bit safe

It’s not women’s or victims’ jobs to counter garbage people with obscene methods to keep themselves safe. It is not their job nor should they be blamed for the hell they survive or go through.

As a woman with a ton of painful trauma from dangerous cases, I will say that the Garmin Venu 2S’s Incident Detection feature felt comforting.

I know this feature isn’t something revolutionary or new. But, it’s something some girls might feel is helpful when needing to find a way to discreetly reach someone in an endangering situation.

Fit for a Queen

If you’re looking for a smartwatch to keep track of anything and all, the Garmin Venu 2S is it. Just, drop the fru fru and get it because it just delivers.

From health to fitness to wellness, it’s just the perfect smartwatch for all my lovely ladies out there. Oh, I almost forgot to mention how the watch’s battery life lasts quite a while saving you from having to worry about the next soonest use.

I can’t find the words to describe how this watch has genuinely helped me know myself, my body, and my womanhood.

The Garmin Venu 2S costs PhP 22,995 in all Garmin Brand Stores, official online Garmin stores (Lazada, Shopee, Kinetic.com.ph), and the Garmin PH Viber Community.

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