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Huawei Vision S Series Review

Huawei’s first attempt at Smart TVs

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Started from making phone switches and now we’re here. Huawei marks another expansion in their product portfolio with the Huawei Vision S Series — their first Smart TV.

This is a time when we usually see a P-Series smartphone from the company. However, we’re all familiar with their mobile struggles. So it’s wise that they’re also betting on the other devices in their portfolio to bring in the dough.

At a glance, what can you expect from the Huawei Vision S Series? Here are the works: 4K, 120Hz panel, four (4) 10w speakers, near bezel-less design, two models: one 55 inches and one 65 nches, and extra functions like MeeTime and more.

We have a lot to go through but let’s start with a closer look at the TV.

The power plug is on the left side. 

On the right side you’ll find: USB-A, three (3) HDMI 2.0 ports, one eARC for soundbars, ethernet port

The Huawei logo is on the lower middle portion of the TV. Barely visible when you’re watching.

Up top and behind is the magnetic slot where the camera connects for MeeTime, video call functions.

Here’s what it looks like with the camera connected.

And the very Smart TV-style remote control.

As a TV 

Extra functions aside, the Huawei Vision S Series is first and foremost a TV. So how does it perform in that department? Pretty darn good.

We put it through the paces both in binge-watching series, enjoying an Ultra HD 4K movie, and playing a bunch of video games. These are your pretty standard TV interactions and we’ll break them down for you.

Gaming 

A big chunk of my time with the Huawei Vision S Series was used playing on the PS5. Since the input is only HDMI 2.0, we only got 4K 60hz consistently but it was more than enough.

I clarified this with Huawei since the Vision S Series is being advertised to have a 120Hz panel. In this regard, the 120Hz didn’t kick-in because of the input method as the PS5 requires the HDMI 2.1 and a compatible game for the 4K 120Hz to kick in.

That said, the resolution and refresh rate was consistently 4K 60Hz throughout my entire gaming experience. Besides, I don’t really play games that require or give you a distinct advantage when having a faster refresh rate.

One of my most played games is NBA 2K21, that’s a pretty busy screen with plenty of movement both from the players on the court and the different elements like the scoreboard and the audience. I didn’t leave me wanting and it did away with the sort after-image effect that I get on my personal seven-year-old TV.

Vision S Series

It also handled games like My Hero One’s Justice 2 well. This is an arena fighting game with very kinetic pacing and splash of colors. It was quite a treat landing combos and seeing Deku’s shoot style attacks in video game form on a 55-inch screen.

Vision S Series

But what was most impressive is how it was able to deliver the truly immersive sound of Returnal. Sound design is one of the primary positives of the game and paired with the speakers of the Vision S Series, it was almost like you’re actually inside the game.

The Vision S Series uses Four 10W Speakers with 1L sound cavity to achieve this effect. Typically, you’ll want huge TVs like this to be paired with a soundbar for that optimum audio experience. But the Vision S Series is, and I cannot stress this enough, truly one of those TVs that do not at all require a soundbar for most room scenarios.

The speaker is so damn good that I would sometimes switch the TV to just a speaker function and connect my phone while I blast my K-Pop and Anime Soundtrack playlists as I work. It truly helps me focus especially with that very warm, surround sound that feels like a tight embrace.

Netflix, chillin, and YouTubin’ 

Gaming is fun and all but sometimes you just want to kick-back, relax, and chill to one of your favorite movies. For me that’s Spider-Man 2. It’s a comfort movie for me. Sometimes, I’m not always on the hunt for new content and watching something familiar helps you relax.

It’s even better when you’re able to experience the movie in its full Ultra HD 4K glory. The sequence below is one of most iconic fight scenes in superhero movie history and it was just such a delight to see and hear it on the Vision S Series.

Vision S Series

While most other people were buzzing about the K-Drama Vincenzo, I instead started watching Sisyphus: The Myth. It’s just my kind of show with it being Sci-Fi and of course my main reason for watching: Park. Shin. Hye.

Vision S Series

The TV just elevates the way the series is shot and presented. The action scenes look great, the background music is exhilarating, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record — watching on the Vision S Series TV is truly an enjoyable experience.

Naturally, I had to enjoy some music videos on it too. I’m almost embarrassed to reveal how many times I watched “Kura Kura” by TWICE on this thing. This is one of TWICE’s most well-shot and well-composed music videos and seeing my bias Momo on such a big screen like this almost feels like I’m in the same room with her. One can dream.

Vision S Series

Meanwhile, “마.피.아. In the morning” by ITZY with its beat-heavy, hard-hitting sound just makes you feel bad-ass as it blasts from the TV.

Vision S Series

If you’re curious how I was able to access Netflix and YouTube, it wasn’t directly on TV. These were all through the PlayStation 5. This presents one of the challenges of the Vision S Series.

Harmony OS 

The TV is running Huawei’s own HarmonyOS. It’s the same OS that we will eventually find on their other devices especially for the upcoming Huawei P50 Series. This means it still doesn’t have access to Google Mobile Services and by extension, the Android TV play store.

Vision S Series

So what do you get? There are still plenty of native apps at your disposal. Naturally, there’s the Gallery, Huawei Video, Huawei App Gallery, and MeeTime which will discuss more later.

Vision S Series

Here’s a look at all the native apps installed when you first fire-up the TV.

Vision S Series

Huawei Video is the default video service

It has a fair amount of content that you can browse through. One of the ones highlighted is What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim which is a fine K-Drama to binge-watch. There are plenty of other titles as wall ranging from more K-Drama, some Philippine TV series from ABS-CBN, and more selections of Thai and Chinese series.

For some reason though, the titles don’t play in Full HD by default. You’ll have to adjust it but it appears it’s something you only have to do once as it learns your settings and sticks with it when you jump to other series.

As you can see, the interface is also pretty clean. It occupies only the bottom half of the screen with very clear text and highlight prompts.

Vision S Series

Playing the part of YouTube natively on the Vision S Series is Daily Motion. When you search for content on Huawei Video, it’ll pull up results from Daily Motion which has a fair selection of content as well.

K-Pop performances videos from M-Net are uploaded here. The exact same ones you’ll find on YouTube.

Vision S Series

AppGallery, more apps

The AppGallery is still a little limited in terms of apps for the TV. But that’s to be expected. This is, after all, Huawei’s first foray into this kind of device.

Vision S Series

So how do you play other content? Personally, I own a Google Chromecast. It connects to TV through one of the HDMI ports and the USB-A port. With it, I can stream content from my phone to the TV.

An NBA addict, I am subscribed to NBA League Pass and most mornings I just have games on as white noise. I fire up the app on my phone and cast it on the TV via the Chromecast.

Vision S Series

The drawback? My Chromecast only supports 1080p at 50Hz. It’s not the smoothest viewing experiences out there, but it’ll do.

Vision S Series

The good news is that Huawei, in the Philippines at least, is bundling the Vision S Series with an OTT box. What is that? It’s essentially a Smart TV box that also connects via HDMI which gives you access to all the Android TV apps you’ll want and need. So you get the best of both worlds: Harmony OS and Android TV.

One thing that Huawei needs to address though is the hand-off from HDMI inputs. On most smart TVs, it’s pretty seamless to switch from one input to another. That’s not the case with the current layout.

Also, it doesn’t always automatically detect freshly turned on input sources. For instance, if I have the TV on and fire up the PS5, it doesn’t always switch right away to that input source. It’s a hit or miss. This isn’t my experience with most other Smart TVs that just kind of knows which input source I want.

It’s a minor inconvenience at most and one that can be addressed easily through a software update.

Beyond TV functions 

MeeTime 

One of the things truly unique about the Huawei Vision S series is that it comes with a magnetic 13MP video camera. This unlocks video calling capabilities. Specifically, MeeTime.

Vision S Series

Initially, this function really just felt gimmicky. I mean, why would anyone do a video call using a huge ass screen. It wasn’t until I tried it myself that I realized the benefit, especially in a world riddled with a pandemic that is still forcing most of us to stay indoors.

Vision S Series

You see, I haven’t seen my family and most of my friends for over a year now. I live alone and technology is really the only way for me to stay connected with them (which, to be frank, I am not doing a good job of). But the combination of the huge and good screen as well as the superb audio on the Vision S Series made it seem like I was in the same room as the person I was speaking to. It’s a truly remarkable experience and one that I find invaluable given our current situation.

Vision App, One Hop

It’s not a smart device if it doesn’t come with an app. So, true enough, this TV comes with an accompanying Huawei Vision App. It unlocks several other functions that you normally wouldn’t have with most other TVs.

Other than being a substitute for the remote, there’s also Input Source that’s truly helpful when you find yourself needing to type something on the TV. With it you can also tweak the settings, view the photos on your gallery, and mirror the content on your phone.

The content mirroring works even more seamlessly for gaming. If you want to play mobile games on the bigger screen, you can do so with One Hop projection.

All in all, these are all very nice-to-have functions that you may not need all the time, but it’s good to know that they’re there. It’s never a bad thing to have plenty of tricks up your sleeve.

Is the Huawei Vision S Series your GadgetMatch?

A TV is a big purchase for anyone, for any home. It’s not a decision that one takes lightly. Naturally, one of the biggest considerations is pricing. Here’s the deal with the Huawei Vision S Series:

Pre-order period is from May 7-21. Every purchase is up for free home delivery until May 31, 2021. Pricing are as follows:

Huawei Vision S 55”

Retail Price: PhP 36,999
Pre-order Price (Cash Straight): PhP 32,999
Includes: FREE Smart Box and Microphone (Worth PhP 6,998)

Huawei Vision S 55”

Retail Price: PhP 56,999
Pre-order Price (Cash Straight): PhP 49,999
Includes: FREE Smart Box and Two (2) Microphones (Worth PhP 9,997)

It’s worth noting that the FREE Smartbox will be available until September 30, 2021. This is key information as you’ll want to make sure you grab the TV with this freebie.

You can purchase these through Huawei Concept Stores, major home appliance stores like Abenson and All Home, or online through the Huawei Store, Lazada, and Shopee.

Vision S Series

For the price, along with everything you’re getting in their bundle, the Huawei Vision S 55” is a steal. The whole combination of everything discussed above for that price is pretty darn good value for the centerpiece of your home entertainment system.

Granted, you’ll have to deal with using two remotes: the one for the Vision S Series and the other for the Smart box. But overall, that’s a small inconvenience for the overall audiovisual quality as well as extended smart functions that you’re getting.

It’s by no means a perfect TV. Personally, since I do a lot of gaming on the PlayStation 5, I’d want one that has HDMI 2.1. But those TVs all cost north of PhP 50,000. And if you’re spending that much for a large screen, you’re better off with other brands. But for something like the 55-inch bundle, it’s already a pretty darn good purchase.

Laptops

Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen review: 4 months after

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Huawei MateBook D 15

The work from home and online class setup had us all adjusting to this new normal. You’ll see a lot of inquiries on Facebook groups about LED ring lights, microphones and midrange laptop recommendations. Huawei’s MateBook D series is among the ones you’ll see that has gotten a lot of popularity for this purpose.

It makes perfect sense, since back when I first reviewed the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen, I had a lot of good things to say about it. After four months under regular use, there are quite a few more that I came to realize about this device that I think you guys might find interesting.

It can get things done

A quick refresher on its specs, the D 15 2021 we have with us has an 11th gen Core i5 with the Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. 

It’s no question, if you’re just going to use this for online classes or regular zoom meetings, the D 15 probably won’t even break a sweat. However, I consider my power requirements to be somewhat on the heavy side for my photo and video editing needs.

What surprised me was I didn’t find myself having to go back to my main editing workstation and have actually done more work on the D 15 than I expected. It may not be as fast, but it also wasn’t drastically slower.

Plus the fact that this has a more accurate display with its 100 percent sRGB color gamut, the 15.6-inch LED display is perfect for my daily Photoshop use.

Portability also applies at home

Huawei MateBook D 15

Working from home for a long time and looking at the same thing over and over, not having to be able to go to places, had many of us bored and unmotivated. I personally always had that urge to look for another spot just for the change of scenery.

Thankfully, weighing only 1.56kg, it gave me the flexibility for me to place it in different places. I didn’t worry that the surface wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Battery life

The capability to place the D 15 on different places wouldn’t really matter if you’re still stuck near an outlet because you’re constantly required to plug it in. Fortunately, the 42Wh battery of the D 15 keeps us away from the charger for around nine to ten hours before needing to plug it back in.

Huawei addresses issues and gives regular updates

Huawei MateBook D 15

During its time with me, the D 15 had quite a few driver and software updates. Along with one of the updates came a fix for an issue I had with its fingerprint scanner where it frequently had trouble recognizing my fingerprint. While it shouldn’t have had that issue to begin with, the regular updates are an indication that users aren’t abandoned and issues are in fact being addressed on Huawei’s end.

I also learned from Huawei’s website that the MateBook series has a Windows 11 upgrade rollout plan. That’s something nice to look forward to.

Undesirable camera angle

Huawei MateBook D 15

Sadly, not everything is praise worthy on the D 15. The hidden web camera, while innovative, came at the cost of an awful camera angle. Since it is placed on the keyboard, it is also pointed upwards.

Using it, you’ll mostly see an unflattering image of yourself often emphasizing the size of your nostrils.But if you decide that you’d want to use a laptop raiser for a more comfortable viewing angle, the camera won’t be pointed downwards. That’d make it barely usable.

A generous availability of ports

Huawei MateBook D 15

Being the boxing fan that I am, the recent Pacquiao fight had me subscribing for a pay-per-view service. The full sized HDMI port on the D 15 was heaven sent. During the fight as I was able to output the fight on our dated TV set. It let us to enjoy the stream on a bigger screen.

The availability of USB ports on both sides also let us to choose where certain devices can be plugged. We didn’t worry about hitting our external drives with our mouse or fitting multiple USB devices side by side.

Multi-Screen Collaboration

I did not find myself using this feature as much. However, having this capability eliminated the need for me to grab a USB cable to transfer files from my phone. A quick tap of my phone and I was ready to transfer photos I recently. It’s great for some quick editing before posting on Instagram. 

Is this still your GadgetMatch?

Huawei MateBook D 15

When I think of the D 15, freedom is the word that comes to mind. It gives so much freedom to work anywhere with its portability and battery life. You get freedom to do what you wish with it with its capable hardware. There’s also freedom from wires with the Multi-Screen Collaboration. And even freedom to plug various devices with its great selection of ports.

It’s a no fuss kind of laptop that just gets things done. Its sheer simplicity is what makes it a great device.

If you’re interested in getting the Huawei MateBook D 15 2021 11th Gen with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD, you can now get it for PhP 48,999.00.

 

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Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Review: Best Android smartwatch yet?

But is it any better than the Apple Watch?

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Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch4 just recently — which is the successor to 2019’s Galaxy Watch Active2.

Now with the power of a BIA (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) via its Bio Active Sensor, the Galaxy Watch4 can simply measure your body composition with just your two fingers and wrist.

But is it any better than the Apple Watch?

Watch our Samsung Galaxy Watch4 review now to know more.

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Accessories

Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200-S1: Intuitive and portable podcasting rig

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AU-AM200-S1

I am a fan of quality and affordable gear. Modern manufacturing techniques and advancements in technology gave us a vast selection of gadgets in all shapes and sizes.

With the gaining popularity of live streaming, the demand for good audio interface and microphones is growing. The brand Maono, relatively speaking, is a newcomer that offers affordable audio products.

What we’ve got here is the Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200-S1, which is a portable podcasting gear. This is the very first product I’ve got the chance to try from this brand and I’m liking it so far. This bundle is ideal for someone who is just getting into podcasting or a musician looking for a cheaper alternative.

What’s in the box?

AM200 Podcast Console

At first glance I actually thought it was a miniatured DJ turntable because of the two mini platters, but those are just volume knobs for the mics and music. It is a 3-channel mixer-type audio interface with five outputs. The two inputs are designated for mics and/or instruments and the other input is for music. Three outputs (3.5mm TRRS) for smartphones are available so you can stream simultaneously on different platforms.

A separate main and monitor output is available so you can listen to what your audience hears. Note that all the inputs and outputs are for 3.5mm jacks so if you are planning to plug in an instrument directly using a PL (1/4 inch) cable, you will need a 3.5mm adapter.

Plug and play

You can connect it to a computer with the USB A to C cable that is included. It doesn’t require any drivers, so, just plug it in and it’s good to go. It should be compatible to most DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) for music recording. There is a 3-band EQ along with a “REC” volume knob which is like a “Send” knob to feed the audio to the devices it’s connected to.

Two crossfaders control the monitor volume and echo level. The “monitor” crossfader controls both the volume level for the (main) output and the monitor (output). I wish they installed separated levers for each one to control them independently.

This is also the case for the mic volume knob, it controls both the levels of mic 1 and mic 2. It would’ve have been handy if there are separate knobs for each but I think they did this design to fit in a compact box.

For outdoor streaming and recording

At the middle portion, you’ll notice along the LED indicator level signal is a battery indicator. Yes, this is also battery powered which makes it suitable for out of home live streaming, if you prefer creating something for your viewers elsewhere. You can easily recharge the batteries with the USB C cable.

There are also audio sample pads, buttons for sound effects and pitch shifters.

AU-PM360TR Microphone

AU-AM200-S1

This condenser microphone does not require phantom power. It runs below 5V, through the XLR to 3.5mm cable, unlike the industry standard condenser microphones. With its cardioid polar pattern, it will be more sensitive to sounds being captured in front of it.

Earphones

It comes with a pair of in-ear earbuds with a very long cable, enough to cover the distance for a typical on-desk live streaming. I think that the sound quality would be more appreciated by most modern pop listeners who like a lot of bass. Because it does deliver that low-mid thump.

Tripod

Out of the box, the microphone comes attached to the mini tabletop tripod. The microphone is detachable to the tripod, but if it is used handheld, it will pick-up a lot of hand noise. So, it is better to leave it on the tripod.

Other accessories included are: XLR to 3.5mm cable, two 3.5mm TRRS cables, USB A to USB C cable, and a windscreen cap.

Performance

For podcasting, it is very easy to use. It’s what the AU-AM200-S1 is made for and they did a good job. The microphone delivers a clearer and louder output compared to built-in mics in smartphones/laptops or headsets. You can control the volume of music accompaniment easily with the wheel knob, whenever you want to highlight the music or the voice.

Plus, the sound samples like the applause, laughter, cheering etc., are nice additions for some impromptu segments in your streams. You can also record your own samples by pressing the “loop back” button and assigning to any of the blank buttons available.

Since the microphone does not require a phantom power, the output is weaker compared to classic condenser microphones. The sound quality is good nevertheless.

AU-AM200-S1

For music recording, you can record your instruments with it on your preferred DAW. I connected my guitar to my digital effects processor with a 3.5mm headphones jack going to the mic input of Maono console. I noticed that the 2 mic inputs have high gain levels because my guitar was already clipping with the volume knob on the AM200 console at around 10 o’clock.

Usually, I set the volume on my guitar effects unit on almost full when I am recording with a different audio interface and mixers. But with the Maono AU-AM200-S1, I only had to set the volume of my guitar effects at 50 percent. This is good because it doesn’t have a designated gain knob. Just watch out for clipping- if it happens, you may want to lower the volume from the source.

I recorded a few short audio samples to demonstrate how the Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200-S1 handles recording. Please excuse my singing voice.

Mic only without echo(onboard) – vocal

Mic only with 50% echo(onboard) – vocal

Mic only with 100% echo(onboard) – vocal

Mic only without echo – vocal and guitar

Mic only with post-editing – vocal and guitar

Guitar through a digital effects processor

In a full band mix – Recorded vocals and guitars (both acoustic and electric)

Fully recorded demo

 

There are two functions that I have a few comments on:

AU-AM200-S1

Denoise — This is their “smart noise cancelling” feature that reduces background noise. It does its job as a noise gate, but unfortunately, you cannot adjust the settings (threshold, attack, range, etc.). Depending on how loud the ambient noise is, the mic sometimes gets a stuttering sound when this feature is engaged. If the room is quiet enough, there shouldn’t be any problem.

Music Only — This feature attempts to minimize the vocals in the music that you are playing, but similarly to the denoise, it sometimes affects the mic audio quality. I suggest looking for backing tracks of the songs you want to sing during your live stream beforehand.

Is the AU-AM200-S1 your GadgetMatch?

AU-AM200-S1

The Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200-S1 bundle is a usable and functional piece of gear. I see it as a bring-it-anywhere, all-in-one podcasting kit. It would have been more convenient (for me) if they included ¼ inch inputs for mics and instruments. Although, I guess it would kind of defeat its portable nature because most PL cables are thicker and heavier compared to the 3.5mm cables included in this bundle.

Pricing and Availability

The Maonocaster Lite AU-AM200-S1 retails for $109.00 and is available for purchase in Amazon, Shopee, and Lazada. You can check out their other products at the official Maono website.

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