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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.

Reviews

POCO M5 review: No need to break the bank

More than just a gaming phone

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Gaming is usually an expensive hobby. Between new hardware and pricey games, it’s too common to feel broke as a gamer. However, buying into gaming shouldn’t always break the bank. If you’re a mobile gamer, the world now has options to feed your habit without feeling guilty. Earlier this month, POCO launched a new gaming smartphone for budget-conscious gamers — the POCO M5. Now, almost a month after the launch, let’s see how the phone holds up.

Big but light

Boasting a 6.58-inch screen, the POCO M5 is quite hefty. However, despite the size, the phone is a few millimeters narrower than my main driver. It’s gigantic but not uncomfortably so. Of course, size is a great aspect to boast for a gaming phone. Watching Netflix is more than enjoyable on the POCO M5.

Adding to that, the smartphone is remarkably light for its size. Weighing in at just 201 grams, it sits comfortably on my hand while I’m either watching or playing.

As for other design quirks, the smartphone does take some creative liberties behind the screen. Instead of a smooth back, the rear has a leathery texture, adding to a premium feel. Also, like the Pixel 6 series, it sports a camera island that wraps around the entire width of the rear panel. However, unlike the aforementioned Google flagship, the island doesn’t protrude as much, making for a pleasantly stable surface.

Gaming on a budget

Armed with the MediaTek Helio G99 octa-core processor, the POCO M5 is capable of holding its own weight. Besides the processor, it also has up to 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage (expandable through a microSD slot). It’s not quite a flagship, but it’s enough to get the job done.

Everyday operations — browsing, texting, taking photos — felt seamless. The smartphone never felt slow or laggy — at least during non-gaming sessions.

Unfortunately, the phone’s gaming capabilities fall a bit short from “true gaming phone” territory. While Genshin Impact (which the phone came installed with) played well, meatier games like Diablo Immortal did run into some lag spikes. Thankfully, it’s not a huge downside. Despite playing in low to medium settings, Diablo Immortal played well enough to get through an hour of unbridled gameplay.

Heat wasn’t an issue, either. After playing through an hour, the smartphone never really got hot enough to an uncomfortable level. Plus, with a plastic case, the heat simmered down to lukewarm levels. It might be different during a hot summer day, but the transition between summer to fall is a good time to have this phone.

Taken with the POCO M5

An impressive camera for its price

For a phone with an affordable price tag, the POCO M5 carries an impressive camera combination. Sporting a 50-megapixel main sensor and two 2-megapixel macro/depth sensors, the smartphone can deliver photos that are good enough for the ‘gram.

Taken with the POCO M5

Under bright to overcast lighting situations, photos offered substantial detail and contrast. In fact, it was enough to go up against my Pixel 6. Of course, it doesn’t do as much for less-than-stellar lighting conditions. Regardless, it does remarkably well for its price point.

For example, I took the phone to a live show. The photos were a delight. Although, if you zoom in enough, you can spot some pixelation. It doesn’t matter as much, especially since the photo itself is still impressive.

Taken with the POCO M5

Similarly, the phone does well enough for night shots. Taking photos required stable hands, of course, but the photos were decent. A well-lit photo at night is more than enough for a phone of this caliber.

Gaming all day

With a huge 5000mAh battery, the POCO M5 lasted more than a day. The battery does well for everyday use and some moderate gaming on the side. Further, I tried an all-day screen test with the phone. Despite being on for an entire day (that is, from 5AM to 10PM), the smartphone still had more than a quarter of its battery left.

Charging is standard. With a fast 18W charging standard, the phone filled up to 100 from 15 percent in around 90 minutes.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Coming in black, green, or yellow, the POCO M5 is available now starting at EUR 189 (going up to EUR 229 for the highest trim). For its price point, the new smartphone is a worthy purchase if you’re looking to game on a budget. And that’s without the additional frills you’re enjoying.

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Reviews

vivo Y35 review: Y series upgraded

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vivo Y35

We know that the Y series is vivo’s entry-level line of smartphones and is among their highest selling variants to date. So, it does feel confusing that the vivo Y35 still belongs in this category as a lot of its features already belong to a higher class. 

It has everything a Y series should be but also a lot to take it to the next level.

That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss as we talk more about the identity crisis this phone is having and why it actually is pretty good.

Specs

A quick recap of the specs before we proceed. The vivo Y35 is running on the Snapdragon 680 chipset with 8GB RAM plus 8GB of extended RAM, it also has a large internal storage of 256GB and is being powered by a 5,000mAh battery with a 44W Flash Charge.

Designed like a Y series and that means beautiful

vivo Y35

The way this phone is designed looks and feels almost exactly like vivo’s other entry-level offerings. It’s not necessarily a bad thing since their designs are recognizably attractive and are pretty well built.

With this one, the size feels slightly thicker and heavier on the hands. It can be both a blessing and a curse especially for people with bigger hands. I like that it feels a bit chunky. It makes it easier to grip though it also bulges a bit in my pants’ pocket.

vivo Y35

It’s commendable that for a relatively affordable phone, I feel proud to bring out even in sophisticated engagements. Contrasting the camera module’s dark gray mirror finish with the Dawn Gold colorway of the whole body is picture-perfect.

Plus, I greatly appreciate that they finally went with a matte textured back case which doesn’t attract smudges.

Responsive Display 

vivo Y35

If you place the Y35 side by side with other budget phones from vivo, you’ll probably think they’re all using the same screens. Most of them still have a chin and a dew drop front camera design. But on paper, most of them slightly differ. 

The one on the Y35 is a 6.58-inch, full HD+, IPS display but now boasts a 90Hz refresh rate. So it does feel a bit more responsive adding to its overall user experience.

vivo Y35

Given that this isn’t AMOLED, we can’t expect it to have the same vibrance of that kind. But at least the viewing angles are decent and colors are nicely saturated.

Outdoor usage may be a bit of a struggle but not to the point that it gets annoying.

Battery and Charging is its best feature

One of the highlights on the Y35 is its fast charging capabilities. vivo claims this phone can charge up to 70 percent in just 34 minutes. It’s quite unusual to experience in this category of smartphones.

Based on my personal test, the 44W Flash Charge on this was able to get a 20 percent increase in just ten minutes of charging. And from 15 percent, it took a whole hour and two minutes for it to get fully charged.

Not entirely the same as vivo’s claims but still remarkably fast. Especially if we consider that most entry-level phones do take more than two hours to get fully charged.

This means we can now change our overnight charging habit to just charging before we prepare ourselves for leaving the house.

vivo Y35

Battery performance was also fairly good. I managed to use this mostly on data connection, streaming a whole bunch of YouTube videos in a four-hour bus trip to Baguio and I ended the whole day still with 58 percent battery remaining.

That’s pretty decent for a 5,000 mAh battery if you ask me.

Built for Multi-Tasking 

vivo Y35

Aside from the large RAM and storage, there really isn’t much to go crazy about the Y35’s hardware and performance. Apps run more or less the same as other Snapdragon 680 powered phones. But the benefits of having more RAM is quite noticeable.

It can surely handle running apps side by side on multi-window mode but not absurdly responsive. It also manages to return to apps I have running in the background without having to wait for it to load all over again.

vivo Y35

I assume games may have also benefited from the large available RAM as Call of Duty: Mobile is able to run lag-free at very high settings with high FPS enabled. 

vivo Y35

But I feel that among the games I’ve tried, Genshin Impact had a more significant benefit from its specs. Despite being very demanding, the Y35 seemed pretty comfortable handling this game at its default setting with no noticeable slowdowns.

At medium setting, slowdowns did become evident but dropping a few settings to low made the game run at nearly its full speed. I even managed to configure some settings to a combination of high graphic options and this worked out pretty well, too.

Cameras that take Insta-worthy snaps 

vivo Y35

Like the display, I was also expecting the camera to be the exact same one that came with the Y35’s more affordable siblings. With 50MP for its main camera, 2MP bokeh shooter, 2MP macro camera and 16MP selfie camera, on paper, these do seem very similar.

But having the chance to use a lot of them, I can say that that isn’t the case. Image quality has improved but not so drastically.

 

 

 

 

It often gets the colors where I want them and looks Insta-worthy but so long as we manually adjust the exposure slider. Not doing so will mostly result in an overly exposed image which isn’t too appealing.

I noticed that it still has difficulty capturing details in background subjects like leaves of trees. However, I may belong in the minority who actually likes the look of its softness. It kind of reminds me of old digicams which make some shots feel nostalgic if that makes sense.

What I really liked was the ability to recover quickly after taking a shot. I think this could also be a product of its hardware specs and not the camera itself. Whatever it is, it helps ease shooting. The Y35 manages to snap at fast moving subjects allowing me to catch candid moments as it happens.

Is the vivo Y35 your GadgetMatch?

vivo Y35

Priced at PhP 14,999 as of writing, the vivo Y35 does seem to be pushing against the boundaries of the entry-level category. For just a little bit more, a lower mid-range phone isn’t too far off which would likely be better in most cases.

Having this consideration in mind, I think the Y35 would be an ideal fit for people eyeing a budget phone who are willing to stretch their pockets a bit for more features.

vivo Y35

It’s fast enough for daily tasks and games. and is capable of capturing the moment with its decent cameras. It’s also a fast and vibrant display, and best of all, it charges fast and won’t easily die down on you. Plus it also looks really nice, albeit with the notch design.

Basically, it’s a phone that gets the job done with a few extras here and there. Maybe vivo can consider calling this a Y series Plus or Pro? 

The vivo Y35 is available in Dawn Gold or Agate Black colors at their Shopee, Lazada, Tiktok Shop and vivo e-store and all vivo Concept stores nationwide.

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Accessories

Apple AirPods Pro 2 Review

Is it worth the upgrade?

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After years of waiting, Apple has finally updated their AirPods Pro from 2019.

The AirPods Pro 2nd Generation may look like its old predecessor, but it offers more than what its “unchanged” look.

There’s an upgraded H2 chip, better ANC, longer battery life, a charging case with speakers and MagSafe, and more!

But are these features worth the upgrade?

Or is it better for a first-time AirPods user to invest on the AirPods 3 instead?

Head over to our in-depth Apple AirPods 2 review to feed your curiosities.

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