Features

IFA 2016: What to expect from Europe’s biggest tech show

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The IFA consumer electronics exhibition will officially take place in Berlin over the next several days, and we’ll be there to bring you the biggest stories as they happen. 

So what can we expect from the top brands around the industry? We’ve been doing some research, as well as rounding up the most plausible devices that will break cover at IFA 2016. Read on for a breakdown of what we expect to see and hear about in the upcoming week.

Acer

acer ifa 2016

Acer has already teased an ultraportable laptop that may be under 1-inch thick, but what else do the Taiwanese have in store for attendees of Europe’s largest consumer electronics trade show?

A high-end phone? We doubt it. More Windows 10 machines? Possibly. A gaming smartwatch? Yeah, that’s a very likely scenario. Acer is said to be ready to introduce a smartwatch — niche-market product at the moment — that might appeal to gamers — a niche community. It’s an unlikely pairing, to be sure, but if any company can pull it off, we believe it’s Acer.

ASUS

asus ifa 2016

The ZenFone 3 series has only started to trickle through to people, so expecting another bunch of ASUS handsets from IFA would be misguided. Without plans for a major smartphone announcement, we may very well see the ZenWatch 3 breaking cover. ASUS already hinted at a smartwatch refresh on Twitter, which could have a round face and three physical buttons, in addition to built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and support for fast charging.

Huawei

huawei ifa 2016

Earlier reports claimed that Huawei will take the wraps off the Mate 9 at IFA 2016, but the rumors have been reportedly shot down by a company executive. The latest news, courtesy of industry insider Evan Blass (@evleaks), suggests that Huawei will instead unveil a successor to the MediaPad range and two new midrange phones: the Nova and Nova Plus.

Both phones may look identical to the Nexus 6P and will likely include the latest Kirin processor with up to 4GB of RAM, 16- and 8-megapixel rear and front cameras, and a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. Meanwhile, the upcoming MediaPad slate could come with a metal body to house its midrange components.

Samsung

ifa-2016-preview-gadgetmatch-01

The Korean tech company has previously debuted the Galaxy Note 7 and a Type-C compatible Gear VR headset. But that doesn’t mean it has run out of exciting things to show off in Berlin.

Perhaps the most interesting of which is the Galaxy Gear 3 wearable, which is believed to come with multiple health/fitness sensors and a GPS chip for accurate location tracking. Its predecessor, the Galaxy Gear 2, has been hailed as Samsung’s best wearable yet, so we’re expecting to hear some great things about the sequel.

Also rumored to hit the stage are two models under the new Galaxy Tab 3 line. Sporting 8- and 9.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED screens and Qualcomm’s faster Snapdragon chips, the tablets seem to be aimed at power users who want to be extra productive with their tablets.

Sony

sony-xperia-mwc-20160323-06

Besides unveiling more TVs that make “Netflix and chill” even better, the Japanese manufacturer is largely expected to show up with two new products to accompany its existing X series of smartphones. If reports turn out to be accurate, the Xperia X Compact and Xperia XZ will assume the flagship mantle for Sony, with the latter poised to compete with the best the industry has to offer.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 system-on-a-chip matched with 4GB of RAM is expected to power the two phones, making the Xperia X Compact an ideal option for those who want a more pocketable handset that can do everything a flagship can. Think of it as the more capable Android equivalent of Apple’s iPhone SE.

What else?

ifa-2016-preview-gadgetmatch-07

Word is Lenovo-owned Motorola will present new Moto 360 smartwatches. ZTE will announce a bezel-less Nubia smartphone and a smaller version of the Axon 7. LG might come to IFA bearing a curvy phone to succeed the G Flex line, but we’d be surprised if it does make an appearance; LG execs told us before that the G Flex 2 is probably the last in the series.

[irp posts=”736″ name=”Car Tech at CES 2016″]

Features

Why I trust Samsung’s Knox security

A nod to the security platform that makes me feel safe and protected

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A smartphone is like a treasure trove in the age of the Internet. Filled with confidential information for personal and business use. A gold mine of data that can be used by big companies to improve technology. Or an opportunity for hackers and criminals to steal and sell as valuable resources.

I’m no stranger to discussions about cybersecurity and data privacy, even though my himbo veneer begs to differ. Two years ago, I attended a conference mounted to discuss the importance and value of data as a commodity in this era.  I learned what technology giants like Samsung and Huawei are doing to protect the new currency of the digital age.

Coming full circle, cyberattacks have increased in the past two years. Samsung knows this all too well, bringing Knox Platform to the front — end-to-end protection they have had for several years already.

The ultimate defense

In 2019, I was lucky to be given an audience with the South Korean giant executives to learn and discuss what Knox is. Samsung Philippines’ Product and Solutions Manager Anton Andres explained how Knox Platform works, and how it sets them apart from other brands when it comes to Android security.

Knox was just a security platform that automatically encrypts and decrypts information every time you boot up the device.

It’s embedded on a Galaxy smartphone or any smart device marketed with Knox’s security during a secure supply chain, offering real-time protection to actively safeguard devices against data attacks or malware.

Any unauthorized attempts to access your phone’s core are blocked in real-time. Even a device as old as a Samsung Galaxy S8 was compromised and reset, Knox automatically blows the fuse to wipe your corporate or personal info. Therefore, preventing any data leakage and security risks.

Knox also lock-up apps containing sensitive data such as Samsung Pay, Samsung Pass, Secure Folder, or Samsung Health — especially when the smartphone was booted in an unapproved state.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 | Samsung Health

Apart from the platform security, the South Korean company delivers solutions like Knox Manage and Knox Configure — services that let enterprises customize Galaxy smartphones and tablets, as well as control the device and user interactions for safety and security.

Keeping your network safe

Aside from my interview with Andres, I was also able to speak with David Kim, Samsung Mobile B2B Asia’s Corporate VP and Chief Revenue Officer.

Kim stated how important your network is, and how you can only control the hardware, software, and who access the phones. The executive added, “There are also Wi-Fi and networks. If someone can sneak in your network, they can sneak in your email.”

Public Wi-Fis are one example of an unsafe network that might compromise your security. Free Wi-Fi sounds nice. You’re not going to spend a single dime. But it’s also a pot of gold for hackers trying to steal data — personal information such as your credit card purchases.

I haven’t connected to public Wi-Fi for more than three years due to the awareness of the risks it poses to my security. And because I’m privileged enough to buy large data allocation for my Internet use and have consistent network signal.

But not everyone is in the same position like I am. Luckily, Samsung gives you the capability to encrypt outgoing internet traffic and disable tracking apps and websites.

With a Galaxy smartphone, you can activate Secure Wi-Fi so you can browse the internet safely on public wireless connections without fear of security breaches.

Handling your sensitive data

Some people have poor privacy habits: Using the same passwords across different platforms. Admittedly, I was once like that. But using Samsung Pass throughout the years helped me easily access my credentials. Without needing to remember countless usernames and passwords.

Samsung’s use of innovative biometric authentication technology helps average users and techies alike to keep themselves protected — whether it’s Samsung Pass or an Ultrasonic Fingerprint.

If you’re still wary, I’d understand. But your biometrics data — no matter how many — are safely stored in Knox Vault. It’s a processor operating independently from the main CPU to securely isolate your information.

What you need to be cautious about are phishers waiting to attack. These are cybercriminals who might trick you into handing over sensitive information. Oftentimes, they attack by installing malware disguised as links, attachments, or even legitimate apps, on your devices.

The possibilities are endless on what these criminals can do if they have access to your sensitive information. They can use it to demand a ransom, steal your personal information and apply for loans without your knowledge, and even make purchases with your credit card information.

Though Samsung continuously scans your device for malware or suspicious activity via McAfee protection, we need to do our part as well in keeping ourselves safe.

White House approved

All these multi-layers of security are one of the reasons why Samsung believes they’re more secure than any other brand. The Samsung Mobile B2B Asia Vice President confidently claimed to GadgetMatch, “We don’t have a perfect security rating, but we are well received. That’s why the White House is comfortable with us.”

After all, Samsung designs, creates, and validates every computer chip, piece of wiring, and hardware component before lodging them into smart devices manufactured. This approach gave Samsung control over design, manufacturing, and assembly which ensures a secure supply chain.

Further, it prevents unauthorized backdoor access in each device that hackers won’t easily bypass. As a rule, don’t download unofficial or unauthorized apps lest you open up yourself to vulnerability.

Be careful of what you download

At the end of the day, it’s about you and your relationship with your smartphone and the Internet. Samsung’s Product and Solutions Manager Anton Andres warned about downloading third-party apps, especially keyboards. Yes, it can make your keyboard look pretty, but it also compromises your security.

“If you access your mobile banking credentials on a third-party keyboard, they can phish your information,” Andres said. “With Samsung Knox, we identify specific applications and URLs. Once identified, Knox automatically hides your information to prevent potential threats.”

Samsung is constantly updating the Knox Platform and its security solutions. If you haven’t had the time to keep yourselves extra secure, this is your sign to do it now.

In the meantime, let our response be: In Knox we trust. 🙏

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24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Nasugbu

A dreamy sea-scapade through the lenses of the Xiaomi 11T Pro

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As they usually say, “unplanned trips are the best.” Like the Quezon beach trip that was decided in a spur-of-the-moment, going to Nasugbu was also ever-spontaneous.

We would’ve gone to Boracay, as we snagged a cheap PhP 5,000 worth of round-trip airfare. But with all the inconsistencies of the government in announcing lockdown restrictions, we decided to let it go and hop on a road trip down south.

Unconventional yet thrilling

Going to Pansol, Laguna, or an overlooking resort in Tanay, Rizal was one of the options to consider. However, we found ourselves driving further extemporaneously.

After two to three hours, we reached Nasugbu, Batangas. Along the way, we discovered a cool, overlooking view of Batangas at night, right before you pass through Tagaytay.

Unpack things, not feelings

At exactly 8:32 PM, we reached our destination. The first thing I did was unpack my stuff. Feelings? You can unpack it later after a late yet sumptuous dinner.

That camera cutout looks more acceptable vs Mi 10T Pro’s hump

I tested Xiaomi 11T Pro’s photo prowess by taking a photo of that figurine inside the room with just that artificial light around.

Surprisingly, it looked good despite not fully embracing its overall camera performance. I also took a quick mandatory FFTB mirror selfie.

I like how that Depth of Field (DoF) separated me from my surroundings. Maybe the macro camera has its perks after all.

Night | Ultra-Wide vs Wide

I went outside to get some breezy night air while I let my hair dry. Unfortunately, beaches are closed past 9 in the evening.

Night | Ultra-Wide vs Wide

While sitting at a chaise lounge, I also captured photos of meat-grilling sessions. The Xiaomi 11T Pro’s Night Mode did a good job, especially with the appearance of fire and smoke. Very unlikely with how most night photos turned out in my review.

Portrait ON | Portrait OFF

I also used it to capture these selfies sans beauty mode — which look good for my liking.

We all need that ✨ Vitamin Sea ✨

We decided to spend the rest of the night with some booze — until my friends got knocked out. I was able to stay awake and witness how the dark sky transitioned into a picturesque, beach view.

There was no sunrise view since Nasugbu is situated on the western side. The saving grace is that sunsets look magical in this town.

Ultra-Wide vs Wide

The resort looks antiquated; brimming with history among its guests over the years. Thanks to that ultra-wide lens, it was able to capture the place clearly. And without the obstruction of crowds.

It’s probably the best part of this quick getaway: only a few people in sight.

There’s a stainless steel gate with a stone arch paving the way towards the sandy beach of Nasugbu. Xiaomi 11T Pro’s Auto White Balance (AWB) might actually lean more into the warmer side. But notice how overly-warm my sandal-fie was?

Ultra-wide vs Wide vs 2x digital zoom

Going further, there’s also a wooden gate near the beach. It’s suppose to deter unwanted visitors coming from other resorts. I had a small talk with the resort owner and he shared how low tides are more apparent this season. Sea waves in high tides would reach as far as the stainless, steel gate we crossed earlier.

Just like in my review, the inconsistency of the ultra-wide and wide lens can be seen especially with that less bright shot. Zooming in past 1x means relying on digital cropping via its main sensor. Little did I know that doing so loses that warm White Balance.

Unpredictable like the ocean waves

The Xiaomi 11T Pro’s camera performance is pretty much unpredictable.

Night UWA | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

While the 11T Pro’s shot looked better because it’s brighter and sharper, that’s actually the camera software’s over-processing. The night shot taken with the Mi 10T Pro was closer to what I saw in person.

Wide | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

Fast forward to the next day, this was how it looked like as early as six in the morning. Astonishingly, the beach shot of the 11T Pro was too cool. Not “too cool” though in terms of quality. The Mi 10T Pro delivered a better shot.

UWA | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

But when you switch to that even wider Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens, the Xiaomi 11T Pro was once again inconsistent AF.

2x | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

After some time, fishing boats started to appear on the shoreline. I then tried tapping the 2x option for that zoomed shot. The photo turned out way too blue.

Wide | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

Looking around, there’s a fancier resort right next to where we stayed. I took a shot and the warmer White Balance and better Dynamic Range saved the Xiaomi 11T Pro this time.

HDR UWA | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

Xiaomi 11T Pro is pretty consistent in having inconsistent wins and losses. The Xiaomi 11T Pro wins this one due to the preservation of image details and better High Dynamic Range.

HDR Wide | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

Ending this with the last photo before we went home. Not much of a difference but the bluish tint in the sky is evident on the 11T Pro versus the Mi 10T Pro’s less-vibrant sky.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

Spicing up this sea-scapade getaway

As GadgetMatch’s Associate Creative Producer, post-processing (or color grading) shots is also part of my job. While we barely post color-graded photo samples on this website unless clearly stated, this section is clearly dedicated to some photos taken with the Xiaomi 11T Pro that were modified through a photo-grading app.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

Like what you saw earlier, the RAW versions of these photos looked so bluish to the point that I was like in Avatar. Luckily, post-processing apps were made and I was able to improve it by applying a preset and adjusting all the necessary camera settings such as temperature/White Balance, highlights, shadows, contrast, among others.

Post-processed in VSCO

I can’t miss another beach photo this time. I asked my friend to take photos of me in this weird all-black get-up.

Post-processed in VSCO

Then, I just tried to write letters on the sand and made it a candid-looking shot. My friend followed after me (which kinda looked like she was mocking me lol).

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

I then took over the Xiaomi 11T Pro and took more photos of her.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

This is a testament that bragging #NoFilter shots are senseless. Color-grading shots adds more life and story to your photos.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

I always tell people that camera angles play a huge part in photography. Just look at how my friend nailed the first shot compared to a regular photo shot from a distance.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

The blown out highlights and exposure of the original photos made it look less appealing. Lucky enough, I was able to salvage these photos through the power of color grading.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

Candid photos are simply the best for memory preservation. It makes you remember the moments more than the poses you’ve made in front of the camera.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

One thing I liked about the beach in Nasugbu is the firmer sand crystals despite having a mud-like color. Those in Unisan, Quezon had white sand but are actually rougher especially when you’re barefooted.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

But I do like the clearer blue water in Quezon. The one here in Nasugbu is far more brown just like the beach’s color. And as I remember my regrets of not being able to visit Boracay, it also reminded me how I badly miss the white sand plus the crystal clear and less salty water of the island.

Not sure if I’m the father or the big child of this circle 🤔

It might seem unfortunate, not to be able to visit Boracay during this pandemic. Being surrounded by two pairs of sweet honey bees doesn’t help either.

But, in all honesty, I enjoyed the company more instead of being awkward. Especially with the bond that we already formed. And yeah, I’m used to being single and alone (and no, this ain’t a sadb0i sentiment).

Certainly, unplanned trips are indeed the best.

All shots were taken using the Xiaomi 11T Pro with a mix of RAW and post-processed photos edited through VSCO.

Quick note

We made sure all of us were safe and COVID-19 free prior to going to the travel location. All of us are already fully vaccinated but still submitted the requirements needed for in-country travel. Face masks were still worn during the trip and were only removed for the sake of the photoshoot. Social distancing protocols were followed as well.


24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.

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Entertainment

Arcane Act III: Gobsmacking finale

I am lost for words

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Arcane

Act I: A treat for every League of Legends player

Act II: Whirlwind of emotions, understanding

Act III: Gobsmacking finale


This article contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

I wasn’t prepared for Arcane to end. And for the emotions that astounded me throughout the series’ third act.

I was delaying the inevitable; that this series will come to an end. I delayed watching the final act on purpose, just like I would with any other show I’ve fallen in love with.

But I’ve faced the end and I was utterly speechless. With every episode ending, I found myself dumbfounded with all the revelations, twists, and cliffhangers.

I thought Arcane would be predictable, especially when you base it on the game’s lore, but it wasn’t. And that made me love Arcane even more.

Art that gets better

Just when you thought the animation was already marvelous, it got even more magnificent. The introduction of more characters, sceneries, and changes in the plot often require brilliant storytelling.

Arcane slew it with its visuals, majorly between Ekko and Jinx — childhood friends turned enemies. The two brandished the contrasting ideologies in the city of Zaun.

The fight scenes also got sprightlier, thanks to the advent of HexTech through the weapons. I was ecstatic when Jayce whirled his hammer and he transformed it into a cannon, much like in the game.

Honestly, I wondered why I didn’t have a crush on Jayce when I was playing League of Legends, but I find him bewitching in Arcane.

On another note, Vi’s gauntlets punch through walls and bones with ease. Her clash with Sevika is one of the reasons why I was reminded of my love for martial arts. I can only dream of doing those stunts.

Riot certainly outdid themselves in the visual presentation of Arcane. It was carefully planned and executed. There’s no wonder the series got people hooked — even if they aren’t fans of League of Legends.

Taking a wild turn

Arcane is so damn unpredictable. Knowing the game’s lore could be the endgame, and indisputably the future of these characters. But let’s forget that for a moment.

What Arcane showed is the prosaic, everyday passing through the lives of the champions who lived in and crossed Piltover and Zaun. We even got a glimpse of what Noxus feels like — another empire in the land of Runeterra — through Mrs. Medarda.

Yes, the scheming councilor that our beloved Jayce is knocking boots with, has a parent come over to the City of Progress.

The third act expanded the story and its characters. How their lives are intertwined and divided by the circumstances surrounding them. And how it’s setting up for a war that might take place in the near future.

Unbeknownst to these characters, their lives are connected in ways they’re unaware of.

The collab we never knew we needed

Arcane exhibited different pairings we never expected. Caitlyn, Vi, and Ekko — teaming up to go back to Piltover and clashing with Jinx.

Heimerdinger discovers Ekko’s ingenuity and the two work together. (Bye, Jayce!)

Vi and Jayce shut down Silco’s manufacturing plants.

And even a peace agreement between Jayce and Silco to prevent war.

The series gave a platform to various dynamics; clashing personalities and upbringing brought together for one common goal.

Anticlimactic ending

I would’ve thought they’d cross each other in one grand finale, but the ending wasn’t what I expected. But somehow, it’s a serendipitous way to end the first season.

So open-ended, it presented possibilities on what’s next. Fans delighting in coming up with theories on how the story will pan out, especially for Season 2 — which Riot and Netflix have already promised to deliver in the future.

Though a bit anticlimactic, personally, I’m elated that I watched Arcane these past few weeks and it ended the way it was. I didn’t have the good ending I hoped for, but it gave me the opportunity to yearn for more.

Having a second season might give me the answers I’m searching, and the excitement I’ve been looking for. Riot hasn’t disappointed so far, and I’m certain they’ll make a grade with a masterpiece when the next season arrives.

Arcane is streaming now on Netflix.

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