Hands-On

Sights and sounds of summer in the Upper East Side

Capturing New York City on film

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“You need to come back, New York is different in the summer,” a friend urged one absurdly cold day back in May. “It has a different energy to it; it’s more alive,” another friend noted with excitement about the magical effects of the impending warm weather on the city.

Living in a tropical country my whole life and enduring constant humidity year per year, I never really understood the hype. What could be so special about spending yet another summer in another city, I thought.  On the contrary, it’s lower temperatures that always excited me. The thought of layering with soft wool sweaters and thick coats, and wearing thigh-high boots on vacation was ideal. It was something I never get to do on the daily, so I longed for it — until I was forced to live out of a suitcase from winter to spring, that is.

Having gone through the chore of exactly that — wearing wool sweaters, thick coats, and boots just to get eggs at the nearest bodega or go for a coffee run next door — made me appreciate being able to wear just about anything I want in the summer including the potential sweating that goes along with it. After months of freezing weather, summer just feels so liberating that you’ll appreciate the heat even if it means smeared eyeliners and a face so oily you could fry two eggs on it.

That je ne sais quoi of summer in the city is not something anyone can describe with mere words or capture on Instagram without losing its essence. This article certainly doesn’t, but here are some vignettes I caught on film, complete with audio recordings, using the Instax Mini LiPlay, one Sunday morning stroll along Upper East Side.

One large cold brew to go

Like any other day, I start with a nice cup of cold brew. Cafes like Bluestone Lane usually gets packed for brunch. It’s especially nice when the sun is out that friends and families eat al fresco. Listen to the audio recording here.

Hotdogs and city performers

Hotdog stands can be found at every corner of the city. This one is outside the Guggenheim Museum, which tourists flock and buskers frequent. Listen to the audio recording here.

Honking yellow cabs

The sound of the train arriving or cabs honking is normally unbearable, but in New York it’s part of what makes the city full of character. Listen to the audio recording here. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

This spot in Central Park is beautiful whether you’re there to see snow falling or flowers blooming; hear trees rustling or dried leaves crackling. Listen to the audio recording here.

Pick a spot at Central Park

Central Park is so big of an oasis that you can have your quiet little spot for reading and alone time, or watch kids and dogs play if you wanted to. Listen to the audio recording here.

Sun’s out, bikes out

Whether it’s for cardio, getting from one place to another, or just for leisure, everyone seems to be on their bikes during summer. Other locals take advantage of this and sell ice cold water for $2 in the middle of the park for anyone who needs to cool down. Listen to the audio recording here.

Grab something quick and cheap

For those who might want a quick bite after a long walk or bike ride, there are food trucks everywhere. Tacos? Check. Gyros? Check. Ice cream? Check. Listen to the audio recording here.

The Met

It can get too crowded for my taste, but The Met is quickly becoming my favorite place in the city. It’s where I can run to for shelter when it’s below freezing outside, or when temperatures get higher, walk around the vicinity for no reason or people watch on the steps. I can get trapped here for days and not feel like I’m wasting my time. Listen to the audio recording here.

Witnessing New York City transform from a dark, cold abyss in the winter, to a city with blossoming tress in spring, to the vibrant concrete jungle that it truly is in the summer, is special. If you live in this city, or travel here a lot, it’s something you will learn to cherish once you see and hear it for yourself.

WATCH: Winter in New York

Hands-On

ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED Unboxing and Hands-on

The dual-screen laptop of your dreams!

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The pinnacle of ASUS’ Zenbook is here!

Meet the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED, the third iteration of the popular Zenbook Pro Duo from 2019 and the follow-up to last year’s non-OLED-touting Zenbook Duo.

If you’ve been a fan of this type of Zenbook, chances are you would love the new version more with its host of significant improvements over the past.

Can’t wait to know more, head over to our Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED unboxing and hands-on in 4K!

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What I love about the realme Pad Mini

A good companion gadget

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realme Pad Mini

I have been looking for a tablet that’s around 7” to 8” to compliment my already full stacked suite of gadgets. My primary intention is to make it a full-time media consumption device and a Zoom event partner. All the recent tablets of late came in 10” or over. Then realme reached out with an opportunity to try out the realme Pad Mini. So I jumped at it.

But why do I need an extra device? Need is a stretch for me. At this point it’s a luxury for me to add to my normal rotation of gadgets. That being a MacBook Pro, whatever Windows laptop I’m reviewing/working on, an iPhone 11 Pro, an OPPO Find X3 Pro, and whatever smartphone I’m reviewing. Regardless, I wanted to see if I can fit a tablet into my life all while checking on the current state of Android tablets in 2022. 

Before we dive into my take on the realme Pad Mini, here’s a quick rundown of its specs. 

realme Pad Mini

realme Pad Mini

  • Display – 8.7-inches, 1340×800
  • Processor – Unisoc T616 
  • Battery – 6400mAh, 18W
  • RAM+Storage – 3GB+32GB, 4GB+64GB, expandable up to 1TB via microSD slot 
  • Cameras – 8MP rear, 5MP front

As mentioned in the teaser article, the versions coming out at launch are both LTE-capable. A 3GB+32GB Wi-Fi variant will be released soon after. 

Aluminum alloy body design 

realme Pad Mini

Perhaps my favorite thing about the realme Pad Mini is its aluminum alloy body design. It looks pretty sleek, especially this blue colorway. It’s got a nice heft to it too. Nothing too heavy but enough to make it seem higher end than it actually is. 

There are two speaker grilles on the top and bottom (if you’re in portrait mode) or one on either side (if you’re in landscape mode). That’s a key design decision since I imagine anyone getting a tablet has media consumption in mind. 

The button placements felt a little off to me, though. Maybe it’s just me getting used to phone layouts but normally when you have the power button and the volume rockers on the same side, the volume rockers are placed higher.

realme Pad Mini

That’s not the case here since, in portrait mode, your fingers will grace the rockers first before the power button. And in landscape mode, you’ll more often have to use your left hand and grace the power button first before you get to the volume rockers. It’s a little disorienting at first and I’m personally still getting used to it. 

All things considered, it looks good, feels great, and doesn’t put a strain on your hand even after a binge-watching session. Granted, you switch hand placements every now and then. 

Perfect Zoom partner 

realme Pad Mini

Over the past couple of years, the only events we’ve attended were held online. Most of which via the video conferencing platform Zoom. During these events, I like to get other tasks out of the way too. So while tuning in to an event, I’m either writing, copy editing, or what have you. However, multitasking can be tough in my setup where I only use a laptop. Having the sound come out of the laptop with a minimized Zoom window isn’t ideal.

Enter the realme Pad Mini. I’ve done this with other tablets I reviewed previously. Having the Zom event come from a device, other than my laptop, helps ease the mental burden of having to intently listen to something while doing a different task.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it’s a type of setup I recommend especially for those who don’t have the space for full blown desktops with multiple monitors. 

Media consumption companion

realme Pad Mini

This is what most people would likely do on their tablets. At least, I think so. Binge-watching series, watching movies, and cycling through a YouTube or TikTok blackhole. For the most part, the realme Pad Mini does this pretty well. 

The display isn’t outstanding but it gets the job done. I normally get 720p and 1080p depending on which platform I’m watching on. 

Watching (G)-IDLE Miyeon’s fancams were a bit of a pain because of YouTube

One downside is it doesn’t work well for YouTube which prioritizes continuous streaming thus giving you as low as 360p sometimes when you first start a video. I can’t count the number of times I had to go into the settings and force the highest quality when I’m on YouTube. 

realme Pad Mini

Caught up with Soundtrack #1 because I love looking at Han So Hee’s face.

But that’s just one pain point. Every other platform delivers good, steady quality of streaming. I’ve been using it to catch-up on a few series on Netflix, HBO Go, and Chrome (if you catch my drift). The visuals aren’t mindblowing but they’re more than good enough and the speakers are just the right amount of loud without distorting the audio. 

It checks all the boxes for what I’m currently looking for in a tablet. It also helps that it’s relatively inexpensive. The 4GB+64GB LTE variant, which is the one I reviewed, retails for 11,990 and I think it’s just right. More pricing details later on. 

Quickfire Q&A 

Naturally, some of you might be looking to do more on your tablet and have a few questions. Turn’s out, there are a ton of questions on our teaser post so I’ll try to answer some of them. 

Is it good for gaming?

realme Pad Mini

Specifically, someone asked if the Unisoc T616 is good for gaming. I didn’t do a lot of gaming on the realme Pad Mini, only a few matches on Call of Duty: Mobile. And well, it’s… okay. There’s a bit of lag and the screen isn’t as responsive so it might not be the best for gaming.

If you really want to play on something around the same price range, you’re probably better off using the Redmi Note 11 or vivo Y21T. 

Call and text functions? 

realme Pad Mini

Texting and chatting are the two things I personally didn’t want to do on a tablet. I wanted it to specifically be a media device. But if you’re looking for call and text functions, make sure you grab the LTE versions. There are two available. 

Pen/Stylus support

Nope, it doesn’t come with a stylus. As for stylus support, that’s something we weren’t able to test, but it’s safe to assume this doesn’t have it given its set of specs. 

Price and availability?

realme Pad Mini

 

As mentioned earlier, two LTE variants will be available at launch. They are priced as follows: 

  • 3GB+32GB – PhP 9,990
  • 4GB+64GB – PhP 11,990 

But realme being realme, naturally there are early bird promos. Discounts will ber offered exclusively on realme’s official Lazada store.

  • 3GB+32GB – PhP 8,490 (PhP 1,500 off) | Buy here
  • 4GB+64GB – PhP 9,990 (PhP 2,00 off) | Buy here 

The realme Pad Mini will also be available at all realme official stores and partner dealers nationwide. Those who purchase from April 4-30 will get a FREE realme Mobile Game Finger Sleeves.

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

realme Pad Mini

As a budget tablet, the realme Pad Mini is okay. I don’t think it falls in the category of realme’s usual devices that punch up in terms of specs and price. Its overall performance is steady and really, that’s all you need for something at its price point.  

The realme Pad Mini is a great media device, good for binge watching sessions, taking a few notes, and being an extra device in your arsenal. If that’s what you’re looking for, then it’s definitely a match. 

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Hands-On

OPPO Find X5 Pro Unboxing and Hands-on

Dual 50MP Hasselblad cameras, MariSilicon X NPU, and more!

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The Mobile World Congress 2022 (or MWC 2022) fever has just began! And OPPO isn’t setting back from announcing their latest flagship smartphone.

Just like any other Chinese phone manufacturer, OPPO is skipping ‘4’ for the Find X5 Pro — the successor to last year’s Find X3 Pro.

Apart from the new chipset and dual 50MP wide and ultra-wide cameras, OPPO has also made the official debut of their in-house NPU, the MariSilicon X for better imaging and video performance.

To take it on the next level, OPPO also agreed on a Hasselblad integration — just like how their sister company did with the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro.

Check out our OPPO Find X5 Pro Unboxing and Hands-on video to find out more.

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