Hands-On

iPhone SE Unboxing and Hands-On

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The rose gold iPhone SE comes in a white box

Size matters, but it’s not everything.

Love it or hate it, the iPhone SE is arguably a class of its own. It may look old but it doesn’t perform like one. It’s something not even the Android world can offer – where small nowadays, most often than not, means sluggish, second-rate, and a 2-4 year-old OS built into a cheap plastic body.

The iPhone SE has a 4-inch Retina display, Touch ID, and a 1.2MP front-facing camera

Sure, Apple made some compromise here and there to cut down on price – and in 2016 it still starts at 16GB – but the iPhone SE is a worthy upgrade for those who stuck with the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, and 5s all these years.

Heck, there are even some iPhone 6s users who want to ‘downgrade’ and go back to a smaller display. Some people like 4 inches – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Apart from going small, the new iPhone raised a lot of eyebrows especially because it looks exactly like the iPhone 5s. It’s a new phone in an old body.

The iPhone SE has the SE branding at the lower back of the phone and it comes in rose goldEverything is found right where Apple left it three years ago: volume and silent buttons on the left side; SIM card tray on the right; power button on top; headphone jack, microphone, Lightning port, and speaker grille at the bottom.

Save for the SE branding at the back, the matte edges, and color-matched stainless steel Apple logo, nothing else has changed on the outside. The only “new design” is the rose gold variant.

Even packaging didn’t change. It’s the familiar minimalist box with the same contents as those of iPhones 5 and up: a pair of white EarPods, a Lightning to USB cable, wall charger, a SIM card removal tool, manuals, and Apple logo stickers.

But why judge the book by its cover?

Apple packed the best iPhone 6s features into the iPhone SE’s little body and made it work.

It ships with Apple’s powerful A9 chip and the latest version of iOS (9.3) out of the box. And it’s fast. It loads pages, opens and switches between apps smoothly and efficiently.

It comes with iOS 9.3’s new features like Night Shift, which changes the color of your iPhone’s display from cool to warm depending on the time of the day. Apple says this should help you sleep better at night.

Speaking of display, the iPhone SE sports a 4-inch Retina display at 326 ppi. This means images are rendered clear and sharp enough for the 4-inch screen. If we’re being specific though, it’s not a high resolution one – not even HD – only 640×1136 to be exact.

On the bright side, this means images and videos whose resolutions are a little lower than 720p will still look sharp on the iPhone SE. The bad: the phone is not ideal for watching a Full HD or HD movie. The contrast ratio is also lower than the iPhone 6s so the screen doesn’t look as bright.

While the lack of a Full HD or Quad HD display may be a deal-breaker for some people, a smaller, lower resolution display can mean better battery life as what drains the battery the most for a lot of smartphones is screen-on time.

The iPhone SE although smaller is thicker than the iPhone 6s so its camera doesn't protrude.

The integration of the top of the line processor and new iOS should improve battery performance as well, even if the iPhone SE ships with a smaller battery (reportedly 1642 mAh, compared to the 6s’ 1715 mAh). Apple promises 13 hours on LTE but this is something we will have to test on a later date.

This, we can say now: the iPhone SE has the best camera technology in a 4-inch phone in the market today. It gets the same 12-megapixel main shooter as that of the iPhone 6s but because it’s thicker, it doesn’t protrude like the one on its older, bigger brother.

It’s also worth noting that at its size, the iPhone SE can shoot 4K video. Although, if you’re getting the 16GB version you’ll want to back up those files so they don’t eat up into your precious space. A 3 minute 4K video clip takes up about 750MB of space.

If taking selfies is your thing, you might want to sit this one out as Apple put the 4-year-old 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera onto the SE that dates back to the iPhone 5. Well, at least it got the Retina Flash.

Here are some samples:

The main iPhone 6s feature missing on the SE is 3D Touch, but it probably won’t be sorely missed – new iPhone users won’t even notice. Apple did, however, keep Live Photos so you can still take those short moving images and view them with a long press.

Another thing not found on the SE is Apple’s newest Touch ID so the fingerprint scanner is not blazingly fast compared to the 6s but it’s a compromise that had to be made for a better price tag.

Just like its announcement in Cupertino, the iPhone SE doesn’t have the bells and whistles new phones usually get. True enough it’s nothing innovative, and to some it’s just plain disappointing especially coming from a company like Apple.

Although already the cheapest iPhone Apple has ever released, the iPhone SE is still not for people who are on a very tight budget. It’s also not a phone for people who have gotten used to a bigger display and love it for reasons like watching videos, gaming, and multi-tasking with split screens.

The rose gold iPhone 5s and rose gold iPhone 6s side by side

With its old but well-loved metal chassis, the SE feels premium for a mid-range price of $399 (16GB), which, in most cases can get you a good performing phone albeit with a plasticky build.

But what’s more important is on the inside. The iPhone SE, however small, is a phone that is just as powerful as the iPhone 6s, and performs even better than a lot of those that come in bigger packages.

The iPhone SE is not the best smartphone there is and may not be the size you’re used to anymore, but it just works. And there is nothing else like it.

[irp posts=”11425″ name=”Tiny iPhone SE gets twice the storage”]

Hands-On

vivo X60 Hands-On: vivo X Zeiss team up for mobile photography

Redefining power and photography

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vivo X60

Now that we’re at an age of portability with a purpose, we definitely want to own a smartphone that can provide everything that we want and need, so we don’t have to rely on any other gadgets. That’s what the vivo X60 aims to be.

One of the features we usually look for in a smartphone is if its cameras are top notch. With that in mind, vivo made sure that they can contend against the best of the best as they comeback with the vivo X60 series — among these is the vivo X60.

With the X60, vivo co-engineers their cameras with high-end lens manufacturer Zeiss, making us experience Zeiss’ cutting edge imaging technology through our phones and making X60’s photography function more powerful than ever.

Specs and performance

Providing us so much in the camera department, vivo also ticks all the boxes when it comes to amazing specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor
  • 6.56” AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 12GB+3GB RAM
  • 256GB internal storage

Expect lag free browsing of your social media content and your favorite mobile games, even the very demanding Genshin Impact.

With so many things that you want to do with your smartphone, the vivo X60 is packed with a 4300mAh battery. This gives you more than enough power for a day of media streaming, social media browsing and some games on the side.

It even comes with a 33W flash charger that lets you juice up your phone back to a hundred percent in just a little over an hour.

As for the software, the vivo X60 runs Funtouch OS 11.1 based on Android 11 which has to be one of the most efficient skins from vivo yet.  It’s a very simplistic skin which feels close to vanilla Android but with visual improvements to enhance that vivo experience.

Stunning display

Despite its 6.56” display, the X60 is still ebay to grip thanks to it being slim at only 7.44mm and light at 176g.

Its AG glass back definitely grabs your attention with its gradient finish. Shifting its colors depending on how the light hits it, the shimmer blue design we have in our hands is absolutely gorgeous.

As we’ve touched on the 6.56” display of the vivo X60 earlier, do not be deceived as this is not your ordinary display. This is a 120Hz LTM AMOLED display and it boasts an HDR 10+ certification. This means you can expect details on the shadow side and lighter side of images that you won’t normally see on an average smartphone.

So surely, it would be your perfect companion for streaming films, documentaries, and TV series. LTM technology lets you enjoy clear visuals even with bright sunlight.

Now let’s talk about the star of the show, the camera with Zeiss optics.

Smartphone companies partner with camera or lens manufacturers to enhance their camera systems. And vivo pulled off a great move in partnering with Zeiss, making its superb technology present on all of vivo X60’s cameras.

Fantastic camera features

There’s the 48MP main camera, 13MP telephoto camera, and a 13MP ultra wide angle camera. And up front, you have the 32MP selfie camera.

With all these, you can take remarkable photos in whichever mode you choose. Your photos will look like it came straight out of a DSLR or a mirrorless camera with your main shooter.

Landscape views look amazing on the X60’s ultra wide mode, and your photos still look sharp and detailed with the telephoto lens.

The vivo X60 also has the Zeiss biotar portrait style, giving your portrait photos that iconic bokeh look. The portrait lens also has an equivalent 50mm focal length which is a staple for photographers to take great portraits.

As for its super panorama mode, shots are so seamless that you wouldn’t see any stitches.

Video taking

Now when it comes to taking videos, its main camera has optical image stabilization (OIS) making your video shots really smooth and steady. The vivo X60 has ultra stabilization which combines OIS and EIS.

But what happens when the lights are out and you only have your surround light to keep you lit? That’s what really puts the vivo X60 on the pedestal — its outstanding low light capability.

With vivo’s updated AI noise reduction algorithm, you can take stunning photos even at night. With its HDR super Night Portrait Mode, you can still stay in the spotlight and shine even in darkness.

Even if it’s pitch black outside, the vivo 60 can still make it seem like it’s daytime, giving us photos with good light and clear details, thanks to its Extreme Night Vision 2.0.

The X60 also lets you shoot in long exposure mode, giving you the chance to capture light streaks without worrying about too many settings.

The vivo X60 surely puts the wonder in wonderful with its outstanding cameras. It even takes things a few notches higher among smartphone contenders with its amazing display and performance, with a competitive base flagship pricing.

Pricing and availability

vivo X60, 12GB+3GB RAM/ 256GB Storage — PhP 34,999. Available in vivo Official Stores, Lazada, and Shopee.


This feature is a partnership between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

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Gaming

SCARLET NEXUS First Impressions: Technological dystopia

BANDAI NAMCO’s take on an anime-style, cyberpunk RPG

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SCARLET NEXUS

I knew BANDAI NAMCO mostly from their incredible work on classic games like PAC-MAN and TEKKEN. In fact, I grew up playing their games quite a lot, whether with family members or with some friends. To this day, they’re still producing a decent amount of games across both current and next-generation consoles and the PC.

This time around, they’ve ventured into an action RPG mixed with a little bit of “brain punk” as they described it. They called this game, “SCARLET NEXUS, and it’s set for release for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and the PC. Now, I gave the demo a shot to see just how everything will turn out.

Short, sweet, and action-filled

In total, the entire demo took about 30 minutes to finish, which for a demo isn’t that long. At the start, you even get to choose which main protagonist you want to roll with, for a good reason too. Apart from the same tutorial section, you actually get to play a different main stage design. I honestly thought it would be the same all throughout.

Character selection screen for SCARLET NEXUS

Regardless, gameplay immediately picks up after a short tutorial session, and I found myself just having a blast. Honestly, the controls are pretty easy to understand and master after a few combat sequences so the learning curve isn’t steep. Plus, part of the combat mechanics includes the SAS, which grants access to additional attacks and abilities.

SCARLET NEXUS

It’s a gameplay style I’ve come accustomed to with other RPGs in the last few years. Even for a short demo, action looks quite fast-paced and reaction-heavy on some occasions. Also, you can add onto that a bit of exploration with the vast level design, so combat feels more loose and exciting to mess around with.

Visuals suited for the time

If you’re planning to get the version for the PC or  next-gen consoles, the design for the demo is amazing. I have to give credit to BANDAI NAMCO for integrating some apt lighting fixtures in Kasane’s demo level, further emphasizing the technological wasteland in the background. Although, I think that this will also be present in the PS4 and Xbox One versions but not as prominent.

Also, like I mentioned before, the demo levels are quite vast, which also aids in the exploration aspect. I noticed that they scatter some items across the whole level, ranging from healing items to items that aid in combat. In some instances, these items were well-hidden in some of the nooks and crannies of the level.

Of course, it isn’t just in the overworld visuals that I’m amazed at, but even in some of the cutscenes in between combat and exploration. The cartoony, comic book-style animations mixed in with some techno-punk were nice touches. I could feel that there was a lot of love given just to this department alone.

Worth all the waiting?

If I could sum up my initial impressions on SCARLET NEXUS, it’s an RPG that I truly enjoyed even for 30 minutes. Honestly, the biggest culprit for this goes to the gameplay mechanics that feels so great to execute, and you take a short time learning everything. Packed with some incredible visual design, I think this game has potential to be a favorite for this year.

SCARLET NEXUS

One of the things I am looking forward to later on is the storylines we’ll be working with. The demo doesn’t really touch on plot points that you could do mental gymnastics with. Although, it does reveal that you play with different NPCs instead of taking on the enemies all by yourself. Nonetheless, I feel that it’s something worth diving into when the full game comes out.

SCARLET NEXUS will be available on June 25.

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Hands-On

moto G stylus 5G Hands-on

The last of its kind?

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The moto G stylus was launched just last year. This time, Motorola has unveiled the moto G stylus 5G.

From the name itself, it now has 5G support — that’s thanks to the new Snapdragon 480G processor.

It may be look like a lower model number on paper, but this one promises better specs.

But is it enough for you to buy one? Watch our moto G stylus 5G hands-on video now.

 

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