Features

Is the Peloton bike worth it?

Fitness does not come cheap

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Getting a Peloton is more than just getting a bike; it’s joining a community. When you first start talking to someone who has the bike, they always talk about how irrationally in love they are with it. Now that I have it, I finally understand why.

After all, the bike isn’t just for taking classes and Peloton isn’t just another fitness company. Peloton is a technology company that’s creating communities and experiences that enable you to get the most out of your workouts. All of these, however, come with a pretty hefty price tag.

Peloton versus a gym membership

The bike costs EUR 2230 (US$ 2245) and an additional EUR 39 (US$ 39) a month for the classes and digital services.

Think of it like this: The digital services are like what you would pay for your monthly gym membership, and the cost of the bike is your sign up fee. If you look at it as a 3-year commitment, it ends up around something like 102.89 a month.

If you compare it to a high-end spin studio it starts to look cheap. BeCycle in Berlin, for example, offers 12 classes a month for EUR 200, and 16 for EUR 239. SoulCycle in London offers 30 classes that can be used over 12 months for around EUR 700.

It’s clear the way SoulCycle expects you to take their classes as something you add to your fitness routine a few times a month. The cost of 30 classes over the year with SoulCycle is the price of unlimited classes with Peloton, and you can do more than just spinning with the latter.

If you start to think of Peloton as a long term fitness commitment, the pricing no longer seems outrageous.

Four things that make Peloton worth it

Well-rounded classes that go beyond the bike

With Peloton, you get access to hundreds of on-demand classes and a dozen or so live classes a day. Peloton might have started with just cycling but they’ve added dance cardio, sleep coaching, running, meditation, walking, and strength training. They even have yoga classes — some of which cater to expecting mothers.

Social aspect

New research shows exercise can be contagious, and social pressure is a fantastic motivator. With Peloton, you can schedule rides with friends or join group classes — live or on demand. You can also connect with friends to see how often they ride.

Built for competitive people

The leaderboard on the right hand side pushes you to pass the next rider, and this is by far my no. 2 motivator.

Ugly sweat brings the drama

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not too proud to be a sweaty mess in public. But working out at home also means I can bring the drama. Often I find myself falling over and gasping for air like I’m JLaw in Passengers trying to breathe in that floating water bubble. If we’re talking about worth, the ability to be extra dramatic at home is priceless!

Two girls, one Peloton

Both Carol and I have a Peloton bike at home so we thought it was worthwhile to give you two takes on the same question. Is it worth it?

Nicole

If you’re like me and have a 20-euro monthly gym membership, it’s going to take a lot more than comparing Peloton’s pricing to a high-end fitness studio that I wouldn’t have paid for in the first place.

If you’re someone who has the self-discipline and already goes (or used to go, before quarantine happened) to the gym multiple times a week, Peloton is a good alternative. It’s a high-end fitness studio in your home. The best parts of having your own gym at home is not wasting any time travelling to the gym and the workouts and instructors are varied enough that you won’t get bored.

If you’re someone who thinks that getting a Peloton would be like buying the willpower to work out, you also won’t be disappointed.

In a separate article, I talked about living in a 38sqm flat during lockdown and still managed to find excuses NOT to work out. At the end of the day, even though I struggle with consistency, I’m in better shape now than I was over the past year of having a cheap gym membership and supplementing it with ClassPass.

Having a Peloton bike at home is great because you constantly see the bike. It’s like getting constant reminders that you’re not working out. This is what I’ve come to realize — it’s not that I’m not working out enough; it’s that I would feel guilty about not working out.

If this sounds terrible to you — which it should — don’t worry. Half of the time this guilt is replaced with motivation and a desire to get on the bike and get stronger.

The only way for me to stomach paying that much for a bike is to convince myself that it’s essentially a gym membership. After five months with it, I’m not even sure that I could go back to any other way of working out — especially since gyms are high risk areas and I’m just overly cautious.

SEE ALSO: Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

Carol

As someone who grew up skinny, working out was never part of my routine until I discovered spinning back in 2014. Through spinning, I learned that fitness doesn’t have anything to do with your dress size and that working out can actually be fun. It’s not the most affordable choice for workouts, but the music and the endorphin rush always left me with such a high.

I have to admit I was never a fan of the physical high fives and the loud classmates who love to go “Wooh!” throughout the class. They made me hyper aware of how much I’m struggling through the pushes and how much of a mess I look during the whole ordeal. Palm sweat on palm sweat with strangers always gave me the heebie-jeebies even before social distancing was a thing.

Having a Peloton at home brings all the things I love about spin class and leaves the things I hate about it somewhere else. I can enjoy the music, add some extra dance moves if I want to, and even sing along without worrying if I get a little too loud over that Sia song. I even started answering instructors as if they could hear me, screaming how ready I am for the ride and throwing in my own “woohs!” into the mix.

Before the pandemic, I was already really happy over the fact that I have the bike at home. Time is money and having the bike at home has given me more free time since I don’t have to make my way to and from the spin studio I frequent here in Berlin. While spin studios tend to go all out in their facilities, nothing beats showering or taking a long hot bath after a workout.

When the pandemic hit and gyms in Berlin were shuttered, I was just so thankful to have the Peloton at home. It’s a common misconception that Peloton is just for spinning and I made sure to get into the other workouts they offer while we were spending most of the time at home. During this time, I committed to doing at least one thing with the Peloton app every day.

It doesn’t even have to be a heavy sweat session. It could just be a good stretch or even a short time allotted for meditation. So even if you’re not a big fitness junkie. Trust me, it’s worth it. I’m so far from being in the upper half of the leaderboard but the fact that I get to burn most of what I ate during the day and work on relaxing my mind before bed has been such great help for my whole well-being.

SEE ALSO: Quarantine fitness diary: Forming better habits with Peloton

Since the restrictions have been relaxed and the weather has gotten so much better, I started going out more and one of the challenges, as Nicole said, is sticking to your commitment to work out. But seeing the bike at home really makes for a great reminder. If you’re someone who always has a full calendar, someone who’s busy at work, and is in need of a way to get fit and forget the world for a little bit then this is something for you. My husband and I both feel the guilt over missing a day of working out. Not because of anything else but the fact that we missed out on doing something we enjoy.

Is the Peloton worth it?

Of course it is, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to you to make the most out of it.

Let us know in the comments what you’re looking forward to when you get your bike! See you on the leaderboard soon.

SEE ALSO: Peloton tips and tricks: How to make the most out of your workout

First Look

realme GT Master Edition: Unboxing and First Impressions

Does it remind you of a suitcase?

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realme GT Master Edition

realme has a new phone — the realme GT Master Edition — and we’re gonna take it out of the box. We’ll also tell you what we initially think because these are the only things we’re allowed to do. For now.

The company is using all their favorite buzzwords again to generate… well… buzz for the phone. Words like disruptive, game changer, flagship experience — the works. It gets too hypey, but that’s what you gotta do to standout in an industry dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung. I digress.

Take a look at the realme GT Master Edition specs before we proceed with the unboxing:

  • Display — 6.43″ AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G
  • RAM — 8GB + up to 5GB DRE (Dynamic RAM Extension)
  • Storage — 128GB and 256GB
  • Battery — 4,300mAh, Dual-cell design, 65W SuperDart charging
  • Rear Cameras — 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.3 119° ultra-wide lens, 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
  • Selfie Camera — 32MP
  • OS — Android 11, realme UI 2.0
  • Color Options — Voyager Grey, Daybreak Blue

It came in this cool tiny travel suitcase. It’ll be a recurring theme.

realme GT Master Edition

Opening it reveals two boxes safely tucked in between foams for shock absorption.

realme GT Master Edition

The left box, as you can see, is just black with the trademark yellow realme logo. On the right side is the box of the actual phone itself.

The left box is filled with different realme items.

Some stickers, keychains, and more.

It also has printed pictures of shots taken using the realme GT Master Edition.

Now, onto the main event — the box of the phone itself.

realme GT Master Edition

Opening the box, you’ll see this warm welcoming message.

realme GT Master Edition

Inside this, you’ll find the usual documentation — warranty, manual, all that good stuff.

Lift that and you’ll be greeted by the realme GT Master Edition.

realme GT Master Edition

Wrapped in plastic with an indicator of where the in-display fingerprint sensor is located.

Lift that layer where the phones and you’ll find the plasticky case.

realme GT Master Edition

It looks exactly like the back of the phone except it’s a shade lighter and doesn’t feel quite as good.

Underneath it is the USB Type-C cable.

realme GT Master Edition

And as you may have gleaned from the photo above, the SIM tray ejector tool lies under it.

 

 

realme GT Master Edition

When you life the case, you’ll see the 65W SuperDart power brick.

realme GT Master Edition

That’s it for everything inside the box. Now let’s look at the phone.

Here’s a good look at the back of the realme GT Master Edition.

realme GT Master Edition

As mentioned earlier, the whole suitcase and travel thing is the main theme of this phone’s design. The horizontal grids were meant to replicate the look of a suitcase to trigger the thought of travel. It’s kind of cruel given the general travel restrictions still imposed on us because of the pandemic. But maybe that’s just me.

Signed by Naoto Fukasawa.

realme GT Master Edition

Responsible for the design is Naoto Fukasawa. He even signed the thing on the back. It’s a puzzling move to say the least. I’m fairly certain 90 percent of the people who will end up purchasing this phone will have zero idea who Fukasawa is. But congrats, you have his autograph now!

Fukasawa is a Japanese industrial designer. He is most known for his works with retail company MUJI. Now, I’m sure a lot of you will be familiar with MUJI. Even then, I don’t think the idea of a renowned designer’s signature being on your phone’s back is something you’ll find thrilling or enticing.

realme continues to make these wild choices for back designs. It’s brave and bold which is in keeping with their whole approach. Personally, these aren’t things I find appealing. Then again, an oldie like me is likely not their target market. I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Looks aside, that back feels great

realme says it’s called the concave vegan leather — the first of its kind in the smartphone industry. I’m not gonna pretend to understand the whole process so here’s an excerpt from realme’s infosheet explaining the thing:

“realme has adopted a more challenging way – the polymer material is turned into an initial three-dimensional shape through the injection molding process, and then use the hot pressing process to synthesize the vegan leather with the substrate, and finally achieve the integrated concave vegan leather shape.

Did you get that? Basically, all of that was needed to achieve the uneven finish with the feel of leather. It’s a lot to take in but all you need to know is that it feels great to touch and isn’t slippery at all.

Bottom: Speaker grille, USB-C port, and suprise — 3.5mm headphone jack.

realme GT Master Edition

Button placements are your usual. Power button on the right side and the volume buttons as well as the SIM card tray on the left side.

Here’s the realme GT Master Edition with the case on.

realme GT Master Edition

It mimics the look of concave vegan leather but feels nowhere near it. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend using this case if you want to preserve that leather feeling. Really wish realme came up with vegan leather case too.

The phone’s wallpaper looks like a pavement.

realme GT Master Edition

Points for consistency, I guess? It’s running Android 11 with a coat of realme UI 2.0. If you’re an OPPO user, this UI going to feel familiar. It’s almost like ColorOS which isn’t a bad thing. The whole UI feels clean and easy to navigate.

What’s surprising are the overwhelming number of apps pre-installed. Sure, you have ones that you’ll likely install like Facebook, Messenger, and Netflix. But for every one of those useful apps, there’s a couple more that’s just flat out bloatware. There are also incessant notifications about apps you can download from their App Market. I know “disrupting” is their thing but maybe not like this?

Cameras to die for?

realme GT Master Edition

realme made a big deal about the back design and just as much as they did, they also said the cameras on this thing are fantastic. Hence, the inclusion of printed photos taken with it in this special unboxing package. We have no samples to show you just yet. We’ll take a step outside, observing health and safety protocols of course, to see if we can come up with stunning images ourselves.

The realme GT Master Edition (that’s a mouthful) is a decently-sized smartphone with concave vegan leather for its back that feels absolutely fantastic. It has an overall clean UI that’s bogged down a little bit by bloatware. We’ll explore its performance and camera prowess in the review. By that time, we’ll also know how its price so watch out for it.

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Accessories

Should you buy the Sony WF-1000XM4?

Here’s a quick guide

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Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony is back again with another top-of-the-line pair of true wireless (TWS) earbuds and it’s one that’s worthy of your consideration. Roughly a couple of years after the launch of the Sony WF-1000XM4, we now have the Sony WF-1000XM4. Should you spend your hard earned cash on it? That’s what we’ll try to answer.

We do have a pretty comprehensive review of the WF-1000XM4. But if that’s a little too long for you, consider this article the TLDR. Let’s dive right in.

It’s within your budget

It should go without saying but in hard times such as now, one shouldn’t mindlessly splurge on the shiniest new tech out there. That said, if you can shell out PhP 13,999 (US$ 280 / SG$ 379 / MYR 1099) then by all means, grab this pair. It’s easily one of the best devices in its category and is definitely worth every penny.

You’re an Android user

Sony WF-1000XM4

STAYC’s “Stereotype” is bop. Give it a listen.

Sony has this tech called LDAC. While it’s not exactly hi-res audio, it’s likely the closest thing to it. Here’s an entire explainer from the SoundGuys if you want a deep dive on it. And sadly, this format isn’t supported by any iPhone as of writing. To experience the absolute best audio quality that the WF-1000XM4 has to offer, you’re better off being on Android.

Now, that’s not to say it’s terrible on iPhones or any other device. In fact, we’ve used this on both an iPhone and a Mac and the audio quality is still a blessing to the ears. You’re not getting the ‘absolute best’ but it’s still better than most others.

You care about the environment

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony moved away from the usual box you expect from devices of this caliber. Instead, they’re using recycled packaging for the WF-1000XM4. It’s plastic free and is made from a special blend of paper.

It’s a move to the more sustainable side of things and it’s one we’re totally down with. Besides, if you’re looking for that premier feeling, there’s no shortage of that on the device itself.

You’re not a fan of the AirPods design

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 with the Huawei Freebuds Pro. Don’t have AirPods on hand, sorry.

Pretty much every other manufacturer who jumped on the TWS market followed Apple’s cue. That means TWS earbuds that have a stem. While we’ve gotten used to the look over the years, the general perception is still that if it has a stem, it’s an AirPods copycat. This despite other brands giving their own spin on it.

The stem isn’t just for show though. For most of these earbuds, they serve as a mic. During our tests, they’ve generally performed better in call situations over ones that don’t have them.

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is still pretty decent for voice and video calls, so if you can live with that and want something that doesn’t stick out of your ear too much, then this is the choice for you.

You want something for multiple uses

Multiple uses in every kind of sense. The WF-1000XM4 promises up to eight hours of music playback with noise cancellation switched on, and the case can supply an additional 16 hours of battery life via charging. That’s pretty consistent with our usage.

Trust us, you’re not gonna have these on for eight hours straight anyway. With its IPX4 rating, it’s water resistant enough to take with you for workouts. After freshening up from exercise, you can use it for a few work meetings here and there. And then you can cap your day by listening to your favorite podcast or music — for us, it’s been a heavy dose of TWICE tracks, STAYC’s “Stereotype” and some Slow Jams to put us to bed.

That’s what regular daily use looks like. And we’ve only had to charge the device after two to three days. Of course, that’ll vary depending on your usage — which, no matter what that may be, the WF-1000XM4 can handle mightily.

SEE ALSO: Sony WF-1000XM4 review: Simply the best

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Features

This kid-friendly podcast is a cool way to teach Philippine history

It’s called ‘Habilin’ and is a 12-part podcast

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Habilin

There are a handful of key events and highlights throughout Philippine history that our kids should be mindful of as they grow up and begin to become more socially aware and involved.

Martial Law is one of them. It’s one of the most discussed historical topics until now, even just in a casual setting, 49 years after it was declared.

Nowadays, people still find themselves confused or have trouble talking about a keystone moment in Filipino history. It is no secret that the Marcos dictatorship, which spanned over a decade, affected millions of Filipinos.

It plunged the country into overwhelming debt, countless human rights violations, and consequences that are still being paid for today and will continue to be paid for by generations to come — as all verified and fact-checked by sources.

Yes, it’s a topic that’s serious, but we’d also want the next generation to be in the know and encourage them to take a stand as they look back at an important piece of collective history.

So one might ask: how do we begin to talk to kids about Martial Law?

Enter “Habilin,” a 12-part podcast and animated series about the heroes who fought for our freedom, produced by The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Sandigan Para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan (SAMASA), and the Give a Hoot podcast.

The unsung heroes

Going with a unique approach with its production and story angles, the podcast project showcases the lives of ordinary Filipinos who stood up for their rights and empowered citizens, providing different point of views for its young audience.

Through thoughtful storytelling, eye-catching animation, and immersive sound design in its episodes available in both video and podcast forms, “Habilin” is able to cater to the more techy youth and share with them powerful stories they may have never heard of before.

Sister Mariani Dimaranan, Lazaro Silva, and Lumbaya Gayudan

Sister Mariani Dimaranan, Lazaro Silva, and Lumbaya Gayudan — these are all names kids might not be familiar with, but in just a few minutes, they will be hooked to their inspiring stories of heroism.

Habilin” has a feature on Elma Tangente, a “binukot”, or a young Visayan noblewoman chosen by her tribe to be sheltered from the public eye. But after they were forced out of their land by the military, she joined the guerilla movement and organized different communities, bringing them together to fight against the dictatorship.

She gave up her binukot status and went to a school run by student activists, where she learned to read and write and became interested in social issues. This is where she realized what being a “chosen one” truly means: to empower her community.

Nestor Principe

Another episode features Nestor Principe, a karate instructor and community organizer. Nestor and his brothers learned martial arts to defend their community against gangs and rogue policemen. After becoming a karate champion, he toured the world as a bodyguard for a Malaysian official until he learned about the First Quarter Storm.

When he went back to school, he absorbed more knowledge about national issues. Upon the declaration of Martial Law, he fled to Cordilleras. Despite not speaking the local language, he found ways to discuss the state of the nation and convinced more people to fight the dictatorship. Principe, who was martyred in 1973, exchanged fighting with fists to using his words to defend others.

Armando Palabay

Armando Palabay, meanwhile, tells the story of an Ilocano local living in a society that was devoted to the Marcoses. When Palabay and his brother saw that it was important to help people see the truth behind the propaganda, they told their classmates about the injustices, and staged protests as poems, plays, and songs.

Palabay’s story teaches kids the importance of standing for what is right, even if it’s difficult under the circumstances he was in.

Lights of hope

Habilin” features Filipinos from all walks of life: unsung heroes, which include a beauty queen and a nun. The courage of these unlikely heroes shows that no matter where they come from, anyone can carry a light of hope for a new future.

“I hope young Filipinos understand that they, too, can use their voice to stand up against injustice and oppression,” says Tricia Aquino, producer of Give A Hoot and chief content officer at PumaPodcast, the award-winning podcast production company behind the series’ sound design. “I hope ‘Habilin’ helps them learn our history, so that they can, in turn, tell the stories of those who fought for democracy.”

The “Habilin” series reminds us that everyone has the capacity to be a source of light in dark times, and that we have a responsibility to remember our history. Like them, you, too, can inspire the next generation to what’s right and what’s good for the rest of the country — in your own little ways.

There is no doubt that innovations in technology have made our lives easier and more comfortable in the modern times. But it’s also led to the age of disinformation and fake news.

The is why it’s all the more vital for kids to hear the real-life stories of everyday heroes that inspire and lead. Like the producers of “Habilin”, it’s only necessary for these history stories to be part of our regular conversations so we may #NeverForget and protect the freedom that we’ve gallantly fought for.


Give A Hoot is a podcast on communication for social change. Listen to the “Habilin” podcast series on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts. The animated version is also available on the Commission on Human Rights’ of the Philippines’ Facebook and Youtube pages.

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