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

Accessories

Huawei Freebuds Pro Unboxing and First Impressions

Sounds as good as it looks

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Huawei has been killing it in the personal audio department and everyone should really start paying attention. Adding to the lineup is the Huawei Freebuds Pro. It’s their answer of sorts to the likes of the AirPods Pro and the Sony WF-1000XM3.

This is what the front of the box looks like. It’s a pretty tiny box.

Freebuds Pro

A closer look shows the name of the product in gold. 

Flip it over and you’ll see some highlighted features. 

Take out the top cover and you’re immediately greeted by the Freebuds Pro. 

Here’s a look without the plastic covering.

Freebuds Pro

It’s a little tricky to take out but underneath all that is the USB to USB-C Cable and a box.

Pull out the cable and the box and you get this.

Here’s a closer look at the cable. 

And here are extra soft silicone plugs so you can find the perfect fit for your ears.

Now, let’s go back to the Freebuds Pro. Here’s the back of the charging case with the Huawei text. 

You flip it over to open it and reveal the earbuds. 

The buds are tinier — the tiniest they’ve released over the past year.

On the bottom of the case is the USB-C port. 

And on its right side is the bluetooth pairing button. 

But if you simply open the case next to a Huawei phone — here it’s the Huawei Mate 40 — it’ll immediately detect it and ask to pair. 

When you press connect, it’ll show you right away how to operate the Freebuds Pro. 

After that, it’ll show you the battery life of each Freebud Pro and the case. 

As mentioned earlier, in terms of the size of the stem, it’s a lot smaller than the previous two releases. 

The cases also vary in shape and size.

Here’s what they look like when worn. 

First impressions 

I’ve only had the Freebuds Pro for a little over 24 hours at the time of writing. I’ve since used it on a video call meeting and to listen to the Eyes Wide Open album by TWICE.

I Cant Stop Me GIF by TWICE - Find & Share on GIPHY

So far, it’s performing exactly as advertised. It carries over the noise-cancellation excellence from the Freebuds 3 and Freebuds 3i. In fact, the Freebuds Pro combines the best practices of the aforementioned devices thanks to a number of engineering and design choices.

Sound quality is also right around what I expected based on my previous experiences with other Huawei audio products. It’s certainly two steps above the Freebuds 3i in terms of overall sound quality.

SEE ALSO: Freebuds 3 review | Freebuds 3i review

Music comes off as crisp and clean as the Freebuds 3 but we’ll have to try it out for a little longer for a more definitive take. Same goes for the battery life.

The controls are also more intuitive. If you are coming from the Freebuds 3, it is a little different. Here’s a photo of me assuming the controls are the same. Nope, I didn’t pay attention to the prompts during set-up. What an idiot.

Price and availability 

In the Philippines, it retails for PhP 7,999 — around PhP 1,000 cheaper than the launch price of the Freebuds 3 (PhP 8,990).

Pre-order period is from November 27 to December 3. If you pre-order you’ll get freebies worth PhP 3,989.

  • Huawei Band 4 — PhP 1,890
  • Entertainment Gift Package — PhP 2,099

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The Huawei Mate 40 Pro’s cameras are actually smart

Perfect for lazy point-and-shooters

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Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Part of writing tech reviews means I also take product photos for a living. It may seem easy at first, but I can guarantee that it takes some practice to get good shots. The same is true for when we take sample photos.

However, I’m human (occasionally trash) and I get tired and lazy too. I had a different article in mind for this feature at first but I wasn’t too happy with some of the shots I took with the Huawei Mate 40 Pro.

But then it hit me. Isn’t this the whole point of having a smartphone camera? It’s supposed to do a lot of the processing and beautification on its own. So what I’m going to show you right now are some of the shots I was “moderately okay” with to showcase just how smart the Mate 40 Pro is as a point-and-shoot-camera.

Insane HDR

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

The level of detail in this photo is already impressive on its own. The pot with the dead plant/s (I’m not much of a plant person, sorry) is placed against the light source which is the window.

Despite that, not only was the Mate 40 Pro able to produce a shot showing the pot’s details, it also captured the view outside the window.

Not impressed? Here’s what it looked like right before I took the photo.

A little mind-blowing, right?

10X Zoom is the zoom sweet spot

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro can go all the way up to 50X Zoom. But we all know maxxed out zoom levels don’t really produce images you’d be inclined to post on social media.

Thankfully, (and as you can see in the plant screenshot) the camera app actually guides you to different shooting perspectives for optimal use.

When you fire it up, you have the normal distance or 1X zoom. Click the button on the right and you go straight to wide. Click to the left of 1X and you have 5X zoom, and click to left most node and you have 10X Zoom.

So how good is it?

This was taken in 1X at night while I was taking a brisk-ish walk around our compound.

What did I tell you? Lazy shot, right? But it looks fair. The scene was aptly lit and the night mode wasn’t very aggressive. But put your attention on the figure in the middle. Here’s what it looks like after shooting in 10X Zoom.

The level of detail at 10X Zoom, and at night at that, is simply astonishing. It’s such a clean shot given the conditions it was in.

Night Mode is unreal

While we’re at it, let’s talk about the Huawei Mate 40 Pro’s Night Mode. Huawei, in recent years, has done a pretty good job with their night mode. As I mentioned, it’s no longer overly aggressive when it doesn’t need to be.

But when there’s little to no light source, Night Mode really kicks into high gear. Here’s a screenshot of the basketball court before I took the photo.

If I’m not mistaken, this was around seven or eight in the evening. There’s a faint light around the court, but since there’s a pandemic, we can’t really use it to play hoops. That’s why it’s lights off for now.

But here’s the final shot.

Personally, I think the post-processing was extremely aggressive here. The AI was working extra hard filling-in what it thought the colors were of the sky and the trees. It missed a little bit on the ring though as it isn’t green at all in real life.

That said, this is a fantastic showcase of what the Mate 40 Pro’s Night Mode can do even in near pitch-black scenes.

Here’s a bonus night mode shot just to showcase how good it is on an adequately lit scene.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Trying (and failing) at toy photography

The following morning, I decided to try my hand at ‘toy photography.’ So over the pandemic, one of the things I did to cope was buy a few anime figures. But it’s not something I’ve actually done before so this was mostly just for the heck of it and to see how the Mate 40 Pro can do under ample light conditions.

I shot poorly (I think), but the Mate 40 Pro did a lot of heavy lifting. It only occurred to me that perhaps having this colorful a backdrop wasn’t the best idea for highlighting a toy figure.

But here’s the portrait mode shot.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Any Shoto Todoroki stans reading this?

It’s a little darker than in real life, but the background blur is fantastic. Look at the lights on the building in the background. The subject could have been clearer if my hands had been steadier but overall, this isn’t bad at all.

I didn’t really read up on how to do this before trying it but based on some stuff I’ve seen online, toy photography is also about highlighting the details. The zoom function shines here again.

On the left is the 1X shot and on the right is the 5X Zoom. The quality suffers a little but it still manages to showcase the underfoot details of the figure.

I tried taking a closer shot with a bright background. The Mate 40 Pro still captured a fair amount of detail with ample lighting on the subject despite the overpowering source of light on the background.

Again, I wasn’t really too happy with the background so I figured I’d wrap things up. I took one last shot — a face close-up using 5X Zoom.

I haven’t spent that long of a time with the Mate 40 Pro so I was having trouble with focusing. Despite my shortcomings, the image still came out a little okay.

When I actually tried (a little)

A little later on we had to shoot a video for Huawei. It was a rush project so I figured I’d meet up with MJ to wrap things up quickly. With his influence, I actually tried taking proper photos and here’s how they came out.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Oh and here’s portrait mode on an actual person.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Perfect for point-and-shooters

I’m willing to bet most people really don’t want to bother with too many settings or tweaking things here and there. The Huawei Mate 40 Pro really shines in this aspect as the combination of its hardware plus AI shooting does a lot of heavy lifting for most users.

Huawei Mate 40 Pro

But my general advice is still try a little (haha). It won’t take a lot of effort to capture something amazing when you have the Mate 40 Pro with you.

Watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 rumor roundup: Exynos vs. Snapdragon, no chargers, S Pen support

Coming early in January!

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Is it too early for a Samsung Galaxy S21 rumor roundup? Normally, Samsung’s next flagship gets its time under the spotlight starting sometime in January. However, according to some recent eager-beaver news, Samsung isn’t wasting precious time next year, potentially launching the Galaxy S21 earlier than usual. Now, besides the earlier debut, we have a charitable bag of Galaxy S21 rumors and leaks.

Here are the juiciest Galaxy S21 details you absolutely have to know:

What’s in a name?

Revealed in August, one of the earliest details about next year’s flagship revolved around the Galaxy S21’s name. For the second time in a row, Samsung is ditching the contiguous naming scheme of the previous year.

Last year, the Galaxy S20 series skipped ten numbers from the Galaxy S10 from two years ago. Before that, Samsung had always used a plus-one naming scheme for the flagship series. Now, the company is returning to the plus-one scheme, ditching a Galaxy S30 (for now).

Though the name doesn’t reveal anything about the phone’s insides, it sets a nice precedent and sets the stage for any forthcoming reports.

Exynos versus Snapdragon

Separated by months, the Galaxy S21’s processor didn’t pop up immediately after the new naming scheme’s reveal. However, because of the long-standing feud between the Exynos and Snapdragon camps, it’s important to mention the processor early.

Without the actual processors in our hands, no one knows how the two chipsets will perform in real life yet. However, early reports are presenting conflicting results. The earliest of which, coming from constant Samsung leaker Ice Universe, foretells the next Exynos falling to Snapdragon once again. As it is, it looks like business as usual for Samsung.

Strangely, the same leaker backtracked soon afterward. Now, Ice Universe claims that the Exynos 2100 will tower over the Snapdragon 875 next year. To their credit, the most recent report explicitly names the two chipsets. The previous, contrary report only mentions “next year’s Exynos 1000.”

Funny enough, the strange conundrum resolves itself. Recently, Samsung launched the Exynos 1080 chipset, a processor positioned for the midrange segment. The midrange Exynos 1080 will almost certainly fall to the Snapdragon 875’s performance. Meanwhile, the (still-unconfirmed) Exynos 2100 can still outperform Qualcomm’s chipset.

To the left, to the left

Despite its size, the Galaxy S20’s camera island is inoffensive. It’s big, but it’s fine. However, as teased by a few renders and case leaks, the Galaxy S21 is taking a completely different route. Instead of a slightly offset camera island, the upcoming flagship’s camera will flow almost seamlessly from the top-left corner.

To say the least, the new design looks… different. Current reception is mixed. While some are more welcoming toward the new design, a sizable number are decrying the size and the case’s glaring top-left vulnerability.

Charger-gate redux

One of the most controversial decisions this year, Apple recently decided to ditch the free charging adapters starting with the iPhone 12. As expected, the decision met with a lot of derision from both iPhone and Android fans. However, Apple isn’t alone in the decision.

According to some expert analysts, Samsung is following Apple’s lead this time around. Despite mocking Apple for eliminating free chargers, the company is reportedly removing their own chargers from the Galaxy S21 series.

As of the latest report, Samsung is mulling over critical decisions over its free chargers and wired earphones. The Galaxy S21 can potentially lose one or both.

The irony is strong. Further, it’s unknown how Samsung intends to defend a potential removal. For its part, Apple included its decision in its carbon-neutral plan, adding a tinge of environmental ethics to the cost-cutting measure. Samsung can always declare the same. However, the company will likely run into a lot of difficulties defending the removal if it does the same.

Goodbye, Note

Another fairly reliable rumor involves the Galaxy Note’s S Pen. Supposedly, the Galaxy S21 series will feature one variant with an included S Pen. For the first time ever, the flagship series will steal a feature usually exclusive for the premium Galaxy Note series. Out of the project four Galaxy S21 variants, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will offer the stylus (or support for it, at least).

Though relatively harmless on its own, the rumor coexists with another blockbuster rumor going into 2021: the supposed exit of the Galaxy Note series.

As early as September last year, Samsung had already hinted at a potential merging between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note lineups. At the time, the fusion made only little sense. The Galaxy Z series, which was poised to take over as the second main series, was only starting to grow.

Now, Samsung’s foldable segment has already grown into its own niche. Samsung can realistically merge its flat slab phones into one segment and establish a dedicated foldable lineup. Although, doing so will naturally eliminate the long-standing Galaxy Note series. But that’s another story for another time.

Early bird gets the Galaxy S21

As the roundup first starts with, the Galaxy S21 series will reportedly launch earlier than usual. For years, the Galaxy S series debuted between late February and early April. Last year’s Galaxy S20 was the earliest launch date in a while: early February.

According to substantial rumors, next year’s flagship will launch even earlier. The most reliable report pegs a January announcement for the series. However, some reports have even claimed a December date. Regardless of when exactly, it’s almost certain that the series will launch much earlier than historical expectations.

GadgetMatch-served Unpacked Invite

At the moment, no one knows exactly why it’s coming out early. Some pundits, especially Samsung fans, think that introducing the Galaxy S21 will space out the year for more launch events spread throughout. Others, including a notable source, think that it aims to capitalize on market share lost by Huawei.

Regardless, we still have a little less than two months for more information to inevitably leak out. Tune in for more information ahead of the launch early next year!

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