Having been to Thailand on multiple occasions, I always thought I knew everything that the country had to offer — but that was until I met Koh Samui.
As Thailand’s second-largest island (right after the popular Phuket), it’s home to gorgeous beaches, lovely temples, and some of the most attractive resorts and spas this side of the coast.
My stay didn’t last long enough to cover all there is to see in Koh Samui, but I did get to take part in the more adventurous aspect of island — making the choice of using a GoPro Hero 7 to document the trip all the more fitting!
A selfie right in front of the beach is in order! My group’s very first activity was snorkeling south of Koh Samui. Boats are easy enough to rent from here, the size of which depends on how large your group is.
If you’re in a rush to enter the ocean, you’re better off going for a speed boat like this. At a speed of about 50 knots (or 92kph!), you’re sure to soak up lots of sea breeze — which I wholeheartedly appreciated. 👌
Near the coast of Tean Island, we snorkeled through reefs which weren’t that deep or had dangerous corals. I’d say it’s very beginner-friendly, especially for those who can’t swim that well or fear the deep blue sea, but want to see colorful fish in their natural habitat.
Since the sun was still high and we didn’t want to turn into fried seafood ourselves, we took shelter in a nearby island called Koh Mat Sum. It’s tiny in comparison to neighboring islands, and it’s inhabited by…
… these adorable pigs! Yes, the island is filled with them, and I saw more piggies than I did other animals. Not that I mind, but I wonder what their purpose is. 🐖👀
Koh Mat Sum is also home to well-formed sand bars with some of clearest, bluest water I’ve ever seen. It’s great to see such pristine beaches even in tourist hotspots — I can’t say the same for some islands I’ve been to in other countries. Please pick up your trash, folks!
I had to prove my existence on this splendid island, so I took a photo using the Hero 7’s ten-second timer. Not-so-fun fact: This is the brand’s first action camera to have the feature! Why did this take so long, GoPro?!
All good things to come to an end, but they also lead to more fun activities, like this off-road ATV adventure I was about to go on after riding these pickup trucks. Back in Koh Samui, the dense forests are home to not only unspoiled wildlife and lots of fruit, but tracks perfect for driving through, as well.
Out ATVs were provided by the fine people of Samui Quad Motor, which provides vehicles of all colors and sizes, depending on what you need most. I obviously went for the larger model, and I’m glad I did, because the river parts needed more ground clearance to get through.
Because we had a lot of beginners in the group — myself included — we took a lot of breaks in between to let everyone catch up and brace ourselves for each leg of the trail. Having completed the most difficult part (check out that river behind me), I had to take another selfie because reasons. 🤳
The entire day was admittedly tiring and not what I’m used to — I’m just a work-at-home editor, after all — so getting back to our resort was a godsend. The Renaissance Koh Samui Resort and Spa is a spectacular place to stay in, albeit a little pricey, but you definitely get what you pay for.
I had this little balcony outside of my room with space for two. Since I was alone, I used this outdoor spot to air-dry my clothes from the day’s escapades. But I still wish I had someone to share this with. 💔
Blue Leaf is one of the restaurants found within the resort. It’s the place to be in when you want a quick order of Pad Thai, spring rolls, fresh fruit, or Pad Thai — it’s so good it has to be mentioned twice!
Walking past the restaurant, you’ll find this vast pool facing the ocean. There are rarely any people here, because the beach right in front of it is what everyone actually wants to experience. Wait for it…
Here they are! This area is certainly the most Instagrammable part of the whole resort. This alone is worth the price of admission! So what exactly were these two models seeing in the background? Check this…
One of Koh Samui’s famous sunsets! I’ve seen tons of memorable sunsets all my life, but this definitely ranks high on my personal list. The way the light bounces off the rocks and glistens on the ocean is like no other. Makes me wish there were more than one sunset per day. 🤷♂️
It gets better, though. Find a good spot before night falls on the island, because the sky’s twilight is equally Instagram-worthy.
And here it is! I love how the water is shallow enough to walk on for long distances; gives the picture an even more surreal look. Blue on blue is something you rarely see unless you find a spot as serene as this.
But the night had just begun, and we found our way to a nearby night market. Like Bangkok and other cities in Thailand, Koh Samui hosts several of these with food and drinks at every corner. The one we went to was along Bophut Beach, which is on the northern tip of the island.
Dinner is… about to be served! We ate at Krua Bophut, which is — you guessed it — a Thai restaurant. I certainly didn’t mind since I have my fair share of Thai cuisine even when I’m not in their country. Actually, I’m craving some right now…
Like any trip, leaving is the hardest part. Fortunately, Koh Samui makes it a little less painful. This is the island’s sole airport, and it’s designed like an outdoor mall! Not once did I feel like I was at an actual airport. But alas, it was time to go home.
Koh Samui, despite its relatively small size, needs at least a week to truly appreciate. There are temples to be visited, more beaches to swim in, and lots more food to taste. This may be only the second-biggest island of Thailand, but it’s definitely number one in quality for me.
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14
Bluer than Blue!
September 11 marks a historical day not just for New Yorkers, but for (almost) everyone in this world.
With a memory that lives forever in our heads, Michael Josh has tried commemorating it.
He went to the pier along Brooklyn Bridge to recreate a shot he wanted to do for so long.
Can’t wait to see how the shot turned out? Or just curious how the iPhone 14’s gonna last throughout the day?
Head over now to our iPhone 14 First 24 Hours video to feed your curiosities.
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14 Pro Max
Battery & Camera Champ?
Aside from the usual one day usage, it’s also a great time to see the streets of New York, at least virtually.
With the new cameras of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (including a 48MP sensor),
is it suffice to say it’s worth upgrading to this year’s iPhone?
Here’s Michael Josh’s first 24 hours with the new iPhone 14 Pro Max for you to find out more.
vivo V25 and V25 Pro: First 24 Hours
Impressive all around!
For the uninitiated, smartphone manufacturer vivo makes the V-series, apart from the more premium X-series. The V-series is its midrange line that inherits a lot of the flagship features its more expensive brothers offer. It’s also got fun selfie camera features, as well as a more colorful, dynamic design.
The V25 and V25 Pro are the latest in the series, and we partnered with vivo to talk about our experience using both phones for the first 24 hours. We took them around New York City to test out new camera tricks during the day and at night, as well as to give you an idea what it might be like using the V25 Pro in the real world.
Lunch and Errands
We started the day by unplugging the V25 Pro at 10am at 100%. Errands had to be run around the city, which took almost 4 hours.
We then headed to Urbanspace meet some friends for lunch. It’s a food hall with lots of yummy options to choose from, and I opted for a caramelized pork banh mi.
While waiting for my order, I took some video samples using the V25 Pro’s rear camera. For a lot of smartphones photographing and filming at Urbanspace is not as easy. It’s moody with random light sources here and there but the V25 Pro’s 64MP OIS Ultra-Sensing Camera took the challenge like a champ. Watch our YouTube video here.
After lunch we walked over to Grand Central Terminal to take the subway to a Mediatek event. We were running late but we had to take a few photos using the V25 and V25 Pro because this station is stunning.
Even if it was quite dim inside the station, these shots came out great thanks to the V25 series’ 64MP OIS Ultra-Sensing Camera, which minimizes blur and supports a longer exposure time, resulting in clearer and brighter images.
When it comes to videos, the V25 series uses a Hybrid Image Stabilization (OIS+EIS) feature to deliver smooth videos even in low light. The X-series has long been known for great video stabilization so it’s good to see that come to its more affordable models. So, we also filmed a few clips during our subway ride.
Processing Power and Color Changing Design
At the Mediatek event, we got reunited with a lot of our fellow tech YouTubers, including Enobong Etteh (@booredatwork, Joshua Vergara (@jvtechtea), and Danny Winget (@superscientific).
Both the V25 and V25 Pro are powered by a MediaTek 5G system on a chip. The vivo V25 is powered by Mediatek’s Dimensity 900, a 6nm chip with exceptional AI camera features.
Meanwhile, the V25 Pro is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1300, an octa core CPU with boosted AI performance and HyperEngine 5 which provides a suite of gaming related optimizations.
At the event however, we got our friends to talk about the color changing design of the V25 and V25 Pro.
Our V25 unit turns from golden yellow to a rich orange tone when exposed to the sun or UV light. While the V25 Pro goes from a lighter blue to a deep blue. This is thanks to the Color Changing Fluorite AG Glass material that vivo used.
Both Joshua and Danny liked how eye catching the V25’s color is. I personally love anything blue, so the V25 Pro is my pick.
At the event we also got to test the V25 Pro’s 32MP Eye AF selfie camera. It’s got autofocus, so even if you’re dealing with moving subjects, it locks on them so selfies remain clear.
In one test we had Chay move in and out of frame. Autofocus detects her as soon as she comes back into frame and follows her along as she moves around the frame.
I also love the teleprompter feature which lets me put up a script to read while recording video. I might use it for my Instagram stories more often. It’s such a fun tool!
The MediaTek event took place on a gorgeous rooftop suite so while everyone was busy mingling, I snapped the rest of these photos.
We had a lot of fun catching up with everyone, showing them the new vivo phones, and taking photos that we almost forgot to do a battery check.
At 7:07 PM, the vivo V25 Pro still had 62% left. That’s 9 hours after unplugging it from the charger.
Back in Brooklyn
After the event, we headed back to Brooklyn to try and catch the sunset. This time of the year we get longer days so we had a few minutes left and I snapped more photos along the way.
Being able to film video at night is the holy grail of smartphone videography and with Super Night Video on the V25 Pro, I can shoot videos of the Manhattan skyline when it looks its best.
Super Night Video brightens and reduces noise when filming in low light.
It’s 8:30 PM, and I could just feel the hunger pangs so we decided to grab some tacos from Tacocina at Domino Park. But first, another battery check: 49% left in the tank.
Of course, we didn’t want to pass up on the chance to take a photo of the tacos, too. The camera always eats first.
While we were there it was also the perfect opportunity to test out the Bokeh Flare Portrait. There are five effects to choose from: default, hearts, stars, butterfly, and cherry blossom.
The vivo V25 Pro did a great job of separating me from the background despite how dark it already got. I can’t say which effect is my favorite but I think I’m gonna use hearts for now.
I was so hungry after the day we just had that I had to order another taco. While waiting I went and tested out the Time-Lapse feature on the V25 Pro as well. You can watch our video here to watch those samples.
More Photos at Night
Our next camera test involved having the subject in the shadows, with a well-lit background. We snapped a few around Domino Park, but it’s the one where Chay stood in front of the pillars that takes the cake.
For that we turned on Super Night Portrait. It uses AI to compensate for the lack of light on the subject. It’s of course not obvious in this photo, but in real life, Chay had barely any light on her face when we took the shot.
We couldn’t end the day without taking some artsy night time photos.
This first shot is of the Williamsburg bridge around Blue Hour. I visiting love Domino Park for views just like this one.
I love that Tacocina exists. It means you don’t even need to leave the park to get food and drink. I highly recommend their carne asada soft taco!
I always am a sucker for a mural. I love street art and the walls around Domino Park are lined with them.
I had to do it: an OOTD photo.
These blue steel towers are actually cranes from the sugar refinery that once stood in this area. I love how they kept them around and how they’re now like art pieces that illuminate the park at night.
I love this shot of Chay walking down the stairs from the elevated walkway.
We’ve got a few more shots for you from my walk home.
I was super impressed with this one of a food truck because it was much darker than the pic looks. I also love how the V25 Pro did not produce lens flares other smartphones tend to do when photographing lights.
Neon is always a challenging thing to film or photograph. I think the V25 Pro did an excellent job of this hair salon.
I thought this was a quirky way to end this photoshoot — a neon flamingo atop a building.
After almost 12 hours of use, and exactly 4 hours of screen-on time, the V25 Pro had 28% left at 9:39 PM.
I’m glad we ended our day in Brooklyn with night photography tests using the V25 Pro. It’s worth pointing out that V25 series cost half the price of higher end smartphones. Yet it more than delivers in terms of capturing stunning photos at night.
I guess I shouldn’t even be surprised, considering how the vivo X80 Pro, along with its predecessors, are some of the best smartphone shooters we’ve tried.
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