Features

Lenovo sees gaming, VR and AR as ‘big part of future’

Spider-Man VR game up next after Jedi Challenges?

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We see gaming as a critical part of our growth. AR and VR are going to be a big part of our future.”

These were words spoken by Lenovo Asia Pacific Chief Marketing Officer Nick Reynolds during a media group discussion at the sidelines of the Lenovo Legion of Champions Series II tournament in Bangkok, Thailand.

Reynolds spoke enthusiastically about developing more augmented and virtual reality-related products that will not intimidate the casual consumer. If we look at the Jedi Challenges AR game launched in 2017, they appear to be on the right track.

For the unfamiliar, Jedi Challenges puts an exact replica of the lightsaber on your hand and with the headset, the beacon, and an app, pits you against Star Wars villains. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

Nick Reynolds and Ivan Cheung of Lenovo pose after their media interviews

Reynolds, along with Lenovo Regional General Manager of Central Asia Pacific Ivan Cheung, highlighted the company’s existing partnership with Disney and all the other properties under the entertainment giant. The possibilities are endless.

Spider-Man VR Game?

One big property that Reynolds and Cheung mentioned is Marvel and its huge roster of superheroes. First one that the two talked about potentially making it into an AR or VR game is your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

But how will that work? How does it tie in to making AR and VR accessible to more people?

Reynolds detailed how with Jedi Challenges, you already have an avenue for new content. “If you think about the Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, the headset and the beacon… that’s a platform, and that platform will allow all sorts of content to be accessed.”

“Does it have a life beyond this one game? The answer is strongly yes because it’s a platform that you’ll be able to have other experiences on with Disney content,” he added.

This is all theory and possibilities at this point, but Cheung says if enough people ask, Lenovo and Disney might just work on it.

“We welcome feedback from you [and the community], if the [Spider-Man] game actually happened, I myself, would be very excited,” said Cheung.

“If you use your imagination, it’s very easy to build a new app that you download on your phone that can deliver new content to the Mirage platform,” added Reynolds.

So if you want to know what it’s like to be a web-slinger, I would hound Lenovo right now to get started on producing the game.

More quality content needed

However, Reynolds noted that for AR and VR to truly thrive, there needs to be more quality content that’s meant not just for gamers.

“What’s going to wow people to buy it is being at Madison Square Garden sitting at courtside or ringside to watch a game or match,” said Reynolds.

The Chief Marketing Officer noted how it can be possible to watch live NBA games and “switch seats” at your whim. Like pay-per-view but on steroids. Imaginative applications like these are what’s needed to get AR and VR more mainstream acceptance.

Reynolds also shared how one of their influencers, who is an underwater photographer, is able to better relate that experience to viewers via VR. He said, “This content is viewable on YouTube, but it’s only truly immersive when you have the headset.”

Legion direction

Lenovo recognizes that its playing catch-up with its year-old sub-gaming brand Legion. However, they are confident they can close the gap with their approach.

Instead of appealing only to long-time and hardcore gamers, Legion wants to be a brand friendly to those just getting into gaming. They’re also developing products by directly communicating with the gaming community.

“We believe that working closer together with a bigger community actually will help us expand and advance in the overall PC gaming market in the region,” said Cheung.

They hope to achieve this closer relationship with the gaming community by hosting various gaming events and building “Legion experience zones” where customers can get a feel for their product portfolio and give feedback right away.

Lenovo Asia Pacific Manager Gregory Beh highlighted this approach as he introduced the anniversary edition of the Legion Y520 — their entry-level gaming machine.

Lenovo Philippines influencer Ashley Gosiengfiao using the Legion Y520 black and gold anniversary edition

Beh says this collaboration with the community will result in a big project that’s been 18 months in the making, which he says will be “better than our competitors. It’ll be groundbreaking and radical. Not just within Lenovo but also across other gaming vendors.”

He was tight-lipped as to what the project is exactly about but hinted at both a new product and partnership with a major eSports title.

Lenovo Asia Pacific Manager Gregory Beh speaking to media

In a separate session, Reynolds also mentioned producing a line of gaming notebooks that you could “take to the office with you.”

Looking around the media group, he pointed out how no one was working on a gaming laptop because it just doesn’t look well in a more formal setup. Reynolds believes everyone would love a gaming laptop but some aren’t too happy with how they currently look.

Whether or not these upcoming machines are part of the 18-month project that Beh teased remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure: There’s plenty to get excited about as the Legion enters a new phase.

Hands-On

Xiaomi Mi 9 Hands-On: 2019 Flagship Killer?

BEAST!

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Top of the line specs, amazing cameras, and high-speed wireless charging. MWC hasn’t even officially started yet, so it might be premature to say this, but has Xiaomi just unveiled the 2019 flagship killer?

We recently got to spend time with Xiaomi’s latest flagship and this is our hands-on video.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy M20 hands-on: Give the users what they want

Awakening of the sleeping giant

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Samsung has been the smartphone market leader for half a decade now, and its flagship phones continue to be an inspiration for everyone. However, while the brand is dominating in developed markets, it has taken a massive beating in the developing ones.

Thanks to players like Xiaomi, the South Korean brand has consistently lost market share in countries like India. Samsung slowly prepared itself to change strategy by the end of last year and intends to go hard in 2019. It announced the new Galaxy M-series lineup of phones in the budget segment and the M10 and M20 are the first ones to roll off the shelf.

The M20 has been launched in India for INR 10,990 (US$ 154) and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The option with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage costs INR 12,990 (US$ 182). The phone goes up against the Redmi 6 Pro, Realme U1, and even the Mi A2.

To start with, Samsung has opted to go with a basic design, consisting of a plastic body that is curved at the edges and is pretty glossy. The phone is extremely comfortable to hold, and the build quality is top-notch. Even the buttons are very tactile and bezels are smaller.

On the front is a 6.3-inch TFT display with a Full HD resolution and small water-drop style notch on the top. This is the first Samsung phone to feature a notch, and the display quality is surprisingly good. The color production is vivid and satisfying, while the viewing angles are perfect. It is easily visible even under direct sunlight.

For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear and it is fast enough. You also have the option of face unlock and it works quickly in well-lit conditions. It has dual-SIM support and there’s a separate slot for microSD card, as well.

Powering the phone is an octa-core Exynos 7904 processor, which is considered to be on par with the Snapdragon 636. It is a very power-efficient processor with more emphasis on the cameras. Day-to-day tasks are handled smoothly and games like PUBG are playable with low graphics.

It has a dual-camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary shooter and a 5-megapixel wide-angle sensor. The pictures clicked during daytime are decently saturated but lack sharpness. Even focus tends to get slow in low-light conditions. The wide-angle lens works best in bright surroundings only and is a very handy tool. For selfies, it has an 8-megapixel shooter with built-in beauty enhancements.

It ships with Samsung Experience 9.5 out of the box and is actually well optimized. There is barely any lag and the UI offers a plethora of customizations and features. The company announced that the Android Pie update will be landing soon. Lastly, it has a massive 5000mAh battery that’ll get you through two days of usage.

Xiaomi has been successful because it offers users a balanced product that suits everyone’s needs. With the M20, Samsung goes down the same road. While the recently announced A-series phones were for photography enthusiasts, the M20 is good enough for everything.

The M20 is no disruptor, but an indication that Samsung is gearing up. And as a generation-one product, it’s performing fairly well.

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Cameras

Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

Trying out the new Motion Mode on doggies!

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Fujifilm’s sequel to their first ever digital/analog hybrid is here and it’s looking better than ever. The Instax SQ20 is one classy-looking instant camera but what can it do? With a set of built-in filters and new features like the Motion Mode, it looks like a promising device.

I finally try it out, with help from some doggies, on our hands-on video.

The SQ20 retails for US$ 199 in the US, PhP 12,999 in the Philippines, and SG$ 299 in Singapore.

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

READ ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ10 review

READ ALSO: Prynt Pocket unboxing and review: A printer that prints videos?

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