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

Google Pixel 4 and 4XL Unboxing and Hands-on

New features, same price

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The most leaked phone in history is now official. The new Pixel 4 and 4XL may look similar the outside but come with better cameras (yes there are now two), sport a Radar for faster face unlock, and introduce new air gestures. But is it worth upgrading?

This is our Google Pixel 4 and 4XL unboxing and hands-on.

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Entertainment

Joker, Jowable, Jojo Rabbit: Now Playing

Live, love, laugh!

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The GadgetMatch team just went through a rigorous back-to-back coverage starting from IFA 2019, iPhone 11, Vivo NEX 3, Huawei Mate 30 Pro, and many more. Like us, people are overwhelmed with smartphone launches one after another.

What kept us sane was these forms of entertainment we watch and play in passing. Here’s what’s Now Playing in GadgetMatch:

Movies to see

 

Steven Universe: The Movie
Leez: If you’re a fan of Steven Universe and the last episode left you feeling unsettled by how it neatly tucked the whole series, then you’re in luck. The movie doesn’t fall short in tackling the heart-wrenching significance of struggles and obstacles to be better and be who you are. It’s a movie that dives deep into lost friends and lost memories. You definitely need to check this out.

 

Jowable
MJ: No other film in this century has captured how I’ve been feeling for years now, except Jowable. This film tackles the joys, pains, and misadventures of singlehood in a comical approach. But don’t think it’s all just for laughs, Jowable is totally unpredictable — full of plot twists to keep you entertained while preaching you some deep life lessons that Buddha can’t even.

 

Jojo Rabbit
Luigi: Provocative and funny. How else can you describe Taiki Waititi’s upcoming comedy? This World War II satire features a German boy trying to hide a Jewish girl while being aided by his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi himself).

 

Joker
Kevin:  Not your usual origin story of a villain. Joker tackles mental health, human nature, and the society that we’re living in now. Partner those with Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar acting and what you get is a cinematic piece that moves you and makes you think about what “being normal” really is.  It’s best to see it on the big screen so be sure to catch it while it’s still showing.

Shows to binge-watch

 

Player reacts to his Highlights | House of Highlights
Rodneil: I haven’t been able to commit to watching a series of late so for my dwindling downtime, I’ve resorted to watching these one-off series on YouTube. Plus I also miss NBA basketball, so this is a great way to scratch that itch.

 

Marianne
Luigi: People have proclaimed Marianne as the most frightening series of 2019. As a horror enthusiast, I don’t think it is. However, this French horror series is still an excellent addition to the Netflix playhouse of monsters. Plus, that French accent is oh-so-sexy.

 

Vagabond
Rodneil: Gotta admit, I only considered watching because it stars Suzy Bae. But the story is gripping and the cinematography is pretty darn good. It’s about a stuntman who loses his nephew in a plane crash that was made to look like an accident but there’s more to it than just that.

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

 

데자 부 (Deja Vu) by Dreamcatcher
Vincenz: Although the song doesn’t sound as intense as their other releases, the latest music video tells a deeper story. There is a line that struck me: “Now I’m holding this pain,” especially that it talks about betrayal and abandonment. The melodic musical arrangement accompanied by contrasting light and dark visuals blend so well together — which gives a surreal and melancholic feeling to listeners and viewers alike.

 

Go Up by SB19
Vincenz: SB19 has been garnering attention for weeks. They sound like a K-Pop boy group because they were trained by a Korean agency. Although I’m not totally a fan, I appreciate their music especially since it talks about aiming high and achieving your dreams. Despite the hard choreography, their live vocals sound great. P-Pop is finally improving!

 

Linkin Park Favorites
Rodneil: It’s been quite a stressful past couple of weeks for me. To combat the urge of setting myself on fire, I’ve been listening to a lot of my favorite Linkin Park songs. The collection is mostly from the Hybrid Theory and Meteora albums. Listen to the full playlist.

 

 

Feel Special by TWICE
Rodneil: TWICE’s gradual concept change is evident in their new song Feel Special. More than that, though, the song seems to hold a special place in the members’ hearts as it alludes to their struggles. Especially Mina who is struggling with anxiety and begged off from parts of their tour but still participated in the album with strong support from the other members.

Games to play

 

Madden NFL 20
Gab: I know how everyone is on some hype train towards the recently released NBA 2K20 video game, but there are other sports-related games out there. As someone who is starting to have a level of interest with the NFL, Madden NFL 20 introduced me to how American football actually works. If you need a quick change of pace from shooting the basketball, I suggest you try scoring touchdowns.

 

NBA 2K20
Rodneil: Echoing what Gab said on his NBA 2K20 review — this game essentially feels like a massive patch for NBA 2K19. That’s not entirely a bad thing. It’s still the superior NBA simulation game and for it to improve, EA needs to step up big time with NBA Live. Will still play it because it’s my number one way to destress.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Luigi: As a child, I never played the original Link’s Awakening on the Gameboy. I joined the Zelda party way too late. Thankfully, this Switch remake plays like a traditional game on the Gameboy. The new Link’s Awakening brings a lot to the table for both new and old players. It’s a well-polished game that doesn’t rely too much on nostalgia.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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Best Smartphones

Best Budget Smartphones below $200

October 2019 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below US$ 200! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

ASUS ZenFone Max M2 ($175)

We were disappointed to find out that the ZenFone Max Pro M2 went above the US$ 200 mark, but we still have the non-Pro Max M2 to buy at this price point. Fortunately, the fast Snapdragon 632 processor, large 4000mAh battery, and dual rear cameras remain.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone Max M2

Redmi Note 7 ($150)

Xiaomi blew everyone away when it announced the Redmi Note 7 with its class-leading specs and design. It’s been selling like hotcakes for a good reason: In terms of pure performance, nothing rivals this in the sub-US$ 200 category.

READ MORE: Redmi Note 7

 

OPPO A5s ($117)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

Realme 5 (US$ 154)

Realme is giving Xiaomi a run for its money on our top-of-mind easy phones to recommend. The Realme 5 is a real treat for people looking for a budget smartphone that provides more than what they need.

HANDS-ON: Realme 5

Samsung Galaxy A20 ($190)

Samsung’s revived Galaxy A-series proves that the company cares about every price segment. The Galaxy A20, in particular, is the most well-rounded below US$ 200 thanks to its ultra-wide camera, AMOLED display, and hefty battery.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A20


Update as of October 2019:

  • The Realme 5 replaced the Realme C2 on this list

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