Reviews

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus: Space saving second screen

The charging station makes things come together

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I always have trouble justifying the need for a tablet. But the evolving needs of a work from home scheme has made it relatively easier. Certain gaps in the workflow needed to be filled and the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus bridged them nicely.

In the interest of brevity, I’m just gonna call it the M10 from here on out.

For monitoring events and briefings

Diving right in, the M10 was the help I didn’t know I needed. You see, over the course of the quarantine I’ve had to multitask even more than usual. On any given day, I could be writing, copy-editing, or coordinating all while attending an online event or briefing.

Having a tab or the zoom app open on the same laptop as I type away can be a bit disorienting. It’s easy to be distracted by the sound and feel the urge to see what’s going on in the zoom call. That leads you to shifting tabs, thereby shifting your focus from what you’re working on.

Having a separate 10.3-inch screen to physically look at just to check out what’s happening on the briefing or event might not seem a lot at first, but it helps you maintain focus.

Monitoring the Legion Phone Duel launch on the Smart Tab M10

I need to only shift my glance a couple of inches to the right to look at the M10, instead of completely shifting the entire screen of a 13-inch laptop.

It also makes it easier to take notes on important details from a briefing while maintaining a visual on what’s going on. There’s a lot less shifting happening and that’s a big boon in keeping your focus.

It also makes it easier for you to prepare and/or look up references should you need to cite some if you’re going to ask a question during a briefing.

Enough power on its own

It also helps that it’s not eating up more processing power from the laptop I’m using. Live streams, even if you’re just watching, takes a toll on your computer’s chip and RAM. If your laptop isn’t powerful enough, you will experience a slow down.

The M10 runs on MediaTek Helio P22 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It’s expandable up to 256GB via MicroSD card. Being an independent device helps a ton in this situation.

You also get a 5MP front camera that’s not really all that better than regular webcams and a rear 8MP camera that you probably won’t be using much.

8MP rear camera

For referencing scripts while video editing

I’ve had to do a lot less video editing now, but during my time with the M10, I had to edit a video. Again, the convenience of just looking over to my side to reference the script is a low-key value-add to my workflow.

Instead of shifting my screen from the video editing app to the script, I simply need to glance on the M10 to see if I’m on the right track, following the script.

Having the script on a second screen reduces workflow friction

Why not just get a separate monitor, you ask? Like I mentioned earlier, it helps that the M10 is its own separate device that doesn’t require drawing computing power from my laptop.

There’s also the issue of physical space. Believe me, if it fit my current working area, I would have rushed to build a desktop with at least two monitors to make work so much easier for myself. Sadly, the physical space restricts me from doing so. That’s why having the M10 was the next best thing.

The bundled charging station is a godsend

Bundled is the keyword here. The charging station and its cable comes in the box when you purchase the M10 — along with a charging brick with a USB-C cable for charging the M10 independently.

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Having it immediately propped up like that makes it easy-to-use in various scenarios. While I mostly had it on my work desk, you can just as easily bring it anywhere with you inside your home.

I didn’t try it myself but you could take it with you to the kitchen and follow a recipe as you try to cook yourself a meal. Theoretically, you can also take it to your workout area so you can quickly reference workouts you want to try.

For a while I even had it on my shelf. I used it once as a sort of a program guide while doing a livestream. It’s also handy in this position when I want to maintain a cleaner desk.

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It’s still one glance away and I could immediately see what’s going on in a meeting or see our website’s real time traffic without having to press alt+tab on my laptop.

A reliable standalone media device

On its own, it’s also no slouch. Since I’ve used it for monitoring zoom calls, events, and briefings, that should already give you an idea that its speakers are loud enough.

Could it have been louder? For sure, but there’s enough here to not leave you asking for more.

Vivi and Olivia Hye of LOONA

Watching K-Pop videos in-between work was enjoyable. It’s no bezel-less beauty but that’s something you kind of stop noticing when you’re watching LOONA do their thing on stage.

Yves of LOONA

When you’re winding down to end your day, it also makes for a nice Netflix and chill companion. At only 460g/1.01lb, it’s pretty darn light and won’t strain your hands when you hold it for as long as two hours while watching a movie.

Of course, you can always just prop it up on a desk with the charging dock. This frees your hand as you snack on something while enjoying a nice flick.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a must-watch!

Is the Smart Tab M10 your GadgetMatch?

The situation I laid out may seem oddly specific, but if you’re in need of a second screen but don’t necessarily have the working space to accommodate a full-on multi-monitor, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus is a fine option.

At PhP 13,990 (US$ 288), you get an independent second screen with enough power to handle zoom calls and other media needs.

Heejin of LOONA

The 10.3-inch display makes sure you won’t be squinting trying to make out what’s happening which is what will happen if you do this on your smartphone. You can also opt to not install messaging and social media apps to avoid any sudden notifications that can break your rhythm.

I still maintain that having a tablet feels like a luxury — it’s a nice-to-have and most of us can make do with a phone and a laptop. However, the quality of life benefits merit giving it a consideration.

Reviews

vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review

vivo’s best smartphone just got even better!

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The vivo X70 Pro+ was launched just several months ago. However, we’re already having a follow-up!

Unlike the X50, X60, and X70 series, the X80 series only consists of two models this time around.

Namely the X80 and X80 Pro — with the latter being vivo’s latest flagship smartphone.

But what makes it different from its predecessor? And what makes the successor a lot more exciting?

Watch our vivo X80 Pro Unboxing and Review now to find out more!

 

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Reviews

Samsung Galaxy S22+ review: Love at first touch

Can’t help but fall deeper

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Galaxy S22+

A cosmic pull. A supernatural attraction. These aren’t phrases one normally says on a smartphone review. And yet, here I am. Falling madly for the Samsung Galaxy S22+. 

However, this wasn’t the case from the get go. First, I saw it in photos and it was alright. Then, I saw the specs on paper. Yeah, that’s pretty good. It was just another flagship, I thought. 

But everything changed when it came to my doorstep and held it in my hands. 

(P.S. All of my subheadings below are taken from the song “One Touch” by Gabe Bondoc. You can play it while you read 🙂). 

One touch and I’m hooked and I am drowning

Galaxy S22+

I am completely aware how overly infatuated I’m coming off and will come off for the rest of this article. But, having been in this smartphone reviewing gig for close to seven (7) years now, I’ve become almost numb to the usual releases. 

Yes, every now and then I take a liking to a smartphone or two. But it has been a while since I really, really wanted to keep and/or buy a phone I’m reviewing. 

The Samsung Galaxy S22+ just felt perfect on my hands. The right width, the right length, and the right thickness. The heft of the device, its shiny metallic edges, and the clean premium finish of the back all scream premium. The material on its back has a smooth, matte feel and finish. It’s both smudge and scratch resistant.


I’m a fan of its button placements too. With both the power button and volume rockers flushed on the right-hand side. It’s easy to slide up and down to press what you need to press.

And the metal lining on the edges feels smooth but grippable and perfectly complements the flat display. 

Excuse me, I don’t mean to be staring

It’s no secret that Samsung consistently offers one of the best displays, especially in their flagship line. This remains true for the 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel equipped on this beaut. The colors are rich and crisp under favorable lighting conditions. But even in broad daylight, the display is bright enough (1750 nits peak) to be comfortably operated without having to squint. 

Galaxy S22+

I had a grand time watching my favorite shows on the Samsung Galaxy S22+. I’ve had it for a while so I saw a few episodes of the Netflix K-Drama Business Proposal on it. I have also been catching up weekly on the HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. For content that supports it, HDR10+ kicks in to elevate the visual experience. 

Galaxy S22+

The display looks so majestic that it prompted me to put the love of my life Momo Hirai of TWICE as my wallpaper. And then of course, there’s the dynamic refresh rate that goes up as high as 120Hz. This means the screen changes its refresh rate depending on what you’re doing. If you’re scrolling through socials and what not, it kicks into high gear to give you a smooth experience. When idle, the refresh rate lowers down to save battery. 

My heart won’t slow ’cause of you

The Galaxy S22+’s overall performance will really keep your heart racing. Normal, day-to-day interactions with your phone just feel extra sharp. The many features mentioned above coupled with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powering this phone keeps it humming no matter what you do. 

Keeping up with the news in the morning, checking socials to see what you missed, using messaging apps to keep in touch whether for work or personal matters – all of these just feel like a breeze. And the ONE UI 4.1 skin on top of this Android 12 flavor definitely contributes to just how things flow when you use this smartphone. 

Galaxy S22+

I didn’t do a lot of gaming, though. To test it, I defaulted to my go-to which is a few hours of Call of Duty Mobile. As expected it runs without hiccups on high graphics settings. There’s a game manager of sorts here that I didn’t tinker with much. It’s not too different from the ones implemented in previous Samsung phones. Some key features include focusing the phone’s resources to gaming and limiting or completely blocking notifications. 

Battery life is also admirable. One afternoon, I used it to tune into a friend’s wedding via Zoom. The entire ceremony lasted roughly around two (2) hours. In that period, the Galaxy S22+’s battery went from 82% to 76%. 

Naturally, that isn’t the single indication of its battery performance. I generally start my days at around 9AM and end at around 8PM. On days that I’m glued to my laptop, with only occasional glimpses on the phone, I would end the day between 60% to 70%. On days that I’m out and about and rely on it a lot to get work done, my day ends with around 25% to 35% of battery left. 

You’re looking fine today, not that I only noticed now

Galaxy S22+

I have already done an entire separate article about the cameras on the Galaxy S22+. It’s one of the things that I enjoyed the most about the phone. It’s almost as if it’s impossible to take a bad photo with this on hand. 

Easily switching between lenses is great. But what’s even better is how the quality and color reproduction doesn’t vary much from lens to lens. Check these samples out.

Samsung Galaxy S22+

And you can even use 10X Zoom with barely any detail loss, especially if it’s a photo that you’re just uploading on social media. 

Samsung Galaxy S22+

That versatility is unmatched and is fantastic for quick, run and gun shoots like the one I did during the opening of the XM Studio in Singapore. 

I am thoroughly impressed and extremely satisfied with the quality of images it produces. And that’s saying a lot seeing as my regular daily phones include an iPhone 11 Pro and an OPPO Find X3 Pro. Both of which are excellent shooters in their own right.

Oh and yeah, “Nightography”. 

Samsung Galaxy S22+

You think there is a way that I can get you to stay?

You see, the thing about the Galaxy S22+ is that with just the first touch, you already know you’re in contact with something that you should hold onto for dear life. I can’t tell you how many oohs and aahs I got after letting other people hold it in their hands. It just has that effect.

Additionally, the phone is a smooth amalgamation of many other standout phones. It has the breathtaking display of Samsung phones, an overall footprint that feels like an iPhone 12/13 Pro Max, cameras that rival those that partner with notable camera brands, and much, much more. All of that comes in this package that looks and feels well-built on a phone that is easily an all-rounder performer. 

Truly, I never want to let it go. And that’s not something I always say about smartphones. So here’s to hoping that this high praise leads to the Galaxy S22+ staying with me more than a little while longer. 

The Samsung Galaxy S22+ 5G is still available today in Samsung stores near you, via online at Samsung.com, or at your preferred telecommunication service provider. Pricing information on our key markets are linked in the following: USA | Singapore | Philippines

I know it’s been a while since its release. Despite all the hype long gone, it’s still a phone you won’t regret buying.

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Gaming

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising Review

Charming, action side-scroller

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Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Back in March, I wrote about my brief experience with Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising. Now having played the rest of the game, I can safely say that you get more of the same. It is a fun and charming side-scrolling action RPG. 

A prequel game

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a prequel game to Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. More specifically, the events in Rising take place about a hundred years ahead of the events of Hundred Heroes. The games are also linked to the PlayStation Classic Suikoden.  

Don’t fret, though, as the game won’t leave you wanting. It is very much a complete experience clocking in at around 20 hours of gameplay, give or take. 

It’s primarily set in the mining town of New Neveah. That premise plays a big part in how the game plays out. The mining areas contribute to the development of the town, which in turn help you improve and level up along the way. It’s a well thought-out gameplay loop in a very fantasy-esque JRPG setting. 

Mining, town-building

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

New Neveah being a mining town plays right into the whole gameplay mechanic. At the onset of the game, the player takes the reins as one of the main characters, CJ. She finds the town in shambles, trying to rebuild. As if that isn’t hard enough, the town also has to deal with monsters and bandits while also managing the slew of treasure hunters and adventurers looking for riches in their mines. 

CJ is there in search of the biggest rune lens she can find as sort of a rite of passage in their clan. Rune lenses are multipurpose magical artifacts. She meets the town’s acting mayor, Isha and agrees to take on odd jobs around the town for a license to do treasure hunting. 

Eventually, she is joined first by the Kangaroo beastman adventurer named Garoo. Later on, Isha joins their party as they not only hunt for Rune Lenses but also try to look for and find out what really happened from Isha’s father – the town’s mayor. 

Town shops as skill tree

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Areas open up one at a time and the odd jobs lead to the reconstruction of many of the town’s stores and shops. These play a key role in leveling up your party. 

Instead of a skill tree, you run errands for the shopkeepers that help them build and expand the stores. These quests yield Baqua, the game’s currency, EXP, and sometimes even key items. 

The shops are key to getting permanent stat buffs. The Smithery will improve the stats of your weapons. The Weapons Shop unlocks attacks for each character. The Armory outfits characters that enable more platforming and traversal moves and so on. 

This extends to accessories and other items too. Improving the Potion shop unlocks higher level healing potions and other accessories increase in levels. There’s also a dedicated street for Rune Lens/Magic things. You can expand your Stowpack and Resource Bag to carry more items. You can also improve the Rune Lenses you can equip. This imbues elemental magic to your attacks. 

Snappy, 2.5D combat

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

Combat is fairly easy to pick up. Each character is assigned a single button to attack. Pressing the attack button multiple times unlocks combos. There’s also a Synced Attack that deals heavy damage. You execute this by perfectly timing a strike from one character to another. You start of with just two but it also increases in number which is plenty helpful for bosses later in the game. 

As mentioned earlier, you can imbue attacks with magic through Rune Lenses. Anyone experienced in RPGs should be familiar with how the elements work. Water beats Fire, Fire bears Wind, Wind beats Earth, and Earth beats Water (I’m gonna need to double check this but for now this is pretty much how it works). 

There’s a good number of enemy types. You have ground bound ones, flying types, mages, weapon wielding monsters, bandits, and more. 

Each area will have a different elemental variant of these monsters so it’s important to take note which elements you have equipped for more effective strikes. 

Easy to digest lore

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

The beginning of every game can get pretty overwhelming especially when it comes to its story and lore. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is certainly not immune to this. However, it gets significantly easier to digest the more you go through the story. Especially with how the game is designed to keep you coming back to the town, you develop a sort of kinship with them making the entire journey even more worthwhile. 

For experienced JRPG players, there’s nothing here that will surprise you. That said, it’s still a generally tightly told story with satisfying payoffs. 

Also, I already mentioned this in my preview of the game but I think it merits repeating. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising has the look and charm of 90s JRPGs while trimming the unnecessary stuff and making the experience flow more smoothly. If you’re a gamer parent and want to introduce your child to the wonderful world of gaming, I think this is a great place to start.  

Is this your GameMatch?

Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising

The gaming community is going through a bit of a lull following massive releases to start the year. Some players are opting to clear their backlogs or hunt trophies. But if you’re still looking out for something new but still want a break from the usual third-person RPG or first-person shooter, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is worth giving a try.

The game is easy to pick-up and play. And it’s an easy recommendation for anyone who wants the look and feel of a classic JRPG but without the high demand for grinding. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is charming, fun, and is a great choice if you want to tide yourself over until the next big AAA title comes around. 

Game is out May 11 and is available on PlayStation 4|5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam, Epic and GOG for US$ 14.99/€ 14.99/ £ 12.99

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