I took one look at the Meizu Pro 7 and I knew I wanted to try it out. You see, unlike other folks at GadgetMatch who look to specs and features as basis for wanting to try a phone, I look at form factor and novelty. A phone with a secondary AMOLED display was obviously right up my alley.
But, what good does a secondary display do? How does it work? Does one actually need a second display and if so, when will one ever need it? I spent a few days with the Pro 7 in an attempt to answer all these questions.
Secondary AMOLED screen
Meizu’s secondary display is a cute little panel on the back of the phone (which I will, from here on, call “cutie screen”). It’s around the size of a big person’s thumb or a lipstick tube — but just right for displaying time and phone notifications with a certain pizzaz.
The screen isn’t always on; you can activate with a double-tap. Initially, the display will show you the time, but a swipe right will give you the temperature in your location and another swipe will display the pedometer. When turned on, phone actions like charging will also randomly show on the cutie screen with different animations.
My favorite function, when it comes to this display, would be its selfie capability. A swipe up will activate the rear camera and the cutie panel turns into a display! Swiping will switch through the three modes available: blur which is the bokeh mode, beauty mode, and original. A tap on the screen triggers the shutter after a countdown of three seconds. Think of all the selfie possibilities!
Unfortunately, the camera view on the cutie screen doesn’t support video — a shame since this was something I was looking forward to using; just think of all the vlog possibilities if this were doable! I also wanted to customize the standby screen animation or wallpaper, but the phone wouldn’t allow me to do that, so I was pretty much stuck with the serious-looking preset clock face and a blank screen on downtime.
As expected, I did enjoy the extra selfie screen — it helped with framing, and selfies were generally easier to take, though you can’t really see much detail on such a teeny screen. Size does matter at the end of the day, at least for selfie screens!
The Pro 7 is equipped with a 16-megapixel front-facing camera plus a dual-cam setup at the back with two 12-megapixel shooters. These numbers are never really indicative of how good a camera is so you know what that means: shootout!
The selfie camera is, of course, equipped with a beauty filter that may be toggled according to your filter preference. Unlike other selfie smartphones, the Meizu Pro 7 only has one beauty mode setting that you’re stuck with — no separate toggles for skin smoothening, face thinning, or complexion. Not that I’m complaining; the filter does its job.
Of course, if that’s not enough for you, the phone also has a built-in beauty edit feature which allows you to make certain changes to your selfies — just make sure not to go overboard!
The rear dual-camera setup allows for monochrome photos and a bokeh mode. By experience, however, the front-facing camera does a better job with the beauty filters, as the rear camera filter is too subtle for my taste.
Here are other sample shots of my fabulous life (ha ha ha!) taken with the Pro 7:
The Meizu Pro 7 boasts a monochrome function owing to the dual-cam setup, though I was not really impressed by it — especially after seeing other brands do it better.
Look and feel
I’m pretty particular about how a phone looks and feels in my hands. The Meizu Pro 7 has a sleek aluminum back and a good weight to it; this makes it feel pretty premium.
Meizu phones run on the Flyme operating system on top of Android, and this particular one runs on Nougat, which means a distinct phone interface. But, the most peculiar thing about the Pro 7 — and Meizu phones in general — is the fact that there is only one home button on the phone’s front that’s used for most commands. This one physical button to rule them all, equipped with a fingerprint reader, is something that may need a little getting used to.
The Pro 7 also has a USB-C port and headphone jack. Of course, the second display screen is a beautiful, unique touch.
Unlike the Pro 7 Plus powered by a MediaTek Helio X30 processor, the Pro 7 is powered by a Helio P25. Now, my non-techie friends, stay with me: All you need to know is that this phone is comparable to most new midrange smartphones in the market today (Examples: OPPO R11, Moto Z2 Play, ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom).
On the other hand, the Meizu Pro 7 Plus’ X30 processor puts it on the same range as most flagship smartphones now (Examples: Xiaomi Mi 6, OnePlus 5, HTC U11 which all run on a Snapdragon 835). Though there are Meizu Pro 7’s equipped with the X30, you’d be hard-pressed to find one, since they’re only available in China.
This shouldn’t be a problem at all because as it stands, the Meizu Pro 7 gives a pretty smooth user experience for my needs — I’m a fairly heavy smartphone user, though my apps aren’t that demanding. On this phone I could have 15 to 20 apps all open in the background without issue, although some of them refresh when I reload the app. Our specific Pro 7 has 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage, for reference.
With a capacity of 3000mAh, the battery on this thing is good, too. It goes from zero to 100 percent in around an hour and thirty minutes, and it lasted me a whole day’s use (8 to 14 hours depending on my needs). Turning the second AMOLED screen off does very little difference to battery time, but as I mentioned earlier, that cute second display only does so much at this point, so I wasn’t really expecting a significant difference.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Meizu Pro 7 is a definite show-stopper because of the extra screen. Though I did expect much from the cutie screen, I was a bit let down by its limited capabilities. But, that definitely doesn’t mean I was not impressed by it, nor am I giving up hope that the secondary features will be improved on in the future. *cough*second screen video selfie mode*cough*
Do I need the second cutie screen? My answer: Does it matter? Meizu played this well; there were no sacrifices made for this additional display, and that makes it a welcome feature whether you’d want it or not. And really, at the end of the day, you could always just turn it off.
For what it’s worth, the Pro 7, even without the cutie screen, is a pretty decent phone. As of writing, international pricing has not been released, but if priced the same way as in China at CNY 2,880 (US$ 425), it’s definitely a phone you should consider.
8 festive makeup looks to up your holiday game
December is the time for gifts, Christmas cheer, and, of course, holiday parties. Looking to add some pizzaz to celebrate? Fret not, I gotchu.
Dazzle everyone with festive looks that are as fun and bright as the holidays themselves. This season’s looks involve some merry cheer in the form of bright colors and a lot of sparkles. Wow at your next Christmas get-together with makeup that jingle bell rocks. Here are a few looks you can try:
Get in the mood with this glitter red eye
This red-themed look is one that’s sure to turn heads. Pair your shimmering lids with a glossy red lip and you’ll be looking oh so merry this season.
This festive green makes for an elegant Christmas look
A subtle look with a great color pop to keep you in thay holiday spirit, this Christmas-y greed lid works well worn with some holiday cheer.
A great glitter cut crease is a popping detail everyone will love
It’s all about the subtle detail! This sparkly cut crease makes a big impact and turns up the holiday notch in any basic look.
Ice queen with a flair with this cool frosted lavender look
There’s a Rihanna style for every season! This cool lavender look is a great way to add some color to an icy snow queen look that’s perfect for this Ber-month.
Another sparkly cut crease that definitely dazzles
Another take on the glitter cut crease — this whole look is looking festive AF. This fresh face topped off with that eye-catching lid looks simply amazing.
Go all out glam with a glorious glitter lid
For a more classic approach, a bold red lip with shimmering platinum lids do the job well. This holiday twist to the dramatic look does wonders.
A simple look with a tiny touch of twinkle
Those who need a more conservative holiday look for everyday December wear need not look further. A touch of sparkle on your lid will make all the difference.
This amazing glitter lip because glitter works with everything
Dazzle everyone with this look! Taking things up a notch with the glitters, this bold holiday lip will give everyone something to look at.
Merry Christmas and great-looking makeup holidays, ya’ll! 🤩
LG’s HomeBrew machine will make homemade craft beer for you
The best kitchen appliance in the history of time
This is not your typical kitchen appliance — it’s even better.
LG has just announced a capsule-based craft beer brewing machine and they plan to unveil it in January during CES 2019.
Yes, you read that right. The LG HomeBrew will make you your own beer right at the comfort of your own home. You know those Nespresso machines that make coffee using those cute capsules? Imagine something with similar capsules, only this device will make beer. Let that reality sink in.
According to LG, the single-use capsules will contain everything you need for your brew: malt, yeast, hop oil, and flavoring. An “optimized beer fermentation algorithm” ensures optimum settings to make sure you come up with good beer. With the touch of a button, the LG HomeBrew will do everything for you, including cleaning the machine after every brew which means no messes, ever.
It makes five types of brew: American IPA, American Pale Ale, English Stout, Belgian-style Witbier, and Czech Pilsner. You can make around five liters of beer, depending on type, in two weeks time. The device also connects to your phone so you can check on your beer maker wherever you are, whenever you want.
Oh LG, thanks for making life so, so good, one homemade craft beer at a time. My kitchen is so ready for this.
Exercising with the Fitbit Charge 3: Workouts you can do while traveling
Just how good is this new Fitbit?
I’ve always had a soft spot for Fitbit — after all, I started health tracking because of a Fitbit. But, as we enter the age of better-looking smartwatches and more advanced wearables, how do Fitbits fare?
In this article, I work out … and test Fitbit’s latest wearable, the Charge 3.
Before anything else, it has to be said: The Charge 3 is a health tracker and not a smartwatch. This means that its main function is tracking your health stats. But, because it’s 2018, it, of course, does more than that. Paired to your phone via the Fitbit App, it also gives your smartphone notifications for calls, messages, and some apps — but that’s about it.
On Android devices, you get the luxury of quick replies from the watch but nothing fancy like voice typing or replies other than what you’ve pre-set on the app. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; this thing is for fitness purposes and is not to be used as another shiny thing to distract you from the ultimate goal which is exercising.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The best wearable is one you enjoy wearing so much that you keep it on your wrist, which means it can actually do its job and track the fudge out of those calories you’ve burned and steps you’ve taken. To do that, it has to look good enough, or in some cases, discreet enough so that it stays on you.
The Charge 3 looks like your typical fitness wearable and it’s pretty thick to be unnoticeable on your wrist but different strap options help with that. The special edition that I tested came with a black strap that’s great for casual looks and a fresh white band that looks sporty but oh so good.
Of course, there are many other strap options available; you can literally mix and match to suit your mood. And speaking of trackers that stay on your wrist, you’ll rarely have to take it off for charging, as the battery lasted me almost a week with heavy use. Now, on to the actual exercising!
The Charge 3 boasts a wider screen than its predecessor’s and no physical buttons. It’s responsive enough and the wider surface area gives a better feel when swiping through. The default screen shows you the time, your steps, and your heart rate. Though you can pick different themes, most of them are pretty basic and give you the same info. You navigate through the menu with swipes on the screen and an inductive button on the screen’s left side. Swipe down for notifications, swipe up for stats, and swipe right to get to exercising!
This wearable will automatically record any activity you do. Ideally, you keep it on all the time so you get a complete picture of your fitness progress with all the information at hand. You can also start your exercises depending on a number of pre-set activities like running, treadmill, weights, workout, or even yoga.
Picking a particular exercise session means the wearable will guide you through your chosen exercise with updated stats like time, calories burned, and your heart rate. For science, I worked out. If you’re a frequent traveler, feel free to save this routine for your next trip. 👍🏽
1. HIIT exercise
I did a 10-minute HIIT routine with jumping jacks and high knees. For this type of exercise, it’s especially great to have timer notifications on your wrist instead of having to stop and use a timer on your phone — a gentle vibration just lets me know when it’s time to move on to the next set. This quick and easy routine is a great way to get your heart pumping.
2. Basic exercises with exercise bands
When I travel, I work out with fitness bands: They’re so portable and weigh next to nothing so you can bring them anywhere. It’s a great way to stay fit while on the go. On the Charge 3, I tapped “Workout” under “Exercises” and just allowed it to alert me every time I burned 100 calories. (It’s a great motivator. 😂)
3. Beginner Yoga
Trust me, this exercise is not only good for the body; it’s also great for your mind. Yoga is included on the list of pre-set exercises you can track. This time around, I set my goal on the Fitbit at the 20-minute mark. Now let me warn you: I’m no pro at this but I sometimes do Yoga workouts as a way to meditate and stretch. I’ve found these sessions to be therapeutic.
Because it’s a basic wearable, you don’t see actual workout tutorials on the band as you go (something the Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa offered). And, though useful, that’s a feature that I’ve only ever used once because if you want to follow along to exercises, you will, most definitely, just end up watching on your phone.
Findings were: Fitbit, as always, does a great job of tracking activities. It even lets you decide how to track your exercise — either via calories burned or time elapsed; it also gives these updates in real-time. There are exercise summaries after each activity that help give you a picture of how many calories were burned and real-time heart rate checking throughout to make sure you’re not literally dying during exercise. This activity told me that I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was — multiple exercise takes to shoot this video killed me. 😅
No doubt about it: The Fitbit Charge 3 is a great fitness tracker and awesome workout motivator. For those who want a basic wearable that you can trust, this is a great option.
I also love how easy the Fitbit interface is. Even beginners will be able to figure this out. Trust me, I didn’t know crap when I tested my very first Fitbit. Another great function, which not a lot of wearables have, is the built-in female health tracking: a period tracker that’s finally integrated into all your health data.
All in all, the Fitbit Charge 3 is a great way to make sure you’re on track to meet your fitness goals. Just remember that wearables can only do so much. It will give you all the data you need but without you getting off your butt to do the heavy lifting, your nice fitness tracker simply becomes a high-tech bracelet.
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