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.
YouTube Original Series to feature TWICE
First K-Pop girl group to be featured
K-Pop continues to be more popular than ever and it’s now making its way to YouTube Originals. TWICE, who constantly tops Korean charts, will be featured in a YouTube Original Series. They are the first K-Pop girl group to star in the award-winning series.
The series will feature the North American leg of their 2019 World Tour called TWICELIGHTS. This might prove to be an emotionally charged content from the group as one of the members — Mina — took a leave in the middle of the tour due to anxiety.
According to Billboard, the series is “unlike anything released by TWICE before. The series will showcase exclusives, in-depth interviews, as well as an “intimate and personal portrayal of all of TWICE’s members.” It will also dabble into the group’s four-year journey so far. The series will launch in the first half of 2020.
TWICE debuted in 2015 with nine members namely Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group first hit their stride following their first comeback Cheer Up. The group has consistently released hit songs since and have been tapped as endorsers by multiple brands including tech-related ones like LG.
YouTube Originals and YouTube Premium
YouTube Originals had previously worked with K-Pop boy groups, most notably the one with BTS called BTS: Burn The Stage. It features various shows produced by YouTube itself. The show series was launched alongside YouTube Premium — a subscription based entertainment platform akin to Netflix, Hulu, et al.
YouTube Originals are currently only available to YouTube Premium subscribers but the content will soon be accessible for free but with ads starting September 24.
Sights and sounds of summer in the Upper East Side
Capturing New York City on film
“You need to come back, New York is different in the summer,” a friend urged one absurdly cold day back in May. “It has a different energy to it; it’s more alive,” another friend noted with excitement about the magical effects of the impending warm weather on the city.
Living in a tropical country my whole life and enduring constant humidity year per year, I never really understood the hype. What could be so special about spending yet another summer in another city, I thought. On the contrary, it’s lower temperatures that always excited me. The thought of layering with soft wool sweaters and thick coats, and wearing thigh-high boots on vacation was ideal. It was something I never get to do on the daily, so I longed for it — until I was forced to live out of a suitcase from winter to spring, that is.
Having gone through the chore of exactly that — wearing wool sweaters, thick coats, and boots just to get eggs at the nearest bodega or go for a coffee run next door — made me appreciate being able to wear just about anything I want in the summer including the potential sweating that goes along with it. After months of freezing weather, summer just feels so liberating that you’ll appreciate the heat even if it means smeared eyeliners and a face so oily you could fry two eggs on it.
That je ne sais quoi of summer in the city is not something anyone can describe with mere words or capture on Instagram without losing its essence. This article certainly doesn’t, but here are some vignettes I caught on film, complete with audio recordings, using the Instax Mini LiPlay, one Sunday morning stroll along Upper East Side.
One large cold brew to go
Like any other day, I start with a nice cup of cold brew. Cafes like Bluestone Lane usually gets packed for brunch. It’s especially nice when the sun is out that friends and families eat al fresco. Listen to the audio recording here.
Hotdogs and city performers
Hotdog stands can be found at every corner of the city. This one is outside the Guggenheim Museum, which tourists flock and buskers frequent. Listen to the audio recording here.
Honking yellow cabs
The sound of the train arriving or cabs honking is normally unbearable, but in New York it’s part of what makes the city full of character. Listen to the audio recording here.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
This spot in Central Park is beautiful whether you’re there to see snow falling or flowers blooming; hear trees rustling or dried leaves crackling. Listen to the audio recording here.
Pick a spot at Central Park
Central Park is so big of an oasis that you can have your quiet little spot for reading and alone time, or watch kids and dogs play if you wanted to. Listen to the audio recording here.
Sun’s out, bikes out
Whether it’s for cardio, getting from one place to another, or just for leisure, everyone seems to be on their bikes during summer. Other locals take advantage of this and sell ice cold water for $2 in the middle of the park for anyone who needs to cool down. Listen to the audio recording here.
Grab something quick and cheap
For those who might want a quick bite after a long walk or bike ride, there are food trucks everywhere. Tacos? Check. Gyros? Check. Ice cream? Check. Listen to the audio recording here.
It can get too crowded for my taste, but The Met is quickly becoming my favorite place in the city. It’s where I can run to for shelter when it’s below freezing outside, or when temperatures get higher, walk around the vicinity for no reason or people watch on the steps. I can get trapped here for days and not feel like I’m wasting my time. Listen to the audio recording here.
Witnessing New York City transform from a dark, cold abyss in the winter, to a city with blossoming tress in spring, to the vibrant concrete jungle that it truly is in the summer, is special. If you live in this city, or travel here a lot, it’s something you will learn to cherish once you see and hear it for yourself.
She implanted an RFID tag in her arm to operate a Tesla Model 3
A new way to never lose your keys again
A software engineer who goes by the name Amie DD on YouTube wanted to do an ultimate Tesla Model 3 hack — one that involves implanting an RFID tag in her own body so she could unlock and operate her vehicle with just a wave of her arm.
She released a short documentary on her thought process and how she began the project. According to her, she’s not new to playing with RFID tags and implanting them in her body. So when she got her new Model 3 and found out it uses RFID to unlock and start the vehicle, she immediately came up with the idea.
To make this possible, Amie DD reached out to a body modification place capable of performing such procedures. You may watch the implant process here but be warned that it’s a bit graphic and shows blood.
She didn’t actually show in her video that it actually works but she told The Verge that it does. Amie DD even tweeted Elon Musk jokingly (probably) that she could run Musk’s Body Hacking Division.
— Hackster.io (@Hacksterio) August 12, 2019
It may sound cool and all — and props to her for having the courage to do something like that — but as for me, I think I’m okay with using standard keys right now.
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