Her GadgetMatch

Meizu Pro 7 Review: Twice the fun

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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.

The Meizu Pro 7

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.

Girl holding Meizu Pro 7 with back screen alerting with a notification

Yeah, this 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!

Selfie with the Meizu Pro 7's secondary display

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 cameras

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 withno 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!

Meizu Pro 7 photo and beauty edit samples

Don’t over do the editing, it can turn really bad, real quick

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.

Meizu Pro 7 photo samplesThough the Pro 7’s camera does well overall, it doesn’t seem to do too well with low-light shots.Sample shots in low light with the Meizu Pro 7

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.

Meizu Pro 7 bottom side with ports

The Pro 7 also has a USB-C port and headphone jack. Of course, the second display screen is a beautiful, unique touch.

Performance

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 PlayASUS 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.

Holding the Meizu Pro 7 showing the back screen

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.

Holding the Meizu Pro 7 showing the secondary display

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.

 

SEE ALSO: Meizu Pro 6 Plus Unboxing and Hands-On

[irp posts=”16822″ name=”Meizu Pro 7 and Pro 7 Plus go official with secondary display”]

 

Her GadgetMatch

Nokia E3500: Perfect pair or just fine?

Finding companionship on a pair of wireless earbuds

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Nokia E3500

My day wouldn’t go the way it is without listening to something. Be it from my Spotify playlist, a podcast, or even catching up with my co-streamers on a call. But untangling and twisting the crumpled, irritating earphone wire ruins the mood.

Thankfully, those days are over. Since smartphones with a 3.5mm headphone jack are getting rare, I took a leap out of my comfort zone to finally switch to a pair of wireless earbuds.

Scouring the market for a good pair that won’t make a dent out of my pocket can be daunting. What caught my eye was a familiar name I’ve known for years, and I discovered a pair — the Nokia E3500 — that begs to be given a chance.

Nokia E3500

Love at first touch

The first time I held the Nokia E3500, it felt premium and sleek despite having a charging case made out of plastic. What furthered its elegance were the featherweight material that makes it easy to carry, as well as its matte finish that makes you want to glide your fingers incessantly.

Nokia E3500

In a nutshell, the Nokia E3500 displayed a blend of practicality and sophisticated design.

The “getting to know” part

I found comfort in using the Nokia E3500. Out of the box, it comes with three pairs to help you find your perfect pair. And when you do, it won’t fall off your ear.

I even brought the E3500 on a beach trip to Liwliwa, Zambales — which was kinda risky since it only has an IPX5 resistance. Luckily, it was secure enough to fit in my ear even if I kept running and jumping.

Pairing the Nokia E3500 is easy. Once out of the case, you can press the touch buttons for two seconds to enter pairing mode. The inclusion of Ambient Mode helps me immerse in the content, especially when situated in a noisy environment. I found that keeping volume to about 60 percent seemed like the right choice to enjoy its audio performance.

Sound isolation is great, too. Imagine sitting by the beach, listening to music while also hearing the sound of splashing waves. Happy and dreamy, isn’t it?

Quarrels

Everything has its rough side, including this seemingly perfect pair of wireless earbuds. Using the Nokia E3500 during my Zoom calls isn’t as smooth and seamless as it should be when listening.

There are few delays with the microphone reception, making it a little annoying when I’m in the middle of a virtual presentation. Hopefully, the next iteration will improve the inconsistent microphone.

Nokia E3500

Is this my perfect pair?

For a mediocre audiophile like me, I would say yes to Nokia E3500. The charging case itself has a 360mAh battery which helps extend its battery life. Who wouldn’t want an uninterrupted sound trip especially during a long drive?

My experience isn’t as perfect as I thought it would be. But it’s decent and fine. The Nokia E3500 looks gorgeous, equipped with long battery life, great audio quality, and water resistance for peace of mind.

There are cheaper options available in the market, but for what it’s worth — I’d call it a steal, especially for all the features you can enjoy for its price tag.

The Nokia E3500 retails for PhP 3,499.

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Fitbit Luxe: Finally, a fitness band that’s actually pretty

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Fitbit Luxe

One of my major frustrations with fitness bands has always been the way they look. Why is it so hard to make them look pretty enough to wear outside a workout? There’s no rule that they should be unattractive and clunky, right? Enter Fitbit’s answer to said problem: The Fitbit Luxe. It’s sleek and stylish while packing all the necessary features, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice style for substance.

The Luxe is not my first Fitbit having owned my now ancient Charge 2 then an Alta HR sequestered from my husband who wore it for a month then got tired of it because it didn’t go well with his suits. 

I wore both fitness bands with pride and as a way for me to send a message that I was now taking my health a little seriously. However, they often looked out of place with most of my outfits. Wearing them to events that had a bit of a more formal dress code always looked awkward. I even thought of wearing a classy watch on my left arm and the Fitbit on the right just to make it work at some point. However, even the smaller Alta HR made me look like I was coming straight from a run.

Form & substance

A common complaint about the Luxe is how small the screen is. Personally, I don’t see it as an issue. I enjoy the size which makes it inconspicuously stylish. Sure, it has a function for you to quickly take a peek at your texts, even read them in full. But who still sends novel-length texts these days? Mine’s usually from delivery services just telling me to pick up my orders. Though I won’t mind getting more notifications from other messaging apps that I have on my phone.

The size also makes it look like a truly elegant timepiece as soon as you slap on a metal strap. I originally wanted the lunar white and soft gold combination but ended up with the orchid (pink) and platinum stainless steel. At first, I was a bit wary of the pink, thinking it might look rather juvenile on me. But it worked out in the end. It’s a lovely shade that I don’t mind wearing with most of my activewear. 

I actually bought myself a gold milanese strap online, similar to the ones I used with my older Fitbit models. They’re pretty inexpensive and are available on sites like Amazon and Shopee. The silver hardware on my Luxe also gave me more freedom to mix my metals within my outfit, instead of getting tied down to a gold-on-gold combo. Fitbit also has their own gold, metal strap. You pay a little more for it but it can be a justifiable investment if it will make sure you don’t have to take off the Luxe whenever you need to dress a little more formally.

Fitbit Luxe

The Luxe tracks your workouts, your steps, and even your oxygen levels as you sleep. It even has multiple watch faces to match your outfits. My personal choice is the ‘Vogue’ which shows the time in pastel pink and green. Très chic.

Swimming

My favorite thing about the Luxe has to be the fact that it can now be used to track your swimming as well. It’s something both the older models I owned didn’t have. Sadly, the pandemic has rendered most pools closed, even in our building. I did get to dip my unit in water to check its water lock mode which stops the water from accidentally controlling your screen. It worked really well and my unit survived the quick dip.

We’ll let you know how it fares in the pool or the beach once the IATF relaxes its guidelines. So far, however, this wearable is looking pretty good on that front too.

Fitbit Premium

The Luxe also comes with six months of Fitbit Premium. The personalized subscription service on the Fitbit App opens up a whole new world for one’s fitness goals. It gives you advanced analytics on your sleep data, recipe inspirations, as well as video workouts.

As someone who has the Peloton app, I have to admit that it’s still my go-to for my home workouts, even on exercises that go beyond cycling. Though their guided programs that help you in your other goals like kicking your sugar habit, learning how to do a push-up, and even getting more sleep, are such great additions to your self-improvement plans.

Fitbit Luxe

Though I must admit that my favorite among the premium features is how it can give you a comprehensive wellness report upon request. The only requirement is that you have to be using your Luxe for about a month. The report shows you your average heart rate, average steps and sedentary moments, sleep, and menstrual cycles, as well as your heart rate zones.

Great battery life

The Luxe promises about 5 days of battery life but mine usually goes a little over than that. There are times when I go up to a week without charging and I’m someone who tries to workout every other day for about 30-45 minutes and I walk an average of six thousand steps. I know, I could use some more. I also wear the Fitbit to sleep as I enjoy seeing my sleep metrics. 

Fitbit Luxe

Speaking of sleep, its size really makes it easier to wear the Luxe to bed. From a more practical point of view, the Luxet doesn’t dig into the skin – it’s the most comfortable tracker I’ve ever worn. 

Is the Fitbit Luxe your GadgetMatch?

Fitbit Luxe

Personally, I think I’ve found the one when it comes to fitness trackers. Ever since I received the Luxe, the only times it left my wrist was for a charge. It does the job without being too invasive when it comes to my daily life – outfits included.

The Fitbit Luxe retails for PhP 8,490 while the gorjana-designed Special Edition will cost PhP 12,990.

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5 ways to practice sustainable lifestyle

According to these Filipinas

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Living a sustainable lifestyle is something we’re trying to achieve. As much as possible, we make conscious decisions to go green and reduce our carbon footprint in our purchases and lifestyle.

We already started with practicing sustainable fashion. And we hope to practice sustainability when it comes to our beauty products, too.

If you’re still on the fence about making a switch to a sustainable lifestyle, let these Filipinas share with you a tip on how you can do it.

The power of small yet consistent changes

“Look for changes you can make that are easy and convenient for you. If you can easily swap out an unsustainable product for a sustainable one, take that win! Making changes easy for yourself and your lifestyle ensure a greater chance of long-term success,” says actress and vlogger Coraleen Waddell.

Find and help advocacies that promote sustainability

 

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A post shared by Patch Magtanong 🇵🇭 (@patchmag)

“Be vocal, influence your peers, and take action,” says Patch Magtanong, lawyer, beauty queen, and fashion model who was crowned Binibining Pilipinas — International 2019.

Always remember the three R’s

 

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A post shared by Leila (@leilalcasid)

“Avoid waste by recycling, and consider throwing something out an absolute last resort. Almost everything can be repurposed or recycled,” says singer-songwriter Leila Alcasid.

Be conscious of your decisions

 

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A post shared by Janina Manipol 🎞 (@janinamanipol)

“Change personal behavior on what you eat, what you purchase, and how you conserve energy and water,” says Janina Manipol.

Choose a product that’s kind to your skin and the planet

Above all, taking care of yourself shouldn’t affect the planet — directly and indirectly. Recently, Nivea is making the jump on sustainable skincare, bringing the WonderBAR to address different skin concerns. Also, it’s good for the planet, thanks to its natural origin, vegan formula, and plastic-free and fully recyclable packaging.

Currently, the Nivea WonderBAR comes in four variants:

  • Anti-Pimple Scrub for effectively treating pimples.
  • Hydrating for those who have dry skin.
  • Radiance for those who want to have radiant and glowing skin.
  • Blackhead-Clearing Scrub with activated charcoal for those who want clearer, smoother skin.

NIVEA WonderBAR is available in select Watson’s stores nationwide and online, as well as in Lazada and Shopee.

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