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.
Travelon: Stylish anti-theft bags that look good with your outfits
Keep your gadgets and gizmos safe on every trip
We’ve all heard the pitch: Travel bags that will protect your valuables, must-haves for any trip that’ll keep your gadgets and documents safe, ultimate strength bags that can’t ever be slashed, and so on…
As a traveler, I care a lot about my stuff’s security. However, I never really bought into the whole travel-safe bag hype for one reason: Most bags I’ve seen which advertised said safety travel features weren’t really good-looking in my eyes. I wanted travel-friendly packs that weren’t only functional, they needed to look good with my travel #OOTDs.
In an almost cosmic coincidence (I say this because I have a bunch of trips lined up), I discovered Travelon.
This brand carries a number of travel bags and lo and behold: I actually liked a lot of the bags on display in their store. This travel bag they sent me home with is one I’m particularly fond of.
The bag comes from Travelon’s tailored collection and comes in five different colors: onyx, sapphire, plumrose, aquamarine, and sable (which we have here). I love how muted this hue is, perfect for more dressed-up looks.
As good as it looks, this bag is also one tough cookie with slash-resistant panels built into it. Just how strong is it? Well, we tried it out and let’s just say shenanigans won’t cut it (literally).
Even its detailed straps are slash-proof so you can be sure they stay on your shoulders.
Unique to Travelon is their locking hardware. Zippers are fitted with clasps that act as an extra precaution. Your bags won’t be opened as easily because of this. You can lock it on either side of the zipper…
… or lock the two handles together.
Inside, your stuff is always organized. You won’t believe the number of pockets this bag has.
There are card compartments, a slot for your passport, even a pen holder, plus another zippered pocket. These compartments also block RFID meaning the information on your passport and credit cards are safe from scammers who will attempt to get your info through a random scan.
There’s even a key holder because there’s nothing more infuriating than having to rummage through your bag for your keys.
All these features packed into an unassuming good-looking bag.
This particular bag is priced at US$ 80 which isn’t bad, most anti-theft bags are priced similarly.
And, if you’re going to spend, might as well spend on something that looks good, right?
This is a notebook that will charge your phone because why not
One good-looking and useful planner!
The good old notebook is being given an update.
If you’re still sentimental about stationery, or if you’re the pen and paper type of gal and you still can’t shake your organizer habits, this folio might be right up your alley.
The Tesmo notebook is a good-looking journal. The outside is bound by a durable leather material, there are slots for your pen, cards, and notes, plus you can easily refill the pages with standard A5-sized paper. What’s so different about this organizer then?
Place your phone on the notebook and you’ll find out. This organizer doubles as a wireless charger. Basically, it will charge any Qi charging-capable device — that means your iPhone X and most Android flagships — without even plugging in the phone.
With an 8000mAh battery capacity stored away in its cover, this notebook also allows simultaneous charging of up to three devices. It’s equipped with all the ports you’ll ever need: micro-USB, USB-C, and Lightning adapter.
It’s the journal that every career woman needs — well, okay, not exactly need. It would be cool, though. And, it’s honestly one profesh-looking planner. It comes in gray, black, and brown (pictured).
Check out their Kickstarter page here.
What I learned about myself using Android Pie’s Digital Wellbeing Dashboard
Am I on my phone too much?
When Android Pie was unveiled and released last week, I pretty much craved pie because everyone was talking about the delectable dessert. But, I was also very excited about one particular feature: The Digital Wellbeing Dashboard.
Announced earlier, this dashboard was supposed to be a ticket to a healthier lifestyle — well, at least in theory. In an effort to curb unhealthy phone user habits, a dashboard that tracks app usage is built in to Android’s newest operating system. Although not available to everyone as of writing, Pixel users (like yours truly) are able to try out the beta version of the dash. Since I’m a sucker for self-actualization and information that may potentially heal (and hurt) me, I tried it out for the last week or so and here’s what I learned.
I’m on my phone — a lot
No sh*t, Sherlock.
I know I’m always looking at these tiny screens but I didn’t realize I was literally living my life in front of it. A record day saw me looking at the screen for — get this — 11 hours and 55 minutes. That’s half a day! Legitimately, that’s the whole time I’m not sleeping. And take note, I review phones so this isn’t the only screen I look at in a day.
Given these numbers, I’m honestly unsure how I get anything else done in my life.
I get a ton of notifications
I mean sure, technology connects people, but I didn’t realize just how connected we are.
According to my data, I get around a minimum of 250 notifications per day and this number varies. At some point, there was a whopping 620 notifications. Let’s think about that for a minute; that means around 51 messages per hour in a 12-hour day. There are only 60 minutes per hour so that means almost a message for each freaking minute.
On average, Facebook Messenger tops the list for these notifications followed by Gmail and Telegram.
I check Instagram more than I should
Now, this is funny because as you just saw, Instagram isn’t on that list of top app notifiers. But, this might also be because I turned off IG notifications because they were distracting me (yay for being self-aware?). This health dashboard tells me that I unlocked my Instagram app most, with as many as 153 times in one day. This was, on average, followed by Facebook and Twitter.
The top three apps I spent time on are Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, which just tells me that I’m ‘gram crazy and I’m on social media too much (which isn’t really news to anyone).
Grayscale is annoying and I hate it
Part of the dashboard is a feature aimed at curbing being on your phone before bed (which I do a lot 🙄). Wind Down allows you to set such times and then gives you an option to turn on Do Not Disturb and a Grayscale that makes browsing less desirable for people who should be sleeping and not looking at their phones.
Reading tweets on grayscale is weird and browsing through Instagram is just plain wrong. I guess, in that way, this function is effective in getting me to stop being on my phone — until I turned it off the next day and never turned it on again.
I refuse to turn on the app timer as I justify social media use as work
Say what you want because it’s true. 😅
See, there’s a timer option on the dash that allows you to limit app usage time. Thing is, I’ve never turned it on. Why? Because I work on the internet and turning it on may amount to catastrophic consequences.
I will keep using this to justify my action of disallowing app time limits, so what’s your excuse?
It must be noted that, as mentioned earlier, I use more than one phone on a daily basis and am on social media on my laptop a lot, too. That being said, it’s worth pointing out that this still isn’t a complete picture of my daily phone and internet habits. Even though this data only shows a fraction of the grand picture, it already says a lot.
As with everything in life, the choice is in your hands (er, on your phone). Though I am ultimately left to decide what to do about my phone habits, knowing is always the first step.
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