Features

6 blue smartphones you won’t regret buying

Even after their successors launch in 2020

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Pantone announced Classic Blue as the next Color of the Year, and this means that every industry might release their products in this familiar color. Unknowingly, there are smartphones released in 2019 exhibiting this classic shade. It may not be as timeless and neat as white, but this color will definitely help you stand out in 2020.

Pretty sure, you won’t regret buying these phones, even when their successors launch in 2020. After all, these smartphones are powerful in their own right.

Sony Xperia 5

First on the list is the gorgeous Xperia 5. When talking about classic, one can’t just forget the familiar Xperia design. With its sleek and boxy body coated in blue, it’s difficult not to fall in love with this beaut.

Touted as the more affordable brother of the Xperia 1, the Xperia 5 houses a triple rear camera system with a 12-megapixel sensor in each camera. It’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset — a standard for a 2019 flagship. Keeping most of the same features, no doubt it’s the baby brother of Xperia 1.

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro or Redmi K20 Pro

One of our favorites this year, the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro won’t let you down, even if the Redmi K30 and K30 Pro arrive. It has proven itself as the best value smartphone this year, offering flagship prowess at an affordable price.

For only roughly around US$ 400, the Mi 9T Pro is packed with power and performance unlike any other. It’s equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 — which is present at most flagships today — and sports an all-screen design, thanks to its pop-up camera.

Moreover, its rear cameras can more than hold its own against phones at a similar price point. There is really nothing like it.

Realme XT

Another favorite, the Realme XT is one of the best value smartphones with a 64-megapixel camera. Against the Redmi Note 8 Pro and Vivo NEX 3, the Realme XT offers fantastic detail and vibrant color reproduction at a sweet price.

Priced at around US$ 330, you’re getting so much for what you pay for. It may not have the same chipset as the Mi 9T Pro, but its camera performance can compete even with the likes of Huawei P30 and iPhone XR.

Additionally, it comes in two beautiful colors to match different personalities: Pearl Blue and Pearl White.

OnePlus 7T

Unbeknownst to many, especially non-techies, OnePlus used to be a flagship killer. This year, they went all-in with the 7T, releasing a new design with a circular ring module along with a matte frosted back cover in Glacier Blue.

There’s a reason why a lot of people follow OnePlus’ products like a cult. For instance, the 7T has an AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. It also sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+ processor, a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary sensor on its rear, its 3800mAh battery supported by a 30T Warp Charging — which charges the phone 23 percent faster than its predecessor.

Lastly, it ships with OxygenOS for a smooth gaming and day-to-day experience, all for US$ 599. Sweet, right?

Honor 9X

One of the most affordable smartphones right now, the Honor 9X offers great value for those looking for a device that can get the job done without breaking the bank.

The Honor 9X currently retails for around US$ 240, available in Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black. For that price, it offers a 48-megapixel primary sensor — which is a staple on most 2019 flagships — along with 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. It also has a 16-megapixel pop-up camera.

More importantly, it’s powered by a Kirin 710 chipset, coupled with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and 4000mAh battery. You really get a lot for a small price!

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Of course, the best Android flagship of this year won’t let you down, even if Samsung launches bigger things in 2020. The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus earned our GadgetMatch Seal of Approval, and there’s a reason why.

For starters, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus didn’t introduce anything groundbreaking. Rather, it presented the culmination of this decade’s technology, delivering the best experience a user can expect out of a flagship smartphone. It maxed out the specs it can offer to let you be even more productive and equipped it with powerful cameras to help you hone your creativity.

The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a solid phone that can do the job, and even if it comes with a price, we guarantee that it’s a phone that won’t give up on you (even if everyone else has).

So which blue phone is your GadgetMatch?

Apps

5 Memoji-inspired outfit ideas: His and Hers

Play dress up virtually with the public beta preview of iOS 15

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Unveiled at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote are new customization options coming to Memoji on iMessage, including a much-awaited feature: outfit selection.

In 2019, Apple rolled out the most significant Memoji customization update. That year, users were able to apply makeup, change hair color, wear piercings and jewelry, and pick from different styles of headwear and glasses. The only thing missing was being able to choose clothing.

If you have the public beta of iOS 15 installed, you can now virtually play dress up and plan outfits for those trips you’ve been dreaming of and activities you’ve been deprived of after a year of quarantine.

#1 Romantic date night 

Who doesn’t like dressing up for a romantic date that will take you from a dinner at a restaurant to a cocktail or two at a speakeasy? Changing out of pajamas can do wonders to your mood.

His: a crisp long sleeved button down and his favorite hat

Hers: a flirty dress and statement earrings

#2 Stroll at the botanical garden

Has your apartment turned into a mini greenhouse with all the indoor plants you’ve adopted? Driving to the nearest botanical garden will either make you feel zen and content, or convince you that your plant collection is insufficient.

His: a breezy shirt and a pair of sunglasses

Hers: a colorful sundress and a top bun

Safari adventure

If there’s anything we learned about ourselves this past year, it’s that we all desire to be out in nature from time to time. A safari trip might not be realistic right now, but no one’s stopping you from imagining one.

His: a two pocket utility shirt and a cowboy hat

Hers: a loose tunic and a fedora

Sunny weekend at the beach

No summer is complete without a beach trip; and no beach trip is complete without some refreshing piña coladas, swimsuits that show off your summer bod, and copious amounts of sunscreen.

His: a linen top and a pair of polarized sunglasses

Hers: a long coverup, a pair of pearl earrings, and a straw hat 

Hike in the fall

Not a beach person? Maybe the mountains and autumn foliage are more your jam. Just make sure to stay warm from top to toe without sacrificing style and comfort.

His: a cable knit sweater and a fisherman’s hat

Hers: a turtleneck sweater and a beanie

BONUS: Big business convention

There’s never a bad time to get a good blazer or a pantsuit. You might not be able to wear them out to trade shows yet, but looking your best for Zoom meetings is always appropriate.

His: an olive green knit blazer, a black oxford shirt, and a skinny tie

Hers: a beige blazer, a pair of cat-eye glasses, and a pair of gold earrings

Apart from more than 40 different outfits, multicolored headwear, and new options for glasses, iOS 15 offers nine new Memoji stickers that include a shaka, a hand wave, a light bulb moment, and more.

iOS 15 will be available this fall as a free software update. If you’re interested in trying new Memoji outfits now, you can sign up for the public beta here: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/

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Features

Online voices: What does it take to be a caster?

A quick glimpse at the esports casting scene

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When we think of the word “Caster” we usually think of the people from the news. However, in the esports scene they serve as the voice and brains that analyze the game and hype the crowd up. It’s a different level of entertainment. Without them, games could get too boring to watch. So what does it take to be a caster?

Caster spotlight: Edwin Arctikuno

Theo “Arctikuno” Rodriguez is a Filipino-American broadcast talent currently based in the Philippines. He first got his big break as a contracted talent with Garena Philippines in 2016, working with them all the way up until 2018.

After his time with Garena, he went on to work as a freelance talent, working actively across Asia in countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, and so forth. He’s also worked and collaborated with the Lenovo Legion brand on numerous occasions for different esports-related activities over the past few years.

While he initially began purely as a caster for League of Legends, his years of freelancing has led to numerous opportunities pursuing other games in direct collaboration with some of the top gaming companies and their productions.

Recently, he has begun to embark on other endeavors outside of esports while continuing to train promising talent under his wing in preparation for work in the industry. He now joins the fray as a mentor for the Legion Academy Casters, ever eager to help develop local talent for work across Asia and beyond.

Becoming a caster

A caster has many qualities which are unique, but to have that profession, you must start from somewhere. We asked Edwin, “What qualities should an aspiring Caster have? In terms of skills, what’s a good foundation to have?”

“You have to have the passion and drive to be in this industry.”

It all starts with an interest, it may be playing the game or watching games from tournaments. Then, it turns to a passion, turns to a dream, then reality. Easier said than done, the process of becoming a caster is a long road ahead.

“The reality is, you’re not going to be making big bucks right off the bat when you’re starting. If anything, a lot of casters that eventually managed to build themselves up were those that just simply had a love for what they do, the community, and the very industry they dwell in.”

The hard work in casting

Earned, not given. The esports scene has often been overlooked, but it’s as legitimate a career path as any. Especially now. With the endless grind and long nights, it’s these moments that will help shape who you are as a caster. The process will be different for everyone, but it’s a path worth pursuing.

“With that, you’ve got to have the diligence to want to constantly challenge yourself to do better and improve. While nobody is perfect, we can at least aspire and strive to be as close to it as possible by always working on bettering ourselves as talents, whether it be in our craft or our character,” Edwin added.

Here are some do’s and dont’s from Edwin himself.

DOs:

1. Always DO your homework!
2. Please DO stay humble.
3. Strive to be the best version of yourself. Once you DO, surpass it again.

DON’Ts:
1. Don’t give up! Never ever feel discouraged in the process of pursuing your craft.
2.  Don’t take the lessons you learn and opportunities you grab for granted.
3. Don’t disregard your health in the midst of the grind.

Legion Academy Caster Program

Lenovo and AMD recently wrapped up their Legion Academy Program. It was a contest to earn spots as casters for Legion’s upcoming tournaments. The winners are as follows:

1. Estelle Cerutti (Yuuske — Final Winner)
2. Wyndsor Martillana (ExcelSor PH — Final Winner)
3. Christian James Magdaluyo
4. Eugene Esteban

The four shared their biggest and most important learnings from the Legion Academy Program experience.

Yuuske says it’s “always ground yourself as a caster.”

“Clearly, there are various other casters with their own style but you must not forget the importance of highlighting your personality,” added the Final winner.

Meanwhile, Excelsor listed everything he learned:

  • Be Proactive, there’s always an upside to being proactive in the esports industry.
  • Always have your portfolio ready and updated. Like any job, this is also important in the esports casting industry.
  • Studying is very important to increase game knowledge and to be more familiar with the nuances of the game. Study, study, study.
  • Get feedback from your colleagues. Sometimes the way you can improve is to get a perspective from your peers. There are some things you won’t be able to see and that can be crucial to improvement.

Meanwhile, Zaco realized that “you really have to put yourself out there with no fear and just stick your head out the car window, because you will never know unless you look.”

Dash, for his part, highlighted the importance of building your portfolio.

“Creating a portfolio is one of the key things on how you’ll get casting gigs and learning the ropes on how to create a presentable portfolio is gonna help me entice the clients on getting me as a caster for their events.”

Asked how they felt about winning, Excelsor said, “It feels like I’m reborn as a caster.” Meanwhile, Yuuske wants to pay things forward.

“It is my goal not only to better my craft but as well as inspire others on their journey in the esports world!”

To learn more about Legion Academy and other upcoming programs, visit legion.lenovo.com/academy


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Legion Philippines

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Hands-On

Redmi Note 10S: Is this the most ideal smartphone?

Great hardware under a simple, subtle design

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Redmi Note 10S

As the more affordable product line, Redmi continues to bring high-quality smartphones to a more accessible market. They may not come with the most flagship of hardware inside, but they still perform roughly at par with their powerful yet more expensive counterparts. This year, Redmi has something new up their sleeve in the Redmi Note 10S.

A simple design choice in my eyes

The moment I received and unboxed the Redmi Note 10S, I said to myself, “huh, what’s new?” I mean, it comes in the usual packaging, with all the documentation, a jelly case, and the charger inside. If anything, though, the phone itself sports a simple exterior design, which doesn’t particularly stand out for a good reason.

This unit came in an Onyx Gray colorway plastered at the back, and I’m also aware that it comes in two other colors, as well. For me, this color makes it look rather professional and complements the simple design as a whole. Although, I noticed that the back of the phone likes fingerprints so much, and it’s quite obvious in this colorway.

Now, another great aspect of the exterior design was the placement of the phone’s speakers. For phones such as this, you’d expect that it’s just one speaker and it’s beside the charging port. In the case of the Redmi Note 10S, it comes with two speakers found on opposite ends. Honestly, I found it practical to set it up like this, that other smartphones should consider.

Complementing hardware and software

Let’s get to the beef of the matter, shall we? In terms of the internal hardware, the Redmi Note 10S is decent in that department. It comes with a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset, with my unit sporting 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. On the external hardware, the phone comes with a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, mostly suitable for great detail and color accuracy. 

Redmi Note 10S

Upon my initial set up and usage, the phone responds quite well and quickly. Powered by MIUI 12.5, apps load smoothly and I even found myself multitasking some apps a lot more. Although, there were times that things like Dark Mode were wonky in some apps, but I think that’s mostly on MIUI.

Furthermore, the AMOLED display is pretty bright even at around 40-50 percent brightness. Even in this setting, it manages to display images and videos with great detail with minimal stuttering. Also, those speakers I mentioned earlier are quite loud and actually give off a sense of immersion when watching movies. It’s all good stuff for now, but let’s see if it holds up later on.

Redmi Note 10S

One look into the cameras for now

Apart from the hardware inside, I also wanted to focus on the cameras the Redmi Note 10S comes with. On its rear, you get an interesting quad-camera setup, with a 64MP lens as the star of the show. Along with this, you also get an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro camera and depth sensor for that extra level of detail.

With some of the shots I initially took, I was fairly impressed with the image quality and color accuracy. From my view, it doesn’t look like there was any noticeable grain in the images, so that’s a good start. However, I ran into some trouble with the auto-focus mechanic in the camera. Hopefully, it will improve with prolonged use.

Redmi Note 10S

Up front, you only get a single 13MP lens lodged at the top of the display. For the most part, it did a good job of capturing selfies under great lighting conditions. 

A promising start, maybe?

So far, the Redmi Note 10S ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a great yet affordable smartphone. Inside and out, the phone allows you to do quite a lot and experience near-flagship features without sacrificing so much in the process. Whether or not this will hold up with longer and more drastic usage, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Redmi Note 10S

The Redmi Note 10S retails for PhP 11,990 and only comes with a configuration of 8GB RAM and128GB storage.

Buy it from Lazada.

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