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?

Features

Smartphone photography 101: Capturing festivities

Keep those memories of celebration and happiness alive

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The crowd, color, food, and impeccable decorations make welcoming the Lunar New Year so much fun and memorable. It only happens once a year, so it’s important to keep those memories of celebration and happiness alive.

Here are some tips from photographers on how you can make the most our of your iPhone during the festivities:

1. Shoot with your phone

Food stylist CR Tan demonstrates how easy it is to shoot a reunion dinner. Even if you have one, you wouldn’t really want to whip out your big camera to capture the fun and action over food. With good lighting, a little bit of styling, and added human element, you can achieve a great photo with an iPhone.

Follow CR Tan on Instagram: @xlbcr

2. Use Night Mode

Not enough light? Don’t let darkness stop you. Photographer Yudhi Aristan uses Night Mode to capture vibrant colors even in low light. Just hold still for a few seconds and see the magic happen.

Follow Yudhi Aristan on Instagram: @aristan89

3. Play with perspectives

Take your time to frame your shot. Photographer Jason Lim suggests playing around with the different lenses your iPhone comes with. The Ultra Wide Angle, Wide Angle, and Telephoto lenses can be used to create eye-catching compositions.

Follow Jason Lim on Instagram: @jsnjnr

Did you capture any photos in welcoming the Chinese New Year? Share them with us in the comments below! 📷

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24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Jakarta

Captured through the awesome camera of the Galaxy A71

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When I hear Indonesia, Bali always comes to mind. Although I’ve never been there, I know it’s a dream destination for many because of its beaches, peaks, parks, temples, and terraces. It’s an escape out of the polluted and crowded cityscape.

Two hours away from Bali is the country’s capital, Jakarta. Its dense city structure further proves that it has been on a massive urban sprawl. Honestly, I had no idea where to go and what to do — but the internet exists for a reason. The only Indo things I’m aware of are mi goreng, nasi goreng, beef rendang, MONAS, Alfa Mart. That’s about it.

I flew all the way to Jakarta for Samsung’s Awesome Live Event with BLACKPINK where they introduced the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71. The day after the event, I finally had the phone on hand and tested its “awesome camera”, including the new ultra-wide lens.

Cozy stay

Capturing the hotel view outside was the first thing I did with the phone. Not the best window view I had but the greenery added an ethereal escape against the sharp, tall slabs of concrete.

Going out of the room gives me another view. That large structure is the Tennis Indoor Senayan where Samsung held its live event. It’s also one of the venues of the 18th Asian Games and other K-Pop concerts. Seeing it from afar and up close made me realize how lucky I am.

Before heading out, I tried the hotel’s breakfast buffet. So far, so good. There was enough variety that I enjoyed eating. I spoiled myself by having more than five plates. Here’s a photo of the sweet food, for the wandering souls out there.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII)

I decided to go to Taman Mini Indonesia Indah as it’s located far from the skyline of Jakarta. Despite what the name suggests, this place isn’t “mini”. This museum is just one among the many parks you can see inside the TMII premises.

With limited time, I decided to push through — and I’m glad I did. It made me realize how similar Indonesians and Filipinos are, not just when it comes to appearance but also language. There are Bahasa and Tagalog words that both share the same meaning such as “selamat”, “datuk”, “kolintang”, “pintu”, “balik”, “lima”, “pula”, “kanan”, “anak”, and more. It’s truly fascinating.

These traditional art pieces show how rich and diverse Indonesia’s culture is. Some were hand-drawn, sculpted, weaved, or even painted, like the batik. They even have their own version of puppets called wayang.

After the three-story museum tour, I headed to a mini temple to rest and relax. Those who were caught off-guard by the claustrophobic dim spaces of the museum can enjoy the majestic pond outside.

National Monument (MONAS)

As mentioned earlier, I knew about MONAS. It’s Indonesia’s National Monument — and that’s because the city-building game I’m playing introduced me to it. I downloaded the landmark mod which made me recognize it’s one of Indonesia’s sought-after landmarks.

It’s erected right in the center of Jakarta. According to locals, you can see all of Jakarta if you go up — pretty much like a drone. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do that because of the flaming hot weather.

Kota Tua

If you weren’t aware, Indonesia was colonized by the Dutch empire. Batavia was the old-day Jakarta. Thus, the “Old Batavia” they’re calling can be found here in Kota Tua.

What you see above is the Fatahillah Square which is the historical center of the old town. Beside it, there are museums pertaining to wayang, fine arts and ceramics, and even Jakarta’s history. During my visit, they were all closed.

If you are too lazy to walk around, there are these colorful bicycles you can rent.

The establishments here look nothing like modern-day Jakarta. A lot of cities saved much of their history through preservation of old buildings and Kota Tua is no exception.

After strolling for almost half an hour, I had my late lunch. Indonesian cuisine is known to be spicy. I teared up eating authentic mi goreng — its spice level is way too high for comfort. I love eating spicy food as long as they’re tolerable. Thankfully, Thai iced tea I ordered saved my tongue from burning.

I went to the night market early so I witnessed how vendors cooked their food before it got crowded. There are martabak and lumpia stalls although I didn’t get to try them.

The sun was setting so I hurried to see other establishments. There were a lot of shops that offer local kopi and indomie, while other stalls were selling phone cases and designer imitations. I didn’t find any souvenir shops around, although that might be because I was there before most shops opened.

Malls galore

Jakarta’s malls aren’t the biggest but they have exclusive shop offerings, like Plaza Senayan. It was surprising to see a bakery and a popular coffee shop inside the department store. It’s not something I’m used to, and I found it odd considering they were selling all sorts of cosmetic products within the vicinity.

I wasn’t too happy with the food choices at Plaza Senayan so I went to another mall near the hotel called FX Sudirman. I only had a few hours left before I had to leave so might as well enjoy what I can have.

As a Libra, being indecisive is part of my whole being. I roamed around and there were better food choices but I got tired so I chose to eat at an American burger joint instead. The Salted Egg Cheese Burger was good although the salted egg flavor was barely there.

When I went out I was greeted by these roller skaters going back and forth the sidewalk.

3-Star Airport (?)

I was surprised that the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is only a 3-star airport. It’s not as fancy as Singapore’s Changi, but it’s clean, organized, and the architecture is modern and striking. My flight departed at midnight, so you can see how quiet and less crowded it gets off-peak hours.

Unlike other airports that offer 24-hour services, most shops and restaurants after immigration were already closed by the time I got there.

Too little time for a huge city

Moments before boarding the plane, I somehow wished I could’ve stayed longer. It would’ve also been more “awesome” if I met locals around. It’s hard to imagine how I managed to compress what I wanted to see in just 24 hours. It may not be long before they transfer the city capital crown to East Kalimantan in Borneo, so I’m hoping I can come back before that happens with a more well-thought out itinerary.

All photos were taken using the Samsung Galaxy A71.

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How to make your crush view your Instagram Story

Three easy steps to get that validation

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Catching up with friends entails a discussion about your love life. Being single for a long time, a friend asked if I were dating someone new. I responded gleefully, “no, I’m not dating anyone but I have a new crush I met at an event.”

Giggly about my newfound love interest, my friend advised me how to tease my crush. However, it’ll only work if we’re following each other on Instagram. To see if my friend’s strategy works, we used our own accounts and to my surprise, we succeeded.

While it may yield different results, here are three easy steps you can do to make your crush view your Instagram story.

Step 1: Post a story you want your crush to see

Uploading a story feels like a small window to our lives. Make sure the photo you upload is something that you want your crush to see. It’s like making an impression, and you only have one shot if he/she ever sees your story. I posted my gym photos and pizza stories — something that both my crush and I enjoy.

Step 2: Edit your story settings

Here’s the not-so-tricky part! We’re calling it the hide-unhide strategy. When your story is uploaded, immediately adjust your story settings and hide your story from your crush. Save it, and then change the story settings again to unhide the story. This strategy beats Instagram’s algorithm and pushes your story to one of the first stories he/she can view.

Step 3: Enjoy the validation

As long as you and your crush follow each other on Instagram and regularly use the app, then it’s guaranteed that he/she will view your story. Enjoy the frickin’ validation. I’ve been doing it for almost a month now, and I always giggle whenever I see my crush’s name.

There are times that the strategy won’t push you to the first story he/she can view. For some reason, my friend tried hiding and unhiding her story to me, and she only ended up being second on the queue. Instagram still prioritizes the accounts you engage with the most through reacts and direct messages. However, being at the first five ensures you have a shot at making an impression that lasts.

Now, hurry and make your crush view your story. It won’t be long before Instagram’s algorithm changes again!

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