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POCO F2 Pro review: Underrated sequel

Deserves your attention

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The POCO F1 launched to plenty of fanfare and for good reason. It had the allure of a phone with flagship-grade specs without the flagship price. But POCO went on hiatus and didn’t come back with an immediate successor to the F1. While the fanfare may not be the same, the promise of flagship-for-less remains with the POCO F2 Pro.

Its glass and metal build evokes the feeling of a premium flagship 

Up top is the 3.5mm jack

Down below are the speaker grilles, USB-C port, and SIM card tray 

The volume button and accented power button are on the right side 

And of course, hard to miss is the circular camera module 

It’s home to the POCO F2 Pro’s quad camera setup: 64MP main camera, 13MP ultra wide lens, 5MP telephoto camera, and 2MP depth sensor.

It also has a 20MP selfie camera which yours truly idiotically forgot to take a photo of and with.

While we’re on the subject of cameras, might as well throw the samples your way. The main sensor is likely what you’ll end up using the most especially if you’re just the point-and-shoot type. Happy to report that it performs rather well.

It captures pretty darn good detail as expected. The post-processing leans on the saturated side which, depending on your taste, is most of the time “social media ready” already.

But notice how it already applies some subtle background blur without using portrait mode. That’s thanks to the 1/1.7” sensor size.

It’s even more evident when you try to take photos from a different perspective.

Zoom in twice and five times and you’ll still get more than your fair share of detail retention especially in a well-lit environment.

I’m personally not a fan of macro lenses especially on other phones but Xiaomi and POCO have done a good job of adding actually useful macro lenses on their phones.

Color reproduction suffers a little bit when using HDR with a subject positioned against the light. This shot isn’t stellar but it’s a good start and nothing a few adjustments on a photo editing app can’t fix.

It handles bokeh well too even though we’re just shooting a Deku toy figure with acrylic stands of Momo and Chaeyoung of TWICE in the background.

The night mode is fantastic. You actually see the subject captured here but this was shot in a really dark room with a faint green light as the only light source. Shoot with a tripod for best results.

All-screen display is sexy AF

As mentioned earlier, the POCO F2 Pro employs a pop-up camera system for the selfie camera. That means we get a true all-screen display — one without notches or punch holes — which has become a rare breed after the abundance of such devices just a year ago.

It’s absolutely perfect for consuming media. Here we were watching an NBA game. Sadly, the NBA app doesn’t let you pinch out so the screen is fully occupied, but watching on the 6.67” AMOLED display is such a pleasurable experience.

Switching over to YouTube to watch a vlog by LOONA’s Heejin and here we were able to maximize the screen. As you can see, they’re absolutely stunning — both the phone’s display and Heejin.

Performs like a flagship as advertised

The sexy display extends to games as well. Call of Duty Mobile  looks fantastic on that display. With the POCO F2 Pro equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, it plays fantastic too.

The phone doesn’t have the 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rates that are present in some flagships today, and while that enhances the buttery smooth experience on phones, it’s still just a nice-to-have feature more than an essential.

MIUI 12 also contributes to the smooth experience. While other UIs are starting to optimize better too, MIUI still has a few touches that we especially like.

For instance, the recent apps screen feels more natural. Instead of holding and swiping up, and then swiping from right to left, MIUI lets you continue that upward and downward motion which feels more natural.

You also see four of your most recent apps right away, making it even faster and easier to switch versus the vertical layout that every other skin currently has.

We imagine users interested in the phone are primary concerned about how much they can push it to the limit. We spent an entire day jumping from sessions of Call of Duty to watching an NBA game, and then screen recording and editing quick clips together on top of the usual social media browsing, and we’re happy to report that the POCO F2 Pro handled it like a champ.

Given the pandemic, that’s actually already doing a lot on your phone. We experienced no heating whatsoever.

Although there was an instance when an app restarted instead of picking up where we left off. But this was already late in the day after putting the phone through the paces with the 4,700mAh battery almost drained.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The phone has two variants: one with 6GB of RAM and an LPDDR4 128GB (PhP 26,990 or around US$ 556) storage, the other has 8GB of RAM with an LPDDR5 256GB storage (PhP 29,990 or around US$ 620).

Both are plenty capable so your purchase decision can come down to if you want to save a few thousand to set aside or to buy other accessories that you can pair with POCO F2 Pro.

It also comes in four colors: Neon Blue, Electric Purple, Cyber Gray, and Phantom White.

Lastly, the phone supports 5G, which is helpful if you frequent areas that have 5G coverage (there isn’t a lot yet at the moment).

It doesn’t feel like it got the same hype as its predecessor, but unlike the first iteration of this phone, it cut less corners. This one is actually made of glass and metal and holding it really makes you feel like you’re holding a phone that’s nearly twice as expensive.

While we wish it still came with a kevlar-like variant, it’s clear what POCO was going for with this phone. The POCO F2 Pro is riding the trend of where flagship phones are going by bringing a premium experience over to a lower price point.

It’s staying true to the theme of the POCO F1 while offering improvements to match the times. It’s an underrated sequel indeed. The POCO F2 Pro may not have the same hype as the first one, but it’s still certainly worth the price of admission.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 Review: Ahead of Its Time!

Experience the future for $1999

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The first Galaxy Fold may have encountered several issues, but this year’s Fold is all about polishing and revamping things.

With a more durable hinge mechanism, maximized screen, improved materials, better cameras, and the fastest internals around, the Galaxy Z Fold2 is an impressive engineering feat.

$1999 isn’t cheap, but this device is meant for those who want to experience the future in their hands today.

Head over to our in-depth Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 review here.

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Huawei Watch Fit review: Great for getting you moving

A fantastic wearable that comfortably sits between smart bands and full on smartwatches

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Our friends over at Huawei must’ve noticed that I have slowly been gaining weight over the duration of the community quarantine. That’s why they sent over the Huawei Watch Fit for me to try.

To be honest, I was very reluctant at first knowing how my habits tend to generally lean more towards getting fat vs getting fit. But our Huawei friend *coughs* Dezza *coughs* convinced me, so here I am giving it a go.

The timing was rather unfortunate as it was going to be a rather busy week. For me, that means being glued to my chair as I type away articles for various launches and coordinate for a handful of projects. There wasn’t really time for me to get in a headspace to want to workout. Especially since the only workout I actually enjoy — basketball — is still prohibited due to the pandemic.

These may or may not have contributed to my stress levels as measured by the smartwatch.

I realize these all sound like excuses, and perhaps they are. But this is my reality as I slapped on the Huawei Watch Fit and went on with my days.

Before I go on any further, let’s first take a look at the watch.

It has a 1.64-inch colored display

At first I thought this would be too small. However, the screen size sits nicely between smart bands and those round 42mm smartwatches. After using it for a while, the display starts to look larger than it actually is.

A silicone strap that feels nice on your wrist

We got the mint green version (which comes with a silver body). The other variants are Black body with Graphite Black silicone strap, and Rose Gold with Cantaloupe Orange Silicone strap.

If you’re not happy with those options, the Huawei Watch Fit is supposed to work with standard straps so you can mix it up depending on the occasion. I’ll ask Huawei if they will launch more strap options in the future and will update this accordingly.

Magnetic charging

Flip it over and you’ll find the magnetic charging things. You’ll want to keep the charger that comes with the box as there isn’t really any other way to fast-charge this wearable. Getting all you juiced up from zero should take about an hour.

While we’re at it, Huawei claims it’ll last for 10 days. This isn’t the case if you use the Always-On screen option. But the raise to wake function is so good, you can just completely disregard always-on. I’m currently on my 4th day from charging it up to 100% and I’m sitting at 56% at the moment.

A sh*t ton of watch faces to choose from

It comes with a HUGE selection of watch faces. You can go for sleek and subtle, loud and colorful, or just flat out cute.

For good vibes, I stuck with the cute option (the Shiba Inu one).

Full screen touch and side button 

Navigation is easy. You simply swipe through the screen for a quick look at the different stats like heart rate, stress level, weather, and steps.

The side button gives you deeper access to the smart watch’s other functions like Settings and all the different workouts.

Plenty of workouts, can really get you moving

The Huawei Watch Fit has 96 workout modes. These vary from indoor and outdoor runs, swimming, yoga, dance, martial arts, and various other sports (scanned real quick for basketball and it wasn’t there. Sad).

Point is, there’s most definitely something here that would fit your workout routine. I haven’t found mine. Instead, I’ve been using the quick re-energize activities.

The Huawei Watch Fit makes it easy to follow the workouts as it has visual cues on how to execute them. I found these extremely helpful. The watch will buzz to signal you to start and will buzz again to wrap up your first set of a particular movement.

The re-energize routine takes about two minutes and 30 to 40 seconds to complete. I try to do it every time the watch prompts me to “get active.” It’s helped me be more mindful about taking breaks in-between tasks. And the quick routine really did a lot in re-energizing me for a few more rounds of sitting on my ass while typing away on the laptop.

A friend has invited me to try a dance class and while I have two left feet, I am considering taking that challenge on for the workout. I will update this article should that push through.

Overall tracking seems accurate

I didn’t have another device to compare with it in real time, but based on my previous experiences with other smart bands and smartwatches, the tracking on the Huawei Watch Fit has been fairly accurate.

My heart rate hasn’t really changed much from when I was using other smartwatches so that was an easy benchmark to check.

My sleep habits, unfortunately, have also pretty much remained the same. Which isn’t exactly a good thing as I rated low on deep sleep and late on time of hitting the sack. But I figure this is true for most people ever since we’ve been in community quarantine.

I walked around our compound over the weekend and really observed the step counter, and while it may record one step too many at certain times, it rarely happened to cause any real concern.

It also has a blood oxygen sensor — a key feature that health experts have pointed to in determining whether you should seek medical attention or not. I tried it and I may be due for a consultation. 😬

Other helpful features

The Huawei Watch Fit is also home of other staple smart watch features. These include: Find my phone, Remote camera shutter, music player control, and many more.

There’s also a Cycle Calendar that should prove useful. Too bad I’m not female so I couldn’t try it out. It’s also only available in certain markets, which is a little puzzling because I’m pretty women everywhere go through a menstrual cycle.

Is Huawei Watch Fit your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 4,999/ EUR 129 (US$ 153), the pricing seems on point. The Huawei Watch Fit’s health and fitness features are robust, there’s a decent selection of variants at launch, and it will seamlessly blend in your workout and casual fits.

The materials used also feel premium and the smart watch doesn’t look half bad at all. It’s certainly something I wouldn’t mind flaunting to other people.

When you’re ready to step up from a smart band but aren’t quite ready to splurge on a full on smart watch, the Huawei Watch Fit sits comfortably in that middle ground, ready to be your health and fitness companion.

BUY HERE

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ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro Review: A Surprising Contender!

Flipping camera isn’t a gimmick after all

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ASUS’ newest ZenFone 7 Pro may still look like last year’s ZenFone 6, but it has gotten totally bigger and better.

It may have a similar design language but the larger form factor houses all the speedy internals — a full-screen display, Snapdragon 865+ chipset, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, and an enormous 5000mAh battery. But that doesn’t end there. The large flipping camera mechanism that houses a trio camera setup makes this a suitable smartphone for shooting and vlogging.

With a price tag of just under EUR 699 (US$ 830), is the ZenFone 7 Pro a worthier flagship choice?

Watch our ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro review (with a lot of photo samples and comparison) here.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone 7 Pro: Unboxing and Hands-On

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