Reviews

Pocophone F1 Review: It’s all about the performance

Flagship-specced phone that’s cheaper than a Xiaomi!

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If you find the Xiaomi Mi 8 or the OnePlus 6 to be great flagship killers, wait until you get to know the Pocophone F1. From the makers of Xiaomi, the Pocophone F1 offers even better value for money. It’s got the flagship specifications of US$ 800 phones for just around US$ 300.

You might not have heard about Pocophone because it’s a new contender in the competitive smartphone market. I was able to use the phone for a few days prior to the official launch and here’s what I have to say about it.

It’s got a 6.18-inch IPS LCD with rounded corners

The corners seem to be way too rounded

There’s a notch and it’s pretty wide like Xiaomi Mi 8’s

That’s because it also hides an infrared camera

The power and volume buttons are on the right side

Blending with the rest of the polycarbonate frame

The hybrid card slot on the left accepts a microSD card

In exchange for a second SIM card

The USB-C port is at the bottom along with the loudspeaker

The earpiece also acts as a speaker to create a stereo effect

Our review unit comes with a Kevlar back

This one is called the Armored Edition

The dual cameras share the same spot with the fingerprint reader

The reader is easily reachable by the index finger

We need to talk about the design…

The Pocophone F1 will not win any design awards because it’s not asking for one. It borrows some of the Mi 8’s blueprint and mixes it with its own. To keep the cost down, the Pocophone doesn’t sport a metal body. Unlike the Honor Play which screams premium when held on hand, the Pocophone doesn’t leave any lasting impression.

It’s got a polycarbonate body, so the sides and buttons of the phone feel plasticky. Our Armored Edition unit has an edge thanks to its Kevlar back, but the regular ones will definitely feel cheaper. I can’t also help but notice that the bezels of the phone are not proportional, but that’s already nitpicking.

The bezels aren’t proportional to each other, just saying

Also noticeable to my eyes are the extremely rounded corners of the display. The Pocophone is not the first phone to implement rounded corners (the first one I know of is the LG G6), but Pocophone’s are excessive. This results in cutouts of the interface, especially when playing games that have buttons positioned at the edge.

Having a notch already limits content in full screen and the overly rounded corners are another concern.

The rounded corners cut out some of the on-screen interface

Good thing the 6.18-inch Full HD+ display is bright with up to 500 nits and color accurate with 84 percent NTSC coverage as per manufacturer’s claims. Also, it’s protected by Gorilla Glass, although they didn’t specify which version.

The Kevlar back reminds us of the old Motorola DROID RAZR phones

Overall, the external characteristics of the Pocophone are just so-so. Having a polycarbonate body is okay because it keeps the cost down, but it could have been better to have a similar build quality with the colorful iPhone 5c or the early Nokia Lumia phones. Nokia and Apple were able to prove that a plastic-made body won’t feel cheap when done right.

Definitely the most powerful phone in its segment

The Pocophone might not have the best build, but it’s definitely one of the most powerful phones in the market right now. Xiaomi, the parent company, is known to offer flagship-specced phones at lower price points. They managed to outdo themselves through the Pocophone.

This phone comes with a Snapdragon 845 processor which also powers the likes of the LG G7 ThinQ, Samsung Galaxy S9, HTC U12+, and Sony Xperia XZ2. As you know, the league of Snapdragon 845 comes with hefty price tags, but not the Pocophone F1. It even has up to 8GB of memory and 256GB of expandable storage.

MIUI with an app drawer! 😲

I’m going to get a bit technical, but it’s worth noting that even with a lower asking price, it’s got LPDDR4X DRAM and UFS 2.1 storage. Basically, it has fast memory and storage speeds like on an expensive smartphone.

Running the show is Android Oreo skinned with MIUI 9.6. Although, this is not the same MIUI we’ve known from Xiaomi phones. It’s not that big of a deal, but if you’ve owned a Xiaomi phone you might be surprised about this: This particular version of MIUI has an app drawer. The rest of the MIUI is similar to what we’re accustomed to.

I often hold the Pocophone like this because I’m always playing

Like the Honor Play, the Pocophone is going to appeal a lot to mobile gamers. The Adreno 630 GPU that comes with the Snapdragon chipset is a beast at mobile gaming. It easily handles graphics-intensive games on the highest settings possible. PUBG Mobile, for example, can run in Ultra settings without any hiccups. I also tried Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Asphalt 9: Legends; both fared well.

The Pocophone F1 is equipped with a thermal solution called LiquidCool Technology. This keeps the temperature of the device in check especially when it’s under pressure. The phone is claimed to have fluid inside its cooling module which evaporates to vapor and then recondenses as liquid later on. I’m not able to confirm this because it happens inside the phone. Nevertheless, I never felt the Pocophone overheating when playing.

Flagship specs, midrange cameras

The Pocophone focused a lot on speed and, sadly, overlooked its cameras. It’s got a dual-camera setup that’s composed of a main 12-megapixel f/1.9 sensor with dual pixel autofocus and a secondary 5-megapixel depth sensor. It’s a similar setup to the Redmi Note 5 AI but with the addition of enhanced artificial intelligence software found on Mi flagships. The end result is uninspired, but the scene detection feature with the aid of AI is quick to act.

Under bright light, the camera captures plenty of details but it struggles in low-light scenarios. The bokeh effect is pretty good in adding depth to close-up shots. Here are some samples:

As for selfies, a 13-megapixel shooter is able to take decent photos whether under bright daylight or indoors. Check these samples:

There’s portrait mode which applies blur to the background and works pretty well. Edge detecting is up to par with other selfie phones. There’s still beauty mode, of course, but it’ll not turn you into a doll — unlike others.

Able to last a full day

With all the power the phone has, it’s got to have a sizeable battery to keep up. Thankfully, the 4000mAh battery sealed inside the Pocophone is enough to get users through a full day.

Another shot of the amazing Kevlar back

Based on my few days with the phone, it consistently lasted the whole day. From 100 percent in the morning, it has enough juice left before I get home after a full workday. Considering that my usage is moderate to heavy which includes constant social media, web browsing, chats, and gaming, I am still able to get home with battery power left over.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Pocophone F1 is designed to please power users that don’t want to spend their hard-earned money on an expensive flagship. If you like to have the best-possible specs on a phone, the Pocophone F1 is definitely your GadgetMatch.

But, budget phones always come with caveats. The Pocophone F1 is not exactly a budget-friendly phone at INR 20,999 or around US$ 300 for the 6GB/64GB variant, but for a device with a Snapdragon 845 processor — it’s a steal!

The camera performance might not be able to satisfy our eyes, but the Pocophone F1 is something you’d use primarily for gaming. It directly competes against the Honor Play which comes with the best processor from Huawei. These two phones created a new category among smartphones, and we’re not even sure what to call it yet.

SEE ALSO: Honor Play Review: The budget flagship

Reviews

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Review: Pro Enough?

How does it set itself apart from the rest of the line?

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While the similarities between Apple’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are less distinct than ever, the iPhone 12 Pro sets itself apart enough. Other than that, consumers got more confused with the iPhone 12 mini and 12 Pro Max on the line.

Are you curious to know if the iPhone 12 Pro is your GadgetMatch this 2020?

You can find out more in our iPhone 12 Pro review by clicking this link.

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Reviews

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales Superstar Shoes Review

Walk in Miles’ shoes

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For those of you that might have bought the Spider-Man: Miles Morales game you may have noticed that it appears that Miles has switched allegiance.

From the sweet Air Jordan 1 Highs that he famously rocked on the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film to this — a new pair of black and red Adidas Superstars that he wears in the game.

This has been super controversial, both in the sneaker community and the comic book community as well to an extent. Like many others, I agree that the Jordans were a part of Miles and the story line of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

But here’s a thing — this is the 2020 game. It’s a completely different story line to the 2018 animated movie.

So as much as it might be painful to see Miles sporting something other than his Jordans, think of this as Miles from another universe — because that’s really what he is. A universe where he just so happens to be a huge three-stripe fan.

The Spider-Man Miles Morales Superstars dropped this November 19th for US$ 75 in the US.

Unspectacular box

Starting with the box — it’s disappointing to see that Adidas keeps slacking off when it comes to the unboxing experience. They had a chance to create a really cool box for this collab, but nope, we have the usual blue Superstar box.

Opening it up, you have the usual Superstar wrapping paper, and the shoes, with the usual Superstar size tag and this Marvel Gamer verse tag.

Coming to the shoe itself and starting with the toe box, you have the usual Superstar Shell Toe, that’s in a black color here instead of the usual white color.

Moving along the upper of the shoe, it’s in a red leather material with the Adidas Three Stripes on the side in a black color.

This black and red design is supposed to be a nod to the Spidey suit that Miles Morales wears in the game.

Above the black three stripes on the mid-panel you’ll see the word “SUPERSTAR” in black to the side of it.

Coming to the top of the shoe you’ll see the usual Superstar regular lacing system with these flat black laces. Unfortunately, no extra pair of laces here.

You’ll also notice a tiny black lace tag here with the PlayStation symbol. Since this awesome game is only available on PS4 and PS5.

Miles Morales Superstar

Moving on, underneath the laces you have this black leather tongue which seems to have a bit more padding than usual. This is to make them feel even more comfortable on feet, compared to a usual superstar.

At the top of the tongue is the usual branding tag with the Adidas trefoil branding. It’s in this red black on the back leather, keeping in theme with Miles’ Spider-Man suit.

Coming to the inside of the shoe, you’ll notice the Marvel branding on the inside of the tongue, along with a black leather sockliner that feels pretty good against your feet.

There’s the usual Adidas superstar outsole, this time in a black synthetic leather with the Adidas branding in a red color towards the heel.

And then lastly, coming to the back of the shoe you have the usual Superstar heel tab but this has the Spider-Man logo in black and red occupying the heel tab.

Miles Morales Superstar

I know Adidas did this to give it some Spider-Man feel… 

because as you probably noticed there’s not a lot of it on the rest of the shoe, apart from the Miles Morales suit colors used.

Below that you have the same red synthetic leather material as the rest of the upper.

Moving on, that entire upper sits on the usual Superstar rubber midsole. But this time instead of the usual white rubber midsole and outsole, we get this black rubber midsole with this lining of the red outsole below it.

And then, coming to the bottom of the shoe, you have this red rubber outsole in the usual superstar thread pattern.

That’s about it in terms of design.

Fit and sizing

Coming to fit and sizing, the Adidas Superstars tend to fit true to size but Adidas sizing is pretty unpredictable.

I feel like these fit just like any other pair of superstars, true to size but if you have wide feet like I do, I definitely recommend going up half a size.

For example I’m a size UK 11 so I wanted to go up to a UK 11.5. Unfortunately, there were no half sizes available so I went up to a size UK 12. It fits okay but I have a bit more room in the toe box area than I’d like.

In terms of comfort, honestly it kinda feels like every other pair of Adidas Superstars but slightly more comfortable because of that well padded tongue. When it comes to cushioning, it’s a rather stiff, flat kind of feeling underfoot since there’s really not too much going on there..

But, to its credit, it is a very stable shoe and it’s pretty durable. So if you want a really stylish pair of everyday sneakers, and you’re okay with how the Superstars feel underfoot, this is a pretty solid option to check out.

Is this your SneakerMatch?

As much as I know that these are supposed to look exactly like the shoes Miles wears in the game, I have to admit, I’m kind of a little disappointed.

I just feel like there’s more they could have done, with the color blocking and the PlayStation and Spider-Man logos. They could have also, at least, made the box in the Miles Morales Black and Red colors.

Miles Morales Superstar

I feel like these are shoes made for kids, who would love to wear what Miles Morales is wearing in the game, which is totally okay. Granted, Miles was actually wearing mid-top Superstars in some suits, but it looks like the physical versions are only available in low-tops.

But these are not really for the same crowd of comic book nerds like me who would have copped the Jordan 1 Origin Story, which I feel was much nicer put together.

But then again, maybe this is the best that Adidas’ designers would come up with after talking to Marvel, Sony, and Insomniac Games who had to produce the same shoe in the game as well.

Miles Morales Superstar

At the end of the day, if you want to wear the same shoes as the coolest Spider-Man, here ya go. They’re comfortable, they stand out, and if you’re a Spider-Man Miles Morales fan, you’re going to love these.

Plus how cool is it to wear the same shoes as the in-game Miles, right?

SEE ALSO: Spider-Man: Miles Morales PS4 Review

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Lifestyle

MOK & MOK Mini review: Smoking just got smoke-free!

The future of tobacco?!

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MOK Mini

Government warning: Cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.
The following is intended for readers 18+

Over the past decade, we’ve seen various changes in the smoking and tobacco industry. Technology played a key role in developing new ways of smoking that, surprisingly, people are adopting. From traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices emerged.

The revolution doesn’t stop, seeing how Heat-not-Burn (HnB) devices arrived. This innovation is setting the stage for a smoke-free smoking experience. Such an example is MOK — which is now conquering Asia and Europe.

A bit of history, MOK arrived last 2019 in the Philippines. With a disturbing issue in second-hand smoking, the arrival of this HnB device was promising for the archipelago. I’ve always wanted to test it, but it was only a year later when I got my hands on MOK’s revolutionary devices: MOK and MOK Mini.

MOK

The first HnB device MOK offers… is named MOK. It’s a split device comprised of a holder (which I call a heating stick for sticks) and a pocket-sized charger where you can insert the holder for charging and safekeeping.

MOK Mini

The unit I have came in Navy Blue with gold accents. However, its shade of Navy Blue looks like Onyx in most circumstances. Nonetheless, it came in a matte finish for an easy grip.

The combination of gold accents and matte finish made it look fancy, allowing MOK to evoke a classy and luxurious appeal. It complemented my accessories and didn’t look out-of-place when placed together with my Playboy Clutch bag.

Using MOK is pretty straightforward. Simply insert its specially-designed COO sticks in the holder, then press the button for two seconds to turn it on. The light will turn blue and blink to tell you it’s turned on.

Once the blue light stopped blinking, it will start the heating process. Afterward, the light indicator will turn from blue to red to signify that it’s safe for you to start using the device. MOK makes it easy for you by vibrating every time the mode changes, so you don’t have to count or wonder when it’s ready to use.

When the light indicator is gone, that’s when you know the holder needs to recharge. The holder can last up to four minutes. This is where the pocketable charger comes in handy — to allow you to consume up to 20 sticks if it’s at 100% capacity, which can last for one hour and 40 minutes. That is if you’re a heavy smoker.

From my own and my smoker friends’ experience, we got lazy to charge the holder every time we need to consume a new stick. The laziness that comes can make or break the smoker’s experience: either we learn how to reduce consuming more than one stick, or we go back to using traditional cigarettes.

What’s in the box?

MOK comes in a fancy box. Inside is a pocket charger, a holder, 10 cleaning sticks, a cleaning brush, a micro USB charging cable, an instruction manual, and a quick how-to guide.

MOK Mini

MOK Mini is the smaller version of MOK, which makes it more pocketable than its sibling. It can easily slide to pretty much anything, which makes it perfect for my girl friend who doesn’t like carrying anything that won’t fit in her compact sling bag.

MOK Mini

It’s currently the smallest HnB device available, working smartly to deliver the same satisfying flavorful experience. It preheats faster at just 12 seconds while allowing you to consume up to 12 sticks at 100 percent battery capacity. Every stick can be experienced for at least 4 minutes, so you can do the math.

Just kidding, we don’t like to do the math. The MOK Mini lasts for less than an hour in continuous usage. It doesn’t come with a separate charger so its battery life can be easily depleted. Although, it charges fairly quickly for an hour and a half using its USB-C cable.

What’s in the box?

MOK Mini comes in a smaller box. Inside, you can find MOK Mini, a MOK cleaning brush, a USB-C charging cable, and a quick how-to guide.

Heat, not burn! What’s the process like?

MOK Mini

Both devices use MOK’s proprietary Heatmaster system — a cutting-edge technology designed to heat specially-designed tobacco, instead of burning it. It’s a flavorful experience similar to traditional cigarette smoking, only without the smoke produced.

When there’s no smoke, you get to puff the nicotine to yourself without inhaling harmful chemicals passing toxins (created by smoke) into an innocent individual near you. In essence, the non-combustible process made MOK’s promise true: a smoke-free, enjoyable experience.

The future of tobacco?

MOK is exclusively enjoyed with COO — specially-designed Heat-Not-Burn sticks that offer the same tobacco experience. It uses real tobacco leaves and comes in three variants: Golden Hue for a balanced, classic tobacco taste; Blue Hue for a refreshing hit of menthol; and New Wave Capsule, mint with a bit of lime.

If you’re wondering if you can use existing cigarettes in the market, no, they won’t fit. I tried it first-hand out of curiosity. Although, having MOK and using exclusive sticks made it feel like I’m part of an exclusive community — of casual and heavy smokers switching to an alternative with lesser risks.

In some countries, HnB devices are being used to swing heavy smokers into consuming less. For MOK, they aim to capture the existing smokers as their market, to help make the world smoke-free, one smoker at a time. They don’t even sell to consumers who aren’t smokers.

The goal is simple: reduce smoke and then hopefully quit someday. Slowly, but surely. If this is the future of tobacco, then it’s a future worth considering.

Maybe one day, second-hand smoke will be a thing of the past and all we have are battered lungs of smokers who really don’t have it in them to quit. Just kidding. Or maybe not.

Is the Mok Mini your GadgetMatch?

MOK and MOK Mini offers an alternative to smokers wanting to reduce their tobacco consumption and hopefully quit one day. For others, these HnB devices allow them to enjoy a guilt-free tobacco experience: no more second-hand smoke for other people. Yay?

For the right reason, MOK and MOK Mini makes for a revolutionizing accessory. The two HnB devices’ differences in size, battery capacity, and design can surely fit any smoker’s lifestyle. Here’s to hoping it can pave the way to a better future.

MOK Mini

MOK and MOK Mini is available in Japan, Korea, Maldives, and European Countries.

In the Philippines, MOK and MOK Mini retails for PhP 3,490 and PhP 2,490 respectively. Its COO HnB sticks are priced at PhP 120 for a pack and PhP 1,200 for a ream. It is currently available at MOK specialty kiosks in Eastwood Mall, MetL!ve, SM North EDSA, SM Manila, and SM Sta Mesa.

You can get it online through MOK’s official stores in LazMall and Shopee Mall, as well as from 60 major vape shops within Metro Manila. Nearly 500 branches of 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawson offers MOK’s HnB devices, too.

It’s also conveniently available in selected GrabMart hubs. Delivery of orders is guaranteed within 90 minutes or less, that is if the hub is near you. Purchasing from official retail partners promises a twelve-month warranty.

SEE ALSO: 9 gift ideas for the man of your life

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