Reviews

realme 8 5G review: Your all-around budget 5G companion

The brand hopes to change the game with speed.

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Anytime a phone is called a game-changer, we look for one quality that makes it stand out among the rest. It can be an emphasis on gaming, battery life, or for most phones nowadays, camera hardware.

With the realme 8 5G, the brand hopes to change the game with speed. It’s a rather vague promise, but one that should excite plenty of consumers. Does it live up to the hype?

Don’t Sleep on Mediatek

The name Mediatek comes with quite the baggage, especially for Filipino consumers. But don’t fear. Long gone are the days where Mediatek processors sacrifice quality to reduce costs. The Mediatek Dimensity 700 5G is a more than capable performer for your day-to-day tasks.

Going through emails and using social media was a breeze, even with multiple apps open. Browsing through Facebook and Twitter while running YouTube in the background (thanks YouTube Premium!) was a delight.

Just don’t expect too much out of its capability to play graphic-intensive games. I tried running NBA 2K Mobile on Medium graphics and there were some stutters. Thankfully, they weren’t anything drastic that the entire experience was ruined.

If there’s one thing to be concerned about with the phone’s performance, it’s battery life. On light usage, you can stretch its 5000mAh cell to one and a half days. But with heavy usage of mobile data, social media, and navigation apps such as Waze, the midranger’s battery life went from 100 to 20 by 10PM. For hardcore gamers and workers who always have their mobile data on, it would be best to keep a power bank, just to be on the safe side.

realme UI 2.0 is a great balance

Phones from Chinese brands tend to get flak for straying too far away from Stock Android. Icons are colorful to a fault and too many unnecessary things are baked into these devices. Thankfully, that isn’t the case with realme’s flavor of Android 11.

There’s still bloatware. It wouldn’t be a phone from a Chinese brand without it. There are also annoying notifications from these apps. It’s a good thing you can disable these through System Settings.

Otherwise, realme UI 2.0 is an offering that feels more stock than most devices in the midrange market. It just works, and it isn’t cumbersome to use for any kind of consumer. Sometimes, that’s all you need out of a device’s software. Extra and unnecessary toppings aside, realme UI 2.0 was a delight to use.

5G and its 90Hz display are the cherry on top of this delicious sundae

While 5G and 90Hz displays are leading most phone’s marketing campaigns, they shouldn’t be a consumer’s primary reason for a buying a device as of the moment. 5G still has limited coverage and its differences with 4G LTE are minimal. 90Hz displays can only go so far. It eventually reaches a point where using it doesn’t feel all that special anymore.

At the core of a good smart phone are still its processor of choice and how its software operates. 5G and 90Hz are role players. A phone’s processor and software are its franchise cornerstones. On that note, the realme 8 5G has a team that blends together extremely well. You should consider them a championship contender in this segment of smartphones.

A camera that captures many possibilities, just not infinite

Capture Infinite Possibilities with 5G. It’s a very bold statement coming from realme to promote this device.

On that end, the realme 8 5G isn’t able to live up to that lofty promise just because of how limited its camera array is. Its triple camera setup consists of a 48-megapixel wide main camera, a two-megapixel macro camera, and a two-megapixel depth camera. In this day and age, a macro sensor and a depth sensor don’t provide much use to the overall camera experience. They’re nice-to-haves, but they don’t enrich the experience by much. A wide-angle lens and a telephoto would have helped users capture more possibilities with realme’s newest midranger.

At the very least, the phone is able to capture many finite possibilities thanks to its 48MP main camera. It’s a solid lens that performs well on all kinds of lighting conditions.

Its post-processing is a double-edged sword because of how it saturates and adds contrast to its images. Sometimes, pictures come out very good and natural. However, there are instances when images can look quite unnatural because of how it’s processed.

I showed one image to my girlfriend, and she likened the background to a painting. If you’re trying to capture art, maybe that works. But you’re trying to capture realistic images. Thankfully it’s nothing extreme to the point where you wouldn’t want to use the device’s camera. It’s just something to take note of as a user.

The selfie shooter came out with similar results, with a few hiccups here and there in dealing with the bokeh effect of Portrait Mode. However, if there was one weakness that was quite glaring, it was how it blended together the colors of its subject and background.

In one particular image, the colors came out as quite unnatural and it didn’t process the incoming tricycle in the background well. Again, like the main camera, its main weaknesses aren’t extreme to the point where you’d avoid using it at all costs.

You’ll be capturing many possibilities with this shooter. Just not infinite.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Priced at PhP 11,990, the realme 8 5G can be confidently called a steal. You can even go as far as to say that it deserves its lofty tag as a game-changer. It’s able to achieve this in a manner we aren’t used to seeing in this price segment.

Far too often do we see midrangers that champion raw power or large battery cells, while sacrificing overall user experience. This isn’t the case with the realme 8 5G.

The highlight feature of this device is its 5G connectivity, but instead of solely focusing on this brand-new feature, it uses it to enrich the experience brought by the phone’s processor and software.

This is a phone that can be used by any kind of user, but especially for the young professional who’s looking for a versatile device for all kinds of tasks at a low price. It’s not a clear-cut champion, but it can be called one of the favorites in an incredibly competitive midrange segment.

Gaming

Kena: Bridge of Spirits isn’t for everybody

And, that’s fine

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Kena: Bridge of Spirits is an action-adventure third-person video game. The game is developed and produced by Ember Lab. In the game, you play as Kena. She’s a young spirit guide who uses her magical abilities to help people pass on into the spirit world.

The game is stunning and deep dives into spiritual aspects like emotional entanglement with the physical word after passing away.

In case you don’t have a working pair of eyes

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a gorgeous game. Stunning yet scuffed at times, this game is nothing short of eye-candy. The background details and character design is just *chef’s kiss*. But, big butt (Editor’s Note: Not sure if this is a typo but we’ve decided to keep it as is), by the way, this aesthetic might not be to some people’s liking. Hear me out: this game looks and feels like you’re playing through a Disney Pixar movie. And, honestly, that might not be for everyone.

On the scuffed end of things, you’ll find that some things glitch through objects and terrain. But, to that, I think it adds to its charm. The silliness is often welcome and strangely expected in the whole gaming sense. This isn’t the first scuffed game to come across a gamer’s life and it won’t be the last. I think each game has its improvements and patches to develop and incorporate and the glitches make the whole experience memorable and meme-able.

The crutch everyone won’t shut up about

This game is weirdly forgettable for people who’ve played a lot of third-person action adventures. Why? Well, this isn’t the first of its kind. Kena: Bridge of Spirits takes from many games before it and blends its inspirations together pretty nicely without overcomplicating its mechanics.

I would say though, that this can be what I personally found to be endearing with Kena. It unapologetically makes for a good entry-level action-adventure game for people who might not normally gravitate to games like it. With its beautiful visuals and memorable take on grievances, Kena pulls at sentimental heartstrings without the stupidly complicated skill building of most other action adventures out there.

Don’t hate the game

Nor, the player. The game is simple. That can be refreshing for some players or just boring to some. Which, I’ll say now, to each their own. Most games under the same category are far more convoluted and complex. So, if that’s something you like, this isn’t for you. And that’s totally fine.

Most of the game plays on collecting cute Rot along the way. And, on top of the usual skill building, most rewards you’ll find in hidden spots are either more Rot or hats for them. It doesn’t really require that much mental gymnastics to play this game. You can play to relax and just enjoy the journey. Which, for me, is great! Kena: Bridge of Spirits is the perfect game for when you want to play with family watching. I’m sure it’ll feel like a movie to them.

Is this your GAME Match?

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is a game worth trying no matter how familiar you are with video games in the same category. The barrier of entry is super friendly and simplistic so, you won’t need that much video game experience to immerse in the story. Plus, you can customize the game for when you want more of a challenge.

I do have to say though, that this game might fight to keep your interest at times but, it sure can lure you back in. As for me, I was happy to play this game. It was challenging at times and, it might not be the best one on my list. But, it gets honorary points for being simple, gorgeous, and family-friendly.

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Reviews

Apple Watch Series 7: In-Depth Fitness Review

For fitness buffs and starters alike

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In our previous video, Michael Josh did an unboxing of the new Apple Watch Series 7 in Starlight. He even became NY’s next top model as the Apple Watch can also be your next best fashion piece.

This time around, we go all-out to show you the fitness benefits of using the latest Apple Watch.

While an incremental update and lack of new sensors mean little, the longer battery life, faster charging, and larger display of the Apple Watch Series 7 mean it’s even better than before.

Here’s our in-depth fitness review of the new Apple Watch Series 7.

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Laptops

realme Book review: Done right the first time around

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realme Book

The pandemic has brought about major changes on how we depend on our gadgets. We stay glued to our smartphones for hours to stay connected. Most of us also continue with our work from home setup, causing the demand for laptops to continue to rise and opening the market to new players. 

realme tries to steal the scene as they make their laptop debut with the realme Book, aimed at competing at the midrange level where many brands have already made their mark. 

Let’s check out if the realme Book can be a great contender in the laptop arena. 

Familiar yet better  

realme Book

Having a first look at the realme Book, the similarity of its design is undeniable with the MacBook though I don’t really think it’s a bad thing. Its sleek and stylish minimalist design actually makes me feel like I’m using a premium laptop. 

Compared to its smartphones that have those flashy labels, realme veered away from that with their first laptop as they kept the label subtle and you can barely see the “Dare to Leap” mark on one of its rubber feet. 

Its 14-inch sleek aluminum alloy body with matte finish really feels solid and has little or no flex on its slim chassis.

If you’re someone who likes to work in different corners of your home or at al fresco shops, the realme book can easily fit in your bag with its 14.9mm width and 1.38kg weight. When working on a flat surface, the rubber feet on the back actually help the laptop stay stable. 

In terms of port options, you get one USB-A port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and two Type-C ports, one being a Thunderbolt 4 for the core i5 variant.

realme Book

The USB port was a bit too tight that it required me to exert effort to pull out my USB device. Also, this laptop lacks an SD card slot and HDMI port. It doesn’t bother me that much but it may be a deal-breaker for other users. 

realme Book

Top-Notch Display 

One thing that the realme Book can really boast about is its display. As full HD display is common in laptops from its competition, the realme Book takes it up a notch with its 2K Ultra-HD screen with 2160 x 1440 pixel resolution delivering stellar image quality with sharp detail. 

The realme Book also packs in 100 percent sRGB wide color gamut that enables true-to-life visuals and a peak brightness of 400 nits which maintains high quality image even under direct sunlight. 

What also sets it apart from other laptops is its 3:2 aspect ratio, giving you more vertical room compared to most laptops that are either 16:10 or 16:9. This feature is an advantage when it comes to your productivity especially if you usually work on documents, spreadsheets or social media content for work. 

However, this becomes a disadvantage when you’re watching videos since you’ll have wider black bars at the top and bottom of the screen due to movies and series being usually formatted with 16:9 ratio.  

Another impressive feature of this laptop is that realme was able to fit its web camera on its narrow bezels, unlike Huawei that had to sacrifice a good camera angle with their Matebook’s hidden camera placed on its keyboard. 

realme Book

Comfortable for work 

Speaking of the keyboard, typing on the realme Book is satisfying thanks to its 1.3mm key travel and the sound of its clicks is just right for my preference.

The keyboard also comes with a 3-mode backlit option which you can activate and adjust by pressing the F7 key. This is convenient especially when you have to work or use the laptop for a while during the night. It is also interesting since this is a feature that you barely get to experience on laptops at this price. 

realme Book

Compared to other laptops, the trackpad on the realme Book is pretty huge but doesn’t get in the way of typing. It is also very responsive to the touch and works precisely with all gestures and clicks. 

realme Book

And similar to the Huawei Matebook devices, it also has a fingerprint-sensor embedded power button to boot it up which is actually a handy feature to have in a laptop. 

Power Performance 

As for breezing through tasks, the realme Book is highly capable to give you the best experience being powered by the 11th Gen Intel Core processor. Paired with this is the Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 8GB DDR4 memory and 512GB PCIe SSD storage. 

Aside from writing and creating social media content, I sometimes do photo and basic video editing for my side hustles. With the power combo under this laptop’s hood, it didn’t come as a surprise that the realme Book actually handled my tasks smoothly. 

Even with games such as Valorant, I was able to play it at 2K resolution at high settings and it didn’t feel laggy at all. Of course, if you’d want a faster frame rate, you can always lower down your settings to improve your gaming experience. 

realme Book

I also noticed that while playing games, the laptop didn’t feel heated up at all. I checked via HWMOnitor and its temperature was just hovering a little over 60 degrees. This is actually cool for its slim body. I guess we can attribute this to its efficient cooling system with dual 8mm heat pipes and high speed, high airflow fans.

Quick juice up 

When working, I usually take short breaks in between major tasks to refresh my mind. So it’s actually enough for me that the realme Book’s 54 Wh battery can support up to 9 hours of work and leisure, keeping me powered and connected.

And once the battery already ran out, the 65W fast charger got me to a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes so I was able to conveniently continue with whatever I’m doing.

It’s also a plus that the charger of the realme Book is small and just slightly heavier than a smartphone charger so it’s an easy carry in the bag. It also has the same USB-C cable used to charge our smartphones so you won’t have to carry another charger for your smartphone when traveling. 

Immersive speakers  

For a laptop this slim, I was quite surprised that the sound coming from its down-firing Harman speakers is considerably loud and well defined. 

When I tried listening to my playlists, I did notice that while it did not have as much bass as I would have preferred, it does sound fuller compared to others. When it comes to binging series and playing games, the speakers did a great job of simulating space that sounds pleasant and immersive. I guess I can say, it does sound better than many of the laptops I’ve tried.

Is the realme Book your GadgetMatch? 

As a new player in the laptop market, the realme Book makes a pretty great attempt at laptops and definitely challenges competing and more established brands. 

Sure this laptop may not be perfect but realme has brought their expertise in creating attractive smartphones to this laptop that definitely looks premium for its price. Also with its 2K Ultra-HD display, sleek and sturdy aluminum build, premium design, powerful performance and immersive audio, this laptop is definitely a solid deal for its price. 

The realme Book is available in Real Grey and Real Blue colors and retails at PhP 37,990 for the i3 variant and PhP 47,990 for the i5 variant.

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