Having a shiny, new piece of tech on your wrist is like a fifty percent off gym membership. The first time you meet, it acts as your new best friend. Then you buy new clothes, sneakers, accessories — all to pump you up in your new journey; the adventure of getting your dream body. It’s like building a clique until you give them up after a few weeks or so.
This is why most people fail in their fitness journeys. They attach motivation and goals to a mere tool; something that was supposed to only help them go through their goals. Whether it’s a healthy mind, body, and soul, or a look that’s insanely desirable.
I admit: staying active and pursuing your workout plans can be an uphill battle due to a multitude of reasons. There are days when you miss your workouts, eat junk, or get poor sleep. But what is a dream summer body if not fitness goals persevering?
To holding yourself accountable
The road to getting your dream body starts with accountability. We all have plans mapped out to achieve our desires, but halfway, we give up. This is where you’ll need to hold yourself accountable, either through a friend checking up on you or *drum roll* use a smartwatch that perfectly fits your lifestyle.
Most smartwatches today — that I like — come with intelligent features, premium design, and an insanely expensive price tag. But do I need to use expensive smartwatches to be able to achieve my fitness goals? Not really.
Throughout my fitness journey, I didn’t have someone to join me in all my varying activities. Instead, I have corresponding friends to join me in each pursuit. Sometimes I run, swim, yoga, lift, or do circuit training. Most recently, I started getting into calisthenics.
This is why a smartwatch helped fill the void. Sometimes, they can be the best friend to watch us hit personal records, and tell us to keep going because we can do it. Proof? Having the realme Watch S Pro helped me stay active and fit.
I’ve got thin wrists… and an elastic heart
The first time I got my hands on the realme Watch S Pro, I complained about its case size. It was too big for my thin wrists, and there were no other options. But that was more of a fashion and personal issue.
When I wore it, I can feel the heft due to its stainless steel material. It felt durable, strong, and somewhat stable; like it won’t give up on you even if you’ve given up on your dreams.
It exuded a premium appeal from the way it looked. I saw people glancing at my smartwatch, which was disappointing because they should be looking at me.
Kidding aside, the realme Watch S Pro used a silicone strap that’s perfect for both everyday use and sporty occasions. My issue with size became prominent through the strap since having it too tight makes my skin itchy from too much friction and pressure. But having it loose makes the watch slide up and down my wrists depending on my movement.
This watch looked nice on people blessed thicker wrists and forearms — something I, regrettably, do not have.
All we’d ever need
Despite the seemingly huge case size, the realme Watch S Pro packed multiple sensors that made it an efficient smartwatch. It can track your steps, calories burned, and sleeping schedule like a typical smartwatch. But it can also detect your heart rate non-stop, and measure your blood oxygen level.
The usual features can also be seen: Alarm clock, Compass, Stopwatch, Timer, Weather, Breathing Training, Camera for remote shooting, and Find My Mobile in case you can’t find your smartphone (it rings your phone, and it’s annoying AF).
Although, as always, my favorite would have been the music feature. Playing Spotify or YouTube Music via my smartwatch has been helpful while working out. I don’t have to keep picking up my phone to play the next song. It’s as easy as flicking everything on your wrist.
But before you can navigate your playlist on your smartwatch, you must connect it via realme Link. This app lets you control your wireless devices such as smart bands, smartwatches, wireless earbuds, smart scale, and even a security camera.
Unlike exclusive ecosystems, the realme Link works with any smartphone as long as you have the app. You can monitor your synchronized data from your smartwatch to track your progress and preview your stats at a glance.
Using the realme Link app, you can also change the watch face. There are more than 100 stylish watch faces available, suitable for any of your outfits and preferences. Frankly, some are tacky but there are cool finds as well. Think of it as going through a thrift store: Not everything looks pretty, but there’s always a rare gem that will catch your eye.
Your best friend and sports coach in one
When I dream of a best friend and a sports coach in one, I would imagine one hot, fine dude with a lean and toned body to assist me. But that would be just describing me.
Kidding aside, I didn’t expect the realme Watch S Pro to become that best friend and sports coach in one. I like how it reminds me to drink water every hour or vibrates every time I need to move around. (More reminders to leave behind a sedentary lifestyle!)
And more importantly, I like how it has 15 different workout modes: Outdoor and indoor running, outdoor and indoor walking, outdoor cycling, spinning, hiking, swimming, basketball, yoga, rowing, elliptical, cricket, strength training, and a free workout.
The activities that I enjoy doing with several, corresponding friends can be tracked using just this smartwatch.
Even though I had complaints about the size and the strap, the realme Watch S Pro was able to keep up with all my activities. I tried pulling up, exercised using my resistance band, and ran, and the smartwatch tracked my performance seamlessly.
During workouts, I also didn’t feel like I was wearing a hefty watch. Rather, it complemented my look with its versatile appeal and gave me an extra kick of confidence to hit my personal records.
Moreover, the realme Watch S Pro is water-resistant, which is why I used it to accompany me in the pool as I refresh my mind and body of all the swimming lessons and training I took a few years back.
Due to my excitement, I wasn’t able to use Swimming Mode and only remembered how I forgot to test the smartwatch’s modes.
Luckily, it was smart enough to activate Free Workout mode after sensing the movements and strokes I’ve been making while swimming.
A chance to be more mindful
There are a lot more to love with the realme Watch S Pro. One of them was being able to leave my phone behind. For years, I’ve been with my phone almost 24/7 but recently, I’ve started being mindful about my phone usage.
When I linked the smartwatch to my mobile phone using the realme Link app, I was able to sync data and let notifications buzz on my wrists.
At a glance, I can see who sent the message and what it is about. I can choose whether to respond or ignore. The watch also uses an AMOLED display so I didn’t have trouble viewing my messages even under intense sunlight. If the screen is too bright or too dim, you can adjust it accordingly.
When checking the time, I don’t even need to raise my wrists to wake the watch. There’s an Always-On Display feature that lets you preview the time easily. Although, this took a toll on my smartwatch’s battery life.
It’s true that the smartwatch can last up to 14 days on a single charge — if you’re only using the bare minimum. Mine pretty much lasted for seven days using only the essential tracking and basic features.
When I started personalizing it the way I want it such as turning on the Always-On Display, syncing data, abusing the tracking features, checking my Blood Oxygen levels sporadically, and using different workout modes consecutively, the battery started draining gradually.
I don’t blame it, though. It’s like utilizing your phone as a power user — even the longest and biggest battery won’t last depending on how much you use and abuse it.
Although, unlike other smartwatches that I’ve used in the past, I didn’t worry about running out of juice especially when I’m outdoors. Nonetheless, the smartwatch charges fairly quickly with its magnetic charging base. It effectively supercharged the watch for less than two hours.
Overall, the battery life wasn’t what I expected. I guess that was my mistake; I put the watch on a pedestal not realizing that every user is different in the way they handle their devices and customize their performance.
For what it’s worth, the realme Watch S Pro lasted long despite putting it through many trials. It put up a decent fight, and it didn’t give up on me when I badly needed a companion.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Let me say it one more time: The realme Watch S Pro is not magic tool to make you workout, nor it’s a weapon to combat your procrastination and self-doubt when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. Frankly, you really don’t need a smartwatch to make some progress.
You just need to be able to tame that annoying voice inside your head. And overcome your ego, bad habits, distractions, lack of discipline, and habit of making excuses. You have to learn how to conquer minor setbacks without relying on your watch to give you a confidence boost. But it’s okay to want one.
After all, a smartwatch can be a reliable companion to hold you accountable in all the plans you’ve mapped out in your head. Like a best friend and sports coach in the form of technology, but something that you can easily afford.
The realme Watch S Pro is perfect for those looking for a premium smartwatch experience to keep themselves active and moving sans the expensive price tag that comes with the most capable smartwatches.
It’s the GadgetMatch for those who are committed to improving themselves, making progress, and those who kept on grinding, got back on track after stumbling, and those who took another step forward. It retails for PhP 8,990 and is available in realme’s official channels, stores, and authorized retailers.
Ultrahuman: The essential app to get you through quarantine
Getting through isolation days through workout and meditation
Taking care of our physical and mental health is very much important now more than ever. With everything that has been going on in the world, it’s not surprising that people are taking extra steps to advocate and practice self-care.
One way to do this is by adding good habits everyday and being disciplined to sustain these habits.
With self-care as one of their ultimate goals this year, Martynne and MJ decided to try Ultrahuman: an all-in-one fitness app that includes all the good habits they are currently incorporating in their lives — from workout to meditation.
For a few weeks, they put the app to a test and this is their verdict:
Martynne: I am a huge advocate of meditation and it has been a life-changing practice for me, as someone who finds a hard time focusing and being in the present.
Ultrahuman has a wide range of course options that can match a specific mood or emotion. One of my personal favorites is the Managing Anger course, which helped me take a step back, consolidate my feelings and give compassion to myself throughout the process.
The Singles option with one-time meditation tracks helped me become more mindful and grounded whenever I feel overwhelmed in the middle of a workday. The productivity course, on the other hand, kept my eyes glued to my laptop screen until I finished what I needed to do.
The only thing I didn’t like about it, though, is the visuals seem basic to me, and the “dark” interface is much more fitting for the workout option.
MJ: When gyms are closed and home workouts aren’t fun anymore, how do you remain committed to your fitness goals? That’s what Ultrahuman did: Filling the gap by providing fun workouts and challenges that you can do in a span of weeks. It’s similar to how Nike Training Club presents their videos albeit more personalized.
The Ultrahuman app comes with guided videos from renowned trainers, and watching their instructions during your exercises felt like having a live session with a personal trainer. Unlike most fitness apps that offer video-on-demand workouts, Ultrahuman remembers that we are all beginners, offering a collection of videos through challenges that suit different levels.
After living a sedentary lifestyle, I knew I have to ease up when working out again. The app did wonders in helping me stay active by gradually increasing the difficulty of my challenges, without straining my body or having myself complain about how difficult a certain workout routine is.
Martynne: There was an instance that I had a bad case of insomnia and I needed something to put me to sleep.
I tried listening to Ultrahuman’s Bedtime Stories and it reminded me of the sleep podcasts I used to listen to on Spotify.
The voices are relaxing, and the stories come with meditation and sound effects, but I realized I can be impatient with slow stories. I resorted to the app’s soundscapes and brain music, and they helped a lot to relax my brain and finally shut my eyes off.
I don’t exactly know what’s the science behind brain music, but they really work sometimes.
Microsoft acquires speech recognition firm Nuance for $20 billion
The second most expensive acquisition by Microsoft
Microsoft has acquired speech recognition and healthcare firm Nuance for a whopping US$ 19.7 billion. The deal will give the Redmond-based giant deeper access to hospitals and the healthcare industry, in general, via its medical dictation and transcription tools.
The announcement is a clear indication that Microsoft is looking for new verticals to improve growth. Recently, the company was interested in buying Discord, a gaming-centric instant messaging service, for a massive sum of US$ 10 billion.
Nuance has been a pioneer in voice-based artificial intelligence and was pivotal in powering Apple’s Siri. Since then, it has shifted to healthcare and, specifically, a transcribing tool that writes up the conversations between physicians and patients.
As part of this deal, Microsoft will pay US$ 56 per share for Nuance, a 23 percent premium over the company’s last closing price. Microsoft can use Nuance’s technology with its existing software like Teams or even offer it independently as part of its Azure cloud business. Simultaneously, it can gradually increase the presence of Azure and other connected products within a physician’s clinic.
For the longest time, Microsoft was dependent on the consumer business and relied mostly on Office and Windows for revenue. This has radically changed in the last few years with increased investment in AI, machine learning, and cloud computing.
Microsoft said Nuance CEO Mark Benjamin would remain at the company and report to Scott Guthrie, who is in charge of its cloud and artificial intelligence businesses.
The Nuance acquisition is the second most expensive in Microsoft’s history. The first being LinkedIn’s deal, valued at US$ 26 billion.
Facebook will convert its California HQ into a vaccination site
Helping end the pandemic
Facebook said it’s converting a part of its Menlo Park headquarters into a vaccination site, joining the government effort to speed up the US’s vaccination drive. The technology company is going out of its way to ensure citizens are jabbed as soon as possible, in turn, putting an end to the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’ll partner with the Ravenswood Family Health Center to turn part of its headquarters into a vaccination clinic for underserved communities. The company also said it’s partnering with California Governor Gavin Newsom and nonprofits to support pop-up clinics.
Facebook plans to arrange vaccine rides to and from Facebook’s campus. However, Facebook employees will be ineligible for the vaccination program. The new vaccination site is being made for under-served communities.
Recently, the social networking giant launched a tool that shows the nearest vaccination facilities to a user. Facebook is partnering with Boston Children’s Hospital, which runs the VaccineFinder.org website, to offer the tool that identifies places nearby to get the vaccine.
The adoption of vaccines is a point of contention for many due to a host of reasons — misinformation, lack of trust, poor supply chains, and more. Amid the pandemic, health regulators worldwide are urging citizens to get jabbed as soon as possible. Facebook has also launched a profile picture frame that says, “I got my COVID vaccine.”
“Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we’re working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, said in a blog post.
As part of the efforts, the Coronavirus Information Center will expand to Instagram, and the company soon expects to roll out a WhatsApp chatbot in association with local health authorities.
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