I’ve never been one to fawn over an iPad let alone an Android tablet. These devices seemed like a digital space for my work, hobbies, and interests. An extension of what I enjoy in my smartphone albeit a bigger screen.
But half a decade working in the consumer technology industry made me aware of their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve started to appreciate the likes of iPad Pro, Galaxy Tab S7+, Huawei MatePad Pro, and Xiaomi Pad 5.
Although, I only got glimpses since most of them are review units that are loaned for two weeks or more. The longest one I spent time with a tablet probably would be the Galaxy Tab S7 FE, which accompanied me in my annual busiest month. (Hi, October. I’m looking at you!)
For over a month cradling the tablet and bringing it wherever I go, I discovered 7 reasons why we all could consider having an Android tablet.
Have video calls on the go
I’ve been on a hybrid working setup all my life. I used to take conference calls on my smartphone while in transit, or I sit down inside a quiet cafe so I can open up my laptop. When in luck, I’d be spending a day on my desk while listening to virtual events and having team meetings at the comforts of my home office.
This has been one of the major reasons why I enjoyed having an Android tablet on the go. I was able to catch up to major events that happened in the crazy month of October, even if I was having lunch meetings and taking a trip with real estate agents.
I even lent the tablet to my colleague one time he needed to tune in to a virtual event and he doesn’t want to open his laptop while we were sipping Shakeratos.
Though the cameras are subpar, it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. You don’t really need pristine images when it comes to video calls. You just need a decent visual and superb audio for better communication.
Take notes in one place
Nowadays, there are apps that help you take notes and organize your life. My personal favorite has been Evernote, but I use it as a virtual notepad for my thoughts, realizations, and journaling my emotions when I’m not at home.
For other matters, I use Samsung Notes for easier syncing and Noteshelf for seamless note-taking. As an old-school guy, I would say it’s easier to memorize notes when you write them using pen and paper. But we don’t really have that liberty when our work demands us to move from time to time.
Note-taking on an Android tablet is the way to go. At least, we get to organize it in one app and search for notes easily.
De-stress with TV and Film
When you feel like the world can burn for all you care, unwinding through TV and Film would be best. Especially with a 12.4-inches screen that supports HDR10+. I watched new and familiar titles on HBO Go, and I was able to cast YouTube seamlessly to my 43-inch Samsung The Serif TV.
With the SmartThings app, casting and navigating either the TV or the tablet was buttery-smooth, even though the unit I have isn’t as powerful as most tablets available for retail.
Sorry to break hearts, but the tablet uses a TFT LCD panel with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. If you’re the type of person who unwinds by playing graphics-intensive games to release stress and rage, I’m afraid you might have to look elsewhere.
Moreover, the unit I had didn’t support Netflix and runs on 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. Fret not, this is only a review unit. The Galaxy Tab S7 FE available at Samsung’s retail and online stores in the Philippines carries a 6GB+128GB configuration.
Draw, sketch, paint, or just reconnect with art
Being a designer for seven years, a tablet has been useful in helping bring my ideas come to life. Or help my colleagues visualize the plans I’m going after. I personally like using Autodesk Sketchbook whether it’s drafting sketches for work or journaling through drawing.
The S-Pen that comes with the Galaxy Tab S7 FE feels like a real pen, especially with its comfortable shape. It has a single button and a replaceable pen’s tip, although this one doesn’t need to be recharged or needs to be connected via Bluetooth.
It just… works. If you want a pen that has a lot of features, you can opt for an S-Pen Pro.
This can help you enjoy sketching or drawing for how long you want to. After all, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE has a 10,090mAh battery capable of 45W fast charging. You won’t surely run out of juice even if you spend the whole day drawing.
Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my sweet time doodling during meetings (admit it, we all do it once or twice in our lives), drawing stills as if I have a canvas or a coloring book, and drafting my sketches for easier visualization at work.
This might be a petty reason for some, but there are a handful of people who care about their looks and reputation. Samsung’s devices, whether they’re a Pro or Lite variant, always come with a sleek, premium appeal.
Even the likes of Galaxy Tab S7 FE pegged as an affordable version of the powerful Galaxy Tab S7+ can pass as a pro-looking device.
Using the tablet even while I was drinking beer, sipping Shakeratos, or working at the poolside gave me looks from strangers and passerby as if I was career-oriented and serious about my job but still tries to have balance through drinks and leisure.
An extension of your smartphone and laptop
Looks aside, you can actually be professional when using the Galaxy Tab S7 FE. Running on One UI 3.1 based on Android 11, the tablet has access to apps you mostly use and have on your smartphone. As well as features you’d normally enjoy from One UI.
Aside from Tablet mode, which you’d normally use, there’s DeX mode which switches the device to a desktop-friendly mode. If you have a wireless keyboard, you can use the tablet and work on it as if you’re using a laptop.
While this is not news to some since a lot of premium tablets have this option, it’s still nice to know that even a toned-down variant is capable of being a productivity device.
If you really need to upgrade your work-life balance
At the end of the day, Android tablets aren’t a need but a want. I could really live without it, but it would be nice to have it especially if you’re always working on the go.
But if you really find yourself struggling to navigate your professional life and keep your sanity in check, the Galaxy Tab S7 FE has the right tools to help you balance work and life. It’s not too much like the Galaxy Tab S7 and S7+, but it’s not lackluster as most Android tablets with a lower price tag.
The Galaxy Tab S7 FE LTE retails for PhP 39,990 with a 6GB+128GB configuration. It comes in four color options: Mystic Black, Mystic Green, Mystic Silver, and an online-exclusive Mystic Pink.
Why I trust Samsung’s Knox security
A nod to the security platform that makes me feel safe and protected
A smartphone is like a treasure trove in the age of the Internet. Filled with confidential information for personal and business use. A gold mine of data that can be used by big companies to improve technology. Or an opportunity for hackers and criminals to steal and sell as valuable resources.
I’m no stranger to discussions about cybersecurity and data privacy, even though my himbo veneer begs to differ. Two years ago, I attended a conference mounted to discuss the importance and value of data as a commodity in this era. I learned what technology giants like Samsung and Huawei are doing to protect the new currency of the digital age.
Coming full circle, cyberattacks have increased in the past two years. Samsung knows this all too well, bringing Knox Platform to the front — end-to-end protection they have had for several years already.
The ultimate defense
In 2019, I was lucky to be given an audience with the South Korean giant executives to learn and discuss what Knox is. Samsung Philippines’ Product and Solutions Manager Anton Andres explained how Knox Platform works, and how it sets them apart from other brands when it comes to Android security.
Knox was just a security platform that automatically encrypts and decrypts information every time you boot up the device.
It’s embedded on a Galaxy smartphone or any smart device marketed with Knox’s security during a secure supply chain, offering real-time protection to actively safeguard devices against data attacks or malware.
Any unauthorized attempts to access your phone’s core are blocked in real-time. Even a device as old as a Samsung Galaxy S8 was compromised and reset, Knox automatically blows the fuse to wipe your corporate or personal info. Therefore, preventing any data leakage and security risks.
Knox also lock-up apps containing sensitive data such as Samsung Pay, Samsung Pass, Secure Folder, or Samsung Health — especially when the smartphone was booted in an unapproved state.
Apart from the platform security, the South Korean company delivers solutions like Knox Manage and Knox Configure — services that let enterprises customize Galaxy smartphones and tablets, as well as control the device and user interactions for safety and security.
Keeping your network safe
Aside from my interview with Andres, I was also able to speak with David Kim, Samsung Mobile B2B Asia’s Corporate VP and Chief Revenue Officer.
Kim stated how important your network is, and how you can only control the hardware, software, and who access the phones. The executive added, “There are also Wi-Fi and networks. If someone can sneak in your network, they can sneak in your email.”
Public Wi-Fis are one example of an unsafe network that might compromise your security. Free Wi-Fi sounds nice. You’re not going to spend a single dime. But it’s also a pot of gold for hackers trying to steal data — personal information such as your credit card purchases.
I haven’t connected to public Wi-Fi for more than three years due to the awareness of the risks it poses to my security. And because I’m privileged enough to buy large data allocation for my Internet use and have consistent network signal.
But not everyone is in the same position like I am. Luckily, Samsung gives you the capability to encrypt outgoing internet traffic and disable tracking apps and websites.
With a Galaxy smartphone, you can activate Secure Wi-Fi so you can browse the internet safely on public wireless connections without fear of security breaches.
Handling your sensitive data
Some people have poor privacy habits: Using the same passwords across different platforms. Admittedly, I was once like that. But using Samsung Pass throughout the years helped me easily access my credentials. Without needing to remember countless usernames and passwords.
Samsung’s use of innovative biometric authentication technology helps average users and techies alike to keep themselves protected — whether it’s Samsung Pass or an Ultrasonic Fingerprint.
If you’re still wary, I’d understand. But your biometrics data — no matter how many — are safely stored in Knox Vault. It’s a processor operating independently from the main CPU to securely isolate your information.
What you need to be cautious about are phishers waiting to attack. These are cybercriminals who might trick you into handing over sensitive information. Oftentimes, they attack by installing malware disguised as links, attachments, or even legitimate apps, on your devices.
The possibilities are endless on what these criminals can do if they have access to your sensitive information. They can use it to demand a ransom, steal your personal information and apply for loans without your knowledge, and even make purchases with your credit card information.
Though Samsung continuously scans your device for malware or suspicious activity via McAfee protection, we need to do our part as well in keeping ourselves safe.
White House approved
All these multi-layers of security are one of the reasons why Samsung believes they’re more secure than any other brand. The Samsung Mobile B2B Asia Vice President confidently claimed to GadgetMatch, “We don’t have a perfect security rating, but we are well received. That’s why the White House is comfortable with us.”
After all, Samsung designs, creates, and validates every computer chip, piece of wiring, and hardware component before lodging them into smart devices manufactured. This approach gave Samsung control over design, manufacturing, and assembly which ensures a secure supply chain.
Further, it prevents unauthorized backdoor access in each device that hackers won’t easily bypass. As a rule, don’t download unofficial or unauthorized apps lest you open up yourself to vulnerability.
Be careful of what you download
At the end of the day, it’s about you and your relationship with your smartphone and the Internet. Samsung’s Product and Solutions Manager Anton Andres warned about downloading third-party apps, especially keyboards. Yes, it can make your keyboard look pretty, but it also compromises your security.
“If you access your mobile banking credentials on a third-party keyboard, they can phish your information,” Andres said. “With Samsung Knox, we identify specific applications and URLs. Once identified, Knox automatically hides your information to prevent potential threats.”
Samsung is constantly updating the Knox Platform and its security solutions. If you haven’t had the time to keep yourselves extra secure, this is your sign to do it now.
In the meantime, let our response be: In Knox we trust. 🙏
24 Hours in Nasugbu
A dreamy sea-scapade through the lenses of the Xiaomi 11T Pro
As they usually say, “unplanned trips are the best.” Like the Quezon beach trip that was decided in a spur-of-the-moment, going to Nasugbu was also ever-spontaneous.
We would’ve gone to Boracay, as we snagged a cheap PhP 5,000 worth of round-trip airfare. But with all the inconsistencies of the government in announcing lockdown restrictions, we decided to let it go and hop on a road trip down south.
Unconventional yet thrilling
Going to Pansol, Laguna, or an overlooking resort in Tanay, Rizal was one of the options to consider. However, we found ourselves driving further extemporaneously.
After two to three hours, we reached Nasugbu, Batangas. Along the way, we discovered a cool, overlooking view of Batangas at night, right before you pass through Tagaytay.
Unpack things, not feelings
At exactly 8:32 PM, we reached our destination. The first thing I did was unpack my stuff. Feelings? You can unpack it later after a late yet sumptuous dinner.
I tested Xiaomi 11T Pro’s photo prowess by taking a photo of that figurine inside the room with just that artificial light around.
Surprisingly, it looked good despite not fully embracing its overall camera performance. I also took a quick mandatory FFTB mirror selfie.
I like how that Depth of Field (DoF) separated me from my surroundings. Maybe the macro camera has its perks after all.
I went outside to get some breezy night air while I let my hair dry. Unfortunately, beaches are closed past 9 in the evening.
While sitting at a chaise lounge, I also captured photos of meat-grilling sessions. The Xiaomi 11T Pro’s Night Mode did a good job, especially with the appearance of fire and smoke. Very unlikely with how most night photos turned out in my review.
I also used it to capture these selfies sans beauty mode — which look good for my liking.
We all need that ✨ Vitamin Sea ✨
We decided to spend the rest of the night with some booze — until my friends got knocked out. I was able to stay awake and witness how the dark sky transitioned into a picturesque, beach view.
There was no sunrise view since Nasugbu is situated on the western side. The saving grace is that sunsets look magical in this town.
The resort looks antiquated; brimming with history among its guests over the years. Thanks to that ultra-wide lens, it was able to capture the place clearly. And without the obstruction of crowds.
It’s probably the best part of this quick getaway: only a few people in sight.
There’s a stainless steel gate with a stone arch paving the way towards the sandy beach of Nasugbu. Xiaomi 11T Pro’s Auto White Balance (AWB) might actually lean more into the warmer side. But notice how overly-warm my sandal-fie was?
Going further, there’s also a wooden gate near the beach. It’s suppose to deter unwanted visitors coming from other resorts. I had a small talk with the resort owner and he shared how low tides are more apparent this season. Sea waves in high tides would reach as far as the stainless, steel gate we crossed earlier.
Just like in my review, the inconsistency of the ultra-wide and wide lens can be seen especially with that less bright shot. Zooming in past 1x means relying on digital cropping via its main sensor. Little did I know that doing so loses that warm White Balance.
Unpredictable like the ocean waves
The Xiaomi 11T Pro’s camera performance is pretty much unpredictable.
While the 11T Pro’s shot looked better because it’s brighter and sharper, that’s actually the camera software’s over-processing. The night shot taken with the Mi 10T Pro was closer to what I saw in person.
Fast forward to the next day, this was how it looked like as early as six in the morning. Astonishingly, the beach shot of the 11T Pro was too cool. Not “too cool” though in terms of quality. The Mi 10T Pro delivered a better shot.
But when you switch to that even wider Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens, the Xiaomi 11T Pro was once again inconsistent AF.
After some time, fishing boats started to appear on the shoreline. I then tried tapping the 2x option for that zoomed shot. The photo turned out way too blue.
Looking around, there’s a fancier resort right next to where we stayed. I took a shot and the warmer White Balance and better Dynamic Range saved the Xiaomi 11T Pro this time.
Xiaomi 11T Pro is pretty consistent in having inconsistent wins and losses. The Xiaomi 11T Pro wins this one due to the preservation of image details and better High Dynamic Range.
Ending this with the last photo before we went home. Not much of a difference but the bluish tint in the sky is evident on the 11T Pro versus the Mi 10T Pro’s less-vibrant sky.
Spicing up this sea-scapade getaway
As GadgetMatch’s Associate Creative Producer, post-processing (or color grading) shots is also part of my job. While we barely post color-graded photo samples on this website unless clearly stated, this section is clearly dedicated to some photos taken with the Xiaomi 11T Pro that were modified through a photo-grading app.
Like what you saw earlier, the RAW versions of these photos looked so bluish to the point that I was like in Avatar. Luckily, post-processing apps were made and I was able to improve it by applying a preset and adjusting all the necessary camera settings such as temperature/White Balance, highlights, shadows, contrast, among others.
I can’t miss another beach photo this time. I asked my friend to take photos of me in this weird all-black get-up.
Then, I just tried to write letters on the sand and made it a candid-looking shot. My friend followed after me (which kinda looked like she was mocking me lol).
I then took over the Xiaomi 11T Pro and took more photos of her.
This is a testament that bragging #NoFilter shots are senseless. Color-grading shots adds more life and story to your photos.
I always tell people that camera angles play a huge part in photography. Just look at how my friend nailed the first shot compared to a regular photo shot from a distance.
The blown out highlights and exposure of the original photos made it look less appealing. Lucky enough, I was able to salvage these photos through the power of color grading.
Candid photos are simply the best for memory preservation. It makes you remember the moments more than the poses you’ve made in front of the camera.
One thing I liked about the beach in Nasugbu is the firmer sand crystals despite having a mud-like color. Those in Unisan, Quezon had white sand but are actually rougher especially when you’re barefooted.
But I do like the clearer blue water in Quezon. The one here in Nasugbu is far more brown just like the beach’s color. And as I remember my regrets of not being able to visit Boracay, it also reminded me how I badly miss the white sand plus the crystal clear and less salty water of the island.
It might seem unfortunate, not to be able to visit Boracay during this pandemic. Being surrounded by two pairs of sweet honey bees doesn’t help either.
But, in all honesty, I enjoyed the company more instead of being awkward. Especially with the bond that we already formed. And yeah, I’m used to being single and alone (and no, this ain’t a sadb0i sentiment).
Certainly, unplanned trips are indeed the best.
All shots were taken using the Xiaomi 11T Pro with a mix of RAW and post-processed photos edited through VSCO.
We made sure all of us were safe and COVID-19 free prior to going to the travel location. All of us are already fully vaccinated but still submitted the requirements needed for in-country travel. Face masks were still worn during the trip and were only removed for the sake of the photoshoot. Social distancing protocols were followed as well.
24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.
Arcane Act III: Gobsmacking finale
I am lost for words
Act III: Gobsmacking finale
This article contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.
I wasn’t prepared for Arcane to end. And for the emotions that astounded me throughout the series’ third act.
I was delaying the inevitable; that this series will come to an end. I delayed watching the final act on purpose, just like I would with any other show I’ve fallen in love with.
But I’ve faced the end and I was utterly speechless. With every episode ending, I found myself dumbfounded with all the revelations, twists, and cliffhangers.
I thought Arcane would be predictable, especially when you base it on the game’s lore, but it wasn’t. And that made me love Arcane even more.
Art that gets better
Just when you thought the animation was already marvelous, it got even more magnificent. The introduction of more characters, sceneries, and changes in the plot often require brilliant storytelling.
Arcane slew it with its visuals, majorly between Ekko and Jinx — childhood friends turned enemies. The two brandished the contrasting ideologies in the city of Zaun.
The fight scenes also got sprightlier, thanks to the advent of HexTech through the weapons. I was ecstatic when Jayce whirled his hammer and he transformed it into a cannon, much like in the game.
Honestly, I wondered why I didn’t have a crush on Jayce when I was playing League of Legends, but I find him bewitching in Arcane.
On another note, Vi’s gauntlets punch through walls and bones with ease. Her clash with Sevika is one of the reasons why I was reminded of my love for martial arts. I can only dream of doing those stunts.
Riot certainly outdid themselves in the visual presentation of Arcane. It was carefully planned and executed. There’s no wonder the series got people hooked — even if they aren’t fans of League of Legends.
Taking a wild turn
Arcane is so damn unpredictable. Knowing the game’s lore could be the endgame, and indisputably the future of these characters. But let’s forget that for a moment.
What Arcane showed is the prosaic, everyday passing through the lives of the champions who lived in and crossed Piltover and Zaun. We even got a glimpse of what Noxus feels like — another empire in the land of Runeterra — through Mrs. Medarda.
Yes, the scheming councilor that our beloved Jayce is knocking boots with, has a parent come over to the City of Progress.
The third act expanded the story and its characters. How their lives are intertwined and divided by the circumstances surrounding them. And how it’s setting up for a war that might take place in the near future.
Unbeknownst to these characters, their lives are connected in ways they’re unaware of.
The collab we never knew we needed
Arcane exhibited different pairings we never expected. Caitlyn, Vi, and Ekko — teaming up to go back to Piltover and clashing with Jinx.
Heimerdinger discovers Ekko’s ingenuity and the two work together. (Bye, Jayce!)
Vi and Jayce shut down Silco’s manufacturing plants.
And even a peace agreement between Jayce and Silco to prevent war.
The series gave a platform to various dynamics; clashing personalities and upbringing brought together for one common goal.
I would’ve thought they’d cross each other in one grand finale, but the ending wasn’t what I expected. But somehow, it’s a serendipitous way to end the first season.
So open-ended, it presented possibilities on what’s next. Fans delighting in coming up with theories on how the story will pan out, especially for Season 2 — which Riot and Netflix have already promised to deliver in the future.
Though a bit anticlimactic, personally, I’m elated that I watched Arcane these past few weeks and it ended the way it was. I didn’t have the good ending I hoped for, but it gave me the opportunity to yearn for more.
Having a second season might give me the answers I’m searching, and the excitement I’ve been looking for. Riot hasn’t disappointed so far, and I’m certain they’ll make a grade with a masterpiece when the next season arrives.
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