Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G: A Xiaomi 11T minus some novelties

The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree



Not too long ago, Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 11 — an early 2022 smartphone that sells for a price that plenty can afford. Just a month after, Xiaomi has also revealed its ‘Pro’ sibling with a mouthful name dubbed as the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.

In a nutshell

The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G review is divided in several parts. You can skip ahead and scroll down depending on what you’re curious about:

  1. Spec-sheet rundown
  2. Design
  3. Display and Audio
  4. Performance
  5. Charging
  6. Software
  7. Extras
  8. Cameras
  9. Is the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G your GadgetMatch?

A better Redmi Note 11 or a toned-down Xiaomi 11T?

For the spec-obsessed, here’s a quick spec comparison of the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G versus its non-5G counterpart:

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G Redmi Note 11
Display 6.67” 120Hz Super AMOLED
+ Gorilla Glass 5
6.43” 90Hz AMOLED
Processor Snapdragon 695 5G
6nm chipset
Snapdragon 680 4G
6nm chipset
Memory 6GB/8GB 4/6GB
Storage 64/128GB + microSD slot 64/128GB + microSD slot
Cameras 108MP f/1.9 wide
8MP f/2.2 118º ultra-wide
2MP f/2.4 macro
16MP f/2.4 selfie
50MP f/1.8 wide
2MP f/2.4 depth
2MP f/2.4 macro
13MP f/2.4 selfie
Battery + Charging 5000mAh
67W wired Mi Turbo Charge
33W wired Mi Turbo Charge
Operating System Android 11, MIUI 13  Android 11, MIUI 13


Xiaomi 11T

But I believe the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G shares more similarities with the Xiaomi 11T. It’s a smartphone announced last September 2021 which is actually pricier and a higher-end midranger.

Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G Xiaomi 11T
Display 6.67” 120Hz Super AMOLED
+ Gorilla Glass 5
6.67” 120Hz AMOLED
+ Gorilla Glass Victus
Processor Snapdragon 695 5G
6nm chipset
MediaTek Dimensity 1200 5G
6nm chipset
Memory 6GB/8GB 8GB
Storage 64/128GB + microSD slot 128/256GB
Cameras 108MP f/1.9 wide
8MP f/2.2 118º ultra-wide
2MP f/2.4 macro
16MP f/2.4 selfie
108MP f/1.8 wide
8MP f/2.2 120º ultra-wide
5MP f/2.4 telephoto macro
16MP f/2.5 selfie
Battery + Charging 5000mAh
67W wired Mi Turbo Charge
67W wired Mi Turbo Charge
Operating System Android 11, MIUI 13  Android 12, upgradeable to MIUI 13

The new design trend

As phone manufacturers slowly turn away from curved displays and bodies, so has Xiaomi. The company has followed the latest flat-edge design trend. They made the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G a smartphone that can look and feel like its part of the premium line of smart slabs.

My review unit comes in this Graphite Gray colorway. It’s a clean-looking glass slate with subtle hints of blue when hit by light. You just have to be careful with smudges (or just use the bundled silicone case). There’s also a cleaner Polar White color as well as the flashier Atlantic Blue option that resembles a pool water hit by light.

Apart from the usual Redmi logo, there’s also a 5G indicator beside it. That’s probably the quickest way to tell it apart from the regular Redmi Note 11.

The new flat-edge frame is preferential. Some might find the curved phones more secure to hold but for me, its solid heft is enough to hold it properly in my hands.  This, despite the frame being made of plastic and not aluminum. Just be careful because drops happen even when we take good care of them 👀.

As expected, the camera array is similar to previous Xiaomi and Redmi devices to maintain branding. This arrangement is also what sets the two brands apart from POCO, their former sub-brand that still runs MIUI.

To make some segmentation, the 108MP camera protrudes more while the smaller ultra-wide and macro sensors (plus the LED flash) are all enclosed in the smaller circles. The other one just has the “AI” branding to keep the number at the lower part even.

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

If I remember correctly, Xiaomi started doing this first on the Mi 10T Pro. The difference in the layout is uncanny.

If you’ll flip the phone, you’ll be greeted by its display with a punch-hole cutout that’s still centered just like on the Redmi Note 10 and 10S.

And thankfully, they opted to use a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that looks and feels very much like what they’ve used in the Xiaomi 11T — good tactile with fast responsiveness.

Full-on entertainment experience

The similarities between the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G and Xiaomi 11T doesn’t end there. While I have used its Pro counterpart, it’s still safe to say they are alike when it comes to hardware. Both the 11T and the 11 Pro 5G have a 6.67-inch 120Hz display with a centered punch-hole cutout.

Getting into the specifics, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G has a brighter Super AMOLED display with a peak brightness of 1200 nits compared to Xiaomi 11T’s AMOLED display, just 200 nits short.

Albeit, the latter supports HDR10+ content while the former can display HDR10. Also, the 11T has Gorilla Glass Victus while this phone only has Gorilla Glass 5. These are still great things considering its price point.

I N V U but I N V more those who see Taeyeon often

In my everyday use, it’s a real feast in the eyes. The colors pop and the calibration isn’t overly-boosted unlike other AMOLED displays.

RUN2U? More like RUN OVER ME, Isa씨

I’m fully-aware of AMOLED’s burn-in problems but I’d still prefer it any day over IPS-LCD-touting smartphones. I mean, just look at those deep blacks that totally blend with the camera cutout as well its slim black bezels.

Baek Yi-jin can still smile after failing a job interview eh? Sana all.

From a vivid and bright display, it also has stereo speakers. Whether I play a K-drama full of dramatic dialogues or K-Pop songs that are either loud, soft, or a mix of in-between, its set of speakers are clear and loud enough.

No Dilemma here. Deciding whether to listen to Apink or not is an easy choice #OT6

Whether I’m in my quiet room or just having my concert tour in the bathroom, its loudness and clarity fills the void at just 60 percent volume.

The only disappointing thing for me is the limitation of playing video content to just 1080p Full HD. It might be understandable as it only has a Full HD+ display resolution but playing 4K content just gives better picture quality especially with those sharper details. I can only see the chipset as the culprit behind this restriction — especially when this phone only records up to 1080p Full HD videos.

No chipset stereotypes please

Now that we’ve already mentioned its chipset, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 695. It is one of their latest midrange chipsets that has 5G support.

Spec-hungry fans have to hear me out. Just because this is a Snapdragon chip, it doesn’t mean it’s always better than its MediaTek counterpart. We’re not really big on benchmarks but in case you’re THAT curious, its closer rival MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G chip has overall beaten the Snapdragon 695 based on this comparison chart. And as a matter of fact, the Redmi Note 11 Pro (or the Chinese version of this phone) has the aforementioned MediaTek chipset.

The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G isn’t designed for heavy mobile gaming a la Black Shark. But graphics-intensive games are playable enough for the most part. You just have to stick with either low or medium graphics settings to play smoothly.

I tried playing Call of Duty: Mobile (CoDM) first. During my gameplay, it was running smooth but there were times it casually lagged and stuttered with some heating at the back. It became worse when I ran Genshin Impact for several minutes.

Just like other Xiaomi (and Redmi) phones, it has this nifty ‘Game Turbo’ software feature that enhances performance and prioritizes your gaming sessions by blocking off unwanted calls, messages, and notifications.

It’s also easier to take screenshots or screen recordings with this turned on. If you want to switch onto another app, it can be accessed with a swipe and a tap.

Unlike some minor issues during the two games aforementioned, playing Asphalt 9 was a total breeze with no hiccups at all.

Just like all the games we play with different hardware requirements, not all chipsets are created equally. This is also me proving a point that having a ‘Snapdragon’ processor doesn’t automatically mean it’s “the better-performing smartphone” versus other MediaTek phones of the same prowess.

If you’re concerned about 5G speeds, it’s still carrier and region-dependent. Through my test, it provided me fast download and upload speeds when I’m in the metro doing work in a café that regular 4G LTE can’t provide.

Similar fast charging tech, too

Just like the Xiaomi 11T, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G also has a 67W Turbo Charger out of the box with a USB-A input instead of USB-C.

Xiaomi calls their fast charging technology as ‘Mi Turbo Charge’. Using the bundled charger, it went from 0% to 50% in around 15 minutes. A full charge took me 45 minutes utmost to finish. It’s safe to say that it sticks to its promised charging speed results of 42 minutes. It’s also not that far from the assured charging speed of the 11T at around 36 minutes.

Still Android 11 in 2022

Upon turning on the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G for the first time, you’ll be greeted by Xiaomi’s custom MIUI Android skin.

If you’re coming from an old Xiaomi, Redmi. or even a POCO phone (Or Pocophone. Your call), changes in the UI experience won’t be that drastic. Apart from the customized Control Center and the lack of app drawer, gestures are also one way of making your navigations easier.

While it has the latest MIUI 13 release, it’s still based from Android 11 instead of Android 12. Not a total dealbreaker but still counts under the limited software updates Android phones get in a span of three years.

How is this even legal, Bae Suzy?

For the most part, opening and switching between apps shouldn’t cause you any issues.

Missed opportunities

I already pointed out how similar the Xiaomi 11T is to the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G. That said, there are things that were included in this phone but not in the pricier Xiaomi counterpart.

Besides the inclusion of the top speaker, there’s also an IR (infrared) blaster and a 3.5mm audio jack on top. Those who are still accustomed to wired head/earphones and make their phones a universal remote will mostly benefit from these forgotten necessities.

While the bottom part may look like any other Android smartphone, the tasty part is actually in its filling.

While the Xiaomi 11T supports dual micro SIMs, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G has a hybrid SIM slot where the second SIM slot doubles as a microSD card slot. It’s a must-have feature for those who stores a lot of files. It’s also a better way of securing your photos, videos, and other files instead of doing an online backup which is subscription-based and heavily relies on fast internet connection.

Cameras without the “magic”

The “Cinemagic” branding was omitted in the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G for obvious reasons.

Just a refresher, it has three rear cameras and one selfie camera below the punch-hole cutout:

  • 108MP f/1.9 wide (main)
  • 8MP f/2.2 118º ultra-wide
  • 2MP f/2.4 macro
  • 16MP f/2.4 selfie

With its 108MP being also a headliner feature, is it safe to say that it also produced good photos? Well, refer to my sample photos below.

⚠️ WARNING: A lot of mouthwatering food photos included in the set ⚠️

Natural light is your best friend

Shots taken in broad daylight look good — and that should be given.

Making the greeneries as the major reference, its post-processing algorithm looks right and not overly-done.

Even when you switch to its ultra-wide angle (UWA) lens, photos should look good enough.

Its main sensor doing all the work is enough for the most part. This includes zooming in digitally since this phone doesn’t have any telephoto lens.

0.6x ultra-wide | 1x wide | 2x zoom

Zoomed shots will look good as long as you get a good grip when clicking the shutter button…

…whether it’s this colorful ice-cold Halo-halo

1x wide | 2x zoom

…or just a random Japanese bicycle that looked pretty against a boring concrete slab and flooring.

1x wide | 2x zoom

But sometimes, zooming in doesn’t do any justice

No need to explain. The zoomed shots above are bad — especially when the skies are blown out of proportion even when HDR is turned on.

These split-second shots are also a testament to how relying on the main sensor for zoom is not a good idea. Even the Xiaomi 11T Pro suffers from the same issue as seen in a previous camera shootout I did against the Mi 10T Pro.

Inconsistency isn’t the key

Two photos shot between a 2-second interval. There was already a sudden shift in AWB (Auto White Balance) even if the lighting condition didn’t change.


The inconsistencies are more evident in food shots where I prefer turning off AI and HDR completely.


The way it bumps up the exposure and highlights too much is a nuisance as overexposed shots are the types of images you cannot correct through post-processing.

The macro lens is completely unnecessary

Just like any other phone brand, they equip their phones with a macro just to add to the total count of the rear cameras. What effect does it give though? Well, zero.


There’s this weird radial blur happening in any close shot. Take a look at this closeup shot of the egg drop sandwich. The photo got worse when I captured it while AI and HDR are both turned on. This was the same problem I’ve experienced using the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro.

It even escalated to a motion radial blur after taking photos of this tuna sandwich indoors at 7PM. A “cool” effect to some, but again, unnecessary for a food shot like this.

Photo filters are your saving grace

Just like what I said in a previous article, applying photo filters isn’t a crime because professional creatives (like me) do it, too.

If it comes to a point where most of your shots look bland, just hit the magic wand icon above the camera UI and let it do the magic for you — even if this phone lacks the “Cinemagic” features of the Xiaomi 11T series.

Tbh, the spaghetti looked more enticing to eat using the third filter — it’s called ‘Golden Vibes’.

This iced coffee and croissant pairing looks good enough in the original shot but the faded and less vibrant look of the third filter called ‘Film’ looked more appealing to me.

I warned you earlier that there are a lot of food photos in this set. I don’t like how the original shot went here so I prefer using the fourth filter titled ‘Blush’.

Squid Game’s Younghee isn’t impressed at all

Finally, a non-food (and almost a human-like) subject. The original shot wasn’t impressive either. Thankfully, these filters saved you from being shot 🥴.

Night mode should just be slept on

Especially in times where the phone barely does anything to improve a low-light shot. The AI algorithm only lessened the highlights and amplified some of the shadow levels in the photo below.

Night Mode OFF | ON

Not only that, shots were also inconsistent between the ultra-wide and less-saturated wide shot. A minor post-processing fix might do the trick though.

Don’t get your hopes up using this phone for future starry night time astr0photography.

Selfies could’ve (at least) been better

Portrait OFF | ON

The inconsistencies in photos continues here. While I wasn’t in the total mood to take selfies, I still tried it. Surprisingly, turning on Portrait mode (blur effect) gives you a desaturated output.

Even my friend Ash, who’s a big selfie (and TikTok) user, immediately noticed that the selfie camera of the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is less clearer and overall lackluster. He compared these to his POCO X3 from 2020 and was satisfied more with the selfies taken on the POCO.

Is the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G your GadgetMatch?

The Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with 8GB+128GB configuration starts at Php 15,999. If you don’t mind spending more cash for those extra features that the regular Redmi Note 11 lacks such as an overall better display, larger wide camera sensor, faster wired charging, and 5G support, the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is your GadgetMatch.

Some improvements required

But if you’re looking for a budget-friendly smartphone that can handle games well or has a good camera versatility, considering looking elsewhere or just save up for a better smartphone — well at least the Xiaomi 11T is good for gaming.

Gaming performance in the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G is modest but there are a lot of fishes in the sea for you to see and catch. And if you’re that someone who’s considering this or the higher-end Xiaomi 11T, you’ll might just end up getting the cheaper phone because it already offers most of what the Xiaomi 11T has.

Pre-orders have already started in Xiaomi’s official Lazada and Shopee stores, as well as Authorized Xiaomi stores nationwide. You can also get a free Redmi Watch 2 Lite when you purchase the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G 8+128 in Xiaomi stores from March 5 — until supplies last.


Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 review: Return of the classic

For intermediates and experts



Sony Walkman NW-ZX707

44 years ago, cars were still boxy, the Apple II was just two years into introducing personal computers inside homes, and the word ‘phone’ meant the landline phone inside your house. It was 1979, personal technology wasn’t a thing yet. Until Sony introduced the very first model of the Walkman, the TPS-L2.

More widely recognized in the mainstream now as “Star-Lord’s ancient iPod”, it revolutionized the music industry back then by putting a cassette player in everyone’s pocket, allowing anyone (well, anyone who had the equivalent of US$ 600 at the time) to listen to music anywhere, anytime they wanted.

Fast forward to 2023, we see Sony has updated the Walkman line to fit in with modern standards. The Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 no longer uses an analog Cassette. It’s now a high-fidelity digital music player.

Gone are its plastic and metal body held together by screws, it’s now a glass and metal sandwich like modern smartphones. It has physically changed to the point of being unrecognizable, but the important thing has stayed the same– It’s probably still the most fun music player you can get with your money.

It’s not a phone, it just looks like one

Sony Walkman NW-ZX707

Like its great granddaddy the Walkman TPS-L2, the Walkman NW-ZX707 is built to last. It continues the time-honored traditions of the Walkman line– namely its metal build, external music control buttons on one side, and the audio jack at the top.

But everything else about the build feels like a mix of old smartphone design cues, just updated to 2023. Upon first look, the NW-ZX707 looks like a weirdly small, thick, and heavy smartphone with sharp edges and two headphone jacks in an age where even midrange phones are ditching it.

It’s got a 5-inch 9:16 LCD display with huge bezels straight out of 2017. It’s even got a soft-touch vegan leather back that we haven’t seen in smartphones for years. With that said, ergonomic considerations kind of start and stop with the external music control buttons.

The overall design is boxy, the edges are sharp, the corners are angular, and the screen is flat as they come. Coming in at 157g, it lets you know that it’s in your pocket.

Could’ve used 5G?

In more ways than one, it only looks like a smartphone, but under its metal exterior, the differences are much more obvious. So while it is running near-stock Android 12, you can’t actually use it as a phone, because it doesn’t have a SIM tray (Which I find kind of weird? Like, I think that with high-fidelity music streaming apps available, that would work well with a 5G SIM for on-the-go hi-fi).

While it boasts some of the best audio chips available on any music player today, it doesn’t have a speaker. And while you can expand its 64GB storage with a microSD card, it’s almost exclusively for your music files, because the screen is too small for media viewing and too slow for even light gaming. And there are no cameras on the device.

But it sometimes tries to function like one

The software on the Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 is where things start to get dicey for me. While I appreciate that it’s built on top of Android 12, a very secure, stable, and customizable platform, I feel like Sony could’ve customized the software a bit more to streamline the experience.

Take for example the experience immediately after setup. Since the ZX707 is linked as an android device to your Gmail account, and there is no special designation in the Android system that it’s a dedicated music player, it’s inevitably going to receive email and other non-music related notifications.

It can be fine for power users, but I don’t think receiving the same notifications as your phone in the middle of music listening is conducive to the hi-fi Walkman experience. Take it from me, spend that extra 15 minutes of deep-diving into your settings to either log out of your Gmail account or turn off notifications for any non-music-related apps and services.

The tide hasn’t come in yet

Speaking of apps and services, a big miss for the ZX707 here in the Philippines is the lack of support for hi-fi streaming apps like Tidal and Qobuz. They’re just straight-up not available in the country. So, if you’re planning on getting the new Walkman, your best bet in filling it up is either manually ripping your CDs or Purchasing hi-fi master tracks in either FLAC, PCM, or DSD.

The digital does its best to be analog

Pre-installed software is limited mostly to the Sony Walkman music player app and its customization software, which is generally fine since it leaves so much space for all your high-resolution music on the internal 64GB storage. And for the entirety of the Walkman NW-ZX707 experience, this is where you’re going to get the most value out.

The music player is pretty standard fare, save for the fact that it has support for extremely high-resolution audio formats like FLAC, PCM, and DSD– it even has a separate section dedicated to all your high-res files. There is no visualization option, but you do get a little Cassette animation when the device is idling– a nice touch. And if you’re looking to have better synergy between your Sony headphones / IEMs, there’s the Sony Headphones Connect app where you can choose your headphone model from a list, and the app will automatically change its sound signature via profiles to give you the best listening experience.

But in the great chance that you’re not using Sony headphones to plug into the ZX707, you’ve got a great range of sound customization via the Sound Adjustment app. And let me tell you, this customization app is the bee’s knees. It’s got properly staged equalizer settings, giving you control from sub-bass 31Hz frequencies, all the way up to cymbal-rattling 16KHz highs in 0.5db increments. It’s a great EQ fine-tuning utility, and super responsive.

Music streaming

There is also a whole slew of sound improvement utilities built-in with the sound adjustment app. There’s the DSEE Ultimate toggle– It’s a new feature from Sony that apparently increases the dynamic range of sub-hi-fi tracks like MP3 and CD formats using AI technology.

I found it somewhat effective, but not to the MP3 files on the device– it worked better when it was post-up-sampling non-hi-fi streaming apps like Youtube Music and Deezer.

There is also a DSD Remastering feature, which converts all PCM signals to DSD. In theory this should increase the signal resolution of sub-hi-fi recordings like MP3, low-quality FLAC rips, and of course, low-bitrate PCM files, but it should be of little value for audiophiles looking to load up the ZX707 with higher-quality 24-bit 117.6KHz PCM files. Do note that PCM and DSD are both quantized signals, so while they’re some of the most high-resolution signal formats a music player can put out, they are still (losslessly) compressed to some degree.

Sound emulation

Lastly, the ZX707 also features sound emulation/simulation features if you ever want to introduce some analog qualities to your hyper-clean modern digital recordings. There is a DC Phase Linearizer which somewhat emulates the natural warmth of an analog amplifier, and a vinyl processor, which simulates the sound signature of hearing your songs through a vinyl record player.

I feel that this is something you might want to turn on based on the kind of files that you’re listening to. There are certain genres that benefit greatly from the warmth and texture of Vinyl simulation like classic rock and electronica. Also, remember to turn this off if your music conversions are from Vinyl like my library. It doubles the Vinyl noise and kind of overdoes the warmth of the track.

Good thing that with all of these settings, there is a toggle for direct output so you can A-B your sound settings really fast anytime.

With a little help from my (Hi-Fi) friends

But enough about all of the intricacies that happen outside of the play button. I called the Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 earlier in this article “probably still the most fun music player you can get with your money.”, so that begs the question– how does it sound?

Well, let me get this out of the way for all you audiophiles first: it’s not a ‘flat’ music player. It’s not a reference device, nor does it advertise itself to be one. It’s high-resolution, sure– but it’s not neutral. And that, to me, just sounds like a good time on paper.

In my two weeks with the NW-ZX707 I was able to try it out with three of my most used audio gear:

  • For the budget on-the-go side, the KZ x CRN ZEX Pros
  • For hi-fi home listening, a modded pair of Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros
  • On the weird-but-fun side, the Sony MDR-XB700 Extra Bass.

And with that lineup, one might assume that the ZX707 would be picky with showing its audio brilliance– not really. It sounded great on everything.


Sony Walkman NW-ZX707

Pairing the ZX707 with the somewhat-neutral KZ x CRN ZEX Pros brought out a good tandem. The ZX707’s sound signature at stock is somewhat warm with a moderate emphasis on midbass and lower mids. The ZEX Pros are somewhat known to have a fair bit of sibilance, but I’m glad to report that because of the Sony Walkman ZX707’s laid-back presentation, there wasn’t much harshness in the highs. Detail suffered a bit, especially on busier tracks, but that was more of the limitation of the ZEX Pro’s limited drivers than through any other factor. The stand-out track for this setup was Silversun Pickups’ “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)”.

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros

The duo of the ZX707 and Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros was probably my most used setup during my review period. They just complement each other very nicely. And since I’ve modded the DT770 Pros to have a 4.4mm Balanced input, I was able to leverage the higher power output capabilities of the Walkman– I paid for the whole 250 Ohms, I’m going to use the whole 250 Ohms.

The DT770 Pros are known for their surgically neutral and flat response with a slight prominence in the low-bass. It’s that kind of sound signature that I found pairs the best with the ZX707, as it will ‘convert’ the headphones from ‘mixing ready’ to ‘party ready’. It’s like having a smoothening filter applied to all frequencies, but it doesn’t reduce any of the texture and detail. For that pairing, I turned on the DSEE, the DC Phase Linearizer, and the Vinyl Processor.

It was able to inject a lot of warmth and texture to my songs– coupled with the very forward vocal presentation of both the ZX707 and the DT770 Pros, vocal-centric music like ballads, soft rock, and even ‘00s rap sounded amazing. There are a few times when the bass would sometimes start getting bloated, but it wasn’t something a few adjustments to the EQ couldn’t handle. The stand-out track for this setup was Barenaked Ladies’ “New Disaster”.

Sony MDR-XB700 Extra Bass

Lastly, we’ve got the crazy pair of Sony MDR-XB700s. The midrange of Sony’s classic Extra Bass line, it’s a deceptive pair of headphones– regular music players can make it sound okay, but only the best music players and amplifiers that have exceptional bass and sub-bass processing can make it sound the way it should. And for the ZX707, it was no problem at all.

Having a big hump of sub-bass all the way up to midbass in the EQ was the only way I can listen to the XB700s. Even at almost maximum volume, there was almost no distortion and no significant dynamics compression. It just powers through the songs cleanly and never lets any of the frequencies stray too far from their comfortable thresholds.

Presentation is always smooth and warm, with a big emphasis on vocal presence, and highs are much more relaxed but with a lot of texture. The highs don’t go too far up so listeners of borderline-sibilant textured tracks might have to EQ their highs in, or you might want to look at other ways to improve the high-frequency response on the ZX707. The stand-out track for this setup was Dutch Uncles’ “Flexxin”.

Battery life

To round off my playback performance findings on the Sony Walkman NW-ZX707, it was able to sustain two (2) days of almost constant playback before needing a charge. I attribute this to fine volume and power control. The granularity in the volume adjustment is incredibly accurate and is always a requirement for any hi-fi music player.

Is the Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 your GadgetMatch?

There’s an air of being carefree with the ZX707– it knows it’s not a reference device, nor does it try to be. It plays on its strengths of being a solid, high-power, high-resolution music player that you can take anywhere and plug anything into, and it’ll just slowly fade into the background. Present enough that you’re going to enjoy your music, but never stepping in to interrupt you from dancing to ‘Come Get Your Love’ on a distant alien planet.

Coming in at around PhP 45,000 or US$ 600, the Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 not only invokes memories of the original but also the (frankly) prohibitive price as well. Let me make this clear– this is not an entry-level audiophile PMP, it’s somewhat reserved for intermediates and experts who can leverage its non-neutral presentation to improve their on-the-go listening setups.

But as far as audiophile PMPs go, this is certainly one of the most fun ones I’ve tried so far. Check your gear first– it synergizes well with forward-sounding headphones/earphones with great highs presentation. If you’ve got one, I suggest going for the ZX707. If not, you might have to look somewhere else for your on-the-go hi-fi fix.

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Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro: One week with a ‘classic’

Daily, Smart Casual, and Sports



Watch S1 Pro

Xiaomi followed up its Watch S1 series from 2022, not with an S2 series, but with the Watch S1 Pro. On paper, the Watch S1 Pro looks like Xiaomi took the best of both the S1 and the S1 active and melded it into a package that’s fit for all types of occasions. 

In case you missed it, we did an Unboxing and First Impressions of the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro. But to summarize quickly… 

You get the watch itself. 

Watch S1 Pro
The wireless charging dock.

And some documentation (user manual and warranty). 

The variant we got is the Black Stainless Steel with the Black Fluororubber strap made for workouts. 

Watch S1 Pro
There are some new key information we asked Xiaomi between the unboxing and this review: 

As you know, the watch is also available in a silver stainless steel case with brown leather strap. If you want that strap, you can purchase it separately.

But you have an even wider range of choices as the straps of the S1 and S1 Active will also work with the S1 Pro. 

If that’s still not enough, any 22mm strap size will work with the watch S1 Pro. So, you’re free to style it however you see fit. 

It has a 1.47” display which is larger than the 1.43” on the other S1 series watches. 

Watch S1 Pro

It also prominently features a crown for easier navigation. 

That’s it. So, what’s it like using the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro for a week? Let’s talk about it in the different scenarios that Xiaomi imagines you’ll use it for. 


Watch S1 Pro

While working on this review, I’ve had to think about what it meant for me to own a smartwatch.

Due to the nature of my work, I’ve had the privilege of using a handful of them for a few weeks to a month. Over the last two years, I’ve mainly used one which also has a “pro” label on it. 

To me, it’s now become a necessity. I get a ton of notifications daily. Work emails and messages dominate my day. Seeing the notifications come in through the watch helps me mentally prepare for the next task as I work on finishing the one that’s currently on my plate. 

It helps that the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro also displays exactly which app the notification came from. I’ve used some smartwatches in the past that could not make this distinction. Instead, they only show a brief part of the message with a default message icon. Glancing quickly when notifications come in helps me organize my thoughts better, and knowing which app the notification came from also helps me plan my next move better. 

The UI’s design

Watch S1 Pro

The app selection interface looks a lot like the Apple Watch. The difference being the general look and feel of the app’s themselves. I’m lukewarm on how they look. They’re not bad, but something about them feels a little off to me. 

When you swipe left or right from the watch face, you can see the widgets available. There’s one for health monitoring, one for fitness, and another for Alexa. You can arrange them however you like. I personally put fitness as the first swipe from the left and the health monitoring as the first swipe from the right.

Watch S1 Pro
Here’s another area where I thought the widgets just didn’t look quite right. While all the elements fit inside the circular display, something tells me this layout fits a more rectangular shape better. Yes, the exact shape of the Apple Watch. Not a deal breaker, but it’s worth pointing out.

Xiaomi uses their own MIUI Watch OS so I asked Xiaomi if there will be an update to apply themes to change this. Unfortunately, there isn’t. Again, this isn’t objectively bad, I just personally wish there was a way to customize it. 

Smart Casual

Watch S1 Pro

When the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro was launched in Barcelona, Spain during MWC 2023. We had a chance to sit down with TJ Walton who takes the lead in talking up Xiaomi’s accessories and overall ecosystem. Referencing the silver stainless steel case with brown leather strap, he was asked if there was a conscious effort to make the watch look more luxurious. To which, he answered affirmatively. 

While you can certainly say that for the silver case, leather strap variant, the black case, fluororubber one, in my opinion, does have its “luxury limits.” You wouldn’t wear this as is with formal attire. Thankfully, it does work in more smart casual or business casual fits. 

Watch S1 Pro

It also helps that, as mentioned earlier, you can purchase separate straps to fit the occasion better. I already looked up 22mm watch straps on popular shopping platforms and you should have a field day from the selection. Everything from stainless steel, to leather straps are available for purchase.

While you can get away with the black fluororubber strap in most scenarios, you should do yourself a favor and buy an alternative strap or two so you can mix things up and accessorize appropriately. 


Watch S1 Pro

I have said this a few times already in previous smartwatch reviews, but in case this is your first time reading mine, I hate workouts. Or at least the idea of working out. I’m just lazy like that. I do like walking and playing basketball.

I always just walk whenever I can. Especially when I’m traveling, there’s nothing like soaking in a place better than taking the time to stroll down its streets. The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro’s step counter works just about as well as any step counter. There will be variance with other smartwatches which is natural, but it is fairly accurate. So, if you’re targeting a certain number of steps, you can rest easy knowing you walked enough to reach your goals. 

Watch S1 Pro

Speaking of goals, that’s what I love about the workouts available on the Watch S1 Pro. With it, you can select whether you want to track the duration or by calories burned. The smartwatch I’ve been sporting simply tracks both at the same time but without the granular control of targeting each one.

This is especially helpful for someone like myself whose “workouts” are limited to solo basketball drills and occasional pick-up games with neighbors. I’m currently trying to lose the massive weight I gained during the pandemic, and I’m doing so by watching my daily calorie intake. If I can track my hoop sessions based on calories burned, it’s easier for me to maintain a calorie deficit in tandem with my current meal plan. 

Watch S1 Pro


It also helps that the watch, overall, isn’t too bulky and doesn’t feel heavy on the wrist at all. It’s a stark contrast to what I currently use. Granted it’s one that’s close to being three years old.

100+ workouts

As advertised, there are 100 types of workouts that the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro can track. Personally, I feel like this can be intimidating to a lot of people as it creates this idea that you need to try all of them to maximize the smartwatch. This isn’t true at all.

Just pick the workouts that work for you, the ones that you’re happy to do and can incorporate to your lifestyle. If you can do that, you’re already making the best of the smartwatch’s fitness features. 

Battery life and other things of note 

Xiaomi advertises up to 14-days of battery life in standard mode. If I extrapolate the results from my one-week use, you could see yourself charging the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro every 4-5 days with moderate to heavy workout usage. 

Under very bright sunlight, it can be challenging to see the watch face. But that’s a really isolated case. Most of the time, you won’t have trouble seeing the watch face right away. 

As of writing, I thought the available watch faces are pretty limited. There’s also no option to add a custom image (at least now when you use it with an iPhone). I couldn’t try it with the Xiaomi 13 Pro, which has an instant pairing mode that’s convenient, because it’s currently with another team member for a camera shootout. Xiaomi said more watch faces should come soon. 

Xiaomi Pay isn’t available in the Philippines. It’s currently available in WEU, CEE & Nordic, and Russia. Availability in more regions and countries are in the pipeline. However, Xiaomi says this is dependent mainly on the business development of the issuer VISA and Mastercard’s plan. Contactless payment has gained more traction (yes, I see the irony in those words) of late and I wish the support for the feature expands soonest.

Is the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro your GadgetMatch?

Watch S1 Pro

The Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro has all the bells and whistles of a 2023 smartwatch. You have the usual health monitoring features (heart rate, sleep, blood oxygen, etc), as well as tracking for a huge number of activities.

And while the watch faces are limited at this point, the available ones offer enough versatility that you can switch it up depending on the occasion like you can with the straps.

The UI, I personally think, can be better, but it is objectively good. The battery life is also decent. It’s a happy middle ground between the charge-daily Apple Watch and the long-lasting offerings of Huawei. 

Against its contemporaries, the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro is most appealing for its price (PhP 16,999/ EUR 299). You get pro features you expect from a smartwatch, as well as the versatility of matching it with your style. It also helps that it works with both Android and iOS. 

If you’re looking to take your personal health and fitness monitoring to a “pro” level, the Xiaomi Watch S1 Pro likely offers the best overall value right now.

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ASUS ROG Flow X16 review: Great on its own

No additional accessories needed for good performance



ASUS ROG exits 2022 and enters 2023 with a renewed lineup of gaming laptops that will bring the power into the new year. As they continually bring the firepower every year, their ROG Flow series adds another powerful device to the lineup for everyone to experience. With this one, however, it feels like it can stand on its own for what it brings to the table.

The newest addition to the Flow series is the ASUS ROG Flow X16, a 2-in-1 machine rocking powerful hardware and a myriad of possibilities. Essentially, what you have here is an all-rounder of a device fit for the creative professionals and the competitive gamers. It even comes with some nifty accessories, although not the one you usually expect with this series.

So, is the ROG Flow X16 for 2022 something worth bringing into the new year?

Well-built and well-processed

From the inside and out, the ASUS ROG Flow X16 is just built different as a gaming machine. Inside, the device comes with an AMD Ryzen 9 CPU and an RTX 3060 — a decent combination of hardware that produces great performance across the board. Whether it’s for a ton of data analytics or gaming VOD recording and reviews, this machine can handle it all.

What also helps its case is that 16:10 WQHD anti-glare display that helps you house multiple windows on a single screen. In essence, multitasking would be a total breeze, especially when you have reports to finish or gaming streams to watch while you work. Plus, it has a refresh rate of 165Hz which is great for a lot of things, but let’s get into that later on.

Overall, the ROG Flow X16 boasts fantastic hardware fit for both the casual and competitive gamer. Also, if you’re more of a work in the day type of person, this device definitely gives you more than everything you need to get through, on paper.

For the uber competitive ones

It wouldn’t be an ASUS ROG machine if this laptop was not tailor-fit for gaming at a high level. For starters, the RTX 3060 inside the ROG Flow X16 provides great frame rates for most competitive titles out there, especially when under the proper settings. If you want to turn up the detail just a little bit, the GPU can also handle that with ease — no eGPU needed,

As per usual, RTX-powered mobile machines still can’t produce a balance of stellar graphics at stellar frame rates for games that support ray-tracing. Such is the case for the ROG Flow X16, although at least games like Fortnite and Cyberpunk 2077 managed to hit a stable 40 FPS reading. Details were great, and performance was a bit more stable than other GPUs, but again, it’s more for an overall aesthetic look.

Also, going back to the 165Hz refresh rate display, the ROG Flow X16 makes a case for the more ideal on-the-go competitive gaming machine. The 16:10 display gives more screen space to look around in-game, and the 1ms response rate allows you to quickly react to elements in a blink of an eye. 

To make beautiful art with

One detail we haven’t mentioned too much yet about the ROG Flow X16 is that, well, it’s also a 2-in-1 device with a touch display. As a staple with all other Flow models, this machine works a ton of wonders for those who like handwritten notes during meetings or doodle as their productive time. Along with a touch display, the ROG Flow X16 comes with a dedicated ASUS Pen for you to do all of these.

The display doesn’t show any signs of being hypersensitive to unnecessary touches from the wrist, which is good when used with the pen. This way, all your sketches and notes will look relatively organized without any unnecessary strokes in the way. Also, this is even helpful when you’re dabbling with photo and video editing.

With the 165Hz refresh rate for this display, you’ll be able to observe and act on any frames you may have missed out in your editing process. Whether it’s the mouse or ASUS Pen, your choice of input will allow you to be as pixel-perfect as possible when creating your masterpiece.

Just a few hygiene checks in there

Like most gaming laptops, the ROG Flow X16 comes with a decent battery in terms of lifespan and charge time. On average, the device lasts for about 8-9 hours on a single charge with regular use, which is pretty standard. Charging time back to 100 percent with the 280W charging brick takes about two hours at least.

Port selection on this device is great, with the inclusion of the dedicated port for the eGPU but they’re mostly placed on the left hand side. Although it seems like a good substitute over having the ports at the rear, it might not be for everyone. Also, some of the USB Type-A ports are on the right, so you’ll need to adjust your wired peripherals if you play a certain way.

This device also comes with an HD camera nestled at the top of the screen and under the display. In terms of photo and video quality, it’s decent for most video conferences and a bit of a grainy selfie for a wallpaper. If for streaming though, you’re better off getting the ROG Eye with this laptop.

Is the ROG Flow X16 your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 149,995, the ASUS ROG Flow X16 is a great 2-in-1 device that holds its own with nothing extra needed. With powerful hardware embedded inside a relatively slim form factor, it has everything you need for work and play. Whether you’re a competitive gamer or a content creator at heart, you won’t go wrong with this as an option.

Granted, you can upgrade the ROG Flow X16 into a gaming powerhouse with all the extra peripherals ASUS has to offer. From the ROG Eye to their own dedicated eGPU, to achieve the best, you will simply want a lot more added to the table. However, even when these aren’t in your budget, the device performs well enough to not need them anyway.

Even with a hefty price tag, this 2-in-1 laptop only provides the best performance possible with minimal sacrifices. It’s portable and powerful enough for you to work hard and play even harder wherever you go!

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