Admit it or not, most of us have become so used to smartphones looking a lot like one another. Some spec bumps, design refreshes, camera cutout changes, that’s about it. That’s all in a span of a year or as short as six months.
While smartphone designs won’t be as exciting as how it was before with feature phones, Samsung made jaws drop when their foldable prototype became a retail product as a result of years of R&D (research and development).
In a crowd full of slender glass and polycarbonate slabs, Samsung has created the Galaxy Z Flip not just to make a new breed of smartphone, but also to bring back what people miss — the excitement in phone design.
It started when people suddenly missed the weirdly-addictive feeling of clamshell phone clasps every time someone ends a call conversation. This 2022, it’s satisfying as it is on the new Galaxy Z Flip4.
It’s the nostalgia kicking
Back when I was in grade school, I’m quite different than kids of my age. While most 7-year-olds enjoy their time with crayons, coloring books, or games (either physically or digitally), my mind and eyes were focused on gadgets like phones. Whenever we go to malls, I collected a lot of phone brochures to the point where a salesman scolded me.
Also that specific period in time, most people prefer Nokia phones over anything else. Still, I dreamt of having at least one Samsung phone — a Samsung slider, not the flippy ones.
The phones above are just some of the Samsung phones I fantasized to have — i620, G800, E870, U700, S8300 UltraTouch, and most especially, the U900 Soul.
While I became more interested in tech due to Nokia and their XpressMusic plus N-series phones, Samsung’s slider phones were the game-changer for their classy and sleek designs that other manufacturers failed to bring to the table. It even came to a point when Samsung became obsessed with having the thinnest phone — the Samsung U100 Ultra Edition II at just 5.9mm.
But what about flip phones? If memory serves me right, the first Samsung phone I’ve ever seen in real life was my late aunt’s Samsung X640. It wasn’t as appealing to me but for a 2005 clamshell, it’s decently-looking compared to the Nokia 6101 with that bulging antenna that my third-grade professor in computer class flexed a lot. Albeit, that Nokia was a seller with its two displays.
TMI but I just thought that if my aunt is still alive, she would be rocking the latest Samsung phone — either the Galaxy Z Fold4 or the Z Flip4. Just putting this here since she contributed a lot to why I became a gadget nerd.
To All The Samsung Flip Phones I’ve Loved Before
Right before the foldable craze started, Samsung was already in the game for their fashion-forward feature flip phones. So why not take a trip down memory lane with me and mesmerize yourself with some collection of Samsung’s best-looking clamshell phones over the years.
For the classy
From 2008 all the way to 2019, flip phones with gold accents paired with faux leather or replicated diamonds are the classiest-looking phones ever — at least in Samsung’s phone-folio.
Samsung E500 (2006)
It may not be as popular as it looks in 2006, but it’s definitely one rare phone. It’s perfect for making a bold statement with gold and jewelries.
Samsung L310 (2008)
While it heavily reminds me of the Nokia 7390 from 2006, during this time, it’s already one of (if not the) Samsung’s classiest-looking phones ever.
Samsung i9230 Galaxy Golden (2013)
The first Android flip phone title probably goes to the Samsung W999 that came in 2011, but the Galaxy Golden still made huge waves overseas as an elegant-looking Android phone trapped in an old clamshell body. It may not be the best Android phone of its time but hey, at least you get twice the Super AMOLED display and a pseudo-premium leather feel and look.
Fun fact: Samsung is the only phone company that still manufactured more than five foldable phones past the “dumbphone” era. Thus, there were already Android-powered Samsung flip phones right before the debut of the Galaxy Z Flip line in 2020 — the W999, i9230, W2014, W2015, G9198, plus the W2016, W2017, W2018, and W2019 in the succeeding sections below.
Ditching the faux leather backs and trimmings, the W2016 and W2017 are the Flip phone versions of the ever-popular Galaxy S6 and S7. As evident as how the gold shines on their glass front and back up to the frame, these phones were popular in China that only a handful can afford — from CNY 9999 to a huge jump of CNY 20,000 (roughly US$ 1402~2804 / SG$ 2017~4034 / PhP 82,132~164,281).
Samsung brought back the black and gold combination with the W2018 and W2019 — which are also the Flip phone variants of the Galaxy S8 and S9 due to the similar hardware — such as the dual-variable aperture camera found both on the W2019 and Galaxy S9+.
The W2018 alone had a retail value of a jaw-dropping CNY 15,999 (US$ 2200 / SG$ 3227 / PhP 132,000 in today’s conversion rate). Fortunately, the first Flip (that made its debut a year after W2019 was launched) wasn’t as pricey and not limited to the Chinese market anymore.
For the quirky ones
Some may find them weird, others may think they are attractive. Either way, Samsung still sold these phones towards a niche market.
Samsung Nori F (2010)
The LG Lollipop (2009) took the interest of many young Asians because of how cute the phone is. Paired with the ever-eargasmic hit song ‘Lollipop’ is by 2NE1 and BIGBANG (which is also nostalgic to me as a veteran K-Pop fan), Samsung decided to create its direct rival with the Nori F.
Nori might mean “seaweed” in the Japanese context but 놀이 (nor-i) means “play” in Korean. Cool enough, Samsung made four playful colors, each highlighting one’s style while still showcasing the quirky three-array LED panel that can do sorts of pixelated, animated magic.
*It’s the loudest phone I have today as my alarm. The alarm works even if the phone’s off 🤯
Samsung P900/P910 (2006)
Feature phones during 2006 were either basic-looking or just plain “weird”. With swiveling phones becoming one of the go-to designs, Samsung has made a clever way to not just take and display landscape photos, but also to create a pocket-friendly product that can also broadcast TV shows directly.
Samsung Serene (2005)
One of Samsung’s most historic collaborations is making a phone with the popular audio company Bang & Olufsen (or commonly referred to B&O).
While Nokia continued to make waves with their XpressMusic phones and Sony Ericsson had Walkman phones, this particular venture resulted to the creation of Samsung Serene as a special-designed music device and flip phone in one. I’m just guessing the wordplay came from “Serenity” or the state of calmness and peace — which is also correlated to music.
Back then, it costed as much as US$ 1275 (roughly SG$ 1834 or PhP 74,692), a price tag no one would bat an eye due to the ever-growing list of affordable feature phones.
For the ultra-sleek and minimal
There are these clean-looking flip phones, too. You might have even seen them before but you just can’t tell because Samsung just had confusing phone names.
Samsung E870 (2006)
As said multiple times, 2006 phones are either basic-looking or just fascinatingly weird. But the Samsung E870 was compelling due to its cleaner, more minimal design with flat edges and larger, squarish keypad. Flip phones that time were nothing but bulging wedges with most having their thick antennas sticking out — Samsung neither an exception.
Samsung X520 (2006)
While the E870 is a clean slate, the X520 is more eccentric and irresistible due to its curves and a tempting color scheme that reminds you of wine and chocolate. Even the duotone keypad reminds you of a chocolate bar of some sort. I’m just guessing that their E-series stands for “Elegance” and X is for “Xtraordinary”.
Samsung U300 (2007)
And while already on the topic of Samsung’s past phone naming schemes, the U-series definitely stands for Samsung “Ultra Edition” series of phones — way before they used it on the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
The U300 stood out to me mainly because Samsung highlighted its thin form factor at a measly — you’ve guessed it — 9.6mm. If you’ve paid attention earlier, this is the flip phone that joins the Ultra Edition II series of Samsung: the U100 (5.9mm candybar), U600 10.1, and the U700 12.1 (the sliding phone I wanted to have) altogether.
Samsung S3600 (2008)
A year after, Samsung has released a flip that’s as classy as the U300 with its chic, brushed metal cover. But instead of the thin form factor and a “better” 3.2MP camera, you instead get a 1.3MP camera, microSD card slot, and a bigger battery at a more enticing price range.
Samsung Master Dual (2014)
For the record, 2014 was when Samsung launched the Galaxy S5 and the Galaxy Note 4 (also the year when the first GadgetMatch video on YouTube was released). But in South Korea, some people just can’t seem to adapt to the oddly-large smartphones — especially the elderly.
The Master Dual running Android was Samsung’s answer. It was then followed by the Galaxy Folder and Folder2, just without that nice external AMOLED display.
For the Fashion-Forward
F means a lot in Samsung’s vocabulary: Flip, Fashion-Forward, Female, or just those with utmost Fascination to anything Floral.
Samsung C3520 (2011)
This is the same year when the Galaxy S II and the first-ever Galaxy Note were released. Samsung launching this floral-studded flip phone is just a testament that large smartphones are really not for everyone — at least in 2011.
Samsung S5150 Diva Folder (2009)
Back in the time when companies wanted to catch the attention of female consumers, fashion-centric phones like the Diva folder would make the cut.
Love it or hate it, this clamshell phone is definitely made for the true diva. The ultra-reflective and glossy plastic material of this phone reminded me of the trending smartphone cases that looked puffed and inflated.
Samsung E420 (2006)
Another 2006-born phone that made it to this feature is none other than the Samsung E420.
During its launch, it’s one of the most affordable in the “La Fleur” line — which happened to be Samsung’s fashion-inclined line of phones. However, looks can really be deceiving as it only offered looks without support for Bluetooth and MP3 while its rivals considered them as necessities.
The new breed of Flip phones
Almost fifteen years apart, we are now in the time where smartphone technology is continuously evolving while the foldable technology is still in its young stage. Still, Samsung has truly paved the way in making the foldable dreams come to a reality.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip / Z Flip 5G (2020)
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Z Flip 5G are one of the pioneers in the clamshell-type foldable category. While the first Samsung foldable title goes to the Galaxy Z Fold line that cater the business-minded and professionals, the Z Flip was made with the youth in mind. However, its steep launch price of US$ 1380 / SG$ 1998 / PhP 79,990 isn’t really meant for the Gen Zs and borderline millennials (like me).
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 / Z Flip3 (2022/2021)
Ah, finally! The Galaxy Z Flip4 (together with the similarly-looking Z Flip3) are Samsung’s latest line of foldables, or rather, folding flip phones. With a more cutting-edge design, tougher hinge and display, longer battery, and better cameras all in a compact foldable form factor, the Galaxy Z Flip4 can surely stand out from the crowd.
Best of all? It’s more within the reach at US$ 999.99 / SG$ 1398 / PhP 53,990 — a lot cheaper than the Samsung Serene, W2018, and most definitely, the overly-priced W2019.
5 realme travel essentials for holiday vacation
Upgrade your holiday trips
For some, Christmas season isn’t only about gift-giving or bonding with friends and family; it’s also about going on holiday trips as they make the most out of the long break.
That’s where these five realme gadgets come in handy, giving your vacation trip a colorful upgrade.
The brand’s recently-launched flagship comes equipped with a Helio G99 processor, has a 6.4-inch 90Hz super AMOLED display, and a 5,000mAh battery with support for 33W SUPERVOOC charge.
The device runs on Android 12 and realme UI 3.0, and has 8GB RAM and up to 256GB storage.
Capturing memories is a breeze too, with its 50MP main camera and 16MP selfie camera.
Available in Clash White and Rush Black, the realme 10 retails for:
- PhP 12,999 for the 8GB+128GB
- PhP 14,999 for the 8GB+256GB
Music is a must for long road trips, so one should complement the listening experience with a fitting pair of wireless earbuds.
The realme Buds T100 feature 10mm dynamic bass driver, 88ms super low latency, and a total playback time of up to 28 hours.
The accessory has AI Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC). It is rated IPX5 for water resistance.
Whether looking for another reliable smartphone or just a spare phone, the realme C33 should do the trick.
It has a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display, 5,000mAh battery to keep you company for long hours, and a 50MP camera.
It’s priced at only PhP 7,499 so now is the perfect time to get your hands on this budget device.
For those traveling with kids or simply want to avoid boredom, the realme Pad X (6GB+128GB) can definitely keep you entertained.
Powered by up to a Snapdragon 695 5G processor and coming with a 10.95-inch 2K FullView display and Dolby Atmos quad speakers, the tablet provides an immersive viewing experience on the go.
The Pad X comes with a stylish 7.1mm Ultra Slim design. It is available in the Glacier Blue and Glowing Grey colorways.
The base price is just PhP 15,999 or if you want to opt for the 5G variant, the cost is PhP 24,999.
realme Watch 3
Lastly, the realme Watch 3 will help one burn those Noche Buena and Media Noche calories with ease.
The wearable boasts clear Bluetooth calling, all-day health monitoring, and over 110 sports modes. These can be accessed through its 1.8-inch bright display.
The realme Watch 3 retails for only PhP 3,499, one of the best fitness companions for this price point.
Make moments tangible with Instax Square Link
Time to print those core memories!
Life looks pretty in squares — that’s how Instagram shaped our favorite moments in the past decade.
With every core memory uploaded in our social media feed for the world to see, there’s still something poignant about keeping a hard copy of your favorite moments. It feels nostalgic to be reminded of the good things in your life.
That’s what the Instax Square Link delivers. The newest instant printer comes in square, as compared to its previous siblings in the instax link lineup.
The sweet spot
The previous instant printers come in the usual mini film prints, and a wide, rectangular one. Having a square format provides a sweet spot for instant prints since it’s neither too big nor small.
Even the design of the device itself looks almost square, albeit taller. It sports the usual big button in its center that powers up the device, while there’s a smaller circle on its top-left part for linking the device to your smartphone.
It’s still as straightforward as it gets, whether you’re already familiar with previous instax printers or not. You simply click the big button until it lights up, link it to your smartphone and confirm the serial number found on the bottom side of the device, and do all the magic inside the app — which you can download via App Store or Play Store.
New device, new features
The instax Square Link carries all the good things from the previous instax printers through its dedicated app.
You can still make personalized stickers, continuously print your best moments with just a press of a button, and collage and edit your photos in frames. They’re pretty much the same features you can find on the instax Link WIDE and instax mini Link 2.
However, instax introduced new features that make printing more exciting. Now, instax takes AR to a new level by allowing users to print with personalized AR effects, accessible using a QR code.
It also included a feature where you can chat with a friend or loved one and have the conversation printed as text bubbles to add a more personal touch for those who are in long-distance relationships.
Printing your favorite moments
While the new features are a much-welcome addition, I still stick to what Instax is good about. At its core, it’s still printing your favorite moments and of course, sharing them with the people you love.
Back then, I would print my photos and keep them to myself — inside photobooks and boxes that would never see the light of day unless I’m feeling nostalgic.
Being surrounded by new people encouraged me to be more giving, rather than just being selfish with my memories. And instead of constantly seeking validation and sharing my favorite moments with the world, I now love the idea of being intimate and sharing my core memories with only a handful of people.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The Instax Square Link is still an instant printer like its siblings. If square formats are your thing, this is easily your GadgetMatch. For wide, rectangular prints, there’s the instax Link WIDE.
And if the original, mini-sized film prints are what you’re after, you can never go wrong with the instax mini Link 2. Whatever formats you want, there’s an instax for you.
The instax Square Link comes in Ash White and Midnight Green. It’s available in all authorized Fujifilm instax dealers nationwide and Fujifilm’s online flagship stores.
IN PHOTOS: Dubbing with Netflix, HIT Productions
Plus a quick glimpse of the Netflix PH office
Have you ever been curious about how the whole dubbing process works? Netflix, along with HIT Productions, was kind enough to give us a quick tour showing how our favorite Netflix shows are dubbed in Filipino.
HIT Productions prides itself as “The Philippines’ top audio post production house and recording studio for advertising.” And they have the clientele to back up the claim. Other than Netflix, they’ve also worked with plenty of notable brands. These include but are not limited to Jollibee, Mitsubishi, Coca Cola, and many more.
They’ve partnered with Netflix on many shows and movies. For this particular tour, they showed us how they dubbed Season 4 of Stranger Things.
Different rooms for the talents and director
Heading in, I was fully expecting a Sound Booth like setup – you know, the ones we normally see in TV shows and movies. HIT has a different setup. They have the director in one room and the voice talents in another. The rooms are situated right across each other with sound engineers manning both rooms.
The communication between the director and talents still happens real time, and they see each other through an iPad.
Each room has a monitor that displays the scene that’s being dubbed. The talents’ audio goes straight into a computer that’s in the same room as the director.
Multiple talents will be in the same room at one time. This depends entirely on the scene that needs to be dubbed. They take turns dubbing with sound engineers adjusting the height of the mic each time to make sure it’s optimized for each talent.
Although, they did mention this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, there will be scheduling challenges, but they’re able to work through it.
The actual dubbing back and forth is fascinating. They go through each line meticulously, making sure the cadence, the breaths, the tone, and the emotion matches that of the original actors.
Recording a single episode will take days. And that’s just the recording. The next part is just as tedious.
The level of precision applied in the voice acting and directing extends to the cutting floor when the recordings go through post production.
Here, sound engineers go through each scene, switching between the original scene and the dubbed recordings to make sure they match. This includes how loud or soft the voice is as well as adding effects to mimic the room environment sound of each sound.
What makes the whole process tricky is a lot of it is guess work. I asked if they are given a cheat sheet of the effects used by the original production. They said that rarely happens. That means they rely both on their sharp ears and years of experience to make sure everything matches.
After post production, an entire episode goes through a quality check. If anything sounds off, it’s back to post processing again.
HIT says in a month, they’re able to finish roughly around three to four episodes. Of course, that depends also on the length of the episode. Stranger Things Season 4, for instance, typically lasts over an hour. With some episodes even running as long as feature length films.
Trying out dubbing
After a look at the voice acting and post production process, HIT took us to a room where some members of the media got to try dubbing. Here, Head of Localization Rudolf Baldonado, led the way.
Baldonado explained that the most important part of the whole process is the script. Localization, as you may have surmised, is no easy task. There are so many things to consider: What words to use to match the movement of the lips, the general direction for each line, and making sure all the lines make sense when delivered together.
A couple of voice talents showed us the ropes first, recording a scene from the Don’t Look Up film. Baldonado, who also helmed localization for Trese, noted that mimicking the original actor’s voice is less important than delivering the right tone and emotion for the line and the scene.
During the recording, he also noted that dubbing is more about voice acting than actual voice quality. How well you convey the right emotion is more important than whether or not you sound pleasant or not.
Sit down with the voice talents
To wrap up the tour of the HIT Productions office, we sat down with the voice talents and the rest of the team that worked on the Stranger Things Season 4 dub. Here’s everyone who joined us:
- Christian Velarde (MIKE)
- Albert Silos (WILL)
- Steve Bontogon (DUSTIN)
- JM Canlas (LUCAS)
- Steffi Bontogon (MAX)
- JM Torres (VECNA)
- Nelieza Magauay (ROBIN)
- Ericka Peralejo (SUZIE)
- Cheska Aguiluze (Dubbing Director)
- Rudolf Baldonado (Head of Localization)
Many of them shared their experiences and lessons learned while working as voice actors.
A lot of the echo the same thing that Baldonado mentioned earlier. That the ability to understand the character’s emotion and act it out through your voice is the most important skill in the craft.
What stood out to me the most though, is how each of them seemed like colorful characters on their own. And they deserve just as much recognition as TV and movie actors.
Quick Netflix PH HQ Tour
After the session at HIT Productions, we were taken to the headquarters of Netflix Philippines. Some interesting things to note:
- The meeting rooms are named after Netflix’s shows and films
- There are areas designated for quiet time
- The place is spacious with many areas for quick, breakout meeting sessions
- It’s filled with books and other ornaments that have to do with Netflix shows
- Free-flowing drinks!
- This writer would like to spend a work day or two in the area (Thanks in advance, Netflix!)
Here’s a photo dump:
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