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Samsung Galaxy J7+ hands-on review

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Samsung’s firm belief in the saying “the more, the merrier” stands true as yet another phone is launched under the J7 banner. This saying also applies to the number of cameras on their phones: The Samsung Galaxy J7+ is Samsung’s second dual-camera phone and this time, you don’t have to shell out US$ 1,000 to own it.

The phone looks good

With a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, the Galaxy J7+’s screen wows.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ AMOLED screen

This also means you get an Always On display which can be pretty useful, TBH.

The screen is bright and the images look crisp. The phone is pretty responsive — it does well for a midrange phone —  though it’s obviously not as snappy as flagship devices, but that is to be expected.

And it feels good, too

Samsung Galaxy J7+ back details

It has a good weight and an aluminum body which means it’s a delight to hold — I don’t like light and plastic-y phones as they usually tend to feel cheap.

Speaker grilles are still at that spot we love

That spot is at the top-right side of the phone, above the power button.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ speaker grille

Marvin and Dan have raved about this speaker placement, but I never really appreciated it until I used the phone. Clear audio all the way, and no issues with accidentally covering speakers way up there, even when I’m on the phone while lying in bed.

Still pretty old school with a micro-USB and (yay!) audio jack

It’s 2017 and while I’d love to see USB-C in new devices, it’s still pretty common for more affordable phones such as the Galaxy J7+ to have a micro-USB port.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ micro usb port

The chin of the phone houses a physical home button with a built-in fingerprint scanner which unlocks the phone in a second. There are two capacitive buttons (back and recent apps) to the sides of the home button.

More choices with a dual-SIM slot

Again, the more the merrier! Two nano-SIM cards can be inserted on the phone, with one convertible slot that can house a microSD card for added storage as much as 256GB.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ sim card tray

The volume buttons are on the top-right of the phone.

Of course, there’s the dual-cam rear setup

The rear packs 13- and 5-megapixel shooters, the latter camera designed to capture depth on photos.

Here are a few test shots:

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

The Galaxy J7+ cameras prove to be very capable with photos coming out with great color and detail in normal daylight scenarios.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

The phone was even able to capture my dog in this pose — and doggies are rarely very still!

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

Another new feature that comes to the Galaxy J7+ is its Live Focus view, which allows you to adjust the bokeh or blur on a particular photo during or even after the photo had been taken. I’ve tried this mode on the Galaxy Note 8 and it’s a pretty fun feature!

Unfortunately, because this is a pre-production unit and some bugs are to be expected, I wasn’t able to try the mode out on this phone. The photos I took were tagged as “processing,” and this went on for a long time. After 30 minutes of waiting, I still couldn’t edit or open them.

The selfie camera is cool, too

This phone’s front-facing camera is a 16-megapixel shooter and has a built-in beauty mode which allows you to slim down your face, smoothen it out, adjust skin tone, or even increase your eye size.

Samsung Galaxy J7+ SAMPLE PHOTO

There are also bundled stamps and stickers that make for the cutest selfies, and if you’re not impressed, well then you’re missing out on some serious millennial fun. I will never tire of these Samsung filters!

Here are more sample shots from the front and rear cameras:

All other things worth noting

The Samsung Galaxy J7+ is powered by a MediaTek Helio P20 processor with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. I had no issues running multiple apps and games that aren’t so heavy, like Stranger Things and Plants vs Zombies, played smoothly. A single charge on its 3000mAh battery lasted me a whole day’s worth of use.

Samsung Galaxy j7+ dual-camera

At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy J7+ is good for what it is: a midrange smartphone with good cameras on it.

Using the Samsung Galaxy J7+

This dual-camera phone comes at a way cheaper price point than the other dual-camera Samsung alternative (the Galaxy Note 8), but it’s worth noting that there are other phones in the market with specs that rival this for even less.

For those who know and love the Samsung brand, however, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re looking for a Samsung smartphone and only a Samsung, this may be the dual-cam handset for you.

The Samsung Galaxy J7+ retails for PhP 19,990 in the Philippines and THB 12,900 in Thailand.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy J7+ launches in the Philippines

[irp posts=”21809″ name=”Samsung’s Galaxy J7+ ad will give you all the feels”]

Lifestyle

LEGO just made an adidas Superstar LEGO edition

The iconic sneaker in LEGO brick form

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We didn’t see this crossover coming, but here it is. The LEGO group has launched their own little spin on the adidas Superstar — part of the adidas Originals line.

It’s a buildable LEGO brick model that also maybe counts as part of your sneaker collection. The LEGO Superstar sneaker in adult sizing features a classic white and black leather construction

Just like the real thing, this LEGO version includes the iconic adidas Originals Superstar sneaker graphics, shell toe shape, trefoil logo and serrated 3 stripes mark.

The model measures over 12 cm high, 27 cm long and 9 cm wide and with a display stand and plaque. It was made for adidas diehard collectors as well as LEGO fans. You also get to choose whether you want the right or left shoe. And if you feel like splurging, might as well get a pair.

The set includes 17 extra LEGO elements so you can choose to build either the right-foot or left-foot sneaker. For extra realism, it even has shoelaces and comes in an authentic shoe box.

#RebuiltByOriginals

LEGO also tapped six creatives to give their own take on the adidas Superstar LEGO Edition. Each one put their own spin on the LEGO Edition sneaker and are encouraging you to do the same.

You can check out what sneakerheads Aida Kiraya (@afrokickz), Tom Yoo (@tommyoo23), Hanna Helsøe (@helsoe), Leta Sobierajski (@sobierajski), Nicolai Sclater (@ornamentalconifer) and Coffee Boy (@178kz_boy) came up with here.

Price and availability

The LEGO adidas Originals Superstar 10282 model launches on July 1st and will be exclusively available at LEGO Certified Stores, adidas Original Pavilion, Brand Centre Sunway Pyramid and adidas Malaysia Online.

It will then be available at LEGO Official Store on Lazada, Shopee, as well as major retailers and department stores in Malaysia in September.

The recommended retail price is MYR 449.90.

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Trese: The story behind the dubbing

What the process was like

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Trese
All images courtesy of Netflix

Much has been said about the dubbing work of the Netflix Animé series Trese. Everyone from showrunner Jay Oliva, Filipino voice talent Inka Magnaye, and that random Facebook friend you don’t really talk to anymore has weighed in.

We’re not going to get into details of what people have said. We’re sure there’s no shortage of that on social media. Rather, we’re here to explore what transpired in how the show came to be. Netflix arranged a media conference with the following key figures in the series:

  • Tanya Yuson — Series writer and co-producer
  • Wes Gleason — English cast and voice director
  • Rudolf Baldonado Jr. — Filipino voice director

English first 

Trese

The observation we made from our ‘What to expect’ article proved to be true. The whole series was indeed first dubbed in English and was then translated to Filipino and other languages later.

This was one of the many challenges that Baldonado Jr. had to deal with in translating the material to Filipino.

“What we got was already finished work. So the casting process for us is a little different because we had to consider who did the original first — what were the characters that they molded through their voices. And then, how the animators matched it with the visuals,” said the Filipino voice director.

“The Filipino dub had to be cast according to how they (English cast) started it.” 

There were also a few terms that didn’t exactly have a direct Tagalog translation. Baldonado Jr. cites the word “Underworld” which loosely translates to “Impyerno.” In the context of the series, “Impyerno” doesn’t exactly capture how “Underworld” was used as the place where all the monsters and ghouls came from.

This is also the reason why it’s primarily called the Filipino version. Because the team pulled from other languages in the country which fits the context of the words used in English better.

Does the Emissary give you an eerie feeling?

Working with Liza Soberano

Naturally, these same challenges applied to Liza Soberano who played Alexandra Trese in the Filipino version. Soberano was very much aware of her voice quality, tone, and twang according to Baldonado Jr.

“She knows where she’s coming from and she knows what she needs to work on,” said Baldonado Jr. “She was trying to focus on three things (voice, language skills in Filipino, and acting).”

Baldonado Jr., who is a 23-year veteran in the localization and voice dubbing industry, provided exercises for Soberano to address all these. The pair aimed for a voice with a lower register and one that sounded more stiff which, the voice director said, was in contrast with Soberano’s natural tone.

The voice director was very much aware of the criticisms online. But he remained cheerful and positive throughout the media conference. However, he lamented that he wished he had more time to polish the work with Soberano.

What’s up with all the accents? 

Noticeable in the English version is the variety of accents by the characters. Shay Mitchell, who played Alexandra Trese in the English dub, mostly maintained her American accent. But the rest of the cast added more to the mix. Series writer and co-producer Tanya Yuson and English voice director Wes Gleason said this was by design.

“The accents vary, I think, as we found a neutral, what we call ‘Manila accent’, but that’s because our melting pot is from different people with different backgrounds,” said Gleason.

“Some of their relatives or references might have been a little stronger with an accent or a little more in one region than the other. So, I think our show kind of shows that diversity, and hopefully in a good way,” he added.

Yuson backs up the melting pot analogy.

“It’ll be the first time an international audience would hear, on a wide platform, English spoken with that flavor,” said Yuson.

“It would be weirder to me if it’s in English language set in Manila and then you have, either it’s very American or British. The diversity for accents in Manila, anyway, is a lot… we wanted to present that in a way that’s also accessible to an international audience,” she added.

Strength behind a Filipino cast

The influence of the Filipino cast for the English version didn’t stop with just the accents. Everyone from Manny Jacinto (The Good Place) to Lou Diamond Philipps (La Bamba) pulled from stories from their relatives and loved ones about Philippine folklore involved to bring the characters to life.

Authenticity was the primary driving force in the casting decisions. That’s on top of the voices fitting the characters according to Gleason.

“A lot of the actors had familiarity with the folklore in the Philippines. They were coming in with tales of their mothers scaring them. The mananngals, the tiyanaks, the duwende, all these things. Everyone had their own little tale to tell.”

Gleason, who naturally had to do his research on the folklore, leaned on the casts’ experiences to help shape the voice direction.

“Anyone who had that background but was also giving us great options for the read, we gravitated towards them.”

A few more fun nuggets from the conference

Manny Jacinto, who plays Maliksi, may have initially read for Crispin and Basilio as hinted by Gleason.

“He (Jacinto) read for a different role that he was cast for. We heard his approach on one character, or characters — that’s not a spoiler — and hearing that just felt like this role was a better fit.”

Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, Glee) was very excited to be part of the cast even telling Gleason, “How can I not be a part of this? My mother would kill me if I’m not a part of this!”

Tanya Yuson said working with just six (6) episodes was pretty challenging. The ideal number of episodes could have gone anywhere from eight (8) to 22. However, they made sure that even with just six episodes, they could set-up the world and still have a satisfying ending.

Watch Trese on Netflix.

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Plunge into a dark world in Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

A thriller series based on Capcom’s beloved franchise

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Infinite Darkness

Resident Evil proved to be one of the most popular game franchises of all time, spanning different console generations. For over 25 years, Capcom produced some of the most jaw-dropping, horrifying game releases that shake people to their core. Just last May, they released Resident Evil: Village to a fanfare of everybody simping for Lady Dimitrescu.

Apart from the games, Resident Evil also received several television and movie adaptations, bringing the same horror to the big screen. From live-action movies to animated TV series, these provide a good amount of fan service to long-time fans of the games. For 2021, Capcom has a new series that I believe fans will also appreciate upon release in RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness.

A series of unfortunate events

The world of RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness still revolves around the whole zombie encounter-theme the games follow, but on a rather global scale. In the year 2000, U.S. special forces were sent to intervene in the ongoing civil war in the region of Penamstan. However, tragedy struck when the helicopter fell from the sky, and the special forces were annihilated. At least, that’s what they believe happened.

Fast forward to 2006, back in the United States, a hacking incident occurs within the White House. To avert more disaster, the government invited four agents to investigate but were met with strange circumstances. As it turns out, a horde of zombies infiltrates the building and the agents, along with the U.S. S.W.A.T. team, fight them off.

It’s an anime series that tackles a ton of mystery about the events of the past, and how they catch up in present time. In essence, the agents seek to unravel what truly happened that day in 2000, and how they could avert another disaster from happening.

A familiar face returns to the scene

Remember how I mentioned that there are four agents assigned to the investigation? Well, one of them is Leon S. Kennedy, one of the main playable characters in Resident Evil 2. In this series, he looks a bit older and wears a more formal attire than a police uniform. In an interview with Director Eiichiro Hasumi, he explained to me why they picked him in the first place.

According to him, Leon’s character provides a “lot of freedom to move around” in terms of the storytelling aspect. Compared to someone like Chris Redfield, for example, Leon’s character doesn’t necessarily tie him down to any specific roles or places in the story.

As seen in his character design, Leon looks a bit more tired — as if the youth in his aura was sucked out of him. Director Eiichiro notes that he is “in a slightly bitter position” compared to his younger self. How exactly will this version of Leon deal with the crisis of Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness? We’ll find out soon enough.

Managing your expectations a bit

So, what can you expect from RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness when it comes? For starters, it’s a fully animated TV series that Director Eiichiro hopes would be easily digestible for everyone. It’s a series that reveals everything slowly, and eases you in on what’s happening with every bit of new information.

Secondly, while I’ve already mentioned Leon’s presence, you will also see Claire Redfield, another protagonist from Resident Evil 2. In the series, she serves as a volunteer for TerraSave based in Penamstan, and even does her own set of investigations. Where these investigations will take her, you’ll have to find out on your own!

Finally, there will be zombies and zombie killing, like a lot of it. I mean, it’s par for the course for the games to have zombie killing, so the anime series should include it. As for the zombies they will be killing, again, you have to watch the series to find out.

RESIDENT EVIL: Infinite Darkness will arrive on Netflix on July 8, 2021.

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