Features

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch for the Multimedia Creative

There’s more than just the S-Pen

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra represents the current pinnacle of the Galaxy Note line. That’s why it’s not far fetched to think that it can seamlessly add value to people from different walks of life.

In this first of a three-part feature, we’ll explore how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra can be reliable partner for three specific people:

  1. The Manager
  2. The Casual User
  3. The Multimedia Creative

The One That Got Away

Let me start this piece by reminiscing the old times first. If you’ve read some of the articles I’ve written not so long ago (see here and here), I stated how I’ve been switching to Android smartphones every now and then because of some features that I simply don’t get in an iPhone.

Owning the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 four years ago was both a blessing and a curse. It was the perfect phone for someone like me who was still an undergraduate of Multimedia Arts.

The S-Pen did its magic and I loved how its single camera performed. But to simply end this melancholy, it didn’t last that long — like a fleeting relationship of sorts.

Old Habits Die Hard

By old habits, I mean the good ones. Of course, I was one among tens and thousands of Note users before — and I’m still fond of using the S-Pen even after those years.

The moment I heard that I’ll be doing a review of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, I was trying not to be ecstatic. Suppressing emotions isn’t healthy but being able to do so is a testament that most artists love keeping what they feel inside rather than being blatant about it 😂.

As an old Galaxy Note user, I was able to restore some of those files four years ago. I’m lucky that Samsung Cloud already existed before. Though not every file was backed up, I’m still glad it restored some of my drawings and notes in the Samsung Notes app (formerly S-Note). Even hideous notes made by my college batchmates were still there. Oh such nostalgia.

A True Work of Art

To be very perfectly honest, I’m amazed by how the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra improved over its predecessor last year. While everyone was complaining about the large camera bump, I was instantly hypnotized — especially with the fact that there are large sensors beneath that glass casing.

Again, for someone who has big hands, it honestly feels just right. It’s a true gem especially if you rock the Mystic Bronze colorway. It looks elegant and classy wherever you place it — even beside a messy paint palette.

When I had that free time, I brought out my canvas and painted just to release my inner artistic demons. It wasn’t in this shot but some of that white acrylic paint splattered onto its back. Luckily, it was easy to clean and didn’t leave any mark especially because of its matte glass back coating.

Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

The new Samsung One UI isn’t really new to me. In fact, I’ve used the Galaxy S20+ just months ago. Although Apple’s iOS simply does most of my work faster and snappier because of the simpler User Interface (UI), I easily got used to Samsung’s user experience again. In fact, I replaced the built-in launcher with a custom one called Lawnchair 2 just to show my inner artistic side through the phone I use — which I wasn’t able to do last time.

If you’re like me who uses Facial Recognition (like Apple’s Face ID) a lot, this smartphone feels insecure because of the lackluster Face Unlock feature. But in times like this when we’re always required to wear a mask, the in-display fingerprint scanner, is once again, handy. Though not the fastest, it still gets the job done and something you’ll get used to eventually.

Work Hard

Something to consider when using this phone (especially for work) is its form factor. Most of you don’t want a large (some say monstrous and gigantic) smartphone like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but for me, it felt so good especially because it’s slim and light enough even for an almost 7-inch smartphone. I even managed to type one-handed while replying to our group chat in Telegram.

During my time with the phone, I was able to use Samsung Notes more than ever. I don’t want to get too specific but the new latency rate of 9ms (milliseconds) feels like you’re really writing on a paper. Jotting down notes was smooth enough for my liking.

With the gesture navigations, switching between apps is easy too! I love how I can switch between one app to another without a background app refresh. You can even resize the Notes window if ever you need to scroll through another app while writing on the other. I love this feature!

The ability to have 5G connectivity in the Metro was a total breeze. I was able to upload a 2GB file in just minutes. Even downloading a 1GB file took less than two to three seconds! This is totally helpful for me as a video editor who sometimes steps outside for errands while waiting for work updates on Slack.

Play Harder

Back then, stylus in phones were only meant for business-centric users. It may still be the thing today but Samsung’s revolutionary S-Pen and Note line serve more than work-minded individuals. As artists, our creativity doesn’t stop just in the work we do. In fact, we get even more creative in our spare time with passion projects or whatever tickles our fancy.

I’m not a die-hard mobile gamer but I need to say this part. Though this isn’t the Snapdragon 865-version, Samsung’s Exynos 990 was able to deliver that needed power when I played Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty Mobile (CoDM). During my gameplay, I never experienced casual lags and stutters. Albeit, the phone ran a little hot especially if there’s not enough air supply and ventilation around you.

Some of you may know that I’m a die-hard Orbit. Although I haven’t published it yet, I edited my unboxing video of LOONA’s crown lightstick using Adobe’s Premiere Rush. Again, editing using the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra was smooth AF even if the video is in 4K (UHD) resolution.

Spoiler alert: Focus was crazy fast even in Manual Video Mode thanks to the inclusion of the Laser AF (Autofocus)

I captured the whole setup using this phone and I’m amazed with how the cameras performed in video. (Photo samples come at the latter part of this article)

The photo above is, again, a proof of how great its cameras are. It managed to capture the real colors of the painting I did. Letting the paint splatter onto the canvas is a great way to release those bad energy that’s been stuck in your head for a while.

Using the Unfold app is better with the stylus — which I can’t do on my iPhone

There’s no problem running creative apps in this smartphone especially because we know how power-packed it is. If you’ve been looking where I layout my shots for IG stories, here’s the listicle to help you out.

Even when you use post-processing apps like Adobe Lightroom Mobile, VSCO, and Snapseed, you’ll simply get stunning results. The S-Pen stylus would help you adjust curves with ease while its vibrant display is helpful enough because of its color accuracy.

The Fear of Missing Out

Just like any other artist, we get exhausted so we rest to recharge our creative juice. Of course, I wouldn’t miss the chance of doing the things I love with this smartphone.

LOONA’s Voice — simply angelic and jaw-dropping

With my pair of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+, I was able to enjoy LOONA’s new Extended Play (EP) titled ‘12:00‘. The song I played above makes me forget my problems somehow. Try listening to this magical album if you have time.

My Bae.. Suzy… I mean Seo Dalmi lookin’ slick in that CEO getup

Of course, it wouldn’t be a great experience without having to try its glorious 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED display. Though in this particular scenario, I was able to watch my favorite K-Drama ‘Start-Up’ (스타트업) while jotting down the characters and some jargons the characters use in the series. And yes, I know how to write in Korean (한글). Just don’t judge my writing style.

PEN UP + START-UP = LEVEL-UP

After binging five episodes of the series for over three hours, I was able to get my much needed recharge that I decided to sketch a young girl on a swing using Samsung’s built-in PEN UP app — just like how the company’s logo looked like in the drama. Though this isn’t a 1:1 ratio, being able to sketch as easy as sliding the S-Pen out is really a nice feature to have in a smartphone that you can’t simply do elsewhere.

Of course, there are more sketching apps in the Play Store you can try such as ibis Paint X, SketchBook, Infinite Painter, among others.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

People who know me are aware that I’m very nit-picky when it comes to cameras — let alone smartphone cameras. In this section, I’ll discuss what makes and breaks the cameras of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

With no surprise, photos taken with the 108-megapixel Main Sensor (Wide-Angle) deliver stunning results. The colors pop and there’s enough bokeh when doing close-ups. With the added inclusion of the Laser AF (that was absent in the Galaxy S20 Ultra), it helps the main sensor shoot moving objects without blurring out the main subject.

Even the Laser AF works well with optically-zoomed shots.

ICYMI: The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s optical zoom maxes out at 5x (and up to 50x Hybrid Zoom — more on that later).

Speaking of zoom, this smartphone has three sensors (including the 12-megapixel Ultra-Wide and Telephoto lenses) that handle the job very well especially with the presence of natural light.

Wide | 5x Zoom

Just like how I stated earlier, the cameras are superb! This is actually how the painting looks like in real life. The colors look vibrant just like the variations of acrylic paint I threw onto the canvas.

Wide | Ultra-wide

For the most part, it’s also able to capture HDR-rich photos whether you use the ultra-wide or wide lens. In this particular example, both lenses were able to capture the subtle rays of a rainbow with a close consistency in WB (White Balance).

But this isn’t a perfect camera after all

One minor thing I noticed (that I don’t like) is when I shoot food. There’s a weird radial blur-situation going on in these two photos. The first one is a 짜파게티 (jjapagetti) while the other is a spaghetti and chicken combo. Just look at the outer field of focus and you’d see that circular motion blur coming out.

Another problem I encountered is the inconsistency in AF (autofocus) and AWB (Auto White Balance). These photos were taken seconds apart — same focal length, same lighting condition, same position. You can see how details in the bag, shirt, and even the wall got blurred out in the second photo. The first photo is closer to reality with its warmer tone while the second photo got bluish in tint.

Not that it’s a big deal but this is a reminder for future buyers that the telephoto sensor takes blurry photos — though there’s a camera reminder whenever it detects if a photo was blurred. Again, not a big fuss for something that will be posted on social media. It’s just something worth pointing out that can be fixed via software updates or maybe in the next Galaxy Note (and even the upcoming S) series.

50x Zoom | 15x Zoom

Finally, here are shots of the moon and two birds on an electric wire. They honestly look commendable but what breaks this category for me is the fact that Samsung’s camera software processing in ultimately-zoomed shots look so smeared that details are barely visible.

I get that they’re still trying to develop this technology and I know this is a good thing for smartphones. Still, it’s something worth to consider especially with how they hyped up “Space Zoom” during the launch of the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

For artists who also want great selfies, here’s how that single punch-hole camera performed.

Portait OFF | Portrait ON

The beauty filter is turned off in both of these shots but I guess there’s still some smearing going on after you hit the shutter button.

Is the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fit for a Multimedia Creative?

If you’ve reached this part, you would already know if its meant for you. Of all the apps I’ve used for sketching, editing, and even processing my photos, this is obviously the ultimate smartphone for a Multimedia Creative.

If you like scribbling and sketching, the S-Pen does the job in which other phones can’t. Other than that, if you’re someone like me who uses the rear cameras often, it’s also a great companion for taking great snaps without ever worrying about the quality.

Considering this as your new smartphone this 2020 wouldn’t be a problem if you have the purchasing power. But if you’re hesitating because of its hefty price tag, the Galaxy Note 20 would be a better substitute minus the elegance and other nifty features. If you’re an Illustrator or a Graphic Artist who’s looking for a bigger device plus the glory of the S-Pen, I’d recommend the Galaxy Tab S7+ instead.

Overall, its blazing-fast performance paired with a lot of creative and productivity apps, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is simply one of the best (if not the best) smartphones out there that creatives would love and enjoy using in the next few years — especially that Samsung has promised software updates of up to three years with this smartphone.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch For The Manager | Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: GadgetMatch for The Casual User

First Look

Infinix Note 11s Unboxing and First Impressions

Professional-looking gaming phone!

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We’re approaching the end of the year soon, but it seems like Infinix just isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. They’ve just recently introduced their newest gaming-focused smartphone — the Infinix Note 11s.

Let’s take a look at what this bad boy has to offer.

Box that stands out 

My first experience with an Infinix device was with their Hot 10s and to be honest, I wasn’t really feeling their previous box design. Infinix had a revamp of their packaging with this more sophisticated and minimalist-looking neon-green color which just pops above the other smartphone boxes you’ll see in smartphone stores. 

Taking the top cover off the box, we’re immediately greeted by the phone, and right underneath it are the accessories.

A clear jelly case, a SIM ejector pin, a USB-C cable, and a 33W fast charger. Unfortunately, no earphones in sight.

Big but not bulky 

The phone itself is shockingly big, sporting a massive 6.95-inch, FHD+, 120Hz refresh rate with a 180Hz touch sampling rate IPS display. That’s just a little shy of a 7-inch device but manages to impressively maintain a relatively slim body despite also carrying a 5,000mAh battery.

You’re still obviously going to need two hands to operate this, but at least the back case is a textured plastic which feels good to grip.

It also has a rather professional-looking design that doesn’t give away the feel of a gaming phone.

In a recent news article I came across, more affordable phones might soon lose the audio jack. Thankfully, we’re still getting that here on the Note 11s, and it’s placed on the bottom of the device beside the USB-C charging port and the speaker grille.

Like its sibling, the Infinix Note 11, we’re also getting a side-mounted fingerprint scanner comfortably placed on the right side of its matte silver frame.

The camera

Just as you would expect from a more premium smartphone, the camera design on the Note 11s looks really good. It rocks a triple camera setup that has a 50MP f1.6 main shooter and a 2MP macro sensor with a 2MP depth sensor. 

And for the selfie camera, Infinix went with a 16MP shooter for this one, and it’s placed right in the middle of the display in a punch hole design.

Quick rundown of the specs

The Note 11s is packing some serious firepower under its hood. It has the new MediaTek Helio G96 chipset baked in it. The new chipset is the successor to the Helio G95 chip, a very popular chipset that has had quite a following because of its exceptionally good performance. A smartphone with the G95’s successor might prove worthy of its promises of performance.

Paired with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB UFS 2.2 internal storage, we’re looking at a phone which can do serious damage for gamers.

I won’t be diving into gaming tests right now, but I’ve already tried it with a few games like Genshin Impact. So far, the results have been very promising, so better watch out for our full review, if you’re interested in knowing more about that.

Price and availability

The Infinix Note 11s is priced at PhP 9,990 and is available in this Mithril Gray or Haze Green color variant.

Infinix is slashing off PhP 800 from its original SRP for its launch promo price of PhP 9,990 to only PhP 9,190 on November 30 and December 1.

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Features

Why I trust Samsung’s Knox security

A nod to the security platform that makes me feel safe and protected

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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.

Samsung Galaxy Watch4 | Samsung Health

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. 🙏

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24 Hours Series

24 Hours in Nasugbu

A dreamy sea-scapade through the lenses of the Xiaomi 11T Pro

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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.

That camera cutout looks more acceptable vs Mi 10T Pro’s hump

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.

Night | Ultra-Wide vs Wide

I went outside to get some breezy night air while I let my hair dry. Unfortunately, beaches are closed past 9 in the evening.

Night | Ultra-Wide vs Wide

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.

Portrait ON | Portrait OFF

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.

Ultra-Wide vs Wide

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?

Ultra-wide vs Wide vs 2x digital zoom

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.

Night UWA | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

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.

Wide | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

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.

UWA | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

But when you switch to that even wider Ultra-Wide Angle (UWA) lens, the Xiaomi 11T Pro was once again inconsistent AF.

2x | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

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.

Wide | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

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.

HDR UWA | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

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.

HDR Wide | Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro

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.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11T Pro vs Mi 10T Pro: Camera shootout

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.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Post-processed in VSCO

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).

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

I then took over the Xiaomi 11T Pro and took more photos of her.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

This is a testament that bragging #NoFilter shots are senseless. Color-grading shots adds more life and story to your photos.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Shots by @vincenzlee | Post-processed in VSCO

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.

Not sure if I’m the father or the big child of this circle 🤔

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.

Quick note

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.

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