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3 months with the Samsung Neo QLED 4K TV

Extended quality time with a superb TV

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I was supposed to only have about two weeks to a month with the Samsung Neo QLED 4K TV. But the heightened restrictions due to the record number of Coronavirus cases in the Philippines extended that duration. Nearly three months in, and I’m now dreading my life without the TV.

We’ve already discussed at length the various features of the Neo QLED 4K TV — the QN85A model to be exact. In this article made in collaboration with Samsung, we detailed how it’s great for practically anything you’d use your TV for. Whether that’s for chill movie nights, binge-watching TV shows, and even next-gen gaming. This TV has it all.

But here, I’ll detail what it’s really like living with the TV for three months, what I love about it, and what I think Samsung can improve on.

The processor makes a world of a difference

Neo QLED

During the time I had the Neo QLED 4K TV with me, we also shot the video for the Samsung Crystal UHD TV. It’s another very good 4K TV offering by Samsung but one that’s a little friendlier to your wallet.

The one thing that jumped out at me is the speed by which I’m able to jump from one app to another, and launch various settings and features so much faster on the Neo QLED 4K TV. Other than the gaming and extra features that I’ll discuss more later on, it’s this very noticeable difference in speed that really hammers home the price gap (Around PhP 70,000/ US$ 1380) between the two.

Of course, there are other factors like the processor, materials used, and all the other extra smart features, but it’s this tiny quality of life addition that I think might be often overlooked when talking about these TVs. It’s also the processor that enables all these other extra features.

Extra feature

Since I’ve already broached on the topic, I figured I might as well discuss one of them here. I’ll jump right ahead to the one extra feature that I found surprisingly fun, if not helpful.

The Samsung Neo QLED 4K TV lets you display images from two different sources at once. It can be any combination of an app, any of the HDMI input sources, and even your smartphone.

Some combinations I’ve used are as follows:

VLIVE + Twitter on my smartphone — Every now and then, my favorite K-Pop idols go live on the VLIVE app. For real-time translations, I rely on the kind-hearted and hard-working KOR-ENG translators on stan Twitter.

PlayStation 5 + YouTube — I once tuned in to a product launch while playing an NBA 2K game. I don’t really need the audio on NBA 2K, especially if it’s just a quick exhibition game. This way, I still got to chill and play while still listening and glancing over the product launch.

Netflix + Analytics app — Some days I just have whatever show running for white noise, and then have Google Analytics show up on the screen so I can monitor the traffic on our website.

Is this burn-in? 

What I found most surprising is the burn-in like effect I experienced after coming from Game Mode. It’s silly to think this is actually burn-in as Neo QLED is fundamentally different from OLED.

But during the earlier weeks I spent with the TV, some elements of the pause screens from NBA 2K21 and Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut were left on-screen even after I was done playing.

Neo QLED

That NBA 2K logo isn’t supposed to show up there

I reached out to Samsung about this but have yet to receive a response. I’ll update the article when they comment on the matter.

That said, the “after-images” didn’t stick though. My solution was to turn off the TV for about 20-30 minutes. Sure enough, that did the trick. I also didn’t encounter this again towards the tail end of my time with the TV.

Speaking of things no longer happening after using the TV for a while, I experienced a few hiccups with Game Mode. Part of the TV being Smart is knowing when you’re playing or not. It knows when the HDMI for your console is active or not and toggles Game Mode on/off accordingly.

Game Mode glitch

During my first few weeks with the TV, there were instances when I would turn-off the PS5 but the Game Mode remained turned on. You have to dig through the settings menu to turn it off which was a bit of an inconvenience. But after a while, this also stopped happening.

In both experiences, it appears as if the TV learned from my usage pattern and adjusted accordingly. It’s one of the things about it that gives me confidence that the Neo QLED 4K TV gets a little better with time.

Other than the aforementioned, Game Mode delivers as advertised. I hit 4K/60fps consistently and gaming was nothing short of an immersive and cinematic experience.

Cinema at home

Perhaps my favorite thing about the TV, and what people mostly want to get out of their TVs, is the absolute cinematic experience. Especially now that cinemas are still closed in the country. The 55-inch TV was my primary movie companion.

Watching movies old and new from the various available apps — Netflix, Apple TV, HBO Go — was nothing short of a treat. Elevating the experience further is the accompanying Q600A Soundbar. If you’re a huge movie and TV buff, I cannot recommend enough to get a soundbar. The high-quality audio helps in bringing over that audio-visual excellence we miss while movie theaters remain closed.

This photo was taken on an iPhone 11 Pro. See the black bars up top, this is a shot of the TV. It looks this good up close.

I just know the watching experience is gonna be drastically different when I switch back over to my old TV that’s screaming to be replaced. This is peak picture quality the way you want to enjoy it. Whether you like watching exactly as the director intended, or if you’re into that super smooth, hyper-realistic setting you usually see when these TVs are on display, there are more than enough settings here to tweak things to your liking.

UI needs a refresh

Neo QLED

The UI isn’t terrible, but it’s due for a redesign.

Functionally, we’re pretty okay with the TizenOS running on Samsung TVs. But it’s due for a visual refresh. For a TV that’s pushing the edge in features, image processing, and panel quality, the UI is starting to feel dated.

Other than the look, Samsung can also work on getting better, faster access to certain settings. I don’t think this will happen any time soon, but I hope they’re able to apply some design principles from ONE UI to the TV to make it look more modern and feel more smooth.

Worth every penny

Samsung Neo QLED

Despite detailing some issues with Game Mode, I am still of the firm belief that the Samsung Neo QLED TV is worth your hard earned cash. Whether you go for 4K or push things further with the 8K model, what you’re getting here is a top-of the-line entertainment hub. One that will last you for years.

I’m already having separation anxiety as I type the last few words on this article. I consume a lot of media, and I’ve never had it delivered to me as good, as crisp, and as heart-thumping, as the Neo QLED TV.

It’s a TV I would absolutely recommend to anyone looking to splurge on a really good home entertainment centerpiece.

Buyer's Guide

PlayStation gift ideas for 2022: The best of the best

God of War: Ragnarök tops the list

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Gamers, rejoice! The Christmas season is finally here. That means it’s also the perfect time to secure PlayStation titles and peripherals to boost the gaming experience. Here are some of the best gift ideas for gamers on both PS4 and PS5:

UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection

This collection retails for PhP 2,490 and includes both critically acclaimed single player adventures, UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End and UNCHARTED: The Lost Legacy.

Dive into complex history from the point of view of thieves Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer. Its PlayStation 5 option is remastered with improved visuals and framerate.

God of War: Ragnarök

Already widely considered as the game of the year, Santa Monica Studio’s sequel to the 2018 God of War features Kratos and Atreus going on a mythic journey across nine realms together before Ragnarök arrives.

Kratos will use his weapons like the Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos as he puts everything on the line to fight for family while facing fearsome enemies from Norse gods to wild beasts.

God of War: Ragnarök is priced at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Horizon Forbidden West

From Sony comes an action RPG wherein Aloy braves the Forbidden West, a frontier that conceals mysterious threats.

The adventure will take gamers to a far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon where land is dying and vicious storms keep ravaging what’s left of humanity.

That said, it will be up to Aloy to uncover the secrets, forge alliances, and defeat the enemy to prevail.

Horizon Forbidden West is available at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7

For those into racing, Gran Turismo 7 brings together the very best of the Real Driving Simulator.

The game reintroduces GT Simulation Mode, on top of the head-to-head GT Sport Mode, GT Campaign, Arcade, and Driving School.

With over 420 cars available at Brand Central and the Used Car Dealership from day one and over 90 track routes including classics, Gran Turismo 7 promises both unparalleled detail and experience.

You can purchase the game for PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part 1

The multi-awarded game gets a PlayStation 5 treatment. Protagonist Joel smuggles 14-year-old Ellie out of a military quarantine zone, which jumpstarts a brutal cross-country journey.

This package includes The Last of Us single-player story and celebrated prequel chapter, Left Behind, which explores the events that changed the lives of Ellie and her best friend Riley forever.

The Last of Us Part I costs PhP 3,490 as well.

Gaming peripherals

As for accessories, you should get your hands on the DualSense Wireless Controller for PS5 which now comes in new colors. The controllers are now available in Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Galactic Purple, and Nova Pink, as well as Gray Camouflage.

It is available in all PlayStation authorized dealers starting at PhP 3,990.

Speaking of those colors, one can now customize their console itself with the PS5 Console Covers which are priced at PhP 3,090.

To complete the immersive gaming experience, the PULSE 3D Wireless Headset delivers with PS5 system’s Tempest 3D AudioTech and comes with dual noise-cancelling microphones.

It is available for PhP 5,590 in Midnight Black and Gray Camouflage.

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5 realme travel essentials for holiday vacation

Upgrade your holiday trips

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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.

realme 10

realme 10

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

realme Buds T100

realme Buds T100

 

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.

realme C33

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.

realme Pad X

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.

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Hands-On

Make moments tangible with Instax Square Link

Time to print those core memories!

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instax square link

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.

instax square link

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.

instax square link

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

instax square link

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?

instax square link

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.

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