Samsung is setting their sights (or rather, their ears) on improving their premium soundbar lineup. Two new products — the NW700 Sound+ and Soundbar N650 — look to build a better fit for Samsung’s lifestyle and gaming market.
The NW700 Sound+ soundbar brings a new form factor to your walls. Touting a 41 percent smaller frame (compared to the previous model, the MS650), the 53.5mm soundbar sits snugly under most of thin, wall-mounted TVs out today.
The 3.1-channel soundbar sports a built-in subwoofer, which further optimizes sound quality while reducing real estate on your TV system. Also, digital signal processing cancels bass distortion even before they leave the speakers. As a trade-off, the NW700 won’t be supporting Dolby Atmos features.
Meanwhile, the Soundbar N650 caters to a market previously left behind by premium soundbars — gamers. The soundbar uses Samsung’s Acoustic Beam tech to specifically improve the gamer’s audio experience. Using this, it engineers a surround sound experience that takes you right to the action. Underneath, it touts two pipes flanked by tweeters at each end. Each hole acts as its own speaker. The two-pipe system enhances the panoramic sound experience delivered by the soundbar.
As if that wasn’t enough, the soundbar also includes a “Game Mode.” The specialized setting optimizes the system’s equalizer for gameplay. The soundbar automatically turns on the setting whenever a PS4 or Xbox One connects to a Samsung 2018 TV. With the feature, each bullet and every NPC booms through the system with the clarity of proper surround sound audio.
Finally, the N650 comes with Bluetooth connectivity for seamless streaming to Samsung TVs. It also supports Samsung’s One Remote Control system.
Both the NW700 Sound+ and Soundbar N650 were unveiled at the 2018 Samsung Forum in Rome. Samsung expects to release both products sometime later this year.
There’s a Neko Atsume VR game coming to the PS4!
Cat lady dreams come true
Remember Neko Atsume? The adorable, noncommittal mobile game that lets you collect cute cats and watch them do the silliest of things? Well, if you were one of the people who squealed over virtual pet cats and wanted to hop into the game, you might want to warn your friend for some intense screams. Neko Atsume VR is an actual game that’s coming to PlayStation 4.
The game was first announced in September last year but had no details on when it was going to launch. Well, all the cricket noises have cleared out and the developers, Hit-Point, just announced that Neko Atsume VR will be launching for the PlayStation 4 on May 31. Before you get too excited though, the game will, unfortunately, be available only in Japan — for now.
But this doesn’t stop us from checking out the features before Hit-Point releases it worldwide. In Neko Atsume VR, you can place snacks, toys, and items in your yard. Players will have to buy these items from the shop. You can take photos and watch your cats grow in numbers. Admittedly, the game is not too different from your typical Neko Atsume but it’s still a cat lover’s dream come true.
The selling point is undeniably clear: to immerse yourself in the cute cat world and to interact with them in ways you couldn’t have before. Neko Atsume is still in the works seeing as Hit-Point has only integrated 20 types of cats you can collect. That’s not even half as many as the ones you could collect on the original version.
As of now, the rest of the world will have to wait it out since it’s, again, only available in Japan on May 31.
I lost 15 pounds with the iWOWNfit i5 Plus
No, I didn’t get abs and that’s not the point
Okay, maybe 15 pounds (6.8kg) is a bit of a stretch, but it’s true that the iWOWNfit i5 Plus has been a handy companion in my bid to lose weight and be a little more fit.
I started this weight loss journey at 195 pounds (88kg) and now I’m at roughly around 180-ish pounds (82kg). It’s not a lot and I’m just about halfway through my target, but the progress I have made is pretty encouraging.
Tracking my steps
I got the iWOWNfit i5 Plus roughly around 8 to 10 weeks ago and that’s when I really started keeping tabs on my activities. Like any fitness wearable worth its salt, it helps you track your steps daily. It also comes with an app so you can see how many steps you’ve averaged over a certain period of time.
I used the first week or so to establish a baseline. I walk to and from work a lot but even then, I only averaged around 4,000 steps a day. To actually slash some fats off of my beautiful body, I needed to do more.
Adding hoop time
The easy solution was to run, right? Not for me. I hate it. I think it’s absolutely the most boring activity ever, so I had to find something that would force more movement out of me, but it had to be something I enjoyed. I turned to basketball.
I have always believed that the key to pursuing anything is that you have to truly enjoy it. Even on days when you feel like you hate it, deep down you know you love what you’re doing, so no matter how tough, you’ll power through. That’s exactly what basketball is to me. While the feeling isn’t exactly mutual just like many of my romantic pursuits, I stuck with basketball and continue to play because I truly enjoy it and it has helped produce results.
It’s also pretty handy that basketball is one of the activities that the iWOWNfit i5 Plus can track. If basketball’s not for you, it does track other activities like training, cycling, swimming, and many others.
To reach the weight goal I set for myself, I needed to average around 10,500 steps daily. Once I found this out, I tried playing ball as much as I could. Some days I get to actually play against some guys, but most of the time, I’m by myself so I built a routine that would push me to 10,000 steps or so.
Trust the process
On days that I do play actual games, I push close to 18,000 steps which is way over my requirement. Seeing that you can exceed your daily goals provides you with a lot of motivation to push further.
On days that I don’t get to play, I see to it that I walk a few extra blocks before actually going home just to make sure I hit my daily goal. More than anything, this is the biggest help that I got from the iWOWNfit i5 Plus. While I’ve tried and failed to lose weight before, putting a number on my daily target made me more aware and helped make sure that I was progressing.
If you’re wondering if I changed my diet, I didn’t. At least, not drastically. I still eat a lot of fast food junk but I did lower the portions. The keys to me losing my first set of 15 pounds was more because I knew the number I had to hit daily and I chose an activity I can sustain.
Just the beginning
The iWOWNfit i5 Plus, which you can get from Amazon for US$ 19, does a few other things too. It functions as a watch, can monitor your heart rate, shows your text messages, and through the app, set an alert that makes it vibrate to let you know that it’s time to get moving.
As I mentioned earlier, this journey doesn’t end here. My next step is probably being more mindful about what I eat. Maybe we’ll have some gadget or app that can help me with that.
If you’re wondering why there aren’t any before and after photos here, that’s because I didn’t really take any. I was skeptical about my own discipline but having something to help me track my progress was a big plus.
I’ll leave you with this full body shot. I’m still pretty chunky but I’m proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far. If I get the chance to try a different fitness band, maybe I’ll take a similar photo and we’ll see then if there’s any improvement.
Pink Gold Huawei P20 hands-on: A beautifully subtle gradient
The prettiest of them all!
When Huawei’s newest flagships were announced, we heard collective gasps of anticipation from color-loving smartphone users the world over as a blue-purple gradient phone was unveiled. Dubbed as the “Twilight” color variant, it has quickly become the “it” phone of this season’s handset color palette — and with good reason: It’s one beautiful phone.
But, it’s not the only pretty phone of the bunch.
This is the Huawei P20 in Pink Gold.
It comes in a beautiful muted rose hue — it doesn’t scream pink but the delicate color is just enough to get you to do a double take when you see this eye-catching shade.
You’ll soon notice that this device is not only pink; it has a subtle gold and pearl gradient. Holding it up to the light makes this effect most apparent. But, even in this photo set, I felt like we didn’t do justice to the glory of this new color. So, we shot you a video, too:
And another one…
This beautiful gradient phone has me 😍😍😍
— Isa Rodriguez (@sisasaid) April 17, 2018
Aside from the beautiful glass back, this phone has aluminum sides and gracefully curved corners. There’s a USB-C port and speakers at the bottom, but no audio jack (sorry, folks!).
It feels as premium as it looks in my hands and this 5.8-inch phone fits perfectly in my dainty girly hands.
The rear is equipped with two cameras: A 12-megapixel standard camera and a 20-megapixel monochrome shooter make up the Leica combo. These cameras are famed for their AI stabilization — blurry low-light shots are a thing of the past with this phone’s four-second handheld photo capabilities. (More on that in my coming review.)
This device has a notch, but only if you want it to have one! The P20 has a setting that allows you to hide it if it’s not your thing. Said notch houses a 24-megapixel front-facing camera for all your selfie needs.
Bezels on this thing are almost non-existent, which means more screen! The narrow chin still houses that fingerprint sensor in front.
Powered by Huawei’s top-tier processor with 4GB of memory and ample storage at 128GB, the handset runs on Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI 8.1. All that means is you get some pretty good specs wrapped in this very pretty package.
Of course, I’d have to do a full review to see what this device can truly offer but as of now, it’s looking pretty good.
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