Lifestyle

How a smartphone became my travel buddy

To Taipei 101 and beyond!

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I’m the kind of traveler who turns a trip abroad into a process. I plan beforehand, execute every planned move, and adapt to situations along the way.

Normally, this approach requires me to bring a handy notebook, high-quality mirrorless camera, and printed maps in my backpack. For my trip to Taipei, Taiwan, I tried something a little different.

This time, I set out to do everything on my smartphone, going from an analog kid to grownup with an all-in-one gadget. Being the traditional type, it was a bit hard to do, but finding the perfect travel buddy certainly wasn’t.

I’ve been using the Huawei P20 Pro as my daily driver for a while now, and I’ve been having a tough time letting it go for another handset, so it was, without a doubt, the first choice to spring to my mind.

With the phone in hand (and no old-school items packed), I set out to explore Taipei using only my newfound travel buddy.

Or maybe I still need to visual my routes on a bigger layout before heading out. This was me being stubborn and giving conventional maps one last look before going full digital.

A journey through Taipei means lots of eating and drinking. While searching for routes and places to visit on Google Maps, I make it a point to find highly rated restaurants and juice bars along the way.

Doing so in Taiwan is a cinch. Mobile internet here is incredibly fast for any standards, and quick searches on both Maps and Chrome take only a few seconds.

Taipei is the kind of city that requires a lot of walking and commuting to get around. For the longer train rides, I whip out my phone to play a game of Asphalt 9: Legends or Dragon Ball Legends — two games that require a lot of power to run.

Fortunately, the P20 Pro can handle both with ease. Not only is it powerful enough to max out the in-game graphics, its battery is long-lasting enough to get through the day even though I play hours’ worth of games, and that’s with mobile data always on.

Don’t let the low number of steps above fool you; even though it was already close to sunset, my day was just starting. Taipei wakes up at night with its numerous markets filled with fantastic food and affordable clothing.

To get from one point to another, there’s lots of walking involved. It’s great to have a smartphone that can readily show you how many steps you’ve taken at a glance so you know you’re burning all the food you ate.

Just to prove it, here’s me actually walking in the city. Aside from bringing the right travel companion with you, it’s also vital to dress up properly for the weather.

My annual trips to Taipei normally happen around June, which is when Computex goes on. During this season, it can get quite humid when the sun’s out, and a little chilly at night. It’s best to be prepared for both.

I must say, Taipei is a beautiful city — easily one of my favorites in the whole world. There’s no shortage of landmarks to see, but if there’s one you must visit, it’s Taipei 101. Once the tallest building in the world, the skyscraper is still a sight to behold no matter what angle you view it from.

For this shot, I chose to shoot it from below, and the P20 Pro handled the challenging lighting with ease. Every detail was captured, and there’s the option of zooming in for another take on the iconic view.

What’s great about having a phone with artificial intelligence built in is that it can detect scenes and subjects for you. This came in handy when I went around Taipei Zoo.

Although I was obviously going to take photos of animals at every turn, I liked how my phone could adjust settings on the fly and tweak images for me automatically.

At the end of the day, it’s nice to relax and scroll through all the photos I’ve taken while sipping from a cup of Taipei’s signature milk tea — even better when it’s on phone as attractive as the P20 Pro both inside and out.

There’s so much more you can do with the P20 Pro on a trip, but no travel piece can cover every single feature. For more, you can watch our hands-on video below.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei.

Cameras

The new Instax Mini 11 is here!

So many colors to choose from!

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Together with the X-T4, Fujifilm unveiled the latest in its popular instant camera model — the instax mini 11!

Redesigned for portability and ease of use, the new mini 11 comes in a fresh look! It’s now thinner, lighter, and has a rounded body design to fit perfectly in every user’s hands.

Additionally, it’s the first to feature an “Automatic Exposure” function. The mini 11 senses the level of ambient light, optimizing the output depending on the condition. This allows you to illuminate your photos — keeping both the subject and the background evenly lit. Say goodbye to washed out faces!

Another feature is Selfie Mode, which lets you take better selfies and closeup shots. To use this mode, you just need to pull out the lens’ edge.

What’s even more exciting is instax’s new film featuring marble-designed frames. There’s “Blue Marble” that comes in the usual mini-format instax film, and “White Marble” that comes with a square-format instax film.

The instax mini 11 is available in five pale colors: Blush Pink, Sky Blue, Charcoal Gray, Ice White, and Lilac Purple. Pricing and availability have yet to be announced.

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Apps

AdorableHome: What’s got everyone hooked?

Send help

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I have to preface this article with the fact that I struggled a bit to write it because I was mainly obsessing over the tiny details of my home in AdorableHome. I can’t stop and I need help. Being assigned this article was a bit of a mistake considering I have a tendency of fixating over details with games like these. I want everything nice to fill the void that is the impossibility of all this being ever real in my lifetime.

What is AdorableHome?

It’s everything I need to escape my miserable life. Jokes aside, AdorableHome is a cute simulation mobile game developed by HyperBeard. The game seems to be a tip of the hat to Neko Atsume by Hit-Point Co., Ltd. with cats being the surrounding theme.

The game starts off with you picking out your character and your partner. It’s lovely to see that the developers didn’t pre-select your partner to be exclusively the opposite sex. You begin with just having moved into a new flat with your partner with your charming cat.

What is love?

“Baby, don’t hurt me. Don’t hurt me, no more.” Back to the game. It’s interesting. It doesn’t really stop at having cats dominate your home. AdorableHome lives up to its name quite literally. The currency of the game is “Love” which you can obtain by tending to your cat: feeding, petting, and grooming. And, it doesn’t stop there.

The game has you prep a bento box for your partner and you earn “Love” from that too. Similarly, cute elements give collectable love: the weather, lucky TV shows, and visitors.

Cats aren’t the only catch

I think the thing that got me hook, line, and sinker into this game is the fact that you get to furnish and design the home you moved into. There’s just so much decorating and styling on top of taking care of the cats and it just incentivizes making sure the cats are taken care of.

I mean, I spent almost half an hour making sure the garden looked great. But, there’s more reason to switch out and jazz up every room you have access to: visitors.

Silly memories and cute visitors

Once you expand to the garden, you quickly encounter other adorable animals. Which brings me to another thing that makes you check the game every now and again: the silly animals that show up and the memories.

When you sometimes launch the game, it asks you to take a photo which then is transferred to a photo album that shows every sweet or silly interaction. On top of that, there’s just a quirky bunch of animals that visit your home. They appear and disappear at random but, it’s fun to spot unlikely creatures hanging around your home.

There is a polar bear on my desk chair. A POLAR BEAR. Okay, game, okay.

Not as easy?

AdorableHome is a twinge deceptive with its simplicity. The game doesn’t just highlight the collection of cats in your household. It strangely brings to light the responsibilities that having a pet entail. The game goes into lengths to have you feed, pet, cut their nails, and bathe them.

Granted the game does lend an unrealistic number of times to which you tend to their needs, it does try. A detail that I love and hate about bathing the cats in the game is maintaining the temperature at warm, not scorching nor cool.

Cheats and ways to get the good good

Syke! Don’t cheat boys, girls, unicorns, and dragons. Unless you want to take away all the fun of the game then, go ahead. Anyways, playing this game sort of came at a serendipitous time. I’ve been thinking of adopting a pet for a while. I love animals, reptiles included.

I did, at some point, even saved up to get a bearded dragon but, you get the point. It’s been a point of contention to get a pet. I haven’t been sure if I had stable finances to care for a kitten or a pup. But recently, I’ve managed to save up after getting off my antidepressants.

Long story short, I’m looking to adopt a cat soon. Where I live, security has been chucking cats and kittens into sacks for disposal so, I figured it was high time I took a cat safely home.

From this process, I’d come to realize the value in adopting over shopping. I grew up surrounded by a good bunch of both adopted and bought pets. Taking care of both was equally fulfilling but I think that shifts when you realized the attention and affection you give to an adopted pet.

Adopt don’t shop, responsibly

Most pets set for adoption have gone through some form of mistreatment. And, that’s not to say, all of them have. I know some pets up for adoption are well cared for and that’s what the caretaker or owner ultimately wants: a loving home. So, establishing boundaries and hurdling through some trauma, I think it’s safe to say adopting can be a bit more challenging yet, even more fulfilling.

If you’d like to give this game a go, AdorableHome is available only on GooglePlay for Android (for now).

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Lifestyle

Guy shoots low-cost prenuptial shoot using Pixel 4 XL

A smartphone can really do wonders!

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Engagement shoots are one of the things we look forward to. However, it usually comes with a hefty price and nerve-wracking preparations. From considering the location, arranging the permit, rentals, and whatnot — there’s so much to think about!

Luckily, one of our Matchketeers — Tyrone Galang — shared how he was able to pull-off a low-cost prenuptial shoot. Galang, who manages a travel community page called “Dito sa Tarlac” (Here in Tarlac), proves that even a Pixel 4 XL can do wonders — either when used to promote tourism or on a prenuptial shoot.

Galang told GadgetMatch how his friend asked locations perfect for prenuptial shoots. He then asked his friend the equipment they’ll be using whilst recommending Farmer’s Love Agri Farm and a big crochet tree from Asiaten Hotel. To his surprise, Galang’s friend said they’ll only use a smartphone since they don’t have a budget.

Stepping in, Galang offered to shoot using his Google Pixel 4 XL — his daily driver since December 2019 — despite not knowing how to shoot a prenup. When Galang and the couple were done shooting, they reviewed the photos they shot. Most of the photos were taken just like a point-and-shoot camera.

Galang lamented how it’s lame for a flagship smartphone to not have a wide-angle lens. Thus, he’s considering using a wide-angle lens moving forward. Nonetheless, Galang shared how his heart is filled with joy when he saw the couples’ excitement, surprise, and happiness.

“Such simple things we can do to do good to others is priceless, and the wonderful things a smartphone can do now is unbelievable.”

It was indeed priceless in more than one way. Galang says he, “didn’t earn a dime doing the shoot, but the joy it gave me and our friends — especially the couple — is the one I will treasure forever.”

Share your story

Have you captured amazing feats using just your smartphone? If you have stories, tips, and tricks you’d like to share with your fellow Matchketeers, reach out to our social media accounts and slide into our DMs. 😉

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