Features

Sony Bravia X95G and HT-X8500 Soundbar: Perfect home cinema combo

Netflix and chill like a boss

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Before the start of the 2019 I thought new TVs are mostly overrated. Brands will sell you on improved picture quality, better audio, and all of that, but a lot of it felt moot to me.

Every now and then we’ll see something that’s really eye-catching, but other than that, I didn’t think much of Smart TVs. But then I got to try one and I was impressed with what it had to offer. So when Sony offered one for us to experience one of their new ones, I jumped at the opportunity.

Notice how I said experience? That’s because that’s what this whole month with the Sony Bravia X95G and HT-X8500 soundbar — it’s the ultimate home theater experience.

Ultimate Netflix Experience

I hate to sound too hyperbolic but this TV and soundbar combo is truly a match made in home entertainment heaven. This is especially true if a lot of your entertainment revolves around Netflix.

The Sony Bravia X95G is one of few TVs that is recommended by Netflix. It has a Netflix Calibrated Mode so if you’re hooked on any of Netflix’s Originals, you will experience them the way its creators intended them to be experienced when you watch on this TV.

Even the remote control has a dedicated Netflix button that will take you right to the app. It’s also equipped with a mic so you can tell the remote what you want to watch and more often than not, it’ll get the title right.

Watching a few episodes of Vagabond on this TV was something else. The show has a cinematic level of production and it really comes through while watching on the TV. Female Lead Suzy Bae looks extra gorgeous and some scenes really feel like they’re right there with you in the living room.

Taking it up a notch with the HT-X8500 soundbar

What really rounds this up as one of the best experiences though is when you hook the TV up with the HT-X8500 soundbar. It’s not the “smart” soundbar that most other brands offer these days but that actually works in its favor. It’s literally plug and play.

It also doesn’t have any subwoofers you need to attach to it. Instead it has twin forward facing woofers. This not only gets the job done, but it also saves you some space.

With Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the soundbar is able to create this truly wraparound sound. If you dim the lights just right, it truly does feel like your own cinema right at the comfort of your own home.

Connect your consoles neatly

Cables are always messy and the way the Sony Bravia X95G deals with it is by having the cables have a path straight down to its two stands. This helps you come up with a clean setup when you connect whatever console you have at home.

Speaking of which, we connected a PlayStation 4 and the TV’s HDR tech kicked in right away. Right after firing up the PS4, the TV will prompt you to adjust the HDR for the best experience. You only have to do this once but can be adjusted anytime.

If you have more than one console, you need not worry. The TV has four HDMI ports. Three at the bottom and one at the side. It also has three USB ports for whatever you may need them for.

Everything good about Android TV

The Sony Bravia X95G is also an Android TV through and through. This means you get Android on TVs the way Google intended them to be experienced. It’s kind of like a Pixel but it’s TV. And just like the Pixel, this means you get security updates before any other Smart TV.

That said, Android TV still has plenty of room to grow. I would argue that LG’s WebOS and Samsung’s Tizen have come a long way in making sure the TV OS experience is more user-friendly and intuitive.

Not just for movies

Of course, you probably won’t only be watching Netflix on your TV. We don’t have a cable subscription so we can’t tell you how good it translates in this TV. What we do have is YouTube, and even the varying qualities of video uploaded on the platform translates nicely on the TV.

The Sony Bravia X95G is not OLED or QLED which appear to be the leading technologies in the space. It’s a more traditional HDR LED Screen but what really takes the picture quality to another level is Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor.

The chip is able to mimic the high dynamic range and deep blacks of an OLED. At this point, nothing will beat actual OLED but this is about as close as you can get. And it’s pretty darn close.

Just take a look at the photo below. It almost looks like I’m face to face with TWICE’s Momo. The Lord knows how I wish that to be true, but it’s just a TV — one with really amazing tech behind it.

The best home cinema combo

The Sony Bravia X95G starts at PhP 88,899 — that’s for the 55-inch variant. The unit we had was a 75-incher. Meanwhile, the Sony HT-X8500 soundbar costs PhP 22,299.

Together that’s about the cost of the same size OLED or QLED TV but if you get the combo, you already have for yourself what’s easily one of the best home entertainment systems one could ask for.

It’s an incredibly satisfying entertainment experience that would have you Netflix and chilling like a boss.

Features

Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Which flagship is your GadgetMatch?

Battle of two of the best smartphones on the market

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Announced just a day apart, the Mate 30 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are two of the best smartphones on the market today. They are the newest and best that Huawei and Apple have on offer. Not only do they offer the most advanced and optimized chipsets right now, they also offer a lot of new features.

Let’s see how they fare when compared side by side.

Display and design

Both the Mate 30 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max have gigantic displays at 6.53” and 6.5” respectively. The Mate 30 Pro’s Horizon Display is gorgeous, with the edges tapering that you don’t see the small side bezels when using the phone. The iPhone 11 Pro’s Super Retina XDR OLED Display is flat, with proportional bezels all around.

The Mate 30 Pro’s curved OLED display is not just for aesthetics, however. Having the display taper on the sides allow for side-touch interaction, so you can adjust the volume without having physical buttons. This can also be used as controls in certain games, such as aiming and shooting at the enemy.

They both have big notches that house not only the selfie camera but a variety of sensors for fast and secure face unlock as well. The Mate 30 Pro’s notch also allows for air gestures, so you can navigate your phone without touching the screen. This also allows for a Dual Biometric Authentication. Aside from face unlock, you also get a fast in-display fingerprint scanner as a biometrics option.

Flipping the phones around will show two completely different designs and finishes: Huawei has a glossy glass back, while Apple switched to a matte finish. The Mate 30 Pro also features a round camera module centered at the top of the phone. They’re calling this the Halo design and it gives the Mate 30 Pro a unique look. The iPhone, meanwhile, has a square module on the upper left corner of the phone.

Both Huawei and Apple make their own chipsets and both the Mate 30 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max get the latest and best they have to offer: Kirin 990 and A13 Bionic respectively.

The Mate 30 Pro offers bigger memory at 8GB, while the iPhone only has 4GB. The Huawei flagship also has expandable storage through a nano memory card, if the 128GB or the 256GB options are not enough. With the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you get either a non-expandable 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage.

User Interface 

Both Huawei’s EMUI 10 and Apple’s iOS 13 are fast. They both have dark mode, and a wide variety of new features.

On the Mate 30 Pro you can activate the Always On Display, so you don’t have to turn the display on when you want to check the time or certain notifications. 

Multiscreen collaboration is another useful feature on EMUI 10. If you own both a Mate 30 Pro and a MateBook X Pro for example, you can mirror your phone’s screen on the laptop and control the apps from there. You can drag and drop files easily and send and receive texts from your laptop as well. Using Huawei Share OneHop, you can transfer images, videos, and documents wirelessly as well. OneHop Screen Recording allows you to record the screen of your laptop by simply shaking your phone. OneHop Clipboard Sharing, you can copy any text on your phone and paste it on your laptop, and vice versa.

With the iPhone 11 Pro Max you can also do a similar integration with any Apple laptop as most things are synced. You can transfer files via AirDrop, send and receive messages and calls on your laptop, and with Universal Clipboard you can copy and paste text from your phone to your laptop, and vice versa. 

Battery life and charging

Huawei flagships have always been known to have long lasting batteries and the same can be said about the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. With its massive 4500 mAh battery, the phone can last a day and a half of heavy use, or two days with moderate use. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a smaller 3969 mAh battery, which lasts about a day of heavy use. 

When it comes to charging, the Mate 30 Pro is capable of Dual SuperCharge. It comes bundled with a super fast 40W charger that can get you to 100% full charge in a just a little over an hour via its USB-C port. A 15-minute top-up charges the phone to up to 40%. It’s also compatible with Huawei’s new 27W Wireless SuperCharge Go, which can charge the phone faster than most wired chargers available today.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro comes bundled with an 18W fast charger. Plugging the phone for 15 minutes will render over 25% charge, while a full charge takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Cameras

Most smartphones nowadays can already take amazing photos comparable to those taken with a professional camera. Both the Mate 30 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max have reliable and versatile cameras that you can depend on.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has three 12MP rear cameras: wide angle lens, 2x telephoto lens, and an ultra-wide angle lens. It also supports 4K video up to 60 fps and 1080p slow motion at up to 240 fps.

The Mate 30 Pro has four: a 40MP wide angle lens, 8MP 3x telephoto zoom, 40MP ultra-wide Cine Camera, and a 3D Time-of-Flight camera for depth sensing and low light images. This combination takes amazing photos, that DxOMark gave the Mate 30 Pro an impressive score of 131 points, making it the best smartphone camera for stills. The 40MP Cine Camera supports ultra low light video of ISO 51200, comparable to cameras used by professionals. It’s also able to take ultra slow motion video of up to 7680 fps which can capture bursting bubbles previously only possible with professional cameras.

During the day both phones take great photos, but sometimes differ in processing depending on the lighting condition. Food looks more appetizing on the iPhone, while backlit photos are handled better by the Mate 30 Pro.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max takes ultra-wide angle photos at a 4:3 aspect ratio, while the Mate 30 Pro captures them at 3:2.

At the front the iPhone sports a 12MP selfie camera, while the Mate 30 Pro sports a 32MP selfie camera. Selfies on the Mate 30 Pro have a slightly wider field of view, while the iPhone selfies are little bit tighter. Using the front facing 3D Depth Sensing Camera, it can capture a more accurate depth of field information when taking selfies as well.

Blue hour photos taken with both night mode turned on

When it comes to taking photos in the dark, while both the Mate 30 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max have night mode, they can hold their own even on auto mode. On the Mate 30 Pro you can switch to night mode manually if you want to, while on the iPhone the phone will have to detect it automatically. The Mate 30 Pro takes more vibrant photos at night and it also produced less noise compared to the iPhone. The Mate 30 Pro’s large sensor and RYYB color filter array allows it to let in more light making it the best smartphone for taking low light photos. 

At the end of the day, which phone takes better photos will depend on your preference. One will have an advantage over the other in different scenarios. 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is a good choice especially if you already have other Apple products to compliment it with.  The Huawei Mate 30 Pro offers versatility and solid features all around. Its battery life is unparalleled and doesn’t make you waste precious hours just to get it all juiced up. Its camera also takes consistently amazing photos regardless of the amount of light source available. With all the camera features available on the phone, you can even get creative and capture images you’ve never been able to before.

Whichever phone you choose, whether it’s for camera, battery life, price, or other features, the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Huawei Mate 30 Pro are phones you can depend on that you will be plenty happy with.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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Features

Five reasons why the MediaTek Helio G90T processor is special

The heart of Redmi Note 8 Pro

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Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipsets have commanded the market for a while now and a wide range of Android flagships are powered by the high-tier Snapdragon 855 chipset. However, MediaTek is trying to take over the midrange market where a large chunk of sales is concentrated.

A few months back, MediaTek showed-off the Helio G90T chipset that intends to be a perfect all-rounder. The company stressed its gaming capabilities, imaging might, as well as onboard AI processing. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8 Pro is powered by this processor and I’ve been using the phone for a while now. How does this chipset fare against Qualcomm’s offerings?

1. Powerful CPU combined with a mightier GPU

The Helio G90T consists of two ARM Cortex-A76 cores and six ARM Cortex-A55 cores, together making up for an octa-core setup with a maximum clock speed of 2Ghz. The chipset supports up to 10GB LPDDR4X RAM, however, the top variant of the Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with 8GB RAM.

For faster performance, UFS 2.1 storage is also supported. Gaming capabilities have been improvised thanks to Mali-G76 GPU that can be clocked till 800Mhz. You can breeze through games like Fortnite and PUBG on mid-level graphics.

2. More megapixels as well as more sensors

The industry has moved at a rapid pace in 2019 and within months we’ve shifted from 48-megapixel standardization to 64-megapixel. Keeping up with the trend, the Helio G90T gets along seamlessly with a 64-megapixel ISOCELL sensor that leverages quad-pixel technology for better low light pictures.

It also supports a plethora of sensors including a wide-angle lens, portrait sensor, and a macro camera. All of which are found onboard the Redmi Note 8 Pro. Slo-mo videos can be captured up to 240 frames per second and images can be saved in HEVC format to reduce size without compromising quality.

3. Dedicated AI processing

The chipset has two dedicated AI processing units that work in tandem with the CPU and GPU. Brands can directly use these cores for native processing of data. In the real world scenario, this helps in battery optimizations, gaming enhancements, as well as other image or video processing. The chipset has also been prepared to handle realtime assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, and more.

4. Dual SIM 4G support

Dual SIM phones have been here for ages, but the G90T can handle two 4G SIMs simultaneously. The modem is CAT 12 rated and supports faster speeds along with VoLTE, ViLTE, and VoWiFi. Rest assured, the chipset has a wide range of support across 175 networks around the world. No matter where you go, you will always be connected.

5. The cherry on the top: HyperEngine

It consists of several features that are designed to boost the performance of smartphone games. The chip supports HDR10 and also gets an intelligent network prediction engine that MediaTek says can sense when Wi-Fi quality is degrading and automatically use an LTE connection as a backup. Rapid Response helps with touch acceleration to improve in-game action-to-display speeds.

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Cameras

EZVIZ S2 Action Camera: A road trip companion

Dashcam and action camera in one!

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Nowadays, it’s hard to choose an action camera to accompany you on your adventures. Everyone’s top-of-mind is the popular GoPro Hero series and DJI’s new Osmo Action. However, I find these two cameras too much, both for me and my wallet.

On top of it, I’m not a professional adventurer nor a sports enthusiast who would need a high-end action camera. All I need is something I can take with me on my water activities to capture moments occasionally while I’m living in the moment. In search of an affordable action camera that would fit anyone’s budget, I found the EZVIZ S2 2-in-1 Action Camera, which also doubles as a dash camera.

Lightweight and small, this camera is easy to bring wherever you go.

It has a 2-inch IPS LCD touchscreen panel.

You can find an uncovered mini HDMI and micro USB port.

On the other side is the power and settings button which lets you navigate the camera and access different modes.

Found on top are its speaker grilles and shutter button…

… while the bottom sports the battery, micro sd slot, and a hole for the mounts.

While driving to the Bicol region in the Philippines, my friends and I used this camera momentarily to test its capabilities. Thankfully, this camera comes with mounts and accessories like a waterproof case in its box. However, it’s difficult to navigate it as a dash camera since you need to place it inside the case before you can mount it on your windscreen.

Furthermore, the case’s buttons need to be pressed hard. It felt like a marketing ploy since this camera could be better if sold as just an action camera.

But if you look at it on a different perspective, a 2-in-1 camera like this would be nice to have on road trips. Imagine finding a serene spot in the middle of nowhere, and you grab your dash camera. Instantly, you have an action camera to immortalize your precious moments.

Capture your adventures

Then again, if its capability as an action camera we’re talking about, the EZVIZ S2 is enough. Sure, we always want the best of the best. However, in some cases, we don’t really need an expensive camera.

For instance, most people don’t care about the camera you’ve used to take a photo. No matter how wonderful it is, they’ll care about the place, the way you took your photo or the story behind the moment you’ve captured.

This is the reason why it’s perfectly okay to use a cheaper action camera like the EZVIZ S2, in case you have doubts. The samples I took has good color reproduction, average white balance processing, and noticeable grains. Due to my incredibly high standards, I find it difficult to like the camera’s outputs — but my friends did. As I asked around, I find that most people have no qualms about the image quality.

The photo mode has three shooting options for you to choose from — Single shot, Burst, and Timelapse. The mode also gives you the option to shoot in different sizes: 2MP, 4MP, and 8MP. There’s a professional mode, too, in case you want to experiment with your shots. You can customize the white balance, adjust the ISO and exposure value, and even apply filters.

Better for videos

The EZVIZ S2 focuses on video recording. It has a dashcam mode with an emergency recording feature, which prevents the footage from being deleted. This is useful as a piece of evidence, especially during crucial and unforeseen accidents.

There’s also a video mode where you can record at 1080p in 50 fps. The camera can handle three different shooting modes such as video, video+photo, and timelapse. If 1080p is too much, there’s a 720p recording, too, which can cap off at 120fps for slo-mo recording. Additionally, there’s a pro mode for you to adjust your settings the way you like it.

Here are some stills that were taken from the video clips I shot. As long as there’s sufficient light, you can capture photos and videos without any worries.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The EZVIZ S2 2-in-1 Action Camera is perfect as a travel companion, especially for those who love taking road trips. You get an action camera and a dashcam in one for only PhP 4,299 (US$ 84), complete with mounts and accessories. You can choose between black, orange, yellow, and blue for the unit. For this price range, it’s a sweet deal. This is being distributed by VST-ECS Philippines.

This camera is also helpful for starters pursuing underwater and adventure photography; a stepping stone before they upgrade to more professional gear.

Moreover, the EZVIZ S2 is helpful when documenting your adventures every now and then. During my stint with this device, I realized that sometimes, we don’t really need the best. All we need is something that’s enough to capture precious moments while we live our lives to the fullest.

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