Features

Sony Xperia XZ launched in PH: hands-on and gallery

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We’ve seen the new Sony Xperia XZ up close at IFA 2016 in Berlin, where it was first revealed in September. Since then, the Android flagship has made its way to the U.S, Europe, India, Japan, and other parts of the world. And now, it’s making its way to the Philippines in time for the holidays.

The Xperia XZ, Sony says, combines the best technologies of Sony’s Xperia X and Z range of premium devices, particularly in the camera department, where it hopes to stand out. According to Sony, consumers want a great camera on their phone so the Japanese tech firm set out to deliver what they want by jamming as much tech as possible into a moderately sized and angular device that’s a joy to hold.

[irp posts=”4287″ name=”IFA 2016: Sony launches flagship Xperia XZ, adds smaller X Compact”]

It’s also great that most of the exterior makes use of “alkaleido” metal, which gives the phone a shiny-but-not-too-shiny surface. In the hand, it feels a tad slippery, though, so we think it’s best to pair it with a durable aftermarket case.

The Xperia XZ combines the best technologies of Sony’s Xperia X and Z range of premium devices, particularly in the camera department.

There’s a fingerprint scanner embedded right into the physical home button on the right-hand side of the body. The placement may be ideal for the majority because the button sits where the thumb of a right-handed person would naturally land. Sorry, left-handed folks. Positioning the volume rocker too far below the power key isn’t something we’re happy about. Mobile photographers, meanwhile, will appreciate the convenience of the hardware shutter key on the side.

And this being a proper Sony flagship model, the phone is IP68-rated, so prolonged exposure to liquids shouldn’t be a problem. But do keep in mind that Sony’s fine print says not to dunk the XZ in water and not to expose it to pool or salt water. It also has two front-facing speakers that are satisfyingly clear and loud. Their placement is a boon for those who love playing games on their mobile device.

As for the engine room, expect to see a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage (for the version that will be sold in the Philippines). And while it’s unfortunate that Sony didn’t bump up the memory of its latest top-end handset — and it hasn’t since the days of the Xperia Z2 — the XZ never felt sluggish while we were poking around on the interface.

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Sony has opted for the USB-C standard for the XZ, as well as a 2,900mAh battery with adaptive, fast-charging technology, which the company claims will prolong the life of the battery — and by extension, the phone.

This being a proper Sony flagship model, it’s IP68-rated, so prolonged exposure to liquids shouldn’t be a problem.

Still, the biggest attraction by far is the 23-megapixel rear camera on the XZ. It comprises three key elements: an image sensor for capturing fast-moving subjects; lasers for measuring distance and improving autofocus speeds; and an RGBC sensor for true-to-life colors. The XZ is also capable of shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second, except without the benefits of optical image stabilization.

In our brief time with a test unit, we found the main camera to be a solid performer, though we prefer the color reproduction of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and iPhone 7 Plus. The 13-megapixel selfie camera takes great selfies and has a wide-angle lens to fit more people in one shot.

In the Philippines, the XZ will be offered in three color options — blue, black, and silver — for P37,990 ($790) and will be available from November 18.

As a quick aside: Don’t hold your breath for an Xperia X Compact release locally; Sony won’t be bringing it to the Philippines this year or anytime soon. We’re told the market goes for bigger phones, as opposed to smaller ones that cost just as much.

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Automotive

Ford Everest Sport: Ideal companion for out-of-town reunions

Spacious enough to carry laughter, tears, and new memories

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2021 Ford Everest Sport

The beauty of being an adult is you can make a new family with new traditions.

Words from Captain Raymond Holt from the iconic comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Words I held dear these past few years when I built a family through friends I met along the way.

It’s been two years since we’ve seen each other with the pandemic separating us. My friends-turned-family decided to plan a holiday reunion and celebrate all occasions we can squeeze in a few days. Unlike when we were younger, we can’t throw ourselves in different cars and commute by bus whenever we have a trip.

What changed is that one of my dearest brothers had an adorable son on the onset of a pandemic — which led us to find a suitable car that can bring us all together safe and sound.

Luckily, Ford Philippines responded to my request and lent me the Ford Everest 2.0L Sport 4×2 Automatic. I was about to sacrifice my dignity and ask one of my suitors to drive us around. That or we’ll be renting a car. Thank god, I didn’t. Whew!

So handsome, I could kiss you

2021 Ford Everest Sport

When the Everest Sport arrived, I was stunned by its size, color, and overall vibe. It looked handsome and reliable, especially with that Deep Crystal Blue color. Somehow, it made me want to cradle my fingers across its body.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

If I would personify the car, the Everest Sport would be the guy in reunions who wore dark, neutral clothes, seemingly unusual and brooding with mystery as he kept quiet in the corner. He’s totally reserved, but we know he can totally punch above his weight class.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

Both the exterior and interior were designed smart and sleek, hosting features that everyone would rave about — not just techies, geeks, and drivers alike.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

Everything is so damn reachable through the vast number of buttons that you can find on the steering wheel.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

It’s a learning curve especially for the old-school drivers, but the youngsters appreciate modernity since it prioritizes safety, convenience, and ease.

Before we hop on a long trip up north to Pampanga, we decided to drive it around Alabang, so we can test it and stroll together with my godson.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

Big space for the big boys

The Ford Everest 2.0L Sport 4×2 Automatic is a 7-seater SUV. If you’re going to occupy the third row, there’s barely space left for the compartment.

Since we’re only five adults and our adorable toddler refuses to sit in a booster seat, we folded the backseat flat so we can have a bigger cargo area.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

It was roomy enough to place the baby stroller, along with our backpacks carrying our essentials: Laptops, extra clothes, care packages for the baby, and drinks.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

I had to sit in the second row this time so I can take a few photos. I had one of my best friends, Oliver, take the wheel while my other best friend, Mark, is in charge of navigation and DJ-ing.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

From afternoon to dusk, and even in the evening, the Everest Sport made us feel safe while driving around — especially with its bright LED headlamps. Some find it blinding and annoying, but it was quite helpful to us when driving in dimly-lit streets around the metro.

L-R: Oliver, MJ, JM, Mark, Matthew (Solo)

Excellent off-road capability

2021 Ford Everest Sport

One of my best friends, Mark, took the steering wheel at some point due to his better grasp of driving at night. Blessed be his excellent eyesight 🤲🏻

Off the road, here we go!

Throughout the long drive to Pampanga, I had put my faith in my best friend, Oliver (and Jesus, somehow) who took the steering wheel.

My other best friend, Mark, took the family through a Manual Transmission Mitsubishi Mirage for an exhausting drive to get to the venue on time. (It was old and creaking, I pity my friend’s knees and feet throughout the trip.)

2021 Ford Everest Sport

L-R: Oliver, JM, MJ

The Everest Sport became a storage solution, loading most of our suitcases and heavier baggage (bags, not feelings). By evening, we took the Stage 3 Skyway to reach North Luzon Expressway so we can enjoy a smooth, quick ride.

Just when I thought we’d be set for the rest of the night, we stumbled upon a muddy, uneven road full of craters on the way to the resort. While I commend my friend for crossing the off-road smoothly, the Everest Sport proved that it can take a beating — rocks and all.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

Aside from the strength of its alloy wheels, the Terrain Management System and smart driving assistance features, together with the Everest Sport’s excellent suspension system, contributed to our victory in overcoming our sudden obstacle.

All things considered, the Everest Sport felt like an off-road truck but with a veneer of a family car.

Do you like it reverse or parallel?

We were the last car to arrive at the resort. Luckily, parking is a breeze with Everest Sport’s Enhanced Active Parking System. Whether you do reverse or parallel parking, the car can help you with its rear view camera.

Though, in a way, the vehicle knows how to park on its own. You just need to maneuver and assist the vehicle as it does the heavy lifting.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

After unloading our baggage (again, literal bags and not feelings), we were delighted to set our sights on a Korean-inspired table to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Lots of lettuce, grilled meat, side dishes, and Soju filled our tummies. It was a night to remember.

Like home but on the road

The next day, we drove around Angeles to pick up a cake for a baby shower, have lunch, and head to San Fernando, Pampanga for our annual Christmas reunion.

We don’t have the luxury to celebrate around December, what with all the flights abroad and going our separate ways to grow our own families. It was the season to squeeze in all the celebrations that we can.

This time around, we had more passengers. If there’s one thing that everyone keeps muttering: It’s so comfortable. The leather seat felt premium and kept us warm even if it was wintry inside.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

There was enough legroom for both the power-adjustable driver seat and the passenger seat. Even the rear seat on the second row has enough space, except for the middle part. Whoever sits there might find it close-fitting since the driveshaft tunnel passes through with a hump.

In our case, it was Lorraine — the group’s mom who kept her toddler in place, playing around with the car’s temperature through a knob he discovered as he was snugged tightly in the middle.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

Nevertheless, we were all eager to go around Pampanga. I’m still astounded with how safe and cozy everything was when riding the Everest Sport. Road trips are exhausting for most people, but the experience made us want to be on the road for several days.

We were rollicking while listening to Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, and Bruno Mars through Ford’s musical soundstages and SYNC technology: a system that controls the vehicle’s temperature, music playback, and other safety features through a single tap or via voice commands.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

Kind of like a tablet placed in front. It also connects with any smartphone through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. There are no Android versus iPhone here — we’re all welcome to enjoy the vehicle.

Four celebrations and a wedding

It wasn’t just us and our bags that were inside the Everest Sport. Throughout our get-togethers, we were planning a surprise wedding to recreate a ceremony that we weren’t able to attend, due to the sudden lockdown a few months back.

We brought cakes, cookware, and kitchen equipment to a contemporary villa in San Fernando. That’s on top of props to be used for the gender reveal, baby shower, late birthday celebration, and Christmas party.

On some occasions, I had to use the Everest Sport to do errands, such as buying fresh flowers to be used for the wedding. It was cozier than any other car in our garage, and of course, the car looks handsome like yours truly. If I’m going to parade myself, I’ll pick a car that’s worth showing off.

2021 Ford Everest Sport

The nights we spent together felt like Taylor Swift’s latest re-recorded album Red (Taylor’s Version). There was a myriad of emotions felt.

Everything was just all over the place, like a fractured mosaic of feelings that somehow fit together in the end. We were happy, free, confused, euphoric, wild, nostalgic, elated, and fondly remembering the past while we create new memories.

Holidays just got merrier, and our bonds — thicker than blood — got tighter after our reunion. Distance may have made our hearts grow fonder, but feeling each other’s presence made them beat faster.

We were able to share love, laughter, tears, and sorrow. And everything we’ve been carrying for two years in the week we all spent together. Thanks to the Everest Sport, we were able to come together and get home safe and sound — ushering bittersweet memories that we’ll fondly recall in the coming months.

Pricing and availability

2021 Ford Everest Sport

The Ford Everest 2.0L Sport 4×2 Automatic is available at a starting price of PhP 1,928,000. It comes in various colorways: Aluminum Metallic, Absolute Black, Deep Crystal Blue, and Snowflake White Pearl which can set you back by an additional PhP 15,000.

To know more about the latest offers, visit ford.com.ph/shopping/latest-offer/ or any Ford dealership nearest you.

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Hands-On

Be exquisitely you with the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

Time to #OwnYourStyle!

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Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

Gone are the days when choosing a smartphone for yourself is solely based on technical specs. We have actually come to this era where our smartphone is not just a tool but rather an extension of ourselves and an expression of our individuality.

This is what Xiaomi definitely exudes with its 11 Lite NE 5G. This smartphone may have lite in its name but it’s packed with features that definitely let you reveal the real you. 

Now I’ll let you in on how this smartphone fits my way of lifestyle and how it might be your perfect match, too. 

Conveniently Compact 

As someone who’s always on the go, I’m used to packing light whether it’s just a stroll at the nearby mall or an all-nighter with friends to avoid getting exhausted while traveling. The Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G answers my desire for that as it just weighs 158g, probably the lightest smartphone I’ve had the experience of using. 

It’s also an advantage that it’s just 6.81mm slim so it’s so comfortable to clutch and I can easily put it in my sling bag or in my wallet when I’m just out for a grocery run or to do some errands. 

Classy as I want it to be

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

I have to be honest, even if I get the chance to try out different smartphones for reviews, I rarely get tempted to change my personal daily driver.

It’s either because I could still do everything I needed to do with my current one or because smartphones I’ve tried don’t really fit my taste until I got my hands on the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G. 

This phone flaunts a sleek and elegant aesthetic that my friends can’t help but notice when I’m out with them for afternoon coffee dates or dinner at an al fresco restaurant. 

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

Even adding to the sophistication of this device is its anti-flare frosted glass, making it more stunning especially when it’s hit by sunlight while I’m outdoors. 

And whether you have the Truffle Black, Peach Pink, Frosted White, or this Bubblegum Blue, each variant is so versatile that you can easily mix and match it with your different outfits. 

Style meets technology

These days, embracing your style is not just wearing outfits that basically resonate with your personality but it’s also your way of life. 

And I can say, the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G definitely lives up to that by elevating my daily experience.

I get to enjoy binge-watching my favorite Netflix series, delving into documentaries and every bit of content thanks to the phone’s 6.55-inch AMOLED screen with Dolby Vision which makes stunning video quality and screen time so much satisfying. 

And as Xiaomi further fuses style with technology, they’ve also partnered with Swarovski, with the theme “Discover Lite with Swarovski”. 

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

Nothing says classic and timeless elegance than wearing the Swarovski pendant in the shape of their iconic swan which was made available complementary with the purchase of the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G for a limited time. 

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

Xiaomi Philippines also released a four-part online series called “Lite Me Up”, showcasing the journey of four stylish and creative individuals discovering and expressing their true selves as well as owning up their style with the help of the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G.

“Lite Me Up” will continue to air until December 16 on Xiaomi Philippines’ Facebook Page and Youtube Channel. 

Creative freedom at its finest 

As Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G is all about expressing yourself and letting your style stand out, it is equipped with a 64MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide angle camera, and 5MP telemacro camera that allows me to capture moments in sharp and detailed photos that I can easily post online without any edits. 

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

It also pushes me beyond my limits and triggers my creative side by providing Movie effects such as Magic Zoom, Slow shutter, Time Freeze, and Parallel world that I was able to tinker around with while we were out last weekend. 

I might even pursue my plans of making my own Youtube channel, thanks to Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G’s different Vlog modes that make it easy for me to seamlessly create engaging content on the go. 

Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G

Stay connected 

One thing I realized especially during this pandemic is how vital it is to stay connected with the world and the people around you so you don’t lose yourself. 

As Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G, it leverages the power of 5G that helps me keep up with life’s pace. 

With ultra-fast connection, I was able to work on my personal projects, stay updated with news and entertainment. Further, I was able to reach out to friends and family through video calls without any hassle. 

#OwnYourStyle 

Using the Xiaomi 11 Lite NE 5G even for just a few weeks made me realize so much about myself. 

This smartphone definitely encourages me to stay true to my character and be brave enough to express myself. 

Its sleek and elegant look reflects my confidence. And its clear and vibrant screen makes me look at the world in the best way possible. Its camera brings my words and thoughts to life. And its speed reminds me that it’s important to stay connected with what and who matters. 

And with all of Xiaomi 11 Lite’s NE 5G’s features, this might also be the best companion to help bring out the best in you. 

This phone currently retails for PhP 20,990 for the 8GB RAM with 256GB storage, PhP 18,990 for the 8GB RAM with 128GB storage and PhP 16,990 for the 6GB RAM with 128GB storage variant. 

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi 11 Lite 5G NE review: Light and easy


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Xiaomi Philippines.

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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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