3 reasons why the remastered Spyro should get you excited

PlayStation’s lovable purple dragon gets his college bloom



20 years ago, Insomniac Games revealed PlayStation’s newest mascot since 1996’s Crash Bandicoot himself: Spyro the Dragon. Much like the dragons you’ve seen in movies, Spyro spits fire and charges at his enemies head on. He goes around different worlds, saving its denizens from evil monsters, egg-stealing thieves, and powerful bosses. For the typical 90s kid who owned a PlayStation from 1998 to 2000, the Spyro trilogy was an instant classic.

Now, Spyro returns in his bold, new self in Activision’s remaster of the popular Spyro trilogy: the Reignited Trilogy. The lovable purple dragon gets the nod for a full-blown remaster, and 90s kids couldn’t be any happier!

Here are three reasons why this remaster should get you excited:

Remastered from the ground up

By this time, you have seen a glimpse of the remastered Spyro from major gaming sites and at E3 2018. According to Activision’s press release, the remaster almost comes close to that of a remake. All elements found within the game, from the terrain in the different worlds to the creatures in each stage, have been given the high-definition treatment.

It’s not just all aesthetics, however. Video game developer Toys For Bob made sure that the remaster did justice to the original trilogy, while adding a full-blown cinematic feel to it. All of Spyro’s friends across the three games received their own enhancements, partnered with improvements in reward sequences and updated controls. It’s as if the entire trilogy had gone through a college bloom!

New controls, same old Spyro

One of the things that Toys For Bob emphasized for the remaster is how it stays true to the original games. The old PS1 trilogy had very sticky controls for a 3D platforming game, and there was no immediate use for the right analog stick before. Back then, you needed to use the trigger buttons to look around, and the camera made it difficult to jump from one spot to another.

In the Reignited Trilogy, these problems are addressed with full use of the right analog stick. The controls provide a smoother experience to complement the various visual enhancements. However, Toys For Bob enhanced the original background music in all the games, and also kept Spyro’s abilities intact. Toby Schadt, Design Director for Toys For Bob, focused on keeping Spyro’s movement metrics as close as possible to the original’s.

Expanded availability

Obviously, the original trilogy was a PlayStation-exclusive in 1998. But Activision made the move to make the remastered trilogy available for both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One simultaneously. This was a move the company had not done with the remastered Crash trilogy, as the Xbox release was a year after the PlayStation release. This game’s release date has been set to September 21, 2018 — 20 years and 11 days after the original release in 1998.

While there are no reports yet for its availability for the PC and Nintendo Switch, you can guarantee that it will happen. Following the release of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy for the PC and Switch, there’s good reason for Activision to do the same for Spyro. For reference, Toys For Bob worked on the Crash remake for the Switch.


Making Magic: The secret to a signature photography style

Photographer Magic Liwanag shares tips, tricks and general advice on photography



Magic Liwanag
Shot on OPPO Reno4

“I think the best tip out there is to just keep shooting and try to learn something new everyday.”

It seems cliche and obvious, but sometimes it’s these exact things that escape us. Asked to share tips on how one can discover a signature photography style, Magic Liwanag’s response in a nutshell is to just do the work.

The advice could have come from anyone, but it helps that it’s from a seasoned pro.

Who is Magic Liwanag? 

Magic Liwanag is a professional photographer who has been shooting lifestyle events for 13 years now. He gained prominence when he started shooting concerts for MTV Philippines and other different promoters.

Shot on OPPO Reno2F

Who has he shot so far? Oh you know, just a few people you might have heard of. Do the names Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Jennifer Lopez ring any bells?

He’s gone on to shoot other well-known personalities like Zac Efron, Chris Pratt, and Henry Cavill just to name a few. Suffice it to say, he’s done the work and he knows what he’s talking about.

Evolving with the times 

Like most photographers pre-smartphone era, Liwanag started with a DSLR. But as time went on and technology progressed, so did his weapon of choice.

Liwanag now uses a mirrorless camera for work. They’re lighter and smaller but still get the job done. But what if it’s not a job? That’s where smartphones have come in.

Shot on OPPO Reno2

“Smartphones are now catching up in terms of comfort and ease of use. Now, I can just flip out my phone and confidently shoot with OPPO’s camera, “ shared Liwanag.

Shot on OPPO Reno2

“Like when my wife and I traveled, I no longer needed to bring an extra sling bag for my camera, I can now shoot with my phone while we toured around,” shared Liwanag.

Shot on OPPO Reno2

He notes that he does still carry his main camera around all the time. But the convenience of having a smartphone that can shoot in different zoom ranges quickly at your disposal is truly helpful.

Shooting on a smartphone

“Your camera is just a tool, and you are its master. Number one rule: know what you’re using.”

Get intimate with your device of choice and know its strengths and weaknesses. Yet another solid advice from someone who has been at it for years. These days, Liwanag shoots with an OPPO Reno 4. Here, he rattles off what the phone can do.

Magic Liwanag

Shot on OPPO Reno4

“AI Color Portrait lets me be more creative because I know that it separates my subject (makes it colored) and makes the background monotone. Don’t just click and forget, make sure your subject captures the eyes of your viewers.”

Magic Liwanag

Shot on OPPO Reno4

“The Night Flare Portrait mode can help you shoot portraits even in low-light situations. Always remember, and I always say this,  light = photograph. Without light, there will be no photograph. Everything else will follow. Don’t attempt to just shoot in pitch black and assume that you will have a banger portrait.”

“Play with the light.”

Magic Liwanag

Shot on OPPO Reno4

“I love this mode cause even your mobile screen can be the source of light for a nice portrait. It makes all the colors pop as well adding that oomph,” he added.

Liwanag also shared his favorite for video creation: 960fps AI Slow Motion. Capturing 960fps slow-mo video is already amazing on its own, but he found the motion detection feature to be astonishing.

“If you don’t have any subjects, you can take videos of yourself in slow motion, and the 960fps AI Slow Motion of the Reno4 can detect if you start doing your jumps, or even start filming when you start to move.”

Your signature style

Liwanag’s tips are simple: Keep shooting and know your device well. If you keep doing the work, eventually, you’ll learn what it is that will set you apart.

“To get a signature or a personal style, you have to keep experimenting until you find what gives you that spark of excitement.”

For him, it’s “raw live, fast, and light.” The thrill of shooting concerts is what keeps him excited. “You can’t control what’s in front of you. But you can work around it.”

“Don’t just copy what they do. Be a better version of it.”

But it also helps to be versatile and an effective communicator. For shooting portraits, he says it’s best to make the subject feel comfortable. Whether that’s a prominent celebrity or a model just getting started, making the subject feel at ease is paramount.

Magic Liwanag also shared that you can choose to follow people that inspire you. Learn from their style and method of going about things, but… “don’t just copy what they do. Be a better version of it,” he cautions.

Shot on OPPO Reno 10x Zoom

At the end of the day, it all boils down to clocking in those 10,000 hours. “Put in the time to find what your strengths and weaknesses are. Practice, practice, and adapt.”

If you put in the work, that’s when magic happens.

~All photos shot with the OPPO Reno Series~

SEE ALSO: Content creating with the OPPO Reno4

The OPPO Reno4 retails at PhP18,990 available in three color variants Space Black, Galactic Blue, and the newest limited-edition Nebula Purple.

You can get your own via OPPO concept and online stores, partner dealers, and exclusive e-commerce partners Shopee and Lazada. The limited-edition Nebula Purple is available in selected stores only.

You may visit OPPO’s official website at www.oppo.com/ph for more details.

This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and OPPO Philippines.

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What selfies look like taken on an under display camera

Using the Rakuten BIG



ZTE Axon 20 5G. Photo by Yasuhiro Yamane

The ZTE Axon 20 5G — the world’s first smartphone with an under display camera — launched in September but not very many people have had a chance to try it. The relatively obscure Vinsmart Vsmart Aris Pro (Vietnam) and Rakuten BIG (Japan) followed suit.

Now, thanks to our tech journalist friends Ayano Tominaga and Yasuhiro Yamane, we can show you what it’s like taking a few selfies and video using the Rakuten BIG’s front-facing under display camera.

Rakuten BIG

Photo by Ayano Tominaga

The Rakuten BIG is a 6.9-inch phone with an OLED display. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also has a battery capacity of 4,000mAh.

On its rear is a quad-camera module: 64MP main sensor, and 8MP ultra-wide angle lense, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro camera.

If those specs seem familiar that’s because they’re exactly the same as the ZTE Axon 20 5G. Well, almost exactly. There’s a bit of a difference in the battery capacity 4,000mAh vs 4220mAh but that’s still pretty close.

Photo by Yasuhiro Yamane

The selfie camera

For all intents and purposes, the Rakuten BIG may just be a rebranded ZTE Axon 20 5G. They also share the same megapixel count for the selfie camera which is 32MP.

If this is the case, the phone might be using the same transparency material that includes new organic and inorganic films, to balance the performance of the display and the front camera.

NO Notch. Photo by Ayano Tominaga

The selfies

Here are what some quick selfies look like. These were taken indoors, inside a hotel with sufficient amount of lighting. No editing was applied to the photos but they were resized in the interest of faster load time.

It certainly doesn’t seem like a photo taken by a camera lens with a cover over it. But you can tell the software is doing a lot of heavy lifting. At first glance it looks like a regular selfie, but a closer inspection shows some detail smoothing.

Color reproduction is a little inconsistent too. Here’s a pair of selfies taken just seconds apart.

The selfie on the left is considerably warmer than the one on the write. Note that Ayano was in the exact same place with nearly the exact same pose and angle.

Here’s another sample with a better look at the lights in the background — which probably most represents all the post-processing the phone is doing. Take note that you can’t take selfies in rapid succession. The phone really does take longer than most to process the images.

What we were impressed with though is the video. The picture quality was clear and didn’t have any excessive traces of post-processing during a video call via Facebook Messenger.

Here’s a sample video taken separately after the call with beauty mode turned on. The post-processing is more pronounced here but it certainly doesn’t harm the picture quality.

What do you think of the selfies? Pretty good already for an under display camera?

Price and availability

The Rakuten BIG retails for JPY 69,800 Yen (US$ 665) and is currently only available in Japan. It comes in three colors: Black, White, and Crimson Red.

h/t: Ayano Tominaga, Yasuhiro Yamane

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Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review: Last of its Kind

Hopefully not



Every year, Huawei’s Mate series dominate the smartphone world with hosts of new features.

This October, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro finally made its way out of the limousine. As usual, it’s packed with the latest and greatest internals minus the full Android experience. Albeit, you still get support for AppGallery and other existing Huawei services.

With all that mind, is it still worthy to invest your money just to buy this smartphone?

You can watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro review by clicking this link.

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