Features

Star Wars gadgets and accessories gift guide

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The Star Wars hype is in full swing with the much-anticipated release of the latest addition to the its saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

If you or someone you know is a hardcore Star Wars junkie, there’s no shortage of toys, gadgets, and accessories inspired by this pop culture darling. There’s something for everyone, whether for you or for someone you hold dear.


Get ready to geek out!

Sphero Droids: BB-8, R2-D2, BB-9E

This is the adorable droid that rolled into our hearts back in 2015. It was launched right before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is the first film in the new Star Wars trilogy.

And little BB-8 isn’t alone anymore; accompanying it is Luke Skywalker’s partner droid R2-D2, and the dark side droid that’s set to make its big screen debut in the latest Star Wars film, BB-9E.

Buy Sphero R2-D2 

Buy Sphero BB-8

Buy Sphero BB-9E

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

I chose Star Wars: Jedi Challenges as My GadgetMatch for 2017 because playing it is an absolute blast! There are a few kinks here and there that can be improved on, but nothing beats the adrenaline rush of dueling with lightsabers against Darth Maul and other pawns from the dark side in augmented reality (AR).

You’ll need to catch your breath after a few lightsaber duels. Good thing there’s a strategy game and Holo Chess that can help you cool down.

Buy Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition

Not to be outdone, OnePlus also announces a limited Star Wars edition of its latest flagship, the OnePlus 5T.

The design looks like it’s patterned after a First Order Stormtrooper. Fingers crossed they clone this phone like crazy so there’s enough to go around.

Samsung Star Wars POWERbots robotic vacuums

If you’ve always wanted to order Darth Vader around, this might be the closest you can get.

Samsung turned its smart vacuum into arguably everyone’s favorite Sith Lord and his minions. Through an app, you can command these dark side enforcers to literally do the dirty work for you.

Buy Darth Vader vacuum

Buy Stormtrooper vacuum

UBTECH Robotics’ Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper

Speaking of ordering stormtroopers around, this voice command-enabled robot will do exactly what you tell it to.

It also has other nifty features like first- and third-person AR modes, facial recognition so it knows you’re the boss, and sentry patrolling where it guards an area you specify. Although I’m not sure how effective that last feature will be, given how stormtroopers are notorious for missing their target.

Buy Star Wars First Order Storm Trooper Robot

Accessories from a galaxy far, far away

The fun doesn’t end with those Star Wars gadget goodies. There are plenty of accessories you can surround yourself with so you can start feeling like the Force is strong within you.

We know R2-D2 is useful, but did you know it can do all these?

Star Wars R2-D2 AC / USB Power Station

Let this droid provide you power.

Buy R2-D2 power station

Star Wars R2-D2 USB Car Charger

Even when you’re on the go.

Buy R2-D2 car charger

Star Wars R2-D2 Coffee Press

Need to make coffee? No problem!

Buy R2-D2 coffee press

Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set

It can even help you in the kitchen.

R2-D2 — such a versatile droid. Now onto other Star Wars goodies!

Buy R2-D2 measuring cup

Star Wars LIGHT UP Chop Sabers

Sushi, sashimi, and maki don’t stand a chance when you wield these weapons.

Buy Lightsaber chopsticks

Star Wars BB-8 Lamps

Available as a desktop lamp or life-size, let BB-8 be your light in the middle of darkness.

Buy BB-8 desk lamp

Buy BB-8 floor lamp

Bonus: Lenovo Yoga 920 Star Wars Special Edition

Feel like spending a lot? Get this one for someone truly special or for yourself. You’re special, after all.

Launched alongside Jedi Challenges is the special Star Wars edition of Lenovo’s Yoga 920. It’s still the same lean mean bending machine, but highlighted by symbols die-hard Star Wars fans will recognize.

Buy Galactic Empire Yoga 910

Buy Rebel Alliance Yoga 910

Whether you’re with the Jedi or fancy the Sith, there are plenty of these gadgets and accessories to choose from. Which one will you cop and what other Star Wars-themed things would you like to see? Sound off in the comments section below!

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch Awards: Lifestyle Favorites of 2017

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Automotive

Right-Hand Drive: My first experience

It’s never too late to do something new

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It was a Friday, my birthday. I, along with the local media team, flew to Hong Kong for an annual event on electrifying cities to achieve a greener environment.

After the warm welcome of the event’s hosts, they started briefing us of the day’s itinerary. We were to use the company’s electric vehicles and drive them through Hong Kong’s three main regions to get a feel of how they ride and put their features to real-world use.


Exciting, right? Thing is, Hong Kong is a right-hand drive territory and I live and grew up in a country with left-hand vehicles. I’ve never driven on the opposite side of the road. I figured I’d just wing it.

I figured I’d just wing it.

They finally sent us out to the cars in pairs and assigned us an official rep either to make sure everything went well or that we didn’t run away with the car — pretty sure it was more of the former.

My partner for this ride was a fellow journalist in the automotive industry. He would always crack jokes on almost anything he saw which somehow took my mind off the fact that I’d be driving in a foreign country with unfamiliar roads during my first right-hand drive experience.

We agreed that I’d take the wheel for the first half of the trip and switch seats halfway so we both could experience the electric vehicle. I grabbed the door handle on the right side, opened it, and gave my weight to its cushioned driver seat.

I was faced with the cockpit of the vehicle. As a person who likes things neat and in order, the buttons, displays, and icons were neatly laid out. I was not overwhelmed.

I spotted a mounted GoPro on the passenger’s side aimed directly at me. I thought it was cool to have a copy of myself driving on the opposite side of the road for the first time.

I kind of felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.

With everyone inside, I stepped on the brake and pressed the ignition button. The motor of the car whirred with a held-back enthusiasm. “I’m still not used to how quiet it is,” I told my companions, explaining that I was already able to drive the car — only the previous year’s model. The absence of a gas-guzzling engine made the vehicle come to life not with the sound of a heavy breathing dog but more like Wall-E‘s Eva powering up. I kind of felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.

Then we were off to take on the gloomy and chilly weather. The hotel’s lobby is elevated so there was a long spiral-like ramp that led in and out of the driveway. Turning towards the ramp was critical for me as it was my first turn to the opposite lane. “Always enter the left lane. Always enter the left lane.” I kept telling myself this over and over just to rewire my mind and unlearn the driving system that I grew up with and adapt to this new setup.

We drove down the ramp, onto the street, and later on into the highway. “So far so good,” I thought to myself. The idea was to drive through a pre-designated route using Google Maps. But, as with most times, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The app didn’t work properly for the first 15 to 20 minutes of our trip. It had problems with GPS so I had to listen to the company’s representative seated at the back as he pointed when and where to turn.

But, as with most times, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned.

For a while there, I was like an Uber driver going through the busy streets of Hong Kong.

The vehicle responded very well every time I stepped on the gas pedal. We were discussing that having an electric motor means power is quickly channeled to the wheels so it responds a lot faster compared to internal combustion engines. I also liked how the car didn’t have problems gaining speed whenever I needed to catch up. Basically, exploring the car’s array of features, while driving, helped me eliminate the few anxieties that I had left. Yes, I enjoyed the drive.

It was about 30 to 40 minutes in that I became more confident driving the right-hand vehicle. Entering the left lane every time I turned became more and more natural. Of course, there were times when I’d still forget I was on the opposite side — like that time I was paying at the toll gate and opened the left window instead of the right. Boy, was the teller confused when I did that.

While probably a really simple and obvious solution, one of the things that helped me with the transition was to think of everything in the opposite way. That way, It was easier for me to grasp the entire idea of right-hand driving. If my natural habit was to keep right, I knew that during that moment, I needed to keep left. When it felt natural to flick the turn signal using the left switch, I’d use the right since the left would be for activating the wipers.

If my natural habit was to keep right, I knew that during that moment, I needed to keep left.

That kind of mindset got me through the entire ride right up to the point where I and the other media I was with had to switch for his turn to drive.

I went down, walked around to the other side, and got in the passenger seat. It was weird because since I was back to sitting on the left side, the initial response of my arms was to grab the steering wheel and start the vehicle, forgetting all of a sudden the “brainwashing lessons” I taught myself just half an hour ago.

Seeing the GoPro that was mounted right above me, I reached for it to check if it was still recording. I then noticed there were no blinking red lights. I leaned closer and to my surprise, it wasn’t even turned on. So much for documenting my first right-hand experience, right?

“It wasn’t recording the entire time!” I exclaimed. It was unfortunate but we had a laugh out of it. I figured I’d just write down the events that happened so that I wouldn’t forget it. I powered up the action camera and started recording for my partner’s sake. With dark clouds and light rain still accompanying us, we started driving back to the hotel.

My key takeaway from the experience was to know what works for yourself.

During our trip back, I reflected on what I just did, from the excitement to the feeling of fulfillment of doing something the first time and succeeding. My key takeaway from the experience was to know what works for yourself. For me, I simply had to do the opposite of what I’m comfortable with to make sure I had clear control of what to do for certain situations.

Of course, it would also help a lot if one would closely study and practice for something like this. I just didn’t have much choice and had limited time to prepare for the drive.

We got back to the hotel, thanked the company’s representative who came with us for being an accommodating guide, and I went straight to my hotel room to freshen up for the night’s welcome dinner.

It was a great experience overall and am still thankful for the brand extending an invite to the event. The fact that I did something for the first time on my birthday only made it more special. To more drives!

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Hands-On

Huawei P30 hands-on: All the cool features applied in real life

How zoomed in is zoomed in?

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After all the “oohs” and “ahhs,” and as the dust settles from Huawei’s flagship launch, the question is: What’s so great about the Huawei P30? And no, I don’t want to hear any specs.

To answer this question, I road tested the Huawei P30 to see just what it can do and how I can use those features in real life.


In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

SEE ALSO: Selfie and posing tips from Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

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Her GadgetMatch

Selfie and posing tips from Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach

Also, we unbox a Huawei P30 Pro!

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Two years ago, I tried to recreate photos by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach shot on the Huawei P10 Plus. It resulted in a profound appreciation for modeling and even higher regard for Pia’s  posing skills.

Not even close but it will do 😂

In a wonderful case of how things can come full circle, I got to sit down with Pia to unbox Huawei’s latest flagship, the P30 Pro. We chat about how to pose, her beauty mode tips, and more importantly, what she thought of my Pia versus Me photos! We also took more selfies, because that’s what Queens do. ✨


Take photos with her subjects, that is, lol

Enjoy watching the video, as much as I did shooting it. 💎

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P10 Plus portraits: Pia Wurtzbach vs Me

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