Her GadgetMatch

Things to buy instead of a $1,450 iPhone XS Max

Putting context to that crazy price tag

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The new iPhones are out and with the release of Apple’s newest flagships come not only top of the line phones, but also the possibility of burning a hole through your pocket. Priced at US$ 1,450 for the top-tier iPhone XS Max with 512GB storage, to say that handset prices have skyrocketed would be an understatement.

Admittedly, it’s easy to fall into the trap and allow yourself to fork out that amount of cash for these shiny new phones. But, before you allow Apple to take all your hard-earned cash, here’s a quick reminder of what you can buy with that small fortune you’re about to pay for a phone.

All the burger you can eat

At US$ 3.45, an iPhone XS Max is equivalent to 420 Double-doubles — that’s one burger for each day in a year plus a month and a half. Imagine all the In-N-Out goodness!

Two years worth of gym membership

And since I made you think of all those hamburgers, let me pivot to this: An iPhone XS Max will cost around as much as a two-year long membership at a fitness facility. Putting your gym cost at US$ 50 per month, that US$ 1,450 will get you 29 months of gym access. Perfect to burn those 420 burgers.

Makeup for you, your friends, and friends of your friends

Imagine buying 26 eyeshadow palettes. Well, with the price you’re about to pay for that phone, you actually can. Usually priced at US$ 54, you can get as many Naked palettes as you’ll ever need in your life. But, it gets better. These palettes were recently marked down since Urban Decay decided to discontinue the line. That just means you can actually buy 53 of these palettes at US$ 27, if you can find them in stores.

Beautiful, beautiful shoes

A pair of Louboutins is every girl’s dream. Nothing a beautiful pair of patent leather pumps with that red heel can’t do for a woman’s confidence. These classic Pigalle Follies are not just any footwear — they retail for a whopping US$ 695. This also means you can get a pair with what you’ll pay for an iPhone XS Max. Actually, you can get two pairs…

Champagne, champagne for everyone!

And since we’re celebrating your two pairs of designer heels, it’s time to pop open a bottle of champagne… which you hypothetically have 13 of because that’s how much Moet you can buy at US$ 105 each for the price of that new iPhone.

A designer bag

Since you’re living the good life with your Louboutins and Moet, you might as well look at getting yourself a bag that exudes the same extravagance. The basic Louis Vuitton Speedy Monogram will set you back US$ 1,000, which means you still have money left over to buy three bottles of Moet. All that versus getting just one smartphone.

An actual Apple computer

It’s funny because Apple’s new iPhone is so disgustingly expensive, there are actual MacBooks that are cheaper! A 13-inch 2017 MacBook will cost you US$ 1,299 which leaves you money left over for either 43 Double doubles, a three-month gym membership, two Naked palettes (or five, depending on what price you want to go with), or a bottle of Moet.

Her GadgetMatch

Huawei Nova 5T: The phone that lets you be independent

What she needs in life are tools that help her just be who she is

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The modern woman is preoccupied with a lot of things: work, spending quality time with family and friends, learning new skills, self-care, maybe even finding romance. She has a lot going on, so what she needs in life are tools that help her just be who she is.

When it comes to smartphones, the Huawei Nova 5T is a phone she can rely on. With its super fast fingerprint unlock and 8GB of memory, she won’t need to do any more waiting than she already does in her day to day.

Having 128GB of storage, she can take as many photos and videos as she wants. And the flagship Kirin 980 processor assures her that she can do anything she ought to do and multitask like the career woman that she is. No compromises here.

Who says a girl needs an Instagram boyfriend? The 32MP selfie camera on the Huawei Nova 5T lets her take wide-angle and beautiful selfies and outfit shots all on her own, without having to rely on anyone else. And those cameras at the back give her professional-like photos, too. No more boring photos.

The modern woman hustles and stays connected and the Nova 5T can stay on with her for for as long as she needs it to be. When it runs out of juice, it gets up to 50% in just 30 minutes.


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

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Accessories

10 gift ideas for the new mom on your list

New moms need all the help they can get as they begin the challenging journey of parenthood

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As a new mom myself, I already have a list of all the baby essentials that I’ll need for the initial stages of raising my newborn. This includes the crib, car seat, pram, sterilizer, milk bottles, pacifiers, bottle warmers, among others. This makes getting gifts for the new moms on our list a little bit tricky.

Of course, she already has the best gift she can ever get this holiday season — her new bundle of joy. However, new mothers could still use all the support and help they can get as they begin the challenging journey of parenthood. One way to extend that support is by getting them something thoughtful this holiday season.

Here I would like to share some of the tools and gizmos that I discovered to have been unexpectedly necessary. If you’re looking for gift ideas for a sister or friend who just gave birth, I guarantee any of these would be highly appreciated.

1. Sleep support

One of the best things that you can try and give a new mom would be a good sleep and that’s only possible if the baby is sleeping well too. Swaddles, wearable blankets, sleep aids, rocking cribs — anything that can help soothe and provide a comfortable and safe sleeping environment for the baby will be greatly appreciated. The Cosydream Smokey Baby Sleep Aid by Babymoov and the Little Seeds Swaddle Wrap Newborn Blanket are both great options that have helped put my baby to uninterrupted sleep.

2. White noise machine

Some adults put on white noises if they need help sleeping. The same works for babies too. A white noise machine is another great sleeping aid. My baby personally sleeps better with it. Although a digital music streaming platform subscription, a smartphone, and a Bluetooth speaker can do the job, you might want to keep your phone with you and leave something like the Hatch Baby Rest or Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Sound Machine in the nursery.

3. Diaper bag

My personal favorite is the 5-in-1 20L Smart Baby Diaper Backpack with Changing Pad by Vianetic. It allows customization of the way baby’s essentials are organized, has insulated bottle bags, bottle pockets, a changing pad, stroller straps, multiple storage pockets for the parent’s essentials, and a laptop compartment. The modern, sleek, minimalist, and unisex design is a major plus since my husband enjoys sporting it, too.

4. Air humidifier/purifier

Babies are vulnerable to sickness-causing bacteria that thrive in the air, which is why I keep the cute Elodie Unicorn LED Diffuser 2.0 by Smoko in my baby’s nursery as a humidifier and a night light in one. The Boneco Air Purifier P340 is also in our living room where we accept and entertain guests. Both tools operate quietly so baby’s sleep is uninterrupted. Dyson’s Pure Cool Me is also a great option to keep the parents’ bedroom air clean and bacteria-free.

5. Nursing sports bra

A new mom’s health and fitness should not take a backseat just because she has to take care of another person full-time. It is a must for new mothers to stay fit as they care for a growing person. There are many exercises one can do that incorporate the baby while burning calories. The Love & Fit nursing sports bra helps with this as it allows me to get back in shape and breastfeed the baby on demand. The best part is it comes in several styles and colors so you will not run out of options for gifting.

6. Hand vacuum

You don’t know real multitasking until you become a mom. While it’s important to give babies 100% attention, it is equally important to keep the house clean and dust-free. The Shark Cordless Handheld Vacuum Cleaner is rechargeable and allows me to carry the baby in one arm and vacuum the house with the other. There’s also the Dyson V11 that has different attachments so I can get to cleaning even areas that are hard to reach. They’re both sleek and stylish as well so they’re not an eye sore when left visible in a corner.

7. 3-tier trolley cart

Keep baby’s stuff neat, organized, and mobile using a 3-tier trolley cart. All the baby’s essentials (diapers, wet wipes, grooming kits, toiletries, creams, bottles and outfit for the day, etc.) — are kept in a cart and can be rolled around the house wherever it’s needed. The RÅSKOG trolley from IKEA is an inexpensive yet versatile option.

8. Infant car seat mirror

I didn’t expect this to be one of my best buys. I stay with the baby in the back seat with his rear-facing car seat while my husband drives. Whenever I have to quickly step out of the car, this gives me the peace of mind knowing my husband can keep an eye on the baby using the Onco Baby Car Mirror.

9. Colic and reflux relief comfort cushion

Whenever the baby is unsettled and crying, he might be experiencing discomfort due to colic and reflux. Something like the Babocush can soothe and provide relief to the baby would be a dream gift for any new mom.

10. Cradle rocker

Bouncers provide a good distraction for the baby but they can get tired of it after a while. When that happens, you have to pick them up again. What new moms everywhere need is a cradle that can effectively soothe a baby. Something like the battery-operated Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing vibrates and swings while the Nuna Leaf Curv swing doesn’t need electricity and could last your baby until he or she is 5 years old.

Having a newborn is both rewarding and difficult. While it’s true that it’s impossible to be fully prepared for parenthood, equipping new moms with support through tools and unexpected essentials will get them pretty close.

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Her GadgetMatch

Why Instagram is doing the right thing by removing the like count

We need to change this ugly culture we created

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Instagram used to be a space where you can get inspiration to nourish your creativity. It was also a place to connect with people through disappearing photos and videos called Stories. However, the platform took a different turn throughout the years and became an arena — a battlefield where people show off who has the most perfect life.

People started curating their feeds to make them stand out. The age of curation dawned upon Instagrammers, bearing unto the world themes and grids to reflect the user’s personality and aesthetics. Instagram fuelled perfectionism, too.

What used to be a space to share mundane moments of your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users. Admittedly, I also succumbed to the perfectionism and the pressure. I would post only the photos where I looked like I was having the time of my life. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, right?

Increasing cases of depression and anxiety

Apparently, not everyone thinks the way I do. In a study published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, social media — particularly Instagram — is a major contributor to the increasing cases of depression and anxiety among the youth today. The rise of influencers and other people with seemingly perfect lives made a lot of users feel inadequate.

“What used to be a space to share mundane moments in your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users.”

RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said, “it’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

Technology companies’ response

With this worrisome situation on the youth’s mental health, companies made an effort to help through technology. There’s Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature which tracks the amount of time you spend on social media, although it still requires a conscious effort to break your social media addiction.

In the crusade against depression and anxiety caused by social media, Instagram recently made a daunting move. The social media giant has started testing the removal of like counts in some countries, removing the user’s ability to see how many likes have been racked up by a certain person in their feeds.

People in dire need of too much validation, fret not. The feature will let you still see who liked your posts. Think of it as your usual form of public affirmation, but you get it in private.

Just like our stories, only we can see who viewed and reacted. In this scenario, only we can see who liked our posts. While this recent move can put a dent on someone’s ego especially when they crave external validation, this can have real benefits for some users’ mental health.

In a country like the Philippines, where social media consumes a chunk of Filipino’s time, Instagram is a big contributor in rising cases of mental illnesses plaguing today’s youth like the common cold.

The social media age has created a culture where people value their smartphones, social media accounts, and the content they create rather than socializing offline and establishing real-life connections. The youth measure their self-worth through likes and other forms of metrics that it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

If this is the ugly culture we developed, Instagram is doing the right thing of removing the like count. At the very least, they can stop other people from comparing their worth and relying on external validation to feel better.

“I personally don’t mind if the feature comes here or not, but I’m sure a few of my friends would care.” — Patricia Medina, a medical practitioner in the Philippines

However, some people won’t be able to accept the upcoming feature should it arrive in the Philippines, similar to how we all panicked when Instagram removed our ability to see the viewers of our stories after 24 hours. Despite the outcry, we adapted and got used to it.

Likes are not the only measure of influence

It may be hard to believe, but Instagram is on the right track. Aside from tackling mental health and fixing the problem their app posed in our society, they’re reshaping the marketing and advertising industry. Some influencers might be affected by the like count removal, particularly those who buy fake likes and followers, as well as those who became walking billboards for brands and agencies.

But for content creators like Ceej Tantengco, removing the like count won’t have much of an impact, rather it will reinforce her influence among her audience. “The brand partnerships I tend to get are with sustainable fashion and brands running women empowerment campaigns. These brands are less about pure numbers and more about connecting with brand ambassadors who truly share their cause and can speak about it with sincerity,” Tantengco said.

“The chase for likes has led to a sort of cookie-cutter templating of content based on what the algorithm rewards or what is easiest to generate likes. We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50. But like-bait content isn’t always the most thoughtful, and we need to be careful to not equate the number of likes to whether the brand message was communicated effectively,” Tantengco added.

On the other hand, Castro Communications PR Director Janlee Dungca is unbothered by the like count removal. Dungca, who works primarily with content creators and influencers, will still approach a campaign based on a brand’s goals and objectives. Likes aren’t the only form of visible metrics available since comments still count as a way to measure engagement rate.

Macro-influencers — accounts with more than 100,000 followers — tend to have higher reach but lower engagement, thus she opts for micro-influencers whose accounts range from 10,000 to 50,000 followers to get higher engagement for the brand.

“We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50.” — Ceej Tantengco

With this sudden change in the marketing landscape, people — not just influencers — might be more keen on engaging with other people through comments. People might start to make an effort to share their thoughts and interact, rather than just dropping an emoji of fire, heart, or a star-eyed face.

Additionally, people might not be as conscious of what they post anymore. Tantengco affirmed, “this move is great for people with advocacies because we can speak about them without worrying so much about ‘how do I package this to get the maximum number of likes’ and just say what we want to say. This feels very freeing.”

Moving forward, we might start to see posts of what people really care about again should Instagram proceed with removing the like count forever. There will be people though who will try to game the algorithm by leaving comments on each other’s posts and uploading video clips instead of still photos for validation as Instagram has not said anything about removing the view count.

Nonetheless, the future is bright for Instagram. I can’t wait to see moments where people embrace their natural selves and flaunt the things they’re passionate about again.

Illustrations by MJ Jucutan

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