Features

Vivo showcases 3D sensing tech, Samsung reveals Galaxy Note 9 launch date: Weekend Rewind

There’s plenty of tech to look forward to!

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. Vivo’s 3D Sensing Technology

It looks like Vivo and OPPO just took turns taking on headline duties this month. Fresh off releasing the Vivo NEX, the Chinese company showed they’re not done innovating after showcasing their Time of Flight (TOF) 3D Sensing Technology at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2018.

The new tech can accurately map objects at up to three meters in front of it using 300,000 sensor points, which is 10 times that of other tech such as Apple’s Face ID.

2. Add soundtracks to your IG Stories

IGTV not your cup of tea? Don’t worry, the media-sharing platform hasn’t forgotten about you. If you’re more the short video-sharing type, then your experience just got an upgrade. You can now add music to your IG stories. Simply tap the music icon found in the sticker drawer and pick a song. You can look for a specific title or browse through moods, genres, or what’s popular. You can even choose which part of the song you want to add. Time to make your own IG story music video!

3. Galaxy Note 9 is coming

Samsung is kicking off the next batch of flagship devices after announcing the launch date of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 which will be on August 9. Details are still scarce at this point so be sure to make GadgetMatch your daily habit so you don’t miss any rumors and/or announcements.

4. Huawei to launch a gaming-focused phone and a foldable handset

Smartphone makers are slowly realizing the power of mobile gaming, so we’re now starting to see a range of gaming-oriented smartphones being released. Huawei wants to be in the growing mix. In an interview, Huawei Consumer Business President Jim Xu confirmed they’re working on a gaming phone to be released by the second half of 2018. That’s not all, Xu also mentioned a foldable phone is coming in 2019. Definitely something to look forward to!

Courtesy: 3GPP

5. 5G coming to the Philippines

The Philippines’ internet connectivity struggles have been well-documented. That could change soon after it was announced during MWC Shanghai 2018 that the country will be one of the first to get a rollout of 5G networks alongside Japan and Australia. Other than a speed boost, 5G is expected to have better security and connection reliability compared to older standards.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

Features

HEXA planter allows plants to chase after sunlight

Gardening technology at its finest?

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If man can get to the moon, then we can make plants walk — well, at least get them to move to get more sunlight. This was basically the sentiment one company had when they decided on creating a six-legged flower pot.

Yep, you saw and read that right.

Vincross, the company behind an interesting looking robot called HEXA, decided that walking robot planters are a thing. Inspired by a dead sunflower shriveling up in the shade at a plant-technology art installation, the idea of enabling plants to run after the sunlight they need to thrive was born.

Now, this planter (the HEXA robot fitted with a pot, basically), will ensure that your plant gets just the right amount of sunlight.

Six legs and a 360-rotating head ensure a lot of mobility for your greens. Not to mention, the HEXA robot has a camera with night vision, an infrared transmitter, a distance sensor, and an accelerometer. As to how all that will be maximized for plant care, we still have no idea. Though, it’s good to know it’s more than just a mechanical spider walking around aimlessly.

It also has the ability to dance…

… or throw a tantrum when people are being completely irresponsible plant parents and they forget to water the greens.

All this movement means they can react to annoying people who insist on touching plants that shouldn’t be touched.

But, it can also play nice and give two-legged high-fives.

As a plant parent myself, I’m not too sure how much plants would like all this motion. But hey, we’re about to find out!

The same question was posted by Vincross when they announced the unique planter: “Would the plant like it, I mean, the feeling of being an animal? I have no idea. But I want to let it have the experience. When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology, let’s share some of technology with plants, let them at least experience what it is like to experience the simplest of motions.”

You can buy HEXA on the official website for US$ 949 — or US$ 999 if you want a wireless charger thrown in.

In the meantime, I’m going to water my non-walking plants and be thankful that they can’t throw a tantrum just yet.

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Features

3 reasons why the remastered Spyro should get you excited

PlayStation’s lovable purple dragon gets his college bloom

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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.

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Hands-On

Huawei Nova 3i is a beautiful phone with quad-camera goodness

The newest midrange contender

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Huawei just unveiled the Nova 3i and it looks good. Allow me a minute to gush about its looks.

This new midrange smartphone sports a glass back with a premium feel and a beautiful gradient back reminiscent of the Twilight P20. Let’s look at that closely.

As if this phone couldn’t get more extra looks-wise, there’s also a what Huawei reps call the “shining curve effect” which gives it that oomph when light hits the handset.

Now, on to what it can do.

This thing has a quad-camera setup: A 24- and 2-megapixel combo in front and a 16- and 2-megapixel setup on its back.

This phone makes you look good not just in selfies, but also while doing selfies. Take it from Chay.

Different scenes mean different adjustments to get the perfect shot. The cameras are equipped with AI, meaning they can intelligently detect scenes and automatically improve your photos. And, it’s not only the rear cameras with this technology; the selfie cams also have AI capabilities and an improved AI beauty mode.

The fingerprint scanner is found on the phone’s back, which usually means a more bezel-less screen. The 6.3-inch display features tiny bezels and a smaller chin plus, surprise, a notch!

There’s also a facial unlock feature and AI 3D Qmoji, which is basically Huawei’s version of Apple’s Animoji. 

The Nova 3i runs on Huawei’s brand-new Kirin 710 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It has 3340mAh battery capacity and runs Android Oreo out of the box. 

Aside from this pretty gradient, the Nova 3i is also available in white or black.

Will this smartphone be as good as it looks? You’ll have to wait for the full review. Meanwhile, you can check price and availability here.

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