Published

on

If smartphone trends of the last two years are any indication, the future, as we know it, is bezel-less. And the first to make that future a reality is Vivo.

Earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, Vivo showcased its APEX concept smartphone. An all-display phone with no notch, no bezels, but with a pop-up selfie camera.

Now, we finally have a phone we can buy. Vivo launched the NEX lineup in Shanghai, China this week and we just got our hands on a retail unit.

Cameras

A love letter to the Sony a6100

A poignant piece filled with yearning and regrets

Published

on

It’s been a month since my hands last held the Sony a6100. I can still remember its chic white colorway, reckoning a classic, sophisticated look. Like the grandeur of a white rose being admired by a white butterfly. Or like a swan gracefully dancing in the lake, during a majestic sunset.

I can still remember the first time I saw it. There was that familiar feeling, “Oh, hello there. I feel like we’ve met before.”

Maybe because I’ve used Sony’s mirrorless cameras countless times over the past three years. Or because cameras are inherently part of my life, no matter which brand I use. But one thing’s for sure: I liked the a6100 the first time I met it.

Page one: You bring out the best in me

Using the a6100 was like child’s play, grasping the controls and interface were easy when you’re used to Sony cameras. But currently, it’s also one of the best beginner-friendly cameras out there.

That was the reason why my friends loved shooting photos and videos with it while we were on the beach, before the world paused for a lockdown. Everything was just easy on their part, and I loved how the people I love got along with something I like.

During my stint, I was reminded of my potential and my ability to execute my vision and grand ideas. It was like when Shoyo Hinata skyrocketed as a promising player when he was paired with Tobio Kageyama in Haikyu!!.

For any situation, I can rely on the a6100 — my ex-mirrorless camera, companion, and partner. I can shoot using the 1.4mm dot OLED electronic viewfinder when I want to focus on my subject (and possibly lose myself in the art of photography).

But oftentimes, I found myself shooting using the 0.9m dot LCD tilting rear touchscreen. Shooting Live View gives you more awareness of what’s happening. The a6100 was just as versatile as me, and I loved how it can keep up on whatever crazy idea I have at the moment.

It’s true when they say it’s the photographer, not the camera. But I have to believe that having the right camera that perfectly suits your skills, style, and personality helps bring out the best in you. Just like finding the right person that lets you work on yourself so you can become better, and hopefully be more deserving to love and be loved.

Page 02: You were everything I was looking for

Everything I was looking for — and possibly praying for, for the last two years — manifested in the a6100. How I’ve always wanted to have what’s apt for me, through my lifestyle and personality, and of course, my money.

All the essential features I could ever need was here. USB charging, Wi-Fi for quick transfer of images to my devices, a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, 4K video capture, and Flip Screen. There was also an advanced AF system, highlighting a dependable subject tracking.

No, they were not cutting-edge. There are a lot better cameras (probably) that gives enthusiasts better features, at a higher cost.

But my standards weren’t high for a camera nor in love. All I need is what’s best for me, not the best among the rest. What the a6100 did was give me a simple and effective system that made shooting fun again, whether it’s through photo or video.

On paper, the a6100 might not mean much. But my experience says otherwise. Moreover, it’s priced accordingly. Just like what I need. Keyword: need.

Page 03: You made me discover parts of myself

I miss it. The way I held it in my arms as I walked along the beach, wandering at the sight of beautiful waves crashing down the shore, washing my feet and worries away.

The carefree days that I yearn. To take another moment and capture it, hopefully preserving its memory on my Instagram account or printed for a photo album. It was so lightweight, compact, and portable — you can bring it anywhere you want to go.

Its looks can be deceiving, but it can be on par with professional cameras. So you don’t have to worry being held back by some law enforcement securities telling you it’s not allowed to shoot here and there. Point, shoot, love, enjoy discreetly.

The a6100 was madly powerful, that I brought it along with me on my journey to self-discovery. As I rediscover parts of myself through art, photography, music, and spiritual healing, I realized something.

This camera made me see parts of myself that I didn’t bother examining. That behind my aversion to creating videos, I really am capable and up for the job. After all, I did ace my audio-visual production class in college and even won an award for a collegiate competition.

I’ve never liked shooting videos until the a6100 and its grip — the Sony GP-VPT2BT — came into my hands. My life didn’t change when I started shooting, but I gained a deeper appreciation for videos and the shooting process.

Throughout the seven months I had it, I was able to remember why I love my job. I even discovered what skills I can hone and develop. It was like a whole new path opening before me, and I want to take it with me.

I created beautiful sets, shot graciously like it was published at a print magazine. I also shot unboxing videos and clips I never thought I would delight in doing. It was realizing these little joys that made you want to hold it more, and probably never let go.

Page 04: You were the one I’ve always wanted

The truth is, I didn’t have the a6100 longer than what I wish it would. And I took it for granted the whole time it was with me.

I spent more days hugging my laptop and my phone. I couldn’t find time to explore my hobbies, let alone play with the camera. Frankly, I only used the camera when it was convenient or when I need it, and now that it’s gone I wish I took more time to wrap my fingers around it.

Guess it’s true you realize the value of something once it’s gone. It struck me that maybe, just maybe, the a6100 was “the one” — my GadgetMatch. It could’ve been, but it’s no longer with me.

I’ve traded it for work because duh, I got bills to pay. But maybe when we’re free to go out and the pandemic’s over, maybe I can get a second chance. Until then, I’ll just keep doing what I need to do. Maybe next year, the price will be a bit cheaper or maybe, there’s another camera that’s waiting for me.

Who knows what the future holds?

Post scriptum

The Sony a6100 is the perfect mirrorless camera for beginners and those starting their journey on both photography and videography. It retails for PhP 49,999 (US$ 1033). It’s available in Sony’s official stores and authorized retailers. Visit Sony’s website for more information on the Sony a6100 and other cameras and accessories.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Genshin Impact: Should you play it?

Best free-to-play game right now?

Published

on

Have you noticed an influx of screenshots featuring cute, anime girls on your social media feed? If your answer is yes, then a lot of your friends may be playing Genshin Impact. It’s been a little over a week since the release. Here’s what you ought to know about the game.

Genshin Impact is a game by Mihoyo, the same creators of Honkai Impact. It’s a gacha based game that lets you draw rare characters and weapons. A gacha game is like a loot-box system. The idea is to push players to spend virtual currency to acquire various items.

To some that might be something to avoid. However, the developers made sure to give players a fair amount of perks for free wishes.

Getting started

To start things off, you’ll need a few things to draw wishes. These are: Intertwined fate, Acquaint fate and Primogems. Upon starting the game I was awarded with 10 Acquaint fate as a pre-registration milestone and 1600 primogems from launch rewards. That already gives me a total of 20 wishes.

Aside from that, I also received free wings of companionship that I can equip to my characters for use during gliding. Adding to that are 160 Primogems daily in my mail. You also get a sure 4-star characters or weapon every 10 draws. That’s not bad for a gacha game.

I’ve seen lucky people draw 5-star characters with their first 10 draws and some after loading up some cash in the game. Either way, you can still proceed with the story and gain Primogems by doing quests and opening chests.

A mysterious beginning

Genshin Impact starts when the twin protagonist gets separated by a god for a reason that has not yet been revealed or fully explained. You get to pick which twin your character you will be.

Your starting point will be on a beach east of the town of Mondstandt where most of the story quests begin. You’ll have a travel companion in Paimon.  She will walk you through your tutorial and quests.

Paimon’s backstory has not been revealed yet and I think this is something to look forward to.

Pick up everything!

The gameplay is something that I really like.

You get a party of four, either solo or co-op. The party composition will depend on which element the character has and how it will help in the elemental combos. You can switch your party members during battle to maximize skills and damage.

You don’t get to assign stats to your characters. Instead it depends on the equipped weapon and artifacts. The characters, weapons and artifacts can be leveled up and ascended every 20 levels.

The drops from monsters and bosses can be used as ascension items. The rule is: pick up everything you see because it can be useful.

I had no problem progressing through the story even if I felt unlucky during my wishes. Genshin Impact is enjoyable whether you focus on the story or just got around its vastly huge map.

Playing on different platforms

Another good thing about Genshin Impact is that you can access your account on both PC and Mobile. They automatically sync. I tried playing on PC, a Samsung Galaxy s9+ and iPad Air. Transition was seamless and I played on whatever platform I found most convenient for me. The UI adjusts perfectly.

Regarding the controls, it’s the usual on keyboard: WASD for walking, spacebar to jump, F to pick up items, Q&E for skills, left mouse button for normal attack, 1-4 to change characters.

On mobile you just need to touch the action icons. Nothing complicated. Dodging and casting will not be a problem. It all comes down to preference on what platform you want to play on. Your progress syncs between PC and mobile.

The game is also available on the PlayStation 4. However, it has to be an entirely different account from the one you use on PC and Mobile. You can still play with your friends on PC and mobile if you’re using a PS4.

Should you play Genshin Impact?

On top of the cute characters and interesting story, the Japanese voice actors are known to have voiced some known anime characters. Being an anime fan myself, this got me more interested in the game.

I’m looking forward to future patches that would answer the questions that have piled up in my head and can’t wait to find out Paimon’s story.

If you’re looking for an open world, action-packed RPG that can be played alone or with friends, has some challenging quests and puzzles, and crossplay between PC, mobile. and PS4, then Genshin Impact is for you.


This gameplay feature was written by Jan Ariz Joy Franco or Rizuher by her in-game name. She’s a full-time software developer and plays games to de stress. She just started streaming few months ago to help cope with the pandemic and wants to promote a toxic-free gaming environment. She’s a big fan of Super Mario. If you want to support her just drop a follow: http://facebook.com/rizuph.

Continue Reading

Hands-On

Epson EF-100B Hands-on: Home theater for the uncommitted

Enjoy a home theater without staying at one place

Published

on

Gone are the days where we watch movies on big screens, at least for now. When the pandemic struck, I spent life stuck at home, watching shows on a smaller screen.

Laptops and smartphones have been my companions in these isolated moments. Frankly, I miss movie nights with my friends and sitting comfortably in theaters with a date. I miss losing myself in awe of a film’s plot, as I immerse myself in its spectacular visuals.

When Epson reached out if we’d like to test one of their laser projectors, I accepted without hesitation.

The Epson EF-100B arrived in a marvelous color: Tailored Black.

It comes with a beautiful bronze-gold accent (which also looks copper in certain lighting conditions)…

… accompanied by a black, elegant, leather-like textured shell.

The overall design looks posh with its lines, textures, and finish — blending easily in any surroundings.

It’s lightweight and definitely user-friendly!

One of the EF-100’s selling points is its portability. Having a slim and lightweight design means it’s compact enough to fit in your backpack or be easily ferried from one room to another.

Moreover, you just need to plug the projector wherever there’s a power outlet. It offers a different kind of portability since it needs electricity instead of having a set of batteries.

On the same side, you can find fan perforations and an audio jack inside of a flap, in case you want to plug an extra speaker.

Its controls are user-friendly, too, especially for a simpleton like me. Honestly, I prefer having less stuff to figure out and let the device do its thing. That’s what technology should be about, right?

Having only a few controls, you can turn on the projector via the power button, amplify the volume through its integrated speakers, make angle adjustments, or correct the focus.

There’s only digital zoom, though, due to its inset lens. To find the right distance and angle that fits your liking, you can only adjust its stand or move the projector farther or closer, resulting in a bigger or smaller screen.

Easy wired and wireless connection

Frankly, my impression of the EF-100B was a clean and pretty portless projector. Truth is, all its technical shenanigans can be found on the back of a projector, behind a removable panel.

There’s a built-in speaker, a hole for your HDMI cable, a micro USB cable, and a USB Type-A socket for accessories, like a Chromecast device.

The EF-100B doesn’t come with an Android stick, so it was a problem for me. I wasn’t really big on entertainment and having a smart TV because I spend more time watching on my phone while on the go. My life before the pandemic was spent traveling and I was rarely at home.

Thankfully, I have a friend who’s such a homebody who lent me his Chromecast streaming stick. Problem solved? Perhaps.

Things to consider

When I plugged in the stick and started using Chromecast, it felt like a whole new world dawning upon my wall — or ceiling in this instance. What I love about the EF-100B is how you can make it sit upwards so you can stream on your ceiling while you lie down.

But before you decide to do that, consider your ceiling’s height. My brother complained about how it feels too close when watching from the bed. We decided to stream The Umbrella Academy on Netflix while we lie down on the floor, in hopes of not straining our eyes.

Moreover, the EF-100B delivers full HD 720p resolution, instead of the usual 1080p. It’s down-scaled, but you don’t lose a lot of detail. Unless you’re running a slow internet connection, which might pixelate your streamed content.

Blacks aren’t any good either, especially when you’re using white walls. Although there are different modes you can play around with to adjust the output’s brightness and it can be bright enough to fill the entire room. Fans can get loud, as well, in exchange for having a better viewing experience.

Having only used a few, cheap projectors in the past, I didn’t have any point of comparison for expensive projectors let alone a gorgeous laser projector like this one. But using it for a month made me realize all these points to consider before deciding to get my own portable laser projector.

For those who are afraid of settling down

Just like most of my recent devices, I used the EPSON EF-100B to accompany me in my journey to self-discovery while in quarantine.

My love for the portability, flexibility, and versatility of this projector stemmed from my uncommitted lifestyle. I was always traveling, running away from anything that requires settling down.

But being in quarantine made me realize the importance of having a good entertainment setup at home. I don’t have a smart TV, and I’m not sure if I’ll be purchasing one since buying one is a metaphor for permanence.

It’s something you buy when you’re sure of settling down. For starters, you need to beautify your space and buy essentials to make it look good e.g. a TV rack, sofa, center table, etc.

Second, TVs are an investment and you’re definitely buying it to accompany you for a long time. But the EF-100B, on the other hand, allowed me to enjoy the freedom of watching shows anytime, anywhere. It can be in my room, outdoors, or even in someone else’s space. Moreover, it’s something I can bring to my travels. Movie nights in beaches after the pandemic, anyone?

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I know, I know. There are cheaper smart TVs that might be a smarter purchase than buying a projector with an exorbitant price. However, my uncommitted lifestyle is drawn to a projector that makes me feel at home anywhere. For constant travelers, home is a feeling.

Although I would agree, the pandemic isn’t going to end anytime soon. We’ll be spending more time in our homes, but I still can’t invest in a smart TV when I’m certain that I’ll be on a traveling spree once more when the world is better.

Having a portable laser projector like the EF-100B can help me achieve a home entertainment setup while still being a little bit detached. I’m still in that “one foot out the door” situation, and until I find someone else I can settle down with, I’d be happy watching on a portable laser projector I can bring anywhere.

Overall, the EPFON EF-100B is a flexible, compact powerhouse — perfect for those beginning to build their home theatre, without investing in other essentials that a smart TV would require.

It’s priced at PhP 59,995 (US$ 1210), a worthy investment for those who are afraid of commitment and settling down. If you prefer the Classy White (EF-100W), it’s exclusively available on Lazada and 3-Hub, while this Tailored Black model (EF-100B) is available in Epson’s official stores.

 

Continue Reading

Trending