Accessories

In having healthy connections: vivo TWS Neo

Learning the value of unattachment and secure connections

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Earlier this year, I embarked on a spiritual quest to heal my personal issues and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Something I’ve been dealing with for more than twenty years.

Unfortunately, the world paused when the pandemic struck, and I wasn’t able to have my own Eat, Pray, Love moment. Yet the universe — if you believe in that — finds its way to put you back on track. Over the last few months, I’ve been spending some time in isolation to safeguard myself from the invisible virus.

In between my full-time job, household chores, and other errands, I was able to sit with myself while scouring through my deep-seated emotions. In the fifth month of my healing journey, I got the vivo TWS Neo to accompany me in the last stride that helped me close my old wounds.

On removing my expectations

I wasn’t impressed the first time I met the vivo TWS Neo. Bluntly put, there was nothing extraordinary about it. It’s similarly designed with a striking resemblance to the king of true wireless earphones.

Little did I know, the vivo TWS Neo has something else to offer: Identifying what I like and didn’t like about myself through my likes and dislikes about this accessory.

Using it for a month, I got a better understanding of myself. I was able to realize how I tend to fixate on what I want, denying myself the chance to try something new. How I’ve been holding on to certain outcomes that aren’t for my highest good.

So I used it to start breaking my expectations and connected it to my four phones. From the Samsung Galaxy S20, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and to the vivo X50, the TWS Neo connected seamlessly via Bluetooth.

This easy connection made me ponder about my struggles in connecting with and opening up to people. I wish I connect with people as easily as these wireless earphones.

I tried to listen to “Lo-Fi Beats” on Spotify, a calm playlist that lets me enjoy the novel I’m reading — History Is All You Left Me.

While I read a story about love, friendship, and mourning, my mind wandered in between the pages. I started relating my experience with the vivo TWS Neo to my journey in learning and healing my personal issues.

The value of detachment and secure connections

As I enjoyed the liberty of wireless connection, it helped me realize it’s time to free myself from the past. I’m not bound by any cords, I don’t have to carry all this weight with me anymore.

In between reading and bathroom breaks, I didn’t bother returning the wireless earphones to its case. I always brought it with me to the bathroom while my phone is left at my desk, thinking the connection won’t be disrupted. Plus, it has IP54 water resistance.

Of course, there’s a limit even though it uses Bluetooth 5.2 connection. It’s like how certain romantic connections can be disrupted by distance. Frankly, it’s something I’ve been doing unknowingly. An unhealthy habit I need to fix.

Thankfully, it’s easy to reconnect. The vivo TWS Neo has a good grasp of its connection, where you can just play your songs again through your phone or by tapping it with your fingers.

If you ever have to remove the earphones for a moment (or put it back to its case), the music will stop yet it will play again as soon as you plug it back in your ears.

A healthy reminder that connections don’t necessarily stop when you step away, and you can still pick things up where you left off.

The only problem I encountered was the fit. The open-ear fit didn’t feel secure enough in my ears that I always thought it’s about to fall. This is the reason why I’ve always preferred in-ear ones.

Learning about my preference made me realize the importance of feeling secure in yourself and in relationships. What most people don’t know is that a healthy connection is comprised of two secure and independent individuals. You can’t have a happy and stable relationship if someone’s worried and reeks of insecurity.

Everything is within your reach

One thing I learned and loved about the vivo TWS Neo is how everything is within our reach. I didn’t know the gesture controls I can utilize to fully enjoy my listening experience. Not until I put the effort to learn about it.

The vivo TWS Neo has Slide Control embedded on its stem, allowing you to operate it easily. I was able to access google assistant, answer a call, and control my music by double-tapping.

Calls can be rejected (which I barely do) or hung up (if people are annoying) when you press and hold. I also adjusted the volumes by sliding through the stem.

There’s also a Find My TWS Neo feature, which helps you search for your wireless earphones easily. It will beep through your phone once it’s in the connection’s range — a feature that I wish I could use for all the people I’ve lost.

There’s always a wonderful connection waiting

Diving into a story while listening to music allowed me to drown my emotions and distract myself. Sometimes, I shut the world out by putting the volume on max and using noise-cancellation.

I don’t care if my eardrums explode, as long as I can’t hear people or my thoughts, I’m good. This form of escapism has been an unhealthy habit that I’m actively fixing. Instead of enjoying the TWS Neo’s rich, quality sound (and probably staying in the present), I tend to prevent myself from feeling everything.

But what I learned so far is that sometimes, we have to allow ourselves to stumble and fall, drop our guards, and move out of our comfort zones. Maybe it’s time to stop repeating the same songs you’ve been playing for three months now.

The wireless earphones last for more than four hours and can last a full day when you recharge it through the charging case.

As I close my book to allow my wireless earphones to recharge, I realized that I, too, have to let myself rest. Just like the TWS Neo, I have to recharge (or heal in this matter) so I can enjoy another wonderful connection and listening experience that’s certainly waiting for me.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The vivo TWS Neo might not be an option to most consumers unless you’re loyal to the brand. There are a lot of cheaper alternatives and if you have a few bucks to spare, you can increase your budget range and purchase several contenders such as Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live and Huawei’s FreeBuds.

In the same price range, there’s also the OPPO Enco W31. If your budget is in between and you prefer a connection that’s simple, long-lasting, and seamless, the vivo TWS Neo could be your GadgetMatch. And if you already own a vivo phone anyway, pairing with these should be at the top of your options.

The vivo TWS Neo retails for PhP 4,999 in the Philippines. It comes in two colors: Moonlight White and Starry Blue.

SEE ALSO: Wireless earphones: A life-changing switch?6 reasons why you should switch to wireless earbuds | The art of letting go with Sony H.ear On

Accessories

realme Beard Trimmer: Getting that sexy stubble

For that stylish, cool, and attractive lewk

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“Is he attractive? Or he just has sexy stubble?” That’s a question my friends wonder when they meet someone new. And a question I pose for myself as well.

Stubble is sexy. Period. Every time I look at the mirror, I find myself alluring when I have stubble. Though they look cool, and they help separate men from boys,  keeping your facial hair at a certain length takes time, skill, and precision.

The art of trimming your facial hair

You can easily trim your facial hair when you have a manual shaver or trimmer. But that might be time-consuming to use and master to achieve the desired result.

Contrarily, going to a grooming salon can help you get that peg you’ve been wanting for your face instantaneously. Albeit, quite expensive. In addition, it’s difficult to maintain when you have a hectic lifestyle. Unless your preferred barbershop does both of your regular haircut and beard styling.

Precisely why the likes of smart, grooming tools rose through the past few years, aiming to help men redefine what’s sexy, groomed, and stylish. But in their own way.

You might think of a few brands to consider, but some could be taken aback by an expensive price tag. Moreover, it’s scary to invest in something expensive especially when it’s your first time. So if it’s indeed your foray to grooming and styling, the realme Beard Trimmer might be worth a try.

Looks sleek for the sleek-looking

Having a beard trimmer opens up possibilities for your personal care. Most accessories come with nifty features to help you achieve your desired result e.g. a sexy stubble. And realme’s very own Beard Trimmer can surely deliver, too.

At a glance, it looks like a hefty device at a size of a regular gigglestick. Thick, sturdy, and a design that piques someone’s curiosity. It comes with a stainless steel blade, whereas its head and motor are fixed and lubricated.

It’s skin-friendly, and it definitely feels premium with that matte finish. It can rival the likes of trimmers from Philips, especially with the materials used. More importantly, it’s ergonomically designed so it can be gripped easily while you groom yourself.

Style on your own

The package comes with a 10mm comb that you can place over the head, so you can trim your hair properly. The realme Beard Trimmer comes with 0.5mm precision and 20 length settings that can be adjusted using the adjustment knob.

To turn it on, you just have to press the power button and a green light will indicate it’s ready. And of course, the motors would be buzzing by then.

I personally prefer using the lowest length setting — 1cm to be exact — since I keep my facial hair short enough to be trimmed easily. But preferably, you’d have to grow the hair for at least 3 cm for a more flexible approach. Nevertheless, having a lot of length settings offer versatility to define your facial hair.

Just remember to shave with light, gentle strokes. And don’t forget to even the hair out and edge it accordingly. More importantly, rinse it properly since the metal head is washable. Just don’t let the liquids run through the charging port.

On another note, what I like about the realme Beard Trimmer is the low-noise operation when trimming my hair. Its minimal noise sounds like the buzz from my stylist’s clipper, coursing through my head in a quiet barbershop. It’s somewhat pleasing to my ear; a new beginning awaits as I shed old parts of myself.

Charging

The realme Beard trimmer is equipped with an 800mAh battery capacity. While it seemed pretty small, it can last for an hour and 20 minutes of cordless use on a single charge. If you run out of battery, you’ll have to charge it for at least two hours.

I, however, didn’t get to drain the battery down to zero. But I did use the trimmer four times now, and it’s still up and running. Previously, I charged it after unboxing and it reached full battery capacity after 45 minutes. That’s average, but the battery might be long-lasting considering I haven’t charged it for two weeks now.

But if you can’t wait for two hours to fully charge the device, you can always trim while charging. The Beard Trimmer will still work even if it’s plugged — and you don’t have to worry about it since the heat dissipates easily with its stainless steel and metal properties.

What’s amusing, though, is the Beard Trimmer sporting a Type-C port. I literally sighed “Amen”, seeing a lifestyle product that doesn’t use a micro USB port. Most gadgets I own now use a Type-C cable and I appreciate it when more devices are equipped with this port. It just makes my life easier.

Travel-friendly

If you travel frequently — either for leisure or business — then you might love the trimmer’s travel lock feature. With just a single long press on the power button, you can lock the trimmer to avoid accidental touch while traveling. Or so it doesn’t buzz while inside your carry-on.

The yellow light will indicate that the trimmer is locked. If you try to open it by pressing the power button softly, the LED indicator will prompt that it’s locked by blinking the yellow light. You can unlock it easily though: Just long-press the power button and voila!

Furthermore, the realme Beard Trimmer is easy to fit in on your carry-ons. Or in your luggage, if you’re going on a trip that doesn’t require an x-ray scanning machine and doesn’t prohibit combustible devices.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re out in the market for a grooming accessory, and if it’s your first time to shop for a personal care tool — the realme Beard Trimmer is worth considering as your GadgetMatch. It ticks the right boxes that first-time groomers would look for: affordable, sleek and premium-looking, easy-to-use, and offers precise cutting.

Meanwhile, seasoned groomers would probably look elsewhere. Something like Panasonic and/or Philips; household brands that we know all too well.

The realme Beard Trimmer retails for PhP 1,090. For a few more upgrades like an extra 20mm comb and engraved metal, the realme Beard Trimmer Plus costs PhP 1,990.

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Nanoleaf Lines: World’s first customizable backlit light bars

Spice up your home lighting!

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As gamers continue to be trendy and creative when it comes to their setups, Nanoleaf has successfully announced the launch of the world’s first customizable backlit light bars: the Nanoleaf Lines.

Nanoleaf Lines reinvents the idea of mood lighting with ultra-lightweight light bars to create sleek linear layouts, grand geometric shapes and even ceiling setups.

The lines come with 19 pre-set dynamic scenes, as well as seven rhythm scenes that sync with music to give one’s indoor space with mesmerizing lighting scenes to complement their gaming or entertainment experience.

Bringing games to life

Nanoleaf’s Screen Mirror feature syncs up on-screen colors and animations across the lighting setup, to bring one’s favorite game to life.

Connect Nanoleaf Lines with Razer Chroma-enabled devices to bring the entire gaming setup for an immersive RGB rainbow display, taking users beyond the screen.

Pricing and availability

Nanoleaf Lines is now available at both online and physical stores below. Smarter kits (9 Lines) retail at SG$ 339 and Expansion Packs (3 Lines) at SG$ 109.

Online stores include LazadaShopee, and Amazon.

Physical stores are Brex International (Oxley Bizhub), Synced by District (Plaza Singapura), HipVan Experience Store (Suntec), BHG (Bugis Junction – from 1 December 2021), Takashimaya Level 3, and Omnidesk Experience Studio.

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The art of printing moments that you can hold onto

With the instax Link WIDE, I remember it all too well

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Memories are fleeting.

Apart from music, photos, films, and anything visual that has a moment imprinted on it can remind us what we once experienced.

Whether it’s the shriek that your friends made when you cracked a joke, or that lingering stare between two people head-over-heels in love. Or even the mundane hours passing by captured in between. And the little things that brought you joy and made your heart warm like a cup of coffee on a rainy day.

Looking back at moments I once savored twists a knot in my heart. Sometimes, it’s heartbreaking to fondly remember the past. But it’s a great reminder that I can still feel and that I experienced something blissful in my life.

If you’re wondering why instant printers are still out and about in a digital age where all your photos are stored on the cloud or shared in social media, that’s precisely the reason why this novelty is very much alive.

It’s a piece of memory that you can hold on to — transporting you back in time even when your mind can’t remember it all too well. It’s proof that you were there.

To holding something that never changes

Though I look like someone who can move on easily after a day or two, I’m highly sentimental and I have difficulty letting go of the past.

Life used to be unfair to me when I was growing up and after surviving an abusive relationship seven years ago, I lost memories of myself. Photos of friends from when I was studying, digital clutter that showed off my interests, and stuff that made up who I was. I lost them all.

Perhaps it’s the reason why I’ve owned and printed memories — unbeknownst to many — through the devices I’ve owned and reviewed in the past few years. Be it from an ink tank printer, a mini instant printer that uses an instax film, or from an actual instant camera that prints the moment captured right away.

I love holding onto memories because it’s something that never changes, no matter how many years have gone by. So, when Fujifilm unveiled the instax Link WIDE — I was giddy like a little kid on a Christmas morning, ready to open his presents.

The only present that welcomes the past

Living in the present means letting go of the past, and throwing away your worries of the future. But time and time again, it’s nice to remember the moments that shaped who you are today.

The instax Link WIDE helps bridge the present and the past by allowing you to print memories stored in your smartphone. It’s just like the instax mini Link I reviewed two years ago.

I could probably tell you the same things I wrote in my story before, but the experience is still quite different.

This instant printer is boxy and humongous when compared to the mini Link. It’s sturdier, thicker, wider, and heavier. Of course, the size is the prominent change but what I like is being able to print in wider, landscape-oriented films.

Pretty much like the ones from Polaroid, souvenir stamps, and postcards.

Navigating the device is simple and easy if you’re familiar with instant printers. Press the power button on the front — which has instax’s logo printed — to turn it on. On its back, you can find the film door where you can place your landscape-oriented film.

Upon shutting the film door, the printer takes out the excess film. So, be careful about opening the door once more lest you consume one of your films. A grim reminder that sometimes, doors from the past aren’t meant to be opened.

Any way you want it

Like I said before, the instax Link WIDE prints photos stored in your smartphone. To do that, you just need to connect the printer via Bluetooth and by pairing it with a dedicated app.

Through the app, you can determine how many films are still available and the battery capacity of the device. Apart from the status of the instax Link WIDE, the app allows you to play with your prints.

You can use the simple print mode to churn out the photo instantly, or you can use an editable template print that lets you edit the colors and text of various templates. Yes, you can also create your own templates if you want them to be more personal.

Frankly, I’m not fond of these templates since they look tacky and don’t fit my aesthetic. But of course, there are people who’d love to use stickers and other templates especially when they’re in a hurry to print their memories. To each his own.

There’s also a collage print that helps you put together two images in one print. Then, there’s the Sketch, Edit & Print option where you can write or draw something on the image, and customize it to your liking before you print it.

When past meets present meets future

Clicking the settings icon can brings you a plethora of settings that you’d want to maximize. For example, the Print Mode options are handy for toning the prints.

Using instax-Natural mode can give your prints a saturated yet classic look. Meanwhile, instax-Rich mode will print out photos with deep and immersive colors.

There’s so much to unpack here, but thank heavens, it’s not feelings. Nevertheless, I’m glad the dedicated app works seamlessly this time around. Compared to previous apps developed by Fujifilm for their instax cameras and printers, which were buggy and unstable.

In a way, the instax Link WIDE was able to bridge the memories of the past and the stability and connectivity of the future in the present.

A rare experience to remember it all too well

During the course of my experience with the instax Link WIDE, I was preparing for a holiday reunion with my almost-decade-old friends. People who helped me crawl out of that depressive rabbit hole.

Not wanting to let go of the only moment we will be able to come together after being away for two years, I printed my favorite moments with certain people and embedded a QR — which can hold voice clips, hidden messages for friends, and even a location pin to direct people.

I’m not very open with how I feel unless I’ve poured myself twelve shots of tequila. The truth is I’m afraid of the future, seeing the holiday reunion as the only time that my friends and I will be complete again.

Some of us are flying in different countries for work, some are settling down with that dreamy white-picket-fence life, and some are migrating for a better life.

I couldn’t fathom the idea of not being able to hug these people again. And I’m afraid that I won’t even remember these weirdos that helped me get a second leash in life. Times like these make me appreciate the novelty of instant printers and the personalized features they bring through technology.

That even a decade after, when my wrinkles started to show and I’m in my late 30s, I get to remember how life wasn’t unfair at all. That I was surrounded with bliss and love, and that what I was looking for was right in front of me all along.

Is the instax Link WIDE your GadgetMatch?

If you love taking photos and printing pieces of memories to hold on to, then your highly sentimental nature would love the instax Link WIDE. It doesn’t hassle you, unlike instant cameras where you have to frame it properly and take a shot perfectly as to not waste a film.

Aside from being overly sentimental with your memories, the instax Link WIDE also makes for perfect gifts or you can use the prints as souvenirs for your intimate gatherings.

There are unlimited possibilities, you just have to be open to making new memories — and collect them so you can savor them someday.

The instax Link WIDE retails for PhP 8,999 and comes with a free pack of film. There are two colors to choose from: Ash White or Mocha Gray.

The instant printer is available for purchase at Instax flagship stores in Lazada, Shopee, wonderphotoshop.ph, and at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide.

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