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vivo V20 Pro review: First time’s already a charm

What it feels like using a vivo phone for the first time

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It wasn’t too long ago when vivo unveiled the V19 series in the Philippines. Not that we should be surprised, but just a reminder, the past four months weren’t too long ago.

Fast forward today, vivo has finally announced not one, not two, but three new smartphones, pandemic notwithstanding. The V20 series lineup goes like this: the V20 SE, V20, and this one, the V20 Pro. If you’ve been fond of vivo’s V-lineup, they always skip models in odd numbers. This time, they decided to mix things up with an even number — right in time for the year “20”20.

V stands for Very Confusing

If you’re confused among these models, here’s a quick spec comparison.

V20 Pro V20 V20 SE
Processor Snapdragon 765G Snapdragon 720G Snapdragon 665
Display 6.44” AMOLED
HDR10
6.44” AMOLED 6.44” AMOLED
Memory 8GB 8GB 8GB
Storage 128GB 128GB + microSD 128GB + microSD
Network 5G + 4G LTE 4G LTE only 4G LTE only
Rear Cameras 64MP f/1.9 WA
8MP f/2.2 120º UWA
2MP f/2.4 Mono
64MP f/1.9 WA
8MP f/2.2 120º UWA
2MP f/2.4 Mono
48MP f/1.8 WA
8MP f/2.2 120º UWA
2MP f/2.4 Mono
Front Cameras 44MP f/2.0 Wide
8MP f/2.28 105º UWA
44MP f/2.0 Wide 44MP f/2.0 Wide
Battery 4000mAh 4000mAh 4100mAh

Full of Firsts

The V20 Pro may not be vivo’s first 5G smartphone, but it’s currently the world’s slimmest. In fact, it’s even slimmer than its 5G-equipped cousin, the X50 Pro.

Just like how I used a vivo smartphone for the first time, the article headings were (heavily) inspired by BLACKPINK’s tracks that are also from their first ever full album. Coincidentally, Lisa has also endorsed the vivo S7 — which is the Chinese counterpart of the V20 Pro. I digress.

ALSO: This is the first 5G smartphone I’ve ever held and used.

Look so good, yeah, look so sweet

I hope you read that with the tune of BLACKPINK’s Ice Cream. Those iconic lyrics best describe how I feel about this particular piece of hardware.

It’s eye-tricking. The psychedelic back confuses and amuses me at the same time. Depending on one’s source of light, this phone can show shades of orange, red, blue, or pink, with subtle hints of yellow and purple all over it. The warmer side reminds me of a popsicle I used to eat when I was a kid. Thus, it looks good, and sweet — at least in my eyes.

The Sunset Melody variant isn’t bad  at all but it’s simply not my cup of tea. If people love flashy, eye-candy colors, I beg to differ. Other than the difficulty in matching this phone with my usual monochromatic pandemic OOTD, it’s also hard to keep this away from the prying eyes of thieves.

If I had the chance to choose one, I’d simply pick the white-touting Moonlight Sonata colorway because it’s cleaner and the fingerprint smudges will appear less. Although black is my favorite color, Midnight Jazz looks too bland for my liking.

This doesn’t mean I don’t like the phone. I honestly like how it feels in the hand despite being thin. It’s light yet not too slippery nor fragile (unlike me).

Other than that, the stainless steel frame and matte glass back both add premium touches to the phone itself.

Unlike its younger siblings, the 3.5mm audio jack was eliminated from the V20 Pro and was replaced by a SIM tray slot just beside the microphone and USB-C port. I’m not making a big fuss about this as I’ve already transitioned into a more wireless and USB-C ecosystem. But for audiophiles or other people who totally rely on it, this could be a dealbreaker. Don’t fret, vivo has bundled a USB-C to 3.5mm audio jack adapter if you still want that immersive, wired audio experience.

Now that we’re on the topic of speakers, it doesn’t have stereo speakers but its mono speaker is decent and loud — just don’t try to cover it too much with your finger when holding it in landscape mode or you might muffle the whole audio experience.

Love To Hate That Display

Now that I already brought up the topic with V20 and V20 SE, I just don’t understand how vivo decided to bring back these notches over the V19’s punch-hole camera cutout and V17 Pro’s set of pop-up cameras. This even reminds me of the early days of the brand with the vivo V9 and the V11.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love its 6.44-inch AMOLED display that shows deep blacks and vivid colors. It might not be too obvious but the bezels are slimmer than the V20, making its form factor smaller and thinner than the latter. I even tested out V20 Pro’s clear case but it simply wouldn’t fit the V20’s slightly larger and thicker form factor.

Without the presence of a physical fingerprint sensor, the in-display fingerprint scanner is there to save the day. Unlike previous review units I tested, V20 Pro’s reader is fast enough for everyday unlocking. I mean c’mon, vivo brought this technology first with the 2018 APEX phone. There’s no competition but there’s a reason why they should ace this particular technology over other brands.

There’s also a Face Unlock feature but in times like this, it’s best to just use the fingerprint scanner. After all, we’re required to wear face masks and face shields when we’re out and about in public.

Pretty Savage Specs

As stated in the intro, the V20 Pro packs a Snapdragon 765G processor that’s responsible for delivering outstanding CPU and GPU performance. And thanks to this processor, it’s able to bring 5G support to the V20 Pro for a less expensive price tag compared to the pricey SD865 variants.

Of course, we shouldn’t miss playing PUBG especially since BLACKPINK has a collaboration with them.

Most (if not all) phones have DND (Do Not Disturb)  Mode but most of the time, it just doesn’t seem to work especially when playing games. The built-in game manager controls that can be toggled on the upper left corner are handy especially if you want to focus on the game and don’t want to be interrupted by app notifications, messages, and calls.

If you’re gonna ask what’s my favorite feature, it’s a minor addition but the 4D vibration is something I love. It adds an intuitive gaming experience by enhancing the overall vibration feedback of the phone. Haven’t tried all sorts of options since I’m not a professional mobile gamer, but vivo’s In-Game Manager is worth trying out.

I tried taking a break by playing amid the busy workload I have during this aphonecalyptic month full of phone launches and events. My original goal was to just find the BLACKPINK-themed plane. Unfortunately, it never showed up. Instead, I was teamed up with these three random PUBG players from different parts of the world.

All throughout the game, performance was fast and snappy. Although there’s no 120Hz refresh rate (and 240Hz sampling rate), it still performed buttery smooth thanks to its powerful chipset. This proves that you don’t need the highest processor just to play graphics-intensive games. As the photo shows above, the phone supports PUBG’s Ultra frame rate option and HDR resolution.

After a quick gaming session, me and these bunch of strangers that helped each other were able to stay ’til the end and got an imaginary winning chicken for dinner. This circumstance also happened for the first time ever since I started playing this game months ago.

Crazy Over 5G

Although the pandemic is far from over, I was still able to test out 5G speeds in the Metro — and it was insanely fast. It’s even faster than our typical Fiber Internet Plan at home.

Let me open my Instagram first as an early app test. I know this app doesn’t require blazingly-fast data speeds but hey, better to open something first that doesn’t consume all of your data balance 😂

vivo V20 Pro

Fresh from the oven, I was also able to watch BLACKPINK’s first (yes another first in this article) ever Netflix documentary. I completely forgot to download it through our Wi-Fi connection at home but I’m glad 5G saved my day. It took me less than three to five minutes to download this more than 1GB-worth documentary.

You Never Know When It’s Gonna Die

If you’re like me who spends countless of hours listening to music (especially K-Pop), the V20 Pro is a perfect companion for those ultra-long jamming sessions — especially in this pandemic.

While its 4,000mAh battery isn’t as “enormous” as other Android phones, the phone was able to last at least a full day of moderate to heavy usage. Do take note how you use your phones quite often. For me, music playback doesn’t require the screen to be always turned on so it’s still not as power-hungry as when you play games, binge-watch a series, or shoot photos and videos for hours.

There’s more than enough juice left for the day. Mind you, I used this phone the moment I went out of the house at around six in the morning with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular Data toggled on. Since then, I never plugged it in my powerbank to fill up the phone.

While super fast charging isn’t particularly new these days, vivo’s FlashCharge technology sure does the trick of bumping up the battery level from zero to 100 percent in about an hour. I tried testing it out and it took the V20 Pro exactly 58 minutes to charge — which is still fast considering it has a large 4,000mAh battery.

And yes, you heard that right! The 33W vivo FlashCharge adapter is still bundled in the box. 👀

How You Like That Cameras?

This familiar-looking camera cutout made its debut on the vivo X50 Pro — a.k.a the world’s first smartphone with a gimbal camera system. Not to confuse you, but having a similar camera design doesn’t mean it has the same stabilization technology.

For aesthetic purposes, vivo just decided to bring this sophisticated-looking camera placement on their newest S and V series line — and I honestly love how it looks. But do I love how its cameras perform? Tune in to my samples below.

On paper, you get a 64-megapixel f/1.9 wide camera. Other than that, there’s an 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultra-wide angle camera with a 120-degree FoV. This sensor is also responsible for shooting macro and bokeh shots. The third lens is an additional 2-megapixel f/2.4 mono sensor.

For the most part, the V20 Pro produced great shots

With ample amount of sunlight, the V20 Pro can keep up with most of 2020’s smartphone camera competition.

Wide | 2x Zoom

Its dedicated zoom toggle helped a lot in capturing interesting subjects even from afar.

Ultra-wide | 2x zoom

Restricting the frame by zooming in on the subject can help deliver better photos without ever moving an inch closer to the object itself — just like how I tried not to scare away this stray cat.

Ultra-wide | Wide | 2x Zoom

Even under harsh daylight conditions, the V20 Pro successfully showed photos with great dynamic range, no matter what type of lens you use.

However, the two minor issues I’ve faced are the inconsistencies in detecting the Auto WB (White Balance) and the lack of stabilization when zooming in.

Ultra-wide | Wide | 2x Zoom

As seen from my two pets, it’s pretty evident that ultra-wide shots take warmer photos in contrast to its regular / wide lens.

Ultra-wide | Wide | 2x Zoom

Other than that, zoomed shots taken indoors were a little bit blurry due to the lack of stabilization.

Ultra-wide | Wide | 2x Zoom

But then again, it’s not totally a big deal for photos that will just be posted on social media.

Just for fun, I tried comparing the V20 Pro with Google’s Pixel 2 XL — a flagship from three years ago

V20 Pro’s Super Macro Mode vs Pixel 2 XL’s 5x Zoom

Having an AI camera can surely help you take better photos when the phone detects a particular subject or object. This automatically switched to vivo’s built-in Super Macro Mode. The lady bug can still be seen but it failed to preserve the accurate highlights and shadows.

Pixel, on the other hand, was able to preserve the scene just like how my eyes saw it. It’s totally not a fair comparison because Pixel lacks a macro mode but it still got the job done of capturing that tiny bug hiding on the leaf.

V20 Pro HDR | Pixel 2 XL HDR+

This second photo shows how software processing affects the color accuracy of one shot. Then again, Pixel 2 XL has delivered the shot closer to what you’ll see in reality. These were both taken when the sun was completely out, past six in the evening.

V20 Pro’s Night Mode vs Pixel 2 XL’s Night Sight

Finally, the sun is gone. I then tried to shoot this night scenery. The V20 Pro’s output still looked like the sun was present in the scene. Meanwhile, the Pixel, though grainy, still produced a better-looking photo with the right amount of highlights and shadows.

These samples show how a 2017-made flagship can still keep up with a new 2020-midranger. Regardless if a phone is a new or not, this proves how computational photography still plays a big role in shooting photos.

Finally, less-smudgy selfies

For an obvious reason, the V20 Pro has a slightly wider notch because of its dual front cameras. There’s a main 44-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera, while the second sensor is an 8-megapixel f/2.28 ultra-wide selfie shooter for those extra-wide groufies — which isn’t ideal yet in this pandemic because we still need to distance ourselves (especially from our crushes).

Wide | Ultra-Wide

Taking selfies in establishments is now bearable, thanks to the existence of face masks 😂

Wide | Ultra-Wide

Is the vivo V20 Pro your GadgetMatch?

vivo v20 Pro

For someone who wants to taste vivo’s freshly-served ice cream, the V20 Pro is still worth purchasing. Although it’s priced at PhP 24,999, it’s simply not the cheapest and most power-packed 5G smartphone option you can get today.

But considering how vivo carefully crafted this latest piece of hardware and still managed to have power-packed internals, a large battery, and even a 5G modem inside a slim chassis, this is one of the best picks especially now that the country is slowly evolving into a 5G-ready nation.

If you’re still hesitating to buy it due to the inconsistencies in camera performance, the only hope we could ask is for vivo to solve it via future software updates. If the notch is a complete dealbreaker, there’s an Android app that can completely hide it for you.

vivo v20 series

V20 | V20 SE | V20 Pro

Now, if you care less about 5G and want a cheaper variant, get the V20 instead with some caveats over its ‘Pro’ sibling. But if you care less about the bells and whistles the higher V20 variants offer, the V20 SE is an option, especially if you want to try out the nature of vivo’s ecosystem.

Availability update as of 12/5/2020

The vivo V20 Pro is now available through Smart Signature Plan L 1999. Interested subscribers need to only pay an initial cash-out of PhP 3,710 and add PhP 200 on top of their monthly bill; or pay a one-time cash out of PhP 8,300.

Existing Smart Signature subscribers looking to renew their plan only need to add PhP 179 on top of their monthly bill or opt for the one-time cash out option of PhP 4,300.

As a limited treat, Smart Signature subscribers with approved applications for vivo V20 Pro will also get Free Wireless Earbuds worth PhP 2,499 until January 15, 2021.

 

Reviews

Redmi Note 10S review: The all-rounder you want

Great, long lasting performance with less compromises

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Note 10S

Picture this: it’s 2021, you’re still stuck indoors and in need of something to pass the time. Also, with all the time you’ve spent indoors, you have enough savings to get a new smartphone. Maybe you’re looking for a phone that lasts long, or a phone that feels fast and performs well for any use.

Within the midrange space, smartphone companies manage to give you a product with everything you’re looking for. However, as is the case with most budget smartphones, they gave up some features and functionalities that dampen the experience a little bit. You want a smartphone that caters to everything you throw at it.

Enter the Redmi Note 10S, the latest midrange smartphone that hopes to do just that. In my initial impressions of the device, I was impressed by all facets but I wanted to see how it would fare with prolonged use. I think my exact words were that it “ticked all the boxes,” but is it impressive enough for you to consider?

Here’s what you’re getting with the Redmi Note 10S:

It comes with a 6.43” FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay

Editor’s Note: MoChaeng best girls 💕

Also, it has a rear quad camera setup with a 64MP main sensor

Note 10S

There is also a USB-C charging port and headphone jack at the bottom

Note 10S

It comes in three colors: Onyx Gray, Pebble White, and Ocean Blue

Note 10S

Handles anything you throw at it with ease

If I could sum up my overall take on how the Redmi Note 10S performs, I’d do it in three words: “bring it on.” I mentioned in my initial impressions that everything runs smoothly on this device, and that’s still my main takeaway with prolonged use. A lot of credit obviously goes to the hardware this device rocks inside it.

The Redmi Note 10S comes with a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset inside, along with 6GB of RAM. There are models that come with 8GB of RAM, but I would argue that 6GB is actually quite enough. I mean, it’s enough for the things you normally do when you use a smartphone, along with multitasking apps if you feel like it.

Note 10S

What also helped the performance just a little bit for me was the AMOLED DotDisplay. Whether it was watching Queens Archive or Netflix TV shows, it was quite bright and color accurate. Honestly, I had the brightness set to around 40 to 50 percent and I could still see what I was watching.

A great mobile gaming device for most games

The other performance aspect I wanted to touch on was how well you could game on the device. With 6GB of RAM inside, it’s a no-brainer that a phone like this can handle most games. For the most part, I didn’t really have too many problems running more graphically-intense games on this device, and Game Turbo helped out a lot.

Note 10S

See, within MIUI’s settings, you have access to Game Turbo that optimizes gaming performance. Throughout my entire usage of the device, I managed to play games quite smoothly, with only a handful at around 60 FPS. I mean, if the game came with a 60 FPS setting, I would rather play that way, right?

What’s pretty great about this is that you can even use Game Turbo to finetune performance per individual game. At the time, I noticed that PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang were supported by this feature, so I tinkered with it a little bit. The resulting performance ended up a little better, but I’d still opt to just let Game Turbo do its thing.

Decent photography and selfie machine

When you hear that a smartphone has a quad-camera setup, you would assume that image quality would turn out great. In the case of the Redmi Note 10S, it turned out alright with its version of a quad-camera setup. Also, the 13MP selfie camera on the DotDisplay fared just as well as the rear cameras.

Note 10S

I tried taking pictures in both preferable and less than ideal lighting conditions, and the results were mixed. Under great lighting conditions, the images turned out quite nice, showing accurate colors and great detail. Also, I finally got through the wonky auto-focus I experienced in my initial tests, so just give it some more time.

However, the cameras don’t fare well when there’s not enough light around the area. I don’t just mean taking pictures at night, but even when there’s little brightness in the room. When I checked the photos, they didn’t particularly scream “super-detailed” but the rear camera tried its hardest.

Keeps you going, whether you’re bored or not

You might be wondering how the device keeps going with all of these activities you’re throwing at it. Inside this machine, you will find a 5,000 mAh battery, which is honestly a standard for most budget to midrange smartphones. With such a big battery, I expect it to last for maybe a day or so, with regular use.

Note 10S

Instead, the Redmi Note 10S took nearly two days worth of regular usage for it to reach zero percent. In one instance, I even managed to extend the run time by about five to six hours when I kept the brightness from 40 to 50 percent. Basically, on a full charge, this phone will keep you going even if you lose electricity because of a storm.

The craziest thing about this is that it doesn’t take that long to fully recharge the device. Through my battery tests, I managed to fully charge the phone with its 33W fast charging charger in over an hour and 20 minutes. Furthermore, charging the device to 50 percent took around 35 minutes. Honestly, this kind of battery and charging setup is everything you could ever ask for.

Is the Redmi Note 10S your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 11,990, the Redmi Note 10S provides you with everything you could ask for in a smartphone. From the performance to the battery life, it’s an all-rounder type of device that you will appreciate through and through. Also, the fact that it comes in three colors means you have more options that suit your tastes.

Note 10S

Again, it still has its hiccups in the camera department despite producing decent image quality in general. I think they’re pretty great, but honestly you’re better off using the phone under better lighting for the best selfies. Other than that, the phone itself poses as a potential daily driver for most people.

The Redmi Note 10S is a great example of a smartphone that gives you everything, without sacrificing too much. If you want something that caters to your every whim, give this one a chance!

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Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6: A worthy pro tablet

Even more if you’re already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem

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MatePad Pro 12.6

Recovering from their dark past of being cannibalized by the growing sizes of smartphones, tablets have once again secured their spot in the market. From what had just seemed to be a bigger smartphone, tablets have gotten overhauled into a somewhat capable and more portable laptop replacement.

This is thanks to the few determined brands that persistently kept looking for innovative uses for these large devices.

Among the few is Huawei who once again brings us something very promising this year as they introduce their most powerful tablet yet – the new Huawei MatePad Pro 12.6.

Sleek design 

MatePad Pro 12.6

Faithful to the MatePad series’ design, the MatePad Pro is built with an aluminum body with a Matte Grey finish. On its front, we have the 12.6-inch OLED display framed with its sleek looking ultra slim bezels.

While the design isn’t something to marvel at, the incredibly thin 5.6mm bezels still manages to carry in it the front facing camera which makes it look a bit cleaner than the punch hole design seen on its predecessor.

MatePad Pro 12.6

For a 12.6-inch device, the MatePad Pro is relatively lightweight as it is lighter than Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9-inch at only 609g. Though you would still probably prefer to use this on your desk as hand holding it like you would with a smartphone would still feel tiring for your arms after a while. After all, you’re still carrying more than half a kilo.

Snappy performance with capable hardware

Running on flagship specs, the MatePad Pro is powered by a Kirin 9000E 5G SoC, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. If you’re unfamiliar with this chipset, this happens to be Huawei’s contender that goes head on with the also very powerful flagship from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 888.

MatePad Pro 12.6

So how does it perform? Well, just as you would expect from a flagship – everything felt snappy fast. From gaming on graphically demanding games, like Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends to some light video editing with FilmoraGo, the MatePad Pro handled everything like a charm. It was a struggle playing FPS games because of its size though, but its hardware is more than capable rendering everything even at the highest graphic settings.

Vibrant yet accurate OLED display

There’s plenty of room to play with in this 12.6-inch OLED display as its screen resolution of 2560×1600 and the 16:10 aspect ratio makes it perfect for multitasking apps side by side.

I understand that many creative professionals are probably eyeing on using this for creative work. And here I say, this display is also perfect for such use. With its DCI-P3 color gamut, colors appear closer to what they would actually look like in real life.

That being said, taking breaks and watching videos on this screen is also a pleasurable experience as the deep blacks and the high contrast produced by OLEDs really makes images pop.

MatePad Pro 12.6

The screen brightness is also more than enough for indoor use but much like any other OLED device, viewing under direct sunlight is a struggle.

A multifunctional keyboard and the new M-Pencil 2.0

A magnetic keyboard that doubles as a protective cover isn’t something new for tablets. I do like how the keys are widely spaced, the relatively long key travel and its professional look. However, do take note that this does not come close to the same user experience as Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad rather it is similar to their Smart Keyboard Folio.

For one, it doesn’t have a trackpad which is a bummer and the keys are placed near the edge of the frame. This leaves us no space to rest our palms on if we were to use this on smaller spaces.

The M-Pencil 2.0, on the other hand, is really good. With its 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, this new version of the M-Pencil is capable of simulating different strokes that artists do if they were using a brush or a pencil. It also has handy shortcuts like Double-tap Toggle which allows you to go back and forth selecting different tools. 

When left on its docked position, the M-Pencil 2.0 seamlessly connects to the tablet and automatically charges itself leaving it always fully charged and ready to use.

Powered by HarmonyOS 2.0

I had mixed feelings with HarmonyOS going into this review, and I can say, I still do. Yes, it does feel very polished and similar to Android but the app compatibility is still what keeps me away from fully investing myself in it.

While Huawei’s AppGallery may have a growing library of apps, it still lacks many of the familiar apps that we use. The good news is most of these apps are ones that can be accessed through the browser like Facebook, Youtube and Netflix. 

And here’s the thing. You’d probably use this tablet like how you’d use a laptop anyway and on our laptops, that’s exactly how we access these — on our browser.

I’ve also realized that most Android apps will actually work with HarmonyOS 2.0, you’d just have to install them manually. That’s where the new Petal Search feature comes in handy. You can simply type in the name of a third party app you’re looking for and it would look for an appropriate APK file for you from different sources.

Multi Screen Collaboration with Huawei devices

A feature you get access to if you’re living in Huawei’s ecosystem is the Multi Screen Collaboration. It’s also what I enjoyed most with this MatePad Pro. Paired with the MateBook D15 that I’m currently using, I was able to mirror and extend the laptop’s display to the MatePad as well as drag and drop my files between the two devices.

It certainly feels like you’re getting more out of your device as it opens up more possibilities of what you can do with this tablet. I was able to use the MatePad as a drawing tablet controlling the laptop as well as use it as an additional desktop workspace. This gave me much freedom for multitasking and an accurate reference monitor for photo editing.

Battery that’s built to last 

Back in the earlier days of tablets, I remember owning a tablet which struggled to last two hours on web browsing. That isn’t the case here. Huawei rates this device to last up to 9 hours straight web browsing with its large 10,050mAh battery. Long enough to last you a whole work day or even longer if you plan on doing work offline.

The included 40W fast charger should get you all juiced up for about a little over two hours which is pretty decent for such a big battery capacity. I also charged this with the charger that came with the MateBook D15 and that worked well too so less things to pack in case you happen to have both devices with you.

Cameras that may come in handy 

MatePad Pro 12.6

Kind of unique for a tablet, the MatePad Pro 12.6 comes packed with three cameras. A 13MP main shooter, 8MP wide angle and a 3D depth sensor.

You may kind of look weird doing mobile photography on such a huge device, but if that is really something that you prefer doing, the MatePad Pro can definitely get the job done.

I’d say decent enough image quality, but more than enough for a tablet since you’ll just probably use this to take photos of documents or references for work.

Exquisite audio quality for a tablet 

A total of eight speakers have been loaded into this body. With four woofers and four tweeters tuned by Harman Kardon, I was blown away by how good this sounded. This may just be the best sounding speaker setup I’ve experienced on a portable device.

Without exaggeration, this beats even most laptops I’ve used. I could really hear the details and the full range of instruments I’ve listened to. With deep kicks and crispy snare drums, nylon guitars and orchestrated string instruments sound heavenly. 

Is the MatePad Pro 12.6 your GadgetMatch?

If you’re just planning on getting something bigger than your phone for browsing and media consumption, the steep price tag of the MatePad Pro makes it hard to recommend.

This changes however, if you’re a graphic artist looking for an iPad Pro alternative especially if you consider that the competition is priced even higher. 

The solid specs, great display, large battery capacity and that stellar sound quality is absolutely worth the price. Even more if you’re already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem, adding the MatePad Pro really unlocks a range of handy features. It’s a very definite yes for me.

I’m really excited to see what’s in store for the MatePad Pro in the near future as more apps become available and grow more stable running on the HarmonyOS.

The MatePad Pro 12.6 retails at PhP 55,999.

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Huawei Watch 3 review: Apple of my eye, err, wrist

The Apple Watch of Huawei’s smartwatch lineup?!

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Huawei continues to mold its product lineups — particularly its wearables — shaping it to fit into the lives of its beloved consumers — Huawei fans and alike.

In a previous story, I listed a few reasons why the Huawei Watch 3 deserves to be on your wrist. Nearly a month later, I still stand by what I said about the Chinese company’s flagship wearable.

Of course, there are still factors to consider before deciding on a smartwatch. So let us help you figure out by tackling matters that you might be dying to find out.

In this review, we’ll detail my experience wearing this watch — the hiccups and the wonders encountered after wearing it for a few weeks. Together, let’s find out if the Huawei Watch 3 is really your GadgetMatch.

Comfort is key

The Huawei Watch 3 is beautifully designed, no doubt. While it exudes a classic appeal, the watch can suit different occasions. And it has a plethora of straps to choose from so you can mix and match. Although the availability depends on the region.

In my case, I didn’t have a choice aside from the black and plain fluoroelastomer strap. What I did was find a way to ship straps from China to get more designs that are apt for my style.

Anyhoo, let’s talk comfort. Regardless of the straps, comfort is key when it comes to smartwatches. It’ll be wrapped around your wrists for a long time, and it’s important to never have any issues with its heft and your skin.

Thankfully, the Huawei Watch 3 doesn’t feel heavy despite having a bigger watch case. What I find worrisome is how bulky it is for both my wrists and daily activities. It gets in the way sometimes — accidentally brushing metals, walls, and other furniture.

I appreciate not feeling any weight while wearing it, but it looks too big for me. Nonetheless, if you have thicker wrists, the watch case size won’t matter. And there are workarounds on how you can prevent your smartwatch from bumping stuff and from getting scratched.

Leave your phone behind

Like most smartwatches, you can connect the Huawei Watch 3 to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Just pair your devices and you can receive notifications, text messages, and calls.

But you can also connect the Huawei Watch 3 on a WiFi connection or a data hotspot. The smartwatch runs on HarmonyOS and comes with several apps; some are built-in and some are downloaded via AppGallery. Personally, I enjoy navigating Petal Maps — Huawei’s very own Maps — because frankly, it’s pretty much the same as Google Maps.

Wearing the Watch 3 made me use my phone less, seeing how I glance at my wrist to check who messaged me. And from those moments, I decide if the person is important enough to stop whatever I’m doing and pick my phone up to respond.

Receiving calls is also fun if you want to act like you’re a spy sent on a mission in whatever Sci-Fi film. Except, I don’t like it when people near me can hear the person on the other line.

If you’re looking for a different way to leave your phone and rely only on your smartwatch, the Huawei Watch 3 supports eSim technology.

Unfortunately, eSims are only available to postpaid plans on select carriers in my country, which I don’t have because I use a prepaid sim with large data allocation.  If you’re a postpaid subscriber, just ask your carrier for an eSim and they’ll help you set it up. That way, you can use your mobile number simultaneously — on your watch and on your smartphone.

If you still need more understanding of how eSim technology works, you better read our explainer.

Matches with everyone else

No, I’m not talking about how the smartwatch can match anyone in terms of style, appearance, and personality. Although, that could be the case because it could. But that’s not the point here.

The Huawei Watch 3 is perfectly compatible with all kinds of smartphone users — whether you’re a Huawei loyalist, a Samsung fanboy, a die-hard Xiaomi bunny, or an Apple-ogist.

Thing is, even though the Huawei Watch 3 runs on HarmonyOS, all you need is the Huawei Health app. And it’s downloadable on AppGallery, Play Store, and the App Store.

I paired the watch with several devices in my arsenal. From the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro, and even the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2. It easily syncs important data from your watch, and then you can preview it through the Health app.

More importantly, it’s uncomplicated to navigate even if you use a different ecosystem. As an Apple-ologist pointed out, the Huawei Watch 3 looks the same as the Apple Watch with only minor iterations from its design.

Although, we’re not surprised. Huawei openly expressed how they look up to Apple for inspiration… and probably imitation. But, whatever. Apple’s products are always user-friendly and won’t fry your last three brain cells — perfect for himbos like me.

As long as Huawei makes their products user-friendly too, I’m down with all of it. Based on experience, they make fantastic hardware and it’s a sweet treat if their software and user interface follows one of the best.

From swag to sweat

The Huawei Watch 3 can be a smartwatch for any occasion, assuming you have the perfect strap to suit different settings. During my stint, I used my China-bought Milanese strap when I met with friends and hop on a date. A silver accent works for me since I wear silver rings and earrings.

I have a fashion savant in my life who’s always advised me to match my metals. And I wore that principle to my heart. You don’t need to wear expensive jewelry and accessories to look expensive. Your watch should just go well with every other metal on your body.

On Huawei’s official website, the Steel and Leather straps work perfectly for your casual settings. You might want to consider those when you try to mix and match your outfits.

Coming home, I switch to my black, fluoroelastomer strap. It’s a durable yet comfortable rubber apt for physical activities and humid weather.

As I’ve said earlier, comfort is key and that’s the case for the Huawei Watch 3. Despite the bulky size, surprisingly, it doesn’t get in the way of my workouts. Not once did I feel anxious about my watch brushing off with my weights and other metals.

Speaking of weights, the Huawei Watch 3 accompanied me in my strength and conditioning training. All the essential tracking and features helped me complete my program, prompting me to change my habits to make fitness a sustainable activity and eventually, a lifestyle.

From sweat resistance that pushed me to continue with my routines, timers and stopwatches that aided me in measuring my tempo, the sports tracking mode that helped me understand my patterns, to all-day monitoring with blood oxygen, heart rate, temperature, and even sleep — the Huawei Watch 3 has it all.

Health features

Packed with salient health features apt for the current era, the Huawei Watch 3 might make you wonder: Do they really work? And do we even need them?

At first, I was cynical with all the mumbo jumbo presented in smartwatch campaigns. But after my experience, I had a change of heart. Wholeheartedly, I would say yes — they work and we need it.

Starting with the basics, it has the usual features found on any smartwatch. You can track your step count, calories burned, and your heart rate. It also reminds you to get up and move after a period of inactivity.

There’s also a feature where you can track your stress levels, and probably help you cope and manage your stress. As for me, it didn’t particularly help but maybe someone out there can benefit from it. The important thing is there’s a tool that could possibly help.

What I loved the most is the sleep report I receive every morning. Tracking my sleep helped me understand my patterns — which is a key factor I consider before going on my day or performing an exercise routine.

Checking my reports helps me decide if I’m going for two cups of coffee throughout the day, if I’m well-rested enough to execute intense forms during training, or if I need to take more naps.

While all of these reports are summarized and can be previewed using your smartwatch, the intensive details are listed on the Huawei Health app.

Since it consistently tracks and monitors various data, the Huawei Watch 3 constantly consumes the battery life, just like any device that’s connected to Bluetooth, WiFi, and performing background activities.

True to its promise, it has a 3-day battery life that accompanies you in your daily activities. Switching it to ultra-long battery life mode extends it up to 14 days, except I don’t really see myself using this mode in the future.

Charging it is fairly quick. I left it charging after an hour of napping, and when I woke up, I saw it fully charged — ready to be slapped on my wrist again.

Is this watch a match?

But then again, I wish it had a longer battery life like the Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro. If the Huawei Watch 3 can last up to two weeks, it could’ve been my GadgetMatch.

It’s a versatile smartwatch that you can add to your collection of watches. So well-rounded and user-friendly, it works without any tinkering involved. All you have to do is wear it and watch how it performs feats that might elevate your lifestyle.

The Huawei Watch 3 retails for PhP 18,999 — a price tag befitting a premium smartwatch. If anything, Huawei found itself its very own Apple Watch.

Brazenly, I would say the Huawei Watch 3 felt like the Apple Watch of all Huawei smartwatches. It simply works, and it’s beautiful, powerful, and functional in its own right. Complete with an ecosystem that you can enjoy for a seamless AI life.

It’s also user-friendly, stylish, and leaning towards yuppies with a balanced lifestyle than geeks and techies basking in gadgets and other forms of technology.

The Huawei Watch 3 is available on Huawei Store and authorized platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, as well as Huawei Experience stores and other retail partners.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro review: Swanky and smart | Apple Watch Series 6 Review

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