Lifestyle

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 Review: More than just a fidget spinner phone?

Yes and no

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Let’s get right into it and say good bye to awkward selfies! The biggest and most welcomed change that the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 has over its predecessors is the magnetic slider that reveals the now properly positioned selfie camera at the top of the phone. Hallelujah!

Having used the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 in the past, I can attest to how much of a hassle it was trying to shoot an IG story from the horrible upward-facing angle.

No notch and all screen!

Xiaomi’s new approach to maintaining the near-borderless look and eradicating the poor selfie camera placement is the magnetic slider that some might call a gimmick, but it’s so much fun to play with! I will admit that the novelty does go away, but it is by far my favorite execution of a near-borderless display. All that screen is awesome!

At the end of last year, I picked the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 as “the phone I’d rather be using” because I thought that the fidget spinner-like qualities of the phone would be such a blast. And it was in the beginning. I don’t even know how many times I would play with the slider just because it was fun. I realize now that I used the slider more as a fidget spinner than a way to reveal the cameras to take a selfie.

It did become a neat party favor asking friends to guess how to take selfies with the phone. Out of five friends, only one was able to correctly guess how to operate the magnetic slider without me teaching them how to do it. But once the novelty wore off, I found myself going days without ever sliding out the camera.

Our review unit is the 6GB RAM model powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset, and personally when it comes to performance, no news is good news. Nothing to report on lag or stutters from the roughly three weeks I spent with the phone. So speed was not an issue.

One little software hiccup

When you buy a phone, especially a flagship phone, you expect everything to just work. Unfortunately, that was not the case in my experience, as my messaging app of choice, Telegram, was not notifying me when messages would come in. Even after double-checking that all the right notification settings were turned on, I wasn’t receiving any notifications from the app.

After a quick Google search, I found that I wasn’t the only one experiencing this error. Needless to say this was annoying, but it simply meant having to use another messaging app. Hopefully this can be fixed with a software update.

Hello, Netflix!

It is worth noting that in the past, Netflix wasn’t available on the Play Store when I used the Mi Mix 2. I’m happy to report that it’s there now, so no worries if you’re looking to take advantage of the near-borderless display with some binge watching. And if there’s anything this phone is good for, it’s watching videos. This was by far my favorite thing about the phone. It really felt like I was holding all screen and it was awesome!

Battery life was a bit of a disappointment having come from the Huawei Mate 20 and its massive 4000mAh and two-day battery life. With the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3’s 3200mAh battery, I’d start my day at roughly 9am and find myself reaching for a charger by around 8pm. Mind you, that ain’t too shabby if you think about it, but for comparison, I was spoiled by my experience with the Mate 20.

Let’s take these cameras for a spin!

When it comes to taking photos, it’s easy to focus on the selfie cameras, but the dual 12-megapixel cameras on the rear do a good job, too. Here are some samples:

But of course, we can’t leave out samples of the selfie cameras, and while I may not take a lot of selfies, I can not stress how happy I was to have the cameras in the proper position. No more having to flip the phone upside down to take a photo and IG Stories work the way they should:

Is this your GadgetMatch?

While I love the implementation of the magnetic slider, this phone is so much more than just a fidget spinner. This phone is great for media consumption above anything else in my book. But everything else that comes with all that screen is nothing to complain about. The flagship specs in this relatively affordable price tag is nice to see in a day wherein phones are priced by as much as US$ 1,000.

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Stay Cozy: 5 best places to visit during winter

Channel your inner Queen Elsa or Jack Frost!

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Photo by Jason Briscoe

Winter is here. From December to March, the Northern Hemisphere faces the coldest time of the year. For some people, winter is hellish. It’s brutally cold, bulky outfits make it hard to move; landscapes feel robbed of colors, and the sun barely shows itself.

However, some people enjoy the freezing season — especially those who live in tropical countries wanting to experience snow at least once in their lifetime. It’s also a time where people get closer and warmer. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy winter, here are the top places to go.

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is Finland’s capital. Many people visit the country to embark on a Nordic tour and see the northern lights. Little do they know, there’s a chance to see the famed northern lights in the country’s capital, especially in February and March from 9 PM until 1 AM.

Aside from spending long nights outdoors, Helsinki is a beautiful place to go sightseeing during winter. Make sure to visit Helsinki Cathedral, Helsinki Museum, Helsinki Central Library and walk around Sibelius Park and Esplanade Park. If you’re in for some coffee, visit Fazer Café and Café Regatta.

Don’t forget to visit a sauna — one of the top things to do in the city — to get a real feel of Helsinki. Drop by the Allas Sea Pool.

Where to stay: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel

Radisson Blu Plaza is a historical hotel near Helsinki Central Station with a Finnish-designed interior making you feel like you’re in a set from an early 1900’s movie! Book here.


Quebec, Canada

People flock to Quebec to visit Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Who wouldn’t want to? Old Quebec is a remnant of history; a piece of life from centuries ago, immortalized through design and architecture. However, Quebec has its charms that make people explore more of its secrets and wonders.

When in town, make sure to walk along Terrasse Dufferin and bask in a spectacular view of Saint-Lawrence river. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also visit Plaines d’Abraham and do some skiing and skating. Don’t forget to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from La Maison Smith.

Lastly, Quebec has events you shouldn’t miss if you’re in town for winter. There’s a German Christmas Market in December and Carnaval de Québec in February.

Where to stay: L’appartement GLOBETROTTER

L’appartement is a spacious and bright BnB with a private roof terrace, located in Saint-Roch district. Stay here.


Sapporo, Japan

Sapporo is popular as it is one of the snowiest cities in the world. It’s also a vibrant city — even in winter — as it presents a lot of activities for every tourist. Go ahead and embrace your inner child: play in the snow, adme ice sculptures, and ride snowmobiles, especially during the Sapporo Snow Festival.

If you love beer, you probably know Sapporo as a beer brand — another reason to visit the city. Sapporo has been brewing beers since the late 1800s and people come to the Sapporo Beer Museum for beer tasting. Beer fan or not, Sapporo in winter is a beautiful place to visit in groups. Who’s in for long nights drinking beer with your friends and/or with fellow travelers?

Don’t forget to book an onsen for a warm and relaxed trip!

Where to stay: Sapporo Station BnB

Sapporo Station BnB is a charming, tatami-styled, budget-friendly BnB located next to a subway station. Stay here.


Seoul, South Korea

Seoul is a wonderful destination during winter. There are a lot of things to do both indoors and outdoors that it’s impossible not to love this city even in cold.

For those willing to brave the cold, stroll around Gyeongbokgung Palace, ice skate at Seoul Plaza and Yeoui Ice Park, eat winter street food like tteokbokki (rice cakes with spicy red chili paste), hotteok (Korean pancakes with nuts and honey), and gyeran bbang (steamed bread with egg), and of course, experience snow everywhere!

For indoor dwellers, visit quirky and themed cafés or warm up with some hot cup of tea from teahouses in Insadong.

Where to stay: Hanok Guesthouse Mon Oncle a Seoul

A Hanok is a traditional Korean house popular among tourists. Hanok Guesthouse Mon Oncle a Seoul is well-loved by travelers due to its great location and remarkable sunset views. Book here.


New York City, United States of America

Popular all-year-round, New York unravels a different personality and charm during winter. It’s a winter wonderland for most people, hosting larger-than-life celebrations and making everything big and loud.

When you’re in the city for Christmas, make sure to rock on some coats and scarves while ice-skating with a date or someone special in Rockefeller Center or at Wollman Rink. Take a stroll along Hudson’s Warren Street and through Central Park.

Other than that, New York hosts a lot of tradition and events during winter like the New Year’s Eve ball drop, Lunar New Year parade, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, New York Fashion Week, and NYC Broadway Week.

Where to stay: Walker Hotels Tribeca

Walker Hotels Tribeca is an artistic and aesthetically-pleasing hotel situated at a great location that will help you get anywhere around New York. Book here.


Stay Cozy is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we feature travel destinations with guides on things to do, sights to see and a highlight on the places we can book in advance to show that technology makes planning your trips easier.

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Huawei Y6s: Easy on the eyes, easy on the pocket

A good balance of good hardware and efficient software

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Us women love a good bargain. Spending on a pair of classic pumps, a much-awaited trip, or the groceries feels more satisfying when we get more than what we paid for.

The same holds true even for gadgets — just because we want to stick to our budget, it doesn’t mean we have to make compromises. That’s where the Huawei Y6s comes in.

Optimized performance

A good smartphone is one that can handle tasks with ease, enabled by a good mix of hardware and software. With the combination of a new octa-core processor and intelligent EMUI 9.1 system, the Huawei Y6s is optimized to perform smoothly.

The phone intelligently clears system cache in the background so you don’t have to. This keeps the phone at the top of its game. You can run multiple apps and switch between them without hiccups.

When you’re running out of space, it will remind you to delete unnecessary files, like those selfie outtakes you’re never planning on sharing.

A 3020 mAh battery makes sure you have enough juice to last through your day. Things under the hood make the phone power efficient so it lasts even longer.

Security at your fingertip

Keeping your information private is easy. Choose to unlock your phone with the fast fingerprint scanner at the back, or face unlock up front — or set up both. Face unlock intelligently increases the brightness in low-light scenarios so it can recognize your face faster.

Nature-inspired design

Any woman would agree looking good throughout the day is a tall order. The secret to staying fresh is constant touchups from head to toe.

Thankfully, the Huawei Y6s stays pristine no matter what, relieving you of one more thing to worry about. The matte finish on the Orchid Blue variant doesn’t pick up gross grime and fingerprint smudges. It also matches the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year — making it both classic and trendy.

The Starry Black option shimmers like the beautiful night sky full of stars. Its hidden reflective particles shine when hit by light — a nice surprise touch.

Superb multimedia experience

This phone is your personal portable speaker while listening to music or watching movies at home. It’s even loud enough for hanging out with your friends at the beach.

When you crank it up to full volume, audio quality isn’t compromised. A unique audio system design delivers rich bass, and a full sound. It also has a built-in FM antenna so you can listen to the radio to discover new music when you get tired of the playlist you put together.

Paired with its 6.09-inch display, your Netflix and chill experience would be unmatched. Its tiny bezels make viewing more immersive that you’ll want to keep watching until your eyes get tired.

Fortunately, the Y6s features Eye Comfort mode and is TÜV Rheinland certified. It effectively filters out harmful blue light, and intelligently adjusts the color temperature and brightness to reduce eye fatigue.

Cameras that capture memories during the day and at night

Low quality pictures should be a thing of the past as we usher in a new decade. The new memories we make deserve to be captured by a camera capable even those that happen after sunset. The fast f/1.8 aperture on the Huawei Y6s ensures its main camera can let in as much light as possible. Photos are clear and in focus, with less noise even those taken in low light scenarios.

Selfies, too, turn out great, even when you need oil blotting in real life. With the 8MP front camera and its smart beautification algorithm, you look your best no matter the time of the day.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

When it comes to finding a smartphone that suits your lifestyle and your budget, it’s important to find one that ticks basic features and more. At PhP 6,990, the Huawei Y6s gives you more than what you’re paying for. With a good balance of good hardware and efficient software, it stands out in a sea of smartphones in its price point.

To avail of Huawei’s Christmas promos visit consumer.huawei.com/ph/campaign/together-2020/


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

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Lifestyle

The Pirate Bay just launched its own streaming service

Yes, it’s free

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Image source: Disney

Without a doubt, the streaming wars have begun. Especially after the introduction of Disney Plus, audiences are now struggling to find the perfect mix of price and content. Which streaming services should you sign up for, so you maximize all entertainment options while minimizing price?

However, as entertainment companies come up with more streaming services, prices are inevitably going up. That said, a former entertainment king is getting a lot more tempting again — piracy.

Before Netflix’s current dominance, audiences already resorted to torrenting and bootleg streaming. Now, rising prices will likely push audiences back to the entertainment model.

Case in point, infamous torrenting website The Pirate Bay has launched a streaming prototype — called BayStream — on its own site. Currently, users can access the service when they search for torrents. In the below search on The Mandalorian, for example, some torrents have a green play button. Clicking on the play button will direct users to a YouTube-like website where they can play the respective torrent without downloading it.

 

Unfortunately, the service doesn’t come with an instruction manual. However, upon further testing, the button automatically appears whenever a torrent has a hundred or more seeds, regardless of age. Sadly, the file’s availability on BayStream is an unknown. Some, despite having more than 100 seeds, are absent from the service. If anything, the top-seeded torrents are likelier to play on the site.

Additionally, users can also upload their own files on the service (up to 20GB). Presumably, uploading users can share their own files with others using the service.

The Pirate Bay has not officially announced the service. However, some reports say that the service is still in beta testing. Regardless, BayStream is an interesting addition to today’s overcrowded streaming market.

SEE ALSO: Netflix might limit password sharing between users

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