Features

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 3 is legit: Weekend Rewind

No mixed feelings here

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is legit

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is finally saying goodbye to awkward selfies. After two iterations featuring a front camera located on the chin of the phone, Xiaomi has opted to implement a sliding system for its dual front camera system.

We first saw this implemented on the OPPO Find X this year but Xiaomi claims they’ve been tinkering with this kind of system since 2015.

That said, the Mi Mix 3 is showing a lot of promise with flagship specs like the Snapdragon 845 chip, up to 256GB of storage, and for the “Forbidden City” variant, a whopping 10GB of RAM.

It’s not the first smartphone with that much RAM, though.

2. The Black Shark Helo isn’t playing around

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 shares the 10GB RAM distinction with another Xiaomi phone — the Black Shark Helo.

Helo is a bit of a surprise coming in just half a year after its predecessor was first announced. The upgrades are incremental which can be expected.

Other than the 10GB of RAM, it now uses an AMOLED panel instead of LCD. The front stereo speakers have been improved and an aluminum frame sandwiched by glass panels now give it a more premium feel.

 

Image source: LetsGoDigital

3. Samsung cooking up something exciting?

Samsung has been tinkering with a few new things recently. After releasing a quad-rear camera setup with the Samsung Galaxy A9, there have been a slew of reports indicating that the South Korean company is keen on experimenting.

Reports indicate they recently filed a patent for an all-screen fingerprint sensor. While we’ve seen in-display fingerprint sensors from Vivo, this is limited to a certain portion of the display. Samsung wants you to be able to unlock your phone no matter what area of the screen you touch.

They have also teased that its foldable smartphone might be nearing an actual release date. Samsung first showcased this tech at CES 2013 but there has been few updates since. However, there could be some exciting details coming at the Samsung Developer Conference happening November 7 to 8, 2018. We can’t wait to see what they have in store!

4. Pixel 3 XL scratch gate

Looks like there are more issues with the Pixel 3 XL’s hardware other than its notch that people seem to hate so much.

YouTuber JerryRigEverything discovered that the Pixel 3 XL’s all-glass back, despite the matte finish on the lower part of the device, is prone to scratches. However, YouTuber Erica Griffin quickly countered this saying the scratches aren’t at all deep and can be washed off with water, soap, and a toothbrush.

That said, we shouldn’t really have to wash our phones with that trio, should we? Here’s to hoping these hardware mishaps are addressed in next year’s iteration of the Pixel.

5. iPhone XR doing well globally

Apple’s marketing seems to be working really well. Billed as the “affordable” iPhone, the iPhone XR which is the less souped-up sibling of the iPhone XS and XS Max, is selling out fast globally.

In the US, color options like yellow and Product Red are already unavailable on launch day and will ship in November instead. That’s crazy!

Make no mistake though, while it’s definitely cheaper than the iPhone XS and XS Max, it still has a pretty hefty price tag. If you’ll decide whether or not you should get one, maybe our review can help.


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

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Why Instagram is doing the right thing by removing the like count

We need to change this ugly culture we created

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Instagram used to be a space where you can get inspiration to nourish your creativity. It was also a place to connect with people through disappearing photos and videos called Stories. However, the platform took a different turn throughout the years and became an arena — a battlefield where people show off who has the most perfect life.

People started curating their feeds to make them stand out. The age of curation dawned upon Instagrammers, bearing unto the world themes and grids to reflect the user’s personality and aesthetics. Instagram fuelled perfectionism, too.

What used to be a space to share mundane moments of your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users. Admittedly, I also succumbed to the perfectionism and the pressure. I would post only the photos where I looked like I was having the time of my life. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward, right?

Increasing cases of depression and anxiety

Apparently, not everyone thinks the way I do. In a study published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health in the United Kingdom, social media — particularly Instagram — is a major contributor to the increasing cases of depression and anxiety among the youth today. The rise of influencers and other people with seemingly perfect lives made a lot of users feel inadequate.

“What used to be a space to share mundane moments in your everyday life became a place where you show your glamorous life which, frankly, only happens every once in a while for most users.”

RSPH Chief Executive Shirley Cramer said, “it’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

Technology companies’ response

With this worrisome situation on the youth’s mental health, companies made an effort to help through technology. There’s Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature which tracks the amount of time you spend on social media, although it still requires a conscious effort to break your social media addiction.

In the crusade against depression and anxiety caused by social media, Instagram recently made a daunting move. The social media giant has started testing the removal of like counts in some countries, removing the user’s ability to see how many likes have been racked up by a certain person in their feeds.

People in dire need of too much validation, fret not. The feature will let you still see who liked your posts. Think of it as your usual form of public affirmation, but you get it in private.

Just like our stories, only we can see who viewed and reacted. In this scenario, only we can see who liked our posts. While this recent move can put a dent on someone’s ego especially when they crave external validation, this can have real benefits for some users’ mental health.

In a country like the Philippines, where social media consumes a chunk of Filipino’s time, Instagram is a big contributor in rising cases of mental illnesses plaguing today’s youth like the common cold.

The social media age has created a culture where people value their smartphones, social media accounts, and the content they create rather than socializing offline and establishing real-life connections. The youth measure their self-worth through likes and other forms of metrics that it’s taking a toll on their mental health.

If this is the ugly culture we developed, Instagram is doing the right thing of removing the like count. At the very least, they can stop other people from comparing their worth and relying on external validation to feel better.

“I personally don’t mind if the feature comes here or not, but I’m sure a few of my friends would care.” — Patricia Medina, a medical practitioner in the Philippines

However, some people won’t be able to accept the upcoming feature should it arrive in the Philippines, similar to how we all panicked when Instagram removed our ability to see the viewers of our stories after 24 hours. Despite the outcry, we adapted and got used to it.

Likes are not the only measure of influence

It may be hard to believe, but Instagram is on the right track. Aside from tackling mental health and fixing the problem their app posed in our society, they’re reshaping the marketing and advertising industry. Some influencers might be affected by the like count removal, particularly those who buy fake likes and followers, as well as those who became walking billboards for brands and agencies.

But for content creators like Ceej Tantengco, removing the like count won’t have much of an impact, rather it will reinforce her influence among her audience. “The brand partnerships I tend to get are with sustainable fashion and brands running women empowerment campaigns. These brands are less about pure numbers and more about connecting with brand ambassadors who truly share their cause and can speak about it with sincerity,” Tantengco said.

“The chase for likes has led to a sort of cookie-cutter templating of content based on what the algorithm rewards or what is easiest to generate likes. We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50. But like-bait content isn’t always the most thoughtful, and we need to be careful to not equate the number of likes to whether the brand message was communicated effectively,” Tantengco added.

On the other hand, Castro Communications PR Director Janlee Dungca is unbothered by the like count removal. Dungca, who works primarily with content creators and influencers, will still approach a campaign based on a brand’s goals and objectives. Likes aren’t the only form of visible metrics available since comments still count as a way to measure engagement rate.

Macro-influencers — accounts with more than 100,000 followers — tend to have higher reach but lower engagement, thus she opts for micro-influencers whose accounts range from 10,000 to 50,000 followers to get higher engagement for the brand.

“We live in a world where a selfie gets 800+ likes and a photo of what book the person is reading gets only 50.” — Ceej Tantengco

With this sudden change in the marketing landscape, people — not just influencers — might be more keen on engaging with other people through comments. People might start to make an effort to share their thoughts and interact, rather than just dropping an emoji of fire, heart, or a star-eyed face.

Additionally, people might not be as conscious of what they post anymore. Tantengco affirmed, “this move is great for people with advocacies because we can speak about them without worrying so much about ‘how do I package this to get the maximum number of likes’ and just say what we want to say. This feels very freeing.”

Moving forward, we might start to see posts of what people really care about again should Instagram proceed with removing the like count forever. There will be people though who will try to game the algorithm by leaving comments on each other’s posts and uploading video clips instead of still photos for validation as Instagram has not said anything about removing the view count.

Nonetheless, the future is bright for Instagram. I can’t wait to see moments where people embrace their natural selves and flaunt the things they’re passionate about again.

Illustrations by MJ Jucutan

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Automotive

Mercedes-Benz GLC and V-Class: Living the fly life

Smooth sailing on the GLC 200 and V-Class 220d

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When we hear the words “upper class” in a market segment, we usually think of luxury lifestyle, extravagant vacations, fine dining, and everything fancy. So when it comes to their means of transportation, we expect nothing less than utmost grandiosity.

With this in mind, some premium car brands will naturally come to mind and one of them is Mercedes-Benz.  This was the idea that Auto Nation Group, the official distributor of Mercedes-Benz in the Philippines, had in mind when they hosted the Media Ride and Drive — a day-long activity that offered participants the choice to drive the new GLC 200 and V-Class 220d or enjoy the comfortable ride and amenities offered inside both these new models.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 200

Instead of usual technical reviews, it was their goal for the participants to experience the affluent life — to be driven to where their consumers would go and do activities they would commonly do.

Scuba diving and the GLC

Of course, I took an underwater selfie

The first activity was a 3-hour course in scuba diving led by accredited PADI diver Igor Subora.  Held at the indoor scuba facilities of The Upper Deck Sports and Lifestyle Center in Ortigas, the activity aimed to give a glimpse into the lifestyle of someone with a spirit of adventure – a persona that perfectly matches the personality and performance of the new GLC.

According to Joseph Ayllon, head of PR Communications, the new GLC is a great match for confident go-getters in life determined to achieve goals. He says that it’s the right vehicle to take out of town or to a quick getaway within the city – like taking the morning off to go scuba diving.

The GLC remains as the best-selling Mercedes-Benz for 10 years with more than 1.6 million units sold. Priced at PhP 4,290,000.00, the GLC 200 is a robust adventure luxury SUV that delivers 197hp and 320Nm of torque from a 2.0 turbo petrol engine mated to a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission.

Its interior is wrapped in premium soft-touch materials, leather, and brushed metal accents. The soft leather seats were exceptionally comfortable, with plenty of head and legroom. In addition, the Burmester surround audio system is impressive and gave crisp & immersive sound.

Looking at the dashboard, it boasts a high-definition all-digital instrument panel along with their intelligent voice command LINGUATRONIC with “Hey, Mercedes” functionality which we found quite useful for a hands-free driving experience.

Sitting at the back, this SUV felt smooth and cabin noise was well isolated. Overall, this SUV is a perfect fusion of adventure and luxury.

R&R with the V-Class

After our scuba diving training and certification, we went our way to our lunch venue at Misto Seda-Vertis North onboard the 2019 Mercedes-Benz V-Class 220d. Priced at PhP 4,690,000.00, this lounge on wheels puts out 163hp and 380Nm of torque from a 2.2-liter diesel engine mated to a 7G-TRONIC PLUS 7-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class 220d

As a passenger sitting on the third row, it didn’t feel like you were in a van; the cabin was unbelievably quiet and immensely comfortable. Everywhere you touch is made of premium quality material and the leather-wrapped captain seats just give you a sense of grandeur — almost like sitting on Queen Elizabeth’s throne.

The interior is spacious with abundant head and legroom. In addition, this model boasts swivel seats with a built-in pullout folding table. Looking out, I just loved how you are surrounded by huge & bright windows, perfect for scenic road-trips.

I have never felt more comfortable riding a third-row seat from a vehicle of this segment. You just feel pampered and EDSA traffic suddenly wasn’t so stressful.

After our bounteous buffet lunch at Misto, it was time to head to the last destination and the day was wrapped up with a relaxing full body massage at the Upper Deck Recovery Spa.

End of the day thoughts

As we ended this unique drive, one thing was made crystal clear to me: Mercedes-Benz really knows who their products are for and the new GLC 200 and new V-Class 220d truly cater to the needs and demands of this market segment.

I have to admit that I was easily spoiled by the activities the company has prepared — kicking it off with a fun diving experience, having a feast, and ending the day with a massage. Although, that’s exactly what they want their customers to feel with these new offerings — pampered and spoiled while getting from point A to point B.

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Camera Shootouts

Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Camera shootout

Which big phone takes better photos?

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The year is almost over but we’re not done comparing smartphones. In this shootout, we’re pitting the Huawei Mate 30 Pro against the iPhone 11 Pro Max. All photos are shot in Auto Mode using the main cameras, except for a few to test their ultra-wide angle cameras, night modes, and portrait modes. The photos have also been resized so the images can load faster.

Get your pen and paper ready as this is a blind shootout. Make sure to tale note of your picks. The answers to this test are found at the bottom of the page. Let’s start.

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

#12

#13

#14

#15, Ultra Wide Angle

#16, Ultra Wide Angle

#17, Portrait Mode

#18, Night Mode

#19, Night Mode

#20, Night Mode

#1
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#2
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#3
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#4
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#5
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#6
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#7
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#8
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#09
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#10
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#11
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#12
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#13
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#14
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#15, Ultra Wide Angle
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

#16, Ultra Wide Angle
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#17, Portrait Mode
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#18, Night Mode
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#19, Night Mode
Photo A: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Photo B: Huawei Mate 30 Pro

#20, Night Mode
Photo A: Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Photo B: iPhone 11 Pro Max

This is one of the closest shootouts we’ve done. Results could have gone either way for a lot of scenarios. For the photos that look drastically different — my choices all boiled down to preference. I personally don’t like how the Mate 30 Pro washes out skintones and blows out highlights, but I like the colors it produced better during sunsets. I don’t like how some of the iPhone photos turn out a little dull, but they were more of than not closer to real life colors.

If you’re like me who color corrects photos before sharing them, you can’t go wrong with either phones if cameras are your priority — they’re both able to capture details even in low light situations and can be post-processed whichever way you prefer.

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