Reviews

Xiaomi Mi MIX Review: 6 Months Later

Published

on

After giving our full take on the Mi Mix a few months ago, we decided to give it another look in a video review this time. Watch us as we revisit Xiaomi’s most ambitious smartphone ever… six months later.

Even if you look beyond its primary draw, which is the nearly bezel-less front, there’s so much to appreciate on the Mi Mix: Its specifications are still at a flagship level, the battery life is stupendous, and its ceramic design never gets old.

All that comes in a price that’s surprisingly reasonable! If you’re interested (and we’re sure you are), you can find a great deal at GearBest.com, which is where we acquired our unit.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Mix (Exclusive Edition) review

[irp posts=”13959″ name=”Xiaomi Mi Mix (Exclusive Edition) review”]

Gaming

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

A damn good time

Published

on

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has all the looks, charm, and heart of a Pixar movie. But it’s playable and takes the experience further by taking advantage of all the next gen features of the PlayStation 5.

Quick background 

Ratchet & Clank is a fairly popular series that was first introduced in November 2002 for the PlayStation 2. There’s been around nine games since the first release including a very self-aware soft reboot in 2016 for the PlayStation 4.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart builds on the lore of this dynamic duo without needing much of a background from the previous games. If you’re really curious, you can hop on to YouTube for recaps and retrospectives on the franchise.

Multidimensional madness

Rift Apart is pretty much a standalone story. It begins with Ratchet & Clank being honored in a grand celebration as heroes for their past exploits. This establishes the duo’s stature in their universe.

As expected, long-time recurring villain Dr. Nefarious crashes the party touting a Dimensionator — a weapon that opens dimensional rifts. A tussle naturally occurs with the Dimensionator exploding and opening various rifts across the universe.

Dr. Nefarious with the Dimensionator

Ratchet & Clank are separated but Clank finds himself in the company of another Lombax — Rivet. Rivet is part of a rebellion battling against The Emperor. We quickly learn that The Emperor is the Dr. Nefarious of this other universe.

The rest of the game sees our heroes Ratchet, Clank, and Rivet go on adventures as they figure out how to fix the Dimensionator to prevent all of the universes from falling apart.

The charm and heart of a Pixar flick

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have seen a Pixar movie or two. They typically have this fun, heartwarming tone and that’s exactly how Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart comes off.

The writing is solid and has strong character moments for each of the leading casts. The dialogues are witty, and very entertaining that you’ll likely catch yourself smiling at times. Whether it’s a cutscene or just in-game banter between characters.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Rivet and Clank

The way it balances heavy moments with good, clean, fun while remaining tonally consistent is a magnificent feat. While the story itself isn’t mindblowing, it is told efficiently and wonderfully. It’s never boring and keeps you interested.

Vivid worlds, gorgeous details 

PlayStation and Insomniac Games have been very loud about this game. After all, this is a year one title for the PlayStation 5 (PS5). All the trailers and gameplay footage they showcased are eye-popping and this quality is maintained throughout the game.

One of the hallmarks that was routinely mentioned is how busy and lived-in the different environments look, feel, and sound. This is an aspect of the game that I don’t think would have been possible if not for the PS5.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The fast loading times allow for the busy-looking background. Certain areas of the world offer a different feel on the DualSense controller much like how it felt in some parts of the “demo game” Astro’s Playroom. And, the incredible Sound Design offers depth in every section of the game.

In cutscenes where I normally would put the controller down, I found myself holding on to the DualSense just to see how a scene is enhanced by the rumble. All of these things come together nicely and are implemented in just the right way at just the right moments to deliver a truly astonishing experience.

Fidelity, Performance, and Performance RT 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be available to play in three visual modes. Fidelity for 4K with ray-tracing, additional VFX and increased scene density at 30 FPS. Performance RT provides 60 FPS gaming with ray-tracing but at a lower resolution with adjusted lighting, VFX, and scene density. Lastly, there’s Performance mode which totally does away with ray-tracing but offers high resolution 60 FPS gameplay.

My six-going-on-seven-year-old 1080P TV couldn’t really take advantage of the Performance and Performance RT modes. However, even if I had a TV that fully supported these modes, I still would have likely gone with Fidelity mode.

To me, personally, it fits the look and feel of the world better. And maybe it really is just my TV,  but Fidelity mode offered a richer picture quality overall versus the more flat-looking Performance and Performance RT modes.

Really fun gameplay

Rift Apart provides a healthy mix of action, shooting, platforming, and puzzle-solving to keep you on your toes. And while it isn’t an open world game, it still encourages a healthy amount of exploration as you examine every nook and cranny of a particular area to make sure you get all the collectibles.

The game does a good job of encouraging you to actually look for the collectibles. For instance, completed armors not only give you a different look, they also provide a permanent stat boost.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

These huge bolts are also collectibles

You’ll also want to smash everything in sight to collect bolts. Bolts are your currency to buy weapons, and weapons in Ratchet & Clank are incredibly fun to use.

Best video game weapons

You’ll want to get your hands on as many of them as possible. Different weapons do different things. While there are those that straight up inflict damage, some are great for managing huge crowds of enemies — something you’ll do a lot of in this game.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Weapons are improved in two different ways: First is by levelling them up by continuously using them. Second, is by collecting raritanium to unlock the weapon’s abilities and raise its limits. The higher the level, the more abilities you’re able to unlock.

My personal favorites are the Topiary Sprinkler (for stunning), Glove of Doom (for extra help), and the Blackhole Storm (for straight up dealing damage).

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Changing weapons

You can assign weapons to the directional buttons to quickly switch. However, if you really need a breather from combat that can get chaotic, you can press the triangle button to pull-up the weapons menu and select one that best fits your predicament.

Puzzles, mini games

Clank’s sections are still puzzles. This time, though, each set of puzzles he solves closes a volatile dimensional rift. I can see the puzzles being challenging to a younger audience, but anyone with a significant amount of gaming experience will breeze through these.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Clank’s puzzles

Ratchet will also pick up Glitch — a tiny robot that combats bugs to help the male Lombax open doors to gain access to a new section of an area both to advance the story or to acquire collectibles.

Again, the sections with Glitch shouldn’t be too challenging. They help in adding another layer to the action, shooting, and platforming, and there weren’t too many of them to be considered a distraction.

Another great PS5 showcase

Following Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is another fantastic showcase of all the next gen capabilities of the PlayStation 5. Unlike the aforementioned game though, this one’s wrapped in a bright, colorful package that should be welcoming to a wider variety of gamers.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

A lot of heart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a lighthearted adventure with some lessons of forgiveness and rising above adversity. It has entertaining gameplay, stunning visuals, immersive sound, and an overall incredible feel. For older gamers, it’ll evoke the feeling of being a kid again, and for younger gamers, it’s certainly a game that will leave a positive mark.

It’s the perfect title to get into PS5 gaming and one that every PS5 owner should consider adding to their library.

Continue Reading

Automotive

Ford Territory: Feel at ease while traveling in style

A feature-packed SUV with driver-assist technologies

Published

on

Ford Territory

When you see a Ford badge slapped onto a car, it is safe to assume it inherently will deliver in terms of quality and capabilities. The all-new Ford Territory is the carmaker’s take on a reasonably priced compact SUV. Ford presumably partnered up with JMC (Chinese automobile manufacturer) to trim down the costs in production while still ensuring quality by staying true to Ford’s expertise in design, engineering, and manufacturing.

This five-seater SUV comes equipped with safety features and the latest driver-assist technologies that meet global standards to give you a safe, convenient and comfortable driving experience. Does it stay true to Ford’s SUV heritage? Well, let’s find out!

Ford Territory

A real eye candy

Sophistication and toughness — it’s the best of both worlds.

Ford Territory

Up front, it features Ford’s signature trapezoidal grille, put together with sleek LED headlamps. It also has a pair of fog lamps and daytime running LED lights for more on-road visibility. A silver skid plate protects the underside of the front bumper in a fashionable manner.

Ford Territory

On the side panels are evident character lines with a floating roofline design that gives the car that striking appeal. Nice chrome accents on door handles, waistline and side claddings.


Armed with power folding side mirrors with turn signal repeaters.

Not only that, the mirrors also have underside puddle lights to illuminate the ground when you’re getting in and out of the car at night. Because who wants to step on something gross and then step on their car’s matting? No one!

Ford Territory
The Ford Territory comes with two-tone 18” multi-spoke alloy wheels. With a ground clearance of 180mm, you will have no problem traversing bumpy roads.

Looking at the back from afar, it’s as striking as the front and sides. Those curves!

Ford Territory

The trendy LED taillights are complimented by a chrome bar. A high-mount brake light comes pre-installed so you don’t have to.

Two not-so-fake-looking exhaust tips attached to the rear bumper skid plate add a sporty look. The real exhaust can be seen if you look down a little further.

The presence of the bold ‘Territory’ badge is somehow stating that this is a true SUV.

Ford Territory
Lift up the trunk and you’ll get plenty of cargo space for your usual grocery trips and travel necessities. It also has functional roof rails where you can attach a roof rack if you need to haul more items.

Ford Territory

The spare tire is located underneath the cargo floor along with a jack kit. You can store more essential tools in there if you need to.

Premium touch

Entering the Territory is easy, thanks to its keyless entry feature. By a push of a button, doors get unlocked as long as the key is within proximity range.

Interior

Ford Territory

Ford Territory

I liked how refreshing the interior looks. The combination of premium materials and incorporation of modern technology blend perfectly. The wooden trims that go around the door panels and dashboard give it an earthy feel.

Blending nature to indoor spaces is quite common in contemporary homes. That’s what came to my mind upon opening the panoramic moonroof. Letting more natural light get in the cabin makes you feel more connected to your surroundings.

Digital dashboard and more tech

With its 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, you can control the audio, air conditioning, ambient lighting color and more. Connecting your smartphone is made easy through Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Some functions won’t work while the car is moving so that the driver won’t be tempted to navigate the screen while driving.

The crisp 10-inch digital instrument cluster displays your driving information as well as the tire pressure monitoring system. The display theme is also customizable to suit your mood.

Having a wireless charging port comes in handy especially for long drives. Just make sure your phone is compatible and you’re good to go.


Ambient lighting enhances the mood of travel. It’s not distracting so you can enjoy it as much as you want. The only downside is that it is only visible at night.


These perforated leather seats are very comfortable. And the front two seats are heated/cooled for added comfort.

Legroom is not a problem in this car. Five passengers can travel with comfort. There is no large hump on the middle portion of the floor at the backseat. So, those who will sit in the middle won’t have a hard time finding a comfortable spot for their feet.

For the back passengers, the two air condition vents strive to do its cooling task. On a very hot day though, its coldness is insufficient.

The steering wheel is easy on the grip, thanks to its stylish perforated leather wrap. Controls for the instrument cluster and hands-free phone calls are on the steering wheel.

Along with other features are:

Scattered USB charging ports

Elevated center armrest with cup holders (backseat)

12V socket at the trunk

And an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Behind it is a high-mount USB port intended for dashcams or GoPro (dangling cables no more).

Minimalist cockpit controls

The layout of the center console is intuitive and easy to grasp.

Placement of buttons and toggle switches are easily accessible. It’s also equipped with an electronic parking brake that replaces the traditional hand-operated parking brake.

A wheel knob controls the volume of radio/music player. It also has a cup holder, perfect for coffee lovers out there.

Beside it is a very usable, spacious gate-fold-open storage space.

Inserting keys are slowly becoming a thing of the past with these modern cars. Just push a button and it’ll bring its engine to life. We usually see this feature exclusively on higher tier cars so it is great to have this in the Territory.

What is it like behind the wheel?

Driving the Ford Territory is piece of cake. I felt confident and safe while taking it on the road.

This proves that this car was designed with convenience and safety as the top priority in mind. Steering is very light, like butter. The car is very sturdy on bumps and stable even on sharp turns.

What gives it power is a 1.5L Ecoboost engine paired with a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). It delivers sufficient power at 143ps and 225Nm of torque.

In normal “Drive” mode, there’s a noticeable slight delayed response on the accelerator. However, if you put it in ‘Sport’ mode, you’ll be satisfied with the performance. It manages to reach 0-60km/hr in around 4.5-5 seconds. That’s nowhere near a Mustang. But for a 1.5L engine in a big bodied car, that’s impressive.

Having a CVT made it easy on fuel consumption, supposedly. Granted that it is an SUV, it’ll consume more fuel compared to smaller MPVs and compact sedans. It squeezes around 8-10km/liter for city driving and 15km/liter on a highway.

Engine noise and unnecessary background noise is down to a minimum while you are inside the car, offering you a relaxed ride.

Safety is always a priority

Cameras installed at the front, rear and under side mirrors add an all-around vision.

The Ford Territory has advanced driver-assist safety technologies — the Ford Co-Pilot360.


HD 360-Degree camera lets you monitor the surroundings closely when backing up. At night, the cameras capture the areas well. Which is a really big help. The 360-view displays simulated aerial view of the car that helps the driver in avoiding obstacles on-the-fly.

The Territory can also parallel park by itself, upon driver’s command, with its Enhanced Active Park Assist. It also helps in reverse perpendicular parking.


Autonomous Emergency Braking, aided by a radar on the front chin, alerts you to a potential collision.


Proximity sensors help the driver in getting in and out tight spaces.

The Territory is equipped with six all-round airbags (front, side pillars and curtains) protecting passengers from every side. It also has adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, auto brake hold function and blind spot information system.

These safety features are all convenient and helpful, but it is safer to always check your surroundings when driving.

Verdict

The Ford Territory is all-in-all, ideal for daily use. Whether going on a ride alone or with friends and family, it’ll give you superb comfort and convenience so you can own every moment. All the functional features and aesthetically pleasing ornamentation show the extensive thought process that this car went through. A good car is a good car, regardless where it was made. It is undoubtedly a true Ford SUV.

Pricing and availability

The Ford Territory Trend is available at a starting price of PhP 1,277,000. If you want to get all the safety features, the Ford Territory Titanium+ is priced at PhP 1,310,000. It comes in six different colors: Ruby Red, Diffused Silver, Panther Black, Crystal Pearl White, Moonstone Blue and Star White.

Continue Reading

Accessories

realme Buds Q2 review: One small audio package

Take it with you anywhere and anytime

Published

on

realme Buds Q2

We all love a good pair of wireless earphones, especially if you just switched to the wireless life. However, we also want these sets of earphones to be as affordable as a set of wired earphones. As the old saying goes, we can’t really have it all, even with something as trivial as earphones.

The people over at realme thought, “are you sure we really can’t have it all” and decided that maybe, it’s time to change all of that. Enter the realme Buds Q2, the company’s latest offering in the TWS earphone space. It’s quite small and easy to carry around, and it hopes to bring an enhanced audio experience on the go.

So, does the realme Buds Q2 keep up? Let’s find out!

Compact, lightweight, and easy to set up

realme Buds Q2

Upon unboxing, the first thing I noticed was how small and subtly designed the case is. It comes in either a clean Black or soft yet vibrant Blue color option, which I feel adds to the style aspect of it. Also, with the case being small, it will slot into any pocket easily — whether it’s in your bottoms or your bag.

What I also love about the realme Buds Q2 is the ease in setting it up. For one thing, they already give you instructions on how Bluetooth pairing works on the buds the moment you open it up. Also, if you have any realme smartphone, you can link and customize it through the realme Link app. 

Overall great sound quality

Here’s the thing: the realme Buds Q2 provides impressive sound quality mostly because of everything integrated inside it. For starters, it comes with a 10mm Dynamic Bass Boost driver, which adds depth and bass to the sounds you hear. Essentially, it lets you hear your favorite music the way it’s meant to be.

realme Buds Q2

In my usage of the device, I could definitely hear some level of depth in most songs I listened to. It isn’t as punchy and in-your-face about it, and it’s also quite loud even at around 50 to 60 percent volume. Also, I felt some level of noise cancellation with prolonged use (but more on that for another segment).

realme Buds Q2

If there’s one issue I encountered while using it, it was a little bit of latency upon initial use. See, thee realme Buds Q2 also come with an 88ms Super Low Latency mode more suited for gaming. Essentially, it supposedly reduces latency between video and audio while watching videos or playing games. Initially, however, latency was evident but with prolonged use, it became a non-issue.

Decent for gaming and work comms

Another neat feature of the realme Buds Q2 is its environmental noise cancellation, which on paper is great for calls. For the most part, it helps make your voice a little bit more clearer and eliminates any background noise when you’re talking. Whether it’s for a meeting or team comms during gameplay, it’s what it was built for.

I felt it did a decent job in cleaning and clearing up my voice during these situations. For the most part, my teammates heard my voice quite clearly even for a small earbud with a relatively precise microphone. Also, they took note of how there was minimal noise or scratches in my voice every time my microphone was on.

Solid battery life for such a small package

In terms of lasting long, the realme Buds Q2 is no slouch at that. On a single yet continuous usage, I managed to squeeze in roughly four to five hours of total audio (and sometimes video) playback. When maximizing the near two-hour battery life of the charging case, I got about 18 hours of earbud time. Honestly, this is already quite long considering it’s not particularly designed for a full day use. 

Also, the earbuds and charging case take roughly a short time to fully charge up. With the charging case, the realme Buds Q2 took close to two and a half hours to do a 0 to 100 on. Meanwhile, the charging case itself took about two hours, which isn’t that long.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 1,290, the realme Buds Q2 lives up to the expectation of a great wireless audio device. It boasts great audio quality in a compact and lightweight package, fit for everyday on-the-go use. With its ease of set up, it’s a daily driver that fits any device you plan to use it on.

It even comes with great hardware-centered features that do their part in enhancing the audio experience a little bit. Things like noise cancellation and bass boosting drivers allow you to fully immerse yourself with the music or games. Plus, it lasts quite long so you can keep listening to your music or play with team comms for hours on end.

realme Buds Q2

For its price, it’s a device that screams “we can have it all” in one package. A great audio experience at an affordable range; I mean, what more could you ask for, right?

Buy the realme Buds Q2 from Lazada
Continue Reading

Trending