First Look

Xperia Z5 First Look

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If understated elegance is what Sony was going for then they hit the nail on the head with the Xperia Z5. A unibody design with unobtrusive ports and a frosted glass finish that deflects smudges – the Xperia Z5, all three of its variants – is a sight for sore eyes.

But of course there’s more to the smartphone than its looks. The Z5, Z5 Compact, and the Z5 Premium, like other Xperia flagships, are all waterproof. They also all have 23 megapixel cameras equipped with what Sony claims to be the fastest autofocus on a smartphone camera.

The solid design also didn’t stop Sony from including a microSD card slot – something Samsung opted to forego when it decided to go the unibody route in its flagship devices this year.

The Xperia Z5 and Xperia Z5 Compact are nearly the exact same phone. Apart from the obvious size difference (Z5 sports a 5.2-inch display while the Z5 compact has a 4.6-inch one), the only other thing the two don’t have in common is the RAM (Z5 – 3GB, Z5 Compact – 2GB and battery (Z5 – 2,900 mAH, Z5 Compact – 2,700 mAh).

The Z5 Premium sets itself apart by having the distinction of being the world’s first 4K smartphone. And while your naked eyes likely won’t be able to tell the difference between Full HD and 4K, it’s still a nice feature to boast about. Oh and the Z5 Premium and Z5 will also come in dual-sim variants. Neat.

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Accessories

Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset First Look

It ‘hears’ audio in 3D — just like how our ears work

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Sennheiser has once again proven its authority when it comes to audio equipment.

The German company recently launched its inaugural Sound Forum in the Philippines following Indonesia and Thailand. This comes as their very own audio education initiative that offers insights based on Sennheiser’s expertise from years in the industry.

Things like selecting the right headphones for you, the right microphone for video-related production, proper maintenance of gear, and more are tackled at the forum.

A slew of audio solutions were also on display, but one of the products that caught our attention was the Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset. It was made available towards the end of last year and not only does it offer high fidelity audio, it also features noise cancellation, speech enhancement for calls, situational awareness, and true binaural sound recording.

In layman’s terms: True binaural recording means it records audio just like how your ears perceive sound.

Sennheiser teamed up with American digital audio company Apogee Electronics to come up with this device. It basically uses microphones embedded in each ear to mimic how the ears hear sound. With them around, you can shoot a video on your phone and audio will be recorded just like how you hear things at that moment.

We tried it for a short while and we’re actually impressed at how faithful it reproduced sound happening around us with extra depth and space.

We weren’t able to save the short video we took but above is a sample of the Sennheiser AMBEO at work.

As of the moment, this headset is only compatible with iPhones through a Lightning connector. Although the company says it will also be available for Android devices in the future.

Sennheiser believes 3D audio is the future of enhancing users’ listening experience and the AMBEO line might just be a step in the right direction.

The Sennheiser AMBEO Smart Headset retails for US$ 399.

SEE ALSO: Sony WH-1000XM2 hands-on: A new experience

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Cameras

Sony A7 III First Impressions

When ‘basic’ is more than what you’d think

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While Sony calls the new A7 III its “basic” model, there’s nothing basic about its latest full-frame mirrorless camera. Announced last February, and launched in Singapore this week, this US$ 2,000 / SG$ 2,899 (body only) camera is poised to give competitors a run for their money.

It’s half the price of Sony’s high-end A9, US$ 1,000 cheaper than the excellent A7R III, and costs just as much as Panasonic’s popular GH5 which has a much smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Not just an incremental update, this year’s base model sports a brand new backside illuminated (BSI) 24.2-megapixel sensor with 5-axis image stabilization. Like the higher-end A9, it features 693 phase-detection autofocus points. It can shoot still images continuously at up to 10 frames per second and video at 4K resolution. 

While it can’t shoot as fast as the A9 and doesn’t have the resolution of the A7R III, the A7 III is meant for those who want a solid all-around performer, at an affordable price tag (relative to its feature set) and with the best technology Sony currently has to offer.

In fact, among its similarities with its more specialized, and also more expensive brothers, apart from the same BSI technology on its sensor, it’s also got other features we enjoyed when we reviewed the A7R III, including the autofocus joystick and larger capacity “Z” battery which Sony promises should deliver up to 710 shots on a single charge.

I would have loved to also see an OLED viewfinder and full weather-proofing but for its price tag, it’s hard to find reason to complain.  

The Sony A7 III goes on sale in Singapore starting March 22. It retails for SG$ 2,899 (body only) or SG$ 3,299 with a FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens.

Sample images below:

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Apps

Judies: A mobile game about safe sex

Cute but still NSFW!

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I stumbled upon this game by accident and I regret nothing.

I’ll cut to the chase: The game is called Judies. The game’s motto? No glove, no love; no balloon, no party. Silly? Pretty much, but this game gets nonsensically fun.

Simple and amusing

This game is adorable and strangely informative. There are three story stages and the goal is the same across all the stories: Cover Judies with condoms. The first stage of the story is simply like wack-a-mole where different Judies come out of holes and you have to fend sperm away from the red floating egg.

As you level up, you unlock more stages where you can explore other types of play with the same basic goal.

Strangely informative

When I said the game was informative, it’s because when you encounter Judies already with a condom on them, you shouldn’t put another one on. It will eventually explode and Sperms come out to chase after the Egg. That’s how you lose the game.

This bit is pretty much accurate for those of you who don’t know: Putting two condoms on will likely tear them both making it completely useless and ironic.

It has fundamentals down pat

Truthfully, this isn’t scientifically accurate as to how you get someone pregnant, but it gets the message across. There’s no point in hiding behind innuendos; this game is about safe-sex. In-between game-plays, you encounter witty notes like this:

Just downright cute and silly

You’ll discover more entertaining things about this game as you play more of it. There are quests and rankings like any other game but to add to the cute factor, Judies lets you customize your own condom.

The game is for free on Android. As much as I wish there were more to this game than sex, penises, and condoms, this is all the action you’re going to get if you start playing it.

SEE ALSO: Fortnite Battle Royale is going mobile!

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