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With Apple’s recent statement regarding the battery issues on older iPhone units, Power Mac Center issued a set of guidelines on how they determine whether a device is qualified for battery replacement:

  • Devices must undergo diagnosis to check the battery condition and other internal and external physical/accidental damage or unauthorized modification that may or may not be visible to the naked eye.
  • If such issues are found, the iPhone will be ineligible for the battery replacement.
  • If, other hardware issues are found during the diagnosis, an Apple Certified Engineer will recommend a part/unit replacement accordingly.
  • Customers are free to choose whether to proceed with the recommendation or not, if they decide to pull out, they will have to settle a diagnostic fee provided that the unit is out or void of warranty. The battery replacement fee is Php1,500 for eligible units out of warranty, inclusive of labor. This price may change due to importation costs and without prior notice.

This procedure is currently being implemented by Apple in all of their partner service centers.  Power Mac Center also assures each of its customers that their engineers are Apple-certified and are dedicated to their craft.  As such, there’s no reason or room to commit mistakes as whatever they do reflects the brand’s reputation.

Since its announcement two weeks ago, Power Mac Center has already successfully replaced the iPhone batteries of over 150 satisfied customers.

For further inquiries, you may call the AppleCare Hotline.

Just a few months ago, ASUS launched the PG27VQ Gaming Monitor in the Philippine Market. It boasts a number of innovative features that cater to those who want to take their game to the next level with a stunning visual experience – a curved screen, up to 165Hz refresh rate, 1ms response time, NVIDIA’s G-Sync technology, and for the first time in an ASUS Gaming Monitor, Aura Sync and RGB lighting.

Of course, all of this comes at a premium. To be exact, PhP48,310.  So the question now is, is it really worth that much? Let’s find out in this review.

ASUS ROG Swift PG27VQ Specs:

  • Panel Size: 27.0 inches
  • Panel Type: TN
  • Curved Panel: 1800R
  • True Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  • Response Time: 1ms (Gray to Gray)
  • Signal Input: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2
  • Refresh Rate: Up to 165Hz
  • Dimensions with Stand (WxHxD): 614.5 x (422.2~522.2) x 268.7mm

Design and Build Quality

At first glance, the PG27VQ looks like a smaller PG348Q that we also reviewed a few months back, with its protruding chin that bears the ROG logo, the stand that has the NVIDIA stickers on it, and the thin bezels that surround the screen. It also uses the same mechanism for navigating the on-screen display, which we’ll talk about later.

The monitor offers a number of ways for adjusting its position. You can swivel it left and right, tilt it up and down, and you can adjust the height to eye level. The stand can be used as a pass through for your cables to make your setup look clean and tidy. Without the stand, its also VESA mountable, to the benefit of those who prefer a multi-monitor setup.

Like the PG348Q, it also has the Light in Motion feature, wherein an ROG logo is sort of projected at the bottom to add more visual eye-candy. Not exactly needed, but nice to have.

At the back, you’ll find the usual ports: an HDMI port, a Display Port, a headphone jack, and three USB ports – two of which are USB 3.0 high-speed ports. What’s noticeable is the addition of an illuminated section that can be configured using the ASUS Aura software, but more of that later.

The PG27VQ uses a TN Panel, which means you do get slightly washed out colors from time to time, in exchange for improved response time and power efficiency. The curved screen gives you a better and more comfortable view, not only when gaming, but also when working on documents, browsing the web, and for media consumption.

Performance

Despite being a gaming-focused monitor, the PG27VQ is also a joy to use for productivity and media consumption, as the 27-inch curved screen with its maximum resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels allow for more data in spreadsheets, more pages in word documents, more content in web pages, and more visual zing to your movies.

Of course, we have to talk about what this monitor was made for, gaming. With fast-paced games like PUBG, the 1ms response time and high refresh rate really comes into play, significantly enhancing the user experience through unbelievably fluid and smooth motion. Of course, you have to have a capable system to actually maximize its potential.

Software

Like the PG348Q, this monitor is equipped with a very intuitive control system for navigating the on-screen menus – a joystick, which works like the analog stick of a game controller. You can use it to move up, down, and select options.

Pressing on the joystick activates the on-screen display, which shows a slew of options for adjusting the monitor’s settings. You can adjust the brightness, color, contrast, select your input source, change the language, set the transparency of the OSD, and many more.

GameVisual also offers you a number of presets for adjusting the screen’s overall color temperature, depending on what you’re doing. For this one, I prefer Scenery and FPS modes, but of course, yours may differ. Just give each option a try.

GamePlus on the other hand, lets you add a number of items to your screen, such as a cross hair and an fps counter. Not exactly something I use a lot, but it’s there for those who need it.

What’s also unique about the PG27VQ is the addition of options for enabling ASUS’ signature Aura Sync technology, which, as the name suggests, synchronizes the RGB lighting across compatible devices and components, such as an ASUS motherboard and graphics card. You can also set the monitor’s RGB effect independently.

The ASUS Aura software lets you adjust the effects for all Aura Sync enabled devices. There are numerous effects for you to choose from, apart from the conventional ones such as color cycling and breathing. Here’s a sample video of what it looks when using an ASUS Graphics Card, Motherboard and the PG27VQ.

Do note though that I did encounter an issue with the latest version of the software (1.05.31 at the time of writing), as it wasn’t able to detect my ASUS motherboard. To resolve this, I tried using another version, the one that came with the motherboard (Strix H270F), and it worked.

Verdict

The ASUS ROG Swift PG27VQ  is a great monitor that comes with all the premium features you’d expect from the ROG brand. Its  curved screen gives a more comfortable and cinematic view, its adjustable in almost every way you can think of,  navigating the on-screen display is as easy as it can get, and the gaming performance is stellar, given that you have a capable system to take advantage of it.

Of course, it’s got RGB lighting and AURA Sync, which are great features and are sort of the bread and butter of current gaming products. But personally, I really think that the implementation in this case, is a bit lackluster. Yes, you know your monitor’s got some lighting, but what’s the point of going RGB if it’s too subtle that you can’t even see it unless you turn the monitor around?

Now I think that’s okay if this monitor is used in instances where the illuminated parts are facing the audience. But for personal use, perhaps it would’ve been better if they placed it for example, on the edge of the screen for a sort of glowing effect. Maybe it’s a design restriction, who knows?

While I really had fun using this monitor, i suggest that you get it only for the preference of a curved screen plus AURA Sync and RGB lighting. If you can forego those things, there are other ROG monitors that offer the same core features such as the 165Hz refresh rate and G-Sync for a little less.

The Good

  • Curved screen gives a more immersive and comfortable view
  • Great for productivity and media consumption
  • Fast response time and high refresh rate which leads to smooth and fluid gameplay
  • Very flexible (Can be swiveled, tilted, height can be adjusted)
  • Easy to use mechanism for navigating the on-screen display
  • VESA Mountable (Without the stand)

The Not So Good

  • Requires a powerful system that can take advantage of its features
  • Colors appear a bit washed out
  • RGB Lighting is too subtle

Oh, and here’s a list of stores where you can purchase this monitor from, just in case.

 

Lately, Vivo has been hyping up its In-Display Fingerprint scanning technology, even showcasing its first production-ready smartphone with the said feature at CES 2018.

Now, a Smartphone by the name of the X20 Plus UD has been spotted in TENAA, the Chinese Certification Agency. From the looks of it, this one’s basically still an X20 Plus, except for one thing – there’s no physically visible fingerprint sensor.

The phone features a 6.43-inch display with FHD+ resolution, a growing trend in recent devices. It uses an OLED panel, as this seems to be the requirement for the technology to work. Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, along with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and packs a 3,800mAh battery.

The X20 Plus UD sports a 12MP + 5MP dual rear camera setup, complimented by a 12MP front camera for all your selfie needs.

According to a leak, the phone will be launched very soon, January 25 to be exact.

Source: TENAA via GSMArena

We’re at an age where smartphones have become part of our personas, utilizing these devices for more hours than we could imagine.

Vivo is definitely aware of this trend, and thus, ensures that all of their smartphones are equipped with the right specs for an optimal user experience.

The company’s latest flagships in the country, the V7 and V7+ are powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that boasts a balance of performance and power efficiency, allowing for fast charging, longer battery life, enhanced optics, and superior connectivity.

Vivo has also forged a technical and patent-sharing partnership with Qualcomm to further improve its products.

‘Vivo cares about its users. We push our brand to constantly innovate and improve user experience by maintaining seven research and development centers and continuously improves their products. We will never do anything to compromise the experience Vivo users have so enjoyed when it comes to our products.” – Vivo Brand Director Annie Lim

To know more about Vivo, you may visit their website or follow their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

OPPO has sent an invite for a special event next week, apparently for the launch of a new  smartphone. The exact model wasn’t revealed, but it did come with this picture.

From the looks of it, the right-most section seems to resemble the letter A, add the number 8, and the number 3 on the screen, and you have A83.  That makes sense, since the OPPO A83 has recently been launched in India.

The OPPO A83 sports a 5.7-inch 18:9 display at HD+ resolution (1440 x 720 pixels), powered by the same chip that’s on the F5 series, a 2.5GHz MediaTek Helio P23 octa-core processor. It also has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage expandable with a microSD card, and packs a 3,180mAh battery.

The device boasts a 13MP rear camera,  complimented by an 8MP front camera equipped with OPPO’s AI Beauty Technology for gorgeous and natural looking selfies.

The A83 runs on ColorOS 3.2 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat, which introduces a number of new features: O-Share, which allows you to transfer files across OPPO devices 100x faster than when using Bluetooth,  Game acceleration, which not only lets you optimize the phone’s performance, but also allows you to prevent notifications from distracting you while playing, Split Screen, and Speedy Facial Unlock.

Given the absence of a fingerprint sensor and a screen with lower resolution, you can probably expect the A83 to be even more affordable than the F5 Youth, which currently retails for PhP12,990. As always, we’ll keep you posted during the event!

OPPO A83 Specs

  • 2.5GHz MediaTek Helio P23 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card (Up to 256GB)
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 HD+ display
  • 13MP rear camera, f/2.2
  • 8MP front camera, f/2.2, AI Beauty Technology
  • ColorOS 3.2 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 3,180mAh battery

Ever got frustrated because you can’t play your favorite games because your PC or Mac simply doesn’t meet the minimum requirements?

Well, those days are over, because NVIDIA has just announced the BETA period for GeForce Now, its streaming service that lets you enjoy a vast library of games using its cloud-based GPUs, allowing you to play at the highest settings possible. In essence, it turns your less than capable machine into a high-performance gaming rig.

Supported games are installed in your library in seconds. Since you don’t need to download an entire game, you don’t have to worry about your storage drive filling up.

Of course, there’s a catch. First you’ll need at least a 25mbps Internet Connection and more, and when it goes live, there will most likely be a cost. How much? we’ll still have to find out.

GeForce Now supports a huge library of games, and not just your typical ones, we’re talking about popular and AAA titles like COD: WWII, Project Cars 2, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, PUBG, and many more. You can even play games that are not included in the library through Steam, but you’ll have to install them each time you play.

Unfortunately, the beta will only be initially available in North America and Europe. But we do hope that they expand it to other regions as well.  For more info, click here.

Source: NVIDIA

The ASUS VC239H is probably one of the most popular monitors from the brand, primarily due to a combination of a decent feature set and very competitive pricing.  Now, ASUS has announced its successor, the VZ239HR, offering all the goodness of its predecessor in an slimmer and more elegant looking body.

ASUS VZ239HR Specs:

  • Panel Size: 23.0 inches, 16:9
  • Panel Type: IPS
  • True Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Response Time: 5ms (Gray to Gray)
  • Signal Input: HDMI, D-Sub
  • Voltage : 100-240V, 50 / 60Hz
  • Dimensions with Stand (WxHxD): 531 x 387 x 211 mm

Design and Build Quality

At first glance, the VZ239HR looks a lot like the VZ249H, which we reviewed a few months back, except that the front bezel is now in a brushed black metal finish.

What’s so likable about this monitor is how thin it is, not only from the sides, but bezel-wise as well. It’s almost unbelievable how they were able to fit all those components in such a slim shell. It also uses an IPS panel, which means colors appear richer and more lively compared to a TN panel.

At the bottom right are the navigation keys, which you can use to adjust the monitor’s settings. Unfortunately, you won’t know what each button does until you bring up the menu. It might be for cutting down costs, but a joystick like control similar to that of the PG348Q would’ve been better.

At the back, you’ll find a pair of speakers, the Power port, an HDMI port, and a VGA port, which makes it a good option for office PC’s which don’t usually have a dedicated graphics card.

Unfortunately, you don’t have the option of adjusting the height, or swiveling the monitor to the sides, unless you actually carry the entire stand with it, you can however tilt it up and down to adjust your viewing angle. It’s also not VESA mountable, so you’ll have to settle with the stand if you plan on using it on a multi-monitor setup.

Performance

The VZ239HR should be more than enough for most office tasks, such as word processing, spreadsheets and web browsing. Animations are smooth, and switching between apps is fluid. It’s also a good monitor for media consumption, such as watching videos on YouTube and iflix.

For gaming, the responsiveness won’t of course compare to those dedicated gaming monitors with G-Sync and high refresh rates, but the overall experience is still satisfactory across different titles. And hey, we’re talking of a sub PhP10K monitor here., so you really can’t expect that much.

The speakers on the side demonstrate good treble though base isn’t audible. They also fall short in terms of volume. There’s an audio out port at the back, which you can connect to a more “proper” sound system, just in case you really want to run it from the monitor, but I highly suggest that you just use your computer’s own sound port.

Software

Unlike the higher tier models such as the PG27VQ and the PG348Q, the VZ239HR doesn’t have a joystick for navigating the on-screen interface, but uses a set of buttons located at the bottom right. When navigating the menus, a sort of legend will be displayed at the top of the buttons to indicate what each one does. Not the most intuitive way of going through things, but it works.

The OSD gives you access to the basic features such as brightness and contrast adjustment, Splendid gives you the option of changing the overall color temperature of the display depending on what you’re doing. On a personal note, I usually just set it to Game Mode, but of course, to each his own.

You can also change the input settings from HDMI to VGA, adjust the volume on the speakers, and set the transparency for the OSD, among other options.

Verdict

The ASUS VZ239HR is a good monitor both for home and office use, as it has ports that can accommodate PC’s which don’t or do have a dedicated graphics card.  It’s also quite well-designed as the thin body makes it look very elegant and would make a good fit for just about any workspace.

In terms of performance, most users who are into productivity and media consumption should find the experience more than satisfying. It’s not the best for gaming, but it’s more than enough for those who are on a budget. The way that you navigate the UI isn’t the most intuitive, but it shouldn’t be a problem once you get the hang of it.

Despite the few downs, it’s a monitor that gives you good value for your money at just PhP8,930, and has just about all you’ll expect and need from a device at its price segment. Nothing more, and nothing less. Just make sure to have an HDMI cable, as it doesn’t come with one.

The Good

  • Thin body that makes it look very elegant
  • Has all the ports you’ll need
  • IPS display makes colors look more vibrant
  • Good for Productivity and Media Consumption, Decent for Gaming
  • Competitive pricing

The Not So Good

  • Less flexible in terms of adjusting position (No swivel and height adjustment)
  • Navigating the UI takes a bit of getting used to
  • Speakers aren’t loud enough
  • No HDMI cable included
  • Not VESA mountable

 

After seeing OPPO’s influencers flaunting a red smartphone in their social media accounts, the brand has now announced that its smash hit, the OPPO F5, is now available in fierce red color.

The OPPO F5 Red is the latest member of the brand’s lineup of selfie-centric smartphones, featuring AI Beauty Technology that locks in on various points on your face and intelligently determines your gender, age, skin tone, and skin type for natural looking selfies.

Apart from the new color, you get the same goodies that the F5 is known for – a large 6-inch 18:9 FHD+ display, a MediaTek Helio P23 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card. It sports a 20MP front camera complimented by a 16MP rear snapper.

“The OPPO F5 is making waves in the smartphone market with its proven A.I. Beauty Recognition Technology and we are happy to announce that we are now offering it in a much-desired red color. This answers the need of our customers who are looking for a stylish, functional, and selfie-centric smartphone, ideal for today’s social media-driven lifestyle.” – Eason De Guzman, OPPO Philippines’ PR Manager.

OPPO F5 Specs:

  • 2.5GHz MediaTek Helio P23 Octa-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card
  • 6-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) Display, 403ppi, Gorilla Glass 5 Protection
  • 16MP Rear Camera, f/1.8
  • 20MP Front Camera, f/2.0, Screen Flash, Portrait Mode
  • AI Beauty Technology
  • Fingerprint Sensor (Rear)
  • Dual SIM, LTE 700MHz Support
  • Face Unlock Technology
  • ColorOS 3.2 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 3,200mAh Battery
  • Colors: Gold, Black, Red

The OPPO F5 Red retails for PhP15,990. For those who want to take it a step further, there’s the OPPO F5 6GB in red, also available in all OPPO Concept Stores nationwide for PhP21,990. You may also check out our full review.

In an exclusive event held earlier today, Samsung officially launched its newest premium smartphones, sporting a new design, 18:5:9 displays combined with improved optics, and a powerful octa-core processor – The Galaxy A8 and A8+ (2018).

Both devices feature Samsung’s signature Infinity display with Full HD+ resolution and an 18:5:9 aspect ratio, the A8 at 5.6-inches, and the A8+ at a slightly larger 6-inches. Both are also powered by an octa-core Exynos 7885 processor clocked at 2.2GHz, along with 4GB of RAM for the A8, and 6GB of RAM for the A8+.

Being selfie-focused, both the A8 and A8+ are equipped with dual front cameras capable of Live Focus and Wide Selfies. At the rear is 16MP camera with PDAF.  Other features include Ultra High Quality Audio Playback Support (UHQ), Facial Recognition, Bixby, Samsung’s digital personal assistant, and wired fast charging.

The new devices are IP68 certified for water and dust resistance, and run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. The A8 packs a 3,000mAh battery, while the A8+ has a slightly larger 3,500mAh unit.

Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) Specs:

  • 5.6-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Display
  • 16MP + 8MP dual front cameras, f/1.9, Live Focus, Wide Selfie
  • 16MP rear camera, f/1.7, PDAF
  • 2.2GHz Exynos 7885 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB)
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • IP68 certification for water and dust resistance
  • 3,000mAh battery with fast charging (wired)
  • Colors: Gold and Black

Samsung Galaxy A8+ (2018) Specs:

  • 6.0-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Display
  • 16MP + 8MP dual front cameras, f/1.9, Live Focus, Wide Selfie
  • 16MP rear camera, f/1.7, PDAF
  • 2.2GHz Exynos 7885 octa-core processor
  • 6GB of RAM,  64GB of storage expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB)
  • Android 7.1.1 Nougat
  • IP68 certification for water and dust resistance
  • 3,500mAh battery with fast charging (wired)
  • Colors: Gold and Black

The Samsung Galaxy A8  and A8+ (2018) will retail for PhP26,990 and PhP32,990 respectively, and will be available in stores starting January 27, 2018.

After joining the 18:9 display race with the U11+, HTC has recently announced its newest mid-range device with Face Unlock and dual front cameras added its portfolio – introducing the U11 EYEs.

The HTC U11 EYEs sports the same liquid surface finish from the U11,is IP67 certified for water and dust resistance.. It has a 6-inch screen with FHD+ resolution, and is powered by a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage expandable with a microSD card. It also packs a 3,930mAh battery.

At the rear of the phone is a 12MP UltraPixel camera with OIS that can record slow motion videos at 1080p/120fps, while the front hosts dual 5MP cameras that support Portrait mode and can be used for Face Unlock.

Unfortunately for audio-lovers, the device doesn’t have BoomSound speakers. It does however, support the USonic Earphones, and retains the Edge Sense feature, which lets you squeeze the sides to activate certain functions.

The HTC U11 EYEs will retail for $410, which I think is a bit too much for something that’s powered by a chip from 2016.

HTC U11 EYEs Specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage expandable via microSD card
  • 6-inch FHD+ display
  • 12MP UltraPixel rear camera with OIS and 4K recording
  • Dual 5MP front cameras, Portrait Mode
  • HTC Edge Sense
  • Face Unlock
  • IP67 certification for water and dust resistance
  • USB Type-C interface
  • 3,930mAh battery

Source: GSMArena, Engadget

The Zenfone 5 series is set to be announced at this year’s Mobile World Congress. And Now, one of the brand’s upcoming devices has surfaced online and has been certified in Russia.

Photo: Phone Arena

According to the document,  the ASUS Zenfone 5 Lite will have a model number of ZC600KL, the KL presumably means that it’s going to be powered by a Qualcomm chip, and the number 60 indicates that it will also sport a 6-inch display, possibly at FullHD resolution. An 18:9 display? let’s hope so.

For now, I suggest you take this with a grain of salt, but we’ll keep you updated as more info becomes available.

Source: Phone Arena

Our first look at the Zenfone Max Plus revealed a decent device that offers a number of notable changes from its predecessor, such as a different processor, a slightly bigger display with a higher resolution that is now on an 18:9 aspect ratio, and features like Face Unlock.

From our first impressions, I did like how the look and feel, the screen was evidently better, the software seems to be polished, and the camera performance was decent except for the wide-angle shots.

So do all of these changes make this phone more buy-worthy over the more affordable Zenfone 4 Max? I’ve completed the rest of the tests, and the result is quite interesting. Let’s find out in this full review.

ASUS Zenfone Max Plus Specs:

  • 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750T octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 FHD+ display
  • 16MP (RGB, f/2.0) + 8MP (Wide-Angle) rear cameras
  • 8MP (f/2.0) front camera
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • Face Unlock
  • ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 4,130mAh battery with ASUS BoostMaster fast charging

Design and Build Quality

The Zenfone Max Plus does resemble a bit of the Zenfone 3 Zoom. And while it isn’t the slimmest phone out there, being able to fit a huge battery is no easy feat. It uses a triple slot tray,  which  means you don’t have to sacrifice a SIM card slot for your microSD card.

The phone is also quite easy to use with one hand, though the back is a bit slippery. Fortunately, the unit we received came with a clear case.

The dual camera system protrudes, which makes you feel like you have to take caution when laying it flat on a table. I’m not sure why they went back with the sticker on the lower part,  which was already gone with the vanilla Zenfone 4. I think ruins the beauty of the device, at least from that angle.

The highlight of the new design is the slightly larger 5.7-inch 18:9 display, which now sports a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels, or FHD+. It carries the signature vibrancy that brings out more life to each color, is very bright, and is very much readable even in direct sunlight.

I feel like they could’ve slashed a few more millimeters off the bottom and side bezels. Unless of course, it’s a design restriction. They could’ve also just made use of capcitive buttons instead of on-screen buttons, and perhaps make it customizable through the software.

Performance

The Zenfone Max Plus runs on a MediaTek MT6750T processor which while certainly capable, is unfortunately just as outdated as the Snapdragon 430 in the Zenfone 4 Max.  A Snapdragon 450 or the new Helio P23 would’ve been a better choice.

As far as synthetic benchmarks are concerned, the 6750T performs just as well as the 430.  Either is a decent choice for general use. In gaming, you can still run NBA 2K17 at only more or less the same settings – medium to very low.  The only difference is that there’s more heat buildup on the MediaTek chip.

Camera

The device features a dual rear camera setup composed of a 16MP RGB sensor along with a secondary 8MP sensor with a 120 degree wide-angle lens.

Using the main lens, you get photos with decent detail. The only problem is that some shots came out looking oversaturated. Focusing speed  is quick enough.

As for the wide-angle lens, it’s able to capture a bigger area, yes. But there was evident loss of detail in some instances,  colors looked too pale in contrast, and objects appeared to be out of focus when they clearly were before I took the shots.

Portrait mode works well too both for the front and rear cams, so long as you can find the right angle

The 8MP front camera is more like a hit and miss, there are instances when selfies came out with good clarity, but there are also times when it didn’t and my face seemed to be out of focus, though it clearly was before i took the shot.

Software

The Zenfone Max Plus runs on ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android Nougat, which introduces a number of new features such as face unlock, which by the way is fast, simple, and works well, at least most of the time.

There’s the PowerMaster app, which lets you change battery modes depending on what you’re doing, manage apps, and use the phone as a powerbank for charging other devices.

There’s Twin Apps, which let you login to two separate accounts in for example, Facebook, by creating a copy of the app. Then there’s Game Genie, which lets you capture screenshots, record your gameplay, and search for useful tips without hassle.

If you’re fond of doing livestreams, the BeautyLive feature is also integrated into ZenUI 4.0. All you have to do is fire up the SelfieMaster app, and the entire suite of photo management, editing, and livestream apps are in reach with just a single tap.

While performance in general was smooth and fluid, I did encounter an instance when the System UI crashed and the phone rebooted when attempting to turn Wi-Fi on. Hopefully,  it’s an isolated issue that can be resolved by a system update.

Battery Life

Now, this is one of the most interesting (and odd) things about this phone. They call it the Battery King. And yet, it has a smaller 4,130mAh battery compared the Zenfone 4 Max’s 5,000mAh. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

But the surprising part is that the phone performed  exceptionally well in the battery test, yielding 14 hours of uptime in a single charge with optimal settings. In real life usage, it’s going to last even longer.

Final Verdict

The Zenfone Max Plus offers a number of key improvements over its predecessor:  an 18:9 display with a higher resolution,  and a refreshed, new take on Android that brings Facial Recognition to the table, which by the way, works well. And while it has a smaller battery than the Zenfone 4 Max, it still managed to yield 14 hours of uptime in our battery test, and is likely to last even longer in real life usage.

Of course, it still has plenty of room for improvement, as it also suffers from the same troubles that its older sibling had – an outdated processor and inconsistent camera performance.

So,  at PhP11,995, is this phone worth buying? if you’re just looking for a phone that can last very long, and you’re fine with all its flaws, then i’d say yes.

The Good

  • Bigger 18:9 display
  • Full HD+ resolution
  • Great battery life
  • Fast facial recognition
  • Feature packed software
  • Triple Slot Tray

The Not So Good

  • Outdated processor
  • Poor wide-angle camera performance
  • Inconsistent camera performance (front and rear)

 

 

 

After weeks of teasing its arrival, ASUS has finally launched the newest member of its Zenfone lineup for the Philippine Market, meet the Zenfone Max Plus.

The Zenfone Max Plus features a 5.7-inch display with Full HD+ resolution, and now on a cinematic 18:9 aspect ratio – the first from the brand. It’s powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6750T processor, with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage expandable with a microSD card.

For imaging, the device uses a dual camera setup at the back – a 16MP RGB sensor coupled with another 8MP sensor with a wide-angle lens. There’s also an 8MP camera for all your selfie needs.

It also runs on ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android Nougat, which introduces a fresh new look and a number of new features including Face Unlock.

Touted as the new Battery King, the device packs a potent 4,130mAh battery with Fast Charging.

ASUS Zenfone Max Plus Specs:

  • 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750T octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage expandable via microSD card
  • 5.7-inch 18:9 FHD+ display
  • 16MP (RGB, f/2.0) + 8MP (Wide-Angle) rear cameras
  • 8MP (f/2.0) front camera
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • Face Unlock
  • ZenUI 4.0 on top of Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 4,130mAh battery with ASUS BoostMaster fast charging

The ASUS Zenfone Max Plus retails for PhP11,995, As an added bonus, the first 1000 buyers will also receive a FREE JBL Bluetooth Headset, OTG Cable, and Clear Case.

 

HyperX, the gaming divising of Kingston Technology, showcased its newest lineup of RGB gaming gear at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. The Cloud Flight – It’s first wireless gaming headset, the Alloy Elite RGB mechanical keyboard and Pulse Surge Gaming Mouse which offer top-level precision and pro level performance with added customization, along with the Predator DDR4 RGB RAM.

“The showcase at CES underscores the HyperX commitment to bring high-performing gaming products to gamers of all levels – whether playing your favorite FPS console game, in a head-to-head PC gaming matchup, or in an esports tournament with players from across the globe. The latest products give gamers the ultimate freedom, convenience and customization to provide an immersive and engaging gaming experience.” – HyperX

HyperX Cloud Flight Wireless Headset

Offering up to a staggering 30 hours of battery life, the longest in the market, the HyperX Cloud Flight is the first wireless gaming headset from the brand. It sports a closed cup design, and uses powerful 50mm drivers, broadcasting at 2.4GHz to deliver an immersive audio experience.

The product has been certified by TeamSpeak and Discord, and also features a detachable noise-canceling microphone. It’s also compatible with multiple platforms (PC, PS4 and PS4 Pro), and comes with built-in controls for adjusting the LED lighting, mic mute, power and volume.

HyperX Alloy Elite RGB Mechanical Keyboard

The Alloy Elite RGB Mechanical Keyboard is the first from the brand to feature customizable RGB lighting with the NGenuity software and features on-board memory that can store up to three custom lighting profiles. It’s also built with a sturdy solid steel frame, dedicated media buttons, and a USB 2.0 pass-through port for connected another device, such as a mouse, and quick access lighting control.

The keyboard is available in red, brown and blue Cherry MX switches, and comes with a detachable wrist wrest for added comfort during long gaming sessions. Other features include Game Mode, N-Key Rollover, and Anti-Ghosting.

HyperX Pulsefire Surge RGB Mouse

Photo: Legit Reviews

Featuring 360° RGB lighting effects, and a Pixart 3389 optical sensor with a DPI setting that goes up to 16,000,  the Pulsefire Surge RGB Mouse is ultimate in customization and performance.

The device uses high-quality Omron switches with a 50m click lifespan, and is designed for accurate, fluid and responsive tracking, without acceleration. Using the NGenuity software, users can also assign macros to its six programmable keys.

HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB

Photo: TechPowerUp

The HyperX Predator DDR4 RGB RAM is the first in the industry to feature synchronized RGB lighting through IR technology. Lighting synchronization can be done across multiple modules, thanks to built-in IR communication channels, resulting to eye-candy color and pattern displays.

The new suite of HyperX gaming gear is scheduled to be available later this year in select regions. For more information on the brand’s upcoming products and activities, click here.

Photos: Legit Reviews, TechPowerUp

The Strix GL503VD is one of the newest gaming laptops from the ASUS’ ROG brand, with an all new design, and a well-balanced array of components that puts it as perhaps, the sweet spot for someone who wants to have a capable gaming laptop without burning a very big hole in the wallet.

ROG Strix GL503VD Specs

– Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz
– 8GB of DDR4-2400MHz RAM
– 128GB M.2 SSD + 7200RPM 1TB  HDD
– 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX1050
– 15.6-inch Full HD IPS Display, 60Hz
– Windows 10 Home
– Ports: LAN Port, 1 x HDMI, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, Headphone/Mic Combo jack, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB Type-C, 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x SD Card Reader

An all new design

The GL503VD veers away from designs of the past, and introduces itself with a whole new look. The ROG logo that’s usually in the middle of the lid, is now on left side. The surface now shows a brushed metal finish which makes it look and feel premium and well-built. It’s as thick as what you’d expect from a gaming notebook at this price point, but not enough to make it look bulky.

Looking at the front, there’s a set of dedicated keys quickly muting the microphone, adjusting the volume, and firing up the ROG Gaming Center, which we’ll talk about in another section of this review.

The keyboard is equipped with RGB backlighting, which can be customized using the Aura Core app. I like that you can change the intensity of the lighting. Though not mechanical, the keyboard feels sturdy, and is comfortable to type on. Spacing between keys is also sufficient. The power button has been separated from the rest of the keys, which means there are less chances of you accidentally pressing it while in the heat of battle.

The only thing I have with this keyboard is that while there’s a notification LED for Caps Lock, there’s none for Num Lock. Not even an on-screen notification.

As far as ports are concerned, you do get a slew of them, which should be enough for most tasks. There’s an SD card reader, a dedicated LAN port in case you don’t have Wi-Fi in your place, a Mini DisplayPort and HDMI port for your external monitor, a total of 5 USB ports, 3 of which are high-speed ones, 1 is a Type-C, and the other is a standard USB 2.0 port.

Moving on to the screen, the laptop has a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS  display with 60Hz of refresh rate, which should be enough for most titles, though you’d probably crave a little for more when playing FPS games. It uses an IPS panel, so colors appear more vibrant and are much more accurate. You can even change the color temperature using the Splendid app.

An unexpectedly decent performer

Don’t let the benchmark scores fool you. Of course, it may not be as powerful as the more expensive models, but for what you pay, i’d say you’re getting good value. The combination of an i7-7700HQ and a 4GB GTX 1050 surpassed my expectations as far as actual gaming performance goes.

 

PLAYERUNKOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS or PUBG has just come out of early access, and is more optimized than ever.  You can get good frame rates at Low and Very Low settings. And while it’s actually still playable at medium, but the overall experience isn’t as smooth.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is a very demanding game combining fast-paced action with a beautifully crafted environment, but frame rates were consistently at good numbers even at medium setting.  

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is another AAA title that’s known to be very punishing even for decently specced machines. Still, it’s very much playable, with only occasional drops below 40 fps at medium settings.

Project Cars, which involves very fast movement with all the weather effects such as rain and fog, proved to be a challenge, with below 30 fps drops at medium setting. It still runs smoothly at low settings, which actually still looks just as good as medium.

Ashes of the Singularity is an extremely demanding title. As such, the frame rates aren’t as good, but still passes the 30 to 40 fps range for most of the time, very much playable.

While the GPU thermals are great, the CPU readings aren’t as good, but are still decent. Especially when you consider that these are quite powerful components packed into a small case.

Storage and Memory Woes?

If you’re planning to install your games on the SSD, you might have to invest in an upgrade to a larger capacity, as the default configuration only comes with a 128GB drive. If you also play a lot of titles that are memory intensive like Watch Dogs 2, you may want to invest in upgrading the RAM to 16GB.

The usual suite of ASUS apps

As expected, you’ll be welcomed by the usual ASUS apps. Fortunately, most of them are actually useful, such as Sonic Studio 3, which lets you adjust the sound settings to your preference, and the Splendid Utility, which lets you change the display’s color temperature.

There’s the ROG Gaming Center, which sort of works like a hub for monitoring and optimizing the machine’s performance.  For aesthetics, the Aura Core app lets you customize the Keyboard’s RGB lighting, something I use very often.

The first thing you might want to consider removing is the pre-installed anti-virus, and just run on Windows Defender. Trust me, it’s all you’ll need.

One of the best speakers i’ve listened to

I rarely use the term best, but for the GL503VD’s speakers, i have to really say it. They’re really good. The sound is crisp, loud, and clear. Bass is also present, just enough to give body to the sound signature.

Dismal battery life (as expected)

I know, it’s always expected. But should poor battery life be a norm for gaming laptops? I don’ think so. Still, at least you get a few hours of uptime.

Final Verdict

If you’re on the hunt for a gaming laptop that has a well-balanced price to specs ratio, the Strix GL503VD better be on your list. Wait, it should be at least on your top three.

For its price, you’re getting decent performance across various titles and genres, AAA games included. The GTX 1050 isn’t the beefiest card out there, but it certainly is more than capable enough, and ran good frame rates on almost every game I tested it with. Adding icing to the cake, a pair of good sounding speakers.

Of course, there are things that can be improved, such as the lack of an LED light for Num Lock, the CPU thermals, and the dismal battery life (though that’s expected).

The GL503VD presents a well-balanced mix of performance, aesthetics and overall quality, which makes it an extremely good deal for its PhP69,995 price tag.

The Good

  • Sleek new design
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Good sounding speakers
  • Responsive keyboard with customizable RGB lighting

The Not So Good

  • CPU thermals can be improved
  • No LED light for Num Lock
  • Dismal battery life

 

 

 

OPPO is starting 2018 with a special treat to its fans, as it announced a price drop for the mid-range F5 Youth – now available for only PhP12,990!

The move is meant to provide a more affordable solution for customers who want to experience OPPO’s signature AI Beauty Technology, which scans over 200 points on your face, and intelligently determines your age, gender, skin tone, and skin type for natural looking selfies. Enjoy all that content on the F5 Youth’s 6-inch FHD+ display with a cinematic 18:9 aspect ratio.

Our OPPO F5 Series is known for its strong value proposition especially with its admirable selfie feature and solid performance. We believe our lineup is now more appealing to our customers with an OPPO F5 smartphone matching to their needs.” – Eason de Guzman, OPPO Philippines’ Public Relations Manager.

The OPPO F5 series now has a competitive lineup at various price points – The F5 Youth at PhP12,990, the F5 at PhP15,990, and the F5 6GB at PhP21,990. All known for a unique approach of delivering good looking selfies that Filipinos adore.

OPPO F5 Youth Specs:

  • 6″ FHD+ LTPS IPS LCD 18:9 display @ 2160 x 1080 resolution ~403ppi
  • MediaTek MT6763T 2.50GHz Octa-Core CPU
  • Mali G71 MP2 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • Dual Nano-SIM
  • Dedicated microSD card slot up to 256GB
  • 13MP f/2.2 AF rear camera w/ LED flash
  • 16MP f/2.0 A.I. Beauty front camera
  • 4G LTE
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • OTG support
  • ColorOS 3.2 (Android 7.1.1 Nougat)
  • 3200mAh Li-Po Battery

You may also check out our review of the OPPO F5 Youth. For the latest updates and list of stores, you may follow OPPO’s Official Facebook Page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers once again proved why it’s the No.1 gaming brand, as it showcased its newest gaming accessories at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show: the Strix Flare RGB Mechanical Keyboard,  Aura Terminal addressable RGB controller, and Spotlight RGB Projection Light with Bezel-Free Kit.

ROG Strix Flare

Combining the signature ROG splash design, top-notch performance and comfort, the ROG Strix Flare Mechanical Keyboard brings customizable style to the next level. It features Cherry MX RGB Switches – the top choice for professional and amateur gamers alike, making every press of the Strix Flare of optimal actuation for satisfying and reliable keystrokes.

It also features dedicated media keys, a USB pass-through port for connecting another device such as a mouse, as well as a detachable wrist rest for maximum comfort during extended gaming sessions.

Powered by Aura Sync lighting technology, the ROG Strix Flare has individually programmable RGB backlit keys, and LED’s under both sides that create a glowing effect. All onboard lighting effects can be synchronized with other Aura Sync devices, giving  a more personalized look to your battle station.

ROG Aura Terminal 

The ROG Aura Terminal is an RGB controller designed to give gamers a more immersive environment, enabling stunning lighting effects synchronized with in-game events through ROG Halo Technology. When LED strips are mounted behind a monitor, ROG Halo intelligently determines the colors displayed at the edge of the screen and synchronizes the color of the LED strips accordingly.

The ROG Aura Terminal can also be mounted inside the PC case and can be connected with Aura Sync devices for a uniform lighting effect.

Bezel-free Kit

The Bezel-free Kit enables gamers with multi-monitor setups to visually eliminate the gaps wherein the displays connect,  creating a seamless appearance of one very large monitor. The kit consists of vertical lenses and easy-to-attach mounts that connect the edge of each monitor at a 130° degree angle.

There’s no need for an external power source or any software to operate the kit, as it uses light refraction to make the monitor edges disappear from the user’s view, dramatically enhancing gameplay.

ROG Spotlight

The ROG Spotlight is an accessory that projects the ROG logo on a wall or surface, for an enhanced gaming atmosphere. Its colorful lighting also sync with Aura Sync gaming gear, from motherboards to mice for uniform illumination to your setup. It features a matte aluminium finish and a magnetic base for easy and secure attachment to metal surfaces.

Aura SDK Program

ROG announced the Aura SDK program in 2017, which allowed developers and hardware partners to fine tune their products by integrating Aura lighting control into their software. At CES 2018, AIDA64, Tobii and Cooler Master showcased demos and setups that highlighted the things that can be done when Aura Sync is maximized to its full potential.

ASUS ROG has always been at the forefront of RGB evolution, and is committed to working with more brands to improve and advance the ecosystem for the best lighting synergy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

McDonald’s customers in the Philippines can expect a more convenient way of paying for their meals, as the fast-food chain has now started to accept Mastercard and Visa transactions, thanks to a collaboration with PayMaya.

To date, over 40 McDonald’s branches nationwide have already begun accepting card payments for all types of Mastercard and Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards. This also includes PayMaya cards and Smart Mastercard.

The McCafe BGC Arts Center and McCafe Tagaytay Calamba stores will also be accepting PayMaya QR payments soon,  with more branches to follow in the coming months. Customers can pay with their smartphones by opening the PayMaya app, and scanning the QR code in the cashier area. Online payments and bookings for McCelebrations Birthday Parties and McDelivery will also be available very soon.

Convenient card and QR payments

“Our goal is to continuously provide our customers with a convenient and feel-good restaurant experience, which is why we are committed in seeking out innovations that can deliver this to them. Through our partnership with PayMaya, our customers will now have a cashless payment option to make ordering their favorite McDonald’s meals more convenient.” – Mr. Kenneth S. Yang, McDonald’s President and CEO.

“This is digital technology at its most convenient, and we are working toward enabling more partners like McDonald’s to further build a cashless ecosystem all around the country. We’re starting with McDonald’s today, but we envision a future where most of our transactions will be carried out with the help of a PayMaya account.”

It’s very easy to get a PayMaya account. All one has to do is download the app or start a chat with @PayMayaOfficial in FB Messenger.  Loading up is also hassle-free, with over 15,000 top-up facilities nationwide, including Robinsons Department Store Business Centers, SM Business Services, Cebuana Lhuillier, ExpressPay, TouchPay kiosks, 7-Eleven, ExpressPay, Palawan Pawnshops, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, Petron stations along NLEX, and Smart Padala centers down to Sari-Sari stores in grassroots communities, and Unionbank ATMs.

Toward a cashless Philippines

“McDonald’s is a well-loved brand that we are glad to be partnering with to provide Filipinos with more cashless payment options. Together, we take one bold step with them in creating a cashless Philippines, which we see happening in the very near future.” – Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO at PayMaya Philippines.

McDonald’s is the latest brand to join the roster of pioneering companies and merchants that are embracing the cashless revolution with the help of PayMaya, including some of the biggest e-Commerce retailers in the country – Lazada, Zalora, Philippine Airlines, and Cebu Pacific, among many others.

PayMaya is likewise powering QR payments for Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, and popular brands such as Topshop, Topman, G2000, Dorothy Perkins, and Warehouse. PayMaya QR payments are also accepted in all The SM Store and Mall Information Booths nationwide, food parks and other retail and food chains.

PayMaya Philippines,  the country’s pioneer and leader in cashless payments, is the digital financial services arm of PLDT’s Voyager Innovations.  For more information on its solutions for merchants and businesses, click here.