Cherry Mobile to announce ‘premium’ Flare phone on October 9

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Cherry Mobile will announce a new Flare smartphone on October 9, according to an event invite sent by the local tech company today.

Not much is known about the upcoming handset, but based on the invite, expect a gold color option with a silver metallic trim, suggesting that we may be looking at the most premium-looking Flare design so far. The black borders surrounding the display may give the phone a borderless appearance when the the screen is turned off.

The one metric the Flare series falls short of is design, but that could change soon if what we’ve seen so far is any indication.

The Flare series is arguably Cherry Mobile’s most popular line of smartphones to date — and with good reason: Flare devices typically offer the best specs you can find on the market today at prices most Filipinos can afford. The previous Flare release, the Flare X, is an incredibly powerful phone at an incredibly affordable price. The one metric it generally falls short of is design, but that could change soon if what we’ve seen so far is any indication.

Microsoft unveils Windows 10-based Lumia 950, 950 XL phones

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Earlier today, Microsoft announced several Windows 10 devices to showcase Windows 10’s new capabilities and its full potential as a productivity platform. (A quick aside: Microsoft claims there are already more than 110 million devices running Windows 10. Yes, 110 million installations in 8 weeks.)

Among those Windows 10 devices are the Lumia 950 and the larger and more powerful (and more expensive) Lumia 950 XL, which as Microsoft puts it, are all about “putting Windows 10 in your pocket” and being “the most productive phones you’ve picked up.”

And those are very accurate ways of describing phones that function like a PC — and offer a similar experience to that of a desktop running Windows 10 when hooked up to the Microsoft Display Dock, which has an HDMI and Display Port for your monitor, plus 3 full-size USB ports for peripherals like a mouse and a keyboard.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL are all about ‘putting Windows 10 in your pocket’ and being ‘the most productive phones you’ve picked up.’

The phones themselves are made of plastic — definitely not what you’d expect to see from handsets in the premium segment — and are equipped with insanely sharp AMOLED displays fronted by Gorilla Glass, as well as reversible USB Type-C connectors with fast charging, allowing you to juice up the phones up to 50 percent in 30 minutes.

Assuming the same applies when charging the phone from 51 to 100 percent, you may be looking at a maximum charging time of roughly 60 minutes, which is impressive.

The 20-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization and f/1.9 aperture lens shared by the Lumia 950 and 950 XL are said to capture high-quality images in low light and can record videos in super-sharp 4K resolution. Specs-wise, the phones are powered by either a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 or 810 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage that can be upgraded up to 2TB via a microSD card.

The Lumia 950 and 950 XL will retail for $549 (around P25,500)and $649 (P30,200), respectively, when they land in stores sometime in November. There’s no word yet on pricing and availability in the Philippines.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snEIjWR4lQw” width=”560″ height=”315″]

The new Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL smartphones

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVfOe5mFbAE” width=”560″ height=”315″]

The new Microsoft Surface Book

Google rolls out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to Nexus devices

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via bgr.com

Nexus owners, rejoice! Google has started rolling out the latest version of the most popular mobile operating system in the world, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, to select Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5 and 6 smartphones and Nexus 7 and 9 tablets, as earlier promised. The software update is also coming to the Android One phones like the Cherry Mobile One G1, Android’s VP of engineering said in a previous blog post.

An incremental upgrade over Android Lollipop, Marshmallow adds a few nice features to Android like Doze, battery-saving tweak, and Google Now on Tap, which brings you contextual information based on what you’re doing with your device. Native support for mobile payments (via Android Pay) and fingerprint sensors has been added as well.

Google has started rolling out Android 6.0 Marshmallow to select Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5 and 6 phones and Nexus 7 and 9 tablets.

If you haven’t received the over-the-air update yet, and you want it so badly, Android Headlines has put together a nice how-to on manually flashing Android 6.0 Marshmallow to your Nexus device. Note that the guide requires a bit of flashing know-how, so if you’re not familiar with any of the steps listed, you’re probably better off waiting for an OTA notification from Google. You don’t want to end up with a broken phone (aka an expensive paperweight), don’t you?

[youtube link=”hhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLWz5rJ2EKKc-YUddw59dYq61o3ynn3A4X&t=1&v=U9tw5ypqEN0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Sorry, your 2015 Moto E won’t get a taste of Android Marshmallow

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Google’s latest mobile operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, is tipped to arrive later this week following Google’s recent press event. Which, as you may have guessed, has prompted several manufacturers, including Motorola, to spill the proverbial beans on when their respective products will receive the software update.

For Moto owners, it seems the outlook is relatively positive, with the Lenovo-owned company recently confirming on its official blog that most Moto phones released in 2014 and this year will get a taste of Android Marshmallow sometime in the future.

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List of Moto handsets to be upgraded to Android 6.0 Marshmallow

The list includes a couple of devices sold by Motorola Philippines, namely the 2014 Moto X and 2014 Moto G. Curiously dropped from Motorola’s update road map is the 2015 Moto E (and its predecessors), which is disappointing to say the least, considering the claims Motorola previously made on its blog.

Curiously dropped from Motorola’s update road map is the Moto E, which is disappointing, considering the claims Motorola made on its blog.

“And while other smartphones in this category don’t always support upgrades, we won’t forget about you, and we’ll make sure your Moto E stays up to date after you buy it,” said Magno Herran, Motorola’s marketing manager, in a hands-on video. By contrast, the more affordable Cherry Mobile One G1, as well as other Android One phones, are slated to get an OTA update to Marshmallow this week.

To be fair, Motorola did say that “things may change,” so there may be hope for the entry-level handset yet.

Moto X (2014) specs (Price in the Philippines: P16,999):
* LTE
* 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
* Adreno 330 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5.2-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,300mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Moto G (2014) specs (Price in the Philippines: P8,499):
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU
* Adreno 305 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,070mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Moto E (2015) specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,999):
* LTE
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 4.5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera with flash
* VGA front camera
* 2,390mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLWz5rJ2EKKc-YUddw59dYq61o3ynn3A4X&t=1&v=U9tw5ypqEN0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Waze: Metro Manila worst place for motorists, commuters

In Cars, Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via globalbalita.com

Waze has confirmed what many of us knew all along but had no data to show for it: Metro Manila has the “worst traffic” on the planet, the Google-owned crowdsourced navigation app said in its Global Driver Satisfaction Index. Waze arrived at the observation after pooling the driving experience of 50 million users from 32 countries and 167 metropolitan areas.

The Philippines ranked among the worst places on Earth for motorists and commuters, while Metro Manila figured to be the last place you’d want to be behind the wheel, followed by Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and Indonesia’s Jakarta.

Metro Manila has the ‘worst traffic’ on the planet, Waze said in its Global Driver Satisfaction Index.

Metro Manila also recorded the longest commute time in the world at 45.5 minutes, which is 7 minutes longer than the average time it takes for New Yorkers to get from point A to point B (38.7 minutes).

Of course, if you’ve lived in Metro Manila long enough, you don’t need an app to tell you that the megacity’s traffic situation is getting out of hand, with no resolution in sight. But hey, at least our roads are teeming with gas stations and parking spaces (also according to Waze), right? (Insert sarcastic emoticon here.)

Android One phones will get Android 6.0 Marshmallow next week

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

As if you need another reason to get the brilliant and affordable Cherry Mobile One G1: In a recent blog post, Dave Burke, Android’s VP of engineering, has confirmed that Android One devices, alongside select models in the Nexus lineup, will be among the first to get a taste of Android 6.0 Marshmallow once it becomes available for download next week. (As I wrote in my review, the second-gen Android One phone will likely be upgraded to the next major software update after version 6.0, too.)

Marshmallow, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is an incremental software update that focuses on quashing bugs rather than introducing new design elements.

Android One devices will be among the first to get Android 6.0 Marshmallow once it becomes available next week.

However, that doesn’t make it any less important; in fact, Marshmallow introduces a few nice conveniences, such as Doze, which extends battery life by changing the way apps behave in the background.

Google Now on Tap, on the other hand, shows you contextual information on just about anything, without taking up a lot of space on your screen. The update will also bring a plethora of new window animations, as well as individual notifications.

It remains unclear if the Cherry Mobile One G1 will get all the features of the new Android software, but I reckon most of them will find their way to the phone. Needless to say, I’ll be sure to write a follow-up post when my review unit takes a bite out of Marshmallow — again, ahead of every non-Nexus devices out there.

Cherry Mobile One G1

Picture 1 of 10

Cherry Mobile One G1 specs (Price in the Philippines: P5,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5-inch IPS display with Dragontrail glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,500mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

Google unveils Nexus 5X and 6P smartphones

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A year after the Nexus 6 was released, Google, as earlier reports suggested, announced not one, but two smartphones to showcase Android 6.0 Marshmallow in its purest (and best) form.

Holding the torch for the Internet company’s own brand of mobile devices are the new Nexus 5X and 6P, which promise impressive performance in sleek and well-designed plastic (Nexus 5X) or metal (Nexus 6P) housings, not to mention early access to software and security updates directly from the big G itself.

Let’s start with the smaller of the two handsets: the Nexus 5X. Google’s long-expected follow-up to 2013’s Nexus 5 carries a 5.2-inch, full-resolution display and sees a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of non-expandable storage under the hood.

The new Nexus 5X and 6P promise impressive performance and early access to software and security updates directly from the big G itself.

Those internals are nothing to write home about, but perhaps the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor on the back, which Google claims will improve over time, and the 12-megapixel camera with larger pixels that allow for sharper and higher-quality images in low light are as impressive as Google makes them out to be. On that same note, the inclusion of a USB Type-C charging connector is also particularly buzzworthy, and it should make charging the 2,700mAh battery less frustrating with the right charger.

If you need a bigger screen and don’t mind paying a much higher price, there’s the all-metal Nexus 6P which pairs a 5.7-inch AMOLED QHD display with a best-in-class processor in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810.

The whole assembly measures just 7.3mm thick, making it easier to hold and use with one hand than its screen size would indicate. Like the Nexus 5X, the phone features a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a 12-megapixel camera that’s said to be capable of getting good low-light shots, and a USB Type-C port with native fast charging.

Both the Nexus 5X and 6P are already available for preorder in the U.S. and select markets. Pricing starts at $379 or roughly P17,800 for the Nexus 5X (16GB model) and $499 or P23,500 for the Nexus 6P (32GB).

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Nexus 5X (Price: $349):
* LTE
* 64-bit, hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5.2-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,700mAh battery
* Android 6.0 Marshmallow

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Nexus 6P (Price: $499):
* LTE
* 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 CPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 12-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash, laser autofocus
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 3,450mAh battery
* Android 6.0 Marshmallow

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jc-LEG0T_4c” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Cherry Mobile unveils new MAIA series with Intel chips in tow

In Phones, Tablets by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Confirming earlier reports, Cherry Mobile today took the wraps off its MAIA line of devices (two tablets and one handset). MAIA, which is short for Making Amazing Innovation Accessible, is Cherry Mobile’s new branding for Intel-based gadgets, the company revealed. These devices are affordable, as expected, and they run Android KitKat on Intel’s latest 64-bit chipsets.

The hero product of the MAIA family is called the MAIA Smart Tab, an 8-inch tablet that can boot into Android or Windows 8.1 in seconds. It also comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage (16GB is allocated to Android; another 16GB to Windows).

The hero product of the MAIA series is the Smart Tab, an affordable tablet that can boot into Android or Windows in seconds.

The MAIA Pad is a run-of-the-mill compact tablet powered by Intel’s Atom x3 processor (the same chip found in the 7-inch ASUS ZenPad), while the MAIA Fone i4 is a starter smartphone that’s built around the same Intel silicon the former carries.

The MAIA Smart Tab, Pad, and Fone i4 is now on sale in the Philippines with a sticker price of P4,999, P2,999, and P1,999, respectively. Those prices aren’t bad, especially considering what you’re getting in return.

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Cherry Mobile MAIA Smart Tab (Price in the Philippines: P4,999):
* 1.8GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Z3735F CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 8-inch IPS display (800 x 1,280 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 3,800mAh battery
* Android KitKat, Windows 8.1 (dual OS)

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Cherry Mobile MAIA Pad (Price in the Philippines: P2,999):
* 1GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB expandable storage
* microSD card slot
* 7-inch display
* 2-megapixel rear camera
* VGA front camera
* 2,800mAh battery
* Android KitKat

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Cherry Mobile MAIA Fone i4 (Price in the Philippines: P1,999):
* 1GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* 512MB RAM
* 4GB expandable storage
* microSD card slot
* 4-inch display
* 2-megapixel rear camera
* VGA front camera
* 1,350mAh battery
* Android KitKat

Video shows iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus are highly water-resistant

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

Image via Zach Straley’s YouTube video

Apple hasn’t stated explicitly that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are water-resistant, though it appears they don’t mind getting a bit wet, as YouTuber Zach Straley found out recently when he soaked the latest iPhones in a bowl of water for over an hour.

In his video description, Straley wrote: “Apple’s new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus seem very water-resistant.” The YouTube clip itself, which already has more than 200,000 views as of this writing, runs 7 minutes and 43 seconds.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus appear to be working perfectly fine after being soaked in a bowl of water.

Both phones obviously survived the ordeal and seem to be working perfectly fine, without any signs of water damage or traces of water finding its way into the screen or any of the cameras. The charging port, loudspeaker, and headphone jack also remain functional, Straley has confirmed in a follow-up video.

Although news of the new iPhones being highly resistant to water is certainly comforting to know, not to mention surprising, I don’t recommend you take your iPhone 6s to the shower, or to the swimming pool.

Prolonged exposure to water can cause corrosion if the liquid seeps into your device, possibly damaging its display and internal circuitry. So while Straley’s handsets seem fine for now, complications that may require a trip to the service center could arise further down the road.

Exposure to water can cause corrosion if the liquid seeps into your device, possibly damaging its internal circuitry.

Shower and swim with your iPhone 6s at your own risk; just because a couple of new iPhones were captured on video surviving extreme conditions doesn’t mean your phone is capable of the same feat.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_HbztTpL08″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Video culled from YouTuber Zach Straley

Unofficial iPhone 6s doesn’t cost an arm and a leg in PH

In Phones by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

Image via macradar.ru

Local fans of Apple’s latest — and much-improved — smartphones, it turns out, don’t have to wait too long to get their hands on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, unlike in previous years where it took parallel importers weeks to bring the newest iPhone to our shores.

And when they did, you could bet your bottom peso that it cost an arm and a leg to purchase even the off-contract 16GB model. (Remember the P117,585 iPhone 6 Plus that Revü Philippines co-publisher Alora Uy Guerrero wrote for Yahoo in 2014?)

Not this year, though. Retailer Widget City is already offering this year’s iPhones at slightly higher prices than those sold in offline and online Apple Stores. The 16GB iPhone 6s in silver, gray, or gold will set you back by P37,990, while its iPhone 6s Plus counterpart will run you P49,990. Rose gold variants cost a bit more. Do note that we’re talking about the same retailer that sold the iPhone 6 for P52,500 at launch.

Below is Widget City’s pricing for each model:

  • 16GB iPhone 6s – P37,990
  • 64GB iPhone 6s – P42,990
  • 128GB iPhone 6s – P47,990
  • 16GB iPhone 6s Plus -P49,990
  • 64GB iPhone 6s Plus – P57,990
  • 128GB iPhone 6s Plus – P69,990

Fans would have to shell out a premium for the joy (and the bragging rights) of being one of the first owners of the new iPhones. The markup is relatively fairer and less prohibitive than in past years.

According to a representative, Widget City will ship the units starting Tuesday, September 29, which is very close to Apple’s official release date of September 25 in the U.S. and select markets.

As expected, fans would have to shell out a premium for the joy (and the bragging rights) of being one of the first owners of the new iDevices in the Philippines. Thankfully, the markup is relatively fairer and less prohibitive than in past years.

The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus officially cost $649 (about P30,500) and $749 (P35,000) in the U.S. off-contract, and the feedback for both phones in the tech community has been largely positive so far, with popular websites like The Verge going as far as calling it “the best phone(s) on the market.”

Alcatel Flash 2 announced in PH, available September 30

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

The Flash smartphone series has been a runaway online success for Alcatel and its exclusive retailer, Lazada Philippines, sparking renewed interest in the now-TCL-owned brand. And momentum is likely to escalate, following the unveiling of the new Alcatel Flash 2 in the Philippines, one of the first countries to offer the phone (through Lazada’s local website).

During the press conference earlier today, Inanc Balci, co-founder and CEO of Lazada Philippines, spoke of how well the P6,490 Alcatel Flash Plus is doing locally. He even revealed that at one point, Lazada Philippines sold as many as 29 Flash Plus phones per second. That’s a staggering number considering the novelty of the online retail platform in the country.

The Flash 2 seems to be a fairly solid 5-inch smartphone, but its cameras aren’t anything to write home about.

Now, about the Alcatel Flash 2: It seems to be a fairly solid 5-incher if you’re looking for something that’s designed for one-handed use and supports both FDD and TDD LTE standards, which is essential for anyone who is a bit of a globetrotter. The near-stock, Android Lollipop-based UI is icing on the cake, and so is the black sandstone rear cover, which improves grip and handling but it may turn off buyers who prefer a smooth finish, sadly.

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But while the Flash 2 is touted as a smartphone that puts photography front and center — a large chunk of the presentation showcased the phone’s “best-in-class” imaging hardware — I found its 13- and 5-megapixel main and selfie cameras to be a little underwhelming given all the hoopla surrounding both shooters. Hopefully, things can get better with software updates.

The Alcatel Flash 2 will retail for P6,190 when it goes on sale exclusively through Lazada Philippines on September 30.

Alcatel Flash 2 specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,190):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.3GHz 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash
* 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
* 3,000mAh battery
* Android 5.1 Lollipop

New on HOOQ: a Batman prequel, hit DC TV series, love triangles

In Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

It’s (unofficially) DC month on HOOQ, as three acclaimed TV shows that showcase characters from the comic-book universe make their debut on the subscription video-on-demand service. Also on this month’s “what’s new” list are two local releases from last year that present a new spin on the love-triangle format. Spoiler: This month’s recent additions are awesome and will likely soak up most of your free time.

Arrow

The TV series that reimagined the origin story of a relatively obscure DC crimefighter and challenged its audience to rethink the superhero genre on television altogether, Arrow is essential viewing for both comics fans and newcomers alike.

Three acclaimed TV shows that showcase characters from the DC universe make their debut on HOOQ this month.

Lead actors relying on stunt doubles is a common trope of superhero cinema and television, but Arrow’s Stephen Amell has done nearly all of his own stunts, which has allowed for some of the best-looking action sequences in TV history. Watch it if only for the mind-blowing, physics-defying stunts.

The Flash

The portrayal of protagonists in the modern superhero genre often borrow from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy; at times, an actor’s furrowed brows and moody scowls may seem straight out of Christian Bale’s Batman audition.

The Flash, and its faithful representation of the source material, makes for a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable hour of TV.

It’s not often we see a spandex-clad do-gooder that employs humor and an upbeat personality to deal with his newfound reality. Which is why The Flash, and its faithful representation of Barry Allen (Flash himself) in the source material, makes for a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable hour of television.

Gotham

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Fox’s retelling of the Batman universe takes place 15 years or so prior to the Caped Crusader’s existence, back when the recently orphaned Bruce Wayne was a poor little rich boy, future police commissioner Jim Gordon was a young, hothead cop, and baddies like Penguin and the Riddler were supervillains-in-training.

It sounds like a recipe for a compelling watch, and, for the most part, it is; this police drama has grit and promise and a great cast. A final word: Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Batman-verse Easter eggs because there’s plenty to see in the 22-episode first season.

The Gifted

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The Gifted, helmed by writer-director Chris Matinez, is a black comedy about the waning friendship between two ugly ducklings played by Anne Curtis and Cristine Reyes who light up the screen with their verbal melee. Strong acting across the board, offbeat humor, and a surprising plot twist make this film a blast to watch.

Strong acting across the board, offbeat humor, and a surprising plot twist make The Gifted a blast to watch.

Trophy Wife

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The mistress genre continues to be a thriving staple in Philippine cinema and television, and the Trophy Wife seems eager to provide a few interesting twists to a tired and clichéd formula. It succeeds in doing exactly that.

Derek Ramsay and his two sultry leading ladies, Cristine Reyes and Heart Evangelista, offer an abundance of eye candy, but it’s the lead actors’ solid performances that will hold your attention through 100 minutes.

How to properly install iOS 9 on your Apple device

In Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via Digital Trends

Three months after its announcement, Apple’s latest major software update for iOS devices has started to roll out to supported iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches (see the full list of compatible models below). iOS 9 brings a number of new apps and functions to existing Apple products, including a smarter Siri, a low-power mode, a proper file browser in iCloud Drive, and split-screen multitasking on the iPad.

iOS 9 brings a number of new features, including a smarter Siri, a low-power mode, a proper file browser, and split-screen multitasking on the iPad.

Quite simply, if your phone or tablet runs iOS 8.4 without any hiccups, I highly recommend you upgrade to iOS 9. But in case you haven’t received the OTA update notification for iOS 9 yet, you can manually upgrade your device using iTunes, which is actually my preferred method of downloading and installing iOS updates, as it’s less likely to screw up the process.

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Even better, following the iTunes method will allow you to skip Apple’s download queue, spare your device’s storage of a huge install file (take note, 16GB owners), and download the update directly to your computer without plugging in your device. As always, backup all your data and settings through iCloud or iTunes before proceeding with the installation. With iOS, you’re never exactly sure how a software update would proceed (I found that out the hard way last year).

You can manually upgrade your device using iTunes to spare your device’s storage of a huge install file.

• Install the latest version of iTunes on your computer.
• Download the iOS 9 install file (.ipsw) for your device from the links below.
• Use a USB cable to connect your device to your computer.
• Run iTunes and ensure your device is detected by the software.
• Click on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch from the iTunes Summary tab under Settings.
• Press and hold the Alt key (Mac) or Shift key (Windows) and then click Check for Update in iTunes. Alternatively,             you can click Restore iPhone to perform a clean install of iOS 9.
• Select the iOS 9 install file you downloaded earlier in the window that pops up.
• Wait until the upgrade completes. Upon completion, your device will automatically boot to the “Hello” screen of iOS 9.

Look at how easy that is — no tech savvy required.

Note: Here are the direct download links for iOS 9 install files (.ipsw), courtesy of Redmond Pie:

iPad Air 2 (6th generation WiFi)
iPad Air 2 (6th generation Cellular)
iPad Air (5th generation WiFi + Cellular)
iPad Air (5th generation WiFi)
iPad Air (5th generation CDMA)
iPad (4th generation CDMA)
iPad (4th generation GSM)
iPad (4th generation WiFi)
iPad mini (CDMA)
iPad mini (GSM)
iPad mini (WiFi)
iPad mini 2 (WiFi + Cellular)
iPad mini 2 (WiFi)
iPad mini 2 (CDMA)
iPad mini 3 (China)
iPad mini 3 (WiFi)
iPad mini 3 (Cellular)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi (3rd generation)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (GSM)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (CDMA)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA)
iPhone 5 (CDMA)
iPhone 5 (GSM)
iPhone 5c (CDMA)
iPhone 5c (GSM)
iPhone 5s (CDMA)
iPhone 5s (GSM)
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 4s
iPod touch (5th-generation)
iPod touch (6th-generation)

Lenovo unveils supersized Phab Plus phone in PH

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Apple and OPPO aren’t the only manufacturers that have made a bet on supersized devices lately. Lenovo has thrown its hat into the ring, too, with the announcement of the Phab Plus at the recently held IFA 2015 consumer-electronics fair in Berlin. Today, Lenovo has made the product official in the Philippines.

Part phone and part tablet, this new crossover from China fits a massive full-HD screen that spans 6.8 inches diagonally (whoa, nelly!) in a metal unibody casing that measures 7.6mm in depth. The Phab Plus is looking to benefit from a burgeoning trend among smartphone users: Lenovo has observed that fewer people are using their phones for voice calls now, as more and more are using text messaging to communicate.

Part phone, part tablet, this crossover from China fits a massive screen that spans 6.8 inches in a metal unibody casing that measures 7.6mm in depth.

And expressing your thoughts and feelings and needs and wants promptly using text (or emojis) is something the Phab Plus indeed does with great success — provided you’re okay with two-handed thumb typing.

Alas, the use of both hands to get work done as quickly as possible is the overarching disclaimer attached to the Phab Plus. Because as much effort as Lenovo put into making this phone-tablet hybrid easier to operate in portrait mode (Lenovo engineered the Android Lollipop-based UI with a few software features that improve handling), it’s still too big to use with one hand.

The use of both hands to get work done as quickly as possible is the overarching disclaimer attached to the Phab Plus.

Specs-wise, the Phab Plus sees an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor humming under the hood, alongside 2GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. Also on deck are 13- and 5-megapixel main and secondary cameras and a 3,500mAh non-removable battery, which comes as a bit of a shock given the 6.8-inch footprint.

The Lenovo Phab Plus sells for P14,999 and is now available in all Allphones stores nationwide.

Lenovo Phab Plus

Picture 1 of 8

Lenovo Phab Plus specs (Price in the Philippines: P14,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
* 6.8-inch IPS display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,500mAh battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

 

OPPO PH debuts metal-clad R7 Lite and R7 Plus at aggressive prices

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

OPPO Philippines has today unveiled the metal-clad R7 Series phones, which are aimed at the mid- to high-end markets Apple and Samsung are courting. And if there’s anything to be taken away from tonight’s festivities, it’s that the makers of the iPhone and Galaxy handsets — and the rest of the industry, for that matter — should be taking notes on how to put together strong contenders in the smartphone space without asking for too much in return.

The R7 Lite and R7 Plus retail for a reasonable P13,990 and P21,990, respectively, and based on the extensive time I’ve spent with both devices, I must say that OPPO is going to leave a lot of people impressed with its latest efforts.

Both the R7 Lite and R7 Plus have unibody casings made of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy, which is about as good as it gets for smartphones at the moment. They look and feel great in the hand, and the curved-edge Gorilla Glass on the front plus the subtle curves around the back leading to the chamfered metal frame lend to a more-than-satisfying usage experience.

The R7 Lite and R7 Plus have unibody casings made of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy. Based on the time I’ve spent with both devices, I must say that OPPO is going to leave a lot of people impressed with its latest efforts.

The phones are equipped with AMOLED displays for bright colors and intense blacks, as well as 13- and 8-megapixel rear and selfie cameras, though the R7 Plus offers dual-LED flash and laser autofocus for quick snd precise focusing when shooting in close proximity. It also ups the ante when it comes to securing your data, as the Plus variant has a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel to unlock the device with.

Powering both handsets is OPPO’s Android Lollipop-based ColorOS 2.1 running on a combination of an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and 2GB (R7 Lite) or 3GB of RAM (R7 Plus).

Of the two, it’s the R7 Lite that is more skewed towards a mainstream audience; the R7 Plus touts a massive 6-inch display that’s nearly twice the surface area of most phones today.

But of the two, it’s the R7 Lite, with its 5-inch footprint, that is more skewed towards a mainstream audience; the R7 Plus, in comparison, touts a massive 6-inch display that’s nearly twice the surface area of most phones today. Impressively enough, the latter’s frame isn’t much larger than the screen itself, making it easier to operate one-handed than its size would indicate.

The OPPO R7 Lite and R7 Plus are now available in online and offline stores in the Philippines.

OPPO R7 Series

Picture 1 of 8

OPPO R7 Lite specs (Price in the Philippines: P13,990):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch AMOLED display with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 2,320mAh battery
* Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

OPPO R7 Plus specs (Price in the Philippines: P21,990):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 6-inch AMOLED display with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 4,100mAh battery with VOOC fast charging
* Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

Confirmed: iPhone 6s, 6s Plus have 2GB RAM

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Even before the Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were made official a few days ago, the rumor mill has been churning with reports that Apple’s latest — and apparently much-improved — iPhones have 2GB of RAM, or double the amount of RAM than their 2014 counterparts.

Well, to the surprise of nobody, it turns out that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus do have 2GB of RAM built into the new A9 chipset,  according to iOS developer Hamza Sood who used the Xcode developer software to confirm the bump in memory. The last time Apple put more RAM into an iPhone was back in 2012, when the most valuable company in the world increased the RAM of the iPhone 5 to 1GB.

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And while 2GB of RAM may not sound like a lot compared to the 4GB of some Android phones like the ASUS Zenfone 2 and OnePlus 2, the double shot of memory should result in faster app load times and a smoother user experience if previous models are anything to go by. It’s not as if last year’s iPhones aren’t fast enough already (they are).

The double shot of memory should result in faster app load times and a smoother user experience.

However, compared to the iPad Pro tablet, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus can’t hold a candle against the biggest and most powerful iOS device yet, which has been revealed to include a whopping 4GB of onboard memory.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RypWLWiz1P0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Watch our ASUS Zenfone 2 review

Cherry Mobile One G1 out now in stores

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

It may have taken a while, but the second smartphone collaboration between Google and Cherry Mobile is now available in stores, the latter announced on Facebook earlier today. The Cherry Mobile One G1 retails for P5,999, which is more than reasonable for a 4G LTE-capable phone with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and a 5-inch, high-resolution display.

And I haven’t even touched on the most brilliant aspect of the phone yet: Android software in its latest and purest form. More impressively, the G1 will continue to run the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system for at least another year.

The G1 will continue to run the latest version of Android for at least another year; it will likely be upgraded to whatever Android N ends up becoming.

In my review, I wrote that out of the sub-P6,000 phones out there, only the G1 is all but expected to get a taste of Google’s next major Android release after Marshmallow. Yeah, you got that right: the G1 will likely be upgraded to whatever Android N (Nougat?) ends up becoming.

If the G1 sounds like the future-proof device you want to own, then you should definitely check it out in Cherry Mobile stores nationwide.

Cherry Mobile One G1

Picture 1 of 10

Cherry Mobile One G1 specs (Price in the Philippines: P5,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5-inch IPS display with Dragontrail glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,500mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

HOOQ’s catch-up service streams shows 24 hours after they air

In Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Local teleseryes: They’re a cultural phenomenon, regardless of where the general public’s current broadcast-channel allegiance lies. (It’s still a two-horse race, in my opinion.)

Teleseryes have transcended through the decades and social and religious barriers. They have made us laugh, cry (a lot), and genuinely care about or hate fictional characters, and we have embraced them and welcomed them into our living rooms as part of our daily routine, even if it sometimes meant skipping the dinner table to eat the night’s grub in front of the TV.

Or at least that’s how I remember spending most of my evenings growing up.

The good news is that neither the clogged arteries of Metro Manila nor rains could ruin your teleserye-viewing schedule. HOOQ has made it easier than ever to watch what you want, when you want.

But these days, so many things are happening around me that I can barely keep up with the stuff on my calendar, let alone the TV shows I intend to watch. The unforgiving traffic in Metro Manila alone can sap all your energy and ruin your evening plans, reducing you to a husk of that sprightly person you looked at in the mirror in the morning. It gets worse sometimes: The seemingly endless waiting stretches exponentially when heavy rains trigger flooding.

The sliver of good news is that neither the clogged arteries of Metro Manila nor heavy downpours could ruin your teleserye-viewing schedule.

As I wrote on an earlier post, subscription video-on-demand services such as HOOQ’s have made it easier than ever to watch what you want, when you want, and on almost any type of mobile device, giving you unprecedented freedom over a giant pool of local and foreign content. And, the last time I checked, HOOQ has amassed 30,000 hours of streaming titles, which is more than you’ll get elsewhere.

You can now watch the latest episodes of flagship GMA telenovelas on HOOQ 24 hours after they air in the Philippines.

As impressive as that sounds, HOOQ isn’t nearly done yet introducing exciting new experiences and providing additional value to its customers. In addition to saving videos for offline playback — which is a huge plus, for obvious reasons — you can now watch the latest episodes of flagship GMA telenovelas on HOOQ 24 hours after they air in the Philippines.

That means you can afford to miss their nightly airings without ever really missing anything in the long term. And, yes, HOOQ’s catch-up episodes, as with all its other series, are entirely commercial-free.

Headlining the list of GMA shows included in HOOQ’s catch-up service are primetime soaps “My Faithful Husband” (which stars Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado) and “Beautiful Strangers” (Lovi Poe and Heart Evangelista). GMA’s long-running drama series, “The Half Sisters,” is also available on catch-up.

I reckon more will be added in the coming months as our viewing habits continue to shift away from free-to-air TV to on-demand platforms. But as it stands, HOOQ has given me another reason for not regretting cutting the cord on TV.

Starmobile Knight Elite is a P9,990 Xperia Z3 lookalike

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

The local market has seen quite a number of great finds in the midrange-phone segment, and, lucky for us, it seems like there’s no end in sight for affordable smartphones with good-to-great specs. Case in point: Starmobile just announced the Starmobile Knight Elite, which is headed to stores on September 15 with a retail price of P9,990.

Not bad for a Snapdragon 615-based handset resembling the Sony Xperia Z3 with some genuinely good specs. Both front and rear panels are layered with Corning Gorilla Glass to give the Knight Elite a more upscale appearance worthy of its namesake.

The Starmobile Knight Elite is headed to stores on September 15 with a retail price of P9,990. Not bad for a Snapdragon 615-based handset resembling the Sony Xperia Z3.

If you fancy yourself a mobile photographer, you’ll be happy to know that the phone comes with a feature-rich camera app that allows you to adjust the focus after the fact, take better flash photos, and capture sharper and more detailed images when using the camera’s zoom feature, among other things.

Starmobile quietly showed off the device at a recent launch event, and based on the short time I had with a prototype unit, the company has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the next couple of months.

Starmobile Knight Elite specs (Price: P9,990):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
* 2,600mAh battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

Sorry, Apple — Android already has ‘Force Touch’

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Apple’s next iPhone, as previously reported, is slated to debut this week, and the company is all but expected to bring the Force Touch feature found in the Apple Watch and a few MacBooks to its smartphone line.

For those not in the know, Force Touch is Apple’s term for its touch-input technology, which allows a device or machine to differentiate between light taps and harder presses on a touch-sensitive surface. On the Apple Watch, for example, pressing firmly on the screen while in the Messages app brings up additional controls.

It’s helpful — and maybe, in some cases, absolutely necessary in the context of smaller surfaces. Hence the excitement over Force Touch possibly being introduced in iPhones, and later, iPads.

But guess what? The idea of determining the force of a tap is nothing new to Android. In fact, Android has had Force Touch sensing as early as 2009, says Pocketnow. There’s even an app called Force Touch Demo to showcase Android’s touch-sensing capabilities.

The idea of determining the force of a tap is nothing new to Android. In fact, Android has had Force Touch sensing as early as 2009.

Alternatively, you can enable developer settings in the main settings menu, and activate “Show touches” and “Pointer location” to track how much force is being applied to the screen. Do note that not all screens are created equally, so your mileage may vary.

But why isn’t Google making a big fuss out of this, and why aren’t developers coming up with apps that, at least to some extent, make better use of Android’s pressure-sensing feature? Developer Adam Outler, creator of Force Touch Demo, has put together a pretty solid answer. “How is this useful? It’s not, really. It just adds a level of complexity to a user experience,” Outler wrote on his Google+ page.

‘How is this useful? It’s not, really. It just adds a level of complexity to a user experience,’ a developer wrote on his Google+ page.

I’m inclined to agree, seeing that the screen size of Android devices has been steadily expanding over the last few years, as manufacturers continue to find ways to shrink the bezels around the display. Unless, of course, Apple proves yet again that it can reinvent the smartphone, this time with Force Touch.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH70ERrkuTA” width=”560″ height=”315″]

OPPO R7 Series to be sold on Lazada PH starting Sept. 15

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Heads up, Android fans. The OPPO R7 Series, which includes the brilliant R7 Plus I wrote about last week, will be available on Lazada’s Philippine website starting September 15. That’s about a week from today, for those keeping count.

All (known) phones under the R7 Series feature AMOLED displays and 64-bit, octa-core Snapdragon 615 processors wrapped in seamless, all-metal bodies that make them aesthetically similar to the iPhone 6. They also sport contoured-edge Gorilla Glass to make the edges of the front panel feel smoother to the touch.

The OPPO R7 Series will be available on Lazada’s Philippine website starting September 15.

Pricing remains a mystery for now, but chances are the prices will be the same as in other markets. It’s worth noting that in China, the OPPO R7 Plus costs 2,999 Yuan, or around P22,000.

 

OPPO R7 Plus

Picture 1 of 10

OPPO R7 Plus specs:
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 6-inch AMOLED display with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 4,100mAh battery with VOOC fast charging
* Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jothfi-VBjs” width=”560″ height=”315″]

OPPO R7 Plus video review courtesy of Android Authority

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7 reasons to buy the OPPO R7 Plus

In Phones by Ramon Lopez6 Comments

(UPDATE, September 4, 2015: OPPO Philippines will unveil the OPPO R7 Series on September 15th. Stay tuned for a follow-up post after the launch event.)

The wait is over: OPPO Philippines’ recent posts on social media put to rest any doubts that the OPPO R7 Series is indeed coming to stores soon. And if the last couple of days are any indication, the R7 Plus may very well be the best tablet-like phone I’ve had the pleasure of using this year.

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