Category Archives: Uncategorized

Journey to the West (Philippine Sea) and Back

(I’ll be posting pictures once I have steady Internet)

This seems a little premature. I wanted to blog about all my ‘adventuring’ experiences at the end of the year to signal that 2017 has been a different year.
So far, I’ve been to more places in 2 months voluntarily than all of 2016 combined.

A while ago (7am in Feb 19, 2017), I was just in the West Philippine Sea with my friends.
We decided to go to Crystal Beach Resort because of all the rave it is getting.

We set off at 5.30am on Feb 18, and arrived shy of noon.
Unfortunately Crystal Beach was already packed. Reservations were needed.
Fortunately the resort Next door was open, PRINCE JB BEACH RESORT.

The rooms which were good for 4, probably six if you can haggle it, only costs P3000.
It is a well ventilated and lit room with your own CR. I don’t know if this is cheap of not, please tell me in the comments.

The clincher here is JB and Crystal are literally a step away.

I found nothing interesting to do here other than swim and surf though. The beach is also too wavy to just float around and relax.
Think mini-Baler.

But hey, I love the beach, I personally find it destressing and calming.

At about 7am, we were packing up and getting ready to leave and this is where things got interesting for me.

At Subic we found a place where the ocean is calm and I think its free. I didn’t kick myself of regret but it made me want to go back and experience the calm ocean of subic. See pics below.

Waze sent me off to a different direction going home and I was stopped by a police officer.

My heart raced as evidenced by my Xiaomi Mi Band 2, as everytime I had to stop I had to pay upwards of P1000.

Holy shit was Kuya nice, he let us off the hook saying that just be careful since it was literally my first time there.

As the boring journey continues back to Manila we found ourselves hungry and we decided to stop at Shell of Asia.

We had 2 places to eat. And we chose the wrong one. Expensive, small serving and the pork is horrendous.

As I started Cruisewind after the Shell of Asia stopover, that’s when I noticed something was off with it. IT started funny but it ran, and as I dropped of my friends in Shaw, Cruisewind went out. In the fucking middle of the road.

Fortunately some kuyas again were there to help. After a few ‘kadyots’ Cruisewindwas running again.

After it warmed up for about 30 minutes, I went off again, only to stop again at the middle of Shaw. I immediately called the MMDAs for help. I knew this time my wallet was going to take a huge asteroid.

Holy shitter! The MMDAs were hella nice. They helped me park the car properly and until the mechanic arrived and they asked nothing in return.

I gave them 2 dozens of donuts for all the trouble. Right now Cruisewind is still dead as there are no open battery charging stations on Sundays, but I’m sure my 10 year old, 0.2Billion Metered Cruisewind will live to fight another day.

This was a whirlwind of a stressful experience but I’m glad that everything worked out in the end.

The last words kuya spoke was ‘Pare pareho naman tayong Pilipino tulong tulongan nalang’

Truly an eye-opening experience that Humanity’s kindness is always around and maybe Change has really come.

pusheen

To My Next Girlfriend

I will channel my inner Piolo Pascual here ala Starting Over Again.

I want you to know something about me. I want you to know that I am a God-fearing person who also love my family and friends. I want you to know that I value my friends dearly as I am the type of person who will make an extra effort for them. Let me give you an example, I had a friend who held a Christening for their child. Even if there was a threat of a storm, our group, me being the driver, pushed through to get there from Manila to Cavite. During that same trip I learned that another friend of mine got laid off. You know what I did after the Christening and taking my friends home? I went to that other friend to talk. Have I mentioned, both these are GUYS?

You also need to know that many of friends are women. UST is a school with tons of beautiful gorgeous women, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if I have lots of good looking friends. I constantly talk to them because that’s who I am. I talk to my friends on a consistent basis, boy or girl, because I am very talkative. I am very sure at this point in time, you, my crush, I would have made extra effort to talk to you.

If ever you feel threatened, don’t. I just have this undeniable charm where women tend to go ‘Uyyyy ohhh ang funny niya, masarap siguro i-Friend ito’. I’m on that side of the spectrum as opposed to the ‘Uyyy ang gwapo naman, magsusungit ako sa kanya para pansinin nya ako’ side. This is not a generalization on women rather, this is how I have always felt.

Also if we would be together, I want one of my first move to be to introduce you to my friends so you can get to know them and see that they will be no threat to our relationship. Who knows, you may find a new bestie within them.

Lastly, I would like to think that I am an adventurous person even if the farthest place I have ever been is Cebu. I would want for us to have soulful conversation which can help us get to know each other. I would like for me to be your motivation as I indubitably see you. I want us to grow together towards hashtagforever. Even though I have been broken, cheated on, used, I haven’t given up. I know you are out there. If ever you will be my next girlfriend, I don’t want you to just become the next. I want you to become the last. I want you to eventually be my wife.

 

 

Chasing Happiness

At barely 25, I have come to peace with something that I never thought I would be 5 years ago. Hell, even since I was in elementary, I never would have imagined I would find myself in this situation. Where I am chasing happiness. Happiness and comfort over money and experience. Facially, I am one of those who you can brand as someone who chases money. Back in High school, our teacher asked, ‘Who among you wants to be a Politician?’ Two of us raised hands, the other one was the loveable goof of the batch. My teacher commented that he would be a great fit in politics as he has the charm. Comments to me? “You are one of those who would only want to run for money” At that, time she was spot on. Don’t get me wrong, I love that teacher and I was actually surprised that she saw right through me.

 

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to become a pilot, but boy could I not be more wrong. By High school as well, I realized that this is an impossible dream. Why? Aside from the fact that it would literally take me Millions which we do not have, I am physically unfit, I’m too short, too un-pilot-like (Tall and Philippine-parlance accepted Handsome) looking and I do not have a perfect eyesight, something apparently is a requirement for Pilot. And barring the latter I still don’t have millions to spend.

 

Then I decided to become an Engineer. Choosing UST was by far one of, if not the best decision I have ever made, as I felt HAAPPY AND CONTENT THERE. What happened to my ECE dream?  Of course it failed, what else did you expect. Not only did I not pass the Boards I generally felt ECE is not for me, I did not excel the way I wanted and even if I put some effort, I really felt no connection to the subjects.

 

Moving on from one of my biggest failures in life, I decided to work in the IT industry and be still my aching balls! I AM GREAT AT IT. I legitimately enjoy IT-ing and learning new stuff as I move forward. My lack of knowledge did not come as a hindrance, rather, it became a challenge to learn more and more. I can confidently say I instilled a stereotype on ECE to me, I am a jack-of-all basics, master of none. I love breezing through basics of concepts and technologies and learning them.

 

Envy. Originality. Confidence. Dreaming Big. Physical Attribute. These, I realized, are my most glaring weakness.

 

Biggest mistake of my life thus far? I left a place where I was extremely comfortable, I left a place where it has accepted me and my body accepted it, I left my Happy Place. Why? Because I thought I could get more. You can and probably will argue that 2 years of experience is not enough but some of my friends were already jumping from company to company getting hired with 1 year experience on their companies. How could I not be empowered to do the same? Learning your batch mates now earns twice as much as you do on similar fields, how could you seriously not want to try other options?

 

Why am I not given other lucrative opportunity? That has always been my question and I answered it now.

 

I don’t actually blame employers as my ECE background and my self-proclaimed self-studying WILL NEVER hold ground against actual IT graduates and those with more experience than me. In a sea of potential candidates, of course the best one should be picked.

 

Plus I will always attribute back to that fact that I am Philippine-parlanced unattractive hahaha Why? I don’t know if this is coincidence but the moment I removed my picture in my resume I started having MORE CALLS than when I had my picture on. and yeah, tons of my pogi friends or babae friends are constantly getting JOBS THEY WANTED.

 

Also, I did have some job offers and you know what all of them have in common? The job offers I get are from companies where the one that interviewed me were Foreigners. I HAVE NEVER GOT A JOB OFFER from a company where the manager or the final interviewer is a Filipino. How could I seriously not attribute my face there? Call-based I get accepted, Face to face not? Don’t me, I’m ugly, that’s it. Foreigners take chances on me yet my fellow men don’t. If I could, I would seriously consider going abroad but how do I even get VISA, I don’t even have enough to fund myself finding a job on a foreign land. Plus I’m gonna miss my dog. Lol.

 

Lastly, start my own business? Business of what exactly? I don’t have any specialty, my passion is in IT, and I don’t have the funds (Don’t me on Loan wala ngang maisip na business eh).

 

This has been my life and statistics would tell me that it would continue to do so. I was stuck on an impasse, but I have made peace with the fact that this is the best I can be. Work -> Bills -> Work -> Bills. With this, I am now continuously searching, actually I am wanting to come back to my Happy Place and never leave. EVEN IF MY BATCHMATES WILL EARN 200K/MONTH I won’t care anymore. I just want to be happy. I want to come back to Happy Place, be content with friends. I have the attitude to want to learn continuously and I want to do it in my Happy Place. I am now searching to be Happy at Work -> Bills -> Happy at Work -> Bills. Never mind the experience, Never mind the money. What I want is to be Happy.

 

CHASINGHAPPINESS#

Asus Zenfone 2 – The Dark Knight of Smart Phones

Asus Zenfone 2 – The Dark Knight of Smart Phones

Back to the Future Part II. Harry Potter Chamber of Secrets. X-men 2. 22 Jump Street. The Dark Knight. What do all of them have in common? They are all sequels to a good movie but they are not just sequels. They are movies that took a quantum leap and took the franchise to new heights. So how does this connect to Zenfone 2? Duh! Zenfone 5 was a sure-fire sleeper last year and now, its successor took that same Quantum Leap and what I assume I assume correctly, has propelled Asus to the upper echelon of Smartphones. Zenfone 2 is not just a successor or a simple sequel. It is the #SmartPhoneDarkKnight! #BoldStatement

Zenfone 5 almost had it all last year and what momentum it had is used by Zenfone 2 with so much more. Zenfone 2 maybe twice the price but it still delivers the same bang for the buck as its predecessor. Maybe even banger-for-the bucker! Zenfone 2 is undoubtedly one of this year’s most anticipated phone and has it lived up to the hype? Well, I can say yes now but I still want you to read on and find out why Zenfone 2 is The Dark Knight of Smartphones

This model is Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 4GB 32GB Model

  1. Design and Build

 Looks

Zenfone 5 was, if not the, one of the best looking budget phone in the market last year. Its design language was unique it screams premium. Now, as superficial as this world is, Zenfone 2 also received a facelift which looks stunning, high-class and premium. That 5.5 Inch Screen with generous bezel. Those capacitive touch buttons with Asus’ shiny thingy at the bottom just tells you ‘Hey this is Asus’. The back is reminiscent of the G3 which is not a bad thing considering G3 is one of the more amazing looking flagship last year. The Intel with the Zenfone logo sits at the bottom with the speaker grill. The thin bezel helps with ease of one-handed usage but most of the time, two hands will be required. The center positioning of the power button is quite peculiar. Headsets attached it’s harder to reach with the left hand. Spoiler alert, this phone supports double tap to sleep and wake so use of the power button will be lessened.

For the superficial race that we are, Zenfone 2 is one of those you will boastfully whip out and friends will say that it looks great mistaking it for a higher-tier device. A tiny criticism with the design would be how slippery it feels in the hand. For sweaty handed people like me, Zenfone 2 feels like it could slip out sooner rather than later. As the expression goes here in the Philippines, ‘Kanin palang ulam na’ (Rice only, viand too). That is the perfect expression for Zenfone 2’s look.

  1. Display

display

Zenfone 2’s relatively big 5.5 Screen is partnered with a gorgeous Full HD 1080p Display. Sure, QuadHD is now the trend but what are you seriously going to do with those alleged power hungry screens? Full HD is an amazing complement. Text looks sharp, images are clear and vibrant. The Zen UI helps with how punchy Zenfone 2 is.

disp2

Zenfone 2 has polarizing backlight. Its lowest is not too low, which is a good thing, but its Highest is relatively low too. It has ok viewing angles but a brighter max brightness could’ve made it much better outdoors.

Same with Zenfone 5 complaint I had last year is the non-backlit capacitive touch buttons. It’s a minor minor gripe but it is worth mentioning. Luckily, most phones do have the same layout of Back-Home-Recent so it’s not that much of an issue.

  1. Entertainment

Entertainment

You can’t use a smartphone without using it as a multimedia driver. Zenfone 2 is the Mid-range phone to beat with respect to multimedia performance.

For audio quality, the only reason loudspeaker will fail from time to time is because of its single driver at the back. Plug in your earphones, I now use an Awei ES900i, ughhh, eargasm. High volumes, useful for drowning out everything else, partner it with clean audio output at max volume, Heaven!

Fancy a movie or a series? Zenfone 5 was an amazing Movie Player sans some 1080p here and there. Zenfone 2 breaks that wall like Bane breaks Batman’s back that it can play anything you throw at it. I haven’t tried those movies which are 20GB+ but it has played a 9GB file flawlessly. I don’t see the point of watching movies beyond those 1080p, 2GB files on a smartphone so as far as Video playing goes. Zenfone 2 is a Beast. Do note that MX Player is better than the stock. Just. Just. Ok?

games

Gaming. Do I really need to tell you how Zenfone 2 plays Angry Birds? Yes? Alright, fantastic. So let’s get on to the more graphic intensive games like Dead Trigger and Goat Simulator. Still Great. Nova 3? You bet your ass it still is fine. As far as gaming goes. Zenfone 2 is still an amazing performer. Do note that playing continuously will heat your device up and once it is hot, battery drain is inevitable. Contrary to Zenfone 5, Zenfone 2 is leaps and bounds ahead.

As with my previous review, Web Browsing and Streaming has been upgraded significantly on Lollipop. Partner it with the hardware, Zenfone 2 soars through web pages. Facebooking actually felt great again. Well, it maybe due to Facebooking using a new device but still. Another thumbs up.

  1. Camera

 Camera

Zenfone 2 is equipped with a 13MP Camera t the back and a 5MP Snapper in the front. Same as with last year, Zenfone 2 is loaded with shit loads of features which make picture taking much more fun.

As far as image quality is they sit beyond the above average right below great. Under good natural lighting, Zenfone 2 captures good photos. Inside, not much can be expected but the good thing is, it is still useable. You can check out some of the pics yourself.

  1. Software

Perf1

Zenfone 2 is power-packed with Intel Atom Z3580 Quad-core 2.3 GHz Processor. The model I got was 32GB but it is expandable up to 64GB. It also comes with Lollipop. Finally it is packed with a whopping 4GB of RAM. That is right. FREAKING FOUR GB RAM. The amount of apps you could run in the back ground is just insane. This is one of the first, if not the, to have this insane amount of ram and it translates into performance. Dead Trigger, Goat Simulator, YouTube, Twitch, Limbo, MX Player, Messages. As non-sensical as running the aforementioned simultaneously, Zenfone 2 did it, without slowing down swiping between screens and animations. It ran all of it seamlessly like how Brock Lesnar suplexed the crap out of John Cena in Summerslam last year. This is a testament on how powerful Zenfone 2 is in terms of performance.

Moving on to its insane backgrounding power is the Lollipop under the ZenUI. Having a skin is personal preference, personally, I would have preferred a stock look but Asus needs to have their identity. ZenUI is close to stock so minor gripes here and there but out of the box, Zenfone 2 did have tons of bloatwares. Some are useful but some cater to niche audiences. You can remove them though.

features

As far as useful extra features go, Zenfone 2 comes with one-handed usage option, smart-cover feature, battery saver, motion gesture and my all-time favourite, gesture features which include the mega super useful double tap to wake and sleep. Samsung S5 did not even have this feature, if it does do tell me how. Kudos to Zenfone 2 for this amazing feat.

Call

As far as performing as a phone, Zenfone 2 is a Dual Sim Dual Standby phone which has LTE on Sim 1. Another thumbs up. As far as reception go, I was able to constantly get LTE driving from Quezon City to Taguig. Call quality both as a receiver and transmitter is excellent. As far as my calls with some of my friends went, I did not have any problems.

  1. Battery 

battery

This phone was officially released a few days ago. I haven’t fully tested the battery yet. But ever since I got it I have been constantly using it. If it can give me 3.5 Hours of screen on-time (which I am close to achieving), then this is another aspect Zenfone 2 succeeds.

That 1.5 Hours of screen on-time consists of 1 Hour Movie Watching and the rest for little gaming, browsing, and testing the device. As far as initial testing is, it looks to be another winner.

Executive Summary

scores

CONS:

  • Non-Backlit Capacitive touch buttons
  • Slippery to hold
  • Lots of Bloatware
  • Peculiar button placement
  • Low Brightness

PROS:

  • Lollipop out of the Box
  • Expandable Storage
  • 4GB RAM
  • Great Audio Headset Output
  • Great Design Keeps Asus’ Identity
  • Dual Sim Dual Standby with LTE
  • Rumoured to be supported at least for the foreseeable future
  • Mid-Range Price for a High-End Device

 LIMBO (I cannot judge if these are Pros or Cons):

  • ZenUI

conc

At P13, 995, Asus is once again gunning for that Mid-range Crown. As of now, it looks like it is firmly in its grasp. P13, 995 may seem like a lot especially considering as how Zenfone 5 was aimed for the lower tier market. Zenfone 2, I think, was looking to target more here. I think Asus wants to punch a hole in Samsung and Apple and I think it will. That punch could cause a rattle that the debris it causes may ultimately lead to permanent damage to local performers Cherry and MyPhone, not that I care.  As far as Brand Recognition is, you are certainly getting more out of Asus than the latter aforementioned locals and probably the same as the former Superstars mentioned. Zenfone 2 is way beyond any Cherry Release and way cheaper and more powerful than Samsung Galaxy A7. I’m not saying that Zenfone 2 performs as well as S6 or IPhone 6 but it’s so damn good I’m seriously considering turning this into my main phone over my Samsung S5.

Zenfone 5, the same way Batman Begins brought us a new light into the Smartphone market and Batman, respectively. Zenfone 2, much like the Dark Knight, exceeded expectations significantly and raised the bar maybe to the point that Zenfone 3 maybe the Dark Knight rises. I certainly hope not but as it stands now, Zenfone 2 is the Real MVP.

SmartPhones tend to give you all but one thing. Most, if not all, have one giant disappointment along with other greats. S5 has that Bandage back, G3 has that washed out look, HTC M8 and Nexus has that disappointing camera. For the cons I have noticed, it can be ignored, encased, removed and lessened. For those looking for a high tier device in a budget, I find it hard to find a better suggestion. Same as Last Year, it maybe premature, but Zenfone 2 is now the King of the Mid-Range. I may have had a bias review but keep in mind that I am looking at this as an evolution to Zenfone 5 and at the price point of P13, 995.

Asus has created great devices since 2012. Nexus 2012, 2nd Generation, Zenfone 5 and now Zenfone 2 continues that trend of great releases. Congratulations to Asus for the successful event last weekend and thank you for this beast phone.

Zenfone 2 is the Smartphone Everyone Deserves. #SmartPhoneDarkKnight

Cherry Mobile One – The One with that only One

Cherry Mobile One – The One with that only One

VIDEO REVIEW

Updates. The one word Cherry Mobile is having a hard time understanding. Since 2012, I have come from a super excited fanboy to a sceptic meh-tista on their releases. Cherry Mobile has released hundreds of flagCheaps, flagshit or, alright, FLAGSHIP but have they ever bothered to update any of them? Yes. Granted many top notch company also does not update their phones, that doesn’t mean Cherry should too, or do they?

Anyways, after almost 2 year hiatus from Cherry Android, I am now back, and I have here a Google project slapped on with Cherry Mobile’s tramp stamp. The Cherry Mobile Android One. Cherry Mobile one is said to be the one which will receive the latest from Google for the foreseeable future. Aside from the promised updates, what else does this phone have to offer? Read on and find out.

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  1. Design and Build

 Design

Generic. That is the one word that will perfectly describe the Cherry Mobile One. It has a 4.5 Inch TFT Display. The back has the 5MP Camera and is covered by a removable plastic back. Plus one for not being fingerprint-magnet. The sides houses the power button and volume rocker while the top and bottom has the 3.5mm jack and USB port respectively. Nothing special with regards to its looks. It looks cheap, it feels cheap because it is cheap. It seriously looks like Flare of previous iterations. I have no gripes with the design, its average at best in its price range.

  1. Display

Display

Accompanying the 4.5 Inch screen is a display of 854×480. After years of looking at 720p or better, going lower is now very noticeable. Display is not bad perse but colours seem to be slightly washed out. Some texts, icons and images will look stretched out at times.

One also seems to have a relatively low brightness which can be a huge problem outdoors. One has terrible viewing angles, many times when I am outside, thankfully, that rarely happens, I have to put my hand over the screen just so I can see it. Yes I am at maximum brightness. Indoor visibility is fine though.

  1. Entertainment

Entert

Functioning as a multimedia driver, One is average if not a little better. Carrying a single driver at the back for the speaker, you shouldn’t expect much. It’s ok if you are alone in a quiet room but it is not advisable to use it outside. Aside from the fact that you will not be able to hear it, you will drain your battery.

Headsets attached, I am now using Awei ES900i as opposed to JVC FX3X on other reviews, as far as quality goes, again, it is ok. One comes with Google Music for your out of the box player and it plays the music fine. Nice amount of loudness is always a good thing.

Watching on One is enjoyable if you can keep the resolution to 720p or lower. It CAN play 1080p videos but it does stutter from time to time. I have enjoyed watching Malcolm in the Middle at 480p and I did not have any problems.it is worth mentioning that Stock Android has shitty codec so download MX Player as fast as you possibly can.

Games

As for gaming, Mainstream Games like Angry Birds is fine. Jump into more graphic intensive Games, Dead Trigger and Goat Simulator will be playable, but I don’t think this is meant for hardcore gamers.

Web Browsing has been significantly upgraded on Lollipop and even with a mediocre-ly powered phone, Web Browsing and Streaming is great. I have been able to watch seamless hours on Twitch. I do have PLDT FibR at home, but it does not change the fact that Android One has performed better than expected. One thing to note is that it can only play up to 480p videos on YouTube. And yes, there are some phones with 480p displays capable of running 720p videos.

  1. Camera

 CameraIMG_20150512_083138 IMG_20150512_083122 IMG_20150512_082427 IMG_20150512_082416

Sporting a 5MP shooter at the back and 2MP front, the One’s camera maybe subject to the user. In my opinion, the camera could have been so much better as I have seen cameras on the same price range which perform much better. Google Camera is your app out of the box and it is simple to use. What I did notice was the LONG, and I mean LONG time before it captures a shot after you have pressed the Capture button.

If, for some reason, you wanted to take a video using the One, it records at 1080p. Hurray, I guess?

Images are decent at best and if you have shaky unstable hands, partnered with that lag between pressing the shutter and the actual capture. Ughhhh.

  1. Software

Software

One is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6582m Quad Core Processor, 1GB Ram with 8GB storage expandable up to 32GB. Under the hood comes the almighty 5.1 Lollipop. Which, personally, is the best Android update in recent memory. I enjoyed it tremendously on my Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5. The 5.1 Lollipop is Android One’s Coup De Grace, The Brock Lesnar to Undertaker’s 21-1. The one which makes it all worthwhile. How many sub 5k phones offer Lollipop out of the box? How many come with 5.1? And how many comes with alleged support for the next 2 years. The aforementioned questions has only ONE answer! For Android Purists, it will be exciting to be part of the first. Lollipop is so good, that if you have a taste for one, you will not want to go back to previous iterations. As to why I love lollipop, I may make a new post about that but for now, read from other sites. Haha!

As far as performance go, Android One is one of the faster smartphones out there in the market. Animations feels snappy and screen feels responsive. I am actually able to run Two Games simultaneously, Goat Simulator and Angry Birds. That is actually quite an amazing feat even though, no one will play two games at the same time on the same device.

Call

Functioning as a phone, Android One provides you with essentials like calls and text which are fine. FM RADIO is a big plus, it may not be that useful to some, but having this is really useful from time to time. Being cheap means you can whip this out in public.

As long as Google keeps its promise of continuous updates for the next 2 years, and for the Love of God, if Cherry actually complies with this rather than possibly releasing a statement where they will not update a device and redirect us to a forum on XDA, in which case Cherry Deserves an Intergalactic F*ck Y*u, Android One is an enticing phone to have, regardless of how it average-at-bestly performs on other aspects.

  1. Battery

 batt

As average as this phone performs, its battery is the most polarizing one. For a light user, you will have no problem with this device, and depending on how you use it, duh, it will polarize your judgement. I have been able to watch almost 3 Hours (2 Hours Series, 1 Hour Twitch streaming) with a good chunk of 40% left. But turn on Data, play a game (HD or not), or use Waze, your device heats up and the burns battery like Ford EcoSport burns gas driving in the city. It’s terribly Polarizing especially if you are to use it as a primary phone.

Executive Summary

SCORES

CONS:

  • GENERIC DESIGN
  • Game stuttering, long loading times – Not meant for gaming
  • 1080p video playback stutter
  • Terrible viewing angles
  • Camera
  • Low Brightness

PROS:

  • Lollipop out of the Box – PURIST DREAM
  • Expandable Storage
  • Good Audio Headset Output
  • Web Browsing Streaming is Good
  • Dual Sim Dual Standby
  • FM Radio
  • UPDATES FOR TWO YEARS– FOR REAL?
  • CHEAP

LIMBO (I cannot judge if these are Pros or Cons):

  • 854×480 Display
  • Polarizing Battery Life

20150514_081634

At P3, 999 and performing averagely on most if not all factors, One may seem like a bad purchase. Keep this in mind, One is not here to impress you with Gigantozoid specs, or that Metal, premium look, or that battery life that lasts longer than your relationship, it is meant to keep you updated with Android Updates you will rarely, if never, see on your non-Nexus device or any Cherry Mobile device to be more specific, at a cost which puts your Kit Kat Powered Note 4 to shame. I had a Nexus 5 before I decided that I needed a better camera and jump shipped to S5, without Lollipop available for Philippines just yet, I had to go to xda to get my fix. If you are like me who itch to have the best, One is an obvious great pickup for you. It can also be a nice purchase for those who mayant to try the Android Ecosystem (ehem Fanboys), needs dual sim phone, and extra phone for commuting.

The One does not target everyone, but the Ones it target can be influential. This is a great project for Google, and even though only Cherry Mobile and MyPhone are the only one to adopt it, the former having terrible after sales, while the latter has lesser specs at a higher price, I’m glad to see that it is being rolled out in our Country.

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Asus Zenfone 5 – The Rebrander Killer

ASUS ZENFONE 5

THE REBRANDER KILLER 

Untitled-1

Most, if not all Filipinos, are easily impressed by specs. Barring build quality and other factors, as soon as we see high-end specs on paper on any rebranded phone, most will drool and marvel at it and some end up impulsively buying it. I would not blame my fellow countrymen as I too am a sucker for such phones and with the steep price of high-end phones, this addiction is understandable.

As Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the high-end smartphone battleground, one international brand has slowly but surely been making its way up by going down. Let’s face it, anyone who dares to compete with monotonous looking Samsung and size growing Apple would probably end up losing in the long run.

So instead of taking a dip in the high-end wars, Asus is taking its talent through the budget-phone arena. Announced last January 2014 and released a few weeks ago in the Philippine Market. Asus Zenfone 5 has become a phenomenal hit that its Philippine Facebook pages has grown to a full thousand and more in a short span of time.

Priced at a very competitive P6, 495, Asus Zenfone 5 Sports a 5-Inch HD Display protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and encased beautifully. Will the Zenfone 5 punch a hole big enough to scar the rebranded market? Does it live up to the tremendous hype? Read on and find out! 

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  1. BOX AND CONTENTS

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Asus Zenfone 5’s box looks like any other you have seen.  It contains the standard package consisting of Manuals, USB Cable, charger and a relatively good headset. Nothing special.

  1. Design and Build

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Asus Zenfone 5 is undoubtedly one of the best looking budget phone to date. It is so good it can even pass as a high-end smartphone. The front houses a 2MP camera, capacitive touch buttons and good, but not quite thin, bezels. The lower part of the front adds to the high end appeal as it does look like last year’s HTC One. The volume rocker and power button are silver   and gorgeous. The back is protected by a plastic matte-back with the 8MP Camera, ASUS, Intel, Zenfone logo, and speakers.

Overall, the Phone feels and looks expensive and high class. It definitely screams PREMIUM.

  1. Display

display

Zenfone 5 sports a 5-inch 1280×720 HD display. As far as displays goes today, 720p displays feels a bit dated but looking at its price point, and from a trusted brander, it still can be categorized as a win.

Looking at the screen, it’s actually nice to look at, it is has the right amount of brightness, the text is sharp and crisp, and it has good viewing angles. Pic browsing and movie playback will definitely be and enjoyable experience with this phone.

One complaint I have would be why is there no backlight in the capacitive touch buttons? Sure you can easily memorize 3 keys but I Zenfone 5 actually sports a different button layout. For the past 3 years I have been using Android, I have always had Menu-Home-Back format. Now I am treated into a Back-Home-Recent buttons. The former configuration has been in my heart with me too much, I constantly make the same mistake especially when I am on a dimly lit room.

  1. Entertainment

One of the most important factor for a phone today is to function as your daily multimedia driver. For Zenfone 5, it functions amazingly well in that aspect.

On loudspeaker, Zenfone 5 sits with those in the poor category as it has a very disappointing loudspeaker. As far as listening with headsets go, it jumps as one of the best performers. It has clean audio output, respectable bass and right amount of loudness. To standardize my review, and for the upcoming reviews I will be using JVC FX3X (Review coming soon).

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Another minor disappointment is the device limited codec. You wouldn’t be able to play all your videos out of the box. But as soon as you download a reliable video player, MX Player (recommended), you can fully enjoy your movies with this beautiful 5-Inch 720p device. Also, Zenfone 5 can play 1080p videos (tested 2GB movies).

games

For Gaming, Asus was able to play all non-HD mainstream games. However playing games such as NBA 2k14, Dead Trigger, Dark Knight, it has shown some stutter and lags.

Browsing

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Web Browsing and YouTube streaming is another strong suit of Zenfone. I have had no problems in opening web pages and streaming videos.

  1. Camera

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Asus Zenfone 5 sports an 8MP Main Camera and a 2MP front camera. As far as smartphone imaging is concerned, Asus does not have a good and strong reputation. As for this one, though, it has a good Main Camera which has TONS of features including the Famous Selfie Mode. Modes include Time Rewind, HDR, Panorama, Night etc. There is too much modes here I will make a separate review for it. So stay tuned! For Selfie addicts, the front-facing camera is not much to be excited about, it is a standard 2MP camera good enough for video calling, but it is nothing special.  See the pictures and judge for yourself.

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  1. Software

Asus Zenfone 5 is powered by a Dual Core 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 Processor. I have to admit, this is my first Intel device, I was sceptical at first seeing, as I was one of those who thought cores are everything, but when I tried it, it was actually amazingly quick and responsive. Swiping between screens showed no significant lags and partner it with a 2GB Ram, opening apps and multi-tasking feels breezy. The device has an 8GB Internal memory 5GB useable. It is good enough for all your apps and one or two HD games.

Features 2

The phone also sports ZenUI, a custom skin from Asus. Android lovers have always loved the stock Android experience and ZenUI tries to mimic the simplicity of stock while adding some niche features and Asus’ own personality. The interface feels like stock and it is snappy, unlike other brand’s skin (ehem TouchWiz). A feature which is kind of cool is when you are on your lockscreen and your finger on it, a spotlight appears. Cool but pointless. It also has a Smartcover notification screen which is a useful one.

Functioning as a phone, Zenfone 5 has a clean stock SMS and a custom Asus Keyboard which looks and feels like a lovechild of Swiftkey and Android’s stock keyboard. It functions very similarly to Android’s stock rather than Swiftkey, though. Call quality both as a receiver and transmitter, is good.

Features

As far as being an international Brand, Zenfone 5 also has preinstalled apps, bloatware to some, these apps include:

  • Amazon Kindle Fire – EBook Reader
  • Audio Wizard – Adjusts your audio depending on what you want to use your device (Bluetooth not supported)
  • Do It Later – To do task bar
  • Mirror – Basically a front cam without shutter
  • MyASUS – Asus tech support and self-promotion app
  • Omlet Chat – Viber-ish app, stick to your preferred social messaging app
  • Party Link – Connects and shares pictures automatically to nearby devices. Security!
  • PC Link – Connects to your PC
  • Quick Memo – Kind of like Do it Later
  • Remote Link – Bluetooth remote
  • Share Link – Shares files between two Share Link enabled devices
  • Splendid – Changes the colour of your phone (actually cool)
  • Sound Recorder – Good voice recorder
  • Super Note – Like Galaxy Note’s Note minus the SPen
  • What’s Next – I don’t know

Some of the aforementioned apps are actually quite useful.

  1. Battery

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Battery is probably the lowest point of Zenfone 5. I am a medium-heavy battery user and this one is just not made for a full day at the office. On a day, I average about two hours of video, 15-30 minutes of games and about 3 hours of music. I also enable Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Mobile Data all the time. By the time its 6pm (5AM-2PM Work shift), I will have only about 10-15% battery life and I would have had to turn off everything except my 2G function to avoid full discharge. Also, I have noticed that the device starts to heats up while playing after 10 minutes. If you will look at the battery life when the device starts to heat up and you keep on playing, it burns through it like a hot knife through butter. A sad fact for Gamers. Well this device is not made for gaming anyway.

Executive Summary

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CONS:

  • No Capacitive Touch Button Back Light
  • Crappy out of the box video codec
  • Soft Loudspeakers
  • Lags and stuttering on HD Games
  • Some Bloatwares
  • Disappointing Battery Life
  • Narrow Bezel

PROS:

  • As beautiful as that hot officemate/classmate from the other class
  • 5 Inch Vivid, Crisp HD Display
  • Great headset audio output
  • Smooth and Fast response even with a custom Skin
  • Good camera with shitloads of features
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • CHEAPER THAN REBRANDED FLAGSHITS ehem FLAGSHIPS
  • Did I mention how beautiful this device looks?

Scores

As much cons as Zenfone 5 has, some of them can easily be fixed by third party apps. No Capacitive Touch Backlight? Install a menu bar (probably needs root). Bad codec? Download MX Player Pro. Soft loudspeakers? Why will you use a smartphone on loudspeaker? Bloatwares? Root and remove. That leaves only HD Game stutter, battery life and narrow bezel but these are things you need to compromise for the competitive price tag.

Zenfone 5 is an amazing phone to have, I would recommend this phone for those curious and for those looking at a budget phone. Asus is a far better choice than rebranders. I don’t hate rebranders, I actually had fun reviewing them some 2 years ago. But as I started to work and value money more, I don’t think it is wise to spend cash on a device you know will inevitably break and have to endure garbage after sales or inability to receive software updates. Granted that rebranders have consistently tried to make better built devices, it’s just not the same comfort you have with a branded one.

Steering into the budget-minded market, Asus has made a premium device well worth over the hype and maybe made a device which gives rebranders a run for their money. Priced at P6, 495, this is very competitively priced and brings competitive pleasure to any user who will have it.

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