DID you know that in the ancient times, an assassin is someone who is “addicted to hashish,” while the word “addict” referred to broke folk given as slaves to the people they owed money to?
Just like the words “nice” (which used to mean “silly, foolish, simple”), “silly” (which described something worthy or blessed), “awful” (used to be worthy of awe, instead of something terrible) or “naughty” (from naught or nothing to badly behaved), a term that’s quickly adopting a new meaning is the word “Notch.”
Thanks to the iPhone X, most people now know the “notch” as that small space on the top screen, instead of its traditional meaning of being a cut, or groove, a level, or, in the case of gamers, the alias of Markus Persson (one of the founders of Mojang and creator of Minecraft).
If dual cameras were the trend last year, it seems 2018 is going to be the year of the notch as most other smartphone makers like Huawei, Asus, Oppo, Vivo, etc. have adopted the notch design on their upcoming devices. And as much as they deny copying Apple’s design, and reason out that “it’s the trend” and “what users want,” the truth is the average person who sees you taking out your notched phone is going to assume it’s an iPhone X—and that’s deliberate.
A couple of weeks ago Vivo launched its newest flagship, the Vivo V9, and you’d be blind not to notice how it looks almost like the iPhone X. But notch and dual rear camera’s aside, we found out there’s a lot more to like about the V9 than just making people think you ditched Android and went to the Apple side.
Sleek and attractive design: Like I mentioned, whether deliberate or not, the Vivo V9 really looks like the iPhone X, which is actually a good thing for a lot of people. And the fact remains that you can’t deny how good its 6.3-inch screen and bezel-less display looks in real life. Vivo has added plastic caps on the top and bottom on the device with a metallic finish to disguise them as metal. The notch on top of the houses a speaker grill, a 24-MP front camera and the proximity sensor. There are no physical buttons on the front of the device, which means that Vivo has opted for on-screen navigation buttons. On the back you’ll find the vertically stacked dual-camera module and in place of the Apple logo is the phone’s fingerprint sensor. Overall, the Vivo V9 scores high on design and it fits snug in the palm of your hands despite the screen size, and it is also surprisingly light. It comes in two colors, gold and the shiny pearl black which I absolutely love.
Boundless Full View display: Vivo is wise to highlight its Full View display as it is, indeed, the most interesting feature of V9. Without sacrificing its compact design, the V9 features a 6.3-inch screen with a 19:9 aspect ratio. Its screen size is 5.2 percent higher than the previous flagship smartphone, the V7+. It also reduced the side bezels by 19 percent to a mere 1.75mm, which translates to a higher screen-to-body ratio of almost 90 percent for an unparalleled viewing experience. With its Full-HD+ (1080×2280 pixels) display and an IPS LCD screen that produces bright and vibrant colors, the V9 provides an immersive Web browsing, viewing and gaming experience.
Extraordinary A.I. Face Beauty: Vivo is known for putting its best cameras in front, making theirs the true selfie-centric phone of choice. This time Vivo equips the V9 with a 24-MP shooter (F/2.0 aperture) and artificial intelligence (AI) features that result to crisp and more detailed selfies in ideal light conditions. The company claims that its AI Face Beauty can automatically detect the gender, age, skin tone, texture using a database of almost 1 million facial images from all over the world to automatically adjust the settings of the camera, and make your selfies look even better. The result, as long as you don’t max out the sliders, is a more youthful you with the blemishes and lines reduced but without making you look like a wax statue.
Dual Rear Cameras for that “Bokeh” effect: The dual rear camera setup of the V9 consists of a 16-MP primary and a 5-MP secondary camera, which allows you take those bokeh shots and give your photos a more “artistic look,” thanks to the blurred background. The bokeh effect works best when there’s a sufficient space of at least 2 meters between the subject and the background. You can even shoot first and change the focus after the shot. The V9 also features several camera modes, such as Panorama, Face Beauty, AR stickers, AI HDR, Live Photo, Ultra HD, PPT mode, Slow Motion, Time-Lapse and a Professional Mode that lets you make further adjustments. Image quality is good with sharp details, especially in bright conditions.
Face unlock: While I still prefer using the fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone, its worth mentioning that a lot of young people will use and enjoy the face-recognition feature. The V9 Face ID is quick and easy to setup and is bit faster than the V7+
Upgraded Game Mode: Known for being a gamer-friendly smartphone, Vivo has upgraded its Game Mode features that will allow gamers to block background notifications, reject calls, among other capabilities. Along with its Smart Engine, which intelligently allocates and optimizes processing resources according to your needs, the V9 ensures smooth and seamless experiences for gamers. The AI Game Mode of the Vivo V9 also allows gamers to talk to people while they are still playing their favorite gaming applications as long as they are connected to the Wi-Fi. It even has a Picture-In-Picture feature that allows gamers to use social messaging applications even in the middle of a play. It can run most of the top games smoothly and without lag.
Smooth operator: The Vivo V9 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 octa-core processor, 4GB RAM and 64 ROM, and runs the latest Android 8.1 OS, ensuring smooth transitions and UI navigation, apps launching fast. Juggling between multiple apps in the background isn’t a problem for the V9.
Easy-to-customize look: If you love to play with your smartphone’s look, the Funtouch OS, as well as the Touchpal keyboard, gives you tons of options, so you can tweak the kind of fonts, wallpapers, icons, keyboard and a lot more.
Reasonably priced: For all these neat features, it’s a good thing that the Vivo V9 remains very competitively priced at P17,990. It will be available nationwide starting April 13.
XIAOMI’S SECOND STORE
AS expected, there was a long line of people who patiently waited for their turn to shop at Xiaomi’s flagship store in SM Megamall.
As expected, there were the loyal fans and the very early birds who were there as early as before 5 am—more than five hours before the mall’s opening.
And as expected, there were a lot of discounted items on sale, from phones, accessories, bags, powerbanks, etc., which people crammed in their shopping baskets as if there was no tomorrow.
What I didn’t expect to see was Mother Lily doing some shopping at the Xiaomi store.
Yes. Mother Lily Monteverde, the famous movie producer.
It turns out the Regal Films matriarch has an eye not just for talent but also for good deals, which is what Xiaomi is all about.
Following the success of the opening if the first authorized Xiaomi store in Trinoma in February, Grimalkin Corp., Xiaomi’s official partner in the Philippines, opened the Xiaomi Flagship Store at the fourth level of SM Megamall in Ortigas Center.
Mi fans flocked to witness the flagship store opening and get first dibs on top-of-the-line-yet-competitively-priced Mi products. The company has a robust product range that includes Mi and Redmi smartphones, Mi TVs and set-top boxes, Mi routers, and Mi Ecosystem products including smart home products, wearables and other accessories.
The Xiaomi Megamall Flagship Store offers consumers bigger space and a wider array of Xiaomi products, ranging from the popular smartphones, such as the recently unveiled RedMi 5A and Redmi 5 Plus, state-of-the-art home appliances and technology-driven wearables.
Like their Trinoma store, the flagship branch features a range of Xiaomi’s smartphones, including:
Xiaomi Redmi 5. This 5.7-inch phone features 18:9 HD+ display at 720 x 1440 pixels, Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 1.8Ghz octa-core CPU, Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB RAM. 16GB or 32GB internal storage. 12-MP rear camera with 1.25-micron pixel sensor and LED flash, 5-MP front camera with soft-light LED. 4G LTE. Price: P7,790.
Xiaomi Redmi 5A. A bit smaller than the Redmi 5 at 5 inches, the 5A has an HD, IPS Display, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 Quad Core. Adreno 308 GPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage. 4G LTE, 3,000 mAH battery, Miui 9 (based on Android 7.1 Nougat). Available in Champagne Gold, Rose Gold and Grey. Price: P4,590.
Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus. 5.99-inch 18:9 FHD+ display at 1080×2160 pixels. Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 2.0Ghz octa-core CPU. Adreno 506 GPU, 3GB or 4GB RAM. 32GB or 64GB internal storage. 12-MP rear camera with 1.25-micron pixel sensor and dual-LED Flash. 5-MP front camera with soft-light LED. 4G LTE. Price: P9,990.
Mi A1. A flagship dual camera created by Xiaomi and powered by Google. Packed with 2x 12-MP wide-angle/telephoto dual camera, 5.5-inch FHD display, octa-core Snapdragon 625, 4GB RAM plus 64GB storage and all-day 3080mAh battery. Price P10,990.
Mi Mix. With a beautiful, distinctive and minimalist design, the Mi Mix features a premium crafted 6.4-inch immersive full display and full body ceramic body designed by world-renowned industrial designer Philippe Starck. Packed with Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 plus 6GB RAM and 256GB memory and 16-MP PDAF camera. Price: P25,500.
The Xiaomi Flagship store opening was attended by Grimalkin Corp. President, Terence Chua and representatives from Xiaomi, including John Chen, Xiaomi director for Southeast Asia.
Chen said they were very pleased with how the Filipinos welcomed Xiaomi back, and adding that they plan to open a few more Mi Authorized Stores this year to ensure that their local fans will get access to their latest products and smartphones at the same time as other markets.
THE SHOPEE MALL IS NOW OPEN
SHOPEE officially launched the “Shopee Mall,” a new dedicated portal featuring thousands of products sold by leading brands and Shopee’s top sellers.
Shopee Mall will give users direct access to a variety of prominent brands, such as Nestle, Colgate Palmolive, Xiaomi, Abbot, The SM Store and many more. All products on Shopee Mall come with seven-days return policy, 100-percent authenticity guarantee, free shipping and cash on delivery nationwide. Terence Pang, COO of Shopee, said, “Following the tremendous growth of Shopee in the Philippines, the company has taken a major step to officially launch Shopee Mall as a way to cement our position as the one-stop shopping platform of choice in the market. Moving forward, Shopee will continue to establish more strategic partnerships with leading brands to expand and diversify our product assortment to a wider range of demographics, and to drive forward the growth of Philippines’s e-commerce industry.”
Shopee Mall was conceptualized to solve shoppers’ concerns about authenticity, a major concern among buyers when shopping online. The newly launched portal caters to the demands of Filipino shoppers by allowing users to shop for their favorite brands on an integrated and secure platform. Additionally, with more local brands embracing e-commerce, Shopee Mall provides a platform for traditional brands and retailers to expand their digital presence, reflecting Shopee’s commitment to constantly innovate and enhance its platform, features and services to best meet the needs of users.
To identify Shopee Mall product listings, shoppers can look out for the distinctive red “Mall” label while browsing. Users can shop the “Only on Shopee” collection, featuring a delightful range of branded bundles and promotions that are only available on Shopee.