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Friday, March 22, 2019

Intelligent Phone ASUS Zenfone 5: Final Say

The aggressive and demanding nature of the mid-range market paved the way to the birth of intelligent and reasonably-priced Smartphones such as ASUS Zenfone 5. Our final say for this Phone is, highly recommended to those who loves balanced between price point and features. It meets the thin line for mobile gaming and mobile photography at its price range. One thing I'll note is, generally mobile photography has limitations so don't expect that it will get par with other camera that are built for photography. For example, the mirror less or hybrid cameras, or better versions DSLRs. But at its kind and range, ASUS Zenfone 5 easily stands out from the pack with its curated features and capabilities.

Now that we conclude our test with Zenfone 5, we will give some samples and works taken using this great mid-range Smartphone ASUS Zenfone 5 built-in features. We will ran down some of the camera features tested in our limited time and real-world samples with SOOC quality and minimal-to-no-editing output.

Dual Lens System Real-Time Portrait feature renders a bokeh effect. Straight our of Camera (SOOC) shot

The Bokeh Effect
The bokeh effect is a technique in photography to emphasize your subject with controlled amount of depth of field in the background or foreground achievable with special glasses or lens. With The ZenFone 5 you can achieve this pro-looking photo enhanced with a blurred background effect in real time. It uses both rear lenses simultaneously to add even more precise depth perception to make subjects stand out even more. Real-time Portrait is utilizes the advanced AI algorithm to calculate the outline of subjects accurately to make portraits appear more natural. The AI technology can also detect depth information, and lets users choose between six layers of background blurring intensity and gradient blur effect. What we like with ASUS Zenfone 5 "Bokeh" feature is the dynamic option for the depth of field settings, the user can actually dictate the depth value according to the output the user wants.

In the sample Portrait shot above, taken in Parisian Macao and in the background is the Eiffel Tower replica, you are capturing a different perspective of your travel or outdoor photos, here the bokeh effect send a soft impression at the background but still you can recognize that it's the tower at the background of your subject. The foreground which is the subject is a underexposed but can be process a little bit to correct the exposure.

Time Lapse Shooting
We are able to test the the Time Lapse Camera feature of ASUS Zenfone 5 and it is one of the features that we like most. Aside from the light file size that it has compared to taking full video, you are also creating content on a different perspective for your friends to appreciate. In this mode, the phone automatically shoots frames at preset intervals which are then compiled into a stop-motion-like video. Here's a time lapse video sample taken with ASUS Zenfone 5 in Macau. The location is in Taipa Food Street and the weather is gloomy-to-scattered rain showers. I setup the camera attached to a tripod in front of a souvenir shop in Taipa and started capturing using Time Lapse in-camera feature of Zenfone 5 to the passing crowd and the pouring rain. We were not disappointed with the output and appreciated the convenience this feature has to offer. See the Time Lapse sample below, exported through InShot Android video editor. This video sample is also posted at our YouTube channel.

Capturing in time lapse mode could be battery draining, but not with Zenfone 5 since it has the ability to shoot extended time-lapse videos in a power saving mode. This mode saves power by lowering the screen brightness and putting the phone into plane mode where its radios are switched off, allowing the shooting of longer time lapse videos. See other example bellow:

In this sample, it captures the motion of the people crossing the street, the vehicles passing, the wind that moves everything and the gloomy weather on that day. Although the whole Eiffel Tower in Parisian Macao was not capture in whole but still its beauty shown in the stop-motion video.

Other Camera Features
If we've got more time to test the remaining Camera features of Zenfone 5, we could have pick the following shooting modes and present some results or samples here. Anyway, I'll just run them down here for discussion.

Gif Animation Mode
ASUS Zenfone 5 Camera allows users to create a .gif format animation instantly and in less complicated process. Gif format is the early version of motion graphics commonly used on the web. Gif images are simple animations composed of a repeating loop of sequential images. They are super easy and fun to create using the Gif Animation Mode available with Zenfone 5. Simply shoot your subject in this mode and the camera will compile the photo sequence as an animated gif image. It also allows you to modify the speed or even play direction of the animation before saving.

Panorama Mode
This camera feature is somewhat available with most of the smartphones. This is the perfect mode for extremely wide landscapes, Panorama allows users to pan the camera from one side of landscape to another while the camera automatically captures the separate frames and stitches them together to for a wide panoramic photo.

Pro Mode
I seldom use this mode in my entire Zenfone 5 tests maybe it's because of the advance AI feature of this phone where it knows right away in Auto Mode the perfect setting for each scenes that I am trying to capture. Although a scene can be interpreted in many ways, and the phones’ auto or preset modes may not always render the photo you want, thus a comprehensive set of manual controls under its Pro Mode that works with the main rear camera. See below the controls you can manually set at Pro Mode:

Slow Motion
This is one of the camera features that I really wanna try but I just didn't have the perfect scene to use this one. The perfect scenes that could have been captured with this feature is during Food event, Portrait, active/sports scenes or depends on your desired output. ASUS Zenfone 5 let you shoots videos in extremely high frame rate at 120FPS or 60FPS at full HD resolution (1920 X 1080) / 1080P for clear slow motion playback.

To read the Introductory review of the ASUS Zenfone 5 as it used in Food Photography and how its AI capability helped in performing these features seamlessly and smartly, follow this link: Testing ASUS Zenfone 5 Camera AI capabilities in Food Photography

Intelligent Phone ASUS Zenfone 5: Final Say posted at Cebu Events Blog

Monday, March 11, 2019

Experience Cherry Blossom at Starbucks

Beginning March 12, Starbucks customers who purchase either of the NEW Springtime Favourites, Azuki Blossom Cream Frappuccino or Matcha Azuki Blossom Cream Frappuccino can experience Cherry Blossom at their favourite Starbucks stores. You just simply need to scan the QR code that can be found in each cup. After scanning the QR code, you will need to locate the banner with the Cherry Blossom to trigger the Augmented Reality (AR) experience. Upon scanning, you can take selfies under Cherry Trees of falling cherry blossoms. Join in on the Cherry Blossom craze and visit Starbucks to witness spring in full bloom!

Starbucks embraces the changing of the seasons with new Springtime favorites inspired by Cherry Blossom. In Japan, the blooming of cherry blossoms is one of the most anticipated times of the year as it marks the coming of Spring – a time of new beginnings. The breath-taking sight of cherry trees tinted with the pale pink haze symbolizes beauty, life, and renewal.

The Azuki Blossom Cream Frappuccino is as dreamy as a Spring day in Japan with its velvety milk and sweet red bean base, topped with whipped cream, falling petals of white and pink rice blossom petals, and tart dried cranberry bits. A green tea variation, the Matcha Azuki Blossom Cream Frappuccino is also offered which blends the bright flavors of Matcha and sweet red bean. This cherry blossom treat is also sprinkled with pink and white rice petals and cranberry bits on top of whipped cream and red beans.

Starbucks Spring Season Blend is also available for those who want to bring spring’s unique flavors into their cup of coffee at home, it combines four distinct coffees from around the world to deliver a big syrupy body with dark cherry and cedary spice flavors.

Stunning Sakura-themed merchandise is also ripe for the picking in Starbucks stores. With a dainty palette of pink, purple, and gold, the collection depicts two kinds of cherry blossoms, inspired by traditional hand drawings and oil paintings that captures its beauty.

The double-walled mugs with rubber lids in Blossom Pink and in Blossom Gray with Sakura motifs, tumblers like the clear Cold Cup designed with a sprinkling confetti blossom and complemented with a lid and straw, and even adorable Bearista Bear Keychains in pastel pink are also part of the collection.

The 2019 Sakura Card will complete the collection, designed to show the delicateness of the Cherry Blossom’s pale pink petals. The card is available for an initial activation amount of 300 pesos per card. Visit the Starbucks Philippines Facebook Page for more details.

Experience Cherry Blossom at Starbucks posted at Cebu Events Blog

Saturday, March 9, 2019

AMAIA Land launches Amaia Steps Tower 2, set to complete by 2022

Affordable real estate developer and subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) Amaia Land launches Amaia Steps Mandaue Tower 2 offering to families and individuals seeking high-quality and affordable housing options. Amaia Steps Mandaue will offer 288 units with various unit sizes that can cater to needs of its prospect homeowners.

Amaia Steps Mandaue Tower 2 is set to provide its prospective residents convenient access to Cebu’s cultural and heritage sites. It is near to Cebu major thoroughfares and the Mactan International Airport.

Amaia Steps Mandaue Tower 2 signifies new beginnings and a chance to settle down in a spacious, well-designed units at very affordable prices. Residents will also relish spending fun weekends at the Amaia Steps amenities including a swimming pool which is expected to be completed this quarter or bonding with family and friends at the courtyard.

Artist's perspective on Amaia Steps Mandaue Tower 2

Amaia Land made it possible of owning an affordable and sustainable homes closer to hardworking Filipinos through easy payment options: cash, deferred cash, and bank financing.

Amaia continues to serve homeowners with affordable and sustainable developments that aim to elevate the Filipino living experience in a well-secured environment.

For inquiries about Amaia Steps Mandaue Tower 2 and other Amaia developments, check out or follow