Saturday, April 12, 2014

Samsung Galaxy S5 Now Available in 125 Countries including the Philippines

From one powerful smartphone to another, Samsung has officially launched their newest flagship phone - the Samsung Galaxy S5 - here in the Philippines together with other 125 countries around the world. This proves that our country is considered to be a priority by the said smartphone manufacturer. In addition, they have also launched smart watches called Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit.

Samsung Galaxy S5


The Samsung Galaxy S5 has very similar dimensions as with its predecessor Galaxy S4, but is packed with more mention-worthy capabilities and features running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat OS:
  • Selective focus taken from a 16-megapixel rear camera - one picture, multiple after-pic editing focused on different areas of the photo
  • Faster shutter speed - taking pics of children and moving objects is now easier with a quicker shutter speed
  • 2-megapixel front camera - taking selfie's is no problem!
  • Dust and water resistant - accidental water splashes and dirt won't matter at all
  • Finger scanner - check your heart rate with this feature
  • Download Booster - combine the power of LTE and WiFi to accelerate your downloads
  • Ultra power saving mode - just what we need to save up the juice
  • Safety assistance - call for emergency when something bad happens

Display

The new Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display, slightly larger compared to its predecessor that had a 5-inch display. The screen’s resolution is at 1920 x 1080 with a 432 ppi, which means more vivid colors on screen. It also has an intelligent Adaptive Display that allows the screen disply to auto adjust depending on your surrounding lighting conditions (e.g. indoors or outdoors) and an extra low dimming mode which can come in handy if you’re in a dark room.


Cameras

Galaxy S5 has a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with a larger image sensor, allowing the camera to capture more light. Meanwhile, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera is an improvement from before. Auto-focus speed has been increased to instantly capture moving moments which is three times (3x) faster than the auto-focus found on the Galaxy S4. In addition, DSLR camera-like features were also added: “selective focus” feature, allowing shooting of photos with different depth of field; HDR (Rich Tone) mode creating HDR-enhanced photos or videos.

Battery

In addition to the 2800 mAh removable battery, Samsung also added a new “ultra power saving” mode to help conserve the phone’s battery life by shutting down all unnecessary features to dramatically minimize battery consumption.


Design

A far difference from the Galaxy S4 is the leather-like cover of the Galaxy S5. It comes in four different color options: shimmery WHITE, charcoal BLACK, copper GOLD, and electric BLUE. The phone is also IP67-certified dust and water resistant, covering all ports for added protection.

The S Health app is also now integrated with a heart-rate monitor right under the camera sensor at the back of the phone.

The Galaxy S5’s download booster technology enables the pairing of WiFi with the LTE cellular connection simultaneously to maximize overall download speeds if necessary.

Security

There’s an integrated fingerprint reader above the home button. This allows a user to unlock the phone for more security and also pay for services through PayPal with the swipe of a finger.

Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo


This is the new Gear 2, an upgrade from the first Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch launched last year. It is now slimmer without the protruding camera. Its 2-megapixel camera is now built-in on to the watch as compared to before where it's on the strap.


The Gear 2 Neo, on the other hand, is the cheaper version compared to Gear 2. It has a plastic frame as compared to the Gear 2 with steel. It doesn't have a camera, but other than that works very similar as Gear 2.

Both the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo come with 1GHz dual-core processor, which is tad faster than last year's release. It features a 4GB internal storage and comes with a built-in heart rate sensor, pedometer, gyroscope and accelerometer for tracking of stats while walking, cycling, running, hiking, etc.

What's cool about the two watches is that their bands can be interchanged with any 22-mm strap in the market. By the default, the Gear 2 comes in either charcoal black, gold brown or wild orange. Meanwhile, the Gear 2 Neo ships in charcoal black, mocha grey, and wild orange.

Gear Fit


Sports-enthusiasts will have a new friend in Gear Fit. It's very useful in tracking sports-related activities like steps, heart-rate, etc. Unlike the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, though, storage of music files into the Gear Fit is not possible.

Viewing on the Gear Fit can be portrait or otherwise. It also has asks the user whether the watch is worn on the left or right wrist, so it can adjust automatically to fit the need. Brightness can also be adjusted as necessary.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Finding Love in Villa del Conte Chocolates

From as far back as I can remember, I've always loved chocolates and colors – M&M's and Smarties were definitely my favorites. I think it ran in the family, because today, all of my siblings love chocolates. Of course my palette for chocolate developed as I grew older. Color however, still strikes me the same as it did as a child. I'm still wowed by the appearance of colors, most especially the bright, vibrant ones.

Now that Valentine's Day is upon us, you can imagine how my mind must be working with all the chocolates and bright color displays set up all around town. It seems everywhere you look, it's all about chocolates, color and love.

A few days ago I was surprised with a box of Villa del Conte chocolates. I was immediately captured by the red box, with gold heart that says amore.


I opened it up and found myself in love. All these beautifully colored, wrapped chocolates in various sizes were more than just a delight to my eyes. I didn't know where to start. Being the OC type of person I am, I separated each by color and size, and thought this is something I cannot do alone.


Luckily the chocolates came with a catalog, and I was able to narrow the chocolates down to the flavor of the Praline Balls and Praline Sticks I was given.

Now onto the chocolates, or shall I say cioccolato. As always in an assortment of chocolates, there are a few that may not be the most pleasing. Let's face it we've all had a box of chocolate where we've taken a bite and in our dislike either threw it out, put it back on the box for someone else to try. With Villa del Conte, there was no such thing. Coming from a family of chocolate lovers, I would know.


It certainly was not hard to entice my family to help me enjoy the chocolates. It also helped to have my family from the U.S. visiting. We sat around my dining table, like scientists in a lab station… minus the lab coats of course. A mix of male and female with ages in the twenties, thirties and sixties; we were ready to dig in. And did we ever. Unwrap. Touch. Smell. Taste. Repeat. In the end, the contents of the box all became favorites.

And let me tell you about these favorites. The praline balls were the true champion! They had the right texture, sweetness and whether milk or dark, the cocoa taste was just PERFECT. The combination of caramel, coffee and hazelnut creams each coupled well with the praline ball mirroring a perfect marriage of consistency and quality. But it was the crunch of the cereal that sealed the deal. It added a certain je ne sais quoi that our group agreed on wholeheartedly. It's almost as if the smoothness of the chocolate was complimented more by the crisp cereal giving it that extra AMORE.

This does not, however, mean that the ones without cereal were not equally as good, in fact it was a hard decision to come up with any favorite. Hence, why they all became favorites.

In addition, there is uniqueness in the fruit-flavored praline chocolates that make each stick a standout in the box of colorfully wrapped treats. Each one contained a different fruit which included strawberry, banana, watermelon and orange. Each fruit elevated the sensation of the chocolate by adding a refreshing element to each bite. It's like that first kiss on an awesome date. More than satisfied, but wouldn't mind having more kind-of-feeling. And since it's fruit, it definitely has a healthier ring to it.

Villa del Conte captures my love for both chocolate and color. Heightening each sense from sight, scent, touch and taste; this chocolate proves to be the perfect diamond in a world full of rhinestones. A perfect gift for any occasion with unique packaging all on its own, these chocolates certainly air a feeling of love. One can truly taste the love in every bite.


Since it's that time of the year, there is no better time than now to grab a box of Villa del Conte and fall in love even without getting it from Padova, Italy where it all began.

Visit Villa del Conte stores at Greenbelt 5, Shangri-la Mall, Resorts World, Alabang Town Center, and Robinsons Magnolia. For bulk orders of Villa del Conte chocolates, please contact 893-2575 or 621-6101.


Editor's Note: This article was written by Migz David, a special writer and contributor of Glich's Life. Migz is a food enthusiast who grew up in his mom's kitchen. He is a great cook and an awesome food critic on top of his high-ranking position in the corporate world. Revisions to this article were done by yours truly prior to posting. - Glenn / Glich

NudeAudio Move S Wired Portable Speaker Review

"Small but terrible" is a usual saying that we hear every now and then. Truth is, that statement is valid since our Creator has made all things equal. The same statement applies to the NudeAudio Move S Wired Portable Wired Speaker, which I had the chance to try out with my BlackBerry Q10 and Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones.


Unboxing the NudeAudio Move S Wired reveals a very simplistic packaging with the following contents: charcoal/coral portable wired speaker, a micro USB to standard USB cable, and a quick start guide manual. The Move S Wired looks very similar to the Move S, which is a Bluetooth speaker. Its silicon sleeve is thick enough to protect the speaker against bumps and knocks. Meanwhile, the size is very portable, and in fact, fits in the palm of my hands and pocket.


The design of Move S Wired is very simplistic. In fact, it looks a bit boring, not until I switched it on and tried the sound of the speakers. It is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that can last for 8 hours.


Fronting the NudeAudio Move S Wired is the actual speaker. On top is the power button with a green light that illuminates once it's pressed and turned on. At the left side is the micro USB port used when charging the speaker, while at the lower left is the 3.5mm port used for connecting one speaker to another speaker for a louder music.


As the speaker is a portable wired speaker, it has a built in 3.5mm cable that is capable of connecting to smartphones and tablets alike. This is great for beach trips and those times you're just beside the pool reading your book.


This speaker isn't a small, loser, piece of crap gadget. In fact, it does very well with what it's supposed to do. Though small in size, the music that comes out of it is very clear, with enough balances of treble and bass. Depending on the quality of the music file you're playing, at times it may sound a bit dispersed if the volume is too high.

The NudeAudio Move S Wired portable speaker retails for Php1,290.00 and is available in Beyond the Box, Digital Walker, and Digital Hub branches nationwide. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Osaka's Hanamaruken Ramen now in Manila

Ramen, oh, ramen... you are taking the Philippines by storm! Ha! It's ramen here, there, and everywhere. Each noodle place is trying to capture the hearts of Filipinos by offering something new, unique. Hanamaruken Ramen, a popular restaurant in Osaka has opened its doors to the public since November 25, 2013.


Having 40 branches in Japan, the local owners of Hanamaruken Ramen definitely loved what they've eaten for them to bring it here in Manila. This new ramen plance is located at the alfresco side of TriNoma and has a sign board that you definitely won't miss. 


Inside the restaurant is a minor resemblance of the look and feel of some Osaka dining places. The lighting gives the place a warm ambiance, with wooden-polished tables and chairs to match the look. On one side is a glass window pane with displays of Japanese ornaments, and another side with Japanese words painted on the wall.

Depending on how many you are in a group, Hanamaruken Ramen has different sizes and types of tables and chairs. What's good about this restaurant is that it has plugs and sockets on the wall. I guess the owners brought their techie side on that seemingly minor (but major) restaurant feature.

The menu is pretty straight forward with just four sections: Ramen (6 choices ranging from Php280-Php480), Rice Bowls (5 choices ranging from Php140-Php250), Sides (4 choices ranging from Php120-Php220), and Drinks (2 choices at Php80). I like the fact that you don't have to think too much before being able to order.


As a starter, JR and I ordered a Hot Green Tea (Php80). It's actually written as "Iced" on the menu, but you can request it to be otherwise. The matcha green tea came in a half-filled transparent glass - it'll look full glass when served with ice. As mentioned in my previous posts, I'm not a green tea fan, but I never say "never". Guess what, I liked it! It's actually really good with just the right sweetness. Don't forget to stir it before drinking.


Since the Karaage (Php220) is not available, we opted to call for the Gyoza (Php150) instead. Our order came with 8 pieces of pan-fried dumplings with gyoza sauce and chili oil. It's best to mix both sauces for a bit of spice. Hanamaruken's gyoza reminds me of Osaka's version that's chewy and with just the right size.


Hanamaruken is known in Osaka for its Signature Happiness Ramen (Php480). What sets it apart from all other ramen places is its huge slab of slow-cooked pork ribs that's flavorful, tender and soft - a sign that it took hours of preparation to bring it to its texture and taste.


We also got to try the Pot Belly Ramen (Php380) that had big pieces of roasted pork belly. I love the fact that this restaurant appears to be generous in meat sizes if compared to other ramen establishments.

Both orders used shoyu tonkontsu broth soup base. As such, it was light and very classic with a bit of fatty taste. Good thing the meat was flavorful, which blended well with the soup. Every single sip of the soup gives warmth to the body, which is just great for a cool weather that we have now.

I'm the type of guy who likes my ramen rich with a lot of garlic. What Hanamaruken Ramen offers is not exactly that, but nevertheless a must-try for its tasty slow-cooked pork ribs and roasted pork belly.

For more information, visit their Facebook page or Twitter and Instagram @Hanamaruken_PH. 


Hanamaruken Ramen Philippines
2/F TriNoma Mall, North Ave. corner EDSA
(02) 720 9283 / (02) 628 1603

New Year. New Beginnings. New Experiences.

Two weeks into the year of the horse, I've managed to clean up my desk, post new blog entries coming back from hiatus, work out more frequently, and leave the office earlier than usual. What I like about each new year is the hope that it gives to people like me to learn from my mistakes, acquire new experiences, and be a better person overall. 

So sorry for the pic! I was so engrossed listening and looking at her, I didn't notice there's someone's head down there! Haha!

Last Saturday, I got the chance to attend PJ and Alessandra Lanot's Visioneering and Chalk Typography Workshop hosted by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. PJ started the session by allowing us to think of the current achievements and future goals in life. Allow me to share some of the tips and realizations from him.

1. Recall your achievements in life. Think of what you have achieved, no matter how small it is, from the time you were born until today. This helps you realize how good you are and what blessings God has blessed you with. 

2. Plan your life two years from now. Each year, we have 12 months to strive hard and reach for our dreams - may it be for personal, relational or professional. Try listing down what your goals are two years from now. Putting your plans on paper makes you hold on to something and reminds you to keep on persevering.

3. List the things you need to do to achieve the goals. Our future plans are all nothing without acting upon it. We need to work hard for it, so we can reach our dreams. Write down what steps you need to take in order to achieve each of the goals you've written in number 2. 

4. Set a deadline for yourself. Deadlines are there for a reason. Doing things without a deadline may not push you to achieve your goals, because you'd think that there's forever to get what you want. Remember, each second in our life is precious. It's better to achieve more things while you're young and able, rather than be regretful when you become old and sickly.

5. Enjoy life, still. Having goals in life doesn't mean becoming too serious all the time. Have a balance of still having fun while maintaining hard work and perseverance. We always see YOLO, which stands for You Only Live Once. Yes, we do. So do you want to live it by being foolish or you want to live it with meaning and purpose?

The second part of the workshop was led by Alessandra, PJ's wife. She taught us the basic concepts of typography and how each of us can actually do it using chalk - think coffee shop boards with written menu. 

We had a cheat sheet of different fonts and styles, as well as banner designs. We used a compass, ruler, pencil, and colored chalks to write our own "signage" with quotes taken from our visoneering workshop earlier.

We were able to try it out ourselves and this is how mine ended up (pictured above) - very simple, looks like a work of art by an elementary student! I suck at art! Even stick people. LOL.


This entire workshop was inspired by Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Giving Journal, which was actually illustrated by Alessandra herself. I don't usually use journals, but this one is really really nice! It's all about myself and how I can brew my life one day at a time. 

The Giving Journal is the first journal I appreciate the most. Apart from giving missions per month, it also has free coupons that I can use monthly for my CBTL orders. It does not only allow me to take notes on a daily basis, but also helps me think of how I can improve life for the better, one step at a time. Love it!!!


This 2014, let's all hope for a better life for you and me! Start writing down your achievements, goals, and deadlines today, so you can have the rest of the year simply crossing out items you've already reached. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Serenitea Snacks and Low Sugar Pearls this 2014

I love Serenitea not just for its milk teas, but also for its yummy snacks that greatly complement each other. This 2014, Serenitea kicks off the new year by offering new snacks – an added variation to its well-loved chicken chops, corn on the cob, and more.


Who loves Serenitea’s Peppered Corn (Php60 for three sticks)? I do! It’s a great partner to my usual Hokkaido Milk Tea – sweet plus peppery equals happy tummy. But wait, check out the next pictures!


Serenitea decided to give the corn an upgrade with four new flavors at Php75 for three sticks per order. This time around, the roasted corn has been lightly battered and sprinkled with cheese and curry flavors, as pictured above. I like the cheese better, since the curry was quite strong for me.


They also have the seaweed flavor. I’m not fond of seaweeds, so I wasn’t able to taste this.


And finally, the wasabi flavored corn. While this flavored corn tastes delicious, be ready to wipe your nose and forehead as you start perspiring – like I did.


I’m sure you also like Serenitea’s Peppered Chicken Chops with basil leaves on the side (Php70). I usually match it with my favorite Taro Milk Tea. But hey, it has been upgraded too with three new variants at Php120 per order! Look!


This one’s called Formosa Chicken Chops (Php120), where it is topped with diced tomatoes and basil. The taste is very light, and is very much refreshing to the palette.


The second variant is called the Western Chicken Chops (Php120). With onion and mustard as its main toppings, the flavor turns out to be a bit sweet.


Want it hot? Try the third variant called the Thai Pepper Chicken Chops (Php120). It has tons of chili and garlic. Each piece of chicken chops gives a kick, but is surprisingly very yummy. I like this the best among the three, but I would still get the peppered one depending on my mood.


This may look a bit odd, but Serenitea’s Chix-on-Stix priced at Php85 for two pieces per order, is actually a good afternoon snack coupled with Okinawa Milk Tea or Wintermelon Milk Tea. Pictured above is the Italian flavored Chix-on-Stix with rosemary and herbs.


This next variant is deep fried chicken wings with Mexican spices. It’s actually skewered like that for easy eating. It makes sense, if you ask me. They also have the Oriental-flavored Chix-on-Stix, which is seasoned with cumin and spices.

Serenitea is also introducing a line of cakes available in Congressional and Shangri-la branches priced at Php100-135 per slice – these are Rainbow Cake, Chocolate Fudge Cake, Chocolate Nutella Cake, Almond Matcha Cake, and a variety of Cheesecakes as well.


I got to try the Mango Cheesecake that has mango bits and syrup atop the creamy cheesecake. It wasn’t too sweet – a perfect cap after eating the snacks.


Though not a fan of matcha, I still tried the Almond Matcha Cake that combines the taste of almonds and green tea on a layered chiffon cake.

What’s more, Serenitea is also now offering Low Sugar Pearls as sinkers to our favorite Serenitea drink. Many people don’t know that standard pearl sinkers are usually cooked in sugar before they are added to a drink. With the new low sugar pearls, the texture and delight is still the same, but will lesser sweetness and lesser guilt!

Searenitea’s new snacks will be available in most branches in Metro this January 2014, and will be labeled as Captain Pepper, Serenitea’s food snack outlet located in Little Baguio, San Juan.

Meanwhile, Low Sugar Pearl sinkers are already available in all branches without any additional cost – just inform the staff when you order.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meat the Blends at 8cuts Burger Blends in Katipunan

Are you familiar with Burger Bar and Cue Modern Barbecue? You probably love their food like I do! The same owners of the said establishments have opened a new food brand that you should try – it’s called 8cuts Burger Blends located at the second floor of the rather new foodie/shopping place known as the UP Town Center in Katipunan.

One fine day, I went there with my friends LAg to check out the scene and try their food.


8cuts Burger Blends is brightly lit in the morning till afternoon thanks to the sunlight that naturally shines through the transparent window panes. The interiors are nothing fancy – on my right as I enter is the open kitchen that shows the on-the-spot preparation of orders as they come, and on my left are simple signs and symbols about the restaurant. The tables and chairs were mostly blue and orange, which are refreshing to the eyes.


You may ask, “What makes 8cuts Burger Blends unique from other burger brands?” Well, their patties are made from either 100% pure US beef, fresh NZ lamb or the happiest mushrooms out there. Patties are custom-blended and hand-pressed daily without any artificial additives.


The restaurant’s name, 8cuts Burger Blends, signifies the eight different cuts of a cow, namely Chuck, Rib Eye, Short Rib, Sirloin, Brisket, Hanger, Flank and Ox Tail. It also boasts of the five different custom patty blends such as House Blend, Beef Bomb, Steak Cut, Big Game, and Ox Blend.


We ordered a Boss Burger, which gave us the freedom to choose the type of bun, meat, sauce, and add-ons. Depending on the beef you choose, a burger will cost either Php190 or Php255. You can add cheeses, sauces, and other toppings for Php25 to Php50 each. There’s also an upgrade option to Go Lunch Box, which allows you to add Skinny Fries and Beer/Soda/Classic Shake for an additional Php90 to Php255.


For us, we got the Kaiser Bun (flower design) with Ox Blend (Flank and Ox Tail), added fresh red tomatoes, ketchup, and mayonnaise, barbecue aioli, crisp bacon strips and fried oyster mushroom tempura – a total of Php330.

From the first bite, we already knew that it was made from genuine beef. It was very tasty and juicy. In addition, the combination of the sauces we chose tasted great! I find the oyster tempura tasteless though, so the burger could’ve been a bit cheaper without it.


If customization is not your thing, 8cuts Burger Blends also has Classic and Tribute Burgers, which offers a wide variety of burger choices. Like the Boss Burger, it can also be upgraded to Go Lunch Box. You may also opt to get double patty, which comes with a minimal fee.


We ordered the Four Cheese burger (Php245). It’s a parmesan-crusted quarter-pounder with Beef Bomb (Chuck and Short Rib) patty, yellow cheddar, aged gruyere, mozzarella, arugula, and garlic aioli on a Sesame Seed Bun.

I liked how this burger tasted. The blend of chuck and short rib beef was awesome – not dry, very chewy, no fats. The mix of cheese on top of the patty gave the burger a hint of saltiness, but not too much.


Their Skinny Fries (Php45) can also be customized with toppings and sauces. For us, we added Sub-atomic Bacon and Cheese for Php70 and ordered a separate barbecue jalapeno & mozzarella for Php90. There’s nothing spectacular about it, but it was okay.


Draft Beer Battered Fish & Chips (Php190) came in three big pieces with a good portion of fries. We could taste the beer flavor of the fish, which was complemented by the green lemon mayo dip. It can be improve though, since the fish can taste a bit bland without the dip.


The Golden Cheddar Mozzarella Sticks (Php225) with five pieces of sticks filled with yellow cheddar and mozzarella cheeses are best eaten with the marinara sauce. Eat it while it’s hot!


We super love the Onion Rings (Php65), which was topped with barbecue flavor. As compared to others that had small onion wrapped on huge batter, 8cuts’ version was the opposite. It really tasted very good as it is, the garlic aioli dip that came with it also have it a different twist.


Another big hit for us was the Good ‘ol Hot Fried Wings (Php285) that came with 8-glazed pieces of chicken wings. Unlike others, the great taste doesn’t end in the skin, but also in the meat itself. You don’t have to worry, because it isn’t too spicy that will make you sweat. Matched with the ranch sauce, the taste is perfect! Our favorite!


For drinks, we got a Salted Caramel Classic Shake (Php150 for 120oz. and Php180 for 16oz.), a combination of Nutella and Speculoos Cookie Butter called Nutelloos Leveled-up Shake (Php220 for 120oz. and Php295 for 16oz.), and a Red Velvet Caked Shake (Php220 for 120oz. and Php295 for 16oz.). We found the shakes really delicious and creamy, but not too sweet - just perfect! 


Finally, we had the Molten Chocolate Bottoms (Php135) and the Blueberry Cheesecake (Php135) for dessert. It came in a jar with moist hot chocolate cake, chocolate bits, ice cream, whipped cream, crushed cookies, cheesecake, and syrups. These desserts were a great cap after a filling lunch of burgers, fries, and wings.

If burgers are your thing, I highly recommend you try 8cuts Burger Blends at the UP Town Center in Katipunan. You can easily see it from the parking lot beside it. Each meal may cost an average of Php300 per person.

For more information, you can visit their Facebook page here. You can also tweet them @8cutsburger or post your pictures on Instagram @8cutsBurgerBlends with #MeatOurBlends

8cuts Burger Blends
2F UP Town Center, Katipunan
Mondays to Sundays 11AM-11PM
(0917)8182139 / (02)9552264

Images were taken by my friend AGC.