Features

7 single-camera smartphones to get yourself on Singles’ Day

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Every 14th of February, the phenomenon that is known as Valentine’s Day sweeps the world. In what the unattached call a blatant and unwarranted display of affection, lovers celebrate their relationships in a day solely dedicated to having a significant other.

Now, and rightly so, there’s a day dedicated for single people. That day is on 11.11.

To celebrate, I’ve rounded up a number of single-camera smartphone shooters (meaning one camera on each side) to further prove that it’s okay to be single.

In no particular order:

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
One of the first to attempt the beautiful borderless display, Xiaomi has outdone themselves with the Mi Mix 2’s form factor. That almost invisible single shooter up front is the best touch. If that’s how single cameras should look on a phone, then Xiaomi knows the meaning of being lonely!
Buy HERE (Plus, here’s a coupon code: GLOMIX2)

Vivo V7+

Vivo V7+
This phone may only have one front-facing shooter and one rear camera, but it still packs all the “perfect selfie” capabilities. It’s proof that being single can still mean you’re slaying.

Apple iPhone 8

iPhone 8
Sometimes, you don’t need to be changing a lot of things up to get to a formula that works. The new iPhone 8 packs only a single shooter up front and on its back, but it’s still all the awesomeness we love from Apple. See? You can be great by just being you.

HTC U11

HTC U11
Single shooters aside, the HTC U11 will never leave you. It won’t let go or get suffocated even if you hold on to it too tightly — all that will do is trigger Edge Sense, the phone’s squeeze functionality.

OPPO F5

OPPO F5
OPPO’s newest borderless release has only one shooter on each side and yet their perfect selfies got even more perfect. Again, sticking to singles can and will bring out the best version of you.

Sony Xperia XZ1

Sony Xperia XZ1
The Xperia XZ1 is the latest Sony release and it sticks to its tried and tested single camera setup because you can’t really go wrong if you’re already doing it right. And for Sony, single (shooters) is the way to go.

Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2
When the Pixel 2 was released, it was rated the best smartphone camera despite using just a single lens — definite example that you can be on top even when by yourself.
[irp posts=”16848″ name=”5 waterproof flagship phones: No raining on this parade!”]

Features

Making Magic: The secret to a signature photography style

Photographer Magic Liwanag shares tips, tricks and general advice on photography

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Magic Liwanag
Shot on OPPO Reno4

“I think the best tip out there is to just keep shooting and try to learn something new everyday.”

It seems cliche and obvious, but sometimes it’s these exact things that escape us. Asked to share tips on how one can discover a signature photography style, Magic Liwanag’s response in a nutshell is to just do the work.

The advice could have come from anyone, but it helps that it’s from a seasoned pro.

Who is Magic Liwanag? 

Magic Liwanag is a professional photographer who has been shooting lifestyle events for 13 years now. He gained prominence when he started shooting concerts for MTV Philippines and other different promoters.

Shot on OPPO Reno2F

Who has he shot so far? Oh you know, just a few people you might have heard of. Do the names Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Jennifer Lopez ring any bells?

He’s gone on to shoot other well-known personalities like Zac Efron, Chris Pratt, and Henry Cavill just to name a few. Suffice it to say, he’s done the work and he knows what he’s talking about.

Evolving with the times 

Like most photographers pre-smartphone era, Liwanag started with a DSLR. But as time went on and technology progressed, so did his weapon of choice.

Liwanag now uses a mirrorless camera for work. They’re lighter and smaller but still get the job done. But what if it’s not a job? That’s where smartphones have come in.

Shot on OPPO Reno2

“Smartphones are now catching up in terms of comfort and ease of use. Now, I can just flip out my phone and confidently shoot with OPPO’s camera, “ shared Liwanag.

Shot on OPPO Reno2

“Like when my wife and I traveled, I no longer needed to bring an extra sling bag for my camera, I can now shoot with my phone while we toured around,” shared Liwanag.

Shot on OPPO Reno2

He notes that he does still carry his main camera around all the time. But the convenience of having a smartphone that can shoot in different zoom ranges quickly at your disposal is truly helpful.

Shooting on a smartphone

“Your camera is just a tool, and you are its master. Number one rule: know what you’re using.”

Get intimate with your device of choice and know its strengths and weaknesses. Yet another solid advice from someone who has been at it for years. These days, Liwanag shoots with an OPPO Reno 4. Here, he rattles off what the phone can do.

Magic Liwanag

Shot on OPPO Reno4

“AI Color Portrait lets me be more creative because I know that it separates my subject (makes it colored) and makes the background monotone. Don’t just click and forget, make sure your subject captures the eyes of your viewers.”

Magic Liwanag

Shot on OPPO Reno4

“The Night Flare Portrait mode can help you shoot portraits even in low-light situations. Always remember, and I always say this,  light = photograph. Without light, there will be no photograph. Everything else will follow. Don’t attempt to just shoot in pitch black and assume that you will have a banger portrait.”

“Play with the light.”

Magic Liwanag

Shot on OPPO Reno4

“I love this mode cause even your mobile screen can be the source of light for a nice portrait. It makes all the colors pop as well adding that oomph,” he added.

Liwanag also shared his favorite for video creation: 960fps AI Slow Motion. Capturing 960fps slow-mo video is already amazing on its own, but he found the motion detection feature to be astonishing.

“If you don’t have any subjects, you can take videos of yourself in slow motion, and the 960fps AI Slow Motion of the Reno4 can detect if you start doing your jumps, or even start filming when you start to move.”

Your signature style

Liwanag’s tips are simple: Keep shooting and know your device well. If you keep doing the work, eventually, you’ll learn what it is that will set you apart.

“To get a signature or a personal style, you have to keep experimenting until you find what gives you that spark of excitement.”

For him, it’s “raw live, fast, and light.” The thrill of shooting concerts is what keeps him excited. “You can’t control what’s in front of you. But you can work around it.”

“Don’t just copy what they do. Be a better version of it.”

But it also helps to be versatile and an effective communicator. For shooting portraits, he says it’s best to make the subject feel comfortable. Whether that’s a prominent celebrity or a model just getting started, making the subject feel at ease is paramount.

Magic Liwanag also shared that you can choose to follow people that inspire you. Learn from their style and method of going about things, but… “don’t just copy what they do. Be a better version of it,” he cautions.

Shot on OPPO Reno 10x Zoom

At the end of the day, it all boils down to clocking in those 10,000 hours. “Put in the time to find what your strengths and weaknesses are. Practice, practice, and adapt.”

If you put in the work, that’s when magic happens.

~All photos shot with the OPPO Reno Series~

SEE ALSO: Content creating with the OPPO Reno4

The OPPO Reno4 retails at PhP18,990 available in three color variants Space Black, Galactic Blue, and the newest limited-edition Nebula Purple.

You can get your own via OPPO concept and online stores, partner dealers, and exclusive e-commerce partners Shopee and Lazada. The limited-edition Nebula Purple is available in selected stores only.

You may visit OPPO’s official website at www.oppo.com/ph for more details.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and OPPO Philippines.

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Features

What selfies look like taken on an under display camera

Using the Rakuten BIG

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ZTE Axon 20 5G. Photo by Yasuhiro Yamane

The ZTE Axon 20 5G — the world’s first smartphone with an under display camera — launched in September but not very many people have had a chance to try it. The relatively obscure Vinsmart Vsmart Aris Pro (Vietnam) and Rakuten BIG (Japan) followed suit.

Now, thanks to our tech journalist friends Ayano Tominaga and Yasuhiro Yamane, we can show you what it’s like taking a few selfies and video using the Rakuten BIG’s front-facing under display camera.

Rakuten BIG

Photo by Ayano Tominaga

The Rakuten BIG is a 6.9-inch phone with an OLED display. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chip with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also has a battery capacity of 4,000mAh.

On its rear is a quad-camera module: 64MP main sensor, and 8MP ultra-wide angle lense, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro camera.

If those specs seem familiar that’s because they’re exactly the same as the ZTE Axon 20 5G. Well, almost exactly. There’s a bit of a difference in the battery capacity 4,000mAh vs 4220mAh but that’s still pretty close.

Photo by Yasuhiro Yamane

The selfie camera

For all intents and purposes, the Rakuten BIG may just be a rebranded ZTE Axon 20 5G. They also share the same megapixel count for the selfie camera which is 32MP.

If this is the case, the phone might be using the same transparency material that includes new organic and inorganic films, to balance the performance of the display and the front camera.

NO Notch. Photo by Ayano Tominaga

The selfies

Here are what some quick selfies look like. These were taken indoors, inside a hotel with sufficient amount of lighting. No editing was applied to the photos but they were resized in the interest of faster load time.

It certainly doesn’t seem like a photo taken by a camera lens with a cover over it. But you can tell the software is doing a lot of heavy lifting. At first glance it looks like a regular selfie, but a closer inspection shows some detail smoothing.

Color reproduction is a little inconsistent too. Here’s a pair of selfies taken just seconds apart.

The selfie on the left is considerably warmer than the one on the write. Note that Ayano was in the exact same place with nearly the exact same pose and angle.

Here’s another sample with a better look at the lights in the background — which probably most represents all the post-processing the phone is doing. Take note that you can’t take selfies in rapid succession. The phone really does take longer than most to process the images.

What we were impressed with though is the video. The picture quality was clear and didn’t have any excessive traces of post-processing during a video call via Facebook Messenger.

Here’s a sample video taken separately after the call with beauty mode turned on. The post-processing is more pronounced here but it certainly doesn’t harm the picture quality.

What do you think of the selfies? Pretty good already for an under display camera?

Price and availability

The Rakuten BIG retails for JPY 69,800 Yen (US$ 665) and is currently only available in Japan. It comes in three colors: Black, White, and Crimson Red.

h/t: Ayano Tominaga, Yasuhiro Yamane

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Reviews

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review: Last of its Kind

Hopefully not

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Every year, Huawei’s Mate series dominate the smartphone world with hosts of new features.

This October, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro finally made its way out of the limousine. As usual, it’s packed with the latest and greatest internals minus the full Android experience. Albeit, you still get support for AppGallery and other existing Huawei services.

With all that mind, is it still worthy to invest your money just to buy this smartphone?

You can watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro review by clicking this link.

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