ASUS launched the ZenFone 5 at Mobile World Congress this year. But it’s a completely different ZenFone from the one announced back at CES in 2014.
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realme GT Master Edition: Unboxing and First Impressions
Does it remind you of a suitcase?
realme has a new phone — the realme GT Master Edition — and we’re gonna take it out of the box. We’ll also tell you what we initially think because these are the only things we’re allowed to do. For now.
The company is using all their favorite buzzwords again to generate… well… buzz for the phone. Words like disruptive, game changer, flagship experience — the works. It gets too hypey, but that’s what you gotta do to standout in an industry dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung. I digress.
Take a look at the realme GT Master Edition specs before we proceed with the unboxing:
- Display — 6.43″ AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
- Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G
- RAM — 8GB + up to 5GB DRE (Dynamic RAM Extension)
- Storage — 128GB and 256GB
- Battery — 4,300mAh, Dual-cell design, 65W SuperDart charging
- Rear Cameras — 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.3 119° ultra-wide lens, 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
- Selfie Camera — 32MP
- OS — Android 11, realme UI 2.0
- Color Options — Voyager Grey, Daybreak Blue
It came in this cool tiny travel suitcase. It’ll be a recurring theme.
Opening it reveals two boxes safely tucked in between foams for shock absorption.
The left box, as you can see, is just black with the trademark yellow realme logo. On the right side is the box of the actual phone itself.
The left box is filled with different realme items.
Some stickers, keychains, and more.
It also has printed pictures of shots taken using the realme GT Master Edition.
Now, onto the main event — the box of the phone itself.
Opening the box, you’ll see this warm welcoming message.
Inside this, you’ll find the usual documentation — warranty, manual, all that good stuff.
Lift that and you’ll be greeted by the realme GT Master Edition.
Wrapped in plastic with an indicator of where the in-display fingerprint sensor is located.
Lift that layer where the phones and you’ll find the plasticky case.
It looks exactly like the back of the phone except it’s a shade lighter and doesn’t feel quite as good.
Underneath it is the USB Type-C cable.
And as you may have gleaned from the photo above, the SIM tray ejector tool lies under it.
When you life the case, you’ll see the 65W SuperDart power brick.
That’s it for everything inside the box. Now let’s look at the phone.
Here’s a good look at the back of the realme GT Master Edition.
As mentioned earlier, the whole suitcase and travel thing is the main theme of this phone’s design. The horizontal grids were meant to replicate the look of a suitcase to trigger the thought of travel. It’s kind of cruel given the general travel restrictions still imposed on us because of the pandemic. But maybe that’s just me.
Signed by Naoto Fukasawa.
Responsible for the design is Naoto Fukasawa. He even signed the thing on the back. It’s a puzzling move to say the least. I’m fairly certain 90 percent of the people who will end up purchasing this phone will have zero idea who Fukasawa is. But congrats, you have his autograph now!
Fukasawa is a Japanese industrial designer. He is most known for his works with retail company MUJI. Now, I’m sure a lot of you will be familiar with MUJI. Even then, I don’t think the idea of a renowned designer’s signature being on your phone’s back is something you’ll find thrilling or enticing.
realme continues to make these wild choices for back designs. It’s brave and bold which is in keeping with their whole approach. Personally, these aren’t things I find appealing. Then again, an oldie like me is likely not their target market. I just wanted to get that off my chest.
Looks aside, that back feels great
realme says it’s called the concave vegan leather — the first of its kind in the smartphone industry. I’m not gonna pretend to understand the whole process so here’s an excerpt from realme’s infosheet explaining the thing:
“realme has adopted a more challenging way – the polymer material is turned into an initial three-dimensional shape through the injection molding process, and then use the hot pressing process to synthesize the vegan leather with the substrate, and finally achieve the integrated concave vegan leather shape.”
Did you get that? Basically, all of that was needed to achieve the uneven finish with the feel of leather. It’s a lot to take in but all you need to know is that it feels great to touch and isn’t slippery at all.
Bottom: Speaker grille, USB-C port, and suprise — 3.5mm headphone jack.
Button placements are your usual. Power button on the right side and the volume buttons as well as the SIM card tray on the left side.
Here’s the realme GT Master Edition with the case on.
It mimics the look of concave vegan leather but feels nowhere near it. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend using this case if you want to preserve that leather feeling. Really wish realme came up with vegan leather case too.
The phone’s wallpaper looks like a pavement.
Points for consistency, I guess? It’s running Android 11 with a coat of realme UI 2.0. If you’re an OPPO user, this UI going to feel familiar. It’s almost like ColorOS which isn’t a bad thing. The whole UI feels clean and easy to navigate.
What’s surprising are the overwhelming number of apps pre-installed. Sure, you have ones that you’ll likely install like Facebook, Messenger, and Netflix. But for every one of those useful apps, there’s a couple more that’s just flat out bloatware. There are also incessant notifications about apps you can download from their App Market. I know “disrupting” is their thing but maybe not like this?
Cameras to die for?
realme made a big deal about the back design and just as much as they did, they also said the cameras on this thing are fantastic. Hence, the inclusion of printed photos taken with it in this special unboxing package. We have no samples to show you just yet. We’ll take a step outside, observing health and safety protocols of course, to see if we can come up with stunning images ourselves.
The realme GT Master Edition (that’s a mouthful) is a decently-sized smartphone with concave vegan leather for its back that feels absolutely fantastic. It has an overall clean UI that’s bogged down a little bit by bloatware. We’ll explore its performance and camera prowess in the review. By that time, we’ll also know how its price so watch out for it.
Huawei Nova 8i Unboxing and First Impressions
Taking several design cues from the Mate line
Huawei is back in the game of midrangers and claims the throne as king with its new contender and one of the latest from the Nova series — the Huawei Nova 8i.
Let’s check out what Huawei has in store for us.
The phone comes in their signature plain white box with just the Huawei Nova branding.
Lifting the lid, you’ll be greeted by the Huawei Nova 8i smartphone right away.
Underneath the phone, you’ll find a red sheet of paper with a QR code. When scanned, it leads to the Huawei website with a guide on how to find apps.
Removing that sheet of paper, you’ll see a smaller white box which contains the transparent silicone case you can use to protect your phone.
There’s also a manual, warranty card and the SIM ejector tool.
Going through the rest of the box, you’ll find a standard pair of earphones, a 6A USB Type-C charging cable and 66W Huawei SuperCharge wall charger.
The Huawei Nova 8i inherits the stylish aesthetic of the Nova series and the one we got came in this magnificent Moonlight Silver variant.
At its right side, you’ll see the fingerprint power key and volume rockers.
On top, you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack.
At the bottom, you’ll see the SIM tray, USB-C port and speaker grille.
The Huawei Nova 8i houses a 4,300 mAh battery and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor with 8GB of RAM along with 128GB of internal storage.
Examining the phone further, the Huawei Nova 8i is slim, stylish and has a premium-like design. Its resemblance with the flagship phone Huawei Mate 30 was also highly noticeable.
Similar to Mate 30, I really like how narrow the bezels are around the 6.67-inch Huawei Edgeless Display. You can also notice the likeness with the rear quad camera setup. But the Nova 8i has a 64MP f/1.9 main camera, 8MP f/2.4 ultra wide camera, 2MP f/2.4 macro camera and 2MP f/2.4 depth sensing camera.
I took a few shots for a quick test run and the photos have very vivid detail. I’m actually thrilled about how I can maximize the camera’s use for work and leisure.
With its early indications, the Huawei Nova 8i is pretty elevated compared with other midrangers. It has a sleek design and edgeless display. It also has a 64MP Main Super Camera, 128GB big storage and comes with a 66W Huawei Charger. With all these features combined, you can do work and play to your heart’s content.
Pricing and availability
The Huawei Nova 8i comes in Moonlight Silver, Interstellar Blue or Starry Black. It retails for PhP 13,999 and is available for pre-order until August 21, 2021 via Huawei Store, Lazada, Shopee or through Huawei Experience Stores nationwide.
Pre-order freebies include Huawei Band 4 worth PhP 1,890, Wireless Charging Lamp worth PhP 2,400 and Huawei Cloud storage with benefits up to PhP 2,308.
Huawei Nova 8 Unboxing and First Impressions
Looks and feels premium
Midrange smartphones have gotten so much attention from a lot of brands lately. And why not? This is the middle ground for people who’d want the premium of a higher end smartphone but don’t want to break the bank. Here, it’s Huawei’s turn to give the midrange line some love with their newest addition to the Nova series — the Huawei Nova 8.
The Nova 8 in a classic Huawei white box
Inside the accessories box, we get the standard SIM card ejector tool.
Also a clear jelly case for protection while still showcasing the beautiful back cover.
The charger is surprisingly smaller than the 65W charger that came with the MateBook D15 I previously reviewed. I wonder if this can charge the MateBook D15?
Of course a 6A USB-C cable.
A closer look of the phone
We have the 64MP main shooter, 8MP Ultra-wide, 2MP Macro and 2MP depth camera.
And a 32MP front facing camera.
A nice touch for a midranger, we get a sleek looking curved edge display
The top and bottom frame has a matte texture with glossy edges
Holding the Nova 8, you can tell right away that the feel is quite similar to what you get on higher end models. With the curved edge and firm build quality, there’s definitely a discernible distinction with its lower end sibling, the Nova 8i. I also noticed immediately that the touch sampling rate of the display is of higher rating as it felt snappy to my touch and swipes.
Loaded with a Kirin 820E chipset, 8GB of RAM and running EMUI 12, the experience is quite pleasant for a midrange phone but also nothing to be too hyped about.
What got me curious though, is the 66W charging. According to Huawei, the Nova 8 can be fully charged in just 35 minutes. We went on and tried it out so we plugged it right in after we unboxed it. I must say, Huawei’s estimate might just be realistic. You can literally stare at your phone and watch the battery indicator rise up.
So far, my initial impression on the Nova 8 has been pretty solid. It manages to keep up on its performance and also gets you that sophistication that you’d mostly feel with the higher ends. So if that’s what you’re really looking for, the Huawei Nova 8 is now available for pre-order.
The Huawei Nova 8 comes in Bluish Gold and retails for PhP 19,999.
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