Her GadgetMatch

5 best dual-camera selfie smartphones below $500

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These days, smartphones can do almost anything. From booking rides, to finding drinks and finding love   these high-tech gadgets are super capable. Having a phone camera has also become a standard, but not all cameras are created equal.

For the photo lovers, I’ve compiled a list of smartphones that have been tailored specifically to us selfie enthusiasts. The best part? A great selfie doesn’t have to cost you substantial money! All phones are below US$ 500.

The 6-inch selfie expert

OPPO F3 Plus

OPPO is called the “selfie expert” for good reason. Their slew of smartphone releases have very capable cameras. The F3 Plus has two front-facing cameras: 16- and 8-megapixel shooters, the latter being a wide-angled camera. This means wider selfies with more scenery! The phone also has a software-generated bokeh mode and its 6-inch screen allows for a bigger screen to check your photos on.

OPPO F3 Plus photo sample

OPPO F3 Plus selfie sample

The F3 Plus has a built-in beauty mode which allows you to toggle between fair and rosy complexions and a beauty filter with seven possible levels of intensity.

READ MORE: OPPO F3 Plus review and selfie comparisons

The perfect selfie smartphone

Vivo V5 Plus

To this day, Vivo’s beauty mode remain to be my favorite. This stands true to their promise of creating “perfect selfie” smartphones. The Vivo V5 Plus, although an older release, is still my photo go-to from the Vivo line. The front-facing dual-camera setup features 20- and 8-megapixel shooters and it’s equipped with a bokeh mode feature.

Vivo V5 Plus selfie sample

Vivo V5 Plus selfie sample

Vivo’s beauty mode features a bar you can toggle from end to end for three different things: buffing, skin tone, and whitening.

READ MORE: Vivo V5 Plus camera hands-on: Another perfect selfie?

A smaller version of the F3 Plus

OPPO F3

The OPPO F3 is everything the F3 Plus is, at a fraction of the size. With a screen at 5.5 inches, my teeny hands are capable of taking one-handed selfies, well, almost. This smaller OPPO phone literally carries the same specs, the same beauty modes as the F3 Plus but at a more affordable price tag.

OPPO F3 selfie sample

OPPO F3 selfie sample

READ MORE: OPPO F3 review and selfie comparisons

The literal pro at selfies

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro blows me away with the amount of attention put on its beauty mode. Everything from skin tone to skin softening, brightening, eye widening, and cheek thinning may be achieved from levels one to ten — talk about choices!

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro photo sample

Beauty + bokeh mode on the ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro

As if that wasn’t enough, ZenFone 4 selfie phones come with ASUS Selfie Master which is a camera app with a different beauty mode interface. The same app allows you to shoot video and go live on social media with a full-time beauty filter.

A dual-camera setup up front is capable of 24-megapixel DuoPixel photos, wide-angle shots, and bokeh mode.

READ MORE: ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro review: The ultimate selfie phone

The Selfie Pro’s budget counterpart

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie

The ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie is the budget counterpart of the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro. Fitted with 20- and 8-megapixel cameras for ultimate selfies, this smartphone camera has all the beauty mode features the Selfie Pro has at a cheaper price.

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie selfie sample

ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie photo sample

READ MORE: ASUS ZenFone 4 Selfie hands-on and camera review

Bonus:

The cutie screen phone

Meizu Pro 7

The Meizu Pro 7 is not specifically marketed as a selfie smartphone, but I feel compelled to include this on the list because of the many wonders its secondary AMOLED screen — or as I call it, the cutie screen — holds.

The teeny panel on the back of the phone serves a great selfie purpose, as it allows you to shoot with the phone’s rear dual-cams on three modes: beauty, camera blur, and original. The Pro 7’s single front shooter is also equipped with a basic beauty mode function.

Meizu Pro 7 photo samples

Meizu Pro 7 selfie samples

READ MORE: Meizu Pro 7 Review: Twice the fun

SEE ALSO: Cute and fun tech for girls!

[irp posts=”12138″ name=”How to take the perfect selfie”]

 

Her GadgetMatch

What night outs are like when you’re older and wiser

Featuring the OPPO R17 Pro and my waning patience for clubs

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There comes a time in every party girl’s life when you realize you’ve lost it. By “it,” I mean the overwhelming urge to go out and stay out late, drinking as much alcohol as a thirsty camel that just escaped the desert.

A few years ago, you’d be lucky to find me home on a weekend. These days, times have sorely changed — Friday nights are spent indoors in the comfort of my bed. Clubbing has been replaced by Saturday brunch meets and coffee dates with friends. It’s been many hangover-free days, but all that was about to change because of a smartphone.

Just another normal day, phone and coffee in hand

This is the OPPO R17 Pro, or in Europe, the RX17 Pro. At the launch event in Milan, OPPO explained that this phone and its new night mode were made for you to be able to capture every moment in your life — including those that didn’t happen in good lighting. At that point, all the badly lit club snaps and the party selfies I’ve ever taken flashed into my mind.

The phone that’s forcing me to leave my bed

Touted as the phone which could “seize the night,” as its slogan had suggested, I decided to test it out in a realistic night out. Time to break my hibernation and finally get out of my very cozy and inviting bed.

I know, this is either my best idea or my worst idea yet.

Prep

Of course, any night out starts with an outfit. And since gone are my tiny dress, stiletto days, I opted for full coverage (and comfort) with a flowing navy skirt which matched the Emerald Green R17 Pro, topping the look off with a pink bag to match my hair and gold details.

And no, I didn’t even attempt to wear heels because the effort in finding a comfy-cute outfit alone was too much for me.

A quick note: This will be the last #OOTD section. As much as I wanted to shoot a phone-coordinated #OOTD for each of my night out attempts, 2018 Isa was just not having it and couldn’t be bothered.

First try: Wine and cheese night

Since I didn’t plan on, nor did I think I would have survived, visiting an actual bar just yet, I called on my friend Nikka for an evening of chatting and unli-wine. I know, I know. You expected a crazy party when I said “night out.” But, this just seemed so much more appealing to me — no chaos of the club and random strangers in a tight, sweaty space — just two girl friends chatting with cheese and tall glasses. Besides, the spot we picked gave us an al fresco table that was perfect for us: It was spacious and dimly lit.

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Since we were seated, I was only able to take sample photos from my seat, of Nikka, and my food. As the night progressed, however, photos got blurrier — but I can attribute that to me getting drunk and wobbly. Who would’ve thought you could get drunk with wine? Newsflash: You can and it can get messy.

The phone did pretty well that night, so much better than I can say for myself. The R17 Pro even took a nice group shot of the people on the other table I drunkenly started to make conversation with (my new friends, if I can remember their names 😅) despite me being a crappy inebriated photographer.

I woke up the next morning with a massive hangover (copious amounts of wine do that) and doubting this whole article pitch altogether but I had to soldier on. I have to say that OPPO’s custom beauty mode really worked wonders for me that day. The selfie below cannot even begin to show the sh*tstorm I felt inside.

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I was so over everything that day that I couldn’t even be bothered to turn the Portrait mode on the front-facing camera to blur out the crap that was behind me. Thankfully, I am to learn later on that the R17 Pro has a host of built-in editing tools, one of which allowed me to selectively blur parts of a photo. I literally drew my own bokeh effect on this selfie. Brownie points for me fixing my hangover mistakes!

We move on to my second night out attempt.

Second try: Birthday celebrations over tapas

When you’re older, you resort to adulting tactics to ensure you don’t inadvertently have a crazy night of drinking. The adulting tactic my friends pulled was the have-a-quiet-dinner-drinks-setup-on-a-Sunday-night-so-that-we-have-to-go-home-early-for-Monday-morning tactic.

Two of my friends, Ian and Shy, celebrated their joint birthdays at a quaint Spanish restaurant. Of course, there was wine, tapas, and even more drinks.

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I’m proud to say I didn’t drink a drop this evening, also because I was still reeling from that previous wine night. Hence, better photo samples with steadier, non-drunk hands. I can’t say the same for my friends, though. The photo below was quickly snapped by one of my drinking friends who decided that the people in the background also wanted in on the shot. 😅 Nevertheless, I fixed it with my newfound R17 Pro editing skills.

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Not drinking and pulling a Cinderella (leaving for home at midnight) did wonders for me. Who knew this was actually a choice? (Early twenty-something Isa who drank at every night out didn’t.)

I woke up Monday morning and was this fresh. This selfie is still with help from the custom beauty mode on light settings, but who’s checking?

Third try: Cocktail tasting

When my friend Sky invited me to a cocktail tasting event, I was about to decline the drinking invitation based on my newly learned no-saying adult capabilities. But, when I learned there were going to be pretty pink cocktails, I was sold. I found myself in a great-looking bar catching up with friends. This, sans a crazy crowd, was usually the type of place I’d have trouble photographing but lo and behold, the photos turned out great.

Three great-tasting strawberry sampaguita cocktails and some fun conversations later, the bar was filling up with people and it was time for me to go home with just the right buzz.

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No hangovers and yummy pink cocktails seemed like the best night out combo. Proof of life the next day is below:

And because I was actually functioning, there was a conscious effort to turn on an actual front-facing portrait mode this time. Though it cut out my earring and part of my glasses, nothing could dampen my non-hungover mood.

Key takeaways

A lot of things are to be learned from this little writing project and drinking experiment of mine. First and foremost is that I cannot, even if I tried, drink as much as I used to. I’m not the invincible twenty-something party machine I once was, and that’s okay. We all slow down; parties come and go but true friends and never-ending cheese platters remain.

I learned that in adulthood, I am seeing more wine and cocktails and fewer shots — thank goodness. Nevertheless, know that a wine hangover will kill you, or at least your will to function for a whole day. Even if a good beauty mode can cover up said hangover in selfies, you still feel it intensely.

I also learned that I’m still very friendly when I have alcohol in my system (some things never change), drunk people will never, ever take good photos (my drunken selfies will never, ever see the light of day), and the OPPO R17 Pro is a good night out companion.

Despite all these findings, life lessons, and great photos, I feel like I’m ready to crawl back into my bed and switch back to hibernation mode. This is the only “night mode” I’m willing to do for a while.

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Her GadgetMatch

8 festive makeup looks to up your holiday game

Sparkly AF

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December is the time for gifts, Christmas cheer, and, of course, holiday parties. Looking to add some pizzaz to celebrate? Fret not, I gotchu.

Dazzle everyone with festive looks that are as fun and bright as the holidays themselves. This season’s looks involve some merry cheer in the form of bright colors and a lot of sparkles. Wow at your next Christmas get-together with makeup that jingle bell rocks. Here are a few looks you can try:

Get in the mood with this glitter red eye

This red-themed look is one that’s sure to turn heads. Pair your shimmering lids with a glossy red lip and you’ll be looking oh so merry this season.

This festive green makes for an elegant Christmas look 

A subtle look with a great color pop to keep you in thay holiday spirit, this Christmas-y greed lid works well worn with some holiday cheer.

A great glitter cut crease is a popping detail everyone will love

It’s all about the subtle detail! This sparkly cut crease makes a big impact and turns up the holiday notch in any basic look.

Ice queen with a flair with this cool frosted lavender look

There’s a Rihanna style for every season! This cool lavender look is a great way to add some color to an icy snow queen look that’s perfect for this Ber-month.

Another sparkly cut crease that definitely dazzles

Another take on the glitter cut crease — this whole look is looking festive AF. This fresh face topped off with that eye-catching lid looks simply amazing.

Go all out glam with a glorious glitter lid

For a more classic approach, a bold red lip with shimmering platinum lids do the job well. This holiday twist to the dramatic look does wonders.

A simple look with a tiny touch of twinkle

Those who need a more conservative holiday look for everyday December wear need not look further. A touch of sparkle on your lid will make all the difference.

This amazing glitter lip because glitter works with everything

Dazzle everyone with this look! Taking things up a notch with the glitters, this bold holiday lip will give everyone something to look at.

Merry Christmas and great-looking makeup holidays, ya’ll! 🤩

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Her GadgetMatch

LG’s HomeBrew machine will make homemade craft beer for you

The best kitchen appliance in the history of time

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This is not your typical kitchen appliance — it’s even better.

LG has just announced a capsule-based craft beer brewing machine and they plan to unveil it in January during CES 2019.

Yes, you read that right. The LG HomeBrew will make you your own beer right at the comfort of your own home. You know those Nespresso machines that make coffee using those cute capsules? Imagine something with similar capsules, only this device will make beer. Let that reality sink in.

According to LG, the single-use capsules will contain everything you need for your brew: malt, yeast, hop oil, and flavoring. An “optimized beer fermentation algorithm” ensures optimum settings to make sure you come up with good beer. With the touch of a button, the LG HomeBrew will do everything for you, including cleaning the machine after every brew which means no messes, ever.

It makes five types of brew: American IPA, American Pale Ale, English Stout, Belgian-style Witbier, and Czech Pilsner. You can make around five liters of beer, depending on type, in two weeks time. The device also connects to your phone so you can check on your beer maker wherever you are, whenever you want.

Oh LG, thanks for making life so, so good, one homemade craft beer at a time. My kitchen is so ready for this.

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