It’s very unusual for one person to be carrying three phones at a time. So to put some semblance of structure in this three-way comparison among the Huawei Nova 5T, the OPPO Reno, and the Samsung Galaxy A70, we’re going to be a little more straightforward with this piece.
You can expect most of our comparisons from here on out to be looked at from these five categories: General performance, media consumption, UI and design, gaming, and everyone’s favorite — cameras.
Let’s jump right in!
Everyday performance: Reliable all throughout
When we say everyday performance, this could mean anything from keeping up with your friends on Facebook, stalking your crush on Instagram, answering emails, and replying to chats. You know, the usual.
All three smartphones do a fantastic job at what we like to call “the basics.” As they should, given all three are midrangers with the Nova 5T even carrying the Kirin 980 — a flagship-level processor that is also equipped on the Huawei P30 Pro.
In case you’re wondering, the OPPO Reno carries a Snapdragon 710 SoC while the Galaxy A70 is rocking the Snapdragon 675. One key difference we don’t see here is the size of the chips. The Kirin 980 measures 7nm while the Snapdragon 710 and 675 come in at 10nm and 11nm respectively.
The differences are minute, but taking up a smaller space goes a long way in adding more components to each phone, which in turn helps with overall performance.
Media consumption: Size and weight matters
How many times have you told yourself, “just one more episode,” before dozing off with your phone unceremoniously landing on your face?
This happens to the best of us. And you wouldn’t want that happening while using the OPPO Reno. It’s easily the heftiest of the three which makes holding the phone in your hand while getting through 40-50 minute episodes of your favorite shows extra tiring.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy A70 is the longest of the bunch. This also adds some imbalance while you’re holding the phone for an extended period.
The Nova 5T probably has the most balanced attributes in terms of size and weight, making it easier to hold the phone. And with its surprisingly light weight despite being made out of metal, it won’t hurt as much if you drop it on yourself.
The OPPO Reno and the Galaxy A70 both use AMOLED displays while the Nova 5T opts for an IPS LCD screen. At first we thought the Reno and A70 would be far and away better viewing experiences but the difference is almost negligible.
UI and Design: All can be… cleaner
We’re not really solid fans of any of the UIs. If you’ve been using Samsung recently, then you’re probably already used to ONEUI as it’s essentially a cleaner and faster version of TouchWiz. ONE UI is snappy and has less bloat. It’s a welcome change but one that still requires plenty of refinement.
We think ColorOS does look cleaner than ONEUI but something about it just doesn’t feel as snappy. The next iteration of the UI should focus on speed if it hopes to feel as premium as the way OPPO is trying to make the external design of the Reno.
EMUI is fast and probably offer more customization than ONE UI and ColorOS. Its implementation of the swipe gesture for fullscreen is already Android 10-esque and it’s easier to switch the look of the icons should you wish to do so. And since we’ve already gotten a glimpse of how clean EMUI 10 will look, it’s easy to give it an edge over the other two UIs.
Design-wise it will all come down to preference. The A70 is the most-plane looking, the OPPO Reno looks sleek, and the Nova 5T — with its 3D holographic design — is loud and flashy. Of course, if none of the looks appeal to you, there’s always the option of slapping case on the phone.
Gaming: Size matters part 2
These are the dimensions for each phone: Nova 5T (154.3 x 74 x 7.8 mm), OPPO Reno (156.6 x 74.3 x 9 mm), Galaxy A70 (164.3 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm). Why is this relevant? The length of the A70 lends itself nicely to games that are played in landscape mode.
If you have big hands, it just makes it easier to hold the phone as you move around and adjust your aim or press button. The differences may not look like a lot on paper, but it’s these little things that make it or break it for some people.
The Reno and A70 also have their own implementations of a Game Assistant. This helps concentrate the processor’s power and RAM to gaming while you’re playing. It also adds a nifty feature of blocking notifications so you can focus on your game. This wasn’t readily present on the Nova 5T.
Performance-wise, it was the Novat 5T that automatically had most settings on high graphics, thanks largely to GPU Turbo 3.0 working in tandem with 8GB of RAM. While the Reno and A70 can handle it, going down to medium might provide a better experience. There’s no need for that on the Nova 5T. Factor in the Nova 5T’s 128GB of internal storage, and you’ve got a phone that can store all of your favorite games.
Cameras: The more the merrier
What we’re going to do here is drop a few samples in this order: Nova 5T, OPPO Reno, and A70. Carefully scrutinize each one to see the output you like the most.
Normal, Zoom, Wide
You’re probably wondering why there’s no wide for the Reno and no zoom for the A70. That’s because they simply don’t have those lenses. This is the inherent advantage of the Nova 5T. Its triple camera setup is versatile giving you different perspectives all in one phone.
The differences are minute and looks-wise it will come down to preference. But when it comes down to it, the Nova 5T just has more to offer overall. If you feel like you need a wide angle lens, go with the A70. If you zoom is your thing, then it’s the Reno for you.
However, wouldn’t it be nice to have all those options? That’s what the Nova 5T gives you, on top of a flagship-level performance in a sturdy metal body with a fully customizable UI.
But here’s the kicker. The Nova 5T offers all of that at the base price of PhP 18,990. Meanwhile, the OPPO Reno and the Galaxy A70 will have you spending north of PhP 22,000. So, if you’re looking for overall value among the three, it’s clear the Nova 5T should be your pick.
This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.
Best of 2019: Our favorite cameras
Carefully curated for your camera needs
Just like any other consumer product, asking for the best product of all time is a lot. Various products were made to cater to the needs of different people. Even though smartphone cameras are fast-evolving, cameras are slower to develop but are far from being obsolete.
Here’s a list to help you decide the next best camera for you.
Best cameras for vlogging
Portability and flip screens — two among the many features that vloggers and content creators want to have in a camera.
Sony RX100 VII
If you want to have the lightest and most compact camera for vlogging, the RX100 VII is your best pick. Unlike other cameras in the list, it doesn’t feature interchangeable lens. Don’t worry, it’s equivalent to a 24-200mm f/2.8-f/4.5 lens, giving you the flexibility to shoot photos and videos on-the-go. It features real-time eye AF and tracking, a 180-degree flip screen, and 4K 30fps video shooting, as well as 960fps slow-mo shooting.
If you’re already invested with Sony’s E-mount lenses, this new camera is for you. It’s one of the few cameras from Sony with interchangeable lenses that also has a flippy screen. It features a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, higher ISO expandability at 102,800, and even a weather-sealed body.
Canon EOS M6 Mark II
Successor to the EOS M6, Canon brings the M6 Mark II to the table with a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor, faster shutter speed (together with the electronic shutter), higher ISO sensitivity range, and more AF points. It now features 4K 30fps/1080p 120fps shooting, a huge bump up from the old video resolution settings. Forget the lack of optical viewfinder! The 3-inch tilting LCD is helpful enough to make it an ideal vlogging companion.
24 hours in Caramoan
Shot with the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE
Tucked in the easternmost part of the Philippines, one can find the beautiful Caramoan Islands. Known as the setting for the hit American reality show Survivor, tourists visit this place to rekindle their Survivor dreams.
But Caramoan is more than just a Survivor destination. It’s home to white and pink sand beaches and tropical activities such as diving, swimming, snorkeling, and spelunking. To get to this paradise, you must take a sixteen-hour drive from Manila.
When we arrived, my friends and I opted to do island hopping for one day to see what Caramoan has to offer. I brought the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE — my favorite midrange smartphone this year — to capture my travels for the day.
Perfect summer weather
Caramoan, like other tropical destinations, is prone to rains and storms. Thankfully, we started with a fine, sunny morning. There were no hints of rain clouds and gloomy skies so we were permitted to roam and go on an island hopping tour.
A day won’t start without a selfie. Before we hop on a boat, we took a selfie under the sun to show-off the blue sky, and of course, us.
Tip #1: When in a tropical destination, make sure you’re wearing appropriate yet fashionable clothes. In this case, I wore a yellow tie-dye sleeveless shirt that I can easily take off should I decide to dip into the water.
Contrary to my previous island hopping tour experiences, the view we had here was kinda gloomy. The sea looked silky as it was enveloped by fog, just like a scene taken right out of Pirates of the Caribbean. While my friends were sleepy, I took advantage of taking photographs since the view will be the same for at least half an hour.
Tip #2: If you’re not exhausted, observe and soak up the surroundings. Everything is picture-worthy, only if you know when and how to.
Our first stop was Guinahoan island, where the popular lighthouse is located. You need a ten to fifteen-minute walk before you can reach the summit where a magnificent view awaits.
Tip #3: Never forget your sunblock and if possible, bring a shawl or anything to cover your skin from the harsh sunlight.
I know, I know. We all want to visit the beaches, but this scenic landscape of rolling hills and greenery is too beautiful to give a pass.
Tip #4: There are no trees or any shade so it’s a must to wear your favorite sunglasses whenever you want to have a photo-op.
Of course, there’s a high chance you’ll end up taking the same photos in the same spots with everyone. It’s important to be creative, even when you travel. While I have inspiration for the photos I want to take, it’s best to explore the area and look for a different perspective to be different. As you can see, my friends and I decided to have our photos taken in different spots so our photos wouldn’t look the same.
Tip #5: If you want a fresh take on your Instagram photos, maybe try adding foreground and forget using portrait mode. Swear, it does wonders especially when you have a scenic background.
We headed to Manlawi sandbar where we were greeted with floating cottages. This sandbar appears only when it’s low tide, hence, the water is chest-deep for those who are swimming.
Our group rented a cottage — which was part of the packaged tour — where we could eat our packed lunch. We decided to bring reusable plastic containers we have from our homes so we can clean and pack them after. While it’s hard to steer away from plastic use, we did our best to keep the place clean and bring our trash with us wherever we went.
After lunch, we’re ready for another island adventure. Being in a tight space, I wished my phone had a wide-angle selfie meant for group photos like this. Nonetheless, we still tried taking a photo or two with my short arms.
Tip #6: I know selfie sticks are so 2015, but it’s additional safety precaution when taking your photos. Imagine if you accidentally dropped your phone in the water!
While on our way to the next island, I stumbled upon beautiful limestone cliffs and rock formations. Caramoan is like a combination of El Nido and Boracay — filled with limestone cliffs, white and golden fine sand, and blue seas.
Tip #7: Use 2x zoom (or more) to find a suitable frame for a scene you want to capture. It helps especially when the boat is a little bit far for you to take a photo.
One of my favorites, Matukad Island is a heaven for beach lovers. There’s fine, white sand everywhere, where you’d rather stomp around barefooted and roll over than go back to city pavements. Since this trip is actually a birthday celebration of a friend, we brought Survivor props and played a game.
If I could go back, I’ll be sure to add this island to the itinerary again. I spent a lot of time running around, sitting, and rolling over in the sand. Life is really better at the beach.
This place is majestic, especially during the golden hour. Wherever you look, it’s instagrammable. If taking photos isn’t your thing, you can sit around and ponder about life since it’s peaceful and relaxing.
Tip #8: Wide-angle modes are your friend when it comes to scenic landscapes. Don’t hesitate to use them!
The sun is going down and we need to get back to the port before the seas get crazy. But before we arrive at the port, the boatman and our guide dropped us off at a small cove with mesmerizing rock formations.
Friendly advice, don’t climb the rocks barefoot. It’s too painful but I endured it to get the pose that I wanted. After twenty minutes, we hopped on the boat to finally go back to the port.
My friends and I were staying in Magindara Guesthouse, a beachfront resort filled with airconditioned cottages to give you that relaxed, tropical vibe. The sand where we stayed at is fine yet brown, but the foamy, bubbly waves compensate. It makes for a perfect profile photo!
Fun nights at Magindara Guesthouse
The sun has finally set and we’re down for a night of drinking and fun moments to cherish. Luckily, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE can take decent photos using its front and rear cameras. You’ll never miss a moment to capture anymore!
Tip #9: Decent night shots are still a hit or miss. To capture better photos at night, find and lean your angle towards a source of light.
And before everything went south, we asked to take a group photo in front of our boodle fight. The whole experience in Caramoan was fantastic, made even better by my companions and the memories we made.
Caramoan is for the adventurous soul, and it’s a place I would come back to if given the chance. Luckily, the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE was more than enough to capture all the memories of this wonderful trip. I can look back without regrets, and I look forward to the time where I’ll be traveling to this paradise once again.
All photos are taken with the Xiaomi Mi 9 SE.
Sony WH-XB700 hands-on: Extra bass, extra flex
Great for travels and even OOTDs
Today’s gadgets are no longer just mere products. A lot have found their way to our daily lifestyle so it’s also important that they look good while we use them. And for others who are more trend-sensitive, these devices should blend well with their outfit and even character — all while doing what it’s supposed to do.
When it comes to headphones, Sony wants to offer something that you can bring anywhere during your travels while looking discreet yet fashionable. This is where the WH-XB700 comes into the picture. On paper, it ticks the boxes of what a casual listener is commonly looking for in headphones plus it’s geared towards those who prefer a bit of extra oomph in their bass.
It has a simple and straightforward design
Available in solid blue or black color options
Soft padding on the earcup makes it comfortable
Body is made of plastic so it’s light on the head
Connects wirelessly via Bluetooth or NFC
Built-in microphone for hands-free calls
Comes with 360 Reality Audio
The WH-XB700, among other models in Sony’s audio line, can be paired to your smartphone. And, using the company’s Connect app, you can tweak and customize your sound the way you like it. But as Rodneil mentioned in his WF-1000XM3 review (we know, confusing names), you wouldn’t really end up adjusting your settings that much.
In terms of sound quality, this pair of on-ear headphones deliver clear highs and decent mids. Vocals could be more pronounced but it’s still not bad. The lows, however, are indeed extra punchy. So if you like playing bass-heavy music like house, hip-hop, and the likes, you’d probably enjoy the extra kick in these cans.
Since it’s wireless, it has to connect via Bluetooth which means it has a battery. We’re glad to report that it has a decent battery life that doesn’t require you to keep on looking for sockets just so you could continue to use its wireless capabilities.
I brought it on one of my overseas trips and was able to use it at the airport while waiting to board, during the 4-hour flight, and while walking around for the rest of the entire day with a good amount of juice left when I got back to my hotel.
Charging time is also not bad with up to 90 minutes of music time just from a 10-minute quick charge.
Having the WH-XB700 for a while is basically being able to conveniently listen to your tunes anywhere you go. It doesn’t have the best audio quality in Sony’s lineup but having its flexibility for usage on-the-go sort of outweighs this shortcoming.
They are also light on the head and easy on the ears so fatigue has been kept down to a minimum. You also wouldn’t have to keep on charging it since it could last a few days of moderate usage.
The Sony WH-XB700 currently retails in the Philippines for PhP 7,999 (around US$ 150). It’s not the best wireless headphones we’ve tried on but it’s actually competitively priced for what it offers. Plus, it looks nice and goes well with almost anything you put on.
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