Hands-On

Honor 7A hands-on review: Back to budget

Did Huawei hit all the right notes?

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After Honor released smartphones that match the premium P20 series in terms of performance (but at a much easier-to-digest price), it’s easy to forget that Huawei’s sub-brand has had a strong budget game, as well.

Going down the very bottom of the pricing ladder will bring you to the Honor 7A, which launched in China in early April and in India later in May.

I got my hands on a unit, so here are my early impressions.

As budget as can be

With a starting price of US$ 130 in both China and India, it’s a no-brainer that you’re getting a basic smartphone in the Honor 7A. But as Xiaomi and ASUS have proven, selling at a low cost doesn’t necessarily mean the device will suck.

In front we have a 5.7-inch 720p display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, which conforms to the newer standard without applying a camera notch. Instead, there’s a small amount of bezel at the top and bottom. This consequently brings the fingerprint reader to the rear.

The body itself is light thanks to a mostly plastic construction and a glass front that doesn’t feel like it can withstand scratches. If you’re planning on using the Honor 7A as a primary phone, you better find a decent case right away.

What impresses me most is the triple-card slot, allowing you to have two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time — helpful for travelers and to expand the lacking 16GB of storage. On the downside, it uses an outdated micro-USB port with no fast charging.

Surprising cameras

From afar, it looks like this handset has a dual-camera setup on the back and front, but that’s far from the truth, as well as earlier news on this phone.

The Honor 7A variant I have here has a single 13-megapixel camera on the rear and an 8-megapixel selfie shooter in front. What’s great is they both have an LED flash.

Unfortunately, the extra illumination doesn’t help improve the output that much. Unless there’s a strong amount of light, I’d always find noise in my photos and softness on my subjects.

But when you get it right, the results can be surprisingly good. Here are a few samples from my short time with the cameras:

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Up and down performance

In an unusual move, Honor chose to equip this phone with a Snapdragon 430 processor, which is quite good for this price range, but isn’t Huawei’s own Kirin chip. No complaints from me, however; I’d pick the reliability of a Snapdragon processor any time.

Going through the EMUI 8.0 interface (appropriately based on Android 8.0 Oreo), is pleasantly snappy except for when too many apps are active at once. I felt the stuttering begin once I started flipping through five apps. It was most apparent when I wanted to take a photo; both picture taking and photo viewing had noticeable lag in between.

I played a couple of graphics-heavy games, namely Asphalt 9 and PUBG, to test how far the Honor 7A can go. As expected, they were playable, but the visual settings had to be turned down to low since the phone has only 2GB of total memory to work with.

Since the processor is efficient, the 3000mAh battery drained gradually even while playing for an hour straight. Without gaming, the phone can easily last an entire day of usage with mobile data or Wi-Fi always on.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

It’s too early to tell if the Honor 7A can stand up well against the likes of the ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) or Xiaomi Redmi S2, but it’s safe to say that it’s an attractive option if you’re a fan of Honor and on a shoestring budget.

The Honor 7A doesn’t have a standout feature like its two aforementioned rivals — the former has a large battery while the latter takes great photos for the price — so this really does seem catered toward Huawei users who want something more affordable.

As it stands, the Honor 7A is a solid entry in this competitive, bang-for-buck space. It’ll start rolling out to more countries soon, and will help Honor spread its honorable name across more market segments.

Hands-On

Huawei Y9 (2019) hands-on: Things got bigger

It’s also more fashionable

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Like every year, cheaper devices come after the premium phones get announced. If the flagship phones are too much for your usage or maybe you’re just looking for a secondary phone, the midrange lineup is the way to go.

As a successor, the new Huawei Y9 (2019) brings in noteworthy upgrades. Although, Huawei seems to be pushing larger phones to the mass market because this year’s Y9 model comes with a bigger display and, of course, a vibrant colored body.

Is the Y9 (2019) any good? Let’s find out.

It has a large 6.5-inch Full HD+ display

Pretty much edge-to-edge with a notch

The notch houses two front cameras

And some sensors as well

The power and volume buttons are on the right

The power button has a special texture

The phone accepts a microSD and two nano-SIM cards

No need to choose!

It uses a micro-USB port for charging

At least there’s a headphone jack

The rear of the phone looks beautiful!

The exterior is plastic, though

There are two AI-enabled cameras on the back

Capable of portrait shots!

It’s bigger, better than before

From 5.93 inches, the latest Huawei Y9 model now has a bigger 6.5-inch display and a higher screen-to-body ratio. The resolution remains at Full HD+ and so does the battery at 4000mAh, but it’s now borderless, which means the infamous notch comes in. The cutout is relatively small though, and it houses two cameras for taking selfies. Also, the aspect ratio is now a bit taller making the phone easier to hold with one hand despite the bigger dimensions.

The phone’s body is mostly made out of polycarbonate, but it doesn’t feel cheap or plasticky. The interesting color of the phone’s back makes the Y9 (2019) look more interesting than other phones in its range. If you like flashy phones, the Y9 (2019) will not disappoint.

When it comes to performance, the Y9 (2019) will also satisfy even the most demanding of users. The phone is powered by Huawei’s latest midrange chip, the Kirin 710. Since the Kirin 710 is manufactured using the 12nm process, it’s more efficient and powerful. The unit I have has 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage, which is enough for what users need today.

Running Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2 and GPU Turbo already available out of the box, the phone can handle graphics-intensive games with ease, especially those that are fully optimized with GPU Turbo like Asphalt 9. I also got high frame rates with Mobile Legends and PUBG: Mobile during my time with the phone.

Equipped with AI-powered cameras

The Y9 (2019) has four cameras: two at the back and two in front. Although, the additional sensors on each side of the phone are purely for depth sensing, so there’s not much to be excited about.

The 16-megapixel f/2.0 rear camera, which is accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor, takes care of the main shooting duties, while the 13-megapixel f/1.8 front camera (also assisted by another 2-megapixel depth sensor) handles selfies. Like any other Huawei phone to come out lately, the Y9 (2019) has AI available to take better photos based on the detected scenario.

Check out these samples:

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Again, turning on AI doesn’t always help. There’s something about the AI cameras on Huawei midrange phones (even Honor) that makes photos appear more saturated and a bit softer, especially in low-light. Good thing it can always be turned off even after taking the shot.

Portrait shots seem pretty okay as well as the selfies. The beauty mode is not my cup of tea, so I have it set to the lowest setting most of the time.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a device that’s relatively cheap and has everything a modern smartphone should have, the Y9 (2019) is an easy recommendation. Don’t expect it to fly, but it’s got more features than your typical midrange phone. Basically, this is Huawei’s answer to the Honor 8X. Both practically have the same specs, but Honor is selling theirs with a cheaper price tag.

The Huawei Y9 (2019) is now available across Asia and it retails for PhP 12,990 in the Philippines, MYR 899 in Malaysia, and CNY 1,499 in China. Aside from the Sapphire Blue color, it’s also available in Midnight Black and Aurora Purple.

Price-wise, the Y9 (2019) sits below another Huawei phone — the Nova 3i. They have matching specifications and features, so the Y9 (2019) is a good option if you want to save a few bucks yet still own a Huawei phone.

SEE ALSO: Huawei Mate 20 Review: The simpler sibling

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Dyson Airwrap hair tutorial and real-life hold test

Is it hard to use? Does it really work?

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The Dyson Airwrap, ever since its announcement, has been the stuff of hairstyle dreams and legends. The high-tech curling iron revolutionizes the way we do our hair!

But, does it really work? Can a normal girl like myself actually get her hair to look as fab with this new-fangled hair gadget? I put it to the test.

In the video above, you see me doing my hair and the final looks. I try a total of two styles — curly and straight — and take my ‘do out and about to see if my hair would hold. And yes folks, this was only the second time I used the Airwrap on myself, ever.

The results impressed!

If you’re having trouble viewing this video, click HERE to watch

Stay tuned for the full review of the Dyson Airwrap on Her GadgetMatch. For similar topics and features, visit the website here.

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All the fun things you need to know about the OPPO’s RX17 Pro

Here’s what it can do

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My smartphone is the one thing that I hold most on a daily basis — more than my boyfriend’s hand or my pet dogs. This device is almost always on my body. That being the case, whatever phone I use automatically becomes an accessory. I want my phones bright and beautiful. If you’re anything like me, a fan of pretty things, continue reading.

This is the OPPO RX17 Pro that was just unveiled in Milan, Italy. It’s one eye-catching device.

To get the confusion out of the way: Yes, the OPPO RX17 Pro is the same phone as the R17 Pro.

First of all, let me state on record: This is one pretty phone. The gradient back is actually made of matted glass (apparently that’s a thing now) and that gives this device an extra oomph. It also means this thing feels great in your hands: Premium with just enough heft.

This right-to-left gradient look, named “Radiant Mist” by the Chinese smartphone company, is tantalizing to say the least. I couldn’t stop staring at it!

This phone will not match all your outfits, though. Even better, it will make all your outfits. It’s the perfect statement piece.

But, as in all things, we all know that looks aren’t everything. What else can this thing do?

I spent some time with a test unit in Milan, and here are my main takeaways. Take note, however, that this particular device isn’t running on final software yet so there might be a few minor differences when the actual units ship out.

Now, without further ado:

Its screen invites attention

That 6.4-inch AMOLED screen looks bright and crisp — great for watching YouTube or for Netflix and chilling. 👀

And look, ma! A notch that isn’t as obtrusive, thank heavens! That tiny teardrop up top is actually something I don’t hate. You sort of forget it’s even there.

This almost all-screen design insists on having it all: There’s an in-display fingerprint scanner on this phone. Simply press your finger to that fingerprint design on the display and voila! That’s not all, though. It’s also capable of face unlock and it’s pretty smooth.

Custom beauty mode and more

Being a smartphone from Asia, the RX17 Pro has a built-in beauty mode on its 25-megapixel selfie camera.

They take it a bit further with not just AI beauty mode (which was previously on R-series devices); there’s also a custom beauty mode which allows for facial adjustments depending on your own personal preferences.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: OPPO’s beauty mode is one of the best out there — if you add these on with moderation.

Stickers, stickers, and more stickers

On to the fun stuff… there are also built-in stickers and so many of them! Here are just a few cute examples as there are pages and pages of them.

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You can also create your own Omoji — think Samsung AR Emoji, OPPO style. Basically, you make sticker avatars based on your face, dress the sticker up then send to your friends as GIFs or videos.

I can’t say it will turn out looking really like you, though, because mine didn’t. See example below:

There are also pre-set AR stickers and those are pretty cute and very fun — I had a blast “testing” these out.


It raises the bar

The Smart Bar, that is.

This added feature is a hovering bar on the screen that brings you to a mini menu for faster access to certain apps.

You can customize apps that go on here and even move the bar around on the screen at your convenience.

More and merrier cameras

There are three cameras on this phone’s back: The main shooter is a 12-megapixel dual aperture camera (that just means the camera adjusts to different lighting scenarios to get the best-possible photos), a second 20-megapixel shooter, and a 3D TOF camera. That last camera supposedly allows for 3D and AR capabilities, but that feature wasn’t ready on this test device.

There’s a Portrait Lighting feature, much like Apple’s, on this phone. As my patient boyfriend has so willingly shown below, there are many different photo styles you can get. The cutouts, despite the busy background, looked pretty good.

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This phone highlights its low-light capabilities with a new “Night” feature. AI combined with optical image stabilization ensures better photos in scenarios that aren’t so well lit. I put it to the test at the RX17 Pro launch event:

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Like the previous R-series phones, there’s also AI built into the camera that automatically adjusts settings depending on the scenario for optimum photo results. All that’s left for you to do is keep shooting and photos turn out like this.

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Of course, I’d have to spend more time with this camera, but these initial samples have pretty much impressed.

All other things

Other notable features include a Snapdragon 710 processor with 6GB memory and 128GB storage which makes for a smooth running phone. And as a first for an R-series phone, it’s equipped with a USB-C port and SuperVOOC charging. Yep, that’s the same one on the OPPO Find X Lamborghini Edition which zooms to full charge in 35 minutes.

For more details on this phone’s specs, you can watch GadgetMatch’s full hands-on here.

A day and a half with the RX17 Pro and it’s performed pretty well. Not to mention, it totally looked good with my outfit.

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