Features

How to use your smartphone camera’s Pro Mode

Taking your photography skills to the next level

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I wasn’t blessed with a powerful camera to take high-quality pictures of people and places. It’s not just because standalone cameras are expensive, but also because some of them are pretty bulky. If I’m going out of town with my friends while packing light, the next best thing I have is a smartphone.

Within the past two years, there have been a long list of Android smartphones that sport at least two rear cameras that allow you to maximize the quality of your photos. One key feature that they possess is Pro Mode, complete with adjustable settings to achieve that quality and depth. I’m going to show you how you can use Pro Mode to take your photography game to the next level.

1. Understand the interface

You can access Pro Mode by opening your phone’s default Camera app and going through the list of modes available. Once you have selected Pro Mode, you will be greeted by a screen with several adjustable settings.

The different settings on the interface include: metering mode, ISO, shutter speed, exposure levels, white balance, and focus. Adjusting these settings is crucial if you want to take photos of any scene, day or night. Another feature on the interface is the horizontal level meter that helps you take steadier images — for people with shaky hands like mine.

In Pro Mode, you have the option to save your images in RAW files for post processing through photo-editing apps like Adobe Lightroom. You can also choose to disable this feature through the camera’s settings while in Pro Mode to save space.

2. Start with your metering

After you have understood how the interface works, it’s time to dive deeper into preparing the photo you want to take. The first setting you should pay attention to is the metering of the image. Metering ultimately determines how your picture will look given the amount of light that the camera detects.

If you want to take a picture of a whole scene, stick with the default Matrix Metering setting. Matrix Metering allows your camera to use the whole scene, and collects data on the highlights and shadows in them. It uses this data to determine how much light is emphasized on the image. Matrix Metering typically works in any scene.

But, let’s say you want to narrow down your subject when you take pictures. There are two other metering modes for you to choose from. One mode is Center Metering, which puts greater focus on the subject as long as it’s in the center of the frame. Another is Spot Metering, which allows you to focus on any specific object within the frame.

3. Adjust all other settings accordingly

Once you have your metering mode set, you can now proceed to tweaking all the other settings to suit your needs. Keep in mind that whatever metering you choose, all these settings are set to Auto, and will display values depending on the environment.

Here are things to keep in mind when adjusting these settings:

If you want brighter images, especially when taking them in the dark, increase your ISO setting. Broad daylight shots, meanwhile often require low ISO values because of natural sunlight. If you want to capture fast moving objects properly, adjust your shutter setting to how fast (freeze motion) or slow (motion blur) you want it.

If you still think that certain parts of the image should stand out (like the beach in the background), adjust the exposure value (EV) to offset the brightness (positive EV) or darkness (negative EV) of the image. Depending also on the environment, it is also good to consider changing the white balance settings for a warmer or cooler tone.

For the focus settings, you can use the default One Shot Autofocus for quick still photos of objects. If you want to take photos of moving objects, it’s best to use the Continuous Autofocus setting. Of course, there is a Manual Focus option if you want to take full control of the camera’s focus points.

Once you have all that down, go ahead and take your wonderful photo! For comparison, take the same photo with Pro Mode turned off and see what you get there.

Features

The Honor 8X is a storage space beast

More space than you think you’ll need

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Having some extra space can always come in handy. With the Honor 8X, you’ll have all the extra space you can possibly need.

Internally, the storage can go as high as 128GB but it doesn’t stop there. The phone has a microSD card slot that supports up to a whopping 400GB of additional storage.

The Honor 8X has the all the space to handle memories you take with the phone.

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It can even hold files and other media from your other devices so you can take them wherever you go.

Photos, videos, documents, apps — it doesn’t matter what it is. You’ll have access to them whenever and wherever because the storage on the Honor 8X is just ridiculously massive.

It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “lost in space.”


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Honor Philippines

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Hands-On

Apple iPhone XR Unboxing and Hands-on

Did Apple skimp on this one?

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You’re probably not expecting this video to drop until Friday, but here it is! We have the iPhone XR early.

In this video, we find out if there are accessories Apple left out to make this phone more affordable, and if its display and camera are subpar compared to its more expensive brothers.

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Hands-On

Nokia 6.1 Plus hands-on: A compelling midranger

The benefits of Android One

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HMD Global continues trying to lift the Nokia phone brand to where it was before. While they’re still far from being on top again, the current Nokia phones are quite compelling. The latest we have is the Nokia 6.1 Plus, which is practically the Nokia X6 we first heard of in China.

This is Nokia’s first notched phone. While that doesn’t necessarily make it any better, this is a stepping stone for Nokia as they embrace the popular design choice for modern bezel-less devices.

Is the Nokia 6.1 Plus any good? Here’s what I have to say.

It’s got a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display

With a tall 19:9 aspect ratio

The notch houses the front camera, earpiece, and sensors

Thankfully, the notch is pretty small

The chin gives the phones a bit of a balance

It also shows the Nokia logo

There’s a hybrid card tray on the left…

You have to choose between a second SIM or microSD card

… while on the right are the physical buttons

One for power and another for the volume

On top are the audio port and noise-canceling microphone

There are also some antenna lines all around

It’s rocking a USB-C port! 👌

Beside it is the loudspeaker and main microphone

The back is a slab of smooth glass

Like the Nokia 7 Plus but with a different material

The fingerprint reader sits below the camera module

Easily for the index finger

Android One assures you with the latest updates

Quite a lot of other printed words, as well

It owns a common design

Design-wise, there’s not much to talk about. The look and feel of the Nokia 6.1 Plus are not that different from its competitors. It’s got the same aesthetic of the ASUS ZenFone 5 with an aluminum frame sandwiched by curved glass. Nokia claims to use Gorilla Glass 3 to make theirs stronger and scratch-resistant.

The display of the phone measures 5.8 inches, so it’s more pocketable than most smartphones today. It also has a tall aspect ratio of 19:9 which makes it easier to hold in one hand. The Full HD+ resolution is sharp at this size and there’s nothing to complain about the overall quality of the phone’s display.

The notch might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but to be fair to Nokia, this is their first attempt. There are other Nokia phones without a notch that consumers can buy if they dislike it. The cutout is not as obtrusive as the iPhone’s, but there are no complicated sensors for facial recognition. Good thing the rear fingerprint reader is accurate and fast.

Overall, the Nokia 6.1 Plus stays true to the notion of Nokia’s build quality. The design is nowhere near iconic, but you’re not paying much for the phone either.

Performance is smooth as butter

The smooth operation of Android that we come to expect from Nokia phones is also present on the Nokia 6.1 Plus. The handset is powered by a Snapdragon 636 processor paired with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. It’s a pretty standard midrange setup that’s able to perform smoothly even with a number of apps running in the background.

I didn’t encounter any hiccups or notice any lag during my time with the phone, but I can say that it loads apps slightly slower than on flagship phones. Of course, there’s no bloatware that hogs resources since the phone is under the Android One program, and it’ll have consistent updates for up to three years.

I wouldn’t say that the Nokia 6.1 Plus is ideal for gaming, but it can handle popular titles. The Adreno 509 GPU that comes with the chipset is more than capable of rendering medium to high-quality graphics depending on the game’s demand. My staple Asphalt 9: Legends racing game runs fine, but it’s definitely not the smoothest I’ve seen.

The camera is more than okay

The Nokia 6.1 Plus is equipped with dual rear shooters and a single wide-angle selfie camera. The main sensor at the back is 16 megapixels accompanied by a 5-megapixel depth sensor. There’s also a dual-tone LED flash to help in taking photos in the dark. For selfies, it’s got a 16-megapixel sensor.

Check out the samples:

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Even without Zeiss branding on its cameras, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is able to take decent photos using both the front and rear cameras. They’re not the most appealing stills, but they’ll do good for social media. You can apply bokeh effects with the rear cameras, but it’s a bit cumbersome to use.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you want to stick to Nokia, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is a convincing choice among its midrange lineup. It’s not as impressive as the Nokia 7 Plus we loved before, but it’s cheaper and smaller. For PhP 15,990 (US$ 300) in the Philippines and MYR 1,149 in Malaysia (US$ 280), it’s a pretty good deal. It’s an even better deal in India for just INR 15,999 or roughly US$ 215.

The phone offers pure Android software with timely updates, a sturdy build, and good performance. It’s an all-around device, but don’t expect it to be an ideal phone for everyone.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 3.1 review: Back to Android One’s beginnings

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