Hands-On

Huawei Nova 4 Hands-on: A ‘hole’ new approach

Does the punch-hole display make a difference?

Published

on

One of the reasons why Huawei is always on the news, aside from the controversies, is because they have new phones every other week. I’m still loving the Mate 20 Pro for its amazing cameras, but there’s now the Nova 4 that, in my opinion, will be an interesting option for new smartphone buyers.

The Huawei Nova 4 offers pretty much everything a premium midrange phone should: a nice display, beautiful body, and good cameras. It’s also one of the few phones in the market that has a hole in its display instead of a notch.

Is a punch-hole display more preferable than a notch? That’s what I tried to find out while using the Nova 4 for this hands-on.

First, let’s start with the basics:

It’s got a notch-less 6.4-inch display

In exchange, there’s a hole for the front camera

There’s support for two nano-SIM cards

No space for a microSD card, though

On its right are the physical buttons

They blend in well with the phone’s frame

The 3.5mm headphone jack is on top

Along with an IR blaster and noise-canceling microphone

At the bottom is the reversible USB-C port

There’s also the loudspeaker and main microphone

The back houses three cameras

And the swift fingerprint reader

The gradient color scheme is present

This has become Huawei’s signature

Can’t deny that it’s from Huawei

From its body to its color, the Nova 4 contains 100 percent of Huawei’s DNA. Gone are the days where we associate every touchscreen phone as an iPhone. Once the gradient color of the Nova 4 shifts, it instantly captivates. The usual question I get when my friends see me holding the Nova 4 is: It that a Huawei?

Personally, I wouldn’t buy a phone with an extreme persona like this Aurora Blue variant of the Nova 4 I have for review. I still prefer my discreet OnePlus 6 in black, but that’s just me. Of course, there’s a black variant of the Nova 4 available as well for those who don’t want a phone that becomes a centerpiece on a table.

The shape and size of the Nova 4 are no different from any premium phone that came out lately. It’s got a glass front and back with a shiny metal frame and the sides of the phone curve gently, making it easier to grip. Overall, I found no issues about the build of the Nova 4, aside from it being smudgy most of the time.

At first, I found the punch-hole to be as annoying as the notch. The hole is larger than expected, but I got used to it. Most apps treat the hole like a notch, so the experience is similar to before. The punch-hole doesn’t have an advantage over the notch in terms of usability.

Where the punch-hole shines is how it’s more tolerable when watching a video in full screen. Some games are not aware of the area the hole is occupying, thus control buttons get covered. Turning off the “full screen display” switch for some games fixes this.

Flagship-grade speed and stability

Enough with the looks; let’s now dive into the internals of the phone. The brain of the Nova 4 is the Kirin 970 processor. It’s the previous flagship 10nm chipset from Huawei’s own labs. It’s also inside the Mate 10 and the P20 series. Moreover, the Nova 4 has the same processor as its predecessor.

Performance-wise, there’s no big difference. This means Nova 3 owners don’t need to upgrade, unless they want a new and different-looking phone. The advantage of the Nova 4 is its upgraded memory to 8GB, although storage remains the same at 128GB.

Android Pie comes out of the box with Huawei’s EMUI 9 placed on top. Frankly, there’s not much new about the custom interface since EMUI 6, aside from the staple features of Android Pie. The heavy skin of EMUI doesn’t affect the performance of the phone, but it’s also not the best-looking.

In terms of gaming, popular titles like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile are playable on high graphics settings. There’s no sign of hiccups or lag thanks to the optimizations by Huawei’s GPU Turbo.

As mentioned, the hole in the display is considered a “notch” by the system, so you can still hide the area it occupies by diving into the Settings panel. This makes the phone look hole-free, but you lose the extra screen real estate in some apps. So far, there are no issues with system and third-party apps, and I hope it stays that way.

Good cameras with ultra wide-angle lens

When it comes to taking photos, the Nova 4 doesn’t disappoint. It’s got a main 20-megapixel camera paired with an ultra wide-angle 16-megapixel shooter. There’s also a 2-megapixel depth sensor to help in taking portrait shots with bokeh effect. As for selfies, the 25-megapixel front camera can take detailed and pleasing stills.

AI scene detection is available both on the front and rear cameras, so the phone always helps in taking the best-possible photo. Check out these samples:

Like with most camera phones, the Nova 4 can take good-looking photos in broad daylight. Good thing the quality doesn’t drop when shooting indoors or in the evening. Generally, the Nova 4 is a capable phone for taking photos, except the ultra wide-angle lens doesn’t sport autofocus. Night mode is also available when you need to take photos in incredibly dark environments.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Huawei Nova 4 is a new smartphone with a fresh approach to the notch dilemma. If you dislike the notch, the punch-hole display is your next best option.

For me, the ideal best bezel-less phone doesn’t have a notch or a hole — just like the Mi Mix 3, OPPO Find X, or Vivo NEX. Those phones have their own issues about their approach, however. It’s just a matter of preference at this point because nothing is perfect — for now.

While I wait for the perfect bezel-less phone without moving parts or display cutouts, I appreciate the options given to us. In the end, it’s your choice if you want a notch, a hole, or a mechanism to house the selfie camera. There are also phones without front cameras at all, maybe that’s your cup of tea — or coffee.

SEE ALSO: How the Huawei Watch GT made me believe in smartwatches

Hands-On

vivo X60 Hands-On: vivo X Zeiss team up for mobile photography

Redefining power and photography

Published

on

vivo X60

Now that we’re at an age of portability with a purpose, we definitely want to own a smartphone that can provide everything that we want and need, so we don’t have to rely on any other gadgets. That’s what the vivo X60 aims to be.

One of the features we usually look for in a smartphone is if its cameras are top notch. With that in mind, vivo made sure that they can contend against the best of the best as they comeback with the vivo X60 series — among these is the vivo X60.

With the X60, vivo co-engineers their cameras with high-end lens manufacturer Zeiss, making us experience Zeiss’ cutting edge imaging technology through our phones and making X60’s photography function more powerful than ever.

Specs and performance

Providing us so much in the camera department, vivo also ticks all the boxes when it comes to amazing specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor
  • 6.56” AMOLED display
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 12GB+3GB RAM
  • 256GB internal storage

Expect lag free browsing of your social media content and your favorite mobile games, even the very demanding Genshin Impact.

With so many things that you want to do with your smartphone, the vivo X60 is packed with a 4300mAh battery. This gives you more than enough power for a day of media streaming, social media browsing and some games on the side.

It even comes with a 33W flash charger that lets you juice up your phone back to a hundred percent in just a little over an hour.

As for the software, the vivo X60 runs Funtouch OS 11.1 based on Android 11 which has to be one of the most efficient skins from vivo yet.  It’s a very simplistic skin which feels close to vanilla Android but with visual improvements to enhance that vivo experience.

Stunning display

Despite its 6.56” display, the X60 is still ebay to grip thanks to it being slim at only 7.44mm and light at 176g.

Its AG glass back definitely grabs your attention with its gradient finish. Shifting its colors depending on how the light hits it, the shimmer blue design we have in our hands is absolutely gorgeous.

As we’ve touched on the 6.56” display of the vivo X60 earlier, do not be deceived as this is not your ordinary display. This is a 120Hz LTM AMOLED display and it boasts an HDR 10+ certification. This means you can expect details on the shadow side and lighter side of images that you won’t normally see on an average smartphone.

So surely, it would be your perfect companion for streaming films, documentaries, and TV series. LTM technology lets you enjoy clear visuals even with bright sunlight.

Now let’s talk about the star of the show, the camera with Zeiss optics.

Smartphone companies partner with camera or lens manufacturers to enhance their camera systems. And vivo pulled off a great move in partnering with Zeiss, making its superb technology present on all of vivo X60’s cameras.

Fantastic camera features

There’s the 48MP main camera, 13MP telephoto camera, and a 13MP ultra wide angle camera. And up front, you have the 32MP selfie camera.

With all these, you can take remarkable photos in whichever mode you choose. Your photos will look like it came straight out of a DSLR or a mirrorless camera with your main shooter.

Landscape views look amazing on the X60’s ultra wide mode, and your photos still look sharp and detailed with the telephoto lens.

The vivo X60 also has the Zeiss biotar portrait style, giving your portrait photos that iconic bokeh look. The portrait lens also has an equivalent 50mm focal length which is a staple for photographers to take great portraits.

As for its super panorama mode, shots are so seamless that you wouldn’t see any stitches.

Video taking

Now when it comes to taking videos, its main camera has optical image stabilization (OIS) making your video shots really smooth and steady. The vivo X60 has ultra stabilization which combines OIS and EIS.

But what happens when the lights are out and you only have your surround light to keep you lit? That’s what really puts the vivo X60 on the pedestal — its outstanding low light capability.

With vivo’s updated AI noise reduction algorithm, you can take stunning photos even at night. With its HDR super Night Portrait Mode, you can still stay in the spotlight and shine even in darkness.

Even if it’s pitch black outside, the vivo 60 can still make it seem like it’s daytime, giving us photos with good light and clear details, thanks to its Extreme Night Vision 2.0.

The X60 also lets you shoot in long exposure mode, giving you the chance to capture light streaks without worrying about too many settings.

The vivo X60 surely puts the wonder in wonderful with its outstanding cameras. It even takes things a few notches higher among smartphone contenders with its amazing display and performance, with a competitive base flagship pricing.

Pricing and availability

vivo X60, 12GB+3GB RAM/ 256GB Storage — PhP 34,999. Available in vivo Official Stores, Lazada, and Shopee.


This feature is a partnership between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

Continue Reading

Gaming

SCARLET NEXUS First Impressions: Technological dystopia

BANDAI NAMCO’s take on an anime-style, cyberpunk RPG

Published

on

SCARLET NEXUS

I knew BANDAI NAMCO mostly from their incredible work on classic games like PAC-MAN and TEKKEN. In fact, I grew up playing their games quite a lot, whether with family members or with some friends. To this day, they’re still producing a decent amount of games across both current and next-generation consoles and the PC.

This time around, they’ve ventured into an action RPG mixed with a little bit of “brain punk” as they described it. They called this game, “SCARLET NEXUS, and it’s set for release for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and the PC. Now, I gave the demo a shot to see just how everything will turn out.

Short, sweet, and action-filled

In total, the entire demo took about 30 minutes to finish, which for a demo isn’t that long. At the start, you even get to choose which main protagonist you want to roll with, for a good reason too. Apart from the same tutorial section, you actually get to play a different main stage design. I honestly thought it would be the same all throughout.

Character selection screen for SCARLET NEXUS

Regardless, gameplay immediately picks up after a short tutorial session, and I found myself just having a blast. Honestly, the controls are pretty easy to understand and master after a few combat sequences so the learning curve isn’t steep. Plus, part of the combat mechanics includes the SAS, which grants access to additional attacks and abilities.

SCARLET NEXUS

It’s a gameplay style I’ve come accustomed to with other RPGs in the last few years. Even for a short demo, action looks quite fast-paced and reaction-heavy on some occasions. Also, you can add onto that a bit of exploration with the vast level design, so combat feels more loose and exciting to mess around with.

Visuals suited for the time

If you’re planning to get the version for the PC or  next-gen consoles, the design for the demo is amazing. I have to give credit to BANDAI NAMCO for integrating some apt lighting fixtures in Kasane’s demo level, further emphasizing the technological wasteland in the background. Although, I think that this will also be present in the PS4 and Xbox One versions but not as prominent.

Also, like I mentioned before, the demo levels are quite vast, which also aids in the exploration aspect. I noticed that they scatter some items across the whole level, ranging from healing items to items that aid in combat. In some instances, these items were well-hidden in some of the nooks and crannies of the level.

Of course, it isn’t just in the overworld visuals that I’m amazed at, but even in some of the cutscenes in between combat and exploration. The cartoony, comic book-style animations mixed in with some techno-punk were nice touches. I could feel that there was a lot of love given just to this department alone.

Worth all the waiting?

If I could sum up my initial impressions on SCARLET NEXUS, it’s an RPG that I truly enjoyed even for 30 minutes. Honestly, the biggest culprit for this goes to the gameplay mechanics that feels so great to execute, and you take a short time learning everything. Packed with some incredible visual design, I think this game has potential to be a favorite for this year.

SCARLET NEXUS

One of the things I am looking forward to later on is the storylines we’ll be working with. The demo doesn’t really touch on plot points that you could do mental gymnastics with. Although, it does reveal that you play with different NPCs instead of taking on the enemies all by yourself. Nonetheless, I feel that it’s something worth diving into when the full game comes out.

SCARLET NEXUS will be available on June 25.

Continue Reading

Hands-On

moto G stylus 5G Hands-on

The last of its kind?

Published

on

The moto G stylus was launched just last year. This time, Motorola has unveiled the moto G stylus 5G.

From the name itself, it now has 5G support — that’s thanks to the new Snapdragon 480G processor.

It may be look like a lower model number on paper, but this one promises better specs.

But is it enough for you to buy one? Watch our moto G stylus 5G hands-on video now.

 

Continue Reading

Trending