Here are the top stories on GadgetMatch this week.
1. The Huawei P30 series is finally here
Watch this video below for a detailed hands-on:
2. Xiaomi takes multiple jabs at Huawei
Xiaomi pulled no punches when taking jabs at fellow Chinese company Huawei.
Xiaomi poked fun at Huawei’s preference to showcase a crystal phone case over making sure the P30 series had the latest chipset. They also threw a hard blow by comparing the price of the P30 Pro with their own flagship announced earlier in the year — the Mi 9.
3. Apple announces their own Netflix and gaming service
There have been several murmurs around it but now it’s official: Apple has already announced their Netlfix-like service called Apple TV+. It will feature original content from notable directors and actors.
Apple is also diving into gaming with Apple Arcade. It lets you download and play any game on the service — whenever and wherever. It’s found in a new area with its own tab in the App Store and will offer over 100 exclusive games at launch.
The camera looks a lot like its predecessor with notable improvements like internal 4K video recording with 1.7 times more data without pixel binning. The enhanced BIONZ X image processor is capable of bringing better color reproduction and natural skin tone — all great for vlogging.
Would you vlog with this camera?
5. Nintendo to launch two Switch models
Nintendo console lovers could be getting a treat this year. If you’ve been holding out on getting a switch, you might want to hold out a little while longer.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Nintendo is planning on releasing two new models of the Switch, and both may be unveiled later this year. The first model could be angled as a successor to the aging 3DS while the other one would likely be a more powerful Switch with “enhanced features.”
We can expect the official announcement at the annual E3 gaming conference this June.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
OPPO F11 hands-on: Without the moving parts
No motor, lower price
We already talked about the OPPO F11 Pro, and now we have the OPPO F11. Without the “Pro” moniker, the regular F11 is supposed to sit below its Pro sibling. One would think that the F11 has compromises, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The regular F11 and F11 Pro share a lot in common, so it’s best to read about the Pro model as well. Our F11 Pro hands-on is available for your reading pleasure here.
Without further ado, here’s my hands-on with OPPO‘s new midranger. As always, let’s start with the physique:
It has a 5.3-inch Full HD+ display
The waterdrop notch sits on top
To its right is the power button
The volume keys and card tray are on the left
The micro-USB and 3.5mm jack still live on
The back is glossy yet classy
There’s a dual rear camera system for taking photos
The notch makes an appearance
The notch was a major feature among phones last year, and it’s still present on some newly announced devices. A number of manufacturers tried to kill it with different solutions and one of those ways is implemented on the F11 Pro. The motorized pop-up front camera allowed the F11 Pro to have a full-screen display without any cutout. But, the case of the regular F11 is different.
The major difference between the F11 and F11 Pro is in the front camera and display. Since the F11 is made to be cost-effective, OPPO had to remove the motorized mechanism and opt for a notch. The waterdrop notch design we first saw on last year’s F9 is present on the F11. Still, the absence of a pop-up camera didn’t provide the F11 a water-resistance rating. It would be great to have protection from liquids.
Aside from the notch, the regular F11 has a similar display to the F11 Pro’s. It’s still an LCD panel that measures 6.53 inches diagonally with a tall aspect ratio. Since it’s an LCD, there’s no way to include an in-display fingerprint reader. A good-old capacitive scanner is positioned on the back of the phone.
The overall design of the F11 is almost identical to the F11 Pro’s. Unsuspecting eyes might not be able to tell the small differences at first glance. This means the F11 is also a classy-looking phone, even though it primarily has a plastic body.
As fast as the Pro model
When it comes to specs, the F11 inherits everything the F11 Pro has. The regular F11 is also powered by the Helio P70 processor paired with 6GB of memory. For storage, it has 64GB that can be expanded using a microSD card. Specs-wise, the Pro doesn’t really have an advantage in this department.
The latest Android Pie-based ColorOS 6 is available out of the box, which is nice, but there’s no promised update to Android Q when that gets released later this year. OPPO is known to skip major updates, so we don’t expect it to get Android Q.
Thankfully, the phone runs smoothly and the extra features of ColorOS are much appreciated. OPPO’s customization of Android is not my favorite, but it’s not the worst out there.
Gaming is alright on the F11, although I did run into a couple of issues. For some reason, Asphalt 9: Legends doesn’t play very well even on default settings, plus PUBG: Mobile has to be launched a few times before it loads properly to its home screen. These issues can be easily addressed through an update, so these are not deal breakers.
The phone’s 4020mAh battery is not a slouch either. Additionally, VOOC 3.0 fast charging tech is available and a compatible adapter is included in the phone’s retail box.
Okay cameras with night mode
Again, the F11 is blessed with the same cameras found on the F11 Pro. On the back, the F11 also has a 48-megapixel f/1.8 main shooter accompanied by a 5-megapixel depth sensor for extra features like portrait mode. For selfies, it has a 16-megapixel sensor placed inside the waterdrop notch.
Check out these samples taken using the F11 Pro’s cameras:
Like with other phones with 48-megapixel sensors, the F11 will use all those pixels to create a crispier 12-megapixel photo. The results are generally okay, even in low-light scenarios. The night shot above was taken using the phone’s Night Mode. As for selfies, OPPO is still indeed a selfie expert.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
For those who like to have a new OPPO phone, I would suggest the regular F11 since it’s a better choice than its Pro sibling. How so? The F11 is essentially an F11 Pro without the motorized pop-up mechanism. If you can let go of the modern approach in selfie cameras and are not bothered by a small notch, you’ll get better value with this.
The OPPO F11 is priced at just PhP 15,990 (US$ 310) in the Philippines, which is PhP 3,000 cheaper than the F11 Pro. It’s available in different shades of green and purple.
Right-Hand Drive: My first experience
It’s never too late to do something new
It was a Friday, my birthday. I, along with the local media team, flew to Hong Kong for an annual event on electrifying cities to achieve a greener environment.
After the warm welcome of the event’s hosts, they started briefing us of the day’s itinerary. We were to use the company’s electric vehicles and drive them through Hong Kong’s three main regions to get a feel of how they ride and put their features to real-world use.
Exciting, right? Thing is, Hong Kong is a right-hand drive territory and I live and grew up in a country with left-hand vehicles. I’ve never driven on the opposite side of the road. I figured I’d just wing it.
I figured I’d just wing it.
They finally sent us out to the cars in pairs and assigned us an official rep either to make sure everything went well or that we didn’t run away with the car — pretty sure it was more of the former.
My partner for this ride was a fellow journalist in the automotive industry. He would always crack jokes on almost anything he saw which somehow took my mind off the fact that I’d be driving in a foreign country with unfamiliar roads during my first right-hand drive experience.
We agreed that I’d take the wheel for the first half of the trip and switch seats halfway so we both could experience the electric vehicle. I grabbed the door handle on the right side, opened it, and gave my weight to its cushioned driver seat.
I was faced with the cockpit of the vehicle. As a person who likes things neat and in order, the buttons, displays, and icons were neatly laid out. I was not overwhelmed.
I spotted a mounted GoPro on the passenger’s side aimed directly at me. I thought it was cool to have a copy of myself driving on the opposite side of the road for the first time.
I kind of felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.
With everyone inside, I stepped on the brake and pressed the ignition button. The motor of the car whirred with a held-back enthusiasm. “I’m still not used to how quiet it is,” I told my companions, explaining that I was already able to drive the car — only the previous year’s model. The absence of a gas-guzzling engine made the vehicle come to life not with the sound of a heavy breathing dog but more like Wall-E‘s Eva powering up. I kind of felt like I was in a sci-fi movie.
Then we were off to take on the gloomy and chilly weather. The hotel’s lobby is elevated so there was a long spiral-like ramp that led in and out of the driveway. Turning towards the ramp was critical for me as it was my first turn to the opposite lane. “Always enter the left lane. Always enter the left lane.” I kept telling myself this over and over just to rewire my mind and unlearn the driving system that I grew up with and adapt to this new setup.
We drove down the ramp, onto the street, and later on into the highway. “So far so good,” I thought to myself. The idea was to drive through a pre-designated route using Google Maps. But, as with most times, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned. The app didn’t work properly for the first 15 to 20 minutes of our trip. It had problems with GPS so I had to listen to the company’s representative seated at the back as he pointed when and where to turn.
But, as with most times, things didn’t go as smoothly as planned.
For a while there, I was like an Uber driver going through the busy streets of Hong Kong.
The vehicle responded very well every time I stepped on the gas pedal. We were discussing that having an electric motor means power is quickly channeled to the wheels so it responds a lot faster compared to internal combustion engines. I also liked how the car didn’t have problems gaining speed whenever I needed to catch up. Basically, exploring the car’s array of features, while driving, helped me eliminate the few anxieties that I had left. Yes, I enjoyed the drive.
It was about 30 to 40 minutes in that I became more confident driving the right-hand vehicle. Entering the left lane every time I turned became more and more natural. Of course, there were times when I’d still forget I was on the opposite side — like that time I was paying at the toll gate and opened the left window instead of the right. Boy, was the teller confused when I did that.
While probably a really simple and obvious solution, one of the things that helped me with the transition was to think of everything in the opposite way. That way, It was easier for me to grasp the entire idea of right-hand driving. If my natural habit was to keep right, I knew that during that moment, I needed to keep left. When it felt natural to flick the turn signal using the left switch, I’d use the right since the left would be for activating the wipers.
If my natural habit was to keep right, I knew that during that moment, I needed to keep left.
That kind of mindset got me through the entire ride right up to the point where I and the other media I was with had to switch for his turn to drive.
I went down, walked around to the other side, and got in the passenger seat. It was weird because since I was back to sitting on the left side, the initial response of my arms was to grab the steering wheel and start the vehicle, forgetting all of a sudden the “brainwashing lessons” I taught myself just half an hour ago.
Seeing the GoPro that was mounted right above me, I reached for it to check if it was still recording. I then noticed there were no blinking red lights. I leaned closer and to my surprise, it wasn’t even turned on. So much for documenting my first right-hand experience, right?
“It wasn’t recording the entire time!” I exclaimed. It was unfortunate but we had a laugh out of it. I figured I’d just write down the events that happened so that I wouldn’t forget it. I powered up the action camera and started recording for my partner’s sake. With dark clouds and light rain still accompanying us, we started driving back to the hotel.
My key takeaway from the experience was to know what works for yourself.
During our trip back, I reflected on what I just did, from the excitement to the feeling of fulfillment of doing something the first time and succeeding. My key takeaway from the experience was to know what works for yourself. For me, I simply had to do the opposite of what I’m comfortable with to make sure I had clear control of what to do for certain situations.
Of course, it would also help a lot if one would closely study and practice for something like this. I just didn’t have much choice and had limited time to prepare for the drive.
We got back to the hotel, thanked the company’s representative who came with us for being an accommodating guide, and I went straight to my hotel room to freshen up for the night’s welcome dinner.
It was a great experience overall and am still thankful for the brand extending an invite to the event. The fact that I did something for the first time on my birthday only made it more special. To more drives!
Huawei P30 hands-on: All the cool features applied in real life
How zoomed in is zoomed in?
After all the “oohs” and “ahhs,” and as the dust settles from Huawei’s flagship launch, the question is: What’s so great about the Huawei P30? And no, I don’t want to hear any specs.
To answer this question, I road tested the Huawei P30 to see just what it can do and how I can use those features in real life.
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