Reviews

Huawei Y5 2017 Review: It sticks to your budget

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Budget phones don’t necessarily have to be that bad. While there are devices out there that simply aren’t worth your money, there are Android phones from international brands that are competitively priced like the Huawei Y5 2017.

While working on this review, I read about Huawei’s plan on ditching the low-end smartphone market and it made me wonder why. The Huawei executive pointed out their low-profit margins compared to their flagship phones, so I double-checked this phone’s pricing and realized that it’s indeed cheaper than its main competitors. So, what makes this handset stand out?

Let’s first take a look at the phone’s physique:

It’s a brick phone with a 5-inch HD display

EMUI 4.0 doesn’t have an app drawer

The back panel is dimpled to provide texture

The pinhole above the camera is the secondary microphone

We have the usual volume and lock keys on this side

They’re easy to reach and tactile

There’s an extra button called “Easy Key” for assigning shortcuts

It allows quick access to apps and certain features

The 3.5mm headphone jack is here to stay

Never ever take this away from cheap phones

What’s special about it?

What makes the Y5 2017 stand out from its rivals is the extra traits you get without spending more. Other phones that cost as much get a subpar display, but the Y5 2017 has an HD IPS panel. The few extra pixels make the screen sharper — perfect for viewing pictures and videos. While the loudspeaker doesn’t keep up with the display, you can plug in your own headphones through the 3.5mm or wirelessly connect via Bluetooth.

Apart from the display, the phone also has a sizeable battery — 3000mAh. For a 5-inch phone, that’s the best you can get without making the phone chubby. This battery capacity will be able to give you a full day’s worth of use (given that you use the phone moderately). There’s no quick charging feature, though.

Can it handle more than just the basics?

Huawei gave the Y5 2017 a MediaTek processor with 2GB of memory. If you’ve used other phones in this range, you’d already know what to expect from the Y5 2017’s performance. MediaTek’s processors for budget phones don’t really fly, but this one gets the job done. We’re talking about basic tasks like calling and texting, web browsing, and using social networking apps. The interface runs smoothly; however, using memory-hogging apps causes hiccups.

How about gaming? It’s not really the strongest suit of budget phones. Thankfully, available titles on the Play Store have graphics settings that you can tweak. Intensive games like Asphalt Extreme and NBA 2K17 work fine when set to low, while casual games don’t have any performance issues.

The phone has Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the early EMUI 4.0 skin on top. A miracle must happen for this to get Nougat with EMUI 5.0 since these kinds of phones rarely get updates. The 16GB of storage won’t be enough; that’s why there’s a dedicated microSD card slot. There are also two SIM card slots — a nano and a micro — with support for 4G LTE.

How’s the camera?

Equipped with an 8-megapixel rear sensor, we didn’t really expect much at first coming from our review of the LG K7 (2017) which has the same price point, but with a lackluster rear camera. As for selfies, it has a 5-megapixel front shooter with its own LED flash.

The Y5 2017’s shooters perform surprisingly well during our test. The photos look okay for a budget phone and usable for social media posting. We do wish for faster autofocus times, but it’s not that slow either. The front LED flash opens the chance for a selfie in the dark.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Huawei sells the phone for just PhP 5,890 (US$ 115) in the Philippines and for that price, you get an Android smartphone that performs well and doesn’t look cheap. Its HD display is a good selling point for those who watch videos on their phones on the go, and the front LED flash will help in low-light selfie shots.

The phone is not without its flaws, such its plastic body and underwhelming gaming performance, since it must stick to its low price point. You can easily fix the build issue while at the same time protect your phone by slipping it into a case. As for gaming, you can try turning down the graphics settings if possible. There’s always a workaround for budget limitations; you just need to be creative.

If you can add a couple thousand pesos, we highly recommend the other affordable Huawei phone — the GR3 2017. You may read our review why it’s one of the top budget smartphones.

SEE MORE: Huawei is ‘giving up’ on cheap phones

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Reviews

OnePlus 11 Review: Flagship Killer is Back!

Premium, but not overpriced

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After frustrations and disappointment from its solid fanbase, it seems like OnePlus has finally addressed it by going back to their roots.

The new OnePlus 11 may look just like any other Android flagship out there, but they finally brought the price below the US$ 700 mark.

Even without the “Pro” branding, you get “Pro-grade” hardware such as a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, up to 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and a super fast 80W SuperVOOC charging.

Alongside the Hasselblad partnership, you still get that specially-made color processing algorithm for your photos.

But with all the good stuff, there are also compromises.

Are you willing to sacrifice those for the newest OnePlus flagship experience?

Watch our in-depth OnePlus 11 review to find out more!

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Reviews

POCO X5 Pro 5G review: Must-have mid-ranger?

Business as usual for POCO

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POCO X5 Pro 5G

Standing out in a crowded mid-range segment has become increasingly difficult in 2023. It isn’t enough to hit home runs; to stand out, you need to hit grand slams. To be a game-changer, a smartphone needs to be a generational talent. 

It’s difficult to be painted as generational, especially because mid-rangers, by nature, face compromises that force manufacturers to skimp on certain parts of a smartphone to keep its price as low as possible. A mid-ranger truly needs to be special, so it can be undeniable rather than undesirable.

The POCO X5 Pro 5G is the Chinese brand’s latest attempt at bringing a game-changing smartphone to the ultra competitive segment. They’re branding the X5 Pro 5G as ‘The secret to win’, a device that will help students and young professionals succeed with whatever challenges they’re facing. 

It’s one thing to make a hefty promise, but it’s another thing to walk the talk. Does the POCO X5 Pro 5G stand and deliver, or is it just another self-proclaimed game-changer exposed as a wannabe flagship killer? 

Design: Puts the MID in midrange

 

Remember when I said that manufacturers tend to skimp on certain parts of a smartphone to keep its price as low as possible? Right out of the box, even without holding the phone, you already know where POCO decided to make its necessary sacrifices. 

Allow me to describe this design with a Gen Z word made popular by Long Island’s very best in professional wrestling: mid. The X5 Pro 5G’s design, is quite frankly, mid. It doesn’t stand out in the mid-range segment, nor, does it even impress for any unique personality quirks. You’d prefer to purchase a unique case for this so you wouldn’t hesitate to bring this out during parties.

Durability: A phone that will last through an Iron Man Match

POCO X5 Pro 5G

First impressions matter, but they aren’t everything. While the X5 Pro 5G isn’t for those looking for love at first sight, its choice of materials will leave you impressed in the long run.

This phone simply works. It clearly isn’t the prettiest phone, but pretty doesn’t always mean substantial. Plastic is still the most practical material for a smartphone, and POCO’s choice of plastics for the X5 Pro 5G hit the mark. It’s so durable, in fact, you could confidently use the phone without a case even when walking around the streets of Metro Manila. 

The X5 Pro 5G’s battery performance enriches its durability. During the review period, I had the opportunity of using the phone not only as my main daily driver, but also as my primary hotspot source during remote work situations. Even for extremely heavy users, this is a phone that can last you through the day. In rare cases when you’ll need to charge in the middle of the day, the X5 Pro 5G comes with a 67W charger out of the box (yes, they still have chargers out of the box! Big W here by POCO). 

Performance: Will have you feeling like a generational talent 

POCO X5 Pro 5G

Most manufacturers hope to position their mid-rangers as bang-for-you-buck devices that can bring flagship-level technology. It’s a hefty promise. Most brands tend to miss the mark, one way or another. 

Coming from a flagship daily driver, I was already expecting a drop in performance when the X5 Pro 5G came in. Right out of the box, to my surprise, it didn’t feel like there was any drop in overall performance. Even a week after, the X5 Pro 5G’s maintained the smoothness it came with from Day 1. POCO did not miss the mark.

The 120 Hz refresh rate certainly helped accentuate that feeling of smoothness, especially when going through daily social media scrolling. But even when testing with a relatively high-intensive game such as DB Legends, the X5 Pro 5G and its Snapdragon 778G processor went through the gauntlet with relative ease. Relative to other mid-range phones, that’s generational. 

Camera: Consistently colorful 

POCO X5 Pro 5G

There’s a common misconception that when you have more cameras, the better shots you’ll get. Having multiple cameras isn’t enough; choosing the right lenses and having software that processes shots properly matters even more. 

I’m happy to say that at the very least, POCO was able to choose the right lenses for its multi-camera setup. Supporting its 108MP wide camera is an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro camera. Other manufacturers have missed the mark by taking out the ultra-wide, but thankfully, POCO did not make that mistake. 

The ultra-wide lens performs relatively well too. The difference in quality between the main lens and the ultra-wide isn’t as drastic as you’d expect. It captures detail very well, and HDR is on point too. 

Users concerned about their social media image don’t have to worry. Its ultra-wide lens is good enough for your much-coveted Gen Z selfies. 

Performance outdoors is definitely better. There’s a noticeable drop in quality when taking indoor shots, but its nothing too criminal. 

Night mode on the X5 Pro 5G was decent too. On this shot of my very good friend’s jersey, it captured the details well, although there’s noticeable grain in the background. 

In terms of processing, the X5 Pro 5G comes out with consistently colorful shots, which is to be expected at this point. It ups the saturation to intense levels, and shadows can be overblown at times. It’s nothing too concerning, just something to consider before posting your photos on the ‘gram.

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

POC X5 Pro 5G

With an SRP of PhP 16,999, the POCO X5 Pro 5G presents itself with an intriguing list of features. At first glance it won’t impress, but its value as a smartphone is all about what’s under the hood. It’s a powerful device that gets the job done. Whether you’re a busy workaholic, a student who’s trying to survive through modern hybrid setups, or a gamer who wants to pick up endless W’s, the POCO X5 Pro 5G is a great choice to have if you’re looking for a weapon that will bring you victory in whatever battles you’ll face. 

The POCO X5 Pro 5G may just be better than you, and you’ll know it. Its design is mid, but everything else, you wouldn’t hesitate to call generational.

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Computers

Apple M2 Mac mini Review

More Affordable, More Powerful

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Apple silently revealed the 2023 M2 Mac mini to the world.

Back in 2005, the Mac mini G4 was the cheapest Mac you can buy for US$ 499.

Almost 18 years after, the Mac mini still is the cheapest Mac at just US$ 599.

That’s still a lot of savings versus buying a US$ 1299 iMac.

The biggest difference? The newest Mac mini runs two of the most powerful chips right now — the M2 and M2 Pro.

But is it actually the right Mac for you?

Watch our Apple M2 Mac mini review now!

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