Hands-On

Huawei Y9 2018 Hands-on: Another midrange phone from the same company

The more, the merrier?

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There’s a phone in our office that, at first, I thought I already used before, but it turned out being a relatively new model from Huawei.

The budget-midrange market is already populated with a lot of handsets and the Y9 2018 is the latest one to join the group. We can’t blame you if you’re confused about which phone to buy, or better yet, which Huawei phone to get since the company has a number of phones in the same segment.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the Huawei Y9 2018 and check out what’s so special that the company had to make a new model.

The 5.93-inch Full HD+ 18:9 display is sharp and vibrant

There are multiple display modes if you want to tweak the colors

The top bezel houses two front cameras, sensors, and the earpiece

Secondary sensor is for bokeh on selfies

The chin only has Huawei branding

A familiar sight among Huawei phones

The triple-card slot is on the left side…

No need to sacrifice your second SIM card for more storage

While the physical buttons for volume and power are on the right

The long button is for volume, while the short one is for powering up your phone

The bottom side is jampacked with the audio port, micro-USB, microphone, and loudspeaker

It’s pretty busy down here and USB-C is still not available

At the back are the dual rear cameras, LED flash, fingerprint reader, and Huawei logo

Clean but too simple, maybe?

Usual design, boring looks

I miss the good old days when phones looked differently. I can still remember that part of the decision when buying a new phone was the looks, but that’s not the case anymore. Most (if not all) of the phones you see in stores have a plain front fully occupied by the display, and the Y9 2018 is no different.

Good thing its 5.93-inch IPS display doesn’t disappoint thanks to its crisp pixel density and good color reproduction. I do like that you can adjust the color balance of the display according to your liking; it can be warm, cool, or just about whatever temperature you prefer.

The display gives justice to the colorful default theme of the phone’s launcher. EMUI on top of Android Oreo benefits the end user with a lot of customization options and extra features that phones running bare Android don’t have.

Overall, there’s not much to say about the phone’s design. The metal back gives an added premium feel when using the phone, but I’m not liking the gold color of the unit I have. It’s just a personal preference, but the tint of gold phones in 2018 is not as appealing as when it was popular a few years back.

Same performance as other mid-tier Huawei phones

Since most touchscreen phones look alike and manufacturers like to release multiple smartphones in the same segment, we focus on specs because that’s what makes a phone worthwhile today. Thankfully, the Huawei Y9 doesn’t disappoint in this part.

The Y9 2018 is powered by a Kirin 659 processor paired with 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage. That’s about the same processing power as its higher-tier siblings like the Huawei Mate 10 Lite and even the P20 Lite, sans the slightly lower memory. After a few days with the phone, I didn’t encounter any lag. Some apps do load a bit slow compared to a flagship phone, but that’s acceptable given the specs of the device.

Gaming shouldn’t also be an issue but it’s also not the phone’s strength. I tested my go-to game Asphalt Xtreme on the highest-possible settings and it ran smoothly. Other titles should also play fine, but don’t expect the smoothest frame rates or best graphics all the time.

There’s also a large 4000mAh battery inside the phone, but sadly, there’s no support for Huawei SuperCharge. It charges through a micro-USB port and not the reversible USB-C, as well.

Shoots better selfies than others

Equipped with four cameras, the Y9 2018 doesn’t lack any photography prowess. The rear has 13- and 2-megapixel sensors while the front has a whopping 16- and 2-megapixel combo. The numbers alone tell that this phone is made for taking selfies, but that doesn’t mean the main camera is not a good shooter. Here are a few samples taken with the rear cameras:

The captured details of the rear cameras are decent, but not that great. I also find the dynamic range to be limited, especially in a gloomy day. There’s HDR mode but it’s not automatically available.

As for selfies, here are three samples: one with no beauty effect, another with beauty, and the last one with added bokeh for portrait-like shots.

The selfies are definitely better than the rear samples, so you might want to get the Y9 2018 for the former. The field of view of the front shooter is also pretty wide, so you’ll be able to take group shots with no problem.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Huawei Y9 2018 can easily get lost in the sea of midrange Android phones. It doesn’t offer anything special, but we can’t expect it to because “special features” are reserved for the expensive options. That’s how phone manufacturers form the line between budget, midrange, and premium now.

I see the Y9 2018 as a new option if you find a similar offering too common for your liking. The phone is currently available in select markets in Asia. In Nepal, it’s priced at NPR 25,990 while it goes for THB 6,990 in Thailand.

SEE ALSO: Huawei P20 Pro review: 3 months later

Hands-On

Content creator switches from iPhone 6s Plus to OPPO Reno3

A buzzing switch?!

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When OPPO launched the third Reno series in less than a year, we were in for a surprise. It seems like OPPO is on a race, introducing a phone with a 5G-enabled chipset to get ahead of the 5G rollout. This despite 5G being ways away from mass adoption.

Still, there’s a reason why OPPO pumped out so many phones at a rapid pace. The Reno3 felt like an ode to OPPO’s innovation, promising a beautiful handset for selfie-lovers, photography enthusiasts, and to an extent, aspiring content creators.

To find out if the OPPO Reno3 delivers its promise, Her GadgetMatch sent the unit to Noela, a visual content creator currently based in Manila — who’s also a singer, selfie lover, and a fitness enthusiast. Moreover, she’s still using an aging iPhone 6s Plus for the longest time.

Will it entice her to switch after spending two months with the Reno3? And can it be Her GadgetMatch?

“Even an 8-year old kid can get it”

Last March, Noela received the OPPO Reno3 in time for a trip to Boracay. “When I first saw the Reno3, it felt like a smartphone I can rely on. It’s sleek, simple, and so lightweight just like my iPhone 6s Plus!”

Unfortunately, her trip was canceled due to sudden lockdown enforced in Metro Manila, one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the Philippines. She then had more time to play around with the phone.

When asked about her experience with the phone, she said “It was a breeze setting it up. I didn’t have trouble navigating it. It’s so easy that even an 8-year old kid can get it in one sitting.”

The OPPO Reno3 runs ColorOS 7 based on Android 10. With an improved user interface design, no wonder Noela was able to grasp the phone’s UI easily, even if she’s used to iOS.

“Lasted longer than I thought it would”

Living a digital nomadic lifestyle, Noela is glued to her phone and laptop. In our previous collaborations, she always had to rely on her power bank — or her friend’s power bank on certain occasions — to charge her iPhone 6s Plus.

She spends a lot of time managing a community, being stuck in conference calls, and constant updating of her work, thanks to her remote setup.

The OPPO Reno3 was a game-changer. Accustomed to her iPhone’s short battery life, the Reno3 surprised her with a 4025mAh battery. “It lasted longer than I thought it would,” she remarked.

“One time, I was able to use it for the whole weekend and I only charged it once. I even spent a lot of time on social media and switching to my favorite apps like Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix, and YouTube. It has so much juice!”

It also took 30 minutes of charging from 10 percent to 77 percent, thanks to OPPO’s VOOC Flash Charge. “It’s super fast!” she said in astonishment.

“Great even without its AI beauty mode”

In between her work and fitness activities, Noela takes a lot of selfies. She believes taking selfies isn’t a trait of narcissism or vanity. It’s a form of appreciation, and a healthy idea to pass time and ease your boredom.

“When you look good, you feel good.”

Her love for taking selfies made her dabble into skincare and makeup. However, being quarantined and stuck with a phone made for selfies made her drop her usual intensive skincare and makeup routine.

“Seriously, I was wowed by its front camera. I find it great even without its AI beauty mode, although it’s a plus for the times I don’t wear makeup.”

She definitely enjoyed the Reno3’s 44-megapixel front camera. To fully maximize its selfie cam, she took different selfies while sharing a few tips to Her GadgetMatch.

“Always make sure that you’ve got a nice background.”

“If there’s natural light involved, play, and adjust with it as much as possible. You can pose with different facial expressions until you get the look you’re aiming for.”

“Lastly, take a lot of selfies — so you can have a variety of photos to choose from. ‘The more the merrier’ applies here!”

Although she was astounded with the Reno3’s front camera, Noela was a little bit disappointed with its rear cameras. Despite having a Quadcam setup (with 48-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, 13-megapixel telephoto lens, and 2-megapixel photo lens), the results weren’t what she expected.

“I find it pale unless you adjust your settings. Yes, it’s detailed, but I want the photos to be lively and rich in colors,” Noela expressed her dismay.

As a solution, she relied on using her favorite photo-editing software such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Adobe Lightroom to add vibrance to her photos. Though she admittedly post-process her photos, Noela still finds it a bit of a hassle to edit photos before uploading on Instagram Stories.

“A red flag”

Apart from the problems Noela encountered, her greatest distress was the delays in her experience — which is a dealbreaker and perhaps, the biggest downside of the phone.

Even with a 5G-enabled Helio P90 chipset from MediaTek, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of storage, the Reno3 wasn’t a reliable companion for a multitasker like her.

“There were a lot of delays when I was switching between apps. When I was posting a pre-shoot video on Instagram, the app also froze. Throughout my usage, I find myself relaunching apps more often. This is such a red flag.”

Despite her grievances, She still believed that she’ll use the OPPO Reno3. She had high hopes that OPPO can improve at least its features and user interface through software updates.

Is this Her GadgetMatch?

“My iPhone is so outdated. But I can say that OPPO’s Reno3 is so much better than my iPhone 6s Plus. I love its cameras, its features, and it has huge storage for all my selfies. Also, it’s a hundred percent user-friendly.”

Noela told Her GadgetMatch how the Reno3’s simple and classy design speaks to her personality on another level. Additionally, it has what she needs right now, which also fits her current nomadic lifestyle.

Her experience — despite having a big dealbreaker — is still enough for her to switch to the Reno3. Considerably an upgrade from her aging iPhone. True to her words, the OPPO Reno3 could be Her GadgetMatch.

You’ll always go back to your favorite

However, Noela’s case is a rare gem. She simply grew fond of the Reno3 after trying it for a while. It’s like discovering you like cold brew so you decided to love it. But by default, you’ll always go back to your favorite Caramel Macchiato, since it’s that one drink you’ve tried and tested — and it’s guaranteed to not let you down. Frankly, we all love the familiar.

Admittedly, had Noela seen the iPhone SE before the Reno3, she won’t even bother switching. At the time she had the Reno3, it was a much more affordable alternative compared to upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro.

Pricing and availability

The OPPO Reno3 currently retails for SG$ 549 in Singapore and is available in Midnight Black and Sky White. In the Philippines, it retails for PhP 18,990. It will be available in Auroral Blue, Midnight Black, and Sky White. Additionally, it comes with a free Rockspace EB60 Bluetooth Earbuds.

The Reno3 will be available on Shopee starting April 30, 2020 and on Lazada starting May 13, 2020.

Watch Noela’s vlog which was shot and edited using the OPPO Reno3:

SEE ALSO: OPPO Reno3 Pro review: Disappointed but not surprised | OPPO Reno3 series pricing and availability in the Philippines

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Accessories

Google Pixel Buds 2: Unboxing and Hands-on

The second Pixel Buds just got better

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Finally! The second Pixel Buds are here. After being announced a few months back, the new Pixel Buds are here with better features in mind.

Although there is no support for ANC (Active Noise-Cancellation) unlike the AirPods Pro and Huawei Freebuds 3, you’ll still get nifty features overall.

To know more, just watch our video here.

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Hands-On

Huawei P40 Pro Unboxing and Complete Hands-On

‘Visionary Photography’

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Everything you need to know about the new Huawei P40 Series. Yep there are 3 phones this year, the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+. Yep a pro plus model!

In this video you get a P40 Pro Unboxing, Hands-On, some photo samples, and a camera comparison vs the P30 Pro.

Of course I’ll also answer you questions: What’s new? How is the P40 Pro’s camera vs the P30 Pro, and what’s it like without Google Play Services? And while you’ll have to wait for my full review for a verdict, I’ll try to answer the question, Is it your GadgetMatch?

Watch our Hands-On video.

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