Of all the smartphone segments, the most cut-throat has to be the budget to midrange market. Each brand has its own specialties but with little room for error (unless they want to hear a mouthful from consumers).
While Xiaomi continues to cram as much power as it can into its smartphones and ASUS confidently creates budget-friendly battery kings, Moto is pushing something a little different: premium design with an affordable price.
That’s what the Moto G6 is all about. Although the specifications sheet doesn’t scream high-end (or barely even midrange), gripping it feels like you have something more.
As soon as the G6 lands in your hands, you know it’s a rock-solid device. The all-glass construction curves smoothly from back to front, delivering a fluid feel like it’s meant for human hands and not tables. The 5.7-inch 1080p display is also fun to view thanks to the slimmer 18:9 ratio.
And yet, it’s admittedly on the almost-too-thick side. I first thought that there’d be a massive battery inside, but the capacity is only 3000mAh. For comparison, phones this thick have batteries as large as 4000mAh, offering 33 percent more without the added bulk.
Strangely enough, there’s even a significant camera bulge on the back, meaning the phone can’t lie flat on a surface. It’s a head-scratching design, although I appreciate the fingerprint scanner’s front-facing placement — where it should belong.
Unfortunately, the fingerprint reading isn’t that fast; there’s a slight pause between the vibration feedback and screen turning on. On the flip side, the scanner serves an additional purpose of being an all-in-one navigation key.
By entering the Moto Actions menu and turning on “One button nav,” you can tap the capacitive button to go home, swipe right to bring up recent apps, swipe left to go back, or hold to turn the screen off. Enabling this frees up some screen space since the on-display navigation bar isn’t needed anymore.
Another useful feature is Moto Display, which works a lot like the Always On tricks of Samsung and Huawei’s own implementation on the P20 Pro. It gives you a glimpse at the time, date, and battery percentage while the phone is on standby; it’ll also light up when a notification arrives or you wave a hand over the phone.
Aside from those, this is simply a solidly built, pure Android smartphone. It comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box with no bloatware whatsoever. Sadly, it isn’t part of the Android One platform, meaning the G6 isn’t guaranteed to get timely updates from Google, and Moto isn’t known to push newer versions of the OS on time.
Running the show is a Snapdragon 450 processor, which slots into the lower-midrange speed realm, but is certainly efficient. Despite the smallish battery, the G6 can last through a day of moderate usage on a single charge with mobile data or Wi-Fi constantly on.
I tried playing a few games, but wasn’t too impressed by the performance. A couple of rounds of Dragon Ball Legends and Asphalt Xtreme didn’t show off the smoothest gameplay or fastest loading times. While the chipset isn’t too bad, the 3GB of memory is lacking, and there’s not much room for all my games and videos on the 32GB of internal storage — though you can expand that using the hybrid SIM and microSD tray.
Our creative director Chay also experienced some hiccups while using the G6’s cameras. Although they look good on paper — a 12- and 5-megapixel rear setup (one with a better f/1.8 lens) — the quality isn’t great and moving from one mode to another can get slow at times.
Here are some of the best photos she took:
The 8-megapixel front camera isn’t too impressive, either. You’d think it’s good when taking selfies in broad daylight, but it gets grainy even with indoor lighting. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend buying the G6 for its cameras or speed. Neither stand out as much as the build quality.
And that sort of sums up my experience with the Moto G6. As pretty as it looks, there’s not much going on inside. For this phone’s price of US$ 250 (INR 13,999 in India), you can find more powerful devices in the market.
We have two great lists for that, but one advantage the G6 has is its design. I can confidently say it’s the most well-built in its price range.
Content creator switches from iPhone 6s Plus to OPPO Reno3
A buzzing switch?!
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:
Google Pixel Buds 2: Unboxing and Hands-on
The second Pixel Buds just got better
To know more, just watch our video here.
Huawei P40 Pro Unboxing and Complete Hands-On
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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