Spring officially began and cherry blossoms are starting to bloom in Japan. April proves to be a busy month for travelers and tech enthusiasts alike, as OPPO unveiled their latest flagship, and Samsung concluded the Galaxy A launch with BLACKPINK. Marvel fans are ready for a treat with Avengers: Endgame coming to theaters two weeks from now. (Who’s excited?)
We need to take a break so we can serve the latest updates in the tech realm. For now, sit back and enjoy what’s Now Playing:
Movies to see
Rodneil: Shazam! is an indication that the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is ready to leave its dark and brooding past *coughs* Batman V Superman *coughs* behind. It’s a nice coming of age film that families can enjoy together. My main man Zachary Levi killed it as the titular character. It seems as if he was born to play Shazam much like Ryan Reynolds is to Deadpool.
Dan: Here’s another remake of a classic horror film adapted from Stephen King’s creations. Pet Sematary was also one of the popular Stephen King movie adaptations in the 80s, but it’s not as good as fans like it to be. Fast forward to 2019, and it’s still not a great film. It can pass as your next horror movie to watch in the cinema with good scares and horrific images, although it’s just not memorable enough.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Kevin: It’s not the latest movie to come out, having been released towards the end of last year. But The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, to me, is an underrated but genius piece of cinema. In case you still haven’t seen it, the movie is about six different stories of life back in the Old West. It shows how people lived and how they settled their problems — presented with a good dose of drama and dark humor from the Coen brothers. It’s an enjoyable movie that might take you on a roller coaster of emotions.
TV shows to binge watch
Rodneil: This isn’t the Ultraman I expected but for the most part, it didn’t disappoint. The story picks up 40 years after the events of the Ultraman most people are familiar with. This version puts the spotlight on the original Ultraman’s son as he finds his way through a role he inherited but didn’t exactly ask for.
MJ: In early celebration of Earth Day, Our Planet is a must-watch documentary on Netflix about nature, addressing issues about conservation and the future of life on Earth. More importantly, you’ll appreciate the show better if you’re watching on a 4K TV, as this show is filmed in Ultra HD.
Your Lie in April
MJ: It’s been years since Your Lie in April (also known as Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso) was released but animé lovers never forget how this show struck a chord in their heart. It’s the most emotional anime I’ve ever seen, and fans re-watch this show every April to commemorate this masterpiece. Your Lie in April is full of valuable lessons in life that will definitely inspire you to let go of the past, take chances, live in the moment, and have faith in what the future will bring.
Santa Clarita Diet (Season 3)
Dan: The small suburb of Santa Clarita has more undead people! Zombie and comedy go well together in this latest season of Santa Clarita Diet. If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, I strongly suggest them for your next binge-watching sesh. The latest season continues where the previous season left off, and it finally brings a bit of action plus more dark humor. Don’t think of Santa Clarita Diet as just another zombie flick. I also think season three is the best so far.
Games to play
Honkai Impact 3
Marvin: Honkai Impact 3 has been available on the App Store and Google Play for over a year already, but it’s only now that I’ve gotten around to playing it. (Thanks, Rodneil!) It shares a lot of traits with action games Devil May Cry and Bayonetta, but with anime girls and JRPG-style dialogue. It’s free to play and gets updated with new events constantly!
Far Cry New Dawn
Kevin: If you’re into first-person shooter games, trusty animals fighting by your side, and making things explode, the latest installment of Far Cry will be an enjoyable addition to your library. It was released early this year and is a narrative sequel to last year’s Far Cry 5. This is the first time Ubisoft did this continuation for the series and Far Cry New Dawn takes place years after Far Cry 5 happened. Although receiving mixed reviews, it basically has the same exhilarating gameplay that made players love the previous installations.
So get your armor on, pick up that sawed-off shotgun, and take on the new bad guys of Hope County!
Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to
Kill This Love by BLACKPINK
Vincenz: I had mixed emotions when I first listened to this song but the odd music arrangement got addictive when I listened to it on repeat. The rapping and vocals are lit, plus most of the lyrics are in English which makes the song singable enough. They even low-key promoted the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Buds in the music video!
Apps to download
Facebook for Android
Marvin: April Fools’! This app sucks. Facebook changes its Android app as often as my Viber groups send corny memes. Each update makes it worse, to the point that I can’t even comment or react to posts on my feed at times. Trust me, I’ve tried on different phones already and I only get consistent results on desktop. Use this dumb social network on the Chrome app instead.
Money Pro for iOS
Vincenz: This app is helpful for those who keep listing expenses in a day. Once you input how much you’ve spent for transportation, food, and whatnot, it sums up everything. Getting the free version is handy but the paid version conveniently syncs data on your other Apple devices (Macs and iPads). There’s also a Plus version that syncs data even on Android and Windows devices. The Gold version can do online banking.
Trends to try
KFC Double Down
Vincenz: As someone who loves eating chicken, Double Down makes it better with two fried chickens squishing the bacon, cheese, and right amount of mayonnaise in the middle. Unlike burgers, it cannot totally fill the void in your stomach — but it’s still worth trying out.
Jollibee Amazing Aloha Burger
Dan: It’s a beef burger with a slice of pineapple and bacon inside. That might sound weird, but the Amazing Aloha from Jollibee is one of the best summer-themed fast food burgers. If you love bacon and pineapple, this is for you. It used to be a staple item on the menu, but it’s now available for a limited time only. I love pairing this with a peach-mango pie to truly feel the tropical vibe of the Philippines — in fast food form.
Books to read
Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Isa: I watched the Phantom of the Opera’s second run in Manila and yet again, I’m captivated by the haunted story of the Opera Ghost and Christine Daaé. Left wanting more, I ended up rereading the original French thriller novel — the same book Andrew Lloyd Webber based the award winning musical on.
The story follows a more detailed narration of the Phantom’s obsession for his young student and budding opera star Christine to almost catastrophic results. If you thought the play was thrilling, this morbid story of love and lust may just be a must read. So many details from the book escaped the play and it’s a definite eye opener to what supposedly went on in the Palais Garnier.
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
Mujjo Leather Wallet Case: Learning the art of letting go
Say goodbye to bulky pockets
For years, I’ve been an over-packer. I bring a lot of things I don’t need even during the most simple occasions. Whenever I go to the bank, have a lunch date, meet someone at a cafe, or enjoy a simple night-out with my friends, I always have the urge to bring non-essential essentials and stuff them into a man purse or a small bag.
My issues with over packing stems from my anxiety. What if I drain my battery and can’t book a cab later? Do I need to bring my 20000mAh power bank today? It’s difficult to calm the F train down when my anxiety is caused by my fear of inconvenience.
In reality, I don’t actually need my accessories to accompany me on my errands. What I need is just my smartphone and cards. To train myself from bringing fewer things, I started looking for a leather wallet phone case to carry only my musts.
The phone case that I’ve been looking for
I chanced upon Mujjo’s leather wallet case a few months back, and as a leather lover, I instantly fell in love with it. At that moment, it felt like a godsend to all my worries.
Mujjo’s leather wallet case exudes a classy, premium vibe. Made with authentic leather, it’s guaranteed to age beautifully as part of your life. The case is sleek and doesn’t scream attention — more reason why this accessory was love at first sight for me.
I don’t require a case that attracts more attention than needed. After all, it’s an accessory; it needs to subtly accentuate how stunning I am. Just look at how it matches my leather jacket.
The case fits perfectly on a phone, and its button padding is highly responsive. With its Japanese suede lining on the back, I must say that it’s beautifully crafted.
This case also features a stitched leather pocket on the back that can carry two to three cards. Yes, it can fit your credit card, commuter card, and even an ID (but definitely not your baggage).
Learning the art of letting go
Mujjo’s leather wallet case gives a different kind of pleasure. Its smell oozes with class and style, and there’s a natural high when your fingertips linger on the surface of a vegetable-tanned leather.
More importantly, it’s easy to grip, and it doesn’t slip out from my hands, but you learn to let go of items that you don’t need when you go out. I stopped bringing my bulky, leather wallet and opted for a cashless lifestyle. I didn’t bother bringing a man purse or a small bag to stuff my accessories like my 20000mAh power bank.
To date, the case has helped me believe that less is more. The fear of inconvenience subsides because at the end of the day, I’m an adult capable of making adjustments. If I encounter a problem and only have my smartphone and cards, I’m pretty sure I can always find a way.
Does this case match your lifestyle?
For people who are already living a minimalist lifestyle, Mujjo’s leather wallet case is a suitable accessory. For those who are trying to break the cycle of being an over-packer and learning the art of letting go, a leather wallet case is a good start. This particular case is for the iPhone XR and it comes in Tan, Olive, Black, and Blue for EUR 41.
Mujjo crafts premium leather wallet cases in different colors for other iPhones and the Galaxy S series, as well. They ship worldwide with free shipping for orders above EUR 60. Check their portfolio of cases here.
OPPO Reno 10x Zoom hands-on: Bold and beautiful
Will you spend this much on an OPPO phone?
It seems like only yesterday when OPPO announced things we can expect from a flagship device that they committed to release in the second quarter of the year.
That time has come with the Reno’s arrival.
If you’re a fan, you’d know that Reno is not an existing product line from OPPO. It’s a new series that, according to the Chinese company, is the epitome of their creative vision and will serve as the catalyst for OPPO’s smartphone development for the next 10 years.
New design language
Central to this new series is a fresh design language. From the outside, you can already tell that this is unlike any other OPPO phone we’ve seen before.
At the back, everything is symmetrical, and the cameras do not protrude. Just below them is what OPPO calls the Protective O-dot. It’s a small ceramic bump that’s meant to elevate the phone ever so slightly, and protect the phone from surface marks.
The logo and small text that says “Designed by OPPO” are in an unusual orientation for a smartphone. But that’s because the Reno series is made primarily with photography and mobile entertainment in mind. In case you didn’t notice, the OPPO logo got an update as well.
The Reno comes in three variants: the standard model powered by a Snapdragon 710, the 10x Zoom that sports Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855, and the 5G model which is promised to come to Switzerland in May.
They will come in this beautiful matte finish called Ocean Green, as well as a glossy Jet Black finish.
While they all feature the new look, you can tell the 10x Zoom model apart through its bigger display, battery capacity, and the extra periscopic lens.
In front, you get an unobstructed 6.6-inch AMOLED display, topped with Corning Gorilla Glass 6. It has neither a hole nor a notch. OPPO says they minimized the size of the chin to achieve an even higher 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Switch to selfie mode and up pops what OPPO calls the Pivot Rising Camera. It rises at a maximum angle of 11 degrees in just 0.8 seconds. OPPO says the phone can survive up to 200,000 drops, as the camera automatically retracts whenever the phone is dropped.
In this pop-up module are the earpiece, front-facing soft light, and the 16MP front-facing camera. There’s also flash at the back.
However, what’s most impressive about the selfie camera isn’t the pop-up mechanism or the 11-degree angle; it’s the way the phone processes extremely backlit selfies. With other smartphones, backgrounds usually turn out overexposed. See how the Reno handles this scenario:
Triple camera threat
The selfie camera is just the tip of the iceberg, however. What you should really be paying attention to are the three cameras at the back: a 48MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultra wide-angle lens, and a 13MP periscopic telephoto lens. Both the primary and telephoto lenses are optically stabilized.
Using a prism, OPPO is able to minimize the thickness of the telephoto lens. The periscope structure of the lens uses 13 percent less space, so the camera module is only 6.76mm thick. Because of this setup, the Reno 10x Zoom can go up to 10x hybrid zoom, just as its name suggests.
Take a look at these sample photos we took around Zurich.
The phone can also zoom in up to 20x, if you really want to get in closer. This is how it looks:
The OPPO Reno 10x zoom also has Ultra Night Mode 2.0. Using a combination of a large sensor, fast aperture, and software magic, you can get better detail in low-light environments, and get rid of random lights that are not artsy enough to look like a lens flare.
The Reno 10x Zoom’s low-light performance is not a surprise though, as OPPO’s midrange R17 Pro was also one of the best low-light cameras we tried last year.
Built to compete
The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom is a flagship device with flagship specs that can rival any top-of-the-line smartphone from 2019: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, up to 8GB RAM, and up to 256GB expandable storage.
OPPO emphasizes great gaming performance on this phone. With HyperBoost 2.0, the phone can avoid lag and touch performance issues.
It also uses three heat dissipation methods, including graphite sheets, copper pipe cooling tech, and thermal conductive grease paste to help control overheating when playing over longer periods of time.
We didn’t get to fully test this yet as our review unit is a Chinese version. But once we get an international unit, our full review will definitely include gaming performance.
The OPPO Reno 10x zoom also has a humongous 4065mAh battery which comes with faster VOOC 3.0 charging technology.
Speaking of faster, the in-display fingerprint scanner on the Reno 10x Zoom is one of the fastest we’ve used lately.
If that’s not your cup of tea, there’s still face unlock. Yep, even if the camera is hidden, it will pop up whenever you want to unlock the phone using face recognition. It also happens so fast you’d barely see the magic happen.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
OPPO’s Reno 10x Zoom definitely has what it takes to go against this year’s premium flagship devices: It’s beautiful, fully beefed up, and has cameras you can rely on. The new ColorOS is also refreshingly clean.
While the Reno 10x Zoom costs less than what most of its competition are sold for, at the end of the day, the decision to buy the phone solely boils down to whether you are actually willing to spend EUR 799 (US$ 895) on a phone from OPPO.
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.
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