Reviews

OnePlus 3T review (3 months later)

Published

on

The phone of the future is already here; we now have a benchmark for how upcoming smartphones should look; and the world’s third-ranked smartphone manufacturer refined its already great handset. But, I still recommend the OnePlus 3T to all my friends.

We aren’t hiding our admiration for OnePlus’ latest flagship smartphone: It was part of our most recent list of best premium smartphones, and its near-identical sibling won our hearts in 2016. In spite of the incredible phones we’ve been seeing since MWC last February, we can’t help but crown the OnePlus 3T as the best bang for anyone’s buck.

You don’t have to be an Android purist or specs nerd to see how great it is. For only $439 — or up to $300 cheaper than the newest premium phones — you get a timeless design, incredibly solid metal build, one of the fastest processors in the market in the Snapdragon 821, and more than enough memory, internal storage, and battery capacity to satisfy all your needs.

The 16-megapixel cameras on the front and back are pretty good too, and we can say with certainty they keep up with the best of them. Here are some samples:

Without a doubt, you can’t find a better deal at this price point right now. There’s nothing stopping you from going out and choosing this over the rest, unless you’re totally mesmerized by the fanciness of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG G6, or the camera quality of the Google Pixel and Huawei P10.

Well, there are a few things you must know before buying a OnePlus 3T. These are some quirks we found, which involve the original OnePlus 3, as well.

The camera bump is a sore spot

This didn’t matter as much when the OnePlus 3 first came out, but it’s a lot more glaring now. The OnePlus 3T’s camera hump sticks out without a care in the world, forcing you to either lay it down gently on rough surfaces every single time or just buy a case to even out the back. It also causes the phone to wobble a bit while on a flat table.

Its fingerprint scanner feels slow now

Call this being spoiled, but OnePlus’ Chinese counterparts are doing a better job at speeding up their fingerprint scanners. Even OPPO and Vivo’s entry-level phones beat the OnePlus 3T at fingerprint recognition from a cold start. Don’t worry, though; being half a second slower won’t ruin your day.

Our favorite hybrid smartwatch doesn’t sync with it

We bring our Fossil Q Hybrid wherever we go and sync it with whatever phone we’re using. Sadly, the OnePlus 3T and its modified Android operating system don’t sync with the hybrid smartwatch. Fossil itself confirmed its watch platform doesn’t play nice with this phone’s OxygenOS, even though it’s based on the most recent builds of Android.

Cellular signal lags behind

I’ve had better-than-usual cellular reception on all the Snapdragon 820- and 821-powered phones I’ve used, but the OnePlus 3T’s isn’t on par for some reason. Areas where I’d normally get 4G+ or HSPA+ turn into just 4G and 3G, respectively. It might be the all-metal build blocking some of the signal or compatibility issues with my network carrier’s frequency bands.

No waterproofing or storage expansion to speak of

While I didn’t complain about this last year, it’s gradually turning into a fault for the OnePlus 3T. It seems like water- and dustproofing are becoming must-haves in every phone deemed a flagship, and consumers are growing accustomed to demanding them now. At the same time, storage expansion through a microSD card would’ve been nice, although the dual-SIM tray makes up for it.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

We spent the entire intro praising the OnePlus 3T and practically calling it the best buy in recent memory, only to list a bunch of cons right after. You’re probably thinking: Are you backtracking on your claims, GadgetMatch? or Did OnePlus stop paying you, GadgetMatch?

The answer is no for both. For us to keep this review as unbiased as possible, we had to nitpick every flaw we’ve discovered since the original OnePlus 3 launched. That said, these are so minor we can’t consider them deal-breakers. In fact, most casual users won’t even notice these weaknesses, which happen to be fewer than those we’ve found on other flagship gadgets.

As long as you’re game for a high-end 5.5-inch Android smartphone without extra camera lenses or a curvy display, it doesn’t get much better than this. Until, of course, OnePlus’ next “flagship killer” launches later this year and we have to do these comparisons all over again.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 3 and 3T imitate Pixel in latest update

[irp posts=”11910″ name=”OnePlus 3 and 3T imitate Pixel in latest update”]

Computers

Apple M2 Mac mini Review

More Affordable, More Powerful

Published

on

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!

Continue Reading

Gaming

Forspoken review: Outspoken with little to speak of

Wait for a sale

Published

on

Forspoken

It doesn’t take a lot to create a decent roleplaying game. All you need is a fish-out-of-water character, a vast open map, and a seemingly endless list of objectives. Though it has all three, Forspoken struggles to keep up with its pretenses as a Western roleplaying game.

First, the good

Credit to where it’s due, Forspoken is a fun game for the first few sections. Exploring the incredibly huge map with magical parkour is enjoyable. Eclipsed only by Elden Ring’s Torrent, magic parkour is one of the most innovative ways to quickly traverse large distances, especially after learning more advanced techniques.

Likewise, fighting balanced enemies with limited powers provides enough of a challenge to keep players on their toes in Athia. Neither the player nor the first enemies feel overpowered.

Unfortunately, the game’s novelty quickly evaporates after you figure out that you have to repeat the same motions dozens upon dozens of times. Forspoken’s map is much larger than it ever should have been. Though abundant in number, every point of interest is separated by large distances, some platforming challenges, and a battle sequence. The greater map is empty. Do this over and over, and the game gets stale quick. With adequate rewards, this shouldn’t be a problem, but Forspoken also suffers from a communication issue.

A communication issue

For most roleplaying games, completing an objective on the map usually nets palpable rewards for the player: a significant experience boost, new skills, new gear, or a bag of loot. An open-world game necessitates a lot of exploring. Even if a game is repetitive, earning substantial rewards is satisfying, at least. Forspoken does not have this — not in an easily discernible way, at least.

Treasure chests, which account for most of the points of interest on the map, reward players with a litany of crafting materials. Most of which will go unused because the game doesn’t easily tell players how to use them. After a dozen hours of collecting materials, I had a wealthy cache of each ingredient to make practically anything. Even then, I had little idea where each one went.

The map’s major rewards — new cloaks, new nail arts, and experience — also do little to explain how Frey improves with each completed objective. Clearing out an enemy camp, for example, rewards players with +1 magic. The game does not tell you how much damage that conveys. Certainly, after completing a few of these, Frey feels stronger, but it’s not easy to see how much stronger, especially when most enemies are bullet sponges with absurd health pools anyway.

Plus, these don’t even scratch the surface of objectives wherein the main reward is literally just a lore dump you have to read from a menu.

Forspoken

Difficulty shouldn’t always mean more enemies

Another issue with clearing out Athia’s large map is how Forspoken handles difficulty. Though there are options to adjust difficulty, the game relies on a limited bag of tricks to make it more difficult for players: increasing enemy health and quantity. In moderation, relying on this strategy works. However, Forspoken does this to an obnoxious level.

Prepare to fight five mini-bosses in one encounter for a lore entry. What compounds this issue more is an insane enemy health pool which causes encounters to last a lot longer than they should. One mini-boss encounter took me 15 minutes, even with appropriately leveled gear and the right spells.

Because of the sheer number of enemies, an encounter can stun-lock Frey for an absurd amount of time. The player can hardly prevent this since it relies on chance. Despite offering a wide array of moves, the risk of knockbacks shoehorn players into a slow run-and-gun tactic (which might not even play into an enemy’s weaknesses), instead of using each ability to the max.

On paper, Forspoken’s combat offers a fluid way to take down enemies by seamlessly switching between spells and moving through the battlefield with magic parkour. Unfortunately, an imbalance in enemy strategies bogs the game down in prolonged sequences that often reward players with only middling boosts.

Forspoken

A lack of optimization

For a game released on modern hardware, Forspoken took a while to launch. The game was delayed a few times. Given how delays often work, you’d think that it would release in a fairly optimized state. It’s not.

Though I haven’t hit major game-breaking bugs, there were a number of performance dips throughout the game. Even on performance-focused settings, framerates dropped to a standstill when there were high particle effects on screen. Frey constantly clipped through the terrain and found herself stuck on finnicky edges (which sometimes required reloading from previous saves).

The game is also dragged down by numerous cutscenes. Though not a bug per se, it’s not a great sign of optimization that the game has to pause for a cutscene just to show enemies arriving. For a game featuring fluid movement and combat, Forspoken often takes players out of the action by pausing for unnecessary cutscenes.

Forspoken

Better on sale

Overall, Forspoken is persistently flawed. However, amid the game’s shortcomings, the title still has an exciting combat and movement system. Plus, if you disregard the tedious open world, Forspoken’s linear story, featuring the wide range of abilities, are enjoyable. My interest always bounces back after beating one of the game’s main bosses.

Still, it’s hard to call Forspoken a game worthy of its AAA price tag. It might be better to wait for a discount.

Continue Reading

Computers

MSI Summit E16 Flip review: Creator on the go

A plethora of ways to be as productive and creative as possible

Published

on

We all love a good 2-in-1 device that gives us everything we need all in one go. From portability to productivity, devices like these truly bring out the best in everyone no matter what kind of use case you throw at it. Such is the case for MSI, a brand notably known for gaming hardware but has their fair share of productivity-focused laptops, as well.

One such 2-in-1 device under MSI’s portfolio is the MSI Summit E16 Flip, complete with hardware and features for the more well-rounded user out there. With a rather slim form factor, the device would ideally mix both portability and productivity in one. Also, it comes with some external hardware that elevates the productivity just a bit further, as well.

With all these in mind, is the MSI Summit E16 Flip a worthy option for all your productivity needs?

Performing above expectations

The MSI Summit E16 Flip performs rather fantastically for any given situation; whether you’re working or watching, it has the hardware to keep up. Inside this machine is a 12th generation Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM — a standard for most productivity-laden devices. Most applications run smoothly on this device, which is expected as a daily driver for most tasks.

It also comes with a 16:10, QHD+ anti-glare display, which does provide a bigger canvas for multitasking with multiple windows open. This IPS touch display is quite bright and color-accurate, especially at peak brightness and in broad daylight. Whether you’re working during the day or watching movies at night, this device is perfect for these activities.

Gaming and creating on the go

Much like all other MSI laptops, the MSI Summit E16 Flip comes with a dedicated NVIDIA RTX 3050Ti GPU inside. Although not as powerful as oher mobile GPUs, this one packs a punch for a good balance of gaming performance with high quality graphics. When throwing in Esports titles, the device poured in high frame rates suited for competitive play.

Of course, a powerful GPU also enables greater performance when editing photos and videos in high quality, as well. This is also helped out by the display having a 165Hz refresh rate with a 1ms response rate, so you don’t miss out on any out of place pixels. From our tests, render times for HD videos were decent enough — about 2 minutes for a 15-second video with many visual elements.

A pen and large display for your notes

Part of the package for the MSI Summit E16 Flip is the addition of the MSI Pen for those who prefer a pen over a mouse/trackpad. This additional accessory links up quite quickly, and lasts for more than a day on a full charge. Also, it comes with a few magnetized areas so it sticks to the side of the laptop or the top of the display for ease of access.

Ideally, you’d need something like the MSI Pen if you’re more into drawing illustrations or taking down handwritten notes — and it shows. From legible handwriting to brush strokes, the device was able to pick up on these inputs well. It even supports other Windows gestures like zoom, drag, and multi-select — essentially replicating the wide trackpad.

Although, from our usage of the device, the display has this slight problem with rejecting palms on top of it. While writing with the MSI Pen, it is natural to rest your palm somewhere on the display yet even inputs from that get picked up. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be wary of.

Lasts decently long for consistent productivity

Longevity is another thing the MSI Summit E16 Flip provides, specifically on the battery side of things. Throughout our usage of the device, on normal usage, it lasts around 10-11 hours which is pretty decent for the hardware. Accounting for higher quality videos playing, the device lasted for 9-10 hours on average.

When gaming full time or even rendering higher quality videos, the battery does take a hit, as expected. For full time video rendering, it drained its battery after three and a half hours on average, while gaming cut it down to around two to three hours.

Although, if you need to get back into your productivity workflow, the MSI Summit E16 Flip restores its battery quickly with the charger it comes with. On average, charging the device took around two hours from nothing to full, which should put you back in action.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Starting PhP 130,999, the MSI Summit E16 Flip has everything you need in a 2-in-1 device when you’re on the move. From the hardware to the accessories, it’s a well-rounded machine designed for the multihyphenated or those who work and play hard. Also, its overall design makes it a bit easier to bring around.

If money isn’t entirely an issue, this laptop is one great upgrade option out there both as a work machine and a creator hub. Accessory-wise, the MSI Pen should be on your list of must-haves when purchasing this device, in case a mouse doesn’t suit your liking.

Continue Reading

Trending