Hands-On

OnePlus 6T hands-on: Refinements all around

Faster and better

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The self-proclaimed flagship killer is back — faster and better than ever, with fancy new tech and a reimagined notch.

TechTober is almost over and we have one more phone to tell you about: the OnePlus 6T.

It comes just five months after the launch of the OnePlus 6, so it’s no surprise that this is just an incremental update — a refinement to an already-impressive smartphone.

Side-by-side, you’ll find both phones look very similar. The frame and form factor are almost the same, albeit a bit thicker. It has the same curved back and all-glass finish.

Oh, and at least for now, the phone will only be available in black, either matte or glossy.

If you look closely you’ll find its backside fingerprint sensor is missing; that’s been replaced with an under-display fingerprint scanner, which is one of the biggest cosmetic differences on this phone.

OnePlus is calling it Screen Unlock and promises unlock speeds of 0.34 seconds. In our limited time with the device, Screen Unlock worked consistently. It felt quick and snappy.

Scroll up to the upper half of the screen, and you’ll find the other noticeable upgrade. Gone is the tub-shaped notch in favor of a much smaller one that curves around the selfie camera.

With the cutout reduced, you get even more screen space — an 86 percent screen-to-body ratio to be exact. And if the notch isn’t your thing, you also have the option to turn it off.

The rest of the improvements to the OnePlus 6T have more to do with hardware and software, like how its 6.41-inch AMOLED 1080p display is brighter and more color accurate.

You also get a nifty feature called reading mode which turns the display to black and white like you were reading off an e-reader but in high-res.

The camera of course has been improved, too. While hardware remains the same — a 16-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization, 20-megapixel secondary camera for more accurate portrait blur, and 16-megapixel front camera — software algorithms have been tweaked to improve photo quality and performance.

Improvements have specifically been made in the area of night shots, portraits, and selfies. A new feature called Nightscape promises better low-light photos with less noise, while Studio Lighting gives your selfies a touch of professional lighting.

Take a look at some photos we took around New York:

Since its inception, OnePlus has always been known for offering flagship specs at a more affordable price point, and a close-to-pure Android experience that’s fast and snappy. The same holds true with the OnePlus 6T.

This time around, they sought to improve that experience further. The phone still runs on Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 845 processor with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM.

In addition, it now has double the amount of storage as the standard configuration at 128GB and a bigger 3700mAh battery that you can top up quickly with its bundled Fast Charger. Notice it’s no longer called Dash Charging, but it’s the same tech.

In our initial tests, we were getting seven to eight hours of screen-on time and were quite impressed. But that’s just on the hardware front.

A software improvement called Smart Boost supposedly knows which apps you use the most and stores that app’s data on the phone’s RAM so these apps load faster. Currently, the technology works with games, but support for more apps is coming in future updates.

The OnePlus 6T runs on the latest version of Android, 9.0 Pie with the newest OxygenOS skin on top. For more screen real estate, you can turn off the on-screen buttons and use gestures to navigate around the phone.

Swipe up to go home, swipe up and hold for multitasking, and swipe down for the quick settings panel. You can also use three fingers to swipe down to take a screenshot. And when the display is on, you can double-tap to lock the phone.

OnePlus is promising additional features soon, like activating Google Assistant with a long press of the power button, which I think is a novel way to give users that feature without having to build in a dedicated hardware button. Speaking of extra buttons and such, the phone still has our favorite alert slider which lets you mute the phone with a quick tug.

So, is the OnePlus 6T your GadgetMatch?

You’ll find out real soon. We’re working on both our unboxing and review videos, which will be coming your way real soon.

Hands-On

Google Pixel 4 and 4XL Unboxing and Hands-on

New features, same price

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The most leaked phone in history is now official. The new Pixel 4 and 4XL may look similar the outside but come with better cameras (yes there are now two), sport a Radar for faster face unlock, and introduce new air gestures. But is it worth upgrading?

This is our Google Pixel 4 and 4XL unboxing and hands-on.

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Microsoft Surface family Hands-On

And it’s dual screen

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Our Microsoft Surface Family Hands-On features the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Pro X.

We also take a quick look at the Surface Buds, Surface Neo and Surface Duo. The latter two foldable devices are coming in time for next year’s holiday season. The Surface Duo and Android-powered Windows phone with two displays hinged together in the middle.

Joining me in this video is my She Said, He Said Co-Host Nicole Scott.

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Hands-On

Realme 5 Hands-On: A phone that you can rely on

Power in a budget

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When Realme unveiled the Realme 5 and Realme 5 Pro, one can’t just walk away and not look at this beautiful duo. However, the Realme 5 stands out compared to its pro version, with its shiny and bigger build.

Even though I dislike tall and bigger smartphones, I gave the Realme 5 a try. Let’s see what this phone has to offer.

The Realme 5 has a 6.5″ IPS LCD screen…

… and a dewdrop notch

On its bottom are its speaker grilles, a micro USB port, and a headphone jack

Found on the right side is its power button…

… while the left side contains the volume keys and the card tray

It has a plastic build designed with diamond cuts…

… and a quad-camera setup along with a dedicated fingerprint scanner

Premium-looking for its price

Realme follows the recent approach of every smartphone makers: Design an affordable phone to something premium-looking. Thanks to its well-thought design, the Realme 5 doesn’t look like a cheap, budget phone.

While its body is made of plastic, Realme made this affordable smartphone premium through its Gorilla Glass 3 at the front and adding splash resistance all over its body. Additionally, it comes in two cool gradient colors (like any other smartphones in 2019): Crystal Blue and Crystal Purple.

Its front has a 6.5″ IPS LCD screen with a 20:9 ratio and 720p resolution. For a massive smartphone, its resolution is a little bit low, causing icons to blur a little.

Enjoy longer playtime

The Realme 5 didn’t disappoint in terms of power and performance. For me, this is where this phone shines apart from its shiny design. Sporting a Snapdragon 665 processor and carrying a 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, this phone lets you play your favorite mobile games decently, such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

Don’t worry about running out of juice, though! Packed with 5000mAh battery, this phone can last throughout the day, even if you’re a power user or a non-stop gamer.

Recently, I went on a hike and while there are occasional photo-taking sessions, the Realme 5 didn’t suck up a lot of its battery throughout the day. It even lasted the next day, and can definitely last longer if it’s just on standby.

Light, clean, and easy to look at

Realme 5 runs Color OS 6 based on Android 9 Pie, and is planning to upgrade it to Android 10. Similar to Realme X, its icons looks cleaner and lighter, making it pretty easy to look at. However, it isn’t that speedy when it comes to navigating, scrolling, and switching between apps.

But thanks to its user interface with a lighter feel, you won’t even notice the speed difference compared to your previous phones. It will just make you feel it’s fast enough to get the job done.

Easier and prettier selfies

Sitting inside the notch is a 13-megapixel camera with f/2.0 lens. Other options include a portrait mode, a panorama mode, and a time-lapse mode. For those who want to add an extra flair, there are built-in filters to choose from. If beauty is your concern, say no more. The camera has a lot of enhancement options like smoothing, nose trimming, face thinning, and eye enlargement.

Additionally, taking a selfie is pretty easy. You can opt between using the regular capture button, through the volume keys, through timer, fingerprint, touch, or even hand gesture.

Picture-perfect memories

On the flip side, its rear cameras are equipped with a 12-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 2-megapixel dedicated macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.

For a budget smartphone, my eyes and heart are happy with the photos. It’s not that detailed, but it’s rich in colors and highly vibrant despite a gloomy weather. It’s even better when there’s a substantial amount of natural light.

Its ultra-wide angle photos are suitable for online consumption. It lets you create dramatic shots and add perspective on your photos.

Through AI scene recognition, the Realme 5’s cameras automatically detect the settings for a certain scene. If it’s dim or during at night, it automatically activates HDR and brightens up the processed photo. Noise levels are pretty low, and it’s a big improvement for Realme.

There are more camera modes available apart from photo, portrait, video, and ultrawide, such as nightscape, panorama, expert, time-lapse, slo-mo, and ultra macro. Overall, the Realme 5 has decent cameras that are suitable for sharing on social media. Its ability to capture true colors and vivid scenes guarantees you don’t need a lot of editing apps to enhance and process your photos, you can now share it as is.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Realme provides excellent value on its smartphones, especially in the Realme 5. What it lacks in display, screen resolution, and user interface, it compensates in power, performance, and cameras. With this kind of offering, it’s hard not to consider and give this phone a try.

For its price, the Realme 5 is a real treat for people looking for a budget smartphone that provides more than what they need. Its 3GB RAM/64GB storage variant costs PhP 7,990 (US$ 154) while its 4GB RAM/128GB storage variant is priced at PhP 9,990 (US$ 192).

Additionally, there’s a cheaper, Lazada Exclusive Model with a 3GB RAM/32GB storage for only PhP 6,990 (US$ 134). The Realme 5 is available nationwide starting October 4.

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