There’s nothing particularly striking about the OPPO A92. In many aspects it’s… just right. The battery performance is stellar, and ColorOS 7.1 is in the running as one of my favorite Android skins. Everywhere else, it’s just solid.
It might seem underwhelming on paper, but if you think about it, it’s practically right in line with what you ought to expect from a smartphone at this price. Anything else that goes beyond this is a bonus.
Here’s a quick look at the specs:
OPPO A9 2020
6.5” IPS LCD
Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
RAM + ROM
8GB + 128GB
Quad rear (48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP)
Punch hole selfie (16MP)
Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
USB-C, 3.5mm jack
To me, this represents the baseline of what you should expect from a midrange smartphone. Nothing too fancy, nothing gimmicky, just the right amount of performance to get you through whatever it is you need to get through.
Solid, steady performance
I used the phone for roughly a week. Coming from flagship smartphones, I can definitely feel the difference but it still did what I needed it to do.
Browsing social media and jumping from Facebook, to Twitter, and then Instagram, and then back to Twitter is relatively smooth. There was no significant slow down but, as I’ve mentioned, if you are coming from a flagship you will notice a difference. There’s a bit of a drag, but it’s negligible for the most part.
I didn’t really do a lot of mobile gaming on the phone save for a few Asphalt 9 races. Just like everything about this phone, the experience is… okay.
I did have some trouble when the things on screen I needed to press were located near the edge. The phone just didn’t respond right away and it caused mild stress on my part. Told OPPO about this and it might be an isolated case with the unit I was lent.
Is it really a binge-watch machine?
The short answer is yes. We partnered with OPPO upon the phone’s launch and our talking point is how this phone can probably last longer than you during binge-watch sessions.
With a 5,000mAh battery and no exorbitant features to eat-up that power, the phone does last long. In this video (which I will also reluctantly add in this article), I noted how I didn’t charge the phone after an overnight binge-watch test. I used it sparingly over the next three days and it still didn’t run out of juice.
I can confidently say this will probably get you to a day and a half, even with heavy usage.
That UI is so damn clean
Other than Samsung going from TouchWi to OneUI, ColorOS’ journey from an iOS-wannabe to embracing everything about Android has been one of my favorite Android skin transformations.
There’s still a fair amount of bloatware and an annoying AppMarket, but everywhere else, ColorOS 7.1 is clean, extremely customizable, and just smooth to use and navigate.
You can pick the icon shape and style, and dark mode can even force apps that don’t have a dark mode yet to, well, go dark. It’s still a pretty shaky execution but they do a better job than vivo’s FunTouchOS. That’s at least true for the forced dark mode on the Facebook app.
Is it really an upgrade from the OPPO A9 2020?
This is a rather tricky question to answer. In terms of succession, yes, this is a follow-up to the OPPO A9 2020, but the only real differences are its weight, design. Even the weight part is nearly negligible with OPPO A9 2020 at 195g and OPPO A92 at 192g.
Some significant changes though are the fingerprint scanner location (side-mounted on the OPPO A92 vs rear on the OPPO A9 2020) and the selfie camera (punch hole on OPPO A92 vs waterdrop on OPPO A9 2020).
Otherwise, you get the same quad camera setup (48MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP), the same selfie camera (16MP), the same processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 665), and the same configuration (8GB + 128GB). They even share the same launch pricing (PhP 15,990 or US$320).
For the most part, it’s the same phone under a different skin. If you liked the look of the OPPO A9 2020, then go for that one as it should be cheaper now. Personally, I think that design had more of an identity.
The OPPO A92 exists to create the illusion that after only six months, the company might have something new to offer — which isn’t the case. It’s like your ex coming back dressed differently. But deep inside, it’s just the same person.
5 things we like about the realme Watch
A fitness band you won’t mind wearing in non-workout scenarios
realme has been on a roll in expanding their product portfolio. They started with smartphones, added some earphones and powerbanks, and this year they have two wearables so far – the realme smartband and the realme Watch.
Today we’re listing some of the things we really liked about the realme Watch. Oh and quick note – most of this video was shot using the realme X3 SuperZoom.
Okay so, number one is battery life.
At the time that this was written, the Watch was at 52 percent and it has been seven days since the last time it was fully charged. If I use it more or less the same way I have in the past seven days, then it’ll be another week before it completely runs out of juice.
It’s definitely a plus when you don’t have to think about charging your watch too often.
Variety of workouts
At launch it can track 14 different workouts with good variety.
You have stuff like Running, Walking, Strength Training, Yoga and even sports like Football, Table Tennis, and Badminton.
The only “workout” I really got to try is walking, since I absolutely dread running — or any other form of exercise for that matter. But the fitness tracking was fairly accurate for the most part.
I was dying to try basketball since that’s the only workout I truly enjoy. Unfortunately the courts are still closed because in case you forgot, the Coronavirus is still very much out there taking lives and we are totally not winning that battle.
If it’s just your regular trip to the grocery store, then this watch will suit you just fine.
Perhaps, you can also wear this on regular work days if you’re required to report onsite. Point is, since it doesn’t look like a fitness band. You can probably get away with wearing it in most casual situations.
This one was particularly useful for when I was making this video.
The remote camera camera works for both photo and video. And for photos, it can be set to either take the snap right away or with a timer.
Very convenient if, like me, you’re forever alone, and need or want photos of yourself.
For you thirsty folks out there, it also has a water reminder option that you can turn on using the realme link app.
You can set a time period when you should be reminded, as well as the frequency of the reminder. I didn’t exactly follow this all the time since I sorely lack discipline, but it’s nice to have that constant reminder.
Is the realme Watch worth buying?
To properly set your expectations, you’ll need to think of the realme Watch as more of an enlarged fitness band versus an actual Smart Watch, since most of its features are geared towards health and fitness.
And if you look at it, it’s… okay. Not really something you’d want to show off.
Underneath the display there’s this subtle realme branding that could’ve been smaller or they could’ve totally done away with. That might have helped with the overall look a little bit.
The watch faces are also limited at launch, but realme emphasized that a wide variety of choices is coming soon.
For PhP 3990 (US$ 81), you get a fitness band that you wouldn’t mind wearing in non-workout scenarios. I think that’s the primary benefit that you get, for paying around twice the price of a regular fitness band.
How to maximize your Redmi 9
Smart tips for your budget smartphone
Having a smartphone these days is akin to a necessity. However, times are especially hard and you may not have the means to splurge on the best ones. Here are tips on maximizing budget smartphones — specifically, the Xiaomi Redmi 9.
First of, let’s find out what we’re working with. Here’s a quick rundown of the device’s specs:
|Display||6.53” FHD+ Dot Drop Display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Processor||MediaTek Helio G80 Processor|
|RAM + ROM||3GB+32GB and 4GB+64GB|
|Battery Capacity||5020mAh, support for 18W charging|
|Rear Cameras||13MP main wide-angle camera
8MP ultra-wide angle camera
5MP macro camera
2MP depth sensor
There’s not a lot you’re working with here. But that’s to be expected from a phone that starts at PhP 6,990 (US$ 141) for the 3GB+32GB variant which is what we have with us currently.
Quick note: That specific variant is currently on sale today on Xiaomi’s official flagship store on Lazada. On July 7, 2020 only, it’s up for grabs for PhP 500 less or at exactly PhP 6,490 (US$ 131).
If you want to snap this up, here’s what you’re getting.
It doesn’t look like a budget phone
Some budget smartphones tend to look very bland. That’s not the case with the Redmi 9.
The Ocean Green variant has this subtle radial pattern on its back. It’s very nice to hold and marginally adds to the grip. That’s a thoughtful choice considering how most budget smartphones come in plain backs in a slippery plastic build.
Another thoughtful design decision is the alignment of the power button and volume keys. For a phone with this big a display, having them all on the right side is an underrated design decision.
Unfortunately, that design decision is countered by the placement of the fingerprint sensor. It’s curiously connected to the camera module. During your first few days of use, you’ll be prone to smudging the lens that sits right above it.
That said, that camera module also doesn’t look like it’s a budget smartphone. The vertical camera array is situated on the top middle part and is separated by a circle that looks like the source of the radial pattern.
Learn basic mobile photography skills
While we’re talking about the cameras, the versatility of the ones equipped on the Redmi 9 is pretty impressive.
On most occasions, you should be able to take a good enough photo for your social media feeds. But you can even take it a step further by learning some basic mobile photography skills.
Here are some tips and how tos from our archives that you might find useful:
Use the built-in photo editor
You don’t have plenty of space for apps, so it’s prudent to learn the in and outs of the built-in photo editor. Just go into the gallery and edit one of your photos, and you’ll be treated to plenty of options.
Take for instance this wide angle photo. It looks fine, but a little unbalanced.
On the photo editor, you can fix that by aligning the horizon to the grid and making the colors pop more.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are also plenty of filters you can play with. Here’s a sample of how that same photo was turned into this very stylized one that looks almost like a scene from Attack on Titan.
Google is your best friend
One of my favorite Google Apps is Google Photos. It gives you unlimited storage of your photos at zero cost.
It’s most likely already installed on the Redmi 9 out of the box. Just make sure you turn syncing on so every time you take a photo, it’s automatically uploaded and backed up.
Google also has lite versions for most of their apps so that should help ease up the load on your limited RAM and storage.
Use lite versions of apps
Lite apps aren’t limited to Google though. More commonly used apps like Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, and even Spotify have lite versions.
These versions eat up less space and less memory when used. Of course, you’ll be missing some features, but that’s the trade-off.
What you can do is identify which app you use the most and need all of the features available, so you can get the full version of that app, while keeping everything else lite.
Be resourceful about it
One of the hallmarks of Xiaomi and Redmi is offering good value for less. That means making the most of what you have.
For the Redmi 9, this means knowing for sure what it can do, and allocating its existing resources based on your smartphone needs.
Remember, your smartphone is only as good as how you use it.
A quick reminder that the Redmi 9 (3GB+32GB) is currently on sale today on Xiaomi’s official flagship store on Lazada. On July 7, 2020 only, it’s up for grabs for PhP 500 less or at exactly PhP 6,490 (US$ 131).
Samsung Galaxy M31: How long does a 6000mAh battery last?
We took the phone out for a spin!
Having long-lasting device is a must when you need to stay connected. When Samsung proudly introduced the Galaxy M31 with a 6,000mAh battery, it’s like god heard my woes. No more reliance on power banks and hogging wall sockets!
But how long does a 6000mAh battery last, especially for someone who’s overly attached to his smartphone? To find the answer, we fully charged a Galaxy M31 to see if it will last more than my ex-flings (or a day, in this case).
Hour 00: Making you mine
It was 2:20 PM when I took the fully charged Galaxy M31 to finish setting it up, and personalize it as my new daily driver for god knows how long. If you’re familiar with Samsung’s One UI 2.0, navigating the phone is a breeze.
I installed my essential apps — particularly Spotify — and spent at least an hour and a half to finish personalizing the phone. It was almost four in the afternoon when I decided to take a nap, with the battery currently sitting at 96 percent.
Hour 02: Vibing with your quirks
Thirty minutes later, I woke up from incessant sweating caused by a vexatious, humid atmosphere. When I checked the phone, I wasn’t surprised to see it drop to 95 percent. After all, Spotify was still playing on the background. I started prepping up to take a bath while dancing to “Mamma Mia” (I do hope youngins still know this classic).
Most of my Sundays are usually spent doing different hobbies, but having to test a phone’s battery life derailed my perfectly laid up weekend plan.
Hour 08: Quarter good
Even with an annoying notch, watching and playing on a Super AMOLED screen is still a treat. I’m accustomed to using flagship smartphones, but the Galaxy M31 packed a punch for a midrange phone.
It’s powered by an Exynos 9611 chipset (which caused some heating), and a 6B RAM, and 128GB internal storage. A hiccup-free experience is guaranteed!
It was 10:10 PM when I turned the Wi-Fi off so I can sleep peacefully. The battery currently sits at 76 percent.
Hour 15: Staying strong
My nights are constantly haunted by my crushing regrets. In between interrupted periods of sleep, the phone’s battery sat at 75 percent. I decided to get out of the bed around 5 in the morning, planning a full day ahead.
I started catching up with news while hydrating myself with lemon water. Afterward, I opened my favorite app — Nike Training Club — to perform morning stretches. It offers quick, guided workouts for different purposes: strength, endurance, mobility, and flexibility.
Before I start my workout, I brought along my Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Fit E. If you’re deep into Samsung’s ecosystem, you’ll be disappointed with the unavailability of Galaxy Buds’ plugin, so no wireless listening for you. Although, you can rely on the Galaxy M31’s loudspeakers. Thankfully, the phone still connects seamlessly with my Galaxy Fit E.
At 6:25 AM, the battery dropped to 70 percent after conducting my morning routine. Do note that Spotify is constantly playing, even when I’m not actively using my phone. (Life without music sucks.)
Hour 17: Picture-perfect memories
It was almost seven in the morning when I started shooting a friend’s baked goods. As I sung to Taylor Swift’s “Death by a Thousand Cuts”, I let myself have fun using the Galaxy M31’s quad-camera setup.
I wrapped up around 7:19 AM with a 67 percent battery life. I took a bath and drove to Starbucks to get my favorite cold brew. Along the way, I took some selfies and snaps and uploaded them to Instagram Stories.
Hour 20 to 28: The last hurrah
I was back at my desk around 10 AM and started my daily grind. The phone sat at 43 percent after heavy and constant usage. I pulled my laptop and started working. Even with a bigger screen, I still used my phone to respond to messages, moderate social media pages, and watch on Netflix while eating.
The phone’s battery dipped to 15 percent at 6:48 PM, when my shift was about to end. To my astonishment, the Galaxy M31 lasted more than 28 hours on a single charge.
I charged the device at 7:08 PM and left it while I had dinner, took a bath, and did some house chores. It took at least three hours to fully charge the device from 15 to 95 percent, using its 15W fast charging adapter via USB-C.
On a side note, the Galaxy M31’s battery is such a rocker when left on standby mode. On a Tuesday afternoon, I left a fully charged Galaxy M31 in a safe. I checked back Saturday afternoon, and I was surprised to see its battery dipped from 100 percent to 33 percent.
Is it your GadgetMatch?
Summing it up, the Galaxy M31 is a capable and dependable midrange smartphone. It offers reliable performance with a battery that can keep up with you for more than a day. If you’re a power user looking for an affordable handset with no bells and whistles, this one is for you.
The Galaxy M31 is currently available in Black and Blue and retails for PhP 13,990 (US$ 283). It’s online-exclusive and will be available for purchase at Samsung’s Online store.
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