OPPO A94 OPPO A94

First Look

OPPO A94 Unboxing and First Impressions

This one’s a looker

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, smartphone launches have been relentless for a while now. Not even a month after debuting their latest flagship, the Find X3 Pro, OPPO is at it again. This time, with the midranger OPPO A94.

The particular box we received came in this treasure box. It should be familiar to Mobile Legends players.

There are plenty of other goodies inside, but we’re here for the OPPO A94.

This seems to be the color OPPO is going with for most of their smartphone releases for 2021.

Flip the box over and you’ll see the name of the phone with some highlight features.

It’s not really clear in the photo but those features are: Dual View Video, AI Color Portrait Video, and 30W VOOC Flash Charge 4.0.

We’re skipping right ahead to opening the box

Gorgeous, right? OPPO calls it the Flowing Light Design. Here’s another look.

The official name of color variants are Fluid Black and Fantastic Purple. This particular variant is the fantastic purple, but depending on how light hits it, it looks more like teal with splashes of purple.

Here’s the rest of what’s inside the box

OPPO A94

There are earphones, a USB-C cable and the power adapter. Not seen in photo is the SIM-tray ejector tool and the usual documentation: warranty and user guide.

Here’s a closer look at the power brick just because

The OPPO A94 has a quad camera setup

OPPO A94

Here are the numbers: 48MP main camera, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, and 2MP mono camera. It also has a 32MP selfie shooter. More than the specs, it’s also home to plenty of OPPO features also found in the Reno line. These are AI Color Portrait Video, Monochrome Video, Dual-View Video, Dynamic Bokeh, Night Flare Portrait, among others.

Here’s what it looks like after boot up

OPPO A94

It’s running ColorOS 11 on top of Android 11. It’s easily one of the better Android skins right now. OPPO has taken a lot of inspiration from OnePlus’ OxygenOS to make sure the UI is able to breathe while adding their own unique customization tools.

A smartphone for gaming

While the design of the phone is loud, it’s not necessarily gaming loud. However, the OPPO A94 is equipped to tackle some of the most popular titles today, most notably Mobile Legends: Bang bang. Powering the device is a MediaTek Helio P95 Octa-core chip which is tuned for faster app start-up but also gaming-centric things like responsive on-screen touches and less lag.

It’s also home to OPPO’s  Game Assistant that has features like Game Focus Mode. You can choose to block out all notifications or have them appear like a ticker on your screen in a non-obstructive manner.

Best OPPO A-series phone so far?

All early indications suggest the OPPO A94 is a pretty darn solid midranger. It’s heavy on performance and comes in a flashly look. Those are two pretty strong qualities but the smartphone is also more than serviceable in other departments like thumbing like crazy through your social media feeds or catching up with people dear to you via chat apps.

It’s already out in Singapore but in the Philippines, you can look forward to its launch on March 26.

 

First Look

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… First Impressions

Yes, that’s really the game’s name

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NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… which I shall refer to henceforth as NieR Replicant, is a game I didn’t expect to play but everyone else’s hands were full so here we are. As my first title in the NieR franchise,  I honestly have trouble condensing the experience to a single theme so what I’ll do is just list down everything I liked about the game so far.

But first, what is NieR Replicant?

NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139… is a remastered version of NieR Replicant first released in 2010 in Japan. It’s a prequel to the 2017 hit NieR: Automata. 

You play the role of a protective brother who’s trying to find a cure for his sister. Aiding you in this quest is Grimoire Weiss — a sentient magical floating book who is probably the most entertaining thing about the game.

That covers the general idea. Now, onto the things I liked.

The music

This was the very first thing I noticed especially after going through the opening battle tutorial sequence. There’s just something about the music in this game that takes me back to the JRPGs from the late 90s to early 2000s.

It’s exactly the kind of music that plays in my head when I dream of being whisked away to a different reality. It’s especially true since the one we’re in right now feels like a really dark timeline. I digress.

All the levels and areas I’ve played so far had music that completely matched the look and feel of that particular area. There’s always a feeling of adventure when entering a new town and there’s also a feeling of constant threat in dungeon-type areas. Everything’s just really spot on.

The voice acting, especially Grimoire Weiss

I didn’t play the original game but learned that it didn’t have voice overs back then. I wouldn’t exactly classify the added voice over as spectacular but it uniquely appeals to my taste at the moment.

(Editor’s Note: It was very nicely pointed out to us that the original game had voice overs, just not for NPC dialogues. But all the voice overs for re-recorded for this remastered version).

If you’ve ever seen any dubbed Anime before, that’s the vibe you’ll get from the voice acting — which fits the art style of the game perfectly. The intonation, delivery, and just overall feel gives off a nice mix of earnest but also campy vibe.

This may not appeal to everyone but a great foil to everything I mentioned about voice acting is the performance of Liam O’Brien (Gaara in Naruto, Lloyd Aspland in Code Geass) as Grimoire Weiss. Unlike every other character that feels too absorbed in the world, Weiss (or Weissy as some characters fondly call him) seems self-aware without appearing too detached from the world.

Oftentimes, he’ll call out what a drag some quests feel like. His banter with the protagonist definitely distracts from what can sometimes be mind-numbing side quests. He just is a huge plus in the entertainment value of the game.

The combat 

The combat in this game is the right amount of flashy without being too simplistic. You have the usual light and heavy attacks coupled with blocks, parries, dodges, along with magic and ranged attacks that are just oh, so, satisfying.

There’s enough variety here to keep you on your toes. And sure, while you may get away with some level of button mashing, the combat offers a decent amount of depth to make it feel rewarding to not just button mash.

NieR Replicant

The changing perspectives

While I haven’t really played NieR: Automata, I’ve seen plenty of reviews and gameplay videos to know how the gameplay shifts from a traditional action RPG type to something that resembles games from the past.

In certain sections of the game, it’ll shift to a top view where you’re moving around an area dodging and taking down enemies. Some sections will also turn the game into some type of 2D platformer. It’s a nice change of pace every time these changes kick-in and it ties in nicely to the nostalgic vibe of the music.

Everything else

I’m still on the fence about the game’s story. It has, so far in my playthrough, tackled themes of loss and grief and given the current state of our world and my immediate environment, that’s not exactly the kind of escapism I look for. Perhaps, I’ll have my thoughts more fleshed out once I finish the game.

The character models, though remastered, do feel like they are from a different time. Personally, I don’t think that’s a bad thing but this might be off-putting to new players who’ve been spoiled by the graphics and art style of more recent games.

Should you play NieR Replicant?

To sum up my experience so far, I think NieR Replicant is a good mix of that late 90s to early 2000s JRPG vibe but with a touch of modern action RPG gameplay. I think it’s also a good entry point to the NieR franchise. Playing this so far already has me looking forward to playing NieR: Automata. 

If what I described so far is totally your jam, then you should definitely snag a copy right now.

PlayStation

Pre-order/purchase the digital version of the game before May 31, 2021 on the PlayStation Store, or pre-order/purchase the first-run physical version to receive the early purchase bonus download code for NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

  • PS4 Dynamic Theme
  • Avatar Set
  • Mini Soundtrack

Pre-Order Links: Singapore | Malaysia | Indonesia | Thailand

Physical Version Pre-Order Bonus: Tarot card of “The Fool” with the Protagonist (young) as motif.

Xbox One Digital version

Pre-order the Xbox One digital version and receive the Mini Soundtrack

Steam Digital Version

Pre-order the Steam digital version and receive the Mini Soundtrack and a wallpaper collection for PC.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… will be available on April 22, 2021 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam (PC).

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Samsung Galaxy A52 5G and A72 First Impressions

Awesome midrangers

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Samsung’s new 2021 A Series is official. Are the new A52, A52 5G and A72 strong contenders in the midrange space? And how are they improved over last year’s models.

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First Look

Samsung Galaxy A52 First look: Awesome and affordable?

The next phone you should set your eyes on!

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Samsung’s best-selling smartphone gets a refresh this year. Meet the Samsung Galaxy A52, the newest midrange headliner.

Launched together with the Galaxy A32 and Galaxy A72, the Galaxy A52 promises an “awesome” experience, brought by the newest Galaxy A Series.

Compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy A52 now comes with a matte haze finish and a camera bump matching the rest of the phone’s color. It doesn’t have the subtle diagonal cutouts embellished with subtle stripe patterns. Samsung traded the prism effect to create a premium appeal despite using a polycarbonate body.

It comes in four new colors: Awesome Black, Awesome Blue, Awesome Violet, and Awesome White. Frankly, we prefer the lighter colors since the Awesome Black is more prone to getting smeared by smudges. With the Galaxy A52 coated with a matte finish, you might struggle cleaning it, unlike glass bodies. Best case scenario: Slap a case on it to prevent smudges.

Definitely an awesome screen

The Galaxy A52 comes with a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel, capable of reaching 800 nits of brightness. It sports a 90Hz refresh rate, higher than the 60Hz refresh rate from last year’s models.

If you want the super-smooth 120Hz display, make sure to get the 5G variant of the A52. Yes, you read that right. There’s a Galaxy A52 5G, and it’s the one sporting that buttery smooth goodness you’ve been wanting.

Just like its sibling, it comes with Eye Comfort Shield, In-Display Fingerprint Scanner, and stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos.

Capture awesome

The Galaxy A52 sports a quad-camera system: a 64-megapixel main camera with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera with a 123-degree field of view, a 5-megapixel dedicated macro camera, and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. On its front, it houses a 32-megapixel selfie camera located on a punch-hole cut-out, the same as the Galaxy A72.

Galaxy A52 5G

You can enjoy shooting AI-processed photos, especially with Scene Optimizer to capture a shot appropriate for your scene and subject. There’s also a Night Mode for your usual low-light photography.

If you’re into videos, we’re happy to report that you can now enjoy a near-flagship experience. You can shoot 4K videos and pick a frame to turn it into an 8-megapixel photo. There’s also a Pro Video Mode.

Last but not the least, the new Galaxy A52 comes with Fun Mode. In partnership with Snapchat, Fun Mode hosts a whole bunch of AR filters built right into the camera app.

A stands for All the Essentials

The Galaxy A52 and A52 5G are equipped with a 4,500mAh battery. Samsung included a 15W charger and cable in the box, believing that the A-series will captivate users to switch to Galaxy. It promises two days of battery life, but you’ll have to wait for our review to find out.

It sports an octa-core processor, along with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. It also comes with a MicroSD slot that supports up to 1TB of storage. Running on Samsung’s One UI 3 based on Android 11, the Galaxy A52 promises four years of guaranteed security updates.

Awesomely affordable?

The Galaxy A52 retails for PhP 18,990 while the Galaxy A52 5G costs PhP 23,990 — the same as the Galaxy A72. Based on our impressions and initial usage, the Galaxy A52 5G might be Samsung’s new headliner, promising a solid experience while boasting a 120Hz refresh rate and 5G connectivity. Indeed, it’s going to be a near-flagship experience at an affordable package.

But for a PhP 5,000 difference between the LTE and 5G variant, are the added features worth it? Only our review can tell. Stay tuned!

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