Features

OPPO F1 Plus Hands-On Review

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If you can get past its iPhone-esque looks, there’s much to be said about the F1 Plus. OPPO’s latest smartphone isn’t the most premium in its lineup, nor does it look anything like its little brother, the OPPO F1, but it is a phone that defies expectations in a good way.

DESIGN

If you were to judge based on looks alone, the F1 Plus would be a home run. It’s the prettiest phone we’ve seen from OPPO thus far, and one of the better looking Android phones of 2016. From every angle, there’s no denying where the Chinese manufacturer takes its inspiration.  

OPPO-F1-Plus-front-shot

Indulge me in a game of “spot the difference”: the front-facing camera is to the right of the earpiece (left on the iPhone); the home button is capsule-shaped (round on the iPhone); and the bezel size is thinner. As a result, the entire phone is smaller, too.

In fact, the F1 Plus is smaller than the iPhone 6S Plus even if both phones have 5.5-inch displays. Of the two, the F1 Plus feels lighter and more secure to the grip, which for phones of this size is always a plus (pun intended).

OPPO F1 Plus-back

While we’re comparing, its sides are more angular than on the iPhone, the only sore spot on an otherwise improved design. The sharp angles interrupt the fluidity of the aesthetic and make the phone a little less comfortable to grip.

But that’s nitpicking, really. Everything else is an improvement on the iPhone’s design. Its metallic back is cleaner and more refined. The two antenna bands that divide the top and bottom sections and are less in-your-face, and thankfully, there is no unsightly camera hump.

Button and port placements are also similar: the volume rocker is on the left; the power button and the SIM card tray are on the right. As with many Android smartphones these days, the hybrid SIM tray supports either two nano SIMs or one nano SIM plus one microSD card.

SELFIE EXPERT

While somewhat of a newcomer in the smartphone space, OPPO has a history of pushing mobile photography forward. Launched in 2013, before selfies became ubiquitous, the OPPO N1 was the world’s first smartphone with a swivel camera, meaning if you wanted a good selfie, you could just rotate its camera around for 13-megapixel selfie goodness.  

To reaffirm its commitment to the selfie generation, OPPO announced the F series back in January, saying it wanted to address a growing demand for “premium-quality mobile photography experiences.”

The F1 Plus is OPPO’s second attempt at building the ultimate camera phone. Dubbed the “selfie expert,” it boasts a 16-megapixel front camera, with more megapixels than not only the phone’s rear camera but also every other front camera on the market today.  

Beyond the megapixel spec, however, OPPO’s pulling out all the stops to ensure you get the best selfie possible. The phone has a reasonably large 1/3.1 inch image sensor and an f/2.0 lens that OPPO says takes in four times the amount of light than the average smartphone camera.

There’s also an improved Beautify mode that can airbrush away blemishes. We think our selfies turned out great, but we’ll let you be the judge.

Its main camera is no slouch either; it shoots decent 13-megapixel photos at f/2.2, particularly when there is sufficient light. Low-light shots were less impressive. But considering this is a sub-$500 smartphone, we really can’t complain.  

PERFORMANCE

While its selfie-camera components are most impressive, the rest of the spec sheet isn’t bad either. The F1 Plus is one of the few phones that ships with only a 64GB storage option (the iPhone, for example, still starts at a measly 16GB), while its 4GB of RAM is as much as all the big boys offer.

Its processor, however, is a bit of a letdown. MediaTek’s Helio P10 isn’t the fastest midrange processor on the planet today. But unless you’re into gaming, that shouldn’t matter much. On the bright side, the processor is less power-hungry, so battery life should get a boost.  

OPPO-F1-Plus-fingerprint-scanner

The home button doubles as a fingerprint sensor; it’s the kind that you have to press down on for any unlocking action to happen. But once you do, the phone unlocks in a snap.

BATTERY & VOOC CHARGING

The F1 Plus is only 6.6mm thin, so it isn’t that much of a surprise that OPPO’s only managed to squeeze in a 2,850 mAh battery. While that’s smaller than what you’d find on most mid- to high-end smartphones today, battery life looks respectable based on the few days we had with the phone.

The phone also gets VOOC flash charge, OPPO’s own quick-charging technology. Previously only seen on its high-end phones, you can get from 0 to 75 percent from a 30-minute charge. The phone should supposedly stay cool even while charging.  

COLOR OS 3.0

The F1 Plus runs OPPO’s latest version of ColorOS version 3.0 on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Despite the update, this version still isn’t based on the latest version of Android, which is a bit of a bummer. Not that you’d mind necessarily. On a strongly positive note, the F1 Plus generally runs slick, apps respond fluidly to input, and multitasking works with very little lag.

oppo-color-os-3
Ultimately, this is a pretty darn good take on Android, albeit a heavily skinned one with icons obviously borrowed from Apple’s iOS. As can be expected from other Chinese smartphone vendors, OPPO’s ColorOS removes the app drawer altogether.

Having said that, if you have a ton of apps installed, and you don’t want to swipe through multiple home screens, you’ll need to spend a bit of time dumping those apps into folders.

PRICING, AVAILABILITY, PREORDER

The OPPO F1 Plus is available in gold and rose-gold variants (availability will depend on region).

To preorder in the Philippines, visit any OPPO Store between April 16 to 29. The phone will be available on April 30th and will retail for P21,990.

To preorder in India, visit any OPPO Store between April 11 to 20. Customers will get a special gift pack and a chance to win an F1 Plus signed by Yuvraj Singh.

To preorder in Malaysia, visit 11street.my until April 20th. Deliveries start April 18th. The phone retails for RM 1,898.

To preorder in Indonesia, visit OPPO’s preorder page between April 9 to 17. The phone retails for Rp 5,499 million and comes with a free selfie stick. Deliveries start on April 18th.

Features

Hanebado!, Ant-Man and the Wasp, BAAM by Momoland: Now Playing

Pop culture overload!

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Since the start of the year, GadgetMatch has been covering major tech events like CES, MWC, Computex, and E3. July is the month wherein the GadgetMatch team finally gets to slow down a bit to relax before the next wave of events comes up. If you’re curious about what we’re up to, here’s what’s now playing for GadgetMatch.

Movies to see

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Marvin: If you still haven’t moved on from the catastrophic ending of Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp should be able to turn those sad tears into tears of laughter. It mimics the original movie in terms of action and character development, yet isn’t afraid to make fun of itself and the superhero genre in general. Like always, be sure to stick around for two scenes during and after the credits. They fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a… dramatic way.

Isle of Dogs
Chay: The long wait is over, Wes Anderson fans. His latest film is his second animated masterpiece, this time set in a dystopian Japan that centers around the search for a dog exiled to Trash Island. Like most, if not all his films, Isle of Dogs is filled with themes of melancholy and disappointment, and sometimes hope, depending on your own interpretation. Whether you watch it for Anderson’s iconic style or your love for dogs, what we have here is a classic that needs to be watched at least more than once in your lifetime.

TV shows to binge watch

Hanebado!
Rodneil: The future is female, and for the first time in recent sports anime history, the main characters are mostly women! Hanebado opens with a riveting badminton sequence between freshman prodigy Ayano Hanesaki and third-year student Nagisa Aragaki. Hanesaki struggles with her desire to play while Aragaki struggles with working hard but still falling short. If you enjoyed titles like Haikyuu!! and Yuri on IceHanebado! is definitely worth checking out.

GLOW
Kevin: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are who you’ll need if you’re looking for a well-written TV series that fuses drama, female empowerment, and the poofy hair of the 80s. It’s about a group of women with different backgrounds but have a common reason to stick it out together. The second season was released last month, and it’s filled with the same gems we loved from the first season.

Music to listen to

BAAM by Momoland
Rodneil: I’m not even gonna lie, this is really more about the visuals for me than the actual music, but as I watched from one version of the music video to another, the song eventually got stuck in my head. It has a nice perk-you-up vibe to it, similar to “Boom Boom” which is the song that propelled Momoland beyond South Korea’s airwaves. In case it’s not obvious, Nancy is my main bias and Yeonwoo is a close second.

Summer Pack by Childish Gambino
Kevin: Just like his This is America track, Childish Gambino (a.k.a. Donald Glover) dropped new tunes out of nowhere late this week. He didn’t only release one, but two fresh originals. Together, they’re called Summer Pack and the two-track release consists of “Summertime Magic” and “Feels Like Summer.”

While both have that laid-back, relaxing vibe, “Summertime Magic” has more of a dance approach between the two and would go well on the beach while sipping on Pina Colada. “Feels Like Summer,” on the other hand, makes you want to take a stroll downtown in a convertible and spark a fatty.

Apps to download

InShot
Rodneil: InShot is a mobile video editor available on both Android and iOS. With it, you can splice together clips you have stored in your phone and even choose the aspect ratio, whether it’s 1:1, 16:9, or 9:16. There’s also an option to add effects, text, and music that’s also stored in your phone. It’s a pretty powerful video editing tool on mobile — one that can help jumpstart your IGTV career.

Events to check out

AsiaPop Comicon Manila 2018
MJ: Once again, AsiaPop Comicon is back in Manila from July 27 to 29, 2018, to be held at the SMX Convention Center. Marvel plans to show what’s new in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Netflix returns to premiere a never-before-seen film. It’s also expected to be bigger and more exciting than last year’s event. Finn Jones from Game of Thrones and Tye Sheridan who appeared on Ready Player One and X-Men as Cyclops, are the major celebrity guests to attend.

Did you like any of our picks or have suggestions of your own? Feel free to let us know in the comments section!


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!

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Accessories

Sony XB Series Speakers: His and Hers

Portable speakers for everyone!

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Speakers may be made for parties and fun gatherings, but that’s not always the case. It can also be your best buddy, even during times when you’re not out socializing.

In the fourth installment of His and Hers, I went through a different route. I wanted to show how instrumental music is in our lives. These are the latest additions to Sony’s Extra Bass Portable Bluetooth speakers: the SRS-XB41 and SRS-XB21.

Both speakers have the same features and the only noticeable differences are in terms of size and, of course, the party lights. The SRS-XB41 comes in red with flashing strobes and a changing line light in multiple colors. It’s perfect for guys who like it flashy but don’t mind having a bulky and heavy speaker.

The SRS-XB21, on the other hand, comes in white with lights of the same color. It’s perfect for girls who like something that will fit in their bags — something they can carry wherever they go.


Let your heart sing with art

It’s not every day you get to wake up with a beautiful view. So, when creativity kicks in, bring out your portable speaker and art kit! Roll up your sleeves and paint something in sync with the beat. Next thing you know, you’ve already created something you can be proud of.


Beating the game

Some game nights can be enjoyed when you have a friend by your side. But sometimes, a speaker can be enough of a buddy. Play loud music that pumps you up, makes you smash those buttons, clear the stages, and win!


Pretty by the pool

There are times when stress gets the best of us, so it’s important to find time to relax. Put those sunglasses on and show off that new swimsuit you just bought. This splash-proof speaker is a good companion when lounging by the pool so you can listen to some great summer tunes. Now, go ahead, take a dip, and enjoy this moment.


Playing the right jam

After playing ball, you’ll find yourself trying to recover from a tiring game. Pull out that speaker and play your relaxing tunes. With the Sony Music Center app, you can select your favorite playlists, change the lighting patterns and sound modes, and be in complete control of your music. Be your own DJ when you turn on the live mode; you’ll get a festival vibe that takes your experience to the next level.


Lost in music and words

When the weather’s all cuddly and gloomy, it becomes ideal to stay indoors and have coffee by the bedside table. Pair it up with a good book, like Eat, Pray, Love, and a speaker to play some mellow music that soothes you. That’s the recipe for a perfect day!


Own the night

These wireless speakers remind us to stay connected. Invite your BF or BFF to come over and light up the night. Hand over some wine and unwind from everyday stress.


This episode of His and Hers proved that music is a necessary companion in our lives. It has the power to change a person or a place’s mood, and with the right speakers like Sony’s SRS-XB21 or the SRS-XB41, the moment can be more enjoyable and memorable.

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Features

No more sucking at Starbucks, Android P leaks: Weekend Rewind

Effort for a greener world, new hardware, and leaked software!

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Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.

1. No more sucking! Starbucks halts the use of plastics straws

In an attempt to help make the planet a greener place, the world-famous coffee shop chain has vowed to go strawless and the world is thankful for this contribution. Replacing the offending cold drink accessory is a specially designed cup cover that’s made of recyclable materials.

This move has already started, with most people finding no straws in their Starbucks orders today. By 2020, the chain aims to eliminate all single-use straws in their shops.

2. Microsoft outs its smallest and most affordable Surface

Microsoft has just announced new hardware under its Surface line of devices. The company veers away from its usual premium offerings and is going for the affordable route this time. The new Surface Go is the most affordable of the bunch — and also the smallest. It is a full-blown Windows 10 tablet aimed at schools, kids, and even the enterprise market.

3. Expect to lose followers on Twitter

Twitter is serious about taking down trolls and fake accounts. The California-based company just announced that it’s removing locked accounts from users’ follower list to avoid suspicious activities like spamming or posting questionable links. The way it works is the company prompts the account owner to verify their account and if not done, they lock said accounts.

Image credit: Apple

4. Apple refreshes its Macbook Pro line

Apple has updated the MacBook Pro line with newer processors, more configuration options, a quieter keyboard design, and True Tone displays. The models feature eight-generation Intel Core processors, although only the top-tier variants and those with Touch Bar get the latest features.

5. Did Huawei accidentally reveal the next Android name?

The news came all the way from Poland. As reported by Polish site Tabletowo, a reader of theirs shared an email thread between the support department of Huawei. Long story short, a representative slipped that Android P would be called Android Pistachio.

Of course, take it with a grain of salt, but it lines up with Bloomberg‘s theory that Google is going for Pistachio Ice Cream for this year’s Android version.


Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.

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