Features

OPPO F1 Plus Hands-On Review

Published

on

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.

[irp posts=”7385″ name=”OPPO F1s review”]

Features

Peloton vs excuses: Mind tricks that can help you squeeze in a workout

For those struggling to keep a routine

Published

on

If anyone tells you that having a personal gym at home will remove all barriers to working out, they’re lying.

The Peloton bike packs an insane amount of tech that should help me stay on track, so I should have no excuses not to exercise, right? With it I can do live and on-demand spin classes, strength training, yoga, even meditation and sleep courses. Having it at home also means not needing to make time to travel to the gym. And yet, despite all of this, I still find reasons to shun fitness on the daily.

If you’re like me who typically gets a good week of workouts and then hits a slump when life happens, I’ve compiled some tips that you might find useful. Here are some ways I tricked myself into working out more regularly whenever I struggle to do classes on my Peloton.

Find the time that makes sense for you

After doing your workouts for a while, take note of when you enjoy it the most. For me, sweating it out in the morning works best. If I tell myself that I’ll workout later in the day, it just never happens. I’m just not someone who enjoys exercising in the afternoon or evening as much.

Make it habit

While some people make plans, I just tell myself that I’ll work out everyday and figure it out later.

Peloton has workouts that are as short as 10 or 15 minutes. Even when pressed for time, 15 minutes is just that — 15 minutes. 

Those days I end up not exercising I would just consider recovery days. Our muscles need time to rest after all.

Take a scenic ride

Another trick I do is telling myself to do 10 minutes of a scenic ride. This is an option on the bike if you don’t feel like doing a class. You can ride at your own pace while the monitor shows beautiful landscapes and cities.

What usually happens when I do this is I end up doing an additional 10 minutes of arm workout. Often, I’ll feel warmed up and ready for a regular class afterwards.

Warming up at my own pace without any pressure to perform gets me in the right mindset to actually do a full workout. There are lots of other warm up rides available, too, but they’re usually pretty tough. Picking something that has no pressure eases me in.

Low impact doesn’t mean low effort

When I discovered the low impact ride, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing them all along.

I’m an old lady, or at least my body feels that way. I’ve gotten injured a few times riding the bike: the tendonitis in my thumb flared up, and the muscles that aren’t used to being used so much protested.

You still get a great workout when you choose low impact, but you’ll never achieve a personal best — and that’s perfectly okay.

Put the leaderboad away

Now we’re going to dip into the tech side of things. The leaderboard pushes you to get your personal best, which is great. But when I don’t want to work out, I’ll tell myself that a 45min class will be more doable if I take the leaderboard away. As a competitive person, I always get horrified at my performance when I check it because I don’t push myself nearly as hard apparently.

Pick a class with a gimmick

Peloton offers so many kinds of classes with different genres of music. I’ve done Guns N’ Roses as well as Madonna rides. Jess King has a show tunes series, and there are rides with a DJ.

Whenever I don’t feel motivated to exercise, I think of it as entertainment first and that’s how I trick myself into doing a full workout.

Save classes that made you feel good

When you save classes that made you feel good, you’ll be reminded of that feeling when you see it again on the monitor.When struggling to pick a class, I choose from a bunch of saved classes that I don’t mind doing again.

If I can’t bring myself to face a new challenge, doing one that I’ve already smashed is the best way to go!

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the soundtrack, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps.

Forgot how to change the audio mix? Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and then change the mix. You have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

Find more tips and tricks on how to maximize your bike here.

Do a class with weights

Doing weights is challenging, but it gives your legs some rest. A 45-minute class is sometimes better than 30 minutes because I know I’ll get breaks to do weights.

Pick your feel-good instructor

Sometimes, picking an instructor that fits your your mood is all you need. When I just want to do a feel good class, I pick Cody because he’s like my gay best friend and his classes are always entertaining. Seeing instructors have a bit of a hard time with the workout is also the energy that motivates me to give the workout everything that I got.

Should you be taking workout advice from someone who struggles with working out? Probably not. Was this entire article about how to work out a little less hard? Maybe.

It would be unfair to say that fitness isn’t a big part of my life. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about working out more than working out itself. It’s one of my favorite past times.

Keeping a consistent workout routine is what I’m struggling with right now. These mind tricks have at least helped me get my ass on the bike and squeeze a workout in even when I don’t feel like it. And for someone who isn’t a disciplined fitness freak, that’s all that matters.

Continue Reading

Best Smartphones

Best Smartphones for Gaming in 2020 (so far)

You don’t need an expensive gaming smartphone to get good

Published

on

While you’re stuck at home, your smartphone becomes your go-to device for a lot of things. Whether it’s the news or connecting with your friends, at this point, you can’t live without a smartphone. But of course, even you will run out of things to do on your smartphone. At least, that’s what you think.

If you’re not off browsing through social media, you’re going to consider downloading games for your phone. However, most smartphones face the same problem when you’re strictly using it to play games: the heat. So, not only do you want a phone that lasts long, but one that can handle the heat while playing.

Lucky for you, here are four smartphones that we think are the best of both worlds. At the very least, these are proof that you don’t need a gaming smartphone to play all day.

The realme C3: the most budget-friendly option

If you need a phone that will definitely fit your budget, that’s exactly what the realme C3 offers. For starters, it comes in at PhP 5,999, and is actually the most affordable smartphone on this list. And for that price, you’ll experience solid gaming through and through.

Realme’s OS-based gaming optimization software allows you to play a ton of games without sacrificing battery life. However, the 3GB of RAM will be a bit of an issue when you want to play more graphically-intense mobile games. Nonetheless, it’s a great recommendation for a lot of people, especially for those who play shooter games.

See: the realme C3 in action

The Huawei Nova 7i: a little new but powerful enough to game on

Apart from the stylish colorway, the Huawei Nova 7i provides the power for anything. The Kirin 810 plus 8GB of RAM opens up a ton of performance for gaming purposes. And with a whopping 128GB of storage, there’s plenty of space in there for your favorites for PhP 13,990.

The device comes with GPU Turbo inside Huawei’s EMUI, which improves gaming performance overall. Most MMORPGs and shooter games greatly benefit from GPU Turbo’s enhancements, but it handles even most graphically-intensive sports games well. It’s a great all-around device that will also keep you gaming for hours on end.

See: Huawei Nova 7i pricing and availability in the Philippines

The OPPO A9 2020: big battery for the long playing hours

Much like the Huawei nova 7i, the OPPO A9 2020 also comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage inside. It comes in at PhP 15,990, but the real difference is that it comes with a whopping 5000 mAh battery. A bigger battery usually means longer screen time, which leads to longer playing time.

The key to that is OPPO’s Game Boost 2.0, which improves energy consumption and prevents your device from overheating. This gaming optimization software also does its magic on your phone display, reducing input lag. You can play for longer, and possibly compete against your friends in high-stake battles.

See: Hands-on experience of the OPPO A9 2020

The Samsung Galaxy A71: it won’t break the bank, and your back

Out of all the options on this list, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is the only one that breaks the 20K price point. However, even at PhP 22,990, this device is excellent for gaming on the go. Apart from the 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, it comes with the Snapdragon 730G octa-core processor. This, in itself, provides excellent performance and gaming on it is a breeze.

The device comes with the Game Booster optimization software inside Samsung’s OS which improves both performance and energy solutions. This opens up improved performance especially during intense gameplay. Furthermore, the hardware inside opens it up to take on more graphically-intense games.

See: The Samsung Galaxy A71 in action

Continue Reading

Features

7 blue smartphones worth giving a try

All beautiful in blue!

Published

on

When Pantone announced Classic Blue as the next color of the year, we listed down powerful smartphones from 2019 that comes in this familiar shade. Nearly halfway through 2020, we saw more smartphones that come in this hue albeit in different shades.

Here, we listed phones that aren’t just beautiful in blue, but powerful and reliable enough to be your daily driver.

Samsung Galaxy S20

The first flagship to astound the world this year is Samsung’s Galaxy S20. A crowd-favorite, this phone came in a charming Cloud Blue that would be difficult to resist and not have a crush on. It’s what every flagship smartphone should be — smart enough to get the job done for you without too much tinkering.

Hands-On: Samsung Galaxy S20 Hands-On

OnePlus 8 Pro

The so-called flagship killer is long gone! OnePlus finally joined the league of iPhones and Galaxies — but still at a little cheaper price compared to these long-standing flagships. Remaining true to its motto ‘Never Settle’, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a reminder that you don’t have to settle for a thousand dollar phone to get the best of the best. Also, it comes in a stunning Ultramarine Blue.

Review: OnePlus 8 Pro

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

Another flagship killer who moved to the premium league, the Mi 10 Pro is still one of the best smartphones Xiaomi has to offer. It comes in Solstice Grey, which looks like deep, unsaturated blue — something you see in the skies at dawn. This exorbitant flagship is an ideal alternative for the Galaxy S20 Ultra, since it’s a tad cheaper than Samsung’s 108-megapixel monster.

Review: Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

LG V60 ThinQ

Odd, quirky, yet functional — the LG V60 ThinQ is truly the most underrated phone of 2020. This phone comes in Classy Blue, packed with essential features. LG didn’t put gimmicks that are commonly familiar to most smartphones in 2020, and instead, offered what every consumer needs. It’s a smartphone with practical solutions to almost everything.

Review: LG V60 ThinQ

Huawei P40 Pro

Huawei has been on a tough spot ever since it lost Google Mobile Services, but it still continues to release phones that are hard to ignore. The P40 Pro is that one case, where everything is pretty much what you’d hope for in a flagship smartphone, except it doesn’t have the basic services to make your life easier. However, this phone found a new market to serve — its loyalists and those who love to tinker around and have full control over what they install on their phones.

Review: Huawei P40 Pro

POCO X2

POCO is back, but it’s not the successor to the well-loved F1. The POCO X2 is proof that POCO’s independence can yield outstanding results. It comes in a flamboyant Atlantis Blue, easily stunning anyone who sets its eyes on this midrange phone. Moreover, it’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of midrange smartphones trying to be the ‘first’. It simply delivers an experience, making it the perfect midrange phone you can buy today.

Review: POCO X2

Samsung Galaxy A71

Samsung has a pretty crappy midrange lineup for a while, then the Galaxy A71 appeared. It may have taken years for Samsung to produce a solid midranger that gets the job done, but it almost perfected the craft with this beaut. It doesn’t have a single strong standout feature, but it’s a well-rounded phone that can keep you entertained and secure. It’s impossible not to give it a try, especially with its cute Prism Crush Blue color.

Review: Samsung Galaxy A71

Continue Reading

Trending