Hands-On

OPPO F11 Pro hands-on: Slowly becoming a flagship

If they could just give it a better processor

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Shortly after its initial launch in India, the F11 Pro is now shipping around across Asia. As the successor to the F9 from seven months ago, the F11 Pro has to fill in the shoes of a relatively young phone. The Chinese company, like any other phone manufacturer, has been updating their models twice a year.

Are the new features and updates enough to convince fans to upgrade? That’s what we try to find out in this hands-on.

It’s got a notch-less 6.5-inch Full HD+ display

OPPO claims a 90.9 percent screen-to-body ratio

There’s a hidden “Rising Camera” module

It houses the selfie camera

On top are the secondary mic and ambient light sensor

The pop-up camera is here, too

The power button on the right has a color accent

Unfortunately, the card tray is now hybrid

On the left is the volume rocker

The contour of the back glass is visible from here

The micro-USB port is still haunting the F-series

At least “jack” is still here

The Thunder Black model has a triple-color gradient design

A first from OPPO and it looks sophisticated

The F11 Pro has a symmetrical camera hump unlike the V15 Pro

Everything is at the center including the fingerprint reader

Best-looking OPPO F-series phone

The OPPO F1 from 2016 looked premium but utilitarian in design. Since then, OPPO has been transforming their F-series phones. It came to a point wherein it copied the iPhone (check out the OPPO F1 Plus and F3), but thankfully, they were able to move past that. The shiny design choices started with the OPPO F7 and it continued to get more refined. With a bit of inspiration from its R17 Pro cousin, the F11 Pro now looks like a mature piece of hardware.

The unit I have here is the Thunder Black, OPPO’s special triple-color gradient design. The phone will also come in Aurora Green which blends two colors, mainly blue and green. While the F11 Pro is pleasing to the eyes, OPPO still manufactures it using plastic materials — at least on the outside. It’s made of high-quality polycarbonate, but the cold touch of metal is nowhere to be felt.

Overall, the design of the F11 Pro deserves two thumbs up. Some might find it to be quite big and hefty, but the curved back makes it feel slimmer and easy on the hands. I just wish OPPO used more premium materials like real glass for the back and aluminum for the frame.

It’s not much faster

The F11 Pro comes in just seven months after the F9. Of course, OPPO has to upgrade the processor to give users a reason to upgrade. From a Helio P60, the F11 Pro now has the Helio P70. It’s a newer and faster chip, but the improvement is not that substantial. So if you think the F11 Pro will give you the performance boost you’ve been wanting, you’ll have to look elsewhere for now.

This doesn’t mean that the F11 Pro is a slouch, though; it comes with Android Pie out of the box with all the latest features. Just like the budget-friendly Realme 3, ColorOS 6 runs the show on top of Android Pie. The customization by ColorOS is starting to look a bit like stock Android, although the overall feel is still iOS-like. Nevertheless, ColorOS 6 is moving in the right direction and it looks really clean, too.

When it comes to gaming, there’s not much to say since the F11 Pro practically has a similar processor with its predecessor. Good thing the Helio P70 (even the P60) is generally okay for gaming, plus ColorOS’ Game Space app helps in maintaining smooth performance. Popular games like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are optimized for the phone.

What’s really fast about the F11 Pro is its charging speeds. VOOC Flash Charge was first introduced to the series with the F9 and the F11 Pro now has the VOOC Flash Charge 3.0. Using the bundled charger, the F11 Pro’s 4000mAh battery goes from zero to 20 percent in just 15 minutes based on our test.

Shifting the focus to the rear

OPPO has been known to be a selfie expert. They’ve been successful at that, so it’s now time to shift gears. Like its more expensive cousin, the R17 Pro, the F11 Pro is now an impressive low-light shooter.

Equipped with a main 48-megapixel sensor, the F11 Pro is part of the growing group of high-resolution mobile cameras. To make the picture quality better, the lens of the camera has an f/1.8 aperture, while the software uses pixel binning to produce sharper 12-megapixel stills.

Check out these samples:

Those who are fond of taking photos at night will love the new Night mode feature. It’s pretty much like Google’s Night Sight or Huawei’s own Night mode. Multi-frame noise reduction allows users to take brighter and sharper photos in the dark without the need for a tripod.

It’s better to show it in action, so here are a few samples:

Of course, OPPO didn’t forget about selfies. The levitating 16-megapixel front-facing camera captures selfies like it was taken by a primary camera. Also, the beautification feature has been upgraded. You can now manually adjust the effects to your liking, instead of relying on AI.

Aside from the usual AI scene detection, the revamped camera launcher of ColorOS 6 also features Expert mode for manual settings on photos, plus Time-lapse and Slo-mo for video.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you have the OPPO F9, the F11 Pro is not a worthy upgrade — unless you really like to have a motorized pop-up selfie camera and the new design. But, if you want to upgrade from a budget phone and still stick with OPPO, the F11 Pro is both a beautiful and capable handset. Those coming from outside the OPPO-sphere might not be convinced, especially because the F11 Pro doesn’t offer a big performance leap.

The focus of the F11 Pro is to offer a good-looking phone with a capable camera. We have some reservations with the phone’s camera performance (it can still be improved through future software updates), but it’s indeed an eye-catching device.

With an asking price of INR 24,990 in India or roughly US$ 355, OPPO could have offered a faster chipset. The motorized pop-up camera might have cost too much, but at least it looks awesome.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V15 Pro hands-on: A mini NEX?

Hands-On

Redmi Note 10S: Is this the most ideal smartphone?

Great hardware under a simple, subtle design

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Redmi Note 10S

As the more affordable product line, Redmi continues to bring high-quality smartphones to a more accessible market. They may not come with the most flagship of hardware inside, but they still perform roughly at par with their powerful yet more expensive counterparts. This year, Redmi has something new up their sleeve in the Redmi Note 10S.

A simple design choice in my eyes

The moment I received and unboxed the Redmi Note 10S, I said to myself, “huh, what’s new?” I mean, it comes in the usual packaging, with all the documentation, a jelly case, and the charger inside. If anything, though, the phone itself sports a simple exterior design, which doesn’t particularly stand out for a good reason.

This unit came in an Onyx Gray colorway plastered at the back, and I’m also aware that it comes in two other colors, as well. For me, this color makes it look rather professional and complements the simple design as a whole. Although, I noticed that the back of the phone likes fingerprints so much, and it’s quite obvious in this colorway.

Now, another great aspect of the exterior design was the placement of the phone’s speakers. For phones such as this, you’d expect that it’s just one speaker and it’s beside the charging port. In the case of the Redmi Note 10S, it comes with two speakers found on opposite ends. Honestly, I found it practical to set it up like this, that other smartphones should consider.

Complementing hardware and software

Let’s get to the beef of the matter, shall we? In terms of the internal hardware, the Redmi Note 10S is decent in that department. It comes with a MediaTek Helio G95 chipset, with my unit sporting 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. On the external hardware, the phone comes with a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, mostly suitable for great detail and color accuracy. 

Redmi Note 10S

Upon my initial set up and usage, the phone responds quite well and quickly. Powered by MIUI 12.5, apps load smoothly and I even found myself multitasking some apps a lot more. Although, there were times that things like Dark Mode were wonky in some apps, but I think that’s mostly on MIUI.

Furthermore, the AMOLED display is pretty bright even at around 40-50 percent brightness. Even in this setting, it manages to display images and videos with great detail with minimal stuttering. Also, those speakers I mentioned earlier are quite loud and actually give off a sense of immersion when watching movies. It’s all good stuff for now, but let’s see if it holds up later on.

Redmi Note 10S

One look into the cameras for now

Apart from the hardware inside, I also wanted to focus on the cameras the Redmi Note 10S comes with. On its rear, you get an interesting quad-camera setup, with a 64MP lens as the star of the show. Along with this, you also get an 8MP wide-angle lens, a 2MP macro camera and depth sensor for that extra level of detail.

With some of the shots I initially took, I was fairly impressed with the image quality and color accuracy. From my view, it doesn’t look like there was any noticeable grain in the images, so that’s a good start. However, I ran into some trouble with the auto-focus mechanic in the camera. Hopefully, it will improve with prolonged use.

Redmi Note 10S

Up front, you only get a single 13MP lens lodged at the top of the display. For the most part, it did a good job of capturing selfies under great lighting conditions. 

A promising start, maybe?

So far, the Redmi Note 10S ticks all the boxes when it comes to being a great yet affordable smartphone. Inside and out, the phone allows you to do quite a lot and experience near-flagship features without sacrificing so much in the process. Whether or not this will hold up with longer and more drastic usage, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Redmi Note 10S

The Redmi Note 10S retails for PhP 11,990 and only comes with a configuration of 8GB RAM and128GB storage.

Buy it from Lazada.

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Hands-On

3 reasons why the Huawei Watch 3 deserves to be on your wrist

A must-have for those who live and breathe Huawei

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The Huawei Watch 3 has arrived in the Philippines and certainly on my wrist. This sleek-looking smartwatch is Huawei’s new flagship wearable — and there’s more to it than being a regular smartwatch wrapped around that space between your hand and forearm. Here are three reasons why you need to check this smartwatch out, and why it probably deserves to be worn by you.

Beautifully designed

Compared to its predecessors, the Huawei Watch 3 feels like a device that underwent a metamorphosis. A butterfly ready to spread its wings and bring wonders to the world.

The rounded case exudes a classic appeal; a semblance of watches from the recent and distant past. Unequivocally, Huawei kept it sleek with its circular finish. Those tiny details tell me the watch was studied carefully by designers and engineers, putting so much thought while keeping it simple and appealing.

It certainly won’t ruin your outfits in different situations such as casual date nights, quick errands, or sports, and other physical activities. For professional and formal settings though, you might need to invest in a strap that matches perfectly.

I’ve been using the black and plain fluoroelastomer strap, which is suitable for casual settings and active lifestyle, and also it’s the only one available at the moment in my country, but you can mix it with other straps depending on your region. Options include steel, nylon, and leather — and colors vary per style.

Apart from its stylish bearing, the Huawei Watch 3 is designed with features that make it worthy of being called a smartwatch. It sports a 1.43-inch AMOLED display, highlighting a vibrant and vivid display that makes the content visible even if you’re outdoors.

Also, there’s plenty of watch faces to choose from, and the user interface is designed simplistically to make navigation easier.

Top-notch connectivity

The Huawei Watch 3’s battery life averages three days when using the smart mode. Though, it can be extended up to 14 days when using the ultra-long battery life mode. This gives you plenty of time to stay connected without the need for your mobile phone. Dear, it’s time to let it rest comfortably inside your purse or leave it at home.

But how are you going to stay connected if it’s not connected to your phone?

If that is your question, fret not. Huawei equipped the watch with eSim technology, so you just need to go to your carrier and ask for an eSim QR that you can scan on your Huawei Health app, and voila, your smartwatch can use the same mobile number you use on your smartphone.

Now, it’s going to be easy for you to answer calls even when you’re out on a run, or when you’re heading elsewhere and you’re in a hurry. The Huawei Watch 3 runs on HarmonyOS, so the watch comes with pre-installed apps that you can enjoy seamlessly with your other Huawei devices.

There’s an AppGallery, in case you want to install more apps that suit your lifestyle. For music lovers, you can make the watch be your remote control and navigate your music playback. All can be done with a single flick on your wrist!

Your personal health manager

If you’re serious about maintaining an active lifestyle, the Huawei Watch 3 is a candidate as a companion. There’s a Skin Temperature detector that lets you know when your temperature is high. A must-have in this era, right?

It also has SpO2 monitoring, which allows you to track your blood oxygen saturation. Even your heart, Huawei’s TruSeen technology monitors your heart rate so you can be in control of your health, and so you can take care of yourself the way you need it to.

Personally, it felt like all-day health management and I have yet to dive more into it to see what else these features can do. But for now, I enjoy seeing records of my step count, periods of activity, stress levels, and the most important thing — sleep quality.

Other than the fitness trackers, the watch comes with 100+ workout modes with automatic exercise detection for common workouts. To be able to maximize this feature, Huawei’s health app is the way to go.

Can this be your GadgetMatch?

I believe it can, especially if you’re looking for an all-around watch that you can use. It ticks the right boxes: a classic appeal, plenty of straps to mix and match with your outfit, top-notch connectivity, and health management features that allow you to be in control.

The price might be too steep, but it’s a premium smartwatch for a reason. And it’s best used when you’re already enjoying Huawei’s ecosystem, and have plenty of devices that let you enjoy their seamless AI life.

The Huawei Watch 3 retails for PhP 18,999. It will be available on Huawei Store and authorized platforms such as Lazada and Shopee, as well as Huawei Experience stores and other retail partners.

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Hands-On

vivo V21 Series Hands-On

A pair of no-miss midrangers

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vivo V21

Light, slim and packed to the brim with specs and features that won’t leave you wanting. This is the vivo v21 series. Featuring the vivo v21 and the vivo V21e.

It’s a pair of midrangers equipped with specs to meet your smartphone needs. Take a look at their specs side-by-side:

vivo V21 vivo V21e
DISPLAY 6.44”, AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+ 6.44”, AMOLED, HDR10
PROCESSOR MediaTek Dimensity 800U 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
BATTERY 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh
CAMERAS 64MP f/1.8 wide

8MP f/2.2 ultrawide

2MP f/2/4 macro

64MP f/1.9 wide

8MP f/2.2 ultrawide

2MP f/2/4 macro

As you can see, this pair is nearly identical with the only main differences being 5G connectivity, the processors, and the available colors. The vivo V21 comes in Dusk Blue, Sunset Dazzle, Arctic White. Meanwhile, the V21e comes in Diamond Flare, Roman Black.

Mobile photography

The vivo V21 series has a slew of photo and video taking pictures which we’ll discuss more in detail in another video. Because sometimes, we just want to snap away when we’re out and about.

The photos taken on auto mode already look pretty darn fine and ready for all your social media channels. As mentioned earlier, you can also play around with some of the features. Especially the portrait mode plus filters. One scene can look different with just a few taps and snaps.

Neat, right? Now, naturally you’re going to do a lot more with your phone than just take snazzy pics.

Both the Meditek Dimensity 800U 5G and Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipsets are very capable midrange processors. You can pretty much open all your most used apps at the same time, and not worry about the phones slowing down.

They’ll run smoothly whether you’re just browsing socials, writing emails, sending messages telling your friends to stream TWICE’s “Alcohol Free” music video.

Speaking of which, the video viewing experience on the vivo V21 series is also pretty darn good. The AMOLED displays are just a treat to the eyes. They’re great for getting lost in a YouTube rabbit hole or binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix!

Mobile gaming

Not into binge-watching? Why not try playing games?

Mobile gaming is all the rage these days. The games playable on smartphones keep getting better and prettier. Mobile Legends, PUBG, and Call of Duty Mobile are pretty popular titles. Then there’s also the massive hit Genshin Impact. All these games run smoothly on the vivo V21 series. Thanks to the processor and the 8GB + 3GB extended RAM feature.

You can be sure to focus on your gaming session with the Ultra Game Mode that lets you block notifications so nothing gets in the way of you winning your matches!

Naturally, after all of that browsing, watching, and playing, your phone will need to juice up. The 4000mAh fills up rather quickly thanks to its support for 33W fast charging. You can get up to 63 percent in just 30 minutes. Pretty darn quick!

The vivo V21 series is a no-miss pair of midrange smartphones.They feel great on your hands, are easy on the eyes, and performs just about as good as any midranger out there.

Best of all, you can prepare for the future with the vivo V21 5G or play it safe in 4G with the vivo V21e.

This pair of vivo Smartphones are available in vivo’s official stores as well online stores Shopee and Lazada.

  • vivo V21 5G – PhP 23,999 
  • vivo V21e – PhP 17,999

This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

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