Hands-On

OPPO F11 Pro hands-on: Slowly becoming a flagship

If they could just give it a better processor

Published

on

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

OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger

It’s a stellar overall package for its price

Published

on

Reno5

OPPO’s Reno line has slowly carved out an identity as somewhat of an affordable premium smartphone. Priced at around half of what flagships today cost but offering about two-thirds of the features, the OPPO Reno line has the makings of the ideal upper midranger, and the Reno5 fits that description to a T.

How it looks

The Reno5 (both the 4G and the 5G variants) come in either Galactic Silver or Starry Black. The Black has a more traditional glass finish, thereby being more magnetic to fingerprints and smudges, while the Galactic Silver has a frosted matte finish making it more palatable if you don’t like using a protective case.

Reno5

The Galactic Silver Reno5 is flashier. The color kind of shifts depending on how light hits it. If you’re into phone finishes that catches the eye, this is totally the way to go.

Button placements are pretty standard. On the right hand side is the power button while the volume buttons are on the left. At the bottom you’ll find the speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack (nice).

Reno5

At around 180g and with these dimensions (159.1 x 73.4 x 7.9 mm) with a 6.4-inch display, the Reno5 sits very close to my personal sweet spot in terms of overall smartphone size. It’s a little too light to my liking but it never feels fragile.

The ‘Oxygenation’ of ColorsOS

There’s been some buzz about how OnePlus — a sister company of OPPO under the BBK electronics umbrella — is becoming more and more like OPPO. What’s getting lost in all that noise is how OPPO is turning into OnePlus just as much as the latter is being ‘OPPO-fied.’

This is most evident in ColorOS 7.2. From its cluttered and bloatfull past, the UI skin that OPPO layers over Android has gotten more breathing room letting more oxygen come through. The customizations available run deep — everything from light vs dark mode, the shape and size of the icons, to the accent color of the settings menu.

Also present are the gesture shortcuts that longtime OnePlus fans will be familiar with like drawing a V to open the flashlight, O to open the camera, and double tap screen to wake. These are all OxygenOS staples that have found their way to OPPO and sometimes other Android skins too.

Some purists or overly zealous brand supporters might dismiss this as blatant copying, but is it really that big an issue especially when these are all quality of life improvements no matter how subtle they may be?

All things considered, ColorOS is now overall more appealing thanks in large part to applying design decisions first applied on OnePlus’s OxygenOS.

OLED, 5G, and Snapdragon 765G

This section is probably the least contentious about this phone. Its display, performance, and promise of next gen mobile connectivity work exactly as advertised. The 6.4-inch OLED display has a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s nice and smooth with the deep blacks typically found on OLED displays. It could use a bit more brightness when under intense daylight, but it’s in no way unusable under such circumstances.

The 5G variant will cost you a little more and it’s not at all a bad deal considering most especially if you live or frequent areas with 5G coverage. We used the OPPO Reno5 as a hotspot hub for half a day and it did not feel at all like we were on mobile hotspot.

Shifting talk over to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765g SoC, this seems to be the best-performing midrange chip. It won’t leave you wanting in terms of general smartphone use. We didn’t use it a lot for gaming on this particular handset but previous experience dictates it’s pretty darn good for mobile gaming as well.

Battery life is also pretty straightforward. Standby time is great and the 4300mAh will last you a day on moderate usage. That goes down to around five hours when used primarily for gaming and with 5G connection.

Fun with the cameras

Reno5

The Reno5 sports a quad-camera system: 64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth. But all the fun really happens in the software sid of things.

It still features OPPO’s fun AI Color Portrait mode that isolates the subject from the background by draining the color out of the background and putting the subject front and center in full color.

Reno5

This same feature also works on the 32MP selfie camera.

Reno5

Even more exciting, this feature is now also available in video mode so there are more ways for you to have fun with it.

Another addition is the Night Flare Portrait that captures your subject in a nice stylized night shot filled with color and creamy bokeh.

Reno5

More than just portraits

Naturally, the cameras along with the AI engine behind its imaging works not only for these fun and funky portrait images and videos. As a standard shooter for documenting your daily life, it’s more than reliable. Check out these samples:

A nice meal for lunch

Naturally, save room for dessert

Ultra wide. Take stroll after downing some delicious food

 

Capture things in good detail

Snap a quick selfie

 

Or ask someone to take a quick portrait photo

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The easy answer is yes. The OPPO Reno5’s overall package is the ideal upper-midranger. There’s a lot of fun to be had with its camera features, it looks great, and performs just about as good as any phone in its price range.

Reno5

It also doesn’t hurt that in the Philippines, OPPO went out of its way to make sure it can be had in may different ways including through TelCos and via installment basis.

The OPPO Reno5 is by no means a perfect smartphone (no such thing exists anyway), but for what you’re getting in relation to its pricing, it’s a stellar option.

Continue Reading

First Look

ASUS Zenbook 14 UX435 Unboxing and First Impressions

Embodies everything you expect from a ZenBook

Published

on

The hunt for the perfect notebook for work and play is never really over — well, until the ZenBook 14. ASUS zeroed in on their line-up to make sure it embodied everything you want and (of course) need in a laptop. So, while you weigh in your options for the right notebook for you, we’ll unbox it for you.

The black box comes with ASUS’ signature concentric circle design. 

Lifting the box open props up the Zenbook 14 UX435EG in the box

Underneath the laptop, you’ll find important booklets and papers that you’ll probably leave unread. (Admit it).

Over to the left and right-hand side of the ZenBook 14 are connection essentials.

On the right, you’ll find the power brick.

And, you’ll be quick to find a USB-C to LAN cable on the left.

Oh! In case you missed it, there’s something peaking through the upper compartment of the box. A gentle tug will reveal a sleek carrying case.

Now, let’s get back to the star, shall we? The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX435EG

At first glance, the laptop looks and feels nearly paper-thin but, don’t let that fool you. The ZenBook 14 has a lot more than the looks going for it. It has Intel 11th Gen inside along with NVIDIA GeForce graphics.

There’s some unapologetic showing-off of the Ergo Lift hinge the moment you open the ZenBook 14.

Optimizing space, it features an HDMI port and the two Thunderbolt  USB-C ports on one side…

and a USB 3.2 port, audio jack and the SD Card slot on the other.

As much as the stunning display takes center stage,

While a sneakily small webcam lays atop,

Who can forget the ScreenPad?

Just below the backlit keyboard, you’ll find the eye-catching ScreenPad

On it, you can access apps quickly, use it as a TrackPad, and multitask efficiently.

First Impressions and Quick Hands-On

There are no surprises here. The ZenBook 14 UX435EG embodies everything you expect from a ZenBook. It’s light, pragmatically designed, and gorgeous. And on top of that, it doesn’t fall short in performing what’s asked. From work, to play, to binge-watching, the laptop delivers on all fronts.

When working on the daily grind of spreadsheets, presentations, photo-editing and word processing, the ZenBook 14 UX435EG didn’t struggle or stutter once. It took a decent beating and then some.

When all the day’s work comes to a halt, you’ll be happy to hear that it won’t falter on an immersive watch with its gorgeous display and audio quality. When playing games like Spiritfarer, the laptop seemed to handle it fine.

We didn’t have much time with it to stress test the ZenBook 14 but, so far, we haven’t encountered hiccups. And, the ScreenPad may take a little getting used to if you’re not used to more convenient features besides the typical TrackPad. But with it, the laptop furthers quick and easy multitasking — making both work and play a breeze.

More details on ASUS ZenBook 14 UX435 here.


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines

Continue Reading

Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on

Most of the leaks were true after all

Published

on

Samsung started 2021 early with their newest Galaxy S21 series.

Unlike last year where the S20 models were announced last February, these new S21 units were unveiled as early as January 2021. Although we’ve covered most of the leaks and rumors about Samsung’s latest flagship trio, we still need to confirm them.

Head over to our latest hands-on video to find out more.

Continue Reading

Trending