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
There’s a hidden “Rising Camera” module
On top are the secondary mic and ambient light sensor
The power button on the right has a color accent
On the left is the volume rocker
The micro-USB port is still haunting the F-series
The Thunder Black model has a triple-color gradient design
The F11 Pro has a symmetrical camera hump unlike the V15 Pro
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.
Huawei P30 hands-on: All the cool features applied in real life
How zoomed in is zoomed in?
After all the “oohs” and “ahhs,” and as the dust settles from Huawei’s flagship launch, the question is: What’s so great about the Huawei P30? And no, I don’t want to hear any specs.
To answer this question, I road tested the Huawei P30 to see just what it can do and how I can use those features in real life.
ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 Hands-on: Still needs an upgrade
Neither basic nor great
After playing with the TUF Gaming FX705, I have another ASUS gaming laptop. This one is aimed at those who are looking for a gaming machine on a budget. Gaming and budget don’t go always hand in hand, but this particular model can make them work together.
What I have here is the TUF Gaming FX505DY. It’s practically a smaller version of the previous TUF Gaming laptop I have, plus it’s running on pure AMD power.
I’ll not make this long, so let’s get right to it.
It has a plastic body with a distinct design
The vents face backwards
All the ports are on the left
There’s virtually nothing on the right side
It sports a 15.6-inch IPS-level 120Hz display…
… with slim bezels
Still, the webcam stays on top
The keyboard has a three-stage red backlight
Decent-looking for its price
The looks of the FX505 is not much different from its bigger cousin, the FX705. Also, the overall aesthetic is pretty much copied from the ROG line of premium gaming notebooks. Design-wise, the FX505 is not lacking; it’s certainly a gaming notebook when you see it.
The FX505 borrows the keyboard design of other new gaming laptops from ASUS, which is good. The layout is ideal for games, although the keys feel a bit mushy. As for the trackpad, it’s okay. It uses Windows Precision and it’s responsive to every gestures.
No one would suspect that this is a budget gaming machine. The slim bezels of the 15.6-inch Full HD display make the FX505 truly modern-looking. Gone are the day of fat bezels, even on a budget laptop. It does have a pretty big chin, but I prefer to trade that for slimmer side bezels. This also means that the FX505 is smaller than conventional 15-inch notebooks out there.
Not only that, the 120Hz refresh rate of the panel adds greater value to the FX505. I wasn’t expecting a high refresh rate on budget gaming laptops, so having it is really a treat. Everything on the screen is smooth and buttery. I am writing this article on the FX505 and it’s always fun to see scrolling smoother than my everyday laptop.
While the added features are welcome, ASUS still has keep the FX505 within budget. The laptop’s plastic body feels hollow, but ASUS says this laptop has passed US military-grade tests, so I’ll just have to take their word for it when it comes to durability.
Upgrade the memory, ASAP!
Let’s get to the specs. The TUF Gaming FX505DY (that’s the specific model name) is powered by the new AMD Ryzen 5-3550H processor with Radeon RX560X discrete graphics. Ryzen chips already have a capable GPU on their own, but nothing beats having a dedicated one. Unfortunately, ASUS is selling this particular with 4GB of DDR4 memory. That’s part of the cost-cutting methods, and it’s a bottleneck.
The processor and the GPU are more than capable to run most games in medium to high settings nicely, but the available system memory couldn’t keep up. 4GB of memory might be enough to let me use the FX505 for browsing, watching videos, typing, and other stuff, but it ruins the gaming experience.
I am no hardcore gamer, so my go-to game is often Cities Skylines. Guess what? I wasn’t able to even load my cloud save on Steam. The loading screen for the game always stops midway.
Of course, I tested other games. I’m glad to report that both battle royale games — CS:GO and Fortnite — run above 60fps on high settings. But, that’s not without hiccups. Due to the limited 4GB RAM, even though the GPU can handle the titles well, you can’t escape the lag. Maybe games that don’t have open-world maps won’t be as affected, but I can’t say for sure.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
No doubt that the TUF Gaming FX505 (specifically FX505DY) is a good option in its range. It might even be the best one considering the features it offers and its price tag. For just PhP 39,995, you can already grab a decent starter gaming laptop that has a 120Hz display, slim bezels, and ROG-esque design.
The display alone is a great selling point, but the 4GB RAM will never do it justice. I wish I could test out more games on the laptop, but I couldn’t even run my staple titles without any hiccups. The low memory is simply a pain and it limits the capabilities of the laptop.
Out of the box, this variant of the FX505 is not totally ready for gaming. If you’re getting one of these, make sure to buy some extra RAM. An additional 4GB stick doesn’t cost much; it’s even cheaper than fancy gaming mice out there.
Huawei P30 and P30 Pro hands-on
Truly rewriting the rules of photography?
If you were to pinpoint where it all started, that moment in time when Huawei smartphones turned the corner from contender to top dog. It would most likely be this snapshot from three years ago: The launch of the P9. And the start of Huawei’s partnership with Leica.
Back then both companies promised they would revolutionize smartphone photography. It took a while, but last year they finally did. The Huawei P20 was groundbreaking. But they’re not done yet. The P30 Pro comes with bold new promises to re-write the rules of photography. But did they really?
Our introduction begins with a color story. It may be commonplace now, but last year, when the P20 debuted in this stunning Twilight gradient, there was nothing quite like it.
This year, Twilight becomes Aurora, with an extra shimmer that’s made to look like the Northern Lights from where this gradient finish gets its inspiration.
Some markets will get this lovely red-orange finish, Amber Sunrise, or get a bit of both. My favorite is Breathing Crystal, a pearlescent white that’s sometimes a faint Twilight, or a red and yellow depending on how the light touches the phone. And if want something less flashy, there are also black and white models.
Before you get committed to a color. You’ll have to wait till availability is announced in your respective countries.
Both the P30 and P30 Pro are all-glass smartphones with metal frames. Apart from the obvious size difference, there are other subtleties to distinguish one from the other.
The P30 Pro is curvy-licious with a curved backside to match its curved display; the P30 has a flat, more traditional panel. I like the sexy dual curves on the P30 Pro. The phone is bigger than last year’s model but still fits comfortably in the hand. Having said that, I have many friends who adamantly prefer flat displays, so it really is a preference thing.
While some of its competitors are doing punch-hole displays or pop up cameras, Huawei is keeping the notch on the P-series, reducing it to a teardrop shape. If we’re nitpicking, there’s still a tiny bit of forehead and chin. Otherwise, it’s as edge-to-edge as it currently gets.
The display on both models is rich and vibrant — a 6.1-inch OLED for the P30 and 6.47-inch OLED for the Pro model, both Full HD+ and 19.5:9 in ratio. Underneath is a new and improved under-display fingerprint scanner. Based on our initial tests, it’s as fast, if not even faster, than the ultrasonic scanner on the Galaxy S10+.
It’s the most secure biometric option on this phone, as face unlock on the P30, while AI-assisted, is still based on a 2D scan using the selfie camera, and that’s less secure. The display on the P30 Pro also doubles as an earpiece and extra speaker. Huawei calls it an acoustic display.
One little design feature you might miss are the P30’s flat top and bottom edges; they’re a nice differentiating touch. Up top, there’s still an IR blaster for those who would rather use their phones as remotes, and on the bottom, the headphone jack returns but only on the non-Pro model.
Also worth mentioning: The SIM card tray is double-sided for two nano-SIMs or one SIM and one Nano Memory Card, which only Huawei makes.
Now on to the main event. The P30 Pro has four Leica cameras on its rear. Let me break them down for you.
The first is an ultra-wide angle camera, which is perfect when you’re traveling and want to take in more of the scene. It also doubles as a macro lens for getting in real close on subjects.
Next is a 40-megapixel standard camera, and then a square shape that isn’t a lens per se. It’s the prism of a periscope. Tucked underneath is a zoom lens array that gives the P30 Pro 5x optical zoom — more than we’ve ever seen on a smartphone to date. Combined with software and AI magic, you can go up to near lossless 10x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom.
Right beside the flash on the P30 Pro is a fourth camera for time of flight (TOF) that measures depth in real time. This gives you bokeh that closely resembles something taken using a high-end digital camera, so that objects in a photo will have different amounts of blur depending on how near or far they are from you.
Huawei says, using the TOF camera, they’re also building an augmented reality measuring app, similar to what Apple has on the iPhone XS. Now, about that re-writing the rules bit; that bit requires a bit of a technical explanation. Allow me to simplify.
Digital camera sensors are traditionally made of red, green, and blue bits (RGB if that sounds familiar to you) that measure color in a scene. But what if you switched green for yellow? That’s exactly what Huawei and Leica did on the P30 series. One of the reasons for this is that a yellow filter is lighter than a green filter, letting in more light when an image is captured.
Huawei says a lot of physics went into this major change, and the low-light abilities of the P30 Pro are better than ever before. To try this. I found the darkest little corner of my briefing room and set up a dark room of my own.
This is night mode on the P30, which is already pretty good compared to what night mode on other smartphones managed to produce. One could say that the P30 can see in the dark and it’s pretty amazing. Master AI mode is still available on the phone, and you can toggle it on and off, if you want to give it the power to adjust how a photo looks based on what it thinks are the ideal settings.
Huawei’s groundbreaking AI-based handheld long exposure mode gets an expanded set of features. There is Silk Water Effects mode which we have yet to try. It also works in portrait mode, and combined with AI HDR+, can help you shoot well-lit portraits even when shooting against the harsh rays of the sun.
We’ll need time to really dive into everything the camera can do. But for now, take a look at more sample photos we shot during our short time with the P30 Pro:
This year, Huawei has made it a point to bring the experience of taking video at par with taking photos. Where they really improved is stabilization when shooting Full HD content. We tried it out, even shook the phone exaggeratedly, and it does the job.
Then there’s that zoom lens, which also comes in handy. You can now zoom in up to 10x with hybrid zoom on the P30 Pro. Here’s a set of samples taken during our hands-on time:
Reps from Huawei also told us during our briefing that they’re working on a dual-video feature that lets you shoot using two lenses at the same time. That will be available as an over-the-air update soon. There’s much more to love about the new P30 and P30 Pro. We haven’t even talked about its 32-megapixel selfie camera. Here are a few samples:
Both are packed with Huawei’s newest Kirin 980 processor, come with configs of up to 8GB of RAM and plenty of built-in storage, and sizable batteries with fast charging. The P30 Pro has a larger battery and comes with 40-watt SuperCharge with support for both wireless and reverse wireless charging. The latter lets you charge Qi-compatible devices or other smartphones.
The P30 on the other hand comes with a 22W charger and does not support wireless charging. The P30 Pro is water- and dust-resistant while the P30 is only splash-resistant. Yep, the Pro in P30 Pro definitely has its merits.
Are the P30 and P30 Pro your GadgetMatch?
That was a lot to cover, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m picking up my review device today so after I shoot an unboxing, I’m going to start using the phone as a daily driver.
In two weeks, I’ll let you know my thoughts. Based on first impressions, the P30 Pro is poised to be one of the best phones of 2019. For a premium phone, it delivers where it matters: design, cameras, and battery life.
And since we’re in Paris, let me pull from my limited French: The P30 Pro has got that je ne sais quoi, an intangible quality that thrills and excites. What more could you want in a smartphone?
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