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The OPPO F1s is an affordable ‘selfie expert’

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OPPO announced the F1 Plus (the R9 in its country of origin) to great fanfare, with the company estimating over 7 million units sold since the phone’s release in March. And OPPO isn’t done with the F1 branding yet, as it recently made the F1s official in some markets, namely China, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. A subsequent rollout is slated for the rest of Southeast Asia and regions where OPPO operates.

Another “selfie expert,” the F1s is essentially a much cheaper F1 Plus that has fewer attractions but offers longer battery life. It has more bells and whistles than the smaller F1, so in way, it’s some sort of a middle choice between the two previous F1 phones — the Goldilocks choice, if you will.

You get a slightly larger 5.5-inch phone featuring a nearly identical metal unibody frame with the same polish and attention to detail as that of the Plus model. It also runs the almost two-year-old Android Lollipop software, which could turn off seasoned Android users.

Beyond the F1 comparison, the F1s is likely capable of better selfies than any phone in its price point.

There are two metallic bands that run across the rear panel; two more wrap around the sides; the bottom edge houses the speaker, headphone jack, microUSB port, and what’s likely a cutout for the mic hole. The physical home button that also functions as a fingerprint reader is sandwiched between the backlit back and recent apps keys. Setup takes seconds, and engaging the reader is fast and, more importantly, accurate.

The F1s makes use of a bright 720p display with curved-edge Gorilla Glass protection. The resolution isn’t ideal for a phone this size, so those who want a sharper screen without spending too much should probably look elsewhere. That’s what’s great about today’s smartphone market: With so many options available, you don’t have to settle.

Inside the F1s, you’ll find an octa-core MediaTek processor, alongside 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandablage store. We haven’t put the system-on-a-chip through its paces yet, but it runs Pokémon Go just fine. The 3,075mAh battery is the largest of any F1 phone, but it could take a while to charge from zero to full, as the F1s lacks quick charging.

But the best feature of all may be the selfie camera, which has a 16-megapixel sensor and an impressive aperture size of f/2.0. That combination, plus OPPO’s camera algorithm, results in bright and crisp self-portraits that look like they were captured by an upmarket phone’s rear camera. The F1s is also capable of shooting full-resolution video for superior video calls and conferencing.

Compared to the front-facer, the 13-megapixel camera around the back sounds a bit underwhelming, even though that’s not the case. But then again, how often do you come across a device with a more advanced camera on the front than on the rear?

The OPPO F1s runs between $280 and $300, depending on where you live. In the Philippines, it is priced at P12,990; in India, 15,985 rupees; Malaysia sells it for 1,198 ringgit. It costs 5,990,000 dong in Vietnam, around 10,000 baht in Thailand.

[irp posts=”11922″ name=”OPPO F1s finally gets long-delayed update”]

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Vivo outs the new NEX phone with two displays, 3D camera, and 10GB RAM

There’s no need for a pop-up camera anymore

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Vivo took the brave step earlier this year when they announced a smartphone that utilized a pop-up mechanism to house its front camera, instead of an unsightly notch. This time around, they have a different approach. Similar to ZTE’s Nubia X, Vivo placed a second display on the phone’s back.

The NEX Dual Display Edition joins the Nubia X in spearheading two-face smartphones to the market. The main display measures 6.39 inches and it virtually occupies the whole front of the phone. On the back is the secondary 5.49-inch display which is always ready for use. Both displays use Super AMOLED panels and have Full HD resolutions.

All operations are handled by a Snapdragon 845 processor. Vivo didn’t hold back by putting in 10GB of memory paired with 128GB of internal storage.

Since the phone has an all-screen facade, it doesn’t have a front-facing camera. All of the picture-taking duties are handled by the rear shooters of the NEX. There’s a main 12-megapixel f/1.79 camera that’s accompanied by a special 2-megapixel f/1.8 night video camera and a Time of Flight (TOF) sensor.

Of course, it has all the AI tricks and features you’d expect in a flagship phone including 4K video recording, AR stickers, and portrait mode. The TOF sensor makes it even more fun to capture in the 3D space.

The phone runs Funtouch OS 4.5 that’s based on the latest Android 9 Pie and consumes power from the 3500mAh battery. You can quickly fill up the phone’s battery with a USB-C fast charger.

As for its security features, it’s equipped with an in-display fingerprint reader (just like other Vivo phones), but you can also take advantage of the TOF sensor for a secured 3D face unlock.

Expect the NEX Dual Display Edition to become available in various markets across Asia including Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and of course, China.

It’ll retail for CNY 4,998 (US$ 725) beginning December 29. Preorders start today in Mainland China.

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ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is bigger, faster, and still runs pure Android

ZenFone without the ZenUI

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Just before the year ends, ASUS introduced an update to its ZenFone Max Pro lineup. Dubbed the M2, the newest ZenFone inherited the same pure Android software of its predecessor while the rest of the phone has been upgraded.

ASUS’ new ZenFone Max Pro M2 is slightly bigger than the M1 with its 6.3-inch display and it has Gorilla Glass 6 protection. It also has a slightly taller aspect ratio at 19:9 and a higher screen-to-body ratio. Although, it now has a notch like its more premium ZenFone cousins.

Surprisingly, the new ZenFone is equipped with a tried and tested Snapdragon 660 processor which puts it in the league of the Nokia 7 Plus and Vivo V11. It even has up to 6GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. On paper, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 is more powerful than the ZenFone 5.

Camera-wise, it’s got a main 12-megapixel f/1.8 shooter coupled with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. An upgraded 13-megapixel sensor takes care of the selfies along. The phone features all the beautification effects and AI enhancements.

The huge 5000mAh battery found in its predecessor is present as well. The phone still charges via micro-USB and has no support for fast charging.

Even though this is an ASUS phone, it doesn’t have ZenUI because it runs an unskinned version of Android. It’s bare with no bloatware, but it’s not part of the Android One program. Software updates will come from ASUS, so it may take some time to have the latest version available. It has only Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.

The ZenFone Max Pro M2 is priced at PhP 14,995 in the Philippines or roughly US$ 285. It’ll be available in stores starting December 15. There will be also a 4GB memory variant that’s exclusively available on Shopee and Lazada for PhP 12,995.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 review

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Lifestyle

Samsung is collaborating with a Supreme rip-off

Announced in China

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Historically, tech companies have not usually paired with lifestyle brands. Being lifestyle objects in their own right, smartphones have collaborated with other brands only for incredibly premium promotions. That said, they can surprise us sometimes.

In Samsung’s case, the surprise comes in two packages. Recently, Samsung China announced a startling partnership with lifestyle brand Supreme. In lifestyle circles, the red-boxed brand is a haven for hypebeasts.

Samsung’s new collaboration is not with that brand. Instead, the Korean tech company has partnered with a known Supreme knock-off. Strangely, both the original Supreme and Samsung know this fact.

Naturally, Supreme’s popularity has spawned dozens, if not hundreds, of knock-off brands. Supreme Italia, Samsung’s partner, is one of those brands. Earlier this year, Supreme Italia was embroiled in a legal battle with the original Supreme based in New York City. In a rare outcome, the fake brand triumphed over the original. On inception, Supreme Italia trademarked its properties in its homeland, Italy. The move perpetually protected the fake company under Italian law.

During Samsung China’s launch event for the Galaxy A8s, Supreme Italia announced the collaboration. Apparently, the fake brand is expanding its operations in China, enlisting Samsung as an official partner. The original Supreme does not have rights to sell its products in China.

Funny enough, all three parties — the original Supreme, Supreme Italia, and Samsung — know about the knock-off.

“Supreme is not working with Samsung, opening a flagship location in Beijing, or participating in a Mercedes-Benz runway show. These claims are blatantly false and propagated by a counterfeit organization,” the original company said in a statement to Hypebeast.

Likewise, Samsung China confirmed the issue. In a deleted Weibo post, Samsung China digital marketing manager Leo Lau said: “We are collaborating with Supreme Italia, not Supreme NYC.”

Ironically (or appropriately), Samsung has been in similar patent issues before. Months ago, the company lost a patent infringement battle with its rival, Apple.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s new prototype has a very weird notch

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