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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.

India

Nokia 6.1 Plus is here to spice up the midrange segment

The first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch

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2018 is undoubtedly the year of midrange phones. While we’ve seen some amazing innovation coming in this year like the in-display fingerprint scanner and moving camera module, they have been limited to the top-tier for now.

The actual innovation has been happening in the midrange segment where we’ve seen companies launch new phones every few months, and for the first time, there have been no compromises. Right from the design to the processor, everything is becoming near perfect. Thanks to initiatives like the Android One program, we are also assured that these phones will last you at least two years.

Joining the bandwagon, we now have HMD Global’s Nokia 6.1 Plus. The phone was launched a few months back in China and is also called the Nokia X6. For the global markets, HMD Global already has a streamlined product lineup that includes the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 5.1.

The phone has been launched in India today and retails for INR 15,999 (US$ 230). It will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart and Nokia Online Store starting August 30.

It has a 5.8-inch Full HD+ display and is the first Nokia-branded phone to sport a notch. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 636 SoC along with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. Storage is expandable via a microSD card and it supports a hybrid SIM setup.

On the rear, the Nokia 6.1 Plus houses a 16- and 5-megapixel dual-camera arrangement that supports AI-powered portrait mode and automatic scene recognition. The front has a 16-megapixel snapper that is Face Unlock-compatible. The back of the phone also has a fingerprint scanner for authentication and 3060mAh battery that supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Continuing HMD Global’s strategy, the Nokia 6.1 Plus is also a part of the Android One program and ships with Android 8.1 Oreo, without any bloatware.

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India

OPPO India launches the F9 Pro with a unique notch

Redefining the trend

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OPPO has been increasing its focus on the Indian market in the last few quarters and has already brought its flagship Find X to the country. In a bid to establish itself as a long-term player, the brand has also started a new sub-brand called Realme to capture the budget segment.

The company today announced the launch of the OPPO F9 Pro in India; the device will be succeeding the F7 that was launched in March. To avoid any confusion, OPPO has also launched this phone in other markets like the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam where it’s called the F9.

The design on this phone is further refined and has glass backing that creates a color gradient along with different patterns that vary according to the configuration. The notch on this phone is a lot smaller than what we’re currently seeing in the industry and is similar to a tiny “water-drop.”

This is also the first time OPPO’s F-series phone will have a rear dual-camera setup. The phone has a 16- and 2-megapixel setup that has AI-backed features like beautification and portrait mode. The front camera is a massive 25-megapixel shooter that has advanced AI-powered face enhancement and auto scene recognition features.

It’s controlled by a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset and comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Another highlight of the phone is its battery, rated at 3500mAh, which supports VOOC Flash Charge that can get you two hours of usage with just five minutes of charging.

The phone runs on ColorOS 5.2 that is OPPO’s skin based on Android 8.0 Oreo, and is available in Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, and Starry Purple. It’s priced at INR 23,990 (US$ 345) and will be exclusively available for purchase via Flipkart.

A cheaper non-Pro F9 is available as well for INR 19,990 (US$ 285). It comes with less memory at 4GB and a lower-resolution 16-megapixel front camera.

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Gaming

God of War’s New Game Plus mode is here

It’s time for another play through, boy!

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A New Game Plus (NG+) mode for PlayStation 4’s God of War is here. This means whatever weapons, items, and armor you amassed during your first go round, you can take with you if you wish to go on another adventure with Kratos and Atreus.

The NG+ mode also lets you pick a different difficulty setting from the one you first played with. So whether you feel like taking on a tougher challenge or just breezing through the story mode, you can do so. The choice is yours.

Other new content include a new shield skin when you start a NG+ as well as new types of armor you can forge for the father and son duo. The additions also include new challenges like Realm Tears while on a time limit and a variety of new attack patterns for draugrs, witches, and other foes you’ll meet along the way.

Updates not just for God of War NG+ mode

If you’re still in the middle of your first run, don’t worry, the creators of God of War didn’t forget about us. There’s now a button that easily lets you transfer enchantments making it easier to go from one armor to another. There are also some bug fixes and quality-of-life improvements like keeping Kratos safe at all times during parry attacks and improved consistency with how enemy attacks can be parried.

If you’ve completed the game at least once, the update also lets you skip cinematic scenes whether you’re on NG+ or not.

God of War for the PS4 first came out in April 2018 and received glowing reviews from various media outlets. Many of whom even said it’s an early candidate for Game of the Year. It takes the franchise’s main character Kratos into Norse mythology years after he tore through the Greek gods.

SEE MORE: God of War: A must-play for 2018

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