Hands-On

OPPO F5 hands-on: A nearly borderless selfie phone

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In 2017, the smartphone world’s “in thing” is the borderless display. We’ve seen flagship after flagship attempt bigger, wider displays with smaller and smaller bezels.

OPPO rides this tech train with their newest smartphone release. The F5 is OPPO’s first nearly borderless smartphone. With a screen ratio of 18:9 and new AI built into its beauty mode, the brand which brought us the Selfie Expert is now bringing a device they claim can “capture the real you.”


I took the new F5 out for a spin and here’s how it went down.

Look and feel

There is definitely more screen real estate on the F5. Minimal bezels surround the sides of the phone; the top and bottom bezels are noticeably smaller compared to OPPO’s previous phones.

Admittedly, the phone looks a lot like other nearly borderless devices from other brands, but I’m not even surprised as this tends to happen a lot with smartphones.

OPPO F5 bezel-less display

The forehead (yes, folks, that’s what they call that bezel up top) houses the earpiece and the front-facing shooter — this is a single camera selfie setup.

OPPO F5 forehead

The back part of the device is plastic but it’s given a premium metal look. It doesn’t feel as heavy as phones with an all-metal build, though it does have some good weight to it — none of that cheap, plastic-y feel.

The fingerprint scanner can also be found on the back with the rear camera and LED flash, which is a placement I’m not particularly fond of. Good news, though: This phone has a facial recognition unlock feature so you need not bother with the back scanner to unlock your phone.

OPPO F5 rear

On the right side, there’s the power button and a double nano-SIM card tray with a separate microSD card slot.

OPPO F5 sim card tray

On the left, volume rockers.

OPPO F5 left volume rocker

On the bottom, we have the speaker grilles, micro-USB port, and audio jack. There are no physical buttons on the phone’s chin (yes, those bezels down there); the home, back, and recent apps buttons are all found on screen.

OPPO F5 microUSB, speaker grilles, and audio port

The handset is sleek and light. The F5 is just a few millimeters taller than the F3 and R11 so you get the same feel holding it. But, even if the phone is almost the same size as previous OPPO releases, the 6-inch display makes a difference. I found that having a bigger screen does add to a more enjoyable smartphone experience.

Cameras

There are only two cameras on the F5: a 16-megapixel camera on the back and a 20-megapixel shooter up front.

Taking selfies with the OPPO F5

Of course, the F5 is equipped with OPPO’s signature beauty mode on both rear and front cameras.

OPPO F5 sample selfie with AI beauty mode

Sample selfie!

OPPO added an extra layer to their beauty mode for this particular phone: Artificial intelligence is built into the front-facing camera for better selfies. This added AI technology should be able to tell a person’s age, sex, and even race, to come up with optimum beauty settings for the best possible selfie you could ever take.

OPPO F5 beauty AI

The AI beauty mode allows for more natural selfies, even if it removes blemishes. It smoothens your skin but doesn’t blur out all your pores — something that tends to happen when using normal beauty filters.

OPPO F5 artificial intelligence beauty mode

What also stood out to me is how the bokeh mode has improved on this device. Notice the better cutout on the F5 photo as compared to the F3’s.

Bokeh mode is available on both beauty and normal mode, although you can’t activate this feature when using the rear camera.

Here are a few more sample shots:

There is no wide-angle shooter on the F5, a feature I loved on the F3. The pro mode is still there though, which will delight those who opt to shoot on manual mode. The video beauty mode previously only found on the R11 is also on this phone, which is great, as not all selfie phones have this feature integrated into their native camera apps.

Quick specs

The F5 is powered by a MediaTek MT6763T processor and runs on Android 7.1 with ColorOS 3.2. It has 4GB of memory and 32GB of storage with a 3200mAh battery capacity.

OPPO F5

All this means is that the F5 runs on a midrange processor that’s newer and more efficient compared to the one used by its predecessor, the F3. It runs on Android Nougat and OPPO’s operating system which is reminiscent of the iPhone’s interface (Read: pretty easy to use if you’ve ever been on an iPhone.)

Initial thoughts

The OPPO F5 does what it does best — take good selfies — all on a better screen. That is, if you consider bigger as better.

It’s undeniable, though, that shooting Instagram stories, editing selfies, and everyday social media stalking is an improved experience with this taller display.

Girl holding OPPO F5

As for everyday performance, however, I’d still have to spend more time with the phone to be able to write a full review. In the meantime, I’m definitely enjoying the better F5 view.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY: OPPO F5 launches with near-borderless display and selfie AI

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Hands-On

Nokia 3.2 Hands-On: Basic but classy

Nothing fancy but really speedy

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Nokia has been stepping up its lineup of budget smartphones. Early in 2019, the brand launched a plethora of budget smartphones that are under the Android One program. One of the budget-friendly smartphones introduced was Nokia 3.2. Eager to have that Nokia experience, I took the phone out for a spin.

It’s cheap… but classy

I had high hopes when I first got the Nokia 3.2 in its box. Seeing it earlier in MWC 2019 made me appreciate its look and vibe. Compared to other budget smartphones, it’s classier and sexier. However, the phone feels a little bit downgraded when compared to its predecessor.


Nokia the 3.1 with an aluminum frame, a plastic back, and corning gorilla glass while the 3.2 used only a polycarbonate unibody design. Its plastic back is smudgy and slippery, but the phone has a tighter grip, thanks to its subtle curved edges towards the front.

Even its buttons are subtly protruding on its sides. On the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button, and on the right are its power buttons and volume keys.

Found on its back are the 13-megapixel main camera, LED Flash, and fingerprint scanner. On the other hand, its top side features a headphone jack, while the micro USB port and speaker grilles are found on the bottom.

If the notch is troubling you, try hiding it with a wallpaper similar to what I did in the image above.

It also features a 6.2 inches LCD panel on its front display, with a tall 19:9 ratio. It might be disrupting, but the Nokia 3.2 still sports a small notch, housing its 5-megapixel selfie camera capable of AI face unlock. Even though it might be bigger and taller this time, the Nokia 3.2 is definitely a joy to hold.

Stock Android on a budget

The saving grace for Nokia’s disappointing build (at least for me) is its clean version of Android One. That means there’s no bloatware to take up your limited memory and storage.

Additionally, the Nokia 3.2 comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. This makes it feel faster than its competitors in the budget segment despite having a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Fortunately, it provides a microSD card slot up to up to 400GB of storage.

An entry-level performance

Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 429 processor, the Nokia 3.2 performs better compared to its predecessor which carried a MediaTek chipset. In addition, its GPU runs on Adreno 504.

This made the Nokia 3.2 handle graphic-intensive games like Mobile Legends even if it was set on the highest graphics setting possible. There were no delay and lag spikes, ensuring smooth gameplay all throughout.

Decent cameras for your everyday needs

Featuring a 13-megapixel main camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture, the Nokia 3.2 takes decent photos. Depending on the lighting, both of its cameras can either take a vibrant, lively reproduced color during daylight or a slightly desaturated photo on indoor and low-light conditions.

Of course, we can’t really expect budget smartphones to have flagship-like cameras. It won’t have quick auto-focus or any fancy features like blurring your background, but it’s the compromise we’re getting when we follow our tight budget. At the very least, make use of natural light and other camera tricks to improve your photos.

Lasts longer than your partner

If there’s one thing I enjoyed with this smartphone, it’s the humongous battery. Packing a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 3.2 can definitely last a day on a single charge. It can handle your multimedia use and everyday tasks throughout the day, yet it will still have enough juice left to carry you through the night.

However, for a phone carrying a huge battery, it charges slowly at 10W. This phone might just be good for those who love to charge their phones overnight.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Nokia 3.2 is a contender in the budget segment. It might have a disappointing build and design, but the phone packs with power, performance, and speed, thanks to Google’s Android One program.

With a starting price of PhP 7,990 (US$ 154) for the 3GB/32GB model, Nokia loyalists will find this a real treat. For people looking for a secondary phone, or a primary phone with no frills and just functions to handle your everyday needs, the Nokia 3.2 could be your GadgetMatch.

However, there are still far better options in the budget category, like the Redmi Note 7 and Realme 3. If Nokia wants to come back in its former glory and capture people looking for an affordable powerhouse, they need to join the battle and beat Realme and Redmi in their game, just like Samsung bending over to compete in the tough budget battlefield.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Fold Hands-on: The Redo!

Refined and ready for release

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This is our Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on! We revisit Samsung’s foldable phone as it relaunches and check out what’s new!

More on the Samsung Galaxy Fold: Global Availability | How Samsung Fixed it | A more affordable Galaxy Fold?


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Hands-On

Two Screens, One Phone: LG G8X Hands-on

LG is making dual screens their thing

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This is our LG G8X ThinQ Dual Screen Hands-on.

LG’s answer to foldable phones? A phone with two screens! Well sort of. The LG G8X ThinQ comes with a Dual Screen case and it’s a pretty fantastic idea. Two screens on one phone is like smartphone multitasking on steroids!


WATCH ALSO: LG V50 ThinQ Dual Screen Unboxing and Hands-on

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