The battle for the best borderless smartphones has begun, and as we have quickly found out, near bezel-less phones don’t have to cost you an arm and leg, or a flagship price!
The Huawei Nova 2i, also known as the Huawei Mate 10 Lite, Maimang 6, or Honor 9i (depending on what region you’re in), is a top near-borderless budget option with a four-cam setup. The OPPO F5 is a fresh release from the selfie experts with a taller display and new AI beauty mode. With a price difference of just around US$ 20 between the two, how do these phones measure up to each other?
The OPPO F5 has a 6-inch screen while the Huawei Nova 2i’s display is just a teeny bit smaller at 5.9 inches. Both phones have the same 1080 x 2160 resolution and, of course, that coveted 18:9 screen ratio. There are no physical buttons up front and both moved their fingerprint scanners to the back.
Plastic that’s made to look and feel like metal — a popular material among handsets these days — is what the F5 is made of. The Nova 2i, however, boasts a metal unibody design. I didn’t really notice the difference as both devices have a good weight and great feel to them.
The Huawei Nova 2i’s design appeals to me more; OPPO’s familiar form factor makes its look less unique.
Our Nova 2i unit is blue, but it’s also available in black and gold. Our F5 is silver, though they do have a red or black option. What’s different about this OPPO handset is how this particular color has a white face as opposed to the usual black bezels found on near borderless devices. This can go both ways: Chay loves this refreshing change while I personally prefer the sleek black bezel look.
The foreheads (yes, those top bezels) are about the same size and they house the earpiece and the selfie cameras — two selfie cameras in the case of the Nova 2i.
Power buttons are on the upper-right side of both phones. This area also houses the volume rocker for the 2i and the SIM tray for the F5.
Left side has the F5’s volume rocker and the Nova 2i’s SIM tray which can accommodate two nano-SIMs with one slot convertible to a microSD slot. The F5, on the other hand, has space for two nano-SIM cards and a third slot for a microSD card.
Bottom of the phones have the micro-USB ports (gasp!), speaker grilles, and audio jacks.
Again, there are no physical buttons on the chin as both phones have on-screen home, back, and recent apps buttons.
Distinct Huawei branding can be seen on the Nova 2i while OPPO keeps it clean up front.
The OPPO F5’s 16-megapixel rear camera goes against the Huawei Nova 2i’s 16- and 2-megapixel twin shooters. Although the F5 allows for a portrait bokeh mode on this camera, the Nova 2i has the option to do portrait mode for bokeh effect or a wide aperture mode.
Both phones perform considerably well even in challenging lighting situations. In the photo below, however, the Nova 2i does better in terms of contrast. Notice the noise on the buildings in the F5 photo.
Color also seems to pop more on the Huawei shooters. See how bright the door is on the Nova 2i picture.
In weird lighting conditions (like most ambient restaurant lighting), the Nova 2i took brighter and more vivid photos. The OPPO, on the other hand, took a sharper photo that’s a more faithful replica of how that salad looked in reality.
Low-light shots also look stunning with the Nova 2i, which came up with more balanced shots compared to the F5, though it must be said that both phones did an overall good job.
In front, the OPPO F5 packs a 20-megapixel selfie cam while the Nova 2i has a 13- and 2-megapixel setup. Both phones have a bokeh feature and their respective beauty modes, but it’s only the F5 which uses artificial intelligence to beautify your photos — a fairly new development in the OPPO selfie scene.
Selfies on the Nova 2i are brighter and more vivid, something a lot of people prefer, but the beauty mode on it was not the best I’ve tried on a smartphone. There were shooting instances that resulted in great selfies, but a number of shots on this mode’s middle setting resulted in my face being too washed out, or color contrast tended to look off.
The OPPO F5’s AI beauty mode detects sex, age, and race then uses this information to automatically calculate which beauty mode setting would be right for you. This results in fresh selfies that look more natural and less airbrushed, but colors usually weren’t as vivid.
In the selfie above, the Nova 2i brightened my face to the point where my eyebrows were noticeably lighter then saturated my red hair to make it look more fiery than it actually is in real life. The F5 kept it balanced with colors not as saturated.
The same thing happens with group selfies. Admittedly, we all look fresh in both photos and I’d be willing to post either one on social media.
A MediaTek MT6763T processor running on Android Nougat and ColorOS 3.2 powers the OPPO F5 while the Nova 2i runs on Huawei’s Kirin 659 with EMUI 5.1 on top of Android Nougat. Both phones have 4GB of memory, although the F5 only has 32GB of storage as opposed to the Nova 2i’s 64GB.
The Huawei Nova 2i packs 3340mAh of battery power while the OPPO F5 has a battery capacity of 3200mAh.
Which is your GadgetMatch?
If taking selfies is your first and foremost priority — and you don’t mind paying a little extra — then you may want to check out the OPPO F5 and its impressive AI beauty technology.
On the other hand, if you like being behind the camera or if brighter and more saturated photos are your jam, then the Huawei Nova 2i is worth considering. It’s worth noting that this handset also runs on a more powerful processor, so if you’re not concerned about smartphone photography at all, this would definitely be the better choice for you.
If affordability is the name of the game, well, you’re in good company. These phones are two of the cheapest near-borderless phones in the market today. The OPPO F5 retails for PhP 15,990 (around US$ 305) in the Philippines and the Huawei Nova 2i retails for PhP 14,990 in the Philippines and EUR 399 in Europe (roughly below US$ 300).
[irp posts=”23132″ name=”OPPO F5 vs Vivo V7+: Side-by-side comparison”]
iPhone 12 Pro vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs Pixel 5: Camera shootout
Which flagship takes the best photo?
By now, most smartphone brands have introduced their respective flagships. Samsung unpacked the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Google revealed the more affordable Pixel 5, and Apple unveiled the most-awaited iPhone 12 Pro.
In this shootout, we took the three flagship smartphones for a camera showdown. These photos were taken around Brooklyn, New York. And if you’ll ask… Yes, we still did our part by wearing masks and following social distancing protocols.
Anyhoo, grab your pen and paper since this is a blind shootout. It’s labeled A, B, and C to make it easier for you to take notes. As usual, no post-processing was done except for putting the images in a collage for faster loading and preview. The answers can be found at the end of this article.
Okay, we’re just messing with you. It’s not that blind test where you have to scroll up and down to find out the answers in different labels. The results are as follows:
A – iPhone 12 Pro
B – Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
C – Google Pixel 5
If you observed them closely, these flagship smartphones have their strengths and weaknesses. Notably, these smartphones differ in terms of focal length, depth-of-field, color balance, and more. Mainly because these flagships use different camera systems and are powered by different processors.
But if you’re wondering what is the point of a camera shootout between the best smartphones you can buy today, it’s about helping people decide based on their preferences, lifestyle, and usage.
The iPhone 12 Pro captured bright and sharp processed photos with a greenish tint. It produced a clean cut-out for its portrait mode, with an improved depth-of-field anyone would love. It’s the perfect camera system for average users needing a smartphone for their daily grind.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra took cooler yet vibrant photos with inconsistent exposure in varying scenarios. It produced images that are expected from a flagship phone, but it’s not as seemingly competitive compared to the iPhone and Pixel’s camera performance.
If anything, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offered the best camera experience it can provide to those in love with Samsung’s smartphones such as Samsung fans and other loyalists (like yours truly).
On the other hand, Google’s Pixel 5 offered strong contrasts and proper white balance in its photos, yet slightly underexposed during the day. However, it’s a real beast when it comes to night photography — even without its night mode.
For what it’s worth, this shootout proved that flagship smartphones aren’t made equal. They exist to serve different tastes, lifestyles, and usage that are apt for every consumer. Whatever your choice is, we’re sure you’ll be taking great photos. Just make sure you polish your skills and you’ll be ready to go.
So, which of these three took the best photo for YOU? Let us know in the comments section, and tell us if it’s your GadgetMatch!
POCO X3 NFC vs realme 7i: Camera shootout
A battle of affordable phones!
The POCO X3 NFC and realme 7i retails for PhP 12,990 and PhP 11,990 respectively. With just a PhP 1,000 price difference, will the phones have a wide gap in camera performance? Let’s find out in this shootout.
Excited to see the results? Here they are:
POCO X3 NFC: 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A, 7B, 8B, 9B, 10B, 11B, 12B, 13B
realme 7i: 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7A, 8A, 9A, 10A, 11A, 12A, 13A
If you analyze the photos well, the POCO X3 NFC captures photos that are warmer — with a greenish tint — and somewhat underexposed, while processing a creamier bokeh and softer blur. On the other hand, the realme 7i produced brighter photos with an extra boost on its vibrance and contrast, as if it’s ready to go on your social media posts.
Having a PhP 1,000 difference didn’t make much of a difference. After all, both phones cater to different consumers with varying preferences.
Which affordable smartphone is the one for you?
Most users picking the POCO X3 NFC are captivated by its performance, apt for their gaming. But even though you’re after power and performance doesn’t mean the camera should be lackluster — which is the case for this smartphone. It’s not as camera-centric as the realme 7i, but its photos are enough to accompany gamer and performance-oriented individuals.
On the other hand, the realme 7i makes the perfect companion for those looking for a smartphone for their daily grind, and mostly spends their time browsing and using social media platforms. Its camera system produces carefully processed photos so that it’s ready for posting — you barely need to edit it.
At the end of the day, these affordable offerings — despite the price differences — can offer decent camera performance. You just have to choose which one suits your budget and lifestyle.
How did you feel about the shootout? Let us know by sharing this story and tagging us on our social media channels.
Pixel 4a vs iPhone SE (2020): Camera shootout
Battle of the small phones
Now that we have the Pixel 4a in our hands, it’s time for another smackdown! Priced at US$ 349, we tested it against Apple’s US$ 399 iPhone SE that packs the powerful A13 Bionic Chip. With two compact phones sporting single rear cameras, which one will shoot better?
Make sure to jot down your answers, as the results of this blind test will be at the end of this article. As usual, photos were labeled, resized, and collaged (this time) for you to load the images faster. No post-processing nor any color adjustments were done in any of the photos. So, let’s begin!
Pixel 4a: 1A, 2A, 3B, 4B, 5A, 6B, 7B, 8B, 9A, 10A, 11A, 12B, 13A, 14A, 15B, 16B, 17A, 18B
iPhone SE: 1B, 2B, 3A, 4A, 5B, 6A, 7A, 8A, 9B, 10B, 11B, 12A, 13B, 14B, 15A, 16A, 17B, 18A
If you observe closely, the iPhone SE produced warmer yet vibrant photos and well-lit, wider portraits. During daylight, it provides more details while it gets pretty noisy in lowlight.
Meanwhile, the Pixel 4a captured cooler photos. Portrait-wise, it has better focus compared to the iPhone SE despite the cropping. But this affordable phone shines better with its HDR and Night Sight, doing a great job in lowlight!
At the end of the day, both phones took photos that are rich in colors and manageable highlights. They also have decent backlit shots and creamy depth-of-field which might appease smartphone photography enthusiasts. For US$ 399, we already have an impressive camera performance. There are no losers here.
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