The successor of OPPO’s main offering is finally in our hands.
The F5 from last year introduced the advantages of artificial intelligence when it comes to taking selfies and 18:9 displays on midrange OPPO phones. As expected, their latest device uses the foundations of the F5 and takes forward steps to make it a worthy successor.
Here’s our hands-on with the OPPO F7.
Let’s start with the display. OPPO calls the 6.23-inch 19:9 display “Super Full Screen” and it’s a major upgrade from the F5. The panel still has a Full HD+ resolution, but the bezels are now slimmer.
In order to achieve this though, OPPO resorted to having a notch that houses the selfie camera, a couple of sensors, and an earpiece. In return, you get an immersive display similar to the iPhone X’s. OPPO claims to have an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Speaking of the body, the F7 sports a new design that I find more appealing than its predecessor. The F5’s matte metallic-looking finish on its unibody back made the phone look utilitarian, with the exclusion of the red model, of course. OPPO redesigned the look and feel of their new F series release by giving it a glossy finish.
The F7 has an acrylic back and new color options. I have the Moonlight Silver here, and if you look closely, there’s a pattern beneath the acrylic that interplays with light.
The OPPO F7 feels more squarish in hand with its sharp edges; gone are the curves! Don’t fret, the chrome-like frame of the phone adds comfort when handling, although I find it to be a bit slippery.
The physical buttons on the F7 are found on both sides: the power/lock button on the right and the volume rocker on the left. The buttons have the same feel as the frame with its chrome-like coating but they’re tactile and responsive.
On top of the phone is the noise-canceling microphone while the bottom side has the loudspeaker, micro-USB port, primary microphone, and 3.5mm audio port.
Specs-wise, the F7 has performance upgrades including the latest MediaTek Helio P60 processor. The new Helio P60 brings in the Mali-G72 MP3 graphics which should please the mobile gaming enthusiasts. 4GB memory will be able to handle multitasking well and 64GB of internal storage is more than enough to store big apps and files. If that ain’t enough, the dedicated microSD card slot is ready to add up to 256GB of storage.
The F7 runs the latest Android 8.1 Oreo skinned with the newest ColorOS 5.0. The UI is still pretty much like iOS but there are some tweaks made to accommodate the display notch. For instance, the control panel is now accessed by swiping down from the top instead at the bottom and there are new swipe-up gesture layouts for UI navigation. The icons are also updated but the rest of ColorOS 5.0 is pretty much the same.
Let’s now dive into the cameras. As a selfie phone, the F7 now has a whopping 25-megapixel front-facing camera with a bright f/2.0 lens — that’s 5 megapixels more than its predecessor. The upgraded selfie sensor is complemented by an updated camera launcher to complete the deal.
As expected, the F7 with its AI Beauty Technology 2.0 can capture great selfies. AI-powered selfies is a step up from your typical photo filters. It recognizes and learns your facial features as you take more photos.
Here’s a sample I took with and without the beauty mode:
And here are more AI Beauty Mode samples with the GadgetMatch team:
There are also new AR Stickers available right in the camera app which add cuteness to your selfies.
As for the rear camera, it’s a 16-megapixel f/1.8 shooter paired with a single LED flash. No dual camera setup for the F series for now, unlike its R series cousin. AI is also embedded in the rear camera which aids in scene recognition. It can identify 16 different scenes and objects in real-time. I’ll try this out in the coming days and will update with more photo samples using the rear camera.
Before we wrap things up, let’s not forget about the non-removable 3400mAh battery and the speedy fingerprint scanner positioned at the back of the phone. Face unlock is also available and it works like a charm, even in dim-lighted environments. How secure is it? We’ll find out more as we spend more time with the F7.
The OPPO F7 is already available in India for INR 21,990 (US$ 340), while in the Philippines it’ll retail for PhP 17,990 (US$ 345). Pre-orders start on April 12 and will be available in stores on April 21.
OPPO Reno5: Ideal upper midranger
It’s a stellar overall package for its price
OPPO’s Reno line has slowly carved out an identity as somewhat of an affordable premium smartphone. Priced at around half of what flagships today cost but offering about two-thirds of the features, the OPPO Reno line has the makings of the ideal upper midranger, and the Reno5 fits that description to a T.
How it looks
The Reno5 (both the 4G and the 5G variants) come in either Galactic Silver or Starry Black. The Black has a more traditional glass finish, thereby being more magnetic to fingerprints and smudges, while the Galactic Silver has a frosted matte finish making it more palatable if you don’t like using a protective case.
The Galactic Silver Reno5 is flashier. The color kind of shifts depending on how light hits it. If you’re into phone finishes that catches the eye, this is totally the way to go.
Button placements are pretty standard. On the right hand side is the power button while the volume buttons are on the left. At the bottom you’ll find the speaker grille, USB-C port, and 3.5mm jack (nice).
At around 180g and with these dimensions (159.1 x 73.4 x 7.9 mm) with a 6.4-inch display, the Reno5 sits very close to my personal sweet spot in terms of overall smartphone size. It’s a little too light to my liking but it never feels fragile.
The ‘Oxygenation’ of ColorsOS
There’s been some buzz about how OnePlus — a sister company of OPPO under the BBK electronics umbrella — is becoming more and more like OPPO. What’s getting lost in all that noise is how OPPO is turning into OnePlus just as much as the latter is being ‘OPPO-fied.’
This is most evident in ColorOS 7.2. From its cluttered and bloatfull past, the UI skin that OPPO layers over Android has gotten more breathing room letting more oxygen come through. The customizations available run deep — everything from light vs dark mode, the shape and size of the icons, to the accent color of the settings menu.
Also present are the gesture shortcuts that longtime OnePlus fans will be familiar with like drawing a V to open the flashlight, O to open the camera, and double tap screen to wake. These are all OxygenOS staples that have found their way to OPPO and sometimes other Android skins too.
Some purists or overly zealous brand supporters might dismiss this as blatant copying, but is it really that big an issue especially when these are all quality of life improvements no matter how subtle they may be?
All things considered, ColorOS is now overall more appealing thanks in large part to applying design decisions first applied on OnePlus’s OxygenOS.
OLED, 5G, and Snapdragon 765G
This section is probably the least contentious about this phone. Its display, performance, and promise of next gen mobile connectivity work exactly as advertised. The 6.4-inch OLED display has a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s nice and smooth with the deep blacks typically found on OLED displays. It could use a bit more brightness when under intense daylight, but it’s in no way unusable under such circumstances.
The 5G variant will cost you a little more and it’s not at all a bad deal considering most especially if you live or frequent areas with 5G coverage. We used the OPPO Reno5 as a hotspot hub for half a day and it did not feel at all like we were on mobile hotspot.
Shifting talk over to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765g SoC, this seems to be the best-performing midrange chip. It won’t leave you wanting in terms of general smartphone use. We didn’t use it a lot for gaming on this particular handset but previous experience dictates it’s pretty darn good for mobile gaming as well.
Battery life is also pretty straightforward. Standby time is great and the 4300mAh will last you a day on moderate usage. That goes down to around five hours when used primarily for gaming and with 5G connection.
Fun with the cameras
The Reno5 sports a quad-camera system: 64MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, 2MP depth. But all the fun really happens in the software sid of things.
It still features OPPO’s fun AI Color Portrait mode that isolates the subject from the background by draining the color out of the background and putting the subject front and center in full color.
This same feature also works on the 32MP selfie camera.
Even more exciting, this feature is now also available in video mode so there are more ways for you to have fun with it.
Another addition is the Night Flare Portrait that captures your subject in a nice stylized night shot filled with color and creamy bokeh.
More than just portraits
Naturally, the cameras along with the AI engine behind its imaging works not only for these fun and funky portrait images and videos. As a standard shooter for documenting your daily life, it’s more than reliable. Check out these samples:
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The easy answer is yes. The OPPO Reno5’s overall package is the ideal upper-midranger. There’s a lot of fun to be had with its camera features, it looks great, and performs just about as good as any phone in its price range.
It also doesn’t hurt that in the Philippines, OPPO went out of its way to make sure it can be had in may different ways including through TelCos and via installment basis.
The OPPO Reno5 is by no means a perfect smartphone (no such thing exists anyway), but for what you’re getting in relation to its pricing, it’s a stellar option.
ASUS Zenbook 14 UX435 Unboxing and First Impressions
Embodies everything you expect from a ZenBook
The hunt for the perfect notebook for work and play is never really over — well, until the ZenBook 14. ASUS zeroed in on their line-up to make sure it embodied everything you want and (of course) need in a laptop. So, while you weigh in your options for the right notebook for you, we’ll unbox it for you.
The black box comes with ASUS’ signature concentric circle design.
Lifting the box open props up the Zenbook 14 UX435EG in the box
Underneath the laptop, you’ll find important booklets and papers that you’ll probably leave unread. (Admit it).
Over to the left and right-hand side of the ZenBook 14 are connection essentials.
On the right, you’ll find the power brick.
And, you’ll be quick to find a USB-C to LAN cable on the left.
Oh! In case you missed it, there’s something peaking through the upper compartment of the box. A gentle tug will reveal a sleek carrying case.
Now, let’s get back to the star, shall we? The ASUS ZenBook 14 UX435EG
At first glance, the laptop looks and feels nearly paper-thin but, don’t let that fool you. The ZenBook 14 has a lot more than the looks going for it. It has Intel 11th Gen inside along with NVIDIA GeForce graphics.
There’s some unapologetic showing-off of the Ergo Lift hinge the moment you open the ZenBook 14.
Optimizing space, it features an HDMI port and the two Thunderbolt USB-C ports on one side…
and a USB 3.2 port, audio jack and the SD Card slot on the other.
As much as the stunning display takes center stage,
While a sneakily small webcam lays atop,
Who can forget the ScreenPad?
Just below the backlit keyboard, you’ll find the eye-catching ScreenPad
On it, you can access apps quickly, use it as a TrackPad, and multitask efficiently.
First Impressions and Quick Hands-On
There are no surprises here. The ZenBook 14 UX435EG embodies everything you expect from a ZenBook. It’s light, pragmatically designed, and gorgeous. And on top of that, it doesn’t fall short in performing what’s asked. From work, to play, to binge-watching, the laptop delivers on all fronts.
When working on the daily grind of spreadsheets, presentations, photo-editing and word processing, the ZenBook 14 UX435EG didn’t struggle or stutter once. It took a decent beating and then some.
When all the day’s work comes to a halt, you’ll be happy to hear that it won’t falter on an immersive watch with its gorgeous display and audio quality. When playing games like Spiritfarer, the laptop seemed to handle it fine.
We didn’t have much time with it to stress test the ZenBook 14 but, so far, we haven’t encountered hiccups. And, the ScreenPad may take a little getting used to if you’re not used to more convenient features besides the typical TrackPad. But with it, the laptop furthers quick and easy multitasking — making both work and play a breeze.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and ASUS Philippines
Samsung Galaxy S21 Series Hands-on
Most of the leaks were true after all
Samsung started 2021 early with their newest Galaxy S21 series.
Unlike last year where the S20 models were announced last February, these new S21 units were unveiled as early as January 2021. Although we’ve covered most of the leaks and rumors about Samsung’s latest flagship trio, we still need to confirm them.
Head over to our latest hands-on video to find out more.
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