Her GadgetMatch

OPPO Find X review: All about style, selfies, and that poppin’ camera

Literally a pop-up camera

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When they were unveiled, pop-up cameras seemed like the coolest thing to me. There’s just something about moving parts in tech that amps up the cool factor. Add the fact that there was no notch (the unsightly things!) and the OPPO Find X was a clear design winner. But, what happens when you actually use a phone that’s this — err — fashion-forward in terms of phone design? Is using a handset with a camera that mechanically slides out even practical. I set out to find answers.

What’s the big deal?

Dear reader, if you don’t follow tech news, let me give you the lowdown. The Find X is OPPO’s newest and most premium flagship in recent years. Launched in Paris earlier this year, it features a high screen-to-body ratio and mechanical sliding cameras.

Why is that so cool? In this notch-filled world (which is a pretty ugly world, TBH), it’s only a few phones which have managed a workaround: The Vivo NEX and now, the OPPO Find X.

Stylish all-screen beaut

How does an all-screen phone look? Well, it looks really good.

The thing with these great big screens is you don’t think you need them until you spend time with them. As I moved back to the smaller Google Pixel 2 I’ve been rocking, I can’t help but miss the Find X’s big and beautiful 6.42-inch display. Everything looked good in it: IG stories, photos, and even Netflix-YouTube viewing was amazing.

And, it’s not just the screen that looks good — the sleek and stylish phone itself has a great premium feel and beautiful reflective back. That glass back, however, seems to scratch almost a little too easily.

Admittedly, I’m still iffy about glass smartphone backs in general as the possibility of breakage is greater. This brings me to another qualm: It’s going to be such a pain to get cases for this uniquely shaped phone. And sure, it comes packaged with a clear jelly case but a girl needs options for her phones, okay!

Despite all that, the Find X looks and feels great in your hands. It’s one of those devices that just has a great feel to it. It’s as if they were made for my teeny hands.

The phone runs on OPPO’s ColorOS which will look familiar to iOS users. Be warned though that it’s still not exactly the same — think of it as an iOS-Android hybrid. Of course, to new OPPO users (i.e. a lot of people from outside Asia), this OS might take a little bit of getting used to. Gesture navigation is also available, but you still have the option to use traditional navigation buttons.

How does it feel to have a pop-up camera?

Admittedly, it’s pretty cool. Anyone who’s ever noticed the cameras pop out has reacted with amazement. I’ve honestly turned into a little show-off and I’m guilty of using this phone as a conversation starter. All this, of course, after I got over the anxiety of thinking I’d probably break the moving part. (I didn’t!)

Expectation

The cameras pop out automatically when you tap the camera icon and retract just as quickly when you exit the app. It’s one solid motion that you can sort of forget about when you get used to being on this phone. Be warned, though, that any pressure on the pop-out will also cause it to retract. Yes, it will close even during a Facebook Live stream.

Aside from my finger getting caught and pinched by the pop up mechanism a few times (ill-placed finger placement, don’t ask), my only other main concern with this unique form factor was that the pop-out cameras were a dirt magnet. Dust and other gunk (probably from my bags or pocket) seemed to find their way into the phone crevice which isn’t ideal, as cameras are best used clean (duh).

Reality

What impressed me most, though, was a feature I’d never really appreciated on any phone. The Find X has a face unlock option (something that the other pop-up phone, the Vivo Nex, doesn’t have) and it’s pretty good. Because of its form factor, OPPO opted to scrap the fingerprint scanner which would’ve been problematic, except it isn’t. This is all owing to the fact that its face unlock is that accurate. You can either opt for the swipe-to-unlock on the lock screen or press the power button which will trigger the camera to pop out, and voila, unlocked!

Of course, the selfies!

If you’ve read my previous reviews, you’d know that I’ve always loved the OPPO beauty mode. In fact, their AI beauty mode was a favorite.

Now, before you lecture me about the wonders of “natural beauty” and preference for non-use of filters, know that most selfies online today featuring that #JustWokeUp look you love so much either feature makeup made to look natural, some kind of airbrushing, or excellent lighting (which can do wonders). So no, a little beauty mode never hurt anyone, so long as it’s not overdone.

But, that was precisely my problem with the Find X’s beauty mode. Unlike AI beauty modes on previous devices like the R11s or the F5 which gave my face slight airbrushing and the freshness of a new born baby, the Find X AI beauty mode seemed to turn me into a completely different big-eyed, thin-chinned, plastic person.

And sure, added to the mix was a new custom beauty mode function which allows you to scan your face and tweak beauty mode capabilities to your liking, but even this greeted me with too fake a version of myself. I didn’t dare post my selfies.

My custom beauty mode face scan

I daresay this might be the first time I preferred no beauty modes on selfies with an OPPO phone, which is fine as it still takes good selfies — it’s just that I now have to make sure I actually look presentable IRL before taking the photo, something I haven’t needed to do for a while as OPPO’s previous beauty filters have spoiled me.

That being said, the 25-megapixel selfie camera, although not on beauty mode, performs well. Still, my favorite is the palm gesture shutter which allows for beautiful Instagrammable photos taken by yours truly. Exhibit A:

Of course, there are more sample takes, but they’re already all on my IG. 😉

Shooting with the rear camera

I mostly use this non-selfie camera to shoot IG stories and random beautiful sights. Here’s a little peek at the week I had the Find X with me.

This phone was able to capture some pretty scenery, though its HDR capabilities left much to be desired — a couple of times, photos came out hazy when it was too bright out.

The 16- and 20-megapixel shooters are equipped with AI, which recognizes scenes and tends to saturate certain scenarios like food or landscape and I must admit, it has gotten faster and more accurate since I first tried AI on their cameras on the R15. The phone still rocks an iPhone-like portrait mode feature, which isn’t my favorite function but hey, it’s there for when you want to take studio-like photos on your phone on the fly (which is never for me)!

Despite all this, I was able to snap beautiful photos which is what’s important.

Other important stuff that matter

Like mentioned earlier, this is OPPO’s first premium flagship in years. It boasts being powered by a Snapdragon 845, which just means it’s running on one of the best processors out there. This means mobile gaming is a go and your various social media apps will run simultaneously without a hitch. The phone rocks 8GB of memory and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

The Find X now has a USB-C port (finally, OPPO!) and 3730mAh battery capacity. This lasts me almost a day’s use which isn’t bad. OPPO’s signature VOOC charging is also built in which allows for zero to 17 percent charge in just ten minutes. You can get a full charge in just under two hours.

Is the OPPO Find X your GadgetMatch?

Design-wise, this phone may just be the best and coolest. At least for now, there is no other phone in the market that will compare to how well this thing is designed. The wide screen and the premium feel is something I actually miss since letting it go.

But, what I miss more is my natural-looking AI beauty mode. As impressed I am with the phone’s form factor, I’m a little disappointed with the beauty capabilities. For a brand that’s consistently marketed themselves as the go-to for “selfies experts,” it sort of hurts for selfie lovers, such as myself, that OPPO’s first flagship in years would miss in this aspect. OPPO, I just want my beauty mode back. 😢

In addition, the stylish Find X does not come cheap, priced at EUR 999 in Europe and PhP 50,000 in the Philippines.

Is it worth it? For the selfie lovers, you might want to hold off. If you’re the type who values overall design and getting it first, this might just be the phone for you. All things considered, it’s one beautiful device — one that is paving way for a better design language in all smartphones. And maybe, just maybe, that’s worth losing my beauty mode to.

Accessories

The art of printing moments that you can hold onto

With the instax Link WIDE, I remember it all too well

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Memories are fleeting.

Apart from music, photos, films, and anything visual that has a moment imprinted on it can remind us what we once experienced.

Whether it’s the shriek that your friends made when you cracked a joke, or that lingering stare between two people head-over-heels in love. Or even the mundane hours passing by captured in between. And the little things that brought you joy and made your heart warm like a cup of coffee on a rainy day.

Looking back at moments I once savored twists a knot in my heart. Sometimes, it’s heartbreaking to fondly remember the past. But it’s a great reminder that I can still feel and that I experienced something blissful in my life.

If you’re wondering why instant printers are still out and about in a digital age where all your photos are stored on the cloud or shared in social media, that’s precisely the reason why this novelty is very much alive.

It’s a piece of memory that you can hold on to — transporting you back in time even when your mind can’t remember it all too well. It’s proof that you were there.

To holding something that never changes

Though I look like someone who can move on easily after a day or two, I’m highly sentimental and I have difficulty letting go of the past.

Life used to be unfair to me when I was growing up and after surviving an abusive relationship seven years ago, I lost memories of myself. Photos of friends from when I was studying, digital clutter that showed off my interests, and stuff that made up who I was. I lost them all.

Perhaps it’s the reason why I’ve owned and printed memories — unbeknownst to many — through the devices I’ve owned and reviewed in the past few years. Be it from an ink tank printer, a mini instant printer that uses an instax film, or from an actual instant camera that prints the moment captured right away.

I love holding onto memories because it’s something that never changes, no matter how many years have gone by. So, when Fujifilm unveiled the instax Link WIDE — I was giddy like a little kid on a Christmas morning, ready to open his presents.

The only present that welcomes the past

Living in the present means letting go of the past, and throwing away your worries of the future. But time and time again, it’s nice to remember the moments that shaped who you are today.

The instax Link WIDE helps bridge the present and the past by allowing you to print memories stored in your smartphone. It’s just like the instax mini Link I reviewed two years ago.

I could probably tell you the same things I wrote in my story before, but the experience is still quite different.

This instant printer is boxy and humongous when compared to the mini Link. It’s sturdier, thicker, wider, and heavier. Of course, the size is the prominent change but what I like is being able to print in wider, landscape-oriented films.

Pretty much like the ones from Polaroid, souvenir stamps, and postcards.

Navigating the device is simple and easy if you’re familiar with instant printers. Press the power button on the front — which has instax’s logo printed — to turn it on. On its back, you can find the film door where you can place your landscape-oriented film.

Upon shutting the film door, the printer takes out the excess film. So, be careful about opening the door once more lest you consume one of your films. A grim reminder that sometimes, doors from the past aren’t meant to be opened.

Any way you want it

Like I said before, the instax Link WIDE prints photos stored in your smartphone. To do that, you just need to connect the printer via Bluetooth and by pairing it with a dedicated app.

Through the app, you can determine how many films are still available and the battery capacity of the device. Apart from the status of the instax Link WIDE, the app allows you to play with your prints.

You can use the simple print mode to churn out the photo instantly, or you can use an editable template print that lets you edit the colors and text of various templates. Yes, you can also create your own templates if you want them to be more personal.

Frankly, I’m not fond of these templates since they look tacky and don’t fit my aesthetic. But of course, there are people who’d love to use stickers and other templates especially when they’re in a hurry to print their memories. To each his own.

There’s also a collage print that helps you put together two images in one print. Then, there’s the Sketch, Edit & Print option where you can write or draw something on the image, and customize it to your liking before you print it.

When past meets present meets future

Clicking the settings icon can brings you a plethora of settings that you’d want to maximize. For example, the Print Mode options are handy for toning the prints.

Using instax-Natural mode can give your prints a saturated yet classic look. Meanwhile, instax-Rich mode will print out photos with deep and immersive colors.

There’s so much to unpack here, but thank heavens, it’s not feelings. Nevertheless, I’m glad the dedicated app works seamlessly this time around. Compared to previous apps developed by Fujifilm for their instax cameras and printers, which were buggy and unstable.

In a way, the instax Link WIDE was able to bridge the memories of the past and the stability and connectivity of the future in the present.

A rare experience to remember it all too well

During the course of my experience with the instax Link WIDE, I was preparing for a holiday reunion with my almost-decade-old friends. People who helped me crawl out of that depressive rabbit hole.

Not wanting to let go of the only moment we will be able to come together after being away for two years, I printed my favorite moments with certain people and embedded a QR — which can hold voice clips, hidden messages for friends, and even a location pin to direct people.

I’m not very open with how I feel unless I’ve poured myself twelve shots of tequila. The truth is I’m afraid of the future, seeing the holiday reunion as the only time that my friends and I will be complete again.

Some of us are flying in different countries for work, some are settling down with that dreamy white-picket-fence life, and some are migrating for a better life.

I couldn’t fathom the idea of not being able to hug these people again. And I’m afraid that I won’t even remember these weirdos that helped me get a second leash in life. Times like these make me appreciate the novelty of instant printers and the personalized features they bring through technology.

That even a decade after, when my wrinkles started to show and I’m in my late 30s, I get to remember how life wasn’t unfair at all. That I was surrounded with bliss and love, and that what I was looking for was right in front of me all along.

Is the instax Link WIDE your GadgetMatch?

If you love taking photos and printing pieces of memories to hold on to, then your highly sentimental nature would love the instax Link WIDE. It doesn’t hassle you, unlike instant cameras where you have to frame it properly and take a shot perfectly as to not waste a film.

Aside from being overly sentimental with your memories, the instax Link WIDE also makes for perfect gifts or you can use the prints as souvenirs for your intimate gatherings.

There are unlimited possibilities, you just have to be open to making new memories — and collect them so you can savor them someday.

The instax Link WIDE retails for PhP 8,999 and comes with a free pack of film. There are two colors to choose from: Ash White or Mocha Gray.

The instant printer is available for purchase at Instax flagship stores in Lazada, Shopee, wonderphotoshop.ph, and at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide.

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Accessories

How to incorporate “Red” in your daily life

For when you love it in burning red

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It’s Red season, folks!

Whether it’s the red cups on Starbucks or “Red (Taylor’s Version)” streaming everywhere, Red is an iconic color that everyone should celebrate, own, and wear periodically.

But wearing Red isn’t limited to the month where Autumn leaves are falling like pieces into place. It’s a color that you can wear throughout the year, as long as you use it sporadically and pair it with the right colors.

Red smartphone

If you’re burning Red, you can always shop a smartphone in that blazing color. Throughout the years, it was Apple that consistently painted their phones Red. Specifically called Product (RED) — a colorway that, when purchased, helps Apple fund AIDS and COVID-19 research.

In case you didn’t know, Red is a company that partners with iconic brands to raise awareness and funds, fighting HIV/AIDS in several countries in Africa.

Red smartphone case

Red can sometimes be overbearing, especially if it’s your phone’s colorway. If you want Red to be worn occasionally, then you can opt for a smartphone case so you can always switch it up to pair with your mood.

The safest bet would be the Product (RED) silicone case with MagSafe from Apple — it’s not as striking as the usual Red, but enough to warrant attention without looking pompous.

Red scarf

Ah, the iconic red scarf that Jake Gyllenhaal kept because it reminded him of Taylor Swift’s innocence. It’d be really hard to forget someone wearing a red scarf; so luscious and prominent, it will bring back memories that anyone will remember all too well.

If you’re out for a fashion statement this holiday, draping a red scarf around your neck can help you stand out especially when you’re wearing neutrals or an all-black ensemble. Let the All Too Well Knit scarf be your statement piece.

Red wireless earbuds

There’s also a statement piece that doesn’t scream attention but captivates someone subtly. For instance, the Huawei FreeBuds Lipstick edition — painted in a sexy Red, housed in a lipstick case that will make women want one to pair with their actual red lipstick.

Red smartwatch band

Some people can’t stand attention. One reason why most people shy away from loud and head-turning colors for their outfits.

However, you can make Red an accent through a smartwatch band. For example, the Apple Watch Series 7 is compatible with Product (RED) smartwatch bands: Sport Band, Sport Loop, and Braided Solo Loop.

SEE MORE: How to wear red: 3 stylish pairings to try

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Accessories

Garmin Venu 2S: Reclaiming my female body

Pacing myself

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I’ll say it now and I won’t say it again. I have a hard time sometimes feeling like my body is my own. There’s some trauma, societal pressures, and toxic ideals of who I want to be.

Regardless, this dissociated feeling towards one’s own body isn’t new or uncommon of a sentiment. And, it can be extremely tough for women on top of all the other physiological qualms we go through.

But, having found Garmin Venu 2S, I feel better attuned to my female body. I finally feel and know I’m slowly working towards being healthier.

Reclaim your body

Because it is ultimately yours. Not everyone feels alien in their body but, it’s sad to say, most women do. So much of our body is policed not just by society but also, ourselves. And, honestly, I personally suffered immense alienation towards my body. It was ultimately refreshing to come across smartwatches that zeroed in on what I wanted and needed to know more about myself.

See your health not just “feel” it

In most of my perceptions of health, I often just ignore the quiet inner workings of my body. Healthiness used to be any time I wasn’t sick. Not being sick doesn’t necessarily mean you’re healthy. But health can incrementally lessen the chances of you getting ill.

With the Garmin Venu 2S, I customized health and fitness goals. From drinking more water to being more active to sleeping more hours, the smartwatch not only tracked my progress and my health but also nudged me to pace myself into a healthier lifestyle.

And with it, you can not just feel better and be better, you have the watch to let you know you ARE doing better!

Have your feelings validated

The Garmin Venu 2S has everything for 24/7 health monitoring. From heart rate with alerts, a read on your fitness age, advanced sleep score and insights, respiration, Pulse Ox3, all-day stress, hydration, menstrual cycle, to pregnancy tracking. The watch has it all for you—making sure it gives you everything you need to know to achieve a healthier lifestyle!

It feels good to be validated by the data you encounter from the Venu 2S, especially with their highlighted feature for Women’s Health. The menstrual tracker and pregnancy tracker are a big help. IT validates what you’re feeling and soothes your worries when you get overwhelmed with worry.

I say that from someone who often forgets when her period is and weeps before it happens. I’m not insane, I just needed a watch that validated the pain and sadness that would inevitably ensue.

Plus, if you’re having a tough time articulating what you’re feeling to a health professional, the watch has a Health Snapshot feature. This lets you record two-minute sessions that log key health stats and generate a report that can be shared with your healthcare provider.

Listen to your body

Owning your body is one thing. Listening, knowing, and caring for your body is another. And, we must admit, the latter is often the hardest part. For me, it became clear that I had absolutely no idea I wasn’t taking care of myself as much. When I got the watch around my wrist and saw the near in shambles metrics of my health, I worked on it.

With the Body BatteryTM, I learned my energy levels throughout the day so I could adjust appropriate tasks. I got to scheduling workouts, rest times, and sleep.

I took Venu 2S’s breathing techniques to calm down when it showed horrid stress levels. I even went out for long walks to hit my daily step goals and forced myself to hydrate more.

For workouts, the watch felt easy to use and navigate through over 25 built-in sports apps with enhanced strength training profile and muscle map graphics. It’s even got an on-screen animation workout feature that guides you through specific workouts on-screen. Which, not going to lie, inspired me to hop back into working out more.

Serve looks

I mean, come on. Just look at it! The Garmin Venu 2S is a gorgeous watch. If you disagree, you have to get your eyes checked.

Jokes aside though, on top of the stunning AMOLED screen and yaaaasqueeen design, you can personalize it with apps and watch faces. That way, you bring your personality and aesthetics. If it’s yours, make it look like yours!

Feel even a little bit safe

It’s not women’s or victims’ jobs to counter garbage people with obscene methods to keep themselves safe. It is not their job nor should they be blamed for the hell they survive or go through.

As a woman with a ton of painful trauma from dangerous cases, I will say that the Garmin Venu 2S’s Incident Detection feature felt comforting.

I know this feature isn’t something revolutionary or new. But, it’s something some girls might feel is helpful when needing to find a way to discreetly reach someone in an endangering situation.

Fit for a Queen

If you’re looking for a smartwatch to keep track of anything and all, the Garmin Venu 2S is it. Just, drop the fru fru and get it because it just delivers.

From health to fitness to wellness, it’s just the perfect smartwatch for all my lovely ladies out there. Oh, I almost forgot to mention how the watch’s battery life lasts quite a while saving you from having to worry about the next soonest use.

I can’t find the words to describe how this watch has genuinely helped me know myself, my body, and my womanhood.

The Garmin Venu 2S costs PhP 22,995 in all Garmin Brand Stores, official online Garmin stores (Lazada, Shopee, Kinetic.com.ph), and the Garmin PH Viber Community.

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