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!)
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).
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.
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.
Sound on with Mikme: An easy way to record good audio
Even better if you’re on an iPhone
I’ve always been a writer and my journey into content creation has been a curious one. These days, I’ve ventured into creating video — a new exacting but fun medium. One thing I’ve learned though: You may think you’re mostly dealing with visuals, but sound quality adds a whole lot to each video.
That being said, and me being the furthest from being an audiophile, I set out to find the easiest and simplest way I could record great audio without all the wires and gadgets and gizmos that I’ve seen other people work with.
Enter this godsend mic in a box which fits the palm of my hands and solves all my audio woes: The Mikme.
It’s simple enough to use, press the leftmost button that serves as a power button…
… and hit record which is that big button up top. Literally, nothing could be easier.
And despite it being pretty straightforward, there are a lot of other things it can do, too. Tapping the record button twice in a row will play your last recording and pressing and holding will allow you to soundcheck — provided you plug in some earphones. Each Mikme has storage built in and you can choose between 16GB, 8GB, or 4GB options. All that means is you need not worry about SD cards or micro-SD cards ever again.
It’s not just the ease of use, though. The sound quality on this thing is very good, as it should be. Inside that black case, the Mikme is basically a condenser mic — the type usually used in studios for hardcore recordings (my way of saying it’s one serious mic). Even with my untrained ears, I hear the difference, especially because I don’t record in sound-proof rooms most of the time.
Honestly, I now use this tiny thing to record all my voice-overs. I’m not even going to attempt to explain or describe it, you just have to hear it yourself. You can do that by listening to the voice-overs here and here.
I have all good things to say about this tiny device and in so many ways, I consider it my audio lifesaver. But, there’s one caveat.
This mic also has Bluetooth capabilities which is a great thing in itself. It literally connects to a Mikme app that will allow you to shoot video with your phone with audio from the Mikme. Mindblowing stuff, really, except it only works for iPhones. 😢
As we hear the collective, agonized screams of Android users the world over with the collective sighs of what great sounding videos could be shot with a Mikme-iPhone partnership, I take it as a testament of how good this mic is. Even without the Bluetooth connectivity feature and despite sticking with my Android for now and the foreseeable future, I’ll probably still be rocking the Mikme. That says a lot.
The Vivo x Benefit Cosmetics blossom pink V15 box set is here and I want it
Making blooming selfies possible
Vivo has just announced a partnership that I am so here for and the resulting phone is oh so pretty!
The smartphone company unveiled a collaboration with Benefit Cosmetics, a makeup brand we all know and love, to release a phone/makeup box set that will definitely excite the ladies.
The highlight of the kit: Vivo’s blossom pink V15 — the phone color I’ve always wanted but rarely got!
Yes girls, this special kit does not only have this beautifully colored handset, it also includes Benefit box o’ powders in two shades: Dandelion Twinkle and the Gold Rush.
I am all for this partnership and the blooming selfies I will most definitely be able to shoot with this.
The Vivo x Benefit Kit will retail for PhP 17,999 starting May 25.
Honor 20 Pro Moschino edition unveiled
There are Moschino cases, too!
With Honor’s announcement of their Honor 20 series came a fashion collaboration that definitely excites me. The Honor 20 Pro Moschino edition was just announced and I love how extra it is.
The phone itself has the worlds “This is not a Moschino phone” stamped on the back in true Moschino fashion. Of course, there’s a matching wallpaper that says, what else: “This is not a Moschino wallpaper.”
There are also cases that follow that design lead…
My favorite, a case that features similar bold text for that Moschino flair and straps that you can even hook to your bag.
Though all designs are fresh, the partnership isn’t surprising. Moschino’s Jeremy Scott is known for collaboration; not to mention, Honor also teamed up with the Italian fashion brand for the Honor View 20’s design.
No details on pricing and availability for this particular version of the Honor 20 Pro is out yet but one thing’s for sure: I’m loving the fashion-tech partnership and I’m definitely hoping for more!
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