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.
5 timeless gifts you can give to a mom anytime of the year
Bizarre gifts on their secret wishlists
We’ve seen it all: the kinds of gifts we need to give moms in our lives — whether they’re your mom, someone who’s a long-time mom, a friend who recently became a mom or a colleague that’s soon-to-be a mom. Every year, we get new ideas on how to celebrate them and how to make them feel special.
But this year, we’re taking it differently. We asked a few moms what’s secretly on their wish lists. And y’all, we didn’t expect these responses. Here’s a round-up of the bizarre gifts that we can gift every mom, Mother’s Day or not.
Pregnancy is a beautiful journey albeit an arduous one. For Ana, 25, and a soon-to-be mom, body pain and finding comfort have been the biggest issues in her wonderful journey. While she gets excited to see her newborn, she finds it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. For her, having a pregnancy pillow would solve 99 percent of her body pain — which she experiences every day.
Buy here: Lazada
Taking walks during sunset could be a therapeutic and beneficial exercise for soon-to-be moms. However, the pandemic imposed restrictions to keep us safe that resulted in a challenging situation where it’s difficult to cope and relax. Sunset lamps offer a good alternative; projecting aesthetically pleasing lighting similar to golden hour. All at the comforts of your own home.
When you’re a new mom, all your attention and resources shift to providing what your baby needs. To a point where you forget how to take care of yourself. For Lorraine, 31, and a mom to a 10-month old boy, self-care days are a must: getting a massage, going to a spa, having her hair styled, and other treatments to her skin, mind, body, and soul.
Given the dire circumstances, going out is dangerous for her and her baby, which is why she secretly wishes to be gifted by a self-care kit — a massager, hairdryer, hair straightener, and an epilator.
Space-saving and eco-friendly form of transportation
For Jean, 26, and a mom to a 4-year old boy, taking care of your health is more than just about the food you eat and the exercises you do. It’s also taking care of your emotional and mental health, and making a contribution to making the world a better place.
Through a foldable bike, she wishes to lessen her carbon footprint by using an eco-friendly form of transportation and save space, something that meticulous, organized homemakers want. Coincidentally, it’s also a good bonding activity with her kid. Think: mom and son biking on a Saturday afternoon.
Buy here: Lazada
A bigger TV
Having a TV is integral in keeping your family together. After all, it is a centerpiece for any home. Jenny, 48, a mom of four young adults, is always concerned about her and her children’s health. Although, secretly, she wishes to have her TV upgraded to a bigger one — at least 55- or 65-inch such as the Samsung Crystal UHD TV — to host movie nights and bond with her children, now that everyone is already having their own lives.
As a long-time mom, Jenny doesn’t like to splurge on what’s the latest gadget or appliance there is in. She wants the best value, and of course, something that lasts for a long time.
Couple co-op games to play during the pandemic
Loving from a distance
It goes without saying that the pandemic has drastically altered our lives. And, for the lucky few who’ve found love amidst the global chaos or barely kept their love life while apart, playing games has become one of the best past time in quarantine.
Below are cooperative games you can play with your partners or friends. We’re open to all forms of love here. Also, note that this list won’t include classic multiplayer games like Minecraft, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons because I’m assuming you and your partner or friends have already played these for an ungodly number of hours. Which, by the way if you haven’t, I recommend you start there.
Not included on this list are multiplayer online battle arenas(mobas) since that’s a whole genre of it’s own. And, I’m sick and tired of blatant sexting and flirting on moba team chats. Get your lives together or stay alone, yeah?
It Takes Two
It Takes Two is a cooperative action-adventure platformer with gripping stories and game mechanics. You play as arguing parents at wit’s end stuck in doll form. The doll form bit is due to your daughter’s attempt to cope with her parents’ eventual split. Speaking of splits, it’s a split-screen multiplayer that allows you to play locally or online. The game mechanics and design are witty and eloquent–drawing you into the characters’ stories.
It Takes Two is a good game to play with your partner to see how well you work through obstacles together–in more ways than one. It Takes Two was developed by Hazelight Studios and published by Electronic Arts under the EA Originals labels.
Heave Ho! is a multiplayer co-op platformer where you and your partner or friends get through tough puzzles using your wobbly and dangly limbs. Grab on to each other’s hands, climb across dangling bodies, and swing your way into safety.
Heave Ho! forces you to work together by throwing the other, climbing over, and using our partner to get to the other side. It’s a quirky simple yet challenging game that have left players screaming desperate for hand grabbing. Heave Ho! was developed by Le Cartel Studio and published by Devolver Digital.
Overcooked! 2 is a cooperative cooking simulation video game. It’s the sequel to Overcooked! which had the same game mechanics just without the new and improved stages, mechanics, and features. Overcooked! 2 will make it necessary to yell at each other–which doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You work together as a team to prep, cook, and serve.
It’s the perfect game to play to break the ice, work together, laugh, and panic. Test your relationship, strengthen it, or break up over a silly game. Overcooked! 2 was developed by Team17 alongside Ghost Town Games and published by Team17.
Do two burly Vikings braving the elements sound like a romantic way to spend the night with your partner? No, of course not, but you’ll get hours of entertainment riding together with your nordic allies. Valheim is an explorative survival game. Build yourself a little home, roam the giant wilderness for resources, and hunt some trolls. If Minecraft doesn’t hit the same way anymore, this will probably fill that gap. But make sure you’re playing together, microphone on, and you’ll get lost in purgatory.
Valheim was developed by Iron Gate AB and developed by Coffee Stain Publishing.
Ultrahuman: The essential app to get you through quarantine
Getting through isolation days through workout and meditation
Taking care of our physical and mental health is very much important now more than ever. With everything that has been going on in the world, it’s not surprising that people are taking extra steps to advocate and practice self-care.
One way to do this is by adding good habits everyday and being disciplined to sustain these habits.
With self-care as one of their ultimate goals this year, Martynne and MJ decided to try Ultrahuman: an all-in-one fitness app that includes all the good habits they are currently incorporating in their lives — from workout to meditation.
For a few weeks, they put the app to a test and this is their verdict:
Martynne: I am a huge advocate of meditation and it has been a life-changing practice for me, as someone who finds a hard time focusing and being in the present.
Ultrahuman has a wide range of course options that can match a specific mood or emotion. One of my personal favorites is the Managing Anger course, which helped me take a step back, consolidate my feelings and give compassion to myself throughout the process.
The Singles option with one-time meditation tracks helped me become more mindful and grounded whenever I feel overwhelmed in the middle of a workday. The productivity course, on the other hand, kept my eyes glued to my laptop screen until I finished what I needed to do.
The only thing I didn’t like about it, though, is the visuals seem basic to me, and the “dark” interface is much more fitting for the workout option.
MJ: When gyms are closed and home workouts aren’t fun anymore, how do you remain committed to your fitness goals? That’s what Ultrahuman did: Filling the gap by providing fun workouts and challenges that you can do in a span of weeks. It’s similar to how Nike Training Club presents their videos albeit more personalized.
The Ultrahuman app comes with guided videos from renowned trainers, and watching their instructions during your exercises felt like having a live session with a personal trainer. Unlike most fitness apps that offer video-on-demand workouts, Ultrahuman remembers that we are all beginners, offering a collection of videos through challenges that suit different levels.
After living a sedentary lifestyle, I knew I have to ease up when working out again. The app did wonders in helping me stay active by gradually increasing the difficulty of my challenges, without straining my body or having myself complain about how difficult a certain workout routine is.
Martynne: There was an instance that I had a bad case of insomnia and I needed something to put me to sleep.
I tried listening to Ultrahuman’s Bedtime Stories and it reminded me of the sleep podcasts I used to listen to on Spotify.
The voices are relaxing, and the stories come with meditation and sound effects, but I realized I can be impatient with slow stories. I resorted to the app’s soundscapes and brain music, and they helped a lot to relax my brain and finally shut my eyes off.
I don’t exactly know what’s the science behind brain music, but they really work sometimes.
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