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.
9 gifts to enhance your kid’s multiple intelligence
There are more ways to learn!
Every kid has its own potential. As grown-ups, we excel in different fields simply because we are smart in different ways. In Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, there are eight types of intelligence which are a big factor in how a kid learns.
Simply put, learning isn’t limited to school and there isn’t a single style of learning. The way your children play, interact and behave strongly shows how they learn differently, and what kind of field they will excel in.
Here are gift ideas for any occasion that you can get your children based on their intelligence:
For the word smart
Kids exhibiting high linguistic intelligence are typically good at reading and writing. They’re also great storytellers and showcases strong memorization skills.
Help them enhance their verbal and written skills by giving them a Kindle Unlimited subscription, offering over 1 million titles and thousands of audiobooks. These can be easily accessed using your Kindle device, or through Kindle reading apps on your tablets or smartphones.
For the number smart
Some kids are great at reasoning and critical thinking. Additionally, these are the kids that are great at logic, abstract, and numbers. In Gardner’s terms, these are the kids with logical-mathematical intelligence.
Let them polish their strategic and critical thinking by giving them an electronic chessboard, such as Square Off’s Chess Set.
For the picture smart
Visual-spatial intelligence revolves around the ability to visualize and think through images. Kids exhibiting this style of learning are highly imaginative and creative, often they set on career paths related to arts and multimedia.
Hone their creativity by giving them a LEGO set, maybe The Rexcelsior ones?
For the body smart
There are kids who have higher energy compared to his/her peers. Most of them can’t sit still and would rather move around. Their learning style is a bit different, which requires them to use their bodies or observe someone’s movement. Kids like these exhibit bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
Gift them a badminton racket and let them play to their heart’s content.
For the music smart
If your kid recognizes sounds with ease, he/she probably exhibits strong musical intelligence. In other words, they have a good ear for music, and they can easily learn songs and melodies. Most of the time, they’re also gifted at singing, composing, and playing an instrument.
Support their talent by getting them a smart keyboard like The ONE’s Light Keyboard, which has keys that light up with sheet music, video lessons, and games when connected with The ONE Smart Piano app.
For the people smart
Nowadays, technology makes it difficult for people to connect with someone. We’ve developed a culture where everyone would rather look down on screens than interact with the people they’re with. But there are kids who enjoy talking to people, and these are kids with high interpersonal intelligence.
Highlight the importance of engaging with people real-time and how fun it could be. Gift them a board game like Scrabble.
For the self smart
Some kids are more attuned to their self and have a far better understanding than their parents do. These are kids with high intrapersonal intelligence, and they are adept in figuring themselves out and knowing what they want.
Help them explore their inner selves by giving them a journal to write their thoughts down.
For the nature smart
Kids with naturalist intelligence are natural-born explorers, who know how to enjoy and appreciate nature. They love the great outdoors and they would thrive in activities that involve discovering the wonders of nature.
For the life smart
There are highly sensitive kids who have the capacity to tackle deep questions, and in Gardner’s theory, these are the kids who have existential intelligence. They ponder about human existence and they have a lot of questions about life (and even death).
Allow your children to be curious. Give them a book that makes them think and ask questions (and possible get answers), such as Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers to the Big Questions.
What other gift ideas do you recommend for children? Sounds off in the comments below.
These are the best cities for women entrepreneurs to thrive
Singapore ranks third in Asia Pacific, behind Sydney and Melbourne
At the 10th annual Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit in Singapore, Dell announced findings of the 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, ranking 50 global cities on their ability to foster growth for women entrepreneurs. Dell ranks cities based on the impact of local policies, programs, and characteristics in addition to national laws and customs to help improve support for women entrepreneurs and the overall economy.
Building on 10 years of research on women entrepreneurs, Dell partnered with IHS Markit to research and rank 50 cities on five important characteristics, including access to Capital, Technology, Talent, Culture and Markets.
The San Francisco Bay Area outranked New York for the No. 1 spot this year, mostly due to the city being one of the best places for women to gain access to capital. It also moved from 6th place to 2nd place in Culture, showing that the number of role models and public dialogue around eliminating the “bro culture” is making an impact.
Lack of funding, high cost of living, low representation of women in leadership roles and the lack of government-led policies that support women entrepreneurs were among the barriers globally.
Cities in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are improving alongside all other cities globally, but still have a long way to go. Singapore, one of the only three cities from Southeast Asia to make it to the top 50, saw the highest improvement in the Talent pillar, as it benefitted from increasing its top school and business school rankings, as well as its pool of professionals needed to help scale businesses.
APAC cities mainly fell behind in the pillars for Culture and Markets. Despite making the top 50, Singapore’s Culture score was relatively low due to fewer female role models or leaders, although it’s still more advanced than majority of its neighbors in addressing gender parity issues.
Singapore ranks only No. 47 globally for the Markets pillar, because of the high cost of living in the city despite the lack of accelerators and relatively few female board members.
The WE Cities Index serves as a diagnostic tool to advise policy-makers on how to better support women in business.
“By arming city leaders and policymakers with actionable, data-driven research on the landscape for women entrepreneurs, we can collectively accelerate the success of women-owned businesses by removing financial, cultural and political barriers,” says Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell Technologies.
The same way US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg argued in her landmark cases that gender discrimination hurts men and women alike, Singapore Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu also emphasized at the summit that it’s not only women who want a better work life balance; men also want to be able to spend more time with their families.
This is where technology comes in. Technology, as a gender-neutral enabler, helps drive progress in gender equality by creating a level playing field, says Amit Midha, President of Asia Pacific & Japan, Global Digital Cities at Dell Technologies. It’s important to empower and invest in women not just because it’s been proven time and again that women help economies grow, but also because doing so benefits men and society as a whole.
FaceApp goes viral again, raises security concerns
Taking social media by storm
FaceApp is taking social media by storm once again. The popular editing app which went viral two years ago has resurfaced after celebrities, YouTubers, and even NBA stars posted elderly versions of themselves.
Quick to jump in the bandwagon, people followed and started posting their aged version on Twitter and Instagram. Fancy seeing a glimpse of yourself in the future, as well? Here’s how you can do it.
Easy, step-by-step guide on FaceApp
Download FaceApp via Google Play Store or the App Store. Open the app and select the photo you want to edit. Pro tip: Avoid using selfies with caps, sunglasses, and other accessories on.
After choosing a photo, you can then pick from an array of filters: Beauty, gender-swap, or the old age filter that everyone is obsessing over, and many more!
Using the old age filter, you can see how you’d look like when you’re over 60 years old. If you want to see how you and your partner look when you’re old and wrinkly, just apply the filter first on your face since you can only apply it one at a time. Then, save it, and upload the saved image to apply the filter once again.
You can do this with group photos, too, except you’ll need more patience. It’s an excruciating process but isn’t it worthwhile?
Is our security compromised?
FaceApp’s sudden virality has raised major privacy concerns, just like when Zepeto went viral last year. This is almost always the case when the app in question appears to be collecting data from its unknowing users.
A report on Fast Company indicates that the Russian company behind FaceApp saves the photos uploaded by transmitting it to their servers back in Russia. While it’s all fun and magic on your end, the report supposes your security may be compromised.
Moreover, the US government poses the app as a threat to national security, prompting the FBI to investigate the Russian startup. Will this be a similar saga between the US and China trade war? Let’s hope it won’t escalate into a bigger issue.
BIG: Share if you used #FaceApp:
Because millions of Americans have used it
It’s owned by a Russia-based company
And users are required to provide full, irrevocable access to their personal photos & data pic.twitter.com/cejLLwBQcr
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 18, 2019
FaceApp has responded to these allegations claiming that images are deleted from their servers within 48 hours from the upload date.
At the end of the day, FaceApp is pretty much similar to Facebook and Google, who have taken more information from us than we realize. If you’re still afraid, the best course here is to stay away from photo editing apps and resist the urge to try senseless features for the sake of fun and likes on social media.
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