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This is the Find X2 Pro — the culmination of everything OPPO has been working on for as long as we can remember. Years of R&D, innovation, and countless experiments.

The result? A smartphone that’s so good and so refined it can seriously compete with the best. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. In this video we unbox and review the OPPO Find X2 Pro.

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OPPO A74 5G review: Did OPPO balance its midranger properly?

We list hits, misses, and everything in between

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Creating a mid-range device in 2021 has become incredibly challenging for a variety of reasons. The limitation in price forces companies to cut corners when it comes to their offerings in this segment. It’s a task that’s easier said than done considering how stiff competition is. You need to find a way to stand out while working with a budget that’s far from optimal. It’s like a balancing act in the circus. One wrong move and you’ll be remembered for the wrong reasons.

OPPO’s latest attempt at overcoming this challenge is the OPPO A74 5G. Just from its name, you can already tell what it’s using to try and stand out from the rest. But there’s more to this device than its promise of the fastest connectivity possible in the Philippine market.

The question now is, did OPPO balance its features properly to create a device that will satisfy everyday users? Let’s answer that by checking which were its Heavy Hitters, what Middleground the phone took to balance things out, and the Debbie Downers it needed to accept so they could come up with this device at this price point.

The Heavy Hitters: The OPPO A74 5G highlight features

5G is here and it’s one of those features you can’t help but call a win. Admittedly, the difference between 5G and your regular LTE isn’t that significant. This is one of those cases where showing you the Speedtest result of 5G won’t do the experience justice. You have to use it to believe it.

There are ways to go to make the technology a 100 percent must-have. But there’s no way 5G is a Debbie Downer, and you can’t call an upgrade a Middleground. At the very least, it’s a good way to future-proof your phone. Its benefits aren’t felt today, but it could be very useful if you plan to use the OPPO A74 5G in the long run.

However, you can’t say the same for this phone’s 90Hz display. Coming from a 60Hz device, using this screen was a spiritual experience. The jump is that good. It admittedly becomes normal after a while and it even reaches a point where you become quite spoiled by it. However, you can’t go wrong with a smoother experience. This is a win.

Surprising build quality, smart additions

One surprising Heavy Hitter is its hardware and build quality. Out of the box, I initially thought this phone was made out of glass. Turns out, OPPO used plastic for the back and it’s of premium quality. The device feels sturdy, and it has the right amount of weight, so it doesn’t feel cheap. The gradient effect was also a nice touch to the design.

You also can’t go wrong with having a fingerprint scanner on the power button. Having a headphone jack in your device in the year 2021 is an automatic win for the consumer. These features might feel dated for others, but they’re undoubtedly useful. You can’t even call OPPO out for cutting corners, because for others, these are exclusions that should have never been made in the first place. They’re useful and they work. There’s no doubting that.

Finally, the presence of Optimized Night Charging was a great touch from OPPO. Having the peace of mind of having a fully charged phone the next day without worrying about your battery getting fried is a feature more manufacturers should have on their phones. For this to be on a mid-ranger is a pretty sweet deal.

The Middleground: They cut corners, but in the right places

90Hz can only do so much and that’s evident with how the OPPO A74 5G performs with its Snapdragon 480 5G processor. It’s okay. It isn’t supremely good, but it isn’t terrible either. It works. You shouldn’t expect the A74 5G to run graphic-intensive games at high settings, but you can still play some games here and there. Social media use is a breeze. You can’t go wrong on this end.

The software of the device is also okay. It’s not stock Android, but it isn’t the mess some people paint Chinese software to be. ColorOS is a version of Android that works even for the most critical of Android users. There can be some hiccups, especially with heavy use, but they were tolerable.

Monitor your battery use

Battery life wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t good enough to be considered a Heavy Hitter. The device houses a 5000mAh battery, but you have to be careful with your usage of 5G and 90Hz. They can drain the device quickly, but in most cases, it’s an all-day phone. The phone comes with an 18W Fast Charger, which in 2021 is average. You’d want to have more as a consumer, but it isn’t too much of a slog.

The LTPS IPS LCD screen of the A74 5G was also respectable. It has decent viewing angles even in direct sunlight and watching media content on the device was pleasing. There are some instances where it feels like we could experience more out of the 90Hz feature, but that’s the sacrifice required out of this price point. At the very least, it works, and you can only have minimal complaints.

The Debbie Downers: Even for a mid-ranger, these were disappointing

We live in the age of social media, so it wasn’t disappointing to see the A74 5G house a camera that came out as incredibly inconsistent.

This was a shame because its main camera performed quite well in good lighting conditions. Details were sharp enough, colors were a bit saturated, but not to the point you’d need to lower its saturation on post-processing.

The device came out with some pretty good photos that could contend with the best of the best. That’s what you’d want out of a smartphone in 2021.

Misses in certain situations

But it couldn’t perform as well in other lighting conditions. Indoor shots left much to be desired. It captured too much of the color coming from the background and ignored the natural colors of the subject. This was especially evident when I took photos of the delicious burgers from Sweet Ecstasy. It caught too much of the yellow coming from the light bulbs and the walls in the store.

The selfie camera was okay, at least that was passable enough with its results.

Night shots, even without night mode, had some respectable shots. But you couldn’t say the same for its other lenses.

Especially disappointing was its wide-angle lens. If the main camera came out with saturated images, the wide-angle reduced the color even in good lighting conditions. You’d understand a slight drop in quality, but the difference between the two lenses had too big of a gap. It definitely didn’t help the macro lens had some focusing issues, which made it difficult to take proper test shots for this review.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I mentioned at the start of this review that coming up with a midrange device is like a balancing act. One wrong move and you’re remembered for the wrong reasons. Safe to say, OPPO won’t be remembered fondly, but they won’t be laughed at either for this device. The device was okay. It wasn’t a Debbie Downer. It’s safe to say they were able to at least achieve some form Middleground.

But in today’s competitive mid-range landscape, achieving the Middleground might not be enough. Its inconsistent cameras might be an automatic turn-off for some consumers. Its performance isn’t good enough to sway the opinion of hardcore gamers.  However, if you’re someone who wants the promise of futureproofing from 5G and the smooth experience of a 90 Hz display packaged with well-built hardware, the OPPO A74 5G might just be for you.

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Infinix Hot 10S review: Get your #GameOn for Less

What a smoking deal!

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The mobile gaming industry has come on in leaps and bounds with its growing trend in recent years. It’s ushered more demand for smartphones users to level up their game. Different brands have played their cards and released numerous gaming smartphones with another entering the battle royale — Infinix. They’ve consistently created smartphones that are bang-for-your-buck and their recent release for their gaming series, the Infinix Hot 10S, is no exception. 

Now let’s dive in as we check out what makes this smartphone sizzle. 

Fresh for your eyes 

Upon getting this phone, the first thing that really caught my attention was its massive display. It’s probably the biggest that I’ve tried recently. Relative to its predecessor, the Infinix Hot 10, the Hot 10S boasts a 6.82-inch screen but with a 720×1640 HD+ display.

Despite its big size, the phone’s resolution is pretty good. It shows accurate colors and its display also didn’t have any significant color shift on various viewing angles. You can comfortably use your phone while indoors but it can be a bit difficult to view under direct sunlight. 

For Infinix’ Hot series, the Hot 10S is their first smartphone that has a 90Hz refresh rate. It provides ultimate smoothness and visual experience whenever you browse through different sites, watch videos or play games. 

I also appreciate that Infinix provided a clear case and a screen protector since it’s rare for brands to include in smartphone packages. No need to rush out or order online to make sure your phone is protected. 

Up front, you will notice the teardrop notch selfie camera which really doesn’t appeal to me since it’s a bit obtrusive for my taste. Bezels surrounding the screen are also a bit thick especially at the bottom part of the screen. 

The Infinix Hot 10S comes in 4 colors – 95° Black, Morandi green, Heart of Ocean and 7° Purple and what we got was the black variant. With the right lighting and angle, you can see black glittery diamond patterns under a clear laminate. Its construction is made of plastic which really makes it feel like a budget phone but because of the rear design, it looks pretty elegant. 

You can also see its square camera setup cut-out and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor at the upper middle part. 

You can also unlock the Hot 10S via facial recognition and the amazing part was the system still recognized me even if I was wearing a mask. 

On the right side, you can find the volume rocker and power button which I prefer since they’re both clicky. 

And upon checking the bottom panel, you’ll see a 3.5 mm headphone jack, speaker grille and much to our dismay, a micro USB port. This is a disadvantage especially that the Infinix Hot 10S competitors such as realme narzo 30A and Tecno Pova 2 have a USB-C port for charging which is mostly standard in smartphones these days. 

Paramount performance under the hood 

At the heart of the Infinix Hot 10S is a MediaTek Helio G85 processor. It ensures a powerful and swift performance when combined with 6GB of RAM and 128GB expandable storage. The phone didn’t lag or stutter even when I was jumping from one app to another, doing quick gaming and catching up on Loki and some Netflix series from time to time. 

This phone runs on XOS 7.6 custom skin based on Android 11 which is a first for Infinix’ Hot series. While I appreciate that they’ve adopted the latest available Android version, the user interface still looks a bit old-fashioned.

Its app drawer also had ads as well as some preinstalled apps that cannot be deleted.

But the silver lining for the Infinix Hot 10S is its amazing features especially when it comes to security.

Some notable ones are the App Lock where you can lock apps so you can protect your privacy when you have to share your phone with your friends. Another one is the Kid Mode where you can choose apps that your kids can only have access to and change how much screen time they’re getting daily. 

#GameOn

Of course, with the powerful processor that the Infinix Hot 10S has, you can definitely level up your game with this smartphone as gaming is its strongest suit. 

With this smartphone, Infinix introduces Dar-Link Ultimate Game Booster — their own gaming engine which optimizes your gaming experience. It reduces screen tearing, elevates touch panel response and also enhances color reproduction. 

The Infinix Hot 10S also has a Game Zone where you can find all installed games. You can also manage settings and take screenshots and screen records of your games. This phone also features DTS Audio processing that elevates sound effects during gameplay, making your experience more immersive. 

With all these features combined, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the demanding Genshin Impact even if I just had to run it in low settings. Call of Duty: Mobile also ran smoothly in medium settings all throughout my gameplay. 

As for Asphalt 9: Legends and Mobile Legends, there weren’t any frame drops as this phone handled these games pretty well. 

It lets you #GameOn for longer hours with its 6,000mAh battery. With heavy gaming and casual web browsing, I was able to use the Hot 10S for 3 days.

Even if it only came with a 10W charger, juicing up this phone’s battery was still a bit quicker than expected. It only took two (2) hours and 40 minutes to charge it up from 20 percent to 100 percent.  

Snap day and night

Aside from honing your gaming skills, you can also get creative with it as this smartphone also comes with good performing cameras. 

It has a triple camera setup. There’s a 48MP primary lens, 2MP depth camera, AI camera and also includes a Quad Flashlight. 

I took the cameras out for a spin and the primary lens took good detailed photos. However, bright colors tend to get over saturated.

Portrait Mode

As to taking shots in portrait mode, photos also looked great and edge detection was precise enough with a good amount of blur. 

And when it comes to snapping away at night, the Hot 10S’ imaging performance was still great even in low light. Its cameras were still able to take decent and detailed photos, thanks to the phone’s Super Night mode.

Its cameras can take pretty good shots. But there were still some flaws that I think Infinix should have improved on. 

I find it a bit odd that the phone doesn’t have a standard camera mode. Instead, it was instead called ‘AI Cam’. Also, the camera software felt a bit clunky when switching from one mode to another. The camera also would only lock its focus for a short period of time when I try to do it manually. 

Is the Infinix Hot 10S your GadgetMatch? 

The Infinix Hot 10S is definitely a smoking deal if you’re looking for a gaming smartphone for less. With its robust processor, Dar-Link gaming booster, big battery and display, you’re definitely in for the best gaming experience.

 It even comes with good cameras that lets you be creative and helps you capture amazing moments any time of the day. 

Despite having flaws such as having a micro USB port and an outdated looking user interface, the Infinix Hot 10S is definitely still a good catch as its advantages outweigh its drawbacks. 

The Infinix Hot 10S is available in 95° Black, Morandi green, Heart of Ocean and 7° Purple variants and is priced at PhP 5,490 for its 4GB RAM + 64GB internal storage and PhP 6,490 for the 6GB RAM + 128GB internal storage as you can get P500 off on this smartphone on the Infinix Super Brand Days exclusively on Shopee from June 15-18, 2021. 

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review

A damn good time

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has all the looks, charm, and heart of a Pixar movie. But it’s playable and takes the experience further by taking advantage of all the next gen features of the PlayStation 5.

Quick background 

Ratchet & Clank is a fairly popular series that was first introduced in November 2002 for the PlayStation 2. There’s been around nine games since the first release including a very self-aware soft reboot in 2016 for the PlayStation 4.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart builds on the lore of this dynamic duo without needing much of a background from the previous games. If you’re really curious, you can hop on to YouTube for recaps and retrospectives on the franchise.

Multidimensional madness

Rift Apart is pretty much a standalone story. It begins with Ratchet & Clank being honored in a grand celebration as heroes for their past exploits. This establishes the duo’s stature in their universe.

As expected, long-time recurring villain Dr. Nefarious crashes the party touting a Dimensionator — a weapon that opens dimensional rifts. A tussle naturally occurs with the Dimensionator exploding and opening various rifts across the universe.

Dr. Nefarious with the Dimensionator

Ratchet & Clank are separated but Clank finds himself in the company of another Lombax — Rivet. Rivet is part of a rebellion battling against The Emperor. We quickly learn that The Emperor is the Dr. Nefarious of this other universe.

The rest of the game sees our heroes Ratchet, Clank, and Rivet go on adventures as they figure out how to fix the Dimensionator to prevent all of the universes from falling apart.

The charm and heart of a Pixar flick

I think it’s safe to say that most of us have seen a Pixar movie or two. They typically have this fun, heartwarming tone and that’s exactly how Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart comes off.

The writing is solid and has strong character moments for each of the leading casts. The dialogues are witty, and very entertaining that you’ll likely catch yourself smiling at times. Whether it’s a cutscene or just in-game banter between characters.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Rivet and Clank

The way it balances heavy moments with good, clean, fun while remaining tonally consistent is a magnificent feat. While the story itself isn’t mindblowing, it is told efficiently and wonderfully. It’s never boring and keeps you interested.

Vivid worlds, gorgeous details 

PlayStation and Insomniac Games have been very loud about this game. After all, this is a year one title for the PlayStation 5 (PS5). All the trailers and gameplay footage they showcased are eye-popping and this quality is maintained throughout the game.

One of the hallmarks that was routinely mentioned is how busy and lived-in the different environments look, feel, and sound. This is an aspect of the game that I don’t think would have been possible if not for the PS5.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The fast loading times allow for the busy-looking background. Certain areas of the world offer a different feel on the DualSense controller much like how it felt in some parts of the “demo game” Astro’s Playroom. And, the incredible Sound Design offers depth in every section of the game.

In cutscenes where I normally would put the controller down, I found myself holding on to the DualSense just to see how a scene is enhanced by the rumble. All of these things come together nicely and are implemented in just the right way at just the right moments to deliver a truly astonishing experience.

Fidelity, Performance, and Performance RT 

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be available to play in three visual modes. Fidelity for 4K with ray-tracing, additional VFX and increased scene density at 30 FPS. Performance RT provides 60 FPS gaming with ray-tracing but at a lower resolution with adjusted lighting, VFX, and scene density. Lastly, there’s Performance mode which totally does away with ray-tracing but offers high resolution 60 FPS gameplay.

My six-going-on-seven-year-old 1080P TV couldn’t really take advantage of the Performance and Performance RT modes. However, even if I had a TV that fully supported these modes, I still would have likely gone with Fidelity mode.

To me, personally, it fits the look and feel of the world better. And maybe it really is just my TV,  but Fidelity mode offered a richer picture quality overall versus the more flat-looking Performance and Performance RT modes.

Really fun gameplay

Rift Apart provides a healthy mix of action, shooting, platforming, and puzzle-solving to keep you on your toes. And while it isn’t an open world game, it still encourages a healthy amount of exploration as you examine every nook and cranny of a particular area to make sure you get all the collectibles.

The game does a good job of encouraging you to actually look for the collectibles. For instance, completed armors not only give you a different look, they also provide a permanent stat boost.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

These huge bolts are also collectibles

You’ll also want to smash everything in sight to collect bolts. Bolts are your currency to buy weapons, and weapons in Ratchet & Clank are incredibly fun to use.

Best video game weapons

You’ll want to get your hands on as many of them as possible. Different weapons do different things. While there are those that straight up inflict damage, some are great for managing huge crowds of enemies — something you’ll do a lot of in this game.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Weapons are improved in two different ways: First is by levelling them up by continuously using them. Second, is by collecting raritanium to unlock the weapon’s abilities and raise its limits. The higher the level, the more abilities you’re able to unlock.

My personal favorites are the Topiary Sprinkler (for stunning), Glove of Doom (for extra help), and the Blackhole Storm (for straight up dealing damage).

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Changing weapons

You can assign weapons to the directional buttons to quickly switch. However, if you really need a breather from combat that can get chaotic, you can press the triangle button to pull-up the weapons menu and select one that best fits your predicament.

Puzzles, mini games

Clank’s sections are still puzzles. This time, though, each set of puzzles he solves closes a volatile dimensional rift. I can see the puzzles being challenging to a younger audience, but anyone with a significant amount of gaming experience will breeze through these.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Clank’s puzzles

Ratchet will also pick up Glitch — a tiny robot that combats bugs to help the male Lombax open doors to gain access to a new section of an area both to advance the story or to acquire collectibles.

Again, the sections with Glitch shouldn’t be too challenging. They help in adding another layer to the action, shooting, and platforming, and there weren’t too many of them to be considered a distraction.

Another great PS5 showcase

Following Returnal, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is another fantastic showcase of all the next gen capabilities of the PlayStation 5. Unlike the aforementioned game though, this one’s wrapped in a bright, colorful package that should be welcoming to a wider variety of gamers.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

A lot of heart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a lighthearted adventure with some lessons of forgiveness and rising above adversity. It has entertaining gameplay, stunning visuals, immersive sound, and an overall incredible feel. For older gamers, it’ll evoke the feeling of being a kid again, and for younger gamers, it’s certainly a game that will leave a positive mark.

It’s the perfect title to get into PS5 gaming and one that every PS5 owner should consider adding to their library.

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