Philippines

OPPO Find X3 Pro review: Third time’s the charm?

Has OPPO finally found the flagship formula?

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Over the past three or so years, OPPO has been trying to rise above the reputation it built for itself — a smartphone brand for the masses. With the Find X3 Pro, the goal is clearer than ever: to be mentioned in the same breath as Apple and Samsung. And perhaps, fill the void that’s steadily growing as Huawei fights to keep its international relevance alive.

They can say otherwise, but it’s pretty evident with how rapidly their series of phones have shifted.

From the roots built upon the somewhat confusing F-Series and R-Series lines rose the best-selling budget and lower midrange phones in the A-Series. Then, there was the awkward crossroads between the Find X and the OPPO Reno 10X Zoom.

For a while, it looked like Reno was going to be the flagbearer with the aptly named Find X being the experimental premium line. Things quickly pivoted when the company launched a confusing set of Reno2s barely six months since the introduction of the Reno line.

OPPO Reno5

Fast forward to today and Reno is already on its fifth iteration in just three years. Meanwhile, Find X is in its third, four years after the first one was showcased in Paris.

Reno has since settled in the midrange and upper midrange arena, while Find X has taken the wheel as OPPO maneuvers to relevance in the upper echelon of smartphones.

Finding an identity

The first Find X and the Find X2 Pro share very little in overall characteristics. The only thing they had in common was being tagged as the best OPPO had to offer at the respective time of their releases.

The time in-between is pretty significant. One year and eight months to be precise. OPPO used that time to refine what it wanted to offer as its best. To a certain extent, it succeeded. The Find X2 Pro was a culmination of all the research and development it had poured into smartphones.

OPPO Find X and Find X3 Pro

Was it perfect? Not at all. The company may have overshot the pricing, and opted to not include wireless charging — a feature that had been present with its contemporaries for around two years at the time. Still, it was a step in the right direction.

The makeover wasn’t just in the hardware. ColorOS, the user interface (UI) that OPPO puts on top of Android also underwent a change. Things shifted software-wise when OPPO stopped trying to take a bite out of Apple and started breathing Oxygen.

It’s now less concerned about feeling like a weird amalgamation of Android and iOS. With its latest iteration, ColorOS 11.2 has, instead, embraced it being an Android and took lessons from sister brand OnePlus to deliver a smoother, cleaner UI.

Of course, there’s still the iPhone-looking camera module, but you know… baby steps.

Awakening Colour

Now that I’ve gotten that word vomit of a backgrounder out of the way, let’s dive straight into what a lot of people care about with these flagship smartphones — the image production.

Every phone maker has said this in all of their device announcements, but this time with OPPO, they truly meant it when they said they took extra care in how the hardware and software of the Find X3 Pro work together in producing quality images.

Here’s the quad-camera setup on the rear: 50MPSony IMX 766 sensor with optical image stabilization, 50MP ultra wide-angle lens, 13-megapixel telephoto camera, and 3-megapixel macro sensor. The setup is capable of 5x hybrid-digital zoom and 20x digital zoom. For selfies, there’s a 32MP camera.

Microscopic lens

But first, let me get the microscopic lens out of the way. Do I think it’s a gimmick? Yes. Should they have not included it on the phone? Not necessarily.

Features like this exist so there’s something new and different that can be talked about on the phone. And don’t get me wrong, IT IS pretty darn cool, just not practical. But if you’re the type who can fork out cash for a premium device then it’s nice for that device to be able to show-off something unusual.

Night mode 

The Find X3 Pro’s night mode is one of my favorite night modes on any smartphone. Most of the time it’ll give you an evenly lit scene with plenty of details retained. It captures an image that actually still looks like night time instead of a scene that looks like there’s a massive spotlight pointed at the photo you took.

Don’t get me wrong, it still does commit the sin of making a night time shot look almost like it’s day time. Take for instance the example below. The area was nearly pitch black and the software overcompensates by adding too much brightness to the scene.

However, this isn’t always a bad thing. Used on the right kind of scenery, it will produce an image that can draw some type of emotion or reaction from anyone who sees it.

Ultra wide 

There weren’t many opportunities to use the ultra-wide angle lens seeing as travel is still pretty restricted and I’m not about to show you how messy my room is. But the few times I got to use it produced some pretty looking pictures that I certainly wouldn’t mind sharing.

AI mode was turned on when these were taken for both the wide and ultra-wide shots. One of the key things to takeaway is how the Find X3 Pro delivers in its promise to give you similar (if not same) quality images for both lenses with the only difference being the wider field of view.

Wide

Ultra-Wide

Food 

If foodtography is your thing, you’ll have a blast using the Find X3 Pro. The shots we took really make the food look appetizing without it resorting to shooting up the saturation too much.

Even a shot like this that I didn’t put too much thought into looks pretty mouthwatering. I kid you not, I had people sliding in my DMs when I posted this as an IG and FB story asking how it tastes and where they can order. In case you’re curious too, you can message the Burger Garage FB page to order.

Indoor and lowlight 

Here’s an area where the Find X3 Pro also performed admirably. I’m just going to let the images speak for themselves.

Portraits and selfies 

The OPPO Find X3’s portrait mode shined the most, I think, when it was able to retain so much detail in the background in the sample below despite the other sample totally botching the HDR.

The thing about taking photos of people is how accurate it gets skin tones, and this smartphone does pretty well for the most part. In terms of color accurate capture, the Find X3 Pro is probably the Android smartphone that gets as close to natural as possible.

I’ve been particularly shy showing myself in front of the camera after all the pandemic weight I gained, so I left the selfies part for our Associate Creative Director MJ to scrutinize. Other than retaining detail and producing an all-around pretty good image, what caught his attention the most is how the beauty mode isn’t as aggressive anymore.

It’s still a hit or miss, especially with the beautify mode on, but it’s still able to produce favorable results especially when taken under good lighting. It doesn’t completely erase the imperfections on your face but does enough that you won’t want to retouch it and just upload right away on social media with the caption “Felt cute, won’t delete.”

This is an encouraging development from OPPO who’s a self-proclaimed selfie expert. To quote our MJ, “They made me embrace my scars more because it didn’t feel like I have to be shy about it.”

Other shots for your appreciation

If it isn’t obvious by now, we’re absolutely huge fans of how OPPO approached imaging for the Find X3 Pro. It’s absolutely one of the best smartphone cameras today. Here are a few more shots for your appreciation.

If you want side by side comparisons, we did a camera shootout of the Find X3 Pro versus the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra here, and versus the Mi 11 here.

Enjoyable mobile gaming

The last time I gamed on a smartphone as much as I have on the Find X3 Pro is when I was using the ROG Phone 2. That’s saying a lot since the latter is more geared for gaming while the former is more a do-it-all flagship.

I spent an entire Saturday afternoon levelling up on Call of Duty: Mobile simply because it was so fun to play on the OPPO Find X3 Pro. The combination of its performance specs — Snapdragon 888, 12GB RAM, 240Hz touch sampling rate — and the 6.7” AMOLED display made for a truly rewarding experience.

Aiming felt fast and fluid, my game NEVER lagged, and I was only held back by my own stupid gameplay mistakes. It is prudent to note that it does heat up significantly if you’re using 5G while you play. It also had a case on it while I played and that may have contributed to the heating but it wasn’t to the point where I couldn’t hold the phone anymore.

OPPO’s Game Assistant is also pretty darn helpful and easy on the eyes. I’m a huge fan of how it looks and how it delivers notifications. Instead of showing up as banners interrupting your game, notifications show up as tiny ticker-like text on your screen. It makes you notice it without demanding too much attention.

Media consumption 

I may have not said this enough up to this point but the display on the Find X3 Pro is absolutely gorgeous to look at without straining your eyes. The 120Hz refresh rate, contrast ratio, and peak brightness all contribute to a screen you wouldn’t mind being stuck with.

My jaw absolutely dropped watching TWICE Momo’s first solo Performance Project video on this screen.  It only has a speaker grille at the bottom but it gets significantly loud without distorting the audio.

Even when you hold it and accidentally cover the speaker, the sound doesn’t get too muffled that it becomes incomprehensible. Re-watching the United States of Smash moment by My Hero Academia’s All Might was just as impactful as when I first watched it on a TV screen.

Is the OPPO Find X3 Pro your GadgetMatch? 

Prized at SG$ 1,599 (which is around US$ 1,200), it’s actually a tad more affordable than the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (SG$ 1798) and the iPhone 12 Pro Max (SG$ 1969). But is it a worthy alternative against those two? The answer is a resounding YES.

Third time is indeed the charm for OPPO as they absolutely nailed everything about the Find X3 Pro. Notice how we didn’t hesitate to mention it in the same sentence as Samsung and Apple? That’s where OPPO is at now with this smartphone. They deserve a seat in the premium flagship table.

There’s always room for improvement. But the Find X3 Pro is as solid a foundation as any. OPPO only needs to stay the course now to completely overtake Huawei and claim its spot among the titans of the industry.

Dating

This gamer surprised his girlfriend with a marriage proposal in Genshin Impact

So much love in the world of Teyvat!

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Genshin Impact

What happens when a gamer proposes to you? It’s just as sweet as any romantic proposal you’ve seen on the Internet.

For Ronica Cabansag, introverted gamers are just as amorous as any guy out there. That’s what she realized when she publicly shared how her gamer boyfriend made an effort to ask for her hand through a language they both understood — Genshin Impact.

 

In her post, Cabansag detailed how her then-boyfriend and now fiancé asked her to come for a surprise. Cabansag was curious to see how her extremely introverted partner will make an effort.

The video included in her post showed how excited Cabansag was when she discovered a room full of lights and balloons, with a gaming laptop waiting for her.

 

Her partner, Jerome Javillonar, asked her to play Genshin Impact to look for his surprise. In the 8-minute video, Cabansag solved the maze that her partner built, discovering the words that Javillonar was dying to say.

Will you be my waifu?

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact

Genshin Impact

“Roses are red.” “Violets are blue.” “Forever is real with you.”

These are some statements Javillonar had laid out for Cabansag. According to Cabansag, it took more than one month for Javillonar to finish the obstacles since he needed to buy supplies in the game’s shop.

After solving the three puzzles, the last maze laid out the golden question that made Cabansag gush over in excitement. The statement read as “Will you be my waifu?” which also translates to Javillonar asking Cabansag to be his wife.

The video ended with Javillonar down on his knees as he offers the engagement ring, to which Cabansag said yes. As of writing, Cabansag’s video has garnered more than 45,000 views.

Moreover, Cabansag’s post is flocked with comments and shares from people expressing their heartfelt greetings, congratulating and thanking the couple for sharing their love and excitement. Looks like the world of Teyvat has something to celebrate ahead of Valentine’s Day.

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Apps

Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay 2.0: Cut through the queue

Make life less hectic!

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Starbucks Mobile

When you’re an adult, coffee isn’t just a power-up drink helping you get through the day. It becomes an avenue for conversation, an invitation to meet people, a kick you need to fuel your creativity and productivity.

While there are several ways to brew coffee and there are different local neighborhood cafés to explore, Starbucks has always been within reach. And it has ingrained itself as an important part of my working life. A staple of the modern workforce’s culture. A lifestyle — tradition to an extent — that seeped in through the interstices of friendships and family.

When the pandemic struck, I started learning how to brew my own coffee. Occasionally, I order my caffeine fix through Grab or Foodpanda. But the experience isn’t the same.

Keyword: Experience. That’s precisely what Starbucks offers. So when Starbucks Philippines sent me a holiday card to try the new Mobile Order & Pay, a feature they had for a while that was rehashed, I decided it’s time to go out and try again.

Exploring the app

The Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 is available through the Starbucks app. If you’re a Starbucks lover, you probably have an account registered to Starbucks Rewards. The app is easy to use, particularly because of its clean user interface (UI) design.

Through the Starbucks app, you can check your account’s transaction history, monitor the stars collected via the Rewards program, and make some changes to your personal profile and payment methods. The app also has a lot of promotional materials, parading their latest drinks and treats that you can avail yourself of in-store or online.

Starbucks Mobile

And more importantly, you can reload your account, register your cards, and of course, get ahead of your day and order your favorite beverages.

Cut through the line

Once I got my cards settled in, I ordered my go-to drink: Cold brew topped with four pumps of white mocha sauce. I placed my order through the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 feature, which gave me four options to pick up my order. Although, the options vary depending on the closest branch near you.

There’s the usual In-store pickup where you head straight to the pickup counter for your order. Yes, you won’t get in line anymore. When I tried this pickup option, everyone gave me looks when I went past the queue and headed straight to ask the Barista about my order. I had the audacity to ask about my drink because the app notified me when the order was ready.

Starbucks Mobile

When I got my drink, I walked out of the store feeling ravished. It felt like I was in a slow-mo montage of a coming-of-age film where the protagonist suddenly did something extraordinary. Frankly, this is my favorite pickup option. It makes so much sense to just get your orders if you can walk inside. And that gives you extra steps for your smartwatch to count. Get moving, people!

But if you don’t like the hassle of scanning your QR codes and getting your temperature checked, or the usual mumbo-jumbo you encounter inside a store, there are other pickup options outside.

Just wait outside

My other favorite option was the Outdoor pickup, which I chose when I was passing by Starbucks The Grove — my favorite branch in Pasig. I was dead-tired from a weekend night-out with my friends at Okada Manila, and the all-night casino adventure bled through a Monday morning.

I was on my way home, ready for work. Then, I realized I badly need the good ol’ Barista Drink. Nothing can beat an americano topped with white mocha sauce splashed with sub-breve (and no water!). Especially when it comes to waking you and your senses up. More importantly, you can have it served iced or hot depending on your preferences.

Starbucks Mobile

I placed my order when I was already in Arcovia City, a kilometer away from The Grove by Rockwell. Apparently, you can’t order ahead for an Outdoor pickup if you’re 3 kilometers away, which I tried to do when I was still in Taguig. So you have to be close to the branch if you want to place your order.

I tried to do the math in my head, calculating if I can pull over for a minute while I wait for my order. But I’m bad at numbers so I went ahead. The app said the order will be ready in five to six minutes anyway.

I pulled over when I arrived at the branch, and I didn’t wait long enough for one of my favorite baristas to come out to my chosen pickup point and hand me my order.

Stay in your car

I hate parking. Or wasting the time spent trying to park properly in between enormous SUVs. Or finding a spot to park your vehicle. This is why I don’t understand the Curbside pickup option, where the barista locates your designated parking slot and gives your order while practicing social and safe distancing.

I tried the pickup option in Starbucks Sierra Valley — a humongous, stand-alone branch with a massive parking space and drive-thru option found east of Metro Manila.

Starbucks Mobile

If you’re in a time crunch, this option really doesn’t make sense. But if you have a few moments to spare and you don’t want to get out of your vehicle for safety measures against the COVID-19 (and its variants), then the Curbside pickup is the way to go.

Frankly speaking, it doesn’t work for me. I know having your order brought to you is part of the experience, but I value my time. And it was against my morals to just sit inside my car and wait for the barista to come out and bring my order. In my head, they could be doing more valuable things than going outside the store, when I can pick up my order at their counter.

The In-store pickup is the fastest option in my experience, and I feel good doing the task instead of sitting and waiting around. I guess it’s my can-do attitude speaking, but that’s how I’m really built.

Drive through it

Now, there’s another option to get your order: Drive-thru pickup. You just have to line up in a queue of cars and wait for your turn. Like the Curbside pickup option, I didn’t like the Drive-thru pickup for one reason: It takes too long to get through the drive-thru window.

People are afraid to get out of their vehicles because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s valid. That’s why there are plenty of cars lining up to get their caffeine fix. I spent roughly 30 minutes waiting for my turn, which annoyed me since it would’ve been faster if I chose the In-store or Outdoor pickup.

Making life less hectic

Regardless of my rants and experience, the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 lets you get your favorite treats and beverages conveniently. In the way you like it.

While I’ve loved the In-store and Outdoor pick-up because they work well with my personality and lifestyle, I know some people (read: friends) would enjoy the Curbside and Drive-thru pickup. Especially since they’re cautious about the pandemic.

Not that I’m not wary of the virus being out there, I just value my time because every second counts. If I wanted to waste my time waiting, I would’ve lined up inside.

Nevertheless, the rehashed feature is worth giving a try. Through the Starbucks app, you can customize your orders. Just like your baristas, the app can modify the size, the number of espresso shots, dairy selection, and various options for your order. All done with just a single tap on your smartphone.

Frankly speaking, the Mobile Pay & Order 2.0 made my life easier especially when I’m in a hurry to get a caffeine fix. Not all days can be spent brewing your coffee, living in a slowed-down lifestyle. Some days, we just need to get through it, and Starbucks knows how to accompany me through those days.

The Starbucks PH app is available on The App Store and Google’s Play Store.

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Deals

realme kicks-off the new year with payday sale

As much as PhP 8,000 off

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realme is kicking off the new year with a bang by joining Lazada’s Sulit Sweldo Sale happening on January 15 to 17.

For the promotional period, realme is offering discounts of as much as PhP 8,000 off on its lineup of smartphones and TechLife devices.

Included in the sale are premium items like the realme 8i, realme Book, realme Pad, and realme Buds Air 2 Neo.

Here’s a rundown of some of the discounted products you can expect during realme’s three-day sale on Lazada.

Product Highlights Sale price
realme narzo 50A

(4 GB + 64 GB, available in Oxygen Blue and Oxygen Green)

MediaTek Helio G85 processor

6000mAh battery

50MP Triple AI Camera

Php 7,289 from (PhP 7,990)
realme C21-Y

(4 GB + 64 GB)

13MP Triple AI Camera PhP 5,989 (from PhP 6,490)
realme 8i MediaTek Helio G96 chipset

120Hz Ultra Smooth display

50MP AI Triple Camera

6.6-inch LCD display

PhP 10,989 (from PhP 11,990)
realme Pad 10-inch high-resolution screen

Dolby Atmos quad speakers

7100mAh mega battery

3 GB + 32 GB: PhP 8,990

4 GB + 64 GB: PhP 12,990

6 GB + 128 GB: PhP 14,990

(PhP 2,000 pesos off)

realme Book 11th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor

8 GB dual-channel LPDDR4x RAM + up to 512GB SSD storage

14” 2K Full Vision display

i3 variant: PhP 29,990 (from PhP 37,990)

i5 variant: up to PhP 6,000 off

realme Buds Air 2 Neo

(available in Active Black and Calm Gray)

Active Noise Cancellation

10mm Bass Boost Driver

AAC high-quality audio technology

PhP 1,490 (from PhP 1,990)

These incredible offers will be available starting at 12 midnight on January 15 and shall last until January 17.To know more about the complete line-up of discounts and other deals, be sure to check out the realme Official Store on Lazada

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