Smartphones

OPPO is developing a phone with a sliding selfie camera

In an upcoming Reno phone

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Years after the notch’s debut, smartphone makers are still finding ways to reinvent the form factor with fresher designs. The smartphone screen has evolved from the notch to the waterdrop notch to the under-display camera. OPPO, one of the most famous experimenters of the form factor, is trying a new design for the future. According to a new patent, OPPO is developing a phone with a sliding selfie camera.

Revealed by LetsGoDigital, the potentially upcoming Reno will mount the phone’s front-facing selfie camera on a sliding rail. The patent was filed last year but was published last month.

As a default, the Reno will maintain the camera on a static position. However, once activated, users can move the camera manually across the rail. According to OPPO, the manually moving camera can take selfies from different angles. If you’ve ever tried to take artistic selfies, getting the perfect angle is an essential part of the skill. With the moving camera, users can take angled photos even if they are facing the camera straight on. The tradeoff, of course, is the sizable front chin.

Besides the moving camera, OPPO is also trying to recreate the same features for the rear camera. With a moving rear camera, the phone can take better panoramic shots.

However, as with most patents, we don’t know when (or if) the upcoming Reno is coming. Regardless, the form factor is an exciting development for smartphones if it comes.

SEE ALSO: OPPO Reno5: Price and availability in the Philippines

Smartphones

iPhone 14 series will feature major redesign, entry level phone

No notch?

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With the iPhone 13 firmly in the bag, a lot of eyes are on next year’s iPhone 14 series. Of course, it’s still early to tell for sure, but rumors are already swirling about the upcoming models. In fact, a leak already revealed what the iPhone 14 series might look like before the iPhone 13 series even launched. Now, we have a bit more information from a new report.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the iPhone 14 series will feature a complete redesign from its conventional design. It’s been a while since the last major redesign. The current design stems from the iPhone X generation years ago when the company introduced the controversial notch. Based on the previously leaked render, the next iPhones will indeed have an entirely different design without a notch.

Additionally, the report also indicates that Apple is also working on a new entry level iPhone for next year. Though an entry level phone from Apple is still hard to believe at this point, it can still mean different things. For one, the current iPhone generations sell a mini model which can be considered entry level models relative to its other models. Secondly, the brand also released a new iPhone SE last year, a much more affordable phone for Apple fans.

Obviously, a lot can still happen between now and the projected launch window for the series. While this is the most substantial dump of information we’ve seen from the series, things can still change.

SEE ALSO: iPhone 14 series might use titanium chassis

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News

Galaxy S22 Ultra will look like a Galaxy Note phone

Based on a new render

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The Galaxy Note series is in a state of limbo. After the rise of the brand’s foldable phones, Samsung toned down on the iconic Note series. The brand hasn’t even launched a new entry yet – if it even is launching one this year. If you’re a fan of the series, there’s still hope. Based on new renders, the upcoming Galaxy S22 Ultra will look remarkably similar to the Galaxy Note series.

Rendered by Steve Hemmerstoffer and Digit.in based on currently known leaks, the upcoming premium smartphone will reportedly have a built-in dock for the S Pen. Of course, the series had already received stylus support, but the Galaxy S21 series never had a dock for the pen.

Additionally, the renders show a quad rear camera setup much like the previous series. However, the layout does look a bit different from its predecessors. Either way, the upcoming flagship has a hint of familiarity for those more used to the Galaxy Note series.

Unfortunately, the render doesn’t show how the S Pen will look like. For the past few iterations, Samsung did confirm that more optimized S Pens are coming for different devices.

In other details, the renders also show that the headphone jack is here to stay.

Right now, it’s still early to tell if the renders are what the real deal will look like. A lot can still happen between now and the projected launch window in January.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 review: Do-It-All device

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Reviews

realme GT Master Edition: Not a ‘disruptor’

But it’s still a damn good smartphone

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realme GT Master Edition

The realme GT Master Edition is a fine piece of tech. Spending roughly around 10 days with it, I can say it’s a pretty good midranger overall. So, this review is gonna be short and… I was tempted to say sweet, but I don’t think that’s the taste I’ll leave you with.

I’m going to jump right ahead to pricing. It’s always been one of realme’s strengths; offering great value products. That means you get a little more than what you pay for.

I’m gonna slap on the specs here once more so you can reference it as I babble about my time with the phone.

  • Display — 6.43″ AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor — Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G
  • RAM — 8GB + up to 5GB DRE (Dynamic RAM Extension)
  • Storage — 128GB and 256GB
  • Battery — 4,300mAh, Dual-cell design, 65W SuperDart charging
  • Rear Cameras — 64MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.3 119° ultra-wide lens, 2MP f/2.4 macro lens
  • Selfie Camera — 32MP
  • OS — Android 11, realme UI 2.0
  • Color Options — Voyager Grey, Daybreak Blue

Price and availability

The realme GT Master Edition comes in two colors — Voyager Grey and Daybreak Blue. And two variants: one in 8GB+128GB and another in 8GB+256GB. Here are the pricing and pre-order details:

Lazada Exclusive 

  • 8+128GB — PhP 18,990
    • September 24 (Whole day flash sale) — PhP 17,490 (PhP 1,500 discount)
  • 8+256 GB — PhP 21,990
    • September 24 (Whole day flash sale) — PhP 19,990 (PhP 2,000 discount)

Offline Pre-Order details:

  • September 24 – October 1 (with free realme Smart Scale)
    • 8+256GB — PhP 21,990
    • Claiming: October 2 & October 3

It’s right around the ballpark of my personal favorite midranger/sub-flagship — the OnePlus Nord 2 — a phone I was generally happy with.

Build quality and design 

I had already expressed my opinion on the realme GT Master Edition’s design in the Unboxing and First Impressions article. TLDR:

  • The concave vegan leather feels great
  • I appreciate the travel/suitcase theme
  • Not particularly fond of the the designer’s signature (I even mulled over slapping TWICE stickers on it but decided otherwise)

I thought the size was perfect at first. Phones like this that have a 6.43” display are typically the ones I feel are in the sweet spot of not too big and not too small. However, after further use, I felt it could have used a little more chunk.

Without the included silicone-ish case, the phone gradually felt tiny in my hands. But I refused to use it with the case because it takes away from that fantastic leather feel. Perhaps they could have added another component or two to add some chunk and heft. Although, that may have pushed the price up which would betray realme’s whole “disrupt” approach.

That said, it’s not entirely unsatisfactory. And how it feels in your hand will vary differently from mine. One thing’s for sure, most people will love the concave vegan leather back. It’s a material rarely seen in this category and realme deserves props for having the balls to include it here.

Bloaty much

One thing I thoroughly disliked about the version of realme UI on the realme GT Master Edition is the incredible amount of bloat on the thing. You know how pre-installed apps take up some of the first home screen and maybe a little bit of the second page of the home screen. Well, this one took over half of the second page. That’s too much.

realme GT Master Edition

Sure, you have staples like Facebook, Messenger, and Netflix installed. But for every single one of those you get crap folders like Hey Fun, Hot Games, and Hot Apps. Yes, you can remove them, but it’s just inconvenient.

Speaking of inconvenient, that’s the only word I can think of to describe the App Market. Yes, it’s the same one found on some OPPO phones. It’s a hassle to have to go to the Google Play Store to install an app, but then have that same app go through the App Market for some security check before you can launch it.

I tried to figure out how to remove that extra App Market layer but eventually lost patience. This might be a minor inconvenience for some, but it is an inconvenience, nevertheless.

realme GT Master Edition

What sucks most is that these weren’t present in previous realme devices we reviewed. The realme UI is relatively clean, so this amount of bloat was a bit of a shock to my system.

Smooth despite the annoyance

I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I hated my time with the realme GT Master Edition. Despite the largely annoying additions when you fire up the device, it remains pretty smooth for whatever you want to do with it.

For me, that’s some casual browsing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as mindlessly scrolling on TikTok before bedtime. I didn’t really do any work tasks on it other than using chat apps for coordinating with teammates and external partners.

realme GT Master Edition

STAYC’s “Stereotype” is stuck in my head

Of course, I also snuck in some Netflix time in there for good measure.

realme GT Master Edition

I’ve been busy so I haven’t caught up to Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha

Most of my game time was also spent playing Marvel Future Revolution — which is the only other game on mobile I can tolerate other than Call of Duty: Mobile.

realme GT Master Edition

Glad to find another mobile game I can somewhat enjoy

I usually play after having lunch or breakfast to finish a mission plus a few sidequests. That takes about 20-30 minutes. The phone performed admirably while displaying fantastic graphics. It did heat up but nowhere near an alarming point.

It can go up as high as 120Hz for the refresh rate, but my personal recommendation is to stick with the default adaptive setting. This way, the phone will identify the best refresh rate for each app and will help conserve battery life.

realme GT Master Edition

realme UI looks just like ColorOS mildly reskinned

Speaking of battery life, this one’s right around what you would expect as well. It can last up to a day and a half for light to moderate usage, and one day for moderate to heavy usage.

Cameras, image processing is fantastic

Most realme midrangers have pretty good cameras. In fact, I even convinced one of my friends to buy a realme phone simply by showing a few sample photos. The realme GT Master Edition is no different. So I’m gonna do the same thing and just drop some samples here.

Food photos

Portrait

Filters 

Night

Indoors

Zoom 

Daylight

I don’t really have much to say in this section. I’m not the type who over analyzes the photo output. What I do know is that you’ll have a generally pleasant time snapping with the realme GT Master Edition.

It captures a good amount of detail, the image processing isn’t too aggressive, and the zoom performed so much better than I expected. Just be wary about using certain features in low light situations. For example, Portrait mode, that’s best when you have plenty of natural light.

If realme is selling you on this phone’s sheer photography prowess, it has every right to do so. It delivers as advertised.

Is this your GadgetMatch? 

realme GT Master Edition

I wouldn’t call the realme GT Master Edition a disruptor, but it’s certainly one of the best devices in this category. My only real gripe is the bloatware but other than that, it’s pretty excellent considering price and performance.

realme could have taken a few steps to make sure this is a 100 percent easy recommendation. But even as it is now, it’s still a product worth your consideration if you’re in the market for a capable smartphone.

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