Last month, I flew to China for the OPPO R11s launch and got to spend time with the near-borderless smartphone. In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out the international R11s, and this is my verdict.
The R11s is a follow-up to the R11 released last June. In this review, I’ll talk about my experience with the device and answer tough questions like: Is this R11 update worth it? How does the phone perform? Are the cameras better? What’s the point of a “Starry Sky” screen?
I also tackle the R11’s AI beauty mode because I like taking selfies and the world needs more beauty mode reviews.
Painting the town red
Our OPPO R11s unit came in deep red. I like this color option as it perfectly matches this season’s festive theme. In fact, the red all-metal body matches a lot of things: Ruby Woo lipstick, Dorothy’s ruby slippers, my hair, my heart ❤️… the list goes on.
The R11s also comes in black or champagne for those of who like less daring options. However, unique to the red version is what OPPO calls the “Starry Sky” screen — that black to red gradient on the phone’s front which makes for a seamless transition from the bezel to the body.
This “Starry Sky” screen sans actual stars ⭐️ is one of my favorite near-borderless design features. The subtle gradient is a nice identifying detail in the present sea of bezel-less devices that, more or less, all look similar up front.
Speaking of bezel-less devices, their onslaught has made bezelled phones look dated — the R11 included. The R11s fixes that.
This new screen has an 18:9 aspect ratio — which basically means the view is taller or wider, depending on which orientation you use the phone in. Other than that, the screen should be the same as the R11’s with the same color, brightness, and durability. All these things I can attest to, except for the durability, because I’m not dropping these phones on purpose just to check.
What’s on the inside
Of course, with great screens come great responsibility — and certain sacrifices in the form of the loss of capacitive buttons and the fingerprint scanner up front. Said scanner has been demoted and moved to the back.
Admittedly, I initially hated the idea of having the scanner on the phone’s rear. I had to flip my phone over or lift it up from the table (yeah, all that work, shocking!) to unlock, as opposed to just tapping with a finger like I used to do when the scanner was up front. But, I eventually got used to it and it helped that the fingerprint scanner on this thing was pretty quick and accurate.
The R11s also has facial unlock technology which works well when lighting is good, but is a bit unreliable in less than ideal lighting scenarios. The phone doesn’t recognize me half of the time when I’m wearing glasses which is a bit weird since the phone would unlock even when my eyes were closed. (Beware y’all with snoopy partners!)
Unlock times were good at less than a second, though I’ve seen other devices do better.
With a midrange Snapdragon 660 processor, this phone is pretty capable. For the benefit of those who don’t deal well with specs, all this means is that you can pretty much do gaming…
… or more importantly, use Snapchat AR on this device without any trouble.
The R11s runs on OPPO’s ColorOS 3.2 which is basically the Android version of Apple’s iOS — I say that because the interface looks very much like an iPhone’s.
Battery capacity is at 3200mAh which lasts me a whole day and frees me from the burden of lugging around a power bank. The bad news? It still uses a micro-USB port! Back to more good news: It has VOOC charging, OPPO’s version of fast charging, and it only takes around an hour and twenty minutes from zero to a full charge. All this power in my hands! ✨
With dual cameras on the rear, the R11s’ main selling point is that both shooters (16 and 20 megapixels) have wide apertures of f/1.7 which will allow more light to get in and make for even better low-light performance.
Of course, I tested that premise. I busted out the R11 whose dual shooters also feature 16- and 20-megapixel cameras, but with apertures of f/1.7 and f/2.6 (f/2.6 means smaller aperture which equates to less light). There was definite improvement. See for yourself:
The rear cameras are also equipped with a beauty mode built into the portrait mode. Perfect for shots like this…
… or this…
… and even group shots like this where everyone looks all cute and fresh, you don’t even realize someone is doing the cheers with jam. *cough* Chay *cough*
The front-facing shooter is a 20-megapixel camera. This camera’s beauty mode has integrated artificial intelligence. What does that mean? Simply that it uses machine learning to enhance your features and remove blemishes without looking too artificial — a qualm I’ve always had with OPPO’s beauty mode. With AI beauty mode, the phone gives you great selfies without blurring out actual facial features. Think along the lines of getting that fresh #NoMakeUp look (you girls know what I’m talking about! ?) every time, all the time, without actual makeup. See below:
Here are a few more photos (and a sneak peek of my life) from the R11s.
Is the OPPO R11s your GadgetMatch?
Although there’s still space for improvement when it comes to facial unlock technology, OS interface, and the micro-USB port, I still enjoyed this phone. Admittedly, there are faster, snappier, and more responsive phones I’ve tried out, but all my needs — funny games, Snapchat, VSCO and Adobe Lightroom photo editing — were met by the R11s. If you prioritize smartphone photography, selfies, and your Instagram feed, this may be the phone for you. I had way too much fun shooting selfies on this.
With these slight but impactful improvements, the R11s is definitely a better phone over the R11. Especially because it retails for the same price as the R11 when it was released: CNY 2,999 (around US$ 450) for black and champagne versions. The special red handset retails at CNY 3,199 (around US$ 480).
It seems these selfie experts are well on their way to becoming more than just that. In the meantime, I enjoy their efforts, my near flawless selfies, and all the pretty portraits I can shoot.
[irp posts=”15495" name=”OnePlus 5 vs OPPO R11: Side-by-side Comparison”]
Home appliances that fit your pastel, feminine aesthetic
Nowadays, it’s not that difficult to marry your aesthetic with technology that fits your needs. No, I’m not just talking about phones and personal gadgets here but appliances that make life much easier.
I still remember back in Spring of 2017 when we just moved to Berlin and we were still putting our kitchen together. I wanted some pastel colors in the kitchen. This, to make cooking a fun activity even in my busiest of days and in the dead of winter. It was hard to find anything that matched my palette that also fit our budget.
Looking through this year’s IFA, we were given a glimpse of what’s now available in the market and what’s to come. Let’s just say, you won’t be stuck with just two options. So if you’re looking for appliances that fit your feminine aesthetic without having to sacrifice technological advancement, we got you covered.
SMEG: Retro Chic
A touch of color and retro feels that can make any Instagram feed happy. Their fridge is a classic and the design is something we are definitely familiar with. For functionality, it does tend to be basic but if you’re someone who wants something that is a straight-up fridge with not much frills, then this would be perfect.
You get ample space that can fit a small family’s needs for a week but it’s not a fridge I would recommend if you’re someone who likes to store food much longer than that. And let’s face it, why would you? You’d just forget about it anyway. Might as well get to them at their best state.
The price tag for a SMEG fridge here in Berlin start at about EUR 1,000 (US$ 1,107). If that’s pretty steep for you, the brand offers other items for your kitchen that come in pretty pastels as well. Something you can get for now while you save up for that fridge. From electric kettles, juicers, toasters, blenders and even mixers that can be a serious threat to Kitchenaid looks-wise, SMEG offers products that can still fit your budget despite its premium status.
What’s impressive is their dishwasher that comes in such a gorgeous shade of Cadillac pink. Despite the retro look, it comes with various modes that any modern homemaker will be happy about. Five programs that even cover your crystal plus five quick versions of each. For all those times when you get unexpected guests and you just need your dishes stat.
Bosch: For the Fickle Minded
We’ve all been there — waking up one day and just wanting to redecorate the whole apartment, wanting a fresh look for all the fresh starts we keep having. But if you decided on a bright red two years ago for your fridge, how in the world will it fit your new, much more relaxed, pastel aesthetic?
No worries, Bosch has the Vario fridge. The first fridge that was designed to be re-styled whenever you want and whatever your color your mood dictates. As long as it fits in their 24-color palette which, come to think of it, already feels like more than enough.
Prices in Germany start at EUR 1,279 inclusive of the standard grey fridge with a pair color panels. Extra panels come at EUR 179 for a pair.
Another thing we definitely enjoyed at the Bosch pavilion at IFA was the CookIt. It may not come in pretty pastel colors but it does come in white – which will definitely go with your colored pieces. The food processor and multicooker in one is definitely a game-changer in the kitchen that it got a GadgetMatch Best of IFA Award.
Samsung: Personalized Elegance
The first in their line of customizable appliances, Samsung introduced their BESPOKE refrigerator line. Not only do you get to choose the colors of your fridge, you also get to design how the modular configuration of the fridge can fit into your kitchen.
From the size, material, the number of doors, handle position, and the way it will all fit in your space, everything is decided by the customer. Choosing the configuration and colours for the fridge also come as an experience for the customer. A screen that immediately lets you see how it will look like in your own (or dream) kitchen wasn’t just convenient, it was fun to use as well.
A choice between nine colors also gives you the power to give each fridge door a different color. Another recipient of the Best of IFA award here at GadgetMatch, the Samsung BESPOKE refrigerators are rumored to come out mid-2020 here in Germany and we obviously can’t wait.
How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition
Look chic this transitional season with a color you most probably have in your closet
The combination of cool breeze and sunny skies can only mean one thing: summer isn’t completely over but autumn is almost here. Dressing during this transitional season can be tricky — sweaters and boots can still be too warm during the day, yet the wind can easily blow your favorite summer dress up.
And then there’s color. Summer whites and bright colors have to slowly start taking a back seat to give way to fall’s earthy tones. My go-to during this summer-to-fall transition is a closet staple all of us should already own: nude. All 50 shades of it. Here are some styling tricks you can take note of before heading out this month of September:
Layer with linens
There are very few things more comfortable than linen during the summer. On days when temperatures fluctuate more than usual, wearing layers with a linen piece can be your go-to. Combine it with something warmer like a cotton sweater. You can also throw a blazer on top if the weather permits.
Slip into a slip dress
Who says you need to give your slip dresses a break this season? You can keep wearing those silk pieces as you transition into fall with a warm turtle neck sweater underneath or over it to turn it into a skirt.
Keep calm and carry the mini bag
Mini bags may be the it accessory this summer, but it doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to keep using them. Neutrals like nude will work with your outfit when styled appropriately for the season, even when the item is no longer trendy.
Power dress with an extra long coat
Sweating underneath a powerful outfit is neither attractive nor commanding. Power dressing when it’s hot and humid out is not easy, especially when getting to work involves a lot of walking or subway rides. During this summer-to-fall transition, you can bring that light-colored coat from spring and wear it over your work outfit when needed. Plus points if your smartphone (or its case) doesn’t ruin the look, but actually matches with it.
There are many other ways to survive the summer-to-fall transition as stylishly as possible, but there’s nothing like sticking to pieces you most probably already have in your wardrobe — and styling them for the season — instead of buying more pieces that you won’t be able to wear until next year. There is, for sure, something nude in your closet that’s begging to be worn. It’s a staple that works with almost anything, may it be summer or fall.
HOW TO WEAR SERIES
Elodie unicorn diffuser: Adorable lamp and humidifier for your baby’s nursery
Keep cold and flu viruses at bay with this super cute unicorn humidifier
Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to sickness-causing bacteria that thrive in dry air so it is important for parents to be aware of the humidity level of their homes. This is why a diffuser is an essential item in many moms’ checklists, including mine, to add healthy moisture to every home.
A humidifier, night light, and a cute unicorn accessory all-in-one — the Elodie Unicorn LED Diffuser 2.0 by Smoko makes a perfect addition to your baby’s nursery.
“It can continuously change colors on its own if that’s the magical show that you wish to achieve.”
How it works
Using ultrasonic vibration technology, the machine breaks its water particles into cool mist. The amount of mist that comes out of its golden horn depends on the humidity, temperature, and air flow in your room.
Its full tank capacity of 200ml should last for up to 6-8 hours although it only lasted for 4 hours, in my case.
You can choose to set the duration to one hour, two hours, or to stay on until the machine automatically shuts off when it is out of water. The water tank is pretty big which allows for easy refill.
This unicorn can also light up with 8 different colors: red, violet, blue, light blue, green, yellow, white, pink. It can continuously change colors on its own if that’s the magical show that you wish to achieve.
It’s important to regularly clean any diffuser to prevent the buildup of mold. With Elodie, maintenance is a piece of cake.
Just empty the tank after 5-6 uses and wipe with a clean, soft, and damp cloth. If you choose to use essential oils, you’ll want to clean the tank before using a different one.
When not in use, just keep the tank dry. You wouldn’t want idle water to attract bugs or insects.
Is it any good?
At US$ 65, this isn’t some smart high-tech humidifier, but it does the job of doing exactly what I need it to do: add moisture to the nursery I’m building for my baby, and more.
It also doesn’t make any noise, neither does it leak nor scatter water droplets. It’s simple but with added unicorn cuteness other diffusers don’t have.
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