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OPPO R11s review: Midrange selfie powerhouse

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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.

OPPO R11s and the beauty of the “Starry Sky” screen (top) vis a vis the normal near-borderless screen of the OPPO F5 (bottom)

Speaking of bezel-less devices, their onslaught has made bezelled phones look dated — the R11 included. The R11s fixes that.

OPPO R11s (left) and its slimmer bezels vis a vis the OPPO R11 (right)

 

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…

Me playing Pocket Mortys on the R11s (Help me, I’m stuck on this level!)

… or more importantly, use Snapchat AR on this device without any trouble.

My Bitmoji is better than your Bitmoji

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! ✨

Picture perfect

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.

SEE ALSO: OPPO R11s hands-on and photo comparisons

SEE ALSO: OPPO R11 hands-on and photo comparisons

[irp posts=”15495″ name=”OnePlus 5 vs OPPO R11: Side-by-side Comparison”]

Her GadgetMatch

Lumos Candle is a real candle that lights up with a press of a button

Because why not?

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Technology these days have no doubt reached unimaginable heights. From talking refrigerators to robot dogs, we’ve seen a lot of weird but amazing things. But, nothing will prepare you for the mind-blowing, but probably useful innovation one Korean company brings to the table. These are Lumos Candles.

They may look like your typical candles — and they are — except with one press of a button, they light up.

That’s right. No need for matches, or lighters. With one touch, actual flame ignites on the candle’s wick.

Lumos credits “the principle of electric discharge” for this tech, but I’m still not entirely sure what that means. All I know is that this candle can actually light up with one quick press and I am losing my mind.

Since it’s a real candle, it does get spent. But, you can simply replace it with a refill candle and you are ready to get lit (pun intended)!

The pad, on the other hand, is charged via a micro-USB cable. One charge cycle is good for four months if you use it four times a day.

The handmade soy candles are made without paraffin and come in a variety of scents which include vanilla, lavender, and even fresh cotton.

The candles ship out November of 2018, and the basic starter pack with two candles and a pad is priced at US$ 58. Check out Lumos’ Indiegogo page here.

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Mighty music player: Is this what replaces the iPod in 2018?

Why this music player is still relevant

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Today’s time sees the extinction of all other devices as the smartphone becomes the one machine that can do everything. But, what if we don’t want to do it all? What if what you need is something that’s so simple it only does (gasp!) one thing?

Music and only music

This is the premise of the Mighty music player. At a time when iPods have all but died, there’s a demand for a simple machine that’ll allow us to listen to our music without the hassle of having to bring our phones. This tiny device can do that and in updated 2018 terms — yep, it plays streaming music from your Spotify account no matter where you are.

The Mighty music player is a tiny device, no bigger than what iPod Nanos used to be. This small thing will definitely fit in whatever purse you bring.

Its face is all buttons and a tiny LED light. On the back is a simple clip.

There’s only one port on this thing, an audio port that’s used for both charging and earphones on the top side.

Play sounds

Mighty works by accessing your Spotify account. Unlike iPods that stored music data, this thing just streams playlists from the app. You’d need to download the Might app, connect your player, and pick playlists to be copied before you can get down to actual fuss-free listening.

Once that’s done, you can take your Mighty anywhere and play your music anywhere — or at least, the playlists you’ve downloaded on to Mighty. Take note that as of now, you can only copy playlists and not artists, albums, or anything else.

Imagine all the possibilities. You can now go to the gym without any alerts or distractions; take that jog outside without having to worry about carrying your smartphone! Heck, you can even zone out on your commute without having to fiddle around your bag to find your phone and play that song you’re in the mood for.

In today’s technology-tangled time, things are just getting more complicated and we’re just given more and more tasks and distractions. The Mighty player brings you back to simpler times. Well, simpler times where music streaming and Spotify exist!

Think about it: Uninterrupted sounds without having to worry about carrying your phone, message alerts that come in, or phone battery time. Isn’t that the dream?

Mighty says it’s the reality.

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Her GadgetMatch

Millennial parenting and the need for baby domain names

Parenting in 2018!

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Parenting in 2018 has certainly changed from when our parents did it. Millennials, most of which are digital natives, now have different priorities and considerations when it comes to naming their kids. Just how different? Well…

Image credit: GoDaddy

That’s right. According to a GoDaddy survey, domain names now play a big role in what parents consider when naming their child!

General sentiments have also changed. The same survey cites 48 percent of millennial parents, almost double the number of Gen X parents, believe that online media presence early in life is important for their kid.

In fact, even before their babies could walk, they’ve probably been posted about online by their millennial parents.

This is unsurprising because this generation grew up online. In fact, 58 percent of millennials are reported to have created their first online profile between the ages of 10 and 17. 

Hence the willingness for millennial parents to help their children create their own websites! The reasoning is simple: Most millennial parents believe that this will help their child when it comes to jobs searches and college applications in the future.

Some parents even go as far as buying the domain even before the child’s birth. Top reasons for doing so include reserving the name for the future, to use an online baby book, and lastly, to utilize the domain as a tool to teach their kid about the internet.

GoDaddy trends expert Melissa Schneider explains, “It’s no longer enough to make sure that your baby is enrolled at the top elementary school at birth — parents today are claiming their child’s name and online identity to make sure that they’re set up for success down the line. More than ever, it’s essential to own your own identity on the internet, and millennials know that better than anyone else.”

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