Her GadgetMatch

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”]

Accessories

How to wear green: Autumn’s most underrated color

Some tips on how you can subtly incorporate green to your looks this season

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Despite everything I see on fashion editorials and on my feed, it’s always this time of the year when I become obsessed with green.  When I think of fall, colors of rustic countryside and foliage come to mind. I imagine deep but vibrant hues — earth tones like rust, mustard, a deep red, and the entire brown spectrum.

This is why there’s no more perfect time to add green pieces to your looks than during autumn to winter — it’s not anyone’s go-to. Here are some tips on how you can subtly incorporate green to your looks this season:

Play it safe with olive

If emerald green is too much for you to pull off, start with moss, olive, or army green first. It’s almost like wearing a neutral but it still adds a hint of color to your outfit. A parka in this color is an easy choice that will go well with a lot of casual outfits. For when you want to look a little bit more dressed up, try wearing a mini bag in this shade.

The girl in the green scarf

Adding a splash of color to a neutral outfit with accessories is the easiest trick to pull off on anyone’s styling book. Make a green accessory the focal point of an otherwise ordinary everyday look. If you have a signature styling item, get it in an emerald green color. I’ve been obsessing over silky scarves lately. I wear them with my ponytail, as a headband, or on my purse.

New phone, new color

If you’re due for a smartphone upgrade, get a new color option instead of black. A lot of smartphones this year come in a new shade of green, including the new iPhone 11 Pro. Like a statement necklace, it can be a great focal point for your outfit. When there’s already too much going on with your look and you’re not confident enough to pull off color blocking, it’s best to cover it up with a neutral case that matches your purse and shoes.

Go green, all-green

Here’s yet another tonal dressing suggestion. While I love an all-nude look to stand out in a sea of tans and blacks this season, all-green is my next go-to — and it’s probably my favorite. It’s what started my love affair with tonal dressing to begin with. An all-green outfit is not as feminine as nude, but it’s just sophisticated. It’s not as much of a statement as wearing red from head to toe, but it will stand out just as much in a sea of blacks and tans.

Green was never something I would wear growing up; my teenager self never saw it to be flattering or versatile. Age changed that. It’s still a tricky color to wear — especially the bolder, more vibrant shades — but when styled right, it can be the most polished look you’ve pulled off in a long time.


HOW TO WEAR SERIES

How to wear red: 3 stylish pairings to try

How to wear pink: 4 ways to look chic and grown-up

How to wear nude: The perfect summer to fall transition


SEE ALSO

5 ways to instantly elevate your look

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Cameras

The instax Mini 9 comes with a retro craft bundle for the holiday season

For all your scrapbooking dreams

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The holiday season is here!

If you’re still struggling in coming up with a gift idea, Team Instax might have just curated one for you. Fujifilm partnered with Craft Easy to create the instax Mini 9 Craft Kit.

The craft kit comes with a unique, retro tin box that comes in five colors — each with an accompanying message and particular design. Inside you get a Mini 9 camera, a pack of film, as well as crafting materials including wooden clips, washi tapes, and a set of fun stickers. This special bundle could be a great gift for only PhP 4,499 (US$ 89).

instax Mini 9

The instax Mini 9 is an instant camera that lets you take better selfies that you can print thanks to the built-in selfie mirror placed next to its lens. There’s also a close-up lens attachment if you want to photograph your subjects closer. Lighting can easily be adjusted, too, with its brightness adjustment dial. To operate the camera, you only need two AA size alkaline batteries. Happiness is just one click away!

The Mini 9 is available in Flamingo Pink, Ice Blue, Lime Green, Cobalt Blue, and Smoky White. The camera retails for PhP 3,999. It’s available at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide.

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Her GadgetMatch

Huawei Nova 5T: The phone that lets you be independent

What she needs in life are tools that help her just be who she is

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The modern woman is preoccupied with a lot of things: work, spending quality time with family and friends, learning new skills, self-care, maybe even finding romance. She has a lot going on, so what she needs in life are tools that help her just be who she is.

When it comes to smartphones, the Huawei Nova 5T is a phone she can rely on. With its super fast fingerprint unlock and 8GB of memory, she won’t need to do any more waiting than she already does in her day to day.

Having 128GB of storage, she can take as many photos and videos as she wants. And the flagship Kirin 980 processor assures her that she can do anything she ought to do and multitask like the career woman that she is. No compromises here.

Who says a girl needs an Instagram boyfriend? The 32MP selfie camera on the Huawei Nova 5T lets her take wide-angle and beautiful selfies and outfit shots all on her own, without having to rely on anyone else. And those cameras at the back give her professional-like photos, too. No more boring photos.

The modern woman hustles and stays connected and the Nova 5T can stay on with her for for as long as she needs it to be. When it runs out of juice, it gets up to 50% in just 30 minutes.


This feature was produced in collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.

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