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”]
Taylor Swift and Katy Perry made up and Twitter is not calm
Peace at last
Pop queen and LGBT ally Taylor Swift just dropped the music video for her new pop anthem You Need to Calm Down and unsurprisingly, the fans cannot calm down. The star-studded video features queer icons like Laverne Cox, Ellen de Generes, Adam Rippon, and Queer Eye’s Fab Five living their fabulous lives despite the anti-gay protests in front of them.
The surprise that shook us and the internet, albeit many eagle-eyed speculated last week, is a Katy Perry cameo.
me explaining my friends
all of the details of and family
the katy/taylor situation
and how there has to
be a collab coming pic.twitter.com/8dcbEjAiWA
— allison 🎈 (@taysbadrep) June 12, 2019
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the two pop stars had a years-long public feud that eventually ended when Katy extended an olive branch last year, by sending Taylor an actual olive branch.
A happy meal 🍔 🍟 💗 pic.twitter.com/hPAbOZEsKF
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 17, 2019
The music video is their first public reunion, and Katycats and Swifties all over are having a Twitter party:
— ale 🏳️🌈 (@alelovescamila) June 17, 2019
— miks💗 (@elis926) June 17, 2019
We’ll tell all our grandchildren one day.
— Camille® (@HerWonkEye) June 17, 2019
— sarah🍓 (@thelasttay) June 17, 2019
Can’t calm down.
— 🅰 (@bonapetitbaby) June 17, 2019
Anyone having an awful year so far can relate.
Taylor Swift and Katy Perry just singlehandedly saved 2019 https://t.co/HrU8yb5jwF
— Should’ve Said Noah (@noahlevy13) June 17, 2019
Took the words out of my mouth.
— EdK. (@edmondkirsch) June 17, 2019
— Ghem (@GhemKurt) June 17, 2019
War is over, if you want it.
Taylor Swift and Katy Perry just ended homophobia, poverty and the World War III. Icons and queens of gays. #YNTCDmusicvideo
— 🔥🦅 (@feliperodrigoc) June 17, 2019
— Yap Teck Loong 🇲🇾🦋 L💖VER (@YTL_2000) June 17, 2019
Give us what we need!
WE NEED A FCKING COLLAB😭 pic.twitter.com/Ky5KbovUbY
— niko (@nikodizon_) June 17, 2019
There are many important moments in the whole video but this one featuring drag queens as this era’s pop queens is for everyone who take pleasure in pitting women against each other.
THIS SCENE HAS JUST ENDED ANYONE WHO THINKS THEY CAN COMPARE OR START WARS OR TRY AND TEAR DOWN ANY OF THE POWERFUL WOMEN OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, SO THANK YOU NEXT #YNTCDmusicvideo pic.twitter.com/3M1C2EMkIe
— “omg, lucy HIIIIIII” (@starbeamswift) June 17, 2019
5 coolest Airbnb places you can rent in Tagaytay
For when you want to escape Manila’s heat
Tagaytay is one destination you can visit when you’re looking for a weekend getaway. It’s popular for its cold weather, picture-worthy cafes, and an overlooking view of Taal Volcano, the world’s smallest active volcano. In addition, it’s just a two-hour drive away from Manila.
If you’re planning to stay in this city for a couple of days, here are our top five Airbnb rentals:
Dalton’s Lakeview Point
Dalton’s Lakeview Point is a stylish, modern-themed Airbnb. It’s spacious enough to fit groups up to six people, and its artistic interior design gives you that cozy and calming feeling. Stay here when you want a refreshing view of Taal Lake.
Couples might enjoy staying at Nordic Jewel, a Scandinavian-inspired Airbnb located in Tagaytay Prime Residences. Despite being small, every corner is Instagrammable. If that doesn’t convince you, let me tell you this: Small spaces make you closer with a person. Now go and have a good time with the love of your life!
Unit 217, Tower 1, Wind Residences
Even though it looks like a hotel room, Unit 217 in Tower 1, Wind Residences exudes an elegant, contemporary vibe. Its yellow accents give life in this Airbnb’s dominantly black and white design, and its patio invites you to relax and take a peek outside. This is perfect for those who want to feel that hotel vibe with a touch of the usual bed and breakfast.
Chalet de Tagaytay
If you want to retreat from the hustle-bustle of life, Chalet de Tagaytay is a rustic Airbnb that oozes privacy. Perched on a mountainside, it has the perfect view of Taal Lake for when you want to contemplate about life. Take the time to forget the world and your problems, and just relax during your stay.
Windsor Vacation House
Windsor Vacation House is the perfect place for get-togethers. It’s spacious enough to let everyone have their own space, and every corner is definitely picture-worthy. Next time you have an occasion to celebrate, bring your families and friends here for a wonderful experience. It can comfortably fit people up to 12 people, and it’s guaranteed you’ll make new memories with a beautiful Airbnb like this!
4 reasons the new Instax Mini LiPlay is perfect for any occasion
Small but packed with features
Fujifilm recently announced their new hybrid instant camera, the Instax Mini LiPlay. It’s the newest addition to the company’s lineup of Instax instant cameras and by far the smallest and most lightweight in its series.
Despite being small, it’s packed with features that every girl would love to have in different situations. Here are the reasons why:
1. You get to celebrate occasions in a special way
The Instax Mini LiPlay is not your typical instant camera. It comes with an LCD so you can review photos you’ve captured, and choose which one to print.
It also has a “Sound” button which is capable of recording up to ten seconds of audio. The Instax Mini LiPlay then converts the audio’s data into a QR code and adds it to the photo printed. Users can play and replay for at least a year by scanning the QR code. This function is perfect for adding greetings, songs, and other messages you’d love to share through the printed photo.
2. Definitely a travel companion
This hybrid instant camera is different compared to Fujifilm’s instant cameras. Its promise of being the smallest and most lightweight makes it an easy-to-carry travel-sized camera (that won’t take too much space in your bag).
In addition, solo and group travelers can enjoy the remote shooting feature, which remotely takes a photo and print it on the spot using your smartphone. Furthermore, it has a direct print feature so you can transfer your photos from your smartphone and print it using the instant camera’s film. Whatever device you use, the Instax Mini LiPlay is a travel companion you’ll love to bring anywhere you go.
3. For the times when you want to express yourself
If you love shooting flat lays or OOTDs, the Instax Mini LiPlay may be useful as a prop or as an accessory. It has a stylish design that matches your aesthetic, and it comes in three beautiful colors: Stone White, Elegant Black, and Blush Gold.
Moreover, it has an array of design frames. The camera comes with ten pre-installed frames, which you can select during or after taking a photo. When you download the free Instax Mini LiPlay app, you get to enjoy 20 additional design frames.
4. Enjoy taking photos wherever you go
Say goodbye to AA batteries that make you feel like you’re using a device from the early 2000s. The Instax Mini LiPlay uses micro-USB for charging and takes two to three hours to fully charge the device. Its battery can last up to 100 printed photos. Photos are also saved onto a microSD card so you can keep on shooting until your memory card is full!
The Instax Mini LiPlay is priced at PhP 9,999 and will be available around late June to early July in the Philippines.
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