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”]
Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire
Your survival guide to a crazy season
Buckle up, everyone! Mercury is in retrograde once again. In Astrology, this means the planet that governs technology, communications, and our very own thought processes spins backward. In our reality, it means doomsday is coming. (Kidding!)
When Mercury is in retrograde, flights and travels are usually delayed, people from the past pop back into our lives, communication systems break down, and our gadgets get into accidents or start malfunctioning.
More importantly, this season makes everything fluid. Nothing will be set in stone. Decisions are usually changed when the season ends, so it’s not a good time to sign contracts, schedule surgeries, have makeovers, launch a new project, or shop for electronic devices.
But fret not, this season shall pass. Here’s what you should do before, during, and after the Mercury retrograde.
Protect your gadgets and gizmos with trusty cases and accessories
Honey, this season makes us feel frustrated, agitated, and annoyed. Often, we’ll be rushing and getting into accidents. You might drop your phone on the toilet, break them, or forget them in a cab or restaurant. You gotta get yourself some strap to keep your phone with you at all times and dress them up with hard, shock-proof cases. Should they fall from your hands, you know they’re safe.
Back up your data, make sure it’s safe and secure
Okay, Jenny, listen up. Mercury in retrograde is the season where we lose important stuff moments before we actually need them. It can be your keys, card, or presentation for your next meeting. The point here is you should back up all necessary data. Flash drives might break, Google Drive and other forms of storage may not work properly at the time you need them. The next thing you know, your life is in shambles.
Another thing to worry about is security and privacy. This season is also the time when people’s secrets tend to get exposed, such as your affair with your best friend’s boyfriend or your intimate videos getting leaked in the deepest, darkest corner of the internet. Keep your reputation from being smeared!
Double-check what you type and say
Be careful with miscommunication, my dear. It’s normal to feel there’s chaos in your head since Mercury in retrograde disrupts our thought processes. We become forgetful and more prone to mistakes, so double check your typos before hitting send. In addition, think twice before voicing out your opinions and emotions. Take a deep breath, and think before you click. Your words are powerful. Once you’ve hurt someone with it, you can be forgiven but they’ll never forget.
P.S. Be mindful of what you post or tweet if you don’t want to get dragged on social media.
Keep your emotions in check and block your exes
If you haven’t blocked your exes until today, you need to re-evaluate your life, Susan. During this season, we barely use our logic and just follow our emotions. There might come a time where you want to send a seven-paragraph message to your ex, please don’t. You owe it to yourself to move on from the past and stop them from coming back to your life.
Oh, one more thing: Stay open to possible opportunities. Sure, Mercury in retrograde brings our past lovers back from hell, but they also bring in colleagues we’ve worked with. Most of the time, they want to work with us again. Additionally, this is a good time to reconnect with old friends. Seriously, this period isn’t that bad.
Be extremely flexible (not just in yoga but also in life)
If there’s one thing you can learn from this, it’s that life doesn’t always work out in our favor. It’s a reminder to always find a way. Be flexible and adaptable to every surprise that life brings. If we’re going to give in to our emotions, we already lost. Take a step back and reassess what’s happening, compose yourself and think of a solution. This is just another storm that’s passing by. You will overcome this.
Take a moment to slow down
Lastly, like any retrograde season, it’s a cue from the planets and the stars to slow down. We’re all rushing from one point to another, and we’re moving extremely fast. Planets spin backward to remind us that we need to look back and slow down to appreciate how far we’ve come, what we’ve been doing with our lives, and catch up on what we missed. Above all, it’s a reminder to rest. You’re doing well, my friend. I’m proud of you.
Dear Moms: 19 things you never thought you needed
A gift guide for every kind of moms
Whether you’re a mom looking for something to gift yourself or a grown-up scouring the web for a present for Mother’s Day, look no more. We rounded up things you never thought you or your mom actually needed, until you’ve read this article, of course.
All-in-one pet grooming kit and vacuum — Neabot P1 Pro
Whether you’re a fur parent or just a family who lives with cats and dogs, an all-in-one pet grooming kit and vacuum might solve your daily woes. The Neabot P1 Pro addresses grooming problems — eliminating messy pet hair, excessive noise, and cumbersome grooming tools.
Shop it on Amazon for US$ 160.
MagSafe charger for iPhone — Nomad BaseOne
Busy moms know the daily woes of being all over the place. Preparing a cup of coffee, tending to their child’s needs, chores, and so on. To make sure they stay connected and ready wherever they go, a MagSafe wireless charger that would complement any space might be a good gift for your mom. It looks great on a desk, bedside table — basically anywhere.
Shop it on Nomad’s website for US$ 99.
Modern leather case for AirPods Pro — Nomad English Tan AirPods Case
Give the gift of style through a modern leather case for your mom’s AirPods Pro. Its rich caramel tone enhances as it develops a patina, and it comes with a lanyard attachment point for an optional wrist strap. Probably so they won’t lose their AirPods against all the clutter inside their home.
Shop it on Nomad’s website for US$ 31.
Tracking accessory — Tile trackers
For when they lose their important stuff, help them locate things through tracking accessories like Tile that work either on iPhone or Android smartphones.
Indoor home security camera — Xiaomi Mi 360° Camera
When moms are always away or at work, give them the gift of peace of mind through an indoor home security camera like the Xiaomi Mi 360° Camera. Connected to an app, the security camera lets everyone in the household monitor their living spaces.
Shop the Xiaomi Mi 360° Camera for PhP 1,599 on Shopee.
Outdoor home security camera — EZVIZ C3N Outdoor Security WiFi Camera
Protect your homes and give the gift of security through an outdoor home security camera with night vision like the EZVIZ C3N. It detects human movements intelligently, lights up, and sends alerts. It also has a weatherproof design, bearing an IP68 certification.
Shop the EZVIZ C3N with a starting price of PhP 1,999 on Shopee.
Blue-light blocking glasses — Shigetsu CHIBA RadPro Eyewear
Protect your mom’s eyes and help them maintain a clear vision through these stylish, blue-light blocking eyeglasses from Shigetsu. They’re cheap, but they’re effective in blocking radiation and UV rays.
Secure a clear vision and shop the CHIBA RadPro Eyewear for PhP 324 on Shopee.
Smartphone grip — Popsocket
Having a tiny accessory that serves as a handle or even a stand for a precious smartphone might be one thing you never thought anyone would actually need. But for moms getting older, there’s a possibility of weakening their grip, which might cause them to drop their phones and accidentally break them.
Help them secure their devices. Shop Popsocket’s Black Phone Grip for US$ 10 on Amazon.
Tablet for multitasking — Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Moms are superheroes, able to multitask and get things done. Help them become more efficient in their activities and errands by giving them a powerful tablet to accompany them in their everyday lives. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 series comes in different sizes but is certainly one of the best Android tablets on the market right now.
Smart mug — Ember Mug 2
Give the gift of warmth by keeping their cup of coffee hot. Having a hectic life can cause a cup of coffee to turn cold when left on a desk, but the Ember Smart Mug 2 can maintain your desired drinking temperature for up to an hour and a half.
Home assistant — Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen)
Encourage navigating a smart home through the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) smart speaker. Let Alexa accompany the moms in running the household, and watch things get more efficient and connected.
Shop it for PhP 2,587 on Shopee.
Active noise-canceling headphones — Bose QuietComfort 45
Give them the gift of quiet through active-noise canceling headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 45. Let them pick up themselves and re-center through a moment of quietness after a long day of constant movement.
Night light — OPPLE LED Little Moon Night Light
For new moms, having a night light helps them sleep after a busy day. It also helps them take a glimpse of their little angels when they wake up or when they check them in the middle of the night.
Give the gift of light through OPPLE’s little night light for only PhP 129 on Shopee.
Air purifier — realme TechLife Air Purifier
Keep the air clean within your household! The realme TechLife Air Purifier helps everyone breathe easy with its ability to effectively filter air particles.
Give the gift of clean air for only PhP 4,590 on Shopee.
Self-cleaning robot vacuum — Dreame Bot W10
Cleaning should be quick and easy, especially in a smart home. The Dreame Bot W10 is a 3-in-1 sweep, mop, and wash vacuum cleaner that scrubs, washes, and dries its mop with the charging base.
Clean every corner effectively. Shop this self-cleaning robot vacuum cleaner for PhP 40,990 on Shopee.
Breast pump — imani i2 Plus
For new moms, this wearable breast pump lets you collect milk discreetly and hands-free. It’s so compact, that it can be worn inside a brassiere, and it doesn’t come with tubes or wires that create a wooshing sound in every pump. Moreover, it comes with a charging dock so you can store it neatly inside your home or office.
Give the gift of convenience through the imani i2 Plus wearable breast pump. Shop it for PhP 11,950 on Shopee.
Breastfeeding cover — Enfant Nursing Cover
Cleaning up stains can be quite exhausting after a long day. Lessen the household chore by using a breastfeeding cover.
Bouncer and rocker in one — Joie Dreamer Baby Bouncer
Why buy a rocker and a bouncer when you can have a cradler with both functions? The Joie Dreamer Baby Bouncer – Petite City is a compact cradler that rocks and bounces with a push or even when your little angels move.
Give the gift of comfort. Shop this bouncer-rocker for PhP 4,000 on Shopee.
UV sterilizer cabinet — Ecomom Eco 100 Dual Uv Sterilizer
Sterilize all your baby essentials with the Ecomom Eco 100 Dual Uv Sterilizer. It doesn’t use hot water to steam, so there is no risk of burns or water mess.
Dreame V12 Pro: Powerful cordless vacuum
Cleans even the tightest of spaces
When I moved out and transferred to my own place, one of the very first appliances I purchased was a vacuum cleaner.
I got an affordable one that is highly recommended in the Facebook Group Home Buddies, and it was okay. It does the job.
I use it more often than my normal household broom, so having a quality vacuum is a huge necessity for me.
When the Dreame V12 Pro came to my doorstep, I was ecstatic. I am sure any clean freak would feel the same — it’s a cordless, battery-powered vacuum with a whopping suction power of 32,000 pa. Definitely a total upgrade from my previous one.
As someone who cleans every day, I excitedly put this product to the test.
So many functions!
Dreame V12 Pro comes with a wide array of accessories upon unboxing. It’s my first time trying out a cordless vacuum, let alone a multi-functional one, so I was carefully reading the manual while using it for the first few days.
There’s a lot you can do with this powerful handheld vacuum cleaner – powerful enough to clean every corner of a whole unit.
For instance, it can easily suck the collected dust on my keyboard, thanks to the brush accessory. There’s also the anti-mite brush for sofa and beds (this is heaven-sent, especially for fur parents), and the rigid rectangular nozzle which integrates a LED light to clean stubborn dirt such as cobwebs.
For overall floor cleaning, the default suction brush is outstanding. It also comes with a 5-layer HEPA filter with 99% effective sterilization, which brings so much peace of mind especially that we’re still in a pandemic.
But don’t be intimidated; using the vacuum and trying all the attachments is actually as easy as pie. The Dreame V12 Pro has an easy lock function which requires less effort when detaching and shifting from one accessory to the next. It’s extremely handy and comfortable to use!
Very powerful suction
I mentioned earlier that it has a suction power of 32,000 pa. It’s one of the most competitive in the market, and is actually designed for deep cleaning. It can absorb micron-level dust, which makes it extremely powerful for both hard floors and carpets.
No worries, it uses smart adaptive technology so the suction level easily adjusts to the floor without worrying about overheating and your safety.
There was an instance that I accidentally dropped some condiments and a few rice pellets on the floor (I know, it was a clumsy day in the kitchen). I immediately got my Dreame V12 Pro to clean up the mess. My feet didn’t feel any evidence afterwards.
Another major problem for me is my tangled hair all over the room. A few weeks after using the product, there were less stands of hair on the floor, especially on areas not usually reached by a normal vacuum. I was enthralled.
I initially thought it will be great for large homes, but I highly recommend it for tight spaces. It has a high capability to remove dirt from every nook and corner.
The vacuum has three modes: Eco, Standard and Turbo. To save up on battery, I usually use the Eco mode with its good suction performance without taking too much battery energy. I sometimes switch to the Standard and Turbo mode during major cleaning days.
Elegant, user-friendly features
My least favorite thing about vacuums in general is having to empty the container. For me, it takes a lot of work especially because I keep on literally getting my hands dirty.
The Dreame V12 Pro features an easy to empty container and a simple grip mechanism that helps eject dirt without coming into contact with it. Additionally, the container has a huge capacity of 0.5L.
The product also features a trigger lock, which allows me to clean continuously and comfortably.
The high quality LCD screen (which is actually one of my favorite features) provides real-time info on the battery life, suction power, and filter status. It also displays the three user modes.
Is the Dreame V12 Pro your GadgetMatch?
All in all, the Dreame V12 Pro is a great household investment that will last for years. The vacuum has a light, ergonomic design and an elegant grey color that can blend with any shade of room interiors.
Am I satisfied with this vacuum upgrade? Hell, yes!
For PhP 23,990 (around US$ 460), you get a very compact vacuum cleaner with premium features that you can use in every situation. And again, it’s cordless. Check it out on the Dreame website here.
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