Hands-On

OPPO R11s hands-on and photo comparisons

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Following the release of the OPPO R11 last June, it was announced earlier this month that a near bezel-less smartphone update was on the way. The OPPO R11s went on sale in China just three days ago, and I got to spend the last few days with it in Shenzhen.

OPPO R11s in red

Look and feel

If you’re a fan of the R11’s form factor, you’ll definitely be a fan of the R11s.

Girl holding OPPO R11s

It has almost the same size and finish as the previous release with a similar sleek metal body and premium feel. Except this time, there are a few key differences: The fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back and the screen is definitely bigger.

OPPO R11s starry night feature

This means less bezels, more display, and the disappearance of the capacitive buttons up front.

OPPO R11s all three available colors

Remaining buttons and ports are all in the same place: volume rocker on the top-right with the SIM tray and power button on the left. Speaker grilles, audio jack, and (alas!) micro-USB port are all at the bottom.

OPPO R11s with case

In true OPPO fashion, each unit comes with protection! The red R11s I got to try out had a special case in a matching color. The black and champagne versions only come with transparent cases.

A bigger screen!

The display is one of the bigger (literally) highlights of this device. With a new 6.01-inch screen and 18:9 viewing ratio, OPPO attempts to contend against other “borderless” phones.

OPPO R11s near borderless display

This means more text and photos without having to scroll…

OPPO R11s bigger screen

… and a wider view for your media consumption.

watching YouTube video on the OPPO R11s
The R11s is their second near-borderless release, following the OPPO F5 released in other Asian countries.

The selfie expert

Similar to the R11, the R11s is equipped with a 20-megapixel selfie shooter. On top of the filters and the bokeh mode, OPPO now has artificial intelligence built into the beauty mode.

Taking a selfie with ai beauty mode on the OPPO R11s

The AI beauty mode records 254 facial points and uses machine learning to take the best-possible selfie. Simply put, faces aren’t just blurred out to achieve that smooth look as most beauty filters are prone to doing. See here:

This means that selfies come out with you looking fresh and more natural.

OPPO tells us that this AI beauty mode will come to older OPPO smartphones in the form of an OS update. In the meantime, it’s only available on the F5 and the R11s.

Picture perfect with the rear cameras

The R11s packs two primary cameras on its back: 20- and 16-megapixel cameras, both with an aperture of f/1.7.

OPPO R11s red

Together, they’re capable of 2x zoom.

They also have a portrait and beauty mode with two zoom settings. Photos below were taken using both of those settings:

Here are a few more sample shots:

When shooting video on this thing, beauty mode is also available for both rear and front-facing cameras — a feature that I absolutely love.

Under the hood

A Snapdragon 660 processor, which is the latest upper-midrange Qualcomm chip, powers the R11s. It runs on Android Nougat and ColorOS 3.2 with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage (expandable up to 256GB), and a battery capacity of 3205mAh.

OPPO R11s rear cameras

On top of the fingerprint scanner, it’s worth noting that this device is equipped with facial unlock technology.

R11 vs R11s

When put side by side, the R11 and the R11s are almost the same size. Only the rear scanner makes the newer release distinct.

OPPO R11s side by side with the OPPO R11

Of course, up front, the bezels make all the difference.

OPPO R11s vs the OPPO R11

That bigger screen is crammed into a 5.5-inch body. Although technically, there are still bezels, the R11s is looking pretty good with this taller screen.

On top of the new near bezel-less display, the red version of the R11s features what is called the “Starry Sky” screen — that color gradient on the phone’s front as the black screen fades into the red body.

OPPO R11s vs OPPO R11

The insides of both phones are pretty much the same; nothing’s changed with the processor, memory, and storage capacities. The R11s, however, is equipped with an updated version of ColorOS which integrates the AI beauty mode. Another thing: Both rear cameras of the R11s have apertures of f/1.7, which wasn’t the case with the R11.

Initial thoughts

The R11s is definitely an improvement from the already capable R11. The AI beauty mode and the bigger display are features that one would surely want when shopping around for a new smartphone.

Girls taking selfies with the OPPO R11s

The handset we got to take for a spin was the Chinese version, though we were told that international versions are coming soon. As of now, the R11s retails in China at CNY 3,199 (around US$ 480) for the red variant, and CNY 2,999 (around US$ 450) for the black and champagne versions. They are expected to launch in the same markets where the R11 is available.

We’ll have to wait to get the international unit for a full review. But, if the original R11’s performance is any indication, the R11s could be a great phone — especially since it’s priced the same as the older R11 device as of release.

SEE ALSO: OPPO R11 hands-on and photo comparisons

[irp posts=”23498″ name=”OPPO’s massive R11s Plus launches alongside smaller R11s”]

 

Hands-On

The Huawei Nova 7 and Freebuds 3i is the perfect match

Some things are better in pairs

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Huawei is adding two new devices to their ever increasing portfolio. These are a phone and another TWS option — the Huawei Nova 7 and Freebuds 3i. 

The two devices share a common trait in that they offer flagship-level performance for less. More details on pricing and availability later on. For now, let’s talk about the devices.

Huawei Nova 7

The first noticeable thing about the Nova 7 is the design on its back, especially for the purple variant. It follows the Nova pattern introduced in the Nova 5T.

Since it’s laying face down, next thing you’ll notice is the quad-camera setup. It’s rocking a 64MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lens, and 2MP macro lens (which you probably wouldn’t and shouldn’t use).

Naturally, it has all the AI camera features and post processing found on Huawei phones. We haven’t tested the cameras but we’ll throw in a quick comparison with a similarly priced phone for the review.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can flip it over to reveal the 6.53” OLED display. For screen refresh rate junkies, you’re only getting 60Hz here — which is still fine. That OLED looks mighty fine on the eyes.

Inside, it’s powered by the new Kirin 985 SoC. It’s flagship-grade and has support for 5G. In the Philippines, Huawei is currently leading the market in terms of sheer number of phones with 5G.

They started in 2019 with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G and followed it up with the P40 Series. As of writing, Huawei also has the distinction of offering the most affordable flagship phone in the Philippines — the Huawei Nova 7 SE. 

As to the actual availability of 5G, that’s a topic for another article. But if you want some extra reading, here’s our 5G explainer.

Back to the phone, it has an 8GB + 256GB memory and internal storage combo. It also has a 4,000mAh battery with support for wired 40W Huawei SuperCharge. No wireless charging here.

First impressions 

We’ve been using the device for roughly a couple of days now and it’s been delightful to use for the most part.

If you’re salty about the lack of a higher refresh rate, I would say the vivid OLED display kind of makes up for it. Scrolling side-by-side a device with an IPS LCD screen but with a 120Hz screen refresh rate, it certainly feels less smooth. But what it “lacks” in fluidity is more than made up for by the crisp and vibrant display. Certainly crispier than any IPS LCD display.

In terms of general day-to-day use, it’s pretty stellar. We’ve noted on our OnePlus Nord review how good these midrange/upper-midrange SoCs have gotten and the Kirin 985 along with the RAM and the stability of EMUI 10.1 contributes to a hiccup-free experience.

App access is improved by the introduction of Petal Search. Type whatever app you need and you’ll be shown the source of the app. But you can download it directly from the Petal Search’s interface.

The phone is still without Google Mobile Services, so certain apps that require it like Google’s entire suite of apps, VSCO, Sound Hound, and others won’t work at all. Regardless, there are alternatives for all of these as we’ve noted in this App Gallery feature, and this video. 

Huawei Freebuds 3i

The Huawei Freebuds 3i is the Freebuds 3’s younger sibling. Like the Nova 7, we’ve had it for a couple of days and are blown away but how it performs.

It has ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) and this is something you notice right away as you put it on. The Freebuds 3i does this through the in-ear design and its three microphone system.

The stem design also isn’t just for show or to look like a certain competing TWS earphone. The stem acts as the microphone pick-up. We tested it on a few quick calls and the people on the other line noted that we sounded crystal clear.

It also has touch controls that are configurable through the Huawei AI Life app.

The perfect pair?

Huawei isn’t exactly packaging the two together. But since they’re launching at the same time, we used the two together and it’s quite a treat.

Like any first-party accessory, the Freebuds 3i is immediately detected by the Huawei Nova 7 making for a hassle free pairing.

The Nova 7 doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack so if you want to jump straight into the wireless life, pairing it with the Freebuds 3i is a good place to start.

Quick note: The Nova 7 does come with wired earphones along with a USB-C to 3.5mm converter in case you’re not yet ready to let go.

The listening experience, though, is elevated if you do decide to get the Freebuds 3i.

Pricing and availability

The Huawei Nova 7 will retail for PhP 23,990 (US$ 488). It comes in two colors: Midsummer Purple.

Like any recent Huawei releases, it comes with an array of freebies. The first 100 buyers will get a Huawei Watch GT2e, VIP Service, and Tresemmé Shampoo and Conditioner so you’ll look fly in your selfies.

There’s also a spezial offer. The first 5 customers who order the Nova 7 during the airtime of noontime show Eat Bulaga, you’ll get the Huawei Freebuds 3 for free.

If you don’t watch the show, there are other ways to snag a free Huawei Freebuds 3. Just make sure you order between July 31 to August 2, 2020 at these times: 12MN, 10AM, 2PM, 6PM, and 10PM.

Meanwhile, the Huawei Freebuds 3i will retail for PhP 5,990 (US$ 122) with a free case that has a mini lanyard. The Freebuds 3i comes in two colors: Ceramic White and Carbon Black.

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Hands-On

OnePlus Nord Unboxing & Hands On: Prepare to be surprised!

Could this be the new flagship killer?

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OnePlus goes back to its roots with an impressive sub-US$450 smartphone. Could this be the new flagship killer? This is our OnePlus Nord Unboxing & Hands-On.

The OnePlus Nord will retail for 399 EUR / 27999 INR (8/128GB model) when it launches in Europe and India on August 4th.

Other variants include a 12GB/256GB model (499 EUR / 29999 INR) and a special 6/64GB variant for India ONLY which will retail for 24999 INR.

In case the video isn’t working, click here.

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5 things we like about the realme Watch

A fitness band you won’t mind wearing in non-workout scenarios

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realme has been on a roll in expanding their product portfolio. They started with smartphones, added some earphones and powerbanks, and this year they have two wearables so far – the realme smartband and the realme Watch.

Today we’re listing some of the things we really liked about the realme Watch. Oh and quick note – most of this video was shot using the realme X3 SuperZoom.

Battery Life

Okay so, number one is battery life.

At the time that this was written, the Watch was at 52 percent and it has been seven days since the last time it was fully charged. If I use it more or less the same way I have in the past seven days, then it’ll be another week before it completely runs out of juice.

It’s definitely a plus when you don’t have to think about charging your watch too often.

Variety of workouts

At launch it can track 14 different workouts with good variety.

You have stuff like Running, Walking, Strength Training, Yoga and even sports like Football, Table Tennis, and Badminton.

The only “workout” I really got to try is walking, since I absolutely dread running — or any other form of exercise for that matter. But the fitness tracking was fairly accurate for the most part.

I was dying to try basketball since that’s the only workout I truly enjoy. Unfortunately the courts are still closed because in case you forgot, the Coronavirus is still very much out there taking lives and we are totally not winning that battle.

Casual fit

If it’s just your regular trip to the grocery store, then this watch will suit you just fine.

Perhaps, you can also wear this on regular work days if you’re required to report onsite. Point is, since it doesn’t look like a fitness band. You can probably get away with wearing it in most casual situations.

Remote camera

This one was particularly useful for when I was making this video.

The remote camera camera works for both photo and video. And for photos, it can be set to either take the snap right away or with a timer.

Very convenient if, like me, you’re forever alone, and need or want photos of yourself.

Water reminder

For you thirsty folks out there, it also has a water reminder option that you can turn on using the realme link app.

You can set a time period when you should be reminded, as well as the frequency of the reminder. I didn’t exactly follow this all the time since I sorely lack discipline, but it’s nice to have that constant reminder.

Is the realme Watch worth buying?

To properly set your expectations, you’ll need to think of the realme Watch as more of an enlarged fitness band versus an actual Smart Watch, since most of its features are geared towards health and fitness.

And if you look at it, it’s… okay. Not really something you’d want to show off.

Underneath the display there’s this subtle realme branding that could’ve been smaller or they could’ve totally done away with. That might have helped with the overall look a little bit.

The watch faces are also limited at launch, but realme emphasized that a wide variety of choices is coming soon.

For PhP 3990 (US$ 81), you get a fitness band that you wouldn’t mind wearing in non-workout scenarios. I think that’s the primary benefit that you get, for paying around twice the price of a regular fitness band.

In case the video isn’t working, watch it here.

SEE ALSO: realme X3 SuperZoom, realme Watch price in the Philippines

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