Hands-On

OPPO Reno 10x Zoom hands-on: Bold and beautiful

Would you spend this much on an OPPO phone?

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It seems like only yesterday when OPPO announced things we can expect from a flagship device that they committed to release in the second quarter of the year.

That time has come with the Reno’s arrival.


If you’re a fan, you’d know that Reno is not an existing product line from OPPO. It’s a new series that, according to the Chinese company, is the epitome of their creative vision and will serve as the catalyst for OPPO’s smartphone development for the next 10 years.

New design language

Central to this new series is a fresh design language. From the outside, you can already tell that this is unlike any other OPPO phone we’ve seen before.

At the back, everything is symmetrical, and the cameras do not protrude. Just below them is what OPPO calls the Protective O-dot. It’s a small ceramic bump that’s meant to elevate the phone ever so slightly, and protect the phone from surface marks.

The logo and small text that says “Designed by OPPO” are in an unusual orientation for a smartphone. But that’s because the Reno series is made primarily with photography and mobile entertainment in mind. In case you didn’t notice, the OPPO logo got an update as well.

The Reno comes in three variants: the standard model powered by a Snapdragon 710, the 10x Zoom that sports Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855, and the 5G model which is promised to come to Switzerland in May.

They will come in this beautiful matte finish called Ocean Green, as well as a glossy Jet Black finish.

While they all feature the new look, you can tell the 10x Zoom model apart through its bigger display, battery capacity, and the extra periscopic lens.

In front, you get an unobstructed 6.6-inch AMOLED display, topped with Corning Gorilla Glass 6. It has neither a hole nor a notch. OPPO says they minimized the size of the chin to achieve an even higher 93.1 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Switch to selfie mode and up pops what OPPO calls the Pivot Rising Camera. It rises at a maximum angle of 11 degrees in just 0.8 seconds. OPPO says the phone can survive up to 200,000 drops, as the camera automatically retracts whenever the phone is dropped.

In this pop-up module are the earpiece, front-facing soft light, and the 16MP front-facing camera. There’s also flash at the back.

However, what’s most impressive about the selfie camera isn’t the pop-up mechanism or the 11-degree angle; it’s the way the phone processes extremely backlit selfies. With other smartphones, backgrounds usually turn out overexposed. See how the Reno handles this scenario:

Triple camera threat

The selfie camera is just the tip of the iceberg, however. What you should really be paying attention to are the three cameras at the back: a 48MP primary shooter, an 8MP ultra wide-angle lens, and a 13MP periscopic telephoto lens. Both the primary and telephoto lenses are optically stabilized.

Using a prism, OPPO is able to minimize the thickness of the telephoto lens. The periscope structure of the lens uses 13 percent less space, so the camera module is only 6.76mm thick. Because of this setup, the Reno 10x Zoom can go up to 10x hybrid zoom, just as its name suggests.

Take a look at these sample photos we took around Zurich.

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The phone can also zoom in up to 20x, if you really want to get in closer. This is how it looks:

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The OPPO Reno 10x zoom also has Ultra Night Mode 2.0. Using a combination of a large sensor, fast aperture, and software magic, you can get better detail in low-light environments, and get rid of random lights that are not artsy enough to look like a lens flare.

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The Reno 10x Zoom’s low-light performance is not a surprise though, as OPPO’s midrange R17 Pro was also one of the best low-light cameras we tried last year.

Built to compete

The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom is a flagship device with flagship specs that can rival any top-of-the-line smartphone from 2019: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, up to 8GB RAM, and up to 256GB expandable storage.

OPPO emphasizes great gaming performance on this phone. With HyperBoost 2.0, the phone can avoid lag and touch performance issues.

It also uses three heat dissipation methods, including graphite sheets, copper pipe cooling tech, and thermal conductive grease paste to help control overheating when playing over longer periods of time.

We didn’t get to fully test this yet as our review unit is a Chinese version. But once we get an international unit, our full review will definitely include gaming performance.

The OPPO Reno 10x zoom also has a humongous 4065mAh battery which comes with faster VOOC 3.0 charging technology.

Speaking of faster, the in-display fingerprint scanner on the Reno 10x Zoom is one of the fastest we’ve used lately.

If that’s not your cup of tea, there’s still face unlock. Yep, even if the camera is hidden, it will pop up whenever you want to unlock the phone using face recognition. It also happens so fast you’d barely see the magic happen.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

OPPO’s Reno 10x Zoom definitely has what it takes to go against this year’s premium flagship devices: It’s beautiful, fully beefed up, and has cameras you can rely on. The new ColorOS is also refreshingly clean.

While the Reno 10x Zoom costs less than what most of its competition are sold for, at the end of the day, the decision to buy the phone solely boils down to whether you are actually willing to spend EUR 799 (US$ 895) on a phone from OPPO.

Automotive

2019 Hyundai Veloster Turbo: A Stylish Speedster

It’s your everyday sports car

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One of the biggest factors when buying a new car, apart from function, is how it looks. The impact of that first glance. Something that would make you look twice. Some of us have that desire to break the norm and it seems like Hyundai took note of this demand — and made it fast.

The grille is flanked with LED headlamps partnered with Daytime Running Lights.

The 2019 Hyundai Veloster is the second of its generation and now has a more assertive exterior than its predecessor. The most noticeable part? Its redesigned front grille. It now comes in this meshed pattern with sharper edges and, if you ask me, this alone gives the car a more aggressive presence.


Then we go to the rest of the exterior and we see those subtle lines that add to the sporty vibe of this vehicle. From the hood to the wheel arches — these accents make the Veloster look like it’s always moving.

At the back we also have this eye-catching pair of LED tail lamps plus a rear spoiler with the third brake light. Rounding up the whole sporty look is a rear bumper diffuser to improve the car’s aerodynamics.

Other notable details include side mirrors with signal repeaters and sexy 18-inch alloy wheels. If you’re already familiar with the first Veloster, then you’d know that it’s unconventional in a way that it only has one door for the driver’s side while the other has the usual two. Some call it weird. I’d like to call it style.

In terms of features, the 2019 Veloster has the bells-and-whistles for the tech-savvy. There’s keyless entry, a mechanical seat for the driver, telescopic steering wheel, voice commands, and support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Those are just some of the things the vehicle assists you with before you start your day. And of course, there’s more for the drive ahead!

Your main hub for music, navigation, calls, and more is an 8-inch floating display. For controls, the steering wheel has buttons for Bluetooth as well as audio and cruise control.

Important driver information and settings can be accessed through the digital dash.

In this day of smartphones, charging on-the-go is of utmost importance and with the Veloster, you get more than one option. There are two USB ports up front plus a special wireless charger just below it. Of course, your phone has to support this feature for it to work, but if it does, it feels good knowing you don’t have to fumble over plugging the cable to your phone — while you’re in the car, at least.

And for when you want more light during the day or when it’s simply colder at night, you can open the moonroof and let the breeze roll in. Added comfort creatures like this make the Veloster a package for those who like having fun on the road.

One of the things I love about its interior is how the black and red color of the exterior continues here. Its bucket seats wrapped in leather offer a premium feel for the driver and passengers alike.

The company is obviously keen to details as one can see in the cabin of the vehicle. From the buttons and knobs that reflect its sporty DNA to the ergonomics and materials used to make each ride as comfortable as possible.

Being a Turbo variant, it’s powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Power is then transferred to the front wheels through a seven-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission. Although unlike Schwarzenegger in Jingle All The Way, it’s not always “Turbo Time!” for the Veloster. It offers different driving modes depending on what the situation calls for.

There’s Normal, Sport, Eco, and Smart. Eco obviously goes for the most efficient fuel consumption, Smart mode adjusts to your driving habits, Normal is — well, normal. And Sport for when it’s Track Day or simply when you want to show off.

Of course, all that speed has to be kept in check with a couple of safety features. The vehicle comes with dual airbags for the front in plus side and curtain airbags. Adding to those are ABS or Anti-lock braking system and an immobilizer for anti-theft.

Having the Veloster as a daily driver made me realize a couple of things. One is that it’s actually fuel-efficient for a car with this oomph when it’s set to Eco or even Normal mode — averaging about 9-10km to a liter in the city and up to 16km/l outside the Metro. It may have slight delays when not in Sport mode but it had no shortage of power. And together with its stance and vibrant red color, the Veloster is a certified head-turner.

See more of it in this video:

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Accessories

MPow Headphones Hands-On: Are these worth your while?

Little-known brand promises value-for-money products

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When people talk about headphones and earphones, the brand MPow isn’t the first one that comes to mind. The company boasts quality audio gadgets at really competitive pricing.

Of course, we have to tell for ourselves if these headsets are really any good. We gave a pair to each of our four guys. After a through hands-on, we asked for their verdict.


MPow H7 [Dan]

I’m unfamiliar with MPow. Admittedly, I Googled about the brand and my particular model. Apparently, the MPow H7 is one of the best-reviewed wireless headphones on Amazon US (and other shopping portals). I slightly expected great things. Indeed, the H7 is good for its price. However, it has a couple of shortcomings.

The good: The H7 sounds better than any headphones I’ve used for US$ 20. It’s a balanced pair of headphones for general listening. Bass is really good for electronic music. Vocals are pretty clear in acoustic hits. It’s comfortable and lightweight. I could wear them for hours without any discomfort. Also, I have no issues with pairing on my laptop or my phone.

The bad: The H7’s light weight makes it feel a bit cheap. It’s not exactly a bad thing; you’ll wear this more than you’ll hold it, after all. Additionally, the H7 looks so generic. That’s perfectly subjective, though.

For its price, the H7 is an easy recommendation for those looking for a pair of comfy, good-quality over-ear wireless headphones. It’s certainly not a looker — at least for me — but it deserves the praises it has received so far.

MPow S10 [Rodneil]

The MPow S10 is positioned as a workout companion. However, my usage proves that it can be more than that.

Still, I used it for a few workout sessions. The IPX7 helps take out the worry of getting sweat all over. The fit around your neck and on your ear was also perfect for me. I love that the buds are magnetic. You can even wear it like a pseudo-necklace when not in use.

Coming off the Galaxy Buds, I can say the audio quality lacks a little bit of texture. It just doesn’t have the crispness that I got from Samsung’s wireless earbuds. Of course, the quality isn’t that bad. For video editing and video calls, the quality is more than adequate.

There were also zero problems pairing. Switching from my phone to my laptop was seamless. It’s pretty versatile for a pair of earphones marketed as a sporting buddy, and at US$ 24.99, I would say it’s a pretty darn good deal.

MPow H5 [MJ]

The MPow H5 was a total treat. It’s comfortable to wear and carry around. For US$ 40 headphones, it comes complete with features you can see in similar yet more expensive products.

Its noise-canceling capabilities actually work against the blabbers and chatters while giving a pleasant, sound experience. It can’t completely block the human voice. Still, I think it’s a good thing as it removes the need to pause your music when people approach you. For clearer communication, you can turn off the noise-cancellation with an easily accessible button.

What I liked the most is its ability to switch Bluetooth connection between devices seamlessly. There are times that I had to switch devices (especially when I run out of battery). It’s helpful to stay connected so I can maintain focus on the task at hand.

MPow EG3 [Kevin]

The EG3 is all about gaming, and then some. It specializes in first-person shooter (FPS) games especially with the 7.1 surround sound. It puts you in the middle of the battlefield. You can tell where each sound is coming from. Together with its decent audio performance, gaming becomes a more immersive experience compared to when you only have ordinary headphones on.

Personally, I look for a specific sound when I play games and a different one when I listen to music. MPow’s Audio Center makes it easy with an equalizer and customizable audio profiles. It also has an array of effects such as environment effects, pitch shifting, and a built-in gooseneck microphone. Speaking of the mic, it has an impressive quality good enough for recording voice overs.

Notably, MPow aims for quality products with competitive pricing. For a pair of lightweight headphones delivering good audio and packing premium features, the EG3 is priced at just US$ 29 — more affordable than most models in its tier. Considered altogether, it’s hard to pass on the EG3.

Overall verdict

Four different people, four different devices, one brand. The verdict is pretty unanimous. These MPow headsets aren’t the absolute best in terms of quality. However, in terms of value for your money, these headphones are easy recommendations.

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Features

We tried Lenovo’s foldable ThinkPad PC and it screams future

A foldable computer like no other

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Lenovo’s been working on a new kind of computer: a folding laptop that will supposedly replace your own laptop.  

While foldable smartphones captured the talk of the tech world, Lenovo worked behind the scenes on a foldable computer over the past three years. Going on sale sometime next year, Lenovo aims for the bragging rights to call it the world’s first.


The device does not have a name yet. However, last week, Lenovo gave me the unique opportunity to play around with an early prototype.

It’s a computer that screams of the future. In fact, it will run an unannounced Intel processor and an upcoming skew of Windows.

Of course, Lenovo is still fine-tuning certain details. Still, the foldable 2K LG OLED display and torque hinge already do what they’re supposed to. The mechanism ensures each fold and unfold cycle goes smoothly and without a hitch.

Considering how much my iPad Pro has become my go-to, on-the-go device, Lenovo’s all-in-one device is an idea that I’m willing to embrace.

The device starts out as a 10-inch leather-bound Moleskine notebook, with the display folded shut.

Unfold it a little: it’s an ebook like nothing you’ve used before.

Keep it at a 90-degree angle: you’ve got yourself a laptop with an on-screen keyboard on the bottom half.

When used this way, both halves of the display can work independently. You could be on a Skype call on the top screen and viewing a presentation on the bottom half. You could also watch a video up top and jotting down notes on the bottom

Fully articulated, it’s a 13-inch tablet.

Prop it up and use the bundled Bluetooth keyboard: it’s a desktop PC.

According to Lenovo, user confidence in foldable devices is currently low. However, the brand is confident in its product so much that it’s attaching the ThinkPad X1 line — a name associated with reliability and durability — to the foldable laptop.

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