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.

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

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.

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.

Cameras

EZVIZ S2 Action Camera: A road trip companion

Dashcam and action camera in one!

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Nowadays, it’s hard to choose an action camera to accompany you on your adventures. Everyone’s top-of-mind is the popular GoPro Hero series and DJI’s new Osmo Action. However, I find these two cameras too much, both for me and my wallet.

On top of it, I’m not a professional adventurer nor a sports enthusiast who would need a high-end action camera. All I need is something I can take with me on my water activities to capture moments occasionally while I’m living in the moment. In search of an affordable action camera that would fit anyone’s budget, I found the EZVIZ S2 2-in-1 Action Camera, which also doubles as a dash camera.

Lightweight and small, this camera is easy to bring wherever you go.

It has a 2-inch IPS LCD touchscreen panel.

You can find an uncovered mini HDMI and micro USB port.

On the other side is the power and settings button which lets you navigate the camera and access different modes.

Found on top are its speaker grilles and shutter button…

… while the bottom sports the battery, micro sd slot, and a hole for the mounts.

While driving to the Bicol region in the Philippines, my friends and I used this camera momentarily to test its capabilities. Thankfully, this camera comes with mounts and accessories like a waterproof case in its box. However, it’s difficult to navigate it as a dash camera since you need to place it inside the case before you can mount it on your windscreen.

Furthermore, the case’s buttons need to be pressed hard. It felt like a marketing ploy since this camera could be better if sold as just an action camera.

But if you look at it on a different perspective, a 2-in-1 camera like this would be nice to have on road trips. Imagine finding a serene spot in the middle of nowhere, and you grab your dash camera. Instantly, you have an action camera to immortalize your precious moments.

Capture your adventures

Then again, if its capability as an action camera we’re talking about, the EZVIZ S2 is enough. Sure, we always want the best of the best. However, in some cases, we don’t really need an expensive camera.

For instance, most people don’t care about the camera you’ve used to take a photo. No matter how wonderful it is, they’ll care about the place, the way you took your photo or the story behind the moment you’ve captured.

This is the reason why it’s perfectly okay to use a cheaper action camera like the EZVIZ S2, in case you have doubts. The samples I took has good color reproduction, average white balance processing, and noticeable grains. Due to my incredibly high standards, I find it difficult to like the camera’s outputs — but my friends did. As I asked around, I find that most people have no qualms about the image quality.

The photo mode has three shooting options for you to choose from — Single shot, Burst, and Timelapse. The mode also gives you the option to shoot in different sizes: 2MP, 4MP, and 8MP. There’s a professional mode, too, in case you want to experiment with your shots. You can customize the white balance, adjust the ISO and exposure value, and even apply filters.

Better for videos

The EZVIZ S2 focuses on video recording. It has a dashcam mode with an emergency recording feature, which prevents the footage from being deleted. This is useful as a piece of evidence, especially during crucial and unforeseen accidents.

There’s also a video mode where you can record at 1080p in 50 fps. The camera can handle three different shooting modes such as video, video+photo, and timelapse. If 1080p is too much, there’s a 720p recording, too, which can cap off at 120fps for slo-mo recording. Additionally, there’s a pro mode for you to adjust your settings the way you like it.

Here are some stills that were taken from the video clips I shot. As long as there’s sufficient light, you can capture photos and videos without any worries.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The EZVIZ S2 2-in-1 Action Camera is perfect as a travel companion, especially for those who love taking road trips. You get an action camera and a dashcam in one for only PhP 4,299 (US$ 84), complete with mounts and accessories. You can choose between black, orange, yellow, and blue for the unit. For this price range, it’s a sweet deal. This is being distributed by VST-ECS Philippines.

This camera is also helpful for starters pursuing underwater and adventure photography; a stepping stone before they upgrade to more professional gear.

Moreover, the EZVIZ S2 is helpful when documenting your adventures every now and then. During my stint with this device, I realized that sometimes, we don’t really need the best. All we need is something that’s enough to capture precious moments while we live our lives to the fullest.

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Hands-On

Motorola razr Hands-On

The popular RAZR is back!

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The new Motorola razr is a modern version of the popular RAZR V3. It still has a sleek design, but now has a 6.2-inch Flex Display with a perfectly executed zero-gap hinge.

It runs on Snapdragon 710 chipset, 6GB RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 2510 mAh battery with 15W TurboPower charger right out of the box.

But does all of that justify the $1499 price tag?

This is our Motorola razr hands-on.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on: An expensive sneak peek into the future

It’s not for everyone

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2019 is the year of the foldable phone. First in the ring was Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Announced in February, it was supposed to launch as early as April. As we all have probably read or heard, its early release to reviewers was met with a lot of issues. Samsung had to delay its official launch.

Over the last few months they’ve been busy reworking the Fold; now it’s tougher than ever and ready for the real world.

A reintroduction

In some ways you can think of the Galaxy Fold as a 7.3-inch tablet that you can fold into a candybar phone with a 4.6-inch display.

When folded, all buttons are on the right hand side of the device: volume rocker, power button, fingerprint sensor, and its SIM tray.

On the bottom a USB-C port and speaker grilles.

What’s changed?

Samsung focused on addressing the main issues that plagued its first release. Some users previously peeled off what they thought was a screen protector that turned out to be a very important protective layer. That layer is now tucked under the bezels so you don’t even know it’s there.

There’s also a cap that is meant to prevent dust and dirt from getting underneath the protective layer.

The hinge, too, has been reinforced. The gap between the hinge and the display has also been reduced.

Having used the original Fold, I can say that opening and closing i feels more secure. Even if you feverishly snap it open and close. All these changes have been made to ensure the phone survives the rigors of the real world.

One UI has also been optimized for the Fold. Home, back and multitasking buttons for example can be flushed to either side of the display for one handed use.

To open more windows alongside the app that’s already open just swipe from the right side and use apps edge to launch new apps. Closing windows is one tap or swipe away.

When you’re on an app and a notification comes in, you can press and drag the notification to open it as a separate window, so you can respond to a WhatsApp message easily, for example.

Even if you have two displays you can seamlessly switch between both by enabling a setting called App Continuity. That way whether you’re adding a contact on the big screen, or using your map on your small screen, you can close or open the display and continue what you were doing seamlessly.

Imperfect innovation

While the changes are much improved, the Galaxy Fold is not perfect. The front display is very small and is very hard to type on. I’d use it for things like Instagram, maybe. Even then, I’d benefit from the larger display. Not all apps support the squarish form factor, either. YouTube videos of course will only fill to fit a portion of the display. Although there are games like Asphalt 9, that are optimized to fill the display.

The Galaxy Fold doesn’t use a glass display, so there will always be creases in the middle. That’s just a limitation of the technology.

Otherwise, make no mistake — its a top of the line device. It’s got high end specs, and the same cameras as Samsung’s current flagship smartphones: three rear cameras and two selfie shooters up front.

Wireless charging and reverse wireless charging are also available, along with a few other bells and whistles.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

I am excited about the Galaxy Fold, and am thrilled that it’s full steam ahead. It’s an early device and it can get only better with time. What needs to happen now is app developers and Android need to optimize for this new, niche form factor.

With a price tag of US$ 1,980 in the US, SG$ 3,088 in Singapore, and PhP 109,990 in the Philippines, the Galaxy Fold is not for everyone — not even for people who can buy it outright. It’s for early adapters who want to get their hands on new technology ahead of everyone.

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