Smartphone manufacturers are racing to put 5G phones in the market. Rightfully so since there’s been an aggressive push to roll out the next generation of mobile connectivity. As such, we get phones like the OPPO Reno4Z 5G. It’s really not much different from the Reno4. All you really need to know is that it has 5G.
But for the sake of the curious, we’re going to unpack it a little further.
It has a 6.57-inch IPS LCD Display with 120Hz refresh rate.
You might run into some minor trouble using this under direct sunlight, but if you squint enough you should still see what’s on the screen. Then there’s the 120Hz screen refresh rate which is just a darling to the eyes.
To make the 5G thing possible, it’s equipped with the MediaTek Dimensity 800 5G.
That’s flanked by 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, and 4000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging.
On the bottom you’ll find the 3.5mm jack, a USB-C port, and speaker-grilles.
On the left side are the sim card tray and volume buttons.
And on its right, the power button/ side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
Up front in the dual punch hole camera — a 16MP shooter and another 2MP lens for depth.
Flip it over and you’ll see its 48MP quad-camera setup.
To be more precise, it has a 48MP main camera flanked by an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a pair of 2MP cameras for macro and depth. It also carries over some signature Reno4 features like 960fps AI Slow Motion and AI Color Portrait.
The back is made of plastic and its smudgy AF.
It was pretty hard to get a decent photo of its back even after wiping it furiously. Buying a case, in this specific instance, is a must.
Like most midranges today, the OPPO Reno4Z 5G has neither standout strengths nor glaring weaknesses. It’s equipped with a chip that, other than letting you connect to 5G, can handle most daily tasks with ease.
It can play mobile games
And watching videos on it is generally an okay experience.
It’s the kind of solid-not-stellar smartphone that typifies what you would normally find in the upper echelon of the lower midrange segment.
It’s running on Android 10 with ColorOS 7.2 on top which, while it still has a fair amount of bloat, runs generally smoothly and is nowhere near as offensive to the senses as the ColorOS from years past.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
At 20,990, it has the fair level of specs you can expect at its price point. You can argue that OPPO could have slapped on an AMOLED display and a 64MP main camera here, but those do little to improve the experience while jacking up the price more than it has to.
Given its pricing and the combination of general useability, it’s a fine choice. Additionally, the peace of mind it gives that as 5G expands, you can sit back calmly knowing you’re equipped for next gen mobile connectivity is a nice bonus.
The only real differentiators here are image quality — which OPPO is no slouch at — and if you’re open to expanding to the rest of OPPO’s AIoT devices for a seamless connection.
Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay 2.0: Cut through the queue
Make life less hectic!
When you’re an adult, coffee isn’t just a power-up drink helping you get through the day. It becomes an avenue for conversation, an invitation to meet people, a kick you need to fuel your creativity and productivity.
While there are several ways to brew coffee and there are different local neighborhood cafés to explore, Starbucks has always been within reach. And it has ingrained itself as an important part of my working life. A staple of the modern workforce’s culture. A lifestyle — tradition to an extent — that seeped in through the interstices of friendships and family.
When the pandemic struck, I started learning how to brew my own coffee. Occasionally, I order my caffeine fix through Grab or Foodpanda. But the experience isn’t the same.
Keyword: Experience. That’s precisely what Starbucks offers. So when Starbucks Philippines sent me a holiday card to try the new Mobile Order & Pay, a feature they had for a while that was rehashed, I decided it’s time to go out and try again.
Exploring the app
The Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 is available through the Starbucks app. If you’re a Starbucks lover, you probably have an account registered to Starbucks Rewards. The app is easy to use, particularly because of its clean user interface (UI) design.
Through the Starbucks app, you can check your account’s transaction history, monitor the stars collected via the Rewards program, and make some changes to your personal profile and payment methods. The app also has a lot of promotional materials, parading their latest drinks and treats that you can avail yourself of in-store or online.
And more importantly, you can reload your account, register your cards, and of course, get ahead of your day and order your favorite beverages.
Cut through the line
Once I got my cards settled in, I ordered my go-to drink: Cold brew topped with four pumps of white mocha sauce. I placed my order through the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 feature, which gave me four options to pick up my order. Although, the options vary depending on the closest branch near you.
There’s the usual In-store pickup where you head straight to the pickup counter for your order. Yes, you won’t get in line anymore. When I tried this pickup option, everyone gave me looks when I went past the queue and headed straight to ask the Barista about my order. I had the audacity to ask about my drink because the app notified me when the order was ready.
When I got my drink, I walked out of the store feeling ravished. It felt like I was in a slow-mo montage of a coming-of-age film where the protagonist suddenly did something extraordinary. Frankly, this is my favorite pickup option. It makes so much sense to just get your orders if you can walk inside. And that gives you extra steps for your smartwatch to count. Get moving, people!
But if you don’t like the hassle of scanning your QR codes and getting your temperature checked, or the usual mumbo-jumbo you encounter inside a store, there are other pickup options outside.
Just wait outside
My other favorite option was the Outdoor pickup, which I chose when I was passing by Starbucks The Grove — my favorite branch in Pasig. I was dead-tired from a weekend night-out with my friends at Okada Manila, and the all-night casino adventure bled through a Monday morning.
I was on my way home, ready for work. Then, I realized I badly need the good ol’ Barista Drink. Nothing can beat an americano topped with white mocha sauce splashed with sub-breve (and no water!). Especially when it comes to waking you and your senses up. More importantly, you can have it served iced or hot depending on your preferences.
I placed my order when I was already in Arcovia City, a kilometer away from The Grove by Rockwell. Apparently, you can’t order ahead for an Outdoor pickup if you’re 3 kilometers away, which I tried to do when I was still in Taguig. So you have to be close to the branch if you want to place your order.
I tried to do the math in my head, calculating if I can pull over for a minute while I wait for my order. But I’m bad at numbers so I went ahead. The app said the order will be ready in five to six minutes anyway.
I pulled over when I arrived at the branch, and I didn’t wait long enough for one of my favorite baristas to come out to my chosen pickup point and hand me my order.
Stay in your car
I hate parking. Or wasting the time spent trying to park properly in between enormous SUVs. Or finding a spot to park your vehicle. This is why I don’t understand the Curbside pickup option, where the barista locates your designated parking slot and gives your order while practicing social and safe distancing.
I tried the pickup option in Starbucks Sierra Valley — a humongous, stand-alone branch with a massive parking space and drive-thru option found east of Metro Manila.
If you’re in a time crunch, this option really doesn’t make sense. But if you have a few moments to spare and you don’t want to get out of your vehicle for safety measures against the COVID-19 (and its variants), then the Curbside pickup is the way to go.
Frankly speaking, it doesn’t work for me. I know having your order brought to you is part of the experience, but I value my time. And it was against my morals to just sit inside my car and wait for the barista to come out and bring my order. In my head, they could be doing more valuable things than going outside the store, when I can pick up my order at their counter.
The In-store pickup is the fastest option in my experience, and I feel good doing the task instead of sitting and waiting around. I guess it’s my can-do attitude speaking, but that’s how I’m really built.
Drive through it
Now, there’s another option to get your order: Drive-thru pickup. You just have to line up in a queue of cars and wait for your turn. Like the Curbside pickup option, I didn’t like the Drive-thru pickup for one reason: It takes too long to get through the drive-thru window.
People are afraid to get out of their vehicles because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s valid. That’s why there are plenty of cars lining up to get their caffeine fix. I spent roughly 30 minutes waiting for my turn, which annoyed me since it would’ve been faster if I chose the In-store or Outdoor pickup.
Making life less hectic
Regardless of my rants and experience, the Mobile Order & Pay 2.0 lets you get your favorite treats and beverages conveniently. In the way you like it.
While I’ve loved the In-store and Outdoor pick-up because they work well with my personality and lifestyle, I know some people (read: friends) would enjoy the Curbside and Drive-thru pickup. Especially since they’re cautious about the pandemic.
Not that I’m not wary of the virus being out there, I just value my time because every second counts. If I wanted to waste my time waiting, I would’ve lined up inside.
Nevertheless, the rehashed feature is worth giving a try. Through the Starbucks app, you can customize your orders. Just like your baristas, the app can modify the size, the number of espresso shots, dairy selection, and various options for your order. All done with just a single tap on your smartphone.
Frankly speaking, the Mobile Pay & Order 2.0 made my life easier especially when I’m in a hurry to get a caffeine fix. Not all days can be spent brewing your coffee, living in a slowed-down lifestyle. Some days, we just need to get through it, and Starbucks knows how to accompany me through those days.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Unboxing and Hands-on
A more affordable Galaxy S21!
Samsung’s Galaxy S20 FE was one of 2020’s popular smartphones — even more than the S20 lineup. With its power-packed performance in a more affordable price point, you get to experience a flagship-grade Samsung phone.
That success also comes with a new successor. The Galaxy S21 FE isn’t very different from the Galaxy S21 — glasstic back, 120Hz AMOLED display, speedy 5nm chipset, and more. But what makes it different and more special versus the entry-level Galaxy S21 and other phones in the market today such as the iPhone 13 mini and Pixel 6?
Watch our Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Unboxing and Hands-on video now!
UGREEN 100W 3C1A GaN Charger: One charger to rule them all
A faster and reliable charger shouldn’t come at a cost
Owning a new charger is a must nowadays. Whether it’s for your new smartphone without a charger in the box, or just looking for a charger replacement.
But in a sea full of chargers, how are you supposed to know which one to buy? Well, you should buy one that isn’t limited to charging only one device, but a charger to rule them all — and the UGREEN 100W 3C1A GaN Fast Charger is the best candidate for that.
Here are five (5) reasons why I think this isn’t like any other chargers in the market today:
1. Very compact
For comparison’s sake, I’ve decided to compare the UGREEN 100W charger to my two other chargers.
As you already notice, UGREEN is a tad smaller compared to my 87W USB-C MacBook Pro charger. And for obvious reasons, it’s bigger than my 56.5W USB-C PD charger. Still, the differences are uncanny.
Despite having almost the same size as my MacBook charger, it surprisingly weighs lighter. While not as light as the smaller one, it still fits in right in my palms.
And just like any other charger with a US plug, this one also is foldable. All you need to do is store it in your bag or a small pouch whenever you go out.
2. Wide compatibility
If you’re like me who charges a lot of devices, whether that may be your iPhone or Android smartphone, tablets, iPads, MacBooks, power banks, AirPods or any other wireless earbuds, and even the Nintendo Switch, the UGREEN 100W GaN charger can provide power to all of them. With its wide range of device compatibility, you don’t even need to bring several chargers with you.
Case in point: As someone who goes out for work every once in a while, my bundled MacBook charger not only is hefty, it’s also less-powered. But with the UGREEN GaN charger, it provides power for all of my devices while dealing with less heft in my small satchel or tote bag.
As the world slowly transitions into USB-C, it features three (3) USB-C ports to maximize its fast-charging capabilities. There’s still a single USB-A port for your older devices and peripherals, too.
If you’re curious to find out the tech behind these ports, it supports the current fast charging technology such as PD (Power Delivery) and QC (Quick Charge) 3.0 and Apple’s 5V2.4A USB-A.
3. Faster than ever
Paired with UGREEN’s braided USB-C charging cables (two of each have USB-C and Lightning end ports), I definitely noticed how it fully-charged my iPhone and Pixel faster that my other charger cannot achieve — even if that one has PD (Power Delivery) in it. UGREEN’s braided charging cables are also MFI-certified. This simply means Apple recognizes it as an accessory that can charge your Apple products safely.
While I may not able to pinpoint the total number of charging times for both phones, I’m certain that UGREEN charged both of them faster than my regular charging times. This makes me feel less-worried when charging my phones especially if I forgot to charge them overnight and I’m on a hurry for an errand next day.
This GaN Fast Charger can also fill up my large AF 26,800mAh power bank faster than ever. That’s in stark contrast to my 56.5W USB-C PD charger and the 87W MacBook Pro charger that doesn’t support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.
And while we’re already on the topic, I’ve still managed to run a quick charging speed test on my MacBook Pro using the UGREEN 100W charger with the braided USB-C to USB-C cable.
- 2 minutes = 2%
- 5 minutes = 7%
- 8 minutes = 9%
- 10 minutes = 11%
- 15 minutes = 17%
- 20 minutes = 25%
- 30 minutes = 35%
- 45 minutes = 54%
- 60 minutes = 70%
- 75 minutes (1h 15m) = 82%
- 90 minutes (1h 30m) = 91%
- 100 minutes (1h 40m) = 96%
- 112 minutes (1h 52m) = 100%
The UGREEN 100W GaN charger quickly juiced up my 15-inch MacBook Pro. If I were to compare, charging it with its 87W Apple USB-C charger usually takes around 150 minutes (2h 30m). With those extra 40 minutes, you’ve already went out of the place you’re staying at. This is one among many reasons that the GaN charger works like a charm!
Disclaimer: I only left my MacBook Pro charging when I conducted this test. Overall charging time will vary once you plug in more devices into the charger.
4. Safer and more reliable
One of the main reasons why you should buy a GaN charger over the conventional ones is its fast yet efficient technology. With Gallium Nitride (GaN), it runs cooler than most chargers that use Silicon (Si), which most of us know as that cheap semiconductor still being widely used a lot in devices and in the whole tech space.
In my experience, I tried touching it while it’s still plugged while charging four devices simultaneously but it doesn’t feel that hot — unlike my 87W Apple charger when charging my MacBook.
Not only it does it charge your devices fast, GaN chargers like this one from UGREEN also assures you a safer and more reliable accessory without worrying about overheating and fire hazards.
5. Surprisingly affordable
In the Philippines, it has an SRP of PhP 2,799 — which is pretty affordable compared to other 87W/96W MacBook Pro chargers and other heavy-duty 100~120W GaN chargers in the market. It’s currently available on Shopee, Lazada (for PhP 2,649), and UGREEN Philippines website (for PhP 2,509).
Here are direct links if you’re interested to buy:
- 100W 3C1A GaN charger: https://bit.ly/3EH1UOJ
- 100w USB-C cable: https://bit.ly/3CXD8bL
- 20W USB-C PD to Lightning cable: https://bit.ly/325ZI4x
You can buy other UGREEN accessories through:
vivo V23 5G Unboxing and Review: Color Changer!
With a revolutionary color-changing back!
How the Galaxy Watch4 Classic helped me build better habits
And break old, bad patterns
ASUS Zenbook 14X OLED review: Serious-looking champ
This serious looker made me want to skip work
Windows 11 update coming to select Lenovo devices
OPPO Watch Free levels up sleep monitoring
Germany: No evidence of spying from Xiaomi phones
Samsung The Serif: What’s it’s like to watch on an artistic TV?
My Hero Academia is getting a battle royale game
Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire
Best of 2021: Our favorite video games
Best of 2021: Lifestyle Favorites
ASUS OLED laptops: Value for Money!
GadgetMatch’s Best Tech Gifts of 2021: Part 2
Her GadgetMatch4 days ago
Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire
Automotive2 weeks ago
FIRST LOOK: John Deere Autonomous 8R Tractor
Gaming2 weeks ago
I tried playing Just Dance 2022 using a smartphone
Hands-On2 weeks ago
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE: Unboxing and Hands-on
Gaming2 weeks ago
Gran Turismo 7 physical edition pre-order starts Jan 7
CES 20222 weeks ago
ROG Flow Z13 ultraportable gaming machine now official
CES 20222 weeks ago
Sony confirms the PlayStation VR2
Automotive2 weeks ago
John Deere unveils a fully autonomous tractor