We unbox every ROG Phone 2 accessory with Juancho the Corgi!
The ROG Phone 2 is perhaps one of the most specced out phone in the world today. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus with a 120Hz AMOLED Display, 12GB of RAM, 512GB storage, and 6,000mAh battery.
There are even new and improved accessories like the Kunai gamepad that makes the phone look almost like a Nintendo Switch to take your gaming experience to an even higher level.
Huawei nova 9: Unboxing and Flagship Camera Test
Flagship level cameras?
Hey there, how are you doing? Today we’re checking out the Huawei nova 9. Let’g get right to it!
Here’s a close-up of the box. It’s very simple. No frills or fuss here. Let’s open it up! We’re using a rather sharp knife to take the plastic cover off. What do you use when you box your brand new devices?
Opening the box, we’re immediately greeted by the phone. Now, let’s take this cover off. Here’s a quick look at the Huawei nova 9 in Starry Blue. Pretty, right? We’re gonna set that aside for now and go through the rest of what’s inside the box.
Here’s the part that houses the SIM Tray Ejector tool. This is also usually the home for the Jelly Case and some documentation. Jelly case is here but no documentation. Next we have the USB-C cable, and the 66W power brick. That’s about it!
Now, here’s a quick look at the Huawei nova 9’s specs.
- 6.57” FHD+ DISPLAY
- QUALCOMM SNAPDRAGON 778G 4G
- 8GB + 256GB
- 4300mAh BATTER
That’s a combo that’s more than enough to handle your various smartphone needs. With apps that you can download from the App Gallery and the Petal Search Widget.
Flagship level cameras
- 50MP f/1.9 ULTRA VISION
- 8MP f/2.2 ULTRA WIDE ANGLE
- 2MP f/2.4 DEPTH, 2MP f/2.4 MACRO
- 32MP f/20 Selfie
Now about that 50MP Main Camera. That’s actually the highlight of nova 9. Similar to Huawei P Series smartphones, it uses an RYYB sensor instead of the usual RGGB found in most phones. RYYB has more light intake making it great for capturing more detail, no matter the lighting situation.
The images are then further refined thanks to the XD Fusion Engine. It’s Huawei’s version of computational photography that’s been around since the ground breaking P30 Series. It mimics how our brain processes images. It then optimizes for detail and quality to produce absolutely stunning images –both still and moving.
It’s one thing to say it. But here are samples to make you believe. Check out the images in the video.
This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and Huawei Philippines.
Xiaomi 11T Pro review: Is it really “Pro” enough?
What sets it apart from the non-Pro Xiaomi 11T though?
Xiaomi has been in the radar for launching the latest 11T series. Other than that, this is also one of their firsts smartphones to eliminate the “Mi” branding completely.
For the past two years, I’ve held both Xiaomi’s Mi 9T Pro and Mi 10T Pro — which both got mixed bags of praises and complaints. Fast forward today, it’s the time of the year again to review their latest successor, the 11T Pro.
But what makes this “Pro” versus its Mi 11T(win)? Let’s find out!
Despite having the “Pro” branding, the packaging of both the 11T and 11T Pro looked so similar in a plain white box. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with white. It’s just that it would’ve been better if it at least had a distinction by having black accessories and box instead.
It would’ve also been nice to include a better case in contrast to that typical transparent jelly case that even budget smartphones have nowadays. Again, the less premium packaging and accessories felt like it’s not a “Pro” smartphone at first glance.
But the star of the show has got to be its 120W fast charger — which thankfully is included in the box. That might’ve been where the additional cost went into.
Speaking from the perspective of someone who held a lot of Xiaomi phones, the 11T Pro looks like a pro device with the right amount of elegance and sophistication. Thanks to that brushed metal back, it looked more distinct compared to the Mi 10T Pro’s lackluster glossy back.
If you take a closer look at the camera cutout, it’s pretty similar to what Xiaomi did with the Mi 11X Pro as well as other POCO F3. I’m not complaining. I like this layout better than what they did last year with the Mi 10T Pro.
Looking at the bottom part of its semi-matte aluminum frame shows us the SIM card tray, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grilles.
At the top, we’ll find an IR blaster (a rare feature in smartphone nowadays and can’t be found on the Mi 10T Pro) as well as another set of speakers powered by Harman/Kardon. That’s actually the easiest way to differentiate it from the Xiaomi 11T as that one doesn’t have the same audio technology.
One thing I should point out though is that despite having that textured brush metal design, it’s still coated with glass so fingerprint smears and smudges will still show. I just wish they’ve used a matte coating — but I guess that could’ve added more to the phone’s overall cost.
One thing I wished that came with the Mi 10T Pro is an AMOLED display instead of IPS-LCD. Well, I think Xiaomi has listened. The Xiaomi 11T Pro packs a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD+ resolution.
While not the best smartphone display I’ve ever seen, its still exceptional in its own. I enjoyed the content I see especially because it displays better colors, contrast, dynamic range with deeper blacks and whiter whites. That’s in comparison to the Mi 10T Pro.
Its 120Hz refresh rate is also a feast in the eyes especially when switching between apps and scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
As nostalgic as it gets, it brings back the memories of using a Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro two years ago with that gorgeous Super AMOLED display — and I’m glad that Xiaomi ditched last year’s display tech to bring back AMOLED once again.
Cinema and music hall within your fingertips
That might sound like a bold claim but the audiovisual experience using the Xiaomi 11T Pro is unparalleled compared to other smartphones I’ve tried.
Paired with its AMOLED display is the inclusion of Dolby Vision (that the Xiaomi 11T doesn’t have) and HDR10+. I wouldn’t consider these special features as “software gimmicks” especially when Dolby is around the audiovisual technology space for years.
If you’re fond of watching Netflix flicks and series, those will be helpful in displaying content that’s more color accurate with vast dynamic range levels that other regular smartphones don’t possess.
Another feature that makes the Xiaomi 11T Pro an ultimate Pro-tertainment device other than the Harman/Kardon-powered stereo speakers is the inclusion of Dolby Atmos.
Although it may not work on most music and video streaming apps, it worked well with iQiyi especially that I can tell the difference when Dolby Audio is on or off. You have to be a VIP member in the streaming site though to enjoy this particular feature.
This Dolby Atmos feature actually reminds me of the Xiaomi Mi TV P1 I recently reviewed. It goes hand-in-hand as it also supports Dolby’s special sound enhancement there. Having the 11T Pro is like having a home cinema within the reach of your fingertips.
If you’re a huge Apple Music user like I am, Dolby Atmos is also supported. It works wonders especially since I prefer listening to hi-res, lossless versions of tracks I listen to instead of the typical 128kbps AAC versions. Turning on Dolby Atmos in Apple Music’s settings delivers fuller and richer sound than average.
This wouldn’t be a “Pro” device without flagship-grade specs. On paper, it packs the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset. The review unit I have is a 6GB + 256GB variant but there’s a configuration with a maxed out RAM of 12GB.
If you’re into hardcore mobile gaming, the Xiaomi 11T Pro will never disappoint. Not only it heats less than the Mi 10T Pro, it’s also responsive even when you max out your game settings in Genshin Impact, Call of Duty: Mobile (CoDM), PUBG, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Asphalt 9, and more.
So whether you’re aiming to defeat small enemies or learning how to combat tougher enemies in Genshin Impact, you’ll pretty much enjoy the game not only with its spectacular display, but also with its speedy performance.
The weight of the phone is actually helpful for that added gaming grip that you can’t do with (slim and slippery) smartphones. This helps you aim precisely and shoot faster especially in FPS games like CoDM.
These goodies aren’t limited to the 11T Pro but I need to mention them anyway.
Despite having an AMOLED display, the Xiaomi 11T Pro has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the power button like the Mi 10T Pro. The differences are that, the power button is now raised instead of being recessed and it’s actually faster and more responsive than last year’s predecessor. I actually prefer this over the slouchy under-display sensor that was originally equipped in the Mi 9T Pro.
When you open the phone, MIUI looks clean enough that I decided to slap on my overlooking shot with fog and clouds somewhere in Rizal.
This phone runs on the Android 11-based MIUI 12.5 out of the box and got updated to a more stable MIUI 12.5.5 after setting up the phone.
If there’s true 5G connection around your area, the Xiaomi 11T Pro is a capable smartphone that can give you a stable data connection as long as your network carrier supports blazing-fast upload and download speeds. I turned this into a portable hotspot when I was around the Metro and didn’t disappoint me in a single bit especially with its large battery capacity.
Fastest charging speeds ever?
As I’ve already mentioned battery, the Xiaomi 11T Pro packs a 5000mAh battery that can last you up to a day of standby with a light to moderate usage. As a moderate user who uses socials and streaming content more often, it was able to last me around five hours.
With a nine percent (9%) charge, I was able to watch seven (7) three-minute 1080p videos on YouTube at 75% brightness before it actually died down.
If you’re the type of user who spends more time in gaming than an average user, you might end up having shorter usage times even if the AMOLED display and the chipset are supposed to be “power-efficient”.
Don’t fret! The 120W charger saves the day. According to Xiaomi, charging from zero to 100 percent will only take 17 minutes.
I used the bundled USB-C cable from its packaging. I didn’t intend to discharge the 11T Pro down to zero. But that was the perfect time to test out not just the real-time battery life, but also its promised turbo charging speeds. It turned out that a full charge from zero takes around 35 to 40 minutes. Xiaomi blew it out of proportion.
Using a timer, I conducted these basic charging speed tests:
1st charging test (0~100%)
- 5 minutes = 9%
- 10 minutes = 35%
- 15 minutes = 50%
- 20 minutes = 58%
- 25 minutes = 79%
- 28 minutes = 88%
- 30 minutes = 95%
- 35 minutes = 100%
2nd charging test (0~100%)
- 5 minutes = 13%
- 10 minutes = 29%
- 15 minutes = 46%
- 20 minutes = 59%
- 25 minutes = 76%
- 28 minutes = 82%
- 30 minutes = 87%
- 35 minutes = 99%
- 37 minutes = 100%
I don’t have any type of dissatisfaction with Xiaomi’s new turbo charging. As a matter of fact, I want this charging tech on other smartphones as well. My only problem is how they advertised it. I haven’t even seen major disclaimers about it. And this isn’t limited to Xiaomi. It also applies to every other company who wanted to lure consumers with something that isn’t based on reality.
Nevertheless, I’m still grateful that Xiaomi made it possible. If you’re not time-restricted and is always busy (like I am), 35 minutes is quick AF. You won’t even notice it’s fully-charged that fast.
Just to prove how Xiaomi improved their fast charging tech in a span of a year, I used the same 120W charger and USB-C cable when the Mi 10T Pro died of exhaustion. Compared to 11T Pro’s total charging time of 17 minutes, the Mi 10T Pro took double the time at around 80 minutes (or 1 hour and 20 minutes). Here’s my detailed charging test notes:
Mi 10T Pro charging test (0~100%)
- 10 minutes = 20%
- 15 minutes = 26%
- 20 minutes = 33%
- 25 minutes = 39%
- 30 minutes = 46%
- 35 minutes = 52%
- 40 minutes = 59%
- 50 minutes = 73%
- 60 minutes = 85%
- 70 minutes = 96%
- 80 minutes = 100%
Aside from the improved charging speeds, I’ve noticed that the 11T Pro also ran cooler when charging. The Mi 10T Pro heats up easily like you’re holding a mug with coffee.
It’s safe to say that even if the 120W charging brick didn’t go well with its promised charging speeds, it’s still a big improvement and a must-have feature in a smartphone. Its 120W charger and charging support is also one of the biggest distinctions to differentiate the 11T Pro from the regular 11T.
Pro-grade cameras? Hmmm…
On paper, the Xiaomi 11T Pro literally packs the same camera sensors as the regular 11T: A 108MP f/1.8 wide camera, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree FoV (Field of View), and a measly 5MP f/2.4 macro camera. While the wide sensor has Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF), all of these lenses lack OIS (Optical Image Stabilization).
With that being said, video recording heavily relies on gyro-EIS — which stands for ‘Electronic’ and runs through software. Another thing is that, the 11T Pro can record 8K/30p videos with HDR10+ support while the 11T is only limited to 4K/30p — which might be a hardware limitation due to a different chipset used.
There are “Pro”-oriented camera hullabaloos too like VLOG mode, Dual video, Time-lapse, Clone , Short Video, and even Movie effects — features that we did with the Xiaomi Mi 11 earlier this year.
While I can’t show you any video samples in this review article, photo samples are enough to justify that having OIS should be a vital hardware piece for any phone manufacturer that doesn’t do software magic that much unlike what Google does with the Pixels’ cameras.
Great-looking daylight shots
Especially when you just always use the wide lens. Regardless of any subject, the Xiaomi 11T Pro doesn’t disappoint as long as there’s ample light (whether natural or artificial).
The warmer White Balance (WB) may be evident in most shots. That can still be fixed easily through post-processing.
It’s more evident when you take food shots. Maybe that’s because of AI.
Ultra-wide should’ve looked consistent enough
Not that the ultra-wide shooter is lackluster. It’s just that the contrast, white balance, saturation, and exposure aren’t paired up well with its wide lens companion.
It’s so evident especially when you look at the greenery.
Moreover when you also look at the skies in each photo.
But avoid shooting against the sunlight
Or else you’ll have a blown-out shot with lack of sufficient dynamic range. Other phones defied this photography principle though (in frame: vivo’s X60 Pro+ — not directly comparin’, just sayin’)
Shooting in 2x zoom is a hit-or-miss
As previously mentioned, none of these lenses have OIS and zooming in relies on the wide sensor through digital cropping/zooming. You’ll have to rely on your own hands’ stabilization magic — if that thing even exists in reality.
No matter how much shots you take, Xiaomi’s post-processing techniques simply won’t cut the slack off.
Even if you’re trying to be firm and stable enough (and I don’t have any shaky hands), it doesn’t do any magic.
But cats surprisingly look good and sharp despite the small movements they make
Like this stray cat I found while eating outdoors at a popular chicken joint.
Even my cats at home were captured clearly using the digital 2x zoom functionality.
Food shots actually looked better
It might be the 11T Pro’s post-processing techniques but it sure is sharper and retained more details in the steak, vegetables, and mashed potato in comparison to the Mi 10T Pro’s photo on the right.
Even the Red Velvet Cake looked more mouthwatering and appetizing compared to the Mi 10T Pro’s lack of enough contrast, saturation, and sharpness.
Portrait Mode is different
With both having a dedicated “telemacro” lens, it’s responsible for giving depth information between the foreground and the background. Although it’s pretty evident that the Mi 10T Pro only relied with radial blur — which was something I pointed out in my review.
Meanwhile, the Xiaomi 11T Pro didn’t fake the depth this time by having a more natural background blur — enough to distinguish the ramen from the Gyudon and Gyoza while still making the subject detailed and in-focus. The Mi 10T Pro failed to do that with all the blur at the closer part of the ramen.
Xiaomi’s Night Mode processing in 11T Pro looked worse…
Chances are slimmer when capturing post-worthy night time and low-light photos — even if there is a dedicated Night Mode in the camera app.
One of the best examples would be this first comparison photo: Xiaomi’s 11T Pro against the Mi 10T Pro.
While the photo of the Mi 10T Pro looked overly-exaggerated compared to what I’ve seen in reality, it’s still sharper with better details like the stars in the sky and contrast. The 11T Pro failed to show that. Color accuracy is also closer to the Mi 10T Pro with gray skies and warmer highlights due to the lamp posts behind me when I captured these.
There are times when the 11T Pro’s Night Mode does nothing. Literally just brightening up the shot and sharpen it a li’l bit.
Now is the best time to compare a 2017 flagship from Google versus 2021’s latest flagship killer.
In this particular scenario where you’ll see a lot of people lining up outside a Jordan store, I shot the 11T Pro’s photo twice (left side) whereas the Pixel 2 XL clearly captured the shot after seconds of processing.
Not convinced enough that Xiaomi could’ve done better night mode processing techniques through software algorithm? Well in this shot, despite the presence of grain in Pixel 2 XL’s photo, it’s still closer to reality with those warm lights. Most of all, it preserved all details with the right amount of sharpness and contrast.
And finally! After taking three consecutive night shots of this building at 2x, Google’s Pixel 2 XL was still able to shoot the building properly. That’s a stark difference over 11T Pro’s shaky and blurry photo. A dedicated telephoto zoom lens instead of a “telephoto macro” camera would’ve been handy on this particular scenario.
Albeit, night shots are still commendable if you have enough room for light (and utmost patience)
Just an added bonus, that macro camera doesn’t make sense at all
I mean look at these pan de sal in triple chocolate, milky cheese, and ube cheese flavors. Not only it showed minor differences between a macro and a zoomed food shot, it also proves that Xiaomi could’ve ditched the lens in favor of a dedicated one. That would’ve been a nice differentiating factor over the Xiaomi 11T.
Selfies are preferential
As someone who barely flips the front camera and takes selfies, the selfies taken with the Xiaomi 11T Pro looked okay to me.
If you rely heavily on beauty mode, it has some slimming and whitening effects just like any other Android smartphone out there. You’d be more familiar if you’re coming from a Xiaomi and planning to upgrade.
There are just times that it looked washed-out and overexposed. But you also have to consider the environment your taking selfies at. Shooting against the light wouldn’t guarantee anything especially that it only has a 16MP f/2.5 punch-hole camera.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you want an Android smartphone that has the latest Snapdragon chipset with blazing-fast 5G and charging speeds, plus an overall multimedia powerhouse, the Xiaomi 11T Pro isn’t a slouch.
But if you’re the user like me who values cameras a lot in a smartphone, consider looking for another smartphone you might want to buy. The 11T Pro simply isn’t it even if they heavily advertise it as a phone with “Cinemagic” capabilities a la Xiaomi Mi 11.
Other than Meteorite Gray that I have, Xiaomi 11T Pro is also available in Moonlight White and Celestial Blue colorways. The 8/256GB variant sells for PhP 27,990 while the 12/256GB configuration retails at PhP 29,990 — which is PhP 2000 more.
Xiaomi Philippines has an open sale today, October 30, 2021, where buyers of the Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro will get a free Xiaomi 11T Series Edition Bluetooth Speaker worth PhP 3,250. An open sale will also be happening starting October 30 where every purchase of the Xiaomi 11T and Xiaomi 11T Pro will entitle buyers to a free Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 Basic.
Meanwhile, the Official Xiaomi Philippines Shopee store will also be including a free Mi Robot Vacuum and eco bag with every purchase of the Xiaomi 11T. Each purchase of the device comes with a 1+1 year limited warranty and free screen replacement within six months.
realme Narzo 50A Unboxing: a budget gaming buddy!
Budget play option
These are confusing times, as the Hulk said. With a flurry of devices being released near the end of 2021, we’re going to unbox the realme Narzo 50A.
The box provided with the phone has an eye-catching color. The word “Narzo” is very prominent. Perhaps realme really wanted to scream their Narzo line. You won’t mistake this for anything else.
Opening the box was quite a challenge, it feels as if the cover has separation anxiety with the main box. Once successfully opened, the document container will greet you with “feel the power”!
Also included in the document holder are the phone case and the SIM tray ejector tool.
For the main attraction, the phone itself is resting snugly on the box. The unit has the “Oxygen Blue” colorway.
Greeting us at the front is the 6.5-inch mini-drop fullscreen, with a 720×1600 HD+ resolution. The screen-to-body ratio is 88.7 percent with a peak brightness of 570 nits in sunlight mode. To top it off, we also have an 8MP in-screen selfie camera.
Along with all of that beauty lies the charging chord and the power adaptor, USB Type-C and an 18W charging brick.
Heading onto the back, an interesting design awaits. The Oxygen Blue colorway pops, truly an eye-catcher. As needed by every mobile device, we have a triple camera setup: 50MP for the main camera, 2MP macro lens, and 2MP portrait.
That back looks… wow?
The design of the realme Narzo 50A is intriguing, streaking below the camera, we have a patterned design and the other half is smooth and simple. Maybe realme couldn’t decide on what design they should go for, so maybe they went for both. Other than that, the design is pretty solid and it gives the Narzo 50A a unique and striking look. The huge camera at the back is noticeable, but realme also placed a fingerprint sensor with the cameras.
The sides of the phone are familiar territory. On the left side, we have the sim and memory card slot, on the right we have the volume rocker and the power button.
On the bottom, past and present collide as the Narzo 50A has a USB Type-C and a 3.5MM headphone jack. People would love this especially if you’re still with the wired earphones gang.
But for those considering buying the phone, earphones will be bought separately as they do not have them inside the box.
The realme narzo 50A is equipped with the Helio G85 Gaming Processor, with 4GB of ram, and a whopping 6,000mAh battery. That’s about it for this article as we are going to dive deeper into the device as a performance review is coming up next.
Price and availability
The narzo 50A will be available in the 4GB+6GB variant during the brand’s 11.11 mega sale on Lazada. As an exclusive early-bird offer, the narzo 50A will be available at PhP 6,990. That’s PhpP1,000 off for the Narzo 50A!
If you’re reading this too late or you don’t mind the sale, then the actual retail price of the device is Php 7,990.
The colors offered by the narzo 50A will be Oxygen Green and Oxygen Blue. Be sure to check out their official store in Lazada to learn more about the early-bird discount and more.
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