Last month, Samsung launched the Galaxy A7 in India, and the phone will soon be coming to more Asian markets. While the company is known to have a wide product portfolio, the A7 has managed to stand apart and create ample hype, something we usually see happening only with the S and Note series.
This year, Huawei’s P20 Pro has been a raging hit thanks to its triple rear camera setup. Not only are sales booming, but it has managed to set a new benchmark for mobile photography. Samsung joined the trend and introduced a triple rear camera setup on the Galaxy A7, but at a significantly lower price.
At first, we’d all assume it to be a gimmick. It isn’t new to see companies take a dig at each other, but this where we’d be wrong. I’ve been using the phone for a week now and the A7 has managed to surprise me. Let’s have a closer look at how the camera works and whether this one forte of the phone is sufficient to sell it.
To start off, the three lenses on the rear are located vertically and are very well integrated with the frame. They do protrude slightly, but not enough to actually wobble the phone on a flat surface. The primary camera is a 24-megapixel sensor that does all the heavy lifting, the second lens has an 8-megapixel wide-angle unit, and the third is a 5-megapixel depth sensor.
The depth sensor along with the primary lens create the bokeh effect that Samsung calls Live Focus. Samsung’s camera software lets you manually adjust the amount of blur you want in the picture, even after you’ve clicked the picture. The bokeh effect is above average, but not the best. In good lighting conditions when the subject is clearly visible, it does an excellent job in distinguishing the borders. But often gets confused when any headgear like a cap is worn.
But, Samsung has hardly marketed the bokeh effect as far as the A7 is concerned, and that’s because the wide-angle lens is the real deal here. In the given price range, there are no phones that offer this feature. And, Samsung calls this lens “ultra wide,” coming in at 120 degrees field of view.
With just one toggle, you can shift to the wide-angle lens from the default camera app. Keep in mind you can only use this mode via the Samsung Camera app and third-party apps like Instagram and Snapchat are not supported. The first time you toggle and see the wider frame, you’ll fall in love with it. Compared to conventional setups, wide-angle pictures are able to capture a larger scene, and the fisheye effect has its own sporty feel.
The wide-angle lens is built for scenic landscapes and large group pictures, it can also capture clear and crisp images of objects that are just a few feet away. Though it has to be noted that this camera is not built for macro shots and lacks selective focus. It’s very similar to using a GoPro — just point the camera and hit the shutter.
Samsung has optimized the software very well and hence the output is well saturated and dynamic range is balanced. In low-light, the pictures are low on noise and manage to capture an overall good picture, though it heavily compromises on detail. Even in slightly dim areas, details are lost very quickly.
While most people may use the wide-angle lens most of the time, this isn’t recommended, as the primary sensor is able to capture highly detailed pictures, something the wide-angle camera isn’t built to do.
In a nutshell, yes, the trio does an amazing job in taking beautiful pictures. I’ve shot all of them on auto mode, and completely let the phone decide what’s best for me.
I’m glad to see Samsung trying to bring high-end innovation to the midrange segment. The company’s non-premium offerings have been somewhat underwhelming this year, and with increasing competition from players like Xiaomi and OnePlus, they definitely need to up their game.
Content creator switches from iPhone 6s Plus to OPPO Reno3
A buzzing switch?!
When OPPO launched the third Reno series in less than a year, we were in for a surprise. It seems like OPPO is on a race, introducing a phone with a 5G-enabled chipset to get ahead of the 5G rollout. This despite 5G being ways away from mass adoption.
Still, there’s a reason why OPPO pumped out so many phones at a rapid pace. The Reno3 felt like an ode to OPPO’s innovation, promising a beautiful handset for selfie-lovers, photography enthusiasts, and to an extent, aspiring content creators.
To find out if the OPPO Reno3 delivers its promise, Her GadgetMatch sent the unit to Noela, a visual content creator currently based in Manila — who’s also a singer, selfie lover, and a fitness enthusiast. Moreover, she’s still using an aging iPhone 6s Plus for the longest time.
Will it entice her to switch after spending two months with the Reno3? And can it be Her GadgetMatch?
“Even an 8-year old kid can get it”
Last March, Noela received the OPPO Reno3 in time for a trip to Boracay. “When I first saw the Reno3, it felt like a smartphone I can rely on. It’s sleek, simple, and so lightweight just like my iPhone 6s Plus!”
Unfortunately, her trip was canceled due to sudden lockdown enforced in Metro Manila, one of the biggest metropolitan cities in the Philippines. She then had more time to play around with the phone.
When asked about her experience with the phone, she said “It was a breeze setting it up. I didn’t have trouble navigating it. It’s so easy that even an 8-year old kid can get it in one sitting.”
The OPPO Reno3 runs ColorOS 7 based on Android 10. With an improved user interface design, no wonder Noela was able to grasp the phone’s UI easily, even if she’s used to iOS.
“Lasted longer than I thought it would”
Living a digital nomadic lifestyle, Noela is glued to her phone and laptop. In our previous collaborations, she always had to rely on her power bank — or her friend’s power bank on certain occasions — to charge her iPhone 6s Plus.
She spends a lot of time managing a community, being stuck in conference calls, and constant updating of her work, thanks to her remote setup.
The OPPO Reno3 was a game-changer. Accustomed to her iPhone’s short battery life, the Reno3 surprised her with a 4025mAh battery. “It lasted longer than I thought it would,” she remarked.
“One time, I was able to use it for the whole weekend and I only charged it once. I even spent a lot of time on social media and switching to my favorite apps like Instagram, Pinterest, Netflix, and YouTube. It has so much juice!”
It also took 30 minutes of charging from 10 percent to 77 percent, thanks to OPPO’s VOOC Flash Charge. “It’s super fast!” she said in astonishment.
“Great even without its AI beauty mode”
In between her work and fitness activities, Noela takes a lot of selfies. She believes taking selfies isn’t a trait of narcissism or vanity. It’s a form of appreciation, and a healthy idea to pass time and ease your boredom.
“When you look good, you feel good.”
Her love for taking selfies made her dabble into skincare and makeup. However, being quarantined and stuck with a phone made for selfies made her drop her usual intensive skincare and makeup routine.
“Seriously, I was wowed by its front camera. I find it great even without its AI beauty mode, although it’s a plus for the times I don’t wear makeup.”
She definitely enjoyed the Reno3’s 44-megapixel front camera. To fully maximize its selfie cam, she took different selfies while sharing a few tips to Her GadgetMatch.
“Always make sure that you’ve got a nice background.”
“If there’s natural light involved, play, and adjust with it as much as possible. You can pose with different facial expressions until you get the look you’re aiming for.”
“Lastly, take a lot of selfies — so you can have a variety of photos to choose from. ‘The more the merrier’ applies here!”
Although she was astounded with the Reno3’s front camera, Noela was a little bit disappointed with its rear cameras. Despite having a Quadcam setup (with 48-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, 13-megapixel telephoto lens, and 2-megapixel photo lens), the results weren’t what she expected.
“I find it pale unless you adjust your settings. Yes, it’s detailed, but I want the photos to be lively and rich in colors,” Noela expressed her dismay.
As a solution, she relied on using her favorite photo-editing software such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Adobe Lightroom to add vibrance to her photos. Though she admittedly post-process her photos, Noela still finds it a bit of a hassle to edit photos before uploading on Instagram Stories.
“A red flag”
Apart from the problems Noela encountered, her greatest distress was the delays in her experience — which is a dealbreaker and perhaps, the biggest downside of the phone.
Even with a 5G-enabled Helio P90 chipset from MediaTek, 8GB of memory, and 128GB of storage, the Reno3 wasn’t a reliable companion for a multitasker like her.
“There were a lot of delays when I was switching between apps. When I was posting a pre-shoot video on Instagram, the app also froze. Throughout my usage, I find myself relaunching apps more often. This is such a red flag.”
Despite her grievances, She still believed that she’ll use the OPPO Reno3. She had high hopes that OPPO can improve at least its features and user interface through software updates.
Is this Her GadgetMatch?
“My iPhone is so outdated. But I can say that OPPO’s Reno3 is so much better than my iPhone 6s Plus. I love its cameras, its features, and it has huge storage for all my selfies. Also, it’s a hundred percent user-friendly.”
Noela told Her GadgetMatch how the Reno3’s simple and classy design speaks to her personality on another level. Additionally, it has what she needs right now, which also fits her current nomadic lifestyle.
Her experience — despite having a big dealbreaker — is still enough for her to switch to the Reno3. Considerably an upgrade from her aging iPhone. True to her words, the OPPO Reno3 could be Her GadgetMatch.
You’ll always go back to your favorite
However, Noela’s case is a rare gem. She simply grew fond of the Reno3 after trying it for a while. It’s like discovering you like cold brew so you decided to love it. But by default, you’ll always go back to your favorite Caramel Macchiato, since it’s that one drink you’ve tried and tested — and it’s guaranteed to not let you down. Frankly, we all love the familiar.
Admittedly, had Noela seen the iPhone SE before the Reno3, she won’t even bother switching. At the time she had the Reno3, it was a much more affordable alternative compared to upgrading to the iPhone 11 Pro.
Pricing and availability
The OPPO Reno3 currently retails for SG$ 549 in Singapore and is available in Midnight Black and Sky White. In the Philippines, it retails for PhP 18,990. It will be available in Auroral Blue, Midnight Black, and Sky White. Additionally, it comes with a free Rockspace EB60 Bluetooth Earbuds.
The Reno3 will be available on Shopee starting April 30, 2020 and on Lazada starting May 13, 2020.
Watch Noela’s vlog which was shot and edited using the OPPO Reno3:
Google Pixel Buds 2: Unboxing and Hands-on
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Everything you need to know about the new Huawei P40 Series. Yep there are 3 phones this year, the P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro+. Yep a pro plus model!
In this video you get a P40 Pro Unboxing, Hands-On, some photo samples, and a camera comparison vs the P30 Pro.
Of course I’ll also answer you questions: What’s new? How is the P40 Pro’s camera vs the P30 Pro, and what’s it like without Google Play Services? And while you’ll have to wait for my full review for a verdict, I’ll try to answer the question, Is it your GadgetMatch?
Watch our Hands-On video.
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