Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy J6 Hands-on: When you want a trusted budget phone

Lives up to expectations, but also lacks in certain aspects

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The popular J-series from Samsung has a new member, and for loyal fans looking for a new budget-midrange phone, the Galaxy J6 is a viable option. It’s got everything users need in an everyday phone, plus premium features.

A well-crafted phone

Despite having a plastic body, the Galaxy J6 doesn’t feel cheap at all. It lacks the metal unibody of the Galaxy J7 phones but, thanks to the matte paint of the back panel, has a good feel in the hand. It doesn’t attract fingerprints much which avoids the need to constantly wipe the phone.

In front is the tall display along with the earpiece, front sensors, and selfie camera. There’s no branding here making the phone look clean and stylish, especially when placed flat on a table. Keeping up with the trend, the bezels of the Galaxy J6 are minimal, but still there just like most budget phones with tall aspect ratios.

There’s no display notch on the Galaxy J6 — something Samsung dislikes on their phones. I guess that’s a good thing, right?

Samsung made the left side of the Galaxy J6 really busy by putting most of the phone’s physical features on this side. There’s a couple of buttons for adjusting the volume and two card slots are placed right below them. The first slot accepts a nano-SIM card labeled as SIM1, while the other slot is for the second SIM card and the microSD card. It’s good to see a dedicated card slot for expanding storage.

On the right side are the loudspeaker and the power button. Ever since the Galaxy J7 Prime was introduced, Samsung’s midrange and budget phones have always had their loudspeakers on the side. It’s fantastic compared to a bottom-firing speaker, to be honest, since you won’t muffle the speaker when holding the phone in landscape orientation with two hands.

Sitting at the bottom of the Galaxy J6 is the micro-USB port, microphone, and 3.5 audio port. Samsung is yet to introduce USB-C ports for their budget phones just like OPPO and Vivo. It’s about time to make USB-C truly universal though, and there are already a number of USB-C cables available for cheap.

The rear is pretty basic with just the main camera positioned above the fingerprint reader. There’s also a single LED flash beside the camera while the Samsung logo is debossed onto the plastic black.

Overall, the Galaxy J6 is a simple-looking phone that gives a bit of value for money by copying the design of more expensive Samsung phones. If you’re already spoiled by the cold and solid feel of aluminum, you could check out the Galaxy A6 which is only a little more expensive.

Amazing display, decent camera, old processor

Being a Samsung phone, the Galaxy J6 has a vibrant Super AMOLED display — not just another LCD panel. The phone’s display measures 5.6 inches with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a tall 18.5:9 aspect ratio. The Infinity Display usually found on premium Samsung phones is now made available to its budget devices, sans the curved edges and high pixel count.

It features most of display features too, but it doesn’t have Always On which is a bummer since it’s already an AMOLED display. Other display features include an outdoor mode for increased brightness, blue light filter to reduce eye strain, and multiple screen color modes including adaptive display.

The cameras on board the phone are single shooters, but with large aperture openings that help to see more in low-light environments. On the back is a 13-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 opening while the front has an 8-megapixel sensor with an f/1.9 opening, as well. Here are some samples for reference:

Samsung’s familiar camera launcher is present here, along with a few camera modes including Pro (manual mode with very few controls), Night, and HDR. Both the front and rear shooters support AR stickers, while only the front shoots portrait photos.

In terms of performance, the good old Exynos 7870 processor takes care of things along with 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable storage. A 3000mAh battery keeps the lights on and it runs Android 8.0 Oreo skinned with Samsung Experience.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

For PhP 13,990 in the Philippines, there are more powerful options available in the market, but they don’t have certain Samsung traits when it comes to build and design. The best-selling feature of the Galaxy J6 is its Super AMOLED display which is a rare sight in this price segment. The display alone could convince people to purchase one, even though the phone sports a pretty old processor.

For everyday usage, the Galaxy J6 is a capable phone. It’s not a gaming smartphone, but it was never meant to be one. You’ll get the Galaxy J6 for its looks, display, camera, and Samsung label.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy A6 Hands-on: Repackaging the older series

Hands-On

Content creator switches from iPhone 6s Plus to OPPO Reno3

A buzzing switch?!

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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:

SEE ALSO: OPPO Reno3 Pro review: Disappointed but not surprised | OPPO Reno3 series pricing and availability in the Philippines

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Accessories

Google Pixel Buds 2: Unboxing and Hands-on

The second Pixel Buds just got better

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Finally! The second Pixel Buds are here. After being announced a few months back, the new Pixel Buds are here with better features in mind.

Although there is no support for ANC (Active Noise-Cancellation) unlike the AirPods Pro and Huawei Freebuds 3, you’ll still get nifty features overall.

To know more, just watch our video here.

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Hands-On

Huawei P40 Pro Unboxing and Complete Hands-On

‘Visionary Photography’

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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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