Hands-On

Vivo V3, V3 Max Hands-On Review

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This week was one of many firsts. My first trip to India and my first formal introduction to smartphone brand Vivo, whose V3 and V3 Max smartphones marked their global debut here this week.

It’s by no mistake that these phones are unveiled in Mumbai, not New York, or London, or Beijing.

Packed with a pretty impressive feature set, specs to match, not-too-shabby looks, and sub-$300 and $400 price tags, respectively, the V3 and V3 Max are perfectly positioned for the price-sensitive but fiercely demanding Indian market. And for the rest of Southeast Asia where the phones are also slated to go on sale later this month.

The idea of a budget-friendly, premium smartphone isn’t necessarily a novel idea. Other manufacturers have built one before, but in the space, only a few have found success. To be fair, in a world where you get what you pay for, it isn’t easy to deliver a premium experience for less. But if that’s what these phones are intended to do, the Vivo V3 and V3 Max are solid efforts.

IN THIS CORNER

Like many high-end phones this year, both phones are fashioned from aluminum. The V3 Max is phablet-sized, 5.5 inches, and available in gold. Its little brother, the V3, is 5 inches, also available in gold. And because pink is the new black, rose gold also.

Apart from the size difference, everything else is aesthetically similar: white backside antenna bands; sides that are flat and angular; and a scratch-proof Gorilla Glass display that tapers off nicely on all corners. They’re not the best-looking phones we’ve seen this year, but they’re good enough to hold their own against the best of them.

The same can be said of their spec sheet. The V3 and V3 Max don’t come with the most high-end of specs, but you won’t feel like you’ve compromised either. The V3 Max, in particular, has the latest Snapdragon 652 processor and should have enough power to make even serious smartphone gamers happy. In the day I used it around Mumbai, it got the job done, and kept this demanding user satisfied.

FASTER THAN

Vivo claims its new phones are, “faster than faster.” And while someone should be fired over that silly slogan, the phones are indeed fast.

Camera startup time is under a second (0.7 seconds), and so is autofocus (0.2).

Battery charging times are fast, too. In our tests, it took just 80 minutes to get the V3 Max’s 3000mAh battery from 0 to 90 percent using the bundled charger.

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But the most impressive speed stat is clocked by the fingerprint scanner, probably the fastest we’ve seen on a smartphone to date. You tap on the sensor on the back of the phone and the screen instantly lights up in an unlocked state.

BETTER THAN

Vivo differentiates both phones from each other by making the bigger model better. The V3 Max has a more powerful processor, more memory, a higher-resolution display, and a bigger battery. It’s a shame actually, because the 5-inch rose gold V3 Max is a beauty. But unless you have a distaste for phablets, I’d spend extra for the V3 Max.

Both phones come with only 32GB storage, but if that’s not enough, there’s also a hybrid card slot where you can pop in a microSD card for up to 128GB more storage. That storage slot also doubles as a nano SIM slot, so if you don’t need the extra memory, you can have a dual-SIM phone.

I like that the other SIM slot takes micro SIMs, that way when I’m traveling I have a little more flexibility when choosing a local prepaid SIM card.

SAY CHEESE

Apart from giving the V3 and V3 Max snappy cameras, Vivo’s also made sure both phones have cameras that punch above their weight. I was pleasantly surprised with shots taken using the phone’s 13-megapixel main camera; HDR mode worked great, and if you want a little more control, there’s also full manual mode. Browse through our slideshow for sample photos. 

The 8-megapixel selfie camera wasn’t overlooked either. Focal length is wide enough to fit up to 4 people in a shot, but not too wide to cause any distortion. There’s also a host of beautification modes, including a set of makeup filters. Yep! One tap blush and/or gloss.

FUN TOUCH

Both phones run Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box. A bit disappointing considering the latest version of Android called Marshmallow has been available for months now.

Vivo’s custom take on Android is called FunTouch OS, a highly customizable, but toned down version of Android. The interface is clean and elegant, and in may ways closer to iOS. There is no app drawer, and like on the iPhone, you summon the tools menu (on iOS its called Command Center) by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. 

One tool of note is called S-Capture, that apart from screen recordings also allows you to capture extra long screenshots of web pages or chat transcripts. A similar feature is also available on the high-end Samsung Galaxy Note 5.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

Indian pricing for the Vivo V3 and V3 Max is Rs 17,980 (P12,500 or $270) and Rs 23,980 (P16,700 or $360), respectively.

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For the price of the V3 Max, you could get the Xiaomi Mi 5, which offers top-of-the-line specs and superior design. But that phone is only officially available in India and China via limited online channels. Also in that price range is the slightly older One Plus 2, if you can somehow manage to secure the invite needed to be eligible to purchase the phone. Crazy, I know!

When both phones hit retail stores in India and China on April 15th, and Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines Thailand, and Vietnam before the end of the month, Vivo will have a leg up over its competitors because you’ll be able to walk into a store and buy one, when you want one. If only the company adjusted pricing by $100 US, they’d make an even stronger case as one of the best mid-range phones today. 

[irp posts=”12138" name=”How to take the perfect selfie”]

Accessories

PH3 wireless headphones is a wearable Filipino pride

A limited-edition offering that gives back

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Electronics manufacturer H-Audio has been providing quality products to its market when it comes to audio solutions. While they have a select lineup of offerings, it caters to different types of users.

What we have here is the PH3 that screams Filipino pride as soon as you put it on. Read on and find out if it performs as good as it looks.

It has a straightforward design

Red and blue stripes signify colors from the Philippine flag

Three stars and a sun on each earcup

Can’t get any more Filipino than this

Solid build quality

Headband has a good flex to it

Clasps comfortably on the head

Doesn’t come off easily

Comfortable ear cups

Earmuffs are made of memory foam

What I personally like about the PH3 when it comes to design is how it has a minimalistic kind of approach with just the three stars, sun, and stripes of red and blue. Apart from these Philippine flag-inspired colors, everything else is white. Sure, it might require extra effort to keep it clean, but it’s just something that works aesthetically.

Build quality feels durable and not flimsy which is what I look for next to sound quality. This is made possible by using stainless steel for the headband support and hard plastic for the rest — making it light, but tough.

It has a nice fit around the ears and wearing it for extended periods of time was still comfortable thanks to its memory foam earmuffs. I’ve used it a couple of times while running on the treadmill and the earcups remained snug and in place.

All-around performer

When it comes to sound quality, let’s get to the point — the PH3 delivers. It’s got warm and distinct mids, decent highs, and impressive lows. The overall sound is what you’d expect of closed-back headphones and leans on the muffled side of the sound spectrum.

Active Noise Cancellation option

One thing I noticed, though, is that sound leaks a little to the outside world so you might want to keep that in mind when you’re in an elevator with other people or something.

Connection via Bluetooth was easy and automatically pairs to the phone each time the headphones is turned on. That alone is a big check for me.

Micro-USB port for charging

The company says it has up to 20 hours of battery life. While I was not able to continuously use it, the headphones lasted me about five days with ANC off and mainly using it for music at the gym, walking around the neighborhood, or even just at home.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

H-Audio’s PH3 is a reliable pair of cans with minimal drawbacks. It might require extra care to keep it clean and sound leak at full volume might be an issue for a select few. Looking past those, however, you have a good set of headphones that not only performs well but also looks attractive with its touch of a local theme.

Additionally, its features like wireless connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation make operations easier and add to the overall music-listening experience.

Priced at PhP 7,480, proceeds will go to platforms to raise funds and help the underprivileged Filipino youth. The PH3 is available in select The Loop by Power Mac Center branches, Urban Gadgets, and The Listening Room. For more list of stores carrying their products, visit their Facebook page.

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Hands-On

Professional home: Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q premium men’s shaver

‘Powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with’

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Are you a fan of a fresh, clean shave? For most, professional gentlemen, an electric shaver is one of their most important grooming tools. Maintaining a look that’s both clean and professional is quick and easy with a good, electronic shaver. Panasonic’s new premium tool — the ES-LV6Q — promises a job done well enough as if a professional did it by hand. So, we put it to the test.

We asked for the help of Sergio, 32, who works in sales here in Germany. He goes to a good number of meetings every week, representing their company. So it’s no wonder that he spends a lot of his mornings, shaving to keep a clean appearance.

“I’ve been using an electric shaver for years but the one I’ve had never really got the job done quickly. I have to keep going over the same spot a couple of times before I get a smooth shave,” he shared with GadgetMatch.

The shaver’s head is flexible and moves up to six directions, making movement along the curves of the face practically seamless. The five blades can also get as close as possible to the skin, without hurting the person using it. One of the blades is shaped like a comb, making it easier to catch each strand. Each area of the face is also clean after going through it just once — no more razor burns. Even during a dry shaving session.

Great for travel

The ES-LV6Q also travels well. An hour’s worth of charging will give you up to 45 minutes of use, making it perfect for business trips. It also comes with a travel pouch and has a blade protection clip that can help keep it safe in your suitcase while traveling.

“With the powerful motor and the blades that get every hair, it takes me a minimum of four minutes to shave. If my hair has gotten a bit longer and it needs a bit of trimming first, I go no longer than six minutes,” Sergio added. “At the speed that I can go with the ES-LV6Q, a full charge can last me up to two weeks,” Sergio added.

The shaver is also completely waterproof making it perfect for wet or dry use. Despite shaving as close as possible with the power of the 14,000 CPM Linear Motor, Sergio reported no irritation on his skin.

Another feature that Sergio liked a lot was the clipper that can be used for sideburns. It’s also great for people who just want to trim their facial hair. “It’s great for weekends or when you want to keep a little stubble,” he added.

Cleaning is also a breeze. It’s easy to do after every shave under the tap. All Sergio has to do is add some hand soap and activate the sonic vibration cleaning mode. This, by pressing the power button for more than two seconds. Removing the gadget’s outer foil section is also an easy task and putting it under running water makes for a thorough rinse. A gentle shake plus a quick wipe down and you’re done for the day.

Sergio’s always ready for a client presentation using Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q shaver. “This Panasonic 5-Blade Men’s shaver has all the features I require in a grooming gadget and more. It’s powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with. I’m really satisfied with the results! ” Sergio concluded.

The Panasonic ES-LV6Q currently retails at EUR 245,99 at Saturn.de and Mediamarkt.de. For more information on the product, visit Panasonic’s website.

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CES 2020

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Hands-on

For those who want a Note 10 on a budget

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It hasn’t been a year since Samsung released the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. They even had a Star Wars x Note 10+ collaboration.

In this year’s CES, a Lite variant of the Galaxy Note 10 has been announced — but it’s not lite on features at all.

You can watch the video above to know more. If you’re having a hard time viewing it, click this link to watch our hands-on.

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