Features

Vivo V5 hands-on

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About a week ago, we wrote about the Vivo V5 launching in India, the second-largest smartphone market in the world next to China.

The spiritual successor to the V3, the V5 takes on the likes of the OPPO F1s and Sony Xperia XA with a killer front-facing camera and a street price that would make most bargain options blush.


The V5 reminds us of a phone we’ve seen before, by another manufacturer. The uncanny resemblance to the OPPO F1s (and F1 Plus) isn’t deliberate, but it comes as no surprise given that both Vivo and OPPO are under the same parent company.

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And because it carries the DNA of the F1s, the V5 looks and feels good. It is comfortable to use for long durations.

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Left: Vivo V5; right: OPPO F1s

But it should be said that the V5 and F1s are not exactly alike. There are slight differences, the most prominent of which is how much different the frame of the V5 is; it tapers toward the front to give the handset a cleaner, more polished appearance.

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And since we’ve gone deep into the rabbit hole, it must be said: We prefer the look of the Vivo phone. It feels like an evolution of the F1s’ design, which is admittedly a weird thing to say about two phones made by different companies.

The V5 houses a 5.5-inch display of 720p resolution. Colors are well-saturated and accurate for the most part, and the screen is easily visible from awkward angles. However, it’s not as bright as the panel on the Vivo V3. Nor is it as crisp, as a result of the bump in size. There are narrow bezels on the right and left. Tiny black borders surround the display.

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The front also features a capacitive (read: non-clickable) home button that pulls double duty as a fingerprint reader. Fingerprint recognition is both accurate and fast, like with the Vivo V3 and V3 Max.

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The left side hides a hybrid tray for either two SIM cards or a SIM card and a microSD card.

The bottom features a headphone jack, a standard USB charging port, and a speaker. On a somewhat related note, the V5 has a fancy audio chip for high-quality audio playback. This particular feature only works with headphones, and Vivo specifically states that uncompressed audio files be used.

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The back of the phone is engraved with Vivo’s logo. Two silver antenna bands run through the top and bottom edges.

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The main camera packs a 13-megapixel sensor. It shoots decent photos in low light. But it doesn’t outperform the V3’s rear shooter. Not during the day, not at night. The V3 actually fared better in our initial testing.

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Though the front-facer is a different ball game. As some of you may have heard around the internet, the V5 is the world’s first 20-megapixel selfie phone. And while that may not carry much weight with non-millennials — it might seem gimmicky even — a phone that obsesses over the intricate details of your face could turn out to be useful at some point in the future.

Here’s a couple of obligatory selfies taken with the V5’s bonkers camera. We’ll have more to say about image quality after we’ve put the device through some thorough testing.

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A selfie taken outdoors

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A low-light selfie

Vivo has opted for MediaTek’s Helio P10 processor inside the V5, which is a bit surprising since its previous releases — the Y55, V3, and V3 Max — all use Qualcomm chipsets. Not that it should matter, because the P10 is a good midrange chipset that can handle most games with no problems. The meaty 4GB of RAM should be enough for anyone.

A gyroscope exists under the hood — presumably to keep Pokemon Go players happy. The V5’s non-removable cell is rated at 3,000mAh. The battery’s good for a full day’s work, but one should be able to stretch it out with lighter usage.

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The Vivo V5 is priced at INR 17,980 in India and PhP 12,990 in the Philippines, roughly $260 for both countries. So far, our initial impressions are very positive. This phone, like the OPPO F1s, does more than selfies. We’ll be sure to pit one against the other to determine which phone takes the best self-portraits. Check back in a week or two.

[irp[irp posts=”7385" name=”OPPO F1s review”]

Gaming

ROG Phone II Hands-on

Console replacement?

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Is there a place for gaming phones in 2019? ASUS believes so. In fact they’re so bullish about the mobile gaming industry that they’re giving their gaming phone an update!

For 10% off your first Squarespace website or domain, visit https://squarespace.com/gadgetmatch and use my coupon code: gadgetmatch


Special thanks to The Unlockr David Cogen for helping create this video.

If you are having trouble watching this video, click here.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone II Hands-On: The ultimate in mobile gaming

With new and improved accessories too

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Is there a place for gaming phones in 2019? ASUS believes so. In fact they’re so bullish about the mobile gaming industry that they’re giving their gaming phone an update. This is our ROG Phone II hands-on.

At first glance, it’s not very different from last year’s model and that’s intentional. Their focus hasn’t been to rework the wheel but to make the original even better.


The phone is now taller, giving it that now popular 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. It’s built tough with a Gorilla Glass 6 display and is intentionally flashy with RGB lighting baked into the logo on its back with ROG’s trademark styling.

Best display on a smartphone today

The flat all screen display is edge-to-edge except for its top and bottom. ASUS said this is a design decision so that gripping the phone doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.

It also leaves room for the dual front firing speakers and a selfie camera. It’s strategically placed so game streamers can play and stream at the same time.

The panel itself is impressive possibly the best we’ve seen on a smartphone today. It’s the world’s first 120Hz AMOLED display on a smartphone with a super fast one millisecond response time.

It not only gives you buttery smooth transitions, but combined with ultra low touch latency, it’s supposedly also going to give you an advantage when pulling the trigger in a head-to-head shooting game. This HDR display is glorious. Colors pop and images are rich and vibrant. It’s my new favorite display and is perfect whether you’re watching videos or playing games.

Baked into the display is a fingerprint scanner which, based on our initial tests, is quick and snappy.

Performance fit for the most competitive gamers

When it launches, the ROG Phone II will also be one of the most powerful smartphones in the market today. Topping early benchmark tests versus other flagships including the Galaxy S10+ from Samsung and the OnePlus 7 Pro.

It’s powered by an updated version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 — the 855 Plus which is even faster. Coupled with an updated Adreno 640, it’s promising a 15 percent GPU performance.

A completely souped up model will have 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The phone promises to handle any power intensive game you throw at it with not only fast frame rates but also a commitment to sustained performance across long gaming sessions.

To keep its internals running at optimal condition the phone offers three steps of cooling: First with a 3D Vapor Chamber, second with a built-in heat sink and vents on its back cover, and third via an attachment called the Aero Active Cooler II. With all of these working together, ASUS promises unbeatable performance.

A battery that can handle all that power

So what about battery life? Surely all of this performance power will take a toll on battery life? Nope. The ROG Phone 2 will come with a massive 6000mAh battery. That’s 2000mAh more than most flagships these days.

ASUS is promising 7.1 hours of battery life when playing something like PUBG. What excites me the most is that non-gamers could potentially get two days of more than average use.

The phone also comes with fast charging support built in. A full charge will take one hour and 21 minutes.

More love for gamers

There is much more gamers will love about the new ROG Phone II. ASUS kept the Dual USB-C ports — one on the bottom of the phone and one on its side. This means you can charge the device and continue playing any which way you like.

I also particularly like the improved air triggers that let you control your game by tapping either top side of your phone in landscape mode. Along with an improved vibration motor, the phone feels more like a game controller than ever before.

It’s clear that this isn’t your average phone. It’s one built specifically for gamers. But having said all that ASUS says it’s not just the best gaming phone. It’s a great flagship too!

To ensure the experience is top notch. They gave the ROG Phone II the same impressive camera that’s on the Zenfone 6. Except for its flipping mechanism of course.

A 48MP main camera and a 13MP ultra wide secondary camera. Take a look at some sample photos.

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On the front of the phone is a 24MP selfie camera. Here are some selfie samples.

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The ROG Phone Ecosystem

Depending on how you like to play, ASUS attempted to cater to every game style with a range of accessories made specifically for the ROG Phone II.

The new Kunai gamepad comes with controllers that snap on to a bumper reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch. You can also attach the controllers to the Kunai Holder and use them as you would a gamepad.

The Twin View Dock from last year has also been updated making it lighter and easier to use. It can also be used in conjunction with the GamePad.

Other accessories include the Aero Active Cooler II, Aero Case, and the Lighting Armor Case. Older accessories like the desktop dock, Pro Dock, and the WiGig Display Dock Plus also support this new model.

Is the ROG Phone II your GadgetMatch?

Let me start by saying this phone isn’t for everyone. From the way it looks, to some of its standout feature, these are things that appeal to a very special kind of user.

If you’re the type who is serious about mobile gaming then it definitely is going to be a good investment. If you’re not a gamer but care about things like a great display and ultra long battery life this might be a phone worth considering also.

Representatives from ASUS tell me that once the phone rolls out globally this September there will also be an option to change its interface to the stock-like ZenUI for a more everyday smartphone feel. That’s good news too.

The ROG Phone II launches in China this week. The Global Version is coming first week of September – our review video will drop around the same time.

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Entertainment

BLACKPINK unboxes their own edition of the Samsung Galaxy A80

Spoiler alert: It has a different content inside

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In case you missed it, BLACKPINK members were chosen as Samsung’s A-series ambassadors, thus the reason for the spectacular performance at the Galaxy A event last April.

After a few months, Samsung also launched a special BLACKPINK edition of the Galaxy A80. It was first available in Thailand, then it also made its way to other Southeast Asian markets.


Samsung and TikTok then partnered up and made the Galaxy A80’s slide and swiveling camera movement a dance challenge, giving BLINKs the chance to win the phone with the BLACKPINK branding.

The serious endorsement makes sense especially because Samsung and BLACKPINK are both considered icons of Hallyu (한류) or K-Wave.

Meet the BLACKPINK members: Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo and Rosé (L-R)

All BLACKPINK members were excited to unbox their special edition phone.

As you can see, the boxes are different. BLACKPINK has their own special pink box with a fancier design.

 

For clarification, the usual pink box consists of the BLACKPINK charging stand, case, and a random photo card.

Meanwhile, BLACKPINK’s Special Edition Box includes not just the Galaxy A80, but also the BLACKPINK-branded Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Buds.

The BLACKPINK logo can be found at the phone’s back and during its initial boot up.

The members were astounded when they saw themselves on the phone’s lock and home screens. The BLACKPINK theme was already set upon turning on the phone.

The BLACKPINK Galaxy Buds is something you can’t get from the other package. It stands out with its black and pink-colored buds (BLINKs would definitely flex this!). The AirPods could never. 👀

Aside from Jisoo wearing the watch, it’s more special because the strap is in BLACKPINK’s official pink color.

Whether that may just be the case or the special Galaxy Buds, BLINKs (including me) would still spoil ourselves with goodies related to BLACKPINK.

 

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