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.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy M20 hands-on: Give the users what they want

Awakening of the sleeping giant

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Samsung has been the smartphone market leader for half a decade now, and its flagship phones continue to be an inspiration for everyone. However, while the brand is dominating in developed markets, it has taken a massive beating in the developing ones.

Thanks to players like Xiaomi, the South Korean brand has consistently lost market share in countries like India. Samsung slowly prepared itself to change strategy by the end of last year and intends to go hard in 2019. It announced the new Galaxy M-series lineup of phones in the budget segment and the M10 and M20 are the first ones to roll off the shelf.

The M20 has been launched in India for INR 10,990 (US$ 154) and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The option with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage costs INR 12,990 (US$ 182). The phone goes up against the Redmi 6 Pro, Realme U1, and even the Mi A2.

To start with, Samsung has opted to go with a basic design, consisting of a plastic body that is curved at the edges and is pretty glossy. The phone is extremely comfortable to hold, and the build quality is top-notch. Even the buttons are very tactile and bezels are smaller.

On the front is a 6.3-inch TFT display with a Full HD resolution and small water-drop style notch on the top. This is the first Samsung phone to feature a notch, and the display quality is surprisingly good. The color production is vivid and satisfying, while the viewing angles are perfect. It is easily visible even under direct sunlight.

For authentication, a fingerprint scanner is located on the rear and it is fast enough. You also have the option of face unlock and it works quickly in well-lit conditions. It has dual-SIM support and there’s a separate slot for microSD card, as well.

Powering the phone is an octa-core Exynos 7904 processor, which is considered to be on par with the Snapdragon 636. It is a very power-efficient processor with more emphasis on the cameras. Day-to-day tasks are handled smoothly and games like PUBG are playable with low graphics.

It has a dual-camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary shooter and a 5-megapixel wide-angle sensor. The pictures clicked during daytime are decently saturated but lack sharpness. Even focus tends to get slow in low-light conditions. The wide-angle lens works best in bright surroundings only and is a very handy tool. For selfies, it has an 8-megapixel shooter with built-in beauty enhancements.

It ships with Samsung Experience 9.5 out of the box and is actually well optimized. There is barely any lag and the UI offers a plethora of customizations and features. The company announced that the Android Pie update will be landing soon. Lastly, it has a massive 5000mAh battery that’ll get you through two days of usage.

Xiaomi has been successful because it offers users a balanced product that suits everyone’s needs. With the M20, Samsung goes down the same road. While the recently announced A-series phones were for photography enthusiasts, the M20 is good enough for everything.

The M20 is no disruptor, but an indication that Samsung is gearing up. And as a generation-one product, it’s performing fairly well.

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Cameras

Fujifilm Instax SQ20 hands-on: How good is it?

Trying out the new Motion Mode on doggies!

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Fujifilm’s sequel to their first ever digital/analog hybrid is here and it’s looking better than ever. The Instax SQ20 is one classy-looking instant camera but what can it do? With a set of built-in filters and new features like the Motion Mode, it looks like a promising device.

I finally try it out, with help from some doggies, on our hands-on video.

The SQ20 retails for US$ 199 in the US, PhP 12,999 in the Philippines, and SG$ 299 in Singapore.

In case you’re having trouble viewing, watch HERE.

READ ALSO: Fujifilm Instax SQ10 review

READ ALSO: Prynt Pocket unboxing and review: A printer that prints videos?

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Features

DALLA DALLA, Crazy Rich Asians: Now Playing

A Valentine’s special!

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While we wait for the Galaxy S10 to launch and MWC 2019 to start, let’s take a moment to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

If you don’t have a date, don’t be grumpy. Sometimes, all you need is self-love and entertainment to keep you going. Have some fun alone time and enjoy what’s now playing at GadgetMatch!

Movies to see

Dragon Ball Super: Broly
Marvin: If you’re single and unhappy about it this month, catching a late showing of Dragon Ball Super: Broly may be the best way to release stress in the theater. It’s by far the best Dragon Ball movie yet with tireless action and gorgeous visuals, plus it’s surprisingly friendly to both old fans and those new to the franchise.

Crazy Rich Asians
MJ: Crazy Rich Asians is a film for those who are ready to take it to the next level. It’s about standing up to people who get in the way of your happiness, and choosing what’s best for the person you love. It’s a dash of romance with a sprinkle of comedy to keep you from crying in heart-wrenching scenes.

TV shows to binge watch

Kakegurui
Rodneil: The anime follows a transfer student who seemed sweet and normal at first, but has an insatiable thirst for gambling. It’s a relatively easy watch and you can follow along even if you’re doing something else.

Games to play

Kingdom Hearts III
Rodneil: There’s too much backstory heading into this game that it can get super confusing, especially if this is your first game in the franchise. The story is clunky at best but the game is a visual spectacle. Push the narrative to the side and just play it for the fireworks.

Resident Evil 2
Marvin: I was too afraid to finish Resident Evil 2 on my own as a kid, so I’m glad it’s been remade for my braver adult self. In line with Valentine’s Day, I’d say it’s a perfect game to play with a partner so that you have someone to hold your hand during the most intense zombie sightings. 💕

Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to

Kahit Ayaw Mo Na by This Band
Rodneil: Only caught wind of this song recently and I haven’t been able to stop listening since. It talks about someone wanting to work it out with her/his partner. However, the partner seems unwilling. The music invites multiple listens and the way the words flow is ear-candy.

Shine by Pentagon
Rodneil: My obsession with girl group Twice has served as a gateway to other K-Pop tracks, and this is one of them. It’s simply an absolutely fun song to listen to. A great pick-me-up to get you started in the morning.

Can’t Help Falling In Love by Kina Grannis
MJ: Kina Grannis’ strings and acoustic guitar rendition of Elvis Presley’s classic love song makes you remember how love is a force you can’t resist. The emotion you’ll feel in this song is overwhelming — ranging from the bliss of being in love to confusion and even heartbreak.

DALLA DALLA by ITZY
Vincenz: The song’s unique and dynamic blend of sounds, from a hip-hop centric intro and bridge up to a contrasting, bright chorus, makes it a great and catchy debut song (their visuals are exceptional, too). Message of the song? It’s all about empowerment and self-love!

Gokigen Sayonara (A Happy Goodbye) by IZ*ONE
Vincenz: This song caught my ears with its catchy tune and lyrics, which doesn’t usually happen since most J-Pop releases sound so different. Its lively, electro-pop vibe opposes the song’s message about bidding farewell to someone you truly love, but it works.

Cities/Places to visit

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Boracay
Marvin: Now cleaner and more beautiful than ever, Boracay’s beach is the perfect weekend getaway once again. A lot of activities and shops are still unavailable, but if you simply want to soak in the sun and sea breeze, it would be a great time to go once the tourists leave post-Valentine’s.


Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!

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