Hands-On

Vivo V5 Plus Hands-On Review

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Whenever a smartphone has a Plus at the end of its name you expect it to be bigger and better than its namesake.

But that’s not the case when it comes to the V5 Plus, the newest smartphone from Chinese up and comer Vivo. In fact when it comes down to the tale of the tape, the V5 Plus is roughly the same size as the V5 that came a few months before it.


The Vivo V5 and the V5 Plus – same size but different internals.

Of course when it comes down to it, the V5 Plus is a better phone overall, but it is also $150 more expensive – which in the midrange segment is a significant enough of a price difference. Does its improvements justify the extra cost? Why should you get the plus model over the non plus model? Keep reading to find out.

Dual Selfie Cameras

The headline feature of the V5 Plus is its 20 megapixel selfie camera. That along with a front facing flash and a camera app that comes with a host of beautification modes gives the phone a pretty good value proposition – great selfies on a budget.

The V5 Plus takes that a step further with a second selfie camera.

Spot the difference. The Vivo V5 Plus has two selfie cameras.

While dual cameras are slowly becoming a trend, very rarely do we see a phone with two up front. On the V5 Plus, this second camera is used to measure the depth of a photo giving you selfies with that creamy bokeh effect.     

In our tests this extra depth of field effect gave our selfies a more professional feel to them, although in some cases felt a bit too much.

SELFIES Vivo V5 (left), V5 Plus (center) and adjusting aperture on the V5 Plus (right)

Thankfully if you feel that’s the case, you can dial back on the photo’s aperture when you’re taking the photo or after the photo has been taken (via the edit menu on your camera roll). 

Overall the second selfie camera didn’t feel like a gimmick and gave us the best looking selfies we’ve seen on a smartphone today.

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More Refined Design

It’s peculiar that the V5 Plus looks reasonably different from the V5 considering they’re both current models. With only a few months between them, the V5 plus looks much more refined, albeit obviously very much a copy of the iPhone 7. Just look at those antenna bands.

Looks familiar. Did the Vivo copy the iPhone 7?

On the V5 Plus, Vivo brings back the home button which on the V5 was more of a touchpad that you couldn’t really press down on. Fingerprint unlock times are just as super quick.

The user interface too is slightly improved with cleaner more consistent looking square icons with rounded corners, an additional row of quick settings, and a new multitasking interface. Overall, FunTouch OS is still one of the better Android implementations around, except for the fact that it’s 2017 and they’re still both running Marshmallow and not Nougat.

More Power

Apart from its second camera, the V5 Plus gets its name from other welcome hardware improvements. For starters it gets a much more capable processor, additional storage space, a slightly bigger battery, and a better main camera.

It also gets a Full HD display which I personally believe should be a standard among mid-range phones these days.  The display on the V5 Plus is nice and crisp with pretty decent contrast and beautifully saturated colors.

Last but not least, and thankfully unlike the V5, the V5 Plus supports fast charging. The omission was a big head scratcher considering the feature came standard on last year’s V3 and V3 Max. In our tests the V5 Plus went from 0 to 80% in 60 minutes and full in just under an hour and 30. The battery lasted us a good full day and then some. 

The Vivo V5 has a beautiful Full HD display and fits comfortably in the hands.

Is the Vivo V5 Plus your GadgetMatch?

Because they are so similar, it’s hard to justify spending an extra $150 to get the V5 Plus over the V5 even if the hardware improvements are very much welcome. The V5 Plus is everything the V5 should have been, except for its price tag.

The phone retails for Php 19,990 in the Philippines and INR 27,980 in India (about $400 US). At that price point there are plenty of other worthy contenders like the Asus Zenfone 3 5.5, Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) or the OnePlus 3T. And for a little bit more there’s also the Xiaomi Mi5s Plus or the Huawei P9.

That’s not to say the V5 Plus is overpriced. For what it’s worth it a solid mid-range smartphone, one that’s a great value for your money. Plus (pun intended) if selfies are very important to you, you’d be hard pressed to find a better phone today.

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Hands-On

OPPO A9 2020 Hands-On: Massive and Playful

For every kind of junkie

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OPPO recently streamlined its smartphone lineup. From Find and Reno, OPPO introduces us to the newest A series. On paper, it seems the A-series is a combination of the F-series and former A-series. Sitting in a sweet spot between an affordable price range and incredible performance, the OPPO A9 2020 is shaping up to be a contender in a sea of smartphones fighting for the crown in the midrange category.

With Xiaomi and Huawei firmly in the lead, can OPPO put up a fight just like it did with its F series? Let’s find out in this Hands-On!


Starting with looks, the OPPO A9 2020 gives in to a premium-like design

It has a dedicated fingerprint scanner and a quad-camera setup on its rear

You can find the power button here…

…While the left side houses the volume keys and sim card slot

Its top is clear, but its bottom shows-off its speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB-C port

It has a 6.5″ IPS LCD screen with a waterdrop notch for the front camera

The OPPO A9 2020 prides itself with its new design that took inspiration from its R-series. In addition, OPPO focused on the phone’s display, reinforcing its IPS LCD screen with a Toughened Corning Gorilla Glass 3+.

Moreover, its screen has new features such as the Sunlight Screen which allows you to adjust the contrast so you can read the screen, even under strong direct light. It also has a Blue Shield which filters out blue light, relieving your eyes from fatigue and strain and protecting your eyesight.

Going big and definitely not going home

Sporting a Snapdragon 665 chipset along with an 8GB RAM, 128GB storage (which you can expand up to 256GB of external memory), the A9 2020 really joined the battle of offering power to midrange devices. OPPO decides to make everything flashy and… big.

For instance, it boasts a humongous 5000mAh battery that can last you throughout the day. Furthermore, it’s capable of reverse wireless charging (through OTG) so your friends can rely on you when their phones run out of battery.

Gamers will find delight with the A9 2020. Thanks to Game Boost 2.0, OPPO’s accelerator technology aims to resolve latency, reduce touchscreen lag, and optimizing energy consumption to avoid overheating.

OPPO decided to up their game for entertainment junkies, too! Packed with Dual Stereo Speakers and Dolby Atmos sound effects, expect a superb, immersive audio experience.

Smarter, smoother

The A9 2020 runs on ColorOS 6 based on Android 9.0. Now, its interface is cleaner and smoother. Icons look cute with their subtle gradient tones.

It also comes with smart functions like Smart Assistant, Riding Mode — which lets you remain uninterrupted by notifications and incoming calls — and a Music party app which lets multiple phones connect in the same LAN through a Wi-Fi hotspot for synchronized listening.

Navigating the phone is now easier with a single hand, too. Through Gesture Navigation, you can return to the home screen, check out recent tasks, switch pages and applications by just swiping up, left, and right.

Cameras for all angles and scenarios

The OPPO A9 2020 shows off its highly versatile camera setup. It has a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2-megapixel portrait lens, and a 2-megapixel mono lens on its rear.

On its front is a 16-megapixel camera with AI Beautification technology which automatically identifies your skin tone, age, gender, and skin color for customized beautification, giving you a pretty yet make-up free look.

More features include artistic portrait styles, ultra night mode, and 4K video shooting. More sample photos here:

Is the OPPO A9 2020 your GadgetMatch?

If you’re into massive and chunky smartphones with a solid build, the OPPO A9 2020 might be a good match. It offers power and performance for gamers and entertainment junkies, and its smartphone has a versatile camera setup to appease your needs. While there may be Xiaomi and Huawei leading the midrange category, OPPO definitely cooked up a powerful yet affordable phone that can go toe-to-toe with its rivals.

The OPPO A9 2020 is available in two colors: Space Purple and Marine Green. Its retail price is PhP 15,990 and will be available for pre-order starting September 20 until September 27 in Lazada, and through OPPO stores, authorized dealers, and e-commerce partner sites like Shopee, Akulaku, and Argomall on September 28.

For those who want to avail through Home Credit, customers can pre-order the A9 2020 starting September 20 with flexible payment terms of six and nine months with a guaranteed zero percent interest.

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Hands-On

Nokia 3.2 Hands-On: Basic but classy

Nothing fancy but really speedy

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Nokia has been stepping up its lineup of budget smartphones. Early in 2019, the brand launched a plethora of budget smartphones that are under the Android One program. One of the budget-friendly smartphones introduced was Nokia 3.2. Eager to have that Nokia experience, I took the phone out for a spin.

It’s cheap… but classy

I had high hopes when I first got the Nokia 3.2 in its box. Seeing it earlier in MWC 2019 made me appreciate its look and vibe. Compared to other budget smartphones, it’s classier and sexier. However, the phone feels a little bit downgraded when compared to its predecessor.


Nokia the 3.1 with an aluminum frame, a plastic back, and corning gorilla glass while the 3.2 used only a polycarbonate unibody design. Its plastic back is smudgy and slippery, but the phone has a tighter grip, thanks to its subtle curved edges towards the front.

Even its buttons are subtly protruding on its sides. On the left is a dedicated Google Assistant button, and on the right are its power buttons and volume keys.

Found on its back are the 13-megapixel main camera, LED Flash, and fingerprint scanner. On the other hand, its top side features a headphone jack, while the micro USB port and speaker grilles are found on the bottom.

If the notch is troubling you, try hiding it with a wallpaper similar to what I did in the image above.

It also features a 6.2 inches LCD panel on its front display, with a tall 19:9 ratio. It might be disrupting, but the Nokia 3.2 still sports a small notch, housing its 5-megapixel selfie camera capable of AI face unlock. Even though it might be bigger and taller this time, the Nokia 3.2 is definitely a joy to hold.

Stock Android on a budget

The saving grace for Nokia’s disappointing build (at least for me) is its clean version of Android One. That means there’s no bloatware to take up your limited memory and storage.

Additionally, the Nokia 3.2 comes with Android 9 Pie out of the box. This makes it feel faster than its competitors in the budget segment despite having a 3GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. Fortunately, it provides a microSD card slot up to up to 400GB of storage.

An entry-level performance

Powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 429 processor, the Nokia 3.2 performs better compared to its predecessor which carried a MediaTek chipset. In addition, its GPU runs on Adreno 504.

This made the Nokia 3.2 handle graphic-intensive games like Mobile Legends even if it was set on the highest graphics setting possible. There were no delay and lag spikes, ensuring smooth gameplay all throughout.

Decent cameras for your everyday needs

Featuring a 13-megapixel main camera with an f/2.2 aperture, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture, the Nokia 3.2 takes decent photos. Depending on the lighting, both of its cameras can either take a vibrant, lively reproduced color during daylight or a slightly desaturated photo on indoor and low-light conditions.

Of course, we can’t really expect budget smartphones to have flagship-like cameras. It won’t have quick auto-focus or any fancy features like blurring your background, but it’s the compromise we’re getting when we follow our tight budget. At the very least, make use of natural light and other camera tricks to improve your photos.

Lasts longer than your partner

If there’s one thing I enjoyed with this smartphone, it’s the humongous battery. Packing a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 3.2 can definitely last a day on a single charge. It can handle your multimedia use and everyday tasks throughout the day, yet it will still have enough juice left to carry you through the night.

However, for a phone carrying a huge battery, it charges slowly at 10W. This phone might just be good for those who love to charge their phones overnight.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The Nokia 3.2 is a contender in the budget segment. It might have a disappointing build and design, but the phone packs with power, performance, and speed, thanks to Google’s Android One program.

With a starting price of PhP 7,990 (US$ 154) for the 3GB/32GB model, Nokia loyalists will find this a real treat. For people looking for a secondary phone, or a primary phone with no frills and just functions to handle your everyday needs, the Nokia 3.2 could be your GadgetMatch.

However, there are still far better options in the budget category, like the Redmi Note 7 and Realme 3. If Nokia wants to come back in its former glory and capture people looking for an affordable powerhouse, they need to join the battle and beat Realme and Redmi in their game, just like Samsung bending over to compete in the tough budget battlefield.

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Hands-On

Samsung Galaxy Fold Hands-on: The Redo!

Refined and ready for release

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This is our Samsung Galaxy Fold hands-on! We revisit Samsung’s foldable phone as it relaunches and check out what’s new!

More on the Samsung Galaxy Fold: Global Availability | How Samsung Fixed it | A more affordable Galaxy Fold?


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