Reviews

Vivo V7+ Review: More than just a full-screen display

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Welcome to the era of the borderless smartphones. When we first saw the Sharp Crystal and Xiaomi Mi Mix, we wondered when cheaper phones would get the amazing edge-to-edge panels. Well, it started with the LG Q6, and now this.

Here’s our review of the Vivo V7+.

Say goodbye to thick bezels with a 6-inch Full View display

Resolution is pretty low at 1440 x 720 pixels only

Unlike the Mi Mix 2, the selfie camera is still up top

No upside down “Perfect Selfies”

We have the volume rocker and power button on the right…

Easily reachable even with smallish fingers

And the dual nano-SIM and microSD card tray on the left

Vivo brings back expandable storage to its higher-tier phones and… triple-card slots!

The bottom has an audio port, microphone, micro-USB port, and speaker grilles

It’s quite busy down here

The fingerprint reader has been moved to the back

Conveniently positioned for either index fingers

Borderless display is a must nowadays to lure users

The key feature of the V7+ is its borderless display, which Vivo calls Full View. The screen has a 5.99-inch panel with a resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels. This gives the display a pixel density of only 269ppi, which is pretty low for a phone this size. I guess it’s part of the tradeoff to get a borderless display in this price range. While it may not be as crisp as we’d want it to be, the overall quality (e.g., color, contrast, brightness) is good.

But the Vivo V7+ is not the cheapest borderless phone in the market. Just last month, we reviewed the LG Q6 which retails for PhP 12,990 in the Philippines or around US$ 255. The Q6 may have a smaller display size, but it has a sharper panel — twice the number of pixels the V7+ has, in fact.

The display presents Vivo’s own FunTouch OS skin on top of Android 7.1 Nougat nicely. The support for full-screen apps is there, and it resembles Apple’s iOS. This means there’s no app drawer and you get similar app icons to an iPhone. New features include an improved Smart Split app, Screen Recording with audio, and App Clone, which lets you run two instances of certain apps.

The new processor is actually faster than we thought

Aside from the display, one of the first things we noticed about the V7+ is its new processor. From the mid-tier Snapdragon 625 processor of its predecessor, the new phone now has a Snapdragon 450. The shift from a Snapdragon 600-series to a 400-series processor is shocking at first, but before we jump to conclusions, let us explain that this is not a downgrade.

The new Snapdragon 450 is pretty much based on the Snapdragon 625. Both have the same 14nm technology for longer battery life and a newer Adreno 506 GPU for better gaming performance. On the downside, the clock speed is slightly slower (1.8GHz vs 2.0GHz) and it doesn’t support 4K video recording. No worries though, since the V7+ performs better or on par with benchmark tests, and the overall performance is super smooth and lag-free.

Multitasking is handled by the 4GB memory, and you get an internal storage of 64GB for apps, pictures, and more. Let’s not forget that the V7+ also supports a microSD card of up to 256GB with the dedicated slot. And, Vivo continues to give its devices a built-in Hi-Fi chip for excellent audio quality with lossless music files.

From Perfect to Clearer Selfies

Vivo phones normally prioritize selfie cameras over the rear shooter. The Vivo V7+ is no different with its 24-megapixel front camera. It now has a single sensor — not two. However, you still get the artificial bokeh effect through some software tricks. Oh, and the rear has a 16-megapixel shooter — let’s not forget about that.

The rear camera, like most midrange phones, captures pleasing images and with great quality even when viewed on a laptop. We did notice that the white balance leans on the warm side. The front camera is where the phone shines (that’s one of its main selling points), with detailed selfies in both bright and dim environments. As mentioned earlier, the bokeh effect is still here, although it’s a hit or miss due to the lack of a secondary camera.

Facial recognition complements the fingerprint reader

Since we just talked about the cameras, let’s have a look at the facial recognition feature of the V7+. Unlike with the iPhone X, built-in facial recognition is not new to the world of Android. In fact, we still remember playing around with the old Samsung Galaxy Nexus from 2011 (that’s almost six years ago); however, it was faulty and buggy. The result? It didn’t fly. Instead, Android phones have been relying on fingerprints.

Just how much better is the facial recognition on the V7+? After setting up, it was disappointing that we couldn’t train the phone for multiple facial registers. In well-lit places, the phone unlocks quickly upon turning on the display. But, in dim spots? Not so much. You’re better off using the fingerprint reader, which even works a bit faster. It’s nice that you can use both biometric security features, so you get the best of two sides.

Watch all you want on the go

With a slightly bigger body than its predecessor, the V7+ has a somewhat larger battery at 3225mAh over the previous 3160mAh. For a 6-inch phone, we find the battery to be a bit small, but it was able to last us a full day of average usage. Fast charging is supported by the phone with a fuel-up time of just over two hours.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

As we wrap up our review, we’ve grown fond of the Vivo V7+. We don’t find the phone to be the perfect midrange full-screen phone in the market right now, but the V7+ is a solid offering. With its borderless display and high-quality selfies, it can be an easy sell for those looking for a new phone that looks different for once.

With that, we’re giving the Vivo V7+ our GadgetMatch Seal of Approval. It’s currently available in India for INR 21,990. It should be rolling out to other Southeast Asian markets soon.

SEE ALSO: Vivo V5 Plus Hands-On Review

[irp posts=”9707″ name=”Vivo V5 Plus Hands-On Review”]

Reviews

Redmi 12 review: Just the basics

Decent-performing, nothing exceptional

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Redmi 12

The ever-worsening local economy and inflation rate makes us think from time to time if we will have to settle for less — not by choice but by necessity.

When it comes to smartphones, opting for an entry-level device might still be worth it, as their overall quality and suite of features have improved throughout the years to accommodate users.

Still, that depends on what you’re getting — which then depends on how much time you spend on your phone and how heavy you use it.

Xiaomi recently released the budget Redmi 12 which, on paper, can give customers a reliable budget option. But is it still worth it when put to the test?

First, here’s a quick overview of its specs and features:

  • MediaTek Helio G88 processor
  • Up to 8GB RAM, up to 256GB internal storage
  • MIUI 14 based on Android 13
  • 5,000mAh battery with 18W fast-charging
  • 6.79-inch FHD+ DotDisplay, 90Hz
  • 50MP main camera, triple-camera rear
  • 8MP selfie camera
  • IP53 dust and splash resistance
  • Side fingerprint sensor

Watch our Redmi 12 unboxing.

@gadgetmatch

New budget phone alert! #Redmi12

♬ original sound – GadgetMatch – GadgetMatch

Don’t expect it to be 100% smooth

When we first turned this device on, it took a little while for everything to get configured and finished, which is quite expected from a phone in the budget segment.

It’s decent everywhere else. Physically, the phone has a good feel to it when held. The interface looks neat and non-confusing. The screen has ample brightness and good colors to watch videos on your desired streaming apps.

You can switch from one app to the other, browse casually, and take photos or videos without experiencing major issues, but still, don’t expect everything to be smooth.

Redmi 12 | YouTube

For instance, the product does say being able to watch videos at up to a 2460 x 1080 resolution, but I recommended sticking to basic full HD as the playback becomes glitchy and delayed when a higher resolution is selected.

Moreover, try to avoid having several apps open. As this is a phone marketed to the Gen Z audience, it’s tempting to use it and have a ton of social media apps open in one go, from Facebook to TikTok to Instagram to X.

Naturally, there will be links that lead to external apps from time to time, like clicking an ad that leads to Shopee or Lazada, but just do your best to keep the usage as low as possible.

For productivity? It depends

It’s best to keep it simple when using the Redmi 12 for tasks. Besides, there are tablets and laptops if you really want to be “productive.”

Granted, it can handle light tasks such as typing on Google Docs or editing a photo on a free app, but if you are going to open a video editing app and piece together high-quality videos with captions and add music or audio, it will take a toll on the phone.

If anything, it’s good that the phone still kept usual features such as a 3.5mm jock for listening to important audio, and a hybrid slot for extra storage.

Gen Z-tailored cameras

As expected, the Redmi 12’s camera setup includes a 50MP f/1.8 main shooter along with an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera for the staple 0.5 selfies nowadays. There’s also a 2MP f/2.4 macro camera which works well to capture details up-close. In front is an 8MP f/2.1 selfie camera.

There’s a 50MP mode to take higher-quality photos with the main camera, although that will consume higher storage space.

The key here is to match the phone with sufficient lighting. It’s not ideal when used indoors; the captures simply lack brightness, sharpness, and vibrance and the results become noisier.

On the positive side, you can take this outdoors to get okay-quality shots at parks, malls, and everywhere else where the lighting is fine.

Do note that you will need to be extra steady when taking photos as it takes a little time to record what’s on the viewfinder. It does not work well in capturing moving subjects as well when zoomed in.

The macro lens, on the other hand, is hit or miss depending on the subject.

At the very least, 0.5 lens still work well in taking good landscapes or sceneries. The night mode feature also allows for more light to come in for your outdoor photos in low-light conditions.

You can also shoot full HD videos at standard 30fps, for your next TikTok or IG reels upload.

Take it easy on gaming

Redmi 12 | Wild Rift

Oftentimes, people expect much from entry-level devices when it comes to gaming. Surprisingly, the Redmi 12 performed decently on space fantasy RPG Honkai: Star Rail and 5v5 mobile MOBA Wild Rift, provided that you put the settings to low or medium.

Funny enough, the loading screen for Honkai: Star Rail, which is set to the best quality, took a while to finish and was laggish just as expected, but after that, you’re all good. Just keep in mind to give this phone an ample amount of rest after.

Also, since this is just a budget phone, you will have to come up with your own “gaming” or “do not disturb” mode. That’s either setting the phone to flight mode and connecting it to Wi-Fi instead of data, or disallowing all other apps from running in the background. Basically, it’s every little thing that saves up RAM space while you’re gaming.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

As mentioned, getting a device that suits you still ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.

If you just want a good everyday perform to work so you can communicate and entertain yourself while stuck in traffic or during your free time, the Redmi 12 is a decent choice.

But if you need a high-performing device without having to break the bank. Well,  just have more patience and save up, because there are better lower mid-range choices waiting for you.

If you’re really in an “I-need-a-phone-now” predicament, it doesn’t hurt considering the Redmi 12. But we have put everything on this review to make you think twice.

The Redmi 12 starts at PhP 7,999.

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Reviews

Apple iPhone 15 Pro + 15 Pro Max Review: Huge Leap Forward

There’s more than just the Titanium Design

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As you may already know, Apple has released their Pro-level iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max flagships.

A lot of you say they don’t look very different from their predecessors last year — but there’s more than meets the eye.

Aside from the new colors and a tougher Titanium Design, there are hardware and software features you’ll exclusively find on the iPhone 15 Pro series.

Curious to know what the hype is all about?

Here’s our very, VERY in-depth review of the new iPhone 15 and 15 Pro Max!

P.S: This is currently our second longest review video in our YouTube channel!

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OPPO A98 5G review: A+ for all-around experience

A strong contender in its category

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OPPO A98 5G

The OPPO A98 5G has a very promising spec sheet. With that, you may be wondering if those figures actually translate into real-life use. After rocking the device for nearly two weeks, here’s an in-depth review of the OPPO’s newest midranger.

Before anything else, watch this unboxing

A Beauty that glows differently

The visual upgrade of OPPO A98 5G from its predecessor is very clear, so much so that the difference glows. The new design of the handset feels very refreshing to look at. Personally, I think the vertical pill-shaped camera module combined with the fingerprint and smudge-proof back panel look and feel more premium. Despite being made of plastic, the phone doesn’t look and feel cheap at all.

The handset I got is in Dreamy Blue. The blue shade changes when light casts on it, projecting a subtle glow that comes in the shades of purple, pink, and sometimes, orange. However, if you don’t feel like this color suits you, you can opt for the Cool Black variant of OPPO A98 5G, which leans more on simplicity and elegance.

The front of the phone also looks great with a single camera punch hole in the center. The bezels are also thin, pushing the screen ratio to 91.4%.

It may be light but hold it tight!

Despite having huge hands, I am certainly not a huge fan of big phones. Using the OPPO A98 5G was not a difficult experience for me. Although, I have a minor issue with the phone’s edges.

Don’t get me wrong, I love its trendy flat edges and one can argue that I am just nitpicking. But personally, I think this phone is not the easiest to hold because of its sharp edges. And because it’s also light at 192 grams, there’s a feeling that it might slip off my hands if I’m not gripping it tight enough. Don’t worry though, because its free jelly case solved the issue for me.

On the contrary, the OPPO A98 5G’s weight did not cause me any wrist strain even when I used it for an extended period of time. When it comes to the size, there are (a very few) times when I thought I would reach a part of the screen or a button easier if it’s not this big or tall but hey, the extra screen real estate definitely makes up for those not-so-important thoughts.

A screen that displays joy

OPPO A98 5G | Jungkook

Speaking of screen, the OPPO A98 5G sports a 6.72 inches FHD+ LTPS LCD display. While this isn’t technically that much of an upgrade from last year’s OPPO A96, the Chinese phone manufacturer still found a way to make it better by packing it with a 120Hz screen refresh rate, providing a smoother overall experience.

This is also power efficient as the screen refresh rate adapts and adjusts to whatever activity you are doing. For instance, you’ll get 30Hz while reading, 60Hz for watching videos, 90Hz while gaming, and 120Hz for scrolling on social media. These numbers translate to real-life use as I really enjoyed the smooth scrolling and I didn’t feel like it was draining my battery that much.

Glows for a day or two?

It’s not a secret that even on its midrange tiers, OPPO takes battery and charging seriously. OPPO A98 5G is not an exception with its 5,000mAh battery that juices up with the 67W SUPERVOOC charging technology. OPPO says it will only take 18 minutes to charge the phone to 50% and 44 minutes to fully charge it.

While I didn’t get that exact same time, I still managed to go from 20% to 100% in only 46 minutes. That’s pretty impressive for a midrange phone.

Depending on how heavy your phone use is, the OPPO A98 5G can really hold up to your lifestyle. I’m not really a heavy user so the phone lasted me for two days at most, still having a few percent left before I fuel it up again. Note that I am not into games but more of a social media scroller Gen Z.

It’s also worth noting that OPPO’s exclusive Battery Health Engine technology is present in the OPPO A98 5G. According to OPPO, this technology doubles the battery’s lifespan to four years or more by carefully monitoring your phone’s charging cycle to keep the battery in top shape.

Just powerful enough

Flipping the sheet around, the OPPO A98 5G is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 and comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage out of the box. The RAM can also be artificially expanded up to 16GB with OPPO’s RAM expansion feature. The storage can also be maximized to 1TB with the use of an external SD card.

Basic tasks like social media browsing wouldn’t shake the OPPO A98 5G, so to speak. It handles a lot of apps with definitive ease. In addition, it can also multitask just fine. Well, almost all of the time. I said “almost” because while switching apps back and forth is not a problem, I seldom find certain apps launching back from the start after re-opening them from the recent apps drawer. 

Mobile gaming

Delving into the gaming realm, I will be honest. I am not really into gaming but for this review, I did play Asphalt 9 and Roblox consistently. I also asked my cousin to play his favorite mobile games — Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact.

Surprisingly, the OPPO A98 5G handles gaming really well. I played Asphalt 9 and Roblox in the highest graphics quality setting and I am genuinely amazed that I did not experience any lag or frame drop at all. As for Call of Duty Mobile and Genshin Impact, I also observed similar performance as long as the graphics quality is set to medium or low settings. Dialing the graphics quality to its maximum setting resulted in a few frame drops and faster increase in the smartphone’s temperature.

As for the device’s temperature, the OPPO A98 5G gets warm when used heavily for a longer period of time but it’s not warm enough to cause discomfort in your hands. A few minutes rest for the phone is all it takes for it to cool down. 

It’s loud. But it can get louder!

My love for music and the music industry (Taylor Swift) were satisfied with how the OPPO A98 5G’s dual stereo speakers perform. Sure, the bass is not flagship level but the sound it produces is loud enough to fill a whole room with music. And if your surroundings are not as peaceful as you’d like, OPPO’s ultra volume mode will let the speaker surpass the usual 100% sound level and go as far as 200% for louder sound. 

Classic OPPO camera

Cameras affect a lot of people’s purchasing decisions when it comes to smartphones. The OPPO A98 5G boasts its 64MP main camera, accompanied by its 2MP depth camera and a 2MP micro lens that could go up to 40X of microscope zoom. On the front lies a 32MP selfie camera.

The good news about OPPO A98 5G’s cameras is that they deliver classic OPPO photography. The cameras are indeed better than its predecessor.

It produces sharper and vivid images.

The extra HD setting that processes the photo to be 108MP is glorious.

The microscope photography is mind-blowing.

Night mode works just fine.

And the selfies are clear and crisp.

The video recording, however, is not that impressive. Sure, it’s usable but it’s nothing jaw-dropping. Limited to 1080p at 30FPS and EIS only available at 720p, it’s kind of underwhelming to see this kind of video quality at its price range. 

A love-hate relationship

The latest member of the OPPO’s A series runs on Android 13 topped with ColorOS 13.1. The good thing about OPPO’s software is it’s really packed with features that will give its users more convenience. Take the background stream for example. This feature allows you to play YouTube videos as audio in the background without having to pay for a premium subscription. 

The downside though is the UI still looks messy for me. Booting up the phone for the first time will give you a welcome to lots of bloatware apps. Fortunately, they can be uninstalled with a few taps. 

Is this your GadgetMatch?

In conclusion, the OPPO A98 5G has certainly made a mark in the midrange smartphone segment. With its eye-catching design, impressive display, and powerful battery life, it offers a well-rounded experience for a lot of users.

The device’s ability to deliver smooth performance and handle gaming well are really worth considering. The camera system, although not perfect, still captures quality photos and offers intriguing microscope zoom capabilities.

With its competitive pricing, I can say that the OPPO A98 5G is a strong contender in its category, earning an A+ for its overall offering and total upgrade from its predecessor.


The OPPO A98 5G is priced PhP 18,999 and is available for pre-order until September 21st. The handset can also be purchased on Shopee and Lazada.

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