Successors should be better than their predecessors and the Vivo V9 improves in a lot of aspects compared to the V7+. The V9 comes with a bigger display, faster processor, dual cameras, and a new body. But how much better is the V9 as a successor and as a new phone in the midrange market?
The phone looks gorgeous thanks to its 6.3-inch bezel-less display
A notch is needed to make the display more immersive
The buttons for volume and power are on the right side
While on the left is the triple-card tray
It still uses a micro-USB port for charging
The back is glossy plastic and houses the dual cameras and fingerprint reader
The display makes all the difference
The first thing you’ll notice about the V9 is its display. It looks like an iPhone X and most, if not all, upcoming Android smartphones will look like this. Anyone unfamiliar with the notched display trend will mistake the new Vivo phone as the latest iPhone. The crowning glory of the V9 is its 6.3-inch screen and improved 400ppi resolution. It’s sharper than the V7 and is on par with all midrange phones — even flagships.
Thanks to the bezel-less display, the V9 doesn’t feel as large as it looks but we’re not digging its overall design. The front is definitely a treat, although we need to talk about the back. From cold aluminum, the rear is now glossy and feels plasticky. It’s a fingerprint magnet, smudges easily, and will definitely get scratches after a week of use and abuse. Vivo threw in a soft protective case in the box but doesn’t make the phone feel any more premium.
Just a slight performance upgrade from the V7+
When the V7+ launched six months ago, people were skeptical about its processor which is a Snapdragon 450. Bashers were quick to judge about the position of the Snapdragon 450 in the chain but little did they know that it’s in the same league as the popular Snapdragon 625. With the V9, Vivo went back with the Snapdragon 600 series using the new Snapdragon 626 processor which is also found on the Moto Z2 Play.
The impact of the upgrade to the phone’s performance is pretty minimal since it’s just slightly faster. The V9 operates smoothly with no lag whatsoever during our time with the phone. With the generous 4GB of memory, there’s room for multiple apps to run at the same time which means you can switch between them easily. Browse Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram simultaneously and there’s still enough memory left for games that you can just pause and get back to whenever you want.
Thankfully, it has Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box but still skinned with Funtouch OS 4.0. Vivo’s customization is far from the usual look of Android and it’s more like iOS. This is also one of the reasons why the V9 looks very much like an iPhone X.
There are now dual rear cameras, finally
The V9 is the first model in the V series of Vivo to have dual rear cameras. There’s a main 16-megapixel sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor on board the V9. Unlike with premium dual-camera phones though, the additional sensor of the V9 is merely for depth-sensing to enable certain effects like bokeh and portrait mode — no optical zoom, no dramatic monochrome shots. Also, 4K recording is now possible.
Here are some samples:
The V9 has a 24-megapixel front camera making it another selfie-centric phone and AI is now available on the V9 as well, at least for selfies. There are different levels of beauty modes depending on your preference or you can let AI do the work for you.
AR stickers have found their way to Vivo but they’re not the same as Samsung’s AR Emoji and Apple’s Animoji. They’re more like Snapchat or Instagram Story filters. No worries, they’re still fun to use when you feel quirky.
So far, the V9’s cameras shoot great photos. The quality may not be the same as those from flagship phones, especially in low-light, but they’re above average. We’ll shoot more photos for the review.
Initial impression is good
With our few days with the V9, we can say that this could be Vivo’s best midrange offering yet. We’ll reserve our final thoughts in our full review but so far, so good.
That’s it for now. We’ll take the V9 for a full spin in the coming days to give you more insights about Vivo’s new phone. Is there anything specific you’d like to know about the V9? Hit the comments section below and we’ll include them in the review.
ASUS Zen AiO 27 hands-on: A step up from before
Your next home PC?
Let’s take a break from laptops and check out this desktop PC from ASUS. This is the Zen AiO 27 and it looks so much better than any of the previous all-in-ones we reviewed from the Taiwanese company.
Let’s find out in this hands-on.
This AiO has a gorgeous 27-inch UHD display
The bezels surrounding the screen are slim
It has an outward notch at the bottom for the webcam
There are four speakers located at the back
Quick-access ports are on the right side of the base
The remaining ports are all at the back
The front has two LED indicators and an SD card reader
The base even has a wireless charging pad
A full-size wireless keyboard comes in the box
There’s also a bundled wireless optical mouse
The Zen AiO design upgrade we’ve been waiting for
ASUS’ new Zen AiO 27 finally gets the design upgrade it deserves. It’s not an iMac copy-cat anymore and it looks even better than Apple’s desktop PC. ASUS certainly took a step forward in design; however, I’ve seen better-looking AiOs running Windows 10 like Dell’s new Inspiron desktops.
Perhaps, the best asset of the Zen AiO 27 is its display. It’s a 27-inch IPS LCD panel with a UHD resolution and multi-touch support. The display is Pantone Validated for color accuracy and it has ASUS’ NanoEdge design for slimmer bezels all around.
Although, like on smartphones, slimmer bezels come at a cost. ASUS had to put an outward notch to house a webcam and, for some reason, they placed it at the bottom. When I tested the webcam, it was showing myself from an awkward angle. As a consolation, it’s also equipped with an IR sensor for hands-free face login with Windows Hello.
The Zen AiO 27’s stand lets users view the display from multiple angles. It can tilt and swivel, plus the height can be adjusted with one finger. There’s no option for rotating the display, but that’s okay.
Design-wise, the Zen AiO 27 is a thing of beauty. I do appreciate its brushed metal-effect finish of really dark blue (darker than navy blue) with gold trims and accents. The audio and visual department of the PC delivers top-notch quality as well.
Slim and powerful, but not enough for 4K
All of the power of the Zen AiO 27 comes from beneath. The components are all housed in the base of the PC, which is neat and practical. How so? There are two storage slots and memory is user upgradeable up to 32GB.
The specs of the model I have are impressive with an Intel Core i7-8700T processor, 16GB DDR4 memory, 512GB M.2 SSD, and 2TB HDD. It also has discrete graphics using NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1050, which is kind of old but still very capable.
The base also has a Thunderbolt 3 port and features Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band gigabit-class Wi-Fi. Needless to say, it runs Windows 10 Home out of the box.
I have no complaints with the general performance of the Zen AiO 27 thanks to its incredible specifications. I can easily multitask with multiple windows open and quickly render images from Photoshop. The configuration is also enough to ensure smooth video editing.
When it comes to gaming though, it doesn’t hit the mark. While the GTX 1050 GPU is good for games like Fortnite or anything with similar graphics power requirements, it’s not enough to push pixels in UHD.
This means you can’t take full advantage of the crisp display of the Zen AiO 27. It’s best to keep the game’s resolution in Full HD to have at least 60fps in not-so-demanding titles. Too bad I can’t enjoy Cities: Skylines in 4K.
I wasn’t able to try it out, but the Zen AiO 27’s can also act as an external monitor since it has an HDMI-in port. Any HDMI-connected source can use the UHD display as a second monitor.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
The ASUS Zen AiO 27 is indeed premium with an asking price of PhP 149,995 in the Philippines. It’s available through ASUS Concept Stores nationwide.
Of course, if you are to build your own desktop PC, you could get more power with the same budget. You could even still use an ASUS monitor, keyboard, mouse, and components since the company also sells those.
What you won’t get is the convenience of a plug-and-play, space-saving AiO. It’s like bringing out a laptop and plugging in the charger. If only ASUS included a better wireless keyboard and mouse, it would have been a better package.
Realme C2 hands-on: The new budget king?
Cheap yet good
After releasing a midrange phone capable of handling graphics-intensive games, Realme is back to catering to the budget segment. The successor to the entry-level Realme C1 is here, and it doesn’t look like a rebranded OPPO phone anymore.
The Realme C2 is the company’s newest affordable phone. Designed to be really friendly to people’s wallets, is the Realme C2 worth the hard-earned money?
Let’s find out in this hands-on.
It’s got a 6.1-inch IPS LCD display
The power button is on its right side while…
… the volume keys and card tray are on the left
The card tray accepts a microSD and two SIM cards
The micro-USB port and 3.5mm jack are at the bottom
The phone’s back features a prism-like textured pattern
It’s certainly different from your typical budget phone
Since the Realme C2 is a budget phone, it’s not packing the best hardware available. It doesn’t have a powerful processor, but it has a body that’s unique. It’s pretty hard to sell an entry-level device with its low specifications, although the Realme C2 is not reliant on its power alone.
Realme markets their new phone to have what they call a “Diamond Cut Design.” The Realme C2 doesn’t have any fancy stones, although it has a textured back panel that kind off mimics the look of a shining diamond. It’s still made of plastic, but I certainly appreciate this over a glossy, smudgy glass-like back.
In front, it has a 6.1-inch display with a dewdrop notch that’s way smaller than before. The screen’s resolution remains at HD+ which is not the sharpest panel available, yet it’s alright. I find the display to be adequate for everyday use.
The whole front is protected by a smooth slab of Gorilla Glass 3, so you don’t have to worry much about scratches. It does come with a pre-installed plastic screen protector.
Overall, the physical design of the Realme C2 is okay. It doesn’t elevate the budget segment with any premium materials, but the textured pattern on the back is a welcome touch. We don’t get to see a smudge-free phone every day.
There’s nothing exciting in the specs department, although the Realme C2 gets its job done. It’s powered by a MediaTek Helio P22 chipset which has an octa-core CPU. Compared to the Realme C1, the Realme C2 is slightly faster and more efficient with its new processor. The model I have has a fairly standard 3GB of memory and 32GB of expandable storage.
Out of the box, the phone runs the latest version of ColorOS 6 with updated icons to give it a different identity over OPPO phones with the same operating system. ColorOS is already based on Android Pie, so it’s pretty much up to date with the core Android features.
So far, the Realme C2 performs smoothly with my day-to-day usage. I have yet to encounter any frustrating lag or hiccup. Multitasking is pretty limited due to its low memory, although let’s not ask too much from a budget phone.
Gaming-wise, graphics-intensive titles are not advisable for the Realme C2. It can run games in low settings fairly smooth, but Asphalt 9 and PUBG Mobile are not fun to play with low frame rates.
Equipped with a 13-megapixel shooter and a 2-megapixel depth sensor on the back, the Realme C2 can take decent stills in broad daylight. Indoor and night shots can get noisy, but it’s still usable for posting online. It has an LED flash to help fill light, just in case you need to.
For selfies, there’s a 5-megapixel front-facing camera sitting inside the display’s notch.
Check out these samples:
The phone’s main camera doesn’t have AI scene detection, but the front camera has built-in beauty filters. Surprisingly, it takes good selfies as long as there’s a lot of light available.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
To appreciate the Realme C2, one should see it as a budget phone that tries to offer something different. To be honest, most buyers will just slap on a case to keep their phone protected. However, the Realme C2 doesn’t disappoint in delivering the basics and it’s a well-rounded phone.
The Realme C2 starts at PhP 5,490 in the Philippines and INR 5,999 in India for the entry-level configuration with 2GB of memory and 16GB of expandable. If you wish to get the 3GB+32GB variant, you’ll have to shell out PhP 6,490 or INR 7,999.
OPPO Reno 10x Zoom unboxing and hands-on: An emerald looker
Green with envy
Receiving new packages excites me. This may or may not be why online shopping gets me on so bad but I digress.
What came in the mail last week, straight from China, was something that I was looking forward to trying out more: The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom that I got to test out in Zurich last month. Also, there were additional package brownie points because the phone comes in OPPO’s new box. I was very curious to see what changed.
Let’s get to it!
The OPPO Reno box isn’t standard sized; it’s a slightly longer version of the typical phone boxes in the market. Love that holo design, though!
Typical box inserts: A sleeve that houses manuals and such — and yes, no one ever reads those so we’re skipping ahead.
The phone in all it’s plastic-wrapped glory. We’re saving the best for last so I’ll move on to what’s under this tray…
Interestingly, OPPO opted for this serious-looking custom Reno case with a sexy slit on the back.
Then we finally have the USB-C cord, the power adapter, and some good-looking USB-C earphones with accents that match the phone. Speaking of the phone, here it is in its ocean green glory.
I take this mani-phone matching business very seriously. 🤩
— Isa Rodriguez (@sisasaid) May 28, 2019
It’s a great-looking phone to rep. The glass finish on the back gives it that gentle sheen, very classy. In certain lighting conditions, it looks more green than blue — but I’m not complaining.
This thing packs a Snapdragon 855 processor, a 4065mAh battery, and even an in-display fingerprint sensor.
There are no camera bumps on this phone’s three cameras (an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 48-megapixel main shooter, and a 13-megapixel zoom camera). There is, however, a special indented dot under the three cameras to makes sure you don’t scratch said cameras when you leave them on a flat surface.
Then again, you could always just put the case on. Definite protection to this phone but it does add substantial thickness. And since it’s not exactly a small phone, it might not fit your girl pockets or tiny hands.
The plus side of having a bigger device is that it makes for a better Netflix viewing experience. And disappoint, the OPPO Reno did not. The unobstructed AMOLED display partnered with Dolby stereo speakers definitely delighted in terms of binge-watching my shows.
The unhampered view on this phone screen is made possible by a 16-megapixel pop-up camera — one that retracts for self-preservation when it detects pressure or impact.
Being on the OPPO Reno is a great experience so far. It’s fast and snappy and the face unlock is still honestly impressive. OPPO tells me, however, that there are still upcoming software updates to the phone so until then, here’s our first look at video and camera performance on the streets of Zurich where the Reno first launched.
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