Hands-On

Vivo V9 Hands-on: A handsome-looking midrange phone

Definitely an upgrade to the V7

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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

It does look like an iPhone X

A notch is needed to make the display more immersive

No complicated setup here; just the selfie camera, sensors, and earpiece

The buttons for volume and power are on the right side

They’re pretty slim but tactile

While on the left is the triple-card tray

Two nano-SIMs and a microSD card for the win!

It still uses a micro-USB port for charging

It’s already 2018 and this is not the future. Where art thou, USB-C?

The back is glossy plastic and houses the dual cameras and fingerprint reader

Looks like glass at first until it gets smudged with prints

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.

Accessories

PH3 wireless headphones is a wearable Filipino pride

A limited-edition offering that gives back

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Electronics manufacturer H-Audio has been providing quality products to its market when it comes to audio solutions. While they have a select lineup of offerings, it caters to different types of users.

What we have here is the PH3 that screams Filipino pride as soon as you put it on. Read on and find out if it performs as good as it looks.

It has a straightforward design

Red and blue stripes signify colors from the Philippine flag

Three stars and a sun on each earcup

Can’t get any more Filipino than this

Solid build quality

Headband has a good flex to it

Clasps comfortably on the head

Doesn’t come off easily

Comfortable ear cups

Earmuffs are made of memory foam

What I personally like about the PH3 when it comes to design is how it has a minimalistic kind of approach with just the three stars, sun, and stripes of red and blue. Apart from these Philippine flag-inspired colors, everything else is white. Sure, it might require extra effort to keep it clean, but it’s just something that works aesthetically.

Build quality feels durable and not flimsy which is what I look for next to sound quality. This is made possible by using stainless steel for the headband support and hard plastic for the rest — making it light, but tough.

It has a nice fit around the ears and wearing it for extended periods of time was still comfortable thanks to its memory foam earmuffs. I’ve used it a couple of times while running on the treadmill and the earcups remained snug and in place.

All-around performer

When it comes to sound quality, let’s get to the point — the PH3 delivers. It’s got warm and distinct mids, decent highs, and impressive lows. The overall sound is what you’d expect of closed-back headphones and leans on the muffled side of the sound spectrum.

Active Noise Cancellation option

One thing I noticed, though, is that sound leaks a little to the outside world so you might want to keep that in mind when you’re in an elevator with other people or something.

Connection via Bluetooth was easy and automatically pairs to the phone each time the headphones is turned on. That alone is a big check for me.

Micro-USB port for charging

The company says it has up to 20 hours of battery life. While I was not able to continuously use it, the headphones lasted me about five days with ANC off and mainly using it for music at the gym, walking around the neighborhood, or even just at home.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

H-Audio’s PH3 is a reliable pair of cans with minimal drawbacks. It might require extra care to keep it clean and sound leak at full volume might be an issue for a select few. Looking past those, however, you have a good set of headphones that not only performs well but also looks attractive with its touch of a local theme.

Additionally, its features like wireless connectivity and Active Noise Cancellation make operations easier and add to the overall music-listening experience.

Priced at PhP 7,480, proceeds will go to platforms to raise funds and help the underprivileged Filipino youth. The PH3 is available in select The Loop by Power Mac Center branches. For more list of stores carrying their products, visit their Facebook page.

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Hands-On

Professional home: Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q premium men’s shaver

‘Powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with’

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Are you a fan of a fresh, clean shave? For most, professional gentlemen, an electric shaver is one of their most important grooming tools. Maintaining a look that’s both clean and professional is quick and easy with a good, electronic shaver. Panasonic’s new premium tool — the ES-LV6Q — promises a job done well enough as if a professional did it by hand. So, we put it to the test.

We asked for the help of Sergio, 32, who works in sales here in Germany. He goes to a good number of meetings every week, representing their company. So it’s no wonder that he spends a lot of his mornings, shaving to keep a clean appearance.

“I’ve been using an electric shaver for years but the one I’ve had never really got the job done quickly. I have to keep going over the same spot a couple of times before I get a smooth shave,” he shared with GadgetMatch.

The shaver’s head is flexible and moves up to six directions, making movement along the curves of the face practically seamless. The five blades can also get as close as possible to the skin, without hurting the person using it. One of the blades is shaped like a comb, making it easier to catch each strand. Each area of the face is also clean after going through it just once — no more razor burns. Even during a dry shaving session.

Great for travel

The ES-LV6Q also travels well. An hour’s worth of charging will give you up to 45 minutes of use, making it perfect for business trips. It also comes with a travel pouch and has a blade protection clip that can help keep it safe in your suitcase while traveling.

“With the powerful motor and the blades that get every hair, it takes me a minimum of four minutes to shave. If my hair has gotten a bit longer and it needs a bit of trimming first, I go no longer than six minutes,” Sergio added. “At the speed that I can go with the ES-LV6Q, a full charge can last me up to two weeks,” Sergio added.

The shaver is also completely waterproof making it perfect for wet or dry use. Despite shaving as close as possible with the power of the 14,000 CPM Linear Motor, Sergio reported no irritation on his skin.

Another feature that Sergio liked a lot was the clipper that can be used for sideburns. It’s also great for people who just want to trim their facial hair. “It’s great for weekends or when you want to keep a little stubble,” he added.

Cleaning is also a breeze. It’s easy to do after every shave under the tap. All Sergio has to do is add some hand soap and activate the sonic vibration cleaning mode. This, by pressing the power button for more than two seconds. Removing the gadget’s outer foil section is also an easy task and putting it under running water makes for a thorough rinse. A gentle shake plus a quick wipe down and you’re done for the day.

Sergio’s always ready for a client presentation using Panasonic’s ES-LV6Q shaver. “This Panasonic 5-Blade Men’s shaver has all the features I require in a grooming gadget and more. It’s powerful, reliable, and easy to travel with. I’m really satisfied with the results! ” Sergio concluded.

The Panasonic ES-LV6Q currently retails at EUR 245,99 at Saturn.de and Mediamarkt.de. For more information on the product, visit Panasonic’s website.

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CES 2020

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite Hands-on

For those who want a Note 10 on a budget

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It hasn’t been a year since Samsung released the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10+. They even had a Star Wars x Note 10+ collaboration.

In this year’s CES, a Lite variant of the Galaxy Note 10 has been announced — but it’s not lite on features at all.

You can watch the video above to know more. If you’re having a hard time viewing it, click this link to watch our hands-on.

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