Reviews

Xiaomi Mi 6 Review: OnePlus 5 rival

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No company causes more disruption in the smartphone market than Xiaomi. Time and time again, the Chinese company pushes incredible bang-for-buck products that undercut competing offerings at all levels.

The Mi 6 is the latest to do so, giving even the widely praised OnePlus 5 a run for its money.

You could argue that OnePlus causes more commotion with its annual smartphone releases. But unlike Xiaomi, OnePlus continuously ups its pricing with each iteration, making consumers wonder if the brand still caters to the budget-conscious.

With a starting price of US$ 450 on GearBest.com (where we also acquired our unit), the Mi 6 doesn’t seem that cheap, either — but all that changes after the first few minutes with it.

At 5.15 inches in screen size, it’s smaller than most flagships

Yes, the bezels are thick, but at least the fingerprint reader is in front

More glass covers the back

Would’ve looked better if not for all the text near the bottom

Careful, or else you’ll get lots of smudges on it

The package comes with a translucent case for added protection

Up top you’ll see the dual cameras and LED flash

No bumps, yay!

No physical home button — all capacitive here

You may switch the recent apps and back buttons if you wish

USB-C? Yes! Audio port? Nope

This is a trend we aren’t happy about

Is the performance any good?

This question must be answered with a big, fat yes. And it’s no surprise, really. Running on a Snapdragon 835 chipset, which is currently the highest-end smartphone processor in the market, there’s no doubt it can run anything you throw at the Mi 6.

It doesn’t end there; our review unit comes with 6GB of memory and 64GB of storage — and this happens to be the lowest-end configuration. If you’re willing to add a little more, you could opt for 128GB of storage or a sleeker ceramic version (but it might be more difficult to order).

I’d say the Mi 6 is as fast as the OnePlus 5, and way more powerful and efficient than the Mi Mix. Our usual gaming tests consisting of NBA 2K17 and Asphalt Xtreme went smoothly, whether or not we maxed out the visuals or went for extra fluid gameplay with lowered graphics settings.

Can it last more than a day?

Every time I review a Xiaomi device, I expect fantastic battery life. The Mi Mix, Redmi Note 4X, and Redmi 4 Prime left me more than satisfied. As for the Mi 6, it was a mixed bag.

Its battery is understandably smaller than the aforementioned Mi’s and Redmi’s, and that’s fine considering the Mi 6’s slimmer frame and more pocketable dimensions. Still, a 3350mAh battery powering a 5.15-inch 1080p screen is an impressive feat in itself, which shows in the results.

I could get anywhere between 4.5 to five hours of screen-on time during a full day’s worth of use. That would put the Mi 6 in the above-average range — not bad. Having the latest MIUI 8.2 interface on top of Android 7.1 Nougat is great; never has Xiaomi’s take on Google’s operating system been this clean and intuitive before.

But does it take nice photos?

While I have high standards for the battery endurance of Xiaomi phones, I have the opposite expectations for their camera performance. Whether you look at the entry-level, midrange, or premium segment, it’s tough to find that perfect camera-centric phone from this brand.

In the Mi 6’s case, it takes some work to achieve the right shot. Here are samples of the best we could do during the review period:

When the conditions are right, the camera is near-flawless. As long as you rely on the wider main camera at the back, photos are comparable to those of smartphones at this price bracket. The issues begin when you attempt to use the secondary rear camera’s optical zoom.

 

As useful as it is to zoom in on a subject without much quality loss, other variables like white balance and sharpness take a dive. Going into manual mode or using a tripod could fix these issues, but that would take so much time and defeat the purpose of taking quick snaps with your smartphone.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Figuring out if the Mi 6 is your GadgetMatch or not depends on where you reside, because that would determine the types of deals you could get.

Tagged with a starting price of CNY 2,499 (about US$ 360), choosing a Mi 6 over its rivals is a no-brainer. However, that’s only possible in China, and importing through websites like GearBest would simply add to the original cost.

Considering a Mi 6 in the US$ 400 to 500 range means pitting it against the US$ 479 OnePlus 5, which has a bigger metal build and purer version of Android, it makes recommending one over the other a tougher affair.

Ignoring the price for a moment, favoring the Mi 6 is like picking any other Xiaomi: don’t fret about battery life, but at the same time, don’t expect much from the camera. In exchange, you’ll have a premium-looking build, highly customizable Android skin, and performance that goes beyond.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi 6 Unboxing and Hands-on

[irp posts=”17735″ name=”Xiaomi Mi 6 Unboxing and Hands-on”]

Reviews

vivo v29 5G review: Aesthetic phone with aura light to match

It’s content creator-friendly!

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vivo V29 5G

vivo just officially launched their newest mid-ranger, the vivo V29 5G, and we’re lucky to get dibs before the release date.

I was initially excited to review this because of the stunning design, and I’d love to see the improvements of their Aura Light technology — a clever and trendy feature that set vivo apart from its competitors. 

For two weeks, I brought this phone along with me to my different activities. Below are some of my favorite things about it.

Celestial-inspired colors

One of the things I love about phones today is how brands are stepping up when it comes to design. Of course, we’re all for the specs and performance, but having a phone that fits your aesthetic is a big plus nowadays especially in the time of reels and Tiktok.

vivo clearly understood that assignment.

Starting from their color-changing back design from vivo V23, vivo’s phone releases have become much more interesting with their well-thought-of designs.

When I got my hands on the vivo V29 5G, I immediately loved the Magic Maroon color. I brought it along with me to Niki’s concert at the Mall of Asia Arena, and it matched my maroon pink floral outfit. 

The other variant, Starry Purple, looks okay for me in photos. It looks pretty and elegant in person, though. I would’ve wanted it to be fully purple, but it makes sense — this colorway is more gender neutral.

The Innovative Starry Craft design overall looks very premium, making vivo V29 5G a great gadget match to any stylish outfit.

Wearing a chrome nail polish would be a total plus!

Improved Aura Light technology

vivo V29 5G Aura Light 2.0

vivo V29 5G Aura Light 2.0

vivo’s exclusive Aura Light system was first introduced in vivo V27, which I had the pleasure to review as well. The new vivo V29 upgrades this feature with the Aura Light 2.0. It finally has the Smart Color Temperature Adjustment, which lets you adjust the color of the light depending on the surroundings or personal preferences. It’s giving warm glow.

This feature is content creator friendly. No need to ask your friend to turn on their phone light for additional lighting.

Here are some sample photos using the Aura Light technology:

Crisp camera quality

 

When it comes to the camera quality, the vivo V29 5G takes crisp and clear photos even up to 10x zoom. 

Group selfies are great as well. With the 50-MP AF group selfie, it can accommodate a large group without compromising the quality and with more room for the background.

 

The portrait camera enhances the features of the subject, and with the aura light, the photo is ready to upload without the need for enhancement. 

Selfie mode is pretty clear too.

One of the things I also noticed, though, is that it takes long for photos to process, especially when taking photos in low light.

Stunning night shots

vivo V29 5G

The vivo V29 5G delivers sharp photos even during nighttime. 

During Niki’s concert, I took some low-light indoor photos and I was impressed with the night camera.

Look at these audience snaps from when Niki sang my favorite heartbreak song, “Oceans and Engines.”

 

 

The ocean of lights were breathtaking, and the vivo V29 5G gave justice to it. Thanks to the camera’s super night mode, vivo V29 5G solidly captured the phone lights, and they didn’t appear blurry.

The phone also features an Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) technology which reduces blurriness, ensuring quality low-light photos. Here’s another sample photo from a night music festival I went to:

It also takes decent concert videos, but the 10x video zoom is just okay.

80W fast charging

The best thing about Android phones for me is the consistent innovation when it comes to fast charging. The vivo V29 5G provides 80W fast charging, perfect for those who are on-the-go, or those who are just impatient (like me). I immediately got an additional 15% battery charge in as fast as 5 minutes.

Other new features

Another notable thing about vivo v29 is the additional eye protection features for both hardware and software. The phone has reduced blue light and screen flickering to ensure safe usage.

This is great news if you’re thinking of availing this phone for your loved ones, especially the older ones.

Apart from these features, vivo V29 5G sports a 120 Hz 1.5K AMOLED 3D Curved Screen, giving users a comfortable grip and great screen quality for binge-watching. It has 8 to 12GB RAM for fast video editing, as well as occasional gaming, and can handle up to 27-36 active apps in the background.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Overall, the vivo V29 5G is a great gadget for those who love content creation, and those with the habit of using multiple apps in a single time. It’s a great choice as well for people who loves using their phone as accessory to match their OOTD.

The vivo V29 5G is now available in the Philippines in two storage options: 12GB+256GB, priced at PhP 24,999 and 12GB+512GB for PhP 26,999. It’s available in vivo’s official stores, Lazada, Shopee, and TikTok Shop.

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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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