6 Amazing Valentine’s Day Gadget Gift Ideas

Love is in the air and that special day is just around the corner. Rather than a chunk of shrubbery, a slab of boring old processed cocoa byproduct or a piece of carbon, why not give them something else of far more value instead? There’s no better way show you care than to profer the wonderful gift of tech to that special someone in your life. If you’re hard up for gift ideas, check out our handy tech gift guide where we have something for everyone.

The ideal Valentine’s Day gift for…
The Active Go-Getter
Samsung Gear S3
RM1,399

11street | Lazada.

When one mentions a smartwatch, you’d usually conjure up an image of a hunk of plastic beeping away on your wrist with a garishly blinged up strap. Samsung’s Gear S3 smartwatch dispels that image and trounces it soundly as it’s designed and hewn by a master Swiss watchmaker. It comes in either the rugged looking Gear S3 Frontier or the eminently posh looking Gear S3 Classic and lets you make and take calls straight off a paired smartphone and comes with  the full monty for fitness tracking functionality that include a heart rate tracker, calories burned and exercise tracking too. Better yet, the Gear S3 accepts any third party watchstrap and combined with the changeable watch faces and active fitness tracking, you have quite a capable – and good looking – package indeed.

The ideal Valentine’s Day gift for…
The Power User
Huawei Mate 9 Pro
RM3,399
Vmall | 11street | Lazada

For that special someone who rocks with the suit and tie crowd, you’ll need something that has the looks to suit that designer power suit, the performance to match it and the endurance to last through a day of conference calls and e-mails. Huawei’s new Mate 9 Pro is quite literally all business as it crams a 5.5-inch 2K curved display, a nippy Kirin 960 octacore processor running Android 7.0 with their new EMUI 5.0 and 128GB of expandable storage too. The rear camera is their most potent yet – a dual camera with one 20-MP mono sensor and a 12-MP colour rear sensor beefed up with OIS and hybrid autofocus; both work in tandem to deliver colour and monochrome stills as well as 4K video with equal capability. Keeping the whole thing juiced up is a 4,000mAh battery with phenomenal endurance and fast charge support. Oh, and a fingerprint reader makes sure all that important stuff is safe and secure too.  

 

The ideal Valentine’s Day gift for…
The Guy/Girl Who Wants It All
Moto Z with Moto Mods

Moto Z RM2,699 | Moto InstaShare Projector RM1,399 | Hasselblad True Zoom Camera RM1,299 | JBL SoundBoost Speaker RM599 | Incipio offGRID Power Pack RM499

Moto

Is your special guy or gal someone who can end up spending an hour making up their mind what to order on the menu? Or are they the sort who want everything possible in a phone? Well, you’re in luck as the Moto Z lets you customise it in a way no other phone can. The phone itself has pretty respectable hardware – a 5.5-inch 1,440 x 2,560 pixel display, the latest Android Nougat 7.0 running on a Snapdragon 820 processor and a rear 13-MP camera with an F/1.8 aperture and OIS.

What knocks it out of the ballpark is that you can add on a series of Moto Mod backplates to vastly expand the functionality of the Moto Z. The backplates latch on securely via magnets and depending on what you bolt on, adds additional capabilities to the phone. A pico projector lets you serve up movies on the go while the JBL SoundBoost speaker turns it into a portable boombox. The Hasselblad True Zoom camera mod adds in 10x optical zoom and the famous brand’s optics to turn it into a bona fide compact camera.

The ideal Valentine’s Day gift for…
The fashionista
Limited edition Valentine Red OPPO R9s RM1,798
OPPO | 11street

If you’re looking to snag something that stands out and shows that you love the fashionista in your life to bits, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more stand-out phone than this. The OPPO R9s comes in a variety of colours but this limited edition Valentine Red variant is shipping for Valentine’s Day and if you preorder on the Oppo website, you’ll be able to engrave up to fifteen characters on the back of the phone for a personalised message. Aesthetics aside, the OPPO R9s has been hewn from the ground up to be a potent camphone with a rear 16-MP camera that has an F/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus and an LED flash. The display is a generous 5.5-inch 1080P display paired with 64GB of expandable storage, a midrange Snapdragon processor and a 3,010mAh battery with their VOOC fast charging tech.

The ideal Valentine’s Day gift for…
The music lover
Klipsch R6 Neckband
RM945
TCACoustic |

A bard once said that,”if music be the food of love, play on!” If you count an audiophile as your significant other, you’ll find that they’ll appreciate what the R6 Neckband can offer. It’s wireless, with the battery cunningly stored in the stitched leather neckpiece to offer 18 hours of wireless playback and it also allows you to take calls as well as pipe music off a paired smartphone. The clincher here is their uniquely designed earbuds that are seriously one of the most comfortable ever designed on the planet that allow for hours and hours of comfortable wear and solid, detailed music via the dual-moving coil drivers.



The ideal Valentine’s Day gift for…
The Gamer
PlayStation 4 Uncharted Adventure Pack
RM1,419
Sony Asia | 11street | Lazada

If there’s a gamer in your life, you’ll show the ultimate gift of love and care with this humongous PlayStation 4 bundle. Not only does it throw in the latest slim 500GB PS4, it also throws in a ton of other goodies too including all the Uncharted games on top of a one-year extended PS4 warranty service voucher card and a free three-month subscription to Playstation Plus too. You’ll have to pry them off the controller occasionally to communicate with them but they’ll love you to bits.

 

OPPO now lets you preorder a personalised Valentine Red R9s

OPPO has finally released details on how to acquire their Valentine Red edition of the R9s. The phone is essentially identical in terms of hardware to its siblings that come in Gold and Rose Gold but instead sports a bright metallic red paint job. Check out our review to see how it fares here.

If that piques your interest, you can swing by any of OPPO’s Concept Stores and plunk down RM100 as a preorder deposit or
you can make a preorder booking online with full payment. One bonus with an online preorder is that you get also engrave up to 15 characters in your choice of english or Chinese on the back of the phone. To make a preorder booking online swing by the site here http://www.oppostore.com.my/products/r9sred/

 

For a complete list of OPPO Concept stores you can read on after the break.

Page 2 OPPO Concept Store List

Chinese New Year with the OPPO R9s

When Chinese New Year rolls in every year, it acts is an ironman triathlon of sorts for people and phones alike. On the first three days of Chinese New Year, it is considered customary to visit the homes of family, friends and relatives to wish them well for the lunar new year. Wellwishers wake up at the crack of dawn and from there on in, it is a nonstop marathon of  snacking, feasting, drinking and the odd wager or two. Rinse and repeat at every friend/relative/family member you visit which can stretch well until sundown. Continue this for at least three days. Five if you’re a traditionalist. The sequence of who you visit is determined by an esoteric formula based on your place on the familial totem pole, your grandparents, your parents, your relatives and your fellow siblings.


In between all this, your phone will be worked the hardest it will ever be in its service life short of attending a wedding or CES. It is expected to take, in succession, dozens upon dozens of shots under increasingly trying conditions as sundown approaches. It is expected to be constantly on and active as you attempt to coordinate meet-ups via social media. It is expected to act as a navigator as you use attempt to brave and avoid the traffic jams enroute as you head back to your hometown. It is needed to entertain you when you are forced to endure the interminable long waiting periods in between meet-ups, feasts and whatnot. What better way to put a phone through its paces than to bring it with you on Chinese New Year.

Over the course of three days, the R9s was a real trouper, surviving a punishing usage profile that would have had many other phones in its price range giving up the ghost long before sundown. Here’s what we found made it one a solid choice not only to survive the Chinese New year gauntlet but as a daily driver too.

 

Cool Camera
OPPO’s R9s is one of the notable few phones in the market that comes with a bright F/1.7 aperture lens that affords better low light performance. Paired with this is a custom made 16-MP IMX 398 sensor that was made in collaboration with Sony which comes with phase detection autofocus tech that offers more focus points and faster subject acquisition. On paper, this is about 40% faster than regular Phase Detection autofocus tech used in many mainstream cameras. The camera is also able to take 4K video too. All this gets saved on a generous 64GB of built-in storage though in practice you get about four fifths of this in effective usable storage. If that is not sufficient, you can still augment it via a microSD card. The front camera has a similar resolution as the rear at 16-MP but has an F/2.0 aperture. Both front and rear cameras lack optical image stabilisation but electronic image stabilisation helps compensate somewhat.


What made the R9s effective was its gesture-based shortcuts on the display. While it does require you to retrain your muscle memory somewhat from pressing a button, you can simply sketch a circle on the touchscreen to immediately fire up the camera.With some practice, you can do this one handed with the tip of your thumb. Very handy if your other hand is greasy on account of tucking into the obligatory New Year cookies and prawn crackers. Optionally, you can also designate one of your fingerprints as a camera shortcut via the fingerprint reader. Handy that.

 

[Image OPPO]
The F/1.7 helps substantially in taking good shots in low lit conditions and combined with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode, the phone was certainly capable of handling the gamut of subjects for the holiday: group shots, wefies, food shots, short videos and the like with pleasantly predictable results. The fact that it also has a Beauty 4.0 mode meant that it was able to enhance mugshots to some degree as you’re able to tweak how rosy or how white the subjects are while it automatically banishes blemishes and crow’s feet. Your mileage may vary with male subjects but in general the R9s’s Beauty Mode veers on the conservatively modest side of things as opposed to some third party apps that attempt to give you eyes like lemurs and the skin tone of someone who hasn’t seen daylight since Reagan was president. Not bad when you need to take a selfie after a late night of partying with eyebags that would put a panda to shame.

 

Excellent Endurance
The R9s comes with OPPO’s proprietary VOOC fast charging tech that affords it the ability to juice the 3,010mAh battery to about 75% capacity in about half an hour. When you’re on the New Year visiting circuit, every minute counts. While other manufacturers have their own preferred flavours of fast charging tech, OPPO’s VOOC fast charge tech is unique in that it also has a significant of failsafes to ensure that the phone doesn’t inadvertently cook off or heat up when charged.

Even with a punishing routine of heavy use followed by a top-up charge multiple times during the course of a day, the R9s remained reassuringly cool during charging; something of a concern if you keep it in your pocket all day. The fast top-up worked as it said on the tin and we always got enough juice to last through to the next house visit on the circuit without having to resort to an emergency power bank.

The built-in 3,010mAh battery and the efficient Snapdragon processor offered pretty good endurance on par with many other phones though it, combined in tandem with VOOC offered it markedly less downtime and less of a concern or need to nursemaid it to the next charging point. At one point between a five hour road trip between Kuala Lumpur to Johor Bahru, we skirted close to below 30% via heavy use of Google Maps and Facebook Messenger along with e-mail but the phone’s low power mode easily sorted that out.


The only quibble here is that the VOOC tech on the R9s is unique, which means that the charger itself along with the microUSB charging cable are somewhat hard to find in the open market or by third party accessory vendors. We toted our charger and cable around everywhere we went in a little pouch though the proprietary charger is a bit on the chunky side, which precludes keeping it in your pocket though it’s compact enough to keep in a handbag or backpack.

The OPPO R9s is now available at all good retailers nationwide for RM1,798. For more details swing by their official site here.

 

 

 

[Review] OPPO R9s – Cool midrange camphone cruiser

Performance
Previously, we unboxed OPPO’s latest magnum opus, the R9s cameraphone that offered midrange workhorse prices and a solid feature set with a rear camera that has a shot, pun not intended, to rival more powerful (and pricier) phones in the market. Seeing as they’re using the tagline ‘Now It’s Clear’ for the phone, it’s somewhat obvious that the R9s focuses the majority of its efforts at being one of most powerful camphones for its price range.



Externally, the phone is solidly built and machined of aluminium with good build quality. Rounded corners make it an inoffensive, pleasant affair to hold with silver chamfering on the edges and 2.5D glass. The buttons are machined of metal but have somewhat raised edges for enhanced tactility. One odd departure from conventional design though is the front facing home button. Engraved with faux gold trim, the home button also doubles as a fingerprint reader though it is, alas, not clicky so those with muscle memory of phones that do have that feature may feel somewhat lost until they get used to the R9s.

The most unusual thing about the design of the R9s is that it eschews the traditional antenna bands and instead goes for a rather novel approach of engraving the metal chassis just deep enough for reliable operation of the internal radios. Three subtly engraved bands line the top and bottom of the backplate of the phone and this is sufficient to ensure that call quality remains on par with other more traditional designs with more prominent antenna bands.



In terms of hardware, it comes with a relatively solid ensemble that puts it at the upper end of the midrange workhorse category. A 5.5-inch Full HD 400ppi AMOLED touchscreen is paired with an efficient 14nm Snapdragon 625 2.0GHz octacore processor, an Adreno 506 GPU, 4GB RAM and a generous 64GB of storage that is expandable via a built-in hybrid SIM card. The hybrid SIM card lets you pop in either two SIM cards or one SIM and a microSD card to augment the onboard storage.

Running the show on the phone is Android Marshmallow 6.0 overlaid by their ColorOS 3.0 user interface. There’s quite a bit of software overlap with Google with its own browser along with a few other extra apps like WPS Office, their own home-baked virus scanner and file cleaner and the like but it’s a minor niggle. There’s a modicum of attention paid to aesthetics with a changeable lock screen that shows up pleasing screen shots based on preselected themes and the whole affair is bright, breezy and straightforward, if somewhat obtuse on occasion when you’re trying to find certain settings as they’re all lumped in deeply nested menu trees. What makes ColorOS 3.0 stand out though are the variety of gesture-based shortcuts that you can perform to access features on the phone.

When the screen is off, you can double tap the screen to wake it up, sketch an O on the screen to fire up the camera or draw a V to turn on the flashlight. By drawing a stylised I or a left or right arrow onscreen, you can even control music playback. Swiping with three fingers on the touchscreen lets you perform a screencap. Pretty handy that. You also have some additional customisability beyond the default set as you can use one of the seven unused drawn gestures and assign them to a specific app or function as needed.  Of particular note with ColorOS is its rather robust image editing that comes stock with the phone. With it, you can add filters, crop images, add a mosaic to shots to blur faces or car plates and add bokeh after taking a shot. It’s unexpected but rather welcome.

 

Once a luxury reserved for higher-end phones, the R9s’ fingerprint reader performs exceptionally well. It reads fingerprints in seconds and does more than lock the phone. You can also assign fingerprints to encrypt apps or files to prevent unauthorised access. It takes getting used to on account of the lack of clickiness to it but it’s something you can get used to over time.


In Epic Citadel, the R9s yielded an average of 59.8FPS at Full HD with high quality settings. Under PC Mark with the Work 2.0 Performance test, it yielded a reasonable score of 4,570. Under Antutu, it managed a decent score of 66,072. When tested with 3D Mark’s Sling Shot Extreme, it yielded a modest score of 472. While benchmarks may give a rough idea of how the phone fares, it’s not a final indicator of actual performance.

 

In use, the R9s’ relatively efficient chipset made for a pleasant user experience. The R9s’ generous amount of RAM makes page and app loading a snappy affair with the generous amount of onboard storage allowing you to keep a good chunk of your playlist, pics, games and the like on hand before having to resort to a microSD card. The phone handled most casual games and apps without problems though high-end gaming need slightly longer loading times. Heavy gaming aside, the phone is a very serviceable workhorse for day to day tasks.

The R9s’ AMOLED display was quite a performer, with good detail and decent viewing angles too along with good visibility under sunlight. Colours veer a bit on the vibrant side though there’s no way to currently tweak this in the UI so what you see is what you get.

On the audio front, the R9s proved quite serviceable with enough loudness to fill a small room and enough detail for otherwise general listening. Call clarity was solid as well. Take as a whole, the R9s is relatively pleasant to use and ColorOS has quite a few interesting tricks to offer users who take the time to delve deep enough into its inner workings.

 

Page 1  Performance
Page 2 Cameras
Page 3 Price, Battery & Conclusion

 

Unboxing the OPPO R9s

Launched a mere few days ago in Malaysia, the R9s is OPPO’s most interesting flagship so far as it has the hardware to attempt to be one of the best camera phones in town. Clocking in at just under RM1,800, with a bit of change, the phone’s main claim to fame is its rear 16-MP snappers with the rear boasting an impressive F/1.7 aperture lens while the front has an F/2.0 aperture lens.


Unboxing the phone involves removing an external slide-out protective cardboard wrap that reveals the actual box itself. The R9s itself lies inset in a plastic tray sealed in protective wrap. Just beneath it is a plastic tray that comes with a device specific VOOC  fast charger cable, a UK style 3-pin 5V@4A fast USB charger and a pair of headphones with a line-in control.

 

While all but a few flagship vendors will skimp on issuing a fast charger and a silicone casing with their phone, OPPO has managed to throw both into the package, which is a pleasant bonus. If you look up close, you’ll notice that the fast charger cable is unique with green inset prongs in both ends. The word: don’t lose this. They aren’t that common yet in the open market and the VOOC fast charging tech with the phone needs the charger and cable in tandem to work its magic. On paper, it’s rated to give a 75% charge to the battery in half an hour of charging. In a small box just beneath the R9s is the user manual along with a complimentary soft silicone casing to protect the phone which is a nice touch.



The OPPO R9s draws a few design cues from other flagship phones and has a lozenge shaped non-clicky home button cum fingerprint reader up front, 2.5D glass to accentuate its curves and a machined aluminium casing though it adds OPPO’s own unique touches here and there to the design.


The brushed unibody aluminium casing is available in Malaysia in either a burnished gold finish or a rose gold finish though our test unit was the former. Of particular note in the design is that OPPO has conceived of a unique machining process that allows for better radio reception without having to shave off or inset plastic panels in the casing. The result is a trio of machined grooves akin to a guitar string bisecting the top and bottom of the phone which look rather unique.


Perched at the top of the phone is an LED flash along with the rear 16-MP camera sensor that juts out somewhat from the chassis though the provision of the silicone sleeve solves that conundrum nicely. Of note is that the rear camera has a bright F/1.7 aperture; something only matched by one other flagship device so far in the local market and the ability to capture 2160P video too. This is augmented by a custom issued Sony IMX 398 sensor which has Dual Pixel Autofocus and potentially better performance in low light along with faster speed on the draw with improved autofocus speeds.


The right side of the phone comes with the power button and hybrid SIM tray that lets you pop a pair of nano SIMs or one SIM and a microSD card up to 128GB in size to augment the onboard memory.


The bottom of the phone is somewhat cluttered with machined holes for the mono speaker and phone audio pick-up. In between both is a microUSB port to charge the non-removable 3,010mAh battery and a 3.5mm audio jack. The R9s itself incorporates OPPO’s patented VOOC fast charge tech that gives it a rapid juicing enough to last a day in minutes without heating up the phone.


The front of the phone sports a 5.5-inch 1080P 410ppi AMOLED display, the aforementioned lozenge shaped home button cum fingerprint reader and the 16-MP selfie camera perched up front. The selfie camera itself is capable of capturing 1080p video. In lieu of a built-in flash, the R9s flashes the front display white for more pleasing selfies. To ensure it doesn’t get nicked on day one, the phone actually comes with a pre-applied screen protector, which ensures that you get the whole package out of the box.


When held the phone feels pleasant to wield and has an event heft with gently rounded corners that ensures it won’t snag on clothing or pockets. The 6.6mm thinness and relatively lightweight for a phone this size makes it an appealing proposition in the aesthetics department.


The rest of the hardware under the hood of the R9s consists of a workhorse midrange Snapdragon 625 processor though this is beefed up by a generous 4GB RAM and 64GB of onboard storage to make it rather snappy in the performance stakes. Once we put it to the test in a review we’ll furnish you with more details.

OPPO’s R9s phone launched at RM1,798

While most of the hubbub is concentrated in Las Vegas at CES, OPPO Malaysia took some of the limelight by launching their OPPO R9s camphone in Malaysia along with the announcement that Korean star Lee Min-ho will be their key spokesperson for the phone.

The OPPO R9s sports a 5.5-inch 1080P display sheathed in 5th Gen Corning Gorilla Glass 5, runs Android Marshmallow 6.0 on a Snapdragon 625 2GHz octacore processor paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. The R9s’ claim to fame is its rear camera that comes with a Sony sourced IMX398 16-MP sensor, dual phase detection autofocus and a wide F/1.7 aperture for better quality shots along with electronic image stabilisation.

The front has an equally matched 16-MP camera though it has an F/2.0 aperture. Instead of a front facing flash, the R9s uses the touchscreen as a light source for more pleasing self portrait snaps.

To keep it juiced, the R9s has a non-removable 3010mAh battery with their VOOC Flash Charge tech for fast charging. Other mod-cons include a fingerprint reader at the base of the display.

The aluminum unibody chassis has slimmer and smaller antenna lines that are just 0.3mm thin so they look like finely engraved lines bisecting the top and bottom of the phone.

The phone ships in a shade of Gold or Rose Gold for RM1,798 at all authorised dealers nationwide. Preorders start now and the R9s will also be available at Maxis, Celcom and at Senheng retail outlets. For more details swing by Oppo’s official site at www.oppo.com/my.