ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA – The Awesome Asus Gen Z Laptop Is Intel(ligently) Going Green

VivoBook S15 S533FA

As the latest addition to their workhorse VivoBook line-up for Malaysia, the Asus VivoBook S15 S533FA brings a combination of stylish looking colourways and updated specs that are ideal for students and those looking for a general purpose notebook.

Events of late have kept everyone stuck in our homes and for many people both office desk jockeys and students alike, their main means to get work done has primarily been a laptop in some form or fashion. But, like tastes in music, not every laptop is intended for everyone. 

My college-going niece dropped by one day, asking me, seeing as I’m the resident technophile, what would be an appropriate laptop for someone with her, as she appropriately puts it, ‘cool’ style as she was in the market for one seeing as her present rig gave up the ghost.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA angled

When I showed the ExpertBook B9 (B9450) to my niece, she didn’t seem particularly keen, citing the fact that its slick corporate-chic was less for college students like her and more for, as she jokingly puts it, people of more advanced age like me. Granted, that’s a good two decade age gap and her generation thinks the Carpenters is a profession, not a band. I was miffed but reached into the storeroom for something else that had just arrived fresh off ASUS’ warehouses.

The response when she saw the external packaging was nonplussed but that changed immediately when she saw the contents – ASUS’ latest VivoBook laptop that’s been built from the ground up for the Gen Z crowd. She cooed in delight at its striking Gaia Green finish and then nodded appreciatively at the price tag before attempting to make off with it before I finished testing it.

It took some effort to pry it from her fingers, including liberal applications of bubble tea but we managed to put the ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA through its paces. Here’s our  review of Asus’ latest affordable laptop for a new generation.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA Design


The ASUS VivoBook series has evolved in recent years, adopting increasingly more unique colour schemes that set it apart from the primarily black or metallic silver colourways festooning most laptops. The latest VivoBook S15 S533FA is the latest example of their aesthetic revamp and the packaging that it came with does not do it justice.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA front

The plain brown box that it is packaged in is as different as night is from day, as the laptop came in what ASUS called a striking shade of Gaia Green; a deep metallic green bordering on teal that graces the entirety of the top lid. The Gaia Green finish also repels fingerprints nicely and it remained pristine even after extensive handling.

asus vivobook s15 stickers

What makes it especially interesting, especially for Gen Z users is that ASUS is issuing a set of stickers to further personalise your VivoBook though you can naturally add your own to decorate the top lid, which makes the laptop distinctively your own even in a sea of similar looking VivoBooks.

The rest of its sides, palm rests, keyboard frame and underbody of the laptop retain the usual signature brushed metallic silver finish in keeping with many other contemporary notebook designs.

If you peer closer, there are a few compromises in its design but for what you’re paying for, it’s still a very fair tradeoff. The chassis itself is a combination of metal and polycarbonate, with the top lid, and most of the keyboard frame coming in the former and the underbody and display bezels coming in the latter. 

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA finish and chamfering

Like the Gaia Green top lid, the rest of the brushed metal finish across the VivoBook is equally durable and repels fingerprints and smudges which is gratifying if you have to haul it around all day for classes and work.

As a new aesthetic touch, the top lid itself sports a subtle groove all across one edge to indicate which is the business end when you open it. The build quality here is solid with little play or give in the top lid itself while the keyboard frame has subtle chamfering to give it a classier look. 

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA underside

Rather than the Ergolift hinge, the underside uses 4 rubber stoppers with the two rearmost ones being more prominent than the others to give the notebook a slight tilt for easier typing and for better ventilation for the underside and better sound quality for the downward firing stereo speakers.

Flip it open and you’re greeted by a conventional hinge design along with the aforementioned plastic bezels framing the 15.6-inch display.

Previously, we tested its AMD-powered sibling the S14 M433 which had a similar build and finish but the key advantage here with the S15 in terms of displays is that you have 1.6-inches more of screen real estate to work with.

VivoBook S15 S533FA

The top and bottom lids are somewhat chunky by 2020 standards but the left and right sides are gratifyingly slim at less than 4.9mm.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA keyboard
With the larger dimensions offered by a 15.6-inch chassis, the VIvoBook S15 S533FA has the space to cram in a full-sized keyboard with a numeric keypad. Much like the S14 M433 we tested recently, the Enter key is highlighted in a striking shade of neon green with the keys made out of plastic. They’re functional if somewhat plasticky especially when viewed from an angle. 

In terms of connectivity, the laptop is very well kitted out with WiFi 6 GIG+ (802.11ax) support and a full bevy of ports on its left and right sides. Much like the S14, the left side has a HDMI 1.4 port, a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port and a single USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C port along with an audio combo jack. The right side packs two USB 2.0 ports.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA right side

This combo covers most bases, lets you dock a phone to the laptop to transfer photos and documents while trickle charging it, hook it up to a projector or TV for presentations and Netflix and have enough ports left to also hook up a mouse or separate keyboard.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA left side

As far as build quality goes, ASUS has managed a fair compromise of quality without compromising on sturdiness and most of the plasticky bits like the underside are hidden out of sight. It’s a bit heavier than other notebooks of its ilk at 1.8kg but it’s still well under what gaming notebooks weigh and can still be comfortably crammed into a backpack along with its charger that’s the size of a squarish-bar of soap.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA Specifications and Benchmarks


In Malaysia, the ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA comes in your choice of three other colours and one specification. If Gaia Green isn’t to your taste, you can opt to get it in Resolute Red or the usual Dreamy Silver and Indie Black colourways with all colour variants costing the same price. The model that we’re testing is the retail unit for the Malaysia market though a smaller sized VivoBook S14 is also available with Intel processors.

Price RM3,199
Display 15.6-inch Full HD IPS LCD, 1,920 x 1080 pixels.
OS WIndows 10 Home
Memory 8GB 2,666MHz DDR4 RAM (non-upgradable) / 32GB Intel Optane H10 + 512GB M.2 NVMe PCie SSD
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX250 w/ 2GB GDDR5 VRAM
Battery 50Wh 3-cell lithium-polymer w/ 64W power adapter
Size/Weight 359.8 x 233.8 x 16.1mm/1.8kg

Compared to last year’s model the VivoBook S531F, the key improvements here for the VivoBook S15 S533FA are a complete migration towards faster SSDs and they’ve doubled the available RAM and the processor to an Intel 10th Gen CPU which are  reasonable upgrades to keep it current. They’ve also added Intel Optane memory though it still retains a similar entry-level NVIDIA MX250 graphics card. 

One irksome factor remains –  you can’t upgrade the RAM unlike older versions of the VivoBook like the S15 S530U that we reviewed awhile back. Fortunately, it has a second unused SSD bay that you can take advantage of to add in additional storage later on.

Unlike the VivoBook S14 that we reviewed last month that had an AMD Ryzen 4000 series processor, this variant of the VivoBook S15 has a more popular 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U processor paired with 8GB of DDR4 RAM that has been soldered in and no additional DIMM slots to add more.

For storage, ASUS has plunked in a 512GB SSD with 32GB of Intel Optane H10 memory to offer faster boot times and enhance system performance. This comes as standard for all VivoBook S15 variants in Malaysia.

Rather than rely on the Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated graphics solution, ASUS has kitted the laptop out with an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card which is an entry level graphics solution.

The MX250 card here is the slightly more powerful 25W  variant, denoted when you look at it in the settings with the product ID 10De 1D13. This is intended for larger sized affordable notebooks while the lower powered 10W variant  with the product ID code 10De 1D52 is for more compact notebooks. 

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA mx250 card

In terms of synthetic benchmarks, the S533FA got the following when the laptop was set to maximum performance settings on the battery management slider::

Cinebench R20 1,175 points
Unigine SuperPosition 720P Low 7871
Unigine SuperPosition 1080P Medium 2696
Unigine SuperPosition 1080P High
Unigine SuperPosition 1080P Extreme 562
3DMark TimeSpy 1284
3DMark TimeSpy Extreme 268
3DMark FireStrike 2534
3DMark FireStrike Extreme 1490
3DMark FireStrike Ultra 544
GeekBench Single Core 918  MultiCore 4169

For general computing, the VivoBook S15 is an excellent performer though the inability to upgrade the RAM is a downer which is compensated in part with the addition of Intel Optane memory. The laptop booted up to desktop in under a minute, apps opened up in a similarly swift fashion and it was able to smoothly tackle a good two dozen open browser tabs in Chrome. 

Like its immediate predecessor, the VivoBook S15 S531F, it’s a solid performer that’s able to handle general duties across the board. It can handle a bit of gaming too like PUBG on low 1080P settings, Saint’s Row: The Third at 1080P on medium settings, DOTA 2 on low settings and also tackle photo editing, spreadsheets and the odd simple video edit or two.

 ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA saints row 3

The underside got somewhat warm after two to three hours of intensive use so it’s something you’d best use on an in-flight tray or on a table if at all possible. Even under relatively warm loads,  the fan noise was inaudible and the laptop runs in a mostly silent fashion.

 ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA crystal disk mark optane
The provided display is generously sized and gives you quite a bit of screen real estate to work with enough space to comfortably compare two word documents or two browsers side by side with good colour rendition and detail though it’s capped at a 60Hz refresh rate; which is fair seeing as this isn’t intended as a gaming laptop.


The provided keyboard has good spacing and a reasonable 1.4mm of key travel that makes typing on it a pleasant affair. We managed a good 110wpm on it and the addition of the numeric keypad makes it a good proposition for those who need to handle heavy number crunching like accounting, maths and engineering students.

 ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA keyboard

In terms of battery life, we kicked off our battery test with a full charge and our usual workload which had a balanced battery profile, the screen set to average brightness and a workload involving Google Docs, Open Office and heavy use of Chrome with a dozen open browser tabs. 

Naturally, your mileage will vary depending on if you max out your screen brightness and performance settings but we also managed to get a couple of hours of YouTube in along with an hour worth of gaming in too and the laptop managed to last a decent 8 or so hours before it got down to less than 10% which is enough for a decent day’s worth of work though this isn’t the best on test.

It took just under an hour to get about a 65% charge on account of its fast charging capabilities and the fact that it is exceptionally compact and light makes it a very viable prospect to carry with you all day.

ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA Verdict

Much like its predecessors, the VivoBook S15 S533FA offers a very reasonable price point that brings you a large display, a full-sized keyboard and decent performance across the board for general computing tasks. 

There’s some quibbles of course, like the middling battery life which they haven’t addressed even in the prior S15 from last year but it isn’t a major issue if you’re hovering between lectures or short work meetings outside of the office.

For what you pay for, the VivoBook S15 S533FA represents an excellent choice for casual users and for kitting out those heading over to college or uni. If you’re looking for an affordable smaller sized laptop, the S14 S433FA with a 14-inch display is an option as is their AMD-powered variant the S14 M433 that we just tested. 

What we liked Stylish design, good keyboard, fair balance of performance for price, large display, generous array of ports
What we didn’t No way to upgrade RAM as it’s all soldered in. average battery life
We say Sporting vibrant hues and an eye-catching design with a good performance to price ratio, the ASUS VivoBook S15 S533FA is a colourful refresh of their workhorse notebook that offers a generously sized 15.6-inch display, an updated 10th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, Intel Optane memory and an NVIDIA MX250 GPU too. 

Review unit courtesy of ASUS Malaysia. Available for purchase online at https://www.ASUS.com/my/Laptops/ASUS-VivoBook-S15-S533FA/

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review – Affordable AMD powered Workhorse Tested

The Asus VivoBook range is intended from its inception as affordable workhorses that represent excellent value while maintaining a good balance of performance and specifications. In that regard, their new VIvoBook S14  M433 upholds the ideals of the brand and takes it up by several notches with the inclusion of the efficient and powerful AMD Ryzen 4000 series mobile processor.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review front

Our test unit which shipped from Asus HQ differs slightly  from units that you will purchase in Malaysia .

VivoBook S14 M433 units in Malaysia will get a 3-pin UK style charger, a sheet of stickers, will have a fingerprint reader in the touchpad but will only have 8GB RAM that is soldered-in making it non-upgradable in terms of RAM.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review
Our test unit of the VivoBook S14 M433 has a non-local charger but Malaysia units will get the standard UK-style 3-pin charger.

Our test unit had 16GB RAM, no sticker sheet and a flat 2-prong style charger as well as no fingerprint reader. That aside, our unit has the same Ryzen 7 4700U CPU and specifications.

Asus S14 M433 Build and Design


Asus has upgraded the concept of what a mid range laptop ought to look like as their latest generation S14 M433 incorporates an almost all-metal chassis that was once the exclusive province of pricier laptops. The design has been classed up by quite a bit from its older predecessors in build quality especially in the reduction of the use of plastics in the chassis and top lid and inclusion of more metal in the design. 

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review top lid

The top lid of the S14 M433 consists of metal with a brushed matte finish along with most of the chassis that looks pleasantly premium though they’ve opted to use current-gen aluminium alloy rather than ultra-light magnesium-lithium alloy like that seen on the ultra-premium ExpertBook B9 (B9450).

This contributes somewhat to its rather hefty 1.4kg carry weight but that’s not an issue with a laptop in this price range. It’s not all made of metal though as the bezels framing the display and the underside remain polycarbonate as a concession to cost and weight.

Oddly enough, the VivoBook S14 M433 this time around ditches their signature ErgoLift hinge design that cants the notebook at the right angle and instead goes for a conventional hinge mechanism.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review underside
The two rear rubber feet are raised slightly higher than the front to offer an elevated angle for a better typing experience.

They have a quartet of rubberised feet, with the two rear ones raised higher than the front two to elevate the angle of the keyboard and base for ventilation and a smoother typing experience. It’s not the most elegant solution but it does the job.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review left side
The left side has a port for the power jack, a full sized HDMI 1.4 port, a USB  3.2 Gen 1 Type A port, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port and a combo audio jack. The right side hosts a microSD card reader, a pair of conventional USB 2.0 ports and a microSD card reader.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review right side

This setup offers plenty of ports to tackle a host of additional accessories like a mouse, an external hard disk and more if you’re so inclined. These ports are primarily for transferring data from paired phones or other devices and they aren’t capable of charging other kit which is irksome but not a major issue.

Asus Vivobook S14 M433 keyboard

Of note here is that they’ve included chamfering around the keyboard frame while integrating a backlit keyboard that oddly enough adds in a vertical array of shortcuts to the right edge along with an Enter key trimmed in neon green.

The trackpad itself is otherwise standard though Asus says that our local Malaysian units will integrate a fingerprint reader in its upper right corner unlike our test unit.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review touchpad
The VIvoBook S14 M433 for Malaysia will have an integrated fingerprint reader in the touchpad but our test units lack the reader which does not affect performance.

The 14-inch NanoEdge display itself is a 1080P panel framed with slim side and top matte black plastic bezels that look somewhat plain, seeing our recent experiences with the ultra premium ExpertBook B9 (B9450) but it’s acceptable seeing the fact that the S14 is almost one third the price of the more premium B9 and is intended for a purely different market.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Review webcam
As far as build quality and design goes, the VivoBook S14 scores on materials and finish though it oddly enough uses an older design template especially in the lack of an Ergolift hinge. In any case this doesn’t significantly affect functionality.

Asus VivoBook S14 (M433) Specifications and Performance

The VivoBook S14 (M433) for the Malaysia market comes in two slightly different variants. Our higher-end test unit had an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U 3.6GHz processor with AMD Radeon integrated graphics and an Indie Black finish.

A cheaper version is available using an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U 2.4GHz processor for RM300 less and which comes in more colours. Processor and paint job aside, both VivoBook S14 versions are externally identical and have otherwise similar hardware under the hood.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 review top

Both of the VivoBook S14 (M433) variants for Malaysia have a 14-inch IPS LCD Full HD (1,920 x 1080) display, 8GB of soldered DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD. Both variants are also reliant on AMD integrated graphics. 

Other mod-cons include a pair of Harman Kardon tuned stereo speakers as well as WiFi 6 (802.11ax) connectivity and Bluetooth 5.0 support. Both variants come with a similar 3-cell 50WHr Li-Po battery. Where the cheaper version edges out is that it comes in four different colours rather than just one for our higher end version.

These specifications are summed up as:

Specifications
Price RM2,899 (Ryzen 5 4500U variant), RM3,199 (Ryzen 7 4700U variant)
DIsplay 14-inch TFT LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
Graphics AMD Radeon Graphics
OS Windows 10 Home
Memory 8GB DDR4 RAM/ 512GB PCIe 3.0 x 4 NVMe SSD
Battery 50WHr 3-cell Li-Po battery W/ fast charging (60% in 49 minutes, quoted)
Size/Weight 324.9 x 213.5 x 15.9 mm / 1.4kg

Bearing in mind that our test unit has more RAM, it will perform slightly better than the retail versions. In terms of synthetic benchmarks, our notebook got the following results. Oddly enough, we were unable to run Night Raid and Time Spy in our benchmarks on account of some unexplained glitch that prevents the benchmarks from running consistently.

Retail units in Malaysia should have slightly lower scores than what is displayed here on account of having 8GB RAM.

CInebench R20 2,491 points
Unigine Superposition 720 Low settings 5,615 points
Unigine Superposition 1080P Medium settings 1,992 points
Unigine Superposition 1080P High Settings 1,337 points
PCMark Extended Test 2,985 points

Under more practical conditions, we managed to run Saints Row: The Third at 1080P settings as well as Metro 2033 with very playable frame rates and at high settings  Malaysia units should run these comfortably on medium settings without keeling over.

vivobook s14 m433 cinebench

Other more mundane tasks like web browsing with a dozen open tabs in Chrome, running Open Office processing basic spreadsheets and crunching text documents and the like were handled without any major issues. The underside of the notebook ran a bit warmer than we’d like though especially after an hour or two of gaming but it’s still usable for short stretches on your lap if needed.

Asus Vivobook S14 m433 saints row

The display itself is typical of many other IPS LCD panels with good viewing angles and vibrant hues indoors but has middling to poor clarity under direct sunlight while the provided downward-firing Harman Kardon speakers offered pretty good quality clarity with a decent amount of bass.

In terms of battery life, the provided 50Whr 3-cell Li-Po battery has fair if unexceptional endurance. On normal work settings with brightness set to average and a balanced setting with a workload that involved word processing, web browsing and some light photo editing, it managed close to 7 hours of work. Charging it from the bundled charger from 20% to full takes about an hour and 20 minutes which is a reasonable pace.

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 front

Asus VivoBook S14 M433 Verdict

The Asus VivoBook S14 (M433) offers an excellent price to performance ratio, helped in large part with the inclusion of AMD’s efficient AMD Ryzen 4000 series CPU that has enough pixel punching grunt to tackle basic computing and gaming as well as simple creator work like photo editing and the like. This is an ideal choice for students and users looking for an affordable notebook for general computing.

Asus vivobook S14 M433 side angle

This notebook is great as a first-choice for students and those on a tight budget looking for a solid performer. If you’re really counting pennies, you can opt for the slightly cheaper variant with the Ryzen 5 processor but you might as well save up the RM300 and invest in the higher end variant with the Ryzen 7 that can tackle more tasks in a smoother fashion.

What we liked Good variety of ports, slick design, good performance to price ratio, comfortable keyboard
What we didn’t non-upgradable RAM, lacks Ergolift hinge
We say The Asus VivoBook S14 (M433) offers an excellent price to performance ratio, helped in part bythe inclusion of AMD’s efficient AMD Ryzen 4000 series CPU that has enough pixel punching grunt to tackle basic computing and gaming. This is an ideal choice for students and users looking for an affordable notebook for general computing.

Review unit courtesy of Asus Malaysia. Available for purchase at their official page here

UGreen PB133 Power Bank Review: Cheap Charging Cometh

Next to a smartphone, a power bank is usually something you never leave home without these days seeing how the average phone these days tends to guzzle juice like lobsters at a freeflow seafood buffet. They also tend to cost a pretty penny but UGreen’s PB133 power bank looks set on offering significant charging capacity without costing an arm and a leg.

Depending on where you buy it and if it’s on special, the UGreen PB133 tends to retail for under RM50 though we got ours for about RM36 not including shipping via UGreen’s official online Malaysia store on Shopee. They also have a special discount code available that offers a 10% discount which knocks the price down even more. Just apply the code UGRE0617A when you’re purchasing it on their official Shopee store.

UGreen PB133 Power Bank review contents

While the brand doesn’t have a physical presence in Malaysia, they’ve made a name for themselves as purveyors of affordable accessories including docks, cables and the like. 

The PB133 power bank comes in a basic white box and has the usual quick start guide and a short USB Type-A to micro-USB cable that allows you to charge the power bank itself. Bar the cable, the only thing in the box is the power bank itself.

In terms of build and design, the PB133 has the dimensions of a hefty cigarette pack with rounded corners and edges to make it easier to grip. The sides have a slightly knurled texture as well to prevent it from slipping in your hands with one end having a series of LED lights to indicate remaining power while a side-mounted power button rides shotgun. At 4 dots, it’s at 75-100% capacity which decreases in 25% increments as you drain juice from the battery with 2 LEDs indicating the 25-50% mark and so on until you drain it dry.

UGreen PB133 Power Bank bottom

To charge the 10,000mAh battery you have the option to do so via a microUSB port or a USB Type C port. Output is via two USB Type-A ports with one having 5V/2.1A output while the other is 5V/1.0A for smaller devices. These two ports are able to charge most devices in current service today but understandably don’t have support for any proprietary fast charging tech like Huawei’s SuperCharge tech, Oppo’s FlashCharge or other more mainstream fast charging technologies.

UGreen PB133 Power Bank front

Build quality is reassuringly sturdy and while it’s obviously made of plastic, it doesn’t creak or bend when held. This is reflected in the ports itself that remain firm without any wiggling even with repeated use. Perhaps the one quibble with the design is that it’s a tad on the bulky side which means you can’t hold it with your phone in one hand at the same time; something that may be necessary if you are reliant on the provided cable. A longer cable would have been nice but at what you’re paying for, it’s not an issue.

UGreen PB133 Power Bank Performance

On paper, the UGreen PB133 power bank has a 10,000mAh battery with two USB outputs with one port offering 5V/2.1A and another offering 5V/1A output. Both ports can be used simultaneously so you can charge two items at the same time, assuming you have two charging cables to spare. 

UGreen PB133 Power Bank angled

We tested it with a Galaxy Note10 that was drained dry. On paper, the Note10 has 25W fast charging.baked in. When plugged up to the PB133, it commenced charging immediately but did not exhibit any fast charging capabilities.

For the Galaxy Note10, it got about 10% in 15 minutes or so in an air conditioned room. This remained relatively consistent throughout the charging process and it topped off at 100% in about 2 hours and 10 minutes or so. This was repeated several times and exhibited similar results, give or take a few minutes with each iteration.

UGreen PB133 Power Bank charging

On paper, the UGreen PB133 is capable of charging the Note10’s 3,500mAh battery at least twice with a third nearly full 70% charge thereabouts and it managed to achieve this handily. Our power bank is new so it’s capable of achieving this in the first few dozen or so charging cycles but as with any other power bank, this capacity will reduce over time to about two full charges or so which is still plenty.

One particular bonus with the PB133 is that it supports pass-through charging, allowing you to charge the power bank itself while continuing to charge your other devices at the same time. The only quibble here is that the ports are spaced quite close to each other due to the nature of the design which makes it a really tight fit. Charging it on a normal 5V/2A charger that you see bundled in most modern smartphones took awhile and the PB133 only managed to get a full charge in about 5 or so hours.

UGreen PB133 Power Bank chunky
The chunky nature of the UGreen PB133 Power Bank means its a bit of a handful to hold with your phone when charging.


As it stands, the UGreen PB133 lacks modern niceties that flagship phone users would find necessary like wireless charging, fast charging tech and the like but it has it where it counts with a compact form factor, sturdy build quality and a very modest price. This is something worth picking up as a back-up to keep anywhere you need a top-up for your phone.

Specifications
Price RM35.99
Input 5V/2.1A
Total output 5V/2.1A
Battery capacity 10,000mAh 37Wh
Charging time 5 hours (via 5V/2.1A adaptor)
Size/Weight 92 x 65 x 23mm / 130g
Review unit courtesy of UGreen. Available for purchase online at Shopee. Apply the code UGRE0617A for a special 10% discount!

What we liked Affordably priced, sturdy design, multiple ports for charging
What we didn’t Doesn’t cater to fast charging phones, only has a short bundled micro-USB cable
What we say The UGreen PB133 is an affordably priced power bank with good build quality and a generous number of ports that lacks fast charging support for high-end phones but is otherwise a highly portable back-up measure.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 [ B9450 ] notebook review – Amazing Lightness meets Exceptional Power

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) close up

When it comes to business ultraportables, portability is every much as important as performance and it’s an elusive grail that many notebook vendors strive to achieve with very mixed results.

For ASUS, they’ve gone to extreme lengths this time around to fulfill both with their new ExpertBook B9 (B9450) notebook that has just been launched in Malaysia as it weighs under a kilogram.

Depending on configuration, the lightest variant weighs a mere 870g. That’s almost 400g less than most mainline business ultraportables that usually weigh in at the 1.2kg mark.

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) front

The ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) notebook is the premier offering in the brand’s growing professional ExpertBook range. Intended for the suit and tie crowd, it has the enviable honour of having Project Athena certification by Intel; quite an achievement indeed.

All this is icing on the cake as as the B9’s main raison d’etre – it’s exceptional lightness and power is what also makes it an ideal ultraportable for mainstream use.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) build, MIL-STD810G rating and design

Weight aside, our test unit is barely thicker than an early 20th century pulp magazine at 14.9mm with the width and length of a sheet of A4 paper.

To achieve these incredible weight savings without compromising on quality or durability, ASUS has opted to make to machine the chassis out of solid slabs of magnesium lithium alloy to ensure superb structural integrity. 

To protect against drops, the motherboard itself sits on several shock absorbing pegs that soften inadvertent impacts. In terms of toughness, the B9450 is rated MIL-STD 810G, a US Military standard for toughness which means it is capable of surviving a 120cm drop to the floor when powered on without damage, endure 30kg of force on the top and bottom lid without damage and generally take the sort of punishment that would total lesser laptops.

Materials and MIL-STD810G rating aside, the ASUS ExpertBook B9 adopts a business-chic design with an understated matte black finish all around that feels wonderful to the touch and repels fingerprints nicely.

On the connectivity front, the ExpertBook B9 is well equipped with a comprehensive array of ports. Where ultraportables have been steadily removing their ports to a bare minimum, the B9450 still has the works while still being one of the lightest and slimmest around. 

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) left side

On the left side, you get two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, a full sized HDMI port and a micro HDMI port. They’ve also thrown in a free micro-HDMI-to-RJ45 dongle to plug into wired ethernet.

Either of these Thunderbolt ports can be used to charge the notebook. Combined, you’re able to support two external 4K displays via the HDMI port and the other via one Thunderbolt 3 port. In lieu of the RJ45 port, you also have fast WiFi 6 (802.11ax) connectivity. 

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) right side

On the right side, lo and behold, you have a full sized USB 3.1 Gen 2 port so you can plug in flash drives, hard disks and other peripherals without having to deal with fiddly docks.

There’s also a 3.5mm combo audio jack too for headphones and a Kensington lock. This line-up covers all the bases for almost any corporate samurai to tackle everything from presentations to docking all manner of kit on the go.

Flip the top lid up and you’ll discover one of ASUS’ greatest engineering innovations – the Ergolift Hinge. When opened, the Ergolift Hinge gently lifts the keyboard up to about a 25-degree angle to make typing easier and to improve airflow.

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) Ergolift hinge

The hinge mechanism is so smooth this time around that you can open it one-handed, helped also in part with a machined indentation in the top lid for a better grip for your fingers.

There’s no give or play in the top lid and absolutely no wobble whatsoever from the hinges that allow the notebook to fold almost all the way down flat like an inverted tent of sorts. The underside is tastefully bare save for four rubberised feet and two grilles for the downward firing speakers.

Up front, the ExpertBook B9 hosts a 14-inch matte NanoEdge display with 1080P resolution and breathtakingly 4mm slim bezels even on the bottom bezel to give it a 94% screen-to-body ratio. The top is slightly thicker than the size bezels and for good reason as it hosts a 0.9MP webcam and four omnidirectional far-field mikes for better quality video calls.

Asus ExpertBook B9 B9450 webcam

It also has support for Windows Hello so you can unlock the laptop with your mugshot. Better yet, the webcam itself has a physical slider that privacy advocates will appreciate. In our new age of remote working, all these features give it a decisive edge indeed.

The keyboard for the ExpertBook B9  is backlit and in keeping with many other notebooks of its ilk lacks a numeric keypad but ASUS has handily solved this annoyance as their touchpad integrates a light-up numeric keypad. Basically this is an underlay that activates on demand so it stays out of the way when not needed. Next to it in the corner is a fingerprint reader to unlock the laptop.
Asus ExpertBook B9 B9450 keyboard
Better yet, the keyboard itself is splashproof and is capable of surviving a sousing from up to 66cc of water; about a quarter of the contents of a mug.  There’s also a glowing neon light bar located at the bottom of the touchpad that lights up when you interact with Cortana or Alexa virtual assistants with your voice.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) Variants and Specifications

In Malaysia, the ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) comes in a variety of different configurations that all have the same chassis and 14-inch NanoEdge 1080p display but vary in terms of processor they use though all are Intel 10th Gen CPUs, storage, RAM and battery size. 

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) angled

Coming in on the ground floor is the B9450F-ABM0284T entry level variant which has a 10th Gen Intel Core  i5-10210U, Intel HD graphics, 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, the aforementioned 2-cell 33Wh battery and an RM6,299 price tag.

On the other end of the scale, our test sample is a retail unit with the most powerful configuration available and an equally princely price tag at RM9,299.  Our top-of-the-line B9450 rocks with the following specifications and model number:

Specifications ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) – B9540F-ABM0278R

Price RM9,299
Display 14-inch NanoEdge display, 1,920 x 1080 pixels
Processor Intel Core i7-10510U
OS WIndows 10 Pro
Memory 16GB RAM/ 2 x 1TB M.2 NVME PCIe x 4 SSD
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Battery 4-cell @66 Wh lithium-polymer (24 hours battery life, quoted) w/ 65W fast charging USB Type-C
Size/Weight 320 x 203 x 14.9mm/ 970g (lightest variant is 870g)

This substantial investment gets you one of, if not the lightest 14-inch business notebook in the world while retaining a rated 24 hours of battery life on its 4-cell 66Wh battery.

It’s a bit heavier than the stock variant which weighs 870g but at 970g our top of the line variant still keeps the weight to under a kilo.

The entry-level variants of the B9450 get their weight savings on account of a 2-cell 33Wh battery that halves the battery life to 12 hours but which keeps the weight to the advertised 870g.

The provided Intel Core i7-10510U processor is a high-powered CPU with a 4 cores/8 threads arrangement that has a 1.8GHz base clock and 4.9GHz boost capable of tackling most productivity related tasks.

Our test unit lacks a dedicated GPU and instead relies on an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 solution. Storage needs are sorted out by two 1TB SSDs from Samsung with the first partitioned into two sub-512GB partitions with one storing the OS for one drive and another 1TB drive on its own solely for storage. This amount of storage space is staggering and dwarfs the stock options from many other competing ultrabooks.

We dialled the settings to maximum ‘high performance’, put it through the usual wringer of benchmarks and got the following scores:

3DMark NightRaid 3,911
3DMark FireStrike 871
3DMark FireStrike Extreme 379
3DMark Time Spy 310
3DMark Time Spy Extreme 142
CineBench R20 828
PCMark 2,254
SuperPosition 1080P High 245
SuperPosition 1080 Medium 278

Interpreting these numbers, the ASUS B9450 proves to be an ideal platform for document-based productivity such as processing Microsoft Office documents and spreadsheets, web browsing and basic photo editing. It’s not intended for heavy pixel crunching or gaming seeing as it’s reliant on the integrated Intel UHD graphics solution but you can eke out some retro gaming if you’re keen.

In terms of actual performance, the B9450 fulfills the role of a portable paperwork cruncher with deft aplomb. In Open Office and Google Docs, it tackled everything thrown at it including graphics-heavy documents chock full of a ton of  slides and attachment images for good measure.

Web browsing was pleasantly fast as well on Chrome with over two dozen open tabs that we switched to at will back and forth in seconds. It was able to handle some light photo editing in GIMP and Canva and managed to tackle some retro-gaming too with modest titles like FTL, Into the Breach and a bit of Portal 2.

The provided 14-inch NanoEdge display isn’t rated for colour accuracy and is capped at a modest 60Hz refresh rate but nonetheless performed in a suitably stellar fashion with deep, vibrant hues on test footage and pin-sharp detail.

Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450) light

The provided quad mic array is perhaps one of the more impressive audio setups in a laptop. While the webcam isn’t anything to write home about, audio quality was excellent, especially for online calls while the provided stereo speakers were loud enough to carry a tune in a quiet room without tearing with fair sound staging and detail.

Seeing as this isn’t intended as a gaming or entertainment laptop, these shortcomings are easily overlooked. When it’s focused on its mission profile as a productivity performer, the ExpertBook B9 is one of the lightest, best performing notebooks in its class.

Asus Expertbook b9 b9450 underlay
You can access a numeric keypad on the touchpad with the press of a button

The addition of the numeric keypad underlay makes it fantastic for spreadsheet jockeys while the excellent 1.5mm key travel and slightly concave keys make typing close to a desktop-like experience with the addition of three-stage backlighting allowing you to use it under all but the dimmest work scenarios like a night flight on a plane (unlikely) or a rush job in a pub (more likely). 

Granted, hashing out your work in a dingy pub isn’t the best of circumstances but at least with this – it’ll survive a sousing from a pint, a drop to the deck and more while letting you get the job done.

In terms of battery life, it managed to last the equivalent of a full work day on balanced settings with about 9 hours of active usage with a normal workload that had WiFi, intermittent usage of Netflix (for work, serious!) and YouTube plus a few Zoom calls thrown in for good measure.

With light usage and energy saving settings, it was easily able to get close to 16 hours meandering between idle moments, basic web browsing and emails and an hour or two of videos.

This kind of battery endurance is phenomenal indeed. To date, the B9450 has the best battery life in its class.

Naturally, your mileage will vary and dialing it to maximum performance mode and maxing out the screen brightness will radically reduce battery life.

The provision of a compact, fist-sized 65W fast charger means it’s easy to charge the notebook on the go with a full charge in under two hours.

Asus expertbook b9 b9450 fold flat

ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) Verdict

In its chosen arena as an ultralight premium business laptop, there are few contenders especially if you prize lightness and performance save perhaps for the 8th generation Lenovo X1 Carbon in Malaysia. In terms of chassis and design, the B9 (B9450) edges out with a slightly smaller size footprint at about 1.5cm smaller in length on account of a chunkier lower bezel for the X1’s display.

The ExpertBook B9 (B9450), even with its heaviest configuration at 970g is still lighter than the X1 Carbon’s lightest configuration that starts at 1,090g and up. Where it edges out though is its addition of a numeric keypad underlay and faster USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports and HDMI 2.0. The addition of a free micro-HDMI to HDMI dongle with every unit is also a tempting proposition.

The ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450)  is currently the best ultrabook that ASUS has ever made. Their engineers have lovingly hewn a masterpiece from a ridiculously light slab of magnesium lithium alloy then shoehorned in top class hardware capable of tackling anything a desk jockey would conceivably handle while offering an excellent keyboard and outstanding battery life.

The highest end model is also staggeringly expensive but you get what you pay for and if you prize lightness, battery life and outstanding portability, the ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9450) ought to be at the top of your list.

Review unit courtesy of ASUS Malaysia. Available for purchase at the link here at https://www.asus.com/my/Commercial-Laptops/ASUS-ExpertBook-B9450FA/Features/

What we liked Awe inspiring lightness, superb build quality and military-grade durability, great battery life, excellent performance, generous array of ports
What we didn’t Not cheap, no touchscreen capable variants, display not colour calibrated, RAM is soldered in
We say The Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9450)  represents an impressive new milestone for ASUS with a stunning combination of power and endurance in the lightest chassis in its class. If money is no object and you prize portability and performance, this should be your top pick.

Huawei nova 7 SE Review – Pretty Purple 5G Power Performer

Huawei nova 7 series appgallery

When it comes to midrange phones, smartphone manufacturers have to aim for an elusive sweet spot between price and performance though last year’s midrange nova 5T proved to be quite a hit as it had features that covered the basics along with a smattering of features and tech from their higher end phones.

This time around, Huawei has issued a successor to last year’s nova 5T with even better hardware that they’ve dubbed as the nova 7 SE.

We managed to get a retail sample of the Huawei nova 7 SE ahead of its imminent Malaysia release for review and put it through its paces. 

Huawei App Gallery Nova 7 series
N2032

Huawei nova 7 SE – What’s in the Box

In keeping with its predecessor, the Huawei nova 7 SE comes with an array of accessories that covers the essentials. The whole affair is encased in Huawei’s usual white cardboard packaging. Popping the case open reveals the phone itself protected in a clear plastic sleeve.

Just beneath it in a cardboard insert is a SIM ejector pin and a soft TPU casing that’s precisely fitted to the phone’s dimensions.

Beneath that is a USB Type-A to Type-C cable for charging and docking duties, a pair of wired earbuds and, interestingly enough, a UK-style 3-pin 40W Supercharge charger to take full advantage of the nova 7 SE’s charging speed.

Huawei nova 7 SE Review box contents
The provided earbuds are of the cheaper variety with hard plastic ear pieces which aren’t particularly comfortable when used for long periods of time. Still, they’re better than nothing and do the job.

The fact that they’ve thrown in all this kit for a midrange phone, especially the 40W Supercharge charger is nevertheless generous indeed.

Huawei nova 7 SE – EMUI, the new AppGallery and Specifications


In terms of overall build and design, the nova 7 SE retains many of the aesthetic cues from the older 5T. You have a punch hole for the selfie camera in the upper left corner of the display, slim bezels all around with a slightly more prominent lower bezel ‘chin’, a vertically emplaced rear quad camera array and a striking metallic purple finish.

Where it differs is that the newer nova 7 SE is both slightly longer, slightly wider by 1mm, a wee bit thicker and heavier to boot to account for the improved hardware and slightly larger battery.

huawei nova 7 SE rear
The front display has been bumped up in size by 0.25-inches to make it a 6.5-inch diagonal LTPS IPS LCD display with a slightly wider 20:9 aspect ratio. The resolution has also been slightly bumped up on account of the longer display at 1080 x 2,400 pixels compared to the older nova 5T.

Like its predecessor, the nova 7 SE has slim bezels on the top and sides but retains the still prominent chin at the bottom and the cutout for the 16-MP selfie camera in the corner. Up top, there is a tiny grille for the earpiece to take calls.

Huawei nova 7 SE Review right
The right side has a volume rocker and a power button that also doubles as a fingerprint reader while the left side of the phone hosts a hybrid SIM card tray that lets you put in two SIM cards or one SIM card and one of Huawei’s own Nano Memory (NM) storage cards up to 256GB in size. 

Huawei nova 7 SE Review base

The base of the phone still retains a 3.5mm audio jack  – a rarity in this day and age – along with a USB Type-C port and speaker grille for the bottom firing mono speaker.

The rear backplate continues the aesthetic legacy of the nova 5T with a stylish monogram of the nova logo done up in silver with a similar pattern repeated all across the back. It looks attractive but still attracts fingerprints aplenty. Slapping on the bundled case when you first pop the nova 7 SE is a necessity.

In terms of hardware, the nova 7 SE came with the following:

Specifications
Price RM1,499
Display 6.5-inch LTPS IPS LCD, 1080 x 2,400 pixels, 405ppi
Processor Kirin 820 5G
OS EMUI 10.1 with Huawei AppGallery
Memory 8GB RAM/128GB storage
Camera 64MP F/1.8 + 8-MP F/2.4 ultrawide + 2MP macro + 2MP depth sensor [rear] / 16MP F/2.0 [front]
Battery 4,000mAh w/ 40W fast charging
Size/Weight 162.3 x 75 x 8.6mm /189g

The hardware is an improvement over the older nova 5T across the board. Of note is that the Kirin 820 5G chip has 5G connectivity with support for standalone and non-standalone bands. This helps to future-proof the phone somewhat when 5G eventually rolls into Malaysia. 

At a price point of RM1,499 , the nova 7 SE is currently the cheapest 5G-capable phone in the market which adds volumes to its longevity.

Storage and RAM are similar to the nova 5T but the advantage here is that the newer nova 7 SE allows for the use of NM cards to add more storage. For most casual users, the 128GB of onboard storage is plenty unless you are wont to take reams of video and dozens of shots every day.

huawei nova 7 SE front
The biggest difference between the nova 5T and the new nova 7 SE is that the latter ditches Google’s suite of apps entirely in favour of Huawei’s own AppGallery.

Fortunately, most of the usual staples that Malaysians rely on are available in some form or fashion on the AppGallery like Shopee, Lazada, your usual array of banking apps and the like though some of the more popular ones need to be sources offsite on the original developer websites like Netflix and WhatsApp.

Fortunately, Huawei has issued an AppFinder app that helps you source where to get the apps you need be it on the AppGallery or elsewhere.

Sometimes, we needed to resort to other alternative sites to sideload applications like ApkPure. It’s not a completely seamless experience yet but it’s certainly an improvement from when the AppGallery first kicked off last year but there’s a few too many hoops to jump through for novices.

findapps huawei
Huawei has issued a FindApps app that helps suggest sources to find the apps you want

Getting about Huawei’s EMUI interface is straightforward with your choice of Huawei’s edge-swipe interface or the usual Android style of having three menu buttons at the bottom. Personally, I preferred the latter as it offered more consistent responses. 

The tricks that EMUI has to offer like split screen mode, where you can multitask to some degree by putting two apps out of a selected pool simultaneously onscreen, are present and correct. 

huawei nova 7 SE split screen

There’s also Huawei’s vaunted multi-screen collaboration feature that lets you pop up an instance of the display on a Huawei laptop or tablet like the MatePad Pro for a more seamless work experience. 

Multi-screen collaboration worked as it says on the tin and paired up with a MatePad Pro in seconds, allowing us to control, access notifications and more on the nova 7 SE off the MatePad Pro’s touchscreen display. It’s a useful feature to have but it’s so far only limited to Huawei devices only so you need to be invested in their ecosystem for it to work.

When subjected to benchmarks, the nova 7 SE got the following:

PCMark Work 2.0 Performance score 8,217
GeekBench 5.1 Single core score 614 Multi-core score 2,324
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Open GL ES 3.1 4,077
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – Vulkan 3,898

In use, the phone offered smooth performance with lag-free web browsing with a dozen switched tabs in Huawei’s own stock browser. Other apps opened in a relatively smooth fashion with little delay and it managed to tackle Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG Mobile smoothly at high settings.

There’s little to complain about here and as midrange phones go, it exceeds the benchmarks of its predecessor the nova 5T by a noticeable margin and can give other phones in its price range a run for their money.

The display itself is up to snuff with good colour rendition and detail with the increased 20:9 aspect ratio allowing for more of a view, especially for movies and gaming. The positioning of the selfie camera in the corner allows for a clearer, unimpeded view of the main display.

Like other midrange phones, there’s only one downward firing speaker on the nova 7 SE and this is the one area that hasn’t seen much improvement from its predecessor. It’s serviceable and is sufficient to catch the odd video or two and play a game or two on the go.

You can opt for using a pair of headphones via the 3.5mm audio jack though it’s best to spring out for a better pair as the bundled ones are uncomfortable to use for anything beyond a few tracks or an episode of Money Heist. 

huawei nova 7 se angled

Battery life is surprisingly good on the nova 7 SE on account of its efficient chipset that’s built on a 7nm process, the fairly aggressive app and memory management of EMUI and the large 4,000mAh battery.

With average usage including data on all day, constant use of TikTok and Facebook as well as WhatsApp, a couple of hours of gaming and a few phone calls daily, the phone managed to last close to two days of usage.

Charging it is a doddle as the 40W SuperCharge charger can give it a 70% juice-up in half an hour which is a pleasant bonus indeed seeing as many other competing phones just give you a standard charger which takes far longer to work.


Huawei nova 7 SE cameras

The nova 7 SE comes with a quad camera array centered around a primary 64MP camera that has an F/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus as well as liberal help from the neural processing unit (NPU) of the Kirin 820 5G processor.

This time around the Kirin 820 5G offers a Huawei-issued ISP 5.0 and 3D filtering (BM3D) image noise reduction as well as dual-domain video noise reduction for better low light imagery.

huawei nova 7 SE camera UI

The primary 64MP camera is paired up with an 8MP F/2.4 ultra wide angle camera, a 2MP ultra macro camera and a 2MP depth sensor. In practice, the primary and ultra wide angle camera does most of the work with the 2MP ultra macro camera coming into play only in extremely close-up work.

Combined, this array allows for up 4K@30fps video off the main 64MP camera albeit without any beautification or other AI enhancements as well as shots at up to 6x digital zoom for video and 10x for stills.

Dial the video resolution down to 1080p@60fps and you can take advantage of the phone’s extensive AI-assisted enhancements like beautification modes on the fly to make subjects in the frame svelter and prettier or handsomer.

One thing to note here is that none of the cameras have optical image stabilisation and save for the main 64MP which has PDAF, the cameras rely on the AI for steady videos and snaps though it does a surprisingly good job at it.

The camera user interface is culled from the higher end phones in Huawei’s line-up so you have access to a fully featured Pro mode, a 960fps@720p slow-mo mode, an Ultra macro mode for close-ups and a dedicated Night mode among all the other usual filters and basic modes. 

huawei nova 7 SE ISO max 51200

The nova 7 SE’s Night mode relies on the primary camera and allows for the same zoom levels as auto mode with up to 10x digital zoom for stills

In Pro mode, you’re able to tweak a host of features including white balance, exposure, shutter speed and up to a whopping 51,200 ISO. In auto mode, you’re able to dial a slider to access the wide angle camera or to enable digital zoom as needed with all the more exotic stuff hidden in a submenu. 

The camera itself lacks some of the more recent refinements from the P40 line like reflection removal and deleting photobombers from shots but that’s understandable seeing the midrange price point of the nova 7 SE.

huawei nova 7 SE ultrawide angle
Ultra wide angle camera on the Huawei nova 7 SE
huawei nova 7 se 1x
Primary camera on auto mode for the Huawei nova 7 SE
10x digital zoom on the Huawei nova 7 SE. Pretty good detail retention in the masonry belying the usual dodgy results of relying purely on digital zoom

In practice, Huawei’s investments into computational photography have paid dividends here with good results on auto mode under all but the most challenging shooting scenarios.

huawei nova 7 SE indoors

huawei nova 7 se

Shots from the wide angle and primary camera under daylight conditions were excellent, especially for a midrange category phone. The less powerful wide angle camera does the job but stills are a bit on the soft side especially when you peer at it up close along with slightly more muted colours versus the primary 64MP camera which delivers a more vibrant palette especially for foliage and blues and retains more detail .

night mode Huawei nova 7 SE
Auto mode in low light on the Huawei nova 7 SE
huawei nova 7 SE night mode
Night mode enabled – better dynamic range and bit more detail retention though you need a 7-second delay for it to work.
nova 7 se digital zoom
Night mode on with 10x digital zoom

Shots on auto mode in dim light offered fair results on both the primary and wide angle camera. The dedicated Night mode relies on the main camera and needs a 7-second timer delay though this pays off with brighter shots that have better dynamic range but the lack of OIS and the modest hardware here means that it works best with some amount of light n the area like a street lamp for decent shots.

Dual view huawei nova 7 SE
A screencap of the Dual view video mode on the Huawei nova 7 SE. It has creative uses especially if you’re aiming to share live commentary on whatever you’re currently experiencing like a holiday vista or a concert.


The nova 7 SE also has a Dual View mode that simultaneously captures video from both the front and rear cameras. It’s an amusing feature that will likely see use in holiday videos or live vlogging.

Primary camera on auto at dusk. Note the A&W logo someone near the centre of the picture at right side of the road.
nova 7 se max
Maximum zoom on auto. The image is fuzzy, pun notwithstanding, but the Root Bear is still legible after a fashion.
Ultrawide angle camera in daylight on Auto. Note the fisherman on the distant shore.
nova 7 se daylight 1x
Primary camera on auto mode. Note the more vibrant colour rendition versus the ultrawide angle camera.
nova 7 se maximum zoom
Maximum 10x digital zoom – see the fisherman by the lakeside?

One thing to note is that the digital zoom on offer here with the nova 7 SE is surprisingly good for what you pay for. At 2X zoom, shots are cropped in from the 64MP sensor and look pretty good. Beyond that,things get noisy but are still fairly legible even under dimmer light conditions.

nova 7 se macro
Macro mode on the nova 7 SE

Anything dimmer than street lighting means you get a pitch black shot even with Night mode activated and all of the phone’s AI-enhanced digital sorcery in play. Front selfie shots were pretty good as well with a modestly restrained beautification mode that managed to handle male subjects well without ridiculously excessive skin smoothing. 

nova 7 se bushes
Indoors shot of shrubbery with the nova 7 SE on auto mode

The lack of OIS when capturing 4K video on the rear camera means that you’ll get best results with a tripod or gimbal under daylight conditions.

When taking video at 1080p, you benefit from AI stabilisation that helps smooth out hand shakes with good results and a slightly more vibrant palette under bright lighting conditions. Captured footage is by no means NatGeo fare but it’s certainly enough for uploading to social media or for cobbling together a holiday video.

Huawei nova 7 SE verdict

At RM1,499, the Huawei nova 7 SE is a reasonably priced midrange phone that has a lot going for it. This price tag is equal to its earlier debut in China, even accounting for exchange rates where it debuted a t2,399CNY which is about RM1,499 for the equivalent model with 128GB of storage.

At its price point and given its capabilities, the nova 7 SE is an enticing contender with a large display, excellent battery life and a fairly decent set of cameras compared to phones in its price range.

If you can live with the lack of Google services and are willing to hop through a few hoops, now made easier with Huawei’s AppFind app, the nova 7 SE is a worthy midrange contender.

What we liked Eyecatching finish, supports 5G, good battery life, vibrant display, has 3.5mm audio jack
What we didn’t Still needs work to get the apps you want, would be nice to have water resistance on casing, needs NM cards to expand memory
We say  The nova 7 SE melds a decent camera array, swift performance, good battery life and fetching good looks along with 5G support, making it the cheapest 5G capable phone in Malaysia at this point in time. The lack of Google services is irksome but Huawei’s made inroads to making the process of getting the apps you want on the phone easier and at its price point, it’s well worth a look if you’re on the hunt for a midrange 5G capable phone.

Review unit courtesy of Huawei Malaysia. Available for purchase at their official online store.

MOFT 2-in-1 Laptop Stand & Mouse Pad Review 

The MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad is an interesting hybrid accessory that combines functions of MOFT’s famous laptop stands with that of a mouse pad which certainly makes for an interesting proposition.
MOFT 2-in-1 Laptop Stand & Mouse Pad boxThe design itself is exceptionally compact with the dimensions of a sheet of A4 paper. One side has a slightly granulated texture that works as a mousepad when placed flat while the other is grippy and textured for use as a stand.

MOFT 2-in-1 Laptop Stand & Mouse Pad rear

Unfortunately, due to the laws of physics, you can either opt for it to be either work a laptop stand or a mouse pad so you’ll have to pick your battles when using it. Fortunately, it’s light and compact enough that you can conceivably buy and pack two of them for use when you’re on the go. 

Unlike MOFT’s other offerings, the nature of the MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad means that it doesn’t permanently (sort of ) stick on to the underside of a laptop; there’s no adhesive surface as both sides are used as either a mouse pad or a stand. 

There are advantages to this setup –  you can simply unfold it, prop up your work rig and then unfold it back when the job is done. Better yet, you don’t necessarily have to buy multiple stands if you have multiple laptops.


MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad usage

When you flip it on the grippy side up, you can extend and latch on a top that raises the angle of a laptop or tablet to a comfortable 25-degrees for easier typing and heat ventilation.

MOFT 2-in-1 Laptop Stand & Mouse Pad side view

The grippy texture also ensures that the laptop doesn’t slide off into oblivion. Belying its slim and flat design, the MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad proves surprisingly sturdy. The top section secures itself via magnets and it’s able to take the full weight of a 2.7kg gaming laptop though it needs some balancing as the stand section isn’t sufficiently wide enough for it to do so. In practice, it works best with ultraportables and smaller notebooks..

MOFT 2-in-1 Laptop Stand & Mouse Pad mouse stand

In a genius of design, the stand can also double as a phone stand by letting you prop it up at a steeper 45-degree angle for watching movies and the like. If your tablet is sufficiently compact, you can also adopt this angle without undue effort. 

MOFT 2-in-1 Laptop Stand & Mouse Pad phone stand

The mouse pad underside is comfortable enough for extended use but the cutout sections which fold up into a scaffold for the stand occasionally jut out from the otherwise flat mousing surface. This doesn’t affect its functionality but it will likely drive perfectionists nuts.

MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad verdict


The MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad does what it says on the tin with some modest compromises. It’s a serviceable mousepad and works equally well as a very sturdy laptop stand though it cannot do both at the same time, which means you’ll have to either buy two or prioritise one function over another. Still, it’s light and flat enough that you can easily put it in your daily carry next to your laptop as a backup measure.

What we liked Very sturdy laptop support, compact dimensions
What we didn’t Only comes in one colour, can only function as a mouse pad or a stand and not both
We say The MOFT 2-in-1 laptop stand & mouse pad is a sturdy and compact laptop stand that can take some of the heaviest rigs around and also acts as a fairly serviceable mouse pad but can’t do both at the same time. It’s a decent choice for those who work with multiple laptops as you can simply move it around as needed versus MOFT’s other offerings.

Review unit courtesy of MOFT. Available for purchase for US$24.99 (about RM106.72) at https://www.moft.us/products/moft-laptop-stand-mousepad

Dell XPS 13 9300 Review – Redefining Ultraportable Perfection

Finding a laptop that possesses high performance, excellent battery life and sufficient build quality to impress the suits in the boardroom is an elusive task. Save for a few specific models in the industry, there is usually some compromise or another that makes them fall short of greatness but in the last few years, Dell’s XPS 13 series has made a name for itself with a consistent, successive series of models that have become widely lauded as the epitome for ultraportable design. Their latest successor to this illustrious lineage, the Dell XPS 13 9300 for 2020 aims to embody all these qualities and much more.

Dell XPS 13 9300 front

We first laid eyes on the XPS 13 9300 on the showroom floor at CES 2020 and even talked to its creator Justin Lyles about the thought process and inspiration behind the iconic XPS series design and its 2020 refresh. Now, we’ve finally got our hands on the production model and it looks exquisite indeed.

What’s different from last year’s Dell XPS 13?

While there have been a few missteps along the way like the maligned ‘nosecam’ from the 2018 model, the Dell XPS 13 has gotten the fundamentals right and has consistently refined its mission profile of being the best consumer ultraportable that money can buy. 

XPS 13 old and new
The new XPS 13 9300 for 2020 on the left and the 2019 XPS 13 9380 on the right. Note the slightly different keyboard layouts and the larger InfinityEdge display on the newer model.

On top of the obligatory upgrades this year to Intel 10th Gen Intel Ice Lake CPUs and the usual improvements in storage, the new Dell XPS 13 notably has a larger four-sided InfinityEdge display that manages to shaves down the bottom bozel all the way to its limits to effectively offer more screen real estate than its predecessor. 

The Dell XPS 13 from 2019 had equally slim top and side bezels but retained a chunky bottom bezel. The best part? Even with Dell shaving these bezels all the way down to 4.6mm on each side, they’ve still managed to retain a 720P webcam in the top bezel.

XPS 13 9300 old and new
The newer XPS 13 9300 moves the microSD card reader to the left side but retains the Type C 3.1 port

Combined, these minor savings on bezel size have allowed Dell to cram in a 13.4-inch UHD resolution touch display which is slightly but appreciably larger by 0.1-inches from the 2019 model. There’s also been a minor redesign of the keyboard with 9% larger overall buttons along with a 17% larger touchpad.

XPS 13 9300 9380 old and new
The left side of the Dell XPS 9300 has a microSD card reader and the second Type C 3.1 Display Port which is one less than the older model.

The good part is that the chassis and design of the new XPS 13 9300 is a straight-up improvement without any tradeoffs save for one minor detail, the removal of the USB Type C 3.1 port from the older model though it still retains both Type-C with Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Dell XPS 13 9300 Unboxing and Design

In keeping with its distinguished pedigree, the Dell XPS 13 9300 has suitably impressive packaging. The notebook itself is ensconced within an ostentatious looking white box with a magnetically sealed flap. Flip the lid open and you’re greeted by the notebook itself wrapped in a plastic sleeve.

Xps 13 9300 box

Just beneath the laptop are two compartments, with one holding a USB Type C to USB Type-A dongle while the other has the Type-C charging cable to charge the laptop.  The charging cable and power pack itself is similar to last year’s XPS 13 and is essentially identical.

Our test unit of the new Dell XPS 13 comes with its now distinctive Frost White finish which has an external chassis made of a semi-matte aluminium finish with Alpine White carbon fiber palm rests.

XPS 13 9300 angled

The external finish itself is highly resistant to fingerprints and feels exceptionally premium on account of being machined from a single block of aluminium alloy for sturdiness. At 1.27kg, the XPS 13 9300 isn’t the lightest ultraportable out there but is still comfortably light enough to carry around all-day in a backpack.

The left side has a microSD card reader with a USB Type C 3.1 port for charging and data transfer at Thunderbolt 3 speeds and DisplayPort support. The right side has a similar Type C 3.1 port so you’re able to use either one based on personal preference. There’s also a 3.5mm combo audio jack as well nestled in the corner. 

XPS 13 9300 left

Flip the lid open and you get to lay eyes upon the four-sided InfinityEdge display. While it comes in a variety of configurations, our test unit was the highest end variant with a 13.4-inch UHD 4K touchscreen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 91.5% screen-to-body ratio. Alternatively, you can opt for a more modest 1080P matte, non-touch display with a similar 16:10 aspect ratio along with several other possible touch-capable permutations if you’re looking to save a bit of cash.

Up top, perched where it ought to be is a 720P webcam that one-ups its predecessor as it also has a Windows Hello infrared sensor so you can unlock your laptop with your face.
XPS 13 9300 front keyboard

The keyboard itself is noticeably larger as well with bigger keys and a wider touchpad. Like its predecessor, the power button also doubles as a fingerprint reader as an alternative means to unlock the XPS 13 9300. 

XPS 13 9300

The one annoyance though is that they’ve moved the brightness shortcuts from the direction pad back to the function key area which makes reaching for it a chore rather than an intuitive task. Hopefully in future versions they plonk the brightness shortcuts back where it’s supposed to be.

XPS 13 9300 blue angled

The textured carbon fiber palm rests retain the same stain resistant finish and have excellent tactility without it accumulating crud, stains or other detritus. 

xps 13 9300
The textured carbon fiber finish repels stains and has a unique cross-weaved texture

Overall build quality is excellent with a distinctive design that is unique to the XPS 13 series with its customary premium build quality that elevates it above the majority of chunky, plasticky lookalikes.

Dell XPS 13 9300 Specifications and Benchmarks

Under the hood, our test unit of the Dell XPS 13 9300 for Malaysia came with the following configuration:

Specifications
Price RM8,498
Display 13.4-inch UHD+ InfinityEdge display (3,840 x 2,400 pixels)
Processor Intel Core i7-1065G7 3.9GHz CPU
OS Windows 10 Pro
Graphics Intel Iris Plus
Memory 16GB DDR4 3,733MHz / 1TB M.2 PCIe NVME SSD
Battery 4-cell, 52Whr
Size/Weight 295.7 x 198.7 x 14.8mm / 1.27kg

These are the highest possible specifications that you can configure for the Malaysia market though there are some variants in other regions with more RAM, more storage and, of course, a much higher price tag. 

On top of the better processor and increased storage, the latest generation of the XPS 13 benefits from improved Intel Iris Plus graphics over the stock Intel UHD Graphics solution. It still won’t match a laptop with a dedicated graphics card but it still offers enough pixel crunching grunt to tackle heavy spreadsheets, light video editing, photo editing and some retro gaming on low settings. That’ s not a knock against it though as this is exactly what the XPS 13 is designed to do though the addition of Iris Plus graphics makes it even more capable in its chosen role as a highly portable productivity platform.

XPS 13 9300 angled

Of particular note for the XPS 13 9300 is the addition of a much faster Killer WiFi 6 AX1650 (802.11ax)  along with Bluetooth 5.0. Local Malaysia units also ship with the Microsoft Office Home & Student edition along with a 12-month subscription to the McAfee LifeSafe antivirus suite. 

When dialled to the maximum performance setting, the XPS 13 9300 had the following performance benchmarks:

Cinebench R20 1,653
3DMark Time Spy Extreme  872
3DMark Time Spy    407
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra 540
3D Mark Fire Strike Extreme 984
PCMark10 Extended 3,641
SuperPosition 4K Optimised 657
SuperPosition 1080P Extreme 417

Overall benchmark scores are a modest margin ahead of last year’s model on account of the hardware that is mostly on account of the new 10th Gen Intel Ice Lake processor and Intel Iris Plus Graphics. You can check out the screencaps of the complete benchmarks below.

Under practical work conditions, the hardware on the XPS 13 9300 is more than sufficient to tackle almost any productivity related task and we managed to open two dozen tabs in Chrome without undue issues, handled paperwork on Google Docs and Open Office from written tracts to some modest spreadsheet work without any lag. Photo editing and light 1080P video editing wasn’t an issue as well on several open source video and photo editing apps. 

XPS 13 9300 underside

The luscious 4K touch display is excellent with superb colour rendition on account of its rated 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut and excellent brightness even under daylight conditions. The additional screen real estate is appreciated here and lets you comfortably compare two documents side by side or two browser windows without much trouble. The responsiveness of the display is excellent and adds a new alternative to interactivity versus the traditional touchpad and keyboard.

XPS 13 9300 front

Audio performance on the built-in 2.5W stereo speakers is on par with last year’s model with similarly good range and sound staging on account of their Dell CinemaSound 2.0 and Waves MaxxAudio Pro software but isn’t appreciably improved but that’s not a bad thing.

XPS 13 9300
The XPS 13 9300 has a power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader


Thermals are excellent this time around. Dell’s GORE thermal insulation along with the dual fans and heat pipe help to shunt heat away from key areas like the keyboard, palm rests and touchpad towards the rear and bottom. Heat was appreciably kept to manageable levels with the underside getting a tad warm after several hours of heavy use but it’s not unmanageable. On normal workloads, it’s cool enough to use on your lap without cooking off. The aforementioned fans proved to be whisper quiet even under ultra performance mode and intensive loads.

The revamped keyboard has 9% larger keys and a 17% larger touchpad over last year’s model. The increased size paid dividends especially to long-term typing comfort, speed and accuracy and we were able to get a decent 120wpm on average with the remastered keyboard.

xps 13 9300 camera
The XPS 13 9300’s selfie camera also has Windows Hello to unlock the laptop

The most critical feature for the work from home crowd – teleconferencing is fortunately executed in a competent fashion here. The 720P webcam is serviceable while the bundled mike offered sufficiently clear acoustics for voice calls across Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex.

While it won’t beat a dedicated separate webcam or mike, having it all in a compact package with the webcam in the right position is still a bonus. Hopefully in future iterations the XPS 13 gets a better mike and higher resolution webcam, seeing the importance in telecommuting and video calls these days.

In terms of battery life, the new XPS 13 9300 offered a solid 8 hours of battery life off the 52WHr battery with average screen brightness and a modest workload of web browsing, emails and half a dozen open browsers and WiFi.

Your mileage will vary of course depending on how intensive you run it. At maximum screen brightness and resolution along with a heavy workload plus tweaking it to high Performance mode resulted in just under six hours or so of battery life. It’s on par with the competition and gives you enough endurance to last a work day out in the field.

Dell XPS 13 9300 Price and Verdict


At a princely RM8,498, the Dell XPS 13 9300 for 2020 with the highest specced configuration is not cheap. But what you get for your money is an immaculately crafted chassis that is as distinctive as it is beautiful, a gorgeous four-sided Infinity Edge display, a revamped and improved keyboard plus solid performance all around. If cash is no object, the XPS 13 is one of, if not the best 13-inch Windows ultraportable that money can buy.

What we liked Outstanding build quality and design, excellent UHD+ display, comfy keyboard, good battery life
What we didn’t Not cheap, more ports would have been nice
We say The new Dell XPS 13 for 2020 is a superb ultrabook in every respect from its immaculately machined chassis to its breathtakingly 4K beautiful touch display and powerful hardware. It doesn’t come cheap but that’s the price you pay for uncompromising excellence for the Bentley of ultraportables.

Review unit courtesy of Dell Malaysia. Available for purchase online at the Dell official website.

OPPO A92 Review – Affordable Entertainment-centric Phone

OPPO A92 review hero

The OPPO A92 is their latest addition to their A-series midrange stable of phones that aims to double down on delivering as much bang for the buck as possible without paying an arm and a leg. In that regard, the A92 succeeds by a modest margin as a workhorse while offering several unique features in the bargain.

While the nomenclature of the OPPO A92’s naming scheme is obscure to say the least, the fact remains that it’s a somewhat different beast from the A91 that we reviewed a few weeks ago.

OPPO A92 review

The A92 has a different, slightly neater punch hole arrangement in the display and the usage of LCD versus an AMOLED display, a larger battery without VOOC 3.0 fast charging but with a more conventional 18W fast charging arrangement, a different quad camera layout, a side-mounted fingerprint reader and, of particular note, the inclusion of something rare in midrange phones – stereo speakers. That and a slightly higher price tag at RM1,199. In terms of features and hardware, the A92 is more akin to the A72 announced in April for certain markets.

While most circa RM1,200 smartphones only come with a single mono speaker at the base of the phone, the OPPO A92 packs an additional speaker at the top near the earpiece section so you get stereo sound which makes it a darned lot better for content consumption.

OPPO A92 Review – What’s in the Box?


The OPPO A92 comes with quite a comprehensive selection of kit. On top of the phone itself, you get a soft TPU casing, an 18W fast charger and USB Type C cable as well as a hard pair of earbuds that end in a 3.5mm audio jack.

Another value added bonus is that OPPO has also pre-applied a screen protector onto the A92’s display that ensures that the display is well protected even out of the box. 

OPPO A92 review items

Like other OPPO A-series midrange phones, this comprehensive selection of kit bundled with the A92 means that you can start deploying it immediately rather than having to rummage about on shopping websites to buy a casing, a screen protector and other accessories. 

OPPO A92 Review – Design and Specifications

Under the hood, the OPPO A92 comes with the following specifications:

Price
RM1,199
Display
6.5-inch Neo IPS LCD display, Full HD+, 405ppi
Processor Snapdragon 665 octacore
OS Android 10 with ColorOS 7.1
Memory 8GB RAM/ 128GB + microSD card
Camera 48-MP F/1.7 + 8-MP 119-degree Ultra Wide angle + 2-MP mono lens + 2-MP portrait lens (rear) / 16-MP F/2.0 (front)
Battery 5,000mAh 18W fast charging
Size/Weight 162 x 75.5 x 8.9mm/ 192g

This hardware setup puts the A92 squarely as a mid-range phone, especially with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor that was announced in April last year and which was built on an 11nm process. The 8GB of RAM keeps it snappy for most tasks and the 128GB of expandable storage is plenty especially for casual users. Combined with its stereo speaker setup, this lends it appeal as a content consumption platform on the go.

The OPPO A92 doesn’t break new ground with a relatively conservative form factor that has been refined with a couple of subtle enhancements for better ergonomics.

OPPO A92 review angled

The left side of the phone has a volume rocker while the right side has a slightly recessed power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader. We’ve generally come to prefer side-mounted fingerprint readers as they’re easier to access and unlock the phone rather than having to reposition a thumb or other digit onto the display. The base of the phone has a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-C port for data and charging duties as well as a speaker grille at the base of the phone.
OPPO A92 review bottom port

The backplate of our test unit, which comes in Twilight Black has interesting mirrored striations that radiate out from the camera array in the fashion of a streaking star. It only appears if you angle it correctly under the light but does lend it a unique aesthetic touch. 

OPPO A92 review back

The reflective finish does however make it prone to fingerprint smudges. Another pickle with the design is that the rear camera array juts out quite a bit which makes it prone to scratches especially if you leave it face up on a table. Fortunately, the provision of the bundled casing helps to resolve both problems nicely. 

Up front, the OPPO A92 has the aforementioned 6.5-inch IPS LCD FHD+ (1080 x 2,400 pixels) resolution display that has slim 1.73mm bezels all around, a dense 405 PPI pixel density and a maximum brightness of 480 nits. The display has also been certified by TuV Rheinland such that its secondary Eye Care mode is capable of filtering out blue light from the visible spectrum to protect your peepers during extended use. The relocation of the selfie camera notch to the upper left corner makes the camera more unobtrusive which is a welcome move indeed.

OPPO A92 front

When wielded, the OPPO A92 was fast on the draw and was relatively easy to use one handed. The smooth corners ensured easy removal from a pants pocket and the side-mounted fingerprint reader made it a lot easier to access and unlock. The heft and build quality are relatively solid, more so for its circa RM1,200 or so asking price.

OPPO A92 performance and user experience


The OPPO A92 runs full fat Android 10 with full access to Google’s apps and services overlaid with their ColorOS user interface with all its perks and quirks. On the bright side, ColorOS’s customisability and its well stocked theme store enables users to tweak the menu aesthetics to taste though the better looking themes need you to chunk out cold hard cash to get them. 

Unfortunately, ColorOS’s tendency to cram in a ton of bloatware is prevalent here to a copious degree. On a fresh install alone, you’re getting an Agoda app, a Lazada app, a bizarre Webnovel app for reading online books and comics, their own browser as well as their own App Market for side loading apps all taking up space on the phone.

Much like our previous reviews for their other devices like the A91 and the Find X2 Pro, their App Market has quite a bit of overlap with the Google Play store and has an eclectic mix of apps with varying degrees of quality. 

Firing up and getting the OPPO A92 up and running from out of the box was relatively straightforward. After a few prompts, it tries to push you to install a selection of apps from their own App Market while others are already pre-installed on the A92. You’ll likely spend the first few minutes doing a bit of digital housekeeping on your A92 before using it for the first time. 

When subjected to synthetic  benchmarks, the phone yielded the following scores:

GeekBench 5.1.1 Single Core score 310  Multi-Core Score 1,364
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Open GL ES 3.1 1,123
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Open Vulkan 1,112
PCMark Work 2.0 6,240
GFX Bench 276.5 frames

The Snapdragon 665 processor seems to lag just slightly behind the Mediatek Helio P70 on the A91 though synthetic benchmarks don’t always tell the whole story. Under practical usage in the field, the Oppo A92 ran in a pleasantly smooth fashion. Multiple browser tabs were opened without significant lag and the phone was comfortably able to swap between multiple apps on account of its generous 8GB RAM.

OPPO A92 review 3d mark
The OPPO A92 ran the essentials, including the latest crop of games that comprise of Call of Duty Mobile, PUBG and Asphalt 9 on high settings without any significant frame drops and relatively smooth gameplay though there was still a delay of a few seconds when starting these apps up.

Where the OPPO A92 shows its chops is when it is employed to enjoy movies and other content. Compared to the A91, the A92 has a slightly larger screen and stereo speakers which gives it an added edge. Oddly enough, a DRM check on the phone shows that it has Widevine L1 support though in the Netflix app itself the phone is only certified for Widevine L3, meaning it’s relegated to streaming SD content.

Colour rendition is excellent for an LCD panel, serving up fair clarity in sunlight and good blacks as well as fairly good colour rendition though the A91’s Super AMOLED panel offers lusher, richer hues.

The A92’s stereo speakers proved to be a welcome addition with a decent front-facing wall of sound for general listening. They’re loud enough to be able to share your taste in music in the LRT on a busy day without distortion even when dialled to maximum but they’re not the most detailed on test. Still, they’re more than sufficient for listening to mainstream music and finishing a season of Breaking Bad on Netflix. They’re a very welcome addition as stereo speakers are a rarity in this price range.

OPPO A92 review
The OPPO A92’s IPS LCD Neo display has good clarity under sunlight

In terms of battery life, the OPPO A92’s 5,000mAh battery and efficient Snapdragon 665 processor eked out pretty decent endurance with a good day and a half of battery life, with modest use of data, WiFi, three or four hours of gaming, constant use of social media and several hours of Netflix. The bundled 18W charger was able to fully juice the phone in under a couple of hours from dead zero. 

On the performance front, the OPPO A92 isn’t going to break any track records but it’s a sound blend of capabilities that tackle all the usual scenarios a smartphone would encounter, more so for the price you pay for at RM1,199.

OPPO A92 cameras

The OPPO A92 has a rear quad camera array with a primary 48-MP F/1.7 AI-enhanced camera, a secondary 8-MP 119-degree ultra wide angle camera, a 2-MP mono sensor and a 2-MP portrait sensor. Only the primary 48-MP and secondary 8-MP wide angle cameras are used to capture photos with the third and fourth cameras primarily employed to enhance detail and capture depth data.

OPPO A92 review camera UI

In terms of capabilities, the primary 48-MP camera captures pixel binned 12-MP shots, has up to 5x digital zoom by cropping the image from the main sensor and can capture 4K@30fps video.

OPPO A92 auto
Auto mode in dim light with the primary camera
OPPO A92 night mode
Night mode – serves up a bit more detail from shadows and has improved colour rendition though you need a 4-second delay to take the shot

In keeping with other OPPO phones of this current generation, the A92 has a night mode that uses a longer exposure time to capture better night shots. There’s also a Pro mode too with finer control over ISO, shutter speed, white balance and exposure on top of the usual slew of beautification modes. 

OPPO A92 review priary camera

OPPO A92 review macro mode
The OPPO A92 does offer some serviceable macro shots suitable for use on social media

The front facing selfie camera consists of a single 16-MP camera with an F/2.0 aperture capable of capturing up to 1080P video.

The setup is somewhat akin to the A91 with mostly similar results and quirks though they did fix the bizarre way of accessing the wide angle camera by placing it back on the zoom slider on the right in keeping with mainstream camera UI design. By and large, the A92’s camera setup is heavily reliant on the main 48-MP camera for most of the grunt work with the wide-angle camera there for wide angle shots..

OPPO A92 review ultrawide angle
Ultrawide angle camera
OPPO A92 review primary
Primary 48-MP camera at 1X zoom
OPPO A92 review zoom
Maximum 5x digital zoom

Shots under daylight with the wide angle camera and the primary camera deliver their best results under daylight conditions with good dynamic range, a decent amount of detail and fairly accurate colour rendition though greens seem a bit vibrant this time around. Zoomed shots rely on cropped images from the primary 48-MP sensor and are predictably soft at 5x zoom with grain though at 2x zoom it’s still grudgingly usable; zoomed-in night shots aren’t as good though with middling, noisy results. 

OPPO A92 review greens

OPPO A92 review evening

The ultra wide angle camera veers towards less vibrant colours in captured stills which are apparent in lower light settings but are nevertheless quite pleasing though there’s a discernible difference when compared to results from the main camera.

OPPO A92 review ultrawide angle
Low light shot taken with the ultrawide angle camera
OPPO A92 primary
Primary camera shot taken under dim light

In dim light and indoors, the bright F/1.7 aperture and 48-large sensor help to deliver usable shots for social media with the provided Night mode helping to deliver slightly better results with slightly better colours and exposure though details remain fuzzy.

OPPO A92 primary camera
Primary camera with 1X zoom
OPPO A92 zoom
Digital 5x zoom under dim light

When using the wide angle camera with Night mode, you’ll get fair results though pixel peeping shows quite a bit of grain and noise. Fortunately they’re more than sufficient for posting on social media to share your latest lockdown escapades. The front facing camera was able to deliver serviceable shots but it wasn’t anything to write home about.

OPPO A92 Price and Verdict

The OPPO A92 is an interesting mid-range proposition that blends a large FHD+ display, the notable inclusion of stereo speakers, serviceable cameras and a large battery in a fashionable casing that makes it ideal for enjoying a variety of content on the go from movies to gaming.

The addition of the side-mounted fingerprint reader is a pleasant bonus too. It costs a wee bit more than the A91 but you get a bigger screen, stereo speakers and more battery life to go with it. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative  and prize the colour rendition of your display, the OPPO A91 and its Super AMOLED panel is a viable choice at RM999. 

OPPO A92 review hero

What we liked Stereo speakers, still has 3.5mm audio jack, large battery, decent performance, side-mounted fingerprint reader, lots of accessories
What we didn’t ColorOS has a ton of bloatware, VOOC Flash Charge would have been nice
We say The OPPO A92 is a solid mid-range phone that stands out on account of its stereo speakers, side-mounted fingerprint reader, large battery and otherwise decent overall performance that make it a very capable workhorse and a surprisingly good phone for enjoying media.

Review unit courtesy of OPPO Malaysia. Available to purchase on their official page here

[Update]


OPPO Malaysia has a competition where you have to solve a simple puzzle to stand a chance to win the OPPO A92 – the contest ends on 5th June 2020 11.59PM so you’ll have to hustle over to their Facebook page and comment with the right answer while liking and sharing their post #SolveNWinOPPOA92 which is one way to get the A92 for the low price of nought!

Solve & WIN OPPO A92! Can you solve this? Tell us the correct answer & you'll stand a chance to a win yourself an OPPO…

Posted by OPPO on Saturday, May 30, 2020

Oppo A91 review – Aiming for Awesome

OPPO’s latest sub-RM1,000 workhorse is an interesting blend of proven tech and a few new features that usually don’t make it to their entry level A series line-up. In Malaysia, the OPPO A91 retails for RM999 and comes in two colours – Lightning Black and a recently issued Unicorn White.

The biggest draw here for the A91 is that it attempts to throw in a quad camera, an AMOLED screen and a large battery with their vaunted VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge tech along with some other goodies at this price point to make it a competitive proposition.

OPPO A91 review

OPPO A91 Specifications and Design

Out of the box, the OPPO A91 has a fair selection of kit. You have the phone itself, a soft TPU casing to protect it, a pair of hard ear buds with a traditional 3.5mm jack, a USB Type C cable and a VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 compatible charger which is a bit of a rarity at this price range. On paper, OPPO’s VOOC Flash Charge is rated to fast charge the phone’s battery much faster than traditional chargers to the tune of 50%  in just 30 minutes.

 Another bonus is that they’ve added a free screen protector that’s already been slapped onto the display. You effectively have everything you need to protect your new investment and deploy it straight out of the box without having to spend additional cash or time hunting for other accessories which is a pleasant bonus indeed.

In terms of hardware, the OPPO A91 has the following specifications:

OPPO A91 Specifications|
Display 6.4-inch AMOLED, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 408ppi

Processor MediaTek Helio P70 MT6771V
Memory 8GB RAM/128GB + microSD card
Camera 48-MP F/1.8 + 8-MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle + 2-MP mono + 2-MP depth [rear] / 16-MP F/2.0 [front]
Battery 4,025mAh w/ VOOC Flash Charge 3.0
Size/Weight 160 x 73.3 x 79mm/ 172g

The biggest draw here is the addition of a shiny and vibrant AMOLED display which has been a rarity in OPPO’s A-series line-up prior to the A91. In keeping with newer phones, the A91 tries to offer as much screen real estate as possible with a tiny tear drop notch up top for the 16-MP selfie camera and an in-display fingerprint reader at the lower quadrant of the display.

OPPO A91 camera front

Oddly enough, the A91 uses the somewhat dated MediaTek Helio P70 processor that saw service in the OPPO F11 last year. It was considered serviceable if pitted against last year’s models though it’s a bit long in the tooth compared to current generation hardware. Fortunately, they’ve tempered that with the addition of 8GB RAM and 128GB of expandable storage which is almost double what the F11 had. 

The rear sports a quad camera setup with a primary 48-MP F/1.8 camera that uses pixel binning to offer up 12-MP snaps, a secondary 8-MP wide angle camera as well as a 2-MP mono sensor and a 2-MP depth sensor. Only the primary and wide angle camera are actively used by the phone and there’s no optical image stabilisation on offer, which is typical of phones in this price range though it does have PDAF on the primary camera. Keeping it powered is a 4,025mAh battery that has 20W fast charging via the bundled OPPO VOOC charger.

OPPO A91 rear cam

The overall chassis is still made from polycarbonate laminated with high gloss mirrored finish that mimics the look of glass though the weight and tactility are obvious when held in your hands. Our test unit’s Lightning Black finish had an iridescent reflection in the light; like prior examples it is also a fingerprint magnet. 

Button placement and design is fairly standard with a volume rocker on the left, a power button on the right and a USB Type C charging dock at the base of the phone along with a 3.5mm audio jack.

The hardware it offers puts it squarely as a mid range phone albeit one with a dearer price tag than usual, presumably on account of the addition of an AMOLED panel. Build quality is good and the provision of a pair of headphones, casing, screen protector and a VOOC fast charger go some way to salving its lofty price tag for an entry level phone.

OPPO A91 Performance and benchmarks

The phone runs Android 10.1 overlaid with OPPO’s own Color OS6.1.2 with all of its perks and underlying quirks akin to the last couple of versions before it, which is to say that it has a ton of customisable themes to change the look of your phone but is still chock full of bloatware that you’ll need to clear out. OPPO’s other gesture related shortcuts including its novel screen-off gestures remain present and do come in handy. 

For the uninitiated, the screen-off gestures let you access shortcuts to control music playback, turn the camera on and activate the flashlight by drawing symbols on the display even when it’s off.

When subjected to synthetic benchmarks, the OPPO A91 performed in a reasonably competent fashion. As Antutu is temporarily taken off the Google Play store due to some incongruities, we’re swapping it with GFXBench for now. Here’s how it scored:

GeekBench 5.1 Single Core Score 275, Multi Core Score 1,412
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Open GLES 3.1 1,273
3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan 1,254
PCMark Work 2.0 7,834
GFX Bench 288.9 frames

The provided AMOLED display proved to be a delight with punchy colours and crisp detail that belie its price point, more so for the fact that its competitors with similar AMOLED displays cost a fair bit more. The mono speaker is serviceable if unexceptional with acceptable volume and clarity though the 3.5mm audio jack means that you can opt to use your own headphones. 

In terms of performance, there isn’t much to shout about here as the phone runs slightly better than the older F11 on account of offering double the RAM and storage which does bump its performance up slightly for app multitasking and an overall smoother user experience.

Day to day usage is decent and most casual users won’t likely have much cause to gripe over the performance of the Helio P70 processor. Apps loaded in a suitably swift fashion, web browsing is generally smooth while games like PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile were tackled at a notch below the highest possible settings without the phone keeling over or cooking. 

OPPO A91 side

The 4,025mAh battery in the OPPO A91 seems large at first blush but exhibits middling endurance with just enough battery life to get you through a working day but you’ll be needing a top-up come sundown, more so if you’re doing something intensive that drains the battery life gaming or using the camera.

Charging it is fortunately a swift affair and the bundled VOOC 3.0 cable and charger is able to charge it to 50% or so from dead zero in about half an hour. This feature only works with the A91 so you need to bring both the charger and cable with you on the go if you need a fast top-up in the field.

OPPO A91 cameras

The ongoing MCO means that capturing snaps beyond the confines of the immediate neighbourhood is a bit of a challenge but we subjected it to the usual photographic scenarios of brightly lit, indoors and low light subjects as well as macro shots. 

OPPO A91 rear cameras
The user interface is akin to other OPPO phones and many other mainline branded phones with a vertical slider on the right allowing you to go through all the usual modes including the obligatory filters and an Expert mode. There’s also an auto HDR mode and a Dazzle mode that seems to add more vibrancy to colours in captured images. Surprisingly enough, the A91 has quite a full featured Expert/Pro mode with the ability to tweak Exposure, White Balance, Autofocus and Exposure values off the bat.

OPPO A91 auto

The main quirk here is that unlike other competing phones that automatically switch cameras based on your zoom, the A91 instead relies primarily on the main camera for almost everything with the mono and depth sensor simply providing additional data. For wide angle shots, you need to manually select that specific camera via a little icon for it to work. It’s hardly the most intuitive option but it does offer more fine-tuned control rather than relying on the phone to do the decision making for you.

OPPO A91 pro mode

Both usable cameras also have some rather weird quirks. The primary 48-MP camera allows for up to 5x digital zoom but the wide angle only maxes out at 2x. The only way you’d notice which camera you’re on is that aforementioned tiny icon in the corner is lit up which isn’t the most intuitive way to go about things. 

OPPO A91

In most tasks, the primary 48-MP camera and its relatively bright F/1.8 aperture do a good job of retaining detail and colour rendition with an increase in noise and loss detail beyond 2x digital zoom. Anything beyond that has discernible noise and aggressive sharpening on account of the AI algorithms.

oppo a91
Capture with the wide angle camera of the OPPO A91
OPPO A91 primary
Primary camera of the OPPO A91

Low light shots without zooming are fair but unremarkable with a modest amount of grain, compensated somewhat by the large sensor and aperture but are purely for social media use. The application of Oppo’s Dazzle mode tends to oversaturate colours a bit more vibrantly than what you see with your Mk. 1 eyeball so it’s a matter of personal taste.

OPPO A91 primary
Taken with the primary camera with Dazzle mode off and auto HDR
OPPO A91 2x zoom
2x digital zoom on the OPPO A91
OPPO A91 5x zoom
5x zoom on the OPPO A91.
A91 Macro mode
A91 macro mode of this Grey Knight Adeptus Astartes painted by the eminently skilled Kenny

The wide angle camera does a decent job under daylight and brightly lit conditions but does not handle night settings all too well with significant noise, relegating it to use only under very specific circumstances. There’s also a bit of aspheric distortion around the edges that creates a slight fish eye effect. The front selfie camera is again serviceable with a number of beautification filters but isn’t anything groundbreaking. 

A91 wide angle

Both the front and rear cameras are capable of capturing video at up to 1080P@30fps though the lack of stabilisation means you’ll need a gimbal or work from a static position to get decent results.

OPPO A91
Low light shots can be decent with some patience on the OPPO A91

OPPO A91 Price and Verdict

On its own virtues, the OPPO A91 brings to the table similar benefits as its predecessors in the range with some current day refinements that include a vibrant AMOLED display paired with their VOOC 3.0 fast charging tech. 

OPPO A91 angled

As an entry level phone, it’s a bit on the pricey end of things but it’s still cheaper than other competing phones in the market with an AMOLED display and it has the benefit of coming with a relatively complete set of accessories out of the box. The OPPO A91 is well worth a look for casual users seeking a sub-RM1,000 phone an emphasis on fast charging and a vibrant AMOLED display for general use with .

What we liked Great AMOLED display, still has a 3.5mm audio jack, packs VOOC flash charger in the box
What we didn’t Dated processor, middling battery life, Color OS still full of bloatware,
We say One of the more affordable phones in OPPO’s line-up with an AMOLED panel and swift VOOC Flash Charge tech though it doesn’t quite stand out in other areas. Worth a look if you see it on special.


Review unit courtesy of OPPO Malaysia. Available to purchase on their official page here.

OPPO Find X2 Pro Review – Going Pro

OPPO Find X2 Pro

OPPO is angling for the big time in the premium segment with an increasingly sophisticated array of flagship phones in recent years though the new Find X2 Pro represents their most best looking and most technically advanced effort to date.

Prior to this they debuted the original Find X phone which had a motorised pop-up camera mechanism that was gorgeous to behold but which was also overly elaborate in execution. The Find X2 fortunately backtracks from complicated and flashy setups and instead defaults for a time-tested form factor embellished with an understated yet very classy design and impressive hardware under the hood.

OPPO Find X2 Pro Design, Specifications and What’s In the Box

Externally, the phone has looks that can match any of the premium flagships in the market. Our test unit came with a vegan leather backplate in a shade of burnt orange complemented by metallic copper trim on the sides and bezels.

You can also get it with a more conventional ceramic finish. The tactility of the backplate is exquisite indeed and feels somewhat akin to the Mate30 Pro 5G that we field tested awhile back with an equally premium feel. It’s also amazingly smudge resistant which is a bonus. The best part? It’s also rated for IP68 water resistance which is a fantastic bonus.

Here’s the specifications at a glance –

Specifications

Price RM4,599
Display 6.7-inch AMOLED, 1,440 x 3,168 pixels 513ppi/ 120Hz refresh rate
Processor Snapdragon 865
Memory 12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB UFS 3.0
Camera 48-MP F/2.7 w/ OIS, 13-MP F/3.0 telephoto camera w/5x zoom & OIS, 48-MP F/2.2 ultra wide angle camera (rear) / 32-MP F/2.4 (front)
Battery 4,260mAh w/ 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 fast charging
Size/Weight 165.2×74.4×8.8mm / 200g

 

Our test unit is a local Malaysian version with a UK-style three-pin Super VOOC 2.0 65W Flash Charger, the obligatory USB charging cable, a soft TPU casing to protect the phone and a USB-Type C pair of wired earbuds. The provision of a Super VOOC flash charger that allows it to fast charge the built-in 4,260mAh battery at its fullest potential out of the box and a pair of wired earbuds is a pleasant bonus that salves its somewhat high asking price.

One thing to note though is that the Super VOOC flash charger and the USB cable that comes with it is proprietary OPPO tech so it’ll only work at maximum capacity when used in tandem with the Find X2 Pro. It’ll charge other phones of course but it’s capped at 10W.

OPPO Find X2 Pro box

Button placement is fairly standard with a power button on the right, a volume rocker on the left, a dual SIM card tray and a USB Type-C port at the base of the phone.

The biggest calling card on the Find X2 Pro is its massive 6.7-inch 3K QHD+ AMOLED Ultra VIsion display that also has a swift 120Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz touch sample rate, something that very few phones can match in the market. Of note is that it is capable of 100% reproduction of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and has an impressive 800 nits peak brightness. In keeping with many other flagships, the phone also has an under-display fingerprint reader.

OPPO Find X2 Pro front

The display itself sports curved edges on the side and slim bezels top and bottom bezels with the top hiding one of a matching pair of stereo speakers in a tiny slit with the other speaker at the base of the phone. Interestingly enough, OPPO has opted for the punch hole for the 32-MP 5P lens selfie camera to be integrated in the upper left corner of the display rather than the traditional centre-mounted location which makes for a far less obstructed view.

In terms of hardware, the OPPO Find X2 is among the current best in the market with a powerful Snapdragon 865 octacore processor. Of particular note is the Snapdragon 865 SoC integrates the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System that ensures 5G connectivity on mmWave, sub-6 GHz as well as 5G standalone (SA)  and non-standalone (NSA) modes so you’re effectively futureproof when 5G rolls around.OPPO Find X2 rear

This beefy processor is paired with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and a generous 512GB UFS 3.0 storage. The biggest quibble though is the lack of expandable storage as the phone only has a dual SIM card tray. At any rate, it’ll take quite a while to fill up what you already have on hand.

The rear triple camera array is built around a primary 48-MP camera that uses a Sony IMX586 sensor with an F/1.7 aperture as well as optical image stabilisation. This is paired with a 12-MP ultra wide angle camera and a 13-MP telephoto camera with 5x optical zoom via a periscope-style lens  and up to 20x digital zoom that is also optically stabilised like the primary camera.

This rear camera is of sufficient quality that even DxOMark have awarded it an impressive score of 124 points which makes it one of the best camera phones currently available though to be fair, not all of the latest flagship phones are represented on the list at the time of publication.

Right out of the starting gate, the OPPO Find X2 Pro has a lot going for it and on paper, it looks very promising indeed with 5G support, a luscious AMOLED display, one of the most powerful processors in the market and a triple camera lauded by DxOMark. They haven’t skimped on the bonuses either and they’ve thrown in a full powered VOOC flash charger, Type-C earbuds and a case to go with the phone too.

OPPO Find X2 Pro Performance and Benchmarks

The OPPO Find X2 Pro runs Android 10.0 overlaid with OPPO’s own Color OS 7.1 user interface on top on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 octacore processor. The processor comes with a single 2.84GHz Kryo 585 chip, a trio of GHz Kryo 585 chips clocked at 2.42GHz and a quartet Kryo 585 chips clocked at 1.8GHz along with an Adreno 640GPU.

These specifications mean that it can go toe to toe with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, all of which have 5G capabilities.

When subjected to synthetic benchmarks, the Find X2 Pro did not disappoint. Here’s the scores:

Geekbench 5.1 single-core score 910 / Multi-core score 3,148

PCMark 2.0 Performance score 10,208

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL ES 3.1 7,096 

Antutu 3D 557,932

These benchmarks are exceptional and are among the best in any smartphone currently in service. Under more practical field conditions, the Find X2 Pro proved to be incredibly swift on the draw on account of its swift 512GB UFS 3.0 storage and liberal amounts of 12GB LPDDR5 RAM. Even under heavy workloads including extensive sessions of Call of Duty Mobile on its highest settings and extended 4K video capture, the phone managed to barely register little more than the a slightly warm sensation which denotes superb heat management.

On closer inspection, the Find X2 Pro’s AMOLED display manages to beat all comers as it’s able to offer a full 120Hz refresh rate at its full 1,440 x 3,168 pixel resolution unlike recent competing examples that either force you to select one option or the other.

By default it’s set to auto but you’re able to force it to maximum and it’s something you ought to do straight out of the box. Animations are silky smooth at 120Hz with superb clarity under daylight conditions. Colour rendition is rated for 100% of the DCI-P3 colour space with the phone offering best results when set to Cinematic mode with the default Vivid mode a bit on the vibrant side of things.

OPPO Find X2 Pro Gaming

The display also offers HDR10 and, surprisingly, HDR10+ support which is a Samsung-supported standard that is capable of reading per-scene metadata for better HDR. There’s still a dearth of HDR10+ content but it works perfectly fine for HDR10 movies of which there are plenty.

The fact that they’ve plonked the usual punch hole into the corner of the screen also makes it far less distracting when watching movies; something that we’re enjoying viscerally in light of the ongoing Movement Control Order.

Of particular note is what OPPO calls the Ultra Vision Engine chip that can upscale whatever footage you’re viewing up to 60Hz or 120Hz though your mileage will vary depending on the quality of your source footage.

Quality sound is often a neglected feature that gets dropped by the wayside but the Find X2 Pro’s stereo speakers did not disappoint with good clarity and sound staging.

The biggest quibble here though is that Color OS is still replete with a ton of bloatware of dubious functionality. On a fresh install, you’re getting unwanted add-ons like the SoLoop video editor, a bizarre Music Party sync function to play the same song on multiple phones, the Lazada app preinstalled and more.

Oddly enough, they’ve also added their own App Market solution, which sideloads APKs onto your phone as an alternative of sorts to the existing Google Play Store.

Presumably, this would be the option in regions lacking Google Play like China. They’ve also crammed in their own browser too alongside Chrome. All of this takes up quite a bit of space but the phone fortunately has plenty to spare.

OPPO Find X2 Pro Camera Performance

The OPPO Find X2 packs a triple camera system that eschews cramming in more specialised cameras in favour of making each of its existing ones count. The primary 48-MP camera uses a powerful Sony IMX689 sensor with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and a bright F/1.7 aperture to tackle most of the grunt work to capture pixel-binned 12-MP stills.

OPPO Find X2 Pro

This is matched by a similarly sized 48-MP ultra wide angle camera using a Sony IMX586 sensor that has a 120-degree angle field of view. The third camera uses a 13-MP sensor with a periscope-style zoom lens capable of 5X optical zoom, up to 10x hybrid zoom and 60x digital zoom, also with OIS like the primary camera.

The front sports a 32-MP selfie camera with shots pixel-binned down to 8-MP. This setup also enables you to capture 4K@60 fps video from the rear camera array and up to 1080P@30 fps from the front.

OPPO Find X2 camera menu

Getting about OPPO’s camera user interface is fairly easy as it has a relatively straightforward layout though more advanced functions seem to be obtusely nested deep in the menus. Most of the main modes are reachable via a slider on the right while zoom can be set to 0.5X, 1X, 2X , 5X,10X and 60X increments or you can finetune your zoom via a dial. The obligatory Expert mode is available nested deeper inside the menus. 

OPPO Find X2 Pro modes

General performance overall is excellent with good detail and great dynamic range across both daylight and low light scenarios. Daylight shots are a bit on the muted side for the wide angle camera though they are more accurate to what the human eyeball sees though the primary one looks more saturated in keeping with contemporary tastes.

Find X2 Pro ultrawide angle
Captured with the ultrawide angle camera, slightly more muted but more realistic hues
Find X2 primary
Captured with the primary camera which offers more saturated colours that look more pleasing to the eye
Find X2 Pro 60x
Flexing the OPPO Find X2 Pro’s 60x zoom

Zoomed in shots are excellent at up to 5x lossless optical zoom. Beyond that, you get a bit of noise here and there but it’s not a major deal breaker. Shots beyond that at maximum 60x zoom are more of a novelty as they’re very grainy but still viewable. 

Find X2 Pro macro

Under low light, the cameras did very well though they aren’t the pinnacle of their class, capturing detail and hues that would otherwise have been unviewable on lesser cameras though swaths of uniform colour tend to lose a bit of texture if you pixel peep.

Find X2 Pro low light
A wall of Pokémon at a carnival under neon light.
Find X2 Pro zoomed in
60x zoom under neon light and you can still observe a fair amount of textile textures

Of note is that the phone has exceptionally fast autofocus, locking onto subjects in mere seconds without error. Videos on the Find X2 Pro’s rear cameras are otherwise pretty excellent with footage under dim conditions at dusk looking surprisingly good.

OPPO FInd X2 Pro low light

OPPO Find X2 Pro low light

The front facing selfie camera also proved to be competent though details seem a bit soft, presumably on account of the default aggressive beautification modes that are the norm for most phones these days.

OPPO Find X2 Pro

OPPO Find X2 Pro Battery Life, Price and Verdict

Rather than one large battery, the OPPO Find X2 Pro splits the load into two separate cells with a combined total of 4,260mAh that is rated for over a full day of use. Your mileage will vary of course depending on your usage patterns, screen brightness and what resolution and refresh rate you set it to.

 

We went all the way in and set the screen to auto with a 120Hz refresh rate and the highest possible resolution possible at this refresh rate of 1,440p with an average workload that included social media, WiFi and 4G LTE data, an hour worth of calls and both gaming as well as some YouTube throughout the day. This was more than sufficient for a day’s worth of usage with just under 9 hours of active screen time.

When charging, the Find X2 Pro with its bundled VOOC 65W 2.0 Flash Charger managed to go from dry to a nearly 90% charge in just 30 minutes which is quite a feat. Just don’t lose the proprietary charger and cable as you need both to charge at this speed.

The OPPO Find X2 Pro is a gem of a phone. Rather than opting for bizarre gimmicks, the Find X2 Pro is a well-reasoned blend of contemporary design and enhancements in areas that matter – a world-class 120Hz display, an excellent rear camera and blazing fast VOOC charging tech though all this comes at a substantial premium. The main quibbles – a lack of expandable storage, no wireless charging and no audio jack fortunately aren’t deal breakers. This is a stunner of a flagship phone and arguably OPPO’s best phone ever made.

What we liked Excellent cameras, IP68 water resistance, excellent performance, superb 120Hz 1440P display, 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 fast charging
What we didn’t Not cheap, chunky rear camera array, no wireless charging, no expandable storage
We say OPPO’s finest phone yet, the Find X2 Pro is a flagship smartphone in every sense of the word with cutting edge hardware, a brilliant 120Hz display, 5G connectivity and an excellent rear camera.

Review unit courtesy of OPPO Malaysia. Check out the OPPO Find X2 Pro here.

For more visually oriented chaps, check out Adam Lobo’s unboxing and review of the Find X2 Pro here: