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OPPO R17 Pro review award

The OPPO R17 Pro Smartphone In-Depth Review!

The OPPO R17 Pro is only the third smartphone to feature a dual aperture camera, after the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note9. But is that all that is unique about it?

In our comprehensive review, we will take a close look at the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) , and show you why we gave it our Reviewer’s Choice Award!

Updated @ 2019-01-22 : Added a new Corning Gorilla Glass 6 section and new information in other sections. Also added two new battery recharging speed comparisons.

Originally posted @ 2019-01-05

 

New Design, New Focus

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) is quite unlike previous OPPO smartphones. Instead of focusing on its selfie capabilities, it now focuses on its rear camera, boasting a new dual-aperture main camera paired with a secondary telephoto camera.

It also features a very premium design, with a large waterdrop display with as well as a new 3D misted glass design for its chassis. OPPO even opted to embed the fingerprint sensor into the display!

 

OPPO R17 Pro Price + Availability

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has a recommended retail price of RM 2,699 / ~US$ 643 / ~£499. It was made available for purchase on 1 December 2018.

Here are some direct purchase links :

 

Unboxing The OPPO R17 Pro

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) comes in a very premium purple box. Quite a step above their previous models.

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Once you fully unbox theOPPO R17 Pro (MY | US), you’ll find the following items :

  • One OPPO R17 Pro smartphone
  • One OPPO R17 Pro TPU bumper case
  • One OPPO R17 Pro User Guide + Information Guide
  • One 50 watt OPPO SuperVOOC power adaptor
  • One OPPO SuperVOOC USB Type C cable
  • One pair of earphones
  • One SIM tray ejection pin

Next Page > The OPPO R17 Pro Up Close, Specifications + Setup

 

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The OPPO R17 Pro Up Close!

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has a large 6.4-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels.

But thanks to its thin bezels, and water drop notch, it is not a particularly large device.

It is protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 6, and has a 3D misted glass back with a beautiful colour gradient.

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 platform using Android 8.1.0. It comes with a whopping 8 GB of LPDDR4x memory, and 128 GB of internal flash memory.

All that is powered by a large 3,700 mAh battery, in a chassis that is only 7.9 mm thick, and weighs just 183 grams.

 

OPPO R17 Pro Specifications

SpecificationsOPPO R17 Pro
Display6.4-inch AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2340 pixels (402 ppi)
- 91.5% display-to-body ratio
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 6
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1.0 with ColorOS 5.2
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 710
Processor2 x Qualcomm Kryo 360 Gold cores (2.2 GHz)
6 x Qualcomm Kryo 360 Silver cores (1.7 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 616
Memory8 GB LPDDR4x memory
Storage128 GB internal flash storage
No microSD card slot
Front Camera25 MP Sony IMX576 sensor with f/2.0 lens
Rear CamerasDual Aperture Camera
- 12 MP Sony IMX362 sensor with f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures
- Optically stabilised (OIS) with dual-tone LED flash

Telephoto Camera
- 20 MP sensor with f/2.6 lens

ToF Camera
- 43,200 pixel sensor with LED NIR pulsed emitter
Connectivity4G : LTE
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth 5.0
USB : USB 2.0 Type C
SIM Support2 x nano SIM cards
Dual SIM, Dual Standby capable
NFC CapabilityYes
OTG CapabilityYes
Fingerprint SensorBuilt Into Display
Other SensorsE-Compass, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, G Sensor
Battery3700 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery
- supports 50 W SuperVOOC fast charging
Dimensions74.6 mm wide
157.6 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
Weight183 grams
Colour OptionsRadiant Mist / Emerald Green
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How To Setup The OPPO R17 Pro

Here’s a quick guide on how to setup the OPPO R17 Pro smartphone :

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Key Features

 

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Waterdrop Notch + Thin Bezels

Like many top-of-the-line Android smartphones trying to one-up Apple’s notched design, the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) features a small “waterdrop notch“.

Also known as a raindrop or dewdrop notch, it gives you a much larger notification area on both sides.

Together with the thin bezels, the waterdrop notch allows the OPPO R17 Pro to deliver an astounding 91.5% screen-to-body ratio. This maximises the display size without increasing the size of the device.

 

Qualcomm Snapdragon 710

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) runs on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 710, which is a 10 nm mobile SoC. it has eight Kryo 360 cores with an Adreno 616 GPU, a Spectra 250 ISP, a Hexagon 685 DSP and the X16 LTE modem.

It has a 2+6 cluster architecture with two high-performance Kryo 360 Gold cores (based on the ARM Cortex-A75) running at 2.2 GHz, and six Kryo 360 Silver cores (based on the ARM Cortex-A55) running at 1.7 GHz for less intensive tasks.

The Snapdragon 710 offers 20% better CPU performance and 35% better GPU performance than the Snapdragon 660, with 30% lower power consumption. It also has twice the AI performance!

 

Large Storage But No Expansion Option

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) comes with a large 128 GB storage capacity, but there is no expansion option. It only has a single tray for two nano SIM cards.

Although 128 GB should be more than enough for most users, it would have been nice if OPPO had made it a hybrid SIM slot instead. This would have given those who don’t need a second SIM slot, the option of using it for a microSD card.

The microSD card is also useful for another reason. The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) is not water-resistant, so storing your recorded photos and videos on the microSD card protects them, in case you accidentally drop your phone into water… or let a car run over it.

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In-Display Fingerprint Sensor

Fascinatingly, the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor. This gives you the convenience of a front fingerprint sensor with a large display.

It’s surprisingly quite accurate and fast to use. But in case you need more login options, you can use a passcode and/or facial recognition.

Next Page > The OPPO R17 Pro Cameras

 

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The OPPO R17 Pro Front Camera

The R17 Pro (MY | US) continues OPPO’s tradition of high-resolution selfie cameras. It boasts a 25 MP front camera built around the Sony IMX576 sensor, and a bright f/2.0 lens.

The f/2.0 lens allows for better low-light performance, which is important since the R17 Pro does not have a front LED flash. It also supports real-time HDR, which will greatly increase the dynamic range of your selfies.

This 25 MP front camera takes photos with a resolution of 5760 x 4312 pixels, and a 4:3 aspect ratio. But despite its very high resolution, the front camera is limited to recording 1080p videos.

 

Three Cameras? Or Two?

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has what appears to be three cameras at the back. Yet OPPO only mentioned two cameras, so what’s the deal with the third camera? Let’s break it down for you…

Dual Aperture Main Camera

The main camera is a dual aperture camera that is eerily similar to that to Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note9 smartphones. Built around the 12 MP Sony IMX362 sensor, it automatically switches its aperture between f/1.5 and f/2.4 depending on the lighting condition.

This allows for better pictures in low-light conditions, while allowing for greater depth of field in bright conditions. We will share some photo samples with you later, but you can also check out the amazing photos we took in Sydney and the Blue Mountains!

The Sony IMX362 is also a Dual Pixel sensor, which is an autofocus technology that uses the dual photodiodes in every pixel on the image sensor for phase-detection autofocus. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing, because it uses many more autofocus pixels, instead of just a few dedicated pixels (usually less than 5% of the total).

The main camera also supports 3-axis optical image stabilisation, which compensates for hand shake in three dimensions.

2X Telephoto Camera

Like the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note9, the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has a 2X telephoto camera with f/2.6 lens. However, instead of using the same 12 MP sensor as the main camera, they opted for a higher resolution 20 MP sensor.

Here are some comparisons to show you the utility of the telephoto camera :

Time-of-Flight Camera

The third camera is a ToF (Time-of-Flight) camera.

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Paired with an LED emitter that sends out pulses of invisible near infra-red light, its sensor captures the reflected light to create a 3D map of objects and their distances.

Its 43,200 pixel sensor does not allow for very detailed 3D profiles, and from what we understand, the system is limited to a range of about 3 meters.

So its utility is probably limited. Perhaps why OPPO did not mention it in their website at all.

Next Page > More OPPO R17 Pro Features

 

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3D Misted Glass Design

The OPPO R17 Pro‘s case has an etched surfaced that OPPO calls 3D misted glass. It has a satin-like feel that is resistant to fingerprint smears.

The Radiant Mist case, in particular, is really a sight to behold, with its beautiful blend of blue and purple hues.

The satin-like surface will feel a little slippery, but that’s not going to be a problem if you use its bundled bumper case. We love how the bumper case is coloured, and actually complements the hues.

 

Corning Gorilla Glass 6

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) is not just beautiful, it’s also very tough. In fact, OPPO claims that it is the first smartphone in the world to be protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 6!

According to Corning, this 6th-generation Gorilla Glass is up to twice as tough as Gorilla Glass 5. It can tolerate 15 consecutive impacts on a rough surface from a height of 1 meter without breaking!

 

SuperVOOC Battery

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The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has, not one, but two batteries – each with a maximum capacity of 1850 mAh. This gives it a total of 3,700 mAh (14.24 Wh).

This bi-cell battery design is necessary to support SuperVOOC fast charging. The special 50 Watt SuperVOOC charger and cable it comes with, will recharge its battery about 10X faster than an ordinary USB charger.

In fact, OPPO says that a 10 minute charge will bring the battery from 0% to 40%. We will put it to the test later in this review…

 

Ergonomics

Despite its slightly larger 6.4-inch display, the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) is physically smaller than the Samsung Galaxy Note9! Of course, one may argue that it’s not a true 6.4-inch display due to its display notch… even though it is a small waterdrop notch.

Its curved edges make it a better fit in the hand, and the back surface has a silky-smooth feel. But as advertised, it is resistant to fingerprint smears.

The AMOLED display is really brilliant. The colours are more vivid, and it is brighter under sunlight, than typical LCD displays. The FHD+ resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels though is a non-standard 19.5:9 display ratio that will result in some pillarboxing when you watch movies.

 

Available Memory & Storage

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) does not allow monitoring of the available system memory, but this workaround showed that with a clean system, it has 5.46 GB of free memory.

This is just over 68% of its 8 GB memory, and is more than enough to run several memory-guzzling apps at the same time. However, it does point to a considerable amount of bloat.

There is also A LOT of storage space for you to use, because you can’t just pop in a microSD card for extra storage. The OPPO R17 Pro comes with 128 GB of internal flash storage, with about 105 GB of free space.

That is enough space to store about 28,000 photos, 23 hours of 1080p videos, or 4.5 hours of 4K videos.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Camera Performance – Photos

 

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OPPO R17 Pro Camera Performance – Photos

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has a main 12 MP camera that automatically switches between the f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4032 x 3024 pixels, and a file size of between 3.5 MB and 5 MB.

Here are eight full-resolution unedited samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

We have more samples in our separate article – OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of Sydney + The Blue Mountains!

The resolution and detail of the OPPO R17 Pro‘s main 12 MP camera is really amazing. Download the original photos and expand them to see how much detail it captured.

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Like the Samsung Galaxy S9+ and Galaxy Note9, it was especially good at night or low-light shots, capturing details in the shadows that is just not possible with other smartphone cameras.

But watch out when it switches to the f/1.5 aperture. It makes for great low-light performance, but it naturally creates a very narrow depth of field. You must be careful in framing the shot, or focusing on the subject, or it may end up out-of-focus.

You can take advantage of the wider f/1.5 aperture in manual mode too, to create a nicer bokeh effect for portraits.

Its ToF camera seems to be used as a depth sensor, to help the main camera separate the subject from the background. This allows it to apply a software bokeh effect to the background in the Portrait mode.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Camera Performance – Video Recording

 

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OPPO R17 Pro Camera Performance – Video Recording

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) can record not just 1080p videos, but also 4K videos. Surprisingly, its front camera can only record 1080p videos even though it has a much higher-resolution sensor.

Video Recording Test #1 : Piano Performance (1080p)

In this video, watch carefully when we switch between the main camera and the telephoto camera, and back. You will see that while the main camera is stabilised, the telephoto camera is not.

The audio range is surprisingly rich and balanced. However, it has rather poor noise cancellation capabilities, which means you will record a lot of background noise.

Video Recording Test #2 : Piano Performance (4K)

When we switched to 4K, we immediately noticed a drop in the main camera’s stabilisation capabilities. It is still optically stabilised but no longer electronically stabilised. Basically, it performs just like the telephoto camera.

Video Recording Test #3 : Xmas Carnival (1080p)

This 1080p video recording shows the effectiveness of the main camera’s OIS and EIS capabilities. While rather impressive, it could do with a little fine-tuning.

You may note some jerkiness when we pan the R17 Pro. It means the EIS has been overly optimised for static shots. It needs to be “loosen” for better stabilisation while walking.

Video Recording Test #4 : Xmas Carnival (4K)

When you record in 4K, there is basically no electronic image stabilisation. You can literally feel every step we took.

But note too how much detail it captures, and how well it adjusts to changing lighting conditions.

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Video Recording Test #5 : Street Market (1080p)

Again, this shows just how stable the video is at 1080p. But note the presence of wind noise. OPPO should look at adding wind reduction capabilities to the R17 Pro.

Video Recording Test #6 : Street Market (4K)

Because the flooring is not entirely flat in the street market, this video will show you just how much of a difference EIS makes in a video recording.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Performance – Work, Gaming, Battery

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the OPPO R17 Pro’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browsing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 Honor Play OPPO R17 Pro Samsung Galaxy S9 Samsung Galaxy A7 2018
Performance Score (Average) 7361 6475 5618 5379
Web Browsing 7695 6572 5357 5278
Video Editing 5499 5387 5265 4413
Writing 6649 5617 4673 5056
Photo Editing 13326 10740 7560 7427
Data Manipulation 5764 5331 5616 5147
Review Links Honor Play Review   Galaxy S9 Review Galaxy A7 2018 Review
Price Check MY | US | UK MY | US MY | US | UK MY | US | UK

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 is impressively fast. It was just 12% slower than the Honor Play‘s Kirin 970, and 15% faster than the Exynos 9810 used in the Samsung Galaxy S9.

 

Gaming Performance – 3DMark

Next, we tested the OPPO R17 Pro’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

Ice Storm Unlimited Samsung Galaxy S9 Honor Play OPPO R17 Pro Samsung Galaxy A7 2018
Gaming Score 39588 31622 15354 15354
Graphics 45577 37351 15788 15788
Physics 27116 20576 14005 14005
Graphics Test 1 267.9 fps 208.9 fps 136.5 fps 136.5 fps
Graphics Test 2 157.2 fps 132.8 fps 45.8 fps 45.8 fps
Physics Test 86.1 fps 65.3 fps 44.5 fps 44.5 fps
Review Links Galaxy S9 Review Honor Play Review   Galaxy A7 2018 Review
Price Check MY | US | UK MY | US | UK MY | US MY | US | UK

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 performed as well as the Exynos 7885 used in the Samsung Galaxy A7 2018. This means it is about 40-50% as fast as flagship SoCs in 3D games.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the OPPO R17 Pro’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 OPPO R17 Pro Samsung Galaxy A7 2018 Honor Play Samsung Galaxy S9
Battery Capacity 3,700 mAh 3,300 mAh 3,750 mAh 3,000 mAh
Battery Life 11 hours 54 mins 11 hours 25 mins 9 hours 56 mins 9 hours 6 mins
Review Links   Galaxy A7 2018 Review Honor Play Review Galaxy S9 Review
Price Check MY | US MY | US | UK MY | US | UK MY | US | UK

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) did very well in this test, delivering almost 12 hours of battery life!

That is about 2 hours (20%) longer than the Honor Play, which has a similarly-sized battery.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) comes with a 50 watt SuperVOOC power adaptor and cable. But while you can use any other USB Type C cable, it is important that you use the special SuperVOOC cable.

Using Standard USB Cable

Without SuperVOOC Honor Play Samsung Galaxy
A7 2018
Samsung Galaxy
S9
OPPO R17 Pro
Battery Capacity 3,750 mAh 3,300 mAh 3,000 mAh 3,700 mAh
Battery Life 18 Watts 7.75 Watts 18 Watts 50 Watts
Review Links 92 mins 115 minutes 108 Minutes 199 minutes
Price Check 40.8 mAh / min 28.7 mAh / min 27.8 mAh / min 18.6 mAh / min
Review Links Honor Play Review Galaxy A7 2018 Review Galaxy S9 Review  
Price Check MY | US | UK MY | US | UK MY | US | UK MY | US

With an ordinary USB Type C cable, it took us 199 minutes (3 hours, 19 minutes) to fully recharge the R17 Pro. That means it charges roughly as fast as a 5 watt USB charger…

Using SuperVOOC Cable

With SuperVOOC OPPO R17 Pro Honor Play Samsung Galaxy
A7 2018
Samsung Galaxy
S9
Battery Capacity 3,700 mAh 3,750 mAh 3,300 mAh 3,000 mAh
Charger Output 50 Watts 18 Watts 7.75 Watts 18 Watts
Recharging Time 33 minutes 92 mins 115 minutes 108 Minutes
Recharging Speed 112 mAh / min 40.8 mAh / min 28.7 mAh / min 27.8 mAh / min
Review Links   Honor Play Review Galaxy A7 2018 Review Galaxy S9 Review
Price Check MY | US MY | US | UK MY | US | UK MY | US | UK

With the bundled SuperVOOC cable, it only took us less than 33 minutes to fully recharge the R17 Pro! Amazing!

SuperVOOC is roughly 3X faster than fast chargers used in other smartphones. For example, it took the Honor Play 92 minutes to fully recharge its similarly-sized battery using an 18 watt fast charger.

This gives the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) an incredible battery life : recharging ratio of 21.5 : 1. A rule of thumb – for one hour of battery life, you just need to charge it for 3 minutes!

The downside though is that if you forget to bring the SuperVOOC cable, the R17 Pro will recharge half as fast as other smartphones.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Verdict + Award, Full Specifications

 

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Our Verdict + Award

After the gimmicky OPPO Find X, we were pleasantly surprised by the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US). It may not run on a flagship-class processor, but it is definitely a much better device.

Like the Find X, the R17 Pro has a large and beautiful 6.4-inch AMOLED display, albeit with a waterdrop notch. On the plus side, it has better Gorilla Glass 6 protection.

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) is their first smartphone to feature a dual-aperture camera. That is far more useful and practical than the pointless sliding camera in their Find X flagship device.

It takes great photos, automatically switches its aperture to deliver the best photos for the lighting condition. We sure are glad we took it on our trip to Sydney and the Blue Mountains!

It also takes great 1080p videos, with the the ability to switch between the main and telephoto cameras. However, it’s a pity that 4K videos, and videos recorded by the telephoto camera, are not stabilised.

The new in-display fingerprint sensor may seem to be a gimmick, but it’s not. It’s surprisingly quite accurate and fast, and is practical to use.

We LOVE its SuperVOOC flash charging capability. It only takes just 33 minutes to recharge the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) from 20% to 100%. But if you forget to bring the SuperVOOC cable, it will take 6X longer to recharge, making it twice as slow as other smartphones…

We also need to point out the lack of a microSD card slot. Sure, the R17 Pro has a large storage capacity, but we would like the option to add storage, or keep our photos and videos on a microSD card.

That said, the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) offers a great combination of leading-edge features in a beautiful package, and an attractive price point. It certainly did well enough to earn our Reviewer’s Choice Award. Great job!

 

Where To Buy The OPPO R17 Pro?

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has a recommended retail price of RM 2,699 / ~US$ 643 / ~£499. It was made available for purchase on 1 December 2018.

Here are some direct purchase links :

 

OPPO R17 Pro Specifications

SpecificationsOPPO R17 Pro
Display6.4-inch AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2340 pixels (402 ppi)
- 91.5% display-to-body ratio
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 6
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1.0 with ColorOS 5.2
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 710
Processor2 x Qualcomm Kryo 360 Gold cores (2.2 GHz)
6 x Qualcomm Kryo 360 Silver cores (1.7 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 616
Memory8 GB LPDDR4x memory
Storage128 GB internal flash storage
No microSD card slot
Front Camera25 MP Sony IMX576 sensor with f/2.0 lens
Rear CamerasDual Aperture Camera
- 12 MP Sony IMX362 sensor with f/1.5 and f/2.4 apertures
- Optically stabilised (OIS) with dual-tone LED flash

Telephoto Camera
- 20 MP sensor with f/2.6 lens

ToF Camera
- 43,200 pixel sensor with LED NIR pulsed emitter
Connectivity4G : LTE
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (dual band)
Bluetooth 5.0
USB : USB 2.0 Type C
SIM Support2 x nano SIM cards
Dual SIM, Dual Standby capable
NFC CapabilityYes
OTG CapabilityYes
Fingerprint SensorBuilt Into Display
Other SensorsE-Compass, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor, G Sensor
Battery3700 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery
- supports 50 W SuperVOOC fast charging
Dimensions74.6 mm wide
157.6 mm tall
7.9 mm thick
Weight183 grams
Colour OptionsRadiant Mist / Emerald Green

 

Recommended Reading

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OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of Sydney + The Blue Mountains!

The OPPO R17 Pro boasts a new dual-aperture camera that promises to match the Samsung Galaxy Note9, and Samsung Galaxy S9+ smartphones.

To test it out, we took it on a trip to Sydney and the nearby Blue Mountains. Check out the photos we took with the OPPO R17 Pro!

Updated @ 2019-01-18 : Corrected a few mistakes, and added more details.

Originally posted @ 2018-12-29

Don’t forget to read our OPPO R17 Pro Smartphone In-Depth Review!

 

The OPPO R17 Pro Cameras

The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) has a 25 MP front camera with a Sony IMX576 sensor and f/2.0 aperture. In the back, it boasts a new dual camera setup that is similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy S9+.

The main rear camera is a 12 MP Sony IMX362 shooter with dual-aperture – f/1.5 and f/2.4 – exactly like the dual-aperture camera of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 and Galaxy S9+ smartphones. Its secondary rear camera though is a higher resolution 20 MP telephoto camera with f/2.6 aperture.

In addition to the hardware, the R17 Pro also features the OPPO AI Ultra-Clear Engine, which automatically optimises the captured image to deliver the best possible output.

How We Tested In Sydney + The Blue Mountains

While many Instagrammers and social media influencers touch up their photos to create more stunning posts, we wanted to show you the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) can deliver without editing or filters.

This is important because a good graphics editor can turn even a terrible picture into a work of art. But how many of us are good at editing photos, or even have the time to do it?

So we intentionally used the OPPO R17 Pro the way most users would – with automatic settings, and no artificial lighting or setup. This would also let us evaluate just how effective the AI Ultra-Clear Engine is in delivering a great final output.

Sydney Central Railway Station

The Sydney Central Railway Station is the largest train station in the state of New South Wales, and is a heritage building.

The OPPO R17 Pro’s mechanical aperture will automatically switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4, depending on the lighting condition. This allows to adapt to changing ambient light. ensuring better low-light pictures while ensuring highlights are not blown out in bright conditions.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of The Blue Mountains!

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Three Sisters + Jamison Valley

The Three Sisters are a famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains, right next to the town of Katoomba.

The three rocks, known individually as Meehni (922 m), Wimlah (918 m), and Gunnedoo (906 m), tower over the lush Jamison Valley.

We took these pictures with the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) at around sunset.

Katoomba Cascades

The Katoomba Cascades is a small segmented waterfall that feeds into the main Katoomba Falls waterfall. It’s a great place for a picnic and pictures (because it’s relatively safe to climb).

Scenic Railway

The Scenic Railway is the most exciting ride in Scenic World, the main tourist attraction in the Blue Mountains.

We took two videos of the Scenic Railway with the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) to test its 4K UHD video recording capability. Check them out :

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At Scenic World, you also get to check out the Three Sisters and Jamison Valley, from the east. The OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) delivered really great results in this picture.

Even though it was really bright, it automatically stopped down to the f/2.4 aperture, eliminating glare and giving it greater depth of field. Look at how rich the colours are.

Incidentally, the Blue Mountains isn’t really blue in colour. It got its name from the blue haze that is created from sunlight reflecting off dust, water vapour and the oils from the eucalyptus trees that blanket the area.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of Sydney Harbour!

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Circular Quay

For all cruises and cross-harbour ferries, the Sydney Circular Quay is where most of the action is.

Fast ferries to Parramatta and Manly, as well as the various wharfs in the area, provide an affordable and scenic way to enjoy Sydney.

It is also close to The Rocks and other tourist attractions, including the Customs House and Darling Harbour.

Sydney By Ferry

Catching the many Sydney ferries is an AWESOME and highly affordable way to take in the sights. Here are some great views from the Taronga Zoo.

The ferries also stop at Luna Park, to the north of Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Cross-Harbour Ferry, in particular, will bring you under the Harbour Bridge…

And past the famous Sydney Opera House!

The ferries are rather unstable platforms because they go really fast, but this was not a problem for the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US), as the pictures show. That’s because both of its rear cameras are optically-stabilised.

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Darling Harbour

The nearby Darling Harbour is also a great place to visit.

The ICC Sydney (International Convention Centre) is just unique for its architecture, there are also some interesting buskers showing off their skills along the harbour side and nearby park.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of The The Sydney CBD

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OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of The Sydney CBD

Exploring the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) is extremely easy using train. Then all you need to do is wander around on foot.

The most popular stations are Central, which is located close to Chinatown and Paddy’s Market, or Circular Quay, near many tourist attractions like the Harbour Bridge and The Rocks.

Just behind the Circular Quay, you will find the Sydney Customs House, and the Sydney Gateway Plaza.

Sydney boasts a mix of fresh bold architecture and grand old Victorian architecture.

Only in Australia will you find the LGBT flag flying high on top of a town hall, with a Christmas tree right underneath it. We present to you – the Sydney Town Hall!

Thanks to the magic of perspective, the Sydney Tower Eye appears shorter than we expected…

No trip to Sydney is complete without a stop in Chinatown, and Paddy’s Market for souvenirs and food!

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Even as it gets dark, the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) does not fail to deliver really great pictures. Its camera automatically switches to the wider f/1.5 aperture for more light.

It also helps that OPPO used the excellent Sony IMX362 sensor, which boasts large 1.4 µm pixels and Dual Pixel autofocus capability. This lets it focus faster and take better pictures in low-light conditions.

We especially like the photo above. It is actually a very hard scene for smartphones to handle. But the OPPO R17 Pro (MY | US) did a great job of controlling the highlights of the bright background, while bringing out the details of the darker foreground.

Next Page > OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of The Harbour Bridge + The Rocks

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OPPO R17 Pro Photos Of The Harbour Bridge + The Rocks

A short distance northwest of the Circular Quay is The Rocks, a historic tourist destination at the south end of the Harbour Bridge.

There is a famous weekend market, called The Rocks Market, that usually opens from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

At the end of The Rocks Market is the Dawes Point Park, located right UNDER the Harbour Bridge!

Don’t forget to check out the Create NSW building right next to The Rocks Market. It houses the Museums and Galleries of NSW, The Australian Ballet and the Sydney Art Exchange.

At the end of the Dawes Point Park, you will find the Dawes Point Battery, a heritage artillery fortification. Many boys (at heart) have pretended to shoot at passing boats using the cannons on display here.

Walk down from Dawes Point Battery to Dawes Point (on the left) and the Hickson Road Reserve (on the right), and you will have the opportunity to take some great shots of the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.

Where To Buy The OPPO R17 Pro

Impressed with the OPPO R17 Pro’s photographic capabilities? You can grab one for just RM 2,699 / ~US$ 643 / ~£499! Here are some direct purchase links for your convenience :

Don’t forget to read our OPPO R17 Pro Smartphone In-Depth Review!

Recommended Reading

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Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Price, Availability + Specifications

Here are the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 price, availability and specifications! Find out why Xiaomi calls it the Camera Beast, and what other killer features this new smartphone offers!

Updated @ 2018-05-28 : Updated the specification comparison against the two ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 models, and shifted the photo samples to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Preview.

Updated @ 2018-05-07 : Added more details, and updated the specifications.

Updated @ 2018-04-26 : Added eight Redmi Note 5 sample photos taken by Allen An!

Originally posted @ 2018-04-25

Don’t forget to check out our Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Preview!

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 : The Camera Beast

The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 platform, which boasts eight Kyro 260 processor cores, and an Adreno 509 GPU. Xiaomi calls it the Camera Beast because of its flagship-level photography capabilities.

Clearer images and faster focusing even in low light

The Redmi Note 5 employs a dual camera setup, for better bokeh effects. The main 12 MP sensor features large 1.4 μm pixels, which can capture more light and deliver better results under low-light conditions. The sensor also supports Dual Pixel technology, delivering very fast autofocus speeds.

The front camera of Redmi Note 5 has a 13 MP sensor, complemented by an LED Selfie light. When Portrait Mode is engaged, both the front and rear cameras can add different Beautify 4.0 effects. Even without a second sensor, Xiaomi claims that the front camera will deliver a great bokeh effect in Portrait Mode, thanks to AI technology that helps to isolate the subject from the background.

Powerful and efficient performance

Redmi Note 5 uses Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 636 platform based on the 14 nm process. Users will experience faster performance, whether they are editing a large spreadsheet or playing demanding games. Compared to Qualcomm Snapdragon 630, Snapdragon 636 has a 40% better performance while maintaining power efficiency.

The Redmi Note 5 is the first device in the Redmi family to use LPDDR4X SDRAM, which is usually only available on flagship smartphones. With up to 4GB of fast RAM, it can run more apps simultaneously and switch between programs even more smoothly.

So much packed in a small form factor

The Redmi Note 5 sports a 5.99 inch FHD+ 18:9 display, a large 4000 mAh battery and support for fast charging. Equipped with the latest MIUI 9 operating system based on Android Oreo, it also supports full screen display gestures, which allows users to completely hide the navigation bar, for a maximized display area.

Don’t forget to check out our Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Preview!

 

Redmi Note 5 vs. ZenFone Max Pro M1

ASUS just revealed two ZenFone Max Pro M1 (ZB601KL) models to directly take on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, so here is a table comparing their specifications.

SpecificationsASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 (ZB602KL)ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1 (ZB601KL)Xiaomi Redmi Note 5
Display6" Full HD+ display
- 1080 x 2160 pixels
- 18:9 aspect ratio, 85% NTSC
- 450 nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio
6" Full HD+ display
- 1080 x 2160 pixels
- 18:9 aspect ratio, 85% NTSC
- 450 nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio
5.99" Full HD+ display
- 1080 x 2160 pixels
- 18:9 aspect ratio, 83% NTSC
- 450 nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1 OreoAndroid 8.1 Oreo
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 636Qualcomm Snapdragon 636Qualcomm Snapdragon 636
Processor8 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 cores (1.8 GHz)8 x Qualcomm Kryo 260 cores (1.8 GHz)8 x Qualcomm Kryo cores (1.8 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 509 GPUQualcomm Adreno 509 GPUQualcomm Adreno 509 GPU
Memory3 GB / 4 GB / 6 GB LPDDR4X memory3 GB / 4 GB / 6 GB LPDDR4X memory3 GB / 4 GB LPDDR4X memory
Storage32 GB / 64 GB internal flash storage (eMMC 5.1)
microSD card (2 TB)
32 GB / 64 GB internal flash storage (eMMC 5.1)
microSD card (2 TB)
32 GB / 64 GB
microSD card (shared with SIM2)
Front Camera8 MP front camera with f/2.2 lens and LED softlight flash8 MP front camera with f/2.2 lens and LED softlight flash13 MP front camera with f/2.0 lens and LED flash
Rear CameraDual-lens camera
- 13 MP image camera with f/2.0 lens
- 5 MP depth camera with f/2.4 lens
Dual-lens camera
- 13 MP image camera with f/2.2 lens
- 5 MP depth camera with f/2.4 lens
Dual-lens camera
- 12 MP Samsung sensor with f/1.9 lens
- 5 MP Samsung depth sensor with f/2.0 lens
Connectivity4G Version A
- LTE Cat4 DL : 150 Mbps
- LTE Cat5 UL : 75 Mbps
4G Version B
- LTE Cat13 DL : 400 Mbps
- LTE Cat5 UL : 75 Mbps

WiFi : 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
USB : microUSB 2.0
4G : LTE Cat4 150 Mbps DL, 50 Mbps UL
WiFi : 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
USB : microUSB 2.0
4G : LTE Cat12 600 Mbps DL, LTE Cat13 150 Mbps UL
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0
USB : microUSB 2.0
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, dual standby capability (4G / 4G)
Dedicated dual SIM tray
Dual SIM, dual standby capability (4G / 4G)
Dedicated dual SIM tray
Dual SIM, dual standby capability (4G / 4G)
Hybrid SIM tray
Fingerprint SensorRear-Mounted, 0.3 Sec UnlockRear-Mounted, 0.3 Sec UnlockRear-Mounted
GPSGPS, GLONASS, Beidou, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, Beidou, GalileoGPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
Audio5-magnet speaker5-magnet speaker
Battery5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery4,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
Dimensions76 mm wide
159 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
76 mm wide
159 mm tall
8.5 mm thick
75.4 mm wide
158.6 mm tall
8.05 mm thick
Weight180 g180 g181 g
Available ColoursDeepsea Black, Titanium GreyDeepsea Black, Titanium GreyBlack, Gold, Lake Blue

 

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Price + Availability

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Here is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 price list at launch. There will be two models with different memory and storage capacities :

  • 3GB + 32GB : RM 799 / ~US$ 205
  • 4GB + 64GB : RM 999 / ~US$ 256

Both versions will be available in three colors – Lake Blue, Gold, and Black. A simple and elegant TPU case will be shipped in the box with every Redmi Note 5.

You can purchase them from Lazada and 11street, or offline from our Authorised Mi Stores starting 5 May 2018. Here are some offers :

  • Redmi Note 5 (3 GB + 32 GB) : RM 768
  • Redmi Note 5 (4 GB + 64 GB) : RM 954

So what do you guys think about the Redmi Note 5 price points?

 

Suggested Reading

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Review – In A Class Of Its Own

We loved last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note7 and were sad to return it to Samsung before we could complete our review. We are glad to see it return as the Galaxy Note FE, but if you are one of those who were impressed by the Note7, you will be even more impressed with the new Samsung Galaxy Note8. It is literally in a class of its own.

In fact, we are so impressed with the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check), we gave it our Editor’s Choice Award. Find out why we think it deserves no less!

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is more than just a Samsung Galaxy S8 / S8+ with an S Pen. While it shares many similarities, it introduces numerous improvements. Here is a table that compares the specifications of the Galaxy Note8 against the Galaxy S8+ and the Galaxy Note7 (now known as the Galaxy Note FE)

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy Note8Samsung Galaxy S8+Samsung Galaxy Note7
Display6.3" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (521 ppi)
6.2" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2960 pixels (529 ppi)
5.7" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)Corning Gorilla Glass 5 (front & back panels)
Operating System (At Launch)Android 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 6.0.1 Marshmallow
System PlatformSamsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8895 Octa
or
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
Memory6 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options64 GB / 128 GB / 256 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 256 GB
64 GB / 128 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
Front Camera8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens8 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens
Rear CameraDual Lens Camera with Dual OIS

Wide-Angle Camera
12 MP (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash

Telephoto Camera (2X optical zoom)
12 MP (1.0 µm) sensor with f/2.4 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 16 (1 Gbps / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 5.0 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 3.1, NFC, GPS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear MountedYes, Rear MountedYes, Home Button
Iris ScannerYesYesYes
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRMAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Barometer, Hall, HRM
BixbyYesYesNo
S PenYesNoYes
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68IP68IP68
Battery3,300 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
3,500 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (WPC and PMA)
Dimensions162.5 mm tall
74.8 mm wide
8.6 mm thick
159.5 mm tall
73.4 mm wide
8.1 mm thick
153.5 mm tall
73.9 mm wide
7.9 mm thick
Weight195 g173 g169 g
Colour OptionsMidnight Black, Deepsea Blue, Orchid Gray, Maple GoldMidnight Black, Orchid Gray, Arctic Silver, Coral Blue, Maple GoldBlue Coral, Silver Titanium, Gold Platinum, Black Onyx

 

Unboxing The Samsung Galaxy Note8

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) comes in the premium black Samsung box. Let’s unbox it, and see what’s inside!

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When you unpack everything, you should find the following items :

  • One Samsung Galaxy Note8 phablet with S Pen
  • One Samsung Galaxy Note8 TPU bumper case
  • One set of Samsung Galaxy Note8 documents
  • One 15 W Samsung Quick Adaptive Charger
  • One USB Type C cable, with USB Type A and micro USB converters
  • One pair of AKG earphones with replacement ear buds
  • One set of spare S Pen nibs, and nib extractor tool
  • One SIM tray extractor pin

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Up Close, Cameras, Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Up Close

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a large 6.3″ Super AMOLED display with a WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 pixels. But thanks to its Infinity Display design, the Galaxy Note8 is just 2.2 mm wider than the Galaxy S7 edge, which only has a 5.5″ display! This means it will better fit smaller hands, while offering a much larger display.

Just as we saw with the Galaxy S8 (Price Check), the new Infinity Display covers almost the entire frontal aspect of the Galaxy Note8. Samsung achieved this by removing the physical Home button and making it part of the display. It is pressure-sensitive, and works like a physical button.

The same metal-glass design philosophy from the Galaxy Note7 was retained, with the glass protection upgraded to Gorilla Glass 5. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 continues to boast the same IP68 dust- and water-resistance rating of its predecessor, as well as its iris scanner.

The Infinity Display required the fingerprint sensor to be moved to the back, as it was in the Galaxy S8 (Price Check). There is also a dedicated Bixby button, as well as a new dual-lens camera.

 

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Cameras

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a new 8 MP front camera with f/1.7 lens. It is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps, and has great low-light capability.  its low-light capability will come in handy, as the front camera does not have flash support, not even screen flash.

But what’s unprecedented is the new dual-lens main camera that beats everything else in the market today. It boasts a regular wide-angle 12 MP camera with a very fast f/1.7 lens, as well as a telephoto 12 MP camera with f/2.4 lens. However, unlike other dual-lens cameras, it works like two separate cameras that captures images simultaneously!

This allows it to create pictures with amazing adjustable bokeh through its Live Focus feature, while giving you the Dual Capture option to capture photos from both cameras simultaneously! Learn more about these two features in our article – The Samsung Live Focus & Dual Capture Explained & Tested.

This is also the world’s first dual-lens camera to boast optical image stabilisation (OIS) for both lenses! This is especially important for the telephoto camera, as it is paired with a “slower” f/2.4 lens. What this ultimately means is better photos and videos with either camera, even in low-light conditions.

If that’s not enough, the Galaxy Note8’s dual-lens camera is also the first in the world to allow you to switch between the two lenses on-the-fly while recording videos! This is an incredibly useful feature. Once you tried it on the Galaxy Note8, you will wonder why on Earth can’t other dual-lens cameras can’t do the same thing!

We will share with you photo and video samples later in the review. You will be able to see for yourself, the quality of the images captured by the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). Be sure to also check out how useful it is to switch between the two lenses on-the-fly in our video samples. This is, no doubt, the best dual-lens camera system in the world today.

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Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

This is the South East Asian model (SM-N950FD), which supports Dual SIM, dual standby capability, and comes with a hybrid SIM tray. This gives you some flexibility – you can choose to use either a second SIM card, or a microSD card, but not both at the same time. The microSD slot supports microSD cards of up to 256 GB in size.

With the removal of the physical Home button, Samsung moved the fingerprint sensor to the back of the Galaxy Note8. This is not unique as many smartphones have a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor (e.g. Huawei Mate 9, Honor 5C). However, the Galaxy Note8 fingerprint sensor is awkwardly placed next to the camera sensor, instead of the more natural position below the camera sensor.

The higher position makes it harder for the user to reach, because the Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is a tall device. Being offset makes it harder for left-handed users to use, and makes it easy for all users to smear the main camera lenses with their oily fingerprints.

Obviously, we do not like this fingerprint sensor at all. It is harder to use, as our Galaxy Note8 set-up video will show, although its usability improves with practice. But the good news is – the Samsung Galaxy Note8 also supports alternative login methods like iris scanning and face recognition, that work better.

Next Page > Iris Scanner, Facial Recognition, IP68, S Pen Stylus

 

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Iris Scanner & Facial Recognition

These are not new abilities for a Samsung Galaxy Note device. They were first introduced in the Galaxy Note7, The iris scanner was easy to set up and use, and so, it quickly became our favourite way to log into the Galaxy Note8.

The iris scanner works best if you are not using glasses or contact lenses though, and it may not work in bright sunlight. Its accuracy may also be affected by dirt and fingerprint smudges on the iris camera and LED sensor. Finally, the iris scanner takes longer to log in than the fingerprint sensor, but the coolness factor is undeniable.

The facial recognition feature is easier and faster to use because it does not require you to align your eyes with the sensor focus circles. However, it is less secure than the iris scanner or fingerprint scanner.

 

IP68 Dust & Water Resistance

Like the Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is IP68-rated for dust- and water-resistance. Best of all, you don’t even have to prepare it in any way before you dunk it into water! For more information how how Samsung achieved this feat, take a look at The Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

Officially, the Galaxy Note8 can withstand complete immersion in water up to 1.5 m in depth, for up to 30 minutes. That means you can take it for jogs in the rain, reading in the shower or soaking in bath. Heck, you can even take it for a swim!

There are some caveats though. The IP68 rating applies to a specific set of test conditions : 15-35 °C, 86-106 kPa, 1.5 metre, 30 minutes. Even so, water may enter and damage the Galaxy Note8 if it is exposed to “water moving with force“, like running water from a tap or waterfall, or ocean waves.

In other words, this is not a waterproof phone like the Oukitel K10000 Pro or the Kenxinda ruggerdised smartphones. It is IP68 water-resistant, so you need to be gentle with it. You can read more about this in our article – The Samsung Galaxy S7 IP68 Engineering Explained.

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S Pen Stylus

This is the defining feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 – the S Pen stylus. This is the same S Pen used by the Galaxy Note7, with a 0.7 mm tip and 4,096 pressure levels. The S Pen is electromagnetically-powered by close proximity to the Galaxy Note8, so there is no need to worry about batteries – which is just awesome.

A set of spare nibs and a tweezer are included, so you can also swap the default black nib for a white nib, depending on your preference for more friction (black) or a smoother writing experience (white).

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Setup Process, Ergonomics, Memory & Storage

 

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Setup Process

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5-7 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

Looking at the specifications, you would expect the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) to be a large phablet. After all, it has a large 6.3″ display. Yet, it is about the same size than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy Note7 with a 5.7″ display!

Despite its larger display, it is only 0.9 mm wider, so it fits most hands comfortably. But this is still a two-handed device, because of its height. If you prefer to use only one hand, you can turn on the One-handed mode option.

The Super AMOLED display is beautiful as always. However, the WQHD+ resolution of 1440 x 2960 results in a non-standard 18.5:9 display ratio. Watching movies will result in some pillarboxing – a black bar on each side of the movie.

The Gorilla Glass 5 back looks fabulous… at first. It is easily smudged by oily fingerprints, because it lacks the oleophobic coating of the front Gorilla Glass 5 cover protecting the display. The smudges are particularly obvious on the Midnight Black version. Perhaps that’s why Samsung threw in a clear TPU bumper case – it protects the Galaxy Note8 while keeping the shiny back smear-free.

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Available Memory & Storage

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) comes with 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 2.8 GB (37.5%) is available for use. There is obviously quite a fair bit of bloat. That said, 2.8 GB of memory is more than what many smartphones ship with, and is more than enough to run many applications simultaneously.

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check comes with 64 GB of internal flash storage, with 51.1 GB of free space for you to use. That is enough space to store about 11,500 photos, or 6.25 hours of 1080p videos, or 2.5 hours of 4K videos. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Camera Performance – Photos & Videos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) uses the same excellent 12 MP sensors as the Galaxy S8 (Price Check) for both the wide-angle and telephoto cameras –  either the Sony IMX260 sensor, or Samsung’s own ISOCELL S5KL1 sensor. They are both identical in specifications and performance – with Dual Pixel autofocus technology and 1.4 μm pixels.

The maximum 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 4032 x 3024, and a file size of between 3.8 MB and 4.8 MB. Here are 6 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

It’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) performed exactly as the Samsung Galaxy S8 (Price Check), in this respect. It still remains one of the best, if not the best, smartphone camera out there today.

What’s unique though is the Galaxy Note8 Live Focus feature, which allows you to create really awesome bokeh for the background. No doubt, the bokeh is artificially created, but the simultaneous use of both cameras allow for precise delineation of the subject and the background. Live Focus also allows you to adjust the amount of bokeh for the background.

You can read all about Samsung Live Focus and the accompanying Dual Capture feature in this separate article – The Samsung Live Focus & Dual Capture Explained & Tested.

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

Like the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is capable of recording 4K videos from both front and back cameras. However, this time, Samsung has limited the 4K recording time to just 10 minutes. This was likely done to ensure that the sensor does not overheat the battery that lies next to it.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has no such limitations, and is thus, a better smartphone for 4K video recording. However, the Galaxy S7 edge is somewhat limited by the 4 GB file size limit. When you record a long 4K video, it will be broken up into separate files that are about 11.5 minutes in length, with a short recording gap in between. So its advantage is limited.

Samsung appears to be using a more efficient codec for the videos, allowing 1080p videos to be recorded to about 40 minutes before hitting the 4 GB file size limit. This is about 25% longer than the Galaxy S7 edge, which only managed about 31-32 minutes.

Below are four video samples, all taken without the use of gimbals.

Test #1 : Piano (1080p)

As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) did an excellent job capturing this live performance. The audio quality was very good, albeit lacking the wider dynamic range of the HTC 10 (when HiRes Audio is enabled). The noise reduction is decent, although the background noise is still audible.

We LOVE the ability to instantly switch between the wide-angle camera and the telephoto camera while recording. You can also see how well the OIS worked for both cameras. In other smartphones, videos recorded with the unstabilised telephoto lens will often induce nausea…

Test #2: Piano (4K)

Note the incredible amount of detail capture by the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check). We are very impressed with its ability to capture such detail even in the bright background, which is often overblown in other smartphones. Note that you can still switch instantly between the wide-angle camera and the telephoto camera while recording in 4K.

Test #3 : Street Market (1080p)

In this test of the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s image stabilisation capability, you will note that it does a rather decent job of smoothing out the jerkiness during our walk. It is not the best we have seen, but it’s still pretty good.

Test #4 : Street Market (4K)

The image stabilisation for the 4K video was also good. In addition to OIS (optical image stabilisation), it appears to perform some EIS (electronic image stabilisation) as well.

Next Page > The Samsung Galaxy Note8 Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the Samsung Galaxy Note8’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Performance Score
5617 5285 5303 6316
Web Browsing 5433 5041 5155 5624
Video Editing 4872 5219 4998 5370
Writing 5696 5122 5158 6326
Photo Editing 8563 7003 7082 9864
Data Manipulation 4329 4369 4458 5333

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is powered by the Samsung Exynos 8895 SoC, which is really fast, albeit not as fast as the Kirin 960 SoC used in the Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check).

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the Galaxy S8’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

Work 2.0 Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
Battery Life 8 hours 50 mins 9 hours 34 mins 10 hours 32 mins 11 hours 27 mins

Of the four smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has the smallest battery at 3,300 mAh. The Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check), in comparison, has a 4,000 mAh battery. Even so, it managed to deliver almost 9 hours of non-stop operation.

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Battery Recharging Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 comes with an adaptive fast charger with a power output of 15 W. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 3,300 mAh battery.

It took the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) just under 83 minutes (1 hour 23 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. That is a battery life : recharging ratio of 6.4 : 1 – a very good performance.

The fastest recharging happened up to the 85% level. This took just 53 minutes. Then the recharging speed slowed down, and it took a further 30 minutes to top up the remaining 15%.

Next Page > Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

AnTuTu Samsung Galaxy Note8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Samsung Galaxy S8 Huawei Mate 9
TOTAL SCORE 178168 170991 175422 123167
3D SCORE 74302 72039 74336 40114
– 3D (Marooned) 43996 42844 43953 23313
– 3D (Garden) 30306 29195 30383 16801
UX SCORE 54965 50518 52159 39975
– UX Data Secure 8100 7822 7996 7943
– UX Data Process 6079 5830 5866 6985
– UX Strategy Games 11072 10359 11165 11860
– UX Image Process 24646 21998 22716 5580
– UX I/O Performance 5068 4509 4416 7607
CPU SCORE 38240 38274 38513 31992
– CPU Mathematics 10970 10958 10996 9680
– CPU Common Use 11135 11001 10939 11139
– CPU Multi-Core 16135 16315 16578 11173
RAM 10661 10160 10414 11086

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) sure is fast in AnTuTu. Its Exynos 8895 proved to be much faster in 3D rendering than the Kirin 960 used by the Huawei Mate 9 (Price Check).

 

Our Verdict & Award

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is truly in a class of its own. It is the only phablet in the world with an electromagnetic stylus, an Infinity Display and a dual-lens camera. Nothing else, not even the new Apple iPhone 8 Plus (Price Check), is in the same league. It builds upon the excellent, albeit unlucky, Galaxy Note7, with a plethora of major improvements.

First and foremost is the Infinity Display, which is almost bezel-less and covers almost all of the front aspect. To achieve this, Samsung integrated a pressure-sensitive Home button into the display itself, and moved the fingerprint sensor to the back.

The Infinity Display also allowed Samsung to increase the display size while reducing the width of the device. The Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) has a large 6.3″ display in a form factor that equivalent to a regular 5.5″ device. It makes for a better fit for smaller hands, and most pockets.

The new 18.5 : 9 aspect ratio is useful for viewing two different screens at the same time, but introduces pillarboxing when you watch movies. Samsung allows you to stretch the videos to fit the entire screen, but you will lose the upper and lower parts of the videos. So it’s a trade-off.

As their flagship phablet, it comes as no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) is very fast, thanks to its top-of-the-line Exynos 8895 octa-core processor. It also has an incredible amount of memory and it comes with a reasonably large storage capacity of 64 GB. This should be more than enough for even power users, even if they enjoy recording 4K videos.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note8 extended the amazing camera used in the Samsung Galaxy S8 by doubling it to create a dual-lens camera system that is unparalleled. Both cameras are optically-stabilised and work simultaneously. This allows the Galaxy Note8 to support the new Live Focus and Dual Capture features. It also gave us the ability to instantly switch between the two lenses while recording video.

It bears pointing out that Samsung took extra care with the Galaxy Note8’s battery, employing greater scrutiny and safety protocols to ensure its safety. Even though it has a relatively small 3,300 mAh capacity, it lasted just under 9 hours of non-stop operation in our stress test. Best of all – you can completely recharge it in less than 1.5 hours!

The offset fingerprint sensor, though, was awkward to use. We highly recommend that Samsung move the fingerprint sensor to the more conventional position below the main camera in their next device. We far prefer the iris scanner, which is really easy (and cool!) to use.

Samsung really went the extra mile with the Galaxy Note8, making sure it is in a league of its own. There is no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy Note8 (Price Check) deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. Job well done, Samsung!

Go Back To > First Page | Reviews | Home

 

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The Motorola Moto G5 Plus Offer, Specifications & Preview

The Motorola Moto G5 Plus is here! We had the opportunity earlier last week to have our first-ever hands-on preview of the Moto G5 Plus smartphone. We also managed to unearth some preliminary information on the Moto G5 Plus. Check out the preview and pre-launch details!

 

The Moto G5 Plus Preview

The Motorola Moto G5 Plus is a mid-range smartphone with a 5.2″ full HD display. It runs on the new Android 7.0 Nougat operating system, and is powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 625 SoC. Motorola offers variants with 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM and either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage. But we can confirm that only the top model with 4 GB RAM and 32 GB of storage will be sold in Malaysia.

Even though Motorola pegs the G5 Plus as a mid-range smartphone, it boasts a 12 MP main camera with a Dual Pixel sensor which allows for more accurate and very fast autofocus. This is usually a feature of flagship smartphone models. It is also supported by a dual LED flash, and is capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps.

The Moto G5 Plus has a 3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery, which supports 15 W TurboPower charging. According to Moto, a 15 minute charge is enough to give you an additional 6 hours of power. In addition, the G5 Plus has a full metal chassis, and is protected in the front by Gorilla Glass 3. Motorola also gave it nano coating that repels water, but it is not water-resistant.

 

The Moto G5 Plus Specifications

SpecificationsMoto G5 Plus / Moto G Plus (5th Gen)
Display5.2" Full HD IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels, 424 ppi
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 3
Water-repellent nano-coating
Operating SystemAndroid 7.0 Nougat
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 625
Processor8 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (2.0 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 506 GPU (650 MHz)
Memory4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (933 MHz)
Storage32 GB internal flash storage (eMMC 5.1)
Dedicated microSD card slot (up to 128 GB)
Front Camera5 MP sensor with f/2.2 lens
Rear Camera12 MP Dual Pixels sensor with f/1.7 lens and dual LED flash
AudioFront-ported speakers
Dual microphones
Connectivity4G LTE : Band 1, 3, 5, 8, 40
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz)
Bluetooth : version 4.2
USB : microUSB 2.0 port
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby capability
Dual nano SIM (dedicated slots)
Fingerprint SensorYes
Other SensorsAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Ambient Light, Proximity
GPSYes, GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS support
NFCYes
Battery3,000 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- 15 W TurboPower charging
Dimensions74.0 mm high x 150.2 mm tall x 9.7 mm thick
Weight155 g
Available ColoursLunar Gray / Fine Gold

 

New Features On The Horizon

While the Moto G5 Plus already comes with Android 7.0 Nougat pre-installed, Motorola is promising a slew of new features. While they cannot reveal much, we know that a major firmware update is scheduled for July 2017, and it will come with Moto Key.

The Moto Key upgrade will allow you to unlock any computer (with the Moto Key app installed) with your Moto G5 Plus. Just authenticate yourself using the fingerprint sensor on the G5 Plus, and presto! your computer is unlocked!

 

Price & Availability

The Moto G5 Plus is priced at RM 1,299 (~US$ 289), and is exclusively available on Lazada. You will be able to pre-order the Moto G5 Plus starting Monday, 29 May 2017, with delivery starting from 5 June 2017 onwards.

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Motorola has prepared the following pre-order and launch promotion

Pre-Order Offers (valid from 29 May to 4 June only)

  • 12-month extended warranty under the Moto Care Plan worth RM199
  • Moto Flip Case and screen protector worth RM99 (while stocks last)

Launch Offers (valid from 5 June onwards)

  • Moto Flip Case and screen protector worth RM99 (while stocks last)

Customers can check out the 0% installment plan offered by Lazada Malaysia as well.

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom – iPhone 7 Plus Killer At Half The Price!

Ever since they were announced at Computex 2016, ASUS has churned out a number of ZenFone 3 models, like the ZenFone 3 Ultra phablet and the eponymous ZenFone 3 smartphone. But what mobile photographers have been waiting for was ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL).

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is the photography-focused ZenFone 3 model designed to take on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) head-to-head, and beat it in every aspect. Yet it costs only half as much! Don’t believe us? Read on and find out for yourself!

 

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom vs. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus

We are serious about the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) taking on the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). Check out this comparison of their specifications and see how they compare with each other!

SpecificationsASUS ZenFone 3 ZoomApple iPhone 7 Plus (32 GB)
Display5.5" Full HD AMOLED display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels
- 500 nits brightness
5.5" Full HD IPS display
- 1080 x 1920 pixels
- 625 nits brightness
ProtectionPremium aluminium-alloy frame
2.5D contoured Corning Gorilla Glass 5
IP67-rated dust and water-resistance
Dual-ion exchange strengthened glass
Operating SystemAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowApple iOS 10
PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 625Apple A10 Fusion
Processor4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (2.0 GHz)
4 x ARM Cortex-A53 cores (1.4 GHz)
2 x Apple Hurricane cores (2.34 GHz)
2 x Apple Zephyr cores (2.34 GHz)
Graphics ProcessorQualcomm Adreno 506PowerVR 7XT GT7600 Plus
Memory4 GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (933 MHz)3 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage64 GB internal flash storage
microSD card (up to 2 TB, shared with SIM2)
32 GB internal flash storage
No microSD card slot
Front Camera13 MP PixelMaster camera
- Sony IMX214 sensor
- f/2.0, 5-element Largan lens
7 MP camera with f/2.2 lens
Main Camera12 MP PixelMaster 3.0 camera
- Sony IMX362 sensor (1.4 µm pixels)
- f/1.7, 6-element lens
- Dual Pixel PDAF technology
- 4-axis, 4 stops Optical Image Stabilization for steady photos
- 3-axis Electronic Image Stabilization for shake-free videos
12 MP camera
- Sony Exmor RS sensor
- f/1.8, 6-element lens
- Optical image stabilisation
Zoom Camera12 MP sensor (unknown model) with f/2.6 lens
- 2.3X fixed optical zoom
- 12X maximum zoom (digital + optical)
12 MP sensor with f/2.8 lens
- 2X fixed optical zoom
- 10X maximum zoom (digital + optical)
Connectivity4G : LTE Cat4
WiFi : 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth : 4.2
4G : LTE Cat12
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth : 4.2
SIM CapabilityDual SIM, Dual Standby with Hybrid SIM tray
- nano SIM slot 1 (3G / 4G)
- nano SIM slot 2 (3G / 4G) / micro SD
Single nano SIM only
NFC CapabilityNoYes
GPSGPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BDSGPS, AGPS, GLONASS
Fingerprint SensorYes, Rear-MountedYes, built into Home button
Audio192 kHz / 24-bit Hi-Res Audio support
5 magnet speaker with NXP Smart Amp
Dual microphone with noise cancellation
VoLTE support
DTS Headphone:X virtual surround sound technology
No Hi-Res Audio support
Stereo speakers
FM RadioYesNo
Battery5,000 mAh lithium-ion battery
Supports reverse charging
2,900 mAh lithium-ion battery
No reverse charging support
Dimensions77 mm wide x 154.3 mm tall x 7.99 mm thick77.9 mm wide x 158.2 mm tall x 7.3 mm thick
Weight170 grams188 grams
Colour OptionsNavy Black, Glacier Silver, Rose GoldRose Gold, Gold, Silver, Black, Jet Black
PriceUS$ 329US$ 769

We will go into more detail later, but first, let’s unbox the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom!

 

Unboxing The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is a premium smartphone, so it comes to no surprise that ASUS gave it the full treatment. It even comes with a soft case and a pair of ZenEar earphones!

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Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • One ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) smartphone
  • One ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom soft case
  • One set of ASUS ZenFone 3 User Guide, Warranty leaflet and IMEI stickers
  • One 10 W ASUS charger with a 3-pin adaptor
  • One USB Type C cable
  • One pair of ASUS ZenEar earphones with four spare earbuds
  • One SIM card tray ejector pin

Next Page > The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom Key Features

 

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The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (ZE553KL)

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom has a 5.5″ display like the iPhone 7 Plus, but it is slightly smaller and lighter. Instead of the usual IPS display though, the ZenFone 3 Zoom uses an AMOLED display that is protected by the latest Gorilla Glass 5 cover with a 2.5D edge, and a full metal unibody chassis.

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC as the ZenFone 3 smartphone. It comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory and 64 GB of internal flash memory. All that is powered by a large 5,000 mAh battery.

The button placements are the same as that of other ZenFone 3 models – the Power and Volume control buttons are on the right side, with the hybrid SIM slot on the left side, and the fingerprint sensor on the back.

Like many thin devices, the audio port on the ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is located at the bottom, next to the bidirectional Type C USB port. But note that it is still using USB 2.0 standard, not the latest USB 3.1 standard.

 

Hybrid SIM & Fingerprint Sensor

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) has dual SIM, dual standby capability. It has a hybrid SIM tray for two nano SIM cards. The second SIM card tray (SIM2) doubles as a microSD card slot (up to 256 GB). Both SIM1 and SIM2 support 3G and 4G connectivity, but only one SIM card can connect to the 3G / 4G network – the other can only connect to a 2G network.

The ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) has an all-aspect fingerprint sensor located at the back, just under the main cameras. Our tests showed that it requires just 10 finger presses to register a fingerprint, and is very fast and accurate in recognising the registered fingerprint.

 

The ZenFone 3 Zoom Cameras

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) boasts a 13 MP front camera, built around the Sony IMX214 sensor and a 5-element Largan lens with f/2.0 aperture. It does not have a dedicated LED flash but uses screen flash instead, like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada).

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Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) has a dual camera system, with a main camera and a zoom camera. This is different from the dual-lens camera of the Huawei Mate 9 or the Honor 8 smartphones, which combines images from two cameras with the same focal length.

Its main camera boasts the Sony IMX362 sensor with large 1.4 µm pixels, and Dual Pixel PDAF technology. It is coupled to a 6-element lens with f/1.7 aperture, and boasts 4-axis, 4-stops optical image stabilisation as well as 3-axis electronic image stabilisation capabilities.

The zoom camera has a 12 MP sensor of unknown model, paired with a 59 mm f/2.6 lens. This gives us a 2.3X optical zoom over the main camera. The Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) has a similar zoom camera, with a shorter 2X zoom and an f/2.8 lens.

Next Page > The Initial Setup, Ergonomics, Available Memory & Storage

 

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Setting Up The ZenFone 3 Zoom

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and is very easy to set-up. If you are setting it up as a new device, it should take you only 5 minutes to finish the setup process.

 

The Ergonomics

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is a 5.5″ smartphone that is 7.7 cm wide, so it is a two-handed device. But because it’s reasonably thick at just under 8 mm, it offers better grip than its thinner rivals. The large display with its full HD resolution is just perfect for watching movies. We also applaud ASUS for using an AMOLED display – it is generally more vivid and power-efficient.

We especially like the satin finish of the anodised aluminium chassis. It is smooth and comfortable to touch, and is resistant to fingerprint smears. Adding on the provided soft case greatly increases grip, but the Power button may be harder to activate.

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Available Memory & Storage

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) comes with 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory, of which 2.2 GB (55%) is free to use. That is more memory than some smartphones ship with! You will never run out of memory with the ZenFone 3 Zoom!

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) also has 64 GB of internal flash memory. Of that, just under 52 GB is available to use. If that’s not enough, you can top it up with a microSD card (up to 256 GB).

Next Page > Camera Performance – Photos

 

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Camera Performance – Photos

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) uses the excellent Sony IMX362 sensor for its main camera, which boasts very advanced optical and electronic image stabilisation and a fast f/1.7 lens. The full 12 MP resolution is attained with the 4:3 aspect ratio. Each picture has a resolution of 3928 × 2944 and a file size of between 4 to 8 MB.

Here are 16 high-resolution samples for you to check out. Click on them to load the full-sized photos, which you can also download to examine.

As the picture show, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) can really produce amazing pictures. The automatic HDR capability worked great too, adding dynamic range whenever the light permits. The final result – very vivid colours, even in low light. For that, we have to thank the Sony IMX362 sensor with its large 1.4 µm pixels, and the fast f/1.7 lens.

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Next Page > Camera Performance – Video Recording

 

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Camera Performance – Video Recording

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s photographic capability extends beyond just photos. It is capable of recording videos at resolutions of up to 2160p (4K) at 30 fps. It also boasts advanced optical and electronic image stabilisation as well as support for Hi Res Audio. Let’s check out how well it does…

 

Test #1 : Blues Band (1080p)

The image stabilisation seems to do a very good job, but notice the occasional jerks. We have no idea why it happens, but it seems to only afflict the 1080p video recordings. It did produce very good audio though, and had good control of the bright background.

 

Test #2 : Blues Band (4K)

Electronic image stabilisation appears to be turned off, so there is more wobbling at 4K, but there’s no sign of the sudden jerks in our 1080p example above. The resolution at 4K is amazing!

 

Test #3 : Rainbow Waterfall

This is another test of the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s image stabilisation capabilities. Oddly enough – there is no sign of the sudden jerks. This probably means that the jerks we saw in the first video is likely to be software-related. Probably errors in electronic image stabilisation.

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Test #4 : Logging Camp

A 4-wheel drive ride is a great way to test the advanced image stabilisation capabilities of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom. As you can see, it did a pretty good job on this rugged logging trail. It may not appear so, but we were seated at the back shaking non-stop. 😀

 

Test #5 : Jungle Ride

Here is another video on the same 4×4 Hilux truck ride through the Pahang jungle. Nice job on the image stabilisation, ASUS!

Next Page > Work Performance, Battery Life & Recharging Speed

 

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Work Performance – PCMark

We tested the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s performance using PCMark, which simulates work applications like web browing, playing video, writing text and editing photos.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Work Performance Score
(Average)
6655 6405 4954 3884
Web Browsing 7595 8045 5143 3688
Video Playback 4545 3469 4515 3789
Writing 7264 7316 4948 4141
Photo Editing 7824 8246 5243 3933

Both the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) and the original ZenFone 3 smartphone use the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, so it’s no surprise they perform about the same. They both did much better than the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), and the OPPO F1s in this test.

 

Battery Life – PCMark

We then tested the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom’s battery performance using PCMark. It basically ran the PCMark work tests until its battery capacity dropped to 20%.

The Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro is so popular because it has a large 5,000 mAh battery. The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) with a large 5,000 mAh battery as well, even though it’s much smaller in size. But more importantly, it has a much longer battery life of 17.25 hours –  33% longer than the Galaxy A9 Pro!

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Battery Recharging Performance

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) comes with a 10 W charger, instead of more powerful 15-18 W chargers common in other flagship devices. Take a look at how fast it recharged the 5,000 mAh battery.

It took the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) about 160 minutes (2 hours 40 minutes) to recharge its battery from 20% to 100%. This is 20% longer than what the Samsung Galaxy A9 Pro (with a similar 5,000 mAh battery) took with its 15 W charger. Overall, it has a battery life : recharging ratio of 6.5 : 1, which is good but not exceptional.

Next Page > Gaming & Overall Performance, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Gaming Performance – 3DMark

We tested the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s gaming performance using 3DMark, using the Ice Storm Unlimited test.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
Gaming Score 13844 13956 13540 7666
Graphics 13372 13484 13548 7511
Physics 15797 15903 13510 8265
Graphics Test 1 80.3 fps 80.5 fps 81.1 fps 49.4 fps
Graphics Test 2 45.6 fps 46.1 fps 46.2 fps 24.4 fps
Physics Test 50.1 fps 50.5 fps 42.9 fps 26.2 fps

Like the ZenFone 3, the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, matching the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), and coming in twice as fast as the OPPO F1s.

 

Overall Performance

AnTuTu is a nice benchmark for testing various performance aspects of Android devices.

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom ASUS ZenFone 3 Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) OPPO F1s
TOTAL SCORE 63218 62761 56431 41486
3D SCORE 12966 18816 15458 4868
– 3D (Marooned) 7878 10861 10511 3188
– 3D (Garden) 5088 7952 4947 1679
UX SCORE 24089 26794 18496 17640
– UX Data Secure 5713 5077 5295 4885
– UX Data Process 2991 4198 2612 2542
– UX Strategy Games 4193 7503 3671 2829
– UX Image Process 7893 6879 3373 3885
– UX I/O Performance 3299 3137 3545 3499
CPU SCORE 20683 23689 16459 14336
– CPU Mathematics 4264 6950 3132 3142
– CPU Common Use 6673 6311 5199 4805
– CPU Multi-Core 9746 10428 8128 6389
RAM 5480 6797 6018 4643

The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) did well in this test, beating the Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) by 12%, and the OPPO F1s by 52%.

 

Our Verdict & Award

While ASUS may not make a point about it, it is obvious that they are targeting the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) squarely at the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada). They even eschewed the innovative zoom camera in the original ASUS ZenFone Zoom for the same dual camera system used in the iPhone 7 Plus. However, they were not aiming to copy, as much as beat, the iPhone 7 Plus on as many aspects as possible.

The iPhone 7 Plus has a 7 MP front camera with f/2.2 lens? ASUS gives the ZenFone 3 Zoom a 13 MP front camera with f/2.0 lens!

The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12 MP Sony Exmor RS main camera with f/1.8 lens? ASUS tops that with the latest 12 MP Sony IMX362 sensor with Dual Pixel PDAF technology and a f/1.7 lens!

The iPhone 7 Plus has a 12 MP zoom camera with 2X optical zoom and f/2.8 lens? The ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom gives you a 12 MP zoom camera with 2.3X optical zoom and f/2.6 lens!

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This isn’t just about beating the iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) on specifications. The ASUS PixelMaster 3.0 camera on the ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is amazing. It produces some of the best pictures and videos we have ever seen. Its 4K video recording and audio recording quality was especially good.

ASUS didn’t just stop at the ZenFone 3 Zoom’s photographic capability. To make sure the photos and videos look great on the device itself, they opted for an AMOLED display, instead of a regular IPS display. They even packed in a large 5,000 mAh battery, in a form factor that is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada) with its puny 2,900 mAh battery.

But arguably, what’s most impressive about the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (Amazon | Lazada) is the fact that it delivers its superior capabilities at half the price of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (Amazon | Lazada)! We don’t know how ASUS managed to do that, but we think their efforts deserves no less than our Editor’s Choice Award! Congratulations, ASUS!

 

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Samsung Galaxy S7 edge – Unboxing & First Impressions

We hope you enjoyed our extensive coverage of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), from the preview, our first opportunity to try it out with the Gear VR and the smashing launch with Korean superstar, Lee Kwang-soo. But nothing beats having the real thing at hand, and today, we will share with you the unboxing of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, and our first impressions!

This is just a preview. Please read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge instead!

 

Unboxing The Galaxy S7 edge

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) comes in a very classy black cardboard box, with the storage capacity and colour printed on a gold-coloured label on the upper right corner. In this video, we open up the Galaxy S7 edge box and take a look inside.

Inside, you will find the following items :
  • One Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphone
  • One Samsung 15 W adaptive fast charging travel charger
  • One micro-USB to USB 2.0 cable
  • One USB OTG adaptor
  • One pair of Samsung earphones with spare set of earbuds
  • One SIM card slot extractor
  • One Quick Start Guide (in English and Mandarin)
  • One set of Warranty Cards & Regional Lock Guide
  • One OTG adaptor manual (in English and Mandarin)

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Specification Comparison

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) comes in two variants – one powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core processor, and another variant powered by the Samsung Exynos 8890 octa-core processor. Let’s compare their specifications with their predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge.

SpecificationsSamsung Galaxy S7 edge (Qualcomm Variant)Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Exynos Variant)Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
Display5.5" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (534 ppi)
5.1" Super AMOLED dual-edge display
- 1440 x 2560 pixels (577 ppi)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass 4 (front & back panels)
Operating System (At Launch)Android 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 5.0 Lollipop
System PlatformQualcomm Snapdragon 820 (MSM8996)
- 2.15 GHz ARM Kyro x 2
- 1.59 GHz ARM Kyro x 2
- Qualcomm Adreno 530 GPU
Samsung Exynos 8890 Octa
- 2.3 GHz Samsung Mongoose x 4
- 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 x 4
- ARM Mali T880 GPU
Samsung Exynos 7420
- 2.1 GHz ARM Cortex-A57 x 4
- 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 x 4
- ARM Mali T760 GPU
Memory4 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM3 GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
Storage Options32 GB / 64 GB internal flash storage
One microSD slot (shared with SIM 2) - supports up to 200 GB
32 GB / 64 GB / 128 GB internal flash storage
No microSD slot
Front Camera5 MP sensor with f/1.7 lens5 MP sensor with f/1.9 lens
Rear Camera12 MP Sony / Samsung (1.4 µm) sensor with f/1.7 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash16 MP Sony / Samsung sensor (1.1 µm) with f/1.9 lens, optical image stabilisation (OIS) and LED flash
Dual SIM capabilityHybrid dual SIM (dual active capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
Hybrid dual SIM (dual standby capability)
- SIM 2 + microSD shared slot
None, single SIM only
ConnectivityNetwork : LTE Cat. 12/13 (600 / 150 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.1 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 8 (450 / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.2 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, GPS
Network : LTE Cat. 6 (300 / 50 Mbps)
WiFi : 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), MIMO (2 x 2)
Bluetooth : Version 4.1 LE, ANT+
Others : USB 2.0, NFC, IR Remote, GPS
SensorsAccelerometer, Proximity, RGB Light, Geo-magnetic, Gyro, Fingerprint, Barometer, Hall, HRM
Water & Dust ResistanceIP68None
Battery3,600 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired & wireless)
- wireless charging (Qi and PMA)
2,600 mAh lithium-ion battery (non-removable)
- fast charging capability (wired only)
- wireless charging (Qi and PMA)
Dimensions150.9 mm tall
72.6 mm wide
7.7 mm thick
142.1 mm tall
70.1 mm wide
7.0 mm thick
Weight157 g132 g
Colour OptionsBlack Onyx, Silver Titanium, Gold PlatinumWhite Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Green Emerald

The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge model we have is the South East Asian model, that is powered by the Samsung Exynos 8890 and has a hybrid dual SIM slot. Now, let’s take a closer look!

Next Page > A Closer Look, Initial Setup

 

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Close Look At The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Superficially, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) looks very similar to the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge. The Galaxy S7 edge is taller and slightly wider, and has double-curved edges. Just like its predecessor, it has the Volume buttons on the left, a Power button on the right and a Home button which doubles as a fingerprint sensor.

The SIM and microSD card slot is located at the top. This is a hybrid slot, in which SIM 2 doubles as a microSD card slot. You can choose to either use a second SIM card, or a microSD card; but not both at the same time. The earphone port is located at the bottom, near the USB 2.0 and microphone ports.

Samsung improved the front camera slightly, giving it a faster f/1.7 lens, giving it better low-light performance. The rear camera also comes with f/1.7 lens, but drops the 16 MP sensor for a 12 MP sensor with Dual Pixel autofocus technology. This allows for faster and more accurate focusing by using every effective pixel on the sensor for phase-detection autofocus.

This video gives you a quick tour of the various aspects of the new Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) smartphone. Take a look :


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Initial Setup

When you power up the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon) for the first time, it will take about 23 seconds to boot up. If you set it up as a fresh device, it will take no more than 5 minutes to complete the initial setup. Check out our video on the initial setup process, and a quick look at some of its software features.


We are working on the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (Amazon), which will be out shortly. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures we took of the Galaxy S7 edge powered up!

This is just a preview. Please read our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge instead!

 

Support Tech ARP!

If you like our work, you can help support our work by visiting our sponsors, participate in the Tech ARP Forums, or even donate to our fund. Any help you can render is greatly appreciated!