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Review: Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition

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Oppo has been innovating in the smartphone arena for quite some time now. After years of research, the company showed off its 10X “lossless” zoom mechanism at MWC in February this year. Fast forward to July 2019, and the company has commercially rolled out the new Reno 10X Zoom Edition out of its factory floor.

Design and Build Quality
The design of the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition is almost similar to the “non-10X” version. The back of the smartphone is entirely smooth, with no protruding cameras. I reviewed the black version that comes with a gunmetal finish to the glass that, coupled with a minimalist logo and labeling, makes for a clean yet stylish look. 

Oppo as a company has been spending a lot of time and efforts into redesigning its products to follow modern trends. And it is the same case with the Reno 10X Zoom Edition – it is glass and metal sandwich, with curved glass towards the edges on the back, and a screen that dominates the front. On the right edge of the device, you get the power button, while the volume rockers are built on to the left edge. At the bottom of the device, you get a USB-C port along with the SIM tray and the microphone. 

Tech Specs
Holding the smartphone in your hands feels quite solid and sturdy. The materials used make it look like a premium smartphone. The standout feature of the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Edition is its capability of delivering lossless 10X zoom. The phone uses a 6x optical zoom camera and achieves a “hybrid” digital-optical zoom of 10x. 

It also comes packed with a “shark fin” pop-up camera module for its front camera, thus allowing you to have an obstruction-free viewing experience on 6.6-inch full-HD screen. Under the hood, the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Edition is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor coupled with either 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. 

You also get a 4,065mAh battery and the phone supports Oppo’s VOOC 3.0 quick charging standard as long as you use the included 20W charger and USB Type-C cable. The phone, however, does not support wireless charging and there is no support for Oppo’s SuperVOOC technology. The Reno 10X Zoom Edition also supports dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, NFC, dual-mode GPS, and 4G with VoLTE. 

Software
The phone runs on the Android 9.0 Pie operating system, with Oppo’s very own ColorOS 6 on top of it. Size-wise, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition is quite bulky to carry around. It does have a heft to it and the back panel which is made of glass is very slippery. This device weighs 215g which is significantly higher than average and is a hefty 9.3mm thick. Having said that though, once you power up the camera, you get to see all the hype behind the smartphone.  

Camera
The camera module is made up of triple cameras – one is a 48MP f/1.7 regular lens, an 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens, and a 13MP f/3.0 telephoto zoom lens. The phone also comes with a 16MP front camera for all your selfie requirements. The highlight of the smartphone, of course, is the 10X zoom functionality and I am glad to report that it works as advertised. 

1X Zoom Sample

The camera UI comes with a button above the shutter release that you can tap to cycle between wide-angle, 1x, 2x, 6x, and 10x zoom levels. To get into the finer adjustments, all you need to do is hold and drag this button up or down and you can go all the way up to 60x digital zoom. While Photo, Video, and Portrait modes are one tap away, modes such as Night, Pano, Expert, Timelapse, Slo-mo and Google Lens are inside the menu.

2X Zoom Sample

Performance
In order to test the zooming capability of the Reno 10X Zoom Edition, I took a series of shots at different zoom levels while standing in the same spot. At 2X zoom mode, the quality of the images is very good. At 6X and above, you’ll notice the frame getting a bit grainier as you switch to the lower-resolution telescopic camera. While some of the finer details of the images are lost, the images are still very usable.

6X Zoom Sample

At the 10X level, the quality of the images shot are still quite good and I was able to pick out details, at least in the daytime. At 10X and above, if you move your hands even slightly, it takes a while for the viewfinder on the phone’s screen to stabilize. 

10X Zoom Sample

Having said that, the overall quality and flexibility of cameras on the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom Edition was very good. Shots turned out crisp and vibrant, and the level of ultra-fine detail in some of the close-ups we took was truly amazing. Images shot using the “shark-fin” front-facing camera was also quite good.

60X Zoom Sample

The overall performance of the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition was good thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. Playing games on the smartphone felt buttery smooth, while I did not come across any lag or stutter when zipping through multiple open app windows. On a single charge, we got a little more than a day’s worth of battery life.

Verdict
The Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition is a versatile smartphone. It offers excellent performance, a capable camera module with 6x optical zoom and up to 60X zoom, a very good screen, and good feature sets – all this at a very competitive price point. While the phone does not support wireless charging and does not come with IP rating, these aren’t major dealbreakers. If you are on the lookout for a smartphone that lets you click some amazing shots, all the while zooming into your shots with ease, the Oppo Reno 10X Zoom Edition could be one of the options you should look at. 

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Audio Devices

Sonos Ace Headphones Review: A Stylish Entry with Excellent Performance

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Sonos, the renowned home audio brand, took a bold step into the world of personal audio by introducing the Sonos Ace headphones. This premium, over-ear wireless headphones boast a sleek design, active noise cancellation (ANC), and the promise of signature Sonos sound.

Design and Comfort
Sonos doesn’t disappoint when it comes to aesthetics. The Ace headphones exude a minimalist elegance. Available in black and soft white, they feature a matte finish with metallic accents. The build quality feels substantial, with a mix of plush memory foam earcups and a sturdy, lightweight frame. These headphones are comfortable to wear for extended periods, thanks to the generous earcup padding and a well-distributed weight balance.

Controls and Functionality
Sonos opts for physical buttons over the now-commonplace touch controls. A multi-function “Content Key” on the right earcup handles playback, volume, and track skipping. A separate button cycles through ANC modes and voice assistant activation. The buttons offer a satisfying tactile response, a welcome change from the finicky nature of touch controls.

The Sonos app, though not as feature-rich as some competitors’ offerings, provides basic controls such as ANC adjustments and a five-band EQ, which allows for some sound customisation. One notable feature is multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect to two devices simultaneously. This is a convenient feature for users who switch frequently between phones and laptops.

Sound Quality
The Sonos Ace delivers a pleasant listening experience. The sound signature leans towards the warm side, with a satisfying bass presence without overwhelming the mids and highs. The instruments are well-defined, and the vocals come through clearly. For audiophiles, the Sonos Ace offers an outstanding soundstage.

The ANC is excellent, effectively blocking out low-frequency noise such as aeroplane hum and traffic rumble. Call quality is also very good, with the built-in microphones doing an adequate job of picking up your voice during calls.

Battery Life and Connectivity
Sonos boasts a stellar battery life of 30+ hours with ANC turned on. This is a major plus for frequent travellers and long listening sessions. The headphones use Bluetooth 5.3, offering a reliable connection with minimal latency.

A unique feature of the Sonos Ace is its potential integration with the Sonos ecosystem. The app allows you to switch seamlessly between the headphones and your Sonos home speakers. This functionality is currently limited, but future updates could unlock features such as using the headphones as surround sound speakers for your Sonos home theatre setup.

Verdict
The Sonos Ace headphones are a solid first entry into the wireless headphone market. They boast excellent noise cancellation, a comfortable design, and long battery life. The sound quality is quite good, too. The potential for deeper integration with the Sonos ecosystem is intriguing, however, the hefty price tag might deter some budget-conscious consumers.

If you’re a Sonos loyalist looking for a pair of stylish headphones with excellent ANC and good sound quality, the Sonos Ace is a compelling option, especially if the promise of future ecosystem integration appeals to you. The Sonos Ace headphones are a promising debut with a clear focus on comfort, noise cancellation, and design. They offer a well-rounded listening experience with the potential for exciting future developments within the Sonos ecosystem.

Price: AED 2099

Sonos Ace Headphones
AED 2099










  • Final Rating

4









Summary

The Sonos Ace delivers a pleasant listening experience. The sound signature leans towards the warm side, with a satisfying bass presence without overwhelming the mids and highs. The instruments are well-defined, and the vocals come through clearly.

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Gadgets

CMF by Nothing Phone 1 Review: A Budget-Friendly Contender with a Twist

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In a market saturated with high-priced flagships, the CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a breath of fresh air. Priced at a staggeringly affordable AED 749 onwards, it aims to deliver a compelling user experience without breaking the bank.

Design
One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

However, “conventional” doesn’t equate to boring here. The phone comes in various vibrant, almost playful colours, reminiscent of the early days of mobile phones. This playful aesthetic extends to the unique selling point of the CMF Phone 1: swappable back covers.

The CMF Phone 1 allows users to easily unscrew the stock black back and replace it with other colours such as orange, blue, and light green. This injects a degree of personalisation often missing in today’s homogenised phone market. Build quality feels solid despite the plastic construction, and the phone boasts an IP52 rating for basic dust and water resistance. CMF by Nothing also offers a bunch of other accessories that sweeten the deal. There’s a card case that can take in three credit cards, a kickstand, and a lanyard.

Display and Performance
The CMF Phone 1 sports a large, 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. This translates to a vibrant viewing experience, with excellent contrast levels and sharp visuals for everyday use. Watching videos and scrolling through social media feels fluid and enjoyable.

Under the hood, the phone is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 7300 chipset. While it won’t win any performance benchmarks, it offers sufficient processing power for most daily tasks such as browsing, social media, and light gaming. Multitasking feels smooth, and the phone rarely stumbles during regular use.

Software
The CMF Phone 1 runs Nothing OS 2.6, a near-stock Android experience with a minimalist aesthetic. This translates to a bloatware-free interface that prioritises user experience. The software feels clean and responsive, with subtle animations and a focus on functionality.

Notably, the playful design elements found in the Nothing Phone (2a)’s software, such as the Glyph interface, are absent here. This might disappoint some users who enjoyed the unique character of the Nothing brand. However, the focus on a clean and efficient experience remains a positive aspect.

Camera
The camera system of the CMF Phone 1 is a bit of a mixed bag. The main attraction is a 50MP Sony sensor backed by a depth sensor for portrait shots. In well-lit conditions, the camera captures decent photos with good detail and colour reproduction. Even in low light, the performance is pretty good with the night mode turned on.

The 16MP front-facing camera is adequate for video calls and casual selfies but won’t impress photography enthusiasts. Overall, the camera system is functional but falls short of what some users might expect, even at this price point.

Battery Life and Connectivity
The CMF Phone 1 packs a sizeable 5000mAh battery, which translates to excellent battery life. You can easily get through a full day of moderate use on a single charge and we were able to stretch it to two days on some occasions. The phone supports 33W wired charging, which helps top the battery up quickly when needed.

However, wireless charging is noticeably absent. In terms of connectivity, the phone offers standard options such as dual SIM support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC. Notably, it also boasts 5G capabilities, making it future-proof for next-generation networks.

The Verdict
The CMF Phone 1 by Nothing is a compelling option for budget-conscious users who prioritise a clean software experience, vibrant display, and long battery life. The swappable back covers and the accessories add a unique touch of personalisation, while the overall design is refreshingly colourful and playful.

Ultimately, the CMF Phone 1 succeeds in its core mission: delivering a good user experience at an unbeatable price point. If you’re looking for a powerful flagship killer, look elsewhere. But if you prioritise everyday usability, clean software, and a touch of design flair without breaking the bank, the CMF Phone 1 is a strong contender.

Price: AED 749 onwards

CMF by Nothing Phone 1
AED 749 onwards










  • Final Rating

4









Summary

One of the CMF Phone 1’s most striking features is its design. Unlike its flashier sibling, the Nothing Phone (2a), it ditches the transparent back with LED strips for a more conventional approach.

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Gadgets

HONOR 200 Pro Review: Portrait Master

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HONOR 200 Pro boasts high-end specs such as the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset and a gorgeous display, but keeps the price tag around AED 2299, placing it firmly in the upper midrange. This review dives into the HONOR 200 Pro’s strengths and weaknesses, helping you decide if it’s the right phone for you.

Design
The HONOR 200 Pro doesn’t break new ground in design. It follows the current trend of a large, glass-backed phone with a centred punch-hole selfie camera. The phone, however, feels premium and sturdy in hand. The back panel is glossy glass, while a sturdy aluminium frame holds everything together.

The power button and volume rocker are placed on the right side, with an in-display fingerprint sensor for secure unlocking. The phone lacks a headphone jack, which is becoming increasingly common these days. Overall, the design is functional and attractive.

Display
The HONOR 200 Pro shines with its 6.78-inch AMOLED display that offers a sharp FHD+ resolution (2700-by-1224 pixels). It also delivers vibrant colours and deep blacks. Whether you’re watching videos, browsing the web, or gaming, the visuals are stunning.

The display boasts a 120Hz refresh rate, making scrolling and animations feel buttery smooth. While some high-end phones are now offering 144Hz or even higher refresh rates, 120Hz is still a significant improvement over the standard 60Hz and provides a great balance between smoothness and battery life.

Performance
The HONOR 200 Pro packs a punch with the latest Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset, paired with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. This combination delivers excellent performance for everyday tasks, multitasking, and even demanding games. During my testing, apps launched quickly, games ran flawlessly, and there was no noticeable lag.

One point of contention is the lack of LTPO (Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) technology in the display. This tech allows the refresh rate to dynamically adjust based on content, potentially saving battery life.

Software
The HONOR 200 Pro runs on Android 14 with Honor’s own MagicOS on top. MagicOS offers a clean and user-friendly interface with some additional features such as a built-in theme store and app optimisation tools. However, some users might find the pre-installed bloatware a bit intrusive.

The good news is that most of these apps can be uninstalled. Another advantage of HONOR devices is the inclusion of Google Mobile Services (GMS), which means you have access to the Google Play Store and other essential Google apps like Gmail, Maps, and YouTube.

Cameras
The HONOR 200 Pro’s camera system is where things get interesting. It features a triple-lens rear setup with a 50MP main sensor, an 8MP ultrawide sensor, and a 2MP depth sensor. The main sensor takes excellent photos in good lighting conditions. The autofocus is fast and accurate, and the level of detail captured is impressive.

Where the HONOR 200 Pro truly shines is in portrait mode. The phone uses its AI capabilities to create stunning bokeh effects, blurring the background while keeping your subject sharp. This is especially effective for portraits of people and even pets. Low-light performance is also quite good. Another camera mode introduced in the HONOR 200 Pro is the “Aperture” mode.

This mode allows you to control the amount of background blur in your photos, creating a professional-looking bokeh effect that separates your subject from the background. The phone’s software analyses the scene and uses depth information to create a distinction between your subject and the background. You can then adjust the aperture value within the camera app to control the intensity of the blur.

The HONOR 200 Pro also comes equipped with an 8MP ultrawide sensor. Compared with some competitors in the upper midrange segment that offer 12MP or even higher resolution ultrawide sensors, the 8MP sensor on the HONOR 200 Pro falls a bit short.

Despite the lower resolution, the ultrawide sensor does offer a 120-degree field of view, allowing you to capture expansive landscapes, cityscapes, and group photos where fitting everyone in the frame might be challenging with the main sensor.

The sensor also boasts autofocus, which is a feature not always available on ultrawide cameras in smartphones. This allows you to capture close-up shots with the ultrawide lens, offering some creative flexibility.

Up front, the HONOR 200 Pro also features a 16MP selfie camera that sits within a punch-hole cutout on the display. While it doesn’t boast the highest megapixel count on the market, it offers a good balance between resolution and functionality for most users. In good lighting conditions, the camera produces selfies with good colour accuracy and sharpness.

Battery Life
The HONOR 200 Pro boasts a sizeable 5,200mAh battery, which is becoming the standard for high-end phones. In our testing, the phone delivered a full day of battery life with moderate usage, which included browsing the web, checking social media, streaming music, and watching some videos. However, power users who game extensively or use GPS navigation frequently might find themselves needing to top up the battery before the end of the day.

The saving grace here is the incredibly fast 100W wired SuperCharge. In our tests, the phone went from 0% to 50% in just 15 minutes, and a full charge took around 30 minutes. This is fantastic for those who are always on the go and can’t afford to wait hours for their phone to charge. The phone also supports 66W wireless charging, which is impressive and allows for quick wireless top-ups when needed, though you’ll need to purchase a compatible wireless charger separately.

Verdict
The HONOR 200 Pro is a compelling option in the upper midrange smartphone market. It offers a beautiful display, excellent performance for most tasks, a versatile camera system with exceptional portrait capabilities, and incredibly fast charging.

However, it’s not without its shortcomings. The design feels somewhat generic, the lack of LTPO technology might be a concern for some users, and low-light camera performance could be better.

Ultimately, the HONOR 200 Pro is a solid phone with a lot to offer, especially for users who prioritise portrait photography and fast charging.

Price: AED 2299 onwards

Photography and sample images by Ryan Chris

HONOR 200 Pro
AED 2299










  • Final Rating

3.5









Summary

HONOR 200 Pro boasts high-end specs such as the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset and a gorgeous display, but keeps the price tag around AED 2299, placing it firmly in the upper midrange.

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