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I ended up with an Oppo A9 2020 Edition and have no regrets

A quick review. But more photos.

Phones. I used to review a lot of these back in the day. Then I took a hiatus after covering Mobile World Congress. That was back in 2011. Barcelona was the summit. I stopped. Fell in love with other things. Mobile phones took a backseat – not from the usage, but from the writing. It was tough to move on with life, putting all your hobbies and interests into compartments. The mistake people make is they leave nothing for themselves and in this age of Alexa, surveillance, social media, the sacred is what is not shared. It is the exception, not the norm.

But I digress. This is a phone review. Sort of. The first in a while. I’ve been using a Huawei P20 since 2018. It still works, but the battery isn’t what it used to be, so a new phone was in order. The P20 still is an excellent phone for photos so I keep it at home as backup. I wanted an upgrade. The Nova 5t seemed interesting, because it was essentially the same thing (and more) for half the price. Damn you technology!

A few weeks later, at work, I was offered the Oppo A9 2020. After doing some research, I realized the A9 2020 edition had two interesting selling points (this was on paper — as I had not tested it yet). First, it had a 5000mAh battery, which was a boon in this day and age. I’m heavy on Gatcha games (Another Eden and Arknights FTW) so the battery capacity is a welcome addition. I believe Vivo also carries similar models with 5000mAh batteries. Heck, they’re all OEM and just get rebranded at the factories. Anyway, I digress again.

The second selling point was that the phone touted a 3.5mm jack, unlike most new phones nowadays that integrate audio into USB C. This one had USB C and the 3.5mm standard so I could easily charge and listen to music inside my 2019 Honda City.

One of Japan’s original castles is also a beauty. No nails were used to build this castle – just fitting wood together. Every 300 years the castle is disassembled (like LEGO) for maintenance. Back then, for security reasons, the distance from the lake had to be longer than the trajectory of a musket. #OppoA92020

Good things come in three’s

A few days later I leave for Japan for a work-related trip and because it involved a lot of walking, it really made sense to carry just one phone while phone number 2 was left on the tour bus. As the days went by, I ended up transferring most of my data (read: games) to the A9. I mean, just look at that night shot pf Matsumoto Castle above. The third selling point of the Oppo A9 2020 edition is the wide angle camera lens. Many three lens cameras these days reserve the third lens for the zooming capabilities. To be honest though, between zoom and wide angle, the latter seems more practical for travel. As I’m primarily drawn to landscapes, this feature resonated with me. To top it off, wide angle night mode is even more impressive – just look at that shot. It was almost completely dark in this photo save for the lights emitted by the castle.

An elusive Mt. Fuji has appears with Lake Kawaguchi in the foreground. It is a good sign when the entire mountain can be seen.

Above is another shot I took with natural light. I’ve been to Japan four times, but I’ve never seen Mt. Fuji this clearly. The best view might actually be from far away. We can admire from the distance.

The only prop you need for wide angle night mode is a good … prop. To prop your camera up and stay still for 6 seconds. The alleys of Golden Gai were elusive, yet accessible once you got permission to take photos.

I think the years 2019 to 2020 really rounded off accessibility to good tech. Imagine in 2018 a phone like the Huawei P20 cost upwards of P35,000 and today. phones like the Huawei Nova 5t and re-issued Oppo A9 2020 Edition go for less than P20,000.00. That’s a good mid-range value for phones with amazing cameras.

A real Gassho-style house! Getting Studio Ghibli vibes! The Iwase House is the oldest Gassho-style house in Japan. It costs 60M yen to rethatch the roof every 25 years, with 90% subsidized by the government (this house is a heritage site). Indoor heating is kettle powered so it’s also just as cold inside and it smells of smoke (soot travels to the roof). The couple inhabiting the house is the 18th generation occupants, with the house being 300 years old. Electricity was installed 100 years ago.
Only in this extremely cool climate can a house like this thrive. Indoor heating is basically a kettle and there’s soot all over the 3rd floor.

So yeah that’s it. If you’re looking for a phone with a big screen, huge battery life, amazing wide angle camera, separate charging and audio jack, this is really the only phone in its class that does all of these. The audio is really loud too! 10% volume can really fill the room. It’s loud!

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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