Philippines

Best Midrange Smartphones in the Philippines from P10,000 to P20,000

January 2021 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best midrange smartphones retailing from PhP 10,000 to PhP 20,000.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G (PhP 19,990)

Starting this category with what will be the theme for most of this list — 5G-capable phones for less. That’s exactly what the Galaxy A42 5G is. It misses the upper midrange category by a hair but what you’re getting here is everything you’ve come to expect from the Samsung A-Series at this price point but with the benefit of the next gen mobile connectivity.

HANDS-ON: Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

OPPO Reno4Z 5G (PhP 20,990)

Cheating a little bit with the pricing here but it’s only outside the indicated price range here by a hair so can we let it pass? We sure can. The OPPO Reno 4Z 5G performs similarly to the OPPO Reno4 despite having plenty of differences in specs. The one thing that the Reno4Z edges the Reno4 on is  5G. It’s a solid midranger with 5G connectivity. 5G Phones might be the norm in less than a year but for now, it holds a bit of an edge in this price range.

HANDS-ON: OPPO Reno4Z 5G

Moto 5 5G (PhP 16,990)

Motorola is back in the Philippines and while the razr is their top-of-the-line offering, they kept in mind the midrange market by offering what might be the most affordable 5G-ready smartphone right now. That’s great value right there on top of its Snapdragon 750G SoC and a vanilla Android experience.

FIRST LOOK: Moto G 5G

POCO X3 NFC (PhP 12,990)

The POCO X3 NFC might represent the ultimate value-for-money phone. It’s what the brand had been known for and they are doubling down on that mantra. The combination of  a smooth 120Hz display, newer Snapdragon 732G chipset paired with Adreno 618 GPU, massive battery, and fast charging out of the box with that price is too hard to pass on.

HANDS-ON: POCO X3 NFC

 

Samsung Galaxy M31 (PhP 13,990)

This is a battery beast. Sometimes in this segment, you just need to have one standout thing going for you, and for the Galaxy M31, it is the 6,000mAh battery that works just as advertised. You’ll probably run out of juice first before this phone does.

HANDS-ON: Samsung Galaxy M31

Samsung Galaxy M51 (PhP 19,990)

Samsung appears to have a monopoly of battery beasts in this category with both the Galaxy M31 and now the Galaxy M51 making the list. Both will last you longer than you realize with the Galaxy M51 having better overall performance. Cameras are pretty much on the same level but you’re buying this for the massive 7,000mAh more than anything else.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy M51

realme 7

realme 7 (PhP 14,990)

The Pro version is reserved for the Snapdragon chips while the non Pro is equipped with MediaTek. It’s like clockwork now for realme, and this value for money smartphones are what we should expect from them from here on out.

REVIEW: realme 7

 

Huawei Nova 7 SE (PhP 19,990)

Barely making the price point, Huawei phones are facing a unique problem with the lack of Google Mobile Services. That said, Huawei Mobile Services is making a headway. But the reason the phone lands on this list is because of its 5G capabilities. This is the first smartphone in this category to offer 5G — that has to count for something.

HANDS-ON: Huawei Nova 7 SE

 

Accessories

The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset now sports Midnight Black

Nicely paired with the DualSense controller and your “Midnight Black” PS5

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Pulse 3D Wireless

Back in June, Sony announced two additional colorways for its next-generation DualSense controller. Apart from the classic white, the PlayStation 5’s newest controller also received a Midnight Black and Cosmic Red. This time around, they’ve extended the invitation to another PS5 peripheral, the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset.

Much like the DualSense controller, the headset will also come in Midnight Black. Other than this, everything else is pretty much the same for the Pulse 3D Headset. In essence, it still gives you deeper, more immersive 3D sounds to games that fully take advantage of this. It’s just that now, you have other color options to choose from. Whether or not this also comes in Cosmic Red, Sony has yet to announce that.

It’s worth noting that included in the PS5’s second major update is an equalizer for the 3D Pulse. It adds another layer of control for players. This lets them enjoy the game precisely the way they want to. But if tweaking isn’t your thing, there are also three presets: Standard, Bass Boost, or Shooter.

The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset in Midnight Black will be available on October 29 for PhP 5,590/ SG$ 149 / MYR 469/ DR1,699,000 / THB3,490 / VND2,699,000.

SEE ALSO: How to use the DualSense controller with PC, Mac

 

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Apple reveals the new iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max

A more refined iPhone 12 Pro series

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iPhone 13 Pro

Apple finally unveils the new iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max series. And just like how the leaks suggested, most of the rumors turned out to be true — minus the Rose Gold color option.

Same design language

Of course, Apple has to keep its flat-edge design from last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro series. The iPhone 13 Pro series still feature a surgical-grade stainless steel frame resistant to abrasion and corrosion. Aside from the usual Graphite, Gold, and Silver color options, both models feature a new Sierra Blue colorway.

The Ceramic Shield found on the iPhone’s front is still here together with a matte glass texture at the back. IP68 water and dust resistance also stays in the new iPhone Pro lineup.

Faster display and smaller notch

Apple has kept the same notch from 2017’s iPhone X for three years. Today, Apple changes that with the new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro series.

It now has a 20 percent smaller notch with an improved TrueDepth camera system. But the icing of the cake has got to be its Super Retina XDR with an adaptive 1oHz to 120Hz ProMotion display — a feature that should’ve been in last year’s iPhone 12 Pro series.

This makes the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max the first iPhones with an ultra-fast display. For the record, the iPad Pro from 2018 was the first Apple device to feature such high refresh rate.

Display brightness also goes up to 1000 nits for better sunlight legibility. Don’t expect a screen size increase as both models still have a 6.1 and 6.7-inch displays respectively.

Redesigned internals

The design outside may look almost identical to last year, but its internals got an overhaul. The new iPhone 13 Pro series feature an A15 Bionic Chipset with 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU that’s based on a 5nm process. This means smaller yet more power-efficient on the fly. Both CPU and GPU performance are improved to 50 percent.

Also, its newer 16-core Neural Engine is capable of having up to 15 trillion operations per second which enables faster and better machine learning in features like Live Text as well as ISP improvements in noise reduction and noise mapping.

iPhone 13 Pro

But the biggest news in this section has got to be the improved all-day battery life. The iPhone 13 Pro last 1.5 hours longer than last year’s iPhone 12 Pro. Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has 2.5 hours longer battery life compared to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This also makes it the most power-packed iPhone to date.

5G support is also here to stay but with more 5G bands that has better support and coverage in more locations around the globe. With a new feature called Smart Data mode, it intelligently saves battery life by automatically shifting to LTE when 5G isn’t needed.

Even better Pro cameras

Speaking of the new A15 chip camera improvements earlier, the Pro-grade cameras from last year got even better.

On paper, both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro series have a brighter f/1.5 Wide camera. The ultra-wide camera was also changed to an even better sensor with an f/1.8 aperture and a new AF (Autofocus) system.

Lastly, there’s also a newer 77mm telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom — equivalent of a 6x optical zoom range on the camera system. For the first time in any iPhone, the telephoto lens now supports Night mode.

iPhone 13 Pro

Image from Apple

Newer camera features include Macro Mode for shooting something closer than ever before. This feature is also applicable to Slo-mo and Time-lapse camera modes.

There are also Photographic Styles which are different from applying the usual presets. This allows users to bring their photo preferences directly to the camera app and still preserve Apple’s multiframe image processing altogether. Paired with Smart HDR 4, users can see improvements in the new iPhone’s dynamic range.

Last year’s Deep Fusion, Apple ProRAW, and Portrait Mode with Portrait Lighting also stay in this year’s iPhone.

Cinema-grade video

The new pair of Pro series phones has several video improvements including the new Cinematic Mode. This records videos of certain moving subjects or static objects with a depth effect and automatic changing in focus. This brings professional cinematography quality right in your hands.

Users can adjust level of bokeh in Photos or iMovie in iOS. This feature is also coming soon to Final Cut Pro and iMovie for macOS. Cinematic mode records in Dolby Vision HDR format.

What makes the new iPhone 13 Pro series distinct from the new iPhone 13 series is the support for Apple’s new ProRes video codec. This is the same format used in commercials, feature films, and even TV broadcasts that offer better color fidelity yet less compression.

To top all of these features, the iPhone is the only smartphone in the world that provides end-to-end workflow.

Pricing and Availability

The new iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max still have the same base price as last year’s iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max at US$ 999 and US$ 1099 respectively.

In Singapore, the iPhone 13 Pro starts at SG$ 1649 (SG$ 69 a month for 24 months) and SG$ 1799 (SG$ 75 a month/24 months) for the iPhone 13 Pro Max variant. The base storage still starts at 128GB but goes all the way to 1TB — also a first on any iPhone.

In the Philippines, the iPhone 13 Pro retails for PhP 63,99o while the iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at PhP 70,990.

Both models will be available in the Apple Store app and Apple Store locations with pre-orders starting on Friday, September 17 in the United States, United Kingdom, India, China, Japan, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and 30 more countries in the list. Availability in other countries have yet to follow.

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iPhone 13 adds Cinematic Mode, better performance

Design is mostly same as last year

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iPhone 13

The new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini mostly keeps the look and feel of the iPhone 12. The improvements come in overall performance as well as a video shooting feature that could prove useful for mobile filmmakers.

Getting some the minute details out of the way first, the notch is a tad smaller but that really isn’t a highlight. What your eyes should focus on is the improved Super Retina XDR OLED display. Yes. OLED. Apple says it’s brighter outdoors and is more power efficient.

Speaking of power, the iPhone 12 mini was famously lacking in the long-lasting battery department. Naturally, Apple says that will no longer be the case with the iPhone 13 mini. Along with the OLED display and the brand spanking new A15 chip, the iPhone 13 mini should last up to two and a half hours longer than its predecessor. Same is true for the iPhone 13.

A15 Bionic chip

The A15 Bionic chip is predictably described as being a more badass chip than the A14. It’s the same tune year after year but we never get tired of hearing it do we? (Cue Olivia Rodrigo’s “deja vu”). The A15 Bionic not only affect power efficiency, it’s also directly responsible for the new iPhones’ overall performance.

With it, the new iPhones’ advanced machine learning algorithms kicks into high gear and unlocks what could be the biggest addition this year — Cinematic Mode.

Cinematic Mode

iPhone 13

We imagine this to be the feature that most people will play around with, especially mobile filmmakers. Cinematic Mode records videos of people, pets, and objects with a depth effect. But it doesn’t stop there. It comes with automatic focus changes. This means anyone can capture cinema-style moments, even if they aren’t a professional filmmaker.

For those who require a more creative control, the focus and level of depth can be manipulated after capture in the Photos app and iMovie for iOS. The same will soon be available to iMovie for macOSS and Final Cut Pro.

This makes the iPhone 13 lineup the only devices to be able to edit the depth-of-field or bokeh in video after recording.

What’s even more impressive is that Cinematic Mode is also available on the front-facing TrueDepth camera. An update we’re sure plenty of TikTokers will be happy about.

Elsewhere on the iPhone 13

Everything else on this new model is the par for the course upgrade you’ve come to expect. The graphical performance for gaming is better and the dual-camera system Smart HDR 4 through computational photography.

5G coverage has also been expanded with Apple partnering with over 200 telecommunications companies to make sure the iPhone 13 series deliver the best in next generation mobile connectivity.

What’s new though are the storage options. Apple has finally decided that 64GB just isn’t enough. The starting model now has 128GB. With it are two other storage options — 256GB and 512GB.

Price and availability

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will be available in pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED. The iPhone 13 starts at US$ 799/ SG$ 1,299/ PhP 50,990. Meanwhile the iPhone 13 mini starts at US$ 699/ SG$ 1,149 / PhP 44,990.

Pre-order starts at 5AM PDT on September 17. Availability begins on September 24. This covers the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, the US, and 30 other countries.

In Turkey, availability starts on October 1. In Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand and nearly 10 other countries, availability starts on October 8.

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