Philippines

Best Budget Smartphones (Philippine Edition)

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below PhP 15,000! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

Huawei Nova 2i / Honor 9i / Mate 10 Lite (PhP 14,999)

Huawei once again confuses us with their elaborate naming scheme, but one thing is for certain: The Nova 2i is easily one of the best smartphones you can find in this price range. A total of four cameras (two in front and two at the back) and a near-borderless display are standout features at this level.

REVIEW: Huawei Nova 2i

LG Q6 (PhP 12,990)

How often do we see a near-borderless display on a budget-friendly smartphone? As of now, it’s still uncommon. Thanks to LG, we’re seeing FullVision on the Q6, and it’s stunning at this price point. Along with it comes a power-efficient processor, high-grade aluminum frame, and triple-card slots.

REVIEW: LG Q6

ASUS ZenFone 4 Max (PhP 9,995)

It doesn’t get much more complete than this below PhP 15,000. The ZenFone 4 Max has everything you’d hope for in a PhP 9,995 phone, including a dual-camera setup and large 5000mAh battery in a body that’s surprisingly compact. Once its cleaner version of ZenUI arrives, this will be one tough entry to kick out.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone 4 Max

Xiaomi Mi A1 (PhP 12,000)

Putting stock Android on a Xiaomi handset is a match made in heaven. Being the first of its kind, the Mi A1 offers consistent software updates, a surprisingly good dual-camera setup, and the great battery life you’d expect from this brand. This is the phone for Xiaomi fans and Android purists alike!

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi A1

OPPO A71 (PhP 8,990)

If you’re on a tight budget and simply want a smartphone that’s fast enough to get everyday tasks done, it doesn’t get much better than the OPPO A71. It gives up OPPO’s signature selfie branding in exchange for a sleek, no-frills design and space for two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time.

REVIEW: OPPO A71

Updates as of November:

  • Replaced Huawei GR3 2017 with Nova 2i
  • Replaced Xiaomi Mi Max 2 with Mi A1

Updates as of October:

  • Replaced Vivo Y53 with OPPO A71

Updates as of September:

  • Replaced Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X with Mi Max 2
  • Replaced OPPO A57 with the LG Q6
  • Replaced ASUS ZenFone 3 Max 5.5 with ZenFone 4 Max

[irp posts=”19162″ name=”Best Budget Smartphones below $300″]

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Fitbit Charge 3 comes with so many yummy strap options

It also has a 7-day battery life!

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The best trackers are the ones that are always on your wrist and running. Though there are a number of impressive ones in the market, so few of them perform in terms of battery time.

Fitbit’s newest health wearable, announced just last August, promises to remedy that. The Fitbit Charge 3 boasts a battery that will last you seven days.

This sleek little thing features an improved touchscreen display that’s made of aluminum and Gorilla Glass, plus an inductive side button (yep, no physical buttons on this baby!). The Charge 3 comes in two colors: Black with a graphite tracker or Blue-gray with a rose-gold tracker. But, if you don’t like those colors, there are a number of strap options available:

For those who want a less sporty look, there are leather strap options, too.

These woven straps, similar to the Fitbit Versa straps, are also looking pretty good.

Aside from looking nice with the benefit of having a slew of straps available for this wearable, the Charge 3 can do a whole lot of things. This fitness band connects to the Fitbit app and tracks your pace and distance in real time, allows for continuous heart rate tracking, and even records sleep.

There’s even automatic exercise recognition which means you don’t have to manually input activities like running, swimming, or certain sports. It has Fitbit Pay, and it’s the first fitness tracker that has smartphone notifications and quick reply for Android.

The Fitbit Charge 3 retails starting at US$ 150 for the basic version and US$ 170 for the special edition NFC- and Fitbit Pay-enabled one. It’s also available in the Philippines for PhP 9,990 and PhP 10,990, respectively. The different bands retail for US$ 30 to US$ 50 or PhP 1,690 to PhP 2,990.

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Enterprise

PLDT, Smart activate Philippines’ first 5G towers

In partnership with Huawei and Ericsson

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More 5G phones are slated for release early next year, which is why telecom companies are already preparing for the next generation of wireless connectivity. The race to 5G is pretty tight, but the first to kickstart its 5G network in the Philippines is PLDT along with its wireless arm Smart.

The sister companies activated the first 5G cell site in the Philippines — not just one though, but two. In partnership with Huawei, the first 5G tower is located right in the heart of Makati City where PLDT’s headquarters is located. The second one is at Clark Smart 5G City within the premises of Clark Freeport Zone and the technology partner is Ericsson.

With two 5G cell sites already up and running, PLDT and Smart are one of the pioneers of the 5G network in the world. Only a few telco operators in the world have 5G base stations and they are in developed countries.

For now, the 5G service is not available to consumers. PLDT and Smart are yet to come up with 5G solutions and applications especially for central business districts like Makati. There’s no exact date when regular consumers can experience 5G connectivity, but PLDT and Smart are already deploying 5G-ready equipment for LTE-enabled towers nationwide.

According to PLDT, they have the most extensive fiber network in the Philippines spanning over 221,000 kilometers. With Smart as the wireless arm, both claim to be in the best position to deploy 5G in the country.

SEE ALSO: Philippines to become one of first to roll out 5G in 2019

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Is the Philippines ready to have its first smart city?

See how businesses will shape our cities to the future

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Photo by Sergio Souza

Living in 2018 means we see how things transform in smarter ways. As we go digital, lifestyle shifts and businesses are veering away from traditional marketing to catch up with consumers. Apps like Grab and Lazada are changing the way we travel and shop.

This is why MSI-ECS hosted the first-ever CXO Innovation Summit to discuss “Digital Transformation,” which tackled the integration of digital technology in all areas of a business. It was held last November 9 to 11, 2018 in Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu, Philippines.

Leaders of the IT industry shared their thoughts, plans, and solutions to the problems encountered as the world gets smarter. The three-day event discussed big data, cutting-edge securities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, smart cities, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

As a consumer, I believe that we should be attentive of what’s happening around us, especially with what the enterprises plan to do in the future. After all, we are the end users of their products and services.

AI is making the world more intelligent

Huawei is leading the industry in developing intelligent products through artificial intelligence. In their forecast, AI will change everything. We can have a safer city that supports intelligent transportation and predicts disasters. Healthcare services can improve drastically by preventing diseases early on and providing diagnosis assistance. There will also be faster R&D for pharmacies and medicines.

In addition, enterprises can have their logistics run smoothly through monitoring and auto sorting. Manufacturers can run their own maintenance and detect deficiencies, as well. The possibilities seem endless when AI is integrated with everything that you can imagine.

An example of AI Integration is the Shenzhen airport, which recently adopted facial recognition technology, making their operations more efficient. It hopes to increase direct boarding from terminals by 70 percent and lower passenger wait time by 15 percent.

If you’ve noticed, we’re already surrounded by IoT with AI built in. The Internet of Things, in summary, is the network of devices, electronics, software, and things that connect, collect, and exchange data. Some examples are sensors, security cameras, wearables, and electric cars.

This year, we’ve seen a lot of IoT packed with AI unveiled in different shows and events such as LG’s Cloi and Huawei’s recently launched Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. This is only the beginning, and we’re bound to see more of these in years to come.

Rise of smart cities

In a futuristic paradise, we are surrounded with IoT and everyone is connected. According to Cisco, a leader in IT and networking, smart cities are filled with IoT to improve every citizen’s life in terms of mobility, connectivity, safety, and security.

Copenhagen, for example, is using digital technology to reduce carbon emissions, making this city a place where people want to live in and new businesses want to invest in to bring in more revenue.

Photo by Krisztian Tabori

In the Philippines, PLDT and its subsidiary Smart started their plans on making the first smart city in the Clark Freeport Zone. Smart is currently upgrading their network, and started deploying 5G-ready equipment in an ongoing LTE rollout. They’re putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses, and enterprises operating in the city in hopes of attracting more foreign investors.

Banks are also developing their apps and virtual wallets like GCash, which help enable people to go cashless and rely more on digital services. The thought of living in a smart city is promising. However, it’s also terrifying as it poses another threat: security.

The problem with being connected

Cyber security is already a big issue for personal safety. There are breaches on companies that collect information and personal data.

Staying connected means our personal information is freely given to those who we authorize to use it. Social media sites, financial apps, and shopping websites gather our data (like our credit card details) as we use their platform.

But it’s not just the tech giants that should be cautious of cyber criminals. There are also bank accounts, governments, and most importantly, ourselves to worry about

Nap Castillo, Systems Engineering Manager for Fortinet

One of the top cyber security companies in the world, Fortinet, is working closely with companies like Microsoft and Adobe to help improve their system and protect them from cyber attacks.

Are we ready to live in a smart city?

Considering that our everyday lifestyle relies more on digital services, I’m sure that everyone will adapt easily. It’s up to us to be prepared in the worst-case scenario, and to hope that the government and businesses will do their best to keep everything safe and secure even if the world gets smarter.

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