Philippines

Best Budget Smartphones in the Philippines below P10,000

January 2021 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below PhP 10,000! 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:

Samsung Galaxy A21s (PhP 9,990)

You might consider this cheating as it is originally priced at PhP 11,990. However, it is currently discounted and we’re willing to bet this is gonna be its price even as 2021 truly rolls around. That makes the Galaxy A21s somewhat of a steal at this price range. Samsung has really made good strides in the non-flagship category ever since ditching the J-series. In its place is the expanded A-series — and this phone specifically checks most boxes you need out of a basic smartphone.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A21s

realme Narzo 20 (PhP 7,990)

Easily the best gaming-skewed smartphone in the this price range. Budget phones these day tend to be focused on a few things and then have comprises in some areas. That seems to be the case here as you shouldn’t expect much from this phone’s cameras. But what it lacks in shooting, it makes up for in letting you play the most popular mobile gaming titles with relative ease.

REVIEW: realme Narzo 20

POCO M3 (PhP 7,990)

Judging this solely on paper alone, the POCO M3 is in collision course with the realme Narzo 20 in terms of pricing and overall target market. POCO was relentless in releasing good value for money smartphones in 2020 and the POCO M3 is no different. It has fun camera features that you can play with. Granted, the image quality won’t leave jaws dropping, the output is still… fine. It’s also slated to perform relatively well. A fine option at this price range.

SPECS: POCO M3

Infinix Note 7 (PhP 7,990)

Here’s another phone in the same price range as the realme Narzo 20 and the POCO m3. Like the latter, this appears to be aiming at a more balanced approach — a smartphone for a smartphone’s sake. It has all the essentials, performs just about as advertised, and takes fairly decent photos.

REVIEW: Infinix Note 7

realme C15 (PhP 6,990)

The realme C15 is essentially just the realme C11 but on steroids. Specs-wise, they have many similarities with a few improvements here and there. This is still a reliable purchase for people (or even oldies) who just want a basic phone without spending too much.

REVIEW: realme C15

Redmi 9C (PhP 5,990)

Many people are struggling to get by and shelling out cash for a phone is potentially not within the priorities of survival. If anything, it could be what someone needs, but cannot afford. So, as much as phones like the Redmi 9C have a catch to their low cost, it’s well worth it.

REVIEW: Redmi 9C

Redmi 9 (PhP 6,490)

Probably the best compromise if you want a capable budget phone but don’t necessarily want to be near the top-end of the budget spectrum. You’ll have to settle for using Lite apps to not feel any slow down, but other than that, this thing works and is built well.

HANDS-ON: Redmi 9

 

 

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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