Features

Best Midrange Smartphones from $300 to $600

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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 US$ 300 to US$ 600.

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 two other lists for best budget and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 ($500)

It was the original Mi Mix that put borderless phones on the map, but it’s only with the Mi Mix 2 that Xiaomi can say they finally refined the concept. Now easier to hold and smarter in execution, the newest Xiaomi flagship has an improved pair of cameras and some of the best specs you can find on a phone priced at US$ 500.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

OnePlus 5 ($479)

The OnePlus 3T has finally been unseated from our list, and what better way than by its successor, the OnePlus 5. The price may have gone up, but you get even more flagship-level features this time around: a much faster Snapdragon 835 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and an additional camera at the back capable of zooming in on subjects.

REVIEW: OnePlus 5

Huawei P10 ($580)

While it may seem odd placing Huawei’s latest and greatest smartphone on a midrange list, the P10’s price is surprisingly competitive, especially when compared to other flagships launched alongside it at Mobile World Congress 2017 (MWC). If you’re after something a little more beefed up, there’s always the more expensive P10 Plus.

REVIEW: Huawei P10

Vivo V7+ ($345)

Slim bezels have finally become mainstream on midrange smartphones thanks to the Vivo V7+. Although it no longer has a dual-camera setup like its predecessor, image quality is still top-notch for the price, and the new Snapdragon 450 chipset proves its worth in terms of performance and energy efficiency.

REVIEW: Vivo V7+

Moto Z2 Play ($499)

We’re not including the Moto Z2 Play on our list just because it’s one of the few modular smartphones to come out this year (the Moto Z2 Force being the other one); in fact, it’s a solid handset with or without Moto Mods. We can thank the efficient Snapdragon 626 processor, super-fast fingerprint sensor, and clear Android skin for that.

REVIEW: Moto Z2 Play

Updates as of October:

  • Replaced Xiaomi Mi 6 with Xiaomi Mi Mix 2
  • Replaced OPPO R11 with Vivo V7+

Updates as of September:

  • Replaced ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom with Xiaomi Mi 6

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

First Look

vivo X60 with Zeiss Unboxing, First Impressions

Are you excited to snap away with the vivo x60?

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vivo x60

vivo stays on their seat with the A-listers when it comes to camera smartphones as they unveil the vivo X60 Series with their new branding partnership with Zeiss.

Today, we’re unboxing the vivo X60.

It comes in this matte glittery box with the Zeiss branding. Lifting the lid, we get to see the frosted and textured plastic bump case, simple sim tray ejector tool, a USB-C to USB-A cable. accompanied by the fast-charging 33W FlashCharge adapter.

There’s also a pair of 3.55 earphones with extra ear tips in different sizes that goes with the USB-C to 3.5mm dongle.

Now, we put the spotlight on the main event, the vivo X60.

The vivo X60 gets your attention with its glass gradient finish. You might even catch yourself just marveling at it. Up front, you’ll be greeted with its 6.56-inch AMOLED display:

  • 6.56” AMOLED
  • 2376 x 1080 Full HD+
  • 120 Hz Refresh Rate
  • HDR10+
  • 398 PPI Density

With its smooth and satisfying 120Hz refresh rate. It’s perfect for your daily web activities or occasional gaming. In defiance of its light and sleek design, the vivo X60 comes with groundbreaking power.

Here’s a look at the specs:

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
  • Adreno 650
  • 128GB / 256GB UFS 3.1 Storage
  • 8GB / 12GB RAM
  • 4300mAh Battery
  • Funtouch OS 11.1

It can easily be your partner for multitasking on a daily basis. It also boasts of a 4300mAh battery that’s just enough for a day of browsing and scrolling on your social media pages.

But let’s put the focus on this phone’s best feature — its wide array of cutting-edge cameras as vivo forges its branding partnership with Zeiss.

  • 48MP f/1.8 Main (Wide)
  • 13MP f/2.46 Telephoto
  • 13MP f/2.2 Ultra-wide
  • 32MP f/2.5 Selfie camera
  • 2x Optical Zoom
  • Zeiss Optics

With the Zeiss partnership, you’ll definitely get to take stunning photos. Are you excited to snap away with the vivo x60?


This feature is a collaboration between GadgetMatch and vivo Philippines.

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Features

5 features to look for before buying wireless earbuds for your workouts

The needs are different for your athletic activities

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True Wireless Flash X

Not all wireless earbuds are created equal. While there are plenty of options to choose from, most wireless earbuds serve a particular user.

For instance, there’s the everyday listener that requires the basic (or sometimes the best) wireless earbuds experience. Some are audiophiles who are specific about sound quality.

Also, there are fashionistas who care more about how a device looks and how it will fit their ensemble. Then, there are athletes and fitness enthusiasts, whose needs are a little bit different than the average consumer.

If you’re a casual or serious athlete, a sports and fitness enthusiast, or just someone who’s serious about a fitness journey, here are some of the features to look for before buying a pair of wireless earbuds.

IP Rating

IP rating, or ingress protection rating, determines the level of protection that any electrical device has against elements, like dust and water. It’s often overlooked by most consumers, working out with whatever wireless earbuds they have claiming it can handle their sweat.

I did this before with my Galaxy Buds, with an IPX2 rating, and it can only handle a little sweat. It started to malfunction a few months after use on heavy workouts, and I regret not taking care of it.

As a fitness enthusiast, I’m usually insanely drenched, heavily sweating over the course of an hour’s workout. If you’re in for intense, heavy workouts, look for wireless earbuds that have IPX7 ratings.

Wireless earbuds with this protection aren’t just water-resistant anymore — they’re waterproof. You can submerge them up to a meter for up to 30 minutes, or get drenched in sweat when you’re working out.

Some examples would be the Galaxy Buds Pro, Jabra’s Elite Active 75t, Jaybird Vista, and my trusty companion — the JBL Under Armour True Wireless Flash X, which I’ll be using as a point of comparison for the rest of the list.

Style, size, and fit

Physical activities require a lot of movements, so some of the things to consider are your wireless earbuds’ style, size, and fit. The style and size will depend on your preferences and how you feel about it.

Meanwhile, the fit needs to be secure and comfortable. Finding the right tip can help to ensure the earbuds won’t fall off your ears. That is if you like working out with in-ear earbuds like me.

True Wireless Flash X

My JBL UA True Wireless Flash X is quite bulky for an in-ear, but I enjoy having it plugged in so I don’t have to worry about touching it on some of my workouts. It also has a wingtip to keep it in place! On another note, my friend uses PowerBeats Pro for his workouts, since he feels safe when an earbud is hooked in his ear.

Gesture controls and navigation

What I love about wireless earbuds — whether they’re for everyday use or for my workouts — is the vibe it gives whenever I use its gesture controls. I feel like a secret agent from a sci-fi movie.

Anyhoo, accessibility is important when you’re working out to keep you focused and of course, to make your life easy. It’s an inconvenience if you have to pick up your phone every now and then just for music playback, right?

For every brand, the gesture controls are different. My everyday pair of wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Live, is sensitive enough that even a light tap can pause the music, except I can’t touch it when I’m drenched in sweat.

Meanwhile, my JBL UA True Wireless Flash X requires pressing the button on the right earbud to play and pause my music. On the left earbud, it adjusts the isolation of background noise, which I’ll be talking about later.

Nonetheless, when looking for your pair of wireless earbuds, make sure you check its gesture controls and navigation, and how easy it is for you to adapt. Your lifestyle and behavior will also be a factor here!

Battery life and charging case

Another thing to consider is the wireless earbuds’ battery life and their charging cases. Can it last for a day? How many times can you charge your wireless earbuds in the charging case? And does it charge fast? These are the questions you need to ask when you’re out for a pair of wireless earbuds to accompany you in your workouts.

True Wireless Flash X

The JBL UA True Wireless Flash X lasts for nine hours — enough to last you one day at work if you use it for that purpose. But if you’re using it specifically for workouts. If you work out one hour every day, this can last for a week. Which happened in my case, since I have a different pair of wireless earbuds for my calls and listening sessions.

The case, on the other hand, lets you charge the earbuds up to four times. It doesn’t support fast charging though, so it will take at least two hours to fully charge the aluminum case.

Active noise cancellation

A pair of wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC), or at least the ability to isolate background noise like the JBL UA True Wireless Flash X, is extremely helpful during workouts.

It helps you keep your focus on what you’re doing. Sometimes, it feels like I’m lost in my own world — lifting weights while listening to Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” or “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark”.

Some may argue that you don’t really need ANC, but I beg to differ. Some people can easily get distracted and lose their focus, and the amount of mental bandwidth needed to perform a workout requires intense concentration. ANC can help you focus on reaching your fitness goals.

Other things to consider, depending on your needs

Sound quality and connectivity aren’t the top-of-mind features people look for when buying a pair of wireless earbuds for their workouts. After all, most wireless earbuds nowadays focus on that — but don’t have the necessary features I mentioned above that are essential for physical activities.

True Wireless Flash X

If you’re a bit of an audiophile or you’re someone who’s connected 24/7, you might want to check several alternatives like the Jabra Elite 75t, Jaybird Vista, and the Powerbeats Pro.

True Wireless Flash X

The JBL Under Armour True Wireless Flash X retails for PhP 9,999. In the Philippines, it’s available for purchase at Onward PH.


For more great products and accessories like the JBL UA True Wireless Flash X, visit OnWardPH or follow them through their Facebook and Instagram accounts (@OnWardPH) for you to keep posted.

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First Look

ASUS Zenfone 8 Flip Unboxing and First Impressions

It comes with a special case!

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Zenfone 8 Flip

“Oooh what’s in the box?” is what I imagine most of you say whenever a new device comes out. So, for the Zenfone 8 Flip, we’ll show you what you can expect should you decide to cop the latest from ASUS.

This is the box. Pretty standard, with the 8 on top.

Zenfone 8 Flip

The inside follows the same color and brushed-cement looking finish. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

I totally just made-up “brushed-cement” but it’s the only thing I can think of to describe the look.

First thing in the packaging is a packet with the SIM tray ejector tool.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Inside it are the user guide and the special case.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Underneath the packet is the Zenfone 8 Flip itself. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

We’re gonna dive straight into the phone. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It has quite a glossy glass finish. That means smudges. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

That’s icky

The power button has a bright blue tint that stands out from the rest of the device. 

Zenfone 8 FlipSitting right on top of it are the volume rockers.

The bottom has the usual USB-C port and speaker grille.

Zenfone 8 Flip

While the left side has the SIM tray. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

Here’s a closer look at the Flip camera module. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

And here it is actually flipped. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

What’s cool is you control the angle of flipping.
Zenfone 8 Flip

Here it is with the case on. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It has a stopper to keep the module from flipping.

Zenfone 8 Flip

And the phone knows when it’s on. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

It’ll give you this prompt if you switch to ‘selfie’ on the camera app with the stopper equipped. 

Zenfone 8 FlipPretty cool, yeah?

This is what the home screen looks like. That wallpaper is actually animated. 

Zenfone 8 Flip

You also have the a USB-C cable

And a power adapter.

That’s everything inside the box!

Zenfone 8 Flip

First Impressions 

The ASUS Zenfone Flip 8 has some heft to it. Perhaps that’s to be expected given the Flip camera module. Speaking of, that camera module has a way of making you want to use it. I’m not one for selfies but I took a few for a quick test run along with some other quick snaps.

Selfies

Main camera, HDR off

Ultra-wide, HDR off 

Ultra-wide, auto HDR

Main camera, auto HDR 

Ultra-wide, auto HDR 

Indoors, Main camera 

Indoors, Portrait 

Bright light indoors

Some observations: The post-processing after you take photos does A LOT of work whether or not you have HDR turned on or off. This results in high contrast and sharpened images. On the contrary, using the same camera but with portrait mode, the resulting image looks softer.

This isn’t a good look for the image processing and I can see people opting to use Google Camera instead of the stock one on the phone.

Performance-wise, we haven’t spent a significant amount of time with the device but the whole thing feels snappy and buttery-smooth. So, it’s par for the course for something flagship. The display does look sharp and pleasing to the eyes. It is, after all, Samsung AMOLED.

That’s all we have on the Zenfone 8 Flip for now. Stay tuned for the review.

Zenfone 8 Flip

Here’s a quick look at the specs of the Zenfone 8 and Zenfone 8 Flip side by side.

Zenfone 8 Zenfone Flip 8
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Display 5.9” Samsung AMOLED, 120Hz 6.67” Samsung AMOLED, 90Hz
OS Android 11, Zen UI 8 Android 11, Zen UI 8
Configuration 6GB + 128GB

8GB +128GB

8GB + 256GB

16GB + 256GB

*No storage expansion

8GB +256GB

*Up to 2TB storage expansion via MicroSD

Battery 4,000mAh 5,000mAh
Cameras 64MP Sony IMX686

12MP Ultra-wide

12MP front-facing

64MP Sony IMX686

12MP Ultra-wide

8MP telephoto

*Flip camera module

Pricing and availability details to follow.


Watch our Zenfone 8 review

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