Philippines

Best Midrange Smartphones from P15,000 to P30,000 (May 2017 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 15,000 to PhP 30,000.

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 two other lists for best budget and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Zenfone 3 Zoom

ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom (PhP 23,995)

The ZenFone 3 Zoom is best known for its dual-camera setup that lets you zoom in without quality loss, but less advertised is the massive battery and efficient processor it comes with. Combine both, and you get an ASUS gadget perfect for this selection.

REVIEW: ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom

OnePlus 3T

OnePlus 3T (PhP 24,990)

We previously had the OnePlus 3T in our premium smartphone category, but with its nearly year-old design and the ever-increasing prices of high-end phones, there’s no better fit than right here. Speedy performance, great build quality, and a seamless Android interface are still its primary highlights.

REVIEW: OnePlus 3T (3 months later)

Huawei P10

Huawei P10 (PhP 28,990)

While it may seem odd placing Huawei’s latest and greatest smartphone in 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

OPPO F3 Plus

OPPO F3 Plus (PhP 23,990)

No other phone on this list does selfies better than OPPO’s F3 Plus. It continues the “selfie expert” hook with a dual-camera setup in front — one handles high-resolution shots while the other does super-wide-angle selfies. Its great for media consumption as well, with a 6-inch Full HD display, 4000mAh battery, and fast charging.

WATCH: OPPO F3 Plus Unboxing

Galaxy A5 (2017)

Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 (PhP 19,990)

Samsung hit all the right notes with its newest Galaxy A5 variant, owning a design reminiscent of older Galaxy flagships, as well as specs fit for its price point. Best of all, it has both water and dust resistance, which no other phone on this list can boast.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)

Enterprise

Philippines improves 4G LTE availability but falls short at rankings

Still one of the slowest in the world

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It’s no surprise that internet in Southeast Asia hasn’t caught up with 2018 standards. Based on several OpenSignal reports throughout the years, the region still rattles out poor ratings in 4G availability and speed.

Sadly, the most recent report shows more of the same. Though improving in reliability, internet in the region is still the slowest in the world.

The data was collected from over 4.8 million devices and almost 59 billion measurements throughout October to December last year.

The latest findings, which show definite improvements over last year’s results, offers eye-opening insights about the current state of 4G internet and its uncertain future.

South Korea still on top, but stumbles in speed

 

As with previous years, it’s no surprise that Singapore and South Korea dominate the boards once again. The world’s prime destination for eSports tops 4G availability; internet users in South Korea enjoy 4G connections for 97.49 percent of the time — a huge feat when around half of the recorded nations struggle to move past the 75 percent mark. Unfortunately, the country falls off a bit in terms of speed. Whereas the previous report clocked speeds of 43.46Mbps, this report measures a lower but still speedy 40.44Mbps.

On the other hand, Singapore tops the rankings for speed again with 44.31Mbps. Also, the country slightly improved their reliability at 84.43 percent.

The Philippines improves, but still a lower-tier country

Learning from their years-long stint at the bottom of the rankings, the Philippines finally improves their rankings with a marked upgrade on reliability. From a paltry 52.77 percent last year, the archipelagic nation now enjoys 63.73 percent 4G availability. As a result, the Philippines is no longer in the bottom 10 nations of the world, but is still the third lowest in Asia.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the country’s speed. Despite an upgrade (from 8.59Mbps to 9.49Mbps), the Philippines is the fourth slowest country in the world (and third slowest in Asia). This year’s ranking is also slightly worse than last year’s list where the country placed as only the fifth slowest.

India barely moves up

Despite a brilliant showing in 4G availability, India still holds the unfortunate title of “slowest 4G internet in the world.” Indian internet speeds average only 6.07Mbps. The sub-par speeds slightly improved from last year’s showing, which only clocked in 5.14Mbps. This may be attributed to India’s status as one of the most populous nations in the world. On the bright side, the South Asian country marginally improved its reach — 86.26 percent from 81.56 percent last year.

4G internet speeds are plateauing

4G technology started in 2010. Since then, countries continue to edge closer but miss the vaunted 50Mbps mark. As of 2018, it’s safe to assume that everyone’s hitting the hay in the hunt for speed. Most, if not all, upgrades in speed this year were marginal at best. With the apparent plateau, the world focused on providing more reliable 4G internet across the globe. Countries fared better in improving their 4G reliability.

Too little, too late?

5G is just on the horizon. Tech companies are already pushing for 5G-compatible devices; 5G will soon obliterate the 4G speed plateau. With a more efficient solution coming, we should ask whether the race for the best 4G service shows an alarming trend.

Before we know it, the race to the best 5G network will kick off. Developed countries already have a leg up. Unfortunately, those who trailed in the 4G race will fall behind even further as 5G passes them by. Even if 5G will be easy to implement, the lack of reliable 4G in developing countries will only widen the gap between 5G-ready and 4G-ready countries.

SEE ALSO: Philippines still ranks near bottom for 4G LTE speeds and availability

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10 best picks from the first Authorized Mi Store in the Philippines

We’re ready for Mi!

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I visited the first-ever, much-awaited Authorized Mi Store in the Philippines!

Xiaomi’s presence in the Philippine is not new, and even if they disappeared before, parallel importers didn’t let Xiaomi fans down. Now that they’re officially back on Philippine soil with a physical store where you can personally check out their offering, it’s time to make a Xiaomi shopping list!

Based on the item list and what we saw at the Mi Store in TriNoma, here are our top picks, aside from Xiaomi smartphones:

Amazfit Pace

The Amazfit Pace is Xiaomi’s best-looking wearable. It’s a full-featured smartwatch that runs on a custom version of Android, but not specifically Android Wear. It has a circular display, a heart rate sensor, GPS, and it’s water- and dust-resistant. You can also put your own tunes on the smartwatch so you can listen on the go via Bluetooth earphones.

Price: PhP 6,200

Mi 2-in-1 USB-C/Micro-USB cable

This is the cheapest on the list, but it’s also one of the most useful. With a 2-in-1 cable that has both USB-C and micro-USB connectors, you only have to carry one cable for charging your mobile devices. It’s a helpful accessory for those who are still transitioning to the new USB-C standard.

Price: PhP 149

Mi Box 2

Here’s a good tip: You don’t have to buy a new TV just to make it “smart” because set-top boxes like the Mi Box 2 will give your big old TV the upgrade it deserves. The Mi Box 2 runs Android TV and connects via HDMI. With this, you’ll be able to cast the contents of your phone to your TV, run apps like Netflix and YouTube, and even play games in your living room.

Price: PhP 3,490

Mi Electric Scooter

The Mi Electric Scooter is a personal favorite. Just look at how beautiful and modern it is! It’s perfect for short trips around your village, or a quick visit to a nearby friend’s place. It can last for up to 30 kilometers on a single charge, so you can always rely on it. It also folds, making it truly portable.

Price: PhP 18,850

Mi Minimalist Urban Backpack

Xiaomi is not all about electronics; they also have apparel and bags. Among the bags available in the store, the Minimalist Urban Backpack caught my eye with its simple exterior, but organized interior. It has all the pockets you need for your gadgets, glasses, documents, and pens.

Price: PhP 1,399

Mi Notebook Air 13.3 Fingerprint Edition

Xiaomi just recently ventured into laptops, and their latest release is officially here. If you’re looking for a Windows laptop that has the latest specs and a beautiful industrial design, the Mi Notebook Air 13.3 is a great option. It even supports Windows Hello with its built-in fingerprint reader. It’s powered by an Intel Core i5 processor with a dedicated NVIDIA MX150 graphics, and has a 256GB SSD with 8GB memory.

Price: PhP 43,500

Mi Power bank 2C 20000mAh

Xiaomi’s power banks have been known to be some of the best in the market. They’re good-looking, high-quality, and affordable accessories — just like this 20000mAh power bank, which is sold for less than a thousand pesos. It even has two USB ports and Quick Charge 3.0.

Price: PhP 995

MiJia Robot Vacuum

If you want to start creating a smart home, I suggest you include a robot vacuum in your early purchases. This particular one is a fully autonomous robot designed for cleaning floors.

Price: PhP 15,490

Mi Router 3

Are you still using a basic wireless router from your internet service provider? If so, you’re due for an upgrade! Xiaomi’s router will be able to help you get better Wi-Fi coverage in your home without the hefty price tag.

Price: PhP 1,190

Mi TV 4

Last, but definitely not the least, is the Mi TV 4. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the mainstream TVs in the market, you should check this out. The Mi TV 4 comes in two sizes: 49 and 55 inches. Both have 4K resolution with support for HDR content. It’s also a smart TV so you can enjoy apps right out of the box.

Price: PhP 35,990 (49-inch), PhP 42,990 (55-inch)

The first Authorized Mi Store in the Philippines is located on the fourth floor of TriNoma Mall in Quezon City.

SEE ALSO: Here’s everything the Authorized Mi Store in the Philippines sells

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Philippines

Here’s everything the Authorized Mi Store in the Philippines sells

We’re ready for Mi!

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The first-ever Authorized Mi Store in the Philippines is finally open! From smart TVs to smart rice cookers, they have it.

If you’re planning on checking the store out, here’s a helpful price list of everything that’s being sold at the store:

Phones

  • Redmi 4A — PhP 4,795 (2GB/16GB), PhP 5,350 (2GB/32GB)
  • Redmi 4X — PhP 6,750
  • Redmi Note 3 — PhP 7,500
  • Redmi Note 4 — PhP 7,990 (3GB/32GB), PhP 8,990 (4GB/64GB)
  • Redmi Note 5A — PhP 5,550
  • Redmi Note 5A Prime — PhP 7,290
  • Mi A1 – PhP 10,990
  • Mi Max 2 – PhP 12,999
  • Mi Note 2 – PhP 21,500
  • Mi Mix – PhP 25,500

Phone Accessories

  • Mi LED Light Enhanced Edition – PhP 125
  • Mi Selfie Stick – PhP 399
  • Mi Bluetooth Tripod Selfie Stick – PhP 799
  • Mi 2-in-1 USB Cable Micro-USB to Type-C – PhP 149

Laptops

  • Mi Notebook Air 12.5 (Core m3) — PhP 28,990 (128GB), P31,990 (256GB)
  • Mi Notebook Air 13.3 (Core i5) — PhP 43,500
  • Mi Notebook Pro (Core i5) — PhP 46,990

Laptop Accessories

  • Mi Wireless Mouse — PhP 599
  • Mi Bluetooth Mouse — PhP 799
  • Mi USB Type-C to HDMI Adapter — PhP 1,250

Power banks

  • Mi Power Bank (5000mAh) – PhP 449
  • Mi Power Bank 2 (10000mAh) – PhP 699
  • Mi Power Bank 2C (20000mAh) – PhP 995

Chargers

  • Mi 2-port USB Car Charger – PhP 299
  • Mi 2-Port USB Wall Charger – PhP 399
  • Mi 4-Port USB Wall Charger – PhP 499

Wearables

  • Amazfit Bip – PhP 3,490
  • Amazfit Pace – PhP 6,200
  • Mi Band 2 – PhP 1,199
  • Mi Band 2 Strap – PhP 95
  • Mi Band 2 Charger – PhP 99

Audio

  • Mi Bluetooth Headset Youth Edition – PhP 490
  • Mi Capsule Earphones – PhP 499
  • Mi Comfort Headphones – PhP 1,750
  • Mi In-Earphones Basic – PhP 225
  • Mi In-Earphones Pro – PhP 799
  • Mi In-Earphones Pro HD – PhP 1,150
  • Mi Pocket Speaker 2 – PhP 1,090
  • Mi Sports Bluetooth Earphones – PhP 1,190

Smart TVs

  • Mi TV 3S 48-inch (1080p) – PhP 26,999
  • Mi TV 3S 55-inch (4K) – PhP 39,990
  • Mi TV 3S 60-inch (4K) – PhP 47,990
  • Mi TV 4 49-inch (4K HDR) – PhP 35,990
  • Mi TV 4 55-inch (4K HDR) – PhP 42,990
  • Mi TV Box 2 – PhP 3,490
  • Mi Home Theater – PhP 9,950

Cameras

  • Mi 4K Action Camera – PhP 5,790
  • Mi Dash Camera – PhP 2,795
  • Mi Home Security Camera 1080p – PhP 1,590
  • Mi Home Security Camera 360 – PhP 1,590
  • Mi Sphere Camera Kit – PhP 13,990

Mobility

  • Mi Electric Scooter – PhP 18,850
  • Mi QiCycle Electric Bike – PhP 26,995

Home

  • Mi Air Purifier 2 – PhP 6,490
  • Mi Air Purifier Filter – PhP 1,250
  • Mi Air Purifier Pro – PhP 12,390
  • Mi Body Composition Scale – PhP 1,499
  • Mi Electric Kettle – PhP 895
  • Mi Induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker – PhP 4,200
  • Mi LED Desk Lamp – PhP 1,490
  • Mi Motion-Activated Night Light – PhP 420
  • Mi Power Strip – PhP 395
  • Mi Robot Vacuum Cleaner – PhP 15,490
  • Mi Router 3 – PhP 1,190
  • Mi Router 3C – PhP 750
  • Mi Smart Scale – PhP 995
  • Mi Smart Kettle – PhP 1,599
  • Mi Wi-Fi Repeater 2 – PhP 399

Bags and Luggage

  • 90 Points Suitcase – PhP 2,995 (20-inch), PhP 3,595 (24-inch), PhP 4,795 (28-inch)
  • Mi All-Metal Aluminum Luggage – PhP 15,999
  • Mi Business Backpack – PhP 995
  • Mi City Sling Bag – PhP 599
  • Mi Minimalist Backpack – PhP 1,399
  • Mi Urban Backpack – PhP 1,899

Toys

  • Mi Robot Builder – PhP 3,999
  • Mi Bunny Plush Toy – PhP 355

Others

  • Mi 8H U-Shape Neck Pillow – PhP 609
  • Mi Automatic Folding Umbrella – PhP 895
  • Mi Free Tie Shoes – PhP 995
  • Mi Metallic Pen – PhP 205
  • Mi Pen – PhP 145
  • Mi Rainbow 5 AA Batteries (10pcs.) – PhP 110
  • Mi Rainbow 7 AAA Batteries (10pcs.) – PhP 110
  • Mi TS Nylon Polarized Sunglasses – PhP 1,890
  • ZSH Face Towel – PhP 175
  • ZSH Bath Towel – PhP 745

The first official physical Xiaomi store is located at the fourth level (beside Cinema 5) of TriNoma in Quezon City.

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