Best Premium Smartphones above PhP 30,000 (July 2017 Edition)



If you’re looking for the very best high-end smartphones available, you’ve come to the right place! Every month, GadgetMatch updates this list with the finest devices money can buy, no matter how much they cost.

As a follow-up to our June compilation, this July list takes every newly launched flagship costing more than PhP 30,000 into consideration, but doesn’t discount the smartphones that continue to make an impact since their launch last year.

Here they are in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy S8+ (PhP 45,990)

Was there any doubt about Samsung’s most gorgeous phone making this selection? Armed with the finest processor ever built in the Snapdragon 835, possibly the best single camera in a handset today, and the most refined Android skin to date, the Galaxy S8+ looks to stay on our radar for a long time.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+

Apple iPhone 7 Plus (PhP 44,990)

You can’t complete a selection like this without including Apple’s latest handset. And it’s not because an iPhone has to be included; the iPhone 7 Plus is so fast and so smooth, there’s no way we could ignore it. It also gets the nod over the regular iPhone 7 thanks to its far more impressive dual-camera setup.

REVIEW: Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Google Pixel XL (PhP 41,200)

While the Pixel XL has its shortcomings — the lack of serious water resistance and oddly plain design spring to mind — you can’t find a more optimized Android smartphone right now. Everything about it is snappy, from the incredible camera to its witty Google Assistant. It’s also got the most up-to-date operating system, unlimited storage for all your photos, plus a better screen resolution and battery life than the smaller Pixel.

REVIEW: Google Pixel (3 months later)

LG G6 (PhP 37,990)

After what many considered to be a failure in the G5, LG went back to the drawing board and crafted a smartphone that looks and feels great, and — more importantly — simply works. We’ve been so fond of the G6’s generous but not-too-tall display, extra-wide-angle camera, and super-solid build quality since we got our hands on it. Buh-bye, modules!


Sony Xperia XZ Premium (PhP 45,490)

Say whatever you want about its traditional design and seriously high-end pricing, but the Xperia XZ Premium is the only smartphone that competes well against Samsung’s pride and joy, which sits at the top of this list. That’s because this Sony flagship has an equally capable Snapdragon 835 processor and a screen that’ll make you go, “Woah!”

REVIEW: Sony Xperia XZ Premium

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What I learned riding the Hatasu HERO

As a 1st-time e-bike user



Hatasu HERO

Two and three-wheeled electric bikes have become a staple in the greater Metro Manila areas. Even beyond that too where cities and municipalities are not as busy as in the country’s capital. But where streets are developed enough with popular establishments like convenience stores, coffee shops, fast-food restaurants, laundry services, and more.

I have lived in a family compound cul-de-sac surrounded by subdivisions for as long as I have been existing. And I must say the e-bike is definitely a game-changer for residents living in rural to suburban areas.

Without a doubt, the e-bike is useful to ferry your children to your local elementary or private school. Going to buy lunch? Just hop onto one and save yourself time and energy. For others who work just nearby, it has become the alternative mode of transportation to get to the workplace or to get out of the looban and to the nearest loading/unloading station for jeeps and buses.

Just to give a better picture, our house is a few hundred meters away from the barangay’s main road. Even farther from the city’s major highways. I’m spared from the noise of cars, trucks, and buses. But have to deal with dogs, cats, and even chickens and ducks daily.

Tricycles are the main mode of transportation for commuters to get to the city “center” and for those who have to go to Manila daily. Sari-sari stores are the go-to for most purchases that are needed quickly, while talipapas provide the locals with fresh produce.

It’s normal for residents for such an environment to just walk daily for errands here and there. Those who have day jobs opt for motorcycles, which come in very cheap monthly payment rates.

An everyday hero

Hatasu was generous enough to grant us temporary usage of the Hatasu HERO. It’s the brand’s latest three-wheeler which is marketed as an “everyday hero.” It can accomplish basically everything I mentioned above. It retails for just PhP 64,990 and is readily available via Lazada.

The demo unit I received came in a gray body with the HERO’s signature black mask-looking windshield and roof. It came complete with a charger cord, a helmet, and a trapal in case of driving under inclement weather.

At first glance, it’s already a standout compared to most e-bikes I see in my barangay. It has that certain stylishness and elegance. The Hatasu HERO has a bigger front wheel with suspension to complement braking. There is a spacious compartment under the back seat. It can fit medium to big bags or a few boxes of groceries. There is also a cage on the rear for extra storage.

Running errands and more

Given my setup where I work mostly from home and only have to commute to Metro Manila about two to three times weekly for other endeavors, the e-bike provided me a helping hand when it came to going out to do chores. Obviously, I cannot drive it along major highways, but it made practical tasks easier.

I was able to go to my preferred laundry shop that was about one-and-a-half kilometers away and purchase some food along the way back home. As there is also a nearby cemetery that is just three kilometers from our compound, I invited my cousin to just use the e-bike with me to visit her late mother, who passed away a few months ago.

Before the day I was scheduled to have the model returned, I was also able to test it for a longer run when I had to take my girlfriend home from our compound to her subdivision in Imus. The journey took above nine kilometers for one way. We even had a stopover at a nearby McDonald’s branch. After wrapping up the trip, the e-bike lost just one bar from its battery indicator (four bars at full).


It was in these uses where the existence of e-bike serves its purpose. I didn’t have to charge the Hatasu HERO a lot throughout the week-long use for short trips. I was also impressed by its power as it was able to maneuver past rough roads with relative ease. The three-speed switcher on the right handle also gave me flexibility against humps and when driving on the main road that required more speed. On paper, the Hatasu HERO has a listed speed of 20 to 25 kph, but I was able to take it to as fast as 35 kph.

Throughout this short experience, I’ve picked up a few takeaways.

E-bikers need an equivalent driving school course

Hatasu HERO

What made it a breeze for me throughout the trip was the fact that I own a driver’s license and underwent driving school training. I just had to apply the basics of driving to get accustomed to the e-bike in less than a day.

On the road, I stayed on the rightmost part of the traffic as I know e-bikes do not run as fast as motorcycles or four-wheelers. I always use the turn signal lights, switch from different speeds depending on the situation, and use the horn when I must.

On the downside, not everyone underwent the same training as I did. It’s obvious that most e-bike users own e-bikes because it’s what they can afford at the moment given how tough the economy is. However, the lack in basic driving knowledge manifests on the streets, where it can get chaotic at times. I’m sure people have had the experience of watching examples on social media. Minors can even drive e-bikes because there are no rules enforced against it yet.

This is an issue that government offices have to address moving forward to standardize the usage of e-bikes. In Imus, Cavite, fortunately, the LGU requires e-bikes to be registered for just a small fee and a few documentary requirements. Drivers shall also be given a small plate number. This registration is renewed every year.

Aside from streamlining that process, it is imperative that e-bike owners undergo some sort of equivalent driving school seminar at the very least, so they can familiarize themselves with the intricacies of driving and the do’s and don’ts on the road. That way, we can share our roads better, and get to my second point, which is:

We’re far away from a society where various vehicles can co-exist, but getting there

As mentioned, we are still ways to go from seeing streets where bicycle, e-bike, motorcycle, and private vehicle owners can co-exist smoothly.

I felt this the most during the trip where I had to drop my girlfriend home. Motorcycles kept overtaking right. E-bike users do not use their turn signals and tail-gate larger vehicles which can totally be dangerous. Some stay in the “fast lane” which stalls traffic behind.

Again, this stems from the lack of education about driving, which can be addressed by stakeholders altogether. I am all for leveraging technology and utilizing it to make our lives easier. However, we cannot be selfish about it either because we all live in one collective society. It’s always about give-and-take.

I’m willing to keep one


Of course, that may change if in another world, I live in, say, a condominium in the bustling metro areas or somewhere else. However, given the status quo, even a two-wheeler e-bike does its job and makes our daily lives more efficient. I can understand why middle-class families or individuals have opted for such an alternative vehicle.

For one, it’s eco-friendly since it uses electricity, and very cheap to maintain compared to owning a car. It charges for about eight hours from one bar to full, which does not cost much compared to fuel. Fuel prices also depend on the global economy as well. You can also just wipe the entire vehicle clean with a damp cloth, instead of having to go to the carwash regularly. 

The compact form of the Hatasu HERO makes it a space-saver as well. Especially in subdivisions or compounds with narrow streets and for families who do not have the luxury of owning large lots. 

Lastly, it’s very affordable. At aPhP 20,000 to PhP 70,000 price range, it’s more realistic to finance a model or just pay in straight cash. And just like cars used for courier or ride-hailing services, you can use e-bikes to support your small business or side hustle like deliveries or having a local school service for kids.

Riding the Hatasu HERO for one week certainly opened my eyes to what else needs to be done to make the world a better place. If that sounds tricky to do, it’s because it is. Perhaps, we can start somewhere — like our society, and a be a “hero” everyone else looks up to.

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JBL Barkada Travel Tunes promo: Win a trip to Tokyo, Seoul

Plus a free ticket to JBL Sound Fest 2023




JBL has the ultimate giveaway promo for its customers this holiday season. With the JBL Barkada Travel Tunes promo, lucky groups of four shall win a four-day, three-night travel package to Tokyo, Seoul, El Nido, and Siargao!

To join, customers will simply have to purchase any JBL products worth at least PhP 3,000 at kiosks, dealers, and online stores until December 31 to earn a raffle entry.

There will be a total of 10 winners for this promo – two each for Seoul and Tokyo and three each for El Nido and Siargao.

Additionally, there will be 80 lucky winners of minor prizes such as the JBL Wave Beam, Quantum 600, Charge 5, and Pulse 5 throughout November and December.

JBL Sound Fest 2023

For music enthusiasts looking for somewhere to go this Christmas season, JBL’s Sound Fest 2023 event is happening on December 15 at the Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.

The cast of performers is headlined by popular Pinoy rock bands Parokya ni Edgar and Kamikazee.

And the best part: those who join the Barkada Travel Tunes promo until December 14 automatically get free passes to the concert. Talk about a two-in-one deal, right?

JBL announces Partybox Ultimate

Meanwhile, JBL has also released the JBL Partybox Ultimate speaker that sports JBL Pro Sound and Dolby Atmos sound technology.

The latest addition to the brand’s product roster is an ideal device for various events such as parties and sports. It can deliver sound that can fill up to two basketball courts with immersive 3D spatial effects. Its dual tweeters and subwoofers, meanwhile, can produce tremendous bass.


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Visually, the JBL Partybox Ultimate can project unique starry night effect or light trails and strobes onto any surface to make the experience even better.

The release of the speaker comes just a few weeks after JBL announced the Soundgear series with True Adaptive Noise Cancelling and Smart Ambient technology, as well as the JBL Authentics speakers and JBL Spinner BT.

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vivo Y17s gets price cut for the holidays

PhP 1,000 off on vivo’s budget phone



vivo Y17s

The budget vivo Y17s gets even more affordable during the holiday season, retailing for only PhP 5,999.

The offer can be availed at any vivo store or through its official website, Lazada, Shopee, and TikTok shops.

The entry-level smartphone is a worthy holiday gift for techy customers, as it is packed with great features for its price point.

The vivo Y17s is equipped with a 50MP main camera that comes with Night Algorithm technology so users can enjoy vivid and lifelike captures even in challenging lighting conditions.

It has a 6.56-inch LCD display with 60Hz refresh rate for smooth and seamless streaming and browsing.

The phone also has 4GB RAM with memory booster, 128GB of internal storage, and a 5,000mAh battery for uninterrupted all-day usage.

This article is a sponsored press release from vivo Philippines.


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