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.
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.
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.
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!”
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OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition: Price and availability in the Philippines
The most expensive OnePlus phone, yet
The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is now available for pre-order online through Argomall. It’s priced at PhP 39,990, which is slightly higher than its US$ 699 retail price in the US.
Compared to the regular OnePlus 6T, the McLaren Edition comes with 10GB of memory, 256GB of storage, and the latest Warp Charge technology that can fill up half of the phone’s battery in just 20 minutes.
Also, the special edition phone features a carbon fiber pattern, orange accents, and the McLaren logo on the back.
There’s no exact shipping date for the phone, but it’s already listed on Argomall’s website.
Philippine telcos are now required to unlock phones after lock-in period
Finally, a pro-consumer measure
The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telcos for the mandatory unlocking of phones and devices after the subscriber’s lock-in period.
The policy is based on the Memorandum Order 004, Series of 2018 issued by DICT on December 14.
According to the memo, subscribers who have completed their contract and have no outstanding obligations can demand telcos to unlock their phones or devices. The process must also be done conveniently and should be shouldered by the service providers.
The NTC is now tasked to draft the Memorandum Circular for the memo’s appropriate rules and regulations and conduct consultations and hearings with affected parties.
There’s no exact date of implementation, but with order already announced to the public, Filipinos will soon have freedom for their network-locked phones given that they have already fulfilled their contract.
ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 is bigger, faster, and still runs pure Android
ZenFone without the ZenUI
Just before the year ends, ASUS introduced an update to its ZenFone Max Pro lineup. Dubbed the M2, the newest ZenFone inherited the same pure Android software of its predecessor while the rest of the phone has been upgraded.
ASUS’ new ZenFone Max Pro M2 is slightly bigger than the M1 with its 6.3-inch display and it has Gorilla Glass 6 protection. It also has a slightly taller aspect ratio at 19:9 and a higher screen-to-body ratio. Although, it now has a notch like its more premium ZenFone cousins.
Surprisingly, the new ZenFone is equipped with a tried and tested Snapdragon 660 processor which puts it in the league of the Nokia 7 Plus and Vivo V11. It even has up to 6GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage. On paper, the ZenFone Max Pro M2 is more powerful than the ZenFone 5.
Camera-wise, it’s got a main 12-megapixel f/1.8 shooter coupled with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. An upgraded 13-megapixel sensor takes care of the selfies along. The phone features all the beautification effects and AI enhancements.
The huge 5000mAh battery found in its predecessor is present as well. The phone still charges via micro-USB and has no support for fast charging.
Even though this is an ASUS phone, it doesn’t have ZenUI because it runs an unskinned version of Android. It’s bare with no bloatware, but it’s not part of the Android One program. Software updates will come from ASUS, so it may take some time to have the latest version available. It has only Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box.
ASUS launched the ZenFone Max Pro M2 simultaneously in three key Asian markets.
In the Philippines, the 6GB+64GB variant is priced at PhP 14,995, while the 4GB+64GB variant which is exclusively available on Shopee and Lazada goes for PhP 12,995.
India will have the 4GB and 6GB variants for INR 14,999 and INR 16,999, respectively. There’s an even more affordable 3GB+32GB combo for just INR 12,999.
Indonesia also gets all three variants starting at IDR 2,800,000 for the 3GB model, the 4GB model is at IDR 3,200,000, and IDR 3,700,000 for the highest-end variant with 6GB memory.
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