Philippines

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

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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!

REVIEW: LG G6

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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Samsung Galaxy A20s and A10s is now in the Philippines

Decent phones for an affordable price

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The competition in the budget segment is intense. Responding to Chinese manufacturers, Samsung Philippines stepped up its game and launched the revamped Galaxy A series. With no signs of stopping, the company recently launched the Galaxy A20s and A10s. These two devices cater towards millennials who love taking selfies and photos.

Galaxy A20s specs and features

The Galaxy A20s consist of triple rear cameras in a 13MP + 8MP + 5MP setup. The secondary 8MP camera has ultra-wide-angle lens that captures up to a 120-degree field-of-view. This makes it ideal for group photo ops since more people can fit in a single frame. Meanwhile, the tertiary 5MP camera is a depth sensor that aids in portrait shots. For selfies, the phone has an 8MP front camera.


Moving to the display, the Galaxy A20s is equipped with a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display with a V-notch housing the front camera.

Storage and memory is on the conservative side with 4GB / 64GB as the only option. However, storage is expandable for up to 1TB with a MicroSD card.

Powering the device is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450. Power users can get a full day usage with 4,000mAh battery inside the Galaxy A20s. Should the device needs topping up, Samsung equipped a 15W fast charging in the box.

Galaxy A10s specs and features

The Galaxy A10s is a cheaper alternative to the Galaxy A20s. It has dual rear cameras in a 13MP + 2MP sensor. The 2MP secondary camera is a depth sensor for portrait shots. Selfies are handled by a 8MP front camera.

The Galaxy A10s has a 6.2-inch LCD display with a V-notch for the front camera.

To keep the costs down, Samsung put 2GB of RAM on this device. Storage is also limited with only 32GB built-in. Fortunately, it is expendable for up to 1TB with a MicroSD card.

Unlike its pricier counterpart, the Galaxy A10s features a MediaTek Helio P22 processor. However, it still keeps the 4,000mAh battery for a full day usage. Sadly though, fast charging is absent.

Pricing and availability

The Galaxy A20s comes with a price of PhP 9,990 while the Galaxy A10s comes at PhP 6,990. Both devices come in a choice of black or green.

Both devices are available at all Samsung retail stores and authorized dealers nationwide. To know more about these devices, visit Samsung Philippines’ official website.

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Philippines

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro Review: Twice the power, still affordable

But is it worth the hype?

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The year is far from over and neither are phone manufacturers from releasing smartphones. Although Mi 9T Pro isn’t the newest smartphone release from Xiaomi, it’s one of the most talked about smartphones around and is still the flagship killer to, well, kill.

If you previously read our Xiaomi Mi 9T review, you’d know by now that I’m exactly an Android user. I loved the Mi 9T Pro’s smaller sibling however because of its camera prowess and seamless experience despite its cheap price tag.


Now that I have the more powerful Mi 9T Pro on hand, I took it out on adventures the past few weeks to see whether it can actually live up to its flagship killer title.

Same design, different vibe

If you compare the Mi 9T and Mi 9T Pro side-by-side, it’ll be difficult to tell them apart. The symmetry is there. I like the Carbon Black option for its stealth while the Glacier Blue option is striking, in a good way. Although I’m not a fan of flashy design and colors, I love how there are subtle gradations flowing from both sides.

The red power button is still there, giving it a touch of contrast against its blue metallic body.

Speaker grilles, microphone, USB-C port, and SIM card slot below.

The Mi 9T Pro has a Gorilla Glass 5 back. It’s not the newest generation of Corning’s technology but it’s good enough to protect the phone from accidental scratches. The Mi 9T had none, which was a drawback for a smartphone with a glass back. I loved flaunting its back that I decided not to use the included black case. It’s still good as new and has not acquired any scratches. It feels right in my hand and doesn’t slip easily.

Same screen size, different display

Even Suzy looks confused with the differences in AMOLED and Super AMOLED

Xiaomi’s Mi 9T wowed me before because of its 6.4-inch AMOLED display. It’s an excellent panel, for such a cheap phone, with great viewing angles and contrast.

The Mi 9T Pro still packs a similar 6.4-inch display, but with a Super AMOLED display technology. Watching videos even outdoors is a great experience because it’s brighter and overall a better panel.

The Super AMOLED display is drop-dead gorgeous, so is Yoohyeon

I love its fullscreen display. Not having a notch or punch-hole camera makes a difference for me especially when watching videos. Color calibration is accurate and vibrant, making visuals pop.

Watching TWICE’s Feel Special in 4K made me miss Mina more #GetWellSoonMina

There are only a handful of smartphones with 4K resolution — and it’s not the basis of having a great display. It may not be the best display on a smartphone, but the Mi 9T Pro still delivers excellent entertainment experience even with its Full HD+ display. It’s also more power efficient than the AMOLED display found on the Mi 9T.

Flagship performance at half the price

The Mi 9T was already a great smartphone with the Snapdragon 730, but Xiaomi made the Mi 9T Pro even better. This phone is  equipped with a flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset — something you can only find on more expensive smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and OnePlus 7 Pro.

The Mi 9T Pro feels snappier than the Mi 9T — something I noticed immediately. Opening apps, the animation — they all feel faster. The experience is oh-so fluid and smooth. I can now play my favorite Asphalt 9 game at the highest settings that I couldn’t do (or even install) on the Mi 9T before.

Just like the Mi 9T, it also has 6GB of memory, so switching between apps is seamless.

Having a 3.5mm audio jack feels special (pun intended)

A lot of “Pro” products don’t seem like they meet expectations of actual pro users. If you’re the type of person who prefers the traditional way of listening to music, this phone has a 3.5mm jack — something you don’t see in many smartphones these days.

While I can always connect a wireless pair of headphones, the good ol’ audio jack is still very handy in a lot of scenarios. I find it useful when playing music in parties that don’t have wireless speakers. Some people still use wired microphones for audio recording as it’s more reliable. Some monopods require wired cables for you to control shutter releases.

Battery life is outstanding

I’m not proud of it but I’m *that* power user. I fiddle around with my phone and browse my social media feed every five to ten minutes. When I’m bored, I watch videos on YouTube or at least two episodes of a series I’m following on Netflix at around 75% brightness. I also play graphics-intensive games every now and then. Despite all of this, the Mi 9T Pro’s battery lasts me my entire day.

Fast charging just got faster

The Mi 9T already has a USB-C port and an 18W fast charger right out of the box — but the Mi 9T Pro ships with a faster 27W charger with Quick Charge 4+ technology.

It takes around 35 minutes to charge the phone from 0% to 50%. It reached 100% after around an hour and 30 minutes. That’s fast for a smartphone with a 4000 mAh battery.

Modern problems require modern solutions, except for these two

The Mi 9T Pro still features an in-display fingerprint scanner and it works most of the time. Not that I’m complaining, but it will never be as fast as a traditional scanner. A side-mounted scanner is always my alternative pick over this type of reader.

I thought there will be at least a difference when it comes to Face Unlock but it still performs sluggish. I would rather use the fingerprint scanner instead of the inconvenience of swiping and waiting for the camera to pop-up. Face unlock isn’t even as secure as it just relies on camera recognition.

The pop-up camera itself performs well

Don’t get me wrong, the pop-up camera is not bad, well at least in taking selfies. It captures decent selfies even when beauty mode is completely turned off.

I like how the selfies don’t look as saturated as other selfie shooters, which gives it a nice touch in persuading your crush to give you a chance to date you.

People who have shorter arms wouldn’t have a problem as the selfie camera is wide enough to accommodate four (or more) people in the frame — just like how a lot of you accommodate people that will never be a part of your life.

Same triple camera setup, but now snappier

You get the same triple camera setup as the Mi 9T that I loved: 48MP f/1.8 wide, 8MP f/2.4 telephoto, and 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide.

There’s a small difference though: the Mi 9T Pro has laser autofocus. This might not sound like much but taking photos with the Mi 9T Pro felt snappier and photos turn out sharper. It’s an understated but very important improvement.

Unlike with the Mi 9T, I didn’t experience errors while using the Mi 9T Pro’s camera

The camera does well with food subjects

But it’s honestly even better with the telephoto lens

Night Mode works really well

But sometimes, it doesn’t do photos justice

The highlights in the neon signs were dimmed after turning on the Night Mode, which made the shots worse.

Using Night Mode on the telephoto lens is great, too

I really love how it captured the filament in these two light bulbs and produced the right amount of shadows and blur in the background.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The maxed-out 128GB/6GB configuration of the Mi 9T Pro is priced at PhP 20,490, while the 64GB/6GB configuration currently retails at PhP 18,990 — which is just a PhP 1,500 difference from Mi 9T’s 128GB/6GB.

A lot of people have been calling the Mi 9T Pro as 2019’s true flagship killer, not just because of its top of the line specs but also because of its affordable price tag.

If you want to have a powerful smartphone with a bright display, snappy cameras, and unparalleled software experience without spending that much, the Mi 9T Pro is for you. If you don’t need the faster chipset and just want an overall great device, then go for the Mi 9T.

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Deals

ROG Phone 2: Price and availability in the Philippines

Includes pricing for accessories

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The ASUS ROG Phone 2 is officially in the Philippines!

The ROG Phone 2 with 12GB RAM  and 512GB  storage began pre-orders at the price of PhP 49,995 (US$ 962) last October 3 to October 11, 2019. It will hit the market on November 2019 along with the Ultimate Edition that has 12GB RAM and 1TB storage for PhP 59,995 (US$ 1165).


The phone’s accessories are available at ROG Stores only. Pricing are as follows:

Accessories list Price
Professional Dock PhP 4,995
Lighting Armor Case PhP 2,495
ROG Kunai Gamepad PhP 6,995
TwinView Dock II PhP 14,995
Mobile Desktop Dock Revised PhP 10,995
ROG Phone Bag PhP 2,495
ASUS WiGig Display Dock
(Champion’s Super Pack Exclusive)
PhP 13,995
AeroActive Cooler II
(Out-of-box Accessory)
PhP 2,995
Aero Case
(Out-of-box Accessory)
PhP 995

 

Gaming phone refined

The ROG Phone 2 is perhaps one of the most specced out phone in the world today. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus with a 120Hz AMOLED Display, 12GB of RAM, 512GB storage, and 6,000mAh battery.

Other features like performance improvement and cooling that keeps the phone in optimal condition promises to deliver the best mobile gaming experience to date. There are even new and improved accessories like the Kunai gamepad that makes the phone look almost like a Nintendo Switch to take your gaming experience to an even higher level.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on October 11, 2019 to add pricing details of the accessories.

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