Philippines

Best Premium Smartphones in the Philippines above P30,000

January 2021 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.

Updated monthly, this 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:

Mate 40 Pro

Huawei Mate 40 Pro (PhP 55,999)

The Huawei Mate 40 Pro is everything you’ve come to expect from Huawei’s flagship Mate line — fantastic hardware and smart AI. Of course, there is the lingering issue of zero access to Google Mobile Services, but Huawei has done all it can to mitigate this. A change in leadership in the US provides hope but it’s not something we would hang our hats on.

WATCH: Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (PhP 35,990)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is meant to be a sub-flagship smartphone but its pricing still lands it on our premium category — something we probably need to revisit sooner than later. That said, this is a GadgetMatch favorite. It has all the “necessities” of a flagship smartphone in a plastic, easy-t0-grip build and is just an easy recommendation for people who can’t spend north of PhP 40,000 on a smartphone.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 (PhP 109,990)

This is about as premium and as cutting edge as it gets. Samsung followed up its Galaxy Z Fold with a much more refined and polished Galaxy Z Fold2. It smoothens the rough edges of the first generation device and the result is what probably is the best foldable on the market right now.

WATCH: Galaxy Z Fold2 Review

iPhone 12 series (starts at PhP 43,990)

Design-wise not much has changed for the iPhones, but that’s not where you should be looking. Not only does the A14 chip deliver the usual performance bump, the cameras are also reportedly better and all these iPhones can now access 5G. It also helps that there’s four of them to choose from so there’s likely an iPhone just for you.

WATCH:
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Buyer’s Guide
Unboxing iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max

ASUS ROG Phone 3 (PhP 54,995)

ASUS  doubled down on everything that made the previous generations of the ROG Phone great and gave us yet another spec-monster. Maxed-out specs, maxed-out mobile gaming. It has more competition in the mobile gaming smartphone space this year, but it’s still firmly ahead of everyone else in the pack.

REVIEW: ASUS ROG Phone 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (PhP 67,990)

The Snapdragon 865 Plus vs Exynos 990 hullabaloo notwithstanding, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra continues to represent the best that the Galaxy Note line has to offer. The S Pen’s latency has improved and the cameras are a refined version of the S20 Ultra. Galaxy Note loyalists will find that everything they love are still here — improved and refined.

WATCH: Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Review

Huawei P40 Pro+ (PhP 69,990)

The term “feels premium” gets thrown around too much needlessly. This phone has a legitimate claim to that. One touch and you’ll feel right away that you’re holding something luxurious. You can’t say that about every phone. Oh and, definitely go for the white one.

REVIEW: Huawei P40 Pro+

 

OnePlus 8 Pro (PhP 45,990)

OnePlus is now firmly in the premium flagship category. OnePlus phones have traditionally been pretty darn great with a lot of the focus being on just how fast it feels. On the OnePlus 8 series, it addresses a few things that were missing — the addition of wireless charging and an improvement to its long-time “weakpoint”, its cameras.

REVIEW: OnePlus 8 Pro

Huawei P40 Pro (PhP 50,990)

Huawei still has US government and Google problems, but they have come a long way since the ban last year. The company has found ways to bring or at least give you a way to download frequently used apps over to the AppGallery. That, along with their usual top-tier hardware, earns it a spot on this list. You’ll just have to make do with browser versions of certain Google apps for the time being.

REVIEW: Huawei P40 Pro

vivo X50 Pro (PhP 39,999)

A gimbal system on a smartphone camera? Now that sounds new! Not only did vivo make a flagship-grade smartphone with an innovative camera system, they also made sure all the rear cameras are actually useable. Elsewhere on the phone, it performs day-to-day tasks with ease and also supports 5G connectivity.

REVIEW: vivo X50 Pro

Lifestyle

The 3.5L XTREME Home Air Fryer comes with digital touchscreen, functional timer

At a budget-friendly price!

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It’s never too late to buy an Air Fryer! XTREME Appliances has just launched the 3.5L XTREME Home Air Fryer, which comes with a lot of features such as air-fry, roast, bake, broil, and de-hydrate.

Moreover, it’s equipped with a digital touchscreen display, a functional timer with an automatic shut-off (up to 1 hour and 30 minutes), and a temperature that can reach 200 degrees Celsius.

The air fryer is designed with a large capacity of 3.5L barrel, enough to roast a whole chicken inside. It distributes a rapid air heat system to cook the food fast, crisp, and even. It also comes with a non-stick coating barrel to make cleaning easier.

Price and availability

The 3.5L XTREME Home Air Fryer aims to save more energy and time through its features and capabilities, as well as space with its compact design. It retails for only PhP 2,995 and is available on XTREME’s official stores, websites, and other authorized channels such as Lazada and Shopee.

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Explainers

What you need to know about Elon Musk’s Starlink

The much-awaited internet service is coming sooner than later

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Image by GadgetMatch

Over the last few weeks, reports started pouring in about the possible arrival of Starlink internet service to the Philippines under a partnership between Converge ICT and SpaceX. These reports came after a senator’s meeting with representatives of SpaceX discussing the benefits, possible timeline, and requirements needed from the internet service.

These reports quickly became the talk of the town especially with the frenzy surrounding Starlink. You may have heard it before given the media attention it had received in the past. SpaceX — the company behind Starlink — promised fast network speeds and coverage almost anywhere around the planet with its internet service. There’s so much more to that though, so here are the things you need to know.

What is Starlink?

For those out of the loop, Starlink is a satellite internet service provided by SpaceX. SpaceX is a company founded by Elon Musk that builds next-gen space exploration technologies. The company is also behind the high-profile launches of reusable rockets as well its plans to bring people to Mars.

Starlink works through a constellation of small satellites. These satellites are placed in low to medium Earth orbit, communicating signals through an array of antennas and lasers. They work in tandem with dedicated ground transceivers to receive from and transmit signals to the satellites. In effect, the internet service relies on satellites instead of physical cables to provide an internet connection to consumers.

Image by GadgetMatch

The technology behind Starlink is not a novel one, with the first satellite internet service dating back to the 1990s. However, most of these services ultimately failed due to logistical constraints and the prohibitive costs involved in setting things up. Granted, there had been few services that have seen some success but their adoption is few and far between. Reducing latency and lowering costs for consumers remain major challenges to many satellite internet providers.

Wanting to improve the whole situation, SpaceX began product development of Starlink in 2015. By 2018, it began testing its satellites which culminated in the launch of operational ones last 2019. Just last year, the company reached a milestone by launching up to 60 satellites at a time. This 2021, it is setting its sights for the global coverage of the populated world. Ultimately, SpaceX aims to put about 42,000 satellites in orbit in the future.

One goal of Starlink is to provide people in remote areas with a fast and reliable internet connection, which means a lot for developing countries like the Philippines.

How do I sign-up for the service?

Right now, the company is offering a limited beta service in the US and Canada. If you live in areas where the service is available, you can go ahead and sign-up for the service on Starlink’s website. Not all who signed up can avail of the service though since they are limiting their users at the moment on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you’re lucky, you may receive an email containing further instructions.

What does it feel like to use the service?

During its beta phase, Starlink claims speeds of 50 to 150 Mbps. Latency — which is also a crucial factor in internet-related tasks such as gaming and streaming — ranges from 20ms to 40ms. These figures are far from the advertised 1Gbps speed, as well as the advertised latency of 25ms to 35ms.

Still, those figures are fast enough for everyday use, especially when compared to other satellite internet services. Those figures are also close to the actual experiences by people participating in the limited beta service. For its part, Starlink promises continued improvement to network speed, latency, and software.

Image by GadgetMatch

At the moment, the cost of signing up for Starlink is much higher than availing of a cable internet connection. The satellite setup kit is reported to cost around US$ 499 (PhP 24,000) while monthly fees start at US$ 99 (PhP 5,000). In comparison, PLDT’s internet plans max out at PhP 6,099 for 300Mbps while Globe’s internet plans max out at PhP 9,499 for 1Gbps.

To get connected, Starlink users must configure their setup kits and download the respective app. Each setup kit consists of the satellite dish, Wi-Fi router, power supply, cables, and a mounting tripod.

A clear view of the sky is also a prerequisite for a stable connection. As a note, weather disturbances can affect the connection between the user and the satellite infrastructure.

Starlink also requires its setup equipment to be stationary at all times. This is unlike cellular networks, which are designed to be mobile. While it offers a “wireless” connection to the internet, it still is “fixed” in the sense that it requires constant communication between the transceiver (the satellite dish) and the orbiting satellites.

When is it really coming to the Philippines?

Recent reports suggest that Starlink is coming soon to the country, but no definitive timeline has been given. Rumors suggested that the service will arrive later in Q3 2021. The most recent development squash any hopes of imminent arrival though, with Converge ICT stating that the partnership is still “premature”.

During the later weeks of February, however, Filipinos who signed up for Starlink started receiving a reservation email. The reservation fee costs around US$ 99 (approximately PhP 5,000) though it is fully refundable too. The email also details a possible coverage of the whole country by 2022. The exact date, however, remains unclear at the moment.

Likewise, the internet service still has many obstacles towards its widespread adoption in the country. The initial cost for would-be subscribers comes to mind. As mentioned, the approximate cost of Starlink hovers at PhP 24,000 with a monthly fee amounting to PhP 5,000. For that cost, you are getting better speeds with local telco offerings.

Despite its high cost, the promise of a fast and reliable internet connection is tempting especially in far-flung areas. Reaching out to these far-flung areas is a major challenge for all local telcos since the necessary physical infrastructure is non-existent or hard to setup.  Starlink could reach these areas easily, providing internet connection to those willing to shell out money.

Are there any other things that I should know about the service?

Starlink has garnered some concerns as well, with most directed towards its potential to cause light pollution. The potential to contribute to light pollution is a particular concern for astronomers. Apparently, Starlink’s satellites are bright enough to leave a trail of light, “photobombing” shots of the night sky. To this end, SpaceX said that it is already working on a solution to amend the problem.

As Starlink continues to push forward, more and more people are hoping to get aboard with the service. After all, a fast and reliable internet connection is still far from reality for many people living in remote areas. Hopefully, the service would come sooner as this will greatly improve the current situation of the internet in the Philippines.

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Deals

Huawei devices are up to 40% off during the 3.3 sale

Vouchers are also up for grabs on Lazada and Shopee

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March marks another sale of the year, and Huawei doesn’t want to miss out on the fun. This March 3, you can get up to 40% off on select Huawei smartphones, tablets, laptops, wearables, and earbuds as part of the limited-time 3.3 Super Sale event.

Laptops and tablets on discounts

First up are discounts for Huawei’s tablets and laptops. The MateBook D series both get price discounts during the sale, making them the perfect companions for professionals and students alike. The AMD Ryzen 7-equipped MateBook D 15 is available to buy at PhP 39,990 instead of the usual PhP 40,000 retail price. Meanwhile, the AMD Ryzen 5 model has a limited-time price of PhP 35,990, down from PhP 37,990.

Meanwhile, the MateBook D 14 gets bigger discounts. From its usual price of PhP 39,990, you can now grab the AMD Ryzen 5 MateBook D 14 at PhP 35,990. The same goes for the AMD Ryzen 7 variant which goes from PhP 42,990 to PhP 39,990. As a bonus, both the MateBook D 15 and D 14 get a bundled Bluetooth speaker and a laptop bag worth PhP 2,889.

For the budding creative professionals, the MatePad 10.4 is a much tempting offer especially with its limited-time price of PhP 18,499. That is a hefty discount from its PhP 20,990 price, and you get a free Bluetooth speaker worth PhP 1,499 as part of the purchase.

Limited-time prices for a wide range of smartphones

Leading the charge for smartphone discounts is Huawei’s last year’s flagship, the P40 Pro 5G. Now at PhP 45,799, you get more bang for the buck with its top-notch cameras, blazing-fast performance, and gorgeous display. It regularly retails at PhP 50,990 so make sure to grab this deal before it’s gone. Plus, it comes with a free wireless charging table lamp worth PhP 2,499 too.

If you want to save some more but still get the best features, the Mate 30 Pro is the way to go. This 2019 flagship costs PhP 34,399 during the sale, which is indeed a hefty discount from its PhP 42,990 retail price.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s midrange devices also get discounts particularly the Nova 7i and 5T. For a flagship-like experience, the Nova 5T offers more with its tempting price tag of PhP 14,399 down from its retail price of PhP 15,990. The Nova 7i, on the other hand, will retail at PhP 11,799 down from its PhP 12,999 price tag.

Of course, smartphone discounts are incomplete without Huawei’s entry-level Y-series. You can snag the following devices at bargain prices:

  • Y9s — PhP 9,599 (SRP: PhP 11,999)
  • Y7 — PhP 5,899 (SRP: PhP 6,990)
  • Y7a — PhP 7,499 (SRP: PhP 8,999)
  • Y7p — PhP 7,999 (SRP: PhP 8,999)
  • Y6p — PhP 5,970 (SRP: PhP 5,990)

Free items are up for grabs for the Y7 and Y7a too. You get a free notebook for the Y7 while an umbrella worth PhP 499 is bundled for the Y7a.

Complete the experience with a wearable and TWS earbuds

Sometimes, you just need a reliable pair of earbuds to drown out the sound while working or studying at home. This is where Huawei’s FreeBuds line of TWS earbuds come into the scene, offering superb audio quality and features at bang-for-the-buck prices. Now, you can own one especially with these discounts on the FreeBuds 3 lineup:

  • FreeBuds Pro — PhP 6,899 (SRP: PhP 7,999) with free FreeBuds Pro case and umbrella worth PhP 1,898
  • FreeBuds 3 — PhP 5,399 (SRP: PhP 8,990)
  • FreeBuds 3i — PhP 3,990 (SRP: PhP 5,590)

Health aficionados also have something to check out on Huawei’s lineup this 3.3 sale. The Watch GT 2 Pro, Watch GT 2e, Watch Fit, and Band 4 Pro are down from their usual prices, so there is no better time to snag these especially if you want to track your health and fitness.

  • Watch GT 2 Pro — PhP 11,399 (SRP: PhP 11,999) with free Bluetooth speaker worth PhP 1,499
  • Watch GT 2e — PhP 5,909 (SRP: PhP 6,990)
  • Watch Fit — PhP 4,449 (SRP: PhP 4,999) with free notebook worth PhP 299
  • Band 4 Pro — PhP 2,399 (SRP: PhP 2,990)

More vouchers up for grabs on Lazada and Shopee

Aside from these discounts, you can also grab various vouchers when you shop on Lazada and Shopee. You can snag a limited-time PhP 100 voucher, exclusive live stream vouchers worth PhP 500, and PhP 1,000 vouchers for every PhP 5,000 minimum purchase.

To get going on the 3.3 sale, visit the Huawei official store, Lazada, or Shopee store page today.

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