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

Apps

Shopee kicks-off 10.10 Brand Festival

Kim Chiu takes centerstage

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Are your carts ready? Shopee has just kicked off its 10.10 brand festival!

Until October 10, you can enjoy free shipping with no minimum spend, big brand giveaways, and up to PhP 1,000 off brand vouchers at the upcoming brand fest.

If you’re lucky, you can also win PhP 430,000 worth of prizes: Vouchers, bundles, newly launched items, and even a lifetime supply of various products from over 30 participating brands.

Leading the event are popular brands such as Nestle, Deerma, GoMO!, Lactum, Colgate-Palmolive, Shigetsu, P&G Beauty, Garnier, and Belo — which will host Brand Days on Shopee Mall offering discounts up to 80% off, branded items as low as PhP 179, and a free gift with every purchase.

Moreover, different themed sales await on Shopee starting October 1:

  • Groceries Fair (October 1)
  • Fashion Fair (October 2-3)
  • Mom & Baby Fair (October 4)
  • Work From Home Fair (October 5)
  • Gadgets and Gizmo Fair (October 6-7)
  • Beauty and Wellness Fair (October 8-9)

ShopeePay to the rescue

Of course, you can still use ShopeePay to buy load, pay bills, and scan-to-pay. ShopeePay Wallet can be topped up through online banking, debit card, and over-the-counter partners.

Doing so can get you up the ff:

  • 50% discount on load from Globe, Smart, Sun, and TNT
  • 50% cashback from Maynilad, PLDT, and various partner billers
  • PhP 1 deals from Puregold, Ultramega Supermarket, Potato Corner, and other partner merchants

The Chinita Princess debuts

The biggest brands sale of the year launched and debuted Kim Chiu, Shopee’s newest brand ambassador. The popular actress will be featured in Shopee’s new TV commercial and numerous in-app activities.

“Shopee Philippines is happy to welcome one of the country’s top entertainers into the Shopee family, Kim Chiu. Kim’s bubbly, charming personality and love for online shopping both resonate with millions of Filipinos who find joy and excitement in Shopee. This 10.10 Brands Festival, we hope to bring the best brand deals and so much more with our valued and trusted brand partners,” said Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines.

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Her GadgetMatch

The Fitbit Charge 5 might be your companion for holistic wellness

Fitbit’s most advanced health and fitness tracker yet?

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Fitbit fans, rejoice! The Fitbit Charge 5 is now officially in the Philippines.

As a refresher, the Fitbit Charge 5 is the company’s most advanced health and fitness tracker yet. The fifth iteration of the Charge lineup comes with new features. And a thinner, sleek design built to empower you to focus on your health.

It’s equipped with tools and metrics to help you monitor your holistic well-being. Additionally, it sports new features such as Daily Readiness Score and EDA Sensor.

It retails for PhP 11,990 and includes a six-month Premium membership for both new and returning customers. The wearable is available for purchase online at Fitbit.com and comes to major retailers such as Digital Walker and Fitbit’s Official Store on Shopee and Lazada.

Fitbit Premium just got even more fun

Fitbit Premium has already partnered with actor, producer, and musician Will Smith. If you haven’t joined his mindfulness sessions and workouts, get going now.

Apart from that, Fitbit has partnered with Calm, a popular sleep and meditation app. The effects of calming sessions can reflect on your tracker’s heart rate and EDA responses via a guided session — so it’s worth checking out if you’re stressed lately.

Moreover, Fitbit Premium comes with Snore & Noise Detect, albeit for Sense and Versa 3 users only, to help users understand their sleeping environments. And hopefully, improve their sleep.

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Apps

Now Playing: HBO Go Edition

Quick to-watch list you can check out

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HBO Go

HBO Go is an often overlooked streaming app. However, there’s more than a handful of gems here that are worthy of being included in your to watch list. Here are my personal recommendations.

Godzilla vs Kong 

The pandemic hasn’t been kind to the cinema-going crowd in the Philippines. Movie theaters remain closed thanks largely to the government’s lackluster pandemic response. But that’s a topic for another day. Due to this, we’ve missed going to the movies and seeing blockbusters like Godzilla vs Kong. Thankfully, HBO Go is here to the rescue.

This kaiju showdown is one of many huge films we missed seeing in cinemas. But now, it’s available on HBO Go along with other movies released in 2021 like Space Jam: A New Legacy.

On The Job: The Missing 8 

Speaking of the atrocities that go on behind the scenes of the politics in the Philippines, the long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s On The Job will also stream on HBO Go. The movie will stream as a six-episode series on HBO Go. The first three episodes will show the events of the 2013 film and the last three episodes will follow the events of The Missing 8.

The story is set in a Philippines that’s leading up to a presidential election. It’s a timely watch for Filipinos that can hopefully be eye-opening for registered voters.

The Newsroom 

This 2012 series depicts a fictional, dramatized version of a broadcast team. It follows an ensemble of cast members featuring everyone from the newscaster to other newsroom staffers.

While it is indeed, dramatized, it’s still a pretty good look at what a sector of “the media” goes through. It’s a recommended watch for people who wish to be a little demystified about media work. It shows some of the unglamorous side of news, the battle with executives for views/clicks, and the consequences of bungling a major news story.

For people like myself who have previous experience of working in different types of newsrooms, be ready to get war flashbacks if you decide to binge-watch this series.

Superman and Lois

Superman and Lois is likely the best live action adaptation we’ve had of the Big Blue Boy Scout. Instead of a brooding god-like figure trying to figure out how to coexist with humanity, the Superman in this series is more akin to his comic origin — an earnest, clumsy farm boy who uses his abilities to save people.

To ground Supes a little bit, the story features Clark balancing his duties as Superman and as a husband and father. The married couple dynamic between Lois and Clark is refreshing. Just as refreshing is the brotherly chemistry between their twins Jon and Jordan Kent. It’s a thoughtful take on Superman and one that everyone should see.

Teen Titans 

Yes, the cool-looking one. Unceremoniously replaced by Teen Titans: Go (which is also available on HBO Go), this early 2000s series is a show I used to watch religiously as a… much younger person. It’s the first animated series in the 2000s to heavily feature sidekicks and tells various stories of friendship and teamwork.

While we’re at it, the HBO Go app is a treasure trove of DC animated series and movies. Classics like Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Flashpoint Paradox, and many more are available to wash-off the aftertaste of the DCEU.

Emmy Nominated 

For some really quality shows, available on HBO Go are all of the Emmy Nominated shows. These include Lovecraft Country, Mare of Easttown, and The Flight Attendant, and more.

Watch on a big screen

These are all best experienced on a bigger screen. However, not just any big screen will do. It has to be the Samsung Neo QLED. We have an entire feature detailing why it’s an awesome TV. But that’s not all. If you purchase any participating Samsung TV product, you also get six (6) months worth of subscription to HBO Go.

You’ll have no shortage of fantastic shows and movies to watch with this HBO Go and Samsung TV combo. This offer is available until November 31, 2021.

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