Philippines

Best Upper-Midrange Smartphones in the Philippines from P20,000 to P30,000

September 2020 Edition

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When premium phones are out of financial reach and entry-level handsets just don’t make your cut, something in between is the next best thing. This is our updated list of the best upper-midrange smartphones retailing from PhP 20,000 to PhP 30,000.

Formulating this category was tricky, since you can’t set an exact price and some of these devices are, in fact, the flagship phones of their respective brands. To simplify things, we chose a price range that simply sits between our other lists for best budget, midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

POCO F2 Pro (PhP 29,990)

The priciest in this bunch, the POCO F2 Pro easily also feels and arguably looks most premium. The POCO F2 Pro has the heft, look, and feel that’s typically reserved for the premium flagships. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 adding fuel to the flagship killer fire. It’s a noteworthy follow-up to the cult classic that was the POCO F1 Pro.

Huawei Nova 7 5G (PhP 23,990)

The marketing around this phone has been centered around it being 5G-capable. However, with 5G still at its infancy in terms of coverage, you should look beyond 5G when considering this phone. And when you do, what you’ll find is perhaps one of better built smartphones at this price. Of course, you’ll have to contend with the lack of Google Mobile Services. Is that a deal breaker? There are workarounds, so if you’re the type who can live with these, the Nova 7 is still solid choice.

REVIEW: Huawei Nova 7 5G

realme X3 SuperZoom (PhP 24,990)

The realme X3 SuperZoom is equipped with late 2019 flagship specs — Snapdragon 855+, 64MP main camera, 120Hz screen refresh rate — while being priced at just a little over half the price of phones with comparable specs. realme is playing in that flagship killer territory and certainly deserves more attention.

REVIEW: realme X3 SuperZoom

iPhone SE (PhP 26,990)

One of the world’s fastest processors, a fantastic camera, at a midranger’s price. If we told you, we’re talking about an iPhone you probably wouldn’t believe us but here we are. The iPhone SE’s design is dated, but everything about its performance is near-flagship or flagship 2020 levels.

REVIEW: iPhone SE

Samsung Galaxy A71 (PhP 22,990)

Awesome screen, awesome camera, long-lasting battery life — that’s the LSS-inducing theme of the Galaxy A71 as it was being teased. Lo and behold, Samsung wasn’t lying. The phone certainly lives up to the hype and while specs-wise there may be cheaper options out there, the package that Samsung has put together is quite enticing.

REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy A71

OPPO Reno3 Pro (PhP 28,990)

The design of the Reno3 feels like a departure from the journey that OPPO took when they launched the first Reno phone. That said, this is still a solid all-around smartphone at this price point. It does about everything well enough to merit this inclusion. It’s not stellar, but it’s solid.

REVIEW: OPPO Reno3

Xiaomi Mi Note 10 (PhP 25,990)

Want to own the phone with the world’s first-ever 108MP camera in a penta-camera setup? That’s the main selling point of this phone. Xiaomi’s been making a strong push in mobile photography and this is the crème de la crème when it comes to smartphone cameras.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi Note 10

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite (PhP 29,990)

Finally. A Galaxy Note sans the gimmicks. The Galaxy Note line has always been a premium offering. And while this isn’t exactly budget, it’s still a lot more affordable than the usual stylus-paired smartphone from Samsung.

WATCH HANDS-ON: Samsung Galaxy Note 10

News

Digital telco GOMO comes to the Philippines

Offers mobile data with no expiry

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Going digital is the new normal. Digital telco GOMO comes to the Philippines, offering large mobile data allocations with no expiry.

Running under Globe Telecom, GOMO offers 5G and LTE enabled sim cards with non-expiring mobile data. It can be purchased through GOMO’s website, GOMO’s PH app, or via official Lazada and Shopee stores.

Additionally, your mobile data can be used as Mo Creds through GOMO’s app. You can convert your existing data so you can subscribe to other prepaid promos like call and text, for as low as 0.2GB. In essence, your mobile data can be your form of currency.

Prepaid subscribers can buy mobile data promos through GOMO’s app, offering 25GB of mobile data for PhP 299 and more.

GOMO’s app is currently available on the Google Play Store. It’s expected to come to The App Store and Huawei’s AppGallery. Currently, GOMO offers a free sim card with 25GB of non-expiring mobile data at PhP 199, and delivers it for free nationwide.

 

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Automotive

New compact SUV Mercedes-Benz GLA premieres in PH

Sporty, fits more, and comes with some fancy tech

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The new GLA is the eighth model to join the line-up and rounds off the current Modular Front Architecture (MFA) from Mercedes-Benz. At the same time, it represents the entry level into Mercedes-Benz successful family of SUV models.

The new GLA combines the best from the two high-volume segments, the compact cars and the SUVs. It embodies the perfect synergy between pure beauty and robust off-road elements. It carries Mercedes-Benz’ signature SUV design and trailblazing technologies as a true demonstration of modern luxury.

Sporty from every perspective

The sharpened SUV character and expressive design underscore the new GLA’s claim to setting the standard in its class. More than a commanding view of the road ahead, the new second-generation GLA offers a rewarding view of what’s next.

As a compact SUV, it fits in nearly any open space and yet has room for your entire life. The character has been significantly reinforced compared with the previous model. The height of the new GLA, at 1611 millimeters (1616 with roof rails), exceeds that of its predecessor by more than ten centimeters.

The GLA 200 AMG Line boasts an attractive sporty appearance both inside and out. In particular, the AMG Body Styling comes with a diamond radiator grille with pins in chrome, 19inch 5 twin-spoke light-alloy wheels, black roof liner and polished aluminium roof rails.

The side and rear views are characterized by the muscular shoulders of the vehicle. In addition, the new generation multifunction sports steering wheel in Nappa leather stands for exquisite look and feel of the new GLA.

Fit more in. Fit in more.

Within a more nimble length, the new GLA gives you more space to ride, more room to shop, stow and be spontaneous. The seating position for both the driver and the front passenger is higher and more upright than in the predecessor model, and thus more typical of an SUV.

The new GLA offers a more spacious interior with seats that are incredibly comfortable. The rear seat backrest is 40:20:40 split, with each section folding down individually. This allows better space management for cargo loading and gives passengers a more configurable seating position for greater overall comfort.

Comfortable loading is also seen with low boot sill. Its luggage compartment height can be adjusted in 2 stages, thanks to a continuous luggage compartment floor console, it enables even better use of the available space.

MBUX: a new era of connectivity

Enjoying the solitude and sharing it with everyone at the same time is possible with modern connectivity services. It is equipped with Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). The MBUX multimedia system comes with 7-inch instrument and media display and has its own intelligent voice assistant which is activated with the code word “Hey Mercedes”.

Smartphones can be connected as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the system supports the major applications and selected apps including navigation.

Another highlight is the comprehensive touch operation concept – the combination of a touchscreen, touchpad on the center console and touch control buttons in the steering wheel. In addition to the intuitive operating experience, less driver distraction is another advantage.

Impressive Performance

The GLA is always ready for what’s around the corner. From a tight corner of the city, to a tight corner of a back road, the new GLA is agile and easy to maneuver. Turbo power and a solid stance make it quick on its feet and confident in your hands.

The GLA 200 AMG Line only has one engine option, although it has enough power for daily commuting or longer excursions. The turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine produces 163 horsepower and 250 Nm of torque. It comes paired with a 7G dual-clutch automatic transmission with cruise control and standard with front-wheel drive. With DYNAMIC SELECT, one console control calls up a range of performance profiles such as ”ECO”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, and Individual.

It also has ECO Start/Stop system that automatically shuts off the engine when you’re at stoplights or idling. This system helps save on fuel and reduces emissions. Once you lift your foot off the brake, the engine starts back up immediately. However, if you don’t want to use this feature, you can easily disable it.

GLA Safety: feel at ease

The new GLA makes a further step in terms of safety courtesy of its driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support. Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive combines safety and convenience innovations. With these intelligent systems, Mercedes-Benz is not only setting standards in automotive engineering, but is also taking another important step forward on the road to accident-free driving. This therefore allows the driver to experience a new dimension of safety, convenience and stress relief.

The GLA is able to react when the driver doesn’t. Active Brake Assist is charged in many situations with applying autonomous braking to avoid a collision or to reduce its severity. The ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity can warn the driver on detecting the typical signs of inattentiveness or drowsiness.

Moreover, the GLA 200 AMG Line is loaded with Light and Sight Package that provides added interior value appeal and optimum visibility in the vehicle. It comprises functional comfort- and safety-enhancing lighting. Parking is made easy with Parking Package consists of Active Parking Assist with reversing camera, providing support when parking and maneuvering. Tire Pressure Loss Warning System monitors the inflation pressure of all four tires while driving.

Pricing and availability

The new GLA is now available at all Mercedes-Benz dealerships. Introductory SRP is PhP 3,290,000 (US$ 67, 874).


This is a press release from Mercedes-Benz Philippines

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News

Smart rollouts 5G service in key Visayas, Mindanao areas

Look out for Smart’s 5G in Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao

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Telcos in the Philippines like Smart and Globe are preparing for the next big thing in cellular network — 5G. As a matter of fact, Smart’s 5G network is live now in select areas in the Philippines. Now, the telco is pushing ahead with a wider country rollout by expanding to select areas in Visayas and Mindanao.

Key areas where Smart is expanding its next-gen network include select vicinities of Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao. The telco now has more 5G coverage than ever, building on the areas where the network is now live. Up until the expansion to Visayas and Mindanao, Smart’s 5G network is mainly limited to Luzon. These Luzon areas include:

  • Makati Central Business District (CBD)
  • Bonifacio Global City CBD
  • Araneta City
  • Mall of Asia Bay Area
  • North Avenue in Quezon City
  • Taft Avenue in Manila
  • Ortigas CBD
  • Select areas along EDSA
  • New Clark City in Pampanga

Strategic locations in these provinces and cities also have Smart’s 5G coverage:

  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • Manila City
  • Quezon City
  • Makati
  • Taguig
  • Pasig
  • Mandaluyong
  • Marikina
  • Parañaque
  • Valenzuela
  • Caloocan
  • Navotas
  • San Juan
  • Pasay
Smart 5G signal marker in their own Makati headquarters

Smart 5G signal marker in their own Makati headquarters

Faster upgrade to 5G

To encourage more people to switch to 5G, Smart is now making the network available to all Prepaid subscribers. Back in July, only Smart Postpaid subscribers can take advantage of the network. Willing subscribers now only need a 5G-enabled SIM card and device to use Smart’s next-generation network.

Luckily, the telco partnered with big brands to bring more 5G devices in the country. Smart’s online store now has a selection of 5G-ready devices from Huawei, Samsung, realme, and vivo. These devices can also be had on Smart’s selection of postpaid plans.

And for the unconvinced, 5G-ready handsets are available for use on select Smart Stores in Metro Manila. Here, subscribers can take advantage of super-fast speeds and low latency upon leveraging Smart’s 5G networks.

It won’t be long again before Smart expands its 5G network to more areas in the country. The telco has been preparing for the arrival of 5G all along, beginning with speeds tests in 2016. Over the last two years, it had set up 5G base stations, launched lifestyle hubs, and enabled next-gen connectivity in critical places across Metro Manila.

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