There’s a Filipino song called “Bakit ngayon ka lang?”. Loosely translated, it means “what took you so long?”. The song talks about a missed romantic opportunity — of someone else coming along while you’re already committed to another. That’s almost exactly how I feel about the Nokia 8.1.
Performance on par with midrangers today
Before I proceed, let’s get some of the specs talk out of the way. The device is powered by the Snapdragon 710 SoC along with 6GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage which is expandable via a microSD card. That’s not bad. At all. It’s even near-flagship territory… in 2018.
One thing about the Nokia 8.1 though that will never feel dated is its OS. The phone is part of Google’s Android One program which means this is running Stock Android. If you like it vanilla — like a lot of purists do — then this is one of the phones that offer that clean experience. Right now it’s still on Android P, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can side load Android Q beta as it is a partner device for Android’s developer preview.
The chip together with vanilla Android makes for a smooth and snappy experience. Most of the time I’m either just browsing or working on my phone and doing so on the Nokia 8.1 one was a very pleasant experience.
I have said this countless times but in case you’re new here, I don’t really play mobile games. The only time I ever really do so is when I have to test phones. On the Nokia 8.1 I only played Honkai Impact 3, which is a pretty graphics heavy game. The phone had zero trouble running the game and it looked especially stunning on the phone’s 6.18-inch PureDisplay screen (which we’ll get to shortly).
This means the phone will likely have zero problems running some of the most played games today like PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. If you play these games with this phone and don’t get that Chicken Dinner or that MVP, then you only have yourself to blame.
A display sent from the heavens
The PureDisplay screen technology is really pulling its own weight. When Nokia said this phone offers a higher contrast ratio and sharper output, it felt like it was even underselling it. The screen is vibrant and the colors and images look sharp all without looking too saturated.
It doesn’t have any of that crazy 90hz or 120hz display that we’ll find on 2019 flagships, but dare I say, the Nokia 8.1 probably has the best display in its price point.
I’ve often found myself happily watching on this phone while slowly being sucked into the YouTube rabbit hole. Speaking of watching videos on this display, I opted to turn the notch off altogether. The notch still looks like the one present on the iPhone X which came out in 2017. It’s 2019 and personally, I’d rather have a full bezel than be bothered looking at that kind of a notch.
That said audio on this thing is far from perfect but it’s passable. The sound it produces isn’t as full as I hope to hear from phones when in speaker mode, but you can remedy all that by plugging in headphones because our good friend jack is still present on this device. Listening on wireless earbuds also offer a nice experience.
The build screams premium
One of the first things I noticed about the Nokia 8.1 is its build. The body is built with 6000-series aluminum with an all-glass back. And it feels pretty darn expensive. So much so that I was wondering why it didn’t come with any case in the packaging.
At first I was really hesitant to bring this around due to the lack of a case, but over time, my hands have grown accustomed to the glass finish. And I feel blessed every single time I touch it. There’s something about the build in finish that just screams premium.
It’s not fragile at all though. Being the clumsy oaf that I am, I may have accidentally dropped this phone twice already. The phone sustained zero scratches and zero damages. This is one tough cookie.
Pretty darn good cameras
I have to come clean and say I never really had too many chances to take photos during the testing phase. I’ve mostly just been at my desk or in a conference room which aren’t really ideal for taking photos.
So for samples I just took some quick shots around my place using the ZEISS-powered 12- and 13-megapixel dual-cameras. Hopefully I find some time to get a life outside of work for the next review. If you know a girl looking for a date, feel free to hit me up. I don’t bite… unless? Anyway, check out the samples below.
Quick note, features like Pro mode and Bokeh are also present on the 20MP front-facing camera.
Is the Nokia 8.1 your GadgetMatch?
And so, here we are. I’ve had nothing but mostly nice things to say about the Nokia 8.1. For a phone that was launched in late 2018, it can still square up with several midrangers in 2019. But the price, therein lies the rub.
At PhP 19,999, it’s not crazy expensive. It’s just that for a few thousand pesos less, there are actually better options. It’s hard to justify this purchase when phones like the Realme 3 Pro and Xiaomi Mi 9T exist — both of which came within the seven months that the Nokia 8.1 was nowhere to be found on the archipelago.
Sure, those don’t have the build that the Nokia 8.1 has but the Realme 3 Pro offers much of the same performance for a more affordable price. And the Xiaomi Mi 9T actually feels like a 2019 phone with its triple-camera setup and a pop-up camera that makes way for an actual full screen display.
If you’re a Nokia stan — and I know there’s a lot of you out there — I can’t fault you for wanting this device. I get it. It’s pretty nice. But it’s really just a little too late. Timing is everything. Both in love and in smartphone releases.
*plays “Bakit ngayon ka lang?”
Toyota PH enters the hybrid space with its new Corolla Altis
The Corolla line continues
Toyota Motor Philippines has just unveiled the newest Corolla Altis. There are five models to choose from including the company’s first hybrid variant in the country.
The new Altis comes with a fresh exterior and what sells it most are the pair of headlamps that wrap around its body. A large black grille adds weight to the front fascia and is then flanked by accented fog lamps.
Going around will also reveal an updated look. The taillights have been tweaked with added character in them — check out that strip of red light piercing through the trunk lid.
Inside, it carries a more straightforward approach with fewer frills and decorations. There’s a floating touch display right at the center and a simple layout for the climate control’s buttons and knobs right under it. A tri-spoke steering wheel is then mounted with buttons for media navigation and cruise control.
The top of the line variants get leather seats, an eight-way power-adjustable seat for the driver, reverse camera, and parking sensors.
It’s also got a lower center of gravity so you feel more confident taking on curves with a bit of speed. And in order to further improve visibility for the driver, the windshield has been increased and the A-pillars were made slimmer.
For a Corolla Altis with an internal combustion engine, it gets a 1.6-liter Dual VVT-i engine mated to either CVT or a six-speed manual transmission. If you’re choosing the hybrid variant, however, you get a 1.8-liter engine and an electric motor. Combined, they have an output of 121 horsepower.
Focusing more on the 1.8 V Hybrid variant, it has a set of features that further improve safety for the everyone inside the vehicle. It boasts a pre-collision system, lane tracing assist, dynamic radar cruise control, and more using a camera mounted at the top of its windshield.
It also comes with different driving modes like Eco, Normal, Sport, and EV that makes it run purely on electricity.
Pricing for the new Corolla Altis follows:
- 1.6 E MT — PhP 999,000
- 1.6 G MT — PhP 1,045,000
- 1.6 G AT — PhP 1,115,000
- 1.6 V CVT — PhP 1,185,000
- 1.8 V Hybrid CVT — PhP 1,580,000
The lineup is available in different colors, namely: Attitude Black, Red Mica Metallic, Silver Metallic, Freedom White (for G and E variants), Celestite Grey Metallic (for HEV, V, and G variants), and White Pearl (for HEV and V variants).
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: Price and availability in the Philippines
The real flagship killer is here
The flagship killer that everyone’s been waiting for has finally arrived in the Philippines. The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is now available in the country and it should shake up the midrange price segment.
Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855. It sports a 6.4-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display with a screen-to-body ratio of almost 92 percent. On the front is a 20-megapixel pop-up selfie camera while the rear has a triple camera setup. It consists of an IMX586 48-megapixel lens, a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.
If you think it looks familiar, it’s because it was first announced elsewhere in the world as the Redmi K20 Pro.
Pricing and availability
The Mi 9T Pro will be available for pre-order starting September 6, 2019 on Lazada and September 7 at Mi Authorized Stores.
It will come in two configurations. The 6GB+64GB will retail at PhP 18,990 while the 6GB+128GB version will retail at PhP 20,490. It will come in four colors: Flame Red, Glacier Blue, Carbon Black, and Pearl White.
Lazada can take you on a Helicopter ride
No, we’re not kidding
Yes, you read that right. Lazada announced a bunch of new features and offerings ahead of their 9.9 discovery sale. Chief of which is a helicopter ride.
Teaming with Ascent, the Helicopter ride the first e-commerce exclusive helicopter flight experience in the Philippines. You can choose to either hover over Metro Manila or Tagaytay. Check out the base pricing below along with the slashed price for the 9.9 discovery sale.
Lazada Helicopter Ride
9.9 Discovery Sale Price
|Manila Tour – 1 Pax – 15 Minutes||PhP 9,990||PhP 7,992|
|Manila Tour – 2 Pax – 15 Minutes||PhP 19,990||PhP 15,992|
|Manila Tour – 3 Pax – 15 Minutes||PhP 26,990||PhP 21,592|
|Manila Tour – 4 Pax – 15 Minutes||PhP 33,990||PhP 27,192|
|Manila Tour – 5 Pax – 15 Minutes||
|Manila Tour – 2 Pax – 30 Minutes||PhP 37,990||PhP 30,392|
|Manila Tour – 3 Pax – 30 Minutes||PhP 50,990||PhP 40,792|
|Manila Tour – 4 Pax – 30 Minutes||PhP 64,690||PhP 51,752|
|Manila Tour – 5 Pax – 30 Minutes||PhP 76,990||PhP 61,592|
|Taal Volcano Tour – 3 Pax – 60 Minutes||PhP 89,990||PhP 71,992|
|Taal Volcano Tour – 4 Pax – 60 Minutes||PhP 99,990||PhP 79,992|
|Taal Volcano Tour – 5 Pax – 60 Minutes||PhP 109,990||PhP 87,992|
New time-saving features
If flying’s not your thing or it’s just simply outside your budget, there are other new features that can help you save both your time and your money. And that’s always a good thing.
We all know how crazy fast the items go once sale day hits. Lazada knows this and is offering you a way to get first dibs on items you really, really want. To get a head start simply order the item, place a 10% non-refundable deposit, settle the balance within the validity period, then wait for your order to arrive at your doorstep.
It’s important to note that this is only available on selected items as the feature is still under testing. It was first introduced in Malaysia and the company is hoping it gains traction in the Philippines.
No need to leave your home to settle those pesky bills. If you’re the type who hasn’t set up online payment, Lazada is making it easy for you. You can now pay for your Meralco, Maynilad, Manila Water, Albay Power & Energy, Davao Light, VECO, Metropolitan Cebu Water and Prime Water bills on the Lazada app.
That’s not all, you can also get up to PhP 300 cashback when bills are paid using the Lazada Wallet from now until November 2019.
Additional Collection Points
If, like me, you’re not really sure where you’ll end up at any given point of the day, then you’ll find this super helpful. The list of Lazada authorized collection points have been expanded and spread-out all-over Manila in select SM Malls and GrowSari branches. Just add to cart and select pickup instead of delivery when you shop checkout your items. You can check out the full list here.
When you badly need an item or few items but just don’t have the cash on hand, Lazada is also giving you a… well, a hand. In partnership with BillEase, pera247 and TendoPay, you can now apply for a loan for of anywhere between PhP 500 to PhP 50,000.
All you need to do is complete the application process and submit all needed requirements. Once approved, the loan amount will be credited to your Lazada Wallet which you can use upon checkout. There will be one to 12 months repayment options.
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