Philippines

The realme C11 works well for distance learning

We consulted a teacher, then put the phone to the test

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When realme reached out to ask if we wanted to review the realme C11, it came with a promise to donate the units. It’s a good cause and one that we gladly wanted to be indirectly part of.

The smartphones will be turned over to a non-government organization to support the youth in the planned distance learning setup in the upcoming school year. While I personally support the call for an academic freeze, we want to be able to help in any way we can in suggesting devices for these endeavors.

To start, I needed to check on a few things first. One is the minimum spec requirements for distance learning smartphones — one specified by the Philippines’ Education department. Second, I spoke with a teacher to get an idea about how distance learning will be executed. Here’s what I found.

Bare minimum specs 

Below is a table showing the minimum requirements for a smartphone to be effectively used for distance learning next to the specs of the realme C11.

Distance Learning, Smartphone Minimum Tech Specs realme C11
Processor Octa-core 2 GHz Mediatek Helio G35 (Octa-core 2.3 Ghz)
Memory 2GB 2GB
Display 6”, IPS LCD 6.5”
Storage 32GB 32GB
Network GSM / HSPA / LTE

Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth

GSM / HSPA/ LTE / 4G

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 5

Ports Micro USB or Type C, 3.5mm Audio Jack Micro USB port, 3.5mm Audio Jack
OS Android 8.1 Android 10, realme UI

Next, I sent a teacher some questions about how this smartphone will be used by the student in a distance learning setup. Answers have been edited for brevity.

What will students need to access for distance learning?

It depends on the platform the school will use. These can be Google Classroom, Edmodo, Zoom, etc. But certainly, the most accessed sites will be Google and Wikipedia.

Facebook and Messenger may also be used for communication and publishing of some projects. However, this is also dependent on the teacher handling the class.

What are the must have apps? 

YouTube, Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides) or any office app, Dictionary, A notepad app, Web browser, and Email.

How long will they need to be on the phone?

Our planned schedule will start at around 9AM and will end at around 2PM. That’s five 45-minute classes with 15 minutes of break in between. There’s also a 30-minute lunch break at 11:45AM. It may vary from day-to-day but that’s the general plan.

This also does not yet include consultation time. For us, we’ll do 15 minutes at the start and at the end of the day to help make-up for the interaction that will be lost due to the nature of an online class.

Any final notes? 

It’s certainly possible to have online classes despite the student only having a smartphone. Given of course that the smartphone can access everything mentioned previously.

Usually for lectures, the students will only really have to listen to the lectures on video. The teacher can opt to pre-record the classes and make it available for on-demand viewing so the students can access it even after class hours. The rest of the activities will be handled offline and be disseminated via communication apps.

How does the realme C11 handle the activities mentioned?

So now, we go back to the realme C11. On paper, it certainly meets the baseline requirements. But does it fare in practice?

Let’s first go to the apps. Some of the apps the teacher mentioned come pre-installed on the C11. YouTube, a notepad app (Google Keep), Email (GMail), as well as a browser (Chrome).

The rest — like the GSuite apps like Docs, Sheets, and Slides — you’ll have to download from the Playstore.

The processor, memory, and storage combination should be able to handle those apps with no problem. In fact, I experienced very little difference running these same apps on phones that are nearly thrice its price.

Google apps typically work well especially on devices that aren’t spec-monsters. This was also one of my tips on maximizing budget phones — Google is your best friend.

Facebook and chat apps

The Facebook app was also pre-installed on the phone. However, unlike the Google apps, you can actually feel the phone struggling to run it.

This is where another tip comes in — use the Lite version of apps. I quickly uninstalled the standard Facebook app and replaced it with Facebook Lite and also downloaded Messenger Lite.

These apps consume less bandwidth and puts less pressure on your chip and memory but are still able to do the basic stuff you need from said apps.

The same apples for other apps. If there’s a lite version, it’s prudent to get those for phones at this level.

Battery endurance 

This was a slightly trickier test to do. At first, I figured I’d look for some 45-minute videos on YouTube but the search alone would take time. Instead, I opted to time the YouTube usage.

I was religious with it though. The first two 45-minute sessions of running videos on loop, I was able to do 15-minute breaks in between. After that, I got busy with other work and just let the phone be on loop until I wrapped up my work day.

The results were astonishing. I had some K-Pop playlist that kept running for close to six hours. The phone didn’t quit on me at all. And it still had some juice to spare.

Naturally, usage will vary from person to person. But, it’s safe to say the phone can more than last the demands of daily online classes.

Good build quality

While we’re on the topic of endurance, I’d also like to note the build quality of the realme C11. It feels sturdy and is just overall nice to handle.

It doesn’t have the fancy IP ratings and what not so you should still take extra care in handling it. But if the C11 is an indication of how 2020 budget phones are built, then that’s a good thing.

They don’t feel cheaper than phones twice their price and appear like they can handle a beating.

Not entirely relevant to the topic but worth mentioning

Of course, a kid can’t be all just about studying. Just like any normal, developing human being, a student needs to engage in other activities to stimulate her/his brain.

Thankfully, a smartphone grants access to several things as well — particularly, games. I tried playing Call of Duty Mobile because it’s still really the only mobile game I enjoy. While I still managed to get some kills, the entire experience isn’t exactly pleasant.

I switched over to Mobile Legends and the phone ran it much more smoothly than CoD. So when picking games to play, try to steer clear of those that lean towards fast action and require intense graphics.

The realme C11 also has two rear-cameras. A 13MP main camera and a 2MP main sensor. They’re… okay.

If a student needs to take a few snaps of notes it can handle it.

The text is in Hangul, but I trust you get the point.

Should the student take interest in photography, she/he will quickly realize the inherent wonders of natural lighting.

That’s Mitsui and Akagi from Slam Dunk

The phone struggles in dimly lit areas, but takes okay photos under natural light.

View from my window

Is the realme C11 a distance learning GadgetMatch?

As far as distance learning goes, the realme C11 does have the chops to assist a student in the learning process.

Of course, there are other key factors. These include school and/or teacher’s distance learning program, access to a reliable Internet, and an environment that encourages learning. But those are other concerns altogether.

As a tool to help a student move along, the realme C11 delivers without a hitch. It will be available in Mint Green and Pepper Gray and will retail for PhP 4,990 (around US$100). A fair price for what you’re getting.

It will be initially launched exclusively on Shopee starting 6PM on July 23. Fans can get up to 8 percent off using Shopee’s voucher code GADGETZONE8. The voucher is valid from July 23 to August 8. It will then be available nationwide starting July 24, 2020 at realme stores, kiosks,  partner dealers nationwide and Home Credit.

As mentioned earlier, realme is donating a number of realme C11 units to a non-government organization (Young Focus Organization) to be distributed to children before the start of the school year on August 24.

Young Focus’ vision is to improve the mental, physical and social well-being of young people in poor communities by means of education, health care and personal support.

This is realme’s contribution to Young Focus’ “Quality Education for All” campaign. Some of the prominent partners of Young Focus are Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Universe, through Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Series: Price and availability in the Philippines

Which Galaxy S21 is for you?

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Samsung’s latest and greatest Galaxy S series will be in the Philippines. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Series has three phones — the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Here’s a quick look at the specs for your benefit.

Galaxy S21 Series Specs

Galaxy S21 Galaxy S21+ Galaxy S21 Ultra
Display 6.2”

Dynamic AMOLED

120Hz

6.7”

Dynamic AMOLED

120Hz

6.8”

Dynamic AMOLED

120Hz/4K

Processor Snapdragon 888/ Exynos 2100

*Depending on the region

Build Polycarbonate Plastic Gorilla Glass Victus Gorilla Glass Victus
RAM + ROM Up to 8GB + 256GB Up to 8GB + 256GB Up to 16GB + 512GB
Battery Capacity 4000mAh

25W wired charging

15W wireless charging

4800mAh

25W wired charging

15W wireless charging

5000mAh

25W wired charging

15W wireless charging

Rear cameras 12MP Ultra Wide f/2.2

12MP Wide f/1.8

64MP Telephoto f/2.0

12MP Ultra Wide f/2.2

12MP Wide f/1.8

64MP Telephoto f/2.0

12MP Ultra wide f/2.2

108MP Wide f/1.8

10MP Telephoto1 f/2.4

10MP Telephoto2 f/4.9

Laser AF

Selfie camera 10MP f/2.2 40MP f/2.2
S Pen support No No Yes

*Sold separately

*No slot for storage

Colors Phantom Violet

Phantom Pink

Phantom Grey

Phantom White

*Varies depending on market

Phantom Violet

Phantom Grey

Phanton Silver

Phantom Black

*Varies depending on market

Phantom Silver

Phantom Black

 

The Galaxy S21 series features a slightly altered look, improved cameras from a software standpoint, and a host of new features for video-taking. Something entirely new to the S series is the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s S Pen support — a feature previously reserved only for the Galaxy Note series.

The series will also remove charging bricks from the box — a move that Apple did and Samsung previously mocked.

The entire Galaxy S21 series also has UWB or Ultra Wide Band. It lets users point their phone at another Galaxy phone to send files. The feature set has been expanded to include unlocking your car with your phone.

Samsung is also launching an accessory called Smart Tags. These are trackers you can attach to your keys or your backpack. You can then use these to locate your items using the SmartThings Find App.

Pricing and availability

Galaxy S21 Series

Galaxy S21 PhP 47,990
Galaxy S21+ PhP 57,990
Galaxy S21 PhP 69,990

Galaxy S21

The Galaxy S21 will be available in Samsung.com, other Samsung online partners, and telco partners on February 5, 2021.

Galaxy S21+

On January 15 to 28, 2021, customers can pre-order the Galaxy S21+ to get a bundle worth up to PhP 19,000 through Samsung Experience stores, select Abenson and SM Appliance Stores and Authorized Samsung online partners.

Customers who pre-order will get the following:

  • Galaxy Buds Live
  • Galaxy Tab A 8.0
  • Galaxy SmartTag,
  • 25W Travel Adapter

Offer is also available through Globe and Smart until January 24.

Customers can also pre-order through Samsung.com to get as much as PhP 13,000 worth of freebies including Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy SmartTag and a PhP 3,000 discount.

Starting January 29, 2021, the Galaxy S21+ 5G will be widely available in Samsung.com, Authorized Samsung Stores, other Samsung online partners, and telco partners.

Galaxy S21 Ultra

On January 15 to 28, 2021, customers can pre-order the Galaxy S21 Ultra to get a bundle worth up to PhP 20,000 through Samsung Experience stores, select Abenson and SM Appliance Stores and Authorized Samsung online partners.

Customers who pre-order will get the following:

  • Galaxy Buds Pro
  • Galaxy Tab A 8.0
  • Galaxy SmartTag
  • 25W Travel Adapter

Offer is also available through Globe and Smart until January 24.

Customers can also pre-order through Samsung.com to get as much as PhP 16,000 worth of freebies including Galaxy Buds Pro, Galaxy SmartTag and a PhP 5,000 discount.

Starting on January 29, 2021, Galaxy S21 Ultra will be widely available in Samsung.com, Authorized Samsung Stores, other Samsung online partners, and telco partners. Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G will be available in two bold colors featuring deluxe haze finishes:

  • Phantom Silver: 256GB model with 12GB RAM
  • Phantom Black: 256GB model with 12GB RAM
  • 512GB model with 16GB RAM (pre-order-exclusive model) 

Pricing for Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G starts at PhP 69,990 for the 256GB model and PhP 79,990 for the 512GB pre-order-exclusive model.

 

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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

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Philippines

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

January 2021 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:

OnePlus 8T (PhP 29,990)

Die-hard fans of OnePlus will find that there’s a lot to like with the OnePlus 8T. It’s still a relatively premium experience for less. There’s plenty of contention happening in the sub-flagship arena and the OnePlus 8T has a strong case to being your best option with its overall combination of optimized performance and improved cameras.

WATCH: OnePlus 8T Unboxing and Review

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro (PhP 24,990)

This is our 2020 best value smartphone for simply because of its price-to-feature ratio. You’re getting so much flagship-level specs for about half the price of most flagships these days. The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro is the embodiment of Xiaomi’s commitment to bringing great value for money smartphones and is easily the best recommendation in this category.

WATCH: Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro Unboxing and Review

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.

REVIEW: POCO F2 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

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