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.

Philippines

Best Budget Smartphones in the Philippines below P10,000

August 2020 Edition

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Welcome to GadgetMatch’s list of the best smartphones priced below PhP 10,000! Each month, we update our selection with the budget-friendly phones we believe are most deserving of your hard-earned savings.

Even though the spotlight has been on high-end smartphones this entire year, there have been a few surprisingly good entry-level handsets coming out lately, as well. So good, in fact, that we had to reassess our entire list.

Here they are in no particular order:

Redmi 9 (PhP 6,490)

Probably the best compromise if you want a capable budget phone but don’t necessarily want to be near the top-end of the budget spectrum. You’ll have to settle for using Lite apps to not feel any slow down, but other than that, this thing works and is built well.

HANDS-ON: Redmi 9

Redmi Note 9 (9,990)

This is a routine appearance for the Redmi Note line. Xiaomi continues to lord over the budget segment by offering fairly capable smartphones at such an affordable price.

Review: Redmi Note 9

Realme 6i (PhP 9,990)

Realme finally releases a budget phone with a USB-C port! That aside, everything here is standard Realme — which is great. Its cameras leave much to be desired but what this is a budget phone after all. It does pretty well everywhere else — can game, handle your usual daily things, and has an impressive battery life.

READ: Realme6i 

Samsung Galaxy A20s (PhP 9,990)

There was a time when we couldn’t, in good conscience, recommend a Samsung phone in the budget segment. That’s now a thing of the past with Samsung’s Galaxy A series. The line is more streamlined and more competent than the J-series that once held its place.

READ: Samsung Galaxy A20s

OPPO A5s (PhP 6,990)

The OPPO A5s perhaps is best looked at as a transition device more than anything else. It does what you expect out of budget smartphones. It’s good to have “for now” but you might look elsewhere for a more reliable daily driver.

REVIEW: OPPO A5s

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Philippines

Best Midrange Smartphones in the Philippines from P10,000 to P20,000

August 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 midrange smartphones retailing from PhP 10,000 to PhP 20,000.

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, upper-midrange, and premium smartphones.

Here they are in no particular order:

Samsung Galaxy M31 (PhP 13,990)

This is a battery beast. Sometimes in this segment, you just need to have one standout thing going for you, and for the Galaxy M31, it is the 6,000mAh battery that works just as advertised. You’ll probably run out of juice first before this phone does.

HANDS-ON: Samsung Galaxy M31

realme 6 Pro (PhP 16,990)

This is the only smartphone in this segment that offers a 90Hz screen refresh rate. It’s one thing if that’s the only thing it’s good at, but the realme 6 Pro has a 64MP quad-camera setup, a really clean UI, and Snapdragon 720G along with 30W VOOC charging. We’re convinced this is the best Android phone in this segment.

Review: realme 6 Pro

realme 6 (PhP 13,990/ US$ 280)

It’s pretty much everything its “pro” sibling is except it’s instead powered by a Helio G90T processor made for gaming. the RAM and storage combo is no slouch too (8GB/128GB) and yes, it also has a 90Hz screen refresh rate. Solid. Value.

Review: realme 6

Huawei Nova 7 SE (PhP 19,990)

Barely making the price point, Huawei phones are facing a unique problem with the lack of Google Mobile Services. That said, Huawei Mobile Services is making a headway. But the reason the phone lands on this list is because of its 5G capabilities. This is one of the most affordable phones to support 5G and that has to count for something.

Hands-On: Huawei Nova 7 SE

Redmi Note 9S (PhP 11,990)

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note series has been popular because of how it has consistently delivered steady overall performance at an affordable price. On paper, the Redmi Note 9S continues that tradition.

READ: Redmi Note 9S

Nokia 7.2 (PhP 15,990)

Nokia’s hold on its fans is amazing. But best bet that despite HMD Global now handling the brand, the products have maintained what Nokia has been known for. Tough, quality handsets. The Nokia 7.2 is no different. It’s also a good option if you want a pure Android experience.

REVIEW: Nokia 7.2

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Philippines

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

August 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:

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

Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro [6GB/128GB] (PhP 20,490)

The Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro is easily the best bang-for-your-back phone since it came out and continues to be so until today. The Snapdragon 855 chip is flagship level and its cameras also perform better than expected.

REVIEW: Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro

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

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