Philippines

realme C15 review: A realme C11 on steroids

Does the 6,000mAh battery really last you that long?

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My experience with budget/low-end smartphones aren’t favorable. Though it’s been more than a year since the Honor 8s‘ horrible performance dismayed me, I still openly accepted a budget smartphone in my hands this 2020 to challenge myself if I can handle everyday tasks by just using a sub-PhP 7K smartphone.

Other than the C11 and C12, the C15 is the latest budget smartphone offering from realme. If you still haven’t heard of them, they’re a sub-brand of OPPO that focuses more on delivering budget and midrange smartphones at a more affordable price tag. ICYMI, we have an in-depth explanation for that.

Enough with the hullaballoos, let’s dive straight into the review.

How is it a “realme C11 on steroids”?

On paper, the realme C15 is quite similar to the C11 in many aspects. Quite unsure how realme names their smartphones but C11 plus four (C11+4) might mean four notable improvements from the previous variant.

realme C15 realme C11
Processor MediaTek Helio G35 (Octa-Core 2.3GHz) MediaTek Helio G35 (Octa-Core 2.3GHz)
Display 6.5″ 720p IPS LCD 6.5″ 720p IPS LCD
Memory 3/4GB RAM 3GB RAM
Storage 64GB + microSD 32GB + microSD
Cameras Quad rear-camera setup + selfie notch Dual rear-camera setup + selfie notch
Battery 6,000mAh 5,000mAh
Charging 18W Fast Charging via micro USB port 10W charging via micro USB port

That being said, we don’t usually base everything on specifications as we rely more on real-world performance and usage. Curious to find out? Just continue reading to know more.

A very artsy limited edition box

 

Our review unit comes with this super-extra doodle box designed by Vince Ricohermoso — a realme fan who won in the #realmedoodlechallenge with his self-doodled realme C2 box. Take note that this is only available in 1,000 limited quantities — so grab one now before it completely runs out.


I truly appreciate the doodle art as I used to draw doodles like this before — but mine is a total wreck 😂

A simple Korean “finger heart” gesture is what I need from my crush right now

Other than the special box and the phone, you still get the usual packaging inside: User Guide and Warranty Card, SIM tray ejector tool, micro USB cable, and a 9V/2A charging brick. Unfortunately, there’s no free clear case and earphones out of the box.

The harmony of design and function

 

The realme C15 features a new geometric gradient design — a major step-up from the lackluster back design of the realme C1, their first C-series phone launched two years ago. The design features a trapezoid divided into three sides that show different color hues when hit by light. They even claim this type of design is a first on a realme smartphone.

 

Although I’m not really into gradient back designs, I still like its subtlety. Let’s be honest, a budget smartphone doesn’t need to be flashy. You don’t want to attract thieves with a “super fancy-looking” gradient back design just to get your hard-earned smartphone taken away from you.

 

With its precisely-engraved radium texture back, it adds grip whenever you hold it. Other than that, it retracts fingerprint smudges — which is truer than blue.

Remember, this phone has a massive battery inside which adds heftiness to it. I don’t mind the added heft and thickness as its firm enough whenever you hold it 😏.

With that in context, phone manufacturers should always take ergonomics into consideration as a phone’s thinness doesn’t necessarily define how beautiful a phone is — just like society’s standards when it comes to beauty and appearance.

Display is commendable

Ryujin says don’t be shy if you can only afford a budget smartphone

As you’ve seen from the spec sheet above, nothing has changed with its display. The realme C15 has a 6.5-inch IPS-LCD display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and screen resolution of 1600 x 720. Under most lighting conditions, it’s legible with an accurate color reproduction and right amount of contrast.

But under bright and harsh light, this phone starts to suffer with its less bright display. Viewing angles are also not looking good when light overpowers the screen. For people who usually stay under the sun for longer hours (like motorcycle riders or bikers who use Waze for traveling and deliveries), it might be a dealbreaker.

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay — That’s it. That’s the tweet

Even if there’s a slight distraction of its Mini-drop notch and no option to hide it in the Settings app, you still get an immersive, full-screen display whenever you watch videos through YouTube, Netflix, or even other video-streaming platforms and offline video players. After all, a small notch is still better than a pop-up cameras that always rely on mechanisms that can break over time.

A minor caveat with a 720p display

This isn’t a big issue for most but for those who are curious to know, it only plays 720p max when playing videos (obviously due to a display with only 720p resolution). Although tiny screen pixels aren’t totally visible with the naked eye, I’ve seen some pixelated artifacts when watching HD videos.

A budget phone should always include an audio jack

I still miss the pleasure of plugging in

We can’t deny that most manufacturers nowadays try to dominate the tech-audio space with wireless TWS earbuds offerings — and realme isn’t an exception to that with their latest Buds Neo in mind. Still, an audio jack should live longer (or even kept forever) especially when there’s no need to remove it.

I always tell this to myself but I fail whenever you message me all of a sudden #SubtleClownTrait 🤡 #StreamHOLO #StanLeeHi

For people who still rely on those long, wired earphones because of audio quality and extra long hours of music goodness without having to charge it every other time, the inclusion of this 3.5mm hole is an added buying consideration.

Even if I enjoy my pair of wireless pods, I still do enjoy listening to music with wired earbuds as they still give me that immersive audio quality (depends on the earphones you buy though).

With that being said, there’s a music-centric feature they call “Dual-Mode Audio” that lets you share music by plugging in a headphone while there’s a wireless earbuds connected through Bluetooth — which is something we can’t do in this virus crisis especially if we always have to observe social distancing with others, let alone distancing one’s self away from crushie.

If loudspeaker is your concern, it’s decently loud even if it only has a mono speaker. Just don’t cover it when holding your phone or it will instantly get muffled.

A physical fingerprint scanner is still better than face unlock

Other manufacturers opt out in equipping their budget smartphones with physical fingerprint scanners (neither rear or side-mounted). realme isn’t excluded in that list especially when the C11 doesn’t have one. Gladly, they decided to put one on the C15 for added biometrics.

We all know security and privacy is a must for these technological devices, so as the use of reliable biometrics for locking and unlocking certain phone features.

Most of the time, it’s fast and accurate but there are times where I repeatedly placed my (clean and dry) finger three to four times on the scanner until it locked me out. But I guess it’s better than an under-display scanner — even better than having none at all.

Stock-like Android experience

This phone runs the latest Android 10 version. Before, they rely on OPPO’s ColorOS but this time, it has its own proprietary skin called ‘realme UI’ that’s close to the heart of Stock Android.

I enjoy the fluidity and seamlessness altogether. There are enough customization options based on my liking while still removing those unwanted settings and bloatware. As a fan of everything Dark Mode, I love how they included it too on this phone.

I honestly don’t prefer virtual navigation buttons as I want to maximize the experience of a full display. Fortunate enough, realme has also included Swipe Gestures that mimic how newer phones function these days. I know it’s not as close as iOS’ implementation but I still like how they included it for those who want it.

Performance is smooth for most part

When it comes to performance, the C15 performs fluid and seamless. Whenever I unlock the phone, swipe through the home screen and notifications panel, scroll through the apps drawer, and open most apps on a daily basis, they all perform snappy. However, the moment I open Facebook, sluggish animations can be seen whenever I always hit the react button.

We miss you, MomSeul #withHaseul

Other than the minor performance issue, various social media apps such as Twitter, Messenger, and Instagram all work just fine. I don’t experience the slowness whenever I tap hearts on either of the apps. If it’s too unbearable for one’s liking, I recommend installing Lite versions of these apps. Certain features (that might be valuable for you) will not be present but they take up less storage and memory consumption.

More heart taps for LOONA’s Rising Star award at Soribada 🥺👉🏼👈🏼

Gaming is a totally different story

For those who love to game using their phones, there’s an included Game Space app that optimizes your phone when running games. Still, don’t expect jaw-dropping gaming performance even with the Helio G35 chipset paired with realme’s software optimizations.

From my own experience, playing PUBG and CoDM (Call of Duty Mobile) both suffered from casual stutters when aiming and shooting — and it’s not because of our internet connection nor latency.

Not totally a hardcore gamer but I still ranked first even with those casual stutters

I’m still giving it an approval for being able to run games at low settings — which other budget smartphones can’t afford at all. Best experience I’ve had when playing is when I experienced casual lags but still won the game 😂.

The battery life still is the ultimate win

Although, you’re not totally winning with its gaming performance, you still get the best battery out of the bunch. With its 6,000mAh battery capacity, you’ll be able to last more than two to three days with light to moderate use and less than that if you’re a heavy multimedia consumer. realme even claims it can last of up to 57 days of standby — which is still less than the days we’ve had in this pandemic lockdown.

How can you expect people to play PUBG in this phone for ten hours straight with that amount of lag?

In accordance to realme’s lab tests, you can play music with the C15 for 60 hours straight using Spotify. Other than that, they claim 28 hours of YouTube playback, all-day Instagram liking (and stalking), and even ten hours of PUBG — which I don’t know how they did it considering its gaming performance.

Standby time is truly impressive

Nonetheless, the battery life is true to its words. I was able to use this for more than two days of average use. When I played music for four hours straight (while cleaning and organizing two rooms in our house), it only consumed around 15%-20%, which is still a great feat compared to smartphones with conventional battery capacities.

In times where you think you still need more than two to three days of battery life, there are extra power saving modes that will boost your phone’s life even longer. But in times where we’re just required to stay at home, I don’t think there’s a need to do that.

micro USB is a disappointment, but fast charging isn’t

Seriously? micro USB in 2020?

As the world slowly transitions into a USB-C powered ecosystem, phone manufacturers should step up their game by completely ditching micro USB ports. This type of port should be obsolete instead of trying to phase out 3.5mm audio jacks. Other than its irreversible design, it performs slower — both with charging and data transfer speeds.

As opposed to the usual 10W charging, realme has decided to equip the C15 with a faster 18W fast charging — which gets the job done faster.

Filling it up from 0% to 100% might take several hours but for a smartphone that packs a 6,000mAh battery and is equipped with a micro USB port, that’s already impressive. Just putting this in context: the budget Honor 8s I tested last year only has a 3,020mAh battery and gets completely filled up for merely two hours.

You get more cameras for what its worth

A camera cutout that reminds me of Google’s Pixel 4 series

Unlike its dual rear camera-touting predecessor, the C15 now has a total of four sensors housed in its rounded square camera cutout. There’s a 13-megapixel f/2.2 AI wide camera for your usual wide-angle shots. For an added shot perspective, there’s the 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens that’s capable of shooting wider photos in a 105-degree FoV (Field of View).

Ultra-Wide | Wide | 2x Zoom | 4x Zoom

Those extra two sensors are 2-megapixel B/W and Retro sensors used for shooting black and white photos with better brightness, contrast, and white point. Other than that, it’s also used for portraits — especially when separating the foreground subject over elements in the background.

No filter | R6 B/W filter

Works both inside and out

Wide | 2x Zoom | 4x Zoom

Phone cameras in 2020, regardless of the price category they belong to, should deliver at least decent photos that were shot outdoors. The realme C15 proves it can keep up with that standard.

Wide | 2x Zoom | 4x Zoom

With sufficient light source indoors, the C15 is still able to deliver good shots, even when zoomed in.

HDR and Chroma Boost are both helpful

What I’ve noticed while using its cameras is that, most photos I took look de-saturated for my liking. I’m not saying photos that are too saturated are better but you need that added vibrance especially when shooting food and/or other product shots (that might benefit most small online businesses out there).

With realme’s additional HDR and Chroma Boost camera features, it can further enhance not just the color and contrast, but also the exposure values, highlights, and sharpness very well.

HDR+Chroma Boost OFF | HDR+Chroma Boost ON

Even with less light source, both of these features still work. Just be sure to stay still when shooting one.

HDR+Chroma Boost OFF | HDR+Chroma Boost ON

Still, don’t expect too much from its quality

Night Mode doesn’t come in handy especially if you’re fond of shooting in low-light on a tight budget. For mobile astrophotography enthusiasts, as long as you have the necessary equipment, there’s a native Pro Mode option that might still help you capture the night sky with the right amount of settings.

Ultra-Wide | Wide | 2x Zoom | 4x Zoom

I know this phone doesn’t have a built-in macro lens but I still tried testing it using Portrait Mode. The closer I get, the more it gets blurry and unfocused. I tried using the extra zoom options and it does the job better.

Portrait Mode | 2x Zoom | 4x Zoom

A less beautified selfie

Beauty OFF | Beauty ON

Post-pandemic, I’m still not the type who’s into selfies. I totally prefer selfies without that added layer of beautification. But if selfies matter to you the most, you only get one “Beauty Mode” option — and that is the overall adjustment level.

Other than the level of smoothing, there are no added beauty options such as eye size enhancer, jawline reducer, and other added glitz when taking star-studded, beautified selfies.

Beauty OFF | Beauty ON | Portrait Mode

There’s also a Portrait Mode available for the selfie camera. The separation between you and the background might work well in most scenarios and lightning conditions — just like how the pandemic separates us from our loved ones (especially from our crush 😭).

Is the realme C15 your BudgetMatch?

Considering you have a super limited budget, the realme C15 might just be your best choice. If you can spend a li’l bit more than the PhP 5K-worth realme C11, getting the C15 is a no-brainer.

Even if there’s an ongoing pandemic, the government requires schools to conduct online classes — which is a burden for most students and families with limited finances. For those who want an affordable tool for E-learning (especially with long hours of Zoom calls and online modules), this is truly a worthy contender. Although not totally limited to students per se, this is still a reliable purchase for people (or even oldies) who just want a basic phone without spending too much.

 

realme offers two variants of the C15. The base variant with 3GB/64GB configuration retails at just PhP 6,490 (US$ 133) with the option to avail the Lazada-exclusive PH Squad Edition Doodle Box in limited quantities. Spending PhP 500 more will give you the 4GB/64GB configuration at exactly PhP 6,990 (US$ 144) — which is still priced several pesos below the PhP 7K mark.

SEE ALSO: realme C15: Price and availability in the Philippines

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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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