Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mid-year Android smartphone buyers guide

Looking for a new smartphone?

Php25,000 more or less - LG Optimus 2X. Dual Core is here. With the arrival of the LG Optimus 2X we finally have a dual core smartphone being offered officially in the Philippines. The Optimus 2X's 4-inch 480 x 800 screen and 512MB of RAM, does not match the sheer size of the giant 4.3-inch display and the massive 768MB of RAM of the HTC Desire HD. The IPS display great, but is still not as good as the Super AMOLED display of the Samsung Galaxy S. The 8MP shooter of the Optimus 2X is not as good as the camera on Sony Ericsson ZPERIA Arc X12. In other words, Optimus 2X does not beat all phones in all categories.

But with a dual core Tegra 2 chipset, 1080p video recording and output via HDMI a front cam and 8GB of internal storage at a lower than expected Php27,900 suggested retail price (and as low as Php25,900 from CMK Cellphones) it is the most future proof phone you can buy right now. Among the four options we mentioned, twelve months from now, it is the one which will not yet feel obsolete. For that reason alone we recommend it for the power user.

It costs just a bit more than the Desire HD and Samsung Galaxy S and is actually cheaper Arc.There really is no reason to get anything else.

Php20,000 more or less - LG Optimus Black. In 2010 the HTC Desire was the standard by which all other Androids were measured. Now we have the Desire S. The HTC Desire S is the old Desire updated to just a HTC Desire HD specifications with a smaller 3.7-inch screen. A true Android 2.3 phone it comes with a front camera. At Php21,700 it fits the need for the average users for a smartphone.

We think, the standard has to give way this year. The LG Optimus Black P970's TI OMAP 3630 1 GHz processor, PowerVR 530 SGX graphics and 512MB of RAM is not as fast as the Desire S 1 GHz Scorpion processor, Adreno 205 GPU and 768MB of RAM, but it does come in at a lower price. 

At a lower Php19,900 suggested retail price (and as low as Php18,400 from CMK Cellphones), with the larger 4-inch ultra bright 700-nit display and thin 9.2 mm case, the Optimus Black really does look like the better deal.. 

You also have the Samsung Galaxy i9003 SL and the older HTC Desire for about 17K. But for the additional 1.5K to 2K you will be paying for the Optimus Black, we recommend the Optimus Black.

Php15,000 more or less - Samsung Galaxy Ace. At Php13,700, what the Galaxy Ace has going for it except against its similarly price competitors is 3.5-inch 320 x 480 screen and having the best camera among the bunch. The Ace 5MP snapper produced better pictures than even 8MP units on higher end phones (except for the SE XPERIA Arc). Basically, that it has the screen of an iPhone 3GS. When buying touchscreen phone, adequate screen size and resolution should be a main consideration. The Galaxy Ace is what delivers the adequate screen size and resolution at the lowest price, and packs a good camera as a bonus. As for the rest of the phone, with an 800MHz processor and a decent amount of RAM, it will get the job done.

There is also the newly released HTC Wildfire S, and we did a comparison a few days ago. But wit the larger screen and better camera, we recommend the Galaxy Ace.

Php10,000 more or less - LG Optimus One P500. At a lower price of Php9,990 the old warrior can again lay claim to the best bang for the buck Android in the market. It has a 3.2-inch screen like most of its lower end competition, but its higher 320 x 480 pixel resolution stands out in the sea of low cost Androids with 240 x 320 screens. Its 600MHz processor 512MB of RAM, at least matches up with all its sub-10K counterparts. There is little reason to recommend anything else in the budget class.

Need a physical QWERTY keyboard?

Some of us cannot make the transition to pure touchscreen, and HTC is happy to meet your need:

HTC Desire Z. HTC offers a 3.7-inch Android with one killer feature, a phyical keyboard with an innovative z-hinge. While some have felt that the z-hinge may be flimsy, so far no horror stories have come up about someone breaking one. The z-hinge is innovative because instead of sliding the keyboard straight out which results in a flat keyboard, it "lifts" the phone over the keyboard allowing for raised keys. Basically, is it is the best slide out keyboard I have ever tried.

Equipped with a 3.7 inch 480 x 800 resolution screen, a 800MHz Qualcomm processor and 512GB or RAM and 1.5GB of memory with a bundled 8GB MicroSD card. The price of this one varies wildly from seller to seller. But you can find it for as low as Php19,400 with an official HTC Warranty.

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