If you are looking for a smartphone priced at less than Php15,000 or thinking about getting a BlackBerry go to Part I of this guide here.
15-20K range. A budget of Php15,000 to Php20,000 is the optimal budget for a smartphone buyer today. There are cheaper phones, at the cost of giving up useful features that you are likely to miss on a day to day basis. There are more expensive phones, but the typical user will probably never miss or even use the additional features on this higher end units.
What do you expect to get from a 15-20K smartphone today? You get a large (3.7-4 inch) high resolution (480 x 800) screen, a 1GHz processor and enough RAM to run pretty much any application smoothly, a decent camera, and HD video recording (720p).
The LG Optimus Black P970 has the specifications of 2010 high end phone in a 2011 chassis. Like many of the newer phones, this 4-inch Android powered smartphone has a thin sleek case, in this case 9.2 mm's thin. A feature unique to this phone is the ultra bright 700-nit display, the brightest ever to be placed on a phone. While this phone comes out of the box with Android 2.2, it was built to run Android 2.3 and correspondingly has a secondary front camera. At a Php19,900 suggested retail price, and fpr as low as Php18,400 this is probably the best value for money smartphone in the market today.
If for some reason the Optimus Black does not appeal to you, you can get what many considered to be the best Android phone in 2010, the HTC Desire. For the price of about Php18,000 you get a nicely built mobile phone with a smaller 3.7-inch screen and without a front camera. The Android powered Desire comes with HTC Sense User Interface, which I think it is the best manufacturer customized UI The HTC Desire will also receive a an update to Android 2.3.3, but that is probably the end of the line for the Desire.
Another option at about 17K is the Samsung Galaxy SL. It has similar specifications as the Optimus Black, but is a bit thicker and does not have front camera and no flash for the primary camera. The biggest drawback with this option is that it appears that this smartphone may not be getting an update to Android 2.3.
20-25K range. As strange as it may sound, adding another 5K to your budget may not actually get you a better phone. What you have in this category right now are several holdovers from 2010 and the HTC Desire S.
Than you have the 2010 flagship Androids. You can still find a Samsung Galaxy S with its AMOLED screen and the HTC Desire HD with its mamoth 4.3 inch screen for a bit over 23K,
You may also want to look at the Windows Phone 7 version of the HTC Desire: the HTC Mozart. The HTC Mozart can be found now for as low as Php20,500.
In the end, if you have 25K today, you are still probably best off just getting the LG Optimus Black P970 and pocket the change.