Friday, September 2, 2011

September entry-level smartphone buyers guide

We have looked at high end smartphones, which these days will cost you Php24,000 or more cash, or Php2,499 or higher on a carrier subsidized phone under a contract. We also have looked at mid-level offering which these days means spending Php17,000 to Php20,000 cash, or Php2,000 on a carrier subsidized phone under a contract.

Getting a entry level smartphone these days is relatively inexpensive. SMART Communication and Sun Cellular will give you a Huawei U8150 IDEOS or an LG Optimus Me for free or Php500 per month or less on a two year contract. These phones are all Android powered smartphone with a small 2.8-inch 240 x 320 resolution screen. You can also buy these phones for cash, for Php8,000 or less

These phones do work. Initially, you will be amazed what you can do with a phone these expensive, but over time you will find that the 2.8-inch screen is too small for a pure touchscreen phone and the 240 x 320 resolution screen is incompatible with many Android apps.

You will find Sony Ericcson's X8 and W8 Google Android phones which have larger 3-inch higher resolution 320 x 480 screens. The problem with these phones is that they run an old version of Android (v. 2.1 Eclair) which does not allow you to install applications in the memory card, and these phone have very little internal storage (128MB).  

Our favorite recommendation at this price range has been LG Optimus One. It is a Google Android touchscreen phone with a 3.2-inch, 320 x 480 resolution screen. While this phone is getting a bit old LG is updating it to Android 2.3, keeping its software current. This phone can be found for Php9,800. A cash purcahse is the only way to get this phone. You have no carrier options.

Postpaid, Globe Telecom has a good deal on the BlackBerry Curve 9300 3G. You can get it at Plan999 with a 30 month lock-in if you apply for it online. Smart Communications has the HTC ChaCha at Data Plan 1000, and the HTC Wildfire S at Unlimited Data Plan 1500. 

But it looks like a game changer is coming into the market. In another week, SMART Communications Netphone will be avialable.

The Netphone is a ZTE Blade, is a Google Android 2.2 powered phone which has a 3.5-inch, 480 x 800 resolution screen, a 600 MHz ARM 11 processor, Adreno 200 GPU, Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset and 512MB of RAM and a 3.2 MP auto-focus camera. The large 3.5-inch screen and the 480 x 800 resolution is what will attract most buyers, and with good reason. The phone will cost you Php9,900 and is bundled with pre-paid plans options that make the phone even more interesting.

I do have some reservations at the present time, on how the Red Bend WAC software will affect how well this phone functions, and issues on the online phonebook. So for now, consider this article on hold, till I get a hold of the  Netphone and see how it stacks up against the "rest of the world".

My advice for entry level smartphone buyers, is to wait just a bit more.

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