The next generation of phones is coming, and that is in the next 2-3 months. If you are spending this much you will be able to buy one of 2013's latest and greatest. The HTC Butterly represents the next generation of phones, but a 30K phone without LTE is a big fail in my book. The newer HTC M7 might be out as early as March. The Sony Xperia Z and ZL should be landing at about the same time, and I expect those to be LTE capable. The Samsung Galaxy S III is still nice, but the Galaxy S IV could be here as early as April. The Samsung Galaxy Note N7100 is still a good choice, but once the current stock of N7100's runs out, I expect to see the LTE capable N7105's hit the shelves.
So what is a good option for now.
1. Google Nexus 4 by LG (Smart Data Plan 1500/Php22,240) - A Nexus phone is always a good choice
There are two really good reasons to select the Google Nexus 4. For Android fans, the Nexus phone get software faster and longer than other Android phones. Right now, this phone runs Android 4.2, while the other Android offering are still being updated to Android 4.1. For hardware junkies, well, with the 1.5 GHz quad core Qualcomm Krait processor and 2 GB of RAM is the most powerful smartphone hardware configuration for smartphones.
You get this all for a rather reasonable Php22,240. This phone is also an excellent choice on a plan, coming free at Smart's Data Plan 1500.
The Google Nexus 4 a 4.7-inch display 768 x 1280 display. This is bit wider and a bit shorter than the typical Android 4.7-inch display which is usually has 720 x 1280 resolution.
The phone comes with 16 GB of non-expandable internal storage. It comes with a 8MP camera, which produces decent but not great images. The front camera is a 1.3 MP unit. The phone comes with a 210mm mAh battery, but battery life is not as good as the hardware combination is capable off. A software update should improve battery life in the future. Also the phone does not come with LTE. Still, all in all it is a good phone for the money.
2. Sony Xperia V (Smart Data Plan 2000/Php23,800) - LTE onboard
The Sony Xperia V has a 4.3-inch 720p display, which at 354 ppi is even Sharper than Apple's iPhone. It is powered by the dual core 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Krait processor. It has a slightly higher resolution 13 MP camera, which performs much better than the older 12 MP model. This phone come with Android 4.0.4 out of the box, but an update to Jelly Bean has been confirmed for this phone. Most importantly, this phone has a HSPA+ and LTE radio, and is available from Smart Communications with an LTE plan. All in all, despite several quad core phones at a cheaper price, LTE makes this phone is easy enough to recommend.
Internal storage is less than the Xperia Acro S, at 8 GB, but it does come with a microSD card slot. The battery is a 1750 mAH unit, but it gets decent but not great battery life.
This phone is available free at Smart Data Plan 2000.
With an LTE option available at Php24K, and a second good LTE option now available (Apple's iPhone 5), I will draw the line here. Anything more expensive has to have LTE to make it on this list.
3. Apple iPhone 5 (Plan 2499/Starts at Php33,600)
The Apple iPhone 5 is the best iPhone every built. The main feature of the iPhone 5 is the new 4-inch (640 x 1136) display. These is a pretty substantial upgrade behind the display. Inside you have 1 GB of RAM and the new dual core A6 processor, making this twice as powerful as the iPhone 4S. The A6 processor is built on 32 nm technology, which gives the iPhone 5 not only more power, but also better battery life than previous iPhones. The 8 MP camera is rivaled only by the 8MP camera on Samsung phones, and the dedicated camera centric smartphones. Yes, it now has LTE activated.
The Apple iPhone 5 comes in three models, with 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB of storage. Storage is not expandable.
It is an excellent choice, if you are happy with a 4-inch or so display.
This phone is available from both carriers at Plan 2499, but Globe Plan 1799 plus Php4,800 cash or Smarts Data Plan 2000 plus cash are better deals.