Monday, September 2, 2013

Top Five Mid-Range Smartphones for September 2013

The mid-range category is comprised of phones priced at Php10,000 or more, but not exceeding Php20,000. The number of good mid-range offerings has increase this second half of the year, and keeping the list down to five, is tough.

The prices posted are those covered by an official manufacturer's warranty.

1. Starmobile Knight (Php10,990) - Surviving the Cosmos onslaught


Cherry Mobile has launched an army of Cosmos phones to take the the Starmobile Knight down. But the Knight is still the most compelling choice in my opinion, provided you can find one for sale. This was a really though call, which I suspect many will disagree with. The Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 has a lot of solid points in if favor. The Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 has a Super AMOLED display and a user replaceable battery. Another equally compelling option is the Cherry Mobile S, which is the fastest among the three. 

This Starmobile Knight packs a sharp 4.7-inch 720p (720 x 1280) display, quad core processor and a gig of RAM which is really becoming pretty common these days. It is the case where the magic lies. It even puts the HTC One to shame in terms of size.

  • Starmobile Knight dimensions: 138 x 66.7 x 7.5 mm
  • HTC One: 137.4 x 68.2 x 9.3 mm
Compared to its local competition, it fares even better.
  • Starmobile Knight - 138 x 66.7 x 7.5 mm
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 - 137.9 x 70 x 9.85 mm
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos S -147 x 72 x 7 mm

The Starmobile Knight's 7.5 mm thick case is nice and comfortable to hold in hand. It is thinner than the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S 4, and Sony Xperia Z. 

Quick specifications:
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 4.7-inch IPS HD display (720 x 1280) protected by Gorilla Glass
  • Dual SIM 
  • 4 GB internal storage, expandable via a microSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589 processor
  • PowerVR 5XT graphics
  • 18 MP BSI primary camera, autofocus with flash
  • 8 MP BSI  front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 2000 mAh battery (not user replaceable)

2. MyPhone Iceberg (Php11,988 at 12 months zero interest) - Makes the Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 look jurassic

MyPhone has its own upscale offering, the Iceberg phablet. The specifications are similar to the lower cost Cherry Mobile Blaze 2.0 (Php9,490).  The higher priced Iceberg comes in a more premium aluminum case, and has 16GB of internal storage. It does not have a MicroSD slot, so you cannot expand the internal storage, but it does support USB on-the-go so you can plug it to USB flash drives. If the plastic Blaze 2.0 leaves you wanting, this is the one to get.


Quick specifications:
  • Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 5.7-inch HD (720 x 1280) display
  • Dual SIM
  • 16 GB internal storage, not expandable
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589 processor
  • PowerVR SGX544 graphics
  • 12 MP autofocus primary camera with LED Flash
  • 5 MP front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 2600 mAh battery


3. Lenovo P780 (Php13,500) - A lot of steel and lithium ion

The Lenovo P780 is a bulky 5-inch Android phone measuring, 143 x 73 x 9.95 mm. Put it beside other 5-inch smartphones and the Lenovo P780 looks massive by comparison. At 176 grams, it is heavy. Not something I would want to lug around every day, but for many the additional bulk and weight will be worth it. With it steel case and massive 4000 mAh battery, it will win over many a buyer.

Quick specifications:
  • Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 5-inch HD (720 x 1280) display protected by Gorilla Glass
  • 4 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589W processor
  • PowerVR SGX544 graphics
  • 8 MP autofocus primary camera with LED Flash
  • 12 MP front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • USB On-the-go 
  • 4000 mAh battery




4. Sony Xperia SP LTE (Php16,200) - LTE at the mid-range

The Sony Xperia SP is an excellent mid-level Android. It has an HD display, powerful processor, LTE connectivity and long battery life. The biggest weakness in the package though is the camera which produces pictures which are a bit lower in quality than the 5 MP shooter on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus or its lower cost sibling, the Sony Xperia L.

Quick specifications:
  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).
  • 4.6-inch HD (720 x 1280) display
  • 8 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.7 GHz dual core Qualcomm Krait processor
  • Adreno 320 graphics
  • 8 MP autofocus primary camera with LED Flash
  • VGA front camera
  • LTE/HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 2370 mAh battery
If you don't need LTE, be on the lookout for a Samsung Galaxy S III on sale, which has more internal storage and a much better camera.


5. Huawei Ascend Mate - 6+ inches: The next generation of phablets (Php16,700)

Huawei's entry for the phablets wars, the Ascend Mate, is now available, and it is one impressive monster of a phone. The price is surprisingly low at Php16,990.

Quick specs:
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • 6.1-inch PIS+ HD display (720 x 1280)
  • 8 GB internal storage, expandable via a microSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM 
  • 1.5 GHz quad core Huawei K3V2 processor
  • 8 MP primary camera, autofocus with flash
  • 2 MP front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 4050 mAh battery
The in-house designed Huawei K3V2 processor is as fast as the Exynos quad on the Samsung Galaxy S III. The 4050 mAh battery also promises good battery life.


Wildcard: HTC 8X (Php13,500) - Picking up where the Nokia Lumia 520 left off

Not everyone wants an Android, and a large price drop on HTC's 8X gives you a good reason to get something else. The mid-level non-Android choice is pretty good. The HTC 8X has a sharp 4.3-inch (720 x 1280) display, a gigabyte of RAM and a powerful dual core Krait processor.

Quick specifications:
  • Windows Phone 8
  • 4.3-inch HD (720 x 1280) display
  • 16 GB internal storage, non-expandable
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.5 GHz dual core Qualcomm Krait Snapdragon processor
  • Adreno 225 graphics
  • 8 MP autofocus primary camera with a  Carl Zeiss lens and a LED Flash
  • 1.3 MP front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 1800 mAh battery
The battery is not user replaceable. If you want a user-replaceable battery and can live with a lower resolution display, take a look at the Nokia Lumia 720.



Check out my other buyers guides:



4 comments:

  1. Here's hoping the upcoming iPhone 5C would be priced cheaply enough to be considered here, hehe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that us very likely.

      Delete
    2. http://store.apple.com/us/buy-iphone/iphone5c

      $549 for the 16GB version! That's over 24000 pesos :-(

      Delete
    3. Normally it should be last year's model selling for US$549. That would have been the iPhone 5. Now instead we get the thicker, heavier and plastic 5C for the same money.

      Delete

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