Friday, June 24, 2011

June 2011 Smarthpone buyers guide - Part III

Flagship phones (25-30K). Getting the top of the line phone offered by the manufacturers has gotten significantly less expensive this year. Last year, the top end phone were being offered at Php35,000-Php40,000. Now, you are looking at a price range of just Php25,000-Php30,000.

If you are looking at an iPhone, we suggest you wait a little bit longer. Right now the iPhone 4 will cost you about Php30K. In two to three months you should be seeing a new iPhone. You are better off waiting for the next iPhone or buying the iPhone when Apple brings its price down. For now, we recommend these three:

LG Optimus 2x. The LG Optimus 2x has a suggested retail price of Php27,900 but a little smart shopping should get you one with a official LG Warranty at Php25,400. 

The biggest selling point of the Optimus 2x is the 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, ULP GeForce GPU, Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset. This is currently the "industry standard" dual core processor found in most of the new phones and tablets, so new games will probably be optimized for this chipset. That hardware should be fast enough to run most every application that will come out in the next year at least. 

The display is good enough. The Optimus 2x has a 4.0-inch IPS LCD touchscreen with a 480 x 800 resolution. The letters IPS might have you thinking iPhone 4 grade screen. It is not. The Optimus 2x screen is an excellent display, much better than your typical LCD screen but not at the same level as the iPhone 4's retina display or Samsung Super AMOLED screen. But if you buy the Optimus 2x you will be satisfied with the screen quality. It is not the best display on a mobile phone but is good enough.

With 8GB expandable to 40GB via MicroSD card, a 8MP auto focus camera, HDMI out and all the features you expect to find in a high smartphone, this is a buy at the 26K asking price.

There are three main drawbacks with LG Optimus 2x. The installed operating system is not the latest Android 2.3, but the older 2.2 and it has been reported by several users to be less than stable, but LG will be addressing both this issue. The second major drawback with this option is the video recording. One thing which dual core phones bring is 1080p video recording, but right now the Optimus 2x only captures 1080p at 24fps, which actually makes it better to record video at 720p which it does at the expected 30fps. A firmware upgrade may or may not fix this. Last, it has 512MB of RAM, which while sufficient by todays standards is the one specification which will make eventually feel or slow old soonest.

My verdict. Not perfect, but a good high end bang for the buck option.

HTC Sensation. If you go up the food chain a bit you find HTC's Sensation. With a suggested retail price of Php31,900, but available for as low as Php28,000 with a official HTC warranty it costs ten percent more than the LG Optimus 2x. 

Is it worth the higher price tag? The first thing you will notice with the Sensation when compared to the Optimus 2x is the display. The Sensation comes with a 4.3-inch qHD display. qHD means quarter HD or a 540 x 960 display resolution, which means it will display 720p and 1080p content optimally. The Sensation also has excellent audio output, which makes this an excellent multimedia platform.

This phone comes with Android 2.3 with the Sense v3.0 user interface. HTC's sense interface has been my  opinion the best manufacturer customize interface made. It made Window Mobile look and work decently and it is my personal favorite interface for Android. This is a subjective thing, so you may or may not like Sense. If you plan to do extensive user customization of your interface, than HTC's Sense offers no major advatange to you. If you want something complete out of the box in terms of widgets, and like a "standardized" look, this one is for you.

What else. The Sensation comes with 768MB of RAM, 50% more than on the Optimus 2x. The Sensation also does 1080p video recording at 30fps.

In several aspects the HTC is not as good as the Optimus 2x. While the Sensarions 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm MSM 8260 Snapdragon may sound impressive, it is based on the older A8 architecture and is overall slower the 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, ULP GeForce GPU, Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset.

It also comes with less internal storage than the Optimus 2x, with only 1GB of internal storage, even less than the HTC Desire HD which is supplants. It does come with a 8GB MicroSD card out of the box. 
My verdict. The Sensation adds enough to justify the higher price as against the Optimus 2x. The cheaper Optimus 2x makes for a better gaming platform while the Sensation is the better multimedia platform. If I was replacing my phone, this is the one I would buy.

Samsung Galaxy S II. Why buy this Php29,900 phone? It's Super AMOLED display is is arguably the best display you will find on a mobile phone and it is the fastest mobile phone in the planet. 

The Super AMOLED on the Galaxy S II as compared to its predecessor moves up a step in size, now at 4.3-inches. Resolution is still at 480 x 800, but that is sufficient even for the larger screen. Among the three phones we are comparing now, this one has the best display. 

The next big thing is inside. Inside is a dual-core 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Mali-400MP GPU, Orion chipset. It is the fastest, by a fair margin, among the three phones compared here.

With 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (there is also a 32GB model available) it is best in class. It also has the largest battery, with 10% more capacity than the three phones compared here. This combined with the energy efficient Super AMOLED screen gives it the best battery life among the three.  The still camera and 1080p video recording.

It does all this in a frame which is only 8.5mm thin, that is 2.4 mm thinner than it nearest competitor. The case is all plastic, but I think most buyers would put some kind of case protection these days, so that issue may be irrelevant. I have my phone in an OtterBox, it does not really matter that it has a nice aluminum frame inside. 

Is the 1.9K higher price than the Sensation or the 4.5K higher price than the LG Optimus 2x worth it? In a word, yes. Even with the highest price, the specificatons easily justify the higher price.

Verdict.My personal favorite is the Sensation. I love Sense. But if asked what it the best phone money can buy right now, the answer is easy, the Samsung Galaxy SII.

1 comment:

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