Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2012 - 15K or Lower, Smartphone Buyers Guide

When looking for a budget smartphone these days running a current operating system, which should serve you well for two years, your only real choice are Android phones. The good thing, is that is not a bad choice and there are good offerings available.

All the phones listed here run Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or have updates available now

1. Sony ST21i Xperia tipo - Good enough for smartphone/PDA use (Php7,150 to Php7,690)

There are cheaper smartphones, but really none are worth your money. Sony Sony ST21i Xperia tipo is where you should start your search. 

The Sony ST21i Xperia tipo runs Android 4.03, Ice Cream Sandwich ("ICS"), so you should have no problem with Android app compatibility. It comes with a small but sharp 3.2-inch HVGA (320 x 480). The battery is a good sized 1500 mAh unit which when combined with the frugal power requirements of the small screen will result in excellent battery life. The 2.5 GB user available internal storage is expandable with MicroSD cards up to 32 GB being officially supported.

It is not a terrible fast device with a single core 800 MHz ARM Corter-A5 processor. The 3.2 MP camera is just best used in emergencies. 

If your purpose in getting a smartphone is for the traditional smartphone uses: communication and organization, there really is no reason to spend more. This phone is great for calls, SMS, email, instant messaging and making calls over VoIP, with the only drawback being the absence of a front camera for video calls. It will also keep your calendar and tasks organized and even keep them in sync with other devices or other people.

2. Lenovo P700 - There are more reasons to buy this than it dual SIM capability (Php10,900 to Php10,999)

If we were to spend more than the Php7K price for the Sony ST21i Xperia tipo, we would really like a larger display. The Lenovo P700 gives you that at a bit over Php3K more. 

This Android ICS powered smartphone has the same performance level as the tipo. Your additional 3K will get you a much larger 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display, a larger 2500 mAh battery and it also comes with a front camera. In other respects, it is similar to the Xperia tipo with the same 2.5 GB of user expandable storage and a mediocre camera.

The bigger screen is a good enough reason to get this one. By the way, it is a dual SIM phone too.

3. Sony Xperia go - Dual core power (Php12,990 to Php14,990) 

Sony has several excellent mid price dual core offerings, like the Sony Xperia U and Sola. The U is the cheapest, but the absence of a MicroSD card slot to expand the 4 GB internal storage is probably a deal breaker. Enter the Xperia go.

The Sony Xperia go has a decent sized 3.5-inch display, with a HVGA (320 x 480) resolution.  This makes the screen smaller and the resolution lower than the Lenovo P700. HVGA looks fine on a 3.5-inch display, so the real issue is the screen size.

In exchange for the smaller display, you have 1 GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor which is the main reason to get this phone over the Lenovo P700. It also comes with a decent 5 MP autofocus camera with a flash, as well as a secondary camera. The Sony Xperia go also provides more internal user available storage, at 4 GB (expandable via a MicroSD card) and has USB-on-the-Go support allowing you to connect it with USB Flash drives.

The only part I am not to crazy about is the smaller than average 1305 mAh battery, which is the same issue I have with the Sony Xperia U and Sola. An this is where the Sony Xperia go is a better choice than the Sony Xperia U and Sola. These two phone comes with higher resolution WVGA (480 x 800/854) displays combined with small 1320 mAh batteries. Given the small battery I would prefer the Sony Xperia go with its lower resolution display. The lower resolution display will use less power and result in better battery life.

As a bonus, the Xperia go, is IP67 certified to be dust and water resistant, making this a though phone. Despite its though status, this phone is just 9.8 mm thick. 

4. Sony Xperia Sola - Want a higher resolution dual core device? (Php12,990 to Php15,990)

If the HVGA display of the Sony Xperia go puts you off, there is a good alternative with the Xperia sola.

The Xperia sola has a larger 3.7 inch 480 x 854 display, provides the same dual core punch and almost the same specifications as the Xperia go. You do loose a front camera, and the dust and water resistant nature of the Xperia go.

I would recommend a go, but if the display puts you off. Get the sola.

To be continued. 

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