Monday, November 5, 2012

November 2012 Entry Level Smartphone Buyers Guide

This is one of the most interesting buyers guides I have ever written. I feel like a page has been turned in terms of access to decent smartphones. This month I am brining down the "entry level" category to  those priced under 12K, but this month half that budget is really more than enough. 

Prices indicated are for phones with a manufacturers warranty.

1. Cherry Mobile Flare (Php3,999)

The Cherry Mobile Flares packs a 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, on a MSM8255 chipset. Basically, this is the same hardware that you get on a HTC Desire X which cost three times as much.

The phone comes out of the box with Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich. It is unlikely that this phone will receive and update to Anrdoid 4.1/2, Jelly Bean, but it does not really matter. Android 4.1 bring things like Google Now, which is little use inte Philippines. Android 4.2 adds advance camera features, like 360 panorama. But in terms of app compatibility, what is important for a phone to remain viable for the next two years is that it runs on the newer Android 4.x operating system.

The only thing you do not get from this phone is HD video capture.

Basically, I would consider this phone a good deal at double it price. At Php3,999 it provides unprecedented value. Even with more than double the budget, these really is nothing below 10K which is worth buying instead of this.

2. Cherry Mobile Titan (Php6,499)

The Cherry Mobile Titan is not a better choice than the Cherry Mobile Flare. It is an alternative for those who want a giant sized Android phone. The Cherry Mobile Titan has a massive 5-inch display. The display is a decent WVGA (480 x 800) resolution, which can look a bit pixelated at this screen size, but at the Php6,499 I am not complaining.

This phone is powered by a dual core ARM Cortex A9 processor on a Mediatek chipset. The PowerVR SGX531 graphics gives this phone enough power to do 720p HD video capture. The phone supports two SIM's. Like the flare, this phone comes with Android 4.0.4 out of the box so it has the software department pretty well covered.

Like the Cherry Mobile Flare, it is amazing value for money option. You have to spend three times as much money to get a better monster phone.

If I was buying a phone this month, I would happily pick up this one and not aspire for anything more.

3. Lenovo P700i (Php10.990)

Those wanting more power than the Cherry Mobile Flare and who find the Titan too massive may want to look at the Lenovo P700i. This is essentially a 4-inch version of the Cherry Mobile Titan. It is almost double the price though, so if you can manage the size and heft of the Titan, I recommend that phone instead.

You can find out more about the Lenovo P700i at this link.

4. Sony Xperia go (Php11,990 - Php13,990)

 has several excellent low priced offerings, but with the low cost dual core muscle from Cherry Mobile and Lenovo, I am not going to recommending single core phones anymore.

Want low cost, dual core power and a catchy brand? The Sony Xperia go is might be what you are looking for. The Sony Xperia go has a decent sized 3.5-inch display. It HVGA (320 x 480) resolution is lower than all the cheaper phones covered in this guide, but HVGA looks fine on a 3.5-inch display, so it is not an issue. The real issue is the screen size. Is 3.5-inches still big enough these days>

But behind the display you have 1 GHz dual core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The Sony Xperia go also provides some hard to find features like USB-on-the-Go and IP67 certified to be dust and water resistant. This phone is also confirmed for an to Jelly Bean. 

The Sony Xperia go, provides enough unique features to make it worth of consideration despite all the low cost high powered competition.

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