Saturday, September 28, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available from Smart Communications for just Php1,999 a month

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is available from Smart Communications for just Php1,999 a month. This is with All-In Plan 1800 plus a monthly installment of Php199 a month. The lock-in period with this plan is 24 months. 

While you can also get the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 free at Data Plan 2000, you will get much more for your money with the All-In package. The Data Plan also comes with a longer 30 month lock-in.

With All-In Plan 1800, you can configure your Note 3 to have 

  • Unlimited LTE 
  • 500 minutes of calls to Smart, Sun and PLDT
  • 80 minutes of calls to Globe
  • 2000 SMS to all networks

You can get this by simply subscribing to:

LTE Bundle 995 + Tri Net Plus 400 + Talk All

This will still leave you a balance of Php155 on your plan for other things. Compare the plan I recommend with other offerings at Php2,000 a month and you will find that it is by far the most flexible use plan option available. 

CloudFone Thrill 530qx pictures

I took a few snaps of the CloudFone Thrill 530qx. Hopefully, they are good enough to give you an idea of the build quality of the device.

Click on the images to see a larger picture.

The CloudFone Thrill 530qx is the company's replacement for its popular Thrill 430x. The new larger 5.3-inch size is based on the current market trend for larger devices. Like the original Thrill 430x, this phone promises long battery life with a 4500 mAh battery.

The CloudFone Thrill 530qx will be available starting the first week of October for Php9,999.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cherry Mobile Flare 2X now available

Cherry Mobile's latest offerings have been launched in a rather odd way, with phones appearing for sale before they are officially launched. Yesterday, Cherry Mobile posted a teaser for another phone.

This phone is the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X. But there is no need to wait for the official launch. Meet the Flare 2X.

Many buyers were hoping that when the Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0 would be launched, it would come with 1GB of RAM. The Flare 2.0 came with an upgraded processor, but still was equipped with 512 MB of RAM. The Flare 2X addresses that shortcoming.

Quick specifications:
  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display
  • Dual sim support
  • 4 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz Qualcomm S4 Play processor
  • Adreno 203 graphics processor
  • 8 MP autofocus primary camera with LED flash
  • VGA front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 1500 mAh battery
Priced at Php4,499, it is Php500 more than the Flare 2.0. The additional Php500 is well worth the additional money. Android 4.2 Jelly Bean really runs much better with 1 GB of RAM. I would recommend that buyers select the Flare 2X over the Flare 2.0.

Looking for the heir apparent to the Starmobile Knight: Cosmos Z, Cosmos S, Cosmos X2 or Agua Vortex?

The Starmobile Knight has been in my mid-range smartphone buyer's guide since July of this year. The problem is that this phone is very hard to find. Having spoken to two dealers, when stocks do arrive they do so in very small quantities. No point recommending a phone if it is not readily available in the market. 

So what is the best replacement? One seemingly obvious choice is the 5-inch Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z, with its 1080p display. Yup, that is a full HD Display. This phone has a retail price of Php11,999. The drawback with this choice is that a full HD display pushes the MediaTek 6589T chipset to its limits. While this phone scores well in the benchmarks conducted by Yugatech, the Nenamark score is 33.9 frames per second. That is about 25% less than its rivals. I also worry that the 2000 mAh battery may not work out to well with the heavier drain of the 1080p display and MediaTek 6589T chipset.

Another choice would be the 5-inch Cherry Mobile Cosmos S with a 5-inch 720p display. This monster also has the MediaTek 6589T chipset inside. It crushes all its competitors in the Nenamark benchmarks with a score of 50.9 fps in the tests conducted by Yugatech. This phone also has a large 2500 mAh battery to make up from the expected increase in the battery drain. The main drawback of this choice is unlike the other locally branded phones, this one is not dual SIM. This makes it the only phone in this comparison which is not dual SIM. This phone also does not have a MicroSD card slot, but it does have 16 GB of internal storage. This phone is also on the cheaper end of the spectrum, priced at Php10,999.

The third option would be the 4.8-inch Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 with its Samsung built 720p Super AMOLED display. Priced at Php11,699, this phone is a nice well rounded package. It has a 16 GB of internal storage which can be expanded by a MicroSD card. The battery is 2200 mAh unit, and it is user replaceable. It is equipped with the less power  MediaTek 6589 chipset. I do not have a source for benchmarks of this phone, but I would expect it to do 45 fps or so, in Nenamark.

The fourth option would be the 5-inch MyPhone Agua Vortex. The specifications are almost the same as the Cosmos X2, but it does not come with a Super AMOLED display and the battery is a smaller 2000 mAh unit. This choice is the most expensive at Php12,388. It does come with a nice case with a premium looking aluminum border, like the one of the iPhone.  

I have not made a decision. I was hoping you guys could give some feedback.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Cherry Mobile Apollo is now official

Cherry Mobile Apollo hit the retail market even before it was officially launched. Cherry Mobile has now released a teaser.

For the asking price of Php6,999, the specifications are pretty impressive: 
  • Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4.5-inch HD (720 x 1280) IPS display
  • Dual sim support
  • 4 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589 processor
  • PowerVR SGX544 graphics processor
  • 12 MP autofocus primary camera with LED flash
  • 5 MP front camera
  • HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 1800 mAh battery*

While specifications posted say the battery is a 1800 mAh unit, early buyers report that the battery supplied was a 2000 mAh unit.

The Cherry Mobile Apollo will probably replace the Cherry Mobile Razor in the company's line-up. While the Apollo does not have the Razor's slim profile, I think it is going to be hard to keep selling the 4.5-inch qHD phone, when you have a 4.5-inch HD phone for a few hundred pesos more. 

It will also make life harder for some of the smaller premium locally branded handsets like the Starmobile Knight which is priced at Php11,290. The Knight is in such short supply with retailers receiving very few units to sell, it might not matter anyway. The Apollo will really put the squeeze on Starmobile's lower priced offerings as well. The same can be said for MyPhone lower priced smartphones.  An Android smartphone with a 720p display at 7K, really will change what buyers start expecting for 7K, in the same way that the Flare changed the standards of what the budget smartphone should be like.

Overall it fits nicely on the Cherry Mobile lineup. Add Php2,000 more and you get the 5-inch Omega HD 2.0. A few hundred more gets you the 5.7-inch Blaze 2.0. All three phones have nearly identical specifications.  Above that you have the more premium Cosmos line. But for everyone else the Apollo will really turn on the heat.

Nokia Lumia 625

Nokia has released its new Windows 8 powered Lumia 625. The phone comes with a 4.7-inch WVGA display. Yup, that is 480 x 800 for a pixel per inch density of 199. Now 199 ppi will be too pixelated for some. It really does not detract from productivity. If you cannot live with 199 ppi you can stop reading right here. If you can, the Nokia Lumia 625 has a lot to offer. 

The Nokia Lumia 625 is retailing for as low as Php12,500 with an official warranty. This makes it one of the cheapest LTE handsets in the market. But there is a catch, it appears to only be compatible with Globe Telecom's network. The Nokia Lumia 625 supports the 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz frequencies. Globe runs on 1800 MHz and Smart on 2100 MHz. 

The other specifications are as expected for a Windows Phone at this price range with a dual core Krait processor, 8 GB of internal storage, a MicroSD card slot, and front and back cameras.   

Aside from limited LTE compatibility, my other complaint is this is one wide handset for a 4.7-inch phone. 

Quick specifications:
  • Windows Phone 8
  • 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display
  • 8 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 GHz dual core Qualcomm Krait processor
  • Adreno 305 graphics
  • 5 MP autofocus primary camera with LED flash
  • VGA front camera
  • LTE (Globe)/HSPA+
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 1430 mAh battery

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple iPhone 5S and 5C now available at Villman

Villman Computers must have sent some of its employees abroad to join the long Apple lines, as it is now offering the Apple iPhone 5S and 5C for sale.

  • Apple iPhone 5S 16 GB, space grey - Php44,999
  • Apple iPhone 5S 32 GB, space grey - Php49,499
  • Apple iPhone 5S 64 GB, space grey - Php53,999
  • Apple iPhone 5C 16 GB - Php29,999

As per my last information Globe Telecom and Smart Communications are the only official sources of Apple iPhone's in the Philippines, so if you are interested in one of these, check the terms and conditions of the warranty being offered by Villman.

Cherry Mobile Burst 2.0: Coming soon?

Image Source: Cherry Mobile Facebook Page

The number of Cherry Mobile phones hitting the market without formal release is growing. While Cherry Mobile is actively marketing its Flare 2.0, it appears that there are a lot of models about to be released which will make you think twice about buying the Flare 2.0.

One is the Flare 2X, which is pretty much a Flare 2.0 with a improved camera, and more importantly, 1 GB of RAM. Rumored to be priced at Php4,499, it will cost you just Php500 more than the Flare 2.0. This phone might give some Flare 2.0 buyers a bit of buyer's regret. Still, Php500 is Php500. Not everyone will appreciate a gig of RAM.

Then we have the Cherry Mobile Apollo which is pretty much confirmed. Reportedly priced at just Php6,999, this 4.5-inch quad core smartphone, with its HD display, will really shake up the market.  

Now, there are also rumors that the Burst 2.0 will be released soon. The Burst 2.0 will reportedly be offering a 4.5-inch display and a large 2000 mAh battery, but only 512MB of RAM. This model is rumored to be priced at Php4,699. 

LG G2 - Conquering the Galaxy

I finally got a good look at the LG G2 tonight, and my first thought was "I hope they made nice cases for these things." The LG G2 did not impress me when I saw pictures posted online, and meeting it face to face, did not change my impression of it. The back buttons will take some getting used to.

But priced at Php27,490, it is a really good deal. It undercuts the price of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and the iPhone 5 by a fair margin and is equipped with a more powerful processor. Yes, technology moves on that fast, and the Qualcomm S600's in the Galaxy S4 and HTC One are no match for the Qualcomm S800 in the LG G2. Comparing it to the other Qualcomm S800 equipped handset in the country, the Php27,490 retail price of the LG G2 is much more inviting than the Php36,990 asking price for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

The LG G2 has a massive 5.2-inch display and at 70.9 mm wide, it is one big handset. Still, if an Xperia Z fits comfortably enough in your hand, the LG G2 will suit you just fine. The Full HD display is amazing to look at and the thin bezel surrounding it is almost non-existent. I did not get to keep camera samples and it is hard to gauge picture quality in how they look on a 5-inch screen, but by all accounts it is good. What is really nice about the 13 MP shooter on the LG G2 is that is has Optical Image Stabilization. I suspect in 2014, all flagship handsets will have OIS, but for now it is a select few, being limited to the HTC One and several Nokia Lumia handsets.

We lucked out with the version we got here. It comes with 32 GB storage, of which around 25 GB is available to the user. The phone does not have a MicroSD card slot, but it does support USB on-the-go, which might make up for that to some extent.

The LG G2 also come with a sizable 3000 mAh battery. In GSMArena's tests, the LG G2, overall beats the Samsung Galaxy S4 in terms of battery life, and is far ahead of the HTC One and iPhone 5. It is not the prettiest phone around, but in terms of specifications and value for money it looks like the top handset now available in the Philippines.

Quick specifications:
  • Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 5.2-inch Full HD (1080 x 1920) IPS display
  • 32 GB internal storage, not expandable 
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 2.3 GHz quad core Qualcomm S800 processor
  • Adreno 330 graphics
  • 13 MP autofocus primary camera with OIS and LED Flash
  • 2,1 MP front camera
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • USB on-the-go
  • A-GPS
  • 3000 mAh battery

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cherry Mobile Flare 2X

It appears that Cherry Mobile will be launching another Android smartphone soon: the Cherry Mobile Flare 2X. The Flare 2X will reportedly have similar specifications to the Flare 2.0, with a 4-inch WVGA display and a quad core processor. The main difference that discerning buyers will notice is that the Flare 2X will come with 1GB of RAM. 

The Flare 2X will reportedly sell at a price of just Php4,499. I suspect Cherry Mobile wants to keep this under wraps for a bit, this phone could dampen sales of the Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0 priced at Php3,999.

Update: The Cherry Mobile Flare 2X is now available! Follow this link for details.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cherry Mobile Apollo launched?

A new handset is available from Cherry Mobile. In a rather surprisingly quiet launch, a new handset, the Cherry Mobile Apollo showed up at Cherry Mobiles SM North EDSA concept store. The Cherry Mobile Apollo really shakes up the market in terms of price. 

The new handset is priced at just Php6,999. For that price, you get an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean smartphone with a 4.5-inch HD display, a 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6589 processor, PowerVR SGX544 graphics and 1 GB of RAM. Without an official announcement from Cherry Mobile though, we really have to wait to confirm the specifications.

Samsung Galaxy Note III lands at Php36,990

One of Yugatech's readers has been able to confirm the availability of the Samsung Galaxy Note III from Samsung retail stores. The price is a staggering Php36,990. This 5.7-inch phablet boasts of a 1080p display and Qualcomm's latest S800 chipset. The S800 comes with a quad core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 processor, Adreno 330 graphics and System-on-Chip LTE. Samsung's new phablet also boasts of 3GB of RAM. Storage is a healthy 32 GB, and it is expandable via a MicroSD card. With USB 3.0 and 2160p video recording, the Galaxy Note III brings more than just brute power to the picture.

What is really nice about the Galaxy Note III is that Samsung has been able to fit a 5.7-inch display in a package smaller and lighter than previous Note's with smaller screens.

  • Note 3 - 5.7-inches, 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm, 168 grams
  • Note II - 5.5-inches, 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm, 183 grams
  • Note - 5.3-inches, 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm, 178 grams

At the same time, the 3200 mAh battery on the Galaxy Note III, is the biggest ever in this series.

Quick specifications:

  • Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean)
  • 5.7-inch Full HD (1080 x 1920) Super AMOLED display
  • 32 GB internal storage, expandable via a MicroSD card. 64 GB SCards supported.
  • 3 GB RAM
  • 2.3 GHz quad core Qualcomm S800 processor
  • Adreno 330 graphics
  • 13 MP autofocus primary camera with LED Flash
  • 1.3 MP front camera
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • USB 3.0
  • A-GPS
  • 3200 mAh battery

Now that is a lot of kit. You will have to decide if it is worth your Php36,990.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Short CloudFone 530qx Demo Video

The CloudFone 530qx is a 5.3-inch quad core Android smarpthone with a large 4500 mAh battery.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0: Now Quad Core powered

The Cherry Mobile Flare is probably the company's most successful phone, and its successor is now here. The Cherry Mobile Flare 2.0 will be launched later today. The new offering retains its price of Php3,999 and is an incremental upgrade of the previous model.

The dual core processor has been upgraded to a quad core processor, still of the Qualcomm S4 Play variety. RAM is still at 512 MB, which will disappoint many. The Flare 2.0 still has a 4-inch WVGA display but it is a better one than that found in an original Flare, with better viewing angles. The camera has been given a dual LED flash, the battery is a tad bit bigger, and the phone now uses the ICS/Jelly Bean three button layout, rather than the old four button Gingerbread layout. 

Quick specifications of the Cherry Mobile Flare:
  • Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
  • 4-inch WVGA (480 x 800) IPS display
  • Dual SIM support
  • 4 GB internal storage expandable via a MicroSD card slot
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1.2 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Play processor
  • Adreno 203 graphics
  • 5 MP autofocus primary camera with a dual LED Flash
  • VGA front camera
  • HSPA
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • A-GPS
  • 1550 mAh battery

All in all, its a solid update and looks to be the best phone you can buy at Php4,000.

Friday, September 20, 2013

MyPhone Agua Iceberg & Vortex now available at 24 months zero interest

The demand for locally branded Android smartphones is high. These phones sold by Cherry Mobile, Cloudfone, MyPhone, Starmobile and a dozen other local players offer specifications comparable to phones from established brands at a fraction of the cost. 

Still, there appears to be some price point where people feel they are too expensive. The MyPhone A919i and Cherry Mobile Omega HD 2.0 originally priced at Php9,490 and Php8,990 both seem to have done fairly well. I base this on the size of their user base at local forums like The response to the newer breed of higher end 10K plus Cherry Mobile Cosmos and MyPhone Agua series seems to be that they are too expensive. The announcement of the new Starmobile Diamond V7 at Php12,990 generated little interest. 

Seeming to confirm this observation is MyPhone's latest promo. Both its new Agua phones are being offered at 24-months zero interest at Automatic Centre and SOGO. The MyPhone Agua Iceberg was originally offered at 24-months zero interest on the launch, then after that on 12-months zero interest. The MyPhone Agua Vortex was available on 6-months zero interest at launch.

These 24-month zero interest offerings are good deals in my opinion, and if MyPhone keeps this promo up, I think this may be a marketing trend the rest may be forced to follow.

CloudFone Thrill 530qx - 5.3-inch quad core phablet with a 4500 mAh battery

A few days ago when CloudFone said it had something big coming up this week, it crossed my mind that they were referring to a phablet. Personally, I was hoping to a follow-up to the 2012 release, the 430x Thrill with its massive 4160 mAh battery. Well, CloudFone has brought us the best of both worlds.

Meet the CloudFone Thrill 530qx.

Big Part 1. The CloudFone Thrill 530qx is a 5.3-inch phablet. The display is a qHD (540 x 960) IPS display. Powering this smartphone is a 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek 6589M processing unit and 1 GB of RAM. The MediaTek 6589M supports two SIM's and HSPA+ connectivity. Internal storage is 4 GB which is expandable via a MicroSD card. As for the camera, the CloudFone Thrill 530qx has a 12 MP autofocus primary camera equipped with a flash. The front camera is a 5 MP unit.

Big Part 2. Keeping all this running is a massive 4500 mAh battery. That is bigger than the battery of the Lenovo P780 and Hauwei Ascend Mate.

Software. CloudFone did a lot of work on the software. This smartphone runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. But its not your Vanilla offering. The camera supports smile detection, burst shots, HDR, face-beautifying feature, and picture grid. The user interface offers gesture-based controls and pop-up play. A bit of contextual awareness was added to the mix. Turning the device face down mutes calls and pauses music or videos. Shaking your device or placing the phone over your ear will automatically answer a call.

Another nice touch is the phone comes in a brown case. Refreshing is a world awash with black, white, red, yellow and blue smartphones.

The CloudFone Thrill 530qx is priced at Php9,999 and should hit the shelves in the first week of October.

More pictures:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Smartphone or phablet? Which is best for you.

Smartphones, even larger ones, are still better choice for those who make a lot of voice calls. 

Today, you have Android smartphones ranging from 3.2 to 5-inches, and phablets with sizes from 5.3 to 6.4-inches. Which is a better choice?

Large 5.7-inch phablets are more comfortable to use for modern smartphone use,
which is basically the function of a mobile internet device

You carry your smartphone more than you use it (smaller is better). We carry our smartphones 12-18 hours and use them for 1 to 4 hours per day. This means they spend more time in our pocket or handbag than in our hands. So this is the first thing you should consider in selecting a smartphone. How do you plan to carry it around. 

For the gents, this usually means something that can fit in their pockets is better, and how big the pockets are depends on whether you are the type to wear cargo pants and loose jeans or fitted slacks. I think you will find that one reason why the Apple iPhone is popular with the business set, is sticking a Samsung Galaxy Note II in you finely fitted suit is not all that comfortable and breaks the contour of the suit.

For the gals, well most phablets should nicely fit in a handbag.

One handed use is not as important as it used to be (bigger is better). I still prefer a phone I can use with one hand, but that is really old habits of an old dog. Okay, I will admit it. I am a smoker, so often time during breaks, I will have a cigarette in one hand and a smartphone in the other.

But even I SMS and type with two hands having come from a series of QWERTY messengers before migrating to the touchscreen. No one multi-taps these days anymore and typing with a QWERTY keyboard with one hand is slow. When typing with two hands, a large phablet is usually more comfortable than a narrower smartphone. With smaller smartphones, typing is usually easier in landscape mode.

Phablets can be awkward when making calls (smaller is usually better). If you spend a lot of time making voice calls, you probably would prefer a smartphone. Holding a phablet to your ear can look and feel awkward. If you are used to using a Bluetooth headset, than size does not matter.

As far as displays go, bigger is better (yup, bigger is better). If you spend more time sending SMS, instant messages, social networking, browsing the web or playing games. The experience is more pleasant with a large display. It is also better for your eyes.

The smaller the smartphone you buy, the more likely that you will buy a tablet later.

My advice. Ask yourself if you will feel comfortable using it to make calls and if it will be easy for you to carry given the clothes that you wear. If the answer is yes and yes, a phablet it the way to go.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Samsung Galaxy Note III review @Pinoytechblog

I have not written much about the Samsung Galaxy Note III, since I have picked up the habit of just what it available locally. But when a local blog gets an early sample of a a world class handset for their review, that is news. Pinoytech Blog has a review of the Samsung Galaxy Note III at this link.

As you can expect this Qualcomm S800 with 3 GB of RAM ups the performance ante in a big way. We are talking 35031 AnTuTu benchmark points. But what really impresses me about the Galaxy Note series is how they have become handier over the years, despite moving up in terms of screen size with each release.

  • Galaxy Note - 5.3-inches, 146.9 x 83 x 9.7 mm
  • Galaxy Note II - 5.5-inches, 151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm
  • Galaxy Note III - 5.7-inches, 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

I also welcome the return to the more angular Galaxy S 2 look. 

Enough time wasted on this blog. Go read the review.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cloudfone has something BIG coming up this week!

The best phone Cloudfone ever released

I do not know what Cloudfone will be releasing, but they promise that it will be something big. This is all they told me:

"We have something BIG coming up this week."

It sounds like it could be a 5.3 or 5.7-inch phablet. I think most of us would prefer a part 2 to the Cloudfone Thrill 430x with its 4160 mAh battery. We have to wait and see.

Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z - Antutu, Quadrant and Nenamark benchmarks

Yugatach has posted a review of the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z. To read the review, follow this link. My own interest in the review is how will the MediaTek MT6589T perform with the Full HD (1080 x 1920) display on the Cosmos Z. For the past few months, the benchmark for value for money performance has been set by the MediaTek MT6589. This chipset has proven to be very capable when mated to a HD (720 x 1280) display.

MediaTek MT6589 versus MediaTek MT6589T 
MediaTek MT6589 - 1.2 GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor + PowerVR 544SGX graphics processor @286 MHz 
MediaTek MT6589T - 1.5 GHz quad core ARM Cortex-A7 processor + PowerVR 544SGX graphics processor @357 MHz

Now, powering a Full HD or 1080p display is a lot more demanding that a HD or 720p display.

1080p versus 720p 
1080 x 1920 = 2,073,600 pixels 
720 x 1280 =  921,600 pixels

A 1080p display has twice has many pixels to push, and hence the graphics card has to work a fair bit harder. 

Yugatech's benchmarks of the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z yielded the following results:

Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z

Antutu - 15431
Quadrant - 4674
Nenamark 2 - 33.9 frames per second

I was able to find other benchmark tests conducted by other local blogs and site. 

Cherry Mobile Cosmos X (Technostorm)

Antutu - 12965
Quadrant - 3923
Nenamark 2 - 46.9 frames per second

Cherry Mobile Razor (TeknoGadyet)

Antutu - 13140
Quadrant - 3890
Nenamark 2 - 40.4 frames per second*

*Note: The Razor is a qHD phone

MyPhone A919i (NoypiGEEKS)

Antutu - 12639
Quadrant - 3708
Nenamark 2 - 37.2 frames per second

O+ 8.15 (NoypiGEEKS)

Antutu - 13049
Quadrant - 3995
Nenamark 2 - 46.0 frames per second

Starmobile Knight (PinoyTechnoGuide)

Antutu - 12938 to 13591
Quadrant - Not tested
Nenamark 2 - 45.9 frames per second

The benchmarks I am most interested in is Nenamark 2. This is where the 1080p display will have the largest effect on performance. The best results from phones with a 720p display and the MediaTek6589 chipset hover around 46 frames per second. Notably, the 1080p Cosmos Z produced a much lower 33.9 frames per second.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z - Full HD is the game changer

The Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z is here, and it threatens to make all the premium priced locally branded handsets look obsolete. In the past few months we have locally branded handsets release more premium models at priced between 10K to 13K. I call these premium handsets because they use the same guts as models from the same companies priced between 6K to 10K. What sets them apart is thinner cases, better cameras, more storage, Gorilla Glass or Super AMOLED displays. The general market feedback is that these phones are priced too high, and local brands should stay below 10K. The Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z might change that perception.

The Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z brings something new to the picture. This 5-inch Android smartphone has a Full HD display. Yup, that is a 5-inch, 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution display. Priced at Php11,999 it is matches the price of MyPhone's premium Agua series (Iceberg and Vortex) and is at the same range as Starmobile Knight and Diamond V7. The Cherry Mobile Z is even priced closed enough to Cherry Mobile others Cosmos phones to make a buyer forget about all except for the Cosmos Z. It really depends. How much do you want a 1080p display? Forget about the other specifications. They are par for the course. Success of the Cosmos Z lies in how much demand there is for a low cost 1080p smartphone. Personally, I think there is very little difference between a 5-inch 720p display and a 5-inch 1080p display. I think most people will disagree with me though.

In order to provide the additional grunt needed to run a 1080p display, the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z has a MeditaTek 6589T chipset. Basically, this is a MeditaTek 6589 with the processor clocked at 1.5 GHz instead of 1.2 GHz. The PowerVR graphics processor has also been clocked to a higher 357 MHz from 286 MHz. We will have to wait for user feedback to see if this is enough to give good 3D performance at 1080p. 

While being a large handset being 142.7 mm tall and 71.9 mm wide, it is also a very thin handset at 7.9 mm, which adds to the WOW factor.

All of a sudden the Starmobile Knight (Php11,290) looks old. The Starmobile Diamond V7 (Php12,990) feels even more expensive. An the MyPhone Agua Vortex (Php12,388), well that one looks like it is dead on arrival. Even the Super AMOLED display on Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 (Php11,690) and large battery on the Cosmos S (Php10,999) will make them though sells.  

Unless something goes terribly wrong in terms of real world performance, it is a new day has dawned for the local smartphone market.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Quick comparison between the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2, MyPhone Vortex and Starmobile Knight

The three most popular brands have each released their own mid-range full sized quad core smartphone offerings with HD displays. Starmobile was first off the bat with its Knight, priced at Php11,290. Cherry Mobile followed with its Cosmos X2, priced a bit higher at Php11,690. Last to the party is MyPhone with its Vortex, which retails at Php12,388.

Entry level guts. All three mid-range offerings are powered by quad core MediaTek 6589 processor and 1 GB of RAM. I am not knocking the  quad core MediaTek 6589 processor, it is a very potent package with performance being comparable to the fastest phones in 2012. It is just that you can find the MediaTek 6589 processor is less expensive phone like the Cherry Mobile Razor, which sells at Php6,499. HD displays are available on less expensive phone like the Cherry Mobile Omega HD 2.0 and MyPhone A919i, which can now both be found at below 9K. 

So if you are looking for the value for money option, you won't find them in the Knight, Cosmos X2 and Vortex. These three phones are more premium, and have one feature which distinguishes them from the other.

Display. Each offering has a different display:

  • Starmobile Knight - 4.7-inch 720p IPS display
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 - 4.8-inch 720p Super AMOLED display
  • MyPhone Vortex - 5-inch 720p IPS display

Not everyone like Super AMOLED displays, but they do make the Cosmos X2 standout, sharing this feature with a few top of the line handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S and Note series, the Motorola X and the BlackBerry Q10. Notably, the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X also has a Super AMOLED display. 

Size. The Starmobile Knight has the smallest display and hence the most compact case. But don't take anything aways from the Knight. It is trimmer and slimmer than 4.7-inch a lot of phones too.

  • Starmobile Knight -  138 x 66.7 x 7.5 mm
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 - 137.9 x 70 x 9.85 mm
  • MyPhone Vortex - 144.5 x 73.8 x 8.9 mm 

Storage. All three phones have MicroSD cards, and hence storage is not much of an issue. But if you want to maximize it the Cosmos X2 and Vortex are the best two.

  • Starmobile Knight -  4 GB
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 - 16 GB
  • MyPhone Vortex - 16 GB

Replaceable Battery. A replaceable battery is always good to have.

  • Starmobile Knight -  No
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 - Yes
  • MyPhone Vortex - Yes

Camera. We do not have any source for camera comparisons. The camera on the MyPhone Vortex looks interesting with its Sony built senor.

  • Starmobile Knight -  18 MP BSI camera
  • Cherry Mobile Cosmos X2 - 18 MP BSI camera
  • MyPhone Vortex - 13 MP BSI camera with a Sony Sensor

Saturday, September 14, 2013

MyPhone Vortex priced at Php12,388

MyPhone has announced the pricing for its Vortex, and it is a fair bit higher than I expected at Php12,388. This makes it the second most expensive locally branded phone, just behind the O+ 8.15 and the Starmobile Diamond V7. What really surprises me is that it costs more than the 5.7-inch MyPhone Agua Iceberg.

Still it has a Sony Sensor and has been featured on GSMArena... that must count for something. Also it is being offered on six months zero interest.

Pricing abroad is US$295, so the local pricing is actually lower than the international price. Looks like a really nice phone, but is it big. It is 8 mm taller and 4 mm wider than a Galaxy S4. It is actually taller and wider than the Lenovo P780 with the massive 4000 mAh battery.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

MyPhone Vortex - 5-inch aluminum framed quad core

MyPhone is teasing the launch of another phone, called the Vortex. I do not have any confirmed deatils on this phone yet, but it appears to be a MyPhone branded version of the Micromax Canvass 4.

On the assumption that the MyPhone Vortex is the Micromax Canvass 4 will have a 5-inch HD (720 x 1280) IPS  display, 1 GB of RAM and the same quad core MediaTek 6589 chipset you find in the the latest MyPhone, Cherry Mobile and Starmobile offerings. In short it should look good and run fast. 

Storage will be a generous 16 GB with expandable via a MicroSD card slot. For cameras it will have a 13 MP primary camera with a Sony Sensor and a 5 MP front camera. The battery is a 2000 mAh unit, which is typical for 5-inch locally branded smartphones.

The software is also tricked up. A few examples are the Look Away feature which pauses a video being played as soon as you look away from the display. It also has a Peek-a-Boo feature which allows you to preview on video while watching another. The web browser can be pinned to just use half the display for multi-tasking.

I have no word on pricing.

Starmobile Diamond V7 to launch on September 13, 2013

After a long wait, the Starmobile Diamond V7 is finally landing, on all of days, Friday the 13th! Yup, September 12, 2013.

The Starmobile Diamond V7 is a 5.7-inch  JellyBean Android smartphone with a  HD display, a 1.2 GHz quad core MediaTek 6589 processor, 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage and a 2600 mAh battery for Php12,990. Starmobile is bundling the device with a 8 GB MicroSD card, screen protector, flip case and stylus.

I do not have the exact measurements but the Starmobile Diamond V7 is supposedly thinner than Cherry Mobile Blaze 2.0 and the MyPhone Aqua Iceberg. The Starmobile Diamond V7 fairly expensive though, priced at 1K more than the MyPhone Aqua Iceberg, and 3.5K more than the Cherry Mobile Blaze 2.0.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MyPhone A919i Duo and A919 3D Android Madness

MyPhone is offering its popular A919i Duo Android smartphone at a sale price of Php7,990, discounted from its regular price of Php9,590. The MyPhone A919 3D Duo us also being offered at a discounted price of Php6,490, which is Php1,000 less than its regular price.

The sale is apparently only available at the Ground Floor, SM North EDSA, Main Mall Exhibit Area from September 12-18 and September 26 to October 2. It looks like MyPhone is making room for its new MyPhone Vortex.

Apple iPhone 5S, 5C, 4S and 4

I don't spend much time these days covering smartphones and other devices until they are released in the Philippines. You will find better information on foreign websites, so do not expect to much information on the new Apple iPhone 5S and 5C in this post. The Apple iPhone 5S has a a faster processor and improve camera. More interesting is a dedicated low power processor which will take care of some sensors while the phone is asleep, a dual LED flash with an amber colored LED to help balance colors when using the flash and a fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone and verify iTunes payments. Available colors are white, grey and gold.

Suffice it to say that the Apple iPhone 5S is a solid upgrade for iPhone 4S owners whose contracts will be expiring when the new iPhone arrives in December 2013. Owners of the Apple iPhone 5, are best waiting for the iPhone 6.

Apple iPhone 5C

The Apple iPhone 5C is a iPhone 5 in a plastic case and available in several colors. It is not a "cheap" iPhone as many speculated. Normally, the iPhone 5 would have been offered for US$100 less with the launch of the Apple iPhone 5S. Instead, the iPhone 5 is being discontinued and replaced by a thicker and heavier iPhone 5C. Personally, I would rather Apple had kept producing the iPhone 5 rather than come out with the iPhone 5C. But the colors may be a hit with buyers, so lets see how this pans out.

An article at Time has a good explanation for the rationale behind the iPhone 5C which I summarized as follows:

  1. While selling at the price the iPhone 5 would have sold for following Apple's previous product cycles, it is "new", and this may help it sell better.
  2. Being cheaper to manufacture it could have increase Apple's profit from sales of the US$549~US$649 phone.
  3. It promotes the iPhone 5S. With the iPhone 5 selling for US$100 below the iPhone 5, it might make the iPhone 5S a tougher sell.

The cheapest iPhone's will be the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4. Normally, the iPhone 4 would have been phased out with the release of this years model, but it looks like it will continue to be sold in some markets. 

All four models will run iOS 7.

So there you have it. If you want a new iPhone, you can get one before Christmas. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Aqua Iceberg,Cosmos and Knight: Do the higher priced locally branded phones have a market?

The O+ 8.15 was the first locally branded phone which we saw go past the 10K barrier. While O+ is a US registered brand, this company sell smartphones in the Philippines only. This was followed by Starmobile with its Knight and MyPhone with its Aqua Iceberg. Cherry Mobile released a gaggle of new phones starting at Php9,999.

Following a thread on TipidCP, it would seem that the consensus is, locally branded 10K phones are too expensive. At this price, they match comparable offerings from more established brands like Lenovo or ZTE. 

The Starmobile Knight seemed to do well enough, being out of stock wherever you looked. But it really looks like few were actually distributed for sale, with dealers taking waiting lists. Interestingly, the Starmobile Diamond V7 announced two months ago, has not been launched. This 5.7-inch phablet, would have been priced over Php10,000. I wonder whether feedback on Starmobile Knight sales convinced the company not to release the Diamond V7. 

The MyPhone Agua Iceberg sold pretty well at launched, but this was helped a grand launch event last July, and a 24-month zero interest plans. I have been inquiring with a MyPhone dealer about the availability of the midnight blue version, and they told me it might arrive when they consume their existing stocks of Icebergs. Apparently, they have about two dozen units available in one branch right now. 

It is also not difficult the three Cherry Mobile Cosmos phones that have been released in the market so far, the X, S and X2. In a previous article I wrote, comparing the Cherry Mobile Omega HD 2.0 (Php8,999) to the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X (Php9,990) five readers gave feedback and all chose the Omega HD 2.0.

So, is the consensus that the higher priced locally branded phones are priced beyond what the market is willing to bear?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apple iPhone 4 @Smart All-In Plan 800

The Apple iPhone 4 is three years old now. It 3.5-inch display is really small, and its 1 GHz single core processor is rather slow, by today's stands. But the Apple iPhone 4 display is still sharp. Apple launched its "retina" display on the iPhone 4. For typical smartphone use (communications and social networking), the 1 GHz processor will do just fine.  The glass back case with the aluminum edges still feels as premium as ever. Basically, the hardware is a case of a glass half full or half empty depending how you look at it. 

At Smart Communications All-In Plan 800, well the glass looks more like three quarters full. First, you don't usually expect to get a phone this nice at Php800 a month plan. Second, it is amazing what you can do with a Php800 a month plan from Smart.

For Php800 a month you can come up with a pretty amazing call an text package:


- 500 minutes a month to Smart, Sun and PLDT
- 80 minutes a month to Globe, Smart and Sun
- 2000 SMS to Globe, Smart and Sun
- 150 MB of data for 30 days
- Php150 Consumable balance for MMS or additional data

 For those who a more SMS and data centric, which is the current trend:


- 500 minutes a month to Smart, Sun and PLDT
- 2000 SMS to Globe, Smart and Sun
- 1.15 GB of data for 30 days
- Total monthly bill is Php900 a month

This offer is available till September 16, 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dell Vostro 5460 Ultrabook

Dell has released a new Ultrabook offering in the Philippines, the Dell Vostro 5460. The main concern for Ultrabook buyers is portability and Dell Vostro 5460 is reasonably light for a 14-inch laptop at just a bit over 3.4 pounds. The Dell Vostro 5460 is also thin, being 0.82-inches thick at the thickest point.

It should provide sufficient power with a Intel Core i3-3120M processor, 4 GB of RAM and discrete graphics in the form of a NVIDIA GeForce 630M with 2 GB of dedicated video RAM. For storage, it comes with a 500 GB hard drive with a 32 GB SSD cache drive. For an operating system, this Ultrabook comes with Windows 8.

The Dell Vostro 5460 is retailing for Php32,990. The other specifications are typical of what you expect from a laptop this price with a HD (1366 x 768) display, USB 3.0 and a card reader. Like other slim laptops, the Dell Vostro 5460 does not have an optical drive. Those looking for a touchscreen laptop should look elsewhere as the Dell Vostro 5460 does not have a touchscreen.

All in all, the Dell Vostro 5460 makes a nice lower cost alternative to the 13-inch Apple Macbook Air. Those looking for a touchscreen device may want to take a look at the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Smart Communications Gadget Plus Plans

Smart Communications is offering a new service and device bundle it calls gadget plus. Basically, Gadget Plus bundles the 50 hour a month Data Plan 399 with a WiFi router and a tablet. The monthly fee depends on the device chosen:

  • Php699 per month - Alcatel Tab 7 HD 
  • Php799 per month - Acer Iconia W3-810
  • Php999 per month - Samsung Galaxy Note 8
The lock in period for all the offerings is 24 months.

The Alcatel Tab 7 HD is a 7-inch dual core Android Jelly Bean Tablet. Like its name indicates, it has a HD (800 x 1280) display. I have a separate article on the Alcatel tablet at this link.

The Acer Iconia W3-810 is a 8-inch Windows 8 tablet.

The third Gadget Plus offering is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. The model smart is offering is apparently the WiFi only version and not the GSM/3G model you see on the store shelves. The Galaxy Note 8 is a 8-inch Android Jelly Bean tablet which has been specifically designed to work with a stylus.

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