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FTA Christmas Smartphone Gift Guide 2016


It is the most wonderful time of the year. That much-awaited Christmas bonus is about to come and everybody is excited to buy their next smartphone. But there are different smartphones from various brands nowadays and some of them have entered our smartphone arena just this year. We can help you pick the right smartphone for your needs and of course, budget. So let’s explore fellow techies!

Price – P1,000 to P5,000


Kata V4

If you are looking for a small smartphone, then the Kata V4 is for you, It was announced about 6 months ago and even though it costs around P2,699 the metal frame adds some premium feel to it. The camera is surprisingly decent too.

Starmobile Play Max

Who says big batteries are for flagships, phablets and mid range smartphones only? Starmobile announced the Starmobile Play Max as an entry level smartphone with a big battery. This phone will last you for days especially if you are just a casual smartphone user. Good thing it is with 1GB RAM and powered by a quad core processor. But of course, there are some sacrifices to be done to keep the price low. Camers is not that great but you can’t complain. It is only P3,290.

MyPhone My86  DTV

We admit, until now we love to watch TV and we know many of you do love to watch TV still – news, PBA, NBA, teleseryes, US TV series, documentaries, noontime shows. There are some instances that we need to go home earlier para maabutan ang favorite teleserye. Who can relate? Well, MyPhone has tons of smartphones with DTV capabilities now. We’ve reviewed the MyPhone My86 DTV a few months ago. It has a separate antenna so be careful because you might lose it.

Kata C2

You need something bigger? Here’s the Kata C2! Kata is already accepting pre-orders for it as of this writing. Priced at P3,999 you will get a large 5.5-inch HD screen, quad core Mediatek processor with 1GB RAM/8GB ROM configuration. Based on our first impressions, it is a pretty solid phone. Full review will be up very soon. Price is at P3,999

Cloudfone Excite Prime

If you are looking for more oommph or should be say, kick on your smartphone, your best option is the Cloudfone Excite Prime. For only P3,999 you will get an octa core processor, 5.5-inch display, 13 megapixel camera which takes really good photos and running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It does not have LTE though the 2GB of RAM can accommodate more multi tasking and gaming.

Starmobile UP Sense

Starmobile continues to release affordable smartphones throughout the year. The Starmobile UP Sense has fingerprint scanner which fast and accurate. It has an 8 megapixel camera and it can take good photos. It is also a looker with its iPhone-like inspired look. Plus, it is only P4,290.


Cloudfone Thrill Access

Now if you are looking for LTE connectivity for this price point, we have one – the Cloudfone Thrill Access. It has LTE, premium metal back but it is removable and surprisingly good 8 megapixel camera, Priced at P4,999 it we think you should consider this especially if rely heavily on LTE.

Price – P5,000 to P10,000


Flash Plus 2

One of the best smartphones we’ve reviewed this year. Good camera, great build quality, almost stock Android feel. This is the Flash Plus 2. Even before Alcatel (Flash Mobile’s sister company) was stil handling the Flash brand (etc Alcatel Flash 2, Alcatel Flash Plus). It managed to capture many fans. Proof? Go to the Flash Plus 2 Facebook groups. Even it is about 8 months old, we will still recommend the Flash Plus 2. It comes with 2GB + 16GB ROM (P6,190) and 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM (P6,999) variants.

Kata i5

This is one of Kata’s new smartphone offering for 2016. From the old Kata i4 from 2014, this new phone features an all metal unibody design, a 5-inch display and a 13 megapixel camera, We are still reviewing the Kata i5 and we must say that we are pretty impressed with its camera. This is priced at P7,999.


MyPhone My36

Yes we know, we know. The MyPhone My36 is an old model with a two-year old software (still runs Android 5.1 Lollipop). But it has a good camera with a proven hardware. We know a few people who owns the My36 and so far they are very happy with it.This is priced at P6,999.

Starmobile UP Ultra

The Starmobile UP Ultra is considered an old model too. It is currently on sale now for P4,999 on Starmobile’s Christmas season long sale. The ph one performs wonderfully during our review period. Lastly, it is a little cheaper than the MyPhone My86 right now.


Oppo A37

OPPO has been catapulted to stardom this year primarily because of its excellent marketing plan for its “Selfie Expert” slogan. Even for a smartphone below 10k you can get a good selfie phone, the OPPO A37. Priced at P8,999, the OPPO A37 has a 5 megapixel selfie camera loaded with OPPO’s camera software enhancements.


Vivo Y55

Vivo is the other brand challenging the “Selfie Expert” on this price point – the Vivo Y55. The focus of the Y55 is also camera especially for selfies. Just like the OPPO A37, this one has a 5 megapixel front facing shooter too and loaded with Vivo’s software enhancements. Price is also the same P8,999.

Infinix Hot S

Infinix Mobile is one of the best smartphone brands on this category. We managed to get a short hands on with the Infinix Hot S a few weeks ago and now we are currently reviewing it. So far we happy with the experience. Solid build quality, good camera, colorful but clean user interface. It is exclusively on Lazada for P6,990.

Infinix Note 3 Pro

Want a big phone? There’s the Infinix Note 3 Pro! It has massive 6-inch display, a octa core processor with 3GB RAM which is good enough for heavy multi tasking and gaming. We have a review unit and so far, camera performs very well. It is exclusively on Lazada for P8,290.


Cloudfone Next

For the local brands aside from Cherry Mobile, Cloudfone had made big splashes this year buy introducing new smartphones. A few months ago, the company unveiled its 2016 flagship, the Cloudfone Next. Technically it is not a flagship that you think. It is powered by a Snapdragpn 430 chipset from Qualcomm but for Cloudfone, it is called an affordable flagship because it is priced at P9,999. Performance was superb, camera is really good, 4GB RAM, LTE and fast charging technology. It is really worth the look.

Price – P10,000 to P20,000


ASUS Zenfone 3 Laser

Last year’s Zenfone 2 Laser takes pretty decent photos but the Zenfone 3 Laser has improved a lot not just in camera but everything else! Please do check our review. It is priced at P11,995


ASUS Zenfone 3 Max

ASUS has recently announced the price for the Zenfone 3 Max – P10,995. Many people were left drooling for this phone! – Qualcomm Snadragon 430, 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, 5.5-inch display, 16 megapixel camera, 8 megapixel selfie, LTE, a large 4,100 mAh battery with fast charging. It is a beefy smartphone indeed! Here’s our advice – tell ASUS “Shut up and take my money!” Hehehe.

Huawei P9 Lite

Can’t afford the P9, there’s the Huawei P9 Lite! The camera is just insanely good! When it comes to camera, Huawei has nailed it this year even for a mid range like the P9 Lite. You wont lack in performance too – octa core processor is paired with 3GB RAM. This is priced at P12,490.


This is the smartphone that made OPPO like a rockstar. The girls are just screaming “WE WANT YOU!” We have girl friends (not girlfriends), that loves taking selfies and they are eyeing the OPPO F1s. The OPPO F1s now comes with limited edition gunmetal gray with a black face. In India, OPPO has upgraded the device to 4GB RAM (from 3GB RAM) and 64GB internal storage (from 32GB). The OPPO F1s is priced at P12,990

Vivo V5

This is war! This is our reaction when Vivo launched the Vivo V5. If the OPPO F1s is packing a 16 megapixel selfiecamera, the Vivo V5 has 20 megapixels. We had a very short hands on at the event last week and photos are really really good. But we have yet to compare that with the OPPO F1s. Once our Vivo V5 review unit arrives, we will have a separate selfie comparison between the two.

Vivo V3 Max

Aside from the camera, Vivo’s other strength is HiFi audio. The Vivo V3 Max has a HiFi audio chip and audio experience is outstanding whether listening through your earphones or through the phone’s speakers. Vivo has recently slashed the price of this device from P16,999 to P13,999.

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ASUS Zenfone 3 

The ASUS Zenfone 3 is, by far, our favorite mid range smartphone for 2016. Significant improvements from the Zenfone 2 are better camera, a glass/metal build, a Sony camera, a beautiful display and an acre for your photos and videos. We took the ASUS Zenfone 3 in Batanes and we fell in love with it even more.

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime 

From using cheap plastics, Samsung has evolved its mid range offerings and used metal for the Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime. The phone’s main strength is the camera. Just like the Galaxy S7, the Galaxy J7 Prime takes really good photos. Fast autofocus, good color reproduction and dynamic range. Plus, Samsung remains to be reliable and trusted brand. We visited Samsung stores many times and very recently at Samsung store in SM Mall of Asia we spotted around 5 individuals buying the same phone – the Galaxy J7 Prime itself. It is priced at P13,990.

That’s all for now fellow techies! We will have a separate article for smartphones 20k and up. Watch out for our 2016 FTA Awards coming very very soon!