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FTA Recommended Top 10 Smartphones You Can Buy (Mid Year 2019)


We are almost halfway through the year and there were many new phone models to choose. If you are out there looking for a new phone, this is the article you must read! These phones are from different price categories and we picked the best ones in each price bracket.

Here are the top 10 smartphones you buy right now (in no particular order

Redmi Note 7 (3GB/32GB – Php 7,990; 4GB/64GB – Php 9,990; 4GB/128GB – Php 11,490)

Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7 continues to be the hottest phone this year. The company did restock the said phone recently but upon talking to the folks at Xiaomi Philippines, they are running out of stocks, again.

Related article – Redmi Note 7 Review

But what makes people go nuts about this phone? Three things – internals, camera and price. For a phone below 10k, you get a 48MP rear camera backed by a 5MP camera at the rear. The phone is also powerful. It is powered by a Snapdragon 660 chipset which is perfect for gaming and heavy multitasking. And here we are again with the price, for only below 10k this is the most affordable smartphone with this chipset inside.

If you want more power, Xiaomi has the Redmi Note 7 Pro with a more powerful Snapdragon 675, 6GB RAM and more storage. The problem is its not available yet in the Philippines. Maybe we should call out Xiaomi Philippines to bring it here soon. What do you think?

Realme 3 (3GB/32GB – Php 6,990; 3GB/64GB – Php 7,990; 4GB/64GB – Php 9,990)

Xiaomi’s main competition is OPPO’s Realme sub brand and their version of the Redmi Note 7 is the Realme 3. The Realme is priced cheaper and has different storage options than its competition.

Related article – Realme 3 Review

One of Realme 3 strengths is also the strength on the Redmi Note 7 – gaming prowess. Underneath the hood is a Helio P60 processor which wowed us in the gaming and heavy multitasking of its distant relative, the OPPO F9. Another strength it has are the cameras. Since the Helio P60 has AI capabilities, Realme used this feature on the Realme 3’s camera system both front and back. The photos we took are absolutely amazing. One area we think Realme 3 excels better than the Redmi Note 7 is the UI. ColorOS 6 on the Realme 3 is well polished, better looking than its previous version, cleaner and smoother.

Well, if you want more power, good news is Realme Philippines is bringing the Realme 3 Pro next week. Launch is set on May 17 and we will cover everything via our You Tube channel. Stay tuned!

OPPO F11 Pro (Php 18,990)

OPPO’s newest midrange offering, the OPPO F11 Pro is packing more power and camera prowess. Over the years, OPPO’s smartphones are getting better in design and maintaining its excellent build quality. We know people using older OPPO models like the F1s, F3 Plus and F5 and all are working perfectly fine. These people intend to buy a new phone to replace the old ones and they are eyeing this phone.

Related article – OPPO F11 Pro Review

So what is OPPO F11 Pro has to offer? Well, for starters, the camera is one of the best in its class. We have a 48MP main rear camera backed up by the 5MP depth sensor and on the front there is a 16MP pop up motorized camera. All three cameras produce great photos and it won’t disappoint. Our main concern though is the phone’s motorized pop up mechanism. Only time could tell its durability but knowing OPPO”s reputation on build quality, we are pretty confident that it would last.

Apart from the cameras, there two more things we love about this phone – performance and software. If you love Mediatek’s Helio P60 chipset already, you will love OPPO F11 Pro’s Helio P70 even more. Its newer and more powerful that it could almost match flagship level benchmarks. That could be proven during heavy gaming.

Now if you find the OPPO F11 Pro a little pricey already, there is a cheaper option – the regular OPPO F11. For Php 15,990 you only lose the motorized pop up camera and it is being replaced with a water drop notch in the display which is perfectly fine for our us. There is also another cheaper version – the 4GB/64GB OPPO F11 which costs Php 12,990. That phone is an online exclusive via Shopee.

Vivo V11 Pro (Php 23,990)

This phone is our main driver for a month and we missed it. We already returned our Vivo V15 Pro review unit last week. 🙁

Related article – Vivo V15 Pro Review

Anyway, that phone is just incredible. Halfway through our review period, we had a software update which includes performance improvements and the latest security patch from Google. After the update, we saw some useful changes in its FuntouchOS UI including a new look on its swipe up quick menu settings. Apart from that, this is our first time to review a phone powered by a Snapragon 675 and the experience is amazing.

Apart from the performance, the phone’s cameras are also great. The rear 48MP main shooter, 8MP ultrawide camera and 5MP depth sensor are simply the best point and shoot cameras on a smartphone at this price range. Photos we took are almost flagship level, Really impressive. Another highlight of this device is the 32MP selfie camera. It is by far our favorite go-to selfie camera. Its takes natural looking selfies and it does.

Price is a bit steep though – Php 23,990. Vivo Philippines, however, also brought in the regular Vivo V15 which is far cheaper for Php 17,990. With the Vivo V15, you get a slightly larger screen at 6.53 inches, a larger 4,000 mAh battery, less 6GB RAM (8GB RAM on the Pro), a Helio P70 chipset (compared with Snapdragon 675 on the Pro), a 12MP main shooter (48MO on the Pro) and the same 32MP selfie shooter.

Samsung Galaxy A50 (Php 17,990)

Samsung has been very aggressive with is current midrange portfolio by releasing so many midrangers this year. One of which is the Samsung Galaxy A50.

Related article – Samsung Galaxy A50 Review

The Samsung Galaxy A50 is a hot-selling phone according to the folks at Samsung Philippines and even on MemoXpress, the country’s largest smartphone retailer. So why is it selling like hotcakes? First is the price, for Php 17,990 you don’t get crappy cameras unlike those Galaxy J series smartphone from before. The triple rear cameras are actually very good, even better than its rivals. Apart from the camera is the new Samsung One UI on top of Android 9.0 Pie. Everybody is loving Samsung’s user friendly UI. We also do love it! It is simple, clean, very straightforward and great for one-hand use especially for bigger phones like the Galaxy A50.

Your cheaper alternative is the Samsung Galaxy A30 which is priced at Php 13,990. Here you get a slightly less powerful chipset, Exynos 7904 (vs 9610 on A50), less 4GB RAM (6GB RAM on A50), dual cameras (triple cameras on A50), same 6.4-inch display, same 4,000 mAh battery and it has a physical fingerprint scanner (under display fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A50).

Huawei P30 Lite (Php 16,990)

The Huawei P30 Lite is a bit underrated maybe because of its “Lite” name on it. People may be perceiving it as “Lite” means less in specs.

Related article – Huawei P30 Lite Review

Actually it is true to a certain degree. Let’s be honest, Huawei needs to cut corners to bring the price down, right? But that does not mean it is less of a phone. For starters, the cameras are equally good as its more expensive brothers. It can’t take great zoom shots but normal 1x zoom photos are really good. Performance is also good. Under the hood there is a Kirin 710 powering the device which gets the job done in terms of gaming and heavy multitasking. Battery life is also good considering it only has a 3,330 mAh battery.

If you are looking between the Galaxy A50 and P30 Lite, we think the Galaxy A50 is a better pick due to the better overall experience. The Galaxy A50 has better software exerperience, slightly better cameras, and much better battery life.

Xiaomi Mi 9 (6GB/64GB – Php 22,990; 6GB/128GB – Php 24,990)

We never had a chance to review to the Xiaomi Mi 9 but we were able to play around with it during its launch.

So why are we recommending it? Simple. The Xiaomi Mi 9 is the most affordable 2019 flagship smartphone today – Php 22,990 for the base 6GB/64GB model. Its cheaper than Vivo V15 Pro. When we say flagship is because of its processor. It is powered by Snapdragon 855, making the Mi 9 the cheapest smartphone running on this chipset. The cameras are very decent but it lacks OIS which is a bummer considering this is a flagship. It does have a small battery – 3,300 mAh but it makes up for charging speeds. It has 27W charger included in the package.

Your other alternative is the OnePlus 6T which is a 2018 flagship with a 2018 flagship chipset. The OnePlus 7 Pro is about to be launched so if you are thinking of looking into the Mi 9 and OnePlus 7 Pro, better hold off your plan to buy and compare both devices first.

Huawei P30 (Php 36,990)

Another underrated Huawei phone is the regular Huawei P30. Everybody’s focus is its more expensive sibling, the Huawei P30 Pro.

So why the Huawei P30? It is cheaper. You get equally good photos from its cameras although you lose the Periscope 8MP camera which is main seller on the Pro model. You still get that amazing 40MP main camera and also that Leica branding. There is IP53 rating which considers the P30 to be Splash resistant but you can’t dunk it into water like the Pro model. You also get a slightly smaller screen at 6.1 inches but the beauty of it is better one-hand use especially for folks with small hands. It may have a smaller battery but battery life is phenomenal still.

We are currently reviewing the Huawei P30 so please do watch out for our review soon. You alternative for the P30 will be the OnePlus 7 Pro which will be launched next week. We believe it will be close to the P30’s price. The best cheaper alternative is the Mi 9. You get a more powerful processor, a slightly bigger screen but with a smaller battery.

Huawei P30 Pro (Php 50,990)

The phone everyone is raving about – Huawei P30 Pro. We had a brief encounter with the Huawei P30 Pro during the launch and we were also to play around GizGuide’s unir and we were immediately impressed with it.

Related article – Huawei P30 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S10+

It does deserve all the attention it is getting. Its highlight feature is the 8MP Periscope zoom which can take 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom. If you like taking photos from asubject far, far away well this is the phone for you. This has all the bells and whistles of a true flagship such as Kirin 980 powering the device paired with generous 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage, a 6.47-inch display,a 32MP selfie camera, a large 4,200 mAh battery, IP68 water and dust resistance, wireless and reverse charging.

Its main competition is the Samsung Galaxy S10+ but it is more pricey at Php 55,990. They go head-to head in terms of specs and features. Before you choose on what to buy, know first what feature in a flagship phone you will use most. If you want more power, zoom capabilities, gradient colors, night photography and you don’t care about the geo-political issues between, Huawei, its home country China and the US, then this is the phone to get.

Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Php 55,990)

Over the years, Samsung continues to dominate the smartphone space since the Galaxy S5 way back in 2014. But its recent smartphones get more expensive and has underwhelming software. All has changed when the Samsung Galaxy S10/S10+ were unveiled.

Related article – Samsung Galaxy S10 Series: Top Features We Like

It is by far our favorite smartphone today. We can easily place it No.1 on our list. Samsung continues to make the best smartphone display the world has ever seen. Really punchy colors, deeps blacks, breathtaking contrast. It is simply amazing. The cameras are one of the best in its class but we think Google’s Pixels are still the best. Sadly that phone is not available here. We do love the Galay S10’s 16MP ultrawide camera. It take very good wide angle photos both in good and low light.

Samsung also improved a lot in two key aspects that we usually hate about them – battery and software experience. The company ditched the old Touchwiz and Samsung Experience UX for the new One UI and we love it. The new UI is easier to use with one hand, everything is easy to understand, and all the needed quick settings are on the drop down quick menu. The Galaxy S10+ has a large 4,100 mAh battery which easily gets us through the day and more juice left for next day.

Compared with the Huawei P30 Pro, we rhink the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the better package overall. But that is just us. Just like we’ve mentioned earlier, you have to find out what features you like about a phone first. If you love beautiful screens for video streaming, more poweful processor, excellent good light camera, wide angle shots, better software experience and a headphone jack (in which the P30 Pro does not have), the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is the phone to get.

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