The mid-range is the new battleground
Make no mistake about it: the mid-range market is the new battleground for international brands. Top tier manufacturers are all looking to make a killing in the 10K to 20K price range, and have released really compelling offerings in the price bracket that’s making life difficult for regular peeps when choosing a phone. Thankfully, you guys have us – here’s our top five picks for the 10K to 20K price bracket:
Huawe Nova 2i
Huawei’s quad-camera, 18:9 display totin’ Nova 2i managed to shake up the mid-range market ever since its announcement in the local market. And for good reason: the Nova 2i delivers excellent camera performance, decent 18:9 display plus a price tag that make it irresistible to people who don’t want to spend a lot for a new phone. It’s been flying off the shelves since its announcement, and we’re not surprised at all. It’s easily one of the best mid-range phones you can buy today, retailing at a little under Php 15K.
Fresh from our review cycle is OPPO’s newest AI-powered selfie darling, the F5. It has a lot of things going for it: an 18:9 display gives you more real-estate to play around with, and really, nobody does selfies like OPPO does. Speaking of selfies, the F5 has its selfie prowess augmented by AI, which gives you more convincing selfies compared to the competition. Its 16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.8 aperture lens is also capable of taking quite decent photos, which means the F5 isn’t just a one-trick pony.
While people are discounting Vivo’s recently launched 18:9 smartphone, the V7+, the surprising results in our blind camera test prove that the phone is capable of taking quite decent and natural looking photos that a lot of you preferred. While the phone’s display suffers a little bit thanks to its HD+ resolution, the V7+ compensates for that with a fairly powerful Snapdragon 450 processor. Despite being part of the 400 series family, the Snapdragon 450 chipset is surprisingly powerful, and acts a little bit like an under-clocked Snapdragon 625 and shares the same GPU as the mid-range processor. Doesn’t hurt that it takes pretty awesome selfies too.
Samsung Galaxy J7+
The Galaxy J7+ is Samsung’s attempt at bringing their dual-cam tech down to the mid-range. The J7+ is the first phone from the Korean brand outside their flagship, the Note 8, to sport dual cameras. And just like the Note 8, the J7+ can also add artificial bokeh to shots on both front and rear cameras. It’s not a one trick pony either, as the J7+ also takes great photos overall, though users may not like the fact that it’s a little more expensive than the rest of the phones in this list, as well as not having an 18:9 display.
Xiaomi Mi 5X
Despite not being officially available in the country, Xiaomi’s phones are enjoying a Renaissance of late thanks to grey market and parallel importers that sell the company’s phones unofficially in the Philippines. The Mi 5X is undoubtedly one of the stronger mid-range phones of the brand, sporting a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor plus 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. It also has dual cameras, and can stand on its own compared to the competition. You will have to take a gamble on warranty though, since you’ll be at the mercy of whatever warranty policy that’s present in the store that you buy it from.
Special mention: LG Q6
Budget prices and 18:9 displays really don’t mix, especially when you’re looking for a phone from an international company. But despite its faults, LG’s Q6 is still pretty close to our hearts, since its small size and big display make it ideal for people looking for a multimedia smartphone. It’s also the most affordable phone in the market from an international company that has an 18:9 display. Just don’t expect it to be as fast as our other picks in this category.