Unbox’s 4 Best Bang for the Buck Phones (Mid 2014)

Unbox’s 4 Best Bang for the Buck Phones (Mid 2014)


Want the best phone for your hard-earned cash?

We’re now in the latter half of 2014, and we’ve seen some truly awesome, budget friendly smartphones in the past few months. But of course, not all smartphones are made equal – some are great, some are good, but only a few deliver bang-for-the-buck performance at a price that’s hard to ignore. We’ve taken a look at four smartphones that we’ve seen and held in the recent months that epitomize bang for the buck. Check them out:

Cherry Mobile Flare 3

  • 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MTK 6582 processor
  • Mali-400MP GPU
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5-inch qHD IPS OGS scratch resistant display
  • 8GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 8-megapixel BSI rear camera
  • 3-megapixel front camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, A-GPS
  • Dual-SIM
  • HSPA+
  • 1980mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • Php 3,999

It’s hard to put into words just how amazing the price to specs ratio of Cherry Mobile’s Flare 3 is. At the beginning of this year, the price of the Flare 3 would probably get you a quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM and a 4-inch display that’s MAYBE an IPS panel. The Flare 3 gives you a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 5-inch qHD, IPS display that’s OGS and has a scratch resistant display(!), paired with a 8-megapixel BSI rear camera. If that’s not value for money, we don’t know what is.


ASUS Zenfone 5

  • 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Atom Z2560
  • 2GB RAM
  • 5-inch HD IPS display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 8GB/16GB storage, expandable via microSD
  • 8-megapixel f/2.0 PixelMaster Camera
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • 2110mAh, non-removable battery
  • Android 4.3 ( will update to 4.4 KitKat ) with ASUS ZenUI
  • Php 6495 8GB/ Php 6995 for 16GB

We’re going to be honest – we gave ASUS a lot of flak for the delayed launch of the Zenfone 5 here in the PH, especially since other markets managed to get the Zenfones a few months ahead of the PH. But we’re really happy that ASUS decided to make up for that little niggle with the pricing of the Zenfone 5. Sources from ASUS Philippines told us that the PH actually has the lowest price for the Zenfone 5 in all of the territories they launched in, and considering the specs, the Zenfone 5 has the best price to performance ratio for a budget device made by an international brand. It’s no wonder that the phone is almost always sold out in stores all over the metro.


Cherry Mobile Pulse

  • 1.7GHz MediaTek MTK 6592 processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5-inch HD IPS display, Dragontrail Scratch Resistant glass protection, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 8GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 64GB
  • 13-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • WIFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • 2000mAh
  • Android 4.4 KitKat with double tap to wake feature
  • Php 6,499

Sitting right at the same price point as the Zenfone 5 is Cherry Mobile’s Pulse. Now there’s been a raging debate over the merits of ASUS’ offering over CM’s octa-core smartphone, and while ASUS’ product does have its advantages (higher RAM, better camera), Intel’s Atom processors still have little issues that keep them from achieving greatness (heat issues, longer loading times for Android games) that we’ll get into once we finish the review. Anyway, the Pulse is currently the most affordable octa-core smartphone in the land, and sport pretty impressive specs and a higher synthetic benchmark score compared to the Zenfone 5. It’s definitely a smartphone to consider if you’re looking for a powerful, affordable smartphone but don’t want to go with Intel’s SOC offerings.


Xiaomi Mi 3

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 MSM8274AB processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage, non-expandable
  • 5-inch full HD IPS display, Gorilla Glass 3, 1080 x 1920 resolution
  • 13-megapixel camera with autofocus, dual LED flash
  • 2-megapixel front camera
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, NFC, USB OTG, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • 3G, HSDPA
  • 144 x 73.6 x 8.1 mm
  • 3050mAh li-ion battery (non-removable)
  • Android 4.4 with MIUI

No talk about bang for your buck phones would be complete without the Xiaomi Mi 3. Even after a few months have passed since the Chinese company decided to enter the PH market, their arrival in the industry is still being felt by both local and international players in the PH. Like it or hate it, the Mi 3 is being held as the prime example of bang for the buck phones, and is one of the best flagship smartphones that a cash-strapped pinoy can buy today.

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