I want the BEST phone money can buy, but what smartphone should I choose?

Posted: March 17, 2012 in News, Smartphones, Technology
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

To date, there are more and more Filipinos people out there that are actually more interested in getting a new mobile phone than pay attention to other relevant things in life, like getting a date, or getting glued to a scorching-hot tsismis site, or what to eat for dinner, or watching the latest news, porn, NBA, American Idol, or planning where to spend summer vacation in the next 30 days, etc. Potentially, Filipinos huge interest about the latest mobile gadgets can be attributed to some established facts:

1.  The Philippines is the texting capital of the world

2.  At least 28 million Pinoys are online

3.  Smartphones these days have the power and capabilities of laptops, cameras, and gaming consoles

4.  83% of online Pinoys are part of social networks, like Facebook and Tweeter (number 1 in the world)

5.  86.4% of online Pinoys love kodakan (picture-taking) moments and uploads them online (number one in the world)

6.  98.6% of online Pinoys have watched videos online (number one in the world)

7.  On an average, Filipinos spend at least 77 minutes in Facebook daily

8.  Filipinos love being updated, trendy or laging nasa uso

People are glued to their phones, and millions and millions are hooked online, hence, i came up with a silly question, if you have Php 35,000 flat to spend on any smartphone (let’s just say Manny Pacquiao, Renato Corona, or Manny Villar gave it to you as a birthday gift), what will you buy? For a common Pinoy, there are only three brands to choose. Nokia, Apple, or Samsung. And since the Philippines is still a Nokia-country, one might assume that the masa or any regular Joe will grab a random Nokia model, the conyos will slash their credit cards and purchase the latest iPhone, while the in-between nextgens will probably snatch a Samsung model from their hard-earned cash (tuition fee kupits, salary, incentives, piggy bank savings, etc). Is this the scenario most of us will imagine by default? Probably yes. But fortunately, reality is more complex and definitely more interesting than this “default”scenario. Innovation in mobile communication technology is so damn quick, a new technology is born every few seconds, which is quite faster than your loud mouth screaming the phrase “Statements of Assets and Liabilities.” The competition is stiff, and the market is ripe and liberal enough to accept changes. So what are the best smarthphones the world has to offer as of this moment? Well, scroll down, read, drool, and take your pick!

iPhone 4S (Apple)

Spec sheets

  • OS: iOS 5 with iCloud integration
  • Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support with 14.4 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Dual-band CDMA and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO support
  • Display: 3.5″ 16M-color LED-backlit IPS TFT capacitive touchscreen of 640 x 960 px resolution
  • 330 ppi display
  • Scratch-resistant glass front and rear, with fingerprint-resistant coating
  • CPU: 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 CPU,
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU, Apple A5 SoC
  • Memory: 512MB of RAM
  • Voice recognition, Siri virtual assistant
  • Camera: 8 MP autofocus camera with LED flash and touch focus, secondary front-facing VGA camera
  • Video: 1080p video recording at 30fps


  • Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotpsot
  • GPS with A-GPS connectivity; digital compass
  • 16/32/64GB storage options
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensor and a three-axis gyro sensor
  • Misc: Active noise cancellation with a dedicated secondary microphone
  • Audio: Standard 3.5 mm audio jack, stereo Bluetooth v4.0
  • Excellent audio quality
  • Slim waistline at only 9.3mm
  • Built-in Picture and Video editors
  • Rich AppStore
  • New antenna design and improved signal reception in poor signal areas


  • Brand equity – nothing screams premium look and feel than an iPhone
  • Siri
  • Rich AppStore for apps, movie, and music downloads
  • Top-notch camera, video and music quality
  • Intuitive and gorgeous UI
  • Great gaming experience due to high resolution display and responsiveness
  • Rich, sharp and bright display @ Retina Display’s 330 ppi


  • MicroSIM card support only
  • Siri is not supported in all (or at least most) countries
  • No Flash support in the web browser
  • No true multitasking for all applications
  • FaceTime video calls work only over Wi-Fi
  • No file transfer over Bluetooth or USB Mass Storage mode (independent from iTunes)
  • No FM radio
  • No stereo speakers
  • No microSD card slot
  • Non-user-replaceable battery
  • Siri still a beta, location services not enabled outside US
  • Stuck with iTunes for loading content
  • Fragile built
  • Expensive
  • 3.5 inch screen is so yesterday
  • If you run out of luck, you might find yourself owning a unit with a so-so battery life (which is quite ironic for iPhone)

Samsung Galaxy Nexus (a.k.a Nexus Prime)

Specs Sheet:

  • General: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • 3G: HSDPA 850/900/1700/1900/2100
  • Relased: November 2011
  • Dimensions: 135.5 x 67.9 x 8.9 mm
  • Weight: 135 g
  • Display: 
  • Type: Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors with Oleophobic coating
  • Pixel density: 316 pixel per density (720 x 1280 pixel, 4.65 inches)
  • Sound: MP3, ringtones, loudspeaker, 3.5mm jack
  • Memory: no memory card slot
  • Internal storage: 16 GB storage, 1 GB RAM
  • Speed: HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • Bluetooth: version 3.0 with A2DP
  • Near-Field Communication: Yes
  • USB slot: version 2 microUSB
  • Camera: 5 MB primary camera, 2592×1944 pixels, autofocus, LED flash with Touch focus, geo-tagging, face detection
  • Secondary front-facing camera – 1.3 MP 720p@30fps
  • Video: Yes, 1080p@30fps
  • Stand-by: Up to 290 h (2G) / Up to 270 h (3G)
  • Talk time: Up to 17 h 40 min (2G) / Up to 8 h 20 min (3G)
  • OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Chipset: TI OMAP 4460
  • CPU: Dual-core 1.2GHz Cortex-A9
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX540
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
  • Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
  • Browser: HTML, Adobe Flash
  • No Radio
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS support
  • Java: Yes, via Java MIDP emulator
  • Colors of models: Black, white
  • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • TV-out (via MHL A/V link)
  • MP4/H.264/H.263 player
  • MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3 player
  • Organizer
  • Image/video editor
  • Document viewer
  • Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
  • YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa integration
  • Voice memo/dial/commands
  • Predictive text input


  • The real deal, the undisputed King of Androids, being the first  Android to boast a purely-integrated and optimized Ice Cream Sandwich OS
  • Two words: speed and power
  • No “heavy” (battery-and-memory-consuming) skins (Sense, TouchWiz, MotoBlur, Timescape UIs etc)
  • Being the latest Google-phone, lucky Galaxy Nexus owners are “guaranteed” to have at least two more upgrades in the future (Jelly Bean, and hopefully, Key Lime Pie too!) with its well-integrated hardwares and softwares
  • Crisp display @ 316 ppi with good picture and video quality in spite of having a “mere” 5 MP camera
  • The current benchmark of what a superphone should be (well, at least in terms of quadrant benchmarks, so move over, Galaxy S2!)
  • Yummy stock ICS,  futuristic NFC, and scratch-resistant SAMOLED screen, need to say more?
  • 4.65 inch screen is an optimum screen size for fat-fingered users =)
  • Good battery life, and as an added plus, its user-accessible too! (esp these days that newer models of smartphones sport non-replaceable batteries)


  • For such a powerful flagship and much-anticipated Google phone, it only have 5 mP camera (yeah, yeah, MP is not everything in terms of camera quality, but hey, there’s a sea of 8-12MB camera out there, and you will only offer 5mp?)
  • No radio
  • Non-expandable memory (no sdcard slot)
  • Might be a little too big for “feminine, tiny-fingered” users
  • The built might be a little step back compared to the previous Nexus (by HTC), but hey, its a matter of taste!

Nokia Lumia 800


Specs sheet:

  • General:  2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900    3G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900/2100
  • Release date: November 2011
  • Dimensions: 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1 mm, 76.1 cc
  • Weight: 142 g
  • Display: AMOLED capacitve touchscreeb, 16M colors
  • Pixel density: 252 pixel per inch (480×800 pixels 3.7 inch)
  • Multitouch Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass on top of Nokia ClearBlack display
  • Audio: MP3, WAV, ringtones, vibration-capable, loudspeaker, plus standard 3.5mm jack
  • Memory: 16 GB internal storage and  512 MB RAM
  • No memory card / micro sd card slot


  • Speed: HSDPA 1.14 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
  • Wi-Fi @ 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth @ version 2.1
  • micro USB v2.0
  • Camera: 8MP , 3264×2448 pixels, Carl Zeiss optics
  • auto-focus, dual LED flash with Geo tagging
  • Video @ 720p@30fps
  • No secondary front-facing camera
  • Features:
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
  • Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon
  • CPU: 1.4Ghz Scorpion
  • GPU: Adreno 205
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, proximity sensors, compass
  • Messaging: threaded view SMS, MMS, Email, Push email, Instant Messaging
  • Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML 5, RSS feeds
  • Radio: stereo FM radio with RDS
  • GPS: with A-GPS support
  • Java: no
  • Colors of models: Black, cyan, magenta, white


  • Noise-cancellation
  • Voice memo/command/dial
  • Document viewer/editor


  • Standard battery: Li-Ion 1450 mAh (BV-5JW)
  • Stand by: Up to 265 h (2G) / Up to 335 h (3G)
  • Talk-time: Up to 13 h (2G) / Up to 9 h 30 min (3G)
  • Music play: up to 55 hours


  • Eye-candy – a refreshing new look in a sea of Androids (and a lone island iOS), nice to see that WP Mango stepped up to its game to challenge the two on its latest incarnation in Nokia
  • The UI is gorgeous, the tile-centric interface is cute, simple and easy to use.
  • Comes in different colors to choose from (Black, cyan, magenta & white)
  • Nice reception, decent battery, AMOLED screen
  • Good camera quality
  • Great touchscreen keyboard
  • @ 1.4Ghz, internet browsing is quick and smooth


  • Multiple SMS sending will give you the recipients number instead of their names
  • Not optimized for Google Maps
  • Sending files is a pain in the ass
  • In a bad day, it hangs up while in call
  • Occasional freeze
  • Decent camera quality, but a stepped back compared to N8
  • Not intuitive in terms of calling a number from the phonebook, unlike iOS or Android where calling is a breeze
  • Polycarbonate built (read: plastic) may not appeal to all
  • No true multitasking capability (like iPhone)

Sony Xperia S

Specs sheet:

  • General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 MHz, 14.4 Mbps HSDPA, 5.76 Mbps HSUPA
  • Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
  • Dimensions: 128 x 64 x 10.6 mm, 144 g
  • Display: 4.3″ 16M-color TFT capacitive touchscreen, 720 x 1280 pixels, 342ppi
  • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8260 chipset, dual-core 1.5 GHz Scorpion CPU, Adreno 220 GPU
  • OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), planned 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update
  • Memory: 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM
  • Camera: 12 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, face detection and touch focus; 1080p video recording at 30fps; 1.3MP front-facing camera with 720p video recording, sweep multi-angle shots for lenticular print effect
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA; Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, microHDMI port
  • Misc: Sony Timescape UI,  Playstation Store, TV launcher, built-in accelerometer, proximity sensor, Sony Mobile Bravia engine, multi-touch input, scratch-resistant surface, microSIM only


  • The display quality is stunning – sharp and bright , boasting a whooping 342ppi (iPhone 4s has 330 ppi) under its Mobile Bravia engine
  • its 12MP camera can give iPhone 4s a run for its money with sharp quality images and videos
  • Playstation Store goodness!
  • The transparent (and glowing) strip is a “cool” addition to its interiors
  • GPS? this baby has GLONASS support too!
  • 3d sweep panorama and Multi-Angle mode


  • A little bit chunky —takes a lot of time to get used to its “think-slab” feel (its predecessor, Xperia Arc, is waaay sexier in terms of built
  • It takes a while to get used to its capacitive buttons
  • A little too late about everything —while  there’s a fleet of quadcore-powered beasts down in the horizons, and ICS outside Galaxy Nexus is already ported to other Androids (HTC & Samsung), this shiny model has only Gingerbread at the moment, and it is powered by a mere dual-core Scorpion CPU (which is a bit letdown considering it is Playstation Store-integrated wonder)
  • Plastation Store games, gorgeous UI, sharp display & great camera quality will equate to long hours of uptime  — too bad the 1750mAh battery is not good enough for full 24-hours of moderate use, its a freakin’ non-replaceable! (get used being married to your charger)
  • Despite of having 32GB storage, non-expandable memory (no sd card slot) is big letdown, considering you’ll be hooked taking pictures, downloading games, and watching videos


Specs Sheet:

  • General: 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • 3G: HSDP 850/900/1900/2100
  • Release date: 2nd quarter 2012
  • Dimensions: 134.4 x 69.9 x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 130 g
  • Display Type: Super IPS LCD2 capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Pixel density: 312 pixel per inch (720 x 1280 pixel 4.7 inches)
  • Data speed: HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps
  • Bluetooth: version 4.0 with A2DP
  • Near-Field Communication: Yes
  • microUSB port
  • 8 MP primary camera, 3264 x 2448 pixels, autofocus , LED flash and with 1.3 MP, 720p- secondary  front-facing camera
  • Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, face and smile detection
  • Video: Yes, 1080p@30fps, stereo sound rec., video stabilization
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-Po 1800 mAh
  • OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Chipset: NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.5 GHz
  • GPU: ULP GeForce
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, compass
  • Messaging: SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Email
  • Browser: HTML, Adobe Flash
  • No radio
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS support
  • Java: via Java MIDP emulator
  • Colors of Models: Black, white
  • Launch date: February 27 @ Mobile World Congress 2012, Barcelona
  • Global release date: April (UK), May-June (the rest of the world)
  •  Beats Audio
  • – Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • – TV-out (via MHL A/V link)
  • – SNS integration
  • – MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player
  • – MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV player
  • – Google Search, Maps, Gmail,
  • YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk
  • – Document viewer/editor
  • – Voice memo/dial/commands
  • – Predictive text input


  • One of the first quadcore beast showcased in MWC 2012, and the current king of the hill in terms of raw processing power
  • The benchmark where succeeding quadcore-powered smartphones will be measured
  • The 4 cores + 1 companion core combo (4PLUS1) is expected to improve gaming experience, multitasking, and battery life
  • Ice Cream Sandwich and Sense 4.0
  • HTC’s Sense UI is simple the most gorgeous and efficient UI among all Android OS
  • 32 GB built-in storage, 1G DDR2, plus 25GB free for two years in Dropbox
  • Much improved camera sharp, crisp images and full HD videos
  • Cool camera modes  (panoramic mode, burst mode, etc)
  • Much improved display (improved sharpness, brightness, and viewing angles)
  • Beats optimization not only for audio files but for games, movies, and other media as well
  • The deluxe edition (in Taiwan) comes with Beats Solo (over-the-ear). Cross your fingers, kids!
  • Comes in black & white colors
  • great Car Mode while driving
  • Optimized for Media Link HD wireless HDMI adaptor for a cool mirroring the display (yes, your videos, games, and images, etc) in your LCD screen
  • Official accessories like adaptors, hard case, flip case, car docks, table cradles, windshield holders, etc are readily-available


  • For HTC users, HTC One X is not a huge leap in terms of design and UI if compared to HTC Sensation XL
  • Sacrificed the much-revered tough-as-hell aluminum built for polycarbonate plastic to provide a lighter and slimmer chasis
  • No radio
  • No SD card slot
HTC Update 1: (March 20, 2012)
Seems like Lady Luck favored us this time! Based on my reliable source from HTC Philippines’ official supplier/retailer, HTC One X will be launched waaay earlier than expected. Instead of May-June, the HTC’s quadcore beast will reach our shore on the 1st to 2nd week of April. No official price yet but my guess — it will be priced nothing less than Php31,000 ($712.62), jut like the HTC Sensation XE’s price on its first week. Does it comes with in-ear urBeats headset or an option to choose a deluxe edition for a bundled Beats Solo over-the-ear headset? Well, let’s all wait and see…
HTC Update 2: (March 21, 2012)
My reliable source updated me that the super phone HTC One X will arrive on the FIRST week/s of April in the Philippines (So don’t spend much this summer vacation!).
Beats headset as a bundle is a sure-thing (you can sleep now, doubters!), but if its going to be a regular in-ear urBeats or a deluxe edition Beats Solo over-the-ear cans, or both, well, we still have to wait for the next days to come. Stay tuned!
HTC Update 3: (March 28, 2012)
April 2 and up, ladies and gentlemen =) well, at least for our neighbors in Singapore and Taiwan…
and for the real deal…. Philippine launch for HTC One X will be on…
HTC Update 4: (April 2, 2012)
Philippine launch for HTC One X will be on April 10 @ Eastwood Mall, Libis, QC.
Expect the saturation of the stocks and the start of selling in your favorite HTC outlets/retailers after this event.
Stay tuned!

credits to Apple, Nokia, HTC, Engadget, Slashgear, GSMArena, & tipster/s for updates & info

Any comments, suggestions, or questions? Don’t hesitate to hit the speech ballon (image below) on the top of the title. 

Feel free to share it in your Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Thanks!

  1. @cipher,
    thanks thanks, i’ll for the update then.

    • Cipher says:

      HTC One X is bundled with a regular HTC in-ear headset, so no urBeats or Beats Solo for the default package, for the moment. We’ll have to wait if they will launch a deluxe edition…btw, date of availability is on April 14, a day after the official launch on April 14. Stay tune for my hands-on mini review within the next 24 hrs

  2. Cipher says:


    For the countries with HTC One X, there are two choices only, the default is a “standard” HTC in-ear headset (yes, not the urBeats / iBeats in-ear cans that we have in HTC Sensation XE/XL, unfortunately…) and a “special” deluxe edition bundled with Beats Solo (white, over-the-ear headset).

    Most probably, the Philippines will follow suit to this two-option release of the quadcore powerhouse. Fingers crossed, I’ll get the exact details from HTC tomorrow (blame the Holy Week delay)

  3. @cipher,

    one more thing, can you confirm if the htc one x sold here will be bundled with the urbeats?
    i just don’t like the oem earphone bundled from singapore htc one x.

    thank you,

  4. @Cipher
    i was expecting that the htc one x will be launched today, darn it.
    i’ll just go to htc launch party next tuesday since digital walker is just 5 mins away from my office.

    • Cipher says:


      I was disappointed as well. It seems like they put on hold all distribution of the HTC One series for at least a week to give way for this “official” Philippine launch. One source confirmed me that they will have the products and the go signal to sell One S & One V (aside from One X) on April 13 and beyond, so hold your horses, restrain for spending too much, and adjust your calendar if necessary.

  5. Cipher says:

    @Darryl Clemente,

    April 2 for Singapore & Taiwan.

    However, I have good news, the official Philippine launch of HTC One series (One X, One S, and One V) is on April 10 !!! Expect the rollout and availability of the most amazing HTC lineup to begin right after the product launch (April 11-13 and up)

  6. hi, can you confirm if the htc one x is arriving today?

  7. cipher says:

    Will be updated as needed. Feel free to comment and suggestions are very much welcome here. Fanboyism will be tolerated but no flamin’ ok? =)

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