realme 11 Pro 5G review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

Best of 2023: Products and services we tried and loved in 2023

In Accessories, Business, Games, Apps, and OS, Phones, Wearables by Revu TeamLeave a Comment

Behold our annual collection of exceptional devices and services that genuinely made our jobs a lot more exciting and worthwhile!

From the OPPO Find N3 Flip to Netflix Games and Xbox Game Pass to the Huawei FreeClip, here are our top tech products of 2023.

Huawei FreeClip

True wireless earphones are probably the most underrated personal device we own, and we rarely go out without them. But as much as we love using wireless earphones to listen to music or podcasts, one common pain point we have is comfort. We just haven’t found a comfortable pair of earphones for everyday use until Huawei introduced us to the recently announced FreeClip.

They’re easily the most comfortable and easy-to-use earbuds we’ve tested, in large part thanks to their fashionable ear-clip design. Unlike traditional wireless earphones, which hang from your ear and feature a closed-earbud design to naturally minimize sound spillage and outside noise, these buds clip to your ears firmly and actually stay there even during exercise. Unfortunately, the Huawei FreeClip isn’t officially available in the Philippines yet, but the good news is that you won’t have to wait long to find out how much it costs at retail. Hopefully, Huawei can sell them for slightly under P10,000 ($180). We’ll see. (Update: Here’s our full review!)

Xiaomi HyperOS

Xiaomi‘s new Android-based operating system arrived on our Xiaomi 13T Pro unit on New Year’s Eve, much earlier than expected. If you’ll recall, it was earlier announced that the first batch of Xiaomi, Redmi, and POCO devices will receive the software update sometime in the first quarter of 2024. But surprise, surprise, our 13T Pro is rocking the public release of HyperOS now — way ahead of schedule.

From what we’ve seen so far, HyperOS introduces a number of standout visual changes, though none more exciting than the improvements made to the lockscreen. Taking inspiration from the latest iteration of iOS, the new lockscreen looks gorgeous and adds editing options for the widgets and other elements of the screen, including but not limited to the clocks, font styles, and wallpaper effects. HyperOS also brings a revamped interface to the Camera app and Control Center, in addition to smoother animations and better-looking icons for first-party apps.

Xiaomi 13 series

Xiaomi brought its big guns to Barcelona, Spain, at the annual Mobile World Congress trade show and unveiled the Xiaomi 13 and Xiaomi 13 Pro early in 2023. Having reviewed both models, we feel that the two deserve a spot on our list considering what they are — very well-rounded top-end offerings that are easy to recommend. Both are compelling alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy S23, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, and other Android flagships in the same price segment.

However, take note that with the global launch of the Xiaomi 14 series just around the corner, you may want to wait a couple of months for the next-gen update. We’ve heard a lot of good things about them.

Xbox Game Pass

The best deal in gaming continued to prove its worth in 2023, and we’re not saying this because Microsoft‘s “Netflix for games” subscription service offered significantly higher value last year than in 2022. As reported by TrueAchievements this week, Xbox Game Pass subscribers were treated to roughly $9,000 — that’s a whopping P498,582 in local currency, by the way — worth of games in 2023, a banner year which included highly anticipated launch-day titles like Starfield, Forza Motorsport, Hi-Fi Rush, Redfall, and Atomic Heart.

Other recent releases like Remnant 2, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, and Dead Space, which were priced between $60 (P3,324) and $70 (P3,878) at launch, also made their way to Xbox Game Pass, on top of all the big-name and indie games added to the service throughout the previous year. Compare the cumulative cost of all the new games added to the Game Pass library at full price to a Game Pass Ultimate subscription which costs $16.99 (P941) monthly and includes cloud gaming in supported regions, and it’s clearly a steal!

Netflix Games

Speaking of subscriptions that surged in value last year, Netflix Games added a plethora of high-quality mobile games last year, including the remastered editions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that are now available to download if you have an active Netflix subscription. Note that each game in GTA: The Trilogy costs $11.99 (P664) individually on Apple’s App Store.

Late last year, Football Manager 2024 Mobile also launched on Netflix Games, adding to a collection that includes other must-play titles like Dead Cells: Netflix Edition, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenger, Immortality, Twelve Minutes, Samurai Shodown, Oxenfree, and Spiritfarer. Netflix Games’ strong showing in 2023 will look to carry over into this year with the highly anticipated release of rogue-like dungeon crawler Hades on iOS devices. If you’re not familiar, Hades won IGN‘s Game of the Year award in 2020.

TECNO SPARK 20 Pro

Another late addition just like HyperOS, TECNO Mobile impressed us with the SPARK 20 Pro, its latest mainstream phone that boasts some high-end features minus the high-end price tag. What impressed us most — well, other than the iPhone-inspired design and smooth punch-hole display — is the 108-megapixel main camera capable of good low-light shots and 3x lossless-quality zoom. You also get a sharp 32-megapixel front camera with dual-tone flash, allowing users to capture brighter and more natural-looking selfies in bars, restaurants, and other places with dim lighting.

All that for an introductory price of P7,499 (around $135 converted) in the Philippines — a sweet deal if we ever saw one.

OPPO Find N3 Flip

The Find N3 Flip is only OPPO‘s second clamshell foldable, but it’s as though the brand has been making flip phones for years now. Not only does the device set a gold standard for cover-screen functionality, what with the 3.26-inch vertical outer display getting more useful than ever, the upgraded hinge has been certified to withstand a million folds, breaking previous records set by other foldable smartphones.

The P64,999 ($1,173) OPPO Find N3 Flip likewise made another mark in the industry by debuting the first triple-camera system on a flip. Even better, all three of them can take high-quality images with a natural look and the right amount of sharpening in the default mode. There’s no periscope lens here, but the 5x hybrid zoom shots captured on the telephoto shooter are surprisingly impressive as well.

realme 11 Pro Plus 5G

In our review of the P24,999 ($440) realme 11 Pro Plus 5G, we called it a “generation-defining glow-up” for the top-end offering in the company’s mainstream smartphone series. The realme unit’s unique faux-leather rear design alone is worth a deep dive, and its haptics and battery life are both excellent as well.

However, if you ask us, we think the phone’s best feature is its 200-megapixel main camera, which we spent a considerable time with on a couple of media tours last year. More specifically, we think the realme 11 Pro Plus 5G stands in stark contrast to the competition as a terrific midrange option for daytime shots and street photography, where it does its best work.

If you want something more affordable, you can also give the realme 11 Pro 5G a spin. It boasts the same camera modes, faux-leather back, and curved OLED screen of its more expensive sibling for under P20,000 ($352).

Infinix ZERO 30 5G

Proving that you don’t have to spend a small fortune for a great smartphone experience, the Infinix ZERO 30 5G’s combination of solid performance, premium aesthetics, and front and rear cameras optimized for low-light shooting and content creation have impressed us enough for a spot on this list.

It’s not just the hardware, either. Infinix Mobile gets a lot right about the software experience on the ZERO 30 5G — from the native camera app with plenty of settings and shooting options in Video mode, including Short Story and Film, which can be used when shooting with the front and rear cameras to give you greater flexibility, to the extra gaming features. In the Philippines, the Infinix ZERO 30 5G costs P14,999 ($264) for the 12GB/256GB variant and comes in three colors, namely Golden Hour, Rome Green, and Fantasy Purple.

HONOR X9a 5G

HONOR Philippines kicked off 2023 with the perfect product to set the tone for a smashing year. The proof is in the pudding; the HONOR X9a 5G remains the company’s bestselling smartphone to date.

Not that we’re surprised. After all, the device is as tough as nails, with its curved tempered glass’ ability to take a hit or two — and even more, as we showed in our smash and drop tests, where we dropped the phone on pavement and ran it over using a scooter — and still survive without any screen damage.

What’s more, the HONOR X9a 5G has great battery life, lots of memory and storage, features like 5G connectivity and a 120Hz screen refresh rate, and a competitive price of P16,990 ($307) at launch.

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Alora Uy Guerrero and Ramon 'Monch' Lopez have a combined 32 years of experience in the publishing industry, having worked at Yahoo, T3 / Techie, TV5, Mega, GadgetMatch, and Gadgets. This website is their passion project.