Microsoft Lumia 640 XL now official in PH

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Microsoft today launched its latest smartphone for the Philippine market — the Lumia 640 XL — a real handful of a device that toes the line between phone and tablet, flaunting a 5.7-inch, 720p IPS screen fronted by Gorilla Glass 3. It’s the company’s most recent attempt at bringing a deluxe smartphone experience to the mid-range market, something we’ve been hearing a lot from phone makers these days.

To do that, the Lumia 640 XL relies on a quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor running at 1.2GHz, coupled with 1GB of RAM and 13- and 5-megapixel main and secondary cameras. The operating system of choice is Windows 8.1 — though Microsoft is quick to point out that an upgrade to Windows 10 will be available later this year. The phone supports two SIM cards as well, which should come in handy for those with more than one mobile number.

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Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL lands in the Philippines next month for P11,990. Not as cheap as we’d like it to be, to be honest. An LTE version is set to arrive some time in June at a still-undisclosed price.

Specs of the Microsoft Lumia 640 XL (Price in the Philippines: P11,990):
* Dual SIM
* Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU
* Adreno 305 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.7-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh removable battery
* Windows 8.1 Denim

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: Pricing aside, I like the Lumia 640 XL. It earns additional brownie points for including the Glance screen functionality and double-tap to wake.

For all the time and resources Microsoft has spent trying to build a worthy alternative to iOS and Android, Windows still feels like a product in its infancy — years away from true contention.

But I have a contrasting opinion about the software that defines it: For all the time and resources Microsoft has spent trying to build a worthy alternative to iOS and Android, Windows for mobile devices still feels like a product in its infancy, in 2015 — years away from true contention.

Majority of the apps I rely on daily are still MIA on Microsoft’s platform. The settings menu remains a collective mess of sorts. Microsoft’s Office suite isn’t compelling enough to make me want to opt out of using Google services altogether.

But that may all change once Microsoft begins rolling out Windows 10. The concept of “One Microsoft” — a universal software and app store for all Windows-based machines — sounds like the stuff of dreams. Here’s hoping Windows reveals its true potential sooner rather than later.

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Be Productive While Working on the Road

In News by Alora Uy Guerrero

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Globe offers free WhatsApp access to subscribers

In Business by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

(UPDATE: According to Globe Telecom, the duration of its WhatsApp promo, which doesn’t require a maintaining balance to use, is yet to be determined.)

Globe subscribers, take note: Starting April 30, those who are on its myLifestyle postpaid plans, as well as prepaid-SIM owners who subscribe to any text, call, or data package, are now entitled to free access to WhatsApp without taking a hit on their data allowance and incurring additional charges. GoSakto, GoUnli25, GoUnli20, and GoSurf are just a few examples of packages included in the promo.

For eligible Globe subscribers, that means free messages and voice calls between WhatsApp users over the Internet (WiFi and mobile data connections), in addition to being able to send photos and videos from within the application. Conspicuously missing from WhatsApp’s repertoire is video calling, though rumors suggest it may arrive next month.

Acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014, the cross-platform (iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows, Symbian, PC/Mac) messaging app is growing at a tremendous pace and now has more than 800 million active users worldwide, more than enough to make it the undisputed champ among online messengers. By contrast, Viber and Line have around 209 and 170 million active users, respectively.

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: Good guy Globe. Always looking out for its subscribers. Expect a similar offer from Smart Communications in 3… 2…

P4,999 Cherry Mobile S3 Octa now available, but…

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

(UPDATE: We just received a text from Cherry Mobile indicating the correct price of the Flare S3 Octa. It should retail for P4,499, as originally intended. The company has since taken down its erroneous Facebook post.)

Cherry Mobile today announced on its Facebook page that its latest octa-core device, the imaginatively named Flare S3 Octa, is already available nationwide for P4,999 P4,499. What the local tech company failed to communicate to us is that the 5-inch Android KitKat phone has already been listed on Lazada Philippines for P500 less than its suggested retail price — with free shipping to boot.

As for the hardware itself, the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa attempts to up the ante in the bargain-basement segment, sporting a gold trim and a fake-leather back cover, with stitching around the edges (think Samsung Galaxy Note 3).

That’s likely a good thing for potential Cherry Mobile owners, as this model looks decidedly better than what we’ve come to expect from local brands. Inside, you’ll find a MediaTek MT6592m processor clocked at 1.4GHz and paired with Mali-450 graphics and 1GB of RAM.

Specs of the Cherry Mobile Flare S3 Octa (Price in the Philippines: P4,999 P4,499):
* Dual SIM
* 1.4GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592m processor
* Mali-450 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 1,800mAh removable battery
* Android KitKat

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: A case of miscommunication, perhaps? While online retailers typically sell their goods at lower prices, in large part because they don’t incur costs from operating physical stores (there’s a lot to consider when running a retail outlet besides wages, believe me), I don’t think Cherry Mobile is deliberately trying to mislead or deceive anyone. Certainly not its offline customers. Certainly not while majority of its distribution network is comprised of offline resellers that have yet to get their feet wet on the e-commerce market.

If you’ve decided on this particular Cherry Mobile, getting it from Lazada Philippines nets you a decent discount plus free shipping and one year of warranty coverage.

However, online shopping does have its perks, and scoring goods at cheaper-than-retail prices is one of them. My advice: If you’ve decided on this particular Cherry Mobile, getting it from Lazada Philippines nets you a decent discount plus free shipping and one year of warranty coverage — a rarity among Lazada-sold consumer electronics, unfortunately.

Firefly Mobile has a Zenfone 2 challenger for less

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

There’s a new low-cost, high-performance smartphone in town. Not that the Philippines is short of compelling choices in the sub-P10,000 price point. Meet the Firefly Mobile Intense 64 LTE (Ulefone Be Pro in other regions), a 5.5-inch Android KitKat phone built around MediaTek’s new MT6732 processor that supports 64-bit applications and 4G LTE connections, if your carrier allows it. A self-explanatory name if we ever saw one. (We get it, Firefly Mobile.)

The quad-core device is priced at P7,999, squaring it against the ASUS Zenfone 2 and Meizu M1 Note, though the two should easily come out on top in terms of raw power and synthetic benchmarks as a result of having a more capable CPU. However, what the Intense 64 LTE lacks in performance, it makes up for with a ton of freebies: one smart cover, two back covers, two screen protectors, plus a feature phone valued at P449.

According to Firefly Mobile’s Facebook page, the Intense 64 LTE is now available in stores nationwide.

Specs of the Firefly Mobile Intense 64 LTE (Price in the Philippines: P7,999):
* LTE
* Dual SIM
* 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6732 processor
* Mali-T760 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5.5-inch IPS display with Asahi Dragontrail glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 2,800mAh removable battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.4 (upgradable to Lollipop)

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: There’s never been a better time to upgrade (or downgrade) to a mid-ranger than now. The current mobile landscape is dotted with devices that offer high-end specs but cost less than half of their deluxe counterparts. And the positive buzz is no longer confined to the ASUS Zenfone 2 — and its gazillion variants.

There’s never been a better time to upgrade (or downgrade) to a mid-ranger than now.

Which is why I don’t expect ASUS to pull the rug out from under its rivals this year. The new Zenfone, capitalizing on the success of the original, will be a top-of-mind choice for many, sure, but it’s poised to face stiff competition from Cherry Mobile, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Meizu, and heavy underdogs like Firefly Mobile.

Regardless of what happens in the coming months, one thing’s for certain: Consumers win as manufacturers continue to duke it out, churning out even better phones at better prices.

Xiaomi Mi 4i now official, will retail for P9,000

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via Android Authority

Xiaomi just unveiled the Mi 4i — a discount Mi 4, if you will — in New Delhi, India, where the Chinese tech juggernaut has recently made its products available to leading electronics retailers in an effort to reach more consumers and drive sales. And what better way to announce to the rest of the world that it has embraced the traditional (read: offline) retail model than to launch a new phone to coincide with its backpedaling.

A cheaper and watered-down version of the Mi 4, the Mi 4i will retail for 12,999 INR or about P9,000 when it goes on sale, making it the middle child of Xiaomi’s growing family of handsets. Yes, you read correctly. The company now has a mid-ranger, which is quite unexpected given its track record of taking aim at both extremes of the market. The Redmi Note, for all its appeal, is a fringe interest for consumers at large, after all.

So how did Xiaomi bring the Mi 4i’s price down to a reasonable sum?

Compromises on both its hardware and specifications. The Mi 4i doesn’t bear the premium elements that made the Mi 4 far easier on the eyes than many of its pricier rivals. Instead of metal and glass, you get a generous serving of plastic on the front, back, and sides. The processor has been downgraded from a mighty Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 silicon to a Snapdragon 615 CPU paired with an Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM.

However, the phone should still pack a solid punch if it performs anywhere near the level of the Oppo R5, to which it shares many things under the hood.

The rest of the specs are pretty much in line with other devices in the category: 5-inch, 1080p IPS display; 13- and 5-megapixel rear and front cameras; 3,120mAh battery; and Android Lollipop 5.0. The device also accepts two SIM cards, with both slots capable of connecting to 4G LTE networks. Its limited storage capacity, which is only made worse by the lack of microSD expansion, is perhaps the biggest sticking point here.

Arriving first in India later this month, the Xiaomi Mi 4i will ship to select countries, including the Philippines.

Specs of the Xiaomi Mi 4i (Price in India: 12,999 INR or about P9,000):
* LTE
* Dual SIM
* Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5-inch IPS display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,120mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: While it’s great to see Xiaomi throwing its hat in the ring to compete with the likes of Samsung, LG, and HTC, I’m skeptical about the chances of the Mi 4i ever seeing the light of day in the Philippines sometime over the next few months. Xiaomi doesn’t even sell the Mi 4 locally — and it’s been almost a year since the outgoing flagship hit stores in its native China.

I’m skeptical about the chances of the Mi 4i ever seeing the light of day in the Philippines sometime over the next few months. Xiaomi doesn’t even sell the Mi 4 locally.

Quite simply, I don’t think the Philippines is a priority for the Chinese start-up, at least not anymore after the embarrassingly slow sales of the Mi 3 in the country. Let’s face it: Filipinos in general aren’t ready to buy stuff online yet. We’re getting there, but a lot of us are still reluctant to give up the retail-store experience and jump aboard e-commerce platforms even if the opportunity presents itself all too often.

Perhaps there’s hope yet, as Xiaomi proved by pursuing all kinds of retail opportunities in India. But it doesn’t follow that it will be as receptive to offline selling here. Adding a middle man (in this case, other cogs in the retail distribution channel) eats up profit margins that would otherwise go to the company. Which is exactly what Xiaomi wants to avoid, hence its “online only” strategy.

I hope Xiaomi proves me wrong.

VIDEOS YOU MAY WANT TO WATCH

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKLFdW6WwS4″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Xiaomi Mi 4i intro

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_HMqWQsTkA” width=”560″ height=”315″]

How tough is the Xiaomi Mi 4i?

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTEUdhaJvVI” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Xiaomi Mi 4i’s Sunlight Display feature

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPkvdhDOcgw” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Anti-grease coating on the Xiaomi Mi 4i

What ASUS PH told us about the Zenfone 2

In Phones by Revu TeamLeave a Comment

So earlier today, the ASUS Zenfone 2, which got a positive review from us, became official for the Southeast Asian market following a media event here in Jakarta, Indonesia.

And because we already got our hands on a unit prior to its unveiling, we spent most of the afternoon striking up conversations with company executives and Philippine-based retailers rather than taking photos and videos on the show floor. We’re glad we did, because we were able to dig up a few juicy tidbits about the Zenfone 2’s local pricing and release date after our little chat with ASUS Philippines country manager George Su.

For starters, the ASUS bigwig confirmed to us that the Zenfone 2 will have its own coming-out party in the Philippines on the week of May 15, where the price of the Android Lollipop smartphone will be revealed, as with last year’s Zenfones.

Also, four models have been confirmed for the Philippine market, which includes the top-shelf ZE551ML variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. And if you’re hoping to score a unit from official sources before the second week of May, don’t get your hopes up too high; ASUS Philippines wants the release of the Zenfone 2 to coincide with its launch event.

Oh, and the Zenfone 2 will definitely cost less in our country than in Indonesia (IDR 2,999,000 or roughly P10,250 for the ZE551ML with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage and IDR 3,999,000 or about P13,700 for the ZE551ML with 4GB RAM and 32GB storage), according to George Su.

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: Here’s the TL;DR version for those of you who find the (very) short article a chore to read: The local release of the Zenfone 2 is imminent, contrary to rumors that have been circulating lately. Otherwise, why would ASUS Philippines set a tentative date for revealing everything there is to know about the highly anticipated phone? And when it finally arrives on our shores, expect the Zenfone 2 to be cheaper locally than in other regions.

ALORA UY GUERRERO’S TAKE: …so wait for it.

Sony Xperia Z4 announced. So what’s new?

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via The Verge

Sony revealed its new flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z4, in its native Japan amid reports that the company is strongly considering abandoning its mobile and TV businesses to concentrate on other products that are making it money. Apparently, the Japanese outfit wants to streamline its portfolio and come out with more PlayStation-centric goods and services rather than continue making phones, tablets, and other screens that consume media and social content.

But we digress. Back to the Sony Xperia Z4: It looks identical to its predecessor, runs the same version of Android that’s now available to download on the Xperia Z3, and houses a lot of the same specs found in the Xperia Z incumbent, though it should be faster in every metric, thanks to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor. But you’re essentially looking at more of the same in this Sony sequel.

The biggest changes, if you may, are where they usually are: design. The updated Sony flagship retains the same high level of waterproofing as its predecessor (IP68), though benefits from the flap-less design of just about every other smartphone on the market. The corners of the Xperia Z4 are also made of plastic instead of metal for better shock resistance.

Sony didn’t announce the price of the Xperia Z4 or whether it will see an international release, but the phone is set to be released in Japan (surprised?) sometime this summer.

Specs of the Sony Xperia Z4:
* LTE
* IP68 waterproofing
* Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
* Adreno 430 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB/64GB internal storage
* microSD expansion slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.2-inch IPS display with scratch-resistant glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 20-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,930mAh non-removable battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: To say Sony has seen better days is a serious understatement. But right when it needed an upscale “WE’RE BACK, @#!$&!!!” phone, the company started the year with its least compelling effort yet. The Japanese couldn’t have done worse at the worst possible time.

Competition in the high-end segment is fiercer than ever, and Sony knows that full well. Well enough to at least make the company consider pivoting to another direction.

Samsung, in full revenge mode, came out with a frontrunner for Smartphone of the Year in the Galaxy S6. I have very little doubt Apple will do the same with its next iPhone. Then there are the Chinese phone makers and their affordable, high-performance releases that continue to disrupt the global market.

The Xperia Z4 should have included everything plus the kitchen sink to stand out and be noticed. Because at this point, it doesn’t even look like Sony is trying anymore.

It’s not entirely about the hardware, though the Xperia Z4 should have included everything plus the kitchen sink to stand out and be noticed. Because at this point, it doesn’t even look like Sony is trying anymore.

Camera shootout: Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6

In Phones by Revu Team2 Comments

One of our biggest regrets about our first encounter with the Samsung Galaxy S6 back in March is that we weren’t able to take a lot of pictures using the smartphone. But we remember seeing a solid imaging foundation that’s impressive enough to make us whip out our iPhone 6 for some preliminary camera tests. Now that we have the S6 in our hands, we finally have a camera comparison between the two devices.

This one’s a smartphone shootout, people. Check out our video and read on to find out which flagship comes out on top. (RL)

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH70ERrkuTA” width=”560″ height=”315″]

ALORA UY GUERRERO’S TAKE: I never thought I’d say this: An Android has finally edged out the iPhone in the “Best Camera Phone” race — and by Apple’s fiercest competition at that. The difference in quality may not be as huge as some reviewers make it out to be; the iPhone still rocks indoor shots, after all. However, an overall win is an overall win is an overall win.

The Samsung Galaxy S6’s camera is now THE gold standard against which other handsets’ shooters will be judged. It is what Sony handsets’ cam, among all, should aspire to be; the Japanese company, for all its might in the imaging category, has failed to bring the awesomeness of its Cyber-shots and Alphas to its Xperias. It is what the Xiaomis, the HTCs, the Lenovos of the world should study closely.

The Samsung Galaxy S6’s camera is now THE gold standard against which other handsets’ shooters will be judged.

For a phone manufacturer that fell from grace last year, the Korean company sure is climbing to the top fast. Welcome back, Samsung.

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: The sample photos and videos speak for themselves. I think it’s fair to say that the Galaxy S6 beats the iPhone 6 on the imaging front, though Apple’s smartphone isn’t too far behind. And keep in mind: The American tech giant will release a new model later this year to replace its incumbent flagship, so Samsung’s victory, as sweet and surprising as it is, may be short-lived.

Regardless, I can’t say I’m not impressed with what Samsung has done with the new Galaxy S handset. You’re looking at one of the best camera phones in the business and the very best Android has to offer, bar none. Oh, and it takes really nice selfies as well.

People talk endlessly about how gorgeous and fast the Galaxy S6 is. Both observations are true, in case you’re wondering, but the biggest story here, or at least the one that needs to be told more often, revolves around the phone’s much-improved optics.

People talk endlessly about how gorgeous and fast the Samsung Galaxy S6 is. But the biggest story here revolves around the phone’s much-improved optics.

And while not enough has been said about picture quality so far, which is surprising considering how few Android devices are capable of taking great photos, when we look back at the Galaxy S6 next year, I think a lot of people will fondly remember a top-shelf effort that gave the iPhone a run for its money for best camera phone of 2015.

Specs of the Samsung Galaxy S6 (prices in the Philippines: P35,990 — 32GB) and S6 Edge (price in the Philippines: P41,990 — 32GB, P47,990 — 64GB):

[frame src=”https://www.revu.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Samsung-Galaxy-S6-and-S6-Edge-specs.png” target=”_self” width=”620″ height=”412″ alt=”Premium WordPress Themes” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]

SAMSUNG GALAXY S6 EDGE VIDEO

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggL_yLCC2a0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

16,000mAh Xiaomi Power Bank goes on sale April 24

In Phones, Tablets by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Via AskMeBazaar

Xiaomi has been busy lately. Fresh off announcing two new devices for the Philippine market, the Chinese manufacturer is bringing its 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank to Lazada Philippines to be sold on the online retailer’s website at noon on April 24. And the price? Just P1,299, which is double the cost of the 10,400mAh Mi Power Bank, though it makes sense, as the convenience of carrying one battery pack instead of two is obviously going to come at a price. It will be available in one color only: silver with a brushed look.

Neither Xiaomi nor Lazada Philippines has revealed the exact time the high-capacity Mi Power Bank would go on sale, but it’s safe to assume you’d need to be on top of your online-shopping game at 11-ish, or risk missing out on one of the best-value tech products around.

RAMON LOPEZ’S TAKE: I don’t own a 16,000mAh Mi Power Bank, but I do have Xiaomi’s 10,400mAh portable battery, which is more than enough for my needs.

16,000mAh should be plenty for all your mobile devices and should be enough to keep your phone or tablet going several days without the luxury of a wall socket.

Regardless, I think the 16,000mAh unit is an excellent purchase considering how (relatively) cheap it is. Not to mention, you won’t find many products quite like it — 16,000mAh should be plenty for all your mobile devices and should be enough to keep your phone or tablet going several days without the luxury of a wall socket. It goes without saying that I highly recommend this particular power bank, especially if you’ve never purchased one before.