Nissan GT Academy PH continues search for first Filipino race driver

In Press Releases by Revu TeamLeave a Comment

Nissan Philippines, Inc. (NPI) revs up its search for the first-ever Filipino race car driver who’ll take it to a podium finish at Silverstone as the first Nissan GT Academy Philippines draws closer to its National Finals this July.

“Ever since we launched the program last March 25, we at Nissan are overwhelmed to see how the Filipino GT players rose to our call, and answered the challenge of making good time on the virtual track in their quest to become real race car driver,” Antonio Zara, NPI President and Managing Director, said. “This can be seen in the number of players who’ve signed up in all of our Live Events, with nearly 20,000 trials made in the 13 Live events we’ve held to date,” he added.

There has been 20 excellent players who have led the charge in the leaderboards. However, they are advised not to rest on their laurels, as NPI holds the succeeding Live Events scheduled in June which includes a provincial run as it expands its search for potential talents in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Antonio Zara also confirmed Marlon Stockinger, a young Filipino race car driver who has raced for Status Grand Prix, as the mentor and guest-judge of the Filipino finalists. “Following the footsteps of Marlon, we are very hopeful that a Filipino will emerge as the next international motorsports sensation,” Zara said.

The Nissan GT Academy Philippines will be holding the National Finals for the top 20 finalists from the Live Events in July. The top finalists are expected to hurdle a series of challenges that will tax their driving skills, mental and physical agility as well as tactical ability, in order to qualify for the Race Camp Week in Silverstone, UK this August.

The following is the schedule of the Live Events for June:

* SM BF Paranaque and Robinsons Bacolod – June 5-7
* Centrio Mall, CDO – June 5-6
* SM Cebu – June 11-17
* SM Masinag – June 12-14
* SM Sta. Rosa – June 18-24
* SM Manila– June 19-21
* Glorietta 2 Activity Center – June 26-28
* High Street, BGC – June 27

If you’re interested in racing, check out this guide for more information on how to adapt your car to race. For more details on the Nissan GT Academy, go to NPI’s Facebook page.

LG G4 is official in PH, price starts at P31,990

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Just a month after LG hosted multiple launch events to make its biggest tech announcement of the year, LG Philippines has taken the wraps off its flagship-phone contender for 2015. Say hello (again) to the LG G4. It’s a memorable device — and I mean that in the best way possible. Perhaps memorable enough to give its fiercest Korean rival (read: the Samsung Galaxy S6) a run for its money.

If you haven’t read our primer about the G4, here’s what to expect from LG’s most advanced smartphone to date: a choice between plastic and leather back covers that can be peeled off to reveal a user-replaceable 3,000mAh battery and microSD expansion; a slightly curved 5.5-inch IPS display with a super-high resolution of 1,440 x 2,560; the latest hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor; and a 16-megapixel, f/1.8 rear camera bolstered by laser autofocus and a color-spectrum sensor for improving color accuracy.

The LG G4 is now available for preorders and will ship starting June 3. The version with a plastic back sells for P31,990, while the genuine-leather variant is priced at P32,990.

LG G4 (taken by Alora Guerrero during the Singapore launch event)

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Specs of the LG G4 (Price in the Philippines: P31,990):
* LTE
* Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 CPU
* Adreno 418 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5.5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 16-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus, color-spectrum sensor, and f/1.8 aperture, LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh removable battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TvoQRnpzu4″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

LG G4 preview (raw video), taken during the phone’s launch in Singapore

The LG G4 is every bit as fast as the Samsung Galaxy S6, and it seems to take better photos in different lighting conditions, which is a huge compliment given the latter’s impressive optics.

MY TAKE: I’ve spent some hands-on time with the LG G4 today, and all I can say for now is that the Samsung Galaxy S6 finally has a worthy competitor at the top-end of the market. The G4 is every bit as fast as this year’s signature Samsung handset, and it seems to take better photos in different lighting conditions, which is a huge compliment given the Galaxy S6’s impressive optics.

Starmobile Knight Luxe: A looker of a phone for P7,690

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

It appears MyPhone isn’t the only local brand with a budget phone that features an emphasis on design. Starmobile has also shown an eye for beauty, as manifested in the Knight Luxe and its 6.85mm-thick, all-metal frame with chamfered edges reminiscent of Samsung’s series of Galaxy A phones.

Under the hood, you’re looking at an octa-core MediaTek processor paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage underneath a removable and textured back cover made of plastic. Other specs include 13- and 5-megapixel rear and selfie cameras, a 2,050mAh battery, and Android KitKat 4.4.

The Starmobile Knight Luxe comes in a choice of gold or gray colorways and is now available for P7,690.

Starmobile Knight Luxe

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Specs of the Starmobile Knight Luxe (Price: P7,690):
* Dual SIM
* 1.4GHz octa-core MT6592m processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5-inch AMOLED display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,050mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.4

The Starmobile Knight Luxe comes close to what the Lenovo A7000 and Alcatel Flash Plus can manage and it does so while looking nothing like a low-cost phone.

MY TAKE: Starmobile didn’t plan on just coming out with a decently specced handset for all pockets; the Knight Luxe attempts to draw in a budget-conscious crowd that doesn’t want to choose between form and function. And while it doesn’t provide the same smooth experience of using an Android Lollipop device, it does come close to what the Lenovo A7000 can manage and it does so while looking nothing like a low-cost phone.

An uninspired Android skin and the lack of LTE might make the Knight Luxe a tough sell, though, especially considering the high level of competition in the local mobile space.

SKK Mobile says ‘size matters,’ outs 5.5-inch Aura

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

SKK Mobile is out to prove that size matters with its latest entry-level handset. The SKK Mobile Aura is an Android KitKat phone with a big, 5.5-inch IPS display and an even bigger appetite for pleasing design purists, no thanks in large part to a polycarbonate body that could easily be mistaken for a metal construction.

The Aura’s resolution maxes out at 540 x 960 pixels, which is no surprise given its price point. The phone runs on a quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz and armed with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage that can be bolstered up to an additional 32GB via microSD expansion. You also get 5- and 2-megapixel rear and front cameras, a 2,800mAh battery, plus your basic litany of connectivity options, including 3G, WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth.

The SKK Mobile Aura comes with an incredibly low price tag of P2,999, making it one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, 5.5-inchers around. There’s no word on an exact release date just yet, but the device should arrive pretty soon.

Specs of the SKK Mobile Aura (Price: P2,999):
* 1.3GHz quad-core processor
* 512MB RAM
* 4GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5.5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,800mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.4

MY TAKE: Size does matter when it comes to handsets, especially if you treat your device as a portable movie player. But to me, what matters most is user experience — how quickly a smartphone can respond to touch and load apps, how smoothly it can navigate an operating system, and how well it can handle multiple apps in the background, among other things.

Size does matter when it comes to smartphones. But to me, what matters most is user experience.

Judging from the specs above, it’s probably safe to say that the SKK Mobile Aura won’t impress in the manner of affordable octa-core units like the Lenovo A7000 and Alcatel Flash Plus. Then again, how often do you come across a big-screen phone that’s cheaper than a pair of Nike signature shoes that run over P4,000?

Report: PH Internet speed is second-worst in Asia

In Business by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

U.S. broadband-diagnostics firm Ookla (aka speedtest.net) has ranked the Philippines 176 out of 202 countries worldwide and second-last among Asian nations in its latest household download index, which compares global download speeds over a period of 30 days (between April 18, 2015 and May 17, 2015). As if we needed further proof that we’re getting the short end of the stick, the Philippines’ connection speed is listed as 3.64Mbps — a far cry from the global average of 23.3Mbps. Only Afghanistan’s median download speed of 2.52Mbps fared worse than the Philippines in Asia.

To give you a better idea of how embarrassingly far behind the curve we are, here’s a brief look at how the top Asian countries stack up in Ookla’s rankings:

1. Singapore: 122.43 Mbps
2. Hong Kong: 102.96 Mbps
3. Japan: 82.12 Mbps
4. South Korea: 59.77 Mbps
5. Macau: 50.66 Mbps
6. Taiwan: 50.59 Mbps
7. Thailand: 19.82 Mbps
8. Mongolia: 17.92 Mbps
9. Vietnam: 17.70 Mbps
10. Bangladesh: 9.86 Mbps

We don’t need Ookla to tell us how lousy our broadband speeds are. Most of us only need to go to YouTube to realize that our home network can’t handle a standard-def clip without hiccups.

MY TAKE: We don’t need Ookla, or another company, or Bam Aquino, to tell us how lousy our broadband speeds are. Most of us only need to go to YouTube to realize that our home network can’t handle a standard-def clip without a few hiccups. This issue rests entirely on the shoulders of the government and the Internet-service providers it allows to operate freely — and without accountability, it seems — within the country.

If our political leaders are indeed serious about the telecommunications industry playing a key role in the Philippines’ economic future, the hammer needs to come down hard on broadband companies, and it needs to come down now.

MyPhone refreshes Infinity phone line for 2015

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Homegrown tech company MyPhone has refreshed its line of Infinity smartphones, dropping three new Android KitKat models with decent specs and affordable price tags. Leading the way is the MyPhone Infinity 2, a mid-ranger that bears premium design elements, such as a metal back that curves softly around the sides, to go with an octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. At the lower end of the spectrum are the MyPhone Infinity 2 Lite and Infinity LTE, which take aim at bargain hunters who want some of the features of the higher-end Infinity but don’t want to pay its full price.

The MyPhone Infinity 2 and Infinity LTE are slated to go on sale next week for P12,799 and P8,299. The Infinity 2 Lite starts at P7,399 and is already available in stores nationwide.

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From left to right: The MyPhone Infinity 2, Infinity 2 Lite, and Infinity LTE

Specs of the MyPhone Infinity 2 (Price: P12,799):
* Dual SIM
* LTE
* 1.5GHz octa-core 6752m processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
* 5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,450mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.4

Specs of the MyPhone Infinity 2 Lite (Price: P7,399 for 1GB RAM + 8GB ROM; P8,399 for 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM):
* Dual SIM
* 1.4GHz octa-core 6592m processor
* 1GB/2GB RAM
* 8GB/16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
* 5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,400mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.2

Specs of the MyPhone Infinity LTE (Price: P8,299):
* Dual SIM
* LTE
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
* 5.5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,820mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.4

Where the MyPhone Infinity series falls short, though, is where many low-cost smartphones like the ASUS Zenfone 2, Alcatel Flash Plus, and Lenovo A7000 are making their mark: substance.

MY TAKE: MyPhone’s Infinity series has always been about style, and I think the company has done enough in the beauty department to distinguish its offerings from the rest of the pack. Where it falls short, though, is where many low-cost smartphones like the ASUS Zenfone 2, Alcatel Flash Plus, and Lenovo A7000 are making their mark: substance.

Unfortunately for MyPhone, the local market has a history of going for substance over style, especially if it saves them a lot of money. Perhaps if MyPhone knocked a couple of thousand pesos off the prices of its latest smartphones, that might get people talking about them.

Faceoff: ASUS Zenfone 2, Alcatel Flash Plus, Lenovo A7000, Meizu M1 Note, Honor 4x

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Now that ASUS has at last revealed the local pricing for the Zenfone 2, it’s time to step back and take a deliberate look at the top phones in the value-for-money rankings. And what better way to do that than to lay out all the details around the Zenfone 2 and its competition in chart format. Here’s how the devices stack up against one another.

(A quick side note: The phones listed here have all been announced in the Philippines and are either already available in stores or on track for release this month.)

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MY TAKE: I’ve played with these devices for extended periods of time. And, as you may know, I’ve already reviewed the ASUS Zenfone 2 and Lenovo A7000. My thoughts on the Honor 4X will be posted in the coming days.

I’m leaning more towards the Lenovo A7000. It’s the second-cheapest of the bunch, doesn’t make compromises on internal hardware, and it already runs Android Lollipop.

But before I tell you which phone I think offers greater value for money, I must say: You can’t go wrong with any of these options. We’re now seeing a golden age in which manufacturers are producing better and cheaper smartphones that suit all pockets, and there’s no better time to upgrade from a feature phone to a smartphone than now.

But back to the matter at hand: It’s a toss up between the Meizu M1 Note and Lenovo A7000, but I’m leaning more towards the latter. It’s the second-cheapest of the bunch, doesn’t make compromises on internal hardware, and it already runs Android Lollipop out of the box.

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Review: Lenovo A7000

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

The mobile business is a ruthless one, known for leaving giants on their knees, desperate and willing to bend their principles to avoid the possibility of extinction. Just ask Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony, and HTC. And it has only grown more cutthroat with time. It’s no surprise, then, that more and more phone makers are thinking outside the box on how to market their products, often turning to e-commerce platforms to increase their profit margins and lower operating costs.

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Lenovo A7000 to go on sale on Lazada PH May 21

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Hands up if you’ve heard of the ASUS Zenfone 2, a strong candidate for smartphone of the year if value for money is of utmost importance? Yes, well, it’s about to face some serious challenge from a most likely source in the Far East.

Meet the Lenovo A7000, a low-cost challenger in the mold of the Zenfone sequel, with its large HD display and rather beefy specifications, which includes LTE and a rear-mounted speaker that makes use of Dolby Atmos audio settings. The latter is a world first, according to Lenovo. Not that those settings make much of a difference in sound quality, as we found in our testing.

The Lenovo A7000 will be exclusively available on online retailer Lazada Philippines’ Web and mobile platforms starting May 21 at 12 noon. It will retail for P7,390, making it one of the highest-specced smartphones in its price bracket. So, yeah, ASUS and the rest of the mobile industry should be worried.

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Specs of the Lenovo A7000 (Price in the Philippines: P7,390):
* Dual SIM
* LTE
* 1.5GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6752m processor
* 2GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card expansion (up to 32GB)
* 5.5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,900mAh removable battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

I find the Lenovo A7000 to be a delightful phone that ticks many of the same boxes as the ASUS Zenfone 2. It’ll likely cost less, too.

MY TAKE: I’m currently using the Lenovo A7000 as my daily Android driver, and I find it to be a delightful phone that ticks many of the same boxes as the ASUS Zenfone 2. It’ll likely cost less than the 5.5-inch variant of ASUS’ signature handset, too, which begs the question: Should you pick up the A7000 instead? Well, that really depends on what you’re looking for in a smartphone. But if a big screen, a buttery-fluid user experience, and speedy mobile data rank high on your priorities, Lenovo has you covered.