Yelp Philippines goes live w/thousands of reviews

In Business, Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

That’s right! Yelp, the de facto online business directory for many — the yellow pages of the Internet, if you will — is now live in the Philippines, which means you can now mosey over to Yelp Philippines and read thousands of crowd-sourced reviews to find your next favorite restaurant or watering hole. Business owners, on the other hand, can look forward to a new way of promoting their establishments by tapping into a local community of Yelpers (read: Yelp users). Yelp can also provide them a means of gauging consumer interest online.

Yelp, the yellow pages of the Internet, if you will, is now live in the Philippines.

Since being founded in 2004, Yelp has grown exponentially, expanding its reach across Europe and Asia. Currently, there are Yelp communities in 32 international markets, including Singapore, Japan, and Hong Kong, among many others. Throughout the first quarter of 2015, the company’s site traffic from mobile devices fetched an average of 79 million unique visitors per month.

Yelp in the Philippines is available via desktop, mobile, and app (Android and iOS) in both English and Filipino.

Hands-on: OPPO Joy 3

In Phones by Ramon Lopez9 Comments

Amid the recent renaissance of value-for-money smartphones in the Philippines, OPPO has refreshed its entry-level Joy series to compete with local and foreign players in the industry. Say hello to the OPPO Joy 3, which is more like a spiritual successor to the Joy Plus, seeing how close the release dates of both phones are.

In case you don’t feel like doing a Google search, the Joy Plus debuted in the Philippines just last April, which leads me to believe that it will continue to occupy the bottom rung of OPPO’s smartphone hierarchy until the end of the year.

OPPO’s new Joy 3 sits somewhere above the Joy Plus, retailing for P6,490 locally. But beyond that, where does it stand in the ranks of affordable devices that have recently hit the market? More importantly, is it any good? Those questions, and more, are hopefully answered in this hands-on article.

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OPPO Joy 3 specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,490): 
* Dual SIM (dual micro SIM, dual standby)
* 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 chipset
* 1GB RAM
* 4GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 4.5-inch IPS display (480 x 854 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,000mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.2

The OPPO Joy 3 is wrapped in glossy plastic that feels as sturdy and well-built as any budget offering out there.

The white variant of the OPPO Joy 3 is wrapped in glossy plastic (I’m told the gray model has a matte finish) that feels as sturdy and well-built as any budget offering I’ve come across, and its rounded corners keep the exterior looking up-to-date. The thick, brushed-metal band that runs along the edge of the phone adds to its charm in no small measure.

The button placement and gently curved back cover allow for easier operation with either hand. Speaking of which, I found the Joy 3’s size and weight to be perfect for one-handed use and gesture typing. The phone does come with the intuitive Swype keyboard, after all, which lets you glide your finger across the screen from one letter to the next to form a word.

Oppo Joy 3

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The OPPO Joy 3 comes with a 4.5-inch IPS display capable of producing accurate colors and wide viewing angles. It falls short of HD-quality visuals, though, and instead supports a resolution of 480 x 854, which works out to a pixel density of 218 dots per inch. As a result, individual pixels are easy to spot and text may look a bit fuzzy. Clarity-wise, it’s way behind the likes of the Cherry Mobile Flare X and Lenovo A7000, but the overall picture quality is still great for a sub-P7,000 device.

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The Joy 3 also supports screen-off and screen-on gestures, and based on my experience, the gesture shortcuts built into the device work as advertised.

The Joy 3 also supports screen-off and screen-on gestures, which allow you to wake the phone by double-tapping the screen or go directly to the camera app by drawing a circle, among other things. It’s a neat, if familiar, trick that gives you a more convenient way of launching your favorite apps. It reads well on paper, and based on my experience with the Joy 3, the gesture shortcuts built into the device work as advertised.

If there’s one thing I’d change as far as the hardware is concerned, it’s the Joy 3’s now-outdated application of the navigation bar, which sees a capacitive menu button on the left side of its chin. I’d much rather have a bottom row of navigation keys that has a multi-task shortcut, especially since many of today’s popular apps already have a menu button baked into their user interface.

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The Joy 3’s 5- and 2-megapixel rear and front cameras are among its highlights, despite both shooters relying on fixed-focus lens and missing a proper flash module. Notice that the operative word here is “proper”; the phone’s rear-mounted flash is limited to one setting (Fill Light) and isn’t all that helpful in low-light situations.

In good lighting, the 5-megapixel camera produces good levels of detail and lifelike colors. There’s also virtually no shutter lag between shots.

In good lighting, the 5-megapixel sensor produces good levels of detail and lifelike colors that pop when the occasion calls for it. There’s also virtually no shutter lag between shots, allowing you to snap photo after photo without delay. The 2-megapixel camera on the front takes decent selfies and is good for the occasional video call.

Running the ColorOS operating system, the Joy 3 is privy to OPPO’s own camera app, which includes a variety of filter effects and cool shooting modes. OPPO might have been content with a below-average shooter, but the Joy 3 is a strong contender in the budget space.

Below are sample photos taken with the OPPO Joy 3’s 5-megapixel camera.

Oppo Joy 3 sample photo

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Under the hood, the Joy 3 sports a 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582 processor from MediaTek with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of expandable storage. Given its modest specs, the user-replaceable 2,000mAh battery should provide enough juice to see you through a full day of moderate usage. In terms of connectivity options, the Joy 3 has all the features you’d find in a budget handset: 3G, WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth 4.0. Sadly, it lacks support for 4G LTE networks. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, the cheaper Xiaomi Redmi 2 may better suit your needs.

Despite Android Lollipop being a no-show in the Joy 3, the unit I played with is capable of holding its own against some of the best bargain phones around.

The Joy 3 runs OPPO’s proprietary ColorOS 2.0 operating system layered on top of Android KitKat 4.4.2, which is beginning to show its age. But despite Android Lollipop being a no-show in the latest iteration of the Joy series, the unit I played with is capable of holding its own against some of the best bargain phones around. It loads websites at the same brisk pace octa-core phones like the Cherry Mobile Flare X and Lenovo A7000 do, and there’s not much noticeable lag when scrolling up and down web pages and switching between apps.

It’s true that specifications alone don’t necessarily make a good user experience, so much of the credit must go to OPPO’s engineers for squeezing every drop of performance out of MediaTek’s quad-core chip.

Overall, I think the OPPO Joy 3 is a solid starter phone that punches above its weight where it matters most: user experience. It won’t be turning any heads with its raw power or affordability — and that’s okay. Truth be told, it doesn’t have to.

OPPO Joy 3 arrives in PH, priced at P6,490

In Phones by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

OPPO Philippines today unveiled the next iteration of the entry-level Joy series, the OPPO Joy 3. As you may have gathered, it’s a step above the recently released OPPO Joy Plus in a number of key areas, sporting a 4.5-inch IPS screen and a quad-core processor clocked at 1.3GHz under the hood, along with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of expandable memory. By contrast, the Joy Plus packs a 4-inch display and dual-core innards.

With the release of another budget challenger from OPPO, it could be argued that the company is taking aim at the bottom end of the spectrum.

The Joy 3 retails for P6,490 locally and is already available in stores. With the release of another budget challenger from OPPO, it could be argued that the Chinese phone maker is now taking aim at the bottom end of the smartphone spectrum. It’s not a bad strategy given the local market’s clear preference for low-cost devices. Check out my hands-on impressions of the OPPO Joy 3 for a deeper look.

OPPO Joy 3 specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,490):
* Dual SIM (dual micro SIM, dual standby)
* 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 chipset
* 1GB RAM
* 4GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 4.5-inch IPS display (480 x 854 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,000mAh battery
* Android KitKat 4.4.2

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How Many Words are your Pictures Worth?

In News by Alora Uy Guerrero

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OnePlus 2 to use improved version of Snapdragon 810

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Earlier today, smartphone startup OnePlus revealed new details about its upcoming — and eagerly awaited — flagship phone, the OnePlus 2. According to the company, the successor to the brilliant OnePlus One will be powered by an improved version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset, which is said to run cooler than its predecessor.

The OnePlus 2 will be powered by an improved version of the Snapdragon 810 CPU, which is said to run cooler than its predecessor.

In case you haven’t heard, the first iteration of Qualcomm’s most powerful processor to date has faced a flurry of negative publicity since its launch after users complained about its poor thermal performance.

A previous report from Bloomberg suggested that Samsung dropped the Snapdragon 810 chipset from the Galaxy S6’s spec sheet due to overheating — a problem OnePlus says it has solved after working closely with Qualcomm engineers. To which I say: I’ll believe it when I see it.

All other details about the OnePlus 2 remain up in the air at this point, but the company promised to reveal more in the future. For now, we can only assume that the phone will feature some of the best components on the market, seeing that it already has one of the fastest processors available in tow.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDxGHijw0WM” width=”560″ height=”315″]

OnePlus One unboxing video from OnePlus’ YouTube channel

Starmobile Knight Luxe, Up HD are brand’s top sellers

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

It’s not often that we get a peek at how major players are faring in the local tech scene, so it’s always a welcome sight to see a company like Starmobile drop some information about its current best sellers.

According to the company, the Starmobile Knight Luxe and Up HD — both of which are fairly new releases, mind you — have become its most popular devices in 2015. In fact, Starmobile product development head Michael Chen says that both Android phones comprise more than a third of Starmobile’s smartphone sales from May to June of this year, even claiming that there’s now “unprecedented demand” for the Knight Luxe and Up HD.

What’s surprising about all this isn’t that consumers are opting to buy newer models — people prefer the latest specs, of course — but rather Starmobile bucking the industry trend of getting retail sales volume from entry-level smartphones.

Recent GfK data suggests that local brands make the bulk of their sales from selling sub-P3,000 devices — devices that typically offer subpar specs and subpar performance. The Starmobile Knight Luxe and Up HD retail for P7,690 and P4,990, respectively.

The success of both devices may not necessarily reflect how good they are, but it does seem to indicate that people are willing to spend more on phones.

The success of both devices may not necessarily reflect how good they are, but it does seem to indicate that people are now willing to spend more on smartphones. It would be interesting to know if other homegrown brands are seeing the same shift in consumer taste.

Starmobile Knight Luxe

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[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jkJCAx58eY” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Starmobile Knight Luxe unboxing clip from Starmobile’s YouTube channel

NBA Live 16 unveiled at E3, promises better online play

In Games, Apps, and OS by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

The Electronic Entertainment Expo 2015, or simply E3 2015, is upon us, and one of the more interesting titles in EA’s lineup this year is the company’s upcoming basketball sim NBA Live 16.

NBA Live 16 will bring a fresh batch of modes and new gameplay mechanics, as well as a new feature that allows you to scan your face into the game using your phone’s camera.

The game will bring a fresh batch of modes, new gameplay mechanics that you haven’t seen before, including touch passing, dribble handoffs, and the ability to fight through screens, as well as a new face-scan feature that allows you to scan your face into the game using your smartphone’s camera.

After last year’s iteration of Live failed to upset NBA 2K15 as the champion of basketball video games, EA is confident that Live 16 has improved enough on its fundamentals to keep the competition on its toes. At the very least, EA says, Live 16 will offer better online play — something the NBA 2K franchise sorely lacks despite its solid mechanics. I should know — I play NBA 2K15 just about every day since its launch last year.

NBA Live 16 will be available on September 29 for the PS4 and Xbox One. Personally, I’m rooting for EA to bring the fight to 2K Sports. Competition, as they say, breeds innovation. For a brief first look at NBA Live 16, check out the videos below.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta3B03UsI80″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

The first trailer for NBA Live 16 is here

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKHxcH6olTQ” width=”560″ height=”315″]

EA shows off NBA Live 16’s new face-scan feature and gameplay mechanics

P7,999 Firefly Mobile Allure 64 LTE phone is stacked

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Cherry Mobile, MyPhone, and Torque may be the most popular homegrown smartphone brands right now, but newcomer Firefly Mobile is quickly making a name for itself as a company with attention-grabbing offerings like the Intense 64 LTE and Intense Mini, both of which promise speedy performance without burning a hole in your budget.

Firefly Mobile’s latest release, the Allure 64 LTE, expands on that tradition by bringing upmarket features, such as a 5.5-inch IPS panel with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top, an aircraft-grade aluminum-magnesium alloy frame, and a 360-degree fingerprint sensor to the sub-P8,000 segment.

Things look just as promising inside as they do on the outside, with the phone running Android Lollipop on a 1.7GHz octa-core, LTE-ready processor paired with 3GB of RAM and a 13-megapixel Sony camera with backside illumination.

The Allure 64 LTE retails for P7,999. I haven’t gotten up close and personal with a working unit, but it’s certainly worth a look.

According to Firefly Mobile’s Facebook page, the Allure 64 LTE retails for a very reasonable P7,999 and is now available nationwide. I haven’t gotten up close and personal with a working unit, but from what I’ve heard so far, it’s certainly worth a look.

Firefly Mobile 64 LTE

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Specs of the Firefly Mobile Allure 64 LTE (Price: P7,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* Fingerprint sensor
* 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6752 octa-core, 64-bit CPU
* Mali-T760 MP2 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.5-inch OGS IPS display with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with BSI and LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera with BSI and LED flash
* 2,900mAh removable battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

Cherry Mobile has a new mid-range phone for under P10K

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

(UPDATE, June 19: According to Cherry Mobile, the Cosmos S2 is now available in Cherry Mobile kiosks and stores.)

As if you didn’t know already, things are heating up in the local mobile space in 2015, largely because of competition from Chinese brands like Lenovo, Honor, and Oppo that are making a strong push in the mid-range market. Homegrown players MyPhone and Starmobile have already responded to this year’s wave of low-cost, high-performance smartphones from the Far East by releasing their own iterations of bargain blowers running the Android operating system.

The Cherry Mobile Cosmos S2 checks many of the same boxes as its rivals, but with a heavier emphasis on design, as evidenced by its 6.3mm-thick frame and dual-glass exterior.

It’s not surprising, then, that local tech company Cherry Mobile has unveiled its answer to the likes of Lenovo’s A7000 and Honor’s 4X. I’m talking about the Cherry Mobile Cosmos S2, which checks many of the same boxes as its rivals, but with a heavier emphasis on design, as evidenced by its 6.3mm-thick metal frame and dual-glass exterior.

The phone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor that supports local LTE bands and comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, which is expandable up to an additional 64GB via microSD expansion. The icing on the cake is a 5-inch AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and a quick-charge feature that promises to shorten charging times.

The Cherry Mobile Cosmos S2 will retail for P9,999 when it arrives in stores soon. Not bad for a device of this caliber.

Specs of the Cherry Mobile Cosmos S2 (Price in the Philippines: P9,999):
* Dual SIM (with LTE support)
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
* 5-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with BSI and LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera with BSI
* 2,260mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Globe rolls out affordable hotspot service for SMEs

In Business by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Hiring an IT guy to handle a commercial establishment’s complimentary WiFi service might not be something all entrepreneurs welcome for various reasons, which is why Globe Telecom has come up with a new service aimed squarely at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that makes it far simpler to turn any store, restaurant, bar, or any place where people wait, for that matter, into a hotspot.

Globe’s WiFi Hub not only allows business owners to attract more customers, but also lets them make more money by charging patrons for WiFi passes.

Globe’s myBusiness WiFi Hub not only allows establishments to attract more customers — customers who would now be more likely to share their experiences on social media, mind you — but also lets them make more money by charging patrons for WiFi passes. Of course, SMEs can opt to give out WiFi passwords with a minimum purchase requirement. They can even go the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf route and integrate WiFi access into some kind of loyalty program.

Regardless, Globe touts its myBusiness WiFi Hub service as a win-win for both consumers and businesses owners: the former can stay connected and be productive on the go; the latter can grow their audience with a secure hotspot that isn’t prone to bandwidth abuse.

Globe’s WiFi Hub packages start at Plan 1599 for up-to-3Mbps download speeds and goes up to Plan 4299 for up-to-15Mbps speeds. They can also be purchased as an add-on to an existing myBusiness broadband plan for as low as P299 a month.

All WiFi Hub packages come with an LTE router linked to a mini printer that can be configured to print unique WiFi passwords in either time- or volume-based denominations. It also comes with a Globe landline with unlimited calls to Globe and TM numbers, plus dedicated after-sales support. For establishments that will be adopting a pay-per-use policy, Globe’s suggested pricing for a time-based scheme is P10 for 30 minutes of Internet use; P20 for 1 hour; and P30 for 2 hours.

The myBusiness WiFi Hub service is subject to a 24-month lock-in period. It’s currently being rolled out nationwide, so if you’re interested, you may want to get in touch with a Globe representative now.

Boompods brings gadget accessories to PH via Lazada

In Wearables by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

Boompods has recently launched an extensive catalog of accessories in the Philippines that caters to a young, tech-savvy demographic that wants a dash of color in their gear. Boompods has also partnered with online retailer Lazada Philippines to sell its products locally, without the hassles of making purchases in a physical store.

Among Boompods’ initial offerings are lighting cables, battery packs, battery cases for iPhones, and wireless headphones and speakers, including a waterproof speaker.

Among the brand’s initial offerings are lighting and microUSB cables, external battery packs, battery cases for iPhones, wireless headphones, and wireless speakers, including a waterproof speaker called Aquapod, which, as the name implies, can withstand incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. It even comes with a suction cup, allowing you to secure it to a shower wall, making it the perfect accessory for those who love to sing in the shower. If you’re looking for a rugged device for outside use that can handle rough and tumble and a bit of water, check out the best outdoor radio list over on Outdoor Empire.

Boompods accessories are available on Lazada Philippines. But, to be honest, I’d rather purchase my audio gear from brick-and-mortar establishments because when it comes to sound quality, beauty is, more often than not, in the ears of the beholder. However, if you’re only planning on buying wires or portable chargers, online shopping is the best way to go.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHr3_Cm0XIw” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Check out this promo video for Boompods accessories

Nissan Philippines beats industry for Q1 2015

In Press Releases by Revu TeamLeave a Comment

Nissan Philippines Inc. (NPI) scored a first quarter record growth of 32%, outdoing the industry performance of 22% for the same time period, according to a report from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. (CAMPI).

Since its inception in March 2014, the young company has unceasingly rolled out exciting and innovative programs that put the brand back on the map. With its current initiatives that further boost NPI’s brand image, improve after-sales service and strengthen dealer-network presence in the country, these are strong proof points that NPI has clearly established a solid foundation that propelled its successful sales growth.

Sales figures from the company showed market enthusiasm exemplified by the leading volume contributor, the Urvan, followed by the Almera, which is deemed as an emerging contender in its segment. The successful sales growth was also supported by the global model, the new Sylphy, as well as the award-winning executive sedan and compact SUV, the new Altima and all-new X-Trail, respectively. Shortly, a month after its availability in the market, the all-new NP300 Navara has been well received by the customers as exemplified by its promising sales performance.

NPI also marked a significant milestone when they breached the 1,000 units sales mark for the month of March. “This makes March 2015 an important month for us, seeing how our improved teamwork has led to making this first quarter all the more meaningful as a success,” Zara said. In addition to its momentous progress, the first quarter of 2015 has been reported to be the best Q1 in Nissan sales history in fifteen years.

“We at NPI are proud to say that we reached this important highlight in our corporate history through a combination of factors,” he continued. “We attribute this on our exciting product lineup, as well as our improved after-sales services, as demonstrated by topping the J.D. Power Philippines Customer Service Index (CSI) in 2014,” he continued. “We owe this victory to our valued customers who choose Nissan as their preferred brand of choice. With new technology utilized through using something similar to a range of tech like a lintechtt mmwave radar, seen on lintechtt.com, in an effort to make Nissan car’s safer.”

Claiming that 2015 will be Nissan’s year, the company has laid out a clear strategy to achieve its targeted 40% sales growth for FY15. NPI is all set to aggressively launch new vehicle models every quarter as well as increase and firm up their dealer-network nationwide by recently signing up six new dealerships in one day. All these efforts will contribute in achieving Nissan Global’s mid term plan the “Nissan Power 88”.

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

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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

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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.