The curious case of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

In Phones by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

I’m worried about Samsung. Not because its profits continue to fall on the back of the market’s lukewarm reaction to the now-discounted Galaxy S6, arguably its most compelling smartphone yet. Not because it has tampered with the Galaxy formula by jettisoning microSD expansion and removable batteries, much to the disappointment of long-time fans. Not because Apple’s market dominance shows no signs of slowing.

I’m just worried, because Friday’s announcement could have ended with one super-sized phone, except it ended with two.

In one corner: a Samsung sequel that, as expected, puts its extra screen real estate to even better use and rightfully bills itself as a productivity device. The Note series, with its S Pen stylus and accompanying suite of software features, represents the pinnacle of what a big-screen phone can do and be, and Samsung was right to introduce a Galaxy Note reboot in August.

The Note series, with its S Pen stylus and accompanying suite of software features, represents the pinnacle of what a big-screen phone can do and be.

In the other corner is the Galaxy S6 Edge+, or, if you will, an S6 Edge stretched in all directions, which is about as silly as it sounds.

Sure, it has a larger, 5.7-inch curved-edge display that narrowly misses the back of the phone, but if there’s anything to be gleaned from its predecessor, it’s this: the S6 Edge+ doesn’t fix the S6 Edge’s most glaring fault. Rather, it shines the spotlight on what I found to be the most annoying thing about a curved-edge display: the glare off its tapered edges. Bigger isn’t always better, and it’s especially true for Samsung’s latest curved phone.

The S6 Edge+ doesn’t fix the S6 Edge’s most glaring fault. It shines the spotlight on what I found to be the most annoying thing about a curved-edge display: screen glare.

But my argument against the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has less to do with what it is and more to do with what it is not. What it is not, is the Galaxy Note 5, which, despite what some Samsung loyalists might like to believe, is one of the best big-screen phones you can buy today. It’s cheaper, too, but only by a mere P3,000.

Unlike the Galaxy S6 Edge+, the Galaxy Note 5 isn’t just a blown-up version of another Galaxy flagship; it’s different in ways that genuinely do make the case for stepping up to a larger screen. That the Galaxy Note is already in its fifth iteration reflects Samsung’s success in creating a need that hadn’t existed before the Note came along.

My argument against the Galaxy S6 Edge+ has less to do with what it is and more to do with what it is not. What it is not, is the Galaxy Note 5.

I could be in the minority here, of course — for those who want it, the “how” and “why” of the Galaxy S6 Edge+’s existence may be largely irrelevant. I know this much, though: Samsung took a risk with the Galaxy S6 Edge+, which, judging from the company’s stock performance over the past quarters, is like chucking a basketball from way beyond the arc when the team is down double digits with under a minute left in regulation.

Whether the ball goes through the hoop remains to be seen, but we’ll know for sure come Samsung’s next earnings call.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 specs (Price in the Philippines: P36,990):
* LTE
* Samsung Exynos 7420 CPU
* Mali-T760-MP8 GPU
* 4GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 16-megapixel rear camera
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh sealed battery
* S Pen stylus
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ specs (Price in the Philippines: P39,990 for the 32GB model; P44,990 for the 64GB model):
* LTE
* Samsung Exynos 7420 CPU
* Mali-T760-MP8 GPU
* 4GB RAM
* up to 64GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch Super AMOLED curved display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 16-megapixel rear camera
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh sealed battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

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

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 camera shootout from our YouTube channel

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqYsIRU5rQU” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Breaking up with cable TV

In Games, Apps, and OS by Alora Uy GuerreroLeave a Comment

Do you remember the last time you sat through a movie or TV show on cable TV? We don’t.

We cut the cord months ago, and our crystal ball predicts we’re never going back now that decent subscription-based video-on-demand services have made their way to the Philippines.

That’s just us. We know that not everyone — perhaps even you — is ready to part ways with the cable companies.

We can’t blame you. First, cable TV has newer content. You get access to foreign 24/7 news channels, watch the latest episodes of shows like “Game of Thrones,” and follow the NBA action and other sporting events as they happen.

Second, cable TV is maturing in the country. Some packages even come bundled with digital video recording, HD content, and more channels than you’d care to count.

Third, tie-ups with video-streaming services already exist. Think SkyCable’s partnerships with iWantv and HBO Go.

And fourth, cable TV doesn’t need an Internet connection to work, so it’s still the easiest way to watch your favorite movies and shows on the biggest screen in the house. Let’s face it, quality Internet access remains out of reach for many of us. The Philippines remains at the bottom of the pit when it comes to connection speed.

But just as Spotify and other music apps are starting to change the way Filipinos listen to music, SVOD services will also eventually find their place in more homes in the Philippines. We’ll bet whatever’s left in our bank on it.

Globally, SVOD subscriptions are expected to increase from 20 million in 2010 to roughly 120 million by end of this year, according to Digital TV Research’s report on global OTT [over the top, or the delivery of content on the Internet] TV and video forecasts. That number is believed to rise to 250 million by 2020.

Just as Spotify is starting to change the way Filipinos listen to music, SVOD services will also eventually find their place in more homes in the Philippines.

Our telcos are getting ready to meet that expected demand. You’ve seen Globe Telecom partner with HOOQ, a start-up joint venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures Television, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. You’ve seen PLDT and its mobile subsidiary, Smart Communications, partner with iflix.

Who knows? We just might see U.S. video-streaming company Netflix enter the Philippine market. It’s already in Australia and New Zealand.

What will most likely lure Filipinos to take advantage of SVOD services? Let us count the ways.

1. Subscribing to them is the cheapest and non-douchebag way of watching movies and TV shows on just about every screen available. Cheap because they don’t have installation costs. For example, joining HOOQ and iflix will only set you back P199 and P129 per month, respectively. Non-douchebag because you will not be pirating content, so you’ll avoid tripping over laws as the government implements more ways to curb piracy in the country.

SVOD subscriptions are expected to increase from 20 million in 2010 to roughly 120 million by end of this year. That number is believed to rise to 250 million by 2020.

2. How about more content than you would care to watch? You will have access to libraries of content anytime, anywhere. We’re talking 30,000 hours of programming for HOOQ and 11,000 for iflix at press time — and those numbers will grow, no doubt. Granted, majority of the movies and shows available are dated, but hey, because of our busy schedule, we haven’t even seen that “GOT” episode that had Jon Snow fans all over the world howling like crazy. We appreciate that we can view that at any time our calendar permits.

3. A single account can be used by multiple devices. On HOOQ, for example, up to two users can stream content simultaneously, which lessens cost per device or person. People do not have to share the remote control. You know how it is: In one household, there’s usually more than one phone or tablet, so family members can watch different things on different devices, regardless of where they are.

4. SVOD services are available via mobile app and on the Web, perfect for smart TVs and set-top boxes that run Android or iOS. Less wires, no need for an HDMI or VGA connection… In short, less hassle.

Video streaming is still in its infancy in the Philippines, so it may still be too early to pull the plug on cable TV.

5. There’s also the allure of original programming, something we’ve been seeing more of lately, particularly from streaming giant Netflix. Sure, neither HOOQ, iflix, nor any other SVOD provider in the Philippines is producing its own movie or TV show now, but it may happen sooner than you think.

Video streaming is still in its infancy in the Philippines, so it may still be too early to pull the plug on cable TV. But as SVOD services and mobile devices get cheaper because of competition and advancements in technology, there’s no stopping the train to content-streaming subscription. Now, about that decent and affordable Internet connection…

(NOTE: This article originally appeared in the July issue of 2nd Opinion, a magazine with a Philippine circulation.)

Samsung Galaxy Note 5: two steps forward, one step back

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via Forbes

A mere hours after their worldwide launch, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ made their official debut in the Philippines today, with pricing and availability in tow. “Isn’t it a little too early for a Galaxy Note reboot?” you may ask. “What about the Galaxy S6 Edge? The paint hasn’t even dried on Samsung’s co-flagship yet following its release a few months ago.”

I get your point, but Samsung had to pull the trigger to give its latest devices a lengthy head start in the retail race against Apple. Samsung’s profits are still falling, says Bloomberg. The Galaxy S6, for all its pretty aesthetics and top-shelf features, hasn’t been the sales success that Samsung had hoped for.

So, here we are in August, staring at a new Samsung phone with a super-sized screen and even bigger expectations to meet. To say the Galaxy Note 5 has a lot riding on its shoulders would be an understatement of phablet proportions. (The Galaxy S6 Edge+? Probably not so much.)

Here we are in August, staring at a new Samsung phone with a super-sized screen and even bigger expectations to meet.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Picture 1 of 5

Indeed, the Galaxy Note 5 is easily one of Samsung’s most important releases in recent memory — and it certainly looks that way. Like the Galaxy 6 before it, this year’s addition to the Note family ditches plastic in favor of metal and glass and adds a curved-edge back that’s particularly reminiscent of the Xiaomi Mi Note’s rear panel.

If there ever was a Note product whose looks didn’t justify its price, the Galaxy Note 5 isn’t it; in fact, it’s arguably Samsung’s most gorgeous work yet, boasting a level of craftsmanship and attention to detail that reflects its premium status. Coming in at 7.6mm-thick, it’s also thinner by nearly a full millimeter compared to the Galaxy Note 4 (8.5mm).

The phone is not without flaws, of course, as Samsung had to cut a few corners in pursuit of its design goals, much to the chagrin of fans of microSD expansion and removable batteries. The Galaxy Note 5 doesn’t have either, and both rank among its predecessor’s biggest attractions. Its battery is only 3,000mAh, which holds less charge than the Galaxy Note 4’s 3,220mAh cell.

The one area where Samsung hasn’t made any compromises on the Note formula is under the hood. And true to its heritage, the Galaxy Note 5 offers the best components on the market, rocking a 5.7-inch 1,440 x 2,560 Super AMOLED display and Samsung’s octa-core Exynos 7420 chipset, along with 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of storage.

The Note 5 is not without flaws, as Samsung had to cut a few corners in pursuit of its design goals, much to the chagrin of fans of microSD expansion and removable batteries.

Its capabilities as a pocketable camera should only improve with the addition of the same 16-megapixel unit housed in the Galaxy S6, which Alora and I found to be superior to the iPhone 6’s rear-facer.

The Galaxy Note 5 is also closer to being a pen-and-paper replacement than previous models, with the option to jot down notes while the screen is off, among other things. Samsung even claims that the display produces less friction when using the improved S Pen stylus.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (32GB) will set you back P36,990. The Galaxy S6 Edge+ (32GB), meanwhile, starts at P39,990. Both are due to arrive in stores on September 5. Preorders start August 17.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

Picture 1 of 5

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 specs (Price in the Philippines: P36,990):
* LTE
* Samsung Exynos 7420 CPU
* Mali-T760-MP8 GPU
* 4GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 16-megapixel rear camera
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh sealed battery
* S Pen stylus
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ specs (Price in the Philippines: P39,990 for the 32GB model; P44,990 for the 64GB model):
* LTE
* Samsung Exynos 7420 CPU
* Mali-T760-MP8 GPU
* 4GB RAM
* up to 64GB internal storage
* 5.7-inch Super AMOLED curved display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,440 x 2,560 resolution)
* 16-megapixel rear camera
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh sealed battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

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

Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 camera shootout from our YouTube channel

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqYsIRU5rQU” width=”560″ height=”315″]

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OPPO Mirror 5 review: style and substance for less

In Phones by Ramon Lopez10 Comments

We’ve seen a flood of low-cost but high-spec’d phones emerge on the Philippine market this year, but you have to admit: only a handful of them get the aesthetics and build right. Too often a phone’s look and feel take a backseat when companies cut corners to meet a certain price point; at worst, they are the first casualties of the design process — and it’s totally understandable.

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OPPO Mirror 5 now official in PH, will retail for P9,990

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

OPPO is no stranger to making quality phones with few, if any, compromises on design and build quality, and its latest offering doesn’t seem too different from what we’re used to seeing from the company, despite a lower-than-expected price tag. The OPPO Mirror 5, which, in essence, is the more affordable brother of the R1x that preceded it.

You could argue that the Mirror 5 is OPPO’s answer to the higher-end version of Motorola’s Moto G (and, to a lesser extent, the recently announced Cherry Mobile One G1), what with an IPS display that spans 5 inches across and a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor with 2GB of RAM that runs OPPO’s heavy-handed overlay based on Android Lollipop 5.1.1 without hiccups.

There’s an IR blaster on the top edge that, when used with OPPO’s universal remote-control app, allows you to manipulate a wide range of home appliances, including TVs and air-conditioning units, as you would using their respective remotes.

OPPO Mirror 5

Picture 1 of 8

As interesting as that sounds, it’s the phone’s mirrored back, which flaunts a diamond decor, that will likely draw the most attention; it gives off a subtle, shimmering effect as light bounces off its surface. I know what you’re thinking: The effect is probably better seen up close and in person than read about. And you’re absolutely right.

There’s nothing quite like it in the bargain segment, and it’s what sets the Mirror 5 apart from all the other bland, rectangular phones out there.

It’s the phone’s mirrored back, which flaunts a diamond decor, that will draw the most attention; it gives off a shimmering effect as light bounces off its surface. The effect is better seen up close and in person than read about.

The OPPO Mirror 5 will retail for P9,990 in the Philippines when it arrives in stores later this month. It may be worth checking out if you’re looking for an affordable smartphone that at face value doesn’t wear its price tag on its sleeve.

OPPO Mirror 5 specs (Price in the Philippines: P9,990):
* Dual SIM
* Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,420mAh battery
* IR blaster
* Color OS 2.1 based on Android Lollipop 5.1.1

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45hQpWvr3vQ” width=”560″ height=”315″]

OPPO Mirror 5 preview from our YouTube channel

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 leaks in full ahead of PH launch

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via iNoob

We’re only a few days away removed from Samsung’s 2015 Unpacked event in New York (and its Philippine version on August 14), and at this point, as is the case every year, we know almost everything about the company’s next flagbearer — or should I say “flagbearers”? Under the bright lights of the Big Apple, Samsung is all but sure to announce the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus — the name implies it’s supposed to be the bigger brother of the Galaxy S6 Edge.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5

There’s also a strong possibility that a curved-edge variant of the Galaxy Tab will be joining the two. And while a curved slate could be inconvenient to use, let alone hold for extended periods, the idea of a larger Galaxy S6 Edge sounds appealing. The Galaxy Note line, on the other hand, has won over pundits and consumers alike since its debut. Judging from the leaks, the Galaxy Note 5, with its reportedly Galaxy S6-inspired looks, should continue to impress.

The Galaxy Note line has won over pundits and consumers alike since its debut. Judging from the leaks, the Galaxy Note 5, with its reportedly Galaxy S6-inspired looks, should continue to impress.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus beside the iPhone 6 Plus

The latest iteration of Samsung’s S Pen-toting flagship will come with a 5.7-inch 1,440 x 2,560 Super AMOLED display, an octa-core processor (likely an Exynos 7422 SoC) backed by 4GB of RAM, and 16- and 5-megapixel rear and selfie cameras. It will support LTE and wireless charging, similar to its predecessor. As for the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, its specs are expected to be in line with the S6 Edge’s internals, with the exception of a bump in RAM (4GB).

[frame src=”https://www.revu.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Samsung-Galaxy-Note-5-and-S6-Edge-Plus.jpg” target=”_self” width=”620″ height=”412″ alt=”Premium WordPress Themes” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (left) and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus (right)

I’ll be sure to follow up with more information once the dust settles on Samsung’s Unpacked event.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggL_yLCC2a0&list=UUMeavCblAE1-lP5CWpcZHMA” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge preview

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3NvdHYPZC0&list=UUMeavCblAE1-lP5CWpcZHMA” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Samsung Galaxy S6 preview

Cherry Mobile One G1 is a Moto G rival for P5,999

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

One year into the venture, it seems Google remains bullish about the future of Android One, a line of low-cost devices running the latest version of the search giant’s mobile operating system (think Nexus for emerging markets).

And why wouldn’t it be? Budget releases continue to drive the business of many Android manufacturers forward, something local companies can attest to, and they represent Google’s best bet of getting as many people as possible online in the hope that they will end up using Gmail, YouTube, and other Google properties.

In the Philippines, no other product represents Google’s continued push to grow its audience quite like the recently announced Cherry Mobile One G1. The spiritual successor to last year’s brilliant Cherry Mobile One, the G1 steps up to a bigger, sharper screen, a faster processor with more RAM, a higher megapixel count on both cameras, and a bigger battery. Specs-wise, it’s essentially the same as the new Moto G, but with a few key differences.

The Cherry Mobile One G1 improves where it counts: wireless connectivity. It packs an LTE modem, which hasn’t been common in low-end phones until recently.

More importantly, it improves where it counts: wireless connectivity. No longer limited to 2G and 3G connections, the G1 packs an LTE modem, which hasn’t been common in low-end phones until recently. Of course, it also runs the latest version of the Android software (5.1.1) and will be eligible for upgrades for the next 2 years.

The Cherry Mobile One G1 will only set you back P5,999 when it hits online and offline stores later this month. My initial impressions of the G1 are overwhelmingly positive, but I’ll reserve judgment for now. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for my full verdict.

Cherry Mobile One G1

Picture 1 of 10

Cherry Mobile One G1 specs (Price in the Philippines: P5,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 5-inch IPS display with Dragontrail glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,500mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1.1

OnePlus 2 now available on Lazada PH but…

In Phones by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

The OnePlus 2, arguably the most anticipated smartphone of 2015, has been listed on Lazada’s Philippine website for a reasonable price of P21,799 (for the higher-end 4GB RAM version), which isn’t too far off from its official price of $389 (around P17,800). When you factor in shipping, import duties, and taxes, not to mention the fact that you don’t have to jump through hoops to secure an invite, the deal sounds almost too good to be true.

The OnePlus 2 for P21,799 sounds almost too good to be true. And it is; because as compelling as the phone is on paper, it doesn’t come with any local warranty.

And, much to my disappointment, it is; because as compelling as the OnePlus 2 is on paper, it doesn’t come with any local warranty whatsoever, meaning if anything bad happens to your shiny new gadget, for whatever reason, you can’t rely on anyone else to fix it without running the risk of falling into the rabbit hole that is DIY repair. I probably don’t need to tell you this, but the line between a warranty-less mobile device and an expensive paperweight is vanishingly thin.

If you don’t mind venturing into warranty-less territory, you’ll likely find the OnePlus 2 to be one of the most powerful and feature-rich phones you can buy today without breaking the bank. It has earned a lot of positive press recently, with many reviewers citing its fast performance, premium feel, and unbeatable price as its greatest strengths.

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

OnePlus 2 hands-on video from Pocketnow

ASUS ZenFone Max fits a 5,000mAh battery

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

ASUS, as you may have gathered from the countless versions of the ZenFone on offer today, has been trying out different configurations on its wildly successful smartphone line, and the latest result of its “try and see if it would sell” approach to making mobiles promises hours upon hours — upon hours — of usage time. Meet the ASUS ZenFone Max, or as I’d like to put it, the Android-phone equivalent of a Judd Apatow movie with a runtime that flirts beyond two hours.

Meet the ASUS ZenFone Max, or as I’d like to put it, the Android-phone equivalent of a Judd Apatow movie with a runtime that flirts beyond two hours.

The ZenFone Max takes its name from its exceedingly generous 5,000mAh battery, which I assume puts ASUS’ latest creation among the longest-running smartphones out there. Two days of full use shouldn’t be a problem for a phone of this type. It even pulls double duty as a charger for your other microUSB devices, so you won’t have to worry about running out of power while you’re away from an outlet.

Unfortunately for those of you who are expecting a high-specced device with a comparatively large cell, you might as well look elsewhere, as reports suggest a midrange offering held back by a low-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chip with 2GB of RAM. But you do get a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, laser autofocus, and dual-tone flash, as well as a 5.5-inch screen fronted by Gorilla Glass 4 for added strength and durability.

The ASUS ZenFone Max will be available in select markets starting October for a still-undisclosed price.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RypWLWiz1P0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Watch our ASUS Zenfone 2 review

Apple Music has people listening, but for how long?

In Business by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via Tech2

By now, you’ve probably heard a lot about Apple Music, the subscription music-streaming service that the American tech giant launched in June and is currently in its “free to try” phase. What you may not know is, despite being hammered by critics, it is actually doing pretty well compared to rival platforms that have had a head start in offering unlimited music on-demand.

According to The Guardian, Apple Music has 11 million listeners since launch — 2 million of whom have opted to pay $14.99 (around P690) a month for a subscription that gives up to 6 users full access on their devices. The figure includes people who have tried Apple Music but have yet to commit their digital-music future to the service.

It’s a far cry from Spotify’s 75 million users (of whom 20 million are paying customers), to be sure. But the gap between Apple Music and other music-streaming services tapers off quickly as you go down the list.

Of course, it’s not really fair to compare Apple Music to its rivals at this point because, again, it’s still in its free-trial stage until September. It’s only when the honeymoon ends that we’ll get a better sense of where Apple’s bid in the digital-music market stands and whether it has any realistic chance of displacing Spotify, as unlikely as it may sound.

It’s only when the honeymoon ends that we’ll get a better sense of where Apple Music stands and whether it has any realistic chance of displacing Spotify, as unlikely as it may sound.

[table class=”table_gray”]
Music-streaming service Users
Spotify 75,000,000
Deezer 16,000,000
Apple Music 11,000,000
Rhapsody/Napster 3,000,000 (paying)
Tidal 770,000 (paying)
[/table]

The world is listening: music-streaming services ranked by numbers

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1zs0uHHoSw” width=”560″ height=”315″]

DOST eyes nationwide WiFi, bids out APs to Globe subsidiaries

In Business by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Remember the DOST’s public WiFi project, which has already kicked off, and is now offering free Internet access to people in select locations in Metro Manila?

It looks like the government is already moving towards scaling things up to support a bigger audience after bidding out a P74-million contract for 14 access points that will serve as the backbone of WiFi hotspots across 967 municipalities to Innove Communications and Yondu IT Solutions. Both are subsidiaries of Globe Telecom, which, as you know, is one of the largest telecommunications providers in the Philippines.

The 14 access points will be spread throughout the Philippines’ 3 island groups, namely Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, though they won’t be sufficient to cover the country’s entire WiFi needs. To do that, the DOTC needs to find contractors for the remaining 867 municipalities, which leave out roughly 23 million of the population.

Regardless, the department is hopeful it will be able to sort out the technical details of connecting even the most remote and isolated of communities to the Internet within the year.

[table class=”table_gray”]
14 access-point locations
Tugegarao City, Cagayan
Dagupan City, Pangasinan
San Fernando City, Pampanga
Lipa City, Batangas
Legazpi City, Albay
Puerto Princesa City, Palawan
Iloilo City, Iloilo
Cebu City, Cebu
Calbayog City, Samar
Tacloban City, Leyte
Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental
Pagadian City, ARMM
Davao City, Davao del Sur
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga
[/table]

Cherry Mobile teases second Android One phone

In Phones by Ramon Lopez9 Comments

Cherry Mobile updated its Facebook cover photo Monday to a front-and-back image of what may very well be the company’s second-generation Android One smartphone. The photo suggests a release sometime in August.

For the uninitiated, Android One represents Google’s plan to bring the latest Android software to emerging markets like the Philippines through low-cost devices, though it hasn’t worked out well for the American search giant.

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Cherry Mobile’s new cover photo

That’s not to say the Cherry Mobile One, and the MyPhone Uno, for that matter, aren’t good options for cash-strapped consumers — they are; in fact, the One remains one of my favorite handsets in the bargain basement, even months after its launch. But for all its merits, it’s still a 3G phone, which ultimately stopped me from talking about it like a used-car salesman. Hopefully, Cherry Mobile’s next Android One offering comes with 4G LTE connectivity.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isDxr9WCPz0″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Cherry Mobile One vs. MyPhone Uno

Uh-oh, 3 arrested over online piracy in PH

In Business by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

Image via Baltnews

Score one for the good guys — even if it’s just a small victory in the fight against the Goliath that is piracy. On Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they arrested and charged 3 IT professionals in separate operations between July 22 and 30 for infringing on the intellectual property of local media conglomerates.

Nico Angelo Rempillo of Dayangdan, Naga City, Jim Marcelino Bautista of Baragay Cagay, Roxas City, and Mark Marlon Millendez of Barangay Mintal, Davao City were caught while trying to upload and stream TV shows and movies on their own websites, according to a report from Inquirer.net. The accused were charged under the Philippines’ intellectual-property law, which prescribes a jail term of up to 3 years and a fine of up to P150,000 for first offenders.

In a statement, ABS-CBN representative Elisha Lawrence said the network loses millions of dollars of potential revenue from websites that show pirated content.

I don’t need to give a canned, if unnecessary, lecture on why piracy is bad for any business; I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page. Besides, you don’t have to turn to illegal websites to enjoy local and foreign programming on-demand and on your phone or tablet. Not when there are apps like HOOQ and iflix that allow you to legally watch movies and full episodes of popular TV shows for P199 (HOOQ) or P129 (iflix) monthly.

I don’t need to give a canned, if unnecessary, lecture on why piracy is bad for any business. Not when there are apps like HOOQ that allow you to legally watch movies and TV shows for a small monthly fee.

Compared to not paying anything at all, at the risk of a lengthy prison sentence and a hefty fine, the idea of spending the equivalent of a large Starbucks drink seems like money well spent.

ASUS PH unveils iPad mini rival with 4GB of RAM

In Tablets by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Earlier today, ASUS Philippines showed off two new tablets under the ZenPad line, with the company continuing its push into the crowded budget segment. New entrants to the market, the ASUS ZenPad C 7.0 and ZenPad 7.0, which I discussed briefly several days ago, carry the promise of an upscale design with interchangeable backs and category-leading performance in a surprisingly compact, 7-inch form factor for under P8,000.

Of the two, the ZenPad 7.0 is especially interesting because it’s essentially a mid-range tablet, except it’s not priced like one. I have a unit that I’ll be testing over the next few days to see if my initial impressions hold up. As for when both slates will be released, they should be in stores starting next week. In fact, the lesser C model is probably already on display in a gadget store near you.

But arguably the biggest reveal of all came with the announcement of the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0, an iPad mini rival that ships with all the power you’d expect from a modern flagship, but keeps things sleek and sophisticated.

The biggest reveal of all came with the announcement of the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0, an iPad mini rival that ships with all the power you’d expect from a modern flagship, but keeps things sleek and sophisticated.

A Retina Display-rivaling, 2,048 x 1,536 IPS display with a 4:3 aspect ratio? Check. The latest Intel Atom processor with 4GB (yes, 4GB!) of RAM? Check. A USB Type-C port for charging? Ample room for all your apps, games, and media? A pair of front-facing speakers for a fuller stereo sound? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s cheaper than the base model of the iPad mini 3, too, with the ZenPad S 8.0 priced at P16,995. Interested? You’re not alone. I’m told it will be available sometime in August.

ASUS ZenPad 7.0

Picture 1 of 6

Specs of the ASUS ZenPad C 7.0 (Price in the Philippines: P5,995):
* Dual-SIM with 3G-phone functionality
* 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* Mali-450 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 7-inch IPS display (1,024 x 600 resolution)
* 2-megapixel rear camera
* VGA front camera
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Specs of the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 (Price in the Philippines: P7,995):
* Single SIM with 3G-phone functionality
* 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* Mali-450 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 7-inch IPS display (1,280 x 800 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera
* 2-megapixel front camera
* Android Lollipop 5.0

ASUS ZenPad S 8.0

Picture 1 of 7

Specs of the ASUS ZenPad S 8.0 (Price in the Philippines: P16,995):
* 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 CPU
* PowerVR G6430 GPU
* 4GB RAM
* 64GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 8-inch IPS display (2,048 x 1,536 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera
* 2-megapixel front camera
* Android Lollipop 5.0
* USB Type-C port

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG8EC4JNytk” width=”560″ height=”315″]

ASUS ZenPad 7.0 first impressions from TabTec

Lenovo Vibe Shot announced in PH, costs P16,999

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Back in March, Lenovo introduced the Vibe Shot at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. As the name suggests, it’s a camera phone designed to replace your old point-and-shoot, because, among other things, you can’t count on that brick of a camera to post your good eats on Instagram. Now it’s heading to local shores, and it will be available first through Lazada Philippines’ website and mobile app starting July 31.

From the back the Vibe Shot looks deceivingly like a camera, too — and an attractive one at that — with its lightweight aluminum frame, 16-megapixel sensor, six-piece modular lens, and tricolor flash (because two isn’t enough).

Lenovo PH just launched the Vibe Shot, a camera phone designed to replace your old point-and-shoot, because, among other things, you can’t count on that brick of a camera to post your good eats on Instagram.

And just like a regular point-and-shoot, it rocks a two-step shutter button, which makes the shooting experience feel more traditional, and a physical toggle to make switching between “Auto” and “Pro” modes easier and quicker.

Lenovo Vibe Shot

Picture 1 of 11

Throw in a laser autofocus sensor, plus a wealth of shooting modes and options, and you’ve got a versatile camera phone that’s primed to please shutterbugs who are looking for a midrange option; whether or not it actually does remains to be seen. (I’m working on a follow-up article as we speak.)

The Vibe Shot’s internals are nothing to sneeze at, either; the phone runs Android Lollipop 5.1 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. Connectivity options include WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth, and GPS. The entire front face is covered by a sheet of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 3, and underneath that you’ll find a 5-inch IPS display with 1080p resolution.

The Lenovo Vibe Shot may be worth a look if you’ve always fancied an Android smartphone that prioritizes image quality over everything else. It will cost you P16,999 if you get if from Lazada Philippines. Offline stores nationwide will begin selling it in mid-August for P17,999.

Lenovo Vibe Shot specs (Price in the Philippines: P16,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.7GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 16-megapixel rear camera with tricolor flash and IR autofocus sensor
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1

5 Android apps I can’t live without

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

As people who know me personally probably know, I use an Android phone as my daily driver. And, to be honest, I can’t see myself going through a full day without a smartphone in my hand. I just can’t.

For starters, I get my daily dose of news from apps installed on my phone — Appy Geek and Twitter are my favorite sources — I sometimes write blog posts on an app called Keep while in transit; and I entertain myself by listening to Spotify or watching videos beamed to my handset through apps like HOOQ and the NBA’s official app, which I’m a fairly heavy user of for most of the NBA season.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s post: the 5 Android apps I can’t live without. Apps are what make my smartphone indispensable to me, after all. However, before we proceed, a disclaimer is in order: I’ve excluded Google’s core apps, such as Chrome, Gmail, and Google Now, because I think pretty much every knowledgeable Android owner out there sees them as smartphone essentials. With that out of the way, let’s talk about my favorite downloads on the Google Play store, in no particular order.

Apps are what make my smartphone indispensable to me. Here are 5 Android apps I can’t live without.

1. HOOQ

It’s been a while since I saw a movie or TV show on cable TV, and that’s largely because of subscription video-on-demand services that allow me to watch what I want, where and when I choose — without tripping over piracy laws.

And for someone who lives in the Philippines, there’s no better option than HOOQ, which offers over 30,000 hours of local and foreign programming, as well as the ability to download content for offline playback. And as far as HOOQ is concerned, there’s no better way to experience it than on mobile. This app does exactly what you think it should: It puts a TV in your pocket.

2. Spotify

If HOOQ is local and cable TV in the Internet age, Spotify is basically all radio stations and my music library rolled into a digital package that I can tweak to my liking. Songs on Spotify are available offline, too, but only if you’re willing to pay the equivalent of a large Starbucks drink each month. To that I say: Go ahead. Spotify is well worth the price of admission for anyone who spends at least 4 hours a day listening to music.

3. Uber

There are few worse things for someone who owns a driving license than plying the crowded streets of Metro Manila, especially during the evening rush hour. Riding the train is an exercise in patience, and hailing a cab is next to impossible when there are a dozen or so commuters jostling for a comfortable seat on the way home after a tiring day at the office.

That’s where Uber, one of the most popular app-based, ride-hailing services in the world, comes in. Uber sends you private a car (chauffeur included) using your phone’s GPS to track you and takes you from point A to B safely and without hassle at a reasonable price. In fact, taking UberX, the most affordable iteration of Uber, is generally cheaper than riding a cab. Uber’s customer support is also second to none; trust me, I’ve been using Uber and its competitors for more than a year already.

4. Facebook

It’s Facebook in app form. Need I say more? Sarcasm aside, nothing beats Mark Zuckerberg’s social network when it comes to size and popularity, regardless of format. And ever since major carriers in the Philippines decided to foot the bill for everyone in the country to get free, albeit limited, access to Facebook for mobile, I’ve begun using it for messaging purposes with increasing frequency.

5. Nova Launcher

Last but definitely not the least is a third-party launcher app called Nova Launcher, which, as Android Central put it, “may be the best thing that ever happened for Android.” I couldn’t agree more. Nova Launcher offers a ton of customization options to play around with, allowing me to change nearly all elements of my phone’s general interface — icons and animations included.

The app is free to download, but to unlock all its cool features, including the ability to assign gestures for various functions, you have to upgrade to the Prime version for P222.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5shykyfmb28″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Google app for mobile

ASUS ZenPad 7.0 tablet to launch on July 30

In Tablets by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

After garnering a lot of attention in the smartphone space, courtesy of the high-specced but reasonably priced Zenfone 2, ASUS Philippines will be looking to impress would-be tablet owners next week with the launch of two new additions to its tablet line.

I’ve just received word that both the ASUS ZenPad C 7.0 and ZenPad 7.0 are going to be unveiled on July 30. Naturally, pricing remains a mystery at this point, though a 3G version of the ZenPad C 7.0 has been spotted on Villman going for P5,995, which makes it all the more likely that a local release is not far off.

ASUS Philippines will be looking to impress would-be tablet owners with the launch of the ASUS ZenPad C 7.0 and ZenPad 7.0 on July 30.

The ZenPad C 7.0 carries the “C” moniker to indicate its entry-level status among devices in ASUS’ stable. As such, the slate boasts rather modest specifications that reflect the kind of light to moderate computing users would expect from a device of this caliber. A quad-core Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM and up to 16GB of expandable storage runs the ZenPad C 7.0. ASUS’ own ZenUI on top of Android Lollipop takes care of the software side of things.

The ZenPad 7.0, on the other hand, packs improved specs that will likely justify its higher price. Both tablets have a leather-like back cover and a 7-inch IPS display surrounded by relatively thin bezels, which are typical of current-gen tablets, regardless of price. I’ll be sure to write a follow-up post following the launch event next week. In the meantime, check out the ASUS ZenPad 7.0 in the video below.

Specs of the ASUS ZenPad C 7.0:
* Dual-SIM
* 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* Mali-450 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 7-inch IPS display (1,024 x 600 resolution)
* 2-megapixel rear camera
* VGA front camera
* Android Lollipop 5.0

Specs of the ASUS ZenPad 7.0:
* 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom x3 CPU
* Mali-450 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot
* 7-inch IPS display (1,280 x 800 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera
* 2-megapixel front camera
* Android Lollipop 5.0

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG8EC4JNytk” width=”560″ height=”315″]

ASUS ZenPad 7.0 first impressions from TabTec

Xiaomi Mi 4i vs. Meizu M2 Note: tale of the tape

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

Now that both the Meizu M2 Note and Xiaomi Mi 4i have been officially priced and confirmed to be heading to Philippine shores soon, pitting them against one another on paper to determine which Android smartphone offers more bang for your money should be a little easier.

In one corner you have the M2 Note, a big-screen, octa-core phone with few compromises. In the other corner you have the Mi 4i, which despite being a slightly watered-down version of Xiaomi’s outgoing flagship phone, combines great hardware and software with an attractive price tag.

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So, which one wins? Both devices look especially good in terms of specifications: dual-SIM slots with support for LTE connections; full-HD screens; octa-core processing power with ample RAM; high-capacity batteries; and Android Lollipop.

In one corner you have the M2 Note, a big-screen phone with few compromises. In the other corner you have the Mi 4i, which combines great hardware and software with a reasonable price.

The Mi 4i, by virtue of its smaller screen, should offer better handling and a more comfortable usage experience than the M2 Note. Still, smartphones with bigger screens are better suited for games and videos, and the M2 Note’s 5.5-inch screen real estate promises to be a treat for mobile gamers and binge-watchers. Oh, and the M2 Note has a microSD expansion slot, which the Mi 4i lacks.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that the answer, as always, comes down to user preference. But if I have to choose one then it would be the Xiaomi Mi 4i because I don’t have a lot of apps installed on my Android phone and I prefer a normal-sized handset that would easily fit into any pocket.

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

Meizu M2 Note unboxing video

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New Copywriting Positions Available

In News by Alora Uy Guerrero

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P6,999 Meizu M2 Note appears on Lazada PH

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

(UPDATE, July 21: It’s official. Novo7 Tech will sell the Meizu M2 Note for P6,999 on July 22 on Lazada Philippines.)

Remember last month when reports emerged that the Meizu M2 Note is coming to the Philippines sometime in July? Well, it’s likely coming real soon, if the grapevine is to be believed and a recent listing of a P6,999 M2 Note on Lazada Philippines is anything to go by. Local tech blog Yugatech says a Lazada-exclusive sale on July 22 is all but guaranteed.

[frame src=”https://www.revu.com.ph/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Meizu-M2-Note-Lazada.jpg” target=”_self” width=”620″ height=”412″ alt=”Premium WordPress Themes” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]

After the sale period, the M2 Note will reportedly sell for P7,490 in Novo7 Tech stores. Recall that the Android Lollipop phone sports a 5.5-inch, full-HD display backed by an LTE-capable, octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of built-in storage. The version that will be sold here maxes out at 16GB, though it is expandable through the use of a microSD card. If you want a refresher on other key specifications, I’ve listed them below.

The Meizu M2 Note is coming real soon, if the grapevine is to be believed and a recent listing on Lazada Philippines is anything to go by.

Meizu M2 Note specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.3GHz 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 CPU
* Mali-T720 MP3 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB/32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.5-inch IGZO display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,100mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.1

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

Meizu M2 Note unboxing video

OPPO PH teases Mirror 5 smartphone

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Judging from a recent Facebook post by OPPO Philippines, another Android smartphone is about to hit the market soon, and it could very well be the OPPO Mirror 5, which debuted this month.

The press renders reveal a boxy exterior, with innards held together by a metallic frame and a reinforced internal structure. But perhaps the most attractive aspect of the phone’s design can be found around the back, where the reflective, diamond-like pattern we saw on the OPPO R1x makes a return.

The most attractive aspect of the Mirror 5’s design can be found around the back, where the diamond-like pattern we saw on the R1x makes a return.

The front of the device flaunts a 5-inch IPS display with qHD resolution and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. Inside, you’ll find a quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. On the software side, the Mirror 5 comes preloaded with Android Lollipop 5.1, making it one of two handsets in OPPO’s portfolio that runs the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.

OPPO Philippines remains mum on a local release, but I expect the Mirror 5 to launch next month. It should retail for somewhere north of P10,000 considering its predecessor, the Mirror 3, is currently priced at P9,990.

OPPO has been listed as one of the top 5 smartphone brands in Southeast Asia, according to a previous report by research firm IDC.

OPPO Mirror 5 specs:
* Dual SIM
* Quad-core processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD expansion
* 5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,420mAh battery
* Color OS 2.1 based on Android Lollipop 5.1

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45hQpWvr3vQ” width=”560″ height=”315″]

OPPO Mirror 5 preview from our YouTube channel

Motorola re-enters PH market, Moto X, Moto G, Moto E in tow

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Hoping to bounce back from a lengthy period of dormancy, Motorola Mobility formally announced its re-entry into the Philippine market yesterday, which coincided with the local launch of 3 Motorola smartphones that are slated for release in the near future.

I’m referring to the Moto X (2014), Moto G (2014), and Moto E (2015), which are expected to show up in stores by the end of July. (Sorry, Nexus fans. It looks like a local release is currently out of the question for the Nexus 6.)

The Moto X (2014), Moto G (2014), and Moto E (2015), which are expected to show up in the Philippines by the end of July.

As far as specifications go, the Moto X, the most expensive of the bunch, packs a 5.2-inch AMOLED display with 1080p resolution and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor fitted with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of non-expandable storage.

The Moto G takes aim at the mid-range segment and comes with a 5-inch, 720p IPS display and a quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM, while the entry-level Moto E has a 4.5-inch IPS display and an LTE-capable, quad-core processor. All 3 devices are already running Android Lollipop.

As for pricing, the Moto X, Moto G, and Moto E can be had for P16,999, P8,499, and P6,999, respectively. But I wouldn’t be too quick to drop money on either Moto X or Moto G, as enticing as they are. According to The Verge, Motorola will in all likelihood introduce updates to the Moto X and Moto G lines on July 28, so you’re probably better off waiting if you’re interested.

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Moto X (2014) specs (Price in the Philippines: P16,999):
* LTE
* 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 CPU
* Adreno 330 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 5.2-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,300mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

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Moto G (2014) specs (Price in the Philippines: P8,499):
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU
* Adreno 305 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 8-megapixel rear camera with flash
* 2-megapixel front camera
* 2,070mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

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Moto E (2015) specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,999):
* LTE
* 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 4.5-inch IPS display (540 x 960 resolution)
* 5-megapixel rear camera with flash
* VGA front camera
* 2,390mAh battery
* Android Lollipop 5.0

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

Moto Maker for the Moto X