Alcatel Flash 2 announced in PH, available September 30

In Phones by Ramon Lopez1 Comment

The Flash smartphone series has been a runaway online success for Alcatel and its exclusive retailer, Lazada Philippines, sparking renewed interest in the now-TCL-owned brand. And momentum is likely to escalate, following the unveiling of the new Alcatel Flash 2 in the Philippines, one of the first countries to offer the phone (through Lazada’s local website).

During the press conference earlier today, Inanc Balci, co-founder and CEO of Lazada Philippines, spoke of how well the P6,490 Alcatel Flash Plus is doing locally. He even revealed that at one point, Lazada Philippines sold as many as 29 Flash Plus phones per second. That’s a staggering number considering the novelty of the online retail platform in the country.

The Flash 2 seems to be a fairly solid 5-inch smartphone, but its cameras aren’t anything to write home about.

Now, about the Alcatel Flash 2: It seems to be a fairly solid 5-incher if you’re looking for something that’s designed for one-handed use and supports both FDD and TDD LTE standards, which is essential for anyone who is a bit of a globetrotter. The near-stock, Android Lollipop-based UI is icing on the cake, and so is the black sandstone rear cover, which improves grip and handling but it may turn off buyers who prefer a smooth finish, sadly.

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But while the Flash 2 is touted as a smartphone that puts photography front and center — a large chunk of the presentation showcased the phone’s “best-in-class” imaging hardware — I found its 13- and 5-megapixel main and selfie cameras to be a little underwhelming given all the hoopla surrounding both shooters. Hopefully, things can get better with software updates.

The Alcatel Flash 2 will retail for P6,190 when it goes on sale exclusively through Lazada Philippines on September 30.

Alcatel Flash 2 specs (Price in the Philippines: P6,190):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.3GHz 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 CPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch IPS display (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-tone flash
* 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
* 3,000mAh battery
* Android 5.1 Lollipop

New on HOOQ: a Batman prequel, hit DC TV series, love triangles

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

It’s (unofficially) DC month on HOOQ, as three acclaimed TV shows that showcase characters from the comic-book universe make their debut on the subscription video-on-demand service. Also on this month’s “what’s new” list are two local releases from last year that present a new spin on the love-triangle format. Spoiler: This month’s recent additions are awesome and will likely soak up most of your free time.

Arrow

The TV series that reimagined the origin story of a relatively obscure DC crimefighter and challenged its audience to rethink the superhero genre on television altogether, Arrow is essential viewing for both comics fans and newcomers alike.

Three acclaimed TV shows that showcase characters from the DC universe make their debut on HOOQ this month.

Lead actors relying on stunt doubles is a common trope of superhero cinema and television, but Arrow’s Stephen Amell has done nearly all of his own stunts, which has allowed for some of the best-looking action sequences in TV history. Watch it if only for the mind-blowing, physics-defying stunts.

The Flash

The portrayal of protagonists in the modern superhero genre often borrow from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy; at times, an actor’s furrowed brows and moody scowls may seem straight out of Christian Bale’s Batman audition.

The Flash, and its faithful representation of the source material, makes for a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable hour of TV.

It’s not often we see a spandex-clad do-gooder that employs humor and an upbeat personality to deal with his newfound reality. Which is why The Flash, and its faithful representation of Barry Allen (Flash himself) in the source material, makes for a refreshing and thoroughly enjoyable hour of television.

Gotham

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Fox’s retelling of the Batman universe takes place 15 years or so prior to the Caped Crusader’s existence, back when the recently orphaned Bruce Wayne was a poor little rich boy, future police commissioner Jim Gordon was a young, hothead cop, and baddies like Penguin and the Riddler were supervillains-in-training.

It sounds like a recipe for a compelling watch, and, for the most part, it is; this police drama has grit and promise and a great cast. A final word: Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Batman-verse Easter eggs because there’s plenty to see in the 22-episode first season.

The Gifted

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The Gifted, helmed by writer-director Chris Matinez, is a black comedy about the waning friendship between two ugly ducklings played by Anne Curtis and Cristine Reyes who light up the screen with their verbal melee. Strong acting across the board, offbeat humor, and a surprising plot twist make this film a blast to watch.

Strong acting across the board, offbeat humor, and a surprising plot twist make The Gifted a blast to watch.

Trophy Wife

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The mistress genre continues to be a thriving staple in Philippine cinema and television, and the Trophy Wife seems eager to provide a few interesting twists to a tired and clichéd formula. It succeeds in doing exactly that.

Derek Ramsay and his two sultry leading ladies, Cristine Reyes and Heart Evangelista, offer an abundance of eye candy, but it’s the lead actors’ solid performances that will hold your attention through 100 minutes.

How to properly install iOS 9 on your Apple device

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

Image via Digital Trends

Three months after its announcement, Apple’s latest major software update for iOS devices has started to roll out to supported iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches (see the full list of compatible models below). iOS 9 brings a number of new apps and functions to existing Apple products, including a smarter Siri, a low-power mode, a proper file browser in iCloud Drive, and split-screen multitasking on the iPad.

iOS 9 brings a number of new features, including a smarter Siri, a low-power mode, a proper file browser, and split-screen multitasking on the iPad.

Quite simply, if your phone or tablet runs iOS 8.4 without any hiccups, I highly recommend you upgrade to iOS 9. But in case you haven’t received the OTA update notification for iOS 9 yet, you can manually upgrade your device using iTunes, which is actually my preferred method of downloading and installing iOS updates, as it’s less likely to screw up the process.

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Even better, following the iTunes method will allow you to skip Apple’s download queue, spare your device’s storage of a huge install file (take note, 16GB owners), and download the update directly to your computer without plugging in your device. As always, backup all your data and settings through iCloud or iTunes before proceeding with the installation. With iOS, you’re never exactly sure how a software update would proceed (I found that out the hard way last year).

You can manually upgrade your device using iTunes to spare your device’s storage of a huge install file.

• Install the latest version of iTunes on your computer.
• Download the iOS 9 install file (.ipsw) for your device from the links below.
• Use a USB cable to connect your device to your computer.
• Run iTunes and ensure your device is detected by the software.
• Click on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch from the iTunes Summary tab under Settings.
• Press and hold the Alt key (Mac) or Shift key (Windows) and then click Check for Update in iTunes. Alternatively,             you can click Restore iPhone to perform a clean install of iOS 9.
• Select the iOS 9 install file you downloaded earlier in the window that pops up.
• Wait until the upgrade completes. Upon completion, your device will automatically boot to the “Hello” screen of iOS 9.

Look at how easy that is — no tech savvy required.

Note: Here are the direct download links for iOS 9 install files (.ipsw), courtesy of Redmond Pie:

iPad Air 2 (6th generation WiFi)
iPad Air 2 (6th generation Cellular)
iPad Air (5th generation WiFi + Cellular)
iPad Air (5th generation WiFi)
iPad Air (5th generation CDMA)
iPad (4th generation CDMA)
iPad (4th generation GSM)
iPad (4th generation WiFi)
iPad mini (CDMA)
iPad mini (GSM)
iPad mini (WiFi)
iPad mini 2 (WiFi + Cellular)
iPad mini 2 (WiFi)
iPad mini 2 (CDMA)
iPad mini 3 (China)
iPad mini 3 (WiFi)
iPad mini 3 (Cellular)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi (3rd generation)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (GSM)
iPad 3 Wi-Fi + Cellular (CDMA)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi (Rev A)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (GSM)
iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G (CDMA)
iPhone 5 (CDMA)
iPhone 5 (GSM)
iPhone 5c (CDMA)
iPhone 5c (GSM)
iPhone 5s (CDMA)
iPhone 5s (GSM)
iPhone 6
iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone 4s
iPod touch (5th-generation)
iPod touch (6th-generation)

Lenovo unveils supersized Phab Plus phone in PH

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Apple and OPPO aren’t the only manufacturers that have made a bet on supersized devices lately. Lenovo has thrown its hat into the ring, too, with the announcement of the Phab Plus at the recently held IFA 2015 consumer-electronics fair in Berlin. Today, Lenovo has made the product official in the Philippines.

Part phone and part tablet, this new crossover from China fits a massive full-HD screen that spans 6.8 inches diagonally (whoa, nelly!) in a metal unibody casing that measures 7.6mm in depth. The Phab Plus is looking to benefit from a burgeoning trend among smartphone users: Lenovo has observed that fewer people are using their phones for voice calls now, as more and more are using text messaging to communicate.

Part phone, part tablet, this crossover from China fits a massive screen that spans 6.8 inches in a metal unibody casing that measures 7.6mm in depth.

And expressing your thoughts and feelings and needs and wants promptly using text (or emojis) is something the Phab Plus indeed does with great success — provided you’re okay with two-handed thumb typing.

Alas, the use of both hands to get work done as quickly as possible is the overarching disclaimer attached to the Phab Plus. Because as much effort as Lenovo put into making this phone-tablet hybrid easier to operate in portrait mode (Lenovo engineered the Android Lollipop-based UI with a few software features that improve handling), it’s still too big to use with one hand.

The use of both hands to get work done as quickly as possible is the overarching disclaimer attached to the Phab Plus.

Specs-wise, the Phab Plus sees an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor humming under the hood, alongside 2GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. Also on deck are 13- and 5-megapixel main and secondary cameras and a 3,500mAh non-removable battery, which comes as a bit of a shock given the 6.8-inch footprint.

The Lenovo Phab Plus sells for P14,999 and is now available in all Allphones stores nationwide.

Lenovo Phab Plus

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Lenovo Phab Plus specs (Price in the Philippines: P14,999):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 64GB)
* 6.8-inch IPS display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,500mAh battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

 

OPPO PH debuts metal-clad R7 Lite and R7 Plus at aggressive prices

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OPPO Philippines has today unveiled the metal-clad R7 Series phones, which are aimed at the mid- to high-end markets Apple and Samsung are courting. And if there’s anything to be taken away from tonight’s festivities, it’s that the makers of the iPhone and Galaxy handsets — and the rest of the industry, for that matter — should be taking notes on how to put together strong contenders in the smartphone space without asking for too much in return.

The R7 Lite and R7 Plus retail for a reasonable P13,990 and P21,990, respectively, and based on the extensive time I’ve spent with both devices, I must say that OPPO is going to leave a lot of people impressed with its latest efforts.

Both the R7 Lite and R7 Plus have unibody casings made of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy, which is about as good as it gets for smartphones at the moment. They look and feel great in the hand, and the curved-edge Gorilla Glass on the front plus the subtle curves around the back leading to the chamfered metal frame lend to a more-than-satisfying usage experience.

The R7 Lite and R7 Plus have unibody casings made of aircraft-grade magnesium alloy. Based on the time I’ve spent with both devices, I must say that OPPO is going to leave a lot of people impressed with its latest efforts.

The phones are equipped with AMOLED displays for bright colors and intense blacks, as well as 13- and 8-megapixel rear and selfie cameras, though the R7 Plus offers dual-LED flash and laser autofocus for quick snd precise focusing when shooting in close proximity. It also ups the ante when it comes to securing your data, as the Plus variant has a fingerprint sensor on the rear panel to unlock the device with.

Powering both handsets is OPPO’s Android Lollipop-based ColorOS 2.1 running on a combination of an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor and 2GB (R7 Lite) or 3GB of RAM (R7 Plus).

Of the two, it’s the R7 Lite that is more skewed towards a mainstream audience; the R7 Plus touts a massive 6-inch display that’s nearly twice the surface area of most phones today.

But of the two, it’s the R7 Lite, with its 5-inch footprint, that is more skewed towards a mainstream audience; the R7 Plus, in comparison, touts a massive 6-inch display that’s nearly twice the surface area of most phones today. Impressively enough, the latter’s frame isn’t much larger than the screen itself, making it easier to operate one-handed than its size would indicate.

The OPPO R7 Lite and R7 Plus are now available in online and offline stores in the Philippines.

OPPO R7 Series

Picture 1 of 8

OPPO R7 Lite specs (Price in the Philippines: P13,990):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch AMOLED display with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 2,320mAh battery
* Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

OPPO R7 Plus specs (Price in the Philippines: P21,990):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 6-inch AMOLED display with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 4,100mAh battery with VOOC fast charging
* Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

Confirmed: iPhone 6s, 6s Plus have 2GB RAM

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Even before the Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were made official a few days ago, the rumor mill has been churning with reports that Apple’s latest — and apparently much-improved — iPhones have 2GB of RAM, or double the amount of RAM than their 2014 counterparts.

Well, to the surprise of nobody, it turns out that the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus do have 2GB of RAM built into the new A9 chipset,  according to iOS developer Hamza Sood who used the Xcode developer software to confirm the bump in memory. The last time Apple put more RAM into an iPhone was back in 2012, when the most valuable company in the world increased the RAM of the iPhone 5 to 1GB.

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And while 2GB of RAM may not sound like a lot compared to the 4GB of some Android phones like the ASUS Zenfone 2 and OnePlus 2, the double shot of memory should result in faster app load times and a smoother user experience if previous models are anything to go by. It’s not as if last year’s iPhones aren’t fast enough already (they are).

The double shot of memory should result in faster app load times and a smoother user experience.

However, compared to the iPad Pro tablet, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus can’t hold a candle against the biggest and most powerful iOS device yet, which has been revealed to include a whopping 4GB of onboard memory.

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

Watch our ASUS Zenfone 2 review

Cherry Mobile One G1 out now in stores

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

It may have taken a while, but the second smartphone collaboration between Google and Cherry Mobile is now available in stores, the latter announced on Facebook earlier today. The Cherry Mobile One G1 retails for P5,999, which is more than reasonable for a 4G LTE-capable phone with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable storage, and a 5-inch, high-resolution display.

And I haven’t even touched on the most brilliant aspect of the phone yet: Android software in its latest and purest form. More impressively, the G1 will continue to run the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system for at least another year.

The G1 will continue to run the latest version of Android for at least another year; it will likely be upgraded to whatever Android N ends up becoming.

In my review, I wrote that out of the sub-P6,000 phones out there, only the G1 is all but expected to get a taste of Google’s next major Android release after Marshmallow. Yeah, you got that right: the G1 will likely be upgraded to whatever Android N (Nougat?) ends up becoming.

If the G1 sounds like the future-proof device you want to own, then you should definitely check it out in Cherry Mobile stores nationwide.

Cherry Mobile One G1

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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

HOOQ’s catch-up service streams shows 24 hours after they air

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

Local teleseryes: They’re a cultural phenomenon, regardless of where the general public’s current broadcast-channel allegiance lies. (It’s still a two-horse race, in my opinion.)

Teleseryes have transcended through the decades and social and religious barriers. They have made us laugh, cry (a lot), and genuinely care about or hate fictional characters, and we have embraced them and welcomed them into our living rooms as part of our daily routine, even if it sometimes meant skipping the dinner table to eat the night’s grub in front of the TV.

Or at least that’s how I remember spending most of my evenings growing up.

The good news is that neither the clogged arteries of Metro Manila nor rains could ruin your teleserye-viewing schedule. HOOQ has made it easier than ever to watch what you want, when you want.

But these days, so many things are happening around me that I can barely keep up with the stuff on my calendar, let alone the TV shows I intend to watch. The unforgiving traffic in Metro Manila alone can sap all your energy and ruin your evening plans, reducing you to a husk of that sprightly person you looked at in the mirror in the morning. It gets worse sometimes: The seemingly endless waiting stretches exponentially when heavy rains trigger flooding.

The sliver of good news is that neither the clogged arteries of Metro Manila nor heavy downpours could ruin your teleserye-viewing schedule.

As I wrote on an earlier post, subscription video-on-demand services such as HOOQ’s have made it easier than ever to watch what you want, when you want, and on almost any type of mobile device, giving you unprecedented freedom over a giant pool of local and foreign content. And, the last time I checked, HOOQ has amassed 30,000 hours of streaming titles, which is more than you’ll get elsewhere.

You can now watch the latest episodes of flagship GMA telenovelas on HOOQ 24 hours after they air in the Philippines.

As impressive as that sounds, HOOQ isn’t nearly done yet introducing exciting new experiences and providing additional value to its customers. In addition to saving videos for offline playback — which is a huge plus, for obvious reasons — you can now watch the latest episodes of flagship GMA telenovelas on HOOQ 24 hours after they air in the Philippines.

That means you can afford to miss their nightly airings without ever really missing anything in the long term. And, yes, HOOQ’s catch-up episodes, as with all its other series, are entirely commercial-free.

Headlining the list of GMA shows included in HOOQ’s catch-up service are primetime soaps “My Faithful Husband” (which stars Dennis Trillo and Jennylyn Mercado) and “Beautiful Strangers” (Lovi Poe and Heart Evangelista). GMA’s long-running drama series, “The Half Sisters,” is also available on catch-up.

I reckon more will be added in the coming months as our viewing habits continue to shift away from free-to-air TV to on-demand platforms. But as it stands, HOOQ has given me another reason for not regretting cutting the cord on TV.

Starmobile Knight Elite is a P9,990 Xperia Z3 lookalike

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

The local market has seen quite a number of great finds in the midrange-phone segment, and, lucky for us, it seems like there’s no end in sight for affordable smartphones with good-to-great specs. Case in point: Starmobile just announced the Starmobile Knight Elite, which is headed to stores on September 15 with a retail price of P9,990.

Not bad for a Snapdragon 615-based handset resembling the Sony Xperia Z3 with some genuinely good specs. Both front and rear panels are layered with Corning Gorilla Glass to give the Knight Elite a more upscale appearance worthy of its namesake.

The Starmobile Knight Elite is headed to stores on September 15 with a retail price of P9,990. Not bad for a Snapdragon 615-based handset resembling the Sony Xperia Z3.

If you fancy yourself a mobile photographer, you’ll be happy to know that the phone comes with a feature-rich camera app that allows you to adjust the focus after the fact, take better flash photos, and capture sharper and more detailed images when using the camera’s zoom feature, among other things.

Starmobile quietly showed off the device at a recent launch event, and based on the short time I had with a prototype unit, the company has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the next couple of months.

Starmobile Knight Elite specs (Price: P9,990):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
* 5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera with LED flash
* 2,600mAh battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

Sorry, Apple — Android already has ‘Force Touch’

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Apple’s next iPhone, as previously reported, is slated to debut this week, and the company is all but expected to bring the Force Touch feature found in the Apple Watch and a few MacBooks to its smartphone line.

For those not in the know, Force Touch is Apple’s term for its touch-input technology, which allows a device or machine to differentiate between light taps and harder presses on a touch-sensitive surface. On the Apple Watch, for example, pressing firmly on the screen while in the Messages app brings up additional controls.

It’s helpful — and maybe, in some cases, absolutely necessary in the context of smaller surfaces. Hence the excitement over Force Touch possibly being introduced in iPhones, and later, iPads.

But guess what? The idea of determining the force of a tap is nothing new to Android. In fact, Android has had Force Touch sensing as early as 2009, says Pocketnow. There’s even an app called Force Touch Demo to showcase Android’s touch-sensing capabilities.

The idea of determining the force of a tap is nothing new to Android. In fact, Android has had Force Touch sensing as early as 2009.

Alternatively, you can enable developer settings in the main settings menu, and activate “Show touches” and “Pointer location” to track how much force is being applied to the screen. Do note that not all screens are created equally, so your mileage may vary.

But why isn’t Google making a big fuss out of this, and why aren’t developers coming up with apps that, at least to some extent, make better use of Android’s pressure-sensing feature? Developer Adam Outler, creator of Force Touch Demo, has put together a pretty solid answer. “How is this useful? It’s not, really. It just adds a level of complexity to a user experience,” Outler wrote on his Google+ page.

‘How is this useful? It’s not, really. It just adds a level of complexity to a user experience,’ a developer wrote on his Google+ page.

I’m inclined to agree, seeing that the screen size of Android devices has been steadily expanding over the last few years, as manufacturers continue to find ways to shrink the bezels around the display. Unless, of course, Apple proves yet again that it can reinvent the smartphone, this time with Force Touch.

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

OPPO R7 Series to be sold on Lazada PH starting Sept. 15

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Heads up, Android fans. The OPPO R7 Series, which includes the brilliant R7 Plus I wrote about last week, will be available on Lazada’s Philippine website starting September 15. That’s about a week from today, for those keeping count.

All (known) phones under the R7 Series feature AMOLED displays and 64-bit, octa-core Snapdragon 615 processors wrapped in seamless, all-metal bodies that make them aesthetically similar to the iPhone 6. They also sport contoured-edge Gorilla Glass to make the edges of the front panel feel smoother to the touch.

The OPPO R7 Series will be available on Lazada’s Philippine website starting September 15.

Pricing remains a mystery for now, but chances are the prices will be the same as in other markets. It’s worth noting that in China, the OPPO R7 Plus costs 2,999 Yuan, or around P22,000.

 

OPPO R7 Plus

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OPPO R7 Plus specs:
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 6-inch AMOLED display with curved-edge Corning Gorilla Glass (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
* 8-megapixel front camera
* 4,100mAh battery with VOOC fast charging
* Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

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

OPPO R7 Plus video review courtesy of Android Authority

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7 reasons to buy the OPPO R7 Plus

In Phones by Ramon Lopez6 Comments

(UPDATE, September 4, 2015: OPPO Philippines will unveil the OPPO R7 Series on September 15th. Stay tuned for a follow-up post after the launch event.)

The wait is over: OPPO Philippines’ recent posts on social media put to rest any doubts that the OPPO R7 Series is indeed coming to stores soon. And if the last couple of days are any indication, the R7 Plus may very well be the best tablet-like phone I’ve had the pleasure of using this year.

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This rugged portable SSD is smaller, thinner than your phone

In Laptops by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

That is, unless you’re rocking a ridiculously thin phone like the OPPO R5, or something else almost equally devoid of edges. I mean, just take a gander at it. Tell me that isn’t one of the tiniest, if not the tiniest, portable drives you’ve laid eyes on. Tell me that isn’t a true achievement in design that provides a glimpse of the future today.

The portable-storage device in question is the SanDisk Extreme 500, which has an insanely compact footprint. It’s compact enough to carry around or to fit in your jeans pocket, even more so than your phone, and without constantly worrying about it slipping out of your grip.

SanDisk’s Extreme 500 has an insanely compact footprint, compact enough to fit in your jeans pocket. It’s ridiculously fast, too.

And even if you do somehow lose control over it, the Extreme 500’s impact-resistant shell in combination with its rubber bumpers is likely to absorb any impact and handle wild temperature swings more favorably than that of a portable hard drive. Well, that is the ideal scenario, anyway.

SanDisk Extreme 500

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The Extreme 500 is ridiculously fast as well, just as you’d expect from a new portable SSD. SanDisk claims it is capable of up to four times the speed of a portable hard drive (415MB/s), which means you’ll spend less time waiting for files to transfer from one machine to another and more time working on them.

Interested? SanDisk’s Extreme 500 portable SSD comes in 120GB and 240GB capacities that retail for P7,250 and P10,850, respectively. The roomier 480GB model will arrive later this year, but will set you back P18,000 — which, let’s face it, isn’t a tiny amount for the privilege of stashing your files in a portable drive the size of a beverage coaster. No matter how ridiculous that sounds.

Xiaomi’s Mi 4c is an affordable powerhouse, according to leaks

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via Electrony.net

The midrange Xiaomi Mi 4i has been out just a couple of months in the Philippines, but it is already at risk of being overtaken in the pecking order of desirable smartphones. Or, at least, that is what will likely happen next if the rumors surrounding the upcoming Mi 4c do turn out to be true.

A photo of the Mi 4c’s retail packaging has revealed pretty much every detail about the device, right down to its battery capacity and USB connector standard. It appears the 4c will be, in many ways, similar to the 4i so expect to see identical RAM (2GB) and storage (16GB) configurations and the same 13- and 5-megapixel rear and front cameras and 3,080mAh battery.

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Image from Gizmo China

But unlike its predecessor, the 4c will be powered by the same hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor as the LG G4 and will come with a USB Type-C connector, which are firsts for a Xiaomi device.

If Xiaomi manages to keep the price under P10,000, then the 4c, with its beefed-up CPU and reversible USB port, will likely be a hit. That’s a big if, of course.

The 4c is also expected to ship with a 1080p display that spans 5 inches across, as well as a heavily skinned version of Android Lollipop in MIUI 7. It will reportedly retail for just 1,299 Yuan, or roughly P9,500, when it arrives in stores sometime in early September.

If Xiaomi somehow manages to keep the price under P10,000, then the 4c, with its beefed-up processor and reversible USB port, will likely be a hit when among the Android faithful in the Philippines. That’s a big if, of course.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxymBx8rjos” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Xiaomi Mi 4i review from Android Authority’s YouTube channel

ASUS announces ZenFone 2 Deluxe, Selfie, Laser in PH

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Most recently, ASUS took to the stage to announce the newest smartphones that will expand its local portfolio. The ZenFone 2 Deluxe, Selfie, and Laser all made their debut appearances in the Philippines, bearing aggressive prices and the latest Android operating system in Lollipop. (Android Marshmallow will see a commercial release later this year, alongside the new Nexus phone.)

With more ZenFones in tow than you’d care to remember, ASUS is now armed to the teeth with phones for all pockets and all types of users.

The specs for all three devices are listed below. Right now, I want to talk briefly about the impact of ASUS’ announcement on the local market: With more ZenFones in tow than you’d care to remember, the Taiwanese electronics company is now armed to the teeth with smartphones for all pockets and all types of users.

Love gaming on mobile and social platforms? The ZenFone 2 Deluxe may suit you well. Love taking self-portraits? The ZenFone Selfie is a capable selfie machine, and, as I’ve found out, it goes beyond what its name implies. Want a well-specced phone that supports 4G LTE networks but don’t want to spend anything above P10,000? It would be difficult to do worse than the ZenFone 2 Laser.

The ZenFone Deluxe, Selfie, and Laser (5-inch model) are now available for purchase from stores for P17,995, P11,995, and P7,695, respectively.

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ASUS ZenFone 2 Deluxe (Price in the Philippines: P17,995):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 2.3GHz 64-bit, quad-core Intel Atom Z3580 CPU
* 4GB RAM
* 128GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 3,000mAh battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

ASUS ZenFone Selfie

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ASUS ZenFone Selfie (Price in the Philippines: P11,995):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.5GHz 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 CPU
* Adreno 405 GPU
* 3GB RAM
* 32GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5.5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (1,080 x 1,920 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autofocus, dual-tone flash
* 13-megapixel front camera with dual-tone flash
* 3,000mAh battery
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

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ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser (Price in the Philippines: P7,695 for 5-inch model; P8,695 for 5.5-inch model):
* Dual SIM with LTE support
* 1.2GHz 64-bit, quad-core Snapdragon 410 CPU
* Adreno 306 GPU
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* microSD card slot (up to 128GB)
* 5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (720 x 1,280 resolution);  5-inch IPS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 (720 x 1,280 resolution)
* 13-megapixel rear camera with laser autfocus, dual-tone flash
* 5-megapixel front camera
* 2,070mAh battery (for 5-inch SKU); 3,000mAh (for 5.5-inch SKU)
* Android 5.0 Lollipop

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

Watch our ASUS Zenfone 2 review

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ASUS ZenFone Selfie review: more than self-portraits

In Phones by Ramon Lopez7 Comments

Metro Manila may never run out of traffic problems to solve, but ASUS clearly hasn’t run out of ZenFone ideas to address the always-evolving tastes and demands of smartphone buyers.

Enter the ZenFone Selfie, which retails for P11,995 in the Philippines. As you may have gathered, it’s a product built around the idea that you, me, and a goodly number of the population love taking self-portraits behind closed doors or in plain sight, and that we want our phones to be as obsessed with self-photography as we are.

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Apple to launch iPhone 6s on September 9

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Mark your calendars, Apple fans. The American tech giant has officially confirmed a launch date for its latest products: September 9 is the date to watch for, which won’t surprise anyone familiar with Apple’s track record. It will be held exactly a year after the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus debuted in front of an excited audience. And for the first time in a long while, Apple will allow Windows users to stream its product unveiling without using VLC player.

Apple has officially confirmed a launch date for its latest products: September 9 is the date to watch for.

While this year’s batch of fresh iPhones aren’t expected to look very different, they’re just as important for a company as profitable as Apple, which earns most of its profits from selling smartphones. Alongside the long-rumored iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, Apple is likely to introduce an upgraded Apple TV box to coincide with the launch of its own Internet-based television service.

Multiple reports suggest the next iPhones will include Apple’s ForceTouch technology, a faster processor with twice as much RAM as previous models, a 12-megapixel rear camera capable of recording 4K video, and a more powerful Siri to take on Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Facebook’s M.

YouTube Gaming might be the best thing to happen to, well, gaming

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

Like so many of you and the folks in your social circles, I love playing video games. And when I’m not behind the controller or joystick, or out, I tend to whip out my phone to watch other people play the video games I own or plan to own. (Yes, there’s a market for people who would rather be in front of a screen — sans a video-game console — than behind a controller.)

Which is why I spend an embarrassing amount of time glued to Twitch, the live-streaming service Google tried and failed to acquire last year, weekly, perhaps much to the chagrin of the few close friends I have.

And it’s why I’ve decided to take my video-game-watching habits to YouTube Gaming, Google’s just-launched site for gamers and game-watchers and Twitch’s now-biggest rival in the live-streaming space, when its Android app eventually makes its way to the Philippines. And I say that with hours upon hours of Twitch content under my belt.

I’ve decided to take my video-game-watching habits to YouTube Gaming, Google’s just-launched site for gamers and Twitch’s now-biggest rival.

YouTube Gaming is a lot like the YouTube you’re familiar with on the Web, except searches point you to game-related content first and the front page is populated with live channels and tailored towards game discovery. And did I mention that it already looks more polished and attractive than Twitch? It does indeed, and it even lets you rewind a live stream after the fact, though you’re limited to only viewing content you’ve missed over the past two hours.

YouTube Gaming is YouTube for a specific audience, and it works great. For now, that may be enough to poach Twitch users.

YouTube Gaming is YouTube for a specific, possibly console-starved audience, and it works great. For now, that may be enough to poach Twitch users. People like myself, for example.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrJczjVT0Xk” width=”560″ height=”315″]

OPPO Mirror 5 now comes with free Internet for 2 months

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

I previously reviewed the OPPO Mirror 5, and noted it was one of the best that the bargain segment has seen in terms of design and all-around performance, which may not come as a surprise to anyone who has played around with the phone.

And if you thought it couldn’t get any better, OPPO Philippines is throwing in a Globe prepaid SIM card with 100MB of free monthly data for two months, saving you about P200, to help you get the most out of your shiny new gadget. This offer lasts until November 30, and applies to purchases in OPPO stores and participating retailers nationwide.

OPPO Philippines is throwing in a Globe SIM card with 100MB of free data for two months to help you get the most out of the Mirror 5.

OPPO Mirror 5

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For those in need of a quick refresher, the OPPO Mirror 5 is a mid-sized Android Lollipop handset with a quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a diamond decor on its back cover that you won’t find on any other budget device. It retails for P9,990 in the Philippines.

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

Leaked video gives us best look at Apple iPhone 6s

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Try to act surprised: A video of the new iPhone (a.k.a iPhone 6s) has surfaced, weeks ahead of its rumored unveiling on September 9. Unlike previous leaks, this one allegedly gives us the best look at Apple’s next smartphone so far.

The short clip, which runs a little over a minute, shows some of the phone’s innards, including its logic board and LTE modem, while the phone itself is booting up. That’s it.

A short clip of the iPhone 6s has surfaced, showing some of its innards, including its logic board and LTE modem, while the phone itself is booting up.

There’s not much else to say about the device in question, save for its design, which, unsurprisingly, takes after last year’s iPhone 6. No need to fret, though: The latest iPhone rumors point to a powerful configuration (tri-core A9 CPU with 2GB RAM) that rivals the iPad Air 2, to say the least.

Check out the video below to see what the iPhone 6s may look like.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GnOW8z0cyQ” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Alleged leaked iPhone 6s video from Mac Rumors

The major Samsung Galaxy Note 5 design flaw you should know about

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Those fortunate enough to afford the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 should probably consider keeping it away from the hands of curious peers and children. For the rest of their Note 5’s existence, if possible, or until Samsung issues a massive product recall, which is highly unlikely at this point.

The Note 5 has a fatal design flaw that could either result in the S Pen being lodged in the holster or the holster itself losing its stylus-detection function.

Why? Because, according to reports, the Galaxy Note 5 has a fatal design flaw that could either result in the S Pen being hopelessly lodged in the holster, or, if you manage to dislodge it by force, the holster itself losing its stylus-detection function. Either way, you’re stuck with a broken phone — and a very expensive one at that.

Well, that is, if you accidentally insert the S Pen in the opposite direction, bottom first, which, as any previous Note owner will tell you, isn’t the easiest thing to do. Except, with the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung has made it stupidly easy to insert the S Pen backwards. So easy, in fact, that the holster reportedly offers no resistance whatsoever to impede your efforts, unlike with previous Galaxy Note designs.

Samsung has made it stupidly easy to insert the S Pen backwards. So easy, in fact, that the holster offers no resistance to impede your efforts.

Of course, with the benefit of knowing what it could lead to, nobody would intentionally plug the Note 5’s S Pen the wrong way, but what about those who are not familiar with the consequences, say, kids and the technology-averse? My advice: Pop out the S Pen before letting anybody else play around with the device. It could save you a trip to the service center.

[youtube link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hehbSG3h3wU” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Video proof culled from Android Police’s YouTube channel

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Cherry Mobile One G1 review: experience matters

In Phones by Ramon Lopez2 Comments

The Google-led Android One collaboration has so far been met with reservations in countries where it is commercially available. But that hasn’t stopped the American tech giant from soldiering on in pursuit of offering the best smartphone experience possible for under $150, or roughly the equivalent of two pairs of Nike sneakers. And thus we have the Cherry Mobile One G1, the new face of Google’s local efforts to prove that you don’t have to pay top money for a great smartphone anymore.

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This ZenFone 2 has more storage than a base-model MacBook Pro

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

Image via ASUS Fanaticos

You’d think ASUS would have run out of ZenFone 2 ideas by now, given that its popular smartphone line probably already has more variants than the Encyclopedia Britannica has volumes, but it hasn’t. Enter the ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition, yet another new addition to the growing ZenFone family. The kicker this time around is an insane amount of onboard storage for something that fits most pockets.

“Just how much storage are we talking about here?” you ask. 256GB. To put things into perspective, that’s twice the capacity of the ZenFone 2 Deluxe and, more impressively, a base-model Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display. That’s enough space to host most, if not all, your apps and prized digital media, enough space to leave my 15-inch laptop with 120GB of SSD storage green with envy.

The ZenFone 2 Deluxe Special Edition has 256GB of storage. That’s twice the capacity of a base-model Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The rest of the specs are nearly identical to those of the ZenFone 2 Deluxe, but there’s no microSD expansion, because, as ASUS would probably tell you, 256GB is beyond overkill for the average smartphone user.

The 256GB model will be pre-loaded with an exclusive version of Asphalt 8 and will come in two additional colors: carbon fiber (black) and white with red accents. There’s no word yet on its availability and price, but given what we already know, it’s fair to say that it won’t come cheap.

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

Watch our ASUS Zenfone 2 review