Starmobile OCTA Review

The Starmobile OCTA sports an octa-core processor, NFC, and wireless charging. Here's our review.

MyPhone Agua Infinity Review

MyPhone's first octa-core processor, the Agua Infinity, features an octa-core processor and a metal frame. Here's our review.

JBL Synchros S300i Review

For a pair of space-looking headphones, the JBL Synchros S300i sounds nice. Check out our review.

Jabra Revo Review

The Jabra Revo is an affordable pair of cans with a lot of performance to back it up. Review after the jump.

AKG K495 NC Review

For a pair of cans just under P20,000, does the K495 NC's performance justify the price even in 2014? Read our AKG K495 NC review.

Cloudfone Excite 501o Introduced, Second Most Affordable Local Octa-core for P4,999

If budget smartphones are your thing, then you'll be glad to know that local mobile company Cloudfone has released something that's light on the wallet - the Cloudfone 501o.

Cloudfone Excite 501o Introduced, Second Most Affordable Local Octa-core for P4,999

The Cloudfone 501o is a P4,999 Android KitKat device that features a 1.7GHz MT6592 octa-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and dual SIM capability. As attractive as the hardware and the pricing are, the 501o has only a qHD IPS display (resolution nerds beware). There's also the 2250mAh battery, but theoretically, with KitKat running on the device, and with less pixels to push towards the display, then battery consumption should be alright.

Cloudfone Excite 501o Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.7GHz Mediatek MT6592 octa-core processor, Mali-450MP GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5-inch qHD IPS display, 960x540 display resolution
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with AF, flash; 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: Up to 3G/3.5G, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.0; GPS w/ A-GPS; microUSB 2.0, USB OTG; Miracast support
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2250mAh Li-ion battery
Price: P4,999 (SRP)

Regarding the headline, the most affordable octa-core smartphone in the Philippines is the Cherry Mobile Me Vibe at P3,999. Still, the Cloudfone Excite 501o is a great affordable, even though it will set you back a thousand more.

Xiaomi Mi Box Mini Android Set Top Box Announced, Sells for $30

On top of the Mi Note and Mi Note 4 unveiling, Chinese company Xiaomi also announced a few things during the launch, including the Mi Box Mini. The Xiaomi Mi Box Mini is an Android set top box succeeding the original Mi Box, and will sell for only P1,350 (converted).

Xiaomi Mi Box Mini Android Set Top Box Announced, Sells for $30

The Mi Box Mini features a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, a Mali-450MP GPU, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, Bluetooth 4.0 (comes with a Bluetooth remote), dual-band WiFi, and runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. It's about as powerful as an entry level Cherry Mobile quad-core smartphone, and can stream in Dolby DTS 2.0 Digital up to Full HD 1080p. There's also a 1.4 HDMI port and can plug directly to your power socket.

Related: Google Chromecast Review

There's no word yet if the Xiaomi Mi Box Mini is going to be available in the Philippines (however, it should be).

If you'll recall, streaming devices were all the rage last year, with the outing of the $35 Chromecast and others from Roku.

Xiaomi Mi Note, Mi Note Pro Unveiled, "iPhone 6" Killer Starting at P16,599

The smartphone industry's fastest rising star, Xiaomi, unveiled the Xiaomi Mi Note and the higher specced Xiaomi Mi Note Pro at a huge launch at Beijing yesterday, and was led by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun himself. These devices come hot off the heels of the previously announced Mi 4 and the Redmi 2.

Xiaomi Mi Note, Mi Note Pro Unveiled, "iPhone 6" Killer Starting at P16,599

The Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro, clearly chasing after the iPhone 6, both have great specifications to say the least, with attractive pricing to boot. The Mi Note starts with a 5.7-inch Full HD Sharp display, a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, dual 4G LTE, and HiFi audio support (Sabre ES9018K2M high-end DAC  lossless playback). The better Mi Note Pro on the other hand will feature a Quad HD display, the powerful 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB RAM, and LTE CAT 9 support.

Going further, the Mi Note will be just 6.95mm thick, and will sport Gorilla Glass 3 on its front and back sides (Xiaomi showed a clip with the device passing their steel ball drop test and free fall test). Camera-wise, the Mi Note features a 13-megapixel f/2.0 Sony module - and as Lei Jun have mentioned - is flushed to the Mi Note's body, unlike the iPhone 6's.

Xiaomi Mi Note, Mi Note Pro Unveiled, "iPhone 6" Killer Starting at P16,599

Direct conversion of the Mi Note pricing turns out to around P16,599 for the 16GB version and P20,199 for the 64 GB version (if ever this version will reach Philippine shores). The Mi Note Pro on the other hand should sell around P23,799

The Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro are said to be coming to international markets in Q2 2015.

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun during the keynote also hinted that they may enter the smart home scene soon with the help of the Mi Home app on appliances and Mi smartphones.

Xiaomi Mi Note Specifications

OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop, MIUI skin
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.5Ghz quad-core processor, Adreno 330 GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM, 16/64GB internal storage
Display: 5.7-inch Full HD (1080p) Sharp/JDI display, 1920x1080 display resolution, 386 ppi, 3D curved Gorilla Glass 3 with metal frame
Camera: 13-megapixel Sony IMX 214 rear camera, f/2.0, OIS, Philips dual-color flash; 4-megapixel "Large Pixel" front-facing camera, 2μ pixels
Connectivity: Dual 4G LTE support, HiFi audio support
SIM: Dual LTE nano + micro SIM
Battery: 3000mAh Li-ion battery, Quick Charge 2.0
Dimensions: 6.95mm thick, 161 g
Price: P16,599 (16GB variant, estimated)

Xiaomi Mi Note Pro Specifications

OS: Android 5.0 Lollipop, MIUI skin
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor (2.0GHz Cortex-A57 quad-core/1.5GHz Cortex-A53 quad-core), Adreno 430 GPU
Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage
Display: 5.7-inch Quad HD (2K) Sharp/JDI display, 2560x1440 display resolution, 515 ppi
Camera: TBA
Connectivity: LTE CAT 9 support, remaining TBA
SIM: TBA
Battery: 3090mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: TBA
Price: P23,799 (estimated)

Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Plus Revealed, Sports MT6595M Chipset, 3GB RAM for P13,990

Cherry Mobile is starting its year strong and right with recent outings of new affordable and up-to-date smartphones, such as the Cherry Mobile Me Vibe and the previous Infinix Pure and Infinix Pure XL. But as always, the Philippine company looks like it's far from done yet: They've just announced the powerful Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Plus.

Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Plus Revealed, Sports MT6595M Chipset, 3GB RAM for P13,990

The Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Plus is an Android 4.4 KitKat device that sports the MT6595M chipset with an octa-core processor clocked in at 2GHz, a 5.5" LTPS FHD IPS display, a 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage to boot, a 14-megapixel Sony IMX214 camera, and dual LTE connectivity. Apparently, the device is also primed for Android Lollipop (which we shouldn't hope for anytime soon, just to set the expectations).

The Cosmos One Plus takes after the Starmobile Knight X, which shares most of its features, except for the former's 2700mAh battery (vs the Knight X's 3350mAh). Users can take advantage of the smartphone's dual LTE connectivity, which means you'll never get disconnected again. Another feature I appreciate is the microSD expandability of the device, which means it can really do a lot paired with the 32GB of onboard storage (giving the device a 96GB potential storage capacity, excluding USB OTG storage capacity). Design-wise, this device doesn't look anything special: It's just a plain white slab of raw power.

On a personal note, I hope that NFC technology would be more widely adopted, now that Cherry Mobile already has it on their flagship. If you're not familiar with NFC (Near Field Communications), simply put, it allows your device to "talk" to chips or other devices and perform automatic commands or wireless transactions.

If you do all your business in a smartphone, e.g. gaming, browsing, music, movies, etc., then the Cosmos One is a great choice to start the year. Based purely on the specs sheet, this device won't choke on you, and instead bring about a wonderful Android  experience for the cheap (relatively).

The Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Plus is now available at Cherry Mobile concept stores and kiosks nationwide for a price of P13,999 (SRP).

Cherry Mobile Cosmos One Specifications

OS: Android 4.4.2 Kitkat (Android Lollipop ready)
Processor: 2GHz Mediatek T6595M octa-core processor, IMG Rogue G6200 450MHz GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM; 32GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5.5-inch LTPS Full HD IPS display, 1920x1080 display resolution, 480ppi, Gorilla Glass 3
Camera: 14-megapixel Sony IMX 214 rear camera with BSI, AF, LED flash; 8-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE 850/2100/1800MHz; WiFi 802.11  a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.1; NFC; microUSB 2.0, USB OTG; Miracast support
SIM: Dual micro SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2700mAh removable Li-ion battery
Price: P13,990 (SRP)

Starmobile Knight X: Powerful True Dual SIM LTE Octa-core for P15,990

Getting ahead of the pack, Philippine mobile brand Starmobile launched the Starmobile Knight X, currently the most powerful locally-branded smartphone. It's just the first - and this I emphasize - local device to feature the MT6595M chipset onboard, on top of 3GB of RAM. What separates the Knight X from other local octa-cores, aside from the pricing (clue: It's a whopping 5-digit number that would make the price-sensitive go ouch) , is that it also carries true dual SIM LTE connectivity versus others that only offer 3G/3.5G connectivity.

Starmobile Knight X: Powerful True Dual SIM LTE Octa-core for P15,990

Hardware-wise, the Starmobile Knight X sports a 2GHz 2x quad-core processor, a 5.5-inch FHD display, a 32GB internal storage, a 13-megapixel Sony Exmor RS IMX135 camera, and a huge 3350mAh battery that has a quick charing feature, boasting a full charge from 0 to 100 in just 2.5 hours. On a personal note, I appreciate how Starmobile makes sure that their flagship device is worthy of being a flagship device (not to say that other local brands don't, but you get the point). Admittedly though, design isn't one of the Knight X's strong points. It looks like a slab of cut plastic, period.

Connectivity's a no-issue with the device. Aside from the previously mentioned dual SIM LTE connectivity (which also boasts worldwide LTE compatibility), it also has NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and an IR blaster, so you can change TV channels with your smartphone just because.

Price-wise, the Starmobile Knight X, as mentioned previously, may hurt the pockets of the price-sensitive - it's available for P15,990 (SRP). There could be some issues like why is a local brand selling at this price point when that's already a nice international brand, but personally, I think the Knight X is worth it. After all, these are the guys that outed the Octa.

Starmobile Knight X Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 2GHz quad-core + quad-core MediaTek MT6595M processor, IMG Rogue G6200 GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, no microSD card slot
Display: 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display, 1080x1920 pixel resolution, scratch-resistant glass, 4.4mm thin bezel
Camera: 13-megapixel Sony Exmor RS IMX135 rear camera w/ AF, LED flash; 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: Up to 4G LTE Cat  4 connectivity; WiFi 802.11 ac, WiFi hotspot; GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS; NFC; micro USB 2.0; USB OTG; Miracast & Chromecast support; IR blaster
SIM: Dual SIM, dual LTE, dual standby
Battery: 3350mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 152 x 77.7 x 8.9mm, 155 g
Price: P15,990 (SRP)

Samsung Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 Officially Launched in the Philippines, Starts at P16,990

Coinciding with the grand reveals globally, Samsung Philippines just made the Samsung Galaxy A smartphone series—namely the Galaxy A3, Galaxy A5, and the Galaxy A7—official in an intimate launch event. Earlier, the Samsung Galaxy A3 and A5 were launched in India and Malaysia. The Galaxy A lineup are the latest mid-range smartphones of the company, touting metal parts missing from all their previous plastic releases.

Samsung Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 Officially Launched in the Philippines, Starts at P16,990

The main driver of the Galaxy A launch, the much-leaked Samsung Galaxy A7, is the South Korean giant's thinnest phone yet, only measuring at 6.3mm - 0.4mm thinner than the Galaxy A5. It carries with it a Note 4's form and an S3's rear arrangement. Hardware-wise, it sports a 1.5GHz Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5.5-inch 1080p FHD SAMOLED display, a 2600mAh battery, and is dual SIM enabled, all wrapped in its metal unibody.

Samsung Galaxy A3, A5, and A7 Officially Launched in the Philippines, Starts at P16,990

Pricing for the following devices (SRP) are as follows:

Samsung Galaxy A3 - P16,990
Samsung Galaxy A5 - P19,990
Samsung Galaxy A7 - P24,990

The only lineup missing now in the Philippines to complete the global reveal of Samsung are the "hybrid" and selfie-centric Galaxy E series. It will be announced sooner than later.

Samsung Galaxy A7 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 quad-core processor, Adreno 405 GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5.5-inch FHD Super AMOLED display, 1080 x 1920 resolution, 401ppi
Camera: 12-megapixel rear camera with AF, LED flash; 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, LTE; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP, EDR, LE; NFC; GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS; ANT+
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2600mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.9 x 6.3mm, 133 g

Samsung Galaxy A5 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5-inch HD Super AMOLED display, 294ppi
Camera: 13-megapixel rear camera with AF, LED flash; 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, LTE; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.0 w/ BLE; NFC; GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2300mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 139.3 x 69.7 x 6.7 mm, 123 g

Samsung Galaxy A3 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 quad-core processor
Memory: 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 4.5-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, 245ppi
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with AF, LED flash; 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, LTE; WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi hotspot; Bluetooth 4.0 w/ BLE; NFC; GPS w/ A-GPS, GLONASS; ANT+
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 1900mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 130.1 x 65.5 x 6.9mm, 110.3 g

PSA: Use These Google Services for Typhoon Ruby

We're temporarily cutting our regular programming to give room for useful information about Typhoon Ruby.

As we all know by now,  is another strong typhoon that's slightly weaker than Yolanda, but nonetheless still relatively strong. We don't want to discuss what happened last year, but what we can do are offer some preventative measures via Google.


Public Alerts - A Google feature that contains real-time updated information fresh from PAG-ASA itself. It also gives info on the typhoon route and expected effects. You can find a Ruby Crisis Map on the right-hand side which contains info on shelters, evacuation centers, and the track of the typhoon.

Crisis Landing Page - You can find a comprehensive list of emergency contact numbers here. Especially useful if you want to report a catastrophe.

Google Person Finder - Find persons using this feature.

Should you have more useful features and services for Typhoon Ruby, kindly share it at the comments box below.

BlackBerry Passport Launched, Productivity Oriented Smartphone for P35,790

Fighting off bankruptcy and closing down rumors, BlackBerry shows it's still as strong as ever by announcing their latest smartphone, the BlackBerry Passport. The Passport is one that goes back to the company's roots, when BlackBerry was still known as RIM and when anyone and everyone were still using QWERTY-keyboard smartphones.

BlackBerry Passport Launched, Productivity Oriented Smartphone for P35,790

The BlackBerry Passport, truth be told, is a formidable smartphone in terms of physical design. Its squarish shape should be a chore to hold, especially to those used to virtual keyboards. Then again, the Passport is designed for professionals, with BlackBerry pushing that these users would be able to increase their productivity even on mobile. On top of this, the Passport also offers a multitude of professional-oriented apps and features such as the BlackBerry Blend (allows you to bring your messaging and content to a computer or tablet, regardless of operating system) and the BlackBerry Assistant.

Specs-wise, the BlackBerry Passport features a 4.5-inch display at a 1440x1440 resolution. And unlike its predecessors, the Passport's screen is touch-enabled, meaning you can play touch-based Android games on it (via the Amazon Appstore or BlackBerry World). It also sports powerful innards, like a 2.3GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear camera, LTE-compatibility, and a 3450mAh battery, all of which spell a high-end flagship.

The BlackBerry Passport is now available locally in selected stores and establishments for P35,790 (SRP).

BlackBerry Passport Specifications

OS: BlackBerry 10.3 OS
Processor: 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, Adreno 330 GPU
Memory: 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 128GB
Display: 4.5-inch FHD display, 1440x1440 screen resolution, 453 ppi, 10-multitouch points, Gorilla Glass 3
Camera: 13-megapixel rear camera with OIS, AF, LED flash; 2-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G HSPA+, 4G LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi direct, WiFi hotspot, DLNA; Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, LE; NFC; microUSB 2.0; GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
SIM: Nano SIM
Battery: 3450mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 128 x 90.3 x 9.3 mm, 196 g
Colors: Black, white, red
Other features: Capacitive touch keyboard
Price: P35,790 (SRP)

Soundfreaq Introduces Four New Bluetooth Speakers, Starts at P3,950

Wireless speakers specialist company Soundfreaq recently introduced four new wireless speakers for the local audio market, namely the Sound Rise, the Pocket Kick, the Sound Spot, and the Double Spot.

Sound Rise

Soundfreaq Sound Rise SRP 4,450 Philippines
The Sound Rise, simply put, is an alarm clock and a Bluetooth speaker in one. It allows you to stream music to the speaker while getting out of bed. It also features a charging port for your smartphone or tablet so you'll never run out of juice while playing songs or movies.

The Sound Rise is available for P4,450 (SRP).

Pocket Kick

Soundfreaq Pocket Kick SRP 4,550 Philippines

The Pocket Kick is Soundfreaq's Sound Kick just made more portable. It's your traditional looking Bluetooth portable speakerbar, but with the Soundfreaq touch. It features a rechargeable battery that would last you up to 10 hours and a built-in mic, making it capable of teleconferences, if that's your thing.

The Pocket Kick is available for P4,550 (SRP).

Sound Spot

Soundfreaq Sound Spot SRP 3,950 Philippines

The Sound Spot is one of the more portable audio devices from Soundfreaq. It's designed for smartphones or tablets with mobility and a audio anywhere setup in mind. It also looks stylish for its size, as other wireless Bluetooth speakers in its range only feature circular and metallic styles. For what it's worth, you can connect two Sound Spots together to create a sort of a Double Spot, which is discussed below.

The Sound Spot sells for P3,950.

Double Spot

Soundfreaq Double Spot SRP 7,950 Philippines

The Double Spot is essentially two Sound Spots combined, delivering a rich audio experience all while offering Bluetooth convenience. It has a Tone Control feature that lets you select three equalization presets and can last you up to 6 hours of playtime.

The Double Spot is available for P7,950 (SRP).

MEC Partners with Bosch Security, Brings Intelligent Physical Security to the Philippines

Leading local ICT distributor MEC Networks recently partnered with Bosch Security, a global industry giant in safety and security products. This partnership aims to extend MEC's solutions portfolio on Physical Security to include reliable, scalable, manageable, and enterprise-grade surveillance systems.


“Our mission actually here in the Philippines with Bosch is to bring our products closer to the market. So what we did is we build up a team here in the Philippines to be closer to our partners, to be closer to the end-users so we can push our products into the market. We want also to have a partner on which we can rely on, which has the same missions and visions as we have and this we found in MEC,” mentioned Bosch Security Systems Country Manager Matthias Böhm.


Also introduced during the partnership annoucement were a number of Bosch's entry-level and high-end IP video cameras, such as the affordable 2000 and the high-end 9000. These products feature intelligent Dynamic Noise Reduction (iDNR), intelligent Auto Exposure (iAE), intelligent Tracking (iTracking), intelligent Video Analysis (iVA), starlight, and ultra HD, which are all free and native to the cameras.

To know more about MEC and its offerings, visit www.mec.ph.