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.

5th Philippine International Motor Show 2014 Opens Today, Features 16 Auto Brands

The 5th Philippine International Motor Show will be happening from September 18 - 21, 2014 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City, a four-day event starting tomorrow up to this Sunday.

5th Philippine International Motor Show 2014 Opens Today, Features 16 Auto Brands

The event, also known as PIMS, produced by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philipppines, Inc. (CAMPI), is where the top auto brands of the nation, namely BAIC, BMW, Daewoo, Honda, Isuzu, JMC, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Suzuki, Toyota, and Volkswagen, will showcase their latest vehicles, services, technologies, experiences, and concepts.

The 5th PIMS will also feature exhibitions, scale-model exhibits, and other automotive products and services. So if you're a car enthusiast, or just someone who's generally interested in cars, this is the event for you.

Tickets to the 5th PIMS sell for P100 at the event venue.

Lenovo A328 and A536 Introduced, Mid-range Smartphones Starting at P5,999

Lenovo Philippines recently released to the local market two new Android smartphones that aim to find "that sweet spot in the balance of aesthetics, affordability, and all-around versatility" - the Lenovo A328 and A536.

The Lenovo A328 is Lenovo's offering for consumers who are just trying out Android. It's a stylish entry-level device that provides for a user's basic mobile needs. The device comes equipped with a 4.5-inch display, 1GB of RAM, a 2000mAh Li-ion battery, and operates on Android 4.4 KitKat.

Lenovo A328 and A536 Introduced, Mid-range Smartphones Starting at P5,999

Other features include a 5-megapixel rear camera/2-megapixel front-facing camera combination, a dual SIM functionality, and 3G connectivity for on-the-go browsing. The Lenovo A328 has a price tag of P5,999 (SRP).

The more powerful Lenovo A536 meanwhile is the company's suggested go-to smartphone for Android intermediates and photo-enthusiasts. The smartphone sports a 5-inch display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and similarly operates on Android 4.4 KitKat.

The Lenovo A536 has an SRP of P6,499. Both the A328 and A536 are now available locally through authorized resellers and exclusive smartphoe distributors.

Lenovo A328 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582M processor, Mali-400MP2 GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 32GB
Display: 4.5-inch FWVGA display, 854x480 screen resolution, 2-point touch
Camera: 5-megapixel rear camera with AF & flash, 2-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G/HSPA+, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS w/ A-GPS, micro USB 2.0
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2000mAh Li-Po battery, removable,
Dimensions: 132x68.5x10.8mm, 140 g
Colors: Black, white
Price: P5,999

Lenovo A536 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582M processor, Mali-400MP2 GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 32GB
Display: 5-inch FWVGA display, 854x480 screen resolution, 196 ppi
Camera: 5-megapixel rear camera with AF & flash, 2-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G/HSPA+, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS w/ A-GPS, micro USB 2.0
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2000mAh Li-Po battery, removable
Dimensions: 139.6x72x10mm , 148 g
Colors: Black, white
Price: P6,499

Android One Smartphones Now Official at P4,700, To Arrive in the Philippines

Search giant Google recently introduced the first batch of Android One smartphones in India. If you're not familiar, Android One is Google's initiative to bring affordable and moderately up-to-date smartphones to developing markets by partnering up with manufacturers such as - in this situation - Karbonn, Spice, and Micromax. Those three manufacturers revealed the Karbonn Sparkle V, the Spice Dream Uno, and the Micromax Canvas A1 respectively. All devices share the same key specifications, such as a basic 4.5-inch display, a quad-core Mediatek processor, 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, a 5-megapixel rear and a 2-megapixel front-facing cameras and a 1700mAh battery. The highlight of the smartphones - pricing aside - is that these are going to be the first to feature the newest Android L operating system from Google.

Android One Smartphones Now Official at P4,700, To Arrive in the Philippines

The Karbonn Sparkle V, the Spice Dream Uno, and the Micromax Canvas A1 are now available in India for Rs 6,399, roughly P4,700 in the Philippines.

On another front, Google is working with other electronics companies such as Acer, ASUS, Alcatel, Panasonic, Xolo, and Lenovo to bring about more affordable smartphones, perhaps this time globally. Google partnering with local smartphone companies such as Cherry Mobile and MyPhone isn't entirely out of the question.

The Karbonn Sparkle V, the Spice Dream Uno, and the Micromax Canvas A1 are now available in India for Rs 6,399 (SRP), roughly P4,700 converted in the Philippines - and may be available so locally before the end of the year.

Karbonn Sparkle V/Spice Dream Uno/Micromax Canvas A1 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat (updatable to Android L)
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core MT processor
Memory: 1GB RAM, 4GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 32GB
Display: 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS display, 854x480 screen resolution
Camera: 5-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity:  3G/HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 1700mAh Li-ion battery, removable
Price: Rs 6,399 (approx. P4,700)

Starmobile Vida Announced, Cheapest KitKat Smartphone for P2,490

With smartphones being more and more affordable each month, it's no secret that pricing schemes of yesteryear are gone and entry level and mid-range device prices are all but defined. So we post here with no surprise about the Starmobile Vida - a dual-core KitKat smartphone that just sells for P2,490 (approximately $55). It probably is the most affordable KitKat device right now.

Starmobile Vida Announced, Cheapest KitKat Smartphone for P2,490

The Starmobile Vida brings 2011 specifications to the present, with the device sporting a 3.5-inch display, a dual-core processor, a 512MB RAM, and a 4GB internal storage. Think iPhone 3GS, but cheaper. What's more is that the Vida manages to pull off a 5-megapixel rear camera, Bluetooth, and 3G connectivity for its price. The above mentioned, don't expect this device to run all 2014 apps.

Starmobile also installed some value added features to the Vida such as talk-to-wake and a free security software.

The Starmobile Vida will be available this weekend for P2,490 (SRP).

Starmobile Vida Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1GHz MediaTek MT6572 dual-core processor, Mali-400MP GPU
Memory: 512MB RAM, 4GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 32GB
Display: 3.5-inch HVGA display, 320 x 480 screen resolution, 164ppi
Camera: 5-megapixel rear camera, 0.3-megapixel VGA front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G/HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 1300mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 115 x 61.5 x 11.9mm, 108g
Price: P2,490

Best Android Keyboard App: SwiftKey vs Swype vs TouchPal X vs Kii

While the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus has just received support from keyboard apps such as SwiftKey and Swype, Android users have been enjoying such features for a few years now. If you're not familiar with the aforementioned apps, SwiftKey, Swype, TouchPal X, and Kii offer easy and efficient predictive word input via swiping gestures on your keyboard display. It's fun and customizable, offer cloud support, international languages suuport, word learning, plus the fact that some of them are free. I personally own and tried these keyboards, so here's a quick overview of all.

SwiftKey

SwiftKey arguably is the mos popular predictive keyboard app available at the Google Play Store. It used to be available for a fee, but is now operating on the freemium model by selling better experience and a lot of themes (though it has a ton of free keyboard themes itself).

Battle of the Keyboard Apps: SwiftKey vs Swype vs TouchPal X vs Kii

With SwiftKey, word predicition is, let's say that it could be better. It hits most of the time, but your swipes - voa its Flow feature - need to be at least moderately accurate for it to produce the word you want. Swiping the word "predicitive" and "production" may sometimes lead to the word "positron"; the word "brown" becomes "Britain" or "Bain" (it also chokes, albeit rarely, on the landscape orientation). I'm totally at fault here, since I mis-swiped on the keyboard, but I can't help but feel that SwiftKey can do prediction better, not that it's not already doing better now. It's a great keyboard, and it's even free.

For what it's worth, SwiftKey is the default keyboard app on Xiaomi devices, such as the Mi 3 and the Redmi 1S. It also has a plethora of built-in new Emoji icons which is pretty useful if you use chatting apps like WeChat, KakaoTalk, or Viber. You can also activate the best of SwiftKey by allowing it to "learn" from your activity as it will be very helpful from thereon.

Swype with Dragon

Swype has been alongside SwiftKey for keyboard app domination. It's actually the first keyboard app I used (purchased it for $0.99), and had a room for it in my smartphones eversince. It's a solid predictive keyboard app, though it isn't without its quirks.

Battle of the Keyboard Apps: SwiftKey vs Swype vs TouchPal X vs Kii

Swype runs together with Dragon, both on prediction and voice recognition. The coolest thing about Swype is that even if you loop your thumb in swiping a word with even the remotely related letters, it's still going to accurately predict what you're trying to say. If the app however concludes that it can't predict the word you're swiping, it'll do a shaking effect and tell you to try again. It also has a native handwriting recognition - a feature unique to Swype.

The positive aside, the biggest weakness of Swype is that it lags half of the time (especially on the landscape orientation). And when it decides to choke on you, you'll get annoyed. I've sometimes completed typing a sentence with the app being only to reflect it to the display in about 5-6 seconds (I try to remedy this by freeing some RAM; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't).

Swype has a few free keyboards available, but you can purchase sports-inspired keyboards for a small fee.

TouchPal X

TouchPal X is a relatively new keyboard application that takes the best from SwiftKey and Swype. It operates with a high level of similarity, and two things have struck me: its speed on landscape and its Swype-levels of word prediction (which I'm not going to discuss any further since it was already mentioned above).

Battle of the Keyboard Apps: SwiftKey vs Swype vs TouchPal X vs Kii

Predictions aside, TouchPal X adds very welcome features to its keyboard, such as the addition of the T+ and T12 keyboards, Twitter integration (so you can Twitter while you SMS/chat), and some easy to control cut, copy, paste features. However, it cramps the keyboard's style by making everything look cluttered.

TouchPal X might be as strong as it is, but a huge downside of the app is its subscription features. Sure, the app is free itself, sure, it performs like a charm, but cloud features (cloud dictionary, cloud prediction)? You'll have to pay an annual fee for that - not that it isn't worth it, but just because the others offer it on a one-time payment basis.

Kii

Kii has been out for sometime now, and it's effective at what it does. However, it has been overshadowed by bigger apps, such as the listed above, perhaps for lacking value-added features.

Kii's prediction is good, but not Swype-good. It brings up some rather unfamiliar words most of the time on mis-swipes. This is in a way good because it shows that the app has a wide range of vocabulary, but bad because the app's predictions still has room for development. However, it's very fast (though sluggish upon the first few seconds on landscape mode) and the swipe trail is visible and is smooth.

Battle of the Keyboard Apps: SwiftKey vs Swype vs TouchPal X vs Kii

Kii lacks cloud integration and the "learning" feature present in other top keyboard apps, and most non-core features need the paid version of the app for it to become usable. However, it has a blacklist feature which blocks words you don't want to use on your predictions.

On the design side, Kii's default free themes look basic at best. However, you can download free themes on the Play Store.

Summing it all up, the Kii keyboard is a straightforward keyboard that offers functionality over style and value-added features.

So what's the best keyboard app for you? Well, it depends, since one size doesn't fit all. Perhaps you're after intuitive word learning from SwiftKey, or perhaps you value accuracy the most, which Swype offers. Personally, I think I'll be sticking with TouchPal X for some time, though I won't be availing any of its premium features anytime soon.

LG Announces Early Christmas Sale, LG G2, LG G3 Discounted

South Korean mobile giant LG has announced its early 2014 Christmas Sale for the Philippines. The sale involves slashdowns on a few thousand pesos off of LG's past devices, such as its former flagship the LG G2, and the bigger LG G Pro 2.

LG Christmas Sale 2014 Discount LG G2

Some of the items of note on the early Christmas sale are the following:

LG G2 16GB - P21,990 (from P24,990)
LG G2 32GB - P25,990 (from P29,990)
LG G Pro 2 - P27,990 (from P32,990)
LG G2 Mini - P12,490 (from P13,990)

LG Philippines' early Christmas sale will last up to September 30, 2014.

LG G3 Promo Free LG G Watch

On another note, the LG G3 is now only P29,990 (from P31,990) and comes with a free LG G Watch (SRP P8,990) when you purchase it online at mobilehub.theshop.ph. The G3 is LG's latest flagship, and has just been released this year. Check our LG G3 specifications and details post for more information.

SKK Mobile V2 Announced, LG G2 Lookalike for P4,999

SKK Mobile has been on a roll in releasing affordable Android smartphones - devices that admittedly look like flagships from international giants, with the recent SKK Mobile Phoenix X1 looking like the Samsung Galaxy S5, and the SKK Mobile X4 looking like the Oppo N1, albeit smaller. Their latest announced smartphone, the SKK Mobile V2, takes lookalikes to the next level.

SKK Mobile V2 Announced, LG G2 Lookalike for P4,999

Mirroring the LG G2 design (to almost a 1:1 ratio), the SKK Mobile V2 features a 5-inch qHD IPS display, a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, a 4GB internal storage, and an 8-megapixel rear camera with back-panel navigation for only P4,999 - a price a majority of Filipinos are willing to pay for a pretty-spec'd device with a premium look. There are also reportedly value added novelty features, such as gesture commands and a heart rate monitor.

SKK Mobile V2 Announced, LG G2 Lookalike for P4,999

A quick Google search reveals that the device is probably a rebadged Kingsing S2, a device available at Chinese website Ali Express for around $120. The SKK Mobile V2 is going to be available soon locally for P4,999 (SRP).

SKK Mobile V2 Specifications (Kingsing S2)

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.3GHz MT6582 quad-core processor, Mali-400 MP GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5-inch qHD IPS OGS display, 960x540 screen resolution
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera w/ AF & LED flash, 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2500mAh Li-ion battery, removable
Dimensions: 135.2*69.2*8.5mm
Colors: Black, white
Other Features: Heart rate monitor sensor, air browser, smart screen/eye gestures, palm motion, quick gesture entry
Price: P4,999

Alcatel Enters Local Wearables Market with One Touch BOOMBand for P2,499

Together with the newly anounced One Touch devices, Alcatel Philippines has also introduced locally its attempt at entering the wearables and fitness market, the One Touch BOOMBand.

Alcatel Enters Local Wearables Market with One Touch BOOMBand


Related: Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha Specifications and Pricing

The One Touch BOOMBand is a smart band that pairs with selected Alcatel smartphones - such as the octa-core Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ - and in turn tracks selected fitness metrics such as the way you sleep, how many calories you have burned, and the like, via Bluetooth and the BOOMBand Life app available at the Google Play Store. It also has IP 67 certification so you can rest assured it won't degrade while you're wearing it for fitness activities.

The Alcatel One Touch BoomBAND is available in a variety of colors and is priced at P2,499 (SRP).

Alcatel One Touch BOOMBand Specifications

MCU: NRF51822, ARM Cortex-M0 32-bit processor
Memory: 16KB RAM, 256KB internal storage
Display: 5x white LED lights
Battery: 19mAh Li-Po non-removable battery (1.5h charging time)
Dimensions: 121 x 96.5 x 16 mm, 16g
Other Features: IP 67 Certification

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ Octa-core Launched, Sells for P14,999

Alcatel Philippines recently announced the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+, an Android 4.2.2 device (upgradeable to Android. 4.4 KitKat) that sports a 2GHz MT6592 octa-core processor (Mali-450 MP GPU, 2GB RAM), a 5-inch FHD display, a 13.1-megapixel camera, and is 7.9mm slim. The device was first introduced at CES 2014.

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ Octa-core Launched, Sells for P14,999

As for design, the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ looks like your generic Android device, though slimmer, and features an aluminum frame effect, with the bottom speakers emulating an iPhone device. It's glossy and has good grip, though it can use a little more weight to it. It also has a somewhat acceptable 2500mAh battery - something that can give users around 7 or more hours in usage.

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ Octa-core Launched, Sells for P14,999

As mentioned above, the Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ is upgradeable to 4.4 KitKat. The software update apparently is in the pipeline, and will ship via OTA as soon as it is ironed out.

The Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ is now available for P14,999 (SRP) at Alcatel stores and major partner stores nationwide.

Alcatel One Touch Idol X+ Specifications

OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Processor: 2GHz MT6592 octa-core processor, Mali-450MP GPU
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16/32GB internal storage, no microSD card slot
Display: 5-inch FHD (1080p) IPS display, 1920x1080 screen resolution, Gorilla Glass 2
Camera: 13.1-megapixel rear camera w/ AF & LED flash, 2-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP,  GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2500mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Colors: Black,white
Dimensions: 140.4 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm, 130 g
Price: P14,999

Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha Introduced, Beautiful Quad-core Android for P12,999

Alcatel Philippines recently introduced the Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha, a Android 4.2 Jelly Bean device which sports a 1.2GHz quad-core MT6589 processor, a 4.7-inch display, a gig of RAM plus 16GB of internal storage, and a 13-megapixel rear shooter. One thing that instantly makes your head turn around with the Idol Alpha is its rather remarkable look: Its top and bottom areas are made of what seemingly is clear acrylic, with the bottom area being home to the device's soft-touch buttons, complete with LED backlight.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha Introduced, Beautiful Quad-core Android for P12,999

The Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha is now available for P12,999 (SRP), admittedly a little pricey for its specifications and relative to other Android devices, but maybe you have to pay extra for the looks. It's a beautiful smartphone, after all.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha Introduced, Beautiful Quad-core Android for P12,999

Alcatel One Touch Idol Alpha Specifications

OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Processor: 1.2GHz quad-core MT6589 processor, PowerVR SGX544 GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, no microSD card slot
Display: 4.7-inch HD (720p) IPS display,1280x720 screen resolution, 312 ppi, Asahi Dragon Trail Glass
Camera: 13-megapixel rear camera with AF & LED flash, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 w/ A2DP, microUSB 2.0
SIM: Micro SIM
Battery: 2000mAh Li-ion battery, non-removable
Dimensions: 138 x 66.6 x 7.5mm, 117 g
Colors: Slate, Soft Gold, Pink
Price: P12,999