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.

SKK Mobile Phoenix G1 Announced, Flare 3 Alternative for P3,799

Local mobile player SKK Mobile recently announced on their Facebook page what probably is the most affordable quad-core smartphones in the country, the SKK Mobile Phoenix G1.

SKK Phoenix G1 Quad-Core, SKK Phoenix G1 Cheap Quad-Core

Specs-wise, the Phoenix G1 is similar to other devices in its price range, namely the Cherry Mobile Flare 3 and the MyPhone Rio. It sports a 5-inch qHD IPS display, a 1.3GHz MT6582 quad-core processor, a Mali-400 MP GPU, 1GB of RAM, an 8GB internal storage, an 8-megapixel camera, dual SIM capabilities with 3G, and a 2000mAh Li-ion battery. It also has - at its price point USB OTG support, and some fancy novelty features such as Air Slide, double-tap to wake, and other smart on-screen gestures, even if the device is sleeping. All the above said, the Phoenix G1 trumps the others in its selling price: P3,799 (SRP). To put into perspective, the Cherry Mobile Flare 3 retailed for P3,999, while the MyPhone Rio debuted a few weeks earlier for P4,999. That's a P200 difference to say the least.

Related: Cherry Mobile Flare 3 - Affordable quad-core at P3,999

On the aesthetics department, the Phoenix G1 looks like it was lifted directly from the MyPhone-slash-Cherry Mobile lineup, with its front looking like that of an A919i, while the back bears uncanny resemblance to the Cherry Mobile Flare S2 and the MyPhone Rio Fun. Then again, these local companies only have so many OEMs to choose from.

With a seemingly more aggressive pricing scheme than that of Cherry Mobile, SKK Mobile have shown its willingness to take on the "big boys" of the local mobile market, possibly giving it a very bright future, especially in the budget segment.

There is still no official announcement with regards to the availability of this device.

SKK Mobile Phoenix G1 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.3GHz MT6582 quad-core CPU, Mali-400 MP GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5-inch qHD IPS display, 540x960 resolution
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with AF & LED flash, 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS w/ A-GPS, microUSB 2.0, USB OTG
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2000mAh Li-ion removable battery
Colors: Black, white
Price: P3,799

Cherry Mobile Ultra On-The-Go LTE Pocket WiFi Revealed, To Sell for P3,999

Together with the announcement of the Cherry Mobile TV Box, the smartphone company also outed the Cherry Mobile Ultra On-The-Go LTE Pocket WiFi device. The Ultra On-The-Go is similar to your Globe or Smart or Huawei LTE pocket hotspot, but the beauty of it relies on its unlocked status (meaning, it's not locked for use on one network).

Cherry Mobile Ultra On-The-Go LTE Pocket WiFi, Cherry Mobile LTE Hotspot, Cherry Mobile LTE WiFi Hotspot

Related: Cherry Mobile TV Box - Mirror from your smartphone to your TV

The Cherry Mobile Ultra On-The-Go LTE Pocket WiFi will retail for P3,999 (SRP), though there has been no official release date announced. We're expecting that this will form a part of the lineup on Cherry Mobile's huge event this September 9, and might be available soon afterwards.

Cherry Mobile Ultra On-The-Go LTE Pocket WiFi, Cherry Mobile LTE Hotspot, Cherry Mobile LTE WiFi Hotspot

Cherry Mobile Ultra On-The-Go LTE Pocket WiFi Specifications

2G: GSM/GPRS/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900 Mhz
3G: UMTS 850/2100 Mhz
4G: B1 (2100)/B3(1800)
1-inch LCD Screen
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
1 SIM card slot
MicroSD card support up to 32GB
Antenna ports
2800mAh Battery

Cherry Mobile TV Box Outed, Sells for P3,999

Philippine mobile giant Cherry Mobile, in a private dinner, outed what appears to be the first locally-branded Android TV box top in the country.

Aptly named as TV Box, the Cherry Mobile Android TV top box set offers mirroring capabilities to your television, straight from a capable smart device. This setup would allow you to directly view whatever is on your smartphone's display, e.g. watch movies, view photos, play select games, etc.

Cherry Mobile TV Box Android

Powered by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a 1GHz quad-core CPU, and a multitude of mirroring capabilities, the Cherry Mobile TV Box virtually guarantees smooth viewing with compatible devices.

Cherry Mobile TV Box Android Cherry Mobile TV Box Android Remote

The Cherry Mobile TV Box will retail for P3,999, making it somewhat more affordable than other existing TV top boxes (you'd have to import from international websites or check local gadget establishments to do a price check). With regards to availability, there is still no official release date, although this TV Box could be officially unveiled at Cherry Mobile's WOW event this coming September 9.

Cherry Mobile TV Box Specifications

OS: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Processor: 1GHz quad-core CPU
Memory: MMC/SD card slot
Connectivity: WiFi, Air Play, HDMI, Miracast Receiver, 2 USB ports, LAN

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Slated for September Release, Sells for P5,599

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi recently announced the sale of the Xiaomi Redmi 1S here in the Philippines. Speaking at an intimate media event, ex-Googler and Xiaomi VP for International Hugo Barra made the impending Redmi 1S local release official.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Philippines

One of the most anticipated smartphones of 2014, the Xiaomi Redmi 1S is everything a budget-conscious consumer could ask for. The device sports a 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, a 4.7-inch HD IPS display, an 8-megapixel shooter, and dual SIM slots with 3G and 2G connectivity. It definitely is among the best price-to-performance ratio smartphones, with the ASUS Zenfone 5 coming in at a close second. The Xiaomi brand is also highly regarded as a reputable and reliable smartphone manufacturer in China, with thousands of units for sale online selling out within minutes.

Xiaomi VP for International Hugo Barra

The Xiaomi Redmi 1S will be available this September 4, 2014 at Lazada for only P5,599. The company was able to offer the Redmi 1S at this price point because of their lack of traditional advertising - instead relying only in word of mouth and social media virality. There's no word if the device would be available in retail stores or if it would be an exclusive online offering.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Price Comparison Chart

Xiaomi previously broke into the Philippines with their sale of the Xiaomi Mi 3.

Xiaomi Redmi 1S Specifications

OS: Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, MIUI v5
Processor: 1.6GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 MSM8228, Adreno 305 GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 4.7-inch HD IPS display, 1280×720 resolution, 312ppi, Dragontrail Glass
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera w/ AF & LED flash, 1.6-megapixel front camera
Connectivity: 3G, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS w/ A-GPS
Battery: 2000mAh Li-ion removable battery
SIM: Dual SIM (2 regular SIM size), dual standby
Dimensions: 137 x 69 x 9.9mm, 158g

AKG K451 Headphones Review

Headphone usage have exploded together with the rise of smartphones and cloud-based music services. They come in all shapes and sizes, mostly sporting large cups, except maybe the AKG K451. The headphones' cans are laughably small when compared to other cans, even when compared to those in its own brand. But what it lacks in size, it makes up somehow in sound, especially so if you're just after something that could perform.

Related: AKG K495 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Review

Design

As mentioned above, the first thing you'll notice wit the AKG K451 are its small cans and headband, making it look like it was designed for a child. However, the small size makes for great mobility and storage, especially when you're on the go. Thinking about it, wearing huge headphones on public transport does attract a lot of attention, mostly ridicule. The K451's "just right" size gives it a free pass on public usage.

AKG K451 Headphones Review

The AKG K451, like many in this headphones series, comes with a black and gray color scheme, making it look premium all year round. The front side of the cups feature the AKG logo rounded off by a silver mesh. Also good in the K451 are its the leather-wrapped foams at the cups and at the band, adding comfort while listening. The band is made of flexible plastic resin lined by a metal strip for added flexibility and support. The sides are able to fold and extend up to a few centimeters, though its maximum length will only barely reach around your ears. There are no exposed metal parts in the whole of the headphones, save for the metal strip and the mesh around the cans. All the rest, even the moving joints, are made of plastic resin.

AKG K451 Headphones Review AKG K451 Headphones Review

The AKG K451 features a regular cord with an in-line remote, specialized for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, terminating in a special-shaped jack (the jack has a special twist-lock mechanism at the bottom of the left can). On top of this, AKG also threw in premium accessories such as a smooth carrying case.

Performance

While the AKG K451 doesn't belong in the big leagues when it comes to sound, this tiny headphone definitely doesn't disappoint. It's got plenty of bass to spare (provided you play at a reasonably loud volume), and does not blur other sound details behind - well, at least not too much. This pair of cans is perfect for EDM and other bass-heavy music, with beats sounding off with good punch and emphasis; bass depth and definition were also good.

AKG K451 Headphones Review

While the vocals sounded moderately clear, the same can't be said with the highs on pop music. Snare and cymbal effects sounded too thin and separated with the whole track, making for almost a thin, high-pitched, shrieking progression of sound (to be more specific, the sound a fork makes when it's rubbed on a plate) to the point of suffering from headphone fatigue. Rock tracks from Bullet For My Valentine and Papa Roach sounded solid however, starting from the lows to the highs. We do acknowledge that, while we're trying to be as objective as we can, sound taste vary from person to person.

Soundstaging is negligible. Soundspill however is surprisingly above average; even at around 75% volume, there's minimal spill, enough just for someone beside you to faintly hear audio (and perhaps identify what you're listening to, if his or her hearing is that clear).

Verdict


AKG K451 Headphones Review

The emphasis of the AKG K451 is not about detailed sound, but is more on mobility with good performance to boot. The headphones looks fashionable and premium from the ground up and is solidly built. It's got a good bass range overall, and can make your daily life more colorful with sound. That said, this isn't for audiophiles that are after detail and better fidelity. It is, however, for those listeners on a budget looking for a premium headphone from a known brand.

Cherry Mobile Flare 3 Launched, 5-inch Quad-core KitKat for P3,999

Local electronics giant Cherry Mobile recently announced the latest incarnation of its budget smartphone line, the Cherry Mobile Flare 3. The device comes after weeks of online teasers about the company pulling off a - and I quote - "#3peat" on its product line, and probably as an answer to MyPhone's Agua Rio budget line of devices.

Related: MyPhone Agua Infinity Review

Cherry Mobile Flare 3, Quad Core KitKat, P3,999 Price

The Cherry Mobile Flare 3 sports a 5-inch display which is both IPS OGS and scratch-resistant, albeit only coming in a qHD resolution; a 1.3GHz MT6582 quad-core processor paired with a Mali-400MP GPU and a 1GB RAM, which are still a relatively powerful combination, if you don't buy into that octa-core stuff; an 8GB internal storage and microSD card support up to 64GB, which are relatively neat for such a low price point; and an 8-megapixel rear camera with BSI and LED flash. The Cherry Mobile Flare 3 also sports a 1980mAh battery and operates on the Android 4.4 KitKat OS. The seemingly small battery life shouldn't be an issue because of the power-efficient OS, the low-demand display, and the efficient MediaTek chipset.

Aesthetically, the Cherry Mobile Flare 3 has a pleasing look, almost reminiscent of the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z, though admittedly the paint finish on the rear plastic shell looks somewhat cheap. It should not however be a letdown, because there's just so much P3,999 could afford. It also apparently has no notification LED and USB OTG, though that would somehow be asking too much for a below P5,000 smartphone.

The Cherry Mobile Flare 3 is now available at major Cherry Mobile kiosks in Metro Manila and select parts of Cagayan de Oro, with a rollout to other parts of the nation soon, and is available for a suggested retail price of P3,999.

Cherry Mobile Flare 3 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582 processor, Mali-400MP GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 64GB
Display: 5-inch qHD IPS OGS display, 960 x 540 resolution, scratch-resistant coating, 220ppi
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with AF, BSI, LED flash; 3-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, WiFI 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 1980mAh Li-ion battery, removable
Colors: Black, white, gold, red, blue, silver

Philippine Star App by Pagesuite Review

I was recently checking out digital versions of big newspaper publications at our local App Store - of course, to keep updated with the rest of the country - when I stumbled upon the Philippine Star app for iOS.

For a news app, I'm fairly impressed by the fluidity of the transitions from page to page, the overall look of the UI, the user-friendliness of the UI, and the quick shareability mechanisms integrated within the app itself. Let's break it down one by one:

User interface

Following on the flat looks of the iOS, the Philippine Star app pulls off a very clean white look while maintaining structure in a very orderly fashion. The front page features the headlines, quickly followed by other news, seemingly modeled after RSS feeds. Swiping up and down will show you a column of news by order of date and time published.

The app features the trademark Philippine Star yellow, blue, and white colors, which would always remind you of the app's paper version. It's awesome in a way, because I'd never lose my love for things written in paper.


Another feature I appreciate is the large descriptive photos attached to every article. These add to the context of each story, e.g. You won't know how a building developed by Juan Dela Cruz looks if a photo of it isn't attached to the story. There's also this live weather widget in the app that would bring you your locality's updated weather for the day (although I think it's more of a novelty than of function because your phone itself tells you the weather for the day, provided it's connected to the internet).

User friendliness

Among the highlights I found in the Philippine Star app is its ease of use and fairly minimal learning curve. It took me just a few minutes to understand the swiping functions of the app, such as swiping to the left brings out a menu full of news categories, ranging from front page news, to entertainment, to sports. The only category I found missing in here is the tech area (as it's also pretty useful for tech people like me).


Navigation was very easy to understand. As mentioned, swiping to the left brings about a slew of categories. If you're not the type to navigate orderly though, you can just swipe right and explore the news as it loads in your screen. Each category has around 7 articles each (more or less, and it updates every day).

Optimization

I appreciated the high optimization of the Philippine Star app, even for a small 4-inch display: it's fluid in every aspect, from swipes up to left and right; loading times of images and text were wonderful; the news text are adjustable (unlike the ABS CBN news app I formerly used which was a pain in the eyes to deal with, lacking so much customization options); the colors and the color scheme aren't heavy to the eyes. For its part, I think the app successfully captures in digitizing its newspaper counterpart. And that's great for consumers.


Shareability

In this day and age, sharing the hottest and the latest is key. With just a press of a button, you can share the news contained within the app to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you're the type to share it through email though, there's also the mail option in there.


Verdict

All in all, the Philippine Star app for iOS is a godsend in terms of news apps. It does its job wonderfully - that is, to bring news. But in bringing news, it delivers it with great, traditional newspaper flair - something that's unseen in most news apps, with their fancy alternating square designs and 3D flipping pages (which tend to choke on lower-end phones). These said, I'll keep using this app for the meantime. You can say I'd personally expect more updates from Philippine Star.

Official Facebook account: http://www.facebook.com/ThePhilippineSTAR

Official Twitter account: http://www.twitter.com/PhilippineSTAR

Pagesuite App download links:

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/ph/app/the-philippine-star/id490078018?mt=8
Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pagesuite.phillipinestar

MyPhone Infinity Lite Introduced, 4.7-inch Octa-core KitKat for P7,999

Hot off the heels of the MyPhone Ocean Pro Elite and the MyPhone Agua Infinity, local mobile company MyPhone recently introduced the MyPhone Infinity Lite, a 4.7-inch smartphone that boasts an HD display, a 1.4GHz octa-core processor, a 1GB RAM, and runs on Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box. The upside of the Infinity Lite is its micro SD slot, which was sorely missing from its big brother, the MyPhone Agua Infinity. The downside of this device, sadly, is its 2000mAh battery rating (if history is to be any basis though, the Infinity Lite's battery has the potential to perform as good as the Agua Infinity's 2350mAh battery). The lower CPU clock rate should be negligible, and so is the 8-megapixel camera - that is, if the sensor used is competitive.

MyPhone Infinity Lite Specs Price, MyPhone Infinity Lite Octa Core

Related: MyPhone Agua Infinity review

Specs aside, the MyPhone Infinity Lite should sport the same appeal as the Agua Infinity, that being a slim, slate form factor which pretty much looks like an iPhone 5S, a Starmobile Knight, or if you like it, the Xiaomi Mi 4. An attractive-looking smartphone plus an attractive price-point paired with attractive specifications should make a good seller for MyPhone.

Priced at P7,999 (SRP), the MyPhone Infinity Lite is among the Philippines' most affordable octa-core smartphones, in line with the SKK Kraken (P7,999), the Qube Colonnia (P8,999), and the Cherry Mobile Magnum S (P9,999). Also at this price point is the recently released ASUS Zenfone 5 (P6,495), which is a beast in its own right.

MyPhone Infinity Lite Specifications

OS: Android 4.4.2 KitKat
Processor: 1.4GHz MT6592 octa-core processor, Mali-450MP4 GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB internal stoage, microSD expandable up to 32GB
Display: 4.7-inch HD IPS display, 312ppi
Camera: 8-megapixel rear camera with AF & flash, 5-megapixel front-facing camera
Connectivity: HSPA+, 3G, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS w/ A-GPS
SIM: Dual SIM, dual standby
Battery: 2000mAh non-removable Li-ion battery
Colors: Black, white

Gameloft's Modern Combat 5: Blackout Now Available at Google Play Store for P316.16

Gameloft's top first person shooter series, Modern Combat, comes back hot off the press with its latest offering, Modern Combat 5: Blackout. The FPS is now as expansive as ever, offering 4 customizable classes, character level and skill progression, offline and online experience, squad matches, and in-game limited time events.

Gameloft Modern Combat 5 Blackout Philippines

As for the storyline, players will find themselves in the role of Caydan Phoenix, a special operations soldier, fighting against foes such as the World Liberation Army and the Gilman Security Special Forces, from Venice to Tokyo.

Modern Combat 5: Blackout will not be cross-platform, meaning players in iOS, Android, and Windows Phone operating systems cannot play against each other in multiplayer. The good news is that the game is strictly pay-to-play as against the heavily disliked freemium model. The game also supports HID controllers.

Modern Combat 5: Blackout is now available at the Google Play Store for P316.16 ($6.99), and is about 910MB big.

Cherry Mobile Tegra Note 7 Launched, 7" Tegra 4-Powered Tablet for P9,999

Cherry Mobile, in partnership with Nvidia, recently announced the company's newest tablet member, the Cherry Mobile Tegra Note 7. The device sports a 7-inch HD display, boasts Nvidia's Tegra 4 processor, and has a whopping 4100mAh in battery life, making the Tegra Note 7 a prime candidate for mobile gaming. The gaming tablet also features a stylus.

Cherry Mobile Tegra Note 7 Specs Price Philippines, Tegra 4 Quad Core Processor

Cherry Mobile Tegra Note 7 Specs Antutu Benchmark Philippines

Cherry Mobile Tegra Note 7 Specifications

OS: Android 4.4 KitKat
Processor: 1.8GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 4+1 processor, 72-core Nvidia GeForce GPU
Memory: 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD expandable up to 32GB
Display: 7-inch HD (720p) WXGA IPS display, 1280 x 800 resolution, 216ppi
Camera: 5-megapixel rear camera, 0.3-megapixel front-facing VGA camera
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, micro HDMI, micro USB 2.0, GPS w/ GLONASS
Battery: 4100mAh Li-ion battery
Dimensions: 199 x 119 x 9.6mm, 320g

The Cherry Mobile Tegra Note 7 is now available for P9,999 (SRP) at Cherry Mobile concept stores, kiosks, and partner establishments.