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Giancarlo Viterbo

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SM Store and PayMaya are shaping a smarter digital economy with their recent major collaboration. Starting today, it is possible to shop at SM Store using PayMaya by simply scanning a QR code. Provided that you have PayMaya credits, buying your favorite pair of jeans at SM Store is as simple as capturing the code via PayMaya’s app.

Both companies even sweetened the deal for their customers as PayMaya QR users would get a 10% rebate (up to Php100 per branch per day) on purchases from January 15 to April 15, 2018. It doesn’t stop there – shoppers even get a chance to win an iPhone X for every PhP1,000 spend.

PayMaya QR“SM has been an early partner of PayMaya as a load-up center for our customers, as well as a valued partner of our Smart Padala remittance service. This is a natural progression of our collaboration as we make it easier for our customers to use their PayMaya accounts anywhere they are in the country. We thank our partners like SM for helping accelerate cashless adoption among consumers,” said Orlando B. Vea, President and CEO at PayMaya Philippines.

Orlando VeaIn a statement given by SM Store President, Chelo C. Monasterio, “The retail landscape is changing, and the SM Store is proud to lead the way with partners like PayMaya.”

First Vice President and Head of PLDT Alpha, Vic Tria, later said that in the spirit of their collaboration with the SM Store, it is but proper and fitting for them to say “We’ve got it all for you.”

Cashless transaction has always fascinated us. Last year, we went to Shenzhen, China with Huawei Philippines to experience their fully matured cashless transaction shopping experience.  At that time (see video below), PayMaya’s QR transaction was still in development.  What PayMaya recently launched with SM Store is pretty similar to what we did in Shenzhen.

 

We have been playing with Mobvoi TicHome Mini for 2 weeks now, and we just can’t stop talking to it and talking about it. Perhaps, the nature of having a Google Assistant, which also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker, is to incessantly become too inquisitive of things that are both important and senseless.

“Hey Google!” followed by “What is glue made of?”, “When was lego invented?” and “Are you better than Siri?” replicate how kids ask their parents during downtimes. Funnily, with a Google Assistant such as Mobvoi TicHome Mini, even adults would ask questions that are, sometimes, somewhat weird and hilarious to see how the AI would respond.

Technology has truly evolved. With a device such as TimHome Mini, users are opened to a whole new digital landscape. Google Assistant isn’t just confined to answering the questions you throw at it. Just like users and technology, it evolves and learns in order to become more useful. You can request it to spell a word, solve mathematical equations (for as long you know how to constructively say the formula), tell a scary or bedtime story or even set an alarm at a specific time in the future.

 

Mobvoi Tichome Mini Review

It is a small device that you can willingly carry around. The one we got has a two-toned color design – white and chrome; and even has a strap, which allows you to hang it wherever you want. Its top panel is riddled with all the buttons necessary to operate the device. Controls are not intimidating,  which a great plus especially to those who don’t want to read manuals. But c’mon – if you’re not familiar with using Bluetooth speakers, you might want to quickly read the manual inside its box.

Placed behind the front panel is an NFC chip that allows users to easily connect supported and authorized devices. Setting up the device, however, is not instantaneous. It can be a walk in the park to those who are familiar with Google Assistant and Chromecast, but it can be a pain in the behind to those who have never tried it.

In order to start, the TicHome Mini needs to be connected to your home or office wifi (with internet connection), and hooked to your Google account. Once that’s done, you can then ask it to answer questions or even turn on or off your devices provided you have WeMo installed. WeMo is a product of Belkin, which is a complete easy-to-setup home automation solution.

Mobvoi Tichome Mini Review

Apart from listening to it, you can easily monitor Google Assistant’s response by looking at the 4-step light band located at the center of the top panel. Adjusting the volume may be done by pressing the Volume Up and Down, or by simply saying “Hey Google! Volume 6.”

Oh, did I miss saying that you can take this smart speaker to your bathroom? This may be a little inappropriate (but I’ll post it anyway…): this is the only assistant that you can take with you wherever you go, and that includes your bathroom. With its IPX6 and 2600mAh battery, you’re definitely assured that this mobile smart speaker can delight you for 5 hours.

TicHome Mini is more than just an affordable alternative to Google Home Personal Assistant. It may be your or your family’s first access to Google’s ever-evolving AI. Yes, Apple HomePod is rumored to be shipping in a few weeks, but that might not come to the Philippines officially.

Fortunately, MobVoi TicHome Mini is now being sold at EHome, a local company, which sells gadget accessories in the Philippines. It retails for PhP6,990, a tad cheaper than Google Home Personal Assistant. We have a special on-going promo with EHome for all of you until the end of January though. Simply use GADGETPILIPINAS1000 upon checkout for a timed-exclusive PhP1000 discount.

And if you think you’ve got luck on your side, join our giveaway for a chance to win a white Mobvoi TicHome Mini!

Mobvoi TicHome Mini Giveaway

We are happy to announce that we’re going to give away a Cherry Mobile Taiji to one of our followers. As we all wish you to also watch our streams via Twitch, bigger entry points await to our Twitch subscribers! Good luck, everyone!

Streaming schedules:

Monday: 10pm onwards
Tuesday: 10pm onwards
Thursday: 10pm onwards
Friday: 10pm onwards
Saturday: 10pm onwards

We will take a break from streaming from December 28 to January 2, 2018.

Cherry Mobile Taiji Community Giveaway

After 1 week of voting, our Tech NewsMakers winners have finally been selected by our 1,363 qualified voters (before the 12am cutoff). 313 out of total voters qualified for our raffle as they completely voted for all the categories.

Special thanks to Aircast for broadcasting Tech Newsmakers to 79 Aircast modules nationwide. Also to our developer partners, GamePlan, for co-developing Blip Track to determine the nominees, and Blippy to let our followers vote.

Meanwhile, here are your winners:

Winners were determined by the number of votes via our Messenger bot. To avoid bias, nominated products appeared randomly per category. For the vote counts, you may click this.

Gadget Accessory of the Year

Game of the Year:

Budget Smartphone of the Year

Low Mid Range Smartphone of the Year

High Mid Range Smartphone of the Year

Flagship Smartphone of the Year

Smartphone of the Year

  • OPPO F5 (winner)
  • VIVO V7+
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Apple iPhone X
  • Huawei Nova 2i

Gaming Laptop of the Year

Consumers’ Choice Award

  • OPPO F5 (winner)
  • VIVO V7+
  • Huawei Nova 2i
  • Cherry Mobile Flare S6
  • Nokia 8
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 8
  • Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Local Tech Brand of the Year

  • Cherry Mobile (winner)
  • MyPhone
  • Cloudfone
  • Starmobile

Tech Newsmaker Company of the Year

  • VIVO
  • OPPO (winner)
  • ASUS
  • Cloudfone
  • Cherry Mobile
  • Samsung
  • Voyager Innovations
  • Huawei Mobile

EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARD

SOCIAL BRAND OF THE YEAR

PR AGENCY OF THE YEAR

MINOR AWARDS

  • Best Social Media Activation: OPPO National Selfie Day
  • Best Mouse: ASUS ROG Strix Evolve
  • Best Consumer Laptop: ASUS Zenbook Pro UX550VE
  • Best Monitor: ASUS ROG Swift PG248Q
  • Best Graphics Card: ASUS ROG Strix GTX1080 11G
  • Best Design (Smartphone): Huawei Mate 10
  • Best Keynote/Presentation: Samsung Galaxy Note 8

RAFFLE WINNER

We can now finally reveal the smartphone we will give away. We intentionally didn’t announce the model during the polling period to avoid bias to the brand and product. Special thanks to MediaTek for sending an OPPO F5 for our giveaway.

Here’s our polling process for your reference. All voters who completely voted in all categories are qualified to win.

Congratulations to all the winners! We can’t wait for 2018 to start!

You probably read about what PayMaya has in store for their loyal and new subscribers. In case you missed it, its TL;DR:

  • You’ll get 10 rebate on PayMaya QR transactions until December 31
  • 20% discount on Lazada with voucher code PYMYDEC until December 15
  • 20% discount on Zalora with voucher code PAYMAYAHOLIDAY until December 15
  • Special steep 25% discount on Zalora with voucher code PAYMAYAFEVER25 on December 12 to 15

Lovely, right? But apart from savings you get from discounts, there is even one more way to #ShareTheLove by referring more people to use PayMaya. You can get as much as PhP1,250 on your referrals via Facebook Messenger. If case you missed our post last September, it is now possible to use your PayMaya account without leaving Facebook’s ecosystem.

Simply sign up or link your existing PayMaya account in Facebook Messenger and refer your friends to sign up too and you will both get P50 in your PayMaya accounts.

To do this, all you have to do is share the promo link that you will receive from PayMaya in Messenger to up to 25 friends with Android devices to start earning the referral bonus. Subscribers of all mobile network in the Philippines may sign up until December 19 and get the bonus amount, which will be credited to your accounts in 2 to 3 business days.

Now, here’s another fun part! PayMaya and Gadget Pilipinas cooked up a PhP5,000 PayMaya credits giveaway from today until December 16 (11:59pm) exclusive to our loyal customers and followers! All you have to do are the following:

  1. Share this post to your timeline (don’t forget to make it Public) with your answer to this question: HOW WILL YOU SHARE THE LOVE THIS CHRISTMAS USING PAYMAYA). 
  2. To qualify, don’t forget to Gadget Pilipinas and the hashtag #PayMayaShareTheLove.

Told you – it will be fun! Good luck and may you have a fruitful season of love!

Phones have exponentially evolved to machines that aren’t just limited to connecting people via voice and text messages. The meaning of ‘connecting using a phone’ has dramatically changed a lot since the early days of the smartphone revolution.

There were high watermark points during this revolution: social media, augmented reality and live streaming. At the beginning of 2017, rumors about the first AI chip surfaced. By the end of 3rd quarter of this year, Huawei announced their first AI chip, which defined a new high watermark in the smartphone industry.

The focus on artificial intelligence has a significant part in the days to come. More and more companies are implementing AI on their products. Samsung has its own AI implementation, but its processor isn’t exactly built to cope up with the computing power needed to “process” object identification and learning. For now, with Huawei Mate 10, the company started off with a great start by initially implementing AI on the phone’s camera, and I’m pretty stoked with what it can do.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. There are a few things to cover before we tackle AI on Huawei Mate 10. First, let’s talk about how the phone looks and feels.

The one I got is the Mocha Brown variant and its elegance radiate from every corner. Huawei Mate 10’s design is both a deviation from the current trend and a subtle throwback to its predecessor, the Huawei Mate 9. It sports a FullView 5.9-inch screen with 16:9 ratio; its overall looks remind me of the Huawei Mate 10 but with a bigger screen. At the time when most brands are dabbling on smartphones with 18:9 ratio screens, Huawei is still enjoying its time dipping in the 16:9 space.

 

The phone also sports an ergonomically curved glass, and apart from being a sight to behold, it’s also a pleasure to hold. As expected, it’s slippery so take extra care when tossing this around. Shattering its glass panels will result in monumental replacement cost.

Due to its big oversized screen, screen navigation took quite a tool. If you’ve got small hands, you’ll have a little difficulty navigating the phone’s UI with just one hand. The multifunctional fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen takes a bit of effort to reach if the midsection of the smartphone rests on your palm.

Related to design, another issue I have with this smartphone is its IP35 rating, which makes it protected from tools and wires greater than 2.5mm, and low pressure water jets from any direction. It isn’t water resistant, but at least a few water drops and shower won’t result to adverse issues.

Screen

Screen quality is top-notch, as expected. Contrast and luminosity are well balanced. Thanks to its screen’s HDR 10 technology. Saturation isn’t blown up too high, which preserves true color of content.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 (left); Huawei Mate 10 (right)

Media content consumption on this smartphone produces delightful experience, which makes the Huawei Mate 10 a perfect companion for consumers who love watching high definition videos on their smartphones.

Performance

At this point, let’s zero into its performance.

Huawei Mate 10 Specifications

  • 2.4GHz Hi-Silicon Kirin 970 Octa-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage expandable via microSD card (up to 256GB)
  • 5.9-inch 16:9 2K HDR Display
  • Dual 12MP (RGB) + 20MP (Mono) Rear Cameras, f/1.6, Leica Summilux-H, OIS, PDAF, 2x Lossless Zoom, Laser AF
  • 8MP Front Camera
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • NFC
  • IP53 Certification for Splash Resistance
  • USB Type-C Interface
  • 4,000mAh battery with SuperCharge Technology
  • EMUI 8.0 on top of Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Colors: Mocha Brown, Black

Similar to what we did for our previous reviews, you deserve quantifiable data, and this is the reason why I’m presenting benchmark results. For the non-geeks, the Huawei Mate 10 is one of the most powerful smartphones we’ve used in ages. It outperformed the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8+ in our benchmarks. It is both highly suitable for gaming and productivity.

I was able to play the following games at highest/maximum settings in topnotch performance:

  • Shadow Fight 3
  • Arena of Valor
  • Rules of Survival

For the geeks, you need the following data presented below for further reference. Enjoy.

HUAWEI MATE 10 BENCHMARK RESULTS

  • Antutu Benchmark: 177,385
    • 3D: 65,622
    • UX: 61,043
    • CPU: 37,950
    • RAM: 12,770
  • Quadrant: 39,529 
  • Geekbench 4
    • Singe-Core Result: 1895
    • Multi-Core Score: 6608
  • GFXBench GL Benchmark
    I want to emphasize that while most of our readers are familiar with Antutu and Quadrant, I want to put special emphasis on GFXBench GL Benchmark as it shows results that may very well quantify the capabilities of this smartphone. Quite obviously, based on its specifications, Huawei Mate 10 is a powerful device and perfect for many functions: productivity, content and media creation, and gaming. Huawei made sure that you’re going to have fun with this device to play your games and use your applications.

    • High-Level Tests: For this tier test, the benchmark app subjects it to on-screen and offscreen graphics tests. The renderer is presented with various surface width and weigh, and pushes it to its limit. Graphics presented often resemble game-like renders. FPS is presented per each grade of test. The higher the score, the better.
      • Score: 1,301 Frames (vs 1,256 frames of Samsung Galaxy S8+)
    • Low-Level Tests: This tier test, the app subjects the phone to on-screen and offscreen graphics tests. Tesselation and texturing are the focuses of the test, and the result is presented in terms of frames.
      • Score: 1,579 Frames (vs 1,457 frames of Samsung Galaxy S+)
  • BaseMark X Gaming Performance Score
    • 31,960
  • NenaMark 2
    • Score: 60.9
  • PCMark for Android Benchmark
    PCMark offers a detailed result of the phone’s overall capacity to cope up with the demands of the user. It provides the best and complete benchmark result among other apps, albeit lacking detailed results for graphics capability.

    • Work 2.0 Performance: 8,263 (vs 5,321 of Samsung Galaxy S8+)
  • 3DMark for Android: 2886

Huawei Mate 10 sweeps the competition with its high caliber performance. It is the smartphone to beat in various categories.

AI Performance

Kirin 970, which rocks inside the Mate 10, is the world’s first AI chip. It is the fruition of their research on AI more than 3 years ago. Yes, I’m really stoked with how capable it is. At its current form, it seemingly appeared that its implementation is on recognizing objects to trigger camera presets. It isn’t just limited to AI photography. Everything is more than meets its “eye”.

The AI processor mimics how our brain works via its NPU (neural processing unit). It helps the phone adapt to how it’s being used, and translate its computational results to how much power and energy it will use up for specific instances. This makes the Huawei Mate 10’s battery life so impressive; it literally took more than 24 hours to deplete its power. Its 4000mAh battery is a bonus, because the phone “knows” the energy output it needs to release at a given instance.

Camera Performance

As a smartphone with cameras co-engineered by Leica, it isn’t a surprise for us to see impressive photo outputs. Yes, the AI photography features and the available effects and modes on the Huawei Mate 10 are great additions, but at the end of the day, its sensors (and the one taking the photo) make the great photos.

Huawei Mate 10 sports dual rear Sumillix-H lens: chromatic 12mp and monochromatic 20mp, with f/1.6. This type of dual lens produces a photo with an amazing balance of contrast, saturation and vibrancy. Overall, the photos I took using the smartphone do not disappoint. As expected, being one of the pioneers of portrait photography with soft bokeh, photos with this effect are impressive.

Software and User Interface

The smartphone’s custom UI, EMUI, offers a few enhancements on top of the benefits you get from Android Nougat. At this version of EMUI, Huawei made it easier for the end-user to make the most out of the phone’s features. The homescreen and apptray can be quite a little overwhelming though. The design is still quite dated and must be improved in the future.

If there’s one thing that makes EMUI laudable is Easy Projection. Without buying an additional dock, it is easy to transform the Huawei Mate 10 to a complete desktop computer alternative. Below is a raw demo for your reference. I used an Elgato HD60 to record this demo.

Verdict

The Huawei Mate 10 tops my best phone of 2017. At PhP32,990, its value outweighs the benefits you get from it. AI, camera, gaming are my top priorities; and if your priorities mash with mine, get this smartphone.

Just how do you wish to #ShareTheLove this Christmas? PayMaya just announced a way for you to amazingly share your love to your family and friends this Christmas season.

Last December 8, PayMaya announced that the for the month of December, PayMaa users who will buy items in all establishments using PayMaya QR will get 10% rebate on their purposes. The growing list of establishments of the fintech company includes M Store and SM mall information booths nationwide; Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, and stores under Robinsons Store Specialists Inc., such as Topman, Topshop, G2000, Warehouse, and Dorothy Perkins in Robinsons Galleria; Ministop branches in Cyberscape Alpha and Cyberscape Beta in Ortigas; Fairmont Hotel; and The Yard in Timog, among many others.

According to PayMaya COO and Managing Director, Paolo Azzola, “Christmas is a season of giving, and we’re happy to help our customers share the love over the holidays with PayMaya. This is our way of thanking our customers in helping us achieve a very fruitful year as the leader in digital payments in the Philippines.”

Using PayMaya QR in partner establishments of the company can simply use their smartphones for in-store transactions with their app. (It is required to update your PayMaya app to be able to do this.) A quick scan of the QR code will allow users to instantly pay the merchant much like to our experience below via a different fintech provider in Shenzhen, China. With PayMaya QR, cashless transactions such as our experience below is finally available in the Philippines.

For Online Buyers

For those who wish to conveniently shop via PayMaya’s online retailer partners like Lazada and Zalora, you can enjoy an additional 20% discount when you shop for the whole month of December by simply using the code PYMYDEC (LAZADA) PAYMAYAHOLIDAY (ZALORA). And take note, guys – if you buy from December 12 to 15 at Zalora from December 12 to 15, there’s a special discount of 25% if you use the code PAYMAYAFEVER25.

PayMaya on Facebook Messenger makes it a lot easier to share the love!

Since PayMaya’s partnership with Facebook last September, users are now able to do a lot of things like sending money to your friends and even pay your bill with their PayMaya account without leaving Facebook’s ecosystem. This is a response to the fact that Filipinos spend a lot of time on Facebook.

Also announced last Friday, you can buy prepaid load for your self with 5% discount, plus pay your Meralco bill with 10% discount this December, for a maximum of PhP300 rebate.

“All of these privileges highlight that paying with your PayMaya is now better than simply paying with cash. Using their PayMaya accounts, shopping online and in-store, sending money to others, and purchasing load or paying bills is easier than ever. We can’t wait to share even more exciting things and experiences exclusive to PayMaya account holders that we have in store for the coming months,” shared Raymund Villanueva, Issuing Head at PayMaya.

These perks by PayMaya make it one of the best cashless transaction solutions in the Philippines. As a treat to those who are going to join and buy at least PhP1000 using PayMaya now until December 23, they will earn raffle entries for PayMaya’s #MerryMillionaire promo. A weekly draw of PhP10,000 and PhP1M in the grand draw are at stake to users.

After being suspended by Kickstarter last November 16, the survival horror game, Dusk, has finally returned via Indiegogo. Interested people who wish to back the game in development may do so by visiting this link.

https://youtu.be/ZI2MM1NA8ag

Currently in development by Arsenal Studios, Dusk – based on its story and trailer – took inspiration from the popular post-apocalyptic movie, I am Legend. The goal is to survive, but just like other survival games, things get more perilous at night than the day. Arsenal Studios didn’t say much about the mechanics, but they dropped a few pieces of information on their website:

“By night, you are hunted by cunning creatures who will learn your strategies and attempt to outmaneuver you. You can fight back with brute force, build up defenses, use parkour to escape, or play with stealth and blend in with the night.

Tame beasts to gain a loyal companion who will protect you and fight for you. The world is roaming with everything from wolves to lions. What you attempt to befriend depends on how courageous you are. Give your pet a name and look after each other. It’s an unforgiving world and friends are few and far between.”

The project was suspended by Kickstarter for no clear reasons. According to the studio behind the game, “Alright backers. Someone got upset and reported this project. We will be setting up a new campaign on our website, via PayPal wait for the link.”

They also added last December 6 , “Project is still running. And has been accepted with steam and xbox! Donate via our website! All prizes still in effect until release! Questions can be asked at coxa@thearsenalstudio.com. Check our website at thearsenalstudio.com.”

Backers of its minimum tier ($20) will get early beta access, Artic Wolf Companion, digital soundtrack download and name in credits). Meanwhile, those who are generous enough to back the project at its most expensive tier ($1000) will receive everything from the minimum tier plus 5 more items. Arsenal Studios did not provide more details about the latter bonus items.

Dusk is expected to be released on PC via Steam and also Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2018. But – our million dollar question – will really ever be released?

Local companies in the Philippines have been trying to get a significant piece of the consumer mind share in the Philippines. The higher mid-range segment is dominated by international brands like OPPO, VIVO, Huawei and Samsung; and in this scenario, the local brands are stuck in a segment they’re comfortable dealing in.

Most of the local brands gave up on releasing smartphones with prices beyond PhP10,000. Whether it’s a sign of raising the white flag or just a sheer change of sales strategy, Cloudfone is taking things differently.

It was never easy for Cloudfone to play with the local big guns like Cherry Mobile and MyPhone. They have passed through the hole of the needle, but it wasn’t a walk in the park. To consumers, ‘Cloudfone’ didn’t ring any bell; and it was only a matter of time for the company to be known as one of the country’s tech newsmakers and innovators.

If you’re one of the consumers who keeps tab of Cloudfone’s feats over the years, you are probably aware of their first Android device with mobile TV, the Ice 350e in 2012. A year later, the company announced the only smartphone in the Philippines with more than 4,000mAh of battery, Thrill 430x. The year after that, the company made headlines when they announced an Intel-powered tablet, the Cloudfone 800w. This makes them the first local brand to tie up with a major brand to launch an Intel-powered tablet. Fast forward to 2015, Cloudfone announced Cloudpad Epic, a dual-boot tablet. We didn’t get the chance to review all these, but just like some of you, we were keeping tabs of their achievements while giving them spiritual nods of approval. GG, Cloudfone.

And then this happened.

It was an awesome activation event, which reflects what Cloudfone is and what they are up to these days. Their dedication to deliver exciting and awesome experience through their products exude on the products they launched and they will make available to Filipinos this December.

In a statement by Eric Yu, CEO of Cloudfone,”We’re so incredibly honored for the trust and loyalty of our patrons. More than the awards and profit, we are driven to continue creating awesome products because we’re committed to delivering awesome experiences.” This is inline with the upcoming products of the company, which we detailed in this article.

In the new series of smartphones, the company is taking their international competitors head on. Check out the specs of the new Next Infinity Series of Cloudfone below.

Take a peek on Next Infinity Series

With this new line-up, it is obvious that they are bringing out everything they can to bring premium features to Filipinos at very affordable price points. In fact, its Next Infinity is the most affordable smartphone in the Philippines with 18:9 aspect ratio screen. It’s phenomenal!

It’s never just all about the screen as the new phones also have impressive sets of camera. Recently, they had a marketing campaign to showcase what their latest smartphones can do. They collaborated with Norman King, the first Aeta who graduated from the University of the Philippines. He got to use Next Infinity Quattro, and he genuinely praised it of making him “live” in the photos he took.

What Norman experienced with Cloudfone’s latest smartphone is what the company wishes their consumers to have. Awesome experiences like what Norman had are sharable, and Cloudfone sees significant value in it.

“We welcome you into our stores and encourage you to see, feel and experience what Cloudfone can offer. We not only design devices that meet your needs, standards and desires, we aim to create tech that complements your lifestyle and which further enhances your experience of mobile,” ends Yu.

In the coming days, watch out as Cloudfone reveals more awesome people who #DoAwesome. These men and women embody the true spirit of hard work, perseverance and heart that allows them to achieve and overcome the challenges and obstacles set before them, opening up their world to infinite possibilities!

This 3rd and 4th Quarter, international brands OPPO and Huawei dropped two mid-range products that made the headlines of top tech blogs in the Philippines. Both products were well received by consumers, but a lot have not yet made their decision on which smartphone to buy.

Today, we’re pitting 2 products on This or That, to help buyers choose the right gadget for their need. For us at Gadget Pilipinas, we don’t want you to have any feeling of remorse when you purchase something.

OPPO F5 or Huawei Nova 2i

Design and Screen Quality

Both devices sport almost similar materials. OPPO F5’s coating though somewhat protects the phone from light scratches than Nova 2i’s. I do feel that the latter looks more premium than the OPPO F5.

OPPO F5 is the first device from OPPO to have a screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio with 2160 x 1080 resolution. Icons and images look sharp and vibrant, and the texts are sharp to look at by our standards.

Huawei Nova 2i’s screen, which sports the same aspect ratio and resolution, is equally outstanding. I, however, find the Nova 2i’s screen brighter than OPPO F5’s especially when Eye Comfort is disabled on the former. With brightness at the lowest level, Nova 2i’s screen is slightly more lit than OPPO F5’s. This is good, but there’s one drawback though – battery life.

Read our full review of OPPO F5 here.

Performance

OPPO F5 is faster by a few notches on most of the benchmarking utilities I used. Real life tests indicate similar results as well. This, however, does not mean that Nova 2i is dramatically inferior to the OPPO F5. Everything boils down to efficiency or how its processor manages its output at light and heavy loads. Mediatek has mastered the latter and its relevance to energy management. Also, given the fact that the OPPO F5’s processor has higher frequency clock than Nova 2i, its victory is clear as day.

Check our full review of Huawei Nova 2i here.

Photography

Bokeh and Image Noise: OPPO F5 clears this round as the blur on F5 is much softer without sacrificing quality with obvious noise. This can evidently be seen on the photos below. One issue that I encountered with the OPPO F5 though is the difficulty I had with focusing on my subject.

 

Color Saturation and Vibrance: This is a hit and miss on both devices. The quality of photos I took are inconsistent as evidenced by sample photos below. Colors, which are usually muted, don’t get the right amount of saturation all the time when I took photos using both devices. The same goes of output for vibrance.

Now, this is where picture format comes into play. Huawei Nova 2i can take photos with RAW format. This gives mobile photographes more creative freedom to tweak the photos they took during post.

 

Contrast: Contrast plays a vital part in photography. In varying states, the flatter the whites and blacks on your photos, the better your photos are. OPPO F5’s sensor is able to capture and produce photos with better contrast. Again, Nova 2i’s RAW shooting capability can definitely help tweak the contrast of photos but at the expense of

 

Selfie: I am not pogi, so having a beauty mode on my phone is a plus factor. I thought that the Nova 2i did a great job with its own Beauty Mode, but there’s much tweaking to be done to retain photo color and saturation fidelity. Nova 2i is great at producing the right amount of contrast though at the expense of sharpness. OPPO F5’s contrast level is way low at default, but with a good amount of sharpness.

About beauty mode, Nova 2i has 10 steps while OPPO F5 only has 6 steps. Each step corresponds to a particular adjustment. The advantage of Nova 2i is flexibility as the user has 10 steps to play around. When you turn up the switch to maximum level on both devices, the photo produced by OPPO F5 look more natural. This is probably because of its front camera A.I. feature.

 

Low Light: This one’s a little tricky. When taking photos at dark environments, it’s either you turn up the ISO level way too high at the expense of noise, or your bring increase the aperture level. The aperture level on both phones are fixed so the latter is definitely not an option. So, I just had to rely on how its sensors will take photos – in this case – at auto mode.

The photos I took at auto mode at both devices yielded good results. There are some things I’d like to point out though.

At auto, OPPO F5 is good at taking photos at dark environments. It is a little noisy though, unlike the photo I took at auto mode using Nova 2i. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. There will be times when you’ll be needing a photo, which OPPO F5 produces; while there will be moments when you’ll want a photo, which Nova 2i takes.

Verdict

Let me get this straight. OPPO F5 wins in the camera and performance department. These are the things that matter for Filipino consumers, and if you’re in the market, I suggest that you pick the OPPO F5 over the Nova 2i.

This, however, does not mean that the Nova 2i isn’t a bad choice at all. If you picked this over the OPPO F5, you shouldn’t have any feeling of remorse or whatsoever. It isn’t a perfect device, but it has the right features needed to make it as a daily driver.  For what it’s worth, by my standards, it looks prettier than the OPPO F5. If you fancy a phone that rocks a dual camera, the Nova 2i has it and the OPPO F5 lacks.

Starting today, you can pre-order the iPhone X via Smart at surprisingly good plan configurations. You can go and pre-order one on this page.

As highlighted in their pre-order page, their hero plan with iPhone X 64GB only costs PhP3,199 a month. The monthly recurring fee includes the monthly amortization of the phone of PhP1,700, and mobile network plan of PhP1,499.

Before we break down the benefits included in the plan, it is good to note that having all the fees considered, it seems that the total handset cost is just PhP40,800 (at 24 months amortization), as opposed to its SRP of PhP64,490. There is one caveat though – the latter SRP is unlocked, while the handset offered by Smart is locked to the their network. This should not be an issue if you’ve been loyal with Smart, or if you are switching from another network.

As for the mobile plan of PhP1,499, total payments you’ll spend after 24 months completion is PhP35,976. Add this to the PhP40,800 handset cost, and you spent a total of PhP76,776. This is far cheaper compared to the the rival network’s total 24-month plan cost including the handset amortization. With Smart’s hero plan configuration, your monthly fee (including the handset) is lower by PhP200 but a relatively inferior plan benefits. Check out a comparison based on our digging.

iPhone X 64GBSmartGlobe
PLAN14991799
DATA9GB11GB
CALL60 min all-netUnli calls to Globe and TM only / No all-net calls
SMSUnli all-net SMSUnli all-net SMS
VALUE ADDED SERVICESFree monthly app that may be interchanged on a monthly basis / Free Spotify Premium for 3 monthsSpotify 3 months / Netflix 6 months / Disney 6 months
INSURANCEGadget Shield for 1 monthGadget Care
OTHER BENEFITSFree DeliveryFree Delivery
TOTALPhP76,776PhP81,576

There are, of course, bonuses for those who will pre-order! Enjoy up to 15 percent discount on select iPhone X accessories at Power Mac. Signing up with Smart gives you up to 15 percent discount on select official iPhone X accessories, such as cases and screen protectors, at Power Mac Center. You can avail of this offer if you order from Smart from November 24 until December 31, 2017. And you can redeem your discount until March 1, 2018.

Those with approved pre-orders at the Smart Online Store or at select Smart Stores will get a FREE Belkin Wireless Charger.

What are your thoughts about this? Will you be getting the iPhone X?

Cherry Mobile has always tried to be at the forefront of mobile technology innovation in the Philippines. Even at the shadows of giant international companies with virtually deep pockets for marketing and sales, the local company tries to thrive with its plethora of mobile devices SKUs.

I must admit, we didn’t love the former Flare S series as much as we love the current lineup due to 2 glaring reasons: software optimization and price. Flare P1 series also got bad to average reviews from our review team as well. True to the company’s humble values, our reviews and your feedback were well taken and appreciated. Cherry Mobile posed themselves to apply changes to their current and upcoming iterations.

In a nutshell

Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie, being their hero Flare S6 product, touts all the bells and whistles most Filipinos can ask for. In a nutshell, it has everything we hoped for in their next Flare S series. It’s a near-perfect lifestyle product, infused with all the tech enablers to fuel your mobile life: capable selfie and main cameras, attractive price point and highly acceptable performance.

Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie Specs:

  • 1.5GHz MediaTek MT6750T Octa-Core Processor
  • Mali T860 MP2
  • 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card (Up to 128GB)
  • 5.2-inch IPS HD Plus
  • 16MP + 5MP Front Cameras
  • 16MP + 5MP Rear Cameras
  • Camera Sensor: Samsung S5K3P3
  • USB Type-C Interface
  • 2,600mAh battery
  • Cherry OS, Android 7.0 Nougat
  • PhP7,999

How does it look and feel?

Holding the Flare S6 Selfie felt different compared to Flare S5 and Flare P1 Plus. Its metal body and robust build made it looked and felt premium. The rounded bezels, minimalist-looking backplate and USB Type-C gave it an attractive yet functional vibe.

The antenna lines of this device are wildly exposed. This somewhat ruins the design preference of some people, but I’m digging it.

Physical button placements are very accessible whether you’ve got small or big hands. The physical home button with fingerprint sensor sits below its 5.2-inch FHD IPS display. As expected from a home + fingerprint sensor combo, it proved to be very useful and more accessible, albeit nabbing a huge space on the phone’s lower bezel. Pressing the home button takes you to the home screen, but tapping it will not trigger anything. There’s haptic feedback when you tap the home button, but it would have been nice if there’s an option to set a shortcut to home when it’s tapped.

A 16MP Samsung S5K3P3 camera, earpiece, notification light, front LED flash and sensors sit on top of the display. We’ve got much to talk about its camera and front LED later.

Is it good for viewing photos, watching videos and listening to music?

Flare S6 Selfie got itself a 5.2-inch display with IPS panel and full HD resolution. PPI is 424; this makes photos and videos look sharper compared to devices with lesser PPIs. Its screen got good color saturation, sharpness and vibrance.

Since the phone runs on the latest Android Nougat, you can even set its DP smallest width to something bigger to maximize screen space. Thanks to our friend from PinoyScreencast, Randolph Novino, for telling us this tip.

Gaming

Flare S6 Selfie is surprisingly a good gaming smartphone. I tried playing 2 of the resource demanding games this quarter: Rules of Survival, a pseudo-PUBG game on mobile devices; and Shadow Fight 3, a 1v1 fighting game.

The smartphone handled the Shadow Fight 3 pretty well. Game is definitely playable despite minimal lags. Rules of Survival, on the other hand, has an average of 20fps at full load and medium quality settings. After a full round, the game suggested to adjust the quality settings to low to minimize lag.

Check out our full gameplays of both games below:

Oh, let’s zero into its software.

One of the latest features of the Cherry Mobile Flare S6 selfie is its brand spanking new OS, which sits on top of Android Nougat. Fittingly called Cherry OS, it’s a homegrown software, which was locally developed by Cherry Mobile.

The Cherry OS is installed with applications, which the company thinks that would benefit the end-users. This is clear proof that the OS isn’t just a skinning of whatever available resources for their developers. However, the Cherry OS is like a double-edged sword: an innovation imbued with all the bells and whistles for the consumers, but also a futile attempt of the company to show that they are still up in their game.

Cherry OS is laudable, albeit with some optimization issues that we’ve experienced during our test. There are times when the OS becomes non-responsive to simple gestures and actions. There is no scarcity of pre-installed applications; some of which may easily be uninstalled. Nevertheless, here are our recommended pre-installed applications so you know which ones you should remove:

  • Avatar Master: this lets you have 2 consecutive social media accounts running on one phone
  • Privacy System: this is every “Hokage’s” favorite app. This lets you keep things unnoticed by unsoliciting eyes.
  • … pretty much everything in the Black-tech folder

Do note though that at the time of this writing, Cherry Mobile hasn’t rolled out an update of the Cherry OS. During our trip to Thailand with their product head and VP Lonson Alejandrino, they are poised to release a patch at the last week of November.

Does it live up to its ‘Selfie’ monicker?

Flare S6 Selfie is a step up from its predecessors when it comes to photo taking capabilities. There are however qualities that need to be improved from contrast down to saturation. Don’t get me wrong – the quality of the photos we took don’t look bad at all. Its S5K3P3 sensor is a very capable camera sensor, but I really think that Cherry Mobile hasn’t fully set it up to its full potential. I’m pretty sure that a software patch could quick fix things up.

This photo looks bland and badly needs adjustment.
This almost captured the right color of the flower. And notice that good background blur.
With right contrast and proper exposure, which the phone missed achieving, this would have been an amazing photo.

The selfies I took look good but devoid of stellar qualities. The camera sometimes struggles in low light, but does its job quite right.

Verdict

Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Selfie embodies the original Flare we had years ago – powerful without breaking the bank. It isn’t perfect, to be honest, but the value you get over the amount of money you pay on this device is definitely worth it.

Cherry Mobile needs to optimize and improve the Cherry OS though. At its present state, the latter is not at its top shape and form, which might somehow break the experience for some consumers.

Our friends from Pinoy Rig Enthusiasts recently announced their collaboration with Glaiiide of Aneno Knights to sell limited edition chair. At the help of PRE or Pinoy Rig Enthusiasts is Alvin Pacheco. His site is one of the sites that we at Gadget Pilipinas look up too when it comes to creating content that pc modders and gamers would love to see.

You can check out their announcement video below.

The chair is pretty fancy with all the features needed to make yourself comfortable while playing your favorite games. It has 1.8mm metal frame with rust-free coating. It has Class 4 gas lift that ensures support up to 200kg.

The leather on the limited edition gaming chair is “breathable”. This makes it comfortable to sit on even at long hours.

Pinoy Rig Enthusiasts Limited Edition Gaming Chair

Features
  • Ergonomic PC gaming chair with adjustable armrest
  • Moveable arms that folds up
  • Amply padded including the armrests (adjustable up and down )
  • Nylon Baking varnish armrests and seat base
  • 100mm Class 4 gas lift, 350mm Nylon base and 60mm nylon castors.
  • Up to 200kg Support
  • Metal Frame Base with Power Coating
Size
  • Product size: (D x W x H) 66 x 70 x (125-133)cm
  • Chair back size: (W x H) 61 x 77 cm
  • Seat pad size: (W x D) 52 x 66 cm
  • Seat height: 48-56 cm (adjustable)
  • Armrest height: 68-76 cm (adjustable)
Shipping & Package
  • Flat packed in 1 cartoon with easy instruction to assemble
  • Shipping weight: 24KGS
  • Shipping package size: 83*32*65 cm

 

As this a limited edition, only 9 gaming charis will be release. The cost is PhP8,000 pesos for the first 5 pre-orders, while the last 4 pre-orders will have to shell out additional PhP1,000.

OnRev, as in online revolution!

Just in time for the holidays, Cherry Mobile, in partnership with Lazada introduced the latest line-up of online-exclusive brand, Cube. Dubbed as OnRev series, the new lineup will be made available during Lazada’s Online Revolution Sale from November 9 to 11, 2017.

During the launch, Lazada PH and co-founder Inanc Balci, stated that with their partnership with Cherry Mobile, they will be able to increase the mobile internet penetration of the country, which is currently at 55.5%. Cube, Cherry Mobile’s online-exclusive brand, has an impressive line-up of affordable yet capable smartphones, which starts at PhP999 with Cube OnRev Astro.

Let’s talk about the new phones

Cubix Cube OnRev Astro

Cherry Mobile’s banner product, OnRev Astro, retails for PhP999. While the price is attractively set for those who wish to get into the smartphone bandwagon, it isn’t short of the specs needed to enjoy it.

Screen is a little small at 4-inches. This isn’t for everything, but it’ll surely be a hit for first time smartphone buyers. Dude, the PhP999 price tag is irresistible; I’ll even probably buy one as burner phone or a gift for my lola or tita.

If technical specs matter to you, check it below:

  • Marshmallow 6.0
  • 1.3GHz Quad-Core
  • 4″ Capacitive Screen
  • 5MP & 2MP Cameras
  • 4GB ROM (MicroSD up to 32GB)
  • 3G Ready
  • Dual SIM
  • 1200mAh

Cubix Cube On Rev

If you fancy something with bigger screen and killer looks, then you might want to check out Cubix’s Cube On Rev. It’s a tad pricier than the Astro but its specs pack a lot of punch. Price is uber affordable at PhP2,299.

Here are the specs:

  • Marshmallow 6.0
  • 1.3GHz Quad-Core
  • 5″ Capacitive Screen
  • 5MP & 2MP Cameras
  • 4GB ROM (MicroSD up to 32GB)
  • 3G Ready
  • Dual SIM
  • 2000mAh

Cubix Cube On Rev: Max

Among the phones announced by Cherry Mobile and Lazada, this one’s my personal favorite. The Cubix Cube On Rev: Max features a humongous 6-inch screen with HD resolution. This is perfect if you need a mobile device to watch and stream your favorite art films. Its 3000mAh battery may be too low though for the screen it needs to power up all day.

Check out the specs below:

  • Marshmallow 6.0
  • 1.3GHz Quad-Core
  • 6″ HD Screen
  • 13MP & 8MP
  • 16GB ROM | 1GB RAM (MicroSD up to 64GB)
  • 3G Ready
  • Dual SIM
  • 3000mAh

As you may have seen above, all the devices run on Android Marshmallow and powered by 1.3GHz Quad-core processor. We asked further details from Cherry Mobile regarding the specifics of the processor, SoC and camera sensors. We will be requesting review units as well for us to test out.

Meanwhile, if you’re itching to get yourself one of these, be sure to check Lazada’s website starting November 9. Oh, you don’t have to worry about consuming your data allocation when visiting Lazada’s site. Pro-tip: Download Freenet (Android iOS) and surf Lazada through it. It is guaranteed that you won’t consume any of your data allocation through it.

We talked about the Roku-powered Tvolution many times, and highlighted a few things we love about it. If you missed our video on YouTube 4 months ago, check it out below:

We love the Roku-powered Tvolution. Out of all the streaming boxes we tried in the past, there are plenty of reasons to consider why this is the only box stuck in our office for a few months now. In fact, it’s not going to change anytime soon.

Exclusive access to Cignal Channels

Whether you’re using copper or Fibr internet at home, using the Roku-powered Tvolution gives you exclusive access to Cignal channels. Your first month is free if you just availed the new Tvolution, and continuing the service is as easy as subscribing via directly from the TV box. That’s convenience.

Streaming locally cached videos on iFlix

There are tons of videos available on iFlix waiting for you to stream. The Roku-powered TVolution has this app installed, which basically opens you the growing library of iFlix from Disney movies to Korean dramas. We also compiled 5 movies that you might want to check out on iFlix.

And here’s sweetest deal among all – iFlix is free to all PLDT subscribers.

Directly connect to your internet router via LAN

If you’re looking for a way to hook your Roku to the internet, the best way is to directly jack an ethernet cable to it, and connect it to your router. This is one of the major advantages of Roku-boxes over streaming sticks.

Access your own media via USB, and add more internal memory via MicroSD

The Roku-powered Tvolution lets your access your own media via its USB port. Attach a USB drive, and you get yourself a box that has all the backup personal videos and photos.

Also, the box allows you to add a microSD card to expand its internal storage so you can download more channels and games on the Roku 2 available at Roku Channel Store.

Following the launch of the Huawei Nova 2i, the telco announced a plan that lets subscribers grab the new quad-camera for a good price.

The phone is available at Plan 799 on smart, plus PhP500 for the phone monthly amortization. You get locked in with Smart for 30 months, which effectively comfortably close to its SRP at PhP15,000. With this combo, you only pay for PhP1,299 per month with the following inclusions:

  • Huawei Nova 2i
  • 8GB Monthly Data allocation
  • 500MB for FB Messenger, Viber and WhatsApp
  • Unlimited All-Net Texts
  • 40 mins All-Net Ccalls
  • Discounted calls to Smart/TNT (PhP4/min)

For more information about Huawei Nova 2i, check out the links below:

We came to China a month ago to learn more about the culture and values of Huawei. Of course, like the usual foreign trip we go to, we got to experience one product that Huawei Philippines is launching today.

Here's our first impressions!

Without further much ado, we’re formally introducing to you guys the Huawei Nova 2i.

We saw tons of teasers from the brand for a few weeks, and for what we know – everything is just at the tip of what the Huawei Nova 2i can do.

First, here’s what you can find inside the box in a jiffy:

  • Sim Ejector tool;
  • There are 2 boxes inside: one that holds the charger, micro USB cable and a standard 3.5mm headphone; and,
  • the Nova 2i

We have a link to the full unboxing below, which you can watch at your most convenient time.

Check our unboxing and preview!

Now that you got yourself acquainted with what’s inside the retail box of the Nova 2i, let me now  – inch by inch – talk about its design and construction.

Design and Screen Quality

The first thing you’ll notice about the Nova 2i is its gorgeous looking FullView 18:9 screen. If you’re into comparing things, the Nova 2i’s screen is significantly way better than its predecessor, the Huawei Nova Plus. That one didn’t come out in the Philippines but we saw it with our own eyes at Huawei’s HQ, and boy it looks really way better.

Like most smartphones with 18:9 screens out there, the Nova 2i’s 5.9-inch screen is housed in a 5.5-inch form factor. This makes the grip and multimedia experience a much better one. This is the reason why most smartphones and consumers nowadays are turning their heads to 18:9. In fact, even local players in the Philippines are embracing this new smartphone trend.

I have a Huawei P10 Plus here, which has a 5.5-inch display; and if we compare it to the Huawei Nova 2i, you will notice that both devices almost have the same size in terms of build, but differ on screen size. Nova 2i’s screen is longer but does not sacrifice the size of the device.

I’ve got mixed feelings about its screen quality though at default setup. I compared it with my other devices such as the VIVO V7+, OPPO F3 Red, Huawei P10 Plus, and I noticed that Nova 2i’s whites are more yellowish despite the Eye Comfort feature being turned off. This isn’t a deal breaker, in my opinion, as the only color affected are the ones in white color. Also, as pointed out by our readers during our first impressions, just like the other flagship Huawei devices, the Nova 2i has advanced Eye Comfort settings. This allows you to set the warmth color of your screen.

Its screen, without a doubt, is one of the best among the smartphones we’ve reviewed at similar price point and grade. It is cheaper than its nearest competitor, the VIVO V7+, and performs steadily better in a lot of aspects, particularly in the camera department. We’ll get onto that later.

The 18:9 screen occupies about 83% of the phone’s front panel. It displays more than the usual when compared to non-18:9 screen ratio smartphones. Whether playing games or watching videos, Nova 2i’s screen is impressive as I expected it to be.

Performance and Benchmarks

Nova 2i isn’t just all about its gorgeous screen. It also boasts a powerful 16nm 8-core processor, which was developed in-house by Huawei. Kirin 659 is capable of clocking at 2.36GHz, which is enough for your favorite games to work and perform without any hiccups. Its 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM are made to compensate for handling unforgiving apps like Google Chrome, Facebook and YouTube; and games like Mobile Legends, Marvel Future Fight and Lineage II. These apps and games work with none to minimal slowdowns.

At minimal process load, some of the CPUs usually run at 480MHz to 1402MHz. Once I fired up high processing requirement apps and games, it will only then that some of the CPUs reach to 2300MHz. At boot, and at minimal process load, the available RAM ranges from 46% to 50%, which may pose an issue if you wish to load several applications at the same time. Should you want to run a mobile, which requires more memory and processing power, tap the trash icon when accessing quick menus.

As usual, for our specs and stats hungry readers, You deserve quantifiable data. For the non-geeks, the Nova 2i is a highly capable mid-range device I’ve reviewed

Huawei Nova 2i Benchmark Results:

3D Mark Slingshot Extreme: 321

Antutu Benchmark: 61797

  • 3D: 9373
  • UX: 26281
  • CPU: 20864
  • RAM: 5279

Geekbench 4

  • Singe-Core Result: 912
  • Multi-Core Score: 3260

GFXBench GL Benchmark

I want to emphasize that while most of our readers are familiar with Antutu and Quadrant, I want to put special emphasis on GFXBench GL Benchmark as it shows results that may very well quantify the capabilities of this smartphone. Quite obviously, based on its specifications, the Huawei Nova 2i is a speedy device and perfect for many occasions: productivity, content and media creation, and gaming. Huawei is definitely at the top of their game when it comes to covering the mid-range market with this smartphone.

High-Level Tests: For this tier test, the benchmark app subjects it to on-screen and offscreen graphics tests. The renderer is presented with various surface width and weigh, and pushes it to its limit. Graphics presented often resemble game-like renders. FPS is presented per each grade of test. The higher the score, the better.

  • Score: 1,256 Frames (vs 1,627 frames of NVIDIA Shield Android TV)

Low-Level Tests: This tier test, the app subjects the phone to on-screen and offscreen graphics tests. Tesselation and texturing are the focuses of the test, and the result is presented in terms of frames.

  • Score: 1,457 Frames

NenaMark 2

  • Score: 60.1

PCMark for Android Benchmark

PCMark offers a detailed result of the phone’s overall capacity to cope up with the demands of the user. It provides the best and complete benchmark result among other apps, albeit lacking detailed results for graphics capability.

  • Work 2.0 Performance: 4,823
  • 3DMark for Android: 2886

Software

If there’s one feature that makes the Nova 2i’s speed and performance really felt in the most tangible way, then it’s all about its software. It runs on the latest Android 7.0-based EMUI 5.1 software. Huawei claimed it to make users feel that they’re using a phone with a stock version of Android running at its core. It didn’t feel like it though, to be honest, because of the fun yet functional features they stacked on its EMUI. It performed like one though: it’s fast despite being loaded with features, and it often send update notices for bug fixing, security and performance patches,

Huawei claimed it to make users feel that they’re using a phone with a stock version of Android running at its core. It didn’t feel like it though, to be honest, because of the fun yet functional features they stacked on its EMUI. It performed like one though: it’s fast despite being loaded with features, and it often sends update notices for bug fixing, security and performance patches. From the time I received it until today, I received a total of 4 incremental patches to improve and enhance my experience.

Camera

Apart from the performance and screen, another thing that makes the Nova 2i stand is camera performance. The cameras on this phone takes amazing photos. I’m really impressed, and even thought – at first – that this could have been an incremental upgrade to the 1st iteration of Huawei P9 sans the Leica co-engineered technology.

Over the years, Huawei’s dedication to improve its camera is unwavering. Its dual main or back cameras are capable of producing impressive photos. Whether you’re into taking portrait or non-portrait photos, Nova 2i can do the job pretty well. The second 2MP lens that sits beside the 16MP is in charge of producing bokeh effects. The 2MP lens on the front camera does the same thing.

Landscape photos I took look equally good as well. It sometimes struggles when subjects are in low light, but acceptable by my standards.

As earlier stated, the front-facing camera can also produce photos with bokeh effects. Photos appear to be bright as well, especially when Beauty 4.0 is enabled. It also has a front-facing flash, which is available to be used when needed.

As pointed out in my first impressions, you can even add a few quirks and effects like moving photos, costume or Make-up filters. You can take a photo or a 15-second video with this feature turned on. I tried this – FOR THE SAKE OF THIS REVIEW.

Nova 2i may also be used quite well to preserve moving moments even at low light.

Connectivity, Sensors and Battery

The Nova 2i has all the necessary components to make it useful primarily as a mobile phone. Taking calls, browsing the internet and answering to SMS (if most of you still use this) can be done with a breeze on this smartphone.

While it is powerful in its own right – performance-wise, there is one branch in gaming that it may not be able to cover perfectly – VR and augmented reality as this does not have a gyroscope. I don’t see this as a deal-breaking issue, but if you’re into VR and AR, the Nova 2i won’t be as usual as you might want it to be.

Battery life is pretty decent as well, which clocks at approximately 7 hours from full charge. This goes to show that power efficiency is at the core of it Kirin 659 and EMUI 5.1.

Verdict

The Huawei Nova 2i is easily the best midrange smartphone we reviewed so far. Its amazing screen and impressive set of cameras put it at its pedestal as a worthy standard bearer of the midrange segment. The price hits the sweet spot of Filipinos, especially those on the hunt for a new smartphone.

When you think about it, a lot of smartphone brands have been getting into the 18:9 bandwagon. VIVO, with their VIVO V7+ was the first in market to introduce a midrange smartphone with the 18:9 aspect ratio. This October 26, OPPO is slated to officially announce the OPPO F5 Plus, which is already confirmed to have the same aspect ratio. Local brands will eventually follow suit like the Cherry Mobile Flare S6 Plus and Cloudfone Next Infinity Pro. There’s one question that popped into mind about this influx of smartphones with 18:9 screens: WHY?

Check our unboxing and preview!

There is a great demand for a bigger screen in the Philippines. More and more Filipinos are consuming content (videos and games) using their smartphones, and it’s, therefore, logical for tech brands to produce devices, which give solution to the demand. However, a bigger screen usually required bigger build in order to properly house the LCD panel. This is not the case anymore.

With the introduction of 18:9 aspect ratio, smartphones are now able to house bigger screens without sacrificing build and construction. The Huawei Nova 2i sports a Fullview screen, and therefore meets the growing digital consumption demand of consumers.

There’s something – or there are some things – special about the Nova 2i though, which set itself apart from the midrange competition: quad cameras and price; and these are the subjects of our first impressions.

First, a quick look at the technical specifications of the Huawei Nova 2i:

Huawei Nova 2i Full Specifications

  • Kirin 659 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.9″ Full HD FullView display, 18:9 display aspect ratio, 83% screen to body ratio
  • 16-Megapixel and 2-Megapixel rear cameras (can produce Bokeh effects)
  • 13-Megapixel and 2-Megapixel front cameras. with Smart Selfie Toning flash
  • 64GB of internal storage
  • Expandable storage via microSD
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner, Micro USB
  • 3,340mAh battery
  • Android Nougat (7.0)

First up, let me quickly talk about the phones build and performance.

The Nova 2i looks and feels different compared to the previous phones produced by Huawei. It does not look slim, but only when the screen is turned off. The look and feel shift drastically when you turn on the screen and start using the device.

It is as wide and as big as my Huawei P10 Plus. The striking feature here is its 18:9 FullView screen, which lights up – naturally – when pressing the sleep and wake button located at its right side. The location of the latter button, joined by its volume rockers, sit in the perfect spot where my thumb rests when I’m not tapping the screen.

On top of the FullView display are the following sensors, notification light, earpiece, 13MP lens and 2MP lens. Flipping the device reveals the flash, 16M lens and 2MP lens. The bottom part of the phone shows 3.5mm headphone jack, micro USB cable, primary camera and speaker grills. The tap part, on the other hand, is where the secondary microphone (for noise cancellation) is located. Poking the sim tray out reveals a tray, which can house 1 sim + 1 micro SD card, or 2 sims.

Performance wise, Nova 2i is pretty well packed with its Kirin 659 and 4GB RAM. The custom processor is made by Huawei to make the Nova 2i a beast in its own right. I’ve been using it since I got it last September 19 in China, and boy was I really impressed with how the device performs. I will cover more of its performance on my full review, which I will post on October 20, the same date when this phone will become available.

As earlier stated, the device sports 13MP + 2MP front facing camera, and 16MP + 2MP rear facing camera. The 1.75um 2MP lenses on both sides are in charge of intelligently focusing on capturing depth of field information. These lenses work in complete unison with their respective lens to produce photos with bokeh effect. I actually tried covering the other smaller lens while taking a photo (with the Bokeh effect on) and it automatically cancels out any Bokeh effect I wanted to achieve. These 2MP lenses are not fake ones, and therefore no gimmick at all.

Fun isn’t limited to just one side of the camera. Bokeh effect works whether you use the rear or front-facing cameras. If you feel that there’s a need for light compensation when taking selfies, you can simply enable the Soft Flash via the camera application. Soft Flash works whether the Bokeh effect is turned on or off.

You can even add a few quirks and effects like Costume or Make-up filters. You can take a photo or a 15-second video with this feature turned on. I tried this – FOR THE SAKE OF THIS REVIEW.

Its rear 16MP and 2MP are equally impressive. Color vibrancy are little overblown in my honest opinion though, and there are times when focusing is a little slow. Nevertheless, I am certain that Nova 2i’s rear camera can take good photos, provided that you know how mess around with its features. You can break away from Auto Mode once a while, and enjoy taking photos like a pro with its Pro photo and Pro video mode.

There are, of course, a few other photo modes available like HDR, Night Shot, Panorama and Light Painting, which I will cover more on my full review.

And here comes the other good thing about the Huawei Nova 2i – its price. At PhP14,990, it is the most affordable around with 18:9 screen and quad cameras. Throw into the party its highly capable processor and RAM, and you got yourself a new standard bearer, which cuts across the low and high midrange smartphone variants.

Be sure to check back on October 20 as we post our full review of the Huawei Nova 2i.