February entry level smartphone buyers guide


@ Php4,999 - Smart Netphone 701. For the second time, a carrier backed Android Smartphone has gone below the Php5,000 floor. This time is it is Smart Communications Netphone 701. The Netphone 701 is actually a ZTE Blade first released in late 2010. With a 600 MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, 150 MB of internal storage (expandable to 32 GB via MicroSD slot) and running Android 2.2 it was a great phone at the time of its release and now, a year and a half today it is still a very good option at the price. The real draw of this phone is the relatively large 3.5-inch high resolution 480 x 800 display. You will have to spend Php8-9K more to get a phone with an equivalent display. 
The major drawback is that you do not get an official update to Android 2.3 or later.
At Php4,999 as a prepaid kit, down from an original price of Php9,999 It is the best choice at the 5-8K price point. I do not expect this offer to be available for long. With the age of the phone, I am pretty sure that it is being phased out from Smart line-up soon. If you are thinking of getting one I would probably get one soon.

For those looking at the 5K-8K price range, the only reason not to get this phone is if you don't want Smart as your service provider.


@Php9,995 - Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman - 1GHz Snapdragon inside. With the Netphone 701, the high resolution screen is the main reason to get the phone. If power at a low cost is what you are looking for Sony Ericsson (now just Sony) Live with Walkman, is the one for you.

Inside you have a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor backed by 512 MB 1 GB of RAM. You also get 320MB of internal storage (expandable to 32 GB via MicroSD slot) which is more than the other phones in this class. The 3.2-inch screen is a decent 320 x 480 resolution.

You also get a decent 5MP autofocus camera with a flash, something you don't expect at this price range.

Except for the size of the screen, screen resolution and internal storage these phones have specifications more like mid-level Androids. At Php9,995 with an official warranty, it is a good deal for the money. 

If you want to spend less, might as well go all the way down to the Netphone 701. 

@Globe BlackBerry Max 599 - BlackBerry 8520 - The BlackBerry 8520 is an old phone which wont impress anybody. With a 2.5-inch screen, a 2MP camera, and still using GPRS and Edge instead of HSDPA for connectivity it is decidedly obsolete. However, paired with a BBMax Plan it is more useful than a fancier smartphone without a data plan.

Globe Telecom will give you a BlackBerry 8520 free for Php599 a month on a BB Max Plan with a two year contract. This is just over 14K over two years.

This plan gives you unlimited access to BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry email, Facebook, Twitter and unlimited surfing through the BlackBerry APN and unlimited downloading and streaming through the Internet APN. This allows you to stay connected to the net and communicate world wide while your friend shows you how cool Blade Infinity is. On a budget, I would sacrifice the phone for data access.


LG Optimus Net Dual P698
@Dual sim - Lenovo A60 or LG Optimus Net Dual. If you are looking for a dual sim phone, Lenovo has it Android powered A60 for Php7,900 and the LG Optimus Net Dual P698 for Php8,750. 

The LG Optimus Net Dual is easy to recommend based mainly on our experiance with the Optimus One, which proved to be a well built and durable phone. The LG Optimus Net Dual  which has a 3.2-inch (320 x 480 pixel resolution) screen, a 800MHz processor and a 3.2 megapixel camera running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), can be had for as low as Php8,750 with an official warranty.

Not having even seen a Lenovo A60, which has a larger 3.5-inch screen and lower Php7,900 price we are not sure which of these two dual sims phones is better.