Budget Smartphones – Hit or Miss?
By John Paolo J. Bencito
Smartphones nowadays no longer hold the face of being intimidating instruments or expensive toys teeming with superfluous features.
The advent of “budget smartphones” – compromised counterparts of high-end ones brings good news to the budget-conscious, tech-loving consumer as prices are coming down all the time.
Going back to compromise, is the hefty price tagreally worth-it of your hard-earned money? We have some reasons for you to think before crunching up your cash.
Ah yes. The obvious reason in purchasing a budget smartphone is the low cost that comes with features of a high-end one at a convenient and reasonable price is not a small thing.
Plus the fact thatit is cheaper to replace the parts. If there is some huge scratch on the screen, or on the rare, to change the battery, they all come handy at reasonable prices.
That is not the case with high-end smartphones. It will cost you a real good amount of money to change the spares parts of an extensive flagship smartphone.
Another amazing thing to note is that you will get almost all the features available in a high end smartphone in a budget smartphone. There is a trend prevailing right now that once a flagship phone releases with high end specs and sky high price tag, expect a Filipino or Chinese replica will be released soon with almost similar features and design, but with a stunningly lower price tag.
Didn’t we forget to mention that there won’t be emotional dilemmas once your smartphones go wary? Imagine breaking your iPhone screen or losing it to pickpockets in Divisoria, Recto or Cubao. Take in to consideration the huge fortune you spent on the high-priced smartphone, you are sure to lose the peace of mind.
Well, every good thing will have a darker side. Low budget smartphones are never an exception. No matter how hard you try to buy your budget phone with the best accessories in the market (flip covers, screen protectors, etc.), it will still lack the premium look of the high-end smartphone.
Some manufacturersmay still try to bring out the best from their design department, but as they have to keep the price in the border line, the cost of production would be forced to cut down. That will affect the look of the smartphone too.
Another concern for frequent users of these budget smartphones is the poor, crappy, underprivileged, deprived, pitiable memory and storage! Storage options will be far lower in low priced phones when compared with the high priced ones.
Apps and games will be suffering. If you are an ardent game player or an app lover, there are chances that the RAM of the low priced smartphones will surely freak your head out. Expect the frequent lags that rescinds the “smartphone experience”.
Low-priced smartphones are not meant for the future. One of the main advantages of a high end smartphone is that the features and technology incorporated in it would be the latest and it will be getting out dated very slowly.
Compared to this, the budget smartphones will be lacking the latest technology and so, will be getting outdated in a sooner pace.
Lastly, the after sales service for the budget friendly phones can be dissatisfying at times. You will not be treated as gently as your device is a cheaper one and the shop owners will not be getting that profit from it as with the expensive smartphones. There will and always be exceptional cases, of course.
If you do have the extra time to take hold of your precious cash, try to save up to get a smartphone of a reasonable price with above average features. Remember that your smart phone is an investment, and your enjoyment is a first.
Think well before you stash off that hard-earned cash. Whether it is low priced or expensive, the money is yours and the phone is yours and it should be suitable to you.
Before finalizing the decision, make sure that the phone you chose is the apt one for you. If there is something you want missing in the phone, don’t go for it.
There are a plenty of phones (local or foreign brands) available right out there with all the requirements. Just be a bit patient in purchasing.
Mr. Bencito is a graduating student of Journalism at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila. He is currently an intern for OpinYon.
The Smartwatch: Need Or Want?
By Erick A. Fabian
Average tech consumers should know this about smartwatches: they are not stand-alone devices. They are accessories that will only work when linked to a smartphone, if you own one.
Smartwatches, as they are now, only show notifications, e-mails, messages and other basic details while worn on the wrist. The idea is that you don’t have to waste time or pause to pull your smartphone out from your bag or pocket.
It can also provide a way for the user to check emails and social media messages by glancing on a watch during a meeting, because glancing at a smartphone in the middle of a conversation can be considered discourteous.
One important question that tech critics keep asking is whether smartwatches are only meant to augment the smartphone, or whether it will replace the smartphone.
Manufacturers are still in the process of figuring out what exactly these devices can be useful for. What can smartwatches offer the tech consumer that isn’t being provided by smartphones and tablets already?
According to Carl Howe, vice president of research and data sciences at the Yankee Group, “The fact of the matter so far is that consumers don’t want smartwatches as they are currently designed. That’s why they don’t sell. That suggests that today’s products are largely technology solutions for problems that don’t strike most consumers as true needs; they simply are gadgets.”
The watch as a piece of technology is a long-time classic because it has served a basic purpose for generations: to measure time. Whether it was the pocket watch in the late 1400s, the wristwatch of the 1900s, or the digital wristwatch of the 1970s up to present, it rarely deviated from its original function, except for a few additional features such as a built-in thermometer, radio, and calculator.
Futurists and tech theorists have foreseen the eventual computerization of the tried-and-tested wristwatch. The diminishing size of microchips, pixels, and batteries is going to make it all come true.
That the watch will eventually become an all-around device is beside the point. The question is whether the smartwatch is a practical tool for the jet-setting generation, and whether it is a solution to people’s needs.
The smartphone is fast becoming a technological mainstay because it answers the need for portable devices that can do the work of personal assistants.
There is talk in the tech industry about Apple, the maker of the iPad and Mac computers, getting into the smartwatch race. Samsung and other manufacturers are releasing model after model of smartwatches, and consumers are considering giving them as gifts for birthdays and holidays.
The idea is to make the watch come back as the leading portable device for personal use. Many tech critics are not yet convinced of its long-term functionality.
As of this moment, smartwatches are still considered a fashionable consumer-tech trend, affordable by people with extra money to burn but not a practical device for work or business purposes.
Samsung Finally Launched the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom
Good news for photography enthusiasts: Samsung finally launched the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom.
Along with its unusual camera lens, it offers a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization that can go from a focal length of 24mm to 240mm in just a snap.
It is pretty versatile for those who love to capture selfies, food, landscapes, concerts and other events.
K Zoom runs with the latest 4.4.2 KitKat version of Android OS and TouchWiz interface. There are several new enhancements on this device,including GoogleNow,an application that actively listens to voice commands.
It is also power-driven by a hexa-core processor made up of two 1.7GHz ARM A15 cores paired with four 1.3 GHz ARM A7 cores.
That means this smartphone has improved performance and will use power more efficiently,while being easy on battery life.
Techies will probablyraise their expectationsfor smartphone technology done by other big-name manufacturers, because Samsung has raised the bar with this new product line. (Niks Aguila)
Leading Smartphones In Today’s Market
Carriers may claim to make it easier to upgrade the smartphones that they sell, most of us are going to use that gadget for at least two years. So the phone you buy needs to deliver the right mix of speed, features, ease of use and battery life. There is no such thing as a future-proof smartphone, but it is possible for the very best models to keep you very happy months and months down the road. To help you make an informed choice, wechose some of the leading smartphones in the market today.Whether you’re looking for a big-screen phone-tablet, the most advanced camera, or a compact powerhouse, there’s something to match your needs.
Best Overall Smartphone: Samsung Galaxy Note 3
The Galaxy Note 3 is so powerful and long-lasting you may not need a tablet. This Android device packs a big and bright 5.7-inch display, and you can take notes with ease using the built-in S Pen. The Note 3 is also a multitasking maestro, thanks to its blazing Snapdragon 800 processor. With Samsung’s Multi Window feature, you can run two apps side by side and drag content between apps.
Best Android Phone: HTC One M8
The HTC One M8 is the sexiest Android phone ever, packing a 5-inch full HD display and a fast new Snapdragon 801 processor into a sleek metal body available in three colors. Photographers will have a blast with the dual-lens camera, which lets you focus on the foreground or background after you shoot.
Best Smartphone Features: Samsung Galaxy S5
Based on our hands-on time with the new Samsung Galaxy S5, shoppers have a lot to be excited about. In addition to a faster Snapdragon 801 processor, the new S5 sports a much faster 16-megapixel camera with real-time HDR capability. It has a built-in heart rate monitor will help you keep better tabs on your fitness. These features is wrapped up in a new water-resistant design.
Best Compact Smartphone: Apple iPhone 5s
Other than a new gold color option, the iPhone 5s doesn’t seem much different from its predecessor. However, the A7 chip inside this sleek beast blows the doors off of most Android phones, and there’s a growing number of games and apps that take advantage of its 64-bit architecture.
Best Value: Motorola Moto X
Say “OK, Google Now” to the Moto X, and you’ll unleash this smartphone’s greatest power. This device can answer all sorts of questions (“What’s the weather today?”) and execute commands (“Send text to John”) without you lifting a finger. The secret is the Moto X’s dedicated natural language processor. Although the camera could be better, the sub-$100 price of the Moto X makes it a fantastic value.
Best Advanced Camera: Nokia Lumia 1020
For photographers, the Nokia Lumia 1020 represents the pinnacle of smartphones. The 41-megapixel camera sensor not only takes breathtaking photos, but lets you zoom in after the shot to reframe your photo and still enjoy amazing detail. Shutterbugs will also appreciate the Lumia 1020’s sophisticated camera app, which lets you adjust white balance, shutter speed and focus on the fly. Plus, Windows Phone’s dynamic Live Tile interface really pops on this handset’s 4.5-inch AMOLED screen.
Best Off-Contract Phone: Google Nexus 5
It’s not just a device for Android purists. The Nexus 5 is simply one of the best smartphone values anywhere. For just $349 off-contract, you get cutting-edge specs such as a Snapdragon 800 processor and a 5-inch 1080p display. Android 4.4 KitKat brings some cool new features to the table, too, including the ability to perform searches, send text messages and more using just your voice from the home screen.
Best Innovative Phone Design: LG G Flex
The LG G Flex is the world’s first smartphone that’s not only curved but flexible. This makes the handset more comfortable when holding it up to your face to make calls, and you can literally apply up to 80 pounds of pressure to the back without worrying about breakage. The G Flex also has a self-healing chassis, so you can scratch the back with keys and the marks will start to disappear within minutes.