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Unbox 2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Phablets

Give the gift of the big screen

A regular 5-inch smartphone not doing it for you or your loved one? Then you might want to take a look at phablets – phones that have displays over 5- inches and above, and more often than not border on the size of tablets. These phones are perfect for people who like to play games and watch movies, but since it’s a fairly popular product segment, there’s a lot of devices to choose from. We’re taking a look at awesome phablets that you can give yourself or your loved one this Christmas.

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Lenovo Vibe P1

Lenovo’s Vibe P1 may not have the most innovative design in the world, but it has it where it counts: excellent all-around performance, above average camera and most importantly, a massive 5000mAh battery.

Lenovo Vibe P1 specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 405 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of storage, expandable
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop with Vibe UI
  • 5000mAh battery

 

Because the Vibe P1 has a larger than average battery and middlin’ specs, it’s more than guaranteed to last you the whole day with enough left over. Lenovo’s pricing the Vibe P1 at Php 14,999, putting it squarely in mid-range territory. You can watch our inital hands-on of the Vibe P1 here, and our full review of the device here.

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ZUK Z1

While Chinese company ZUK is a relative unknown in the market, it’s not an outfit that’s starting from scratch. Founded by both Lenovo and Chinese security company Qihoo 360, ZUK has plenty of expertise in making smartphones. The company’s first outing, the Z1, is a great first effort, offering excellent set of specs, good overall performance and a long-lasting battery.

ZUK Z1 specs

  • 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Adreno 330 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 64GB of storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, Sony IMX214 sensor
  • 8-megapixel front camera, OmniVision sensor
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, Cyanogen OS 12.1
  • 4100mAh battery

The Z1’s only issue when we reviewed it was its less than stellar camera performance, but many people would probably overlook that because of its relatively aggressive pricing of Php 15,290. You can read our ZUK Z1 review here.

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OPPO R7 Plus

OPPO managed to hold everybody’s attention for a few months this year when they started to strategically leak photos and video of a nearly bezel-less smartphone. While the phone that the company dangled in front of our faces didn’t turn out to be as leaked, it was still a very attractive phone to have and to hold.

OPPO R7 Plus specs:

  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 6-inch full HD AMOLED display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of storage, expandable up to 128GB
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2 aperture
  • 8-megapixel frotn camera, f/2.4 aperture
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFI, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Color OS 2.1
  • 4,100mAh battery

The OPPO R7 Plus has a great design and good performance, and had excellent battery endurance – an important consideration for many people nowadays. While it’s a little expensive at Php 21,990, it’s worth every centavo. You can read our review of the OPPO R7 Plus here.

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Meizu M2 Note

Meizu’s a Chinese company that’s been making waves in the Philippines this year, courtesy of their aggressively priced and competitively specc’d M2 Note. The M2 Note brings a good mix of price and performance to the sub 9K market, endearing both the phone and the company to people on a tight budget.

Meizu M2 Note specs:

  • 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD Sharp IGZO display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, F/2.2 aperture, dual LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera, F/2.0 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop, Flyme UI
  • 3100mAh battery

You can read our Meizu M2 Note review here.

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Cherry Mobile Cubix Cube 2

Cherry Mobile’s online-only Cubix smartphone lineup has gained quite a following ever since the company released the phone to the public earlier this year. The newest entry to the Cubix lineup is the Cube 2, which is probably one of the more affordable phablets you can buy today.

Cherry Mobile Cubix Cube 2 specs

  • 1.7GHz octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch full HD OGS display, Corning Gorilla Glass protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of non-expandable storage
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, Panasonic sensor with BSI and rear flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera with BSI
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC, USB OTG
  • 3500mAh battery (non-removable)
  • Android 4.4 KitKat

At just Php 4,999 it’s quite affordable, though you are sacrificing expandable storage as well as LTE capability when you do get one. While we haven’t fully reviewed the Cube 2 as of yet, we took an early look at the device before it hit Lazada a few months ago. You can head here for the hands-on article, and here for our first look video.

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Huawei G8

Huawei’s been releasing solid metal-bodied smartphones recently, and the mid-range G8 is probably the best of the bunch under 20K. The G8 manages to combine a premium-looking unibody device at a very attractive price point.

Huawei G8 specs

  • 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 405 GPU
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD display with 2.5D glass, Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, AF, dual LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, USB OTG, Fingerprint scanner
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 with EMUI 3.1

The G8 manages to do a lot of things quite well, though it stumbles a bit in the camera department. Nevertheless, the G8 is still a solid phablet for the money, and you can probably get one yourself if you’re so inclined, though it will set you back Php 17,990 for the privilege. You can read our Huawei G8 review here.

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Samsung Galaxy A8

Samsung’s metal-clad A series of devices was the company’s first foray into making full metal smartphones. The A8 is the youngest and biggest of the bunch and sports many features that’s usually just seen in the company’s more expensive flagship smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy A8 specs

  • 1.8GHz Exynos 5430 octa-core processor
  • Mali T628 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch full HD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 128GB
  • 16-megapixel rear camera
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC, Fingerprint scanner
  • 3050mAh battery
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with TouchWiz UI

The A8 also sports the same sensor as the one in the company’s Flagship S6 and Note 5, though it lacks many of the high-end features that made that camera so great. You can still take great shots with it, you’ll just have to work for it a little harder. Probably the only thing you’re going to have a problem with the device is the price – at Php 24,990, the A8 is one of the most expensive mid-range smartphones you can get today. You can read our Galaxy A8 review here.

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Cherry Mobile Flare X

Cherry Mobile’s Flare X is one of the most talked about smartphones released by a local brand today. It’s the local brand’s answer to the bang-for-the-buck offerings of international brands in the market, and boy does it deliver.

Cherry Mobile Flare X

  • 1.7GHz MediaTek 6752 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD IPS OGS display, Gorilla Glass 3, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of storage expandable via microSD card
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, Sony IMX214 sensor, BSI
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 KitKat with OTA for Lollipop
  • SRP: Php6,999

The Flare X offers great performance for the money, as well as a fantastic user experience despite its lackluster looks. Cherry Mobile has also updated the Flare X to Lollipop, and is also promising a Marshmallow update further down the line. At just Php 6,999, you can’t go wrong with this power-packed smartphone. You can read our full review of the Flare X here. 

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Samsung Galaxy Note 5

You can’t have a phablet article without mentioning Samsung’s Note series. The company was the original proginator of the big-screen phone, and was once mocked for their efforts in the space. Now their competitors regularly release phones that’s above 5-inches, and Samsung has been at the forefront of the big-screen experience ever since.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 specs

  • Exynos 7420 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • 32/64GB of storage
  • 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS, F/1.9, flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop, TouchwizUI
  • 3000mAh battery

This year’s flagship phablet from the Korean company is the Note 5, and while longtime Note users don’t appreciate the direction Samsung has taken with the phone series, the Note 5 is still one of the best phablets you can buy today. An absolutely beautiful 5.7-inch display, improved S-pen, amazing camera performance and lighting fast performance, it’s a smartphone that’s on almost everybody’s wishlist this year. The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is priced at Php 36,990 You can read our review of the Galaxy Note 5 here.

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Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus

The S6 Edge Plus is a curious device. It’s essentially a Note 5 without the stylus and a dual-edged display that’s similar to its smaller brother, the S6 Edge. While most people don’t see the need for a companion device for the company’s Note 5, there’s apparently enough demand for a high-end phablet that’s not a Note.

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus Spec Sheet

  • Exynos 7420 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED dual-edge display, 2560 x 1440 resolution
  • 32/64GB of storage
  • 16-megapixel rear camera with OIS
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • 3G, LTE Cat. 6
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, NFC
  • 3000mAh
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop, TouchWiz UI

That’s essentially what the S6 Edge delivers, giving users a large, QHD display, blistering performance and an awesome camera that’s similar to the one that’s on its brothers, the Note 5, the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge. The S6 Edge Plus priced at Php 39,990. You can read our review of it here.

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ASUS Zenfone Laser

We’ll admit, we goofed up. When we were writing this article we neglected to mention ASUS’ bestselling Zenfone Laser. Why? We have no idea, but it does deserve to be on this list. It flies off the shelves for a reason – while its Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor won’t be setting speed records anytime soon, the attractive design, nice display and fast camera certainly endeared it to our hearts when we reviewed it a few months ago.

ASUS Zenfone Laser specs

  • 1.2GHz qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor
  • 2GB
  • 5.5-inch HD display, Gorilla Glass 4 protection, 1280 x 720 resolution
  • 8GB/16GB of storage, expandable
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 apeture, Laser AF
  • 5-megapixel front camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Android Lollipop
  • 3000mAh battery

And that camera is fast. It’s not called the Zenfone Laser for a reason – the AF of the camera is assisted by a literal laser beam that ensures ultra-fast focusing when you’re using it. And at just Php 7,995, it’s definitely not going to break the bank when you purchase one for yourself or your loved one. You can read our Zenfone Laser review here. 

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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14 Comments

  1. Really, a marshmallow update for the flare x? That’s great! Any proof or link of that? Di naman sa nagdududa Haha. Anyway, dun sa s6 edge plus, nakalagay “smaller brother, the S6 Edge Plus”. I believe s6 edge lang yan Haha.

    1. Honor 6 Plus was release last year December 2014, and according to their shop in sm north annex they’re not offering it anymore but instead they’re pushing the G8.

  2. A series of flagship smartphones Redmi Note has received many accolades. What is new in Redmi Note 3? It is a powerful flagship smartphone featuring the presence of a fingerprint scanner, metal case, capacious battery of 4000mAh
    Speed! That’s what might be called the flagship smartphone
    Fast screen unlock
    To unlock the screen using the fingerprint scan in just 0.3 seconds.
    Available in cbuystore

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