This first part of this article, covering smartphones priced up to Php15,000, can be found here, while the second part of this article can be found here. Not much has changed since last month. The new iPhone 5 is still not available here and we don't have the new Samsung Galaxy Note II yet either.
8. Sony LT26i Xperia S - Unofficial Nexus (Php22,800 to Php24,990)
The Sony Xperia S is still a good starting point. It is a nice enough Android smartphone. The 4.3-inch HD (720 x 1280) display has the highest pixel resolution of any smartphone in the market. It comes with a good 12 MP camera. Internal storage is a 32 GB, which should be enough for most, even if not user expandable. The battery is a decent size 1750 mAh unit.
But inside, it is more of a great 2011 smartphone, than a 2012 flagship. The HSDPA 14.4 Mbps is radio is a step down from the HSDPA+ found in all of this years top smartphones. The 1.5 GHz dual core processor is a Qualcomm S3, the same one found in last years HTC Sensation XE, and does not compare well with the new Qualcomm S4 and quad core smartphones.
Google's top Android guy, Jean Baptiste Queru, announced that this phone would be getting updates directly from Google, giving it de facto Nexus status. So instead of comparing it against the HTC One X and Samsun Galaxy S III, we are now comparing it against the Google Galaxy Nexus. Compared to the Google Galaxy Nexus, the Sony Xperia S is a very nice alternative indeed for those who want a better camera and more storage.
9. HTC One X - Second best (Php25,500 to Php27,900)
The higher end Sony offerings are hard to recommend for as they are powered by Qualcomm S3 systems. The LG Optimus 4X HD wins the hardware battle, matching the HTC One X specifications wise, and offering in addition a MicroSD card slot and a larger user replaceable battery. But the battery life tests of the LG Optimus 4X HD are disappointing (Source: GSM Arena) and LG's record on software updates is deplorable. Right now, in terms of software support, I rate LG at the bottom.
Who supports their devices best?
1. Google with Nexus devices2. Sony3. HTC4. Samsung (good on flagship phones, deplorable at all other categories)5. LG
Overall, the HTC One X gets my recommendation by a hair. It is a very good phone for the asking price with a 4.7-inch HD (720 x 1280) display, a quad core Tegra 3 based processor, 32 GB of internal storage, fast HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps connectivity and a good 8 MP camera.
10. Samsung Galaxy S III - The best smartphone ever built (Php29,900 to Php32,990)
This phone has no weak spots. It has a beautiful 4.8-inch HD (720 x 1280) SuperAMOLED display. The 8 MP camera excellent in terms of quality as well as features. Connectivity is via a fast HSDPA+ 21.1 Mbps radio. The Samsung built Exynos Quad is substantially faster than the Tegra 3 found in the HTC One X. It comes with a large user replaceable 2000 mAh battery, which combined with the power efficient Exynos Quad gives it better battery than life the HTC's, LG's and Sony's offerings. It is the best smartphone in the market. The most you can complain about is that it comes with only 16 GB of internal storage, but it is expandable via a Micro SD card slot.
Drawbacks... well will cost you a lot more than anything else.
Samsung Galaxy Note? I think the Samsung Galaxy Note should still be on this list, and I have seen it for as low as Php25,000 with an official warranty, but with the Galaxy Note II being available in a few days, I guess I would wait and check out the price of the new one.