December Gadget Reviews Roundup 2014
Here we go guys, our last Gadget Reviews Roundup for 2014. This includes the ASUS Zenfone 5 Lite, LG G Watch R, Sony Xperia Z3, BlackBerry Passport, Cherry Mobile Selfie, Nikon D810, and a few products from Bose. Check out all the gadgets we reviewed in December 2014.
Having a form factor that deviates from the usual cheap-looking plastic, the O+ 8.17 isn’t something that will shy away when placed side-by-side other phones with bigger names. For the price of Php10,995, you get a pretty good deal that comes with Sennheiser in-ear plugs and 8GB Sandisk microSD card for additional storage.
We like the Cherry Mobile Alpha Morph, because it’s the local company telling us that it’s not only interested in bringing only Android to the Philippines. With a 10.1-inch Windows 8.1 convertible coming from Cherry Mobile, people may finally be able to get some work done for just Php11,999.
The Bose SoundLink Color is an amazing speaker that comes in a portable package. It doesn’t have fancy features like waterproofing or NFC but it has a nice build and youthful appearance which very well compliment the sound quality it produces. Although small, it is loud and has a good battery life.
The Bose QuietComfort 25, assuming you’re into constantly listening to music, is one of those headphones that would be on your Christmas list for two reasons: One is because of all the niceties you’ll get when you buy it, and the other one is because it’s steeply-priced at Php20,000. For an average person, it’s not something you’d see and decide to buy instantly.
To conclude, the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Bluetooth headphones is an amazing wireless audio device that can produce great sounds. Regardless of what type of music you listen to this headphone can deliver it very well. In addition, it’s portable, comfortable, has Bluetooth connectivity, can accept calls, and has a long battery life. It’s a bit expensive though at Php13,500 but you won’t be disappointed.
The LG G3 Stylus Dual is a smartphone with a decent performance. It has a great camera, a crisp and loud speaker, a great battery life, and OS functions same of the flagship device. If you’re eyeing to buy the G3 but you are out of budget, this is definitely a good alternative.
The Happy Mobile Oracle is a very capable device with a nice looking design, thin but sturdy body, better than average display, decent performance and Android KitKat. However it is ruined by the very limited non-expandable storage, ugly default UI skin, and below average battery life. And for its asking price of Php9,999 that’s too steep given its shortcomings.
The Xperia Z3 remains to be one of the most gorgeous and well-designed smartphone ever made. The great hardware, impressive performance, connectivity with other Sony devices and appliances are all packed in a sleek, weather-proof, glass sandwich body. One can no longer ask for anything more.
O+ and its rear touch technology on its 360 smartphone series is taking a good track — the feature can be useful for those who want a distraction-free reading by offering navigation at the back. This also, however, proved to be a bit of a nuisance for the common screen-swiping Juan whose experience may be ruined when he’s not careful on what his fingers are resting upon the back of the device. At Php6,395, the 360 is a good deal if you do not mind having bad audio quality and a measly 2000mAh battery capacity.
The Cherry Mobile Infinix Pure XL has a respectable design and build quality, ample screen size with decent quality, and a good camera and battery life. However, its Php6,999 price tag puts it in a rather awkward spot between dirt-cheap octa-cores like the Phoenix X1 or the Excite 501o and other more premium offerings like Happy Mobile Oracle or the new Kata i4.
The Luxa2 Groovy W is a wireless speaker that can definitely be a travel buddy. It’s not that compact but its functionality regarding charging batteries is a good backup plan for your devices when no outlet is in the area. Sound quality is good, but with minor gripes. It also gives you a choice in terms of connectivity whether to use Bluetooth or NFC although in our case, NFC didn’t work at all.
There’s not a lot you can do to improve something that’s already great to begin with. It’s a double-edged sword for Nikon; on one hand they’re already off to great start and would only have to make minor refinements for the D810, on the other hand, they can only do so much with the next iteration that some D800/D800E users may not find the need to upgrade to the latest model.
It is a well-balanced phone with smooth performance and fantastic software touches. Though, for Php 7,990, it doesn’t have an HD screen, HD video recording, and an HD front camera. Basically, everything high definition is removed from the L Fino.
The Lite version of the Zenfone 5 is a good alternative to other local phones in the same price range. But if you would compare it to the original Zenfone 5, we think it lost a fair amount of traits that made the Zenfone 5 a hot device in the market. Priced at Php5,595, you only save Php900 from getting the Zenfone 5 that has HD display, 2GB RAM, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3. On the other hand, you get more juice with its bigger battery.
The Bose SoundDock XT is definitely aimed mainly at Apple users, with its capability of playing music from other devices only coming as secondary. It’s got limited connectivity, lacking AirPlay or even just Bluetooth; but will try to win you over with its attractive design. Portability is also out of the question since it relies solely on cabled power. Sound quality is overall impressive, considering the speaker is not that big.
All-in-all, the BlackBerry Passport is a solid release. It’s powerful, nicely designed and carries a physical keyboard that we rarely see these days. If you are willing to shell out Php35,790 for a unit, then that should say how much you really like this device.
The LG G Watch R is powered by a Snapdragon 400 chip with 512MB RAM and Android Wear . It is also water and dust resistant, giving you some level of confidence whenever the watch gets the occasional splash. With an SRP of Php13,990, we feel it’s a bit above the usual price for a smartwatch. We still think the G Watch R is a looker of a smartwatch.
The Swans M10 is one of those speakers that looks really simple and straightforward, but don’t let that fool you as it’s got a decent sound reproduction for both music and movies. Volume can go loud but turning it up to maximum creates slight distortion so just keep it at a nice level to enjoy it. Sound quality-wise, it could be compared to Microlab and Creative speakers.
The DTC Fiesta Plus is a capable device that is aimed at users who want a smartphone with a large screen for watching videos or playing games at an affordable price. Unfortunately, it’s running an aging Android Jelly Bean OS which is a real downer considering that buyers are now expecting KitKat for a phone with this kind of hardware.
If you’re looking for a simple music player that effectively does its job, the Luxa2 Groovy T is one of the devices to consider. It’s also competitively-priced at just Php750 so those minor niggles aren’t really something to complain about. It will be available starting this January 2015.
For the price of Php2,699, the Happy Mobile D-Lite is a great phone. It has specs that perform decently for its price, great audio recording, clean Android 4.4 KitKat and a beautiful and solid design. Unless you are willing to add more to get things like a better display, the D Lite does just fine.
The DTC Jupiter Plus is a decent device that with an interesting design, easy-to-hold body, and acceptable performance. However, it carries a high SRP of Php7,990 for a Jelly Bean-powered device. Even with their limited time offer of Php5,990, it will have a hard time competing with affordable offerings from other brands like the ASUS Zenfone 5 series which is priced under Php7k.
The AKG Y40 is a cool-looking pair of headphones that aims to please bass lovers with a limited budget. It packs a good punch when it comes to lows but not so much on mids and highs. It doesn’t offer well-balanced sounds but if you like your tracks bassy or mostly listen to club and hip hop music, then the Y40 is a decent headphone to have.
The Cherry Mobile Selfie is a product of today’s trend, especially here in the Philippines. As the selfie capital of the world, it’s understandable why the company designed a smartphone dedicated to imaging. The Selfie is a device with a good and attractive form factor, a fluid UI, and cameras that take good photos even in low-light areas.
The Pioneer FREEme is a good portable Bluetooth speaker with a classy design and appeal with decent sound quality. However, if you’re looking for something worthy to play your tracks for a small party this is not it. It’s great for boardrooms and offices thanks to its hands-free voice call feature. It’s also a good addition to your home office or living room for some casual music listening. And due to its portable size, you can easily bring it with you during trips.