Android 4.4 Kitkat Coming To Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2

Do you feel like your Samsung Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S3 is outdated and you want to get a new one? This news might make you hold your phone more for a few months or so.  Samsung has announced that the much-awaited Android 4.4 Kitkat update will be coming to your Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 soon!

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According to foreign blog TalkAndroid, the update for Samsung Galaxy Note 2 owner will come this month while Samsung Galaxy S3 owner will get the update in early May. No word yet what kind of changes will it bring to the your phones. Stay tuned.

Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum Now Available For P4,999

Cherry Mobile’s answer to the MyPhone Rio is now available! Meet the Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum! The phone has similar specs especially that 5-inch HD screen for an affordable price of P4,999. MyPhone has been making a big buzz about the Rio and Cherry Mobile wants the same attention with the Omega Spectrum. Here is the list of specs.

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Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum specs:

  • 1.2GHz Quad Core Broadcom BCM 23550 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
  • 5-inch HD IPS LCD display (720 x 1280 pixels)
  • 8 megapixel rear facing camera with flash
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • HSPA+, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG (on the go), Miracast ready
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • SRP: P4,999
  • Status: Available on Cherry Mobile stores, kiosks and retailers

There are some things we still don’t know about the phone like if it has autofocus on the camera, battery or does it run dual 3G. Some differences from the MyPhone Rio are evident. The Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum is powered by Broadcom’s BCM 23550 processor compared to the Rio’s Mediatek MT 6582M processor. We will try to get both units and compare them on how they fare with Antutu benchmarks and day to day use. Stay tuned.

Globe Offers Samsung Galaxy Forever Plan

Are you a loyal Samsung Galaxy user? Do replace your Galaxy device every year? We have some good news for you! Globe Telecom has  recently launched a unique postpaid plan for Samsung Galaxy users called the Galaxy Forever Plan. It is quite similar to Globe’s iPhone Forever Plan in which a subscriber can own a new Samsung Galaxy flagship every year without waiting for its 24-month contract to finish.

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The Samsung Galaxy S5

A subscriber will get a Samsung Galaxy device after 12 months by renewing their contract and trading in their old Galaxy device and pay for a smaller cash out of the new device or pay the full one time fee if the subscriber wants to retain the old device.

Here are the available Galaxy Forever Plans:

Galaxy Forever Plan 1599

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 with P16,800 cash out
  • 1.5GB GoSurf consumable data
  • Free 6 months Spotify premium
  • Unlimited calls and text to Globe/TM or unlimited texts to all networks

Galaxy Forever Plan 1999

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 with P14,800 cash out
  • 3GB GoSurf consumable data
  • Free 6 months Spotify premium
  • Unlimited calls and texts to Globe/TM or unlimited texts to all networks

Galaxy Forever Plan 2499

  • Samsung Galaxy S5 with 12,800 cash out
  • 5GB GoSurf consumable data
  • Free 6 months Spotify premium
  • Unlimited calls and texts to Globe/TM or unlimited texts to all networks

Subscribers can sign up for the new Galaxy Forever Plan until July 31, 2014. Check out more about the Samsung Galaxy S5 here.

 

Oppo Find 7a Hands On and Initial Impressions

Last week, Oppo has officially landed in the Philippines bringing their latest smartphones. Oppo Philippines unveiled three new  phones during the said event – the Oppo Find 7, Find 7a, and Oppo N1.  We were able to get a short hands on with the Oppo Find 7a and we would like to share our experience with it.

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Oppo Find 7a specs:

  • 2.3 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Adreno 330 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal memory expandable up to 128GB
  • 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display (1920 x1080 pixels)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Oppo MaxxAudio sound enhancement
  • 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and dual LED flash
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • LTE, WiFi, WiFi Direct, DLNA, WiFi hotspot, NFC, USB OTG (on-the-go)
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 4.3 Jellybean with ColorOS UI
  • SRP: P22,990

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The one that we are holding here is the Oppo Find 7a. There is no physical difference between the Find 7a and the Find 7 but when you look further on the specs, the difference is evident. The Find 7a  has slightly toned down specs – a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display (c0mpared to Find 7’s Quad HD display), a slightly slower 2.3GHz Quad Core processor, a lesser 2GB RAM, and a smaller 2,800 mAh battery. But these specs are not slouch. In fact, it is in par with current smartphone flagships from Samsung, LG and Sony.

Since we limited time with the phone, we were not able to explore it fully. But we were able to fiddle around with the phone’s UI called the ColorOS. The UI on top of Android look cleaner compared to other UI found on other phones. Icons look better and we are glad it doesn’t look cartoonish. We recommend this phone is you are looking for a fresh looking UI for your smartphone.

Bottomline, the Oppo Find 7a is a best alternative high end smartphone you can buy. It has the same flagship like features like LTE, Full HD display, generous internal memory with expandable option, and a 13 megapixel rear facing camera for less the price. If the Samsung Galaxy S5 is selling for P34,990 (Samsung store price), the Oppo Find 7a is only P22,990. If you want to experiece superb Quad HD display, the Oppo Find 7 is the best phone for you. You just have to shell out extra – P25,990.

Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum Poster Leaked

Tomorrow will be Cherry Mobile’s big day — Cherry Mobile Fiesta Festival. But another poster of an upcoming phone leaked. Shown below is a photo of another upcoming smartphone called the Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum.

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The phone has a 5-inch HD screen, 1.3GHz quad core processor, 8 megapixel camera with flash and running Android 4.2 Jellybean. Specs are pretty impressive especially for the price – P4,999.

Based on the specs, we think this is Cherry Mobile’s answer to MyPhone’s Rio which was launched earlier this week. We expect that the company will launch this phone during the said event.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S5 is officially out today and we are lucky to be one of the first to own one. Unveiled in February earlier this year, one notable feature  is bein water and dust resistant, a feature present in Sony Xperia Z2. Another additional features are the heart rate monitor and the fingerprint scanner. Before we get excited, let’s unbox it first.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 specs:

  • 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 128GB – WOW!!!
  • 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1080 x 1920 pixels) 432 ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • IP67 – water and dust resistant
  • 16 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus, image stabilization and LED flash
  • 2 megapixel rear facing camera
  • LTE, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, DLNA, WIFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Infrared Port
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Nano SIM
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 Kitkat

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So what’s inside the box? We have here some manuals, USB, headset, extra earbuds, and adapter. Now let’s get focused with the unit itself.

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We have the white variant here and we do like it. The S5 has less curves, a bit taller and thinner than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S5.  Samsung has opted to let go of the shiny back cover for a matte dotted design and finish which we really do like.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S5 (right)

A bigger screen is a big welcome to from 4.95-inches of the S4, the S5 now has a 5.1-inches. It is still the same beautiful screen we’ve seen from the Galaxy S4 only bigger.

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Overall, it is a big improvement when it comes to design alone. Its a good move that Samsung ditched the S4’s shiny back cover in favor for matte finish. We will reserve the Antutu Benchmarks, speed tests, camera and software performance on our full review.

 

THL T100s Monkey King 2 Review

Competition among local and Chinese brands are getting more intense. When chipmaker Mediatek announced their first true Octa-core processor in October 2013, the race to become the first to offer an Octa-core powered smartphone is on. Novo7 Tech, the local distributor of THL smartphones in the Philippines was the first to announce their first Octa-core powered smartphone, the THL T100s Monkey King 2 in December 2013 and promised that it would be available in January 2014. But problems with the Bureau of Customs spoiled everything. Then Starmobile, Cherry Mobile and MyPhone announced their Octa core offerings in February and become available to users by March.

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Well, its better late than never. And here it is the THL T100s Monkey King 2! This is actually our first time to review an Octa core powered smartphone and we are hoping we can compare this to the Starmobile Octa or the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 pretty soon. Does the Octa-core processor impressed us or should we stick on quad core for the mean time? Let’s find out.

THL T100s Monkey King 2 specs:

  • 1.7GHz Octa Core Mediatek 6592 processor
  • Mali-450 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 5 inch IPS full HD display (1080 x 1920 pixels) 441 ppi
  • 13 megapixel rear facing Sony Blue lens camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 13 megapixel front facing camera.
  • Dual SIM, dual standby
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, USB OTG (on the go)
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,750 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • SRP: P13,999
  • Status: Available on Novo7 Tech stores, kiosks and retailers

Here is a hands on video:

 

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HARDWARE AND DESIGN:

We showed the THL T100s Monkey King 2 to some our friends and family who are not techies and asked what do they think about the phone. Their first look they thought it was the Sony Xperia Z2> They were very much impressed the phone’s design and solid build quality. The phone indeed  may have sharp edges but this appeals to most people who saw it. Lastly, it device is extremely light and pocketable thanks to its very thin profile.

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DISPLAY:

Another eye catching feature is the 5-inch Full HD display. During our unboxing, the display was the first thing we noticed on the device. It is GORGEOUS! This is probably one of the  best we’ve seen from any local/Chinese brand. Color reproduction is good and viewing angles is excellent. The display can be at par with the best international brands like the LG G2 (the G2 has the best displays around).

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE:

One important part of this review is to test how the Octa core Mediatek 6592 performs on both day to day use and benchmark scores. Well, on day to day use, the phone performed normally. Basic tasks like app switches, simple navigation, texting and calling performed extremely well with no lags whatsoever. This phone is a killer when it comes to gaming! Our favorite game, Dead Trigger 2 ran well! This game hogs so much memory so it usually works well on top of the line devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2. So far, playing Dead Trigger 2 on the THL T100s Monkey King 2 is the best gaming experience we had from a Chinese/local brand. We played for long hours and we totally enjoyed it.

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On our initial Antutu benchmark test, we got a score of 25,876 points. We did another Antutu test and we got a score of 27,161 which is even higher than than our first test.

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CONNECTIVITY:

We would like to point out that this phone’s WiFi reception is excellent and probably one the best WiFi reception we’ve used. Our WiFi router is located at a study room on the second floor but we still get good WiFi reception even if we are downstairs. HSPA+ network from Globe and Smart are good depending on the location

CAMERA:

We heard a lot good praises on THL’s camera on other smartphones but we never had a chance to test one. Indeed, both rear and front facing cameras take great pictures! Here are some of the pictures we’ve taken in different lighting conditions

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Photo taken from the 13 megapixel front facing camera

BATTERY:

The phone’s 5-inch Full HD display and Octa-core chipset will definitely drain the battery much faster. So THL came prepared and included a large 2,750 mAh battery. We’ve been known for being heavy smartphone users because we use the phone a lot and the 2,750 mAh battery didn’t disappoint. As our daily driver, the phone’s battery lasted 11 hours after we took it out of the charger at 8am everyday with 15% juice left. Our battery test include playing Dead Trigger for at least 30 mins to 1 hour, watching You Tube and IWanTV for 3 hours, calls and texts, taking pictures and video and listening to Spotify for an hour.

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VERDICT:

Everytime we’re asked on what brand should we recommend among the local/Chinese brands we normally recommend 2 brands – MyPhone and Starmobile. We think this time we will THL to our highly recommended list. However, its P13,999 pricetag may veer away some buyers but we think the price is just right for a phone with an Octa-core processor, dual 13 megapixel cameras and a full HD display.