If you were born in the Philippines, or if you happen to be living here by sheer coincidence, chances are you've grown an aptitude for bargain-hunting, an acquired but natural trait among Filipinos. The knack for excessively mapping out every nook and cranny in search of wallet-friendly finds spills over to almost anything to do with cash--from food, vacation destinations, and modes of transport to your choice of smartphones.
And so, in equally peso-pinching fashion, we present our list of top smartphones with suggested retail prices under P10,000.
- 10BlackBerry Curve 9220
This is the only BlackBerry in this line-up and the only one not running Google's Android mobile platform. Odd man out? Not in the slightest. The most affordable BlackBerry OS 7.1 gear packs a 2.44-inch screen, Research in Motion's signature apps and services, and a hard-to-beat QWERTY-keyboard-and-optical-trackpad combo, among others. RIM may be running out of "mojo" in other markets, but the Canada-based manufacturer's not losing sleep over the Philippines because of products like the Curve 9220.
- 9Lenovo A65
Here's another great first step into the joys of Android, this time of the dual-SIM-with-dual-standby kind. The Lenovo A65 ups the entry-level ante, rocking two simultaneously functioning SIM slots, a touchscreen measuring 3.5 inches, 800MHz of processing muscle, and PowerVR SGX 531 graphics. Lenovo's a relatively new player in the Philippines, but the firm's quickly turning heads with devices like the A65.
- 8Alcatel One Touch Spark FB 916D
It's the only mobile in this roster that has cager-slash-public-darling-slash-Alcatel-ambassador Chris Tiu smiling because of its 2.6-inch display, 600MHz CPU, four-row QWERTY keyboard, and touch- and trackpad-based navigation. Equally headline-worthy is its dedicated Facebook button, which, in the long-forgotten tradition of the HTC ChaCha, allows easier Facebook access and deeper integration into the household social-networking standard.
- 7ZTE Kis V788
Forget the confusing handle. The ZTE Kis V788 is essentially another dual-SIM, dual-standby smartphone, meaning it allows two SIM cards from rival networks to seamlessly work together. It touts a two-tone body, a 3.5-inch panel, an 800MHz processor, and a slightly pronounced chin a la the HTC One V and the HTC Legend.
- 6Cherry Mobile Dragon W900
This is priciest of the bunch--and rightfully the most souped-up. Cherry Mobile's silver-trimmed dragon brings a lot of computing grunt and hardware credentials into this conversation: an expansive 480 x 800, 4-inch display; a mighty 1.2GHz processor; and a rear-facing, 5-megapixel cam with a healthy dose of shutter options, shooting modes, and picture effects. If this high-value number doesn't quash your preconceived notions against "China" products, nothing will.
- 5LG Optimus L3
It's small in size, but generous for its price by virtue of its robust plastic construction, 800MHz horsepower, 1500mAh battery, and 1GB native storage. This is one of LG's latest foray into the cutthroat low-end segment, and what an entry! The LG Optimus L3, a dignified choice for Android first-timers, is the South Korean company's all-time best seller in the Philippines.
- 4Samsung Galaxy Pocket
In six words: the cheapest smartphone of the bunch. That's the Samsung Galaxy Pocket, which sports a 2.8-inch display and an 832MHz ARM 11 chip. The all-important bit here is its "Can you dig it?" P4,990 suggested retail price. It's no surprise this pocketable wonder has the masses falling for it.
- 3Samsung Galaxy Y Duos
One more solid entry, one more with a "Galaxy" moniker. Don't be confused by the substitutable names, though. The Samsung Galaxy Y Duos separates itself from the rest of Samsung's pack with its much sought-after dual-SIM feature. Throw in a 3.14-inch capacitive touchscreen and a relatively snappy 832MHz CPU, and we've got another keeper in the mix.
- 2HTC Desire C
By way of features like Google's Android Ice Cream Sandwich, Dr. Dre-approved Beats audio tech, and HTC's hallmark build quality and proprietary Sense user interface, the Desire C nabs a spot on our list. Things get better with a 3.5-inch display, a 5-megapixel rear cam, and 4GB of internal storage. Put simply, the phone is perfect for the budget-conscious segment, which puts a premium on quality and feature set.
- 1Huawei Ascend Y200
If an affordable Android smartphone is on your "must" list, and you haven't heard of China-bred Huawei before, the Ascend Y200 serves as an awesome introduction. The device has all the makings of a chartbuster: surprisingly superb construction, a responsive 800MHz processor, and a comparably larger 3.5-inch panel with IPS technology, which is synonymous to clearer viewing angles. The best detail is on the tag price--just P5,490 for this bang-for-the-money phone.