Great gadgets for savvy shoppers

Find some budget gadgets with a little help from Rappler

ENGAGE. Learn more about the Starmobile Engage and other value gadgets in our roundup. Photo from
MANILA, Philippines – It’s easy to be swayed by the powers of good gadget marketing. When you hear the clarion call of smartphones and tablets, it’s hard to resist.

Luckily, there are a ton of persuasive alternatives that provide smart shoppers with the chance for high-tech gadgetry with a low-to-mid end budget.

Some caveats
Before anything else, it might be important to note some things to consider before making any purchases. Budget tech may have the same specifications as other well-known brands, but are usually sold for less or use different component manufacturers to provide gadget makers with lower costs.

At the same time, it also needs to be mentioned that while you might be running a 4.0 or higher version of the Android operating system on the devices listed below, the specifications for some of the components may impact the responsiveness of the devices mentioned.

Neowin has a multi-page guide discussing the nature of components for smartphones but some of the basic premises for memory and storage are notable for this roundup as the information also bears noting for tablets. Independent research is recommended to make the most informed decision for your purchases.

That said, let’s move onward with some interesting deals:

1) Starmobile Astra

STARMOBILE ASTRA. A capable budget phone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Photo from Starmobile.

The Starmobile Astra is a smartphone that runs on the 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich version of the Android operating system. It comes with a 1GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM, and features a 4.3-inch touchscreen with 480×800 pixel resolution.

It is also equipped with an 8.0 megapixel rear camera, a 640×480 VGA front camera, and it supports Wifi, Wifi tethering, and assisted GPS. It also lets you watch the TV on your phone, too.

The Starmobile Astra is sold for P6,990.

2) Cherry Mobile Flare

FLARE. The Cherry Mobile Flare is a rebranded phone from India that provides a lot for a low price. Photo from Cherry Mobile.

Cherry Mobile’s Flare smartphone is an intriguing device, not only because it packs quite a bit of value for P3,999, but also because it has a strange history.

Like the Starmobile Astra, Cherry Mobile’s Flare runs on Android 4.0 ICS, makes the most out of 512MB of RAM, and has a 4.3-inch touchscreen with 480×800 pixel resolution. Unlike the Astra, however, it uses a 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and a 5.0 megapixel camera. It does not come with mobile TV capabilities, at least according to the product page on Cherry Mobile’s site.

According to a write-up by Calvin Lo on, the Flare “is a rebranded Karbonn A9+ from India.” Despite having a budget price and a lot of capabilities, it suffers from a potentially low battery life, with a 10-hour estimate on Lo’s report. A review from Pinoy Metro Geek says it lasted 4 hours with Wifi and 3G on. That said, if you’re not worried about constantly recharging your phone, it should serve you well.

3) Starmobile Engage

Priced at P5,990, Starmobile’s Engage looks to be an ideal budget-priced tablet. The Engage is a 7-inch 800×480 pixel resolution tablet sporting a 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of SDRAM. Running on Android 4.0 ICS, this tablet comes with 4GB of internal memory, which can be expanded with an additional 32GB of memory.

According to the product descriptions on Starmobile’s site, The Engage tablet only supports Wifi connectivity and has front (0.3-megapixel) and back (3-megapixel) cameras. It also benefits from up to 100 hours of battery life on standby mode.

4) Asus Nexus 7

NEXUS. The Nexus 7 isn't exactly a budget tablet, but it's arguably the best value for money. Photo from Asus Philippines Facebook Page.

While not exactly a budget tablet, the Nexus 7 gets a special mention here by virtue of being a powerful tablet with a friendly price that’s only been made available recently after a few months of exposure in other countries.

Selling for P13,995 locally at Asus stores and authorized resellers, the Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet with a 800×1280 WXGA display.

It runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean using a 1.3GHz NVIDIA Tegra processor and 1GB of DDR3 memory. While it lacks a rear camera, the Nexus 7 comes with a 1.2 megapixel front camera and 32GB of space. More notably, CNET reports it can play movies for 10.1 hours before dying.

Hunt for Christmas deals

SALES GALORE. Two sales are coming up this week for the tech-inclined. Photo from Microwarehouse Sale Facebook Page.

Perhaps the best part of the arrival of December is the advent of sales on a variety of products. Gadget and computer sales are no exception, with two sales coming up this weekend. reports that The Great Microwarehouse Sale will be held on December 1 and 2, 2012 at Decagon Silver City at the Tiendesitas Compound in Pasig City. While a pricelist doesn’t appear to be available yet on the Facebook page for the event, the sale itself does appear to have a number of big-name brands in stock.

Yugatech reports a second sale happening in Quezon City. The MSI-ECS Warehouse Sale will happen from December 2 to 7, 2012 at the MSI-ECS building along Economia St. in Bagumbayan, Quezon City, with a price list available at the link.

Whatever you choose to buy, whether it be a budget tablet, a powerful smartphone, or a laptop, just remember to do your research before you dive in and invest your money on new tech. –

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