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Holiday Gift Guide: The best smartphones even you wouldn’t mind receiving

Some are smarter than others, but it all depends on the person you’re giving it to.
Tony Velasquez | Nov 10 2018

2018 produced a bumper crop of new smartphone models. Much more plentiful even than NFA rice,  but without the bukbok. Many of them offer amazing features (or gimmicks) to satiate the Pinoy appetite for fancy gadgets. And they certainly exceeded the ABCs of smartphone design with their ABCDs.  A for A-I.  B for battery life. C for cameras. And D for display size. From Apple to Android, here are some of the best smartphones to choose from in 2018.

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THE IPHONE XS AND IPHONE XS MAX. Both have all screen super retina OLED displays, 5.8 inches on the XS and 6.5 inches on the XS Max. Glass backs on the XS / XS Max enable fast wireless charging. Both iPhones use the new dual SIM5, combining a nano-SIM and digital e-SIM. The new IPhones run on Apple's proprietary a12 bionic chip and a four-core GPU. Both gain advanced machine learning capabilities through the a12's neural engine. The battery life on XS lasts 30 minutes longer than that of an iPhone X while XS Max outlasts it by an hour and a half. Furthermore, the 12-megapixel dual camera system with dual optical image stabilization and 2x optical zoom give new iPhones advanced image capture abilities. It comes with 3D front facing camera. Smart HDR gives Iphone photos more highlights / shadow detail. Depth control allows background blur to be dynamically adjusted during preview / post capture. Finally, both the XS and XS Max now have IP68 rating for splash / water resistance for 30 minutes up to two meters.


HUAWEI MATE 20 AND MATE 20 PRO. The Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro are all-glass phones with an aluminum frame. The Mate 20 full HD+ LCD display is 6.53 inches with 18.7:9 aspect ratio, while the Mate 20 Pro has a curved 6.39 inch OLED quad HD+ display with 19.5:9 ratio. The Mate 20 has dewdrop front notch, and the Mate 20 Pro has an iPhone-like notch with advanced face unlock sensor. Both phones are powered by Huawei's new Kirin 980 chipset with dual neural processing unit / mali-g72 GPU. The Mate 20 has 400mah battery, while the Pro has battery slightly bigger at 4200mah and is recharged up to 70% in 30 minutes. Both phones now support 15w wireless charging. Mate 20 Pro itself can be a wireless charger, through reverse charging mode. The Mate 20 pro is ip68 water resistant but the Mate 20 is not. Both phones have triple rear cameras and dual tone flash, but ditched dedicated monochrome sensor. Mate 20 has a 12mp primary sensor, a 16mp wide-angle sensor and 8mp telephoto lens with OIS. The Mate 20 pro has 40mp standard lens / 20mp ultra wide-angle lens / 8mp telephoto with OIS. Both phones come with a front 24mp camera, but the Mate 20 has rear fingerprint sensor while the Mate 20 Pro has an in-display fingerprint reader.


THE SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 9. Has a 6.4 inch super amoled bezel-less display. Offers from 128gb up to 512gb of internal storage and 8gb ram. Its storage is expandable up to 512gb via micro SD card. The Galaxy Note 9 has dual 12mp rear cameras with dual-aperture technology. The cameras can record super slow mo videos. The new S pen of Note 9 doubles as Bluetooth wireless remote for taking selfies, controlling Powerpoint presentations and a music player. The S Pen recharges inside the slot of the Note 9.


THE OPPO FIND X. Has 6.4 inch AMOLED panoramic arc display. No front facing notch, and the selfie camera with 3D facial recognition is hidden in motorised sliding drawer. The absence of front notch gives the model a 93.8% screen-to-body ratio. It also comes with 8gb RAM, powered by Snapdragon 845 processor. Four more things it doesn’t have: fingerprint scanner, waterproofing, expandable storage and headphone jack. Comes in either bordeaux red or glacier blue.


THE VIVO NEX. Has a 6.59 inch screen without a notch. Its 8mp selfie camera pops up from the top of the phone. The screen acts as the phone's speaker, and has an in-display fingerprint sensor. The Vivo Nex comes with 8gb ram, 256gb storage, and 4000mah battery. The dual rear cameras are 12mp and 5mp.


THE VIVO V11i. Has a 6.3-inch fullview display, and runs on 4gb ram, 128gb internal storage, and helio p60 processor. Its dual rear cameras are 16mp + 5mp, and the front camera is 25mp. The V11i has 3315mah battery with fast charging.


XIAOMI MI 8. Has a 6.21 inch FHD+ AMOLED display. Powered by Snapdragon 845, 6gb ram, and 3400mah battery with quick charge 4+. The rear dual cameras have AR 12mp with AI and OIS / front 20mp camera also with AI. The fingerprint scanner is at the rear of the phone. Comes in 64gb or 128gb versions