(SPOT.ph) Back in 2019, the Philippines got a first taste of 5G as a fixed-wireless broadband service from a local telco. In 2020, mobile 5G was introduced locally. At that time, only a handful of premium 5G phones were available from major manufacturers. In the midst of a pandemic, trying to get a piece of the 5G action required deep pockets. This meant early adopters with limited budgets had to put their 5G dreams on hold.
Thankfully, the 5G situation has improved compared to last year. According to Globe, 92% of NCR has outdoor 5G coverage with Makati and Pateros having 100%. Key cities in Visayas (Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo) and Mindanao (Davao, Cagayan de Oro) also have increased 5G signals. They currently have a total of 1,759 5G sites. For Smart, the telco has said that they have fired up more than 4,000 5G cell sites nationwide. According to Opensignal, a mobile analytics firm, average 5G speed in the Philippines is around 141 Mbps, which is among the fastest in the Asia Pacific region.
The major telcos have made 5G available for postpaid and prepaid plans. With 5G access becoming more widespread, the only thing left is getting a handset.
What Does 5G Really Mean Anyway?
More 5G Sites Added in Metro Manila
Here's How to Find a 5G-Covered Area Near You
Here are budget 5G smartphones that won’t break the bank:
POCO M3 PRO 5G (P7,999)
We need to get this out of the way: For under eight thousand bucks, the POCO M3 Pro 5G comes at an amazing price for any phone. Known for making phones with good value and performance, POCO has packed the M3 Pro 5G with a capable 7mn MediaTek Dimensity 700 8-core chip which runs two big cores at 2.2 GHz and six small cores at 2GHz. The base unit comes with a 4GB+64GB of RAM and storage with a 6GB+128GB model also available. Fronting the unit is a Gorilla Glass 3 6.5-inch FHD+ display with 2400x1080 resolution and 90Hz dynamic display refresh rate. At the back is a triple camera setup with a 48-megapixel main shooter and 2-megapixel macro and depth lenses. Plus, it comes in three colors: Power Black, Cool Blue, and the bright POCO Yellow.
The phone’s dual 5G sim capability means that users can connect to two different 5G networks without the need to change sim cards. Being a POCO phone, it’s also a decent gaming machine which can run most games at 30 fps. A 5,000mah battery gives it around two days of usage with 18W fast charging. Additional features include NFC, IR blaster, and a fingerprint scanner.
Available at POCO Official Global Store.
realme 8 5G (P10,999)
Adding to the list of phones that punch above their weight class is the realme 8 5G. At 8.5mm and 185 grams, it’s one of the lightest phones out there with an interesting premium-looking glastic back. There’s little compromise when it comes to its 6.5-inch FHD+ screen with 90Hz refresh rate, 2040x1080 resolution, 405 ppi, and 90.55 screen-to-body ratio. A MediaTek Dimensity 700 chip powers the device with an 8-core CPU and ARM Mali-G57 GPU.
The realme 8 5G comes with a Smart 5G power saving feature that can switch between 4G and 5G networks to conserve battery life with 30% lower power consumption. The unit’s battery is rated at 5,000mah with 18W quick charging. At the back is a triple camera array with a 48-megapixel main shooter with f/1.8 aperture with Super Nightscape feature, for amazing snaps even in low-light conditions.
Available on realme's website.
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G (P13,999)
The Galaxy A22 5G is the most affordable 5G phone in Samsung’s lineup. Like its mid-range stablemates, it’s powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset with a 6GB/128 GB RAM and memory configuration. The A22 5G has a large 6.6-inch FHD+ Infinity V display with 90Hz refresh rate with Real Smooth feature, which, as the name implies, keeps the display smooth even when gaming. It has a rear triple-camera array with a 48-megapixel main shooter with 5-megapixel and 2-megapixel secondary cameras. Being a Galaxy phone, it has full support for accessories such as Galaxy Buds headsets and Galaxy Gear/Fit smart watches. The phone’s 5,000mah battery is good enough for a day and a half of medium to heavy use, which can be quickly topped off with a 15W quick charger.
Available on Samsung.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G (P13,999)
Budget and mid-range phones are often overlooked in favor of more premium handsets. The Nord N10 5G is the most affordable handset from premium phone maker OnePlus. At just a hair under P14,000, OnePlus has packed the Nord N10 5G with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 chipset with an 8-core CPU and 6GB+128GB RAM and storage. The phone’s FHD+ display measures at 6.49 inches with 20:9 aspect ratio and fast 90Hz refresh rate. At the rear is a 64-megapixel main shooter with 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle and 2-megapixel macro lens. NFC is standard as well as a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The 4,300mah battery can be quickly charged in just 30 mins from empty with the included Warp Charge 30T charger.
Available at Digital Walker.
Oppo A74 5G (P12,299)
For consumers, it’s always great to have options. The Oppo A74 5G gives users the choice of having a Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered 5G phone without going over budget. For less than P13,000, the A74 5G has a 6.5-inch FHD+ display with a 90.5% screen-to-body ratio and Hyper-color. The 90Hz refresh rate ensures flicker-free videos and 180Hz touch sampling rate for faster touch response. Snap-happy users will appreciate the phone’s rear AI-powered quad-cameras with a 48-megapixel f/1/7 shooter, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 2-megapixel Macro and 2-megapixel Mono cameras. The 5,000mah battery supports 18W fast charge, too.
Moto G 5G Plus (P14,337)
Motorola phones may not be as popular as they were before, but the Moto G 5G Plus deserves to be well known. It rules in its class with a massive 6.7-inch FHD+ CinemaVision display with 409ppi. 21:9 aspect ratio and 90Hz refresh rate for a display that stands out. This phone packs a hefty muscle with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765 8-core CPU with 8GB+128GB RAM and storage. On the graphics side, it’s no slouch with its Adreno 620 GPU, which is 20% faster compared to the previous generation. The 5,000mah battery can be topped off with a 20W turbo power charging. At the back, there’s a quad-camera array with a 48-megapixel main shooter plus 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle, 5-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth sensor.
TCL 10 5G (P12,995)
The TCL 10 5G is the company’s first 5G phone. Bringing power to this mid-range phone is a Snapdragon 765G chipset with a fifth-generation Qualcomm AI Engine and 6GB+128GB RAM and storage. Its large 6.53-inch FHD+ screen has a 91% screen-to-body ratio with a Dotch display (a discreetly placed camera on the front display). The TCL 10 5G distinguishes itself from other phones with a horizontally arranged quad-camera with a 64-megapixel main, 8-megapixel ultra-wide, 5-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel depth sensor. The 4,500mah battery is juiced up by QuickCharge 3.0 technology with OTG reverse charging for using the phone as a power bank for emergencies.
Available at TCL authorized stores.
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