If you think about it, the global tech industry works almost like dog years. A few months in Techlandia feels like half a year (at least), and what was new just several months ago is old news today.
Not that 2018’s any different. Right now it’s the Samsung Galaxy S9’s turn in the spotlight, with a rumored launch at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in late February and global distribution expected in March (16th, according to reliable leaker Evan Blass). And since we’re more than a month away from the launch date, leaks and speculations have been penetrating social media—with no guarantees of any of these becoming the final product.
Again, dog years.
Just like our past suggestions for Apple’s iPhone X, we’re listing possible substitutes for you in case the S9 that’ll make its consumer market debut isn’t what you want, or if you can’t wait until March, and/or need a new phone now because [insert disastrous phone accident here].
The cost-effective challenger
OnePlus’ latest release (the 5T) doesn’t hit the S9’s specs squarely on all fronts, nor does it have waterproofing and dust-proofing built in. But admit it: you don’t need all of Samsung’s fancy tricks (and bloatware!), and other brands can provide the same vital feature sets and faster user experience for a more manageable price tag.
After months of clamoring (a.k.a. getting bombarded on its Facebook page’s comments section), Digital Walker finally has the 5T on stock. You can buy the 64GB model for P26,990, and the 128GB model for P30,990.
Here’s to a long life
The latest S9-related headlines revolve around the smartphone’s battery life and capacity. Specifically, the S9 will come with a 3000mAh battery, which is similar to Samsung’s previous Galaxy models. That’s not bad at all, but with other brands providing batteries with bigger capacities and longer distances between charge cycles, it’s also underwhelming.
The ASUS ZenFone 4 Max’s yuuuge 5000mAh battery (that can also act as a power bank for other phones!) is the obvious choice for consumers who put battery life first. This smartphone’s also equipped with a 13MP wide-angle rear camera, selfie-friendly 8MP front camera with flash, and a gorgeous 5.5” IPS LCD display with blue light filter. And the fact that this phone’s 32GB variant is priced at only P9,995 on ASUS’ official Lazada stores compared to Samsung’s standard five-digit budget-breakers for flagships—we’re sold. Check with your nearest ASUS Store or distributor for price and availability.
Keeping it in-house
Just because a new flagship device is scheduled for launch doesn’t mean the previous models are unreliable. Quite the opposite—the directly replaced model will remain a solid option for both sensible and budget-conscious buyers. If you’re extremely cautious with every tech purchase you make, always choose the sure thing over the newcomer.
It’s for those reasons that the Samsung Galaxy S8 remains a viable option. Also consider that the S8 has the same Super AMOLED Infinity Display that the S9 will have (plus incremental changes in other internals), and it’s a doozy. Visit your nearest Samsung Experience Store, or get the S8 for P32,500 with a Smart LTE SIM over at Widget City. You can also check with your telco for existing S8-related promos (Globe cut the shell-out price to P39,590), and Lazada’s official stores for pricing and availability.
Yes, we know that price is still too steep, so here’s another option for you: Samsung’s Galaxy A8 phablet. Fresh out of January’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the A8 has been given almost the same bragging rights as the S9, but without that heavy feeling you get at the cashier. Infinity Display, dual-lens front camera, low-light environment-friendly rear camera, and built-in protection from water and dust for P26,990? It's a steal.
Speaking of front cameras, if we’re going to believe the rumor that the Galaxy S9 will have a “3D front camera” a la the iPhone X, you might as well wait for the S9 to come out. But if you can pass on Samsung’s version of Face ID but not the prospect of great selfies, go for something else, like the Oppo F5.
Selfie-averse and snap-happy? We’re still waiting to see if the speculation that the Galaxy S9 will have a 12MP rear camera with Dual Pixels and super slow-motion video capture will become reality. In the meantime, phones like the Huawei Mate 10 will serve you just fine. Its Leica dual-lens rear cam with f/1.6 aperture and reliance on AI for real-time recognition and overall image improvements will make this your next (smartphone) mate.
Check out your nearest Huawei store or inquire with your telco regarding price and availability. If you’re buying online, Widget City has the Mate 10 in stock (and with a Smart LTE SIM) for P32,990. You’ll have to pre-order the gold model at Kimstore for the same price.