Apple has yet to officially release the iPad Mini in the Philippines. But as expected, top online resellers in the country have already found ways to bring the controversial and much awaited tablet here and to offer it to Pinoy consumers.

I often get asked which online gadget store in the Philippines is the best and most reliable. The truth is I don't really have an answer to that question - but I can tell you which ones are the most popular. Based on the number of fans and followers in social networking sites, I'd say that Widget City, Kim Store, and DB Gadgets are currently the most well-known of the bunch. And for good reason, mind you.

These three are always the fastest and earliest ones to get and offer the latest gadgets to hit the market - and it doesn't matter whether they've been officially launched in the Philippines. If the gizmo is hot and a lot of Pinoys are clamoring for it, expect these stores to bring it here just as soon as it hits shelves elsewhere in the world.

Additionally, all three shops often price their items far lower than gadget stores in malls do. I'm not really sure how they do it - maybe it's because they don't need to rent a stall to reach buyers or to hire too many people to help them with their business - but that's definitely something that their followers have come to love about these virtual stores.

The iPad Mini Battle

Anyway, as I mentioned, Widget City, Kim Store, and DB Gadgets are now offering Apple's mini slate - way ahead of the company's authorized retailers in the Philippines. And interestingly, while they're selling the same device with 1 year warranty, all three have varying prices for each iPad Mini variant.

widgetcity, WidgetCity vs Kimstore vs DBGadgets
Widget City, owned and run by Martin Bornilla, currently has the most affordable prices for the tablet, which start at Php 19,490 for the Black 16GB WiFi only model. So from just the pricing standpoint, it appears that WidgetCity will be the winner in this battle.

kimstore, WidgetCity vs Kimstore vs DBGadgets
Kim Lato's iPad Mini WiFi prices are slightly heftier; starting at Php 20,000. KimStore sold its first item in 2006 - so, of the three, it's the one that's been around longest. Also, it leads the pack in terms of awards, number of Facebook likes, and media exposure.

Update as of November 7, 2012: Kim Lato of KimStore emailed me last night and informed me that they've already decided to drop the prices of their iPad Mini WiFi units. Quoting Kim, "Thank you so much for [the TechPinas article] in the sense that we got a lot of organic feedback from our customers and even those who haven't bought yet. It warms our heart to read the great responses we received for our customer service and pricing. As we speak, we are already the price leader for the iPad Mini :)" Here are their updated iPad Mini packages:

kimstore, WidgetCity vs Kimstore vs DBGadgets

widgetcity, WidgetCity vs Kimstore vs DBGadgets
As of writing, of the trio, DBGadgets by David Bornilla has the most expensive prices for the slate. You can get iPad Mini 16GB WiFi from them for Php 20,200. Oh, and a little trivia: David is the older brother of Martin of WidgetCity.

Note that iPad Mini starting prices at all three stores are far higher than the TP Guesstimate, which is just Php 18,000. In the US, the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi-Only variants sell for $329 (Php 13,505 with current conversion), $429 (Php 17,610), and $529 (Php 21,715), respectively, while the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB WiFi+Cellular versions go for $459 (Php 18,840), $559 (Php 22,945), and $659 (Php 27,050).

Low prices may be a top consideration for choosing an online store over another - but it should not be the sole consideration. So to wrap this up, let me ask you, have you bought a gadget from any of the above-mentioned shops? Which of the big three do you trust most? And which one would you recommend to Pinoy gadget consumers who may be planning to get their iPad Mini from an online store this Christmas?