Best Phones of 2017 in the Philippines : TechPinas Tech Excellence Awards

The first batch of TechPinas Badge of Excellence Awardees was announced in 2013 -- and since then, this tech blog has consistently recognized greatness in tech products officially released here in the Philippines.

In 2016, only one device received our badge: the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. Last year - 2017, thankfully, there were more than a handful of devices launched locally that have proven themselves worthy of this accolade.

This year - 2018, TechPinas will be celebrating its 10th Year Anniversary and this will herald the beginning of a new era for this online publication and community. Many changes will be implemented across the board and one of which is the way that TechPinas awards the Badge of Excellence to winners.

TechPinas Tech Awards

Previously, I - as the current Editor-in-Chief of TechPinas - had given the badge to top-performing devices launched in the country without using clear categories; All best-selling smartphone models - local and international - that received great reviews within the year were given the honor. In 2014, this resulted in all too many winners, which some of my readers pointed out and criticized.

I listened to your feedback and to wrap up 2017, I created the TechPinas Tech Excellence Awards, through which the TechPinas Badge of Excellence will be given to winners in specific categories. The titles that you will see below will be used in future editions of TPTEA with possible deductions and additions along the way.

Note that only phones that were officially launched in the Philippines were considered for each category -- simply because good and reliable after-sales support from authorized retail channels is a key characteristic of a great tech product. So if you're wondering why Xiaomi or Google Pixel phones are not in this list, that's one of the reasons. Nonetheless, you can still vote for these models to win our TechPinas Voice Of The Crowd Pick award.

In the coming years, TechPinas hopes to also award the Badge of Excellence to gadgets in other categories - including cameras (point and shoot, mirrorless, action cam, and DSLR), accessories (speakers, earphones, powerbanks, cables, etc.), gaming devices, desktops, and laptops, among others. That's one of our goals as we continue to improve TechPinas for the benefit of all Filipinos who consume tech products and services. For now, however, we are going to stick to the category where TechPinas has gotten some level of expertise through the years, which is 'Mobile Phones'.

Without further ado, here are the TechPinas Tech Excellence Award Winners of 2017 with commentary from yours truly, Mark of TechPinas:

Smartphone of the Year
(Three Winners)

TechPinas Badge Of Excellence
Apple iPhone X

A true landmark release, the 10th anniversary iPhone introduces several amazing features to Apple's most popular and best-selling product line. The IP67 water resistant iPhone X flaunts an All-Screen face and is equipped with Face ID facial recognition technology, a front-cam with True Depth Sensor, the beastly Apple A11 Bionic processor, and the best Dual Camera module on an iPhone thus far. Despite receiving criticism for being too expensive and having features that other companies have done before, the Apple iPhone X had went on to become the best-selling tech product of 2017.

Samsung Galaxy Note8

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the stellar Galaxy Note8 successfully eclipsed the fiery Note7 debacle of 2016 simply by being excellent. Although it is more expensive than the popular Samsung Galaxy S8, I believe that by having industry leading stylus support, a downright beautiful 6.3-inch Quad HD SuperAMOLED display, and a top-notch Dual Camera set-up, this phablet is a better flagship purchase when we consider overall value.

Huawei Mate10

The Mate10 is a culmination of Huawei's consistent efforts to innovate and come up with devices that make things possible for consumers. Having played this smartphone since its local release, I would say that it's a clear success. Although its screen is not as large and as pixel-dense as that of Mate10 Pro, this more affordable model has the exact same processor, real metal build, long battery life, and powerful imaging capabilities -- making it, for me, a more compelling model.

Breakout Phone of the Year

Huawei Nova 2i

Prior to the release of Nova 2i, success in midrange smartphone category had proven to be quite elusive for Huawei. It took a handsome smartphone with four cameras, a full-screen display, a processor that's great for gaming, and a sleek aluminum shell to have mid-level Filipino consumers looking. But hey, I'm sure all the efforts were worth it in the end. Congratulations, Huawei!

Best Selfie Smartphone
(Two Winners)


Yet again proving itself worthy of its Selfie Expert moniker, OPPO debuted its unique AI Selfie Beautication Technology on the best-selling OPPO F5 2017 hero Android smartphone. This imaging software innovation is supposedly sophisticated enough to beautify selfies and at the same time ensure that the facial features of the user are kept intance, hence, the slogan "capture the real you".

Vivo V7+

Chinese Tech Giant Vivo currently offers the highest resolution front-facing camera on any smartphone out in the market. Vivo V7+'s powerful 24 MegaPixel front cam perfectly captures every minute detail of your face so you can share the clearest selfies on Facebook or Instagram. And it also doesn't hurt that this smartphone is the first All-Screen midrange device to be released in the Philippines -- so in that sense, it's also a trailblazer.

Best Local Smartphone Series

Cherry Mobile Flare Series (S6, 2017)

Proudly-Filipino handset company Cherry Mobile started 2017 being the #1 smartphone vendor in the country -- thanks, in part, to its best-selling Flare Series models, which are both affordable and feature-packed. In Q3 last year, CM unveiled its Flare S6 Series -- made of up Flare S6, Flare S6 Selfie, and Flare S6 Plus, each offering a unique main selling point found in more expensive handsets by international brands, including good selfie camera and a full screen display.

Best Big Battery Smartphone
(Two Winners)

Asus ZenFone 4 Max

Apart from having a massive 5,000 mAh battery pack that delivers multiple days of time (in most cases), Asus ZenFone 4 Max also has a Dual Camera module at the back that takes standard shots as well as wide-angle photos, perfect for basic landscape photography -- or including all of your friends in one shot.

Moto E4 Plus

Clad in anodized aluminum and 2D curved glass, Moto E4 Plus is a lower midrange handset that gives you great value for the amount that you'd spend to get it. I mean, for one, it's not the type of Android phone that will run out of juice in the middle of the day, leaving you with no choice but to always carry a powerbank. Also powered by a 5,000 mAh battery, this smartphone is definitely a reliable companion that keeps you connected to the internet whether in school or at the office.

Best Audio Performance Smartphone

Vivo V-Series

Did you know that Vivo V7+ has a AK4376A Hi-Fi audio chip that allows it to deliver stunning music-listening experience? It's true. In fact, it's the best handset that I tried out this year when it comes to audio performance. With this handset, you can enjoy high-quality sound whether you're using the loud speaker or your favorite pair of earphones -- at home or on the go.

Imaging Innovation Award
(Two Winners)

Sony Xperia 3D Image Creation and 960 FPS Slow Motion

Given that Sony supplies the optics for so many popular smartphones by other brands, it's but natural for the Japanese tech legend to be at the forefront of imaging innovations. In fact, in 2017, Sony introduced two incredible handset features for video recording: 3D Image Creation and the unbelievable 960 frames per second slow motion, which is available on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.

OPPO AI Selfie Technology

OPPO's industry-leading AI Selfie Technology automatically figures out your gender, age, race, and unique facial features when you're taking a selfie and processes all of these details to deliver photos that "capture the real you". For me, this is "next level selfie imaging" and OPPO, as expected, is leading the pack in giving it to consumers.

Design Excellence Award

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Few handsets can sit beside the Sony Xperia XZ Premium on a table and not feel shy. Taking Sony Xperia's well-loved Omni-Balance Design Language to a whole new level, Xperia XZ Premium's symmetric look and luxurious build - made up of scratch-resistant glass panels and chrome elements - captured the hearts of the most discerning and meticulous mobile consumers in 2017.

Ad Campaign Excellence Award

Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie Online Video Campaign

Asus Philippines' LGBT-themed online video ads for the Asus ZenFone 4 Selfie weren't only unique but also brave. The campaign effectively showed the value of taking selfies and wefies with friends to help recover from heartbreak all while delivering a message of love and acceptance. Refreshing... and incredible!

Rising International Challenger Brand


OnePlus 3T was officially released in the Philippines  in June 2017 via OnePlus' authorized local retailer, Digital Walker. The handset was quickly followed by OnePlus 5 and eventually, by the OnePlus 5T around Yuletide Season. Upon launch, all units of these models were quickly sold out at Digital Walker: A clear proof that OnePlus has truly risen to become a great challenger brand in the flagship-level category even here in our country. I'm excited to see what OnePlus has in-store for us in 2018.

Rising Local Challenger Brand


From being in the shadows of Starmobile and MyPhone for many years, CloudFone finally penetrated the Top 5 best-selling phone brands in the Philippines and became the #2 Pinoy phone vendor early in 2017. This epic rise was driven by the good sales numbers of the brand's Thrill and Next series Android smartphones, which - in itself - is a by-product of the company's efforts to come up with affordable devices that deliver great value for money.

Feature Phone of the Year

Nokia 3310 (2017 Version)

Aside from having a wallet-friendly price tag and giving us an updated version of the beloved Snake game, the re-imagined Nokia 3310 was well-received in the Philippines last year because it reminded us of one of our favorite Nokia phones from a time when the Finnish Giant was the undisputed #1 handset maker in the world.

Best Value Basic Phone

Cherry Mobile V3

The eye-catching and affordable Cherry Mobile V3 lets you make calls, send text messages, and listen to MP3 files just like any regular feature phone. But what's amazing about this model is that it also connects to your far more expensive smartphone via Bluetooth to act as a remote notifier and dialer for voice calls. This feature is perfect if you don't want to take our your pricey handset in a public place or while you're commuting but you need to make an important phone call.

So there you have it, TP Friends! The best of the best in 2017! Do you own one or more of these handsets? Let me know your thoughts about our list of winners via our comments section below. Also, don't forget to comment the model name of the 2017 phone that should win the "TechPinas Voice Of The Crowd Pick" on our official Facebook Page.

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