Best 2018 Android Smartphones Below PHP 20,000 or $375 USD

The Philippines is maturing as a mobile market, which means that millions of entry-level handset owners in this country are now upgrading to more powerful midrange smartphones that can deliver a smoother and more enjoyable experience for a slightly higher price.

If you're one of these consumers and you are currently on the hunt for a new daily driver, I'd like to present you my recommended list of 2018 mid-level Android handsets that are priced at below PHP 20,000 or $375 USD. All of which deliver great value for money by having key features that can help you level up in your daily mobile activities.

Best Android Smartphones Under PHP 20000

Alright! Let's jump straight into it. In random order...

OPPO F7
Current Price: PHP 14,990
Key Specs:
156 x 75.3 x 7.8 mm
158 grams
6.23 inches, FullHD+ 1080 x 2280 pixels, 19:9 Aspect Ratio, LTPS LCD, 405 ppi
82.5% Screen to Body Ratio
Notch
Scratch-Resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 5
Rear Camera: 16 MegaPixels, f/1.8, PDAF, LED Flash, AI
Front Camera: 25 MegaPixels, f/2.0, AI Beauty
Color OS 5.0 Interface
Android 8.1 Oreo Operating System
Octa-Core (4 x 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A73 + 4 x 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53), MediaTek Helio P60 Processor
Mali-G72 MP3 GPU
4GB RAM
64GB ROM
Dedicated microSD Slot
microUSB 2.0, USB OTG
Non-Removable 3,400 mAh Li-Po
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
4G LTE Cat7
FM Radio
Dual nanoSIM, Dual Standby
Fingerprint Scanner
Facial Recognition
3.5mm Audio Jack
Glass, Metallic Accents
Solar Red, Moonlight Silver, Diamond Black

Now more affordable by PHP 3,000 coming from its PHP 17,990 SRP upon launch, the OPPO F7 is a gorgeous model with a glass-sandwich look and a large 6.23-inch FullHD+ display. Both the front and back cameras are very reliable even low light conditions -- but the real highlight of this release would have to be its powerful and energy-efficient flagship-level MediaTek Helio P60 processor that's great for gaming all while making the phone's long uptime possible.

OPPO F7 Philippines

Vivo V9
Current Price: PHP 14,999
Key Specs:
154.8 x 75.1 x 7.9 mm
150 grams
6.3 inches, 1080 x 2280 pixels, 19:9 Aspect Ratio, IPS LCD, 400 ppi
85.2% Screen to Body Ratio
Scratch-Resistant Glass
Notch
Dual Camera Module:
16 MegaPixels, f/2.0 Aperture, PDAF +
5 MegaPixels, Dual LED flash
Front Camera: 24 MegaPixels, f/2.0
FullHD 1080p 30fps Front and Back Cameras
FunTouch OS 4.0
Android 8.1 Oreo
Octa-Core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53, Qualcomm MSM8953-Pro Snapdragon 626
Adreno 506
4GB RAM
64GB ROM
Dedicated microSD Slot, Up to 256GB
microUSB 2.0 Port
Non-Removable 3,260 mAh Li-Po
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
4G LTE Cat7
FM Radio
Dual nanoSIM, Dual Standby
Fingerprint Scanner
Facial Recognition
3.5mm Audio Jack
Glass, Polycarbonate Shell
Black, Gold, Red

If you love snapping selfies and watching movies on the go, this model should be at the top of your list. Vivo V9's 24 MegaPixel front cam is powered by the company's AI Beauty technology that brushes up your skin tone automatically without altering how you look. Also, its 6.3-inch FullHD+ IPS display, which is a joy to look at, has the highest screen to body ratio of this bunch. Oh, and like its erstwhile rival, Vivo V9 has just received a big price discount too.

Vivo V9 Philippines

Huawei Nova 3i
Current Price: PHP 15,990
Key Specs:
157.6 x 75.2 x 7.6 mm
169 grams
6.3 inches, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 Aspect Ratio, IPS, 409 ppi
82.2% Screen to Body Ratio
Notch
Dual Front Facing Camera 24 MegaPixels + 2 MegaPixels
Dual Rear Camera 16 MegaPixels f/2.2 PDAF + 2 MegaPixels (Depth Sensor), LED Flash
EMUI 8.2
Android 8.1 Oreo
12nm Octa Core (4 x 2.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A73 + 4 x 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex-A53) Hisilicon Kirin 710
Mali-G51 MP4
4GB RAM
128GB ROM
microSD Card Slot via Secondary Hybrid nanoSIM Slot
microUSB 2.0 Charging Port
Non-Removable Li-Ion 3,340 mAh
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
4G LTE-A Cat6
Fingerprint Scanner
Facial Recognition
Gyroscope
FM Radio
Dual nanoSIM
3.5mm Audio Jack
Glass Front and Black
Black, Pearl White, Iris Purple

The popular Huawei Nova 3i was able to capture the fancy of many Filipinos by having a downright beautiful design, a four-camera imaging set-up, a solid set of internal hardware - headlined by its Kirin 710 processor and the sizable 128GB of internal storage, a brilliant and large display, and - of course - a very wallet-friendly price that's ideal for students and young professionals.

Huawei Nova 3i Philippines

Xiaomi Mi A2 6GB RAM / 128GB ROM
Current Price: PHP 17,490
Key Specs:
158.7 x 75.4 x 7.3 mm
166 grams
5.99 inches, 1080 x 2160 pixels, FullHD+, 403 ppi, 18:9 Aspect Ratio, LTPS Display
77.4 Screen to Body Ratio
No Notch
AI Dual Rear Camera =
12 MegaPixel, f/1.8 Aperture, 1/2.9" Sensor Size, 1.25µm +
20 MegaPixel, f/1.8 Aperture, 1/2.8", 1.0µm, PDAF, Dual Tone LED Flash
Front Camera 20 MegaPixel, f/2.2, 1/2.8", 1.0µm, Soft LED Flash, Auto-HDR
4K 30fps Rear Video Recorder
FullHD 30fps Front Video Recorder
Vanilla Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One Project)
Octa-Core (4 x 2.2 GHz Kryo 260 + 4 x 1.8 GHz Kryo 260) Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660
Adreno 512 GPU
6GB RAM
128GB ROM
No microSD Card Slot
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
4G LTE Cat12
Fingerprint Scanner
Facial Recognition
FM Radio
Dual nanoSIM, Dual Standby
USB Type C
Non-Removable Li-Ion 3,000 mAh Battery
No 3.5mm Audio Jack
Aluminum, 2.5 Curved Glass Face
Black, Gold, Blue, Red, Rose Gold

Despite lacking a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card memory expansion slot, the Xiaomi Mi A2 remains to be a very strong contender in this category by having the most powerful set of internal hardware given its price. Yup, this model is truly the midrange gaming beast! On top of that, it even has an AI-powered Dual Rear Camera module that automatically adjusts settings to capture the best image possible -- and the smartphone is also under Google's Android One project so it offers vanilla Android experience and it is guaranteed to receive firmware upgrades for at least two years.

Xiaomi Mi A2 Philippines

Asus ZenFone 5 ZE620KL
Current Price: PHP 19,995
Key Specs:
153 x 75.7 x 7.9 mm
155 grams
6.2 inches, 1080 x 2246 pixels, FullHD+, 402 ppi, 18.7:9 Aspect Ratio, LTPS Display
83.6 Screen to Body Ratio
Notch
AI Dual Rear Camera =
12 MegaPixel, f/1.8 Aperture, 24mm, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, PDAF, 4-Axis OIS
8 MegaPixel, f/2.0, 12mm, 1/4", 1.12µm Pixel Size, no AF
Front Camera 8 MegaPixels, f/2.0, 24mm, 1/4", 1.12µm
4K 30fps , 1080p 30fps Rear Video Recorder, Gyro-EIS
FullHD 30fps Front Video Recorder, Gyro-EIS
Asus Zen UI 5.0
Android 8.0 Oreo Operating System
Octa-Core Kryo 260 Qualcomm SDM636 Snapdragon 636
Adreno 509 GPU
4GB RAM
64GB ROM
microSD Card Slot via Hybrid Secondary nanoSIM Slot
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
4G LTE Cat12
Fingerprint Scanner
Facial Recognition
3.5mm Audio Jack
FM Radio
Dual nanoSIM, Dual Standby
USB Type C
Non-Removable Li-Ion 3,300 mAh Battery
Aluminum, 2.5 Curved Glass Face and Back
Midnight Blue, Meteor Silver

Having played with the Asus ZenFone 5 for several months, I'd say that it has the most powerful imaging capabilities of this bunch. It's obvious that Asus had invested a lot into giving this model reliable cameras and this shows in the stunning quality of the images taken using the handset. In fact, aside from delivering bokeh or shallow depth of field effort on portraits, the Dual Rear Camera module can also capture wide angle photos with less barrel distortion and vignetting. This is great for landscape photography or even for taking group photos. Overall, given its sleek and durable exterior, powerful set of internal hardware, large and vibrant display, and strong imaging features, I'd say Asus ZenFone 5 is one of the best midrange models the Taiwanese company has ever released.

Asus ZenFone 5 Philippines

Samsung Galaxy J8 2018
Current Price: PHP 15,990
Key Specs:
159.2 x 75.7 x 8.2 mm
191 grams
6 inches HD+ 720 x 1520 pixels, 18.5:9 Aspect Ratio, SuperAMOLED Display
66.3% Screen to Body Ratio
Dual Rear Camera: 16 MegaPixels f/1.7 + 5 MegaPixels f/1.9 with LED Flash
16 MegaPixels f/1.9 Front Selfie Camera with Soft LED Flash
Samsung Experience
Android 8.0 Oreo Operating System
1.8 GHz Octa Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 Processor
Adreno 506 GPU
4GB RAM
64GB ROM or Internal Storage
Dedicated microSD Card Slot
Full HD 30fps Front and Back Video Recorder
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.2
4G LTE
Facial Recognition
Gyroscope
Dual nanoSIM
microUSB 2.0 Charging Port
Non-Removable Li-Ion 3,500 mAh Battery
3.5mm Audio Jack
Polycarbonate Shell, 2.5D Glass Face
Black, Gold, Blue

This model is often underestimated by fans of popular Chinese brands but I think Galaxy J8 2018 has several good things going for it. First, it has a very competitive price for a midrange smartphone by the Korean Giant; Historically, Samsung phones have always been quite pricey. This one has a fairly accessible SRP for its set of features. Second, the primary 16MP rear cam has a wide f/1.7 aperture, which means that it does well in low light conditions. It even has a companion 5MP secondary cam, allowing the handset to shoot more attractive portrait shots with bokeh effect. Third, the 16MP f/1.9 front cam has Soft LED Flash, which is definitely handy when snapping selfies indoors, in bars, or cafes with little ambient light. Personally, I would have loved for this model to have a slightly more powerful processor and a higher resolution display. Despite that, however, I still think consumers who are already comfortable with Samsung's UI for Android should still check this one out.

Samsung Galaxy J8 Philippines

So there you have it! Do you already known any of these 2018 handset models? What can you say about your phone? What are its highlights and points for improvement? Kindly share your thoughts about it in the comments section below to help other Pinoy mobile consumers.

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