Tag Archives: cherry mobile

Cherry Mobile One – The One with that only One

Cherry Mobile One – The One with that only One

VIDEO REVIEW

Updates. The one word Cherry Mobile is having a hard time understanding. Since 2012, I have come from a super excited fanboy to a sceptic meh-tista on their releases. Cherry Mobile has released hundreds of flagCheaps, flagshit or, alright, FLAGSHIP but have they ever bothered to update any of them? Yes. Granted many top notch company also does not update their phones, that doesn’t mean Cherry should too, or do they?

Anyways, after almost 2 year hiatus from Cherry Android, I am now back, and I have here a Google project slapped on with Cherry Mobile’s tramp stamp. The Cherry Mobile Android One. Cherry Mobile one is said to be the one which will receive the latest from Google for the foreseeable future. Aside from the promised updates, what else does this phone have to offer? Read on and find out.

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  1. Design and Build

 Design

Generic. That is the one word that will perfectly describe the Cherry Mobile One. It has a 4.5 Inch TFT Display. The back has the 5MP Camera and is covered by a removable plastic back. Plus one for not being fingerprint-magnet. The sides houses the power button and volume rocker while the top and bottom has the 3.5mm jack and USB port respectively. Nothing special with regards to its looks. It looks cheap, it feels cheap because it is cheap. It seriously looks like Flare of previous iterations. I have no gripes with the design, its average at best in its price range.

  1. Display

Display

Accompanying the 4.5 Inch screen is a display of 854×480. After years of looking at 720p or better, going lower is now very noticeable. Display is not bad perse but colours seem to be slightly washed out. Some texts, icons and images will look stretched out at times.

One also seems to have a relatively low brightness which can be a huge problem outdoors. One has terrible viewing angles, many times when I am outside, thankfully, that rarely happens, I have to put my hand over the screen just so I can see it. Yes I am at maximum brightness. Indoor visibility is fine though.

  1. Entertainment

Entert

Functioning as a multimedia driver, One is average if not a little better. Carrying a single driver at the back for the speaker, you shouldn’t expect much. It’s ok if you are alone in a quiet room but it is not advisable to use it outside. Aside from the fact that you will not be able to hear it, you will drain your battery.

Headsets attached, I am now using Awei ES900i as opposed to JVC FX3X on other reviews, as far as quality goes, again, it is ok. One comes with Google Music for your out of the box player and it plays the music fine. Nice amount of loudness is always a good thing.

Watching on One is enjoyable if you can keep the resolution to 720p or lower. It CAN play 1080p videos but it does stutter from time to time. I have enjoyed watching Malcolm in the Middle at 480p and I did not have any problems.it is worth mentioning that Stock Android has shitty codec so download MX Player as fast as you possibly can.

Games

As for gaming, Mainstream Games like Angry Birds is fine. Jump into more graphic intensive Games, Dead Trigger and Goat Simulator will be playable, but I don’t think this is meant for hardcore gamers.

Web Browsing has been significantly upgraded on Lollipop and even with a mediocre-ly powered phone, Web Browsing and Streaming is great. I have been able to watch seamless hours on Twitch. I do have PLDT FibR at home, but it does not change the fact that Android One has performed better than expected. One thing to note is that it can only play up to 480p videos on YouTube. And yes, there are some phones with 480p displays capable of running 720p videos.

  1. Camera

 CameraIMG_20150512_083138 IMG_20150512_083122 IMG_20150512_082427 IMG_20150512_082416

Sporting a 5MP shooter at the back and 2MP front, the One’s camera maybe subject to the user. In my opinion, the camera could have been so much better as I have seen cameras on the same price range which perform much better. Google Camera is your app out of the box and it is simple to use. What I did notice was the LONG, and I mean LONG time before it captures a shot after you have pressed the Capture button.

If, for some reason, you wanted to take a video using the One, it records at 1080p. Hurray, I guess?

Images are decent at best and if you have shaky unstable hands, partnered with that lag between pressing the shutter and the actual capture. Ughhhh.

  1. Software

Software

One is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6582m Quad Core Processor, 1GB Ram with 8GB storage expandable up to 32GB. Under the hood comes the almighty 5.1 Lollipop. Which, personally, is the best Android update in recent memory. I enjoyed it tremendously on my Nexus 7 2013 and Nexus 5. The 5.1 Lollipop is Android One’s Coup De Grace, The Brock Lesnar to Undertaker’s 21-1. The one which makes it all worthwhile. How many sub 5k phones offer Lollipop out of the box? How many come with 5.1? And how many comes with alleged support for the next 2 years. The aforementioned questions has only ONE answer! For Android Purists, it will be exciting to be part of the first. Lollipop is so good, that if you have a taste for one, you will not want to go back to previous iterations. As to why I love lollipop, I may make a new post about that but for now, read from other sites. Haha!

As far as performance go, Android One is one of the faster smartphones out there in the market. Animations feels snappy and screen feels responsive. I am actually able to run Two Games simultaneously, Goat Simulator and Angry Birds. That is actually quite an amazing feat even though, no one will play two games at the same time on the same device.

Call

Functioning as a phone, Android One provides you with essentials like calls and text which are fine. FM RADIO is a big plus, it may not be that useful to some, but having this is really useful from time to time. Being cheap means you can whip this out in public.

As long as Google keeps its promise of continuous updates for the next 2 years, and for the Love of God, if Cherry actually complies with this rather than possibly releasing a statement where they will not update a device and redirect us to a forum on XDA, in which case Cherry Deserves an Intergalactic F*ck Y*u, Android One is an enticing phone to have, regardless of how it average-at-bestly performs on other aspects.

  1. Battery

 batt

As average as this phone performs, its battery is the most polarizing one. For a light user, you will have no problem with this device, and depending on how you use it, duh, it will polarize your judgement. I have been able to watch almost 3 Hours (2 Hours Series, 1 Hour Twitch streaming) with a good chunk of 40% left. But turn on Data, play a game (HD or not), or use Waze, your device heats up and the burns battery like Ford EcoSport burns gas driving in the city. It’s terribly Polarizing especially if you are to use it as a primary phone.

Executive Summary

SCORES

CONS:

  • GENERIC DESIGN
  • Game stuttering, long loading times – Not meant for gaming
  • 1080p video playback stutter
  • Terrible viewing angles
  • Camera
  • Low Brightness

PROS:

  • Lollipop out of the Box – PURIST DREAM
  • Expandable Storage
  • Good Audio Headset Output
  • Web Browsing Streaming is Good
  • Dual Sim Dual Standby
  • FM Radio
  • UPDATES FOR TWO YEARS– FOR REAL?
  • CHEAP

LIMBO (I cannot judge if these are Pros or Cons):

  • 854×480 Display
  • Polarizing Battery Life

20150514_081634

At P3, 999 and performing averagely on most if not all factors, One may seem like a bad purchase. Keep this in mind, One is not here to impress you with Gigantozoid specs, or that Metal, premium look, or that battery life that lasts longer than your relationship, it is meant to keep you updated with Android Updates you will rarely, if never, see on your non-Nexus device or any Cherry Mobile device to be more specific, at a cost which puts your Kit Kat Powered Note 4 to shame. I had a Nexus 5 before I decided that I needed a better camera and jump shipped to S5, without Lollipop available for Philippines just yet, I had to go to xda to get my fix. If you are like me who itch to have the best, One is an obvious great pickup for you. It can also be a nice purchase for those who mayant to try the Android Ecosystem (ehem Fanboys), needs dual sim phone, and extra phone for commuting.

The One does not target everyone, but the Ones it target can be influential. This is a great project for Google, and even though only Cherry Mobile and MyPhone are the only one to adopt it, the former having terrible after sales, while the latter has lesser specs at a higher price, I’m glad to see that it is being rolled out in our Country.

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Looks

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe – Windows Rebrander Alpha

Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe – Windows Rebrander Alpha

 Cherry Mobile. Probably the most famous, well-received, hated brand out there in the Philippine Market. They have released TONS of smartphones including Cherry Mobile Titan, Omega line up, Cosmos line-up, and probably the one that started their domination the Flare line-up. What do they have that other rebranders don’t? Great Marketing, cheap price for a ‘great’ phone, at least on paper.

Every time Cherry Mobile will release a new device, most, if not all fans, gets excited that even haters line-up to purchase their product. I have been part of two major events, Fusion Bolt and Flare. As unorganized as it is, it catered to the hundreds who waited. A major ehem to ZTE.

With tons of releases of Cherry Mobile to the point of almost monthly basis, CM may have had saturated the Philippine market the same way Samsung has saturated itself to decline [1]. I’m not sure what is happening there at CM but they, again, took a giant leap where no other rebranders had ever taken. Release a Windows Phone. I don’t know if this is the first rebranded windows phone, but I can say it’s the most famous one. This is what propels Cherry to the top, their great publicity. Personally, I have never had a Windows Phone due to its relatively high price for a flagship. I may have stayed away from Rebranders but this one is not one to pass up.

Packing so-so specs, HD Display and a new OS, at least for me, at a very affordable price, does Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe solidify Cherry Mobile’s Rebrander King Status, or is it just a Jump the Shark move from Cherry Mobile? Read on and find out!

DISCLAIMER: This is the first Windows Phone I have had. I have always been an Android Enthusiast. I will try to be as neutral as possible even if I come from another OS.

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  1. Design and Build

 Looks

Alpha Luxe is 5 Inch phone protected by Dragontrail Glass enclosed in Plastic. The device painstakingly looks similar to most, if not all, Cherry Mobile phone out there on the market. It looks like Cosmos Z, last year’s flagship. The front houses the front cam, and Windows’ usual Back-Windows-Search button. The sides offer the volume rocker and the power button, the back has the protruding camera which makes it wobbly when you put it on a flat surface. It is also covered in glossy plastic which attracts fingerprints like Daniel Matsunaga attracts girls.

looks2

Alpha Luxe is a phone you have seen hundreds of times, it is also quite bulky for a 5 Inch phone. The generic looks is something Alpha Luxe left a lot to be desired. Cherry Mobile has released quite a few phones that look much better than this at the same price. Definitely something to think about for those concerned about looks.

  1. Display

display

Alpha Luxe sports a 5 Inch HD 720p Display. The display feels just about right for the Luxe as its deep black technology makes the colors much more vibrant. Icons look sharp and texts look crisp. Another thing to give point to is the viewing angles. Viewing angles are quite good as tilting the device shows little to no annoying changes and it is still pretty visible even in sunlight. It may only have 3 modes of brightness but it’s highest is just right. Not too bright, not to dim.

 

  1. Entertainment

Functioning as your daily multimedia driver, Alpha Luxe is average at best.

music

Loudspeaker is fine. Plug in your headsets, Alpha Luxe is definitely one of the LOUDEST performers out there. I’m not kidding you. It’s DEAFENINGLY LOUD. It has ok sound quality, but distortions come up the louder you play your music. Avoid playing at max volumes as it has extremely high headset volume with noticeable distortion. Alpha Luxe’s loudness is something to check out for those who want their music extremely loud. I do have to point out that the stock music player has bad codec as it can’t play FLAC files. Also, when you plug in your earphone/bud you will hear some crackling and buzzing sound.

videogames

Sporting a 720p Display, Alpha Luxe might net you the conclusion that it can smoothly play all your videos. While it can play HD to Full HD videos, you have to know that the codec out of the box is extremely disappointing as it cannot detect AVI files. It can play mp4 files, though it had trouble playing Full HD 1080p of higher file sizes. I have not tried using a 3rd party app as I am yet to find a Reliable and Free video player.

As for Gaming, let’s just say at the price point, its ok. Angry Birds Epic plays fine but Metal Slug’s control is sluggish, pun intended and Asphalt 8: Airborne is playable at best albeit the long loading times and lags.

Everyone who is not a company hates Internet Explorer. Alpha Luxe, being a windows phone, carries IE, so that maybe an indication of what is in store for you out of the box. For those looking for Chrome or Mozilla, look elsewhere. There is also no YouTube app so IE, again, is your haven OUT-OF-THE-BOX. As far as YouTube and Streaming on IE, it can get your tasks done but it can be a lot better with installation of another browser.

  1. Camera

 camera

Camera and compromise are partners in crime to Cherry Mobile. Fortunately, for the Alpha Luxe, images are decent on good lighting conditions. It saturates images, but not too much. Low-light is not that good but still ok. Camera Settings are not gimmicky and is just basic. The front has a 2MP Camera and the back has an 8MP Shooter. Check out the pics below.

WP_20141102_003 WP_20141101_008 WP_20141102_001 WP_20141102_002 wp1 (3) WP_20141101_004

  1. Software

os1

Alpha Luxe is packed with 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 (MSM8212) processor and Adreno 302 GPU and 1GB Ram. It has 8GB Internal Storage expandable up to 32GB. For the Operating System, it runs Windows 8.1 OS. This is probably the biggest factor to consider when buying the Luxe. I will make a more detailed review for the OS, but for now here are my thoughts of the OS on Luxe.

This is my first Windows phone and I can say I am very impressed with its responsiveness and simplicity. It has a no-gimmick, no shit approach. After unlocking the screen you get your Tile Screen which is customizable to your heart’s content. You can remove, add, replace, and resize tiles however you please. Swiping down from the top gets you to the notification and quick settings. Holding back gives you recent app list. And swiping to the right from the home screen takes you to an alphabetical list of all your apps. It’s very simple and easy to use.

cortana

One of the best features of Windows Phone is Cortana. Cortana is an assistant which you can use offline swatting Siri and Google Now out of the competition. Cortana may not be as extensive as Siri but at least it’s far better than Google Now offline or online. The only advantage Google Now has would be the hot word detection. Voice assistants are horrendous for Filipino-accented people like me but Cortana does way better than Google Now does.

os2

One of worst things about Windows Phone would probably be the Store. With the problems I had earlier, I thought hey, this will be solved easily by third party apps, let me go to the Store. To my surprise, it terribly lags behind Android and iOS and its search function is beyond crap. I searched for YouTube and there were a lot of apps which are questionable. I searched the net for reliable audio players and video players but all of them COSTS MONEY. Contradictory to what Alpha Luxe, hopefully, aims to do. Provide quality Windows experience on a budget.

os3

Using it as a phone is fine as call quality is ok both as a receiver and transmitter, though as a receiver, I did notice that when the one on the other line is speaking louder, there are some noticeable buzzes. Not much of a big deal, it’s just something I noticed (Maybe caused by the other phone). The keyboard is ok as it learns your words provided you register it 1 by 1. I would also like to point out that Microsoft 8.1 has easier integration to Microsoft Office like Lync and Outlook.

As far as actual performance go, despite carrying a relatively old hardware, Alpha Luxe is buttery smooth, seamless, responsive and fluid.

 

  1. Battery

 battery

Android and Cherry is probably the worst possible combination for battery life. Period. As for Windows, Alpha Luxe sports a 2000mah battery and it can pretty much last you through the day. As for me, it was able to last me one and a half day before reaching 10%. This may be due to my relatively low usage. Quite, good honestly.

 

Executive Summary

scores

CONS:

  • Bad build Quality, looks cheap
  • Bad Audio and Video Codec
  • Limited Apps (OS Problem)
  • Good Apps costs MONEY $$$
  • No Free Solution to codec problems
  • Distortions at Max Volume
  • Lags and stutter on HD Games and Videos

PROS:

  • Great for those who want to check out Windows Phone
  • CORTANA IS LOVE
  • Simplistic and Minimalistic UI
  • Extremely Loud
  • Expandable Storage
  • Good Camera
  • Good Viewing Angles
  • 720p HD Display
  • Windows is Fast and Responsive
  • Dragontrail Glass
  • Good Battery Life
  • CHEAP

At an SRP of almost P5, 000. Alpha Luxe kinds of feel like a mixed bag. On one hand, this is probably the best Windows Phone out there in the market at this price, on the other, there may be better options for you out there. For those who have been with the same OS for too long, a leap into Windows Phone maybe one of the most frustrating thing to do, especially if what you do on the other OS on a daily basis is missing in the phone. In contrast, it breathes a new life and opens your door to a new ecosystem with tons of other choices.

When is Alpha Luxe a good choice? Hmmm. I would say Alpha Luxe is a good buy for those who:

  • Want to try Windows Phone at a cheap price
  • Wants fast no-gimmick approach OS at a cheap price
  • Deafeningly loud music
  • Is ok with getting the basics done without much else.
  • Need Microsoft Office Integration (Outlook, Lync)

When is it a bad choice? For those who:

  • Needs various FREE third-party apps to get shit done
  • Are Heavy iOS/Android users (As the change maybe drastic)
  • Are YouTube streamers
  • Web Browsers
  • Heavy Gamers

Straight up, Alpha Luxe is not something to buy impulsively unless you have tons of cash to spend. I actually did not enjoy it on my first two days but I began to do some reading and found out that I may not be one of those who Microsoft targets as their audience. Cherry Mobile has done a great job in leaping into the Windows Market, I’m not sure if this is the first rebranded one but it is the only one I know. Alpha Luxe breathes a new leash of life to Cherry as continuous release of android smartphone indubitably saturates the market. It may also nab Cherry the Innovators of the year award in the first ever Norman3000 2014 Awards.

If you are looking for a good start for Windows Phone, be sure to check out Luxe’s faults before jumping the wagon, if the bad passes, it is one of the fastest, loudest phone out there!

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[1] http://www.androidauthority.com/whats-happening-samsung-545108/

conc

Xiaomi Redmi – Are you Ready for Redmi?

Xiaomi Redmi – Are you Ready for Redmi?

 Xiaomi has been making a big name for itself during the past months. After the flash sale of Mi 3, which was a huge success, they released power banks which were said to sell out in seconds. Now, they gander at the cheaper market and released, what is looking out to be another star for budget consumers, Xiaomi Redmi.

Going under the wing of its older, very successful brother Mi3, does Xiaomi Redmi have enough to make it on its own, or will it forever be seen as a failed Xiaomi attempt on more budget-strict consumers? Read on and Find out!

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  1. Design and Build

 build

Xiaomi Redmi is probably one of the biggest 4.7 Inch phone out there as it is as big as a Nexus 5. Compact is not a word to be associated with it. The front is protected by Dragontrail Glass. It houses the legacy Menu-Home-Back capacitive touch layout, the front camera and the 4.7 Inch screen that has noticeably large bezels. One side both has the power button and volume rocker. The back has plastic matte cover and it houses the 8MP Camera and flash.

Overall, the device does not look expensive and fancy, but within its price range, Redmi, in terms of looks, has done a nice job. It is simple but solidly built and maybe the icing on the cake here is even though it is not a head turner, this is definitely not a cheap- generic looking phone.

 

  1. Display

disp

HD Displays have somewhat become a standard. As it has been going cheaper and cheaper as displays go further and further. Redmi has a 4.7 Inch HD 1280x720p display a plus one for this feat. Images, texts, icons, notifications look great as the smaller 4.7 screen helps to make it better. One thing I did notice is it fits more into the screen than other phones. As with its Mi 3 sibling, Redmi also has a highly reflective screen, it can also be used as a faux mirror, which translates into bad viewing angles and sunlight contrast. Its brightness is also an issue as it is on the low side. I always have it at maximum brightness to ensure I can see just fine.  I want to straighten it out that the Display is NOT BAD, I just think it could have been a bit better.

 

  1. Entertainment

multi

Functioning as a multimedia driver, Redmi is the one to beat. Loudspeaker maybe a bit weak considering the single line speaker at the back. Headphones attached, Redmi performs very well, clean audio output, good loudness and no noticeable distortion even at maximum volume.

For video playback, Redmi is an amazing performer. The highest I tested was a 2.5GB 1080p file and it played fine, though you will notice some stuttering. Stick to smaller 720p videos and you will be fine. Immediately install a 3rd party video player to remove any doubts of Redmi’s power. (MX Player)

For Gaming, what you pay is what you get, non-HD games play fine and smoothly, but push the hardware to further, and noticeable stutter, long loading times and lags are noticeable. Dead Trigger plays fine but go a little further, like NBA 2k14 and above, the aforementioned becomes more and more apparent.

Fortunately, Web Browsing and Streaming is an ok experience the Redmi

  1. Camera

 camera

Being a smartphone Camera enthusiast, I am a bit sceptical of the Redmi. The camera has basic features like panorama and filters, the interface kind of feels laggy as moving the camera shows noticeable lags and delay. Focusing also takes time. As for the quality, Surprise surprise! Redmi is an amazing performer! Colours are a bit truer unlike other phones which tend to saturate. Normal lighting conditions are great. And the front cam is quite respectable, I say a bit better than Mi 3. As with any other smartphone in the market, do not expect anything from low-light to no-light. Flash photography is fine on some situation, but for low to no light, picture quality is average at best.

IMG_20141026_063955 IMG_20141026_064033 IMG_20141026_064110 IMG_20141026_064205

  1. Software

software

Redmi is powered by a Quad-Core 1.6 GHz Qualcomm MSM8228 Snapdragon Processor, an Adreno 305 GPU with 1GB Ram. It also comes with 8GB Internal Memory with 5GB useable and a memory card slot for expansion. For the price range, this is one hell of a deal. And with MIUI as its skin, you can be sure that it is very responsive. For those wondering what is MIUI, it is kind of a mock of Apple’s iOS. Personally, I’m not a fan of either but at least it’s not as laggy as former iterations of TouchWiz. The 1GB Ram is enough but if you are a heavy multi-tasker, this can fill up instantly, then you will notice some slowdowns.

Newcomers for MIUI will take about a minute or two to figure out what’s what. On startup, I did like that Redmi offers Swiftkey out of the box. Call quality is fine. Contacts and Stock SMS is also from Xiaomi so it maybe personal preference if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Data connection is good connecting up to H+, albeit this is location dependent.

software2

Redmi runs 4.3 Jellybean, no idea if it will receive KitKat but for those who like to tinker, Redmi has a page on xda forums which gives life to Redmi for the foreseeable future. Beat that Cherry and/or MyPhone!

 

  1. Battery

 batt

Battery life is a big deal breaker for anyone. Fortunately, Redmi delivers good to great battery life. With 2000mah Battery Life, Standby time is amazing and screen on-time will probably net you 2.5 Hours to 3 Hours. That is actually great considering its display and its price point Kudos to Xiaomi for going 2 for 2 with respect to battery life.

 

Executive Summary

scorsese

CONS:

  • Big Phone for a 4.7Inch Display
  • Big Bezels
  • No LTE Connectivity
  • Soft Loudspeakers
  • Bad Sunlight Contrast and viewing Angles
  • 1080p video playback stutter
  • HD Game stutter
  • Limited availability
  • 1GB Ram does not feel enough

PROS:

  • Good Build
  • Expandable Storage
  • Great Audio Headset Output
  • Good Camera
  • HD 720p Display
  • MIUI Feels fast
  • Web Browsing and YouTube Streaming is Good
  • Dragontrail Glass
  • Good Battery Life
  • CHEAP

conc

At an SRP of P5, 599. Xiaomi is poised to take home another chunk of Glory and take a good kick out of Philippine Rebranders. Functioning as a great daily driver with good battery life overrides looks and bezels every day of the week. The cons of unattractiveness may also be a pro due to this snatcher infested country.

Redmi, like its brother Mi 3, offers great performance especially looking at the price point. As budget-minded consumers look for the better value, Redmi is one to give it to them. There is only one other phone I can think of which can be compared to Xiaomi Redmi and it is none other than the Zenfone 5. A breakdown review is in the works so stay tuned for more!

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multi

Xiaomi Mi 3 – The Better in the Lesser

Xiaomi Mi 3 – The Better in the Lesser

 Xiaomi, a brand new and relatively unknown especially here in the Philippines, but as they released the monster Mi 3, they have taken over by storm, and amidst being a Chinese Company, some of our patriots continue to push boycotting china products, it has grown critical acclaim and their products are having great clamour.

Xiaomi Mi3 was sold out shortly after it became available and the Xiaomi Powerbank sale sold out in seconds! As much as we want to hate China, there is no denying that they are here to stay and here to challenge Rebranders, which, to the best of my knowledge are also Chinese made branded as a Philippine Product.

Today, we take a late look at the Xiaomi that started it all. Xiaomi Mi 3. Packed with Quad-Core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800, an Ardeno 330 GPU, 2GB of Ram and a surprising 5 Inch Full HD 1920×1080 Display, Xiaomi Mi3 is still an absolute beast 1 year upon its announcement and subsequent release.

With Monster Specs and a surprising price, does Xiaomi Mi 3 live up to the tremendous hype? Or is it another China Phone to avoid? Read on and Find out!

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  1. Design and Build

 

design

Xiaomi Mi 3 is a 5 Inch phone protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and Polycarbonate body. The choice of material used makes it feel premium to hold and unlike some plastic and/or glass enclosures, you can be sure that this phone will not get any fingerprints, keeping its premium feel intact even after continuous use. The phone looks rectangular but its top and bottom sides are curvy. Along with the 5 Inch Screen, the front houses the front camera, capacitive Menu-Home-Back buttons and the Mi Logo. One side both has the volume rocker and power button. The top has the 3.5mm jack, sim tray, a mini-speaker. The bottom has the speaker and the USB port. The back houses the 13MP camera and another Mi logo.

Xiaomi Mi 3 feels comfortable to hold, and, unlike its same priced rebranded competitors, it does not look cheap. Its look can even pass up for a higher tier device.

  1. Display

display

Sporting a 5 Inch Full HD 1920×1080 display, Xiaomi Mi 3 pushes its boundary further. Icons and text look vivid, crisp, vibrant and sharp. Viewing images, zooming in and out, watching Full HD movies will definitely be a pleasurable experience. One thing I did notice is the viewing angles. Tilt the device a little, even at maximum brightness, you will see deterioration of the screen. Sunlight contrast is also an issue as, again, even on maximum brightness, your screen will be hard to look at. This may be due to its highly reflective screen. It’s so reflective, you can use this as a faux mirror.

 

  1. Entertainment

multi

After having an amazing body and display, one flaw Mi 3 has would be its speaker. They are not bad but they definitely do not perform as well as higher tier phones he hopes to challenge. Put it head to head with Rebranders, Xiaomi Mi 3 most definitely perform much better. Mi 3 offers ok loudspeakers, headsets attached, it has decent sound, though it is not as clean as its higher tiered competitors. It is not that noticeable but on max volume, there are some distortion. Again, they are rarely noticeable.

Sporting that beastly Full HD 1080p display, Xiaomi Mi 3 proves to be a very reliable video player. Partner it with Mx Player Pro and there is nothing that it can fit that it can’t play. Yes even 3GB 1080p Files will play smoothly. Your eyes are in for a treat!

Gaming is another strong suit of this Mammoth, NBA 2k14, Dead Trigger and Injustice are just some of the games which play smoothly. NBA 2k14’s multiplayer mode also plays smoothly. A truly amazing feat. Obviously, for non-HD Games, Xiaomi Mi 3 will breeze through them.

Web Browsing and Streaming is also a good experience on Mi 3 as its powerful specs makes the former and the latter an experience to be proud of on Mi 3.

  1. Camera

 camera

I may have finally found a flaw with Mi 3! It’s Camera! The Camera’s interface feels slow and laggy and focusing takes some time. Image quality on normal lighting conditions are ok, but throw in a little darkness and/or a little low light, images will result with some noise. Front camera also looks noisy and washed out. That’s not to say Mi 3’s camera is completely useless, it can be used on normal lighting and some selfies here and there, just don’t expect Super Brand (Sony, Samsung, Apple) Camera performance. The extras also feels like a toned down version from various camera apps.

IMG_20141016_181447 IMG_20141016_181451 IMG_20141016_181436 IMG_20141016_181500

  1. Software

software

As mentioned earlier, Mi3 comes packed with Quad-Core 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800, an Ardeno 330 GPU, and 2GB of Ram. It runs Xiaomi’s custom Launcher MIUI is a mock of Apple’s OS. Unlike other custom skins, ehem TouchWiz, MIUI feels fast, smooth and very responsive, it’s a great feel to almost Apple. If you are an iOS launcher fan, MIUI will certainly appease to your taste. Even notifications feel vastly different from Android.

contacts

Even if Xiaomi feels like a hybrid of iOS and Android, it is still easy to use and very user-friendly. Functioning as a phone, call quality is ok. The SMS app runs fine but its keyboard is stock, which maybe good or bad depending on your preference. It has NFC Chip but no LTE. I don’t mind the lack of LTE as you wouldn’t enjoy it anyway here in Philippines.

As for software support, I hope Xiaomi continuous to give life to it by giving it the latest for as long as possible. A good sign maybe the increasing dev support as it finally has a page on xda forums!

 

  1. Battery

 A big question for power users. How is the battery life? Actually, I am very impressed as I expected bad battery life. Standby time is very long and on an average use it CAN PROBABLY last you two full days. As for heavy users, lasting through a typical 100% from house to after work to back to your house with a little battery life left is attainable on some occasions. A truly good, if not great, feat! Take note that continuous heavy use will result in heating up of your device.

 

Executive Summary

SCORESESE

CONS:

  • So-so camera
  • Non-expandable storage
  • No LTE Connectivity
  • Soft Loudspeakers
  • Distortions at Max Volume
  • Bad Sunlight Contrast and viewing Angles
  • Limited availability
  • Heating up on continuous heavy use

PROS:

  • Feels and Looks expensive
  • 5 Inch Full 1920×1080 Display
  • MIUI Feels fast
  • Web Browsing and YouTube Streaming is Good
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • A Good Gaming Phone
  • Good Battery Life
  • CHEAP

STAYTUNED

No question. At P10, 599 SRP Xiaomi Mi 3 is the BEST and the PHONE TO OWN. Hate the Chinese all you want, they did an amazing job with Xiaomi Mi 3 and they did it without breaking the banks. The cons of so-so camera and bad viewing angles seem a pretty minor trade-off for a beautifully crafted device that offers buttery smooth performance, amazing display, and a good multimedia driver. Xiaomi may not be a well-known brand but it certainly is the better choice if you are on a budget. If you are on a budget and other choices in your list consists of Cherry, MyPhone or a crap-speced Branded phone, I would recommend getting the Xiaomi Mi 3 instead.

Xiaomi Mi 3 packs a enough specs to challenge High Tier Branded phone and makes Rebrander Kings Cherry and MyPhone look cheap, unimpressive and overpriced!

I am that impressed with this phone and very excited to compare it to a Branded Phone with similar specs. Can you guess what Phone I am referring it to? Well, Stay tuned to find out! 😛

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THL T6S Review

THL T6S

1st

 Today, there are a lot of China Smartphone makers in the country. From MyPhone and Cherry as Dual King of Rebranded Smartphones comes creeping other companies like SKK, Torque, Kata, THL etc. The craze for sub-10k phones is amazing. Whenever a company releases one, you can be sure that it will have a group on Facebook with fan base reaching thousands before the actual release!

Today, I decided to get back on the sub-10k range and try one from a well-known company in China which is trying to creep into Philippine Market. The one I bought is none other than the spec heavy, light priced THL T6S. Priced relatively cheaply at about Php 4,000. T6s packs 5 Inches of 854×480 JDI TFT Screen, Quad core MT6582M Chipset, 1GB Ram, and Kitkat out of the box. Does the China Made China released ‘Technology Happy Life (THL)’ phone pack a significant punch, or does it perform similar to pseudo rebranders king Cherry Mobile? Read on and find out!

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  1. BOX AND CONTENTS

 box

Contents other than the standard is present on T6S.  It contains the Manuals, USB Cable, charger and a headset. Nothing special.

  1. Design and Build

 looks

THL T6S sets itself apart by not going with curved edges. Instead it takes an Xperia-ish square edge, which, in my opinion, is a better choice with respect to looks. The button layout is pretty much the same, with Capacitive touch buttons below, volume rockers on the left side and power button on the right. Depending on your preference, the ‘Menu, Home, Back’ capacitive layout maybe good or bad. The back consist of a protruding camera, speakers and THL logos. It’s made with plastic Matte back which may or may not make you cringe when you scratch it.

Overall, the Phone feels and looks ok but it does not stand out. You won’t have any friends asking you ‘Wow, ang ganda! Ano to?’ (Wow this looks great! What is it?)

  1. Display

display

T6S sports a 5-inch JDI 854×480 screen. At this point in time, anything below 720p will probably get an eye-lash bat, but considering its price point and competitor (Flare 3 has 960×540 qHD display), this one is just about right.

The screen boasts good viewing angles and adequate brightness. Though if you are tight about display, you would undoubtedly notice some pixels here and there.

  1. Entertainment

multimedia

Performing as your Multimedia Driver, THL performs ok with some great hits and so-so miss.

On loudspeaker, T6S performs ok especially for bedroom use, it gets bad outdoors, well why would you use a phone loudspeaker on public. Attach your head/earset/bud/phone (I use JVC FX3X), it has good performance, great amount of loudness, but not too much bass considering I use a bassy in-ear plugs.

As expected from a China made generic android, the codec for videos is extremely bad. Luckily, MX Player Pro will easily solve this problem. Speaking of media playing, it runs 1080p videos but it does not seem to run perfectly as it shows stutters. Small sized 720p videos will work fine.

For Gaming, THL holds itself well, playing non-HD mainstream games with relative smoothness. For HD games, I expected it to perform badly but it surprised me! Don’t get me wrong, this thing is not made for such as there is presence of extremely long loading times but it did play Vice City, Asphalt 8, Gangster 4. It played them but expect long loading times and lags. Again, I know this is not made for such games, I’m actually praising THL for the fact that it opens the aforementioned games.

streaming

Web Browsing and YouTube streaming is not that of a strong suit. Don’t use for heavy browsing. And take note of the fact that it only plays up to 480p on YouTube. Yes, I am aware of the phone’s resolution at 480p.

Also note that, unlike high end phones today, this phone does not default to MTP, it uses USB Mass Storage Mode, which I think is less efficient than the former.

  1. Camera

 camera

For the camera, the box says it has 5MP, surprisingly you can capture pictures at 13MP! Amazing? No not really. As most of you may know, quality does not depend on Pixels. This is certainly true for T6S. Pictures look washed out especially indoors and low light. If you are looking for a camera phone with a cheap price tag, better stay clear of this one.

  1. Software

SOFTWARE

T6S is powered by a quadcore MT6582M processor partnered with 1GB Ram. Initially, it seems to be a very snappy phone, but open a few apps, it shows slowdowns. I don’t know if this is unit dependent but I sometimes encounter random reboot of the phone. Sometimes it becomes painstakingly slow, what I must do is reboot it and it runs fine again. It is also powered by Kitkat for those who have ‘latest always’ syndrome.

T6S’ interface is named Launcher3, which just looks and feels like a gimmicked version of Stock. I would have preferred the latter as I see no advantages on using this Launcher3.

telephony

Functioning as a phone, T6S does well, call quality is okay at best and SMS/Keyboard/Phonebook is all stock.

Being a China phone, expect some Bloatwares, you can easily uninstall them, though.

  1. Battery

 battery

Same as with every other P4, 000 phone, and battery takes a huge hit. I don’t think you should expect great battery life from this phone, as it is average at best. It CAN last you through your work, but overnight charging is a definite must. Expect standby time of 12 hours and on screen time of about 2 and a half hours.

Executive Summary

score

CONS:

  • Crappy out of the box video codec
  • Unimpressive Camera
  • Lags and stuttering on HD Games
  • Some Bloatwares
  • Disappointing Battery Life
  • Random reboots
  • Lags

PROS:

  • Ok headset audio output
  • Ok loudspeaker output
  • Ok Display for a 480p phone
  • Ok looking phone

conc

Honestly, I am not impressed with this phone. For a P4, 000 phone, I know I should not expect much. I can’t pinpoint it exactly but I feel there is something missing here. It has been a very long time since I reviewed a phone on this area so I can’t exactly tell you how it performs with others of the same price range. But if you are going to ask me if I can recommend this? I guess I can say it’s ok just be aware of the cons listed. With the way Asus Zenfone hit the market, other phones will have a hard time competing, Asus Zenfone 4 review will come up soon so stay tuned 😉

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Asus Zenfone 5 – The Rebrander Killer

ASUS ZENFONE 5

THE REBRANDER KILLER 

Untitled-1

Most, if not all Filipinos, are easily impressed by specs. Barring build quality and other factors, as soon as we see high-end specs on paper on any rebranded phone, most will drool and marvel at it and some end up impulsively buying it. I would not blame my fellow countrymen as I too am a sucker for such phones and with the steep price of high-end phones, this addiction is understandable.

As Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the high-end smartphone battleground, one international brand has slowly but surely been making its way up by going down. Let’s face it, anyone who dares to compete with monotonous looking Samsung and size growing Apple would probably end up losing in the long run.

So instead of taking a dip in the high-end wars, Asus is taking its talent through the budget-phone arena. Announced last January 2014 and released a few weeks ago in the Philippine Market. Asus Zenfone 5 has become a phenomenal hit that its Philippine Facebook pages has grown to a full thousand and more in a short span of time.

Priced at a very competitive P6, 495, Asus Zenfone 5 Sports a 5-Inch HD Display protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and encased beautifully. Will the Zenfone 5 punch a hole big enough to scar the rebranded market? Does it live up to the tremendous hype? Read on and find out! 

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  1. BOX AND CONTENTS

 Untitled-2

Asus Zenfone 5’s box looks like any other you have seen.  It contains the standard package consisting of Manuals, USB Cable, charger and a relatively good headset. Nothing special.

  1. Design and Build

 Untitled-4

Asus Zenfone 5 is undoubtedly one of the best looking budget phone to date. It is so good it can even pass as a high-end smartphone. The front houses a 2MP camera, capacitive touch buttons and good, but not quite thin, bezels. The lower part of the front adds to the high end appeal as it does look like last year’s HTC One. The volume rocker and power button are silver   and gorgeous. The back is protected by a plastic matte-back with the 8MP Camera, ASUS, Intel, Zenfone logo, and speakers.

Overall, the Phone feels and looks expensive and high class. It definitely screams PREMIUM.

  1. Display

display

Zenfone 5 sports a 5-inch 1280×720 HD display. As far as displays goes today, 720p displays feels a bit dated but looking at its price point, and from a trusted brander, it still can be categorized as a win.

Looking at the screen, it’s actually nice to look at, it is has the right amount of brightness, the text is sharp and crisp, and it has good viewing angles. Pic browsing and movie playback will definitely be and enjoyable experience with this phone.

One complaint I have would be why is there no backlight in the capacitive touch buttons? Sure you can easily memorize 3 keys but I Zenfone 5 actually sports a different button layout. For the past 3 years I have been using Android, I have always had Menu-Home-Back format. Now I am treated into a Back-Home-Recent buttons. The former configuration has been in my heart with me too much, I constantly make the same mistake especially when I am on a dimly lit room.

  1. Entertainment

One of the most important factor for a phone today is to function as your daily multimedia driver. For Zenfone 5, it functions amazingly well in that aspect.

On loudspeaker, Zenfone 5 sits with those in the poor category as it has a very disappointing loudspeaker. As far as listening with headsets go, it jumps as one of the best performers. It has clean audio output, respectable bass and right amount of loudness. To standardize my review, and for the upcoming reviews I will be using JVC FX3X (Review coming soon).

lose

Another minor disappointment is the device limited codec. You wouldn’t be able to play all your videos out of the box. But as soon as you download a reliable video player, MX Player (recommended), you can fully enjoy your movies with this beautiful 5-Inch 720p device. Also, Zenfone 5 can play 1080p videos (tested 2GB movies).

games

For Gaming, Asus was able to play all non-HD mainstream games. However playing games such as NBA 2k14, Dead Trigger, Dark Knight, it has shown some stutter and lags.

Browsing

Screenshot_2014-08-13-05-31-08

Web Browsing and YouTube streaming is another strong suit of Zenfone. I have had no problems in opening web pages and streaming videos.

  1. Camera

 camera

Asus Zenfone 5 sports an 8MP Main Camera and a 2MP front camera. As far as smartphone imaging is concerned, Asus does not have a good and strong reputation. As for this one, though, it has a good Main Camera which has TONS of features including the Famous Selfie Mode. Modes include Time Rewind, HDR, Panorama, Night etc. There is too much modes here I will make a separate review for it. So stay tuned! For Selfie addicts, the front-facing camera is not much to be excited about, it is a standard 2MP camera good enough for video calling, but it is nothing special.  See the pictures and judge for yourself.

Jpeg Jpeg Jpeg Jpeg Jpeg

  1. Software

Asus Zenfone 5 is powered by a Dual Core 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2560 Processor. I have to admit, this is my first Intel device, I was sceptical at first seeing, as I was one of those who thought cores are everything, but when I tried it, it was actually amazingly quick and responsive. Swiping between screens showed no significant lags and partner it with a 2GB Ram, opening apps and multi-tasking feels breezy. The device has an 8GB Internal memory 5GB useable. It is good enough for all your apps and one or two HD games.

Features 2

The phone also sports ZenUI, a custom skin from Asus. Android lovers have always loved the stock Android experience and ZenUI tries to mimic the simplicity of stock while adding some niche features and Asus’ own personality. The interface feels like stock and it is snappy, unlike other brand’s skin (ehem TouchWiz). A feature which is kind of cool is when you are on your lockscreen and your finger on it, a spotlight appears. Cool but pointless. It also has a Smartcover notification screen which is a useful one.

Functioning as a phone, Zenfone 5 has a clean stock SMS and a custom Asus Keyboard which looks and feels like a lovechild of Swiftkey and Android’s stock keyboard. It functions very similarly to Android’s stock rather than Swiftkey, though. Call quality both as a receiver and transmitter, is good.

Features

As far as being an international Brand, Zenfone 5 also has preinstalled apps, bloatware to some, these apps include:

  • Amazon Kindle Fire – EBook Reader
  • Audio Wizard – Adjusts your audio depending on what you want to use your device (Bluetooth not supported)
  • Do It Later – To do task bar
  • Mirror – Basically a front cam without shutter
  • MyASUS – Asus tech support and self-promotion app
  • Omlet Chat – Viber-ish app, stick to your preferred social messaging app
  • Party Link – Connects and shares pictures automatically to nearby devices. Security!
  • PC Link – Connects to your PC
  • Quick Memo – Kind of like Do it Later
  • Remote Link – Bluetooth remote
  • Share Link – Shares files between two Share Link enabled devices
  • Splendid – Changes the colour of your phone (actually cool)
  • Sound Recorder – Good voice recorder
  • Super Note – Like Galaxy Note’s Note minus the SPen
  • What’s Next – I don’t know

Some of the aforementioned apps are actually quite useful.

  1. Battery

 battery

Battery is probably the lowest point of Zenfone 5. I am a medium-heavy battery user and this one is just not made for a full day at the office. On a day, I average about two hours of video, 15-30 minutes of games and about 3 hours of music. I also enable Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or Mobile Data all the time. By the time its 6pm (5AM-2PM Work shift), I will have only about 10-15% battery life and I would have had to turn off everything except my 2G function to avoid full discharge. Also, I have noticed that the device starts to heats up while playing after 10 minutes. If you will look at the battery life when the device starts to heat up and you keep on playing, it burns through it like a hot knife through butter. A sad fact for Gamers. Well this device is not made for gaming anyway.

Executive Summary

2014-08-13-0405

CONS:

  • No Capacitive Touch Button Back Light
  • Crappy out of the box video codec
  • Soft Loudspeakers
  • Lags and stuttering on HD Games
  • Some Bloatwares
  • Disappointing Battery Life
  • Narrow Bezel

PROS:

  • As beautiful as that hot officemate/classmate from the other class
  • 5 Inch Vivid, Crisp HD Display
  • Great headset audio output
  • Smooth and Fast response even with a custom Skin
  • Good camera with shitloads of features
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • CHEAPER THAN REBRANDED FLAGSHITS ehem FLAGSHIPS
  • Did I mention how beautiful this device looks?

Scores

As much cons as Zenfone 5 has, some of them can easily be fixed by third party apps. No Capacitive Touch Backlight? Install a menu bar (probably needs root). Bad codec? Download MX Player Pro. Soft loudspeakers? Why will you use a smartphone on loudspeaker? Bloatwares? Root and remove. That leaves only HD Game stutter, battery life and narrow bezel but these are things you need to compromise for the competitive price tag.

Zenfone 5 is an amazing phone to have, I would recommend this phone for those curious and for those looking at a budget phone. Asus is a far better choice than rebranders. I don’t hate rebranders, I actually had fun reviewing them some 2 years ago. But as I started to work and value money more, I don’t think it is wise to spend cash on a device you know will inevitably break and have to endure garbage after sales or inability to receive software updates. Granted that rebranders have consistently tried to make better built devices, it’s just not the same comfort you have with a branded one.

Steering into the budget-minded market, Asus has made a premium device well worth over the hype and maybe made a device which gives rebranders a run for their money. Priced at P6, 495, this is very competitively priced and brings competitive pleasure to any user who will have it.

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