Oppo Find 7a Hands On and Initial Impressions

Last week, Oppo has officially landed in the Philippines bringing their latest smartphones. Oppo Philippines unveiled three new  phones during the said event – the Oppo Find 7, Find 7a, and Oppo N1.  We were able to get a short hands on with the Oppo Find 7a and we would like to share our experience with it.

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Oppo Find 7a specs:

  • 2.3 GHz quad core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
  • Adreno 330 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB internal memory expandable up to 128GB
  • 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display (1920 x1080 pixels)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • Oppo MaxxAudio sound enhancement
  • 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and dual LED flash
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • LTE, WiFi, WiFi Direct, DLNA, WiFi hotspot, NFC, USB OTG (on-the-go)
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 4.3 Jellybean with ColorOS UI
  • SRP: P22,990

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The one that we are holding here is the Oppo Find 7a. There is no physical difference between the Find 7a and the Find 7 but when you look further on the specs, the difference is evident. The Find 7a  has slightly toned down specs – a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD display (c0mpared to Find 7’s Quad HD display), a slightly slower 2.3GHz Quad Core processor, a lesser 2GB RAM, and a smaller 2,800 mAh battery. But these specs are not slouch. In fact, it is in par with current smartphone flagships from Samsung, LG and Sony.

Since we limited time with the phone, we were not able to explore it fully. But we were able to fiddle around with the phone’s UI called the ColorOS. The UI on top of Android look cleaner compared to other UI found on other phones. Icons look better and we are glad it doesn’t look cartoonish. We recommend this phone is you are looking for a fresh looking UI for your smartphone.

Bottomline, the Oppo Find 7a is a best alternative high end smartphone you can buy. It has the same flagship like features like LTE, Full HD display, generous internal memory with expandable option, and a 13 megapixel rear facing camera for less the price. If the Samsung Galaxy S5 is selling for P34,990 (Samsung store price), the Oppo Find 7a is only P22,990. If you want to experiece superb Quad HD display, the Oppo Find 7 is the best phone for you. You just have to shell out extra – P25,990.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Unboxing and Initial Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S5 is officially out today and we are lucky to be one of the first to own one. Unveiled in February earlier this year, one notable feature  is bein water and dust resistant, a feature present in Sony Xperia Z2. Another additional features are the heart rate monitor and the fingerprint scanner. Before we get excited, let’s unbox it first.

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Samsung Galaxy S5 specs:

  • 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16/32GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 128GB – WOW!!!
  • 5.1-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display (1080 x 1920 pixels) 432 ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • IP67 – water and dust resistant
  • 16 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus, image stabilization and LED flash
  • 2 megapixel rear facing camera
  • LTE, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, DLNA, WIFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Infrared Port
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
  • Nano SIM
  • 2,800 mAh battery
  • Android 4.4 Kitkat

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So what’s inside the box? We have here some manuals, USB, headset, extra earbuds, and adapter. Now let’s get focused with the unit itself.

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We have the white variant here and we do like it. The S5 has less curves, a bit taller and thinner than its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S5.  Samsung has opted to let go of the shiny back cover for a matte dotted design and finish which we really do like.

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The Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) and the Samsung Galaxy S5 (right)

A bigger screen is a big welcome to from 4.95-inches of the S4, the S5 now has a 5.1-inches. It is still the same beautiful screen we’ve seen from the Galaxy S4 only bigger.

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Overall, it is a big improvement when it comes to design alone. Its a good move that Samsung ditched the S4’s shiny back cover in favor for matte finish. We will reserve the Antutu Benchmarks, speed tests, camera and software performance on our full review.

 

THL T100s Monkey King 2 Review

Competition among local and Chinese brands are getting more intense. When chipmaker Mediatek announced their first true Octa-core processor in October 2013, the race to become the first to offer an Octa-core powered smartphone is on. Novo7 Tech, the local distributor of THL smartphones in the Philippines was the first to announce their first Octa-core powered smartphone, the THL T100s Monkey King 2 in December 2013 and promised that it would be available in January 2014. But problems with the Bureau of Customs spoiled everything. Then Starmobile, Cherry Mobile and MyPhone announced their Octa core offerings in February and become available to users by March.

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Well, its better late than never. And here it is the THL T100s Monkey King 2! This is actually our first time to review an Octa core powered smartphone and we are hoping we can compare this to the Starmobile Octa or the Cherry Mobile Cosmos Z2 pretty soon. Does the Octa-core processor impressed us or should we stick on quad core for the mean time? Let’s find out.

THL T100s Monkey King 2 specs:

  • 1.7GHz Octa Core Mediatek 6592 processor
  • Mali-450 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 5 inch IPS full HD display (1080 x 1920 pixels) 441 ppi
  • 13 megapixel rear facing Sony Blue lens camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 13 megapixel front facing camera.
  • Dual SIM, dual standby
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, USB OTG (on the go)
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,750 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • SRP: P13,999
  • Status: Available on Novo7 Tech stores, kiosks and retailers

Here is a hands on video:

 

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HARDWARE AND DESIGN:

We showed the THL T100s Monkey King 2 to some our friends and family who are not techies and asked what do they think about the phone. Their first look they thought it was the Sony Xperia Z2> They were very much impressed the phone’s design and solid build quality. The phone indeed  may have sharp edges but this appeals to most people who saw it. Lastly, it device is extremely light and pocketable thanks to its very thin profile.

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DISPLAY:

Another eye catching feature is the 5-inch Full HD display. During our unboxing, the display was the first thing we noticed on the device. It is GORGEOUS! This is probably one of the  best we’ve seen from any local/Chinese brand. Color reproduction is good and viewing angles is excellent. The display can be at par with the best international brands like the LG G2 (the G2 has the best displays around).

SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE:

One important part of this review is to test how the Octa core Mediatek 6592 performs on both day to day use and benchmark scores. Well, on day to day use, the phone performed normally. Basic tasks like app switches, simple navigation, texting and calling performed extremely well with no lags whatsoever. This phone is a killer when it comes to gaming! Our favorite game, Dead Trigger 2 ran well! This game hogs so much memory so it usually works well on top of the line devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and LG G2. So far, playing Dead Trigger 2 on the THL T100s Monkey King 2 is the best gaming experience we had from a Chinese/local brand. We played for long hours and we totally enjoyed it.

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On our initial Antutu benchmark test, we got a score of 25,876 points. We did another Antutu test and we got a score of 27,161 which is even higher than than our first test.

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CONNECTIVITY:

We would like to point out that this phone’s WiFi reception is excellent and probably one the best WiFi reception we’ve used. Our WiFi router is located at a study room on the second floor but we still get good WiFi reception even if we are downstairs. HSPA+ network from Globe and Smart are good depending on the location

CAMERA:

We heard a lot good praises on THL’s camera on other smartphones but we never had a chance to test one. Indeed, both rear and front facing cameras take great pictures! Here are some of the pictures we’ve taken in different lighting conditions

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Photo taken from the 13 megapixel front facing camera

BATTERY:

The phone’s 5-inch Full HD display and Octa-core chipset will definitely drain the battery much faster. So THL came prepared and included a large 2,750 mAh battery. We’ve been known for being heavy smartphone users because we use the phone a lot and the 2,750 mAh battery didn’t disappoint. As our daily driver, the phone’s battery lasted 11 hours after we took it out of the charger at 8am everyday with 15% juice left. Our battery test include playing Dead Trigger for at least 30 mins to 1 hour, watching You Tube and IWanTV for 3 hours, calls and texts, taking pictures and video and listening to Spotify for an hour.

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VERDICT:

Everytime we’re asked on what brand should we recommend among the local/Chinese brands we normally recommend 2 brands – MyPhone and Starmobile. We think this time we will THL to our highly recommended list. However, its P13,999 pricetag may veer away some buyers but we think the price is just right for a phone with an Octa-core processor, dual 13 megapixel cameras and a full HD display.

 

THL T100s Monkey King 2 Unboxing and First Impressions

THL (Technology Happy Life) was the smartphone brand to bring the first Octa-core powered handset from Mediatek – the THL T100s Monkey King 2. Unfortunately, Novo7 Tech, the local distributor of THL smartphones had problems with the Philippine Bureau of Customs as all of their stocks was detained. Customers have waited for its arrive until Starmobile, Cherry Mobile and MyPhone have announced their own octa core offering. Now, after months of waiting, the THL T100s has finally made available. We were lucky enough to own one and honestly, we are excited unbox our first ever Octa-core smartphone.

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THL T100s Monkey King 2 specs:

  • 1.7GHz Octa Core Mediatek 6592 processor
  • Mali-450 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 5 inch IPS full HD display (1080 x 1920 pixels)
  • 13 megapixel rear facing Sony Blue lens camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 13 megapixel front facing camera.
  • Dual SIM, dual standby
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, USB OTG (on the go)
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,750 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • SRP: P13,999
  • Status: Available on Novo7 Tech stores, kiosks and retailers

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

The package is very plain. No photos, no colorful branding. It just plain THL Smartphone on the top left and the logo of Novo7 Tech, local THL distributor with its Gold Award. Inside the box are the following – unit itself, 2750 mAh battery, adapter, USB, fettuccine style headset, and NFC tags.

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Now let’s take a closer look at the device. It looks like the Sony Xperia Z1 with its sharp corners. We showed this phone to our friends and family and most of them do like its design. Build quality is good too.

The display is gorgeous! It is one of the best screeen we’ve seen from a Chinese and even local brands. We’ve seen some of THL’s smartphones on display at the Novo7 Tech kiosk in SM North Edsa and we really do admire how bright, stunning and impressively sharp their screens.

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We decided to do an initial Antutu benchmark test on the device’s Octa-core processor and we got a score of 25,876. That’s impressive considering the scores are almost at par with international flagships like the 2013 HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S4. It even scored higher than the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and the Sony Xperia Z.

Bottomline we are definitely have pretty good impressions with the THL T100s Monkey King 2. We are excited to download our favorite games like Dead Trigger 2 to test its Octa-core prowess. We will be also some camera tests of its dual 13 megapixel shooters.

That’s all for now folks. We will be doing more tests for our full review. Just wait for it as we post it by Friday or Saturday. 🙂

 

THL T200 Cyborg Hands On and First Impressions

Yesterday, Novo7 Tech, local distributor of THL smartphones, met with tech bloggers to introduce the THL T200 Cyborg. It is a 6-inch phablet powered by Mediatek’s 1.7GHz Octa-core processor. This is also the company’s answer to the Starmobile Diamond X1 which has the same 6-inch screen and Octa-core processor. We were able to play around with it for about 20 minutes and before we share our hands on experience, here’s a quick refresher of the specs.

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The THL T200 Cyborg is running almost stock Android. This unit has a launcher which can be downloaded on the Play Store.

THL T200 Cyborg specs:

  • 1.7GHz octa-core Mediatek MT6592 processor
  • Mali 450MP4 graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
  • 6-inch Full HD IPS LCD display with One Glass Solution (1920 x 1080 pixels) 367ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 13 megapixel rear facing Sony Blue lens camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 8 megapixel front facing camera
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, USB OTG (On-The-Go)
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 2,600 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • SRP: P14,999
  • Status: Available (with limited stocks) in Novo7 Tech stores, retailers and via Lazada and Kimstore

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

Design-wise, the phone is reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with its curvy edges and metal trim on the sides. It is a bit thick but it is manageable holdling it with one hand. But you’ll need the other hand when you start using it.

The display was gorgeous. This is actually the first time that we had a hands on from a THL smartphone this long and we did notice its stunning display. The screen has noticeable cooler tone which we do like.

We were not able to fully test the phone’s Octa-core prowess due to our limited hands on time with it. But while playing around with it, we felt it performs faster than the quad core smartphones.

We saw some of the photos taken from its 13 megapixel rear camera and we were quite impressed with the picture quality. This is mainly because of the phone’s camera sensor is made by Sony. And if its from Sony. it must be good. Hehehe. 🙂

Bottomline, it is a strong contender against the Starmobile Diamond X1. But we have yet to get a hands on with Starmobile’s offering first before we decide on what to recommend. We think the THL T200 Cyborg’s best in class camera can even edge out the camera of other flagship smartphones.

Gionee ELife E7 Hands On and First Impressions

Last Sunday, Gionee Smartphone Philippines has unveiled their latest flagship, the Gionee ELife E7. We had a chance to play around the said device and we would like to share our first impressions.

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Gionee ELife E7 specs:

  • 2.5GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8974AC processor (LTE variant)
  • 2.2GHz Quad Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8974 processor (3G variant)
  • 2GB RAM with 16GB internal storage
  • 3GB RAM with 32GB internal storage
  • 5.5 inch LTPS Full HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels) 400 ppi
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 16 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 8 megapixel front facing camera with autofocus
  • LTE (on selected model), 3G, WiFi, WiFi Display, WiFi hotspot,
  • Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, WiFi Display
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,500 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean with Amigo 2.0 UI
  • SRP: P24,500 (LTE variant)

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS:

  • Eye-candy colors! We do love the bright orange we got here.
  • The phone has a unibody design made of high quality polycarbonate.
  • Just like its predecessor, the Gionee ELife E6, it is extremely well built and elegant looking. It is pretty obvious that Gionee has paying been so much attention to details.
  • Camera is impressive! UI is idiot-proof, pictures taken from its 16 megapixel rear facing camera is one of the best we’ve seen. Unfortunately, we were not able to send pictures via Bluetooth.
  • We were expecting that the ELife E7 will be running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat but sadly, it is running Android 4.2 Jellybean. We noticed that the Amigo 2.0 UI on top of Android runs smoothly which is better than the ELife E6 of last year.

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Now we’re exciting for the review unit! We are excited to put the phone to the test. Overall, we had good first impressions of the phone. It is indeed far better looking, gives better performance than some well know flagships.

Kata i3 vs Cloudfone Thrill 550q: Which is Better?

We have another comparison here! We are going to compare the Kata i3 and the Cloudfone Thrill 550q. Both have pretty similar specs and both have the same HD display. Who will win? Let’s find out.

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Kata i3 specs:

  • 1.3GHz Quad Core Mediatek MT6582 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
  • 5-inch Super HD LCD display (1280 x 720 pixels) 294ppi
  • 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 5 megapixel front facing camera
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby (SIM 1 and SIM 2 – Micro SIM)
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,250 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • Price: P8,499
  • Status: Available on Kata Stores, kiosks and retailers

Cloudfone Thrill 550q specs:

  • 1.2GHz Quad Core Mediatek MTK6589 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD
  • 5.5-inch HD LCD display (720 x 1280 pixels)
  • 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 3.2 megapixel front facing camera
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 2,500 mAh battery
  • Android 4.2 Jellybean
  • Price: P8,999
  • Status: Available on Cloudfone stores, kiosks and retailers

Related article – Kata i3 Review

Related article – Cloudfone Thrill 550q Review

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DESIGN AND BUILD QUALITY:

When it comes to build quality, both phones have an edge but design-wise they’re different. Expect both phone to be solidly built. The difference though, when it comes to design, these phones took different paths. The Kata i3 is very slim and lightweight  but the Cloudfone Thrill 550q is clunky and heavy. Of course most of us will prefer a lightweight device but still there are some who prefer a heftier device that could make them feel the presence of it. The i3 has a glossy finish which we personally don’t like but we do love the royal blue color. The 550q, on the other hand, has a soft rubber matte finish that gives the phone a more secure grip when holding it.

Winner: Kata i3

DISPLAY

Both phones sport a  720p HD IPS LCD display.  The 550q is more of a phablet with its 5.5-inch display compared to a more flagship like screen size of the i3 which is 5 inches. We find the i3’s display better not because it is smaller and has more pixel density but the quality of the display is better.  The i3 has great viewing angles with great color reproduction compared to the 550q’s dull and washed out colors.

Winner: Kata i3

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PERFORMANCE AND SOFTWARE

These two phones are powered by one brand but different types of chipset. The i3 has a 1.3GHz quad core MT6582 processor while the 550q has a 1.2GHz quad core MT6589 processor. Kata’s chipset is newer and has more horsepower than Cloudfone’s chipset. But on day to day use, you won’t notice if the Kata’s chipset is faster or more efficient because both phones ran smoothly on basic tasks. Both phones, however, have noticeable but rare lags when playing  power hungry games.  One advantage we saw is the i3 can be upgraded to a newer software (both firmware and latest version of Android) thanks to its OTA (over the air) feature. The 550q can be updated to a newer Android version but you have to bring it to a Cloudfone store.

Antutu Benchmark scores:

Kata i3 – 16.977 vs Cloudfone Thrill 550q – 13,539

Winner: Kata i3

CAMERA:

Both phones sport a 13 megapixel rear facing camera but the Kata i3 has a better 5 megapixel front facing camera compared to Cloudfone 550q’s 3.2 megapixel front facing camera. Unfortunately, we were not able to post a picture from the i3’s 5MP front camera from our review. It would be unfair if we compare pictures from the front cameras. We do find the pictures taken from the i3’s 13 megapixel front facing camera better than the 550q’s camera. Both cameras take good pictures on good lighting conditions but in low light to no light situations, the i3’s flash gives better lighting than the other phone. Oh, both phones lack BSI (back side illumination). Please click the links above to view our sample pictures taken from both phones.

Winner: Kata i3

BATTERY:

Well, in this area, Cloudfone products do excel. On our review, both phone have good battery life considering that we are heavy smartphone users.  The 550q is powered by a 2,500 mAh battery while the i3 only has 2,250 mAh battery. Does this mean that the 550q has the edge? Not necessarily. You see, the i3 has a 5-inch HD screen which hogs more battery life but the processor is newer so if consumes less battery. The 550q has a bigger 5.5-inch HD screen and has an older processor.  It will consume more power. That’s why Cloudfone opted for a bigger battery. In this round, both phone wins.

Winner: BOTH

VALUE FOR MONEY:

The Kata i3 is P500 cheaper than the Cloudfone Thrill 550q. Considering all the factors, we think that the Kata i3 is the better buy here. It has a newer processor, better display quality, better camera, lighter and thinner.

Winner: Kata i3

VERDICT:

It doesn’t mean that the Kata i3 edges out the Cloudfone Thrill 550q in many factors, it would never be a better choice for users. We think that the Kata i3 will appeal to people who are looking for a stylish but functional phone. The Cloudfone Thrill 550q is for those people who are looking for a phone that can take a beating and has an active lifestyle. Whatever phone you choose, both phone will give you the best Android experience. 🙂