All Three Smartphones are dead. Looking for new and cheap ones

Oh Great.  I know officially have a cellphone graveyard at home.  I have 5 units lying there, dead. Repairable, but the costs exceed their 2nd hand value so I might as well grab a new one right?

By the way, I am a sucker for the no-namers and the so-called lower-quality named cellphones.  My choices will always revolve around battery-life and camera power.

I originally intended this page to be a mobile phone review page but it ended up as a site with all sorts of stuff in it, primarily robots, food and art-related thingies.  So I guess let’s do a review for my dead phones.

Starmobile Knight

It was so good (at the time, circa 2013) I actually bought another one after the first one was thrown at a wall.  Too bad they aren’t wall-proof, eh?

Starmobile Knight Spec Sheet

  • 1.2GHz Quad-core Processor MediTek
  • PowerVR SGX544MP GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD Card
  • 4.7-inch IPS Display, Corning Gorilla Glass
  • HD Resolution, 315 pixels per inch
  • 18.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with LED flash, autofocus, and BSI
  • 8.0-megapixels front-facing camera with autofocus and BSI
  • Dual SIM, Dual 3G, Dual Standby
  • WiFi, WiFI Hotspot, Bluetooth, HSPA+, 3G, GPS/aGPS
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 2,000mAH Battery

Looking at the specsheet, it now looks like the lower-ended entry models available now except for the camera specs. As a phone camera junkie, this was a powerful phone to play with.  One thing I like about the locally branded phones in the Philippines is their minimal use of bloatware to clog up your phone. I’m not saying that I personally don’t like iPhones, Samsungs and the like, but I am a frugal guy who will always get the cheaper alternative.  This one wasn’t cheap either, but the other phones that it went out with on release were about two times or more pricier with lower specs.

Pros:

  • Awesome Camera.  I have friends that actually ask for my phone when it is selfie time.
  • It can play anything you threw at it. NBA, Racing Games, MMORG games.
  • Access to root, developer and maintenance menus. You don’t need to root it really.
  • Sound was crisp. Not enough to fill a room but it did the job well.
  • It felt like I was holding an iphone. Cold and Sturdy. It had a few major drops and it was okay. My second unit had a crystal case that came with it so I was happy.

Cons:

  • It overheats like mad. I found; through experience, that if you play with it on top of glass, it kind of helps. On more than one occasion I stuck it in the freezer while turned off just to hurry up the cooldown process. (bad idea, really)
  • The audio port though feels a little weak so I ended up using a bluetooth headset for it.
  • The USB port feels flimsy like all other android devices.
  • Can hardly see anything under direct light.
  • It chokes when too many apps are running.  I am a power user, but then again, 1GB RAM seemed to be a standard for the mid-entry market.

Cause of death:

Phone#1. Crazy chick threw my phone at the wall. I always thought she should’ve thrown it at her carpet instead. It was fluffy and soft and might have not cracked the screen.

Phone#2. Door knob rammed it through my pocket, cracking the screen. This was worth about 11k then and second hand models cost around 5k.  LCD screen replacement was estimated at around 5k so I didn’t bother having it fixed.

Starmobile Octa

I was so impressed with the Knight that I took a gamble on the Octa. Sexy phone, really. Sleek and stylish. Cool metal feels really good.  No designated case made for it though but it had a lot of things going on for it. Wireless Charging, NFC capability and front camera LED Flash. Not a lot of phones had those features all in one phone.

Starmobile Octa specs

  • 1.7GHz MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor
  • Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5-inch full HD OGS IPS display, Asahi scratch resistant display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB non-expandable memory
  • 18-megapixel AF rear camera with BSI and dual LED flash
  • 8-megapixel camera front facing camera, wide lens with BSI and LED flash
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, USB OTG, NFC
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • Dual SIM, dual standby (micro SIM)
  • 2300mAh battery
  • Android 4.2

It was, as the reviews have often stated, one of the phones in the market with very many features. It was a bit pricey though, but I gambled on it. It lasted for more than a year for me despite falling from shoulder length heights.  The aluminum monocoque body handled it well with nothing more than bad dents and scratches. Camera was protruding though, and it was prone to scratches and smudges and the like.  No casing available. I tried generic cases but it wasn’t the same as it was either too lose or too tight or it covered up a port. It was a phone that you either love or hate. Right up to 2 weeks ago while it was still alive, it was still more than a match for my three other recent phones which were the Meizu MX5 Pro, Asus Zenfone 2 and the Asus Zenfone 5.

Pros:

  • Awesome Camera.  The 8MP Front shooter has an LED flash which surprised many of many friends. (they started borrowing my phone when they wanted to take pictures in very low light conditions)
  • It can play anything you threw at it and more. NBA, Racing Games, MMORG games.
  • Access to root, developer and maintenance menus. You don’t need to root it. It is like a chill girlfriend.
  • Sound was loud enough to fill the room and be heard from two rooms away.
  • Monocoque Shell. Cold and Sturdy. Sleek and sexy. It had a few major drops and it was okay.  Dents will be apparent but it loses no functionality whatsoever. It took quite a beating from me.
  • It survived me for almost a year. That, in itself is an achievement.

Cons:

  • It overheats when playing high ended games.
  • The audio port though feels a little weak so I ended up using a bluetooth headset for it.
  • The USB port feels flimsy like all other android devices.
  • The high and low end of the screen brightness seems similar.
  • Battery life. The phone can’t maintain too much power.
  • It is hard to switch sims as you need a needle of sorts or a sim key to access the port.

Cause of death: saltwater damage. It no longer turns on. The guy at the service center looked at me funny. He probably thought I had porn stored in there.

Meizu MX5 Pro

Oh I loved this phone. I think this was my most powerful phone ever. I saw this in the antutu benchmarking and it was the leader for almost a year too. I was able to play the higher-ended games without sacrificing quality. Sound was crisp and clear and loud. Uber responsive in app switching and loading pictures and stuff. The 21MP camera took 12MB photos in clear daylight. The amount of detail it could pick up was simply amazing. The video and sound pickups/microphone was awesome as well. My only gripe would be the Flyme OS I guess… it took awhile to get used to. The interface was simple enough though, but going through the menus for let’s say… specific app permissions. It took awhile to get used to finding something but it can pretty much augment all kinds of accesses for each app unlike other phone units. Life without a back button was hard though, as I found myself simply closing the app instead if I get to a menu that requires the press of a back button.

This unit was a bit of a splurge on my part as I hardly indulge in flagships.

I want to get another one really… who knows?

Key features

  • 5.7″ 1080p AMOLED display of 386ppi
  • Heavily customized Flyme OS 4.5.4.1 on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, Flyme 5.0 update should be around the corner
  • Samsung Exynos 7420: octa-core processor with 4x 2.1GHz Cortex-A57 and 4x 1.5GHz Cortex -A53, Mali-T760MP8 GPU, 3GB or 4GB of RAM
  • 21MP Sony Exmor RS IMX230 camera sensor with two-tone LED flash, 2160p video recording @30fps
  • 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p@30fps video recording
  • 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage; expandable via a microSD slot
  • Cat. 6 LTE (300/50Mbps); Dual SIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.1; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou; USB Type-C port, USB On-The-Go
  • mTouch Home button with a fingerprint scanner
  • Active noise cancellation via a dedicated mic
  • 3,050mAh battery with 24W mCharge 2.0 (Up to 65% battery capacity in 30min)

Pros:

  • Amazing LED Screen. Great variance in brightness. Can still see under the direct sunlight and odd angles.
  • Pretty phone. Sturdy. Big but light. Glass all over the front.
  • The audio jack responded well with my 750W amplified speakers.
  • Bluetooth connectivity was pretty good.
  • It had all sorts of bells and whistles. LTE, OTG, NFC, Wireless charging, Expandable, Dual sim, Fingerprint scanner etc…
  • It’s a flagship. It’s supposed to be good right?

Cons:

  • no dedicated back button. you have to swipe it from the side or the bottom.
  • flyme OS. most of the themes are in chinese. odd interface, but it works.
  • gorilla grass still prone to cracking. still works though.
  • it acts oddly on certain games…
  • the supplied charger is a euro standard power port hugger.

Reason for death:

It fell and had I trouble turning it back on. Front Camera stopped working. Seems to be a motherboard issue of sorts. I was able to power the unit on by forcing the power button or wedging something underneath the power button. Now it won’t turn on no matter what I do. I shouldn’t of have turned off the auto-power on schedule.

I am looking to purchase the Cherry Mobile M1 and the Firefly Aurii as my main phone and the Gionee Marathon M5 as my wifi router phone. I don’t really see the point in keeping multiple phones but it is nice to have backups. The three phones would cost me about 30k or so. As compared to getting a samsung s7 or an ipone 6s, i think i would rather have three phones to play with.

yes, I have 3 accounts playing summoner’s war.

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