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Starmobile Up Review

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We never thought that our local smartphone market will be as intense as the FIFA World Cup! Prices are getting lower, specs are getting better and people are switching to local brands in large numbers. In fact, we have friends who are loyal Samsung and Apple users now using MyPhone, Starmobile or Cherry Mobile. When MyPhone first revealed the price of the Rio (which is only P4,999), everyone is waiting for Starmobile or Cherry Mobile’s contender. What we have here is the Starmobile Up, the company’s answer to the MyPhone Rio. What would make you buy this phone? Read on with the review.

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Starmobile Up specs:

  • 1.3GHz Quad Core Mediatek MT6582M processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
  • 5-inch FWVGA IPS LCD display (854 x 480 pixels) 196 ppi
  • Asahi Dragontrail scratch resistant glass
  • 8 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus, BSI and LED flash
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera with BSI
  • Dual SIM (Regular + Micro SIM), Dual Standby, Dual 3G
  • HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, Wireless Display, USB OTG (On-The Go)
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,000 mAh Li-Ion battery
  • Android 4.4 Kitkat
  • SRP: P4,990
  • Status: Available on Starmobile stores, kiosks and retailers

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What’s inside the box?

  • Unit itself
  • headset
  • USB OTG cable
  • USB cable
  • adapter
  • flip case
  • screen protector

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VIDEO REVIEW:

 

HARDWARE AND DESIGN:

Based on looks alone, the Starmobile Up is just your typical 5-inch smartphone.  Sometimes we are confused on the company’s new line up because they all look alike. It comes in only black and white so if you prefer other colors then this is not the phone for you. Going back, the phone has rough back surface which gives our hands a better grip. It doesn’t attract smudges and fingerprints too. Build quality is one of Starmobile’s strength and that the includes this phone. Lastly the screen is protected by a scratch resistant glass so there’s no need to put a screen protector unless you want added protection.

DISPLAY:

One thing that might disappoint you is the display. Compared to the MyPhone Rio and Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum’s 5-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 720 pixels), the Starmobile Up only has a 5-inch FWVGA IPS LCD display. Pixels are evident when you look closely. But despite its low resolution, we were impressed by the screen’s bright and vivid display. Viewing angles are great too when you tilt the phone sidewards.

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Playing Dead Trigger 2 on the Starmobile Up
PERFORMANCE:

We did Antutu Benchmark tests and the last score we had is 17,846. That is quite impressive for a 1.3GHz quad core Mediatek MT6582 processor. The Starmobile Up is our daily driver for a week and when it comes to daily use, we rarely encounter any lags or stutters during the duration of our review. This is mainly because the phone is the running the latest Android software, version 4.4 Kitkat.  On the gaming zone, we downloaded our favorite game, Dead Trigger 2 and it ran flawlessly. We even played for hours!

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CAMERA:

Photos taken from the 8 megapixel rear camera and 2 megapixel front camera are generally good. It is not as mindblowing compared to higher end phones but it is good enough sharing it on social media sites. Here are some samples photos below with different lighting conditions.

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Nightshot, no flash
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Photo taken using the 2 megapixel front facing camera with BSI. The photo was taken in a dark area.
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Photo taken with the 8 megapixel rear facing camera using the flash
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Selfie using the 2 megapixel front facing camera – good lighting

CONNECTIVITY:

Normally, we are having trouble connecting our review units to our WiFi since the base router is quite far from us, not to mention the obstructions found in our home and the office. Once we go 5 meters away from the router, our gadgets can no longer connect to the WiFi. So we are amazed on the Starmobile Up’s impressive WiFi reception. We get full bars of WiFi goodness on the areas we normally get 2 to 3 bars.

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HSPA+ is impressive on both Globe and Smart networks too. We get 3 to 5Mbps download speed on places where Globe has a got HSPA+ connection. Lastly, you can take the Starmobile Up with you when you travel abroad because the phone has Quadband GSM connection.

BATTERY:

Again, we underestimated Starmobile’s battery capacity. We think that the 2,000 mAh battery will not last 6 hours of heavy use. But then again, we were wrong. With our usual heavy use (You Tube videos for hours, gaming for hours, hours of calls and texts plus social media) we got 8 hours with 10% remaining in the tank. On our days of moderate use, we were able to stretch out the battery to 10 hours with 20% remaining power.

VERDICT:

Would we recommend this phone? ABSOLUTELY! Good camera, excellent build quality, smooth performance, great battery life – these are the things that would make you buy this phone. However, if you are looking for an HD display, there are alternatives like the MyPhone Rio, which is out of stock almost everywhere and the Cherry Mobile Omega Spectrum. These phones are still running Android 4.2 Jellybean out of the box. But the Omega Spectrum is upgradable to Kitkat, though you have to bring it to the service center to upgrade.

Currently, the Starmobile Up is also hard to find in stores due to the overwhelming demand. According to Starmobile, they are doing their best to replenish their stocks. But here’s a tip, if you are going to buy now after reading this review, we spotted two stores in Makati that has stocks of the Up – Adi Telecom in Glorietta 2 and Hello Store in SM Makati. Just ask the saleslady if the have stocks.

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