Television has evolved so much. From being boxy and black and white to flat, thin and rich in color resolution. Television has become smarter too and now some of them are running Android OS. And now we have digital TV from analogue system. Looking back 15 years ago where few households has cable and sattelite TV, it is such a pain watching free-to-air channels. You have to move the antenna around when switching from ABS-CBN to GMA and vice versa.
Recently, broadcast giant ABS-CBN released the “mahiwagang black box” now called ABS-CBN TV Plus. It a device that enables any TV to receive digital signals of any local channels. As a result, you’ll cable-like reception without moving the antenna. A few weeks after local smartphone brand Starmobile announced the Knight Vision, a smartphone with the same technology found on ABS-CBN’s digital box. Aside from that, the company even put an optically stabilized 13 megapixel camera, a first for any local smartphone. We’ve used it as a daily driver for two weeks and here’s our review.
Starmobile Knight Vision
- 1.3Ghz Quad Core Mediatek MT6582 processor
- Mali 400MP2 graphics
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB internal storage expandable via MicroSD up to 64GB
- 5.5-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 720 pixels)
- 13 megapixel rear facing Sony IMX camera with autofocus, LED flash and Optical Image Stabilization
- 8 megapixel front facing Sony camera
- Dual SIM (Regular + Micro) Dual Standby
- HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, ISDB-T Digital TV
- GPS, A-GPS
- 2,450 mAh Li-Po battery
- Android 4.4 Kitkat
- SRP: P9,990
- Status: Available in Starmobile stores and kiosks
Related article – Starmobile Knight Vision Unboxing and Hands On
HARDWARE AND DESIGN:
We have the white variant we love it. It has chamfered edges which is similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 making the device look elegant. Looking at the device, the power/lock key and volume rocker are located at the right, nothing on the left, noise cancelling microphone at the bottom and 3.5mm headset jack and microUSB charging port at the top. The slightly protruding 13 megapixel camera is located on the upper left corner at the back and the antenna for the digital TV is located on the upper right corner.
It has the same size as the flagship Knight X though we find the Knight Vision slightly heavier and thicker. Despite that it is still manageable to hold with one hand. Audio output is loud and clear as you can hear the device even from your pockets. Audio quality using your earphones is decent.
Compare to the Knight X, the Starmobile Knight Vision only has 1280 x 720 resolution compared to the flagship’s Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. Nonetheless, it is still a good display though we find the screen on the warm and saturated side. Outdoor visibility is decent but we hope it could go brighter to withstand the harsh sunlight.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE:
The device is running stock Android 4.4 Kitkat out of the box and it is powered the the tried and tested Mediatek’s MT6582 quad core processor. Overall performance was generally smooth with few hiccups here and there. Gaming performance is decent. It runs usual games like Clash of Clans smoothly. Although we did not download heavy to intense games like Dead Trigger 2 or NBA 2k15.
Now we have separate section for the phone’s unique and main selling point, digital TV. The ISDB-T TV tuner used at the device is the same technology used by ABS-CBN on its digital box for TVs. Quality of the reception depends on location. We used the Starmobile Knight Vision on many places and we noticed that areas with many obstructions disrupts the signal. We used it on the following areas, G/F of Robinsons Galleria, G/F of Glorietta and G/F of SM Megamall – all without signal from any TV station. We got clear reception on open areas like EDSA, Ayala Avenue, Ortigas Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. We got clear reception of higher levels of Robinsons Galleria and SM Megamall.
This is the first smartphone with an optically stabilized 13 megapixel rear facing camera. Optical Image Stabilization helps you get a clear shot even if you have shaky hands. We do have shaky hands so it is quite a struggle for us to take photos. With OIS, pictures appeared to have rich colors, good amout of sharpness, but has warm tone to it which is fine.
Calls are clear with no issues and dropped calls. WiFi works fine too. As for the internet, we used our Globe SIM for the duration of the review. HSPA+ speeds are decent as we get normal speeds of 3 to 5Mbps on the areas we stay.
Battery performance depends on how long you use it for digital TV viewing. We watched the 3-hour noontime show It’s Showtime. Set on auto brightness, we battery dropped from 97% to 63%. Without watching TV, the battery lasted a decent 8 hours of moderate to heavy use. Our battery test includes an hour of gaming, an hour of You Tube, casual emails, social networking, email, calls and texts.
Starmobile did a very smart move to integrate digital TV technology into smartphones. We do admit, we love watching TV a lot – teleseryes and It’s Showtime on ABS-CBN, basketball on TV5, UFC fights on ABS-CBN Sports + Action. With this unique feature, watching TV real time is already possible without the annoying distortions of the analogue system. Having an awesome optically stabilized camera is a big bonus too! Love watching TV and taking pictures? Get the Starmobile Knight Vision!