Customer Review

54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Decent Substitute..., 25 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: STAR N9770 - 5.08 inch MTK6577 1.2GHz dual core CPU android 4.0.4 ICE CREAM SANDWICH 3G smartphone dual sim 5MP camera WIFI GPS, new google play store and flash player supported, with flip case (black, white) (Electronics)
I purchased this phone roughly 3 months ago, after roughly a month of deliberating. I was mid-contract and as such couldn't really opt for the iPhone 5 that I so wished for, and being a student, couldn't afford to buy one outright. Much like most people looking at this product, and probably this review, I was ever so slightly put off by the price of this product. True - it is very cheap, however was it actually worth the outlay of 150 inc. p&p at the time? Would the phone be of at least respectable quality? I was also dubious about buying from china - would it take forever? And also, could it be trusted? Below I have outlined comprehensively each aspect of the phone in order to give a good idea for those in my situation as to how this phone works on a day to day basis and whether it maintains its appeal over three months. I have just looked into the things that this phone does over and above being a phone. The call quality and signal are fine, and you can text from it. As per.
So firstly we'll look at the phone itself.

LOOK and FEEL
This phone, for the price, is fairly good looking. It, however, is huge. I had read alot of reviews saying how big it was but nothing quite prepared me for the moment I opened the box. I have large hands, even for a man, and this was initially a struggle to get used to. My girlfriend, having fairly average sized hands for a woman, had used this phone on many an occasion but it tends to be a struggle. To any women reading this, or men with smaller hands, it is probably not the phone for you. Within the first week of owning this phone I had comments likening it to my iPad in size! Maybe slightly exaggerated but still - it is really quite big.
The flip cover for the screen is a nice touch, it keeps the large screen safe when in pockets etc, however I have noticed it to be a bit of a gaff, having to open it every single time you want to do anything on the phone. Still, it's a looks vs. function trade-off. The flip cover has been taking a battering for 2 months however it is still in great nick, and looks to protect my phone for months to come.
The back of the phone is fairly average looking. The cover is a slightly odd textured plastic, however some seem to like this. The android logo at the bottom seems a bit tacky to me but still doesn't really make the phone look any worse. The camera looks fairly similar to that of the Samsung model that this is trying to replicate. That's about it.
The sides are a shiny chrome-like plastic. They seem to maintain their shine fairly well, however mine came scratched on one corner, so watch out for this. The buttons are all in easy to access areas.
The front of the phone looks wonderful - the screen is colossal, and it is very minimalist in design with just a small speaker above the screen and the 'Home' button below it. The screen accounts for the majority of the front, so there's not much to see.

Despite many comments about the phone's size, it did also receive alot of compliments when I first got it. It has stood 3 months of very heavy use, and only the screen protector seems to have acquired any damage from use - still - better that than the screen, eh?

SCREEN
When turned on, the screen is...well...adequate. I mean it shows things. That is literally it. The quality isn't particularly great, mind you it wouldn't be at this price range. When compared side by side with my brother's Samsung Note it looks almost like a toy. Still, it does the trick I guess. The brightness is very poor - it only has to be mildly sunny and it becomes impossible to read even high contrast text. If you spend a great deal of time outdoors it has to be said that this would be enough to put me off. When viewing the camera's (average) pictures, the brightness again becomes an issue. Still, it was 150. It's even less now. If this was a 500 phone then I'd have serious issues here, but this seems to be a case of 'you get what you pay for'.

Touch sensitivity is average, I haven't yet taken the screen protector off so this may have an effect on the reactivity of the screen. I have to say at times it fails to pick up what I aim to do but it has to be said that the majority of the time it reacts very well. The touch sensitive 'back' and 'menu' buttons either side of the home button are more of an issue though, I'd say only 70% of the time do they actually pick up my fingertips. Again, you get what you pay for.

CAMERA
I'd have to say that, given the specs of the phone and the fact that some have compared this to the actual Samsung models, this camera is a real let-down. I'd gathered from a lot of reviews that it wasn't by any means perfect, but it really isn't good. It struggles in anything less than good light, and the flash bulb on the rear is appalling. It could be compared unfavourably against using a candle. The camera itself claims to be 8mp. When you go into the settings it does appear to be an option, however the hardware is clearly only 5mp or less. Having owned my first smartphone about 7/8 years ago, the camera on this compares with that camera, which was 3mp (amazing at the time. How times change!) It takes decent videos, however again you need good light. The less said about the flash the better.
If you want to take photos regularly, and be able to print them etc...buy a camera or a better phone. This isn't the phone for you.

FUNCTION
Generally good. This phone has a fairly quick processor and decent RAM for the money, and seems to work well up to a level. To put my use into perspective: if I am bored I'll whip my phone out and check sky sport news, or have a look on Facebook or something...tends to happen alot, but I'm not a hardcore gamer or a WhatsApp user. For this job the phone is perfectly good. During the first few months I found that it was caching far more data than it needed to so I downloaded a cache cleaner app in order to free up some RAM. This worked well, and I am now free of the phone cutting off my email service and shutting down apps because of a lack of free space. For the money, again, the phone does a decent job. It is occasionally very laggy when using the Internet or RAM-intensive apps, however with some tinkering this can be at least slightly alleviated. This is certainly not something I had noticed with the actual Samsung, however again the price difference is a good reason for this.

INTERNET
Mobile Internet on this phone tends to be good. I had no problems with O2 setting it up, in fact all I needed to do was activate mobile Internet and it was done! When connected to HSDPA, the Internet works a dream. Browsing is fast, and use of apps is decent. Again, not as good as on an iPhone, but still good. When on EDGE and GPRS browsing is really poor, but this is less of the time. Not much more to say here.

MAPS AND GPS
So, so bad. I had read on some reviews that this wasn't a strong point and despite trying I am forced to agree. The phone just cannot locate me even when in central manchester - not exactly a rural hideaway. If you connect to WIFI and then load up a map you can save the map, but it still won't tell you your location. Really not good for a phone supposedly of a decent calibre.

WIFI
Again, really poor. The signal is the issue here. I can be sat in my lounge, where the router is, with all other devices in the room reading full signal, and browsing like a dream. On the STAR however, I read 50% signal. In my bedroom, next door, if I'm not on the near side of the bed the Wifi cuts out. This is really, really bad and tempted me at first to send the phone back to the vendor. I got over this, however it is still THE major bugbear with the phone. When it connects, it connects quickly and well, however it can't in a greater deal of situations than is to be expected.

BATTERY
Very, very impressive. It comes with a spare, however it is unlikely I will need this. Without any battery saving apps this lasts a good day, starting at 7am and finishing at midnight with about 20% to spare. With a battery saving app likeJuiceDefender I have found this to last 2-3 days - really, really good for a phone with its capabilities. My brothers Samsung has died by 7pm on the first day with the same use usually, and my girlfriend's iPhone is gone by roughly the same time as that. I have not found the same issues with he charger causing screen issues, however the charger connection is fairly poor. It takes a while to charge, however this will just have to do!

OTHER POINTS
I have used games on this phone and they tend to run Ok as long as you don't need too good a screen for them. Alot of the gaming videos on youtube have had the brightness altered, I can assure you the screen really isn't as good as they imply.
The standard OS is decent, however I use a launcher - Nova. This is lovely looking, and it is nice to be able to use huge widgets like a whole calendar on one home page. This does tend to cause a little lag in the phone but that is just the phone's price showing through again.
The accompanying headphones are fairly poor. Not much else to say, other than the headphone jack is an odd size so it is difficult finding headphones to use in replacement.

I'm sure there's lots of stuff I've missed, both good and bad. My experience of this phone thus far has been average, it's not exactly a great phone but it does the job OK, and in a few areas better than its more expensive competitors. However as I have eluded to many times above, it's price really does show through in both build quality and function. If it were to be stolen or lost etc, I wouldn't replace it, but hopefully until my contract ends it will hold out so I can get one of its more expensive brothers. For those of you in limbo - if you need this phone for a few months to a year, get it, it's probably worth a go. If you need the phone for longer, I wouldn't recommend it. After 3 months its negative points have started to outweigh the positives, after my initial phase of loving the thing.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Apr 2013 01:09:00 BDT
I wish all reviews were as good as this.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Apr 2013 15:46:32 BDT
David Smith says:
I wholeheartedly agree - a splendid review.

Posted on 13 Aug 2013 14:42:25 BDT
thank you for taking the time to do such a clear and detailed review.

Posted on 11 Oct 2013 22:44:34 BDT
thanks for this info, really helpful.
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