31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: 4.3 inch QHD (960*540) 1GHz dual core CPU android 4.0 ice cream sandwich 3G smartphone dual sim WIFI GPS HDMI V1277 (Electronics)First up I did not buy this through Amazon but direct from Dracotek but I saw no reviews on here and thought I'd write one to try and help people. I asked some questions of Dracotek before purchase and they were prompt, clear and very helpful. I paid for 8 day delivery and it turned up bang on time. The box had a slight dent on one corner (despite being very well packed in a huge amount of bubble wrap!) the contents were undamaged.
Here's my review which is based on some tweets I did (lots of people were asking questions).
I got exactly what was described, including 2 batteries, a screen protector and English manual and a gel-type cover/case. Delivery was on time too. The phone has an untouched standard Android ICS install and it is unlocked (not tied to a service provider) but is is not rooted.
Screen: it's clear, bright and responsive. It came with additional screen protector fitted although on mine the screen protector is lifting slightly due to poor fitting so I might remove it. It has the usual brightness controls and on it's brightest it is easily visible in bright sunlight. In most other daylight situtations the half-brightness setting is also excellent (saves battery) and indoors/slight shade you can use the lowest setting very comfortably. I played an HD 720p video on this phone and it was excellent quality. The Gapaxy S3 does have a better screen but you have to run the video on both phones next to each other to see the difference.
Cameras: 0.3MP front camera is ok. I've not used it for Skype or anything but it is unobtrusive and gives pretty decent results. The rear 5MP camera has dual LED flash and gives excellent results. ICS comes with panorama features which work well on this unit.
CPUs:this is a very nifty unit. It responds well to commands, browsing is slick and pleasing. Prior to this I had a gain HTC Hero which I had upgraded to Android 2.3, it was very very slow. This is as fast as my wife's Samsung Galaxy S3
Body/build: plastic case but has a really solid feel with two grippy portions on the back. Overall the phone is 1.5 times as thick than say the Galaxy S3. The phone is lighter than my HEro but not as light as the S3, I'd say you notice it in your pocket but it won't pull your trousers down ;) Size-wise it fits well into my hand. I'm 6'3" with reasonably large hands but my wife has smaller hands and she had no problems holding or using this. The rear body fits around the screen and when you first remove it (to put in the SIM etc.) it can be a bit disconcerting as you think the screen is coming away, it's not and to be honest the wrap around bit makes the phone look and feel nicer in my opinion.
Dual SIM: This works brilliantly. I put in a GiffGaff and T-Mobile SIM and both were live and able to receive calls (obviously you can only speak through one at a time). You can disable either/both SIM slots and can select one as a default SIM. You can also assign certain contacts to a certain SIM so that you only ring clients from your work number and family from your person one. Also the dual SIM feature allows you to put in a cheap PAYG SIM if you are travelling and your normal provider has poor service. Great if you travel abroad too.
Apps: This didn't come with much, The Google apps - including Play/Market is installed. Youtube works fine as does flash and I installed BBC iPlayer which works fine. There are no games installed but this means you can put what you want on. By contrast my wife's Galaxy S3 comes with a host of "value added" stuff installed which you may or may not need but you most definitely have to wade through.
USB: The phone mounts via USB as a Mass-storage device - mounting both the internal memory and the SD card on your desktop/laptop. From there you can drag and drop files as if it were any other folder. The phone charges from USB as well and will charge when plugged into a computer. Tethering is available but I have not tried it as it's against the terms of my giffgaff account.
Battery: It came with 2 batteries which appear to be both fully charged. I have been running this on standby with Wifi always on and auto-polling (updating data apps like eMail) enabled. The screen was on the lowest brightness but for most of my usage that's fine. I sent about a dozen texts, made 6 or 7 phone calls and browsed/tweetd for around 3 hours in total. The battery has been running down for 15 hours so far and is at 52% capacity. It came with a 3-pin USB charger plug which you plug the USB cable into. This is the neatest charger plug I've seen it is the size of a household 3-pin plug and has good indents to help you remove it from the wall.
Sound: In phone mode the speaker is clear and can be heard easily even in light traffic. The mic picks me up well. The speaker does it's best for music/video but it's still just a phone speaker. I was quite impressed. The phone came with ear bud headphones which have a microphone with mute button and a clip on the wire. The mute button didn't work but the headphones themselves gave good sound. I mean they're not senhauser but they're pretty good for free headphones. The noiuse cancelling buds work well, stopping most in and out bound noise. The earphones have a mic too but I've not tried that.
Networking: Wifi works well with good range as does 3G/HSDPA on both SIMS. If you have a GiffGaff SIM you will need to apply the APN settings or 3G will fail. On older version of Android the GiffGaffAPN app in the market will do this for you. It's not possible on unrooted ICS units but the app does guide you through the manual process very well. Took me about 3 minutes to set it up. This is a giffgaff feature unrelated to the phone - the T-Mobile SIM the 3G worked straight away.
Overall I am impressed with this phone. It does fall slightly short of the Galaxy S3 but in my opinion it is not enough of a shortfall to warrant the price difference. My only real issue is the ill-fitted screen protector but I can resolve that.
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Showing 1-10 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Sep 2012 21:06:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Sep 2012 21:07:38 BDT
I am waiting for my Amazon purchased handset to be delivered and am really pleased to read the feedback/review from Ryan. Many of the other handsets sold by Dracotek have received good reviews so I took the plunge on this particular model despite no existing comments. I did swap a few emails with Dracotek and, like many others have said, the company can't be faulted for the speed and helpfulness in responding. Credit where it's due and all that.
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2012 12:06:49 BDT
Just to remphasise, Dracotek have been excellent in responding to any queries I had. I've since discovered two minor niggles with the phone but neither is a what I would call a deal breaker:
1. The supplied wall charger interferes with the screen so you can't use the phone while it's plugged into the mains. This does not happen if you use a different charger or charge while connected to a computer.
2. Google accounts on my phone do not give you the option of syncing with a calendar, I have a work around which syncs your Google calendar with the phone calendar app which is:
i. open the calendar app and go to settings
ii. tap on add account
iii. enter your google email address and password (the rest will be completed for you).
This will give you access to your main Google calendar, secondary ones or ones shared with you by other people do not show but I am working on this. I have contacted Dracotek and they are looking into it also.
As said neither of these are an issue for me and they are genuinely the only issues I can find with the phone after a week of use. The average battery life I get after a week is 26.5 hours with Wifi, 3G and polling always on (even in standby) and making usual number of calls etc.
Posted on 20 Sep 2012 18:44:52 BDT
Thank you for this very well written and informative review. There are a couple of phrases are used which I don't understand. Quote, "...it is unlocked (not tied to a service provider) but is is not rooted." What is meant by 'not rooted'? Secondly quote "Tethering is available but I have not tried it as it's against the terms of my giffgaff account." What is tethering? From the two reviews that now exist for this 'phone it certainly looks as though it will do everything I need and do so at a sensible price.
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2012 19:11:02 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Sep 2012 19:11:59 BDT
Rooted means superuser access. Most users don't need it but if (for example) you wanted to install your own or another custom version of Android on this phone you would need root access. If you don't know what it is I doubt it will affect you as a user.
Tethering is when you attach your phone to a laptop and allow the laptop to use the 3G internet connection of the phone. Some mobile networks forbid this in their terms and conditions though.
Hope this helps
In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2012 22:10:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 20 Sep 2012 22:24:40 BDT
Gadget Freak says:
Good review Ryan.
I have a couple of tablets from Dracotek so have no qualms about getting a phone from them but this is the only phone i can`t find a youtube review for.So can you tell me whats the video like on the screen and does it eat the battery much when playing video.The phone isn`t for me and they watch a lot of videos.They have the samsung ace at the minute and it is quite frankly crap.When they watch video the battery just free falls.If the battery is above 1500 mAh i`ll be good to go.
Keep editing this!!.
Also can you tell me what internal storage space there is for Apps only.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2012 09:53:41 BDT
The quality of the playback is first class. My wife has a Galaxy SIII and while that is slightly better than this phone you honestly have to hold the phones next to each other to tell the difference. It's a QHD (960x540) screen so quarter of the size of full 1080 HD. It downscales very well though. As a test I played a 1080p full HD video for 10 minutes and it handled it fine without flicker or pixelisation. I've not tried the HDMI out yet.
The battery (and you get two of them) is a 2200mAh and as I said earlier this gives really good battery life on this phone. Because it needed on-the-fly downscaling the 1080p video was really pushing the CPU and GPU and thus is at the top end of what I'll be playing back on this. The 10 minute video used up 25% of the battery but as said it was 1080p and really pushed the CPU. I know I've played a bunch of youtube (e.g. 320p) videos for longer than this and not seen much difference in the battery. I'd say the way to get the best out of your battery is to keep away from downscaling so if you can convert any videos you play to below 540p. I've not found the stock video player that good TBH and downloaded MX-Player (free) from Google play instead.
I can confirm what the product details say that the system takes up about 1.2G of the 4.0G internal storage. The rest is for apps but of course this is Android 4 so you can shift apps to external storage if you want to.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2012 13:21:57 BDT
Gadget Freak says:
Cheers for that.Mainly will be 700 meg avi files so shouldn`t be bad.
That`s a better battery than my nexus S.Damn.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2012 23:44:13 BDT
Thanks Ryan - Very helpful. This handset is looking like a very good buy
Posted on 9 Oct 2012 11:35:39 BDT
S. Patel says:
It looks like you've had this phone for a month now, can I ask how it's faired over a month? my main concern is that a phone this cheap with good specs just won't last.
In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2012 14:03:53 BDT
the phone is performing exactly as I describe in my review. battery life is still averaging 28 - 36 hours depending upon my usage. I've not encountered any issues beyond those I mention in the comments above (so very few then). One additional thing to add though is that the speaker on this is excellent. It's the least "tinny" mobile phone speaker I've heard.