I have fallen in love with a $120 Chinese KIRF iPhone
Those who are annoyed by bad grammar might want to leave this topic
My main phone is a Lumia 800. In order to get the Lumia, I had to sell my old Galaxy S. By the time, I was already heavily invested in the Google ecosystem. In addition, many of my favorite apps are yet to be available on the WP platform. Therfore, I have decided to get a cheap Android device.
Quickly I have found the the sub-$150 devices from the leading brands are totally useless. The specs were usually around 256MB of RAM and a 600Hz processor. Resistive screens, of course.
Having bought stuff (Adapters, connectors, etc) from sites like Deal Extreme before, I decided to look for a Chinese phone which can deal with basic apps like Pocket and Twitter. I have quickly found this:
The Star W007. This iPhone clone looks just like the real thing. Dimensions are exactly the same, but for some reason, the volume keys are on the right side of the device, rather then the left. The specs described were pretty impressive: An A9 based 1GHz MTK6575 processor, 512MB of RAM, GPS, WiFi, Front and back cameras, Dual SIM, MicroSD support (up to 32GB) and Android 4.0.3 out-of-the-box. Screen resolution was said to be equivalent to that of the iPhone 3GS, and all the needed sensors were listed. GSM 850, which was the frequency I was looking for, is supported. The price: 120$. Shipping included.
After reading the very positive feedback. I have decided to make the purchase. For $120, it seemed to me like a decent gamble that might just pay off. I bought the device from Ali-Express, which I believe can be trusted. The purchase was made, and I was left wondering whether the Chinese dealer was going to keep his end of the bargain.
Within a week, the device arrived at the local post office. The surprisingly well-made box was packing plenty of stuff:
- The thing itself
- A plastic case.
- A pair of Earbuds
- A screen cleaner (is that how they are called?)
- An SD card reader
- A second 1600mAh battery
- An Apple USB cable (the phone has an Apple USB connector)
- A Charger
- A screen protector
- A very confusing user guide
Now I was able to observe the device more closely. It's front is very hard to tell from an iPhone 4's. Only the location of the volume buttons gives it in. On the back, as you can see, the Apple logo was replaced by Android's. The frame, as expected, is made of plastic, not aluminium. I couldn't tell it from the pictures on the web, but when I got hold of the device I was able to see that it is sandwiched by glass, just like Apple's device.
I plugged in the charger, and turned the W007 on. I was immediately greeted by the reassuring sight of the Android logo. After a quick boot, The home screen showed up on the screen. The ROM, called MAUI (not MIUI), is what I can describe as "near-stock Android". The user interface was left unchanged, and the iPhone home button takes the place of the "Home" and "Back" buttons. There is no "Recent Apps Button" alternative. On the app front, it comes with all the basic Google applications, and, fortunately, crapware free.
Now, all these things may not surprise you but, here is the killer: This phone, hands down, delivers a better Android experience than any phone I have ever toyed with, excluding the GSIII and the GSN. The MTK6575 chip delivers: For the entire month I have been using it, I have not encountered a single stutter, slight lag or long loading screen. It's that simple. I have multiple homescreens and I multitask all the time, but the RAM and the MTK chip never choke. I was so surprised of this smoothness, that I have decided to use the W007 as my primary for a whole month.
During this month, I found out that this device is much more then I expected it to be. It runs every app I have thrown at it so far, and does it well. Web surfing with Chrome is fast and problem-free. I have not tried any graphics-intensive game on it, but casual games like Fruit Ninja and Temple Run play smoothly. The 5-point capacitive touch-screen is very responsive, even though it isn't what i'd call beautiful. In addition, the viewing angles are very limited, but the average person shouldn't complain too much.
A few shorts descriptions about the phone's features:
Cameras: Abomination. Shouldn't be used for anything other then barcode scanning and Skype calls.
Build Quality: Everything seems to be intact. No loose parts or weak plastics. This thing will break if it ever falls hard.
Connectivity: GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and of course cellular. Everything seems to be working. While WiFi reception might be a bit weak (I am not sure), the cellular reception is exceptionally good. Best device I have ever had, cellular-reception-wise.
Storage Expansion: My 8GB Card is working and working well.
Speakers: What seems like two speakers is actually a single one. While the audio quality is far from amazing, the mono speaker is actually quiet strong.
USB & Audio Jack: Both the audio jack and the Apple USB are working. I have not tried to plug the device into any dock.
Problems: I have encountered one major problem with the W007. Sometimes, when I use the Charger (wall charger, not USB), the touch screen stops working. I believe this has more to do with the transformer rather than the device, but the problem still exists. A minor problem I have encountered is that the accelerometer sometimes goes mad. I believe, though, that this problem is Temple Run exclusive. It only happened to me 2 or 3 times, at any rate.Battery: Bad. For some reason, this phone really sucks at being on standby. I believe this has to do with the cellular component, though it could also be the processor. It can manage through the day of most people, but not the heavy-talkers.
So, after a month with the Star W007 I can clearly say that it has exceeded my wildest expectations. If it wasn't for the battery and the rear-camera, I might have given the soon-to-be-outdated Lumia to my younger brother and stay with my new investment.
Do I recommend you to buy it? Recommending stuff like this is hard. When buying things from unknown Chinese brands, there might be some complications. You never know if the thing you have purchased will actually work. I do know that a friend who, following my recommendation, bought the device, asked the dealer to check his device for problems before shipping it to him, was answered with a "yes".
This phone is obviously not made for people who already own good Android devices. It's also too delicate to be given to children. However, I believe that there is a niche that this phone fits into perfectly. This device is a great, cheap purchase for people who are using iOS, WP or BB phones, and are interested in experiencing Android. For $120 you get a Android 4.0 devices with incredible performance. And, nowadays, this means a lot.
Frankly, I have fallen in love with the W007. Sure, there are plenty of phones that are infinitely superior, but these phones are expected to do so. This phone has exceeded the expectations I would have had from a phone double it's price. And it did in a classy, surprising and very cheap way.
Product page on Ali-Express | High Quality Pics
This must be the longest thing I have ever written in English. My teacher must be proud. I would very much like to hear some feedback regarding to my English, and of course, the review itself.