The Me Mobile Fuel 5 is a mid-range Android smartphone offering coming from a brand that is yet to be known in the country. So far it has left us with good first impressions thanks to its good build and affordable price tag, but does it have what it takes to go head-to-head with offerings coming from other popular local brands? Let’s find out by reading our full review.
Design and Construction
Like what we mentioned in our first impressions, the Fuel 5 sports a body that feels almost premium. It’s not in the league of popular flagship devices but it’s classier compared to other phones of its class.
The design is good and doesn’t feel cheap, which is evident in the use of glass with curved edges, metallic frame, and the red metallic accents. However, we’re not entirely sure about the quality of those metallic accents especially the one on the sides and the physical buttons. It may tarnish or fade over time.
Another possible issue is the gloss back panel as it is susceptible to scratches. We’re probably just nitpicking as most devices with glossy finish are prone to it. The good thing though is that Me Mobile included a nice protective shell with a kickstand in the package.
Overall, we’re satisfied with the kind of quality the Fuel 5 has brought to the table. Although not unique in terms of design, it definitely looks and feels very nice for a sub-Php9K smartphone.
The Fuel 5 sports 5-inch IPS LCD display with HD resolution and a pixel density of 294ppi. The resolution is very decent for its size and the screen has good color reproduction. Add to that the IPS panel which gives it good viewing angles which comes handy when watching movies. Glare can still be a problem though especially when used outdoors.
Good thing it has an ambient light sensor on board to automatically adjust the brightness.
OS, UI, and Apps
Powering the software side of the Fuel 5 is Android 4.2.1 Jellybean with almost stock UI. It looks clean but this version of Jellybean feels old and outdated. It also comes with Nova Launcher as its default launcher along with a lot of pre-installed apps.
On the bright side, all of the pre-installed apps can be uninstalled (except for Nova), however, it’s a bit cumbersome for users who want a clean app drawer to start with. All in all the Fuel 5 will provide you with a total of 5.55GB of usable internal storage out of the claimed 8GB.
Camera and Multimedia
The Fuel 5 is equipped with an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 2 megapixel front-facing. The rear camera is capable of producing very decent shots with good colors and details. The focus is a bit on the slow-side though and it’s weak on Macro shots as you can’t really get close to the subject. Take a look at the sample pictures below:
As for its video recording prowess, it’s capable of shooting videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. Watch our sample video below:
When it comes to multimedia, the Fuel 5 is a good companion when it comes to watching videos thanks to its large IPS display and almost 300ppi pixel density. However, its built-in speaker doesn’t pack much punch, It’s audible but it’s still recommended that you use headphones or connect it to an external speaker for a much better experience.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Fuel 5 is a Mediatek MTK6589 1.2GHz quad-core CPU, PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU, and 1GB of RAM. So far those combination of specs were able to keep things running smoothly on the Fuel 5. We played Frontline Commando 2 on it and was able to deliver quite well. There were slight lags but can be easily disregarded.
We ran our usual benchmark tests on the Fuel 5 and here are the results:
* AnTuTu – 13,522
* Quadrant Standard – 4,220
* Vellamo – 1,474 (HTML 5), 430 (Metal)
* NenaMark2 – 45.9fps
The battery capacity of the Fuel 5 is one of its disadvantages. With a 5-inch HD display and a quad-core CPU, it could have at least packed a 2,000mAh capacity. Instead, it has a 1,800mAh battery which is measly for its caliber.
We put it under our standard battery test (video loop at 50% brightness and 0% volume) to see how far it can go when it comes to playback and the result is a poor 5.88 hours. Better have a power bank ready if you’re going to travel with this smartphone.
The Me Mobile Fuel 5 is a really good offering coming from a new locally-based mobile brand. It’s got a good design, build, and display, and is capable of producing thumbs-up performance for its class. In addition, it has a good dose of internal storage at 8GB, whereas its competitors would normally have 4GB. On the downside, it is marred with a relatively old Jellybean OS and poor battery life. On the bright side, the Fuel 5 wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg at Php8,995.
However, it’s definitely going to face tough competition especially from offerings coming from more popular brands. Specifically the Cherry Mobile Titan 2.0 and the Cherry Mobile Rave 2.0 which pack a similar price tag. Another option buyers might consider are the Cherry Mobile Cosmos X or the Starmobile Knight for just an additional Php1K.
Me Mobile Fuel 5 specs:
5-inch IPS LCD @ 1280×720 pixels, 294ppi
Mediatek MTK6589 1.2GHz quad-core CPU
PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
1GB of RAM
8GB of internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
8 megapixel rear camera, LED flash
2 megapixel front-camera
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot
GPS with aGPS support
FM Radio tuner
Android 4.2.1 Jellybean
Li-Ion 1,800mAh battery
What we liked it:
* Good design and build
* Good display
* Very decent performance
* Large internal storage for its class
* Dual-SIM capability
* Affordable price
What we didn’t like about it:
* Short battery life
* Old Jellybean OS (no indication of further updates)
* Slow camera focus, weak on Macro
* Comes with a lot pre-installed apps out of the box