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November 27, 2012

Star Mobile Astra Review

In the past, phones with TV functionality was a hit for some of our fellow Pinoys. Star Mobile looks to bring that fad back with the Astra. Catch the full review after the break.


Star Mobile has been making its mark on the local scene with their affordable products. But not only do their products are inexpensive; it also has a pretty decent build and performance which makes it a choice for most budget-conscious consumers. From the looks of it, the Astra seems to be just that: affordable and feature-packed.

Design and Construction

At first sight, the phone actually looks like an HTC Desire/Sensation with its curved edges painted in metallic brown with a small silver accent on the earpiece part. So if you’re a fan of Sensation’s design, you’re most likely to dig the Astra too.

Astra

The phone has a pretty straightforward layout. It has the Power button at the top in between the micro-USB and audio port and a pair of volume rocker on the right side.

Over the back is where the 8MP camera is located along with a pair of LED lights for flash. Still on the back side, towards the bottom part of the handset is a vent for the speaker and phones retractable antenna for the TV functionality.

StarMobileAstra

Lift its plastic back plate and you’ll be greeted with its 1500mAh battery, two SIM card slots and a micro-SD card slot.

Multimedia

As mentioned on our first impression, the Star Mobile Astra has a 4.3-inch IPS display with WVGA resolution. It should be enough to give users a pleasant viewing experience and wide viewing angle thanks to its IPS display.

The sound output was also pretty good. It’s a tad hissy for the most part, but still good enough to get your basic aural needs covered. Its loudspeaker is loud enough for the sound to be audible even when you’re 3-4 feet away from the phone.

MobileTV

There’s no denying that this phone’s main selling point is its Mobile TV app which lets user watch local channels using the handset. As mentioned on our first impression, the TV Tuner is only analog which explains the sub-standard quality, but it should be watchable especially if you have a good reception in your area.

Performance and Usability

Knowing your way around the phone’s settings and options will just be a breeze as the Star Mobile Astra makes use of a stock Android ICS. The same can be said for the default keyboard which also stock Android.

The keys are well-spaced and provides good feedback when pressed but it’s too laggy for my liking which makes it a little bit difficult (and irritating at times) to compose messages.

Keyboard

The phone doesn’t break any new grounds in terms of speed, but its dual-core processor should deliver a decent enough performance to handle your basic smartphone needs without breaking a sweat. I did, however, encounter a number of apps crashing, random restarts and lags that we didn’t experience with the recent dual-SIM, dual-core smartphones we’ve reviewed. In short, the performance was OK, but is a bit lagging when pitted against other smartphones of the same category.

We’ve also experienced a handful of dropped calls and reception-related issues while using the Astra. Of course, network coverage can factor in on the dropped calls, but since we’re using the handset on the same location and using the same network as the other units in the past, we’re inclined to think that it’s the phone that’s causing this.

Camera and Video

Having an 8MP camera w/ flash is a rare feature for dual-SIM handsets in the market. In fact, we only know two devices which are equipped with such snapper; the Star Mobile Astra and the MyPhone A919 Duo. But after taking a handful of pictures using the Astra, I have to say the slight bump in the megapixel count didn’t have a significant difference from those dual-SIM handsets with 5MP camera.

Fancy Gallery Error:
No gallery with the ID Astra was found or you have not created albums for it yet.

The videos recorded using the Astra are usable for the most part, but don’t expect stunning quality out of it. The highest quality that this handset can go is 720p, but you’d have to manually set it on the camera settings because the default is 640 x 480.

Battery

Having two SIM cards is too much to handle for the Astra’s 1500mAh battery pack as it struggles to even last a day with light-to-moderate usage which includes SNS running on the background with feeds set to every 5 minutes, an hour’s worth of browsing over cellular data, 15-20 SMS, 10-15 minutes of calls, and an hour’s worth of playing Fruit Ninja.

Battery

Note that we didn’t even touch the Mobile TV functionality on that test. When we did use it, the phone only lasted 5 hours which includes two documentaries (Reel Time and Reporter’s Notebook), SNS running on the background with feeds set to every 5 minutes, an hour’s worth of browsing over cellular data and an hour’s worth of gaming.

Conclusion

The Star Mobile Astra has a desirable design, decent camera and of course Mobile TV. However, you’d have to live with the fact that the battery isn’t at par with its competition and is a bit laggy at times. But after using it as my main handset for a little over two weeks, I have to say that you won’t be disappointed shelling out PhP6,990 for this smartphone.

StarMobile Astra specs:

4.3-inch IPS display @ 800×480 pixels, 240ppi
MediaTek MT6577 1.0GHz dual-core Cortex-A9
PowerVR SGX 531
512MB RAM
4GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD (8GB included)
3G/HSPA, dual-SIM, dual standby
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.0
GPS w/ aGPS support
8MP rear camera w/ dual-LED flash
VGA front-facing camera
TV Tuner (analog)
Li-Ion 1500mAh battery
Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
Dimension: 130.5 x 66.5 x 10.9mm
Weight: 132g

What we liked about the StarMobile Astra:

  • Decent hardware specs
  • Really affordable price
  • Built-in OTA TV tuner
  • IPS Display
  • Dual-SIM Android ICS phone

What we did not like about it:

  • Can be a battery hog
  • Can be a bit laggy at times

64 Responses to “Star Mobile Astra Review”

  1. yzamsie says:

    Hi i have an Astra, but Im not sure I’ve got a 4GB Internal Storage. It says on my Storage that Internal Storage is almost 1GB and Phone Storage has the same almost 1GB, so paranng 2GB lang? Wala namang kaso sakin yun pero do you think I should go their Service Center? Thanks [sorry ha, i'm a complete noobz talaga pag dating sa gadgets lols]

  2. leo says:

    can you play youtube on it?

    • Hanz says:

      Yes, it is pro. May youtube player sya and aside from the meron syang Flash Player na installed sa phone na toh.

  3. elsa sengson says:

    hi ask kulang po san po ba nakakabili ng star mobile astra ?

  4. Jose Mari Castro says:

    Hi, huwag kayo magtiwala sa starmobile astra. last January 2013, first week, bumili ako ng unit sa ADI, L/F ng SM cubao, nirecommend ng OIC ng store. maganda daw, etc. within 1 week nagkaroon ng dead pixel. pinalitan ng new unit, then before mag 1 month nag automatic shotdown, every 10 minutes and so often. ibinalik ko ng last week ng February, until now wala pang action ang starmobile company, kahit nagtatrabaho pa yung anak ng taga starmobile sa ADI…. buisit sila…. napakabagal umaksyon at ewan kung papalitan pa nila….. nasayang yung PhP 6,900.00 ko….. Kahapon, March 15, bumalik ako sa store…. wala pa daw balita…..

    • jose mari castro says:

      march 16, 2013 ibinalik sa ADI LGF sa SM Cubao yung starmobile astra unit, ayun, magandang balita, nag automatic shutdown pa rin. magandang halimbawa ng made in the Philippines…

    • Bong says:

      Same here, nagtapon lng ako ng pera…1 week lng may sariling buhay n yung screen…pumipindot mag isa…i suggest wag mag padala sa itsura and price…bumili nlng ng subok na.

  5. RICHITO SHI says:

    PATAY…AKALA KO CM FLARE LANG YUNG MAY PROBLEM.MAS MALALA PA PALA TONG ASTRA NI VICE…HAHAHA
    NEXT STOP. SAMSUNG GALAXY Y DOUS.

  6. Astra Vano says:

    Ireally want to buy Astra because it is my nname at parang signature na nga to me…Pero bakit ang daming bad news akong nababasa, And paborito ko pa naman ay samsung talaga…Nadidismaya ako…Nagdadalawang isip tuloy ako…Do you think sirain talaga ang astra starmobile

  7. oliver says:

    I’m disappointed. Battery drains fast and it takes about 5 hours to charge but only 2 hours if used. It goes excessively hot as well. Very poor.

    • Black says:

      actually the battery life depends on how you use astra. in my case astra can last to 1-2 days of life it has the same battery life like samsung galaxy , apple iphone .
      reason why astra do not last long:
      - having the dual sim can really drain the battery life
      - using the tv must not last to 5 min or the phone will not live on a day
      -

  8. wamz says:

    nabalitaan ko din sa friend ko andali daw masira ng ganyan hmmmmmm di pa tlga pede icompette globally ang gawa ng pinoy sa CP kase pati Torque may problema din daw

  9. - bianca ;) says:

    - please can you make a review of Starmobile Energy ? kasi i studied the specs of it and it’s pretty satisfying despite of not a dual core smartphone and not an IPS screen nito . and it’s more affordable kasi it’s only php 5690 w/free screen protector and jelly case . :))

  10. freed says:

    hay nako sayang pagbili ko akalako maganda panget pala angganda lang ang name loww bat Battery…..sarap tapon,,,,,,,,,,,,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????????????????????????

  11. april says:

    we buy star mobile astra last dec,ok nman cia.wla kmi ndetect n problem,pro later on,nun mgtransfer aq ng file via bluetooth,it ddn’t work..ndi cia mdetect.ndi dn mkdetect.so we always use usb to transfer data..pano b msosolve 2?wla nman service center ng starmobile d2 s lipa bats.bnalik nmin cia s bnlhan nmin and they told us n reset nlng nmin un unit,gnawa nman nmin and gnun p dn.ok n sna eh,d lng mgfunction ng aus un bluetooth..

  12. shrihari says:

    Here is the Custom rom i.e SENSE based Custom rom released for Star Mobile Astra:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2247296

  13. chermae says:

    ang dame kong problema sa phone nato ! ayaw gumana ng internet kahit naka wifi kana , lagi nalang no connection plus nag shushutdown bigla ! Nakakainis !

  14. alvin says:

    paano ba iopen gprs ng starmobile astra ?

  15. Marcus Lim says:

    paano akong magdedelete ng contacts ko?

  16. carlyn says:

    hi guys.. siguro hindi naman lahat ng unit.. kasi ung sakin ok naman .. di nagloloko ..ung charging time 3hrs lang tas qng gagamitin q xa para maglaro or kung anu man umaabot naman xa ng 6-8 hrs..ok naman sakin ung astra.. maganda din ung camera nia.. for me the best xa ..ang sulit ung pera q..

  17. Mielito says:

    Hi yung nakababatang kapatid. Ko bumili ng astra nung last dec. At di sya nakaranas ng prublema. Kuya ko naman bumili din nung feb naman. Di din sya nagkaprublema. Yung isa kong kapatid marunong sa gadge. Yung kuya ko naman di naman masyadong marunong sa gadget. Then ako naman bumili na din ako nung last june. Di din ako naglaprublema at marunong din ako sa gadget. Lahat kame di nagkaprublema.

  18. gifhel says:

    pwede bang palitan ung battery na Li-Ion 1500mAh battery… na mas upgraded d2…

  19. Carlo Timbal says:

    Hi. I was just running through the replies here about the Astra and I just wanna share my experience. I bought mine last Nov 2012 and its almost a year since then. By the first month that I bought it, I noticed that there are ghosts on the screen (something taps the screen even with me not touching it) and I have to return it to for repair since I cant really use it and aside from that I broke the charging pin. :-) I got my phone back after two months of waiting and consistent follow up. After that incident, I really have no comment and it works somewhat smooth now. 3G internet is nice, photos and vids, everything. The occasional ghost reappears when using a different charger. But the bottom line is I’m satisfied with it. Proud that a Filipino made this and probably in the future a Philippine SmartPhone can compete with Blackberry, Samsung, and other brands. Just needs a lot of work.

  20. Bryan says:

    Hi po. Last July, this year, bumili kami ng Astra sa may Cellzone sa Malolos. In the first week, ok naman siya. Yun nga lang, nagchacharge siya for 5 hours and nagagamit ko lang siya for 3 hours. After learning na Lithium 1500 MaH lang ang battery, sabi ko “kaya pala ganito.”. Pero, as this gets longer and longer, nakakacharge na ako 6 hours 3 times. Hindi ko na siya magamit. After that, pumunta kami sa binilhan ng Astra then pinapalitan yung battery. Ok naman. Nag-upgrade pa nga sa JB yung Android. But after some time, bumalik na naman siya. At may naencounter pa akong dalawang problem: (1) parang nasira yung screen. Nagkacolor black yung screen at may crack. Hindi ko tuloy magamit ng husto. And (2) hindi na siya nagchacharge starting from October. Pumunta ulit kami ng Cellzone and sabi nila maluwag na daw yung saksakan ng charger sa mismong phone. Kailangan daw ng 2 to 3 months para ayusin nila. So, sayang yung P5,990 na binayad namin. Such a disappointment.

  21. joy says:

    astra is not a good buy. sobrang maingat ako sa gadget but then in just 11mos the charging port broke. i brought it to their service center at kapitolyo, pasig. its been over a week and yet it was not yet fixed by their technician. i was advised to receive a text once my unit get fixed, after seceral follow-ups. so irritating. sayang ang pera.

  22. joy says:

    astra is not a good buy. sobrang maingat ako sa gadget but then in just 11mos the charging port broke. i brought it to their service center at kapitolyo, pasig. its been over a week and yet it was not yet fixed by their technician. i was advised to receive a text once my unit get fixed, after several follow-ups. so irritating. sayang ang pera.

  23. Emzy says:

    Hmmm Laggy huh…? Well that is normal to all Android phones even Windows mobile, and IOS. For me what makes our devices/gadgets Laggy is the caused by abusing and filling out the memories in full or even at 15% left of free spaces. Please also noticed that there are a LOT of applications needs to be function that eats RAM a lot like social site such as Facebook, Tweeter, Gmail, Skype, Viber, etc. if you left it Signed In. Yes astra has a 4GB internal memory but don’t forget the partitions that was used by the android OS and factory applications that make looks like a less 3GB. also if the internal memory says that it is 4GB then expect it that it was not exactly a 4GB. Syempre sa panahon na lumabas sa market ang Astra, syempre maganda na yan, at kung ikukumpara nyo agad yan sa ibang brand na ilang months lang lumabas after ng Astra eh natural lang na di na kayo masisiyahan. so wag naman maging S******. It is true that the battery is a little small for what it needs. but if you are using it in a nice way then it will give you an effecient performance. Remember this not only for the Astra but also to the others: Good use of Applications makee your Android in a very good performance.

  24. Fayt says:

    My cousin gave me the Starmobile Astra to use when I visited the Philippines and i really liked it till the fact that it finally gave up on charging
    The Starmobile phone has potential in my opinion it can even go on par with android phones out there i hope the starmobile creators will do better in the future and just as to show my support im keeping the Astra as a keepsake and maybe buy the SM Knight

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This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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