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April 23, 2013

Starmobile Diamond Review

Diamonds are the hardest materials known, and attaching that word to a phone means that it should at least be tough at something. Today, we put the Starmobile Diamond in the limelight. Read on to see if it can withstand the pressure in our full review.

SMD

What’s so special about the SM Diamond? Well, it’s a phone following the 5-inch display trend with a resolution of 720p, a 12MP BSI camera with dual LED flash, a 3MP front-facing camera and Android 4.1 Jellybean. It also packs in a lot of extras such as a dual SIM card slot. You can check out our short video review of it down below:

Design and Construction

People who were very familiar with the Galaxy series made the comparison quite often, but we have to say the design here feels better. The Diamond feels entirely ergonomic in the hand, and it really emanates a premium feel, regardless of the plastic construction. The chrome on the sides is very much polished, and they add a certain feel of luxury.

DC

Up top you’ll find the micro USB port, the spot for the audio jack and the centered power button, which is quite hard to reach because of its size. To the left is the volume rocker, while the right and bottom sides are clear, safe for the microphone.

On the back you’ll find the speakers and the camera, together with some labels and the dual LED flash. On the front you’ll find the 5-inch display, a set of sensors, the front-facing camera, the earpiece and the three capacitive Android buttons.

The back side doesn’t really attract any dirt and debris, but the front side does, and it’s very clear when the screen is turned off. All-in-all, we were impressed with how this diamond was made.

Display

Rocking the front side of the device is the 5-inch 720 x 1280 IPS display, which gave great amounts of saturation and viewing angles. The resolution and sharpness was also impressive for a phone of this class, but nothing in the UI seems to be taking advantage of it.

display

Plus, the 5-inch display is surrounded by thick bezels, and it isn’t dominated by on-screen buttons. That means navigation is quite difficult. Add to that the fact that you still have to reach for the power button on top at times and the home button down below. If you’re going to use it with one hand, you’re going to have a bad time with accidental presses.

OS, Apps and UI

Jellybean runs the show here, and that means it includes Google Now, project butter and all sorts of extra goodies. It doesn’t have Android 4.2, or any heavy skinning on top of it, so we really shouldn’t complain as Project Butter really helps a lot here.

The interface is pretty much stock Android, but there are additions to be found here. It can use video wallpapers (although it slows down the device big time, and the same app can be found in the Play Store). You can also set up the notification bar to feature a battery percentage, which comes in very useful. Icons can also be changed with various styles, although the resolution of some UI elements still needs some work.

STYLES

There are tons of software included here, but none of which is useful as most of them are just links to websites (it just opens the browser) – Inquirer, Jobmarket & Starmobile. There is also ES File Explorer, ES Task Manager, Kingsoft Office and a couple more office apps… which aren’t really removable by default, and they’re not really the best out there so we’d still count them as bloatware.

Multimedia & Camera

Speakers work well for the most part, and the same can be said for video playback – although it occasionally stutters with 720p HD videos.

I don’t wanna lie here; the 12MP backside illuminated camera that Starmobile boasts is actually very good. Wait, cut that. It’s outstanding. It offers very sharp images, and settings like the saturation, hue & etc. can be toggled in the app, so no worries there.

ZOOM

The killer here is how well it works in low-light, especially for a smartphone of this price. It easily trumps my Galaxy S2 and my Nexus 4 in quality.

LOW LIGHT

The camera app features HDR and a complete set of stock Android camera add-ons such as Time Lapse.  If you’re waiting for the deal-breaker, well, it’s how stuff is processed. The camera interface acts like a cameraphone in night mode from years ago. Focus and shutter lag is here when there is low lighting. When you’re out in the open, it does well just like any cameraphone from today.

Video capture reaps benefits from the camera’s capability as well – and continuous auto-focus works well. Only flaw that we saw here was how bad it handles solar flare once again.

Performance & Battery Life

Thanks to Project Butter and the 1GB RAM, things work fast – but it isn’t evident. The dual-core CPU does the tasks of course, but we think the slowdown is caused by how the display registers touch inputs as it was very unresponsive – but note that we don’t think it’s the UI or anything. It’s just that the reactions from the inputs were delayed.

BM

The Diamond managed to get 5,577 on Antutu, a high 2,695 on Quadrant, 17.5 on Nenamark2, 1,275 on Vellamo HTML5 and 377 on Metal. We’re just quite suspicious with the quadrant cores as the software came included with the phone and isn’t removable. Quadrant Benchmark scores are easy to cheat as YouTube videos even demonstrated how, so don’t really make this a basis for its speed.

battery

We looped video for 2 hours, under 50% brightness and 100% audio on headphones, and it managed to drain 60% of the battery. Standby times were below average, so we guess that leads us to the conclusion that you are going to need battery saving apps for this phone.

Conclusion

The Starmobile Diamond may not be perfect, but it made us glad for certain reasons. Sure, it needs to be more responsive, to be longer-lasting & to be a lot faster in graphics and processing, but that’s basically it – and those are pretty much the things that hold it back from being a true high-end contender with international brands.

DIAMOND

It has a very good design, a solid build, a good set of cameras (front & rear), and an almost stock version of Android 4.1, which most local phones don’t even have. Plus, for a price of Php9,990, we can’t really complain… although the CM Omega HD may have something to say about that.

Starmobile Diamond specs:
5.0-inch IPS LCD display @ 720×1280 pixel, 293ppi
Dragontrail Glass display
1.0GHz dual-core MediaTek MT6577H processor
PowerVR SGX531 GPU
1GB RAM
4GB internal storage
up to 32GB via miroSD card (8GB included free)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
3G/HSDPA 7.2Mbps
Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby
Bluetooth 2.1
GPS w/ aGPS
12MP rear camera, BSI w/ dual LED flash
3MP front-facing camera
Li-Ion 2,000mAh battery
Android 4.1 Jellybean

What we liked about it:

  • Great display
  • Amazing image quality
  • Good-looking design
  • Solid construction
  • Android 4.1 is a plus

What we didn’t like about it:

  • Slightly unresponsive
  • Camera software lags
  • Bloatware
  • Sub-par battery life
  • Not for one-handed operation

Update: Added Nenamark 2 benchmark scores

Starmobile Trade Up Promo goes up to Php3k off
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YugaTech Asks: Moto G or high end local smartphones?

24 Responses to “Starmobile Diamond Review”

  1. lawrence says:

    One key selling point of this phone, especially at it’s price-point, is the Dragontrail glass. It should have been tackled in the review IMO.

  2. abuzalzal says:

    Ok, ok, sa mga nagsasabing hindi identical ang OHD at SMD … don’t fool yourselves….

    The benchmark above clearly indicates it…in fact mas mataas pa ng 300 PTS yung Antutu score ng OHD na hawak ko.

    Better after sales supot? Yeah riiiiight

    Php2k premium justified. Hahaha

  3. evollove says:

    Bakit walang NenaMark bench? I’m interested to see if the frame rates can still be managed by the SGX531 even if the resolution is now at 720p. If not, I guess we now have to wait for the release of MyPhone’s A919i (rebranded Micromax A116 HD) for a faster GPU + 720p screen combo.

    • Bob Freking says:

      Updated it just now. It got 17.5.

    • evollove says:

      Thanks for the update! That’s quite low, I think you can attribute the lack of responsiveness on that, although I’m no authority on how phone GPUs work, just my two cents on the matter.

      The MT6577 is quite a good platform but I don’t think the SGX531 GPU (released back in Oct 2006, almost 7 years ago!) is a suitable partner especially if they put higher resolution screens on the phones. They should probably draw the line on qHD screens when it comes to this GPU. That settles the question on my next phone, thanks!

  4. cha cha says:

    haay, better wait for myphone A919i na lng:)

  5. haha says:

    Teka natawa lang ako sa SM Diamond. :)))

  6. kram says:

    mas mataas pa pala ung antutu benchmark ng O 8.52 ko nasa 7011, battery lang talaga ang downside..

  7. Sows says:

    Jologs na nga yung phone, jologs pa yung review haaaay!

  8. jeffrey says:

    hay…mahal talaga starmobile kesa nman cherrymobile feke pa hahaha…madali pa masira made in china kc hehehe… pera pera lng yan

    • LAPTRIP. says:

      Dre, laftrip ka. alamoyun? Research research din pag may time.=)))) Cherrymobile? FEKE?! HAHAHAHA. Dre, anong tingin mo sa Starmobile? Parehas lang silang nagrerebrand ng devices. Tas made in China? Ayos. Check mo nga sarili mo, baka born from China. HAHAHAHAHA.

    • jeffrey says:

      baka ikaw tignan mo sarili m ang starmobile pagawa lng tayo sa china ibig sabihin gawa pinoy pa rin starmobile ung cherry mobile chinese mismo gumawa ng cherry mobile alam mo na nga nga ka talaga hahaha…

  9. Joseph says:

    This is a cornerstone of a Filipino brand phone. Can you just please think before you click? the words you chose speak what kind of person you are. Anyway, this is a good phone in fact I’m considering buying it next month however, the battery life is what holding me back. Do you have any other phone suggestion? price point maximum is 15k. thank you for your time.

    The article is good though.

  10. gardo bersus0 says:

    A919i, omega hd or diamond? naguluhan na tuloy ako kung ano bibilhin ko.

  11. Kait says:

    pag outside Manila kayo wag na mag Starmobile kasi pag nasira kahot sakop pa ng warranty ipapadala pa yan sa Manila…madali lang maayos sa service center nila sa Manila ang problema pag nasa outside manila ang tagal ng waiting period =(

    wala pang 1 month ung binili kong SM Diamond ayaw na mag charge me problema daw sa Hardware..1 week na sa service center ayun andun pa rin di pa na forward sa Manila…and nung mag follow up kami kahapon meron din nag punta dun me hawak na SM Diamond at me hawak hawak pang charger hindi rin mag charge =)

  12. boris says:

    San po ba ang service center ng starmobile?address please,anyone help me..tnx

  13. Renz says:

    mas maganda pa ang Myphone A848i duo ko, Antutu B: 6271. I recommend to choose Myphone Android units not because im having one but i really assure the quality of the phone is Superb!! and the battery will lasts over a day.

  14. Asdfghjkl says:

    Can you please take a picture using the front cam?

  15. smdiamond says:

    ..hahaha…cm….dn..dmi..pla..dmi..nqssv

    maganda daw c cherry…pero
    ayun..sbi nla…hba nq pila

    ..same lang po yn..cm at sm
    gumanda lang..dhil

    android na ..hindi na java..os

    ….matibay pa sa***ng..mhal lng
    ..yn kc..mura kya mdmi..na aatrak..

    …choic ..nyonlang po..
    kung anu matypan nya..

  16. zee says:

    ang drawback ng mga starmobile phones with 4gb memory is the configuration of the storage space. they separate etc the storage for pictures and other data from the apps. ok sana kasi safe ang data mo but masyado na nasacrifice and space for new apps. unlike cherry mobile na combine so bigger ang capacity. you can install sd card for your data instead of installing your new apps on the sd card kasi not all apps can be installed on sd. so CM is better.

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Bob Freking writes, edits, & renders for YugaTech. You can contact, follow or tweet him at @bobfreking. For all his social media links, you can go to https://tinyurl.com/bobfreking

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