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itel RS4 Review

It is rare to see new smartphones released by itel in the Philippines but when they do, all eyes are on them for their bang-for-the-buck product launches. One might even wonder and ask if they’re still making any profits from all these budget phones and discounted intro prices and freebies they are offering.

The latest release is the itel RS4 — a gaming-focused smartphone that, on paper, offers the same hardware for almost half the price of other competitors.

So, we had to investigate and look under the hood to see if the itel RS4 is really what it ought to be.

Design and Construction

Right out of the box, the itel RS4 will definitely look familiar — that large circular camera module and faux-leather back panel with zip-line stitches across the middle most certainly reminds us of the realme 12 21 series.

At least, that’s how we thought the very first time we saw this Elegant Beige review unit we had with us. The resemblance is uncanny, and the quality is almost indistinguishable. However, the two other colorways — Silvery White and Lurex Black — have a different design and pattern at the back.

The plastic frame feels cold on the hand and has a boxy figure that makes it look chunky despite the 8.15mm thickness.

There’s a USB Type-C port at the bottom, the main speaker grill, a primary microphone, and a 3.5mm audio port, which is a pleasant surprise. The second stereo speakers are up top, SIM card slot on the left; and the power button and volume rocker on the right side.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is embedded into the power button. It’s easy to use, responsive, and accurate, although we prefer it better than face unlock.

The SIM card slot has 3 trays — two for the nano SIM card and one for the dedicated microSD card slot.

At the front, we have a large 6.56-inch LCD panel with a punch-hole at the top of the display allows for the 8MP front camera. While there is no mention of glass protection, there is a screen protector already pre-installed.

Display, Multimedia and Biometrics

The itel RS4 uses a 6.56-inch HD+ IPS LCD which could be underwhelming for most people because of the relatively low resolution (1,612 x 720 pixels) and pixel density (267ppi).

However, its biggest redeeming feature in this department is the inclusion of a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. You can either set it at 60Hz, 90Hz or 120Hz, depending on your need and the battery consumption.

That way, you can enjoy high refresh rates when playing your favorite games. The screen isn’t the brightest and very noticeable when viewed at certain angles but it’s acceptable for daily use. Just don’t expect it to be comfortably viewable in the bright outdoors or under direct sunlight.

Good thing the unit also comes with stereo speakers with each grill positioned at the top and bottom end. Sound quality is average and volume is adequate for casual music playback or gaming. You will get better experience when pairing this with a Bluetooth earbuds or hook it up to a headphone or speaker with the available 3.5mm audio port which is a rare feature nowadays.

As mentioned earlier, we get a fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button and face unlock for biometrics. There’s no IP rating here to speak of.

Camera

After taking the first few shots with the main shooter, we can say that the camera department is not its strongest suit. You get a single 50MP sensor (with 2X zoom) paired with what itel claims as an AI camera which we can’t ascertain for which purpose.

The main camera can shoot up to 2K clips at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps. There’s no optical video stabilization here so you can see that in the sample clips we shot here:

You will also notice the video quality is a bit grainy, even in bright or well-lit environments.

In the native camera app, there is an option for bokeh (f/1.0 to f/16), an Ultra Steady mode (anti-shake) and Ultimate Video Enhancement which helps stabilize and smoothens the video.

The front camera has an 8MP AI shooter and takes decent selfies.

OS, Apps and UI

The itel RS4 runs on Android 13 out of the box with itel OS 13.5 skinned on top of it.

All the basics are there but itel added its own native apps like Palm Store, Hola browser, AI Gallery, AHA Games, My Health, WOW FM and Visha Player.

We were curious about the FM tuner so when we launched the WOW FM Player, it asks that the 3.5mm cable be inserted. Once done, we were able to run it and listened to a few FM stations thru the earbuds (might also work when hooked to a speaker).

There are also few bloatwares added here like Tiktok and Shopee. Other than that, not mush going on around here. You can change the theme and icons if you don’t like the default one.

Performance and Benchmarks

Powering the itel RS4 is a Mediatek Helio-G99 Ultimate. This is a rare chipset since the only other device we saw that uses it is the POCO M6 Pro 26. This is based on a 6nm process technology and is composed of dual Arm Cortex-A76 cores at 2.2GHz and a 6-core Arm Cortex-A55 at 2.0GHz paired with a Mali-G57 MC2 GPU.

The itel RS4 comes with a very generous 12GB of RAM with an additional 12GB of MemFusion, giving you a total usable memory of up to 24GB. No other smartphone in its price category can deliver that much memory, not even in the Php10k range. Our review unit comes in the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage variant.

Here’s the complete set of results for all the tests that we ran:

Antutu Benchmark v10: 423,702
Antutu Storage:
Sequential Read – 1,052MB/s
Sequential Write – 805MB/s
Random Read/Write: 341MBs/s, 321MB/s
PCMark Work 3.0 Performance: 10,962
GeekBench 6 CPU: 746 (single core), 2,064
GeekBench 6 GPU: 1,329 (OpenCL)
3DMark Wild Life: 1,270 (7.6fps)
3DMark Slingshot Extreme: 2,683 (18fps, 8fps)

These scores are almost the same results we got with the benchmarks of the POCO M6 Pro 25 so nothing out of the ordinary here.

In terms of gaming, we get mixed results depending on the game and the graphics settings. For the most part, we have no problems with popular games such as Mobile Legends (which can reach 120fps).

Also, with the help of iBoost Game Engine, it can automatically optimize the system to provide a “boost” while gaming.

However, with very heavy games like Genshin Impact, you will need to set the graphic settings to Low in order to play for long periods of time. Otherwise, if you try Medium, High or Highest, it will be playable and smooth but the device will feel warm to the touch and eventually heat up.

We created a separate and dedicated video for the gaming review that you can watch here:

Over-all, we can say that the itel RS4 can handle most of the popular games we threw at it, although, of course, you will have to settle with lower graphics settings for some of the more power-intensive ones. Still, at its price range, we can definitely say it’s an acceptable gaming device.

Connectivity and Battery Life

With its 5,000mAh battery and 45W charging capability, the itel RS4 is sure to provide extra-long battery life.

When playing Mobile Legends, we managed to run an hour of Ranked Game and only used up 9% of the battery life. That translates to roughly about 10.5 hours of gameplay, which is impressive!

Likewise, in our PCMark Work 3.0 Battery test, the itel RS4 scored a solid 17 hours and 39 minutes. In our video loop test, the iTel RS4 managed to last a decent 20 hours and 55 minutes.

You might get lower results when playing more graphics-intensive games like Genshin Impact, Diablo Immortal or Call of Duty: Mobile and the likes but that is to be expected.

The device comes with a relatively fast 45W wired charging capability which means you can charge it up from 1% to 80% in just 30 minutes. With bypass charging, you are also assured that you can charge and play at the same time without overheating the phone and optimally save on battery cycle. It also offers 3 levels of charging mode, depending on your need or situation.

In terms of connectivity, you get WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and GPS. The Helio-G99 Ultimate only supports up to 4G networks so that part is a bit of a bummer.

Conclusion

Time and time again, itel maintains its foothold in the budget segment of the smartphone market. We’ve seen this with the iTel S23 Plus 37 they released back in October 2023 and we’re seeing the same approach with the new iTel RS4 today.

The itel RS4 is yet another surprise release from the company, packing a notable hardware configuration with decent gaming performance all at a very competitive price point. It’s not a flawless smartphone by any means, but you’ll never see any other device that can match the Helio G99-Ultra, 12GB RAM, and 256GB storage at the Php7.5k price point out in the market.

If you are looking to get this smartphone on a budget, either for yourself or a gift to someone, you won’t have to think hard and pony up that five grand.

Pricing

The itel RS4 will officially be released in the Philippines this April 15, 20204. There will be initially two colorways: Lurex Black and Silvery White, but Elegant Beige will soon arrive in the stores, too.

The itel RS4 will be available in two variants:

(8GB+8GB) 16GB/128GB = Php 6299 (Here: https://tinyurl.com/RS4128 83)
(12GB + 12GB) 24GB/256GB = Php 7,499 (here: https://tinyurl.com/RS4256 191)

A special discounted price of just Php4k+ will be released via Shopee (with vouchers).

When you order the itel RS4 this April 15, you can also get itel A10 earbuds or itel BudsFire (limited quantity only). Since the itel RS4 is in collaboration with Free Fire and has Buds Fire as its suggested accessory. During the product launch period, Buds Fire will be given out as a freebie until supplies last only.

What we liked about it:
* 120Hz refresh rate
* microSD expansion slot
* Generous RAM allocation (up to 12GB + 12GB MemFusion)
* Decent performance
* Above-average battery life
* Very affordable
* Stereo speakers
* Nice design

What we did not like:
* Low pixel density
* Average screen brightness
* 4G-only
* Sub-par camera quality

iTel RS4 specs:
6.56″ HD+ IPS LCD @ 1,612 x 720 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate
Mediatek Helio-G99 Ultimate
2x Cortex-A76 @ 2.2GHz + 6x Cortex-A55 @ 2.0GHz
Arm Mali-G57 MC2 GPU
8GB, 12GB LPDDR4X RAM (+12GB MemFusion)
128GB, 256GB UFS 2.2 internal storage
50MP dual AI camera
8MP AI portrait camera
dual nano SIM card
microSD expansion slot (up to 1TB)
4G LTE
WiFi-5
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC
GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, NAVIC
USB Type-C
Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
Face Unlock
5,000mAh LI-Ion battery, 45W wired charging
iTel OS 13.5 (based on Android 13)
163.69 x 75.69 x 8.15mm (dimensions)
198 grams (weight)

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Avatar for Abe Olandres

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech with over 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He is one of the pioneers of blogging in the country and considered by many as the Father of Tech Blogging in the Philippines. He is also a technology consultant, a tech columnist with several national publications, resource speaker and mentor/advisor to several start-up companies.

1 Response

  1. Avatar for opporma opporma says:

    One might even wonder and ask if they’re still making any profits from all these budget phones and discounted intro prices and freebies they are offering. – – Of course they do, the bloatware alone will bring them profits, not to mention no OS updates. Besides, you go into the business to make money, not to lose money.

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