MyPhone Uno Review
During the Android One launching event, members of the media are given the opportunity to take home either the Cherry Mobile One or the MyPhone Uno. We were initially gunning for the Android One handset from CM, but instead we’ve received the latter which we will take a closer look at in this review.
Design and Construction
When viewed head on, the MyPhone Uno reminded us of the Google Nexus S with its minimalist design and rounded corners sans the slightly curved oleophobic display and glossy back cover. Instead, the smartphone sports a flat front panel that’s mostly occupied by its 4.5-inch IPS display bordered by relatively thick bezels at the top and bottom portions.
We were ok with the thick bezel at the top since it houses the handset’s 2MP selfie camera and the earpiece, but since the smartphone makes use of on-screen buttons, we can’t really justify the thick bezel at the bottom.
The usual ports and buttons are placed where you’d typically expect them to be; audio jack at the top-left, Micro-USB and microphone pin hole at the bottom, volume rocker at the right hand side which are neighbored by the Power button.
Moving on to the back of the device, there’s a round speaker grill at the bottom which sits just below the Android One logo. The 5-megapixel rear camera and its accompanying flash unit are situated at the top-left corner of the device. These components are slightly protruded and are emblazoned with brushed metal for extra flare.
The MyPhone Uno comes in Black and White colors. The latter has a soft matte finish to it, while the Black variant has a smooth rubberized finish which, sadly, attracts fingerprints and smudges like there’s no tomorrow.
Prying the removable back plate open will reveal the usual suspects which include a pair of Micro-SIM card slots, a Micro-SD card slot which is pre-populated with the free 8GB MicroSD card courtesy of MyPhone, and the handset’s removable 1700mAh battery.
Display and Multimedia
Like the CM One, the MyPhone Uno sports a 4.5-inch IPS display that has an FWVGA (854 x 480) screen resolution. One can easily make the argument that it’s certainly not prettiest panel to look at, and these local brands could’ve chosen a handset with better display to rebrand.
In addition to its low resolution, the colors on the MyPhone Uno looked a bit dull and the viewing angles, though good, is slightly hindered by the glare produced by the thin sheet of glass that’s laid on top of the actual LCD panel which also resulted to poor sunlight legibility.
Do note though that Android One devices, such as the MyPhone Uno, are meant for first-time smartphone users who, more often than not, don’t have high expectations towards the hardware specification of their handset, or at least not yet.
With that point taken in to consideration and drawbacks aside, we feel that the MyPhone Uno’s display panel has the right size and resolution to handle the basic smartphone needs of these first-timers and those who are just looking for a decent secondary phone.
As for the sound output, we’re glad to report that the handset is capable of producing very audible sounds through its loudspeaker, albeit users are still better off using a pair of earphones when listening. It’s not the loudest we’ve heard on a smartphone, but we’ve definitely seen (heard) worse.
OS, UI and Apps
One of the reasons why people became interested with the recently-launched Android One smartphones is because of the fact that these are the first two locally-available smartphones that run on Android 5 aka Lollipop right out of the box.
On top of the pure and unadulterated Android experience sans the third-party apps that local brands love to include on their devices, users are guaranteed to receive software updates from Google for two years which is, in a way, gives more bang for the buck.
Most, if not all of the features and improvements we noticed when we took a closer look at Android Lollipop on Nexus 5 was very much present on the MyPhone Uno. The Material Design feels smoother and more refined compared to older versions of Google’s mobile OS and it seem to be unbothered even by the handset’s modest configuration.
Camera and Video
Had it not been for its competitive price point, we would’ve been more nitpicky with the overall quality of the image/video we got from its 5-megapixel rear camera, but as it is, we think that the images/videos that we got out of it should be good enough for casual use and social media uploads.
Although we’re not fond of taking HDR pictures, we think that MyPhone Uno users will be better off using that option in order to get the color of the picture right. Without it, the color appears washed out and the photos just don’t have enough contrast for an eye-pleasing result, as seen on the side-by-side comparison above.
Furthermore, the most of the picture we’ve taken were slightly underexposed which we only found out when we reviewed the images on our work PC. This would’ve been easily avoided if we saw the resulting image properly on the device’s display, but we weren’t able to do so thanks to its poor outdoor legibility.
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As far as the autofocus is concerned, the MyPhone Uno’s rear snapper was able to lock in on the subject with relative ease, especially when shooting in well-lit conditions, albeit it requires users to touch the portion of the screen in order to tell the camera where it needs to focus most of the time.
Another thing we noticed with its autofocus is that it automatically re-adjusts itself for a split-second before the actual shot is taken. In most cases, the camera was able to retain the initial focus point that we’ve set before we pressed the shutter, though there are instances that automatic focus adjustment have resulted in to out-of-focus shots.
Performance and Benchmark
Since the MyPhone Uno (and the Cherry Mobile One for that matter) is primarily geared towards the budget-conscious crowd, the internal configuration of this handset is what you’ll expect from a mid-range smartphone in today’s standards.
Running the show for this smartphone is a quad-core processor from MediaTek that’s clocked at 1.3Ghz and is backed by a Mali-400MP2 graphics processing unit. A good portion of the Uno’s modest 4GB internal storage is occupied by Android Lollipop and the handset comes with 1GB worth of RAM which plays a crucial role in keeping things nice and steady for the smartphone.
This kind of setup isn’t exactly new to us, as we’ve seen plenty of handsets sporting this kind of configuration. As such, the kind of performance we got from it didn’t really catch us off-guard.
What is new, however, is that this is the first time that we’ve seen a device with this setup running on Android Lollipop right off the bat. We weren’t really expecting huge performance improvements on this handset over other similarly-spec’d smartphones running on an older version of Android, but even before we ran our synthetic benchmark test, the difference in the smoothness in UI animation and transition is already very evident.
3DMark IceStorm Extreme: 2,843
Quadrant Standard: 5,597
NenaMark2: 62.3 fps
Vellamo: 1,725 (Browser) / 1,155 (Multicore) / 786 (Metal)
As we’ve seen in our Huawei Honor 3C Lite review, a smartphone that features that same internal configuration, the MyPhone Uno exhibited the same prowess when handling 3D games, albeit not as smooth compared to other handsets with better innards.
One thing we noticed though is that it takes longer-than-usual for the image preview to load when we tried to view the pictures/videos we took in the Photos app. Considering that the resolution of these files weren’t that large to begin with, we feel that the microSD card where these files are stored is not just fast enough to generate the preview right away.
Now I know what you guys might be thinking, surely MyPhone and Cherry Mobile could’ve picked a smartphone with larger battery than what they picked which are only equipped with 1700mAh battery pack. While we couldn’t agree more with that notion, the mileage we got from it, both on our standard battery benchmark and daily usage, tells a different story.
The screenshot above was taken while we were running our battery benchmark test which requires looping an HD video clip using MX Player while the device is in Airplane Mode. During the test, the screen brightness was set to 50% using our chosen media player app, and the volume was set to 0%.
The MyPhone lasted a few minutes shy of 7 hours on our test from full charge which is pretty impressive considering that it’s only powered by a modest 1700mAh battery pack. It only goes to show two things, one can’t easily conclude the battery life just based on what is written on a device’s specs sheet, and two, there’s a benefit of having run off the mill specs list and a low-res display when dealing with mileage-per-charge. Let’s also not forget that one of the benefits of Android Lollipop is Project Volta which aims to improve and optimize the battery life of Android devices.
There are a lot reasons to like the MyPhone Uno; Android Lollipop out of the box, decent performance, impressive battery life, good sound output and the fact that users are guaranteed to receive software updates straight from Google thanks to the Android One campaign.
MyPhone Uno specs:
4.5-inch IPS LCD display, 854×480 @217ppi
1.3GHz quad-core processor
Expandable 4GB internal storage
Supports up to 32GB MicroSD card
Dual-SIM, Dual Standby
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
5-megapixel rear camera with flash
2 megapixel front camera
Removable 1700mAh battery
On the flipside though, there are also a lot of things that could sway things against its favor. There’s the measly 4GB internal storage which the local brand tried to counteract by including an 8GB MicroSD card, poor display panel and, most importantly, the slightly more expensive price tag compared to the similarly-spec’d Cherry Mobile One.
The Php600 difference may not be that big of a deal for some consumers, but if the hardware configuration is anything to go by, then the MyPhone Uno should at least be priced the same if not slightly cheaper than the other Android One handset locally. Of course, there might be other factors that resulted to the nominal price hike, but in a cutthroat market like what we have here in our country, countless battles have been won and lost over a few hundred pesos.
The MyPhone Uno is available starting today and is currently being retailed for Php4,599.
What we liked about it:
- Well put together
- Above average sound output for a midrange smartphone
- Acceptable performance
- Decent sound output
- Impressive battery life
- Good call quality
- Vanilla Android experience
- Bloatware free
- Software-based improvements courtesy of Android Lollipop
- “Free” 8GB MicroSD card
What we didn’t like about it:
- Poor display quality
- Rear camera could be better
- Slightly more expensive
- Measly 4GB internal storage
- Black variant’s backplate offers little to no resistance against dirt & smudges