Starmobile UP Max Review
Starmobile unveiled back in June the UP Max – a smartphone that wants to cure your power and entertainment woes by packing a huge 5,000mAh and Digital TV. Armed with such feature, is the UP Max worthy to be your next Android work horse? Find out by reading our full review below.
Design and Construction
The UP Max, at first glance, looks like your typical Anroid smartphone that features a plastic build accented with a metallic band around the frame. To make it look like it’s a bit “different”, the manufacturers opted to slightly curve the top and bottom of the device. We’re not quite sure of the aesthetic benefits but it made the bezels appear larger especially at the bottom.
Looking at the front, we have the 5-inch IPS display with HD resolution or 294ppi. Right above it are the earpiece, 5 megapixel front camera, and ambient light sensor. Down below are three illuminated capacitive buttons for Recent apps, Home, and Back.
On the left-hand side we have the volume rocker, while on the opposite side is the power/lock button. Like the frame, the buttons are also made of plastic but with a metallic finish.
Found right up top is the headphone jack, while down at the bottom are the microUSB port, speaker, and microphone.
Flip it on its back and you will see the 13 megapixel BSI AF camera accented with a gold rim, dual-LED flash, microphone, Starmobile logo, and the removable backplate with textured finish.
On hand, the UP Max is hefty at 175g and chunky at 9.6mm. Although some might consider this as a disadvantage, the UP Max’s dimensions feels nice on the hands as it is easy to grip, while the weight will mostly remind you of how big the battery is. Overall, the UP Max feels like it’s built like a tank.
Display and Multimedia
The UP Max sports a 5-inch IPS display with HD resolution or 294ppi mounted with Dragontrail Glass. Not exactly pixel-packed but it has decent viewing angles and colors. It’s also bright enough to be easily viewed outdoors.
The speaker found on the bottom part of the device is capable of producing sounds with acceptable loudness and clarity. Although it tends to distort a bit when you crank up the volume. That being said, the UP Max is a good multimedia device for watching videos and listening to music.
The UP Max has another trick up it sleeves that is not commonly found in other smartphones – the DTV feature. The package comes with a cable antenna where you can also connect your headphones for better signal reception. So far it works well but quality will still depend in your location. Aside from letting you watch your favorite TV programs, the UP Max can also record those shows in MP4 format so you can watch it again later.
When it comes to imaging, the UP Max boasts a 13 megapixel main shooter with Sony Exmor RS IMX135 sensor and 5 megapixel front camera. The front camera is good enough for some casual selfies or video calling but don’t expect stellar quality. The rear camera on the other hand can capture decent photos especially in locations where there’s ample lighting. Take a look at the sample photos below.
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As for video recording, the rear camera can shoot 1080p videos at 30fps and saved at 3GP format. Quality is similar to stills captured. Watch the sample video below.
OS, UI, and Apps
The UP Max runs Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box which is a good decision since the large battery can take advantage of Project Volta. Starmobile didn’t bother changing much of its UI and feels almost stock.
Pre-installed apps are present but mostly Google’s apps like Google Docs and Keep, Clean Master, and Starmobile’s own apps like its App Store, Starmobile Sync, Starmobile Care, and its DTV app. These apps cannot be uninstalled so you will have to get used to them if you own this phone.
As for memory, it comes with 16GB of internal storage. System apps take almost 4GB so you’re left with 12.61GB as usable. There’s support for microSD cards and USB OTG so the UP Max has you covered when it comes to storing your heavy multimedia files.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the UP Max are the 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582 quad-core CPU, Mali-400MP2 GPU, and 1GB RAM. It runs okay and doesn’t exhibit random crashes, however, the entry-level specs means it’s not snappy and can’t do much flexing when it comes to heavy multi-tasking or graphic intensive games. That being said, the UP Max is designed for light to mid usage.
* AnTuTu – 19,828
* Quadrant Standard – 5,636
* Vellamo – 1,688 (Chrome Browser), 835 (Metal), 1,097 (Multicore)
* 3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme – 1,885
As for call quality, it is good as we didn’t experience any issues. It has dual-SIM connectivity and accepts a microSIM on SIM1 and a regular SIM on SIM2. There’s no support for LTE so you’re stuck with the basic connectivity features like 3G, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
Now for the main feature of the device – the 5,000mAh battery. When we reviewed the Lenovo P70 we were already satisfied with what a 4,000mAh can bring to the table. How much more a 5,000mAh tank? In PCMark’s battery bench we were able to get 15 hours and 26 minutes.
We also ran our usual Full HD video loop test in Airplane mode at 50% brightness and volume with headset plugged in and it lasted a whopping 19 hours and 45 minutes of playback.
Now if you want to make this phone really last, you can activate its Standby intelligent power saving or the Super Power mode.
Starmobile’s intention with the UP Max is very clear – they want a smartphone that has an acceptable level of hardware yet with a battery life that can last longer than its competitors. It doesn’t have an impressive CPU, RAM, or design but it does have one of the biggest batteries in its class.
In addition, it comes with Android Lollipop out of the box, Dragontrail Glass, and ISDB-T feature. So if you really want a capable daily driver that won’t quickly die on you, the Starmobile UP Max is a worthy consideration.
Starmobile UP Max specs:
5-inch HD IPS display @ 1280 x 720 resolution, 294ppi
1.3GHz MediaTek MT6582 quad-core CPU
16GB ROM Expandable up to 32GB via microSD
13MP rear camera with Sony Exmor RS IMX135 sensor
5MP front camera
ISDB-T Digital TV
5,000mAh Li-Po removable battery
Android 5.0 Lollipop
146.4 x 71.5 x 9.6mm
What we liked about it:
* Impressive battery life
* ISDB-T Digital TV feature
What we didn’t like:
* Below average specs
* Mediocre performance