Starmobile UP Prime Quick Review
Starmobile announced back in May an entry-level device that sports a 5-inch display, a MediaTek quad-core CPU, and an Android Nougat. The main feature though is its support for 700MHz 4G LTE. What else can the Starmobile UP Prime dish out aside from these? Find out in our review.
Design and Construction
The Starmobile UP Prime at first glance looks like your typical entry-level Android smartphone. It’s got thick bezels and a plastic build. Not eye-catching, but not attractive either. Just generic.
Up front is the 5-inch display mounted with a 2.5D curved glass. Above it are the earpiece, the sensors, and the 5MP camera. Down below are three unlit capacitive buttons for navigation.
The left side is devoid of any buttons but the right side houses the volume rocker and power/lock button.
Up top is the headset jack, while down below is the microphone and micro-USB port.
The back will reveal the 8MP camera, LED flash, and the loudspeaker at the bottom.
The plastic backplate is removable. It’s a bit difficult to pry open but once you do, it’ll give you access to the removable battery, two micro-SIM card slots, and microSD card slot.
Quality-wise, the UP Prime feels like it’s built like a tank. It’s solid on the hands, a bit hefty (160g) and chunky (10.15mm), but easy to grip. The curved glass up top feels cool and nice to the touch as well.
Display and Multimedia
Going back to the display, it has a 5-inch screen with HD resolution which equates to 293ppi. No mention of IPS but viewing angles are good with accurate colors. It’s also vibrant enough to be used outdoors.
Speaker quality, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s audible enough for hands-free voice calls but not rich enough if you’re listening to your music or movies. It’s trebly and hollow. That said, you’re better off using a good pair of headphones or external speaker.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software department of the UP Prime is Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box (July 5, 2017, security patch), which is not bad for an entry-level device. The user interface is kept stock which is good considering its caliber. If you get bored with its looks, you can simply install your favorite launcher.
As for its apps, only the essential Google and Starmobile apps are pre-installed which is a good move considering that it only has 16GB of memory with only 9.70GB left for the user. If you want to expand it, there’s a dedicated microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 32GB capacities.
The UP Prime has an 8MP BSI rear camera and a 5MP front-facing. It has HDR, Panorama, Gesture Shot, and Beauty mode, all housed in a dated camera UI. Don’t expect much from its camera as autofocus is slow, and details are smudgy. It is also having problems getting the exposure right. Colors are okay though, although could use some boost.
Video quality, on the other hand, is limited to 720p at 30fps in 3GP format. Quality is similar to photographs so there’s nothing to write home about.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the UP Prime is a MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor clocked at 1.25GHz, Mali-T720MP GPU, and 1GB RAM. This is the disappointing part but expected considering its entry-level status. That said, 1GB RAM is no longer recommendable as it is sluggish which is evident when launching apps.
It can still run basic apps though, like Facebook, Instagram, or your favorite chat app, as well as light games but don’t expect buttery smooth performance. Forget AR or VR applications on this one as it doesn’t have a gyroscope sensor.
The main feature of the UP Prime is connectivity as it supports 4G LTE with 700MHz frequency. So far we’re getting average speeds reaching up to 17Mbps downloads in Makati City.
Of course, the speed and quality of the connection still depend on the telco’s coverage. Call quality, on the other hand, is good but the lack of noise-canceling can be a downside when making calls in noisy environments.
The UP Prime is equipped with a 3,000mAh removable battery which is large for an entry-level device. Since we’re mostly using it for basic tasks like social media, we get a full day use of mobile data and a day and a half on WiFi. Our video loop test, which consists of playing a Full HD clip on loop in Airplane mode with headset plugged in at 50% brightness and volume, yielded 10 hours and 56 minutes of playback which is good.
The Starmobile UP Prime, overall, is NOT the kind of phone that will suit you especially if you’re looking for a device that’s good for gaming and can shoot high-quality photos for uploading to social media. What it does is offer the kind of connection that is lacking in other phones in its class. It can be a basic phone for a first time smartphone user, a secondary phone, or an Android-powered mobile hotspot, all of that without breaking the bank.
The Starmobile UP Prime is priced at Php3,990 and comes with a free Smart LTE SIM.
Starmobile UP Prime specs:
5-inch TFT display @ 1280 x 720 pixels, 293ppi
2.5D Curved Glass
1.25GHz MediaTek MT6737 quad-core CPU
16GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 32GB
8MP BSI rear autofocus camera w/ LED flash
5MP BSI front-facing camera
4G LTE (700MHz support)
GPS w/ a-GPS
Android 7.0 Nougat
3000mAh Li-Po battery
143.4 x 72.7 x 10.15 mm
What we liked:
* Solid build
* Above average battery life
* Android 7.0 Nougat
* 4G LTE w/ support for 700MHz frequency
What we didn’t:
* Sluggish performance
* Poor cameras
* Low storage