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Starmobile UP Selfie Quick Review

Starmobile recently released their newest addition to the UP series — the UP Selfie, which gives a camera-centric approach with an added fingerprint scanner. Is the smartphone worthy of its name? Find out our verdict down below.

Design and Structure

The UP Selfie has changed its approach compared with its older brother, the UP Prime. The device now has a sleek and premium look to it due to its black color on the front, unibody design, and new capacitive button design. We can safely say that they are on a good path in terms of smartphone design.

In front is where the dual 13MP front cameras, call speaker, and LED flash are located. Just below the screen is the device’s fresh-looking capacitive buttons that users may find confusing at first since the “back” and “menu” buttons look exactly the same. On top of it all is 2.5D curved glass covering the whole front panel except for the call speaker.

At the right side is where the dedicated microSD card, volume keys, and power button are located. On the left is the dual-SIM tray slot. Unlike its older siblings, the UP Selfie now has its SIM and microSD card slots on the side due to the device having a unibody design.

At the bottom of the device is where the microphone, micro USB port, and speaker are located. The design of the bottom-end of the UP Selfie is similar to that of Huawei’s Y5 2017. On top is where the lone 3.5mm audio port is located.

On its back, the device is covered with a polycarbonate material with a metal-like finish. This is where the 13MP rear camera with LED flash is located. Just below it is the device’s fingerprint scanner. The device second in the UP series to have this feature.

The device feels thin and very lightweight (139g) in the hands. It is also easy to grip and because of these factors. The device feels like a premium smartphone when held.

Display and Multimedia

The UP Selfie has a 5.2-inch display with a 1280 x 720 screen resolution. The viewing angles and the color accuracy of the device are good and it is vibrant even when used outdoors.

The speaker is one area where users might find difficulty in liking the device. Upon testing it, we found out that it performs poorly. Even at the highest volume, the speaker is just not loud enough to be even heard clearly. The sound does not also have bass, and is all treble. Its included earphones also perform poorly, so we suggest users to use other audio devices if they want to have a better listening experience.

OS, UI, and, Apps

The UP Selfie is being powered by Android 7.0 Nougat which makes it a good entry-level device if users are seeking a smartphone with a relatively updated OS. There aren’t many modifications made and the company kept the device close to stock as possible.

The built-in applications include the usual Google applications, Adobe Acrobat (for PDF reading), the Star Phone application, and Starmobile Care. What we found interesting is that in the gesture settings, there is a double-tap feature which makes the device more interactive when waking it up. It also has a built-in system optimizer called “System Guard” so users won’t have to worry about cleaning their device.

The device starts with 5.30GB available out of 16GB internal storage. If the users still aren’t satisfied with that, they can add up an additional 32GB storage via the dedicated microSD card slot.

Camera

The rear camera has a 13MP BSI sensor with LED flash. Upon taking some sample shots, we found out that the image quality produced is alright. For an entry-level smartphone, the images produced are average in quality since it gets pixelated immediately after zooming in. One problem though is that it gives a grainy and dimmer image when taking low-light shots. Additionally, the rear camera has an expert-mode feature.

Now for the main feature of the device, the front camera. It has dual 13MP sensors which work in two ways — the left is for wide-angle shots while the right is for portrait shots. One thing that we noticed is that there is really no difference in the modes of the rear and front cameras. There is no beautification feature as well, which is a surprise for us since the device is touted as a selfie smartphone. Looking at the images that we took, it has the same quality as the rear camera since they both have the same specs. It also has the same problem with the rear camera which gives a grainy and dimmer image under low-light conditions. Another thing to note is that the image brightness significantly decreases when being transferred to another device.

The device can take videos at 720p, 30fps. The video is shaky as it does not have stabilization. Here’s our sample video that was taken with the device.


Performance and Benchmarks

The device has a MediaTek MT6737 processor with a Mali-T720 GPU. It also has a 3GB RAM which is already plenty for an entry-level smartphone. Upon testing the device with synthetic benchmark tests, we found out that it has decent performance. After doing simple navigation and application execution in the device, we found out that it has some delay or unresponsive moments which can prove annoying to some users.

Here are the benchmark scores we got:

  • Antutu – 30,149
  • 3D Mark – 156 (Sling Shot), 108 (Sling Shot Extreme – OpenGL ES 3.1)
  • PC Mark – 3,353 (Work 1.0), 2670 (Work 2.0)  
  • Geekbench 4 – 574 (Single Core), 1600 (Multi-Core)
  • Androbench – 212.78 MB/s (Sequential Read), 66.0 MB/s (Sequential Write), 17.91 MB/s (Random Read), 12.22 MB/s (Random Write)

The UP Selfie is a good daily driver for using social media, video streaming, and internet browsing. The device can run mid-graphics games such as Mobile Legends and Arena of Valor, but with stutters and lags, since its GPU is not that powerful and is not meant for heavy-graphics games. We also noticed that it warms up after a while when playing games, but it does not reach a level where it could be uncomfortable in your hands.

Connectivity and Call Quality

The device supports dual-4G LTE switching which means that either SIM 1 or SIM 2 can provide a 4G connection. It also has the usual connections like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS. Checking out its sensors, the device lacks Temperature, Orientation, Gyroscope, Magnetic, and Pressure sensors.

Making calls on this device did not pose any problems aside from the fact that it does not have noise-cancelling features. Other than that, connections did not get interrupted as long as they are within the range of the network provider.

Battery Life

The device has a 2,900mAh battery which is a good capacity for an entry-level device.

The device only lasted for 7 hours and 49 minutes when tested in PC Mark’s battery test. As for our video loop test — 50% brightness and 50% volume with a 1080p video, it lasted 9 hours and 27 minutes. On standby, the device can last for about 4 days, which is a sign that it does not discharge the battery that much when idle. Charging from 0%-100%, took us over 2 hours. One thing to note is that the device is easy to cool up after being used, which is always a good sign for smartphones.

Conclusion

The Starmobile UP Selfie has a lot of potential for an entry-level device since it offers some good specs and features. The camera lacks the features that a selfie smartphone should have. The performance is decent enough to be used for light-tasks such as browsing, social media, and video streaming. This is not the smartphone that you’re looking for, however, if you want to have an above average gaming experience. Overall, the device is good enough to be used as an entry-level device, but there are other smartphones that give a slightly better balance in terms of specs and features.

The Starmobile UP Selfie is priced at Php6,990 and comes with a free Jelly case, tempered glass, earphones, and Smart LTE SIM card.

Starmobile UP Selfie key specs:
5.2-inch IPS LCD HD display @ 1280 x 720px
MediaTek MT6737 1.3GHz quad-core processor
Mali-T720 GPU @650MHz
3GB RAM
16GB internal storage
Expandable up to 32GB via microSD
13MP BSI rear camera w/ LED flash
13MP + 13MP BSI dual front camera w/ LED flash
Dual-SIM (micro)
Dedicated MicroSD card slot
Dual 4G Switching
700mHZ 4G LTE
WiFi
GPS, A-GPS
USB OTG
FM Radio
Fingerprint scanner
2900mAh Li-Ion battery
Android 7.0 Nougat
148.4 x 72.9 x 8.5 mm
139g

What we liked:
* Premium and sexy look
* Lightweight
* 3GB RAM
* Dual 4G switching
* Fingerprint Scanner (for a budget smartphone)
* Android 7.0 Nougat

What we didn’t:
* Poor sound quality
* Only 16GB internal storage
* Lack of features in front camera
* Poor low-light shots
* Occasionally delayed responses


Vaughn is your go-to person when it comes to comparing gadgets especially smartphones. He's also a gamer by heart and the "Hackerman" of the team.

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