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Highlights

Starmobile Engage Aura Review




If you’re in the market looking for an affordable laptop, you might want to check this out. Starmobile, known for its smartphone and tablets, has just made a full-blown Windows 10 notebook. And yes, it doesn’t cost as much as other laptops at just a discounted price of Php8k. Here’s our full review of the Starmobile Engage Aura.

Design and Construction

The Engage Aura is a 14-inch laptop with a design akin to a MacBook Air although instead of cold aluminum, this one is made entirely of polycarbonate. As expected, there are a couple of creaks when handling the laptop but everything feels intact.

The left is where the full-sized USB 2.0 port and the 3.5mm headphone jack are.

To its right are the microSD card reader, Mini-HDMI, and full-sized USB 3.0 ports, plus the DC-in with a blue LED indicator.

The 2-megapixel webcam is placed where it should be although there’s no dedicated LED indicator to know if it’s active or not.

We have more LED lights just above the keyboard, three to be exact. One for power, another for caps lock, and another one for the trackpad status.

Speaking of the keyboard, I’m currently typing this article on it and suffice to say, it’s pretty easy to adjust since it’s well-spaced but has a shallow travel. Perhaps my main gripe about it is the placement of the power key. You can mistake it as the ‘delete’ key and put your laptop to sleep.

The trackpad is large but its texture is just too plasticky for my liking. It’ll take some time to get used to the trackpad and in trying to get your palms away from it during typing. Doing so will recognize it as an input which will make your cursor jump around. Good thing, though, is that it uses Windows Precision driver and can detect up to three finger swipes.

The bottom of the laptop is clean with four rubber feet and stereo speakers. You can also access the components through here as it only uses tiny screws.

Overall, the Engage Aura is a looker when placed on a tablet. Of course, one shouldn’t expect an aluminum unibody construction in the price point but the build is fine sans the occasional creaks when adjusting the tilt of the display.

Display and Multimedia

Perhaps the best factor of this laptop is its display. Despite having the same price tag of most 10″ notebooks in the market, or even cheaper, this one has a large 14-inch HD display. The display is a glossy TN panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and a 16:9 ratio like most budget notebooks currently in the market. It’s not IPS though but at a screen this size and price, we’re not complaining. Viewing angles are limited but color reproduction is okay and in the same league of other TN panels.

The speakers, on the other hand, are tinny and just won’t do justice to your media but if you’re in a small room, I guess it’ll suffice for a quick YouTube. There’s 3.5mm headphone jack if you wish to listen privately.

The webcam can do 720p stills and VGA video capture @ 30fps. Quality is nothing to write home about and it’s best to be in a well-lit room.

OS, Apps, and UI

It runs full Windows 10 allowing it to run desktop-grade applications including Microsoft Office, Adobe software, and others. It’s already running the Anniversary update and any future updates of Windows will be available as long it meets the minimum specs requirements.

Out of the box, 12.1GB of the 28.2GB available storage is already occupied by the OS. Although, we received a cumulative update immediately bumping its size to 14.8GB. Microsoft Office 2016 comes pre-loaded but you’ll have to purchase a license after the free-trial.

Performance and Benchmarks

The notebook is powered by an Intel Atom-x5 z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad-core processor clocked at 1.9GHz but it registers at just 1.44GHz. It has the Intel HD Gen8 as its integrated graphics unit and 2GB of RAM to handle multitasking which is quite low for today’s PC standards. Plus, it’s not user-upgradeable.

We ran into some performance issues upon initial boot. After letting Windows 10 do its update hobby, things got generally smoother. Still, the setup is underpowered for a notebook you’d want to perform well but at this price point, this is what you should expect.

The notebook is mostly for casual web browsing, typing on a document, and some light gaming. Multitasking is also a bit out of the question here so try to limit the number of running apps. Browsing while working on MS Word is not a problem, though.

We did test its read and write speeds using CrystalMark and here’s the result:

Connectivity and Ports

There are Bluetooth 4.0 LE and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n available which covers the basic connectivity options for a notebook. There’s no 3G or LTE modem version available for mobile data connectivity.

As for physical ports, it’s got a full-sized USB 2.0 port and a faster USB 3.0 port. For connecting to an external display, there’s a Mini HDMI port.

Battery Life

The notebook has a 9000mAh Li-ion battery that’s sealed inside its plastic body. With our standard video loop test wherein we play a 1080p video using the default video player under Airplane Mode with 50% brightness and volume through headphones, it was able to last for 7 hours and 9 minutes.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, we have to commend Starmobile for releasing a laptop that’s affordable yet doesn’t sacrifice size and portability. It’s hard to find a full-blown Windows laptop under Php10k yet this one is just listed for Php7,990 in Lazada (listing here) for the silver color.

If you want to have the gold one that’s featured in this review, you’ll have to visit a Starmobile store or kiosk and shell out Php9,990 for it. If you’d ask us, we’d rather go for the cheaper one since the difference is just body color.

Starmobile Engage Aura specs:
14-inch TN display @ 1366 x 768 pixels, 16:9 ratio
1.9GHz Intel Atom-x5 Z8350 quad-core processor
Intel HD Graphics Gen8
2GB DDR3L
32GB internal storage
Expandable via microSD, up to 64GB
2-megapixel webcam
Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
1x Mini HDMI
1x USB 2.0
1x USB 3.0
9,000mAh Li-ion battery
Windows 10
351 x 233 x 20 mm
1.39 kg

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Large 14-inch display
  • Well-spaced keys
  • USB 3.0

Cons:

  • Plasticky trackpad
  • Non-upgradeable RAM
  • Underpowered



This article was contributed by Daniel Morial, a film school graduate and technology enthusiast. He's the geeky encyclopedia and salesman among his friends for anything tech.

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38 Responses

  1. MD says:

    Hi.. Do you think you can run adobe photoshop in this laptop?
    thanks a lot!

  2. Mimzy Morial says:

    Ang guwapo talaga ng asawa ko.

  3. Superficial guy says:

    i think its almost the same with asus transformer t100
    the only advantage of asus is more storage options and an eMMC reader

  4. miel says:

    this one looks great. But I have a question. Can it read an external drive the same way as the regular laptops. And do you think it can be advisable for kids gaming sites like y8.com and frivv because that is what my son usually play and I’m planning to get him one instead of a tablet since he tends to put his face too near to a tablet

  5. Totoy says:

    The non-upgradeable RAM is the deal-breaker.
    If they only offered that option, this is a winner, I’d even take this over an old MacBook Air. I’ll then buy more RAM, an SD card, and an external hard drive.

  6. Flepti A. Frax says:

    I’ve been using this for a month now and I say it’s good.
    I don’t know how they engineered their “GenericNCard” storage, more like of an SSD and seek time is fast as what you’d expect for an SSD, I can load 12 google chrome tabs, MS excel is open, MS Word, 3 file explorer windows, portable photoshop CS6, Sublime Text 3, Facebook and Messenger for windows and can still switch between apps seamlessly. I installed some of my applications on the SD card, (TF card slot supports up to 10MB/s I think). I should say, this laptop is a winner, note that this is not a gaming laptop though I could play Asphalt 8 on default settings and I could say it’s pretty impressive. I have the Grey colored one.
    From Daniel’s post, the only noticeable difference was the color (Gold) and the price, I should add one more distinction between the vesrions (Gold – Grey), Carefully look at the pictures above and one could notice that the screen is glossy (it reflects almost everything) as where as on the Grey version, the screen is matte/anti-glare. I am a programmer and anti-glare screens work best for me, and it’s cheeper :)

    • Niel Jon Carl Aguel says:

      Bro baka pwede mo ma backup drivers ng laptop. Pahingi ako.

    • Fritz says:

      If I have PS, AE, Adobe Premiere, PS Lightroom and Spotify. Do you think it would run well? I’m planning to buy it this month actually. Reply, please. :)

  7. Niel Jon Carl Aguel says:

    Meron po ba kayong drivers ng laptop?

  8. Ross says:

    San po b makikita yung code na kailangan para maka access sa microsoft word and other softwares?

  9. luningning aguinaldo says:

    HI, I bought my laptop last feb 22, the unit is ok but when I want to type a document and open WORD they ask for product code, when I type it it seems like its not the real code…. what am I going to do?

  10. Kennetj says:

    Where should I buy the key?I’m planning to buy this laptop to my educ

  11. Kennetj says:

    How much it will cost and is that permanently right?

  12. Wanderer says:

    I’m planning on buying this in Lazada. Its on sale for 6,645.00. Do you think I should buy it? I’m only going to use it for school works like ms docs and popwerpoint and for browsing the net. Is its built sensitive? Ive read reviews that its built is quite on the low material. Im wondering if it’ll last for about 2 years minimum? And does it read external hard drives? And have you tried connecting it to a projector using the mini hdmi port? I would really appreciate your response. Thank you

  13. Marjeo Delfin says:

    Is this capable of wireless display (miracast ready)?

  14. Rjay says:

    Planning to purchase this kaso si partner ayaw nia dahil daw sa low quality pero sabi ko budget wise pasok na pasok ko. Gagamitin ko lang naman sa bahay kasi minsan di ko matapos trabaho ko sa office. Sale pa naman sa Lazada.

  15. mes says:

    kaya po ba dota 2 dito sa engage aura???please answer :)

  16. Joe says:

    Thank you so much for the review, really helpful. :)

  17. jof says:

    My only concern is the battery, though it has 9,000mAh, it is non-removable. I mean, when I am using a laptop, notebook or netbook and when there’s a power outlet, I used to remove the battery to avoid over charging it.

  18. jean says:

    where can i buy extra power adapter for this? i purchase this laptop thru lazada..tnx in advance

  19. ZER says:

    May hard drive ba yan kung meron anu size? model p

  20. Romer R Villareal says:

    Can you install Linux fedora 25?

  21. Ismael Andres says:

    I bought one at Lazada in January. By March, it has a trouble booting up. This happened three time. Almost once a month, I try to press the power button and it won’t boot up. I let it rest for almost 7 to 12 hours before it boots up. What could be the problem?

    • Ismael Andres says:

      I resolved this problem. According to my research, the problem was static. What i did was to hold on to the power button for 30 seconds instead of 10 seconds. After that, the power went on. This had happened to me 3x since I posted here. Since I live near the pole (North America), static is a natural occurence here.

  22. Arnel says:

    I bought my laptop last feb this year and my charger is broken.. Is it covered for warranty right? Can i still get replacement charger for this one? Thanks

  23. Jethro Labenia says:

    is it compatible in VISUAL BASIC ??

  24. jean says:

    hi i just want to ask..i bought this laptop online thru lazada last christmas for my niece , check it its brand new and functioning properly..but mid of may she told me that it wont turning on..no power..no sign of charging..kaya pa ba to maayus or what do you think the problem? i ask the staff in the starmobile stall located in one of the malls here wala daw cla ngaayus ng laptop..pls any idea..

    • Ismael Andres says:

      i read online that the problem is static. So the advise was to press the power button for 30 seconds. usually we press it for 10 seconds and power goes on. If not, press it for 30 seconds. It works with mine.

  25. Wheng Sy says:

    Can i ask where i could download the drivers for this , kasi nag format kami

  26. Troy says:

    bakit hndi xa maiformat sa win7? may nkakaalam ba ng process kung pano? di kc nag aapear ung bootable usb ko e kahit ok nmn sa ibang laptop? TIA

  27. gene says:

    kailangan ko pong mag boot up sa usb ano po ang boot up key options nitong laptop engage aura

  28. gene says:

    sir ano po ang boot key option para maka pag boot sa usb para mareformat

  29. jay-ar oliveria says:

    san po nakakaorder ng keyboard ng starmobile laptop

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