Today we’ll be reviewing Firefly Mobile’s Allure 64 LTE, a surprise contender for the best bang for the buck smartphone of the year. Priced at Php 7,999, it has a hardware combination that’s hard to beat – 3GB of RAM, 64-bit octa-core processor and a fingerprint scanner, a combination that’s currently unbeaten by both local and international brands. But as we’ll see in the review, hardware isn’t everything, and the Allure 64 LTE has a few small issues that may make some people hesitant to get it. But first, the specs:
Firefly Mobile Allure 64 LTE (Php 7,999)
- 1.7GHz 64-bit octa-core processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch HD IPS OGS display, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB of storage
- 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 rear camera
- 8-megapixel front camera
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB OTG
- Fingerprint scanner
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 3000mAh battery
Pretty much an Android version of the iPhone 6 Plus
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – the Allure 64 LTE does look a lot like the iPhone 6 Plus. Aside from a few additions to the front to make it work as an Android phone, the Allure 64 LTE has all the hallmarks of Apple’s latest flagship phablet. The design is very Apple, from the rounded corners and metal frame to the relocated speakers on the bottom of the phone. This may or may not be a good thing depending on when you stand on cloned designs, but from our perspective if you’re going to copy someone, might as well copy from the best.
The Allure 64 LTE sports the same home button that the iPhone 6 Plus does right beneath the 5.5-inch HD display, flanked by two Android capacitive keys. And just like the iPhone 6 Plus, the home button of the Allure 64 LTE is capable of reading your fingerprint to unlock the phone.
This is one of the best features of the Allure 64 LTE, simply because no other local brand has the same 3D fingerprint sensor in their phones as of press time. And it works pretty well too, as long as your press down firmly on the home button when you do it. You’re not roped into a single finger either, in fact, you can enroll up to five fingerprints if you choose.
Of course, the Allure 64 LTE isn’t an exact copy of Apple’s flagship phablet. For one, it doesn’t utilize a metal, unibody design, probably to save costs. Instead, the Allure 64 LTE uses a combination of a metal frame and a plastic body.
The upside is that the Allure 64 LTE features a removable back cover which reveals the two SIM slots, microSD expansion slot and the removable 3000mAh battery on the back.
One thing that we did notice on the Allure 64 LTE is that some of the grey material underneath the lettering for Firefly Mobile’s branding on the back have started to flake off, which is disheartening, considering the phone went inside the included freebie jelly case the whole time we were using it. Bummer. Hopefully, the company releases stock back covers for this issue.
The phone uses a 5.5-inch HD IPS OGS display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, and 2.5D curved glass at the side. Since the phone uses OGS, the colors and overall display quality of the phone is very good, with excellent viewing angles and clarity. Probably the only issue we have with the display is the overly thick bottom bezel of the phone. It really looks jarring and out of place, but it’s not a major issue to be completely honest.
Blisteringly fast, but hobbled by a number of bugs
The Allure 64 LTE is powered by MediaTek’s latest 64-bit 1.7GHz octa-core processor paired with an unheard of (for its price range) 3GB of RAM. As you would expect, the hardware combination produced very, very high results in AnTuTu and produced near seamless gaming with resource hungry games like Real Racing 3 and WWE Immortals.
Despite being a powerful phone, the Allure 64 LTE is saddled with a very big issue – Android 5.0 Lollipop. While the phone has the distinction of having Android 5.0 on board, this iteration of Lollipop is buggy as heck. There’s definite lag on the UI of the phone which should not be present considering the phone’s rather powerful hardware.
Aside from the lag issues, we also encountered quite a few bugs as well. Downloads via Google Play were sometimes slow and sluggish, even though our internet connection was stable and more importantly, fast. While the issue went away, it came back after a phone restart, which is annoying especially since the Allure 64 LTE is a great phone for playing resource heavy Android games.
Other bugs include disconnecting WiFi issues and sluggish performance with games like NBA 2K15. In short, Android 5.0 is a bug ridden mess, and the Allure 64 LTE’s overall performance suffers because of the problems with the OS. Thankfully the issues are fixable since it’s a software problem though the big question now is Firefly Mobile’s track record in providing timely OTA updates for problems with their phones.
Lackluster camera performance
Just like other bang-for-the-buck phones, it seems that the Allure 64 LTE’s weakness boils down to its camera. While the phone does have a 13-megapixel Sony IMX rear camera, the photos produced by the Allure 64 LTE has some real issues that keep it from becoming a photographer’s favorite.
The most glaring of all is the very noticeable purple tint in photos that have bright lighting. You can see it in the photo samples above. Photos also suffer from a distinct lack of detail with low light.
Enough battery for a day’s use
The Firefly Allure 64 LTE has a 3000mAh battery, which is particularly large and had no trouble getting through a relatively busy day with moderate use. You can probably squeeze more than a day’s worth from it if you’re more stingy with battery than we are.
Verdict: A very good bang-for-the-buck phone if you’re willing to overlook its flaws
Firefly Mobile’s Allure 64 LTE is one of those phones that defy expectations. The 3GB of RAM would already have been a killer deal – the fingerprint scanner, 64-bit octa-core processor and LTE capability is just gravy on top of an already killer deal. While the Allure 64 LTE has flaws (and it has many), they’re not deal breakers and can be solved by a simple OTA update from Firefly Mobile. If you’re willing to live with some of the bugs in the phone and are unwilling to wait until Firefly Mobile fixes the software bugs, then the Allure 64 LTE may just be the phone for you.