Octa-core HD Phablet from Starmobile
The Starmobile Diamond X1 is the first octa-core powered local branded device that was announced late December and is scheduled to hit store shelves later this month. With a massive 6.0-inch display, rip-roaring powerful internals, and a gorgeous aluminum build, the device is poised to be a solid contender and leader in the phablet category, especially if Starmobile prices it competitively.
What’s interesting about the specifications is that the Starmobile Diamond X1 has HD (1280 x 720) instead of Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution for the display. While we would have preferred Full HD, the reality is that the MediaTek octa-core SoC still can’t support it with zero lag. Taking one step down to HD though makes a huge difference in performance!
Here are the specifications again for your reference and perusal.
Starmobile Diamond X1 Spec Sheet
- 1.7GHz Octa-core MediaTek Processor
- 2GB RAM
- 8GB Internal Storage, Expandable up to 64GB via microSD Card
- 6.0-inches HD IPS Display, Scratch Resistant Glass
- 18.0-megapixels primary camera with Autofocus, Flash, and BSI
- 8.0-megapixels secondary camera with BSI
- Dual 3G SIM, Dual Standby
- 3G, HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, GPS, aGPS
- Yamaha Speakers
- Android Jelly Bean 4.2
- 2,400mAh Battery (TBC if 2,300 or 2,400)
UPDATE: SRP – Php13,990
Note that this unit we tested was just the prototype. We will be doing a follow-up review once we get our hands on the final commercial model. We need to confirm a lot of things once we get our hands on the final commercial unit.
Okay let’s jump into the full review!
Hardware: Elegant, Premium, and Classy
The country’s first local branded octa-core powered smartphone deserved a premium body and that’s what Starmobile delivered with the Diamond X1. Instead of the usual glossy or textured plastic back plates, we have a metallic aluminum plate with the Starmobile logo proudly emblazoned in grey at the center. The plate is actually removable. You remove the plastic strip at the bottom and you can then push down the metal cover to reveal the battery, SIM cards, and micor SD card slots.
Other enhancements include the dual Yamaha speakers at the top and bottom of the back plate. Since this is a 6.0-inch phablet users will most likely use it for a lot of media consumption (videos) and our tests with the dual-speaker set-up confirm that you can get more power (volume) and detail with the sound compared to a lot of other phablets in the market.
Speaking of form factor, the Starmobile Diamond X1 sports a massive 6.0-inch screen. It’s a big device and people with no love for big phones will probably shy away from the Diamond X1. However note that the device is crafted pretty well. The curved sides lets it rest comfortably in one’s palms. The thin profile also reduces the perceived “bigness”. Lastly the metallic plate feels so awesome to hold especially when its cold, hehe.
The screen is made from good material and is designed well. The glass is scratch resistant (not sure if Corning or Dragon Trail) and the bezels along the sides are quite thin. Capacitive buttons are at the bottom while the 8MP front facing camera sits comfortably at the top.
Display quality is good mainly thanks to IPS and OGS. Colors are vibrant but the blacks could use some more darkening. Is the shift down to HD noticeable from Full HD? Initially, yes. However after a few hours yours eyes will get used to it and adjust and eventually you won’t notice it too much anymore and you’ll rarely see the pixels unless you do major zoom-ins.
Over-all in the hardware category the Starmobile Diamond X1 doesn’t fail to impress. We daresay it’s one of the nicest looking phablets we’ve ever tried and tested.
Starmobile Diamond X1 Hands-on Video
To get a better feel of the Starmobile Diamond X1, check out this video we used during the initial review and hands-on post.
Performance: Certified Screamer
As expected, the Starmobile Diamond X1 was no slouch. It scored well over 27,000 on the Antutu Benchmark Test and this score was reflected in our real world usage. There was virtually no lag. Transitions were zippy and fast. Apps loaded quickly. Switching in between apps, even if they are graphics intensive games, were fluid. Loading contacts, even if we had over 4,000, took less than 2 seconds.
We tried a variety of apps ranging from the most basic and core ones like messaging and social networking to the more resource hogging gaming titles like Dead Trigger 2 and Wild Blood. The Starmobile Diamond X1 was able to handle all of them well! Unlike other Full HD devices which struggle with hardcore games, the Diamond X1 delivers a mind blowing gaming experience! We didn’t even feel any delays when the hordes of zombies started to attack in the later stages of Dead Trigger 2.
The 6.0-inch screen fully comes into play very well not just in gaming but also with web browsing, reading, and especially watching videos! Thanks to the expandable storage and the big display, the Starmobile Diamond X1 makes for a great portable media player. It also helps that the external speakers are quite loud. You can enjoy the videos you’re watching when you’re at home and you’re too lazy to get up to look for your earphones.
Call quality and speaker quality were also up to par with the quality given by flagship phones.
When it comes to performance the Starmobile Diamond X1 surpassed our expectations. It’s arguably the most power-packed phablet offered by a local brand as of this writing!
Camera: Starmobile Nails It Once Again
Starmobile’s good track record with camera optics has been well documented. They started to use very nice optics starting with the Starmobile Crystal and then they took it to the next level with the optics used for the Starmobile Knight and the Starmobile Diamond V7. I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same optics used with the Diamond X1 but the camera on this device definitely takes great photos! Color reproduction is good but could use a tad more contrast and sharpness.
Here are sample shots for your reference using the 18MP primary shooter.
Not bad right?
Unfortunately due to the short time we had with the Starmobile Diamond X1 we weren’t able to do test shots with the front-facing camera. We’ll do that with the final model when it ships later this month.
Battery Life: Average
We were only able to do one battery test on the prototype unit and it yielded average numbers. We got around 7-8 hours with heavy usage, with it dipping to 6.5 when we threw in a couple of HD movies. With light-moderate we were able to extend it to 9-11 hours. It’s nothing spectacular or extraordinary. Just the usual fare which is probably already acceptable considering it runs on a more powerful octa-core chipset (probably balanced out with the HD and not FHD display resolution).
Verdict: Made for Maximum Performance
So what’s our verdict for the prototype unit of the Starmobile Diamond X1? If you can get over the fact that it has HD and not FHD then this is, as of this writing, the best phablet you can buy from a local smartphone company. It’s built to perform and it delivers on that as we saw with the fluid multi-tasking and the smooth gaming experience. The sleek and metal build plus the awesome camera optics also makes it a solid flagship contender.
This is just the prototype but we were definitely impressed.
The Starmobile Diamond X1 is supposed to launch this month with a price tag of Php13,990.
SRP hasn’t been announced yet. As soon as the commercial model hits stores we’ll try to get one so we can do a more updated and full review.