Starmobile’s Knight Luxe is a curious phone. It’s a fashion phone that’s being marketed at the low-end of the spectrum, a place where looks usually take a backseat to specs. Starmobile assures us that there’s still a market for beautiful, affordable phones that aren’t spec leaders in the Philippines, and we’d agree, to a certain point. Can the Starmobile Knight Luxe win over customers over its looks alone?
Starmobile Knight Luxe specs
- 1.4GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592M processor
- 2GB RAM
- 5-inch HD AMOLED display, scratch resistant glass, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
- 13-megapixel rear Samsung ISOCELL sensor
- 5-megapixel front camera
- 3G, HSPA+
- WiFi, Bluetooth, A-GPS, USB-OTG
- 2050mAh battery
- Android 4.4 KitKat
Impressive design that marries the best design practices
However you feel about the Knight Luxe, there’s no denying that it’s one of the nicest looking phones that we’ve ever seen. Looking at it dead-on from the front, you’ll notice that it has rather slim bezels, especially for a budget phone. The front is also neat looking, as the phone uses on-screen Android navigation keys, which reduces the size of the lower part of the phone. Instead of a row of navigation keys, you’re treated to a single, large LED notification light. The 5-megapixel front facing camera is on the left side beside the earpiece, while two sensors are located on the right.
The chassis of the Knight Luxe is made out of aluminum, anodized Rose Gold. The edges are lovingly chamfered, and the sides flare out a bit at an angle adding to an already nice design. The overall size of the Knight Luxe is perfect, and can be operated with one hand if need be. The volume rocker and the power button is on the right side of the phone. The 3.5mm jack is on top, while the USB port is located on the bottom, alongside the speaker grille.
While most phones that metal chassis have completely sealed backs, the Knight Luxe has a removable back panel that has the same color as the aluminum chassis. The back looks nice, and sports a fine criss-cross pattern. The 13-megapixel camera is located on the upper left, with the lone LED flash right below it.
The back is removable, and there’s a small cutout on the lower left side of the phone that clues you into this. Once you remove the back, you’re granted access to the 2050mAh battery, dual SIM slot and the microSD expansion slot. Starmobile has managed to combine the stunning looks of a metal chassis with the expandability of normal budget phones.
Stunning AMOLED display
The Knight Luxe is one of the few phones being offered by a local brand that sports an AMOLED panel. The 5-inch AMOLED display has scratch resistant glass, though Starmobile did not specify who the manufacturer for the glass was. Colors were punchy and vibrant even if they were a tad oversaturated, and outdoor visibility was good, even under direct sunlight. One thing to note: while the Knight Luxe appears to have Android Lollipop-style on-screen Android navigation keys, the Knight Luxe is a phone that’s firmly grounded in Android 4.4 KitKat.
Processor is fast enough, but is slowed down by bloatware
The Knight Luxe is powered by MediaTek’s venerable MT6592M octa-core processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. Before you say it, yes, the hardware in the Knight Luxe lags behind the offerings of other companies, and like we said earlier, Starmobile is aware of this. Anyway, as far as benchmarks go, the Knight Luxe doesn’t stray too far from the numbers that we’ve seen with other phones that is similarly equipped with the same kind of processor and RAM combination.
Actual usage is different. We saw quite a bit of lag when navigating and using the apps on the phone, and app transitions aren’t as smooth as we would like. One thing that may explain this behavior is the amount of pre-installed apps that are inside the phone, and run in the background. There’s quite a bit of bloatware in the Luxe, though you can uninstall most of them if you wish (which we did) to improve performance.
Camera is generally okay, but suffers a little under artificial and low light
The Knight Luxe is advertised as having a 13-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL-packing rear camera. This makes the Knight Luxe one of the few phones currently in the market to sport the Korean company’s sensor. The rear camera delivers generally okay photos when shooting under bright light, though we did notice that colors were somewhat muted.
In low and artificial lighting, the main camera struggled a little, with some photos exhibiting soft focus in close-ups. To be fair the camera is perfectly capable of taking photos that are good enough to upload to social media, and usually that’s more than enough for most people.
Surprisingly long battery life despite the small battery
One thing that really surprised us with the Knight Luxe was how long it managed to keep running on a single charge. Many people voiced their disappointment at the phone’s dinky 2050mAh battery, but in practice the phone managed to keep the lights on far longer than most other devices in the market that have bigger batteries. The Knight Luxe manages to score an impressive 6 hours and 33 minutes on PC Mark’s battery benchmark, which translates to around a day’s worth of battery with moderate use. With light use, you may have just a little bit of battery left the next day. We’re attributing the phenomenal battery endurance of the Knight Luxe to the AMOLED display and the less powerful octa-core processor.
Verdict: Good looking and long-lasting octa-core phone, but some people may find it lacking
Starmobile’s Knight Luxe is a unique proposition. At Php 7,690, it’s relatively more expensive compared to more specc’d out phones of the competition, though obviously those phones aren’t nearly as pretty as the Knight Luxe. Starmobile has always said that they’re not aiming the Knight Luxe at the bang-for-the-buck crowd, and instead are targeting fashionistas who want a decently specc’d phone that’s capable of turning heads whenever they’re out and about. On its own, the Knight Luxe is a decently powerful, long lasting phone that has a decent camera and absolutely beautiful frame. It’s definitely not for everyone, but if you don’t mind trading in faster hardware for an overall better looking package, then it might be for you.