Starmobile Knight Review: The Best Local Branded Smartphone To Date

by Carlo Ople  June 19, 2013

Our full review of the Starmobile Knight!
Our full review of the Starmobile Knight!

Can this local brand flagship compete against global brands?

The Starmobile Knight is probably now one of the most anticipated local branded smartphones here in the country. The very competitive specifications combined with the stellar form factor and the fair pricing makes it a compelling offering for Filipinos who are thinking of upgrading their smartphones. We’ve had the chance to use it for a few days ahead of everyone else and we made the most we could with it so that we can give you guys a review.

As an appetizer though let’s quickly do a refresher on the specifications.

Starmobile Knight Spec Sheet

  • 1.2GHz Quad-core Processor MediTek
  • PowerVR SGX544MP GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD Card
  • 4.7-inch IPS Display, Corning Gorilla Glass
  • HD Resolution, 315 pixels per inch
  • 18.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with LED flash, autofocus, and BSI
  • 8.0-megapixels front-facing camera with autofocus and BSI
  • Dual SIM, Dual 3G, Dual Standby
  • WiFi, WiFI Hotspot, Bluetooth, HSPA+, 3G, GPS/aGPS
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
  • 2,000mAH Battery

Okay, now that we have that out of the way let’s jump right into the main course!

Form Factor: It’s like slightly bigger iPhone 5

Still very thin and lightweight!
Still very thin and lightweight!

As we mentioned during our unboxing and initial impressions post, the Starmobile Knight looks like a slightly bigger iPhone 5. In fact some people would probably mistake it as an iPhone 5 (or maybe iPhone 5S) if they didn’t know any better, hehe. It features the same long vertical shape with full glass at the front and in lieu of the aluminum slate at the back we have a smooth black matte finish with the red Starmobile logo proudly displayed at the center.

Black matte finish with red Starmobile logo at the back
Black matte finish with red Starmobile logo at the back

For this review we won’t dwell to much on the details on the form factor as we’ve covered that quite extensively during the initial feature. If there’s one thing we’d like to zero on for this review is that we found the Starmobile Knight to excel in over-all usability and ergonomics.

Despite the bigger screen the over-all width isn’t that too big which makes it usable with one hand. The 4.7-inch display is perfect if you’re looking first and foremost for a phone and not a tablet experience (phablets are usually the 5.0-inch and up gadgets).

Superb handling
Superb handling

It’s not just the messaging part that becomes easier. Social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook are more enjoyable and easier to navigate since you don’t need to use both hands to key in content or to fully appreciate the images and videos. The fact that it’s lightweight also reduces potential arm and hand fatigue (helps a lot when you’re watching long videos like movies or multiple TV episodes).

If you’re looking for a phablet this might not be for you but it you’re in the market for a sleek, powerful, and easy-to-use smartphone then you seriously might want to consider the Knight.

For a better appreciation and feel for the Starmobile, watch the latest episode of the Unbox Podcast where we did a live feature on the Starmobile Knight. We’ve embedded the full episode below. If you want to skip straight to the segment go to 33:20.

Fluid, smooth, and fast Android 4.2 Experience

Antutu Benchmark Score results
Antutu Benchmark Score results

We did the usual Antutu Benchmark Test (measures over-all performance compared against other smartphones) and the Starmobile Knight scored over 13,000 which puts it in the same league as other quad-core devices running Mediatek processors. Basic core functions all work smoothly and you won’t encounter problems with transitions and animations. We did encounter a slightly longer loading time for graphics intensive apps like Dead Trigger but that will probably get ironed out once they release the commercial unit (what we had was just the final prototype).

Here’s a rundown of the performance of the Starmobile Knight in different real-world use scenarios.


Kill all the zombies you want!
Kill all the zombies you want!

The Starmobile Knight handled all of the games we threw at it. It was even able to play Dead Trigger at max settings for the lower levels (it struggled a bit after the later parts though so we had to put it to mid but that’s already awesome). We also tried out NBA 2k13 and Wild Blood and both games also were, for the most, part smooth. Less demanding titles like Temple Run 2, Angry Granny, and Candy Crush were all very much playable.

By the way, one thing we appreciated about the Starmobile Knight in a gaming scenario was the form factor. Since it was light and compact we had no problems holding it with both hands and not getting fatigued due to the bulk.


Perfect for watching videos
Perfect for watching videos

Watching videos on the Starmobile Knight was definitely a far more enjoyable experience than watching it on the smaller 4-inch screen of the iPhone 5. However it was really as fulfilling as watching movies on a full blown phablet (5.5-inches and up). It’s good for watching an episode or two of your favorite TV series while on the road but eventually your eyes will start looking for a bigger TV.

The good news here though is that the HD resolution of the Knight works wonders on your content, regardless if it’s HD video on YouTube or you’re watching downloaded stuff. Images just looked much better with the sharper colors and tighter details.


Perfect for browsing the web with one hand
Perfect for browsing the web with one hand

The Starmobile Knight is the perfect device for one-hand browsing. Since most browsers like Chrome will allow you to zoom in on a section by just double tapping on the screen with your thumb, you can easily enjoy your favorite sites without the need to pinch and zoom all the time. Speaking of reading, the Starmobile Knight is also quite good for the usual reader apps like Pulse, Flipboard, and the custom-made readers for websites like Rappler and The Verge.

Lastly it’s good to note that you can get faster internet with the Starmobile Knight because it actually has HSPA+ connectivity (not just 3G).

Awesome also for reader apps like Flipboard, Rappler, etc.
Awesome also for reader apps like Flipboard, Rappler, etc.

When it comes to the software the Starmobile Knight roars powerfully due to the internals. The best thing about it is that it keeps the lean and slim form factor which makes it an even more desirable gadget to have.

Camera: 8MP front-facing camera is better than a lot of the primary cameras of other smartphones

Now we get to the part most of you have been waiting for — the cameras. The Starmobile Knight has a rear-facing 18MP camera and a front-facing 8MP camera. Let’s do the good stuff first. The front-facing camera of the Starmobile Knight is superior to a lot of the rear-facing cameras of other brands. The optics are great and they’re able to capture a lot of light in detail in the images.

Here’s my first ever selfie. Ugh.

Carlo's first ever selfie. Ugh. 8MP  front-facing camera on the Starmobile Knight.
Carlo’s first ever selfie. Ugh. 8MP front-facing camera on the Starmobile Knight.

The rear-facing camera has the usual optics but it can take better macro shots. We did find that it over-all color seems to be a tad too dark (software adjustment can fix this).

Here are sample photos with the rear-facing camera:

My favorite everyday watch! Take a look at how the camera is able to capture a lot of detail
My favorite everyday watch! Take a look at how the camera is able to capture a lot of detail
One of our favorite gadget stores in the metro: Beyond the Box
One of our favorite gadget stores in the metro: Beyond the Box
View outside our condo
View outside our condo
Moch, Alora, and Eason during the last episode of the Unbox podcast
Moch, Alora, and Eason during the last episode of the Unbox podcast
Gloomy weather last week.
Gloomy weather last week.

So our verdict for the cameras? Front-facing camera is one of the best we’ve ever seen. The rear-facing one is competitive but not really that much better compared to the 12MP shooters with BSI of other smartphones.

Battery Life will last you the day

The Starmobile Knight packs a 2,000mAH rated non-removable battery. Based on our experience that’s more than enough to get you through the day without a charge unless you abuse it thoroughly by making non-stop calls every 30 minutes. In actual numbers we got around 9-10 hours with moderate-heavy usage and around 14-15 with light usage. This is with 3G and Sync on.

Verdict: It’s a solid flagship offering that can compete head-on with global brands

Two thumbs up from Unbox! We highly recommend the Starmobile Knight!
Two thumbs up from Unbox! We highly recommend the Starmobile Knight!

So what’s our final verdict on the Starmobile Knight? It’s arguably one of the best local branded smartphones to date. Not only does it have the specs but it also has the nicest form factor as well as kick ass optics (especially the front facing camera). While it’s quite “expensive” for a local brand at Php11,290, we believe that it’s actually a fair price given all the features and benefits you get with this phone.

Can it compete with global brands? Oh hell yeah. If Starmobile comes out with something like this in Q4 with LTE connectivity we’ll probably sell our current smartphone and just go for that instead. That’s how much we love the form factor of the Knight.


Congratulations Starmobile! You guys have a hot one here!!!

The Starmobile Knight retails for Php11,290 and will debut in Starmobile stores and kiosks in July.

Comments (41)

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    Hey there Carlo. You know what I really want to see? A showdown between this and the ThL W11 Monkey King. Make it happen, please! 🙂

    Tanong ko lang po kung totoo po sinasabi ng iba na umiinit daw po ang starmobile ng sobra-sobra specifically knight, at hindi daw po gumagana yung internet in terms of network specifically globe pero sa smart wala daw po problema and lastly totoo ba po na minsan namamatay po ito bigla-bigla at hindi na daw bumubukas ulit? Pakisagot lang po 🙂 Thank you.

    sana naman po mapansin nyo ang tanong ko before ako magdecide kung anong affordable smartphone ang magandang bilhin. actually 10k lang budget ko. then I saw this Starmobile Knight. Nagandahan ako sa reviews and specs nito. Pero dun sa mga sside comments ng mga nakaexperience gumamit ng phone na toh, medyo nagdalwang isip na ko. >…< Ano ba pinaka magandang smartphone na swak sa budget ko 🙁

    Can you tell us something about the product reliabilty please? I bought a Philippine made mobile a year or so ago and resolved never to do so again, after repeated faults and terrible after sale service. I threw it away in the end! Thank you.

    Kaasar kaya itong starmobile
    May experience on this gadget my pamangkin accidentally played my mobile 3times na wrong pattern.. Then I entered my gmail account para maayos hindi nag proceed.. I ask for help sa binilan ko ng mobile kc bago pa 1week plng.. Ang sabi nlng sakin eh hindi namin kayo matutulungan pumunta kayo sa north edsa para maayos mobile ninyo at may charged na 350.. Agad agad.. Oh dba business ng company ito.. Ayos
    Ang haba ng pila ang bagal ng service ng customer care no care.. Lahat ng naka usap ko lahat sa kanila bago phone at bumibigay agad meaning sira agad.. Wla man lng naka 1year sa phone.. Hahahah
    Bayad muna para maayos

    Ganyan talaga yan Sir, Google Play ang may kasalanan dyan kahit sa S4 ko nakailan na ako na wrong pattern kahit alam ko ang password wala din so pumunta ako sa service center.

    I reboot mo lang yan, mas effective kesa magbayad kapa ng 350 something it costs.
    for android 4.2 press Power + up volume.. first turn it off at tanggalin yung battery din, i press ang power button and volume up 🙂 try mo lang:)

    sir carlo,,bumili po ako starmobile knight last march 9..ang problema ko hindi ako mkpag facebook,,walang pictures na lumalabas,,

    May I know what connection are you using? 3G or WiFi? Also make sure that the FB app is updated. If the FB app isn’t installed as a system app, you can easily remove it and reinstall a fresh one from the market.

    If the FB app is installed as a system app, you can’t just uninstall it the conventional way. You can now resort to something a “bit” complicated.

    – Root the Phone – Methods are available online (Warning: will void warranty)
    – Install Titanium Backup
    – Run Titanium Backup
    – Find FB app and make a back-up
    – Uninstall FB app
    – Open Market and install FB app from there.

    Give me an update on this…

    hi sir,i initially plannd to buy ung diamond v3 kso end of lyf ndw accdg to d salesman. he then offerd sm knight, im planning to buy ds knight but a bit worid abt d bat thats unremovable,wat f it didnt last long? wil there be a replacement anytym soon in their kiosks?

    Got this phone, I’m using this almost a month na
    Nice features. Madaling gamitin.
    I can even play GBA, NDS and PS1 Games.
    1 have 17 apps installed 11 of them are app games. 10 hours kong nagagamit then it goes 10% battery life. Pag idle mga 12hrs.


    I wonder if you knew about vsco cam app that is famous in iphone phones . Can we download vsco cam app here? 🙂

    i’m planning to buy SM Knight, but my worry is that…the BATTERY is built-in to the unit and only the service center is authorized to replace it.

    With proper care and usage.

    What is the life span of battery?

    How many month or year do i replace the battery?

    Thank you.

    sir bumili po ako ng bagong star mobile knight. kaso di naman ako mksend sa lahat ng smart number promos.. lage message not sent. tapos nung nilagay ko ung sim ko sa ibang cp nkapagregister cya.. tinwag ko na sa smart sb sa handset na daw ang problem. pls help.

    i buy star mobile knight last march 2014 to gift my son for graduation day after in 1 month nag uusap sila ng kanyang gf s vifer biglang ng black out di n gumana , ayaw n mag off and on ,,nbigla me ang dali palang masira ang software nya…

    I bought this unit SMK 1 week ago and yung flickering nya is true. When you adjust it to it’s full brightness it will flicker na kagad, buti n lng napa replace ko sya agad to a new unit. Good news that the new unit that I’m using doesn’t have that problem. I just found out that sometimes matagal mag download ng games maybe it’s because of the internet connection na den.. Over all performance I’m satisfied. I just bought it for 9.2k sa lazada.com and it’s almost cheaper now. The User Interface is good and when it comes to games 5 STar for me! I really like to play heavy games and it matched the quad core processor of the unit that makes the game played smoothly. The graphics and camera are nice. It’s just that when it comes to video recording ung camera nya ay malabo na it’s because the camera setting set to default that I can’t adjust. Still worth for the price.. Go Starmobile! Keep up the good work..

    And one more:

    I will be more than happy if the android version of this phone is upgradable..

    sir ask q lng po kung kya po mgsalpak ng NBA2k13 game? Bka kc malaking space ng memory magamit then konting apps n lng mailagay. tnx po.

    Dear sir/madam,

    I have recently discovered starmobiles and I love them. Sadly I cannot find anywhere to purchase them in England, UK.

    I was wondering if you could help. I am more than happy to pay shipping costs. I also have a paypal account.

    Do you ship to the UK? Or do you know of anywhere that does?Kindest regards

    Conor Lynch

    hi. i have a concern po. does anyone here had an issue with the screen? i mean, bigla nlng nag bliblink yung screen? if so, how can i fix it? please i need a reply asap.

    I have the same issue; that’s why I will return the item where I purchased it..I think that is the problem with this unit. Because my work mate has the same issue..

    yung SMK Ko minsan gumagana internet sa smart minsan hindi.yung globe never gumana. Pero okay sa wifi. Hindi yun sa settings kasi may oras naman na gumagana siya. Can I do something about it? Or this phone is just crappy as hell? Anyone? Thanks.

    You’ll end up wasting your money buying this phone. For those who are interesed in buying this phone, i suggest buy a 2nd hand iphone rather than buying this.

    I bought this phone 3 months ago. At first it did well but eventually, I’ve encountered a lot of problems with this phone which is disappointing.

    1. Phone reboots at random times.
    2. Reboots when I take pictures with flash.
    3. Their so-called feature “Wireless Update” isn’t true. You still need to ask for it’s latest version from Starmobile’s FB page by sending them a message.
    4. Built in Battery broke within a span of only 3 months. Wow.

    Now im seeking time to repair my phone that could take weeks. (which is disappointing because as I student, having a phone is necessary especially that Im using it for notes, reminders, alarm, etc.)

    Repair is too expensive, i bought Knight Elite last 2 weeks ago, very frustrating that the glass cover of the LCD was broken, nalaglag sia sa 1foot lng kataas na kama. i brought to Starmobile for service and then they quoted me for almost 4k. 3,610.00 for the front assembly plus 350.00 service fee.. not reasonable because the problem is only the glass cover of the LCD but they have to quote the entire panel.. price of the unit is 6,490.00 only. kung gagastos ka ng 4k para sa repair ay hndi na reasonable dahil ang daming phones jan na mabibili lng ng worth of 4k, same specs na sa unit na ito. my point is hindi worth it mag pa repair kapag nasira mo kahit tempered glass lng. isip isip, kung ako d na bibili ng star mobile. what if magaya kayo sa akin, d ko naman ginusto na mabagsak ko, iniingatan ko naman pero nangyayari talaga ang aksidente. once it happen, your mobile considered garbage.

    i bought starmobile knight x madaling uminit battery akala ko ok lang so i stop using it para lumamig ng konti bago ko ulit gamiten because i have four cellphones a sonny experia na almost 6 yrs na sakin and one iphone magtotwo years na the problem with the knight x is after four (4) months nagbulged ang baterry niya i was shocked this was the first time na magkaroon ako ng ganitong cellphone dinala ko sa pinagbilhan ko ni refer ako sa cp repair company at dadalhin daw sa service center and wait for 2 to 3 mos daw so i waited after two and half months they called me saying di daw covered ng warranty kung aausin daw halos parehas ng pagbili ko which is 15+ i want them to return it at papacheck ko because i believe it is company damage something is wrong with the phone and it is not my fault paki tignan nyo naman customer nyo sayang ang future nyo i though i would patronize phil product and this is what i get pls reply

    Hi good day! To whom it may concern, is there any chance that a “FIXED NON-REMOVABLE BATTERY” can replace/change another battery? My cellphone is Starmobile Knight. I don’t have any cellphone, only the Starmobile. Thank You for your reply