Octa-core. When news of processors with eight cores first came out people were skeptical of the over-all quality and power. We were also a bit hesitant especially since high quality quad-core processors were already able to deliver superb Android smartphone experiences (especially when paired with 1GB or 2GB RAM). There have been so many assumptions made about octa-core smartphones but today we’re happy to share with you a factual and experiential review of an octa-core device, the THL T100!
*Note that the unit we received was a prototype and it can still improve with the final commercial model
THL T100 Spec Sheet
- 1.7GHz Octa-core Processor MediaTek 6592 Chipset
- Mali 450 Graphics
- 2GB RAM
- 32GB Internal Storage, Expandable via MicroSD Card (64GB)
- 5.0-inch Full HD IPS OGS Display (1080p)
- Corning Gorilla Glass 3
- 13.0-megapixels primary camera with LED Flash and Auto Focus
- 13.0-megapixels secondary camera
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 3G, HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS/aGPS, NFC
- USB OTG Compatible
- Android Jelly Bean 4.2
- 2,700mAh Battery
- SRP: Php16,000, available 3rd week January
We have a strong feeling this review will surprise most of you, hehe.
Strong and Imposing Build
The THL T100 exudes power. It has a very solid build with the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 panel up front and the removable gray plate with matte finish at the back. The edges are kinda sharp especially at the top and bottom but it’s still comfortable to hold since the sides are slightly curved. It’s almost all black but the colorless look doesn’t come across as lifeless but more of confidence and strength.
Once turned on, the 5.0-inch screen delivers a premium flagship-caliber quality display experience. Thanks to the Full HD resolution, IPS, and OGS technology, we get crisp, vibrant, and warm colors plus incredible level of detail thanks to the pixel density (441).
We actually only have one complaint with the build — the bezel size at the bottom. We kinda feel it’s too thick but the side bezels are just the right size. Other than that this has a pretty good build. We also heard that the final commercial unit might even get a better back plate. We’ll confirm this once we get our hands on the final model that gets released to the market.
Small Traces of Lag, But Can Be Solved with A Good Launcher
Now let’s get to the meat of this review, the performance of the THL T100. With an octa-core processor, what kind of speeds do you get? With the default ROM we were surprised to find small traces of lag. We just thought that it’s probably because the octa-core processor plus the 2GB RAM still had issues coping up with the Full HD display. However it turns out it’s mostly because of the software. We installed and applied our favorite launcher, the Nova Launcher Pro, and we got a much better Android experience. There were still some traces of delays (mostly with app transitions) but nothing that can be considered a deal-breaker.
On the Antutu Benchmark Test the THL T100 scored over 24,000. This is a significant improvement from the 17,000 score that we got from the latest generation quad-core processor from MediaTek and it shows in performance. The 24,000+ rating delivered an almost perfect Full HD 5.0-inch Android experience. Hopefully the minor transition lag that we felt was just software-related and hopefully this could be fixed come the final commercial unit.
Everything else was smooth and virtually lag-free. We tried the basic and core apps like messaging, media playback, and social networking and we have no complaints whatsoever. We also tried the light apps from the Google Play store like BPI, Sulit, Waze (GPS works), and Evernote and they all also functioned fluidly and without any issues.
By the way the GPS module on the THL T100 is very impressive. We got a lock on Waze and Google Maps quite fast compared to a lot of other devices that we’ve tested in the past.
It looks like the lag we felt was really isolated to the transitions. Whenever we’re in an app, all traces of the lag disappears. Perfect example is with gaming. We tried the our usual testing titles like Dead Trigger 2, NBA 2k14, Zombieland, and Minion Rush. Despite facing hordes of zombies already or being attacked by purple evil minions, the THL T100 gave us not just lag free gaming, but fantastic graphics and animation.
The THL T100 is a gaming beast and here we see the full power of MediaTek’s octa-core processor.
THL continues to deliver good camera optics with the THL T100. It’s actually not surprising since we already said before that the THL W11 Monkey King had one of the best cameras we’ve seen in a smartphone under Php12,000. They probably used the same optics (or even better) with this new model. The primary 13MP shooter delivered great color reproduction (could use a tad more sharpness) and was able to take decent pics in low light with the built-in HDR mode.
Update: THL used Sony Blue Glass Lens Filter F2.0 for the camera. That’s probably the reason why the images came out nicely.
Here are some sample shots using the primary camera:
Unfortunately we couldn’t get the front-facing 13MP shooter to work. We think it’s a bug with the unit but that shouldn’t be the case with the commercial model. We’ll update this article with photos taken from the front-facing camera once we get the final unit.
Surprisingly Decent Battery Life
Here’s another pleasant surprise — the THL T100 gave us unbelievably decent battery life! Despite having a full HD display and an octa-core processor we were able to get the around 7-8 hours even with heavy usage. It looks like MediaTek has come a long way with energy efficiency.
Want an even better surprise? The prototype unit we had used just an ordinary 2,300mAh battery pack. The final model will have a 2,700mAh battery. We expect to get at least 9-11 hours out of the commercial unit with heavy usage if we’re already getting 8-9 hours with the prototype!
THL T100 Prototype Verdict: Fix the Small Lag
Everything considered, the THL T100 is POTENTIALLY a superb 5.0-inch Full HD smartphone with great camera optics and battery life. As it is a prototype we can’t fault the manufacturer yet for the transition lag so we’re hoping that they completely eliminate it with the commercial unit. If they solve that then we have one bad ass full HD smartphone that can go head-to-head with a lot of flagships that cost Php10,000 more.
We’ll do another supplement post once we get the final model and we’ll update you guys on the front-facing camera, battery life, and the transition lag. 🙂
The THL T100 is expected to hit the Philippines sometime in the third week of January with an SRP of Php16,000. Pre-orders were accepted a few weeks ago for Php12,999 (which is a real steal if you ask us).
THL T100 Initial Review and Impressions