THL W8S War Machine Review: Force to be Reckoned With

THL W8S War Machine Review: Force to be Reckoned With

It's the THL W8S War Machine Review!

THL W8S Review

At Php12,495, the THL W8S pretty much slays a lot of the flagships offered by local brands. There’s no going around the power that they were able to pack into this device combined with the ridiculously generous 32GB internal storage expandable with an additional 32GB via micro SD card. As expected the 13.0-megapxiel shooter can run circles around the 18-megapixel shooters of other manufacturers primarily because of the quality of the lens and the optics. Heck the only thing missing really is LTE connectivity and this can go toe-to-toe already with the big boys of the mobile tech world like Sony and Samsung.

Here’s a quick refresher again on the specifications.

THL W8s Spec Sheet

  • 1.5GHz Quad Core MediaTek MT6589T processor
  • PowerVR SGX544MP graphics
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable via MicroSD
  • 5.0-inches Full HD IPS LCD display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 13.0 megapixels primary camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 5.0 megapixels secondary facing camera
  • 3G, HSPA+, WiFi, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • 2,000 mAh battery
  • Android Jelly Bean 4.2
  • SRP: P12,495

We’ve been using the THL W8S as our daily driver for the last week and allow us to share with you guys our full review.

Hardware: Well Designed But with Obvious Inspirations

Offspring of the GS3 and the P770!

We’ve already covered most of our thoughts about the hardware design of the THL W8S during our unboxing and initial review post. To recap, we feel that the THL W8S is well-built because it’s very ergonomic and easy on the hands. However it does take a lot of inspiration from the “Pebble” design of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the back plate design is similar to the Lenovo P770. As far as we’re concerned though it’s not that much of a big deal since at the end of the day the THL W8S is a joy to hold and use!

What the back looks like

One of the biggest highlights of the hardware aspic of the THL W8S is definitely the 5.0-inch Full HD display. Images, pictures, and text come out beautiful on the large screen which makes it a fantastic portable media player and gaming machine. We do have one slight criticism on the display — it doesn’t do well under direct sunlight. We struggled even if it was on maximum brightness when we were walking around Singapore during a recent trip with the sun up in the sky.

Nice display

By the way, there were some comments and feedback saying that there was a notable delay in responsiveness based on what people have seen on some videos on YouTube. We can only confirm that lag on the camera app. For some reason we had to keep pressing hard to the on-screen shutter button for it to take a photo. Kinda frustrating but it’s not really that big of a deal breaker. Other than that we didn’t encounter any noticeable delays in responsiveness when tapping icons to launch apps or when we were mashing the on-screen keyboard for messaging.

Over-all the THL W8S passes our hardware standards. While we would have preferred a metallic chassis, the compact plastic construction of the THL W8S gives it a solid and sturdy feel, something that even global brands still struggle with until today. Two thumbs up!

Software: Jam-packed with Power

15,000+ on Antutu

Powered by a turbo Quad-core processor and coupled with 2GB of RAM, the THL W8S is simply a beast! On Antutu it scored well over 15,000-16,000 which is a significant improvement over the usual non-turbo MediaTek quad-core processors from a lot of other budget flagships.

In terms of real world performance, it’s a semi-mixed bag. When you stick with the default launcher that’s pre-installed with the THL W8S, you get to enjoy the variety of downloaded and local skins and themes. These themes change the lock screen, icons, and even the sound effects of the device. It also does away with the app tray and instead puts all the apps, folders, and widgets on the home screens (very iOS like). For example, here’s a Japanese themed skin that we downloaded for free on the Theme store:

You can change themes Closer look at the treatment of the new icons

There are a lot of other available skins ranging from various themes like anime, Transformers, 3D, love, travel, and much more.

However there is a notable drawback to using the default launcher. It starts up and wakes up slower. There’s a noticeable half-second delay for the phone to wake up after you press the power lock button. There are also times when it can become a little bit laggy but the system eventually shakes it off and becomes more fluid after a few minutes of use. Solution? Do a Factory Reset and it will revert back to normal Android without the launcher loaded. This is actually how we’re using the phone right now. All the aesthetics will just be for naught if the phone becomes sluggish right?

Gaming: Smooth, Fluid, and Visually Absorbing


On the gaming side of things, the THL W8S did not disappoint us one bit. We tried a variety of titles ranging from casual games like Candy Crush, to strategy tower defense apps like Plants vs Zombies 2, to more graphics intensive games like Dead Trigger 2. All of them ran pretty well. We were definitely impressed with how the THL W8S was able to handle the Full HD graphics on a 5-inch display.

Also let us just point out that we were able to install games with abandon on the THL W8S because we weren’t worried about the internal storage filling up, hehe. The generous 32GB was more than enough for all the games that we wanted (and more). Definitely two thumbs up!

All the Other Tasks

Most apps work really well on the THL W8S

As expected the THL W8S also handled all the other apps very well! We loaded the usual apps that we use on our LG G2 and they all ran smoothly. From banking apps (BPI) to shopping (Sulit) and to social networking, the THL W8S gave us a great user experience.

Instagram was also more fun since the camera on the THL W8S was actually kinda good. It looks like THL knows how to do their optics properly!

Camera: Surprisingly Very Good

When we first got our hands on the THL W8S, the first thing we did was take it out and try some test shots. Fortunately it did not disappoint. The 13MP shooter on the back definitely has the same build as the THL W11 Monkey King because the images came out very nice despite the varied lighting conditions. It captures color and detail pretty well so again this one deservers another two thumbs up!

Some sample shots:





Click here for the full-sized pics.

Battery Life: A Little Below Average

If there’s one major criticism we can throw at the THL W8S, it’s really the battery life. The 2,000mAh pack is sorely lacking to decently get one through the day. The 5.0-inch Full HD display coupled with the turbo quad-core processor can drain the battery fairly quickly. With heavy usage we averaged around 6-7 hours which is below 2 hours our desired output of around 8-9 hours.

That said, THL probably knew that when they made this so we have to give them props for bundling a spare 2,000mAh battery in the box. Just keep the extra batt charged and you shouldn’t have a problem if you alternate the two.

Verdict: Very Strong Contender


THL, without a doubt, has a strong contender with the W8S War Machine. It has super specifications, a gorgeous display, a fantastic camera, ridiculously generous storage (32GB plus expandable) and a smooth and ergonomic chassis. With a price of Php12,495, it easily can surpass a lot of the flagships of local brands in the same price point.

That said it also faces the same challenges as the local flagships. With prices of global powerhouses going down, people will start looking and demanding for more critical features (LTE LTE!) from manufacturers like THL. If you’re not after LTE though then the THL W8S gives a loud bang for your buck and should definitely be at the top part of your list if you’re in the market for a smartphone in the Php12,000-Php13,000 price range.

Congratulations Novo 7 Tech for bringing the THL W8S to the Philippines!



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