Saturday, November 16, 2013

SKK Mobile Chrome Review: Metal Plating

SKK Mobile Chrome

For UNBOXING please kindly click HERE.

For PREVIEW (Hardware, Display, Sensors & Benchmarks) please kindly click HERE.


INTRODUCTION:

The SKK Mobile Chrome is the third quad-core phone I got from them, the first two were the SKK Mobile Silver and the SKK Mobile Platinum. Among the three, the Chrome is the only one that does NOT have a high definition display.

This phablet can be considered as SKK Mobile's mid-range device positioned above the SKK Mobile Steel and below the Platinum. Specs wise it can still be considered as a high-end except for the display resolution.

The Chrome is powered by the over popular MediaTek MT6589 chipset, with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, PowerVR SGX544MP GPU coupled with 1GB of RAM.

Key Specs:


  • Dual SIM , Dual Standby
  • 5" capacitive FWVGA (854x480) touchscreen display, 5-point multi-touch
  • Android Jelly Bean 4.2.1
  • 1.2GHz Cortex-A7 Quad Core CPU, PowerVR SGX544MP GPU MediaTek MT6589 chipset
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8GB internal (6.16GB user accessible), expandable up to 32GB via microSD
  • 8MP auto focus main camera with LED Flash, 720p Video Recording
  • 2MP secondary camera, VGA Recording
  • GPS with A-GPS and EPO assistance
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, WiFi Hotspot
  • 3.5 Audio Jack
  • Stereo FM Radio
  • MP3/MP4 Player
  • Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
  • Bluetooth 
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Light, Proximity and Sound
  • 1700mAh removable battery
  • Gesture based controls in Gallery, Music, Camera and Launcher

Main Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution display
  • Low battery capacity
  • GPS unable to get satellite lock


INTERFACE:

Lockscreen

The lockscreen is the generic Jelly Bean, you can swipe the padlock icon to any direction to unlock the device. If you have a notification like a missed call, you can hold and drag it into the lock icon to go there directly.

Note that there is no option to change the lockscreen wallpaper, even you change your screen lock to a different method (e.g. pin, pattern etc.).

Lockscreen Widget

The lockscreen widgets are also present, swiping from left to right will open the camera interface while swiping from right to left will reveal a vacant space which you can fill in either with Digital Clock, Gmail or Messaging.

Homescreen

The Homescreen consists of five pages, there is no option to delete or add pages. You can place your favorite app on the homescreen when you press and hold it, creating folder is done by stacking two or more apps shortcut.

By default there are five shortcut at the bottom of the homescreen namely Phone, People, Messaging, Browser and Apps. The first four can be customized while Apps always opens the app drawer.

Default Apps
Default Widgets

Opening the app drawer will reveal the Apps and Widgets in a tabbed interface. The apps are organized in 4x5 layout while the widgets have 2x3 layout. The apps are arranged automatically leaving you no option to re-arrange it.

Among the pre-installed apps, only the Facebook, Angry Birds and Temple Run can be uninstalled without the need for root access.

Notification

The notification area has a collapsible info, for example when a screenshot is captured you can immediately share it or if you have a missed call you will be presented with the option to call back or send a message.

The quick toggle settings can be accessed by pressing the upper right icon on the notification panel or via a two-finger swipe from top to bottom of your screen.


DUAL SIM FUNCTIONALITY:

SIM Management

The SIM Management can be accessed under settings>connect, you can turn on/off each SIM to save battery. You can set the voice call and messaging to SIM 1, SIM 2 or always ask. For video calls you can choose between SIM 1 or SIM 2 while on the data connection you can set it off or either SIM (both SIM slots can handle HSPA+ connection).


TELEPHONY:

Dial Pad and Speed Dial

Telephony supports speed dialing of up to 9 numbers, 1 is always for Voicemail while you can assign anyone on the remaining 8 slots. The dial pad has smart dialing, it can seek contacts by either typing the number or name.

The 3 green buttons under the number pad corresponds to video call, call using SIM 1 and call using SIM 2 respectively.

In-call Options

The call quality is good, you can hear the other line loud and clear without any static or drop call. The screen turns off automatically during a call with the help of the proximity sensor.

During a call, you can put it on loudspeaker, place the other person on hold, add a person on a call, mute your microphone and record the call.

Incoming Call

If you have an incoming call you can accept it, reject it or reject it via an SMS, if you do the latter, just press the envelope icon. There are default messages but you can also compose a custom one.

Call Log

The call log can be filtered by resources or viewed by the type of call. Selecting a certain contact within the call log will give you more detailed information and some options.


PHONEBOOK:

Contacts

Each contact can contain multiple information unless you save it to your SIM card. You can import/export contact/s, choose which contacts to display or join multiple contacts.

Groups

Under phonebook, groups and contacts can be synchronized to your online accounts like Google without any issue. If you want to create a new contact/group it will ask you first to where you want it to be saved.


MESSAGING:

Messaging

The message thread are chat-type, your message in a blue bubble goes to the right while the gray bubble is for the recipient. Each chat bubble has SIM identifier, it indicates which SIM was used for that particular message.

There are default emoji you can use to add life to your message. If you want to convert SMS to MMS simply press the cross in a green circle and attach anything from there.


Message Recipient Input

You can encode name or number under the recipient input. When you type numbers it will only show matching contacts if they have the same beginning while when you input  letters it can track anything in between.

The messaging department can be customized too, you can change the chat wallpaper, the ring tone, disable/enable vibration and popup notification. If the latter is enabled, an SMS will popup on your screen when a new one arrives.


EMAIL:

The Chrome has both generic email app and Gmail app pre-installed, they can contain multiple accounts.

Gmail

The Gmail app will synchronize the email you used to set-up any Google account, e.g PlayStore. You can include multiple recipient under the To, Cc, or Bcc. The attachment is limited to picture or video, if you want to attach a different file you need to go to the file manager and from there you have the option to share it on Gmail.

Email

The email app can handle POP3, IMAP or MS Exchange email accounts. Setting up is quite easy, just enter your email address and password then hit next, when your email settings are available online you are good to go otherwise manual set-up is necessary. Unlike the Gmail, you can attach anything to your message.


MULTIMEDIA:

Gallery:

Gallery

The videos and pictures under gallery can be arranged either by Albums, Locations or Times and can be viewed either by filmstrip or grid.

Gallery Options

Anything in the gallery can be shared locally via Bluetooth and LAN or online via Picasa, Email etc.

Photo Editor

If you want to enhance the photo before saving or sharing, you can use the photo editor. You can access it by pressing the 3 overlapping circles at the lower left portion of the picture under gallery.

Video Trim

If you want a particular portion of a video you can use the trim option. It can trim any two points on any video.

Movie Studio

 However if you want something more, you can use the Movie Studio which comes pre-installed.

Video Player:

Video Player

The default Android player will list all the available videos with corresponding thumbnails and some information like size and length. Selecting a video to play will prompt you to choose which player you want to use, the stock video player or the Mobo player.

Video Player Interface
Mobo Player Interface

The Mobo player has richer interface and more options than the stock video player, but if you do not like either of the two you can simply go to Play Store and download your favorite app.

The video player has a rich codec support, it can play almost any video file such as .3gp, .mp4, .avi, .flv and .mkv. Every type of video runs smoothly but only up to 720p, it does not support 1080p playback.

Music Player:

Music Interface

The music player will list all the songs on your device and they can be viewed either by artists, albums, songs or playlists. If a certain song has an album art, it will be displayed accordingly. While a song is playing and you minimize it, a mini player will appear in the notification panel.

Equalizer

For those audiophiles you will be happy because the music player is equipped with an equalizer.

FM Radio:


FM Radio

A wired headset is needed before you can use the FM radio, when you select the channel list for the first time it will scan all the available channels.

The rotary dial acts as the controls, you can push it to turn on/off the radio or rotate it to select a certain channel. You can add your favorite channels by simply pressing the plus sign at the bottom of the interface.

Camera/Video:

Camera Options

The SKK Chrome uses stock Android camera interface wherein the photo and video share the same interface. The main camera can shoot 8MP still and 720p videos at 30fps. It can also take a 2MP picture while recording a video. It has HRD, Panorama, Multi-Angle Shot, among other camera options.

Camera Settings

The camera supports burst shots and some manual settings like exposure and white balance. When you set the video quality to Fine or High it will record your clip at 720p however please take note that there is a big difference - the file size. I recorded two videos (high and fine quality) with the same durations, the file size of the video with high quality is 3x smaller than the file size of the video with fine quality (200MB versus 660MB for a 3-minute video).

I analyzed the two videos and below are the differences:

Audio Codec - Fine = mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC at 24KHz, High =  mp4a: MPEG-4 AAC LC at 16KHz
Video Codec - Fine = mpv4 MPEG-4 Video, High = avc1 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC

Sample Shots:

Night without flash
Night with flash
Afternoon Shot
Afternoon Shot_1
Macro Shot
Panorama
Shot before video capture
Shot simultaneously during video
720 Video Sample, Quality set to high

The images produced are quite good as long as you have a good lighting source. It can also focus even at a close distance allowing you to take nice macro shot.

The video quality is also good, however it tends to zoom in first before starting to record a video. The evidence can be seen on the above photos (shot before and shot simultaneously).

Browser:

Browser

The Chrome uses a stock Android browser, it supports up to 16 tabs and has incognito mode. Websites load quickly however due to low resolution it is quite challenging to read small texts so I would suggest you opt to view them on mobile mode.

Gaming:

Pou
4 Pics 1 Word
Candy Crush Saga
Angry Birds
Temple Run
Temple Run 2

Subway Surfers

Casual games like Pou, 4 Pics 1 Word, Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Temple Run1, Temple Run2 and Subway Surfers all worked without any issue or glitch.

Plant Versus Zombies 2
Dead Trigger
Dead Trigger 2
Dungeon Hunter 4
Asphalt 7

Graphics intensive games are no match with SKK Chrome's processing and graphics prowess. Plants versus Zombies 2, Dead Trigger 1, Dead Trigger 2, Dungeon Hunter 4 and Asphalt 7 are all working without any problem encountered.

Please kindly see Dungeon Hunter 4 and Asphalt 7 game play videos below.


 SKK Mobile Chrome Gaming Sample - Dungeon Hunter 4

SKK Mobile Chrome Gaming Sample - Asphalt 7

If you love playing games with large files like Asphalt 8 you would encounter problem soon - out of storage. Even though the Chrome has 8GB of storage only 6.16GB are available to the users and apps are NOT moveable to the external SD card.

App Storage




CONNECTIVITY:

Dual 3G

The SKK Mobile Chrome supports dual SIM dual standby and dual 3G, this means that you can set either SIM for high speed internet connection.

WiFi

WiFi supports multiple channel (B/G/N), the signal is also pretty decent no drop connection and reception is still good even though you are around 10 meters from the router.

When I compared its signal to the Kata i2, it can detect more channels and display better signals (see above picture - left Chrome, right i2).

OTG function

USB on-the-go (OTG) is also supported, wireless mouse and flash drive were both working when I tested them on my device. The Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio complete the list of connectivity.


PRODUCTIVITY:

Documents To Go
Calendar
File Manager
NoteBook
Sound Recorder
To Do
Clock
Calculator

Like the SKK Mobile Platinum, the SKK Mobile Chrome has the same sets of productivity tools namely Documents To Go, Calendar, File Manager, NoteBook, Sound Recorder, ToDo, Clock and Calculator.


GPS:

Location Access

Under settings>account>location access we can find the settings for GPS satellites, however even with GPS EPO assistance and A-GPS are enabled I was still NOT able to get a satellite lock. I do not know if this is isolated to my unit or a software problem.


BATTERY:

Battery Stats

After constantly refreshing a webpage every 1 minute for 3 hours the battery juice dropped from 100% to 73% (left). I played Asphalt 7 for 30 minutes and the battery capacity percentage drops from 100% to 93%.


SETTINGS:

Settings

The settings are arranged in tabs namely Connect, Device, Account and More.

Gesture Controls

Under settings>connect you will find Gesture sensing, it is a gesture based controls for Camera, Gallery, Music and Launcher. When this option is ON, you can wave your hand in front of your phone to control the applications mentioned.

Suspension Window

Under settings>device>display you will find the Suspension Window, when enabled there will be a hidden apps on the left of your screen which you can access by tapping the curve. One issue here is even though it is disabled it keeps on appearing and could be annoying sometimes.


CONCLUSION:

The SKK Mobile Chrome could be a mid-range device but it has the qualities of a top-tier smartphone. Its quad-core MediaTek MT6589 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM is the same combination found on some of the high-end phones from competitors.

The main downside is the screen resolution, FWVGA is a bit too low for the current display standards. It limits the video playback and video recording to 720p not to mention you will have a hard time viewing the websites in desktop mode.

Another issue I had with my unit is the GPS, I was not able to get a satellite lock even A-GPS and EPO Assistance are both on. This could be limited to by device, but then again it could in all devices. Hopefully it is just a software glitch and can be fixed soon.

2 comments:

  1. sir how about the steel sir. may available na kasi d2 sa amin. pero hintay muna ng review. Hoping na sana magawan niyo po ng review. Tnx. ano po kayang OEM ng chrome at radiance meron na kasi ate ko at kapatid ko balak ko sanang palitan ng rom. Tnx sir.

    ReplyDelete

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