|SKK Mobile Marian S1 Review: Celebrity Smartphone|
The year 2014 is the era of octa-core device in the country, almost every local brand, if not all, has at least one under their name. The SKK Mobile has two, the Kraken and the Marian S1, the latter being their flagship offering.
The Marian S1 sports a 5-inch IPS HD touchscreen display powered by a MediaTek MT6592 processor with eight CPU cores clocked at 1.7GHz each bundled with 1GB of RAM and runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat out of the box. There is an 8GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 32GB via micro SD card.
The Marian S1 has a rich retail package consists of the unit with pre-installed screen protector, two pieces batteries (2150mAh and 2400mAh) charger, USB cable, wired headset, flip case, warranty card and user manual.
The front is mainly occupied by the 5-inch display, you will find the usual capacitive keys below the screen while the multi-colored LED notification, hidden sensors, earpiece and secondary camera are located above the display.
The back has a matte-finish, it is not prone to fingerprints or smudges. The SKK Mobile logo and the Marian S1 branding are both made of silver-colored material embedde on the cover. The 13MP main camera and the LED flash are located at the upper left corner while the loudspeaker grill is on the lower left portion.
|Back without the cover|
Removing the back cover reveals the battery compartment, the micro SD slot, the micro SIM and the regular SIM slots.
The top holds the 3.5mm audio jack while the bottom has the micro USB port and the microphone pin hole.
The volume rocker is placed at the left side of the device while the power button in on the right.
The Marian S1 is one of the thinnest, if not the thinnest smartphone from SKK Mobile and I can say that is their sexiest phone ever, worthy to be named after the "prime time queen". However, its length is a bit longer than some of the 5-inch devices I have due to its wider top and bottom bezels.
The Marian S1 phablet has one of the best displays from SKK Mobile devices, the IPS technology and HD resolution gives a vibrant and crisp color reproduction and wide viewing angles. It also supports up to 5-point touch.
This phablet is equipped with five sensors, namely accelerometer, proximity, light, orientation and magnetic. All of them work both fine when placed under test (CPU-Z and Android Sensor Box) and in real world use.
|Antutu - 26094|
|Quadrant - 16133|
|Vellamo, Browser - 2424, Multicore - 1373, Metal - 878|
|NenaMark2 - 63.1fps|
We already reviewed several octa-core phones and the Marian S1 lived up to our expectations in terms of benchmarks, it scored pretty similar with most devices with MT6592 processor.
The Marian S1 runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and it is one of the early adapter of that OS among octa-core devices locally. Like most of the local brands, its interface is a stock Android version with little to no tweak at all.
The phone basic functions such as the telephony, messaging and email are all working well without any issue encountered.
|Photo editor, video trim, movie editor|
The gallery houses all the photos and videos on your device, you can group them by albums, locations or times and view them in filmstrip or grid. Any items under the gallery can be shared locally via Bluetooth or online via email or through social accounts. There is also built-in photo editor and video trimming applications under the gallery plus there is a pre-installed movie studio app for video editing.
Video Player, Music Player and FM Radio:
|Video player, music player and FM radio|
The video player displays all supported video files on your device whether it is in the phone storage or on the micro SD card. It can play almost every file I threw at it, even those with 1080p resolution. Watching on the 5-inch HD IPS display is very pleasant, colors rendered are very clear and sharp.
Meanwhile, the music player also displays all supported audio files and can be viewed by artists, albums, songs or playlists, it also displays album art if there is any. On the other hand, the FM radio requires a connected wired headset for it to work, channels can be set-up manually or automatically and you can listen to broadcast through the headset or loudspeaker plus the record option.
Camera and Video:
|Camera and video|
The camera and video share the same interface, wherein their shutter buttons are placed side by side. You can capture photos in several ways, such as pressing the shutter key, by hand gesture, smile detection and more. The video recording on the other hand, will show how much time you can have with your free storage, it also shows the length of the video recording, the pause option plus you can press the photo shutter to capture picture simultaneously.
|Night without flash|
|Night with flash|
The Marian S1 is equipped with 13MP auto focus main camera that can produce good quality images with lots of details. If you take a look on the 100% Crop photo (which originated from the first sample) the sign/word exit is readable. In terms of close-up photography, it is very capable and can focus on a subject that is only about 2 to 3 inches away and it blurs the background pretty well. Shooting during the night is also possible, the LED flash is strong and can light up the subject pretty well. However, when you inspect closely, the "noise" is evident, if I am going to rate it from 1 to 10, wherein 10 being the highest I will give it 7.5 - above the average, but less than excellent.
1080p @ 30fps video sample
720p @ 30fps video sample
You can use either the stock browser or Opera browser for all your web browsing needs, both renders pages fast and smooth even those with heavy scripting and lots of pictures. Each one has their own feature, level of comfort and ease of usability.
|Dungeon Hunter 4|
|Heroes of Order & Chaos|
I installed several graphics intensive games, namely Asphalt 7, Dungeon Hunter 4 and Heroes of Order & Chaos. All of them are highly playable and smooth, no lags encountered, plus the graphics are really good and sharp on its 5-inch display. The problem here is that the apps/games cannot be move to the SD card, you can only move them from the 1.97GB internal storage to the phone storage with 4.28GB capacity. So if you want more apps/games, you need to root your device and do some storage tweak.
The Marian S1 support HSPA+ on both SIM slots, this high speed mobile data connectivity can be shared via WiFi hotspot, USB or Bluetooth tethering. If you do not have a data plan or do not want to spend for it, you can always use its WiFi, it can detect various signals and the reception is quite good.
There is also Cast Screen or commonly known as wireless display, an option wherein you can mirror what you have on your device to a larger display such as TV. Speaking of wireless, it also supports wireless printing either through WiFi direct or via connecting to a WiFi network.
The micro USB port has OTG function, external flash drive and wireless mouse are both working without any issue. Other connectivity includes Bluetooth and the 3.5mm audio jack that works well with CTIA compliant headset.
The organizing and productivity tools include a calculator, calendar, clock, file manager, sound recorder and to do. There are no PDF viewer and document editor, but you can simply download one in the Play Store.
The S1 has GPS with A-GPS, using GPS Test, I was able to get a satellite lock in about 2-3 seconds. The location accuracy is also good both on the GPS Test and Google Map.
I looped a 720p and the Marian S1 able to last almost 4 hours of continuous playback before the 15% battery warning popped up. I also played Asphalt 7 and it managed to last about 2.25 hours before the battery percentage dropped to 14. Overall, the battery test results are pretty similar when compared to other octa core phones we reviewed.
|S View Window|
SKK Mobile market the free case as "smart case" and when I saw the settings for S View window I put it to test. However, the case is not really "smart" it is just an ordinary flip case with a transparent portion, it does not do anything special.
The Android KitKat OS comes with its own Anti-theft app and it is present on the Marian S1. I tried if it is working and it actually is. However, the SIM card should be inserted for you to be able to remotely control it. If both SIM cards are removed, it will ask for the PIN you entered before you can use it.
There is also Gesture Sensing settings, if it is turned on, you can control the gallery, camera and music player by just waving your hand in front of it.
It also has notification light and it is not just ordinary light, it is a multi-colored LED and you can assign one of the 7 available colors to notification, calls and message. I tested each color and all of them are OK.
The Marian S1 is the best smartphone produced by SKK Mobile to date, it is worthy of being their flagship. It has a sleek design, top caliber specifications and above average performance not to mention its rich retail package. Some may concern its 1GB of RAM, but in real world usage, it is still more than enough for handling light to moderate multitasking.
However, for an SRP of Php9,999 it will face a very stiff and tough competition among local brands plus another one from a Chinese brand that sells online. Also, I hope SKK Mobile will have an update soon to resolve its inability to move apps to the SD card.
5-inch IPS HD display
Octa core processor
Multi-colored LED notification
Rich retail package
Apps cannot be moved to SD card
A bit expensive than current competitors
- Dual SIM (Regular + Micro) dual standby, supports HSPA+
- 7.7 Slim Body
- 5-inch capacitive IPS HD (1280x720) touchscreen display
- Android 4.4. 2 KitKat
- 1.7GHz Octa Core CPU, 700MHz Mali-450MP GPU MediaTek MT6592 chipset
- 1GB of RAM
- 8GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD
- 13MP main camera with LED Flash
- 5MP secondary camera
- 3.5 Audio Jack
- Multimedia Player
- FM Radio
- GPS with A-GPS
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, WiFi Hotspot
- Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
- 2150mAh battery
- Price: Php9,999
- Freebies: screen protector (installed) flip case and spare 2400mAh battery