|SKK Mobile Aura Lite Review: Distinctive Atmosphere|
SKK Mobile has been stepping up its game in the budget spectrum as the local tech company unleashes offerings that feature elegant and gorgeous designs coupled in with hardware specifications befitting of the price range. Late last year, the company introduced another budget smartphone that carries the description, the Aura Lite.
The Aura Lite arrives in a very basic packaging, which, oddly enough deviates greatly from what's inside. Once you've gone through the box itself, you'll be greeted with the standard inclusions – aside from the handset itself, there's a wall adapter, a USB cable, headset, an instruction booklet, and a warranty card.
At first glance, you can easily say that the design language is the primal factor SKK went through with the Aura Lite. It bares an uncanny resemblance to the company's very own Lynx Luxe – clad in metallic side trimmings and equipped with a faux leather textured back panel.
There aren't any cosmetic additions done on the front panel, which is great for minimalists that like to keep it clean and simple. The earpiece is sandwiched between the proximity sensor and the selfie camera, while on the opposite end lie the capacitive buttons, which aren't backlit, unfortunately. Both of the power button and volume rocker are placed on the left side, while the micro USB port and the 3.5mm audio jack sit at the top.
On the back, there's the protruding primary camera, and below it is the LED flash continued with the company's branding and the speakers further down.
See Also: SKK Mobile Chronos Cross Unveiled, 6-inch Dual SIM Android Lollipop 5MP Selfie Camera with Flash
It's a bit of a confusing messaging here, so to speak. There's a “QHD” label on the front of the device, which would probably lead the unaware to believe that it is, indeed, one with a Quad HD display. However, the Aura Lite simply has a qHD resolution. That's 960 x 540 resolution in actual numbers, which translates to 220.2ppi pixel density on a 5-inch display. It's not muddled by any means, but a closer inspection would yield a more separated pixel setup. Still, color accuracy is on point and viewing angles are standard.
The Aura Lite still runs the now-aging Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, and on top of it is the company's own customization to spice things up a bit. There are no app drawers here. Rather, you'll have all of your apps placed on the home screen ala iOS, but you can still organize them via folders. There's a camera widget further right, which will give you quick access to taking shots without actually going to the camera app. Swiping further will lead you to a handy music widget to give you instant control to your playlist.
Thankfully, while SKK did use its own flavor for the Aura Lite, third-party app inclusions are kept to a minimum here, and most of them are the ones you would likely use on a daily basis. Facebook, Viber, Twitter, Opera Mini, a note taking and a sound recording app, as well as Clean Master are all aboard. But you may not find any use for the EasyShop and the SKK app.
The Aura Lite also features “smart wake” gestures that, as its name implies, wakes up the device with a corresponding action. Drawing specific letters will launch specific apps even when the Aura Lite is on standby, which can come in handy if you don't want to scroll through apps just to find the one you're looking for.
Most of the handsets in the budget segment seem to employ the Spreadtrum SC7731 chipset, and it's no different with the Aura Lite. It also comes with a 1.3GHz quad-core CPU and Mali-400 GPU paired with 512MB of RAM, which would seem very lackluster according to today's standards. It's not sluggish so to speak – navigating through the UI is smooth, while running your daily apps will be just fine. Just don't push it to the maximum and try out graphic intensive titles. Here are some benchmark test results:
Also Read: SKK Mobile Announces Trans4m Aero and Beam, 7-inch Quad Core Android Lollipop Tablets
The Aura Lite features an 8MP primary camera with autofocus and an LED flash. Despite the megapixel count, you'll have to rely on good lighting conditions to get a footing on your subjects. It just doesn't fare well on dimly lit areas. On the other hand, its 2MP selfie camera can do you good. It can take acceptable photos even in low light, and it can still do just fine despite its fixed focus limitation.
|Day Shot with HDR|
You'll have access to a dual SIM slot – one is micro and the other standard. There's also a micro SD slot that can hook up more storage of up to 64GB if you plan on adding in your playlists or movies to watch while you're on the move. Wireless connectivity is also standard. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both on board, and you can also plug in your headset and USB cable through the 3.5mm audio jack and the micro USB port respectively.
Battery life is quite abysmal with the Aura Lite. At 2,500mAh, normal usage such as web browsing and gaming only lead for faster battery drain, giving about eight hours of battery life on mixed to regular functions. Even benchmark test results testify to its longevity. PCMark's Work Battery Life only managed to get 1:25, which could likely be a glitch in this case, so we had to test it with Geekbench's battery test that yielded 6:59.
As of late, SKK has been churning out affordable devices that come in with stylish and elegant designs, although with less appealing hardware setups. However, at the price point that the Aura Lite is presented, it can give an extra mileage for your money. It's packed with several unique features and elegant design both on the software front and its physical aspects. Best of all, it's very affordable.
Smart wake gesture
Clean yet engaging custom UI
Some noticeable lags when running multiple apps
Android 4.4.2 Kitkat shows its age
Battery life could be better
SKK Aura Lite Specifications:
- Dual SIM (regular+micro), dual standby, supports 3G/HSPA+
- 5-inch capacitive qHD (940 x 560) touchscreen display
- Android 4.4.2 Kitkat
- 1.3GHz quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, Mali 400 GPU, Spreadtrum SC7731 chipset
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB internal storage, expandable up to 64GB via micro SD card
- 8MP main camera with LED flash
- 2MP secondary camera
- Multimedia player
- FM radio
- 3.5mm audio jack
- GPS with A-GPS
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- Micro USB 2.0
- Sensors: accelerometer, proximity
- Battery: 2500mAh, removable
- Price: Php2,599