Starmobile Engage 7 HD Review

Local mobile brands have been popping out lately from everywhere but only some can offer quality devices. A newcomer in the mobile phone market, Starmobile is making waves with affordable and quality smartphones and tablets. I’ve been using the Starmobile Engage 7 HD for some time now and I must say, this is one of the cleanest and most polished Android tablet that I’ve used. It’s not as fast as the flagship Android tablets from the big brands but this is certainly one of the tablets that you’ll love for its price and decent specs.

Hardware

The Starmobile Engage 7 HD’s back cover is made up of solid plastic with a brushed metal premium look. The Starmobile logo lights up when you turn on the screen. This reminds me of the Apple logo at the back of a MacBook. It is a unique feature but you can’t turn it off in the settings. I’m not sure how this affects the battery life of the device.

The design is very similar to the 10.1 Galaxy Tab, with the speakers on its sides. I always get annoyed whenever I play music or watch movies on the tablet because oftentimes my hand blocks the speakers when I’m holding it. The Starmobile Engage 7 HD has a good sound quality, something which I liked. It could have been better if the speaker was placed a bit higher. The tablet is comfortable to hold even with one hand. The design and the weight feels just right.

The Starmobile Engage 7 HD’s connectivities and buttons are all placed at the bottom. It has a mini HDMI port that can have an output of up to 1080p,  not bad for a tablet. Starmobile even included a USB OTG  should you need to transfter or access your files from your external hard disk or when you want to plug your 3G dongle to connect to the internet.

I was disappointed by the small home and power buttons below the tablet. It would be nicer if they placed it on top of the tablet since all ports are crowding below. I often had a hard time finding and pressing these buttons. Another letdown is the lack of Bluetooth on the device, so make sure to keep those USB OTG and micro-SD card.

The Starmobile Engage 7 HD got a sharp 7-inch 1280 x 800 display. It has a good sunlight legibility and display good images on its bright screen. It’s just frustrating that the touch input occasionally misses. I hope that Starmobile could fix this soon.

Camera

The Starmobile Engage 7 HD packs 2 cameras. It has a 0.3 Megapixel front camera and an 8 Megapixel camera with LED flash on the back.  This is useful when using Skype, Google Hangouts or video conferencing with your friends.

The primary camera at the back has an auto-focus feature but I was disappointed with the quality of the images it takes. The tablet’s camera might have a large megapixel count but it didn’t fared well on my tests. The Starmobile Engage 7 HD  didn’t perform well when taking photos at a low lit environment. The LED flash wasn’t enough to lighten up the area. I also notice that sometimes the front camera would take dark or washed out images. Check out the sample shots below:

Here’s a video sample of Starmobile Engage 7 HD:

Battery life

The Starmobile Engage 7 HD has a 4000 mAh battery inside and the tablet did well on this area. The tablet can last up to 7 hours of average use on a single day. If you’re a hardcore gamer, then you can use its pre-installed battery saver feature to extend battery life.

Software/Performance

The Android 4.0.4 Starmobile Engage 7 HD is powered by a 1.2 GHz processor that is capable enough to handle the usual Android applications. The transitions and animations are smooth. Web browsing on the tablet was fast and the gaming performance was acceptable. When I played Shadowgun, I got a fair framerates at low settings. Not bad for a tablet like this.

There were some pre-installed applications like BeFunky Pro, Easy Battery Saver, AppInstaller, Inquirer, Silent Movie maker, Text Twist, and Temple Run 2. It was nice to see that most of them are useful and not bloatwares. But of course, if you feel that you need some more apps then better check out Google Play.
The Starmobile Engage 7 HD was benchmarked using Quadrant and Antutu. Based on the scores that the Starmobile Engage 7 HD, I must say that the tablet fared really well for its price. To give you an idea, here are the scores that I got in Quadrant and Antutu:

 

 

 

Verdict

The Starmobile Engage 7 HD is one of the most polished local tablets that I’ve used . It’s fast and it looks really nice. It certainly does not feel like a cheapo tablet. The Starmobile Engage 7 HD is not the cheapest and the best Android tablet in the market but it is one of the tablets that is really worth buying for its specs and price. The Starmobile Engage 7 HD is now available for P7,999.

Starmobile Engage 7 HD Specs

  • 1.2 GHz Dual Core processor
  • 8GB + 1GB internal memory
  • Capacitive multi-touch display with IPS technology
  • WiFi
  • 8MP camera with flash
  • VGA front camera
  • A+GPS
  • Expandable memory up to 32 GB
  • 4000 mAh battery

Check out Starmobile’s Facebook page for more.

A college student by morning and a tech blogger by night. He loves pizza and gadgets. He is now planning to create his own Fashion blog (Just kidding!). He blogs at http://www.jeromeancheta.com. Follow him on twitter to know his daily rants: @JamAncheta

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