Smart Comes Big – ThL W7 Quad Core Phablet Hands-On Review

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Reviews' started by fashionluo, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    When the 5.3 inch Galaxy Note made its debut appearance at IFA, 2011, lots of reviewers and editors believed that Sammy had taken things too far and called for the death of the smartphone-tablet hybrid category. However, it did not die. Later in 2012, when the 5.5 inch Galaxy Note2 hit the market, some still argue that no one on this planet would want such a massive cell phone. Then Samsung sold 5 million units around the world in just 60 days, making it one of the best-selling phone/tablets in 2012. So, like it or not, the era of “phablet” is upon us.

    If you consider the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 too big for you, then you would probably want to skip this review ‘coz what I am introducing today is an even more humongous device.

    ThL W7, following this “phablet” trend, has pushed the display to an even bigger 5.7 inch, marketing directly towards users who want larger screens or perhaps don’t want a tablet-smartphone pair.

    For People who have never heard of this brand, I can tell you it’s a smart phone brand founded by Shenzhen Hongjiayuan Communication Technology Co., Ltd., a high-tech enterprise specializing in smart phone R & D, production, sales and service. Adhering to the marketing idea of "true benefit to users by direct sales", ThL has created the innovative mode of experiential marketing plus experiential services focusing on direct sales in experience stores coupled with online direct sales. By the end of September 2012, ThL has opened over 300 brand experience stores in more than 30 provinces and cities throughout China.

    And recently, ThL has gained more popularity by sponsoring CCTV.com, the state-owned television network in China. It is also the partner of the most famous television show – the Chinese version of “The Voice”, which attracts hundreds of millions of viewers each week.

    Highlights:

    5.7 inch Capacitive IPS Display, 1280*720 pixels, PPI=258;
    MT6589 Quad Core Processor;
    PowerVR SGX544MP GPU;
    1GB DDR3 RAM;
    3.2MP front-facing Camera & 8MP rear camera;
    Android4.2 OS;
    Dual SIM Card Support;
    Priced at only RMB 1,699 ($275).

    Retail Package

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    ThL is extremely generous when it comes to the W7’s retail package, not only does it offer the normally bundled fittings such as the charger and a data cable, it also provides its customer with a very exquisite pair of earphones and not one, but two screen protection covers!


    Design

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    The ThL W7 takes a lot of design cues from the Samsung Galaxy Note2, only the display is 0.2 inch bigger. The most noticeable difference is probably that you won’t see Samsung’s LOGO above the display of the W7. Other than that, the two are stunningly alike: the same Home Key, the same back button and the same menu button.

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    Connectors and hardware controls are kept to the minimum, you would only find a 3.5mm headphone jack on the top edge, a micro USB charging/data port on the bottom edge. The power/standby key is located on the right side while the volume rocker is located on the left side of the phone.

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    It's 10.2mm thick body gives the W7 a solid hold.


    Display

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    The ThL W7 has featured a 5.7 inch IPS display, with the resolution of 1280*720. The display density of the W7 absolutely pales in comparison to that of the 1080P displays on OPPO Find5 or HTC ONE. But the brightness, the color contrast and the viewing angles of this 5.7 inch display are nothing but satisfactory.

    Watching videos is a much better experience on a phablet than it is on smaller smartphones. I haven’t installed any online video apps on my Motorola RAZR because too much is lost on its tiny display. With the W7, I actually found myself streaming live tennis matches — and enjoying them — on more than one occasion.


    System & UI

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    The ThL W7 is carrying the lastest version of Android OS - Android4.2, which is even smoother and more powerful than Android 4.1. ThL has done almost none modification to the stock Jelly Bean, except offering its own set of user interfaces. There are 11 gorgeous themes for the users to choose. There are also some preinstalled third party apps, all only useful for Chinese users.
     
  2. fashionluo

    fashionluo Senior Member

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    Hardware

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    When it comes to Soc., the ThL W7 has featured the MT6589 Quad core processor, which is based on cortex-A7 frame and uses 28nm workmanship. The speed of each core can reach 1.2GHZ. I would not say it makes the W7 one of the most powerful smartphones in the world coz it doesn’t., especially with the quad-core A15 Tegra4 and the impeccable Exynos 5 Octa 5410 on the scene now. But as a quad-core chipset, the MT6589 still generates more than enough power to run everything smoothly on the W7. The 533MHZ PowerVR SGX544 GPU by Imagination Technologies enables the W7 to support even the most graphic-intense Android games.

    Here are some benchmark scores of the W7:

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    Features

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    One of the key characteristics of the ThL W7 is that it has dual SIM card support, which means you can use two mobile numbers in one cell phone. One of the slots supports both WCDMA & GSM networks while the other supports only GSM. You can use the settings to control the roles of these two numbers.

    Disappointingly, the W7 has only 8GB built-in storage, and 1GB of that has been used as ROM. Fortunately Micro SD card support is on board. The TF card slot, which is located besides the two SIM card slots, can support card up to 32GB, adequate for the majority of phone/tablet users.

    Another very exciting feature on the W7, for me, is the stereo speakers, the clarity of the sound is more than satisfactory, and the volume is also nice. You could hardly miss a phone call even if you somehow put yourself in a noisy environment. And you can listen to music or stream an online video on your W7 without earphones.


    Camera

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    For a smartphone priced at less than $300, the ThL W7’s cameras are stunning! Both the 3.2MP front-facing camera and 8.0MP rear camera can shoot sharp images. They work great for what most people will be using it for including video conferencing and taking quick pictures for friends and family. The rear facing camera can also capture 1080P videos, which comes in the format of 3GP.

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    Rear Camera shots

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    Front-facing camera shot​



    Battery Life

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    The ThL W7 has featured a 2,300 rechargeable Li-Po battery, which is not so generous compared to Galaxy Note2’s 3100mAh battery or Huawei Ascend Mate’s crazy 4050mAh power bank.

    However, during my 720P video playback battery test, W7 lasted 6 hours and 50 minutes (50% screen brightness, 50% volume). This is pretty impressive for a smartphone with such a giant, power-consuming display. And in another online video streaming test, the W7 stood 4 hours and 20 minutes. So, I would say the performance of W7’s battery exceeds my expectations, but it would always be better to have a battery with more power storage.



    Verdict

    I wouldn’t call myself a phablet lover, as I would never buy a cellphone with a display bigger than 4.7 inch myself. Instead, I have regularly said that handsets with displays measuring about 4.3 inches diagonally are good for me and I often use the Motorola Razr as an example of my ideal phone size. From screen size to thickness and overall footprint, the Razr is perfect for me.

    Having said that, as I used the ThL W7 more, I began to understand why Galaxy Note is so popular, a phablet can actually replace a 7 inch tablet on most occasions, and it’s generally easier to carry around. The display is big enough to be truly useful compared to other phones with slightly smaller screens, a lot of information can be shown at once.

    Here are a few thoughts after spending more than 10 days carrying the ThL W7 and using it regularly:

    The Good

    The IPS display on ThL W7 is absolutely gorgeous, having more screen real estate in general is awesome. Objects are larger and clearer, and that obviously carries over to touch targets, which means fewer failed pokes.

    The W7 has wonderful build quality, every detail has been taken great care of, and the metal wiredrawing pattern of the plastic battery cover gives the device all the expensiveness it deserves.

    The MTK MT6589 Quad-core Processor is a decent choice as Soc., everything happens very fast on the W7, and I have experienced zero lag.

    The cameras, both frontal and rear, are ideal for daily usage.


    The Bad

    The design of the device clearly falls into the category of Galaxy Note2 copycats, for a manufacture which aims to build a name for itself, copycatting is not a smart move, why not show some innovative ideas of your own, ThL?

    For a phablet product with a power-consuming 5.7 inch display, the W7 has only featured a 2,300mAh Li-PO battery, which can hardly support an entire day of intense use.

    Despite all the benefits the W7 might afford because of its size, it is still uncomfortable to hold for quite a number of users. One handed operation is very difficult, and this could be annoying if your left hand is occupied by something else.


    Ultimately, there's no getting away from the fact that the ThL W7 is a niche device, if you can get over its size and the fact that it is another Galaxy Note2 copycat. It’s priced at only $275, making it one of the most cost-effective phablets in the market.
     

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