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MyPhone Rio Review: The New King of Budget Quad-cores

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MyPhone strikes it big with the Rio

MyPhone’s newest smartphone, the Rio, has managed to dominate most discussions in the local technology scene. Depending on who you talk to, you’re either going to hear “bang for the buck” repeated a lot with most end-users and “how?” when you talk to their competitors. It’s difficult to express just how much interest there is in MyPhone’s latest Php 4,999 quad-core smartphone, suffice it to say that their kiosks are almost always out of stock, and whatever stocks that does arrive are quickly snapped up by waiting customers. It’s not hard to see why when you look at the specs and the price of the Rio: it’s truly one of the best bang for the buck devices out there. It’s not perfect, but its positives greatly outweigh its negatives as you’ll find out in this review.

MyPhone Rio Specs

  • 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582M Processor
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 5-inch HD IPS Display, 1280 × 720 resolution
  • 4GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB
  • 8-megapixel main Camera with Autofocus
  • 2-megapixel front Camera
  • Wi-Fi, Wireless Display, USB-OTG, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, HSPA+
  • 2000mAh Baterry
  • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean

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Colorful and vibrant design reminiscent of Nokia smartphones

One of the first things that you’ll notice about the Rio is obviously its colorful design. The Rio comes in a variety of colors, and uses an ABS shell that encapsulates the actual device. This shell fools casual observers into thinking that the Rio sports a unibody polycarbonate construction. The way the Rio is designed reminds us a lot of Nokia’s smartphones, primarily their recently announced X. Much like the X, the plastic back of the Rio can be removed quickly and easily, revealing the important bits inside.

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The overall build quality of the Rio is pretty good, and whatever small faults of the actual phone in terms of its construction is cleverly hidden once the plastic shell goes on. The matte plastic shell is pleasant to hold and isn’t slippery to the touch. The Rio has curved corners and somewhat rounded edges. Even though the Rio is a budget device, it’s evident that whoever designed it had an eye for detail – the earpiece for example, has the same color as the body and has an LED notification light embedded inside it. The speaker grille has a nice design, etc.

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Probably the only thing we can fault on the Rio’s externals is that the plastic back isn’t that resistant to wear and tear. We’ve had our device for around a week now, and we’ve already noticed several chips on the back of the device exposing the white plastic underneath. We’re not particularly rough with gadgets, and the Rio usually just went inside our pants pocket if it wasn’t being used to text, call and update our social networks. Clearly, some sort of extra protection is needed if you want to keep your Rio pristine.

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The button layout of the Rio is typical of what you’dl find on a 5-inch Android smartphone – volume rocker on the left side, power button on the right. The capacitive buttons for navigation are on the bottom of the device, while the 3.5mm jack and USB port are all located on the top of the device. We found that the power button on the Rio is too recessed, which means that you’ll sometimes won’t positively engage it, especially when you’re in a hurry.

Best in class display

The Rio is remarkable because it’s probably the only smartphone in its category that has a quad-core processor AND an IPS display. Other smartphones below 5K usually have to settle with inferior TFT displays with horrible viewing angles. That’s not the case with the Rio, and not only does it have an IPS 5-inch display, that same display has a resolution of 720 x 1280 – in short, HD. That’s unheard of for the price category, and is a major coup for MyPhone.

That being said, the quality of the IPS display isn’t stellar. Examining the display of the Rio reveals less than ideal contrast levels, as well as somewhat muted colors compared to other IPS panels. It’s understandable of course – MyPhone couldn’t deliver the specs that the Rio carries without compromising on a few things, and the display is one of them. Still, looking at the big picture the display is still an improvement over the TFT displays of its rivals and to some extent, some of MyPhone’s own offerings that still sit on their roster at around the same price range as the Rio.

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Has some hiccups in performance, but is generally a very capable phone

The MyPhone Rio sports a 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582M processor paired with around 1GB of RAM. On paper, this pairing should give the Rio plenty of power to plow through most tasks with ease. In practice, we found that the Rio had some performance hiccups during use. Navigating through menus and various transition effects weren’t as smooth as we’ve anticipated, as there’s certainly some amount of lag evident when doing so. We also discovered that playing YouTube videos via the app wasn’t a smooth experience either, but it never became so bad that we found ourselves genuinely frustrated.

Which is odd, considering the Rio’s AnTuTu score of 16853 and its generally good performance with demanding games like Dead Trigger 2 and Asphalt 8. Both games managed to fare well with the Rio, though it struggled a bit on higher graphical settings, which is understandable considering the processor and RAM combination. HD and full HD video playback was pretty smooth as well, which further puzzled us to why we had such a laggy YouTube experience. As far as the less than buttery smooth navigation goes, we found that installing Nova Launcher on the Rio takes out most of the lag, though there will still be some jitter present it’s not as bad as without the launcher.

There is one big flaw in the Rio though – you cannot install apps onto the microSD card, which essentially limits you to the tiny 4GB internal storage (which in reality you only get to work with less than 2GB). You can fix this via rooting the device and modifying how the phone treats microSD storage, but since not everyone can root an Android smartphone (and doing so voids your warranty) it’s a potentially big flaw that some users may have an issue with when considering the Rio. Without that feature, the Rio is relegated to a light Android gaming machine and multimedia player. We’re really hoping that MyPhone is able to address this via a software patch.

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Impressive camera

Because of the price of the Rio, we naturally assumed that the camera module would be one area where the manufacturer would have cut costs given the impressive specs of the device.

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We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this is not the case, as the Rio’s 8-megapixel camera performed well when there’s decent lighting around. Color reproduction is very good, with plenty of detail. Images taken in low light takes a bit of a hit though, but are still perfectly acceptable.

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We were also surprised at the flexibility of the camera when it comes to the number of settings you can tweak. The camera can even take burst shots, which is a pleasant surprise.

Acceptable battery life

We ran our standard battery loop test of the MyPhone Rio to determine just how far this particular smartphone can with its 2000mAh battery. With 50% brightness, full volume and Wi-Fi set to on, the Rio managed to last for around 6 hours and 47 minutes before the phone completely died. That translates to around 8 hours with moderate use, with some texts, calls, internet and light gaming thrown in. While the battery life is acceptable for some, packing a powerbank is a must since you’ll probably be near 10% at the end of the workday with the Rio.

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Verdict: A game changer, even with its flaws

Even with its faults, the MyPhone Rio is a gamechanger in the local market. Its specs is unheard of in its price range. Aside from the inability of the Rio to install apps onto the microSD card, all our other complaints with it is simple nitpicking, and can easily be dismissed by simply looking at the Rio’s price. We’re not hesitant to give the Rio the title Quad-core ng Bayan, though that title may be short lived now that Cherry Mobile is set to release their own price-busting IPS equipped 5-inch smartphone in the near future. But for the time being the Rio is king of the budget quad-cores.

 

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About John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

78 comments

  1. One day review. XD

  2. sir question, kahit na i-off yung window/transition animation, may mga lags pa din? Thanks

  3. Wow, that’s Shang Mactan! :) Nice review sir!

  4. MyPhone does not want to address the
    issues, tells problematic users to root their
    phone and tweak it themselves hahaha
    http://imgur.com/kOVqVOe

  5. cannot beat flare S

    • FLARE S? LOL
      CAMERA PA LANG TALO NA :)
      SCREEN SIZE TALO NA
      SCREEN RESO TALO NA
      BATTERY TALO NA
      MULTI TOUCH TALO NA

      HAHAHA
      CAN’T BEAT PALA

      • Rio doesnt come close to flare s performance

        • how? as if there’s a lot of different cpu-gpu-ram configurations for local brand phones. if their innards are the same there wouldn’t be much difference in performance. just look at today’s octacores. same cpu, same ram. minor hardware differences but near-same benchmark scores.

        • LOL, Flare S is dumb compared to Rio, how can you say na di matatalo ng RIO ang Flare S?? HAHAHAHA!!!:D:D:D

  6. Which has the nicest color?

  7. Which color stands out the best?

    • Standout is the Orange
      even my favorite color is RED.

      Kasi RARE din ang phone na kulay
      Orange eh kaya Standout ang ORange!

  8. violet standout the best

  9. speaking of budget fones, where is the moto g full review?

  10. maila grace tura

    Are the lag issue fixed?

    I’m afraid I will able to buy the unfixed rio…

    • we bought the first version of RIO nun February pa and updated over the air,
      moved apps sa SD card and optimize via “Cleanmaster app button” before exiting
      so far wala nman lag, probs, etc. okay at smoother naman yung Rio. di nman namin tinambakan ng Apps. maayos naman kahit floppy bird up to 3d games mataas din antutu.

  11. ms maganda to kaysa sa CM flare S

  12. San po pwede makabili ng OTG cable for Agua Rio? Salamat

  13. maila grace tura

    ba’t wala ng rio s market??? huhuhu

  14. kupalkaulhattechypakayo

    Tangina nyo! Lahat ng device may flaws wlang perfect, khit hi end pa yan. Sa mga techy tulad nyo makikita nyo every flaws but for average users, they find it perfect kng simple call n text, games, media, and browsing social accounts lang. Hahanap pa kau ng flawless specs eh magkano ba yun rio? Kung techy kau, dont buy the phone and shut the F*ck up. I believe this phone is for average users and can understand the pros and cons considering the price. Gsto nyo mabilis and minimal flaws buy a hi end apple and android. Anu b nmn sinabi ng mga 30k+ na specs nsa 4.6k na specs. Kung kaya nyo tangapin yun price range and you have the money for that differences, then go. Simple lng pinagtatalunan pa. Pwe! Itatanong nyo kung may pinaglalaban ako bat ganto comment ko? wla, kupal lang comment ng iba dito.. btw, im not a myphone user o apple/droid fan boy either..

    • TAMA KA DIYAN

    • easy bro, i have a GS4, others expect it to be fast but base on my 1 year experience using it wala naman pinag iba sa myPhone RIO ng asawa ko. LOL speed, durability, screen quality siguro is crispier and more saturated. Pero when it comes to performance playing Clash of Clans or Pet Saga you will not notice any improvement i think.. LOL so its up to the user kung paano niya ba gamitin ang cellphone niya. May iba kase demanding sa speed and quality pero naooverlook nila yung price at made ng phone nila. myPhone produce decent phone now a days.. lalo na itong myPhone RIO.. nagpalit kame ng asawa ko for almost a week now.. same padin naman ang experience ko sa mga task like texting, calling, watching, playing games(clash of clans). Compared to my GS4 screen lang talaga ang big deal. IPS and Super Amoled (1920×1080-441ppi vs 1280×720-291ppi) lalo na at screen peeper ako i can say yun lang ang noticeable na kaibahan nila, rest ok lang saken. This is my only opinion. So what ever phone you have use it properly para tumagal at di masira agad. Ngapala mas mainit ang screen ng GS4 dahil sa Super AMOLED nito unlike sa IPS ng RIO. default battery nila talo pa ang GS4 ko. pero right now i am using zeolemon 7500mAh sa GS4 ko so it last more than 2 days with full games, internet, calling chatting and texting.

  15. Ang mura n nga lang dami pa nila angal eh..

  16. you tube videos are playing smothly on browser ( laggy on you tube app only)

  17. idol ilan oras po ba dapat 1st charging sa agua rio? kakabili ko lang kasi nakalimutan ko itanong sa sobrang excitment, reply po salamat

  18. Meron na po ba naka try mag skype using Rio? Okay lang po ba?

    • ako po.ok naman siya at malinaw front cam sa skype.pero dapat nasa maliwanag ka na area kasi medyo madilim siya sa poor lightning areas

  19. ok yung rio swak sa budget kya lang na cracked ko screen n bump ko lang chair nasa pocket ko ayun nasa repair center until now ala pa din pang replace n screen wala daw stock sabi sa repair center bought it last may 30 dinala ko sa repair center last june 2 d man lang uminit sa palad ko mahina screen na bump lang nabasag n what more kung nabagsak bka pati lcd basag sayang 5 k ko tssk tssk tssk……………….

    • panalo n sana wala lang available n spare parts magbabakasyon lang unit nyo sa repair center pag nacra.

      • what do you expect from a 5k phone? I just had this phone recently as a gift for my wife.. so far so good.. We got the newer version from lazada. I think its better if you will protect it with screen guard and a hard case to avoid such damage and free from scratches. So far i only notice about RAM Hunger games issue and a bit lag on Camera 360 but using a clip in lens with default camera app the 8mp BSI sensor rocks like a point a shoot camera with a decent photo.

    • specs and performance ok ang rio after sales lang po ang kulang

  20. Hello po. Nakakacalibrate po ba ang proximity sensor ng myphone rio? di ko po kasi magamit yung wave to unlock and wave to capture image nya(yung sa clever motion). ayun po. patulong naman po. thanks. :)

  21. My Myphone Rio orange rocks! Am was depressed when my Myphone A919 duo got stolen however this phone gave me a 2nd life. Hahaha. I love Myphone and the quality and how affordable the phones are. They use the same specs of Sony, as what I’ve heard. My next target is Vortex if ill be lucky to get 12k LOL. Enjoy RIO! Live Life in Color :D

    • Almost the same story here but the phone was not mine. I gave my gf a MyPhone A919 as a gift and it was stolen a month ago and now I am looking forward to buy this unit for her soon.

  22. Great review. I enjoyed reading it. I had the same experience but got no complain about it. Because when you love whatever you have, you’re contented. ^_^ And will very much take care of it. The back of my phone is still as good as new :D

  23. Gian Carlo Jalla

    Wala na po bang negative sa bagong RIO ngayon? Bbili kasi ako e. :)

  24. sorry for this noob question..agua rio is just the same as rio or agua rio is the fixed version?bibili kasi ako ng rio for gaming..(excessive gaming)
    tsaka may black ba neto?ganda sana nung orange kaso burara ako..hahaha

  25. Pag bumili ba ng RIO pwede ng I pa root agad ung phone? Di kase ako marunong -_- help pls. Thanks . Natatakot ako bumili dahil sa rooting ng phone :)

  26. Kuya Carlo! which would you highly recommend to me i’m torn between the Rio, Urban and Omega Spectrum. In Rio i like how it looks like the casing and the camera has an impressive review compared to urban and omega spectrum. In urban what i like is the smoothness of how it works when swiping and the os kitkat but i don’t like how does it look like and the camera is not impressive enough said on the review. In spectum i also like how it looks and the it has better display and dragontrail glass protection but in camera it;s just okay compared to impressive shots of rio. Hmmmm! so what to buy?

  27. how do you move the apps to the sd card?

  28. hi. just a quick question: will this phone work in Japan? (calls/texts)

  29. im planning to buy this phone, kaso nung cnabi ko sa officemate ko na eto bibilhin ko, sabi nya na mabilis daw mabasag un screen at un camera daw ndi ganun kalinaw. im not looking for a phone na sobrang ganda un performance since naman na mura lng naman to, gusto ko ung phone na pang matagalan :) salamat

  30. Is this still available or my stocks pa sa SM Dasma? :)

  31. At first ayaw ko local brand, always high end nokia ang gamit ko, kaso nanawa na ko sa windows phone also kakaunti mga apps sa store. Nung nasa mall ako since may myphone store duon and i want it badly na magka android based cp ako, na love at first sight ako sa rio at ang specs is kinda wow, since 4999 lang, agad binili, now mas love ko na ito compare sa nokia smartphone ko. Little bit lag but truly still amazing for little money they cost me compare to at 20k phone i have. Keep it up myphone.

  32. I bought my rio agua last june and now it has no sounds/volume. Also observed tends to heat when playing COC or when I leave 3g/data on for several hours.

    • Sir , It is totally normal if your phone heats up. Games like CoC are using intensive graphics and ram means your phone heats up because of processes. same as 3g since it uses your Sim Card data means , it drains battery faster same as Wifi.

  33. Yung latest system updates ba ng MyPhone Agua Rio, ma-uupgrade ng Android 4.4.2 Kitkat?

  34. how about sa gaming? ung iba kasi sabi umiinit daw agad ung batt sya sa 1hr palang na pag lalaro…

  35. Ok lng b using while charging di kya bimigay ang fon?

  36. Ilang minutes ba ang battery ng my phone rio?

  37. Ilan hours ba muna dapat icharge bago gamitin ang rio,,,, nakalimutan ko kasing itanong dun sa pingbilhan ko,,, reply please ??????

  38. Wala bang review para sa Arc Mobile Nitro 501D?

  39. help naman…
    juz bought dis unit from lazada….kaso wala syang sounds…i planning 2 return it pero baka may d lang ako na activate…..anybody please n nkaencounter dn ng ganitong issue?

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