Starmobile Diamond: Does it shine bright?
The Starmobile Diamond is the premium offering of local mobile brand, Starmobile. It boasts of a 5-inch HD display, 1GB RAM, dual-core processor, a 12-megapixel snapper, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. A lot of people consider it a bit pricey though as it sells for Php9,990, especially since one of their competitors offers an almost similarly specced smartphone for Php2,000 less. The real question people are asking now is if the Starmobile Diamond is worth it since it’s priced at a premium. That’s what we’ll try to answer with this review.
Before anything else let’s quickly do a rundown of the specifications:
Starmobile Diamond Spec Sheet
- 1GHz Dual-core MTK6577H Processor
- Enhanced SGXS31 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD Card
- 5.0-inches IPS Capacitive Touchscreen with HD Resolution (720×1280)
- Dragontrail Glass (Scratch Resistant)
- 12.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with LED Flash and BSI
- 3.0-megapixels front-facing camera with BSI
- WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS with A-GPS Support
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- 2,000mAh Battery
- Comes with free 8GB microSD Card
- Comes with free screen protector
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- SRP: Php9,990
Form Factor: Solid, glossy, and a bit bulky
The chassis of the Starmobile Diamond is dominantly white glossy plastic with a chrome band running along its sides and bottom. What’s interesting is that the manufacturer decided to cut the chrome band at the top and instead use the same white glossy plastic material to cover it. All the usual ports and buttons are in the sides and the top.
Despite the Diamond falling in the “Phablet” category with its 5-inch display, it manages to maintain a thin and lightweight profile. Again this is mainly due to the use of plastic for the chassis.
The SIM card slots (two of them), battery, and microSD card slot are all located behind the removable back plate. There’s a ridge at the bottom which makes it easy to remove the back plate.
It’s also important to mention that the Starmobile Diamond uses Dragontrail for the display panel. This is scratch resistant glass similar to Corning Gorilla Glass. Remember though that it’s scratch resistant and NOT scratch proof. It’s a wise move to install the free screen protector that comes in the box especially if you want to sell the phone later on.
We only have two minor criticisms with the form factor and design of the Starmobile Diamond. The screen-to-bezel ratio isn’t what we’d like it to be. The bezel is noticeably thick especially if you compare it to other smartphones in the same class. The white strip at the top also makes it look bigger than it actually is. The manufacturer should have just let the chrome band run through the bottom, sides, and top.
Display is absolutely gorgeous
One of the biggest draws of the Starmobile Diamond is the display. The 5-inch screen has a resolution of 1280 x 720 which delivers stunning detail in texts, images, and videos. The difference qHD is very noticeable and if you’re the type that loves watching videos and looking at photos on your smartphone, the Diamond will deliver in spades.
Performance: Is the Dual-core MTK6577H CPU enough?
With the screen displaying so many pixels the question now is if the processor and graphics card are powerful enough to push those pixels up. As much as we would love to say “yes, it’s buttery smooth!”, the truth is that’s not the case. There are noticeable lags, delays in responsiveness, and stutters. This is reflected in the Antutu Benchmark Test score where the Starmobile Diamond scored a little over 5,000.
The score is understandably underwhelming considering the more affordable and supposedly less powered Starmobile Crystal clocked in a higher score. How does this translate to real life everyday use?
For core services like calendars, messaging, e-mail, and telephony, you shouldn’t have any problems. Note though that you will occasionally get some lags especially when you’re switching quickly from app to app. We were able to improve the experience though by installing the Memory Booster app which has an auto boost function to clear the phone’s cache.
The Starmobile Diamond is not the best device for hardcore gaming. Casual titles that don’t require too much graphics will work well but graphics intensive games will spell trouble for the Diamond. For example, we played Dead Trigger on low settings. The moment there are six or seven zombies on screen it starts to stutter. Note though that the zombies looked impressive thanks to the HD display, hehe.
If you’re not into hardcore games though then the Starmobile Diamond should work wonderfully. Less taxing games like Temple Run, Candy Crush, and Angry Birds will look awesome on the 5-inch HD display.
Shines as a media player
With the great display and big screen, the Starmobile Diamond lends itself to being a fantastic portable media player, whether you’re watching videos on YouTube or TV series that you’ve downloaded into the phone. You can easily play 720p videos on the phone but it will have a difficult time with 1080p content.
Camera does well with BSI
Just like the Starmobile Crystal, the Starmobile Diamond has pretty good optics. While there is a tendency for the whites to wash out a bit, the camera still manages to capture a lot of detail even in mid-low light conditions. Definitely one of the better cameras on budget smartphones out there.
Here are a few sample shots:
Battery life is average
Despite the big 2,000mAh battery, the Starmobile Diamond only gets us around 6-7 hours of use in a day. That’s just average smartphone battery life. Looks like the HD display is eating up a lot of the power.
[quote]Excellent for social networking, web browsing, watching videos (especially YouTube), and casual gaming thanks to the HD display. However there is noticeable occasional lag because the processor has a hard time pushing all those pixels up to the screen. Not good for hardcore gaming.[/quote]
The biggest strength of the Starmobile Diamond is its biggest weakness — the HD display.
So does the Starmobile Diamond shine bright like a… uh… diamond? It has pros and cons. It’s not a perfect product. If you’re looking for an awesome media player that also works as a phone and is great for core services like social networking, e-mail, and casual games, then yes it is a great choice. However if you’re the type that values responsiveness and hardcore gaming then this isn’t for you.
The Starmobile Diamond is already available in Starmobile kiosks and stores for Php9,990.