Up Close and Personal with the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD
Arc Mobile is a new local smartphone brand that launched in the Philippines last month. Based on what I’ve seen so far it looks like they’re positioning themselves as a budget, low-cost, and affordable option that can probably compete with the aggressive pricing of Cherry Mobile. Their upcoming flagship smartphone is set to hit stores in July but it is already getting a lot of buzz because of the price tag. The Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD is confirmed to be sold for under Php5,800 and it packs a 1.2GHz quad-core processor. The catch here is the RAM as the unit only comes with 512MB. However while that might slow down graphics intensive gaming and apps, all the other stuff you do on the device will be quite smooth and fluid. We’ve had the final prototype unit of the Arc Mobile 450QD for a few days now and we’d like to share with you guys our review. Kindly note that this is just based on their prototype and it will probably still get better when they release the commercial unit.
Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD Spec Sheet
- 1.2GHz Quad-core Processor
- PowerVR SGX544MP GPU
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD Card
- 4.5-inches capacitive display, qHD Resolution
- 5.0-megapixel rear facing camera
- VGA front-facing camera
- WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, 3G, Bluetooth
- Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
- 1,800mAH Battery
- SRP: Php5,800
>>> YOU MIGHT WANT TO READ: Arc Mobile Launches in the PH, here are their smartphone offerings
Read on for our review! Again please don’t forget that this is just the final prototype unit so some of our criticisms might get fixed down the road.
Hardware: Compact, Just the Right Size
The Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD has a 4.5-inch form factor. At this size it’s quite easy to handle with just one hand and the heft and weight is just comfortable enough to make you feel that it’s a solid and durable device. The chassis is made mostly from black hard plastic. The materials used here is actually very familiar to the ones Cherry Mobile had with their first smash Android hit, the Cherry Mobile Flare.
Buttons and ports are all on the sides: volume rocker, mini USB port, audio jack, and power lock. The 5.0-megapixel camera is at the back together with the rather loud and impressive speaker.
At the front we have the 4.5-inch glass display (not scratch resistant so make sure you get a screen protector) and underneath it are the three capacitive Android buttons. There seemed to be a problem with the lighting of the buttons there as the white light was too bright. If you look at it directly in a certain angle it actually gets annoying. This is something that Arc Mobile can hopefully fix when they ship the final commercial unit to stores.
Display quality is quite respectable as the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD has qHD resolution. Whites tended to be a little harsh with maximum brightness but over-all image and video quality are all pretty good and competitive.
Over-all in terms of hardware the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD offers a compact, ergonomic, and solid form factor. It’s not too big but not that small either. Just the right size with nice materials and a respectable display. Not bad considering the price tag right? 😛
Software: Surprisingly Fast and Fluid
I was initially expecting a sloppy and laggy user experience since this was a quad-core smartphone on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean with just 512MB RAM. However I was pleasantly surprised to find the complete opposite. Basic core functions and transitions were smooth, fluid, fast, and almost lag-free. We quickly fired up Antutu Benchmark to see how the device scored and it was quite impressive.
The Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD scored over 10,000, putting it in the same score level as the Samsung Galaxy SII. That’s not bad at all. Again let’s consider the price factor here. This smartphone just sells for under Php5,800. Woot. Here’s the Antutu score comparison chart for your reference:
The only time we had some hiccups with the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD was when we started to try graphics intensive games. The first thing we noticed was the loading time. It took more than 15 seconds to start up Dead Trigger. Gameplay was generally okay but it did start to lag when more and more zombies entered the picture. This was also the same experience we had with other shooter titles. The first stages were good but it became quite taxing on the phone when the game progressed and more elements were introduced into play.
For everything else though the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD offers an almost lag-free experience. RSS readers, social networking applications, and watching/streaming online videos all went pretty well. Just make sure you manage the memory of the device. We strongly suggest that if ever you do get this phone that you purchase the Memory Booster App. Which just one button you can easily close all unused applications to free up memory. This will help maintain the lag-free experience.
Not bad right? I was constantly amazed at the over-all experience because it was quite good despite the low price tag. Arc Mobile has a potential smash hit on their hands. Hopefully though the unit doesn’t have quality issues but we’ll only find that out after we use it for a couple of months.
Camera: Trouble with Harsh Environments
If there is one major criticisms we will throw towards this device it would be the camera. The Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD has a 5-megapixel rear-facing shooter at the back with LED Flash. However the photo quality that we got from our shots wasn’t really that good. The white exposure was very harsh and it showed a lot when we took photos with strong light (even sunlight). Taking pictures of our cat while in neutral lighting conditions though was okay. Hopefully Arc Mobile will still be able to fix this when they launch the commercial unit in July.
Here are some of our sample shots:
Battery Life: Average
With two SIMs fired up and 3G sync for e-mail/Facebook the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD lasted us a little over 7-8 hours with moderate use. That’s with several phone calls, browsing, and a lot of texting. 3G was perpetually on with the sync apps running in the background. That’s average smartphone battery life so while it’s not bad, it’s not impressive either. We suggest that you always keep a mobile charger with you always. At least it’s not as bad as the Cherry Mobile Flare which just lasted us 6 hours at best.
Verdict: Affordable, Reliable, but not Hardcore
So what’s our final verdict with the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD? If you’re in the market for an affordable smartphone that offers a fluid and smooth experience for Android smartphone core functions and you don’t usually use the phone for hardcore gaming, then you might want to consider this device. Priced below Php5,800, it’s a good value-for-money proposition but we’re seriously hoping that they still have time to fix the camera, hehe.
The Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD is set to land in stores first week July.
Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD on the Unbox Video Podcast
We featured the phone live on our video podcast last Monday. Check out the full episode below. Skip to 23:30 if you want to get straight to the Arc Mobile Nitro 450QD segment.