Hong Kong-based Itel is trying to make a dent in the Philippine market by offering affordable and feature-packed devices in sub Php 5K market. Their Android Go-powered A56 Pro managed to impress us despite its faults, and now the brand is looking to make it big with their new budget smartphone, the Vision 1 Plus.
The Vision 1 Plus comes with a large display, generous battery and a respectable RAM/storage configuration, all for a price tag that doesn’t even go past the Php 5K mark. Does it make the Itel a brand worth considering?
- Slim for a phone with a big battery
- Decent display even for outdoors
- Aging processor
- Cameras have difficulty handling highlights
Like the A56 Pro, you get a red box with an outer sleeve showing the photo of the Vision 1 Plus, with text highlighting its RAM/Storage configuration and key specs: a 6.5-inch display and 5000mAh battery. Inside the package, you have the phone itself, a clear hard case, 10w charger, MicroUSB cable, headset, documentation, and a SIM ejector tool.
Unlike the A56 Pro, the Vision 1 Plus is relatively lighter and slimmer despite having a 5000mAh battery. Its textured polycarbonate back panel blends well with the metallic blue color that emits curved patterns when light shines through its surface. Its textured design makes it more resilient against smudges.
Other design cues are a little uninspired, as the phone uses the same square camera module that we’re starting to get sick of seeing on the rear. The module houses two cameras and an LED flash, with the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner right beside it, and Itel branding at the bottom.
For the button and port layout, you have a SIM tray on the left side, power and volume controls on the right side, and headphone jack, MicroUSB port, and loudspeaker at the bottom.
You get a sizable 6.5-inch display on the Vision 1 Plus, with resolution topping out at HD+. The chin is thicker than usual, which is typical for budget phones. The waterdrop notch is home to an 8-megapixel selfie snapper.
While the resolution is a little lacking for such a big panel, the upside is that the display on the Vision 1 Plus is still readable outdoors. Colors are bright and vibrant enough for everyday use, and while Itel is mum on the glass protection on the phone (there’s a good chance there is none) it does come pre-installed with a screen protector out of the box.
Like most budget phones in its price range, the Vision 1 Plus comes with a 13-megapixel f/1.8 main snapper. We’re underwhelmed that the Itel only equipped it with a VGA depth sensor, considering that a number of budget phones with depth sensors use a higher resolution, 2-megapixel units.
As for image quality, we noticed that the Vision 1 Plus has difficulties in handling highlights. HDR mode does help remedy this but only to a limited extent. Color accuracy, on the other hand, is good provided that you have good lighting.
When it comes to videos, the Vision 1 Plus can shoot at up to Full HD, though the lack of EIS means that handheld footage is not as stable. Check out this sample footage we got:
The Vision 1 Plus’ 8-megapixel f/2.0 selfie snapper exhibited the same challenges with the rear cameras, as it has difficulty in handling highlights. Otherwise, image detail is acceptable at best.
While the Vision 1 Plus has a good aperture opening for both front and rear cameras, we think that the issue with the highlights might be software-related. We hope Itel rolls out a software update that adjusts the Vision 1 Plus’ way of post-processing photos
Old processor limits its gaming capabilities
Powering the Vision 1 Plus is a Unisoc SC9863a, which is a 28nm octa-core processor from 2018. This 2-year old processor is relatively ancient considering how fast technology moves (and in an age of 12nm-or-better processors) but it still gets the job done as far as multitasking and daily use is concerned. Having 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage is decent for a sub-Php 5k budget phone, and you can easily expand storage via MicroSD.
Given the age of this processor, the Vision 1 Plus is not the ideal phone when it comes to games. While it can load titles like Asphalt 9, you have to contend with the lowest graphics settings, slow load times, and occasional frame drops while playing.
The old processor took a toll on the Vision 1 Plus. While we did score close to 14 hours on PCMark, we were expecting the Vision 1 Plus’ 5000mAh battery to last longer than the 4000mAh cell on the A56 Pro. You only get 10w charging with the Vision 1 Plus, so it takes a little over 4 hours to top up the battery from flat to 100%.
Like the A56 Pro, the Vision 1 Plus comes with a number of bloatware apps pre-installed on its Android 9-based OS. Some of them cannot be uninstalled, so we ended up disabling them to avoid the number of unnecessary notifications we receive from the phone.
Verdict: Attractive looks, but software needs fine-tuning
While the Vision 1 Plus looks attractive with its textured back panel and slim profile, Itel’s budget phone falls short when it comes to software. Aside from having annoying bloatware that cannot be uninstalled, the Vision 1 Plus’ camera software feels unoptimized especially with how it handles highlights.
The internals may be enough for day-to-day use, but the competition is already using newer and more power-efficient processors. All is not lost just yet, as Itel can improve the Vision 1 Plus’ overall performance through software updates.
The Vision 1 Plus is priced at Php 4,699 and will be available in both online and physical stores.