We review the MyPhone my36!
While local brand Cherry Mobile was slugging it out with other local and international brands in the bang-for-the-buck market last year, MyPhone nowhere to be found. Aside from releasing a few token Rio smartphones, the local brand was silent for the most part of the year.
That was until they started releasing their new my line of smartphones, including two new bang-for-the-buck devices that hearkens a return to what made the brand great a few years ago. Aside from scrapping all their current phone lineups and consolidating them into a single device line, MyPhone’s looking to regain lost customers and attract new ones by returning to their trademark competencies: budget devices at hard to ignore prices. The my36 is one of those devices.
MyPhone my36 specs:
- 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6753 octa-core processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.2-inch full HD IPS display
- 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD
- 13-megapixel rear camera, Samsung sensor, phase detection AF with flash
- 5-megapixel front camera with flash
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- 2900mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
A return to form, for better or for worse
MyPhone’s my36 is one of the nicest phones that’s ever come from the local brand. The phone is relatively compact at just 5.2-inches, which is a big departure from the big-screened offerings of rival outfits locally. The my36 has a nice, 2.5D glass covering that wraps around the edges of the display, giving the panel a nice, premium feel.
We earlier mistook the grey frame of the phone to be plastic, but several users chimed in that the frame is indeed made out of metal. On the right side is the volume rocker and the power button, which is very easy to press while holding the phone one-handed because of its smaller size. Up top is the 3.5mm jack, while the bottom of the phone holds the USB port.
Once you flip the phone over, you’ll see the faux-leather finish on the back of the device, which feels a little rubbery to the touch. The back of the phone – and honestly, most of the phones under MyPhone’s unified my lineup – sports the Philippine map design that first graced their phones when they started business. This is a big deal for a lot of people, and is the biggest issue that most people have when considering the my36. In truth, the design isn’t so bad, and if you hate the sight of our country’s image so much on your phone you can always just take the back cover off and paint over it if you wished.
Speaking of taking off the back cover, that’s what you have to do to access the two SIM slots and the microSD expansion slot. Unfortunately, the 2,900mAh battery of the my36 is non-removable.
On the upper left side of the phone you’ll see the 13-megapixel rear camera along with the LED flash. On the lower part of the phone you’ll see the speaker grille, which gets a little muffled when you lay the phone flat on the table.
The 5.2-inch display uses an IPS panel and has a full HD resolution. Images are nice and crisp, and colors just pop on the screen. Since the phone is just 5.2-inches, the images look sharper than they would on a device with a larger screen. The phone uses on-screen Android navigation keys, and the 5-megapixel front camera located right on top has an LED flash to illuminate nighttime selfies.
A processor that can handle most anything, but the custom UI is annoying
It won’t surprise you in the slightest that MediaTek’s 1.3GHz MT6753 octa-core processor is powering the my36, paired with 3GB of RAM. Why should it? It’s been the processor of choice for many budget-minded smartphones for a while now, and is what powers the current crop of Flare smartphones from local rival Cherry Mobile. It’s not difficult to see why though – it’s fast enough for most people, is relatively reliable and has enough grunt for both normal usage and gaming. It’s also power-efficient, as you’ll see later on in our battery test.
As far as overall user experience goes, the my36 managed to perform well enough, and the 3GB of RAM ensures that everything runs smoothly. Almost all but the most demanding games run well on the my36. We were a little annoyed by the UI of the phone. While the device uses Android 5.1 Lollipop as its base OS, there’s a funky UI overlay on top of that that strips the app drawer from the phone and lays everything out in the open. There is an upside though – you get several custom gestures at your disposal, which is okay, we guess.
Call quality is okay, though the phone doesn’t do as well in the GPS and connectivity department as phones powered by rival SoCs. Call connectivity is good, with no problems whatsoever in the calls made to, and from, the phone. The speaker is sufficiently loud, though the sound gets muffled when you lay the phone down flat with the screen up.
Relatively good camera for the price
The my36 has a 13-megapixel rear camera, along with a Samsung-made sensor, phase detection AF with flash. We took it with us to Sinulog recently where it performed rather well. The PDAF unit locks into subjects quickly, and the camera managed to capture quite a bit of detail in the photos in bright light. Photos have generally good colors, though the images aren’t as vibrant as we would have wanted. Overall quality is good, and perfectly acceptable for uploading in social media.
Low light performance isn’t the best, as there’s definitely quite a bit of noise evident in photos taken indoors. There’s also a manual mode hidden away in the shooting modes that you can select, though it’s not true manual shooting, as you’re only limited to a few options that you can tweak. It’s better than nothing though.
Video is quite good as well, as you can see below.
More than a day’s worth of battery life
More and more people are looking for smartphones with bigger batteries which puts the my36 at a disadvantage since it doesn’t come with a lot of juice. The 2900mAh battery isn’t particularly large, but since the phone comes with MediaTek’s new power-efficient processor, the MT6753, it’s more than enough to power the device for around a day. Our battery benchmark put the my36 at 7 hours and 6 minutes, which is good enough for most people.
Verdict: MyPhone’s got a winner with the my36
Like it or not, MyPhone’s new direction signifies a positive change for the company. They’re going back to the things that matter – design, affordability and image quality – things that made them such a hit in their earlier years. The my36 is a great step in the that direction, and while people will constantly argue about the return of our country’s image on the back of their phones, there’s no denying that the my36 is a great start to a new chapter in MyPhone’s history.