Review: Starmobile Diamond V3
Starmobile’s first quad-core offering, the Starmobile Diamond V3, debuted a few days ago and we actually did a quick unboxing post and initial hands-on post already. The timing of the review unit was actually awesome as one of our main phones died so we ended up using the Diamond V3 as our daily driver. Suffice to say we’ve been using it quite heavily the last week and we can now share with you guys our full review.
Before we jump into the review though let’s quickly review the specifications!
Starmobile Diamond V3 Spec Sheet
- Quad-core Qualcomm 8225Q Processor (Snapdragon S4 Series)
- Adreno 203 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD
- 5.3-inches Capacitive Touchscreen, 480×854 resolution
- 12.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED Flash, and BSI
- 2.0-megapixels front-facing camera with BSI
- Dual SIM Dual Standby
- 3G, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, FM Radio, GPS/aGPS
- 2,100mAH Battery
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
- Comes with free microSD Card (4GB) and Jelly Case
- SRP: Php8,990
As you can see the Starmobile Diamond V3 packs respectable internals. What’s intriguing though is they decided to use a Qualcomm processor than the usual Mediatek chipset. This actually has an impact on the over-all performance but we’ll get to that later on in the software portion of the review.
Slim and Compact Phablet
The Starmobile Diamond V3 comes across more of a phablet than a smartphone. However 5.3-inches isn’t really that unwieldy yet. It also helps that the device is still quite thin and light despite the size. You can still effectively use the Diamond V3 as a smartphone and enjoy it as some sort of mini-tablet as well. When it comes to messaging though you probably should use both hands. We had problems trying to text with just one-hand (despite us having big hands lol).
They used white glossy plastic for the body of the Diamond V3. It’s the same material that we’ve seen with the Starmobile Crystal and the first-generation Diamond. The good news though is that they made it really compact reducing the air in between the plastic cover and the internals. There are no squishy or squeaky sounds when you’re pressing down on the different parts of the device.
The removable back plate has the red Starmobile logo at the center (red means quad-core). Taking off the backplate gives you access to the battery, two SIM card slots, and one microSD card slot.
The 12-megapixel rear-facing camera is also there but be careful when putting this on rough surfaces as the camera lens is a bit exposed so it might get scratched. We suggest you guys always have the case that was bundled in the box on the Diamond V3 so that your investment is protected (Php8,990 is still Php8,990).
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The resolution of the Diamond V3 is 854×480 which is lower than the HD quality display of the first generation Diamond. Make no mistake about it, the first generation Diamond’s display was fantastic and is superior to the Diamond V3’s. However at least with this model you don’t get the lags and delays since the chipset of the first Diamond wasn’t equipped to handle HD. You don’t get any of the lags and delays with the Diamond V3 but we think the quad-core processor in this baby probably could have handled HD in the first place.
Over-all the form factor of the Starmobile Diamond V3 offers great value considering the price tag. If we have one criticism it would really be the 854×480 display resolution. In the age of quad-core, HD should be the standard.
Smooth and Fluid Android 4.1 Experience
Powered by the Qualcomm quad-core chipset, 1GB RAM, and Android’s Project Butter, the Starmobile Diamond V3 delivers a near lag-free experience. Transitions are smooth and animations are flawless. Loading apps were fast and the Multi-tasking feature doesn’t stutter. We ran an Antutu Benchmark Score test to see how the Qualcomm chipset fared and we were quite surprised by the results. Despite the really great performance it scored lower than the devices running on MediaTek processors.
Quad-core smartphones and phablets powered by MediaTek usually hit at least 12,000 on the Antutu Benchmark Test. One of our tech friends pointed out that this particular model wasn’t using the latest Qualcomm chipset so that might explain the lower score. Anyway, at 10,000 the device is put in the same league as other global powerhouses like the venerable Samsung Galaxy Note.
We didn’t encounter any issues with performance for core functions like messaging, e-mail, multi-tasking, web browsing, calls, and maps. All the usual functions worked pretty well including GPS/aGPS and we got clear calls. What we found enjoyable though was all the activities that required us to look at the screen for extended periods of time. The 5.3-inch display is a big canvass to display content on making it more fun to use. These activities include the following:
Flipboard was especially great to use on the Diamond V3. 5.3-inches is the right balance. It’s not too big to the point that the device is hard to manage with one hand but it also isn’t too small to the point that you’d have to squint or keep enlarging stuff just to read them.
Gaming on the Diamond V3
The Diamond V3 ran casual games like Candy Crush, Temple Run, Minon Rush, and several others with no problems whatsoever. Loading times were fast and rarely did we encounter any lags or delays. For graphics intensive titles like Wild Blood and Dead Trigger things started out good but eventually bogged down later on when there was too much activity happening in the scene. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not as bad as with what you get with smartphones with dual-core processors and bad graphics chips. There’s just a noticeable lag when things start to get crazy on the screen.
12MP Camera with BSI is quite impressive
The 12.0-megapixel camera with BSI on the Diamond V3 was actually quite impressive. It was able to capture images well especially in neutral lighting conditions. We had some problems with strong white light but over-all we think it’s one of the best cameras you’ll be able to find on a local branded phablet.
Sample shots for your perusal:
Pwede na right? I mean it’s no iPhone 5 quality camera but hey it’s pretty good.
Battery life is superb
I don’t know if it’s the Qualcomm chipset or just the big battery but the Diamond V3 is a long-lasting phablet. It easily got us through the whole day without needing a charge with heavy usage. We ended most days with at least 25%-30% left despite having 3G on the entire time and making multiple calls and sending out dozens of e-mails.
Two thumbs up with the battery life!
Verdict: A Phablet Worth Considering
The Starmobile Diamond V3 is a solid value-for-money phablet offering. It delivers you a great smartphone experience and lets your enjoy a mini-tablet experience with the 5.3-inch screen. It has a competitive 12-MP BSI camera that lets you take nice shots and it has long-lasting battery life. Our only main criticism is really the 854×480 display but hey this sells for just Php8,990. We gotta leave something for the flagship right? Hehe.
Speaking of flagships, Starmobile teased their newest flagship phablet, the Starmobile Diamond V7. It should be coming out in July and it will have better specifications (including the rear 18MP and fron 12MP cameras) but it will definitely be priced higher than the Diamond V3. If you can wait and you have budget to spare you might want to wait for that one to drop instead.
The Starmobile Diamond V3 is now available in Starmobile stores in kiosks. If you want to be sure to get one you might want to visit an official Starmobile Concept Store. The one they have in North Edsa Cyberzone Annex will probably have stocks available.