Full Review: Starmobile Diamond V7!
After more than a week of using the Starmobile Diamond V7 as one of our daily drivers we’re all set to share with you guys our full review. To be honest if Starmobile released this gadget three months ago they probably would be making a ridiculous killing in sales. It was definitely way ahead of other phablets when it was originally announced several months ago but now people are starting to question the added premium considering there are other smartphones and phablets out there with lower prices that offer better specifications. This brings us to the question we want to answer in this review — is the Starmobile Diamond V7 still worth it?
Before we jump into the review, let’s go over the specifications once again.
Starmobile Diamond V7 Spec Sheet
- 1.2GHz Quad-core Processor MediaTek
- PowerVR SGX544MP GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD Card
- 5.7-inch IPS Capacitive Display, DragonTrail Glass
- 720×1280 Resolution, 257 pixels per inch
- 18.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with LED flash, autofocus and BSI
- 8.0-megapixels front-facing camera with autofocus and BSI
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby WiFi, WiFI Hotspot, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS/aGPS
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- 2,600mAH Battery
- Comes with free Leather Flip Case and Capacitive Stylus
- Comes with a free 8GB microSD Card
- SRP: Php12,990
As you can see the Php12,990 price tag might raise eyebrows considering devices running MediaTek’s Turbo Quad-core CPU are already in the market today. There’s also the question of the 4GB internal storage. These are definitely valid questions and we’ll try to be as objective as possible with this review. Read on!
Form Factor and Hardware: Phablet through and through
The Starmobile Diamond V7, being a phablet, is a huge device. Forget about using this with one hand (unless you have big hands or you wanna exert tons of effort). The 5.7-inch form factor is made for two-handed use and while Starmobile was able to keep the Diamond V7 slim (compared to other phablets), it’s still quite hefty. The added weight gives a reassuring feeling though that it’s sturdy and can take a drop or two but we didn’t bother with any drop tests, lol.
All the buttons and ports are neatly located on the sides. The back has a smooth matte finish with the Starmobile logo in red. The 18MP shooter sits at the top together with the LED flash. By the way, like what we mentioned in the unboxing, the Starmobile Diamond V7 has a free flip cover in the box. To attach it you’ll replace the back plate and that’s why there’s a folded flap in the photos for this review.
Up front we have the 5.7-inch display made from Dragon Trail scratch resistant glass. Resolution is HD (1280 x 720) and this comes out to around 257 pixels per inch which is actually already impressive on a 5.7-inch canvass. Also good to note that the manufacturer also built in IPS technology which ensures optimal viewing angles. In short, the display on this thing is pretty awesome… which is actually what should be the case since people who like phablets put a lot of weight on the display quality. 🙂
Other than the flip cover, the Starmobile Diamond V7 also came with a free capacitive stylus. Using the stylus is the same experience you get with other capacitive styluses. It’s not really the most precise pointing and navigation device available but if you prefer using one then at least there’s already a free one in the box which also has a slide-in holster in the flip cover.
Over-all when it comes to the hardware the Starmobile Diamond V7 impresses mainly due to the solid build, brilliant screen, and the bunch of freebies in the box: the flip cover, screen protector, and the capacitive stylus.
Strong Performer But Can Be Improved
The Starmobile Diamond V7 runs on a 1.2GHz quad-core MediaTek processor. As expected it clocked in past 13,000 on the Antutu Benchmark Test. As we’ve seen with other devices that hit this level we got a fairly good Android experience with the Starmobile Diamond V7. We didn’t encounter any major lags or delays with the basic transitions, animations, and core services. It did have some trouble with a few live wallpapers though like PaperLand Pro using the Halloween Theme. We also noticed a slowdown when using the camera. These probably could have been addressed if they packed in the turbo quad-core processor of MediaTek.
With a score of 13,000+, this phablet can handle almost everything you throw at it. All the usual stuff like social networking (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) worked flawlessly. There was not trace of lag in scrolling up and down feeds. Just be sure to use two hands when you start posting messages, hehe.
When it came to gaming, the Starmobile Diamond V7 delivered a respectable performance. In our tests it ran most of the games well with the exception of ZombieWood. The animation wasn’t as smooth as we expected it to be. Maybe this has something to do with the strength of the processor and its ability to push up all those pixels and data to the 5.7-inch screen?
Anyway, if you’re into casual games you won’t have to worry. Usual suspects like Candy Crush, Temple Run 2, Minion Rush, and a host of other titles like them ran without any notable issues.
The best thing about the Diamond V7 is the display quality and you take full advantage of that when you start watching movies, whether downloaded or streamed via YouTube, on it. Make sure you get a 720p video so you maximize the capabilities of the device. Colors come out vibrant, images sharp, and movement just buttery smooth. The Diamond V7 is definitely a great portable media player.
By the way, to those asking if the Starmobile Diamond V7 has OTG capabilities, we tested and it doesn’t. You’ll have to make do with the 4GB internal storage and the 32GB micro SD card that you put in the device.
Over-all in terms of performance the Starmobile Diamond V7 can do almost anything but there are isolated instances when the processor shows itself as a bit lacking. Now at a device priced at Php10,000 we wouldn’t be complaining but this one sells for almost Php13,000 and that price range is starting to get packed with devices running either better processors, battery capabilities, or even LTE connectivity.
Stylus: Worth Using on the Diamond V7?
As we mentioned earlier, the Starmobile Diamond V7 has a free capacitive stylus. They probably wanted users to take advantage of the big screen by using it to navigate and scribble on the device. Starmobile pre-installed an app called Floating Notes. When you tap on it a set of controls appears on the lower left part of the device. You can then scribble and write down stuff on top of anything that’s on the screen. When you save the note though it does away with the background so all that you’ll see will be the note you wrote down.
Here’s a sample:
Unfortunately just like with other capacitive styluses, it’s not as precise and sensitive as we’d want it to be. We probably won’t be using it often especially having used the S Pen already from the Galaxy Note series. Difference between the capabilities of both pens is night and day in favor of the S Pen.
Camera: Not-so-fast Interface but Spectacular Photo Quality
Now we get to the feature we loved best about the Starmobile Diamond V7. A few months ago we said that the Starmobile Knight has the best camera on a local branded smartphone. We’ll add to that statement now because it looks like Starmobile transplanted that camera to the Diamond V7. The Starmobile Diamonv V7 has the best camera on a local branded phablet to date. The quality of the images are amazing! It can really give the cameras used by global brands a run for their money!
Here are some sample shots using the 18MP (with BSI) primary shooter:
Amazing right? Camera takes excellent macro shots even in medium level lighting conditions.
The Starmobile Diamond V7 is also a great camera for selfies since it has an 8MP front-facing snapper with BSI. Here’s a sample taken with the front-facing camera in bad lighting:
Photo still comes out nice! There’s slight noise but nothing too distracting.
Battery Life: Can go the distance
The 2,600mAh battery on board this phablet is more than enough to get you through one whole day of moderate-heavy use. Just make sure you keep brightness below 50%. In our tests we got at least 9 hours out of it and that’s with incredibly heavy use already switching between browsing, social networking, sending e-mails and texts, taking calls, and a stage or two of ZombieWood.
Verdict: One of the Best Cameras on a Phablet
Objectively speaking the processor and internal storage are the big letdowns of the Starmobile Diamond V7. At a premium price point of Php12,990 this device should be packing at least a turbo quad-core processor and 8GB ROM. However there’s one thing that you can’t take away from the Diamond V7 — it has the best camera we’ve tested on a phablet (5.5-inch and up). Starmobile really did hit a jackpot with their manufacturer for their optics. Ever since the Starmobile Crystal they’ve been churning out really good cameras on their smartphones which just leave the competition in the dust.
So what’s the verdict? If you’re looking for an able phablet that has a fantastic camera, then you might wanna check the Starmobile Diamond V7 out. However if you’re not in a rush to buy, you might wanna wait. Two things will either happen: Starmobile Diamond V7 gets a price cut OR Starmobile releases another updated Diamond phablet with the turbo processor and better storage.
PS: We’ve reviewed the complete line-up already of Starmobile devices so far. Here are links to the last three major releases.