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Starmobile Knight Elite Hands-on, First Impressions: Is This Your Next Cameraphone?

Starmobile Knight Elite 02

We go hands-on the Knight Elite!

Yesterday Starmobile officially announced their newest smartphone, the Knight Elite. Starmobile’s latest phone is chock full of photography enhancements, along with a design that’s reminiscent of Sony’s Xperia Z series of phones. Today we have a retail example of the phone to take a look at to see if the company’s newest offering is worth checking out. But first, the specs:

Starmobile Knight Elite specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor
  • Adreno 405 GPU
  • 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM
  • 5-inch full HD IPS JDI display, Corning Gorilla Glass protection, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of storage, expandable via microSD up to 32GB
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with AF, flash and BSI, re-focus capability
  • 5-megapixel front focus
  • Dual-SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Android 5.0 Lollipop
  • 2600mAh battery
  • Php 9,990

Starmobile Knight Elite 03

Initial impressions: thin and light, and is a dead ringer for Sony’s Xperia Z3

There’s no easy way to say it, so we’ll just point out the obvious: the Knight Elite is a dead ringer for Sony’s Xperia Z3. It’s not a direct clone obviously, but the resemblance to Sony’s OmniBalance design is very easy to see. The Gorilla Glass panels in the front and back of the phone along with the metallic looking frame with rounded edges gives it a very Z3-ish vibe. In Starmobile’s defense, they’re not exactly the first company to take liberal design cues from the Japanese company, and the build quality of their offering is pretty good, though it’s a bit lighter than we expected it to be.

Starmobile Knight Elite 06

The physical controls are all located on the left side of the phone, exactly where your fingers would be if you were holding it in your right hand. The phone uses a recessed SIM tray that you pop out via a SIM ejector tool, and one SIM slot pulls double duty as a microSD slot just like the phones of other brands. The 3.5mm jack of the Knight Elite is on the top of the phone while the USB port is on the bottom, and is flanked by speaker holes on both sides.

Starmobile Knight Elite 04

The front of the phone is dominated by the 5-inch full HD display that uses a JDI panel. The phone uses on-screen Android navigation keys instead of the usual physical capacitive ones, which reduces overall bezel size. Speaking of bezels, the side bezels are pretty slim too, and while it’s no match for phones like the OPPO R7 Plus, it’s still skinny enough to reduce the overall size of the phone. All of this contribute to the ease of use of the Knight Elite when using it one-handed.

Starmobile Knight Elite 08

Inside the Knight Elite beats Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 processor that’s paired with 2GB of RAM. That gives the Knight Elite a fairly respectable performance, though it’s nothing to write home about. Interestingly, the Snapdragon 615 processor inside the Knight Elite is running at a reduced clock of 1.5GHz instead of the default 1.7GHz that it usually runs at, which should make the phone less prone to thermal issues that plagued first generation chips.

Starmobile Knight Elite 07

The biggest differentiator for the Knight Elite is the refocusing camera tech that’s baked into the camera. Since the Knight Elite doesn’t have a secondary camera for dedicated depth information, it’s safe to assume that the refocusing feature relies entirely on software trickery to achieve the effect.

Starmobile Knight Elite 10
Focus point on the nose of the X-Wing
Focus point is on the body of the X-Wing
Focus point is on the body of the X-Wing

It does work as advertised, but the bokeh effect we achieved wasn’t as drastic as the one we got from say, the Honor 6 Plus, but it’s there. Obviously we’ll have to spend more time checking out the feature during our review, along with the other shooting modes of the camera.

Starmobile Knight Elite 09

Anyway, that’s it for this hands-on. The Knight Elite is a very interesting phone from Starmobile, and while it’s not the bang-for-the-buck device many people have been waiting for, it does bring something unique to the table. If you’re not keen on waiting for our full review of the device, you can purchase this phone from Starmobile on September 15 for Php 9,990.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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    1. Same old LYTRO Bulls#!t with artificial results, that’s why photography enthusiasts never really cared for it. It’s all software trickery

  1. Bakit 9,990 and price eh ang mga international players nasa 8k below ang price for the same specs. Ano ba yan.

  2. Bawat brand may target users. So this would be bought by people who dont give a fuck about those “technical shits” and just want to have a phone that works for them.

    1. Agree, hndi naman lahat mahilig sa intense gaming etc. Mukang maganda naman build quality elegante tingnan at promising na camera pwede na.. Hmmm anu ba pwede itapat dito na hndi mukang plastic

        1. yun nga lang walang sd card slot. at 16gb lang internal ang meron available dito sa pinas buti sana kung me 64 gb na available para magkasya ang maraming files.

  3. yung software nya mukhang stock. totoo ba yan? and good luck nalang sa heating ng 615. given na local brand, asa naman sa updates to fix that

  4. you got me at “cameraphone”, but a refocusing feature is hardly an outstanding cameraphone feature, heck even my meizu m2 note has that, with real manual camera controls to booth. now if this had real manual controls and perhaps a physical shutter button..well well..

  5. The benchmark score of this pathetic Snaplizard CPU is only 2000 more than an aged Mediatek 6592. I’ll really cherish the day when you finally die, Qualcomm. Lelz.

  6. overpriced yta..tapos 5.0 lollipop pa..huh.anyone unaware of 5.0 lollipop bugs.google it..look for 4.4.4 kitkat or 5.1 lollipop running os..mas ok pa.

    ung m2 note 6990 lang taz proven pa reliability..

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