We review the Knight Elite!
Today we’ll be reviewing Starmobile’s latest entry into their hi-end, Knight lineup, the Knight Elite. The phone was announced a few weeks ago and we’ve been using it as our primary smartphone for a while now, so we have a good read on what the pros and cons of this phone is. Priced at Php 9,990, it’s one of the company’s most expensive smartphones, but does its performance live up to that pricepoint? Find out in our review below:
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
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 2600mAh battery
- Php 9,990
A design that’s heavily inspired by the Xperia line of phones
Since the Elite is part of Starmobile’s Knight family of phones, it boasts one of the nicest designs of the lineup so far. Regular readers will also be quick to point out that the Elite looks a lot like
Sony’s Xperia line of phones, and you’d be right. Not that that’s a bad thing – the Elite is has a solid construction and an overall elegant design, though it is a little bit on the light side. While most
brands use metal bodies for their devices, the Elite is an entirely plastic and metal affair.
Because of its design the Elite feels nice to the hands and isn’t as slippery as other all-metal flagships. The corners of the phone are plastic, so it’s capable of taking a few drops here and there
without any major issues. Both the front and back are covered by Gorilla Glass.
Both the power button and volume rocker are located on the left side of the phone. The power button pulls double duty as the notification light – a green or red light shows up on the side of it if you have a text or a notification when you’re using the phone. Up front, you’ll see the 5-inch full HD IPS JDI display. The phone uses on-screen capacitive navigation keys, and smaller than average bezels.
The phone uses a hybrid dual-SIM layout which allows you to use either an extra SIM or a microSD card to boost the phone’s 16GB of storage.
Turning the phone over you’ll see the 13-megapixel rear camera on the upper left corner of the device, along with the LED flash. Starmobile’s logo is displayed prominently at the middle. We’re happy to see that the Elite uses a bottom speaker layout for the phone. Because of the overall size of the Elite, it’s super easy to use it one-handed even if you have smaller than average hands.
Overall display quality of the 5-inch, HD display is quite good, and the JDI panel produced nice, bright and punchy colors. Viewing angles are good, and the phone isn’t fazed by bright light – the phone’s display is easy to read even under the noon sun.
Good performance, but bloatware pulls it down
The Knight Elite is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, paired with 2GB of RAM. That hardware combo isn’t new, and is typical for most mid-range smartphones. While it’s not the fastest processor around, it’s still good enough to ensure the smoothness of the Elite when you’re using it. The Elite is capable of playing newer games without issues like Mortal Kombat X, though the graphics will be slightly worse compared to SoCs that have better GPUs.
Well, that’s the theory anyway. While the Elite’s performance is relatively smooth during normal use, it does get bogged down by the number of bloatware that’s in the device. It’s been a recurring theme in some of Starmobile’s phones, one that we hope gets addressed in the future. You can just uninstall them to free up space, but they’re still a bit annoying just the same.
One thing we do like about phones from local brands that have Snapdragon 615 processors on them is the fact that they have far better antennas and radios compared to MediaTek-powered phones. This means faster GPS lock times, and faster and more stable LTE signals in areas that have it.
Good camera performance
The Knight Elite carries a 13-megapixel BSI camera with AF and LED flash. As far as image quality goes, the Elite is capable of producing good photos with excellent detail and color reproduction, even under artificial light.
Unfortunately, the much-vaunted re-focus shooting feature wasn’t as good as we expected, and there was only a minimal shift in focus when we tried it in some of the photos we shot. We never really did get the same re-focus effect as we did with other phones that had the feature, sadly.
Decent battery life
Running our standard PCMark Battery benchmark test on the Elite on our usual settings (50% brightness using manual settings) yielded a score of 5 hours and 26 minutes. That translates to around a whole day’s battery life with moderate use – that’s with LTE on, light gaming and heavy internet usage. With a little more battery management, you’ll probably be able to get better endurance from the phone.
Verdict: despite some issues, it’s Starmobile’s best yet
The Knight Elite is probably one of the best phones Starmobile released this year. It has a good overall design, adequate perfomance, good camera and excellent battery endurance. While it’s eclipsed by MediaTek offerings of other rival local brands, there’s still something to be said about a phone that runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips. While MediaTek’s managed to close the CPU and GPU performance gap, LTE, GPS and other things radio-related still need to be addressed in their next generation of chips.
The Knight Elite is priced at Php 9,990.