Years ago, there were very few mobile phone manufacturers in the world that I could name with one hand. These days, the numbers have shot up drastically as more and more people take their shot in making the best mobile phone they can. We are aware of the numerous brands hailing from China but today we are going to feast our eyes on a brand hailing from my glorious homeland, Malaysia. Meet the Note Grace V by a local company, Winds Mobile.
Without haste, it’s decked out with a MediaTek MT6580 Quad-Core processor clocked at 1.3Ghz, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage with expandability via a micro-SD card up to 32GB, Dual Sim Card Support, a 5.5” 720p Display and a 2700mAh removable battery. It’s even got a skinned version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow to boot. It sounds like your average run of the mill smartphone. But, it only costs RM 299. That’s equivalent to 70USD! That and they even included a hard-flip cover and an extra screen protector should the one that came preinstalled wears off. A rather affordable phone for a majority of people I’d say. Plus, there’s no nonsense when it comes to the dual-sim and micro SD card expandability. So, you can use the dual sim function and have a micro-SD card in there at the same time without having to sacrifice one or another.
Now for its looks. Which is nothing to scream about. From the front it looks a lot like a mid-range Honor device. It’s adorned with a 5.5” 720p display that’s covered in glass. Viewing angles and colour reproduction are decent with text appearing rather sharp from normal viewing distances. However, in daylight the screen becomes barely readable. On the bottom, we get the 3 capacitive buttons for home, multitask drawer and back. The power button and volume rocker are on the right side of the device. They are decently tactile. Though, I wish they were spaced out further to prevent accidental presses.
Lastly, we get a 2MP front facing shooter that delivers usable selfies. Due to the low megapixel count on the front facing camera, there is an apparent lack of detail as compared to a 5MP one. On the top of phone sits the usual 3.5mm audio jack and the Micro USB charging port.
Moving on to the rear, it is made out of plastic and is removable. That’s also where we can find the 8MP rear shooter that delivers photos that are decent overall. Autofocus tends to hunt a little and it takes a moment to lock focus even in good light. The photos have an apparent sign of over sharpening with the presence of artifacts. The flash is quite decent as well. But, I would love to have it dual-tone. Underneath both of them is the Winds logo by itself without the usual FCC markings ruining the aesthetics. On the bottom right corner is the speaker which is just okay. Anything above 50% volume and it would start to fall apart whether we’re listening to music or speech. Check out the picture from the phone below (click on picture to see full resolution):
We’re not pulling any punches in this review. So, we’ve put it to the test like any other phone. Firstly, for the battery, it has a 2700mAh battery that lasted an average of 6 hours, which is pretty average for smartphones in this day. Now, for the performance tests to see whether the price has affected it any way. To point out beforehand, the Note Grace V does not come with a GPU which is one of the reasons for its price point. To find out how much it affects performance we’re off with some benchmarks. For the Bonsai benchmark we got 20 fps, for PC Mark we got a score of 2621, for Ice Storm Unlimited we got a score of 2922, for Ice Storm Extreme we got a score of 2000 and finally, for Antutu we got a score of 24351. Don’t expect mind blowing performance on this device. But, for daily and some light gaming it’s actually not too bad. Especially when it came to light games like Fast Like a Fox or Pokemon GO.
So, what do I think and who is the Note Grace V? For RM299 it offers a really decent smartphone with really decent specs for it. For those who are comfortable with flagship class of devices, this may not be for you. As you may soon notice a massive difference. But, if you’ve got a kid and they’ve been wanting a smartphone, this isn’t an all too bad option. It has everything you need in a smartphone and it’s not too expensive. And even if they lose it at school, it wouldn’t be a huge impact to replace on your wallet as compared to a regular mid-range phone that costs around and upwards of RM1000. It’s a good smartphone option for foreign workers to use without hugely impacting their wallets. Or, if you’re not really particular about performance and just want a 2nd phone that is really affordable, runs Android and just plain works. Cellular data maxes out at 3G which is plentiful enough for most applications. For most games other than ones that are graphic intensive it performs really well. Overall, it’s a great budget phone with rather decent specs to back it up. Plus, if you’re a Malaysian, it’s great to see a local brand taking a crack at the smartphone market and in my opinion, they’re doing great and I hope to see great success in the future. For all we know, they may make the world market one day.