E-Ceros One review – 5.5 inch octa-core smartphone
The “One” moniker is clearly a popular choice among smartphone makers at the moment, you have the HTC One (both generations) and the OnePlus One. The latest “One” is the E-Ceros One. This 5.5 inch, octa-core device is the first smartphone that E-Ceros has produced. Up until now the company has focused on tablets including the 9.7 inch E-Ceros Revolution and the 7 inch E-Ceros Motion. The question is, can E-Ceros make the move from tablets to phones successfully?
|Display||5.5-inch IPS 720p HD (1280 x 720)|
|Processor||1.7GHz MTK6592 Octa Core|
|Storage||16GB, microSD card slot, up to 32GB|
|Camera||8 Megapixel Rear Camera (13MP Interpolation) & 2 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera (5MP Interpolation)|
|Connectivity||GPS, microUSB 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth|
|Networks||3G/WCDMA: 850/2100 MHz|
|Software||Android 4.2 with Google Play|
|Dimensions||157 x 78 x 8.35 mm
If the E-Ceros One was a car it would include a walnut dashboard, leather seats and lots of chrome finish. Although the design isn’t strictly skeuomorphic, the inclusion of the a wood-grain like background image, along with the chrome elements on the handset, make this device look luxurious even before you put your hands on it. It could be argued that too many handsets today are clinical in their design – lots of plastics and brushed metal. Not the E-Ceros One. Here we have a style based around rubber and chrome. This may seem like a odd combination, but the designers have certainly pulled it off. I showed the device to a few people and the initial reaction of most was in the region of “wow”.
The back of the phone is made with an interesting material. Clearly it is plastic as you can pop the back cover off and the reverse side looks and feels like normal plastic. However the coating gives the phone and almost rubber like feel. It is certainly a non-slip material and its matte finish makes it look like a rubber coating. The left and right sides of the phone along with the top and bottom sections above the screen are also coated in the same material. The top and bottom edges are made of a hard plastic with a chrome like finish. There is also a thin chrome-like bar at the bottom between the capacitive keys and coated edge at the bottom.
Unlike other phone designs the screen’s glass doesn’t stretch from the top to the bottom. The display is surrounded by a black frame/case and at the top and bottom there are a series of perforations, that look like the grills for the headpiece and the mouthpiece. However on closer inspection these are just for show, but they do add to the overall look of the phone. The capacitive keys are also quite interesting in that the case’s small holes theme is carried over to the keys in the form of dots.
The volume rocker is on the left about two thirds of the way up. This means it is easily reachable by your thumb without the need for any hand gymnastics. The power button is opposite on the right hand side and is easily accessible with your index finger. The headphone jack is on the top and the micro USB socket is on the bottom.
The MediaTek MTK6592 is a 1.7GHz Cortex-A7 based octa-core system-on-a-chip (SoC). It includes a built-in Mali-450 MP4 GPU running at 700 MHz. It is the current darling of the Chinese smartphone market. I have previously reviewed other MTK6592 devices including the ThL T100S, the ThL T200 and the ThL W200S. My expectation was that the E-Ceros One would perform similarly to those devices, but my expectations where actually exceeded. The ThL devices generally scored just below 27,000 on AnTuTu whereas the E-Ceros One broke the 27,000 barrier with a score of 27,384.
That makes the E-Ceros faster than the HTC One (M7), and roughly equal to the Exynos-octa version of the S4. However it is still bested by phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8).
In Epic Citadel the device managed a frame rate of 47.8 fps at 1280 x 720 in high performance mode, and 48.3 in high quality mode.
Because the E-Ceros one sports a fairly large screen and an octa-core processor, the designers have included a 2800mAh battery. My testing shows that the inclusion of a larger battery was a good move as anything smaller could have rendered the phone unusable. The battery performance isn’t brilliant but neither is it bad.
Starting with 3D gaming, the device is able to run Epic Citadel for about 3 hours on one charge. For streaming YouTube video the E-Ceros One can manage about 5 hours on one charge. For video played from the internal storage this number grows to just under 6 hours. My testing showed that you can listen to MP3 files for over 25 hours, mainly because the screen is off during that time.
Finally, a quick test of 3G calling showed that the talk time for the E-Ceros One is around 15 hours. The 2G talk time is likely to be longer.
The rear-camera has an 8MP sensor and uses software interpolation to generate 13MP pictures. The pictures are quite reasonable for the price of this device. The camera takes vibrant pictures and works well for quasi-macro shots. On very sunny days there is the danger of the pictures becoming a little washed out, however with judicious use of the tap-to-focus then these can generally be avoided. The built-in camera app includes features like face detection, HDR, continuous shooting and panorama. Overall I was impressed.
Here are a few shots from the camera:
The phone has all the connectivity options you would expect on a budget device. There is Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, 2G GSM and 3G. The device is dual SIM and supports 3G on 850 and 2100MHz. The latter of the two frequencies is the most common 3G frequency and should work in most places around the world, however a lot of carriers also use a secondary 3G frequency range. In Asia and South America this is often 850MHz, but in Europe it tends to be 900MHz. Unfortunately the 3G won’t work in the USA, however standard GSM calls should work. You need to check with your carrier to ensure compatibility or if you trust Wikipedia then this UMTS networks page could have the information you need.
The phone runs Android 4.2.2. There is little in the way of launcher customizations (other than E-Ceros’ choice of default background image), however there are some new sections in the settings menu.
The first addition is the gesture functionality. Here you can configure the gestures for the gallery, to move between pictures; for the music player, to move between songs; for the camera, to take pictures; and for the launcher, to move to the next page. Overall these gestures are useless and don’t work. It is best just to ignore their inclusion in the device.
The next new piece of functionality allows you to control the camera flash LED. You can set it to blink on and off when you have incoming calls and to flash once when you receive a message.
The third new section is for the notification LED on the front. It can be set to flash different colors (red, blue and green) when you have notifications, calls and messages.
In terms of apps, Google Play is pre-installed on the device and there is full access to all of Google’s apps including Gmail, YouTube and Google Keyboard etc.
Pricing and conclusion
The device costs $199 which isn’t a lot of money for a 5.5 inch 720p HD device especially when you consider its octa-core processor and 2GB of RAM. The other “One” devices are more expensive. For example the OnePlus One costs at least $100 more for the 16GB version. You can pick up an E-Ceros One from Chinavasion.