What features does a flag ship smartphone need? A full HD display? A powerful processor? Lots of internal storage? A good camera? The ThL T100S has all of these and more. Of course the key feature is its octa-core (that is eight cores) CPU. While Samsung has got its Exynos big.LITTLE processors working in heterogeneous mode, meaning the four Cortex-A7 cores are working simultaneously with the four Cortex-A15 cores, the Korean giant hasn’t been able to get it into a product, probably due to heat or battery issues. MediaTek however has managed to produce an octa-core processor that is shipping in real products, in fact I have one in my hand!
Unlike Samsung’s eight core Exynos processors, which have two different core types (Cortex A7 and A15), the MediaTek MT6592 use eight Cortex-A7 cores. A Cortex-A7 core uses less battery than a Cortex-A15 core but is less powerful. In terms of performance the A7 is aptly named as it is about 20% faster than the Cortex-A5, but slower than the Cortex-A9 when running at the same frequency. The key to the MT6592′s performance is that it runs at 1.7 GHz and has eight of those A7 cores!
I received the ThL T100S a few days ago and I have been using it exclusively as my main phone over the holiday period. I don’t want to jump ahead of myself but the T100S is a pleasure to use. However, first let’s look at the raw specification:
In terms of size, the T100S is about as wide as a Nexus 4 or Nexus 5 but about one centimeter longer. This can make the phone look long at first sight, however that feeling disappears very quickly. The T100S’ black design is complimented by a dark grey back cover. The top and bottom of the device are made from a hard textured material that gives the phone a carbon-fibre type look. The corners of the device are rounded towards the back but are well defined, even sharp, where they meet the screen. On the back the rear camera is found in the top left hand corner with a very bright LED Flash just below it. The speaker grill is towards the bottom. The volume rocker is on the left and the power button on the right. At the top is the headphone jack and surprisingly the microUSB port for charging the device and connecting it to your PC. When the device is off or sleeping the display blends in well with the surrounding bezels and from a short distance the phone looks like a thin black slab. Only the silver speaker grill on the front breaks the uniformity of the finish.
Overall the design is sleek and pleasing. It is easy to hold in the hand and feels well built. At 147 grams it is only marginally heavier than a Nexus 5 and you never get the feeling that you are holding a monster phone.
The display on the T100S is very good. With its full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution the definition is great and the color reproduction is true to life but not overly vivid. The brightness is great and often indoors the brightness can be set as low as 10 or 15 percent.
With a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch you get a clear, sharp display with crisp text and high detail. Playing games, reading, watching movies or viewing photos are a pleasure on this device and although there are certainly better displays out there, this one adds to the overall great experience of the T100S.
The key selling point of the T100S is its octa-core processor, so how fast is it? First we need to establish some context. The Cortex-A7 core isn’t ARM’s fastest, in fact Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 based processors can easily beat a Cortex-A7 processor if they all have the same number of cores and run at the same frequency. But the magic behind the MT6592 is that it runs at 1.7 GHz, that is same speed at the quad-core processor in the HTC One but faster than say the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon inside the Nexus 4. However it is clocked lower than the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon in the Nexus 5. But unlike the HTC One, Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and so many other high-end phones, this beast has eight cores. So how do eight Cortex-A7 cores compare to four Krait or four Cortex-A15 cores?
The T100S AnTuTu scores are impressive. Although it doesn’t take one of the top spots, the T100S manages a score of 26933. That makes it faster than the HTC One, faster than the Exynos-octa version of the S4 and faster than the Galaxy Note 2. However it is still bested by phones like the LG G2, the Xiaomi MI3 and the Galaxy Note 3.
For Epic Citadel, the demo app for the Unreal 3D engine, the T100S managed 40.7 frames per second (fps) on the High Performance setting and 39.4 fps on the High Quality setting. These are very good scores considering that the processor is generating all that graphics data for a 1920 x 1080 full HD display.
That makes the T100S 19% faster than than the LG G2 and 74% faster than the Note 3!
To test just the raw CPU power I used CF-Bench and CPU Prime Benchmark both of which test the CPU and memory performance without using the GPU. For CF-Bench the device scored 42906. To put that into some context the quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro in the Nexus 4 manages 13866, the Galaxy Note 3 scores 24653, while the LG G2 notches up 35999. That makes the T100S 19% faster than than the LG G2 and 74% faster than the Note 3!
A device with a 1.2 GHz MTK6589, which is a quad-core Cortex-A7 CPU, scores around 12000. So clearly the octa-core chip is far superior to its quad-core baby brother even when considering the bump in clock frequency and the additional cores.
The story is the same when using CPU Prime. The T100S scores 6347 compared to 4950 for the Samsung Galaxy S4 and 2820 for the Nexus 4. This all means that in terms of raw CPU power the MediaTek MT6592 is much faster than the current range of processors from Qualcomm and Samsung.
In terms of GPS performance the T100S is excellent. I stepped outside and activated the GPS and within two seconds the device had a lock! The GPS test app that I use reported that 18 satellites where visible (with eight being used to get the lock) which is more than I have ever seen while testing the GPS on a phone!
Every superhero has their weakness, with Achilles it was his heel, with Superman it is Kryptonite and with the T100S it is the battery. The device comes with a removable 2300mAh battery which in all honestly could do with being a bit larger. The battery is the same size as the one in the Nexus 5 and slightly larger than the one in the Nexus 4. The battery will be a disappointment to power users but depending on your usage you may get a full day (morning to evening) of use from it, but it is probable that a top-up charge during the day will be necessary.
I did some tests to try and generate some battery usage numbers and the results are a bit of a mixed bag. When running Epic Citadel in its Guided Tour mode the phone only lasted two hours before it ran out of juice. Also by the end of that time the back of the phone was quite warm to the touch.
For YouTube streaming (over Wi-Fi) the device does a bit better and can handle about three and a half hours on one charge. Watching an MP4 movie from the internal storage yields around four and a half hours of viewing pleasure. I did a simple 3G talk time test and the device will handle around 10 hours of calls, 2G talk time will likely be even longer.
The talk times are nothing special but neither are they bad, however at the other extreme, the Epic Citadel play time isn’t good at all and the multimedia tests tend towards the poorer end of the battery life scale. All the tests were carried out with the screen on half brightness, syncing enabled and Wi-Fi on.
The phone has all the standard connectivity options like Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, 2G GSM and 3G. It also has NFC but it doesn’t support LTE. There are two SIM card slots, one takes a normal sized SIM and the other is for a micro SIM. The T100S supports 3G on 850 and 2100MHz. The latter number is the “normal” 3G frequency and should work in most places around the world, however a lot of carriers also use a secondary 3G spectrum 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 the List of UMTS networks page could have the information you need.
I compared the Wi-Fi signals strengths of the T100S with other devices I have and it performed equally as well. I was able to access the Internet from all around the house and outside without any problems.
If 2013 was the year of the Selfie then the T100S is certainly a welcome product for some. Not only does the device have a 13MP rear facing camera, it also has a 13MP front facing camera. The difference between the two is that the rear facing camera has auto-focus, a flash and can record video at 1280 x 720, while the front facing camera has a fixed focus (like most front facing cameras) and only records video at 640 x 480.
Overall the camera is good but not excellent. The camera app is the standard app with features like HDR, face recognition and burst mode etc. The camera is quick to focus and the flash is quite powerful (for a smartphone). However the pictures can lack vitality and color. Of course these can be easily tweaked using the built-in image editor. Here are a few shots from the camera:
The T100S comes with stock Android 4.2.2 with only a few minor tweaks. Apart from the fact that the Settings app uses color icons, the main addition is a setting in the Battery section of the Settings which enables “CPU power saving mode.” According to the description this limits the maximum CPU performance to conserve battery life and lower the device’s temperature. I did some testing with the option enabled and disabled and although the device did perform slightly worse in the benchmarks with the performance “limited” it was only about a 1 percent difference in performance which is actually within the norm of fluctuations for the standard benchmarks.
Since the T100S also has NFC connectivity, something you don’t see on many Chinese devices, I did a quick test using Android Beam between it and a Nexus 7. I was able to transfer photos and URLs without any problem.
The device comes with full Google Play support and all of the normal Google apps are available. For those Google apps not pre-installed, a quick trip to the Play Store gets you everything you need. Also the 32GB of internal storage gives you plenty of space or all your games, music and even video. It is worth mentioning that the 32GB is divided into 6GB of internal storage and 22GB of phone storage. There is an option in the Apps section of the Settings to move apps from the internal storage to the phone storage, very much like the “move to SD card” functionality on other Android phones.
One final thought on the software, although the device does come with Google Voice Search it doesn’t come with Google Now. That means those of you who rely on Google Now won’t like the T100S.
The ThL T100S should be considered as a brand name phone, albeit a minor brand name from an international perspective. In China the ThL brand is popular and the company has over 340 stores across the country. Comments often left at the bottom of reviews about Chinese designed and manufactured phones show that consumers fear the radiation levels of these devices, however this is generally unfounded and is basically FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). I recently found out that the SAR (specific absorption rate) of the ThL W100, a quad-core phone from the same company which I reviewed during the summer, is 0.75 W/kg, which is far less than every model of iPhone ever produced. I don’t have specific information about the T100S but there is no reason to think that it isn’t within international limits.
The ThL T100S is a great phone and excels in many areas including its performance. But it also has its weak points like the lack of LTE and the battery life, but when you consider the price these maybe forgivable. Talking of the price, the T100S is available for just $310 plus shipping and any local import taxes. Considering that phones with similar levels of performance and full HD screens can cost twice that amount, the ThL T100 is a bargain! It can be bought from Chinavasion which ships worldwide.
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the battery is poop
The whole thing is.
It’s really good, Though it won’t likely ever get an update. It looks excellent for the price. An SD Card slot, removable battery, 2 front-facing cameras, 2 GB of RAM, and true octa-core processor, means its a pretty decent phone. Though it lacks LTE, it still looks great. It is really good for the price. Don’t say “OMG, it a Chinese Piece of shit!!! Stay away from cheap crap like this!” It actually looks like a decent phone.
Then go buy it :P
I am actually thinking about it, but my mom might give me her Nexus 5, which just kicks this shit in the ass. Nexus FTW!!
Yeah, mine has shipped and is coming in a few days.
Lucky. I have played with two Nexus 5′s. Trust me it is way worth the wait. It is just so amazing.
Yeah same here.
well you two have fun with battery issues on the nexus 5 as well lol I already got mine and you can barely go through a whole day
sometimes the google search app uses up half my battery usage (google search is the homescreen for some reason)
Battery isn’t bad man. I don’t need a Motorola Droid Maxx lol :P
here’s your proof… my phone overnight
it is a decent phone and also alot cheaper than your nexus 5 for those of us who can shell out 450 dollars….Best thing is, the chinese market will by the end of feb. be flooded by models such as these with the same specs and even better(OTG,mhl… and will be about 250+ dollars..
do keep in mind that there’s another mtk6592 octa core with a 2ghz and a further clocked mali-450mp4
I may not be able to max out benchmarks or heavy games but i sure as hell i will have a powerful smartphone…
I will buy it. It’s a good phone comparable to snap 600 and sometimes 800, with very good price (IN EU IN USA YOU HAVE GOT PLAY STORE FAGGOT)
If this device came with these specs + better 3G support for US/Europe but via a “known” (Moto, LG, Sammy, HTC) brand at this price, people would be going nuts over it.
There are several decent devices coming out of China via “unknow” OEMs at great prices however, they lack the necessary frequency support to be useful.
Exactly, no one likes these cheap Chinese phones. Once you use them, you will find all these problems with the phone.
I do agree with that though. This has some fine hardware, but the software on these things is usually garbage. No software updates (which I love software updates. Two of my phones and my Nexus 7 2013 are both running kit kat, and my third phone almost has a build of kit kat ready for it), and no tech support, as well as no development support, which I also love. If custom roms were available for this, which they are likely not, then I might change my mind, but for now, the software is garbage.
Exactly, so a person just gets a Nexus 5 or any other high end Android device and forgets about this junk. Trust me, these Chinese phones suck.
@jayfeather787:disqus- There probably will be updates and custom ROMs for this phone, just not any major ROMs like CM and AOKP. The predecessor to this phone (ThL W11) got a bunch of software updates, a LeWa OS ROM, a MIUI ROM and an AOSP ROM.
@AndroidBoss:disqus- For you people who can purchase Nexus 5′s at $350 it’s a simple as that. People who live in unsupported countries have to pay over 450-500 dollars for one. Also, having used these Chinese phones before, I can safely say it’s nowhere near as bad as you make it sound. My JiaYu G4 for example has stunning build quality that simply shoves the Nexus 5 and most Samsung phones aside. LeWa OS is also a nice and pleasent change from the normal TouchWiz, Sense and stock launchers.
It’s right it will have the best mod of android: MIUI and Lewa OS.
All iphones and most Android phones are made in China, is it a racist problem some people have?
You suck. In your country maybe N5 is for 350$, but in other (and EU) there are for 600$+. So it’s VERY expensive. And this phone will be under 300$, you see difference? It’s not that we are poor – it’s that our prices (EU) way to high – the same or lower wage/salary, and 50%+ prices higher.
I agree. I live in the US since 2010 and yes the prices here are alot lower than EU (at least Germany). I had a good running business online with chinese Phones in Germany, you cant do that here in the US. Everything has to have a brand name but they dont know all the big companies buy their phones in china and put their name on it. Thats it. I only use chinese phones and everybody else does, only they have samsung, apple,…on it.
So people not having a clue should shut up. Do some research.
Lol, you didn’t know anything about mtk’s processors. Of course there will be customs roms – like with mtk6589 – there are MIUI, LEWA OS, and ported other roms from other devices. And yes, garbage – stock android is the best combine of perfomance and looking for me.
There can be custom roms, but mediatek does not release their source code for their processors. So while a custom rom is possible, it will be very difficult for very active rom development.
But this gives people who don’t want to pay the $100 per month data plans with an option to get a good smartphone.
You didn’t use – you don’t know. I use one at the time and its fine. You don’t know today ‘chinese phones’.
i use one, and it is epic. So,you know, GTFO
am not chinese but please do not stereotype chinese brands. don’t you know apple have china to manufacture their iphones? china has better manufacturing power than the united states not only because the manpower is cheap but they are used on super mass productions and that requires good management and technological capabilities to meet standards of known brands that have their products manufactured within the greatwall.
Not if you inform yourself beforehand. You just have to make sure that your Chinese phone supports the 900 MHz WCDMA band. Other than that, the quality is on par with most known brands.
“the quality is on par with most known brands.” lol
It really is. You just have never used one and just laugh it all off without having a clue about it.
I bought this phone. Only thing that’s not very good is the battery, but besides that it kicks the asses of the HTC ONE, Sony Xperia and all the other good phones arses. Samsung Galaxy S4 is only slightly better.
My girlfriend has the Jiayu G4S, same thing is one of the best phones I’ve seen in a long time that isn’t Samsung.
Please do research before you claim these phone have problems. Because the Chinese are damn good at making phones with very good specs and a low price.
Maybe you should take a better look at the phone you just bought. Its a very expensive crap.
don’t you know you can buy alternate batteries? or modified batteries?
for example in asia.. if your stock battery is 1500mah you can purchase a 3rd party battery for that same handset that has 2100mah
you can also look for modified batteries.
an example if for rebranded karbonn s100 which is in the philippines its cherry mobile flare.. you can purchased a modified s4 battery that’ll fit on the said handset which is several hundreds of mah compared to its stock battery
yeah but.. im too lazy to go back does it have a replaceable back lol
Those are fake capacities. Battery of the same size can only have lower capacity than the original, branded one.
The back camera is 13mp but can only record 720p videos and the front only 640. How did they manage that
Back camera records 1080p videos, like every MTK6589 smartphone too.
Idk if it’s just me but when I look at the phone’s home screen, it looks like touchwiz with a third party launcher like nova or apex lol
It’s the damn ugly icons
Wait its CPU is actually way faster than any other including snapdragon 800?? MediaTek is upping its game, now put a good GPU in it and try to get bigger companies to buy your products MT!
The GPU’s clock speed is 700 MHz, compared to the 450 Mhz of the Adreno 330. The benchmark results might have been a little off.
The Mali-450 is a couple of generations older.
Oh, ok. That and the Adreno might have more than one core.
GPU in MTK6592 have also morethan 1 core. It has 4, but it’s rather old – they didn’t put T-628, and it’s sad, but apart from that 4 cores and much mhz can power up performance (it’s on par with HTC One’s Adreno 320), maybe 10-15% slower.
ok thanks for clearing that up.
Weird and unlikely benchmarks results… and pictures are atrocious !
When you say “unlikely benchmarks” are you saying that they aren’t true and have I have fabricated them?
Rename the benchmarks and retest. If even Samsung/HTC pulled that optimization trick for their flagships, it should be possible other brands are also trying and just not getting caught. Yet?
90% of MTK6592 smartphones have got similar scores, and 80% out of that 90% were tested with Antutu X. No, they are not fabricated scores.
WE HAVE A REALLY AMAZING PHONE…that dies in a few hours because it is consumes so much power, oh, and we skimped on the battery to make it THIN too! Please buy!
Now it is produced along 2700mAh battery
lol epic citadel is a graphics benchmark for Unreal Engine not Unity 3D please read through your own article before posting
Look at that “1 3M” below the rear camera. The two numbers are too far away they can even insert a period in between.
I doubt I’d buy it. Mediatek never releases the source code for their processors so there wouldn’t be any ROMs available for it.
there actually is a ROM for Thl’s W8x phones on xda. Don’t know if t100s will be getting any of that, but you can still root and install all the features manually.
Great comprehensively thorough review. I like.
I think it will be upgraded to kitkat.
Sure, mediatek will release 4.4.2 for MTK6592
I have a thl w8 Beyond, the previous version of this phone, and i gotta say, Chinese phones are beast! Execpt for the battery life, they are great, since rooting them is a piece of cake, and their price is just amazing.
You either work for Chinese phone seller, or you use your phone as photo frame.
I bought a Chinese phone 2 weeks ago and carried it to an office full of samsungs , Nokias, and htcs. Well everyone laughed at the name. But then ppl started realising. , wait this phone operating like a S4 and the screen resolution is amazing and it doing everything ( equal or better) to the other more expensive phones. I was sceptical but the proof is in the pudding. They performing
what phone was it?
Please don’t say nokla, sumsang, sany, LC etc.
pictures at night and video please… need to see the quality of pics at night otherwise just like any cheap android phones because of poor pictures at night.
Hi Gary, thanks for the review, just a quick question: do you thing mediatek powered phones will have a better gps now with the new MT6592 soc? Thank you!
Carlos, if the ThL T100S is anything to go by then yes. Its GPS worked very well and I guess that is mainly due to the chipset rather than anything clever that ThL did.
1/5 for the review. Lazy. Can’t you show more outdoor camera photo???? Too much effort? Lazy review
Actually no I couldn’t. It was very cold outside that day (-10C), very overcast and was threatening to snow. Any pictures I could have taken would have been dreary and bland. So I opted to take indoor pictures to get some color.
This sentence has me puzzled:
“One final thought on the software, although the device does come with
Google Voice Search it doesn’t come with Google Now. That means those of
you who rely on Google Now won’t like the T100S.”
Other reviews are reporting that they can use Google Now without problems, how is this possible? Did you dig further into this issue? Installation not possible?
Thanks for information,
You could just download google now… I use the THL W100 and I love it, I haven’t had any issues with THL
I just ordered this phone a week ago and now I am waiting for it. Yeah, this phone really does look like an animal, especially for what it offers and for this price. Woww. :) Days when I supported only the mainstream brands like Samsung, LG, Motorola,..etc are long since gone, because to expect at least the same specs and quality as most of the Chinese phones offer these days you have to pay double if not even more. Great review! ;)
OMG this thing is just a BEAST!! Bought mine 3 days ago and damn this is faster than my friend’s note 3! :D
About THL W100 SAR, can you confirm me please if this 0.75 W/kg was officially confirmed?
What is the 3g speed on this?
About the specs sheet: There’s quite a bit of conflict over what bands it actually supports for GSM. THL’s site says GSM 900/1800 and WCDMA 850/2100 – which is a somewhat unlikely configuration and would also make the phone completely unusable in the US (you don’t want to have a phone that can’t drop back to EDGE/GPRS if needed…). Other sites are saying quad-band GSM with 850/1900/2100 WCDMA – which would actually be quite nice for the US market – or 850/2100 WCDMA – less optimal, but usable if you’re on AT&T.
Can you shed some light on this Gary? I am planning on buying the THL T200 which seems to have the same quadband 850/900/1800/1900 gsm and 850/2100 wcdma which from my understanding works just fine on AT&T for 3G/HSPA+ data(as proven by the Zopo ZP990).
Fred, According to the THL online store Chinavasion.com the frequencies of the T200 are GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz and WCDMA 850/2100MHz. In other words like the Zopo ZP990.
This means you should get GSM (on 850MHz and 1900MHz) and 3G (on 850MHz) coverage on AT&T however there is no guarantee that you will have 3G coverage in your area. For example, where I live 3G is on 900/2100MHz, so the THL T100 works fine for me on 2100MHz, however there is a town about 5 miles from my house which only has coverage on 900MHz so there I only get GSM and no 3G.
I hope that helps.
Gotcha, thanks Gary. I did some more looking and found some handy maps here: http://www.cellularmaps.com/att_850_1900.shtml
They are a little bit vague in detail but if, like me, you know that you are in a former Alltel area then you know that you’re good to go.
So why won’t this work at 3G speeds in the US? I thought GSM at at&t and its MVNO partners could do 850mhz 3G? (as well as 1900, though that might be heading towards legacy status?). They’re not like T-Mobile are they? – i.e., where you need both 1700 and 1900 because down and up are on different frequencies?
Ah. Life’s easier in my part of the world (NZ… and admittedly most of asia, europe and aus) where 2100 3G is all you need). I have been thinking of buying this, but if it can’t be used at all in the americas (where I travel about once or twice a year)….
I bought a t100s from Digital-imports in the UK, it must be a fake, the screen is not scratch resistant, ALL THL t100s have corning gorilla glass 3
I have this phone for a month now and also w200. If you would do a more thorough test of BT and compass for example, you would find out how this whole brand is broken beyond repair.
I bought one.
Really good phone, even though I make few calls, use it as a small tablet….
screen is way better than any apple screen. Spare battery costs €11., easy to change over too.
Great change from the galaxy to iphone designs which are now looking rather chunky and retro.