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Pomp W89 review - 4.7 inch quad-core Android 4.2 Jelly Bean smartphone for just $150

By
July 12, 2013
w89-press-shot
Having a phone with a pure Android experience seems to be increasing in popularity with Google’s range of stock Android Nexus devices continuing to sell well, plus the release of Google Play Editions of several flagship phones. However there are many ways to get hold of a smartphone with stock Android. One way is to buy a device from a lesser known brand. While the big names like Samsung and HTC love to tweak and change the Android user interface, the smaller handset makers tend to stick to the open source version of Android. The Pomp W89 is such a phone and I was recently given the chance to review one. After a few days of playing with the device, this is what I found out.

Specs

  • 4.7 Inch display (854 x 480)
  • 1.2 Ghz MT6589 Quad Core
  • 1GB RAM
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • 3G: WCDMA 850/2100 MHz
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • 8 megapixel rear camera
  • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Google Play
  • 2050mAh battery
  • 4GB storage
  • Micro SD card slot
  • Dual SIM
w89-cpuz
The phone comes with two batteries along with the normal assortments of USB cable, charger and headphones. It is also rooted by default!

Initial impressions

A lot of attention is given to the flag ship products made by the top companies like Samsung and it is easy to forget that all the top companies make mid-range and low-end phones as well as their star record breaking devices. The W89 is not a flag ship device and this makes it hard to be impressed, not because the phone isn’t good, but because our expectations are so high. Once you realize that this is a $150 device with stock Android, but that it still manages to feature a quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, then it is easier to see why it could be an attractive option for those on a budget. The phone is quite large, due mainly to the screen size, but it is also quite thick (11 mm). Although this isn’t really an issue, you can’t call the design sleek!

w89-handson

Performance

At the heart of the W89 is the quad core MediaTek MT6589. This is the same processor that powers the 5.8 inch white label ‘Mithril’ phone and the ThL W100 and the performance is very similar. The MediaTek isn’t a record breaking processor but it does the job it is designed to perform. Based on the low-energy consumption Cortex-A7 architecture the processors is easily able to handle web browsing, video playback and 3D games without any problems. The Android interface is always quick and responsive and there was no sign of any lags.

As for the benchmarks, the Pomp W89 managed to score 14185 on AnTuTu making the device slightly slower than the Samsung Galaxy S3. As for Epic Citadel, the W89 managed 54.5 frames per second (FPS) in high quality mode and 40.0 FPS in the new ultra high quality mode. All very reasonable scores. For comparison the Tegra 3 based Asus Transformer TF300 and the Nexus 7 manage 46.5 FPS and 53.7 FPS respectably with the high quality settings. However it is worth noting that the display on the W89 only offers a screen resolution of 854 x 480, something that has a direct impact on the Epic Citadel scores (less pixels means less work for the GPU).

Pomp W89 Epic Citadel
w89-inthebox

Display

The display is probably the weakest component of the W89 but this is really to be expected considering the price tag. With a resolution of 854 x 480 the display is definitely not high quality and using comparatively so few pixels in such a relatively large space means pixelization could be an issue. Personally I didn’t notice any and at no time while using the handset did I yearn for a higher resolution screen. But those of you who notice such things would probably spot the lower pixel density immediately. To put it into some context, the Samsung Galaxy S2 (which was announced in 2011) had a 480 x 800 pixels, 4.3 inch display.

Connectivity

Although there is no NFC support, the phone comes with most of the standard connectivity options like Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth, 2G GSM and 3G. There is no support for LTE but at $150 I wasn’t expecting it!

There are two SIM card slots both of which can be used for normal GSM services and messaging but only one of which can be used for 3G. It doesn’t matter which slot is used for 3G as everything is configurable via the settings, where you can also set which SIM slot is used by default for calls, SMS and for 3G. Both slots are unlocked and will work with any SIM card, contract free.

The phone supports WCDMA on 2100MHz and also works at 850Mgz. The first  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 network on a different frequency. In Asia this is mainly 850MHz, while in Europe it is often 900MHz. You need to check what frequencies your carrier is using to ensure you get the best 3G connectivity from this phone.

The Wi-Fi on the W89 is rock solid and didn’t cause any problems during my testing. I was able to access the Internet from all around the house and outside without any problems.

Battery

Battery life is a key factor for modern day smartphones and users expectations are often mixed. Those moving from feature phones are shocked when their new smartphone battery won’t last 3 days like their old phone did, while those already familiar with smartphones are happy when the battery lasts all day! Like the rest of the phone, the battery in the W89 is middle of the road. The 2050mAh battery will certainly last all day (depending on usage) and the capacity is comparable even with modern big brand phones like the upcoming Moto X (which is rumored to have a battery around the 2000mAh mark).

I did some testing and running Epic Citadel (as a test of 3D game usage) decreased the battery by 24 percent over an hour. This is with Wi-Fi on and the screen at half brightness. That means that the battery will deliver four hours of 3D game play before being drained. To test web usage I started to stream a YouTube video over Wi-Fi. After an hour of video the battery level dropped by 19 percent. This means that the device can handle about 5 hours of video streaming before needing a recharge. Other activities like watching a locally stored video will almost certainly mean 6 hours upwards of constant use before needing to find a mains socket!

Camera

The camera on the W89 is a bit of a mixed bag. On the plus side it has 8 megapixels meaning it produces 4609 x 2591 images. There are also a number of special modes including HDR, panorama, continuous shooting and smile detection. I tested all of these modes and they worked as advertised (including the smile detection). There is also an LED flash for the rear-facing camera and the device is able to capture 1080p HD video at 29 FPS. On the negative side the colors aren’t very vibrant and sometimes the pictures look washed-out. Of course these can be corrected (or at least enhanced) using the built-in gallery editor or a third party app. Here are some samples:

w89-camera-example1
w89-camera-example2
w89-camera-example3

Conclusion

Dealing with the negatives first, the Pomp W89 isn’t particularly slim and the screen resolution is really at the barest minimum for a 4.7 inch display. Also the camera could be better, however it does offer a lot of functionality. For those who need good 3G connectivity the lack of support for  900, 1700 or 1900 MHz could be a problem. On the plus side the device performs well and always feels responsive. The battery is more than acceptable and having a stock version of Android 4.2 is great. Above all is the price tag, $150 is a remarkable price. I got my test unit from Chinavasion which ships worldwide.