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MyPhone A919i Review

Updated on December 16, 2013

A919 Supercharged

The MyPhone A919i is officially the first MTK6589-equipped phone from local phone brands. The new A919i also replaces the A919 as MyPhone's new flagship, which was launched back in November 2012. Basically, the refresh came six (6) months after, which is very welcome for those who are rather sensitive to buyer's remorse. In contrast, competitor Cherry Mobile has been very aggressive in releasing new models one after the other in the same price brackets. While more choices are welcome, it instills buyer's remorse for those whose phones have become sort of obsolete in just a month due to a new model. Those coming from the A919 or Cherry Mobile's Titan from six months ago will find the new A919i a big but timely upgrade.

Incidentally, this is also MyPhone's first HD phone, which means it's equipped with a 1280x720 screen. In my review of the Cherry Mobile Omega HD, I have stated that the all-too ubiquitous MTK6577 just barely manages to run the HD screen. Apparently, MyPhone has decided to make the jump and pair the HD screen with the new MTK6589, unlike what Cherry Mobile and Starmobile did with their Omega HD and Diamond respectively. This is possibly the best choice MyPhone has made and it will be tackled later.

It should be noted that the MyPhone A919i is also known as the Micromax A116 Canvas HD in India. It is also known as the Wiko Cink Five in France, Fly IQ451 Quattro Vista in Russia, and Mobistel Cynus T5 in Germany. The OEM device of these phones is the Beidou Chi K Shallot/Scallion/Onion. The name approximately translates to "onion" as the OEM device does not have an English name.

Design and Build Quality

The A919i closely resembles is predecessor, the A919, in overall looks and design. It maintains the more or less "pebble" shape of the A919. The design is more simple instead of minimalist due to the lack of uniformity in the chrome bumper's wideness (wide on the sides and narrow on the top) and the bezel being relatively thick, though comparatively thinner than the A919's bezel. The A919i actually looks more executive in a way as the phone's profile isn't as thin both apparently and in actuality as compared to say the Cherry Mobile Omega HD, which looks more chic and minimalist due to the concave or curved-screen look it has when viewing its profile. Looking at photos in my Omega HD review will make the difference apparent.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
LED notification light
LED notification light
Backlit capacitive keys
Backlit capacitive keys

The front features both the front-facing camera, and proximity and light sensors on the right side of the earpiece. The rightmost hole of the earpiece is actually an LED notification light that can light green, orange or red. The three backlit touch buttons on the bottom (from left to right) represent options/menu, home and back functions.

The backside of the phone contains the main camera and single LED flash. The small hole to the left of the camera is the secondary mic for noise cancellation. The single loudspeaker is also located at the lower part of the backside.

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Volume rocker on the left sidemicro USB port and 3.5 mm portMain camera, flash and secondary micBack side of phone
Volume rocker on the left side
Volume rocker on the left side
micro USB port and 3.5 mm port
micro USB port and 3.5 mm port
Main camera, flash and secondary mic
Main camera, flash and secondary mic
Back side of phone
Back side of phone

The upper left side contains the volume up and volume down buttons while the upper right side contains the power button.

The top side contains both micro USB and 3.5 mm ports while the bottom side contains the primary microphone used for calls.

A919i's profile
A919i's profile

The A919i's dimensions are 144 x 74 x 10.7 mm and weighs 156 grams. Oddly enough, the A919i actually feels lighter than the Omega HD which weighs only 140 grams. This can be attributed to the Omega HD being more compact than the A919i and weight on the Omega HD is distributed more evenly. The A919i's rear also feels a bit hollow due to the pebble-shape and materials. The plastic used on the A919i's backcover feels very cheap, nowhere similar to the plastics you would find on the HTC One X or any of Samsung's mid or higher-end Galaxy phones. The bezel of the A919i is also relatively thick, and this can be attributed to the fact that it doesn't use thick glass or a thinner, more robust glass like Gorilla Glass or Dragontrail. This is also the reason why the Omega HD's bezels are extremely thin, as the Dragontrail glass provides additional support for the frame. The chrome bumper on the white variant of the A919i is particularly hideous when held in hand and just looks cheap. Despite those, the screen is flush, meaning that your fingers won't encounter anything to stop it from sliding outside. It is a welcome design cue due to the lack of premium design or finish elsewhere on the phone.

Despite the lack of fancy, durable glass and more premium materials, design and finish at this price point, the A919i's remains very ergonomic thanks to the pebble-shape and not too slippery material, despite what the glossiness may imply. The very round edges and shape also makes the phone look and feel thinner than it actually is. The build quality and construction is also very good, but not as solid as one would feel. It's practically identical to the A919. There is only very light squeaking when squeezing the phone in hand. My only caveats with the design is that the black variant's back cover is glossy while the white variant's back cover is matte. Glossy on black is a fingerprint magnet and glossy would've been better on the white as fingerprints on glossy white surfaces aren't as noticeable.

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(Back) Black and white variant(Front) Black and white variant
(Back) Black and white variant
(Back) Black and white variant
(Front) Black and white variant
(Front) Black and white variant

The MyPhone A919i does not come with a preinstalled screen protector out of the box and it is advised that you purchase a screen protector together with it.

Here is a checklist of what comes inside the box:

  • 1x MyPhone A919i
  • 1x 2000 mAh battery
  • 1x TC-U4 1A charger
  • 1x USB cable
  • 1x Headset
  • 1x User's manual
  • 1x Warranty card
  • 1x Mini CD

Screen

The MyPhone A919i is equipped with a 5.0" 720p IPS screen which supports 5 point multitouch. It also features a light sensor to automatically adjust brightness if you wish. As an IPS panel, it offers excellent viewing angles and brightness.

Here are some shots of the A919i's screen demonstrating viewing angles:

Center
Center
Left side viewing angle
Left side viewing angle
Right side viewing angle
Right side viewing angle
Bottom side viewing angle
Bottom side viewing angle
Top side viewing angle
Top side viewing angle

Unfortunately, the A919i's front is not OGS (one-glass solution/one-glass screen), meaning that the panel and the glass are two separate components. OGS implementations are usually found on pricier phones and while it was expected to be missing at this price point, it's difficult to put it behind considering both the Cherry Mobile Omega HD and Starmobile Diamond have a OGS. Since the A919i doesn't have a OGS, blacklight bleeding is more evident when displaying darker images on the screen on higher brightness. Sunlight legibility also suffers as a result, with the high brightness setting needed for the screen to be legible even under less intense sunlight.

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100% brightness under lower intensity sunlight100% brightness under intense sunlight
100% brightness under lower intensity sunlight
100% brightness under lower intensity sunlight
100% brightness under intense sunlight
100% brightness under intense sunlight

Contrast at much higher brightness is noticeably worse too compared to other phones with IPS screens. Color saturation is higher in comparison, though I surmise this is to offset the average contrast, so the screen gives off more of a 'color pop' to impress not-too-discerning buyers (think AMOLED screen or LCD/LED TVs in appliance stores with their video setting set to 'dynamic'). Color reproduction remains relatively accurate nonetheless and color temperature is more on the cool side.

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As an IPS panel, brightness is excellent. Even on the lowest brightness setting, the screen is pretty legible anywhere except under sunlight. Despite some negatives with the screen, it is still an IPS panel and will offer better picture quality than non-IPS LCD panels in virtually every scenario. The comparisons are relative to other phones with IPS screens. In real world use, the A919i's screen remains very good, especially since the all important 1280x720 resolution at 5.0" which results into 294 PPI keeps images looking very sharp.

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Performance

The moment we've all been waiting for: the MediaTek MTK6589. How does it perform? Blisteringly fast. Even with basic tasks such as swiping and going from window to window, the massive increase in performance brought by the MTK6589 is definitely noticeable. First, we should get to know a little bit more about it.

The MTK6589 is a quad-core Cortex A7-based SOC with a PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU. The most notable improvement over the MTK6577 is the move to 28 nm from 40 nm in the manufacturing process. This is right up there with the latest SOCs such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon 600 series (28 nm), and both Exynos 5 and Apple A6 series which Samsung manufactures (32 nm HKMG). The thermal advantage the 28 nm brings is unprecedented.

May 3, 2013: I have received information from some people who claim that the PowerVR SGX 544MP on the MTK6589 is single core. This review will be updated if proven correct. However, the leaked MTK6589/MT6589 data sheets from late last year say otherwise. There may have been a change to this before production started. Despite that, the performance numbers indicate that it is a dual-core SGX 544 @ 286 Mhz relative to the tri-core SGX 544 @ 533 Mhz on the Exynos 5410. Information regarding the core configuration of the SGX 544MP on the MTK6589 is very sparse, but we will find it out eventually.

May 12, 2013: I have finally found a final block diagram for the MTK6589 located here. The block does indicate an "SGX544" GPU, but does not specify the number of logic cores and core configuration like on the Allwinner A31 here, which specifies 8 logic cores/shaders with an unspecified configuration. It should be noted that the Allwinner A31 is listed with an SGX544MP2 GPU. The PowerVR Series 5XT is scalable from 1 to 16 cores as specified here and it will appear as "PowerVR SGX 544MP" as the GPU UID on any benchmark or hardware identifier app regardless of core configuration. As it stands, the performance of SGX 544 on the MTK6589 is indicative of 2 cores based on the comparative results versus the Allwinner A31's SGX 544MP2 @ 532 Mhz and the Exynos 5410's SGX 544MP3 @ 533 Mhz. The clockspeed discrepancy of 286 Mhz and 532 Mhz which represents a factor of x1.86 between the GPUs on the MTK6589 and Allwinner A31 is reflected in the performance difference. It should be noted that both the Allwinner A31 and MTK6589 use LPDDR2 memory while the Exynos 5410 uses LPDDR3 which has effectively double the bandwidth.


Another improvement most people have been dying for is the PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU, which is clocked at 286 Mhz on the MTK6589. The SGX 531 Ultra on the MTK6577 was already showing its age at QHD or higher resolution and demanding smartphone gamers who could only afford Androids from local brands had plenty to complain about as the MTK6577 was the fastest SOC available prior to the A919i's release. The SGX 544 and the very similar SGX 543 is found on a number of high-end SOCs for a while now such as the Apple A5 (543MP2), Apple A6 (543MP3) and Exynos 5410 (544MP3) -- and benchmarks will show that the SGX 544/543 regardless of core configuration is very fast. Just Google benchmarks for the Apple A5.

One change some might be unsure of is the Cortex A7. Measuring them linearly, the Cortex A7 is 1.9 DMIPS @ 1 Ghz while the Cortex A9 is 2.5 DMIPS @ 1 Ghz. Effective DMIPS of the Cortex A7 on the MTK6589 is 2.28 since it's clocked at 1.2 Ghz. The Cortex A9 still has additional advantages as it is an OOE CPU and dual-issue, as expected of a CPU that has a much bigger die. Despite that, there are three circumstances that give the Cortex A7 some leverage: 1) development paradigms for mobile devices are geared towards stringent processing efficiency; 2) for applications reliant on data, the trend is to offload as much processing overhead on the cloud. 3) parallel processing is common now when developing mobile applications. The effective processing performance of the A7 and A9 in practice should be the same with the exception of heavy single threaded processing, which isn't too common these days even on mobile applications.

Courtesy of ARM Holdings
Courtesy of ARM Holdings

The most important advantage of the Cortex A7 over the A9 is its efficiency, as the Cortex A7 was meant to be the "little" engine in ARM's BIG.little architecture, which can be found on the Exynos 5410 inside international variant of the Samsung Galaxy S4. This ensures near Cortex A9-performance at a much lower power envelope in 'lower gear' while offering "next-gen" performance in 'high gear' on the Cortex A15 cores, since the Cortex A9 has been used as a baseline when the BIG.little architecture was introduced in late 2011.

Another notable thing is that improvements in hardware performance are outpacing the performance requirements of applications being developed for mobile platforms. This ensures further longevity for the Cortex A7-equipped MTK6589 in practical use.

Combining the thermal advantages of the smaller manufacturing process and the more power efficient Cortex A7, the MTK6589 can be allowed to ramp up more aggressively more often and maintain cores on auxiliary for longer periods of time without penalty to total power draw. This allows the MTK6589 to be extremely responsive which can easily be felt even when just playing with the Android UI.

The table below shows the performance improvement of the MTK6589 as a whole in AnTuTu:

AnTuTu Benchmark 3

 
Cherry Mobile Omega HD (MTK6577)
Sony Xperia Ion (MSM8260)
MyPhone A919i (MTK6589)
Samsung Galaxy S3 International/i9300 (Exynos 4412)
 
4.1.1
4.0.4
4.1.2
4.1.2
 
2x Cortex A9 @ 1 Ghz
2x Scorpion @ 1.5 Ghz
4x Cortex A7 @ 1.2 Ghz
4x Cortex A9 @ 1.4 Ghz
 
PowerVR SGX 531 Ultra
Adreno 220
PowerVR SGX 544MP2
Mali-400 MP4
 
1280x720
1280x720
1280x720
1280x720
 
1 GB RAM
1 GB RAM
1 GB RAM
1 GB RAM
RAM:
1113
1565
1893
3359
CPU integer:
1325
1992
3275
4021
CPU float-point:
1108
918
2565
3062
2D graphics:
345
721
550
1270
3D graphics:
916
1852
3428
3476
Database IO:
475
400
545
540
SD card write:
57
116
150
199
SD card read:
204
194
193
121
Total AnTuTu score:
5542
7758
12599
16048

The MTK6589 certainly hacks away at the MTK6577 and MSM8260 on the Omega HD and Xperia Ion respectively while losing to the Galaxy S3 in terms of CPU power, as the highly clocked quad-core Cortex A9s would suggest. However, looking at the GPU score, the A919i is remarkably close to the Galaxy S3. For gaming alone, the A919i already has the chops considering even the Xperia Ion's slightly dated Adreno 220 can pretty much run anything you throw at it, even the most demanding of titles such as Real Racing 3 and NOVA 3.

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AnTuTu BenchmarkAnTuTu BenchmarkAnTuTu Benchmark3DMark3DMarkQuadrant Standard
AnTuTu Benchmark
AnTuTu Benchmark
AnTuTu Benchmark
AnTuTu Benchmark
AnTuTu Benchmark
AnTuTu Benchmark
3DMark
3DMark
3DMark
3DMark
Quadrant Standard
Quadrant Standard

The MTK6589 also has upgraded 3G radio capable of capturing HSPA+ signal. Whereas the old MTK6577 topped off at HSPA with 7.2 Mbps download and 5.76 Mbps upload, the HSPA+ capable modem on the MTK6589 is capable of up to 42 Mbps download and 11.5 Mbps upload. Realistically though, we are still far from reaching even half those speeds on current 3G networks. But it is good to know that it's there just in case telecoms decide to bump up the speed.

HSPA+ signal indicated by "H+"
HSPA+ signal indicated by "H+"
HSPA+ speed testing on the A919i
HSPA+ speed testing on the A919i

The hardware video decoder on the MTK6589 is also upgraded. While the MTK6577's hardware decoder had problems with H.264 video even at just 720p resolution, the MTK6589's hardware decoder is able to decode H.264 videos at 1080p on more modest encoder settings. Below is the result of testing several HD videos on the A919i. MX Player was used for testing. Audio decoding is set to software as the hardware decoder on the MTK6589 cannot decode multi-channel audio.

 
1280x534 @ 24 FPS, AVC High Profile L4.1, with CABAC, 5 reference frames
1280x528 @ 24 FPS, AVC High Profile L4.1, with CABAC, 4 reference frames
1280x528 @ 24 FPS, AVC High Profile L4.1, with CABAC, 8 reference frames
1920x800 @ 24 FPS, AVC High Profile L4.0, with CABAC, 5 reference frames
Video bitrate:
1362 Kbps
2270 Kbps
2911 Kbps
3703 Kbps
Audio:
448 Kbps, 6 channels AC-3
401 Kbps, 6 channels, AAC
395 Kbps, 6 channels, AAC
306 Kbps, 6 channels, AAC
Plays via hardware decoder:
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Plays via software decoder:
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
(HW) Has dropped frames:
No
No
No
No
(SW) Has dropped frames:
No
No
No
Very little, during fast paced scenes

Again, the A919i's MTK6589 surprises us with its performance, both the quad-core Cortex A7 and the hardware video decoder. The hardware video decoder on the MTK6589 is surprisingly good, being able to playback H.264 content flawlessly. Not to mention it is better to use the hardware decoder when possible because it is more efficient than using the software decoder, thus saving battery life.

Lastly, the A919i is equipped with 1 GB of RAM to ensure smooth multitasking. RAM free after a task manager "kill-all" action ranges from 550 MB to 690 MB depending on how many widgets, homescreens, white listed apps, etc. are running.

Camera

The MyPhone A919i is equipped with an 8 megapixel BSI (backside illuminated) sensor for its main camera and 2 megapixel front-facing camera. The lens aperture on the 8 megapixel camera is f/2.4 which should allow the A919i to take reasonably good pictures regardless of lighting condition. One of the more exciting things offered by the A919i is 1080p24 video recording. In my review of the Omega HD, I found that there was 1080p recording, albeit only 15 FPS and it was clear then that the MTK6577 just didn't have enough power to encode 1080p video. The more powerful MTK6589 allows 1080p recording at 24 FPS.

The camera interface on the A919i is slightly different from the typical stock ICS and Jelly Bean camera interface. On the A919i, both camera shutter and video recording buttons are present and tapping on either one will snap at photo or start shooting a video. This is slightly inconvenient because the FOV (field of view) when video recording is significantly more narrow than when taking still shots.

The default FOV is in still shot mode and you will only notice the change when you tap on the video recording button. It would have been preferable if there were separate still shot and video recording modes so you can properly frame before you start video recording.

The viewfinder on the A919i is relatively fast even in poorer lighting conditions. The shutter speed is also very fast, only requiring you to hold your hand steady for half a second to take a blur-free shot, which is important considering the A919i doesn't have a ZSL/ZSD (zero shutter lag/delay) option. Auto-focus performance is fast and only takes about a second to fully focus. Like on the Omega HD, the "hold shutter button to focus" feature is removed on the A919i and is replaced by continuous shooting. Holding on the shutter button will perform a burst shot of 4, 8 or 16 photos in full 8 megapixels depending on your setting. Tapping anywhere on the viewfinder to focus on a subject or setup a macro shot is still the same.

The still camera has varied manual controls such as ISO, exposure (3 steps -/+), white balance, brightness, contrast, hue, etc. as well as automatic settings for "scenes". However, there is an a disappointing lack of shooting modes. Only "face beauty" is available aside from continuous shooting/burst mode. More disturbingly, there is no panorama shooting option on the A919i, though I'd reckon it can be included in a future firmware update. There is also HDR (high dynamic range) mode which generates two pictures, one with HDR and one without HDR. The BSI sensor helps the further in resolving shadow detail in HDR shots, thereby demonstrating greater range.

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Still shot optionsStill shot optionsStill shot optionsVideo recording options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Still shot options
Video recording options
Video recording options

The still shots made by the A919i can be described as above average and sometimes unnatural. One of the first things one will notice is the rather cold color temperature of the images. At first I thought it was simply the natural coldness of the phone's screen, but loading them onto my computer and it is indeed cold. The coldness is evident when taking shots indoors which most may describe as a blue tinge or "filter". It is difficult to ascertain if the cause is cheap optics or poorly implemented post-processing, or both. In addition, there is no option to select which metering method to use. I've examined the EXIFs of the images taken by the A919i and the default metering is center-weighted. This may be problematic for people who are hasty when taking pictures as having a center-weighted metering may cause unintentional over or under exposure depending on the focused area on the viewfinder. Average metering as the default would've been preferable.

The resolved detailed on the A919i is average. Color during indoor shots tend to be inaccurate due to the issues stated above though color accuracy is above average when taking shots outdoors. Looking at details very up close, there is a tendency to oversaturate colors on slightly exposed shots while reducing sharpness on organic objects which give them an "oil pastel" look. Contrast varies greatly depending on how the A919i applies post-processing to the images, which can range from good to terrible. Noise levels are surprisingly good regardless of lighting condition though. Speaking of noise levels, the A919i takes very good shots in low light. Color detail, luminosity and overall image is well-preserved in low lighting conditions although too poor lighting can cause the BSI sensor to perform black clipping, in which case setting the ISO to 1600 and increasing exposure will do the trick.

Despite taking good shots in low light, one might initially think otherwise because there is a discrepancy between what you see on the viewfinder in low light, and what the image actually looks like when you focus and press the shutter. The image below should explain it clearly. Normally it's a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) affair on higher-end smartphones, but it shouldn't take away the fact that the A919i still takes good shots at night.

Please note that all images shown below were taken on default settings.

A919i Sample Shots (Good lighting)

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A919i Sample Shots (Low light)

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A919i Camera Samples (Macro shots)

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A919i Sample Shots (HDR comparison)

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With HDRWithout HDRWith HDRWithout HDRWith HDRWithout HDR
With HDR
With HDR
Without HDR
Without HDR
With HDR
With HDR
Without HDR
Without HDR
With HDR
With HDR
Without HDR
Without HDR

The video recording on the A919i is excellent. I initially expected the 1080p recording to be similar to the Omega HD in image quality, but in 30, 24 or 25 FPS. Alas, the A919i exceeded my expectations. Overall resolved details on the 1080p24 video capture is very good and motion resolution above average. Color accuracy is very good and sharpness above average. While there is no infinite focus mode while video recording, the continuous auto-focus isn't too aggressive. The A919i spares no expense for quality video recording. The 1080p24 videos by the A919i average a staggering 25 to 26 Mbps constant bitrate encoded in H.263 Main Profile Level 4 inside a .3gp container. Audio is encoded in stereo 128 Kbps constant in AAC. Video recording takes up roughly 180 MB per minute of footage on "Fine"/1080p setting.

Below are video recording samples taken by the MyPhone A919i:
Please watch the videos in 1080p to see what the recordings actually look like.

Sample 1 (outdoor):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imRtb4Btgqs

Sample 2 (shaky):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3rAsxplQSM

Sample 3 (lowlight):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIPAe0OSD7g

Sample 4 (indoor):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Ufq5mbT4k

Here's the lowdown on the MyPhone A919i's camera:
- Very good shots in good lighting
- Shots in artificial light are very cold and unnatural
- Great low light shots, with very good color detail, color accuracy, and good focus speed in low light
- Good macro shots
- No panorama shooting mode and metering options
- Excellent video recording in 1080p

The A919i's 8 megapixel camera is a mixed bag. When it comes to still shots, it is more or less average and doesn't bring anything to the table against more established smartphone snappers. To highlight the difference, I've decided to compare some shots of the A919i against the 8 megapixel Apple iPhone 5, which is also one of the best snappers around as of this writing. It's a tad bit disappointing considering how close the Omega HD did against the iPhone 5 and 12 MP Sony Xperia Ion in my previous review.

Lastly, the front-facing 2 megapixel camera isn't BSI and making video calls is advised in decent to good lighting.

Still shot comparison: MyPhone A919i vs Apple iPhone 5

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Click thumbnail to view full-size

Battery

The MyPhone A919i is equipped with a removable 2000 mAh battery. In my review of the Omega HD, it was highlighted that 2100 mAh wasn't enough for a phone equipped with a big 720p screen, which is a major power drain. The A919i even has 100 mAh less. However, it has the newer, much more efficient MTK6589. The screen will still drain approximately the same as on the Omega HD, but the MTK6589 provides an advantage in terms of overall power drain with mixed use as both the radio and processor are part of the SOC. If you can recall, the three biggest drains for mobile devices are the radio, processor and screen.

The usual battery test via looping video is still performed, despite it not telling the whole story. For the battery test via looping playback, the application used to play the video is MX Player. The following were the conditions during the test:

  • Screen brightness: 3/15 of MX Player brightness setting or about 30% of Android brightness bar
  • Volume: 13/13 of MX Player volume setting or 100% of Android volume bar, with earphones attached to the A919i
  • MX Player-specific settings: H/W decoder used for video. S/W decoder used for audio

The following are the details of the video file used for playback:

During my video playback battery test, I noticed that there was a rapid drain from around 25% onwards. Given that, I've decided to perform the battery test for a second time after recalibrating the battery. Both tests did not have breaks and playback was continuous. The results are as follows:

 
Test 1 (pre-calibration)
Test 2 (post-calibration)
Start of playback:
3:35 am / 100% / 4.124V
12:12 am / 99% / 4.195V
Checkpoint:
7:35 am / 63% / 3.762V
N/A
End of playback:
10:46 am / 15% / 3.621V
7:23 am / 12% / 3.617V
Total playback time:
7 hours 10 minutes
7 hours 10 minutes

The total playback time for both tests were a little over 7 hours and the sharp decline from around the 25% mark is also exhibited after calibrating the battery. While the results of this battery test are pretty much the same as the Omega HD, we should consider that the looping playback battery test does not take into account the processing efficiency of the new MTK6589 because the hardware video decoder does all the work and the main power draw is still the screen.

In real world use, the MTK6589 does things faster. Whether you are opening an app, a web page, switching apps or multi-tasking, the fact that the MTK6589 takes less time to do it means less "peak time" for your device. The processor can ramp up quickly and complete tasks earlier so it can go into idle sooner. The A919i has tangibly better battery life than the Omega HD which also has a 5.0" 720p IPS screen, but a dated MTK6577 SOC. The A919i will easily last a day of moderate use on lower brightness settings (<25% of brightness bar). By moderate use, I refer to 1 hour of gaming, 2 hours of 3G web browsing and 30 minutes of talk time and several text messages.

Charging times for the Omega HD are oddly slow despite the 1A charger. Charging the phone from red (10-20%) to full while it is off will take a little over two hours. If you charge the phone while turned on (but on sleep), It takes around 2 hours to get from red to 90% and roughly another 30 minutes to get from 90% to 100% charge.

Battery Test 1 (pre-calibration)

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Start of playbackCheckpointCheckpointEnd of playbackEnd of playbackEnd of playback
Start of playback
Start of playback
Checkpoint
Checkpoint
Checkpoint
Checkpoint
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback

Battery Test 2 (post-calibration)

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Start of playbackEnd of playbackEnd of playbackEnd of playback
Start of playback
Start of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback
End of playback

Other Stuff

Android is largely stock on the A919i with the exception of the built-in messaging app that has a slightly tweaked interface for adding attachments and emoticons.

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Call clarity on the A919i is good and the earpiece volume is above average. The secondary mic for noise cancellation works and there is markedly improved voice clarity in noisier environments.

The sound output via the 3.5 mm port is very clean, even slightly better than on the Omega HD. The power output is slightly lower than the Omega HD though. Power output via the 3.5 mm port can still be increased slightly via 'Mobileuncle MTK Tools' on the Play Store, but out of the box the power output is adequate. It should be able to drive most IEMs without problems. Headphones up to 64 ohms can be driven with little distortion and loss of detail. Anything higher will require an amp. The dynamic range and SNR on the A919i is impressive and should be most evident if you have decent IEMs and know how fiddle with an equalizer. PowerAmp will cover the needs of those with decent gear demanding good audio from their source. There is also FM radio if you're getting tired of your audio library. You will also notice that there is a checkbox for "audio enhancer" under Options > Audio Profiles. However, it DOES NOT improve audio quality through your earphones. It actually worsens it. Just uncheck it once you get the phone.

Wifi reception on the A919i is above average. It is still able to pick up a signal 11 meters away from the router with two (2), 1 foot thick walls in between. Signal to noise ratio is good and should be more resistant to interference.

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4 meters away from the router, no obstructions6.5 meters away from the router, 1 wall about 1 foot thick11 meters away from the router, 2 walls about 1 foot thick each
4 meters away from the router, no obstructions
4 meters away from the router, no obstructions
6.5 meters away from the router, 1 wall about 1 foot thick
6.5 meters away from the router, 1 wall about 1 foot thick
11 meters away from the router, 2 walls about 1 foot thick each
11 meters away from the router, 2 walls about 1 foot thick each

A special only found on MyPhone's Androids is the availability of USB OTG (USB on the go) and TV-out (via MHL) as the original A919 had it while none of the competing phones did. The OTG feature returns on the A919i although TV-out doesn't. The OTG feature allows you to plug the usual USB items to your phone such as flash drives, keyboards and mice. The video below demonstrates both keyboard and mouse working on the A919i.

The A919i also has GPS with A-GPS support. The GPS performance is very good, getting its first lock in just 1 minute 29 seconds under a clear sky, stationary position and without A-GPS. What is more surprising is the increased sensitivity of the GPS chip on the A919i, being able to lock in on just 4 satellites out of 7 in view. Subsequent lock-ons within the time frame of an initial lock takes less than 5 seconds. This ensures that when entering tunnels and places where you lose GPS signal, you can quickly regain a lock once you're beneath the sky again. Also, the A919i has a magnetic sensor allowing you to use the phone as a compass offline.

As usual, for users wishing to use Google's own Navigation software, their turn-by-turn navigation with voice is STILL not available in the Philippines. However, you can still use Google Navigation to get directions and plot points for you whether you are driving or just walking/commuting. Also, you can use other navigation software on Android with turn-by-turn navigation with voice. Aside from navigation software, there are also maps like MapsWithMe from the Play Store that work well with the GPS to identify your location. MapsWithMe is particularly good as the map data for the entire Philippines is only around 75 MB and can be stored on your phone for offline use.

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Conclusion

Coming off my previous review which featured the Omega HD, the A919i should've been what it was in the first place -- the Omega HD with an MTK6589. A phone with a super-sleek design and profile, very fast processing performance, high strength glass, top of the line camera picture quality, gorgeous HD screen. The A919i only hits some of those marks, particularly processing performance. However, processing performance is the most important upgrade at the moment as the MTK6577 is slowly getting left in the dust as well-known phone brands move away from dual-core Cortex A9 solutions to dual-core Krait solutions on their mid-range devices, which would widen the gap and diminish the superior price-to-performance ratio of Android phones from local brands. The MTK6589 on the A919i brings processing performance close to those of high-end smartphones from 2012 at a price bracket between entry-level and mid-range.

However, two things escape me. First is the exclusion of OGS and higher strength glass. Don't get me wrong. The 720p screen on the A919i is great, but the lack of those two things gives us a wider bezel and a thicker profile overall -- and the wider bezel is evidently more unsightly on the white variant, which is why I got the black one in the first place. Secondly, the still shot camera is relatively disappointing considering the image quality overall is only above average next to the spectacular Omega HD, and that it's also missing crucial features, particularly panorama mode and metering options.

Regardless, the pros outweigh the cons. The A919i's software is optimized very well and it's the most bug-free Android experience I've had from local brands (together with the original CM Titan). The out of the box experience is good and frustration-free and additional commitments from the user such as rooting and whatnot aren't necessary to enjoy the phone. The 1080p video recording on the A919i is excellent and can substitute for a dedicated camera for shooting video on vacations. Lastly, the MTK6589 again, is just viciously fast it's almost vulgar, especially when you consider the price of this phone.

If your concern is less looks, aesthetics, still shot image quality and more performance and simplicity. The A919i is for you. You get near-Galaxy S3 performance and a nice looking 720p screen for less than half the price which should bode well for those demanding a better media experience from their phone.

Pros:
+ Viciously fast performance thanks to the MTK6589 SOC, equipped with a quad-core Cortex A7 and robust PowerVR SGX 544MP2 GPU
+ Good 5.0" 1280x720 IPS screen
+ Excellent 1080p video recording
+ MTK6589's hardware video decoder is powerful; can handle 1080p H.264 content
+ Great audio quality
+ Battery life is good despite the relatively small 2000 mAh battery
+ 1 GB of RAM
+ Dual SIM
+ HSPA+ ready
+ 9,590 Php only

Cons:
- 8.0 megapixel still shot camera image quality is only above average at best; the competing Omega HD churns out a much better image (update: this only applies to the Omega HD 1.0, not the Omega HD 2.0)
- Design, materials and finish of the phone could be more premium
- No panorama shooting mode

Official MyPhone A919i Specs

Mediatek MTK6589 1.2 Ghz quad-core processor
PowerVR Series 5XT graphics
5.0" HD IPS screen
1 GB RAM
4 GB internal storage (<2 GB usable)
microSD card slot up to 32 GB
HSPA+ 42 Mbps, HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 11 Mbps
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
Bluetooth v4.0 with A2DP
GSM 900/1800
HSDPA 2100
8 megapixel with LED flash
2 megapixel front-facing camera
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
156 grams with battery

© 2013 Kyle Lopez-Vito

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    • profile image

      alex 3 years ago

      hlo I hope you could do a review of cherry mobile omega icon...thanks

    • profile image

      emodiva 3 years ago

      hi po, just wanna ask, how do you find po cherry mobile blaze 2.0? kahit po maikling comment lang about the phone, thanks!

    • profile image

      Mark 3 years ago

      which is better? a919i? or myphone rio? Mediatek MTK6589 or MTK6582M? hope you will reply thanks :)

    • profile image

      azorilla12 3 years ago

      @symphonyx7

      i hope you'll make some reviews on the upcoming phones of MYPHONE.. ocean elite and myphone INFINITY :) thnx Godbless!

    • profile image

      Kristian 3 years ago

      A919i or Cyclone?

    • profile image

      camela 3 years ago

      hi. it's almost 1 year since a919i duo is release. i would like to ask if you encounter any problem on your phone since it is almost 1 year of usage? the not rooted one am asking. :) thanks!

    • profile image

      gregcebu 3 years ago

      Cool Actually the good news is that the batteries on both phones seem identical (I swapped thm around in the store) so the Cycloen should also be able to get spare batteries (major advantage)

      I saw the cycloen uses a MT6582 chip. Is that a slower processro than the MT 6589 of the A 919 i? Do you know if the A919i will upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.2?

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 3 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ gregcebu

      Personally, I'd go for a MyPhone A919i because it's cheaper, has a 720p screen and spare batteries are cheap and plentiful (around 350 Php each for the Godan-branded ones at official MyPhone stores). The Cyclone is a better looking phone (almost looks like my S4 when I put it side by side). I've already handled one and have been tempted to purchase one the other day but I don't want to review anything this vacation. Also, the Cyclone has a lower resolution screen (at 960x540) and a much faster graphics processor.

      The only definite thing is that the Cyclone is much better for gaming. Since I don't play much on my phone, I prefer the A919i and its higher res screen. It's just a matter of personal preference.

    • profile image

      gregcebu 3 years ago

      I Saw theat MyPhone has launched the similar This one is now discounted to 6300P comapred to 6999 for Cyclone, which is the better buy? Are there other recommendations you would have in this price category? now

    • mujtabasworld profile image

      Mujtaba 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Impressive bench marks, the camera quality is also so damn good!

    • profile image

      Miguela 4 years ago

      can you install instagram on it?

    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 4 years ago from Japan

      Seems like a good phone, not out in Japan. I got the S4 - decent too.

    • profile image

      Queso de Bola 4 years ago

      Hello symphonyx7!

      I'd like to ask what were your system settings when you're using MX Player with the A919i? I'm attempting to use the HW decoder, however the app just freezes upon playing any 8-bit (480p, 720p, and 1080p in the .MKV container) video I throw at it. And yes, I did enable software decoding for audio.

      If I set it to software rendering, it plays it fine, but of course I'd like to take advantage of the built-in decoder to reduce battery life.

    • profile image

      rconcept 4 years ago

      hi symphonyx7!

      im planning to get one of this phones, what do you prefer? In terms of performance? tnx!

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ John A.

      Sorry, but I have not tried a hands-free Bluetooth headset with the A919i. I already sold my A919i so I can't confirm if it works, though technically it should work. Perhaps you can ask other people in the MyPhone A919i groups on Facebook for confirmation.

      I'll remember to test out Bluetooth headset compatibility on my next review.

    • profile image

      John A. 4 years ago

      I recently bought this unit to replace Cherry Mobile Flare. Its a large improvement on all aspects. By the way, have you tried handsfree headphones with the A919i? Some people told me it has problems with handsfree compatibility. Thanks.

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ James

      Oh yeah, the A919i has USB OTG support and LED notification lights. Both the Omega HD 1.0 and 2.0 have neither. If USB OTG is really important, I suppose the A919i would be better. Personally, I never really found even a single time where I needed USB OTG. However, cheap-ass gamers will appreciate the USB OTG on the A919i since they can plug their CDR King controllers plug n' play style for their emulators. I found that this "setup" is surprisingly popular with people who regularly play on their phones, which is part of why MyPhone remains popular with prospective buyers since most of their Android phones have USB OTG support.

      Even their Php 3,990 A848i has USB OTG, and the specs are more than decent enough for playing anything you throw at it, including emulators.

      If you have a PS3 Sixaxis controller lying around at home though, you could just pair it to the Omega HD 2.0 (or any Android device with Bluetooth for that matter) via Bluetooth using the Sixaxis Controller app and use it as a controller for emulators and games.

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ James

      I don't have an Omega HD 2.0, but I do have a friend who has one and have spent some time with it since I rooted it for him. The Omega HD 2.0 is apparently the better phone. I've already reiterated in this review that what I really wanted was an Omega HD with an MTK6589 processor. Cherry Mobile seems to have heard my wish and given us the Omega HD 2.0. It's almost virtually identical to the 1.0.

      My only possible issues with the 2.0 is that the camera sensor MIGHT be different. I have yet to confirm it since I don't own one, but users have been complaining that the sensor on the 2.0 is only 8.0 megapixels and that shots have been upscaled to 12 MP. It's easy to detect interpolation even with just up close ocular inspection btw. I've taken a good, close look at the still made by the 1.0 and there's no interpolation. It's definitely 12 MP. So it's possible the 2.0 doesn't take pictures as good as the 1.0, and the 1.0 takes really good pictures. I wouldn't be surprised if the A919i and Omega HD 2.0 both use the same Omnivision OV8825 8.0 megapixel 1/3.2" sensor since it's used on a lot of other MTK6589 devices as well. Writing a camera stack on Android for different sensor modules will be bothersome for OEMs, so it makes sense to stick with the same supplier. While the camera sensor may be the same, the optics may be different and optics contribute to image quality as well. I can't make any assumptions beyond that due to lack of information. It may be a coin toss for camera image quality at this point, but personally I'm not happy with the A919i's still shots at its current price point.

      Personally, I'd pick the Omega HD 2.0 over the A919i. You should read both my A919i and Omega HD review side by side to see why I prefer the Omega HD 2.0. I particularly like the screen on the Omega HD 1.0 and 2.0 and I can confirm that they are exactly the same. And the Omega HD 1.0 and 2.0's body and design just reeks of class. It's a well thought out design imo.

    • profile image

      James 4 years ago

      I would love to see your comparison of Omega HD 2.0 vs. this phone. Most of my friends are arguing about which one is better.

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ DannyG

      Technically, they use a 4 GB flash chip as a ROM. How they partition it is another matter. Same goes for every other brand out there. My 32 GB iPhone's usable space is only 28 GB and my 32 GB Note's usable space is only 24.3 + 2.0 GB (internal memory + apps). That's 4 GB less than advertised on my iPhone and almost 6 GB less on my Note. I don't have my Xperia Ion anymore, but iirc it had less than 13 GB of usable storage for both internal + apps and it's advertised as having 16 GB memory. If you add up the 1.77 GB internal memory with the apps memory, the space left is more or less what you'd expect the system partition to eat. All in all, it amounts to more or less 4 GB. The A919i's partition for the system is pretty lightweight imo. I don't see it as false advertising at all since every other Android from local brands I've reviewed had a 4 GB ROM and none of them had more than 2 GB of usable memory. Face it, Android is getting pretty big. Think of it as comparing the installation sizes of Windows 7 and Windows XP. Big difference. Phones with a tiny ROM (like less than 512 MB) can escape running on Gingerbread, but wouldn't be able to accommodate ICS.

      If the A919i had a 16 GB ROM it would probably have less than 13 GB of usable space. I don't really mind if phones in this price range have *just enough* ROM as long as expandable storage via microSD remains. It's hard to argue given the kind of prices guys like MyPhone and Cherry Mobile are offering us.

    • profile image

      DannyG 4 years ago

      How come the internal memory of 4gb, as advertised, does not show in the phone? MyPhone claims that the unused capacity is reserved for the system. Even then, Total Space should still show 4gb and NOT 1.77gb

    • profile image

      Janelle 4 years ago

      Hi. Your review is excellent, I must say. One question, though. Are keyboards, mice, and USBs the only devices supported by this phone? Can it support other devices, such as, say, a Playstation controller?

    • profile image

      hans 4 years ago

      hi, are you going to do a review on the cherry mobile OHD 2.0? i'm torn between it and the a919i..both are now using the same mediatek chipsets

    • raye12 profile image

      raye12 4 years ago from Borongan, Eastern Samar

      There's a new phone of Micromax, the A111 canvas doodle, kailan kaya ito ilalabas ng Myhone :)

    • profile image

      JAcjac 4 years ago

      Hi,, Very Nice review...

      Can I ask you something,?

      I love my phone A919i,

      but now i have it... i don't know what game to download...

      do you have any idea what game can i download.. lalo na RPG games ung offline at walang bayad.. THanks...

    • profile image

      Jhoru 4 years ago

      How much is this

    • profile image

      JD 4 years ago

      Nice detailed review.

      Just a few questions:

      1) Since rebranded ito, hindi ba ito madaling masira? Have you encountered any problems?

      2) Does it stutter when playing high end games? If I play Modern Combat 4, would I get max graphics?

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      Jox 4 years ago

      Dude u r d best. This is the best review i hVe ever seen in my entire life! Keep em coming ;) i salute you

    • profile image

      LanggaM 4 years ago

      well it is a really the best review i've seen on the net but nowadays china phone releases same MTK6589 but on a lower price, but i prefer korean made when it comes to quality~ well i can say about it~ just add a bit of grand~ then go for ZOPO zp980~ tnx btw~

    • profile image

      ben 4 years ago

      wow! i didn't know there was a very good tech-blog review outside of gsmarena. great job and kudos!

    • profile image

      MirrorMoon 4 years ago

      Sir may reviews na po ba kayo for Skyfire 2.0 kasi gusto ko pong malaman kung ano mas maganda kung MP a919i or CM Skyfire 2.0 na parehas quadcore. :) thanks!

    • profile image

      goldcrow 4 years ago

      Mind taking a few day/night shots with the 2.0 front snapper? You did mention it was not BSI, would like to see the difference between this and the OHD.

    • profile image

      Pogz 4 years ago

      *slow clap* well written. keep it up.

    • profile image

      John Terrence Kelly 4 years ago

      Planning to do a review of the Skyfire 2.0 of Cherry Mobile? Looks like it's official now.

    • profile image

      wap 4 years ago

      thank you very for that. it was actually the lack of bsi sensor that stopped me from getting one.

    • profile image

      jimeliz187 4 years ago

      Thanks again for this very clear and educational review. I'm thinking of getting this phone now.

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ wap

      Simple test. On a clear night sky and a bright moon, attempt to take a picture of the moon. Set ISO and exposure to maximum on the phone. If the phone is unable to capture anything, it's not a BSI sensor. Camera sensors for smartphones are tiny and they wouldn't be able to accomplish that task if it the sensors aren't BSI. However, the A919i is able to perform this, as well as the Titan TV I have reviewed a while back. Note that the Titan TV isn't advertised as having a BSI sensor either.

      Another notable characteristic of BSI sensors is the way they handle low light areas in an image. Non-BSI sensors normally attempt to boost exposure and therefore noise in low light areas of the image. BSI sensors would just perform extreme black clipping in areas with little to no light and variably increase exposure in progressively dark to light areas in the image. This results in a cleaner low light image at the risk of the whole image suffering black crush in extremely low light environments. However, for low light environments with some light like night clubs, the BSI sensor helps a ton. It's more difficult to ascertain for most people by observing the viewfinder and the outputs, so the method in the first paragraph is easier for those who want to try it out.

      With MyPhone and Cherry Mobile being rebranders, it's not uncommon for them to make mistakes with their listed specs. Heck, MyPhone advertises the A919i as having only 720p video recording yet it shoots perfectly good 1080p video.

    • profile image

      wap 4 years ago

      i messaged myphone via fb, they said a919i does not have bsi sensor. please clarify. thnx

    • profile image

      Yuji Ci @ Fb 4 years ago

      symphonyx7,

      im still undecided on what to buy between OHD & MYP A919i.

      in your own point of view, which is better?

      Thanks Much =)

    • profile image

      bob the builder 4 years ago

      you aint just bumping your gums. your review is technically right on..but you could have included those graphics intensive games.

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ clock

      Most review sites such as GSMArena perform their battery tests WITHOUT radio/Airplane mode enabled. It would be then easier for the readers to reference my tests with theirs.

      @ Andrew Magpantay

      I would like to clarify the purpose of specifying the OEM for phones made in Shenzhen. It is for people to find out where they will find sources regarding the A919i in China. If you have done any scouting on Chinese BBS forums, no one refers to any of Tinno's devices (such as the Beidou Chi K/A919/A110) as a Tinno. They refer to them as the product name they were given. i.e. Beidou Chi K Onions. Searching for a specific product number on Tinno's line-up on Baidu will get most nowhere. However, searching for "Beidou Chi K Onions" is far more effective. It's not about correctness, it's about finding out the developments in the device from those who will receive it first hand.

      Lastly, I am firmly in belief that it is dual core. Scoring about 1/3rd of the tri-core SGX 544MP on the Exynos 5410 Galaxy S4 while taking into account the clockspeed discrepancy (300 Mhz and 533 Mhz is a HUGE difference), additional core (which scales linearly at 95% efficiency as per Imagination Technologies website) and the behemoth Cortex A15 cores (because no GPU test is ever fully GPU-only and the A15 is much, much faster than the A7), and the LPDDR3 RAM on the SGS4 which has much more bandwidth. Scoring about 1/3rd of the reference Exynos 5410 sounds about right.

    • Andrew Magpantay profile image

      Andrew Magpantay 4 years ago from Parañaque

      Wow, a very detailed review and it was very informative.

      However, I just want to clarify that Beidou is not the OEM of MyPhone A919i or Micromax A116 Canvas HD. It is Tinno Mobile.

      Beidou is just another reseller of the phone or we usually refer to them as "rebranders".

      OEMs do not sell their products online, they would have an outlet or reseller who handles that. OEMs just purely does the design and manufacturing. OEMs do not specify a price for the units they are selling. It is safe to assume that they would offer cheaper prices than resellers but that is if you get their products wholesale. OEMs are not usually disclosed unless you know someone from inside the company who has shown this information.

      To further strengthen my argument, head over to the website of Tinno then go to products, under full touch, click one of the phones there. Then change the proid to 144, hit Enter. You will see a page there for an android phone, it looks familiar right. Notice the device number "S9081", this is the MyPhone A919/Micromax A110. I was able to find this info when I scoured their site, by manually changing the "proid" number.

      Unfortunately, I cannot find the "S9201", this is the device name of A919i/A116. They might put it up later. Another thing, the A115 3D which would be released by MyPhone as the A919 3D is also from Tinno Mobile. Check out the benchmarking video of the A115 3D by iGyaan. The quadrant system information will also show there the name Tinno and the device name "S8111". It seems this is the naming format for their android phone lineup.

      Anyway, believe what you want to believe. I am just sharing what I know and what the MyPhone Dev team knows.

      As for the GPU of the A919. I think it is a single core, but I do not have concrete evidence to prove this. However, from what I am seeing with other MTK6589 devices, they all show the same GPU in Antutu "544MP". MP means multi-processor, but on the Antutu it does not show a number. GSM Arena just lists the GPU of the A116 as just 544 without the MP.

    • profile image

      clock 4 years ago

      why test battery performance without radio signal?so i guess with radio signal on,indeed it has poor battery life.30%brightness,no radio signal,only lasted 7hours?i expected it to last at least 10 hours or so.we don't turn off radio signal in real life,do we?at 5-inch screen,battery capacity should be at least 3000mAh imo.but anyway,great review.not the battery life test for me.

    • profile image

      mike 4 years ago

      I hope you will do a review of alcatel one touch scribe hd.

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      tony 4 years ago

      that's a bit disappointing. but i could really have that compromised. i more on the performance that looks kasi. i heard nga na it's a bit complicated to root this phone. if you wont mind, can you give links or tutorial for rooting this unit? and also, i have seen a very easy tutorial for rooting micromax canvas HD (by an indian), can i use that??? :)

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ ann

      Actually, I was referring to extraneous data used by big apps such as games like Real Racing 3 which download plenty of additional data, like over 1 GB in size. If you didn't root the phone like on the Titan TV, it will still be forced to place the additional data on the internal or phone storage. Well, at least that's how it works if you download large files from the Play Store. Pirating by placing data on the microSD works fine, but I don't advocate piracy. However, on the A919i, I found no way other than rooting to transfer apps, with or without extraneous data, to the microSD card.

      You should try your hand at rooting the A919i. It's much easier than preparing dinner.

      P.S. You should've rooted your Titan TV when you still had it. You basically just download a small app on your computer which is Bin4ry's root tool, plug your phone to the PC, press a button on your computer and press the corresponding "restore" button on your phone when it prompts -- and it's rooted. It takes less than a minute. lol

    • profile image

      ann 4 years ago

      Wow! Thanks for the detailed answer. I didn't know it was that easy to root back in ICS days. And yes, I don't wanna root my phone cause I'm not familiar with the procedure. Also, not all Android phones from local brands are like this. I was so happy with my Titan TV because it allowed me to save apps on sd card out of the box! Btw, I discovered your blog when I was looking for TTV reviews back then and until now i could still say your review is the best! Thanks for all the product reviews. It's very helpful and educational. :)

    • symphonyx7 profile image
      Author

      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ tony

      Yes, it sort of feels like the A888 since it's similar to the A919 in hand. The backcover isn't loose by any means though. I'm just saying that if you squeeze the A919i very tightly with one hand, you'll hear some creaking/squeaking.

      @ ann

      Unfortunately, you're kind of stuck with the 1.77 GB phone memory for the apps themselves if you don't root. It's been this way for all the phones I've reviewed unless you root. This is another reason why others avoid Androids from local phone brands because all of them are limited to 4 GB of ROM, only half or less of which is usable. For apps with large data (i.e. Real Racing 3), you'll be forced to either use Link2SD, FolderMount or GL to SD, or perform a memory swap which will make the phone identify the microSD card as the phone memory -- all those require rooting. Rooting the phone takes less than 15 minutes though, but it will require the user to be tech literate since Jelly Bean added some protection. Rooting Mediatek phones with ICS only required the user to download an app, plug the phone and press a button and the phone is rooted. It was easy then. It's slightly more complicated now on Mediatek phones with Jelly Bean. There are precise instructions for rooting the A919i in the A919i Facebook group for reference.

    • profile image

      Kamiya 4 years ago

      "Omega HD is superior to the A919i in almost every aspect except the most important one: the processor. " This statement of yours summarizes the rifts between OHD and A919i.

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      Kauro 4 years ago

      Job well done, very honest and detailed review, this should clears all the confusions between OHD and A919i.

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      ann 4 years ago

      Nice review! Btw, can u save apps on the sd card? I could only see two choices. . Either phone or internal storage. I hope there's a way to save apps on sd card without rooting. .

    • profile image

      tony 4 years ago

      " There is only very light squeaking when squeezing the phone in hand. " does if feel like the a888 duo?and how obvious is it? yung parang maluwang yung backcover then may cracking sound pag hinawakan mo po ng mahigpit??? cocern din kasi ako don.thanks. excellent review as always. :)

    • profile image

      totong taga 4 years ago

      dumugo na namn ilong sa yo. ganda ng review mo pare..(mare?)

    • profile image

      goldcrow 4 years ago

      Maybe you can also include sample pics of the front-facing. It's becoming an increasingly important feature with the advent of 'selfies'.

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      Noy 4 years ago

      Okay, thanks, sir! I think I'll wait to see what CM has to offer for now, though the A919i is quite compelling. Thanks for answering, and more power to you! Will be following your blog closely from now on.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Noy

      What I'm saying is that upcoming devices from local phone brands in the near future will be the same or only slightly better than the A919i in other areas such as camera and battery capacity.

      I can see Cherry Mobile bringing in a better device overall compared to the A919i since the Omega HD is superior to the A919i in almost every aspect except the most important one: the processor. Virtually all of the A919i's advantages over the Omega HD stems from the MTK6589. The problem is when will Cherry Mobile bring in their A919i beater AND will MyPhone refresh the A919i half a year from now, like the A919i did the A919, or will they counterattack immediately after Cherry Mobile releases their A919i beater? Nothing is certain.

      It's really up to you if you want to swallow MyPhone's 9,590 Php asking price and risk buyer's remorse from Cherry Mobile, or wait for Cherry Mobile's offering only to be disappointed by possibly inferior specs and wishing you purchased the A919i earlier. It depends. I can't answer that question for you.

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      Noy 4 years ago

      So can you say with any degree of confidence that the A919i will be the local phone to beat for the foreseeable future? I mean, considering the performance, price, and build quality of the A919i, can you see Cherry Mobile coming up with a new device that can rival it? Sorry for asking so many questions. It's just that I'm really interested to see how the local smartphone market is developing in these recent months, with CM and MyPhone both coming out with amazing devices at mindboggling prices. Also, I'm looking to buy a smartphone that packs the most punch at a price that doesn't break the bank, and I'm wondering if you can recommend this or any other device, as you do have a lot of experience when it comes to reviewing devices comprehensively.

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      bluet0ps 4 years ago

      great review! keep up the great work. with people like you we wouldn't have to buy every single freaking unit that comes out. we would already have an informed choice! hehe!

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      Andrew 4 years ago

      Here is a list that I found from GizChina showing other MTK6589 phones that might become locally available.

      http://www.gizchina.com/2013/03/20/ultimate-quad-c...

      Based on the trend of Cherry Mobile in releasing their phones, more likely they would adapt a similar phone to the Karbonn S5 Titanium. Since the Flame 2.0 is based on the S1 Titanium.

      In my opinion, if they really want to beat MyPhone at their own game, they should consider the Umi X2. However, I do not believe that Umi hasn't been released locally before so it is still wishful thinking.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Noy

      It's uneasy to see how some of the local tech blogs have been reduced to scrapping off bits of rumors. The "Skyfire 2.0" is mostly unsubstantiated. All we know is that "it's quad-core". We do have reason to believe that it is a MTK6589 device like the A919i since it wouldn't be able to compete performance-wise otherwise. Comparing the MSM8225Q/8265Q on the Flame 2.0 to the MTK6589 is a joke. Both the CPU and GPU on the MTK6589 craps on it.

      However, looking at it closely, what else is there to improve upon the A919i given their timeframe (that is, if they want to snatch A919i sales away from MyPhone)? Camera, battery and screen size. The MTK6589 is already the top of the line SOC from MediaTek. Faster quad-core SOCs are already cost prohibitive, as well as 1080p panels as economies of scale haven't kicked in yet. So we're down to camera, screen size and battery. Design, materials and finish usually isn't something others consider at these price brackets unless it's downright bad. Looking at it, we're still bound to get a 720p, MTK6589 with an unspecified screen size, camera and battery that will most likely be cheaper than the A919i since Cherry Mobile has been undercutting the competition in terms of price and performance for half a year now.

      My prediction is that the would be 'Skyfire 2.0' will be an MTK6589-based phone that's already rebranded in Thailand or India since taking cost into account, higher-end rebranded Androids don't really encounter price ceilings there if empirical evidence is anything to go about, unlike the psychological "10K Php barrier" here. Take for instance the Micromax A116 HD which is basically the A919i, it was released in India a few months for about 14K rupees or around 10.5K Php. Same goes for the iMobile IQ6 which is basically the CM Omega HD which was released in Thailand a few months ago too at 8.5K baht or around 11.5K Php. Our local phone brands can then follow up with back-orders at reduced cost to get below the 10K Php barrier here.

      To be honest, the only checkpoint really worth noting in the lifecycle of the MTK6589 would be the increase in screen resolution to 1080p and 2 GB of RAM, which I see as a "mid-life product refresh". Well, they're available now, but taking a look at prices it's clear it'll be a while. Soon, we will have a marketplace filled with dozens of identical MTK6589 phones. Case in point: it's all foggy at the moment. The A919i is meant to be the icebreaker for this MTK6577-filled marketplace of local phone brands.

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      Noy 4 years ago

      First off, I think it's great that you're doing this to educate people that quality doesn't always have to come with an expensive price tag. Sometimes, all you have to do is look around and consider your options. I haven't always been a fan of local phone brands, but my brother has one of the earlier phones of Cherry Mobile (a QWERTY phone with a TV receptor), and he's been using it for 4 years now. It's still quite well for him. No problems whatsoever. That's why I'm convinced that, sometimes, all that matters is that you take good care of the device. Anyway, I don't know if you've heard about it, but CM is rumored to be planning the release a new smartphone that's supposed to go up against the A919i - the Skyfire 2.0. Some tech bloggers are getting all excited about it because it's supposed to have quad core capacity as well, but better specs overall than the Flame 2.0. In my eyes, you're one of the experts (if I might say) in the local smartphone market, so I wanted to get your opinion on the matter.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Alx

      Unfortunately, I have no plans of reviewing tablets that do not have phone connectivity. I was tempted to review the Fusion Bolt I gave my sister for a while now, alas I am doing these reviews under the pretense that it will encourage smartphone ownership and eventually spur them to increase data usage. I see these low-cost smartphones with good price to performance/feature ratios as a gateway for Filipinos to acquaint themselves with technology in the hopes it may be of aid to them in education and whatnot. I feel these smartphones from local brands go hand in hand with the plummeting prices of data services by telecoms.

      Another reason I wouldn't want to review the Fusion Fire is because it's almost exactly the same as the Fusion Bolt, except for the bigger screen and storage. TBH, I'm not particularly happy with the Fusion Bolt's performance although it's pretty ok, not to mention I have a history with ordering tabs from China since 2010 via AliExpress. I haven't found a single one that gets anywhere near as good as an iPad in terms of battery life, stability, performance, etc. -- in short, most of them disappointed me despite a low price tag. Only the original Ainol Novo 7 Advance satisfied me best with its stability, media capabilities and long battery life. Lastly, there are plenty of Ainol Novo 10 (the Fusion Fire's OEM) reviews on the internet. The guys at Slatedroid have a treasure trove of information on it.

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      Alx 4 years ago

      Again very informative and great review! I've been Googling for the latest review of the a919i for couple of days and great that you did this one. Omega HD still great in camera performance! Any chance you might do a review of the Fusion Fire sometime soon if you get a loaner unit? I waiting for someone to review Fusion Fire, no one has done a comprehensive one yet.

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      Kyle Lopez-Vito 4 years ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

      @ Kenneth

      It has dual SIM capabilities. However, I only had one SIM card on my A919i. Like on the Cherry Mobile Titan, the 2nd signal indicator doesn't appear until you have a 2nd SIM card inserted. I think that approach is better for aesthetics since having another signal bar while having only one SIM is useless clutter on the notification bar.

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      Kenneth 4 years ago

      I've been noticing in the screenshots that only one network signal indicator is displayed, does it mean A919i lacks dual SIM functionality?

      Anyway, this is a very comprehensive review, too technical.

      Thanks!

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      John Terrence Kelly 4 years ago

      Nice review. Lucky I haven't bought the Omega HD yet. It is kinda pricey, though. But if it is worth the price, then it might be worth the buy.

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      blitzkrieg 4 years ago

      Thanks for the great review

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      JP 4 years ago

      well said