The iDroid Royal V7 review: iDroid USA lands in Uganda

iDroid V7 review

[blockquote right=”pull-right”] [/blockquote] Away from banning Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Premier that cluttered our news feeds, libraries and every media house. Did you know that iDroid USA has just launched in town? Well am sure you did if you are a techjaja loyal reader. And, with them came two brand new handsets dubbed the iDroid Tango A5 and the real estate iDroid Royal V7. So today we took a notch higher to bring you the Royal V7 review and the Tango A5 will follow-up shortly courtesy of folks at iDroid who loaned us with two test devices for review.

On paper these are the specifications

The Royal V7 spots the following specs that would automatically qualify it into the mid-range turf much like I would categorize the popular Galaxy grand 2 and its other sequels. The scrutiny below will take you through every pro & con, so you better tighten your seat belts before I take you for a ride. First things first, the V7 spots a 5.5 qHD (960×540) IPS display qualifying for a phablet moniker but an underdog to the likes of Galaxy Note 4 or the iPhone 6 when it comes to screen resolution. For the photography buffs, it spots a 13MP rear camera as well as a 5MP selfie shooter, both capable of Full HD recording that’s 1080p recording for those keeping track of digits. It has 1GB of RAM, 8GB of ROM expandable up to 32GB via a micro-SD slot. It’s powered by a Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A7 processor coming in at 1.3 GHz each and the device is capable of supporting 4G speeds or 4G ready as iDroid puts it. But these 4G speeds are up to 42Mbps (this sounds odd given HSPA+ speeds max to that which falls under 3G+standards). It supports the following frequency bands Quad band 850/900/1800/1900 / 4G HSPA + 21MPS 850/1900/2100Mhz bands. And since no telco in Uganda supports any of the above bands for 4G-LTE that was a clear indicator that it is a 3G phone. All this runs on a 2050mAh juice battery.

Hands on Video Review

Away from paper, this is my review;

That’s what folks at iDroid described of their flagship device and here is my hands on review. iDroid promises a mobile phone, a battery, USB cable, Headsets, charger, a user guide, snap on case and color cases and they indeed stayed true to their word since we were able to find the items stacked in the box.

iDroid V7 review

 

Hardware

iDroid V7 review_11It’s a profound design signature by most OEMs to build the rest of the hardware on a metal profile and iDroid wasn’t an exception with its 121.76 x 68.49 x 7.9mm thick phone profile spotting a gigantic 5.5 qHD display at the front on a thin metal frame reminiscent of the Huawei Ascend P7  that was complemented with a plastic back cover. The Quarter HD (960×540)  resolution came as a huge disappointment given the V7’s enormous display. A 720 x 1280 resolution would come in handy since top mid-rangers come equipped with them.  The back panel accommodates the protruding 13MP primary camera with LED flash and on plucking it off reveals the dual SIM card slots (Mini & Micro), a MicroSD expansion slot, removable battery and a large speaker that is enhanced by iDro Beast™ technology.

Software

iDroid V7 review_3  iDroid V7 review softwareThe V7 runs on Google’s Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) with some bloatware as you may call it and a few exceptionally pre-loaded apps like Sound cloud (forgive me, I am a huge music fan and Sound cloud is a must have). Surprisingly it came with two launchers the default one and the Russians played their part with the 3D Yandex shell though I opted for the default one given it borrowed clues from my beloved iPhone. The iDroid hub came in handy to sort you out offering support for your droid, it came with apps like; Lockout with its praised security capabilities, Office suite and Skype. Although you can still get them as free downloads from the Play Store, having them pre-installed solves the match regarding data especially for the cost cautious Ugandan consumers though I have to admit I installed alternatives to most of the pre-loaded software. And the great on-screen gestures will have to prove more to draw consumers to the V7 though gimmicky, they acted as beautiful additions. Given this isn’t a one-handed gadget, iDroid has a lot to do to pre-install software that can offer a helping hand on how to fully utilize the screen. In fact it should be a prerequisite for every phablet manufacturer since the 5 plus inches deviate from the 4 inch that has at least become an industry standard for one-handed use.

Lets talk Camera/s

iDroid V7 review camera [blockquote right=”pull-left”] [/blockquote]
Not so long ago the megapixel count was all that mattered and it would be jaw dropping to get a smartphone with a 13MP sensor. Like I started, not so long ago but as of this writing times have changed and it’s not the mega pixels that count anymore, it’s about the way the software process the Image given the lessons I have come to learn from the iPhone. The Note 4 is also playing well in this field. Borrowing clues from the best in the game, the V7 didn’t survive a camera bump that many critics have come to mock especially with the new iPhones and the newly launched Galaxy S6 didn’t survive one.

Camera Samples

iDroid opted for a 13MP Sony Exmor sensor with dual-flash and a 5MP shooter at the front for the selfie lovers. Both capable of recording at full HD. We were rather disappointed by the two cameras and I being a photography enthusiast, this came short of my expectations when it comes to smartphone photography given its one of the burning issue that’s prompts pundits to buy such handsets besides the screen attraction. But for a wanayinchi (layman) photography lover, It will the job well especially if you intend to share your pictures on social media. See picture samples above

Then came the performance

And then came performance. We wouldn’t argue that the V7 performs like a V8 engine for the guys on wheels, but it handled my multitasking ways pretty well. On the contrary, note that the 1GB RAM came short of what similarly priced handsets or those that cost a dollar less like the Tecno Phantom Z mini pack. But, we’ll excuse iDroid given they are virgins in the Ugandan market.

Back to business, the 1 GB of RAM was able to handle my multitasking from writing you this review on my WordPress app to Google Now, scheduling my calendar events, checking out Imgur, jotting my notes on Evernote and switching between apps was a lot easier than I thought. The V7’s Quad-Core Cortex-A7 processor worked seamless to handle the above.

iDroid V7 review sideshot

For an average WTF social media buff, the abbreviation standing for WhatsApp, Twitter & Facebook, this is the right choice, likewise to the casual gamers best known for bombarding us with irritating Candy Crush Saga requests. This is your “beast” and the same goes to Subway surfers’ players.  But to a guy like me who is always behind a monitor with gaming pads in my hands, the V7 doesn’t offer such performance for those stellar graphics to run games like Modern Combat.

Finally, my letter to iDroid USA

iDroid promises 8GB on-board storage with the capability to max that to up to 32GB but actually 4GB was available for use. It’s one issue that has long plagued top Android OEM Samsung so scaling down its skin was one of their unavoidable tasks and so iDroid should follow suite and offer storage next to that. The random selfies, music files, docs and other staff need a lot more space than 4GB plus it speeds up the handsets.
Another flaw that I can’t avoid mentioning is the price tag that Android freaks cited as their biggest disappointment compared to the competition is the hefty price tag. Most thought that for its hardware specs a price of close to UGX 1 million ($ 330) was a bit on the high side. Is it the Taxes? Because most people who loved the phone always skipped a breath when I dropped on them the price. Some urged that some top hardware vendors like Samsung with more speced devices actually charged a little less than iDroid’s V7. We hope the team behind iDroid is reading this and will give up more horse power, better screen in the next iterations.

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