I’ll keep this review simple. I just want to share with you why I have been enjoying my Starmobile Engage Tablet since the day I bought it.
I’ve had the chance to quickly play around with the Starmobile Engage even before it was officially released. This was during the Starmobile launching last June 2012.
The specs back then was still a bitch sketchy and it looked like a usual MID or slate which is already in the market. But what got my attention is when the Social Media and Marketing Assistant of Starmobile told me that its a tablet that is running on Android ICS 4.0 with the tag price of below Php 8,000. I looked at him with wide eyes and said “That’s cheap!” So I immediately asked permission to borrow one of the demo units (there were three during the event).
Let’s get started with the review.
I think I posted here in my blog before that I didn’t like 7 inch tablets because they’re small. Well, I was right that they were small but I was wrong not to like them. I found out that they are more handy than 8 inch tablets… And they are more light as well.
The unit is thinner on the edges (maybe 6mm) (except on the bottom part) and half an inch away from the edge, its starts to show its true width which is 11.5 mm. As I said above, its easy to carry and grip using your hands. I can easily create a blog post and answer emails when holding the tablet in an upright (portrait) position.
The back of the Starmobile Engage has the 3 megapixel camera and speaker. It has a matte finish back cover (as you can see from the picture above). This prevents the unit from being a smudge magnet.
On the front, it has the VGA camera for video calls. The immediate picture above is also one of the prototypes which I got my hands on during the event. You’ll notice that there are buttons on the bottom of the touch screen. This was
replaced covered with the word Starmobile on the commercial units but whenever I press on these buttons, they still respond. The screen is resposive. You wont notice any delay.
Its like any other Android ICS device so I don’t have to elaborate on that. However, for those who loves rooting their android devices, you’ll be glad to know that it comes out of the box, rooted! (NICE!). Now you can put those apps that you can only normally install in rooted devices like RAM Manager, apps for Screenshot, etc. Just be careful not to uninstall any important app.
Speaking of Apps, it came pre-installed with the following apps/games:
- Temple Run
- Juice Defender
- Office Suite
- Angry Birds
- Fruit Ninja
- ES Task Manager
- Hi-Q Mp3 recorder
- Flash player
- Text Twist
- Super HD player – lets you play HD videos.
Before you use the pre-installed apps, make sure you update them first. Just to to the Google Play Store (you need a Google account – who doesn’t have one?).
Starmobile removed the mobile function on the unit- being able to use the device as a mobile phone. I said removed because you can still see the option to choose the mobile network and you can see a network signal icon on the bottom right of the screen along with the other icons like battery and notifications (or maybe just with my unit?). Which makes me think that Starmobile may release an Engage with Mobile phone functionality or at least 3G in the future.
Since it has an HDMI slot, I can hook up the unit to an HDMI ready TV and show some pictures, play games, or videos on a bigger screen. My Starmobile Engage didn’t not come with a photo gallery viewer – maybe they forgot to put it – but don’t worry, just install the 3D gallery viewer app found on Google play. It works the same as the stock (original) gallery viewer.
The Starmobile engage has a USB slot. You can use it to hook up a USB flash drive, a 3G stick, or anything that has a USB function. During a recent vacation, I used the engage to backup my pictures on my Panasonic Lumix LX3. I just connected the cable on the LX3 and the Engage, turn on the USB function, and go to My Files. I copied 350 pictures from the camera to the tablet in less than 2 minutes (these are high resolution pictures). I deleted 2-5 MB files in just seconds. Same goes when creating, deleting, or renaming folders.
You wont have a hard time looking for accessories because there are a lot of 7 inch tablets out there. I easily bought a book case cover because I asked the store If they had a cover for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0. They’re the same size.
Of course, there’s no perfect tablet. And with its price, you won’t get stressed with some stuff that normally would piss you off on a high priced tablet. I already told my self before buying this unit (setting expectations) that the performance will be slow / sluggish and expect some lags.. But surprisingly, its beyond my expectation.
- Battery – I wish they could add more juice to the battery. But it has the same battery life as other tablets out there. How fast it drains depends on how often you use it. Like I have installed Subway Surfers and I can only play 4 hours straight on a single charge (yeah.. I’m a subway surfers addict!).
- There’s a 3 second delay when you “wake up” the tablet (by pressing the on/off button on the bottom of the unit). That’s ok for me.
- It shows some lags when you have 2-3 apps running but its still acceptable. It hangs when more than 6 apps are running. So what you do is force stop these apps or install a task manager which can really stop the apps – like Facebook, even if you have already stopped it it keeps turning itself on. Make sure to stop apps that you don’t use. this also saves on batteries.
- I’ve been seeing some complaints about overheating. Its normal for tablets to get warm (not hot) especially on the battery area (our phones heats up as well right?). For me, the “heat” is manageable. Maybe those complaining are not holding the tablet in the right way.
- The Matte finish “paint” easily is slowly peeling off on the lower part of the device. Maybe because the area is warm and its where the unit is held regularly.
Worth only Php 5,990, the Starmobile Engage really gives value for money. Its the second starmobile device that I have (the first one is T610i) and I must say that this brand had gained my trust.
I have already convinced four people to buy the Starmobile Engage, one of which is an Apple Fan. He said this was his first Android Device. I’ll ask him to leave a comment on this post.