SKK Chronos Ace+ Review - The Sub 3K Phone To Beat?

Few weeks back, the SKK Chronos Ace+ impressed us with the way it presented it self for a budget device. The packaging and freebies are excellent, the design looks good, the build isn't premium but acceptable, and it has great specs for the price.
SKK Chronos Ace+ Review - The Sub 3K Phone To Beat?
SKK Chronos Ace Plus review

As a result, we took it to a spin and check-out those specs if it is worth the hype. Here's the rest of what we discovered.

For the review part 1: SKK Chronos Ace+ Unboxing And First Impressions - A Potential Wonder On A Budget!

Display Quality

The Chronos Ace+ is using a 5 inch HD TFT screen with 1280 x 720 resolution at 294 ppi. Donning a just TFT panel, there's nothing too special about it due to the gap between the glass and the thick black border bezels. It is expected to see on any sub-3K handset today though. But hey, at least it has an HD resolution which is quite HARD to find on an entry-level phone.
Quality and brightness is fine, but direct sunlight legibility is hard.
In terms of quality, this panel did an okay job. The picture showed vibrant colors with acceptable levels of saturation and sharpness that's just fine to look at. There are just times viewing angles aren't that good in some areas and it isn't that legible under direct sunlight which is acceptable again for the price.

What we like here is it is equipped with Miravision tech with color tuning and dynamic contrast for livelier colors.
2 points of touch
2 points of touch

However, the handset only has 2 points of multitouch which ins't that good for speedy typing and gaming. Fortunately, its touch points are quite accurate and responsive.

Audio Quality

The Chronos Ace+ highlights a single speaker below which is a better placement than most budget phones who has it at the back. The result is doesn't block the sound from coming out of the speaker when placed on flat surfaces.

However, the speakers is far from loud which may require you to use the BesLoudness sound enhancement to make phone calls hearable. For music, I wouldn't suggest its use as it'll make the acceptable sound quality of its speaker noisy, distorted, and muddy.

For the headphone out, the SQ is fine and has that warm tonality with more of a bass centric approach. The mids isn't that clean, but that type of clarity is acceptable and expected on a low-priced phone. Highs isn't prominent, but at least it isn't piercing and fatiguing. To our surprise, soundstage has acceptable in your front like presentation too.

It's driving power (loudness) is also good which can make the TFZ Pro Series 1 sing at 80% loudness. However, not all earphones and headphones with microphone are compatible with this handset as it isn't a compliant of CTIA standard.

Note: Avoid using the BesAudEnh sound enhancement as it'll lessen the details of your tunes.

For the microphone, it performs well for calls, but do not expect it to be clear for audio recordings.

Battery Life

5 hours and 19 mins of work battery life
5 hours and 19 mins of work battery life

Packed with 2,200 mAh only of battery capacity on a 5 inch HD screen and MT6580 quad core chip, we did not set our expectations high on its battery performance. On our battery test, it scored a little over 5 hours which is okay for casual users but not that great for heavy users.

On actual daily usage, it provided us 6 hours of work usage with occasional use of the camera, 3G cellular data, and phone calls. In a regular day of use, you may have to charge it for around 2x.
Charging is fast, but the battery life isn't long.
Fortunately, charging time is very quick with a just around 1:15 to 1:30 mins of charging using stock 1A charger included. Given that scenario, it is advisable to always have a powerbank at your side.

Camera

The good 13 MP main shooter found in this phone
The good 13 MP main shooter found in this phone

Unlike most budget phones, the SKK Chronos Ace+ is loaded with a large 13 MP main shooter w/ AF and LED flash. In front, there's a 5 MP wide angle camera w/ LED flash as well.

The camera interface is basic and easy to understand. There's the usual HDR mode, panorama, face beauty mode, and LED flash. The camera app just have some lags and doesn't shoot that quick especially in low-light. HDR mode also has the usual 3 seconds saving time delay as well.

For the picture quality, we were surprised! As long as you have good lighting, it'll produce resolved details images with Instagram ready level of saturation and color pop which most casual users will like. HDR quality is also good, it can do decent macro (around 4 inches close), and can even produce or acceptable background blur at times.
This is arguably of the best main camera that we tested on a sub-3K handset!
There just are times that it'll be grainy or washed even with good light, but at this price point, it is hard to complain. Speaking of grains, expect to have plenty in low-light and night time. Details are lessen in those lighting situations we well. It'll require you to use the flash to take decent photos at night.


Rear Camera Samples

Normal daylight shot
Normal daylight shot showing accurate sky colors details in the pool, and slightly washed white parts of the image
Normal mode vs HDR
Normal mode vs HDR, I like normal mode better, but some would prefer the brighter output of the HDR mode
I was surprised with the details of this image
I was surprised with the details of this image, yes this is taken using a sub-3K phone!
Bokeh shot
It produced bokeh or background blur, it isn't creamy though and the arm part was overexposed, but this good level of picture quality is unexpected at all!
Lowlight image
Lowlight image with focus on the radio lights
Flash test, it is quite good!
Flash test, it is quite good!

The 5 MP wide angle selfie camera of this handset has HDR, face beauty mode, and LED flash. It'll just require you to have steady hands to at take proper shots as its shutter is slow. The quality is a hit or miss and it takes blurry photos even on daylight at times. Fortunately, there's a flash that you can use in lowlight.

Selfie Camera Samples

Acceptable, but not that sharp daylight selfie
Acceptable, but not that sharp daylight selfie
HDR test, subject is blurred
Another selfie in good lighting
Selfie flash!
Selfie flash!

For videos, it can take 1080P videos at the back with decent picture quality and 480p videos with a lot of grains in front. Both aren't that desirable to use if you don't have a tripod as the output will be shaky.


Video Samples


Performance

Antutu and Geekbench scores
Antutu and Geekbench scores

What made the SKK Chronos Ace special is its use of 2 GB of RAM on a sub-3K smartphone. On top of that, SKK paired it with the decent MT6580 quad core chip, 8 GB of storage, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS.
It's a rare budget phone with 2 GB of RAM for multitasking!
As a result, the handset performed better than most of its similarly priced competitors. It isn't the speediest around, but it can handle multiple light to moderate applications and games very well. Leaving them at the background also gives little harm at all.

In gaming, we tested the usual light games such as Pokemon GO w/o AR and Subway Surfers and they worked just fine. For heavy games like Asphalt 8, it'll be playable in the lowest settings with little lag.
The almost stock skin of the phone
The almost stock skin of the phone

In terms of UI, the Ace+ us using a near stock like Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS with almost no bloats. It is also light, responsive, and feature packed. Speaking of those features, it has a "Smart Wake" shortcuts where you can draw letters and customized your desired app to launch. It also has a double tap to wake screen function.

Connectivity such as WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, GSM, and calls works well. There's just no USB OTG support for easy file transfers and etc.

Pros - Stylish design, best specs for the price, detailed main camera, clean Android 6.0 OS, fast charging
Cons - Battery life could be better, selfie camera, 2 points of touch only, not CTIA ready (doesn't work with all earphones with mic), no OTG support

Verdict

For us, the SKK Chronos Ace+ is the phone to beat in the sub-3K price range! Even with its several "understandable" flaws, it'll be TOUGH to find any other phones with this type of good specifications, detailed main camera, and smooth OS if you cannot go beyond the 3K mark.

GIZ Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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