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Starmobile Play Max Review - The Budget Big Battery Phone!

Like what we said previously on the unboxing and impressions part of this review, the Starmobile Play Max looks and feels like a decent budget phone with big battery capacity. It is also very hard to find a handset with over 4,000 mAh of juice that can power-up your phone for an entire day on a single charge on this price range.
Starmobile Play Max review!
Starmobile Play Max review!

Now, let's see if the Starmobile Play Max was able to deliver that promise in this full review.


Display Quality

5 inch HD screen on a budget!
5 inch HD screen on a budget!

The Starmobile Play Max is equipped with a 5 inch HD IPS (1280 x 720) screen that's definitely better than most TFT panels in this price range. It delivers decent color reproduction with slightly blueish tone. Levels of black are also acceptable, its sharp enough at 294 ppi, and has nice viewing angles.
Decent screen for the small price, good job!
Sunlight legibility isn't that great, but at least its brightness can go high enough to make your display legible under direct sunlight.
2 points of touch only
2 points of touch only

Then it only has 2 points of touch (decent), but may slowdown your touch and type experience a little.

Audio Quality

The single speaker below sounds decent, but don't expect it to be really loud. At least it can play clean enough tunes with less distortion at around 70% of the volume. Cranking the volume all the way up will make let you hear more grains though.

The audio-out on headphones or earphones is also acceptable for this price. It can produce acceptable bass response and has fairly acceptable balance. Vocal clarity isn't just that refined (as expected) and the peaks on highs are piercing at times, but overall it has decent separation and presentation.

Microphone quality for calls is decent. For recordings, its acceptable, but don't expect it to be that clean sounding.

Battery Life

PC Mark battery test result!
PC Mark battery test result!

The main highlight of this device is it is one of the most affordable phone in the land with big 4,000 mAh of battery capacity. In the PC Mark battery test we conducted, the Starmobile Play Max recorded over 11 hours and 30 minutes. That's on par with most 4,000 mAh handsets we tested it the past. It also suggest that Starmobile is really using a real 4,000 mAh battery with this phone.
It's good enough to last for an entire day on a single charge!
In real life usage, we recorded a screen-on time of almost 9 hours in our normal casual daily task. That includes SMS, occassional calls, playing music, and social media use. Charging time isn't the fastest around at 3 hours and 45 mins though.

Camera

The camera behind
The camera behind

The Play Max is equipped with an 8 MP f/2.8 sensor at the back. It has autofocus tech and dual LED flash as well. 
Starmobile loaded it with basic functions such as HDR, panorama, timer, and focus to take a shot. As a bonus, it also has grids for guides in photography.

Focus tech is acceptable even if it isn't that speedy. We liked that it can focus closely to the subject unlike other cameras on budget phones. Saving speed is decent as well.

In terms picture quality, it is acceptable in well lit places with slightly darker color reproduction. Dynamic range and details is understandably not that pronouced at this price point compared with higher-end camera phones. In indoor shots grains will be more visible. In lowlight, using the flash all the time is recommended.

Rear Camera Samples

A sample of decent shot in daylight
A sample of decent shot in daylight
Tried to do a close-up shot, still decent!
Tried to do a close-up shot, still decent!
There's even blur at the background
It fails in night-shots
If too close, the flash will overexpose your subject

For selfies, it has a 5 MP f/2.8 lens with LED flash. It also has grids and timer, but it only has fixed focus so focusing is bit hard. Picture quality isn't that great as well. It is only acceptable in daylight shots, but expect a lot of grains and loss of detail in lowlight. Fortunately, there's flash that can make you at least visible in the dark.

Selfie Camera Samples

Selfie good light
Selfie good light
Selfie flash in low-light
Selfie flash in low-light

For videos, the back camera is capable of recording Full HD (1080p) videos. In front, it has an up to 480p. Quality of both are nice enough in daylight, but it is shaky due to lack of stabilization.

Performance

Antutu and Geekbench scores
Antutu and Geekbench scores

Packing a 1.3 GHz SC7731 quad core processor paired with Mali 400 GPU and 1 GB of RAM, the Play Max should be good enough to provide basic Android 6.0 Marshmallow experience. It also has 8 GB of expandable storage via micro SD card for your files.

Generally, as long as you're not opening too many apps or running heavy apps, the Play Max is speedy enough. It doesn't also lag in playing YouTube videos and some HD movies. Its 1 GB RAM  has some limitations though, it lags when there's too many running apps in the background.

Playing light games like Subway Surfers on this device is also good. It can even load some 3D games such as Asphalt 8 on low settings. Other heavier graphics intensive games like NBA 2K17 isn't playable though.
Marshmallow OS experience!
Marshmallow OS experience!

Like what we stated earlier, the Play Max loads with Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS out of the box. It is mostly clean and only has few non-removable bloats pre-installed. Fortunately, most of them are useful like the Clean Master. We also experienced several software optimizations update from the company which is good!

However, there are few things that we don't like with this handset. It doesn't have USB OTG connectivity, Bluetooth fails randomly, and it doesn't connect with our Windows 10 PC for easy file transfers. Fortunately, the rest are working well like telephony, WiFi, and 3G.

Pros - Good HD screen, long battery life, good package, great affordability, Marshmallow OS, front camera flash
Cons - No LED notification, capacitive keys doesn't have backlighting, hard to transfer files without internet

Verdict

The Starmobile Play Max offered a lot of things that we liked for a sub PHP 3.5K budget phone. First, it has long battery life due to its 4,000 mAh of juice. Second, the display quality is bright and good enough. Third, the performance is acceptable for the price.

There are few things that this phone lacked, but at this SRP and budget, this is still a good budget device!


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