The increasing trend and demand for large-screen and multi-core Android smartphones is causing a stir in the market. Most of these budget Androids are manufactured in China and are usually replicas of well-known brands. The Galaxy S3 and Note are well-known and successful models from Samsung, and many Chinese smartphone manufacturers are riding on this success to sell their replica models at cheaper prices. We have seen such models in the past and this time, we have the mNote from Magicon Impex Pvt Ltd. Let’s check out what this one features.
Replica of the Samsung Galaxy Note
Design and build
The Magicon mNote is an identical replica of the Samsung Galaxy Note, minus the capacitive stylus. The front panel has the large 5-inch display with a front facing camera, a physical Home button and capacitive buttons for Menu and Back. The matte-finished rear panel sports the rear camera with an LED flash, a speaker grille and the manufacturer’s logo. The top features the 3.5 mm audio jack while the volume rocker and the power/standby button take up the left and right side of the body. The build quality is firm and rugged. It has a dark bluish glossy trim around the body to give it a good look and feel. The bottom sports the microphone along with the micro USB PC interface and charging port. The unit is 10 mm thick and weighs 213 grams.
8MP rear shooter with LED flash
The Magicon mNote is a dual-SIM dual-standby smartphone. It is built using a dual-core 1GHz ARMv7 processor along with 512MB of RAM and a PowerVR SGX531 graphics processor. The display is a regular 5-inch LCD with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The rear camera is 8MP with an LED flash while the front camera is a standard VGA for video chats. The handset runs on Google’s Android Jelly Bean v4.1 operating system and is powered by a 2000 mAh battery. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth and GPS.
Dual-SIM dual-standby smartphone with Android JB 4.1
Immediately after charging the phone, we usually get down to casually using the phone for the first time. We note the quality of the display and audio, smoothness of the user interface, glitches in the operating system, video playback quality and many other areas where we can find the pros and cons. We noticed that the phone behaves well and user interface is pretty smooth and stable. The display quality is decent and audio is a bit low, but this is no different from others in the similar category. We did notice that the backlight for the capacitive Back and Menu buttons is far too dim and in daylight, the buttons are almost invisible. Though with time one shall get used to the placement and will not find the need to have this backlight on, a new user would definitely require a brighter backlight.
5-inch display with 480 x 800 pixels, Dual-core 1GHz CPU
We also ran our benchmark apps to get a result of the true internal performance. AnTuTu scored 6909, Quadrant scored 2892 and NenaMark2 resulted in 26.9 fps. Linpack gave us scores of 40.18 MFLOPS and 63.916 MFLOPS in Single-thread and Multi-thread tests respectively. Comparing the scores with other budget dual-core handsets, the mNote’s performance seems almost similar.
Rugged build quality, 10 mm thick, 213 g in weight
Display and media
The 5-inch display has a resolution of just 480 x 800 pixels, but the screen looks crisp, clear and vibrant. The picture quality is good enough except for the viewing angle, which is bad from the right side (when in landscape position). This makes movie and picture watching a bit difficult as you need to watch the screen from a 90-degree angle. Those watching from the right side would see a negative display. We did notice a minor flaw in the display—when we took it out in broad daylight, the capacitive layer of the display screen was highly visible (we could see the capacitive layer in the form of small tiles). This causes a distraction when using the phone in sunlight.
Android stock UI, System info from AnTuTu Benchmark
We threw a few videos with different resolutions to check if it could play them with ease. Standard and HD 720p videos were flawless, but to our surprise, the 1080p videos were framing badly with heavy distortion and audio lags. Playback of full HD videos is almost impossible on this phone.
The audio quality from the rear speaker is loud enough but a little shrill—good enough for watching casual videos and listening to short audio/video clips. The bundled earphones are in-ear type and have a below average build quality. The audio quality of the earphones is good enough, but we would not recommend it for music; they are just good enough for watching regular movies and AV clips.
The quality of the images captured by the 8MP rear shooter is average. Outdoor images lack a good balance of brightness and contrast and are not as sharp, too. Indoor photos are disappointing—blurred, lacking sharpness and very grainy. The camera’s performance is not as we had expected; it could have been better.
Outdoor shoots are dull and lack brightness and contrast.
The battery running the handset is 2000 mAh and as per our tests, the battery life is decent. We run a standard definition video in a loop until the battery dies. This handset gave us a battery life of 5 hours and 35 minutes at a stretch. It should survive around five hours of medium to heavy use or an average of around seven hours with minimal usage before you have to search for a charging point.
Indoor shoots are very poor
Verdict and Price in India
The Magicon mNote is not the first dual-core budget Android smartphone in the market and neither does it have any special features. The mNote is available for Rs 9,999 and carries a one-year warranty. As far as raw performance is concerned, the phone does a decent job. But considering the bad camera and the inability to playback full HD videos, recommending this phone is difficult. If you want a blend of all worlds, you should increase your budget a little more and opt for a higher-end model from WickedLeak or Micromax. What would have made this handset worth buying are features such as a higher resolution IPS display and at least 1GB of RAM.
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