Budget Android-based smartphones seem to be spilling over in the market and most manufacturers are targeting larger screens and higher processor specifications. Swipe, a known manufacturer of Android tablets, has also come up with a large screen phone for the budget hunters—the Fablet F1. Read on to find out how this product fares.
Design and build quality
The Fablet F1 is a 5-inch Android-based smartphone and resembles the Samsung Galaxy Note to some extent. The Fablet is a tad too heavy and the body is a bit on the bulkier side. The product is entirely black in colour with a dark chrome lining around the sides. The rear panel is matte-finished. The front features the large 5-inch LCD display panel along with a single physical Home button.The Menu and Back buttons are capacitive backlit and placed on either side of the Home button. Towards the top is a front facing camera for video chats.
The volume rocker on the left, audio and micro USB interface on the top
The left side sports the volume rocker while the right side features the power/standby button. The micro USB PC interface and earphone jack are placed on the top. The rear panel sports the main shooter with an LED flash just placed below it. Also seen below is a speaker grille. The entire chassis is very tough and firm. Opening the rear panel is a bit tricky and one can end up damaging the notches that clamp the panel to the phone. Bundled along with the Fablet F1 is a charger, a micro USB cable and a pair of white glossy ear buds. The LCD is pre-equipped with a screen guard, which will save you the cost and trouble of hunting for one later. The F1 measures 11.4 mm in thickness and stands 145 mm tall with a width of 80 mm wide; it weighs around 216 g.
5 MP rear shooter with LED flash, matte-finished back panel
The Fablet F1 is powered by a single core 1GHz Scorpion processor clubbed along with 512MB of RAM. A PowerVR SGX 531 processor supports the graphics section for related performance needs. The display is a large 5-inch capacitive LCD panel sporting a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. The internal storage stays at 4GB while this can be expanded up to 32GB using a microSD card. The memory card slot is hot swappable, making it easier to exchange storage cards without switching off the phone. The F1 is a dual SIM GSM phone with one slot supporting WCDMA too. The main shooter on the rear is 5MP with an LED flash while the front camera has a simple VGA resolution good enough for video chats. On the connectivity front, the F1 is equipped with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth and a micro USB 2.0 interface for the PC. Also included is support for 3G, 2G and GPS. The phone runs on Android ICS v4.0 operating system with loads of free apps pre-installed. These range from regular office documentation to casual free games and entertainment apps. Apart from these, the manufacturer has included 72 apps in .apk form and placed the pack on the internal storage for the user to install if needed.
The F1 runs on a 1GHz processor, 512MB RAM and ICS OS
We tested the phone to know how it performs using a few benchmarking utilities as usual. AnTuTu scored 4890, Quadrant scored 2635 and NenaMark2 gave us a frame rate of 23.5 fps. Linpack scored 40.99 in single-thread tests and 35.19 in multi-thread tests. Looking at the results from the benchmarking scores and matching them up to similar spec phones such as the Wammy Note or the iBall Andi 5C, the F1 performs almost 10 percent faster. The reason could be the different graphics processor coupled with some tweaks in the operating system.
The F1 is pre-installed with the free version of GO Launcher. The user has a choice to switch between the third-party user interface or the stock one during the initial setup or later using the control panel. The user interface is not as smooth as one would expect, but since this phone runs on a single-core processor, we don’t think one should complain. Though the user interface tends to slow down a bit and become laggy or sluggish at times, the overall user experience is not bad. Removing unwanted applications and replacing the GO Launcher with a lighter alternative would definitely help the phone perform well.
Dual SIM GSM with one slot supporting WCDMA, hot swappable micro SD card slot
Display and media
The F1 sports a 5-inch display with a resolution of just 480 x 800 pixels, and on a large screen, you definitely cannot notice the fine visible pixels. But overall, it is not as bad as we expected it to be. Playback of videos and watching photos are pretty good and rich with crisp quality. The reproduction of colours and contrast is very good—no complaints there. We threw different types of media at the phone to judge the playback quality as well as the performance. The stock video player does not support high definition videos and we had to bring in MxPlayer or Mobo Player to do the job for us. Though full high-definition 1080p videos did show up on the screen with a slight jitter, the audio track could not keep up with the video and the lag was huge—so 1080p HD videos are out. On the other hand, 720p videos played flawlessly and we would advice scaling down any high definition videos to 720p if you buy this handset.
The display has good enough viewing angles with respect to portrait modes. If you are watching a video in landscape mode, you and another person might be able to enjoy the movie from the right side, but those on the left will see the movie in complete negative mode as the colours are inverted even with the slightest change in angle.
AnTuTu system info
The built-in speaker is loud enough for enjoying personal music or videos, but the audio quality is not very vocal. The highs and bass are decent, but the mids are very low and as a result, the vocals in the videos and music are almost suppressed. We advice using a pair of earphones to enjoy the media content completely.
The bundled earphones are white and glossy, which is completely the opposite of the phone itself. The build quality of the wires and the ear buds are good, but the quality of the audio is a tad below average. The earphones are good enough for casual video entertainment, radio and voice calls, but you might need to replace them if you like listening to good quality audio.
Photos in the shade are decent
The rear 5MP camera is an average shooter, but we did see the performance slightly better than any other budget Android phone’s camera in the similar segment. The camera manages to do a decent job even in low light areas without the need of flash. The pictures look good on both the phone’s display as well as the PC, but only till you see the image as a whole. Zoom in and the pixelation is revealed. In broad daylight, the camera performs nicely but does not manage to capture proper details and colours. Videos are decent enough and we did not expect too much. Overall, the captured photos and videos are good enough for casual prints or social feeds.
Photos in broad daylight are slightly above average
The Swipe Fablet F1 is powered by a 2500mAh Li-ion battery, which seems pretty promising. We did manage a good 7 hours and 50 minutes on an average while doing a loop test of a standard definition movie. Using the phone throughout the day for casual gaming, browsing, surfing etc. would last you around the same time or even more. The usage will totally depend on how the phone is used and how much it is being used during the day. The battery life depends completely on the amount of travelling, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G usage, and definitely the display lighting values.
Verdict and price in India
To sum up, the Swipe Fablet F1 seems to have a decent piece of hardware within. It retails for an MRP of Rs 9,490, but with an almost obsolete hardware specs – single core processor and lower resolution display – this one will be going through deep waters to find a suitable buyer. With handsets from Karbonn, WickedLeak, Micromax and a few others in the market offering dual and quad-core processor based alternatives for the similar price, and even cheaper than this one, we don’t see why we would recommend the F1 over other models. If you have a budget of around Rs 10,000 or slightly higher, we suggest you look around or hold your horses for a while as the quad-core processor based budget Androids are ready for a debut pretty soon.
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Oct 22, 2016
Oct 22, 2016