We have seen numerous Android-based mobile phones launched so far this year with different display sizes, core speeds and other specifications. Chinese manufacturers are not far behind with their Android-based handsets, but have not yet managed to compete with the branded ones. News of Chinese dual core Android smartphones has been around recently and we are eagerly waiting for information about the price and performance of these handsets. But till then, let us focus on the single core Android handsets featuring larger display screens and sleeker form-factors available in the market. We have reviewed the iBall 5C and Micromax A100 with 5-inch display screens in the recent past, and here is the Wammy Note from WickedLeak sporting similar specs. We tested the phone to bring you the inside story.

Video Review

 

Video Review of the WickedLeak Wammy Note

Design and Build Quality

The Wammy Note is a product of WickedLeak, a company founded in 2009 by a group of MBA graduates. They started their online electronics store in Chembur, Mumbai, and now claim to have more than 1000 employees. The Wammy Note is a replica of the Samsung Galaxy Note in terms of looks, but differs in specs. The phone is 12 mm thick, but does not feel or look thicker than the Galaxy Note. The front is identical to the Galaxy Note except for the missing brand name and camera situated on the left. A physical Home button and capacitive Menu and Back buttons are available on the lower end. The volume rocker is seen on the right and the power button is on the top along with the audio jack. The camera button, which is usually placed by all manufacturers on the right side bottom, is oddly placed on the left side on the top—strange.

Large 5-inch display with 480 x 800 pixels resolution

Large 5-inch display with 480 x 800 pixels resolution

Moving on, the rear panel is also identical to the Galaxy Note with the centrally located camera, speaker grill and the antenna housing on the bottom which mimics a stylus. The rear panel has a matte finished surface with a huge printed company logo, which is the only way one can tell this phone apart from a Galaxy Note. The manufacturer also bundles a plastic cover for additional protection.

Rear panel similar to the Galaxy Note

Rear panel similar to the Galaxy Note

Features and Performance

Surprisingly, the Wammy Note is not different to any other Chinese Android handset. The phone is a dual-SIM handset and can support two GSM SIM cards or one GSM and WCDMA SIM each. The phone runs on a 1GHz processor and PowerVr SGX531 GPU. The memory allocated for the chipset is 512MB while the internal storage is just 4GB, of which some is allocated to the ROM and the rest to internal app storage.  The operating system is Android ICS v4.0.4 and the user interface is stock ICS. There are absolutely no extra unwanted apps installed except for MoboPlayer for video playback. This makes the operating system light and also gives the user options and space to install apps. Storage can be expanded up to 32GB, but microSD cards are not hot-swappable.

Free extra battery and plastic rear guard

Free extra battery and plastic rear guard

The phone is one of the first Androids with a large screen to feature a built-in analogue TV tuner. You can tune into local terrestrial signals using the antenna which looks like a stylus. We tried to pick up a signal but were very disappointed. Even outdoors, there was barely any reception. When we did pick up something, we could not hear any audio and the video quality was like a low quality black and white photograph. We tried attaching a local TV cable to the phone antenna and could tune in only a few channels. The video and audio quality was good and the television mode finally watchable. There is no dedicated port for connecting a cable, one would have to manually keep the TV antenna in contact with the cable or hack something together, which defeats the purpose of watching TV on the go.  

Simple UI

Simple UI

We did test the phone for performance using benchmarking apps and found the phone to be performing normally as an Android with a 1GHz processor would. Linpack offered a score of 23.4 MFLOPS in single thread and 30.5 MFLOPS in multi thread tests. AnTuTu and Quadrant gave us scores of 3761 and 2160 respectively.

Display and interface

The Wammy Note has a 5-inch display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels and can recognise up to five simultaneous touch inputs.  We noticed that the viewing angle was worse than other phones in the same category. This won't affect you when using the phone in portrait mode, but when watching a video in landscape mode, you will not be able to view the screen properly from the left side, as the display tends to invert even with a slight tilt of a few degrees to the left. We also noticed another flaw too; when you look closely at the screen (especially when there is a white or a light background), minute disturbing dots or grains that are clearly visible. This is very irritating to the eye and can be a put off while reading ebooks or browsing the Internet. Other than that the UI is very smooth and we found almost no lag during our tests.

Apps Drawer, Android ICS 4.0.4

Apps Drawer, Android ICS 4.0.4

Media

The phone plays standard definition videos as well as any other phone. High definition videos up to 720p also played almost flawlessly, but 1080p videos failed.  The audio is clear, but the earphones perform below average. You would have to replace the earphones with a decent pair if you intend to buy this handset.

Internal storage and hardware specs

Internal storage and hardware specs

Connectivity

Connectivity options are the same as with any Android handset, i.e. 3G, GPRS, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. A microUSB cable is available as the PC interface and for charging the handset. Proximity and light sensors are also available as a standard feature.

Analogue TV app

Analogue TV app

Camera

The rear camera featured on the phone is an 8 megapixel shooter coupled with autofocus and a single LED flash. The images shot by the camera are completely below average and look good only on the phone's display. When transferred to a PC, you can see the grainy and pixellated images even when slightly zoomed in. Colours are smudged and the image is good enough to be viewed as a whole. The manufacturer claims the camera is an 8 megapixel, but as the performance concludes, it does not feel any better than 2MP or 3.5MP cameras. The front camera is equally average and performs enough for video calls. The rear camera is said to capture full HD videos as per the user manual and spec sheet, but the truth is that it can capture 720p and not full HD 1080p. Captured videos are also not impressive.

Bad TV reception

Bad TV reception

Battery Test

A large display requires a good battery pack and the Wammy Note features a healthy 2500 mAh Li-ion battery. The battery life of the product is pretty good and we did manage to get around 8 hours and 20 minutes of life whilst using it for our consumption test, which includes almost three hours of video, audio and voice in each test.  The bonus add-on is the extra battery bundled with the product. Together when fully charged, the two batteries can give you almost 17 hours of entertainment and communication on the Wammy Note. So if you are a road warrior, this phone should suffice your daily commute and more.

Indoor shoots

Indoor shoots

Outdoor shoots

Outdoor shoots

Verdict

If you are looking for a phone on a low budget with all the connectivity features you could possibly need, the Wammy Note can be considered. Though the phone sports just a single core 1GHz processor, it is pretty smooth and fast enough for daily use. Media,  entertainment, emails, chat and web browsing are good enough on the large 5-inch display. The issues with the display’s viewing angle, the flaw with the camera button location and the below average camera performance are the only problems we found on this handset. But the sleek look and additional bundled items such as a free battery and plastic back panel case help balance this. For Rs. 11,000, the Wammy Note does not impress us any more than the Micromax A100 that is priced at Rs. 9,999, as they both have equally disappointing flaws. However, if you were to ask us to decide between the three phones—the iBall Andi5c, the Micromax A100 and the Wammy Note—the A100 would be our recommendation. The A100 is better looking, has a good display and the price is cheaper too.

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