Oct 3, 2013

THL W100 Snap Review

The THL W100 is a fascinating smartphone. What you find in the box, the spec sheet, and the features will really make you curious and want to test one out. For starters the box comes with two batteries (lol). This is the first time we’ve ever unboxed a smartphone with two batteries inside the packaging, hehe. It also has very competitive specifications for a budget offering: 4.5-inch qHD IPS display, quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM, and even a 5MP front-facing camera. Awesome that it sells for just Php6,999!

THL W100 Specification
  • 1.2GHz MTK6589 quad-core CPU
  • PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage, expandable via MicroSD
  • 4.5-inches IPS display, qHD 960×540 resolution
  • 8.0-megapixels primary camera
  • 5.0-megapixels secondary camera
  • Dual-SIM, Dual Standby
  • 3G, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, GPS, Bluetooth
  • 1,800mAh Battery (x2)
  • Android 4.2.1
Packaging and Unboxing of the THL W100

The THL W100 came in a clean white hard carton box. Product shot was up front with the specifications at the back. While it’s not printed on the packaging, the in-store collaterals of the THL W100 carries the slogan “Your Selfie Mate”. It’s a play on “Soul Mate”. The “selfie” references to the 5MP front-facing camera which is supposed to take good photos of your glamorous moments. Anyway, specifications are listed on the back as we wrote it above.

Unboxing was the usual process. Removed the circular shaped tape (whoever makes these tapes is probably making a fortune since almost all gadget boxes have ‘em). Pulled the top lid. Greeted immediately by the phone.

We’ll get to the actual unit in a bit. Underneath the phone is the usual compartment for accessories and peripherals. The good news is that THL stuffed it with a few extras. Other than the micro USB to USB cable, wall charger, earphones, and manuals, they also put in a screen protector fit to match the screen of the THL W100 and… an extra 1800mAh battery. Yes folks, the box comes with two batteries (the other one is loaded already in the phone).

What’s the use of another battery? Lots. You can keep it charged at 100% and just swap it in and out once you need more power. This way you don’t need to bring a bulky power bank and just bring the slim battery with you. That’s really the beauty of having a smartphone with a removable back plate.

We definitely appreciate the extras! Two thumbs up to THL for a great unboxing experience!

Hardware Impressions

Now we get to the hardware. The THL W100 is NOT a slim and sezzy phone, hehe. It’s actually around 10.3mm thick which is just the medium size level of smartphones. It weighs in at 135g which is not really “hefty” but it’s enough to assure you that what you’re holding is solid, compact, and can probably take a mid-level drop or two.

In terms of materials the dominant one is plastic. Fortunately the manufacturers were able to squeeze it in as much as possible so that there’s little air in between the internals and the outer shell. You won’t feel and soft plastics if you press down on the THL W100. We also kinda dig the very thing silver band that runs along the sides of the THL W100. Usually the chrome band on smartphones is thick. The thin one is not only refreshing to see but it’s actually cool, hehe.

The back has a smooth and very fine matte finish. It’s not the cheap kind of matte finish that’s a magnet for finger prints and smudges. The THL logo is proudly displayed at the center and the 8MP shooter is on the top center part with the LED flash just under it. “Technology Happy Life” is printed at the bottom which is apparently the meaning of the letters “T”, “H”, and “L”.

Up front we have the 4.5-inch display. Resolution is qHD or 960×540 pixels. It’s not too bad but the quality difference compared to an HD display is definitely noticeable, much so if OGS technology is applied. What’s applaudable is that they were able to squeeze in IPS technology despite the low price. This makes viewing angles much better. Truth be told one can’t really complain with the resolution since this is being sold for just Php6,999. That’s already great value for money seeing as a lot of other smartphones past Php10,000 still have the same resolution.

Everything considered about the hardware we feel that the THL W100 is a solid, sturdy, and compact smartphone. It’s easy to manage and use thanks to the form factor and it delivers the punch you need because of what’s under its hood.

Performance Impressions

Now we get to software. The default ROM is MIUI, the same one used by Xiaomi and the same launcher we saw with the THL W100′s bigger brother, the THL W11 Monkey King. It’s the overly customized Android UI which does away with the Android app tray and offers multiple paid and free themes that you can download via the Miui store (pre-loaded). If you want to remove Miui you can either do a full reset or you can just download another launcher from the Google Play store.

So what can the THL W100 handle? Well pretty much everything! It has a quad-core processor with 1GB RAM and we all know that’s usually the base minimum for a good Android experience. We tried a variety of apps already ranging from games with intensive graphics to photo editing apps and your usual social networking tools. All of them ran smoothly and without any major problems. Note though that the graphics intensive games took a while to load. That’s the limitation of the Mediatek quad-core processor.
Initial Verdict: It Gives the Cherry Mobile Razor a Run For It’s Money

So what’s our initial verdict? Well for Php6,999 this is a kick ass phone! It’s so kick ass it can give the Cherry Mobile Razor a run for it’s money! It may not have the crazy thin build but it does offer a solid, reliable, and nice Android experience wrapped in a compact and sturdy body. Not only that, both front and back cameras actually take decent photos (unlike the Razor which has a crappy front-facing shooter).

Two thumbs up to THL for this awesome offering. If you guys are looking for an affordable quad-core smartphone with little compromises, this is it.


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