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Friday, February 28, 2014

SKK Mobile Cyclops 3 Review

My initial preview and unboxing of this device was quite promising. The plastic material used on the casing was very similar to the faux leather of my Note 3 except with a hard rather then a soft touch finish. Nevertheless, it’s still better than the competition and it does a good  job in repelling fingerprints. I have the white one but I suspect that the black version will look better. Let’s list down the specs and see what has changed from the Cyclops 2.


- 1.2 Ghz Dual Core Processor
- 7" TFT Display 480x764
- 2MP Rear and VGA Front Camera
- 4GB Internal Storage (Expandable to 32GB via MicroSD)
- 512MB RAM
- Single SIM 3G
- TV/WiFi/Bluetooth
- Android 4.2.2
- Php 3,799.00


Very similar to my experience with the Phoenix Tab 3+, the specs of the Cyclops 3 seems to be lower than that of the Cyclops 2. For instance, the processor is a MT6572 (vs  MT6582 ) with a slightly lower clock speed. However, navigating around the device was still quite snappy. I loaded up some games and apps and for the most part, everything worked well. As usual with a dual-core and 512MB RAM, just keep it simple and you should be fine. Some games like Robocop took a while to load but was still very much playable. I’ll post some screen shots of the benchmarks, phone info, etc. below. Again, just like my previous reviews, instead of stock Android, SKK loaded a slightly modified skin on it but it does not seem to impact performance that much. Notification and settings access is from below rather than from above like the previous models.  One puzzling spec change aside from the camera which we will get into later is the removal of the dual SIM capabilities and instead just your standard single SIM. Thankfully it’s 3G and you still get the TV, GPS and Bluetooth 4.0. The screen resolution has also been reduced but to be honest I didn’t notice it right away . It’s still not IPS so you will get a narrow viewing angle and it would be best to keep it indoor and away from direct lighting. Battery life was pretty good although during my testing I used it more as a WiFi tablet so your results may vary. I suspect if you use 3G you will take a hit on battery life.


Another puzzling downgrade is the camera, while it is listed as 2MP it would only allowed me to shoot in 1MP. Although Antutu info shows 2MP. Video is recorded in 3GP and at a resolution of  864x480. I’ll post some sample shots below and you be the judge.


While it is not unheard of in the tech industry to downgrade some features on newer models, in the end, the Cyclops 3 still does what it is meant for which is a budget 3G tablet with phone capabilities. In fact it works as a pretty good 3G WiFi hotspot device. I guess the real selling point is the new case design. So if camera and dual SIM are not that important to you then you should still try out this 3G phablet.


After reviewing this unit I did a full factory reset and noticed a change to a more stock version on Android. Since this was a demo unit some stuff could have been pre-installed. 

The Good:

             - Bluetooth 4.0
 - TV
 - Andriod 4.2.2
 - 3G

The Bad:

·         - Camera
Screen quality
 - Single SIM
 - Inconsistent spec labeling

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SKK Mobile Phoenix Tab 3 Plus Full Review

As I mentioned in my preview and unboxing, the Phoenix+ was the very first SKK product that I reviewed. While I found the design a bit dated, they got some of the design elements from their Cyclops 2 which is a good thing as it now has a slimmer profile and better quality plastic casing. Let's run down the specs.

Specs (as listed on the box):

-  1.2 Ghz Dual Core Processor
-  Mali-400 MP GPU
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage (expandable to 32GB via MicroSD)
- 2MP Front and VGA rear camera
- 7" 800x480 Capacitive touch screen
- FM Radio
- Wifi / Bluetooth
- Dual SIM
- Android 4.2.2
- Php 3,399.00


In terms of processor speed, the specs are almost the same as the Phoenix Tab+. The Tab3+ uses a MT6572 processor (vs 6582 of the Tab+)   which probably accounts for the lower Antutu benchmark scores. However, navigating around the device is still quite fluid and snappy even with a slightly skinned version of Android 4.2.2. There are just a few subtle differences in the skin-like icons and notification access from the bottom rather than the top. Overall, it's not that intrusive and does not seem to impact performance that much. I did my usual apps and games test. Temple Run and Fast Racing had no problems at all. Just stick to simple and casual games and apps and you should be fine. The screen is still the same as the Tab+ (800x480). It's very reflective with not so good viewing angles. Best to use it indoors and is definitely not IPS. But at this price, it is to be expected. This tablet is a dual-SIM device but no 3G. Access to the SIM and microSD is a latch near the camera and the SIM cards go on top of each other. Dual SIM management is the usual SKK implementation.


One puzzling spec change is the use of a 2MP camera rather than a 5MP camera. I'll just post photos and you be the judge.


My conclusion here is almost the same as that of the Glimpse 3G. Camera and processor speed notwithstanding, you still do get a lot of tech for your money. While you do lose on the TV, GPS and Bluetooth, the obvious improvement is the design and build quality over the previous model.


After reviewing this unit I did a full factory reset and noticed a change to a more stock version on Android. Since this was a demo unit some stuff could have been pre-installed. 

The Good:
·         Better design and build quality
·         Dual SIM
·         Android 4.2.2.
·         FM Radio

The Bad:
·         Slower Processor
·         Reflective Screen
·         2MP Camera
·         Inconsistent spec labeling
·         Onboard storage not accurate

·         No TV/GPS/Bluetooth

Monday, February 17, 2014

SKK Mobile Glimpse 3G Review and Giveaway Contest

Before I begin this review, I just want to mention that is now 2 years old. As part of the celebration, I'll be giving away this Glimpse 3G. I will be posting the mechanics on how you can join and win this phone at the end of this review.

As I mentioned in my preview and unboxing, this is the first SKK phone I get to review. Although the other tablets I’ve covered can also be used as a phone too. I also mentioned that I really like the design of this phone. To me, it looks like a cross between an iPhone 4 and 5, which is not a bad thing. Obviously, you can’t have the same Apple build quality on a sub Php 3,000 phone but to honest, it's definitely not bad. Everything seems well put together without any gaps. There are three capacitive buttons in front and while the home button looks like something you could press, it's also capacitive. It comes in three colors: Black, White, Royal Blue and Pink.


- 1.2 Ghz Dual Core Processor
- 4" LCD WVGA Display
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB Internal Storage (expandable to 32GB via Microsd)
- FM Radio
- 2MP Camera with VGA front
- Dual SIM 3G
- WiFi
- Bluetooth
- Android 4.2.2
- 1400mAh Battery
- Php 2,999.00


In my previous review of SKK products I mentioned that I was glad they used an almost stock version of Android. This time however, they decided to put their own skin on it. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to interfere with the performance of the phone. Navigating and swiping is pretty snappy. One of the advantages of Android is that you can simply put a different skin or launcher on it. I did my usual app and games test and had no problems with casual games like Clumpsy Bird, Robocop and Death Moto. Shadow Gun took a while to load but was still playable. I'll post some benchmark scores and phone information for those who are interested. But over all, for casual everyday use you should have no problems with this phone. The screen is a 4" WVGA display with pretty decent pixel density and color reproduction. Side viewing angles are pretty good but vertical angles are not. Using the phone vertically is no problem but in landscape mode, you have to find the proper angle to get a clear view. I had a similar experience with the Starmobile Navi. I suspect that most phones in this price range will have the same screen problems. Hopefully, IPS screens will go down in price so we can get them in budget phones soon. Battery life is also pretty good and I was able to make it through a whole day of light to moderate use. The dual-sim implementation is also pretty good with contact binding and being able to choose which SIM will use 3G is also very convenient. 

AnTuTu shows only 1Ghz processor


The camera falls short of expectations. Having a 2MP in 2014 seems very outdated so don't expect much. I'll post some photos and see for yourself. 


If you are on a budget and need a nice looking smartphone I have to say I really liked this phone. Camera notwithstanding, you do get all the expected goodies in a modern smartphone like WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Dual SIM, 3G and Android 4.2.2. 

The good

- Android 4.2.2

- 3G
- Good dual SIM management
- Bluetooth and GPS

The bad

- 2MP camera
- No LED flash
- Screen vertical viewing angles

Here are the mechanics for the Glimpse 3G giveaway contest. It's very simple and I will keep it open for 1 month. The winner will be announced on the 3rd week of March. I will use a random number generator app to choose the winner. All you have to do is post a comment, only one entry per person. As long as you follow the rules you can get yourself an (almost) new phone.

BONUS: If you post a comment AND follow me on twitter AND Retweet this contest OR subscribe to my Flipboard I will include a CD-R King powerbank.

Contest is open to everyone as long as delivery address is in the Philippines and serviced by LBC.

It's that easy! Good luck to everyone!

UPDATE: Contest has ended March 24, 2014 at 9:50AM. Thank you to everyone. Winner will be announced shortly.

UPDATE 2: And the winner is... Mr. Joey Carpio!
Enjoy the SKK Glimpse 3G!