What if you could buy a really awesome phone — completely unlocked — for just $250?
The Idol 3 is not meant to compete with flagship Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy lineup. Instead, it’s meant to appeal to budget conscious consumers looking for a good enough phone at a great price.
The first thing I noticed about this phone is that it feels really nice in hand. The model I tested has a 5.5” screen which makes it the same screen size as my iPhone 6+, but because there’s no physical home button it feels far more manageable and easy to hold and interact with. That’s just completely freakin awesome. It’s also very light and not too thick which just add to it’s user friendliness.
In terms of materials it’s got an almost all glass front with sort of a plasticky, slightly textured background. Compared with an iPhone I find it to be much grippier.
The screen is nice and bright — but not as nice and bright as the latest iPhones or flagship Android devices. It does work really well outside though which earns it some big points in my book.
In terms of specs you’re looking at 2GB of RAM and an Octa-core CPU. Running Geekbench the Idol 3 came away with a Single-Core score of 650 which puts it really close to a Galaxy S 4. In a Multi-Core comparison it came away with a score of 2153 compared to a Galaxy S 4’s score of 1835. In any case this shows that what you’re getting with an Idol 3 is technology that was top of the line a couple of generations ago.
Because of this there ARE times when the phone feels a bit sluggish when it comes to performance. Apps can take a bit longer than I’d like to load and sometimes there’s a small lag when unlocking the phone — that kind of stuff — but seriously, for the price this ain’t bad at all. There are plenty of fun games you can play with these specs and all the basics, like messaging, making calls and taking pictures work great.
When it comes to camera quality, the rear camera is really pretty nice. It picks up lots of details but there are times when colors can get a bit lost — especially in bright outdoor light.
The front facing selfie camera is another story. It’s one of the let-downs for me. The front camera lags pretty badly. Especially for videos. I’d almost say forget about video calling anyone on this phone. It’s just too choppy.
But let’s just back to a really bright spot — the speakers. Yes, speakers, plural. There are two JBL speakers on the front of the phone which could pump put 83db playing music from YouTube. The sound quality on the Idol 3 is definitely one of it’s best features.
When it comes to the battery, I’ve been able to use it all day without a problem. No worries here.
All in all this is a really solid budget phone. If you’re looking for something on the cheaper side that doesn’t suck, this is a good bet. At $250 for a completely unlocked phone, it’s actually pretty hard to complain about.
When it comes down to it I guess my main impression is this: even though it’s relatively inexpensive, this doesn’t feel like a throwaway phone. But because it’s so cheap, I’m also not too worried about it getting messed up. Does that make any sense?