Home Mobiles / Devices Android iNew V7 Review – A good mid-range but not the only one

iNew V7 Review – A good mid-range but not the only one

32 min read
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iNew V7 – one of the contenders from a new Chinese smartphone maker, with 5″ display, 2 GB RAM and MT6582 MediaTek chipset. Is it a right choice?

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iNew has just stepped in Pakistani smartphone market with four mid-range and low-end smartphones. We just received the iNew V7 handset a few weeks ago for review but for some reason, it got late to publish. We humbly excuse for that.

If you are not familiar with the phone already, it costs Rs. 19,500/- now Rs. 17,300/- in Pakistan and offers a 5 inch IPS display with 720p resolution. Under the hood it has 1.3GHz Quad-core processor on the MediaTek MTK 6582 chipset along with ARM Mali 400-MP2 500MHz GPU. It comes with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of Internal Storage. Main camera is 13MP while the front-facing camera is has 2 million pixels.

If you are returning to this review you would know that the unboxing session has been published a month ago as with the price listed above, you will get in addition to the handset, a stereo earphones with rubberized earbuds, a USB to micro USB cable for connectivity and charging, a charger and a battery. More interestingly, an additional screen protector also ships with the retail box. For more detail you can check the V7’s unboxing here.

While the build quality of each accessory is pretty good as well as in usage, the 5.5 volt charger comes only with 0.7 Amps to charge a stock battery of 2100mAh.

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Let me tell you here, the company has offered iNew L4 with 5000mAh battery for 3.6 more thousand rupees. L4 comes with 5.5 inch screen size targeting customers who like bigger screen phablets while iNew V7 is a pretty good deal for consumers willing to have not bigger than 5″ displays.

Hardware and Design

iNew V7 runs with MediaTek SoC which have been used commonly in cheaper smartphones but has has gained momentum with its previous and recent chipset range including MT6592 and the Helio X10 and X20. However V7 comes with the MT6582 chips which has 4 cores of ARM Cortex A7 along with the Mali 400 GPU. 2GB of RAM is also supportive in the long running performance of V7. Let’s leave it here and talk about it later in the performance section below.

V7 is just a mid-range smartphone having a slim and light weight back cover with the metal frame around the body. Weighing 128 grams, it doesn’t feel heavy in hands. The thickness is pretty nice not being too slim with the slightly curved back at the edges and rounded fully to cover top and bottom portions of the device. The metal side frame is attached with the internal body and gives sharp corners to the phone.

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The sharp corners may be not too friendly with many but for others they also may be useful for handling the phone easily even when one handed. In general they are not bad, nor they are as sharp as disturbing to your hands. When mentioned single-handed, it sure is for bigger than average hands phones with 5 inch display won’t fit in most hands for single handed operations unless not managed with the design of the handset.

As apparent, the top and bottom sides of the front screen loose by wasting space more than needed. The phone is 72.2 mm wide and 143 mm tall with a 5 inch display while giving you some extra space on top and bottom no matter the bottom part also serves with the Android navigation keys such as Menu, Home and Back capacitive keys. The phone gives you only 66.7% screen-to-body ratio – which is not quite appreciable.

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While reducing extra space on the phone could make it more handy, the phone doesn’t actually look bad with these extra top and bottom spaces on front screen unlike mostly phones do.

The top portion however serves with all those required sensors like proximity and ambient light sensor along side the small front-facing camera on the right corner. Whereas in the middle you have an earpiece for voice calling.

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The bottom portion, I already told, serves with the navigation keys for phone operations. The mouthpiece doesn’t show up on the front screen’s edge but present on the bottom side of the phone where the panel from the front meets to the back cover panel right at the cover opening spot. Along side the joint, the micro USB port is present for connectivity.

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As you can see the half-way joint on the bottom side, it does exactly the same on the top side of the phone where the front and back panel meets. Likewise the 3.5 mm audio socket is hosted on the top side of the phone.

The power button is sported on the left side of the phone which sure works as a standard Android input key for turning on/off the phone and locking/unlocking the screen.

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On the right side of the phone, the volume up and down buttons are present in a single volume rocker. As you can see, both the left and the right sides of the phone feature a metal frame joined together with the body with screws.

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The front screen also has the bezel around it which is just plastic giving no-secure element to the screen but it’s protruded enough to first hit the surface during an accidental fall.

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You can also feel a lot of joints around the phone starting from the front screen’s protruded frame which joins with the separate curved parts fixed to the internal body on top and bottom side where they meet the back cover.

However the back cover is cleanly one-panel. It’s fully plain and slightly curved just before the edges. With all the branding labels, the back side serves with a 13 megapixels camera lens which slightly extends above the base of the cover. Along side the camera, a dual LED flash is hosted on the one side while on the other there’s the speaker grill. Speaker is technically well placed (intentionally or unintentionally) along side the protruded camera module helping it to have enough space to provide unblocked ringing voice when the phone lies down on a flat surface.

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Build quality and fixing of the phone is quite impressive leaving almost no loose points. It’s indeed well packed.

Opening the back cover is also easy with an opening point besides the micro USB port at the bottom. With the finger nail (even a little bit) the back cover can be pulled out easily. Right there inside the battery is packed.

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Like most mid-range smartphones now a days, the iNew V7 is dual SIM phone giving you the option to use one traditional mini SIM and the other micro SIM card at once – it’s a standby dual SIM with 3G network support at maximum as the MT6582 chipset limits it. MicroSD card slot is separately provided along side. For all that, you have to remove the battery first to change or remove the SIM card.

Display

As you already know at this point that iNew V7 features a 5 inch display with HD resolution of 720×1280 pixels. It’s an IPS display panel protected by Gorilla Glass (probably 1st-gen) and with that resolution you get the pixel density of 294 PPI which is pretty much for reading from a normal distance unless you want a monster density you actually never require even if you a 20/20 vision.

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The display provides nice colors and good contrast ratio allowing different viewing angles to be good as well as outdoor visibility is not too bad. The undisclosed version of Gorilla Glass hints to be the first generation but I’m not sure about that.

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The display is indeed reflective causing trouble in bright sunlight and shadows.

Software and Operating System

iNew V7 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with pretty much base OS. Home screen offers to add widgets and change wallpapers as well as themes and comes with the app launcher.

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Common status bar with drop-down quick shortcuts and switches along side settings interface.

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Dual SIM Operation/Switching

To make a new call you need to choose a SIM card to call from or the default SIM card will be used if preset by user. The same way, text messaging interface works – set a default SIM card to use for sending text messages or otherwise select a SIM card whenever you hit “send” in your text composer.

The user interface will always prompt you to choose a SIM card before outgoing actions. Although you can set a SIM card to be used as default, presetting the default sender SIM option is not reliable for those who use private and public numbers in a dual SIM phones which I guess mostly the case is. If set, it will always use the default SIM card for your outgoing text messages or calls which will be annoying for both you and the peer you are having discussion with or calling to.

I always mention, the dual SIM operation in a phone shouldn’t be difficult to make enough intelligent to decide which SIM card is preferable for a specific outgoing action. Such as when replying in a discussion which is already going on, the system should know which SIM card is best to use for sending this text. Likewise, calling back from the call log – e.g. to a missed call, of course you would like to call from the same SIM card, where the call was missed. It should be easy, I believe.

Well, at least what you can do, is to bind specific contacts to either of the SIM cards. In that case if you are texting or calling such a contact, you will still see a prompt to choose a SIM card to initiate the function but the bound SIM card will be tagged or highlighted to make you alert about your preferences. Check the screens under the Calls and Messages below.

SIM Management

Activate/deactivate a SIM. Set default/preferred SIM for voice, video messages or data connection.

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Contacts & Calls

Frequent contacts list interface, Dial pad with the recent call log. Select SIM to initiate call with if not preset as default.

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Smart dialing is available just like in any other Android smartphone.

Text Messaging

Simple threaded interface of discussions. Compose text message. Select source SIM to send message with if not preset as default.

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Camera

iNew V7 comes packed with 13 megapixels camera on the back as main camera of the phone for while on the front there is 2 megapixels selfie camera.

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Well in quick, the main camera didn’t impress me as it merely takes photos that you can share with friends and see only on your phone or may be on your PC monitor at maximum. Color reproduction is not bad anyway and match pretty much to the actual colors on auto white balance. Image detail is not near to anything like “good”. Digital noise can even be seen in the image when size-fit to screen, let alone the fact when you will look at a 100% size. Outdoor shots in bright light are somewhat good but still when looking at 100% the noise appears like a must-have part with the image as well as the detail still lacks specially on the edges.

Maintaining colors in night and shots is good but when well-lit shots come up with apparent noise, why not the night shots – they will add it more. Just have a look at a few shots taken as regular and casual camera usage at different locations, in different lightning conditions as well as some taken specifically for test – you should distinct them easily. I am not writing any technical detail with the shots as they are only good to share with friends on Facebook, Instagram, so just take them as samples for what you will be sharing if you buy this phone.

Click to enlarge images in popup window with a tool to preview parts at 100% view.

Performance

The iNew V7 comes with an ARM Cortex-A7 processor with four cores clocked at 1.3GHz. It’s an MediaTek MT6582 chipset which is also service with ARM Mali-400 GPU. Bundled with 2GB of RAM, the processor is not up to the mark and is outdated as MediaTek has released much better chips after this.

I have used it for quite a few weeks as my primary device – with both the SIMs active on 3G while one with data-on. Surfing the internet on web browser or via social apps on regular basis was just fine as it didn’t struggle or lag. V7 handled the games like Mortal Kombat X, Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 pretty well. These are three of the games we usually try on on most of the mid-range, high-end devices for heavy performance trial. More simple and regular games like Candy Crush, Subway Surfer and Temple Rush are of course good to play on V7.

You can check the benchmark scores compared along with other devices below. These tests were concluded with Antutu, Geekbench3, Basemark OS II and Basemark X benchmarks. Scores are graphically represented below but to wind it up quickly, it’s easy to say that iNew V7 just could not even beat the lower priced Infinix Hot Note, let alone the Zero 2. Web tests were also performed using Kraken, JetStream and Octane.

Test screenshots from iNew V7 are also linked with the scores below.

Antutu 5.7.1

Score: 17849.

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Geekbench 3

Single-core: 354, Multi-core: 1178

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Basemark OS II

Score: 384

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Basemark X 1.1

Score: 4838

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Web performance is also something where user mostly get annoyed when his/her phone’s browser giving them tough time on random things they do while surfing the internet. From now on, we’ll test the different browsers on the phones whenever possible. Three tests, we’ll perform are the Kraken 1.1 (by Mozilla), JetStream 1.1 (by Apple) and Octane 2 (by Google.)

Kraken 1.1

Mozilla’s Kraken JavaScript benchmark is something where V7 matched with the other devices’s score. This test includes an implementation of A* search algorithm, audio processing, image filtering routines, JSON parsing and cryptographic routines and a few others. Check the following scores from three browsers within the devices including Chrome, Android browser and Firefox for Android.

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JetStream 1.1

JetStream seems to do pretty clear job while testing the browser with different tasks and it performs all the tests thrice for a better average score. Uninterestingly, V7 again didn’t perform well on this when compared to other similar or lower priced devices.

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Octane 2

Octane 2.0 benchmark measures JavaScript engine’s performance by running a bundle of tests implementing algorithms to work with complex and demanding web applications. Octane 2 has been updated with a few more tests including Microsoft’s Typescript and zlib. Unfortunately, V7 didn’t perform well at this too.

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Battery Performance

 

Not much impressive but battery life is not bad at all. With all those stress tests and more than just moderate usage all the day, the V7 could easily live for 13 hours long with 12% battery remaining. Considering this, I believe the company rated as “24 hours” for normal and mixed usage might be correct.

Unlike Infinix devices, the iNew V7 doesn’t feature any additional power saving mode like ‘Ultra Power Saving’.

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Conclusion & Verdict

The 5″ HD display is quite good both indoors and outdoors as well as smooth to touch. Handling and gripping has no objections. The usability and performance is also good amongst the devices under this price range thanks to 2GB of RAM for providing a smooth experience with less hurdle in software.

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Camera is just not impressive and can be used for sharing purposes only. Battery timing is also not up to the mark when you compare it with the ones we included in the review above. Ultra power saving mode could have been much better for urgency which is not present the phone. The company has to work on its software to provide such utilities for the better usability at user end.

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Frankly with the looks and handling, the iNew V7 may be attractive to many as well as the performance is also not bad as it will do much better in the competition – reason could also be AOSP with lesser features. On the other hand the phone lacks the performance in taking pictures with the camera which now a days is considered an important factor in your phone.

Anyhow when you compare prices, you would sure prefer the low priced phone if it got almost similar features and components. Zero 2 and Honor 4C are pretty close in pricing where the earlier offers 32GB of storage and features a better chipset from MediaTek but former comes only in 8GB of storage having the proprietary Kirin 620 chipset. Both of the chips are better than the one we have just reviewed above. Even Hot Note from Infinix also performed better in benchmarks as featuring a better chipset as came in Zero 2 but due to only 1 GB of RAM the regular long-time usage is not smooth on the Hot Note. But interestingly the later version Hot Note Pro comes with 2GB of RAM and costs only Rs. 13,900/- which of course should be considerable if you want to have a little bigger device as with 5.5 inch display

So I’ll wind it up here. You are requested to give your feedback in the comments below as it’s the appreciation for us to spend time with these devices, trial them and write this much to help our readers make decision before buying smartphone.

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