It’s hard not to be impressed with the sleek elegant design of the function keys on the phone. Nicely recessed, and yet placed in the right ergonomic position for easy access. You’ll find the volume buttons, power on, headphone jack and USB socket where you’d expect, so no surprises.
They work well, and our only small quibble would be that that it can be a little hard to locate the soft buttons for Home, Back and Menu at the bottom of the screen, since they disappear when not in use as the backlight switches off. But you soon get used to it.
The extra processor horsepower may not seem like much on paper, but it definitely makes a difference in operation. Games, apps and browser sessions load much quicker, and run with effortless ease as the quad core processor eats up the task. The handset benchmarks at a very respectable 15731 on AnTuTu Benchmark, which places the phone squarely in the Galaxy S3 realm and not far off the Note II, which is not shabby at all when you remember the price.
Oh yes the price. Well that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Delivering high quality functionality at a ridiculously low price, and in that regard, the W200 is definitely a winner. At just a shade over $200, the handset gives you all the smarts you’ll need from an Android 4.2.1 handset, without the horrendous wallet ache of the major brand alternatives. So what do you lose by buying so cheap?
Well it’s certainly not build quality, because this phone looks and feels as solid as any other handset we’ve seen recently with the exception of the HTC One, which really does stand in a class of its own. The handset doesn’t flex, it features a decent sounding speaker, the camera has definitely seen a jump in resolution and image quality, and we have to say even the styling looks bang up to date to us. There’s nothing cheap looking about the exterior at all.
What you do lose are things like NFC, LTE 4G capabilities, the more modern Bluetooth A2DP (it’s billed as only BT 4.0) and some of the more esoteric sensors like barometer. But you do get proximity, accelerometer, light sensor, gravity and magnetic field sensors and while there’s also no HDMI out, which is a shame, the big news is the fact that either THL or MediaTek have fixed the MediaTek GPS lock on issue .
Yes the GPS now locks on in a decently short time of under a minute (38 secs on our test) on the first lock, and works fine once running. Since that has been a fairly common complaint about these cheaper Chinese brands, it’s good to see that someone has been listening and dealt with the problem. I’ve included a video clip of a test to show the lock on speed at the end of the main review video.
We’ve mentioned the camera, which at 8 megapixel for the back and 5 megapixel for the front provide very good results, with much less softness and noise than the predecessor. The photos are now just about up to Samsung quality levels, which is a remarkable achievement in a few months. The video that this phone produces is also absolutely top notch, with the high def really evident in the footage. Very impressive.
(resized only, click for larger size)
Likewise gaming on the higher resolution screen is a joy, with the crisp colors and the seamless motion making it a great handheld console equivalent, especially with the 5 inch screen to play with. Of course you need to be aware of battery life with that larger screen, but in our very subjective experience the handset easily manages a day’s worth of use unless you spend a lot of time gaming or using other graphics intensive apps such as GPS maps or video.
While there’s nothing really revolutionary to talk about with this new phone, as we said before it’s the sum of the parts which makes it such a great little phone. The GPS fix, the improved camera quality, the sleek comfortable design all go towards adding that vital ‘desirability‘ to this model. It’s the kind of phone which will draw comments as you take it out of your pocket or bag, which says a lot when you remember it’s typically a third of the price of rival brand names.
And what about THL as a company, and the associated aspects of reliability and support? Well, as we reported in our review of the THL W5 back in January , the company is one of the few Chinese producers which has committed heavily in domestic high street stores and online support services, albeit not so much for the International market yet. And while there’s no clear upgrade path for the Android system, that’s not so unusual nowadays when most manufacturers fail to upgrade for ages after the release.
We’ve been using the older THL W100 for the few months since our review, and we’ve definitely been impressed by the durability and all round usability of that phone, and all the signs are that we will receive the same sort of experience from the successor. The bottom line is, if you’re looking for a budget Android phone with no compromise on performance and features, then this handset is a great place to start. It’s fast, sleek and solid and at just $203, a real bargain of a phone whichever way you look at it.
OS Version: 4.2
CPU: MTK6589T Quad Core
Processor Speed (max): 1.5GHz
3G: WCDMA: 850/2100MHz
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Adobe Flash
Portable WiFi Hotspot (3G Tethering)
8 Megapixel Rear Camera (Interpolation 12MP) + 5 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera (Interpolation 8MP)
Mic and Speaker
Battery Size: 1800mAh, Usage Time: 5 Hours, Battery Standby: 72 Hours
Display Size: 5 Inch, Display Resolution: 1280×720
5 Point Capacitive Multi Touch Display
Micro SD Card up to 32GB
Video: WMV, ASF, MP4, 3GP
Audio: MP3, WAV, MIDI
Picture: JPEG, BMP, GIF
eBook: PDF, TXT
3.5mm Audio Out Port
2 x SIM Card Slot
Micro SD Card Slot
Magnetic Field Sensor
Main product dimensions: 143x75x9mm (L x W x D)
Main product weight: 134g