We’re starting to get used to the steady stream of improved quality Chinese mobile phones, but every so often one or other sticks out as offering a little bit more sophistication and gloss. Yeah, we know that the innards are all basically the same MediaTek chipset, but there’s still a fair amount of polish the makers can add to the design, interface and ergonomics.
The new POMP W89 may not have the most exotic name in the world, but the basics are all bang on the nail. The specs read like a frugal man’s Galaxy Sx. It features the latest Android 4.2.1, a quad core 1.2GHz processor, 8 megapixel camera, 2050 mAh battery, dual SIM, 1 GB RAM and all the trimmings like GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth et al.
The first impression of the handset is of a surprisingly high build quality for the price. This is definitely not one of those cheap flimsy phones, it’s solid, heavy even, with a proper feel to it, and the buttons in all the right places. Another surprise is the contents of the box, which include the best user manual we’ve seen to date by far, plus a functional if somewhat ugly case, screen protectors, two 2050mAh batteries, earphones, charger and USB cable. Fully packed you might say.
The phone runs a nice clean version of Android 4.2.1, and the performance is as rapid as you’d expect from a quad core processor. There’s no lag in web browsing, or with games or GPS navigation, and moving through menus is a crisp snappy affair. The benchmarks put the handset just behind the Samsung Galaxy S3 in processing terms, and it shows. It’s a great phone, and like the THL W100 really delivers where it counts.
Speaking of batteries, the phone is happy to deliver a whole day’s worth of generic use, but you’ll notice the decline in battery power immediately if you start engaging in graphics intensive games, GPS navigation or extensive web browsing. This is not really any different to any smartphone though, so it’s to be expected. In general we found the battery life to be definitely more than equal to competitive products on the market.
The MediaTek firmware has also improved with respect to navigation, with none of the glitches we’ve seen on previous models. You do need to manually enable A-GPS when you unpack the phone in order to benefit from the fast first time to lock on the satellites, but after that we found the GPS to be really quick and accurate under all conditions. The product also supports the conventional Google Play app store, so you can pick and choose to install any of the 700,000 apps on there for your fun times.
If there’s one area where, once again, we’ve found these Chinese handsets to be lacking, it’s in the camera department. The unit is billed as an 8 megapixel model, but for some reason it is set to a default 13 megapixel interpolation out of the box, which gives horrible results. Once we adjusted the setting back to normality the results were exactly as we’d expect from this level of camera. Just about acceptable in bright daylight (although with unfortunate fuzziness in areas) and pretty poor in low light. One day we’re hoping they’ll sort this out.
But again, once you consider the price, you’ll forgive the soft photos and revel in the fact that you’re using a phone which gives almost all of the performance advantages of the top handsets in the world, but at a quarter of the price or less. Remarkable. Video and Flash work fine, although we thought the audio output was not as loud through the speaker as say the THL W100 model, but what we did like was the key layout. Having the power/awake key on the right hand side is really good for one handed activation and so much more ergonomic than having it at the top.
In essence this is a solid phone in every way. It’s slightly chunkier and heavier at 129g than the THL W100 (102g) which most people will compare it with, but this is definitely more a question of taste than annoyance. Many people prefer a more solid handset as it makes it feel more robust. You do get a fraction more screen real estate too on the W89, but it’s not that noticeable. However overall this is a nice phone all round, and at the price it’s a real deal for anyone looking for a second phone, a replacement or simply a budget phone with few compromises.
Sample images (POMP W89 top, Samsung Galaxy S4 below, resized for convenience only. Click to enlarge)
OS Version: Android 4.2
CPU: MT6589 Quad Core
Processor Speed (max): 1.2GHz
Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/2100 MHz
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot(3G Tethering)
8 Megapixel Rear Camera + 2 Megapixel Front-Facing Camera
Mic and Speaker
Battery Size: 2050mAh
Usage Time: 4 Hours
Battery Standby: 72 Hours
Display Size: 4.7 Inch
Display Resolution: 854×480
5 Point Capacitive Multi Touch Display
Micro SD Card up to 32GB
2 SIM Card Slots – GSM/WCDMA (SIM Slots Compatible With Both)
Micro SD Card Slot
3.5 mm Audio Out Port
Micro USB Port
Main product dimensions: 140x70x11mm (L x W x D)
Main product weight: 129g