June 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Blog | No comment

A review is not something I do. For this phone, after using it as a cheap smartphone for Download Festival, I feel it’s worth giving my two cents on this device. So here we go – a review of the JIAKE F1 Android Phone, bought for £40 including postage off Ebay.

Jia-who?

JIAKE, or to use the full name, Shenzhen JIAKEDA technology co. LTD, is a Chinese phone manufacturer. At the time of writing, their website was not working, but there was a shop showing a selection of very similar looking Android phones, some looking very suspiciously similar to other manufacturer models. We’re expecting quality here*.

* We’re not expecting quality here. We’ve got quite low expectations.

What do I get for £40?

First, you get the mobile phone and a 2200mAh. It doesn’t feel terrible in the hand, the plastic back isn’t a horrible flat cheap plastic as say the Samsung Galaxy S3 has, so points on that one.

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It comes with some basic in-ear headphones (which I would not trust to give me a decent quality sound), an EU USB charger (thanks for the effort for not giving me a UK charger), a Micro-USB cable which seems solid enough, and for some bizaare reason, a case with Michael Jackson on it. The case makes handling the phone very uncomfortable and parts of the plastic want to cut into my hand.

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There’s also a small 8 page manual in very broken English. Here’s some examples. “Calculator. This feature allows you to mobile phone become a calculator. carry on some simple arithmetic.” “From computer to transfer music, photos and otehr files to your memory card, you must dfirst mobile phone memory card is set to U disk.”. It’s confusing, and again, I wasn’t expecting much.

The box is an interesting one. The front, of the box looks like it’s having an identity crisis. You see the phone, but you also note in the top left of the phone screen it says ‘iPhone’. Quality.

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The back is no better. It’s a direct copy of the back of a Samsung Note phone.

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The phone

Specs wise, it’s nothing to write home about. Dual Core 1.2Ghz, 512MB RAM, 854×480 TFT screen, basic WiFi GPS, nothing special. The phone has Dual SIM though, which was useful at a festival when EE would decide to muck up and I’d have to rely on GiffGaff being solid.

Screen wasn’t fantastic. Looking at it straight on, it’s not terrible, but the viewing angles is naff.IMG_1681

Phone calls were OK. The sound quality was poor, but just about OK to hear what the other party was saying. The other side was able to hear me properly, so not a terrible experience. Switching between SIM cards was painless, more thanks to Android.

The Dual SIM side of things is pretty solid, but once again that’s more thanks to the Android OS being able to handle that well. 3G worked fine on both SIM cards, calling and texting between the two was simple.

Sending text messages and emails and using the on screen keyboard was OK. You were given by default a custom keyboard, but switching to the default Android keyboard was painless, and worked fine. Swiftkey didn’t want to respond at all on the phone.

Now, trying to do anything else on the phone, like use the Facebook or Twitter apps, BBC News, Spotify, anything, the phone ends up getting overloaded very quickly. Apps will grind to a halt, or will just close randomly. Try using something memory intensive like Chrome, ha! Good luck. 512MB of RAM on that phone is just too little! You cannot do anything useful.

I tried to use a memory optimiser (Du Speed Booster is my personal choice). It helped, but when running no apps and you’re at the home screen, you only have 16% of memory remaining, you’re not going to be able to do much.

Listening to music. Wow the headphone jack is awful! The maximum volume out of that jack is poor, the audio is distorted, I didn’t think it could be that bad. Thankfully, during Download I was able to hook up my bluetooth speakers, which apart from when the phone ran out of memory and crashed, worked fine.

Camera, I would like to point out that it was advertised as a 5.0MP camera, and on the back the phone says ‘HD’.

 

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Somehow, I don’t think so.

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Overall verdict

It was an end to a mean. I needed a smartphone for a music festival with wifi, which I wouldn’t have cared much for if it had got nicked. It served that purpose. Using it for a week, it wasn’t terrible but wasn’t a great experience. Using it as a full time phone, no. Not a chance.

June 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Blog | No comment

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