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I wanted to buy a large screen smartphone it's getting harder and harder to see anything on my current phone "ain't age a bummer !". I really wanted something like a Samsung Galaxy whether it be the s2 , s3 or note but I really didn't want to pay the huge prices that these phones demand , four or five hundred quid for a phone is a bit beyond my means and I needed to buy two . I trawled through the internet looking for a cheaper alternative .
I ended up on Amazon where I found The STAR N9770 - 5.08 inch MTK6577 1.2GHz dual core CPU android 4.0.4 ICE CREAM SANDWICH 3G smartphone dual sim 8MP camera WIFI GPS, new google play store and flash player supported, with flip case
Don't ask me what all those details mean , I've been using the internet for 10 years and still consider myself a total technophobe !
This phone is a Chinese clone of the Galaxy note , I read through all of the reviews and the majority of them were positive , noting that some reviewers had mentioned the best company to use for customer service " DracoTek". I decided to take the plunge and order. I placed an Order for two ,the price of this phone varies ,dependent on which supplier you get it from .( UK suppliers charge more and take roughly the same amount of time for delivery ).
I chose to get the cheaper option and placed my order on the 6th of the month expecting to have to wait at least 3-4 weeks for delivery from mainland China , to my surprise and delight I received both of the phones just 7 days later , that includes customs clearance .Draco Tek (the company that sent them )gave me a tracking link which I was able to click on from the moment I received it ,it kept me up to date with my packages journey even going as far as to tell me the package was waiting to clear customs .
5.08 inch huge display and super slim smartphone/mini pocket tablet pc all in one
Latest MTK6577 1-1.2GHz dual core Cortex A9 + GPU Power SGX531 + 512MB RAM + 4GB ROM
High sensitive capacitive 5 point multi touch screen Android 4.0.4 ice cream sandwich OS, compatible with thousands of apps from google play ** mine is running Jelly bean 4.1 not the ICS advertised .
3G + WIFI for high speed internet Dual SIM Dual Standby, Build in GPS (navigation software is not included) Support external memory card up to 32GB Bluetooth hands free calling Dual camera, 8MP with flash light ** not what it says on the back of the box..**actual details 5MP AF + 2 MP front camera
On To the phone
They arrived delivered by a courier well wrapped in reams and reams of bubble wrap ,not so environmentally friendly but it certainly guaranteed that they arrived undamaged ...
The box of each phone is white and has a picture of a black phone on the front with the words Android Note printed in large gold lettering on the bottom .On the back all of the usual information .This phone can be bought in Black or White I chose the former .
Inside the box ...
Opening up the box the first thing you find is the phone itself nestled in the top layer of contents ...it is HUGE ( definitely more the Galaxy Note size rather than S2 or 3). The phone has a protective layer over the screen , unfortunately you have to take this off as it is covered with details about the phone Amoeloid screen etc .( I suggest you purchase a packet of screen protectors at the same time as the phone ,)
Also inside the box under the first layer , a small and frankly quite useless instruction manual , all it appears to tell you is which applications you can use ,pages and pages on Yahoo ,Google Flicker and Facebook take my advice and throw it away without bothering to bore yourself with the lack of content !. A spare cover flip case ( not something I would recommend using as you have to take the back off your phone and use the clip cover of the case instead ). A USB power lead with a European adapter plug ( one worked fine the other was broken but they aren't expensive to buy .) Two Batteries ..Yes I did say Two and both have up to 85% charge on them , a usb charging cable & a pair of earphones .
This phone has the capability to use 2 sim cards , one running 3g the other normal 2g but you don't have to have both of them filled , it also comes with a 2mb sd card installed small but good enough to get an idea of how the phone works .
The phone itself is well made ,the only real letdown being that the back cover is made of plastic , in all other ways, the menu search and back buttons are the same as the Galaxy Note ,the only difference being the volume and on off switch are on the right hand side of the phone instead of the left .
I put my 3 sim into the 3g enabled left hand side slot , leaving the right hand slot empty ( great that you can do this ),placed one of the batteries in and replaced the cover ..switched the phone on.
Starting up the phone .
For those of you familiar with the Android operating system this will be no problem , for those new to it ,when the phone starts up it's like booting up a computer .Start up was really fast less than 15 seconds for the Android system to boot up , the usual android icons dancing across the screen then onto the home screen .My 3 sim was recognized straight away ...The home screen looks just like a Galaxy the wallpaper is of one of those fairy flowers ( I know that's not what they're called I'm just getting old and can't remember !).It shows the network you are using in my case 3 , the only differing feature is that at the top of the screen you have two power bars , one for each sim card , the empty sim card shows but with a red cross against it .
The Time and Date are shown along with icons for phone , settings , browser and apps .There are three home pages or quick start pages .The settings menu is much the same as any other Android device.
I went into the settings menu to turn my home network wireless I was sitting next to the router and the phone found it straight away ,although when I moved downstairs I lost wifi completely , some reviewers had mentioned a poor wifi signal *,but in my case I knew it was to do with my broadband supplier who I was in the process of switching from .*Two days later after I had completed the change to a new broadband supplier the wifi signal was at full strength on my phone both inside the house and out in the garden .Bonus !!
I clicked on the apps icon and was taken to the applications screen , there are a few pre installed apps like Flash player , Google play store Camera Video etc ...I clicked on the playstore icon ( you have to have a Google account for this if you are already an android user then you know ,if not it's simple to set up an account .) and downloaded a few apps I wanted , Skype video call being the main one ,installation took seconds .I Immediately made a video call to my husband , the picture and sound were as good as I get using my laptop so I am happy with that . All of the other apps I installed work really well including BBC iplayer ( you have to download BBC media player as well for this to work ). TV catchup works a dream too .All the usual social networking apps work but I'm not really one for informing people I barely know my location and details throughout the day , If it is your thing then this is the easiest and best way to do it .
This phone even has voice recognition so you don't even have to type searches in.. if your feeling lazy or just like the sound of your own voice ..talk , surfing the internet using the browser is simple .
Some reviewers have said that they have trouble establishing 3g connection , this is to do with settings all I had to do was go to settings > phone>networks click on network and then turn 3g on . If you decide to buy one of these phones there is plenty of help to be had using the discussion facility on Amazon .
Battery life .
Is the battery life good I hear you ask , well I spent all day using the wifi surfing the net yesterday the battery was at 97% at the start by the end of the night the battery was reading 33% .to put this into perspective when you go into the settings you will get the battery status both in percentage and time .33% equates to 1 day 23 hours and 46 minutes .
The fact that they supply you with 2 batteries is great however you have to have them inside the phone to charge them , despite searching through Amazon and many other sites I have not been able to find a charger that these huge batteries will fit . the best thing to do ,( I suggest ) would be to keep up to date with the detailed discussions on the Amazon sale page , loads of information from other users that is really helpful .
The Camera .
While the camera is 5mp and not the 8 mp advertised It gives a really crisp and clear photo ,it has its own mini editing suite so you can make the changes before you save the pic .Don't bother with the flash though as it is completely useless and doesn't make a jot of difference to the quality of the photo .Video chat is fluid , it has a nifty little switch where you can flip from the front to back camera ..comes in handy for me when I'm shopping trying to explain an item to hubby , no more talking just point the phone at it and show him .. The Video function on the phone is terrific too giving clear video every time .
Call Quality ..
I haven't experienced any problems with either the sound or the call quality of this phone , its very clear , there could be slight problems with the earphones if you ever need to replace them as they aren't standard , instead of being the normal 2 pin they are 3 pin ..this is probably something to do with the Chinese manufacture ,there are ways to make normal 2 pin earphones work which require adaptation , not something I'd consider , think I'd just write to the supplier and ask to buy direct from them instead .
Extras good to have ...
I bought 10x galaxy note screen protectors which are a perfect fit and a Galaxy note soft leather flip case , the Star is a perfect fit for size , the only downside being that the flash on the back is covered , but as I have said that's a basically useless feature anyway .
A week later and I am in seventh heaven , I have a Smart phone that to all intents and purposes looks just like the Galaxy note , with all the functions and all at a bargain price .
Yes you may be wary of buying a Chinese Clone phone ,but with the Star N9770 you won't be disappointed ..Samsung Galaxy note £459.00 Android note £114.00 ...Don't know about you but saving
£320.00 and Not being tied to a network , I'd go for this every time , and lets be honest Its going to be a lot cheaper to replace them that it would have been had I bought 2 of the Galaxies .
Not a very technical review but these were my impressions of using the Star for the first time .This is one of my Best Buys ever ! I hope I have at least made you want to look at one .