There are only a number of tablets by local brands in the market right now that’s in the form of a “Foneblet”. Typical tablets are the norm but there are people who prefer to carry only one device when they’re out–and that means they want to do call and text on a tablet.
SKK Mobile Phoenix is one example and it’s really affordable too. There’s really nothing special about this tab apart from the addition of conventional calling and texting, but that’s more than what people are after anyway.
SKK Mobile is a relatively new player in the Philippine mobile scene. Its recent launch of power packed devices signifies its aim to compete with the current top players such as MyPhone and Cherry Mobile.
As an affordable 7-inch tablet, it’s already expected that this has a plastic body and mediocre finish. But that doesn’t mean that it’s bad, instead it’s on the acceptable side. The one I have here is the black variant (there’s a silver one available too) and it has the familiar glossy and fingerprint magnet problem.
The 7-inch screen has a free screen protector which is good so that you won’t have to shell out more money just to protect your tablet. The looks is pretty common and you’ll most likely recognize it immediately from the first look.
There are no physical or capacitive buttons as it’s using only three on-screen buttons and they are: Back, Home, and Recent Apps buttons.
The back is a fingerprint magnet and you need to wipe it out regularly. If you’re not fond of cleaning your tablet, you might as well go for the gray model which has a matte back finish. The overall look is satisfactory for the price it’s offered and you won’t have much problems dealing with it.
The MT6577 CPU, PowerVR SGX531, and 512MB RAM combo is getting older day by day thanks to the tremendous development speed in mobile computing. However, despite all that, it never failed to impress me especially considering the very low price tag you can get a device with this trio.
The typical 6,000-7,000 AnTuTu benchmark scores met our expectations. It’s probably the average right now, but the good thing is that it can run almost all apps and games that you would like–aside from the super HD games. But to make things clearer, this tablet is not suitable for people whose primary purpose is for gaming. It can play some HD games, but you’ll definitely have a hard time making games like GTA Vice City and the like run smoothly.
Navigating on the app drawer and apps is also fluid though there are times that you will face slight stutters which isn’t all that bothering at all for most people. This device runs on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich which is somewhat a downside for me as I really like Jelly Bean, but I guess it’s just me. For first time users or people who are coming from Gingerbread, it’s definitely okay.
The SKK Mobile Phoenix actually has a full-fledged phone user interface like other locally branded android phones. It’s just the screen size that makes it a tablet.
As an entry-level budget tablet with phone capability, the performance is generally okay for me. Some may say that the duo of MT6577 and PowerVR SGX 531 are getting old, but from my usage it’s evident that it can still give you a satisfying android experience until now.
Being an Android device means that you can take almost any kind of media with you, but the SKK Mobile Phoenix has more than that. You can watch your favorite TV shows anywhere you are through its support for mobile TV.
Watching movies and music videos are great on the Phoenix and it also supports up to 1080p quality so that you can get the best viewing experience. Please do note you should first install MX Player so that you can play other video formats that the stock Android media player might not support. The speaker is surprisingly loud which can let a small group of people watch a movie together without needing an external speaker.
As I mentioned earlier, you can watch your favorite TV shows on this tablet wherever you are as long as you have a decent signal from your location. Mobile TV is usually a pain to make it work correctly so you need to be patient when you’re trying to get a good reception. There’s also a 6-8 inches long antenna to get you some help. It’s hidden on the side of the Phoenix.
Before using the TV, you first need to search for the available channels that you can watch. It’s just a single press of the button and it will do all the work. After that, you’ll get to enjoy the available networks on the SKK Mobile Phoenix.
Games run pretty well on the SKK Phoenix and I was able to play the casual games we always try like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, Dead Trigger, and Fast Racing. You won’t find any problems in terms of gaming as long as you don’t try HD games like GTA Vice City and the like. It’s laggy and it’s barely playable when it comes to games with that caliber.
The multimedia side is one of the key strengths of this device and it proved that its capable enough for the most part save for the low resolution. Well, that’s actually a personal preference. But for the price of a tablet and phone hybrid, I’ll let it pass.
As a Phone
The SKK Mobile Phoenix does all the tablet chores and along that is the phone functionality working for you in the background. That’s probably an additional perk for most people, but some just want to bring one device with them. Besides, bringing a tablet is really a huge burden for some so they might as well get a hybrid. Also, I’ve been asked for a hundred times about a cheap tablet with phone capabilities – so there is really a demand for it.
Texting is very comfortable on the SKK Mobile Phoenix thanks to the huge screen estate but calling is exactly the opposite. Of course, having a black slab right next to your face when taking calls isn’t attractive at all, but you can use a pair of earphones to make up for it. But you can still do it in the traditional way, it’s always your decision but I highly advise against it.
The SKK Mobile Phoenix also has two cameras to save you in case you forgot your camera or your smartphone doesn’t have any juice left. But hey, do remember that it looks awkward most of the time.
It’s completely average on the main camera and the front facing shooter is a step below the standard. It’s absolutely okay with good lighting conditions, but during night time you might want to pass. Don’t get me wrong, the 2-megapixel rear camera is good enough for an affordable tablet and the front camera is pretty okay for social networking sites and the like.
*Sample shots will be uploaded later today.
The battery of the SKK Mobile Phoenix is above average and that’s a good thing considering it has phone capabilities which usually drain battery a lot faster than tablets without it. During light usage, this device can easily last for two full days.
On moderate usage, it can last for about 1 day. The usage include internet browsing via WiFi, watching movies, and playing music. When not in use, it’s just on standby mode. I haven’t stressed the battery too much yet but my estimate is at around 4-6 hours of heavy usage. I can definitely say that I’m happy with the battery life.
SKK Mobile Phoenix is not the best tablet in terms of specs out there, but it’s one of the few affordable foneblets in the market. There are various international brands who offer this hybrid type, but most of them are more than twice the price of the Phoenix.
SKK Mobile Phoenix Specs
- Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
- Dual-sim / Dual Standby
- 7.0-inch WVGA Capacitive Touchscreen, 480×800 pixel resolution
- MediaTek MT6577 1GHz dual-core processor
- 512MB RAM
- 4GB internal storage (expandable up to 32GB via microSD)
- 2-megapixel main camera
- VGA front camera
- GPRS, EDGE, No 3G
- Bluetooth v4.0
- Mobile TV
- Dimensions: 196mm x 122mm x 10.9mm
- 3000mAh battery
If you don’t mind carrying a relatively huge phone, then go on and buy a foneblet. If not, you might as well stick with 4-inch smartphones up to 5.5-inch phablets. It’s still focused on productivity in a smaller shell.
SKK Mobile Phoenix is already available on all SKK Mobile kiosks and retail outlets nationwide for only Php4,990.