Whenever we blabber about Pinoy-branded smartphones, there's a real risk that we'll encounter one or a few of the following reactions:
- "Ay, pangit 'yan"
- "Ay, mabagal 'yan"
- "Ay, patapon 'yan"
- "Ay, mahina 'yan"
To this we say: What's up with that? Sure, we've all bought a gadget from a local brand that prematurely went kaput or didn't live up to expectations, but is the stigma really warranted?
We guess that deserves another (lengthy) conversation. What we can tell you though is this: Don't generalize, fellas! Not all Pinoy-branded smartphones are as sucky as what your elitista friends would like you to believe. Certainly not Starmobile's new flagship, the Knight X:
Here's a phone that can compete with the best foreign-bred handsets out there and goes against common beliefs about local phones like...
THE ONE ABOUT PINOY-BRANDED PHONES BEING FUGLY
AKA: Not as good-looking as an Apple iPhone or a Sony Xperia. C'mon, people! Did you really expect a P2,000 "Pinoy" smartphone to look as good as its P30,000 counterpart? We thought so. One of the trade-offs for spending less cash, we suppose.
However, when you glance upon the Knight X, you'll probably think it came from a big time foreign gadget-maker. Its glossy, all-black front side is both a magnet for fingerprint smudges and envious glances from your peers while the grayish back side and the gently-curved corners give it a hint of elegance you'd normally expect from a more wallet-busting gizmo.
It looks good—good enough that you won't feel embarrassed whipping it out in a posh coffee shop where the rich kids come to talk about their Salvatore Ferragamo kicks and Tissot watches.
THE ONE ABOUT PINOY-BRANDED PHONES FEELING "CHEAP"
Plastic is cheaper than metal and, therefore, helps bring the SRP of a phone down so that the common folk can afford it more. This is probably the reason why most locally-branded handsets have a smooth plastic frame, and why they usually feel "less premium."
It's a different story with the Knight X. The back cover of the device is still in plastic, though it's texturized for a more sophisticated look and feel. Meanwhile, the sides are encased in metallic accents that run through the Knight X's whole perimeter. This gives it a distinct shine we commonly see only on expensive handsets as well as the reassuring heft that tell us we've got a truly premium device on our hands.
If ever you get across the Knight X in the wild, touch it. You'll know what we're talking about.
THE ONE ABOUT PINOY-BRANDED PHONES NOT BEING "STACKED"
With cheaper prices (normally) come weaker hardware, and we totally understand. Think of it this way: You can't expect a, say, P15,000 desktop rig to have the bells and whistles an Alienware gaming laptop has, right? This is why many Pinoy-branded phones sport "less-enticing" hardware (e.g. having only a GB of RAM or a dual-core processor). It's all about the money once again.
But bells and whistles, the Knight X has. In fact, we dare say it's among the most well-endowed phones available today. To give you an idea:
- 5.5-inch Full-HD touchscreen with IPS (in-plane switching for more viewing angles)
- 2GHz octa-core processor
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal memory
- 13-megapixel main camera with dual LED flash and Full-HD video
- 5-megapixel front camera
- 4G LTE connectivity
- Android KitKat
See? Stacked, indeed.
THE ONE ABOUT PINOY-BRANDED PHONES BEING WEAKLINGS
When you've got a gizmo with limited hardware, chances are it will lag behind when the going gets really tough. Many Pinoy-branded phones have this dilemma, so we really can't blame you if you think they're all weaklings when it comes to performance.
But since the Knight X is obviously one stacked device, it doesn't suffer from this. Fact is, we only have praises for its performance. Here's a super speedy device that will open your apps and games in mere seconds (the longest we had to wait while opening an app was about seven seconds), provides almost-lag-free operation whether you're surfing the mobile web or playing Candy Crush, and multi-tasks seamlessly (read: having minimal slow-downs when switching between apps).
The only time we really noticed a slow-down is when we already had a whopping 20 apps running in the background, and even then the experience was still very bearable.
We believe experience counts more than stats, but just in case you want more numbers:
The Knight X scored 36,046 in Antutu, a popular benchmarking app that measures a mobile device's overall speed and performance. That's good enough to rub elbows with heavyweights like the LG G3, Google Nexus 5, and the Samsung Galaxy S5. W-H-O-A!
There you have it, boys and girls! At the very least, the Knight X shouldn't be seen as just another Pinoy-branded phone. It's definitely one gorgeous mother that has the hardware and overall performance to make even the hardcore geeks take notice.
But what's most important of all is this: The Knight X showed us that a local brand can indeed offer devices that can compete with their more-esteemed counterparts and won't make you regret not buying from an international gadget brand. Good job, Starmobile! You're going to make a lot of believers with this bad boy!
Note: The Starmobile Knight X currently retails for P15,990