Starmobile UP Ultra lets you be connected all the time. I had the chance to play with the phone when a review unit came along. And I can say upfront that if you’re looking for value-laden gadget, this is will give you the bang for the buck for the price of Php6,490.
You can take advantage of it’s LTE connectivity feature anytime, anywhere. Why? Because each unit comes bundled with the Starmobile Super Pack. That’s Php4,000 worth of free data for 12 months using the SMART prepaid SIM that comes with the device. Plus, the free 6 months iFlix subscription.
Opening up the package of Starmobile UP Ultra brings up the device, and the peripherals hidden under a flap. You’ll get the usual stuff such as the USB cable, power plug, a protective case and screen protector. Of course there’s some documentation, including the iFlix code.
Checking the stuff out of the box, the phone and other stuff are wrapped in plastic. I noticed that the protective case is a bit flimsy I doubted its capability to protect the phone. Maybe just a protection against scratches.
Immediately, I find the UP Ultra elegant. It looks well-built and is quite nice to hold. As a matter of fact, it can pass up as a business phone. It has a premium look because of the chrome trimmings on the side. This design element is also seen at the rear camera. The back plate has the look of a leather, giving it a more serious vibe. The review unit I received is in blue color, but it’s also available in black and grey.
Design and Construction
The Starmobile UP Ultra features a 5.5-inch display covering the entire face of the device. The earpiece grill, proximity sensor and front camera is nestled at the top thin strip. At the bottom is the on-screen buttons and LED notification light.
This is the first time I ever handled a smartphone with a notification light set at the bottom. I actually liked the implementation. In fact, I really like having a notification light in a phone. I no longer need to unlock the phone just to check if I have a message or missed call.
The back features a 13mp BSI camera at the top center. Immediately below it is the LED flash. A little further is the Starmobile branding. The phone maker mentioned that the camera is equipped with Samsung sensor, which made it more interesting.
The top side of the phone has the 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB port for charging and transferring files, and the built-in Infrared (IR) blaster which lets you control TVs, AC units, DVD Players, etc.
I wished that the microUSB port was set at the bottom side. A port on top dangles the cord when holding the device which is quite awkward. I haven’t explored the IR blaster, so I can’t say anything about it.
You’ll find the volume rocker and power/lock button at the right side of the Starmobile UP Ultra. It’s quite easy to reach and responsive enough. The left side is void of any keys, while the bottom side is where the speaker grill and mic are placed.
Opening the back cover shows the removable battery with 2500mAh capacity, dual-SIM slots and mini-SD slot. You’ll have to use the regular-sized SIM for SIM 1 and the microSIM on the 2nd slot.
The 5.5-inch screen is crisp and clear. It renders colors beautifully and because of its resolution of 1280 x 720 equivalent to 267 pixels per inch watching videos and playing games are enjoyable. Watching movies and series via iFlix is really nice. The IPS display improved viewing from any angle.
Fitted with 13MP Auto-focus rear camera and a 5MP front shooter makes the Starmobile UP Ultra a handy device for those who love to take pictures. In general, I’m satisfied with the results taken whether in broad daylight or in dark places. Unfortunately, it takes a little longer to focus. Check out the photos below.
Audio and Speakers
I had a few phone conversations using the UP Ultra and I have yet to experience anything bad. Putting the speaker grills on the bottom side of device allow for better audio when placed on a table or cupped with your hands. Still, connecting it to an external speaker or using a headphone will make for a better listening experience.
UI and Performance
Running Android 5.1 Lollipop with stock home screen, navigating through the Starmobile UP Ultra is quite a breeze. With its 64-bit Quad Core CPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, I didn’t experience any lag even with multiple apps running simultaneously.
I was also delighted that I was able to install all the apps that I needed for work and play. But if you’re the type of user who like to carry around tons of multimedia files, simply insert a microSD for up to 32GB.
The UP Ultra also lasted for about 8 hours with regular use. And that’s being connected to WiFi all the time while doing calls, work-related tasks such as email, social media and watching movies. I guess the 2500mAh capacity is not enough for me; good thing there’s a powerbank to the rescue.
If you haven’t noticed, SMS was not part of my daily task. I find it weird that I am unable to send messages, even on Smart network. This is one reason why, despite having received the review unit in December, I was not able to work on it immediately. I did check the Internet and haven’t found any similar issue. I concluded that this could be an isolated issue.
I didn’t have problem connecting to the Internet. I inserted prepaid LTE SIMs from different networks on either slots. I’m able to switch connectivity depending on where I am. The Starmobile UP Ultra immediately recognizes LTE connectivity, helping me work faster.
Starmobile UP Ultra Spec Sheet
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- Mali T720-MP2 @ 450MHz Video Card
- Regular + Micro, Dual 4G LTE Standby
- Rear Camera – 13MP AF with Backside Illumination (BSI) and Samsung Sensor
- Front Camera – 5MP FF with Backside Illumination (BSI) / Video Capture – 1080p @ 30fps
- MediaTek MT6735 Chipset
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- 5 x 74.9 x 8.1mm (145g)
- 5-inch On-cell IPS Multi-Touch Capacitive Screen HD 720×1280 pixels (267ppi)
- 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM, 32GB Micro SD Max Expansion
- 3GHz Quad Core ARM Cortex-A53 (64-bit)
- 2500mAh Li-Ion Battery
- Up to 19hrs talk time, 16.6days standby time
- 2G GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 / 3G UMTS/SCDMA: 850/1200 / HSPA+ / 4G LTE
- FM Radio, GPS + A-GPS, OTA Update, Infrared (IR) Remote Sensor
With the Starmobile Super Pack bundled in every Starmobile UP Ultra unit, you can be connected all the time. You get free data for 12 months by simply loading your Smart LTE SIM with Php150 every month. The free iFlix subscription is also a sweet deal. All in all, you get a total of Php4,000 worth of freebies. It’s like buying the phone for Php2,490.