HDC Galaxy S3 EX / Star B92m Singapore Review

After my Samsung Galaxy S2 met a terrible accident,  I was on a hunt for a replacement. Galaxy Note 2 was the frontrunner  but due to its size,  price and weight,  I needed some serious and compelling reasons beyond its magic wand (stylus) to convince me. And then later,  I realized I needed a dual-sim phone. That’s where the HDC Galaxy S3 EX came into the picture. I bought one and I’ll be giving sharing my experience with it.

The Star B92m/HDC Galaxy S3 EX Specification

CPU MT6577 Dual Core 1.0GHz
GPU: PowerVR SGX 531
OS Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)
Language: English, Italian, French. Spanish, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, German, Indonesian, Chinese, Turkish, Portuguese, Malay, others
Memory RAM: 1GB / ROM: 2.5GB
Micro SD Memory Card (TF-Card), MAX support 32GB
Size 138 x 70 x 9 mm
Weight 180 g
Screen 4.7 inch IPS Capacitive Multi-touch Screen
HD resolution (1280 x 720 pixels)
16 million colors
Network GSM + WCDMA (Dual SIM)
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
WCDMA 850/2100MHz
Color Black
GPS Built In GPS & A-GPS
Connection Bluetooth with EDR & A2DP
Wi-Fi : IEEE 802.11 b/g
micro USB 2.0
Camera Dual Camera
Back 12.0 megapixel with Auto Focus and LED Flash
Front 1.3 megapixel
Supports recording of video
Radio FM
Video AVI , MP4 , FLV , 3GP , MOV , ASF , MPEG , RMVB , etc.
Audio MP3 , AAC , WAV , etc. / 3.5 mm Audio Jack
Special functions Gravity Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, FM Radio, Wifi, GPS, Multi-touch Capacitive Screen, Dual SIM, Schedule Power On/Off
Battery and Accessories - Li-ion battery 2000 mAh
- Earphone / 3.5 mm Audio Jack
- USB Cable
- Charger
Price Click the link below.

The Real Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HDC Galaxy S3 EX KIRF

Here’s my take on the individual functions

Overall Performance
To be honest, I never expected so much with MediaTek SoC. This device is my first mobile phone equipped with it. But then, it was a pleasant surprise to realize that MTK6577 is really a very capable processor and deserves some respect on its own right. After rooting my phone and installing Nova launcher, it now performs even better than my Galaxy S2. Navigation is fast and the response is quick. It’s still on ICS now so I imagine performance will be even betteronce I install the buttery smooth Jelly Bean.
Star B9M Speed Test
WiFi
The WiFi works well, an wifi-b of the bygone era. It was able to detect and connect to my Wireless-N router in no time, though. However,  I think it is having problem when the router is a bit far. When I say far, I mean around 15 meters away from the router with doors and concrete walls in between. It can detect and connect to the router but the connection randomly drops.

I didn’t get encounter that in all my other devices. Maybe it’s a bit early to make conclusions so I’ll do further tests later. I’d like to emphasize that the phone can connect but there are random resets of connection.

I also encounter this on our office WiFi. It’s not a big issue yet since it is able to reconnect rather quickly. Actually, I think it just shows the actual and real time connection status. Other phones may still be showing some connection when in reality, it is already dropped.

Bluetooth
It works flawlessly. I was able to connect to my Creative bluetooth speakers without problems and nor any noticeable difference in sounds. If anything, the sound in the bluetooth speaker is even better with its sub-woofer. It works as expected and does the job really well.

Display
This 4.7 IPS 720p SuperLCD is just crisp and gorgeous. I was initially concerned about the high resolution not being able to be driven well by a rather dated graphics processor. However, it actually turned really well. I tried to use the GS2 again and the resolution looked awful. I played Subway Surfer with no stuttering observed. I haven’t used it for more graphics intensive games yet, though.

As for the color, I think is a bit washed just like in HTC One X. It doesn’t compare to Samsung Galaxy S2′s SuperAMOLED which has more vivid colors and darker black.

HD videos runs well as well as HD YouTube videos. Honestly, I don’t have real complaints about it. I love it.

I’m also not sure if it is really a gorilla glass as claimed in the ads. I don’t want to try to scratch so I have installed a screen protector(comes in the package) on it.

Battery
This phone has an enormous 2000mAh battery. It partly explains the added heft. At the same time, it also means it can last longer. In the past week that I was using this, I’m getting an average of 11 hrs of use time. Last Tuesday, it even lasted for almost 16hours with normal use. That’s enough time to last a workday plus more.
Star b92m Battery
For comparison’s sake, my GS2 only lasts 6hours max. At around 4hours, I already need to plug the device into the charger. That doesn’t happen with the B92m.

And what’s more? I have a spare battery that came wth the package. Sweet!

Camera
The HDC Galaxy S3 EX camera is good but not exactly great. It is advertised as 12mp but we cannot independently confirm that despite what Antutu says. The reason being is that reports say MTK6577 can only handle up to 8mp. While the it may be true that the sensor is capable in capturing 12mp images, the SoC limit may resample the image and then another software upsampling happens to make resize it to 12mp. It’s a pure speculation on my part so, I don’t really know.

On the quality of the output, it’s not as sharp as I wanted. Any change on the default settings results to a different color output(i. e, yellow becomes a bit pale when you change the output settings from 12mp to 8mp.

It won’t be able to hold a candle if compared to HTC OneX but I can say the image output is on par with the Samsung Galaxy S2. One thing hat it does stand out over GS2 is the speed on which you can take photos. It’s not as fast as the OneX but it blows GS2 over the water. Dare I say that its camera is faster than the iPhone5.

However, we have to remind ourselves that regardless of the claims on on he sensor, it is still a smartphone. It’s not like it would replace our real cameras but I think it is good to enough.

Here are some shots.

HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Indoor Shot
HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Indoor Shot

HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Outdoor Shot
HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Outdoor Shot
HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Shot
HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Shot
HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Flower Shot
HDC Galaxy S3 EX Sample Flower Shot

GPS
This is one of the biggest blot on this phone. GPS simply doesn’t work. There are fixes available from xda, though. So if you need GPS(I really need), you’ll have to root the device and apply the fixes.

I haven’t fixed mine yet. I’ll do it over the weekend.

Call Quality
A few minutes after inserting the SIM and powering up the phone, an office colleagues called. It was an unexpected call and I didn’t know what to expect. I was surprised with the call quality. It is on par with the branded phones. Nothing special but it’s not like we’re expecting hifi stereo sound there.

Summary
The HDC Galaxy S3 EX is a very capable phone and a polished clone of the real Samsung Galaxy S3. It is not for everybody but if you need a dual-sim phone, then this phone is for you. It has an almost stock Android on it. The phone costs a third but almost as capable of the real thing. Buying this clone phone will be worth every penny.

This phone serves me well on my daily tasks. Since it has Android on it, it can do what most of the other smartphones can do. In some cases, I’m sure this phone excels. Even now with my Samsung Galaxy S2 back to life, I’m still using the b92m as my main phone. That’s primarily because of the battery life, the 720p screen and most importantly, the dual-sim capability. Sad to say, the GS2 is now my spare phone regardless of how I loved it.

One thought on “HDC Galaxy S3 EX / Star B92m Singapore Review”

  1. Dear friend, I read your post regarding the HDC S3 EX and it meets my problem, and I would like your help to solve.
    My phone does not find any satellite or GPS detects no signal and always appears in the browser the following information: “looking for gps”.
    I wonder if I could help her with some correction.
    Thank you, hug.
    A.Silva

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