When I first read about the iNew V3 last year I, like many of you, was pretty blown away by the high standard of equipment for a phone at such a great price. Now after a few weeks of testing I am just as impressed.
Low-cost Chinese Phones
There was a time when buying a low-cost Android phone from China was a big gamble. You didn’t really know what you were going to get, specifications might be sketchy and build quality might also have been a let down. I’m happy to say I think those times are largely behind us! This isn’t to say I believe you can just rush out and buy any Chinese phone without worry or concern, but I am saying the chances of getting a dud are nowhere near as high as it used to be.
iNew V3 Review
Before receiving the iNew V3 I had a rough idea of what would arrive. I had read the issues that some customers had had with charging and the fact that iNew’s specifications don’t match what the phone actually has to offer.
After watching how iNew have handled these issues I would like to believe that the company have done their best to rectify things with fast ROM updates and admissions that they might have got a few details wrong. Overall I have been more than impressed with the iNew V3, and believe that if the company continues to make phones like this then they could easily be a much larger player in the future!
iNew V3 Specifications
As mentioned above, the specifications on the official iNew website aren’t as accurate as they might have us believe, but even with these discrepancies the phone is still quite a bargain.
The big differences between what iNew say and what the phone has are go do with the main camera and the dimensions. According to iNew the main camera is a Sony 13 mega-pixel shooter with an aperture of F2.0, the fact is that phone has an F2.2 aperture (more common on phones of this price) we are still uncertain if Sony or Chinese brand Sonny make the sensor. As for dimensions the phone measures in a 6.5mm at it’s thinnest and tapers out to a thicker 7.9mm which is still more than acceptable.
The specification also say the phone has OTG support which is true but only after an official ROM update, which iNew seems to be getting sorted on a regular basis.
iNew V3 Specifications
These are the official claimed specifications.[komper pid=144 compareform=no]
iNew V3 Unboxing Video
Below is the detailed unboxing video, first hands on and impressions of the iNew V3 quad-core MT6582 smartphone after we received the phone review. In the video you will see what you get in the box, accessories and a brief hands on with the phone.
iNew V3 Review – Design
No matter if you are a first time Chinese phone buyer or a veteran Chinese phone fan it is going to be extremely hard not to be impressed with the iNew V3 when you first open the box. In fact, I’m constantly reminded just how great this 5-inch smartphone is every time I pick it up!
It doesn’t matter what you compare the iNew V3 too, it is quite simply one of the most original and great looking Android smartphones you can buy at any price today!
As usual we will start at the front of the device which in this case has a 5-inch 1280 x 720p OGS screen (OGS meaning it is a one piece screen solution which keeps the thickness of the phone to a minimum.
The display is located in the center of a black surround which makes up the screens bezels, the top section where the receiver and front facing camera live and the chin area where the backlit buttons are found.
With the amount of details and design work that has gone in to the iNew V3 it would be a shame to leave the description of the front of the device as short as that, so I will go on. On most phones the receive area of the phone is a simple rectangular hole or cut-out, iNew took the initiative and when the extra mile with a metal grill with holes perforated across it. Does this make calls any clearer? No, but it does look much better than a plain old hole.
The chin of the phone is where we should normally find the generic icon for navigating through the Android operating system, this isn’t the case with the iNew V3. When in standby the glass remains all black, with the icons only lighting up when you press one. Oh and the ‘home’ area has had the boring ‘house’ icon replaced with a rather cool neon band which fades at the edges! Very very cool details, especially for a phone which costs less than $200!
The black glass area is a nice contrast to the white body of the phone which wraps around from the lower and upper part of the display and around to the rear.
Following the curve around from base of the phone we meet a pair of external speakers and a couple of screws which could be used for repairs or servicing the handset.
From the top we find a small recess to help remove the rear panel, micro USB which has a metal surround and 3.5mm headphone jack.
The rear of the phone continues the class look of the front with a simple understated all white rear, slightly protruding 13 mega-pixel rear camera (also protected by a metal ring) and surprisingly affective dual LED flash.
Both the left and right sides of the phone have a flat brushed metal look finish, a round Sony Xperia style power button on the left and simple alloy volume rocker on the right. All the physical controls fit nicely in place and don’t rattle or wobble in the frame.
It’s easy to see that iNew have attempted to create a stylish phone with thin body, but they have also kept in mind that many customers of Chinese phones like the ability to remove and replace the battery by themselves. This might be more important on the iNew V3 as the battery is a rather small 1830mAh unit which sounds small but in actual fact can last a day of moderate use.
Removing the rear cover reveals the battery, NFC chip, space for a regular size GSM SIM, micro 3G (WCDMA) SIM, and SD card for added media space.
Anyone who is not impressed with the level of design, attention to detail of quality of build has obviously never actually handled the iNew V3. It is quite simply a stunning device regardless of price, and many phone makers producing handsets for double or triple the price should have a good long look at the iNew for a few tips and pointers.
iNew V3 Review – Display
The 5-inch display on the iNew V3 is an OGS model with a HD resolution of 1280 x 720. While this isn’t the FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution I have been used to using on my personal smartphones, and it is possible to see the difference between this and a 1080 phone, I personally am more than happy with the display.
Touch response of the iNew is top-notch and as the panel is a ultrasensitve unit you can use the phone when wearing gloves. iNew also the display will remain accurate and responsive with wet hands, this never came up during testing and I don’t really fancy intentionally splashing water on the phone.
Last but not least the display features a Gorilla Glass layer of protection. Again I didn’t want to intentionally try to scratch the display of the iNew, but through out our review, with the included screen protector removed the display remained smooth and scratch free.
iNew V3 Reviews – Performance
Towards the end of 2013 smartphones have been hitting the market with the Mediatek’s new entry-level quad-core chipset set. The iNew V3 gets the same 1.3Ghz MT6582 processor as the popular Huawei Honor 3C and Zopo ZP700 so we aren’t surprised to see the impressive benchmark results we recorded during the review.
The quad-core MT6582 chipset is designed to run at a maximum of 1.3Ghz and can handle displays of up to 1280 x 720 HD, and 13 mega-pixel cameras. The GPU on the chip is a Mali400 MP2 500Mhz which might explain some choppy 3D rendering during title screens, but overall performance is on par with last year’s 1.5Ghz MT6589T.
Like all current Mediatek SoC chips the quad-core MT6582 also has integrated WIFI b,g,n, Bluetooth, and GPS.
iNew V3 Benchmarks
Below is a video of the iNew V3 running a number of benchmark tools including Antutu, Vellamo and Nenamark. We also ran 3D Mark to test the gaming prowess of the device and uploaded a video of myself playing RealDrift on the phone. Full benchmarks are listed after the videos along with results.
iNew V3 benchmarks video
iNew V3 gaming video
iNew V3 benchmark results
- Nenamark: 53.1fps
- Vellamo HTML5: 1910
- Vellamo Metal: 584
- Quadrant: 5,813
- 3D Mark Ice Storm: 2958
iNew V3 Review – GPS, WIFI, Bluetooth, NFC etc
It’s not all that surprising that WIFI, Bluetooth and NFC worked out of the box. 3G and GSM also worked fine for us using a China Unicom SIM (WCDAM 3G network).
One complaint many Chinese phone customers have had in the past is poor GPS with a Mediatek processor. I can report that GPS on the iNew V3 with the MT6582 chipset is much better than in previous phones. In our case we did not have to use a GPS fix, and found the GPS to lock on from first turning the device on in around 5 seconds.
NFC is a feature we are seeing more often on Chinese smartphones and it is a great feature for anyone wanting the flexibility to share media or contacts quickly between devices. For those of you who haven’t used NFC before and wonder why it is better than Bluetooth here is the basic gist. With Bluetooth you are required to sync device together before sharing, NFC doesn’t require this, just ensure NFC is enabled on both devices touch the backs together and your info will be shared across.
OTG didn’t work on our iNew V3 out of the box, but updating the firmware enabled USB On The Go to work properly. Finally air gestures are something which are claimed to work but at the moment don’t. Again a firmware fix will sort this out and is coming soon.
iNew V3 Review – Battery
If we had to find a weak link in the specification of the iNew V3 then it would have to be the battery. Almost every aspect of phone design is getting better as months go buy, but battery technology is still lacking.
With this in mind it is rather odd that iNew had chosen to use a 1830mAh battery on their phone, especially on a phone which is so great to use and performs so well! As it is the battery on our test model would could be drained from 100% to flat in around 3 hours of gaming. Careful, moderate use get’s you through a work day, but if you were to watch video, game or listen to music on your commute to and from work you are going to either have to carry another battery or a USB cable with you to top the phone up through the day.
iNew V3 Review – Camera
I have read comments from people worried about the quality of the main 13 mega-pixel camera on the iNew V3. After using the phone and camera myself I can say that the camera is about average in terms of captured image quality but above average in actual use.
We get to test a lot of phones with good hardware which only manage to produce average photos when in actual use. In the case of the iNew V3’s camera the speed of taking a photo, performance in most conditions and the powerful LED flash make for an actual useable camera.
If you want to be picky you can take a close look at the photos taken with the iNew and find faults but as a complete package iNew have got more right than wrong. Taking photos is fast and fun, as it should be, and most images saved are of useable quality with very few issues.
iNew V3 Sample Photos
If you do find the images here below your expectations though I would say that you should save an extra $100 or more and get a more costly phone. At this price the V3 is difficult to beat.
Here you can see more iNew V3 sample photos.
iNew V3 Review – Conclusion
The iNew V3 is a smartphone which costs just $178.99, yet manages to house a powerful quad-core processor, excellent 5-inch 720p display, usable 13 mega-pixel camera, NFC, OTG and more all in a very sharp-looking body.
After many years of testing Chinese phones I have to say that iNew have done an amazing job with the V3. Not only is the phone a great package, but it comes in at an attractive price and is already easily available to international customers!
Would we recommend the iNew V3? Yes, most certainly! Pick one up, get out there and enjoy it, but just make sure you pack an extra battery or take a charger with you on your travels!
Thanks to Coolicool.com for supplying this iNew V3 for review, and also allowing us to set up a giveaway for the phone which is coming very soon!
The iNew V3 costs just $178,99 from Coolicool.com.