THL W11 Monkey King review, don’t forget quad-core phones!

THL W11 Monkey King

As you well know we are now in the middle of octacore era, but we must not forget that there are still some very good quad-core device on the market, such as the THL W11.

The THL W11 has enjoyed great success over the past few months and this has certainly contributed to raising the company’s reputation.

THL W11 Monkey King

A favoutite feature, and a stand out one on the THL W11, are the dual 13 mega-pixel cameras. Both the front and rear are 13 mega-pixel sensors making the W11 a great choice for those of you who enjoy snapping away on your phone, as well as the ability to get some high resolution selfies.

It isn’t just the cameras though! The THL W11 also packs a 1080 display, 2GB RAM and 32GB memory. These are all the features we see on octacore phones now.

THL W11 Monkey King full specifications

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THL W11 Monkey King – Unboxing/Hands-on Video


THL W11 Monkey King – Design

THL W11 Monkey King

The THL W11 was the first phone to offer dual 13 mega-pixel cameras, but it was also the first THL model to feature an all new design and step away from the obvious Samsung clones of the past. Not only original but it is comfortable to hold too thanks to the rounded edges and overall smooth design. The 5-inch display and 8.6mm thickness of the phone also make it much more compact when compared to newer octacore models with 5.5-inch or larger displays.

THL made the interesting decison to have the power and volume controls on the left of the W11. In use this makes very little difference, but it is a strange decision when most phone makers choose the right side when having both controls on one side.

THL W11 Monkey King

THL W11 Monkey King

A micro SIM tray lives on the right hand side of the phone. A small pin needs to be inserted to detach the tray from the body. This version of the phone support both 2G GSM and 3G WCDMA networks, as it stands Mediatek phones cannot operate on 4G LTE networks.

THL W11 Monkey King

We are use to seeing a 3.5mm headphone jack in the top of our phones, but in the THL W11 we also find the micro USB as well as another tray for a micro SD card. On a final not the white plastic rear panel is non removable meaning you cannot get at the battery inside without dismantling the phone.

THL W11 Monkey King

At the bottom we find the only microphone for noise reduction and two screws, useful for a possible disassembly of the back cover.

THL W11 Monkey King

On the front we find the second 13 mega-pixels camera, which as I pointed out earlier, is one of the highlights of this smartphone, alongside with the various sensors and the all important receiver.

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THL W11 Monkey King

Finally, on the chin we find the 3 backlit capacitive buttons for navigating through our Android optoins. Option on the left, home in the middle and back on the right.

THL W11 Monkey King – Display

THL W11 Monkey King

The display of the THL W11 Monkey King is an OGS panel helping to reduce thickness while also boosting the angle of viewing. The display can be turned up extremely brightly making it easy for outdoor viewing, just keep in mind this will also burn away your battery life. Although the W11 was launched last year it was a flagship device and as such as a FHD 1920 x 1080 resolution and a pixel density of 441ppi.

THL W11 Monkey King – Cameras

THL W11 Monkey King

A rear 13 mega-pixel camera is on par with most past and current flagship Android smarpthones, but the front facing 13 mega-pixel sensor is well above what we are use to seeing on any smartphone. With patience and practice you can capture some really great looking photos (as you will see in the photo samples below), just don’t expect the same performance, speed or colour accuracy of more premium devices.

THL W11 Photo samples

Here are some daytime shots.

The photos are good quality and well-defined, even if I have noticed a slight tendency to yellowing in nightime shots.

With the flash turned on, night time photos come out better than expected!

THL W11 photo

THL W11 Monkey King – Performance

When it comes to performance the THL W11 isn’t going to be able to achieved the same high benchmarks of most current octacore phones, but benchmarks aren’t everything and in real use the phone works very well. You would hardly tell the difference between the W11 and a newer octacore model.


THL W11 Monkey King – Calling and 3G Navigation

Calling and reception are excellent. Very good the volume of the external speaker with the hands-free activated, while the headphones ‘ sound quality is mediocre. No bugs detected in 3G connectivity.

THL W11 Monkey King – GPS Navigation

After a first Satellites FIX (made follow this guide) GPS navigation with THL W11 was always very precise and stable.

THL W11 Monkey King – Wi-Fi

As usual I tested the WiFi reception by checking it at a distance of 2, 5 and 7 meters from the routers. I did not detect loss problems or drops in signal.

THL W11 WiFi Benchmark

THL W11 Monkey King – Battery

With the typical heavy use I was able to reach 7 p.m with a residual power of 5%. In addition, performance has  improved slightly after a few cycles of full charge.

My typical heavy use is as follows:

  • 3G (always activated with 2 email accounts on push, whatsapp, facebook, hangouts, skype and twitter with active notifications);
  • Wi-Fi  (about 3 and a half hours);
  • GPS navigation (about 35 minutes);
  • Bluetooth (always activated);
  • Cameras (a sufficient amount of shots for this review);
  • WordPress (to update

Conclusion: don’t forget quad-core phones!

With so many octacore smartphones on the market it has become increasingly easy to forget about all the amazing quad-core MT5689T models which are still available. The THL W11 is one, the original iOcean X7 another and of course the JiaYu G4 and G5.

The next time you are looking at the latest phones don’t forget that similar performance, specification and quality can easily be had (and at a lower price) if you carefully choose a good quad-core MT6589T phone.


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  1. Airyl
    March 27, 2014

    Would you look at that. It’s my phone!

  2. Petr Bělousov
    March 27, 2014

    When talking about MTK6589T phones don´t forget about Zopo ZP980…

  3. tweetycontrabajo
    March 27, 2014

    well, the diference of price, does not justify quad core mediatek phone anymore.
    at least not for me.
    I received a thl w200 in december 13, and at mid february, is for presale the thl w200s.
    double of RAM, Double of ROM, Octacore, and gorrilla glass, and the diference of price was 20$.

  4. Dave
    March 27, 2014

    I’ve got one of these, too. It’s a great phone, but I’ve learned my lesson about 1080p screens. For me they’re overkill – I can’t tell any appreciable difference between this one and the 720 screens in my old jiayu g3 and g4s. But I’m sure there’s a performance and power consumption hit I’m paying. It’s certainly a nice screen and the laminated “protection” seems just as good as Gorilla Glass.

    The dinky little battery, 2000mAh, is underwhelming. On the other hand, the phone is so thin and good looking I don’t mind that trade off.

    Finally, no notification light. Why? That’s essential for me. If I’m in a meeting I want to know visually if something has come in without turning the screen on. Notification lights should be on any decent phone and any review should mention whether one is there.

    • larwee
      March 29, 2014

      “It’s certainly a nice screen and the laminated “protection” seems just as good as Gorilla Glass.”…are you sure about this? I have been using the THL W11 for a while now and I have been a bit concerned about screen protection. To be honest I almost ripped-off the lamination, because due to lack of a proper phone pouch the screen is already looking pretty scratched and not so good…

      But beside that one concern, I think the phone is worth every penny I spent on it…I am quiet satisfied with its overall performance.

      • Dave
        March 29, 2014

        Sure? No. But the first thing I did when I got the phone was take the screen protector off (they always look and feel bad). Four months later there still isn’t a single scratch on it, and that’s with me carrying it around daily in suit pants or jacket pocket with change and sometimes car keys.

        I’m sure something will scratch it eventually but I haven’t regretted taking the protector off.

  5. Bojan Radovanović
    March 28, 2014

    i see to main problems on it,
    first one and biggest is its price, witch are the same as some octa core phones, and second is sgx 544 GPU.

    some cheaper phones with mtk6582 and Mali 400 are more fluid and beter for games…and i’m thinking much cheaper phones, even in half of it’s price.

    so if this phone would be sold for 100-120$ it would be perfect, but now, i can decide for a quad core with HD and better GPU(and better Antutu) in that price range, or to give 40-50$ more then that and to buy a FHD octacore, better all-rounder then this THL, and still for less money.

    3. problem is maybe not hire, but when i see mtk 6589, my first thought is GPS!!! but, you wrote that it’s ok.

    anyway, Andy or someone else, did someone had chance to try neken N6 turbo?
    i guess it’s very like this one (or more like iocean x7 turbo), but i can’t find some reliable review