We’re sure that most of you will remember the iNew V3, which in late 2013. It was one of the very first MT6582 phones, and was quite a mid-range bargain. The phone quickly became popular thanks to a 720p 5-inch panel, NFC and OTG supportat an affordable $180.
iNew understood that even with it’s sleek looks and low-price, the iNew V3 wouldn’t be able to keep selling with it standard hardware, so they upped the specs. The result is the new iNew V3 Plus with a more powerful octacore processor, more RAM, no NFC but a lower $170 asking price.
At $170 it is one of the more affordable octacore phones availble, only slightly more than many quad-core phones, but how is this new variant? Is it still a good phone or is it simply too little of an upgrade to compete in the current market.
iNew V3 Plus Review : Unboxing & Design
iNew obviously wanted to save some money when it came to the packaging and so they have used the exact same box as the original quad-core phone. Not just in looks but the actual box complete with the wrong specifications for the phone inside. The accessories are still the same as well. There’s a screen protector, a flip cover with smart view window, magnetic closure and automatic wakeup, a wall charger, USB cable and cheap headphones.
The phone hasn’t been changed. It remains the same black and white beauty with its metal plates on the left and right, a round Sony Xperia inspired power button on the left, plus a volume rocker on the right. The distinct blue home button has been left unchanged but beautiful as well. The fake stereo speakers remain placed on the lower side of the phone. The thickness hasn’t been changed as well at 8.4mm, so it still doesn’t meet the thickness of sub 7mm claimed by iNew.
To cut a long story short: It still is the very same handset as before, with a surprisingly good build quality, yet not living up to iNew’s claims. The only thing changed is the missing NFC antenna within the back cover.
iNew V3 Plus: Display
720p resolution at 5-inch? Totally enough – if the panel is of a decent quality. And in case of the iNew V3 Plus it really does. Everything is nice and sharp, pixels become visible only if you come close to the screen. The picture is crisp, the colors are vivid yet natural and the contrast is up to a degree we love, even at extreme viewing angles. It looks like iNew went for a brand LCD panel here, probably made by LG or Sharp.
The automatic brightness control of the iNew V3 Plus is totally worth being mentioned here, as it works outstandingly well. It always finds the perfect setting, but if needed the display will go much brighter using manual settings. Staying at the automatic of course contributes to a good battery life.
iNew V3 Plus: Performance
The iNew V3 Plus comes with Mediatek’s MT6592M. This SoC is a MT6592 octa-core SoC, clocked down to 1.4GHz. The GPU is a dual-core Mali 450MP, clocked down a little as well. While this means less performance than a standard MT6592, the chipset certainly prooves to be quite a bit faster than the MT6582, at least when it comes to games. We are staying at the mid-range level though, so don’t expect any wonders happening here. What’s notable here is the fact that iNew did a great job optimizing the Android 4.4.2 that comes to use here. The performance can be described as very snappy, leaving the user happy with browsing, apps and even multi-tasking experience thanks to the 2GB of RAM. When it comes to gaming, especially with high-end games, the SoC can’t really keep up with the demanded “silicon-boom”. While games like Dead Trigger 2 and Real Racing 3 are playable with a few lags, games like Modern Combat 5 totally suck on the iNew V3 plus.
iNew V3 Plus: Multimedia
With the placement of two openings on the bottom side of the phone you would expect dual stereo speakers, but these are just for looks, so don’t expect any decent stereo sound here. What you get though is one internal media speaker, which really isn’t as bad as it might look. It does sound clear, doesn’t distort and even features a slight bass playback. What do you want more at this price level?
The real fun starts going through a pair of high-quality headphones nonetheless, as you might guess already. Starting a few decent tracks with Xiaomi Piston 2 headphones plugged in, left us a little surprised. Audio quality is pretty decent for such a cheap phone without any dedicated audio specs, with a lot of boom and clarity. Really nothing anyone would dare to complain about,
Watching a movie on the iNew V3 Plus has been proven to be fun as well. 1080p video is played perfectly smooth, and of course the sound experience is at the same level as with your favorite sound-tracks.
iNew V3 Plus: Reception Quality
iNew isn’t quite up to the standards with this one, as there’s no 4G LTE support and even the NFC support has been discontinued, which once set the iNew V3 miles apart from the competition. It might not be a reason to start complaining, but the existing wireless technologies have to work flawlessly to make up for the gap. After almost two weeks of using the iNew V3, we can confirm that the signal strength of this handset mostly is up to a high level. We didn’t have any issues with the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but noticed that the 3G signal strength was a bit weak from time to time. As this isn’t the case day by day, we can’t exactly tell what the reason for this is. What we can tell however, is that it doesn’t interfere with the everyday usage.
One thing we’ve been totally blown away with was the GPS provided by the iNew V3 Plus. Generally speaking, most MTK phones suck as far as GPS goes. The reason not necessarily is the MTK chipset itself, but the crappy antennas most manufacturers build inside the cheap handsets. Snapdragon chipsets usually compensate a bad antenna by providing support for a wide variety of positioning services. But the old MTK SoCs before the MT6595 and MT67xx range do only support A-GPS and GPS. This is the reason why you notice a bad antenna more with MTK phones than Snapdragon based phones. Now iNew managed to proof that you can still get an outstanding GPS performance even with an old MTK SoC. We got an accuracy of 3m outside with a fix for 6 satellites and generally high signal strength. Moving to the inside of the building with closed blinds still got us 5m with 5 satellites – and we did a cold fix while being inside. This is one of the best results we had so far with a MTK SoC of the MT6592 range. The only issue which still does exist is the waypoint jumping issue with some tracking apps.
iNew V3 Plus: Battery Life
Jesus, we’ve been shocked when iNew came up with the announcement of the V3 Plus, indicating a 1,850mAh battery capacity. The audience in general was quite shocked about that, which made iNew announce some special optimizations, which according to the manufacturer enable the phone to reach a long battery life, despite the small cell. Well, we’ve been told such nonsense quite a few times before, but it never became reality. Guess what? For the first time ever, a manufacturer is delivering according to its promises. iNew not only did optimize the OS and probably hardware towards performance, they also managed to optimize power consumption like we’ve never seen it before on a MTK phone. Believe it or not, but the iNew V3 Plus has a significant longer battery life than the original V3. You reach a full day of battery life with ease, staying at automatic brightness and without gaming, even if you are a power user. Those of you not using your phones very intense might easily reach 1.5 to 3 days of battery life. Why can’t every phone maker do this?
iNew V3 Plus: Camera
The advance the V3 Plus gained over the V3 with battery life is quickly lost when looking at the camera. The original iNew V3 had a very good camera for a mid-range phone back these days. Unfortunately this isn’t the case anymore for the iNew V3 Plus. It features a 8 mega pixel rear camera, interpolated up to 18 mega pixels. The quality of this one really sucks. The pictures look cold, foggy and blurry. What’s more, the auto focus doesn’t work quite well, making the camera pretty much unusable. The front camera isn’t much better. The best is to simply forget about the camera.
iNew V3 Plus: The final take
The iNew V3 Plus is a gorgeous octa-core phone with a decent performance and long battery life. The good screen is perfect for reading, looking at pictures and movies or playing some less demanding games. Those not looking for a great camera phone, might well be satisfied with this one, but should bear in mind that you can get similar specs for less already, paying for with a worse battery life though. Nonetheless we’ve been surprised quite a few times with the iNew V3 Plus and think that in terms of quality and “buglessness”, plus, not to forget about the status LED, which the majority of competitors doesn’t feature, it is one of the top mid-rangers available right now.
Thanks to eFox-Shop for providing us with the iNew V3 Plus review sample, which they are offering with color options black and white for €127 right now, with a free second battery worth €4.99 included as a special deal. It also is available with shipping from the EU if you’re willing to place €30 on-top.