ΝΟΑ had an excellent 2018 having its NOA N10 being awarded the prestigious Best Buy smartphone during the European EISA Awards ceremony. The other two awards went to Huawei P20 Pro for Best smartphone and Nokia 7 Plus for Best Consumer smartphone. With Huawei being the second largest smartphone brand globally and Nokia (HMD GLobal) being in top 5 in Europe it was a surprise that a small Croatian company managed to get the VFM award. We had the chance to see N10 – you can read here the extensive review – and we are looking forward for NOA N20, the next smartphone in the company’s Elements line.
ΝΟΑ has three main lines. Other than Elements lineup, NOA has a budget Core line and a Rugged line to cover the market’s needs. From the Rugged line the newest product is called Hummer 2019. The smartphone was presented in MWC Barcelona and was offered first to the HGSS the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service!
This smartphone arrived to our offices for a review and the following, are the sum of our impressions.
NOA Hummer 2019 – Technical Specifications
- OS: Android 8.1
- SoC: MediaTek MTK6739 Quadcore A53,1.5GHz
- CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 4, 64-bit
- GPU: PowerVR GE8100 GPU , 570 MHz, Cores: 2
- ROM: 16GB, Micro SD card up to 128GB
- RAM: 3GB RAM LPDD3, 666MHz
- Display: 5.5″ Incell HD+ 720*1440px, 293ppi
- Front Camera: 8MP
- Back Camera: 13MP + 2MP
- Network: NFC, 4G, BT4.0, WiFi b/g/n, 802.11 b/g/n, support Hotspot . GSM:850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz, UMTS: 900, 2100 MHz, LTE (FDD): 800, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz
- SIM: 2 Nano SIM Cards, Dual standby
- Battery: 3800 mAh Li-Po
- Extras: IP68, MIL-STD-810G,G/P/L-sensor, Gyrometer, Lightsensor GPS (1.57542GHz) + AGPS Navigator, USB Type-C, NFC
- Dimensions: 156 X 75 X 12 mm
NOA Hummer 2019 – Unboxing
The smartphone arrives in a yellowish hard paper box. The brand name is written in black while a huge R, U and G letters with huge font work as the design.The box is covered in plastic wrap. Inside the phone is the first think to see, inside a plastic bug. Covering the screen is a hard sticker with the logo and the characteristics (a first to see in a retailer’s box). The bottom of the box has a white sticker with black letters describing the characteristics and various other information.
Inside you will find:
- 1 X NOA Hummer 2019 rugged smartphone
- 1 X Power adapter 5V/0.3A
- 1 X USB to USB-C cable
- 1 X USB-C to USB-OTG cable
- 1 X set of headphones, 3,5mm
- 1 X SIM card eject tool
- 1 X Manual and 1 easy to setup guide
The retail box is excellent and full. I like the headphones and the OTG cable, rarely offered with any smartphone anymore. The Hummer arrived with the aforementioned sticker and a protection sticker over the fingerprint sensor. The packaging is as good as in the N10 flagship we saw last year.
NOA Hummer 2019 – Design
The mobile comes only in Black with orange details. It is masculine while having a sporting touch. In the front we see a 5.5 inch display. The top bezel is big – it has the microphone, the frontal single selfie camera with the LED flash, and the usual pack of sensors. The LED flash is welcomed for selfies in low light conditions. Unfortunately there is no notification light. The microphone is wide so you won’t have to align the smartphone to your ear for a clear sound, an issue usually met with many smartphones. There are thick bezels on the side and a bigger one on the bottom that has the NOA logo on it. There are no physical keys on the lower bezel.
The frame is metallic (aluminum) with matte grey colour in the most part of the sides and hardened plastic in the rest. The metallic part has three silver joints – another pleasant detail. In the right side there are two metallic buttons, one large for the volume control and one orange in colour, for the power/lock button. Both buttons are niched for better grip. There is a small rattling noise and partial movement when you move your fingers on them but nothing serious to complain about. I would prefer the volume button to be larger for ease of use however. In the left side there is a metallic button – used for the camera – and the SIM/SDcard hybrid tray. Same rattling noise and partial movement with the specialised button here. On the top there is a covered port for the 3.5 mm audio jack. On the lower part you will find the covered USB type C port and a noise cancellation microphone. The microphone is in the lower left back inside a double holed grille.
The back panel is made from hardened plastic and it’s the most interesting part of this rugged smartphone. We can see a design of two notches each having orange coloured dots. The rest looks and feels like a hardened leather cover was sawn in. In the center top we can see in a vertical position the two camera lenses and the fingerprint sensor. On the right side of the two lenses we can see the Dual LED flash light. In the center there is sticker with the IMEI numbers and the S/N – you can remove it of course. Bellow there is the NOA logo, IP68 mark, “Designed in EU” logo, CE marking and the microphone.
The rounded frame and the leather textured back panel allows for an excellent grip on the phone. The is no bulge on the camera set. The joins between alla materials is perfect. The leathered texture back and the orange details present a mix of sport/luxury design we have never seen before. NOA has a good design department and they are not cutting any corners in their Rugged line.
NOA Hummer 2019 – Hardware
The protection is the main selling point of any rugged phone. Hummer 2019 is build on IP68 standards. That is officially protection from “contact with harmful dust” and “Protection from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter”. You can’t find a better IP rating on phones. MIL-STD-810 stands for a “MILitary STandarD” used in the United States. For certification with this standard, the resistance of the devices tested to extreme conditions to which they may be subjected during their life cycle emphasized. This standard establishes testing methods that replicate the effects of environmental stress on devices. MIL-STD-810G is the latest standard – 31 October 2008- and it was the most serious and detailed change in the standard, focusing on shock and vibration resistance tests. Hummer has this standard too. This rugged smartphone has the top level in protection standards, thus it can guarantee that it will keep working under all conditions.
The screen has a 5.5 inch IPS INCELL panel. It has an HD+ resolution (720 x 1440) with 293 ppi and 67% screen to body ratio. The display is bright and text is visible under bright sun. It is visible under the midday sun but not as much as I wanted. Viewing angles are excellent. The display is probably made from the same manufacturer as N10, AU Optronics Corp., a Taiwanese company, reputed for its quality products.
This smartphone comes with the MediaTek MTK6739 chipset. It is an 4-core processor with 4 Cortex-A53 cores working at a frequency of 1.5GHz. This is a power efficient SoC. Along comes a 3800 mAh battery and the combination is guaranteed to keep the phone on for many days in case of need. GPU is GE8100. The SoC is supported by 3 GB RAM and 16GB of ROM memory. Internal storage can be increased using a SDcard for up to 128GB more storage.
This is a rugged phone to use when working outside, on camping, on military or as a daily tool in fire brigades or police. It is not designed for gaming or media playback. All the extras – and this phone has a lot of extras – are there to make daily usage easier. Having that said, Hummer 2019 focuses in protection and user’s needs when outdoors. It has an excellent signal reception either with 4G/LTE or 3G. Connectivity is great. GSM:850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz, UMTS: 900, 2100 MHz, LTE (FDD): 800, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz so this means that the phone is an excellent companion for your travels. Obviously, it has Bluetooth and NFC, while the latter is not found in many medium price range devices so it is a welcomed plus. Wifi allows the device to be connected to 802.11 b/g/n and can be used as a WiFi Hotspot.
It supports dual SIM functionality with two nano-SIMs or a nano-SIM and the aforementioned microSD card. The smartphone has a good sensor pack with GPS (A-GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, GPS), Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity Sensor and FM Radio. Navigation works fine with satellites being found fast and having a good precision. Audio is good both during calls and while music playback. It is not very loud but the sound is clear without any significant distortion.
Call quality is excellent and Skype video calls are good without any issues. Selfie cam has no LED, so keep in mind to have a light source near, when you want to make a video call.
Hummer 2019 has a double camera in the back with a main 13MP sensor and a 2MP for depth perspective. It is not advertised in the official page because it is a simple set for keeping memories and not participating in any photography contests. Same applies for the selfie-cam that has an 8MP sensor. The camera application has all the basic stuff you expect these days. Photos and videos in daylight are viewable. In low light… well you need to find some strong light to get a mediocre picture.
There is a Li-Pol, non removable, 3800 mAh battery. Along with the SoC and the small HD+ display, the battery provides up to two days of medium usage, or even more when outdoors without internet. The 5V charger takes about an hour and forty minutes to fully charge the battery.
NOA Hummer 2019 – Software
The operating system found in the smartphone is stock Android 8.1 using a black theme. I don’t know whether Hummer 2019 will be updated to Android 9 Pie. Last security patch is from March 2019. I had no OTA update and I have no idea whether this smartphone is to be updated constantly or at all.
Face Unlock works properly, even in low light environment if you’ll keep the phone steady. Face Unlock is not a 100% safe method to use and I prefer the fast and reliable fingerprint sensor. I am not happy with the speed of both the biometric sensors. I had the same issue in N10 and I think this is a project to work on for NOA.
Multitasking is minimal. The quad processor is energy efficient and not for media consuming of gaming. Benchmarks have very poor results as you can see.
Gaming considering the SoC is doable with low graphic settings. I tried Asphalt 9 and PUGB mobile, graphics, sound and lag makes the experience enjoyable only when you want to kill some time. Phone gets a bit warm during gaming.
NOA Hummer 2019 – Conclusion
Hummer 2019 is a budget rugged phone. As NOA likes with all of its portfolio, it is elegant having beautiful small details. It looks great outside however, I have to admit it.
It is perfect for working outdoors, or for military service, police and fire brigade personnel and people that enjoy nature. This is not the phone that you will worry about when passing over a deep river on foot, or having in the a sandy beach under a scorching sun (40C) during your summer holidays. It will work when you will need it.
While having to do with a low-end hardware you can use your social apps plus you can kill some time gaming, but only basic stuff. GPS and radio are good while keeping us company and battery is perfectly sized for the job. Camera is for basic usage only, so don’t expect too much from it.
It costs €149,00 in the official store, an excellent price for a IP68, MIL-STD-810G smartphone. If you’re in the market for an affordable, rugged smartphone then you should really have a look at it.