Almost five years ago I got a Nokia N900.
A revolutionary device, even it was released very raw. It quickly became clear that it will remain so, and later Nokia shifted away from Meego and Maemo. So I’ve been looking for a replacement for a couple years now. First I wanted that model, and then that model. Now it became clear that I obviously need an Android phone with a large, full HD screen. First let’s talk about screen size. For me, the bigger, the better. Anything larger that 3 inches is already too bulky to fit in your pockets, so let it be even bigger. I think the biggest practical screen size for a phone is 7″ with slim 16:9 aspect ratio. Ipad mini has a 7″ screen, but with wrong 4:3 aspect ratio, making it so bulky. Moreover, someone talking through a spade no longer looks that weird. 10 years ago when Palm and WinCE were the shit, first smartphones appeared running Windows Mobile. By Qtek by the way, HTC was in deep OEM shit back in the day. First owners speaking via a palm looked really weird. And now everyone got big touchscreen smartphones, so you don’t stick out. The same happens to large, 5″ and over phablets. As more and more people use them, they somehow look less awkward. And this year 5.5 and 6″ inch phones hit the market, I decided to get one of them. Besides a quality and FullHD screen, another vital criteria for me is the price. Sucking so badly with overpriced iphones and then Nokia N900, I don’t want to spend more that 300 bucks for a smartphone ever again. Look, if the current mobile flagship costs say 1000 USD and you will replace it in a year and a half, that means that each month you spend more than 50 bucks just owing the device. For me, this is unacceptable. And even if you try to sell it 18 months after the release, it probably won’t be worth more than third of the original price. So finally my shortlist came to 3 models – LG Nexus 5, the new Alcatel Hero and Lenovo K900. And none of them satisfied me. The screens are not that big, the price is higher than I’m ready to spend, and they have some limitations without clear basis for the strip down: some can’t record voice calls, others lack a SD card slot, some have non-detachable battery. And Lenovo uses Intel Atom, a x86 processor while most of Android world is ARM based. Fuck those experiments at my expense. I had enough of that on N900. I’ll stick with mainstream this time. And then I stumbled upon Iconbit Mercury Q7. 4 core MTK chipset, 6.5″ IPS display FullHD, 2 sim-cards, 1Gb of RAM and 8Gb of storage, expandable via microSD slot. Well, quite nice. RAM could be bigger, but what you gonna do. They announced it at around 400 bucks, but now the price is around 250. I got mine for about 150, which is quite good. Unboxing. Apart from the device itself, also packaged is a shitty 1Amp USB wall charger, an even shittier stereo headset with only one MUTE button. You’d better replace it at once, the Nokia N900 seems to work well. A not so bad USB cable, paperwork and a screen protector. Let’s compare size. This is our hero lying next to a 10″ tablet and an Iphone 5. Well, not that big, even though it measures almost 7″ if you count the frame. The device fits in your average dress pants pocket without any trouble, and doesn’t bother you more than a smaller Iphone. Let’s see what’s under back cover. 2 slots for sim-card and one for microSD. I especially liked that the first sim is microsim, and the second is standard size, so I didn’t have to replace anything. And keeping in mind my recent light dual personality, it’s nice to have dual sim – one number per each of me. The battery is huge, but the capacity is surprisingly low. Dualsim and the enormous screen are power hogs, and the phone won’t last more than a day or two on a single charge. Well, the battery is easily replaceable, perhaps you can find a bigger capacity on the aftermarket. I have two main concerns about the case. First, there’s nowhere to attach a strap, and I like straps! But the main concern is the angled sides, which require long contact connectors. The bundled USB cable is a couple millimeters longer than standard one, and short 3.5mm headphone connector is also blocked by the angled sides. So your existing cables must be cut or replaced, and when you need an emergency charge your friends or coworkers cables may not fit. I don’t know why they designed the case this way. The frame is plastic, just painted to look metal, so can go extreme and just drill out the frame a bit, shouldn’t be hard. Let’s start it up. Well, just Android 4.2. Almost bare Android without much shitty firm bloatware. Don’t mind this video looking a bit slow, it’s just hard to tap icons while looking at the screen through a viewfinder. Believe me, the interface is quite responsive. I really liked the speed of the standard browser. Firefox is not that responsive, but hell, it is not too responsive on any Android device I own. Games also run smoothly. Graphics and screen are really nice. Browsing through PDFs, reading books, reading and what is even more important – writing internet is really convenient on such a big and bright screen. I almost shit my pants when I saw a dead pixel on the screen. It turned out it was just a spot on the wallpaper. The device has standard Android recovery. When you press power and volume down, the service factory engineer menu shows up. Too bad it’s in Chinese. You can translate it of course, but an easier option is to use Mobileuncle – a engineer tool for all MTK based devices. You should have no problems installing custom recovery and making a complete backup of the factory firmware, I already showed how to do that on a MTK device. Root is very easy, you don’t even need a computer. Just download Framaroot, run it, select a similar device and you’ll get SuperSU after next reboot. I don’t even know what else to tell. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments, I’ll do my best to answer. Phone calls are recorded loud and clear, both you and the other end. Some complain about the camera, but for me the image quality is quite good, at least not worse than on my Asus tablet. All sensors are physically present and work good. After deleting Taiwan-tailored GPS satellites almanac, location works good, since the GPS antennas are properly designed – you can see them under the back lid. In general, I’m pleased with the purchase, especially for this great price. And MTK platform looks more and more promising. But it I find a problem, I will surely post it on Youtube, so subscribe to my channel. Get free subscription if you click “subscribe” button within 5 minutes after watching this video.