While dual cameras are not technically a new innovation in the mobile phone world, 2016’s Apple iPhone 7 Plus kicked off a trend where every phone company wanted to put two cameras on the back of their phones. This year we have already seen local smartphone maker Helio’s S25 phone with dual cameras but that device is more of a premium mid range offering. If you want dual cameras at a more affordable price then the latest WE smartphone is the perfect for you. WE S1 is priced at Tk/-14,490.
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Design & Build
The phone has an ergonomic shape and a sort of modern look. The whole body is made of plastic except for a small portion around the dual camera lenses. The finish of the body looks like metal from a distance. It is a bit grippy and does not attract fingerprints. The phone weighs 158 grams and is 9.25mm thin.
As the back is not removable, there is a hybrid SIM tray on the left-hand side. This tray accommodates a microSIM along with a microSD card or a nano-SIM. The plastic power and volume buttons are housed on the opposite side whereas the microUSB port and 3.5mm headphone jack can be found on the top of the device. The single speaker is found on the bottom right and is adequately loud albeit a bit tinny.
The S1 has a physical home button which also acts as the fingerprint scanner. This is an always-ON scanner so you do not need to press the button itself to unlock the device. This is not a super fast fingerprint scanner but it is quite accurate. I seldom had any misreads. Even though the S1 has a home button, it does not have capacitive keys. The phone uses software navigation keys along with the home button so you get the best of both worlds.
The 5.5inch 720p IPS display is great for content consumption. I spent a good amount of time watching YouTube videos and browsing through web pages on the S1 and not once did I feel the screen was lacking. As 2.5D Panda King Glass is used on this device, it looks more appealing than your average smartphone. The colours look slightly warmer and the saturation is higher than normal making for a very vivid experience. Viewing angles on the screen were great and the brightness varied over a wide enough range for comfortable use in the dark or under the sun.
WE keeps the software in their phone very clean. By “clean” I mean to say that the user interface looks and feels mostly like stock Android. WE does put some of their own apps on their phones but these are there so you can use their cloud and WiFi features. The build of Android 6.0 Marshmallow on the S1 runs very nicely and the overall experience is smooth. While many will point out the lack of customization options available, the clean setup and fluidity should be worthy trade-offs for most people.
The dual cameras on the S1 will certainly attract some customers. Fortunately, this feature can be used to produce some good looking images with nice bokeh. However, it must be noted that the effect looks most realistic when applied very slightly. Using the bokeh effect too much makes images look artificial.
The cameras on the back are 13MP Sony IMX258 sensors whereas the front camera is a 5MP Samsung 5E8 sensor. In daylight situations, both cameras succeed in producing attractive images with nice sharpness and punchy colours. In low light situations, the image quality is expectedly noisy.
While the cameras perform well, in general, the lack of a manual mode is an omission I’m not too happy with. These sensors have a lot of potentials which is not made effective use of with the barebones camera software.
The S1 uses a 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6737T CPU with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of built-in storage and a 3,000mah battery. Battery life averaged around a day. Usually, there would be around 20% power left at the end of each day. The internal specifications are good enough to comfortably play most modern games. Check the gameplay in the video review to get an idea of how the device performs. All the games were played on default settings. There were some instances of frame skipping and stuttering but not to the point where it affected the overall experience.
At Tk/-14,490 WE is not selling you just a phone, they are offering a unique package where buyers get 100GB of free cloud storage and access to WE’s network of high-speed WiFi. The S1 does admirably in all aspects and the dual cameras are sure to draw some attention. The good display and image sensors are some of the highpoints of this device. At Tk/-14,490 the WE S1 is the most affordable way one can get a dual camera smartphone.
Full specifications: http://www.we.net.bd/smartphones/s1/