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Starmobile Octa Price, Specs, Unboxing, Antutu Benchmark Score, Key Features, Release Date, Initial Impressions

Last Wednesday - March 19, 2014 - at the Satin Room of the posh Seda Hotel at The Fort in Taguig City, local electronics company Happy Man Philippines launched its stunning early 2014 flagship Android smartphone, the Starmobile Octa, along with a trio of cool entry-level and midrange tablets.

Starmobile Octa

As I shared on TechPinas' Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts last night, I was very lucky to have won a unit - one of the first out of the factory - during the event via the #MakeItGr8 raffle. Thanks, Starmobile!

Seeing Octa for the first time during the keynote of Mr. Elijah Mendoza, Starmobile's Product Manager, I was instantly smitten by the device. Who won't be? Now, I can say I'm a proud Octa owner and, needless to say, I'm a very Happy Man! I'm just glad that I'm one first to unbox this much-talked-about phone, to get its benchmark scores, and to play games on it.

Starmobile Octa

TP Friends, this is how the device - which I know a lot of you tried to name when Happy Man ran a 'name the phone' social media contest earlier this week - looks in the flesh.

Starmobile Octa

As you can see, Starmobile Octa flaunts a very svelte and elegant design language highlighted by the aluminum front plate framing the 5-inch Full HD IPS OGS display underneath the very thin scratch resistant Asahi Dragontrail glass. Although the non-removable back cover is made of plastic, it nonetheless still has that sleek metallic look that perfectly complements the real metal elements and accents on the device including the power button, volume rocker, and the rim for the camera module. Design-wise, I'd say Octa looks a lot like the gorgeous flagship HTC One from last year.

Starmobile Octa
Starmobile Octa supports Dual microSIM Dual Standby Dual 3G.

"We want to show Pinoy consumers that a local company can come up with products that can compete with that of international giants in terms of looks, features, and internal specifications. Starmobile Octa's front aluminum frame, for example, was crafted using CNC technology, which is very precise because it is all done using a computer," Mr. Joey Uy, CEO of Happy Man Philippines, told me during the event.

Starmobile Octa

The handset sure looks great but it is also feature-packed. You get an 18 MegaPixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash and BSI sensor for improved low light performance at the back, an 8 Megapixel fixed focus front cam with wide angle lens, BSI sensor, and LED flash (Yes, it's a unique feature it shares with Starmobile Muse) for bright selfies even in zero lighting conditions, and Full HD 30fps video recorder. The device is powered by a Li-Ion 2,300 mAh battery pack that's said to deliver around 10 hours of TalkTime and 10 days of Standby.

Starmobile Octa
Starmobile Octa comes with a custom camera app featuring various shooting modes, including Dual Camera, 3D Shot, and Panaroma.

As for connectivity, Octa supports WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, 3G HSPA+, NFC, Miracast, USB-On-The-Go, and MHL. As I've explained earlier on TP, NFC allows you to connect a phone instantly to other NFC enabled devices - including Bluetooth speakers, tablets, and other smartphones - with but a touch or tap; You may also use this to make transactions or to run commands and turn on features using NFC stickers, among other things.

Starmobile Octa

Miracast, on the other hand, is a screencasting standard done via Wi-Fi Direct connections in a manner similar to Bluetooth. USB-On-The-Go, of course, lets you quickly connect a flash drive to your phone and transfer files using a cable. Finally, MHL - which stands for Mobile High-Definition Link - allows the user to instantly connect a smartphone or tablet to a larger display using an MHL cable.

Starmobile Octa

Just from looking at and studying Starmobile Octa's design and multimedia features, one can already call it a true winner. But, for me, what truly makes this handset special are the components found inside its shell. Just like the best-selling powerhouse Starmobile Diamond X1, Octa - as its very name suggests - runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system with an Octa Core 1.7 GHz ARM Cortex A7 CPU and 700 MHz Mali 450 MP4 GPU based MediaTek MT6592 chipset and has 2 GB of RAM for efficient multitasking. Compared to the X1 phablet, though, the 2014 flagship has a far larger internal storage, 32 GB to be exact, albeit it is non-expandable as Octa lacks a microSD card slot.

Starmobile Octa

Nevertheless, the combination of these innards are good enough to give Starmobile Octa a very high Antutu Benchmark Score of 28,288. As you can see in the comparative bar chart above, this mark puts it ahead of the Korean Giant's 2013 flagship smartphone, Samsung Galaxy S4, which still costs far, far more than Happy Man's current top-of-the-line handset. Thumbs up, Starmobile!

Starmobile Octa
Check out the cute and light MIUI Skin, which you can now download for free via Google Play Store, on my Starmobile Octa! Looks neat, right?

Starmobile Octa

According to Starmobile, the company is doing its best to be more environment-friendly by using recyclable materials in making the packaging of its devices and also by greatly reducing the size - and hence, the carbon-footprint - of these boxes.

Starmobile Octa

During my meeting with our friends from Happy Man following the launch of Starmobile Diamond X1 a few weeks ago, they told me that by decreasing the size of the product's packaging, they were able to lower the cost of production and shipment and therefore, also lower the price of the device for the benefit of consumers. I believe the same strategy was employed for Starmobile Octa.

Starmobile Octa

Inside the box, you will find the Starmobile Octa unit itself, the charger, microUSB to USB connector cable, standard earphones, the start-up guide, and the warranty certificate. No user manual, you ask? Well, you may access the soft copy anytime you want on the phone itself.

TP Friends, the retail package that you can now purchase nationwide at all Starmobile Concept Stores and Kiosks for Php 16,990 also includes a free battery charger with Bluetooth speaker, which costs around Php 3,000. Wireless Charging, previously supported only by ultra-expensive high-end phones by international companies - is also one of the exciting main selling points of this flagship release.

Starmobile Octa
I've said this before and I'll say it again, one thing I totally appreciate about Happy Man is that they always print the complete and detailed technical specifications of their products right on the packaging. "We want to be transparent. We want consumers to know exactly what they are getting -- more so now when a lot of them are becoming more and more techie because of local tech blogs that they read everyday," a friend from Starmobile told me.

TP Friends, again, Starmobile Octa is now available across the country. You can get it in two colors: Red, which is - obviously - the color of the unit that I own, and Black. I invite you to give Octa a test run at a Starmobile Concept Store in a mall near you and let me know your thoughts on the flagship.

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