Sunday, 2 October 2011

Great News!MediaTek has released a new platform and the first MT65x3 based smartphones are now appearing. This review will focus on the G11i, a clone of HTC Incredible S, featuring the new MT6513 chipset.

  • Chipset: MediaTek MT6513 (AMR11 650 MHz + PowerVR SGX531 GPU)
  • Operating System:
    • Android 2.3.4
  • Memory:
    • RAM - 512 + 64 MB
    • ROM - 512 MB
    • Expansion slot - micro SD memory card, supporting up to 32 GB
  • Size: 120 x 64 x 11,7 mm
  • Weight: 140 g
  • Screen: 4.0 inch WVGA, 480 x 800, Sharp LCD, Capacitive Screen
  • Network:
    • Quad Band GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
    • GPRS / EDGE support
  • Color: Black
  • GPS:
    • Built-in SiRF III chipset
    • A-GPS (assisted GPS) feature
  • Connectivity:
    • Bluetooth 2.1 (EDR + A2DP)
    • Wi-Fi adapter (IEEE 802.11 b/g)
    • micro USB 2.0
  • Camera:
    • Rear - 8 mega pixels with auto focus and led flash
    • Front - 1.3 mega pixels
  • Others:
    • Dual SIM Dual Standby
    • Gravity sensor
    • Proximity sensor
    • Light sensor
    • FM Radio

Design and construction

G11i is a very well built copy of Incredible S, which is distinctive due to its contoured and unmistakable rear patterned design. Since its capacitive touch buttons aren't printed on, we are presented with a completely clean looking surface.

Constructed out of black plastic, its soft touch feel all around enables it to better repel dirt, while providing that adequate firm grip as we hold it.

Thanks to the front-facing 1.3-megapixel above its display, we’re given the opportunity of video calling and shooting self-portraits more easily.

The narrow looking volume rocker is positioned on the left edge of the phone, but despite its flushed appearance, it actually exhibits a reasonable tactile response. Also, the microUSB port is located on the same side as well for charging and data connection. Meanwhile, the top edge plays host to both the 3.5mm headset jack and dedicated power button – the latter of which is recessed, but still provides a moderate tactile feel when pressed down.

On the back side, we find the 8-megapixel auto-focus camera with dual-LED flash and speaker grill located towards the top edge of the handset.

Placed squarely in the middle of the bottom edge, there is a small notch that allows you to easily yank off the rear cover – thus giving you access to the SIM card slots, battery and microSD card slot.

The two SIM slots can only be accessed after removing the battery. As far as it concerns to the micro SD slot, it's easily accessible (while rear cover is removed) and as it can be seen, the memory card is hot-swappable.

Display quality and touch-screen

As well as with the previous phones that I've reviewed, G11i also brings a Sharp LCD screen, so quality is preety much the same. 

It features a capacitive display with a WVGA (480 x 800) resolution. The display produces some rich looking colors that retain their luster since it offers some great viewing angles. During my tests, I had zero problems in trying to view it in outdoor conditions with the glaring sun present.

At first, some might be surprised to find a clean looking front surface, but turning on its display, its capacitive touch buttons come to life. Interestingly enough, they don't appear to be painted on, but rather, they seem to be nothing more than LEDs underneath there.


From the moment G11i is turned on, we're presented with the new Gingerbread interface. One of the features that can be noticed from the start is the new place for shortcuts on the notification panel, giving the user a fast access for brightness and display timeout setting, enabling or disabling auto rotation, Wi-Fi, BT, GPS and data connection, as well as alternating between sound profiles.

And just when I thought that dual SIM integration on HD9 was good and couldn't get any better, that's when I got amazed with the refreshed interface. In call history screen, the list of missed / received / made calls can now be checked with the indication of the name of the SIM. In addition, you can filter calls by SIM.

Apart from the new dialer interface, it also brings a smart dialing feature which works wonderfully, enabling you to numerically enter a name, even if it's incomplete (i.e. 8632 for Vodafone, as seen on the picture) and  displaying all matches instantly. With this new dialer, it doesn't exist anymore the two call buttons to choose which SIM should establish the call. Instead, the green call button can immediately start the call when set to a certain SIM card or open a pop up which let's you choose it every time.

It's hard not to accept that this new user interface was definitely thoroughly developed.

Many new options can now be set under the dual SIM management menu. The user can edit the name of each SIM and also set the associated background color that will appear in call log as well as in the notification bar (behind the network strength bars).

Other than that, also in the same menu, the user has the possibility to set a default card to establish all outgoing calls or set it to always ask, thus enabling the pop up that can be seen some images above showing the dialer (with the options of which SIM card should initiate the call). The same thing can be set for messaging and data connection purposes.

Messaging application was updated as well and conversations are now displayed inside color balloons.

Colors have been now added to the icons present in the settings menu, making user experience more eye-appealing. The phone sports all the normal sensors, such as proximity, light and gravity.

It also natively supports portable Wi-Fi hotspot feature, letting the user share data connection over a wireless network.

Just like on previous MT6516 based smartphones, in the new MT65x3 platform, the feature to schedule power on / off is still present. Again, this feature must be evidenced because it can't be found in many smartphones.

Given that G11i is a clone, people might be worried that not all features work, but that is not true. The user can achieve the full Android user experience. It features full Android Market access, provided by the latest version of the application.

The latest version of Google Maps is installed as well.

Other than that, Skype (version works like it is supposed to and there's already modified version of the Adobe Flash Player application working on ARMv6 devices.

In terms of GSM reception, G11i performs greatly and beats any other clones. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to test a call in a place where I normally couldn't establish it, while using my HD9. Sound quality is clear enough and microphone quality seems to be pretty decent because people tell me that they can hear me perfectly.

Photos and videos

Camera interface provides enough manual controls, such as the ability to modify exposure, contrast, saturation, to enable the user to perfectly capture specific shots in all of their glory. And finally, its vast mix of effects will entertain just about anyone who wants to add a sprinkling of quirkiness or fun to their shots.

When switched to video recording mode, it can be noticed that effects can be applied as well. The maximum video quality is 480p.

MT6513 chipset and benchmarks

MT6513 chipset features a 650MHz ARM11 processor as well a PowerVR SGX531 graphical processor, thus providing support for advanced 3D graphics.

Although I'm not a big fan of benchmarking applications, I just decided to do some benchmarks in order to show the huge differences of G11i when compared to HD9 (MT6513 versus MT6516).

 G11i benchmark scores

HD9 benchmark scores

HD9 wasn't even able to run all the 3D rendering tests, while G11i behaved pretty well. With the same microSD memory card (class 10), the full write speeds can only be reached with G11i.

It's obvious that the comparison between MT6513 and the old MT6516 is not that fair, but in order to see how great the MT6513 performance is, here you have also the benchmark results of HD958 (which is based on MSM7227 chipset):

HD958 benchmark scores

I wasn't expecting to see such a difference between G11i and HD958, but the fact is that there are notorious differences between MT6513 and MSM7227. Not much in terms of CPU (only 650 MHz against 600 MHz), but specially in terms of 3D graphics. The GPU integrated on MT65x3 - PowerVR SGX531 - completely outperforms the one used in MSM7227 - Adreno 200.


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