So Digital TV Phones are a thing now, thanks to Starmobile. Read this to know if it would make a good new phone.
Fun Stuff | By Trixie Reyna on July 25, 2015

Thanks to apps like HOOQ, Asia’s new video-on-demand service available on Globe Telecom, subscribers can enjoy unlimited online streaming access and an offline viewing option of top Hollywood and international movie and television content through any device—be it your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. But, not all devices are created equal—a lot of smartphones have too tiny screens and poor resolution. And what if you’re not a Globe subscriber (sob) and are not subscribed to apps like HOOQ?

UP Max Angled

That’s where Starmobile comes in. One of the country’s most innovative mobile brands introduces the country’s first ever line of digital TV phones that let you enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows, be it through apps like HOOQ or—better—FREE, cable-quality TV on the go. These three new, affordable mobile hybrids allow you to watch Digital TV (DTV) channels for FREE anytime and anywhere DTV services are available.

You can choose from the big-screen KNIGHT Vision (P9,990), the slender UP Vision (P5,990), and the big battery UP Max (P7,490), which Starmobile let me borrow for a week so I can get a first-hand experience of their latest model.

Fun features of the UP Max

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The UP Max is built to outlast its older siblings Knight Vision and UP Vision, thanks to its ultra-amped up 5000mAH battery, which is the largest on any smartphone currently on the market. This was great news for me because I have too many horror stories of BOTH my phones (not Starmobile) conking out on me just when I needed them most—especially since I often forget to charge my power banks, hahaha! I use my phones as camera, voice recorder, and a means to update my social media accounts, so better mobile battery power is VITAL to my productivity. With the UP Max you can enjoy up to 10 hours DTV time, 24 hours talk time, and 41.25 days on standby mode supposedly (I only had the phone for a week and I always used it, so there was no way to test this last claim).

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At 9.6mm—the slimmest for a phone with a 5000mAh battery—its design remains sleek and ergonomically perfect in the palm. It’s actually one of the first things I noticed and liked about it. I really like it’s size—not too big that I worry it will topple out of my hand (something I fear with other bigger smartphones sometimes), but bigger than my two smartphones, so watching videos here is way better. The phone comes with a travel charger and Micro USB cable. It also comes with a DTV antenna dongle that you can simply remove when you’re not watching TV.

UP Max ID Black

It has a good weight at 175g—not too light so as to make me worry that it’s easy to break, but definitely not heavy either. It comes in two colors: white with gold framing and black with silver framing.

UP Max ID White

This Android Lollipop-powered phone also comes with an enhanced user interface, better app compatibility, and improved security features, including mobile anti-theft technology and data protection. You can also instantly restore apps you’re using upon powering up your device.

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The UP Max also comes with a 13MP Sony IMX 135 with EXMOR RS sensor, which means you can snap photos in low-light and have them come out well-lit and clear.

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This was a photo I took of the UP Max in low lighting.

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This was how the photo I shot using the UP Max looked in the same lighting.

The video feature is great for capturing moments with friends and family, as well as beautiful travel experiences.

Even if you’re not a TV addict, you’ll still get a lot out of the UP Max. Gamers will love the responsiveness of the system as well as the clear, vibrant HD screen. It’s something people who download a lot of videos will get a kick out of, too, apart from the huge memory available for use (1GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, expandable up to 32GB Micro SD). More than TV shows, I actually prefer to watch downloaded movies on my phone when waiting for my flight or just killing time. It’s great to have a bigger screen since sometimes my boyfriend and I watch movies together on my phone. Audio is also loud and clear. The box contains earphones with mic.

If there’s anything I think it can improve, it’s the flimsy back cover—I thought I would break it when I was trying to remove it to put my SIM card in; thank God I didn’t. But then again, it’s not as if taking out the back cover is something you would do often after you have put your SIM in, right?

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Besides, it also comes with a clear gel protective case (great for people like me who always drop their phones and who toss them carelessly in their bags). Speaking of SIMs, it’s dual SIM, with provision for Regular and Micro Dual 3G switching. The screen is also scratch-resistant as it’s made with Dragontail technology, meant to withstand scratches from keys and coins, keeping it always looking new. Even so, the box also contains a screen protector pa!

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Why should we want a DTV Phone anyway?

1. Mobile viewing makes TV a solo affair.

Because you can now watch your favorite TV channels on your mobile through Starmobile, it means you don’t have to fight for control of the remote control whenever your favorite show is on air.

2. Digital recording spreads viewing times out.

Primetime may not be prime any longer as real-time recording functions on Starmobile digital TV phones mean that you can wait until later in the evening or even another day entirely before you watch a TV show you’ve been meaning to catch. That frees up your social life so you don’t have to make the decision between finding out what happens on the season finale of your favorite show and meeting your barkada for dinner.

3. ’Anytime, anywhere’ means quality TV programming can and should be 24/7.

If you’re channel surfing in the wee hours of the morning these days, you’ll often find channels replaying old (sometimes very, very old) episodes of their shows. But with the Starmobile DTV phones, now you can watch your shows in bed even without a TV in your room, and you can record shows you might not be able to watch when they air.

The UP Max, UP Vision, and KNIGHT Vision are now available in Starmobile Stores and Kiosks nationwide. To learn more, visit the Starmobile website.

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