When the world, especially India, is being swept away by affordable smartphones with decently powerful features, but there still exist a list of devices offering average specifications but more than pleasant user experience at a budget pricing. Such is the handset recently launched by the iBall, an Indian smartphone vendor, it’s called Andi Weber 5.5H. The device was launched in the country for Rs 7499, but now it can be purchased at around Rs 6000. The iBall company doesn’t have a good online presence in terms of selling handsets online exclusive, as their devices are mostly targeted to the Tier-III cities and can be purchased in offline retail stores.
We have had this smartphone for more than a month now and why we are particularly interested in reviewing this handset is because even with average specification it offers a kind of user experience that would question the ability of other wildly popular budget-friendly handsets, such as Yu Yunique, Samsung Galaxy ON5, Lenovo A6000 Plus and few more to name. Sometimes people blindly go for the better specifications models and not think twice, and they ended up regretting the decision later. We are here to warn you about that situation. First you check our review of the above handsets and then get back to this detailed review of the Andi Weber 5.5H.
This handset might be the most stylish contender in the budget segment; company has done an excellent job in making it an attractive device. The Weber smartphone comes with a stunning gold color and it shines a lot, I mean really it does. From a considerable distance, you can’t really tell whether one is holding a premium device or not. Concealing its affordable pricing with premium styling, the Andi Weber 5.5H sports a metal frame with accurate finish. With its 5.5-inch display, the device isn’t most compact in hands, but it is rather comfortable to hold. The metal architecture can be felt once you hold the device in your hand. It’s not the sturdiest phone, but it can be said that it has a solid build.
The brand has smartly integrated the antennas on the edges, in a form of dual bands on top and bottom edges, as well as it can be seen going around the corners. What’s more interesting is that it comes with a bezel-less display, well, it isn’t really correct, but at first look, it does seem like. With a little trick, the company managed to make its display look bezel-less, but in fact, it is a black layer surrounding actual screen. The bezels on top and bottom take up a lot of space, and thus it is quite longer in size. The top bezel houses a camera module, earpiece, and set of sensors while the bottom edge has capacitive buttons, which unfortunately doesn’t have backlit light. Meaning, you would have to struggle to operate the device in dark light conditions.
The back side of the device is particularly beautiful, and it improves the overall appeal of the device. The back panel is textured, and thus, it’s quite easy to hold it, and you don’t have to worry about fingerprint marks. On the top side, you can see camera module, which is unfortunately protruding, it is accompanied by the large rectangular shaped LED flash. Just below that is the iBall Logo branding. Coming to the bottom, the loudspeaker can be seen in the bottom corner, it isn’t the loudest but does the job pretty well. Once you open the back panel, you can peek into what is inside the device. As you can see, it has a removable battery and just above that there are three slots, two SIM slot while one is for microSD card. Below that is the loudspeaker, which is covered with mesh. It can be seen that company has organized the hardware neatly.
Moving on with the talk of the ports, the top edge houses audio jack, as well as microUSB port for charging and data transfer, while the bottom edge has a microphone. The right edge has a volume rocker keys and power button, which felt pretty strong. The left edge is kept empty, so it’s quite clean design as the company keeps it minimalist. Overall, the design of this handset is pretty solid and can be called as one of the nicely designed handsets in the budget range.
The display on this handset has a large real estate of 5.5-inch, and it makes perfect sense for consumers interested in using handsets for viewing pleasures such as gaming and movies. The market presence of budget friendly devices with such screen size is pretty rare, I mean it’s not like you won’t find such displays in the market, but it’s that with such quality. Despite the low display resolution of 720p it manages to offer good color outputs, and well a pixel density of 267 PPI (Pixel Per Inch) isn’t bad. The screen allows decent viewing angles, but when it comes to sunlight legibility, it’s not a good display as hardly anything is visible under direct sunlight. Although, you will see some improvements in visibility once you increase the brightness levels to full.
While talking about whether the display is fingerprint magnet or not, well, I got more good news, it isn’t. So, use it as much you want without worrying to leave fingerprint marks. What it’s missing is an LED notification light, which means you have to check device every time. Although, it might be too much to expect from this budget handset, but we would have loved a Moto Display like feature, where you could get a peak at notifications. Moreover, the company hasn’t specified on their official website whether its display is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass or not. It does seem to have some type of coating that is clearly visible, but I’m not sure it would offer protection like Gorilla Glass does. Overall, it is a handset with a large real estate but rather an average quality display. If you don’t care much about super crisp quality and are into large display screen, then this probably should be your option.
The smartphone manufacturer’s these days has ante up their game in terms of the interface. The Android skins these days have a UI with no app drawer and offer an intuitive experience while some still prefer the interface with app drawer. And that is the case here, you get an app drawer, which can be accessed once you tap on the iBall icon, i.e., menu icon to open all the apps installed on the device. Now this isn’t the cleanest interfaces out there on the market right now, but it has got a smooth touch for your daily operations. Once you unlock and jump to the home screen, there’s nothing familiar you would encounter on this interface, all the icons have been changed, you would even see an old style quick settings widget, which I haven’t seen for a long time.
Talking about the pre-installed apps on the system, it is heavily loaded with tons of apps; you wouldn’t have ever seen or heard of. Well, that’s alarming! Not exactly, it’s just a part of a collaboration with the partners for mutual benefits, of course. But a device with only 8GB of internal storage and moreover, only 4GB of internal storage available for the user, then my friend it’s not a good scenario. Although, the good news is that you don’t have to root the device to uninstall these apps. You just drag them from app drawer to the home screen and then throw it into the uninstalling section. You would have to do this to every app until you get clear of all unnecessary apps if you wish to have a good amount of storage space. But you also have a second option here; the device, fortunately, supports a microSD card slot, which means the storage space can be expanded.
Unfortunately, the device doesn’t support an OTG drive, which is an on-the-go USB storage drive. We can only expect so much from a budget smartphone that is targeted at the offline market. Most of the people don’t know what an OTG drive is. For a statement, it is a USB drive which can be inserted into a microUSB 2.0 port. Moving on to the multitasking, the device can handle the average amount of multitasking, which more than an average use would ask. It is not meant for heavy multitasking and therefore, we didn’t expect much out of it. But anyway, it still outperformed our expectations and was able to switch swiftly between a couple of apps that were running in the background. The device has a 1GB of RAM out of that around 600MB was available, while the system was using around 100MB and apps running in the background were using around 200MB. That looks like a fairly managed device since the RAM availability is good. I’m not biased, but even with less internal storage and low RAM, the device was able to offer a decent overall user experience on its custom interface based on the Android Lollipop 5.1.
Hardware & Performance
Under the hood, the iBall Andi Weber packs a MediaTek processor, which is not surprising considering the affordable price point, it is a Quad-core chipset clocking at 1.3GHz. Company hasn’t shared much detail about it on their website, but we know its MT6580, which is in direct competition with Snapdragon 410, Qualcomm’s chipset. Originally released only at year, the SoC supports decently powerful hardware specification. For graphics processing it has a Mali-400MP, which offers accelerated creation of images that are to be outputted on the display. What it means is that it provides separate graphics processing unit that should be enough to power games and media with intense graphic content. The processor is supported by a 1GB of RAM, which might be quite low according to the current standards, but in this case it seems to be sufficient to offer a good user experience.
The gaming on this handset isn’t as joyful as it is in most of the budget-friendly handsets and don’t even think about switching between a number of games. Since the device holds a lot less amount of RAM, you can’t expect it to perform to such standards with low hardware specs. The device heated up a bit, after couple minutes of gaming; you could say it’s nothing that the device can’t handle. Anyway, it’s not a gaming device, so not much sense is continuously playing games on this handset. For games like Riptide GP2, there were little lags noticeable, while the device wouldn’t dare to go through games like GTA V and Modern Kombat 5, as they’re pretty graphic intense games. Though, it did manage to play Dead Trigger 2, with fewer lags than I expected, considering it lagged on the Riptide GP2.
Moving on to the benchmarking tools, we tested out the potential of the device with two of the most popular benchmarking apps, Antutu, and Vellamo. For Antutu, the score was around 24652, which can be divided into 3D, UX, CPU and RAM aspects. While the Vellamo scores are calculated in three separate aspects and are not combined, so the scores for aspects Multi-core, metal and browsing were 1235, 795 and 2093, respectively. These are not the highest scores, but they do seem to be on par with most of the budget handsets that comes with Snapdragon processor. So, that should be convincing, a Mediatek SoC having the potential of a Qualcomm’s chipset. We did the real life browsing test as well, and wasn’t much surprised that large real estate came in handy, as well as the Zoom-in and Zoom-out operations worked fine. Overall, the device isn’t as powerful as we expected, but in this range, we can’t really expect more than average.
The camera package on this handset is not an ideal situation you would like to be in, as it has 5-megapixel image sensor on the rear whereas it has 2-megapixel image sensor on the front. But with neat software trick, the company was able to enhance resolution up to 8MP for its rear camera captures and up to 5MP for outputs in the front facing camera. And we were quite surprised to see the results, they yielded. Meanwhile, software trick work in the background, we took the device to spin, to check out how it performs in the natural and artificial light.
We were quite satisfied with the overall results; the focusing is not the most quickest on this camera interface, but it doesn’t let you hanging in there. The white balance and color output was pretty fine while the exposure levels felt overdone. What we liked about captures was that they overall looked pretty neat and detailed, which only matters. But if you zoomed in an even little bit, you’ll see how pixilated they are, because of the low resolution.
Talking about the camera interface, it is filled up with tons of features like gesture capture, Live photo mode, Face beauty mode, panorama mode, and the multi-angle mode is few to count. You could also modify the exposure level, color effect, white balance and change the scene mode, like Night, Sunset, Party, Portrait and among other options. With features like self-timer, zero shutter display and face detection you could easily optimize the app according to your needs.
Moving on with the talk of the video modes, the device is surprisingly capable of shooting up to 1080p videos, all thanks to software enhancements, just as they did with camera resolutions. Meanwhile, you could also shoot timelapse as the company has built the feature in the camera app. You can switch ON or OFF the microphone from the camera app settings, as well as choose the more suitable audio mode from normal and meeting. There is no optical image stabilization, and at this pricing we sure can’t expect that, but it sure does have EIS, an Electronic Image Stabilization. The video quality we shoot was not up to the standard of 1080p, but decent enough to upload on social media channels. While talking about the front facing camera, the hardware is of 2-megapixel resolution, the company has enhanced up to 5-megapixel resolution. It was also good regarding capturing the essence of the object, and by object we mean a person here, because we all take selfies. It’s not the widest and thus don’t expect to fit a lot of members in one capture, but it does capture some good shots. Offering options for face beauty and multi-angle mode when camera app is switched to front, the selfie camera is worthy of your money. Because I haven’t seen much better selfie camera than this in the price, tag this device comes in.
The battery capacity on a large screen is supposed to be at least 3000mAh, but with around 2200mAh battery game on the iBall Weber smartphone is way down the level. We would have at least considered giving its battery B-Plus in terms of capacity, if it was around 2500mAh. For a large screen device, even couple of mAh’s would have mattered. As suspected, the battery life wasn’t good on this handset, but there was some hope, and after couple of tricks, we were able to get a day’s charge on average usage. The standby time wasn’t good either until we did some changes to the system. Overall, the battery life on this handset isn’t the best in this range, but you could definitely make it work if you like.
The connectivity is important of a smartphone, and it kind of lack in some functions that have become basic, even for the budget-friendly handset. The missing piece of feature that we are talking about is the 4G LTE support. The highest network support it has is of 3G HSPA+, which also offer decently fast mobile data and voice call quality. Another set of usual features includes Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, microUSB and Wi-Fi support.
The iBall Andi Weber 5.5H isn’t the best affordable handset that you will come across, but it is rather a nicely design smartphone with large real estate and decently powered chipset to handle daily operations. But it would a stretch to convince one that this smartphone is one of the best affordable handset you could get in offline market in India, well, trust me I’m not. This review was a reflection of what offline market handset can offer against the online exclusively world of smartphones these days. There are tons of options you could opt to go with including, Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime, which has a stamp of Made in India, since when the Chinese brand announced the opening of its production unit in the country. Other handsets that would be competing includes Yu Yunique and Lenovo A6000Plus.