Vernee, an upcoming smartphone brand from China first come into highlight when the company announced that they would be coming up with a 6GB RAM handset (named Apollo) that will be sporting MediaTek’s Helios X20, the latest flagship chipset from processor manufacturer. Though, the brand has also introduced what appears to a mid-range handset, Vernee Thor, with a quite impressive price tag and the promise of 2 Years warranty for the users residing in China. The company hasn’t revealed their plan to sell this handset outside their homeland, but you can see this handset listed on many e-Commerce websites that ship internationally. So, if you’re interested in this handset, you can grab one. But we recommend you first read this review of the handset. We have been using it as our daily driver since couple days. Let’s dive in shall we.
The device isn’t a full metal blown handset, but has a Titanium Alloy frame, which makes it quite solid in terms of build quality. Honestly, in this price range, you hardly see a handset with such attractive design language. All thanks to the rounded corner construction, it has a comfortable feel in the hand. I can definitely say that it is one of the best handling experiences we have come across among the 5-inch sized handset tested in the past couple months. You get backlit capacitive buttons on the front and a baby skin rubber paint that just feels amazing while holding the device in hand. The Vernee Thor is bound to give you great comfortable user handling the experience. It might not be quite thin at 7.9mm, but with 3D Arc back cover, it fits in your hand comfortably.
We don’t get easily happy with 720p displays, because they generally doesn’t offer good color output, but the 5-inch 720p display on Vernee Thor is pretty good when it comes to the talk of color reproduction. Moreover, it isn’t a fingerprint magnet unlike many handsets in this price range. The viewing angles are also great, which means the sunlight legibility is good as well, although, one has to make sure that brightness level is at the highest in order to see the content in bright sunlight. I wouldn’t say it’s a good for viewing movies, but casual YouTube viewing wouldn’t hurt. It offers a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, which is a 2.5D curved glass. The display uses oncell full laminated setup, which gives display anti-shock strength of up to 9H. Overall, it’s a good 720p display.
The software experience is one of the important factors that we think should be good no matter what. And that’s the philosophy Vernee Thor tries to adopt, as it offers stock Android interface. You’ll see the device runs on the Android Marshmallow 6.0, which is pretty recent stable Android OS. So, it’s a win for a smartphone to offer the latest system OS out of the box. Though there was a disappointment in terms of animation lag, we don’t know if it was because of the low-powered processor, but it was surely there and didn’t quite make user experience wonderful as we hoped for. In terms of the bloatware, you’ll be surprised to see UBER, the ride-sharing app pre-installed on the device.
In fact, it is the only app that is not the default for the stock Android. Well, it is because the company has partnered up with the ride-sharing app and thus the result you see their app pre-loaded on the device. It is only good news, as you don’t have to see bloatware on the device. The internal storage available for the user would be around 10GB, which should be good enough. Though you can expand the storage via microSD card slot, and moreover, it has a support of OTG drive.
Hardware & Performance
The device comes powered with an Octa-core processor, which a MediaTek MT6753, clocking at 1.3GHz. It is accompanied by Mali T-720 GPU and a 3GB of RAM. These days, the smartphone manufacturers are offering 3GB as a standard RAM in the mid-range handset, but that doesn’t mean the handset is a good performer. The MediaTek chipset that you see is not a high-end performer, so we expect an average performance, and that’s why we got. Despite the fact that company was claiming it to be a fast performer, we thought it didn’t handle multitasking or gaming very well. So, Vernee Thor is not a great performer, in my overall experience. But if you’re not looking for multitasking, then it’s pretty fine. The fingerprint sensor is placed on the rear side, which is not really an ideal position for me. Again, it’s a personal choice. Though, the biometric sensor quickly senses the fingerprints and unlocks the device quite fast.
The camera package includes 13-megapixel image sensor on the rear, which is accompanied by LED Flash. The company hasn’t shared the detail about what sensor they have used, but they do specific that it’s a CMOS type. The rear module has an aperture number of f/2.0, which is in line with other 13MP modules in the segment. Regarding the performance in all three lighting conditions- natural, artificial and low light, it didn’t pan out to be as good as we expected. The camera app interface isn’t that feature rich as we would have liked. There’s just not much to play around with. The video recording capability of the device is up to 1080p, which wasn’t quite good as well. The front-facing module is of 5-megapixel resolution, I won’t say that it is a good selfie snapper, but it captures decent images. Though I wouldn’t recommend you to take selfies at the dinner table with your family; it will disappoint you.
Battery & Connectivity
The battery capacity of the handset is at 2800mAh, which should have been fine, considering the low-powered specification such as display and chipset. We got a decent battery backup of up to 1 day even for more than heavy usage. Though I wouldn’t say, it’s very good battery life, but it lives up to the standards being setup up by handsets in this price range. Moreover, you also get fast charging option here, which is great, and it works, not like Quick Charge 2.0/3.0, though. The connectivity options include 4G LTE support; we tested data speed, which we thought was on par with other handsets. It has a dual SIM support, which proves helpful if you have two set of SIM numbers; professional and personal. Other usual connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and microUSB port 2.0.
The Vernee Thor is a handset that can easily sway you with its attractive looks and sturdy build quality. But I would say if you’re seeking good camera and system performance from your next handset, then this should not be the choice, as it lacks good camera outputs and doesn’t really offer a good performance experience. You have a lot of alternative at the price point it comes. The options like Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Meizu M3 Note and you can even go with LeEco Le 2, which was recently launched, although, we haven’t reviewed that last handset. Choose wisely!