Today, we're taking a look at the ECOO E04. Coming in two colors (soft black and minimal white), it has a few quality features that help it stand out in today's crowded phone market. Though it also has a power saving CPU, Android 4.4, and huge 5.5 inch display, its biggest draw is that it's unlocked.
Unlocked phones are something I've recommended to people in the past because they have a number of benefits. For one, unlocked phones aren't forced to work with one network, so if you don't like your network, you can ditch them in favor of another without having to get a new phone, which is handy for business men and women who do a lot of traveling. Another benefit for the traveling person is that they won't have to deal with roaming charges, since you they can simply buy a new SIM card wherever they're going. Other benefits include having more options with phone models and being able to sell it to pretty much anyone on any network since it's not locked to one carrier. They're pretty much like the blood type O of the cell phone world.
But unlocked phones are often expensive, since carrier plans rarely cover them. That's what caught my eye about the ECOO E04; it's unlocked, but at an affordable price point. The phone still has some bite at its low price point however, and a few of its features really help it catch the eye.
For starters, inside the ECOO E04 is hiding a MediaTek MT6752 1.7 GHz processor, featuring eight cores, and on a 4G LTE platform. The CPU is capable of Ultra HD video playback and is designed for the 'super-mid' market. It is also designed for low power consumption, a 16 megapixel image signal processor for camera applications, and efficient compatibility for legacy 32 bit applications. The GPU is an ARM MALI-T760, made for energy efficient graphics without trading off fidelity. The phone comes with 16 GB ROM and expandable storage (you can increase the memory up to an additional 32GB on a TF card.)
The ECOO E04 features a 5.5 inch IPS OGS capacitive HD display, with a 1080 x 1920 resolution. It has a 16 megapixel rear facing camera with a flashlight and auto focus, as well as a front facing 8 megapixel camera. The phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 and has Dual SIM as well as GPS support.
For an OS, the ECOO E04 still runs on Android 4.4 Kitkat, which means users will not be getting their hands on Google's Material Design, Priority Mode, as well Google's Project Volta, which has shown to increase battery life in phones, sometimes as much as two hours. Kitkat is still a competent system however and will get you through most of your daily tasks. And of course Kitkat's signature features, like "Ok Google", where users need only say aloud "Ok Google" followed by their search request in order to search Google, Contact Prioritization, as well as full screen album art. With full screen album art, when listening to music, audio controls appear on the lock screen with the album art replacing the regular lock screen cover. Unlike early Jellybean versions, KitKat is still well maintained and updated, so users can take solace in knowing they aren't being "left behind" with last season's OS.
Taking a look at the form factor of the ECOO E04, it is noticeably light at 160 grams. Surrounding the body is a silver band that looks sleek, but is made of plastic rather than metal. At the bottom center can be found a physical home button, as well as two soft keys to the home button's left and right. Personally, I've always found this to be the optimal set up, as I like having the physical feedback of a real button and having additional options with two other soft keys without the bulk that extra buttons can have. The phone has a removable back to gain access to the Lithium Ion 3000 mAh battery. Users can charge the phone through a micro USB port. You can expect to get somewhere around 2 to 3 days in stand by time.
The ECOO E04 also has additional features like tethering and portable hotspot in case your internet goes down and you need to finish that time sensitive exam you've got. Another feature the phone has is Smart Wake. Miracast, which allows users to stream content from their phone to their TV or computer, might be a useful addition as well. The advantage of Miracast is that it is designed to work across devices regardless of brand, and negotiates settings so the user will not have to worry about format or codec details. Miracast can stream 1080p HD video and 5.1 surround sound. However, those interested should take into account that Miracast only works on Wi-Fi Direct supported devices.
The ECOO E04 has a lot of things I like and a few things I'm unsure of. I'm always about having the latest OS, so KitKat isn't really for me. But if the version of Android isn't a concern, KitKat is more than capable for your everyday needs. The build quality might make me question higher price devices, but the price tag justifies a plastic body. Its power saving mode has me intrigued, as finding battery innovation is rare in this day and age (remember phones used to last for almost a week on ONE charge?). Its 16 megapixel camera certainly helps it stand out and being unlocked at a low price point makes it a viable option for the man or woman that travels.
Right now the ECOO E04 can be found here:
http://www.gearbest.com/cell-phones/pp_145624.html for $189.99 unlocked, but is being offered with a coupon code for 179.99. The coupon code is: E04PLUS. Tell us what you think about the phone? Does it interest you, or would you rather pass it up? Let us know in the comments below!