I have repeatedly mentioned during the unboxing video and in the video demo shot in Madrid, which I owe a lot to the company HomTom, because just reviewing their smartphone (HomTom HT17), I could start this adventure in XiaomiToday.it. At the time I was a "pischello" of the sector and perhaps not very technical, not that now he is a professional, also because as Socrates says: "Wise is he who knows he does not know ". But apart from this beginning carpiato, today we discover together if the new HomTom S99 it will prove to be a good deal or a disappointment in our full review.
The content of the sales package of our smartphone is very rich and well looked after, in fact inside we can find:
- HomTom S99
- Pin for removing the SIM cart
- User manual (English language)
- Screen protector in plastic (one is already applied to the display of the device)
- USB cable for charging and data transfer with Micro USB connection
- Network charger with European plug and 5V / 2A output
- Micro USB cable with USB plug for OTG function or to connect another USB cable to charge other devices
Of course we can not define the HomTom S99 a sex symbol in terms of design, although the company tries to find its own identity by proposing a back cover completely made of polycarbonate which adopts one geometric texture composed of many small hexagons that stops only with one horizontal band with brushed effect, which travels the dual chamber and the LED flash present in the upper part of the body. Beyond that we find on the back the fingerprint sensor, perhaps too small in size because it is often difficult to center the surface on which to place the finger to do it unlocking, which happens 10 times on 10 but with prehistoric times.
Finally, at the bottom of the back of the smartphone, on horseback with the curvature of the body, we find the slit of the mono spawner. The position of the speaker allows the sound to escape without choking even if resting on a rigid flat surface, a little less on softer sofas. The sound has a discrete level of listening but do not expect quality and powerful bass, two features that seem to have been forgotten in the design phase, because the shades are all unbalanced towards the highs and this is emphasized even if we use the speaker as a speakerphone.
You will have noticed the quite important dimensions of the Homom S99 that are expressed in 149,5 x 70 x 12,8 mm thick and one weight of well 210,8 grams. In short, the device certainly is not slim and although the weight is well balanced along the entire axis, in prolonged use of the terminal this may cause discomfort. Ergonomics, on the other hand, is good thanks also to one knurled texture on the profiles that facilitates the grip, where we can find the power button and volume rocker on the right. Maybe mine is a habit to other devices, but I would have preferred the placement of the keys slightly more upwards, in fact I often have to crush the volume + while in reality I was looking for that power.
However, on the left we find the SIM cart, two in Nano format with the possibility of expanding the memory via Micro SD (on the official website is not specified until the media is present, while on alternative stores is indicated up to 256 GB) provided you give up the Dual SIM Dual Standby functionality. Superiorly we find only the input jack from 3,5 mm while the microphone and themicro USB input for charging the device with OTG support.
Yeah no second microphone for the reduction of environmental noise, which it would have made the difference under certain conditions, in which unfortunately I found myself at make a telephone conversation with a third party: the background noise. At least we have the support for the 20 band, even if the 4G LTE signal (possible on both SIMs separately) often tends to remain in the shadows, with not indifferent browsing delays.
But then this HomTom S99 does not have anything that suits you? In reality I found the GPS signal to be good that has never presented any signs of uncertainty, as well as the Bluetooth 4.0 has not created compatibility problems with various wearables, earphones and various speakers and also the Dual band WiFi a / b / g / n module (2.4 / 5.0 GHz) he satisfied me. Another thing I liked is the integrated battery, a unit from 6200 mAh, not so much for the autonomy that manages to generate just over 5 hours of active screen (values that can improve but my use includes a lot of WiFi tethering that literally throws down the autonomy of each battery), but due to the fact that through the supplied OTG cable we can go to charge other devices, using our HomTom S99 as if it were a power bank, but be patient for charging as it will take about 3 hours to get 100% of energy.
HomTom S99 offers a IPS display from 5,5 inches format 18: 9 and HD resolution + 720 x 1440 pixel 293 PPI which turned out to be a good panel net of the resolution offered and from the fact that it offers only 3 touch points. The colors even at extreme angles remain faithful to the original even if the general vision of content always results in a dull hair, perhaps due to the fact that the backlight does not go beyond certain limits with poor visibility under direct sunlight. On HomTom S99 we do not find any physical key as inserted on the display, with the possibility of software being inverted between them or to be hidden when needed to take advantage of the entire diagonal of the screen.
On the upper frame we find a small one Notification LED (three colors: blue for notifications, red for low battery or when it is charging and green for full charge), selfie camera, earphone and theoretically, proximity and brightness sensors. And I use the term theoretically because if the proximity sensor carries out its work perfectly, the same can not be said of the brightness that is instead lazy, a sloth, forcing us to act manually on the intensity of the backlighting of the screen. The certification must also be reported 3 level widevine, which translates into the use of streaming content on platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video with 480p resolution.
But let's see how it behaves at a performance level, considering that under the body we have a MediaTek MT6750 processor octacore ARM Cortex-A53 with maximum clock to 1.5 GHz which is joined by one GPU Mali-T860, 4 GB of RAM memory e 64 GB of expandable internal storage. The daily operations are carried out without any particular problems even if the app upload is not the fastest. We can also perform slightly more complex operations such as gaming although in this case there is a phenomenon of overheating located in the area of the processor. Basically, however, the usability of the device does not seem to raise concerns, also because of complicity a rather streamlined interface guaranteed by the Android 8.0.0 operating system with level security patches stopped at the 5 May 2018.
A practically stock interface with the exception of some customization from HomTom that introduces some gestures to associate with the fingerprint sensor, the possibility to take a quick picture with the screen off quickly by quickly pressing the volume key or the keys Gesture Motion, through which we can make an example screenshot with a three-finger swipe on the display, lock the device with a double tap on the Home key, silence the phone during a call simply by turning it etc .. but also a System Manager that allows us to free the cache, or recover space by deleting useless files, optimizing energy consumption and much more. Finally, a welcome customization we find with theUnlock Face that compared to the native Google allows us at least to go directly to the Home of the device without having to make further steps (see Mi A2 / Mi A2 Lite). Also in this case the unlocking takes place with times not really fast but I liked the function integrated in the software that enables a fill light screen to help the release with the face in low light environments. In short, Android Stock must please with all its merits and flaws.
Finally HomTom S99 offers a photographic industry, which unfortunately I must define scandalous. Let's start from the bottom upwards, thus dealing first with the selfie camera which consists of a view from 8 megapixel f/ 2.0 with interpolation up to 13 MP that allows record videos with HD resolution to 30 fps and possibly enable a sort of digital stabilization that has two big bugs: the first we find it as soon as we start the video, which seems to undergo a sort of boomerang effect (see Instagram) and that also transmits what is captured to the display with about 1 second delay. Furthermore the yield is disappointing, better use the stabilization function integrated in Google Photos but remembering that the video will be cropped. Finally, let us point out that we have the possibility of enable HDR modePerhaps the only one that seems to carry out its task sufficiently.
In fact the same problems, also linked to stabilization, are found in the dual rear chamber, composed of an optics from 16 megapixel f/ 2.0 with interpolation up to 21 MP a more second sensor from 2 megapixel, which theoretically should serve to obtain the blurred effect in the portrait mode. And instead this room seems to be present only for scene because it does not work and the bokeh effect in the photos is just a small litter with software with results that are otherwise questionable. In fact, the pictures in this way seem to have been obtained with a greasy lens. We can capture videos with Full HD resolution to 30 fps, enable HDR mode, take pictures with a sort of beauty mode (let alone the result that comes out), apply some filters in real time, panoramic photos and finally a PRO mode that will allow us to manually adjust ISO, contrast and white balance. And the flash? Well having it or not having it is the same thing, even at night maybe to illuminate the road fails in the enterprise.
Honestly I think it is very easy to make a judgment for this HomTom S99, but it is more difficult to recommend it to someone considering the price at which it is proposed. Surely it is not the phone indicated to be used as primary and is hardly also recommended as "forklift" ... So HomTom, I know you can do better but this time you missed the road, maybe a software update could solve some problems, so we put hope in this. However, if you are interested in buying, you can do it through the TomTop store offering free shipping within 72 hours.
Sometimes the sense of a review is also this, that is to bring to knowledge products that apparently could prove interesting but then in the practical act are consolidated in a disappointment. This is the case of HomTom S99 on which the only hope is placed in some software update that solves some problems.
- POSSIBILITY TO RECHARGE OTHER DEVICES
- BATTERY AUTONOMY
- CONNECTIVITY WIFI / GPS / BLUETOOTH
- SIGNAL 4G WEAK
- PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPARTMENT